Friday, June 1, 2012

Responding to Rocket Fire, IAF Targets Rocket Launching Squad in Gaza

In response to 2 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel a short while ago, IAF aircraft targeted a terrorist squad that fired a rocket at IDF soldiers. A hit was confirmed.
Smoke from Gaza After Rocket Fire Towards Israel
Archive: Trails of smoke after a rocket from Gaza was launched at Israeli civilians
The IDF will continue to operate against anyone who uses terror against the residents of the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.
and, also reported on IDF blog:

Staff Sgt. Netanel Moshiashvili Killed in Exchange of Fire with Terrorist

Staff Sergeant Netanel Moshiashvili of the Golani Brigade was killed earlier this morning. A terrorist who was identified infiltrating Israel from the southern Gaza Strip opened fire at IDF soldiers, who responded with fire. During the exchange, the terrorist was killed, thus preventing a terror attack on Israeli civilians.
Staff Sgt. Netanel Moshiasvili, Deceased
The deceased, Staff Sgt. Netanel Moshiashvili, 21, from Ashkelon
The family of Staff Sgt. Netanel Moshiashvili has been informed of the incident.
Staff Sergeant Netanel Moshiashvili, Deceased
The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians or IDF soldiers, and will operate against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.

Egypt: Mubarak sentencing on Saturday, June 2, 2012


What lies ahead for Hosni Mubarak on judgment day

Former president Hosni Mubarak is facing three scenarios: acquittal, jail or capital punishment. (File photo)

Egyptians are impatiently waiting for the verdict in what has come to be referred to as “the trial of the century” in which former president Hosni Mubarak, his sons and several of his top aides and officials face charges.

Despite the fact Mubarak is not the only defendant, Egyptian public opinion is focusing on the former president’s destiny more than the others and the media has been preoccupied with the trial’s possible outcomes.

Egyptian state television will broadcast live the verdict and sentencing on Saturday, official media reported.
The first several hearings the trial, which started in August, were broadcast live, but chief judge then ordered cameras out before witnesses began to take the stand.
According to the Egyptian newspaper al-Youm al-Sabea, Mubarak is facing three scenarios: acquittal, jail or capital punishment. 

In the first scenario, Mubarak will be found not guilty of the killing of unarmed protestors during the days of the revolution and will consequently be set free. This would absolve security forces charged with firing live ammunition at the protestors in the first place and that they only used tear gas and water cannons. 

This scenario is expected to infuriate Egyptians who will most likely take to the streets to protest what they would see as a betrayal to the revolution.

The second scenario is the prosecution will have proved that security forces did fire at protestors. In this case, Mubarak would be found guilty of inciting murder even if he did not directly give the police orders to fire and was not even aware they did so. 

This scenario could lead to a10-year prison sentence. If the prosecution proves that he knew about the firing at protestors but did not order it, he might receive 25 years in jail.

The third scenario is that the prosecution will be able to prove that Mubarak gave orders to security to use violence in dispersing protests and to fire at protestors. In this case, Mubarak will be found guilty of premeditated murder and could therefore be sentenced to death. This is considered the most unlikely scenario.

In case of the second scenario, seen as the most likely, the main issue would be the place of detention and how suitable it can be in relation to Mubarak’s health. It remains to be seen whether he will be detained at a special place other than the regular facilities in accordance with the medical reports presented to the prosecutor general.

In addition to the possible verdicts, speculations are rife about how Egypt’s next president would react should Mubarak be put in jail. 

Observers are specifically wondering what Mubarak’s former minister and last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, known also to be one of his closest aides, will do if he wins the elections and whether he will grant Mubarak a presidential pardon. 

Head of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, Abdul Ghaffar Shukr says if Mubarak is acquitted, the Egyptian people’s reaction is bound to be very forceful.

“Public opinion in Egypt will be rattled by such a verdict and the country will go through a long phase of upheaval and we don’t know what the consequences could be,” he told Al Arabiya. 

Shukr said the likelihood of Mubarak receiving amnesty is impossible even if Shafiq is the next president.

“The next president, whoever he is, will not be able to take the Egyptian people to the past.”

Lawyer Mohammed al-Damati, member of the civil rights plaintiffs’ defense team, however, had a different opinion.

“If Shafiq becomes president, he will definitely grant Mubarak amnesty for this is the whole point of his nomination,” he told Al Arabiya.

According to legal expert Bahaa Abu Shuqa, the best solution is to postpone the verdict until presidential election is over.

“The timing of the verdict is not suitable since the Egyptian people are already strained about the elections and are anticipating a disaster if Shafiq becomes president and pardons Mubarak,” he told Al Arabiya.

Abu Shuqa added that despite the validity of people’s fears about Shafiq’s reaction to Mubarak’s verdict, this scenario is next to impossible.

“Any coming president will not dare challenge the will of the people like this and will never succeed in taking Egypt back to the pre-January 25 era.” 

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)


Friday, June 1, 2012

Remember when America was the world leader? Remember when it was America who would not sit idly by when outrageous evils were sanctioned by the collective negation of humanity (the UN)?Mugabe
How low America has sunk under the fraud.
Even the pathologically leftist NY Times has said that Mugabe should be tried for war crimes.
And this just last week: President Robert Mugabe and his henchmen are accused of crimes against humanity, a British newspaper reported on Saturday,  for among other things, "slowly hacking off the limbs and pulling out the teeth with pliers of his opposition's supporters. He had 'enjoyed' torturing victims."
And the UN appoints Mugabe special toursim ambassador where? Hades? And Obama stood by. Silence is sanction. You could just vomit at how third world we are under Obama. And the media says nothing.
Kudos to Harper's Canada, whose brave and righteous leadership once again shames America, but gives freedom lovers hope that all is not lost.
"Canada quits UN agency over Mugabe appointment" Newsday

[Obama, Hillary, Rice silent?]

OTTAWA — Canada is withdrawing from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) over the appointment of President Robert Mugabe as a special tourism ambassador.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs minister John Baird said Mugabe’s appointment as international tourism ambassador symbolised what was wrong with the UN.

Mugabe is currently under a European Union travel ban because of human rights abuses in his own country.

His appointment is being made by the UNWTO.
In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Baird called the move outrageous, and announced that Canada would be withdrawing from the tourism office next month. Mugabe has been in power for more than three decades and has been blamed for Zimbabwe’s economic ruin, resulting in food and fuel shortages, rampant inflation, high poverty and unemployment.

On Tuesday, the UN body endorsed Mugabe with Zambian President Michael Sata after they signed an agreement to co-host the UNWTO General Assembly in August 2013 in Victoria Falls and Livingstone.

UNWTO secretary-general Talib Rifai paid tribute to Mugabe and Sata for their role in tourism development.

However, United States House Foreign Affairs chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in a statement said: “The continued rewards the UN bestows upon the world’s dictators has reached the point of absurdity. An organisation devoted to world peace and stability is propping up and aiding the very regimes that oppose such ideals.”

US Announces Plans To Arm Domestic Surveillance Drones With Missiles

Posted by  - May 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm

The US announces plans to arm drones that will be operating inside the US with missiles and bombs as part of a 30,000 strong domestic deployment.

Fully armed remotely controlled aircraft used by the United States military and its allies in the War on Terror overseas are set to begin a new era of operating over domestic soil.
The US military has revealed that stronger and more powerful versions of the famed Predator drones, known as MQ-9 Reaper drones, are being fitted with missiles and other explosive ordinances as part of a deployment of 30,000 drones authorized to fly over the US by the NDAA and the armed drones will now be operating inside the United States.
A military spokesman at the Hancock Field Air National Guard base in NY said the drones will only be armed with missiles and explosive ordinances when they are operating in airspace over US military bases and are only being armed as part of a program to train others to operate America’s new drone fleet.
Legislation passed by congress authorized the integration of military and public airspace into a single national aerospace grid to support both civil and public drone flights over U.S. skies.
The news comes as law enforcement agencies announce plans to weaponize their drones with “less than lethal” weapons such as tasers, tear gas and rubber bullets.
Overseas, the UK has already equipped their once unarmed surveillance drones to carry missiles.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the U.S. congress is expected to pass legislation that will arm Italy’s fleet of Reaper drone aircraft with missiles in a deal that is likely to pave the way for the roll-out of armed drones across the spectrum of NATO allies.
The news comes as the Obama administration comes under fire for his use of drones in the secret U.S. assassination program.
Recently Obama appointed John Brennan as the first ever Assassination Czar delegating him as the sole authority to designate people for assassination under the United States top-secret assassination program.
The appointment led a public backlash which forced the Obama administration to reveal unprecedented details to the New York Times about the use of the drones in the assassination program.
The article revealed a series of hair-raising spine-tingling facts including revelations that Obama personally ordered attacks he knew were going to kill woman and children along with the admission that we are conducting a new type of attack called “signature strikes” which involves bombing entire groups of civilians not even knowing who they are.
At the same time it was revealed in accounting for civilian casualties overseas, the Obama administration has categorically counted everyone killed by the program as an ‘enemy combatant’ while even not even knowing their identities with the exception being when US intelligence was able to obtain absolute proof the assassinated person was not a combatant.
In the video Colonel Kevin Bradley, commander of the 174th Air National Guard Fighter Wing, discusses the new special mission assigned to him by the government to transition the MQ-9 reaper drones from overseas deployments in Afghanistan to deployments over US Skies.
The video is embedded on a Post-Register story which was published a week after the NDAA authorized the deployment of Drones over US skies.
Col. Tom Balbierer of the Air National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing stands beneath the wing of the Reaper, an unmanned aerial surveillance plane based at Hancock Field in Mattydale. The drone has a wingspan of 66 feet. The planes are remotely operated from a control room on the base. The Reaper can be used for both surveillance and can be armed with a payload of about 3,000 pounds. Gloria Wright / The Post-Standard
Col. Tom Balbierer of the Air National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing stands beneath the wing of the Reaper, an unmanned aerial surveillance plane based at Hancock Field in Mattydale. The drone has a wingspan of 66 feet. The planes are remotely operated from a control room on the base. The Reaper can be used for both surveillance and can be armed with a payload of about 3,000 pounds. Gloria Wright / The Post-Standard
Washington — The Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing is a step closer to gaining federal permission to fly unmanned Reaper drones out of its base at Hancock Field, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.
The National Defense Authorization Act signed into law last week by President Barack Obama allows for the establishment of six national test sites where drones could fly through civil air space.
Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday he pushed for the establishment of six spots, instead of the planned four, to improve the chances that Hancock Field would be included. The 174th Fighter Wing has been trying for almost five years to convince the Federal Aviation Administration to allow flights of the MQ-9 Reaper drones out of Hancock Field.
Hancock Field, which will eventually host a full squadron of Reaper drones, has the largest potential training space in the Northeast. Most of the drones assigned to the 174th Fighter Wing are now remotely operated in Afghanistan and Iraq by pilots at the Mattydale base.
Schumer said Hancock already meets FAA requirements for unmanned aerial vehicles because about 7,000 square miles surrounding the airport is designated as “special use” airspace.
He said that “making Hancock a test site for this technology would be a boon for Central New York, creating jobs and bringing new investments to our defense contractors that provide thousands of good paying jobs.”
The senator noted that two Central New York companies, SRC and Saab Sensis Corp., are working on technology to help integrate drones into the national airspace with “sense and avoid” ground-based radars. In addition, the Mattydale base employs more than 1,200 people.
“Hancock Field is ideally positioned to be a test site because of its attractive air space, and because the region has two restricted areas, four seasons, a varied terrain, an over water range, air to ground gunnery capability and large airspace volume – all essential to ensuring that our drones and their pilots are able to complete their missions abroad,” Schumer wrote.
Col. Kevin Bradley, commander of the 174th Fighter Wing, has said that any Reaper drones that eventually fly out of Hancock would not be equipped with missiles or bombs. No training would take place within civilian air space, Bradley said.
The drones would be armed with live ordnance only when used at firing ranges at Fort Drum near Watertown.
Source: | The Post-Register
Fox News reports:

US plans to arm Italy’s fleet of Reaper drones

Source: The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration plans to arm Italy’s fleet of Reaper drone aircraft, a move that could open the door for sales of advanced hunter-killer drone technology to other allies, according to lawmakers and others familiar with the matter.
The sale would make Italy the first foreign country besides Britain to fly US drones armed with missiles and laser-guided bombs. US officials said Italy intends initially to deploy the armed drones in Afghanistan.
Lawmakers who question the planned deal say the decision to “weaponize” Italy’s unarmed surveillance drones could make it harder for the US to deny similar capabilities to other NATO allies, and set back efforts to urge sales limitations on other nations that make sophisticated drones such as Israel.
[...]Congress still could block the sale if it passes a joint resolution of disapproval in both the House and the Senate within 15 calendar days, though several members of Congress from both parties say such a move is unlikely.
She added, “The transfer of US defense articles and services to Italy, among other allies, enables Italy to burden-share and contribute capabilities to operations that protect not only Italian troops but also those of the United States and other coalition partners.”
Britain, the first foreign country to get armed Reapers, is considered a “special case” because of its historically close military ties to the U.S.
It deployed its first unarmed Reaper surveillance drone in Afghanistan in October 2007. Surveillance drones gather intelligence and alert ground forces and manned aircraft, which can then fire on the target. Britain soon asked the U.S. to arm its Reapers, which the U.S. did in 2008.
Italy is following a similar path, said Peter Singer, a Brookings Institutionsenior fellow and author of “Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century.”
NATO member Turkey also wants to buy armed Reapers—for use against Kurdish separatist fighters—and the Obama administration supports Turkey’s request. Lawmakers have objected, citing tensions between Ankara and Israel, so far preventing the administration from sending such a proposal to Congress for review.
Some current and former U.S. officials question the standards used by Turkey in selecting targets for strikes, pointing to a strike by Turkish warplanes in December that killed 34 civilians after a U.S. Predator drone provided surveillance footage to the Turkish military.

Just HOW DID the Obama Administration Get Drug Companies On Board With Obamacare?

FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2012


I'm not sure why this information took this long to come to light and at this point, no one would be surprised by it but back at the time, when Obamacare was being hammered out, this may have just been one of the straws that broke the healthcare takeover's back.  It seems that the Obama administration decided to play some real hardball Chicago-style politics with America's drug companies in order to get their approval of Obamacare - the unfortunate thing for the drug companies is that, at the time, they didn't realize that the threats were from a bunch of spineless pansies that should have been stared down instead of caved in to.

The story comes from Family Security Matters.
Threats, deals got drug companies on board with ObamaCare
Top administration officials cut backroom deals with the nation's top drug companies to win support for President Obama's health care overhaul, threatening them with steeper taxes if they resisted and promising a better financial deal for the industry if they acquiesced, according to internal documents released Thursday by House Republicans.

In some of the key deals, Mr. Obama agreed to drop his long-standing support for letting Americans buy cheaper foreign prescription drugs - something the pharmaceutical industry vehemently opposed - and the drugmakers promised to mount a public campaign to sell the public on the health care legislation.

The drug industry financed the famous "Harry and Louise" commercials in the early 1990s that many credit with helping to turn public opinion against President Clinton's massive health care bill. In 2009, the industry revived the fictional married couple - this time with words of praise for Mr. Obama's bill.

The material released by House GOP members provides a rare insider look at the wheeling and dealing on Capitol Hill as Mr. Obama tried to shepherd his bill through Congress, in the face of near-unanimous GOP opposition.

The details emerged as House Republicans released emails it obtained during a yearlong investigation into the closed-door negotiations between the White House and lobbyists for drug companies. House Republicans said those negotiations violated the promises of transparency Mr. Obama made during his 2008 campaign.

"We really have now been able to build a case that there was a sequential, planned, organized strategy for the White House to trade policy for politics, if you will," said Rep. Michael C. Burgess, Texas Republican. "They were willing to give up on things they thought were sound principles."

The documents show that former White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina and health care reform point woman Nancy-Ann DeParle told drug company representatives in June 2009 that if they didn't cooperate on the initiative, Mr. Obama would demand a 15 percent rebate on Medicare drugs and push to remove the tax deduction for direct consumer advertising - items that could cost the industry $100 billion over the next decade.

The threats appeared to work, and the parties met the next month to hammer out a final deal. The drug companies agreed to pay higher Medicaid rebates and a new health care reform fee to raise $80 billion for the legislation, and promised to run positive television ads about it.

In exchange, the White House gave them direct input into the new policies and promised to let them continue to set their own drug prices.

Ms. DeParle threw in an extra prize to reward pharmaceutical companies for their cooperation, saying she and other officials decided to reverse the administration's position on drug importation, which Mr. Obama supported while running for president.

"I made [the] decision, based on how constructive you guys have been, to oppose importation on this bill," she wrote to Bryant Hall, chief lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Administration officials have denied that they negotiated directly with PhRMA, instead saying it was Senate Democrats who brokered the agreement.

What are the Iranians doing right now?


Xinhua seems to have the most honest news coverage of Israel from time to time, and here they are again, pointing out that Iran has been laughing at the world while pretending to negotiate about its nuclear program. Let’s see, refusal to stop enrichment, putting in new nuclear plants, and saying they don’t neead IAEA inspection of nuclear sites. Yeah, they’re laughing, all right. Because they’ve been getting away with it for decades. Why shouldn’t they laugh? the world ignores theirblatant disregard of the arms embargo on Syria, openly admits the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is in Syria helping oppress the people, it stands by while Iran massacres its children, and pretty much does nothing but issue strongly-worded statements. Yeah. They’re laughing. At us.

Take a (biased) virtual tour of Jerusalem with Google

Friday, June 1, 2012

Google now has 'World Wonder' tours of certain cities around the World, and Jerusalem is included.

Let's go to the videotape (which does not really include Jerusalem - that's (here).

 There are 132 spots in 18 countries. But here's the problem with the Jerusalem tour:
As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. Among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock stands out: built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs. It is recognized by all three religions as the site of Abraham's sacrifice. The Wailing Wall delimits the quarters of the different religious communities, while the Resurrection rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ's tomb.
Makes it sound like the Wailing Wall is just a wall, doesn't it? (And no, the only thing it delimits is the Temple Mount).

posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 4:54 PM
by Elliott Abrams
June 1, 2012

Today’s New York Times carries a story revealing that “From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.”
The story is based, the author claims, “on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.”
If the effort is highly classified, and if parts of it continue to this day, revealing the information contained in the article is a criminal act. What was the justification for these revelations to a reporter?  Self-aggrandizement? The political interests of the President? The story contains details about events at the White House that European and Israeli officials would not have had–nor would officials at middle levels at CIA. Such information came from high-ranking officials at the White House, leading again to the suspicion about political motives. Just days ago it was revealed that meetings on counter-terrorism policy, at which the next names for the drone kill list were selected, were attended by the President’s political adviser David Axelrod.
All of this would have been viewed as a scandal had it occurred in the Bush Administration. Ask yourself what The New York Times would have said about Karl Rove attending any such meetings–which by the way he never did. You need not ask yourself what the Timesand other liberal outlets would have said about leaks, for they mounted a gigantic campaign against one minor leak–that of the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA official. Where are the calls for a special prosecutor to investigate the leak after leak coming from this White House on the most sensitive intelligence operations, leaks whose only thread is that they make the President look tough? Until a serious investigation is launched, these leaks will continue and the damage they do to American intelligence operations will continue to mount.

John Edwards Verdict Draws Mixed Reactions

Borowitz Report

John Edwards Verdict Draws Mixed Reactions from O.J. Simpson, God

Former NFL Great, Almighty Sound Off on Trial

GREENSBORO, NC (The Borowitz Report) – The verdict of not guilty in the trial of former Presidential candidate John Edwards drew mixed reactions today from a variety of notables, including former football great O.J. Simpson and God.
“Justice has been served,” said Mr. Simpson in a brief statement.
The former Heisman Trophy winner added that he was cheered that almost two decades after his own celebrated trial, “it is still possible for any American with millions of dollars to receive a trial in which his lawyers thoroughly confuse the jury.”
Mr. Simpson said that although he was pleased with the verdict in the Edwards case, he hoped that the former North Carolina senator would dedicate the rest of his life “to finding the real perjurers.”
Offering a very different reaction to the verdict was someone whom Edwards himself mentioned in his post-trial statement, God.
“I don’t think God’s through with me,” Edwards said, causing the Almighty to hold a hastily called press conference in Greensboro to dispute that claim.
“Let me make this very clear,” a visibly angry God told reporters.  “I have no plans for John Edwards, unless you count the one that involves plunging him into an eternal pool of fire.”  Get a free subscription to the Borowitz Report here.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Demanding the Truth about Obama

TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2012


By Alan Caruba

Billions of words have been written about Barack Hussein Obama. He has written two “memoirs.” You could fill a library shelf with the books that have been written about him, few of them flattering. He has given thousands of speeches and interviews over the past three years he’s been in office.

After three years in which the financial crisis he “inherited” but for which he campaigned very hard, his solutions have proven to be failures on a massive, multi-billion-dollar scale. His war on energy has slowed the access to the sources of energy needed to provide the electricity to powers the nation and the fuel that keeps its cars, trucks and other means of transportation on the road, on the rail, and in the air. It has diverted millions to “green” energy alternatives fraught with bankruptcies.

A recent Fox News program hosted by Sean Hannity, bringing together influential authors and columnists, concluded that the mainstream media, the leading daily newspapers and the network news channels, not only failed to vet his life story and his qualifications to be president in 2008, but have provided cover while presently attacking the presumptive Republican candidate who will contest him in the November elections.

The media bias is palpable and thanks to watchdog organizations like the Media Research Center on full display. Increasingly, commentators have begun to describe Obama in psychological terms ranging from pathological narcissist to megalomaniac. The evidence is there for anyone who cares to examine it.

When Obama gave his nomination acceptance speech on June 3, 2008, he said that “generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care of the sick and good jobs for the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.”

“The rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”? The grandiosity of such a claim should have been a warning of the godlike powers he attributes to himself.

His November 5, 2008 acceptance speech after he won the election was filled with the word “change” in ways that should have been a warning too. “Change has come to America” he said. Always the quintessential political animal, Obama was already looking ahead to the 2012 elections. “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or one term…”

So far as Obama was concerned, his election marked a whole new epoch in the history of the nation and the world. “It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were…Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot having a thriving Wall Street while Main Stream suffers”; shades of the coming Occupy Wall Street movement, all too conveniently emerging in the months leading up to the national party conventions.

During the campaign Obama said “We are the people we have been waiting for.” He might as well have said, I am the man you have been waiting for because in Grant Park he said, “This is our moment. This is our time—to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace.”

The only truly hopeful future for America will be the defeat of Obama on November 6. While some believe he will win the election only two presidents over the last 31 years were not given a second term, Jimmy Carter and George Bush, Sr. In both cases it was the state of the economy that ended their term in office.

Today, unemployment is at historic highs. Homeowners seeking to sell their homes are looking at falling prices, down from just the previous five years. The stock markets have swung back and forth and the S&P 500 rate is lower today than twelve years ago. The nation’s credit rating was reduced for the first time in its history. The net worth of median households has declined by nearly fifty percent since 2003.

Obama added five trillion dollars to the national debt, more than the combined debt since Washington held office, and a threat to the nation’s solvency.

And the search for the real biography, the real facts about Barack Hussein Obama continues. Was he, as his literary biography said, born in Kenya? Why does he have a Social Security number issued in Connecticut, a state where he was never employed? Was Bill Ayers, a former 60s radical, just “a guy who lived in the same neighborhood” or the man who hosted his first political fund-raising effort? Was Reverend Jeremiah Wright a preacher whose black liberation theology someone who was a close family friend or someone whose sermons he never heard or recalled?

Questions, questions, questions. For all the billion of words, for all the books and speeches, the only thing we truly know about Obama is that his presidency has been wracked with failure that reaches down and entraps every American from new college graduate to retiree.

The answer is to turn him out of office in November. That is the only hope and change that Americans can achieve at this point in time.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Going Directly To The Wastebasket: Another Plan For The “Peace Process”


by Elliott Abrams
May 30, 2012
Some “peace processors” never give up. In The New York Timetoday, four of them try an old and very bad idea: forget about negotiations, and substitute the views of some un-elected elderly “statesmen” and of the UN Security Council.
In an op-ed piece entitled “Going Directly to Israelis and Palestinians,” Shlomo Ben-Ami, Thomas Schelling, Jerome Segal, and Javier Solana suggest “a new approach” that isn’t new at all. The heart of it is this:
“The U.N. Security Council…will establish a special committee composed of distinguished international figures acting in their own capacity. Possibly it would be headed by a former American statesman or senator.” Their “first task would be to determine if there is any possible peace agreement that would be acceptable to a majority of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.” To determine this, the panel would “go to the region where, over a period of several months, it would conduct a transparent inquiry into the possibility of genuine peace.”  It would hold televised hearings and “conduct public opinion research and study the record of past Israeli-Palestinian negotiations — in particular, the Clinton Parameters and the progress made at Taba and in the Olmert-Abbas round.” Then, and this is the key, the panel “would…develop a draft treaty” which the UN Security Council would approve in a resolution, calling for negotiations based upon it as a starting point. If Israel or the Palestinians object, “the process should go forward even if one government, or both, fails to embrace it.” If the parties fail, the Security Council should “pass a resolution which embodies the…plan and calls on Israel and the Palestinians to announce their acceptance.”
The four authors are optimistic: “Agreement may not be immediate. However, an end-of-conflict plan that emerges from this process will have the staying power of historic resolutions such as 181 and 242. Supported by majorities on both sides, it will be an offer that political leaders cannot indefinitely refuse.”
What’s above is the plan as the authors describe it. Here’s my description.
The four men are tired of the fact that neither Israelis nor Palestinians accept peace terms that they, in their wisdom, are sure are right. The fact that Israel is a democracy with an elected government is an inconvenience to be brushed aside; “public opinion research” is much more reliable than elections, I guess.  So much for democracy in the year of the “Arab Spring.” The fact that Israel has twice made offers to the Palestinians–Prime Minister Barak in 2000 and Prime Minister Olmert in 2008–that were very generous in the view of the United States is irrelevant. The fact that those offers were withdrawn precisely because Israel did not want to allow the Palestinians to pocket them and start negotiations from those points is also irrelevant; the panel will start by swallowing them and jumping off from there, studying them “in particular.”
The confidence of these four authors in getting “majorities on both sides” to support such a plan is bizarre. It has been tried. The “Geneva Initiative” of 2003, a lengthy, detailed peace plan developed by Israelis and Palestinians who know a lot more about the issues than these four gentlemen, went nowhere. The “People’s Voice Initiative” sponsored by one Israeli and one Palestinian leader, who offered some central principles for a peace deal and asked citizens on both sides to sign up, got 400,000 signatures in a combined population of 11.5 million. To be a bit more specific about the issues, do they think they will get Palestinians to agree to abandon the so-called “right of return,” or Israelis to give up Jerusalem? Will they have security proposals that cope with the Hamas control of Gaza, or ways to handle every territorial dispute? Do they think no dedicated, intelligent American, Palestinian, or Israeli officials have ever addressed these issues and earnestly sought solutions?
Then of course there is the personnel question. Who might the “distinguished international figures” turn out to be? Why, with luck they might be as distinguished as the four authors; maybe three of them (excluding Ben-Ami, an Israeli and former foreign minister) might even comprise three of the four! For other ideas as to who are “distinguished international figures,” look at the group that named itself “The Elders” and even has a web site: Consisting of Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Brundtland, Fernando H. Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson, Desmond Tutu, they have decided to solve the world’s problems and on the Middle East they proclaim that “After decades of peace process, there is still no peace. The Elders are supporting civil society action for an end to the conflict and lasting peace.” Apparently they should knock that civil society nonsense off and simply write up a final status agreement, and mail it in to the UN. What are the Elders up to? In their own words, “The Elders represent an independent voice, not bound by the interests of any nation, government or institution. They are committed to promoting the shared interests of humanity.” (Emphasis in the original, by the way.)
Which brings us back to the four authors of this new, old, proposal. They too are sure they represent the “shared interests of humanity.” They will not only not be “bound by the interests of any nation, government, or institution” but are certain they themselves and people like the Elders are much better than messy things like democracy and elected governments.
I don’t know if the current Israeli leadership and the current PLO leadership can make peace; their predecessors obviously could not. But I do know that only Israelis and Palestinians can make peace. Not the UN, not the Elders, and certainly not another “special committee composed of distinguished international figures.”