How to determine the winner of the Obamacare/Medicare debate?

Redacted from the article, “Beyond Mediscare”
By Yuval Levin
The Weekly Standard, May 30, 2011

Do House Republicans want to kill the elderly? If you listen to the left these days, you’d certainly think so. Last week, a liberal advocacy group called “The Agenda Project”—which claims to advance “rational, effective ideas in the public debate”—released an ad showing a look-alike of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. “Is America beautiful without Medicare?” the ad inquires of viewers. “Ask Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress.”

Nor is it only rabid interest groups that have succumbed to such appeals. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, said more or less the same thing earlier this month. When asked about the House Republican budget’s approach to Medicare, Sebelius said that, under the plan, “If you run out of the government voucher and then you run out of your own money, you’re left to scrape together charity care, go without care, die sooner. There really aren’t a lot of options.”

The president himself has come pretty close to this view. The Republican budget, Obama said in a speech at George Washington University last month, “says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the insurance that’s available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck—you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.”

Clearly, the GOP Medicare reform has struck a nerve. Democrats seem unwilling to speak about it honestly. Maybe they know that the facts do not support their case.

Let’s start with “Medicare as we know it.” According to the Congressional Budget Office and Medicare’s trustees, the program has a long-term unfunded liability of more than $30 trillion. It’s about a decade from insolvency. The trustees’ latest annual report, released on May 13, notes that the Medicare trust fund is projected to run out of money five years sooner than was projected last year. Its current trajectory would swallow up the federal budget. Taxes could not be raised high or fast enough to keep up with its growth without crushing the economy.

The Democrats cannot deny the figures, but their solution is to let the crisis come. President Obama’s budget offered nothing beyond Obamacare as a solution. In an extraordinary letter affixed to the recent trustees’ report, Medicare’s chief actuary noted that Obamacare’s approach to the program—price controls determined by a board of experts and devoid of market-based reforms that could help health care providers improve their efficiency—would actually exacerbate Medicare’s troubles.

The Republican budget offers precisely such market-based reforms. It proposes not just to reduce the growth rate of Medicare spending, but to introduce consumer pressures into the system that would create financial incentives for providers to work more efficiently and reduce the growth of the health care costs that are at the heart of the problem.

Currently Medicare recipients play no part in determining who gets paid and how much, and have no sense of what their health care costs. Providers have no financial incentive to deliver better care at lower prices. And price controls that would reduce what Medicare pays per service (the Obamacare solution) would only create an incentive for providers to supply a greater volume of services to make up the difference. That is exactly what price controls have done in the past—drive efficiency down and costs up.

The House Republican proposal would change Medicare’s counterproductive design. It would leave today’s seniors and those now 55 or older in the current system, since they have planned their retirements around it. But everyone younger than that would join a redesigned Medicare when they retire.

Rather than pay all providers a set fee directly, seniors would use the money (in the form of a premium support payment that would start at current Medicare rates and grow with inflation) to choose insurance plans from a menu of guaranteed private coverage options. Poor seniors and those in the worst health would get significantly greater support, while the wealthiest would receive less.

And seniors would be buying guaranteed insurance with limits on out of pocket costs, not paying directly for care. Sebelius’s notion that they would simply “run out” of money if they got sick is nothing more than fear-mongering.

Insurers and providers would compete for seniors’ dollars. They would be free to find innovative ways to offer better quality at lower costs. That’s how markets produce efficiency: by letting sellers find ways to offer buyers what they want at prices they want to pay. Everyone agrees that such efficiency improvements are essential. As Ryan has put it, the basic choice offered by the parties’ competing approaches to Medicare has to do with how efficiency is achieved. It’s a choice between giving a board of experts the power to deny care to seniors based on its magisterial judgment of quality and value, and giving seniors the power to deny business to providers based on their individual opinions and priorities.

For politicians, it is also a choice between reforming a program that seniors are comfortable with and leaving it alone despite its fatal problems. Republicans have chosen to deal with that difficulty by leaving current seniors with all the benefits they are accustomed to in the current program and reforming it for the next generation.

Democrats have chosen to deal with it by pretending there is no problem, falsely insisting that any reform will harm today’s seniors, and leaving a colossal disaster for the next generation. Republicans, in other words, have chosen a policy solution that carries political risk while the Democrats have opted for political advantage.

Do you know what al-Hijra is? You had better!

Redacted from Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders’ Speech
Nashville Cornerstone Church. May 12, 2011

…Do you know why America is better than Europe? Because you enjoy more freedom. European and Canadian people are dragged to court for telling the truth about Islam.

I, too, have been dragged to court. I am an elected member of the house of representatives in the Netherlands. I am currently standing in court like a common criminal for saying that Islam is a dangerous totalitarian ideology rather than a religion. The court case is still pending, but I risk a jail sentence of 16 months.

…I am here today with an unpleasant message. I am here with a warning. I am here with a battle cry: “Wake up, Christians of Tennessee. Islam is at your gate.” Do not make the mistake which Europe made. Do not allow Islam to gain a foothold here. Islam is dangerous. Islam wants to establish a state on earth, ruled by Islamic sharia law. Islam aims for the submission, whether by persuasion, intimidation or violence, of all non-Muslims, including Christians.

Islam is an ideology of conquest. It uses two methods to achieve this goal: the first method is the sword. Do you know what figures are on the flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country where Christian churches are banned and Christians are not even allowed to wear a tiny crucifix? There is a huge sword on that flag, just below the Islamic creed. The message is clear. Without the sword Islam would not have been able to spread its creed.

The second method is immigration. Islam’s founder Muhammad himself taught his followers how to conquer through immigration when they moved from Mecca to Medina. This phenomenon of conquest through immigration is called al-Hijra. In Europe we have been experiencing al-Hijra for over 30 years now. Many of our cities have changed beyond recognition. “In each one of our cities” wrote the well-known Italian author, Oriana Fallaci shortly before her death in 2006, “there is a second city, a state within the state, a government within the government. A Muslim city, a city ruled by the Koran.”

“Multiculturalism” is a disaster. Almost everyone acknowledges this today, but few dare say why. Let me tell you why: Multiculturalism made us tolerate the intolerant, and now intolerance is annihilating tolerance. Only two weeks ago, the British press revealed how the so-called “London Taliban” is threatening to kill women who do not wear veils in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

In some neighborhoods Islamic regulations are already being enforced – also on non-Muslims. Women’s rights are being trampled. We are confronted with headscarves and burqa’s, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honor-killings where men murder their wives, daughters or sisters because they do not behave in accordance with Islamic rules.

Among 15-year-old German Muslims, 40 percent consider islam more important than democracy. Among Muslim university students in Britain, 40 percent support sharia. One in three of those students considers it legitimate to kill in the name of islam.

Muhammad personally participated in the ethnic cleansing of Medina, where half the population once was Jewish. Muhammad helped to chop off their heads. On his deathbed, he ordered his followers to cleanse Arabia of all Jews and Christians.

To this very day, Christian symbols are prohibited in Saudi-Arabia. If you wear a cross in Saudi Arabia, they send you to jail. And now, Europe is beginning to look like Arabia. Just today, a poll revealed that in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, half the Islamic youths are anti-semitic. It is dangerous for Jews to walk the streets in Brussels.

If you wear a cross or a kippah in certain urban areas in Europe today, you risk being beaten up. In the capital of my own country, Amsterdam, a tram driver was forced to remove his crucifix from sight, while his Muslim colleagues are allowed to wear the veil.

In June 2008, the Christian church authorities in the Danish town of Arhus decided to pay so-called “protection money” to islamic so-called “security guards” who assure that church goers are not harassed by islamic youths.

On March 31, 2010, Muslims entered the Roman Catholic cathedral of Cordoba, Spain, and attacked the guards with knives. They claimed the cathedral was theirs.

Last month, the bishops of Sweden sent out a letter to priests advising them to avoid converting asylum seekers from islamic countries to Christianity, because the converts would risk losing their lives.

In the Netherlands, the city authorities in Amsterdam register polygamous marriages. The authorities in Rotterdam serve only halal meals in municipal cafeterias. Theaters provide separate seats for women who are not allowed to sit next to men. Municipal swimming pools have separate swimming hours for men and women, Muslim lawyers do not have to stand when the judges enter court rooms. Meanwhile Jews are no longer safe on our streets. Political “leaders” advise Jews to emigrate. Jews are already running for Israel. But, I say: Jews must not leave, violent Muslims must leave!

We can see what islam has in store for us if we watch the fate of the Christians in the Islamic world, such as the Copts in Egypt, the Maronites in Lebanon, the Assyrians in Iraq, and Christians elsewhere. Almost every day, churches are set aflame and Christians assassinated in islamic countries.

Rivers of tears are flowing from the Middle East, where there is only one safe haven for Christians. You know where that is. The only place in the Middle East where Christians are safe is Israel. That is why Israel deserves our support. Israel is a safe haven for everyone, whatever their belief and opinions. Israel is a beacon of light in a region of total darkness. Israel is fighting our fight. The jihad against Israel is a jihad against all of us. If Israel falls, we, too, will feel the consequences. If Jerusalem falls, Athens, Rome, Amsterdam and Nashville will fall. Therefore, we all are Israel.

A recent poll in post-revolution Egypt found that 85 percent of Egyptians are convinced that islam’s influence on politics is good, 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned, 84 percent want the death penalty for apostates. The press refers to the events in the Arab world today as the Arab spring. I call it the Arab winter.

Dear friends, here is my warning. Make no mistake: Islam is also coming for America. In fact, it is already here. America is facing a stealth jihad, the islamic attempt to introduce sharia law bit by bit. Last March, a judge in Tampa, Florida, ruled that a lawsuit against a mosque and involving the control of 2.4 million dollars, should proceed under Islamic law.

We must resist this invasion with all our might. You and I, Americans and Europeans, belong to a common Western culture. We share the ideas and ideals of our common Judeo-Christian heritage. We must pass this heritage on to our children and grandchildren, we must stand together, side by side, in our struggle against Islamic barbarism.

Are you prepared to defend yourself and your family?

SUMMER CAMP
Reply @ info@bnaielim.org

Shalom Everyone. Once again this year the camp Kitat Konenut New York will be holding our sixth annual 2-week Israeli Counter-Terror Training Camp this summer (2011) at Camp Tel Chai in Upstate NY! Here is the website with photos http://www.camptelchai.webs.com/

Here is just some of the agenda:

For Real Physical Training:

*Extreme Krav maga
*Edged weapons defense
*Non-lethal weapons training
*First aid
*Basic firearms safety
*All military shooting positions
*Shooting under stress
*Advancing on a target (single and team)
*Ballistics
*Exiting a vehicle under fire
*Urban combat training
*wilderness hikes
*Swimming and water exercises
*Airsoft and paintball simulation drills
*Identifying terrorist activity
*Counter-terrorism techniques
*Gun laws
*Coordination with law enforcement, And much, much more!

The camp is co-ed, though sleeping quarters are separate. All food is Kosher and the camp is shomer Shabbat. Those who do not observe Shabbat either may join the group or will have a free day. There is a synagogue at camp and those who pray may do so. Also there will be visting Rabbis at the camp.

There will be two shabbatons with guest speakers, festive food and activities appropriate for the day. The Camp is geared towards responsible American Jews, ages 18-30 who want to learn how to protect their communities. All training is given by highly skilled Israeli Combat Soldiers.

The Dates are Wednesday, August 10th through Sunday, August 21st.

Tuition is $500 all inclusive in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate NY at Camp Tel Chai. For more information or to register for camp check out our website: www.camptelchai.webs.com

 or email us at: mefaked@kitatkonenutnewyork.org

Israelis on the Moon!

By Daniel Freedman
Freed Thinking

If all goes according to plan, by December 2012 a team of three young Israeli scientists will have landed a tiny spacecraft on the moon, explored the lunar surface, and transmitted live video back to earth, thereby scooping up a $20 million prize (the Google Lunar X Prize), revolutionizing space exploration, and making the Jewish State the third nation (after the U.S. and Russia) to land a probe on the moon. And they’re doing it in their spare time.

The three engineers – Yariv Bash (electronics and computers), Kfir Damari (communication systems), and Yonatan Winetraub (satellite systems) all have high-level day jobs in the Israeli science and technology world, and also both teach and study. They all had heard of the Google Lunar X Prize independently, before being introduced by mutual friends who, as Yonatan puts it “thought we were all crazy enough to do it, so we should meet each other.”

By the end of November 2010 they had sketched together a novel plan to win the prize and submitted it to organizers. Only on December 21 (10 days before the December 31 deadline) did they set about raising the $50,000 entry fee. “Like good Israelis we left it to the last minute,” Yonatan laughs.

Since then they’ve recruited around 50 volunteers from across the Israeli science and technology community and have gained support from academic institutions, including the prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science (founded in 1933 by Chaim Weizmann, himself a successful chemist who went on to become Israel’s first president).

They’re operating as a non-profit (“we’re looking for stakeholders,” says Project Coordinator Ronna Rubinstein), and any winnings will be invested in promoting science among Israeli youth. The X Prize’s organizers say their competition is intended to attract “mavericks” who “take new approaches and think creatively about difficult problems, resulting in truly innovative breakthroughs.” They see the moon as a largely untapped resource, and believe that “inexpensive, regular access to the Moon is a critical stepping stone for further exploration.”

Maverick and creative thinkers the Israeli trio appear to be: According to the X Prize organizers, the 29 competing teams will spend between $15 million and $100 million on the project, with the earliest launch not scheduled until 2013. The Israelis aim to spend less than that (around $10 million) and to launch before 2013.

“One of reasons that we’re able to do this,” Kfir (who started programming aged six and wrote his first computer virus aged 11) explains, “is because of our different perspective. Most space missions aim to last many years and so have to be built in a certain way. Ours doesn’t have to last as long. This saves cost.”

Another way the team intends to keep costs down involves utilizing existing technology that just hasn’t previously been linked up for this purpose, rather than spending a new fortune. Naturally the team isn’t releasing specific details of the technology they’re using, but they are confident that they’ve got what they need.

And once they’re on the moon? “The actual robot will be something the size of a coca-cola bottle,” says Yonatan. “Think about it – a cell phone has most of the capabilities necessary for communication and imaging, and to that we need to add a hopper” to move around the moon. “Simple” really. And the impact of this? “Once we do this it will break the glass ceiling,” Yonatan adds, “and show that space exploration doesn’t have to be expensive.”

As to why they got involved? “Three reasons,” say Yonatan,  “Creating national pride, really putting Israel on the map as a start-up nation by doing something only the superpowers have done, and reigniting Israeli interest in science.” And it’s the third – rejuvenating interest among Israeli youth in science – that’s closest to these young scientists’ hearts.

In the 1960s and 1970s, they say, many young Israelis pursued careers in science, in part inspired by the American space program. Today that isn’t the case, and the number of high school seniors majoring in science is constantly declining. “We want to show that science isn’t just about sitting in a lab all day,” says Kfir.

In 1919 French hotelier Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 for the first non-stop flight between New York City and Paris. Eight years later Charles Lindbergh, considered an underdog, won the prize by making the crossing in his “Spirit of St. Louis.” That not only changed the way people saw flying, but how they saw the world.

The X Prize was inspired by the Orteig Prize, and if the “Spirit of Israel” is successful they can certainly count on changing how young Israelis see science and how others see Israel. They may also change how we all see the universe.

Daniel Freedman is the director of strategy and policy analysis at The Soufan Group, a strategic consultancy. His writings can be found at www.dfreedman.org. He writes a fortnightly column for Forbes.com.

Contributed by David Naftaly

Why suddenly Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)?

By Jerome S. Kaufman
Editor, Israel Commentary

In my usual provincial mode, the litmus test for the merit of any politician has always been how good is he for the Jews. How good is he for Israel? Of course, it has always been my oft-proven contention and a given, that if a politician is good for Israel, he is good for the United States of America. So, I don’t worry about that possible complication.

Even more important, as a given, I have never really worried much about who was elected president of the United States or from what party he may have been nominated. Whoever, would be good for the United States of America. He was an American, so why worry. Unfortunately, that given does not apply to the present President, Barack Obama, who is not an American in both the literal and the figurative definition of the term.

(see “Barack Obama – A Terrifying Analysis” Barack Obama

Which brings us back to House Representative Ron Paul. He is an American in every sense of the word. Then why did my opinion of him change? I have always thought of him as some kind of libertarian eccentric, a congenital anti-Semite with Israel-hater as a guaranteed concomitant.

Then I watched and listened to him in the Republican Presidential Candidate’s debate on Fox News, Thursday night May 5, 2011. Never mind that how Congressman Paul plans to run the country with a miniscule-size central government, virtually no taxes and almost all the power to the individual and the State governments, is beyond my understanding. But, what about my litmus test?

It was what he said about Israel that filled my eyes with tears of hope and admiration. Of course, we all know he is against foreign aid as a waste of money that should be spent right here on domestic programs. But, then he stated that this was not directed just against Israel. He accurately informed the audience that the Arabs get at least twice the amount of aid money than the Israelis. So, he was not picking on anyone.

He was asked why he did not feel he was hurting our only real friend in the Middle East – Israel. He said, No, in fact, he was doing Israel a favor. He wanted Israel to get off the American dole, to become self reliant, to shed the mantle of “Banana Republic, to, if they thought it in their sovereign interests, bomb the nuclear facilities in Iran just as when they had done the world a great favor and knocked out the Osarik nuclear facility in Iraq in 1981 with a breath taking example of Israeli courage and chutzpa.

According to Congressman Paul, The Israelis should never have to ask the United States or anyone else permission to do anything that was in their own sovereign interests, especially something crucial to their very survival.

My sentiments exactly. Thank you Congressman Ron Paul.

Jerome S. Kaufman

Yom Hazikaron – Today we commemorate Yom Hazikaron. We remember all the 22,867 Israeli soldiers who lost their lives defending the state of Israel since 1948 and the 2,443 civilians who were murdered in terrorist attacks. Please copy and past this to your mailing list and hopefully we will reach 25,310 people representing all those that gave there lives in order for us to have Israel, the biblical Jewish homeland, today!

And may G-d continue to watch over us.

Keren Malki, Facebook

Oil Moratorium Costing Government Billions

NEWSMAX.COM MAY 1, 2011

The Obama administration’s moratorium on offshore drilling is depriving governments of billions of dollars in royalties, lease bids, and taxes — and the lost revenue will grow significantly if no new drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico are sold this year.

In the wake of the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, the administration issued the moratorium on May 6. It suspended work on 33 wells in various stages of construction, halted new lease sales, and suspended permitting for leases already offered.

As a result, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects a decline of 240,000 barrels a day in oil production in the Gulf this year. “That represents billions of dollars in potential revenue that could help close the federal deficit,” according to Rob Bluey, director of the Center for Media and Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation.

The moratorium was lifted on Oct. 12, but since then oil companies have complained of a “permitorium” — a deliberate slowing of the permitting process. This year could be the first since 1965 in which the federal government did not sell leases in the Gulf.

Oil companies pay the federal government an 18.75 percent royalty on the oil produced. In 2008, the offshore industry paid $8.3 billion in royalties, and another $9.4 billion for bids on new leases. Last year those bids brought in just $979 million.

In 2009, royalties, lease bids and rent payments totaled more than
$6 billion, according to the forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.
“Federal, state and local taxes related to the offshore oil and gas operations in the Gulf totaled $13 billion,” Bluey notes. “That $19 billion pot of money could go a long way toward deficit reduction.”

In addition, opening areas now closed to exploration and production, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, would bring in an estimated $150 billion by 2025.

“At a time when voters are calling on the federal government to balance its budget, revenue from oil companies would be one way of helping out [and] the oil produced would reduce the price of gas at the pump,” Bluey concludes. “The Obama administration should immediately begin to issue new permits for the Gulf of Mexico and explore other untapped domestic resources.”

Why our economy and ability to compete are in the tank

Obama’s team has job, economy and liberty destroyers at every position

Video below article: Analysis of US economic crisis
By Mort Zuckerman, Chairman and editor in chief of US News & World Report and publisher of the New York Daily News

Chief destroyer, Obama aided and abetted by:
Ken Salazar, Kathleen Sebelius, Barney Frank, Carl Levin

By Richard W. Rahn
The Washington Times
April 25, 2011

Which two have done more to improve your life – Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, or Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi? Some people, in their pursuit of profit, benefit their fellow humans by creating new or better goods and services, and then by employing others. We call such people entrepreneurs and productive workers. Others are parasites who suck the blood and energy away from the productive. Such people are most often found in government.

Perhaps the most vivid description of what happens to a society where the parasites become so numerous and powerful that they destroy their productive hosts is Ayn Rand’s classic novel “Atlas Shrugged.” The just-released movie version is an entertaining, tension-filled struggle between the productive and the parasites who ally themselves with the envious and evil. Go see it.

When wages are rising faster than inflation (i.e., real wages), and the number of adults, as a percentage of the population at work, is rising, times are good; but when real wages fall, misery results.

For the past several months, real wages have been falling, and despite the small improvement in the unemployment rate, the adult population/worker ratio continues to fall. Declines in prosperity most often are a result of bad policies rather than natural forces, with the rare exception of an event like the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Bad policies come about from the actions of specific people – individuals in Congress and government agencies – not the Congress or the administration as a whole. Washington is filled with people who are more destructive than constructive. It is useful to name some of the most destructive people in the hope that they will either reform or leave.

One of Washington’s most aggressive destroyers of jobs has been Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who is a former head of the House Financial Services Committee and principal author of the now-notorious Dodd-Frank Act. He was one of main protectors and enablers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they went on their ruinous, subprime mortgage buying binge.

Peter Wallison, former general counsel of the U.S. Treasury and member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, has produced a lengthy report showing how the actions of Fannie and Freddie were the most important causes of the financial crisis. If Mr. Frank and his Senate counterpart, disgraced former Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, had acted responsibly, millions of Americans might not have lost their jobs and homes over the past few years.

Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar, a former senator, has done more to destroy and curtail American oil, gas and coal production than any other single human. Soon after taking office, he prohibited oil and gas production in huge areas of the American West. He has held up the permitting of both offshore and onshore oil production well beyond what was necessary to ensure safety. He has ignored sound science and the rule of law. His actions, even according to Democrat senators and others, have cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was caught in a half-trillion-dollar lie last month, when, before a House Committee, she was finally forced to admit that the administration had been double-counting Medicare savings as critics had been claiming. If Ms. Sebelius and others in the administration had told the truth, Obamacare would never have passed. The costs associated with this piece of legislation, not even considering the costs of all of the legal challenges, will result in millions of job losses and a loss of personal and economic freedom – unless the Supreme Court upholds the legal challenges.

President Obama claimed last week in his budget speech that hundreds of billions of dollars can be saved in the Medicare program by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. If that is true, why has he tolerated Ms. Sebelius’ mismanagement?

Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, has done much to drive foreign investment and jobs out of America. He has done this by leading a headline-grabbing, but economically illiterate, crusade against legal tax avoiders, tax evaders and low-tax jurisdictions.

His destructive “solution” has been to put costly and punitive restrictions on domestic and foreign financial institutions. These restrictions have caused some foreign financial institutions to cease investing in the United States and to refuse opening accounts for Americans. It has been explained to Mr. Levin that his previous and newly proposed legislation is driving upwards of $1 trillion of foreign investment out of the country, which will cause Treasury to lose, in the real world, many times the tax revenue Mr. Levin and his gang of know-nothings claim.

But Mr. Levin carries on, leaving America with far less foreign investment and the jobs it would create – all in a selfish attempt to curry favor with the witless media.

Finally, we have the job-destroyer-in-chief, Mr. Obama. Even though the empirical evidence shows that both job creation and liberty increase with reductions in the size of government and tax rates, the president has done just the opposite.

Last week, without offering an alternative budget plan of his own, the president had the unmitigated gall to attack House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan, who has a serious plan to deal with the budget crisis. However, Mr. Obama did call for a big tax increase on those who create jobs. If that happens, prepare for double-digit unemployment.

Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and Chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.

Click to view the Mort Zuckerman video.

And watch as interviewer desperately tries to put words in Mort’s mouth. We must have been watching MSNBC or CNN or TBS or any number of the other of the Left wing press. I am sure they were sorry that asked him for his point of view. jsk

Yom HaShoa. Just because they were Jews? Impossible, Really?

Redacted from multiple internet sources.

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Please see Holocaust Documentary video at the end of this article

Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, occurs on the 27th of the Hebrew month of Nissan. This year, on the English calendar, it occurs Monday, May 2, 2011.

Shoah, which means catastrophe or utter destruction in Hebrew, refers to the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during World War II. This is a memorial day for those who died in the Shoah.

The Shoah (also known as the Holocaust, from a Greek word meaning “sacrifice by fire,”) was initiated by the members of the German National Socialist (Nazi) Party, which seized power in Germany in 1933, with Adolph Hitler as chancellor. The Nazis believed in a doctrine of racial superiority, centering around the idea that people of Northern European descent were somehow better than members of all other races – especially the Jews, who were “unworthy of life.”

After taking power, the German Nazis gradually restricted the rights of German Jewish citizens and encouraged their followers to commit acts of violence and destruction against Jews and their property. During World War II (1939-1945), the Nazis implemented their “Final Solution,” a plan to concentrate Jews in camps and annihilate all European Jews. Jews were first crammed together in ghettoes and slave-labor camps, where disease, brutality, and malnutrition ran rampant.

Eventually, they were sent to death camps, where millions were murdered in special facilities designed to kill a tremendous number of people over a brief period of time. In addition to the six million Jews who died – two-thirds of the European Jewish population – the “willing executioners” (Please read Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen) of almost all of the other major countries of Europe (Poles, Austrians, Vichy French, Hungarians, Romanians, Estonians, Greeks, Latvians, Lithuanians, etc.) enthusiastically cooperated with the German Nazis killing millions of their own Jewish population that had live peacefully among them for centuries.

Also deliberately and systematically killed by the Nazi Germans and their “willing executioners” were Gypsies, Slavs, political and religious dissidents, the handicapped, gays and lesbians and hundreds of thousands of others.

Today, many Jewish communities commemorate Yom HaShoah by lighting yellow candles in order to keep the memories of the victims alive, declaring “Never Again” – which of course, remains to be seen – depending upon whether or not “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” are once again, ready to enlist.

Maniacs like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran proudly declares that he plans to eliminate Israel which now contains approximately 1/3 of the world’s remaining Jews. Who is going to stop him? Will the Western so-called civilized nations stop them? Will the UN stop them? Will the European Union stop them? Will the United States stop them? Will these august bodies give the Israelis full license to defend their own people in every way possible? Will the Israeli government have the courage to do exactly that? And most important, will the almighty
G-d see that this monstrous travesty against humanity does not indeed, happen again.

Video on the Shoah

Netanyahu’s response after PA/Hamas ugly embrace?

MK Danny Dayan to Netanyahu: “Admit Oslo Is Dead”

By Israel International News Service (Arutz Sheva) staff
April 29, 2011

Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to cancel his upcoming Bar-Ilan II speech and annex Area C in Judea and Samaria. “The prime minister must cancel Bar-Ilan II and say one thing,” Dayan said. “That Bar-Ilan I is off the table – a Palestinian state will not arise.”

Bar Ilan I is a reference to a speech given by Netanyahu at Bar Ilan University in June 2009 which he laid out his criteria for the creation of a PA state. Among those criteria were the exclusion and destruction of Hamas, defensible borders for Israel, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and Jerusalem as Israel’s united capital.

On Wednesday PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas agreed to admit Hamas to the PA, and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the PA would begin moving unilaterally to make eastern Jerusalem its capital.

Netanyahu’s upcoming speech at Bar Ilan, dubbed Bar Ilan II by pundits, was expected to be an updated installment of his original Bar Ilan speech for the Israeli public before Netanyahu travels to the U.S. where he will address Congress.

But Israeli politicians and pundits alike have been left guessing about the content of his Bar Ilan II speech as it comes after two years of stalled talks and the PA decision to abrogate the Oslo Accords and seek a unilateral declaration of PA statehood by the United Nations in September.

Dayan says he hopes Netanyahu will seize the maximum benefit from new developments. “There are now two crises,” Dayan said. “The PA has chosen to cancel all agreements with Israel and go to the U.N. and they also decided to admit Hamas to their ranks. Every crisis is also an opportunity. The prime minister should say he no longer consents to a PA state, that we are released from Oslo, and move to fulfull Zionist dreams.”

Dayan believes the annexation of Area C is now a required step. “It’s not enough for Israel say she no longer consents to a Palestinian state, but it’s time to exert Israeli sovereignty and annex the open spaces and Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. It is time we become citizens with equal rights like citizens in any other place in the country. The Palestinians launched a political war against us, but it’s not strong enough in real terms to win.”

Dayan called on politicians to restore the confidence and sense of security of Israelis in Judea and Samaria, who he says were often abandoned to the PA police under Oslo. “I’m having a lot of meetings with Central Command and the commander in Judea and Samaria,” Dayan said. “And in meeting with them I begin with a warning about security cooperation with PA security forces. The notion is completely surreal and the proof is what we saw happen at Joseph’s Tomb.”

Dayan argued that despite mistakes made since the Oslo Accords were signed, the Israeli army is a strong army and can solve the problems that now exist. “Of course we made mistakes and will pay them a price,” Dayan said philosophically. “We were wrong. But we should not scare ourselves. We should now restore confidence. If Hamas will take over the cities of Judea and Samaria, we must make it clear we will go back to them – Hevron, Shechem, and Ramallah – and return them to Israeli control.”

“We need to pressure Netanyahu to use the situation to Israel’s advantage… to declare the Oslo process, which was the biggest strategic mistake Israel ever made, dead. We’ve paid with over 1,000 dead already. Withdraw immediately the government’s assent for a PA state. The army needs to announce all security cooperation agreements are off and take full responsibility for all Israeli citizens’ security today, not tomorrow.”

“This is the responsibility of political leadership,” Dayan said. “The prime minister is the one who must take the decision. He should show he is committed. It is time to return to Zionist activism and leave the dark days of Oslo behind us.”

Joseph’s Tomb – Let’s put an end to this disgrace

Relinquishing Joseph’s Tomb was supposed to be temporary

By Michael Freund
The Jerusalem Post, April 28, 2011

Earlier this week, an incident occurred that should have provoked outrage across the civilized world. In an act of wanton slaughter, Palestinian policemen opened fire at a convoy of Jewish worshipers near Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus on Sunday. The men had just recited morning prayers at the Jewish holy site in honor of Pessah, and were heading home to prepare for the end of the festival. But they never made it.

At a checkpoint near the tomb, our ostensible peace partners killed Ben-Yosef Livnat, 25, and wounded four other Israelis, one of them critically. Livnat, a nephew of Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat, left a wife and four young children. Even as the Israeli vehicles sought to escape, the Palestinian policemen reportedly continued to fire on them.

Although the IDF initially refrained from labeling the episode an “attack,” it’s clear that that is precisely what it was. And by Sunday evening, both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were calling the shooting an act of “murder.”

Palestinian officials were quick to point out that the Israeli worshipers had failed to coordinate their visit in advance – as though that somehow justified shooting at them. But as Barak rightly noted: “No problem of coordination can justify an incident like this and the shooting of innocent people.”

Even though the identity of the perpetrators is known, none have been detained as of this writing. And given the Palestinian Authority’s track record in punishing those who attack Israelis, there is no reason to suspect that the policemen in question will be made to pay for their crime.

Needless to say, barely a peep was heard from the international community over this brazen assault on the fundamental right of Jews to worship freely. Just imagine what the reaction would have been had Palestinian worshipers leaving a mosque been attacked by Israeli policemen.. We all know how that would have gone down. But the hypocrisy on display should hardly come as a surprise. After all, the Palestinians have been targeting Joseph’s Tomb for years with impunity.

Who can forget October 7, 2000, when Palestinian policemen and Fatah terrorists launched a coordinated assault on the Israeli soldiers guarding the site? After then-prime minister Barak ordered the army to withdraw, a Palestinian mob went on a rampage. Brandishing sledge-hammers and other tools of tolerance, they demolished the tomb – one of the most sacred sites of the Jewish people. In subsequent years, after the structure was repaired, Palestinian vandals repeatedly ransacked and desecrated it.

The Palestinian conduct vis-à-vis the tomb is a clear violation of signed commitments. The Oslo II Accords, signed on September 28, 1995, spelled out specific arrangements concerning Joseph’s Tomb in Article V(2b) of Annex I, which were designed “to ensure free, unimpeded and secure access” to the site.

So much for relying on the Palestinians to keep their word.

The murder of Ben-Yosef Livnat cannot be allowed to pass without a forceful Israeli response. It is simply intolerable that an Israeli can be gunned down in cold blood by a Palestinian policeman.To begin with, Israel should arrest the gunmen who carried out this attack and bring them to trial before an Israeli court. There cannot and must not be immunity for those who murder Israeli citizens.

Moreover, it is time to correct the error made nearly 11 years ago, when Israel forsook this holy place. After the IDF withdrew, the Israeli public was assured that the step was not permanent, but merely a tactical move dictated by the situation on the ground. Just hours after the retreat, the website of Yediot Aharonot reported: “Israel pulls out of Joseph’s Tomb – ‘Temporarily.'” But here we are, more than a decade later, and the tomb still remains “temporarily” abandoned by the Jewish state, in what has become a mark of shame for our nation.

Israel should annex the site, forever restoring it to our exclusive control. And measures should be taken to ensure that Jews can visit safely whenever they wish. As of now, Israelis are allowed to visit once or twice a month, under cover of darkness, like thieves in the night. No nation with even a modicum of dignity would allow such a situation to persist at the tomb of one of its founding fathers.

So let’s put an end to this disgrace. Doing so will send a strong message to our foes, underlining once and for all that the Jewish people will neither cower nor flee. It is time to raise the Israeli flag over Joseph’s Tomb and reclaim this site, and with it, our self-respect as well.

The West’s Misguided Victory in Kosovo

Serbia and Israel – Two Nations under Islamic Duress

Redacted from article by Victor Sharpe

See video at end of article:

James Jatras: Muslim Extermination Of Kosovo Christians

The Battle of Kosovo, 1389, on the “Field of Blackbirds.”
 
In the 14th century, the Byzantine Empire began to crumble, finally falling to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. But in 1389, the Ottoman Turkish sultan, Murad 1, began to lead his forces against the armies of the Serbian prince Lazar. The Serbian prince had already been active in resisting increasing Muslim raids against Christian lands in the Balkans and had called his barons, knights and warriors together to ask them if they should fight or become slaves, dhimmis, to the Muslims. The decision was made to fight although their forces would number some 35,000 against a Turkish Muslim host of 100,000. But better to fight than to be enslaved.
 
The place chosen to make a stand against the Muslim Turks was at Kosovo Polje (the Field of Blackbirds) in Kosovo — the heartland of the Serbian nation. It was in June, 1389, on St. Vitus Day (Vidovdan), that the rival forces met.  

The battle began at first light with Serbian successes and the great Serbian hero, Milos Obilic, killed the Turkish Muslim sultan, Murad. For a while the Turks were in disarray but they managed to recover and by their sheer weight of numbers ground down and defeated the Serbian army.


It was not a mere military defeat, but the end of Serbian independence and the beginning of 500 years of Christian suffering under the Muslim yoke. But worse still, the Serbian heartland of Kosovo was lost. For the Serbian people, the blood shed at the Battle of Kosovo in the Field of Blackbirds marks Kosovo as eternally Serbian
.
 

Another year in history that haunts the memory of a different people, who also suffered the loss of their eternal capital city, is the year 70 AD. It was in that terrible year that the Roman general, Titus, finally came with overwhelming force against the Jewish capital city, Jerusalem. Jerusalem was finally destroyed after a frightful siege in which hundreds of thousands died of disease and hunger.

Centuries pass but history has an almost supernatural way of repeating itself. Fast forward to the twentieth and twenty first centuries and both Serbia and the Jewish homeland are linked by eerie circumstances. Both are falsely demonized in the mainstream press as aggressors when, in fact, they are the victims, and both are under relentless aggression from Islam.

But let us consider the new gold of our times and how it shapes politics and war: Oil, which greases the machinery of geo-politics and lubricates the revenge and envy that nation states harbor towards each other.
 
The need for oil makes and destroys states and peoples and too often befouls humanity.

It is still a necessary evil, but much of this black gold happens by fate to lie under the sands of the Arab Middle East and the Islamic Republic of Iran and thus morphs into a terrible weapon wielded by Arab despots and Islamo-fascist fanatics.
 


The late 20th century’s insane rush to create Kosovo as yet another Muslim autonomous region in the heart of the Balkans, was a testament to the curse of oil. Ever ready to enrich their economies, the Europeans and, sadly, the Clinton Administration combined to appease and placate the Arab and Muslim kings, emirs, imams and assorted dictators. And it was in Europe that Arab oil drove the creation of a Muslim statelet, Kosovo, that is rapidly becoming a radical Islamist Balkan beachhead, filled with jihadists from around the Islamic world, ready to threaten what is left of Christian Europe. In time it will inevitably become a springboard for terror into both the United States and Russia.
 


And we must realize that Israel, too, is threatened by the same evil created by Arab oil. The Arabs who call themselves Palestinians demand Judaism’s eternal holy city of Jerusalem and the Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria (known by the erroneous Arab name, the West Bank). In this, the baleful influence of President Barack Hussein Obama looms large, just as the Serbian people’s heartland of Kosovo was stolen from them with the connivance and brute force of President Clinton and his diplomats, Richard Holbrooke and Madeleine Albright.
 


Under relentless U.S State Department pressure, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Netanyahu is enduring the same attempt at the dismemberment of its biblical, ancestral, aboriginal, spiritual and physical Jewish heartland as the brave and ill served Serbian people suffered with the loss of their beloved Kosovo.
 


The lesson for Israel is that foreign powers have conspired to strip the expendable Serbs of their ancestral heartland and give it to the Muslims. These same western powers believe that by placating and ingratiating themselves with the oil rich Arab and Muslim world they enrich their own economies.

Caroline Glick, wrote in the Feb 23, 2008 Jerusalem Post: 



 “… the lessons of Kosovo are clear. Not only should Israel join Russia, Canada, China, Spain, Romania and many others in refusing to recognize Kosovo. It should also state that as a consequence of Kosovo’s independence, Israel rejects the deployment of any international forces to Gaza or Judea and Samaria, and refuses to cede its legal right to sovereignty in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem to international arbitration.”…
 

 

 
FamilySecurityMatters.org
Contributing Editor Victor Shar
pe
 

 

WHY OBAMACARE IS WRONG FOR AMERICA

Book review by Sally Pipes
The Washington Times, April 18, 2011

ObamaCare video at end of review, along with reader comment.

By Grace-Marie Turner, James P. Capretta, Thomas P. Miller and Robert E. Moffit, Broadside Books, $14.99, 272 pages

HOW THE NEW HEALTH CARE LAW DRIVES UP COSTS, PUTS GOVERNMENT IN CHARGE OF YOUR DECISIONS, AND THREATENS YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

“ObamaCare is wrong for families, wrong for patients, wrong for business, and wrong for our children’s futures.” That’s the thesis, laid out on the first page of the must-read “Why ObamaCare is Wrong for America,” a powerful book co-written by four battle-tested veterans of Washington’s health policy battles.

There is no doubt that those concerned with less government involvement in our health care system lost the 2009 and 2010 health care battle, a discouraging episode in which facts seemed not to matter and wishful thinking and power politics prevailed. Yet this is not a bitter tale, and there are no sour grapes. It’s a positive book driven by the insight that nothing is ever final in politics and just as President Obama and his band of congressional Democrats could run roughshod over public opinion and force the unpopular plan through a compliant Congress, so too can committed individuals, armed with facts and logic, reverse this disastrous piece of legislation – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

It won’t be easy, but then nothing worthwhile ever is. This book serves as a handbook for dismantling Obamacare and reforming American health care in a manner consistent with individual liberty and the U.S. Constitution. Upfront, the authors promise to detail what the “2,801 pages of legislation” will mean for “families, young adults, senior citizens, people with health problems, physicians and other medical professionals, small business owners and entrepreneurs, employers and employees, taxpayers, and citizens.”

In short, the authors provide a comprehensive examination of the biggest piece of social legislation since the Great Society. And it delivers.The book begins by reminding readers of the horror of Obamacare and how it came to be the law of the land. The numbers are staggering. The law “creates an estimated 159 new agencies, boards, commissions and government offices.”
It replays the deception.

Candidate Obama promised a plan that would reduce costs for average Americans by $2,500. His plan will actually increase costs by $2,100. Candidate Obama opposed both the individual mandate and new taxes on health benefits. His plan is based on an individual mandate and relies on taxes not only on health plans but on all Americans.

The book chronicles the smoke and mirrors and Beltway bookkeeping. Mr. Obama’s Democrats could plausibly balance the books over the first decade only by combining 10 years of taxes with just six years of benefits. The plan eliminates $575 billion in Medicare spending but, amazingly, double-counts the revenue as both available for funding subsidies for the Obama plan and as a major expansion of Medicaid. Most startling, it pegs the total cost of the first 10 years of the program at $2.3 trillion.

Then the book gets deep, making good on its promises in the early pages. The authors devote individual chapters to what Obamacare will mean for families and young adults, seniors, vulnerable Americans, you and your doctor, taxpayers, and you and your constitutional rights. In the chapter on young families, the authors detail how the shift of power and control to Washington already has destroyed markets, such as child-only policies, and how it soon will increase costs.

For seniors, the news is even worse, as Medicare became a chief funding source for the government expansion. “In short,” the authors write, “ObamaCare is going to reduce your choices, impair your access to care, and increase your costs.” For doctors, the net effect of the law, which produced more than 4,100 pages of new regulations in its first six months, will be a deluge of “red tape and bureaucracy.”

The book finishes as strong as it starts. The final two chapters are devoted to laying out a positive path to reform and guiding activists and concerned Americans on how to dismantle the current law. At the end of the day, there is little new under the sun.

The choice is – and always has been – between policies that reward politicians while building bureaucracy and those that respect individuals and harness the power of free markets and entrepreneurs. The authors outline a program they call a defined-contribution approach to health care, tipping their hats to the popular and liberating 401(k) retirement plans.

Their preferred program consists of meaningful tax credits that level the playing field between employer-funded and individually purchased health insurance, tort reform, high-risk pools for the uninsurable, and real reform for Medicaid and Medicare. It doesn’t promise universal insurance coverage. This too is an improvement over Obamacare, which promised universal coverage but doesn’t produce it.

  • By 2019, 23 million Americans will still be uninsured under Obamacare, unless it is repealed and replaced.
  • One of the book’s great contributions is its deft weaving of the important principles at stake and the details of how the mammoth law shifts our body politic in the wrong direction. “The health law reflects an ideology that moves power and control away from individuals and toward government and agents,” the authors write. In so doing, they make an important move in shifting the momentum back to individuals.

    Sally C. Pipes is president and health care studies fellow at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is “The Truth About Obamacare” (Regnery, 2010).
    P.S. She is not a politician

    An astute reader just presented the concern that because the name of the web page is Israel Commentary, we should not be commenting on US domestic politics because it gives the impression that the state of Israel is somehow involved, which, of course, it is not. Israel is always extremely careful to stay out of American politics and I am sorry to generate the opposite impression. Perhaps I have to print a disclaimer for Israel every time I do present domestic issues? That’s probably what I will have to do because this web site is definitely involved with many issues that have nothing to do with Israel. Please accept my apologies for the understandable misconception now and in the future.

    Jerome S. Kaufman

    It’s the women, stupid

    Video following: Women’s Rights in Bangladesh

    By Kathleen Parker
    The Washington Post
    April 4, 2010

    NEW YORK — Whether the topic is Libya’s rebels or Afghanistan’s “reconciliation” with the Taliban, the pivotal question is, or should be: What about the women?

    During my brief tenure as a CNN anchor, I insistently raised this question and was consistently disappointed by the answer, which more or less, went like this: “Yes, well, the women. Too bad about the women. They’ll suffer.”

    Women, and by extension children, are what too many have come to accept as “collateral damage” in theaters of war. We hate it, of course, but what can one do? It isn’t in our strategic interest to save the women and children of the world. Or, as an anonymous senior White House official recently told The Washington Post: “Gender issues are going to have to take a back seat to other priorities. There’s no way we can be successful if we maintain every special interest and pet project. All those pet rocks in our rucksack were taking us down.”

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, no stranger to the importance of advancing women’s rights, promptly refuted the comment. Even so, the anonymous spokesman’s opinion, though inartfully expressed, is hardly isolated. But what if this is a false premise? What if saving women from cultures that treat them as chattel was in our strategic and not just moral interest? What if helping women become equal members of a society was the most reliable route to our own security?

    One needn’t be a visionary to accept this simple tenet as not only probable but inescapably true. Without exception, every nation that oppresses women is a failed and, therefore, dangerous nation. This is not the stuff of stunning revelation, but it is often overlooked or minimized in importance. More typically pressing are armies and artillery. The real fight is in the trenches where men historically have clashed to resolve their differences.

    Ironically perhaps to those still waiting for the oceans to recede and the planet to heal, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush always understood the necessity of including women in the peace equation. Hence, the historic U.S.- Afghan Women’s Council established in 2002 by Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

    At a conference last week held by the former first couple — “Building Afghanistan’s Future: Promoting Women’s Freedom and Advancing Their Economic Opportunity” — the Bushes reiterated their commitment to the women of Afghanistan and their belief that protecting women should be at the core of our foreign policy.

    “We liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban, because of providing a safe haven for al-Qaida,” George Bush told Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren. “I believed then and believe now we have an obligation to help this young democracy in Afghanistan survive — and thrive. And one of the best and most effective ways to do so is to empower women.”

    Such a simple concept – empowering women. Except that in a country where men feel free to throw acid in the faces of little girls trying to attend school, it is not so simple. In a nation where child marriage and “honor killings” are still accepted custom, it is not so easy. No one underestimates the challenges of helping women become equal participants in a civil society only recently concocted. But allowing progress to recede shouldn’t be an option.

    Recent negotiations between the Karzai government and the Taliban, in which women’s rights could be diluted, should have all of us worried. It is too bad, meanwhile, that we are restricted in these discussions by terminology that rings of cliché. “Women’s rights” sounds too much like debates about abortion and subsidized day care. What we’re really talking about is basic human rights. The freedom to work, to make decisions about one’s life, to seek an education and to be safe to walk on the streets without a male escort. To be fully human, in other words.

    Anything less is terrorism by any other name. The insanity that sends jihadists to rain hell on civilized nations is the same that stones women to death for failing to comport to primitive norms of behavior. As Clinton wrote in Time magazine in 2001, “The mistreatment of women in Afghanistan was like an early warning signal of the kind of terrorism that culminated in the attacks of September 11.”

    Women are not collateral damage in the fight for security. They are not pet rocks in a rucksack, nor are they sidebars to the main story. They are the story — and should be the core of our foreign policy strategy in Afghanistan as elsewhere.

    Kathleen Parker at kathleenparker@washpost.com.

    What Stunted Islam’s Growth?

    The Closing of the Muslim Mind
    BY Robert R. Reilly

    Video bottom of page, Muslims take over Madison Ave, NYC, NY USA

    Redacted from a much more detailed book review
    BY DAVID AIKMAN
    Weekly Standard April 11, 2011

    What happened to Islamic culture?

    Why did a civilization that may have produced more books in Muslim Spain alone in the ninth century than existed in the entirety of the rest of Europe subside into a civilizational torpor that is the wonder even of the U.N.? Why do countries of the Arab world always come close to the bottom of a global list that measures things like literacy or schooling for women? Why, in Freedom House’s annual compilation of countries that are “free,” is there not a single Arab country listed?

    Why, in 2006 to take a recent example, were there more foreign books translated in one European country, Spain, than were translated in the entire foregoing millennium in the entire Muslim world?

    These are hard questions, and they call out for a rational, unemotional answer. Robert R. Reilly comes closer to providing a persuasive explanation than any other account I have seen. As Reilly succinctly shows, Islamic civilization, not just in the Arab world but later in Anatolia, in the Indian subcontinent, and then throughout Southeast Asia, threw out of the intellectual window the principles of rational inquiry that the Greeks had first introduced to the West half a millennium before Christ.

    The collective Muslim ulema—theological leaders—decided that it would be too “dangerous” to allow free inquiry—not just of the Koran itself but of the daily reality before our eyes.

    The reason, as Reilly makes clear, was a theological controversy within Islam. Formalized Islamic doctrine holds that the Koran existed from all eternity with Allah, and that it was only when the Angel Gabriel revealed its contents to Muhammad that the world was able to hear, through the Koran, what Allah was saying.

    The Asharites (an early Muslim think tank) would have constituted a serious blockage to Islam’s philosophical development, but even they were topped by a Muslim theologian who nailed down the hatch on the use of reason even more tightly than the Asharites. He was Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111), one of Islam’s most influential thinkers. Al-Ghazali vehemently rejected Plato and Aristotle in The Incoherence of the Philosophers and insisted that, in nature, there was no such thing as cause and effect. To question this, subsequent Islamic jurists averred, was to commit blasphemy by implying that there were limits on Allah’s power and authority.

    One tragic consequence of this mode of thinking was the complete withering on the vine within Islam of the spirit of scientific inquiry. Reilly quotes a prominent Pakistani scientist, Pervez Hoodbhoy, on this subject:

    Science in the Islamic world essentially collapsed. No major invention or discovery has emerged from the Muslim world for over seven centuries now. That arrested scientific development is one important element—although by no means the only one—that contributes to the present marginalization of Muslims and a growing sense of injustice and victimhood.

    The absence within Islam of any ontological basis for belief in the equality of human beings is what led to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, signed in the Egyptian capital by 45 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 1990. The U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that such rights apply to the entire human race, without exception. The Cairo declaration added the chilling stipulation that all rights mentioned in the Universal Declaration were subject to Islamic sharia: In other words, they were null and void.

    Islamism, or the transformation of the Islamic faith into a political ideology, is the end result of the refusal to apply reason to either scientific or political problems.

    David Aikman is the author, most recently, of The Mirage of Peace: Understanding the Never-Ending Conflict in the Middle East.

     

    Congressman Peter King vs. United States Islamists!

    By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.

    Video at end of article, please view,
    Wake up America
    By Pat Condell

    The Washington Times

    It is not every day that Congress breaks a major taboo and, in so doing, performs a real service to the nation. Thursday, however, was one such day when Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, demonstrated impressive leadership in conducting a four-hour hearing on “extremism” in the American Muslim community.
    For his efforts, the Homeland Security Committee’s chairman was subjected to tremendous personal attacks and partisan sniping – the wages of taboo-busting.

    While those responsible for inflicting such slanderous criticism claim, in the words of one group, to have “defeat[ed] a major threat of Islamophobia,” the real story is that Mr. King began a conversation about an issue that has long been deemed politically untouchable. He also established that there is, indeed, a problem of “extremism” within the American Muslim community.

    One manifestation of that problem was the determined effort made by the so-called “leadership” of the Muslim population in this country, not only to impugn the chairman and several of his witnesses but to suppress these hearings altogether. For example, groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) lined up 55 House Democrats to insist that Mr. King “reconsider the scope of these hearings and instead examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist beliefs, rather than unfairly focusing on just one religious group.”

    One of the reasons for this demand became clear as witnesses shed light on the true nature of such self-appointed Muslim leaders: They do not speak for American Muslims and are either directly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood – an organization whose mission is to “destroy Western civilization from within” – or sympathetic to its goal of bringing Shariah to the United States.

    Relatives of two young men who were recruited, indoctrinated and sent to engage in jihad provided frightening insights into the ways in which Muslim organizations, mosques, cultural centers and Islamic societies stealthily advance this objective. One means is via dawa – the proselytization of the politico-military-legal doctrine of Shariah.

    Particularly chilling was the account of a Somali-American living in Minnesota by the name of Abdirizak Bihi. His nephew, Burhan Hassan, was among those killed while fighting on behalf of the Islamist terrorist group al-Shabab in Somalia. He relayed how his family was warned by community “leaders” not to go to the authorities for help lest they wind up in Guantanamo Bay or face “eternal fire and hell.”

    Was this an isolated incident? Hardly. At least since the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, prominent Muslim American organizations have encouraged their co-religionists not to cooperate with law enforcement. Among the most recent examples was a message on a CAIR website calling on its members to “Build a wall of resistance. Don’t talk to the FBI.”

    Of course, this narrative contrasts sharply with that promoted by the Muslim Public Affairs Council and its ilk, who take credit for successfully inseminating into the U.S. media the notion that they are actively “engaging” with law enforcement. Notably, MPAC takes credit for getting Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca called to testify at the King hearing for the purpose of attesting to their good citizenship.

    Unfortunately for both the officer sporting a uniform with five stars and his Islamist friends, freshman Rep. Chip Cravaak, Minnesota Republican, asked whether the sheriff was aware of CAIR’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood’s franchise in Palestine, known as Hamas. The sheriff professed to know nothing of those associations. When Mr. Cravaak pointed out that the Department of Justice has demonstrated in federal court that such ties do exist, Sheriff Baca demurred and simply said that if there is that evidence, then such individuals and organizations ought to be prosecuted.

    Well, no kidding. They certainly should be prosecuted. And here is a question that future hearings of the Homeland Security Committee should address: Why hasn’t CAIR been prosecuted for being tied to Hamas, for working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood and, specifically, for fostering the efforts to bring Shariah to America?

    After all, Shariah is a seditious ideology and totalitarian program explicitly designed to hollow out – and ultimately destroy – representative government and the civil liberties that are enshrined in our Constitution. There is every reason for such a prosecution to go forward, and we need to know why has not it happened to date.

    There was one other evident reason why the Muslim Brotherhood’s front groups were so determined to shut down the King hearing and excoriate the chairman for having as witnesses anybody other than its hand-picked candidates – the blubbering first-Muslim-in-Congress Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, and the clueless Sheriff Baca. Rep. King helped credential Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a former naval officer and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, as a credible and inspiring voice for pro-American Muslims and Islamic reform.

    We owe Mr. King a debt of gratitude for defying those who would have shut him up and shut his hearings down. In so doing, he has laid bare important truths about the threat posed by Shariah and its adherents, empowered those such as Dr. Jasser who are courageously standing up against it, and broken a taboo in a way that cries out for many more hearings on these subjects by his committee and others.

    Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9 p.m. on WRC-AM (1260).

    Now please watch, Wake up America by Pat Condell