Friday, October 31, 2008
After trying all kinds of arguments--threats and sanctions were ineffective--I finally succeeded in finding a way to get her to go to school--and if it worked on her, I think it will work on Ahmadinejad.
I suggest we try the following:
We contact Ahmadinejad and tell him in no uncertain terms that if he does not dismantle the nuclear reactors-
We will assemble the same team that we used in Syria
We will drop them in Tehran
They will come directly to his house
And take away his Nintendo DS.
That is why we need McCain--he could pull this off.
Obama--he would just distribute Nintendos 'without preconditions' to all of Iran.
Postscript: I just got a phone call from the school. My daughter is complaining of a stomach ache and I have to go in and pick her up.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Only a few days ahead of the American presidential election, Iranian parliamentary speaker 'Ali Larijani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah 'Ali Khamanai have launched harsh verbal attacks against the United States.At HotAir, Ed Morrissey discusses the legal implications of the Iranian threat:
Referring to the US army's attacks in Pakistan and Syria, Larijani said they would not be answered with diplomatic protests.
"The US method and conduct, expressed by this aggression, will only be stopped by a clear-cut and unexpected response, whose grounds were set by the martyr Hussein Fahmida," Larijani said during a parliamentary session on Wednesday.
Fahmida was 13 when he detonated an explosive device he carried on him, destroying an Iraqi tank during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.
"America should be aware not to put its huge body on top of the suicide bombers' explosive devices," Larijani said.
The threat to use suicide bombers marks a cassus belli, if the US wanted one as a pretext for strikes. Openly threatening attack on a non-belligerent nation gives that country a right to defend itself. Israel didn’t take the bait with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s genocidal lunacy over the last two years, and it would be madness to attack Iran now anyway.Of course, Iran will argue that after attacking Pakistan and Syria, the US is not non-belligerent and Iran is merely responding with a warning. Just try discussing the right of the US to defend its troops in Iraq before the UN.
In any case, though Morrissey is not suggesting military action--
that doesn’t diminish the seriousness of an Iranian leader standing in its parliament and endorsing terrorism as a state policy. That’s exactly what Larijani did in this statement today, and the US should respond by placing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on the list of terrorist organizations in order to freeze its funds. The Kyl-Lieberman bill would have done that last year, but it was opposed by Barack Obama and most of the other Democrats in the Senate. Larijani’s threat is an open declaration of Iran as a terrorist state, and a lack of response would encourage others to follow suit.There's Obama's name again. So, how does this latest episode affect his plans to meet personally with Ahmadinejad? It doesn't look good:
On the same day, Khamanai said the differences between Iran and the US were far beyond differences of opinion.Maybe Obama could start with Venezuela until Iran cools down...
"The Iranian people hate the US… [because of] the various plots the US government has hatched against Iran and the Iranian nation for the past five decades," Khamanai said.
Who says Jews are Smart?
by Jonathan Rosenblum
October 29, 2008
YES, POGO, THE JEWS ARE THE STUPIDEST PEOPLE
Arab-Americans overwhelmingly support Senator Barack Obama for president. So do Jewish-Americans. One of these two groups either does not care much about the Arab-Israeli conflict and/or is stupid. My money is on the Jews.
American Jews care less and less about Israel. Over 50% of non-Orthodox Jews under 35 say they would not view the destruction of the State of Israel as a personal tragedy. Israel is not a popular cause on college campuses. Many Jewish students struggle against being identified with Israel, lest it complicate their social lives. In the under 35 cohort, only 54% profess to be comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.For more articles by Jonathan Rosenblum check out Jewish Media Resources.
Other Jews who still find it uncomfortable to disavow concern with Israel have convinced nevertheless themselves that it is in Israel's best interests to be forced back to the 1949 armistice lines. A talkback to a recent Jerusalem Post piece of mine nicely captures the mindset.
Nathan Berkowicz writes: "What do you expect us Jews to do, hold the Palestinians hostage forever? Get your head out of the sand and wake up to the fact that we are going to have to hammer out a peace deal, a real peace deal, if for no other reason but to show ourselves that we are willing to humanely and fairly deal with a problem we created for ourselves."
Berkowicz places the exclusive onus on Israel for the creation of the Palestinian problem – either by virtue of its creation or for having the effrontery to win in 1967. In addition, he blames Israel for the failure to achieve a "real peace deal." The infamous "three No's" of the Arab League in response to the Israeli offer to withdraw from the West Bank after the Six Day War played no role; ditto Arafat's decision to return to open warfare and reject Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer of well over 90% of the West Bank at Camp David. Finally, Berkowicz wants the Jews of Israel to demonstrate their humanity. He never mentions ensuring their own survival as a desideratum. So goes the "pro-Israel" case for Obama.
THOSE WHO SEE ISRAEL'S SALVATION in its being pushed back to its 1967 borders have good reason to eagerly anticipate an Obama presidency. Obama has described the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a "sore, . . . infect[ing] all our foreign policy," and placed return to the "peacemaking" of the Clinton years is at the top of his foreign policy agenda.
The express goal of that "peacemaking" will be an Israeli withdrawal to its 1967 "Auschwitz borders." In a June interview with Jerusalem Post editor David Horowitz, Obama said he can understand Israel's desire for "'67 plus" in terms of security buffers, but Israel should consider whether it would be worth the cost in Palestinian antagonism.
The overwhelming majority of Israel's Jews dread a return to the Oslo process, which claimed 1,471 Israeli lives in terrorist attacks, without bringing peace any closer. Oslo made a fetish of process over actual peace, as a pattern of concrete Israeli concessions in return for recycled Palestinian promises took shape. Obama offers more of the same: "Israel's government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart," he says.
On security grounds alone, the vast majority of Israelis oppose further territorial withdrawal from the West Bank at present. Earlier withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza resulted in the creation of heavily armed Iranian proxies on Israel's southern and northern borders. Israeli intelligence predicts that Hamas would quickly take over the West Bank as well in the event of an Israeli withdrawal. The near elimination of successful terror attacks from the West Bank since 2002 demonstrates that only Israeli troops and on the ground intelligence gathering capabilities can deter terrorism.
Oslo taught that peace cannot be imposed from the outside and has nothing to do with signed agreements. Only a bottom-up transformation of Palestian society would make peace possible, argues Natan Sharansky, and that transformation has never seemed so far away after the Hamas takeover of Gaza.
Even the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas recently declared a festive celebration in honor of the leader of the Coastal Road Massacre in which 37 Israelis were murdered. Demonization of Israel and Jews continues unabated in the official Palestinian media. No wonder three-quarters of Palestinians say that reconciliation with Israel is impossible in this generation, even after the signing of a peace agreement and creation of a Palestinian state.
The greatest threat to Israel's existence is a nuclear Iran. By calling for direct American-Iranian negotiations, without offering anything new to the Europeans' approach over the last five years of unconditional negotiations, Obama only grants Ahmadinejad more time and increased internal legitimacy. And by linking any sanctions to Chinese and Russian cooperation, he dooms those efforts from the start. Bottom line: an Obama presidency guarantees a nuclear Iran.
And all this leaves aside dozens of troubling Obama associations. For twenty years, he sat complacently in the church of a pastor – "my spiritual mentor" – who spewed contempt for whites, America, and Israel.
Virtually his whole public career has been closely intertwined with the unrepentant former Weatherman William Ayers.
Another member of Ayers' Hyde Park circle was former PLO official and the current Edward Said Professor at Columbia University, Rashid Khalidi, whom Obama credits with opening his eyes to the plight of Palestinians. He has been heavily funded by the virulently anti-Israel George Soros.
Obama has numerous ties to the Nation of Islam, in particular through Tony Rezko, the convicted, Syrian-born racketeer, who partly paid for Obama's home.
Obama's foreign policy advisors have included: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security advisor and thirty-year critic of Israel; Samantha Powers, who has called for an end to aid to Israel and the introduction of American forces to protect the Palestinians; and Robert Malley, who has made a career of advancing, together with a former Arafat advisor, a revisionist account in which Israel was responsible for the breakdown of Camp David.
Even the Republicans touted for an Obama cabinet – Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar – have been among the handful of senators, sometimes the only ones, to consistently oppose sanctions against Iran, Syria, and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Hagel laments the intimidation on Capitol Hill by the "Jewish lobby."
No doubt the "pro-Israel" Obama supporters have good explanations of why none of these relationships are of concern. After all, why did G-d make Jews so smart if not to prove the emperor is fully-clothed.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
At Chicagoland Jewish High School, “What I’m seeing is, new names are popping up all the time,” says Bruce Scher, the academic dean and director of college counseling.Read the whole story.
“Outside of the stereotypical or the standard colleges that already have strong Jewish populations, we’re seeing a lot of other schools recognize the value and recognize the contribution that these students are making to a college campus,” says Scher, who’s also co-chair of the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s special interest group for Jewish students. “Even schools like Knox [College], you know, in central Illinois, they absolutely are connecting to Jewish students.”
College counselors and colleges alike – particularly small liberal arts colleges – are reporting explicit efforts to attract more Jewish applicants or build Jewish student life on campus, or both (since the two goals go hand in hand). For instance, Washington and Lee University, a decidedly Southern-influenced institution in Virginia, has identified “recruiting and supporting Jewish students at W&L” as a fundraising priority, and is constructing a $4 million Hillel House.
...Patti Mittleman is familiar with the trend, but questions the motivations behind it. When an article appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer last year describing Muhlenberg College, a Lutheran liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania, as “an unlikely magnet for Jewish students” (about a third of the student body is Jewish), Mittleman, Muhlenberg’s Jewish chaplain, was “inundated” by calls and e-mails — including, she says, “from some of the finest universities in this country.”
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Subprime Campaign ContributionsActually, there is a point of comparison between how the Obama campaign allows fraudulent donations and the current economic crisis. Ed Morrissey writes:
Re the Obama campaign fraud now spreading faster than Joe the Plumber's wealth, a reader writes:If the majority of these donations are in fact fraudulent but the Obama campaign has already spent the money do you think Hank Paulson will ask the taxpayers to purchase the bad debt?Sounds reasonable to me. If Obama isn't "too big to fail", what is?
Barack Obama claims to champion the consumers of America. This demonstrates worse than just callous disregard of financial security; it looks like a deliberate attempt to allow people to empty unsuspecting consumers of their savings and credit. The checks involving security codes and address verification were put in place years ago by the credit-card companies to protect their customers from having their accounts hijacked by thieves. [emphasis added]Keep in mind that turning off the website security to facilitate this was deliberate:
Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed.To this claim of Obama's campaign, Morrissey responds: Hogwash!
Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.
There is only one reason to deliberately choose to bypass those security processes, and that’s to facilitate fraud. Team Obama claims that they vet the donations after the fact, but that’s hogwash. It costs far more to do that than to screen for security codes and address verification up front, and everyone knows it. Obama counts on the fact that most of the fraud will fly under the radar of its victims, and the only cost they’ll incur is when they have to process refunds after getting a specific complaint.Back in April, Peter Beinart noted approvingly:
Luckily, Obama doesn't have to rely on his legislative résumé to prove he's capable of running the government. He can point to something more germane: the way he's run his campaign.Indeed.
disabling the security allows would be credit card thieves to “ping” numbers till they get a hit. The number of “pings” should have raised flags at Visa and MasterCard, don’t you think?
Technorati Tag: Obama.
Candidate Obama even made a video [see below], in which he states unequivocally his plan to stake the security of the entire peace-loving world upon his own completely untested skill as a diplomat.Read the whole thing.
From where I sit, this isn’t a job for a diplomat; it’s the job of a messiah.
Nevertheless, Obama makes the following pledges regarding defense:
“I will cut tens of billions of dollars of wasteful defense spending.”
This makes me nervous.
“I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems.”
Actually these systems are proving quite capable of protecting against attack.
“I will not weaponize space.”
Even if Russia and China do?
“I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
Letting enemy regimes catch up with us helps preserve the peace? How?
“I will not develop new nuclear weapons.”
Well, it might be diplomatic to let Iran, Syria, North Korea, and others catch up with us. But is it safe?
“I will seek a global ban on the development of fissile material, and negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert and achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals.”
Obama’s grandfather clearly did not teach him to consider the source and not to put one’s trust in untrustworthy people.
Which raises the question: how can you be committed to both a strong Israel and a weak America?
Olmert's statements are often coordinated with Sharon to "test the waters" of potential future Israeli government initiatives. Olmert was the first to go public with Sharon's plan to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.Could it be that some of Joe Biden's gaffes on the campaign trail are serving a similar purpose? The New York Post seems to think so:
Some Israeli politicians and American Jewish leaders are worried Sharon plans to later evacuate other settlements, and possibly parts of Jerusalem, and that he is using Olmert's statements to gauge the domestic and international response to such possibilities.
Is Joe Biden the foot-in-mouth candidate - or is he the Obama campaign's designated teller of inconvenient truths?Of course, Israelis had more reason then to take Olmert seriously than Americans now have to pay close attention to Biden--but the comparison is there. Still, I doubt that SNL had that similarity in mind in their sketch last week where they had Biden floating the idea of a Disengagement of his own:
First, the Democratic veep hopeful declared that America's enemies will generate "an international crisis, to test the mettle of" a President Obama.
Scary - but likely true.
And yesterday Biden let slip that he and Obama apparently have a sliding scale to determine who's "super-rich."
Obama, after all, has been promising a tax cut for the "middle class" - those making $200,000 a year or less.
Biden yesterday lowered that bar.
"What we're saying," he told a Pennsylvania TV interviewer, "is that [our] tax break doesn't need to go to people making . . . $1.4 million. It should go to [people] making under $150,000 a year."
Oops. That's a 25 percent downward redefinition of "middle class."
An Obama mouthpiece quickly dismissed the discrepancy as just another one of Joe the Senator's gaffes.
But consider: The campaign has a new TV commercial out declaring that families - not individuals - earning $200,000 or less would qualify for a tax cut. Two incomes - not one.
And, as most middle-class wage-earners know, that's a huge difference.
"Mark my words. If you take away nothing else from what I say here today, or indeed, in this entire campaign, remember this. If Barack Obama is elected, we will have a crisis. And when this crisis hits, and it will, in the second week of February, we may do some weird things. We may cede Florida back to Spain, or Alaska to the Russians.All in jest, after all.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Hamas Building Underground City in Gaza - Amir Rappaport (Maariv-24Oct08)
There are few high-rise building sites in Gaza these days, but the demand for cement is huge. Copying Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas is building enormous underground installations - ammunition bunkers, tunnels, and command posts.
Responding to intelligence reports, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai has reduced the flow of cement from Israel to Gaza and is weighing a total halt.
Security officials say Hamas is building tunnels beneath the centers of major cities to enable freedom of movement for its forces should the IDF enter.
In addition, outside the cities, Hamas is constructing tunnels beneath the major entry roads into Gaza, to be filled with explosives and then detonated beneath IDF convoys.The world will not react--if ever--until the rocket attacks result in significant numbers of deaths. But that is no excuse for Israel not taking measures. It took the US 5 years to respond to Syria. Israel cannot afford to wait.
The underground construction also includes hundreds of Kassam and Katyusha rocket launching positions that are protected from air attack.
Technorati Tag: Israel.
Just as the world at large is experiencing an unprecedented collapse of demography, the UN Population Division reports a sharp decline of fertility rates (number of births per woman) in Muslim and Arab countries, excluding Afghanistan and Yemen.
...THE collapse of fertility rates in Muslim countries is a derivative of modernization and Westernization, rapid urbanization and internal security concerns by dictators fearing the consequences of the widening gap between population growth and economic growth. As a result, the UN Population Division has reduced its 2050 population projections by 25 percent, from 12 billion to 9 billion, possibly shrinking to 7.4 billion.
For instance, the fertility rate in Iran - the flagship of radical Islam - has declined from nine births per woman, 30 years ago, to 1.8 births in 2007. The Muslim religious establishment has also played a key role in decreasing fertility rates in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, from eight and seven births per woman 30 years ago, to less than four and less than 2.5 respectively in 2007.
Jordan, which is demographically close to Judea and Samaria, and Syria have demonstrated a diminished fertility rate: from eight, 30 years ago, to less than 3.5 in 2007. A substantial dive of fertility rates in Muslim countries - trending toward two births per woman - is documented by the Population Resource Center in Washington, DC.
The decline in fertility and population growth rates has resulted from escalating emigration (which has characterized the region since 1950), accelerated urbanization (70% rural in 1967 and 60% urban in 2008), the expansion of education infrastructure, especially among women, the entrenchment of career mentality; the increase of median-marriage-age, an all-time high divorce rate, the contraction of teenage pregnancy and the UNRWA/PA-led family planning campaign.
The sharp lowering of fertility rate among "Green Line" (pre-1967 Israel) Arabs, from nine births per woman in 1969 to 3.5 in 2007, has been the outcome of their successful integration into Israel's education, employment, commerce, health, banking, cultural, political and sports infrastructures. The annual number of Arab births stabilized at approximately 39,000 between 1995-2007. The Arab fertility rate converges swiftly toward the Jewish fertility rate (2.8 births per woman).
No mention is made to Gaza in the entire article, but with Palestinian vs Palestinian violence and emigration it's not difficult to guess which way the demographics are trending.
Israel's policy-makers and public opinion-molders should base their assessments on thoroughly-documented demographic optimism and not on baseless demographic fatalism, in order to avoid erroneous assumptions, which yield erroneous and self-destructive policy decisions.You mean like the decisions that have been made so far?
Simply put: there are those who believe that Israelis should have demonstrations and rallies demanding the release of Schalit, captured by a Hamas faction in Gaza three years ago. And there are those saying that a public outcry makes it more difficult for the government to deal successfully with this delicate topic.Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai and Ehud Barak have come out saying that public rallies will only encourage Hamas to raise their demands in exchange for Shalit's release. On the other hand, former Shin-Bet head Ami Ayalon spoke at one of those rallies, emphasizing the importance of telling the government what they think and that the same government that sent Shalit into battle must also bring him own.
In the aftermath of the Samir Kuntar deal, the situation is even more delicate.
Strategic considerations aside, the public is sick and tired of hearing excuses as to why Shalit is still in Gaza. Since it has no way of demonstrating effectively against Hamas, it goes after the Israeli government. Problematic–but also encouraging, because means that Israelis still care for the soldiers they send to battle, that there’s still a sense of responsibility for their fate.The question now is how to act responsibly.
Livni could receive a significant boost if Barack Obama wins our election next week. In that event, and assuming Obama plays his hand well, Obama will be in a good position to influence Israel's election for two reasons. First, if he plays his hand well, I expect that initially Obama would be popular in Israel. Second, Israelis nonetheless wouldl harbor uncertainty about Obama's intentions, and thus would likely bend over backwards not to alienate him.Interestingly, the media has made comparisons between Livni and Obama--
Obama, in all likelihood, would rather deal with the inexperienced and seemingly pliable Livni than with a strident old war horse like Netanyahu. Thus, I would expect a President Obama, in one way or another, to use the strange combination of his popularity and and the dread he inspires to tilt the playing field in favor of Livni.
Globe and Mail: Tzipi Livni: Israeli version of an Obama-style 'uniter'?Of course, at this stage of the game there are going to be all kinds of attempts to draw comparisons with Obama.
Haaretz: Tzipi Livni is Israel's Barack Obama
Contentions: Livni As Israel’s Obama
Jerusalem Newswire: PA wants Livni and Obama
Monday, October 27, 2008
by Jonathan Rosenblum
Recently, Harvard University agreed to establish certain hours for sexually segregated use of the gym and swimming pool. Most of us upon hearing that news would be cheered at an apparently reasonable accommodation to those women who for religious or other reasons do not feel comfortable exercising or swimming in the presence of men.
I do not mean to suggest that that immediate response is not the correct one. But let me add just one wrinkle to the puzzle. Harvard's decision came not in response to student petition or a request from Orthodox Jewish students on campus, but from the Harvard Islamic Society, whose request was subsequently joined by Harvard College's Women's Club.
Orthodox Jews likely outnumber devout Muslims at Harvard. Yet I doubt it ever occurred to Orthodox Jewish students to request separate hours for use of the swimming pool or gym.
And had they made such a request, I not at all sure Harvard would have been so quick to grant it. Recall Yale University's unwillingness to accommodate the request of Orthodox Jewish students not to be forced to live in sexually mixed dorms (or at least to pay dearly for a room in such dorms) And even before the case of the Yale Five, Wendy Shalit described Williams College's insistence that all bathrooms on campus be unisex. It is safe to assume that there are no Jewish billionaires with an interest in separate swimming hours likely to contribute $20,000,000 to Harvard, as one Arab sheikh recently did.You can read more articles by Jonathan Rosenblum at Jewish Media Resources.
Leaving aside those students from Orthodox homes who rush to shed their identity as soon as they hit their Ivy League campus, why didn't the same request made by the Harvard Islamic Society come from Orthodox Jewish students? The answer to that question sheds a good deal of light on the different mindset of Torah Jews and many radicalized Muslims today.
FOR TORAH JEWS IT IS AXIOMATIC that we are living in galus. No matter how fully we participate in every aspect of national life, we never quite forget that we are here as guests. (There were some in the Orthodox world who were critical of the Yale Five for seemingly forgetting this fact.) Our SAT scores may qualify us for Harvard, but we do not view them as entitling us to admission, and once there we are more or less content if Harvard makes those accommodations necessary for us to succeed academically – e.g., rescheduling tests that fall on Jewish holidays.
The Islamic approach, particularly among more radicalized elements, is much different. Islam does not view England and America as inherently different from Saudi Arabia. The latter already belongs to the realm of Islam; the former fall into the category of not yet Islamic lands. But as the Islamists never tire of proclaiming, the whole world will one day fall to the realm of Islam. That vision of universal conquest is alien to the Torah.
That difference in perspective leads to a far more assertive Moslem approach to demands for accommodation of their beliefs. Agudath Israel of America has been at the forefront of efforts to require reasonable governmental accommodation to religious practices, most notably in leading the fight for the Workplace Religious Freedom Act in Congress. And it has championed religious accommodations in the employment context. But in so doing, Agudath Israel has always worked through the legislative processes, and usually in coordination with many other religious groups.
Muslims are far more likely to make demands and to back those demands with threats of violence rather than rely on the democratic process. In part, that derives from a refusal on the part of many Muslims to recognize the legitimacy of any other source of law other than Moslem religious law (Sharia).
Many Western states, particularly those of Western Europe, have been surprisingly acquiescent in the face of those demands, carving out, whether de jure or de facto, a host of special rules for all matters touching upon Muslim religious sensitivities. The Bank of England announced recently that it was issuing Sharia compliant bonds.
Police in a number of European cities treat heavily Muslim areas as no-go zones, and there is mounting evidence of many "honor killings" of Muslim women going uninvestigated by European polices forces.
After Muslims rioted around the globe to protest cartoons in a Danish newspaper deemed offensive to Islam and its founder, the European Union Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security did not rise to defend freedom of the press. Rather he counseled "prudence" when dealing with potentially controversial subjects.
Muslim demonstrators calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie, the author of Satanic Verses, a work deemed offensive to Mohammed, marched through English cities under police protection. And more recently, masked Muslims holding signs reading "Behead the Enemies of Islam" and warning of another 9/11 were guarded by a phalanx of British police officers.
While Muslims proclaiming their eagerness to chop of the heads of the enemies of Islam enjoy the protection of European police, those who point to this unlovely strain within Islam often find themselves hauled before various human rights commissions. At the time of her death, Orianna Fallaci, who had written a best-selling book on the threat to Western liberties posed by Islam, was being sued for criminal incitement in a number of European countries. Columnist Mark Steyn, whose publisher has been the subject of proceedings by various Canadian human rights commissions, puts it, "Today's multicultural societies tolerate the explicitly intolerant and avowedly unicultural, while refusing to tolerate anyone pointing out that intolerance."
In short, radical Muslims are being given a pass by cowed European governments. British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith probably took the award for cravenness when she announced that the government would henceforth refer to terrorist acts perpetrated in the name of Islam as acts of "anti-Islamic terror" because they place Islam in a bad light.
ALL THIS IS OF CONCERN to Torah Jews for a number of reasons. First, the West's reluctance to stand up to Islamists in European countries leaves Jews under threat. Second, the weak European response has already begun to provoke a backlash in Europe, in the rise of right-wing political parties, which have traditionally harbored large anti-Semitic elements.
And finally, the case for religious accommodation to Jewish religious practices will inevitably be linked to those accommodations being demanded by Muslims. When the French government, for instance, banned the wearing of a veil or other forms of Muslim dress in French public schools, it also banned the wearing of yarmulkes. (The only difference, of course, being that Jewish boys who wear yarmulkes would almost all have been in private religious schools, whereas Muslim parents sought to force the public schools to accept their norms.) Other European countries have gone even further to ban all face-coverings in public, with obvious implications for all those whose dress distinguishes them.
FORTUNATELY, THE AMERICAN model of dealing with religious diversity has proven the most successful one for the integration of Muslim populations. On the one hand, the United States had no regime of human rights commissions and the most robust protection of free speech of any Western country. Critics of aspects of Islam will not be forced to defend their opinions in court on charges of "Islamophobia." Though honor killings have also occurred in the United States, they have been prosecuted. (There are no Moslem ghettos in America into which the law does not reach.) When some Moslem taxi drivers at Minneapolis airport refused to take passengers carrying alcohol, the drinking of which is forbidden in Islam, they were forced to choose between retaining one of the limited number of cab licenses and their religious sensibilities. The public showed little inclination to show a unique diffidence to Moslem sensitivities.
On the other hand, America's unique religiosity and its multiplicity of religions has made it easier for Moslems to integrate. Theirs is but one more religion in a vast panoply. Americans tend to be respectful of the faith of others. Though America has a civil religion based on a commitment to its constitution, as a nation of immigrants spread out over a vast continent, there is no national culture to which all are expected to conform. Nor is the natural culture decidedly secular, as in France, for instance.
As a result, Moslem Americans express a degree of identification with the United States no less than that of the average American. The contrast to Europe could not be greater. Forty per cent of British Moslems, for instance, expressed some degree of sympathy for the London tube bombers.
Natan Sharansky, in his new book Defending Identity, makes a compelling case that a European elite committed to post-nationalism and opposed to any specific identity, other than human, cannot muster the will to defend itself against the Muslims within and without for whom their Muslim identity is everything.
And yet unlike most conservative thinkers of similar views, he opposed the French ban on veils in public schools in the name of preserving the secular public square. That insistence can only alienate the Muslim population by conveying the message that one cannot be both Muslim and a proper citizen of France.
By making reasonable accommodations to a variety of religious practices, the United States has avoided that pitfall. In that context, then, we can remain comfortable in our initial support for Harvard's decision to provide six hours a week of separate swimming and gym facilities for women. Even if Orthodox women at Harvard were not the ones to push for separate facilities, hopefully they too will benefit from access to separate facilities.
Technorati Tag: Jews.
PA daily reports that Gaza residents are randomly calling American homes trying to convince Americans to support Barack Obama for presidentKnowing there is an issue that Jewish voters and Palestinians in Gaza can agree on makes me feel warm all over...
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, Oct. 27, 2008
The following is the story in the PA daily:"23 year old [Palestinian] Ibrahim Abu Jayyab sits by the computer in the Nusairat refugee camp [in the Gaza Strip] trying to call American citizens, in order to convince them to vote for the Democratic candidate for president, Barack Obama...
Most of the Palestinians feel hatred towards USA, whose administrations have always stood by Israel...
Abu Jayyab's idea is to make telephone calls to American citizens through Internet sites that allow making free calls... in order to use them [to make phone calls] for the campaign supporting Obama. Abu Jayyab says: We dial random numbers and try to call people without knowing their identity or their affiliation...
He said that a large number of Palestinians dislike their activity... [those] who do not see any difference between the American politicians, because of the hostility that they feel towards America. But his hope is that their activity will have some impact [in support of Obama]."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 26, 2008]
A man who, should he win the election and serve one term, will have been President of the United States longer than he has held any steady job.Read the whole thing.
Specifically, we shared with them a detailed legal memorandum written by one our experts – David Yerushalmi, an attorney specializing in securities law who is deeply knowledgeable about the comprehensive theo-political-legal code that authoritative Islam calls Shariah. Mr. Yerushalmi's memo makes a compelling case that there is both civil liability and criminal exposure associated with SCF [Shariah-Compliant Finance].Imagine--Shariah-Compliant Finance actually makes US economic policy look good.
This is so because, at its core, Shariah is sedition: It explicitly espouses the violent overthrow of all secular governments and constitutions – including those of the United States – in favor of a global Islamic theocracy. The Yerushalmi memo makes clear that Shariah advisors – who play a central role in this industry as it falls to them to determine whether transactions are Shariah-compliant or not – and/or the companies that employ them appear to be involved in one or more of the following: racketeering, anti-trust violations, consumer and securities fraud or material support for terror. [emphasis added]
Gaffney also describes some of the SCF advisors:
In these regards, it might be helpful if, while Secretary Kimmitt is in Qatar, he pays a visit to one of the most prominent of the SCF advisors, Sheik Yusef al-Qaradawi, who serves on, among numerous others, the Shariah advisory board of two Qatari Islamic banks. As my colleague Christopher Holton has pointed out in a recent posting on the Family Security Matters website, Qaradawi has called for the Islamic world to use the present financial crisis to destroy Western capitalism and replace it with "an Islamic economic system."Read the whole thing.
Inquiring minds among Treasury's experts trying to "learn about Islamic banking" might also be interested to know that, in a 2006 interview with the BBC, Qaradawi also declared that he calls SCF "jihad with money, because Allah has ordered us to fight enemies with our lives and our money."
Technorati Tag: Islam.
The L.A. Times Suppresses Obama’s Khalidi Bash Tape
Obama, Ayers, and PLO supporters toast Edward Said’s successor, but the press doesn’t think it’s quite as newsworthy as Sarah Palin’s wardrobe.
By Andrew C. McCarthy
Let’s try a thought experiment. Say John McCain attended a party at which known racists and terror mongers were in attendance. Say testimonials were given, including a glowing one by McCain for the benefit of the guest of honor ... who happened to be a top apologist for terrorists. Say McCain not only gave a speech but stood by, in tacit approval and solidarity, while other racists and terror mongers gave speeches that reeked of hatred for an American ally and rationalizations of terror attacks.
Now let’s say the Los Angeles Times obtained a videotape of the party.
Question: Is there any chance — any chance — the Times would not release the tape and publish front-page story after story about the gory details, with the usual accompanying chorus of sanctimony from the oped commentariat? Is there any chance, if the Times was the least bit reluctant about publishing (remember, we’re pretending here), that the rest of the mainstream media (y’know, the guys who drove Trent Lott out of his leadership position over a birthday-party toast) would not be screaming for the release of the tape?
Do we really have to ask?
So now, let’s leave thought experiments and return to reality: Why is the Los Angeles Times sitting on a videotape of the 2003 farewell bash in Chicago at which Barack Obama lavished praise on the guest of honor, Rashid Khalidi — former mouthpiece for master terrorist Yasser Arafat?
At the time Khalidi, a PLO adviser turned University of Chicago professor, was headed east to Columbia. There he would take over the University’s Middle East-studies program (which he has since maintained as a bubbling cauldron of anti-Semitism) and assume the professorship endowed in honor of Edward Sayyid, another notorious terror apologist.
The party featured encomiums by many of Khalidi’s allies, colleagues, and friends, including Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator, and Bill Ayers, the terrorist turned education professor. It was sponsored by the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), which had been founded by Khalidi and his wife, Mona, formerly a top English translator for Arafat’s press agency.
Is there just a teeny-weenie chance that this was an evening of Israel-bashing Obama would find very difficult to explain? Could it be that the Times, a pillar of the Obamedia, is covering for its guy?
Gateway Pundit reports that the Times has the videotape but is suppressing it.
Back in April, the Times published a gentle story about the fete. Reporter Peter Wallsten avoided, for example, any mention of the inconvenient fact that the revelers included Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, Ayers’s wife and fellow Weatherman terrorist. These self-professed revolutionary Leftists are friendly with both Obama and Khalidi — indeed, researcher Stanley Kurtz has noted that Ayers and Khalidi were “best friends.” (And — small world! — it turns out that the Obamas are extremely close to the Khalidis, who have reportedly babysat the Obama children.)
Nor did the Times report the party was thrown by AAAN. Wallsten does tell us that the AAAN received grants from the Leftist Woods Fund when Obama was on its board — but, besides understating the amount (it was $75,000, not $40,000), the Times mentions neither that Ayers was also on the Woods board at the time nor that AAAN is rabidly anti-Israel. (Though the organization regards Israel as illegitimate and has sought to justify Palestinian terrorism, Wallsten describes the AAAN as “a social service group.”)
Perhaps even more inconveniently, the Times also let slip that it had obtained a videotape of the party.
Wallsten’s story is worth excerpting at length (italics are mine):
It was a celebration of Palestinian culture — a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York.
A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.
His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation — a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around "this entire world."...
[T]he warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor's going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say.
Their belief is not drawn from Obama's speeches or campaign literature, but from comments that some say Obama made in private and from his association with the Palestinian American community in his hometown of Chicago, including his presence at events where anger at Israeli and U.S. Middle East policy was freely expressed.
At Khalidi's 2003 farewell party, for example, a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, "then you will never see a day of peace."
One speaker likened "Zionist settlers on the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been "blinded by ideology."
Obama adopted a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground. But his presence at such events, as he worked to build a political base in Chicago, has led some Palestinian leaders to believe that he might deal differently with the Middle East than … his opponents for the White House....
At Khalidi's going-away party in 2003, the scholar lavished praise on Obama, telling the mostly Palestinian American crowd that the state senator deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat. "You will not have a better senator under any circumstances," Khalidi said.
The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.
Though Khalidi has seen little of Sen. Obama in recent years, Michelle Obama attended a party several months ago celebrating the marriage of the Khalidis' daughter.
In interviews with The Times, Khalidi declined to discuss specifics of private talks over the years with Obama. He did not begrudge his friend for being out of touch, or for focusing more these days on his support for Israel — a stance that Khalidi calls a requirement to win a national election in the U.S., just as wooing Chicago's large Arab American community was important for winning local elections.
So why is the Times sitting on the videotape of the Khalidi festivities? Given Obama's (preposterous) claims that he didn’t know Ayers that well and was unfamiliar with Ayers’s views, why didn't the Times report that Ayers and Dohrn were at the bash? Was it not worth mentioning the remarkable coincidence that both Obama and Ayers — the “education reform” allies who barely know each other … except to the extent they together doled out tens of millions of dollars to Leftist agitators, attacked the criminal justice system, and raved about each others books — just happen to be intimate friends of the same anti-American Israel-basher? (Despite having watched the videotape, Wallsten told Gateway Pundit he “did not know” whether Ayers was there.)
Why won’t the Times tell us what was said in the various Khalidi testimonials? On that score, Ayers and Dohrn have always had characteristically noxious views on the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. And, true to form, they have always been quite open about them. There is no reason to believe those views have ever changed. Here, for example, is what they had to say in Prairie Fire, the Weather Underground’s 1974 Communist manifesto (emphasis in original):
Palestinian independence is opposed with reactionary schemes by Jordan, completely opposed with military terror by Israel, and manipulated by the U.S. The U.S.-sponsored notion of stability and status-quo in the Mideast is an attempt to preserve U.S. imperialist control of oil, using zionist power as the cat's paw. The Mideast has become a world focus of struggles over oil resources and control of strategic sea and air routes. Yet the Palestinian struggle is at the heart of other conflicts in the Mideast. Only the Palestinians can determine the solution which reflects the aspirations of the Palestinian people. No "settlements" in the Mideast which exclude the Palestinians will resolve the conflict. Palestinian liberation will not be suppressed.
The U.S. people have been seriously deceived about the Palestinians and Israel. This calls for a campaign to educate and focus attention on the true situation: teach-ins, debates, and open clear support for Palestinian liberation; reading about the Palestinian movement—The Disinherited by Fawaz Turki, Enemy of the Sun; opposing U.S. aid to Israel. Our silence or acceptance of pro-zionist policy is a form of complicity with U.S.-backed aggression and terror, and a betrayal of internationalism.
SELF-DETERMINATION FOR THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE!
U.S. OUT OF THE MIDEAST!
END AID TO ISRAEL!
Barack Obama wouldn’t possibly let something like that pass without a spirited defense of the Israel he tells us he so staunchly supports … would he? I guess to answer that question, we’d have to know what was on the tape.
But who has time for such trifles? After all, isn’t Diana Vreeland about to critique Sarah Palin’s sartorial splendor?
— National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy chairs the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’s Center for Law & Counterterrorism and is the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books 2008).
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers recently sent two letters to Attorney General Michael Mukasey deploring a news leak that the FBI is investigating Acorn, and warning Justice to focus instead on "voter suppression." Barack Obama has also joined in this political intimidation, demanding in two letters that Mr. Mukasey appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Justice staff who he claims are engaged in "unlawful coordination" with John McCain's campaign to pursue "so-called 'election fraud.'" There is zero evidence that such coordination exists, but it is remarkable that a Presidential nominee would dismiss election fraud as a myth.Not when one considers Obama's connection to ACORN, the work he has done for them, the money he has donated to them, and the work they have done for him:
It doesn't help Justice's credibility that attorneys charged with supervising voting issues are avowed Barack Obama supporters. According to Federal Election Commission data, James Walsh, an attorney in the Civil Rights Division, has donated at least $300 to Mr. Obama. His boss, Mark Kappelhoff, has given $2,250 -- nearly the maximum. John Russ, also in Civil Rights, gave at least $600 to Mr. Obama.As always, with Obama there are more questions than there are answers.
Technorati Tag: Obama.
This is good news because it raises the prospect that Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu will return to power. Netanyahu, a hard liner, would be preferable under any circumstances to Livni, whose desire to accommodate the Palestinians is apparently sufficiently intense to prevent her from forming a government. But Netanyahu could prove to be indispensable if Barack Obama is elected president. First, Netanyahu is far more likely to resist the pressure Obama may well exert on Israel to make concessions to its enemies, including terrorists. Second, with Netanyahu in power, the world will at least have one leader of a major power who understands, and perhaps is prepared to deal with, the threat posed by a nuclear Iran.Would Netanyahu as Prime Minister really be all that likely to resist pressure from Obama? Netanyahu signed Clinton's Wye Agreement. If Bibi showed a willingness to go along with the land-for-peace approach then, why would he stop now. Obama as President would follow the same tried-and-failed policies--and given his willingness to use pressure tactics against critics, it is likely he would have no problem applying pressure on Netanyahu.
UPDATE: Livni has her own share of good news. Netanyahu may offer her stiff competition...
However, polls Monday greeted Livni, Israel’s second female foreign minister since Golda Meir — who hopes to follow in her footsteps to also become prime minister — with some good news. A poll by Dahar Research Institute showed Kadima, the centrist political party she leads and which is currently in power, as winning 29 seats as opposed to 26 seats for Netanyahu’s opposition Likud in the 120 member parliament, known as the Knesset. Another poll, by TNS Teleseker showed Kadima winning 31 seats and Likud 29 if the election were held today.Read the whole thing.
Nachum interviewed Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who called in live for the latest Weekly Update. Nachum and Malcolm began this week's Update with a rundown of the latest Israeli election news. They discussed several other important issues including: the affect of the various upcoming worldwide elections, information about a murderous attack in Gilo, Israel yesterday, the possibility of a Saudi Arabian offered peace proposal for Israel, "mysteries of the Middle-East," the importance of voting in both the Presidential and local state/city level elections, and MUCH more. Click the link to listen.
Technorati Tag: Israel.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
A list of stories barely covered by the MSM: the Woods Fund, Obama’s state senate voting record, the details of his “95% of Americans” tax cut and his $4.3 trillion spending plans, the misrepresentation of his Infant Born Alive voting record, the Obama team credit card fraud scandal, Obama’s extensive ties with ACORN, the agenda of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Obama’s receipt of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac donations, the earmarks of both Democratic candidates, the cozy relationship between Joe Biden and his homestate credit card company, the thugocracy (e.g. St Louis “truth squads” and requests for the Justice Department to investigate Obama’s political opponents), and the credibility of Obama’s claim to have sat in Reverend Wright’s pews for twenty years without hearing his inflammatory language language.
If you know the details of these stories, it more than likely is from new and conservative media, not the MSM. Moreover, the MSM hasn’t grilled Obama or Biden on their gaffes (e.g. spreading the wealth, testing Obama’s mettle) or taken issue with the utter lack of transparency by the Obama camp (e.g. no Obama medical records, no state senate voting records).
Technorati Tag: Obama.
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Saturday, October 25, 2008
The head of the BBC, Mark Thompson, has finally admitted what many of us have long known: that his organization treats Islam more respectfully than it does other religions. In a speech to a religious think tank, Thompson claimed the BBC has to treat Islam with greater sensitivity because Muslims are a minority in Britain and aren’t fully integrated into society. [emphasis added]Yes, if only the Muslim community was as well integrated into British society as the Jews are. A year ago Melanie Phillips noted:
According to the Community Security Trust, the defense organization of Britain’s 300,000-strong Jewish community, last year saw nearly 600 anti-Semitic assaults, incidents of vandalism, cases of abuse, and threats against Jewish individuals and institutions—double the 2001 number. According to the police, Jews are four times more likely to be attacked because of their religion than are Muslims. Every synagogue service and Jewish communal event now requires guards on the lookout for violence from both neo-Nazis and Muslim extremists. Orthodox Jews have become particular targets; some have begun wearing baseball caps instead of skullcaps and concealing their Star of David jewelry. [emphasis added]
Technorati Tag: BBC.
With the looming deadline announced by Livni (Sunday will be the day for decision), it now seems that Netanyahu might get what he wished for: an early election with a good chance to become the next Israeli Prime Minister. Chance, but not certainty: Livni and some of her advisers believe she can win. Whoever wins, the next American president might have to wait a while for the opportunity to dive back into the Arab-Israeli diplomatic channel. This will be his way of discovering that nothing is over until Rabbi Ovadia sings.Read the whole thing.
Technorati Tag: Israel.
A. More people say they’d vote for Obama, and Jews are also people. There’s no reason for them not to accommodate national trends.At The Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein also refers to the Gallup poll indicating Obama will overwhelmingly win the Jewish vote--but points out that elderly Jews are more likely to vote for him than younger Jews. Bernstein offers his own opinion as to why the Jewish vote is going Obama's way:
B. The bandwagon effect is even more forceful when it comes to Jewish voters to whom voting the Democratic ticket is a habit.
C. In the last days of every campaign we see voters go back to their natural political position - for Jews this means voting for Obama.
D. Sarah Palin was not well received in the Jewish community. If McCain was the unthreatening candidate, Palin reminded Jewish voters that Evangelicals still have power in the Republican Party, and Jews, it seems, don’t like to be reminded of that.
I'd speculate (and it's only speculation), that with the Rev. Wright, who gave many Jews the willies, having faded almost entirely from the campaign, and with McCain having chosen Sarah Palin, who is extremely unpopular among Jewish voters, Obama is doing far better in this regard than could have been predicted in the Spring.Both Rosner and Bernstein agree on the Palin factor--for all the good the selection of Palin has been for reinvigorating the Republicans, it has apparently had the opposite effect on Jews.
Technorati Tag: The Jewish Vote.
Well, there is another story out there that the MSM refuses to address. A huge story. One that could, and I think will, significantly affect the outcome of this race. I'm referring to the widespread phenomenon of registered Democrats openly supporting John McCain. There are numerous "Democrats for McCain" type organizations. There are numerous websites and blogs written by Democrats touting McCain's candidacy. There are pro-McCain grassroots efforts being led by Democrats. And we all know friends or relatives who are Democrats, who voted for John Kerry in 2004, and who are no fans of President Bush - but who are going to vote for John McCain this year.Read the whole thing.
Technorati Tag: McCain.
Friday, October 24, 2008
[Hat tip: Blackbook]
it seems to me that since Obama is covering something up he has become indebted to people (such as Bill Ayers) who are abetting that cover-up. What favors are acruing here, and how deeply does the Chicago machine have their hooks into Obama? I don't think we will find out by ignoring this.Now I see that Mark Steyn refers to a Michelle Malkin post to suggest that the debt may be in the opposite direction:
The reason the press are going to such shameless lengths to drag Obama across the finish line is because he's their last best hope at restoring the old media environment, including a new Unfairness Doctrine for radio, and regulation of the Internet.Brian C. Anderson writes in The New York Post:
Yes, the Obama campaign said some months back that the candidate doesn't seek to re-impose this regulation, which, until Ronald Reagan's FCC phased it out in the 1980s, required TV and radio broadcasters to give balanced airtime to opposing viewpoints or face steep fines or even loss of license. But most Democrats - including party elders Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and Al Gore - strongly support the idea of mandating "fairness."Read the whole thing.
Would a President Obama veto a new Fairness Doctrine if Congress enacted one? It's doubtful.
It's an idea--though the beneficiaries would be, as Steyn himself points out, the radio and the Internet and not the press per se.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad
According to today’s Jerusalem Post, there are no fewer than 42,000 registered American voters living in Israel right now–making the Jewish state the third-largest home for voting Americans living abroad, behind only Britain and Canada. More importantly, fully half of them are registered in swing states like Florida and Ohio. In a close election, these votes (like any other small group) could influence the outcome. And their influence is increased by the fact that they are voting early, with an exit poll to be released next week.The potential effect should not be underestimated--the "Israel vote" have an impact in some key states:
Expat Americans in Israel are also largely right-leaning. Kory Bardash, a former Goldman Sachs analyst who is now chairman of Republicans Abroad in Israel [check out their website DA], predicts that McCain will get more than 75 percent of the vote among Americans living in Israel. He wants it to have an impact, too. Bardash is specifically targeting absentee voters who are registered back home in the swing states of Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.The Facebook Group, Americans In Israel For Obama, apparently has its work cut out for it--the last post is a month old.
Technorati Tag: Israel.
Obama himself has changed positions on FISA, NAFTA, public campaign financing, town-hall meetings with McCain, offshore drilling, nuclear and coal power, capital punishment and gun control, his characterization of Iran, the surge in Iraq, and the future of Jerusalem. So change from what to what?Read the whole thing.
Technorati Tag: Obama.
UPDATE: In response to the Obama campaigns claim that they check for fraud afterwards and returns fraudulent donations, Mark Steyn believes that allowing that kind of fraud had to be deliberate:
in order to accept donations from "Della Ware" and "Saddam Hussein" et al, the Obama website had, intentionally, to disable all the default security settings on their credit-card processing. I took a look at the inner sanctum of my (alas, far more modest) online retail operation this afternoon and, in order to permit fraud as easy as that which the Obama campaign is facilitating, you have to uncheck every single box on the AVS system, each one of which makes it very explicit just what you're doing - ie, accepting transactions with no "billing address", no "street address" match, no "zip code" match, with a bank "of non-US origin" (I've got nothing against those, but a US campaign fundraiser surely should be wary), etc. When you've disabled the whole lot one step at a time, then you've got a system tailor-made for fake names and bogus addresses.Is this a habit? CNN reports that the Obama campaign is tied to ACORN, which is under fire for voter registration fraud in a number of states.
So let's lay out a hypothetical situation. You're in a business that takes payments. You expect some level of outright credit card fraud. Those transactions will be charged back, and you will owe fees on them, unless you use AVS [Address Verification Service] to prevent them. You also have a substantial number of customers who for whatever reason wish to remain anonymous. Your anonymous customers won't do business with you if you use AVS, but you're confident that this set of customers will not dispute their charges. The calculus is simple. If the revenues you expect from anonymous customers exceeds the fees you expect to pay from cardholder disputes leading to chargebacks, then the smart business decision is to turn off AVS.Win-win?
Now if it's against the law for customers to do business with you anonymously, then facilitating anonymous transactions goes beyond just being a business decision. But if the consequences of looking the other way are no more than having to refund the money several months down the road, then maybe you're happy to take the money as an interest free loan in the meantime.
Technorati Tag: Obama.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Among the reasons this is important--besides the deception itself:
The reader is given no hint that the explanations from the Obama campaign have been changing and evolving since February. Briefly:
February - their kids went to the same school (Axelrod to Ben Smith, Politico)
April - some guy in the neighborhood (Obama, debate).
April Fact Check - recycles news reports but does not volunteer the Chicago Annenberg Challenge connectioon.
May - They met at a political meet-and-greet in 1995 (campaign aides to NY Times).
it seems to me that since Obama is covering something up he has become indebted to people (such as Bill Ayers) who are abetting that cover-up. What favors are acruing here, and how deeply does the Chicago machine have their hooks into Obama? I don't think we will find out by ignoring this.Apparently Americans are intent on finding out by electing Obama first.
Technorati Tag: Obama.