02/7/13

Guidelines or Mandates?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

There’s something wrong when a simple fund raising opportunity becomes a crime because the nutritional value, or lack thereof, doesn’t meet the state’s guidelines. A local coach in Houston, Texas, is in serious trouble because he offered fried chicken as a fund raiser, putting his school at risk of having to pay enormous fines to the state.

I use the word guideline; but guideline infers by definition that the ultimate decision is left up to the individual. Perhaps the state should learn the difference between a guideline and a mandate.

‘“It’s critical parents and schools understand the state guidelines and know that the state is very serious in terms of enforcing those guidelines,” said Giles.”

There was school in Bexar County, Texas, which suggested a line of action not too long ago. (To suggest, isn’t that the same as a guideline?) The issue was forcing students to wear RFID identification. There was a similar line, a line which skirted the word mandate as if to soften the thumb pressing down on these folk’s heads.

“We are simply asking your daughter to wear an ID badge as every other student and adult on the Jay campus is asked to do.”

These folks need to obtain a dictionary in order to understand the meaning of the words they use. (Sounds better than saying they need to sample what they’re shoveling) If you ask someone to act a certain way it implies the possibility of rejection while if you direct or mandate a line of action; well, you see my point.

There was a news item out of Florida explaining how the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) was going to institute random checkpoints to snare unlicensed drivers. They believe drivers automatically have voluntarily submitted in advance to such abuses by virtue of the fact that driving is a privilege, not a right.

“FHP says the checkpoints will be conducted during daytime hours, and generally cause delays of five minutes or less.”

The FHP must not have gotten the memo or never heard the Supreme Court ruled such random check points are against the law; kind of like Homeland Security setting up check points, ostensibly to find terrorists and an ever lengthening list of weapons of mass destruction along our fruited plains. (Pardon me while I clean the edges of my mouth after puking in the trash can)

“In 1979, (Delaware v. Prouse) the Supreme Court stated that, absent articulable and reasonable suspicion that a motorist is unlicensed or that an automobile is not registered, or that either the vehicle or an occupant is otherwise subject to seizure for violation of law, stopping an automobile and detaining the driver in order to check his driver’s license and the registration of the automobile are unreasonable.”

Of course check points are all part of making our country a safer place, kind of like the prison mess hall where they make sure you only get a spoon because a sharp knife would jeopardize everyone. Never mind that our 4th Amendment has been cut to ribbons by well meaning elitists who could care less about individual God given rights.

“That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.” Ezra Taft Benson

If these folks have their way with guidelines to save us from becoming over weight from fried chicken, home made cakes or pastries sold as fund raising items, RFID chips to make sure we’re where they think we should be at all times; shouldn’t we say thank you? Heaven forbid we become mobile without first having some authority check our underwear for bomb making equipment, semi-automatic handguns, assault weapons and/or nuclear material intended to blow up half of Montana, Idaho and points north.

Well, at least these various government agencies didn’t presume to make their unreasonable, and I might add, unconstitutional guidelines into mandates or they’d be displaying characteristics associated with totalitarian regimes.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

02/7/13

Ezra Levant: “I don’t answer to the state”

ACT! for America:

Five years ago, Ezra Levant, then-publisher of the Western Standard, was hauled before a Canadian “human rights commission” because he published the Danish cartoons that satirized Muhammad—one of the few newspapers in the West that had the courage to do so.

Instead of cowering before the power of the state, Levant, sounding like a modern-day Patrick Henry, blasted political correctness and the very notion that the government has the right to dictate to a newspaper what is “reasonable” to print.

02/7/13

Maxine Waters: ‘Obama Has Put In Place’ Secret Database With ‘Everything On Everyone’

Read more at Pat Dollard…

“The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” Representative Maxine Waters told Roland Martin on Monday. “That’s going to be very, very powerful,” Waters said. “That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that. They’re going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can’t get around it. And he’s [President Obama] been very smart. It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.” – Maxine Waters

02/7/13

As Situations Stand

Arlene from Israel

Returning to little Zakkai for a moment. The family has asked me to express gratitude to all those who wrote to me to say they were praying, wished him well, etc. It matters to them a great deal.

Then I was asked to post these mitzvah opportunities in merit of good surgery and healing for Zakkai, for those who would like to participate:

challah baking: http://www.tziporahsnest.com/campaign.asp?id=164
25-hour tehillim rally: http://tinyurl.com/aepl2x3

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Turning to our world…

Barry Rubin has written a particularly important article. Its title makes clear what he’s talking about: “Not a Mistake, Misunderstanding, or Well-Intended Criticism But a Deliberate Campaign to Bash Israel.” (Emphasis is added)

“The first, most important thing to understand about the Western and especially American debate on Israel is this:

“Never before in history has there been such a concerted, systematic and vicious campaign to discredit and demonize Israel, especially seeking to undermine its support in the Jewish community.

“Without comprehending this fact, the massive attacks from academia, mass media, groups and even in mainstream political and intellectual debate cannot be understood. We aren’t dealing with lots of mistakes, but with the mass production of hate speech…

“Don’t believe that they may have gotten it right this particular time. Many of them aren’t trying to get it right; most of them are incapable of getting it right.

“These assaults cannot be taken in isolation and with naiveté as if this time a wild accusation is accurate…

The craziest stuff is just the most incautious end of far more apparently credible lies and distortions. And the key ‘mistake’ made is to use the word ‘Jews,’ unacceptable, rather ‘Israel,’ ‘Israelis,’ or ‘Zionists.’

In other words, ‘The Jews want to take over the world.’ No. ‘Israel wants to take over the Middle East.’ Okay. ‘The Jews use children’s blood in Passover matzoh.’ No. ‘Israel deliberately murders Palestinian children.’ Okay.

Not all are aware, of course, of what they are doing, especially those originating or spreading the more ‘moderate’ hate speech. There are dupes as well as demonizers, though dupes often seem all too credulous to be wholly innocent.

“…Once having been defined as the ‘bad guy,’ Israel can be accused of anything, as in a film narrative in which the villain is, well, always villainous.

“…there are so many lies—new ones appear each day–and so many facts to counter them with that it is partly a waste of time to counter each offensive in itself. What’s necessary is to understand that this is all based on lies, ignorance, and conscious bad faith.

“The categories include, but are not limited to, falsification of photographs and fabrication of events; distortion of history; making up of quotes; publishing disproportionate numbers of anti-Israel books and articles; indoctrination in schools; refusal to mainstream Israeli views and overwhelming emphasis of radical, critical ones; excessive credibility to hostile sources for outlandish tales (a worldwide story on an alleged, since proven false massacre in Jenin based on a single mysterious informant is just one example).

…The main single issue is to try to portray Israel as responsible for the lack of peace, just as Jews were historically blamed by those hostile to them for anti-Semitism. Since the experience of the 1993-2000 ‘peace process’ era, the fact that the conflict continues because of the intransigence of Israel’s enemies should have been obvious. Yet this history has been forgotten and its impact on Israeli thinking buried or censored.

“…Much of the new antagonism stems from Western intelligentsias’ sharp turn to the left. The question, of course, is why Israel is such a prominent issue among the many causes available to them.

“…One thing comforting about this campaign is that its activists so often have to resort to lies and exaggerations, showing how little genuine material they possess.

“How much effect is this all having in the real world? Ironically, it is less damaging to Israel itself (attempts at economic boycotts, for example, have yielded no real damage) than to Western Jews who live in the societies so affected. The growing pressure will result in some running for cover—or even joining the assailants—but far more will ultimately wake up.

“Yet again this situation can no longer be dealt with as an ordinary, though rather spirited and emotional, debate. It is a massive, often conscious and deliberate campaign of defamation. No longer on the margins, this campaign has penetrated into using the commanding heights of the Western mass media, intellectual, and academic institutions.

“The reason for pointing this all out is that there are millions of well-intentioned, honest people who would be shocked if they had the paradigm shift from taking a good portion of this material as honest and well-intentioned to understanding that they are being subjected to a concerted propaganda campaign of lies. If they comprehend that, they are far more likely to reject these lies as well as having their eyes opened to wider disinformation campaigns going on today.”

http://rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2013/02/not-mistake-misunderstanding-or-well.html

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Having provided this perspective, I want to move to a situation of deliberate misrepresentation about Israel that is masquerading as academic research.

A report entitled “Portrayal of the ‘other’ in Israeli and Palestinian School Books,” done by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL), has just been released. The study on which it was based — lead by Professor Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel Aviv University and Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University — was funded by a grant from the US State Department and was commissioned by an NGO called A Different Future, which had been founded by a Yale professor of psychiatry, Bruce Wexler.

Bar-Tal, as we are informed by Seth Frantzman, who wrote a piece on this for the JPost, was “co-editor of the radical left Palestine-Israel Journal from 2001 to 2005 (whose masthead shows the colors of the Palestinian flag next to an Israeli flag that does not include a Star of David).”

Says Frantzman, “Bar-Tal’s views should have led to concern about the potential for bias in the CRIHL study…” With regard to Israel’s actions in Gaza during Cast Lead in 2009, Bar-Tal wrote that the war “derived from the continuous dehumanization of the Hamas organization.”

“A university professor who…argues that [Hamas] is a victim of dehumanization by Israel…was supposed to provide an unbiased opinion on Israeli textbooks? One is left with the conclusion that there is overwhelming evidence of pre-existing bias on the part of the authors.” (Emphasis added)

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It is not surprising, then, that the study provides a perspective of moral equivalency, concluding that, “Both Israeli and Palestinian books present exclusive unilateral national narratives that present a wealth of information about the other as enemy.”

The Education Ministry of Israel has slammed this report as “biased, unprofessional and profoundly non-objective.”

One of the problems with the methodology of the research is that negative statements about Palestinian Arabs in Israeli books that were simple statements of historical fact were classified as representing “negative” portrayals of the “other.”

Among statements listed as “negative” portrayals of the Palestinian Arabs were:

“Ever since 1964, the year the PLO was founded, Palestinian terrorists gangs penetrated [into Israel].” And, [In Iraq] on the holiday of Shavuot, Arabs attacked Jews, and murdered them, including women and children.”

The authors considered such statements to be parallel to such statements in PA books as:

“[The British facilitated] Jewish migration into Palestine to turn it into a Jewish state after evacuating or exterminating its people.”

You see Frantzman’s full piece here:

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=302229

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We might feel inclined to laugh off this severely biased study, except for the fact that it will do real damage. Palestinian Arabs and their supporters are crowing that the charges that PA textbooks are inciteful and anti-Israel have now been discredited.
“The results show that there’s almost no stereotypes, there is no hate speech, there’s no inciting for violence in the Palestinian textbooks,” Dr. Sami Adwan, associate professor of education at Bethlehem University, said.

As someone who has worked with this subject, and written about it, for years, I will state unequivocally that the incitement and bias do exist in those PA books.

One of those whom I’ve worked with and interviewed is Dr. Arnon Groiss, former head translator/researcher with IMPACT — The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education. I’ve read Groiss’s translations of PA texts, with hair-raising praise for blood flowing in martyrdom and a great deal more.

You can see a major IMPACT study of PA textbooks here:

http://www.impact-se.org/docs/reports/PA/PA2011.pdf

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Groiss was actually a (nominal) adviser for this project, but says that the advisers were not allowed to really be involved.

“They don’t combine the specific items to create the full picture…I don’t know why — they didn’t put [into the study] about 40 items, significant anti-Israel items in the Palestinian books,” Groiss said. “They said, ‘Well we have enough quotations. We don’t have to put them all.'”

He’s being diplomatic, when he says he doesn’t know why.

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“We educate teachers to love,” Israel Ministry of Education Director General Dalit Stauber told CBN News.
“The first word learned by a pupil who is joining the Israeli education system in the first grade is “shalom.” We give him a pigeon with an olive branch to start his first day in school. We teach for peace. We do not teach for hatred.”

Stauber was particularly annoyed by the charge in the study that putting the 1972 Olympic Massacre in Israeli history books casts Palestinians in a negative light, because the terrorists who killed the 11 Israeli athletes were Palestinian.

“If facts included in history books in Israel…are presented as if Israeli books present Palestinians in a negative way, what else do we need in order to prove that this is a libel against the Ministry of Education, against professional work done by the Ministry of Education?” Stauber said.

Said General Yossi Kuperwasser, Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry Director, “This comparison, something is wrong and distorted.

“This attempt to compare Israeli textbooks that deal entirely with the question of how you promote peace, how you promote the culture of peace, with the Palestinian textbooks that deal with exactly the opposite, how do you promote a culture of confrontation, how do you promote the readiness of people to carry out martyrdom attacks.”

Kuperwasser is concerned that a report such as this exempts the PA from tackling the major problems in its schoolbooks:

“And this is the ongoing Palestinian incitement for hatred, incitement for violence, for terror and the ongoing denial of the Palestinians of the rights of the other and the existence of the other, which is the Israelis and the Jews in this piece of land.”

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2013/February/IsraeliPA-Textbook-Study-Giving-Incomplete-Picture-/

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Well, Ayatollah Khameinei, who has the last word on issues of negotiations, has nixed direct talks with the US, saying he won’t condone such talks while the US is “pointing a gun at Iran.” He says such talks “would not solve any problems.”

And Obama’s next step?

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says, “We expect Iran and Syria to be the main topics” during Obama’s visit to Jerusalem.

The president will have his hands full if he expects much traction with regard to the “peace process”: In Cairo, Abbas has just met with Ahmadinejad in Cairo during an Islamic Summit, and has now invited him to come to Ramallah. No word on whether the invitation was accepted. But PLO officials have already indicated they don’t have high hopes for progress with Obama’s visit.