02/1/15

Intolerable

Arlene from Israel

Sometimes the obtuseness of the world – the failure of decision-makers and commentators to grasp what’s really important about a situation – seems unbearable.  There is a shallowness – and where the decision-makers are concerned, a political self-centeredness – that is reprehensible.

But of course, in some instances, this shallowness is calculated – which makes it more intolerable still.

There continues to be an enormous amount of media focus on what Netanyahu “did” to Obama because he responded in the affirmative to an invitation to come speak to the Congress without seeking a nod from the president.  Thus, goes the narrative, he showed “disrespect” for the chief executive of the US, causing a further deterioration in an already tenuous relationship.  Israel will pay for this down the road, we are being warned.

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All those who babble on this way are either truly obtuse, or, more likely, know better but prefer not to confront the painful reality that is at the heart of the matter, and so resort to a hullabaloo about a lesser issue as distraction.

The heart of the matter is so crystal clear:  Iran is making headway in its development of nuclear capacity, and there is a strong possibility that a deal will be struck between P5 + 1 and Iran in coming weeks that would give this radical jihadist nation leeway to become nuclear at a time of its choosing.

What is more, Iran is the chief supporter of terrorism in the world, and has schemes for a hegemony in the Gulf region and the Middle East that would be disastrous, notably for Israel but also for the Gulf Arab states.  There will be every attempt by Iran to advance this hegemony, even if it is prevented from achieving nuclear capacity. That is, Iran’s danger to the world does not end with the issue of nuclear development.

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And, it happens, Binyamin Netanyahu – who has been speaking for years to a world that has chosen not to listen about the dangers of Iran – is undoubtedly the world leader with the greatest expertise on issues regarding Iran, and the only world leader prepared to be forthright on those issues.

Thus he embraces his coming talk to Congress as a last chance opportunity to make a difference that could affect Israel, first, and much of the rest of the world as well.

On Friday, the prime minister, who reportedly has placed calls to some key Democrats in Congress, said:

”We can resolve procedural issues with regard to my appearance in the US, but if Iran arms itself with nuclear weapons, it will be a lot harder to fix.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/pm-easier-to-mend-us-ties-than-bad-iran-nuclear-deal/

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And Obama?  There was no need to make such a furor about the invitation to Netanyahu, of course.  He is simply doing his own masking.  I rather like what commentator Dan Friedman had to say about this today:

“Imagine…Obama’s fury when he found that a Jew is the only leader on earth unafraid to confront him with the truth.”

Whether it’s because Netanyahu is a Jew or not (and it is very likely the case), Obama is clearly beside himself because there is indeed one leader “unafraid to confront him with the truth.” The president does not like to be crossed – and on something as major to him as this?  Oy v’voy, as we say.

But Bibi is not intimidated.

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Please see this (emphasis added):

”Israeli officials told Channel 10 on Friday that they are convinced the Obama administration has already agreed to most of Iran’s demands in the P5+1 negotiations over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

”According to unnamed officials, Washington ‘has given the Iranians 80 percent of what they want’ out of the negotiations, Channel 10 is reporting.

Jerusalem officials appear alarmed at the prospect that the United States will soon strike a deal with the Iranian regime that will leave it with a ‘breakout capacity’ of months during which it can gallop toward a nuclear bomb.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Obama-has-agreed-to-80-percent-of-Irans-demands-in-nuclear-talks-Israeli-officials-tell-Ch-10-389533

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Here in Israel, we are witnessing a similar craziness with regard to shallowness: We are in the middle of an electoral campaign, and the left is making a charge that is nothing short of ludicrous:

Sarah Netanyahu, they are reporting, collected bottles used in the president’s residence (and paid for by the people), returned them to the supermarket, and pocketed the deposits.

What? With everything going on in the world THIS is what deserves attention?  How pathetically bankrupt is the position of the left, if this is the worst they can say about Netanyahu.  (Or, actually, about his wife, which makes it even worse.)

As it happens, a former employee of the Netanyahus, who had no great fondness for them when he was their employee, has come forward to tell the truth: It was Sarah who decided, after years of seeing bottles simply being thrown away, that they had to be recycled.  “and the petty cash was used for the purposes of the Prime Minister’s Residence and its employees.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/190759#.VM6R8Zv9nIV

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Having put this charge to rest is not the end of this, however.  What is it the left was saying?  Vote for Herzog and Livni and be sure they’ll never pocket bottle deposits?

What else does this pathetic crew have to say for themselves?

As was pointed out above, we are living in extraordinarily perilous times. What can they say about ways in which their leadership would bring us greater strength and security?  Not much, if anything, apparently. Their position is bankrupt.

Tzipi Livni, in a recent interview, indicated that she is still for negotiating “two states”:

”I’m not trying to sell to the Israeli public that we have peace around the corner, that when we enter the negotiations room we will sign an agreement and live happily ever after; this is not the situation. I support using the Israeli military [to fight terrorism], but my ideology is not about keeping Greater Israel without any hope for peace.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-Elections/Jpost-Election-Arena-Livnis-consistent-vision-388659

So, she’s committed to the ideology of “two states” – “dividing this tiny place into two” she said – even though it doesn’t mean peace.  Why she imagines this would bring “hope” for peace is beyond me.  Probably beyond her, as well. For, rather than debate this issue with Netanyahu – something she should want to do if she were truly committed to this path as wise and correct – she prefers to simply see his wife charged with pocketing bottled deposit money.

Another oy v’voy.

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Thankfully, Likud is now leading the left in the polls.  Herzog-Livni had moved ahead when they re-named their joint effort “The Zionist Camp.”  A clever move if something of a misnomer.

There are commentators saying that the Likud advance is the result of the violence in the north last week: people see Netanyahu as the stronger leader.  It may be a correct assessment – I cannot say. But if it is, it is a very sad commentary on the thinking of those polled. Do they have to see an incident of violence that might lead to war to know that war is always a possibility here, especially in the north?  They should know, all of Israel should know, that because we live in precarious times, it is essential to vote for someone who knows how to stand strong, and who will not give our country way, weakening us disastrously.

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Having said this, I want to share Netanyahu’s latest election video, which was just released today.  The videos, which have been quite clever, have been the only enjoyable part of this campaign (about which I will say more soon).  In this one, Bibi – the “Bibi-sitter” – addresses the issue of who can keep the nation – and our children – safe, precisely the point of this posting.

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=23211

Scroll down for the video (which has English subtitles).

02/1/15

Judge Jeanine Pirro – Opening Statement – 01/31/15

02/1/15

Agenda 21: Al Gore’s car-less society is well underway

By: Renee Nal
New Zeal

Image from the BBC's 'Tomorrow's Cities season'

Image from the BBC’s ‘Tomorrow’s Cities season’

“Now that more people live in cities across the planet than do not, it is imperative that this revolutionary change in attitude occurs rapidly.” – Author David Thorpe, from his article “There’s a $90 Trillion Plan to Rid the World’s Cities of Cars”

Former Vice President Al Gore and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon have been roundly mocked for their vision to separate citizens from their vehicles.

As reported at the Washington Times,

Starting over is a $90 trillion expense. Minimum. But to meet that cost they would have to cram us all together in those cities like livestock, at the cost of our freedoms.

The Daily Caller observes:

Calderon and Gore made their presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where, ironically (or maybe not, at this point), some 1,700 private jets — which use petroleum — were used to shuttle in conference participants and others to discuss global warming and other pressing global issues.

We may want to laugh at the plan, but Americans are financing it.

Smart Cities

While in India this week, President Obama pledged $4 billion dollars in “investments and loans” as reported at Reuters. What Reuters neglected to mention, along with the rest of the American mainstream media, was that $2 billion will be spent for the “development of smart cities,” as reported at the Times of India.

The left’s age-old tradition of population manipulation and social engineering experimentation continues openly today in the guise of “sustainability” (code for Agenda 21), which seeks to convince local city leaders around the world to remake cities in an effort to combat “anthropogenic [human-caused] climate change.” The “smart cities” movement is a part of this effort, as discussed at Broadside News.

Smart cities will have an infrastructure that will verify that the habits of citizens are monitored to ensure they are not indulging in harmful activities like using too much water, for example. Make no mistake, you will not be using more resources than deemed to be your fair share.

Like “Smart Meters,” in time, “the Smart Grid will enable consumers to react in near real-time to lessen their impacts.” Or, it can be remotely done for you.

No more cars

At a panel discussion during a conference (hashtag #TTDC15) sponsored in part by firm called “Embarq,” the discussion to remold cities was in full swing. Embarq seeks to capitalize on the “smart cities” movement and claims to engage in “[H]elping cities make sustainable transport a reality.”

During one of the discussions, India’s “Union Urban Development Secretary” Shankar Aggarwal stated that “smart cities” currently being developed in India will be “coordinated, compact and connected” and “meant for citizens and not for cars.”

Aggarwal laments “urban sprawl,” noting that people have to travel long distances to get to work. Stating that traveling long distances to get to work somehow lessons global competitiveness, he continues:

It is very necessary that we create cities which are compact, and the transportation needs to undergo a huge change. Instead of promoting individual cars, we have to go in for public transport and that means people should be able to walk to work, bicycling, walk to work [yes, he said it twice], and then they should make use of public transport…

Here are some of the creepy tweets:

The panel discussion can be viewed here (Shankar Aggarwal’s comments can be seen at around the 8:50 minute mark):

In evolving manifestations, the radical left shares a common theme: an overarching obsession with social engineering based on a lust for power and an irrational fear of over-population, which justifies their need to manipulate populations.

The elitist mindset is anything but “progressive” if one goes by the true meaning of the word, and can be traced back to left-wing heroes Thomas Malthus, Margaret Sanger, George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells, for example.

A bit of history

Al Gore’s car-less society is just another iteration of radical social engineering endorsed by the left. Their grand visions do not take the nature of man into account, which is why the founding fathers are the true progressives.

Consider some of the following quotes:

In 1798, Thomas Robert Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population which laments,

The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.

Progressive icon George Bernard Shaw wrote,

Just consider the situation we are up against – an overpopulation problem created by capitalism, and are trying to get rid of it by substituting emigration. Socialists say quite truly that Socialism can get rid of it, and clergymen tell us that self-control can relieve it. But it cannot wait for Socialism, and people will not practice self-control.

A eugenicist like many of his socialist peers, George Bernard Shaw was not a fan of morality. In “Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope, and Aims, The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. X, No. 1, July 1904,” he wrote:

What we must fight for is freedom to breed the race without being hampered by the mass of irrelevant conditions implied in the institution of marriage.

H.G. Wells submits,

As the standard of living and the multiplicity of interests increase, there is no sort of people anywhere who will not welcome the freedom and the relief from burdensome families that Birth Control affords.

More quotes on how the masses must be manipulated to fight “overpopulation” can be found at Liberty Unyielding.

The individual versus the collective

While the radical left brands their ideas as revolutionary and “progressive;” their visions of Utopian societies in various forms can be traced back to ancient philosophers. In fact, America’s founding fathers are the true progressives, as they put in place a Constitutional Republic that was sincerely revolutionary when compared to the vast majority of political systems throughout the entire world, throughout the entirety of recorded mankind: a focus on the individual rather than the collective, and the idea that morality was essential to freedom.

Consider this quote by John Adams (His writings compiled by his grandsons can be found online here):

If ‘Thou shalt not covet,’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free. – The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Volume 6, 1856

It is likely that most people would rather live in a cave and be free than be in a “smart city” and be monitored and car-less.

This article has been cross-posted at Broadside News.

02/1/15

Afghanistan Conditions with Taliban/al Qaeda

By: Denise Simon
Founders Code

Has anyone talked to Ashraf Ghani about the Taliban or the 5 detainees released from Guantanamo and handed over to Qatar? What is the near future for Afghanistan with the Talibans’ recent terror attacks? There is and remains a military stalemate between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan. Perhaps the agreement signed with Afghanistan is a clue.

We conclude that the security environment in Afghanistan will become more challenging after the drawdown of most international forces in 2014, and that the Taliban insurgency will become a greater threat to tan’s stability in the 2015–2018 timeframe than it is now.

The insurgency has been considerably weakened since the surge of U.S. and NATO forces in 2009, but it remains a viable threat to the government of Afghanistan. The coalition’s drawdown will result in a considerable reduction in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations by Afghan, U.S., and NATO forces. History suggests that the Taliban will use sanctuaries in Pakistan to regenerate their capabilities as military pressure on the movement declines. In the 2015– 2016 timeframe, we assess that the Taliban are likely to try to keep military pressure on the ANSF in rural areas, expand their control and influence in areas vacated by coalition forces, encircle key cities, conduct high-profile attacks in Kabul and other urban areas, and gain leverage for reconciliation negotiations. In 2016–2018, once the insurgency has had time to recover from the last several years of U.S. and NATO operations, a larger and more intense military effort will become increasingly likely.

We conclude that a small group of al Qaeda members, many of whom have intermarried with local clans and forged ties with Afghan and Pakistani insurgents, remains active in the remote valleys of northeastern Afghanistan.  However, as a result of sustained U.S. and Afghan counterterrorism operations, this group of al Qaeda members does not currently pose an imminent threat to the U.S. and Western nations. Further, so long as adequate pressure is maintained via U.S. and Afghan counterterrorism operations, the group is unlikely to regenerate the capability to become a substantial threat in the 2015–2018 timeframe.

We conclude that, in the likely 2015–2018 security environment, the ANSF will require a total security force of about 373,400 personnel in order to pro- vide basic security for the country, and cope with the Taliban insurgency and low-level al Qaeda threat.

***

The United Nations provided a report in December of 2014 that in part reads:  The present report provides an update on the situation since the fourth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team was submitted to the Committee on 30 April 2014 (S/2014/402). The inauguration of the new President of Afghanistan on 29 September marked the first democratic and peaceful transition of executive authority in the history of Afghanistan. This was achieved despite intensive efforts by the Taliban to disrupt the second round of the presidential elections on 14 June 2014. The Taliban also exploited the political uncertainty following the elections until a government of national unity was formed in September 2014. Consequently, 2014 saw a significantly elevated number of Taliban attacks across Afghanistan, marking an increase in their activity.

Although the current fighting season has not yet concluded, the prospects of the Taliban breaking the strategic stalemate look slim despite the almost complete withdrawal of international combat troops. The most intensive military onslaught of the Taliban during the 2014 fighting season resulted in several district centres in the south and the east being overrun, but only briefly, as the government forces proved resilient and were able to recapture them within days. Meanwhile, an intensive Taliban effort to take control of Sangin district in Helmand Province failed.

On the political front, the Taliban leadership remains largely opposed to reconciliation, despite some elements that argue in favour. Hardliners from the “Da Fidayano Mahaz”1 (not listed), the “Tora Bora Mahaz” (not listed) and other affiliates push for renewed military efforts and argue that a campaign of attrition will wear out government forces and institutions over a period of several years. Meanwhile, the pragmatists associated with the Mu’tasim Group argue for a negotiated settlem   ent, which they believe could be to the Taliban’s advantage.

Stability in Afghanistan in 2015 and beyond will depend on two essential factors: the sustainability of external economic assistance, which is crucial to supporting the Government of Afghanistan and the national security forces and their continued development, and the persistence of Afghan confidence in government institutions and security forces, which is crucial to maintaining morale.

Regrettably, the Monitoring Team continues to receive a steady — albeit officially unconfirmed — flow of media reports indicating that some listed individuals have become increasingly adept at circumventing the sanctions measures, the travel ban in particular. Continuing to raise awareness with all stakeholders of the central role of the sanctions measures and their implementation as part of the wider political strategy of the international community remains one of the key tasks of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011) and the Team. *** Al-Qaida associates

There was a distinct increase in the activities and the visibility of Al-Qaida- affiliated entities in Afghanistan in 2014 (see annex II for an overview of the various Al-Qaida entities active in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region and of how they relate to one another). Although geographically removed from Afghanistan, the recent events in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, specifically the success of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), currently listed as Al-Qaida in Iraq (QE.J.115.04), present a challenge to the Taliban as a movement. In January 2014, the Afghan security forces seized propaganda material originating from an Iraq-based Al-Qaida affiliate in north-eastern Afghanistan. According to official information provided by Afghan officials to the Team, in mid-2014 the Taliban leadership was concerned that the success of ISIL in parts of northern Iraq would draw young people who were potential Taliban recruits to join ISIL in Iraq.

Although this did not happen, apparently because of how difficult it is to travel to Iraq, the Monitoring Team has received a steady stream of as yet unconfirmed reports and press articles pointing to the existence of direct contacts between individuals associated with the Taliban and individuals associated with ISIL. For example, it has been reported in several Afghan media articles that the current ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, listed as Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai (QI.A.299.11), lived in Kabul during the Taliban regime and cooperated closely with Al-Qaida groups in Afghanistan at the time.28 In addition, Taliban splinter groups such as the Da Fidayano Mahaz and the Tora Bora Mahaz continue to regularly report on and glorify ISIL activities on their websites.29 The Team will continue to monitor this situation and report to the Committee once it is able to present an official confirmation.

Currently, two prominent supporters of ISIL from the Afghan Taliban — Mawlavi Abdul Rahim Muslimdost (not listed), who is a leader of the “Jama’at al Da’wa ila al-Qur’an wa Ahl al-Hadith” (not listed) in Kunar Province, and Mawlavi Abdul Qahir (not listed) — have endorsed the leader of ISIL, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.30 Most other leaders of the Jama’at al Da’wa ila al-Qur’an wa Ahl al-Hadith had sworn allegiance to Mullah Omar’s “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” in 2010.31

The Tora Bora Mahaz is a militant group operating in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, that is reportedly under the operational control of the Taliban and its leader Anwar al-Haqq Mujahid (not listed), son of Yunus Khalis (not listed), who served as a Taliban shadow provincial governor. The group has primarily been attacking government forces in Nangarhar Province (see S/2014/402, para. 21). It publishes a magazine, Tora Bora, and maintains a website, on which it regularly cross-posts videos produced by ISIL.

At the individual level, some Arab nationals affiliated with Al-Qaida in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border area remain in touch with those who left for Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. When in July a drone strike killed six Al-Qaida-affiliated individuals in North Waziristan, Abdul Mohsen Abdallah Ibrahim al Charekh (QI.A.324.14) — currently serving with the Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant (QE.A.137.14) — expressed grief over the loss of his friends.

A militant group calling itself “Al-Tawhid Battalion in Khorasan” (not listed) pledged allegiance to ISIL. The Abtalul Islam Media Foundation posted a statement from the group using its Twitter account on 21 September 2014. In the message, the leader of the Al-Tawhid Battalion, Abu Bakr al-Kabuli (not listed), pledged loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and asked him if the group should fight in Khorasan or wait to join the ranks of ISIL, whether in Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic, Afghanistan or Pakistan.33  The position of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (QI.H.88.03), the leader of the Hizb-I- Islami Gulbuddin, concerning the political situation in Afghanistan remains contradictory. On the one hand, he is seeking an enhanced political role for Hizb-I- Islami Gulbuddin in post-NATO Afghanistan. Some leading members of his party are involved in intense negotiations with the President, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and with Abdullah Abdullah to explore options for future cooperation that include the possibility of joining the new Government.34 Hekmatyar has also supported the holding of an intra-Afghan dialogue without foreign interference.35 On the other hand, Hekmatyar has criticized the signing by Afghanistan of a bilateral security agreement with the United States and claimed that a continued foreign presence means nothing but war. He has also lashed out at Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Pakistan for supporting the deal.

02/1/15

The Good News That Is

Arlene from Israel

Along with the bad news, we can see those who do get it and respond appropriately.  I will describe what I have learned briefly – briefly being my practice, of necessity, before Shabbat.

The first issue is the matter of Obama’s State of the Union threat to veto any legislation regarding sanctions against Iran.  The issue was misrepresented, as, in fact, the sanctions under the proposed Kirk-Menendez legislation would not kick in until and unless negotiations failed. The current negotiating deadline is June 30.  There have been two extensions already and it becomes ridiculous – the Iranians are being provided with the opportunity to advance their agenda.  Obama’s argument that this legislation would inhibit negotiations is nonsense – on the contrary, it would “motivate” Iran to negotiate.

On Tuesday, a letter was sent to the president, signed by 10 Senate Democrats, telling him that by March 24, but not before, they would vote for legislation to impose sanctions on Iran if the Iranians refuse to commit to a “political framework that addresses all parameters of a comprehensive agreement.” Menendez was among those who signed the letter.

There was a widespread reaction when this news broke interpreting this as a setback for those who want to see the Kirk-Menendez legislation pass.  I didn’t understand that, because Obama was simply being given a bit of leeway before action on the bill would kick in.  And what was significant was that 10 Democrats were now prepared to support this legislation –  (with the considerable exception of Menendez, and then Charles Schumer) it had been labeled a partisan “Republican” effort.  Now this was clearly no longer the case.

The ten who signed the letter were: Menendez, Schumer, Blumenthal, Peters, Casey, Cardin, Coons, Manchin, Donnelly, and Stabenow.  If you are a constituent of one of these, you might want to write and thank him/her for readiness to support the bill.

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Fast forward to the Banking Committee, which had to pass on the Kirk-Menendez legislation.  The 10 Democrats had pledged not to vote on this legislation until March 24 – but that was on the floor of the Senate. There was no commitment regarding a holding pattern in the Banking Committee.

The very good news here is that yesterday it passed through the Committee 18-4, with three additional Democrats who had not signed the letter – Tester, Heitkamp, Warner – voting for it.

There are then three Democratic Senators – Booker, Bennett, Gillibrand – who had voted for an earlier version of the Kirk-Menendez bill, and are expected to support this version, although they didn’t sign the letter.

And so, the bottom line – according to Omri Ceren of The Israel Project – is that the way seems clear for it to be brought to the floor, and it looks as if the vote, come March 24, should be veto-proof.

And this is before Netanyahu speaks to the Congress.  His words might bring along additional votes.

Obama, who does not take defeat lightly, is clearly not a very happy man right now (see second story below).

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The story broke three days ago in the Free Beacon (emphasis added):

A U.S. State Department funded group is financing an Israeli campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and has hired formed Obama aides to help with its grassroots organizing efforts.

U.S.-based activist group OneVoice International has partnered with V15, an ‘independent grassroots movement’ in Israel that is actively opposing Netanyahu’s party in the upcoming elections, Ha’aretz reported on Monday. Former national field director for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign Jeremy Bird is also reportedly involved in the effort.

“OneVoice development and grants officer Christina Taler said the group would be working with V15 on voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts but would not engage in overtly partisan activities. She said OneVoice and V15 are still formalizing the partnership.

While V15 has not endorsed any particular candidates, it is working to oppose Netanyahu in the March elections.

“’We’ve formed a partnership with [V15], but it’s important to know we’re absolutely nonpartisan,’ Taler told the Washington Free Beacon. ‘Our biggest emphasis and focus right now is just getting people out to vote.’

“OneVoice said in a press release on Tuesday that it is teaming up with V15 because Israel ‘need[s] a prime minister and a government who will be responsive to the people.”’

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/state-department-funded-group-bankrolling-anti-bibi-campaign/

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Clearly, this is not the “good news.”  This is an outrage above and beyond.  I have difficulty here giving voice to how I responded to this, because I try to write very professional pieces, and what I have to say would not be quite “professional.”

The direct meddling in our election, not for positive reasons, but in an effort to oust Netanyahu because Obama despises him, cannot be tolerated.  And this is the same Obama who has refused to meet with Netanyahu when he comes to speak to Congress, “because it’s wrong to influence the election.”

My own hope would be that Israelis, on learning of this, would be so enraged by the meddling that they would make a point of – dafka! – voting for Netanyahu, because the State Department cannot tell us which candidate we should support.  (Dafka? Just so. In spite of. To the contrary.  Spoken a bit ironically.)  It is said that we Israelis are a “dafka” people, and that is how we survive.

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This news has been picked up and put out by a variety of sources.

Head of NGO Monitor, Gerald Steinberg, has blasted the State Department over this action.

“Steinberg pointed out that American taxpayer funds have been used for similarly politically-charged projects in the recent past. In 2012, USAID, the US’s largest provider of foreign assistance, donated millions of dollars to Israeli NGOs through the ‘Peace and Reconciliation Program,’ which included support for the so-called “Geneva Initiative” – another grassroots project pressuring the Israeli government to make concessions to the Palestinians.

’After public exposure, the funding was discontinued,’ Steinberg said.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/01/28/ngo-monitor-head-slams-use-of-american-taxpayer-funds-to-finance-anti-netanyahu-campaign/

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So that’s the first order of business, folks.  Scream long and loud about this.  Protest to your elected representatives.  Put this information out wherever you can – in letters to the editor, Internet talkbacks, on your FB pages, etc. etc. In the US make the point that taxpayer money is being used improperly.  This CAN make a difference, and it falls to each of you to do your part.  Don’t sit still for this. Be enraged in a pro-active manner.

~~~~~~~~~~

And the good news? “U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Congressman Lee Zeldin, R-NY-1, today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for information regarding media reports that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to fund efforts to influence upcoming elections in Israel.”

Said Senator Cruz: “This administration’s relentless harassment of Israel is utterly incomprehensible. The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet, and there can be no doubt that their first target will be Israel, followed by the United States. This administration should be focusing its animosity on the very real enemies we face, not on our staunch allies.” (Emphasis added)

The letter requests answer to eight questions.

You can see the full letter here:

http://www.cruz.senate.gov/files/documents/Letters/20150129_Letter_to_Secretary_Kerry.pdf

We’ve got good people working for what is right.

Shabbat Shalom

02/1/15

Will New AG Support Civil Forfeiture Reform?

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

The  Wednesday hearings on the confirmation of a new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, lasted hours because members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were often called away to vote. In the wake of the scandals surrounding the manner in which Eric Holder’s Department of Justice has functioned, the hearing, led now by Republicans, could have been harsh, but it was not. The Wall Street Journal characterized the mood in the hearing room as “cordial.” Watching it on CSPAN, I can confirm that.

In early November the Wall Street Journal, in an opinion titled “The Next Attorney General: One area to question Loretta Lynch is civil asset forfeiture”, it noted that “As a prosecutor Ms. Lynch had also been aggressive in pursuing civil asset forfeiture, which has become a form of politicking for profit.”

“She recently announced that her office had collected more than $904 million in criminal and civil actions in fiscal 2013, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Liberals and conservatives have begun to question forfeiture as an abuse of due process that can punish the innocent.”

That caught my eye because the last thing America needs is an Attorney General who wants to use this abuse of the right to be judged innocent until proven guilty. Civil forfeiture puts no limits on the seizure of anyone’s private property and financial holdings. It is a law that permits this to occur even if based on little more than conjecture. It struck me then and now as a bizarre and distinctly un-American law.

Writing in the Huffington Post in late 2014, Bob Barr, a former Congressman and the principal in Liberty Strategies, told of the passage of the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA) in 2000 “as a milestone in the difficult—almost impossible—task of protecting individual rights against constant incursions by law-and-order officials.” The problem is that civil forfeiture was and is being used to seize millions.

“The staggering dollar amounts reflected in these statistics, however,” wrote Barr, “does not pinpoint the real problem of how law enforcement agencies at all levels of government employ the power of asset forfeiture as a means of harming, and in many instances, destroying the livelihood of individuals and small businesses.”

“In pursuing civil assets, the government need never charge the individuals with violations of criminal laws; therefore never having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty of having committed any crimes.”

As noted above, as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ms. Lynch’s office had raked in millions from civil forfeiture. Forbes magazine reports that she has used it in more than 120 cases and, prior to the hearing to confirm her as the next Attorney General US News & World Report noted on January 26 that Ms. Lynch’s office had quietly dropped a $450,000 civil forfeiture case a week before the hearings. She clearly did not want to answer questions on this or any other comparable case.

Just one example tells you why there is legitimate concern regarding this issue and it appeared in a January 3rd edition of Townhall.com. I recommend you read the account written by Amy Herrig, the vice president of Gas Pipe, Inc, a Texas company that an editor’s note reported as “faced with extinction of a civil asset forfeiture to the federal government of more than $16 million. Neither Herrig nor her father, Jerry Shults, have been charged with any criminal offense.”

Jerry Shults is a classic example of an American entrepreneur. After having served in the Air Force and serving in Vietnam where he earned a Bronze Star, Shults moved to Dallas where he began selling novelty items at pop festivals throughout Texas. Since the first store that he opened had gas pipes exposed in the ceiling, he dubbed it Gas Pipe, Inc. Suffice to say his hard work paid off for him. By the late 1990s, he had seven stores, a distribution company, a five-star lodge in Alaska, and was an American success story. By 2014 the company had grown to fourteen stores and other notable properties.

By then he had been in business for nearly 45 years and employed nearly two hundred people. And then someone in the northern district of Texas, Dallas division, initiated a civil forfeiture seizure against him. I was so appalled by his daughter’s description of events I secured a copy of the September 15 complaint that was filed. I am no attorney, but it looked to me as spurious as one could have imagined, except for the details of Gas Pipe’s assets. On 88 single-spaced pages, those were spelled out meticulously and all were subject to seizure despite the fact that not a single instance of criminality had been proven in a court of law. Imagine having 45 years of success erased by one’s own government in this fashion. It is appalling.

Assuming Ms. Lynch will be approved for confirmation as our next Attorney General, civil forfeiture is the largely hidden or unknown issue that could spell disaster for countless American businesses, large and small, in the remaining two years of the Obama administration. She has a record of pursuing it. The upside of this is that the current AG, Eric Holder, in early January announced that the DOJ would no longer acquire assets seized as part of a state law violation.

On the same day of Ms. Lynch’s hearing, January 28, writing in The Hill’s Congress Blog, former Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) was joined by Bruce Mehlman, a former Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the George W. Bush administration, to raise a note of warning. “The topic of civil asset forfeiture should be an important part of the discussion with Lynch. As U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Lynch was the top official in a hotbed of civil asset forfeiture—helping to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars under the program in recent years.”

Ms. Lynch was not asked about civil forfeiture by either the Republican or Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was a lost opportunity and, if the new Attorney General applies her enthusiasm for it to the entire nation, it will be yet another Obama administration nightmare.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/1/15

“Hollywood Traitors” TV show. Watch now

America’s Survival

The Allan H. Ryskind book “Hollywood Traitors” (available at Amazon.com) documents how the House Committee on Un-American Activities uncovered Stalinist infiltration of Hollywood and forced the studios to clean house. Ryskind, the son of famous Hollywood screen writer Morrie Ryskind, “names names” and identifies pro-Soviet movies. Ryskind, who discusses such figures as Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller, will be appearing at a February 24, 2015, press conference on “America’s Enemies in Hollywood Then and Now” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The news conference will examine how the Muslim Brotherhood lobby has been manipulating Hollywood’s portrayal of Islamic terrorism in recent years. It will also urge Congress to bring back a committee on internal security. Go to www.usasurvival.org.