IN his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy expressed in two eloquent sentences, often invoked by Barack Obama, a policy that turned out to be one of his presidency’s — indeed one of the cold war’s — most consequential: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy’s special assistant, called those sentences “the distinctive note” of the inaugural.
They have also been a distinctive note in Senator Obama’s campaign, and were made even more prominent last week when President Bush, in a speech to Israel’s Parliament, disparaged a willingness to negotiate with America’s adversaries as appeasement. Senator Obama defended his position by again enlisting Kennedy’s legacy: “If George Bush and John McCain have a problem with direct diplomacy led by the president of the United States, then they can explain why they have a problem with John F. Kennedy, because that’s what he did with Khrushchev.”
What If Israel Strikes Iran?
The mullahs would retaliate. But things would be much worse if they had the bomb.
By JOHN R. BOLTON
Whatever the outcome of Iran’s presidential election tomorrow, negotiations will not soon — if ever — put an end to its nuclear threat. And given Iran’s determination to achieve deliverable nuclear weapons, speculation about a possible Israeli attack on its nuclear program will not only persist but grow.
So what would such an attack look like? Obviously, Israel would need to consider many factors — such as its timing and scope, Iran’s increasing air defenses, the dispersion and hardening of its nuclear facilities, the potential international political costs, and Iran’s "unpredictability." While not as menacingly irrational as North Korea, Iran’s politico-military logic hardly compares to our NATO allies. Central to any Israeli decision is Iran’s possible response.
Israel’s alternative is that Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs reach fruition, leaving its very existence at the whim of its staunchest adversary. Israel has not previously accepted such risks. It destroyed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 and a Syrian reactor being built by North Koreans in 2007. One major new element in Israel’s calculus is the Obama administration’s growing distance (especially in contrast to its predecessor).
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President Obama plans to raise America’s corporate taxes to even higher levels. This policy will be destructive to U.S. firms’ competitiveness, pushing more jobs and companies overseas.
I’ve finally figured out the Obama economic strategy. President Barack Obama and his team have been having so much fun wielding dictatorial power while rescuing "failed" firms, that they have developed a scheme to gain the same power over every business. The plan is to enact policies that are so anticompetitive that every firm needs a bailout.
Once that happens, their new pay czar Kenneth Feinberg can set the wage for everybody and Rahm Emanuel can stack the boards of all of our companies with his political cronies.
I know, it sounds like an exaggeration. But look at it this way. If there were a power ranking of U.S. companies, like the ones compiled by football writers for National Football League teams, Microsoft would surely be first or second to Google. But last week, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer came to Washington to announce what Microsoft would do if Obama’s multinational tax policy is enacted.The U.S. now has about the highest combined corporate tax rate, second only to Japan among industrialized countries.
"It makes U.S. jobs more expensive," Ballmer said, "We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S." If Microsoft, perhaps our most competitive company, has to abandon the U.S. in order to continue to thrive, who exactly is going to stay?
At issue is Obama’s policy to end the deferral of multinational taxation.
The U.S. now has about the highest combined corporate tax rate, second only to Japan among industrialized countries. That rate is so high that U.S. firms have an enormous disadvantage versus competitors. The average corporate tax rate for the major developed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2008 was about 27 percent, more than 10 percentage points lower than the U.S. rate.
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The other day I found this article:
The four of the Chinese Muslims, or Uighurs, released to Bermuda from the Guantanamo Bay prison told FOX News that they are innocent, glad to be free and hold no grudges against the United States for their captivity.
The men, who range from 31 to 38 years old, also said they think life in China, where they face persecution, is worse than life at Guantanamo.
With the help of a translator, they said they didn’t know anything about Al Qaeda or Usama bin Laden, despite past allegations that they had aided the terror mastermind’s escape.
"I am not a terrorist. I have never been terrorist," one of the men told FOX News. "I want to live peacefully."
The Uighurs, released this week, are staying at a guest cottage complex on the island without security or electronic monitoring, but their attorney said they will have to periodically check in with local police.
The release of the Uighurs comes amid increasing political tensions in Washington over what to do with the more than 200 detainees being held at the Guantanamo facility following President Obama’s pledge to close the facility within a year of taking office.
But the Uighurs may be among the least threatening of the detainees whose fate must be decided, given that the Justice Department under the Bush administration already had decided that they should no longer be classified as "enemy combatants."
A September 2008 federal court motion filed by the Justice Department confirmed their change of status and declared that all 17 Uighurs being held at Gunatanamo should be resettled in a foreign country.
The Uighurs will be eligible for Bermudian passports in the future, but the U.S. has a mechanism in place to block their entry into the U.S. unless the federal government chooses to let them in.
Their attorney says the Uighurs are determined to stay in Bermuda as part of a guest worker program. There is a provision in that program that in limited circumstances allows guest workers to get Bermudian citizenship.
However, the transfer of the Uighurs has been criticized not only by U.S. Republican lawmakers but by the governments of the United Kingdom, which controls the territory of Bermuda, and China, which wants the Uighurs returned.
On Friday, some members of the Bermudan government who said they’d not been informed of the transfer questioned the wisdom of moving the inmates to the island located 640 miles off the coast of North Carolina, saying it could hurt tourism, which is Bermuda’s chief industry.
But the Bermudan government defended its decision to take the Uighurs, whom the U.S. feared would face torture if sent back to China.
The Uighurs told FOX News that they plan to make their home in Bermuda, probably working first in some form of manual labor. They also may open a restaurant and look forward to swimming and fishing.
The article is too small for excerpts. Still, you might want to go there for the comments. So, these 17 Uighurs were apparently captured in Afghanistan. Suppose, 16 of them are innocent. It takes only one to do tremendous damage.
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Bookworm has the most complete round-up of commentaries on the recent Obama speech in Cairo. Just go there and follow her links, including her own commentary. Indeed, there was some good stuff there and some not so good. But here is the article that points out some disturbing moral equivalency so prevalent on the Left:
Just days ago Obama traveled to Cairo, Egypt. It was his second trip in a short time to visit Muslim countries. He sent a clear message by not visiting Israel.
But this was code.
In Cairo, Obama said things that pose a grave danger to Jews in Israel, in America and everywhere.
And if his views are not vigorously opposed they will help create a danger as great as that posed by the Nazis to the Jewish people.
Just last week, Obama told his worldwide audience — more than 100 million people — that the killing of six million Jews during the Holocaust was the equivalent of Israel’s actions in dealing with the Palestinians.
This remark is incredible on its face, an insult to the six million Jews who died as a result of Hitler’s genocide — and it is a form of revisionism that will bode evil for Jews for years to come.
While Obama acknowledged that “six million Jews were killed — more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today” — his discussion about the Holocaust was followed by this statement: “On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.” (Emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit).
“On the other hand . . . ”?
Obama’s clever construct comparing the mass genocide of six million Jews to the Palestinian struggle will not be lost on the estimated 100 million Muslims who tuned into to hear him.
This is the worst kind of moral equivalency. Read it all. And now we hear about the anti-Semitic statement of Obama’s mentor. Do you think 20 years of attending this guy’s church rubbed off on Obama? You know, to certain extent I feel vindicated when Obama’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic associations come out: I hope that this will teach those 77% of American Jews that blindly voting for Democrats is not always good for them. But then, those people usually refuse to hear and see the evidence. Just like the Jews under Nazi occupation refused to see the evidence of mass slaughter, so the modern American Jews keep blindly voting for Democrats despite growing anti-Semitism on the Left. A disclaimer: no, I do not compare Obama to the Nazis. But the refusal to see the evidence on the part of the 77% of American Jews is the same.
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It’s been a while since this has been posted, but it is worth reminding.
Back when the Left was screaming about harsh interrogations (waterboarding etc.), and when Obama declared that those techniques would no longer be used, Dick Cheney asked for the results of those interrogations be released along with with those memos authorizing them. Indeed, the question of effectiveness of those interrogations is very valid. In fact, this question even gets asked by some leftist at Huffington Post. So, here is the summary of what those interrogations revealed:
Not one of the liberal pundits decrying the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) appears to have read the complete set of memos released by President Obama. I know this because I cannot find a single, plain-text version of the scanned memos anywhere on the web. And, the most critical section — the results obtained from EITs — is nowhere to be found.
Most of the anti-American leftists seem strangely incurious regarding the key question asked even at The Huffington Post: what did the enhanced interrogations reveal?
I (Doug Ross) herein present the actual results of the EITs as described in the partially redacted 5/30/2005 memo (U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, MEMORANDUM FOB JOHN A. RIZZO, SENIOR DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, "Re: Application of ‘United States Obligation; Under Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture to Certain Techniques That May Be Used in the Interrogation of High Value al Qaeda Detainees’", originally classified TOP SECRET/NOFORN).
To put things in simple terms for any "progressives" reading along, here’s what the EITs revealed after 3,000 American civilians were slaughtered in cold blood by Al Qaeda:
• FACT: EITs produced 3,000 of the 6,000 critical counter-terror intelligence reports only after normal techniques had proven fruitless;
• FACT: EITs used on Zubaydah revealed KSM’s identity as a mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks;
• FACT: KSM ratted out a number of mass-murderers including Hambali;
• FACT: Hambali’s brother ratted out a cell bent on "9/11 Wave 2" on the West Coast;
• FACT: Zubaydah also revealed Padilla and his plan to detonate a simplistic dirty bomb in Washington, DC;
So, drones, you can either believe the CIA forged 3,000 documents and magically captured mass-murderers without EITs… or you can believe the truth.
Obviously, read the whole post by Doug Ross.
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There is a company called Vishay Intertechnology. They make all kinds of electronic components, which I, as an Electronics Engineer, use in my designs. In particular, they are the first ones I think of when I need to use filed-effect transistors (FETs, or MOSFETs, to be exact). I won’t get too deep into the technical details, but their FETs are very well suited for use in the switching power supplies. Recently I learned about amazing history of this company and its founder, Dr. Felix Zandman:
In the 1950s, patents were issued for the PhotoStress® products developed by Dr. Felix Zandman. These products reveal and measure stress distribution in airplanes, cars, and other structures under live load conditions. His research in this area led him to develop Bulk Metal® foil resistors, the most precise and stable resistors available — both then and now, over four decades later.
Dr. Zandman, with the financial support of Alfred P. Slaner, founded Vishay in 1962 to develop and manufacture Bulk Metal foil resistors. The Company was named after the village in Lithuania where relatives of Dr. Zandman and Mr. Slaner had perished during the Holocaust (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit). The Company’s initial product portfolio consisted of foil resistors and foil resistance strain gages.
Here is more:
A survivor from the Polish town of Grodno, Dr. Felix Zandman, immigrated to the United States and became an inventor and important industrialist there, in Israel, and in other countries. He named the electronics concern he established Vishay in memory of his beloved grandmother Tema Freydovicz, who was born in the town of Vishay, and the Jewish community there that had been annihilated in the Holocaust. The electronics plants he established in Israel also bear the same name.
This indeed is an amazing story. I sent these links to a friend of mine, an Applications Engineer from a Vishay distributor company, who is also Jewish. He did not know this history. But later, when he came to visit me in the office on business, he brought me a present from the local Vishay representative: the memoir of Dr. Felix Zandman. I am sure I will enjoy this book. And it is very satisfying to be able to use good products and support a good company and worthy causes at the same time.
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I haven’t posted for a while. Part of the reason for it is some feeling of apathy on my part. I keep encountering people who just refuse to hear my arguments about dangers of what Obama administration is doing domestically and internationally. On the other hand, not everything is bad: they do seem to make some responsible decisions, like the ones with restoring military commissions and blocking the release of photos of some GIs mistreating prisoners. Obama is now planning a trip to Europe and the Middle East. Apparently the trip includes a stop in Normandy to commemorate 65th Anniversary of the D-Day, a stop in Germany and in Egypt. The stop in Germany is what concerns me. I recently received an e-mail with a link to this story:
In a move aimed at healing the rifts of American foreign policy decisions, President Obama will make a trip to Europe next month, including a trip to Dresden, Germany. The trip will consist of several stops and the President will meet with the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany. Also slated are several policy speeches.
Perhaps the most controversial is a planned speech in which President Obama will formally apologize for American ‘war crimes’ during the Second World War. This would be particularly comforting to Europeans, who have long condemned American foreign policy actions, especially regarding civilians.
This speech will also be welcome in Germany, who had over 12,000,000 of its citizens killed during the war. Mayor Johann Krupp of Augensburg in Saxony stated to DW that the speech will "help my great-uncle’s soul rest. He burned to death during the Dresden bombings."
I then followed a link provided by Weasel Zippers. There it all seemed like some sort of satire. I could not find this story at the Deutsche Welle web site. Could it be satire? I started digging some more. I found this Gateway Pundit post on the subject with more links. Do follow those links and read the articles there. And if you have have time for just one of them, go to this Pajamas Media article. It does seem that Obama is planning to go to Dresden and apologize at the very least for the Dresden bombing. Bookworm also has a post on the subject of Obama going to both Buchenwald and Dresden, where she points out that the myth of Dresden bombing just to terrorize German population and the city of Dresden having no military value was started by none other than Josef Goebbels. And here we come to the book review. The definitive book on the subject of Dresden bombing is "Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945" by Frederick Taylor.
In the book Mr. Taylor proves beyond any doubt several things. First of all, the number of people killed was exaggerated 10-fold. As such, with 25 to 30 thousand people killed, Dresden did not have the most casualties of all the cities in Germany. The largest absolute number can be claimed by Hamburg, and the largest percentage of the population can be claimed by Leipzig. Further, Dresden also had significant number of legitimate military targets. First of all, it was the largest railroad junction in the Eastern Germany, through which the German Eastern Front was supplied. The Soviets requested in Yalta that Allies would bomb the German supply routes, and the Allies obliged. Dresden also had large tank repair shops, clearly a military target. Additionally, Dresden was home for a factory making communication equipment for the German Army and a factory making bombsights for the German bombers. The local cigarette factory was making rifle ammunition, since the equipment used for stuffing cigarettes can be also used for stuffing rifle rounds. Indeed, if you look at the history of Dresden, the ancient capital of Saxony, the claim that the city was devoid of any industry of military value would understandably seem as ridiculous as it really is. It is true that the city did not have much heavy industry, but it did have what in modern parlance would be called "high tech". All the jewelry historically produced in Dresden would just naturally evolve into it. The reason why Goebbels claimed the Dresden, of all other German cities, was an ultimate victim was because Dresden was a popular tourist destination before the war, particularly for the British and the Americans. The claim of Dresden victimhood was dismissed at the time. Obviously, in February of 1945 it was impossible to know that the war in Europe would end in May. But with the start of the Cold War the Soviets and their East German puppets were eager to paint the Western Allies in the bad light, so they resurrected the old Nazi lie. Now the blame-America-first crowd on the Left is eager to repeat it.
Other things that Frederick Taylor proves in the book are:
1. The blame for the high number of civilian death should placed squarely on the city Nazi leadership who built the nice bomb shelters for themselves, but neglected to provide adequate shelters for the population;
2. There was no strafing of the ground targets in Dresden by American escort fighter aircraft. Indeed, anyone who even played a Combat Flight Simulator game (this or this) knows that any air combat invariably sinks close to the ground, as the fighters maneuver and try to restore their air speed. So, imagine an American P-51 Mustang attacking a German Fokke-Wulf FW-190 from above and behind (a common mode of attack), close to the ground. The Mustang pilot lines up the German in his sights and opens fire. He scores some hits. But where do you think the bullets that missed the German aircraft go? That’s right, down to the ground. Now, what if you are a civilian on the ground and you did not see the Fokke-Wulf, but you did see the Mustang shooting, the tracers from its machine guns streaming to the ground? It would obviously seem to you like the Mustang was strafing something on the ground, even though the Mustang was in fact shooting at the German aircraft. Indeed, the air combat did take place during the day, when Americans bombed the railroad junction. But there were no ground targets to strafe, so there were no strafing attacks by the the American escort fighters.
The bottom line, this book should be required reading for anybody who wants to at least attempt to understand history. For President Obama it would certainly be better to read this book rather than the crap Hugo Chavez gave him.
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Over the last weekend Captain Philips of Maersk Alabama was freed from pirate captivity. I was very worried that the ransom demanded by the pirates would be paid, but that did not happen. Instead, 3 of the pirates were killed and the 4th was taken into custody. Many of my fellow Conservatives, including some in the comments of this LGF post, insist that Obama Administration does not deserve any credit for the successful conclusion of the Captain Philips’ drama. They insist that the only credit should go to US Navy SEAL team who executed the rescue operation. Mark Levine on his radio show pointed out that all Obama did was that he authorized the US Navy to secure the release of Captain Philips by all means necessary, including deadly force, and that is why he did not deserve any credit.
Well, let’s give credit where credit is due. To be sure, the credit for the most part goes to the US Navy and SEAL snipers who actually did what needed to be done. But here is why I think Obama also deserves some credit: he authorized the US Navy to secure the release of Captain Philips by all means necessary, including deadly force, and then got out of the way. That was exactly what he should have done. If it was Bush, we would all be screaming how well he handled the situation. Obama deserves the same. He let the pros take care of things and did not cause the pirates to be paid off. If the Captain was killed, we would all blame Obama, and rightly so. He also deserves to be praised for success.
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Jewish Russian Telegraph posted a link to a very touching article by Regina Spektor. I’ve never heard of her before, but then, since I am in my 40s, maybe I am too old. Apparently she is quite famous and talented performer. She even merits a Wikipedia entry. Ms. Spektor is obviously yet another example of a successful immigrant and yet another source of pride for the Russian-Jewish community in this country. But back to her article. I don’t see a reason to post an excerpt here: the article is out there, just go and read it.
What struck me about this article is the dichotomy between Regina’s support for Israel and her liberal values on one side, and her desire to support the politicians who are so willing to go for her Option 3 regarding Israel. The politicians she supports are eager to appease violent fanatics who would take away everybody’s Civil Liberties. If those violent fanatics would ever manage to take power, Civil Liberties would not matter for Regina : she and her family would be simply killed. I would have commented on her site, but for some reason Regina decided to disable the comments for this article, so I am commenting here in the form of an open letter. I will attempt to send her an e-mail and sincerely hope that she will read this.
I learned about you and your article from a Jewish Russian Telegraph post. You indeed wrote a great article. You and I have similar backgrounds: I too was born in the former Soviet Union. Although, unlike you, I was in my mid-twenties in 1989, when I left the Soviet Union and came to America. I share your liberal values: I believe in protecting Civil Liberties. I hate Racism and believe in judging people based "on the contents of their character". So, how come, while you are supporting leftist politicians, I find myself firmly on the Right side of political spectrum? Perhaps the answer lies in this attempt to explain my views. In turn, I’d like to ask you a few questions. And, while I’d like you to answer them in the comments here, you are certainly not obligated to do so. But I sincerely hope that at least you’ll think of answers to my questions and try to answer them just for yourself.
Let’s start with your assertion that all media is biased. That may be true, but you can analyze various sources and determine the facts behind reports. Besides, even though all the reporters and commentators are biased in favor of their own views, there are intellectually honest among them. Those, who are intellectually honest, report the facts even if those facts contradict their original views. Misreporting the facts in order to push an agenda would be dishonest. There are dishonest reporters, but please don’t paint them all with such a broad brush. Put yourself in their place: would you misreport the facts in order to push an agenda? So, I would recommend Bill O’Reilly in the middle, Dennis Prager on the Right, Kirsten Powers on the Left. Dennis Prager usually recommends New Republic on the Left. Additionally, you can use your own life experiences, sources, like your family and friends, and logic to decipher the facts. When the facts don’t make sense to you, as reported, then they are probably misreported. A good example of your own analysis of the news is your own views on the news reporting on Israel, as reported by the leftist media. You probably have your own sources in Israel: your friends and relatives. And you use your own logic. So, you instantly see when the facts about Israel get misreported. And it angers you. So, now, as long as we are on the subject of Israel, we come to the first of my questions for you:
1. While here in the States about 77% of American Jews voted for Obama, 76% of American Jews in Israel voted for McCain. Why do you think that is? Could it be this story? Or this? Just to prove this point, here is the Google search result for Chas Freeman, now withdrawn Obama’s nominee to chair the National Intelligence Council.
You state that we were dragged "into a horrible war in Iraq, in the name of oil". First of all, any war is horrible, that is the nature of war, however just it may be. But here is my second question for you:
2. You state that the war in Iraq was "in the name of oil". What do you base this assertion on? Just the fact that Iraq has oil?
Let’s talk about this a bit. Have you ever met anyone who was there? Who saw mass graves created by the Saddam’s regime? Are you going to say that it is not our business? Then it would not be very Liberal of you, would it? Because a true Liberal would want to stop the modern Nazi regime’s atrocities. The media says that WMD were not found in Iraq. Let’s stop and think. Everybody agrees that Saddam did have the WMD: after all, he used them. So, where could they go? There are 3 possible scenarios:
a) He used them all up. Not very likely: he would have to kill pretty much the whole population of his country to do that. Besides, if he had just run out of them, then he would not have to play all those games with UN inspectors, would he?
b) He destroyed them. Again, if he did, why would he play all those games with the UN inspectors? Some say that he did that in order to fool Iran into thinking that he still had WMD. Now, let’s look into this logic some more. He got rid of his WMD in order to comply with the UN demands. But he made the UN think that he did not comply in order to fool Iran. Where is the logic in that? If he wanted everybody to think that he still had the stuff, why bother destroying it in the first place? What could be gained by destroying the stuff, if everybody thinks that you still have it?
c) He hid the WMD really well or got them out of the country just before the invasion. Let’s look into this scenario. Saddam rightly calculated that he would not be able to successfully resist US Military on the battlefield. Using the WMD against American troops would bring American WMD onto his head, prove advocates of the invasion right, and he would still lose. However, if no WMD were found in Iraq, if the post-invasion occupation were messy and bloody enough, the American public might get tired of the mess and elect the politicians who would pull the troops out. So, he got the WMD out of Iraq right before the invasion, likely to Syria, and likely with Russia’s help.
It could be obvious from my description that I personally buy scenario (c). But which one of these scenarios makes sense to you? Can you think of any other scenarios? Just give it some thought. Incidentally, Saddam’s calculation was correct, just not in time for him to benefit. As for the profit motive, it is well known that the Russians and the French had long business dealings with Saddam. So, it could be argued that they were opposed to our invasion in order to protect their profits. And while we are on the subject of Iraq, here is what 9/11 Commission has found. Do follow the links, you might find them interesting.
But enough on question #2. Let’s move on. You say you believe in Equality. So, here is my third question:
3. Do you mean "Equality of opportunity and Equality under the Law"? Or, do you mean "Equality of outcome"?
You and I both were born in a country where the Equality of outcome was at least attempted. Incidentally, it never worked out that way: people always found ways around the system. So, there was Party elite, better overall conditions in Moscow at the expense of other areas, people getting rich illegally. But majority of Soviet citizens had equally low standard of living. So, try to answer this question for yourself: which equality do you want? And, by the way, these kinds of equality are mutually excluding, because in order to ensure equality of outcome those who are more successful have to be deprived of their success by the law.
You say you want to end Racism. Very well. Here is question number 4:
4. Do you think not admitting a person into college because of his or her ethnic origin is racist? How about admitting someone into college because of his or her ethnic origin? Isn’t that equally racist? After all, if you admit someone based on race or ethnicity, that means that someone who is of "wrong" race or ethnicity gets denied admission. So, how can you support politicians who support that vile quota system, otherwise known as Affirmative Action? Is it in order to compensate for some past wrongs? Well, for starters for example, there was a time when Jews were not admitted into Harvard. That in fact was the reason why Einstein refused to work there and went instead to Princeton. Is there an Affirmative Action for Jews at Harvard? Also, back in Odessa Jews were often not admitted into colleges. Those who were, had to know somebody, bribe somebody, or be listed as "Russians" in their internal passports. But in places like Tashkent, for example, it was the Russians who were often discriminated against. In fact, you had a better chance to get in, if you were a Jew than if you were a Russian. Am I supposed to feel vindicated because of that anti-Russian discrimination? Or is discrimination always bad, no matter against whom and for whom? I personally like the attitude my kids have about race and ethnicity: they simply don’t care. To them a Black kid is just another kid. That’s how Racism ends once and for all: you raise the next generation to simply not pay attention to race at all.
Moving on. You say you believe in protecting Civil Liberties, but not with guns. So, here is question number 5:
5. How would you protect yourself from that mugger you described in your article? Would you rely on Police to be there to protect you? Usually the Police arrives after the fact. But, let me suggest an even scarier scenario. Suppose, the cops do come in time, but your mugger just tells them: "This is just a Jew I am mugging". And the Police just reply to the mugger: "Ah, OK, let us help you. This Jew needs mugging, beating and perhaps killing". Oh, wait! That has already happened before, roughly 65 years ago. The Jews did not have guns and were murdered en masse. On the other hand, in the instances when the Jews did have guns, they had a descent chance of survival. While we are on the subject of Jews with guns, have you seen the movie "Defiance"? If you haven’t, you should. It is based on true story. You’ll like the movie, you’ll be able to relate to it. Even my wife, who usually does not like war movies, liked it. You might also cry during the movie. My wife did. After you watch it, read this review published by CNN, one of the leftist media organizations. If your blood start boiling after reading that crap, try calming down by reading my review of the review. You see, the Left wants to see the Jews as quiet little victims for whom they can feel sorry. When the Jews start defending themselves with – oh, horror! – guns, that is unacceptable to the Left. And don’t even get me started on anti-Semitism prevalent on the Left these days. You probably never went to any of the so-called "peace" protests. Because if you did, you’d be thoroughly disgusted about vile anti-Semitism found there. I countered a number of those demonstrations, and I saw that with my own eyes.
So, here is my question number 6:
6. How can you be on the same side politically with those anti-Semites?
You say that the Government has a duty to help people with education and health care etc. I actually agree that the Government should serve as a safety net. As Winston Churchill said (not an exact quote), the Government should encourage competition, but mitigate the consequences of a failure. But how to help people effectively is also important. So, on the subject of education, here is a question number 7:
7. What is wrong with tying the money to a kid, rather than to a school? You give a kid a voucher and pay whichever school the kid attends. That way the schools have to compete for kids and parents. This system is apparently successful in countries like Belgium. But the leftist politicians are against it. Why?
Moving on to the subject of health care and Government involvement in it. Here is the question number 8:
8. Have you heard a phrase (I am using translit because I am not sure if you can read in Russian) "Lechit’sya darom – eto darom lechit’sya"? Since this is an open letter, for those who do not speak Russian, this phrase can be roughly translated as "You get treated for nothing, and your treatment is nothing", i. e. "The health care is free, and you get what you paid". If you haven’t heard it, you might want to ask your parents. They might be able to describe the joys of the Soviet free health care for you. Oh, and by the way, here is a story from Canada, reported by another fellow Jew from the old Soviet Union. Read it in full: the punch line, or rather the punch paragraph, is at the end.
Moving on. You say you support abortion rights. I actually happen to agree that the Government should stay out of this issue: it is too often a purely medical decision in which no government bureaucrat should have any say. However, I do think that abortions for convenience are immoral and, in fact, kill babies. I came to this conclusion after seeing an ultrasound picture of my older daughter over 8 years ago. So, here is my question number 9:
9. Where do you draw the line for abortions for convenience: 1st trimester, exit out of the womb? Why not later? For example, Peter Singer argues that it should be OK to kill infants. What do you think of his argument? Or how about this scenario: a late term abortion was performed, but the baby (or the fetus, if you will) survived and has been removed from the womb alive. Should such baby be given medical care? Obama said: "No". But what do you think? You see, here is a good way to test whether you want to support a certain policy: if you can support a policy taken to its logical conclusion, then you can support it. Or, if you think you can support support a policy up to a point, you should know where that point is, and why. Think about it.
You say you don’t believe in good and evil. OK, here my question number 10:
10. Were the Nazis evil? I will even re-phrase: is the Nazi ideology evil? How about modern day Nazis of Hamas and Hezbollah?
You say you love everybody. Question number 11:
11. Do you love people who want to murder you and your family and everybody you love? Would you love a young SS soldier, who in his indignation against the enemies of the Reich, however misguided, took Jewish babies by their feet and smashed their heads against cobblestones somewhere in Warsaw? Because that was how the SS murdered Jewish babies in order to save bullets. You see, a proper reaction to the actions of SS by any normal human being, let alone a Jew, is not love, but hate toward the SS and overwhelming desire to kill the bastards. Think about this one.
12. Does this cult of personality give you pause? Does it scare you, just a little bit, especially coming from the former Soviet Union? What do your parents say about it?
As for Mother Russia, I’ll just leave you with the words of Evgeny Kliachkin, who called the old country not a mother, but a step-mother, and a wicked one at that. Again, if you were too young when you left that country, I’ll refer you to your parents. Ask them.
I hope I did not offend you. I meant no disrespect. I just wanted you to stop and think. I bet our views are very similar: after all, I call myself a true Liberal. Best wishes and have a wonderful Purim.
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Here are several links from LGF:
Just read it.
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This is is what comes to mind when a former KGB Colonel and a current Prime Minister of Russia explains the dangers of socialism.
I get interesting e-mails from someone named Larwin. I am not sure who it is, but I am sure I have exchanged comments with this person on some blog. Larwin sent me a link to the Gateway Pundit post with links and comments on former Russian President Putin’s speech in Davos at the World Economic Forum. The transcript of the speech is here. Here is the money quote:
Esteemed colleagues, one is sorely tempted to make simple and popular decisions in times of crisis. However, we could face far greater complications if we merely treat the symptoms of the disease.
Naturally, all national governments and business leaders must take resolute actions. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid making decisions, even in such force majeure circumstances, that we will regret in the future.
This is why I would first like to mention specific measures which should be avoided and which will not be implemented by Russia.
We must not revert to isolationism and unrestrained economic egotism. The leaders of the world’s largest economies agreed during the November 2008 G20 summit not to create barriers hindering global trade and capital flows. Russia shares these principles.
Although additional protectionism will prove inevitable during the crisis, all of us must display a sense of proportion.
Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence is another possible mistake.
True, the state’s increased role in times of crisis is a natural reaction to market setbacks. Instead of streamlining market mechanisms, some are tempted to expand state economic intervention to the greatest possible extent.
The concentration of surplus assets in the hands of the state is a negative aspect of anti-crisis measures in virtually every nation.
In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated. (Emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit).
Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.
And one more point: anti-crisis measures should not escalate into financial populism and a refusal to implement responsible macroeconomic policies. The unjustified swelling of the budgetary deficit and the accumulation of public debts are just as destructive as adventurous stock-jobbing.
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A Nazi hiding out in an Arab country? Converting to Islam? Wow, you don’t say:
BERLIN — Documents have surfaced in Egypt showing the world’s most-wanted Nazi war criminal, concentration camp doctor Aribert Heim, died in Cairo in 1992, Germany’s ZDF television and The New York Times reported.
Wednesday’s reports said Heim, known as ‘Dr. Death,’ was living under a pseudonym and had converted to Islam by the time of his death from intestinal cancer.
ZDF said that in a joint effort with the New York Times, it located a passport, application for a residence permit, bank slips, personal letters and medical papers — in all more than 100 documents — left behind by Heim in a briefcase in the hotel room where he lived under the name Tarek Hussein Farid.
Though he did not know Heim’s real identity, Egyptian dentist Tarek Abdelmoneim el Rifai said he knew him through his father, Abdelmoneim el Rifai, 88, who was Heim’s dentist in Cairo.
He told the AP on Wednesday that he only met Heim a few times, 20 years ago, but confirmed that he knew of his death.
"He died in 1992. I didn’t know that he was a doctor and that he is the most wanted Nazi war criminal. I am surprised," he said in a telephone interview.
"He introduced himself to my father as a German and I know that he converted to Islam and changed his name."
When he met Heim two decades ago at his father’s clinic, el Rifai said he had the impression he was on the run.
"The only thing I knew about him is that he fled from the Jews," el Rifai said. (Emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit).
That poor German escaping from those murderous Jews! He was just a doctor, dedicated his life to science! Of course he was welcomed by another Jew-hating regime. Come to think of it, there seems to be a lot of Jew-hating doctors, just look at Hamas leadership! What, they don’t like the competition?
Read it all. Of course, it is not surprising that the Nazis find asylum in the Arab countries governed by the modern Jew-hating Nazi-like regimes. Another one, Alois Brunner escaped to Syria and might still be alive.
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MOSCOW — President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that Russia and its ex-Soviet allies want to help the United States stabilize Afghanistan, saying Moscow wanted "full-fledged" cooperation with Washington.
He spoke a day after the ex-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan announced it would evict the U.S. from an air base key to the Afghan war. Kyrgyzstan made the move after getting a promise for $2 billion in loans from Russia — which resents the American presence in a region Moscow regards as part of its traditional sphere of influence.
The possibility of the base closure poses a serious challenge to the new U.S. administration and President Barack Obama’s plan to send up to 30,000 more American forces into Afghanistan this year.
"Russia and other (alliance members) are ready for full-fledged comprehensive cooperation with the United States and other coalition members in fighting terrorism in the region. This fight must be comprehensive and include both military and political components. Only in the case will this have a chance to succeed," Medvedev said.
It was not clear if Medvedev’s reference to "full-fledged" cooperation was an attempt to reassure Washington or an indication that Moscow would seek concessions in exchange for helping keep the Manas air base open.
Read it all. There were some news stories back in late 2001 – early 2002 about the Russians helping us in Afghanistan. It was all believable back then. But then Russia started being a pain in the ass. It is very hard to trust them. They always have some strange angle. At the same time, it is in their interests to be our allies, in my opinion. After all, they have their own problems with the islamists. But the idiots dreaming of Russia’s greatness might screw up the life for us and them.
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As I have mentioned before, last Saturday my wife and I went to see the movie "Defiance". The movie is based on a true story told by Nechama Tec about 4 Bielski brothers who organized a Jewish partisan band in Nazi-occupied Western Byelorussia and saved 1200 Jews. This is the only kind of Holocaust movie that I like: the kind where Jews save themselves, have guns, fight back and defend themselves. The movie is very well made, and the acting is pretty good too. The reviews by regular movie-goers are almost universally good. People can relate to the story: people hunted like animals stand up and defend themselves. The professional critics, being the pretentious blowhards that they are, don’t particularly like the movie and keep analyzing artistic merits of the story. But there are no artistic merits in this story, it is what it is. This is a docudrama, or, more properly, a reenactment of historical events. The script writer did not have to invent any clever plot lines, they were provided by life itself. However, the review linked to above is not the most insulting and idiotic. Yesterday my co-worker sent me a link to this Atlas Shrugs post, which links to a review written by someone named Tom Charity and published by CNN. Pamela quotes this lovely passage from the review:
"The timing is unfortunate. For a story that has gone neglected for the best part of 60 years, this is hardly the ideal week to be extolling heroic Jewish resistance fighters. Ari Folman’s angst-laden nonfiction animated film, "Waltz With Bashir," is altogether more relevant."
This guy of course has a problem with the Jews in Israel defending themselves against Hamas murderers. This basically reveals the main problem the Left has with Israel. Besides the anti-Semitism prevalent on the Left, the leftists prefer Jews as quiet little victims silently marching into the gas chambers, so the Left can feel sorry for them afterwards. But as bad as the passage above is, the complete article is even worse. The term "pretentious blowhard" is, well, too charitable for Mr. Charity (pun intended). Mr. Charity writes his review with very little, if any, knowledge and understanding of the subject matter of the film. Well, I will take up an exercise in futility and attempt to enlighten Mr. Charity and his ilk.
One of the idiocies of this review that stands out is this:
In "Defiance" those words come with a thick, guttural European inflection (Hebrew is spoken as English, though characters also break into subtitled Russian and German on occasion). The speechifying is often clumsy and long-winded.
I would have forgiven Mr. Charity if he would have said "Yiddish is spoken as English". This is probably the way it was intended by the director anyway. But Hebrew? This guy is just an ignorant idiot. No, I am not being charitable any more. Apart from a rabbi conducting a service, Hebrew was never spoken by Jews in Byelorussia. The language spoken by those involved in the story was probably a mixture of Russian, Byelorussian, Polish and Yiddish, with Russian predominating among the city dwellers from the East and Polish among those from the West. Any commands and speeches would probably be given in Russian. How do I know this? Well, look at my background! Yes, Odessa is not in Byelorussia, but I know enough people from there too. And there are and were enough similarities in conditions in Odessa and Byelorussia for me to know what language was spoken by the real characters in this story. And by the way, there was no German spoken by the Jews in the movie.
Mr. Charity laments Zus’ decision to join the Soviet partisans and take the fight to the Nazis. Hiding in some hole must be more appealing for Mr. Charity. He does not think that the Russians were true friends of Zus. It would help if Mr. Charity would have read Nechama Tec’s book on which the movie is based. Victor Panchenko, the Russian commander, is not shown as a villain in the movie. Indeed, he was not. Unlike many Russian partisans, Panchenko accepted Jewish able-bodied men into his group. And once he esteblished contact with the Belski brothers, he sent the non-fighters their way. If Mr. Charity would have read the book, he would know that Panchenko was very helpful to the Belski brothers. He helped the Jewish partisans establish contact with the Soviet High Command, which was necessary for treating the wounded and getting supplies. Jewish fighters were participating in missions together with the Russians, missions ordered by the Soviet Command. And Panchenko made use of Jewish camp as a base, using skilled laborers weapons maintenance and repair and medical professionals for treating lightly wounded. This actually alluded to in the movie, when the newcomers to the camp are asked what they can do. And, by the way, Panchenko punished anti-Semites. While Zus and some of his comrades did come back to the Belski camp, some other Jewish fighters stayed with Panchenko because they wanted to fight the Germans more actively as members of a more mobile Panchenko group. Here is one more news flash for Mr. Charity: wanting to take the fight to the Nazis is a good thing.
Here is another lovely passage by Mr. Charity:
The movie is full of mud and muck, yet somehow Zwick sanitizes the things that matter most. In the most challenging scene, just as Tuvia turns a blind eye as his enraged fellow Jews beat a German prisoner to death, Zwick consistently pulls back from anything that might be too unpleasant or tasteless.
Mr. Ignoramus conveniently does not notice clearly visible SS insignia under the "poor" German’s camouflage coat. The fact that he was SS means that he was likely a member of one of the Einsatzgruppen, a special SS unit whose only purpose in life was to murder Jews. So, what would Mr. Charity have Tuvia Belski do, shoot his fellow Jews in order to save an SS-man? And what would partisans do with a POW? Start a POW camp in the woods? The circumstances were such that the German had to be killed anyway. Or should they let him go, so that he would come back with his Einsatzkommando? I personally would have preferred that the Nazi were thoroughly interrogated and then disposed of cleanly with a bullet to the back of his head. But once the mob started beating on him there was no stopping them without shooting one of long suffering people whose loved ones were perhaps murdered by that SS-man. It obviously was not worth it. The ignorance and lack of historical perspective displayed by Tom Charity is staggering. And he uses this episode to take another anti-Semitic potshot at those "murderous" Jews. By the way, why is this scene more challenging than, let’s say, the scene where Tuvia shoots Arkady, the man who challenged his command authority? The man was a jerk, but at least he was on our side. He was one of the Jews initially saved by the Belskis. Could it be that Mr. Charity feels more sorry for the Nazi than for the Jew? "His [Edward Zwick's - Eric-Odessit] heroes remain fundamentally unsullied," Mr. Charity laments. He clearly would prefer to sully them.
There is also this idiotic passage:
Zwick’s Hollywood liberal credentials are not in doubt, but his films have a surprisingly gung-ho undercurrent (they include such martial adventures as "The Last Samurai," "Glory," "The Siege," "Legends of the Fall" and "Courage Under Fire").
Tom clearly does not like plots where good guys are fighting the bad guys. He must subscribe to the notion that "War never solves anything". Well, I have to remind him that war did stop slavery, Nazism and Communism. So, it did solve something. And who cares about "Zwick’s Hollywood liberal credentials"? He probably does lean Left, but it does not matter. He made a good movie, movie I can relate to. Older generation of my family lived this story. I know people who were participants in similar stories. And he made a movie about Holocaust where the Jews take up guns, shoot back and defend themselves, killing the Nazis. That’s better than all the "Schindler’s Lists" and "Pianists" combined.
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Correction: in the picture identifying Rabbi Goldstein of Chabad of Poway the rabbi is misidentified. Some people pointed out to me that the rabbi in the picture is actually Rabbi Leider. Sorry about that.
Yesterday there was another demonstration by by Hamas supporters. I wanted to counter it, but some of the supporters of Israel who are observant Jews would not be able to participate because of Shabat. I went there anyway, just to see what was going on and to alert the local news organizations that there would be a pro-Israel demonstration today. But the news weren’t there, according to the cops at the scene they got tired of those Hamas supporters. So I simply e-mailed the local news channels the information about our demonstration. In the evening, as if we needed more inspiration for the action today (not really, I was pretty gung-ho as it was), my wife and I went to see the movie "Defiance". The movie is based on a true story told by Nechama Tec about 4 Bielski brothers who organized a Jewish partisan band in Nazi-occupied Western Byelorussia and saved 1200 Jews. The movie is very well made. What makes the movie and the real story itself particularly good is the fact that in it the Jews actually shoot back, the same fact that continuously annoys the Left about Israel. And so today we had a demonstration in support of the Jews who shoot back and defend themselves. Despite the short notice we had relatively descent turn-out: between 50 and 100 people. Doing your own demonstration is different from organizing a counter: you need more preparation and you need to have your own program for the rally. Just standing somewhere with signs and flags might get boring. We had a little bit of a program: we had fliers to give away, writing letters to Israeli soldiers, and a rabbi was putting tefillin on any Jewish man who wanted it. Next time we should plan it better. Of the local news channels only KUSI and NBC 7/39 showed up. Once they have their coverage on their sites, I will link to it. Below are some pictures from our rally.
There is our table with fliers.
Some of our guys with signs.
Rabbi Goldstein from Chabad of Poway. He was "the Water Rabbi" who distributed water to firefighter during the 2007 fires in San Diego.
Rabbi Mendy from Chabad of Poway.
Raj from India expressing solidarity with Israel and USA. He remembers Mumbai and other atrocities of Islamist terrorists.
A Protest Warrior sign.
More of our signs.
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What constitutes a successful counter-demonstration? When you do this, your audience is not the people you are countering: you will never change their minds. Your audience is general public. So, in countering your opposition you are successful if you get a descent news coverage. Fairly sizable crowd on your side is also pretty nice. The best situation is when the bad guys (and is this particular situation the Hamas supporters really are the bad guys) show their true colors for the general public to see. Well, San Diego Fox 5 Channel captured exactly that. In their video segment they interviewed one of our guys. He had just finished explaining to the reporter that the pro-Hamas people chants "From the river to the sea…" mean that they don’t want peace, but rather the destruction of Israel. And then, as if on cue, the Hamas supporters started chanting: "From the river to the sea…" That is what I call "success". See for yourself:
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A friend from Israel sent me a great article that describes the struggle Israel involved in, the media reporting on it, the "World Community" reactions to it, and frustration of all freedom-loving people, Jews and non-Jews alike, watching the news covering the events. The article appeared originally as a post on an Israeli blog and has no title. Since the author (her name is Julia) is originally from Russia, the whole blog, including the article, is in Russian. For those willing and able to read the original article in the original Russian, please go ahead. For the English-speaking audience, here is my translation:
You and your family came out of your house. You – let’s say, personally you – the head of family, your wife, two kids (5 and 10 years old), and your dogie, the beloved poodle, affectionate and silly. You go about your business and suddenly you are attacked by a bunch of wild dogs. One of them jumps on the poodle, the second brought down the little one and it looks like it is going to gnaw through his throat, while your wife attempts to drive it off, the third one got the oldest kid up into the tree and keeps barking below. A few more large and sharp-toothed dogs approach the place of struggle from several different sides. The most aggressive of them bites into your foot. You pull out a gun and shoot – first the one biting you, to get it out of the way, then – the one tormenting the child, afterwards – the one eating your poodle, and finally you shoot the one waiting for its prey under the tree. The rest scatter, but not too far, and they are standing at some distance roaring threateningly. You shoot one more dog, it falls, the rest runs away, now for good.
You help your wife the youngest child to get up, help the oldest to climb down from the tree; alas, the poodle is already beyond help. You call the ambulance which takes you all to the ER, where you, your wife and the bitten child get stitches and prescriptions for 40 injections into the stomach. At home you turn the TV on, and an anchor reports: “Today in Town N Mr. M. shot to death several vagrant dogs”. And a picture – a puddle of blood at the place of the fight, but, as far as you remember, the blood belongs to your poodle. Another news broadcast clarifies that one of the killed dogs, the one that was biting your foot, was an eight-months old puppy (never mind that it was a puppy of mastiff, still, it was a baby), the second (the one that attacked your child) belonged to a prominent member of the community. The third dog, which was barking under the tree, was completely harmless, had never bitten anyone, although barked at everyone and everything with and without any reason. And only the fourth one, that tore the poodle apart, was rabid. The anchors ask various experts some questions. The talking heads are talking on.
“Certainly,” says one, fine looking and well-fed, “dogs should not be killed. Moreover, in such unequal battle. Indeed, they do not have pistols, they honestly fight with their teeth. Furthermore, they were really hungry. It is possible to understand them”.
“Sooo,” the second, shaggy and bearded, guy timidly inserts, “but, what do you expect? For Mr. M. to bite them back?”
“No,” answers the third talking head, the bald and passionate one, “absolutely not. It was necessary to kill the rabid dog, but why the rest had to suffer? The puppy didn’t really do anything at all. It bit his foot, big deal! You don’t kill for this! The barking one also was not going to bite anyone. And the prominent citizen might now sue. For the murder of his dog”.
“Yes, but how do you determine, which one is rabid and which is not, in this extreme situation?” the news anchor asks.
“That’s why we are human, so we can distinguish between the rabid and not,” the bald one replies authoritatively, “we must not stoop to the level of animals. Nothing there was extreme. Indeed, everybody survived, did they not?”
“But wait,” interferes the representative of the society of the protection of animals. “How is it? Is it possible in general to shoot the living things? They trust us! We should feed them, protect them, not shoot them!”
You are amazed listening to this crap, then you go on-line and see the headlines: “Shooting of defenseless animals!” one site screams. And a photo with a puddle of blood on asphalt. “Unprovoked attack on dogs!” another site shouts. And a picture of a cute puppy face. “Let us protect our beloved pets!” the third one says, not to be too far behind the first two. And in the photograph – muzzle of an automatic weapon pointing toward a reader. You go to your own blog and describe events from your point of view. You don’t have photographs from the scene of the incident, so you get your camera out and take pictures of your child with stitches on the hands; then you post the photographs as an illustration. In the comments there are many of those who sympathize with you, but there are also home-grown investigators and moralists.
“Photoshop,” they confidently declare about the photograph.
“In general, why do you walk around with a handgun?” they question. Your answer “If not for that gun, we would not be alive now” follows this remark: “Well, great, then the dogs would remain alive”. To the observation “They killed our dog too” they with the knowledge on the matter declare: “This still needs to be verified, who killed your dog, you must have hit it yourself accidentally”.
“You kill puppies!”
“You should not live in dangerous neighborhood!”
“You should be taking another road!”
“If you fed them, they would not touch you!”
To the last slogan, something like “Death to the dog-killers!”, you answer exhaustingly: “Get lost, you, idiot”. The commenter gleefully rubs his hands and screams: “Look, how aggressive he is! Why are you so aggressive?” Yes, really Why do you think?
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Although technically today’s counter of the pro-Hamas rally in Balboa Park was not an official San Diego Protest Warrior action, it was in spirit of the San Diego Chapter of Protest Warrior. We met at the statue of El Cid in front of the Art Museum and the proceeded to the fountain in front of the Science Museum, where all the action was. Our turn-out was surprisingly good: News 8 reported about equal crowds on both sides, which it probably was. Although, initially we had slightly more people. Both sides just stood there and shouted at each other, but generally it was pretty peaceful. We tried to keep a distance of several feet between us and the pro-Hamas people in order to keep the police happy. The cops were trying to maintain neutrality but, as often in these situations, had their sympathies on our side. Apparently at one point one woman from the Hamas side started choking on something and was saved by a Jewish doctor from our crowd. A cop present at that scene commented: "That’s about sums it up". I hope I will be able to get more details of that particular episode. Overall it went pretty good, and we all had some fun. The only downside was that we left after the Hamas guys did their march because we thought that they were done. Turns out, they stayed. But they did not stay unopposed: some of our guys showed up late for the main thing and ended up being our 2nd shift. So, it all worked out. Below are some pictures and videos that I took.
These are 2 crowds with some distance in between.
Our crowd looks bigger.
Note conspicuous absence of American flags on their side.
More of us and them.
Us from the back.
They teach their kids to hate while they are young.
San Diego Fox 5 TV crew.
Below are the short videos I took with my camera. When we were chanting, we were at disadvantage: the Hamas guys had a couple of megaphones, but we had just our voices. Still, we managed. For those who still has illusions that the Hamas crowd wants 2 peaceful democratic states, Arab and Jewish, living side by side, pay close attention to the Hamas crowd chants. Their chants about "From the river to the sea…" should put an end to any illusions about their peaceful intentions.
Finally, some of our signs. They are pretty self-explanatory.
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What Israel is now doing regarding the rocket attacks by Hamas from Gaza should have been done a couple of years ago, right after the Israeli civilians were removed from Gaza and the first rockets started raining down on Sderot. But it is better late than never. Here is the primer explaining what is happening and why:
Defending Israeli citizens from terrorist fire
A quarter of a million Israeli citizens have been living under incessant terror attacks from the Gaza Strip with thousands of missiles fired over the past eight years.
These missiles have been described as "home made" by the media. They are, in fact, deadly. Hamas has in its possession longer range Katyushas and Grad-type missiles which can cause devastation such as that on Monday 29 December as one Israeli was killed and 14 injured in a Grad attack on Ashkelon.
Israel left Gaza in 2005, giving Palestinians the chance to run their own lives. Despite this, more than 6300 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel since then.
During the past year alone, more than 3000 rockets and mortars have been launched into Israel.
Since the end of a formal ceasefire (during which terror attacks continued) with Hamas came to an end on Dec. 19, more than 170 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israeli civilians including a barrage of some 80 missiles on Dec. 24 alone.
As US President-elect Obama stated during a visit to Sderot five months ago, "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing."
No other country in the world would have exercised the amount of restraint that Israel has shown for the past several years without responding.
Read the whole thing. And, in case someone thinks that this is just pro-Israel point of view, here is what Egyptian Foreign Minister had to say on the subject (thanks to LGF):
This is the proof that there are sane politicians in the Arab world, which in turn gives me hope that ultimately peace is possible.
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These are just quick predictions without a lot of links.
1. The war.
The War on Terror, more properly known as the War against Islamo-Fascism, consists of 2 major overt parts, which are often separated by the Left: Afghanistan and Iraq. I do not see any major changes in the action in Afghanistan, although there might be an escalation. Al Qaeda will be kept at bay there, but unlikely completely defeated without any major action in the Afghan-Pakistan border region by either Pakistani or our military.
Iraq is a different matter. Iraq has been largely pacified, thanks to the Surge for which neither Bush nor McCain got any credit. Now it will be possible to drastically reduce the troop level there. The bases will remain, but roughly around 16 months from Obama taking office most of the troops will be brought home or redeployed to Afghanistan. It will happen roughly around 16 months from Obama taking office because that is what he promised. Obama will proclaim that he brought the troops home. It would have happened under any President, but Obama will take and get the credit for it.
There will be no major change in the policy on Iran. We might see some low level diplomatic contacts. We might also see some nukes pointed to Iran, in case they do attack Israel. Iran will get the Bomb, unless the Israelis bomb their nuclear sites and win some time that way. There will be no effort to support the opposition in Iran, so no Iranian regime change during the Obama Administration.
Amid the proclamations of undying support for Israel, the pressure to just take the hits from her enemies will increase dramatically. If Israel does bomb Iran, she will be condemned by the whole world. That will include the United States as well, although this country will not be as loud as everybody else. The Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear sites will be used by some politicians as a justification to push for reduction of the American aid to Israel, and they may, or may not, succeed in it. On the brighter side, the potential unfriendliness of the Obama Administration might untie Israel’s hands, which will be a good thing.
If the new administration largely stays out of the economy, it will probably recover within 6 months. It’s not that bad anyway, my job-searching experience this December is a testament to that. The problem is the credit crunch, which will probably dissipate in 6 months. But then, I am not an economist, so what do I know? I mean, other than having 2 job offers 10 days after being laid off?
I don’t think Obama Administration will do much, except maybe allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. That will probably reduce the potential growth of the economy, but will likely not stop it.
5. Health Care.
The subject of Health Care is the one on which I often part ways with my fellow Republicans. So far I never supported what the Democrats have proposed on the subject because their proposals often tend to introduce a large government component into the health care system and try to make it like Canadian system, and based on my information this does not work. But some of the Obama’s proposals on Health Care do make sense. I definitely don’t see anything wrong with selling already existing government insurance like Medi-Cal or the Congressional insurance plan to the general public and making it compete with the private insurance plans. I also don’t think people should be allowed to choose not to buy some health insurance for themselves and their families. That is because this is not the choice they make. It would be if in case of an accident those people would simply be left to die. But they are not, and frankly I don’t think a civilized society should allow people to die if they don’t have the money to pay for their care and no charity comes along in time. Thus, people who "choose" not to buy health insurance are actually sticking everybody else with the bill. So, if they "choose" not to buy the insurance, the premium for their accidental coverage should be deducted from their paycheck or paid along with taxes.
6. The bottom line.
It’s not that bad. We just need to prevent the cult of personality from getting too bad. It is frankly getting ridiculous with a bunch of books by Obama and about Obama prominently displayed in the book stores and new calendars with Obama quotes being sold. But hopefully it will be limited to that and will dissipate pretty soon. We also need to make sure that Obama’s more sinister ideas, like his "civilian national security force" do not go through. Hopefully nothing drastic will happen in the first 4 years, and with some luck we’ll get someone more reasonable into the White House in 2012.
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On December 14 my older daughter had her 1st figure skating competition. She even took 1st place and got a trophy. Of course, all the kids were separated into the groups of 1 or 2 kids. My daughter was only one in her group, so she took the 1st place in the group of one. I understand that this was done in order to encourage the 1st-time competitors and prevent them from being too shy to perform on the ice. Still, I think it would have been better if they were in the groups of 3 kids, so there would have been some real competition, even though everyone would still get a trophy. But we all did enjoy the experience. Here is the video:
My little figure skater used my favorite song for her program:
My daughter have already picked the music for her next program. Let the record show that I did not suggest another Andrews Sisters song: it was entirely her idea:
Although, I do have to admit that I did have some influence on my daughter’s taste in music.
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I am putting this update at the top because the rest of this post is not very relevant any longer. It looks like I am starting a new job on 1/5/2009. It is a medical equipment company. I’ve been fascinated by the medical electronics ever since I graduated from college, so now is my chance to design some of it. Under the circumstances I would prefer working for a defense company in order to contribute more directly to the war effort, but unfortunately it did not work out that way. Still, I am quite happy about this new job.
There is also a career milestone for me. For me this is the first job ever when knowing someone who knew someone actually helped me to get the job, or get an interview, to be precise. This means that my professional network is finally starting to help. Here is what happened:
I actually sent my resume to this company back in September. But it is a big company, so I never heard anything. But after I got laid off I gave my resume to an Applications Engineer from a company whose chips I use (I should have done it back in September). This guy had a meeting with some engineers from a company where I am going to work and passed my resume over to them. They called me for an interview, and I got a job. I actually had an offer from another company as well, so I could choose where I wanted to go. So, there are jobs out there, just look at Monster.com.
The downside of this all is that I am not getting more time to blog after all.
Right before Thanksgiving I posted about a lay-off at my work. Back then I was not affected, although I knew that things weren’t good, so I was looking for another job. Well, another lay-off has happened just this Tuesday. This one affected me: I am now out of a job. The situation is not terrible: there are jobs out there, just look at Monster.com. But I can use all the help I can get, so I am posting my resume on my blog. I am posting it as a separate page on this site, as well as in PDF format. I am not showing my contact information on this version of my resume: this political blog is open to the general public, so it is probably not a good idea to have my home address, e-mail and phone numbers displayed for everybody to see. Your comments reach me through my e-mail, and the separate page makes it easier to reach me through comments. If you know anybody in need of an Electrical Engineer (Hardware Engineer, Electronics Engineer etc.), please direct them to my blog. If you request a copy of my resume in the Word format with all the contact information, please use your work e-mail, so I know that it is a legitimate company looking for an engineer. Thanks in advance for all the help.
On the brighter side, I will probably have some more time to blog, between looking for a job and doing all the honey-dos my wife assigns me now.
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This year my wife and I decided to put up some holiday decorations on our house for Christmas season. But, since we are Jewish, we were looking for Hanukkah decorations. One site we found is called "Christmas Central". And it has a wide variety of Hanukkah decorations. But it is the phrase at the top of this page that struck me as quintessentially American:
Christmas Central offers a wide variety of judaica decorations!
That is why I make it a point to say "Merry Christmas!" to my Christian friends.
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This becomes my annual Thanksgiving post.
Thanksgiving is a quintessentially American holiday. So, what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my family, for my wonderful wife and 2 beautiful girls. I am also thankful for the generally pretty good life I have. But who should thank for all this? The religious people thank G-d for all their blessings. But I am not religious enough in order to do that. And then it dawned on me. I should thank this wonderful country called United States of America and its wonderful people.
So, thank you, America, for existing, for being a beacon of freedom in the world where freedom is far from being commonplace. Thank you for making freedom your “national idea”, if you will.
Thank you, American Armed Forces, past and present, for ensuring our safety and, as my kids would put it, "fighting the bad guys". It is you, who ensures our freedom and wonderful opportunities this country provides.
Thank you, America, for accepting me as your own. You welcomed me, my family and friends and made us all Americans, part of your great people. You accept anybody who is willing to be accepted. You made acceptance and tolerance part of your ideology too.
Finally, thank you, America, for defending “liberty and justice for all” all over the world. Your young people volunteer to go and fight for what’s right and moral. If I were 20 years younger I would have joined them (lame excuse really, but that’s the only one I have). Winston Churchill once said: “The Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they had exhausted all other possibilities”. He knew what he was talking about. It is only natural to try “all other possibilities”: people always look for easy solutions. But in the end Americans do the right thing, no matter what the cost, for doing the right thing is a part of American ideology too.
Thank you, America.
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Last Friday we had a lay-off at my work. I am still working, but some people unfortunately lost their jobs. One of them is a nice lady named Donna. She is a very good PCB designer. With her permission I decided to post her resume on my blog. She is very good at what she does. I, as a Hardware Engineer, had to work with her a lot. She often knew where to place components and how to route signals even before I gave her instructions. She is also very resourceful and was often find information necessary to complete her tasks on the Internet. Additionally, Donna can do some mechanical design. So, if you are in the electronics business, please take a look at her resume. I highly recommend her. She can be contacted via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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… but not under military chain of command. That is one of Obama’s proposals. Little Green Footballs mentioned it here and linked to an article on the subject. But rather than reading quotes of Obama, take a look at this video of Obama talking about it himself:
In history there was a force that was just as powerful and well funded as the military, but not reporting to the military chain of command. In fact, it often was disliked by the regular military. Its name could be translated as "Protective Squadron" from its original language. In the original language it was called "Schutzstaffel". Its abbreviation SS is much better known. And it indeed was just as powerful as the Wehrmacht. It even had its own armored divisions. But it did not have its own air force: the SS fierce ideological convictions were no substitute for skills required for combat pilots. Still, the question remains: what exactly are Obama’s plans for this "civilian national security force"?
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That was a euphemistic name of the camp we were sent to when I finished 7th grade of school back in Odessa, in the former Soviet Union. We were sent to a collective farm to work in the fields for a week (or was it 2 weeks?). At the end of the school year we were required to write a letter of "request" to be sent to this camp. The letter was dictated to us in class. That was something we came to call "voluntary-mandatory", meaning that while "on paper" the required activity was voluntary, we really were not given any choice in the matter. Prior to 7th grade we were required to help in school with cleaning and repairs. Keep in mind that all that was cutting into summer vacation, so nobody was very anxious to participate in those activities.
Later, in college, we were sent to a collective farm for a month, usually in September. At least then it did not cut into the vacation time, and we were paid (although, very little). But it did cut into our studies, so part of the material had to be skipped.
So, why am I talking about it now? Because it looks like the "voluntary-mandatory" practices of my old country, that I thought I left behind and that I thought my children will never experience, are catching up with me. Enter President-Elect Barack Obama. On his transition site there is a section called "America Serves":
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit) a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.
Now, you might notice that it says "setting a goal", which does not sound too ominous. However, it appears that the wording has changed: it used to say "require". Original wording is available here. There is also further analysis of this proposal here and here. Do follow these links: they are very useful for understanding what might happen. There is also another article describing Rahm Emanuel’s, Obama’s new Chief of Staff, views:
"…Here’s how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They’ll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we’re hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities’ most pressing needs."
To be fair, there is an argument to be made that the community service requirement is not necessarily a bad idea. In fact it already exists to a certain extent on local level: my wife had to do it in order to get enough credit for acceptance into the SDSU Nursing School. Furthermore, there is an argument to be made that even Rahm Emanuel’s idea of compulsory civil service has some merit, especially during war time. However, these ideas have a lot of similarities with the old Soviet Union, to which I have to point out. Additionally, these ideas have a potential of generating some "buyer’s remorse" among the young people who were so enthusiastic about Obama’s Presidency.
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It’s been awhile since I last posted anything. Unfortunately I was too busy to post. Now I have a little bit of time, so I can describe my reaction to disastrous (for my side) election results. There is a number of reasons why I am extremely worried about the new administration. The most important one is not the one Obama directly responsible for: the cult of personality. On the other hand, I found (via LGF) a great article by Steven Den Beste:
…In the mean time, those of us who didn’t want Obama to be president have to accept that he is. And let’s not give in to the kind of paranoid fever dreams that have consumed the left for the last 8 years. Let us collectively take a vow tonight: no "Obama derangement syndrome". Obama is a politician. He isn’t the devil incarnate.
So what are the good sides of what just happened?
1. It is no longer possible for anyone to deny that the MSM is heavily biased. The MSM have been biased for decades but managed an illusion of fairness. That is no longer possible; the MSM have squandered their credibility during this campaign. They’ll never get that credibility back again.
2. Since the Democrats got nearly everything they hoped for in this campaign, they’ll have no excuses and will have to produce. They’ll have to reveal their true agenda — or else make clear that they don’t really have any beyond gaining power.
3. Every few decades the American people have to be reminded that peace only comes with strength. The next four years will be this generation’s lesson.
Now, a few predictions for the next four years:
1. Obama’s "hold out your hand to everyone" foreign policy is going to be a catastrophe. They’ll love it in Europe. They’re probably laughing their heads off about it in the middle east already.
2. The US hasn’t suffered a terrorist attack by al Qaeda since 9/11, but we’ll get at least one during Obama’s term.
3. We’re going to lose in Afghanistan.
4. Iran will get nuclear weapons. There will be nuclear war between Iran and Israel. (This is the only irreversibly terrible thing I see upcoming, and it’s very bad indeed.)
5. There will eventually be a press backlash against Obama which will make their treatment of Bush look mild. Partly that’s going to be because Obama is going to disappoint them just as much as all his other supporters. Partly it will be the MSM desperately trying to regain its own credibility, by trying to show that they’re not in his tank any longer. And because of that they are eventually going to do the reporting they should have done during this campaign, about Obama’s less-than-savory friends, and about voter fraud, and about illegal fund-raising, and about a lot of other things.
and 6. Obama will not be re-elected in 2012. He may even end up doing an LBJ and not even running again.
Do read it all. I agree with Steven Den Beste that there should be no "Obama Derangement Syndrome". But I don’t share his expectation that the media will turn on him. I am also not as optimistic about Republican 2012 prospective. I do hope that Obama lied through his teeth during the primaries in order to get the nomination. That is because his promises were so far to the left, that any deviation from them would necessarily move Obama closer to the center. In the meantime, those of us who disagree with Obama, while hoping that he would do well, should not hesitate to point out where we think he is wrong. And while I am not going to say that Obama is not my President, as many of the Left said about Bush, my "Nobama" sticker is not coming off my car. I might even add "Don’t blame me…" sticker to it. I do hope that all the dire predictions that I had and that Steven Den Beste has in his article won’t come true. But I do think that we are in for a rough ride for the next 4 years.
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Well, one of the ways is to force the banks to give mortgage loans to people who can’t pay, providing the government guarantees to the banks, and then simply wait for the borrowers to default on the loans. A fellow Protest Warrior sent me this video:
Do you know who yells "Catch that thief!" the loudest in the marketplace? It is usually the thief himself. That old truth is still true.
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This is the title of Caroline Glick’s article on the recent ridiculous dis-invitation of Sarah Palin from anti-Ahmadinejad rally (sorry, I don’t remeber where I saw the link to the article first):
American Jews have good reason to be ashamed and angry today. As Iran moves into the final stages of its nuclear weapons development program – nuclear weapons which it will use to destroy the State of Israel, endanger Jews around the world and cow the United States of America – Democratic American Jewish leaders decided that putting Sen. Barack Obama in the White House is more important than protecting the lives of the Jewish people in Israel and around the world.
On Monday, the New York Sun published the speech that Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would have delivered at that day’s rally outside UN headquarters in New York against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and against Iran’s plan to destroy Israel. She would have delivered it, if she hadn’t been disinvited.
The rally was co-sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the National Coalition to Stop Iran Now, The Israel Project, United Jewish Communities, the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Its purpose was to present a united American Jewish front against Iran’s genocidal leader and against its genocidal regime which is developing nuclear weapons with the stated intention of committing the second Holocaust in 80 years.
I am honored to be with you and with leaders from across this great country — leaders from different faiths and political parties united in a single voice of outrage.
Tomorrow, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will come to New York — to the heart of what he calls the Great Satan — and speak freely in this, a country whose demise he has called for.
Ahmadinejad may choose his words carefully, but underneath all of the rhetoric is an agenda that threatens all who seek a safer and freer world. We gather here today to highlight the Iranian dictator’s intentions and to call for action to thwart him.
He must be stopped.
The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a "Final Solution" — the elimination of the Jewish people. He has called Israel a "stinking corpse" that is "on its way to annihilation." Such talk cannot be dismissed as the ravings of a madman — not when Iran just this summer tested long-range Shahab-3 missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, not when the Iranian nuclear program is nearing completion, and not when Iran sponsors terrorists that threaten and kill innocent people around the world.
The Iranian government wants nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is running at least 3,800 centrifuges and that its uranium enrichment capacity is rapidly improving. According to news reports, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Iranians may have enough nuclear material to produce a bomb within a year.
The world has condemned these activities. The United Nations Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its illegal nuclear enrichment activities. It has levied three rounds of sanctions. How has Ahmadinejad responded? With the declaration that the "Iranian nation would not retreat one iota" from its nuclear program.
So, what should we do about this growing threat? First, we must succeed in Iraq. If we fail there, it will jeopardize the democracy the Iraqis have worked so hard to build, and empower the extremists in neighboring Iran. Iran has armed and trained terrorists who have killed our soldiers in Iraq, and it is Iran that would benefit from an American defeat in Iraq.
If we retreat without leaving a stable Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be bolstered. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons — they could share them tomorrow with the terrorists they finance, arm, and train today. Iranian nuclear weapons would set off a dangerous regional nuclear arms race that would make all of us less safe.
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That is how I view Sarah Palin. Smears are going around about her. But good old snopes.com is enough to debunk them. Here is the interview with Sarah’s friends. And here is a glimpse into her views on America’s relationship with Israel, especially for those Jews who insist on blind loyalty to the Democratic Party.
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First there were reports of women fainting at his rallies. Then he announced that he will give his nomination acceptance speech at a stadium instead of the site of the Democratic Party Convention. Finally, there was this speech in Germany. And, to top it off, his statement about never having any doubts. Is it just me, or is there a troubling pattern? Let’s compare with some other big rallies at a stadium. Or with another guy that was never wrong. No, I am not suggesting that Obama is a Nazi. Although, his ideology does come close to another leftist ideology, Communism. And now this from Atlas Shrugs:
Here is what the book description says (no, I am not providing a link to this crap):
Ever since Barack Obama was young, Hope has lived inside him. From the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of Indonesia to the plains of Kenya, he has held on to Hope. Even as a boy, Barack knew he wasn’t quite like anybody else, but through his journeys he found the ability to listen to Hope and become what he was meant to be: a bridge to bring people together.
This is the moving story of an exceptional man, as told by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Bryan Collier, both winners of the Coretta Scott King Award. Barack Obama has motivated Americans to believe with him, to believe that every one of us has the power to change ourselves and change our world.
It reminds me of the crap I’ve been told as a kid about the best child of all times, little Volodya Ulyanov. This is also the same kind of crap my parents were taught as kids: "Thank to Comrade Stalin for our happy childhood". Here is a picture of my dad’s kindergarten class:
The kid 3rd from the left in the top row is my dad. The girl 1st from the left in the bottom row is my dad’s cousin. The picture was taken in 1946. The portrait above my dad is of Stalin. The photographer who took the picture begged my grandma to give him the picture back or just to burn it, but grandma just hid it. You see, the half of Stalin’s head on the portrait is cut off in this picture. That would mean a death sentence for the photographer, if the authorities would see it.
So, how do you like my dad’s "happy childhood"? I don’t want my kids to ever have to thank Comrade Obama (or Comrade McCain for that matter) for their happy childhoods. Just like that photographer, I am scared to death of this cult of personality. Go read this scary analysis (via Bookworm):
It is surreal to see the level of hysteria in his admirers. This phenomenon is unprecedented in American politics. Women scream and swoon during his speeches. They yell and shout to Obama, “I love you.” Never did George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt. Martin Luther King Jr. or Ronald Reagan arouse so much raw emotion. Despite their achievements, none of them was raised to the rank of Messiah. The Illinois senator has no history of service to the country. He has done nothing outstanding except giving promises of change and hyping his audience with hope. It’s only his words, not his achievements that is causing this much uproar.
When cheering for someone turns into adulation, something is wrong. Excessive adulation is indicative of a personality cult. The cult of personality is often created when the general population is discontent. A charismatic leader can seize the opportunity and project himself as an agent of change and a revolutionary leader. Often, people, tired of the status quo, do not have the patience to examine the nature of the proposed change. All they want is change. During 1979, when the Iranians were tired of the dictatorial regime of the late Shah, they embraced Khomeini, not because they wanted Islam, but because he promised them change. The word in the street was, “anything is better than the Shah.” They found their error when it was too late.
Do read it all. And be afraid. Be very afraid.
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Below is the post from last year. But there is nothing to add. Just remember…
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Al-Qaeda on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a state of war has existed between the United States and the followers of Islamo-Fascist ideology along with their supporters.
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… must be suicidal. According to Jerusalem Post article from back in May, Gallop poll indicated that 61% of American Jews prefer Obama to McCain. In my view, this makes 61% of American Jews outright suicidal in their blind support for the Democratic Party. It’s not just Obama’s views on the current war, in which Israel is our staunchest ally. It’s not just Hamas’ active support for Obama’s candidacy.
Right before my family vacation was about to start, Obama was visiting Israel. As it is customary for dignitaries visiting Israel, he went to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Here is what Gateway Pundit posted about it:
An Israeli journalist called out to Obama: “Can you ensure that there will be no second Holocaust?”
Obama walked into the museum’s main building without responding…
Once again an Israeli journalist asked the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee how he’d help prevent a second Holocaust. "Senator can you assure Israel that there will be no second Holocaust despite Iran’s threat to wipe us off the map?" he asked.
Obama demurred, saying that it wasn’t appropriate to answer the question there.
"This is Yad Vashem!" the journalist responded.
Obama said he would answer the question at a later press availability.
Gateway Pundit provided some more links and comments, so go there. But can please someone explain to me why Obama refused to answer? It seems that it would not be harmful for his campaign, indeed, it would politically expedient, to simply reply: "Yes, I will ensure that there will be no other Holocaust". The Israeli journalist was absolutely correct: Yad Vashem is precisely the place to ask and answer the question like this one. Yet, Obama chose not to answer. To me it means that there are forces supporting Obama that would not accept his promise of ensuring that there will be no other Holocaust, even if that promise was given clearly out of political expediency. Obama clearly does not want to risk losing support of those people. To me this is pretty scary. And, my fellow American Jews, those of you who will vote for Obama are in fact suicidal. A comparison between you and Adam Czerniakow, the Chairman of the Jewish Council in Warsaw Ghetto is not fair to Adam Czerniakow, a very descent, albeit misguided, man. Perhaps better comparison is between you and Yevsektsiya – the Jewish Section of the Soviet Communist Party – a bunch of Jews who blindly supported leftist ideology without realizing that it would eventually destroy themselves and everybody around them, as it most assuredly eventually did.
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I have to apologize to those who find my blog interesting for my long silence: between trying to finish up all I had to do at work prior to my family vacation and then my family vacation I simply did not have time. Now hopefully I will be able to post something at least once a week, hopefully even more often.
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July 4th was the Independence Day, the birthday of my adopted Motherland. Unlike the great majority of the citizens of this great nation, I am an American by choice, not by birth. My journey started in early winter of 1989, when my parents and I applied for permission to leave the old Soviet Union. We knew at the time that we wanted to come to America, but we did not know much. We knew that the free market economy makes more sense that the authoritarian economy of the Soviet Union. We knew that, unlike in the Soviet Union, people were free to criticize the government in America, if they so chose. We also knew that people were free to emigrate from America, if they so chose. We knew that there was no state-sponsored anti-Semitism in America, which was obviously important for us, as Jews. Finally, we knew that any problems we might have while living in America would not go against common sense, and their resolution would be entirely under our control. For example, the problem of making a living is a normal problem, but the one that can be resolved by an individual through hard work and perseverance. This is very different from not being able to get into college you want because of your ethnic origin or not being able to get an apartment simply because none are available. (I since learned that there are problems here that go against common sense, but those are few, not as bad, and generally result of the leftist policies resembling the practices of the old Soviet Union.) Since state-sponsored anti-Semitism was one of issues, we did consider going to Israel. But Israel was a second choice for us because from the information available to us at the time it seemed that Israel had too many elements of socialism (this turned out to be true, although perhaps not as bad as we thought).
And so, on September 2, 1989, we finally left the Soviet Union, and on November 15, 1989 we finally arrived in San Diego, CA, USA. From the beginning we were made to feel at home. People accepted us as new Americans, even though we just arrived and weren’t citizens yet. For the majority of people we encountered it did not matter that our English was heavily accented and limited. What mattered was the fact that we were trying to learn English and become Americans. We were welcomed with open arms. Later one of my co-workers told me that, even though I did not have the citizenship at the time, I was just as American as anybody else: after all, this is a nation of immigrants.
And what a great nation this is. Founded on the notion that all people have "unalienable rights… [to] life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", it has never been perfect, but always strived to meet these ideals. There are other countries that are free, similarly to the United States. But only America was founded and exists to basically uphold the idea of liberty. There are other nations of immigrants, like Canada or Australia. But only America was created specifically as a place where persecuted people from anywhere in the world could find refuge. And even though sometimes the admission of refugees becomes somewhat limited, America always returns to being this place of refuge and always proudly proclaims: "…Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" This great country has a national policy of "liberty and justice for all" and is not shy about it.
And so, after coming to this country with nothing 18.5 years ago, I am pretty happy with my life. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are not just empty words. It does not matter where you come from, or what your ethnic or religious background. As long as you play by the rules and want to be an American, you are. I am forever grateful for being admitted into this great nation. And I am proud to be an American. Yes, this is the song that gives me goose bumps. Enjoy!
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On May 12, 1948, Clark Clifford, the White House chief counsel, presented the case for U.S. recognition of the state of Israel to the divided cabinet of President Harry Truman. While a glowering George Marshall, the secretary of state, and a skeptical Robert Lovett, Marshall’s undersecretary, looked on, Clifford argued that recognizing the Jewish state would be an act of humanity that comported with traditional American values. To substantiate the Jewish territorial claim, Clifford quoted the Book of Deuteronomy: "Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them."
Since then, this pattern has often been repeated. Respected U.S. foreign policy experts call for Washington to be cautious in the Middle East and warn presidents that too much support for Israel will carry serious international costs. When presidents overrule their expert advisers and take a pro-Israel position, observers attribute the move to the "Israel lobby" and credit (or blame) it for swaying the chief executive. But there is another factor to consider. As the Truman biographer David McCullough has written, Truman’s support for the Jewish state was "wildly popular" throughout the United States. A Gallup poll in June 1948 showed that almost three times as many Americans "sympathized with the Jews" as "sympathized with the Arabs." That support was no flash in the pan. Widespread gentile support for Israel is one of the most potent political forces in U.S. foreign policy, and in the last 60 years, there has never been a Gallup poll showing more Americans sympathizing with the Arabs or the Palestinians than with the Israelis.
The story of U.S. support for a Jewish state in the Middle East begins early. John Adams could not have been more explicit. "I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation," he said, after his presidency. From the early nineteenth century on, gentile Zionists fell into two main camps in the United States. Prophetic Zionists saw the return of the Jews to the Promised Land as the realization of a literal interpretation of biblical prophecy, often connected to the return of Christ and the end of the world. Based on his interpretation of Chapter 18 of the prophecies of Isaiah, for example, the Albany Presbyterian pastor John McDonald predicted in 1814 that Americans would assist the Jews in restoring their ancient state. Mormon voices shared this view; the return of the Jews to the Holy Land was under way, said Elder Orson Hyde in 1841: "The great wheel is unquestionably in motion, and the word of the Almighty has declared that it shall roll."
Any discussion of U.S. attitudes toward Israel must begin with the Bible. For centuries, the American imagination has been steeped in the Hebrew Scriptures. This influence originated with the rediscovery of the Old Testament during the Reformation, was accentuated by the development of Calvinist theology (which stressed continuities between the old and the new dispensations of divine grace), and was made more vital by the historical similarities between the modern American and the ancient Hebrew experiences; as a result, the language, heroes, and ideas of the Old Testament permeate the American psyche.
The United States’ sense of its own identity and mission in the world has been shaped by readings of Hebrew history and thought. The writer Herman Melville expressed this view: "We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people — the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world." From the time of the Puritans to the present day, preachers, thinkers, and politicians in the United States — secular as well as religious, liberal as well as conservative — have seen the Americans as a chosen people, bound together less by ties of blood than by a set of beliefs and a destiny. Americans have believed that God (or history) has brought them into a new land and made them great and rich and that their continued prosperity depends on their fulfilling their obligations toward God or the principles that have blessed them so far. Ignore these principles — turn toward the golden calf — and the scourge will come.
Both religious and nonreligious Americans have looked to the Hebrew Scriptures for an example of a people set apart by their mission and called to a world-changing destiny. Did the land Americans inhabit once belong to others? Yes, but the Hebrews similarly conquered the land of the Canaanites. Did the tiny U.S. colonies armed only with the justice of their cause defeat the world’s greatest empire? So did David, the humble shepherd boy, fell Goliath. Were Americans in the nineteenth century isolated and mocked for their democratic ideals? So were the Hebrews surrounded by idolaters. Have Americans defeated their enemies at home and abroad? So, according to the Scriptures, did the Hebrews triumph. And when Americans held millions of slaves in violation of their beliefs, were they punished and scourged? Yes, and much like the Hebrews, who suffered the consequences of their sins before God.
Although gentile support for Israel in the United States has remained strong and even grown since World War II, its character has changed. Until the Six-Day War, support for Israel came mostly from the political left and was generally stronger among Democrats than Republicans. Liberal icons such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Martin Luther King, Jr., were leading public voices calling for the United States to support Israel. But since 1967, liberal support for Israel has gradually waned, and conservative support has grown.
On the right, the most striking change since 1967 has been the dramatic intensification of suppport for Israel among evangelical Christians and, more generally, among what I have called "Jacksonian" voters in the U.S. heartland. Jacksonians are populist-nationalist voters who favor a strong U.S. military and are generally skeptical of international organizations and global humanitarian aid. Not all evangelicals are Jacksonians, and not all Jacksonians are evangelicals, but there is a certain overlap between the two constituencies. Many southern whites are Jacksonians; so are many of the swing voters in the North known as Reagan Democrats.
U.S. opinion on the Middle East is not monolithic, nor is it frozen in time. Since 1967, it has undergone significant shifts, with some groups becoming more favorable toward Israel and others less so. Considerably fewer African Americans stand with the Likud Party today than stood with the Jewish army in World War II. More changes may come. A Palestinian and Arab leadership more sensitive to the values and political priorities of the American political culture could develop new and more effective tactics designed to weaken, rather than strengthen, American support for the Jewish state. An end to terrorist attacks, for example, coupled with well-organized and disciplined nonviolent civil resistance, might alter Jacksonian perceptions of the Palestinian struggle. It is entirely possible that over time, evangelical and fundamentalist Americans will retrace Jimmy Carter’s steps from a youthful Zionism to what he would call a more balanced position now. But if Israel should face any serious crisis, it seems more likely that opinion will swing the other way. Many of the Americans who today call for a more evenhanded policy toward the Palestinians do so because they believe that Israel is fundamentally secure. Should that assessment change, public opinion polls might well show even higher levels of U.S. support for Israel.
One thing, at least, seems clear. In the future, as in the past, U.S. policy toward the Middle East will, for better or worse, continue to be shaped primarily by the will of the American majority, not the machinations of any minority, however wealthy or engaged in the political process some of its members may be.
Of course, read it all. This article is completely in line with "Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present" by Michael Oren.
Basically, this article is a review of this book. I highly recommend it. In addition to explaining the roots of American support for Israel, the book also helps to understand the roots of our current conflict with militant Islam, otherwise known as Islamo-fascism. The book details how jihad warriors, otherwise known as Barbary pirates, terrorized merchant shipping and even raided villages on the East Coast of the United States. It also explains that, far from being "Gentlemen of Fortune", the Barbary pirates had jihadi ideology and their governments’ support behind them. After reading this book one starts to understand that our current conflict has nothing to do with American foreign policy and perceived injustices perpetrated by the West. Rather, it is a conflict between religion-based totalitarian ideology and Western liberal values, similar to the other conflicts of the 20th Century between Western liberal values and atheistic totalitarian ideologies of Nazism and Communism. That totalitarian ideology has to be defeated. It cannot be appeased.
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Exxon-Mobile is a tiny oil company (even though it is the biggest of the U.S. oil companies.) At 18th in the world, it ranks way down in the scales. The other 17 companies are the real oil giants. They are all government-owned oil companies. Saudia Arabia. Kuwait. Venezuela. Pemex in Mexico. It is a very different picture from what you may have been thinking, or hearing.
You want to go after the "oil giants"? Good! Then look somewhere else. None of them are U.S. oil companies, which have shrunk and shrunk over the years, under environmentalist attack in the U.S., and through being shut out of foreign oil by the governments who own all the oil in their countries.
You really want to go after the "oil giants?" (Remember now, all of them are oil giants owned by the governments of other countries.) Then drill here! Drill now! What is happening to our energy is going to hurt everyone in the U.S. and in the world.
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Is Obama qualified to be President, according to US Constitution? Bookworm posted a link to the discussion on the subject at the National Review Campaign Spot and also had an interesting discussion in the comments to her post. Check it out! I don’t think anybody will dare to disqualify Obama from running, although I would not be surprised if it is brought up at the Democratic Convention by Hillary’s supporters. But it sure is interesting.
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Senior American statesmen like George Kennan advised Kennedy not to rush into a high-level meeting, arguing that Khrushchev had engaged in anti-American propaganda and that the issues at hand could as well be addressed by lower-level diplomats. Kennedy’s own secretary of state, Dean Rusk, had argued much the same in a Foreign Affairs article the previous year: “Is it wise to gamble so heavily? Are not these two men who should be kept apart until others have found a sure meeting ground of accommodation between them?”
But Kennedy went ahead, and for two days he was pummeled by the Soviet leader. Despite his eloquence, Kennedy was no match as a sparring partner, and offered only token resistance as Khrushchev lectured him on the hypocrisy of American foreign policy, cautioned America against supporting “old, moribund, reactionary regimes” and asserted that the United States, which had valiantly risen against the British, now stood “against other peoples following its suit.” Khrushchev used the opportunity of a face-to-face meeting to warn Kennedy that his country could not be intimidated and that it was “very unwise” for the United States to surround the Soviet Union with military bases.
Kennedy’s aides convinced the press at the time that behind closed doors the president was performing well, but American diplomats in attendance, including the ambassador to the Soviet Union, later said they were shocked that Kennedy had taken so much abuse. Paul Nitze, the assistant secretary of defense, said the meeting was “just a disaster.” Khrushchev’s aide, after the first day, said the American president seemed “very inexperienced, even immature.” Khrushchev agreed, noting that the youthful Kennedy was “too intelligent and too weak.” The Soviet leader left Vienna elated — and with a very low opinion of the leader of the free world.
Kennedy’s assessment of his own performance was no less severe. Only a few minutes after parting with Khrushchev, Kennedy, a World War II veteran, told James Reston of The New York Times that the summit meeting had been the “roughest thing in my life.” Kennedy went on: “He just beat the hell out of me. I’ve got a terrible problem if he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts. Until we remove those ideas we won’t get anywhere with him.”
A little more than two months later, Khrushchev gave the go-ahead to begin erecting what would become the Berlin Wall. Kennedy had resigned himself to it, telling his aides in private that “a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.” The following spring, Khrushchev made plans to “throw a hedgehog at Uncle Sam’s pants”: nuclear missiles in Cuba. And while there were many factors that led to the missile crisis, it is no exaggeration to say that the impression Khrushchev formed at Vienna — of Kennedy as ineffective — was among them.
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NOT LICENSED TO KILL
German Special Forces in Afghanistan Let Taliban Commander Escape
By Susanne Koelbl and Alexander Szandar
German special forces had an important Taliban commander in their sights in Afghanistan. But he escaped — because the Germans were not authorized to use lethal force. The German government’s hands-tied approach to the war is causing friction with its NATO allies.
The wheat is lush and green in the fields of northern Afghanistan this spring. A river winding its way through the broad valley dotted with walled houses completes the picturesque scene. Behind one of these walls, not far from the town of Pol-e-Khomri, sits a man whose enemies, having named him a "target," would like to see dead. He is the Baghlan bomber.
The Taliban commander is regarded as a brutal extremist with excellent connections to terror cells across the border in Pakistan. Security officials consider him to be one of the most dangerous players in the region, which is under German command as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. The military accuses him of laying roadside bombs and of sheltering suicide attackers prior to their bloody missions.
He is also thought to be behind one of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan’s history, the Nov. 6, 2007 attack on a sugar factory in the northwest province of Baghlan. The attack killed 79 people, including dozens of children and many parliamentarians and other politicians, as they celebrated the factory’s reopening.
Germany’s KSK special forces have been charged with capturing the terrorist, in cooperation with the Afghan secret service organization NDS and the Afghan army. The German elite soldiers were able to uncover the Taliban commander’s location. They spent weeks studying his behavior and habits: when he left his house and with whom, how many men he had around him and what weapons they carried, the color of his turban and what vehicles he drove.
At the end of March, they decided to act to seize the commander. Under the protection of darkness, the KSK, together with Afghan forces, advanced toward their target. Wearing black and equipped with night-vision goggles, the team came within just a few hundred meters of their target before they were discovered by Taliban forces.
The dangerous terrorist escaped. It would, however, have been possible for the Germans to kill him — but the KSK were not authorized to do so.
Go ahead and read the whole thing. Is there anyone who even played a soldier as a kid, who does not find this story ridiculously pathetic? Don’t get me wrong: the German Special Forces soldiers are likely very good and professional, but their superiors are another matter. Dennis Prager often says that the Germans learned the wrong lesson after World War 2: instead of learning of necessity to combat evil even in their own midst they learned that it is always wrong to fight. I could not agree more.
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This blog was started from the article "Reclaiming the Terms" that I wrote and ever since keep shoving into people’s faces. In my article I insist that true Liberals are found on the Right of the political spectrum. But it turns out that sometimes you have to go even further. So, at the risk of flattering Bookworm again, I am presenting here another of her brilliant articles, in which she renames the illiberal Left into Statists and liberal Right into Individualists:
I’ve decided it’s time to jettison entirely the words “Left” and “Right” when used with reference to political ideologies. I came to this conclusion after a very interesting discussion with my mother. While we were talking about the military Junta in Burma, she let drop the fact that she believes that all tyrannies come from the political Right.
I was taken aback, especially when my mother explained to me that the Soviets, Nazis and Italian Fascists were all tyrannies from the Right. I could understand her confusion about the Nazis and the Italian Fascists — after all, Jonah Goldberg wrote a whole book trying to educate people out of their confusion on this subject — but her statement about the Soviets perplexed me.
Conservatives want to contract the power of the Federal government, not expand it, because they have recognized that tyrannies, regardless of the political ideology that powers them, are Statist. Republicans, I said, are Individualists. Given the opportunity to shape this country’s politics, they are the ones who are least likely ones to lead America into the tyrannical, militaristic regime she fears.
It was quite an amazing conversation because, by the end, she really grasped the difference between Left and Right. Right is not Nazis and Fascists and failed Communist states. In America, Right is about individual rights, and Left is about Statism — and it is Statism that, when it runs amok, is dangerous.
Anyway, because of the fact that this type of confusion has poisoned the meaning of these commonly used political terms, I think it’s more accurate to describe the two American ideologies as Statist and Individualist — and I know on which side of the political aisle I want to reside.
As before, excerpts don’t do justice to Bookworm’s article, so read the whole thing. And, as Bookworm, I know exactly on which side of the political aisle I am – on the side of individual liberty.
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Engineers were not very highly regarded in the former Soviet Union. In terms of salary, blue color workers were always paid more. In fact, if 2 people did the same job, but one had a title of engineer and another was technician, the technician would get higher salary. So, when Gorbachev came to power, he recognized that the Soviet Union was technologically lagging behind the West. So, the Soviet Government announced that they would promote the engineering work in order to raise its prestige. Mikhail Zhvanetsky, a famous Russian-Jewish satirist and a native of Odessa, joked that engineers got increased prestige, but not increased salary.
It turns out that in this country, while engineering pay is pretty good, the prestige of the engineering work is not very high. There is simply no glamour in it. Planet Analog, one of the professional publications whose newsletter I get at work, posted an article on this subject:
Commentary: Engineers need an image makeover
May 02, 2008 (1:43 PM)
At the recent ACE Awards dinner, our industry honored leading innovators, companies and products. It was good to see an appreciative audience for this well-deserved recognition. But then I realized we were preaching to the converted. The broader world still dismisses engineers and scientists as quirky outsiders.
This became clear when I was trapped and had to watch an episode of the dreadful "Beauty and the Geek." The show’s premise is that there is something wrong with the geeks, but with some help they can be made to be cool, if not actually hot. If I suggested that perhaps the beauties could benefit from a knowledge makeover, I’d be dismissed as, well, a geek.
It wasn’t always this way. Until about the 1960s, engineers were not only honored, they were respected. They were guests on popular TV shows for their accomplishments, not as oddballs to be mocked. Earlier in the 20th century, engineers were accorded more respect and stature than any other professionals.
We’ve come a long way from that world.
The Associated Press has announced it will hire 20 more reporters solely to cover celebrities, and they don’t mean scientists or engineers. And I’ll bet if eight-year-old Carson Page—the Editor’s Choice ACE Award winner for his impressive work with FPGAs—ever appears on the Leno or Letterman show, he’ll be there as an oddity, not a role model.
How did this transformation happen?
I think we are victims of our own success. In the past few decades, we’ve made such incredible progress in so many areas, at an ever-increasing rate, that we’ve made it all look so very easy. The public is no longer impressed by feats of engineering: They think all this amazing gadgetry just happens by itself, because we’ve made it seem that way.
What can we do? It wouldn’t be practical, or advisable, to squelch scientific and technological progress. But perhaps professional societies, universities and high-tech companies could team to launch an image campaign. One message might be: "If it weren’t for the nerd next door, you wouldn’t have (fill in the blank)." Here’s another: "Celebrity fades. Knowledge lasts."
As with so many engineering problems, there is no simple solution. Perhaps it is not even viewed as a problem. Our culture has moved to a new perception of what it values, and it’s not us.
If that’s the case, we have only ourselves to blame. But we owe it to ourselves, and certainly to the next generation of innovators like Carson Page, to do something about it.
The article is pretty short, so I just posted the whole thing here. It really is sad. My daughter recently had a "career day" at school. None of the kids said that they wanted to be an engineer. And I live in the area heavily populated by engineers. In addition to that, the whole society is technically illiterate. A friend of mine told me that in the 1980s, when VCRs first became available, people could not set the clock on the front display of the VCR. So the clock display kept blinking, and people were getting annoyed. Apparently some company like RadioShack came up with a kit to stop the blinking. It was simply a piece of black electrical tape that you would stick onto the clock display and cover it. The fact that someone was able to sell this thing has to be embarrassing. Part of the problem that kids nowadays don’t have to make anything themselves. You can buy everything. You can even buy a slingshot or a rubber band gun. What is that? Things like that kids should be building with their own hands, coming up with their own designs. Of course, it would be nice if there was some sort of a TV show about engineers. But, unlike doctors or lawyers, engineers don’t have drama associated with their work. So, a TV show would not be very exciting. Something like MacGyver would be pretty exciting, but most of the stuff MacGyver does is not necessarily realistic and definitely not something that you could try at home.
Oh, well. My older daughter still says once in a while that she wants "to be an engineer, like daddy". So, not everything is lost. Although, if my daughter becomes a nurse like mommy, I would be pretty happy too.
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The month of May has several significant dates in modern history, particularly in modern Jewish history. Those are the Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli Independence Day and Victory in Europe Day (Victory Day in Russia). Additionally, the Memorial Day is also at the end of May. So, in commemoration of all these dates I’d like to present an article that I compiled several years ago. This article was originally published on the wonderful historical site called WW II Ace Stories. I highly recommend this site for World War 2 history and aviation history enthusiasts. I used the word "compiled" rather than "written" regarding the article because the article is based on the book "I Am My Brother’s Keeper" by Jeffrey Weiss and Craig Weiss.
In fact, there are chunks of text that were simply scanned out of the book. But I don’t think the authors would mind: after all, I am suggesting to people that they should buy the book and read it. It really is a very good book. The pictures are also from this book and the Internet. I dedicate this post to those, who fought back and saved or avenged themselves and their loved ones. So, without further ado, let me present the story of
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Obama recently gave an interview to Jeff Goldberg of The Atlantic. After this interview many commentators on my side were quick to point out that Obama called Israel a "constant wound… a constant sore…" on our foreign policy. But here is exactly what he said:
JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?
BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable. I am absolutely convinced of that, and some of the tensions that might arise between me and some of the more hawkish elements in the Jewish community in the United States might stem from the fact that I’m not going to blindly adhere to whatever the most hawkish position is just because that’s the safest ground politically.
From reading his exact response it is clear that he did not mean that Israel is a "constant sore", but the conflict is. To accuse him of calling Israel a "constant sore" is to use a favorite trick of the Left: taking his words out of context. However, this does not mean that his interview is not full of crap. The Republican Jewish Coalition in its press release called Obama’s statement what it really is, in its proper context: excusing the inexcusable, or, in other words, another of the Left’s favorite things – moral equivalency:
RJC: Obama Excuses the Inexcusable
Contact: Press Secretary Suzanne Kurtz
Monday, May 12, 2008
Washington, D.C. (May 12, 2008 ) — In response to Sen. Barack Obama’s interview in the most recent issue of The Atlantic, the Republican Jewish Coalition released the following statement today:
"Once again, Senator Obama demonstrates his questionable grasp of America’s foreign policy. Senator Obama manages to excuse the inexcusable actions of anti-American militant jihadists by putting the blame for their actions on America’s foreign policy. America stands with Israel because it is one of our strongest allies and the only democracy in the Middle East. Senator Obama naively believes that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will solve the global scourge of radical Islamic extremism. Yet Senator Obama never says how he will rein in Hamas’ daily onslaught on Israel or Iran’s scurrilous condemnations of Israel. Is it any wonder Hamas has endorsed him for president?"
In his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Sen. Obama described the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as ‘this constant wound.’ Sen. Obama said ‘that this constant sore, does infect all of [America's] foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions.’
I transcribed the most jaw-dropping parts:
REPORTER: It may be hard to believe, but working in this tiny Internet cafe in Gaza City may just be one of Barack Obama’s biggest fans.
Before every U.S. primary, 23-year-old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab gathers 17 of his friends to try and rally support for Obama’s campaign in the U.S.
So why does a young Palestinian living in Gaza spend so much of his time and money on an election thousands of miles away?
ABU JAYYAB: [translated] It all started at the time of the U.S. primaries. After studying Obama’s electoral campaign manifesto, I thought, ‘this is a man that is capable of change inside America.’ As for potential change in the Middle East, he can also do that. I think he can bring peace to the area, or at least this is what we hope.
REPORTER: And the game plan? Ibrahim and his friends call random numbers in the U.S. before every primary to deliver one simple message:
ABU JAYYAB: [in English] Elect Senator Obama. I will change. I will achieve… the justice in the Middle East.
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… of not trying to alleviate poverty in the world, you might want to point to this news item:
Friday , May 09, 2008
By George Russell
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his top lieutenants on Monday are convening the first meeting of the U.N.’s Task Force on the Global Food Crisis. Ban says it will “study the root causes of the crisis,” and propose solutions for “coordinated global action” at a summit of world leaders in June.
Donor listings on WFP’s website show that this year, as in every year since 1999, the U.S. is far and away the biggest aid provider to WFP. Since 2001, U.S. donations to the food agency have averaged more than $1.16 billion annually — or more than five times as much as the next biggest donor, the European Commission.
And while Canada, Australia, Western Europe and Japan have hastened to pony up an additional $260 million in aid since WFP’s latest appeal, the world organization told FOX News, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the international oil cartel, tossed in a grand total of $1.5 million in addition to the $50,000 it had previously donated.
The OPEC total amounts to roughly one minute and 10 seconds worth of the organization’s estimated $674 billion in annual oil revenues in 2007 — revenues that will be vastly exceeded in 2008 with the continuing spiral in world oil prices.
The only other major oil exporter who made the WFP list of 2008 donors was the United Arab Emirates, which kicked in $50,000. UAE oil revenues in 2007 were $63 billion.
By contrast, the poverty-stricken African republic of Burkina Faso is listed as donating more than $600,000, and Bangladesh, perennial home of many of the world’s hungriest people, is listed as donating nearly $5.8 million.
And those people talk about honor?
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They probably all do to some extent. So, whenever I would point out to someone, even someone who agrees with me, some outrageous lie by a leftist politician, the response I often get is: "Yes, but they all lie". I often found myself at a loss for words after that. Well, maybe I don’t have to be in such position any longer. Bookworm has brilliantly explained in her post that
In response to an earlier post I did about Obama’s habit of lying about easily verifiable events, beliefs and associations in his past, echeccone made the statement, one we’ve often heard, that “every politician lies.” There’s a kind of sweeping truth to that statement, but its very broadness hides the fact that not all lies are created equal. I was just going to leave a responsive comment to echeccone, but it got so long that I decided to use my blogger privilege of elevating my response to its own post. So here is my little riff on why all lies are not created equal, and why Hillary’s and Obama’s lies fall into the worst category.
As any of us who have children or who remember our own childhoods know, lying is an integral part of the human condition. There is no toddler who hasn’t stood before Mom and Dad, staring at the paint on the living room wall, and then glancing down at the paint all over his hands, only to announce without shame, “I didn’t do it.” Said child is always punished, and the punishment comes along with a lengthy explanation about the value of truth and the danger of lies. As a society, we don’t tolerate it well when people deny wrongdoing.
We also are willing to give favored politician some latitude on broken promises. Thus, the question in the voters’ collective mind when a politician breaks an promise is, “Did s/he, at the time s/he made that promise, have any intention of keeping it?” If people believe the answer is “yes,” they’ll listen with some respect to the politician’s excuses for failing to keep that promise. If the answer is “no,” or if it is apparent that no person of reasonable intelligence should have made such a promise in the first place, then voters will be much less forgiving.
And then there are the lies that Hillary and Obama tell, likes that hark back to the toddler years: They get caught doing something bad, and they simply lie about. Hillary confines herself to denials and accusations. In the face of her intransigent denials, when the truth finally emerges, she tends to look awful. Obama is more clever. His first instinct is to deny, and then he starts leaking out the ugly truth. And by leaking it out slowly, he defuses the impact of the fact that, yes, he did engage in wrongdoing or, yes, he did associate (fairly closely) with terrorists or, yes, he did know all along that his preacher is an anti-American racist kind of guy.
The excerpts truly don’t do justice to Bookworm’s article. Go read the whole thing. I will have to remember her arguments the next time someone tells me that all politicians lie.
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My previous post dealt with the problem. This one has to do with the solution: Muslim Reform Movement. The fact is that we all can talk about violence inherent in Islam till we blue in the face, and we will still have a problem. Even if we defeat the the jihadis militarily now, they will come back later because the ideological basis for them will remain intact. So, they will have to be defeated ideologically as well. The only one way to do it in my opinion is to re-interpret Koran, de-emphasizing violence in it. So, we need to promote the genuine reformers of Islam, people who seek to re-interpret the religious doctrine of Islam. One of such organizations, Muslims Against Sharia, left a comment on this blog recently, and I am thankful for that. There are others:
I am adding these links to my sidebar. There are probably others. We need to scream as loud as we can, so that the media listens to these people, rather than CAIR. Front Page recently conducted a symposium of Muslim reformers. There is hope. Finally, it seems that Turkish Government got involved in the Muslim Reform effort:
Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam – and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.
The country’s powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.
Turkey is intent on sweeping away that "cultural baggage" and returning to a form of Islam it claims accords with its original values and those of the Prophet.
But this is where the revolutionary nature of the work becomes apparent. Even some sayings accepted as being genuinely spoken by Muhammad have been altered and reinterpreted.
Prof Mehmet Gormez, a senior official in the Department of Religious Affairs and an expert on the Hadith, gives a telling example.
"There are some messages that ban women from travelling for three days or more without their husband’s permission and they are genuine.
"But this isn’t a religious ban. It came about because in the Prophet’s time it simply wasn’t safe for a woman to travel alone like that. But as time has passed, people have made permanent what was only supposed to be a temporary ban for safety reasons."
The project justifies such bold interference in the 1,400-year-old content of the Hadith by rigorous academic research.
Prof Gormez points out that in another speech, the Prophet said "he longed for the day when a woman might travel long distances alone".
So, he argues, it is clear what the Prophet’s goal was.
According to Fadi Hakura, an expert on Turkey from Chatham House in London, Turkey is doing nothing less than recreating Islam – changing it from a religion whose rules must be obeyed, to one designed to serve the needs of people in a modern secular democracy.
He says that to achieve it, the state is fashioning a new Islam.
"This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation," he says.
"Not exactly the same, but if you think, it’s changing the theological foundations of [the] religion. "
Fadi Hakura believes that until now secularist Turkey has been intent on creating a new politics for Islam.
Now, he says, "they are trying to fashion a new Islam."
Significantly, the "Ankara School" of theologians working on the new Hadith have been using Western critical techniques and philosophy.
They have also taken an even bolder step – rejecting a long-established rule of Muslim scholars that later (and often more conservative) texts override earlier ones.
"You have to see them as a whole," says Fadi Hakura.
"You can’t say, for example, that the verses of violence override the verses of peace. This is used a lot in the Middle East, this kind of ideology.
"I cannot impress enough how fundamental [this change] is."
Read the whole article. Generally conservatives like myself are skeptical about government involvement in anything. But in this particular case, placing government resources behind the project might be a good thing.
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We often hear that the majority of Muslims are not terrorists, but just normal peaceful people going about their daily lives. That is definitely true for one simple reason: day-to-day activities tend to preoccupy people. But how big is that violent minority? Well, consider this post by Elder of Zion:
Read his complete analysis in order to understand the problem.
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