Friday, October 30, 2009

Obama Hasn't Transcended &%*#

When Obama was on the campaign trail back in 2008, not only did he promise us hope and change, but he also promised to transcend borders, including the racial and partisan kind. Unfortunately, Obama is on the war path by creating an enemies list, and showing us once again how talk becomes cheap when your actions contradict your words.

Amongst this list of enemies is the Chamber of Commerce for opposing his "climate change" initiatives, Fox News because "it's not real news," (i.e., the "Messiah" hates any entity that bad-mouths him), and the health insurance companies for opposing Obamacare.  It's funny to note that the one thing that these three entities have in common are that they are being outed simply because they disagree with Obama.  Considering the fact that Obama's political roots are Chicago-based, I am not the least bit surprised that he is using intimidation as a method in hopes to silent dissent.  Karl Rove has accurately pointed out that this kind of mongering is an undignified conduct for the President of the United States.

Obama has transcended what exactly?  He surely didn't transcend race during his election campaign--it kept being brought up as a topic, not to mention the fact there was a good amount of "white guilt" permeating last election.  He hasn't transcended partisanship because he is putting forward Leftist policies, like a "good Democrat," while gaining no Republican support, particularly in light of the release of the nearly-2,000 page health care bill.  He's nothing more than a left-winged, Chicago politician who just happens to be black.  If you need more proof than my diatribe, the latest Gallup poll shows that 56% of Americans (which, for you mathematicians, is a majority) believe that racial relations will work themselves out, a number which is roughly the same as 1963, a year before the famous 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Also, it's humorous to find that after "St. Obama's" election, the confidence in the black community that racial relations will ameliorate decreased.

Obama's pandering to partisan politics is not a shocker for me.  This is how modern-day "liberalism" functions--it serves to divide people, not unite them.  Liberals are the ones always bringing up class warfare, and all the moreso with the recession.  They also use racial tensions to divide. Figures such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson remind us why we affirmative action--to affirm the "fact" that skin color is much more important than the actual character of a man.  That way, we can categorically view people into two ways: people who "are oppressed" and deserve affirmative action (i.e., blacks, gays, Hispanics, Native Americans, women) versus those who don't need a helping hand (i.e., [white] men, Jews, Asians, Indians).  Racial tensions are perpetuated in this Balkanization, which leads to "us versus them" mentality.

Although I have met some conservatives who do not, for the life of them, have anything to do with liberals, I would have to contend that this division is a bigger problem for liberals, primarily because for many liberals, liberalism is their religion.  It is what they base their entirety on, and anyone who opposes that is considered an enemy to liberalism. How can you adequately confront people who look different from you when you view them as "the other?"  This is what perpetuates liberalism.  As long as there are these tensions in society, black versus white, gay versus straight, liberal versus conservative, and those tensions supercede a harmonious society, there will always be internal strife.  Liberalism needs that strife because without it, no one would be dependent on government as an erroneous solution to their problems.  The markets would sort things out, and as a result, this world would be a lot more libertarian.  Obama hasn't transcended a thing--all he does is perpetuate the status quo of the already-failing welfare state.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Death Panels" and the Inevitability of Rationing Health Care

Although I'm not the biggest fan of Sarah Palin, she might have had a point about those "death panels," especially in light of Nancy Pelosi's release of the health care bill today.  It might sound serene, from a libertarian perspective, to "give people the choice" of seeing a counselor.  What perturbs me more than anything is the simple economic laws that make nationalized health care a terrible choice for America.  If this does pass and gets nationalized, everyone will be under the impression that health care is free.  This misperception greatly increases demand well above the equilibrium point that the market normally dictates.  With a huge demand of health care in the market, there is only so much in goods that can be provided, thus creating a shortage.  This already occurred when government got more involved with health care as time went on.

We should take a look at how other countries with nationalized health care operate.  Canada is a good example.  Canada's waiting lines are infamous, to the point where "dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and...humans can wait two to three years."  Guess where many Canadians go for health care?  America!  It's when it gets to the point where even a Canadian doctor can become accurately dissilusioned by the single-payer system.

Whether or not one agrees with the inflammatory rhetoric that Palin uses to get people's attention on the issue, seniors have a right to be worried about rationed health care.  Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama's top health advisor, is the reason why if I were a senior, I'd be deeply worried about my longevity.  Only this year did the "'good' doctor" write an "ethical" analysis with two other doctors in the Lancet, a medical journal, about how health care needs to be rationed.  If you look at the chart on page 428, you're in the clear if you're between the ages of 15 and 50.  Aside from that, pray that a doctor will even examine you, let alone treat you!

Under this not-so-wonderful plan, I'd have about a quarter of a century to go before I am viewed as an inferior being because "the amount of life-years I'd have at that point would no longer be economically salient."  The most powerful health care advisor is justifying the denial of health care to certain citizens when they're too old, and we shouldn't be worried about a slippery slope.  Does Obama honestly think we're that stupid?  Here's an idea, ObamaLet the free markets handle it!  Again, the love affair that the Obama administration is making the Bush (43) Administration look like it was an actual advocate for free markets.  But that set aside, there are numerous alternatives that the Obama administration could be carrying out, some of which I have discussed in a previous blog.  Obama is so enamored with already-disproven Keynsian economics and socialist tripe that he will never be able to offer anything that will help the American people.  All we can hope for at this point is that there is something that stops this herendous bill from ever being implemented in this nation.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Middle East: The Israeli Perspective

This was the title of a speech I heard Dr. Josef Olmert, brother of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, give last night at my alma mater.  I loved that he prefaced his speech with "there are 7 million Israelis and 15 million opinions," just because it so accurately portrays how opinionated Jews are.  Dr. Olmert's two main focuses were on Iran and on the Israeli-Arab conflict.  A brief summation of his speech:

Prior to the Iran Contra Affair, Iran was ruled by the Shah.  Although the Shah was portrayed as a dictator, he was nevertheless pro-Western and pro-democracy.  By usurpuring his position, Islamic Fundamentalism had been given legitimacy in the form of a nation-state.  Ever since, Iran has been vehemently anti-Israel.  Iran just doesn't have a problem with the current PM or some of Israel's policies.  Iran has a problem with Israel's very existence!  When Iran's head of state makes statements like "Israel needs to be wiped off the map," Israel cannot afford to take these threats lightly.  A third of Israel's youth (yes, youth, not the elders that actually suffered the Holocaust) fear a Second Holocaust being imminent.  The issue is that Israel is a Jewish state because its population is predominantly Jewish.  As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews...because they are Jews. In short, it is antisemitism."  When you talk about criticizing Israel, that's one thing.  Some of the most critical people of Israel's policies are Israelis themselves.  But when constructive criticism become distored and needlessly disproportionate demonization, to the point where Palestinians do not receive an iota of chiding, then something is terribly wrong.  That's the point where anti-Israel sentiment becomes anti-Semitism.  Iran has essentially declared jihad against the Jews, which is why Iran's nuclear developments are all the more disturbing.  Fear not, says Olmert, because Israel is not the only country that needs to worry about a nuclear Iran.  For many centuries, there has been discord between the Sunnis and Shi'ite Muslims.  Iran, being Shi'ite, scares all the Sunni countries, i.e., the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as Northern Africa. 

Peace between Israel and Palestine is possible, says Olmert.  He established precedence by pointing out peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan (although I would point out that they are considered "cold peaces").  After a brief overview of the history of the modern Israeli state, he explained that the Gazan War (aka Operation Lead Cast) occurred because Fatah was in the process of creating a peace treaty, and Hamas decided to provoke in order to detract Israel from the peace process.  Although Hamas had indiscriminately fired nearly 8,000 rockets into southern Israel (only 8,000!), there were two reasons why Israel waited as long as it did.  1) It didn't want to show that it made the mistake of withdrawing from Gaza back in 2005.  2) Israeli military was worried about too many Palestinian casualties! After visiting Sderot in 2008, Sen. John McCain said that being in a border state, if Mexico were firing rockets on Arizona, he'd instinctually retaliate.   What ultimately caused Israel to attack was because they were provoked into attacking, and that is what Hamas intended.  The only thing that makes Israel unique in this regard is not that they attacked, but ratherthat they waited so long to attack in hopes to gain peace.  Olmert stated that ultimately, the war was a success because since Operation Lead Cast, there have hardly been any rockets shot at Israel.

Dr. Olmert concluded on two levels.  The first is to deal with Iran.  He was optimistic about economic sanctions working, presuming that multilateral pursuit was in play.  Iran has the potential to cause an arms race in the Middle East, thereby making it even more volatile of a region than it has been in the past.  The second is how to deal with Palestine.  "Donate energy to optimism and your daily life.  By letting it phase you and take such a toll on you, you let the terrorists win," opined Olmert.  If one lives his daily life as normal in an optimistic fashion, you stick it to the terrorists because you let them know that their tactics aren't effective.  This would thereby diminish their resolve to combat Israel.  Also, Olmert said that he doesn't need approval from the Palestinians for the right to a Jewish homeland.  He contrasted that assertion by stating that although he believes in a Jewish land, he is willing to give it up because peace is more important.  And that peace will come when a Hamas spokesman says that they want peace.  Although he tried to remain optimistic, such as the 7.6% unemployment in Israel and its realtively resilient economy, he is still apprehensive because of Iran.

My two cents: Although Dr. Olmert is a fellow Jew and I appreciated his visit, not to mention his historical accuracy in presenting Israel, I would have to say there was quite a bit I disagreed with, particularly how to approach the conflicts in the Middle East.  First, with regards to Iran.  I don't share Olmert's optimism on the feasibility of economic sanctions simply because economic sanctions historically work when they're backed up by military action.  Second, his take on how to deal with Gaza and the West Bank is very soft.  Olmert said that peace wouldn't come around until a Hamas leader stood for peace, but Olmert fails to provide with a means of making that pipe-dream happen.  Golda Meir said it best: "Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate the Jews."  This anti-Semitism is the obstacle for peace.  It's so embedded within the Palestinian psyche that martyrdom becomes their raison d'ĂȘtre.  "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."  It's part of the introduction of the Hamas Charter.  If you don't believe me, read it for yourself.  All of the negative, innacurate stereotypes of the Jew are taught in schools.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even called Palestinian textbooks a form of child abuse.  I can go on, but the point is that evil cannot be talked to, it cannot be reasoned with.  Daniel Pipes speaks the truth when he says that we're truly not treating this like a war, and that we're not breaking the Palestinian will to fight.  Did talking to Hitler stop anything?  Not at all; just ask Neville Chamberlin.  The day that Israel stops strangling itself with political correctness, the day Israel shows some true resolve, much like we saw at the birth of the modern state, then, and only then will we see an end to all the bloodshed.  But until Israel grows a pair, I'm afraid that the instability and violence will be perpetuated in a cyclical fashion.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meat Is Going to Reduce Carbon Emissions

According to Lord Stern of Brentford, a man considered to be an authority in the field of "climate change," recently stated that meat production not only produces a larger carbon footprint than any other factor (including cars), but that it is also a huge waste of natural resources.  As a libertarian vegetarian, this causes me mixed feelings between how I feel about Big Government and meat consumption as a whole. 

Big Government

I am anything but enamored with the notion of Big Government.  Government is the most inefficient middle man I have ever come across in my life.  It's no coincidence that the Founding Fathers stated that "government is a necessary evil," simply because, as James Madison stated, "If men were angels, government would be unnecessary."  We should keep government at a minimum.  This is why I am alarmed over the fact that green is the new red.  Environmentalism has become the new secular religion, which has caused such a Leftist self-righteousness that gives the Left a carte blanche to intervene in the daily lives of Americans.  When it gets to the point where the governement is regulating toilet flush water usage, it makes you wonder.  If you want to make change, government regulations don't work.  There's a reason why Kyoto was voted down 95-0--they didn't want to drag the American economy through the mud!  If environmental change is going to be made, it needs to be done through societal pressures.  It's how integration and civil rights were changed, it's how women were able to pursue careers, and more recently, it's how gay rights has received more acceptance over time.  Former President Ronald Reagan was correct in saying that government is the problem.  If you want real environmental change, it needs to happen through individuals within society that make "being green" the norm, and give people the freedom to choose to be green, don't coerse them.

Vegetarianism, Healthcare, and Personal Responsibility

Approximately a year ago, I chose to become a vegetarian for religious reasons.  One of those religious reasons, however, was preserving one's health (Deut. 4:9,15).  Depending on which study you look at, whether it's the one done with the Seven-Day Adventists, the French study showing that those who live on the Mediterranean who eat vegetarian live longer than those in Northern France who have meat-based diets, or the British study showing that vegetarianism leads to lower mortality rates, one trend that is for certain is that the less one consumes meat, it has the potential to increase your longevity to up a decade.  With the health care debate going on, it should be evident that the best way to nip health care bills in the bud is not to accrue them in the first place.  Although there are some genetic diseases or accidents that are unavoidable, ultimately, a great majority of health care bills can be prevented.  If you don't think the "American Way of Life" is dangerous, think again!  Two out of three Americans are overweight, approximately one in five smoke, and a majority of Americans do not get enough exercise,   and well over 800,000 Americans die from cardiovascular diseases, the #1 killer of Americans.  A healthy lifestyle increases longevity--who would have thought?  A healthy diet, consistent exercise, and avoiding self-destructive habits (i.e., smoking, excessive drinking), the trifecta to a healthier you.  But I would like to focus a bit on the first part--diet.  First of all, a vegetarian diet greatly decreases many diseases, including cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases, to the point where the odds of contracting any of the diseases is slim to none.  Aside from conserving longevity, vegetarianism also conserves precious natural resources.  An article from Cornell shows, not only does animal consumption consumes eight times the energy than plant protein, but it also consumes an insanely large amount of water, a resource that is becoming more scarce with time.  A BBC article also illustrates how vegetarianism would alleviate world hunger, as well as water shortage.

In short.  Not only does vegetarianism help with the microcosm of one's personal health, but also with the greater macrocosm of efficient usage of scarce natural resources and world hunger.  Although I do not approve of the mainstream envrionmentalists' approach of using Big Brother to force this upon Americans, but I do, however, encourage Americans to examine the aforementioned issues at hand and make sound decisions. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Libertarianism and Judaism: Do They Make a Good Couple?

I figured that on this blog, I have been over-emphasizing the Libertarian part, whereas I have ignored the Jewish half. This is going to be my first, of what I hope to be many, blogs on Jewish thought. For those of you who don't know, I'm an iconoclastic Jew who tries to reach a duality between preserving tradition and synthesizing modernity. Although my propensity is to look at tradition for the answers, there are certain times where other fields of thought (i.e., government, history, science, etc.) come into play to make a halachic ruling that puts reality, tradition, and other considerations into account. Without delving too deep into too much detail as to where I fall on the religious spectrum, I would like to begin my first religiously-based blog entry.

I was recently talking with a friend who told me that they were having doubts about being Jewish because it collided with libertarianism. It made me start thinking about those two "-isms" and ascertaining whether or not there can possibly be a duality between the two. To answer this question, I consulted "In Libertarianism: A Primer" by Cato Institute scholar David Boaz when he wrote: "Libertarianism is a political philosophy, not a complete moral code. It prescribes certain minimal rules for living together in a peaceful, productive society--property, contract, and freedom--and leaves further moral teaching to civil society."

Libertarianism is about maximizing one's freedoms, minimizing governmental intervention, and letting civic society determine the societal norms. That descriptive diminishes the seemingly inherent conflict between the two, not to mention the fact that famous libertarians such as Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Misees, and Ann Rynd were Jewish. Just a few examples of Judaism concepts being libertarian:

Non-aggression. Also known as the "Golden Rule," this concept is in just about every single major religion, including Judaism. To prove that point, I will quote what has been dubbed "the most famous passage from the Talmud" (Shabbat 31a):

Once there was a gentile who came before Shammai, and said to him: "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot. Shammai pushed him aside with the measuring stick he was holding. The same fellow came before Hillel, and Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

 Freedom of religion. Considering that Jews have historically been barred from practicing rituals, such as circumcision, kosher slaughter, and Torah study, it is a blessing to have First Amendment rights to practice Judaism without being oppressed by the government.

Free Will. At the beginning of Genesis (4:7), we are told that "sin crouches at the door, but you can overcome it." Judaism neither accepts the Christian notion that humans are inherently evil due to "original sin," nor the secular notion that humans are essentially good, but that society corrupts the inherent goodness. At the end of the Torah in Deuteronomy, HaShem says, "I have placed life and death before you, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you will live, you and your offspring (30:19)." G-d gave us impulse control, something that truly separates us from the animals. This is why Twinkie defenses or using the excuse of a lousy upbringing to justify murder in Judaism don't work. You do something good, you're rewarded; you do something wrong, you get punished. Although it seems like a no-brainer, this is why G-d created doubt, so we can truly act as free human beings. This is the beauty of Torah: by giving us a sense of right and wrong and actually being able to act upon it, G-d endows us with true freedom. In a matter of irony, G-d makes us free by establishing rules. The Torah brings the revelation of there being more than acting on mere instinct. This revelation elevates humans from being pre-determined hedonists. By realizing there's more than merely acting on impulse control, we have expanded our repertoire of choices, thereby providing us with the most amount of freedom.

Gun Rights. The Second Amendment and Judaism truly go hand-in-hand. If there is one Biblical value I can think of that essentially remains a constant, it's the right to self-defense. For more on the subject, read this article entitled "Torah and Self Defense."

Free markets. This one is a bit more challenging becasue there are three economic practices in Judaism that made pause because from a strict capitalist point of view, they make no sense: not working on Shabbos, the shmita (the Sabbatical year where you don't work the land), and tzedakah, a mandate in which you have to give up 10% of your paycheck to give to the needy.  The first two seem meshuganah because you're told not to work when you could be working and creating more revenue.  The third is socialistic--I mean, an obligation to give money to somebody else?!  The reason why a secular libertarian would shudder at these practices is because they defy the nature of amassing as much wealth as possible.  From a religiously Jewish perspective, however, wealth serves as a means, not the ends.  That is why it is better to think of Judaism as capitalism with compassion.

Judaism is a very strong proponent of property rights.  The Eight Commandment of the Decalogue, "Thou Shall Not Steal," (Exodus 20:12), has the presupposition of property rights.  If people can just take other people's property out of a sense of entitlement, wouldn't this commandment be pointless?  Wouldn't it make sense that property rights presuppose the laws of tithing and charity?  Some challenge it would be to give away property that wasn't yours. Plus, you also have the commandment of not removing property boundaries (Deut. 19:14), not falsely denying one's property rights (Lev. 19:11), return lost property (Deut. 22:1), and to return that which was stolen during a robbery (Lev. 5:23).  What is just as intriguing is that there is an entire tractate of the Talmud, the Baba Bathra, that is solely dedicated to property rights and how to best protect them.

As for poverty, a few things.  One, as I stated before, we use our G-d-given free will to decide whether to help out the poor.  Two, having wealth is a blessing, not a crime.  "Nothing is harder to bear than poverty, for one who is crushed by poverty is like one to whom all the troubles of the world cling and upon whom all the curses in Deuteronomy have descended.  If all the troubles were placed on one scale and poverty on the other, poverty would outweight them all (Talmud, Baba Bathra 116a)."  As Jews, we have an obligation to help out our fellow man.  But what's more comforting about that obligation is that according to Rambam and his famous eight levels of charity, the highest level of charity (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Charity, 10:7-14) is enabling the recipient of charity to become self-sufficient.  "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime."  I wonder if the Chinese took this one from the Jews.....

Conclusion.  Both libertarianism and Judaism give me freedom that I could not find elsewhere. Libertarianism provides the secular, governmental modus operandi to best enable me to freely practice my religion.  Judaism maximizes my free will, thereby maximizing the choices I have in life.  By providing me with a framework and the capability, I have fused two ideologies that give the potential and liberation to live my life not only as ethically sound, but also with maximum empowerment.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Founder of Human Rights Watch Points Out Anti-Israeli Bias

I am one to emphatically state that there is a double standard with how the international community treats Israel versus how they treat terrorists, something which I blogged about this past weekend regarding the Goldstone Report.

Robert Bernstein, the founder of the Human Rights Watch, recently wrote an editorial about this very topic.  In short, he is disgusted that people are so intellectually inept because they cannot differentiate between democratic and non-democratic entities.  Definitely worth the read!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hodgepodge of News: 10/19

So much for "moderate Muslims!"  Caroline Glick writes an article about how Turkey goes extremist.

New York Times puts out an article on how Russia wants to be more like China.  Talking about trying to emulate the best of capitalist success and maintaining an iron fist.

For you left-winged, environmentalist hippies: Antarctica is not melting!  Antarctica is going through a net gain in ice--get over it.  Your alarmism is for naught.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Wind Quintet and Racial Politics

Last night, I had the pleasure of hearing the Imani Winds, a wind quintet that has an ecclectic selection of music (most notably from Latin America).  The repertoire was diverse and energetic, the energy of the musicians was lively, and the overall musicianship was par excellence.  I even enjoyed their final piece, which was actually entitled Freilich, a unique pleasure of hearing a wind quintet play klezmer.  I even complimented the clarinetist on her handling of the style of music, which, if you're not Jewish, is next to impossible.

Why do I bring up this seemingly innocuous evening?  Because, aside from being musicians, they all happened to be black.  You know what my reaction was not like during the concert?  "Oh, they're black, let's judge their musicianship."  Instead, my reaction to the concert was "Wow, these people are great musicians, and their talents bring real joy to this world." 

Moral of the story: Race DOES NOT matter!  Religiously speaking, we were all created in G-d's image (Genesis 1:27).  Secularly speaking, as the Declaration of Independence states, all men are created equal....and I think there was a little blurb about G-d given right being endowed by our Creator, but I think Jefferson must have been smoking something to have written that in because those atheists keep telling me that he was a Deist who didn't care much for G-d, but oh wait, there it is.  This G-d-given endowment, whether from a secular or religious standpoint, is precisely why we, as human beings, are intrinsically deserving of equal treatment. 

Like I judged those musicians by the merit of their musicianship, rather than the color of the skin, I judge Obama in the same fashion.  I, like most Americans, much prefer a meritocracy.  Yea, America has finally built enough racial acceptance to have a black man as President, let's move on to the issues at hand.  If Obama puts forward an agenda with a yellow-bellied foreign policy, Keynsian economics, and Lefist/socialist misunderstandings of the world, I'm going to criticize him on precisely that--his actions, not his skin color!  At this stage in the game, anybody who brings race into politics is only stalling Martin Luther King's dream of being judged on the character of a man.  In the 21st-century, skin color can no longer be used as a smokescreen to hide from the real issues.  Disagreement with Obama is not racism, it's merely the right to dissent, something that is guaranteed in the First Amendment.  So let's talk issues, and not identity politics.

Memo to Al Sharpton: Get over yourself!  You are part of the problem because you incite racism.  It doesn't matter what I think about Rush Limbaugh, or his recent column in the WSJ, for that matter.  You perpetuate racial tensions in this country by bringing it up all the time.  Also, hone up to responsibility when you incited people during the Crown Heights riot by calling Jews "diamond merchants," which ultimately lead to that very mob killing Yankel Rosenbaum, an innocent Jew walking the street during this time.  Once you, Jesse Jackson, and your ilk stop inciting racist feelings and tensions in this country, we can go beyond that which is skin-deep.

Goldstone Report and Double Standards

This past Friday, the Goldstone Report, a report created by the UN Council of Human Rights (UNCHR) to denounce Israel for its "war crimes" during Operation Cast Lead back at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009, was approved.  As if it were a surprise, this report, written up by a self-loathing South African Jew, only condemns Israel. 

The United Nations is notoriously anti-Israel, which is just a PC way of saying that its anti-Semitism is now playing in the global arena.  Case in point: Out of the 1,860 UN Security council resolutions, 221 of those resolutions are against Israel--that's approximately 12%!  The "Palestinians," the actual terrorists in this whole ordeal, guess how many UN resolutions are against Palestinian terrorism?  You guessed it....0! 

The Goldstone Report is nothing other than another example of UN-based anti-Semitism.  I cannot think of another nation in the entire world who gets fallaciously paraded around in the international arena for self-defense, even though Article 51 of the UN charter gives a nation the right to self-defense.  Hamas, which is not even a sovereign nation-state to begin with, does not even receive an iota of criticism.  Israel withdrew from Gaza back in 2005, and prior to the war, did not interfere in Gazan affairs.  The point where tensions rose was when Israel signed a cease-fire agreement with Hamas.  During this time period, Hamas still managed to fire rockets.  I do not care if they fired less than "normal," the point is that they went back on their word.  If Hamas cannot even hold back during a cease-fire, why do you think these people want peace with Israel, especially when the Hamas Charter (see Preamble and Articles 7, 32) calls to get rid of the Zionist entity? 

Whether or not Operation Cast Lead was as successful as one would have hoped, there is no doubt in my mind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an issue that is essentially "black and white."  Charles Krauthammer so eloquently points out that Israel is tactful in minimizing civilian causualties, whereas Hamas targets Israeli civilians while using their own civilians as human shields.  There is no moral equivalence between the two uses of force, and anyone who suggests as such is severly and morally misguided.  Israel is the only democratic state in the Middle East.  Its freedoms, economic growth, and prosperity are unprecedented in that region of the world.  They only want to live in peace, and they have proved this time and again with multiple "land-for-peace" agreements, which, time and again the Palestinians break.  Hamas, on the other hand, is a terrorist organization whose purpose is to make Islam supreme and annihalate the Zionist enemy while using rockets to cowardly target civilians.  The two are not the same.  The way Hamas conducts themselves is inexcusable, and those in the West that support these actions by approving of the Goldman Report should feel ashamed. 

A point that I will bring up time and again with this issue, which, at the rate it's going, will continue into my old age, is that until Hamas and Fatah accept the existence of Israel, this violence will not stop.  Israel needs to continue to stand up for itself, and I think Bibi did a good job defending Israel in front of the UN council in September 24 when he denounced the UN for its bias. 

To end this diatribe, what I would like to say regarding Washington is that this report is another failure for the Obama administration.  The President made a speech in Cairo back in June, hoping that diplomatic efforts to appease the Muslim entities and speak highly of Islam would help stop the villification of Israel.  The vote last week to approve the Goldman Report just goes to show that a deep hatred for Jews will always supercede the smooth-sounding oration skills of President Obama.

Friday, October 16, 2009

COLAs--Bandaging a Cold

Nobody likes Big Government...that is, until they receive a government handout.

Although Washington is not giving a COLA to seniors, Obama's recent move to appease the senior community by giving $250 in Social Security benefits to each senior citizen is just another example of how he wants Americans to suck from the teat of the Nanny State.

As the aforementioned article states, however, Obama is having a heck of a time figuring out how to pay for it.   Two problems here with Obamanomics, which is really just a euphemism for modern-day Keynsian economics gone ary:

1) You can only spend so much of other people's money before it's gone.
2) Money does not grow on trees, and you cannot print money en masse without substantially depreciating the dollar. 

On the short term, I wonder how the Obama administration is going to pay for it.  He has already racked up an unprecedented amount of debt.  On the long term, I wonder how the American people are going to pay for this entitlement spending.  Baby boomers are going to retire soon, and as such, Social Security spending will skyrocket.

This issue has always been of particular intrigue to me because we're aware of the issue, we have implementable solutions, and yet we're waiting for catastrophe to strike because "oh, we don't have to worry about that for a while." It's like having a little hole in the kitchen ceiling, and rather than going to the hardware store, spend $10 for the supplies to patch it up, we'd rather just wait for the whole kitchen to flood. 

There are options to deal with the problem.  The first is to do nothing--bad idea!  The second is to raise taxes, something which will be symptomatic of the Obama administration.  The third is to reduce benefits, something that is inevitably going to occur with Medicare.

As a libertarian, it should go without saying that I believe in more privitization of the service, like just about anything else. This has nothing to do with not having sympathy with the elderly.  It's more like "I want to bring down an ineffective system while simultaneously assuring that elderly people in generations to come have solid, secure retirement funds." COLAs don't solve the problem--they perpetuate, and not only do they perpetuate it, they actually cause harm to near retirees.  None of the aforementioned "solutions" deal with diminishing returns or the inevitability that the government won't be able to deliver without causing massive debt to American taxpayers.  A more gradual approach of partial privitization of retirement money, much like the PRA's Bush proposed in 2005, would at least be a step in the right direction to empower people with their own financial decisions. I could go into detail about specifically what we can implement, but I'll save that blog entry for another day.

"Government is not the solution; it's the problem." -Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Leopards Don't Change Spots: Weighing in on Russo-American Relations

"A leopard can't change its spots."  It's what I keep in mind when I think of Russo-American relations. It doesn't matter if it's portraying itself as Communist or "democratic," Russia is still antagonistic towards American interests.  Forget the Cold War, SALT Treaties, or when the Berlin Wall fell (although that was a pretty good time!).

Two recent issues come into mind when I think of Russo-American relations.

1) Russia is not helping when it doesn't want to put pressure on Iran.  I'm not advocating for economic least unto themselves.  I did a research paper on this in college, and without military backing, economic sanctions don't do squat.  It's why Iran has been unaffected by sanctions for the past thirty years.  But when Putin says we shouldn't anger Iran, it makes me think one of two possibilities.  A) He is even more naive on foreign policy than Obama because he doesn't realize that Iran has the potential to disrupt the balance of power on his borders, or B) he is in cohorts with Iran because he wants to restore the glory of Mother Russia.  Either way, standing by idly while Iran gains nuclear power is more of a global catastrophe than the so-called "climate change."

2) There are plans, albeit tentative, to let Russian officials inspect American nuclear sites.  In all sincerity, Obama bent over any further to the international community, his back would be parallel to the ground.  Why are we giving Russia access to sites that are pertinent to national security?  Russia's not our friend!  While we're at it, we should give them a tour of the Pentagon, top security clearance included, of course, just to make sure we appease our comrades.

I don't expect Russia to change its spots, really, I don't.  But at the same time, Obama needs to stop kowtowing to anti-Americanism and actually learn how to grow a pair.  Historically speaking, Russia hasn't played ball with the US since WWII.  Sure, they gave us Alaska (big mistake!), and we even fought together against the Boxer Rebellion, the Kaiser, and the Nazis.  Every time, though, Russia was always looking out for #1--it just happened that a relationship with America was mutually beneficial.  When Russia became a superpower along with America after World War Two, tensions rose, and ultimately Russia lost.  Russian ego hasn't been the same since, and I severely doubt that anyone with an iota of Russian pride, even Putin, is going to let that go anytime soon.  We would have better luck having China help us pressure Iran, or heck, we can ally with India to put pressure on Pakistan.  But this isn't Obamanomic foreign policy--kissing toches of every antagonistic state while angering allies seems to be the way to go, which is why we will only see more and more examples of weak foreign policy and apologetics of the worst kind.    

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Wow, I see that I haven't blogged in a while!  But now that I'm back from my vacation in Arizona, I might as well blog on something that happened during my trip.  Last Saturday, Obama made a speech at the Human Rights Campaign saying that he'll end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  Aside from the fact that people have their reservations about his commitment, that, and I hate the fact he has to micromanage every little thing, I still honestly believe that the policy is another example of Big Government being ineffective.

1) Alleged harm.  Guess what?  Contrary to what the "Religious Right" would like to think, gays in the military doesn't harm national security.  Not only do departments such as the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, and Homeland Security admit gays without any effect on cohesion, every country in NATO, with exception of the US and Turkey, has admitted gays without any decrease in morale.

2) Financial costs.  Although it's not so easy to put a price tag on the cost of such a policy, one think tank puts the cost at over $35 million a year.  The things one could have done with over half a billion dollars instead of spending it on a policy that has no positive effects.  I was thinking of maybe more fighter planes or better tanks so we can better take down Islamic extremists.

3) Equality.  This is not a discussion about "marriage equality."  All men are created equal....I know some people would rather just forget the Declaration of Independence just to push forward some sort of agenda.  But let's give everybody the chance to serve our country just because at this point, we need every willing, able man to help America, especially considering that 79% of Americans don't mind gays serving.

4) Undermining our own military.  Not only has DADT managed to kick out over 10,000 in the military since its inception, but the GAO reports that 757 gays were in "critical operations," not to mention 322 translators who were fluent in Arabic, Farsi, and Korean, which, last time I checked, are languages that not many in the USA know, not to mention the fact that these translators are a necessary line of defense for obtaining counter-terrorism intelligence.  This kind of witch hunt, which makes the Salem Witch trials look like an innocuous dance around the May Day pole, breeds distrust and deteriorates morale.

Just making sure I have this right--DADT is costing the taxpayers a sizable amount to enact a bigoted policy that ultimately undermines national security.  Got it!