Here we go again. First, the liberal columnist was surprised by the veracity of Israeli diplomats, now he wonders how the anti-American intellectual elite got it all so wrong. Rachman describes the intellectual elite’s belief system thus:
While there has been lots of discussion of the U.S.-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) over the past few months, one very important consideration continues to receive insufficient attention: China’s robust nuclear-force modernization program.
I’ve been to some of the places on earth where water is not a given. When I was in Haiti, years ago, Catholic Relief Services used bottled water in their toilets, which sounds like a luxury until you ask yourself how to make flush toilets work if the water is off. The answer is, you have a case of bottled water in the john and invite each user to fill the tank.
It’s easy to criticize what Christopher Hitchens has said about Judaism and Israel. I have done it myself at great length, in 2007. But I think that in 2010, on balance, I’d call Hitchens objectively pro-Zionist, and an indispensable voice for human freedom.
Pictures released yesterday of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother of two sentenced to death for adultery in Iran, at home with her son sparked rumors she was free. But sadly, the photos were actually part of a state “documentary” in which she “confessed” to the crimes the Islamic Republic accuses her of.
Howard Jacobson is the winner of this year’s Booker Prize for his satirical novel about British Jews who are ASHamed (Jacobson’s version) of Israel’s sins against humanity and form a group to protest, demonstrate, remonstrate, boycott and do whatever possible to undermine Israel and Zionists (alias Jews). Finkler is the Jewish character who founds and heads the group and the non-Jewish narrator’s friend, and by extension, the synonym for all Jews. Of course the word fink is aptly in there. It comes to mind in connection with the Rabbis for Human Rights who met last week to agonize over the insufficiency of the Jewish response to the protesters of the Ground Zero Mosque.
As the economy was so weak, unemployment so high and Congress was in no mood for a second stimulus, I have no choice but to print money, Bernanke has been saying. Fine. But now Congress is about to enact a second stimulus in the form of a series of tax cuts worth 800 billion dollars, so Bernanke has no valid reason to continue his money printing.
One of the oldest rhetorical tricks is to present what is actually a political and ideological attack as if it were a mathematical inevitability, a purely scientific conclusion. Indeed, at first it is impossible to see the flaw in the argument that, because much of the federal budget is spent on Social Security and Medicare, that to reduce the deficit one “must” cut these entitlements. As the refrain goes: “This is where the big bucks are.” Speaking on NPR, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) pointed out that 65% of the federal budget is “Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the debt,” and argued that hence, “we can’t solve our budget crisis without dealing with our entitlements.” Mackenzie Eaglen of the Heritage Foundation writes that “entitlements now account for around 65 percent of all federal spending and a record 18 percent of GDP.” Referring to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, she predicts, “If future taxes are held at the historical average, these three entitlements will consume all tax revenues by 2052.” And, as every high school kid knows, there is no more than 100%.
“There are no second acts in American life.” Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in notes for his unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, that line has become almost a cliché. The conventional interpretation, especially given Fitzgerald’s alcoholism and death at a young age, is that in America once people make a mistake they are not allowed a second chance. This, of course, is demonstrably untrue since people from Martha Stewart to Michael Vick to Eliot Spitzer have reinvented their careers after serious mistakes.
We know that Tony Blair, whose weak-minded sister-in-law recentlyconverted to Islam, has had any number of Islamo-serving brain farts in recent years. For a Brit, saying pro-Muslim stuff is like masturbation. But I just had to point out the glorious collision of traditional British Islamophilia with traditional British Judeophobia in the following comment by Blair, during what sounds like a rather sophomoric weekend debate on god and religion between Blair and Christopher Hitchens:
The first time I used a computer was in 1978 at Northwestern — a freshman class in Fortran and Cobol, languages now as dead as Old Babylonian. We’d drop our stacks of IBM punch cards at the Tech sub-basement and go out for the evening, because it took hours for the computer center to run programs.
Fairly or unfairly, leaders are made or unmade during emergencies. George W. Bush grasped was made by 9/11 and unmade during Katrina. Barack Obama was unmade by the Gulf oil spill. In Israel Ehud Olmert was unmade by the second Lebanon War. Benjamin Netanyahu is being made by his brilliant response to the Carmel mega fire. He has set clear goals, acted with decisiveness, dispatch and caring. Unlike Olmert, he repeatedly demonstrated solidarity with the burning North. Not only did he visit with the first respondents, flew over the affected area but had his cabinet meet in one of the formerly evacuated towns.
In a last, desperate gasp, House Democrats voted to extend current tax rates on income up to $250,000 while allowing higher rates to kick in on higher earnings. It was a class warfare extravaganza, and Speaker-on-a-Banana Peel Nancy Pelosi received a smattering of applause from her fellow hard Lefties when she brought down the gavel after the vote.
In the real world, if you or I were to get caught by the IRS for any sort of cheating, we could not use as defense the fact that some of our best friends had gotten away with similar behavior. In the hallowed halls of congress, Charley Rangel wants a pass because he didn’t commit the same sins as previous recipients of censure and by his measure, he is not a corrupt man. The facts argue otherwise. In representing one of the poorest constituencies in New York, Charley greedily occupied four rent stabilized apartments at under-market value, basically stealing them people who were entitled to and desperately needy of such limited housing. Should people who occupy even one subsidized apartment also own a Caribbean vacation retreat? In not paying taxes on his villa and not disclosing hundreds of thousands of dollars of assets on various financial forms, the Chairman of our Ways & Means Committee made a mockery of his imposing status while flaunting his disregard for the rules of the game. If you’re competent enough to hold that privileged position, you can’t maintain credibility by blaming your tax evasion on your accountant.
Turkey, former American ambassador Jeffrey wrote, has “Rolls Royce ambitions, but Rover resources.” If that was not bad enough Turkish media reports that their self righteous PM Erdogan and his FM Davutoglu has been caught lying big time