American Elephants


Politics, Outrage, Fingerpointing, and the Latest in the Scandals by The Elephant's Child

Congressman Jim McDermott is Seattle’s own. We call him Baghdad Jim — not a compliment. He is perhaps the most partisan politico on the Progressive side, or perhaps there are some worse. He is in another district so I don’t get a chance to vote enthusiastically against him.

Democrats, of course, claim to be outraged by the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which declared that Corporations may contribute money to political campaigns. They still don’t get to make donations directly to candidates. The problem for Democrats is that they had the donation bit sewn up with union money and NGO money and Enviro money. But Corporations have lots of money. They might influence an election. They might contribute to Republican causes. The Chicago Way — “At all times an election is too important to be left to chance.”

This IRS scandal just keeps getting worse. Millions of taxpayer moneys spent on agency events, overpaid speakers, $3000 hotel rooms. Obviously even the Democrats recognize the problems, acknowledge them and admit that there was wrongdoing, while they search for excuses or a way to blame it all on Republicans.

Sort of ‘If you didn’t want to get raped, you shouldn’t have dressed so slutty.’



Everything You Wanted to Know About the Middle East but Were Afraid to Ask by The Elephant's Child

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the 2013 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa held in Jordan.  He unveiled a plan to boost the Palestinian economy. The plan is based on $4 Billion in new funding and seems to carry the endorsement of many foreign leaders. The idea is that we can buy peace in the Middle East. Good Luck with that.

The idea is to mobilize some $4 billion of investment. A team of experts — private citizens, donating their time — are analyzing the opportunities in tourism construction,m light manufacturing, building materials, energy, agriculture, and information and communications technology. The group will make recommendations to the Palestinians. They’re not going to decide anything. The Palestinians will decide that in their normal course of governance, But they will analyze and make recommendations on a set of choices that can dramatically lift the economy.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and the folks working with him believe that we can lift the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50 percent over three years. They foresee enough new jobs to cut unemployment by nearly two-thirds — to 8% down from 21% today and increase the median annual wage by as much as 40 %. Prime Minister Blair has always been an optimist. But the Obama administration is determined that the “Peace Process” will work. Obama does not change his mind.

“Secretary of State John Kerry says that it’s now or never for Israelis and Palestinians to reach agreement on a two-state solution. Interestingly, neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials have any idea what Kerry is talking about.” That’s Lee Smith writing at Tablet magazine.  A few recent headlines while we were paying attention to other things:

Assad on the March” Wall Street Journal

Syria: Obama talks no fly zones, Putin sends missiles” Rare

Assad Warns Israel, Claiming a Stockpile of Russian Weapons” NYT

Al Qaeda’s Syrian wing takes over the oilfields once belonging to Assad
Telegraph uk

Count Me Out on Syria” Victor Davis Hanson

John Kerry, as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was the man known to have Bashar Assad on his speed dial. Perhaps he’s been doing some re-thinking since Assad has used nerve gas on his people, and turned into a monster. You probably won’t want to read all of those links, but the headlines give you a sense of the state of things.

Here’s another: “Obama’s Iraq Surrender,” Front Page Magazine, May 31.

But a far bigger part of the picture is the accelerating destabilization of Iraq. The breakdown of Iraq, with its far-reaching regional ramifications, is attributable in no small part to President Obama’s abandonment of the U.S.’s mission in the country, a betrayal committed in total defiance of the military establishment’s recommendations, which squandered the hard-won victory handed down by President Bush. As predicted, our precipitous withdrawal has left the once pacified nation riven with sectarian strife, primarily among Sunni and Shia Muslims and the Kurds. As the region descends, the consequences of Obama’s folly are only becoming more obvious: a nation that once stood a chance at being a source of stability in the region is instead rapidly becoming its maelstrom.

Whether or not you agree with that paragraph, the article continues with a clear description of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1916, and the secret agreement between Sir Mark Sykes of Britain and George Picot of France, with Russia’s approval to create Middle East spheres of influence for France and Great Britain following their victory in WWI. The borders created to satisfy European sensibilities largely ignored the realities of historic ethnic, tribal and sectarian divisions which were exacerbated by the rise of dictators, tyrants and Arab monarchs who maintained power after the French and British withdrew in the middle of the last century.

It’s a good summary of the background of the Middle East, and useful for those of us who struggle to understand what’s going on, the actions of our own government, and what we think about it.



Why Is It So Hard To Call a Terrorist a Terrorist? by The Elephant's Child

Stockholm riots

An off-duty British soldier has been butchered on a busy London street by two Islamist terrorists, the first terrorist murder on the British mainland since the 7/7 suicide bombings of 2005. The British-born Muslim convert calmly spoke to a witness’s video phone.

We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. Your people will never be safe. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying by British soldiers every day.We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I apologize that women had to witness this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remover your government, they don’t care about you. Do you think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? Do you think your politicians are going to die? No, it’s going to be the average guy like you, and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so we, so you can all live in peace.”

Witnesses said the men first ran over the soldier with a car, just yards from the Royal Barracks. Then they set about him with meat cleavers and knives. He was slashed, and eviscerated and beheaded, shouting Allahu Akbar, as horrified passers-by watched.

Here, Christiane Amanpour and Wolf Blitzer wondered why David Cameron and the British government immediately blamed the incident as terrorism.

In Sweden, “unrest” in Stockholm’s suburbs continued for a fourth night as rioters showed their anger by setting fire to as many as 30 cars and buildings, and throwing stones at emergency workers. Another 11 cars were set on fire in Husby, an area of high-rise apartment blocks. Unemployment rates for immigrants from countries outside the EU are nearly three times as high as for ethnic Swedes.

Well, we just had the Boston bombing, which they also had trouble calling terrorism. A bunch of left-leaning media types were hoping out loud that it would turn out to be a “white American” rather than a Muslim extremist. NPR’s Diana Temple-Raston speculated on air that it was likely right-wing extremists behind the bombing because it was Hitler’s birthday that week, and “Hitler’s birthday is ‘big’ for the right.” And today we have learned that a man shot by an FBI agent in Orlando implicated himself and the older Tsarnaev brother in a gruesome 2011 triple murder.

We had considerable difficulty getting anyone to call the incident in Benghazi an “act of terror”, or “terrorism.” Comes right from the top.

President Obama spoke earlier today at the National Defense University, at Fort McNair, in his most droning, lecturing voice. When we were attacked on 9/11, we were shaken out of complacency. “This was a different kind of war. …A group of terrorists came to kill as many civilians as they could:”

And so our nation went to war. We have now been at war for well over a decade. I won’t review the full history. What’s clear is that we quickly drove al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, but then shifted our focus and began a new war in Iraq. This carried grave consequences for our fight against al Qaeda, our standing in the world, and – to this day – our interests in a vital region.

For this president, the only reason for war was revenge against Osama bin Laden and his top deputies. Obama got bin Laden and has done in most of his staff, and ended Bush’s War in Iraq, brought 150,000 troops home, (and because of his mismanagement, never achieved a status of forces agreement, and an ill-prepared Iraq in now falling apart.) “We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan and increased our training of Afghan forces.” (Hamstringing our forces with the politically-correct idea that we should show our “trust” by having our forces unarmed. This has resulted in a death-toll under Obama that is twice as high as any under Bush). “For over the last decade our nation has spent well over a trillion dollars on war, exploding our deficits and constraining our ability to nation build here at home.” (This from the president who has spent a trillion dollars every year of his administration so far, mostly wasted). He went into a big defense of his drone policy, which is mostly making undeclared war on nations with whom we are supposedly not at war. His defensive comments indicate that he is aware of the opposition from other nations.

Barack Obama does not get terrorism.He is the Not-Bush, everything Bush did was deplorable and he is sure the world hates us for the luxury seaside resort detention center at Guantanamo. He cannot get his mind around the difference between terrorists who have no legal standing under the Geneva Conventions and ordinary criminals.

It was a lecturing, arrogant, defensive speech full of the usual straw men.  He’s clearly threatened by all the scandals flowing around the White House. They are bad. Obama’s disregard for the Constitution and its provisions, contempt for the separation of powers, and unfamiliarity with good management and American tradition have led him to believe that he can approach governing America with Chicago-style politics. It would be a bad idea at any time, but in an economy weakened by Chicago-style economics, it has led to trouble. His overblown confidence in his own ideology is proving no more effective in the nation’s capitol than it is in the failing states run by Democratic administrations, like Illinois.



Kind Words and Gentle Thoughts. That Will Fix Things. by The Elephant's Child

This video is from August 6, 2009. Not new, but it certainly demonstrates the problem. As long as we are unable to think clearly about terrorism, we will not solve the problem. I guess you could call political correctness a kind of worm in the brain, burrowing into every thought process and leaving a slimy trail of weakness, indecision, and misdirection.

This kind of sloppy thinking led to a failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq, with the consequences that have followed our abrupt pullout. It has led to the mistake of setting a date for our withdrawal from Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban to wait until then to take over. It has led to attempting to impress the Afghans with our trust by depriving our own troops of weapons to defend themselves and costing more lives. We have lost far more of our troops under Obama than ever happened under George W. Bush.

And it’s the kind of thinking that deluded the administration to assume the Arab Spring was a democratic movement that would lead to peace in the Middle East and an end to terrorism. But the Arab world had no experience of democracy ever, and no idea how it was to work. What they have known forever is dictatorship, so a new set of dictators moved in.

Mr. Brennan is now the Director of the CIA.



Some Nice Words: Some Bad Judgment. by The Elephant's Child

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Barack Obama’s first trip to Israel as President of the United States started off with the presidential limousine breaking down because his people put the wrong fuel in it. A metaphor? Probably.

Mr. Obama has long-expected one of his signature achievements as president would be producing peace in the Middle East by bringing the “peace process” to a satisfactory conclusion. He has believed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be the cause of all Middle East problems, and he would just demand they sit down and talk.

Obama had some nice words in a speech to the Israeli people, then talked down to them. Then he had the extraordinarily bad judgment to give a speech in Ramallah on the West Bank, in front of a gigantic banner of Yassir Arafat, He actually said this:

I think it’s important for us to work through this [peace] process, even if there are irritants on both sides. The Israelis have concerns about rockets flying into their cities last night. And it would be easy for them to say, you see, this is why we can’t have peace because we can’t afford to have our kids in beds sleeping and suddenly a rocket comes through the roof. But my argument is even though both sides may have areas of strong disagreement [sic], may be engaging in activities that the other side considers to be a breach of good faith [sic], we have to push through those things to try to get to an agreement — because if we get an agreement then it will be very clear what the nature of that agreement is: There will be a sovereign Palestinian state, a sovereign Jewish State of Israel.

And those two states I think will be able to deal with each other the same way all states do. I mean, the United States and Canada has [sic] arguments once in a while, but they’re not the nature of arguments that can’t be solved diplomatically. And I think we can keep pushing through some of these problems and make sure that we don’t use them as an excuse not to do anything.

Can he possibly believe that the problems between Israel and the Palestinians is in any way similar to our arguments with Canada? His arguments with Stephen Harper over the Keystone XL must have been far more acrimonious than we knew. Talk about trivializing murder! The Palestinians bring up their children to be terrorists, extolling being a suicide bomber.

Israel’s demands have always been simple. Stop shooting rockets at us, and recognize the Israeli’s right to their own state.  Obama added:

[T]he United States remains committed to realizing the vision of two states, which is in the interests of the Palestinian people, and also in the national security interest of Israel, the United States, and the world.  We seek an independent, a viable and contiguous Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people, alongside the Jewish State of Israel — two nations enjoying self-determination, security and peace.

A viable and contiguous Palestinian state? There is no peace process. And the troubles between Israel and the Palestinians is not the reason for conflict in the Middle East. I heard on the radio that some 30 percent of Palestinians would prefer to live in Israel.

The State Department announced that they will unblock $500 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority. Congress froze funding for the Palestinian Authority in the wake of the PA’s attempt to unilaterally declare statehood via the United Nations. Despite President Obama’s request to PA President Mahmoud Abbas  not to go to the International Criminal Court to seek sanctions against Israel, Abbas, now in the ninth year of his four-year term, had vowed to do so.



Smiles and Hugs in Israel,Tense Underneath. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is on a trip to Israel, his first as President of the United States. Expectations for the trip have been very low, as Obama’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been — difficult, as has been his relation with the Israeli people.

It didn’t start off well, the presidential armored limousine known as “the beast” broke down and had to be hauled away. Only 10 percent of Israelis hold a favorable view of Obama and his foreign policy. Palestinians are even less enthusiastic, and staged demonstrations.

The map of the Middle East displayed in an administration video released just before the trip, showed the Jewish state without the Golan Heights, which were shown as part of Syria, without parts of northern Israel, Jerusalem ans surrounding territory was shown as part of the West Bank. The itinerary at the White House website also implied that Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was neither the capital nor even part of Israel. So do you believe the nice words, or the unacceptable map?

Obama made a fine speech to the people of Israel, connecting Israel to Biblical history, and correctly described the goal of Zionism as the wish “to be a free people in your homeland,” which is a major improvement. On the other hand, students from Ariel University in the West Bank were excluded from attendance.

When he discussed Iran, he said that “time is not unlimited” for negotiations and flatly said “Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. “This is not a danger that can be contained,” he added.”America will do what we must” to stop Iran.  This is as tough as the administration has been. We’ll see if he means it this time, or if it is  once again, just words.

Obama came into office with the firm belief that one of his great accomplishments as president would be bringing peace to the Middle East by making peace between Israel and Palestine — the two state solution.

It was an incredibly naive view of the Middle East as his fumbles in Cairo, and his misunderstanding of the so-called “Arab Spring” have proved. Israel has always been open to peace, and ardently desires it, even being willing to trade land for peace in the past. They learned that land is not the problem, the problem is that Palestinians desperately want to destroy Israel, and have no interest whatsoever in peace. Palestinians continued rocket attacks while the president was there, and staged demonstrations against him.

Since Obama has been in office, the Middle East has become a far more dangerous and unstable place. Al Qaeda is on the rise, Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel, Syria is in a state of civil war, with the use of poison gas rumored, Iranian proxies are advancing regionally and they continue to work, unchecked, on acquiring nuclear weapons. “Israel remains the best and only truly stable ally the United States has in the Middle East.”as Heritage senior research fellow Jim Phillips wrote.

Powerline recalled this video that Andrew Klavan made a while back, which makes the point rather well.

 



Israel: Tiny Nation, Remarkable Ideas. by The Elephant's Child

On President Obama’s upcoming trip to Israel, there are some amazing Israeli innovations that will be demonstrated for the president. Start with allowing  paraplegics to walk again, as shown in the video, with a Rewalk exoskeleton.

A  Tchiakovsky Flashwaltz at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital by  the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance has led to regular concerts at the hospital. Hadassah treats over one million patients annually, without regard to race, religion or national origin.

How about a robot snake? This one is designed to enter spaces in collapsed structures after accidents, earthquakes or bomb attacks with minimal disturbance to the surrounding wreckage. It is very flexible because of its great number of segments. Each joint is motorized and has a computer, sensors, wireless communications and batteries. The head has a camera. It can go into spaces that rescuers can’t and provide information about inaccessible areas and the status of people who might be trapped, or the location of hazardous materials. Sounds better than our robot squirrels.

Israelis have developed the next generation operating room. Don’t miss this one. This is not included in the president’s itinerary.  Pretty impressive. Star Trek is becoming real.



The Old Feeling of Dread Returns. by The Elephant's Child

Remembering the morning of 9/11 — a friend called and said “turn on your TV.” And I remember the absolute dread with which we watched — and watched.  We remember anniversaries here — tipping points, the moment something changed forever. Reading a lot of history does that to you.

From the AP today:

The U.N. atomic agency has received new and significant intelligence over the past month that Iran has moved further toward the ability to build a nuclear weapon, diplomats tell The Associated Press.

They say the intelligence shows that Iran has advanced its work on calculating the destructive power of an atomic warhead through a series of computer models that it ran sometime within the past three years…

The IAEA first outlined suspicions in November that Iran was working on calculating the yield of a nuclear weapon, as part of a 13-page summary of Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons work that it said was based on more than 1,000 pages of research and intelligence from more than 10 member nations.

We are innocent and ignorant in what indicates progress in Iran’s progress towards nuclear weapons, but deeply aware of the mullahs willingness to obliterate Iran if necessary in order to eliminate religions other than Islam. The Israelis find it a matter of concern, and they are serious people.

From AllahPundit:

First came the shouting match between Netanyahu and the U.S. ambassador. Then Martin Dempsey told an audience in London that he didn’t want to be “complicit” in an Israeli attack on Iran. The upcoming joint military exercise between the U.S. and Israel was then scaled back, and this murky report about the U.S. contacting Iran to distance itself from an Israeli strike appeared. Then came the floor fiasco at the Democratic convention over the platform’s Jerusalem language. Now this.

Our president, who considers himself an exceptional foreign-policy president, apparently because he lived in Indonesia for a while, and made speeches and bowed, and apologized to the leaders of many countries, outdid himself today, in response to another friend:

The White House has rejected a request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet President Barack Obama in the United States this month, an Israeli official said on Tuesday, after a row erupted between the allies over Iran’s nuclear programme.

An Israeli official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Netanyahu’s aides had asked for a meeting when he visits the United Nations this month, and “the White House has got back to us and said it appears a meeting is not possible. It said that the president’s schedule will not permit that“.

Well, Obama does have all sorts of fundraisers, and he has just scheduled an appearance on the Letterman show, and he doesn’t have time for the usual daily intelligence briefings. He’s only made it to some 43% of those, probably boring. He believes in talks, though there is little evidence of any success from any talks.

The “Arab Spring” was not what you would call a freedom festival, and the Muslim Brotherhood has triumphantly taken over Egypt and  Libya in spite of all our help.He’s continuing the aid to Egypt, and he’s even invited Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi to the White House. But he doesn’t have time for Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the meantime mobs in Egypt have gone bonkers as only Islamist mobs can, stormed the U.S. Embassy, torn down the flag, and a mob in Benghazi attacked the embassy there, one American dead. It seems that there is some filmmaker making a movie which is disrespectful of Mohammed, and excerpts appeared on YouTube. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo responded to the attack on sovereign American territory and the death of an American in Benghazi forcefully. The press release:

U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement

September 11, 2012

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

This is not surprising, for Barack Obama is not a foreign policy wonk. Not knowledgeable. Not interested. Short on history, ours and theirs. Appears to our enemies as a weak, passive administration, but regards himself as having great foreign policy expertise.  And there are some who actually believe him. I don’t know why they would.



Democrats are Opposed to God, Israel, and the Constitution. Is That Any Way to Run a Party? by The Elephant's Child

Oh my, what fun the Democrat Convention is. This year’s platform carefully omitted the usual reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It also omitted the usual reference to God. People noticed yesterday that this was the case, and the Jews were offended, and the religious were offended, so today they had formal amendments from the floor to put the standard references back in. Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles, Convention chairman, asked for a two-thirds vote on the amendments. He took a yea and nay voice vote, three times each, and had to lie to deem it passed.  And got loudly booed by angry delegates.

So the Democratic Party is formally opposed to Jerusalem, opposed to any mention of God, and one of the following speakers said to cheers that they were “the party of unity, not the party of growth.” That explains a lot.

Then we had a moment of Nancy Pelosi, former speaker, who announced firmly that Democrats were opposed to the Citizens United decision and would work to defeat it. Um, this was a Supreme Court decision — how do you work to defeat it? The president announced that he wanted — a Constitutional amendment to eliminate or reform the First Amendment? Have Democrats really become such loonies that they want to destroy our most precious declaration of rights?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Unbelievable.  These people are exhibiting their radical intent to destroy the freedoms that have been a beacon to the world, in the interest of growing government and their own power. People have streamed here from every part of the world in order to participate in freedom and opportunity unknown in human history, and the Democrats deem it unimportant?

Democrats have been getting weirder year by year. Remember all the flap about flag pins? Obama made a big deal about not wearing a flag pin. They don’t like the Declaration, they don’t like the Declaration’s listing of “self-evident truths,” and they find the idea of “unalienable rights endowed by their Creator” absurd. Rights are granted by government, and FDR’s Second Bill of Rights was way better. Those ought to get you way more votes, and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Power. Big Controlling Government.

This has to be one of the stranger videos I’ve ever seen, but they liked it.

It’s not going well. They handed out free tickets all over town, they bussed in students from nearby colleges and universities, and they still haven’t been able to fill the Bank of America Stadium which they have renamed for the convention. So for Obama’s speech, they have moved the convention to a smaller, indoor stadium pleading “inclement weather.”

You get in trouble when you divide your electorate up into single-issue groups, and promise to grant their wishes in return for their votes. First thing you know, the African-American voters dislike the gay marriage vote and the atheists don’t want any mention of God and the Abortion rights people — it just gets really complicated, and promises get insincere and ignored, and the pressure grows to get more guarantees, and there you are.

 



The State of Israel and Mitt Romney’s “Gaffes” by The Elephant's Child

The marvelous Michael Ramirez tells the story better in one perfect cartoon than I do in a whole column.  See all his work at Investors.com.   (Click to enlarge)

Mitt Romney, according to the liberal media, committed a horrible gaffe last week in Jerusalem by commenting on the relation of culture to Israeli economic growth. Saeb Erekat, correctly understanding an implied criticism of Palestinian culture, called Mr. Romney a “racist” and complained that Palestinian economic problems were due to the Israeli occupation. Liberal analysts were quick to jump in to explain that Mr. Erekat’s words meant that Mr. Romney.  has disqualified himself as a broker for peace.

There’s perennial argument buried in there, economists argue about whether development is caused by cultural advantages or by natural advantages like access to primary resources and resistance to disease. If economists has a sure recipe for economic advancement, we’d all be more advanced than we are, and economists wouldn’t have as much to argue about.

Israel is an interesting case. A tiny country with no natural resources was an economic backwater even in the says of the Ottoman Empire. It became a highly developed nation on culture alone.  As Todd G. Bucholtz wrote once in the Wall Street Journal:

And then there is Israel today. It may be settled by God’s chosen people, but He chose not to give them a drop of oil while gushers sprout across Arabia. And its terrain doesn’t naturally grow enough green for a sprig of parsley on your dinner plate.  Yet the land blooms. In the race for development would you rather bet on a country with tons of zinc or one with a couple of extra IQ points and a free flow of ideas?

The influence of plentiful oil did not change the nature of Arab economies. It did not fuel economic development that benefited all, but led to crowded cities. The oil rich economies of Libya and Iraq have social structures much like oil-lacking Egypt and Syria. Change is feared, and the culture is authoritative. But Arab populations have grown and prospered where Jews settled — in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Hebron, and remained stagnant  where they didn’t. The Palestinian population is among the best-educated and most competent in the Arab world, and under Israeli rule (the hated occupation) the West Bank was one of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world in the 1980s.

Many Palestinians regard Jewish economic leadership as an attack on their pride. Their situation might be far different if they quit firing missiles into Israel, and concentrated on their own development. When liberal reporters and analysts denounce Mr. Romney for his “gaffe, they should recognize there are Palestinian entrepreneurs who wept when Yasser Arafat rejected Israel’s peace offer at Camp David in 2000, and who know the costs to their peoples of politicians intransigence.

They would do far better to recognize the dishonest response of Mr. Erekat, and stand up for their own country instead of trying to create controversy.

The culture in Israel, that free flow of ideas and entrepreneurial spirit, has discovered vast new deposits of natural gas off their coast, developed a thriving high-tech industry, and has much to offer their neighbors.



Romney’s Triumphal Tour by The Elephant's Child

Mitt Romney has just returned from a triumphal tour from England to Israel, to Poland and home. The leftist media has tried to portray it as gaffe-filled, but the press has not often so exposed their bias. In England, NBC’s Brian Williams asked Mitt Romney—as someone who really understood the problems involved in putting an Olympics together — how he thought the British Olympics were stacking up. Mitt said that the reports that they had not been able to find enough security personnel was ‘disconcerting.’

This was what the British press had been reporting, but it was regarded as an insult and a terrible gaffe. The Economist hauled out a quote from Romney’s book in which he described England as a small island, with small houses and small roads… OMG. Another gaffe. Turns out Mitt was talking about the England of the late 16th and early 17th centuries and went on to  describe how with the most powerful Navy in the world they came to dominate the earth and build the far-flung British Empire. So Britain was just one great error on the part of Romney.

Mr. Romney was warmly welcomed in Israel. He and Bibi Netanyahu are old friends, but his speech was warm, thoughtful,  and well received.  He spoke passionately about the special relationship between the U.S and Israel. He supported Israel’s right to defend itself against the threat of a nuclear attack from Iran, and said that Iran must be kept from the capability of deploying a nuclear weapon. He noted that Israelis are more prosperous than Palestinians which he attributed to a culture of freedom. The Palestinians were furious that someone should mention the obvious, and called it racism. Israelis’ seven Nobel Prizes in science weren’t mentioned, nor their high-tech industries.

In Poland, Governor Romney delivered a barnburner of a speech, the full text is available here. He said:

“Free men and women everywhere, whether they have been here or not, already know this about Poland: In some desperate hours of the last century, your people were the witnesses to hope, led onward by strength of heart and faith in God. Not only by force of arms, but by the power of truth, in villages and parishes across this land, you shamed the oppressor and gave light to the darkness….

“And here, in 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul the Second, spoke words that would bring down an empire and bring freedom to millions who lived in bondage. ‘Be not afraid’—those words changed the world.”



Please! Stop Embarrassing Us! by The Elephant's Child

Mitt Romney was just in Israel, and in a speech said he was happy to be in the capital city of Israel, Jerusalem. This is notable because Jay Carney, hapless press secretary, twisted himself into knots recently to avoid admitting that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. A witless representative of the State Department actually said that it was to be determined by negotiation. Just stop it. You are embarrassing us.

Israel is a sovereign state. Jerusalem is not only its historic capital, Israel says that Jerusalem is its capital.  They are the only ones who get to decide. It’s their country.

The United States does not get to decide what is the capital of Israel. Jay Carney does not get to decide. President Barack Obama does not get to decide. Secretary of State  Hillary Clinton does not get to decide, and the witless State Department woman does not get to decide. And stateless Palestinians don’t get to decide. If they can stop shooting rockets and trying to kill people, they might someday get their own state.

Washington DC is the capital of the United States. If the Congress of the United States should decide, with the approval of the people, that we should move the capital to Plato, Missouri (which is the population center of the country) — then that would be the capital — but for the present, it remains in Washington DC, where Congress decided to put it, back in July, 1790.

It’s all really very simple.  Can we stop being stupid.




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