Friday, October 31, 2008


Why not? In the early '90s, our government operated a whorehouse. Here's the scoop:

Las Vegas Sun, October 31,2008

Agency wants to reopen Crazy Horse Too
By Jeff German

In an about face, the U.S. Marshals Service says it now wants to apply for an exotic dance permit and liquor license from the city to operate the Crazy Horse Too.

The change in attitude comes as the value of the Crazy Horse Too has plummeted by millions of dollars since the Marshals Service allowed the liquor license to lapse June 30 without finding a buyer to run the topless club.

At the time, U.S. District Judge Philip Pro criticized the Marshals Service for not applying for a liquor license to take over the club in the absence of a buyer to retain the value of the property. The Marshals Service said at the time it did not want to get into the topless club business.

The strategy to run the Crazy Horse Too also comes as a California Bank has filed court papers asking Pro to lift a stay prohibiting the bank from foreclosing on the government-seized strip club to satisfy a $5 million loan it made to former owner Rick Rizzolo.

Security Pacific Bank told Pro the value of the Crazy Horse Too declined from roughly $30 million to $4.6 million under the marshals' control. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Leave it to the government to screw things up.)

In court papers Thursday, the government disputed that appraisal, saying its own appraisal has put the property's value at $7 million without a liquor license and $11 million with a license. And that does not include any potential business income, the government said.

The government seized the Crazy Horse Too in September 2007 after Rizzolo failed to sell the club on his own as part of a deal to resolve a criminal case with the government. Rizzolo pleaded guilty to tax evasion and spent roughly 10 months in prison.

The Marshals Service has been trying to sell the club so that Rizzolo can pay off some $29 million in debts associated with the property. Rizzolo owes the government millions of dollars in fines and back taxes, as well as $9 million to a Kansas City area man who was let paralyzed following a 2001 fight at the Crazy Horse too.

In its court papers, the government said the marshals have hired a private law firm that specializes in land use issues to help it persuade the city to give it a liquor license to run the club.

There is some precedence for the government to get involved in the adult business. In the early 1990s, the government operated the Mustang Ranch briefly after it was seized by the IRS.

The government also ran the Bicycle Club, a Southern California card club seized in a drug trafficking case, in the 1990s.


Public safety officers believe they are immune to layoffs during economic downturns. The current nationwide economic crisis will be with us for some time to come. This country can expect a continuing cycle of significant job cuts as each round of layoffs lead to further job losses. Tax revenues are declining and will continue on a downward spiral. Some cops and firefighters will be in for the shock of their lives when they find out the hard way that their jobs are really not secure during economic hard times.

Police officers and firefighters have been laid off in a number of cities during previous economic downturns. Such layoffs can have an adverse impact on the crime and fire protection citizens expect to receive. A close friend, who is a cop, sent me a Wall Street Journal article on the problems Vallejo, California, with its high police and firefighter salaries, is experiencing because of our current economic crisis. As a warning to all Americans, especially our nation's cops and firefghters, here is that Wall Street Journal article:

VALLEJO, Calif. -- When the economic crisis deepened this fall, this city already was losing scores of police and firefighters because it could no longer afford the rich salaries and benefits it offered after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, with crime on the rise and tax revenue sinking, this San Francisco Bay area city faces more cuts in police and fire department budgets.

Like other California cities, Vallejo is targeting police and fire budgets, and has cut law-enforcement community services and youth-service programs.

It is a scenario being closely watched by the many other California municipalities that offered the same lucrative pay packages -- and that now face the same fiscal pressures.

With a slowing economy and housing prices in decline -- cutting into tax revenue -- Vallejo, a bedroom community of about 120,000 without a big sales-tax base, is running out of options and has targeted public-safety budgets that in the past were off-limits to the budget ax.

The main factor driving away police officers in Vallejo is the same one that helped drive the city to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in May: a costly campaign to improve security in a post-9/11 world that backfired. Since the filing, nearly 40% of its police force has either quit or notified the city of plans to quit.

"Everyone is watching to see how this shakes out," said Marc Levinson, Vallejo's bankruptcy attorney and a partner at the Sacramento office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe law firm.

After Sept. 11, California municipalities moved to increase wages and benefits to attract police officers and firefighters. Vallejo joined a consortium of cities in the region, including Oakland and San Francisco, that used each city's salary and benefit increases as a guide for labor contracts.

Before that, in 1999, state lawmakers had adopted a measure called "3% at 50" that allowed local and state police officers and firefighters to retire at 50 years of age with 3% of their highest annual salary -- multiplied by the number of years served. The legislation granted thousands of public-safety workers a retirement payout of 90% of their former salaries for life. The benefit, bolstered by post-9/11 recruiting, swiftly became a major staple for most California cities.

Those full-natured benefits created a bidding war among Northern California cities, and Vallejo negotiated lucrative wage increases with police and firefighter unions to stay competitive. Three years ago, the city agreed to a 20% pay increase between 2007 and 2009; an average police officer now makes $121,000. When benefits are included, the number rises to more than $190,000. By 2007, 80% of Vallejo's budget was dedicated to police and firefighters.

As tax revenue plummeted, Vallejo's finances buckled under the pressure of the labor contracts. Retired Vallejo employees are owed almost $220 million in unfunded pension and retirement-health benefits.

"We did a bad job of long-term forecasting," said Craig Whittom, Vallejo's assistant city manager. "We made agreements that were beyond our means."

Recently, Vallejo's city council preliminarily approved a package of cuts to close its budget shortfall, including a 10% salary cut for the city manager, and city employees will take two unpaid days off before June 30.

With budget cutbacks and salary concessions staring at them, many of Vallejo's officers have turned to retirement or are seeking employment with surrounding municipalities.

Jason Wentz is typical. A Vallejo native and a 12-year veteran of the city's force, Mr. Wentz, plans to join another police force in Northern California.

"People on the street know we are scaling down," said Mr. Wentz. "The high-crime neighborhoods are used to seeing more patrol cars, and they notice the ramp-down."

Vallejo's Police Department is down to about 120 from 150 police officers in January, and it expects an additional 30 or more to exit by year end. The city has cut law-enforcement community services and youth-service programs.

According to the FBI, the national average for sworn law-enforcement officers is 2.4 officers per 1,000 residents. In Vallejo's case, there is one officer for every 1,000 residents. Vallejo reported nearly 500 assaults in 2008 through April, according to the latest numbers available, already approaching last year's total of 687 assaults.

The ranks of the city's firefighters have also taken a hit. Jon Riley, vice president of International Association of Fire Fighters union local 1186, said that after the city filed for bankruptcy the department lost 15 firefighters in one day. "I don't think morale can go any further south," said Mr. Riley.

Stockton, Calif., rocked by housing foreclosures, also is scrutinizing budgets for police and fire. Mark Moses, the city's chief financial officer, said "we will not be able to manage with just cuts to libraries and parks." In Santa Rosa, assistant city manager Michael Frank said the city is cutting about 20 police officers and will also cut some firefighting services.

In Sacramento, Police Chief Rick Braziel is grappling with how to cut 8% from the city's $130 million police budget.

"Vallejo is not unique," said Mr. Levinson.

Vallejo also finds itself in competition with Bay Area cities that can still afford to attract officers. Joe McCarthy, a Vallejo detective, says 10 surrounding cities have contacted him with job offers. He plans to leave soon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


There is good news and bad news for Israel. The good news is that Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister and new leader of the Kadima party, has failed in her efforts to form a new government. The bad news is that Ehud "The Idiot" Olmert will remain as caretaker prime minister until new elections are held next February or March.

Livni was unable to get any of the religious parties to join in a governing coalition and some of the other parties made demands she was unwilling to accept. She has asked President Shimon Perez to hold new elections "without delay, as quickly as possible." Had she succeeded in forming a new government, elections would not have been held until November 2010.

The failure to form a new government is likely to derail the current peace negotiations with the Palestinians. That would be very good news! The Kadima leaders, Olmert and now Livni, appear willing to make concessions to the Palestinians which will jeopardize the survival of Israel as a Jewish State.

Olmert, who resigned last month because he was being investigated in a series of corruption cases, intends to continue peace negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has vowed repeatedly to eradicate the Jewish State. That, of course, is bad news. The disgraced and discredited Olmert wants to leave office with the legacy of achieving a peace accord with Israel's sworn enemies.

Abbas and other leaders of his Fatah party have repeatedly called for the return of the lands occupied by the Israelis. By that they mean not only the occupied West Bank, but also the State of Israel itself. Abbas speaks with a forked tongue. When speaking in English to American and European audiences, Abbas says he wants two states, Palestine and Israel, existing peacefully side by side. But whenever he speaks in Arabic to the Palestinians and other Jew-hating Arabs, that is a far cry from what he says. Time after time Abbas has made it clear in Arabic that there can be only one state, and that state is Palestine.

At this time, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, is favored to win the election next February or March. That is very good news. Bibi will seek peace with the Palestinians, but he will not make any concessions which will jeopardize Israel's future. Unlike Olmert and Livni, he will not cave into the demands of the Europeans and the United Nations, and even the United States, for Israel to make suicidal concessions to its sworn enemies.

While Netanyahu's election as prime minister will be good news for Israel, Obama's almost certain election as president of the United States will be bad news for the Jewish state. I have been a long-time supporter of Bibi and am praying that he will be Israel's next prime minister. I am also praying for a miracle that will result in Obama's failure to win the American presidency.


In yesterday's, Mona Charen had a column which provides further evidence that, as Ben Shapiro so aptly put it, Barack Obama is the most dangerous candidate for the State of Israel since its creation in 1948. Despite Obama's phony protestations to the coontrary, there is little doubt that if elected, his foreign policy will take a sharp turn in favor of the Palestinians.

Jews who believe that an Obama presidency will be a disaster for Israel are not the wacko racists that the left-wing and Jeffrey Goldberg accuse us of being. They play the race card to discredit us. It is only a matter of time before they will accuse us of being Nazis - the self-professed Marxist professors at the college where I taught often called me a Nazi.

Liberal Jews are so committed to the Democrats that no amount of evidence about Obama's anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian circle of advisers, his Palestinian pals and his anti-Semitic friends will persuade them not to vote for the Democratic candidate. The fact that top Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef endorsed Obama last April doesn't bother them in the least.

And liberal Jews are not concerned by the fact that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, no friend of the Republicans, reported that large contributions to the Obama campaign originated in Iran and in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, all of which have called for the extermination of the "Zionist entity."

Nor are liberal Jews troubled by reports that the Los Angeles Times has a video of Barack Obama at a party for Palestine Liberation Organization associate Rashid Khalidi, toasting that anti-Israel propagandist and listening to the recital of an anti-Semitic poem - the Times, which endorsed Obama, has refused all requests for the release of that video.

What with the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Germany, France and other western European countries, and with Israel the last place of refuge for persecuted Jews, Shapiro had it exactly right when he wrote that any American Jew who votes for Obama ought to be ashamed of him or herself.

Here is Mona Charen's column:


From the Palestinian Authority Daily: "Twenty-three-year old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab sits by the computer in the Nusairat refugee camp (in the Gaza Strip) trying to call American citizens in order to convince them to vote for the Democratic candidate for president, Barack Obama..."

Like many Palestinians, Abu Jayyab is excited about the prospect of an Obama presidency. (By the way, the Gaza Strip is completely under the control of Hamas. Why then do they persist in speaking of "refugee camps"? But of course, we know why.) If Abu Jayyab and many others in the Palestinian areas are delighted, why are so many American Jewish voters feeling the same way? One side or the other has the wrong man. Which is it?

I've heard from some American Jews that they do not believe Obama is sincere in his leftism. They believe/hope that the anti-Israel sentiments and associations of his past were purely opportunistic; that once in the White House he will shed them like yesterday's fashions. That's quite a leap of faith.

Many politicians have distanced themselves from positions and associations of their youths. But in Obama's case, he is distancing himself from positions staked out as recently as 2003. As National Review Online has reported, the Los Angeles Times is apparently sitting on a videotape showing Obama's remarks at a farewell dinner that year for Rashid Khalidi, the one-time PLO spokesman who now heads the Middle East Studies Department at Columbia. (Columbia University's shame is a subject for another column.) Khalidi is not distancing himself from his past. Consistent with what you'd expect from someone who justified PLO attacks on civilians in Israel and Lebanon from 1976 to 1982, Khalidi routinely refers to Israel as a "racist" and "apartheid" state, and professes to believe in a "one-state" solution to the conflict. Guess which country would have to disappear for that "one" state to come into existence?

The Khalidis and Obamas were good friends. In his capacity as a director of the Woods Fund, Obama in 2001 and 2002 steered $75,000 to the Arab American Action Network, the brainchild of Rashid and Mona Khalidi. According to an L.A. Times account of the dinner, Obama mentioned that he and Michelle had been frequent dinner guests at the Khalidi home (just another guy in the neighborhood?) and that the Khalidis had even baby-sat for the Obama girls. Like William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, the Khalidis held a fundraiser for Obama in their living room when he unsuccessfully sought a House seat. At the farewell dinner, according to the L.A. Times, Obama apparently related fondly his "many talks" with the Khalidis. Perhaps that's where he learned, as he told the Des Moines Register that "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people." Obama told the crowd that those talks with the Khalidis had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table" but around "this entire world."

Even less attention has been paid to the man Obama appointed as his emissary to the Muslim community in the U.S., Mazen Asbahi. Asbahi, it turned out, had ties to the Islamic Society of North America, which in turn was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case. The Holy Land Foundation was accused of being a front group for Hamas. When news of these associations became public, Asbahi resigned from the campaign to "avoid distracting from Barack Obama's message of change." And don't forget hope!

Many American Jews preparing to pull the lever for Obama have never heard of Asbahi. But they surely know about Jeremiah Wright. They know that he gave a "lifetime achievement" award to Louis Farrakhan; that he supported efforts to get U.S. businesses to divest from Israel; that he gave space in the Trinity Church bulletin to Hamas; and that he has accused Israel of "genocide" against the Palestinians. They are preparing to vote for a man who tamely tolerated all of that (and more) for 20 years.

Someone is making a big mistake -- and it isn't Abu Jayyab.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


The decline and fall of the Republican empire started long before the invasion of Iraq and even longer before a young upstart senator, Barack Obama, threw his hat into the presidential ring. Years ago, the Republican party impaled itself on the sword of social conservatives and has been bleeding profusely ever since.

The party doomed itself when, in place of fiscal conservancy, it made pro-life its bedrock issue. Many Republican women, including Barbara Bush, have long been pro-choice, as have some male party members. Those pro-choicers made up a sizable block of the party. Many of them got pissed off and jumped ship - a ship of fools.

I know that people are going to climb all over my ass for what I am saying. So let me make myself perfectly clear - I am not in favor of abortions on demand. I do not like it when some pregnant female, especially an adult, gets an abortion simply because she did not want a baby. She should have considered that before she had unprotected sex.

I do respect those who, for religious reasons, are pro-life. And I really appreciate the strong and unwavering support evangelicals have given the State of Israel. But I do not believe it is any business of the governmnet to involve itself in the abortion issue. Conservative Christians and orthodox Jews have every right to condemn abortions. But in the end, abortion is a moral issue that should be settled within the family and not by law.

When John McCain plays to the base of the Republican party, he is playing to the evangelical Christians. That is why he selected Sarah Palin, a candidate with strong pro-life credentials. While that has energized the social conservatives, it has done nothing to attract those who left the party because of the abortion issue. And it certainly will not help McCain with pro-choice independents.

The evangelicas are highly organized and make their voices heard loud and clear. But do they constitute a majority within the Republican party? I rather doubt it. But when they vote as a block, like African-Americans, their vote could determine the outcome of an election, especially that of the Republican primary. They submarined McCain when he sought the presidency in 2000.

A week from now we will be electing a new president, and you can bet your life savings that it will be Obama. And the Democrats will probably solidify their control of Congress. The evangelical dominated Republican party's depleted ranks are not likely to be replenished by the huge influx of young new voters - not when many of those young voters believe in sexual liberation and enjoy "hooking up" for one night stands.

The presidential election will be determined by independents. If it were not for the bedrock pro-life stance of the Republican party, a sizable majority of those independents, many of them former party members, would probably vote for McCain. That would have given McCain a fairly good chance to win the presidency despite the state of the economy, the war in Iraq, the knocks on Sarah Palin and President Bush, and all the blacks voting for Obama.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Last night I watched "60 Minutes" and finally learned the real story behind the financial disaster that hit Wall Street. Credit default swaps are at the root of our economic crisis.

For those of you like me who never heard of a credit default swap, it is a contract, usually between banks, that acts as insurance on debt. Under the contract, the seller, for a fee, agrees to make a payment to the buyer if somethiing bad happens to the debt the buyer has insured with the swaps. It is a form of legalized gambling where the buyers and sellers placed bets on whether or not people will defualt on their home mortgages.

I thought the credit default swap segment of the program was so good that, for those of you who didn't watch it, I am reproducing the transcript from the 60 Minutes web page. While it will take you quite a while to read it, I think it will be well worth your time to do so. Here it is:


Steve Kroft On Credit Default Swaps And Their Central Role In The Unfolding Economic Crisis

(CBS) The world's financial system teetered on the edge again last week, and anyone with more than a passing interest in their shrinking 401(k) knows it's because of a global credit crisis. It began with the collapse of the U.S. housing market and has been magnified worldwide by what Warren Buffet once called "financial weapons of mass destruction."

They are called credit derivatives or credit default swaps, and "60 Minutes" did a story on the multi-trillion dollar market three weeks ago. But there's a lot more to tell.

As Steve Kroft reports, essentially they are side bets on the performance of the U.S. mortgage markets and the solvency on some of the biggest financial institutions in the world. It's a form of legalized gambling that allows you to wager on financial outcomes without ever having to actually buy the stocks and bonds and mortgages.

It would have been illegal during most of the 20th century, but eight years ago Congress gave Wall Street an exemption and it has turned out to be a very bad idea.

While Congress and the rest of the country scratched their heads trying to figure out how we got into this mess, 60 Minutes decided to go to Frank Partnoy, a law professor at the University of San Diego, who has written a couple of books on the subject.

Ask to explain what a derivative is, Partnoy says, "A derivative is a financial instrument whose value is based on something else. It's basically a side bet."

Think of it for a moment as a football game. Every week, the New York Giants take the field with hopes of getting back to the Super Bowl. If they do, they will get more money and glory for the team and its owners. They have a direct investment in the game. But the people in the stands may also have a financial stake in the ouctome, in the form of a bet with a friend or a bookie.

"We could call that a derivative. It's a side bet. We don't own the teams. But we have a bet based on the outcome. And a lot of derivatives are bets based on the outcome of games of a sort. Not football games, but games in the markets," Partnoy explains.

Partnoy says the bet was whether interest rates were going to go up or down. "And the new bet that arose over the last several years is a bet based on whether people will default on their mortgages."

And that was the bet that blew up Wall Street. The TNT was the collapse of the housing market and the failure of complicated mortgage securities that the big investment houses created and sold around the world.

But the rocket fuel was the trillions of dollars in side bets on those mortgage securities, called "credit default swaps." They were essentially private insurance contracts that paid off if the investment went bad, but you didn't have to actually own the investment to collect on the insurance.

"If I thought certain mortgage securities were gonna fail, I could go out and buy insurance on them without actually owning them?" Kroft asks Eric Dinallo, the insurance superintendent for the state of New York.

"Yeah," Dinallo says. "The irony is, though, you're not really buying insurance at that point. You're just placing the bet."

Dinallo says credit default swaps were totally unregulated and that the big banks and investment houses that sold them didn't have to set aside any money to cover their potential losses and pay off their bets.

"As the market began to seize up and as the market for the underlying obligations began to perform poorly, everybody wanted to get paid, had a right to get paid on those credit default swaps. And there was no 'there' there. There was no money behind the commitments. And people came up short. And so that's to a large extent what happened to Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, and the holding company of AIG," he explains.

In other words, three of the nation's largest financial institutions had made more bad bets than they could afford to pay off. Bear Stearns was sold to J.P. Morgan for pennies on the dollar, Lehman Brothers was allowed to go belly up, and AIG, considered too big to let fail, is on life support thanks to a $123 billion investment by U.S. taxpayers.

"It's legalized gambling. It was illegal gambling. And we made it legal gambling…with absolutely no regulatory controls. Zero, as far as I can tell," Dinallo says.

"I mean it sounds a little like a bookie operation," Kroft comments.

"Yes, and it used to be illegal. It was very illegal 100 years ago," Dinallo says.

(CBS) In the early part of the 20th century, the streets of New York and other large cities were lined with gaming establishments called "bucket shops," where people could place wagers on whether the price of stocks would go up or down without actually buying them. This unfettered speculation contributed to the panic and stock market crash of 1907, and state laws all over the country were enacted to ban them.

"Big headlines, huge type. This is the front page of the New York Times," Dinallo explains, holding up a headline that reads "No bucket shops for new law to hit."

"So they'd already closed up 'cause the law was coming. Here's a picture of one of them. And they were like parlors. See," Dinallo says. "Betting parlors. It was a felony. Well, it was a felony when a law came into effect because it had brought down the market in 1907. And they said, 'We're not gonna let this happen again.' And then 100 years later in 2000, we rolled them all back."

The vehicle for doing this was an obscure but critical piece of federal legislation called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. And the bill was a big favorite of the financial industry it would eventually help destroy.

It not only removed derivatives and credit default swaps from the purview of federal oversight, on page 262 of the legislation, Congress pre-empted the states from enforcing existing gambling and bucket shop laws against Wall Street.

"It makes it sound like they knew it was illegal," Kroft remarks.

"I would agree," Dinallo says. "They did know it was illegal. Or at least prosecutable."

In retrospect, giving Wall Street immunity from state gambling laws and legalizing activity that had been banned for most of the 20th century should have given lawmakers pause, but on the last day and the last vote of the lame duck 106th Congress, Wall Street got what it wanted when the Senate passed the bill unanimously.

"There was an awful lot of, 'Trust us. Leave it alone. We can do it better than government,' without any realistic understanding of the dangers involved," says Harvey Goldschmid, a Columbia University law professor and a former commissioner and general counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He says the bill was passed at the height of Wall Street and Washington's love affair with deregulation, an infatuation that was endorsed by President Clinton at the White House and encouraged by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

"That was the wildest and silliest period in many ways. Now, again, that's with hindsight because the argument at the time was these are grownups. They're institutions with a great deal of money. Government will only get in the way. Fears it will be taken overseas. Leave it alone. But it was a wrong-headed argument. And turned out to be, of course, extraordinarily unwise," Goldschmid says.

(CBS) Asked what role Greenspan played in all of this, Professor Goldschmid says, "Well, he made clear in his public speeches and book that a Libertarian drive was part of the way he looked at the world. He's a very talented man. But that didn't take us where we had to be."

"Alan was the most powerful man in Washington in a real sense. Certainly a rival to the president and had enormous influence on Capitol Hill," Goldschmid says.

"And he was at the height of his power," Kroft adds.

Within eight years, unregulated derivatives and swaps helped produce the largest financial services economy the United States has ever had. Estimates of the market for credit default swaps grew from $100 billion to more than $50 trillion, and you could bet on anything from the solvency of communities to the fate of General Motors.

It also produced a huge transfer of private wealth to Wall Street traders and investment bankers, who collected billions of dollars in bonuses. A lot of the money was made financing what seemed to be a never-ending housing boom, selling mortgage securities they thought were safe and credit default swaps that would never have to be paid off.

"The credit default swaps was the key of what went wrong and what's created these enormous losses," Goldschmid says.

"Is it your impression that people at the big Wall Street investment houses knew what was going on and knew the kind of risks that they were exposed to?" Kroft asks.

"No. My impression is to the contrary, that even at senior levels they only vaguely understood the risks. They only vaguely followed what was going on," Goldschmid says. "And when it tumbled, there was some genuine surprise not only at the board level where there wasn't enough oversight but at senior management level."

They didn't know what was going on in part because credit default swaps were totally unregulated. No one knew how many there were or who owned them. There was no central exchange or clearing house to keep track of all the bets and to hold the money to make sure they got paid off. Eventually, savvy investors figured out that the cheapest, most effective way to bet against the entire housing market was to buy credit defaults swaps, in effect taking out inexpensive insurance policies that would pay off big when other people’s mortgage investments went south.

(CBS) "I know people personally who have taken away more than $1 billion from having been on the right side of these transactions," says Jim Grant, publisher of Grant's Interest Rate Observer and one of the country’s foremost experts on credit markets.

"If you can and you could lay down cents on the dollar to place a bet on the solvency of Wall Street, for example, as some did, when Wall Street became evidently insolvent, that cents on the dollar bet went up 30, 40, and 50 fold. Not everyone who did that wants to get his name in the paper. But there are some spectacularly rich people who came out of this," Grant says.

"Who got richer," Kroft remarks.

"Who got richer, who became, you know, fantastically richer," Grant says.

A lot of them were hedge fund managers. John Paulson's Credit Opportunities Fund returned almost 600 percent last year, with Paulson pocketing a reported $3.7 billion.

Bill Ackman, of Pershing Square Capital Management, said he plans to make hundreds of millions. Both declined 60 Minutes' request for an interview.

Congress now seems shocked and outraged by the consequences of its decision eight years ago to effectively deregulate swaps and derivatives. Various members of the House and Senate have hauled in the usual suspects to accept or share the blame.

"Were you wrong?" Rep. Henry Waxman asked former Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan.

"Credit default swaps, I think, have some serious problems with them," Greenspan replied.

It appears to be the first step in a long process of restoring at least some of the regulations and safeguards that might have prevented, or at least mitigated this disaster after the damage has already been done.

Where do we go from here?

"We need the most dramatic rethinking of the regulatory scheme for financial markets since the New Deal. If anything has demonstrated that imperative, it's the economy right now and the tragic circumstances we're in," Goldschmid says.

Asked how much danger he thinks is still out there, Goldschmid says, "We don't know. Part of the problem of the lack of transparency in these - in these markets has been we don't really know.


As you know, I have published a number of blogs on Marxists in academia, condemning their tactics to indoctrinate students into accepting their anti-American ideology. Whenever attacked, the far-left takes cover under the mantle of "academic freedom." It is a sad fact in higher education that there are hardly any conservative faculty members at our colleges and universities. Why? Because prospective faculty members have to meet the approval of sitting faculty members. And since the far-left faculties predominate, conservatives are usually denied any teaching positions.

In today's, Mike Adams uses satire to illustrate how academia is tilted far toward the far-left. Our college students deserve better than to be subjected to a one-sided, often anti-American, classroom barrage by a bunch of far-left ideologues. Here is Mike Adams' column:


Ann Potts, an Assistant Professor in the Watson School of Education, has disgraced The University of North Carolina at Wilmington by signing a petition in support of unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers – himself an education professor at The University of Illinois at Chicago. The real disgrace is actually twofold: First, there is her willingness to support Ayers. Second, there is her unwillingness to support me for engaging in similar actions years ago in pursuit of a very different political agenda.

Some years ago I was involved with a radical anti-abortion group that was frustrated with efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade. We targeted two abortion clinics – one in Birmingham and the other in Atlanta - for bombings. We successfully carried out both of those bombings without killing anyone on the premises. We wanted to send our message – at least initially – without any unnecessary bloodshed.

After we carried out the bombings in Birmingham and Atlanta we gathered together in Charlotte, North Carolina for the express purpose of making a number of bombs that would be used in additional attacks on abortion clinics throughout the Southeast. Regrettably, an accident occurred during the construction of those additional bombs. Several members of our group died during the unexpected blast. Shortly thereafter, I left the group and decided to enter the field of higher education.

I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I do not regret my decision to engage in the bombings of those abortion clinics. In fact, I regret that we did not do more.

Some people on the Far Left in America are trying to hold the Pro Life movement accountable for actions I engaged in before Sarah Palin was even involved in politics. And no one in academia is willing to offer me forgiveness for actions I’ve never said I regretted. Ann Potts’ name is not on a petition of my academic supporters for one simple reason: I don’t have any.

For those who are not Swift enough to grasp satire let me explain something: You are presently reading satire.

Put simply, there is no chance that an unrepentant right-wing domestic terrorist could ever land a job in higher education in America. The "liberal" would prevent the white male abortion clinic bomber from teaching on the basis of identity politics. The conservative would arrive at the same conclusion on the basis of principle.

Lest you think that I am exaggerating turn back the clock eighteen months to the last time I spoke out against an academic leftist who supports violence as a means of disseminating his political views. Some readers remember when Kent State professor Julio Pino publicly advocated the bombing of innocent Jews by Palestinian children.

I spoke out against Pino’s advocacy of violence by writing a column called "How to Bomb a Gay Bathhouse." This was shortly after the controversy involving Ann Coulter’s use of the term "fag" to describe John Edwards. In that column, I suggested that Kent State hire Ann Coulter and allow her to construct a website advocating violence against gays since they were silent on the issue of Pino’s advocacy of violence against Jews.

When columnist Andrew Sullivan read my column there was much lisping and gnashing of teeth. Too dense and emotionally unstable to understand the satire, Sullivan dubbed me an "ugly bigot" and ran excerpts of my column on his website. And, even after having the satire explained to them, our student newspaper ran an editorial suggesting that I advocated domestic terrorism. The chancellor’s assistant, Cindy Lawson, made the dim-witted remark that my column was deplorable even if satire. Apparently, it was deplorable if advocating violence, but still deplorable if doing the opposite.

The way people to my left reacted to my column showed a great desire to find a conservative who advocates domestic terrorism – even in the absence of any evidence he’s engaged in terrorism – and to punish him for his advocacy of violence.

But, in the case of William Ayers, we have a leftist who not only advocates domestic terrorism but has actually carried out acts of terror in his own country. And those who accused me of advocating violence are now either a) unwilling to talk about Ayers, or b) actually willing to sign a petition supporting him.

Ann Potts, who taught at Virginia Tech when a student opened fire and killed nearly three dozen, is a reminder of just how intellectually and morally challenged one can be and still survive in the field of education. Her unrepentant idiocy is a call for the overthrow of the government-run education system - by non-violent means, of course.

Friday, October 24, 2008


John Hubisz, a North Carolina State University retired physics professor, sent me a WorldWatch article on our financial crisis written by his favorite author, Orson Scott Card. Card is a bestselling American author, critic and political writer who is best known for his science fiction writings.

In WorldWatch, Card addresses an open letter to daily newspapers which is definitely not science fiction. He discusses the current financial crisis, putting the blame where it belongs. And Card, A DEMOCRAT, lambasts newspaper reporters for their lack of integrity and for their bias against Republicans, calling them a public relations machine of the Democratic Party. I can see why my friend Dr. Hubisz calls Card his favorite author. Here is that open letter:

World Watch, October 5, 2008 (First published in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC)


An open letter to the local daily paper -- almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor -- which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house -- along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefitting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a essay entitled Do Facts Matter? "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?
Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Freddie Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign -- because that campaign had sought his advice -- you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension -- so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie -- that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad -- even bad weather -- on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth -- even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means. That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time -- and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter -- while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe --and vote as if -- President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats -- including Barack Obama -- and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans -- then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a daily newspaper in our city.


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you are aware of my hardline position against the international community's demands that Israel grant suicidal concessions to the Palestinians. On the recent anniversary of Israel's birth, The Daily Express, a conservative London tabloid newspaper, published an article by British historian Andrew Roberts which reinforces my hardline position.

Roberts is known to Americans for his broadcasts on NBC during the funerals of Princess Diana and Queen Mother Elizabeth and the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. An article in praise of Israel or Jews is almost unheard of in the British media with its long history of bashing the Jewish state and trumpeting Palestinian causes.

Not only does Roberts' article reinforce my hardline position, but it also validates my pride in the State of Israel. And when he writes about the Jewish contribution to finance, science, the arts, academia, commerce and industry, literature, philanthropy and politics by a people who make up less than half of one percent of the world's population, it gives me great pride in my Jewish heritage. Here is The Daily Express article:

by Andrew Roberts, The Daily Express

The State of Israel has packed more history into her sixty years on the planet – which she celebrates this week – than many other nations have in six hundred. There are many surprising things about this tiny, feisty, brave nation the size of Wales, but the most astonishing is that she has lived to see this birthday at all. The very day after the new state was established, she was invaded by the armies of no fewer than five Arab countries, and she has been struggling for her right to life ever since.

From Morocco to Afghanistan, from the Caspian Sea to Aden, the 5.25 million square miles of territory belonging to members of the Arab League is home to over 330 million people, whereas Israel covers only eight thousand square miles, and is home to seven million citizens, one-fifth of whom are Arabs. The Jews of the Holy Land are thus surrounded by hostile states 650 times their size in territory and sixty times their population, yet their last, best hope of ending two millennia of international persecution – the State of Israel – has somehow survived.

When during the Second World War, the island of Malta came through three terrible years of bombardment and destruction, it was rightly awarded the George Medal for bravery: today Israel should be awarded a similar decoration for defending democracy, tolerance and Western values against a murderous onslaught that has lasted twenty times as long.

Jerusalem is the site of the Temple of Solomon and Herod. The stones of a palace erected by King David himself are even now being unearthed just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Everything that makes a nation state legitimate – blood shed, soil tilled, two millennia of continuous residence, international agreements – argues for Israel's right to exist, yet that is still denied by the Arab League. For many of their governments, which are rich enough to have solved the Palestinian refugee problem decades ago, it is useful to have Israel as a scapegoat to divert attention from the tyranny, failure and corruption of their own regimes.

The tragic truth is that it suits Arab states very well to have the Palestinians endure permanent refugee status, and whenever Israel puts forward workable solutions they have been stymied by those who interests put the destruction of Israel before the genuine well-being of the Palestinians. Both King Abdullah I of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt were assassinated when they attempted to come to some kind of sane accommodation with a country that most sane people now accept is not going away.

The process of creating a Jewish homeland in an area where other peoples were already living – though far fewer of them than anti-Israel propagandists claim – was always going to be a complicated and delicate business, and one for which Britain as the Mandated power had a profound responsibility, and about which since the Balfour Declaration of 1917 she had made solemn promises.

Yet instead of keeping a large number of troops on the ground throughout the birth pangs of the State of Israel, Britain hurriedly withdrew all her forces virtually overnight on 14 May 1948, thus facilitating the Arab invasions the very day, one of which was actually commanded by a former British Army officer, John Glubb (known as Glubb Pasha). Less than four years earlier, Britain had landed division after victorious division in Normandy, now "Partition and flee" was the Attlee government's ignominious policy, whose consequences are still plaguing the world half a century later in Kashmir and the Middle East.

"We owe to the Jews," wrote Winston Churchill in 1920, "a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all wisdom and learning put together."

The Jewish contribution to finance, science, the arts, academia, commerce and industry, literature, philanthropy and politics has been astonishing relative to their tiny numbers. Although they make up less than half of one per-cent of the world's population, between 1901 and 1950 Jews won 14% of all the Nobel Prizes awarded for Literature and Science, and between 1951 and 2000 Jews won 32% of the Nobel Prizes for Medicine, 32% for Physics, 39% for Economics and 29% for Science. This, despite so many of their greatest intellects dying in the gas chambers.

Civilization owes Judaism a debt it can never repay, and support for the right of a Jewish homeland to exist is the bare minimum we can provide. Yet we tend to treat Israel like a leper on the international scene, merely for defending herself, and threatening her with academic boycotts if she builds a separation wall that has so far reduced suicide bombings by 95% over three years. It is a disgrace that no senior member of the Royal Family has ever visited Israel, as though the country is still in quarantine after sixty years.

After the Holocaust, the Jewish people recognised that they had to have their own state, a homeland where they could forever be safe from a repetition of such horrors. Putting their trust in Western Civilisation was never again going to be enough. Since then, Israel has had to fight no fewer than five major wars for her very existence. She has been on the front line in the War against Terror and has been fighting the West's battles for it, decades before 9/11 or 7/7 ever happened. Radical Islam is never going to accept the concept of an Israeli State, so the struggle is likely to continue for another sixty years, but the Jews know that that is less dangerous than entrusting their security to anyone else.

Very often in Britain, especially when faced with the overwhelmingly anti-Israeli bias that is endemic in our liberal media and the BBC, we fail to ask ourselves what we would have done placed in their position? The population of the United Kingdom of 63 million is nine times that of Israel. In July 2006, to take one example at random, Hizbullah crossed the border of Lebanon into Israel and killed eight patrolmen and kidnapped two others, and that summer fired four thousand Katyusha rockets into Israel which killed a further forty-three civilians.

Now, if we multiply those numbers by nine to get the British equivalent, just imagine what WE would do if a terrorist organization based as close as Calais were to fire thirty-six thousand rockets into Sussex and Kent, killing 387 British civilians, after killing seventy-two British servicemen in an ambush and capturing eighteen. There is absolutely no lengths to which our Government would not go to protect British subjects under those circumstances, and quite right too. Why should Israel be expected to behave any differently?

Last month I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, researching a book about the Second World War. Walking along a line of huts and the railway siding where their forebears had been worked and starved and beaten and gassed to death, were a group of Jewish schoolchildren, one of whom was carrying over his shoulder the Israeli flag, a blue star of David on white background. It was a profoundly moving sight for it was the sovereign independence represented by that flag which guarantees that the obscenity of genocide - which killed six million people in Auschwitz and camps like it - will never again befall the Jewishpeople. Happy birthday, Israel and Shalom.

Monday, October 20, 2008


To what depths can higher education in America sink? The left-wing kooks in academia have been dumbing down college degree programs. We have women's (lesbian) studies, feminism (male bashing) studies, African-American (race baiting) studies, and other so-called cultural diversity degree programs which will be worthless to students when they leave the university for the real world.

In today's, Mike Adams has another of his enlightneing columns. He calls attention to a new course being offered by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He directs some thought provoking questions about the course description - which even a lawyer probably could not comprehend - at the professor who will teach the course.

Since UNC-Wilmington is a tax supported institution, when will North Carolinians rise up and demand their tax dollars not be wasted on such academic drivel? And so should Texas taxpayers, now that the University of Houston will offer a nonsensical minor in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) studies.

Here is Adams' column:


There is a new course being offered at UNC-Wilmington in the spring semester of 2009. Before I go any further, let me assure you that I’m not making this up. The course, called "Effective Interactions with African-American Males," is offered for credit in both the Social Work and Education departments. Unbelievably, it is offered, not just for senior credit, but for potential graduate credit, too.

A brief course description may help readers understand why I’ve asserted for years that social work and education are in a tight race to determine which can become the most intellectually vacuous and least relevant discipline in academia.

I’ve reprinted each of the two paragraphs of the course description with a few questions for the professor (Dr. Lethardus Goggins II) following each paragraph:

"Using an African-centered philosophical worldview and a racial socialization framework, this class will use participatory education to equip undergraduate and/or graduate students, to "better" understand and effectively work alongside and with young adult African-American men. The core tenets underlying this class are racial oppression exists, matters, is ubiquitous and pernicious and that those most affected are often ignorant of this reality." (EDITOR'S NOTE: Say what?)

1. A university course using an "African-centered worldview" is deemed to be chic. Could a course call itself "white-centered" or even "European-centered" and garner the same enthusiasm from the diversity crowd?

2. If your answer to #1 was "no," is the diversity crowd really diverse?

3. Does "racial socialization" include constant discussion of race on behalf of social work professors? If they could ever shut up, could we as a country experience "racial un-socialization"? Wouldn’t that be better?

4. Why the derisive quotes around "better"? Is there some suggestion that whites are not at all good at understanding and working around black males?

5. What if I am a postmodernist and believe that racial oppression really isn’t an objective truth? What if my truth is that racial oppression exists only in social work and education classes?

6. Are the terms "ubiquitous" and "pernicious" African-centered or European-centered? What about the term "ignorant"?

7. Blacks (about 12% of the population) usually choose a white victim when committing armed robbery. Aside from carrying a handgun, how do whites make those interactions with African-American males more effective?

"Students will critically examine the social and emotional effects of racism on academic, occupational, cultural and relational well-being of African-American males. Students will discuss relevant readings, media analysis, community-based research, and self-reflection. Students will also examine and develop strategies to restore a healthy definition of African-American manhood and its significance for self, family, and community relationships; culminating in a community restoration initiative proposal." (EDITOR'S NOTE: Again, say what?)

8. Will students in "Effective Interactions with African-American Males" critically examine split infinitives?

9. Will the "relevant readings" in this course include articles by Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, and John McWhorter? (EDITOR'S NOTE: Conservative African-Americans)

10. How much class time will be spent on self-reflection?

11. Does today’s college student really need to spend more time thinking about himself?

12. Does self-reflection ever lead to self-absorption? Does it ever lead to greater social consciousness, or concern for others?

13. Has there not already been enough talk about African American males’ "manhood"? Isn’t most of it stereotypical?

14. What would happen if you talked to a member of the Crips or the Bloods about "self," "family," and "community relationships"? Do you think he might pop a cap in your ass? Do you think he might make you his girlfriend?

15. How do I learn more about this "community restoration initiative proposal"? Will it be submitted to a community organizer?

16. And, finally, why were copies of your new course description sent to the Upperman African American Cultural Center? How can we have effective interactions with you when you continue to segregate yourselves from us?

I once believed the diversity crowd when it claimed an interest in bringing blacks and whites together for more meaningful interaction. Now I see them as specious and downright deceptive. I almost detect a colored quality in their statements.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Why stop there? Why not a course on Effective Interaction With African-American Homosexuals? Or Sex Offenders? Or Dope Dealers? Or Street Gang Thugs? Or Carjackers? Or Burglars? Or Armed Robbers? Or Prison Inmates? Etc., etc..

Sunday, October 19, 2008


This week I will be casting my vote for John McCain. I will be casting my vote for the loosing candidate. If you've been reading my blogs, you know why I am strongly opposed to an Obama presidency. But unless something miraculous happens before the end of this month, our next president will be Barack Obama.

Yesterday, McCain told a campaign rally: "I love being the underdog. We've got them (the Democrats) just where we want them." There must have been a lot of funny tobacco smokers in the crowd, and McCain must have inhaled too much of the smoke floating around if he believes he can still mount one of his famous comebacks. John, snap out of it, it's not going to happen.

If things were not bad enough already, today McCain suffered two eleventh-hour blows. Colin Powell announced that he will vote for Obama and the Obama campaign revealed that it had raised an astounding $150 million dollars in September alone.

Obama, who borke his word that he would depend only on public financing, has already outspent McCain 3-1 and 4-1 in key battleground states. So far, Obama has raised over half a billion dollars. He has unlimited funds to outspend McCain by even greater margins. McCain, who is strapped for cash with only $84 million on hand, has had to pull his campaign ads out of several states.

Colin Powell endorsed Obama despite a 25-year friendship with McCain. He said he was deeply disappointed in his friend's campaign. Powell took McCain to task for his erratic responses to the nation's economic crisis, for his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate, and for linking Obama to 1960's terrorist Bill Ayers.

I have several friends who initially were determined to vote for McCain, but who have since changed their minds. While they have expressed disappointment in McCain's response to the economic crisis, the reason they are now going to vote for Obama is that they are pissed off by the selection of Sarah Palin.

While the selection of Palin has pleased the social conservative crowd, it has angered many other Republicans. The war in Iraq seems to have faded into the background. Fairly or not, the economic crisis has been tied to the Bush administration and the Denicrats have successfully tied McCain to President Bush. Obama is likely to win by a landslide and the Democrats are poised to solidify their control of Congress. Bad as all that may be, our country will survive as it always has in the past.

Friday, October 17, 2008


"The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where decades of putting Israels interests first' would end."

"Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss. Barack will change that, because, as long as the Palestinians haven't seen justice, the Middle East will remain a source of danger to us all."

"Barack is determined to repair our relations with the world of Islam and Muslims. Thanks to his background and ecumenical approach, he knows how Muslims feel while remaining committed to his own faith."

As reported by The New York Post, those are three snippets from a wide-ranging interview Jesse Jackson gave to author and columnist Amir Taheri during the World Policy Forun in Evian, France this month. Jackson was predicting what foreign policy changes an Obama administration would bring forth.

Jackson's prediction that our foreign policy will take a sharp turn in favor of the Palestinians validates Ben Shapiro's warning that "Barack Obama is the most dangerous candidate for the State of Israel since its creation in 1948." (Refer to my blog of 10-15-08.)

Jackson also told Taheri that "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades will lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House."

"Zionist control of American policy" has long been a mantra of anti-Semites, of which Jackson has proven himself to be one. Remember his "Hymietown" reference to New York? At the time, Jackson vehemently denied having said so, accusing Jews of spreading lies in a plot to destroy his presidential candidacy, before finally admitting that he had indeed used that anti-Semitic term. The "Hymietown" and "Zionist control" remarks have not been Jackson's only expressions of his contempt for Jews.

In yesterday's, Cal Thomas commented on Jackson's interview with Taheri. Thomas questioned "what could Jackson possibly mean by claiming the Palestinians have been denied justice? By their leaders, certainly they have. Palestinians could have had their own state a long time ago. They were offered one in 1948 and in years since, but their leaders have made no secret that they want not just part of the land, but all of it, thereby eliminating Israel."

Thomas also asked, "what about justice for the Jews? Apparently that doesn't count with Jackson, who once called New York City 'Hymietown.' Why wouldn't Jackson support Israel, the region's only democracy, with a second - Iraq - headed in that direction? Why does Jackson see Israel and its elected government as inferior to Arab dictatorships and a Palestinian leadership that slaughtered those who wanted to cut a peace deal with Israel long before recent elections put the terrorist group Hamas in charge?"

Thomas went on to write that "Obama says Jackson 'knows how Muslims feel.' Really? Does he know that in their sermons, their media and textbooks they recruit the young as suicide bombers, accuse Jews of causing AIDS, and all the world's other ills, and teach that their God wants all Jews (and Christians, which presumably would include the 'useful idiot' Jesse Jackson) dead."

Obma was quick to distance himself from Jackson' remarks, claiming that he has always been a strong supporter of Israel. (If you believe that, I'll sell you some beach-front property in Arizona.) Jackson, as with his "Hymietown" crack, denied having said what Taheri reported. While some of Taheri's previous reports have been questionable, there is no reason to believe that his report on Jackson's remarks in Evian was not accurate. Nor is there any reason to belive that Jackson's prdictions will not come to pass. After all, he knows Obama better than most., a web site established by left-wing Jews, was quick to come to Obama's defense. It attacked both Jackson and Taheri. The site added, "And, as Jeffrey Goldberg recently so eloquently put it: So, all you rumor-mongering, fever-headed Jewish conspiracists… After a point, it becomes obvious that what you fear is not Israel’s destruction, but the presence of an African-American in the White House. And that’s disgusting."

When all else fails, play the race card. Just hang a wacko racist label on your fellow Jews if they are opposed to Obama because his foreign policy advisers and some of his friends have long been hostile toward Israel. There is no doubt that Goldberg, a long-time investigative journalist for liberal publications, was referring to Jews like Shapiro and me. What is really disgusting is that he would make such an extremely offensive and outrageous assertion about Jews who truly believe that an Obama presidency will be a disaster for Israel. Goldberg's disgusting insertion of a racial motive is a typical tactic of the radical-left.

Again, Jesse Jackson's remarks to Amir Taheri validate Ben Shapiro's warning that "Barack Obama is the most dangerous candidate for the State of Israel since its creation in 1948." And as for Jeffrey Goldberg and, Shapiro's statement that "Any American Jew who votes for Obama ought to be ashamed of him or herself" applies doubly to both of them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


When Barack Obama first threw his hat into the ring for the Democratic presidential nomination, I seriously considered voting for him. But that was before I discovered that his foreign policy advisers had a long track record of favoring the Palestinians over the Israelis. Since then, I have written a number of blogs in which I took the position that Obama will be a disaster for Israel should he become president.

In today's, Ben Shapiro has a column which validates my position and in which he calls Obama "the most dangerous candidate for the State of Israel since its creation in 1948." He calls attention to some of Obama's anti-Israel foreign policy advisers and to his friendship with anti-Semite Jeremiah Wright and former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi.

Both of us are strong backers of policies that are in the best interest of Israel because that tiny state is the only place of refuge for Jews who are persecuted in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Aftrica and elsewheres. Shapiro is so concerned about the prospect of Obama becoming president that he wrote: "Any American Jew who votes for Obama ought to be ashamed of him or herself." I couldn't agree more! Here is Shapiro's column:


Barack Obama is the most dangerous candidate for the State of Israel since its creation in 1948. He is not, as Professor Alan Dershowitz recently put it, a "true friend of Israel" any more than Jimmy Carter was. He is certainly not "much better for Israel" than John McCain, as potty-mouthed comic dunce Sarah Silverman put it. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Silverman has called on young Jews to intimidate their grandparents in Florida into voting for Obama by threatening to never come and see them again if they don't do so.)

Any American Jew who votes for Obama ought to be ashamed of him or herself. He is not in line with a single authentic Jewish principle. (Authentic Judaism, by the way, believes the veracity of the Torah, Oral Torah and Talmud, not bagels, lox, Woody Allen and a copy of the Sunday New York Times.) On abortion, Obama is radically pro-choice. He is radically pro-gay rights, celebrating court-ordered gay marriage in states like California. Authentic Judaism is against abortion unless the mother's life is in danger, and against homosexual activity altogether.

And then there's Israel. Professor Dershowitz believes that American Jews should not vote based on "which party or which candidates support Israel more enthusiastically. They should vote based on more general considerations about what is best for America, the world and the values that they hold dear." I largely agree. I believe, however, that any candidate who does not support Israel demonstrates a disturbing lack of allegiance to our only democratic ally in the Middle East and a perverse moral relativism that will hurt America, not merely Israel.

I do feel, however, that American Jews have a special stake in the State of Israel. Israel does not just represent a family connection for Jews. It represents the ultimate protection for Jews the world over. When Arab nations expelled over 800,000 Jews in the aftermath of the birth of the State of Israel, Israel took the vast majority of them in -- as opposed to the Arab nations, which keep Palestinian Arabs in refugee camps to this day. Israel has saved Jews from South America to Russia to Ethiopia. Israel remains the last refuge for all Jews, and a guarantor of their safety, even abroad.

The future of Israel, then, matters to all Jews. By all indicators, it does not matter to Barack Obama, as detailed in a YouTube video counterpart to this column, "The Jewish Case Against Barack Obama".

Obama's foreign policy advisors have been almost uniformly anti-Israel. Samantha Power, one of Obama's earliest supporters, has suggested that American troops be placed on the ground in Israel to protect Palestinian Arabs against "human rights abuses." Power was a senior foreign policy advisor to Obama until she was forced to resign after calling Senator Hillary Clinton "a monster" in March 2008.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, serves as a foreign policy advisor to Obama. He believes that the Jewish lobby forces America into pro-Israel policy, and he defends Carter's anti-Semitic book, "Peace, Not Apartheid."

General Merrill McPeak, Obama's campaign co-chair, agrees with Brzezinski that the Jewish lobby, based in "New York City, Miami," controls America's Middle East policy.

Robert Malley, who served on President Clinton's National Security Council, has stated that America ought to simply impose its Middle East solution on Israel. He served as an advisor to Obama until the media discovered that he was holding regular meetings with Hamas.

Obama's friends, too, are far too anti-Israel for comfort. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor of 20 years, has blamed America's pro-Israel policy for 9/11. Wright is close with notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, who has proclaimed Obama "the Messiah."

Obama is also friends with former Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman Rashid Khalidi, an ardent foe of the Jewish State. Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama in 2000. In 2003, he told a Palestinian Arab crowd, "You will not have a better Senator under any circumstances."

Obama himself has demonstrated his ambivalence about Israel. Before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in July 2008, he stated that he supported an undivided Jerusalem. After pressure from Palestinians, he backtracked within 24 hours. He also declares that he will meet the leaders of Iran without preconditions, despite the fact that Iran wishes to turn Israel into radioactive wasteland.

Barack Obama is no friend to American Jews. I challenge Professor Dershowitz to a debate, any time, any place, on that question. I would challenge Sarah Silverman as well, but she will undoubtedly ignore the challenge.

Most of all, I challenge American Jews to hear the true facts about Obama before voting. In Barack Obama, they find a Democrat in the mold of Jimmy Carter, not Harry Truman. Jews -- and Americans more broadly -- cannot afford another Jimmy Carter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


In its 2008 election coverage, the October 4th issue of The Economist had an interesting piece which covered (1) shifting crime trends since 1988 when Michael Dukakis was the Democratic nominee for president and (2) the views of Obama and McCain on the subject of crime in America. Here is that article from The Economist:

HANGING FIRE - Neither candidate has talked much about crime. But what they have said is highly revealing

IN 1988 Michael Dukakis, the Democratic presidential nominee, was asked whether he would support the death penalty for somebody who had raped and murdered his wife. No, he said calmly—he had always opposed capital punishment. His poll numbers plunged, and a few weeks later he carried just ten states. The Democrats took a lesson from this: don’t talk about crime and the death penalty, or, if you do, talk tough.

Until recently it was easy to say little. Three years after Mr Dukakis’s comments crime began to tumble. The number of robberies fell from 688,000 in 1991 to just 401,000 in 2004 even as the population increased (see chart). The only thing policemen, mayors and presidents were expected to say was how splendid this was. Apart from a few liberals, who fretted about the expanding prison population, most believed that the problem was solved.

Then something alarming happened. Between 2004 and 2006 murders went up by 5% and robberies by 11%. The increase was driven by some terrifying surges in medium-sized cities. Between 2005 and 2006 murders soared by 56% in Oakland, California; the next year Newark, New Jersey, counted as many dead bodies as it had in the early 1990s. The tide soon ebbed in both cities, but complacency had been shaken. Now two other threats loom, in the form of an economic downturn and a wave of ex-convicts due to be released from prisons. Statistically and politically, crime is back.

Law and order is one area in which John McCain’s reputation as a maverick is misplaced. His views on crime are thoroughly orthodox for a Republican. He favours long sentences for internet predators, gang members and repeat violent offenders. He wants child molesters tracked until they die. He is against "overreaching" judges who stop incriminating evidence from being heard in court. He is strongly against judges who strike down laws like Louisiana’s death penalty for child rapists. He is most opposed of all to those who stop law-abiding Americans carrying guns.

Barack Obama has largely kept to the post-Dukakis doctrine. He has been much quieter on the subject than his opponent, and when he speaks it is usually to take a populist position. Like Mr McCain, he publicly disagreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the death penalty in Louisiana. He also praised the court’s decision to strike down a handgun ban in Washington, DC.

Beyond the sound bites, the candidates are far apart. Mr McCain sees crime as a disease and the criminal-justice system as the cure. He thinks the government should tip the fight to the good guys by toughening sentences and building more prisons. Mr Obama thinks the justice system itself is flawed. He complains about the large number of black men in prison, together with one of the reasons for it: the disparity in sentencing for possession of crack and powder cocaine. He hints at a review of mandatory minimum sentences.

He comes up with different solutions, too. Oddly, Mr Obama is much more likely to inveigh against broken families. He links the epidemic of single parenthood among blacks to the high rate of black criminality (this provoked Jesse Jackson to whisper that he wanted to "cut his nuts off"). Like a liberal 1960s sociologist, he sees crime as a product of society. Like a conservative, he blames it on the breakdown of traditional values, not on inequality.

He does, however, think the federal government can provide one thing: cash. Mr Obama says he will restore funding to Bill Clinton’s "COPS" programme, which aimed to put 100,000 extra officers on the streets. He bashes his opponent for voting against the measure. Although the programme’s effect on crime rates has beendisputed, mayors and police chiefs are keen on it. With virtually all large and medium-sized American cities now under Democratic control, expect a lot of co-ordinated campaigning on the issue.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


It never fails to amaze me how ignorant many Americans are, even some of the more "educated" ones. If you've watched the "Jaywalking" segment on Jay Leno's Tonight Show, where Leno asks peoople off the street some questions regarding current or historical events, you know what I'n talking about. A good number of those who gave stupid answers to simple questions from Leno, were college students.

Salvatore Governale, better known as "Sal the Stockbroker," is one of the shock jock's regular sidekicks on the Howard Stern Show. On October 1st, Sal went to Harlem to interview some African-Americans about their choice in the coming presidential election. Believing that the Harlemites will vote for Obama simply because he is black, he attributed some of John McCain's policy positions to Barack Obama. He interviewed two men and one lady who said they would vote for Obama and one man who said he would vote for McCain.

When he asked the Obama supporters if they were satisfied with his pro-life position, they answered that they were. When he asked them if they agreed with Obama that our troops should remain in Iraq, they answered that they did. And best of all, when he asked them if they were satisfied with Gov. Sarah Palin as Obama's running mate, they answered that they were. When he asked the McCain supporter if he was satisfied with Sen. Joe Biden as McCain's running mate, he answered that he was.

If you want to listen to these interviews, just google up "sal interviews black voters in harlem" and you will find a whole bunch of web sites that will allow you to do so. By the way, Howard Stern claims that Leno stole the idea for "Jaywalking" from his program.

Those interviews should make you want to laugh and cry at the same time. Laugh at how ignorant some people can be and cry because these ignoramuses are going to play a part in selecting our next president. Although Sal played a practical joke on the people he interviewed, he did show that the Obama supporters knew little if anything about their candidate other than that he was black, thus proving they were voting for him only because of his color.

Now it should come as no surprise to people that many African-Americans, instead of supporting him for his policies, are voting for Obama only because he is black. That is no different than when many Catholics voted for John F. Kennedy simply because he was a Catholic. And it's the same as when Latino voters support a Hispanic candidate only because he is one of their own.

Had Sal interviewed a good number of Harlemites, would he have found some who would have caught on to his practical joke? Of course he would have! And I'm sure Jay Leno has found people who gave the correct answers to his "Jaywalking" questions. He just doesn't show those on the Tonight Show. In both instances though, Jay and Sal have demonstrated that there are a lot of ignoramuses walking around.

If one vote can make a difference, then a bunch of ignorant voters can, especially in a close contest, have a significant effect on the outcome of an election. It makes me think that next year, when all is said and done, we will have a president who was elected thanks in no small part to a group of clueless voters.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I have published several blogs on Obama's questionable associations, especially those with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Wright, the inflammatory anti-American and racist preacher, was a dear personal friend of and mentor to Obama for 20 years. Obama also had a close 20-year political and working relationship with Ayers, now a radical left-wing professor. Anyone who dares to mention the Wright relationship is accused of being a racist. And anyone who mentions the Ayers relationship is accused of exaggerating the Obama-Ayers connection and of participating in a false smear campaign against the Democratic candidate for president.

However, when someone is running for the highest office in the land, his past associations are fair game. How can anyone in their right mind possibly believe that Wright's anti-American, anti-white, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatemongering sermons failed to rub off on Barack and Michelle Obama? And how can anyone possibly believe that Ayers' radicalism has not rubbed off on Obama as well? His associations are important and should be questioned, and that is what columnist Charles Krauthammer did in today's Here is Krauthammer's column:


WASHINGTON -- Convicted felon Tony Rezko. Unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers. And the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It is hard to think of any presidential candidate before Barack Obama sporting associations with three more execrable characters. Yet let the McCain campaign raise the issue, and the mainstream media begin fulminating about dirty campaigning tinged with racism and McCarthyite guilt by association.

But associations are important. They provide a significant insight into character. They are particularly relevant in relation to a potential president as new, unknown, opaque and self-contained as Obama. With the economy overshadowing everything, it may be too late politically to be raising this issue. But that does not make it, as conventional wisdom holds, in any way illegitimate.

McCain has only himself to blame for the bad timing. He should months ago have begun challenging Obama's associations, before the economic meltdown allowed the Obama campaign (and the mainstream media, which is to say the same thing) to dismiss the charges as an act of desperation by the trailing candidate.

McCain had his chance back in April when the North Carolina Republican Party ran a gubernatorial campaign ad that included the linking of Obama with Jeremiah Wright. The ad was duly denounced by The New York Times and other deep thinkers as racist.

This was patently absurd. Racism is treating people differently and invidiously on the basis of race. Had any white presidential candidate had a close 20-year association with a white preacher overtly spreading race hatred from the pulpit, that candidate would have been not just universally denounced and deemed unfit for office but written out of polite society entirely.

Nonetheless, John McCain in his infinite wisdom, and with his overflowing sense of personal rectitude, joined the braying mob in denouncing that perfectly legitimate ad, saying it had no place in any campaign. In doing so, McCain unilaterally disarmed himself, rendering off-limits Obama's associations, an issue that even Hillary Clinton addressed more than once.

Obama's political career was launched with Ayers giving him a fundraiser in his living room. If a Republican candidate had launched his political career at the home of an abortion-clinic bomber -- even a repentant one -- he would not have been able to run for dogcatcher in Podunk. And Ayers shows no remorse. His only regret is that he "didn't do enough."

Why are these associations important? Do I think Obama is as corrupt as Rezko? Or shares Wright's angry racism or Ayers' unreconstructed 1960s radicalism?

No. But that does not make these associations irrelevant. They tell us two important things about Obama.

First, his cynicism and ruthlessness. He found these men useful, and use them he did. Would you attend a church whose pastor was spreading racial animosity from the pulpit? Would you even shake hands with -- let alone serve on two boards with -- an unrepentant terrorist, whether he bombed U.S. military installations or abortion clinics?

Most Americans would not, on the grounds of sheer indecency. Yet Obama did, if not out of conviction then out of expediency. He was a young man on the make, an unknown outsider working his way into Chicago politics. He played the game with everyone, without qualms and with obvious success.

Obama is not the first politician to rise through a corrupt political machine. But he is one of the rare few to then have the audacity to present himself as a transcendent healer, hovering above and bringing redemption to the "old politics" -- of the kind he had enthusiastically embraced in Chicago in the service of his own ambition.

Second, and even more disturbing than the cynicism, is the window these associations give on Obama's core beliefs. He doesn't share Rev. Wright's poisonous views of race nor Ayers' views, past and present, about the evil that is American society. But Obama clearly did not consider these views beyond the pale. For many years he swam easily and without protest in that fetid pond.

Until now. Today, on the threshold of the presidency, Obama concedes the odiousness of these associations, which is why he has severed them. But for the years in which he sat in Wright's pews and shared common purpose on boards with Ayers, Obama considered them a legitimate, indeed unremarkable, part of social discourse.

Do you? Obama is a man of first-class intellect and first-class temperament. But his character remains highly suspect. There is a difference between temperament and character. Equanimity is a virtue. Tolerance of the obscene is not.


Recently I reproduced columns by Ben Shapiro (9-24-08) and Dennis Prager (10-1-08) because they shared my sentiments about the blind allegiance of American Jews to the Democratic party and the deleterious effects left-wing members of the Jewish community are having on that community and on the State of Israel.

In yesterday's, Mona Charen went further than Shapiro and Prager when she accused The New York Times of "Jew-baiting" and charged left-wing Jews with substituting liberal dogma for their Jewish faith. Charen, who frequently writes about her faith in Judaism, is a nationally syndicated columnist, political analyst, and the author of two best-selling books. Here is Charen's column:


In honor of the Jewish New Year, which reaches its culmination on Yom Kippur, a solemn day of fasting and repentance that falls this year on Oct. 9, I'd like to take a moment to recognize the open Jew-baiting that is enthusiastically enjoyed by our nation's leading newspaper.

The Oct. 7 edition of the New York Times featured a cheerful article about a video that is circulating on the web called "The Great Schlep." It stars (if that's the right word) a comedienne named Sarah Silverman. The Times identifies Silverman as having "created an Internet sensation" back in January with a video that "declared, in the starkest possible language, that she was having a torrid affair with the actor Matt Damon." That's New York Times speak. If you look it up, the video is called "I'm F-ing Matt Damon." Ms. Silverman is all class. But hey, she's obviously mainstream. Her video won an Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. That's 21st century American popular culture folks. Didn't "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" win an Oscar?

Silverman's new video is equally sexually vulgar but adds a new dimension. She begins her little romp by offering that if Barack Obama loses the election in November, she plans to blame the Jews (picture of a hooked nose in background). Yes, says Silverman, she's aware that Jews are the most "liberal, scrappy, civil-rightsey people there are" but some Jews, specifically those in Florida otherwise known as grandma and grandpa, are not planning to vote for Obama because he has a "scary name." She then proposes that younger Jews persuade their grandparents to vote for Obama by showing them how much blacks and Jews have in common. They all love "Cadillacs," and "things and bling and money and jewelry." Younger Jews can swing the election by threatening not to visit their grandparents unless they pull the lever for The One.

The Times finds it charming: " to Ms. Silverman these provocative comedy bits are all reflections of a consistent sensibility, one that trusts her audience will know when she is totally kidding and when is only sort of kidding." And if Barack Obama "emerges victorious on Election Day, with the swing state Florida in his win column, a modicum of credit may be due Sarah Silverman."

As Silverman admits in the Times profile, she isn't really Jewish. Though she comes from a Jewish background and can pronounce a few Yiddish words, she is not a Jew. "I have no religion. But culturally I can't escape it. I'm very Jewish."

Maybe from the point of view of the Times she is. And certainly because she claims Jewish ancestry, she gets a blanket immunity from the charge of anti-Semitism -- and apparently from the charge of racism as well.

Silverman may think of herself as edgy and new, but she is actually a stereotype herself -- the non-Jewish Jew who substitutes liberal politics for religion. For at least a century, large numbers of nominally Jewish Americans have demonstrated far more attachment to liberal politics than to actual Judaism. They declare that Judaism demands social justice, equality, gun control, liberal abortion laws, and an increase in the capital gains tax and they adhere to these tenets, well, religiously. Columnist and radio personality Dennis Prager likes to say that Jews are the most religious people in America -- but their religion is not Judaism. (This does not include observant Jews.)

Judaism does command social justice of course -- just start with the prophets. But normative Judaism is not the Democratic Party at prayer. Abortion, for example, is traditionally forbidden except to save the life of the mother. The Ten Commandments take a dim view of open marriage. Capital punishment is sanctioned for some crimes. And above all, Judaism demands that human beings worship God, not themselves.

It's a free country and secular Jews can believe and say whatever they like. But it is tiresome as well as false for them to parade their liberalism as the authentic expression of a great faith.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


As you know, I have blogged about some of the embarrassing interviews Sarah Palin has had and the incoherent answers she gave to Katie Couric. While Palin redeemed herself somewhat in the debate with Joe Biden, she and Biden both got some of their "facts" wrong. Clearly, while Palin is far from the brightest star on the horizon, she deserves better than the constant battering she's been getting from the press.

A case in point is an op-ed piece authored by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. There is no subject matter about which he does not pretend to be an expert. Global warming, the war in Iraq, the economy, energy dependence, education, China, India, Russia, the European Union, the Middle East, Africa, etc. - Friedman would have us believe he's an expert on each and everyone of them.

Friedman's column took direct aim at a statement Palin made during her debate with Joe Biden. Palin turned to Biden and said, "You recently said paying taxes is patriotic. In middle-class America, where I have been all my life, that is not considered patriotic." Friedman went apoplectic - "That really sticks in my craw." He followed up that outburst with: ".......... she declared that Americans who pay their fair share of taxes to support all those government-led endeavors (the Wall Street bailout, the surge in Iraq, sending more troops to Afghanistan) should not be considered patriotic." That is not at all what Palin said and Friedman damn well knows it.

Everyone recognizes that the law requires Americans to pay taxes. There's nothing patriotic about obeying the law. It is every citizen's duty to abide by our laws, and in this instance, to pay taxes. Being patriotic requires a citizen to go beyond the mere call of duty.

Here are examples of being truly patriotic: Defending our country and constitution; demonstrating pride in our country; serving in the military; openly expressing support for our troops in a time of war, and more so when that war is unpopular; not condemning our country and its leaders while overseas (a la the Dixie Chicks); denouncing the burning of our flag; and yes, proudly displaying the American flag. Sorry, but paying taxes just doesn't make the grade.

Friedman repeatedly excoriated Palin for calling taxpayers unpatriotc. He knows very well that her statement was a reflection of her belief, and the belief of most Americans, that patriotism goes far beyond the act of paying the taxes that are needed to run our government. Friedman's column attacking Palin's statement was disingenuous. He deliberately twisted her words and their meaning around in an obvious attempt to damage the McCain-Palin ticket. So much for journalistic integrity.

The all-knowing Friedman concluded his column with this definition: "Patriotic is offering a plan to build our economy - not by tax cuts or punching more holes in the ground (drilling for oil), but by empowering more Americans to work in innovative jobs." That definition cannot be found in any dictionnary because it is an absurd perversion of the term's true meaning. Friedman must think that Americans are too dumb to see through his charade. His three Pulitzer Prizes notwithstanding, Thomas L. Friedman is a real jerk!