Adventure Is Calling (Time laspe video)

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Quote of the Day 11/09/13

“Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.” — John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist

It’s time to reassess Israel’s strategic assumptions By CAROLINE B. GLICk

All of Obama’s second term foreign policy goals are harmful to Israel. Everything that is good for Obama is necessarily bad for Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apparently believes the greatest threat the country now faces is an escalated European trade war. He’s wrong. The greatest threat we are now facing is a national leadership that cannot get its arms around changing strategic realities.

Over the weekend, Yediot Aharonot reported that during Secretary of State John Kerry’s seven-hour meeting in Rome last week with Netanyahu, Kerry warned that the price for walking away from the talks with the PLO will be European economic strangulation of Israel.

According to the newspaper, “[T]he secretary of state told the prime minister that he heard from his European friends… that if the negotiations fail, Israel can forget about participating in the European research and development program ‘Horizon 2020.’ “And that will only be the beginning.

More and far weightier actions to boycott Israel will follow. They are already being prepared. This will cause incalculable damage to the Israeli economy.”

On Sunday, outgoing National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror warned the cabinet that Israel’s diplomatic standing and ability to avert a European economic war is dependent on continuing the negotiations with the PLO.

In his words, “It is absolutely clear that our ability to handle international pressure is dependent on making advances in the negotiations. If the negotiations fall apart, it will give justification to all the forces that want to boycott us to do so.”

In other words, the viability of our economy is dependent on the PLO’s willingness to sit at a table with us.

Actually, according to Amidror, the PLO’s sufferance of our leaders is only half the story. The other half is President Barack Obama. As he sees it, Israel’s international position is directly related to Obama’s position.

“Everyone hoping for Obama to be weakened needs to [understand that]…

Israel will also be weakened. There is a connection between these things.”

Apparently based on fear of angering Europe or weakening Obama, Netanyahu has reportedly agreed that early next year the Obama administration will put forward a bridging proposal in the talks. The proposal will have two parts. First, it will contain the details of a new interim arrangement. Second, it will contain the details of a final settlement.

From Obama’s prior statements and consistent policies that castigate the Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria and united Jerusalem as “illegitimate,” it is fairly clear that Obama and Kerry expect Israel to relinquish its legal claims to Judea, Samaria and united Jerusalem in the framework of a final peace.

From a legal and diplomatic perspective, such a move by Israel would be the most disastrous it has ever made. It would empty out our sovereign rights in general. And it would imperil our military viability.

As to the interim deal, from American and European projects on the ground today in Judea and Samaria it is apparent that the plan will require Israel to cede to the PLO its control of planning and zoning in Area C.

Such a move will enable the Palestinians, Europeans and Americans to strangle the Israeli communities in the region and render it practically impossible for the IDF to operate in Judea and Samaria without PLO permission.

THE PROBLEM with the government’s behavior is not simply that it is maintaining allegiance to a policy paradigm that works to our extreme strategic disadvantage.

That’s old news.

The problem is that we are maintaining allegiance to a policy paradigm that is based on inaccurate strategic assumptions.

Amidror spelled them out.

Israel is operating under the assumption that there is a cause and effect relationship between our actions and Europe’s. To wit, if we ditch the phony peace talks, they will destroy our economy.

But there is no cause and effect relationship between Israeli actions and European actions. Europe made hostility toward Israel the centerpiece of its unified foreign policy without connection to Israeli actions. So undertaking strategically damaging talks with the Palestinians to appease Brussels is a fool’s errand.

Then there is Amidror’s assertion that Israel has an interest in strengthening Obama, because if he is weakened, we are weakened.

Certainly such an argument could have been made with regard to Obama’s predecessors in office. But can it be made today? Last week The New York Times revealed Obama’s foreign policy goals for his second term. They are: “negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, brokering peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians and mitigating the strife in Syria.”

Will the achievement of these goals – that is, the success of Obama’s second term foreign policy – be helpful to Israel? Consider Syria. Obama negotiated a deal with Russia regarding Syria’s chemical weapons that leaves Iran’s Syrian proxy Bashar Assad in power, and according to chemical weapons inspectors, likely in possession of parts of his chemical arsenal.

Moreover, the Obama administration’s repeated exposure of Israeli military operations against Hezbollah in Syria has harmed Israel’s national security. The administration’s leaks have increased the prospects of war between Israel and Syria.

So a key part of Obama’s Syria policy involves exacting a huge, unexpected cost for every strike Israel has undertaken to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring weapons systems that will imperil Israel.

Then too, Monday Kuwait’s al Anbaa newspaper reported that the State Department is carrying out talks with Hezbollah in Lebanon. According to Lebanese sources quoted in the article, US Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale has told Lebanese leaders that “a cabinet cannot be formed without Hezbollah participation.”

Israel is a victim, not a partner in the US’s Syria policy. Israel is weakened by Obama’s success.

As for Iran, it is now inarguable that the US’s primary objective is not to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is to prevent Israel from attacking Iran’s nuclear installations. Here too, success for Obama requires Israel to be imperiled.

Finally, our experience has shown us that peace is not a possible outcome of Obama’s pro-Palestinian policy. The only beneficiaries of administration’s use of European economic blackmail to force Israel to make strategically suicidal concessions to the PLO are the PLO and Hamas, and the anti-Semitic forces in Europe.

All of these parties reject Israel’s right to exist. Weakening Israel in the manner Obama has laid out will increase their appetite for aggression.

SO HERE we are, three for three. All of Obama’s second term foreign policy goals are harmful to Israel. Everything that is good for Obama is necessarily bad for Israel.

It is easy to understand why our leaders insist on holding on to strategic assumptions that are no longer valid. The region is in a state of flux. In stormy seas, our natural inclination is to go back to what has always worked. Since 1968, the conviction that a strong Israel is consonant with US global interests has guided US policy in the Middle East. It’s hard to accept that this is no longer the case.

But we have to accept it. By clinging to our now outdated strategic assumptions, not only are we engaging in dangerous behavior. We are blinding ourselves to new strategic opportunities presented by the chaos in neighboring countries.

True, the new opportunities cannot replace our lost alliance with the US or Europe as a trading partner. But they will get us through the storm in one piece.

There are Lies, Damned Lies and Democrats By Selwyn Duke

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer certainly is a creative man. Asked about Barack Obama’s promise that everyone would be able to keep his health coverage if he liked it and the recent revelation that the Democrats knew all along that millions of Americans would lose their health plans under ObamaCare, he had an answer.

“I think the message [the promise] was accurate. It was not precise enough…[it] should have been caveated with – ‘assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do,’” reports National Review.

My, that’s rich.

Almost Frank Rich.

Since Hoyer’s lie about a lie speaks for itself, let’s just have a little fun here. Try this on for size:

  • Subject: “But you said that if we supported your law, no one would lose his freedom of speech!”

    Leader: “My message was accurate. It just wasn’t precise enough. It should have been caveated with, ‘assuming you agree with me.’”

Or how about this:

  1. Subject: “But you said that if we gave you power, no one would be killed!”

    Leader: “My message was accurate. It just wasn’t precise enough. It should have been caveated with, ‘assuming I like you.’”

Man, I’m good at this. Hey, DNC, do I have a future?

If you’re old enough to have lived through the days of “no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe” (hat tip: the liberal Gerald Ford), you may remember the spectacle of a Soviet government representative being interviewed on American television. He would just tell the most ridiculous lies. I mean, up was down, black was white, day was night. It really was laughable for any quasi-informed American viewer.

For Soviet subjects, however, it was no joke.

They were living under a government of the lie.

You see, one thing about this big, crazy world we live in where there’s one in every bunch, is that — no matter how corrupt or wicked you are — you can always find someone to do your bidding. There are always a few people willing to stuff the ballot boxes, intimidate political opponents, pull the gas-chamber lever or the trigger, or tell any lie you want told with a face straighter than the last man in a world of women (Jay Blarney comes to mind — the straight face part, not the man part). “I vas just following orders, you zee.”

Of course, we see people telling little lies all the time, lies that don’t exceed the boundaries of their moral framework (it’s not right, just reality). But do understand that with some people, there’s only one limiting factor determining what lies they’ll tell:

What they can get away with.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Hussein Obama (PBUH) said, when ObamaCare was up before the U.S. Extreme Court, that he was confident the “Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” Of course, as many know, it was only unprecedented when men still wore powdered wigs — the Court has been overturning laws enacted by “democratically elected” Congresses for 200 years. It’s called “judicial review.”

Now, being a former constitutional law lecturer, Obama (PBUH) knew this full well. But he also knew the media wouldn’t call him on his ridiculous Sovietesque lie and that the average reality-TV-watching American hasn’t the foggiest idea what the Court’s role is, anyway. Heck, recent man-on-the-street interviews show that some Americans don’t know what the Holocaust was and that others were willing to sign a petition advocating an “Orwellian,” “Nazi-style police state.”

This, by the way, is why Obama (PBUH) et al. want to import and legalize as many low-info undocumented Democrats as possible. Many people in this world are accustomed to overlords with whom they have a patron-client relationship, and they accept government lies as long as the slave pork barrel is kept stocked. It reminds me of a Mexican fellow I saw a few years ago wearing a shirt stating, “Everybody lies. Nobody cares.” Well, I care, even though I realize many Americans don’t care that I care.

The increased acceptance of lies is a sign of a nation in decline. But the good news — or the bad news (depending on whether or not one is a liar) — is that you can well live a lie, but you can’t live well with the consequences of living a lie.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Ripping Off the Self-Insured By John Steele Gordon

Larry Kudlow of CNBC has a question:

  1. As a 60-something, relatively healthy person, I don’t want lactation and
    maternity services, abortion services, speech therapy, mammograms, fertility treatments or Viagra. I don’t want it. So why should I have to tear up my existing health-care plan, and then buy a plan with far more expensive premiums and deductibles, and with services I don’t need or want?

President Obama, on his campaign swing through Boston last week (oh, wait a minute, the campaign is over, isn’t it: someone should tell the White House), says that it is to require those rascally insurance companies (among the most heavily regulated enterprises in the entire U.S. economy) to finally offer insurance contracts that provide “minimum standards” of coverage. Minimum standards covering such things as lifetime limits and prescription drugs make sense to avoid people being driven into bankruptcy by severe illness.

But requiring a 60-year-old man to pay for insurance to cover his possible need for maternity care is not about meeting minimum standards. It’s about ripping people off. Imagine the howls of outrage if millions of homeowners were to receive notices from their house insurance companies saying their premiums were going up $300 a month next year to cover possible damage to their tennis court and swimming pool when they don’t have either.

Read more at Commentary Magazine