Sunday, February 03, 2013

Those of you who follow Bear to the Right have probably wondered why I haven't posted in awhile. Well, for most of last year I was involved in political campaigns and serving as an officer of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, so I didn't have a lot of time to blog.

I am starting to blog again, but I am now blogging on a new site. So for 2013 and on you can read my blog posts at http://www.allianceforliberty.com. For prior blog posts, you will find them on this site.

Feel free to email me at gaminoff@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Best wishes to all of you.


Gary Aminoff
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 4:29 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 03, 2012

The Mitt Romney We Know


This is a personal story about Mitt Romney by one couple who bought the Mitt Romney home in Park City, Utah in 2009.  It is worth reading as it gives some insight into who Mitt Romney really is.  The preamble says,
"Here is a very interesting non-political-issue story that very likely have not heard. It was written by the owners of Mitt Romney's former home because many Democratic, Republican and Independent voters strongly recommended and found it valuable. Private details, how he acted out of public view and when not running for office. This is provided by witnesses delivering facts and not initially his supporters nor anti-Obama. Mitt Romney is very different
from the man that many Americans have been led to believe. 


Regardless of who any of us are supporting in the presidential election, we all are better served by knowing the truth as this does influence who we support. It was not approved by Mitt Romney or his campaign. A PDF in Spanish is available for download www.prewitt.net/storysp.pdf  or in English at www.prewitt.net/story.pdf  You are welcome to email the PDF, page link or forward this email to your friends. If you do, please include this introduction and including your own comments.... "


The Mitt Romney we know - Insight into the man & his family 8/26/2012 

 Ours is a factual story that provides a rare glimpse and insight into the real Mitt Romney.  Does he really relate to the average American? As President, would he impose his beliefs on others? Is he really Christian?

Growing up in Florida and Pennsylvania, we knew little to nothing of Utah, Mitt Romney, his family or values, beliefs, religion and his capabilities. We were amazed by what we learned.  We are messengers, delivering facts and initially were not Mitt Romney supporters nor anti-Obama. The facts do change who we support. We are not part of any campaign, not Mormon nor religious activists. We have voted for Democrats and Republicans and believe voters should elect the best person regardless of political party.

When you buy a home and its contents from someone you really learn a lot about their true character, values and beliefs. And rarely does anyone have the opportunity to learn how a politician acts out of the public's view and when they are not running for office. Well, this actually happened. When? Only a few years ago, in spring of 2009 when we bought Mitt Romney's Park City, Utah home. His family lived in this home for about ten years. Because our purchase included most of the contents, we gained a unique and unusual perspective of him and his family of which most Americans are completely unaware. What we experienced was not what we expected. Not the stereotypical actions of a millionaire and more importantly not the image most Americans have of Mitt Romney.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 1:03 PM 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

From the Right Side - An Open Letter to Gary Miller in Response to his Open Letter to Me

In the previous post I published Gary Miller's open letter to me.

I responded to his open letter.  Here is my response:

Dear Mr. Miller.

I am very grateful for your open letter. Very rarely do conservatives get such a chance to see how Liberals construct their validity-free arguments, and it would be a great pleasure for me to respond to your letter point by point.

Your comments are in italics. My response is in bold.

Dear Gary,

The Republican Party has regressed mightily since the days of President Abraham Lincoln.

That is an assertion unsupported by evidence or history, as we are about to discover.

Excluding a few lonely blips on its oscilloscope, namely Presidents “Teddy” and “Ike”;

Interesting how you would chose a Progressive like Teddy Roosevelt as an example; he is not well regarded among Republicans, although I did not imagine that liberals such as yourself would find him appealing as he was manly, forthright, brave and decisive. However. Regarding Ike: you will no doubt be surprised to know, or NOT be surprised to know (being aware of the fact and failing to mention it) that all of the Civil Rights legislation passed in 1965 was proposed by Eisenhower years earlier, but the passage of the legislation was blocked by prominent Senate Democrats John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Johnson later took credit for this, of course, although he had a hard time passing the Civil Rights Act of 1965 since so many racist Democrats opposed it although a strong majority of Republicans did. Feel free to look this up at your leisure.

Republicanism in the main stands for ineptitude and greed.



If there is greater ineptitude than Democrat Barack Obama adding 6 trillion dollars in three years (to $16 Trillion) to a debt he accused George Bush of "unpatriotically" raising to $10 Trillion from $6 Trillion when he took office 8 years earlier, then it is only matched by Democrat Harry Reed who has gone for over 1000 days -- three years -- without approving the annual budget. This is either a criminal dereliction of duty on both their parts... or, more likely given their party affiliation, simple museum-grade incompetence. As to greed; you are no doubt confusing it with economic growth. See below. Further, as to greed, I suggest that you view a two minute video of economist Milton Friedman speaking on that very issue, which you will find right here or by clicking on the YouTube video above.

Precisely the values we don’t need, given the untenable state our nation anguishes and languishes in today.

With regard to the anguishing and languishing, I agree with you 100%! You are right; things did not use to be this way. Then came CHANGE! How's that Hope and Change working out for America? I know, you'd rather talk about Bush -- who had half the unemployment rate, half the national debt and double the economic growth of the current President. Things are so bad for Barack Obama these days that even when you guys trot W out it makes Obama look worse.

A day doesn’t go by that some Republican candidate, leader or otherwise shouts “we want our country back.”

We do want it back. You borrowed it, you broke it, and you weren't even decent enough to leave a note on the windshield. And if 2010 was any indication, we are well on the way to achieving that goal.

Back to what, the times when George W. Bush rode his bicycle around Washington or chopped wood in Crawford while “Rome” burned.

Well, Pat yourself on the back, Gary! You went six lines before blaming things on the guy who's been out of office for the last three years of Obama's tenure. That must be a new record for you fellows. And while it is true that GWB rode a mountain bike, he managed to do it without looking like a sixth grade girl (google "Obama bicycle"). And thank you for pointing out that he took his vacations IN HIS OWN HOME, which he paid for WITH HIS OWN MONEY, rather than golfing in the Hamptons with his Goldman-Sachs billionaire buddies (you know -- the leading donor to the Obama campaign), or having Michelle rent Spanish villas at -- what was it? -- $50,000/day of taxpayer money? Or taking separate jets, and separate staffs, and separate security precautions and inconveniences, on their recent trip to Hawaii since Michelle did not want to wait eight hours for the President. I don't blame her for wanting to travel separately at taxpayer expense. Or him.

Especially him.

Possibly, it’s the Reagan years you seek, when illegal wars like the Contra Affair were planned in the basement of the White House as Ronnie busily depleted the nation’s treasury.

The Contras fought against the socialists in Nicaragua. As soon as the people of that country had a chance to vote in a fair and free election (certified as genuine by the likes of Jimmy Carter, who couldn't believe his sanctimonious, tyranny-loving eyes!), they threw out the Sandinistas in favor of freedom from the socialists. Like most Republicans in general and Ronald Reagan in particular, it is always a pleasure to stand on the side of freedom and against guys like you (Democrats) who want to limit freedom. And as far as depleting the treasury goes: Ronald Reagan caused the most remarkable spurt of economic growth in modern history, and parenthetically defeated the Soviet bloc by beefing up defense, supporting freedom fighters, and not listening to advice from liberals who said daily, and loudly, that it was all impossible. If you want to find a depleted treasury, it is the Obama years you seek. More on that goat rodeo in a moment.

Could it be the Hoover Era when our man in charge developed a paralysis to act during the Great Depression?

Paralysis? I wish! Government paralysis likely would have made the Depression a 2-3 year affair. It took FDR's social engineering, major government spending program and big government regulations that you support to turn what was a bad situation into a decade of pain. The ‘Wonderchild’ we have in the White House at present is doing exactly the same thing for exactly the same reason, but he has the presumed advantage of the lesson of history he obviously has not bothered to read. See Coolidge, below.

If it’s morality you seek, as that seems to be one of your flavors of the day, let’s bring back the Harding Years and revisit the Teapot Dome Scandal.

We don't have a Flavor of the Day, Gary -- situational ethics is a liberal conceit. And spare me, please, the corruption charges. No political corruption in American history compares to DEMOCRATS Boss Tweed and Huey Long. All of those fat-cat Trusts lampooned by Cartoonist Thomas Nast in the late 1800's were DEMOCRATS. See, this is why liberals want conservatives to shut up, while conservatives want liberals to KEEP TALKING. People learn all kinds of Fun Facts. Let's discover a few more, shall we? On to your continuing insights:

George Herbert Walker, Silent Cal, McKinley, Harrison, Arthur or Garfield, they’re all pretty nondescript.

As opposed to the Earth-shattering brilliance of Democratic Mega-statesmen Martin Van Buren, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan (worst President ever?) , Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland (so unremarkable the Dems elected him TWICE), Jimmy Carter (worst President ever?) or Barack Obama? (Worst.) (President.) (Ever.)

Now I do not have the time to fill your numerous gaps in education, but you would do well to learn more about Calvin Coolidge. Faced with a worse economic crisis than either Hoover, Roosevelt or Obama, he slashed Federal spending by 50% and turned what would have been a horrible depression into full employment in just a year or two. It is one of the great economic lessons of our time. You either are unaware of it, or choose not to mention it. I'm not surprised by either alternative.

Now if corruption is your game, few, if any, could stand toe to toe with U.S. Grant.

It is true that President Grant's administration was as corrupt as a Kennedy (pick one); all General Grant did was save the union militarily while Republican President Lincoln was saving it politically.

Unless you seek to re-write history, Republicans care little if anything about the working class, unions or the poor. Additionally, they do tend to be more racist, elitist and white than other major political party!

Interesting how you accuse us of being racist, while making a racial distinction in the same sentence. Remarkable. The entire country is nothing but racial groups in constant war with each other to you people, isn't it? How very cynical and sad you are.

And speaking of re-writing history Gary, look up the term "projection" in your Psych 101 book, because now we get to the nub of the Great Democratic Lie. The Republican Party formed from the Whigs as a specifically ANTI-SLAVERY PARTY. Fremont lost in 1856, but when Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, the heavily Democratic, Pro-slavery, seven states of the Deep South went out of the Union BEFORE LINCOLN WAS INAUGURATED, so certain were these Democrats that a Republican victory meant the end of Slavery. In 1864 the Democratic candidate, George McClellan, promised "the Constitution as it is; the Union as it was" -- meaning pro-slavery. The first black Senators and Representatives (including the first and only black Speaker of the House) were REPUBLICANS. The KKK was formed by DEMOCRATS. The odious Jim Crow laws were written by DEMOCRATS. The governors and police chiefs putting dogs and fire hoses on peaceful black protestors in the 1960's -- men like George Wallace, Lester Maddox and Bull Connor -- were all DEMOCRATS. Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King were REPUBLICANS. 

The late Robert Byrd, who led the fight AGAINST Civil Rights and was a high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan, died in office recently and was honored by his fellow DEMOCRATS for decades of service to the party.
I would challenge the impartial reader at this point to compare my opponents slanderous allegations and opinions -- oft repeated -- to the verifiable facts I have presented above and make up their own minds on the racism attitude.

Compassion seems to escape the guys on your team. They are more focused on increasing the assets of the super rich than funding the legitimate needs of our country and our people.

Now to the heart of the issue. The Democrats, who claim to be compassionate, have continued to enslave black Americans by drowning them in entitlements on which they are now very dependent, and asserting that they must have lower standards -- the structural essence of Affirmative Action -- in order to compete against whites. We think black Americans can do just as well or as badly as anyone else. We treat people as individuals, not as privileged groups. Your Democratic policies have resulted in skyrocketing crime and the utter destruction of lower-income families. The entitlement program of Johnson’s Great Society of the 1960’s destroyed the black family by giving incentives for unwed mothers to receive funding, but not married mothers. The Democrat Party anti-business, anti-growth policies proportionately hurt the lower classes the hardest through rampant unemployment. Their entitlement mentality has produced three generations with no self-respect, no ambition and no skills, while fostering envy, resentment, lethargy and rage.

You label this as "compassion." 

 Where have you been while your obstructionist “compadres” in Congress continue to grind government to a screeching halt by following the no tax dictums of Grover Norquest, the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party?

Gary, this must be difficult for a person who apparently cannot add, but you Big Government types have spent not only all the money there is, but all the money there will be for the next forty years. My grandchildren will be paying off the debt that has been incurred. This debt bomb is the abyss, and everybody knows it. It was created by both parties, but Barack Obama has put the pedal to the metal and is racing toward it on pace to have accrued more debt in one term than the previous 43 presidents have... COMBINED. In a car racing for the cliff and accelerating it is a source of not simply common sense but actual PRIDE to try to grind this insanity to a halt. And coming from a man whose President has a ONE BILLION DOLLAR re-election fund, and whose fellow traveler George Soros pumps BILLIONS of dollars into liberal politics every single year, it is a little bit hilarious -- actually, it's fully hilarious -- to suggest that the people driving themselves across the country to attend Tea Party rallies are paid for by the Koch Brothers. Compare a Tea Party Rally with a progressive rally, and notice how the progressives all have the same printed signs, the same color t-shirts, and are the only ones who came in on the same big buses. One side is being funded by big money. You were wrong about which one. Guess again.

The major chant from the Republican hymnal “Trickle Down” is out of key. It always has been, and it always will be. Just ask David Stockman, the major proponent of it and former Reagan economic guru.

From the years 2000-2008, your friend George W. Bush lowered taxes appreciably, especially for the wealthier. How many new jobs did that produce? None, we lost jobs. Big business was energetically moving those jobs overseas while receiving giant tax incentives in return. Do you think that exercising this folly again will produce different results?

Again, Gary, I have to take the time to explain things that should be clear to any reasonable 7th grade math student, but skill at numbers is not a Democratic trait, it seems. If you make ACROSS THE BOARD tax cuts -- as Bush did -- the people paying the largest total will have a lower AGGREGATE burden than those paying less, even though the same rates applies to everyone. You Democrats often lie like this. You will often see Democrats say a Republican "wants to cut spending" when what he in fact wants to do is cut the RATE OF GROWTH of spending. It is the kind of sophistry you employ to enact policies that the American people would never support if they were told the actual facts.

And as I said earlier, the only way for a man to stand in defense of Barack Obama employment record is to do what this President has always done -- blame someone else -- which is especially ironic since the man you both are blaming had far better unemployment and economic growth numbers. One would think this fact would be inconvenient for you, but again... the whole Democrat/fact collision spectacle is enjoyable if frustrating to watch.

Our country is hurting.< Yes, change HAS come to America!

Now is not the time for “rugged individualism.” There’s a tough world out there and the nation must stay competitive and together if we are going to stay on or near the top. Reinstating a fair and progressive tax base would improve education for our children, give the less fortunate a little more hope and security and motivate the government and industry together to improve our crumbling infrastructure.

Please Gary, can you stop now? Thanks to Democrats, we have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, and it is killing the kind of job creation small businesses always delivers. We spend three or four times as much money on education as the next closest country and we don't often break the top 20 in test scores. This liberal refrain of "we only need more money to fix all the problems that have gotten worse since the LAST time we asked for more money" is getting tedious. Chart Education Department spending against test scores, and you will see the more we spend, the worse scores get. Now, if you would only get your Democratic money machine -- the public sector unions -- out of the picture, maybe we could fire some of the horrible teachers and top-heavy bureaucracy that is the root of the problem. Inner city parents -- you know, those people you have so much compassion for -- are fighting tooth and nail against your party to do this and open performance-based, charter schools... but you Democrats have uncorked more of that "compassion" on them and fought them all the way. And finally, stimulus-funded economic catastrophes like Solyndra and the Chevy Volt are not infrastructure; they are ideologically-driven boondoggles. 

Cheap shots at President Obama for political gain, such as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich take on a daily basis, only point out their lack of character. Maybe Mitt should focus on explaining the monies he has parked in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland and Newt the true reasons for his ouster as House Majority Leader or the insensitivity he’s shown to his two previous wives. Before both of them tear down Mr. Obama’s house, they might start by getting their own houses in order.

Gary, I must say, for a man to talk about Obama's ethics by referring to HIS HOUSE is a softball so slow I am ashamed to swing at it. Do you not have any understanding of the shady deal that Barack Obama got on his house by convicted felon Tony Rezko? Look it up. But be warned: historical facts are fatal to liberalism.
And any cursory reading of Barack Obama's life IN BARACK OBAMA'S OWN WORDS reveal a callow, conflicted narcissist who abused drugs, defaulted on numerous pre-paid book deal deadlines, and mysteriously found a way to attend Occidental, Columbia and Harvard while his mom was on food stamps. He edited the Harvard Law Review through the previously untried method of not editing or writing anything. He led from behind in the health care debates. He has insulted our long-time allies and bowed and apologized to our mortal enemies. He has put ideology over law in handing Chrysler to his union cronies, authorized the sale of automatic weapons to Mexican drug cartels (or refused to fire his hand-picked Attorney General for doing so without his knowledge) and sent half a billion of the reader's hard-earned money to a solar company that made nothing but green morality tales for Obama to brag about. Character and judgment are not words one would rationally ascribe to such a person.

President Obama, unlike his predecessor, walks the walk.

The only walking Obama does consistently is on the golf course with his crony-capitalist buddies who trade millions in campaign donations for billions in government hand-outs.

He took out Osama bin Laden,

After weeks of discussion, against his Vice President's advice, while he was on the golf course, and only after getting the location of bin Laden from the enhanced interrogation techniques he campaigned against. (Oh, and Gitmo is still open. You seem to have left that out.)

ended the wrong war in Iraq

Bush ended the war in Iraq, in victory, with the Surge, and furthermore it was Bush's timetable to withdraw all combat units by 2009. He would have left support troops in Iraq, as Obama wanted to do before he botched the negotiations with the Iraqi government.

while he continues to move to shut down the right war in Afghanistan.

Why would he shut down "the right war?" If it is the right war, shouldn't he be ramping it up? You might almost suspect Afghanistan as "the right war" was simply a campaign ploy to gain National Security cred among the gullible. Not that I called you gullible, Gary -- although I meant to.

He has vision. He’s expanded health care for the multitudes.

Stalin had a vision too. Did you know that almost 40% of the total waivers exempting people from this miracle of compassion come from Nancy Pelosi's tiny little district? Why would she write her friends so many exemptions from this wonderful health care that she would never have for herself or her own family? Why is the entire state of Nevada exempt? Why can't Harry Reid share this wonderful healthcare that HE doesn't use either? I must be missing something. Gallons of Koolaid, likely.

Our country is safe today.

Nuclear Iran will be relieved to hear you say so.

and he’s re-shaping our military forces as we move into the future.

You mean DRAMATICALLY CUTTING IT into a tinier, less effective new shape!
China is now in his cross hairs and he’s begun to shift national attention to the Far East.

Well, the only hope for our battered economic lead in the world is that you may be right, for once. If Obama can induce China to adopt his anti-growth, crippling, soul-destroying levels of taxation and regulation he will hobble them as effectively has he has hobbled America. How do you say Hope and Change! in Mandarin?

The Arab Spring might not have happened without American pressure and support.

The Arab Spring is turning into radical Islamic Muslim Brotherhood take-overs, which you would know, if you read any newspapers. The result will be less freedom, more restrictive lives, less women rights, execution of homosexuals.

The one place where American support would have made a real difference -- Iran -- is the place where the Obama Administration has been continually and serenely silent as people got shot down in the street trying to bring down the worst threat to our country on the map today. It was the single greatest lost opportunity of the modern age. Another Obama milestone!

 At Home President Obama saved the auto industry and provided stimulus to other hard hit sectors.

Wrong again. The people reading this bought and paid for Chevrolets that they don't get to -- you know -- ACTUALLY DRIVE because Obama wanted to hand GM over to the unions, rather than let them go bankrupt. Again, knowing Democrats and economics, I'm going to explain that bankruptcy does not mean vaporization of the factories and firing of the workforce. It meant being able to legally renegotiate the ruinous union benefits that caused GM to lose money even on cars they SOLD. Because of "Green Economy" boondoggles like the Chevy Volt, they will eventually still go under, only they'll take a few billion dollars of the reader's money with them when they go.

The job situation needs attention, but you can’t create them out of thin air.

YES YOU CAN, GARY! YES YOU CAN! Jobs are created out of thin air when people are allowed to start a small business without having to spend 2 years and tens of thousands of dollars for permits. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, and a Senate that will not pass a budget so no one knows what tax and regulations beatings you Democrats are planning just around the corner. Uncertainty is death to employment and job creation. Jobs will come OUT OF THIN AIR if liberals would take their record tax rates and regulations AND GET OUT OF THE WAY and give American entrepreneurs the feeling that there will be an opportunity for them to make money by starting a new business or growing their existing one.

Additionally, President Obama has sought to re-vitalize our manufacturing base as another attempt to increase jobs and move the economy forward.

See Solyndra, Chevy Volt, etc. above.

Besides criticism, what specifics have the Republicans advanced over the past three years that will concretely bring more jobs to America? Cuting taxes to rich benefactors is the only failed Republican plan that I can readily recollect. 

You wrote "cuting taxes..." I assume you meant "cutting" and the "cute" part of high taxes was a Freudian slip on your part. The Ryan Plan, which was shot down by Democrats, was a clear path away from the debt abyss that is destroying not only America, but the economic structure of the entire world. The debt crisis is due ENTIRELY to the fact that entitlement spending is completely unsustainable, and everybody knows it. EVERYBODY. A cursory look at the 2011 budget reveals that we could run the ENTIRE US Government -- including defense -- not only without any cuts but with an annual surplus, at current tax rates, if it were not for entitlement spending. You refuse to even mention it in passing because you know as well as I do that once there is no more free candy to give away, what good is a Democrat?

Your Big State, socialist policies have bankrupted not just America, but the entire world, and all you can think to do is add more debt as fast as you can ask for it. It is your Democratic Senate that has not fulfilled its duties for three years, that is intellectually fossilized, not the Republican House. Plans come from there aplenty. But even having taken us from the Richest Nation on Earth to the Brokest Nation in Human History, you STILL cannot see that either we start reducing this debt bomb NOW -- as the Ryan plan does -- or accelerate it until the world's economy collapses, as is the Obama... what? "Plan" seems a little grandiose a term. Do they have a plan? Is there anywhere on their charts where this debt goes away? Or will we continue to spent one thousand billion dollars a year more than we take in? 

Gary, I’m sorry to say you’re on the wrong side of the fence.

Let's build the fence first, Gary, then we'll see who's on the wrong side of it.

In the days of the old west, there were the good guys and bad guys. You know it and I know it that the Republicans aren’t the ones riding the white horses. Now, more than ever, the Republicans are out of touch with time and reality.

This is what passes for argument among you people? I've laid down what facts I can spare in my limited time. You talk about white horses. That's because my facts run away from your white horses, Gary. They are all on sitting on my side of the unbuilt fence, purring contentedly, along with history, reason and logic.

America needs planning that works for 300 million, not 3 million of us.

PLANNING -- the Big Government, Soviet-style central socialist planning that has generated more death, misery and poverty than anything else on planet Earth, is the entire PROBLEM, Gary -- not the solution. Your ideas are 100 years old and they have NEVER worked. You spent all the money there is, and you say just a little more will do it. You say it EVERY TIME.

Therein lays the difference. I’m certain your A-list of associates and friends is far more impressive than your Democratic counterpart’s,

No! No A-list liberal talent in Los Angeles! No sir! The Academy Awards is a hotbed of Conservative thinking. Did you bother to read your article before you posted it?

but what have the Republicans done lately for the other 99% of us?

Well, aside from freeing the slaves, saving the union, defeating the communists and providing unparalleled freedom, prosperity and security... nothing. Nothing except trying to stop the kind of class war, us-vs-them, divisive, infantile, Chicago-style, dirty politics that the whole publicly defecating, drug-abusing, rape and crime hotbeds that the "Occupy" movement and their 1% vs. 99% ideology represents. That's all.

Sincerely,
Gary Miller
The fact that you are apparently sincere about this pack of unsupported assertions, slanders, misrepresentations, omissions and inversion of facts and reality is the thing that REALLY scares me, Gary.


Sincerely,
Gary Aminoff
President
San Fernando Valley Republican Club

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 12:36 AM 1 comments links to this post

Monday, March 12, 2012

A View from Left Field - Open Letter to Gary Aminoff, President of the San Fernando Valley Republican Club

I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago. A writer for the Sherman Oaks Patch, one Gary Miller, decided he would publish a rant about the Republican Party. He did so in an open letter to me. The following is the open letter:
A View from Left Field - Open Letter to Gary Aminoff, President of the San Fernando Valley Republican Club

 Open Letter to Gary Aminoff 

Dear Gary,

The Republican Party has regressed mightily since the days of President Abraham Lincoln. Excluding a few lonely blips on its oscilloscope, namely Presidents “Teddy” and “Ike”; Republicanism in the main stands for ineptitude and greed. Precisely the values we don’t need, given the untenable state our nation anguishes and languishes in today.


A day doesn’t go by that some Republican candidate, leader or otherwise shouts “we want our country back.” Back to what, the times when George W. Bush rode his bicycle around Washington or chopped wood in Crawford while “Rome” burned. Possibly, it’s the Reagan years you seek, when illegal wars like the Contra Affair were planned in the basement of the White House as Ronnie busily depleted the nation’s treasury. Could it be the Hoover Era when our man in charge developed a paralysis to act during the Great Depression? If it’s morality you seek, as that seems to be one of your flavors of the day, let’s bring back the Harding Years and revisit the Teapot Dome Scandal. George Herbert Walker, Silent Cal, McKinley, Harrison, Arthur or Garfield, they’re all pretty nondescript. Now if corruption is your game, few, if any, could stand toe to toe with U.S. Grant.

Unless you seek to re-write history, Republicans care little if anything about the working class, unions or the poor. Additionally, they do tend to be more racist, elitist and white than other major political party! Compassion seems to escape the guys on your team. They are more focused on increasing the assets of the super rich than funding the legitimate needs of our country and our people. Where have you been while your obstructionist “compadres” in Congress continue to grind government to a screeching halt by following the no tax dictums of Grover Norquest, the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party?

The major chant from the Republican hymnal “Trickle Down” is out of key. It always has been, and it always will be. Just ask David Stockman, the major proponent of it and former Reagan economic guru.

From the years 2000-2008, your friend George W. Bush lowered taxes appreciably, especially for the wealthier. How many new jobs did that produce? None, we lost jobs. Big business was energetically moving those jobs overseas while receiving giant tax incentives in return. Do you think that exercising this folly again will produce different results?

Our country is hurting. Now is not the time for “rugged individualism.” There’s a tough world out there and the nation must stay competitive and together if we are going to stay on or near the top. Reinstating a fair and progressive tax base would improve education for our children, give the less fortunate a little more hope and security and motivate the government and industry together to improve our crumbling infrastructure.

Cheap shots at President Obama for political gain, such as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich take on a daily basis, only point out their lack of character. Maybe Mitt should focus on explaining the monies he has parked in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland and Newt the true reasons for his ouster as House Majority Leader or the insensitivity he’s shown to his two previous wives. Before both of them tear down Mr. Obama’s house, they might start by getting their own houses in order.

President Obama, unlike his predecessor, walks the walk. He took out Osama bin Laden, ended the wrong war in Iraq while he continues to move to shut down the right war in Afghanistan. He has vision. He’s expanded health care for the multitudes. Our country is safe today and he’s re-shaping our military forces as we move into the future. China is now in his cross hairs and he’s begun to shift national attention to the Far East. The Arab Spring might not have happened without American pressure and support.

At Home President Obama saved the auto industry and provided stimulus to other hard hit sectors. The job situation needs attention, but you can’t create them out of thin air. Additionally, President Obama has sought to re-vitalize our manufacturing base as another attempt to increase jobs and move the economy forward. Besides criticism, what specifics have the Republicans advanced over the past three years that will concretely bring more jobs to America? Cuting taxes to rich benefactors is the only failed Republican plan that I can readily recollect.


Gary, I’m sorry to say you’re on the wrong side of the fence. In the days of the old west, there were the good guys and bad guys. You know it and I know it that the Republicans aren’t the ones riding the white horses. Now, more than ever, the Republicans are out of touch with time and reality. America needs planning that works for 300 million, not 3 million of us. Therein lays the difference. I’m certain your A-list of associates and friends is far more impressive than your Democratic counterpart’s, but what have the Republicans done lately for the other 99% of us?

 Sincerely, Gary Miller
I will publish my response to this open letter in the next post.

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 11:41 PM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Postcards from Israel: "WAR IS INEVITABLE"


War is Inevitable
By Ari Bussel



The number of dead Israelis is mounting, and the war has not even officially begun.


It commenced with a combined attack near Eilat, in Israel’s south, and quickly crept up moving in two directions, one along the seashore in a north-north-westerly direction, the other in a north-north-easterly direction crossing the vast expanse of the Negev.  
Qassam Rockets on display


The Gazans realized that firing multiple missiles at once renders Israel’s Iron Dome system less effective. It is able to stop some, but not all the missiles. So a barrage of Grad missiles hit Israeli towns and cities, like the Negev capital, Beer Sheva.


The escalation has been fast and calculated. Israel has been as swift in eliminating the perpetrators of the attack and their direct commanders, but alas there is a never-ending stream of volunteers-to-the-cause behind them. One is destroyed; ten stand to fill his place.


Thirty missiles launched, thousands ready to be launched behind them. No shortage here either.


And this is from one source: Gaza.


The Middle East in 2011 has proven that the impossible and unthinkable happens and keeps surprising us with its appearance, intensity and grandeur. Mubarak, Qaddafi, Assad, Turkey’s ascent, Egypt’s cancellation of the Peace Treaty with Israel. Some are still in the works, but then there is a whole third of the year still ahead of us.


Thus, one must always look at the bigger picture and other players in the region. Those who call themselves “Palestinians” (residents and citizens of Israel, namely Israeli Arabs) have not joined the uprising of their brethren in Gaza yet. Hezbollah has not reared its ugly head, and is extremely coordinated with Hamas in Gaza. Then there are multiple others in this neighborhood, all hostile to Israel and seeking its destruction.


Israelis in the south are feeling the discomfort of living under missile fires, but the rest of Israel, for the moment, is quiet. Not for long.


So what does Israel do? The reaction does not extend beyond those directly responsible. Alas, Israel is mistaken again. Those responsible are not only the launchers and their cohort of bandits. Instead, it is the system as a whole and Hamas, from the snake’s head to the last “freedom fighters”-terrorists. It is the Palestinian Authority. It is Hezbollah and its system of caves and underground bunkers, from its head-rat to the last “Warrior.” It is Syria who has been supplying the military might to Hezbollah, and it is Iran who has been masterminding, supplying, training and orchestrating the events.


What is Israel to do? Should it choose collective punishment or wait, licking its wounds, burying its dead and lamenting some illusion of an elusive peace? Maybe ignore all that is happening against it and focus instead on members of its middle-class losing their standing and becoming destitute?


Luckily at this point in time, Israel will be left with no choice but to retaliate. Israel would not be able to ignore the mounting dead, day after day, and the dozens injured. The disruption of daily life would become unbearable and would creep toward the Center, where all the “beautiful souls” who want peace and think Israel needs to surrender now bask in the joys of life. Life in oblivion will continue until the missiles get to their doorsteps, or actually until they start falling from the skies on their rooftops and gardens, parks and shopping centers, cafes and restaurants.


There will be only one course of action, one that has conveniently been avoided repeatedly. Israel’s air superiority has proven insufficient. Ground action is necessary, as was evident both in the Second War in Lebanon in the summer of 2006 and during the land excursion into Gaza in late December 2008 - beginning January 2009.


Israel will have to conquer Gaza, kilometer by kilometer, until the region once again is under full Israeli control. Israel will have to disengage the Gazans from Gaza in a unilateral action to reverse the Disengagement of the summer of 2005.


For those who may mistake Gaza for anything other than what it is, it is an area of approximately 150 square miles (25 x 6). Its residents have vowed to do everything to bring on Israel’s destruction and are acting against civilian centers in Israel. They initiate death and mayhem, the classic definition of inflicting terror.


For them, all courses of action are beneficial: Kill Israelis, it helps. Wound them, not bad. Be killed? It is OK since you are going to heaven for an eternal-life of sex with virgins and enslavement of women. Anyone killed fighting is fine, since it will help hasten Israel’s downfall. They create scenes that the most famous theatrical productions in the world would not be ashamed to host. Israel is then accused of “collective punishment” and “committing atrocities.”


Not enough dead? Inflate the numbers or exhume bodies from graves. That will do just fine.


Whatever they do, there is a carte blanche justification, whereas whatever happens as a result is Israel’s fault. At the end of the day, Israel will be blamed according to the double standard now in effect. The world deliberately ignores the facts and fabricates Goldstone Reports of its own.


Israel’s action must be swift and painful. It must overtake Gaza, destroying everything in its wake if there is even the slightest sign of resistance. Shoot from a mosque, school or hospital, or even from the most revered “UN buildings,” these should be destroyed within moments. Imagine the sights and sounds of the ensuing explosions, with all those missiles and explosives stored there. Guilty of war crimes? The party that uses civilian centers to warehouse elements of war?


There must be refugee camps erected elsewhere, and the population transferred to these camps far away from Gaza. Gaza must no longer exist.


Why? Clearly because Gaza contains the largest stockpile of missiles and other means of warfare in the entire region. Also because Gaza has another side, hidden from above, of underground tunnels creating a city below a city. Lastly, because there are supposedly real refugees who keep squandering the billions they receive from Europe, the UN and elsewhere. Let them be at a real refugee camp and let Israel take care of them.


Israel may have to foot the bill in the short term, but it can keep a tab and present it to all those concerned. Besides, treating the “refugee” problem once and for all will be much cheaper than perpetuating the idea of “eternal refugees.”


Gaza must be no more. It wants war, not peace, so it must be prepared for the fulfillment of its craving. If it wants to die, Israel must ensure that terror dies with it. All the “innocent” Gazans can be transferred. They never wanted to be in Gaza in the first place. They want Jaffe and Acre, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


In fact, as a first step, they should be moved to Judea and Samaria. In newly erected tent cities there will be schools where math and foreign languages, literature and science are taught, not how to become a martyr or a terrorist. Schools where childhood blossoms rather than destroyed. Schools where hatred is eradicated and love and respect taught.


At one point there will be peace, but for peace to exist, there must be no Gaza. Gaza at the moment is the power base of evil, the embodiment of Israel’s failure to deal with a situation and the clear upper hand of Hamas.


Hamas calls things by name. It is time that it is fed some of its own medicine.


Some may say that this will lead to Israel losing its support base with American Jews and others throughout the world. To them I say, American Jewry long ago deserted the Jewish State, and the world will condemn Israel no matter what she does. So she must act. It is better to be alive and accused than dead and maligned.

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 9:26 AM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gary Aminoff Comments On the Middle East on BlogTalk Radio

I was invited on to a radio show on BlogTalk Radio to discuss middle east policy.  It was a good discussion about our government's foreign policy in the middle east and the ramifications of what is taking place right now, and its long-term effects.

It is a one-hour show.  You can listen here:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundpoets/2011/03/26/will-and-mike-back-to-basics
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 1:19 PM 1 comments links to this post

Dennis Prager: The Other Tsunami

Dennis Prager, writing in Townhall Magazine, commented, just after the tsunami hit Japan, about the other tsunami - the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim flood of Jew-hatred.

Excerpt:
Palestinian and other Muslim spokesmen and their supporters on the left argue that this unique hatred is the fruit of Israeli policies, not decades of Nazi-like Jew-hatred saturating Islamic education, television, radio and the mosque. But for this to be true, unique hatred would have to be matched by unique evil on the Israelis' part.
Yet, among the injustices of the world, what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians would not even register on a moral Richter scale. The creation of Israel engendered about 750,000 Palestinian refugees (and an equal number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries) and the death of perhaps 10 thousand Palestinian Arabs. And all of that came about solely because Arab armies invaded Israel in order to destroy it at birth. Yet, when Pakistan was yanked from India and established as a Muslim state at the very same time Israel was established, that act engendered 12.5 million Muslim refugees and about a million dead Muslims (and similar numbers of Hindu refugees and deaths). Why then doesn't "Hindu" equal "Jew" in the Muslim lexicon of hate?
Here are some answers in brief:
First, many groups have been hated, but none have been hated as deeply as the Jews.
Second, Jew-hatred is often exterminationist, which is why Jew-hatred has little in common with ethnic bigotry, religious intolerance or even racism. Rarely, if ever, do any of them seek the extermination of the disliked or hated group.

Third, exterminationist Jew-haters are particularly dangerous people. Non-Jews who do not recognize Jew-hatred as the moral cancer it is are fools. Nazism was born in Jew-hatred and led to the death of more than 40 million non-Jews. Islamic terror started against Israeli Jews but has spread around the world. More fellow Muslims have now been murdered by Islamic terror than Jews have.

Read the whole article.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 1:08 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 19, 2011

No Wonder Hillary Resigned. Mr. Burns Explains U.S. Middle East Policy.

By Barry Rubin
http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2011/03/no-wonder-hillary-resigned-mr-burns.html


For a comprehensive statement of current U.S. Middle East policy you can’t do better than the testimony of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns at the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on March 17, 2011.

It’s horrifying. Here's my summary of the key point:

The United States will press for political reform and urge governments to talk to the opposition in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia.
The United States will NOT press for political reform or urge governments to talk to the opposition in the Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, Sudan, and Syria.

What do the governments in the first paragraph have in common? They have been friendly to the United States.

What do the governments in the second paragraph have in common? They are currently unfriendly to the United States.

In other words, the policy is to pressure your friends (they become weaker); engage your enemies (they become stronger). It is the exact opposite of what U.S. policy should be at this time.

There is a carefully thought out rationale for this policy. It is this:

If relatively moderate countries open their political process (even if it gives Islamists a chance to take power), they will become stronger and less likely to have radical revolutions. Their success will then show that the radical regimes have failed and everyone will see democracy works better. So the radicals will all decide to become moderate or be overthrown by their own people.

The above paragraph is not a joke or satire. This idea is very clearly expressed in the testimony and in other administration statements. This is a historical theme in U.S. foreign policy.

For example, this was precisely the idea regarding the Palestinians. The United States and others would pour money into the West Bank, making the Palestinian Authority a success. Meanwhile, Gaza would sink into stagnation and the people there would want to have a good life, like those on the West Bank.

Of course, the Obama Administration then pressed Israel to drop the sanctions and pumped money (indirectly) into the Gaza Strip.

What else is wrong with this policy? A lot, but briefly:

--It ignores the fact that radical dictators will kill people to stay in power.

--Reform can do more to weaken regimes than the subversion of radical oppositionists.

--Ideology is a powerful factor sometimes transcending material well-being.

--The radicals think they're winning so why should they change? The moderates think they're losing and are more likely to change sides or appease the radicals.

--Radical nationalists or Islamists can use the opening in politics to win power and then transform the state into an aggressive, anti-American country.  To some extent, this is what happened in Iran.

A more realistic U.S. government would have put some tough language into Burns' testimony to cover itself by saying, for example, that it would back the democratic opposition in Iran. But the Obama administration is so ideologically blinded and has been given such a free pass by the mass media that it doesn't realize how obviously far-out it behaves.

In giving this testimony--and this is only my opinion--Burns must have been the most horrified person in the Senate hearing room. After all, not only is he the highest-ranking career person in the State Department, he’s also a veteran of three decades of policymaking on the Middle East.

Much of what he said—expressing U.S. (i.e., White House) policy runs directly counter to everything he’s believed, advocated, and implemented in his career. Let’s go through it in detail, keeping in mind that Burns is just President Barack Obama's messenger here.

His testimony expresses wild enthusiasm for recent Arab political upheavals. There’s no hint about throwing out a 32-year-old alliance with Egypt's regime. Nor is there any whisper of an Islamist threat (no mention of Islamism or of the Muslim Brotherhood), or of an Iranian strategic threat (except for a phrase at the very end), much less from the radicalism of the Syrian regime, Hamas, and Hizballah. There’s no mention of Turkey’s change of sides or of any strategic problems whatsoever.

In a competent administration, if only to cover itself, the testimony would have included real warnings; reservations; strategic considerations; concerns over protecting U.S. interests, stress on the need to maintain U.S. leadership and credibility; and the importance of helping allies protect themselves.

Instead we get this community organizer-style rhetoric:

“The revolutions…are about the brave, proud, and determined people of Arab societies, intent upon better governance and more economic opportunities, intent upon erasing the disconnect between the rulers and the ruled that for so long has been so stifling for so many. And they’re about the universal values that the President spoke about two years ago in Cairo--the right of peaceful assembly, freedom of speech, and the right to determine one’s own destiny....”

“It is a moment of great possibility for American policy and help; a moment when the peaceful, homegrown, non-ideological movement surging out of Tahrir Square offers a powerful repudiation of al-Qaida’s false narrative that violence and extremism are the only ways to effect change.”

Here we see another administration theme: America's only enemy is a tiny group called al-Qaida. America's enemy is not revolutionary Islamism, which already controls entire countries and animates movements that mobilize millions of people.

Strange, but neither al-Qaida nor any other radical Islamist force (Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, the Taliban, the Iraqi insurgents, or the Muslim Brotherhoods, as well as al-Qaida) seem the least bit worried about these upheavals. Perhaps the Obama Administration's naive ideologues understand these things better than those who actually are Muslims, Arabs, speak the languages, and live in the Middle East.

Here is about all the lip service Burns' testimony gives to the risks of Obama policy:

“But it is also a moment of considerable risk, because there is nothing automatic or foreordained about the success of such transitions. Helping to get them right is as important a challenge for American foreign policy as any we have faced since the end of the Cold War.”

"Helping to get them right!" Aside from being ungrammatical, do you think the Obama Administration is going to be able to help make Egypt into a moderate, stable, wealthy, happy, democratic state?

But there's more. The administration's policy then goes on to discredit the “war on terrorism” and battle with Islamism:

“The long-held conceit of many Arab leaders was that there were really only two political choices--the autocrats you know or the Islamic extremists you fear. That provided a convenient rationale for blocking real political outlets or broadened participation, and it ultimately produced the spontaneous combustion of Tahrir Square.”

But doesn’t that remain to be seen? That "spontaneous" combustion including a lot of anti-American far leftists and Muslim Brotherhood cadre. Those Arab leaders haven't yet been proven wrong. 

Imagine for the moment that you are a Saudi or Jordanian leader reading this. What would you say to the Obama  Administration?:

You think the “Islamic extremists” are a mirage? You think Iran and its power is a conceit? Have you seen how many people were killed in Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan in such internal conflicts? They want to kill us as well. You Americans are idiots! Why should we pay attention to you?

Burns continues with phrases like “remarkable sense of public empowerment” and “a communications revolution that stripped governments of their old monopoly on the flow of information, made people more aware of what others had in other societies that they didn’t, and helped them mobilize without central leadership or conventional political organizations.”

Let’s be frank here: the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt succeeded for one reason ultimately—that the armies supported them. They failed in Iran, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and elsewhere because the security forces supported the regime. Let’s not get carried away with “public empowerment” and Facebook as the twenty-first century equivalent of Mao Zedong's Little Red Book!

Burns continues with a lecture on political theory:

“Political systems and leaderships that fail to respond to the legitimate aspirations of their people become more brittle, not more stable. Popular pressures to realize universal values will take different shapes in different societies, but no society is immune from them. Political systems are a little like bicycles--unless they’re peddled forward, they tend to fall over.”

You see, weakening a friendly regime is always good! Change is always good! The people always want to realize "universal values" and merely do so in different ways (terrorism perhaps?).

Nobody could possibly be a radical nationalist, an Islamist, a militant anti-American or antisemite. They all want what Americans want. And unless you give the masses what they want, you fall from power, so you better give them what they want. It's just a matter of negotiating the surrender terms.

There's no way that Burns could really believe this stuff after three decades' work on the Middle East.

He even calls this maxim an “inconvenient truth,” a reference to former Vice-President Al Gore’s global warming film.
Yet despite Burns’ expression of guilt that past U.S. policy failed to recognize this building explosion of reformism and rebellion, the actual history of that policy shows something different. I participated in discussions with U.S. policymakers starting in the 1980s about the new generation, demographic shift, failure of Arab regimes, and other such factors. They weren’t so ignorant at all but understood the dangers involved, too.

Most obviously, there were attempts by President George W. Bush’s administration to push reform. But the current administration can’t say anything nice about its predecessor. And what about President Jimmy Carter’s push on democracy and human rights, including pressure on Iran's shah to do precisely what the administration wants Arab leaders to do now? Oops. Better not mention that precedent or president.

But there’s more kumbaya babble instead of national interests’ diplomacy here. Burns says:

“It is in our long-term interest to support the emergence of more transparent and more responsive governments, who will ultimately make stronger and more stable partners….”

While he admits that “the short-term is likely to be pretty complicated and unsettling” Burns is basically saying that nothing can go wrong.

He refers to “a danger of authoritarian retrenchment….” In other words, the region can go “back” to a Mubarak-style regime. But how about change leading to a brand new type of totalitarianism like what happened in Iran?

Remember, no administration official can say the word "Islamism." So instead Burns refers to how “predatory extremists” might take advantage of the situation, as if these are burglars rather than movements with an attractive ideology and mass base far stronger than the Facebook crowd.

Burns names “economic stagnation” and failure to improve people’s lives as factors which might help these unnamed extremists take over. Burns then makes solving these problems sound easy. “We can help produce private sector jobs desperately needed to keep pace with demography and expectations.” Really? They can’t even do that in America!

It's all very well to say that an “independent media to hold people accountable” is absolutely necessary. But the media is likely to be highly partisan and often controlled by radicals.

Here's my favorite sentence:

"Popularly elected governments sometimes taking sharper issue with American policies than their autocratic predecessors did, and elections sometimes producing uncomfortable results.”

You mean like Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hizballah in Lebanon? Might the  “uncomfortable results” include throwing out U.S. bases, sponsoring terrorism, starting wars, promoting hysterical anti-Americanism, little things like that?

Yet what is most shocking of all in the new American policy is the failure even to mention support for democratic movements against the governments of Iran and Syria. Democratic reform is  presented as managing the collapse of America's Arab friends rather than an American asset to use against those who are both its enemies and the enemies of freedom.

How can the U.S. government make promoting democracy its main priority without  even mentioning the idea of vigorously promoting democracy in Iran or Syria or supporting the oppositions in those countries? Why does the Obama Administration engage its enemies (Syria, Hizballah, and even the Taliban) and enrage its friends?

This is a policy that supports "serious political reform" and dialogue with the opposition only in countries friendly to the United States! Have they thought about what this means: Jordan's government being pushed into a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Authority pressed to set up a coalition with Hamas?

Only at the very end of Burns' testimony, briefly and as an afterthought, comes the stuff that used to be U.S. Middle East policy before the triumph of Facebook democracy:

“Regional security: strengthening ties to the GCC states; in fighting terrorism; in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and setting off a catastrophic regional arms race; in not losing sight of Iraq’s own crucial democratic transition and reintegration into the Arab world.”

Oh yes, almost forgot about that obsolete stuff.Is Burns' statement the best America--the best even Obama--can do as the Middle East burns?

Perhaps Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to resign after reading Burns’ draft testimony. I sure would have done so if I were her.
_____________________


Barry Rubin is Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His books include Islamic Fundamentalists in Egyptian Politics and The Muslim Brotherhood (Palgrave-Macmillan); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East, a study of Arab reform movements (Wiley).
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 4:56 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, February 05, 2011

John Stossel: I Can Balance The Budget

By John Stossel

The Congressional Budget Office says the current year's budget deficit will be a record $1.5 trillion. It also says that over the next decade we're on track for annual deficits of "only" $768 billion. I suspect the CBO has hired Rosy Scenario to do the bookkeeping, but let's take that number at face value.

I'm now going to balance the budget, with the help of some experts.

I'll begin with things I'm most eager to cut. Let's privatize air traffic control. Canada did it, and it works better. Then privatize Amtrak. Get rid of all subsidies for rail. That'll save $12 billion.

End subsidies for public broadcasting, like NPR. Cancel the Small Business Administration. Repeal the Davis-Bacon rules under which the government pays union-set wages to workers on federal construction projects. Cut foreign aid by half (although we should probably get rid of all of it). So far, that's $20 billion.
Oops. That doesn't dent the deficit. We have to do much more.

So eliminate the U.S. Education Department. We'd save $94 billion. Federal involvement doesn't improve education. It gets in the way.

Agriculture subsidies cost us $30 billion a year. Let's get rid of them. They distort the economy. We should also eliminate Housing and Urban Development. That's $53 billion more.

Who needs the Energy Department and its $20 billion sinkhole? The free market should determine energy investments.

And let's end the war on drugs. In effect, it's a $47 billion subsidy for thugs in the black market.

I've already cut more than six times more than President Obama proposed in his State of the Union address. His freeze of nondefense discretionary spending would save only $40 billion.

But my cuts still total only $246 billion. If we're going to get rid of the rest of the CBO's projected deficit, we must attack the "untouchable" parts of the budget, starting with Social Security. Raising the retirement age and indexing benefits to inflation would save $93 billion. I'd save more by privatizing Social Security, but our progressive friends won't like that, so for now I'll ignore privatization.

The biggest budget busters are Medicare and Medicaid, and get this: the 400 subsidy programs run by HHS. Assuming I take just two-thirds of the Cato Institute's suggested cuts, that saves $281 billion.

How about the Defense Department's $721 billion? Much of that money could be saved if the administration just shrank the military's mission to its most important role: protecting us and our borders from those who wish us harm. Today, we have more than 50,000 soldiers in Germany, 30,000 in Japan and 9,000 in Britain. Those countries should pay for their own defense. Cato's military cuts add up to $150 billion.

I've now cut enough to put us $2 billion in surplus!

Can we go further?

"Repeal Obamacare," syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock said.
Reason magazine editor Matt Welch wants to cut the Department of Homeland Security, "something that we did without 10 years ago."

But don't we need Homeland Security to keep us safe?

"We already have law enforcement in this country that pays attention to these things. This is a heavily bureaucratized organization.

"Cut the Commerce Department," Mary O'Grady of The Wall Street Journal said. "If you take out the census work that it does, you would save $8 billion. And the rest of what it does is really just collect money for the president from business."

As the bureaucrats complain about proposals to make tiny cuts, it's good to remember that disciplined government could make cuts that get us to a surplus in one year. But even a timid Congress could make swift progress if it wanted to. If it just froze spending at today's levels, it would almost balance the budget by 2017. If spending were limited to 1 percent growth each year, the budget would balanced in 2019. And if the crowd in Washington would limit spending growth to about 2 percent a year, the red ink would almost disappear in 10 years.

As you see, the budget can be cut. Only politics stand in the way.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 11:03 PM 0 comments links to this post

Israel Never Looked So Good


By David Suissa, Jewish Journal


They all warned us. The geniuses at Peace Now. The brilliant diplomats. The think tanks. Even the Arab dictators warned us. For decades now, they have been warning us that if you want “peace in the Middle East,” just fix the Palestinian problem. A recent variation on this theme has been: Just get the Jews in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to “freeze” their construction, and then, finally, Palestinian leaders might come to the table and peace might break out.

And what would happen if peace would break out between Jews and Palestinians? Would all those furious Arabs now demonstrating on the streets of Cairo and across the Middle East feel any better? Would they feel less oppressed?  What bloody nonsense.

Has there ever been a greater abuse of the English language in international diplomacy than calling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the “Middle East peace process?” As if there were only two countries in the Middle East.

Even if you absolutely believe in the imperative of creating a Palestinian state, you can’t tell me that the single-minded and global obsession with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the expense of the enormous ills in the rest of the Middle East hasn’t been idiotic, if not criminally negligent.

While tens of millions of Arabs have been suffering for decades from brutal oppression, while gays have been tortured and writers jailed and women humiliated and dissidents killed, the world — yes, the world — has obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As if Palestinians — the same coddled victims on whom the world has spent billions and who have rejected one peace offer after another — were the only victims in the Middle East.

As if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has anything to do with the 1,000-year-old bloody conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, or the desire of brutal Arab dictators to stay in power, or the desire of Islamist radicals to bring back the Caliphate, or the economic despair of millions, or simply the absence of free speech or basic human rights throughout the Arab world.

While self-righteous Israel bashers have scrutinized every flaw in Israel’s democracy — some waxing hysterical that the Jewish democratic experiment in the world’s nastiest neighborhood has turned into an embarrassment — they kept their big mouths shut about the oppression of millions of Arabs throughout the Middle East.

They cried foul if Israeli Arabs — who have infinitely more rights and freedoms than any Arabs in the Middle East — had their rights compromised in any way. But if a poet was jailed in Jordan or a gay man was tortured in Egypt or a woman was stoned in Syria, all we heard was screaming silence.

Think of the ridiculous amount of media ink and diplomatic attention that has been poured onto the Israel-Palestinian conflict over the years, while much of the Arab world was suffering and smoldering, and tell me this is not criminal negligence. Do you ever recall seeing a U.N. resolution or an international conference in support of Middle Eastern Arabs not named Palestinians?

Of course, now that the Arab volcano has finally erupted, all those chronic Israel bashers have suddenly discovered a new cause: Freedom for the poor oppressed Arabs of the Middle East!

Imagine if those Israel-bashers, during all the years they put Israel under their critical and hypocritical microscope, had taken Israel’s imperfect democratic experiment and said to the Arab world:Why don’t you try to emulate the Jews?  Why don’t you give equal rights to your women and gays, just like Israel does?  Why don’t you give your people the same freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to vote that Israel gives its people? And offer them the economic opportunities they would get in Israel? Why don’t you treat your Jewish citizens the same way Israel treats its Arab citizens?

Why don’t you study how Israel has struggled to balance religion with democracy — a very difficult but not insurmountable task?

Why don’t you teach your people that Jews are not the sons of dogs, but a noble, ancient people with a 3,000-year connection to the land of Israel?

Yes, imagine if Israel bashers had spent a fraction of their energy fighting the lies of Arab dictators and defending the rights of millions of oppressed Arabs. Imagine if President Obama had taken 1 percent of the time he has harped on Jewish settlements to defend the democratic rights of Egyptian Arabs — which he is suddenly doing now that the volcano has erupted.

Maybe it’s just easier to beat up on a free and open society like Israel.  Well, now that the cesspool of human oppression in the Arab world has been opened for all to see, how bad is Israel’s democracy looking? Don’t you wish the Arab world had a modicum of Israel’s civil society? And that it was as stable and reliable and free and open as Israel?

You can preach to me all you want about the great Jewish tradition of self-criticism — which I believe in — but right now, when I see poor Arab souls being killed for protesting on the street, and the looming threat that one Egyptian Pharaoh may be replaced by an even more oppressive one, I’ve never felt more proud of being a supporter of the Jewish state.

David Suissa is the founder of OLAM magazine and OLAM.org. You can read his daily blog at suissablog.com and e-mail him at suissa@olam.org.
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posted by Gary Aminoff at 7:46 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Forfeiting Liberty

Who would have believed that American citizens would voluntarily subject themselves to one of two offensive options in order to board an airplane:

a) Be electronically strip-searched and exposed to risky radiation, or

b) Have your body, including your genitals, felt by a government employee?

If you are not willing to be subjected to potentially dangerous doses of radiation and having your body, in all of its glory, presented to some stranger watching a screen, or you are not willing to be sexually assaulted, you cannot board an airplane in the United States.

We have not only reached the height of absurdity, but we have gradually surrendered our sense of who we are, and our liberty, to an over-reaching government that has no compunction about violating the Bill of Rights, and our Constitution.

Let me begin this discussion by saying that it is very clear that neither full body display scans nor some government employee feeling your body is going to prevent a determined terrorist from getting explosives on board a plane. This whole exercise by Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security is designed to make everyone feel like the government is doing something to protect its citizens, when, in fact, it is not.

Instead of looking for potential weapons the proper procedure would be to look for potential terrorists.

Frightening a three year old child or doing a body pat-down of a nun is not doing anything to protect American citizens, it is, instead, showing the power of the government to control your life and subject you to humiliation and to being demeaned. Subjecting American citizens to what would be sexual assault if it were done by anyone other than a government employee is the beginning of a police state.

The absurdity of forcing pilots - pilots, who fly our planes, to be subjected to this intrusive scrutiny shows the complete lack of common sense being used by our government. Israel, for example, doesn't even use metal detectors at their terminals. They know that metal detectors, body scanners or body feels will not prevent terrorist activity.

Israel profiles potential terrorists. They know who is likely to be a potential terrorist. That does not include pilots, children or nuns. If you fit the profile of a potential terrorist, you are called into an office and you have a conversation with a security representative of El Al Airlines. They are very adept at figuring out who is a likely threat. They have never had a terrorist incident.

We need some common sense. The DHC should be identifying who potential terrorists may be, and putting them through intense scrutiny, and not subjecting the rest of American citizens to this process.

The fact is that potential terrorists are most likely men who are Muslim jihadists, and perhaps Muslim women, who want to do harm to those of us in the West who are not Muslim. The irony of this whole absurdity is that Muslim women and some Muslim men will be exempted from either a pat-down or the full body scan. Seriously?

But the worst thing about this process is what we, as citizens, are willing to accept in this country which was founded on the basis of Liberty.

Daniel Greenfield explains that we have developed a "siege" mentality.

To understand what that is, we first need to understand why things are the way they are. Security measures at airports are a defensive measure. And a society on the defense develops a siege mentality. In a society under siege, civil rights quickly go by the wayside. The longer the siege goes on, the more rights vanish, never to be recovered again, as people adopt the siege mentality. "If you don't want to die, then just cooperate with the authorities", is the byword of the siege mentality.

There is a very simple reason why we need airline security. Because we have Muslims living in the United States, and traveling to the United States. Unlike the old leftist terrorists, Muslim terrorists like to kill everyone on board and use the planes as weapons too. That makes the consequences of allowing them to succeed completely unacceptable. But we have spent so much time talking about the consequences, that we refuse to admit what the problem is.

American authorities refuse to admit there is any specific group that is responsible for terrorist acts. So, in place of that we treat everyone as if they were terrorists.

Greenfield states it accurately.

America is caught in a War of Terror with no end in sight, because we won't admit who the enemy is. Instead we engage in appeasement. We keep reaching out to all the world's Muslims, hoping to convince them to stop trying to kill us. We humiliate our own citizens. We learn to be afraid of our aircraft. Boarding a plane becomes a suicide pact, as we accept that the air force will shoot us down, if we are hijacked. And as time goes on, it will only get worse. We have still not even begun to learn the real meaning of terror.

The basic problem comes down to this. We have failed to put Islam on the defensive. We did briefly after 9/11, but no more. Today and for the last ten years, we have been on the defensive. Islam has been on the offensive. If we want our lives back. If we want our countries back. And if we want to fly without fear, then we have to change that. We have to put Muslims on the defensive. Or go on living under siege.

We are willing to allow ourselves to be abused, and subjected to unreasonable searches because we feel we are under siege, and that the government knows best. Did we forget that our founders created a Bill of Rights that gives us the right to prevent our government from taking such action?

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died in the cause of defending our liberty. Are we willing to simply forfeit that liberty?

Benjamin Franklin once said that those who are willing to trade liberty for security deserve neither. They'll also get neither.

* * *

Cross-posted at Modern Conservative

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Milton Friedman on Minimum Wage

Milton Friedman explains why minimum wage laws hurt the very people that they are supposed to help.



For more on the minimum wage and how it causes unemployment and hurts poor people, see my previous post, "The Minimum Wage Hurts Poor People"

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posted by Gary Aminoff at 11:41 AM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Video of Ayn Rand on Collectivism and Socialism

In this interview of Ayn Rand by Mike Wallace in 1958, Ayn Rand describes how elected leaders should have limited powers. She handles tough questions from Mike Wallace who consistently tries to trip her up or make her look silly. It is an amazing interview. Fifty years ago Ayn Rand predicted what would happen to the US economically if we continued to follow the trend toward collectivism and socialism.

I highly recommend you spend the 9 minutes to watch this important video. Rand says Americans have never been given the choice between freedom and collectivism.



This is an excerpt from a 1958 interview of Ayn Rand on the Mike Wallace Show. Ayn Rand was a child during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia before visiting America and staying.

Ayn Rand has a brilliant mind and fought against communist philosophy present in America in the 1930's - 1950's particularly. Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged, speaks of how collectivism will destroy America's free enterprise economic system. Ayn believes we should not be allowed to vote on EVERY issue.

She disdains government forced coercion in any name, even social inequalities. Some 50 years later we can see the devastation caused by social welfare programs that she warned against. Ayn Rand was a staunch defender of capitalism and attributed ALL economic problems to government meddling. Ayn says we Americans have not been given a choice between freedom and collectivism as both political parties both subscribe to socialism tenets. She says government "regulations are creating robber-barons" and that "capitalists with government help is the worst of all economic phenomenon".

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

God Bless our Veterans




A profound THANK YOU to all who served or are currently serving in the United States military – from the American Continental Army of yesteryear to today’s Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Army, and Coast Guard.


May we never forget… God bless our veterans.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Middle East Situation Simplified

Not sure about the problems in the Middle East?  Not sure who the "bad guys" are, Israel or the Palestinians?  Don't understand why there isn't peace yet?  Can't figure out why the Israelis and the Palestinians can't reach an agreement?

Dennis explains it in 6 minutes.

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Watching!

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

The GOP Gets A Second Chance

Great article by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:

THE MOST encouraging thing about the Republican triumph in last week's midterm elections is that so many Republicans acknowledge that it wasn't a Republican triumph.

"We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party," Florida's impressive senator-elect, Marco Rubio, said in his victory speech Tuesday night. "What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago."

The same sentiment was expressed by the likely next House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia. "There isn't a lot of confidence focused on the Republicans yet," he told CBS the morning after the election. "It isn't necessarily a vote of confidence for Republican leadership."

Outside Congress, too, influential Republican strategists have been warning the victors against hubris and the temptation to gloat. "Republicans must not delude themselves," wrote political mastermind Karl Rove. "The voters didn't throw out the Democrats because they are enraptured with the GOP. . . . Republicans are on probation."

So they are. Voters have been betrayed in the past by Republicans who ran for office vowing to shrink the scope and cost and intrusiveness of government, only to end up presiding over ever-more-bloated budgets, record-setting deficits, increasingly unaffordable entitlements, and disgraceful ethical lapses.

The last time a GOP majority took control of the US House of Representatives -- under Newt Gingrich in January 1995 -- Republicans produced a list of more than 300 unnecessary federal agencies, funds, and programs that they intended to "zero out" as proof of their fiscal responsibility. Yet nearly every item on that list was still alive and well when the Republicans lost their majority 12 years later. By then the GOP had grown as addicted to pork-barrel spending and the perks of power as the Democrats they had campaigned against. In Cantor's words, Republicans had become "a party on the Bridge to Nowhere" -- a biting reference to the proposed Alaska bridge that became a national symbol of earmark sleaze and irresponsible pork-barrel politics.


Florida Senator-elect Marco Rubio on Election Night: "We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party."




















The tidal wave that swept so many Democrats out to sea last week was a repudiation of the extremely liberal Obama-Pelosi agenda of the past two years -- the tax increases, the massive health-care overhaul, the trillion-dollar deficits, the regulatory explosion, and the condescending, we-know-best disdain for anyone who opposed them. As the lesser of two evils, Republicans ended up the big winners on Election Day. But they will not regain the trust they squandered the last time around without proving that they deserve it.

Indeed, according to a Rasmussen survey conducted last week, 59 percent of voters say it's likely -- 38 percent say very likely -- that Americans "will be disappointed with Republicans in Congress before the next national elections."

Intelligent Republicans know this only too well, which is why their historic gains on Nov. 2 triggered so little jubilation. "This is not a time for celebration," said John Boehner, who will become Speaker of the House when the 112th Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3.

What is it time for, then? First and foremost, it is time to reverse the destructive Obama policies that have alarmed so many voters and made businesses so uneasy. It is essential that Republicans keep tax rates from rising. They must roll back spending decisively. And they must dismantle as much of the misbegotten health-care law as a party in control of just one house of Congress can.

They must also make it clear that they have learned from the failure of the previous GOP majority. That means permanently ending the pork-and-earmark culture that has so corrupted the budgeting process. It means defunding, not perpetuating, the corporate welfare and agriculture subsidies that violate every free-market principle Republicans claim to stand for. It means keeping their promise that no legislation will be voted on until members have had sufficient time to read and understand it. It means an end to automatic congressional pay raises, which are both obnoxious and a violation of the 28th Amendment.

Power tends to corrupt, Lord Acton said. It certainly corrupted the last Republican majority, which got hooked on the pleasures of authority and came to resemble the corrupt Democratic majority it had replaced. Now Republicans are being given another opportunity to govern. Let's hope this time they stay true to their values.


(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe).

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