Saturday, June 8, 2013

It Wasn't an Accident - It Was Part of the Plan to Make Israel Nervous

by Shoshana Bryen

They have courts over there for that.
Yesterday it was revealed that that the current US ("I've Got Israel's back") administration leaked to the media the specifications for the heretofore-secret US-Israel installation for Israel's Arrow 3 missiles. It was quickly called just another leak from an administration already reeling from leaks; someone apologized. But it was more likely a deliberate decision -- by someone. The constellation of players in the administration now contains a heavy contingent of those determined to bring "peace" to Israel. "Peace" is defined as the creation of the State of Palestine under whatever circumstances they can, and the operative question is how to bring Israel in line.

Leaking military secrets is actually the second step in the process -- first was Secretary of State John Kerry last month positing the absurdity that because Israel is successful, democratic and increasingly energy independent, Israelis do not care about peace: "People in Israel aren't waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there will be peace because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and of prosperity."

The implication that Jews care more about money than peace comes ever so close to anti-Semitic caricature.

But immediately, The New York Times parroted the theme. Ethan Bronner, in Israel for a "fascinating and raucous wedding," which he also describes in lavish terms, claimed surprise that, "Few even talk about the Palestinians or the Arab world on their borders, despite the tumult and the renewed peace efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry." "Instead of focusing on what has long been seen as their central challenge -- how to share this land with another nation -- Israelis are largely ignoring it, insisting that the problem is both insoluble for now and less significant than the world thinks."

Again, the premise seems to be that as long as Israelis are rich, they don't care.

Other observers could just as reasonably conclude that Israelis believe the "central challenge" is either the continuing Palestinian insistence that the independence of Israel in 1948 was a mistake which still can be corrected, or, just as easily, the announced determination of Iran to do the correcting with a nuclear weapon.

But the "rich Jews don't care" meme appeared again this week in a meeting of a prominent Washington think tank with close State Department ties. An Israeli professor announced, "I'm not worried about a Third Intifada. I'm worried that there will be NO Third Intifada" to shake Israel out of its complacency about continuing "the occupation." Note to the Israeli professor, who lives in Boston: The Second Intifada killed 1,000 Israelis and injured 5,600 (for comparable U.S. figures, multiply by 40). It ended when Israel resumed security control of the West Bank. How many Israelis should die to make the rest of them want what you want? Do children count double? Soldiers half as much?

Kerry repeated the theme of Israeli intransigence yesterday at a meeting of the American Jewish Committee. He went further this time, blaming Israel for the radicalization of the region. "Everywhere I go -- literally, China, Japan -- foreign ministers, presidents raise this issue. Young people ask me about this conflict and what they can do to help end it... because it affects all of the recruitment and all of the arguments and radicalism that (they) face."

Does he mean us to believe that "young people" express themselves as more concerned by the absence of a Palestinian state than by 80,000 dead in Syria and the gruesome circumstances of that war? Or that foreign leaders think "the occupation" radicalizes young men in the Middle East more than the billions of dollars poured into arms, training and ideological indoctrination by Iran on the Shiite side and Qatar, Saudi Arabia on the Sunni side? Did Kerry miss al-Qaeda Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi calling Alawites and Shiites "even worse than Christians and Jews," and demanding that rebels fight Hezbollah?

Kerry appears also to believe American Jews should undermine the citizens of Israel by pressuring their government to bend to the wishes of the Obama Administration.

No one has a stronger voice in this than the American Jewish community. They can play a critical part in ensuring Israel's long-term security. And as President Obama said in Jerusalem, leaders will take bold steps ONLY if their people push them to. One can help shape the future of this process. And in the end, one can help Israel direct its destiny and be masters of its own fate.

If Israeli voices are not stronger than American voices, they should be; it is their sovereignty and their lives. When President Obama referred to "their people," one would hope he was referring to those who live, vote and pay taxes in Israel -- and who serve in its military and share its risks. Israel is indeed the "master of its own fate" and it is not the job of American Jews to "help Israel direct its destiny." They have elections over there for that.

Samantha Power, however, just named U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, does not believe Israel should be master of its own fate. She was prepared in 2002 to put a major American military presence in the West Bank to safeguard Palestinians from presumed Israeli brutality, and she was openly willing to have the United States force its will on Israel:
"Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean… investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is a terrible thing to do -- as well as fundamentally undemocratic. But… it's essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention."
Is she still so inclined? She hasn't been asked, but at precisely the moment Israel's military installation specs were appearing in print to the elation of its enemies, Kerry solemnly stated, "I come here today to affirm to all of you that we are deeply committed to Israel's security."

The irony appears to have escaped him. But the Administration's frustration with Israel's view of its own security requirements is clear. And its campaign to undermine Israel's independence and security is increasingly clear as well.

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Where’s the Patriotic Wrath Over Benghazi?

by Bruce Thornton


Remember Benghazi? When al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists murdered a U.S. ambassador on the anniversary of the al-Qaeda jihadist murder of 3000 Americans? When the jihadists killed two ex-Navy Seals, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, when like the Spartans at Thermopylae they valiantly fought against an attack on the CIA annex? Remember how the Obama administration serially lied about the perpetrators of the attack, blaming it on an obscure Internet video, in order to save the president’s triumphalist foreign policy campaign-narrative that al Qaeda had been “rocked back on its heels”?

Apparently many Americans have forgotten, or simply don’t care. A recent poll showed only 24% think that Benghazi is the most important controversy afflicting the Obama administration, while 45% pick the IRS scandal, a particularly egregious example of bad behavior, to be sure, but one common ever since the IRS was created. Perhaps that 45% is concerned on principle over the attempt to use government to limit political expression, but even still, it’s troubling that a political offense is considered more important than the administration’s getting our fellow Americans murdered and then lying in order to cover it up.

Something has happened to this country when we are indifferent to the deaths of brave Americans who have been murdered by our sworn enemies, and blasé about our president and his flunkeys’ lying about that tragedy for political gain. Something is off when we leave unchallenged the lame excuse that the most powerful military in the history of the world armed with the most advanced weapons could not help their comrades because it was decided that a relief force couldn’t “get there in time,” even though no one knew how much time those soldiers had, which in the event was several hours. And we have suffered a colossal failure of patriotic nerve when we are not enraged that whether there was time or not, out forces weren’t ordered to descend on those fanatics and exact a fearsome price in blood for killing Americans. Bill Clinton ran away from Mogadishu in 1993, but at least our soldiers before they left made the enemy pay about 2000 dead for killing 18 Americans.

But we have long gotten used to seeing our enemies kill Americans without cost. Iran and its jihadist proxies like Hezbollah have been killing Americans for 30 years, including 241 in the 1983 Marine barracks attack in Beirut. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iranians have continued to kill Americans and have provided armor-penetrating explosives to the jihadist insurgents. But Iran has faced no punishment other than diplomatic bluster and ineffective sanctions. We need to learn the wisdom of the old Arab saying that cats act like lions when lions act like cats.

Yes, after 9/11 there appeared to be a return of righteous wrath over the murder of our fellow citizens. That momentum was enough to rout the Taliban from Afghanistan and dismantle the psychopathic regime of Saddam Hussein. But in less than a year the flags were gone and the impatience with the normal mistakes, unforeseen consequences, and brutal costs of war had sapped that outrage from a critical mass of Americans. The anti-war Democrats gained traction, and George Bush barely was reelected, mostly because John Kerry was a long-time political hack utterly lacking in personality and brains. But in 2006 Democrats took over Congress, and in 2008 a political tyro running on an anti-war platform captured the presidency. By then 9/11 was ancient history, even though the same enemy was continuing to kill Americans.

Worse yet, that same president has squandered the deaths of our soldiers fighting in Iraq by pulling out our troops despite the ongoing threat of sectarian violence that everyday pushes Iraq closer to Iran and gives a new generation of jihadists valuable battle-field training. He is on track to make the same mistake in Afghanistan in 2014, again wasting over a decades’ worth of American blood and creating the opportunity for a Taliban resurgence. Meanwhile his foreign policy of Islamophilic appeasement and wishful thinking have lead to America’s retreat from the region, with the promise of even more dead Americans as al-Qaeda and its affiliates metastasize in North Africa and the Middle East. Yet despite this geopolitical malfeasance that has lead to the deaths of Americans and that will lead to even more dead in the future, the president gets a pass from amnesiac voters.

Just compare our current patriotic malaise to the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese made a preemptive attack on a military target against another nation it considered a threat to its interests––nothing so exceptional in world history. Yet the outrage among Americans was intense enough to send hundreds of thousands to recruiting stations in order to avenge the deaths of our people, and to carry them through 4 years of brutal, vicious combat. In 1941 and early 1942, even the leftwing The Nation magazine sounded like fire-eating hawks. Jonathan Daniels, a novelist and editor who in the Forties wrote a weekly column for The Nation, thundered, “When could there be a better time to be an American than in an hour when an American has the privilege to stand up to the full meaning of that word?” No doubt in Daniels’s mind about what an American is. In tones that today’s The Nation would condemn not just as reactionary but as hurtful and sexist to boot, Daniels went on, “It is an hour for elation. Here is the time when a man can be what an American means, can fight for what America has always meant––an audacious, adventurous society for a decent earth.” Daniels concluded, “We are alive––rudely awakened. That is not basis for fear but sign that our destiny survives. We are men again in America.”

Yes, the left wanted America in the war because Hitler had attacked their communist patron the Soviet Union. But even if writers like Daniels had darker motives, the fact that they felt compelled to be aggressively patriotic in public speaks much about the America of 1941. Consider the contrast with The Nation writer Jonathan Schell after 9/11. According to Schell, we must understand “the sources of the hatred that the United States has incurred in a decade of neglect and, worse, neglect of international affairs,” as well as “the failure of our own leadership and the role our government has chosen to play in the world.” He also worried about “an enraged blind superpower” and what it might do in response, adding that “it will take months to know what happened, far longer to feel so much grief, longer still to understand its meaning.” Later he frets over the “grief-stricken, nervous, uncertain interval” between the attacks and the U.S. response, and notes a “profound, unmistakable unease” in the land. In short, a stew of therapeutic banalities and cringing self-hatred, without any notion of patriotic solidarity with fellow Americans unjustly murdered, and any particle of righteous anger to punish those who commit such acts.

The indifference to the Benghazi attacks reflects the erosion of patriotic fellow feeling over the last several decades, and of the conviction that our country embodies virtues, ideals, and beliefs that are good and just and better than the alternatives. These ideals, moreover, bind us one to the other, so that an attack on any one of us is an attack on all, for we share an identity based on those ideals. We have lost the sense that we are a national family, one created not by blood but by those goods like freedom, equality, and individual rights.

Instead, a corrosive mélange of “vague internationalism, a squalid materialism, and the promise of impossible Utopias,” as Churchill put it in 1933, the idea that patriotism and nationalism are evils to be exorcised in order to achieve the progressive utopia, have spread beyond the elite of intellectuals into the larger culture, including the curriculum of the schools. Now many of us no longer know what it means to be an American, which is the foundation for that love of country––which includes necessarily our affection for and loyalty to our fellow citizens––without which no country, but especially a great power, can long survive. Instead of believing we are American lions, we now are content to be internationalist cats.

Bruce Thornton


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Obama: Wounded … and Dangerous

by Caroline Glick


Originally published in the Jerusalem Post.

US Secretary of State John Kerry looks like a bit of an idiot these days. On Monday he announced that he will be returning to Israel and the Palestinian Authority and Jordan for the fifth time since he was sworn into office on February 1. That is an average of more than one visit a month.

And aside from frequent flier miles, the only thing he has to show for it is a big black eye from PLO chief and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

When Kerry was here last month he unveiled a stunning plan to bring $4 billion in investment funds to the PA. If his plan actually pans out, its champions claim it will increase the PA’s GDP by a mind-numbing 50 percent in three years and drop Palestinian unemployment from 21 to 8 percent.

Standing before world and regional leaders on May 26, Kerry said plaintively, “This will help build the future. Is this a fantasy? I don’t think so.”

Abbas and his underlings wasted no time, however, in demonstrating that indeed, Kerry’s plan is fantasy. Abbas appointed Rami Hamdallah, a Fatah apparatchik with perfect English, to replace America’s favorite moderate Palestinian, Salam Fayyad, as PA prime minister.

As The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh has pointedly explained, Hamdallah was appointed for two reasons. First, to facilitate Fatah’s absconding with hundreds of millions of dollars in donor aid to the PA and to Palestinian development projects precisely of the type that Kerry hopes to finance with his $4b. grant. The second reason Abbas appointed Hamdallah the English professor from Nablus was because his language skills will enable him to make American and European donors feel comfortable as his colleagues in Fatah pick their taxpayer- funded pockets.

Aside from mooning Kerry in the middle of his speech in Jordan, Abbas couldn’t have thought of a more graphic way to show his contempt for Kerry and the Obama administration.

But that wasn’t the only thing the Palestinians did. Again, as Abu Toameh has reported, the popular Palestinian response to last week’s World Economic Forum in Jordan, where Abbas and Kerry rubbed elbows with President Shimon Peres and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, was to attack the businessmen who accompanied Abbas to the conference. Their crime was meeting with Israeli businessmen who came to the conference in Peres’s entourage. Led by Fatah activists, Palestinian writers, unions and others also went after Palestinian businessmen from Jenin who went to Haifa to meet with Israeli businesspeople at the invitation of Haifa’s Chamber of Commerce. The “anti-normalization” crowd is calling for Palestinians to boycott Palestinian businesses that do business with Israelis.

And again, that isn’t all. At the PLO’s birthday celebrations this week, Abbas said that the group’s 1964 charter reflects the will of the Palestinian people. That charter calls for the destruction of Israel. It was written three years before Israel took control of Judea, Samaria and northern, southern and eastern Jerusalem.

But wait, there’s more. The Palestinian leadership attacked Kerry personally and his plan as an attempt to bribe them. They promised that while they will happily take the money, $4b. measly dollars won’t convince them to moderate one iota. They still demand that Israel release all Palestinian terrorists from its jails, agree to its demographic destruction through the so-called “right of return,” or unfettered immigration of millions of foreign Arabs to Israel, and the surrender of all of Judea, Samaria and northern, southern and eastern Jerusalem to the PLO as a precondition to beginning negotiations.

And for all that, Kerry responded by applauding Hamdallah’s appointment and announcing he will return here next week and is planning to roll out his own comprehensive peace plan very soon.

Israeli leaders for the most part have reacted to Kerry’s constant harping by rolling their eyes. He seems like a complete lunatic. Obviously he will fail and the best thing we can do is smile and nod, like you do when you are dealing with a crazy person.

Even when Kerry claimed that the reason Israelis aren’t interested in peace is that we have too much money to care, we didn’t take offense. Because really, why take anything he says seriously? And aside from that, they ask, what can the Obama administration do to us, at this point? Every single day it becomes more mired in scandal.

The Guardian’s revelation Wednesday that the US government has been confiscating the phone records of tens of millions of Americans who use the Verizon business network since April is just the latest serious, normal-presidency destroying scandal to be exposed in the past month. And every single scandal – the IRS’s unlawful harassment and discrimination of conservative organizations and individuals, the Justice Department’s spying on AP journalists and attempt to criminalize the normal practice of journalism through its investigation of Fox News correspondent James Rosen – makes it more difficult for President Barack Obama to advance his agenda.

As for foreign policy, the whistle-blower testimony that exposed Obama’s cover-up of the September 11, 2012, al-Qaida attack on the US Consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi has caused massive damage to Obama’s credibility in foreign affairs and to the basic logic of his foreign policy.

Ambassador Chris Stevens was tortured and murdered by al-Qaida terrorists who owed their freedom of operation to the Obama administration. If it hadn’t been for Obama’s decision to bring down the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, who had been largely harmless to the US since he gave up his illicit nuclear weapons program in 2004, those al-Qaida forces probably wouldn’t have be capable of waging an eight-hour assault on US installations and personnel in Benghazi.

With the Benghazi scandal hounding him, the Syrian civil war and, for the past week, the anti-government protests in Turkey all exposing his incompetence on a daily basis, these Israeli leaders take heart, no doubt in the belief that Obama’s freedom to attack us has vastly diminished.

Although this interpretation of events is attractive, and on its face seems reasonable, it is wrong.

And it would be a devastating mistake for Israeli leaders to believe it.

Since he entered office, Obama has responded to every defeat by doubling down and radicalizing.

When in 2009 public sentiment against his plan to nationalize the US healthcare industry was so high that Republican Scott Brown was elected senator from Massachusetts for the sole purpose of blocking Obamacare’s passage in the US Senate, Obama did not accept the public’s verdict.

Instead he used a technicality to ram the hated legislation through without giving Brown and the Senate the chance to vote it down.

And now, as his Middle East strategy of appeasing Islamists lies in the ruins of the US Consulate in Benghazi and in the cemeteries interning the Syrians murdered in sarin gas attacks as Obama shrugged his shoulders, Obama is again doubling down. On Wednesday he announced that he is elevating the two architects of his policy to senior leadership roles in his administration.

Obama’s appointments of UN Ambassador Susan Rice to serve as his national security adviser, and of former National Security Council member Samantha Power to serve as ambassador to the UN, are a finger in the eye to his critics. These women rose to national prominence through their breathless insistence that the US use force to overthrow Gaddafi in spite of clear evidence that al-Qaida was a major force in his opposition.

Power is reportedly the author of Obama’s policy of apologizing to foreign countries for the actions of past administrations. Certainly she shares Obama’s hostility toward Israel. And she has been outspoken in expressing her negative opinions.

In a nutshell, Power’s vision for US foreign policy is a noxious brew of equal parts self-righteousness, ignorance and prejudice. And now she will be responsible for defending Israel (or not) at the most hostile international arena in the world, where Israel’s very right to exist is subject to assault on a daily basis.

Obama’s decision to appoint Rice and Power in the face of the mounting scandals surrounding his presidency generally and his foreign policy particularly is not the only reason Israeli leaders should not expect for his weakened political position to diminish Obama’s plan to put the screws on Israel in the coming years. There is also the disturbing pattern of the abuse of power that the scandals expose.

To date, all administration officials questioned have denied that Obama was in any way involved in directing the IRS to use the tax code to intimidate with the aim of discrediting and destroying conservative organizations and donors. Likewise, they say he played no role in the Justice Department’s espionage operations against American journalists, or in the intentional cover-up of the al-Qaida assault on US installations and personnel in Benghazi. But mounting circumstantial evidence indicates that this is not true.

White House visitor records show that IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman visited Obama’s White House 157 times. His predecessor Mark Everson who served under president George W. Bush only visited the White House once.

So, too, as Andrew McCarthy reported last month in National Review, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted that Obama spoke with then secretary of state Hillary Clinton at 10 p.m. on September 11, 2012, during the al- Qaida assault in Benghazi.

It was after that phone conversation that the administration changed its talking points about the nature of the assault, purging details on the identity of the perpetrators and blaming an unrelated Internet movie trailer for inciting the attack.

The one thing all the scandals share is a single-minded willingness to pursue radical goals to the bitter end. The IRS’s targeting of conservatives was an appalling abuse of executive power, unlike anything we have seen in recent history. The passage of Obamacare in the face massive public opposition was another means to the end of destroying his opponents.

The cover-up of the Benghazi attack was a bid to hide the failure of a policy in order to double down on it – despite its failure. The only reason you would want to double down on an already failed policy is if you are ideologically committed to a larger goal that the failed policy advances.

The similarities of the pattern of behavior in all of these actions, as well as the circumstantial evidence already unearthed, indicate strongly that despite the denials, Obama was in fact involved and may have directed the actions of all of his underlings in all of the scandals now unfolding.

What this means for Israel is we cannot be lured into complacency by Kerry’s buffoonery or Obama’s apparent political weakness. This is a man who is most dangerous when attacked. And this is a man who is absolutely committed to his ideological agenda. We had better be ready, because if we are not, we won’t know what has hit us.

Caroline Glick


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Barry Rubin: Obama Middle East Policy: Wrong Team, Wrong Ideas

by Barry Rubin

photo: Rob Rudloff
photo: Rob Rudloff

In the Middle East, to paraphrase President Barack Obama’s mentor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the dodo birds are coming home to roost.

At this moment, the administration’s policy team consists of CIA director John Brennan, father of the “”moderate” Islamism-and-the-Muslim Brotherhood-are-good school; the Secretary of State John Kerry who thinks he is going to make Israel-Palestinian peace in one month;  the know-nothing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel; the chilling ideologue Samantha Powers as UN ambassador; and the dupe of the Benghazi scandal Susan Rice rewarded by being made national security adviser.

Can things get any  more Alice in Wonderland? But what’s really happening in the region.

In Egypt, the country is falling into anti-Americanism and tyranny, the United States is embarking on a new policy in Syria that one can see won’t work. What is the solution? Simply to support moderate and anti-Islamist forces while opposing Islamists and terrorists. Except if you wait too long there will be no good forces left to help anymore.

Egypt first.  The Supreme Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, has now ruled that the January 2012 Shura Council election for the upper house of parliament was unconstitutional. The same decision was rendered for the Islamist-dominated body that wrote the new Constitution. But the chief judge said that the Constitution was not annulled.

In short, there is total confusion. Indeed, it isn’t even clear that the new election for the lower house of Parliament will be held. Egypt is in maximal mess phase.

Meanwhile, what allegedly friendly country just sentenced the son of a U.S. cabinet official to five years in prison? Answer: Egypt, to the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Crime: Supporting democracy. Four more Americans received the same sentence.

The Egyptian Islamist regime does not fear America nor does it show gratitude for President Obama’s help in its taking and consolidation of power. Offices were closed and prison sentences of up to five years—for 27 people–were meted out. Many of those charged fled the country. Among the groups closed were the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States was “deeply concerned” but of course the Egyptian government knew America wouldn’t do anything except keep shipping in tear gas and provided financial and political support.

After getting into power in part due to U.S. help, the Egyptian court called the promotion of democracy a form of “soft imperialism.” Get it? They get into power by a vote and then that’s the end of free elections.

History shows, says the court’s verdict, that U.S. policies believes that its “interests as best served by totalitarian dictatorships and harmed by genuine democracies….The U.S.—fearing democracy ushered in by Egypt’s popular revolt—has used funding to take the revolution off its path.”

So even as the U.S. government supports the Egyptian revolt and regime, the ruling elite claims that it opposed them. Thus the pro-Muslim Brotherhood policy doesn’t win any influence or benefits since the Brotherhood accepts the help and then declares that America is its enemy.

Thus, for friendship toward America; how about peaceful intentions toward neighbors? Here we have possibly the most embarrassing open microphone scandal in history. The televising of a meeting held by President Muhammad Morsi allowed listeners to hear plans for military attacks on Ethiopia because of a dam that country is building on the Nile in order to generate electricity. Participants didn’t know the meeting was being aired on live state television.

Egyptian leaders discussed covert operations to destroy the dam or giving covert support to rebel groups. This gives some hints of what longer-term policy toward Israel might well be. Advocates of aggressive action included moderate politicians.

How about cultural news? Well the Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz has just installed an Islamist professor of Arabic literature by firing the head of Egypt’s National Library and Archives. Also fired were the heads of the opera house, book publishing, and fine arts sections of the ministry.

The ministry’s foreign relations’ director resigned in protest, saying that the minister was seeking to Islamize Egyptian culture and put religion in place of national identity.

What other trends are visible? How about the sentencing of a Christian lawyer to one year in prison and a fine for allegedly insulting God and the Quran? This is one of many such trials. The complaint was brought by Islamist lawyers. Previously, a Christian schoolteacher had been sentenced to six years for, among other things, allegedly insulting Morsi. Last December it was the turn of a Christian who posted a short film claimed to be derogatory to Islam and who was sentenced to three years. Two Christian children, aged nine and ten years old, were put in juvenile detention for allegedly tearing up a Koran.

But perhaps the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood supports “Arab Spring” type revolts elsewhere?  No. Leaders asserted that the demonstrations against the Turkish Islamist government that have broken out on a grassroots’ level are in fact a war against Islam by showing that Islamist regimes have failed. It’s interesting that the Muslim Brotherhood considers the Turkish counterpart of being that kind of government while the U.S. government doesn’t.

So, opposing the spread of democracy, viewing the United States as an enemy, putting Islamist power as the highest value, oppressing Christians, and fundamentally transforming Egypt into an anti-American, anti-Christian, oppressive dictatorship. These are the hallmarks of contemporary Egypt. And there are scores of other examples that can be cited.

In Syria, reports Reuters on May 31 from Beirut, the Saudis have now clearly changed policy in line with the United States. The Saudi government is now frightened of its own support of radical Salafist Islamists in the rebel forces. They are pressuring Qatar to stop backing the hardliners though it is not clear how successful this effort is at present. Qatar has become the main backer of the Muslim Brotherhood financially.

The new policy is being influenced by military failures now that the Assad regime has more Russian, Iranian, and Hizballah backing. But it is also prompted by worries that Syria might be taken over by anti-American, anti-Saudi Islamist radicals. This concern was heightened by American observance of what was happening in rebel-held northern Syria. Another factor is the disorder in rebel ranks seen at the recent summit meeting in Turkey and the intransigence of the Muslim Brotherhood exile leadership to accept other forces into the direction of the battle.

At a critical moment when the United States and European Union were going to send arms directly, fear of the dominant Islamist forces—which also include a growing al-Qaida presence—is holding up this escalation. And without more arms the rebels cannot win.

This has led the United States from handing over $63 million dollars in promised aid to the rebels Syrian Opposition Coalition which is dominated by the Brotherhood.

U.S. policy is still in disorder but has now changed. Up to now, the Obama Administration has favored a rebel victory, disregarding the growth of Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist, and al-Qaida forces as well as worrisome signs of ethnic massacres. Amazingly enough, it backed a Muslim Brotherhood dominated group as the rebel leadership even when that organization kept out others!

Now, in theory, the Obama Administration is switching to support for moderates, the policy that this column has advocated for almost two years and had been disregarded. It is too late, however. The rebel groups have formed; they control much territory, ideological blocs have hardened; and there are relatively few moderates. Moreover, the Free Syrian Army controls few forces on the ground.

Note by the way that the domination of the rebels by the Islamists have kept Christians and Druze, as well as Alawites, on the regime’s side. That is more than 25 percent of the population. Another 15 percent, the Kurds, are in effect neutral seeking to maintain their autonomy won by their militia in the civil war. It is probably too later to change these positions

So the real alternatives of the Western states may be reduced to three:

–Withhold aid and live with a long-term civil war in which the Assad regime controls half the country while Russia, Iran, and Hizballah claim a partial victory.

–Give strong backing to rebel forces regardless of ideology and see Syria taken over by a radical Islamist government in which the Brotherhood rules, the Salafists operate freely, and al-Qaida establishes a strong base.

–Say that they are supporting moderate forces which have few soldiers and relatively little support within Syria. This policy won’t work but will look good. Meanwhile, Sunni Islamist radicals and a pro-Iran dictatorship batle for predominance.

The likely option is the last one.

Isn’t it time for the U.S. government, journalists, and academics to admit that they’ve been getting the Middle East all wrong? That they have often reversed the good and bad guys so that they have been backing the bad guys, anti-Americans, and even terrorists?  Haven’t the contradictions gotten to be so obvious that they cannot be denied any more?

American interests are with the rebels of Turkey and Iran; the moderate Muslim-Christian opposition in Lebanon, with Israel and the Kurds; with the real moderates in Egypt; with Jordan’s kingdom which small amounts of money would help enormously; and, yes, often even with the Gulf Arab states (except Qatar)  if  only given the American leadership they are begging for.

Western and American interests are not with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria; not with the stealth Islamist regime in Turkey for which the Obama Administration just renewed a waiver on sanctions against Iran (!); not with the rejectionist Palestinian Authority, not with some “moderate Islamist” faction of the Iranian regime.

It is past time that this be recognized. But it is a task requiring a Churchill, not the churlish.

Barry Rubin


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Palestinians Have Suffered … at the Hands of Their Leaders

by Jonathan S. Tobin

Sometimes a great truth can be found even in a compendium of lies. That’s the upshot of the latest rant against Israel from a Palestinian leader. The leader in question is Jibril Rajoub, who currently serves as head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, though prior to assuming that post this senior official of the Fatah Party was an Arafat advisor and a terrorist who was imprisoned for throwing a hand grenade at an Israeli bus. Rather than concentrating on trying to get Palestinian kids to turn to sports as a preferable outlet to violence, Rajoub has been outspoken about his commitment to conflict with Israel recently and was quoted as having said that Palestinians suffered “three times as much” as Israelis as a result of the 1972 Munich massacre.

There is something egregious about a Palestinian Olympic official attempting to rationalize or even downplay the significance of an event in which terrorists under the command of Arafat and Fatah (albeit operating under the false flag of “Black September” which was merely a front for the PLO) murdered 11 Israeli athletes. But as wrong as Rajoub is about so much else, he’s right that the Palestinians have suffered more as a result of these events even if he doesn’t quite understand what the source of the suffering really was.

When he spoke of Palestinian suffering, Rajoub was referring to the Israeli efforts to kill all those involved in that bloody terror attack. But the real suffering was the ultimate impact on the Palestinian people of that crime and the thousands more like it committed in the name of Palestinian nationalism. By embracing terror, the Palestinians have doomed themselves to decades of war and hardship that might have been entirely avoided had they decided to devote themselves to reconciliation and coexistence. Rather than focus on the supposed misdeeds of the evil Israelis, as Rajoub would have his people and those that wish them well do, Palestinians would do well to finally realize that the ones who have been inflicting suffering on them are their own violent and corrupt leadership.

Rajoub’s checkered career has included some time spent trying to cultivate the affection of Israeli and American Jewish left-wingers via the Geneva Initiative, of which he was one of the signers. But in the last year, he has been among the most outspoken Palestinians when it comes to attempts to demonize Israel. As the Times of Israel reports:
Rajoub, former director of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank, told a conference in October 2012 that “Jews are Satans, and Zionists the sons of dogs.”
In an interview with the Lebanese TV channel al-Mayadeen on May 1, he said that, for Fatah, “resistance to Israel remains on our agenda.
“I mean resistance in all of its forms,” he elaborated. “At this stage, we believe that popular resistance — with all that it entails — is effective and costly to the other side [Israel],” Rajoub said in the hour-long interview, which was highlighted by the watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch.
“If you ask me as a Palestinian,” he continued, “I say — our battle is with the Israeli occupation. Our main enemy, not [just] as Palestinians but as Arabs and Muslims, is Israel and the Israeli occupation.”
These sorts of statements are in keeping with the general tone of Palestinian politics in which vilification of Israel and support for conflict is always in fashion. But Rajoub’s reference to Munich is an opportunity to address just how badly those who act on such sentiments have damaged the Palestinians.

Violence against Jews and rejection of Israel has been the key element of Palestinian nationalism throughout its history. But imagine what the outcome would have been if instead of concentrating on trying to kill Jews, be they Olympic athletes or the children slaughtered by suicide bombers during the second intifada, Palestinians had focused their efforts on peaceful development, refugee resettlement or peaceful outreach. Untold suffering, death and destruction would have been avoided on both sides. And there’s little doubt the Palestinians would have achieved an independent state long ago.

Israelis have suffered from Arab terror such as the Munich massacre. But it is probably true that as awful as that pain has been, the Palestinians have been the much big losers in the exchange. It’s a pity that Rajoub can’t realize that. It’s even more of a pity that the people he supposedly represents haven’t come to the same conclusion and ousted their corrupt and violent Fatah and Hamas leaders in exchange for leaders who wish to end their suffering rather than prolong it in the name of an endless unwinnable war against Israel.
Jonathan S. Tobin


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Muslim Civil Wars Stem from a Crisis of Civilization

by David P. Goldman

Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum (where I am associate fellow) replies this morning to Bret Stephens' June 3rd Wall Street Journal column, "The Muslim Civil War: Standing by while the Sunnis and Shiites fight it out invites disaster." The Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, when the Reagan administration quietly encouraged the two sides to fight themselves to bloody exhaustion, did America no good, Stephens argues:
In short, a long intra-Islamic war left nobody safer, wealthier or wiser. Nor did it leave the West morally untainted. The U.S. embraced Saddam Hussein as a counterweight to Iran, and later tried to ply Iran with secret arms in exchange for the release of hostages. Patrolling the Strait of Hormuz, the USS Vincennes mistakenly shot down an Iranian jetliner over the Gulf, killing 290 civilians. Inaction only provides moral safe harbor when there's no possibility of action.
Today, he adds, there comes "the whispered suggestion: If one branch of Islam wants to be at war with another branch for a few years — or decades — so much the better for the non-Islamic world. Mass civilian casualties in Aleppo or Homs is their tragedy, not ours. It does not implicate us morally. And it probably benefits us strategically, not least by redirecting jihadist energies away from the West." This is not a good thing for the West, but a bad thing, he concludes. Pipes and Stephens are both friends of mine, and both have a point (although I come down on Pipes' side of the argument). It might be helpful to expand the context of the discussion.

I agree with Stephens that it is a bad thing. It not only a bad thing: it is a horrifying thing. The moral impact on the West of unrestrained slaughter and numberless atrocities flooding YouTube for years to come is incalculable, as I wrote in a May 20 essay, "Syria's Madness and Ours." If Syria looks bad, wait until Pakistan breaks down. The relevant questions, though, are 1) why are Sunnis and Shi'ites slaughtering each other in Syria at this particular moment in history, and 2) what (if anything) can we do about it?

Part of the answer to the first question is that Syria (like Egypt) as presently constituted simply is not viable as a country. Iraq might be viable, because it has enough oil to subsidize a largely uneducated, pre-modern population. As an economist and risk analyst (I ran Credit Strategy for Credit Suisse and all fixed income research for Bank of America), I do not believe that there is any way to stabilize either country. In the medium term, Turkey will lose national viability as well. I outlined some of the reasons for this view in my 2011 book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying, Too).

Globalization ruins countries. It has done so for centuries. Tinpot dictatorships that keep their people in poverty the better to maintain political control will break down at some point. Mexico broke down during the 1970s and 1980s; the Mexican currency collapsed, the savings of the middle class were wiped out, and the economy shut down. In 1982 I wrote an evaluation of the Mexican economy for Norman Bailey, then director of plans at the National Security Council and special assistant to President Reagan. I saw a crash coming, and no way to to prevent it.

Three things prevented Mexico from dissolving into civil war (as it did during the teens of the past century at the cost of a million lives, or one out of seven Mexicans). One was the ability of Mexicans to migrate to the United States, which absorbed perhaps a fifth of the Mexican population. The second was the emergence of the drug cartels as an alternative source of employment for up to half a million people, and generating between $18 and $39 billion of annual profits. And the third is the fact that Mexico produces its own food most years. When the currencies of the Latin American banana republics collapsed, there was always enough food to maintain minimum caloric consumption. Not so in Egypt, which imports half its food and is flat broke. Egypt and Syria are banana republics but without the bananas (Daniel Pipes assures me that Egypt does grow bananas, and he personally has eaten them, but they are not grown in sufficient quantity to meet the country's caloric deficit). Turkey was the supposed Muslim model for democracy and prosperity under moderate Islam. That idea, which I disputed for years, has gotten tarnished during the past week.

Israeli analysts have understood this from the outset. Two years ago (in an essay entitled "Israel the winner in the Arab revolts") I quoted an Israeli study of the collapse of Syrian agriculture preceding the civil war:
Syria will prove impossible to stabilize, for reasons sketched in my March 29 essay, and explained in more detail by economist Paul Rivlin [3] in a note released the same day by Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center, entitled "Behind the Tensions in Syria: The Socio-Economic Dimension."
Quoted at length in the Arab press, Rivlin's report went unmentioned in the Western media – a gauge of how poorly the Western elite understands the core issues. Clinton has been ridiculed for calling Assad a "reformer" (in fact, she said that some members of congress think he's a reformer). Rivlin explains Syria's president is a reformer, at least in economic policy. The trouble is that Syrian society is too fragile to absorb reforms without intolerable pain for the 30% of Syrians below the official poverty line of US$1.60 a day. As Rivlin explains: "Syrian agriculture is suffering from the country's move to a so-called 'social market economy' and the introduction of a new subsidy regime in compliance with international trade agreements, including the Association Agreement with the European Union (which Syria has still not ratified). The previous agricultural policy was highly interventionist, ensuring (at great cost) the country's food security and providing the population with cheap access to food items. It is now being replaced with a more liberal one that has harsh consequences for farmers and peasants, who account for about 20% of the country's GDP [gross domestic product] and its workforce."
Syria's farm sector, Rivlin adds, was further weakened by four years of drought: "Small-scale farmers have been the worst affected; many have not been able to grow enough food or earn enough money to feed their families. As a result, tens of thousands have left the northeast and now inhabit informal settlements or camps close to Damascus."
Assad abolished fuel subsidies and freed market prices, Rivlin adds. "In early 2008, fuel subsidies were abolished and, as a result, the price of diesel fuel tripled overnight. Consequently, during the year the price of basic foodstuffs rose sharply and was further exasperated by the drought." Against that background, Syrian food prices jumped by 30% in late February, Syrian bloggers reported after the regime's attempt to hold prices down provoked hoarding.
The rise in global food prices hit Syrian society like a tsunami, exposing the regime's incapacity to modernize a backward, corrupt and fractured country. Like Egypt, Syria cannot get there from here. Rivlin doubts that the regime will fracture. He concludes, "Urban elites have been appeased by economic liberalization, and they now fear a revolution that would bring to power a new political class based on the rural poor, or simply push Syria into chaos. The alliance of the Sunni business community and the Alawite-dominated security forces forms the basis of the regime and, as sections of the population rebel, it has everything to fight for."
We tend to forget that the first stirrings of globalization during the Age of Navigation ruined Latin America, Asia, India, and China. That was the premise of my first "Spengler" essay at Asia Times Online on January 27, 2000:
Item: After the conquest of the New World, Spain's entire capture of precious metals went to India and China to pay for luxury cloth and spices. That did for approximately 90 percent of the indigenous pre-Colombian population.
Item: The African slave trade instituted by the Portuguese and later the British first produced sugar in Brazil and the Caribbean, to be turned into cheap intoxicants for the European market. Tobacco was a second absorber of slave labor. Cotton became important much later. Production of these vices did for a third of the West African population.
Item: In order to sell cheap cotton cloth to India, the East India Company arranged for Indians to grow opium and for Chinese to buy it. All the silver mined in Latin America, which two centuries earlier had passed to China to pay for silks, found its way back to Europe to pay for opium. That did for untold millions of Indians and Chinese.
The loss of life was frightful. The Taiping Rebellion of 1850 to 1864 in the wake of the Qing Dynasty's humiliation by the British claimed 20 million lives, most of them civilians. Millions starved in Bengal when manufactured cotton replaced the local handwoven cloth.
If we had some bagels, we could have bagels and lox, if we had some lox. Syria doesn't have enough oil to survive in the region. It doesn't even have enough water, as the New York Times' Thomas Friedman noticed last month, two years after Israeli analysts published the story in depth:
"The drought did not cause Syria's civil war," said the Syrian economist Samir Aita, but, he added, the failure of the government to respond to the drought played a huge role in fueling the uprising. What happened, Aita explained, was that after Assad took over in 2000 he opened up the regulated agricultural sector in Syria for big farmers, many of them government cronies, to buy up land and drill as much water as they wanted, eventually severely diminishing the water table. This began driving small farmers off the land into towns, where they had to scrounge for work.
Because of the population explosion that started here in the 1980s and 1990s thanks to better health care, those leaving the countryside came with huge families and settled in towns around cities like Aleppo. Some of those small towns swelled from 2,000 people to 400,000 in a decade or so. The government failed to provide proper schools, jobs or services for this youth bulge, which hit its teens and 20s right when the revolution erupted.
Then, between 2006 and 2011, some 60 percent of Syria's land mass was ravaged by the drought and, with the water table already too low and river irrigation shrunken, it wiped out the livelihoods of 800,000 Syrian farmers and herders, the United Nations reported. "Half the population in Syria between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers left the land" for urban areas during the last decade, said Aita. And with Assad doing nothing to help the drought refugees, a lot of very simple farmers and their kids got politicized. "State and government was invented in this part of the world, in ancient Mesopotamia, precisely to manage irrigation and crop growing," said Aita, "and Assad failed in that basic task."
If we had a Syrian elite dedicated to modernization, free markets, and opportunity, we could have an economic recovery in Syria. But the country is locked into suppurating backwardness precisely because the dominant culture holds back individual initiative and enterprise. The longstanding hatreds among Sunnis and Shi'ites, and Kurds and Druze and Arabs, turn into a fight to the death as the ground shrinks beneath them. The pre-modern culture demands proofs of group loyalty in the form of atrocities which bind the combatants to an all-or-nothing outcome. The Sunni rebels appear quite as enthusiastic in their perpetration of atrocities as does the disgusting Assad government.

What are we supposed to do in the face of such horrors? I am against putting American boots on the ground. As I wrote in the cited May 20 essay, "Westerners cannot deal with this kind of warfare. The United States does not have and cannot train soldiers capable of intervening in the Syrian civil war. Short of raising a foreign legion on the French colonial model, America should keep its military personnel at a distance from a war fought with the instruments of horror."

The most urgent thing to do, in my judgment, is to eliminate the malignant influence of Iran, which is treating Syria like a satrapy and sending tens of thousands of fighters as well as material aid to the Assad regime. Attacking Iran would widen the conflict, but ultimately make it controllable. No sane American should want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. As Admiral James Stavridis told the New York Times today, "If you can move 10 tons of cocaine into the U.S. in a small, semi-submersible vessel, how hard do you think it would be to move a weapon of mass destruction?"

Ultimately, partition of Syria (and other Middle Eastern countries) on the model of the former Yugoslavia probably will be the outcome of the crisis. There are lots of things to keep diplomats busy for the next generation. But the terrible fact remains that it is not in our power to prevent the decline of a civilization embracing over a billion people, and to prevent some aspects of that decline from turning ugly beyond description. Among the many things we might do, there is one thing we must do: limit the damage to ourselves and our allies.

David P. Goldman is an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, and the author of How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam Is Dying, Too) and the essay collection It's Not the End of the World, It's Just the End of You.


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Liberal Obama Critics Pull Their Punches

by Jonathan S. Tobin

Many of President Obama’s liberal supporters are angry today as they contemplate just how badly they were fooled by Democratic campaign rhetoric in both 2008 and 2012. Left-wingers who thought they were electing someone who would scale back or completely dismantle the measures put in place to defend the country against terror by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are hard pressed to explain or rationalize the Olympic-scale hypocrisy of the administration after the latest revelations about data collection from Verizon phone subscribers. I agree with our Max Boot who thinks the PRISM program is justified and necessary, even if I sympathize with those who wonder how we can trust the same government that lied about Benghazi, had the IRS target conservatives and spied on working journalists not to abuse this power.

But for liberals, facing up to the fact that Obama has continued Bush’s policies and even gone further than his predecessor on drone attacks and information collection is a tough pill to swallow. So it was hardly surprising that the president would receive a stiff rebuke from the New York Times editorial page, even if its writers tend to be among his biggest cheerleaders. On Thursday afternoon, the Times posted an editorial that said the following:
The administration has now lost all credibility. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.
The Times was right about the president’s credibility, even if he lost it long before this episode. But just as that editorial was being relayed around the nation as a significant rebuke from Obama’s base, the Times decided to qualify their condemnation and, as Politico reports, changed the piece to soften the blow. The words, “on this issue” were added to the text of the editorial online and then in print without explanation to the readers. This leads one to wonder whether the Obama cheer squad at the paper decided it had to qualify their attack because too many of the president’s critics on a whole raft of issues were quoting their piece as proof of the collapse of his support.

When asked about the change by Politico, the Times made it clear they thought it was no big deal:
“The change was for clarity’s sake,” Andrew Rosenthal, the Times editorial page editor, told POLITICO on Friday morning. “It was clear from the context of the editorial that the issue of credibility related to this subject and the final edit of the piece strengthened that point.”
That may be so. All publications are always working to hone their work as long as possible and to correct any possible errors or misunderstandings. But what’s at play here is the corner into which Obama has backed his most ardent supporters.

The Times and many on the left may not like the fact that Obama’s rhetoric turned out to be just so much blown smoke, as today he is being dubbed “George W. Obama” or having his administration being referred to as Bush’s fourth term. But they are very skittish about doing anything that might give comfort to Republicans who have been quicker to realize that the emperor at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue hasn’t been wearing clothes long before the PRISM leak was published.

Many in the mainstream liberal media may be upset about the president’s performance on issues like the Benghazi lies, the IRS scandal, the spying on the Associated Press and Fox News. But those who think liberal outlets will hold him accountable need to remember that however much the media may care about some of these issues or others on which the president has disappointed them, there is a limit as to how far they will go in pursuing that disagreement. The old “no enemies on the left” dynamic in which the political war with conservatives is always prioritized over anything else will always cause newspapers like the Times to pull its punches when it comes to an issue that could hurt Barack Obama.

The Times deserves some credit for consistency on this particular issue since it disagreed with both Bush and Obama. But no one should be under any illusion about whether they will press this or any other issue if they thought the president was in any real trouble. Their pious disclaimers notwithstanding, partisanship will always trump principle at the Times.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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Stop Waiting to Be Motivated

by Leann Horrocks

You might think that defunding an operation to stop it was the purview of the Congress--not really.
The effect of the IRS stalling on conservative group applications for tax-exempt status was to defund activists on the right. While Tea Party and other conservative groups were wasting valuable resources on trying to get applications approved, they were unable to raise contributions because such contributions would not be tax deductible.  More importantly, think about what they were not doing.

They were not:

  •  Running TV Ads
  •  Running radio ads
  •  Holding public seminars
  •  Holding fundraisers
  •  Traveling to give speeches at sympathetic venues
  •  Sending mailers
  •  Making brochures
  •  Making bumper stickers
  •  Setting up booths at county fairs and trade shows

These things all take money to do on a large scale.  There were almost 500 companies subjected to this treatment.  That is a lot of influence that was not exercised.  The Democratic party was caught flat-footed in the 2010 midterm elections and they set out to defund the Tea Party. They were successful.

We don't know how many more votes would have been cast for Romney if these people had not been hobbled.  But we conservatives shouldn't be feeling sorry for ourselves.  Romney's loss was our fault.

Conservative principles plus the obvious damage that Obama and his machine were doing should have been enough motivation for us.  We shouldn't need someone waving in our face, but maybe we do.  The truth is, we didn't show up.  If as many of us had voted for Romney as voted for McCain, Romney would have won.

I believe in my heart that the last presidential election was the most fraudulent ever.  Every old dirty trick and many new ones were brought to bear on our dreams.  It is clear that early voting, election day registration, voucher systems, unmonitored "poll watchers" and absentee balloting are all invitations to corruption.  That invitation was accepted and the Democrat machine came to the game ready to play.  We did not.

We on the right enabled this corruption and thereby Obama's second term.  There are enough of us to make things right if we have the will to simply show up and vote.  If we wait for someone else to do the job, that someone will be Obama.  How could we have failed to simply get up and go vote?  The Romneys couldn't believe it and neither could I.  But that was then and now we need to focus on the future.

It is critical at this point that we all realize that the same corrupt machine is firing on all cylinders with one goal in mind--getting back the House and keeping the Senate.  Mrs. Obama is doing up to three fundraisers a day, her husband is still in permanent campaign mode doing five to ten a week.  They are desperately scooping up cash before people begin to realize that the current scandals should be laid at his feet. The unions and all the usual suspects are registering voters as fast as they can and fighting voter ID.  The Big Data they have been collecting is in full use; only now it is focused on individual congressional races.

We are going to have to keep aware of the news of the day and motivate ourselves.  Any added motivation from the Tea Party and others is gravy, the commitment has to come from each of us. The 2014 mid terms are our only chance to contain the damage being done by this administration.  We must not lose seats. Have the people on the right forgotten how to fight?  Some haven't.  The organizations that valiantly fought the IRS for three years and did what they could without money haven't forgotten.  We may not all be as tough as them, but we must all vote.  Democrats are using Big Data to find possible voters and calling them multiple times before each election, we do not have the tools to do this. We must each commit to ourselves to vote.

Leann Horrocks


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