EnduringSense

“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato

Congressional Democrats Boycott Benjamin Netanyahu Congressional Speech

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 3, 2015

Nearly 60 Congressional Democrats boycotted today’s speech before Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  The purported reasons according to the Democrats were that Israeli and American politics were behind the PM’s speech and that Congress’s invitation was a breach of protocol.

Both the Democrat’s excuses for the boycott are lame.  First, politics plays a role in what every politician does on a daily basis, whether he be the Prime Minister of Israel or President of the United States.  As for the breach in protocol, that is a rather hollow excuse coming from this Leftist president for whom American history often is of little importance.

Irrespective of the personal differences between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Iranian matter is complex for which reasonable people can disagree.  Iran has for decades proven to be one of the world’s foremost promoter of terrorism.  It also continuously on threatens the annihilation of Israel.  Given these realities should Iran become a nuclear power, a difficult world situation will become even more dangerous.

A nuclear armed Iran becomes an immediate existential threat to Israel.  Should it also obtain intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), Iran would become a direct tgigihreat to the United States.  In addition, should Iran go nuclear, its arch enemies, the Sunni Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, as well as Turkey, would likely join a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Given the complexity of the Iranian issue, we should promote active debate on possible responses. However, the Obama Administration and its allies in Congress instead seek to stifle debate and opposing opinions including those of Benjamin Netanyahu.  It begs the question as to why they fear debate so much.  It seems that the Obama Administration is so intent on making a deal with the ayatollahs that it would demonize and ally and thwart open debate.

This Blog comes with a Libertarian view towards and its rightful powers.  On the other end of the philosophical spectrum are Progressives including liberal law professor, Alan Dershowitz.  Dershowitz posted an op-ed prior to Netanyahu’s visit condoning those that would suppress his voice in front of Congress, article posted below.  The ineffective leadership and failed policies of Barack Obama are bringing together a uniquely diverse group of opposition.

The Appalling Talk of Boycotting Netanyahu, ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ, Feb. 23, 2015

As a liberal Democrat who twice campaigned for President Barack Obama , I am appalled that some Democratic members of Congress are planning to boycott the speech of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 3 to a joint session of Congress. At bottom, this controversy is not mainly about protocol and politics—it is about the constitutional system of checks and balances and the separation of powers.

Under the Constitution, the executive and legislative branches share responsibility for making and implementing important foreign-policy decisions. Congress has a critical role to play in scrutinizing the decisions of the president when these decisions involve national security, relationships with allies and the threat of nuclear proliferation.

Congress has every right to invite, even over the president’s strong objection, any world leader or international expert who can assist its members in formulating appropriate responses to the current deal being considered with Iran regarding its nuclear-weapons program. Indeed, it is the responsibility of every member of Congress to listen to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who probably knows more about this issue than any world leader, because it threatens the very existence of the nation state of the Jewish people. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Iran | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

UCLA Video Shows Student Council Anti-Semitism

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 2, 2015

UCLA’s Rachel Beyda is a law student who decided to try out for Universiy’s Judicial Council.  She evidently had a fine resume.  However, when she went before the Council for a final interview, she was initially turned down due to one fact: she is Jewish, as indicated in the video clip posted below.

There was a time when UCLA’s Student Council’s action would have been labeled anti-Semitism.  But in these days of political correctness and bigoted behavior by the Left, it is often excused as something else.

After intervention by a faculty member, Beyda was ultimately appointed to the position.  However, even in the offending party’s apology, the Leftist anti-Semitism remains glaring with Fabienne Roth saying: “I am really sorry with how I framed my argument and the words that I used.  Using someone’s identity against them is completely unacceptable”.  Typical of Leftist bigotry, Progressive Roth believes it is the words or their framing that is the problem. No it is not.  The problem is the bigotry in the heart.

There was a time when bigotry was more likely to emanate from the Right side of the political spectrum.  While it still exists, those of the Right are quickly called for bigoted behavior by the press and greater society.  Today, bigotry is growing on the Left that is creatively camouflaged by political correctness and false intellectualism.  Its growing presence on college campuses should be a concern to all Americans.

Posted in Anti-Semitism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Fed’s Yellen Primes Pump, Feeds Bubbles

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 24, 2015

YellenFederal Reserve Chairperson, Janet Yellen, today announced that Fed will continue its low interest rate policy for some time into the future. Many had expected Yellen to indicate that with the improving economy, the Fed would begin a slow rise in interest rates. Yellen’s commitment of more gin in the punch bowl had an immediate effect with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and the UK’s flagship FTSE 100 all hitting record highs.

Generally, rising stock markets are positive signs if the rise is based on appropriate economic fundamentals.   The lengthy drive-up of equity values are instead being driven by the Fed’s low interest rates and Quantitative Easing. This is problematic at various levels. First, should there be an economic slowdown, as there inevitably will, the Fed would have no ammo left to juice up the economy. In addition, when interest rates eventually rise, overvalued equities will show a rapid decline in value causing significant economic pain.

Perhaps the most problematic aspect of the Federal Reserve’s low interest rate policies is who benefits from them. While some on mainstream benefit as equity values rise, especially in 401(k) plans, the greatest benefit goes to the highest income brackets, the people who have the most to invest. This has led to the large increase in the income disparity in the United States. The Fed’s continuation of its policies will further increase the disparity.

Finally, the Fed’s low interest rate policies have cajoled investors into higher risk investments in search of yield. This places further upward pressure on equity values as the bubble builds and guarantees that the next downturn will be exasperated by these interventionist policies.

For many months government publish statistics has shown a significantly improving economy. In addition, by the classical definition, the recession ended years ago. These two items seem in conflict with Janet Yellen’s announcement today that the economy is still fragile. Either the government’s published figures or Yellen’s comments of earlier today relating to the economy need to be questioned.

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VA Secretary McDonald Caught in a Lie

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 24, 2015

Another high level US government official has been caught in a lie. This time it is Veterans Administration Secretary Robert McDonald. On January 30, a CBS video captured a homeless veteran informing McDonald that he was once in the US Special Forces. To that McDowell responded: “Special forces? What years? I was in special forces.” While a touching response, it was false with McDonald serving with the 82nd Airborne, not Special Forces.

obama McDonaldAfter being confronted with the lie, McDonald forced to make a retraction saying: “I was not in special forces. What I said was wrong. I reacted spontaneously and I reacted wrongly, [with] no intent in any way to describe my record any different than it is.

While in the scheme of things McDonald’s lie was not grand in scale, it represents yet another high-level government official being caught lying. In addition, McDonald’s retraction/excuse is lame.

What is it about high-level “public service” that too often leads these supposed representatives of the People to become disingenuous?   Does the lust for power attract a high percentage people with disingenuous traits or does the power of the positions corrupt? Whatever the answer, it is difficult to justify giving the political and bureaucratic elites more power.

Posted in Government Ineptness | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New York Post Hammers Obama on Terrorist Blinders

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 19, 2015

It has been remarkable the slickness of the Teflon coat that has covered President Obama since his first election, especially given the many significant issues and scandals to occur during this tenure. This includes IRS-gate, the Fast and Furious scandal, the debacle that was the Obamacare rollout and his broken promises concerning the plan, the Benghazi killing of the American ambassador, the Solyndra scandal, just to name a few. However, it seems the Teflon is wearing thin and the tarnish is being caused by the increased terrorism worldwide and Obama’s refusal to acknowledge it source.

It was a mere 14 months ago that the President called ISIS a “JV” squad. Now they control a significant portion of Iraq and Syria and are spreading their violence into North Africa and Afghanistan. Terrorist, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic attacks are occurring on nearly a weekly basis in Europe and other countries. Still, the President refuses to acknowledge the source of the evil. Obama is loathe to even acknowledge that the attacks are religious-based, even when the terrorists themselves proclaim that to be the case.

The front page of the New York Post has come out with a blistering attack on the President’s seemingly irrational policies on terrorism with the quote “Islamic terror? I just don’t see it”, as posted below.

It has been quite some time since a President of United States has been held in such low esteem. No American should gloat at this sad reality.

Obama

Posted in President Obama, Radical Islam | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

State Department’s Lame Strategy for Attacking ISIS

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 17, 2015

Earlier today we posted a clear and concise strategy for defeating the Islamic terrorist group, ISIS, proffered by Dr. Ben Carson, GOP presidential candidate.  Posted below is a video clip from State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf.  Her comments are an embarrassment embarrassing to the country she represents.

Harf says: “We’re killing a lot of them and we’re going to keep killing more of them.  So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians.  They’re in this fight with us.  But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war.  We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs…”

To that MSNBC commentator and fellow liberal Chris Matthews appropriately retorts: “We’re not going to be able to stop that in our lifetime or fifty lifetimes.  There’s always going to be poor people.  There’s always going to be poor Muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing and they’ll join.  We can’t stop that, can we?”

Instead of realizing how preposterous her initial statement was, Harf double downs responding: “What makes these seventeen-year-old kids pick up an AK-47 instead of starting a business? Maybe we can try to chip away at this problem”.  Yikes!

Ms. Harf seems to have shortsighted understanding of history.  It begs the question as to why other poor cultures have not become so violent.  It ignores the fact that Osama bin Laden was a billionaire’s heir and most of the 9/11 hijackers came from wealthy Saudi Arabia.  The passion these terrorists fight for his far deeper than that involved with seeking wealth.  If only it was that simple Ms. Harf.

Posted in Radical Islam | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dr. Ben Carson on Fighting Islamic State

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 17, 2015

The spread of Islamic extremism and the disintegration of Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa are spiraling out of control.  While President Obama’s policies are note fully responsible, it is undeniable that the problems have become progressively worse under of his Administration.  Some of his policies have exasperated the problem include:

  1. The decision to withdraw all American forces from Iraq, including intelligence and training personnel. That decision allowed Al Qaeda to make a comeback in Iraq now under the banner of ISIS.
  2. Obama dithered when it came to the Syrian protests/revolution. That allowed the radicals to gain control of the events in Syria.
  3. The President made a decision to help take down the Libyan dictator Gadhafi. While possibly an appropriate decision, just like in Iraq, Obama left the vacuum that has since been filled by radical Islamists.

ObamaObama has taken the naïve position that America and its previous projection of power created many of the world’s ills.  The President’s retrenchment in the past six years and the significant increase in the radical Islamist’s power projection prove this policy wrong.  The President also believes that by not calling the battle a “war on terror” or the enemy radical Islamists that there is no war.  Since Obama’s election six years ago, terrorism has increased throughout worldwide and the radical Islamists control more territory in the Middle East and North Africa than ever.  There is a war ongoing and it has been declared by the enemies of the West.

Ben CarsonOne of the GOP presidential contenders is Dr. Ben Carson, a world renowned neurosurgeon. Carson has proven his intellect in the field of medicine.  He has yet to prove his mettle in the politics.  Still, Carson offers clarity and conviction when he speaks on issues.  When asked how he would handle the problem of the Islamic State, Carson said:

They’re extremely sophisticated and they have tentacles that are growing throughout the world. They’re still in their adolescent stage and this is the time when we can crush them.  But if we allow them to mature into a full-grown tree, with deep roots and thick branches, it’s going to be almost impossible.  We need to do it now.  I would use every resource available: military, banking, sanctions, you name it.  And I would not hesitate to put boots on the ground.  We need to be the leaders.  The coalition will form if it has a leader.  But you can’t sit around saying, ‘Oh, you guys do this.’ … This is serious.  So I would commit everything to eliminating them right now.”

Carson then quoted Winston Churchill: “Fight your enemy while you can beat them.”  Agree with Carson or not, he has a vision and strategy that is clear and definable.

The West needs to define a strategy to fight the war against terror and Islamic extremism.  This strategy must first be defined prior to implementing a plan of action.  It is unlikely that President Obama has the ability or the will to define such a strategy, which will result in further dithering by the United States until after the next president is elected.  The question is whether our enemies will wait that long.

Posted in Radical Islam | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

State Department’s Jen Psaki Taken to Woodshed by Fox’s Megyn Kelly

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 15, 2015

Last Thursday State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was interviewed by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. The interview, link provided below, was another demonstration of the Obama Administration’s feckless and incompetent foreign policy.

The subject of the Psaki interview was the overthrow of the Yemeni government three weeks ago, which was relatively friendly to the United States, by the Houthoi rebels who are not. Also discussed was the unplanned and chaotic departure of American embassy personnel.

When pressed by Kelly as the weather the Yemeni situation was another demonstration of failed American policy in the Middle East, Psaki did the bureaucratic two-step, passing it off as just one of those things. The unwillingness by the Obama Administration to accept any responsibility for the degenerating state of foreign affairs shows the utmost gall.

Just five months ago President Obama touted Yemen as an example of his successful counterterrorism strategy stating: “This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” This brings to question what failure looks like to Barack Obama.

Posted in Middle East, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

ISIS – JV to Dangerous American Enemy in One Year

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 12, 2015

Yesterday President Obama sent a request to Congress to authorize the use of military force against ISIS who has created a country in parts of Syria and Iraq.  During their land grab ISIS has murdered American, British and Japanese hostages and killed many civilians.

The debate on Obama’s request to Congress is in full swing.  Some suggest that he should have requested the authorization when he initiated the current limited bombing campaign against ISIS.  Others are concerned about mission creep that often accompanies authorizations.  Still others feel that the authorization is not broad enough or that the President has not come up with a goal and/or strategy for the military campaign.

While the above debate is necessary, it masks a more serious issue concerning President Obama’s exhibited skills as Commander-in-Chief of the military.  In January 2014, only 13 months ago, Obama showed a total lack of understanding of ISIS, its ability, or threats.  When asked about ISIS’s and its gains Obama compared them to the JVs stating: ‘The analogy we use around here sometimes and is accurate is if a JV team puts on Laker uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”

How do they go from being JV to one of the most dangerous terrorist forces in the world in less than a year?  The answer is that they were not JV when Obama made the inappropriate comparison.  It was obvious than that ISIS was a much greater threat.  Since then Obama has been slowly ramping up not only his perception of the ISIS threat, as well as increasing the use of military force against them.  This has culminated in his current request to Congress.

Why did the President get the ISIS threat so wrong?  It could not have been lack of intelligence given the gains they already made in Syria and Iraq.  It is likely that Obama did what he so often does; ignore reality and dither.

This is not the first time the President made the wrong call on Iraq.  His miscues include:

Opposing Iraqi Surge - As a senator, Obama opposed President Bush’s surge stating:  “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there.  In fact, I think it will do the reverse.  I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there.  So I am going to actively oppose the president’s proposal.”  History proved Obama wrong.  The surge worked.

Withdrawing all Troops from Iraq - Since before being elected president, Obama made a commitment to withdraw all American troops from Iraq quickly.  This has been a cornerstone to his policies and politics since, ignoring potential consequences.  His statements include:

  • “….. with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008.”
  • If we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home.  We will bring an end to this war.  You can take that to the bank.”
  • Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.”
  • Today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”

Adding an explanation point to his promise to get out of Iraq, Obama said in the fall of 2012:  “I said I’d end the war in Iraq,  I ended it”.  It is evident that Obama did not end the war in Iraq.  Instead, by withdrawing all assets he left a power vacuum that has been filled by Islamic terrorists.  Now he is forced to reintroduce assets from a degraded strategic position and at greater cost.  The request for authorization to use military force in Iraq includes:

“The President is authorized, subject to the limitations in subsection (c), to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines to be necessary and appropriate against ISIL or associated persons or forces as defined in section.” … This is a broad authorization.  The request proves that Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq was premature and led to increased violence in that country, as well as the greater region, and now requires that the United States go back in to clean up the mess.

Obama’s naïve view of America’s role in the world, foreign policy and the Middle East is now apparent.  He came into office believing that by merely changing the way we project power will improve not only America’s worldwide stature, but are security.  These conclusions have been proven fallacious.  The Middle East is more dangerous to American interests than it has been in modern history.  In addition, America has thrown so many allies under the bus in the past six years that are stature worldwide has declined.  Incredibly, President Obama continues to maintain that his policies have been successful.  This is either an indication of delusionary thinking or blatant misrepresentation.

Posted in Iraq, Syria | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

President Obama Equates Christian History with Current Islamic Terrorism

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 8, 2015

Barack Obama took his radical view of the world order to a new low this week.   During a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast the President said:

“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ… In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

While this type of history lesson might be appropriate on a Leftist college campus, it is outrageous coming form United States’ Commander in Chief.

The United States has faced many conflicts throughout its history, some inflicted by foreign enemies and others from internal moral conflicts.   Slavery and Jim Crow fit within this latter category. Given that the Crusades predated this Country’s existence by centuries makes the President’s attempt to conflate Christianity and the United States with radical Islam perplexing.

Obama has been rightfully taken the task by many or his outrageous comments on radical Islam at the National Prayer Breakfast. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal appropriately stated the obvious:

“It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast. Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today.  The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.” 

Any attempt to equate the barbarism of contemporary terrorism carried out in the name of Islam with past history only serves to justify the violence now inflicting much of the world.   The President of the United States should be the voice of morality for the Western world. Instead Obama has been a ditherer, absent of moral clarity. That moral clarity is left to others like Dr. Ben Carson, as seen in the video below.

Posted in President Obama, Radical Islam | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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