Sunday, April 25, 2010

Carolyn Glick - The Strategic Foundations of the US-Israel Alliance

Here is one from Carolyn Glick that is worth reading. As always, she makes a lot more sense than most other analysts. Oh, and it's the whole thing. As you read it, ask yourself, why do you understand this situation, now that Glick has explained it, so much better than President Obama and his foreign policy staff of really smart guys?
Israel's status as the US's most vital ally in the Middle East has been so widely recognized for so long that over the years, Israeli and American leaders alike have felt it unnecessary to explain what it is about the alliance that makes it so important for the US.

Today, as the Obama administration is openly distancing the US from Israel while giving the impression that Israel is a strategic impediment to the administration's attempts to strengthen its relations with the Arab world, recalling why Israel is the US's most important ally in the Middle East has become a matter of some urgency.

Much is made of the fact that Israel is a democracy. But we seldom consider why the fact that Israel is a representative democracy matters. The fact that Israel is a democracy means that its alliance with America reflects the will of the Israeli people. As such, it remains constant regardless of who is power in Jerusalem.

All of the US's other alliances in the Middle East are with authoritarian regimes whose people do not share the pro-American views of their leaders. The death of leaders or other political developments are liable to bring about rapid and dramatic changes in their relations with the US.

For instance, until 1979, Iran was one of the US's closest strategic allies in the region. Owing to the gap between the Iranian people and their leadership, the Islamic revolution put an end to the US-Iran alliance.

Egypt flipped from a bitter foe to an ally of the US when Gamal Abdel Nasser died in 1969. Octogenarian President Hosni Mubarak's encroaching death is liable to cause a similar shift in the opposite direction.

Instability in the Hashemite kingdom in Jordan and the Saudi regime could transform those countries from allies to adversaries.

Only Israel, where the government reflects the will of the people is a reliable, permanent US ally.

America reaps the benefits of its alliance with Israel every day. As the US suffers from chronic intelligence gaps, Israel remains the US's most reliable source for accurate intelligence on the US's enemies in the region.

Israel is the US's only ally in the Middle East that always fights its own battles. Indeed, Israel has never asked the US for direct military assistance in time of war. Since the US and Israel share the same regional foes, when Israel is called upon to fight its enemies, its successes redound to the US's benefit.

Here it bears recalling Israel's June 1982 destruction of Syria's Soviet-made anti-aircraft batteries and the Syrian air force. Those stunning Israeli achievements were the first clear demonstration of the absolute superiority of US military technology over Soviet military technology. Many have argued that it was this Israeli demonstration of Soviet technological inferiority that convinced the Reagan administration it was possible to win the Cold War.

In both military and non-military spheres, Israeli technological achievements - often developed with US support - are shared with America. The benefits the US has gained from Israeli technological advances in everything from medical equipment to microchips to pilotless aircraft are without peer worldwide.

Beyond the daily benefits the US enjoys from its close ties with Israel, the US has three fundamental, permanent, vital national security interests in the Middle East. A strong Israel is a prerequisite for securing all of these interests.

America's three permanent strategic interests in the Middle East are as follows:

1 - Ensuring the smooth flow of affordable petroleum products from the region to global consumers through the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal.

2 - Preventing the most radical regimes, sub-state and non-state actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm.

3 - Maintaining the US's capacity to project its power to the region.

A strong Israel is the best guarantor of all of these interests. Indeed, the stronger Israel is, the more secure these vital American interests are. Three permanent and unique aspects to Israel's regional position dictate this state of affairs.

1 - As the first target of the most radical regimes and radical sub-state actors in the region, Israel has a permanent, existential interest in preventing these regimes and sub-state actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm.

Israel's 1981 airstrike that destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor prevented Iraq from acquiring nuclear weapons. Despite US condemnation at the time, the US later acknowledged that the strike was a necessary precondition to the success of Operation Desert Storm ten years later. Richard Cheney - who served as secretary of defense during Operation Desert Storm - has stated that if Iraq had been a nuclear power in 1991, the US would have been hard pressed to eject Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army from Kuwait and so block his regime from asserting control over oil supplies in the Persian Gulf.

2 - Israel is a non-expansionist state and its neighbors know it. In its 62 year history, Israel has only controlled territory vital for its national security and territory that was legally allotted to it in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate which has never been abrogated or superseded.

Israel's strength, which it has used only in self-defense, is inherently non-threatening. Far from destabilizing the region, a strong Israel stabilizes the Middle East by deterring the most radical actors from attacking.

In 1970, Israel blocked Syria's bid to use the PLO to overthrow the Hashemite regime in Jordan. Israel's threat to attack Syria not only saved the Hashemites then, it has deterred Syria from attempting to overthrow the Jordanian regime ever since.

Similarly, Israel's neighbors understand that its purported nuclear arsenal is a weapon of national survival and hence they view it as non-threatening. This is the reason Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal has never spurred a regional nuclear arms race.

In stark contrast, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, a regional nuclear arms race will ensue immediately.

Although they will never admit it, Israel's non-radical neighbors feel more secure when Israel is strong. On the other hand, the region's most radical regimes and non-state actors will always seek to emasculate Israel.

3-- Since as the Jewish state Israel is the regional bogeyman, no Arab state will agree to form a permanent alliance with it. Hence, Israel will never be in a position to join forces with another nation against a third nation.

In contrast, the Egyptian-Syrian United Arab Republic of the 1960s was formed to attack Israel. Today, the Syrian-Iranian alliance is an inherently aggressive alliance against Israel and the non-radical Arab states in the region. Recognizing the stabilizing force of a strong Israel, the moderate states of the region prefer for Israel to remain strong.

From the US's perspective, far from impairing its alliance-making capabilities in the region, by providing military assistance to Israel, America isn't just strengthening the most stabilizing force in the region. It is showing all states and non-state actors in the greater Middle East it is trustworthy.

On the other hand, every time the US seeks to attenuate its ties with Israel, it is viewed as an untrustworthy ally by the nations of the Middle East. US hostility towards Israel causes Israel's neighbors to hedge their bets by distancing themselves from the US lest America abandon them to their neighboring adversaries.

A strong Israel empowers the relatively moderate actors in the region to stand up to the radical actors in the region because they trust Israel to keep the radicals in check. Today's regional balance of power in which the moderates have the upper hand over the radicals is predicated on a strong Israel.

On the other hand, when Israel is weakened the radical forces are emboldened to threaten the status quo. Regional stability is thrown asunder. Wars become more likely. Attacks on oil resources increase. The most radical sub-state actors and regimes are emboldened.

To the extent that the two-state solution assumes that Israel must contract itself to within the indefensible 1949 ceasefire lines, and allow a hostile Palestinian state allied with terrorist organizations to take power in the areas it vacates, the two-state solution is predicated on making Israel weak and empowering radicals. In light of this, the two-state solution as presently constituted is antithetical to America's most vital strategic interests in the Middle East.

When we bear in mind the foundations for the US's alliance with Israel, it is obvious that US support for Israel over the years has been the most cost-effective national security investment in post-World War II US history.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First Ammendment Victory

If you truly believe that CAIR is a civil rights organization, this press release from The Law Offices of David Yerushalmi will make you sad. If, however, you live in the current reality and are not a jihadist or a jihad supporter, this release will give you hope and make you smile.
When the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) pressured the Miami-Dade Country Transit Authority to yank bus panel ads contracted and paid for by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer of the Freedom Defense Initiative because the ads were “offensive to Muslims”, the two activists turned to the Law Offices of David Yerushalmi, P.C. for help. Mr. Yerushalmi joined forces with the Thomas More Law Center and the two law firms began preparing a federal complaint alleging breach of contract and violation of Ms. Geller’s and Mr. Spencer’s First Amendment Rights.

The bus ad (see pdf file above) began running on Tuesday, April 13th. Just two days later, on Thursday, after pressure from CAIR, the bus ads had already been pulled down and Mr. Yerushalmi’s clients received notice of the ad contract termination through media reports on Friday.
No, that part will not make you happy, but keep reading.
A teleconference was arranged first with the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s office, which took place Monday afternoon. After listening to Mr. Yerushalmi’s brief, the county attorneys conceded the ads should not have been pulled. By Tuesday, Mr. Yerushalmi had negotiated a full and complete retraction of the contract termination with a NY-based attorney for CBS Outdoor. Not only would the original 10 king-sized ads go back up on the Transit Authority buses, but CBS would run an additional 20 king-sized bus ads for no additional charge.

The new agreement was inked and signed by Wednesday, April 21. The ads are expected to go back up by early next week.
We can't win unless we actively and unapologetically, without fear of being a victim of name calling or character assassination, fight back. Because, as we know:
“This is not just an important day for the First Amendment. It is a ‘teaching moment’ for the media and for others in various government agencies who come across CAIR,” Mr. Yerushalmi added. “CAIR is a criminal organization with ties to Hamas and other jihadists. This is not my opinion but the considered view of the U.S. Attorney’s office, the FBI, and the federal courts, all based on evidence CAIR has never refuted. If you find yourself on the same side of an issue with CAIR, you’d better examine the facts a bit more closely. You’re likely in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood, even if only unwittingly.”
To that, I can only add, "Right on!"

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Couple of Things to Think About

First a question: If Israel is the oppressive, apartheid, genocidal entity its enemies constantly claim it is, why do refugees (even Muslim refugees) from the north African craphole countries seek refuge in Israel? Hasn't word gotten to them yet? Hatred of Israel along with the enumeration of alleged past, present, and future crimes of the "Zionist Entity" is rife throughout the world. How did these poor, abused people miss it? And why are they shot by Egyptian police if they're caught in Egypt while trying to sneak into the Country-That-is-the-Cause-of-All-That-is-Wrong-in-the-Islamic-World? And how much effort are the world's "human rights" advocates including those at the U.N., putting into publicizing and condemning these atrocities?
Egyptian police shot dead a 42-year-old Eritrean migrant on Thursday as he tried to cross the border into Israel at dawn, a medical source and a security source said.

Five other Ethiopian migrants were arrested in a separate attempt to cross the border four hours later, the same security source said.

The Sinai border is a major transit route for African migrants and refugees seeking work or asylum in Israel. Egypt has come under pressure from Israel to staunch the flow. Rights groups complain about the methods of the border police.
Egyptian police have killed 13 migrants this year, a security source said, compared to 19 for the whole of 2009.

The United Nations and Amnesty International have called on Egypt to check its border guards' use of excessive force against unarmed migrants.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay asked Cairo in March to launch an inquiry into what she said could be a "shoot-to-kill policy" by some Egyptian security forces. Egypt rejected Pillay's comments.

Security forces say they fire at migrants only after repeated orders to stop are ignored, and say that in some cases smugglers who ferry migrants to the border have opened fire on security forces.

Here are Penn and Teller explaining Obama's concept of "spreading the wealth". Remember when Obama was first elected and it was forecast by the Obama-loving MSM that there wasn't anything about Obama that would provide comedians and satirists with material for their craft? Remember, they told us that there was nothing to make fun of or to laugh about when it came to Obama? It's obvious that they were and still are troubled at having the one they worship brought down to a human level by those of us who don't and who never have thought much of him. We are laughing (through the tears in some cases) at his ineptitude, his failed ideology, and the fact that he really doesn't like the United States that much. But, hey, watch the video. It's funny.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It calls to me every day. Well, may it's me who calls to it. Anyway, somebody's calling, and I've been listening. But only on school days. And not all school days. Only the days when I need that lift. Those days become much more frequent near the middle and the end of every school year. No matter how I feel when I wake up, as soon as I walk into work, I want that cup of coffee. I used to get a slight buzz from it. That doesn't happen much any more.

I barely touch the stuff outside of school. But if I've gone five days in a row of a morning cup, I wake up on Saturday morning with a headache. That's when I force myself to take a week or two off. Or if realize that I'm fine until I walk into school (like I mentioned above) and then my head starts feeling like it's caught - Uncle Fester-like, in a vice. Some days it takes half a cup or less to get rid of that feeling. Other days I finish the whole cup.

I know what the problem is. I'm not addicted. (I hear you laughing. Cut it out!) It's just that I don't get enough sleep; working, tutoring, going to the gym, household chores, unexpected predicaments, the rest of the vicissitudes of life. You know. And I'm not always crabby if I don't have a jolt of caffeine. Only sometimes. And I get over it when I get home . . . usually.

You know what would really be great? If we had a cappuccino machine at school. That would be a fine start to my day, and rather than be chained to my morning coffee, I could be a connoisseur of fine coffee blends. I don't mind coffee snobbery if I'm the one being the snob. I developed my taste for cappuccino many years ago when I worked at a bar and I had to learn to work the cappuccino machine. My cappuccino skills figured prominently in the wooing of my wife. I was waiting tables at another restaurant. She was tending a bar that featured a cappuccino maker. She wasn't good at it yet, so out of the goodness of my own heart, I ordered (well . . . encouraged) my tables to order cappuccinos so I could go back and instruct her on the proper foaming-of-the-milk technique.

I don't stop at any of the coffee sources along my drive to work because I'm cheap. I'm not paying those prices. I know other teachers who do. obviously, they can afford those huge Styrofoam jugs of Joe they bring to school.

I also have a cup of coffee every morning when we go camping because everything tastes better cooked over an open fire; salmon, pancakes, coffee, you name it. Oh, and sometimes on long car drives I'll get the large mug, the ones I make fun of others for needing every day.

This gets me thinking; how do real drug addicts and alcoholics cope? They have much stronger addictions. I wonder what it's like for a heroin addict to break the habit. Or a crack user. Maybe coffee isn't so bad as addictions go, but don't tell my cardiologist that I'm drinking the stuff. He told me to stay away from caffeine.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Our Soldiers Speak

This morning I went to a fundraiser. I didn't know it was a fund raiser. I got an invitation from a friend to come to her house for brunch and to hear a talk by an IDF member. So I went. And I was impressed. The soldier I listened to was from a new (at least to me) organization: Our Soldiers Speak. They travel the world giving their story, of life on the battlefield, fighting terrorists while trying desperately to avoid hurting the terrorists' human shields. The young fellow giving our talk spoke eloquently about the morality of the IDF compared to the documented immorality of Hamas and Hezbollah. He also talked about the need to counter the UN and the MSM who have chosen the side of the barbarians against civilization and morality in this battle.

He also asked for tough questions. He wasn't afraid to answer them. He'd already spoken at Columbia and in Berkeley, hotbeds of Palestinian sympathizers. Some of my friends had heard him speak at Michigan State University and at U of M Flint, where he was verbally attacked by the Israel haters. He answered their questions and kept his cool.

I've been going to various pro and anti Israel events around the Detroit area. Besides the points of view, the big difference is in the demeanor of the two sides. Pro Israel speakers are not afraid of tough questions. When they're not being interrupted or drowned out by the moral retards of the "human rights" and "peace" communities, they are willing and very able to give easy to understand answers to the most obnoxious and insulting questions. When attending Israel-bashing events, we sit quietly and politely and wait until the end to ask questions. That's when we get shouted down and insulted and when our questions get too tough, we are asked to leave. The Israel haters don't always have good answers. Frequently they are convoluted and hard to follow, or outright lies.

Why the interruptions? Why are they so threatened by allowing our side to speak? We know the answer. It's embarrassing to be unmasked in public as a liar.

Anyway, the organization, Our Soldiers Speak, deserves your support. And if you are looking for an effective pro-Israel college speaker, this is the organization to seek.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Yet More Educational Stupidity

Will the idiocy never end? How bad do things have to be before those in charge make the changes that must be made? Here is another fool offering her prescription for continued failure. She thinks she's advocating for the poor and downtrodden who have no chance at getting a decent education. If she knew anything about education, she would understand that she brings nothing useful to the discussion. She is another nonthinking dolt who thinks that the government can solve all of our problems for us if we only calm down and let it. Personal responsibility has no place in her world view. And of course, in her universe, charter schools are part of the problem with American education.
As we struggle to make universal health care a reality, we are dismantling the one national institution whose mission is generally applauded: the delivery of free public education for all of our children.
Lesson: if it's free, it must be good. In fact, it must be better. Why? Fool, because it's free. Never mind the fact that by any measure available, education is not being delivered to a large portion of our children by the "free" public schools. That should be especially and painfully obvious to anybody in and around Detroit. So one must wonder how anybody in the editorial department at the Detroit Free Press could take this basically anti-capitalist rant seriously.
The idea that essential social goals can be achieved by free market practices is a delusion.
And essential social goals are defined as exactly what in this woman's socialist world? So what is the gist of her complaint?
Charters are simply enabled to bleed students – and their accompanying dollars – from the public, universal system. Although charters must accept students on a first-come, first-served basis, they can limit enrollment numbers, thus leaving many out. Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem program is rightly honored, yet children are accepted by lottery. Many who wish to participate are left outside.
Equality! That is the gist of her problem. All students don't have equal outcomes. And there must be equal outcomes or the system isn't fair.

But as she tells it, every student can't escape public schools and get into the charter schools that do allow their students to excel. Her idea of equality isn't being met. She would rather have the current system-wide failure continue. That way, all students could be equal in their failure; equality of outcome. Her idea of equality is a Harrison Bergeron world. Hasn't that been the result of all societies that have used government mandates to meet "essential social goals?"

It would be beyond the mental capabilities of this woman to stretch her thinking to wonder if perhaps the methods being used by successful charter schools should be used in a greater number of schools so that more children could succeed. No, that would lean too far in the direction of free markets. And we know that it is the fault of free markets that the United States, and western civilization in general are such miserable failures when it comes to allowing people to have a free productive life. That's why so many flee to the government controlled utopias of Cuba, Zimbabwe, N. Korea, and other happy, thriving utopias where essential social goals are being achieved.

So tell me again, why are these idiots still being taken seriously?

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Another Reason Public Education Will Never Improve

Public school administrators still take advice from those who are still stuck on stupid. Here is a prime example.
More recently, a coalition of community leaders proposed an Excellent Schools Detroit initiative that includes the expansion of charter schools to improve graduation rates for Detroit students.

As these various initiatives will likely increase Michigan’s already large charter enrollment, inserting civil rights standards into the legislation authorizing these schools – and more completely understanding students’ outcomes in charter schools and nearby traditional public schools – is crucial.

Concerns about racial isolation are largely absent from the burgeoning charter school movement, which has instead recast school choice as the central civil rights issue. A new report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA finds that nearly 80% of Michigan’s black charter school students attend intensely segregated minority schools. Even in a state infamous for the segregation of its black students, that percentage is extraordinarily high.

Charter school segregation is not just an issue for the city of Detroit – more than 70% of Michigan’s charter school students attend school outside of the city limits.

Why does this matter? Research shows that attending racially diverse schools significantly improves students’ academic achievement, graduation and college attendance rates.
B*llsh*t. I don't believe you. That is idiotic. Show me the research. The authors of this article have replaced real world facts with their own prejudices. So students from wealthy monoracial school districts will increase their college attendance if they're in class with students of other colors? Explain how and why, please. It makes no sense to me.
Such provisions would require charter schools to make themselves truly open to students of all backgrounds by providing services such as the school lunch program, instruction for English language learners and free transportation. These provisions are especially important in highly segregated places like the Detroit metro area, where locating charter schools near boundaries with suburban communities, providing transportation and conducting metro-wide outreach to students could help create diverse educational options.
And this will cost how much? And we are to pay for it how? Oh, that's right, tax the rich. Redistribute their wealth. Isn't that the solution to everything that ails racist American society?
Michigan’s Legislature could follow the example of states like Colorado or Rhode Island and require charter schools to stipulate how they will attain a diverse student body before they gain approval. The Michigan Department of Education could also provide technical assistance to charter operators to help them better structure their outreach and admissions policies to attain a more diverse student enrollment.
Great! More senseless regulation to inhibit the growth of charter schools. Isn't that the real reason behind this moronic plan? If these boneheaded idiots were truly interested in improving schools, charter or otherwise, they would be screaming for a stronger phonetic-based curriculum that is rich in content.

In fairness to the authors of this fiasco, they did author a 130 page PDF document called Choice Without Equity Somewhere in that mess, there may be a good argument for what they are proposing, but after skimming a few dozen pages, (yes, I'm too lazy to wade through the whole thing) I couldn't find anything that makes any educational sense. What the authors are missing due to their stupid obsession with race and segregation, is that so many minority students attend segregated charter schools because they aren't being served by public schools. Their parents are making sacrifices in order to get them to a school that they hope will be good for their children. They understand that the color of the student sitting next to their child has no bearing as to whether or not their child excels. But according to the authors (skimming quickly) minority students need more access to white students. Is this racism? I don't know, but if Rush Limbaugh stated that minority students needed white kids in their classes in order to succeed, he'd be called racist.

To counter the stupidity of Choice Without Equity, read Thomas Sowell's "The Education of Minority Children". Sowell says,
Will Rogers once said that it was not ignorance that was so bad but, as he put it, "all the things we know that ain't so." Nowhere is that more true than in American education today, where fashions prevail and evidence is seldom asked or given. And nowhere does this do more harm than in the education of minority children.
The quest for esoteric methods of trying to educate these children proceeds as if such children had never been successfully educated before, when in fact there are concrete examples, both from history and from our own times, of schools that have been sucessful in educating children from low-income families and from minority families. Yet the educational dogma of the day is that you simply cannot expect children who are not middle-class to do well on standardized tests, for all sorts of sociological and psychological reasons.
Those who think this way are undeterred by the fact that there are schools where low-income and minority students do in fact score well on standardized tests. These students are like the bumblebees who supposedly should not be able to fly, according to the theories of aerodynamics, but who fly anyway, in disregard of those theories.
While there are examples of schools where this happens in our own time-- both public and private, secular and religious-- we can also go back nearly a hundred years and find the same phenomenon. Back in 1899, in Washington, D. C., there were four academic public high schools-- one black and three white.1 In standardized tests given that year, students in the black high school averaged higher test scores than students in two of the three white high schools.2
This was not a fluke. It so happens that I have followed 85 years of the history of this black high school-- from 1870 to 1955 --and found it repeatedly equalling or exceeding national norms on standardized tests.
Read the whole thing. Sowell is always worth the time.

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