Displaying the most recent of 32467 posts written by

Ruth King

HONG KONG’S HOPES CRUSHED……SEE NOTE PLEASE

This is the legacy of the Kissinger/Nixon Shanghai Communiqué (1972), issued by the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China on February 28, 1972. It culminated when the U.S. broke relations with Taiwan in 1979 and established full relations with the tyrants of the People’s (Communist) Republic of China- …..rsk

The people of Hong Kong can plead or protest for democracy all they want, but they can only hold a sham election for Chief Executive in 2017. That was the ruling of China’s rubber-stamp National People’s Congress on Sunday.

Moderates on both sides of the political spectrum in Hong Kong had urged compromise. They proposed nomination procedures that would satisfy Beijing’s concerns while still allowing the free election that China promised in 1997 when it made the city a self-governing special administrative region for 50 years. Beijing not only rejected these ideas, it seems they were never seriously considered. The Communist Party insists on absolute veto power over the choice of candidates.

The result will be more frustration in Hong Kong. Since the handover from British rule, the city has suffered under mediocre leaders weakened by their lack of a popular mandate. This has angered parts of the population, particularly the young, and some are promising acts of civil disobedience.

The anger is likely to grow. The pro-democracy camp has enough votes in the local Legislative Council to reject Beijing’s sham democracy plan, and a poll by Chinese University in Hong Kong found that 60% of the city’s people want the legislature to vote it down. If Beijing’s plan is voted down, the next Chief Executive will be selected using the current nondemocratic system, in which a 1,200-member committee made up largely of China’s businessmen friends picks the leader. Their choice will face increased resistance from all but the most loyal pro-Beijing partisans.

Beijing is already giving a taste of how it intends to handle any dissent. In the People’s Daily and other state media Saturday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman accused some in the city of “colluding” with external forces. These foreign governments seek “not only to undermine the stability and development of Hong Kong but also to attempt to use Hong Kong as a bridgehead to subvert and infiltrate the mainland.” This is the familiar dishonest ploy to brand democrats unpatriotic and a threat to national security.

ROGER KIMBALL ASKS: “DO YOU FEEL SAFER NOW THAN YOU DID SIX YEARS AGO?”

Evolution of the Obama Doctrine By Roger Kimball

The “Obama Doctrine”: what do you suppose that might be? The goal of fundamentally transforming the United States of America [1] stands in the background, you can be sure of that. But now, six years into the program, we can see an arc of development, an evolution (or devolution). There are many metrics that can be employed to describe what Obama has done to this country. One might focus on the economy, on employment, on race relations, on the fate of individual liberty, on more nebulous matters like national mood, international prestige, and that potent if difficult-to-measure armory described in the phrase “soft power.” “Are you better off now than you were four years ago? [2]” Ronald Reagan famously asked in 1980. Let’s generalize the question for the last six years: are we as a country better off than we were when Obama took office?

Let’s leave domestic matters — the controversies over Obamacare, the still-unfolding IRS scandals, illegal immigration, energy policy, and the like — to one side. Let’s focus instead on national security and the place of the United States on the world stage. How are we doing?

Over at Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds reproduced a mournful litany [3] sent to him by a friend. Cast your mind back a single year, he suggested, all the way back to Labor Day weekend 2013. Then think about all that had not happened:

The Chinese ADIZ [that is, China’s unilateral extension of it defense perimeter in the South China Sea], the Russian annexation of Crimea, the rise of ISIS, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the fall of Mosul, the end of Hungarian liberal democracy, the Central American refugee crisis, the Egyptian-UAE attacks on Libya, the extermination of Iraqi Christians, the Yazidi genocide, the scramble to revise NATO’s eastern-frontier defenses, the Kristallnacht-style pogroms in European cities, the reemergence of mainstream anti-Semitism, the third (or fourth, perhaps) American war in Iraq, . . .

Et very much cetera. And all that, Reynolds’ anonymous correspondent observes, “was in the future just one year ago.”

“Nature,” Galileo observed four hundred years ago, “abhors a vacuum” That sucking sound you hear when reading the alarming list of what Secretary of State John Kerry might have dismissed as “19th-century [2]” behavior, unbecoming of a modern, blow-dried state, that rushing wind is the sound of a profound leadership deficit. It’s what happens when a great power abdicates, when it stops acting like an adult and gives free rein to its inner community organizer, its inner selfie. It’s Lord of the Flies writ large.

DANIEL GREENFIELD: OBAMA’S MISERABLE FAILURE

It was always obvious what Obama’s supporters wanted. They weren’t willing to settle for a Hillary, just another politician who would punch the clock, deliver tepid speeches and push their leftist agenda.

They wanted someone larger than life. A head made for Mount Rushmore and a body that would be cast in statues across the country. Speeches meant to be studied in classrooms for the next hundred years.

They compared him to JFK and Reagan. He was treated as the icon that his backers wanted him to be. His election was supposed to be a watershed moment in American history.

Instead it ends in miserable failure.

At home, Obama is caught in a desperate tug of war with Republicans. He won the budget battle by sending park rangers to shut down national monuments. His last ditch gamble for holding on to the Senate is using racial tensions in Ferguson to promote black voter turnout.

And if he wins, all he’ll have is what he has now.

This is how shoddy and tawdry the reality of Hope and Change has become. Trapped in a corner, Obama is dragging out the dirtiest Chicago politics. He’s trying to hold off the inevitable by using the same types of tactics that the crooked mayor of his hometown would.

There’s no inspiration here. No words that will resound across time. Just dirty rats on a sinking ship.

Blame Congress has become the new Blame Bush. ObamaCare is a slow motion disaster that requires constant course corrections to keep it from coming apart. It’s not the new Social Security or Medicare. It’s the new HMO; a clumsy construction that most Americans are unhappy with.

Obama’s only power comes from his abuse of his authority, but what one man does, another man can undo. Instead of creating a lasting legislative legacy, Obama’s executive orders and legislation by administration are a house of cards that his successor can topple with the same pen and phone.

They seem intimidating in the way that the actions of tyrants are, but tyranny can be undone with tyranny. What Obama failed to do was build a consensus. He didn’t change the course of American history. He didn’t win the hearts and minds of Americans. Now he’s reduced to vandalizing America.

Obama said that Putin’s actions in Ukraine weren’t a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness. There is some truth to that. Putin’s economic policies have failed and he was unpopular at home. But the Obama tyrannical reign of phone and pen also isn’t a sign of strength. It’s a sign of weakness.

Like Putin, Obama has run out of options.

AMB. (RET.) YORAM ETTINGER: IS TIME WORKING FOR OR AGAINST ISRAEL?

For the first time, Israel’s country default spread (2.48%) – which reflects the risk premium on government bonds – is similar to that of the US (2.38%).

The trend of Israel’s economy from 1948 until today has reaffirmed that time has been working for – and not against – Israel. Moreover, the ongoing war, terrorism, international pressure and boycotts, which have challenged Israel since its establishment in 1948, have been exposed – in retrospect – as bumps and hurdles on the road to unprecedented economic growth.

The sustained, impressive growth of Israel’s economy throughout the last thirty years – in defiance of endemic geopolitical and military adversity – is documented in an August, 2014 study by Dr. Adam Reuter, the CEO of Financial Immunities Consulting and the Chairman of Reuter-Maydan Investment House. For example, Israel’s GDP catapulted from $30bn in 1984 to $300bn in 2014; per capita GDP surged from $7,000 to $38,000; public debt to GDP ratio shrunk from 280% to 66%; the external public debt to GDP ratio contracted from 55% to 10%; the budget deficit to GDP ratio decreased from 17% to 3%; the defense budget reduced from 20% to 6%; annual inflation collapsed from 450% to 1%; the foreign exchange reserves swelled from $3bn to $89bn; export rose from $10bn to $90bn; high tech exports expanded from $1bn to $28bn; research and development expenditures to GDP ratio grew from 1.3% to 4.2%; the population of Israel grew from 4.1 million to 8.2 million; etc.. The growth from 1948 is even more impressive: a 2000% growth, from a $1.5bn, to a $300bn, GDP.

Assessing the impact of the Gaza War on Israel’s economy against the backdrop of the three previous wars – 2006 against Lebanon’s Hezbollah and 2009 and 2012 against Gaza’s Hamas – demonstrates an exceptional capability to bounce back rapidly, except for the gradual recovery of tourism, which accounts for 2% of Israel’s gross domestic product (GDP). The pattern of crisis-to-recovery has always featured an abrupt and short-lived crisis followed by a speedy – not a prolonged – recovery (a “V” and not a “U” shaped graph).

Xerox’s Charles Brooks: Gov’t Agencies Seek to Accelerate Record Digitization -

http://blog.executivebiz.com/2014/08/xeroxs-charles-brooks-govt-agencies-seek-to-accelerate-record-digitization/?utm_source=GovCon+Daily+Email+List&utm_campaign=41dbe7b7c5-POC_Sequestration_Event_4_25_134_25_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b1d4c411ed-41dbe7b7c5-80450765

Charles Brooks, vice president and client executive for the Department of Homeland Security at Xerox Corp., sees an increased support from the FBI and DHS in converting government records to digital form.
Brooks wrote in an op-ed published in Federal Times Wednesday that he believes “digitizing records reduces costs by speeding up document capture, recognition, and retrieval.”
The FBI‘s Criminal Justice Information Services division moved to modernize its biometric file system last week when it finished converting millions of records and fingerprint cards to digital format.
He wrote that the DHS’ Citizenship and Immigration Service is also working to clone a huge amount of immigration data and transfer migration images to the Enterprise Document Management System.
Rendell Jones, associate director for the management directorate at CIS who oversees the digital technology conversion, also manages records submitted from the offices of the chief financial officer, information technology and human capital and training, among others, Brooks wrote.
Jones is focusing on the transformation program with the goal of transitioning to a digital processing system, according to Brooks.
“When the transformation program is completed, it will serve as a model for other parts of DHS and the federal government on how to convert complex records into digital form,” Brooks wrote.

GOOD NEWS FROM AMAZING ISRAEL: MICHAEL ORDMAN

ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

A foolproof method for diagnosing ADHD. Scientists at Tel Aviv University, Sheba Medical Center and Haifa University have discovered the first objective system for diagnosing ADHD. Involuntary eye movements accurately reflect the presence of ADHD. The test is affordable and accessible.
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/New-Tech/Involuntary-eye-movement-a-foolproof-indication-for-ADHD-diagnosis-say-Israeli-researchers-371133

International conference on pancreatic disease. Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem has hosted an international conference focusing on inherited pancreatic diseases. It included physicians from Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Norway, Spain, and the US specializing in identifying genes related to chronic diseases of the pancreas.
http://www.hadassah-med.com/about/news/international-pancreatic-disease-conference-hosted-by-hadassah.aspx

Soon, even quadriplegics will be able to stand up. (Thanks to Hazel and Israel21c) Israel’s Amit Goffer invented ReWalk to help paraplegics to walk. But Amit is a quadriplegic and cannot use ReWalk. So he has invented the UPnRIDE, which allows almost every wheelchair user to stand upright – even on sloping ground.
http://www.israel21c.org/headlines/looks-like-a-segway-acts-like-a-wheelchair/

Whey to go! A joint study by Israeli and Swedish researchers has found that a plain whey protein drink one half hour before breakfast could help diabetics, or pre-diabetics, prevent blood sugar spikes and better manage the disease. Blood glucose levels were reduced, insulin levels were higher and the response was earlier.
http://www.israel21c.org/headlines/whey-good-news-for-diabetics/

Successful transplants following cardiac death. More lives can be saved now that Israel has adopted technology to allow transplants from donors whose hearts have stopped beating. Previously, some religious authorities rejected brain-stem death, whilst cardiac death damaged vital organs making them unusable.
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/New-Tech/Israels-first-successful-kidney-transplants-from-cardiac-death-donor-will-expand-supply-of-organs-372248

The only Middle-East member of ISOC. The exclusive International Society of Orthopedic Centers (ISOC) has expanded its membership to include one center in the Middle East: Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center. ISOC members must perform a minimum of 5,000 orthopedic surgeries each year.
http://www.hadassah-med.com/about/news/hadassah-medical-center-joins-international-orthopedic-society.aspx

New pipeline for brain disease treatments. (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Israel’s Kadimastem is to work with giant Merck to conduct screening for new treatments into Multiple Sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. Kadimastem’s revolutionary technology uses stem cells to produce cells that protect or repair brain function.
http://www.kadimastem.com/press-item/60/kadimastem-to-collaborate-merck-serono-advance-combined-efforts-in-neurodegenerative-disease-area

Mother’s cancer drives daughter to research breakthrough. Dr. Svetlana Bunimovich of Ariel University has developed mathematical models to improve the treatment of bladder cancer. She was inspired to study the issue when her mother was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184276#.U_x3M6PFPB9

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Institute for transport innovation. Tel Aviv University is to open the country’s first National Research Institute for Transportation Innovation. The institute will receive NIS 13.5 million in funding for the next five years. Entrepreneurs will be invited to perform research in the Porter School and receive financial support.
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/New-Tech/Tel-Aviv-U-to-open-institute-on-transportation-innovation-371148

NASA adopts Israeli space camera. NASA has adopted Israeli technology for a robot to inspect equipment in deep space. The Visual Inspection Poseable Invertebrate Robot, or VIPIR, is an articulating borescope tool and a tiny camera from Israeli medical device company Medigus to provide a close-up look at space equipment.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/tiny-israeli-martian-camera-powers-nasa-repair-robot/

“Today, virtually every electronic device is produced using Orbotech technology.” (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Now you have it – one Israeli company is responsible for the production of almost every single electronic device in the world. Read this statement in Yavne-based Orbotech’s latest Press Release.
http://www.orbotech.com/Eng/D3_Article/MenuId/527/Id/1056/

A complete pre-school learning program. (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Herzliya’s Tiltan Games announced a new versatile educational program for preschool, pre-K and kindergarten kids. It includes over 30 topics and games. Adaptive practice and test modules provide a personalized growth experience.
http://tiltangames.com/blog/2014/07/29/my-dino-companion/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BZsjznbCNk

A “whole body” of knowledge. Students taking the Interactive Objects course run by Israel’s Technion can certainly get totally immersed in some exciting projects. They reflect today’s world of design, which must consider the ability to create user interaction or to respond to changes in the environment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgUm_S3Wjdw&feature=youtu.be

Rescue device can also detect tunneling. Israel’s Elpam Electronics originally developed the geophone to find people trapped under the debris of collapsed buildings. Now it is updating the device to locate the sound of someone crawling up to 10 meters below the surface of the ground.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/using-seismic-vibrations-israeli-firm-aims-to-detect-gaza-tunnels/

Israel plans center for agriculture technology in Goa. Israel is setting up a “center of excellence” in Goa, providing technological solutions to agricultural issues. Israel’s consul general in Mumbai, Davik Akov wants to add Goa (India’s smallest state by size) to the 20 other centers offering Israeli technology all over India.
http://jewishbusinessnews.com/2014/08/24/israel-plans-center-for-agriculture-technology-in-goa/

How to design urban shade. The Design Museum in Holon is running a unique international competition – to design and build a prototype of a shaded open space. 17 teams from Israel, USA, UK, six European countries, Chile and Turkey aim to advance the transformation of public spaces in countries with similar climates to Israel.
http://www.dmh.org.il/urbanshade/en/pages/?maincat=4&catId=12

MARTIN SHERMAN: INCREDIBLE!

Binyamin Netanyahu is a man of great talent and considerable achievement who hesitated, and missed the moment.

I feel a sense of acute discomfort in writing this week’s column.

I served for a number of years in the Prime Minister’s Office and witnessed first-hand the dedication and devotion with which so many in the security establishment discharge their duties. I am well aware of the huge debt the entire country owes them for their tireless and selfless endeavor. Yet despite their splendid and stirring efforts, dark and dangerous storm clouds are gathering on the horizon, and the emerging ramifications of accumulating miscalculation and misjudgment in the directives issued them are too menacing to be swept under the rug.

If they are not confronted openly, honestly and robustly they will fester and grow to dimensions that jeopardize the very foundations upon which the State of Israel was established.

Collapse of credibility?

It appears my misgivings are shared by a rapidly increasing segment of the population.

Earlier this week, my colleague Isi Leibler (August 25) published a column assessing the losses and gains of Operation Protective Edge. In it he wrote: “Today, despite a decline in support, the majority of Israelis still back Netanyahu.” He was right – but not for long.

A poll published later the same day found that support for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had plummeted to well below 50 percent. Having soared to a stunning 82% early in the campaign (July 27), public approval of his performance dropped to 63% (August 5), dipping to 55% (August 21) and then, just prior to the latest ceasefire, plunged to 38% (August 25), with 50% disapproving.

SAVING NATO: SOL SANDERS

A version of this column will be published Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, at yeoldecrabb.com

Saving NATO

It was one great historical irony that when NATO’s famous Article 5 – an attack on any member is an attack on all and demands their assistance – was invoked, it would be not in the aid of the European states for which the Treaty was designed but for the U.S. Nor did the 9/11 attack come from NATO’s anticipated enemy, the Soviet Union, but the new international jihadist terror network.

Thus history’s most successful alliance – it protected Western Europe at the highwater mark of Communism both without and within for a half century until the Soviet Union imploded — met a new challenge in far-off Afghanistan. Yes, the German contingent spent too much time drinking beer and refusing night warfare, most of the Europeans sent token forces, and “the Anglo-Saxons” [certainly not excluding the Australians!] as usual carried the weight to a quick military victory despite outrageous rules of engagement. And, with the current kind of political impasse in “nation building” in Kabul, the longest war in U.S. history might still come to less. But the Treaty obligations worked.

Now, almost two decades after Moscow seemed a convert to a new universalism of free elections, an independent judiciary and media, a civil society and market economics, the European leadership is back to square one. A lying, hypocritical Russian dictatorship in all but name – if basically weak — has challenged with naked aggression the whole benign concept of what the Obama Administration keeps preaching is a new universal morality. Somehow, Putin doesn’t seem to have heard that sermon.

No, the Russian threat it is not now against a member of NATO. Only now, belatedly, has Kyiv decided to press for admission. But with Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin’s infamous remark that the fall of the Soviet Union was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, it doesn’t take much imagination to see what is his goal. It is the restitution of domination of the Soviets over the old Tsarist Empire including much of eastern and central Europe [and Central Asia].

The Questions Aren’t Ridiculous to Ask Anymore By Frank Salvato

Not too long ago if you supposed that President Obama was sympathetic to his Islamic experience as a child, inside the beltway Republicans would cringe and Progressives would howl. Non-engaged and no- and low-information voters would immediately call you a conspiracy theorist, an Obama-hating racist and other assorted kneejerk labels. But given the incredible inaction and indecisiveness on Mr. Obama’s part with regard to the Islamic State, this question not only needs to be braved, but has become one we all need a definitive answer to.

In a 2007 New York Times article, Nicholas Kristoff wrote:

“‘I was a little Jakarta street kid,’ [Mr. Obama] said in a wide-ranging interview in his office…Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated…, Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as ‘one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.’

“Moreover, Mr. Obama’s own grandfather in Kenya was a Muslim. Mr. Obama never met his grandfather and says he isn’t sure if his grandfather’s two wives were simultaneous or consecutive, or even if he was Sunni or Shiite.”

Mr. Obama intended, from the very beginning, to bring a new perspective to the American people about the Islamic culture. His 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt, was titled “A New Beginning.” In that speech Mr. Obama said:

“As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”

But as Victor Davis Hanson points out in his article “Obama’s Hazy Sense of History”:

The Notion of “Sin” in Islam and Christianity — on The Glazov Gang

The Notion of “Sin” in Islam and Christianity — on The Glazov Gang
How the stark contrast in two religions’ values fosters peace and forgiveness in one — and violence and killing in the other.

This week’s Glazov Gang was guest-hosted by Nonie Darwish and joined by Dr. Jim Tolle, the Senior Pastor at El Camino Metro Church in Los Angeles.

Pastor Tolle joined the show to discuss The Notion of “Sin” in Islam and Christianity, analyzing how the stark contrast in two religions’ values fosters peace and forgiveness in one — and violence and killing in the other:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/frontpagemag-com/the-notion-of-sin-in-islam-and-christianity-on-the-glazov-gang/