Harper Leads, Obama Stumbles in the Middle East By Jason Stverak August 4, 2014

If you’re pro-Israel and you back President Barack Obama, you’ve had a lousy month.

The president’s backing for Israel in its war with the terror group Hamas has been palpably tepid. Israel has the right to defend itself has become the mantra of the administration, but it has been entwined in so many contradictions that it now lacks credibility.


1. Weeks earlier, the Obama administration had openly supported the Palestinian unity government that included Hamas, whose charter calls for both the destruction of Israel specifically and Jews generally.
2. From the onset of the current conflict, the Obama administration has worked with the Turkey and Qatar, all adversaries of the Jewish state, to call for an immediate cease fire. In the face of Israeli intelligence about Hamas’ planned operation to kill large numbers of Israeli civilians on the high holy days of the Jewish New Year, saying Israel has a right to defend itself but not permitting it to finish the mission to accomplish this is an act of whimsy – or pure hypocrisy.
3. The Federal Aviation Administration issued an unprecedented ban on American flights to Tel Aviv, even as flights continued to Ukraine, where a passenger jet had been downed and two military jets were shot down just days later. Active war zones like Baghdad and Damascus continued to receive American flights. The obvious conclusion: the administration was using Israel’s economic vulnerability during the height of the tourist season to bend Israel to its will.
4. And then there was John Kerry’s original ceasefire plan, which would have saved Hamas from the might of the Israeli military and handed Hamas what it wanted. The deal was so pro-Hamas that some observers quipped that Khaled Mashal, the leader of Hamas, probably wrote it while waiting out the conflict in his five-star Qatar hotel and faxed it to Kerry.


My e-pal Ed Cline discusses Netflix on today’s Ruthfully. I watched a movie on Netflix last night which has not been seen in the theaters. It is called “La Rafle”- translated…..”The Roundup”…. I cannot comment on it as a movie. I go to Marilyn Penn’s excellent reviews for that.

It is a movie recounting the horrors of France’s roundup of Jews during the Holocaust; of their willful participation; of the evil and racism and cynicism of Rene Bousquet, a French collaborator who was displeased with the speed and numbers of the unprecedented house to house search for Frnace’s Jews- those who sought succor in France from Eastern Europe as well as French nationals.

It is unendurable to watch…..their mounting fear, their family play with the most adorable children, their disbelief, their hopes that are soon dashed by their round up and deportation to the horrific conditions of the Drancy prison, and ultimately to the gas chambers.

As the French say “The more things change the more they are the same”….but this time they are not the same. The French, as recent events show are the same, but this time for the Jews, there is Israel. …..rsk

The Month That Was July 2014: Sydney Williams

Aided by science, civilized society is supposed to move forward over time. In many respects it has. In communication, information processing, our ability to combat disease, creating better alternatives for consumers in retailing, we are light years from where we had been a few years ago. Two examples of the thousands out there: The Apple iPhone 5S has more computing power than Voyager 1 that recently left the solar system. Amazon is considering “Prime Air,” a drone-based system that will be able to deliver an order thirty minutes after purchase.

But, in other ways we have retreated. On July 20th, 1969 – two years before my youngest son was born – Apollo 11 landed on the moon, a development that was beyond the wildest dreams of one my age at the time. Three and a half years later, Apollo 17 saw the sixth and final landing of humans on the moon. Since, that lunar orbit we see on clear nights has not experienced any steps of man, small or otherwise. Government is now focused on the more mundane, providing free condoms and ensuring its citizens are happy and comfortable. In the meantime, our infrastructure is crumbling, our rights are being eroded and exploration has been left to others. We blithely live in the present with little concern or planning for the future.

Forty-five years ago, the nation was focused on what men could accomplish with technology and human will – gifts for all mankind. A robust economy was seen as necessary. Today we develop technologies that allow men and women sitting in consoles to cleanly kill enemies with no risk of self injury. Social media has become common for children over the age of six. Teen-agers spend hours on their cell phones instant-messaging and sending photos and videos. We have developed at least 26 methods of birth control, allowing pleasure without consequences. (Don’t get me wrong. I am in favor of birth control and I, too, like my pleasures unhindered. But I suspect our world has become more self-absorbed. There is less of John Kennedy’s ‘…what I can do for the country’ and more of the Barack Obama’s ‘…what the country can do for me.’)

July, like all months, was filled with the serious and the trivial, the joyful and the sorrowful. Two plane disasters occurred during the month, killing 416 people. Combined with the 227 who died on Malaysian Air 370 in March, those three crashes killed 645 people. Last year, of 3.1 billion air passengers, 173 died in crashes, suggesting the odds of being killed in a plane accident were about 18,000,000 to one. (In contrast, an estimated 35,000 Americans were killed in auto accidents last year. The National Transportation Statistics Bureau estimates that the odds of being killed are roughly ten times greater in a car than in a plane.) Malaysian Air 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, either by Ukrainian separatists, or possibly by Russians. Either way, the missile and its launch pad were most assuredly Russian; though it is my guess the militants thought they were firing at an enemy plane, but have been unable to admit to such a stupid and tragic mistake. Air Algérie 5107, on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers, crashed in a remote region of northern Mali, killing all 118 aboard.

The biggest news story has been Israel’s defense against the terrorist group Hamas, which now controls the Gaza strip. Israel is not only faced with an enemy that has sworn to “wipe them off the map,” they are also fighting a PR battle, as Hamas is expert at putting children and civilians in harm’s way. (For example, the other morning, listening to CBS radio, the newscaster announced that Israel had targeted a school and some 19 children were killed. The nonchalant ignorance of the announcer almost made me physically ill.) “War is Hell,” William Tecumseh Sherman allegedly once said, and he would have known. It is easy for us sitting in the comfort of our homes to become influenced by the photos and news stories emanating from Gaza City and feel sympathy for hapless Palestinians living there. Israel is fighting for its survival against a small group of Islamic extremists who are committed, not only to that country’s destruction, but to that of the West with its Christian-Judeo heritage. With 24-hour news coverage, we must take care and not let the distraction of ignorant commentators cause us to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Jon Voight Rips Into Anti-Israel Celebs By Mark Tapson

Among the celebrities I wrote about last week who are speaking out for and (mostly) against Israel during the Gaza conflict were Spanish husband-and-wife actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. They, in addition to dozens of other Spanish artists, signed an open letter condemning Israel for its “genocide” of the so-called Palestinians. In response, Jon Voight, Hollywood’s most vocal conservative actor, penned a strong open letter of his own for The Hollywood Reporter, advising Cruz and Bardem to “hang your heads in shame.”

In a statement on Wednesday Penelope Cruz tried to walk back her denunciation of Israel. After prefacing her clarification with an acknowledgement that she is “not an expert on the situation,” Ms. Cruz explained that “My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza.” Well, that’s what we all hope for, but some of us understand that peace is not going to come from the hatemongering terrorists of Hamas, and some of us, like Ms. Cruz and her husband, seem to believe that Israel is the problem.

Bardem released a statement as well, in which he tried to clarify his position and complained of the backlash against him and Cruz: “I am now being labeled by some as anti-Semitic, as is my wife — which is the antithesis of who we are as human beings. We detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war.” Bardem went on to try to make a distinction between his criticism of “the Israeli military response” and his “great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses.”

As I wrote last week, that distinction would carry more weight if Bardem and others like him didn’t always direct their condemnation toward the one nation in the Middle East that holds the values which liberals like Bardem and Cruz claim to cherish: human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, equality between Jews and Arabs, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and all the rest.

Instead, in addition to his signature on the open letter, Bardem had also written an op-ed for a Spanishnewspaper, in which he unjustly labeled Israel’s military operation “genocide” and “a war of extermination… where hospitals, ambulances, and children are targets and presumed to be terrorists.” “Right now,” Bardem wrote in the op-ed, “there is NO place for distance or neutrality.” He’s right about that, but unfortunately he chose to throw his support behind the terrorists.

In his more recent statement, Bardem noted that “Too many innocent Palestinian mothers have lost their children to this conflict. Too many innocent Israeli mothers share the same grief… There should not be any political reason that can justify such enormous pain on both sides.” But there is a reason for the enormous pain – the Palestinian leadership’s relentless determination to kill Jews and wipe Israel off the map. Any further pain would cease overnight if the terrorism ended and Palestinians demonstrated a willingness to coexist in peace.

‘Exodus’ – French-Style By Stephen Brown

The lights are going out in the land of the Enlightenment.

The violent, anti-Semitic nightmare Europe thought it would never see again after the Nazi Holocaust is raising its ugly head once more, this time on French soil.

Jew-hatred, mostly among France’s six and a half million Muslims, is reaching such threatening proportions that an increasing number of the country’s 500,000 Jews feel forced to leave their native land to ensure their safety. At one Jewish agency that assists French Jews to emigrate to Israel the telephone, it was reported, “does not stop ringing.

“For 2014, one will have to register a record number of departures of French Jews for Israel since its creation in 1948,” the agency’s director told the French newspaper Le Figaro. “It will safely exceed 5,000 people. In 2013, there were already 3,300, an increase of 73 percent compared with 2012.”

And one can expect the numbers to climb even higher after the recent displays of Jew-hatred in France that “shocked” and “dumbfounded” the country’s Jewish community. In two demonstrations on successive July weekends in central Paris, demonstrators, mostly Muslims of North African and Middle Eastern descent, allegedly protesting Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, shouted anti-Semitic slogans, attacked police, burned vehicles and damaged stores.

Authorities banned the second demonstration after the first one saw two synagogues and a kosher grocery store attacked, all accompanied by shouts of ‘Death to the Jews’. But the ban didn’t make any difference. The demonstration went ahead anyways. Mob rule and barbarism won out over law and order. And the government’s apparent powerlessness, or unwillingness, to enforce the ban was very noticeable.

“Saturday at the synagogue, there was only talk of packing one’s suitcases,” said the publication manager of a Jewish newspaper after the riots. “One has the feeling that this is only the start, that this is going to become more radical…”

According to Le Figaro, some young, French Jewish families are leaving both because of the country’s increasingly anti-Semitic climate, which, they believe, endangers their children, and the French economy’s poor performance. Representatives of France’s Jewish community told the newspaper parents fear putting their children into Jewish schools and summer camps because of possible anti-Semitic attacks. And who can blame them when one recalls French jihadist Mohammed Merah, who murdered four people, three of them children, at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012.

Conservatives Triumph in Border Bill Victory By Matthew Vadum

Conservatives in Congress scored a major triumph last week as the House approved emergency legislation that strengthens border security and attempts to rein in a lawless president.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a conservative champion, took a well-deserved victory lap in an interview with the WND news website.

The “legislative miracle” approved by the House represents a “stunning turnaround” and “a huge victory for the conservatives in Congress.” Its approval is also a big win for the American people who, Bachmann said, “saved Congress from itself” by jamming the congressional switchboard to state their opposition to President Obama’s planned immigration amnesty.

Bachmann noted the legislation pays states to place National Guard troops on the border, doubling funding for that program. It also responds to the president’s threat that “he would act alone, lawlessly, to grant work permits to 5- to 6 million illegal foreign nationals.”

“We have taken the strongest possible action, legislatively, to stop him,” Bachmann said. “We’ve put the president on notice by saying, ‘You better not issue these work permits because we’ve said no. You better not try it, Mr. President.’”

The bill also provides funding to immigration agencies to house illegal alien children and also amends a 2008 law that was created to block the sex trafficking of young people but which has been used to provide asylum to illegals coming from Central American countries.

Bachmann also marveled at the fact that the bill was even tougher in her view than what anti-amnesty stalwarts Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had thought was politically possible to achieve.

She also rejected President Obama‘s mischievous comment Friday afternoon in which he attacked conservatives for supposedly preventing the House from approving a border-fix measure.

That comment was “infantile,” Bachmann said, noting that the Democrat-controlled Senate is the chamber that has yet to approve a border bill. Republicans hope Senate Democrats take a public relations drubbing in coming weeks for failing to act.


Maybe it’s just a coincidence that somebody like Jesse Ventura is also a major fan of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara? (Or claims to be for the publicity value among the “hip”?)

Recalling his visit to Cuba and meeting with Fidel Castro in 2002 Ventura grew misty-eyed: “Fidel Castro looked into my eyes and told me I was a man of great courage…Maybe he (Castro) saw a little of him in me.”

Recall the Cowardly Lion’s reaction when the Wizard grants him “the NERVE.” Well, Jesse Ventura’s moronic gloating outdoes even the lion’s (“Shucks, folks, I’m speechless..ha-ha…Ain’t it the truth! Ain’t it the truth!”)

And this imbecile and buffoon (or is it master fraud and expert showman?) was elected governor of a populous and prosperous state, and honored by Harvard University with the title of “Visiting Fellow,” to say nothing of his career as media host and author.

“And I’ll tell you another thing that shows me a little bit more about Castro” also revealed Ventura in an interview. “The main downtown building in Havana has this huge flat wall and it has got a huge portrait on it. It’s not Castro. It’s Che Guevara. The biggest photograph in downtown Havana was a mural on a wall of Che. Now if Castro was such an egomaniac and all this, wouldn’t he put himself up there instead of Che?”

For a man with Ventura’s (mostly self-) vaunted “street smarts,” Fidel Castro’s blandishments of (the conveniently dead) Che Guevara should be a cinch to plumb. Didn’t Don Barzini send the biggest and fanciest flowers to Don Corleone’s funeral?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported how on his Cuba visit Ventura spoke at the University of Havana where he “exhorted students to dream big and work hard to achieve success!” Here one blinks, looks again—and gapes. You long to believe otherwise, you grope for an extenuation, you hope you misread—but it’s inescapable: A man elected as governor of a populous and prosperous U.S. State (and a “Harvard Visiting Fellow”) cannot distinguish between the subjects of a Stalinist police state and the attendees of an AmWay convention.

Ask anyone familiar with Communism. To achieve “success” in such as Castro’s Stalinist fiefdom, you join the Communist Party, you pucker up and stoop down behind Fidel and his toadies and smooch away. (Either that or jump on a raft.)

So come to think of it, Jesse Ventura indeed had much to teach those Havana U. students. On his Cuba visit he performed brilliantly.


During WW2 our understanding of a moral war was not a war in which we did not kill any civilians (we killed a lot of civilians), it wasn’t even a war in which we did not kill any civilians on purpose (we killed a lot of civilians on purpose), it was a war in which we did not kill civilians without having a good reason.

We might carry out mass bombings of entire cities to destroy the enemy’s wartime production capabilities and demoralize his population.

Until recently, those were considered good reasons for killing civilians.

The moral context for these actions, snipped away from anti-war works such as Slaughterhouse-Five or Grave of the Fireflies which reduce the American bombings of Dresden or Kobe to the senseless acts of brutal monsters, is that we were fighting Germany and Japan using their own tactics against them.

It was Germany which introduced the bombing of cities to Europe during WW1 and WW2. In 1917, after German bombings, Premier Lloyd George shouted to a working class London crowd, “We will give all back to them and we will give it to them soon. We shall bomb Germany with compound interest.”

WW2’s Blitz was repaid with compound interest over Germany. Japan’s firebombing of Chinese cities was repaid with compound interest with the firebombing of Tokyo. This wasn’t mere vengeance. The rules of war are set by mutual consent. The humanitarian protections that we have come to take for granted as if they were natural laws are really mutual agreements between two sides.

On September 14, 2001, George W. Bush stood at Ground Zero and offered the working class New Yorkers amid the rubble an echo of Lloyd George. “I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

Since then we have been mired in an extended debate which presumes wrongly that any laws of war ever applied to those men. The entire existence of terrorism is eloquent evidence that treating fighters who have placed themselves outside the social contract as if they were within it is foolishly destructive.

Our Weird Energy Politics The Energy Fecklessness of Two Democratic Administrations. By Patrick J. Michaels

What is it about the weather that compels our government to ineptly dictate how we produce electricity and consume energy? This a worthwhile question to ask on August 4, the anniversary of the day in 1977 that President James Earl Carter signed legislation creating the brand-new, Cabinet-level Department of Energy.

When it comes to energy fecklessness, which was very costly to the Democratic party in the revolutionary election of 1980, Barack Obama’s policies are in Mr. Carter’s league. With global warming at the top of the president’s agenda and at the bottom of the electorate’s, a similar result may be brewing.

A trip back to 1977 reveals remarkable similarities between then and now, and some remarkable symmetries. Three consecutive winters, starting with the winter of Carter’s inauguration, were the coldest trio since comprehensive instrumental records were first kept in 1895. To show his new administration’s environmental sanctity, Carter had a solar-heated reviewing stand built for his inauguration. Wind chills were even lower than they were at Obama’s first inauguration. The stand was so cold that very few people stuck around after the ceremony.

A week later, the lights went out in Ohio and Pennsylvania, thanks to a shortage of natural gas. The Ohio River froze so completely that people walked across from Cincinnati to Kentucky.

Less than 90 days after his inaugural, Carter addressed the nation wearing a sweater and called the “energy crisis” the “moral equivalent of war” (wags soon acronymed it MEOW). He told the American people he was convinced that the nation faced “the impending crisis of energy shortages” as we ran out of natural gas and oil. It was in this speech that Carter proposed the new Department of Energy, which was intended to guide the nation to energy abundance and independence, shifting us to an energy mix of coal, nuclear (which he regularly pronounced “noo-kie-er”), and — despite everyone’s freezing at his inaugural — solar.

During the election campaign Carter’s handlers had sold him as a “nuclear engineer” who had an M.S. from Union College in New York. He wasn’t and he didn’t (although he did take some classes at Union College in Schenectady), nor did he serve on the USS Seawolf, the nation’s second nuclear sub. He never set the record straight, and he used the inflated biography to bolster his credibility on energy matters. (The myths still stand. According to the American Experience website, “A trained nuclear engineer, Carter worked under famed Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the Navy’s nuclear program, on the ‘Sea Wolf,’ an atomic submarine. He also studied nuclear physics at Union College in New York.”)

Why Doesn’t Boehner’s Lawsuit Mention Immigration? By Andrew C. McCarthy

A telling omission in what’s meant to be a rebuke of Obama’s lawlessness

House speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama strikes a high-minded blow for the rule of law. Gamesmanship? Perish the thought. “This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats,” the Speaker thundered on the House floor. “It’s about defending the Constitution we swore an oath to uphold.”

Well, that’s a relief. For a moment there, I was worried that it might be a “political stunt,” which is what the soon-to-be defendant sloughed it off as.

In urging the House to approve the resolution authorizing the suit, which it did in a party-line vote Wednesday, Boehner asserted that Congress needed to act — er, well, let’s try that again. He asserted that Congress needed to plead with the judiciary to act because President Obama has overstepped his constitutional bounds. It takes a lawsuit, we are told, to check what the resolution describes as certain “actions by the President and other executive branch officials inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution of the United States.”

Good to know it’s all about duty and constitutional propriety, not tactical considerations. But I do have one question: If the lawsuit is really about vindicating the Constitution, why didn’t the Speaker include the president’s immigration lawlessness?

Have a look at the resolution, here. It authorizes Boehner to sue Obama and his underlings for actions inconsistent with their “duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States.” But read on through the fine print — the gobbledygook of statutory citations — and you find that the lawsuit will be narrowly limited to executive overreach with respect to Obamacare.

Don’t get me wrong: The president’s implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is, inarguably, a solid example of his lawlessness. In Faithless Execution, I outline the dozens of executive diktats: waiving this provision, amending that one, manufacturing taxes and criminal penalties, and generally usurping congressional power.

But what about the president’s other serial statutory violations and unconstitutional usurpations? His systematic dismantling of federal immigration law outstrips even Obamacare in its brazen illegality. Yet, though this fact is well known to Boehner, a reference to immigration is nowhere to be found in his resolution or his lawsuit.