http://pjmedia.com/blog/real-damage-from-racial-preferences/ Racial preferences — i.e., discrimination — are usually touted as a way to help minorities. Often overlooked, however, is the harm they cause these same individuals. Any day now, we will be getting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas on the constitutionality of the racial preferences practiced […]
It didn’t take the IRS scandal, the Benghazi debacle, and the surveillance of the press to make me think Barack Obama was one of the worst, if not the worst, president in American history. I already did.
But I’m not sure the latest scandal — the mass sweep of everyone’s metadata by the NSA — is everything it’s cracked up to be. Certainly, it’s not surprising. I rather yawned at the revelation that the comings and goings of all our emails, phone calls, texts, etc., were being recorded. I always assumed they were. And I always thought we were all leaving an indelible digital trail.
In fact, I had long since ceased putting my most serious private communications online or even making them over the phone, except in moments of haste or laziness, when I held my nose and went ahead with it. I imagine many of us have done that.
And this has little or nothing to do with Bush, Obama, or any politician. It’s the nature of technology. Privacy, as we once knew it, is over. We can put in strong checks and balances to prevent the improper exploitation of this information to bolster the provisions already in place, but we’re fighting the proverbial uphill battle — and not just because of Obama’s quasi-totalitarian behavior (although who would like the crew behind the IRS scandal peering into our email?).
Sad, but true…. but there is another side to it. I spent part of Sunday at Kibbutz Misgav Am  in a part of the extreme north of Israel known as “The Finger.” This is because, like a finger, the kibbutz juts up into Lebanon so that parts of it are bordered by the Arab state on three sides. (Earlier in the day, I had driven an ATV right along that border.)
I stood in the lookout booth at the kibbutz high point with a spokesperson looking down at a Shiite village perhaps two hundred meters away. You could see yellow Hezbollah flags flying in front of the houses, one of them just yards from a small UN installation. To our right were some sculptures made from primitive Hezbollah mortars in previous wars. (By the way, later I saw several UN jeeps heading south on the main road. I couldn’t tell if they were Austrian soldiers who were reported leaving the Golan Heights to avoid involvement in the Syrian civil war, but they looked European.)
The Shiite village houses, it was explained to me, had no glass in their windows, the better to get their weapons out fast to fire at the Israelis. Who wants the inconvenience of glass between you and the despised enemy? No matter that it snowed in winter in this part of Galilee. Hate is hate.
http://www.thecommentator.com/article/3747/only_in_israel_gay_rights_in_the_middle_east Sexual minorities are as unwelcome in the Middle East as are religious minorities. Except in Israel spectators and participants, including some of Israel’s most powerful politicians. Here is The Times of Israel report on the event: “Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai kicked off the festivities with a speech that reflected on the journey since the first […]
Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has lately garnered more attention for her unhinged political views than for her writing. She has compared Fidel Castro to the Dalai Lama. She refused to allow her book “The Color Purple” to be translated into Hebrew. But perhaps nothing was more off-base—at least morally speaking—than the open letter Ms. Walker wrote in late May to singer-songwriter Alicia Keys. Ms. Walker, writing at the website of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, urged Ms. Keys to cancel a July 4 performance in Israel.
Ms. Walker wrote: “you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country.” The writer then compared the plight of the Palestinians to that of blacks in the American South prior to the civil-rights movement. “You were not born when we, your elders who love you, boycotted institutions in the U.S. South to end an American apartheid less lethal than Israel’s against the Palestinian people.”
Over the last 72 hours Americans have learned more about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, whose quasi-exposure appears to be a bombshell without a bomb. The political reaction is no saner as a result, but perhaps reality and substance will eventually prevail.
President Obama emerged to defend the NSA on Friday, noting that his assessment of the programs that originated under his predecessor was “that on, you know, net, it was worth us doing” because “they help us prevent terrorist attacks.” He also invited a debate about how we are “striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy, because there are some trade-offs involved.”
Mr. Obama is conceding too much to the folks who imagine the government is compiling dossiers on citizens and listening to calls a la “The Lives of Others.”
The NSA is collecting “metadata”—logs of calls received and sent, and other types of data about data for credit card transactions and online communications. Americans now generate a staggering amount of such information—about 161 exabytes per year, equal to the information stored in 37,000 Libraries of Congress. Organizing and making sense of this raw material is now possible given advances in information technology, high-performance computing and storage capacity. The field known as “big data” is revolutionizing everything from retail to traffic patterns to epidemiology.
Mr. Obama waved off fears of “Big Brother” but he might have mentioned that the paradox of data-mining is that the more such information the government collects the less of an intrusion it is. These data sets are so large that only algorithms can understand them. The search is for trends, patterns, associations, networks. They are not in that sense invasions of individual privacy at all.
The NSA’s surveillance program doesn’t do damage. Revealing it does.
Once again, the tanks-have-rolled left and the black-helicopters right have joined together in howls of protest. They were set off by last week’s revelations that the U.S. government has been collecting data that disclose the fact, but not the content, of electronic communications within the country, as well as some content data outside the U.S. that does not focus on American citizens. Once again, the outrage of the left-right coalition is misdirected.
Libertarian Republicans and liberal—progressive, if you prefer—Democrats see the specter of George Orwell’s “1984” in what they claim is pervasive and unlawful government spying. These same groups summoned “1984” in 2001 after passage of the Patriot Act, in 2008 after renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, and many times in between and since.
Regrettably, those best positioned to defend such surveillance programs are least likely to do so out of obvious security concerns. Without getting into detail here, intelligence agencies, with court authorization, have been collecting data in an effort that is neither pervasive nor unlawful. As to the data culled within the U.S., the purpose is to permit analysts to map relationships between and among Islamist fanatics.
For example, it would be helpful to know who communicated with the Tsarnaev brothers, who those people were in touch with, and whether there are overlapping circles that would reveal others bent on killing and maiming Americans—sort of a terrorist Venn diagram. Once these relationships are disclosed, information can be developed that would allow a court to give permission to monitor the content of communications.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/are_republicans_more_ethical_than_democrats.html It is easy to be cynical about the corrosive effects of power. No party has a monopoly on corruption and misuse of public office. Yet cynicism is not the same as wisdom. Such every day cynicism helps Democrats escape from the uncomfortable moral challenges posed to big government advocates by the slew of scandals […]
On March 2, 2007, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama addressed an AIPAC foreign policy forum in Chicago, Illinois. Here is what he had to say:
We should all be concerned about the agreement negotiated among Palestinians in Mecca last month. The reports of this agreement suggest that Hamas, Fatah, and independent ministers would sit in a government together, under a Hamas Prime Minister, without any recognition of Israel, without a renunciation of violence, and with only an ambiguous promise to “respect” previous agreements.
This should concern us all because it suggests that Mahmoud Abbas, who is a Palestinian leader I believe is committed to peace, felt forced to compromise with Hamas. However, if we are serious about the Quartet’s conditions, we must tell the Palestinians this is not good enough.
For those of us that support the state of Israel and wish for nothing more than peace with security for her beleaguered people, these were welcomed words.
So what’s changed since then? If candidate Obama was worried about a Palestinian unity government containing an unrepentant Hamas sworn to Israel’s destruction in 2007, why during his presidency has he relentlessly inveigled Israel into making concessions to a “government” that sooner or later will contain this terrorist organization?
Since the time of his AIPAC speech, none of Obama’s Middle East pontifications have proven correct or come to pass. Why is this so? Why, if anything, is peace between Israel and the Palestinians farther away today than any time before his administration came into office? The answers are simple but many.
While recently reading an article in a Hebrew newspaper about the quiet emigration of Jews from France during the last year and a half, I was suddenly overcome with a very uneasy feeling. It wasn’t the alleged trigger for the emigration, namely a marked increase in violent anti-Semitic attacks in France and in other European countries, which left me feeling uneasy but rather the fact that many of the French Jews purportedly wanted to move to Israel but due to the considerable financial difficulty which relocating to Israel involves today, they were forced to settle elsewhere.
Whether or not these Jews are honestly not coming to Israel because of the growing financial hurdles entailed in aliyah or simply because they’re wealthy Jews who prefer an easier life elsewhere, is irrelevant. The fact is that unlike seventeen years ago when I made aliyah and one was still able to manage here with relatively little, today in Israel settling down or just getting by is becoming more and more difficult. Thus for nearly any Jew who is not somewhat well-off to seriously consider moving to Israel today, it will be nearly impossible for him to buy a home and in many places even quite difficult to rent an apartment. The prices through the years have simply skyrocketed.
http://gatesofvienna.net/Below is the text of the speech given by Geert Wilders to the American Freedom Association in Los Angeles today.
Dear friends, thank you for inviting me to Los Angeles. I always like coming to the United States. There are many things that I admire Americans for. One of them is that they are unashamedly patriotic.
The American Freedom Association has asked me to speak to you about the future of Europe.
Europe is in a terrible state. Bit by bit, European countries are losing their national sovereignty. The economy is in shambles. Islamic immigrants riot and terrorize the many locals. And when people’s throats are slit in the streets, while the murderers shout “Allahu Akbar,” the authorities appease the killers and declare that Islam has nothing to do with it.
Europeans feel that the gap between them en those who rule them is growing. Many no longer feel represented by their politicians. There is a complete disconnect between the people that truly rule Europe and the people that live in it.
The blame lies to a large extent with the European Union and the weak leadership within the European countries which have signed away their national sovereignty. The EU cannot be compared to the United States. Europe is a continent of many different nations with their own identities, traditions and languages. The EU is a supranational organization, but its leaders aim to turn it into a state. To this end they are destroying the wealth, identity and freedoms of the existing nation-states of Europe.