Friday, March 31, 2017

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 Is There A Road To Mideast Peace? Reality Vs. Fiction 

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 Bookworm Beat 3/30/17 — tight-knit communities, nuclear families, and individual worth

 The Political Parties Are An Illusion Designed To “Relegate The Governed To A Position Barely Above That Of Cattle” 

 Seattle sues to protect sanctuary city status 

 Senate votes to allow states to deny funds to Planned Parenthood

 Purveyor of “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” Lie Goes Hollywood 

 A Clockwork Orange Revisited

Is There A Road To Mideast Peace? Only Using Reality Versus Fiction

 Image result for Israel versus Palestine

Now that the Trump Administration has shown itself to be unabashedly pro-Israel, the usual suspects in the media and elsewhere are spreading their usual logorrhea* on the subject of Mideast peace and of course, the vital necessity of a Palestinian state.

What's interesting is that most of what these people are suggesting has been tried in the past, and it hasn't worked. Their usual suggestions involve the old clunker of land for peace (by Israel of course, not by the Arabs who call themselves 'Palestinians'), boosting Palestine's economy, Jerusalem as a shared capitol 'for all faiths' as one of them put it, and borders on the old 1948 ceasefire lines. In exchange for which Israel obtains a guarantee from the Arabs of peace.

None of this would work, even if Israel gave in to all of 'Palestine's' demands. I'll explain why as briefly as possible, and then tell you what I think might actually achieve Mideast peace, since I live in the real world.

'Land for peace' has already been tried and it's been a total failure except for once, with Egypt and that's because Anwar Sadat actually needed peace, liked the idea of getting Sinai back and a nifty $1.5 billion every year in badly needed US aid in exchange for a few promises. It's been a dismal, blood soaked failure every other time for Israel every other time it's been tried, especially when dealing with the Arabs whom call themselves Palestinians.

The Israelis have no reason to trust Hamas and Fatah since they've repeatedly violated Oslo and the Road Map, which were essentially land for peace deals. If you've actually been there, you understand giving 'Palestine' the high ground in Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank to the initiated) also involves a major strategic risk for Israel, since it puts both Israel's most populated areas and Ben-Gurion airport in easy missile range. No reason Israel should give this area up to its mortal enemies for some 'promises.'

The Jordan Valley, overwhelmingly populated by Israelis is another point worth mentioning. Putting that in 'Palestinian' hands gives Iran free access to 'Palestine' via Syria and Jordan, and allows Iran to do what they did with Hezbollah and Hamas...arm them with missiles. If you were Israel, would you do something that stupid for 'promises' by the Arabs?

Boosting 'Palestine's' economy? Well, that's been going on for quite some time. The results have done very little to achieve Mideast peace. If 'Palestine' were a normal country, I'd agree that trade helps peace. It isn't and it won't. Proof of this is that prior to the First Intifada, Israel literally built 'Palestine's' infrastructure - schools, roads, power grid, universities, hospitals, etc. and that even continued after Oslo, before Arafat showed his true hand in the Second intifada.

Palestine' under Arafat and Abbas has received more aid than any developing country in history. The only results have been fat bank accounts in Jordan, the Emirates and Europe, excessive 'security forces,' luxurious villas for the elites, a growing payroll of convicted terrorist killers and their families, and a few monopoly industries wholly controlled by the Fatah mafiosos.

'Palestine' is essentially a kleptocracy. According Mahmoud Dahlan, Abbas and Arafat's former 'security chief', Abbas personally embezzled more than $1.3 billion personally from aid money and 'taxes', and he and the other Fatah cronies take a cut of all economic activity. The IMF says that at least 50% of the donor aid money gets 'diverted' into the bank accounts I mentioned, spent on supporting jihad and incitement against Israel, and supporting the resulting jailed criminals and their families. The main reason American-born former primes minister Salem Fayyad was fired by Abbas is because he actually started exposing some of this thievery.

Aside from that, there's no upside for Israel in helping the 'Palestinians' make more money to buy missiles and bullets to shoot at them. Palestine has nothing Israel needs, except perhaps a certain amount of cheap labor. And even that has pretty much been done away with after a number of Palestinian workers turned on their fellow workers,both during the Second intifada and the more recent Knife intifada. So Israel is importing guest workers now when that becomes necessary.

The bottom line is that there's no incentive or upside for Israel to strengthen the economy of what amounts to a hostile regime. Been there, done that, just like 'Land for peace'

Jerusalem a city of shared faiths? It already is, at least since the Israelis annexed it after Jordan attacked them in 1967. Under the Arabs, it was anything but. Every Jew living there in 1948 was ethnically cleansed. 28 historic synagogues with their Torah scrolls were burnt to the ground, Jewish tombstones from the Mount of Olives were used as paving stones and the Kotel, the holiest site in Judaism was used as a garbage dump and latrine. The Israelis aren't giving it back. Especially after experiencing violence and hideous vandalism at other Jewish holy sites like the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's tomb that they actually attempted to share with the Arabs who call themselves 'Palestinians.'

What I'm trying to point out here is that the usual demands made on Israel for peace have two things in common. They've already been tried and they haven't worked.

One argument frequently used is that because of them munificent aid we give Israel, they should be willing to negotiate some of these things. Actually, in terms of dollars and cents, the aid Israel receives is small considering what Israel gives the U.S. in goods, access and services. There's a healthy argument that from a financial standpoint, Israel might be better off giving up the aid and simply doing what most of our other allies, like Turkey do - charging the U.S. the going rate.

The going rate Israel could charge America per year just for maintaining and guarding America's Mideast Strategic Arms depot on its soil alone would probably come close to the amount of the aid we give them per year just by itself. The chief benefit for Israel isn't the aid, by US backup internationally. And as I said, the Israel-US relationship is weighted heavily towards the US and is one of our few foreign policy bargains.

The argument is that Israel should simply bend over and endanger its people for the sake of US support doesn't wash. That support can be subject to change when you have a president that hearts Islamists and does not like Israel at all. Commitments and even written treaty guarantees change suddenly change then, as we've seen,with someone like Barack Hussein Obama in charge. And Arab 'good will' when it comes to the Jews and other infidels is also rather shaky and subject to change, especially when they think they have the upper hand militarily. But land and strategic positions last a lot longer, and can only be reclaimed by blood. The Israelis have simply bent over too many times.

For that matter, we give 'Palestine' a substantial amount of aid too and get zero for it. None of the people msking these arguments ever mention what we should demand from 'Palestine' based on that. It's always Israel that has real concessions are demanded. Never 'Palestine.' Funny thow that works, no?

If you've walked with me this far, I suppose you see where I'm going. Because of their hostile and violemt behavior, 'Palestine' has nothing Israel wants, and Israel has no reason to trust them. In any event, any deal Abbas makes is not going to be accepted by Hamas, so even the idea of peace is a farce. Even assuming Fatah and Abbas cut some kind of deal and offer Israel uncontested ownership of Jerusalem, forego the so-called right of return and recognize Israel as a Jewish state or make some kind of pledge for peace, so what? Israel either has those things already, isn't going to deal on the items in question and realizes that 'peace' is likely to be a mirage anyway.

Trump's idea, I'm sure, is a sort of grand bargain involving not just the Palestinians but the whole Arab region as a way of unifying against Shi'ite Iran. Some of these countries would go along, and some of them are even trading and engaging in security cooperation with Israel under the radar, but the Palestinians remain problematic. Half the Mideast has already tossed them out of their countries as a violent, divisive element. But they have also used the Arabs whom call themselves Palestinians as a propaganda point against Israel for decades. They're in a trap of their own making, with the possible exception of Egypt and al-Sissi.

So here's how to really achieve a lasting Mideast peace.

Fatah and Hamas will never make peace with Israel. Period. We have Bill Clinton to thank for insisting that a murdering, corrupt thug like Arafat be rescued from obscurity in Tunis and made the new 'Palestinian' strongman. The start of any peace process will be to realize that it isn't a peace process so much as a divorce, and likely not an amicable one.

In exchange for recognition of Palestine by Israel, Israel could make a final offer consisting of the following conditions:

  • Israel would recognize a Palestinian state in Area A of Judea and Samaria, where the vast majority of the Palestinians live. Area C where the majority of Israelis live would become part of Israel. Borders in Area B would be negotiated by the parties. Once borders are negotiated, appropriate population swaps would be completed.

  • An immediate end to Palestinian incitement in its mosques, media and schools.

  • An immediate end to financial support for convicted terrorists in Israeli jails and their families.

  • The new Palestinian state would be completely demilitarized. Jordan isn't going to attack them, and neither is Israel unless Palestine violates this new, binding agreement. There's no need for more than a small, lightly armed police force. Palestine would agree to turn over non-police weaponry like the armored cars Obama gave the two combat brigades he had General Keith Dayton train and arm for use against Israel.

  • The new Palestinian state will make a complete break of all relations with Hamas unless Hamas signs the agreement and complies with all its terms. That won't happen of course, but it's worth putting in there.

  • Palestine would officially declare the conflict over, agree to recognize the new borders as final and abjure all claims on Israeli territory. Israel would likewise recognize Palestine as a state.

This gives the Palestinians a state on pretty much the same terms as Oslo, which of course they violated. It separates the two sides and gives the Palestinians a chance to build a state based on something other than stealing donor aid and fomenting violence and hatred of Israel. If Abbas really wants a Palestinian state he'll take it, because the other things he wants he isn't getting anyway.

*a Ten dollar word for excessive BS

Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com and other publications.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yevtushenko 1932-2017: The Courage To Challenge Evil

Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Here's one instance where one man's courage and artistry affected life so strongly that even all the powers of a totalitarian government failed to suppress its brilliant light. Anti-Stalinist poet Yevgenny Yevtushenko, who passed away at the age of 84 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was a professor who split his time between the United States and Moscow.

Yevtushenko was a poet with rock star fame in his native Russia, famous for his poems attacking Stalin and the Soviet system. He was expelled from the Literary Institute for"individualism in 1957 and banned from traveling, but that simply added to his mystique and appeal.

In 1961,Yevtushenko visited a large ravine just outside the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev called Babi Yar. It was being used as a trash dump. But 20 years previously, it had a very different use.

Babi Yar then was one of the great killing grounds of the Holocaust. At the end of September in 1941, the Nazis, with the cheerful assistance of Ukrainian 'Blue' police rounded up 33,741 Jewish men, women and children who lived in Kiev, and made them strip naked. Then they forced them into the ravine and machine gunned them to death in one mass grave.


While the killing was going on, many of the Jews' Ukrainian neighbors looked on, enjoyed the show and applauded as their neighbors were murdered. Many of them even brought picnic lunches.

During the course of the Holocaust, the ravine became a popular spot. Over 96,000 Jews ended up being slaughtered in that bloody, pitiless killing ground.

Babi Yar was important because it was the first major action of Hitler's Einsatzgruppen. The Einsatzgruppen were groups of elite SS men who were literally killing units charged with murdering every Jew they could find. In the Ukraine, their job was made much easier by the assistance of the locals.

The Soviet Union's official policy when Yevtushenko visited Babi Yar in 1961 was not to discuss the Holocaust at all, but to consider everyone who fell in what they called the Great Patriotic War a 'Soviet citizen.' Aside from the fact that the Soviets didn't have all that much use for Jews themselves, there was also the factor of the Ukraine's role in the Holocaust to consider. And they were by no means alone in the territories the Soviets then had control of.

Yevtushenko was outraged that a place where so many innocent people had been murdered was not even given a memorial, and that their graves were literally a place where trash was being thrown. He was angry at the Soviet Union's continued silence on the Holocaust and its perpetrators for the sake of the Evil Empire's unity. So he did what only a poet could to strike back. He wrote one of the most famous poems of the 20th century,"Babi Yar.".

It's a startling poem even today, wherein a non-Jew suddenly metamorphoses himself as the incarnation on the entire Jewish race:

"No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone.
I am afraid.
Today, I am as old
As the entire Jewish race itself.

I see myself an ancient Israelite.
I wander o’er the roads of ancient Egypt
And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured
And even now, I bear the marks of nails.

It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself. *1*
The Philistines betrayed me – and now judge.
I’m in a cage. Surrounded and trapped,
I’m persecuted, spat on, slandered, and
The dainty dollies in their Brussels frills
Squeal, as they stab umbrellas at my face.

I see myself a boy in Belostok *2*
Blood spills, and runs upon the floors,
The chiefs of bar and pub rage unimpeded
And reek of vodka and of onion, half and half.

I’m thrown back by a boot, I have no strength left,
In vain I beg the rabble of pogrom,
To jeers of “Kill the Jews, and save our Russia!”
My mother’s being beaten by a clerk."

When Yevtushenko finished it, he knew what a bombshell it was and was fully aware of the consequences of airing it...especially with a Premier of Ukrainian extraction, Nikita Khrushchev leader the Soviet Union at the time. His publisher at Literaturnaya Gazeta first cautioned him against publishing the poem and told him that 'If I publish it, I will likely lose my job and who knows what will happen to you.' When Yevtushenko insisted, the publisher complied...and lost his job. The poem became a huge success in Russia and in the West, where copies were smuggled out. Yevtushenko was not punished formally, since Khrushchev was still trying to promote the myth of the anti-Stalinist 'thaw,' because Yevtushenko was astute enough to moderate his original version of the poem to praise Russia at the end, and because he had become far too well-known and popular. But his original restrictions remained in place.

“The poem was a criticism of anti-Semitism worldwide, including Soviet anti-Semitism, and was against all kinds of racism,” said Yevtushenko in a 2011 interview with the BBC.

“I was not afraid because I had already been expelled from the Literary Institute; I had been expelled from all kinds of organizations,” said Yevtushenko. “And I believed there was a future of change for Russia, that was also important. The poem was one of the changes; it was one first hole in the Iron Curtain.”

Indeed it was. And it eventually affected Russian attitudes towards Jews and the Holocaust, with many of Yevtushenko's fellow artists producing works on that theme. 'Babi Yar' and its response helped inspire them with the intellectual courage to speak out.

The Soviet Union refused to put a memorial on Babi Yar until 1976, when an official memorial to 'Soviet citizens' shot at Babi Yar was erected. And finally, in 1991 the Ukrainian government allowed the establishment of a separate memorial specifically identifying most of the victims as Jewish.

That came after the first president of independent Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, made a fiery speech at the site. he was the first prominent Ukrainian who actually admitted publicly that Ukrainians shared some responsibility for carrying out the massacre, something that evoked a decidedly mixed response among his countrymen.

There's an interesting postscript. In 2009, the Kiev city council decided that Babi Yar was an ideal site for a tourist hotel to service the expected trade for the 2012 European soccer championship. The original plans actually called for the place to be called the Hotel Babi Yar, believe it or not.

Fortunately, there is a happy ending to this sordid story. After the plans leaked out, widespread outrage from around the world caused the city's mayor, Leonid Chernovetsky to veto the plan. I don't doubt that took considerable courage on his part.

After all, this is a country where mass murderer and anti-Semite Bohdan Chmielicki is still regarded as a national hero, memorialized with a statue in the middle of Kiev.

Well, time passes for all things, and that is how it should be. But there are things we need to remember, simply to make sure they don't occur again.

There have been some very recent and public attempts to pave over history or deny it ever happened in the first place. Seeing that, I think that remembering is a more pressing need for human society just now than another spiffy new hotel. Not so much just to memorialize the dead, as to help save the living.

I think Yevtushenko instinctively understood that.

Requisant en pace.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Forum: Was There Illegal Surveillance Of Trump's Team? If So, Should There Be Criminal Prosecution?

Every week on Monday, the WoW! staff, community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:Was There Illegal Surveillance Of Trump's Team? If So, Should There Be Criminal Prosecution?

Micheal McDaniel: Was there illegal surveillance of Donald Trump? Is the Pope Catholic? Do bears defecate in the woods? Are congressional Republicans the Stupid Party?

Before definitively answering, let’s examine some unquestionable facts. Barack Obama is the product of the Chicago political machine. He thinks like a sociopathic, narcissistic thug. Whatever he desires must be his, and ethics, law, morality, decency or consideration of damage to others does not enter into it. He spent eight years weaponizing the entire federal bureaucracy, from the Department of Justice to the FBI, IRS, EPA, every agency and department of the federal government, including every facet of the intelligence “community.” His radical leftist agents are everywhere, and they are more than willing to do his bidding; that’s why they’re there.

Embarrassing evidence of criminal acts under court order for preservation at the IRS? Ooops! Sorry your honor, it somehow got erased! It’s nobody’s fault, really… Americans murdered by terrorists due to gross Obamite incompetence? Lie about it, and lie about lying about it. Constitution get in the way of progressive whims? I’ve got a pen and a phone!

We now know Obamite agents, those out of government and those still embedded in the government, are covertly and overtly doing all they can, with the help of a corrupt and amoral media, to destroy Donald Trump and his administration, and any collateral damage, like national security, the Constitution, and American’s trust in government, is of no concern to them. They believe they’re immune from consequences, and they’ll always come out on top.

And we also know, at the least, some of Trump’s transition team were “inadvertently” caught up in surveillance of foreign agents, diplomats, etc. We also know the names of such people were released to the media by Obamite agents, including potentially high-ranking intelligence officials. We know such actions are, in fact, illegal. We also know, if we’re honest, it’s highly likely Donald Trump was right. He was being “wiretapped.”

But he wasn’t actually “wiretapped.” Probably not, but he wasn’t suggesting someone actually attached wires to telephone pairs to overhear his conversations. That’s old technology, but Trump is of an age where “wiretapping” is a generic term for all manner of electronic surveillance. In the same way, when I speak of replaying a chapter of a DVD, I invariably say “rewind,” because I’m so used to thinking of VHS technology, though I haven’t owned a VHS tape for years.

We’re not absolutely sure, as in having crystal clear video and sworn documentary evidence, that Mr. Trump was the direct subject of surveillance, or that Mr. Obama ordered it. What we can be reasonably sure of is the same Obamite agents that violated federal law to unmask innocent citizens associated with Donald Trump, would absolutely tell Mr. Obama what they found and what they were doing. Oh, they may not tell him directly, face to face, but they would tell his acolytes, who would tell him. Plausible deniability, you know.

We can also be reasonably sure that Mr. Obama did not directly tell anyone to “wiretap” Mr. Trump or anyone else. It would have been entirely unnecessary. At best, he might have said something like “will no one rid me of this troublesome Trump?” One doesn’t weaponize the entire federal bureaucracy without expecting such criminal minds to engage unbidden in whatever dirty deeds are necessary for the furtherance of the holy progressive cause. That’s why they’re there. Even if such surveillance were incidental, no one had to tell Obamite operatives to use that information to the detriment of Donald Trump.

Would Barack Obama and his minions want to have had intimate knowledge of everything Trump was up to? Would they have violated the law to gain that information? Would they have given a damn about violating the law? Does any rational person really need answers to those questions?

Something else to consider is the silence of Barack Obama and most of his toadies regarding this situation, as well as a warning from one of his former lackeys to be careful about saying no wiretapping of Trump was done. Has Obama ever been silent about such things? Has he ever hesitated to lecture, accuse, berate and lie about anything? Is it possible he might be lying low, hoping his agents remaining in government can still destroy evidence and still protect him? Or is he merely scheming, waiting for that evidence to be destroyed, only then to resurface and taunt the American people to prove him a criminal?

And what of the FBI, which is, at last report, refusing to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee? Can the FBI be trusted anymore, or has it been coopted by Obamites?

Should violations of federal law be discovered and provable, everyone involved must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Absent that, we will have devolved to a banana republic, where some people are immune from prosecution, and able to violate the law at will. We may not be far from that already.

 Don Surber : It was legal. It was wrong.

JoshuaPundit: This involved something Barack Obama's presidency was noted for...weaponizing government agencies like the EPA,DOJ and IRS among others and using them against his 'political enemies.'

If this wasn't illegal,then neither was Watergate. It also involved a government using surveillance against political opposition in an election year. One big difference - Nixon was unaware of the Watergate mess until after it happened, while Barack Obama almost certainly was. That's why just before the end of his presidency, Obama issued an executive order allowing massive, open distribution of the transcripts of the surveillance on the Trump transition team and on the president elect himself.

Moreover, such transcripts are supposed to be redacted by law. These weren't, and in fact were passed on to a helpful media.

As I mentioned here, the BBC documented and reported on how the Obama Administration gamed FISA requirements to get a warrant after two failed attempts. They accomplished this illegal act by placing the entire case as a FISA case (probably under Sally Yates at DOJ) as a “foreign” case, and then omitted Trump’s name from the third request for a surveillance warrant submitted to the FISA court, which the court unwittingly granted.

It's a major felony under section 1809 of the FISA laws for anyone to either perform electronic surveillance under “color of law” under FISA or to disclose or use the information gathered from it. If these transcripts were leaked to the helpful press as they obviously were, that's another serous felony.

Misusing the FISA system when foreign intelligence is NOT involved is another felony. So is perjury or conspiracy to commit perjury when it comes to say, testimony in congress used to falsely accuse Attorney general Jeff Sessions.

Now since we've answered the illegality question, should it be prosecuted? Of course it should, but there are obstacles.

President Trump will have to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special prosecutor. On of Bill Clinton's last gifts to the country was to abolish the formerly independent Special Prosecutor's office and make it part of the Department of Justice under the U.S. Attorney General's total control.

Assuming the special prosecutor finds a few John Dean style rats willing to avoid prison by testifying (Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, John Brennan and a number of 'journalists' would be good places to start) the political feedback has to be calculated. And that could be troublesome.

If the trial of evidence leads back to Barack Obama, there could be other matters that come out regarding IRSGate, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the president using Mrs. Clinton's illegal server with a pseudonym and a number of other matters. What then?

Since Barack Obama is no longer president, he no longer has any legal immunity and the question of getting votes to impeach him is moot. But he was the historic first black president. So President Trump would face an unusual dilemma. He can pardon the former president. That would lead to widespread disgust from his supporters that could very well doom his re-election as it did Gerald Ford's, and lead to a national cynicism about the rule of law at a time when it's already rampant.

Or he could choose to try Obama and convict him. No matter the evidence, that choice would have the media in hysterics, calls for open rebellion and riots umm, urban unrest in many of America's cities. There's also the question of what you do with a former president convicted of numerous felonies. He obviously can't be housed in a normal prison. As president, he was simply privy to far too much sensitive information. What if he was kidnapped by a foreign power? The only solution would be a private security compound. And what would he do once his sentence was served? Barack Hussein Obama was not referred to in some quarters as the first post-American president for nothing.
Imagine his attitude after spending a few years in prison.

The third choice would be to simply expose these matters, prosecute and imprison the aiders and abettors (including those 'journalists' ) and let the American people know the truth about what happened. That's the choice I'd expect President Trump to make.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : There is enough smoke to believe there was illegal surveillance of Trump’s team at Trump Tower. Congress should pursue exposing who was involved in this surveillance; who authorized it and who carried out those orders. Those individuals should be prosecuted and if found guilty should be sentenced to the maximum extent the law allows. Those working in our intelligence community should be held to the highest standards their positions demand. We seem to have too many political ideologues working in what are supposed to be apolitical positions.

Before President Obama left office one of his final executive actions introduced new rules that allow the NSA to share private data gathered without a warrant, court order, or congressional authorization with sixteen agencies within the intelligence community; including DHS, FBI, and DEA. This rule permits employees in these intelligence agencies to sift through raw data collected by the NSA. Prior to this the NSA would share information but only after filtering out irrelevant material and masking the names of innocent American citizens. How many innocent Americans are having their private and personal communications shared among employees in these intelligence agencies?

With these new rules President Obama lit a fuse before he left the White House. Our legislators must act in a non-political bipartisan manner to assure this private information remains private and is never publicly shared. Our intelligence community must understand the gravity of their positions and if they fail to honor their oaths of office they will be dealt with harshly and prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows.

Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Forum: What Would Real Healthcare Reform Look Like?

Every week on Monday, the WoW! staff, community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:
What Would Real Healthcare Reform Look Like?

Don Surber: The perfect health plan would leave it to the states. Medicaid would end. I'd keep Medicare because we paid into it and it's an inviolable promise to those 65 and older (I am 63). The marketplace would make health care better and cheaper, especially if we eliminated third-party payer.

But we won't agree on the perfect plan, and so we compromise. The following need to be included in the repeal-and-replace: 1. End the mandate for employers. 2. End the mandate for individuals. 3. End subsidies by 2020 (you have to give people time to adjust). 4. Finish the legislation by July 31 to give insurers time to prepare plans for next year. The open season begin in October.
My advice to conservatives is to understand there will be compromise, not because the people who oppose you are evil, but because they see things different, know things you don't know, and don't know things that you know.

As Bob Dylan sang:

"We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point Of view
Tangled up in blue"

Rob Miller: While I would generally agree that the less government in healthcare the better, c'mon. I live in the real world and it ain't gonna happen. Too many people want the government gimmees and the lollypops. And too many of our politicians are just tickled to give it to them. If you want to know the real reason why so many of our politicos want the status quo, or something close to it, the reason is dead simple, and you can read it here and see if you don't agree.

Two dirty words no one in DC wants to mention and the additional fact that illegal migrants are bleeding the system white are exactly why our healthcare system is in such dire straits now, and why the cost of care keeps skyrocketing.

And I think we can forget about the states being involved. A number of them like Illinois and California are essentially bankrupt and inept on top of it. California's Governor Jerry Brown actually wants to spend billions putting together a kind of universal healthcare in California. This is roughly the equivalent of a couple living from paycheck to paycheck with serious debt to deal with deciding that hey, this would be a great time to buy a boat! And maybe a summer house by the beach! And do we need to mention how many of Illinois's governors have ended up in jail?

Putting healthcare in hands like these would be like putting a sex offender in charge of a girl's school. It would not end well.

If the feds are actually going to handle healthcare, ( and the Ryan Plan is nothing less than that) maybe we might as well go government mandated. There's at least one system I'm familiar with that's mandated and it's one of the top rated healthcare systems in the world. And they managed to keep the virtues of competition and free choice intact while keeping care both affordable, efficient and high quality. We could mimic that, but to get anything remotely like  their kind of results, we'd have to change a few things that would not resonate well with a number of members of the political class.

  Dick the Butcher in ''Henry VI'' may have been on to something, present company excluded.

Mike McDaniel : In “repealing and replacing” Obamacare, Republicans, once again--still--are demonstrating why they so richly deserve the title: “the stupid party.” Oh no, they say, we can’t just dump Obamacare. Why not? How did America survive before Obamacare? As I recall--it was only about seven years ago--people that wanted health insurance had it. It was much cheaper, there were more choices, and deductibles didn’t render it impossible to use. There were more doctors, and much happier doctors, and no one was dying in the streets. One thing that has not changed is that hospital emergency rooms can’t turn people away. No matter how poor you are, they have to treat you.

Somehow, Republicans seem unable to understand this, or to speak about it.

As I also recall, merely having insurance has never meant having access to health care. They’re not the same thing.

Somehow, Republicans seem unable to understand this, or to speak about it.

Obamacare can and must be dumped, entirely, every word, every bit of punctuation. Unless we do that, unless we repeal the entire 2000+ page abomination, everything else is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. No one is going to be dying in the streets, though no one will ever know that if they’re waiting for Republicans, particularly the feckless Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell to tell them.

What would real healthcare reform look like? Basically what Donald Trump has said it should be:

*Erase state lines, allowing companies to sell policies everywhere.

*Get the federal government completely out of it. Want to drain swamps? Getting rid of Obamacare is a great place to start.

*Allow insurance to be portable. Make it possible for people changing careers or jobs the option to take it with them.

*Allow people to band together in larger groups to take advantage of lower rates.

*High risk pools are entitlements, not insurance. If government wants to take that on, don’t urinate on our heads and tell us it’s insurance. But why not? We’re already racing headlong for the fiscal cliff on the high speed rail to nowhere? What’s another trillion or two?

*Allow people to buy any kind of policy they want. No maternity care for men, no prostate surgery benefits for women. If a young, fit, healthy 20-something wants only low-cost insurance for medical catastrophes, have at it.

There are other issues that could be helpful, including rescinding regulations that drive up the cost of drugs and make it almost impossible to bring new life-saving drugs and treatments to market. Deregulating the medical profession and easing the paperwork burden would be enormously helpful too, but that’s a topic for another forum.

The less government, at every level, has its fingers in patient’s medical charts, the better off everyone will be.

 Bookworm Room : I don't have anything intelligent to offer on the subject. I believe in the free market, which has been non-existent since health insurance's inception, when employers offered insurance as a way to circumvent wage controls during WWII. In the decades since then, the health insurance market has been corrupted even further thanks to thousands of federal and state regulations. It's been further corrupted by government price controls over fees and pharmaceuticals.

There's also the market perversion inherent in the fact that the consumer is not responsible for paying the provider so the consumer has no incentive to price shop -- which is hard to do in any event when medicine can be so specialized that the consumer may lack the ability to measure the quality of goods and services versus the price. Add in the fact that the consumer's demands are often on an emergency basis and you end up with a situation that challenges the free market's flow of information and openness to negotiation.

So while I see the problems, I don't see solutions. I just know that socialized medicine never benefits the consumer and that ObamaCare didn't benefit anybody at all. My instinct would be to take all that money the government shuffles around and return it to consumers in the form of an individual "health care savings account." Consumers could than make choices about whether they want to hoard the money (making themselves their own insurers) or invest in insurance that would be offered on a nationwide, rather than statewide, basis. I suspect that would a free market, there would be a lot of affordable options.

States could keep skin in the game by having websites that insurance companies based upon whether they meet metrics each state desperately wishes it could impose on insurers. I know that I have Progressive friends who would never dream of buying insurance from Texas because it lacks the regulatory control California imposes -- never mind that those regulations traditionally trebled the cost.

The Razor: I am a borderline anarchist on the subject.
The US healthcare system is so screwed up I feel like the only solution is to (rhetorically of course) burn it to the ground.

At this point I would take almost any other system than the one we have. Canada. Singapore. Israel.
Let’s outsource the problem to the Japanese I’m sure they’d come up with something better.
Honestly I am so angry with both parties on the topic because they have no clue as to how bad the situation is.


Nuke it from orbit and start over.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : Since Obamacare was forced on the American people we conservatives worked hard to elect Republican candidates who promised us nothing less than full repeal of Obamacare. After seven years we have secured Republican majorities in the House, Senate and now in the Executive Office. It is extremely disappointing to hear the reforms being proposed such as the “three buckets” of legislation, and the excuses of how this cannot be done all at once. They have had seven years to perfect a good plan to withdraw us off of Obamacare and return health insurance and health care into the hands of the people, doctors, insurance companies, and the free market. We have fought too long and hard to see these promises not kept by our elected and “trusted” servants.

One thing we have learned, for those who didn’t consider or realize it before; health insurance is not health care. Many middle class people have experienced premiums and deductibles so high they can never afford to see a doctor. We are being told that premiums will not go down with what is being proposed and that in fact some will see their premiums continue to rise.

Anytime government gets involved with such issues it distorts the system. The mandates for coverage and no co-pay requirements for such things as well woman visits should be eliminated. What happens is the government sets the mandates and insurance companies have to comply even though complying makes it impossible to make a profit. So the government promises the insurance companies they will be compensated for their losses and guarantee profits for a period of time through subsidies. Whether the insurance company collects revenue from the individual paying the insurance premium, or the government subsidizes the insurance company to assure they can turn a profit, it is all coming from us. Any law that harms even one person is not a just law, and Obamacare has hurt too many people. The Supreme Court was wrong in its decision when it ruled this law constitutional.

It seems like things were much better when we paid a reasonable premium for coverage we chose which met our needs and our budgets. If we wanted more coverage or lower deductibles or co-pays we paid a premium for that. If we chose to carry a catastrophic policy only and pay the rest of our medical costs out of pocket that was also an option.

Get government out of the health care business and return it to the free market. The laws should be lifted that insist on mandated coverages even when people do not need or want them. Allow insurance to be purchased across state lines. Make insurance more competitive.

Congress should put the repeal on Trumps’ desk that they put on Obama’s desk. This is what we elected them to do.

Well. there it is.

 Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere. Take from me, you won't want to miss it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Healthcare Reform - The Dirty Words No One Wants To Say Guarantee Failure

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I've been watching with interest the back and forth over healthcare reform. My good friend Bookworm has a great article on the subject you should read.

But having taken a look at this, it does seem to me that the Republicans, as usual, are trying to win by avoiding being cast in the media as mean nasty villains robbing people of something. And after all, if you can spend other people's money and look good...

Although of course, they won't look good no matter what they do to the Democrat's trained seal media. You'd think they would have gotten a clue by now!

Far better to concentrate on real policy and do it right, no? And let the results be the judge.

Insurance is what I call a 'projection' industry, where fortune tellers known as actuaries crunch numbers and determine the rates on policies and on investments known as insurance contracts as far in advance as possible. Forced instantaneous hope n' change like ObamaCare hits insurance companies with a sucker punch and costs them a lot of money - which of course, like any other business they pass on to their customers.

What's going on in DC now is ridiculous. If the GOP puts together some kind of bogus ObamaCare lite entitlement and President Trump signs it, it will be the first campaign promise he's broken. I'm pretty sure cooler heads will prevail and there will be significant changes made to what we have now.

This is exactly why I said in an earlier article, that the first thing that needed to be done by President Trump, together with Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was to have have immediately announced the repeal of ObamaCare, especially the individual mandate penalty and named a date in the near future - say, November 10th, 2017 or whatever - when it will no longer be in effect.

Aside from assuring the American people they weren't being screwed again, it would give congress a clearly established a deadline to thrash out the new legislation and it would have allowed insurance companies some badly needed lead in time to plan for ObamaCare's demise.

And a demise, it must be. ObamaCare is so flawed, so thrown together without common sense that trying to build something viable using its parts is a fool's errand.It was garbage to begin with, a tax scam rather than anything to do with healthcare.

But what next? Where should we go with healthcare? Incredibly, there are two dirty words that nobody is mentioning. And there's a really good reason why...

Those dirty words? T O R T... R E F O R M! Say it again, with feeling.:  TO R T... R E F O R M!

Keep this in mind.. when someone is chattering away in wonkspeak about healthcare, mandates, health savings accounts and the like, unless they're mentioning those two dirty words they're simply blowing smoke up your nether regions.

Ask any health professional about what their biggest fear is. I've asked quite a few, and the answer is almost always predatory lawsuits. Have you ever gotten one of those official looking letters -actually calling them advertisements is more appropriate - asking you to sign on to a large class action suit against an HMO or hospital? Sure you have. The result of this trolling is almost always a fortune for the lawyers in fees and a pittance for the rubes who signed up as part of the 'class' if they mange to win and get a judgement. Even if they lose, their target spends big dollars in legal fees, or rather their malpractice insurance company does. After which the insurance company jacks up their premiums.

Picture yourself as a young American doctor. You're already carrying six figures in student loan debt. And on top of that, depending on whether you're a GP or a specialist and depending on where you're practicing the usual rates for malpractice insurance run from just under $30,000 per year to six figures in the pricier areas.

Aside from the ever rising cost of malpractice insurance, this fear of predatory lawyers also pads the price of healthcare by causing repetitive paperwork and staff work and many unnecessary and repetitive activities, even on routine medical procedures.

No doctor or institution should be allowed to get away with malpractice, and the medical profession actually does a fairly decent job of weeding put bad actors. But unless the current barrage of lawsuits is brought under control and some reasonable guidelines established, the cost of medical care is going to continue to increase. There are simply far too many lawyers, and far too many unnecessary lawsuits targeting the medical profession and healthcare institutions.

So why is no one mentioning this? So simple! Ask yourself this...what did most of the members of congress do for a living before they became congressmen? What do many of them do for a living when they leave? Why, they're lawyers of course. And even while they're in congress, a number of them receive an income from law firms they have a partnership interest in. As lawyers, let's just say that many of them are reluctant to cut off a steady stream of income for the profession if not for themselves. And as we all know, law firms also contribute a lot of money to legislators who see things their way. That's why a lot of what Senator Rand Paul has to say on healthcare sounds so sensible. He's a medical doctor,not a lawyer. We'll come back to this point later, but keep it in mind.

Another ongoing problem I haven't heard mentioned in this debate is illegal migrants. Their effect on the cost of healthcare is a lot more insidious. In California and some other states with large illegal migrant populations, many of them are on Medic-Aid, because no one checks too closely about insignificant details like citizenship.In fact, there are actual privacy laws in California that prohibit and cross checking, so the system is almost set up for fraud. Fake social security numbers or EIN's are also used quite a bit.

Another common occurrence is the abuse of ER facilities. If an illegal migrant working as a day laborer hurts himself on a construction site, he'll go to the nearest hospital emergency room for treatment. Since legally and humanely he needs to be treated, he is. And when it comes to payment, a quick discussion between the migrant and the hospital staff makes it very clear that this one is going to be a freebie. So the hospital eats it. King-Drew Medical Center in South Los Angeles was bankrupted by this type of patient, and I doubt they're the only ones who were, or who at least suffered major losses financially.

Tort reform and dealing with our huge illegal migrant problem are essential to stopping the spiraling cost of healthcare and repairing the damage ObamaCare caused. So is actual competition across state lines. And actual freedom of choice, dammit!

Keep these simple concepts in the above paragraph in mind.

Apparently a number of Americans like the idea of keeping young adults of 26 and under on their healthcare policies if they're still lucky enough to be able to have one. And they like the idea being able to get insurance with preconditions without paying for them. It's become exactly what Rand Paul said it is, a new entitlement.

Believe it or not, there is one healthcare system I know about that is government mandated, but also embraces all the of the concepts I've mentioned for real reform. After all, if we're going to have ObamaCare Lite courtesy of Paul Ryan, why not?

Israel never really planned government run mandatory healthcare, but they were more or less forced into it by circumstances. After 1948, they had a large segment of their population who were 'graduates' of the concentration camps as well as almost a million Jewish refugees who arrived there penniless after being ethnically cleansed from the Arab world. So a nationwide healthcare system was cobbled together. And it works quite well. Why?

  • Israel has a very small illegal migrant problem. And thanks to the border walls, it's even smaller now. They don't have tons of illegal migrants bankrupting the system.

  • The ideas of competition and freedom of choice are maintained. While the government oversees and finances part of the system,it doesn't micromanage it itself or insist that everyone have cookie cutter insurance. There are four different carriers (essentially, HMOs), all of whom compete with each other for members and have different plusses,minuses and 'specialties,' by which I mean a reputation for excelling in particular kinds of care or having better rates for certain extras or different copays and levels of coverage. All Israeli citizens get the basic plan the government subsidizes.If you want extras in certain areas, you buy them from your insurance carrier, so you have the ability to shop. On the flip side, you're not paying for something that's of no use for you, like maternal care for an elderly couple past childbearing age. Preconditions aren't an issue because everyone has to have insurance. The National Health Insurance Law guarantees all Israeli citizens access to one of the four carriers, and the right to transfer between the carriers once per year.

  • Tort reform is not a problem since not only does Israel lack the litigious climate lawyers have fostered here in America (at least, so far) but lawyers also aren't coming out of the woodwork there as they are in America. And at present, lawyers don't constitute any kind of majority in Israel's Knesset. The ratio of doctors to lawyers in Israel is about the opposite of what it is here.And the level of care, even private care is so high quality and reasonably priced compared to the EU and America that medical tourism is common. Med school is also cheaper, and Israel offers special incentives for medical professionals who want to become olim (Jewish migrants to israel under the Law of the Return).

Does it work? In a survey of 48 countries in 2013, Israel's healthcare system was ranked fourth in the world in terms of efficiency, and in 2014 it ranked seventh out of 51. In 2015, Israel was ranked sixth-healthiest country in the world by Bloomberg rankings and eighth in terms of life expectancy.

So it can be done. But major tort reform,getting rid of a substantial number of illegal migrants and fostering competition and freedom of choice for consumers is what it takes. That, and creating a lot more doctors, medical researchers and personnel as well as a lot less lawyers.

Far easier said then done, but doable.

Hungary's PM Viktor Orbán On Freedom; 'Brussels Must be Stopped!'

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is one of the leaders of Europe's anti EU, nationalist movement. Orbán led the Hungarians in defying the EU and not allowing unlimited Muslim 'refugees' into their country. As Viktor Orbán reminds his listeners, Hungary has historical experience on what that sort of thing means at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

Every year on March 15, Hungarians celebrate the anniversary of their Revolution of 1848, when Hungary fought Austria in an attempt to gain its independence. The Hungarians almost won, but Austria was able to subdue them with help from the Russian Empire. Hungarian autonomy was finally achieved in 1867, when the Austrian Empire became the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Hungary was given equal status.

This is a speech Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave on March 15 to honor the revolutionaries of 1848, and to draw parallels with that time and what is happening in Europe today. And while some of the references referred to may not be immediately apparent, this is a speech worth hearing.

The Magyars referred to are the ancient tribe of Hungarians who founded the Kingdom of Hungary after migrating west from the Urals. They remain the predominant element of the population of Hungary today.

All credit to CrossWare for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the English subtitles.

Chuck Berry Makes The Passage…1926-2017


Dammitt. Chuck Berry just passed away at 90 years of age 'after 'an illness' as the press likes to put it. Once he finally stopped performing about 5 or 6 years ago, I figured it wouldn't be too much longer.

That legendary vitality of his finally wore down.

Almost all of the old rockn'rollers have passed on to that Great Concert in the Sky, and when they're gone something unique will have gone with them.There's always was an ageless quality to Berry, something about that old spine and leg catharsis that still seemed young, powerful and ageless. Jerry Lee has it too and now in his eighties, he's pretty much just what he always said he'd be...the last man standing.

Two personal memories of Chuck Berry...two sides of the same coin.

A hot, humid summer night on the road, checking into a hotel in the Midwest, the name and exact place lost in the memory banks. Not a roach hole or a five star, but the sort of moderately priced place you stay at if you're on tour and trying to keep the costs down.

And who should I see checking out and headed towards the door with a guitar case and a small, black, travel bag in hand but Chuck Berry.

I'd seem his show a few times, so I walked over, ascertained that it really was him, and introduced myself politely. I told him what band I was playing with and made a remark about how much I loved his music. The response? "Thanks, kid" and then out the smile, no chit chat, no handshake, no nuthin'. It was as if I had insulted him somehow, it was that detached and frigid.
I shrugged, and went back to the hotel desk.

Take two...a night at the Aquarius theater in Hollywood, at a filming of the old TV show, 'In Concert'. I was there courtesy of a backstage pass from the manager of one of the eminently forgettable bands set to be filmed that night, some of them with actual records on the radio.

Loads of roadies and plenty of heavy duty equipment. Marshall stacks, huge drumsets, big hair, flashpots and pyrotechnics, nubile young ladies checking out the bulges in the spandex, a slight smell of marijuana in the air, schmoozing and those little white lines laid out backstage...a typical concert scene for the times.

One by one, the bands came on, did their shtick, and they all got a nice, enthusiastic response from the crowd.

And then out walked a fifty-ish Chuck small Fender Twin amp, one guitar, and just like always, an obvious pickup band consisting of a bass player and a drummer, probably hired for scale from the local union for that night's show.

What happened next was sheer magic.

Chuck checked his tuning..and then he did one of those metallic signature intros to 'Johnny B. Goode', and the left foot came down.

Within ten minutes, he had the whole theater shaking, literally.

Most of that night's audience were probably still in diapers or not even born when most of the songs he played that night first came out. And I'd bet a lot of them didn't even know who he was. But there was something magically seminal about it that just connected, something dangerous, sexy and energizing that settled over the audience like a cloud.

Security tried to keep people from crowding the area in front of the stage and dancing in the aisles, but it was a losing battle and they just gave up after awhile. And me, I just stood in the wings, watched, listened and marveled.

This was the true, anarchistic spirit of rock 'n roll unleashed and it didn't sound like an oldies show in the sounded new, wild and untamed, and I could catch a glimpse of how it must have hit the teenyboppers at places like the old Brooklyn Paramount right between the eyes back when Chuck, Jerry Lee, Buddy and Elvis laid it on them in the fifties.

One guy, a guitar, an amp and a two man rhythm section. It was perfect. The original Brown Eyed Handsome Man en extremis. I can only imagine what he was like in the 1950's.

He finished and  walked right by me and I just nodded and smiled. He kind of jerked his head at me in acknowledgement, but I learn quick, so I wasn't about to say anything more.

The band that appeared after Chuck Berry finished with that crowd looked positively tired and ill by comparison. They just seemed glad to just get the whole ordeal over with. A real, actual case of the rockin' pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu perhaps, and I betcha it wasn't the first time Chuck Berry gave that particular version of the disease to somebody scheduled to follow him on stage.

I have a soundboard tape of what went down that night, and it's one of the things I still crank up and listen to when I want to remember what real live rockn'roll sounds like.

So long, Chuck. Rest in Peace, and thanks for the music.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dutch Elections - Geert Wilder Loses, But Puts Himself In The Winning Position

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The results are in on the Dutch elections.Geert Wilders will likely not be the Netherlands next prime minister. And while EU loving, Muslim refugee friendly politicians like German Chancellor Angela Merkel are claiming this as a victory, it's a very temporary one at best if at all.

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The end results showed the present PM Mark Rutte's Liberal Party (VVD) with the most seats at 33, giving him first shot at forming the new coalition. That was actually a net loss of 8 seats. And doesn't Rutte look trustworthy?

In second place was Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV) ended up with 20 seats, a gain of 5. As Wilders himself tweeted, "We were the 3rd largest party of the Netherlands. Now we are the 2nd largest party. Next time we will be nr. 1!"

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The most significant result had to do with the defeat of the ruling coalition as a whole. VVD's main partner, the Labour Party (PvdA) lost 19 seats, more than 75% of its total presence in the chamber.At only 9 seats, they aren't enough to give Rutte a governing coalition of 76 seats.

Rutte could try to put something together with Labour, D66 ( best described a 'centrists' who are also social liberals) and CDA (Christen-Democratisch Appèl) a center right party which would give Rutte and VVD 80 seats. But that would involve putting an extremely disparate group together and a lot of serious horse trading, since without CDA and D66 there's no shot at a coalition by Rutte. Whichmeans that if either of those parties won't play ball, the only alternative is Wilders and PVV. Or a coalition with the Green/Red party (10 seats), Labour (9),and the Socialists (14 seats) and who knows who else to get him to the magic number of 76. It would be an incredibly fragile coalition. And if Rutte fails, it's the turn of Wilders and PVV.

Why did Wilders fall short?

My impression of a great many Dutch is that they while they can be shockingly direct in private, as a society they value complacency, the status quo and ‘niceness.’ They don’t particularly care for upset or contention.

Geert Wilders simply demanded too much for many of them, so they went with what they saw as a safer, less damading choice. Of course, it isn’t, but then again you can’t say Wilders didn’t make significant progress. His party gained some seats and got a lot of votes, especially in Muslim dominated Rotterdam, believe it or not.

Had he toned down things just a little, just a smidge and not picked a fistfight with Rudde, he might be looking at being part of the coalition, with a strong voice on much of what he wanted to accomplish. In any event, as Wilders himself said, he’s not going away. And he may end up being part of the governing coalition anyway, with Rutte swallowing his bile in order to form the coalition he needs. He may have to turn to Wilders in the end after all...especially since ignoring the second largest part would seem 'not proper' to a lot of the Dutch, a denial of the consensus they prize.

I also wouldn’t count Europe out quite yet. The UK appears to be s-l-o-w-l-y coming to its senses, Denmark looks to be electing an populist right wing government and the Visograd nations in the east are solid. And then, there’s Marine Le Pen.

Erdogan’s antics are also causing a lot of people to do some thinking, especially as Turkey has the largest conventional army in Europe. The more things change...well, you know the rest of that one!

Lawfare - Revised Trump Travel Ban Blocked Again

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President Trump's revised travel ban has been blocked by two far left Obama appointed federal judges in deep Blue states. One of them was actually one of Obama's classmates at Harvard and a good friend of our former president.

Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii and Judge Theodore Chung in Maryland decided to block Trump's clearly legal temporary travel ban on the most spurious of grounds. Regardless on how carefully this was formulated and how much in accordance it is with clearly stated Federal law, both judges (who appear to have communicated between themselves based on the wording of their opinions) somehow found that the new travel ban violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Since the ban doesn't mention religion at all (and all the countries, while predominantly Muslim have significant non-Muslim minorities) these obscene swine in black robes relied not on the substance of the president's executive order, but on their personal interpretation of statements the president made on the campaign trail. They are literally willing to roll the dice and risk the lives of Americans in order to play politics. And rest assured, these so-called judges would be the first to rule in favor of violating that establishment cause by forcing Catholic institutions to pay for abortificants or to harshly penalize a baker of a florist for the heinous crime of refusing to participate in a same sex marriage because of their religious beliefs. Nor did they say a thing about President Obama's travel ban, which was identical to President trump's original executive order.

Here's the president responding to this idiocy in a rally held, appropriately at the Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee...the home of former President Andrew Jackson. Old Hickory would have undoubtedly approved:

While this judicial overreach will be overturned, it will take literally months before the Supreme Court does so. And in that interval, thousands of unvettable refugees from countries with clear ties to terrorism can be allowed into America.

Based on his remarks, President Trump was all for going with the first travel ban to the Supreme Court, since it was likewise perfectly legal, something I suggested at the time. Between now and when the Supreme Court makes its ruling, the president should immediately suspend all funding and all activity involving the Refugee Resettlement Program, which uses taxpayer dollars to bring refugees form the most anti-Semitic and misogynist countries in the world and settle them in the heartland, complete with green cards, subsidized housing,healthcare and EBT cards.

And what if the President simply decides to defy the court order and proceed anyway? He might be sued,but would a lawsuit be successful? I doubt it, and in any case by the time it gets to court, a Supreme Court decision would make the matter moot.

As former president Andrew Jackson once famously said, "The judges have made their decision. Now let them enforce it."

Additionally, these rogue, Obama appointed judges should be removed by impeachment by Congress, both houses of which are now controlled by Republicans. Or, under the Good Behavior Clause of Article III of the Constitution by way of a writ of scire facias filed before a federal court. If the Left can do judge shopping, so can President Trump. It's time these judges realized there's a cost for being such obviousl political animals and engaging in partisan lawfare and obstruction of justice.

There is no executive order from President Trump, no matter how legal and no matter how common sense that the Left and their judges will not obstruct and oppose. It's time to go on offense.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hey, It's Purim Sunday Night!!!

And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword....And the Lord said unto Moses, "Write this for a memorial in the book and tell it unto the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven..the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation."- Exodus 17:14

That's the way the Big Boys talked in the old days,when conversations with the Lord were commonplace and Amalek and his pals were freely labeled as the rabid dogs they were for picking off stragglers, attacking and killing Jews out of hand just for the pure sport and profit of it as the Jews moved through the desert after leaving Pharaoh's Egypt. No illusions have to defeat evil, not negotiate with it. G-d said so,and He most likely knew what He was talking about.In any event He'd been right enough times so that Moses, Aaron and Joshua weren't about to argue the point.They defeated Amalek and then proceeded on their way in peace.

Nowadays, the UN would be thumping for a state for Amalek and shrugging off the murder of Jewish women and children as 'resistance'. And giving them millions in foreign aid while warning the Jews against a 'disproportionate response.'

Note another thing about the above says there will be war with Amalek from generation to generation,and gives the Jews the responsibility of fighting in that war to defeat evil wherever it rears its ugly head.

The Jews commemorate one victory over a latter day manifestation of Amalek Sunday night when they celebrate Purim, the victory of Queen Esther and Mordecai over the evil Haman, who tried to manipulate the King of Persia into signing on to the murder, enslavement and plunder of every Jew in Persia.

Yes, the idea of  genocidal maniacs with a hatred for Jews isn't new. Nothing new under the sun, as King Solomon said in Koheles (Ecclesiastes). The only thing that changes is the players.

The Megillah, which is read in every synagogue in the world at Purim relates how Queen Esther,wife of the king could have reacted the way a great many people would have, by simply pretending that what was going on didn't concern her,and rationalizing it. Sound familiar? Instead, she realized that a threat to her people was a threat to her, even as high up and removed as the King's palace. She took the commandment to battle Amalek to heart and risked her life and position to defeat Haman and his evil allies and, along with her brother Mordecai, lead her people to victory.

Purim is preceded by a fast in honor of Esther, and then,well,  it's party time! Many Jews observe the custom of sending a special basket of goodies to friends and family, the megillah reading is a noisy and joyous affair especially loved by children, celebrations and costumes abound, and even a bit of liquid libation is quite common...

Think of it a sort of like the Jewish equivalent of carnival, only without the steel pan music and the skimpy bikinis.

As far as I'm concerned, Purim may have special meaning for the Jews, but it ought to belong to the whole world. It's a joyous fete celebrating the triumph of good over evil.

And I'll let my pal Yakov at Dry Bones let you in on a little something, the hidden joke of the whole holiday:

Chag Purim Sameach!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

CrazyFornia -Dems Want Willfully Infecting Others With HIV To Be 'Misdemeanor'

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Democrats are rallying around a new bill by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco,(where else?) that would make it a misdemeanor instead of a felony to intentionally expose someone to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

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Under current laws , if someone who knows they are infected with HIV infects someone else deliberately - say, with unprotected sex or even sexual assault - it's a major felony and can lead to years of jail time if they're convicted. Wiener's bill wants that repealed.

Wiener's bill, SB239, would also repeal California laws that require people convicted of prostitution for the first time to be tested for AIDS and that increase penalties for prostitution if the prostitute tested positive for AIDS before after a previous arrest.

The rationale for this? Believe it or not 'science.' And equality, of course! Here's the Sacramento Bee quoting Wiener:

"These laws were passed at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic when there was enormous fear and ignorance and misinformation around HIV," Wiener said. "It's time for California to lead and to repeal these laws to send a clear signal that we are going to take a science-based approach to HIV not a fear-based approach."

The last time I checked, 'Science' hadn't yet found a complete cure for HIV or AIDS and it still kills people. According to the last figures we have from the Center For disease Control, in 2014, there were 12,333 deaths of people with diagnosed HIV infection from various causes attributed to effects of the disease and 6,721 deaths were attributed directly to HIV. Thankfully, the number is going down because more of the population most directly affected, male homosexuals, are practicing safe sex and treatment has improved. But ask many of these 19,000 people were unknowingly infected? How many were infected by people who knew they had HIV but simply didn't give a damn? And what about the people who were unknowingly infected with HIV by someone who knew they had it, and who didn't die but whose lives were changed forever? Shouldn't people willing to do that to another human being be punished for what amounts to 2nd degree murder or manslaughter at worst and playing Russian roulette with someone else's life at best?

Wiener also claims that the current laws deter people from getting tested for HIV and seeking treatment. Impossible to see how that could be true...unless we're talking about people who are prostitutes and already got caught and were tested once but continued to practice their trade anyway. Or people so self centered and irresponsible that they don't care that having unprotected sex with an unknowing partner could be a death sentence for that person.

Even the most ancient law codes we know recognize that someone deliberately causing injury or death to another person is guilty of a serious crime, and that concept is deeply embedded in common law today worldwide...except in Crazyfornia, a bizarro land where things are different.

I can't imagine homosexuals supporting this lunacy, but given where Wiener's district is, enough of them must be. Given that this is Crazyfornia, I expect the legislature to pass SB239.

Jihad In Germany? Gang with Axes Injures 5 At Train Station

Emergency services personnel assist an injured person on the station floor. Picture: Twitter.

A crowd of people waiting for the train at the Dusseldorf Station was attacked by a gang wielding axes who plunged into the waiting crowd. At least 5 people were injured, one seriously including a 13-year-old girl.

The German police have two suspects in custody, including one who jumped off a bridge in an attempt to escape according to the German newspaper Bild.

Their identities have not yet been released. Of course. Those Amish are really violent. Or were they Buddhist monks?

The police are also seeking two other suspects who apparently got away in the confusion. They apparently headed for the city center and are being sought. I'm betting that since only 5 people were hurt, those suspects might have been people fleeing from the carnage, but we'll see.

Needless to say, German media and the police are not only concealing the identities of the two men they arrested, they aren't even referring to it as terrorism at all, or even an attack. It's just an 'incident.'

Germany's elections are coming up, you know. Lass uns die Dinge ruhig halten, ja?*

Of course it's just an incident. Two men got together over coffee and just decided on a whim to get hold of some axes and attack a crowd waiting for the train. Happens every day, right?

Anyone want to bet these weren't Germany's refugees in action? We'll see.

UPDATE: The name of one attacker has been released. He has been identified as 36-year-old Fatmir H. originally from Kosovo.

Told you so. The German press and the authorities not only would have taken pains to say no 'refugees' were involved otherwise. And the axes were also a sure sign jihadis were involved. The last time an axe attack happened in Germany, back in 2016, it was a Pakistani 'refugee.'

The suspect the police didn't catch apparently went back to attacking the infidels and has probably already left the country. I'm guessing that because of where the latest attack occurred.

There was a machete attack today in Dusseldorf on Kalkumer Schlossallee, a street right near the Dusseldorf international airport. The target of this brave jihadi was an 80-year old man, who was still conscious when he was found. The German media are keeping quiet on this, but word has leaked out that the victim described the attacker as being of Middle Eastern appearance.

There was also a machete attack today in Dusseldorf on Kalkumer Schlossallee, a street which lies in proximity to the Dusseldorf international airport. The target of this brave jihadi was an 80-year old man, who was still conscious when he was found. The German media are keeping quiet on this, but word has leaked out that the victim described the attacker as being of Middle Eastern appearance.

Even more grimly ironic, the authorities are saying there appears to be no connection between the two attack 'so far.'


*Let's keep things quiet, OK?

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

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Boom! In First Month In Office, Trump Adds 298,000 Jobs

If you were surprised at how many U.S. jobs The Donald added when he was still just President Elect, wait'll you see how he did in his first month in office!

ADP is a well known, worldwide payroll and human resources giant. According to their figures and those of Moody's Analytics, the private sector added 298,000 new jobs, over 100,000 more than expected.

And the stock market surge since President Trump took office means the joy is likely to continue.

Keep in mind that these are private sector jobs, not government jobs.

In other related news, SamSung is planning a large expansion in America, shifting manufacturing jobs from Mexico. The initial investment is $300 million, but a lot more is in the planning stages:

Samsung’s interest in a U.S. factory was influenced by the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Trump campaigned on a desire to create more manufacturing jobs in the country—and has threatened potential penalties for companies that don’t comply.

The South Korean electronics giant, the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones, memory chips and televisions, has had initial discussions with Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina, according to the people. Among those, South Carolina is a strong contender, according to a person familiar with the developments, with Samsung expressing interest in a site around Blythewood, S.C. [...]

For decades, Samsung has spent heavily in the U.S., ranking as one of the country’s largest direct foreign investors. In November, just days before Mr. Trump’s election, the technology giant said it would invest more than $1 billion in its Austin, Texas semiconductor factory to boost production of processor chips for smartphones and other devices.

Since Mr. Trump’s election, some large firms across Asia have pledged to expand U.S. operations or investments. Masayoshi Son, head of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., said after a meeting with Mr. Trump in December that he would invest $50 billion in the U.S., while electronics assembler Foxconn Technology Group has announced plans for expansion.

Samsung’s hometown rival LG Electronics Inc. said last week that it would build a new home-appliance manufacturing factory in Tennessee, creating at least 600 jobs and investing $250 million.

In a sign of Samsung’s stature in the U.S., Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was the only executive from a foreign company to be invited to a mid-December tech industry meeting with Mr. Trump, then the president-elect, according to people familiar with the matter.

But wait, there's more. President Trump hasn't forgotten about our badly neglected infrastructure. Today, as Reuters reports, he's meeting with a number of business leaders to discuss plans to take on that very problem.

President Trump's plan for a $1 trillion infrastructure program is something he has talked about for a long time. Aside from Elon Musk, the people he met with today included major real estate and private equity executives, including developer Richard LeFrak, Vornado Realty Trust Chief Executive Officer Steve Roth and Apollo Global Management co-founder Josh Harris.

What he's doing, of course, is getting the private sector involved in carrying out his infrastructure rehab. And as a successful developer and an experience builder who learned the trade from the ground up, working with the construction crews on his father's projects, President Trump knows exactly how to get the most bang for our buck dollar wise. He knows what works and what doesn't, and how to make it happen on time and on budget. And his trillion dollar program won't be spent on union payoffs, padded government payrolls and money wasting scams like Solyndra. It will be spent on real projects, with real results and put Americans back to work with real jobs...all of which will create economic activity which can then be taxed.

What we're seeing is exactly what candidate Donald Trump promised, the unleashing of America's economic powerhouse from the chains of excessive regulation, high taxes and unfair trade agreements that favor outsourcing. It is going to be an awesome sight to behold. And, y'know, like this: