Dr. Rich Swier endorses McLendon, Wolff and Ziegler for Sarasota County School Board

I have been studying and writing about the Sarasota County School Board and its policies for over a decade. For the first time I am truly excited about three exceptional candidates who will bring a renewed hope and much needed change to the board.

These three candidates are deserving of your vote on August 26, 2014. 

I fully endorse, urge you to support with your donations and ask you to vote for:

     Randy McLendon – Republican School Board candidate in District 5

     Helen Wolff – Republican School Board Candidate in District 4 

     Bridget Ziegler – Republican School Board Candidate in District 1

Each of these candidates is focused on keeping our schools safe, a positive place for learning and empowering parents and teachers. All are anti-Common Core, pro-teacher, pro-student and pro-family.

Each is extremely well qualified to lead the district to new heights by empowering families, students, teachers and citizens. They will all be strong leaders and good stewards of our greatest natural resource – the children of Sarasota County.

I again urge you to support Randy, Helen and Bridget in every and any way you can. This is a county wide election.

Ballots are being mailed as I write this endorsement, if you are an early voter please cast your ballot for Randy, Helen and Bridget. It is time to vote to preserve our future – our children and grandchildren.

The Next Great War: Al Qaeda on the march

In the July 24 edition of The Wall Street Journal there was a commentary, “Wanted: Converts to Judaism” by the chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Arnold M. Eisen. I thought to myself that this was an extraordinary time to be suggesting conversion to a faith that is literally under attack in Israel and being attacked by the reemergence of anti-Semitism in Europe. Here in America we are witnessing the most pro-Islamic and anti-Semitic administration in the history of nation.

In the wake of the Holocaust following World War Two what anti-Semitism existed in the U.S. gave way to an era of good will toward Jews. In Europe open expressions of anti-Semitism were out of favor. Eisen’s concern is the extensive inter-marriage between Christians and Jews in which Judaism is often abandoned in our historically Christian society. The news about Jews in the post-war years was largely about the nation of Israel and the wars it fought to re-establish and maintain the Jewish state.

What those wars should have told us was that Islamic hatred of Judaism extends to Christianity as well.

For Americans that lesson was driven home on September 11, 2001, but even the memory of that event has begun to fade to such an extent that Americans have twice elected a President who has never hidden his admiration for Islam, whose father was a Muslim, and who spent part of his youth in the Islamic nation of Indonesia. In office, his antipathy to Israel has been in stark contrast to the decades of support for Israel that presidents since Harry Truman have demonstrated.

A curious trend has emerged in America that runs counter to its entire history. The celebratory elements of Christian holy days, particularly Christmas, came under attack with demands that holiday scenes of crèches and even crosses be removed from public areas. Being religious was not encouraged and the tradition of starting the school day with a prayer was banned.

It is not too far a reach to say that the West, America and Europe, has been abandoning the depth of faith that distinguished it as church attendance fell off and resistance to attacks on the practice of religion declined. Home to some of the most beautiful churches on Earth, those in Europe are too often virtually empty.

This has not been the case in the Middle East and parts of Africa where Islam has awakened from its passive existence due in part to the colonization that preceded and followed World War One. The riches that oil provided have played a role and today a nation like Qatar is funding the emergence of ISIS, the self-declared caliphate calling itself the Islamic State.

Other oil-rich Middle East nations have supported al Qaeda only to discover that they were among its targets. ISIS has turned on Muslims in the area between Syria and into northern Iraq whom they declare hypocrites and apostates. In Mosul, Christians have been told to convert, pay a tax, or die.

While the rockets that have rained down on Israel are dramatic, the attacks on Christians throughout the Middle East have received less attention, but Christian Arabs have been driven from their homelands in the same way the establishment of Israel saw Jews forced to abandon homes in which they had lived for generations.

While Americans, joined by European negotiators, attempt to get Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program, they remain blind to the role Iran has played for decades, using Hezbollah and Hamas, two Palestinian terrorist organizations, to wage war on Israel and, by extension, the U.S. Not a day goes by without the calls, “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” There is only one way to end Iran’s nuclear program and that is to destroy the facilities that enrich uranium and plutonium. At some point, it will come to that because it must.

Israel is making it clear to the world that there is only one way to rid itself of Hamas and that is a military operation. Its troops are finding an astounding matrix of tunnels whose only purpose is to attack it.

Utterly devoid of any moral standards, Hamas uses homes, schools and hospitals to hide its arsenal of rockets and Palestinian civilians are forced to act as human shields. The world’s media focuses on the deaths of their men, women, and children, but little notice of the rockets and missiles that continue to be fired at Israel. Meanwhile Hamas has been abandoned by Egypt and most other Middle Eastern nations other than Iran and Turkey.

The so-called Palestinians have been led by men like the late Yassir Arafat and currently by Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah. Abbas has recently moved his family to a home in Jordan in the face of criticism that he has been too “cooperative” with Israel. On Quds Day last week, an event organized throughout the Middle East by Iran, an estimated 10,000 protesters gathered in the West Bank to protest Israel’s control of Jerusalem, a holy city to Jews and Christians, claimed as well by Islam. It was founded by King David.

Even so, the European business sector was quick to engage with Iran following the news of the negotiations which have been extended and which have granted Iran billions in return for sitting at the table to discuss an end to the nuclear program that it will never abandon.

In 1913, no one in Europe or America would have ever predicted the beginning of World War One in 1914. It began on July 28, 1914. As the historian Charles Emmerson said of the unanticipated war, “Humanity looked into the abyss and peering into the depths, found its own dark, disfigured reflection staring back.”

In 2014, a century later, humanity needs to take a look at the fascistic, utterly immoral objectives and practices of Islam, and understand that it is at war with us, with moderate Muslims, and with all other faiths. It’s not “if” will shall have to deal with it militarily as Israel is doing, but “when.” That day is not far off.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED ARTICLE: Hamas to Buy N. Korean Weapons as Kerry Pledges $47 Million in Gaza Aid

PLO calls Rubio an “Islamophobe” — Rubio says HAMAS must be “eliminated”

Senator Marco Rubio took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to provide perspective on the Gaza conflict and to respond to a letter from the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Senator Rubio responded by stating:

I hope the United States continues to be firmly on the side of Israel, because there is no moral equivalency here. What is happening between Israel and Hamas is totally 100 percent the fault of Hamas. There is no moral equivalency here. All of the blame lies on Hamas. And for this crisis to end, Hamas must either be eliminated as an organization, or they must lay down their weapons and adhere to the true precepts of peace. Which is the desire to live peacefully with their neighbor Israel.” [Emphasis mine]

The difference between the death of the three Israeli youth and the death of the young Palestinian is clear. In the case of the death of the three Israelis the Palestinians began celebrating the kidnapping and giving out candy. The PLO took no action against the perpetrators of this heinous kidnapping and murder.  In the case of the young Palestinian Israelis mourned, the Israeli government gave aid and succor to the family and the perpetrators were captured and await trial for the murder.

Ayn Rand wrote, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Senator Rubio is standing with the civilized man, he is standing with Israel. Rubio notes, “Don’t tell me both sides are to blame here? Because it’s not true. It isn’t true.”

Watch Senator Rubio’s full 15 minute floor speech on Thursday, July 24, 2014:

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Senate Floor Speech (Excerpt)
July 24, 2014
http://youtu.be/C3JpkdF0qCU

“So please don’t come to me and say that both sides are to blame here. That’s not true. This crisis would end tomorrow if Hamas would turn over its rockets and stop bombarding people. This would end tomorrow, by the way, if the Hamas commanders were not such cowards. And I’ll tell you why they’re cowards. Because while they’re on TV asking their people to go to the rooftops of these buildings, you know where they are? They are hiding in the basement. They are hiding in their basement command center, which by the way is located, as I said, in the basement, underneath of a hospital. This would end tomorrow, the civilian deaths could end tomorrow, if they stopped storing rockets in schools, including a U.N. school – where by the way, when the U.N. discovered these rockets, you know what they did with them? They turned them back over to Hamas. 

“Don’t tell me both sides are to blame here? Because it’s not true. It isn’t true. This is the result of one thing and one thing alone: Hamas has decided to launch rockets against Israel. Hamas has decided to build this extensive network of underground tunnels so in a moment of conflict they can get these commandos into Israel and kill Israelis. And what is Israel doing? What any country would do.

“Of course this is not an excellent example, but imagine for a moment if one of our neighboring countries decided to start hitting us with rockets?  What would the United States do? Would we sit there and say, ‘Boy, we really have to be restrained and hold back here?’ We would not tolerate that. Imagine if in your city, every night and every morning sirens were going off because rockets on their way in, and you spent the better part of the day running in and out of shelters and taking cover. What would you say? You would say, ‘Take care of this problem once and for all.’ Why would we ever ask Israel to do anything less than we would do, if we were in the same situation? 

“And that’s what they’re doing. And in the process of taking care of the situation, tragically, civilians are dying. And you know why? Because Hamas is deliberately putting them in the way. And I just read you these quotes. Hamas is asking their people to do what their leaders themselves won’t do, asking their own people to get in harm’s way, to act as human shields. Because they want these images to be spread around the world. They are willing to sacrifice their own people to win a PR war. And I think it is absolutely outrageous that some in the press corps, domestically, and most of the press corps internationally, is falling for this game. So please don’t tell me that both sides are to blame here, and please don’t tell me that this was caused by Israel. 

“In my time here in the Senate, I have had the opportunity to visit multiple countries. I have never met a people more desirous of peace than the people in Israel. But peace cannot mean your destruction – and that’s what they’re facing here. An enemy force that wants to destroy them, that wants to wipe them out as a country. And so it’s impossible to reach any sort of peace agreement with an organization like that. That’s what Israel is facing here. 

“So, Mr. Ambassador, what I would ask of you is that you go back to your government and you ask them to separate completely from Hamas, to condemn what Hamas is doing to your own people, to condemn the use of human shields. That’s what I ask you to do. Stop writing letters to U.S. senators and being angry at us when, by the way –  we shouldn’t be doing it because the law says that no money should be going toward any organization linked with Hamas. It is the United States that has been helping you stand up your security forces in the West Bank through our taxpayer money. Don’t be writing letters to the U.S. Congress complaining to us about what Israel is doing when the people you just created a unity government with is launching rockets against civilians in Israel and using its own people as human shields. 

“I think you need to take responsibility for your own people, for your own part of the world. And if you truly want peace, peace begins with laying down your arms and stopping these attacks, and condemning those that are conducting these attacks and using innocent civilians as human shields. If you want peace, that’s what you should spend your time doing. Not trying to rally public support around the world for the idea that Israel is responsible for war crimes. 

“And from our perspective, I hope the United States continues to be firmly on the side of Israel, because there is no moral equivalency here. What is happening between Israel and Hamas is totally 100 percent the fault of Hamas. There is no moral equivalency here. All of the blame lies on Hamas. And for this crisis to end, Hamas must either be eliminated as an organization, or they must lay down their weapons and adhere to the true precepts of peace. Which is the desire to live peacefully with their neighbor Israel.”

Secretary of State Kerry views the Gaza Conflict through the prism of his Vietnam experience

Secretary of State John Kerry was dispatched last week to begin a new round of shuttle diplomacy between Cairo, Ankara and Qatar endeavoring to find some leverage with Hamas to obtain a longer cease fire. His latest attempt as of this writing was rejected by Israel as the offer he put on the table simply reiterated Hamas’ previously rejected terms. Those terms proposed by Hamas were based on the November 2012 cease fire agreement.  An agreement the Administration used to encourage Israel to relent to shipment of cement, steel and equipment for reconstruction of Gaza. This reconstruction was funded by $405 million from Qatar, a Hamas supporter. Israel’s fears about diversion of those resources were confirmed in the discovery of the elaborate fortifications and tunnel network during the current Operation Defensive Edge. Kerry returned to Washington this weekend via Paris, where he met with foreign ministers from Turkey, Qatar, France, the U.K. and the EU foreign relations commissioner, without the likelihood that further mediation between the warring parties could yield an agreement to return to calm.

Perhaps the lack of success in mediating a cease fire agreement may be that  Kerry views the Gaza conflict with Hamas through the prism of his Vietnam War experience over 44 years ago. The WSJ Weekend Edition “Notable & Quotable” had  this insightful  exchange between Israeli PM Netanyahu and Secretary Kerry drawn from a July 20th New Republic article by Ben Birnbaum  and Amir Tibon:

The prime minister opened the meeting by playing Kerry a video on one of his favorite topics: Palestinian incitement. It showed Palestinian children in Gaza being taught to glorify martyrdom and seek Israel’s destruction. “This is the true obstacle to peace,” Netanyahu told Kerry.

“It’s a major issue,” Kerry replied. “And nothing justifies incitement. I hate it. I’ve read Abbas the riot act about it. You know I have. But it is worthwhile to try to understand what life looks like from the Palestinian point of view.”

“This has nothing to do with the occupation and the settlements,” Netanyahu said.

Kerry pressed on: “When I fought in Vietnam, I used to look at the faces of the local population and the looks they gave us. I’ll never forget it. It gave me clarity that we saw the situation in completely different ways.”

“This isn’t Vietnam!” Netanyahu shouted. “No one understands Israel but Israel.”

Kerry tried explaining himself again: “No one is saying it’s Vietnam. But I’ve been coming here for thirty years, and I’m telling you, what’s building up in the Palestinians has only gotten worse. I’ve seen it. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong; it just is. It can’t be solved if you can’t see it how they see it.”

To get some sense of what Kerry was talking about in this exchange with Netanyahu, I went back to his April 22, 1971 testimony on the so-called Winter Soldiers Study of Viet Nam anti-war veterans before the Senate Foreign Committee, chaired by the late Sen. J.W.  Fulbright of Arkansas.  Here is an excerpt from the opening stanza of his testimony:

We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.

We found most people didn’t even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Vietcong, North Vietnamese, or American.

We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw firsthand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag, as blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs as well as by search and destroy missions, as well as by Vietcong terrorism, and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on ‘the Vietcong.

Fast forward to July 2014 and Kerry’s exchange with Israeli PM Netanyahu quoted in the New Republic  article. The contrast is that Netanyahu   knows his people are besieged with rockets and mortar indiscriminately raining down on four fifths of the Jewish nation from terrorist groups Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad controlling Gaza.  Further, that Hamas and its partner in the Palestinian unity government, PA President Mahmoud Abbas marinate young minds in hatred and violence seeking destruction of the Jewish dhimmi state that has shamed them.  If you substitute Hamas for Viet Cong or North Vietnam, you suddenly realize where Kerry’s head is at when it comes to mediating cease fire between two unmovable adversaries. Israel is the only reliable democratic ally in the region  combating  Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization designated by our State Department.

According to a report in The Times of Israel sources in Jerusalem accused Kerry of “completely capitulated to Hamas” in the proposed cease fire rejected by Israel.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review.

Senate Democrats playing disgusting political game with Israel’s security

Call me whatever you want and personally attack me as you like for saying this, but Senate Democrats are playing a disgusting game with the security of Israel for political purposes.

The U.S .Defense Department has asked for emergency funding of $225 million in support of Israel’s Iron Dome protective weapon system that has had over a 90 percent success rate in shooting down incoming Hamas rockets. In the Democrat-controlled Senate, instead of allowing this as a stand-alone appropriations measure, they seek to tie this with funding support of President Obama’s request in the current illegal immigration border crisis. Funny — I didn’t see any caveats when the Secretary of State gave Hamas, a terrorist organization, $47 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Who do you think the American people would rather see their taxpayer dollars support — more mock illegal immigrant courts, an Islamic terror group, or our ally in the Middle East facing an onslaught of incoming rockets?

This is the devious way funding is manipulated on Capitol Hill — and I don’t consent to either side doing this practice, so spare me the partisan diatribe. This is blatantly wrong and demonstrates to Prime Minister Netanyahu that for Democrats it’s not about doing what’s right, it’s about their immigration agenda.

And for you anti-big bank/government bank supporters, Democrats are also looking at linking support for the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to the illegal immigration funding measure. So you progressive socialist, Occupy Wall Street types, you can see your beloved Democrats will sell out their principles — if they had any — for anything.

And if you want to check, I voted against the renewal of the Ex-Im Bank as it is not the business of the federal government and skews the free market economy.

But just remember, as Israel fires Iron Dome missiles, their supply dwindles. It is a race to conduct a ground operation, Operation Protective Edge, that eliminated Hamas rocket firing points and capability, as well as destroying the Hamas ammunition stockpile, which is funded by Qatar and Iran. And did I mention, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon flew to Israel aboard a flight paid for by the Qataris?

Senate Democrats are playing a very horrible game with the survival of a nation, Israel. Call your Senators and tell them to have a single vote on the emergency funding for Iron Dome. If you choose not to, then we know on whose side you stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.

Enough about “temporary refugee status” already!

When you think the Obama Administration can’t muck things up any worse… they do.

The latest wacko idea is to make refugees out of Central American kids who have been living in the same type of situations for many generations. Let’s see, start with Honduras and go around the world importing kids as refugees ignoring the fact our poverty level of citizens are still better off economically than 90% of the rest of the world’s citizens. Just how many billions would the president like to import? Oh I’m sure he has the statutory authority to do it since the Republicans are in the cafeteria eating tacos and some are sucking on burritos.

Instead of importing more Hispanics it is time to dump some back on them. When will the government finally decide temporary is not 15 years which is basically how long 300,000 El Salvadorans and 105,000 Hondurans have been living and working in the U.S. under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program?

What is TPS?

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.  USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States.  Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

Why are these El Salvadorans and Hondurans here? Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998 and an earthquake hit El Salvador in 2001 and supposedly people are given temporary protected status until the mess is cleaned up. President George W. Bush gave several 18 month extensions and Obama has plodded right along with 18 month extensions.

TPS renewal for both are up in early 2015. Send them packing back to EL Salvador and Honduras. Send the hordes of illegal aliens packing now that invaded the borders from those countries. Stop the game playing that the Wilberforce Act is applicable with these people who came because they heard they can just walk right in and sign their democrat registration card, get on the welfare rolls and start living the Spanish dream on American taxpayer backs.

Do you think if the federal government has allowed illegal aliens from Honduras and El Salvador to remain in the country legally for at least a decade and a half they have any plans to return newly arrived illegal aliens?

Now, if the government decides to return the newly arrived illegal aliens do you think they will also deport the illegal aliens from those same countries that have been here for a decade and a half?

I ask: If not why not?

Time to cutoff aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico until we pay for the mess created by them.

End the nonsensical Temporary Protected Status Program!

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Miami, FL: HAMAS supporter threatens and attacks Jewish journalist

“I’m gonna kill you mother f u_ker, you and the all Israelis! You want a push, I’ll show you a push! He’s a Zionist, this guy is not one of us, he’s a Zionist!” (code for Jew).

WARNING: Video contains graphic language and is not suitable for viewing by children:

On Sunday July 20, 2014, these violent and hateful words were combined with physical assaults against an innocent Jewish reporter in Miami Florida. On this beautiful sunny Florida day the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) crossed a cultural and maybe legal red line by sponsoring a HAMAS demonstration where this man, a Jewish reporter working undercover was identified and attacked by an angry crowd of HAMAS jihadists.

During the confrontation one of the HAMAS pulled out an improvised weapon and moved in to stab the Jewish reporter before someone stopped him while another CAIR jihadist made a clear, direct and profound threat to kill the reporter. All of this is in our seventh episode of our special series on the war in Israel, Operation: Protective Edge, An Inside Look – Destroy HAMAS.

Earlier in this war, The United West went on record predicting violence in the streets of America by angry Muslims, particularly those who take the teachings of Mohammed very seriously. As night follows day, the true believing Muslim understands that the war in Gaza is a battle between Allah’s “chosen warriors,” the HAMAS and the infidel Jews, supported worldwide by the infidel Christians. In that Islam is a borderless political system there is no difference between confrontations in Gaza City or confrontations in Paris, London or Miami.

This unifying war doctrine necessarily leads to Islamic violence in the West because Islam does not ultimately respect Western law. The net result of this worldview is the shocking way in which an investigative reporter for our organization, The United West, is attacked while lawfully doing his job, on the public right-of-way in the south Florida city of Miami.

One of the breaking news elements of this story is that CAIR, the self-proclaimed “civil-rights” organization for Muslims sponsored an outright HAMAS demonstration where the participants, when not assaulting the reporter, were shouting historic death threats to Jews and shouting complete and comprehensive unity with the HAMAS, as in “WE ARE HAMAS!”

If you follow the work of The United West or Frank Gaffney, Center for Security Policy, you know for several years we have explained that a Federal court has established a harmonious relationship between CAIR and the HAMAS, thus for practical purposes, CAIR is HAMAS. Now, clearly established by the evidence we present in this show, CAIR is indeed, the HAMAS, by their own words.

This new public admittance by CAIR raises many questions that need serious investigation and serious answers form both Federal authorities and from CAIR officials. In that the HAMAS is a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designated so by the Department of State during President Clinton’s Administration, does CAIR’s sponsorship of violent HAMAS demonstrations on the public right-of-way violate any legal element of the FTO statute? If leaders of CAIR, including Nihad Awad and Hassan Shibly, now publically support the HAMAS, should they enjoy the access they have to President Obama’s White House and other American institutions of influence?

The Muslim Brotherhood is another national security factor that now comes front and center in light of this HAMAS demonstration in Miami. On July 24, Rep. Michele Bachmann introduced a bill to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The bill, also known as the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2014, will “impose sanctions against persons who knowingly provide material support or resources to the Muslim Brotherhood or its affiliates, associated groups, or agents, and for other purposes.”

The evidence is as simple as reading the HAMAS Charter – Article Two:

The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine.

So, follow the simple logic here. If the Muslim Brotherhood is indeed designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US Department of State and if the HAMAS is a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and if HAMAS is CAIR, then does it not follow that CAIR is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood? Anyway you spread this humus you got CAIR in a whole heap of trouble, plain and simple. Folks, its time CAIR is exposed for being exactly what it presented itself to be on that street corner in Miami, a wing of the terrorist organization, HAMAS.

For further information on The Muslim Brotherhood and these related issues, check out Frank Gaffney’s 10-part video series –http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.or…

This special TV series on the war in Israel is produced by Frank Gaffney, The Center for Security Policy and Tom Trento, The United West.

Georgia FairTax® Scores A Major Victory

The media’s eyes were on the state of Georgia this week as voters went to the polls in their Republican runoff election for the U.S. Senate. The Georgia FairTax (GFFT) organization played a pivotal role in helping educate voters on where candidates stood on the FairTax® Plan.

The monumental effort began in 2012, led by volunteer GFFT state director Jim Duffie and GFFT board chairman Bill Fogarty, when the GFFT team developed and published a comprehensive non-partisan candidate scorecard for rating candidates for elective office on their support of the FairTax.

In preparation for the 2014 election, GFFT volunteers began identifying and contacting candidates from both the Republican and Democrat parties. In addition, they researched positions of candidates on tax reform, volunteering hundreds of hours to bird-dog candidates and document what they actually said about tax reform during campaign stump speeches.

The team then offered candidates from both political parties a telephonic or in-person briefing on what the FairTax is, how it differs from proposed flat and current income tax systems and if desired, how to defend it from attacks.

Thanks to the generosity of GA FairTax supporters, all candidates who accepted the GFFT FairTax briefing were given a specially prepared binder containing copies of the FairTax white papers submitted to the 2013 U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Tax Reform Study Group. These binders were a labor of love by GFFT volunteers and left a very strong impression on candidates regarding the depth of research that has gone into the FairTax legislation.

U.S. Senate candidate David Purdue accepted GFFT’s in-person offer, and went on to request an extended briefing with Phil Hinson and other GFFT leaders to ensure he understood the details of the legislation.

Perdue then made it a point to address tax reform while on the stump, noting that he was “a fighter for the FairTax.” Purdue’s diligence in learning about and fighting for the FairTax paid off when he was declared the victor in Tuesday’s run-off election.

This outstanding team effort by the GFFT serves as a model of what can be done across the nation.

Congratulations GFFT – we are FairTax proud!

Colorado’s Experience Soundly Refutes Common Anti-gun Talking Point

Last month, while addressing a group of Colorado sheriffs, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper spoke on the topic of the state’s 2013 measure outlawing almost all private transfers of firearms. According to the Denver Post, Hickenlooper told the sheriffs, “I think we screwed that up completely… we were forming legislation without basic facts.”

A new Associated Press report examining Colorado background check data in the first year of the new law proves the accuracy of Hickenlooper’s statement, and should (although likely won’t) end the repetition of an already discredited anti-gun background check factoid.

The report states that the Colorado Legislative Council, an offshoot of the state legislature that is tasked with analyzing legislation, estimated that 420,000 additional background checks would be conducted in the two years following the new private sale restrictions. This led the Colorado legislature to allocate $3 million to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to handle the anticipated increase.

However, the AP notes, “officials have performed only about 13,600 reviews considered a result of the new law — about 7 percent of the estimated first year total.” The article goes on to state, “In total, there were about 311,000 background checks done during the first year of the expansion in Colorado, meaning the 13,600 checks between private sellers made up about 4 percent of the state total.”

How did the Colorado Legislative Council get their estimate so wildly wrong?

They relied on the same bogus statistic (that 40 percent of gun transfers occur between private parties) which gun control advocates and the White House have been using to advocate for expanded background checks all over the country.

The 40 percent statistic is from a Police Foundation survey, the results of which were published in a 1997 National Institute of Justice report titled, Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms. The figure has been debunked repeatedly by the NRA and others, and even earned the President “Three Pinocchios” from the Washington Post’s fact-checker for his repeated use of the misleading stat.

Unfortunately, these public admonishments haven’t deterred gun control supporters from using this absurdly inflated figure. In November, Sen. Dianne Feinstein repeated the factoid in an opinion piece for the San Jose Mercury News. As recently as early July, the Brady campaign asserted in a press release, “Approximately 40 percent of all guns sales go unchecked.” A May press release from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety reiterated estimates “that 40 percent of gun sales occur without a background check in the U.S.” Even President Obama’s official website, whitehouse.gov, has a page for his “Now is the Time” gun control campaign that continues to claim, “Right now, federally licensed firearms dealers are required to run background checks on those buying guns, but studies estimate that nearly 40 percent of all gun sales are made by private sellers who are exempt from this requirement.”

The data from Colorado’s first year of restricted private transfers makes continued use the 40 percent figure untenable. Still, some gun control advocates might seek to blame Colorado’s low increase in background checks on scofflaws, and those unaware of changes in the law, circumventing the new restrictions. Even if these factors did have a role to play in the underwhelming check numbers, they could hardly be expected to raise the percentage of undocumented private transfers by a factor of 10. Even if they could, it would merely weaken the case of the efficacy of private transfer restrictions. Evidence of background check avoidance would simply underscore NRA’s position that background check laws cannot affect the behavior of those who intentionally or unknowingly violate them.

Colorado’s expensive foray into background check expansion should serve as a warning to state and federal legislators as to the limited effect these laws can have, and the importance of collecting the “basic facts” before crafting legislation that inhibits the rights of their constituents.

Yet the tactics of gun control supporters are nothing if not shameless, so don’t expect them to relinquish the 40 percent myth any time soon. President Obama has openly embraced the confiscatory gun bans of Australia and Great Britain, and he and other gun control radicals realize they can’t achieve that goal without registration. “Universal” background checks are the next step in that direction, so for their proponents, the ends justify their dishonest means.

For everyone else, however, Colorado’s example is a resounding reminder that the war the proponents of “universal” background checks are waging is one of ideology, not one of facts, and it is certainly not in the service of “gun safety.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column is by the NRA-ILA with accompanying graphic.

Miami Judge furthers Gay Agenda — Claims a “new right” for homosexuals to marry

Judge ignores the Rule of Law, the will of the People of Florida and a Supreme Court of the United States decision by claiming that Florida Marriage Amendment is Unconstitutional.

6a00d83451b26169e201a511485290970cOn Friday afternoon, July 25, 2014 at approximately 5:30 pm, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel ruled in favor of the six homosexual couples who served as plaintiffs in the matter of Pareto v. Ruvin.  Gay-rights activist groups organized the lawsuit and “forum shopped” by filing the lawsuit in the most liberal legal jurisdiction in the state with the hope of finding a left leaning judge who would say Florida’s marriage laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman are unconstitutional.

This is the second lawsuit this month where an activist judge in Florida is attempting to advance same-sex marriage with the stroke of a pen instead of honoring and respecting the controlling authorities of the highest law of the land. In her 36 page decision, Judge Zabel relied uniquely on Loving vs Virgina where the Supreme Court of the United States in 1967 ruled that the laws prohibiting interracial marriages were unconstitutional.

John Stemberger, President and General Counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council made the following statement regarding the Zabel’s ruling:

“It is fiction to think that Florida’s marriage laws have somehow been declared finally unconstitutional by the local rulings of mere local trial judges.  The fact is that Florida’s marriage laws are still constitutional and in full force.  The Federal Courts, and indeed the Supreme Court of the United States, have not given the final word on this matter and we expect the Miami ruling to be immediately appealed by Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Instead of following Florida’s law and constitution, Judge Zabel fell into line with other activist judges around the country who are completely ignoring the rule of law and substituting their own political opinions in place of clear controlling legal authority.  Judge Zabel’s reliance on Loving vs Virginia is completely misplaced.  Race is not an inherent property of marriage but gender is.  Loving affirmed the definition of natural marriage as between one man and one woman by ruling that any man can marry any woman irrespective of race.  We are confident that when the final word comes from the US Supreme Court that they will find that states have the right to define marriage.”

Judge Zabel also stayed her own order which means that in spite of her opinion that Florida’s marriage laws are unconstitutional, the clerk of the court in Miami-Dade County will not be issuing marriages licenses immediately until the matter will be fully heard by the appellate and federal courts.

Sen. McConnell: DISCLOSE Act is “Crude Intimidation Tactic”

Some in the Senate seem to think that there’s too much free speech in our politics and want to silence their opponents. For the third time in four years, Senate Democrats have trotted out a version of their Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act. The bill may be couched in soothing, good government terms, but it would be a hard punch to free speech.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has relentlessly opposed efforts to limit political speech and in the Washington Examiner defends the First Amendment from this latest assault [emphasis mine]:

As a longtime First Amendment hawk, I have sought to raise the alarm in real time on these multiplying assaults on the First Amendment, from a proposed executive order that would have required applicants for government contracts to disclose their political leanings before they could get a contract, to the significant, targeted harassment of conservative groups that we now know to have taken place at the IRS.

In my view, it is absolutely essential for the integrity of our politics and the health of our democracy that we not grow complacent in the face of these increasingly brazen attacks on free speech — that we recognize them when we see them and call them out for what they are in plain English.

That was my goal this week in publicly testifying against the Democrats’ latest effort to stifle speech. Despite the many other urgent crises we face at the moment, I thought it important to make my way to a hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and speak out against Washington Democrats’ latest iteration of the so-called Disclose Act, because silence on this issue is not an option.

The Disclose Act has become something of a preoccupation for Washington Democrats. Its stated purpose is the forced disclosure of donors to political causes, but the truth is, it’s little more than a crude intimidation tactic masquerading as good government.

Attempts at forced disclosure were used in the past to squelch free speech, as McConnell explains:

Back in the 1950s, the state of Alabama tried to get its hands on the donor list of the NAACP. The Supreme Court correctly ruled against forced disclosure then because it knew that if people had reason to fear that their names and reputations would be attacked because of the causes they support, then they would be far less likely to support them. They knew disclosure would have a chilling effect on free association and free speech.

Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President for Government Affairs made similar points in a letter to Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) on the Senate Rules Committee. The clear purpose of the bill, Josten wrote, “is to upend irretrievably core First Amendment political speech protections” by “chilling the political speech of the business community and others engaged in the political process.” At the same time it is “blatantly political and ultimately unconstitutional legislation that detracts from much more significant efforts to solve challenges confronting America.”

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue put it succinctly last year, “If you don’t like what someone is saying, argue with them (but do it politely). Don’t try to silence them.” First Amendment defenders like Senator McConnell understand how important that principle is for our country.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is by photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg.

Cheating Commies and Guardian Syndrome by Max Borders

Why were the East Germans more likely to cheat?

In a recent Economist piece called “Lying Commies,” the authors report:

“Under capitalism”, ran the old Soviet-era joke, “man exploits man. Under communism it is just the opposite.” In fact new research suggests that the Soviet system inspired not just sarcasm but cheating too: in East Germany, at least, communism appears to have inculcated moral laxity.

Lars Hornuf of the University of Munich and Dan Ariely, Ximena García-Rada and Heather Mann of Duke University ran an experiment last year to test Germans’ willingness to lie for personal gain. Some 250 Berliners were randomly selected to take part in a game where they could win up to €6 ($8).

The findings?

After finishing the game, the players had to fill in a form that asked their age and the part of Germany where they had lived in different decades. The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism. They also looked at how much time people had spent in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The longer the participants had been exposed to socialism, the greater the likelihood that they would claim improbable numbers of high rolls.

But the authors make no attempt to explain why this is so. As you can see, they write: “The study reveals nothing about the nature of the link between socialism and dishonesty.”

Might we find at least clues to an answer in the work of Jane Jacobs? Specifically, in Systems of Survival, she offers the following heuristic to show us how different people arrive at different types of moral frameworks depending on how the incentives systems are set up to benefit their survival. (I would add that these moral “syndromes” are also good psychological dispositions for shoring up hierarchies or transitioning to networks, respectively.)

                              Moral Precepts

     Guardian Syndrome      Commerce Syndrome
Shun trading

Exert prowess

Be obedient and disciplined

Adhere to tradition

Respect hierarchy

Be loyal

Take vengeance

Deceive for the sake of the task

Make rich use of leisure

Be ostentatious

Dispense largesse

Be exclusive

Show fortitude

Be fatalistic

Treasure honor

Shun force

Compete

Be efficient

Be open to inventiveness and novelty

Use initiative and enterprise

Come to voluntary agreements

Respect contracts

Dissent for the sake of the task

Be industrious

Be thrifty

Invest for productive purposes

Collaborate easily with strangers and aliens

Promote comfort and convenience

Be optimistic

Be honest

Notice anything about guardian syndrome that unpacks both the behavior of East German socialists, as well as those involved in politics and bureaucratic hierarchies in general?

MaxBordersVEsmlABOUT MAX BORDERS

Max Borders is the editor of The Freeman and director of content for FEE. He is also co-founder of the event experience Voice & Exit and author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.

CLICHES OF PROGRESSIVISM #15 – We Are Destroying the Earth and Government Must Do Something by Sandy Ikeda

People often complain that mankind is destroying the earth: that insatiable consumption and relentless production have laid waste to irreplaceable swaths of our planet, and that these activities have to stop or someday it will all be gone.

Which raises the question: What does it means to “destroy” something?

When you burn a log, the log is destroyed, but heat, light, smoke, and ashes are created. It’s in that sense that physics tells us that matter is neither created nor destroyed.  Similarly, cutting down a forest destroys the forest, but in its place are houses and furniture and suburbs.

The real question is: Is it worth it?

What people usually mean when they say mankind is destroying the earth is that human action causes a change they don’t like. It sounds odd to say that my wife, by eating a piece of toast for breakfast, is “destroying” the toast. But if I wanted that toast for myself, I might well regard her action as destructive. It’s the same action, but the interpretation depends on purpose and context.

When a missile obliterates a building and kills the people in it, it may serve a political purpose, even though the friends and family of those killed and the owners of the building are harmed. The perpetrator’s gain is the victim’s loss. In the political realm, one person’s gain is necessarily another person’s loss. You rob Peter to pay Paul; you kill Jack to appease Jill. It’s a “zero-sum game.”

In the economic realm, however, a thing is destroyed to the extent that it loses its usefulness to somebody for doing something. Someone may want to bulldoze my lovely home just for fun. If she pays me enough I may let her do it and be glad she did. When not physically coerced, a trade won’t happen unless each side expects to gain. If it does happen, and if the people who traded are right, then all do in fact gain. Each is better off than before. The trade has created something: value. If they are wrong, they destroy value and suffer a loss, which gives them an incentive to avoid making mistakes.

In free markets, gains manifest themselves in profit, either monetary or psychic. (In the short run, of course, you can sustain a monetary loss if you think there’s a worthwhile non-monetary aspect to the trade that will preserve the profit.) Now, the free market is not perfect, despite what some economics professors say about the benefits of so-called “perfect competition.” People don’t have complete or perfect knowledge and so they make mistakes. They trade when they shouldn’t, or they don’t trade when they should. Fortunately, profits and losses serve as feedback to guide their decisions.

There’s another source of market imperfection. People may be capable of making good decisions but they don’t trade, or trade too much, because the property rights to the things they would like to trade aren’t well-defined or aren’t effectively enforced. In such cases their actions or in actions create costs they don’t bear or benefits they don’t receive. The result is that their decisions end up destroying value.

If I free-ride off the ocean—if, for example, I don’t pay for dumping garbage into it—then the ocean will become more polluted than it should be. If there is a cleaner, more efficient source of energy than fossil fuels, but no one can profitably use it because the State prevents anyone from doing so (for example by prohibitions or excessive taxation), then the value that would have been created will never appear.

Our aesthetic sense is part of what makes us human. If we wish to protect a lake or a valley from development because we think it beautiful, how do we do that?

To some extent it’s possible to do what the Nature Conservancy does and purchase the land that we want to protect. But that’s not always possible, especially when the land is controlled not by private persons but by the State, which makes special deals with crony capitalists in so-called public-private developments. In any case, even the free market is not perfect. Economic development and material well-being mean that some beautiful landscapes and irreplaceable resources will be changed in ways not everyone will approve of.

Remember, though, that economics teaches us that an action is always taken by someone for something. There are no disembodied costs, benefits, or values. In a world of scarcity, John believes saving rainforests is more important than saving the whales. Mary believes the opposite. If we are to get past disagreements on aesthetics—essentially differences of opinion—that can turn into violent conflict, we need to find some way to settle our differences peacefully, some way to transform them into value-creating interactions.

Imperfect though it may be, the free market has so far been the most effective method we know of for doing that.

Sandy Ikeda
Associate Professor of Economics
Purchase College, SUNY

Summary

  • Physics teaches us that matter is not really destroyed but rather transformed, so the ever-present question is, “Is it worth it?”
  • Market transactions transform resources, as well as ownership of them, and if enhanced value doesn’t result from those transactions, the resulting losses tend to minimize future mistakes.
  • For further information, see:

“Government Versus the Environment” by Russell Madden: http://tinyurl.com/ndc96h2

“The Problem of Environmental Protection” by Dwight R. Lee: http://tinyurl.com/nub9uet

“Economists and Scarcity” by Steven Horwitz: http://tinyurl.com/mztsuf4

“Remembering Julian Simon” by Paul Cleveland and Erin Hagert: http://tinyurl.com/ngchvyo

ABOUT SANDY IKEDA

Sandy Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of Interventionism. He will be speaking at the FEE summer seminars “People Aren’t Pawns” and “Are Markets Just?

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government.

Our society is inundated with half-truths and misconceptions about the economy in general and free enterprise in particular. The “Clichés of Progressivism” series is meant to equip students with the arguments necessary to inform debate and correct the record where bias and errors abound.

The antecedents to this collection are two classic FEE publications that YAF helped distribute in the past: Clichés of Politics, published in 1994, and the more influential Clichés of Socialism, which made its first appearance in 1962. Indeed, this new collection will contain a number of essays from those two earlier works, updated for the present day where necessary. Other entries first appeared in some version in FEE’s journal, The Freeman. Still others are brand new, never having appeared in print anywhere. They will be published weekly on the websites of both YAF and FEE: www.yaf.org and www.FEE.org until the series runs its course. A book will then be released in 2015 featuring the best of the essays, and will be widely distributed in schools and on college campuses.

See the index of the published chapters here.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

“How to solve the unsolvable”

There are some problems which might not have a solution.

Israel is at the stage in the conflict in which, traditionally, international pressure mounts to such a pitch that Israel has to stop its operations against Hamas. This is what happened in 2009, what happened in 2012 and what looks set to happen again now. The international community recognises that Israel needs to stop rockets being fired from Gaza, allows the state a couple of weeks of mild support or mild protest and then comes down heavily after the operations bring the inevitable civilian and terrorist casualties. There is a pattern to this. And each time the exigencies of the political cycle ensure that the problem will return in exactly the same guise 18 months or so later.

But somebody must think about what the long-term solution to all this might be.  Ever since Israel withdrew from the Gaza in 2005 and the Bush administration pushed for elections which resulted in the election of Hamas (who then consolidated their win with a violent coup) the world has been faced with this seemingly insoluble problem. Yet part of its insolubility is the world’s continued pretence that this is in fact a problem capable of being solved.

Hamas and their supporters are calling for a stopping of what they call the ‘siege’ or ‘blockade’ on Gaza. Of course the restrictions on materials getting into Gaza could indeed be lifted if it were not for the certainty that Hamas would use the opportunity to bring more munitions into Gaza even than they can with the ‘blockade’ in place.  The long-term effects of a normalising of trade with Gaza would be a Gaza armed with better and more efficient weaponry than ever. Calls for a ‘lifting of the blockade’ therefore come from people who are either ignorant of Hamas’s behaviour or from people who know Hamas’s behaviour, like it and would like to assist them.

The prospect of Israel ‘re-occupying’ Gaza is off the table. There is little or no public or political desire in Israel to have to control an area seething with such extremism and antagonism. Ordinarily a long-term solution would be for Egypt to re-assert control of Gaza which they asserted fifty years ago. Except that the Egyptians know the problems that exist in Gaza as well as the Israelis do, and they no more want to govern the people of the area than the Israelis. They, too, know that the destabilisation of their entire society is not just possible but likely should they allow Gaza into their borders.

So nobody wants to ‘own’ Gaza and Hamas seems for the time-being to be utterly unwilling to sublimate their priority of attacking Israel in order to better govern and provide for (with international assistance) the people nominally in their care.

So what can be done?  If you ask the best policy-makers, the finest minds in the region from any and all sides, the same shrug or despair emerges at this point. The answer which almost everybody who has looked at the situation is agreed upon is that there is not at the moment any solution to this problem. They follow this up with the inevitable hope that at some stage in the future this fact will change. But it is important to keep in mind what this change consists of. Any long-term solution to the Gaza problem is incumbent on a stage-by-stage, gradual improvement in, and normalisation of, Gaza. It involves younger Gazans growing up without being imbued with the hate which demands they make assault on the Jewish state their political and religious priority. Anybody who looks at this must also realise that this place – if it can be reached – will not be reached for many years.  Perhaps ten years at a minimum. Almost certainly far more. And what makes the timescale worse is that there is no sign that Hamas or the Palestinian leadership in Gaza in general are doing anything remotely like starting this process.

This, then, is a problem for which there is no immediate solution.  A bleak fact, but one that the international community would do well to realise.  Because only by doing so can they – or anyone – have a realistic expectation of how, if ever, this terrible situation can be resolved.  Accepting the limitations of the world is often an unpleasant thing to do, but it is a better strategy than pretending these unpalatable facts away.

Boycott, Divest and Sanction every nation in the Middle East, except for Israel

As Israel is under attack from Hamas in the Gaza strip and BDS — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions — right here in America, Bill Whittle makes the historical and moral case for Israel, and shows just who, indeed, are the tyrants and aggressors in the Middle East.

TRANSCRIPT:

Even before the recent Israeli ground and air operations in Gaza, the BDS movement – that would stand for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – was gaining traction… not just in France, or Germany, or Oman: right here in America.

BDS is being sold – as everything evil and stupid is being sold these days – as a moral good. The argument goes like this: Israel, a nation formed in response to the cold, concrete reality of extermination, has let its economic and military power go to its head. They, now, are the oppressors; they now are Goliath in a main battle tank facing a brave Palestinian David with a rock in his hand; they now are the racists. They now – Israel – are the Nazis.

Are they?

Here is Israel at the time of its formation by the United Nations in 1948. Actually, you can’t see it on this map because it’s so small – smaller than the state of New Jersey.

On that same year, the Arab nations surrounding the new country attacked what was then mostly small farming communities and tried to drive the Jews into the sea.

But The Israelis won.

The Arabs tried it again in 1967. The Jews beat them again. Then, in 1973, the Arabs tried again, launching a sneak attack on the holiest Jewish holiday – and the Jews won again.

Israel’s territorial gains did not come from Israel attacking the Arabs. They came from Israel being attacked by the Arabs.

And Israel has always tried to give the land back in exchange for peace, as it did when it voluntarily returned the Sinai Peninsula – which is bigger than Israel itself – back to the Egyptians who had tried to attack them from the Sinai, and likewise, they gave the Gaza Strip back to the Palestinians who had attacked them – from the Gaza strip.

Since then, thousands – thousands! — of rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel from schoolyards and orphanages and hospitals in — Gaza.

How many rockets and mortars would you allow to fall on your house by neighbors that have been swearing to kill you for 65 years? How many times will someone keep hitting you before you hit back?

The Palestinians daily call for the Jews to be driven into the sea. The Jews have one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world. They could drive the Palestinians into the sea any time they wanted to. They don’t.

The instant that Hamas or Hezbollah get their hands on a nuclear weapon, they will do with it what they do every day with their rocks and mortars and missiles. They will use it. On Israel. The Israelis have an estimated 500 nuclear weapons and could destroy the Arabs any time they chose. They don’t.

Those are not Nazis. Those are moral, civilized people.

Israel is an island of civilization in a sea of barbarity, and that is why it is being targeted. Uncomfortable with those words, “civilization” and “barbarity?” Well, in Israel women can do whatever they please – including leading the state of Israel. In the surrounding Arab nations women are treated as chattel. They’re just property: useful for creating sons and carrying things.

In Israel, homosexuals are tolerated and celebrated as individuals – why, just as if they were real people! In the surrounding Muslim nations they are hung from construction cranes in public squares. In Israel, scientists at the University of Haifa are studying In-homogeneous tachyon dynamics. The latest scientific invention in the Arab world is a buzzer that goes off when a Muslim falls asleep against his prayer rug.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was used, in the main successfully, against racist South Africa. Racist South Africa used brutal force to suppress people along racial lines.

Israel, on the other hand, is the only nation in the entire Middle East where Arabs have a free and fair vote. Israel allows Israelis of any ethnicity to be elected to the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament – including Arabs. So: If you’re in favor of equal rights for women, legal protections for homosexuals, advances in science, the arts and medicine, and political access and personal rights guaranteed by law — you definitely should support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – for every nation in the region EXCEPT Israel.

Finally, I’ll just say this – because this is really what drives this whole thing. It is absolutely true that criticizing the actions of the State of Israel is not in itself anti-Semitism. Israel is as subject to criticism and condemnation as any other nation on earth.

But you cannot understand Israel’s actions without understanding the pervasive, unrelenting, hate that surrounds that outpost of civilization. From Hezbollah rockets made in Iran, to BDS sanctions made in Berkeley and Santa Monica, the attacks on this country and its people cannot be understood without getting to the bedrock essence of the nasty, petty, small and mean-spirited emotion that drives anti-Semitism.

And that emotion is Envy.

Genesis, Chapter 26, verses 12 through 16:

And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Aby melech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

That was thousands of years before there was a religion called Islam. And when the Israelis, as a gesture of peace and goodwill, turned over the Gaza Strip in 2005 the first thing these modern-day philistines did was smash the windows of the greenhouses that had been handed to them by other people’s labor. Once again, they filled wells in the desert with sand.

Prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, by far the safest home the Jews have ever known was here in America. No doubt there was anti-Semitism here, but with a few exceptions it was golf-course anti-Semitism: disgraceful, but a long, long way from the pogroms and the death camps. Why was America such a safe home for the Jews? Well, because up until very recently — 2008 let’s say – envy was not admired here in America. “Coveting” wasn’t sold here as a virtue, either.

So,  to those American Jews who watched through the 1930’s and 40s and ask, “how could they have let that happen?” I would simply say, “How can you let this happen? Why do so many of you vote for this to happen – pay for it to happen?”

Tea Party Conservatives, like me – genuine friends of Israel and the Jewish people – look at you and think “It’s obvious you’ve lost your minds. Have you lost your souls as well?”