Look out BDS crowd, Scarlett Johansson is on the case

“What a Gal” was the tagline in an email sent me earlier today by Dr. William Firshein, Emeritus Professor of Microbiology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.  Brooklyn raised Bill “Velvi” Firshein is an unreconstructed Zionist whom I got to know in my activist days in the nutmeg state. We maintain a daily stream of conversation via emails after my retirement to Florida. Firshein is unafraid to write critical letters and emails to the editors of major media lambasting them for biased coverage of Israel and issues like the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and the recent academic ones. See our Iconoclast blog post here.

The wonderful gal that Velvi was referring to is 29 year old New York City native, Scarlett Johannson  voted by Esquire as “the sexist woman alive,” not once but twice, in 2006 and 2013.

Watch Scarlett Johansson in the YouTube video of the uncensored version of the SodaStream Super Bowl ad that started the ruckus with the tagline “sorry Pepsi and Coke”.  Fox demanded deletion of that line so as not to offend  the major soda world competitors. Wonder why it has over 5.5 million hits, already?

[youtube]http://youtu.be/zxq4ziu-wrI[/youtube]

You might have seen her in Marvel’s the AvengersIron Man Two or heard her in Her. She is one hot film property as she is in four productions to be released in 2014 and another in 2015. Johannson is the daughter of a Danish father and American Jewish mother and TV producer.

The “what” that Firshein was referring to was the news today that Oxfam, the world hunger NGO based in the UK, was dropping her after eight years as its spokeswoman. They didn’t like her signing on to an endorsement deal to appear in the above Super Bowl ad this Sunday for SodaStream, an Israeli carbonation manufacturer that has a plant in the “disputed territories”.

The Daily Beast noted why Oxfam dropped her and what Johansson said:

As the international charity itself told Johansson, “Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

But the Hollywood star brushed this off, repeating Soda Stream’s talking points that the factory represents an example of “economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”

That brought a smile to  Firshein. He wrote in this morning’s email:

Israel has a new heroine, Scarlett Johannson, in the tradition of Ruth and other great Hebrew woman (yes Scarlett Johannson is Jewish).  First, she has been a terrific spokesperson  for an Israeli company (SodaStream) based on the border between Israel and the so called “territories” which employs a majority of Palestinians who have nothing but praise for the owner Daniel Birnbaum who deliberately built his plant in a difficult place to promote peace and diversity. Second, she has stood up to the extreme bias of Oxfam for whom she was also a spokesperson for an organization that brings awareness to global poverty in third world countries. However their incredible animus against Israel was not well known. For years they have been anti Israel and pro Palestinian. Everything Israel did was bad and everything the Palestinians have done (including terrorism) was condoned. Yet Johannson remained as a spokesperson until Oxfam spewed out its support for the BDS movement against Israel.

That was too much for her and she resigned.

Scarlett Johansson should be the poster person to combat BDS worldwide. The media minders in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem should get their collective heads around this golden opportunity to beat down the Israel haters. As Lisa Benson wrote me after reading Firshein and my comments, “This is a major PR moment.” That reflects our mutual view that Johansson’s push back at the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign makes her a formidable asset in potentially putting a stop to it. The move by Oxfam deprives them of a star fundraiser and public personality who travelled to all the hot spots across the globe for them during the past eight years. But they are part of the pro-Palestinian supporters in the NGO and media world trashing Israel for having the right to develop disputed territories while creating jobs at good wages for Palestinian employees of SodaStream at the Mishnor Adumim industrial park in Ma’ale Adumim.

The Christian Science Monitor published an article today illustrating how those Palestinian employees of SodaStream back Johansson, “Palestinian workers back Scarlett Johansson’s opposition to SodaStream boycott”.

Note this Oxfam, Electronic Intifada and other allies of the BDS cause:

The Jewish actress’s promotion of the company in a Super Bowl ad has propelled an international campaign to boycott the home soda maker and today forced the actress to step down as a global ambassador for the humanitarian agency Oxfam.

But those most familiar with the factory – Palestinians who work there – largely side with Ms. Johansson.

“Before boycotting, they should think of the workers who are going to suffer,” says a young man shivering in the pre-dawn darkness in Azzariah, a West Bank town cut off from work opportunities in Jerusalem by the concrete Israeli separation wall. Previously, he earned 20 shekels ($6) a day plucking and cleaning chickens; now he makes nearly 10 times that at SodaStream, which also provides transportation, breakfast, and lunch.

As a few dozen men in hoodies and work coats trickle out of the alleys to the makeshift bus stop where they wait for their ride to the factory, another adds, “If SodaStream closes, we would be sitting in the streets doing nothing.”

The SodaStream controversy is part of the International Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign, which Palestinians launched in July 2005 as an effort to force Israel to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories, recognize Israeli Arab’s full rights, and promote the Palestinian right of return.

Speaking anonymously on a largely deserted street, with no Israeli SodaStream employees present, all but one of those interviewed said they opposed the boycott, given the lack of alternative job opportunities in the West Bank. That underscores Israeli claims that a boycott would be counterproductive, undermining the cooperation and prosperity that could boost peace prospects in the region.

This controversy really shows off Israeli business savvy big time. SodaStream is positioning itself as the ecologically correct threat to Coke and Pepsi in the annual $280 Billion carbonated drinks market worldwide. CEO of SodaStream, Daniel  Birnbaum is a Harvard MBA, P&G Marketing trained and former CEO of Nike Israel who signed on after an Israel venture capitalist bought the assets of floundering SodaStream and asked him to come aboard and run it.  The buzz created over their Super Bowl ad censored for mentioning Pepsi and Coke was a slick move.

Watch this Bloomberg video with SodaStream CEO Birnbaum on the company, sales and its future.

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

I Am Afraid of My Government

I came into this world when Franklin D. Roosevelt was President and I have never been afraid of my government until now.

I am not alone. A consistent and growing theme of commentaries on the conservative news sites and blogs that I read every day is the fear of the Obama administration that has been cracking down on those who criticize it. They get audited by the IRS. They are refused the same status as non-profit entitles engaging in public education as Left-leaning organizations. They are accused of being racists, homophobes, anti-immigration, and anti-women.

This goes beyond the ordinary disagreements between individuals and groups that express opposition to the Obama administration. It has the look of a deliberate campaign and we have three more years of Obama as President in which to endure it.

In a speech to the leftist nonprofit Center for American Progress, Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D-BY) recently urged the IRS to “redouble” its intimidation tactics against the Tea Party. He represents a State whose governor recently said that conservatives were not welcome to live and do business. Its largest city, New York, just elected a Marxist as its mayor.

ted cruz on obama

For a larger view click on the image.

Jim Lakely, the director of communications of The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank that has led the effort to debunk the global warming hoax, recently posted a commentary, “The Unceasing Political Thuggery of Obama’s Gangster Government.” He noted Michael Barone’s description of the Obama administration as a “gangster government.”

Lakely cited the growing list of actions taken against who have expressed criticism. It includes Dinesh D’Souza who produced a documentary about Obama’s life, “Obama’s America” and who arrested on felony charges for violating campaign finance law. “This is beyond absurd—especially in light of what the FBI and IRS have found not worthy of any investigation, let alone indictment” in the past. A Hollywood group of conservatives, the only one there, received an IRS demand for its complete donor list; this is a repeat of similar demands of Tea Party groups seeking non-profit status. James O’Keefe whose Project Veritas exposed the nonprofit status of the leftist ACORN is being audited as was Frank VanderSloot, a big Republican donor as was conservative journalist Wayne Allen Root—twice. The list keeps growing.

The Heartland Institute was subjected to the stealing of its confidential budget and planning documents by global warming activist Peter Gleick “for the purpose of harassing” its donors, but no action has been taken against him by law enforcement authorities.

“Never in the history of this country have we seen such a broad and coordinated abuse of the government’s power to threaten criminal prosecution and ruin the lives and livelihoods of people the President and his party see as political ‘enemies’”, says Lakely.

“This should be the political scandal of the century—if only we had an honorable and competent MSM (mainstream media) press corps in this country.”

Ordinary Americans have cause to share my fear as they discover the wreckage that Obamacare is inflicting on our healthcare system, losing their insurance plans, and now we are hearing that the insurance industry may have to be bailed out as it is subjected to major losses. The government’s website is not only a disaster, but it subjects anyone using it to the threat of identity theft as experts testify it can be hacked with ease.

The economy of a nation with enormous energy reserves, enough to make us energy sufficient for decades, is being undermined by a deliberate campaign to shut down coal-fired plants and make the construction of new ones impossible. The Keystone XL pipeline from Canada has been delayed for five years despite the jobs it represents and access to oil at the same time the government has slowed the provision of leases to oil companies seeking to explore and extract our own reserves.

And millions of Americans are out of work or have ceased looking for work as the result of the worst economic “recovery” in the history of the nation. This is occurring at a time when the Obama administration has added $6 trillion to the nation’s debt, causing a leading credit agency to downgrade the nation’s credit rating for the first time in its history.

The scandals attributed to the Obama administration keep mounting from “Fast and Furious” that transmitted weapons to Mexican drug cartels, to the failure to provide security to our Libyan consulate despite many requests, leading to the Benghazi killing of a U.S. ambassador and three brave security personnel who went to his aid. The list keeps growing.

There is ample reason for Americans to fear their government these days and the mood of the nation is growing worse as they realize that they have a President who lies all the time and pursues “climate change” policies that have no basis in known science and a campaign of class war based on “income inequality” as the incomes of Middle Class Americans have suffered a decline. The solution to income inequality has always been an increase in the national economy.

The nation’s military is being undermined by budget cuts and policies that encourage open homosexual participation and the introduction of women into its combat forces. A growing list of generals and admirals have been forced to retire.

It has taken only five years to bring the nation to this point and none of the scandals has resulted in anyone in the Obama administration being held accountable.

They have good reason. When they can no longer depend on the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and other elements of the government to act lawfully, this nation—a nation of laws—we are all in jeopardy.

For these and other reasons I and many Americans are growing fearful. We have good reason.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

The State of the Dis-Union: Preparing World Citizens

There were many who had reason to be outraged by President Obama’s State of the Union address: the military whose funding has been cut, and who have been besmirched as emotionally unstable while they are forced to be sitting ducks in battle and then face the potentiality that the administration will abandon what others had died for, like Fallujah; the millions in the middle class whose health insurance has been dropped or whose premiums have doubled and who are losing jobs to illegal aliens and are insulted by the idea that a job that pays $10.10 is something to aspire to.

But I want to focus on Obama’s continued efforts to re-educate America, to re-educate her people so that they become shriveling dependents who long for a leader who will unilaterally make decisions for the masses.

Only such a people could believe Obama’s claim of having “a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.”

Only a well-educated, independent-thinking populace could feel the chill of words regarding “congressional action.” Conflating America with himself, Obama said, “America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Once again, there was discussion of government job-training programs. (Has anyone actually gotten a job as a result?) To prepare “tomorrow’s workforce” (and that’s all it is: a workforce, not an educated citizenry), we must guarantee “every child access to a world-class education.”

Translation: indoctrination into world citizenship.

Obama referred to one “Estiven Rodriguez,” who “couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age nine.” Apparently, Rodriguez “led a march of his classmates – through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors – from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he’s going to college this fall.” Obama referred to the army of tutors and teachers that helped him, but immigrants have done far more with only night classes, and often working two or three jobs.

Then, said Obama, “Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. We worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before.”

There is a reason why this government wants to monopolize student loans to produce more “peace and environmental justice studies” graduates: Democrat voters.

Obama invoked the misleadingly named “Race to the Top” contest (really a race for stimulus funds attached to federal education standards called Common Core). He claimed, it “has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it’s worth it – and it’s working.”

Notice how he didn’t reference Common Core, now dubbed Obamacore. After test scores plunged and mass confusion ensued, even the New York NEA teachers union came around to opposing Common Core. “Problem solving, critical thinking” are hallmarks of progressive educators, like Linda Darling-Hammond, close pal of Bill Ayers, who has been in charge of designing one of the two Common Core national tests. And what, exactly, is wrong with filling in a bubble? It means the test-taker has to know something and the grader can’t give extra points for correct attitudes.

What, also, is the “new economy”? Did we not need science, technology, engineering, and math in the old, twentieth-century economy?

By stating “It requires more challenging curriculums,” Obama admitted what Common Core proponents deny: it does change the curriculum. These are curriculums that eliminate most history, except that which advances the U.S. as racist, sexist, homophobic, imperialistic, etc.

The reference to “New ways to measure how well our kids think” is not reassuring when the Department of Education promotes the idea that “educational strengths” include “social competence” and “ethnic awareness.”

The new standards do not involve knowing about the country’s founding or the Constitution. Such students might understand this pre-speech message from Jon Carson of Organizing for Action:

“Friend –

“Tonight, President Obama made sure everyone knows:

“He’s not waiting for Congress. He’s taking action now, and he’s going to explore every method in his power to restore real opportunity for all Americans.”

Then he asks for a $5 donation.

But kindergarten is not early enough. Said Obama, “The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time. That has to change.”

He cited “research” to justify making “high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old”: “Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.” Funny, how they always say “research,” but not which research or what the research actually says about government-funded preschool.

Nonetheless, “As a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight.”

What if Congress doesn’t snap to and fulfill his “request”? Well, Obama has friends: “And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.”

Such “coalitions” must ensure that Obama fulfills his promises: “Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.”

Of course, Microsoft is in the “coalition” of “business leaders and philanthropists.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the biggest funder for Common Core; all tests must be taken online. The other companies surely appreciate the business, too.

Obama’s Department of Education is redesigning high schools: “We’re working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career.” It seems all bases for government control are being covered. Oh, and “real-world education”? It means being trained for a job—only. (See my review of Terrence O. Moore’s book The Story-Killers.)

The feds have not only taken over financing, but they now want to rate colleges. But this is how Obama put it: “We’re shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education.”

The Education Department is appealing to the youth vote by holding “summits,” inviting college “student experts” to weigh in on college “accessibility” and “affordability.” The youth experts have spoken and Obama heard: “We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt.”

The scary part came when he used himself and Michelle as examples: “The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. But we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete – and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise – unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.”

Oh, you mean college students should write theses like Michelle Obama’s? Can we all write “Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community” and investigate how “attending Princeton will likely lead to my further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society”?

Education was bad enough back then. As a result, we have her in the White House with her Columbia and Harvard educated husband. It can only get worse when he invokes “widely shared” prosperity, calling on Americans to “toil” together, and summoning “what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow. . . .”

Boehner and the Republican Scarlet Letter: “A” is for Amnesty

In the 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an adulterous affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

Today many believe that House Speaker John Boehner, with the help of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, will conceive an illegitimate daughter named “Amnesty” through an adulterous affair with President Obama. Establishment Republicans believe they must somehow repent by passing amnesty. This is compassionate conservatism writ large.

What Boehner, Cantor and Obama are really doing is legalizing the illegals and both parties could face the consequences in November 2014. They all will be, like Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), wearing the Scarlet Letter: A for Amnesty. Rubio has fallen from grace since he became the Republican face for amnesty in the US Senate. He is still trying to repent and regain some dignity.

The Weekly Standard posted a video of House majority leader Eric Cantor applauded President Obama’s push for so-called immigration reform in last night’s State of the Union Address. Cantor applaudes when President Obama states, “Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades.  And for good reason:  When people come here to fulfill their dreams — to study, invent, contribute to our culture — they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody.  So let’s get immigration reform done this year. Let’s get it done. It’s time.”:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/5A73FvRDSfw[/youtube]

Matthew Boyle from Breitbart reports:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a hawk on immigration, told Breitbart News to look at how the vast majority of Republicans in the chamber—with the exceptions of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), among few others—stayed seated in disapproval of Obama’s push for amnesty.

“It didn’t soar like some State of the Union addresses will,” King said.

It didn’t really challenge us greatly. One of the things I thought was instructive was to watch the Republicans when he brought up the issue of immigration and I thought he got a very tepid response from Republicans. I couldn’t count very many Republicans who were standing at the time. There was Mario Diaz-Balart and Paul Ryan and I’m going to guess some of our leadership that I couldn’t see. But it looked to me like if you were looking for company on that issue you had to look to the Democrats.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), another immigration hawk, told Breitbart News that Obama’s push for amnesty directly contradicts his claim to care for economically hurting Americans.

“His hard stand on immigration was in total contrast to a large portion of his speech where he was dealing with unemployment and giving people raises,” Rohrabacher said.

Gun Owners of America in an email states:

The good thing about anti-gun liberals in Washington is that they are pathologically incapable of keeping their mouths shut.

And, Wednesday morning, shortly before 9:00, MSNBC commentator Dick Gregory announced that House Speaker John Boehner, the day before, had told a private meeting of reporters that he had been talking with Barack Obama “a lot” about pushing immigration reform.

It’s pretty clear why Barack Obama wants a bill which would either legalize or grant citizenship to as many as 11.5 million people who, according to Latinos expressing their opinions in a Pew poll, would cast 88% of their votes for liberals like Barack Obama.

It’s also clear what Speaker Boehner has in mind:  If he sabotages his own party, the liberal media will throw him a “doggie treat.”

But, for other House Republicans, the advantage of having an Obama/Boehner knife in their back is a little less clear.

Will amnesty be the Republican party’s donnybrook? Will they wear the amnesty Scarlet Letter into thee 2014 elections with pride? Time will tell.

TAKE ACTION: If you wish contact your member of Congress on this issue by going here: Contact your Congressman. Note: you must click SUBMIT twice to send your email.

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Buchanan: Push for Immigration Reform Will Spell End of Boehner’s Speakership…Audio…

HOUSE GOP TO OBAMA: LET’S DO ‘YEAR OF ACTION’ TOGETHER…

Ryan plan includes citizenship for illegals… 

Priebus: We need ‘something big’… 

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Sessions: Should not cater to the whims of CEOs…

Obama Threatens to Veto the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act

Like many Americans and Israelis I watched expectantly President Obama’s State of the Union Address (SOTUS)  before a joint session of Congress crammed into the House Chamber. I was looking for a reaction from the Congressional audience on the issue of the P5+1 agreement implemented on January 20th. Iran’s President Rouhani had basically told  the P5+1  in a CNN  interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that the Islamic regime was not going to dismantle their nuclear program. Instead they were going to plough ahead with research and development on advanced centrifuges and would not swap the Arak heavy water plant that would produce plutonium for a bomb.

In  light of these jarring comments made in Davos, Switzerland  by President Rouhani  at the World Economic  Forum, you would have prudently thought that the President would have changed his mind about  vetoing  the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act (NWFIA), S. 1881. Obama made it clear that he was proceeding with the P5+1 deal as a diplomatic way of  avoiding  military action to disable the Islamic Regime’s  nuclear weapons capability.  A capability that according to Israeli PM Netanyahu  speaking at the Annual Conference of the Institute for National Security studies at Tel Aviv University  (INSS) was  “six weeks away from achievement when the P5+1 deal was signed” on November 24, 2013 in Geneva.

President Obama fired a bow shot directed at NWFIA sponsors Sens. Kirk and Menendez, and 57 other co-sponsors of S. 1881, as well as the Resolution introduced in by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor  (R-VA)  and Minority Leader Steny  Hoyer (D-Md.) supporting its passage.

Obama said:

Let me be clear if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it.

For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.

If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.  But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war.

It is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program – and rolled parts of that program back – for the very first time in a decade. As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. It is not installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb.

If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.

Watch this C-SPAN video clip of the nuclear Iran segment of his SOTUS:

The immediate reaction was clearly stony silence from the Republican members of both chambers in the audience.

According to a  Jerusalem Postarticle on the President’s veto threat, NWFIA co-sponsor Sen. Kirk said:

“The American people – Democrats and Republicans alike – overwhelmingly want Iran held accountable during any negotiations. While the president promises to veto any new Iran sanctions legislation, the Iranians have already vetoed any dismantlement of their nuclear infrastructure,” Kirk added, calling his bill an “insurance policy” for Congress.

The Hill  Global Affairs blog reported the dissembling  the morning after  the President’s SOTUS remarks on a nuclear Iran by some Democratic co-sponsors of NWFIA in the wake of the President’s public veto threat.  Note these Senators’ comments:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on MSNBC Tuesday night that he didn’t endorse the bill so that it could be voted on during negotiations with Iran. “Give peace a chance,” he said.

“I did not sign it with the intention that it would ever be voted upon or used upon while we were negotiating,” Manchin said. “I signed it because I wanted to make sure the president had a hammer, if he needed it and showed them how determined we were to do it and use it, if we had to.”

[…]

“Now is not the time for a vote on the Iran sanctions bill,” Coons said Wednesday at a Politico event, according to The Huffington Post.

The senator clarified that he still supports the bill but warned advancing it now could damage ongoing negotiations toward a final agreement with Iran.

[…]

“I’m not frustrated,” Menendez told The Huffington Post on Tuesday after Obama’s address. “The president has every right to do what he wants.”

The Hill Global Affairs blog noted the Senate reaction  to NWFIA :

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-highest ranking Democrat, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the fourth-highest ranking Democrat, and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have said they are against the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has also suggested he’s leaning toward not allowing a vote on it.

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the Senate should move the sanctions bill forward to the floor, predicting it would have a veto-proof majority.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Monday that lawmakers in both the House and Senate are considering a nonbinding resolution that expresses concern about Iran’s nuclear program.

Backing what Sen. Kirk said in his response to the President was further evidence from former  UN nuclear weapons inspector David Albright at the Washington, DC Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).  Both he and the sanctions analysis team from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies held a well attended briefing for Capitol Hill Staffers on Monday, January 27th.  Albright was quoted in the Los Angeles Times citing an ISIS  report on the technical aspects of the accord implemented on January 20th that allows Iran to continue research over the next six months on several types of advanced centrifuges already at Natanz:

[The accord]  is not expected to seriously affect Iran’s centrifuge research and development program. Albright said he hopes to persuade the six powers to push for much stricter limits on centrifuge research and development when they negotiate the final agreement. The issue has to be addressed much more aggressively.

Cliff May of FDD, co-sponsor of the Capitol Hill event with Albright  of  ISIS,  observed in an NRO Corner article:

If Iran’s rulers faithfully comply with every commitment they have so far made, at the end of this six-month period, they will be about three months — instead of two months — away from breakout capacity.

Yesterday, at the annual conference of the  Institute for National Security studies (INSS)  at Tel Aviv University, there was a dialog between former CIA Director Gen. David Petreaus and Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin,  former  IDF military intelligence chief.  The contrast between their positions on the Iran nuclear threat was most telling:

General (ret.) David Petraeus: The United States is war weary and suffers from a “Vietnam syndrome.” However, it still has major strategic capabilities, and President Obama will not hesitate to use force against Iran, if necessary.

Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin: What keeps me awake at night is the Iranian issue. The Iranian nuclear program aspires to attain a nuclear capability. The only viable leverage – sanctions and a credible military threat – are weakening, and this is most worrisome. Also troubling: the status quo on the Palestinian issue is not favorable, and the relations with the United States are not on the same level as before – these must be restored.

If you are a gambler, which of the two former military leaders, would you bet on to make a decision in the sovereign national interests of Israel regarding a nuclear Iran?  I know who I would.

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

Author reveals little known Black history

jack6.000x9.000.inddPlease watch the interview about my book “Writing Wrongs: My Political Journey in Black and Write” with Andrea Roane from WUSA Channel 9 the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. During the interview I reveal some little known facts about Black history.

Writing Wrongs is a compilation of my columns that will challenge everything you thought was “conventional wisdom” Whether you agree or disagree, you will be forced to rethink core issues you thought were settled in your mind. You will be challenged to answer questions like: is homosexual entitlements the new civil rights, has Obama’s presidency set back the state of race relations, or which party has the biggest problem with the minority community–Democrat or Republican?

If you think you already have the answer, then think again. Writing Wrongs will cause you to reassess the answers you think you have to questions such as these. If you are prepared to be taken out of your comfort zone, then this book will be a thrilling read; but have no illusions, the ride will not be easy.

The Hate and Hypocrisy of the BDS Movement by Joseph Puder

As the academic year at University of California Santa Cruz was about to end in June, 2013, pro-Palestinian students initiated a resolution that called on the university to divest from companies profiting from the “Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” The resolution was defeated, yet the non-binding resolution that would have no effect on university policy is not as disconcerting as the atmosphere on campus that the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish students and professional provocateurs behind them seek to foster. They are bent on creating a climate that legitimizes and engenders anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish hostility.

The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) movement has assembled a rather strange sort of bedfellows. It is led by Arab-Muslim professional propagandists who seek Israel’s destruction, along with leftist students and faculty members seeking a ’cause,’ and non-better than one “to stick it to the Jews.” Among them, one could find naïve students with little understanding of the history of the Middle East or the Arab-Israeli conflict. It matters not that their cause is unjust, and transparently anti-Semitic, or that the Arab world unlike Israel’s open democracy is homophobic, enslaves women, is utterly intolerant of Christians and Jews, or that its schools breed hatred and misanthropy.

Those BDS champions on campuses throughout America and Europe do not want to be confused by facts about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their minds are made up. They hate Israel because it is a success story and tolerant, and because it provides religious freedom, and human rights to its citizens in spite of Palestinian terrorism. They despise Israel because Arab-Muslim students on Israeli campuses can display their hatred of the Jewish state with impunity. Deep in their mashed heads they should know that similar demonstrations on Palestinian or Arab campuses against an Arab regime, or any pro-Israel and pro-Jewish display, would be met with violence and death. The terrorist alerts Israeli school children and college students face is something that the privileged students of the UC Santa Cruz’s of this world would never have to endure. They hate Israel mostly because it is willing to defend its citizens from Palestinian terrorists, and if it means checkpoints, and a barrier fence that inconveniences Palestinians, so be it.

On May 11, YNet News reported that the Irish BDS movement placed yellow stickers on Israeli products reading ‘for justice in Palestine — Boycott Israel’. Israeli Foreign Ministry said that “the phenomenon is severe and it is not by chance that the BDS organization chose to express its protest with a yellow sticker — which is reminiscent of dark days of racism and incitement,” a reference to the Nazi Holocaust in Europe.

Derek Hopper, a native of Ireland, where he studied history at the National University of Ireland, had this to say in a Times of Israel article, October 9, 2013: “Israelis may or may not be aware that Ireland is one of the most outspoken critics of Israel. I have written about why this is so before, and the reasons are too complex to address…but for whatever reason most Irish see Palestine as the plucky underdog[1] in the Middle East and not Israel, a country that produces genius after genius while being surrounded by millions of people who despise its very existence.”

Hopper continued, “Given our own experiences with Britain, we tend to see in any weaker power a kindred spirit. It doesn’t matter that we share many values with Israel and far fewer with Arabs, who, if they’ve heard of us, see us as drink-sodden libertines. Never mind that we should want to draw parallels with Israel, the true underdog in the region who against all the odds created a prosperous democracy[2] in a desert. In this battle many Irish have sided with the Palestinians and that’s just how it is.”

Hopper explained that, “Irish and global opposition to Israel in recent times has manifested itself in several ways. The most well-known of these is the BDS movement, which seeks to isolate Israel,[3] ‘in order to force change in Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians which opponents claim is discriminatory or oppressive.’ The Irony that the movement is one spearheaded by many Palestinians attending Israeli universities is apparently lost on its supporters. Comparisons with the odious apartheid regime in South Africa continue unabated despite a million Israeli Arab citizens enjoying more rights in Israel than anywhere in the Arab world.”

Student senates should question why so much time is being spent on critiquing one country — Israel, where democracy prevails, while excluding nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Turkey, China, Hamas in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, where no democracy exists and human rights of citizens are grossly violated, religious freedom is denied to Christians, and where ethnic minorities are being persecuted. The BDS movement denies charges of anti-Semitism but they appear rather hypocritical. To any even-handed observer the movement’s singling out of the world’s only Jewish nations appears suspect if not downright anti-Semitic.

The mantra often heard during BDS demonstrations is “end the occupation of Palestine.” This canard has no basis in history since there was never a recognized state named Palestine. The 1947 UN vote on partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states was rejected by the Arab-Palestinians. Subsequently, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) while the Egyptians occupied Gaza. During the Jordanian occupation Jews were not allowed into the area, while Palestinian terrorists attacked and killed Israeli civilians within the Green Line.

UN Resolution 242 called for return of “territories,” not all the territories Israel captured in the Six Day War of June, 1967 and only in return for full peace. While the BDS movement condemns Israeli occupation and settlements, the Hamas founding charter does not mention occupation or settlements. It simply called for the complete destruction of the Jewish state.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) currently headed by Mahmoud Abbas noted in its founding charter, written in 1964 (and not yet amended), three years before the Six Day War, while Jordan was in control of the West Bank, that (article 24) “This organization does not exercise[4] sovereignty over the West Bank,” calling instead for a “liberation of its homeland” meaning all of Israel within the Green Line.

It is safe to say that terror and violence perpetrated on Israelis has little to do with “occupation and settlements.” The myth that the occupation breeds violence was shredded when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Israel was assured by the International community that if it withdrew from Gaza, peace would flourish and violence would end. This proved to be deadly wrong, as millions of Israelis have been subjected to incessant missile attacks from Gaza. The conflict Israel has with the Palestinians is not about “occupation” of the West Bank, it is about the very existence of a Jewish state in the midst of a triumphalist Arab-Islamic ideology, which is intolerant of any non-Islamic independent political entities.

The BDS ignorance of Middle East realities can be seen in the inclusion of Gaza as part of Israeli occupation. The BDS movement is not only ignorant of facts it is guilty of hate peddling which has no room on campuses dedicated to learning and exploration of truth. It is high time for the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that bars hateful incitement and false propaganda by the purveyors of anti-Semitism, and their “useful idiots.” It is also time for campus officials to forbid the harassment and intimidation of pro-Israel students. The hypocrisy of the BDS movement is open to be seen and it is now time to act.

End Notes

[1] http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/dear-bds-movement-please-dont-be-hypocrites/

[2] http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/dear-bds-movement-please-dont-be-hypocrites/. The author, Derek Hopper, suggests if they’re going to boycott Israel, they should boycott what will affect the boycotters themselves — they should avoid using Israeli medications or medical techniques or drought-resistant plants Israelis, inter alia.

[3] http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/dear-bds-movement-please-dont-be-hypocrites/

[4] http://www.un.int/wcm/content/site/palestine/pid/12363

EDITOR’S NOTE:

One of the comments that added information.

Bamaguje

UN Resolution 242 called for return of ‘territories,’ not all the territories Israel captured in the Six Day War of June.” – Joseph Puder

If you ask me I’d say UN resolution 242 was flawed in calling for Israel to ‘return territories.’ Return to whom? Prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Jordan and Egypt illegally occupied West Bank and Gaza… which is why they later renounced their claims.

And there was no Palestinian nation to speak of in 1967. In fact as rightly pointed out in the article, PLO’s 1964 founding charter renounced all claims to West bank & Gaza. The only “Palestine” they were interested in “liberating” was Israel itself.

The so-called occupied West bank was the heartland of the Biblical Jewish kingdom, and Jews lived there continuously for over 3000 years until they were expelled by Jordan in 1948. When Israel reconquered the area in 1967, and Jews returned to Judea & Samaria, they were now called “occupiers.”

The last binding international agreement on Palestine – Britain’s illegal partition in 1922 – firmly places West Bank & Gaza in the Jewish portion of Palestine. Arabs got the lion share (77%) in that partition – Jordan. In essence, Palestinians already have their own state – Jordan.

ABOUT JOSEPH PUDER

Joseph Puder is a columnist at Front Page Magazine Previously, he was founder and executive director of the Interfaith Taskforce for America and Israel. This article appeared November 11, 2013 in Front Page Magazine and is archived here.

Obama: One Speech Too Many

Cartoon - Tuning Out ObamaI didn’t take notes while President Obama gave his State of the Union speech. There was no need to.

There was a time when the SOTU was a just a letter sent to Congress, but in the era of radio and television, Presidents took advantage of the opportunity to be seen and heard laying out their priorities and asking Congress to fulfill them. Since then they have become little more than laundry lists and rarely memorable.

More people will watch a sporting event than tuned in to listen to Obama. In five years he has probably given more speeches than several previous Presidents combined. His first term felt like an extension of his election campaign with one speech following another and soon enough his reliance on a Tele-Prompter became a joke.

Suffice to say that Obama has given one speech too many. Or is that one hundred speeches too many?

A second term, according to the political pundits, is usually a more subdued time as a President seeks to get a few “legacy” pieces of legislation passed and, by then, most people have taken their measure of the President, either liking or disliking him. A President’s popularity or approval ratings usually decline.

Obama’s refusal and failure to work with Congress, combined with the disaster of Obamacare that was passed with only Democratic Party votes and, even then, required Chicago-style bribery and pressure, has seen not just his approval begin to slip away, but it includes the whole of Congress.

Obama’s assertion that he will use executive orders to get his way is simply an admission that he has failed to work with Congress and intends to continue as his second term shapes up to be one of increased resistance. Earlier presidents faced with a Congress whose power was held by another party used persuasion and compromise, but Obama uses neither.

In late January a Gallup poll revealed that “The enduring unpopularity of Congress appears to have seeped into the nation’s 435 congressional districts, as a record-low percentage of registered voters, 46%, now say that the U.S. representative in their own congressional district deserves re-election. Equally historic, the share of voters saying most members of Congress deserve re-election has fallen to 17%, a new nadir.”

It’s worth noting that the 17% who say most of Congress deserves re-election is well below the roughly 40% that has been around for decades and Gallup says “Typically, results like these have presaged significant turnover in Congress, as in 1994, 2006, and 2010. So Congress could be headed for a major shake-up in its membership this fall.”

There’s a history lesson in the 1994 election which occurred when Bill Clinton was President. It marked the greatest victory of the Republican Party since 1980. The GOP picked up 54 seats in the House of Representatives and 8 seats in the Senate. The issue that drove this change was Clinton’s advocacy of a change in the nation’s healthcare system. The Democrats did not learn anything from that defeat and Obama doubled-down on it.

While the media naturally focuses on the President, many Americans appear to have made a shift to Republicans because, at present, there are 30 Republican governors in America. Since Obama took office, Republicans have picked up a net nine governorships. In 24 of those States, Republicans control the legislatures. Democrats have similar power in just 12 States. So, at the State level, voters have already demonstrated their preferences.

A Wall Street Journal-NBC poll published on January 28, the day of the SOTU speech, revealed a nation “increasingly worried about (Obama’s) abilities, dissatisfied with the economy, and fearful for the country’s future.”

“Large majorities of respondents said they want the White House and lawmakers to focus on job creation and early-childhood education, and a slimmer majority favored increasing the minimum wage.” Just over half expressed an interest in “reducing income inequality.” Obama is appealing to the “low-information” voters these days, but the majority understands that only a growing economy can address the need for more jobs.

“The survey found that just over half of Americans disapprove of the President’s performance, with 43% approving, a trough that remains little changed since the early summer. Nearly six in 10 say they are uncertain, worried or pessimistic about what he will do with the remainder of his presidency. Disapproval for Congress, too, is near its all-time high.”

The midterm elections in November are likely to change Congress by adding many more Republicans in the House and enough in the Senate to give the GOP control of Congress. That will eliminate the chokehold that Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, has exercised to kill more than a hundred and fifty pieces of legislation sent by the House to repair the nation’s stagnant economy. It will likely override the President’s veto power.

Obama’s SOTU will receive a cascade of political analysis, but if the polls are any indication, the public is far less interested in another Obama speech than they are in getting the kind of change the nation really needs to grow its economy and address its problems.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

The Making of a Black Conservative

MARCUS CHILD

Me as a child.

Little did I realize that living in the projects and other life experiences would lead to my becoming a black conservative, a Christian and a TEA Party activist.

In a short time, I witnessed the building becoming an 11 story dangerous violent ghetto. Without the pride of ownership or earning their way, only a hand full of residents kept their apartments nice. We kids learned to play hand ball in the square on our floor because Mom thought the playground was too risky. Stairwells became dark bathrooms and dens of iniquity; broken elevators due to vandalism.

And yet, I constantly heard that everything was the white man’s fault. At 9, I sarcastically said, “How can we stop mean white people from sneaking in here at night urinating in the stairwells and breaking wine bottles?”

Dad was among a few blacks who broke the color barrier into the Baltimore Fire Dept. I vividly remember Dad’s outrage about our rent being raised, “Seventy-two dollars a month. They’re crazy. We’re movin’!” Sadly, my cousins on my mom’s side who lived in single mom households remained on welfare. With the exception of one who worked his way through college, my cousins lived wasted lives, serial out-of-wedlock births, substance abuse, AIDS, jail and entitlement mindsets. Several died young. Thus, the bad taste in my mouth for cradle to grave welfare and absentee fathers.

Dad winning Fire Fighter of the Year two times despite working under unfair and humiliating circumstances taught me about trusting and trying to do things God’s way, character, hard work, not whining and the greatness of America. Dad progressed from laborer to Doctor of Theology. Dad eventually won the respect of white racist firefighters who hated him when he first arrived at Engine 6.

Our family’s move out of Baltimore City to a black suburban community meant I would be bused to newly integrated Brooklyn Park Jr, Sr High School in Linthicum, Maryland. I still remember that first day when our two school buses with black students from neighboring Pumphery arrived. With the fear of the seventh grade, an inherited stutter and the sea of 1400 white faces, I was terrified.

My white art teacher, Mr Gomer, recognized my art talents which ultimately lead to scholarships from several white politicians, opportunities from white businessmen and a successful career as a graphic designer; advertising agencies and a major market TV station.

Drafted in the U.S. Army for two years, I learned that good and bad people come in all colors. Sharing the same skin color does not make someone your friend or a brother.

My gift of seeing beyond an invisible wall of race to see people as individuals rather than monolithic members of a race has been a source of great criticism all of my life.

Thus, when Obama came out as a presidential candidate, I logically listened to his vision for our great nation. When Obama told Joe the Plumber that he wanted to spread the wealth around, I knew his vision was wrong for my country. I passionately campaigned against him.

Apparently, I missed the point of 96% of black voters. Obama should have my support because we are both black. His agenda is irrelevant.

Obama is simply another Democrat pushing the same insulting bigotry of lowered expectations, class envy and cradle to grave government entitlements which have devastated the black community for decades. I joined the Tea Party because Obama’s implementation of his extreme liberal socialist/progressive agenda; his vowed fundamental transformation of America must be stopped.

I have traveled on 12 national bus tours, participating in over 400 tea party rallies. The extraordinary people I met are the salt of the earth. A white Texas couple proudly introduced me to two black babies they adopted from Africa. A terminally ill white fan in Michigan wanted to meet me before she died.

Democrat’s and mainstream media branding the Tea Party racist is the height of racism, irresponsibility and evil. These patriotic Americans are simply saying no to the left’s hostile takeover of their country.

I became a born-gain Christian in my twenties. I grew weary of my meaningless life of drugs, sex and partying. I asked God to help and He did. My faith keeps me strong, confident and focused in my quest to restore my beloved America to it’s former exceptional glory.

Senator Rubio on Obama SOTU: “Working alone”, “dictating”, “failing”, “missed opportunity”

Florida Governor Rick Scott issued the following statement on President Obama’s State of the Union address:

Governor Scott said, “President Obama has had more memorable speeches. But, in fairness, it’s hard to top ‘if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.’ Unfortunately, what we didn’t hear tonight was how he would make healthcare more affordable by undoing his failed law or how he would undo the outrageous flood insurance hikes he forced on Floridians.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement tonight regarding President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“Americans deserve more opportunities to achieve a better life, and that’s going to require a free enterprise economy that’s creating more middle class jobs and a government with less debt. While the President discussed some areas of common interest, the heart of his 2014 agenda is clearly more about working alone than with the American people’s representatives on the major reforms we need.

“President Obama missed an opportunity on several fronts, especially by insisting that Washington keep spending more money than it takes in, keep dictating to entrepreneurs how to run their businesses, and failing to level with the American people about how we can save our retirement programs. We need a real opportunity agenda that helps people seize the enormous potential that the coming years hold.”

In addition, Rubio commented on the following issues the President addressed tonight:

RUBIO ON INCOME MOBILITY

“Washington is too dysfunctional and poorly suited to effectively manage America’s anti-poverty programs. A better approach is to empower states to determine how to set up their own safety nets to best deal with the unique problems of each state. We should replace the earned-income tax credit with a wage enhancement that would make a job a more enticing alternative to collecting unemployment insurance. We need a better-functioning safety net that helps people get back on their feet, along with an economy that’s creating more middle class jobs and an education system that helps people attain the skills to fill those better-paying jobs.”

RUBIO ON OBAMACARE

“At no point did the President explain why American taxpayers should have to fund a bailout of health insurance companies when ObamaCare fails to sign up enough young and healthy people. The President won’t be able to ignore this problem much longer as the realities of ObamaCare’s failures put taxpayers at greater risk of bailing out health insurers. We should take this possibility completely off the table by approving legislation I’ve introduced with Congressman Tim Griffin.”

RUBIO ON FOREIGN POLICY

“President Obama claims credit for ending one war and winding down another, but the truth is that the global war against extremists will continue long past his presidency. America’s role in the world is as indispensable as it has ever been, yet President Obama glossed over the enormous challenges we face. The President failed to acknowledge the ongoing security threats we face in Afghanistan and Iraq or address bipartisan concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the bellicosity of North Korea, the instability in Egypt and the ongoing tragedy in Syria. I remain concerned that his proposals could weaken our intelligence capabilities and military preparedness at a moment when we face emerging new threats around the globe.”

RUBIO ON FREE TRADE

“After five years of doing little to promote free trade, I’m glad President Obama talked about the importance of new trade agreements with Europe and Asia. Expanding free trade will open new markets to American exports, which will create thousands of new middle class jobs here at home. I am hopeful that the Administration will successfully conclude negotiations with our trade partners in Asia and Europe, and that Congress will approve these promising new trade agreements.”

RUBIO ON IMMIGRATION

“The U.S. has a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed, but it’s clear the President either fails to realize or is indifferent to the fact that his unilateral, executive power grabs and habit of ignoring parts of ObamaCare have made it harder to achieve meaningful progress on immigration. As he forges ahead with his unilateral agenda on a host of issues, he needs to recognize that a permanent solution to our immigration problems rests with Congress. The House of Representatives should be given the time and space to develop their own immigration reform proposals, and we should all recognize that incremental progress is better than nothing at all.”

RUBIO ON THE MINIMUM WAGE

“Raising the minimum wage may poll well, but having a job that pays $10 an hour is not the American Dream. The way our people will achieve the American Dream is by making it easier for those who are stuck in low-paying jobs to seize opportunities to move up to better paying jobs. To do this, we must focus on policies that help our economy create those jobs and that help people overcome the obstacles between them and better paying work.”

RELATED COLUMNS:

The President Won’t Be Needing You

By the numbers: Obama’s state of the union speech, the economy and jobs

SMALL BALL: Obama downsizes ambition as agenda stalls

Obama vows to act without Congress in 2014, amid second-term woes

Allen West: His View of the State of the Union

Former Congressman Lt. Col. Allen West talks about his view of the State of the Union.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/OBjThGb5SYk[/youtube]

Allen West states in an email:

Tonight President Obama announced how he plans to solve America’s fiscal crises during the final two years of his presidency. His solutions include:

  • Fixing “income inequality” and creating opportunity, instead of policies that will enable Americans to create opportunity themselves;
  • Defining “opportunity” as a government-driven equality of outcomes;
  • Extending unemployment benefits so no one ever has to worry about finding a job again;
  • Keeping the economy stagnant and in recession; and of course,
  • Completing the radical transformation of America into a socialist nation.

Anyone with half a brain knows these “solutions” are just more of Obama’s hyper-liberal propaganda and they’ll only do more damage to the fiscal and social foundations of this country. That’s why I’m writing to you at this late hour tonight.

I’m saddened to say the biggest take away from tonight’s speech is this: the most important thing for President Obama in 2014 is the mid-term election and having a compliant House and Senate that will enable his “fundamental transformation” of America.

RELATED COLUMNS:

The President Won’t Be Needing You

By the numbers: Obama’s state of the union speech, the economy and jobs

SMALL BALL: Obama downsizes ambition as agenda stalls

Obama vows to act without Congress in 2014, amid second-term woes

Huffington Post links The People’s Cube to Koch Brothers

Dear Comrades!

Today, the Huffington Post tied The People’s Cube to the Koch Brothers. As a result, there is now a Thepeoplescube category on the HuffPost website.

Koch Brothers Group Turns Obama Into Stalin In Facebook Ad

The Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity is not being subtle about its Obama-is-a-communist message, as Talking Points Memo reports.

The conservative advocacy group is sponsoring a State of the Union watch party at a Grand Rapids steakhouse. Its Facebook ad for the event portrays President Barack Obama as Joseph Stalin with smiling Soviet children bringing him flowers and the Moscow Kremlin in the background. The text reads, “Thank You, Comrade Obama, For Saving the Children From the Menace of Guns, Family, Liberty, Work, and Other Outdated Values.”

The ad, posted on Saturday, appears to mimic an old communist propaganda poster of Stalin. In the bottom right corner are the words “ThePeoplesCube.com,” a satirical conservative website founded by Oleg Atbashian, a Ukrainian immigrant and former Soviet propaganda artist.

This was written by an utterly misguided Huff Post apparatchik named Shadee Ashtari, who seems to have learned of it from a post by Talking Point Memo, whose thoroughly confused author, comrade Daniel Strauss, had mistaken our Party-approved, Obama-praising poster for an advertisement manufactured by the Koch Brothers, and for some reason decided that this product of his ignorance deserved to be a “news” story.

Ad For State Of The Union Watch Party Puts Obama’s Head On Stalin’s Body

In Michigan, an ad for an Americans for Prosperity watch party for the State of the Union is going as far as it can with the conservative claim that President Barack Obama is a communist.

An advertisement (pictured above) for a State of the Union watch party in Michigan sponsored by AFP features Obama with the Kremlin in the background. The ad reads “Thank You, Comrade Obama: for Saving the Children from the menace of guns, family, liberty, work, and other outdated values.”

The ad seems to be a play off of an communist advertisement featuring Joseph Stalin.
The ad includes a link to thepeoplescube.com, a website trying to poke fun at “progressive liberals.”

The image was taken down later on Monday. A spokesman for Americans for Prosperity in Michigan said the image was not created by someone at the group.

“The author of the page was an outside actor hoping to attract friends to the event,” State Communications Manager Chris Neefus wrote to TPM. “Our organization did not produce and does not endorse any of the content associated with this social media post.”
Conservatives have long tried to spread the outlandish view that Obama is some kind of closet socialist even though favorites of the right, like former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), have said that the president does not lean that far to the left.

Correction: This post originally stated that the image was produced by Americans for Prosperity. It was actually produced by someone who does not work for the organization.

comrades stomp posted

Click on poster for larger printable view.

It appears that these two loyal Party Organs, otherwise faithfully delivering the burning-red Current Truth™ to the masses of American workers and peasants, can’t tell the difference between political advertising and motivational art created by the People’s Cube glorious Department of Visual Agitation and Unanimity. How could this ever happen? They surely must have this creation of ours hanging in their corner offices:

The incompetence of these petty functionaries can only be excused by their lowest underling status in the Party nomenclature, which granted them limited access to sensitive operational material on the ongoing “active measures” aimed to demoralize and demonize the political opposition.

Either that, or comrades Shadee Ashtari and Daniel Strauss were both incapacitated by copious consumption of beet vodka rations, which led them to conclude that our positive portrayal of Comrade Obama in the company of grateful Young Socialists could mean anything other than a tribute to our beloved leader’s heroic role as the composite Father of the Fatherland, in protecting The Children™ from the harmful effects of parenting.

Instead of praising Americans for Prosperity for promoting our visual propaganda message and accepting Comrade Obama as their children’s savior, the slothful and inebriated gang of two, consisting of comrades Ashtari and Strauss, fabricated a slanderous, trumped-up charge thatAmericans for Prosperity had somehow played with Stalin’s body and wound up attaching Obama’s handsome head to its manly shoulders – thus pushing potential allies away from the radiant progressive fold and into the Koch-fueled darkness.

Let us be clear:

The above visual agitation poster was created by us in January of last year as an illustration to the following People’s Cube article by Comrade Nomenklatura-Climber:

President Hosts Children to Discuss Weapons and Parents

peoples cube facebook postIt was then posted on Facebook and Twitter and enthusiastically shared by the triumphant multitudes of workers, peasants, and toiling intelligentsia. This is how it must have wound up in the hands of the AFP, opening their eyes to the supremacy of economic equality over prosperity.

We expect low-level apparatchiks Ashtari and Strauss to face appropriate disciplinary action and mandatory re-education that would cure them of their embarrassingly parochial close-mindedness. It is also imperative that they undergo a compulsory treatment for their beet vodka addiction at our Karl Marx Treatment Center, where they will be required to read the People’s Cube on a regular basis, starting with this article:

Communists Sue Democratic Party For Stealing Platform

In the interest of historical accuracy, here are the screenshots of both publications:

Huffington Post article (some ads removed to save space)

Talking Point Memo article

End of transmission.

Special Report: The Status of the TEA Party Movement

The Institute for Research and Human Rights (IREHR) issued a second special report on the status of the Tea Party movement provides an unvarnished, non-partisan, data-driven analysis of the membership of the national factions as the movement approaches its sixth year. As IREHR noted in Tea Party Nationalism, support for this movement ranges across three broad categories:

  1. core memberships of national factions
  2. active supporters who go to meetings, buy the literature and attend the many protests, but are not actual members, and
  3. sympathizers, as defined by polling organizations.

Against IREHR’s expectations, the national organizations at the center of the Tea Party movement have maintained stable memberships in 2013. During the past year, Tea Parties have endured leadership changes, significant splits, and the emergence of competitive forces. Nevertheless, core membership numbers have neither receded nor died, but grown by four percent.

map tea party members

Click on the map for an interactive version to find where TEA Party members are by city, county and state. Map courtesy of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights

The opposition to the Tea Party movement has hardened in some circles, but the core membership of the Tea Party movement has hardened during the same period. This situation has creating a polarization that reaches across a broad band of issues and indicators. Some people cheered the recent government shutdown, while others scorned the shut down and the forces that created it.

In this segment of the special report on the status of the Tea Party, IREHR will explore the trends in sympathy and support for the Tea Party, detail the Tea Party organizations’ core membership numbers, analyze the changes in membership levels, and look at the geography of the movement.

Among the important data in this report:

  • Despite sagging public sympathy post-shutdown, core membership in the national Tea Party factions remains high, at over half a million people. Last year, membership growth slowed to roughly four percent. Membership is geographically concentrated in the South, with than 42% of overall membership in the region.
  • The level of Tea Party supporters also rose, particularly on social media. The combined total for national Tea Party Facebook likes was 7,683,327, and Twitter followers totaled 382,240.
  • Recalcitrance regarding the shutdown of the federal government and other issues caused general sympathy for the Tea Party to decline at the end of 2013, to 18% to 30% of the American public.
  • Even has membership has grown, the ratio of men to women in the Tea Party movement remains remarkably consistent, with roughly two-thirds of the membership identified as men.
  • The number of active local affiliated Tea Party groups is substantially lower than national groups claim. The number of local events has declined, as well.

READ MORE HERE.

In this report, please note the maps (which are interactive at www.irehr.org). Each traces the geographic location of the members, and provides a stunningly graphic overview of the size and scope of the Tea Party organizations. This provides an accurate assessment of where movement strength lies.

Tea Party Membership Map: http://public.tableausoftware.com/shared/PS2ZXHP2X?:display_count=yes

Oath Keepers: Protectors of America

Who are the Oath Keepers? They are a large group of Americans who have at one point in their career have taken an oath to protect America and our U.S. Constitution. Many are current and former military, current and former law enforcement, and current and former firefighters. These group of people have sworn to never allow our country to be taken by treasonous foreign or domestic people or governments. Read below what the folks stand for. They are the True Protectors of America

From the Oath Keepers Site:

About Oath Keepers

Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” That oath, mandated by Article VI of the Constitution itself, is to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and Oath Keepers declare that they will not obey unconstitutional orders, such as orders to disarm the American people, to conduct warrantless searches, or to detain Americans as “enemy combatants” in violation of their ancient right to jury trial. See the Oath Keepers Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey for details.

Oath Keepers reaches out to both current serving and veterans to remind them of their oaths, to teach them more about the Constitution they swore to defend, and to inspire them to defend it. See below for details on how we do that.
Our motto is “Not on our watch!”

Military Enlisted Oath

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Military Officers Oath

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God

NOTE: While the enlisted oath does contain a pledge to obey the orders of the President and of commanding officers, that is still preceded by a pledge to “defend the Constitution,” and is also qualified by the requirement that such orders be “according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” Any order, by anyone, that is not constitutional or according to regulations, is unlawful and military personnel are not obligated to follow such orders – and, in fact, are obligated to refuse.

In contrast to the enlisted oath, the oath of military officers is to the Constitution alone, without qualification. To learn more about the history of the military oath, go here.

Veterans, your Oath NEVER expires! It’s time to keep it!

Orders We Will Not Obey

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army” – Gen. George Washington, to his troops before the battle of Long Island

Such a time is near at hand again. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this Army – and this Marine Corps, This Air Force, This Navy and the National Guard and police units of these sovereign states.
Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, peace officers, fire-fighters, and veterans who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic … and meant it. We won’t “just follow orders.”

Below is our declaration of orders we will NOT obey because we will consider them unconstitutional (and thus unlawful) and immoral violations of the natural rights of the people. Such orders would be acts of war against the American people by their own government, and thus acts of treason. We will not make war against our own people. We will not commit treason. We will defend the Republic.

Declaration of Orders We Will NOT Obey

Recognizing that we each swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and affirming that we are guardians of the Republic, of the principles in our Declaration of Independence, and of the rights of our people, we affirm and declare the following:

1. We will NOT obey any order to disarm the American people.

The attempt to disarm the people on April 19, 1775 was the spark of open conflict in the American Revolution. That vile attempt was an act of war, and the American people fought back in justified, righteous self-defense of their natural rights. Any such order today would also be an act of war against the American people, and thus an act of treason. We will not make war on our own people, and we will not commit treason by obeying any such treasonous order.

Nor will we assist, or support any such attempt to disarm the people by other government entities, either state or federal.
In addition, we affirm that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to preserve the military power of the people so that they will, in the last resort, have effective final recourse to arms and to the God of Hosts in the face of tyranny. Accordingly, we oppose any and all further infringements on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. In particular we oppose a renewal of the misnamed “assault-weapons” ban or the enactment of H.R. 45 (which would register and track gun owners like convicted pedophiles).

2. We will NOT obey any order to conduct warrantless searches of the American people, their homes, vehicles, papers, or effects – such as warrantless house-to house searches for weapons or persons.

One of the causes of the American Revolution was the use of “writs of assistance,” which were essentially warrantless searches because there was no requirement of a showing of probable cause to a judge, and the first fiery embers of American resistance were born in opposition to those infamous writs. The Founders considered all warrantless searches to be unreasonable and egregious. It was to prevent a repeat of such violations of the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects that the Fourth Amendment was written.

We expect that sweeping warrantless searches of homes and vehicles, under some pretext, will be the means used to attempt to disarm the people.

3. We will NOT obey any order to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal.

One of the causes of the American Revolution was the denial of the right to jury trial, the use of admiralty courts (military tribunals) instead, and the application of the laws of war to the colonists. After that experience, and being well aware of the infamous Star Chamber in English history, the Founders ensured that the international laws of war would apply only to foreign enemies, not to the American people. Thus, the Article III Treason Clause establishes the only constitutional form of trial for an American, not serving in the military, who is accused of making war on his own nation. Such a trial for treason must be before a civilian jury, not a tribunal.

The international laws of war do not trump our Bill of Rights. We reject as illegitimate any such claimed power, as did the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Milligan (1865). Any attempt to apply the laws of war to American civilians, under any pretext, such as against domestic “militia” groups the government brands “domestic terrorists,” is an act of war and an act of treason.

4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state, or to enter with force into a state, without the express consent and invitation of that state’s legislature and governor.

One of the causes of the American Revolution was the attempt “to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power” by disbanding the Massachusetts legislature and appointing General Gage as “military governor.” The attempt to disarm the people of Massachusetts during that martial law sparked our Revolution. Accordingly, the power to impose martial law – the absolute rule over the people by a military officer with his will alone being law – is nowhere enumerated in our Constitution.

Further, it is the militia of a state and of the several states that the Constitution contemplates being used in any context, during any emergency within a state, not the standing army.

The imposition of martial law by the national government over a state and its people, treating them as an occupied enemy nation, is an act of war. Such an attempted suspension of the Constitution and Bill of Rights voids the compact with the states and with the people.

5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union.

In response to the obscene growth of federal power and to the absurdly totalitarian claimed powers of the Executive, upwards of 20 states are considering, have considered, or have passed courageous resolutions affirming states rights and sovereignty.
Those resolutions follow in the honored and revered footsteps of Jefferson and Madison in their Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, and likewise seek to enforce the Constitution by affirming the very same principles of our Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights that we Oath Keepers recognize and affirm.

Chief among those principles is that ours is a dual sovereignty system, with the people of each state retaining all powers not granted to the national government they created, and thus the people of each state reserved to themselves the right to judge when the national government they created has voided the compact between the states by asserting powers never granted.
Upon the declaration by a state that such a breach has occurred, we will not obey orders to force that state to submit to the national government.

6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.

One of the causes of the American Revolution was the blockade of Boston, and the occupying of that city by the British military, under martial law. Once hostilities began, the people of Boston were tricked into turning in their arms in exchange for safe passage, but were then forbidden to leave. That confinement of the residents of an entire city was an act of war.

Such tactics were repeated by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto, and by the Imperial Japanese in Nanking, turning entire cities into death camps. Any such order to disarm and confine the people of an American city will be an act of war and thus an act of treason.

7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.

Mass, forced internment into concentration camps was a hallmark of every fascist and communist dictatorship in the 20th Century. Such internment was unfortunately even used against American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II. Whenever a government interns its own people, it treats them like an occupied enemy population. Oppressive governments often use the internment of women and children to break the will of the men fighting for their liberty – as was done to the Boers, to the Jewish resisters in the Warsaw Ghetto, and to the Chechens, for example.

Such a vile order to forcibly intern Americans without charges or trial would be an act of war against the American people, and thus an act of treason, regardless of the pretext used. We will not commit treason, nor will we facilitate or support it.”NOT on Our Watch!”

8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control” during any emergency, or under any other pretext. We will consider such use of foreign troops against our people to be an invasion and an act of war.

During the American Revolution, the British government enlisted the aid of Hessian mercenaries in an attempt to subjugate the rebellious American people. Throughout history, repressive regimes have enlisted the aid of foreign troops and mercenaries who have no bonds with the people.

Accordingly, as the militia of the several states are the only military force contemplated by the Constitution, in Article I, Section 8, for domestic keeping of the peace, and as the use of even our own standing army for such purposes is without such constitutional support, the use of foreign troops and mercenaries against the people is wildly unconstitutional, egregious, and an act of war.

We will oppose such troops as enemies of the people and we will treat all who request, invite, and aid those foreign troops as the traitors they are.

9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies, under any emergency pretext whatsoever.

One of the causes of the American Revolution was the seizure and forfeiture of American ships, goods, and supplies, along with the seizure of American timber for the Royal Navy, all in violation of the people’s natural right to their property and to the fruits of their labor. The final spark of the Revolution was the attempt by the government to seize powder and cannon stores at Concord.

Deprivation of food has long been a weapon of war and oppression, with millions intentionally starved to death by fascist and communist governments in the 20th Century alone.
Accordingly, we will not obey or facilitate orders to confiscate food and other essential supplies from the people, and we will consider all those who issue or carry out such orders to be the enemies of the people.

10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

There would have been no American Revolution without fiery speakers and writers such as James Otis, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, and Sam Adams “setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

Patrick Henry: “Give me Liberty, or Give me DEATH!”

Tyrants know that the pen of a man such as Thomas Paine can cause them more damage than entire armies, and thus they always seek to suppress the natural rights of speech, association, and assembly. Without freedom of speech, the people will have no recourse but to arms. Without freedom of speech and conscience, there is no freedom.

Therefore, we will not obey or support any orders to suppress or violate the right of the people to speak, associate, worship, assemble, communicate, or petition government for the redress of grievances.

– And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually affirm our oath and pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. Oath Keepers

NOTE: * First responders includes firefighters, search and rescue, EMTs, disaster relief, and similar emergency personnel. While not all such personnel take an oath to the Constitution, many do, and all are a critical audience for our mission. Current Serving and Veterans, you swore an Oath…

The Obama Doctrine: Force and Coercion by Pen and Phone

The great thing about being a dictator is you aren’t required to have leadership ability. You don’t even need to be competent, just manipulative, deceptive, power hungry and vicious.

When you’re a dictator you don’t have to articulate your vision and you don’t have to work with anyone. All you have to do is demagogue while delivering empty rhetorical diatribe and behind the scenes intimidate and crush those who stand in your absolutism.

Being dictator means you can use force and coercion as the means to your end – which can be accomplished with just your pen and phone.

And so here we are in America today, the day before President Obama’s State of the Union address and the theme will likely be “executive action” rather than good governance.

According to The Hill,

President Obama has dubbed 2014 a “year of action,” vowing to rely heavily on executive authority to accomplish ambitious– but yet unspecified – policy goals. Top administration officials, perhaps not wanting to get ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, have been vague about what that might entail, even while insisting Obama means to use his “pen and phone” to get things done.

Instead of finding policy means to work with Congress, President Obama will utilize a range of powers to impose his progressive socialist agenda, including presidential directives, formal executive orders, and rulemaking authority at agencies throughout his administration.

If you watched Obama White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer on yesterday’s Sunday morning news programs, you got exactly that sense. The Hill report provides an insight into the leftist perspective,

Public interest groups have been frustrated with what they view as slow progress during the Obama administration on a host of environmental, public health and safety protections. They argue the constraints at the end of Obama’s first term should be lifted now that the president doesn’t have to worry about re-election.

In addition, upward mobility and economic fairness, aka “income inequality” are expected to be major themes of Obama’s speech — never mind that per our Constitution, fiscal policy initiatives require congressional action.

But Obama could enact an executive order requiring federal agencies to give preference to contractors that paid their employees over $10.10 an hour, according to proponents both within and outside Congress.

Just for fun, compare Obama’s economic ineptness and failures to the competence and success of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. You know, that fella the Left hoped to destroy by deploying hundreds of thousands of protesters to the State Capitol in Madison? The state where Democrat State Senators abandoned their duties and fled across the state border and hid in Illinois? And don’t forget that recall election where he won by a greater margin than the original election, and boy did the left bus in voters from next door in Illinois.

Well, Governor Walker now has a $1 billion dollar surplus which he will use to provide more tax relief to Wisconsans, not more government spending. Wages are increasing and economic opportunity is growing. That is governing. That is leading.

Obama? Well, how much more debt have we amassed? What happened to cutting the deficit in half — the inherited Bush final year deficit was $468 billion, and Obama agreed with the bailouts. So as we pointed out last week in our State of the Union preview, we won’t hear about policies, just more politics. The economy is not improving. And President Obama doesn’t need to tell us about “ladders of opportunity.”

Every child born in America, every person coming here legally receives the ladder of equal opportunity. We don’t need Barack Hussein Obama to deceive us into believing he is the giver of opportunity by executive action or order – with pen and phone, he will be the taker.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com. The following is a humorous look at President Obama’s 2014 STOU speech:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Y7hyUucbmj4[/youtube]