Friday, June 29, 2012

Anti Semitism Iran and France

  1. Lieberman: Iranian incitement akin to Nazi propaganda

    ( Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reacted strongly to anti-Semitic comments by Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi on Tuesday, comparing the remarks to Nazi propaganda.

    Speaking at a UN-sponsored international anti-drug conference in Tehran, Rahimi accused Israel of being responsible for the global distribution of illegal d...rugs and claimed that the Talmud "teaches them how to destroy non-Jews so as to protect an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother," according to excerpts published by the Fars news agency.

    “[Rahimi] incites against the State of Israel like only [Nazi propaganda minister Joseph] Goebbels' newspapers could, back in the day,” Lieberman told reporters at a press conference in southern Israel on Wednesday. “People dismiss this talk as nonsense…but they do mean it…If the Iranians—that same vice president who spoke the way he did against Israel—if he should procure a nuclear bomb, we can only imagine what the implications will be. A nuclear Iran is exactly like what would have happened if Hitler had had nuclear capability.”

    1. Anti-Semitic acts in France rise 53% in 2012

      (Israel Hayom/ exclusive to In the wake of the murder of Yonatan Sandler and three children at the Jewish Otzar Hatorah School in Toulouse three months ago, new statistics reveal that the number of anti-Semitic acts in France rose by 53 percent this year.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

what is Judaism?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bris Ban Raises Specter of German Hate

Bris Ban Raises Specter of German Hate

In a ruling that will affect Muslims as much as Jews, a district court in Cologne, Germany, has ruled that circumcision is illegal. The case, which stemmed from a botched circumcision of a Muslim child, is just the latest instance in which the religious practice has been attacked. But though the legal implications of the ruling are not yet entirely clear as it may violate the European Union’s Convention on Human Rights, it raises the possibility that a ritual integral to Jewish identity as well as required by Muslim religious law will be banned.
For the growing Jewish community, the court may have created a serious logistical problem, as this may deter doctors or other persons from performing circumcisions because of a fear of prosecution or lawsuits. But just as important is the symbolism of the ban coming from a country where open expressions of anti-Semitism were driven underground by the reaction to the Nazi era. If a judge can attack Judaism as well as Islam head on in this manner without fear of the consequences, then perhaps a tipping point may have been reached in German society that may have serious consequences for the long-term viability of Jewish life in the country and Western Europe.

The ruling baldly claimed circumcision inflicted “damage” on children and could not be protected by freedom of religion, though there is no rational reason for anyone to believe this is the case. Mistakes in circumcisions are rare and probably less likely to occur than errors in routine medical procedures. But the court went even further in asserting the assumption that parents don’t have the right to choose a faith for their child. That might be interpreted as an attack on all religions. But it must be considered particularly threatening to members of minority faiths, particularly Jews who remember well that in past centuries the majority sometimes tried to take Jewish children away from their parents by claiming it was in their interests not to be inculcated in Judaism.
While some on the left, including one German professor quoted in Ha’aretz, may think this is a blow struck for the freedom of children, it is really an attempt to further marginalize both Judaism and Islam.
An attempt was made last year to place a referendum banning circumcision on the ballot in San Francisco. But the sponsors’ use of an openly anti-Semitic Web comic book drew so much attention that critics were able to quash the effort. Though support for such measures may exist on the margins in the United States, the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe may have allowed this cause to drift into the mainstream. Along with other attempts to ban kosher slaughter elsewhere in Europe, the German bris ban calls into question the safety of Jews in a Western Europe where Jew-hatred often mixed with anti-Zionism has emerged from the shadows.
Though it is to be hoped this ruling will soon be overturned by joint legal efforts by Jews and Muslims, no matter what the outcome of the litigation, it must send a chill through a growing German Jewish community that has come to think of itself as immune to the dangers presented by the country’s past. They may be learning that in spite of the country’s advances, anti-Semitism never goes completely out of fashion in Germany.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Left wing Jews can't hear the truth about Jihad?

Victory! LA Jewish Federation apologizes for cancelling Geller talk

According to my sources at ZOA, the LA Jewish Federation has been apologizing profusely and repeatedly for cancelling my talk at JFed LA headquarters, and pleading for a hudna.
Apparently the whining Jewicidal left-wing donor kapos were the real threat. But this is gorgeous, and these cowards will long remember their stunning betrayal and fall from grace. The blowback was overwhelming, and proved too much for these craven quislings.
So when are you rescheduling, fellas?
LA Jewish Federation Cancels Event Citing Muslim Threats The Algemeiner newspaper
At the last minute, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles cancelled a Sunday morning event where Pamela Geller was scheduled to speak on the issues of war in the Middle East and the historical hatred of Jews in the Muslim world.
Citing security concerns that the building might be stormed by Muslim activists, the Federation informed the Zionist Organization of America – which was hosting the event – that the speech would be called off.
“We said, ‘we will pay for additional security so there will be no problems,’” Morton Klein, President of the ZOA, told The Algemeiner. “They rejected that, saying ‘we’re not going to let Pam Geller or any of your people in the building.’”
Klein says the event was posted for months on the Federation’s website and that everything was done transparently throughout the process of scheduling Geller to speak, and that the timing of the cancellation was upsetting.
“If there was a problem, we should have discussed it earlier, but we shouldn’t cancel a talk because of threats and condemnations from the Muslim world,” Klein said.
The Jewish Federation of Greater LA has not returned requests for comment on this story.
Geller, who is a controversial author and activist criticized by some for her beliefs towards Islam, says the Jewish Federation in LA has set a dangerous precedent.
“I think it was a disaster. Zionism is not welcome at the LA Jewish Federation,” she said in an interview with The Algemeiner. “It was almost a historical moment where they would cave to a group who is affiliated with Hamas,” she said, referring to reports that the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has been linked to the terrorist group by the U.S. Congress, was responsible for the event’s cancellation.
According to the LosAngeles Times, CAIR representative HussamAyloush says his group will not be affected by people like Geller.
“We will not be affected by the noise of people who hopefully become more and more irrelevant,” Ayloush said. “Unfortunately, outrageous rhetoric gets attention because it’s outrageous, and Pamela Geller knows that very well.”
Suggestions that the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles may have made their decision based on threats from “left-wing” donors, and not Muslim activists, were made to The Algemeiner by numerous sources.

Iran plays us all for fools

  • Following the Failure of the Moscow Talks - Ephraim Asculai
    As expected, the Istanbul-Baghdad-Moscow talks on Iran's nuclear program did not achieve anything of significance, besides deciding on further, lower level talks. The Iranians are successfully playing for time, as they have done for so many years.
    Iran wants the world to recognize the legitimacy of its uranium enrichment program. Such recognition would enable Iran to retain its technical capabilities, to perfect the enrichment capabilities, and to leave them a potential for a breakout, whenever they decide to do so. While the U.S. views an Iranian breakout as a red line, mandating strong action, Israel views the potential to produce nuclear weapons in a very short time as its red line. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Monday, June 25, 2012

    Hukkat=things we can't know

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    video dvar on weekly parasha Hukkat

    Liberal Prejudice Against the Orthodox Crosses a Lin


    Liberal Prejudice Against the Orthodox Crosses a Line

    Last week’s release of a new demographic study of Jewish life in Greater New York created an understandable stir, as it revealed that the Orthodox are forming an increasingly large percentage of the population. Assimilation, intermarriage and negative population growth are reducing the number of liberal and secular Jews while the Orthodox, and in particular the Haredim, are experiencing exponential growth. Though the implications of this trend will potentially alter virtually everything about Jewish life in the region, given that Orthodox Jews tend to be far more conservative than the rest of the community, the political implications of this pattern are inescapable. In a city like New York where 74 percent of all Jewish school-age children are Orthodox, there is little question the traditional dominance of secular and liberal Jews is not likely to persist in the long run.
    That this would upset liberals is understandable. But that ought not to excuse the willingness of the editorial page of the Forward when discussing the Orthodox community to engage in the sort of language it would never excuse were such words directed at non-Jews. The impending dominance of non-liberals has caused the newspaper that began its life in 1897 as an advocate for socialism to vent its spleen in such a manner as to label many Orthodox Jews as the “undeserving poor,” whose inappropriate life choices ought perhaps to render them ineligible for government assistance if not the aid of the rest of the Jewish community. While the decision of the Forward’s editorial board to belatedly join a decades-long discussion about the merits of the welfare state is welcome, the piece makes it abundantly clear this shift is motivated more by open distaste for the Haredim than any misgivings about liberal ideology.

    The conceit of the piece is that the Orthodox growth is being fueled in large measures by that community’s belief in the value of large families. The Forward, speaking in a voice that drips with upper and middle class condescension for the poor as well as contempt for the Orthodox often heard in liberal Jewish circles but rarely published, implies that most of these children probably shouldn’t be conceived, because their religious parents may not always have the material resources the Forward’s editors think they should possess before adding another soul to the community’s numbers. To their way of thinking, if some of these Orthodox families are not entirely “self-sufficient,” their voluntary choice to reproduce should push them to the back of the line when Jewish agencies are doling out aid to the poor and also calls into question the wisdom of so much government aid being given to them.
    The problem for the Forward is not just that the Orthodox are having more children than liberal Jews and this rejection of middle class “materialism” that values Torah study over economics is religiously motivated. What really bugs them is that the majority of the Orthodox seems to have little sympathy with liberal political positions even though some of them are recipients of government assistance. Like Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas? which vented liberal impatience with Midwestern conservatives who vote their values rather than what the author believes is their economic interests, the Forward thinks it’s downright hypocritical the Orthodox don’t all vote for the Democrats.
    A close examination of Haredi voting patterns may not exactly bear this out, as the Hasidic sects who vote as a bloc do tend to barter their votes in elections in return for government largesse in a manner that perhaps the Forward thinks is rational or at least consistent. But there is little doubt that most Orthodox Jews, including the vast majority who do not get any government aid, don’t share the paper’s affection for liberalism. And that is what has apparently goaded the Forward into publishing a rant whose only real purpose is to stigmatize Orthodox Jews as an expanding horde of lazy welfare cheats who ought to be denied assistance as they out-reproduce more responsible liberal Jews.
    Suffice it to say the Haredi community has more than its share of problems. The growth of Jewish poverty is troubling, as is any sign that Americans are starting to copy the unfortunate pattern of Israeli Haredim in which employment, not to mention national service, is regarded by many as beneath the dignity of the male population.
    But while it is one thing to express concerns about the future of that community, it is quite another to write in a manner that speaks of the rising Orthodox birth rate as if we would all be better off if those children were never born. That is a shocking argument that would be quickly labeled as racist by the righteous liberals at the Forward were it aimed at inner-city blacks or Hispanics. A desire to comfort liberals about their impending political decline is no excuse for launching a kulturkampf against the Orthodox.
    We believe the principles of economic freedom ought to apply to everyone. The unfortunate consequences of government dependency know no religious barrier and can devastate Jews as well as non-Jews, Israelis as well as Americans. But when a critique of the welfare state crosses over into prejudice against specific groups or language that resonates with bias that sounds more like eugenics than political analysis, a line has been crossed. That the Forward has done so is an indictment of their judgment and of their commitment to the value of all 

    We've got to become energy independent to slow terrorism-fracking is the k

    We've got to become energy independent to slow terrorism-fracking is the key

    Energy Independence and Its Enemies

    “In my 50 years of following the energy business, this is by far the biggest event I’ve seen.” So says John Deutch, the chemist who ran the CIA under Bill Clinton and is now a professor at MIT. The “event” to which Deutch refers is the development of the technological process known as fracking, which is the shorthand term for hydraulic fracturing. Fracking makes possible the extraction of oil—natural gas in particular—from shale rock formations thousands of feet underground. A mixture of water, sand, and chemicals is pumped downward and sideways at high velocity. It fractures the rock and releases gas upwards to the surface.

    The normally dry experts from Citi wrote breathlessly in a recent study called “Energy 2020” that fracking portends nothing less than the “potential re-industrialization of the U.S. economy.” They concluded: “The cumulative impact of new production…and associated activity may increase real GDP by 2.0 to 3.3 percent.” A significant portion of the growth will come, they claimed, “directly from the output of new hydrocarbon production alone, while the rest is generated by multiplier effects as the surge in economic activity drives higher wealth, spending, consumption, and investment effects that ripple through the economy.”
    Polls show that when presented with these facts, most Americans support the development of natural gas. At the same time, however, there is strong opposition to this energy opportunity coming from those for whom man-made climate change is of paramount concern. Among this group, extracting and consuming more fossil fuels, even relatively cleaner natural gas, will cause too much harm to the planet to be worth the economic benefit. The question facing policymakers today is which side of this argument will win the day: those who want to use the earth’s resources to achieve greater human progress or those who want to protect the earth from that progress.
    Geologists had known for years that there was gas trapped underground, but they did not know how to get it out. Enter George P. Mitchell, a Texas wildcatter who was determined to get it to the surface. Mitchell and his team discovered that by combining a traditional vertical well with horizontal fracturing of the rock, engineers could extract gas that had been trapped in the Barnett Shale in North Texas. After 10 years of trial and error, Mitchell sold his Barnett “play” for $3.5 billion in 2002, by which time his gas field had become one of the most productive in the country. The fracking revolution had begun.
    According to government experts, the United States possesses more than 2,500 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas. That is the equivalent of 412.5 billion barrels of oil, and it means that America right now produces more natural gas per day than Saudi Arabia produces oil. One-third of it is trapped inside shale rock. In 2001, shale gas provided less than 2 percent of the total U.S. natural gas production; now the figure is approaching 30 percent. The U.S. government estimates that based on current consumption rates here at home, these deposits are so rich they could last for 95 years before they are exhausted. Nongovernmental sources say the estimates are far too low and that there may be enough natural gas to last three times longer.
    Why is all this natural gas from shale important to the economy? The most immediate result is that it lowers the cost of heating homes. Natural gas used to cost $15 per thousand cubic feet. Today, the cost is $2. “The natural gas glut has pushed down heating bills for millions,” according to Bernard L. Weinstein, the associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute. The federal government estimates that home-heating bills in 2012 will be 25 percent lower than they were in 2008.
    The abundance of natural gas has also had a huge impact on the cost of electricity. Weinstein says the average electric bill is “half what it was a few years ago.” According to a recent analysis by Exxon, “an increasing amount of…electricity will be generated by natural gas, which will pass coal as the world’s second-largest fuel source, behind crude oil, by 2025.” An MIT study says the “electricity sector is the principal growth area for natural gas.”
    In the past five years, exports of natural gas have risen and imports have fallen, thereby reversing the trendline of the previous quarter century and opening the almost unbelievable prospect of the United States becoming a net exporter of gas. There is already high demand for natural gas from Japan (where natural gas sells for $12), China, and countries throughout Europe, and they are already equipped to accept imported natural gas through receiving terminals. In Louisiana, two operators of terminals designed for the acceptance of imported natural gas are being fitted for export instead. The cost of redesigning them is around $6 billion each, which gives one a sense of just how confident the operators are about the exporting future.
    Perhaps most striking is the way the fracking revolution offers hope for employment in areas of the country that had seemed like terminal cases in the era of globalization and the post-industrial economy. Fracking is now being done in shale fields in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, and West Virginia. In North Dakota, the unemployment rate has fallen to 3 percent, due almost entirely to fracking. There has even been job growth in West Virginia. A company called Dominion is now employing 1,300 workers in the state, with an annual payroll of more than $142 million, and the development of new facilities to help process the shale gas unearthed in Pennsylvania and Ohio suggest there will be a great deal more where that came from.
    The most dramatic economic turnaround has been in Pennsylvania, which sits atop the Marcellus Shale, the largest repository of gas in closest proximity to the high-demand northeast. The state estimates that drillers have contributed $1.3 billion since 2006 in state and local taxes. Tens of thousands of jobs have been created over the past three years both in the industry and among ancillary businesses such as hospitality and construction and financial services.
    The impact of abundant natural gas goes beyond the fuel business, home heating, and electricity. Other fields are gaining as well, such as the petrochemical industry. According to the Wall Street Journal, cheap gas is “breathing new life into energy intensive industries such as steel and plastics.” Local businesses in Charleston, South Carolina, lobbied hard for a huge new chemical plant called an ethane catalytic cracker. A cracker is a petrochemical facility that converts ethane (in this case from the Marcellus Shale) into ethylene, which is used to make plastics. “It will take approximately 2,000 construction workers two years just to build the facility,” says Matthew Ballard, president and chief executive officer of the Charleston Area Alliance. There will be several hundred new jobs there once it is up and running.
    A cracker plant soon to get under way in the Pittsburgh suburbs is, according to Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett, “the single largest industrial development in the state’s southwest in more than a generation.” Constructing the new facility is expected to create up to 10,000 jobs, and, as in Charleston, hundreds more will work there when it is completed.
    Thus, cheap natural gas is bringing back “the basic kind of jobs we’ve been hemorrhaging for decades,” says Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research. “People who work with their hands and make stuff and fix things, those jobs have been going down the tubes [for decades] and everyone has been crying for more manufacturing jobs and this is it.”
    A PricewaterhouseCoopers study published last December estimates that the availability and abundance of shale gas could result in a million new manufacturing jobs by 2025. The revived natural gas industry “has the potential to spark a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S., including billions in cost savings, a significant number of new jobs and a greater investment in U.S. plants,” in the words of Robert McCutcheon, the United States industrial products and metals leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
    All of this pales, in some sense, beside the benefits to the national interests of the United States. In 2010 we imported 9.4 million barrels of oil a day. And as Sen. Richard Lugar said in 2006, the problem is that “most of the world’s oil is concentrated in places that are either hostile to American interests or vulnerable to political upheaval and terrorism.” With the availability of oil and natural gas in the U.S. as well as from our ally Canada, the future energy-security picture looks much different. The phrase “energy independence,” which has been thrown around by both parties as a meaningless sound bite over the past decade, is no longer a species of fantasy. The notion that the United States will no longer need to calibrate its foreign policy around the elusive stability of the Middle East’s oil-rich regimes might just become a reality. How much different would our foreign policy look if we didn’t have to rely on Iran to keep our oil imports traveling through the Strait of Hormuz? And how much stronger a position would we be in vis-à-vis the Chinese if we were exporting energy rather than begging to import it?
    So why aren’t both parties in the United States celebrating this bounty beneath? Why hasn’t fracking become the dominant good-news economic story of our time? And why hasn’t President Obama, who needs to find something besides government spending to revitalize the U.S. economy, clasped fracking to his bosom and promoted its development as this century’s energy solution?
    The answer was recently made clear by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she said the world is suffering from a “climate crisis.” For those, like Clinton, who believe the most pressing issue facing our society is climate change, and that humans are the ones causing the problem, any effort that results in increased consumption of fossil fuels such as natural gas is anathema. Proponents of this view have been working tirelessly to move the United States toward what they call a cleaner energy future by reducing our consumption of and reliance on energies that are harmful to the environment, namely, “dirty” carbon-producing coal and oil.
    The opposition to fracking stems from the belief that the method of extracting natural gas from shale formations pollutes the environment and that burning natural gas for energy isn’t as “clean” as using solar or wind power. Clean-energy proponents argue that we should be moving as fast as possible to using nonpolluting, non-carbon-producing energy sources rather than transitioning to a less-dirty alternative to coal and oil.
    For some, opposing fracking is about quality of life. “Economically, I would say, there’s no question that it would be good, if you are willing to write off the lifestyle, the peace and quiet, the surface-value rights, all that sort of stuff,” argues James Northrup, a former oil and gas investor turned anti-fracking activist in Cooperstown, N.Y., 75 miles west of Albany.
    Other fracking critics say that some of the gases come up from the well during the drilling process and thereby pollute groundwater. In Josh Fox’s Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, for example, one Colorado man living near a drilling site is able to ignite his kitchen tap water because of all the methane mixed up with his well water. Methane is indeed one of the gases released from shale drilling. There have been successful lawsuits filed against drillers operating in northeastern Pennsylvania for polluting water sources, and some communities have been torn apart by fights between those who have leased their land to drillers and neighbors who sued the operator for allegedly polluting their water.
    The New York Times upped the ante in the fracking-causes-pollution meme with a series of explosive news reports early last year on allegedly radioactive fracking wastewater polluting Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams.
    The most recent and controversial claim against natural gas development comes from the Cornell environmental biologist Robert Howarth. Last year he published the study “Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations.” It purports to prove that “compared [with] coal, the [climate] footprint of shale gas is at least 20 percent greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.”
    Howarth’s claim that fracking causes global warming electrified environmentalists. Many began arguing that previous discussions of the economic possibilities of natural gas development couldn’t justify endangering the planet. And whereas previous debate over natural gas development might have been a question of scope—how many wells, how much fracking—the conversation turned to blanket opposition to any fracking whatsoever, and various towns and cities passed ordinances banning drilling within their confines. Landowners in some of these communities have opposed the bans, demanding that their property rights (to choose to lease acreage to drillers) be respected. But in many cases, the property owners are outnumbered and the environmentalists are louder.
    But in fact, the fracking-poisons-groundwater complaint has largely proven to be overblown. The reality is that many places around the U.S. have naturally occurring methane, and if water wells aren’t properly constructed and sealed, or have aged and become damaged, gas can seep into groundwater. But there is no evidence of a direct link between shale gas drilling and groundwater contamination. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency has lately had to retreat from several investigations against energy companies operating in Pennsylvania and Texas, where the agency had alleged that drilling caused groundwater contamination. And EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has recently admitted that there is no evidence that fracking has ever directly polluted groundwater. States such as Pennsylvania, meanwhile, have worked hard in developing regulations to prevent any future contamination by mandating properly sealed drilling wells and proper cement-casing standards for those wells. The Times reports about “radioactive” fracking wastewater were studied by state regulators and other experts, who concluded that the trace amounts of radioactive particles were so small as to be insignificant.
    As for Howarth’s research on fracking’s carbon footprint, his conclusions were quickly debunked by fellow researchers at Cornell as well as by other scientists. As Lawrence M. Cathles of Cornell’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences concluded in his rebuttal, “The data clearly shows that substituting natural gas for coal will have a substantial greenhouse benefit under almost any set of reasonable assumptions. Methane emissions must be five times larger than they currently appear to be before gas substitution for coal becomes detrimental from a global warming perspective on any time scale.”
    The debate over fracking has gotten so extreme, in fact, that reasonable environmentalists are beginning to complain. As Andrew Revkin, one of the deans of environmental reporting in the United States, recently noted, fracking opponents sound so intransigent that he questions whether there is any resource to which the anti-gas advocates would say yes.
    The great irony is that only a few short years ago, many environmentalists were promoting natural gas as the cleaner alternative to oil and coal. The theory was that natural gas would provide a temporary bridge from pollutants such as oil and coal to so-called clean tech (wind and solar electricity generation, some nuclear power, and electric cars). Now that natural gas is cheap and plentiful, however, many openly worry that there may never be a full-scale transition to wind and solar because there won’t be a need. Gas is cleaner than coal and oil, it is equally or more efficient, it has the same applications as coal and oil, and it can be exported. Wind and solar haven’t proven to be cost-effective, nor are they easy to transport or possible to export. This realization has led to near hysterical opposition to fracking. As Howarth himself argued recently, “It is pure folly to view shale gas [as] a bridge fuel to a green future.”
    These are the arguments, moreover, that help explain the otherwise inexplicable rejection of natural gas extraction in New York, a state that could desperately use new industry and new revenues. There is gas from the Marcellus Shale under the state’s southern tier, and there are gas companies that came into the state nearly five years ago to lease land for potential drilling. But in 2007, the state decided that, absent new regulations for hydraulic fracturing, no new permits for natural gas wells would be issued. The moratorium continues to this day, even as Andrew Cuomo, the state’s governor, keeps promising that his Department of Environmental Conservation will produce new drilling rules—once its experts have had sufficient time to study the issue.
    New York’s drilling ban is even odder when you consider that next door in Pennsylvania, not only is gas drilling ongoing and successful, but there is an established record of successful regulation. As the state’s former Democratic governor, Ed Rendell, and the former head of its Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), John Hanger, wrote to the New York Times earlier this year: “Pennsylvania has the strongest enforcement program of any state with gas drilling. Period. From January 1, 2008, to June 30, 2010, the DEP issued 1,400 violations to drilling companies.”
    On the basis of Pennsylvania’s experience, Rendell told a New York audience in June 2011, “If Gov. Cuomo asked me my advice about lifting the moratorium, I would tell him the moratorium should be lifted.” In his state, the “unemployment rate was 7.5 percent at a time when [the] national rate [was] 9.0 percent and most industrial states are higher than the national average,” he said. “Pennsylvania is the third-highest creator in jobs behind Texas and California. These numbers are in part because of shale drilling.”
    Given the economic potential of natural gas development and that the fears of its environmental effect are largely without foundation, why is there any debate at all about the efficacy and desirability of natural gas? The answer is that there is something anathematic to the environmentalist movement and its supporters in the Democratic Party about economic growth and employment that might arise from the harvesting of shale.
    President Obama himself is a perfect illustration of how much the so-called clean, anti-growth, anti-development dogma holds sway over his party. By the time Obama took over the White House in 2009, the “shale gale” was still in its early stages, but its potential was already evident. And yet when the president designed his stimulus package to save the U.S. economy, there was almost nothing in it relating to fracking—even though it is a textbook example of a shovel-ready technological product. Instead, obsessed with so-called clean tech, Obama and his Energy Department targeted solar and wind companies for subsidies and loans, with predictably negligible results. Obama forced the newly bailed-out automakers to develop clean, electric cars such as the Chevy Volt. The administration even promoted $7,500 rebates for those who purchased the more than $40,000 car of the future.
    Alas, the newly elected president had been utterly certain clean tech would produce the economic windfall its advocates had told him it would. In his book, The Escape Artists, Noam Scheiber writes of the two months before Obama’s inauguration:
    Energy was a particular obsession of the president-elect’s, and therefore a particular source of frustration. Week after week, [economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. “I don’t get it,” he’d say. “We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?” But the numbers rarely budged.
    The relatively untutored president, who had had only two years in a statewide office before he ran for president, may never have had even so much as a conversation on energy matters with anyone in public life who was not a member of the environmentalist camp. But by early 2012, Obama had certainly been on the job long enough to assimilate new information regarding the potential of natural gas, when he was forced into a decision over granting valuable right of way in the United States for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. He stuck to his old script and had the State Department deny the pipeline permit. Facing a tough economy and a tough reelection campaign, Obama has been presented a political gift in the form of shale gas—and he has rejected it.
    He still has time to reverse himself. In March, polls showed that a strong majority of Americans want the pipeline approved. Obama quickly made a special stop in Oklahoma to take credit for approving one small section of it (to fix a supply-chain glut). When a proposed new route for the pipeline was announced in April, a route that reflected some environmental concerns about potential hazards to wetlands, the president had a perfect opportunity to save face, present himself as the defender of the environment and as an energy realist at the same time, and approve it. He did not. As of this writing, no decision has been made and it is likely no decision will be—although it would mark a dramatic sign of the urgency of Obama’s desire to win reelection if he reversed himself. Can one imagine Bill Clinton, the last successful national Democratic politician, rejecting such a bounty solely due to pressure from the ideological left?
    The question goes beyond the merely partisan. The real issue, going forward, is whether the American people will permit the environmental movement to deny the United States its surprising and providential chance for true energy independence.

    About the Author

    Abby W. Schachter writes the New York Post’s politics blog, Capitol Punishment.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Update on Iran

    Daily Alert
    Iran Speeding Up Nuclear Enrichment
    Iran could produce enough enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon within four months, experts have told a U.S. congressional committee.
    The rate of Iran's uranium enrichment has accelerated despite cyber sabotage from the Stuxnet virus in 2009, the experts said. Based on the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), "It's clear that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon very quickly should it wish to do so", said Stephen Rademaker of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. Iran has produced 3345 kilograms of uranium enriched to 3.5 per cent, according to the agency. (AFP)
    See also Brinkmanship, Taboos: Behind the Scenes of Failed Iran Nuclear Talks - Barak Ravid
    The intensive talks held in Moscow on Monday and Tuesday between Iran and the six powers ended in failure. A Western diplomat who asked to remain anonymous said that one major obstacle revealed by the Moscow talks relates to the underground facility for uranium enrichment in Fordo, near the city of Qum. According to the diplomat, the Iranians refused to discuss the Fordo plant at all. The Iranians were surprised that delegates from the six powers managed to maintain a united front throughout the discussions. The Iranians had hoped to bring the Chinese and Russian delegates into their corner. (Ha'aretz)  Israeli Strike on Iran Stays on Hold, for Now - Joshua Mitnick
    Israel is unlikely to launch a strike on Iran as long as sanctions on Tehran intensify and diplomatic efforts continue, despite the failure of international talks in Moscow this week, Israeli officials and security experts said.
    That puts Israeli leaders in a bind: While lack of progress on diplomatic attempts to curb Iran's nuclear program bolsters Israel's position that Tehran won't compromise, it needs to wait for diplomacy and sanctions to be exhausted so it can better persuade others to join it in taking tougher measures, analysts said.
    Some Israeli officials worry that Iran will eventually offer an 11th-hour compromise that will split the international negotiators, a group known as the P5+1.
    Israeli experts are divided on what approach would prompt Iran to change course. Some say only a credible threat of military action by the West  will work. "Sanctions are known to take a very long time to have an impact on the country you are targeting," said Dore Gold, a former ambassador to the United Nations. "It's important to put in place, but the clock is ticking." (Wall Street Journal)

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Chief rabbi anti brotherly love

    Less than a month after Israel's attorney general issued the historic decision that Reform and Conservative Jewish institutions must receive state funding alongside traditional Orthodox institutions, one of Israel's foremost religious figures has declared a public fight against the move.
    Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar attacked the decision in no uncertain terms, calling it “reckless” and warning that it may "uproot all the foundations of the Torah."
    In line with this apocalyptic warning, Amar warned "The greatest danger for our generation is the danger of assimilation," and called on his followers "to be strong and steadfast in our fight. It is forbidden to remain silent, because there is nothing more serious than this measure."
    While the Times of Israel notes that "funding for the non-Orthodox rabbis will come from the Culture and Sport Ministry rather than the Religious Services Ministry," the Orthodox establishment appears to be primary concerned with the precedent it will set.
    As Haredi MK Moshe Gafni put it, it will result in giving "government funding to someone who is not defined by law as a rabbi and who was not ordained by the Chief Rabbinate.” Thus undercutting the Chief Rabbinate's considerable political and financial power.

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    A tribute to my Father on Father's Day

    We should all pay tribute to our dad's today. Mine was the wisest man I ever knew (but we probably all think that about our dad's). He died 30 years ago, exactly at the age I am now. I miss him constantly. Lawyer, Jewish history sunday school teacher, Northbrook Public Library #1 borrower of books each year, (maybe that's why my daughter has an MA in library science), Reconstructionist (was a yeshiva student but gave up on God after the Holocaust), but still spent every penny they had on Jewish Day school, Ramah summer camp, expensive Jewish educational summer programs to Israel and eastern europe, college. We can never repay him/them for that. He was the first conservative thinker I knew, (Milton Friedman changed his life at U of Chicago), still liberals loved him. In fact everyone loved him because he had this amazing ability when talking to you to make you feel like you are the most  important person in the world worth listening to. He loved our weekly shabbat dinners and Holiday celebrations. He never really proposed to my Mom-just started talking about grandchildren. Saddest for me is he never saw any of the 9 in this world, but 7 of them are named for him. May his memory continue to be for a blessing.
    Shmuel yoodel ben Asher Zimmel hacohen

    Parshat Korah and Helen Thomas anti-Semite

    Parashat Korah -what argument is Holy?

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Presbyterians want to divest-help

    Please join me in taking a stand for peace and against anti-Israel divestment. 

    I just signed a groundbreaking letter to delegates of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly this June who will be considering a divestment measure. Divestment was rejected by United Methodist Church this spring. Previously, the Episcopal and Lutheran (ELCA) churches have rejected similar measures - but it may pass in the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

    Please join me and click either of the links this note.

    I am making this request both on behalf of peace in the Middle East and to help preserve and strengthen not weaken our relationship with the Presbyterian Church (USA). I am worried that the relationship between our community and the Presbyterian Church is at stake. The letter expresses our collective hope for peace and partnership. There is much that our communities can do to repair our world and to bring peace to a land that yearns for it. Unfortunately, there are those who are recommending a different path – one that acts out conflict rather than promote reconciliation. 

    If you decide to sign the letter, and I hope you do, after using the link to affix your own signature, please send it on to your own personal and organizational lists. We would like to send this letter to our Presbyterian friends prior to their convention which begins at the end of June.

    Again, thank you for any consideration of this request. 


    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    chesed from the parasha

    Parashat Shelach lecha

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Ultra orthodox thank Hitler

    On Sunday night, in a shocking act of desecration, what was a apparently a group of Haredi Jews spray-painted a memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising at Israel's Holocaust museum Yad Vashem with anti-Zionist and antisemitic graffiti.
    According to the Times of Israel, the blood curdling slogans included such phrases as "Hitler, thank you for the great Holocaust," "The State of Israel — the spiritual Auschwitz of Sephardic Jewry," "Jews, wake up! The evil cynical regime does not protect us, only endangers us", and "If Hitler hadn’t existed, the Zionists would have invented him."
    Yad Vashem officials and others rushed to condemn the attack, unprecedented in Israeli history. While Haredi hostility toward Zionist is well-known, it has never before stooped to desecrating national memorials to the entire Jewish people, and certainly not the Holocaust.
    Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev condemned the vandalism, saying: “We are shocked and dazed by this callous expression of burning hatred against the Zionists and Zionism.”
    “This unprecedented act crosses a red line. I have reported it to the Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar, who also expressed his bewilderment. I also spoke to Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, who joined me in expressing his concern over this grave deed.”
    Haredim are the prime suspects because of "the clear Hebrew handwriting" of the vandals "and the references to Zionism and the Holocaust." Security camera footage of the incident does apparently exist.
    Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein gave perhaps the most succinct expression of public sentiment, calling the incident a "spit in the face of the State of Israel and the victims of the Holocaust, and desecrates their memory."

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    The Kings of Israel in the Bible

    The melekhim of the Southern KingdomYahudah (which also included Benyhamine & Shimon as well as theLevites) reigned between 931 to 586 when the Babylonian Galut/ Exile occured due to disobedience/ unfaithfulness to The Holy One.  During this era, some kings were relatively good.  It is recorded in Scripture that Hezekiah was the best (which could possibly include David, although Very doubtful).  Hezekiah's ben, Manasseh was exceedingly rah/ evil.  Josiah was a very good king & was taught by Levites.  However, later in his life, not so good. Other somewhat good (at least not exceedingly evil) kings were AsaYehosaphatJoashAmaziahUzziah(Azariah) & Jotham.  It appears that Zedekiah (who was very evil/ never ever any good at all) could have saved the First Temple, but did not.

    The kings of the Northern Kingdom (which was destroyed in 722 BCE by the Assyrians due to disobedience/ unfaithfulness/ evil) where all of the kings were very bad, existed between 931 to 712 or 722 BCE.

    Jeroboam, bad, 930-909 B.C.
    Nadab, bad, 909-908 B.C.
    Baasha, bad, 908-886 B.C.
    Elah, bad, 886-885 B.C.
    Zimri, bad, 885 B.C.
    Tibni, bad, 885-880 B.C.
    Omri (overlap), extra bad, 885-874 B.C.
    Ahab, the worst, 874-853 B.C.
    Ahaziah, bad, 853-852 B.C.
    Joram, bad mostly, 852-841 B.C.
    Jehu, not good but better than the rest, 841-814 B.C.
    Jehoahaz, bad, 814-798 B.C.
    Joash, bad, 798-782 B.C.
    Jeroboam II (overlap), bad, 793-753 B.C.
    Zechariah, bad, 753 B.C.
    Shallum, bad, 752 B.C.
    Menahem, bad, 752-742 B.C.
    Pekahiah, bad, 742-740 B.C.
    Pekah (overlap), bad, 752-732 B.C.
    Hoshea, bad, 732-722 B.C.

    Rehoboam, bad mostly, 933-916 B.C.
    Abijah, bad mostly, 915-913 B.C.
    Asa, GOOD, 912-872 B.C.
    Jehoshaphat, GOOD, 874-850 B.C.
    Jehoram, bad, 850-843 B.C.
    Ahaziah, bad, 843 B.C.
    Athaliah, devilish, 843-837 B.C.
    Joash, good mostly, 843-803 B.C.
    Amaziah, good mostly, 803-775 B.C.
    Uzziah, GOOD mostly, 787-735 B.C.
    Jotham, GOOD, 749-734 B.C.
    Ahaz, wicked, 741-726 B.C.
    Hezekiah, THE BEST, 726-697 B.C.
    Manasseh, the worst, 697-642 B.C.
    Amon, the worst, 641-640 B.C.
    Josiah, THE BEST, 639-608 B.C.
    Jehoahaz, bad, 608 B.C.
    Jehoiakim, wicked, 608-597 B.C.
    Jehoiachin, bad, 597 B.C.
    Zedekiah, bad, 597-586 B.C.

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Israel can't trust Obama to stop Iran

    Israel and the U.S. in Disagreement over Iran - Zaki Shalom
    All the efforts to dissuade Iran from continuing to develop nuclear capabilities have failed to bear fruit. Israel welcomes the expansion of the sanctions that are scheduled to be imposed against Iran in the coming weeks, yet it does not pin great hopes on the ability of the sanctions to stop Iran's nuclear activity. There is little hope that the negotiations of recent weeks, as well as those scheduled for Moscow, can cause a transformation. Iran's attitude to the negotiations with the P5+1 does not indicate that Iran feels deterred in any way or senses any urgency.
        From the Israeli perspective, there is a conspicuous gap between the resolute tone of the Obama administration's statements on Iran and their translation into tough stances in the dialogue. Israel's timetable vis-a-vis Iran differs vastly from America's. While Israel operates out of a sense that it has very little time left, the U.S. seems to have a much longer timeframe. Furthermore, Israel is making very specific and concrete demands of Iran, much more far-reaching than those being made by the U.S.
        In the current circumstances, Israel will find it hard to place its trust in America's resolve to prevent a nuclear Iran, and not act on its own. The writer is a Principal Research Fellow at the INSS.(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Is this true about American jews?

    " Commentary  In late 2011, Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver’s officereleased a series of videos depicting American Jews as overly secularized, bereft of a religious Jewish identity, and having essentially surrendered any Jewish connection in the name of total assimilation. "

    Does Obama finally get it re Abbas?

    Obama: Abbas May Not Want Peace - Yitzhak Benhorin
    U.S. President Barack Obama told Orthodox Jewish leaders at the White House on Tuesday that President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians may not want a peace agreement and that he fears that the window of opportunity for a deal is closing. He expressed hope that the parties will go forward with the peace process but admitted it was possible that the Palestinians were not interested in an agreement. (Ynet News)

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Important movie on UN

    Very important movie on UN. Please see. Note, does not mention how horrible UN is to israel. Pro Israel maker wanted to build anti UN coalition as broadly as possible.Opening in Chicago and other cities (River East 21). Also available on demand on cable TV. Click at bottom for list of cities, theaters and cable outlets