Federal Debt, Terrorism Considered Top Threats to U.S.

June 4, 2010

Federal Debt, Terrorism Considered Top Threats to U.S.

Republicans perceived as best party to deal with both

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ — Terrorism and federal government debt tie as the most worrisome issues to Americans when they consider threats to the future wellbeing of the U.S. Four in 10 Americans call each an “extremely serious” threat, with healthcare costs ranking a close third.

Perceived Threats to U.S. Future Wellbeing

On a broader basis, a majority of Americans consider all but 1 of the 10 issues rated in the May 24-25 USA Today/Gallup poll as either “extremely serious” or “very serious” threats. Discrimination against minority groups is the sole exception, with 46% calling it extremely or very serious.

Partisans Rank Issues Differently

The overall scores for terrorism and the federal debt are boosted by the relatively high percentages of Republicans — 50% or more — who consider each of these extremely serious, putting these at the top of the Republicans’ list. The size and power of the federal government ranks third among Republicans. The top three issues for Democrats are healthcare costs, the environment/global warming, and terrorism. However, no more than 37% of Democrats call any of these issues “extremely serious.”

The federal budget deficit ranks as the top issue concern for independents — 42% call it extremely serious — thus aligning independents closer to Republicans than to Democrats on this issue. By contrast, independents’ 36% rating for terrorism is closer to Democrats’ than to Republicans’ rating.

Perceived Threats to U.S. Future Wellbeing, by Party ID (Percentage Rating Each as Extremely Serious)

The greatest gaps between Republicans and Democrats — exceeding 20 percentage points — are seen for the environment/global warming (about which Democrats are more concerned), and the federal debt and the size of government (issues for which the Republicans show greater concern).

Republican Party Preferred on Top Issue Concerns

The Republican Party is preferred over the Democratic Party for handling the two top-ranking issues of public concern — terrorism and federal government debt. The Democratic Party is preferred by much wider margins for the environment and discrimination against minority groups — but these are among the least worrisome issues to Americans.

Party Preferred to Deal With Each Perceived Threat

Bottom Line

Of several potential threats to the future wellbeing of the United States, Americans seem most concerned about terrorism and several economic matters — the federal budget debt, healthcare costs, and unemployment.

Americans are far less likely to consider other domestic issues, including illegal immigration and the environment, as serious threats. Regarding the current immigration debate over balancing U.S. security concerns with fair treatment of illegals, however, many more Americans say illegal immigration is an extremely serious threat than say this about discrimination against minority groups.

WH PRESS QUEEN: JEWS GET OUT OF ISRAEL, GO BACK TO POLAND!

Birds of a feather   A Has Been And A Never Was

Helen Thomas Tells Jews — ‘Get the Hell Out of Palestine’ and Go Back to Germany & Poland

See video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQcQdWBqt14&feature=player_embedded

Netanyahu to International Community: Stop the Hypocrisy

Netanyahu to International Community: Stop the Hypocrisy

 

Posted By P. David Hornik On June 3, 2010 @ 12:38 am In FrontPage | 106 Comments

 

The IDF has released two more videos from the incident Monday morning on the Mavi Marmara, the largest in the Turkish-organized six-ship flotilla that challenged Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and the only one to prepare a violent ambush. One of these two videos is even more dramatic than the one released on Monday [1], now viewed by over a million on YouTube, that shows Mavi Marmara “peace activists” among other things beating the soldiers with iron bars.

The relatively less dramatic [2] of the two newly released videos shows the “activists”—actually jihadists seeking “martyrdom” [3]—attacking the soldiers with a stun grenade, a box of plates, and water hoses as they try to board the ship. The other newly released video is actually almost purely audial footage [4] of a frenetic exchange between soldiers on the Mavi Marmara and the nearby IDF ship. The former, in a state of acute panic, shout that they need reinforcements, are being fired at from all directions, and have to be evacuated immediately. For a while the jihadists can be heard chanting something in the background.

The iron-bars video was released only late Monday afternoon after the “Israel kills peace activists” media-storm had already swept through the world for eight or nine hours, and some in Israel have bitterly charged that releasing it a good deal earlier, if not immediately, could have saved Israel much of the media and diplomatic damage. The reason for the delay was a concern for military morale: seeing soldiers of the Naval Commandos—one of the most legendary of all IDF units—being abjectly beaten, and in one case thrown over the side of the boat, is not the sort of imagery the IDF and Israel itself want to project of these fighters.

But if the iron-bars video is problematic in that regard, the new one in which the soldiers shout, in panic, for their lives is even more so. Why, then, was it released now, when the UN Security Council, with President Obama’s acquiescence [5], has already condemned Israel over the incident, the UN Human Rights Council is preparing another Goldstone-type “investigation,” [6] and Israel has generally been dragged through another worldwide round of condemnation? This new video proves beyond a doubt to any reasonable human being that the soldiers finally opened fired, killing nine of their attackers, solely to save their own lives. But what good could it do at this point?

The answer is that Israel realizes its troubles from this incident are not over and indeed are just beginning. Another ship, the Rachel Corrie (named after the young anti-Israeli activist accidentally killed by an IDF bulldozer in 2003), is already on its way [7] to Gaza from Malta; while carrying only fifteen activists, Irish prime minister Brian Cowen has described it as Irish-owned and is calling on Israel to let it through. A group called the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza claims to be planning a new, much larger flotilla than the one intercepted by Israel this week. Newly elected British prime minister David Cameron is calling on Israel [8] to lift the Gaza blockade altogether.

In other words, the democratic world is now getting into the act too—with a vengeance. It was one thing for increasingly-Islamist, Iran- and Syria-friendly, Hamas-supporting Turkey to send the first flotilla. It is quite another thing—and well beyond the usual, de rigueur, but shameful cooperation with Arab-, Islamic-, and “nonaligned”-bloc calumny against Israel in the UN—for Western governments to start getting on this bandwagon as well.

It was in response to the increasingly alarming situation that Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave a brief, terse statement [9] to the nation Wednesday night in which he said: “The state of Israel faces an attack of international hypocrisy. This is not the first time we have faced this; two years ago we faced a massive attack of missiles fired by Hamas who hid behind civilians. Israel went to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties; but whom did the UN condemn? It condemned Israel.”

Noting that “It is our right according to international law to prevent arms smuggling to Gaza and that is why the naval blockade was put in place,” Netanyahu pointed out that two ships intercepted by the Israeli navy in recent years—the Francop [10] in 2009 and the Karine-A [11] in 2002—were carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian-supplied weapons, and that while the smuggling of Iranian weapons into Gaza through tunnels continues, what can be delivered by sea is incomparably vaster and would result in an Iranian port in Gaza threatening not only Tel Aviv but also “other countries in the region.”

Turning finally to the uproar over the Mavi Marmara, Netanyahu, noting that he had talked personally with the wounded soldiers and heard firsthand accounts of how their lives were endangered, stated:

The soldiers defended their lives with incomparable restraint. What would any other country do?… I ask the international community, what would you do instead? We’ll continue to defend our citizens and assert our right to self-defense, which is my first duty as prime minister.

It is important that we stay united on this issue, which is a matter of life and death.

The questions Netanyahu raised are indeed very much open. It is no longer clear whether the international community, including its democratic component, is prepared to tolerate the soldiers of the Jewish state shooting back when shot at by a mob, and no longer clear whether it is prepared to countenance the Jewish state defending itself, or existing, at all. Israel, meanwhile, is still trying to make its case, hardly confident that it makes a difference.

Hanging Israel Out to Dry

Hanging Israel Out to Dry

Posted By Larry Elder On June 4, 2010 @ 12:08 am In FrontPage | 21 Comments

Vice President Joe Biden, wrong on virtually every major foreign policy issue since his election to the Senate in 1972, nailed this one: He warned that actors on the international stage would test the new, inexperienced President.

He knew that President Barack Obama’s enemies would perceive his strength-through-peace (versus peace-through-strength) approach as weakness. They do and are acting accordingly.

Candidate Obama vowed to hold high-level talks with Iran and North Korea without “preconditions.” Obama promised a “reset” of all things President George W. Bush, with no more talk of “victory” in Iraq and Afghanistan. He reneged on the promised missile shield defense in Poland and the Czech Republic. He waits for countries like China and Russia, both of which have business interests in Iran, to agree to “tough, crippling” sanctions.

The President dropped the term “war on terror” and refuses to call Islamofascists “Islamofascists.” He apologetically says America is vital in maintaining world peace “whether we like it or not.” He sent a videotaped message to Iran telling of our willingness to re-engage the country — if only it would unclench its fist. It unclenched more time for Iran to pursue a nuclear bomb. The administration was painfully slow to acknowledge that the Times Square truck bomb attempt involved foreign Islamic terrorists.

The administration chastised Israel for settlement construction in an area of east Jerusalem that President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush and even Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat assumed would be part of Israel in any peace agreement. During Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s state visit, Obama treated him worse than a White House dinner gate-crasher.

How’s the hope and change working out?

North Korea, in an act of war, sank a South Korean ship. Iran may now have sufficient materiel and technical knowledge to build a nuclear bomb. The Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah — under the nose of United Nations “peacekeepers” — continues to stock southern Lebanon with weapons that threaten Israel.

Now comes the anti-Israel “humanitarian” flotilla.

After Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, the terror group Hamas seized power. Israel and Egypt began a naval blockade of ships in and out of Gaza. Though Israel had uprooted every Israeli settler from Gaza, Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel, a bombardment that continues today.

Israel already sends humanitarian aid into Gaza and allows others to do so.

Israel even agreed to allow the supposed humanitarian flotilla cargo to enter, provided Israeli security could check it for weapons. And never mind that some of the flotilla’s “humanitarian activists” appear to have ties to terror organizations.

The flotilla’s attempt to run the blockade resulted in nine deaths when the Israeli military boarded ships to inspect the cargo. As Israel’s enemies hoped, Israel stands accused of a “disproportionate” response.

But why the flotilla now?

The most significant intervening event is the election of President Obama. Now Israel’s most important ally considers Israeli intransigence the principal obstacle to peace with the Palestinians in particular and in the Middle East in general. The activists got the message: Israel is on the defensive.

Israel, with good reason, feels alone.

Obama, like Bush in his second term, seems willing to accept a nuclear-armed Iran — even as Iran threatens Israel with annihilation. Obama apparently considers a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable, even if it ignites a regional nuclear arms race — since Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan fear Iran more than they do Israel.

Give Obama credit for continuing many of Bush’s policies. Gitmo remains open, the administration finally understanding that the prison exists for a reason. He continued rendition, the terror surveillance program and the increased use of drone predators in Pakistan. He used the same “state secrets” argument to fight courtroom disclosure of sources and methods. He increased troop strength in Afghanistan and continues the Bush “clear and hold” strategy for that country and Iraq.

But Jimmy Carter governed as a strength-through-peace president. He pressured the Shah of Iran to release “political prisoners.” The shah was toppled, only to be followed by the repressive and threatening Islamic Republic of Iran. Carter urged Americans to abandon their “inordinate fear of communism.” Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev considered Carter weak and rewarded him by invading Afghanistan. This triggered a chain reaction from which the world continues to suffer. The Arabs and Muslims who fought to expel the Soviet Union then turned on the United States and the West in a grand plan for an Islamic world.

Israel’s response to the flotilla was an act of self-defense. The Western world’s reaction has been shameful. Western countries once again fail to distinguish the arsonist from the firefighter.

In 1962, the United States imposed a naval blockade — a “quarantine” — on Cuba. What would we have done to a “humanitarian” flotilla determined to help Fidel Castro place Soviet missiles 90 miles from Florida?

Larry Elder is a syndicated radio talk show host and best-selling author. His latest book, “What’s Race Got to Do with It?” is available now. To find out more about Larry Elder, visit his Web page at http://www.WeveGotACountryToSave.com.

Casting the First Stone

Casting the First Stone

Posted By Mark D. Tooley On June 4, 2010 @ 12:20 am In FrontPage | 30 Comments

The Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC) has yet really to condemn the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia 35 years ago.  Or the Marxist orchestrated famine in Ethiopia that killed almost as many during the 1980’s.  It never directly condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  Saddam Hussein’s hundreds of thousands of murdered victims also failed to arouse the WCC’s concern across 25 years. Nor has the multitude of crimes by Iran’s theocracy across 30 years interested the WCC.  North Korea’s slave state for the WCC is a place of pilgrimage but not criticism.  Even North Korea’s recent unprovoked torpedoing of a South Korean ship, killing 46 sailors three months ago, has not caused the WCC to peep.

But the WCC needed less than 24 hours to condemn Israel’s “deplorable” interception of a “peace” flotilla trying to bust the blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.  The 9 anti-Israel “peace” activists killed after the Israelis were resisted with metal poles and other weapons, were apparently more sacred to the WCC than the millions of victims slain by communism, Islamists and other anti-Western tyrannies over the last 4 decades.

“It is with great distress that the World Council of Churches received the news that the Israeli naval forces stormed a Gaza-bound vessel carrying humanitarian aid in international waters before dawn on Monday, killing at least 10 civilians and injuring many more,” immediately bemoaned WCC chief Olav Fykse Tveit.  A Norwegian Lutheran theologian, Tveit seems steadfastly committed to the WCC tradition of bashing only Israel and America.  ”We condemn the assault and killing of innocent people who were attempting to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, who have been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.”

Why has Gaza been blockaded by Israel, and, though unmentioned by the WCC, also by Egypt?  Could its rocket-firing Hamas regime be part of the explanation?  The WCC is not interested in such details. “We further condemn the flagrant violation of international law by Israel in attacking and boarding a humanitarian convoy in international waters,” Tveit continued.  ”We pray for all those who are affected by the attack, especially the bereaved families.”

Tveit demanded Israel repatriate all of the flotilla’s activists, release the impounded ships and, naturally, end the blockade of Gaza.  He also wants a “full” United Nations investigation into Israel’s “assault.”  For that, Tveit almost certainly will get his wish.  He concluded:  ”The deplorable events which occurred yesterday off the coast of Gaza remind us yet again of the pressing need for an end to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories.” But of course, Gaza is not Israeli occupied.  It is governed by its Islamist “liberators,” Hamas.  And most of the West Bank is governed by the Palestinian Authority.  It’s never entirely clear what the Religious Left means by “occupation.”  But certainly it ignores the considerable problems created by Gaza’s and most of the West Bank’s ostensible liberation from direct Israeli control.

The WCC’s major U.S. member, the Presbyterian Church USA, also chimed in quickly over the Gaza flotilla in slightly more measured tones.  ”A severe blockade of Gaza by Israel in response to the free election of Hamas representatives in 2006 and the military incursions of Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 and early 2009 have dramatically increased the already acute humanitarian need,” surmised the church’s Stated Clerk, Gradye Parsons. “We grieve the killing and injuring of participants in the humanitarian effort, as well as the injuring of members of the Israeli military forces that occurred when the Israeli forces stormed one of the ships and those on board resisted.”

Parsons noted that the Presbyterian tradition is “not strictly pacifist,” which is surely an understatement, but “honors peaceful resistance, including nonviolent disobedience to unjust government policies and actions.”  He opined that the flotilla could have been a “powerful” instrument for peaceful resistance.  And he warned,  ”These actions sometimes incite violent responses,” but the “long-term success of this kind of resistance requires a nonviolent response on the part of the demonstrators, even when they are under attack.”  Parsons sounds like a Presbyterian Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem-based Sabeel, a center for Palestinian Liberation Theology with Western affiliates, including Friend of Sabeel – North America, has quickly issued a prayer litany of solidarity with the failed Gaza flotilla.  ”The Israeli attack on the Gaza Flotilla resulted in numerous deaths, dozens of injuries, and hundreds of arrests,” Sabeel bewailed.  ”Almighty God, comfort the bereaved, heal the injured, and grant freedom to the prisoners. We pray that you will strengthen each of us to do what is necessary to end the siege on Gaza. Help us to recognize and to fight the structures of oppression, wherever we may encounter them.”

Do these “structures of oppression” include the Hamas regime in Gaza, or its chief patrons, the Islamist theocrats who tyrannize Iran?  If so, Religious Left groups in the West, who are Sabeel’s main patrons, will not say so audibly.  Maybe the WCC is praying quietly, very quietly, for Hamas’s victims.  These silent prayers are perhaps similar to the inaudible prayers that the WCC and rest of the international Religious Left may have lifted up for so many otherwise unacknowledged victims of tyranny and oppression over the last 40 years. Apparently only Israel’s and America’s victims can benefit from the Religious Left’s very loud prayers.

Disasters and Double Standards

 

Posted By Andrew Cline On June 4, 2010 @ 12:26 am In FrontPage | 24 Comments

Remember the big stories in the national media when George W. Bush waited four days to tour New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit? Here’s a pop quiz: How long did it take President Obama to visit the Gulf coast after the Deepwater Horizon oil leak began?

The answer is 13 days. Here is how The Washington Post described that visit:

“He flew in and out of New Orleans on May 2, drove two hours to a Coast Guard station and got a briefing before taking a quick helicopter tour. He did not even see the oil slick.”

Mark Knoller of CBS News reported last week that in the first 39 days after each respective catastrophe, Obama visited the Gulf coast twice; Bush visited New Orleans seven times. But remember, this is not Obama’s Katrina!

Now imagine if President Bush, five weeks into one of the largest oil leaks in U.S. history, and without ever having seen the slick, jetted across the country to headline a $17,600 per-person fund-raiser at the home of an oil-fortune heir. How do you think the national press would have treated that? Bush didn’t do that, which is why you didn’t hear about it. President Obama did — which is why you didn’t hear about it.

The media covered Obama’s trip to San Francisco to raise money for Barbara Boxer. Some news outlets even reported that Obama spoke at a private reception at the home of Democratic Party donor Gordon Getty. But few reported that Getty is the heir to the Getty Oil fortune. For instance, the New York Times reports on Obama’s trip never identified Getty as an oil heir. Do you think that would have been omitted had Bush been Getty’s guest?

What if, hours after the head of the U.S. Minerals Management Service left her job over Washington’s mishandling of that giant oil spill, President Bush held a press conference (his first in months) and, when asked about that agency head, could not say whether she had resigned or been fired? What if, hours later, the White House stated that the President knew all along that she had been dismissed, but that story was contradicted by the Cabinet secretary — the one who supposedly did the dismissing — having said that morning during a congressional hearing that she’d resigned voluntarily?

That happened in the Obama administration last week. Where are the outraged cries of incompetence and dishonesty?

Can you imagine the charges of buffoonery that would pour forth from New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, if the George W. Bush administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a state law that had been signed into law by one of Bush’s own cabinet secretaries?

Well, last week the Obama administration did exactly that. The Department of Justice asked the court to overturn a 2007 Arizona immigration law that punishes employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano signed the bill into law when she was Arizona governor.

All of these events were reported in the mainstream media. But they were not reported in the same way they would have been had a Republican been president. The point of this criticism is not to say that Bush was great and Obama stinks. Bush was not a great president. The point is to illustrate the double standard most of the media have.

Media bias exhibits itself in the subtle favoring of liberal politicians and ideas. The same rules don’t apply to the left and the right. The left is presumed to have good intentions, the right bad. So when Bush took four days to get to New Orleans after Katrina hit, it was evidence of racism, elitism, a general lack of concern for the little people. But when it took Obama three times as long to visit the Gulf Coast, there was silence.

When a left-wing administration makes mistakes or contradicts itself, that is simply human nature. When a right-of-center administration does, it is incompetence or duplicity. Or both.

At least some on the left are calling out Obama for his inattentiveness to the Gulf oil spill. That’s no substitute for the press setting the national narrative by holding him to the same standards to which it held Bush. But it’s a start.

Andrew Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader. Follow him on twitter @Drewhampshire.

The (Not So) Great Pretender

The (Not So) Great Pretender

June 4th, 2010

By Carol Peracchio, American Thinker

Obama reached the White House by acting, now governing is a challenge

A few years ago, the film Catch Me if You Can told the story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., an extraordinary con man who managed to successfully impersonate a pilot, a doctor, and a legal prosecutor all before the age of nineteen. I’ve noticed a number of similarities between Mr. Abagnale and our president. But when it comes to being a Great Pretender, Obama is sorely lacking.

Like Mr. Abagnale, Mr. Obama has been playing multiple parts ever since he came on to the national stage. Unlike Mr. Abagnale, the president is a lousy actor. The key to being a confidence man is the ability to inspire confidence. Confidence that you really are what you are pretending to be. Before embarking on the big con, President Obama could have used Frank’s advice. For example:

Obama pretends to be a brilliant scholar. He successfully accomplished this during the campaign by sticking with a cool, calm persona and shutting up when the teleprompter was off. His acolytes in the press and Democratic Party were so eager to be conned that they did not notice that Obama never provided any evidence of a stratospheric IQ. College transcripts were safely locked away. The candidate started appearing nowhere without his teleprompter or glued to his campaign staff, especially after performances such as this and his chat with Joe the Plumber.

It’s very easy to pretend to have all the answers during a campaign when no one actually expects you to solve anything. The funniest display of Obama’s low-wattage brain power was during the foreign policy debate with Senator McCain, where the most frequent sentence he uttered was “I agree with John.” It reminded me of the scene in Catch Me if You Can where Frank covers his lack of medical knowledge by asking one resident doctor what his diagnosis and plans for the patient are and then turning to another resident and asking repeatedly, “Do you concur?”

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