CONTENTS: Heritage Cloakroom; Melanie Phillips; America’s governors; Ann for Senate?; Hayes – Hagel; Klein – Hagel; Klein – Borders; Levin – Brotherhood infiltration; McCarthy GOP’s brotherhood; Steyn – Hagel; Keystone languishes; Kerry hired before Rice quit; Medical records to the feds; Malkin – Sleaze Bob; Dollars & babies; Our baby bust; BO hints for bucks; Heritage – balance in 10 yrs; Senate moves on gun control; Wyoming blocks feds?; NRa is winning; Docs kill 2450% more; Walsh – Left & guns; Deadly Deserts; Glick – ISR’s next govt; Phillips – middle ISR; Iran’s new jet; Barry got his gun; Announcements
“Well, [I donated] with great reluctance, because I think that Citizens United has really unleashed an unlimited amount of money into the political system, which is very, very unfortunate. But you have to live with it.” George Soros
“The country may be catching on: Barack Obama is our first knee-jerk liberal president. And now that he will never face the voters again, he doesn’t mind showing it.” John Fund http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/339657/real-barack-obama-john-fund
1789: The Electoral College chose George Washington to be the first U.S. president.
1861: Six Southern states form the Confederate States of America.
1932: The first Winter Olympics was held at Lake Placid, NY.
1945: Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin met at Yalta in the Crimea to discuss the post-WWII world. (Bennett & Cribb, 2010)
Josh Robbins, Heritage Foundry Cloakroom
Analysis: This week, the House returns from a week of recess to take up a bill that would require the President to produce a date by which his proposed budget will balance. The Require a PLAN Act would be triggered when the President sends his budget to Congress and it does not balance within the time span of the budget.
Major Floor Action:
HR ___ – Require a PLAN Act
Major Committee Action:
The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on “Budget and Economic Outlook.”
The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the “FHA Financial Situation.”
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “Immigration Issues.”
The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on “School and Workplace Challenges and Opportunities.”
Analysis: This week, the Senate will return to the Violence Against Women Act, which it passed in the last Congress but was never able to reach a compromise with the House-passed version. Heritage evaluated the previous Senate-passed bill and found it deeply flawed. Heritage Action’s Katherine Rosario addressed the this bill:
Over the past 18 years, VAWA has morphed into a smorgasbord of feel-good intentions about violence. Over that same period of time, VAWA has had no scientifically discernible effect on the level of violence in this country, proving once again Washington is not the solution.
The bill is expected to have enough support to pass the Senate this week.
Major Floor Action:
S 47 – Violence Against Women Act
Major Committee Action:
The Senate Select Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on “No Child Left Behind and State Flexibility Waivers.”
Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail: “How Tory left-collaborators undermine marriage, conservatism and Britain”
“. . . With some honourable exceptions, today’s Tories don’t appear to know what conservatism is for and what it is against.
“In the last century, they all knew they had to defend Britain against socialism. But when the Berlin Wall fell and Labour started speaking the language of market economics, the Tories seemed to conclude that their fox had been shot.
“They could not have been more wrong. The attempt by the Left to undermine and topple Western society had merely shifted from political revolution to social and cultural issues.
“And at the very centre of that systematic onslaught lay the intention to destroy the unique importance of the married family and replace it by a lifestyle free-for-all.
Not understanding the full significance of what was happening, the Tories made a total mess of the issue in the ‘back to basics’ fiasco under John Major, and then staged a full retreat under a barrage of attacks from the Left. . .”
Conn Carroll, Washington Examiner: “America’s governing party”
“. . . Last week, Pew released a new study showing that trust in the federal government remains near all-time lows. Worse, for the first time ever, Pew found that a majority of Americans believe the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.
“And it is not just Republicans who now see the federal government as a threat. A full 55 percent of independents agree with them, up from just 50 percent only two years ago.
“But the story is completely different at the state and local level. According to a September 2012 Gallup poll, a full 65 percent of Americans trust their state government — a 14-point jump in confidence from 2009.
“Why is Americans’ confidence in state and local government surging while their frustration and fear of the federal government are growing? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Republicans govern at the state level. . .”
Joe Battenfeld & Hillary Chabot, Boston Herald: Ann Romney for Senate
“The former GOP senator’s decision to stay out of the June 25 special election surprised and angered some Republican leaders, who said it will make it much harder to beat a Democratic opponent without Brown on the ballot.
“I’ve had several people call me and ask about Ann Romney,” Ron Kaufman, a longtime friend and aide to the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate nominee, told the Herald.
“Ann Romney’s inspiring battle against multiple sclerosis and her star turn on the GOP convention stage turned her into a popular national figure, especially among women voters in Massachusetts. . .”
Stephen Hayes, Weekly Standard: “The Hagel Fiasco”
“Finally John Warner let Chuck Hagel speak. Warner, having declared that he was discarding his prepared remarks in the interest of sincerity and brevity and then spoken for 15 minutes, turned to Hagel with a friendly warning: “You’re on your own.”
“Truer words, as they say.
“Hagel would testify for nearly eight hours in the service of his confirmation to be the country’s next secretary of defense. And what started as an unsteady, unimpressive performance soon turned disastrous. Republicans were tough and aggressive, pushing Hagel to elucidate his past positions and to explain his sometimes odd statements. Democrats were accommodating and generous, repeatedly rephrasing Hagel’s jumbled syntax and reframing his confusing claims.
“Despite their efforts, Hagel was indeed on his own. And any senator who takes the advise-and-consent role seriously had to have real concerns about the nominee’s basic competence. . .”
Klein’s Podcast, 2/3/23
“. . . Israel bombs Syria for the first time since 2007. What should we expect from the Middle East in the coming days? Aaron has Obama’s specific immigration reform and border security plans exposed, including how he will likely push massive second term amnesty. Is there Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. military? More devastating information on defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel. . .”
Aaron Klein, KleinonLine: “Hagel Review Ignores Jihadists In U.S. Military. Instead fears Muslims will be harassed, attacked by fellow soldiers”
“Three years after the Fort Hood military base massacre by a radical Muslim soldier, it seems the Senate is not interested in the possibility of jihadist infiltration of the U.S. military.
“Instead U.S. lawmakers apparently have deep concerns about American Muslim soldiers being harassed or even violently attacked by other enlistees because of the 2009 tragedy.
“Earlier this week, Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary, submitted his responses to an extensive questionnaire by the Senate Armed Services Committee probing his positions ahead of scheduled confirmation hearings.
“One section of the questionnaire, reviewed in full by KleinOnline, was titled, “Muslims in the U.S. Military.”
“That section contained only the following two questions:
*Are you concerned that the attack at Fort Hood could lead to harassment or even violence against Muslims in the military?
* If confirmed, what strategies would you advocate to address the potential for harassment or violence against Muslims in the U. S. military?
“Not a single question was asked about how Hagel might implement policies to ensure against the enlistment of radicalized Muslims or how the military can work against already enlisted Muslim soldiers being radicalized.
“The Committee also did not ask Hagel for recommendations on how military leaders can work to better recognize the signs of a radicalized Muslim soldier. . .”
Aaron Klein, KleinonLine: “White House idea factory: Borders ‘safer than ever.’ Hypes questionable claims alongside Obama’s amnesty push”
“The Center for American Progress, or CAP, a group heavily influential in helping to craft Obama administration policy, released a briefing paper entitled, “The Facts on Immigration Today.”
“The subtitle is ‘Everything You Need to Know About Our Foreign-Born Population, Current Immigration Policy, and the Voting Power of New Americans.’
“While the paper was released this past July, the CAP is currently hyping it again on the “immigration” section of its website as interest in the topic seems to be spiking nationwide.
“A section of the paper claimed ‘Our borders are safer than ever.’
“As proof of that supposition, the CAP related that 81 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border meets one of the top three levels of “operational control” by U.S. enforcement officials.
“The remaining 19 percent covers the most remote, inaccessible, and inhospitable stretches of the border,” continued the paper.
“However, the paper failed to note how the Obama administration has delayed construction of the remainder of the fence along the 1,951-mile U.S.-Mexico border. . .”
LEADS . . .
Mark Levin, WND: Muslim Brotherhood infiltration? ‘It’s Obama himself’
“If lawmakers are serious about investigating whether or not Washington has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, they need look no further than Barack Obama himself, charged talk-show host Mark Levin.
“Levin noted the scorn congressional colleagues directed at Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and three other House members who asked for an examination of evidence that the parent organization of jihadist groups such as al-Qaida and Hama were wielding influence on U.S. policy from within.
“The lawmakers were ‘treated like pariahs,’ Levin recalled.
“The talk host contended Obama’s nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as defense secretary is evidence that Obama himself embodies the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“‘You want to look into Obama’s soul?’ Levin asked, then look at Hagel. . .”
Mark Steyn, NRO: “Containing Hagel”
“You don’t have to be that good to fend off a committee of showboating senatorial blowhards. Hillary Clinton demonstrated that a week or so back when she unleashed what’s apparently the last word in withering putdowns: What difference does it make?
“Quite a bit of difference it seems. This week, an over-sedated Elmer Fudd showed up at the Senate claiming to be the president’s nominee for secretary of defense, and even the kindliest interrogators on the committee couldn’t prevent the poor chap shooting himself in the foot.
“Twenty minutes in, Chuck Hagel was all out of appendages. . .”
Andrew McCarthy, NRO: Senate Republicans Arm the Brotherhood
Nearly two-thirds of them voted to give weapons to the Egyptian government.
“I’m done grumbling about how President Obama is empowering America’s enemies. After all, it is not just Obama. When it comes to abetting the Muslim Brotherhood, Republicans are right there with him.
Not all of them, of course. This week, for example, Senator Rand Paul proposed an amendment that would have prohibited our government from transferring F-16 aircraft and Abrams tanks to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government. This lunatic plan is not just an Obama initiative. It is also a GOP brainstorm — of a piece with 2011’s Libya debacle, in which Republican leaders cheered as Obama, upon consulting with the Arab League, ignored Congress and levied war on behalf of the very jihadists who, quite predictably, have since raided Qaddafi’s arsenal, besieged northern Africa, and massacred Americans in Benghazi.
Timothy Gardner, Reuters:” Keystone pipeline decision to languish until mid-June-US source”
* State Dept needs to take series of steps
* Environmental review due any day
* No time frame for national interest determination
“WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – The Obama administration’s decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline will not be made until at least June, a U.S. official said, which would delay the project for months and frustrate backers of Canada’s oil sands.
“We’re talking the beginning of summer at the earliest,” said the source, who did not want to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the TransCanada Corp project, which has been pending for more than four and a half years. “It’s not weeks until the final decision. It’s months.”
Daniel Halper, Weekly Standard: Kerry: Obama Offered Me the Job a Week before Susan Rice Pulled Out
“White House refuses to comment
“He called me, actually a week before Susan got out of the thing,” Kerry tells the Boston Globe. “He called me and said, ‘You’re my choice. I want you to do this.’ He asked me to keep it quiet. I did. I sat on it.”
“At the time, Rice pulling out of the running for the top State Department job suggested that the position had simply fallen to Kerry, who had been in a neck-and-neck competition for the job. Now it seems that the White House allowed Susan Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, to publicly save face by publicly withdrawing from a job that was never going to be offered to her in the first place.
“Rice had come under fire for misleading the American public about what really happened in the terror attack against Americans on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya. ..”
Jack Doyle, UK Mail: Big brother to log your drinking habits and waist size as GPs are forced to hand over confidential records
- Data includes weight, cholesterol, BMI, family health history and pulse rate
- Doctors will be forced to reveal alcohol consumption and smoking status
- Privacy campaigners described it as ‘biggest data grab in NHS history’
- Part of new Health Service programme called Everyone Counts
- Officials insisted data will be anonymous and deleted after analysis
Michelle Malkin, NRO: “Ladies against Sleaze Bob”
“Conservatives are always told they don’t do enough to reach across the aisle. We’re divisive, obstructionist, and hostile to bipartisanship. So in the spirit of unity and comity, I’m announcing the formation of a new social-justice group: Ladies Against Senator Sleaze-Bob.
“Now all I need are some principled Democratic ladies and liberal-media lionesses to step up to the plate with me to protest the vulgar, sexist behavior of Senator Bob Menendez (D., N.J.).
“Surely, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Cher, Sandra Fluke, Eva Longoria, and I can all agree that when a powerful Washington politician abuses his power to victimize young women, we should join hands to demand justice. Right?
“Surely, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Arianna Huffington, Rachel Maddow, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, and every card-carrying member of NOW across America are outraged by this Beltway playboy’s tawdry exploitation of underage prostitutes.
“And surely, Hillary Clinton, Valerie Jarrett, Stephanie Cutter, and Michelle Obama are all sickened by this top Democrat’s profligate election-season jaunts to the Dominican Republic on a shady donor’s private plane. . .”
Michael Barone: RealClearPolitics: “Fewer Dollars and Babies Threaten Social Programs”
“Our major public policies are based on the assumption that America will continue to enjoy growth. Economic growth and population growth.
Through most of our history, this assumption has proved to be correct. These days, not so much.
“Last week, the Commerce Department announced that the gross domestic product shrunk by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. And the Census Bureau reported that the U.S. birth rate in 2011 was 63.2 per 1,000 women age 15 to 44, the lowest ever recorded.
“Slow economic growth and low population growth threaten to undermine entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Despite contrary rhetoric, they are programs in which working age people pay for pensions and medical care for the elderly.
When Medicare was established in 1965 and when Social Security was vastly expanded in 1972, America was accustomed to the high birth rates of the post-World War II baby boom. It was widely assumed that the baby boom generation would soon produce a baby boom of its own.
“Oops. The birth rate fell from the peak of 122.7 in 1957 to 68.8 in 1973 and hovered around that level until 2007. The baby boom, it turns out, was an exception to a general rule that people tend to have fewer babies as their societies become more affluent and urbanized.
“Social Security had to be tweaked in 1983 when it became clear there weren’t enough working age people to fund benefits promised to the elderly. It needs tweaking again today for the same reason. . .”
Also – Jonathan Last, WSJ: “America’s Baby Bust”
“. . . For more than three decades, Chinese women have been subjected to their country’s brutal one-child policy. Those who try to have more children have been subjected to fines and forced abortions. Their houses have been razed and their husbands fired from their jobs. As a result, Chinese women have a fertility rate of 1.54. Here in America, white, college-educated women—a good proxy for the middle class—have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.
“Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate. . .”
Reread: Mark Steyn, (2006) America Alone.
Roger Runningen, Bloomberg: “Obama Says U.S. Needs Revenue Along With Spending Cuts”
“President Barack Obama said there is “no doubt” the government needs new revenue from closing tax “loopholes” and limiting deductions, along with enacting spending cuts, to reduce the federal deficit.
There’s “no reason why we can’t have really strong growth in 2013,” the president said in an interview with CBS television yesterday before the network’s Super Bowl broadcast. He cited a recovering housing industry, strong manufacturing and rising car sales.
Revenue could be raised through an overhaul of the tax code, he said, “and we can do it in a gradual way so that it doesn’t have a huge impact.”
“There is no doubt we need additional revenue, coupled with smart spending reductions in order to bring down our deficit,” he said. “I don’t think the issue right now is raising rates. . .”
Romina Boccia, Heritage: How to Balance the Budget in 10 Years
“. . . Both houses of Congress have now voted to suspend the debt ceiling until May 19, buying lawmakers more time to develop a budget. The Senate would put together a budget for the first time in three years—and the details of that budget are crucial.
To prevent the federal debt from growing further out of control and harming economic growth in the long term, Congress must balance the budget in 10 years and keep it balanced—without raising taxes further.
This 5-point checklist covers the do’s and don’ts of balancing the budget in 10 years:
1. Do not raise taxes. Despite the President’s repeated assertions that he favors a balanced approach to deficit reduction, the latest budget debate over the fiscal cliff concluded by allowing 13 new or higher taxes to take effect, while it produced a net increase in spending of $47 billion. The tax hikes are hurting the economy and American workers by dampening investment and job creation. Yet our debt challenge remains. Only significant reductions in spending will effectively curb debt and deficits.
2. Reform entitlement programs. Congress must make much-needed reforms to entitlement programs to provide an affordable safety net. Congress should first repeal Obamacare or at least stop the subsidies and Medicaid expansion that begin in 2014. Social Security and Medicare should become true safety net programs and focus assistance on seniors in need. The eligibility age for both programs should match and reflect increases in longevity. Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment should be based on a more accurate measure of inflation.
3. Reduce discretionary spending. Congress should immediately stop all spending for programs that benefit only a few and have even the appearance of cronyism, like subsidies for public broadcasting, agriculture, green energy, and ethanol. The federal government should focus on a limited number of appropriate national duties. States and local governments are better able to meet the needs of local populations in areas such as transportation, education, job training, economic development, and environmental conservation.
4. Do not use budget gimmicks. Congress must put the federal budget on a firm course to balance in 10 years and keep it balanced, without employing budget gimmicks. Congress should abstain from abusing disasters, like Hurricane Sandy, to push through excess spending. Neither should Congress enact laws that count on spending outside the 10-year budget window, as is the case with Obamacare’s coverage expansion provisions.
5. Do not sacrifice the nation’s security. Allowing myopic cuts to reduce military capabilities today risks incurring higher rebuilding costs tomorrow. Congress should responsibly fund defense at adequate levels. . .”
Boles & King, WSJ: “Senate to Move on Gun Control”
“Senate Democratic leaders expect a gun bill to move to the Senate floor that includes most of the proposals backed by President Barack Obama, with the notable exception of a ban on military-style, semiautomatic weapons, a top aide to Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said.
“The bill would likely seek to limit the capacity of ammunition magazines; expand background checks to include sales at gun shows and other private transactions; and require better record keeping to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illnesses. It would also try to curb gun sales in states with more relaxed gun laws to buyers in states with stricter laws. . .
“. . . The goal is to get the bill to the Senate floor next month, at which point lawmakers could then seek to amend the legislation by adding a ban on certain semiautomatic weapons or other provisions, the aide said. . .”
Cyrus Afzali, NewsMax: “Wyoming House Seeks to Block Proposed Federal Gun Restrictions”
“Wyoming’s House of Representatives has passed legislation that attempts to exempt the state from proposed federal regulations restricting assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
“The law would also charge federal officials who try to enforce the ban with a misdemeanor, reports CBS.
“The state could have problems enforcing its own law. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that federal laws supersede state laws. It’s uncertain whether the block would be legally enforceable. . .”
Heather Ginsberg, Town Hall: The NRA is Winning the Battle
In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting we all knew that an impending gun debate would be a hard fought battle. Just after this week’s hearing on Capitol Hill, a new Forbes study finds that the NRA is winning the influence battle over gun control. In the new study performed by Forbes Insights, an independent and unbiased organization, they found that the “NRA and the pro-gun rights voices are winning the influence battle and will continue to be strong and more influential if the pro gun control voice remains fragmented”.
The data was compiled from the week before the school shooting and follows the trends over the following 5 weeks. There are some important pieces of information gathered from this study that are important to note:
1. The Republican politicians are not part of this debate. Instead, many solely have their eyes on the NRA and its president, Wayne LaPierre. Of the top 25 stakeholders in the gun control debate, only one is a Republican politician, Chris Christie.
2. The pro-gun rights voice is gaining influence while the gun-control voice is losing influence. The shifting platform is favoring those who support gun rights and the gun-control advocates are losing their influence.
3. The fragmented voice of the gun-control advocates is hurting their cause. “Of the top influencers on the pro-gun rights side, the majority of the most prominent voices are from the NRA. The pro-gun control voice is split between Obama and several gun control advocacy groups which dilutes the message.”
Mike Adams, Natural News: Docs “kill 2450% more than all gun-related deaths combined”
“(NaturalNews) Everyone agrees the Sandy Hook shooting was a tragedy. Lots of people subsequently exploited the deaths of those children to push a political agenda of disarming Americans by claiming “guns kill people.”
“But compared to what? Swimming pools kill people. Horseback riding kills people. And yes, even childbirth kills people. (Does that mean we should criminalize getting pregnant?)
“To make any sense of death statistics, we have to ask, “Compared to what?” Because if we compare deaths by firearms to other causes of death, the picture is very, very different from the doomsday fear mongering scenarios CNN and other gun control pushers have whipped up into a nationwide frenzy. In fact, as the following infographic shows, doctors kill 2,450% more Americans than all gun-related deaths combined.”
Michael Walsh, PJM: “A Hill to Fight On — Not a Desk to Die Under”
“It really does appear that the Left wants to engage on the subject of “gun control” — or, to use their latest euphemism, “gun safety.” Led by two of the unloveliest of their specimens — Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Dick Durbin of Illinois — the emboldened progressives clearly feel the time to strike against Americans’ Second Amendment freedoms is now, while the shooting iron is still hot.
“The Right’s natural reaction when confronted is, of course, to cut and run. Being liked is far more important than being right, and as for standing on principle, that went out the window with the Gipper long ago. Indeed, the history of the modern GOP is one of pre-emptive surrender, reaching across the aisle and fleeing from any kind of direct confrontation with the Democrats in a desperate attempt to pacify them and their natural allies, the Ivy League-educated national media, better known (in Orwell’s famous phrase) as the Pansy Left. With even alleged Tea Party stalwarts like Marco Rubio earning strange new respect by coming out foursquare in favor of Amnesty Lite, movement conservatives might be forgiven for thinking they’ve been defeated across the board, and that the country they grew up has all but vanished.
“That’s why the battle over firearms — which as far as the Left is concerned has only one true objective, which is the complete abolition and confiscation of guns in civilian hands — is so important, because it’s a fight conservatives can actually win. . .”
Ralph Peters, NY Post: “Deadly deserts”
“. . . From the Atlantic coastline to the Suez Canal, struggling governments, impoverished populations and frankly backward societies struggle to find paths to modernization and to compete in a ruthless global economy. Religious fanatics for whom progress is a betrayal of faith hope to block development.
Still, if the only conflict was between Islamist terrorists and those who want civilized lives, the situation could be managed over time. But that struggle forms only one level in a layer cake of clashing visions and outright civil wars bedeviling a vast region. Much larger than Europe, the zone of contention encompasses the Maghreb, the countries touching the Mediterranean, and the Sahel, the bitterly poor states stretching down across desert wastes to the African savannah.
Caroline Glick, CarolineGlick.com: “About the next government”
“It is still difficult to assess how Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will govern in his next government. The public has little interest in begging the Palestinians to return to negotiations. But then the Israeli public has rarely had much interest in pursuing fruitless deals with unreformed Palestinian terrorists. The only reason we continue to chase deals with them is because the US is obsessed with supporting Palestinian anti-Israel demands in the name of peace.
“To a significant, if not necessarily determinative degree, whether the Palestinians will continue to be a salient issue in the coming years will be a function of events in the wider Arab world. The collapse of the Egyptian state, Syria’s civil war, and the potential collapse of the Hashemite monarchy in Jordan will all limit President Barack Obama’s ability to press Israel to give away land to the Palestinians.
“At the same time, Netanyahu’s assault on his own political camp, starting with Likud and moving to Naftali Bennett and the Bayit Yehudi indicate that at a minimum, Netanyahu will do nothing to advance Israel’s position vis-à-vis the Palestinians. He is unlikely to permit significant new construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria or significant Jewish building in Jerusalem. He is unlikely to undertake any democratic reforms in the Justice Ministry or the court system. He is unlikely to take any steps to boost Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria or to undermine the terrorist-led Palestinian Authority. . .”
Melanie Phillips, Jewish Chronicle: “Lapid listened to Middle Israel”
“. . . It is not a matter of right and left. Lapid’s rise surely represented instead the voice of Middle Israel making itself heard.
“Most of these voters did not repudiate Netanyahu. On the contrary, they seem to have relied on the fact that he would remain Prime Minister.
“This meant they could park security issues altogether. Bibi could be relied on as well as anyone to safeguard the country against Iran.
“And the issue of a Palestinian state was now off the table for the foreseeable future in the absence of any credible negotiating partner, Mahmoud Abbas having torn up his Oslo undertakings by attempting a unilateral declaration of statehood.
“So Middle Israel turned its attention inwards to the other things that really concern it — the burdens dumped on the country by the refusal of the haredim [ultra-orthodox] to serve in the army or work for a living; the pressures on the middle-class; and the crazy and corrupt political system.
“Lapid stood for addressing all these concerns. As a total outsider to politics, his very inexperience made him attractive to the many who have become so deeply alienated from the entire political class. . . :
Sharona Schwartz, The Blaze: “Iran Claims It’s Rolled out a Stealth Fighter Jet — But Is it Real?”
“Iran has unveiled a new domestically designed and manufactured fighter jet that it says has stealth capabilities, a claim that aviation experts are already questioning.
Iranian authorities rolled out a single-seat bomber, the Qaher F-313 (“Dominant”), on Saturday to much fanfare, including an appearance by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who assured the jet is for defensive purposes only, a claim reminiscent of Iranian assurances that its nuclear program is designed for peaceful purposes.
The Tehran Times reports that Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi detailed some of the plane’s capabilities which he claims include:
• avoiding radar detection
• flying at low altitudes
• carrying advanced domestically-manufactured weapons
• taking off and landing on short runways
• able to combat other aircraft and targets on the ground