Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Coming Death Match

Strategy Page offers this assessment of the situation existing between Israel and Gaza:

The deadlock continues, with Hamas refusing to compromise on its goals of destroying Israel and driving Jews from the region. Even though nearly three billion dollars in aid is being offered if Hamas will make peace, Hamas refuses to do so. Hamas is on a Mission From God, and acts the part. Negotiations over the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas for three years, also broke down (over the issue of how many senior terrorists would be released, and how many would be released outside if Gaza or the West Bank). In response to this, Israel arrested ten Hamas leaders in the West Bank, and restricted visitors and packages for 11,000 Palestinian prisoners. Israel has also continued its operations against terrorist group leaders in Gaza (where they are killed by missiles) and the West Bank (where they are taken alive, if possible.)

Israeli military and intelligence officials talk openly of "finishing" the military operations against Hamas. The January 18 ceasefire is considered just that, and it's expected that Hamas intransigence during any negotiations will result in a deadlock and the resumption of fighting. The second round is expected to be a death match, with no end until the Hamas leadership is captured or killed, and Hamas weapons (especially the thousands of rockets) captured or destroyed.

Israel now believes that Hezbollah and Hamas have over 50,000 rockets in place, to fire on Israel. Most of these rockets are small (under 100 pounds, with a range of under ten kilometers). Most of the rockets are controlled by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and can only reach largely Arab communities in northern Israel.

Eliminating Hamas is what the Israelis should have done the first time around, and why they didn't is a mystery. Their dilatory policy has only dragged out the inevitable and increased the suffering of the Palestinian people.


Begins With H

Democrats are so angry with AIG for awarding large bonuses to its executives that they passed a law that taxes those bonuses at a rate of 90% unless the recipients voluntarily return them. Wouldn't it set a better example and send a positive message to beleaguered taxpayers if the politicians who received contributions from AIG also returned those contributions?

For starters how about if President Obama returned the $110,332 in campaign contributions he received from AIG. Senator Dodd, who first amended the stimulus bill to allow for those executive bonuses and then launched a tirade against AIG for granting them, has himself collected $281,038 in campaign contributions from AIG. Senator Chuck Schumer, another Democrat outraged by the bonuses, was the recipient of $111,875.

While these and others of our political class pontificate on the wickedness of accepting multi-million dollar bonuses when the company needs all the help it can get and is receiving taxpayer-funded bailouts to keep them afloat, they nevertheless seem to have no intention of returning their own "bonuses."

There's a word for this that begins with "h" and ends in "y," and it's not "happy."


Runaway Train

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tells an audience comprised in part of illegal aliens that they are patriots and those who want immigration laws enforced are "unAmerican." If you think this sounds perverse you're not alone:

Now no one will ever mistake Ms Pelosi for either a deep thinker or a stateswoman, but her shameless pandering and blithe acceptance of a flood of illegals pouring into the country, imposing enormous burdens on communities and sucking up jobs while many Americans are losing theirs, reveals what I think is a secret among the political cognoscenti that no one is really talking about.

Why do so few in government care to stop illegal immigration despite the violence, crime and economic stress it's imposing on many of our cities and towns? Perhaps it has to do with the parlous future of social security and medicare. Quite simply, neither of these programs is sustainable. They're ponzi schemes built on the assumption that the workforce and economy will continue to grow, but that assumption is very doubtful. The economy looks to be entering a period of stagnation that could last well into the foreseeable future while at the same time boomers are moving into their retirement years, and the population of taxpayers paying into these systems is diminishing. This confluence makes the collapse of social security and medicare seem inevitable. Without an influx of workers both systems will be bankrupt within a decade or so, and that was before the Obama administration piled trillions of dollars of debt on the backs of a dwindling number of taxpayers.

To get an idea of the magnitude of the debt problem, by the way, see this.

At any rate, a growing population is thought by many to be our only hope of deferring calamity for a couple of generations, and the only way our population is going to grow is to let in millions of immigrants. Our irresponsible fiscal and monetary policies have put us on a runaway train that's hurtling downhill. About all we can do to slow it down a little is drag our heels by opening our borders and essentially stretching Mexico's boundary northward to Canada.

Great solution. I guess we better hope that those illegal immigrants are indeed patriots because if Washington has its way we're going to have a lot of them.