Archive for May, 2011

Looking Back at How America Won the Hearts of Iraq’s Muslims

May 31, 11

Via AoSHQ (twice), excerpt from Via Meadia:

Memorial Day: The War in Iraq
Walter Russell Mead

While the politicians washed their hands and hung up white flags, and while the press lords gibbered and foamed, the brass kept their heads and the troops stood tall. And gradually, a miracle happened. America started winning the war.

We won it the one way the critics could not imagine: we won the contest with Al-Qaeda for Iraqi Sunni support. The Sunni Arabs of Iraq had seen the Americans at their worst: culturally insensitive and arrogant invaders; failed economic planners and bad managers; cruel abusers of prisoners; incompetent protectors. They saw Al-Qaeda at its best: God-fearing freedom fighters traveling great distances and taking great personal risks to uphold the cause of the believers against the foreign oppressor.

Yet chief after chief, tribe after tribe and town after town, the Sunni Arabs of Iraq made a fateful decision. They chose America over Al-Qaeda. They took the measure of America’s officers and combat troops, and they took the measure of Al-Qaeda’s ‘jihadis’. They saw us warts and all — and decided that the future lay with America rather than the woman-stoning bomb nuts. Our troops would secure the safety of their families better than Al-Qaeda could. Despite the immense religious and cultural differences between us, democratic America stood closer to their values than fanatical Al-Qaeda.

That decision by the Sunni Arabs of Iraq is what left Al-Qaeda gutted and floundering. That is what turned it from strategic threat to abiding nuisance. That is what set the limits of Al-Qaeda’s appeal and turned Osama bin Laden from the aspiring caliph of a great Islamic wave to (apparently) a porn-watching recluse in a Pakistani garrison town.

The Sunni Arabs made that decision, but it was the competence, honor and courage of the Americans on the ground whose conduct won them over. Suspicious Sunnis, still burning with resentment over foreign invasion and loss of status to the Shi’a, watched our troops fight Al-Qaeda, watched young Americans lay down their lives to protect Muslim children and old people from suicide bombers. They learned to believe that American officers keep their promises and deliver on their commitments. They saw that an army composed of people from many religions (and some holding no religious belief of any kind) lives up to the ideals of Islamic combat better than an army of fanatical zealots. They also saw for themselves to what barbarities and absurdities Al-Qaeda’s parody of Islam can lead.

Al-Qaeda’s rejection by Sunni Iraq punctured the Osama bubble in the Muslim world. His following didn’t dry up overnight, but his dizzying rise yielded to dispiriting decline. And the damage went farther than Al-Qaeda. Radical Islam lost its allure as the coming thing in the Arab world. It is no longer unrivaled as the ideology of youth and the hope of the nations.

The French scholar Gilles Kepel, no friend of the war in Iraq and no admirer of George Bush, makes the core point. Osama’s dream was to shift history into the realm of myth. He passionately believed that the ordinary course of mundane history wasn’t what really mattered: there was a divine and a miraculous history just behind the veil. Osama aimed to pierce the veil, to bring hundreds of millions of Muslims into his reality, transfixed and transported by the vision of a climactic fight of good against evil, of God against America and its local allies.

That dream died in Iraq.

But on this Memorial Day it is not enough to remember, and give thanks, that Osama’s dream died before he did and that the terror movement has been gravely wounded at its heart.

Because the dream didn’t just die.

It was killed.

And it was killed by coalition forces. They killed it by fighting harder and smarter than the enemy and they killed it by winning trust and building bridges better than the enemy. They did it because they were better, more honorable warriors and better, more honorable partners for peace. Mostly American and mostly Christian, the coalition forcers were more compassionate, more just, more protective of the poor and more respectful of Arab women than the crazed thugs who thought setting off bombs in the market was fulfilling God’s will.

We must continue to honor and thank the Arab allies and tribal leaders who made the choice for America in a dark and a difficult time. But especially on this Memorial Day we must honor and remember the American heroes who by their lives and by their deaths brought victory out of defeat, understanding out of hatred and gave both Muslims and non-Muslims a chance to get this whole thing right.

The story of America’s victory over terror in Mesopotamia needs to be told.

See also my coverage:

Or the whole list of posts mentioning Iraq.

As you can tell, I”ve been on the right side from the start.

(This post had 28 pingbacks to my own blog… Not as many as this herculean effort. That last link makes it 29.)

If Obama ’08 Had Explained His Actual Plans

May 27, 11

Via AoSHQ from National Review.

This basically summarizes part – just part of all the idiocies, arrogance and Chicago-style dirty politics since 2008.

Just one excerpted paragraph:

Attitude: “Finally, Michelle and I want to bring a fresh, alive new attitude to the White House, where hip hosts invite in rapper poets bold enough to urge that action be taken against racist police and George Bush. In this regard, I will be meeting more Americans from every walk of life on the golf links than any past American president, and Michelle will be reminding Americans of the great vacation opportunities that they need to explore in Costa del Sol, Martha’s Vineyard, and Vail. America, under my leadership, once more will be a downright kind country!”

More Chicago thuggery: threatening to stop all Texas flights, siding with Mexico to sue Arizona, giving aid to Mexico while denying it to Texas (Mexico 386 square miles burnt, Texas 2.5 million acres devastated), threatening to withold Medicaid from Indiana unless they lay off Planned Parenthood.

Comparing the Maybankcard 2 Gold Card – American Express + MasterCard

May 26, 11

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: Maybankcard 2 Gold Card – American Express gives excellent returns via its 5% rebate for weekend spending and Maybank TreatsPoints. With even moderate spending timed to be done on weekends, you will easily cover back the RM50 Government Service Tax.

However, American Express charges higher rate on the business using it. So I suggest to only use it for big companies (e.g.Tesco, Jusco, Shell etc) and avoid using it on small businesses (e.g. family cafes) and charities (e.g. Barnabas Fund) as you will be basically transferring their hard-earned profits to the American Express company.

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The following may contain inaccurate data due to the vast amounts of calculations, choices and terms/conditions involved. If you spot any error, please inform me.

UPDATE: Sadly both the AmEx and Mastercard share the same total credit limit. So if your credit limit is RM5,000 and each card has reached RM2,400… You cannot swipe either card for a RM300 purchase!

The Maybankcard 2 Gold Card provides one American Express (AmEx) and one MasterCard (MasCa) credit card. Hereafter referred to as the 2card.

Among the extolled advantages, the two cards share one statement and – attractively – one Government Service Tax (GST) of RM50/year. This means that you can flexibly wield two different credit card lines without paying extra GST – although in Malaysia this is something of a moot point, as the question is more of where does accept AmEx and where doesn’t accept Mastercard. See bottom of post for a list.

The AmEx gives you 5x Maybank TreatsPoints which can be collected to redeem for products, cash vouchers – or even to negate the RM50 GST. Meanwhile, the MasCa only gives 1x TreatsPoints. So avoid using the MasCa whenever possible.

Using solely on the AmEx, you have to spend just RM2000 a year (RM166.67 a month) to get the 10,000 TreatsPoints needed to waive the RM50 GST. I’m quite certain anyone eligible for the card will spend more than that already on basic unavoidable expenditures such as petrol and grocery shopping,.

Furthermore, using AmEx on weekends gives ‘5% cash back’ in the form of a discount off your bill for the respective items. (I’ve tried it for buying petrol at Shell, and it really works.) Limited to RM50 a month though. You’d have to spend RM1,000 each month on weekends alone to reach the cash back limit, so it’s really more of an occasional small bonus.

UPDATE: In less than a year of using the AmEx, I have earned back far more in rebates than the RM50 government tax. Even though I often missed chances to use it (e.g. by shopping on a weekday instead of a weekend). Definitely worth it.

Membership is also free for life.

Altogether, looks pretty attractive right?

So the question is, are the 2card’s benefits better than alternatives?

For this exercise, I’m going to use my own ad hoc unit of measurement, PBR (Pay Back Ratio) which is a measurement of how fast each Ringgit of expenditure through a credit card pays back in the form of vouchers, rebates or etc.

The following calculations will exclude the weekend 5% cash back bonus which is limited to RM50/month for ease of comparison.

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VS. Citibank Gold Credit Card

Citibank’s gold cards give 3x Citi Reward Points that can be used to redeem stuff. Now obviously this seems much lower than Maybank AmEx’s 5x points – but when you average out the 5x AmEx and 1x MasCa, it comes to 3x anyway. Simple solution, use AmEx whenever possible.

So let’s go to the actual benefits in terms of cash. For ease of comparison, let’s use two basic items that anyone will be able to use – shopping vouchers and rebate on GST.

The best points-to-rewards ratio Jusco voucher from Citibank Gold is worth RM100 for 21,000 points. That’s a ratio of 100/21000 = 0.00476 PBR (higher PBR is better as it shows how much each reward point is worth). But don’t forget the 3x rate. The actual ratio is then 0.00366 x 3 = 0.01428 PBR (meaning you get back RM1 in vouchers for every RM70 you spend thru Citibank). Note that other versions of the card are different, for example AirAsia Gold card needs 27,300 points instead of 21,000! Laaaaaame.

The best ratio Tesco voucher from Maybankcard AmEx Gold is worth RM50 for 11,000 points. That’s 50/11000 = 0.00455 PBR, but the AmEx 5x rate makes it 0.00455 x 5 = 0.02275 PBR (meaning you get back RM1 in vouchers for every RM44 you spend thru Maybank Amex.).

So purely on shopping vouchers, Maybankcard AmEx is clearly the winner at 1.75x faster money back speed than Citibank Gold. Without factoring in 3x and 5x, Citibank Gold’s base voucher ratio is marginally better (and the AirAsia Gold is worse!).

Moving on to GST rebate, Citibank lets you waive the RM50 tax for 10,000 points. That’s a ratio of 50/10000 = 0.005 PBR, factor in the 3x rate makes it 0.005 x 3 = 0.015 PBR (you get back RM1 in rebate for every RM66.67 spent). Again, note that other versions of the card are different, for example AirAsia Gold card needs 13,000 points instead of 10,000! Boooo!

Meanwhile, Maybank GST rebate is exactly the same ratio of RM50 tax for 10,000 points. That’s a ratio of 50/10000 = 0.005, factor in the 5x rate and it’s a stunning 0.005 x 5 = 0.025 PBR (RM1 rebate for just every RM40 spent)!

So again, the AmEx’s 5x again makes it 1.67x the money back speed as Citibank Gold’s 3x.

And don’t forget the weekend 5% cash back that AmEx offers you!

Furthermore, the number of Citibank branches seems much lower than Maybank ones. This comes into play when you want to pay your credit card bill. Without easy access to a Citibank branch and without a Citibank account, you either have to mail the cheque to Citibank (60 sen now) with risk of interception or getting lost, or else pay RM2 to GIRO transfer via online banking.

Using your likely existent Maybank account to pay your Maybank 2card online means zero fees. A small saving even over a year, but it contributes. Together with Maybank AmEx’s other benefits (5% cash back and 5x points), it’s overkill.

And finally, Citibank charges annual membership fee of RM195 and RM100 for supplementary, against Maybank AmEx’s free for life!

In practise it should be easy to get waived with points or plain old begging/threatening the customer service desk… But why add that hassle?

WINNER: Maybank AmEx

(UPDATE: Most or all insurance companies do not accept AmEx for auto-payment of policies. And since insurance policies tend to be large sums – especially for families – the 3x points of using MasCa under Citibank Gold becomes more substantial. Nevertheless, it’s quite unlikely IMHO that insurance expenditures will outstrip combined petrol, groceries and nonessential purchases for which the Amex 5x points can apply.)

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VS. Tesco RHB Credit and Debit Cards

Since we’re on the shopping=necessity theme, RHB has two contenders – Tesco Credit Card and a Tesco Debit Card.

First, the Tesco Credit Card. It gives you 2% cash back at Tesco at any time (0.02 PBR, get RM1 back for every RM50 in spending).

You also get 1 Tesco Clubcard point per RM2 spent at Tesco or ‘anywhere else’ (that is, 0.5x points earning ratio). Each Clubcard point is auto-converted into 1 sen (RM0.01) worth of Tesco vouchers by Tesco itself. The end result is a ratio of 0.01/2 = 0.005 PBR (get RM1 back for every RM200 in spending). You have to have the Tesco membership of course, which is like BonusLink or J-Card.

Apart from the Tesco stuff, you then also get RHB points at a 1x rate that can net you an RM50 Tesco voucher for 12,200 points (0.004098 PBR, RM1 vouchers for every RM244 spent) or the usual RM50 GST rebate for 10,000 points (ratio of 0.005).

Altogether, the Tesco Credit Card’s three benefits of 2% cash back, Clubcard points and RHB points means that you get a money return ratio of 0.02 + 0.005 + 0.004098 = 0.029098 PBR (get RM1 back for every RM34.37 spending).

It however charges a RM88/year fee after the first free year! So you need to spend 34.37 x 88 = RM3,024.56 yearly just for your savings to break even with your annual fee! Whatmore if you have a supplementary card at RM20 per year (another RM687.40 spending needed).

And don’t forget the usual RM50 GST, which can be waived for the usual 10,000 points as with the other card brands.

Moving on…

Second option is the Tesco Debit Card. This baby gets you 5x Clubcard points at Tesco and presumably 1x anywhere else. With the ordinary ratio being 1 Tesco Clubcard point per RM2 spent, 5x rate means 1 point per RM0.40 spent. Not being a credit card, you don’t get RHB points to redeem I think.

So we’re working with just RM0.01 vouchers for every Clubcard point, calculated to 0.01/0.4 = 0.025 PBR (get RM1 back for every RM40 in spending). Looks good by itself, but loses out to the combined three benefits of the Credit Card version.

And even the Debit Card has a fee! RM20 per year means you must spend 20 x 40 = RM800 annually for your savings to break even with the stupid fee. Throw in another RM400 spending for each supplementary card’s RM10 fee.

So what if we compare the two RHB Tesco Cards’ ratios against Maybank AmEx’s ratio?

First, we need to add in Tesco Clubcard ordinary points earnings to the AmEx, because you still get Tesco Clubcard points for your Tesco membership no matter how you pay the bill! So AmEx’s usual ratio of 0.02275 + 0.005 = 0.02775 PBR (get back RM1 voucher for each RM36.04 spending).

Now the comparisons:

RHB Tesco Credit Card = 0.029098 PBR
Maybank AmEx (Tesco vouchers) = 0.02775 PBR
Difference = 0.001348 PBR

To make up for the RHB Tesco Credit Card annual fee = 88/0.001348 = RM65,281.90 needs to be spent per year, after which the RHB Tesco Credit Card starts saving you money compared to Maybank AmEx

RHB Tesco Debit Card = 0.025 PBR
Maybank AmEx (Tesco vouchers) = 0.02775 PBR
Difference = -0.00225 PBR

RHB Tesco Debit Card NEVER saves you money compared to Maybank AmEx

And once again, this isn’t counting in AmEx’s 5% cash back which trounces the RHB Credit Card’s 2% cash back at Tesco only.

WINNER: Tesco RHB Credit Card if you’re hardcore Tesco-reliant and spend tens of thousands of Ringgit on groceries/electronics/furniture/etc every year. AmEx for normal people. If you plan on getting Maybank AmEx, the savings from having a Tesco RHB Card as well are almost impossible to realize!

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VS. OCBC Titanium MasterCard

The following is excerpted from My Credit Cards which has in-depth looks at various cards.

Comparison between Maybank 2 American Express Card and OCBC Titanium MasterCard

MBB 2 Amex gets 5X Reward Points Everyday, Anywhere and Anytime vs. OCBC TMC Nothing, Nil, None, Zero;

MBB 2 Amex Free Lifetime Annual Fees vs. OCBC TMC need to swipe 12 times;

MBB 2 Amex GST must pay (but with 5X points only need to spend RM2K to get 10,000 Treats Points to offset GST ) vs. OCBC TMC must pay but auto waived if spend RM10K annually;

MBB 2 Amex 5% cash back on weekends anywhere vs. OCBC TMC 5% cash back anytime but not everywhere;

MBB 2 Amex offers Travel Insurance vs. OCBC none; and last but not least

MBB 2 Amex overseas transactions are subjected to 2.5% Admin Charge but with 5X maybe this is acceptable vs. a lower overseas conversion rate with OCBC TMC (do note again that the RM50 cap which may limit the usefulness of OCBC Titanium MasterCard for overseas spending).

BOTH MBB 2 Amex and OCBC Titanium cash rebate is capped at RM50/month :(

So does the above comparison conclude that you should not get the OCBC Titanium? Not necessarily. It depends on your spending pattern.

If you don’t spend more than RM1,000 per month with credit cards then maybe no point getting the OCBC as Maybank 2 Cards consists of 2 in 1 i.e. you get AMEX with Visa or MasterCard. Therefore, in the event a particular merchant does not accept AMEX, you’ve still got the Visa or MasterCard as standby.

For the Maybankard 2 AMEX card, on weekends it’s like you get something equivalent to about 7.5% cash back for anything including Petrol (for your information if you spend your money at ESSO you get another 1.5% with Smiles Points and at 1U another 1% with the One Card). Click here to read my post – Cards to compliment your CC.

How did I get 7.5%? The 5X Treats Points (TP) you get for every Ringgit can be said to be equivalent to approximately 2.5% cash back based redemption of voucher(s). For example, 2,000 TP gets you a RM10 McD voucher, 10,000 TP gets you a RM50 Metro Jaya voucher and 20,000 TP gets you a RM100 Jaya Jusco Voucher. Click here to see Treats Points Catalogue for vouchers.

Before you go saying AMEX is not widely accepted, let me repeat here again that AMEX is accepted at ESSO/MOBIL, Guardian, Watsons, Caring, OTO, GIANT, Carrefour, Harvey Norman, Courts, All IT, DELL, TESCO, JAYA JUSCO, TGIF, FOS, Poh Kong, PappaRich, Pasta Zamai, Canton i, Air Asia, JetStar, Malaysia Airlines, DiGi, Maxis, Celcom, Assessment Tax (Cukai Pintu) and many other places and not necessarily only at high end luxury outlets.

I’m not going to delve into the minutia of rewards points or PBR (yet).

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Where American Express is Accepted in Malaysia

Do feel free to comment with your first hand accounts of where else in Malaysia AmEx was accepted.

Paying Telekom and Tenaga Nasional bills thru Maybank2u online bill payment!
Most major hotels
Shell
Tesco
Jusco
Steam (digital download games)
Barnabas Fund – however not encouraged as AmEx charges them more, which means you’re getting more reward points by depriving the persecuted needy.
Direct2Drive (digital download games)
Sushi King
Guardian
Black Canyon
Ipoh Specialist Hospital
Pizza Hut dine in
Kenny Rogers
MPH book stores
Watsons
Baskin Robbins
Carrefour
Courts Mammoth
Caltex
Borders
Kenny Rogers
Auntie Anne’s
Interflora
Cold Storage
Video Ezy
Nando’s
Pamuri 100 Yen
Parkson
Berlin’s Bierhaus
Giant

Where American Express is REJECTED in Malaysia

Do feel free to comment with your first hand accounts of where else AmEx was NOT accepted.

KFC
Petronas
Secret Garden (Ipoh dining – contact number is outdated, use 052410412 instead)
Good Old Games (digital download games)
Pizza Hut online ordering
David’s Diner Ipoh
Toys ‘R’ Us
Burger King
Sakae Sushi
Papa John’s

In conclusion, for a responsible and fiscally aware person, annual membership fee-less and high PBR cards like Maybankcard AmEx are actually profitable rather than sinking you into a hole of constantly increasing debt.

And that’s all I got for now. Feel free to comment.

Marina Mahathir Again Invokes the ‘Islamophobia’ Card

May 25, 11

Marina Mahathir, as expected, takes Spew-tusan and Ib-brainless-him Ali to task for their slander against Christians.

Kudos to her for that.

However, as is similarly to be expected from her past writings where she invokes ‘Islamophobia’, in blasting the local conspiracy nuts for their habit of projection (which I too called Ibrahim Ali out on), she gives a flimsy and inaccurate comparison from the USA:

Lending credence to stories

In other words, many people assume that everyone will act exactly like them if given the chance in any situation.

Therefore, one assumes that others will behave in a good or bad way because if put in the same situation, that’s exactly what one would do.

So what does it say about a person who assumes that if people of different faiths from them get together, they must surely be plotting something bad?

It means that if this person were in the same position, that is in a minority position facing much harassment from ruling authorities over one thing or another, then he would certainly be plotting to take over the country.

I suppose that’s why the American government worries about its Muslim citizens so much.

Surely, they reason, if we harass them all the time, they must be conspiring to do something bad, such as blow up a building, because that’s what we would do.

Wise up Miss MM… The reason the American government and ordinary citizens worry so much is more along these lines:

Terrorism in the United States – Islamic Extremism

1977 Hanafi Siege
1989 firebombing of the Riverdale Press
1990 Assassination of Meir Kahane by Egyptian
1990 Assassination of Rashad Khalifa for questioning Koranic verses
1993 Shootings at CIA Headquarters
1993 World Trade Center bombing
1993 New York City landmark bomb plot
1997 Empire State Building shootings
1997 Murder of Prison Guard by Haneef Bilal
2000 H. Rap Brown(Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin) shoots two police officers
2000 New York terror attack
2000 millennium attack plots
2001 September 11 attack
2002 Los Angeles Airport shooting
2002 José Padilla (Abdullah al-Muhajir) Plot
2002 Buffalo Six
2002 John Allen Muhammad (Washington Sniper) killings
2003 Columbus Shopping Mall Bombing Plot
2004 financial buildings plot
2005 Los Angeles bomb plot
2006 Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar SUV attack
2006 Sears Tower plot
2006 Seattle Jewish Federation shooting
2006 Toledo terror plot
2006 transatlantic aircraft plot
2007 Fort Dix attack plot
2007 John F. Kennedy International Airport attack plot
2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting
2009 Bronx terrorism plot
2009 Dallas Car Bomb Plot by Hosam Maher Husein Smadi
2009 New York Subway and United Kingdom Plot
2009 Fort Hood shooting
2009 Colleen LaRose arrested (not made public until March 2010)
2009 Failed Christmas bombing of Northwest Flight 253
2010 Attempted suicide car crash on Whitestone Bridge
2010 2010 Times Square car bomb attempt
2010 King Salmon, Alaska local meteorologist and wife assassination plots
2010 Alleged Washington Metro bomb plot
2010 Alleged car bomb plot against Portland,Oregon Christmas tree lighting ceremony
2010 Alleged plot to bomb military recruiting center in Catonsville, Maryland
2010 Abu Talhah al-Amrikee death threats to South Park Creators- See: Zachary Adam Chesse
2011 Alleged Saudi Arabian student bomb plots
2011 Manhattan terrorism plot

Or hey, look at the nice pics here:

FBI most wanted terrorists 2011

As I say over and over… Who really gives a bad name to Islam and causes ‘Islamophobia’?

This?

Or this?

Oops, does the above image put paid to your belief that such a thing does not exist? If so, I’m sorry – because there’s plenty more belief-put-paid at the link!

And as for your idea that there aren’t any Muslim groups trying to take over America…

  • Shariah4America.com – In Islam, the public veneration of idols and statues is strictly prohibited. This has forced sincere Muslims to develop realistic plans that will aid in the removal of the Statue of Liberty.

In fact, if they weren’t so stupidly afraid of being politically correct, they wouldn’t end up having to molest senior age nuns and grandmothers and 6 year old girls and babies… Just to put on a good show of not being ‘‘hostile’.

But I forget, all the violence and terror is probably caused by Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh (the latter of whom Miss MM knows only a caricature of).

PS. Dr Azmi Sharom is another opiner who is wilfully blind to the motivations of terrorists.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech to the US Congress, May 2011

May 25, 11

What Netanhayu says makes perfect, logical sense to me. But of course, there are hundreds of millions in the world who will not accept the two state solution simply, because.

See also What to Do to Get Israel to Do This and That.

Via AoSHQ, excerpts from The Right Scoop which has the video as well:

Benjamin Netanyahu’s epic speech before Congress

We’ve already seen the beginnings of what is possible. In the last two years, the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves. Prime Minister Fayad has led this effort. I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation. We’ve helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It’s growing by more than 10% a year.

Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks. They even have e-businesses. This is all happening without peace. Imagine what could happen with peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.

So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.

They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said – “I will accept a Palestinian state”. It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say – “I will accept a Jewish state”.

Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the Jewish state. Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.

As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.

In recent years, Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza. But we didn’t get peace. Instead, we got 12,000 thousand rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas. The UN peacekeepers in Lebanon failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry. The European observers in Gaza evaporated overnight. So if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute. I want you to think about that too. Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren’t going to live that way either.

And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’. Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior. Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.

So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas, Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so.

He’s so quick on the draw, he even used an attempted dirsuption by a pro-Hamas Code Pinko to contrast true democracy and democracy-pretending despotism!

He was applauded 56 thunderous times, 20 of them standing… Magnitudes more skilful an orator than President Teleprompter.

Obama and Tornadoes – Then and Now

May 25, 11

Back on the campaign trail in 2007, Candidate Obama was speaking about the then-recent Kansas tornadoes, using it as a brickbat to attack Operation Iraqi Freedom (which was a hobby horse of his).

Whether fib or flub, he claimed 10,000 people had died. Shame on Bush for drawing needed resources away from Kansas. Shame!

The actual number of tornado fatalities? Twelve.

Now in 2011, the death toll from the tornadoes in Joplin has risen to over a hundred. Where is President Obama?

Acting like a fool in England and Ireland.

But hey, I ain’t judging… Maybe Michelle’s friend’s father died in Britain or something.

Above, before-and-after pic of devastated Joplin from The Daily What via AoSHQ.

More pics here.

MORE: Moonbattery fleshes it out.

UPDATE: A week after the fact, he finally gets to Joplin… Where he chews gum during the solemn memorial service.

Musings of Ordinary People

May 25, 11

Via AoSHQ from Caveman Circus, my picks:

The Hilariously Random Musings Of Everyday People

All of these were taken from Ruminations.com, so don’t crucify me for not giving credit where credit is due.

3. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

6. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

8. Do you remember when you were a kid playing Nintendo and it wouldn’t work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ’s. We just figured it out. Today’s kids are soft.

9. There is a great need for sarcasm font.

14. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

15. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.

17. Was learning cursive really necessary?

18. Lol has gone from meaning, “laugh out loud” to “I have nothing else to say”.

22. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear what they said?

29. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

31. Bad decisions make good stories

36. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you’ve made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

51. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time…

52. It really p*sses me off when I want to read a story on CNN.com and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

Separated at Birth? Ctopus O. and Michelle O.

May 24, 11

In the best, long-running tradition of Moonbattery.com and Michelle‘s Frighteningly Bad Fashion :

Click for larger.

Moonbattery puts it best:

Considering the way the creatures in the White House are always reaching with more hands than you can keep track of to snatch away our money and our liberties, no one should be surprised to learn that the Bitter Half is twin sister to an octopus

First Lady of Fashion? Mo’ like Worst Lady of Fashion, zing!

Michelle on the right spotted at The Jawa Report, original from Daily Mail UK.

Wholly innocent octopus on the left from The Marine Life Index.

Chrono Tigger

May 24, 11

Chrono Tigger

Click the image above to view the full size at Halolz.

I’m sure I’ve seen the original Chrono Trigger artwork with that same same pose. If anyone has it or knows the link, tip me please!

Ash and Brock, Bros 4EVA!!!

May 24, 11

Ash and Brock Pokemon best bros friends forever

Click the image above to view the original full comic.


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