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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

N.Y. Attorney General Cuomo's Letter To AIG! - A**Holes International Group

Newly Hired AIG Employees Going Home After Their First Day On The Job !

83 comments:

The Jewish Week said...

Special To The Jewish Week

A group of alleged survivors of sexual abuse from strictly Orthodox backgrounds and victim advocates have joined together to encourage Orthodox victims to seek justice in New York’s secular courts, rather than quietly within their communities.

The new group, Survivors for Justice, will also lobby the state legislature to pass a long-pending bill to extend the statute of limitations on such crimes so that victims can get into court.
The organization, the first of its kind, will work to break an intimidating communal code of silence, said Mark Weiss, one of its founders.

“It’s about time that people start recognizing the destructive effects of people’s fear of being stigmatized for talking about this issue,” said Weiss. “People need to realize that being associated with [the issue of sexual abuse] creates a stigma only if they allow it to.

Fear and intimidation under the guise of upholding the reputation of the Torah should have no place in our midst.”

The group declares that one of its prime aims will be to support individuals who have been victimized as children by adult staff in yeshivas and other Orthodox institutions in going to law enforcement authorities.
Such victims, said co-founder Joel Engelman, “have to deal with all the shame and stigma. There are no visible people out there saying we are here, we went through what you went through, and we’re here to help.” Rabbinic leaders, he added, often apply pressure to keep matters within the community.

Last month Engelman himself came out with his story of alleged sexual molestation at age 8 by Rabbi Avrohom Reichman of United Talmudical Academy, a yeshiva in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, affiliated with the Satmar chasidic sect. (“A Charge Of Double Betrayal In Williamsburg,” Sept. 5) He has filed suit against Rabbi Reichman, UTA and a Satmar summer bungalow colony that also employed the rabbi, charging the institutions were told of the abusive conduct but did nothing.

Weiss, 41, is an alleged survivor of abuse by Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, who was indicted in 1984 on four counts of sodomy and eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree for allegedly abusing four boys in Brooklyn. Mondrowitz fled to Israel, where he escaped law enforcement until last year, when he was arrested and now awaits a decision on his extradition to the United States.

Another founding member of the group is David Framowitz, 50, who alleges he was molested by Rabbi Yehuda Kolko of Torah Temimah in Flatbush. The group also includes a man who says his son, now 9, was also abused by Rabbi Kolko. Like Rabbi Reichman, Rabbi Kolko now faces civil suits from some of his alleged victims, as do the yeshiva and its principal, Rabbi Lipa Margulies.

The plaintiffs charge that the school and its administrators knew of Rabbi Kolko’s conduct but protected him.

Rabbi Kolko was indicted twice by a Brooklyn grand jury on felony sex abuse charges but, in a controversial plea bargain offered to him by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, pleaded guilty last spring to two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

This week, Baruch Sandhaus, 41, another alleged survivor of childhood molestation in a yeshiva, came out for the first time in connection with formation of Survivors for Justice.

Sandhaus, who has been active behind the scenes on this issue for several years, says he is a survivor of molestation by both Rabbis Kolko and Mondrowitz.

A civil suit he brought against Torah Temimah as a “John Doe” was recently dismissed due to the statute of limitations.

The group plans to make extending both civil and criminal statutes of limitations for childhood sex abuse one of their main goals.
A bill to extend the statute has passed several times in the state Assembly but has stalled in the Senate, where it is opposed by the Catholic Church and the insurance industry. State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) has voiced concern that it would be difficult to have credible prosecutions of abuse that took place long ago.

Under current law, a victim must bring a civil suit against his molester or against the school he alleges failed to protect him by between one and six years after his 18th birthday, depending on the nature of the allegation. But childhood victims are often unable to process what has happened to them and act on that awareness until decades later, well into their adulthood, according to psychologists.

The pending bill, backed by Survivors for Justice, would extend the statute of limitations for civil suits and criminal prosecutions to the victim’s 28th birthday. It would also open a one-year window during which victims could file civil claims regardless of when their abuse took place.
The pending bill was among the issues highlighted at a press conference at Cardozo Law School on Wednesday focusing on legislative reform to protect children from predators. The event was organized by SNAP, a Roman Catholic group that has fought comparable patterns of sexual abuse by priests — and protection of such priests by fellow clergy and religious institutions.

“There is going to be a price tag which will give the organizations no choice but to cease and desist from their protection of the pedophiles,” said one member of Survivors for Justice, who asked to remain anonymous because of his sensitive role as an advocate in the community. “They simply cannot afford to pay the massive amount in damages and hope to continue operations.”

The idea of establishing Survivors for Justice came about as a result of discussions among survivors and advocates, who have connected with one another through their involvement in this issue.

One of the group’s financial backers is Matt Olim, a co-founder of CDNow.com, one of the first successful global online retailers and now a part of Amazon.com. Olim, a philanthropist, is not from a strictly Orthodox background himself.

But he began volunteering several years ago as a math tutor for ultra-Orthodox adults working to obtain their GEDs. Through this work and his own research, Olim said, he “learned about the prevalence of sexual abuse in some of those communities, and how it was systematically covered up.”

Approached by some of his contacts for help, Olim eagerly offered support “in the hopes that it will help give a voice to the survivors and stop the abuse from continuing.”

Insider said...

NYAG Cuomo warns nine banks about bonus payments

Wednesday October 29, 5:10 pm ET


NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who negotiated executive payment clawbacks by American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG - News) as it received a taxpayer bailout, warned nine banks receiving government money on Wednesday that using the funds for bonus payments may be illegal under state law.

In a letter sent to Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC - News), Bank of New York Mellon Corp (NYSE:BK - News), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C - News), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS - News), JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM - News), Merrill Lynch & Co Inc (NYSE:MER - News), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS - News), State Street Corp (NYSE:STT - News) and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC - News), he also asked their boards to explain what mechanisms they have put in place to protect taxpayer money.

"Specifically, corporate expenditures and payments, made in the absence of fair consideration of undercapitalized firms, may well violate NY Debtor and Creditor Law 274, which deems such payments illegal fraudulent conveyances," Cuomo's letter said.

Representatives of Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley declined comment. Representatives of Merrill, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, State Street and Bank of New York Mellon were not immediately available to comment.

The letter said that "obviously, we will have grave concerns if your expected bonus pool has increased in any way as a result of your receipt or expected receipt of taxpayer funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program."

Cuomo asked the banks to provide the information by November 5.

Earlier this month, AIG promised to recover executive payments and other compensation, cancel perks and institute reforms after Cuomo threatened legal action over its controversial spending.

"Cuomo demands detailed information regarding bonus pool allocations from the boards of directors of the nine banks," his office said in a statement accompanying copies of the letters.

Cuomo objected to "extravagant" payments to AIG executives who ran the company into near-collapse, including a $5 million cash bonus and $15 million "golden parachute" to former CEO Martin Sullivan earlier this year.

A $34 million bonus was also designated for the former head of the AIG Financial Products Unit, Joseph Cassano, whose unit generated the bulk of the firm's losses.

Anonymous said...

Man suspected of luring children into alleyways is arrested

The Long Beach resident is accused of attempted lewd behavior in five incidents in which he allegedly approached young, unsupervised children and showed them pornography.

By Louis Sahagun

12:43 PM, October 29, 2008

Sex-crimes detectives today announced the arrest of a Long Beach man in connection with five incidents involving the luring of young children into alleyways with pornographic material.

Derek Christopher Nixon, 26, was charged with one felony count of attempted lewd or lascivious acts and seven misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a child under 18 years of age, Long Beach Police Commander Jeffry Johnson said.


During the incidents, which occurred between Oct. 7, 2007 and Sept. 10, 2008, Nixon allegedly approached unsupervised children ranging in age from 5 to 11, showed them pornographic materials and then attempted to lure them into a nearby alley, Johnson said.

"There were five incidents: Sometimes it involved one child, sometimes two; once, there were four or five children," he said. "There may be more victims."

Nixon's vehicle was impounded and a search warrant resulted in evidence being recovered, authorities said. Nixon was being held at Los Angeles County Jail. Bail was set at $240,000, authorities said.


Sahagun is a Times staff writer.

louis.sahagun@latimes.com

ruby said...

Attention all Yidden in New York City:
There is a major effort being undertaken these days in NYC which will affect our children. This effort is below the radar, and most of us will wake up one day to find out that our children have been undercut by our Mosdos and by Agudas Yisroel.
There is a national company called Catapult Learning which is slowly taking over the special education in our Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs. One by one, schools are being pressured into agreeing to accept this company as the sole provider of special services to our kinderlach. The problem is that this company is known nationally for extremely underpaying their teachers.
What this means for our teachers: A special ed teacher who until now was getting $50-$60 an hour will now get $15-$20 an hour.
What this means for our kinderlach: The best teachers will simply leave the Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs and work in the public school system. Our kinderlach will be left with second class teachers who cannot get jobs elsewhere. Our kinderlach will be the big losers.
Guys, this is serious. Ask any special ed teacher from Lakewood. Catapult Learning has taken over special ed in Lakewood, and all special ed teachers in Lakewood now receive $15-$20 per hour. We KNOW that Catapult has told prospective teachers in Brooklyn that they will receive $15-$20 per hour.
Many principals are aware of this, and are trying hard to resist the pressure from Agudas Yisroel. However most principals are not aware of the consequences of this decision. Please notify the principals of what may happen if this company will be allowed to monopolize jewish education in NYC the way they did in Lakewood.
Spread the word! Call principals! Call NYC BOARD OF ED!
Most of all, call Aguda at 212-797-9000 x328 and tell them to keep Catapult Learning out of NYC!

UOJ VOTING DRIVE said...

Three major polls have seen a significant squeeze in the past five days, causing this trend. Today, a Rasmussen poll put Obama at a 3-point lead.

McCain has gained 3 points in their survey since Saturday and Obama has lost two, putting the race at the narrowest margin this poll has seen since late September.

steve said...

History repeating itself. Obama is another tax and spend liberal Democrat, cut out of the same cloth as Jimmy Carter. Americans made the same mistake in 1976 in electing Carter after the incompetence and ineptitude of the Ford administration. Four years later, many of those same people who voted for Carter were either out of work or had their taxes doubled. I'm not falling for Obama's claim that he will lower taxes for those earning less than 250K. He has to somehow pay for all those spending programs that he's proposing and soaking the rich alone will not pay for them. There hasn't been a tax increase or a new spending bill that Obama has not favored. McCain should be hammering Obama on this point and calling him out on his bullshit claim that he will lower taxes. Remember, Bill Clinton also had a middle class tax cut as part of his plan in 1992, which he reneged upon immediately when he took office. His exact words were, "I CAN'T". Look for the same if Obama gets elected, r"l.

This is not to mention Obama's dangerous foreign policy views where he embraces Islamic extremists and says that he would unconditionally negotiate with Ahmadinejad. Again, this is shades of the Carter administration, when they allowed Khomeini and his extremists overthrow the Shah, only to have Ahmadinejad and his fellow "students" kidnap fifty two Americans and hold them hostage for 444 days. Add to that Israel's security concerns, does anyone want a Jimmy Carter rerun in the White House? I don't think so. The choice is clear- VOTE MCCAIN/PALIN!! In 1988, Ed Koch said that if you're Jewish, you have to be crazy to vote for Jesse Jackson. I echo those words in regards to Obama, not because of his color, but because of his Carter/Jackson views.

Lakewood Ganiv Moishe Kizelnik said...

Nisht tzu gloiben. UOJ is mefarsem against me then people start calling my parents Yosef & Mirel Kizelnik at their store in Monsey to tell them to influence me to pay or send back the merchandise I'm stealing.

Auction Mart appliances TVs & electronics

75 Route 59
Monsey, NY 10952

Phone: 845-352-3725

STOP THIS INSANITY!!!! said...

Taxpayers don't want to bail out every dumb shmuck who bought a house he couldn't afford!!!!

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aXHHkQVaIUa0&refer=home

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are considering a plan that may provide about $500 billion in government guarantees for troubled mortgages, according to people familiar with the matter.

The program, which might help several million homeowners refinance into affordable loans, would require lenders to restructure mortgages based on a borrower's ability to repay.

The government is also considering guaranteeing a second home loan, such as a home-equity line of credit, to assure mortgage holders they wouldn't lose money when they change loan terms, the people said. A guarantee in effect would put taxpayers on the hook for the loan if borrowers default.

Anonymous said...

Catapult systematically lowered salaries for special ed teachers all accross the US. The way they work is that they bribe politicians to get a monopoly, at which point there is nothing anyone can do. Since they exclusively hire the teachers, they can pay wages as low as they w

lakewooder said...

UOJ
There are hundreds of women in Lakewood who cannot find well paying special ed jobs in Lakewood because of Catapult. We in Lakewood are petrified of them because they have the Vaad, the school board, and Michael Inzelbuch all shmeared up. It's about time this is aired.

helfro said...

Israel polling reflects 60% of Israelis want McCain while the US polling reflects 3 to 1 for jews voting for Obama. What is wrong with American jewry? Obama is bad for American jewry just look at his past associates , Wright, Farraken, Coleeti and etc. and who are his advisers? James Baker and others are total anti-semites. At least we know that Mccain will be a friend to Israel. If we as jews or Americans will not be safe the economy won't matter.

Anonymous said...

>James Baker and others are total anti-semites. At least we know that Mccain will be a friend to Israel. If we as jews or Americans will not be safe the economy won't matter.<

I support McCain, but I can tell you that the Joooo-hating Baker is for McCain, not Obama.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

I have people investigating Catapult. Please e-mail me any and all information with names and particulars - including members of the Lakewood Vaad - and the level of involvement at the Agudath Israel.

Concerned parent said...

Does anyone know if Catapult has any involvement in the programs for younger kids as in 5 years & younger getting speech therapy, OT, etc?

In NY, "Early Intervention" is paid for by the Health Dept until age 3. From 3 to 5, the Education Dept takes over funding.

Lakewood said...

Kizelnik is making up stories to save face that he is keeping & not paying for merchandise because the factories supposedly caused him a hefsid.

His excuses make no sense whatsoever. After he already didn't pay for 6 months, he asks for more credit which is of course refused. Then he screams, aha! because you didn't extend more credit I couldn't sell a large job which caused me a $25,000 hefsid.

Let's see how smug he still is when he gets reported for not paying taxes on all the extra income he made by stealing.

Observant Jew said...

Does Catapult run off the public dime? If so I have a weird suspicion that the govt may turn a blind eye to their monkeybusiness. There are very deep program cuts coming and paying peanuts to teachers may appeal to bureaucrats desperately trying to close the budget gap.

I just don't know how it works because I never had experience with special ed.

Rubashkins Nailed with $10 Million Fine! said...

http://www.kcci.com/news/17838988/detail.html

A state agency has fined a Postville kosher slaughterhouse nearly $10 million for alleged wage violations.

Labor Commissioner Dave Neil assessed the civil penalties against Agriprocessors for what he calls repeated violations of Iowa's wage laws from January 2006 to June 2008.

The alleged violations include illegally deducting sales tax and miscellaneous costs, illegally deducting charges for frocks and failing to pay dozens of workers their last paycheck after a May raid by federal immigration agents. The civil penalties total more than $9.9 million.

"Attorney Bernie" Feldman said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/us/30fine.html

“Once again, Agriprocessors has demonstrated a complete disregard for Iowa law,” Iowa’s labor commissioner, Dave Neil, said in a statement.

Agriprocessors’ chief executive, Bernard Feldman, said the company would fight the charges. “We have grave doubts as to the appropriateness of the claimed violations, and we also take issue with the intended sanction imposed per claim,” said Mr. Feldman, who was named to his post in September, after the child labor indictments were announced.

Anonymous said...

Obama’s ‘Redistributive Change’ and the Death of Freedom
Beware the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

There should no longer be any dispute that Barack Obama’s aim is to socialize the American economy — as he vaporously puts it, to bring about “redistributive change.” The real question is how he’ll go about it. Very likely, the answer lies in a potentially cataclysmic treaty that has gotten virtually no attention during the campaign: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

To rewind, Obama expressly endorsed “redistributive change” in a 2001 Chicago Public Radio interview. Lamenting that the Warren Court (the tribunal that spawned a revolution in criminals’ rights) “wasn’t that radical” after all, Obama sought to prove his point by citing the justices’ failure to take on “the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society.”

It was an early iteration of the socialist philosophy Obama recently made famous in an exchange with Joe Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber.” Of course on the latter occasion, when Obama spoke of planning to “spread the wealth around,” it was a slip. The candidate is far more guarded now than he was in 2001, just as he was more coy in 2001 than in his mid-Nineties incarnation — when he first sought to represent an extremely left-wing district and embraced his endorsement by the radical Chicago New Party (ACORN’s electoral arm with ties to the Socialist International).

By 2001, as he eyed national office, Obama put on mainstream airs. He couched his radicalism in soothing euphemisms. “Economic justice,” however, is simply the finance angle of “social justice,” the idée fixe of Obama and his coven of Change-agents — like Michael Klonsky, the communist educator who ran a “social justice” blog on Obama’s official campaign website. Such radicals give the Warren Court high marks on non-economic rights, but flunk the justices on redistribution: the purported right of society’s ne’er-do-wells to pick the pockets of its achievers through the coercive power of government.

OBAMA’S ANTI-CONSTITUTION
As Obama sees it, the Warren Court failed to “break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution.” The judges instead clung to the hoary construction of the Constitution as “a charter of negative liberties” — one that says only what government “can’t do to you.” For Obama, economic justice demands the positive case: what government “must do on your behalf” (emphasis added).

True to form, Obama has twisted the most elementary points. First, the Framers viewed government as a necessary evil: required for a free people’s collective security but, if insufficiently checked, guaranteed to devour liberty. The purpose of the Constitution was not to make the positive case for government but for freedom. Freedom cannot exist without order, and thus implies some measure of government. But it is a limited government, vested with only the powers expressly enumerated. As the framers knew, a government that strays beyond those powers is necessarily treading on freedom’s territory. It is certain to erode the very “Blessings of Liberty” the Constitution was designed to secure.

Relatedly, the Constitution does state the positive case for government in its opening lines. Government is required to safeguard the rule of law and the national security. These injunctions are vital: there is no liberty without them. Why, then, do Obama and other Leftists ignore them? Because they don’t involve picking winners and losers; they eschew social engineering. These guarantees, instead, are for everyone, uniformly: Government must “provide for the common defense” and “promote the general welfare” (emphasis added). The Blessings of Liberty are to be secured “to ourselves and to our posterity”—not to yourself at the expense of my posterity.

The question isn’t what government “must do on your behalf.” It is what government must do on our behalf. In general, the positive power of government is for the body politic, not the individual. Of course individuals have rights. But those rights comprise a sphere of personal liberty against government. In that sphere, each individual Joe the Plumber is free to work hard, or not; to make of his life what he will, bearing personally the consequences of his choices. Freedom, after all, includes the freedom to fail. Pace Obama, failure is a part of life — there is no right against it.



The framers understood that there is no societal good in a government that “must do” for individuals and factions. “Doing” is a zero-sum game. Government does not inherently have anything to give. What it awards you it must seize from me. What it gives one faction it must deny to others. Such an arrangement is inimical to the Constitution’s purpose “to form a more perfect union.” It is, in fact, a prescription for disunion, for a house divided.

Freedom accepts that we are different. The endless variety of life assures that. I had every opportunity to become just as good a basketball player as Michael Jordan, but he has natural gifts and worked harder. If we played a hundred times, he would whip me a hundred times by about 500 points. No Change, no matter how rapturously framed, could alter that result without chaining him to the bench and rendering the game no longer recognizable as basketball. That would be perversion, not justice.

Yet, this is just what Obama’s “economic justice” envisions: that the government can hamstring Michael Jordan and give me enough freebies that, despite his talent and industry, he can only play me to a tie, destroying his incentive to excel while the Bulls go out of business, no longer able to afford even my mediocrity. Naturally, such an absurd system requires change. Redistribution smothers the freedom our Constitution is designed to foster. It is therefore antithetical to our law.

Obama knows this. Consequently, as he said in 2001, he is not surprised that courts saddled with such a Constitution have not been a useful route to economic justice. What is surprising, at least at first blush, is that Obama doesn’t fret too much about that. As a matter of fact, in his estimation, the civil rights movement was too “court focused.”

This is because Obama is a true revolutionary. It’s not that he doesn’t want socialist economic policies; he does. And it’s not that he doesn’t think the courts should impose “economic justice” just as the Warren Court imposed “social justice”; again, he does. It’s that he believes the Warren era reliance on the judiciary as principal change agent led to the atrophy of more forceful and promising methods: namely, “the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.”

Political and community organizing activities on the ground? Think of ACORN, Obama’s old comrades at the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now: engaged in massive (often fraudulent) voter-registration efforts to over-represent society’s bottom-dwellers; handing Leftist politicians a ready-to-enact legislative agenda of confiscatory taxes, laws forcing banks to make home-loans to unqualified borrowers, “living wage” laws that kill jobs, corporate “exit visas” to trap businesses in urban areas enervated by government’s central planning, “sustainable development” regulations to redistribute wealth from the suburbs to the cities, global poverty relief to redistribute wealth from American citizens to the third-world dictators, and Leftist political indoctrination in the public schools.

REDISTRIBUTIVE CHANGE: THE DEATH OF FREEDOM
Obama, the Leftist community organizer schooled in the radical methods of Saul Alinsky, recognizes that in the current legal landscape legislation will be necessary to impose the injustice he calls “economic justice.” Lawmakers needn’t do all the work. Politically unaccountable judges, many favorably predisposed toward Leftist schemes, can be a force multiplier. First, however, they must be given just enough legislative license.

As luck would have it, a President Obama may be well positioned to give that license at the very start of his term, without the political risk inherent in proposing his own detailed “economic justice” program. The solution is ready to hand: all it needs is an election-day tide that swells the Democrats’ Senate majority.

In 1966, with key help from the Soviet Union, the United Nations began promoting a monstrosity of a treaty known as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). It is chockablock with exactly the things Obama would say government must do on your behalf: provide housing, clothing, education, health care, employment, a living wage that accounts for comparative worth (meaning the government, under the guise of preventing discrimination, determines what you are paid), limited labor hours, paid vacation and holidays, paid parental leave, nearly unrestricted trade unionization, social security (including “social insurance”), “equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need,” and so on.

This economic-justice compact was so patently socialist that, even at the height of his Great Society and War on Poverty, President Lyndon Johnson declined to sign it. So did Presidents Nixon and Ford. But alas, there is always Jimmy Carter. Thirty years ago, he signed the ICESCR, but it has languished ever since, never ratified. President Clinton lauded the treaty but shrank from prodding the senate, where staunch Republican opposition made the required two-thirds approval margin a pipedream.

Obama, by contrast, expects to have the wind at his back, at least for a time. Gone is the Republican Congress of the Clinton years. Despite their appalling performance and historically low approval ratings, cocky Democrats expect to pad their congressional majorities. They anticipate inching close to 60 seats, or beyond. With an assist from the usual GOP moderates — who’d no doubt be anxious to join a charismatic new president in a bipartisan effort to “improve America’s image in the world” — the 67 votes needed for ratification could be attainable.

The Constitution stipulates that, once ratified, a treaty becomes the supreme law of the land. No longer would Obama need to worry about the “essential constraints” that relegate our fundamental law to “a charter of negative liberties.” Federal judges would now be unleashed to direct the redistributions necessary to ensure a “living wage” and the ICESCR’s remaining laundry list of economic rights. Congressional Democrats, egged on by ACORN and its hard Left allies, would craft legislation to further codify, explain and expand on them.

Change will have arrived. At long last we’ll have realized Obama’s ideal of economic justice. But freedom, the ideal that makes America America, will have perished.

Anonymous said...

Evil Under the Sun
Barack Obama and American exceptionalism.
by Noemie Emery


"Does evil exist?" the Reverend Rick Warren asked John McCain and Barack Obama at the Saddleback Forum on August 16. "If so, should we ignore it, negotiate with it, contain it, or defeat it?"

"Defeat it," McCain said. "Not long ago in Baghdad, al Qaeda took two young women who were mentally disabled and put suicide vests on them, sent them into a market place, and by remote control detonated those suicide vests. If that isn't evil, you have to tell me what is." Obama took a more philosophical turn: "Evil does exist," he said. "We see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children. .  .  . We are not going to, as individuals, be able to erase evil, .  .  . [but] we can confront it. .  .  . One thing I think is very important is for us to have some humility. .  .  . A lot of evil has been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil. .  .  . Just because we think our intentions are good doesn't mean that we're going to be doing good." The Bible tells us there is evil everywhere under the sun (as does Agatha Christie), but the two men's ideas of it could not be more different.

To McCain, evil is something specific and vivid, a deliberate decision made by others--sometimes by movements and governments--to do harm: Auschwitz, the Gulag, the planned starvation by Stalin in the 1930s of millions of Ukrainians, beheadings and torture by militant radicals, bombs planted in soccer fields, planes flown into buildings. To Obama, evil is something that happens by accident, and quite often happens at home. To McCain, evil itself cannot be defeated, as it appears over time in differing guises, but each face--fascism, communism, radical terrorism--can be and ought to be beaten. Obama thinks evil should be confronted, but the concept of beating it seems out of the question. Efforts to do so suggest moral arrogance and may make things even worse.

There is merit of course in each of these visions, as evil exits in different dimensions and grades: There is the evil that exists in even "good" states and people, which must be accepted and worked with, and evil that crosses the line and must be dealt with forcibly. Knowing the difference between them is the prime task of statesmen, who must never use force when other methods will suffice, but not shy from doing so when only force can prevail. Cold War presidents such as Truman, Kennedy, and Reagan avoided military strikes at the Soviet Union while making it clear they were ready and willing to use them if necessary, while Franklin Roosevelt and (the half-American) Winston S. Churchill earned their chops and their place in American hearts by their early assessment of Hitler as evil, and their relentless desire to bring him to heel. For better or worse, from the very beginning, Americans have warmed to those who have promised to fight against evil--and ranked them on the side of the (relative) good.

The idea of America as a force for morality predates the founding of the nation. The first European settlers saw America as a noble experiment, a do-over for the corrupt and compromised cultures of Europe, and a chance in an unspoiled terrain of endless abundance to start the world anew. The Puritans saw themselves as the Children of Israel in a new iteration, delivered from bondage (in Egypt and England), escaped by the way of a perilous voyage (through the Red Sea, and over the ocean), and settled at last in their own land of promise, where their work for the Lord could begin. The Puritans built a religious community that they believed would serve to the world as a model of piety, under the terms of a covenant detailed by John Winthrop in 1630 that served as a template for the next 300-plus years of American history: "He hath taken us to be His, after a most strict and peculiar manner, which will make Him the more jealous of our love and obedience. .  .  . For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us."

Over time, the goal would change from sectarian piety to political freedom, but the religious dimension remained. Though "the collective salvation of the community was transformed into a form of government that would protect the rights of all citizens," as law professor Steven G. Calabresi was to put it, "the idea of America as a special place with a special people called to a special mission was never to go away." As a result, the United States was formed as the first country to be built on the idea of itself as a prime moral actor, on behalf of itself, and the world. "Americans are utopian moralists who press hard to institutionalize virtue, to destroy evil people, and eliminate wicked institutions and practices," wrote Seymour Martin Lipset in his book on the subject. "As Samuel Huntington has noted, Americans give to their nation and its creed 'many of the attributes and functions of a church.' "

As much as the first settlers of the Massachusetts Bay colony, the fathers of the Revolution and then of the new federal government took it as a matter of course that they were acting not just for themselves but on behalf of humanity, and that if they fell short of their mission, they would be forever and justly disgraced. Benjamin Franklin said a failure would be "a reproach and a byword down to future ages," John Adams that it would "merit .  .  . the indignation of heaven." In 1790, when President George Washington addressed the congregation of the synagogue at Newport, Rhode Island, and embraced them as fellow parishioners of the faith of the union, it was a sign that the creed of American nationhood had transcended the limits of sectarian difference, and was accessible as a civil religion to people of all faiths and none. As the American saga progressed on its way, its unique parallels with religious tradition--the flight of the chosen from bondage to freedom; the handing down of the law (the Constitution, and the Ten Commandments); the Original Sin of slavery and the bloody passion of the Civil War, ending in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on, of all days, Good Friday--only deepened the sense of a singular destiny. And so it goes on to this day.

The great wars of our history--the Revolution, the Civil War, the World Wars, and the Cold War--the ones by which the country defined itself, involved the defense and expansion of liberty, which became as one with the nation itself. Typically, the men we remember are those who express this, and we love most those who expressed it best. Abraham Lincoln conflated the fate of the Union with the hopes of men everywhere. Elihu Root called the American soldier "different from all other soldiers of all other countries. .  .  . He is the advance guard of liberty and justice, of law and order, and of peace." This was the feeling of his friend Theodore Roosevelt. In a similar utterance, Woodrow Wilson, the son of a minister, said World War I gave his country the "infinite privilege of fulfilling her destiny and saving the world." Franklin Roosevelt, who coined the phrase "rendez-vous with destiny" in regard to his country, said after Pearl Harbor that American force would be directed "toward ultimate good as well as against immediate evil," and declared in his last inaugural address that "[God] has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world." Crusade in Europe was the title Dwight David Eisenhower gave to his wartime memoir. Even in the one place in which America failed, it was the genius of Martin Luther King Jr. to cast his appeal for racial equality in this aspirational context, as the step that would certify the country's greatness, by erasing its one mortal flaw. His dream was, he said, "the American dream, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed--we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal"--a promissory note handed down from the Founders, to which Americans of all races were heirs.

The two signature texts of American exceptionalism since World War II are John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in 1961 and a speech given by Ronald Reagan before he was president, at the first Conservative Political Action Conference, with a young and recently released POW named John McCain in the audience, on January 25, 1974. The two strike themes that go back to Winthrop, with the same notes of aspiration, inheritance, obligation, and destiny. "Kennedy's speech makes all the Puritan exceptionalist claims," said Calabresi, citing "rights flowing to man from God, the unique commitment of Americans to liberty," the torch being passed, which will light the whole universe, and "an apocalyptic battle between good and evil" with "God's work" being done here on earth. Reagan said the same things, only differently, and at a little more length. "I have always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom," he said, following Winthrop, who stated, "God had chosen this country to plant his people in." As he concluded,

We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust on us two centuries ago in that little hall in Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when the economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and the return to the Dark Ages, Pope Pius XII said, "The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind." We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth.

For most of our history, American exceptionalism has run in the veins of both parties, with the Democratic presidents of the first two-thirds of the 20th century being among its most noted proponents, vigorously asserting American power in the name of transcendent ideals. Franklin Roosevelt was quick to define the Axis powers as evil, and to declare, the day after Pearl Harbor, that "the American people in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory," and succeeding Democrats, such as Truman and Kennedy, would carry through on his values.

But after Vietnam, something broke in the Democrats, who took that costly miscalculation as a paradigm for crusading done anywhere, and came to believe that power was dangerous, that assertion was folly, and that patriotic displays were signs of a slavish obedience, simplistic thinking, unwarranted arrogance, and extremely bad taste. Hubert Humphrey, a Cold War liberal who ran and lost narrowly in the 1968 presidential contest, was perhaps the last nominee of his party to be wholly at home with the World War II language of righteousness and victory. In 1972, Democrats nominated George McGovern, a World War II hero who had evolved into a born-again pacifist and believed the United States had "blood on its hands." From then on, presidential elections tended to be conducted between a Republican who was an American exceptionalist and a Democrat who seemed to be less so, with the three elections in which the contrasts were least striking--1976, 1992, and 1996--being the three that the Democrats won. In 2000, though, the year of the tie, Al Gore, seen as a defense expert and hawk, was pitted against George W. Bush, who talked of a foreign policy that was "humble but strong." But by 2004, Bush had become Woodrow Wilson with bells on, and defeated John Kerry, who championed "nuance" in foreign relations and deference to international bodies and European elites.

Kerry had once served as lieutenant governor under Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, who in 1988 had run against George Bush's father in a classic campaign derided by critics as simple-minded but was based on a series of symbols relating to the concepts of evil, of force used against evil, and of America's mission and role in the world. One symbol the Bush campaign seized on was Dukakis's veto of a bill requiring teachers to lead students in public schools in the Pledge of Allegiance, which Dukakis saw as protecting a right of dissent, but others saw as a tacit endorsement of the belief that the country did not deserve having allegiance pledged to it. Another issue was crime, symbolized by a program Dukakis defended in which convicts ostensibly serving life sentences without parole were allowed out on unsupervised furloughs, in the course of which one murderer had raped a young woman and stabbed and beaten her fiancé--Dukakis refused to apologize or talk to the victims, though he had met often with prisoners and their families, leaving the impression he had a hard time telling the difference between predators and prey. He compounded this impression in the second presidential debate when, asked if he would support the death penalty if his wife should be murdered, he replied calmly, "I've opposed the death penalty .  .  . I don't see any evidence that it's a deterrent, and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime." In the words of Roger Ailes, then the communications director for the Bush operation, "He became the defense attorney for the murderer and rapist of his wife." The public decided it preferred a prosecutor. Obama's meandering response to the question of evil at the Saddleback Forum seemed in some ways a Dukakis answer, unwilling to commit to the use of force in the containment of evil, and unsure of where moral lines lie.

John McCain betrays no similar doubts. "I know of no other country in the world with the generosity of spirit and the concern for fellow human beings as the United States of America, and I think that goes back to the very beginnings," he told a public service forum at Columbia University on September 11, 2008. "We are the only nation in the world that really is deeply concerned about adhering to the principle that all of us are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain rights. And those we have tried to bring to the world." But McCain was no longer speaking for all the Americans, as a candidate uttering those beliefs would once have been. The pollster Scott Rasmussen in the course of the 2004 election discovered a deep partisan divide on the issue of American exceptionalism. "Bush voters agree, by an 83-to-7 percent margin, that America is generally fair and decent," Michael Barone summarized Rasmussen's findings. "Kerry voters also agree but only by 46 to 37 percent. Fully 81 percent of Bush voters believe that the world would be a better place if other countries were more like the United States. Only 48 percent of Kerry voters agree. Almost all Republican voters believe in American exceptionalism. Only about half of Democratic voters do."

This explains the campaign of John Kerry, who tried to run both as the heroic vet and as the protester who had called out his country for sinister actions. When criticized for the latter, he complained (as had Dukakis) that Republicans were questioning his patriotism, which was not really the case. Anyone running for president must love his country, in that he wishes the best for it, and wants it to prosper. The question is whether Kerry and Dukakis were American exceptionalists, who believed in the civil religion of greatness and mission. And there is reason to think they were not.

Is Obama a patriot, like Dukakis and Kerry, in that he wishes the best for his country, and would do his best for it? Certainly, yes--the doubts about him involve his qualifications and his ideas, not his intentions. Is he an American exceptionalist, in the tradition of the Roosevelts, Reagan, and Kennedy? Probably not. On much of the evidence, he seems to share the beliefs of that half of his party who define the country in terms of its flaws and shortcomings, see force as a problem, and are embarrassed by patriotic displays. His wife has called the country a "mean" one, and said it had done nothing to give her pride in it until her husband had started to rise in the polls. He sees the country's tale less as a glorious effort to fulfill a great destiny than as a catch-up effort to atone for failures, which have always been numerous: "What makes America great has never been its perfection, but the belief that it can be made better," he has said, never quite saying it is good in this moment, or good when compared with what others were doing, or that it ever can be quite good enough.

At times, Obama has tried to reframe exceptionalism in his own image, or a kinder, gentler form of it, in which the country's achievements are largely domestic, and come about mostly through talking, and hope. In 2005, Clinton speechwriter David Kusnet waxed ecstatic over a speech that Obama gave at Knox College in Illinois, in which he reclaimed American exceptionalism for the progressive movement, as Kusnet put it, "telling the stories of how successive American generations abolished slavery, addressed the injustices of the industrial age, defeated economic depression and fought fascism," finding heroism not as Reagan did in wars or in private endeavors, but in "collective action to solve social problems here at home."

Two things should be noted about this new iteration: Little is said, and only in passing, of the American role in saving civilized Europe from being overrun by aggressive tyrannies, a prime source of pride for McCain, as well as the Reagans and Kennedys; and in the progressive rendition, "soft power" tends to reign unopposed. Here is Obama himself on how progress is made in the world and this country:

Nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened except somebody somewhere was willing to hope .  .  . a group of patriots declaring independence .  .  . slaves and abolitionists resist[ing] that wicked system. .  .  . That is how the greatest generation .  .  . defeated fascism and lifted itself up out of the Great Depression. That's how pioneers traveled west.

In fact, the pioneers' road to a "better life" in the West was marked by the slaughter and/or displacement of Native Americans; the Committees of Correspondence were all very well, but independence was won over eight years of battles; fascism was finally defeated by the force of arms; and while abolitionists and brave slaves did their part in laying the predicate, slavery itself was put to the sword by the Union Army, in a war that killed 660,000 Americans, and whose first three years were marked by mistakes, misjudgments, and missed opportunities that make the war in Iraq seem well-run by comparison. The armed forces themselves seem to loom small in the mind of Obama, perhaps the reason why, earlier this year, when exhorting the young to public service endeavors, he did not mention a career in them as a valued alternative. In his world, which seems to resemble the Peaceable Kingdom, intentions and words do all the heavy lifting.

Obama's notorious speech in Berlin reinforces these elements: Hope can solve anything, values are relative, and power has nothing to do with the ultimate end. Berlin was saved, he says, because "Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle." In fact, the Germans had little chance to do otherwise: They tried to conquer the world, were bombed into rubble, were occupied, and then faced being overrun by the Soviet Army. Good and evil are relative: "The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love." But it was only one superpower that caused all the problems, that "liberated" the countries conquered by Hitler by conquering them in turn; that tried to starve Berlin, and force the West into submission, that put up the Wall, put up the barbed wire, and shot those who tried to escape. And, of course, hope conquers all: "People of the world--look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one."

In fact the world has never stood "as one," so it has never faced a challenge of any description, and has never done a thing for its suffering people, in Berlin or anyplace else. During the Cold War, the world was as two (or sometimes it seemed at sixes and sevens) and Berlin was saved only when one side beat the other, after more than four decades of testing and tension, by the threat and the pressure of force. Berlin was saved because Truman sent in the Air Force, because Kennedy was willing to risk war over Cuba, and because Reagan went ahead with his defense buildup and missile deployment, while liberals screamed every step of the way. Hope can do wonders, but the American military has been a more reliable agent of human deliverance. "Conflict-resolution theory posits there are no villains, only misunderstandings," writes Victor Davis Hanson, but military history suggests otherwise. The Berlin speech was marked by "reoccurring utopian assumptions about cause and effect--namely, that bad things happen almost as if by accident, and are to be addressed by faceless, universal forces of good will." This has not been the view of America's heroes, who have always believed that evil exists, and the United States exists to confront it. How will America--and the world--fare with a president who rejects this tradition? We may be about to find out.

Archie Bunker said...

I learned something very interesting this week. At a workplace in the NYC region with several hundred employees who are mostly White (maybe 1% or 2% are Black) but very left-leaning, most of the McCain supporters are scared to speak their preference. It will be bad for them since Liberals are the most hostile & intolerant people to any differing opinion. All the McCain supporters are completely hush hush except for two - a Lesbian woman who is outspoken that Barack Osama has a history of lying and she could never vote for such a person - and a Black male who doesn't want Socialist Barack Osama redistributing his hard-earned income to others.

I wonder if Shmarya's voting preference would change if he had an above average income as opposed to asking for spare change from the public through Paypal. It sounds to me that Shmarya wants a piece of that Black guy's pie that Barack Osama is more than happy to expropriate for him.

Secretive Catapult said...

http://www.catapultlearning.com/index.cfm

Except for their address in Filthy-Delphia, there are no identifying factors on their website about who they are.

Anonymous said...

Yasher koach to Boruch Sandhaus. He did pretty good for himself considering he was abused by those monsters.

I know other victims who completely fell apart.

Archie Bunker said...

Did anyone see the teshuva from a Baltimore Rosh Kollel that it is ossur to vote for any pro-abortion candidate (hence Barack Osama & even Joe Lieberman) due to the issur of lifnei d'lifnei?

boog said...

SOS!

The release of the Khalidi-Obama Video will sink Obama like a ROCK! Bim-Bams behavior/comments are scurrilous, show him unfit for this high office, and this is why the LA Times will not release it. Israel is in danger if this Haman wins the election.

This tape must be released by whatever means NOW!

WHERE IS THE MOSSAD?

Anonymous said...

I thought this link was interesting. I guess the awareness center does not support Neustein's efforts. Why is there such a discrepancy between UOJ and TAC?

http://theawarenesscenter.org/neustein_amy.html

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

NYTIMES.COM for the entire aricle!
---------------
A Question for A.I.G.: Where Did the Cash Go?

By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH - N.Y. TIMES

Published: October 29, 2008

The American International Group is rapidly running through $123 billion in emergency lending provided by the Federal Reserve, raising questions about how a company claiming to be solvent in September could have developed such a big hole by October. Some analysts say at least part of the shortfall must have been there all along, hidden by irregular accounting.

Donn Vickrey, a forensic analyst, is skeptical of A.I.G.’s past reports. “You don’t just suddenly lose $120 billion overnight,” he said.

Mr. Vickrey says he believes A.I.G. must have already accumulated tens of billions of dollars worth of losses by mid-September, when it came close to collapse and received an $85 billion emergency line of credit by the Fed. That loan was later supplemented by a $38 billion lending facility.

But losses on that scale do not show up in the company’s financial filings. Instead, A.I.G. replenished its capital by issuing $20 billion in stock and debt in May and reassured investors that it had an ample cushion. It also said that it was making its accounting more precise.

Mr. Vickery and other analysts are examining the company’s disclosures for clues that the cushion was threadbare and that company officials knew they had major losses months before the bailout.

Tantalizing support for this argument comes from what appears to have been a behind-the-scenes clash at the company over how to value some of its derivatives contracts. An accountant brought in by the company because of an earlier scandal was pushed to the sidelines on this issue, and the company’s outside auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, warned of a material weakness months before the government bailout.

The internal auditor resigned and is now in seclusion, according to a former colleague. His account, from a prepared text, was read by Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in a hearing this month.

These accounting questions are of interest not only because taxpayers are footing the bill at A.I.G. but also because the post-mortems may point to a fundamental flaw in the Fed bailout: the money is buoying an insurer — and its trading partners — whose cash needs could easily exceed the existing government backstop if the housing sector continues to deteriorate.

Edward M. Liddy, the insurance executive brought in by the government to restructure A.I.G., has already said that although he does not want to seek more money from the Fed, he may have to do so.

Continuing Risk

Fear that the losses are bigger and that more surprises are in store is one of the factors beneath the turmoil in the credit markets, market participants say.

“When investors don’t have full and honest information, they tend to sell everything, both the good and bad assets,” said Janet Tavakoli, president of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a consulting firm in Chicago. “It’s really bad for the markets. Things don’t heal until you take care of that.”

A.I.G. has declined to provide a detailed account of how it has used the Fed’s money. The company said it could not provide more information ahead of its quarterly report, expected next week, the first under new management. The Fed releases a weekly figure, most recently showing that $90 billion of the $123 billion available has been drawn down.

A.I.G. has outlined only broad categories: some is being used to shore up its securities-lending program, some to make good on its guaranteed investment contracts, some to pay for day-to-day operations and — of perhaps greatest interest to watchdogs — tens of billions of dollars to post collateral with other financial institutions, as required by A.I.G.’s many derivatives contracts.

No information has been supplied yet about who these counterparties are, how much collateral they have received or what additional tripwires may require even more collateral if the housing market continues to slide.

Ms. Tavakoli said she thought that instead of pouring in more and more money, the Fed should bring A.I.G. together with all its derivatives counterparties and put a moratorium on the collateral calls. “We did that with ACA,” she said, referring to ACA Capital Holdings, a bond insurance company that filed for bankruptcy in 2007.

Of the two big Fed loans, the smaller one, the $38 billion supplementary lending facility, was extended solely to prevent further losses in the securities-lending business. So far, $18 billion has been drawn down for that purpose.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

I'm aware of more than a few incidents - when a child complained to the bastard Margulies about Kolko - he sent them to Mondrowitz for "evaluation"!

Anonymous said...

Who says Jews are Smart?
by Jonathan Rosenblum
Mishpacha
October 29, 2008

YES, POGO, THE JEWS ARE THE STUPIDEST PEOPLE

Arab-Americans overwhelmingly support Senator Barack Obama for president. So do Jewish-Americans. One of these two groups either does not care much about the Arab-Israeli conflict and/or is stupid. My money is on the Jews.

American Jews care less and less about Israel. Over 50% of non-Orthodox Jews under 35 say they would not view the destruction of the State of Israel as a personal tragedy. Israel is not a popular cause on college campuses. Many Jewish students struggle against being identified with Israel, lest it complicate their social lives. In the under 35 cohort, only 54% profess to be comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.

Other Jews who still find it uncomfortable to disavow concern with Israel have convinced nevertheless themselves that it is in Israel's best interests to be forced back to the 1949 armistice lines. A talkback to a recent Jerusalem Post piece of mine nicely captures the mindset.

Nathan Berkowicz writes: "What do you expect us Jews to do, hold the Palestinians hostage forever? Get your head out of the sand and wake up to the fact that we are going to have to hammer out a peace deal, a real peace deal, if for no other reason but to show ourselves that we are willing to humanely and fairly deal with a problem we created for ourselves."

Berkowicz places the exclusive onus on Israel for the creation of the Palestinian problem – either by virtue of its creation or for having the effrontery to win in 1967. In addition, he blames Israel for the failure to achieve a "real peace deal." The infamous "three No's" of the Arab League in response to the Israeli offer to withdraw from the West Bank after the Six Day War played no role; ditto Arafat's decision to return to open warfare and reject Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer of well over 90% of the West Bank at Camp David. Finally, Berkowicz wants the Jews of Israel to demonstrate their humanity. He never mentions ensuring their own survival as a desideratum. So goes the "pro-Israel" case for Obama.

THOSE WHO SEE ISRAEL'S SALVATION in its being pushed back to its 1967 borders have good reason to eagerly anticipate an Obama presidency. Obama has described the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a "sore, . . . infect[ing] all our foreign policy," and placed return to the "peacemaking" of the Clinton years is at the top of his foreign policy agenda.

The express goal of that "peacemaking" will be an Israeli withdrawal to its 1967 "Auschwitz borders." In a June interview with Jerusalem Post editor David Horowitz, Obama said he can understand Israel's desire for "'67 plus" in terms of security buffers, but Israel should consider whether it would be worth the cost in Palestinian antagonism.

The overwhelming majority of Israel's Jews dread a return to the Oslo process, which claimed 1,471 Israeli lives in terrorist attacks, without bringing peace any closer. Oslo made a fetish of process over actual peace, as a pattern of concrete Israeli concessions in return for recycled Palestinian promises took shape. Obama offers more of the same: "Israel's government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart," he says.

On security grounds alone, the vast majority of Israelis oppose further territorial withdrawal from the West Bank at present. Earlier withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza resulted in the creation of heavily armed Iranian proxies on Israel's southern and northern borders. Israeli intelligence predicts that Hamas would quickly take over the West Bank as well in the event of an Israeli withdrawal. The near elimination of successful terror attacks from the West Bank since 2002 demonstrates that only Israeli troops and on the ground intelligence gathering capabilities can deter terrorism.

Oslo taught that peace cannot be imposed from the outside and has nothing to do with signed agreements. Only a bottom-up transformation of Palestian society would make peace possible, argues Natan Sharansky, and that transformation has never seemed so far away after the Hamas takeover of Gaza.

Even the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas recently declared a festive celebration in honor of the leader of the Coastal Road Massacre in which 37 Israelis were murdered. Demonization of Israel and Jews continues unabated in the official Palestinian media. No wonder three-quarters of Palestinians say that reconciliation with Israel is impossible in this generation, even after the signing of a peace agreement and creation of a Palestinian state.

The greatest threat to Israel's existence is a nuclear Iran. By calling for direct American-Iranian negotiations, without offering anything new to the Europeans' approach over the last five years of unconditional negotiations, Obama only grants Ahmadinejad more time and increased internal legitimacy. And by linking any sanctions to Chinese and Russian cooperation, he dooms those efforts from the start. Bottom line: an Obama presidency guarantees a nuclear Iran.

And all this leaves aside dozens of troubling Obama associations. For twenty years, he sat complacently in the church of a pastor – "my spiritual mentor" – who spewed contempt for whites, America, and Israel.

Virtually his whole public career has been closely intertwined with the unrepentant former Weatherman William Ayers.

Another member of Ayers' Hyde Park circle was former PLO official and the current Edward Said Professor at Columbia University, Rashid Khalidi, whom Obama credits with opening his eyes to the plight of Palestinians. He has been heavily funded by the virulently anti-Israel George Soros.

Obama has numerous ties to the Nation of Islam, in particular through Tony Rezko, the convicted, Syrian-born racketeer, who partly paid for Obama's home.

Obama's foreign policy advisors have included: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security advisor and thirty-year critic of Israel; Samantha Powers, who has called for an end to aid to Israel and the introduction of American forces to protect the Palestinians; and Robert Malley, who has made a career of advancing, together with a former Arafat advisor, a revisionist account in which Israel was responsible for the breakdown of Camp David.

Even the Republicans touted for an Obama cabinet – Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar – have been among the handful of senators, sometimes the only ones, to consistently oppose sanctions against Iran, Syria, and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Hagel laments the intimidation on Capitol Hill by the "Jewish lobby."

No doubt the "pro-Israel" Obama supporters have good explanations of why none of these relationships are of concern. After all, why did G-d make Jews so smart if not to prove the emperor is fully-clothed.

Iowa Independent said...

From the Iowa Independent:

Breaking: Rubashkin arrested, will appear in federal court today
By Lynda Waddington 10/30/08 11:19 AM

Federal prosecutors have arrested Sholom Rubashkin, former chief executive officer and vice president at Agriprocessors and son of company founder Aaron Rubashkin, on a criminal complaint that alleges the man conspired in immigration-related offenses.

The criminal complaint is the first against any high-level member of Agriprocessors management and comes in the wake of a massive May 12 immigration raid at the plant. In all, 389 workers — nearly half the plant’s workforce — was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

According to documents filed with the court, Rubashkin “did knowingly conspire, confederate and agree with others, for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain, to harbor one or more aliens at his place of employment in Postville, Iowa, knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that such aliens had come to, entered and remained in the United States and aided and abetted the possession and use of fraudulent identification documents and aided and abetted aggravated identity theft.”

According to Michael Fischels, a special agent with the Dept. of Homeland Security, dozens of fraudulent permanent resident alien cards were discovered and seized from offices within the human resources department at Agriprocessors during the May 12 raid.

“Most of the cards were attached to application paperwork dated May 11 or May 12, 2008,” Fischels wrote in the affidavit filed with the court. “Additional resident alien cards were groups in stacks and not attached to any paperwork. Based upon common features, ICE agents determined that the vast majority of the fraudulent resident alien cards came from the same manufacturer. Out of approximately 96 fraudulent resident alien cards, approximately 90 exhibited alien registration numbers which were then assigned to other actual persons.”

Fischels added that approximately 13 of the cards taken from the offices had photographs of people known to be working at the plant prior to May 11. All but two of the cards, however, “exhibited names which were different than the names the employees had been working under.”

The fraudulent resident alien cards are crucial to the case the government is making against Rubashkin because they are a physical link to claims made by former employees that Rubashkin provided $4,500 in cash as a loan to employees who could not afford to update their falsified documents.

The former plant supervisors, who remain unidentified in the affidavit, allegedly met with Rubashkin near the barn area on the Agriprocessors’ grounds on May 8 and asked for $4,500 to help employees slated for termination purchase new fraudulent documents. According to court documents, Rubashkin provided the supervisors the money in cash the following morning.

The unidentified supervisor, who worked in the beef-kill area, in turn presented employees in that department with $200 each as a loan so the employees could purchase the new documents from a different plant foreman, who was arranging for the purchase of the falsified documents. The documents for 39 or 40 employees were brought to the plant on May 11 by the foreman and distributed by the foreman and the unnamed supervisor.

An unidentified human resources employee is quoted in the affidavit as saying that s/he was personally asked by Sholom Rubashkin to process a large number of new employee applications on May 11. This same employee suspected that the new applicants were the employees slated for termination the previous Friday, and also identified at least one of the applicants as such.

Rubashkin will make an initial appearance in federal court for the Northern District of Iowa this afternoon.

Moshe Soloway said...

Some little known facts about the pro-Obama rabbi Moshe Soloway mentioned here.

When my cousin learned at Ner Israel in Baltimore in the nineties, this scoundrel appeared there in the guise of a Bobover chassid. Soloway became very close to rabbi Joseph (Yossef) Tendler, Ner Israel Mechina principal who proposed him to rabbi Moshe Eisemann.

Bisexual Soloway gave up right away his phony chassidus, threw out his gartel, and became rabbi Eisemann's concubine.

At the same time he had abundant sexual encounters with local shiksas (something which rabbi Moshe Eisemann could never forgive him).

Soloway was caught in the act and quietly thrown out of Baltimore. (Rabbi Aryeh Katzin (a good friend of rabbi Israel Belsky of Torah V'Daas), the principal of the "Sinai Academy" yeshiva in NY who initially shipped Soloway to Ner Israel, drove to Baltimore himself to coordinate a dignified removal of that fraud together with the hefty pack of porn periodicals Soloway stockpiled in his dorm room.)

In the Torah-true Judaism that would spell the end of the career for anyone. But not so in our hijacked version of Judaism with Moshe Soloway as its embodiment! Rabbi Joseph Tendler promptly stepped in to bail out his protégé with the help of his brother rabbi Moshe Tendler of the Yeshiva University.

Soloway was then lovingly shipped off to Israel. In the course of merely one year he received a rabbinical ordination at "Aish HaTorah" yeshiva in Jerusalem in exchange for some specific favors he did for rabbi Mattis Weinberg.

Then Soloway returned to States and (sure enough) was married off by rabbi Joseph Tendler to a girl he later cheated many times. It's striking that rabbi Joseph Tendler even went as far as to be "mesader kidushin" at his wedding ceremony. Wow...

In the last few years rabbi Moshe Soloway made a stunning and speedy career as a teacher molester at the YDA Elite High School, a "RockRebbe" (as he prefers to be called), and a marketing and strategy consultant at various companies in NY. Mr. Obama should be really embarrassed to associate himself in any way with this young "dynamic business ethics and religion public speaker" and "a role model."

Moshe Soloway said...

Some little known facts about the pro-Obama rabbi Moshe Soloway mentioned here. When my cousin learned at Ner Israel in Baltimore in the nineties, this scoundrel appeared there in the guise of a Bobover chassid. Soloway became very close to rabbi Joseph (Yossef) Tendler, Ner Israel Mechina principal who proposed him to rabbi Moshe Eisemann. Bisexual Soloway gave up right away his phony chassidus, threw out his gartel, and became rabbi Eisemann's concubine.

At the same time he had abundant sexual encounters with local shiksas (something which rabbi Moshe Eisemann could never forgive him). Soloway was caught in the act and quietly thrown out of Baltimore. (Rabbi Aryeh Katzin (a good friend of rabbi Israel Belsky of Torah V'Daas), the principal of the "Sinai Academy" yeshiva in NY who initially shipped Soloway to Ner Israel, drove to Baltimore himself to coordinate a dignified removal of that fraud together with the hefty pack of porn periodicals Soloway stockpiled in his dorm room.)

In the Torah-true Judaism that would spell the end of the career for anyone. But not so in our hijacked version of Judaism with Moshe Soloway as its embodiment! Rabbi Joseph Tendler promptly stepped in to bail out his protégé with the help of his brother rabbi Moshe Tendler of the Yeshiva University. Soloway was then lovingly shipped off to Israel. In the course of merely one year he received a rabbinical ordination at "Aish HaTorah" yeshiva in Jerusalem in exchange for some specific favors he did for rabbi Mattis Weinberg. Then Soloway returned to States and (sure enough) was married off by rabbi Joseph Tendler to a girl he later cheated many times. It's striking that rabbi Joseph Tendler even went as far as to be "mesader kidushin" at his wedding ceremony. Wow...

In the last few years rabbi Moshe Soloway made a stunning and speedy career as a teacher molester at the YDA Elite High School, a "RockRebbe" (as he prefers to be called), and a marketing and strategy consultant at various companies in NY. Mr. Obama should be really embarrassed to associate himself in any way with this young "dynamic business ethics and religion public speaker" and "a role model."

Fraud Detector said...

The blogs are reporting that those two BIG PHONIES Menachem Lubinsky & Nat Lewin are telling reporters that they no longer represent Rubashkin.

The Rubashkins are on their way to being broke especially after yesterday's record $10 million fine. I guess they're off to find the next sleazebag with enough money to hire them.

Anonymous said...

CAN CITY – The Vatican issued new psychological screening guidelines for seminarians Thursday — the latest effort by the Roman Catholic Church to be more selective about its priesthood candidates following a series of sex abuse scandals.

The church said it issued the new guidelines to help church leaders weed out candidates with "psychopathic disturbances." The scandals have rocked the church in recent years, triggering lawsuits that have cost hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.

"(The guidelines) became ever more urgent because of the sexual scandals," Monsignor Jean-Louis Brugues told reporters. He stressed, however, that psychological testing was used in some seminaries as far back as the 1960s — or at least a decade before the sexual abuse scandals exploded in public.

"In all too many cases, psychological defects, sometimes of a pathological kind, reveal themselves only after ordination to the priesthood," the guidelines said. "Detecting defects earlier would help avoid many tragic experiences."

The guidelines said problems like "confused or not yet well-defined" sexual identities need to be addressed.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said the Vatican needs to go beyond screening seminarians to end what the group calls the church's "virtually unchanged culture of secrecy and unchecked power in the hierarchy" that left dangerous priests in parishes.

"Every barrel will always have some bad apples," the Survivors Network said. "Real change requires effectively reforming the barrel and those who oversee it."

Vatican officials conducted an evaluation of U.S. Roman Catholic seminaries in response to the abuse crisis to look for anything that contributed to the scandal. The evaluation was completed in July of 2006, but the results have not been made public.

The bishops and seminary staff who conducted the onsite reviews gave special attention to what seminarians are taught about chastity and celibacy. The Vatican also directed the evaluators to look for "evidence of homosexuality" in the schools.

Studies commissioned by the bishops' conference have found that the majority of known victims of abuse by priests in the last 50 years were adolescent boys. In response, some Catholics have blamed gay clergy for the scandal; experts on sex offenders contend homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to molest children.

A 2005 Vatican document said men with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies shouldn't be ordained, but that those with a "transitory problem" could become priests if they had overcome them for three years. The Vatican considers homosexual activity sinful.

The new guidelines reflect the earlier teaching, stressing that if a future priest shows "deep-seated homosexual tendencies," his seminary training "would have to be interrupted."

The guideline say priests must have a "positive and stable sense of one's masculine identity" and the capacity to "integrate his sexuality in accordance" with the obligation of celibacy.

The church is struggling to provide enough priests for parishes in many parts of the West because of waning vocations. But Pope Benedict XVI has said it is more important to have good priests than a greater number of priests.

___

Associated Press

Agudah Fresser said...

They just ran out of Rubashkin steaks at Pomegranite supermarket in Flatbush because all the other Agudah Fressers got there before I did.

Where else can I get Rubashkin steaks before they become a historical item?

shmarya said...

Hella Winston and Larry Cohler-Esses On Zev Brenner
Talking about the new group formed by haredi survivors of…

…rabbi-on-boy sexual abuse.

Tonight, 9 p.m. Eastern Time:

NYC:
WSNR 620 AM

Miami
WKAT 1360 AM

Live Internet stream.

UOJ Public Service Announcement said...

Hella Winston and Larry Cohler-Esses On Zev Brenner

Talking about the new group formed by survivors of Kolko, Margo, Monstrowitz, Colmo the Homo, etc

Tonight, 9 p.m. Eastern Time:

NYC:
WSNR 620 AM

Miami
WKAT 1360 AM

Live Internet stream at Talklinecommunications.com

Pesach Lerner said...

Can't you impatient sharks wait until Sholom Rubashkin has had his day in court? Surely anyone with a modern looking facility will be exonerated.

Whiskered Cow Shmuel Boom Boom Bloom - Agudath Israel Cow Dung said...

I was not at the Rubashkin plant - Lubinsky told me we were at Disneyland!

Praktish Fresser said...

Never mind Rubashkin. If you want Alle or any kind of steak you better run out today before the prices double.

You will not see steaks or any beef at these prices for a very long time if ever again.

Sneak Peak of next Pinny Lipschutz piece in Yated said...

The trumped up charges & arrest of R' Sholom Rubashkin is mamash milchemes Amalek bizmanenu!

Yehuda Eckstein said...

Now that Lubinsky quit I have to scramble to find other Rubashkin propaganda pieces.

All this extra work is a pain in the butt!

And it's gor geferlich what these anti-Semittin are doing!

Young Israel Camera Boy Nachi Troodler said...

Steve Mostofsky & Menachem Genack want me to cover the Rubashkin trial and edit out all the parts that make the OU & NCYI look bad.

Bob Barker said...

Menachem Lubinsky, come on down!

You're the next contestant on The Price is Right for another sleazebag with the money to hire you.

boog said...

Obama "embarrased"?

Have you seen his other "friends"?

Ayers
Dohern
Khalidi
Jesse (Hymietown) Jackson
Acorn
Reszko

And but of course, "Pastor" Wright; the "best" the Black Church has to offer.

Quack Quack Menachem Genack said...

We want Rubashkin to succeed!

http://www.forward.com/articles/14466/

The beef lines are closed but poultry, ie chicken and my favorite, duck, are still open.

The Forward reports that the poultry line almost shut down too because there was no money to buy chicken feed but at the last minute, an emergency appeal in 770 or somewhere got the money.

Archie Bunker said...

Now that Rubashkin is a felon, Wal-Mart policy will not allow purchasing anything from him even if Agri manages to remain open a little longer.

The question is what are all the big supermarket chains selling Rubashkin's officially treif Iowa's Best brand going to do.

There may be a stock play on some publicly traded slaughter operations that will make up the Agri shortfall.

Rabbinic Member said...

Parshas Noach describes the anger of Hashem witnessing the wanton corruption of human values. The midrashim point out, robbery, coercion, and immorality became woven into the fabric of society. Hashem was left with no choice, but to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Following the great flood, Hashem established a code of conduct for mankind. One of the Seven Noachide Laws is DINIM, the establishment of a justice system.

We live in a time where we are witnessing these same sins interwoven into the fabric of society. Unfortunately, this time it is interwoven into our Jewish community as well. As rabbonim, we have heard horror stories from victims of immorality. Who came to members of the rabbinate for solace and symathy, but were intimidated and coerced instead. We see the delitirious effects on the victims, yet choose to protect our reputation above all else.

We have failed our congregants and the victims. We thought internal community measures would be sufficient, they weren't. We thought a broad community accepted special bais din imposing sanctions would be sufficient, it's not. Bais Din has no authority once their psak is rendered in monetary disputes, certainly not in criminal matters. If chas v'shalom our relative is a victim of a crime, would you be happy with the psak of your peers? I don't think so.

It is incumbent upon us, as members of the rabbinate to clarify the following matter to our congregants: Criminal matters which destroy the basic fabric of society MUST be presented to the justice system of the United States.

This rule applies regardless who the victim, or accused is. Family, or community prestige has no bearing in the justice system. It should have no bearing in our pursuit of justice either.

We must bear the shame and consequences of our previous mistakes.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

I need help. This e-mail was sent to me by a Floridian whom I trust. Please get me any information that's out there!

------------------------

"THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT A COVERUP TOOK PLACE IN MIAMI DADE ON RABBI BEN AMO WHO MOLESTED HIS DAUGHTERS. THE CASE IS SEALED DUE
TO THE FACT THAT THE GIRLS ARE UNDERAGE HE WAS NOT ALLOWED TO DAVEN IN THE SHUL ACCORDING TO THE RAV. BUT HAS COME BACK AND THE RAV IS UNWILLING TO TAKE A STAND! THE RABBI'S NAME IS BEN AMO. HE WAS RELEASED ON PROBATION AND SEX COUNSELING TWICE A WEEK THE SHUL IS BEIS MENACHEM - RABBI MARLOW NORTH MAIMI BEACH"

Sholom Rubashkin said...

http://goimg.sv.publicus.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=GO&Date=20081030&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=710309950&Ref=AR&MaxW=350

UOJ had to tell them leg irons too?

Anonymous said...

Is Rabbi Marlow the son of the deceased head of the Crown Heights beis din?

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Dear UOJ,

John asked me to send this to you.

Regards,

Amy

-------------------------

John Walsh On Halloween: Safe, Not Scary

John Walsh knows that Halloween is a great time for kids and parents alike. But Halloween can be a time for unexpected dangers if parents are not paying attention. Check out the AMW Safety Center for John Walshs tips on how to keep Halloween fun and safe for everyone.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Obama's Lead Narrows

FOX News poll of likely voters shows Obama's lead over McCain has dropped from 9 percentage points to 3.

Chazak! Make certain to vote!

Gumshoe said...

UOJ shlita,

if you are in contact with John Walsh, why hasn't he profiled any haymish molesters, as his show could give victims courage to come out of the woodwork?

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

AMW & Co. has helped and continues to help in so many ways.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

What's next - "Torah Temimah considers becoming a bank holding company"?

----------------------

GMAC Considers Becoming a Bank Holding Company

Thursday, October 30, 2008

WASHINGTON — GMAC Financial Services says it's holding discussions with federal regulators about becoming a bank holding company. The move could help it access government funding.

GMAC said in a statement Thursday it plans to refinance its debt and is in discussions with the Treasury Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other federal regulators.

The Treasury Department has outlined plans to use at least $250 billion of the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector to give banks access to capital.

GMAC is the financing arm of General Motors Corp., which owns 49 percent of the company. Cerberus Capital Management LP owns 51 percent of GMAC.

Cerberus is the majority owner of Chrysler LLC, which is in talks with GM about a potential merger.

Rubaskin Update! said...

Postville , IA - Rubashkin Arrested, Released On $1 Million Bond, Plant Partially Closed Down
Published on: October 30th, 2008

News Source: The Iowa Independent - The Gazette

Postville, IA - Federal prosecutors have arrested Sholom Rubashkin, former chief executive officer and vice president at Agriprocessors and son of company founder Aaron Rubashkin, on a criminal complaint that alleges the man conspired in immigration-related offenses.

The criminal complaint is the first against any high-level member of Agriprocessors management and comes in the wake of a massive May 12 immigration raid at the plant. In all, 389 workers — nearly half the plant’s workforce — was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

According to documents filed with the court, Rubashkin “did knowingly conspire, confederate and agree with others, for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain, to harbor one or more aliens at his place of employment in Postville, Iowa, knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that such aliens had come to, entered and remained in the United States and aided and abetted the possession and use of fraudulent identification documents and aided and abetted aggravated identity theft.”

According to Michael Fischels, a special agent with the Dept. of Homeland Security, dozens of fraudulent permanent resident alien cards were discovered and seized from offices within the human resources department at Agriprocessors during the May 12 raid.

“Most of the cards were attached to application paperwork dated May 11 or May 12, 2008,” Fischels wrote in the affidavit filed with the court. “Additional resident alien cards were groups in stacks and not attached to any paperwork. Based upon common features, ICE agents determined that the vast majority of the fraudulent resident alien cards came from the same manufacturer. Out of approximately 96 fraudulent resident alien cards, approximately 90 exhibited alien registration numbers which were then assigned to other actual persons.”

Fischels added that approximately 13 of the cards taken from the offices had photographs of people known to be working at the plant prior to May 11. All but two of the cards, however, “exhibited names which were different than the names the employees had been working under.”

The fraudulent resident alien cards are crucial to the case the government is making against Rubashkin because they are a physical link to claims made by former employees that Rubashkin provided $4,500 in cash as a loan to employees who could not afford to update their falsified documents.

The former plant supervisors, who remain unidentified in the affidavit, allegedly met with Rubashkin near the barn area on the Agriprocessors’ grounds on May 8 and asked for $4,500 to help employees slated for termination purchase new fraudulent documents. According to court documents, Rubashkin provided the supervisors the money in cash the following morning.

The unidentified supervisor, who worked in the beef-kill area, in turn presented employees in that department with $200 each as a loan so the employees could purchase the new documents from a different plant foreman, who was arranging for the purchase of the falsified documents. The documents for 39 or 40 employees were brought to the plant on May 11 by the foreman and distributed by the foreman and the unnamed supervisor.

An unidentified human resources employee is quoted in the affidavit as saying that s/he was personally asked by Sholom Rubashkin to process a large number of new employee applications on May 11. This same employee suspected that the new applicants were the employees slated for termination the previous Friday, and also identified at least one of the applicants as such.

Rubashkin will make an initial appearance in federal court for the Northern District of Iowa this afternoon.

U/D 5:30 PM

According to the Forward Agriprocessors shut down major portions of its slaughter operations at the same time that the company’s former CEO was arrested.

U/D 5:35 PM

He was in federal court in Cedar Rapids this afternoon At the hearing, Rubashkin waived his right to a preliminary hearing and also declined to comment.

He did not enter a plea, but his attorney said Rubashkin would plead not guilty at his arraignment.

Rubashkin was released, after agreeing to surrender his passport and the passport of his wife, to wear a GPS ankle bracelet, restrict his travel to the northern district of Iowa and execute a $1 million bond, $500,000 of which must be secured by Wednesday.

Prosecutor are concerned Rubashkin could be a flight risk. Because of his access to substantial assets.

Ezra Merkin said...

As a principal of Cerberus / GMAC / Chrysler, I will tell you that while these actions appear to be puzzling on the surface, please understand that Ronnie threatened to jump off the roof the GM building if we didn't go ahead with it.

Rubashkin Truck Driver said...

I heard Belsky muttering under his breath that some OU officials might skip the country before their role in the criminal cover up is exposed.

Sell your house while you still can said...

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/HomeFinancing/why-the-surge-in-home-sales-is-bad-news.aspx?page=all

Why the surge in home sales is bad news

Yes, a few bargain hunters have stepped up and put a dent in the housing glut. But the slow cycle of foreclosure sales and falling prices will continue to wreak havoc as it works its way through the economy.

By Mark Gimein, The Big Money

At another time this would be welcomed as good news: Buyers are back! Except that it's clear that this wave is driven by lenders trying to get anything they can get right now for the many thousands of houses they've foreclosed on, because as bad the housing market looks now, it'll get even worse.

Unfortunately, we have a lot further to go. The Case/Shiller price index, a measure of home prices going back to 1987, shows California home prices still at about twice where they were at the peak of the last big housing cycle back in 1990. So just to get back to the top of the last peak, prices would have to drop another 50%.

Interest rates at that time were substantially higher, in the range of 10%. If you take that into account and look not at sales prices but at the cost of paying mortgages, we're still in for a drop of an additional 30%.

That's if prices don't fall below the last peak and interest rates stay at 6.5% or less. In other words, it's a best-case scenario.

These numbers are so dire that they might sound like scare-mongering, except that if you look through the recent sales listings at any number of online sites, you won't have to search very hard to find price drops right along the lines of these numbers.

This house in Riverside, Calif., for instance, was bought for $586,000 in 2006, foreclosed on in November 2007 and sold again this summer for $147,000 -- just 25% of what it sold for two years ago. And here's another heart-stopping fact: Even that vastly diminished sales price was financed, according to real estate records, with a 100% mortgage. Good luck getting one of those now.

Continued: Incomes still out of line with home prices

What this means for homeowners is that if you happened to buy at the peak of the boom, your house is unlikely, in inflation-adjusted terms, to get back to the price you paid for it for another decade at best, if ever.

You may think that this goes just for the most inflated markets like the real estate speculation capitals of California and Florida, but that's not true. Look at the historical numbers, and you'll see that just about any coastal market is still priced 75% higher than it was in 2000.

And even markets like Charlotte, N.C., and Cleveland have real-estate prices twice (and sometimes three times) where they stood at the end of the late '80s boom.

The bottom line is that incomes just haven't risen enough to support this kind of increase.

Just a few days ago, Alan Greenspan, the pope of the economic boom, confessed that he had no idea that home prices would crash the way they have because, well, it had never happened before.

Clearly, we're past the point now at which anybody believes that.

But the prevailing wisdom remains that if you hold on to your house for a long time, eventually you'll do fine. Don't count on that. Yes, markets come back, but a bubble is an irrational rise in prices, and once the balloon is pricked, it doesn't magically inflate again. For a cautionary lesson, look to Nasdaq, the stock market on which most technology companies were listed at the height of the Internet and tech boom. Even before the market crash of the last weeks, Nasdaq hadn't come anywhere close to getting back to its March 2000 top.

The consequence for anybody who owns a home is that the reigning turn-of-the-millennium assumption that you could count on your house not only maintaining its value but providing a nice cushion that you could cash out for a comfortable retirement is no longer in effect.

Over the long run, this will have some good effects, as folks start actually saving money and as we see our catastrophically low savings rate go up to a more realistic level.

But over the short run, it'll have terrible effects as the cycle of foreclosure sales and falling prices works its way through the system.

Some policymakers have worried that a bailout of homeowners could encourage people who can afford their mortgages to go into foreclosure and take advantage of generous bailout terms. They can stop worrying: Homeowners already have incentives to walk away from their upside-down mortgages a lot bigger than any bailout would give them.

The only consolation here if you're watching your house plummet in value is that this will hurt the world's banks even worse than it hurts you. This has been the year of the butterfly -- you know, the one that flaps its wings in Brazil and causes a hailstorm five months later in Guangzhou, China. For many years, it was vaguely assumed that we were all connected in some ineffable way. Well, we now know pretty well what glue was connecting us: the U.S. real estate market.

Every time a borrower defaults on a condo in Miami, a bank in Switzerland or an investment fund in Norway takes a hit. Every time a bank writes off another few billion dollars in bad debts, analysts cross their fingers and mutter "maybe this time it's the last." As long as the padlocks are on the doors and fire-sale prices are in the yards in places like Riverside, it won't be.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

OUT OF CONTROL!

---------------------

A.I.G. Borrows Another $20.9 Billion From the Fed

October 30, 2008, 5:22 pm

American International Group has found another place to borrow billions of dollars from the government: the Federal Reserve’s commercial paper program.

The distressed insurance company disclosed Thursday afternoon that it would borrow $20.9 billion from the Fed’s program, under which the central bank is buying companies’ short-term debt in an effort to unfreeze the market for commercial paper.

A.I.G. already has access to two government credit lines totaling $122.8 billion in order to avoid collapse, and the company’s borrowing from the commercial paper program enabled it to reduce its debt under those lines.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, A.I.G. said four of its affiliates had exchanged commercial paper for cash from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It said in the filing that it would use the proceeds to refinance its outstanding commercial paper, as well as pay down its initial credit line of $85 billion.

The Fed said A.I.G. reduced its debt under the two existing credit lines to $83.5 billion, from $90.3 billion a week ago, by using cash from the commercial paper program, Bloomberg News reports.

An A.I.G. spokesman, Nicholas Ashooh, told Bloomberg that the terms of the commercial paper program were better than those for the original $85 billion credit line, which has a higher interest rate.

“They’re paying off a Fed loan with another kind of government subsidy — it’s like using one credit card to pay off another credit card,” Robert Haines, an analyst at the research firm CreditSights, told Bloomberg. “If they make progress paying off debts over time, I don’t think it’ll be viewed as necessarily a bad thing.”

A.I.G. is rapidly running through the $122.8 billion made available by the Fed. Last week, A.I.G.’s chief executive, Edward M. Liddy, said the company might need to borrow even more money.

This enormous need for cash has raised questions about how a company claiming to be solvent in September could have developed such a big hole by October. Some analysts say that at least part of the shortfall must have been there all along, hidden by irregular accounting.

Whiskered Cow at National Council of Young Israel said...

I was wondering why Pesach Lerner is organizing a tour of AIG.

Shea Fishman said...

All the criminals that popped up this week should find their own hiding places. I'm tired of playing host when they're trying to squeeze the figurative 200 ounces into an 8 ounce bottle.

The Walt Disney Company said...

For the record, the closest that Passover Lerner and Shmuel "Boom Boom" Bloom came to Disneyland was when they rented the "Alice in Wonderland" cartoon one motzaei Shabbos.

They should learn how to separate fact from fiction.

Flatbush observer said...

You really know the meat situation is reaching crisis proportions when Margo takes off at the beginning of the new zman to hoard all the provisions he can find.

Glatt Fart on Ave M had to set a customer limit when he brought 5 overflowing shopping carts to the register.

Can you get frummer than Rubashkin? said...

I don't mean to sound like a naive Baal Tshuvah, but can someon please explain to me how a frum person could have done this?

And more importantly, how could 25 frum rabbis have gone there and said that all is kosher?

Is there any integrity and honesty left in Klal Yisroel, or is it true what Reb Chaim Kinievsky told my friend, that "There is no more such thing as 'yashrus' by the Chareidim?"

Willy Wiesner said...

There are no supply problems at the yeshiva. Torah Temimah has secured a special arrangement with Fetter Milton that even if Rubashkin is closed, Getzel will ship us the 10 year old stuff from the back of the freezer.

Rabbi Margulies was only shopping today for personal use at home.

5th Ave Shul said...

These jokes about Ezra Merkin, Michael Moore & Ronnie really crack me up. Moore lives in the trashy, remote Northern Michigan town of Grand Rapids by the way. They all look just as shlumpy as him. They have a high unemployment rate and spend their time hunting or bowling. They are very keen on Obama's plan to give them money that we work so hard for.

This is not a joke. Ezra Merkin's friend from shul, Ira Rennert, is in the mining business which is a favorite target of Michael Moore. Rennert got a restraining order against him after he protested outside his office. Moore could not appear on the David Letterman show on premesis because being too close to Rennert's offices, he would have been arrested.

And speaking of Rennert, before there was any talk of an eruv in the Hamptons, those same Jewish anti-Semites tried to stop him from building a summer home there. They made up stories at the Town Council meeting that Rennert was conspiring to open a yeshiva instead of vacationing there.

Yeshiva ketana teacher said...

R' Shea Fishman, that sounds like a contradiction to the level of hachnosas orchim that we are instructed to maintain in the Torah Umesorah training course.

Shame on you!

Yankel Applegrad said...

Willy,

Belsky tells me that creditors are about to reposess the entire Rubashkin truck fleet.

How the hell is Getzel going to ship us that old dreck meat?

Scott Tulman said...

Rubashkin's old dreck fleish will be fine when it gets delivered to YTT before Shabbos.

Yonasan Tendler said...

If anyone needs to funnel some funny money to Rubashkin to pay for the meat just let me know. I figured out a new sort of money laundering that I don't think Hella Winston will be able to figure out.

Rabbi Herbie Bomzer said...

Well, Sholom Rubashkin was all the way out there in Postville, Iowa. They should have left him alone.

Yudi Kolko said...

I knew it would work out.

Eckstein has a helicopter that can ferry the meat. They'll make a refueling stop on the roof of Telshe Wickliffe with the help of Sorotzkin & Levitansky.

Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services said...

http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c225_a13834/Special_Sections/Healthcare.html

by Doug Chandler
Special To The Jewish Week

Ida, a New York City resident now in her 50s, recalls days as a child when her father would rip out clumps of her hair and beat her until she was black and blue — a consequence of his addiction to alcohol. A “mean drunk,” she says, he also abused his wife, Ida’s late mother.

But the fact that her parents were “pillars” of their Long Island Jewish community, where they helped “build their synagogue from the ground up,” made the prospect of her receiving any help from those quarters a daunting one. Each and every time she approached her community’s leaders, Ida says, rabbis “would tell me I didn’t know any better — that I should be careful to say things that aren’t true.”

Ida is one of the 20 contributors to a new book, “Jewish Sisters in Sobriety,” published by Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others (JACS), a program of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services.

As with all of those contributors, she chose to write under a pen name, Ida, to protect her anonymity. But her story and others in the book are candid and true, offering vivid insight into alcoholism, drug addiction and co-dependency among Jewish women, each of whom is now in recovery.

The problem of addiction in the Jewish community is intensified when it is compounded with tendencies to deny that compulsive behavior is an issue among Jews or to stigmatize Jews who are struggling with addiction, according to experts on the matter.
“People either don’t believe you [when you discuss addiction among Jews] or they overreact,” Katz said, quoting what he often hears. “‘Oh, that’s terrible! That’s a shonda!’” He added that either response creates an extra barrier for addicts and their families who are searching for help. “All it does is drive the problem underground.”

Recognition of the problem has improved in recent years, Katz continued, “but it still has a long way to go.” Most Jewish day schools, for instance, won’t turn JACS down when it suggests a program or speaker. But some have requested that any event be kept as quiet as possible, fearing that it might generate a perception that the school has a problem. Similarly, Katz knows of synagogues that have declined to host a 12-Step fellowship, like Alcoholics Anonymous, fearing that the meetings could draw an “unsavory element, quote-unquote.” As a result, many 12-Step meetings take place in churches, deterring many Jews from attending or discomforting those who do attend.

Jewish women caught in the disease — either as addicts themselves or as relatives of an addict — are even more isolated than Jewish men, said Ida, whose father and older brother remain active addicts.

While men tend to work outside the home or outside the Jewish community, giving them “a wider view of the world,” many women spend their days within the confines of their own neighborhood, she said. In addition, she continued, “Women, in general, look to nurture their families and believe they can make things better,” as she did while tending to her father and brother. The reality, she and others said, is that no one can change or control an addict’s behavior.
Shaina, one of the three contributors who took part in last month’s panel discussion, described addiction as “a form of insanity” that involves lying, secrecy and denial — even on the part of family members, like herself, touched by the addict’s behavior.

“If you love someone, you think, ‘How can it be?’” said Shaina, who described herself as “frum from birth” and a resident of one of the city’s mostly-Orthodox communities. In an interview with the Jewish Week, Shaina, 47, said she failed to see her husband’s addiction from the very beginning of their relationship, more than 20 years ago, when he told her that he once used marijuana regularly but no longer did. “That should have rung alarm bells” for her, she said, but instead she figured that smoking pot was a normal activity for teenagers and, at most, a passing phase. “It never entered my mind that anyone with an Orthodox upbringing could have a problem,” she said.
Ignorance, though, soon turned to denial, and Shaina eventually became complicit in her husband’s addiction, ignoring his behavior or even covering it up as he smoked in their home’s bathroom, stole money from her wallet and was fired from his job. His financial woes, at one point, nearly put their home in foreclosure, which Shaina prevented, she said, by dipping into her own inheritance. By that point, he was also snorting cocaine.

Like others who contributed to the book, Shaina also discovered that Jewish institutions offered little, if any, help. One rabbi visited by the couple suggested that her husband engage in daf yomi (the daily reading of Torah) or chesed (charity work) as a way to keep himself busy and away from substance abuse — a notion that now makes Shaina cringe.
“A lot of the rabbis just blunder through,” she said. “They think religion will cure the addiction.”
Two other contributors to the book — both participants in the panel discussion — are themselves recovering addicts. One is Miriam, 58, who was raised in an upper-middle-class home in Southern California. As one of the few Jews in her neighborhood, she felt “alone and different” — a pain that led her first to an addiction to sugar and overeating and, later, to hashish and other substances. She lived for a while in Israel and Europe, hoping with each move that a new location or a new relationship would break her of her patterns. But she “ran wild” each time, engaging, she said, in dangerous behavior.
The other woman is Valarie, who began drinking when she was 13, simply because liquor was “readily available” in her Long Island home, and who turned to alcohol again in her 20s, while caught in a physically abusive marriage. Now 47 and married a second time, she recalled in the book how every day “was a struggle just to survive. On most days, I would wake up from a night of drinking and be disappointed that I hadn’t had the guts to kill myself the night before.”

Each of the women eventually found their way to one or more 12-Step fellowships and to JACS, where, for the first time, they learned that other Jews faced the same problem with addiction that they did. For Valarie, that happened after she read a book on co-dependency and “recognized myself in the book.” For Shaina, the journey began when she finally “hit my bottom,” realizing the “painful reality” of her husband’s drug use. Miriam attributes her recovery “to God.”

The other thread is the importance of service to the community, which Miriam calls “one of the most important things” in keeping her sober. Valarie, for instance, works for JACS, linking Jews troubled by addiction to rehab programs and other resources.
“I have a Rolodex of every type of Jew,” she said — “every black hat, every wig, every transgender and every level of observance or lack thereof.” That Rolodex could be an apt description for JACS itself, which welcomes any and all Jews without judgment, its leaders say.
For each of the three women, contributing to the book constitutes a form of service, educating the community and letting other addicts know that they’re not alone.
Describing the difference between her pre-JACS days and today, Shaina said she “may have been religious, following an Orthodox lifestyle and keeping all the tenets, but I’m not sure it wasn’t by rote — I wasn’t living in the joy of it.” That joy today “is much greater,” she added.

Vos vet zein mit der kinder? said...

http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/2008/10/30/1947/critical-times-for-agriprocessors/

Critical times for Agriprocessors
Author: Ben Harris

Multiple sources told me that employees were ordered to kill thousands of unused chickens, apparently because the company couldn’t afford to feed them

Agriprocessors has been looking for a buyer and/or strategic partner for some time, according to several knowledgeable sources. It’s hard to imagine that the events of the last 48 hours will make that much easier.

Steve Savitsky said...

Oh man! What do the rabbonim say in droshos this Shabbos or do we just ignore it?

How did I ever leave that Genack numbskull in charge of OU kashrus?

Obama Democrats said...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,445044,00.html

A Huffington Post writer stabbed her former lover more than 200 times with a screwdriver and then tried to conceal the slaying, PalmBeachPost.com reported.

After committing the gruesome crime, Carol Anne Berger, an election correspondent for the Huffington Post, reported her former flame missing, then fatally shot herself a day later, police told the Web site.

Lt. Gary Chapman said Jessica Kalish, 56, a software executive, was found in the backseat of her BMW on Oct. 23, the Web site reported.

Kalish had been stabbed with a Phillips-head screwdriver 220 times, he said, with wounds concentrated in the back of her head, back, arms and face. A blow to Kalish's neck likely killed her, Chapman told the Web site.

Berger and Kalish recently had hired an attorney to sell their house and split the revenue. Kalish had met another woman and spent hours absorbed in cyber-dates with her new companion, PalmBeachPost.com reported.

"We are all very lucky to have Carol Anne be part of the Off the Bus family," a Huffington Post statement read, referring to the Web site's special election section. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of Carol Anne Berger and Jessica Kalish."

Malach HaMovies said...

UOj,

How long will you keep us in suspense re: the conversation you had with reb yakov z"l. If i recall it's been over a year since you first mentioned the talks that you had with him prior to his passing !!!

Leopold Margulies said...

Ich bin der Rosh Hayeshiva shlit"a and I approve this message!

I just screamed noch a mol at Eli Greenwald. He instigated this whole thing when he was sold some rotting Rubashkin pastrami and complained to the Health Department.

Rubashkin in tefisa is oyf zein pleytzes!

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

R' Malach Hamovies,

I hesitate to put it up. I'm truly conflicted. I don't know if the Rosh Yeshiva ztvk'l would have wanted me to divulge what was truly in his heart. He never said that I should not repeat what he said....

It's all written out, I checked it 100 times for accuracy against my notes that I always made whenever I spoke with him and other giants!

Maybe one day - Maybe!

Malach HaMovies said...

UOJ,

Ok. I sort of understand where you are coming from. But i have a couple of questions. Could you tell us at least SOME (but not all) of the conversations that you had with him ?

And does anyone alive today know what you know ?

And could you let us know who that person (or persons) might be ?

Lowest Unique Bid said...

Nice job done!!!