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November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘idea’

J.E. Dyer: America – This time, it’s personal

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

I believe the Obama campaign is wasting its time with attacks on Mitt Romney.  That doesn’t mean Team Obama will wise up; it has only a few tricks in its bag, and it deploys them over and over.  But it does mean that the public is inured to the Obama shtick.  There’s no there there, and increasingly, the people know it.

There’s something else about this election that tends to rob the trademark Obama demagoguery of its effect.  A growing number of Americans perceive our nation to be at a turning point (or a precipice; choose your metaphor).  If Romney were a more galvanizing candidate for conservative Republicans, there would be a greater tendency to associate him with the prospect of an American turn-around, on the order of the Reagan presidency.

But Romney is not the object of widespread enthusiasm.  He comes across as a decent, accomplished man who wants to do the right thing, but he is perfectly comfortable with big government, and seems to have no philosophical underpinnings: certainly not conservative ones – constitutionalism, limited government, originalist philosophy – nor any of the kind that help meaningful policies weather the storms of political opposition.

Throughout the very competitive primary season, millions of voters were hoping intensely for someone else.  Yet Romney didn’t tack to the right much during the primary season, and his “inevitability” has meant that he sees little reason to do so in the general campaign.  He won’t be doing heavy lifting for small-government conservatism in the Oval Office.

His difference with Obama is more profound than merely a set of disputes over the precise content of big-government policy.  Romney comes across as having a better character.  He’s not steeped in cronyism, he doesn’t want to “Alinsky” his opponents – or Alinsky the middle class, for that matter – and he generally respects the people and the idea of their private property.  Romney in the Oval Office would not be a predator, ideological or otherwise.  But his idea of the proper role and scope of government is much closer to that of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and all the Democratic presidential candidates since 1964 – including, ultimately, Barack Obama – than that of Ronald Reagan.  Romney’s a Massachusetts pol; a Republican in Massachusetts would be a Democrat in a good 35 of the other states.

Reagan, by contrast, was a defining leader, even philosopher, of the limited-government conservative movement.  He did, in fact, do the heavy lifting for conservatism in Washington, DC.  He didn’t get everything he wanted, and he didn’t satisfy conservatives on every point.  But he was the person leading the charge, acting on a set of philosophical premises about the proper relationship of government to the people.  His premises were opposed in important ways to the assumptions of the New Deal and the Great Society.  Reagan, when he went to Washington, acted on the understanding that he had a mandate to literally reverse the encroachments of government on the people’s lives.

Conservatives in 2012 understand clearly that Mitt Romney will not do this.  He has never said he will, and he has never spoken in philosophical terms that suggest he might.  Electing Romney isn’t electing a champion of the American political idea.  It’s a tactical move to get Obama out of office.

The period of the Obama tenure, and now the 2012 election, are forcing Americans to reconsider, in a way I’m not sure we have for a good 200 years, what the vote means, and what politics means to our lives.  Since 1792, the sense has gradually crept upon us that when we elect a president, we are electing our collective future.  That sense took a giant leap forward with the FDR presidency, and frankly, it took another one when Reagan entered office.

Some of the most important (although not necessarily good) legislation in the 20th century was actually passed under other presidents, like Wilson, Truman, Johnson, Nixon, and Carter.  But FDR and Reagan were seen by their respective constituencies, in a way none of the other presidents in the last century was, as leaders who could steer our course decisively by using the power of the executive.  An idea has spread in the public consciousness that electing a president is tantamount to electing a savior.

New Bill Envisions Large Scale Settlement Uprooting, Attempts to Protect Victims

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Pinui Pitzui (compensation for evacuation) was an idea proposed by the far-left party Meretz as incentive to the Jews of Gush Katif: anyone who leaves his home before the deadline date, would be compensated amply. The assumption behind this suggestion was that most settlers chose life in the disputed territories because of cheap housing and government subsidies. In the end very few settlers took the bait.

A bill proposed on Tuesday by National Union chairman Yaacov Katz (Ketzaleh) will require the government to build new homes and infrastructure for residents of outposts and settlements before they are demolished. For a party so strongly identified with the ideals of settling everywhere in Eretz Israel but especially in the “disputed territories,” the bill sounded an awful lot like Pinui Pitzui.

Co-sponsored by five Haredi MKs – and so far not by Katz’s own faction members – the bill, titled “Preservation of the Rights of Evacuees 5772-2012,” is intended to “maintain the basic human rights and the fabric of life of a group of citizens slated to be evacuated.”

The bill states that an evacuation of a large group (20 or more housing units) can only be done after a new location has been determined in which the evacuees can continue their lives in the manner to which they had grown accustomed. This means that the new location must have an infrastructure in place, as well as comparable education and religious service to those they leave behind. The new location must also offer employment for everyone that is comparable in terms of character, pay, and commuting time. Otherwise the evacuees are entitled to unemployment compensation for 24 months.

This is the famous “key for key” exchange which Gush Katif settlers were demanding at the time, meaning – instead of giving us money, give us the key to a new home and a new life that our comparable to what we are asked to give up – and then we’ll give you the key to our home.

In addition, the Finance Ministry must have in place the entire amount slated for reparations to the evacuees, above and beyond the arrangements for resettling.

“If, after we’ve objected and fought and demonstrated, and, God forbid, lost, and the state of Israel has decided to kick Jews out of their home,” Katz’s spokesman Harel Cohen, told the Jewish Press, “and, by the way, not only Jews, anyone, it cannot do it before it built them a home elsewhere, to start their lives anew.”

Cohen said the bill intends to prevent a repeat of the terrible injustice that Sharon has done to the Gush Katif evacuees, about which he says there’s a wall-to-wall consensus – as  seven years after their uprooting, most of the evacuees still do not live in permanent homes.

I told him that to an outside observer the bill looked like the foundation for a wholesale transfer of Jews from Judea and Samaria. Cohen denied this in no uncertain terms, saying the idea is to force the government to build a new Gish Katif before it takes down an old one.

It certainly appears that the right and the settlers are maturing and getting used to being associated with the ruling majority, and learning to play politics. It also explains why five members of Shas and one from United Torah Judaism are co-sponsoring the bill, as they could probably teach their national religious brethren a thing or two about exacting a price for their cooperation with government.

Cohen told me that the dean of Beit El Yeshiva and Katz’s mentor Rabbi Zalman Melamed was pushing this legislation as far back as a year ago, and at the time even Katz had difficulty with the concept – much as his three faction colleagues still do, apparently, today.

“It sounded to him like a conditional agreement” for evacuation, Cohen explained. But a year later, having agonized over the arduous process of losing the Ulpana Hill neighborhood at the High Court without even getting their opportunity to argue back, Ketzalaeh and everyone else in Beit El can certainly envision the worst happening again.

Origins of Internationalization

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai presents a recent presentation that he gave to the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem about the concept of creating an ‘international city’ in Jerusalem which would remove Jewish control from the city. Yishai discusses the origins of the idea and exactly how he sees fault in this concept.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Improving One’s Mood

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

For the most part, my husband is a very good husband and father. He loves our children and will often go out of his way to make sure their needs are met. He is also loving and good to me. However, he often comes home with a very negative attitude. When he arrives home from work, he sees nothing good. He criticizes the children for not being in pajamas or for not finishing their homework. Even if he is right on both counts, he does not convey his criticism appropriately or at the right time.

When my husband comes home, he should be excited and happy to see the children and me. I want him to be positive and loving and to notice all the good things the children have done. I want my children to be excited when my husband comes home, and not want to go to their rooms as soon as possible. While I don’t blame the children for not wanting to be around when my husband is acting negatively, I wish my husband would be more positive so that the children would look forward to his return home. I do not think that they dread his coming home from work; however, they are definitely learning to stay away from him.

I know my husband works hard and wants time to relax after a long day. But the children miss him and want his attention. What can I do to help my husband come home with a happier attitude?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

It is difficult to ascertain why your husband is coming home in such a bad mood. Perhaps he is hungry and tired from a long day at work and wants to relax a little when he gets home. Maybe he is experiencing a lot of stress at work and is bringing it home with him. Or it’s possible that he just grew up in this kind of home and is recreating what he went through. If your husband is simply tired or hungry, or just wants some time to relax when he comes home, you will be able to easily remedy your situation.

When he is calm and not hungry, you can explain to him, in a gentle and loving manner, that he seems to be coming home in a very bad mood. It may be something he doesn’t even realize is happening. Ask him why he thinks this is. If he says that he does not know, ask him if he is having a hard time at work or if he is extremely hungry or tired when he returns home. If he says that he is hungry, one solution may be to send an extra snack with him to work, so he does not come home with an empty stomach.

Making your husband aware of this – in a non-accusatory way – is a step in the right direction. If your husband becomes defensive, make sure to remain calm and tell him that you know that he is a great husband and father. Assure him that you want to help him feel better when he comes home.

Devising a plan that works for both of you is key. It would be ideal if your husband could think of a solution, as people are generally more invested in something when it is their idea. So, even if you originate the jointly accepted idea, try to make it seem as if he came up with it. If he expresses a liking to your suggestion, say to him, “What a great idea. I like how you thought of it.” And if your husband is not on board with your idea, then make every effort to jointly create a plan of positive action.

Attempt to explain to your husband how hard you try to have things organized during the hectic period before he gets home, and that you get nervous when he comes home feeling unhappy. Using an “I feel” message generally helps people not to become defensive, as it puts the “blame” on you and not on the other person. Thus, saying things like “I feel bad when you come home upset. I want you to be happy to come home and I want the children to feel good about the time they spend with you. What can I do to help make this time easier for you?” would be helpful. This will likely make it easier for your husband to explain to you what is going on with him at the present time, and it will help you arrive at a solution together. Also, this is generally more effective than saying something like, “Why do you always have to be in a bad mood when you come home? It is extremely annoying and obnoxious, and I want you to stop it!” These ineffective comments will probably lead to a fight, and although you may release your frustration you will likely feel worse afterward.

Putin Vows: Holocaust Will Not Be Repeated

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Two years ago, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a visit to Moscow, proposed the idea of a monument in Israel commemorating the sacrifices of the Red Army on behalf of Jews, President Putin promised to come to Israel for the inauguration ceremony.

On Monday, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Jewish leaders from around the world unveiled the brand-new Victory Monument in Netanya, Israel.

“I am very excited to be here today,” said President Putin. “We live in a fragile world and we are obligated to make sure that this dark and tragic time in history does not repeat itself. The Jewish Holocaust was the most shameful and dark event in human history, and the Soviet Army was the one who crushed the head of the Nazi monster.”

Puttin added: “This amazing monument strengthens the respect I feel towards to the Jewish people and the State of Israel…The wings in the monument are white like the wings of the dove that symbolizes peace.”

The design of the Monument was a first-ever joint initiative of Israel and Russia, conducted by a committee of members from both countries and funded by major Jewish philanthropists led by Keren Hayesod – UIA and the World Forum of Russian Jewry.

President Putin visited Israel specifically for the inauguration ceremony.

The Monument honors the millions of Red Army soldiers who perished in the war, among them 120,000 Jews.

Alexander Levin, President of the World Forum of Russian Jewry, a persistent supporters of the monument, said, “Millions of Russian Jews around the world are united at this moment in solidarity for the brave Red Army soldiers.”

More than half a million Jewish soldiers fought with the Red Army in WWII against the Nazis.

A Dumb Investment Someone Wants to Sell You Now

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Can you imagine the following story ever happening to you?

An elderly lady came into my office a while back and told me that she was a novice investor who was very lucky. “Lucky?” I asked. She explained that she was lucky enough to meet a nice, kind person who had sold her a unique investment of raw land that was destined to be converted into a major city one day. When I asked her more questions, she had no idea, claiming that she didn’t understand investments, but was just so lucky that one day she would be rich.

“So what’s the problem?” I asked.

“I need more monthly income,” she admitted.

Here’s what really happened to her: The client was approached by a salesman who said that if she bought into his raw land deal, she would quintuple her money. Since the deal was raw land, there were no renters, and therefore no income from the deal. Thinking that there was a great future to this proposition, the client bought one unit of the deal. Then, when she realized how rich she could become, and since she desperately needed more money, she went to the bank and borrowed some money to buy another unit. Now she owned two units of raw, non-producing real estate, and had to make monthly payments to her bank to pay off mortgage she had taken out to purchase it.

When the client realized that she had used up all of her money for a high-risk investment and, as a result had negative cash flow, she came to me. I called the salesman and asked how she could get out of the deal. He said that the units were not sellable until the whole project was complete. The deal never worked out and now, years later, this poor lady is still suffering.

I don’t know if the raw land will ever be converted into a city. It seems unlikely to me, but I’m not an expert in real estate or city planning. However, I do know that even if the investment itself isn’t dumb, it was a poor idea for the salesman to sell it to this lady. It certainly wasn’t appropriate for her.

When you read these stories, you may think that “it could never happen to me.” However, anyone can make a mistake in judgment when it comes to investing, just like anything else in life. Therefore, when it comes to your own financial dealings, don’t just examine the potential return of an investment. Rather, consider whether the investment program itself is right for someone in your situation. If you have stories like this to share, please send an email directly to me at doug@profile-financial.com or contact me through my website.

 

Blogging Tomorrow at the President’s Conference

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

My first stop on the final day of the President’s Conference was a special bloggers meeting first with Dr. Yossi Vardi and then with President Peres. Bloggers joked on Twitter that they felt like calling Peres ‘Saba’ after spending the past few days with him, and I can understand why. He certainly has a grandfatherly type of spirit made up of a kind smile and a warm glow that radiated through the low lighting of Exhibition Hall.

The bloggers had the opportunity to ask President Peres some questions at the gathering. Bloggers from both national papers and personal websites were represented and asked questions that ranged from straightforward politics to ones that were more personal. One inevitably centered around the status of Iran, in which Peres answered that Iranians are using dangerous means that don’t give Israelis much of a choice when deciding what to do next. Peres explained that in the recent nuclear negotiations, the Iranians came to the table half-hearted. If the leaders don’t agree to economic sanctions, then all options will be on the table. A heavy calm had permeated the room throughout Peres’ discussion, but hearing the idea of the potential for more extreme measures took it to a deeper level.

That feeling was lifted during one of the most moving parts of the session when Peres was asked about his reflections during his time in America with President Obama. A clear advocate and friend to America, Peres explained he was charmed by the President. He said the unique thing about America is that it’s the only power in history that got its strength not by taking, but by giving. “This is a new concept about the strength of generosity,” he said. As kind as his words were, I can’t help but poke a hole in the message. I don’t think the Native Americans would be so quick to talk about America’s generous nature. On top of that, America is a capitalist country that inspires starry-eyed youth with the idea of the ‘American dream.’ The greed and corruption that can result from the concept doesn’t match up. Further, when America started the War on Terror, they exercised their strength under the cover of generosity, wanting to set up a democracy in a less fortunate area, but the true reasons for invading were far less altruistic. That being said, even if America may not be the most generous historically, honoring Israel certainly falls into that category. Seeing Israel in that respect was incredibly moving for Peres and for many bloggers in the room.

Some questions were injected with religion. One blogger asked Peres what he would ask God for at the Kotel. Peres said that God resides in each of us and He guides us. We can follow him or we cannot follow him, but he would ask him to continue to give the right advice and in turn, we will do the right things. It’s an idea that I’ve been learning about at seminary for a few weeks now, and an aspect that can be included in all areas of life. The overarching idea mimics the theme of the conference in general. We don’t know what’s in store for the future, but we must have faith that tomorrow’s world will be better than today’s. Peres said that in the Hebrew language there is only past and future, no present. In response to the words of the prophets, he said that “there is nothing on the waiting list.” The prophets’ words advise us in which way to change for the future. Peres’s actions set the stage for that. By creating the President’s Conference, he is setting up a means to exchange ideas and meet new people that together can create that change.

Peres exuded the same fervor in response to the most fun question of the day. @Roopunzel (on Twitter) asked, “What’s on your wish list for your next birthday present?” Peres didn’t hesitate. He responded that his wish is for all people to have happy birthdays. I hope that’s a message that can be delivered.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/special-features/president-conference-israel-2012/blogging-tomorrow-at-the-presidents-conference/2012/06/22/

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