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Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

Latin American Trading Moving Up on Israeli Agenda

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to improve economic ties with politically friendly Latin American countries in order to compensate for the crippled economy of Israel’s main trading continent, Europe.

The new effort to increase Latin American trading, particularly with Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, will compliment Netanyahu’s simultaneous effort to increase economic ties with China and other East Asian countries. These four Latin American countries formed the free-trade Pacific Alliance last year and account for about 36 percent of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP). They all trade significantly with North America.

Currently in Latin America, Brazil is Israel’s main trading partner, taking in Israeli exports at about $1.1 billion per year and importing to Israel at about $400 million per year. In June, Israeli President Shimon Peres signed a free-trade agreement with Colombia.

Amnesty: The Road to Nowhere

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

The Heritage Institute report estimates that under amnesty the average legalized illegal household will take in $43,900 in benefits while paying a little over a third of that in taxes. Those numbers are grim from the standpoint of a tottering economy being asked to take on an even bigger pile of debt and they reveal an even grimmer view of the future.

Set aside the political debates, the tensions over multiculturalism, entitlements and the great political divide and those numbers reek of a country whose only future is poverty.

Subsidized poverty, even if we had the ability to continue subsidizing it forever, is still poverty. A Food Stamp Nation made up of slums full of bodegas and check cashing places does not offer any kind of future. Its only growth industries are in expensive government jobs or cheap service jobs leading to an economy of two tiers; one for workers and another for political workers.

“A report came out recently which showed what most Mexicans had long suspected – there is almost no social mobility in the country whatsoever. If you are born into poverty the chances are very high that you will die poor too,” a BBC report from Mexico concludes.

Now substitute America for Mexico. Imagine a society sharply divided between the working class and the government class where political connections mean more than any single other factor.

The report begins with the daughter of the Federal Attorney General for Consumer Protection shutting down a restaurant because they wouldn’t give her a seat and ends with two wealthy women abusing a police officer by calling him “asalariado” or “wage earner.”

Asalariado is becoming an insult in the United States. And the irony is that amnesty for illegal aliens may complete the process through which the people who came here looking to find opportunities that didn’t exist in Mexico will turn America into Mexico.

America hardly had any class issues because both the rich and the poor worked. A Carnegie or a Rockefeller might be able to buy and sell a thousand ordinary men, but still started out at the bottom of the ladder and never stopped working. To have proper class issues, you need a permanent leisure class to create that gap between those who work and those who do nothing.

In a dynamic economy, a leisure class is largely unsustainable. Inheriting a pile of money and then doing nothing is not likely to end well. But a dynamic economy depends on social mobility. An oligarchy regulates the economy into an impoverished predictability in which there is hardly any social mobility and a permanent leisure class. Its permanence depends not on the economy, but on its control.

Or to put it another way, suppose you have X millions of dollars to invest. Do you look for undervalued companies with a future or companies with political connections? In a dynamic economy, you invest based on merit. In an oligarchy, you invest based on political connections because the idea or the model are mostly worthless. The economy is divided up into spheres of influence carved out by interests and guilds.

In the age of Obama, a smart strategy is to invest in politically connected companies with bad business models and then get out before they go down. Nothing of worth or value will be created. Instead the wealth will circulate within the oligarchy and pay out profits with money harvested from the Asalariados, the suckers still trying to claw their way up instead of phlegmatically accepting their plight and cashing their government checks.

Eventually either the checks will get smaller or the price of milk will get higher. The Asalariados may look like suckers in the short term, but they’re still getting ahead in the long term. The grasshopper may shop for groceries without checking prices while the ant grits his teeth at the cash register, but when the economic freeze comes, it’s the ant who has the skills to survive.

But the oligarchy is designed to keep the ant from climbing too high. The last time the ants climbed too high, feudalism collapsed and gave way to the free enterprise economy, and most of the thinkers of Europe spent centuries trying to figure out how to put everything back into a neatly controllable natural order with lots of farms and lots of cheerful people working on them without complaint.

Mayan Calendar Expires, No Apocalypse So Far, See You in 2240

Friday, December 21st, 2012

We’ve reached the end of the 5,125 year Mayan calendar, December 21, 2012, and much like the debate that was reportedly being held on Christopher Columbus’s fourth ship (the one that fell over the edge), we today are engaged in a debate—a short lived one by definition—over whether or not the end of the Mayan calendar marks the end of the world.

I wonder if they’ll have similar debates as the year 2240 approaches. That would also be the year 6,000 on the Jewish calendar. Hopefully, more Jews than ancient Mayans will have survived by then. I looked up the year 6000 on my Kaluach calendar, which continues generating calendars past the year 6000 without a problem.

By the way, Rosh Hashana 6000 falls on Monday night, October 1, 2239. That means a really late Sukkot. Hope it won’t rain on your sukka.

But, seriously, don’t you think the Internet (assuming print will no longer be an option – you might just install a chip in your brain and browse stuff by squinting and blinking) will be full of messianic predictions? Heck, it’s 5773 and we’re doing the messianic on occasion – imagine how fervent we’ll be when the big 6 comes around?

Of course, our tradition says that Moshiach can arrive at any time in the sixth millenium, but only if we’re ready for him. Let’s hope we won’t have to retool our doctrine come Monday night October 1, 2239.

According to a new poll cited by Reuters, almost 15 percent of us worldwide believe the world will end during our lifetime, and 10 percent think the Mayan calendar could signify it will happen in 2012. That’s December 21, 2012, to be precise.

The Australian Herald Sun, where they receive the new day ahead of us, has reported this morning: “The 13th b’ak’tun has ended. The Mayan calendar has expired. We’re still here. So is New Zealand – and they’re two hours ahead of us.”

The HS continues: “There are no reports of Planet Nibiru looming suddenly above our atmosphere. No 100 ft tall apparitions of Mayan gods have started eating populations here or anywhere else so far covered by the 14th b’ak’tun date-line.”

Nevertheless, according to the Australian NT News, “hippies from all over Australia have gathered at Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock, a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia) to see the world end.”

“Hippies?” Seriously?

Nomadic healer John, 53 – who says he hasn’t had a surname “for years” – had a message for Territorians worried about the end of the world: “Have no fear.”

“It will be the Ending of Time and the Beginning of Time,” he said.

“There will be a shift in the world but it happens every 26,500 years and NASA will tell you that.”

John’s doomsday resolution, according to NT News, is: ” I will just open my heart and be honest and love everyone. That’s when the wars will stop.”

Hey, you stick with what works.

According to experts on spiritualism cited by the AP, “a galactic bridge has been established – spirals of light are entering your head.” As we speak.

In Mexico, which by rights be at the center of the action, some are waiting for midnight, Mexico time, (you figure it out) and the start of the new b’ak’tun over the ruins of the Mayan civilization.

Others predict the end will come at exactly 11:11 PM – wherever you may be at the time (which makes absolutely no sense with a sphere-shaped planet, but appears logically sound on a flat Earth).

December 21 is the Winter Solstice, when the sun goes as far south as it ever does. From this point on, the days will get longer and the nights shorter. That news you can take to the bank. As to the apocalypse – when it happens, if it does, at 11:11 at night in the New World, we here, in Netanya, Israel, will be well into Shabbat morning, some of us probably already engaged in Shachrit davening.

Keep us posted. Come back to this page for an update Saturday night – if you still have Internet service.

Mexico Extradites San Jose Mosque Imam (Rap Video)

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Over the weeked, three suspected members of the terrorist organization Hezbollah, a proxy group for Iran, were arrested in the capital city of the Yucatan Province, Mexico.

One of the three, Rafic Mohamad Labboun Allaboun, 44, is a Lebanese American.  According to Benito Rosell Isaac, head of the Mexican National Migration Institute (INM) in Yucatan, Labboun had a warrant out for his arrest from Houston, Texas, and he was deported there within hours of his arrest.  He had a court appearance on Monday morning, September 10, and then was returned to the San Jose division of the Northern District Court of California.

The news of the arrest was a major story in Mexico, but had little coverage on American or Israeli media sites.

It should have.

Rafic Labboun is a naturalized American citizen, born in Lebanon, who immigrated to the United States in 1986.  He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in mathematics.  Although born a Sunni Muslim, he converted to the Shia faith and became an energetic and charismatic promoter of Islam.  Labboun served as an imam for the Shiite Association Bay Area (SABA) Mosque in San Jose, California.  The SABA Mosque is considered by some experts in the counter-terrorism world to be strong supporters of both the Khomeinist regime and of the Hezbollah terrorist organization.  Labboun was the spiritual leader at SABA until he “suddenly” returned to live in a southern neighborhood of Beirut, Lebanon, in 2002.  Until that time it is believed that Labboun was the highest ranking Hezbollah member in the San Francisco Bay area.

Labboun returned several times to the SABA mosque, ostensibly to preach, for short periods, but was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on his way back to Lebanon on January 12, 2009.  Labboun was convicted by a jury on July 19, 2010, on  seven counts of bank fraud. The fraud involved the creation of false lines of credit between several US banks.  Credit cards and checks from those lines were then used to obtain more than $100,000 in gold from Saudi Arabia.  The money is believed to have ended up in Lebanon, and was allegedly used to finance terrorist activities by Hezbollah.  The money was never recovered.

After the verdicts were entered, Labboun was sentenced by Judge Ronald M. Whyte of the United States District Court of the Northern District Court of California, to 27 months in custody, followed by three years supervised release.  In addition to his prison sentence, Labboun was ordered to repay the stolen funds to the defrauded banks.

Labboun was scheduled for release from prison on June 29, 2012.   On June 21, however, he was ordered to reside at the Geo Care Residential Reentry Center for an additional three months, as directed by his probation officer, Jennifer Hutchings.   Instead, he flew to Mexico on a false passport from Belize, the country of which the two men with whom he was arrested are citizens. The name on Labboun’s false passport was Wilhelm Dick.

According to reports, eyewitnesses to the arrest operation over the weekend said that INM and Mexican state police appeared in full force, parked in front of a building and several heavily armed officers exited their cars.  These officers then entered the building and quickly arrested the three men. The suspects were reportedly first taken to a security complex located on the loop highway, escorted by a high security convoy.

It is believed that the three were arrested because they were involved in financing activities in an attempt to bail out Hezbollah members jailed in the United States.  Labboun was in violation of his parole, and while that alone may have triggered the focus by authorities, the extensive show of force by the Mexican arresting agencies contributed to speculation that much more was at stake.

A report from the Yucatan Times mentioned rumors that Labboun had some connection to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, but those reports have not appeared anywhere else.  A San Francisco CBS station reported that the FBI referred to the two men arrested with Labboun, George Abdalah Elders and Justin Yasser Safa, as known Hezbollah operatives.

Israeli Spy Drones Going After Mexican Drug Cartels

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

In January, The Marker reported that Israel-based, international defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. had won a contract worth $50 million to supply the unmanned drone Hermes 900 to an unknown state on the American continent. Now Aviation Weekly reveals it must be the Mexican government.

The Hermes 900 drone is based on the operational experience gained from the Hermes 450, which is in use by the IDF in its operations. The Hermes 900 has a wide range of advanced capabilities, including longer flying time, flying at an altitude of up to 30 thousand feet, and the ability to carry large cargo. The craft’s unique configuration allows it to carry a variety of payloads of different sizes and shapes, and to switch between them as quickly as needed.

The Elbit website lists some of the Hermes 900′s capabilities as follows:

Take-off weight ……….1,180 kg Max Payload……………350 kg Endurance………………36 hours Service Ceiling…………30,000 ft Range……………………..Unlimited

And now Aviation Week is reporting that the Israeli spy drone is probably going to be purchased by the Mexican government, to use in spying on the drug cartels.

AW’s Paul McLeary writes that a friend in Mexico pointed to a curious entry on the Mexican Treasury Ministry’s special projects web page, posted on Dec. 20, 2011, stating the “acquisition of unmanned aircraft, ground segment and additional payloads for the Federal Police” for 744 million pesos, which is equivalent to about $50 million U.S. dollars.

McLeary also cites a Mexican Treasury document that details the “acquisition of two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles 900, ground command-and-control system and additional payload.”

Wired Magazine suggests, based on the AW scoop, that “chances are that the Hermes 900 is headed for the skies above Juarez.”

The Mexicann government has deployed drones against the cartels before, but McLeary insists the Hermes 900 represents a “huge upgrade.” He says Mexico’s military uses at least two Israeli Hermes 450 drones and they have more than a dozen smaller, hand-launched “micro-UAVs.”

Tiny Steps Towards a Big Goal

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Often, when I return home to Israel after a speaking tour in North America, I am asked by my Israeli friends: “Nu, did you get people to make Aliyah?”

I explain that I prefer not to talk much about Aliyah while I am abroad. I try to get Jews to reawaken their love for the homeland, connect with the life in Israel and I find that the issue of Aliyah often distances my audience. Though I am a firm believer in the in-gathering of the exiles, when I speak to Jews around the world, I am trying to bridge worlds, not drive them apart.

Indeed, the biggest schism  in the Jewish world today is the great Atlantic Divide. Six million Jews live in North America, and six million live across the ocean in Israel. The Jewish nation exists in worlds apart: One attends Liberal Arts colleges, the other fights in the army; one speaks English, the other Hebrew; they read different books and watch different TV shows. The Jewish people’s geographic and cultural divide can easily become an unbridgeable gap.

North American Jews are concerned and have taken real steps to bridge the Atlantic Divide through one-year Yeshiva programs in Israel, gap year studies in Israeli universties, internship programs, and, of course, Birthright-Israel, the amazing project that has changed the lives of tens of thousands young Jews.

But still, it’s not enough. 80% of North American Jews have never been to Israel, and most Israelis have no connection to American Jewish life. That is why Israelis, people like outspoken author A.B. Yehoshua, are worried about their North American Jewish brothers and sisters. Israelis are afraid to lose their American family to assimilation, and they are afraid of growing apart.

While A.B. Yehoshua may be right about the problem, his recent harsh words (in which he calls American Jews “partial Jews” for not living in Israel) do not help much. There are no partial Jews, we are a family, a tribe, a nation, and we simply cannot allow our people to become disconnected. We should never talk down to Jews, we should talk up, inspire, and heal. To bring the family together, you need to talk in the language of love.

And you also need vision. Our people need a star to guide us toward one goal that will eventually bring us back together.

What is this vision?

The vision of a rebuilt Jerusalem is one which our people have shared ever since we were dispossessed of our land 2,000 years ago. From Addis Ababa to LA, from Kabul to Vienna, our people have always proclaimed “Next Year in a Rebuilt Jerusalem!” No matter where we are on the globe, no matter our persecution or comfort, we have had only one homeland and one capital to which our heart has belonged.

To foster that vision, and to make it applicable in our lives, we need to get behind the idea of mass Aliyah.

“But wait?? Didn’t you just tell us not to  preach Aliyah because it’s divisive?”

Let me explain: There is the grand ideal of making Aliyah, that is, moving to Israel, and that issue may be divisive. But the word “Aliyah” in Hebrew also refers to the process of going up and there are many steps in the staircase before you get to the landing. And that is exactly what we have to do – take steps towards our united goal with each step being a mini-Aliyah. Those steps can be big or small, but they are steps nonetheless. Deciding to drink only Israeli wine on Shabbat is a type of Aliyah. Putting up a poster of Jerusalem in your house, or a flag, is a type of Aliyah. Sending your kids on Birthright, or to studies in Israel is an Aliyah. Buying real-estate in Israel is definitely an Aliyah.

Aliyah means that we, as a nation, take whatever steps we can towards Jewish unity by recognizing the centrality of Israel in our national life.

And here is another example of mini-Aliyah which is very pertinent in this season:

If you have the budget to vacation this Passover, you certainly have many wonderful alternatives to choose from around the world -

“Celebrate Passover at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples. Rich in tradition and excellence.”

“The Best Passover Vacations Under the Sun are in Mexico, Arizona and Florida. Glatt Kosher.”

“5 Deluxe Passover Resorts – in Florida, New York, Arizona & Italy with Leisure Time Tours.”

“Magical Passover 2012 Vacation in Orlando, Florida at the Luxurious Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld.”

These are great places, no doubt, and I totally understand the need to take one’s few precious vacation days and get away from the stress. However, your Passover vacation is also an opportunity to make a mini-Aliyah with your family and to arrive at the international Passover hub – Jerusalem. The term Aliyah actually comes from the concept of going up to Jerusalem three times a year during the Festivals, so coming to Israel on Passover is definitely an Aliyah!

Nothing shows our values as a nation more then the way we celebrate the Holiday of Freedom. When we choose Jerusalem over Orlando we strengthen the bond of brotherhood within the Jewish Nation, our core values shine through, and our children imbibe it. The world, too, notices when we put Jerusalem ahead of other destinations and it strengthens our nation’s claim to the land.

So this year, let us start making Aliyah as a nation, lets bridge the great Atlantic Divide, and let us make good on what we said at last year’s Seder: “Next year in Jerusalem”.

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Project Gunrunner Won’t Go Away
 
   Project Gunrunner, the controversial government program that runs guns into Mexico under the Obama administration, has contributed to fraudulent statistics seemingly targeting U.S. gun owners.
 
   The misleading data raise questions about the intentions of Project Gunrunner, which some believe could be a defining scandal for the White House.
 
   In February 2008, William Hoover, assistant director for field operations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified before Congress that over 90 percent of the firearms that have been recovered in or intercepted in transport to Mexico originated from various sources within the U.S.
 
   Hoover’s statistics officially were released by the ATF and subsequently were cited in a flurry of news media pieces claiming the vast majority of illicit firearms in Mexico originate in the U.S.
 
   The U.S. Government Accountability Office also used the ATF’s 90 percent statistic in an official report to Congress about American firearms. The Justice Department even incorporated the data in several of its programs.
 
   After a series of independent reports contradicted the ATF claims, however, the bureau then admitted in November 2010 that its 90 percent figure cited to Congress “could be misleading” because it applied only to the small portion of guns verified through its program.
 
   Project Gunrunner is purportedly meant to stop the sale and export of U.S. guns to Mexico by denying Mexican drug cartels firearms. However, the project allegedly has resulted in allowing thousands of guns to cross into Mexico, where many of the weapons currently are untraceable and in the hands of Mexican criminals.
 
   The same guns run into Mexico under the Project Gunrunner scheme reportedly have been recovered from crime scenes in Arizona and throughout Mexico.
 

   One gun, reportedly recovered at the scene, is allegedly the weapon used to murder Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry on Dec. 14, 2010.

 

Libyan Rebels, Egyptian Radicals

And The Obama White House
 
   The foreign affairs adviser for a top U.S. lobby firm hired to represent the rebels of Libya served a few months ago as President Obama’s special representative to Egypt, where he reportedly held a clandestine meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
   In addition, a public relations firm working on behalf of the rebels recently arranged a meeting for Libya’s opposition with a progressive group funded by billionaire George Soros that is known for its close relationship with the White House.
 
   This column previously reportedthat the International Crisis Group, or ICG, led in part by Soros, has long petitioned for the Egyptian government to normalize ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
   The ICG includes on its board Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei and other personalities who champion dialogue with Hamas, a violent offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
   This column also reportedon the numerous ties of Soros initiatives – including his own Open Society Institute – to the revolutions sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
 
   Earlier this week, The Hill reported that Patton Boggs, the top-earning K Street firm, is lobbying for the rebels to be accepted in the international community as the “legitimate government of the sovereign nation of Libya,” according to documents filed this week.
 
   Patton Boggs’s foreign affairs adviser is career diplomat Frank Wisner.
 
   Wisner previously served as vice chairman of American International Group, leaving it for Patton Boggs in 2009, just as AIG – one of the world’s biggest insurers – was seized by the Obama administration in an $85 billion bailout deal.
 
   In February, during the revolution that led to the ouster of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, a staunch U.S. ally, Wisner was dispatched by the White House to Cairo to serve as Obama’s temporary representative there.
 
   This reporter revealed at the timethat Wisner allegedly held a secret meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo with Essam El-Erian, a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the nation’s major Islamist opposition group.
 
   Another group reportedly now representing the rebels since April is the Harbour Group, which handles public relations for the opposition movement.
 
   At the beginning of April, Reuters reported that Harbour arranged a well-attended talk by the rebel government’s Washington representative at the Center for American Progress, or CAP.
 
   CAP is heavily financed by Soros. It is reportedly highly influential in helping to craft White House policy. CAP is led by John Podesta, who served as co-chair of Obama’s presidential transition team.
 

   Former Obama “green jobs” czar Van Jones is a CAP fellow. Jones resigned in 2009 after reports surfaced that he founded a communist revolutionary group.

 

Jihadist Leader:

Al Qaeda Nowhere Near Defeat
 
   A representative of Al Qaeda in the Gaza Strip scoffed at a statement by Leon Panetta in which the newly appointed defense secretary claimed the U.S. “is within reach of strategically defeating” the global jihadist group.
 
   “What Panetta said is nonsense and is for internal U.S. consumption only,” Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadiya Salafiya in the Gaza Strip, told this reporter. “It’s not supported by facts on the ground.”
 
   Jihadiya Salafiya represents Al Qaeda in the Gaza Strip.
 
   Saqer said Panetta doesn’t understand the methodology of Al Qaeda nor its operations.
 
   “Al Qaeda as a structure is not one centralized organization, but it’s an umbrella for many smaller organizations. Sometimes these groups act with no direct link between other groups, and at other times there is coordination and working together,” he said.
 
   The jihadist leader vowed revenge for bin Laden’s assassination:
 

   “All intelligence data in the world says Al Qaeda sympathizers are only growing around world, and very soon the world will start seeing Al Qaeda reactions to the assassination of Sheik Osama bin Laden.”

 

 

   Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/quick-takes-news-you-may-have-missed-102/2011/07/13/

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