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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘score’

In VP Debate Pence Fails to Score Resounding Blow on Iran Deal

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

In Tuesday night’s debate between Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), most of the pundits early on scored a slight win for Trump’s VP, mostly because he was much more restrained than Trump had been in his bout with Hillary Clinton a week earlier, and did not let Kaine go under his skin. One pundit even joked how presidential this guy Pence is, I wonder who’s going to be his VP pick. But while Pence held his own for 90 minutes, although he left all of his opponent’s challenges on Trump’s scandals and questionable statements unanswered, he let Kaine get away with at least one terrible lie: that the nuclear deal carved in part by Clinton as the former Secretary of State removed the Iranian nuclear threat.

This point should probably be scored as a win for the Democrat, because it’s one issue about which the consensus is wide and clear among many Democrats, as well as the bulk of the media: the much celebrated deal was forced on Congress by massive political trickery and outright lies, led to the release of an estimated $150 billion to the world’s largest perpetrator of terrorism, and freed Iran to start working on its nuclear weapon in as little as five years.

Overall, the debate veered to the Iran deal four times, and Gov. Pence was not able to turn any of them into a decisive knockout, or even a win on points.

When Sen. Kaine asked, “Do you know that Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon and Russia was expanding its stockpile? … [Sec. Clinton] worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.

Pence responded, astonished, “Eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program?”

Kaine came back, “Absolutely, without firing a shot.”

Pence let that statement stand and was dragged instead into a debate over who was responsible for the US withdrawal from Iraq. Advantage Kaine on the Iran deal.

Later on, the moderator, Elaine Quijano (CBS), asked Kiane, “Has the terrorist threat increased or decreased?” To which he responded, among other things, “The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways because an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been stopped.”

Kaine continued with an avalanche of points about why Clinton was a better leader to deal with terrorism, repeating ad nauseam that Donald Trump is an admirer of Vladimir Putin and other world tyrants.

When his turn came to respond, Pence first waded through a sluggish attack on Clinton’s responsibility for ISIS, which is not easy to prove, and only towards the end he reached what should have been his money shot, saying, “And a reference to the Iranian deal, the Iranian deal that Hillary Clinton initiated, $150 billion to the radical mullahs in Iran.”

Kaine said, “Stopping a nuclear weapons program without firing a shot?”

Pence then retorted, “You didn’t stop the nuclear weapons program.”

Kaine said, “Yes, we did.”

Pence was then cut off after blurting, “You essentially…” by Kaine, who actually said, “Even the Israeli military says it stopped.”

Pence, instead of pausing to challenge that misleading half-truth, made a weak statement lacking in specificity, that the deal “guaranteed that Iran will someday become a nuclear power, because there’s no limitations once the period of time of the treaty comes off.”

A little later on, Kaine said, again essentially unchallenged, “Hillary Clinton is the secretary of state who knows how to build alliances. She built the sanctions regime around the world that stopped the Iranian nuclear weapons program. And that’s what an intelligence surge means. Better skill and capacity, but also better alliances.”

Had Pence been better versed with the history of the Iran deal, he could have done a lot with this generalized statement, including, perhaps, mentioning the fact that by the Obama Administration submitted the nuclear deal for Congressional approval, it had already been implemented by all its “allies,” so that a continued US embargo would not have mattered — Iran’s revolutionary regime had already been legitimized by the world powers.

Pence then missed his last opportunity to score big on the Iran deal, when he opened, “But let me go back to this Iran thing. I mean, he keeps saying that [the deal] Hillary Clinton started [with the Iranians] prevented Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Kaine quickly interrupted: “That’s what the Israeli [chief] of staff is saying right now.”

Pence said, quite correctly, “Well, that’s not what — that’s not what Israel thinks.”

Kaine announced triumphantly, “Gadi Eizenkot, you can go check it.”

For the record, in January 2016, IDF Chief of Staff Lieut. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and six world powers was “significantly changing the vector that Iran has been on.” But in that same speech, and in many assessments that followed, Eizenkot and other Israeli generals have been warning against “many dangers as well as opportunities” created by the accord.

And on the day after that much quoted Eizenkot speech, a mini diplomatic crisis erupted when Israel’s Defense Ministry issued a statement comparing President Obama with British Premier Neville Chamberlain, who signed the 1938 Munich agreement with Adolph Hitler, basically abandoning the free democratic state of Czechoslovakia. But Gov. Pence probably did not bone up on that part, as can bee seen from his weak response, “You wouldn’t necessarily know that,” regarding Eizenkot’s supposed blessings for the Iran deal.

Kaine challenged him, saying, “Go to the tape.”

Pence then had enough of his wits about him to recall a talking point, when he said, “I know you boycotted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech when he came before the Congress.”

Kaine did not deny the charge, but said, apologetically, “No, I visited him in his office. I visited him in his office.”

Pence then, finally, pounced on him, saying, “You boycotted the speech.” Except that instead of marshalling the facts to expose the Iran deal for all its dangerous failures, Pence delivered a weak jab: “The point is, what this Iran — so-called Iran deal did was essentially guarantee — I mean, when I was in Congress, I fought hard on a bipartisan basis with Republican and Democrat members to move forward the toughest sanctions, literally, in the history of the United States, against Iran.”

Which Kaine, quick on his feet, responded to, saying, “And then Hillary used them to get a deal.”

Pence would not let his opponent have the last word, though, repeating, “We were bringing them to heel, but the goal was always that we would only lift the sanctions if Iran permanently renounced their nuclear ambitions. […] Elaine, let me finish a sentence. They have not renounced their nuclear ambitions. And when the deal’s period runs out, there’s no limitation on them obtaining weapons. […] And the fact that they got $1.7 billion in a ransom payment… is astonishing to the American people.”

That was the sum total of Gov. Pence’s effort, which could have revived a very sore, anti-Obama sentiment among undecided American voters, especially Jewish voters who at this point are second only to African Americans in their commitment to the Clinton camp. Perhaps Presidential Candidate Trump would be able to articulate a forceful argument in Sunday’s debate. It would require an intimate familiarity with the details of the deal, as well as with the range of violations of a variety of UN resolutions on the part of Iran. Can Donald Trump do it? If he wants to become president, he really should.

JNi.Media

Staten Island JCC Receives Anti-Semitic Messages over Basketball Score

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

When the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island opened its beautiful bronze doors on Victory Boulevard in 1929, its mission was to provide a home for the Jewish community for social, recreational and educational activities where people of all races and religions would feel welcome.

The JCC founders certainly did not anticipate that, 90 some years in the future, an irate individual who was terribly unhappy with the score of a youth basketball game would be sending a torrent of vicious, anti-Semitic text messages to a 53-year-old woman who takes care of the athletic program at the JCC of Staten Island.

“I am about to put the JCC back in the concentration camp,” said one message, and another spoke of “Hitler Nation,” police sources told The NY Daily News.

OK, it’s true that those 1929 JCC founders would have been equally baffled by both notions — vile text messages and concentration camps. Still, considering their high aspirations at the time, neither concept would have gladdened their hearts.

Police said the texts were reported last Friday night, and a hate crime investigation has been launched. According to the News, Police already believe they know who sent those messages, but for now the investigation is still ongoing.

JCC spokeswoman Ruth Lasser told the News the texts had been sent in reaction to a teen basketball league game at the JCC Avis/South Shore center on Arthur Kill Rd. in Arden Heights, SI, but she is not certain which specific game result got this person’s goat.

“I do know that there was a dispute of some sort that came as a result of it,” she said. “The texts that followed were about some sort of unhappiness about that game.”

That’s the Hitler Nation kind of unhappiness. Lasser said the texts were “very disturbing.”

“The JCC has a long history, sports and activities that teach you not only the programs, not only the sport, but also sportsmanship,” Lasser said. “We work very hard to make sure we instill the right values, so it is disturbing.”

JNi.Media

Israeli ‘Profiling’

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Profiling is a reality in Israel.Yes, we profile people as they quickly pass through checkpoints, malls, restaurants, even in the cars that pass us. After Arab tractor drivers began ramming their vehicles into buses and Israeli civilians, we began profiling the tractor drivers too. The profiling is done in seconds. The army  has its own rules and recommendations; bus passengers have theirs; we all do. What is the possibility that the person getting on the bus is going to blow it up – once that was a major issue; today, thanks to massive, on-going intelligence work, the Security Fence that separates Palestinians from Israelis, and vigilant guards, this thought is in our minds less and less – but it is still there.

Years ago, a woman was on a bus in Tel Aviv and an Arab got on the bus; everything inside of her said he was a terrorist. Without thinking, without hesitating, she got off the bus. Feeling silly because she would now need to wait for another bus to take her to work, she turned for a second and then heard a huge explosion – just one block away, the bus she’d been on had been attacked by the terrorist she correctly profiled.

I don’t know why I wrote all this – it isn’t the profiling I wanted to talk about – the one I wanted to write about is the profiling we do of our own sons as they enter the army. There is a concept in Judaism that we strive to be perfect, knowing we’ll never get there. God is perfect – the rest of us…we try to emulate God in all we do, knowing we’ll never succeed but will be rewarded for the effort.

I cringe when I hear parents say they have a perfect child – no child is perfect…nor is any human being. One of the things I love about Israel is the army rating system. They have to choose which sons can go into combat units and which ones cannot. They do this with a profile – a rating system. It ranges from down in the 20s (these will be given a deferral and not have to serve) up through the 70s where they participate in the army in non-combat roles. Somewhere in the low 70s, they are borderline combat and up on the 90s, it’s only a question of which unit, and their agreement.

The highest score is not 100 – that would mean perfection. I don’t know if it is true, but I heard once that they deduct 3 points from boys because they are circumcised and 3 points from girls because they have a menstrual cycle. It isn’t that either of these are bad (in fact, they are very good), but it’s as good a reason as any…and so, the top score you can get is 97.

Davidi came to my office a while ago – I was so glad to see him. I didn’t realize how much I wanted/needed to see him until he came in – just as I was finishing a class. “97” he told me and I remembered how Elie and Shmulik had told me the same. It’s a blessing, that high score…a blessing…and a bit of a curse. The first thing the army thinks of with a 97 is – here’s a combat soldier, where should we put them.

What’s nice is that they ask. There’s no use forcing a boy into a combat unit if they aren’t willing to make the commitment. There is a discipline he must follow; a way of life he must learn. With that simple question, he is agreeing to follow orders, to sleep when he is told to sleep, to use the allocated amount of time to do each task. He’s committing to three months of basic training, perhaps more and then more training, and then more. Davidi told them he agreed to go into a combat unit. He told them he wants to be a paramedic.

He didn’t tell them that I want him to go into Artillery – where you fight …. so many kilometers behind the front lines. He didn’t tell them that I’m holding on, not wanting him to rush into what he will do and where he will go. The boy returned to me today – he played on the computer in my office and told me he was hungry.

We laughed about some of the things – the computer test, the medical parts, and the physical examination. He turned a bright shade of red when I joked about the 97, “how do they know? Do they check?”

And he answered, “yes” as he looked towards the front of my office to make sure our secretary couldn’t hear the conversation.

I had no idea the physical examination was…so physical and yes, he was circumcised when he was 8 days old, as is our tradition. He was given the name of his grandfather who had died almost exactly a year before Davidi was born. His grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, whose grandsons will be fighters in the army of Israel. David Levi couldn’t raise a weapon to the Nazis, though he fought back in so many little ways.

I can’t help but believe he is watching my Davidi from the heavens and I know he would be so proud of this so-tall, so-beautiful boy.

Today, my son was profiled. 97….

May God watch over my son, my sons, all the soldiers of Israel and may they be protected, with the names and in the names of their grandfathers.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Paula R. Stern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/israeli-profiling/2013/01/15/

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