The Price of Bush’s Commitment to Palestinian Statehood

The Price of Bush’s Commitment to Palestinian Statehood

The Price of Bush’s Commitment to Palestinian Statehood

By Elan Journo

On his recent visit to the Middle East, Vice President Cheney voiced the Bush administration’s belief that a Palestinian state is “long overdue” and vowed to help make that goal a reality. Many conservatives and liberals agree with the administration that America should help fulfill the long-deferred Palestinian aspirations to statehood. The idea is that in doing so we would go a long way toward dousing the flames of Islamist terrorism.

But does U.S. backing for Palestinian statehood advance our security?

Only if you think we’re better off fostering a new terrorist state.

That may seem excessively harsh given President Bush’s mantra that Palestinians just want “the opportunity to use [their talents and] gifts to better their own lives and build a future for their children.” The Bush line we keep hearing is that the terrorists and their supporters are but a fringe element that will be marginalized under the new state, which will coexist “side by side in peace” with Israel and the Western world.

But listen to Palestinian clerics at Friday sermons, calling for violent attacks on Israel. Look at the lurid posters in the homes and shops of ordinary Palestinians, passionately glorifying “martyrs” and terrorist kingpins. Look at their coordinated digging of tunnels to smuggle in weapons and explosives. Look at the popular collusion with Islamist militants and their stream of recruits. Recall the years of ferocious attacks against Israeli towns.

If the mass of Palestinians just want peace and a better life, they would not despise and war against the only state in the region, Israel, that protects individual rights and that offers a standard of living far superior to (even the richest) Arab regimes. They would be far better off, freer and safer, if they put away their rocks, bullets and dynamite belts and sought to live and work in Israel (as some once did).

Instead, they flood the streets to protest negotiations about peaceful co-existence with Israel. Ideologically, their dominant factions are the Islamic totalitarians of Hamas and the nationalist terrorists of Fatah. These differ only in their form of dictatorship–religious or ethnic. Both promise their followers, one way or another, to wipe out Israel.

That hostility to Israel, the only free nation in the Middle East, should make any U.S. president stand firmly against the Palestinian cause. Particularly in a post-9/11 world, Washington should recognize that U.S. security is strengthened by preventing Islamist terrorists from securing another stronghold and training ground.

Given the overwhelming evidence that it would undermine U.S. security, what explains the Bush administration’s come-hell-or-high-water promise to do “everything we can” to back a Palestinian state? It is the administration’s belief that America has a duty to ease the suffering of the world’s wretched, regardless of the cost in lives to us.

That’s why, after Palestinians brought Hamas to power in a landslide, Washington responded with “compassion” for their “humanitarian” needs. Of course the United States and its European allies felt compelled to “isolate” the Hamas regime by cutting off direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. But they refused to believe the Palestinians themselves should be held responsible for how they voted, because they’re already dirt poor. This meant suspending our judgment and absolving Palestinians of culpability for choosing murderers to lead them. So, despite the embargo on aid to the Hamas-led government, in 2006 U.S. aid to Palestinians increased by 17 percent to $468 million, propping up their terrorist proto-state.

This policy’s result is to endorse, facilitate, and vitalize Palestinian aggression. We’ve seen the unleashing of a popularly supported Hamas-Hezbollah war against Israel in 2006 and ongoing attacks springing from Gaza. Al Qaeda has reportedly already set up shop alongside other jihadists in the Palestinian territories. Just imagine the mushrooming of terrorist training camps and explosives factories under a sovereign Palestinian state. Imagine how emboldened jihadists will feel operating under a regime that Washington has created and blessed.

This is the price of a policy based not on furthering U.S. security, but on undeserved pity. This is the price of willfully ignoring the vile nature of Palestinian goals, treating these hostile people as above reproach and rewarding their irrationality.

Isn’t it time we demand a policy that puts our security first?

Elan Journo is a resident fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute ( in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand–author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” Contact the writer at




Adam Smith’s key insight was that both
parties to an exchange can benefit
and that, so long as cooperation is
strictly voluntary, no exchange
can take place unless both parties do

Milton Friedman

George Passantino of the REASON FOUNDATION wrote an
article today in the FlashReport about the proposed
freeze in interest rates which will protect borrowers
who made bad decisions and will punish investors who
invested in mortgage-backed securities because they
believed in the sanctity of contracts.

It is easy to call yourself a supporter of economic freedom
and the rule of law amidst a rapidly rising economy. Now
with dark clouds of the recent rise in mortgage
foreclosures—and more expected on the horizon—political
expediency has eroded the support for free markets in
some of its perceived champions.

Even self-proclaimed devotees of the late Milton Friedman,
President George W. Bush and California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger, sound more like critics than
Friedman supporters.

In the wake of a perceived mortgage crisis both have
attempted to use the coercive power of government to
solve the problem. Both plans center on agreements
with the largest mortgage servicing companies to
“voluntarily” freeze interest rates on adjustable rate
mortgages for a set period of time.

Upon Friedman’s death, President Bush remarked that
“Milton Friedman has shown us that when government
attempts to substitute its own judgments for the judgments
of free people, the results are usually disastrous. In
contrast to the free market’s invisible hand, which
improves the lives of people, the government’s invisible
foot tramples on people’s hopes and destroys their dreams.”
Perhaps the President should re-read his talking points and
share a set with the Governor.

There are several flaws in the approach to “voluntarily”
freeze rates. First, it is disingenuous to call the plan
completely voluntary. When a government seeks a
“voluntary” commitment in one hand, you can be sure
that the hammer of regulation is hidden behind the
back in the other hand.

Moreover, such a freeze is tantamount to a moral bailout.
While it may not necessarily be a financial bailout of the
S&L magnitude, it bails out lenders and borrowers from
bad decisions and forces someone else to shoulder the
cost. Behind each mortgage is a pool of investors that
make life decisions, such as retirement planning,
based on an expected return of those investments.
Forcing these investors to eat a loss by government
fiat is fundamentally unfair. Moreover, this tramples
the rule of law and the sanctity of a contract. And, of
course, as the regulatory feeding frenzy grows,
you will no doubt see a host of new efforts to clamp
down on lending practices and in doing so eliminate
the access to capital that so many families depend upon.

Equally troubling, the proposals seem to try to encourage
responsible borrowing by only applying to people that are
current on their notes but who can’t afford the rate
adjustment. It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize Economist
to figure out that thousands of families that actually can
afford the rate adjustment, and who made those decisions
willingly, will nonetheless seek relief by claiming that they
will not be able to afford it. And what constitutes not being
able to afford it? Does a family that goes out and finances
tens of thousands of dollars worth of home entertainment
equipment and luxury automobiles and whose monthly
debt obligations have increased dramatically qualify for relief?

Perhaps most troubling of all is that this move to freeze
rates and ratchet down the industry with new, tougher
regulation completely misses one fundamental reason
that so many Californians have turned to adjustable rate
mortgages and other exotic loans. The price of
housing in California is simply too high.

Is it any surprise that five of the ten areas with the
highest foreclosure rates nationally are in California,
or that in some markets there are more foreclosures
than new homes for sale?

If Schwarzenegger and Bush want to stay true to their
philosophical allegiances to Friedman, they could start
by tackling the root causes of the affordability crisis
that has driven so many families to secure loans
that are a poor fit for their unique conditions.

According to statistics from the California Building
Industry Association, California homes were on par
with national prices as late as the 1970s. As
development became more difficult in California,
prices relative to the nation began to shoot upward.
Now, California home ownership rates are 10%
lower than the nation.

If California really wants to ensure that people have
a home to live in, we need to make housing more
affordable. New regulations on mortgages or short
term freezes will not do that.

The price of regulation—both in hard dollar fees
and in the costs of time—can easily add $50,000
to the cost of each home. That can account for
$300 or more in each monthly payment. In many
jurisdictions, the cost of regulation is much higher
than that.

At the same time the costs of regulation are increasing,
anti-growth activists have become experts at utilizing
the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
and other well-intended laws to stop development
or force substantial delays which also results in
significant costs. The longer a home takes to build,
the more it costs in interest and construction expenses.
On top of that, finding land that is suitable for devel-
opment is increasingly difficult, and when land is found,
political pressures typically mount against “affordable
housing.” While such conditions exist in varying
degrees around the nation, there is a uniform need
to address them.

While it may seem politically appealing for government
to directly help people keep their homes, as Friedman
said of government intervention, the results are usually
disastrous. Both Schwarzenegger and Bush would do
well to focus, instead, on underlying cost drivers of
the housing market that are truly governmental in origin.

People, faced with home prices they simply cannot
afford, have far too often found refuge in loans that
probably don’t fit their personal economic conditions.
While no amount of intervention can eliminate the
obligation that anyone has to fully understand
and honor the terms of the contract they sign, it
would nonetheless be helpful for government to
eliminate or reduce some of the cost drivers that
they developed and which have helped fuel this perfect
George Passantino is a Partner in Passantino Andersen
Communications, LLC and a Senior Fellow at the Reason Foundation.


Washington Pols Unworthy of Our Trust

Washington Pols Unworthy of Our Trust

I rarely post in full an article from another blog. This article by Gary Gross on The California Conservative is so on point that I felt it should be restated.

I just finished posting something that illustrates Harry Reid’s and Nancy Pelosi’s diminutive and shrinking credibility here. Now I’m writing another article that illustrates President Bush’s non-existent credibility on immigration reform. I’m basing this post on Thomas Lifson’s op-ed, which is posted on RealClearPolitics. Here’s the first section of Mr. Lifson’s op-ed that jumped out at me:

President Bush is threatening to revive the failed comprehensive immigration bill in “improved” form. He is wasting his and our time. No amount of improving can make the comprehensive approach the best path for America to solve its immigration woes. Instead of a big bang approach to immigration reform, we need to adopt a different sort of change strategy for America, a step-by-step, or iterative approach, learning as we go, passing reforms in a logical sequence, and learning from mistakes along the way.

It saddens me to think that this immigration bill’s most vocal supporters are bent on not taking this issue seriously. My disappointment on their lack of seriousness is only exceeded by my disappointment at their thinking that they know best and their acting like they have a shred of credibility left on the issue of enforcing immigration laws. Here’s Mr. Lifson’s quote that most jumps out at me:

The politicians do not seem to realize how completely they have lost the confidence of the American people when it comes to stemming the flow of illegals across the border.

That statement is spot on. Frankly, I’m not certain that they even care that they don’t have a shred of credibility left. This, I’m afraid, points to another trend that I think will play out during next year’s campaign.

The trend that I’m noticing is an anti-Washington wave building. This week’s polls that showed Harry Reid’s JA approval rating at 19 percent illustrates that point. The fact that President Bush’s JA rating is in the low 30’s is more proof that his policies aren’t well-liked. The fact that Congress’ JA rating is 5 points lower than President Bush’s rating tells me that people see Washington insiders like Trent Lott, Ted Kennedy and John McCain as not worthy of their trust.

Once the trust between politicians and the American people is broken, it’s finished. I’m convinced that that’s why activists’ reactions to this ugly compromise is seen in such a negative light. Polls show that that intensity isn’t exclusive to Republican activists or Democrat activists. The intensity is high and it’s coming from both sides of the aisle.

What this tells me is that candidates that give voters straight, logical answers will flourish. Similarly, those candidates that give evasive answers will be punished. (That’s why I think Hillary won’t do well and why Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney will do well.)

I’d also believe that Republicans will gain from this national mood if they show that they’re serious about reforms throughout the political system. Here’s how I can see that scenario playing out: I can picture Jon Bruning defeating Chuck Hagel in the GOP primary in Nebraska. Based on this report, I can also picture Lindsey Graham getting beaten in South Carolina:

People are talking about newly elected State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, son of the legendary “Cousin Arthur” Ravenel who represented the 1st CD in Congress for a decade, then came home and ran again for State Senate, from where he sought and found the funds for the new Cooper River bridge which not coincidentally now bears his name, challenging Graham in the primaries next year.I don’t know how Graham is holding on in his upstate base (a very conservative area), but Ravenel would run up large majorities in the Low country and Grand Strand. His father is perhaps the most beloved politician in the state, and he is an attractive and conservative candidate.

Based on what I’ve read about Bruning and based on this information, I think that it’s quite possible to knock off both Hagel and Graham in the primaries and to have Bruning and Ravenel keep those seats in GOP hands in the general election. Defeating Sens. Hagel and Graham would send a definitive message to wobblies throughout the GOP. Equally important is the fact that it’d send the message to voters that we’re serious about cleaning up our image with actions and that we’re serious about doing what’s right for the American people.

If those things happen, the GOP will be (a) charting a new course for America and (b) giving people a reason to trust them on a variety of issues, including the GWOT and immigration.

That’s a goal that’s worth our sweat and hard work. It’s a goal that’s worthy of the party of Reagan.


9/11 – We Remember

9/11 – We Remember

“The war on terror is more than a military conflict — it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. And we’re only in its opening stages […] It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st Century. And this is only the beginning.” The President reiterated: “We will stay. We will fight. And we will win in Iraq.”
President Bush, September 7th, 2006
Continue reading “9/11 – We Remember”

A Letter to Jewish Republicans:

A Letter to Jewish Republicans:
My good friend, Bobbi Leigh Zito, wrote this letter to Jewish Republicans. I am republishing it here.

Continue reading “A Letter to Jewish Republicans:”

Bush Derangement Syndrome Explained

Bush Derangement Syndrome Explained

In reading a post on Shrinkwrapped today I came across the initials BDS. Of course I wanted to find out what they stood for. My quest took me to a post of Charles Krauthammer in December of 2003, which somehow I missed since I read Krauthammer religiously (Don’t tell the ACLU).

Krauthammer is a psychiatrist who no longer practices but instead writes insightful commentary on Townhall, the Washington Post and Newsweek. He defines the term, Bush Derangement Syndrome as:

“Bush Derangement Syndrome: the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush.”

Read his article to get the full definition of BDS. He concludes with:

The sad news is that there is no cure. But there is hope. There are many fine researchers seeking that cure. Your donation to the BDS Foundation, no matter how small, can help. Mailing address: Republican National Committee, Washington DC, Attention: psychiatric department. Just make sure your amount does not exceed $2,000 ($4,000 for a married couple).

Then, I came across this post titled, “Bush Derangement Syndrome Revisited,”from a psychiatrist who writes the Shrinkwrapped blog. Now I think that we all come across people who have been afflicted with this disease from time to time, so it would be worthwhile to review both the Krauthammer article and the Shrinkwrapped post to get a full understanding of this illness. The MSM and liberals seem to be particularly vulnerable to this incurable affliction.

Shrinkwrapped comments:

In the news today is a report of John Kerry, who appears to have been so damaged by his inexplicable loss to Bush in the last election, that he has been unable to come to terms with his defeat, that he somehow manages to believe, in an almost delusional way, that he can still become President someday soon:

Kerry Touts Bush Impeachment Memo

Failed presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that he intends to confront Congress with a document touted by critics of President Bush as evidence that he committed impeachable crimes by falsifying evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

He is now out there with the Deaniacs and others who are convincing themselves that Bush, all Republicans except John McCain, the US Military, and anyone who supports our efforts to win the war in Iraq are evil, sadistic monsters who are much more dangerous than Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. I do not think Bush Derangement Syndrome is a full explanation of this phenomenon.

BDS is only part of a larger syndrome. Illiberal liberals, those who cry “fascist” and “Bushhitler” the loudest, leftists, ranging from outright communists to softer socialists, have defined much of their sense of themselves in terms of the virtues conferred upon them by their superior intellect and superior moral positions.”

He then concludes:

This, then, is what gives Bush Derangement Syndrome its emotional power and passion. If the progressives are wrong about Bush, wrong about the direction of our country, wrong about how best to organize a society and produce freedom and wealth, then they have been wrong for the last 30 years. They would have to accept their complicity in the deaths of millions. They would have to deal with being allied with monsters who killed indiscriminately and sadistically, rather than on the side of the angels. How could they face themselves if they were wrong? Their guilt would be overwhelming. They have chosen to seek protection in their anger even if it is delusional because the alternative would be, literally, unbearable.

You should read the whole article. It explains a lot about the irrational anger and dangerous antics of liberals and those on the left, from a psychological perspective.

The LA Times Misleads It’s Readers

The LA Times Misleads It’s Readers

The Los Angeles Times published an article today designed to persuade the unsophisticated reader that if the President appoints a strict-constructionist conservative Supreme Court justice to the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade will be in danger, and the result will split the Republican Party along pro-life and pro-choice Republicans.
Continue reading “The LA Times Misleads It’s Readers”