Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Political Digest for May 24, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
Info about my book. All royalties go to wounded veterans. Please forward and post where possible.

Pawlenty's in: We've tried Obama's way and 'his way has failed'
Excerpt: Tim Pawlenty on Monday officially announced his candidacy for president, insisting he would “tell the truth” about the serious problems facing the country in a way he said President Obama has not. Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, traveled to the first caucus state of Iowa to make his announcement at a town-hall event with his wife, Mary. He made the simplest of introductions, something he will have to do again and again, given that he is arguably the least known of the candidates officially in the running for the GOP nomination.

Worth reading: Four More Dollars? The Obama administration wants energy to be scarcer and costlier.
Excerpt: The U.S. Treasury reports that the federal government ran up $870 billion in red ink in the first seven months of this fiscal year. That is $70 billion, or 9%, higher than at the same point in fiscal 2010, which ended up with a record $1.3 trillion deficit. America's energy policy is as bad as our fiscal policy. The federal government is focused on producing not more energy but less of it, on making costs higher rather than lower, and on expanding regulation.

On the Relevance of Freedom and Entitlement in Development by Jean-Pierre Chauffour, The World Bank
Abstract: Reviewing the economic performance—good and bad— of more than 100 countries over the past 30 years, this paper finds new empirical evidence supporting the idea that economic freedom and civil and political liberties are the root causes of why some countries achieve and sustain better economic outcomes. For instance, a one unit change in the initial level of economic freedom between two countries (on a scale of 1 to 10) is associated with an almost 1 percentage point differential in their average long-run economic growth rates. In the case of civil and political liberties, the long-term effect is also positive and significant with a differential of 0.3 percentage point. In addition to the initial conditions, the expansion of freedom conditions over time (economic, civil, and political) also positively influences long-run economic growth. In contrast, no evidence was found that the initial level of entitlement rights or their change over time had any significant effects on long-term per capita income, except for a negative effect in some specifications of the model. These results tend to support earlier findings that beyond core functions of government responsibility—including the protection of liberty itself—the expansion of the state to provide for various entitlements, including so-called economic, social, and cultural rights, may not make people richer in the long run and may even make them poorer. This paper is a product of the International Trade Department, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network. It is part of a larger effort by the World Bank to provide open access to its research and make a contribution to development policy discussions around the world. Policy Research Working Papers are also posted on the Web at http://econ.worldbank.org/.

Crony Capitalism and Social Engineering: The Case against Tax-Increment Financing
Excerpt: Tax-increment financing (TIF) is an increasingly popular way for cities to promote economic development. TIF works by allowing cities to use the property, sales, and other taxes collected from new developments — taxes that would otherwise go to schools, libraries, fire departments, and other urban services — to subsidize those same developments. While cities often claim that TIF is "free money" because it represents the taxes collected from developments that might not have taken place without the subsidy, there is plenty of evidence that this is not true. First, several studies have found that the developments subsidized by TIF would have happened anyway in the same urban area, though not necessarily the same location. Second, new developments impose costs on schools, fire departments, and other urban services, so other taxpayers must either pay more to cover those costs or accept a lower level of services as services are spread to developments that are not paying for them. Moreover, rather than promoting economic development, many if not most TIF subsidies are used for entirely different purposes. First, many states give cities enormous discretion for how they use TIF funds, turning TIF into a way for cities to capture taxes that would otherwise go to rival tax entities such as school or library districts.

Crony Capitalism and Social Engineering: The Case against Tax-Increment Financing
Excerpt: Tax-increment financing (TIF) is an increasingly popular way for cities to promote economic development. TIF works by allowing cities to use the property, sales, and other taxes collected from new developments — taxes that would otherwise go to schools, libraries, fire departments, and other urban services — to subsidize those same developments. While cities often claim that TIF is "free money" because it represents the taxes collected from developments that might not have taken place without the subsidy, there is plenty of evidence that this is not true. First, several studies have found that the developments subsidized by TIF would have happened anyway in the same urban area, though not necessarily the same location. Second, new developments impose costs on schools, fire departments, and other urban services, so other taxpayers must either pay more to cover those costs or accept a lower level of services as services are spread to developments that are not paying for them. Moreover, rather than promoting economic development, many if not most TIF subsidies are used for entirely different purposes. First, many states give cities enormous discretion for how they use TIF funds, turning TIF into a way for cities to capture taxes that would otherwise go to rival tax entities such as school or library districts.

Scheduling a Crisis
Excerpt: When is the best time to hold a fiscal crisis? The obvious answer might seem to be: never. Crises are not much fun, can be very costly, and people tend to get hurt. Had President Obama embraced the recommendations of his own bipartisan fiscal commission, or had he put forward a budget that addressed the country's long-term fiscal imbalances, 'never' might have been an option. But he did not. Instead, the country is on an unsustainable fiscal path of borrowing and escalating debt. As Herb Stein once aptly put it, if something cannot go on forever, it will stop. In fiscal matters, such stops can precipitate crises. When the rest of the world decides a country is not credit-worthy, interest rates can soar at the same moment that the country is trying to cut back on spending and raise taxes, thus combining contractionary fiscal and monetary policy in an ugly mix.

US, Pakistan Near Open War; Chinese Ultimatum Warns Washington Against Attack
I’d rate this one highly doubtful. Attack them with what? Obama’s own party would go nuts. ~Bob. Excerpt: China has officially put the United States on notice that Washington’s planned attack on Pakistan will be interpreted as an act of aggression against Beijing. This blunt warning represents the first known strategic ultimatum received by the United States in half a century, going back to Soviet warnings during the Berlin crisis of 1958-1961, and indicates the grave danger of general war growing out of the US-Pakistan confrontation.

Ap-Gfk Poll: Medicare Doesn't Have To Be Cut
Excerpt: They're not buying it. Most Americans say they don't believe Medicare has to be cut to balance the federal budget, and ditto for Social Security, a new poll shows.
The Associated Press-GfK poll suggests that arguments for overhauling the massive benefit programs to pare government debt have failed to sway the public. The debate is unlikely to be resolved before next year's elections for president and Congress. (Unfortunately, most Americans appear to be deluded. This does not bode well for fiscally conservative political candidates, whether Republican, Democrat, or other. –Geoff.)

Must view: Why Israel mustn't withdraw to its pre '67 borders line
Please share. ~Bob

excerpt: There were two announcements last week that I hope you paid attention to:
The American Medical Group Association, representing medical groups that provide care for roughly 1 in 3 Americans, said that 90% of its members would not participate in the new Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model the Obama administration wants to impose on Medicare providers. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, exercising new powers conferred upon her by health reform (ObamaCare), said insurers would have to justify any rate increases greater than 10%. So what does one announcement have to do with the other? A lot. I’ll connect the dots below the fold. Here’s the bottom line. The administration uses the rhetoric of choice and competition and some isolated souls within it may actually think competitive pressures can reduce health care costs. But if that doesn’t work out, it’s goodbye to volunteerism and hello to another way of constraining costs: global budgets. The core of Obama administration health reform is managed competition, instituted through a health insurance exchange. In embracing this reform, the administration is following the lead of Mitt Romney in Massachusetts and before that Hillary Clinton’s failed attempt in 1993/94.

Excerpt: A new Assistant United States Attorney was sworn in Monday for the Eastern District of Michigan, Abed Hammoud, formerly of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, where he led mortgage fraud prosecutions. And I may add, currently of the ADC (Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee). And AAPAC (Arab American Political Action Committee). And the CAAO (Congress of Arab American Organizations)

Shalit family to Congress: Freeze PA funds
Excerpt: Gilad Shalit's family calls US senators to urge Obama to stop PA, Hamas funds pending his release. 'The PA is directly responsible for Gilad's well-being, has clear duty to locate him,' they wrote.

Excerpt: The United States and Israel stand at a crossroads in our historic special relationship. Since recognizing Israel’s independence in 1948, we have stood by her as a beacon of political and economic freedom in the midst of tyrannical regimes and terrorists determined to destroy her. American support has been crucial to Israel’s continued existence and must be part of its future. Today, the “Arab Spring” that toppled authoritarian rulers in Tunisia and Egypt now threatens tyrants in Libya and Syria. America should be working to ensure that these transitions do not come at the expense of security, especially Israel’s. But instead, our bond with Israel is unconscionably being torn apart by the Obama administration’s policies and its bizarre adversarial treatment of a long-standing friend. Relations have been strained since President Obama came into office in 2009, but they reached an absurdly low level last week as, without warning, he called for Israel to return to its 1967 borders as a pre-condition for peace negotiations. In both style and substance, this is a dangerous innovation in U.S. policy that undermines the entire peace process by insisting on an unworkable goal that ignores what has transpired over the past 44 years and jeopardizes Israel’s security.

Utah Legalizes Gold, Silver Coins As Currency
Excerpt: Utah legislators want to see the dollar regain its former glory, back to the days when one could literally bank on it being "as good as gold." To make that point, they've turned it around, and made gold as good as cash. Utah became the first state in the country this month to legalize gold and silver coins as currency. The law also will exempt the sale of the coins from state capital gains taxes. (This law will accomplish two things. First is that it exempts gold and silver from Utah state capital gains taxes. It will have little, if any, effect on the ability to pay someone with gold or silver because that was already an available legal option the parties could agree to. Contrary to common belief, “legal tender” has nothing to do with what you pay to merchants, craftsmen, artisans, or service providers. “Legal tender” is what you must—by law—use to pay your taxes to government bodies. Businesses and individuals have always retained the right to demand/accept payment in whatever form they could get others to agree to pay them in. That’s why the 24-hour store on the corner can lawfully refuse to accept your “legal tender” $50 bill at 2:45AM. It’s why the electric company can lawfully refuse to accept your payment of $213.68 in pennies (“cents,” to any collectors reading this). Thanks to this law, though, Utahans—is that a word?—can now pay their Utah taxes with gold and silver; but, somehow, I suspect they’ll still use Federal Reserve notes (or their equivalent in the form of checks/charge cards). The second, more important effect, and the reason the Federal government will do all in its power to void this law, is purely psychological: it forces the recognition that the “full faith and credit” of the United States of America has no specific monetary value. If the citizens are forced to realize our currency can be, has been, and will again be in the future, debased and devalued, no one—not allies, not enemies, not trading partners, not even other governments that have done the same thing to their own currencies—will accept it (Zimbabwe dollars, anyone?). When I was born, gold was valued at $35 per ounce; the average working family lived on about $6000 per year; a family with income of $15,000 yearly was considered “well off,” and a rich family had income of $25,000 a year or more. Gold has been trading in the range of $1000 to $1500 per ounce for the past few years. The ounce of gold hasn’t changed, it is still an ounce of gold; but, the dollar has. One of the symptoms of problems common to Rome, the Greek empire of Alexander, the Persian empire of Cyrus, and many others was that their governments became so large and corrupt they could no longer collect enough taxes to support themselves. In every case, they debased their currency (either by reducing their size or by adding cheaper—more base—metals to their coinage). That’s why old timers bit the coins, to see if they could taste the sweetness of lead in the silver or gold. Don’t bother trying to bite into a Federal Reserve note; it tastes just like paper. Ron P.)

Post Bin Laden, Pakistan's Actions Yet to Show Commitment to Al-Qaida Fight
Excerpt: In the weeks since U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad compound, Pakistani authorities claim they arrested a senior al-Qaida leader and killed five alleged al-Qaida-linked suicide bombers before they carried out an attack. But these claims appear to be inflated, if not false. Pakistan has been under intense pressure to crack down on al-Qaida since the killing of bin Laden in the city that is home to the Pakistani military academy. He had lived there for more than five years, U.S. officials said. Pakistan "will need to take serious action in the wake of the bin Laden revelation," in order to convince the United States and other countries that it has stepped up its fight against al-Qaida, said Reza Jan, leader of the Pakistan team at the American Enterprise Institute's Critical Threats Project.

Saving the American Dream
Excerpt: It's an era of competing budget plans on Capitol Hill. And with good reason: We've come to a time of decision. For too long, Congress has been on an unsustainable binge of spending, taxing and borrowing. Our nation is going broke, and we're passing the costs of these misguided policies to our children and their children. Our national government has become bloated, overextended and unrestrained. It's become oblivious of its core functions, operating far beyond its means and vastly outside of its proper constitutional bounds. Unchecked, the course it's on now will cripple our economy, undermine our prosperity, and lead to fiscal insolvency. Already, we're living through the shame of being publicly lectured by our creditors in Communist China. The day it was announced that Standard & Poor's had lowered the outlook on our economy, a collective gasp went through the international community. If our elected leaders keep it up, we're certain to face financial crises like those faced by Greece or Portugal.

The Week That Was: 2011-05-21 (May 21, 2011)
Excerpt: Newton synthesized the findings of Galileo, Kepler, and others into his theories of planetary motion, which required significant mathematical calculations. The precision of the mathematics in describing the movements of the planets was daunting. Incorrectly interpreting this mathematical precision as imparting scientific knowledge, many subsequent scientists claimed that scientific knowledge could be acquired by mathematics alone, such as geometry. Of course, subsequent observations, variations in observed planetary motions (leading to relativity theory) and erratic behavior of particles (leading to quantum mechanics), demonstrated that mathematics and numerical models are tools for understanding, and not sources of knowledge. Results must be confirmed by observations. Unfortunately, many 21st century scientists, such as John Mitchell, appear to embrace beliefs held in the late 19th century that mathematical procedures can create knowledge. Such scientists appear ready to accept the results of their models over empirical observations, a concept rejected in the 20th century.

Ron Arnold: Democrats face an Environmental Protection Agency dilemma
WARNING! Beancounters at work! Ron P. Excerpt: Two subcommittees of the House Natural Resources Committee have called an unusual joint hearing titled, "Protecting long-term tribal energy jobs and keeping Arizona water and power costs affordable: The current and future role of the Navajo Generating Station." At issue: Environmental Protection Agency regulations are ready to shut down the Navajo Generating Station, which is the sole source of pumping power for the Central Arizona Project. The CAP is America's largest irrigation system, 336 miles of canals feeding Colorado River water to a million agricultural acres, supplying municipal water for Phoenix and Tucson, while also providing flood and sediment control, plus recreation and conservation benefits. The EPA is set to impose emission controls so expensive -- $1.4 billion -- that they will price the Navajo Generating Station out of existence. (…) But the Indian disaster will not make headlines or produce outraged legislation. The voice of the Navajo and Hopi can't compete with Big Green's influence over the EPA. Worse, the Democratic "friends" of the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe are doing nothing in Congress to defend them, even betraying them by bringing in subcommittee hearing witnesses from the foundation-funded Black Mesa Trust to demand the coal mines and power-generating plant be shut down. (…) Why is EPA shaking a $1.4 billion stick at the Navajo and Hopi? To stop haze in the Grand Canyon. However, the prevailing winds blow the wrong direction to blame the Navajo Generating Station, which is near Page, Ariz., for the haze, which, according to a 2009 Salt River Project Report, is mostly caused by auto emissions from Los Angeles and smoke from uncontrolled forest fires.

Nobody can twist O's words on Mideast like he can
Excerpt: President Obama says his call last week to base future Arab-Israeli peace on Israel's 1967 borders -- lines that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers "indefensible" -- was "misrepresented." But misrepresented or not, his call is already undermining his administration's peace goals. "My position has been misrepresented several times," Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee yesterday. The most quotable line of his speech Thursday really meant "that the parties themselves -- Israelis and Palestinians -- will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967." The Talmudic scholars in the AIPAC crowd might explain how Thursday's call to create a Palestinian state within borders "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps" in fact means a "different" border than those lines.

Nation’s First Unionized Pot Farm Goes Bust, Oakland Loses Bid to Be Cannabis Capital
Excerpt: Last year, prior to the defeat of California’s Proposition 19, it appeared as though unions had a budding new industry in which they could grow their memberships. First, the United Food & Commercial Workers jumped onto the cannabis bandwagon. Then, the Teamsters waded into the weed growing business when Jimmy Hoffa’s union unionized 40 pot growers in Oakland, California. (If you buy your pot from Mexico, are you guilty of “sending American jobs overseas”? Mexico counts as “overseas” when politicians are being demagogues about jobs. ~Bob.)

Islamic leaders question non-Muslim rights
If you said something like this about Muslims in the US, they’d pillory you. ~Bob. Excerpt: Several Islamic leaders have questioned the loyalty of non-Muslims in the country, declaring today the community’s rights must be re-evaluated if Malaysia is to call itself an Islamic state. Former president of Islamic Da’wah Foundation Malaysia (Yadim), Datuk Nakhaie Ahmad, said treatment of non-Muslims must be based on the social contract agreed and pointed out that the government has been too gracious to the community. “In attempts to get vote and support of non-Muslims, we have been very gracious in giving them their civil rights. Civil rights given to them includes the rights to vote, participation in politics, hold office, involvement in the military and so forth but we cannot just willingly give them everything.

Obama, Oh, Puh-lease
excerpt: Obama can’t stand Britain (his wife likes us even less): he made that clear enough when he sent back Winston Churchill’s bust and dissed our Prime Minister with those dodgy DVDS. He blames us for what happened to his grandfather during Mau Mau. He doesn’t believe in the Special Relationship. Are we honestly supposed to believe in that during the subsequent year in office, Obama has since acquired such wisdom and insight that he suddenly realises how special we are? Of course he hasn’t. Obama is just doing now what all bullies and losers start doing when they realise how unpopular they are and that everyone is abandoning them. They suck up to anybody and everybody. They whore themselves piteously before enemies they once considered beneath their contempt. Fain will they fill their bellies with husks that swine eat – but which no man will give them: and serve them jolly well right, too!

Behind Mitch Daniels's family's veto
Running for high office, especially President, puts your family through hell. They have to be on board. The country is the loser. ~Bob. Excerpt: On Friday, the pieces were coming together nicely for a Mitch Daniels-for-president campaign. Some top potential staffers were told they would have a job, and to keep their powder dry just a little bit longer. Several Washington Republicans expected a declaration in the next few days. But instead of an upbeat notification detailing kick-off plans, close Daniels allies were surprised to wake up Sunday morning to an email from the Indiana governor saying he would forgo a run. The lucky few – like conservative commentator George Will, a Daniels friend – got a personal call the day before. Daniels’ message by voice and in writing was the same – his wife and their four grown daughters had veto power on a campaign, and they had exercised it. If anyone wondered about the depth of Cheri Daniels’s concerns about the prying eyes of the public, those questions were more than answered in a string of stories and columns focused on her and her husband around the time of her May 12 speech at an Indiana Republican Party dinner.

The IRS Gets Political
In Chicago, everything from school admissions to garbage pickup is political, and is used to punish opponents and reward friends. It’s the
Chicago Way
. Obama is a Chicago-bred politician. Nothing surprising here. They will use every arm of government in their service. The media will say nothing, too busy enjoying leg-tingles. ~Bob. Excerpt: We're starting to see a pattern here. Since the Supreme Court restored the First Amendment rights of businesses and unions in last year's Citizens United ruling, Democrats have been searching for a way to claw back control over political speech. The latest bureau to get the memo is the Internal Revenue Service, which may retroactively tax top donors to political advocacy groups. In the crossroads, er, cross-hairs, are nonprofit groups that register under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code and spent millions on political advertising in the last election cycle. Big donations to those groups, the agency now says, should have been subject to gift taxes and may be owed retroactively. In a letter to one donor, the IRS noted that it "had received information that you donated cash to . . . an IRC Section 501(c)(4) organization . . . and your contribution should have been reported on your 2008 federal gift tax return."

Goes Full Circle
as Indian Firms Look to U.S. as Cheap Source of Labour
Excerpt: Large corporations that have boomed in India amid the country's nimble economy have been drawn to the U.S. where unemployment has soared. Struggling residents desperate for work are paid between $12 and $14 a hour to be stationed in tiny cubicles for long shifts of telesales work. Once the employees are established, many are offered the chance to be flown to India themselves - the same tactic Western countries have done in India. Experts said that the phenomenon, which could become more widespread in the coming years, is partly due to Indian workers demanding higher wages and higher living standards.

Obama’s Neville Chamberlain Speech
Excerpt: In his May 19 speech on the Middle East, President Obama, in a matter of minutes, abandoned Security Council Resolution 242, which for more than four decades had been the cornerstone of diplomacy in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace; likewise abandoned the Roadmap, adopted in 2003 by the so-called Quartet (the U.S., UN, EU and Russia) as a blueprint for resolving, more specifically, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; committed his Administration to pushing Israel back to indefensible borders; and essentially adopted as Administration policy Mahmoud Abbas’s variation on Arafat’s “Plan of Phases” for Israel’s destruction. The cumulative impact of Obama’s declarations is to chart a course for Israel comparable to that charted for Czechoslovakia in 1938 when Neville Chamberlain endorsed Hitler’s demands of that country. (And it will have the same effect on Jihadists that Chamberlin had on Hitler. ~Bob.)

The parallels to 1991 continue unabated. In 1991, Democrats and the media waited with ever increasing intensity for Mario Cuomo to get into the Presidential race. Eventually, Cuomo decided he was more comfortable being Governor of New York than facing an incumbent Republican President with a 90% approval rating. Democrats and the media lamented the lack of a stellar, high profile Democratic candidate. The Democrats went on to win without Mario Cuomo. The Republicans still have a strong shot without Mitch Daniels. So who does this help now? Well, obviously it helps Mitt Romney. There will now be only one high profile gubernatorial wonk in the race. It also helps Newt Gingrich for the same reason, for people looking for someone perceived to be to the right of Romney. But I think the guy it helps the most is Tim Pawlenty. He now has a clear shot at being the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.

Islamic charities from Saudi Arabia and UAE giving $100 million yearly to jihad in Pakistan
Excerpt: And where is that money coming from? From our gas pumps. And note here again the connection to Islamic charities. This should not surprise anyone: in Islam, funding jihad is a meritorious, charitable act.

OBL comment forwarded from a Marine
Let's be clear "Let's be clear on this: OBAMA did NOT kill Bin Laden. An American sailor, who Obama just a few weeks ago was debating on whether or not to PAY, did. In fact, if you remember a little less than two years ago, his administration actually charged and attempted to court-martial 3 Navy Seals from Seal Team Six, when a terrorist suspect they captured, complained they had punched him during the take down and bloodied his nose. His administration further commented how brutal they were. The left were calling them Nazi's and Baby Killers. Now all of a sudden the very brave men they vilified, are now heros when they make his administration look good in the eyes of the public. Obama just happened to be the one in office when the CIA finally found the b...... and our sailors took him out. Essentially, Obama only gave an answer. Yes or No, to him being taken out. This is NOT an Obama victory, but an AMERICAN victory!! Forward on IF YOU AGREE!!" Ed Schriber, Col. USMC (Ret.) "Semper Fi"

Masada Shall Not Fall Again, Unless Obama Says So--By Ilario Pantano
Excerpt: As 18-year-old Marines in the first Gulf War, we joked that “Onward, Christian Soldiers” was the Kuwaiti, Bahraini, and Saudi national anthem. Today it would be ’N Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye.” It was just a few years after that first war where the U.S. liberated Muslims from other Muslims that I was in Israel training as a young Sniper. The antiquity, the resolve, and the true grit of the place had always fascinated me. The Israeli people have a kind of cultural toughness that only comes when entire limbs of your family tree have been sawed off. When parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles have been exterminated before your eyes, you have a deeper appreciation for security than the average Joe. The sense of history and mission is reinforced by the swearing-in ceremony of IDF soldiers who, after climbing to the top of Masada, declare before God that it “shall never fall again.” I have stood at the top of Masada, and looked out to see the desolate landscape where the Romans once laid siege to the Jews. Today, after Obama’s infamous Middle East speech, all of Israel stands there, alone and abandoned.

Netanyahu's rules of debate
Excerpt: If it had been a fight, they would have stopped it. Friday's showdown between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn't close, and it wasn't pretty -- though Netanyahu didn't want to leave any obvious marks. The end result was that our president is suddenly aware that Chicago rules don't work on tough-minded leaders of countries surrounded by terrorists. The battle between the warrior and the academic was bound to turn out this way. President Obama was a community organizer once. Netanyahu was commander of the Israeli Defense Forces' elite special forces unit, Sayeret Matkal. Faculty meetings can get rough, but not as rough as the hostage rescue mission to free Sabena Flight 571.

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