Heal Our Republic: Change Our Electoral System

Consider the presidential election system we have today: Every state has a number of electors, equal to their amount of representatives and senators, who vote for the President of the United States. In most states, every elector goes to the candidate who achieves the most popular votes, regardless of his margin of victory. This means:

1. Presidential candidates have little reason to campaign to the whole country. If partisan or personal loyalty makes victory certain in a state, a candidate can safely ignore it in favor of other states. Conversely, if a candidate will definitely lose in a state, then he won’t waste his time there. Only competitive “battleground states” see much activity.
2. We have less national turnout. If a state will assuredly support one candidate, why bother voting? Also, lack of vigorous campaigning in a state might contribute to voter apathy during an election.
3. With the winner-take-all plurality system, candidates try to attract moderate voters, so to avoid turning people off, they emphasize their personalities more than their policies. This results in bland, visionless candidates who take those traits into the White House.

I believe a new presidential electoral system is in order. We need something that rewards candidates who have bold ideas, while drawing more voters into the process as well.

Therefore, I recommend we emulate the French.

Hear me out! The French have an excellent method by which to elect their president. It is a two-stage electoral process. In the first part, candidates from all the country’s parties can run. Candidates who mobilize partisans with daring policy agendas will perform best here. Afterwards, during the second stage runoff, the first and second place finishers of the first round compete. Whoever achieves a majority vote wins. This requires the candidates to make themselves as palatable toward the center as possible.

Eliminating the Electoral College and implementing two-round direct popular vote elections here would deliver many benefits. It would reward courageous candidates with striking ideas in the first stage, but it would weed out dangerous fanatics in the second stage. It would allow smaller parties to achieve greater prominence than they could achieve in a winner-take-all elector paradigm. It would give candidates reason to campaign to every American. And it would give each voter a larger role in determining the outcome of the election.

As a German friend also pointed out to me, ìI don’t quite get it that in the US, votes for the Greens i.e. are all lost, even help a candidate from the right to get into office (see 2000) — a second turn of the elections would allow Green supporters to vote for the Democrat.î This is an important point. The major parties would have to give adherents of smaller parties reasons to vote for them. This would force the Democrats and Republicans to take other parties, such as Greens and Libertarians, seriously, and perhaps heed some of their political desires. This would make more Americans feel as if they play an important role in the republican process.

To complete the reform, we also need to make going out to vote easier. Right now, we seemingly make voting as hard as we can. Elections take place on weekdays, so if Americans want to vote, they must take off work or rush to the polls before or after work. When they get there, they must wait a long time to finish the process, because the volunteer polling coordinators are old, retired people. (Young people have to work, after all.) All this makes voting seem not worth the hassle to millions of Americans.

To change that and increase turnout, Election Day should become a federal holiday. That would allow Americans to vote without worrying about missing work and forfeiting pay, or hurrying through throngs of people in the morning or evening. Younger Americans would also be able to volunteer to oversee the polls, thereby making voting a smoother and faster experience.

While we’re on the subject of changing our electoral system, let’s consider this: At the time the Constitution was drafted, one of the Anti-Federalist objections to the document was to the pluralistic election of representatives. The Anti-Federalists argued this could allow the election of representatives whom most of the community despised, but who still managed to get more votes than anyone else. Instead, according to the Anti-Federalists, districts should select their representatives by majority vote.

I believe that Anti-Federalist objection has merit. How can a representative represent a district if most of the people there hate him? Changing congressional elections to two-stage elections, similar to what I outlined above for presidential elections, would be a good idea. That way, we could ensure the majority of citizens in a district would have voted for their congressman. All the benefits of switching the national presidential election to a two-stage majority vote model would apply here.

Many conservatives would object to the national scope of my reform plan. Theyíd correctly point out it would erode federalism. Because population centersócitiesówould yield greater power, our executive branch might also shift to the left. Given the power of the presidency, this might produce a government similarly inclined to governments in Europe. Anathema to conservatives, that would be.

To counteract the leftward effect and to placate conservatives, I suggest we repeal the 17th Amendment. Let the state legislatures elect senators again. Senators who don’t rely upon the people as an electoral base would be a lot more willing to challenge the president. Not only might the Senate be more conservative than the President, but theyíd feel safer defying him since the people who put him in office wouldnít be the same ones who put them in office. They wouldnít have to worry as much about the Presidentís popularity.

In addition, with the people electing both the House of Representatives and the President under my plan, we’d need more checks against the tyranny of the majority. Election of federal senators by state legislatures would constitute such a check.

No electoral procedures could solve all problems. But this extensive reform plan would eliminate many of them:

* Campaigns focusing only on battleground states.
* Nullification of millions of votes.
* Candidates whose only goal is to win a plurality of the ballots.
* Victories by candidates whom most of the community doesn’t support.
* Apathy of the electorate toward politics.

We especially should not underestimate the importance of the last element. Only an interested and engaged citizenry can serve as the foundation of a republic. Without it, a republic cannot stand.

Colors of the American Flag

I would imagine that even before the ink on the Declaration of Independence had dried, the sentences: “Are we gonna have a flag? We gotta have a flag! Britain has a flag!” were echoed by members of the Continental Congress. But then, a flag is important. It is a symbol representing a group and their beliefs — a means of identification.

It has long been reported that in May of 1776, Betsy Ross sewed the first version of the flag we use today. The American flag has, of course, gone through several design transformations since then, as states were added to the nation and stars were added to the design.

Symbolism Abounding

Unique and appealing as the design is, I think our flag is also full of symbolism. To me, the red stripes indicate courage, blood and suffering. The white stripes mean truth, purity and open-mindedness. The word stripes, itself, is associated with oppressions, struggles, punishments and lessons learned. An enduring flag represents a state of surving or coming-of-age the hard way.

To me, the stars on our flag represent goals, dreams and the future — what we all aim for, in our own way — the infinite, the stars. The color blue is usually identified with peace, tranquility and spirituality. Hopefully, our dreams and future will be surrounded by peace and spirituality, just as the stars on the flag are surrounded by the blue.

Our flag is very much like our country. It is woven together by many threads, just as our nation is woven together by many nationalities, religions, philosophies and personalities.

The flag needs to be held up and supported to wave free, just as our country needs support to continue to remain as free as it has been. Any little breeze can cause a reaction. A harsh wind can make the flag angrily whip around on its foundation. But, even when it becomes weathered and torn, hanging on by only a few strands, as long as it is still connected to its foundation, it will continue to hang on and wave freely. It’s the wind blowing against the flag that keeps it waving, that allows the stars (as well as the stripes) to be seen. It’s the winds of properly-channeled protest and criticism brought against a nation that keeps it changing and shaping and thus, prevents it from sinking into a false euphoria or apathy…or worse.

Not as Simple as it Seems

The flag is not black and white, and neither are most issues involving it. You will note, that there is one more red stripe than white, showing that there will be more pain and struggle than there will be purity and truth.

An amendment (“H.J. Res.10”) giving Congress the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag, has been up for vote several times. However, “desecration” means more than being burned or shredded in anger and protest. Through the popular sale of interpretated versions of our flag that’s been placed on items ranging from paper notebooks and jewelry, to shirts and table cloths, it’s been proven that the flag has a marketing appeal as well as a patriotic one. But Title 4, Section 8-d, 8-g and 8-i of the U.S. Code (rules and regulations) forbids wearing it or placing an image of it on anything that is meant to be thrown away. The code also says that it is not be be used for advertising purposes. Therefore, it is always interesting to see how “desecration” is interpretated.

An Implied Pledge?

Any flag represents a nation or group’s future, as well as it’s past. So, before you burn it or praise it, condemn it or pledge allegiance to it, you should take another look at it and really see it for what it represents.

Sometimes I think that our nation’s “pledge” has gone to another rectangular object…a green one. With all the crime and corruption in this country, it’s as if the “Pledge of Allegiance” has been subconsciously rewritten to:

I pledge allegiance to the dollar

of the United States of America.

And to the buying power for which it stands.

One cartel, under the stock exchange, insatiable,

with affluence and greed for the fortunate.

May Our Flag Always Wave Free!

Since the 9-11 tragedy, the red, white and blue American flag has been seen on more cars and flying from more buildings than ever. Maybe we should continue to wave our flag even more and be ever cautious to see that it continues to represent the freedom, justice and integrity for which it has always been known.

Dialog about Anti-Semitism and the Fate of the State of Israel

Rabid anti-Semitism, coupled with inane and outlandish conspiracy theories of world dominion, is easy to counter and dispel. It is the more “reasoned”, subtle, and stealthy variety that it pernicious. “No smoke without fire,” – say people – “there must be something to it!”.

In this dialog I try to deconstruct a “mild” anti-Semitic text. I myself wrote the text – not an easy task considering my ancestry (a Jew) and my citizenship (an Israeli). But to penetrate the pertinent layers – historical, psychological, semantic, and semiotic – I had to “enter the skin” of “rational”, classic anti-Semites, to grasp what makes them click and tick, and to think and reason like them.

I dedicated the last few months to ploughing through reams of anti-Semitic tracts and texts. Steeped in more or less nauseating verbal insanity and sheer paranoia, I emerged to compose the following.

The Anti-Semite:

The rising tide of anti-Semitism the world over is universally decried. The proponents of ant-Semitism are cast as ignorant, prejudiced, lawless, and atavistic. Their arguments are dismissed off-handedly.

But it takes one Jew to really know another. Conditioned by millennia of persecution, Jews are paranoid, defensive, and obsessively secretive. It is impossible for a gentile – whom they hold to be inferior and reflexively hostile – to penetrate their counsels.

Let us examine anti-Semitic arguments more closely and in an unbiased manner:

Argument number one – Being Jewish is a racial distinction – not only a religious one

If race is defined in terms of genetic purity, then Jews are as much a race as the remotest and most isolated of the tribes of the Amazon. Genetic studies revealed that Jews throughout the world – largely due to centuries of in-breeding – share the same genetic makeup. Hereditary diseases which afflict only the Jews attest to the veracity of this discovery.

Judaism is founded on shared biology as much as shared history and customs. As a religion, it proscribes a conjugal union with non-Jews. Jews are not even allowed to partake the food and wine of gentiles and have kept their distance from the communities which they inhabited – maintaining tenaciously, through countless generations, their language, habits, creed, dress, and national ethos. Only Jews become automatic citizens of Israel (the infamous Law of Return).

The Jewish Response:

Race has been invariably used as an argument against the Jews. It is ironic that racial purists have always been the most fervent anti-Semites. Jews are not so much a race as a community, united in age-old traditions and beliefs, lore and myths, history and language. Anyone can become a Jew by following a set of clear (though, admittedly, demanding) rules. There is absolutely no biological test or restriction on joining the collective that is known as the Jewish people or the religion that is Judaism.

It is true that some Jews are differentiated from their gentile environments. But this distinction has largely been imposed on us by countless generations of hostile hosts and neighbors. The yellow Star of David was only the latest in a series of measures to isolate the Jews, clearly mark them, restrict their economic and intellectual activities, and limit their social interactions. The only way to survive was to stick together. Can you blame us for responding to what you yourselves have so enthusiastically instigated?

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number two – The Jews regard themselves as Chosen, Superior, or Pure

Vehement protestations to the contrary notwithstanding – this is largely true. Orthodox Jews and secular Jews differ, of course, in their perception of this supremacy. The religious attribute it to divine will, intellectuals to the outstanding achievements of Jewish scientists and scholars, the modern Israeli is proud of his invincible army and thriving economy. But they all share a sense of privilege and commensurate obligation to civilize their inferiors and to spread progress and enlightenment wherever they are. This is a pernicious rendition of the colonial White Man’s Burden and it is coupled with disdain and contempt for the lowly and the great unwashed (namely, the gentiles).

The Jewish Response:

There were precious few Jews among the great colonizers and ideologues of imperialism (Disraeli being the exception). Moreover, to compare the dissemination of knowledge and enlightenment to colonialism is, indeed, a travesty.

We, the Jews, are proud of our achievements. Show me one group of people (including the anti-Semites) who isn’t? But there is an abyss between being justly proud of one’s true accomplishments and feeling superior as a result. Granted, there are narcissists and megalomaniacs everywhere and among the members of any human collective. Hitler and his Aryan superiority is a good example.

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number three – Jews have divided loyalties

It is false to say that Jews are first and foremost Jews and only then are they the loyal citizens of their respective countries. Jews have unreservedly fought and sacrificed in the service of their homelands, often killing their coreligionists in the process. But it is true that Jews believe that what is good for the Jews is good for the country they reside in. By aligning the interests of their adopted habitat with their narrower and selfish agenda, Jews feel justified to promote their own interests to the exclusion of all else and all others.

Moreover, the rebirth of the Jewish State presented the Jews with countless ethical dilemmas which they typically resolved by adhering uncritically to Tel-Aviv’s official line. This often brought them into direct conflict with their governments and non-Jewish compatriots and enhanced their reputation as untrustworthy and treacherous.

Hence the Jewish propensity to infiltrate decision-making centers, such as politics and the media. Their aim is to minimize conflicts of interests by transforming their peculiar concerns and preferences into official, if not always consensual, policy. This viral hijacking of the host country’s agenda is particularly evident in the United States where the interest of Jewry and of the only superpower have become inextricable.

It is a fact – not a rant – that Jews are over-represented in certain, influential, professions (in banking, finance, the media, politics, the film industry, publishing, science, the humanities, etc.). This is partly the result of their emphases on education and social upward mobility. But it is also due to the tendency of well-placed Jews to promote their brethren and provide them with privileged access to opportunities, funding, and jobs.

The Jewish Response:

Most modern polities are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural (an anathema to anti-Semites, I know). Every ethnic, religious, cultural, political, intellectual, and economic or business group tries to influence policy-making by various means. This is both legitimate and desirable. Lobbying has been an integral and essential part of democracy since it was invented in Athens 2500 years ago. The Jews and Israelis are no exception.

Jews are, indeed, over-represented in certain professions in the United States. But they are under-represented in other, equally important, vocations (for instance, among company CEOs, politicians, diplomats, managers of higher education institutions, and senior bankers). Globally, Jews are severely under-represented or not-existent in virtually all professions due to their demography (aging population, low birth-rates, unnatural deaths in wars and slaughters).

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number four – Jews act as a cabal or mafia

There is no organized, hierarchical, and centralized worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Rather the Jews act in a manner similar to al-Qaida: they freelance and self-assemble ad hoc in cross-border networks to tackle specific issues. Jewish organizations – many in cahoots with the Israeli government – serve as administrative backup, same as some Islamic charities do for militant Islam. The Jews’ ability and readiness to mobilize and act to further their plans is a matter of record and the source of the inordinate influence of their lobby organizations in Washington, for instance.

When two Jews meet, even randomly, and regardless of the disparities in their background, they immediately endeavor to see how they can further each other’s interests, even and often at the expense of everyone else’s.

Still, the Jewish diaspora, now two millennia old, is the first truly global phenomenon in world affairs. Bound by a common history, a common set of languages, a common ethos, a common religion, common defenses and ubiquitous enemies – Jews learned to closely cooperate in order to survive.

No wonder that all modern global networks – from Rothschild to Reuters – were established by Jews. Jews also featured prominently in all the revolutionary movements of the past three centuries. Individual Jews – though rarely the Jewish community as a whole – seem to benefit no matter what.

When Czarist Russia collapsed, Jews occupied 7 out of 10 prominent positions in both the Kerensky (a Jew himself) government and in the Lenin and early Stalin administrations. When the Soviet Union crumbled, Jews again benefited mightily. Three quarters of the famous “oligarchs” (robber barons) that absconded with the bulk of the defunct empire’s assets were – you guessed it – Jews.

The Jewish Response:

Ignoring the purposefully inflammatory language for a minute, what group does not behave this way? Harvard alumni, the British Commonwealth, the European Union, the Irish or the Italians in the United States, political parties the world over … As long as people co-operate legally and for legal ends, without breaching ethics and without discriminating against deserving non-members – what is wrong with that?

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number five – The Jews are planning to take over the world and establish a world government

This is the kind of nonsense that discredits a serious study of the Jews and their role in history, past and present. Endless lists of prominent people of Jewish descent are produced in support of the above contention. Yet, governments are not the mere sum of their constituent individuals. The dynamics of power subsist on more than the religious affiliation of office-holders, kingmakers, and string-pullers.

Granted, Jews are well introduced in the echelons of power almost everywhere. But this is still a very far cry from a world government. Neither were Jews prominent in any of the recent moves – mostly by the Europeans – to strengthen the role of international law and attendant supranational organizations.

The Jewish Response:

What can I say? I agree with you. I would only like to set the record straight by pointing out the fact that Jews are actually under-represented in the echelons of power everywhere (including in the United States). Only in Israel – where they constitute an overwhelming majority – do Jews run things.

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number six – Jews are selfish, narcissistic, haughty, double-faced, dissemblers. Zionism is an extension of this pathological narcissism as a colonial movement

Judaism is not missionary. It is elitist. But Zionism has always regarded itself as both a (19th century) national movement and a (colonial) civilizing force. Nationalist narcissism transformed Zionism into a mission of acculturation (“White Man’s Burden”).

In “Altneuland” (translated to Hebrew as “Tel Aviv”), the feverish tome composed by Theodore Herzl, Judaism’s improbable visionary – Herzl refers to the Arabs as pliant and compliant butlers, replete with gloves and tarbushes. In the book, a German Jewish family prophetically lands at Jaffa, the only port in erstwhile Palestine. They are welcomed and escorted by “Briticized” Arab gentlemen’s gentlemen who are only too happy to assist their future masters and colonizers to disembark.

This age-old narcissistic defence – the Jewish superiority complex – was only exacerbated by the Holocaust.

Nazism posed as a rebellion against the “old ways” – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the European order. The Nazis borrowed the Leninist vocabulary and assimilated it effectively. Hitler and the Nazis were an adolescent movement, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state. Hitler himself was a malignant narcissist, as Fromm correctly noted.

The Jews constituted a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that was “wrong” with Europe. They were an old nation, they were eerily disembodied (without a territory), they were cosmopolitan, they were part of the establishment, they were “decadent”, they were hated on religious and socio-economic grounds (see Goldhagen’s “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”), they were different, they were narcissistic (felt and acted as morally superior), they were everywhere, they were defenseless, they were credulous, they were adaptable (and thus could be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They were the perfect hated father figure and parricide was in fashion.

The Holocaust was a massive trauma not because of its dimensions – but because Germans, the epitome of Western civilization, have turned on the Jews, the self-proclaimed missionaries of Western civilization in the Levant and Arabia. It was the betrayal that mattered. Rejected by East (as colonial stooges) and West (as agents of racial contamination) alike – the Jews resorted to a series of narcissistic responses reified by the State of Israel.

The long term occupation of territories (metaphorical or physical) is a classic narcissistic behavior (of “annexation” of the other). The Six Days War was a war of self defence – but the swift victory only exacerbated the grandiose fantasies of the Jews. Mastery over the Palestinians became an important component in the psychological makeup of the nation (especially the more rightwing and religious elements) because it constitutes “Narcissistic Supply”.

The Jewish Response:

Happily, sooner or later most anti-Semitic arguments descend into incoherent diatribe. This dialog is no exception.

Zionism was not conceived out of time. It was born in an age of colonialism, Kipling’s “white man’s burden”, and Western narcissism. Regrettably, Herzl did not transcend the political discourse of his period. But Zionism is far more than Altneuland. Herzl died in 1904, having actually been deposed by Zionists from Russia who espoused ideals of equality for all, Jews and non-Jews alike.

The Holocaust was an enormous trauma and a clarion call. It taught the Jews that they cannot continue with their historically abnormal existence and that all the formulas for accommodation and co-existence failed. There remained only one viable solution: a Jewish state as a member of the international community of nations.

The Six Days War was, indeed, a classic example of preemptive self-defense. Its outcomes, however, deeply divide Jewish communities everywhere, especially in Israel. Many of us believe that occupation corrupts and reject the Messianic and millennial delusions of some Jews as dangerous and nefarious.

Perhaps this is the most important thing to remember:

Like every other group of humans, though molded by common experience, Jews are not a monolith. There are liberal Jews and orthodox Jews, narcissists and altruists, unscrupulous and moral, educated and ignorant, criminals and law-abiding citizens. Jews, in other words, are like everyone else. Can we say the same about anti-Semites? I wonder.

The Anti-Israeli:

The State of Israel is likely to end as did the seven previous stabs at Jewish statehood – in total annihilation. And for the same reasons: conflicts between secular and religious Jews and a racist-colonialist pattern of deplorable behavior. The UN has noted this recidivist misconduct in numerous resolutions and when it justly compared Zionism to racism.

The Jewish Response:

Zionism is undoubtedly a typical 19th century national movement, promoting the interests of an ethnically-homogeneous nation. But it is not and never has been a racist movement. Zionists of all stripes never believed in the inherent inferiority or malevolence or impurity of any group of people (however arbitrarily defined or capriciously delimited) just because of their common origin or habitation. The State of Israel is not exclusionary. There are a million Israelis who are Arabs, both Christians and Muslims.

It is true, though, that Jews have a special standing in Israel. The Law of Return grants them immediate citizenship. Because of obvious conflicts of interest, Arabs cannot serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Consequently, they don’t enjoy the special benefits conferred on war veterans and ex-soldiers.

Regrettably, it is also true that Arabs are discriminated against and hated by many Israelis, though rarely as a matter of official policy. These are the bitter fruits of the ongoing conflict. Budget priorities are also heavily skewed in favor of schools and infrastructure in Jewish municipalities. A lot remains to be done.

The Anti-Israeli:

Zionism started off as a counter-revolution. It presented itself as an alternative to both orthodox religion and to assimilation in the age of European “Enlightenment”. But it was soon hijacked by East European Jews who espoused a pernicious type of Stalinism and virulent anti-Arab racism.

The Jewish Response:

East European Jews were no doubt more nationalistic and etatist than the West European visionaries who gave birth to Zionism. But, again, they were not racist. On the very contrary. Their socialist roots called for close collaboration and integration of all the ethnicities and nationalities in Israel/Palestine.

The Anti-Israeli:

The “Status Quo” promulgated by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, confined institutionalized religion to matters of civil law and to communal issues. All affairs of state became the exclusive domain of the secular-leftist nomenclature and its attendant bureaucratic apparatus.

All this changed after the Six Days War in 1967 and, even more so, after the Yom Kippur War. Militant Messianic Jews with radical fundamentalist religious ideologies sought to eradicate the distinction between state and synagogue. They propounded a political agenda, thus invading the traditionally secular turf, to the great consternation of their compatriots.

This schism is unlikely to heal and will be further exacerbated by the inevitable need to confront harsh demographic and geopolitical realities. No matter how much occupied territory Israel gives up and how many ersatz Jews it imports from East Europe, the Palestinians are likely to become a majority within the next 50 years.

Israel will sooner or later face the need to choose whether to institute a policy of strict and racist apartheid – or shrink into an indefensible (though majority Jewish) enclave. The fanatics of the religious right are likely to enthusiastically opt for the first alternative. All the rest of the Jews in Israel are bound to recoil. Civil war will then become unavoidable and with it the demise of yet another short-lived Jewish polity.

The Jewish Response:

Israel is, indeed, faced with the unpalatable choice and demographic realities described above. But don’t bet on civil war and total annihilation just yet. There are numerous other political solutions – for instance, a confederacy of two national states, or one state with two nations. But, I agree, this is a serious problem further compounded by Palestinian demands for the right to return to their ancestral territories, now firmly within the Jewish State, even in its pre-1967 borders.

With regards to the hijacking of the national agenda by right-wing, religious fundamentalist Jewish militants – as the recent pullout from Gaza and some of the West Bank proves conclusively, Israelis are pragmatists. The influence of Messianic groups on Israeli decision-making is blown out of proportion. They are an increasingly isolated – though vocal and sometimes violent – minority.

The Anti-Israeli:

Israel could, perhaps, have survived, had it not committed a second mortal sin by transforming itself into an outpost and beacon of Western (first British-French, then American) neo-colonialism. As the representative of the oppressors, it was forced to resort to an official policy of unceasing war crimes and repeated grave violations of human and civil rights.

The Jewish Response:

Israel aligned itself with successive colonial powers in the region because it felt it had no choice, surrounded and outnumbered as it was by hostile, trigger-happy, and heavily armed neighbors. Israel did miss, though, quite a few chances to make peace, however intermittent and hesitant, with its erstwhile enemies. It is also true that it committed itself to a policy of settlements and oppression within the occupied territories which inevitably gave rise to grave and repeated violations on international law. Overlording another people had a corrosive corrupting influence on Israeli society.

The Anti-Israeli:

The Arabs, who first welcomed the Jewish settlers and the economic opportunities they represented, turned against the new emigrants when they learned of their agenda of occupation, displacement, and ethnic cleansing. Israel became a pivot of destabilization in the Middle East, embroiled in conflicts and wars too numerous to count. Unscrupulous and corrupt Arab rulers used its existence and the menace it reified as a pretext to avoid democratization, transparency, and accountability.

The Jewish Response:

With the exception of the 1919 Faisal-Weitzman declaration, Arabs never really welcomed the Jews. Attacks on Jewish outposts and settlers started as early as 1921 and never ceased. The wars in 1948 and in 1967 were initiated or provoked by the Arab states. It is true, though, that Israel unwisely leveraged its victories to oppress the Palestinians and for territorial gains, sometimes in cahoots with much despised colonial powers, such as Britain and France in 1956.

The Anti-Israeli:

This volatile mixture of ideological racism, Messianic empire-building, malignant theocracy much resented by the vast majority of secular Jews, and alignment with all entities anti-Arab and anti-Muslim will doom the Jewish country. In the long run, the real inheritors and proprietors of the Middle East are its long-term inhabitants, the Arabs. A strong army is not a guarantee of longevity – see the examples of the USSR and Yugoslavia.

Even now, it is not too late. Israel can transform itself into an important and benevolent regional player by embracing its Arab neighbors and by championing the causes of economic and scientific development, integration, and opposition to outside interference in the region’s internal affairs. The Arabs, exhausted by decades of conflict and backwardness, are likely to heave a collective sigh of relief and embrace Israel – reluctantly at first and more warmly as it proves itself a reliable ally and friend.

Israel’s demographic problem is more difficult to resolve. It requires Israel to renounce its exclusive racist and theocratic nature. Israel must suppress, by force if need be, the lunatic fringe of militant religious fanatics that has been haunting its politics in the last three decades. And it must extend a welcoming hand to its Arab citizens by legislating and enforcing a set of Civil Rights Laws.

The Jewish Response:

Whether this Jewish state is doomed or not, time will tell. Peace with our Arab neighbors and equal treatment of our Arab citizens should be our two over-riding strategic priorities. The Jewish State cannot continue to live by the sword, lest it perishes by it.

If the will is there it can be done. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

Tap Into Your Local Government Advisory Service

If you are aiming at starting out on a business venture soon, you are going to be looking into a number of different financing options in order to get all the money that you require. Every business owner can tell you that it takes a good chunk of liquid money to begin any kind of enterprise, regardless of what type of business you are going into. How does one go about getting a loan to begin a business venture? There are many ways in which this can be managed, with each one offering its own specific advantages for new business owners.

Common knowledge and conventional wisdom tells business owners that they have to approach banks if they need financing. There, you can try to get hold of an affordable business loan in order to get the ball rolling on your bright idea. The problem with banks in this day and age is that they aren’t being nearly as lenient with whom they are providing financing to. Because the market has seen a rise in the number of defaulters, lenders are tightening their credit requirements. At the same time, they are also considerably increasing their rates of interest. This could combine to make banks a financing option that is out of the price range of many new entrepreneurs. If you fall into this category, what should your response be? Do you consult family and friends to try to find someone who will help? If that doesn’t sound too appealing, then there is another option that you could look at. Your Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) is out there waiting for you if you should need financial assistance.

The Federal government decided to try and develop these local groups that have the best interest of your community in mind. There are a number of these organizations throughout the country and they represent your local area and community. These groups are filled with local people who have a ton of experience in running businesses and are in place to improve the state of local affairs. Though they also take on other responsibilities, such as environmental concerns, these advisory service committees are ultimately charged with stimulating businesses within your locality or state.

What procedures must be followed to get financing through the Local Government Advisory Service? You have to get in touch with them and see what they have on their plate at the moment. These committee members might be ready to loan you the money for a plan that would benefit both your business and the community. If you have an organized business plan that will ultimately provide something of value for your community or state, then the committee shall give you more importance. Granted that they don’t have any pressing needs that have to be addressed prior to your concern, they will take your plan to heart and start discussing giving you aid.

All of this might be affected by your hometown. Certain local advisory services have a lot more money to spare. In New York, for instance, the LGAC is in contact with millions of dollars each year which must be allocated to certain entities. Other areas of the country would probably find it very difficult to match that number, but they still feature some ability to help your venture roll out. Business owners must realize that these local committees have to keep the community’s best interest in mind, so not every project will get aid. Ultimately, it will be up to you to convince the committee that your business provides something meaningful and useful to your locality.

How does one go about convincing the committee that your idea would be a profitable one? Being organized will take you a long way. Take the time to sit down with your business plan and lay it out in a way that is easy to understand for everyone involved. Show how much business it might bring into a town or state. Inform the committee members, in certain financial terms, the scale of the impact that your business will have. This will put the pressure on them to pull the trigger on financing for your idea. Then, everyone will benefit from your desire and ability to begin a venture that will be a lucrative one.

If you are looking for a quality way to find financing for your upstart business, then you need to shop around extensively. Though it is prudent to investigate all of the options that are available to you, it would be foolish to overlook some of the things that could be hidden for a while. Your Local Government Advisory Service would be willing to help you monetarily. If you have a great idea that could add something constructive, you may not face too much trouble in getting monetary help.

Government Obstacles On The House Building High Road

Two proposals set out by the government during the last quarter of 2007 are likely to have major impact on the house building industry in 2008 and beyond. The first being the call for 3 million new homes by 2020, and the second and most significant, the proposed introduction of a statutory new planning charge.

The planning charge is designed to help pay for the infrastructure needed for new developments, and encourage regions and local authorities to plan positively for housing and economic growth.

The Government’s decision to scrap the controversial Planning Gains Supplement (PGS) in favor of the planning charge will be a relief to the industry, which feared that PGS would create a vacuum on the number of new sites brought to the market, and make many schemes financially unviable.

While the planning charge is a better way forward, it is not without its concerns. Any tax on land, which this undoubtedly still is, will either mean a rise in the cost of homes or will reduce the land value, which may have a negative effect on the number of sites coming forward for development.

The proposal for the planning charge is that it will based on a costed assessment of the infrastructure requirements specific to the development, taking into account land values. This is crucial as the cost of land in the South is significantly higher than in the North, and if the charging structure fails to take into account this regional difference then this will have severe consequences for the ability for house builders to develop new homes in higher priced regions.

The initial proposals by the British Property Federation, Home Builders Federation, London First and the Major Developers Group to the Government suggested that the charge should vary according to whether a site is greenfield, brownfield or regeneration scheme. Developers should be able to argue for a reduced tariff payment, if a scheme is not viable because of the tariff or other impositions, such as Section 106. This proposal will be key to the success of this idea.

One of the aims of the planning charge is to help make the planning process simpler. While this is to be welcomed this needs to go hand in hand with creating more land opportunities. Britain’s house builders cannot build 3 million new homes by 2020, just on brownfield sites alone, the use of the greenbelt will be essential to achieving this. The Social Marketing Foundation said in August that approximately 2 million of these new homes will need to be built outside of existing town and city boundaries.

Natural England is currently proposing a review of the greenbelt, which will look into the possibility of releasing parts of it for development. The emphasis would be on creating green wedges and corridors to link the natural environment to built areas. I would welcome, as I am sure most of the house building industry would, a review which takes a realistic view of the existing greenbelt alongside the need for new homes. Originally the greenbelt was created to protect and prevent urban sprawl. However, in recent years it has become a political issue, which has resulted in it becoming untouchable.

Building on the greenbelt in sustainable locations where access to infrastructure is already in place, will ensure a much better solution to England’s housing shortage than the development of new towns with little infrastructure or community.

The Government’s decisions on planning and housing need to be carefully considered to take into account the needs of the population and not be based on what is likely to be a vote winner. What often seems to be forgotten is that it is house builders who build homes and not the Government. Therefore the Government needs to take care not to jeopardies development opportunities by implementing policies which might hinder supply or make developments economically unviable.

House builders have the capability and willingness to build more homes but are prevented from doing so through a lack of land, long and drawn out planning legislation and a lack of commercially viable opportunities. It is to be hoped that this new planning charge will aid and not hinder the industry.

Getting Down Payment Help From The Government

A large hurdle you must overcome to purchase a house is the down payment. Fortunately, you can get down payment help from the government for your dream home.

Getting Down Payment Help From The Government

When it comes to buying a house, the government can actually help. No, really.

HUD stands for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. With such a name, you can see why everyone just calls it HUD. The departmentís stated mission is to pursue initiatives that make home ownership available to as many Americans as possible. HUD does this through making guarantees on home loans and other initiatives. A common misconception about HUD is that it actually issues mortgages to borrowers. It does not. Before you get too disappointed, HUD does offer initiatives in the housing down payment area.

In December of 2003, HUD started an initiative known as the American Dream Downpayment Initiative. Yes, they actually spelled downpayment as one word, but who is going to complain about such help? The initiative is part of the American Dream Downpayment Assistance Act passed in 2003, which provides $200 million dollars in down payment assistance. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is!

The goal of the initiative is the same as all HUD programs, to wit, to increase homeownership by helping people with the hurdle of down payments. The initiative is available only to first time buyers and is focused on revitalizing neighborhoods, giving minorities a leg up as well as lower income individuals. With the skyrocketing real estate prices of the last seven years, the initiative represents a breath of fresh air.

Under the initiative, HUD will provide assistance with down payment and closing costs. The help is capped at $10,000 or six percent of the purchase price, whichever is greater. Put another way, this is not some token assistance program. $10,000 or six percent is nothing to sneeze at. What do you know, a government program that actually helps people.

In truth, HUD is one of those rare government agencies that does a great job. To find out more about the American Dream Downpayment Initiative, contact HUD.

First Discredited by Science Then Banned By Governments – The Power Of Subliminal Messages

They were scoffed at by mainstream scientists. We were told that they didn’t work! So why have millions been spent on research and development within the advertising industry? Why have Rock Stars been taken to court over their alleged use and why were they banned from television and radio by the UK, Australian & United States Governments?

Why? …. Because they work!

A few short years ago we were still being told that subliminal advertising didn’t exist yet today the truth of it can be seen all over the Internet. The Information Age has made it possible to burst the bubble on the myth that subliminal advertising doesnít exist. Moreover there is now empirical scientific evidence supporting the belief that subliminal messages can be extremely effective at guiding human behaviour.

In 2006 a study was conducted by a group of behavioural scientists at a university in the Netherlands. They found that subliminal messages had a massive effect on people when the conditions were right. They fed subjects subliminal messages that directed them to drink a certain beverage and found that if they made the subjects thirsty 80% chose the subliminal product.

Today the famous UK mind-magician, Derren Brown, has shown a world-wide audience how the power of subliminal messages can be used to manipulate people (see site below for free video footage). He even used it to collect winnings at a race track with a losing ticket!

However, despite the mass fear of mind manipulation and the millions spent by advertising agencies, subliminal messages should not be regarded as inherently bad. A scythe has been used for its primary purpose to cut wheat for hundreds of years but in the past under war situations it was also used to take a manís head off! Donít blame the tool for the way itís abused. We are bombarded by subliminal stimuli every second of everyday and it is not all intentional. We simply cannot consciously register and filter all the stimuli that is reaching our senses. Things go unnoticed like the temperature of the air, the watch on your wrist, the couple arguing about money across the street, the lamp that is still lit at 2pm etc. These outside stimuli are processed by your subconscious mind which stores everything it encounters.

So anything that is subliminal is just some stimulus that is “below the threshold of consciousness”. So a subliminal message is a message that is perceived below the awareness of your conscious mind and stored in your memory by your subconscious mind.

Now the subconscious mind is also responsible for not only memory but all your bodily functions and movements. In order to move your finger it must compute and execute a multitude of intricate muscle contractions, which start with action potentials and neurotransmitters in the brain. Its computations must be exact. Think how complex it would be if you were to consciously try and compute something simple like the distance a car is from you. Yet your subconscious mind can do it instantly! It learned through repetition. Look at a baby. It can’t walk, or talk or even have full control over its motor functions (movement of bodily parts). The baby learns to do these things by conscious effort. After many attempts, and failures, the baby learns and then the function is passed over to the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind then responds in similar situations by recalling the memory and replicating it. You did the very same thing as an adult when you learned top drive a car.

Many problems arise, however, because the subconscious does the same thing with your emotional responses to certain situations. It stores them and replicates them in situations it sees to be similar. You were belittled and rejected when you were younger by a girl you fancied and now when you encounter a potential partner that you like you get clumsy, self-conscious, feel awkward, panicked and want to run away – yet the original memory may have long faded. The subconscious mind is a creature of habit. It accepts whatever the conscious mind passes to it and replicates this belief in your emotional responses, thoughts, action and even your environment.

The subconscious mind is extremely powerful. The only problem is it believes everything it is told without the slightest reservation. However, we have a safety net, so to speak. There is a guardian at the door of the subconscious mind called the conscious mind and it regulates what is and isnít allowed to get through. This is the thinking you that is reading this article now.

As we see from the example with the baby the most common way to gain access to the subconscious mind is through repetition. You should now understand why affirmations can be so powerful when employed correctly. However, in this age of technology we have found quicker more direct routes to the subconscious mind such as hypnosis, brain entrainment and of course subliminal messages.

If subliminal messages can manipulate your emotional responses and make you chose one product over another, as was shown in the Netherlands, then it can also be used as an invaluable self improvement tool. Imagine being able to feel more confident where before you felt timid? Or feeling calm when you felt stress? Imagine programming your mind to think and act like Bill Gates or Rockefeller? Imagine being able to create your own custom subliminal messages and program your mind with whatever you wanted. Just imagine!

Does the American government see its citizens as its children?

In Americas 230 year history the government seems to have forgotten that there job is to run the government as the people see as best and not the government telling the people what is best for them.

The most recent example is the Internet gambling Ban signed into law last week by President Bush. The bill makes it illegal for banks and credit card companies to transfer money to casinos for the purpose of wagering on sports or games of chance, like roulette, blackjack and poker.

These games are harmlessly enjoyed regularly by millions of Americans everyday, but some people become addicted to these games so the government is telling all of its citizens that no one is allowed to play these games in an online casino.

This is not the first case of the government going against the wishes of the people, in the early 1900ís the government decided that the consumption of Alcohol should be banned, because some people were developing health and mental problems related to drinking too much. So rather then educating the people on the ill effects of prolonged Alcohol abuse the American government banned Alcohol.

But instead of reducing the consumption of Alcoholic beverages it increased, and because the government was not allowing the production or importing of Alcohol, organized grime got into the moonshine business, and eventually the Government saw the error of their decision and repealed the law.

Another great example of a failed policy to protect the people is the war on drugs that the government has been aging since the early 1980ís Billions of tax dollars a year goes into the war on drugs, but what are the results?

The price of drugs has risen, and to support their habits many drug addicts have had to commit acts of robbery and murder to get their drugs.

The American prisons are packed full of people whose only crime was possession of these illegal drugs.

Instead of being an industry that is regulated and controlled you have people selling these drugs to kids in school playgrounds, and shooting each other to protect their territory.

Had the government decided not to criminalize drugs but make it a heavily controlled industry, they could use the tax money for social programs like schools ad to give Americans universal health care.

Please do not misunderstand me I am not in favor for legalizing hard drugs, but the current system is not working at all, but I am all in favor for legalizing online casino gambling.

If I choose to play some hands of blackjack or poker from the comfort of my home what rights does the government have to tell me not to, and what sense does it make that I can not play in a casino over the internet, but I can drive down the street to the local casino and play there.

To enforce this ban millions if not billions of dollars of software and computer hardware will be needed to monitor all of the banks transactions and that money will come from taxes instead of the government taxing online casinos or even having all the online casinos government controlled then they get all the profits to be used to improve the lives of the American citizens, millions of which are bellow the poverty line if not homeless.

The American government needs to start re-thinking its policy of treating its citizens like small children, or the American people need to demand a new government.

All The Amazing Secrets Behind Government Car Auctions In Arizona

In Scottsdale, Arizona some important firms are organizing government car auctions. The events are always really successful; there is also a participant preview day for any government car auction in Arizona. Over 600 splendid cars are usually auctioned, speed cars, old cars; every piece is carefully prepared, in excellent condition, without any damage. These auctions are an American tradition since 1970.

Buying a vehicle pre-owned by the U.S.A. government is not difficult. You can simple take part at government car auctions in Arizona. A web site provides a list of vehicles for sale, location and times for every auction, and detailed description of the process. The sales representatives cater auto dealers; they will assist potential buyers to purchase at government car auctions in Arizona. The purchase is easy and simple; usually, there are no auction buyerís fees at government car auctions in Arizona.

U.S. General Services Administration is the agency that buys new vehicles and leases them to the federal agencies. When the vehicle complete their lease term, a government car auction is making possible to sell them to auto dealer or general public and renew the government fleet.

The great advantage of government car auction in Arizona is that the agencies are delivering all the vehicles in premium condition. Government car auction in Arizona has a solid reputation, transactions are transparent and fair. The cars are sold are they are, so the buyer must carefully inspect the car before making a bid. The buyer must also read, understand and sign the Terms and conditions document, available on the government car auction in Arizona site or at the sale.

How to buy a car
There are some simple steps to buy a pre-owned car from government car auction in Arizona. First of all, find an auction near you home, using the auction web site. Once arrived at the auction, register for the sale and inspect the inventory list to find the cars on the lot. Make a pre-selection, choosing several cars to bid on. It is wise to have a few alternatives to increase the chances to win during the auction.

If the buyer is new to the action process, the best solution is to ask the auctioneers to assist him during the bidding. It is also wise to pay by debit card, credit card, bank check or money order. The sales representative is always able to explain what option is accepted.

At government car auctions in Arizona, all the cars are clean, and ready to go. The majority includes 2000 ñ 2001 car models; the main advantages are low mileage, popular styles and colors, exceptional condition, power steering, power windows, AM / FM cassette deck, A/C.

The cars have been used for ordinary courses by government agencies; there are no military cars or repossessed cars. Another advantage is the price: many vehicles sell at wholesale prices. Vehicles are available for inspection a day before the auction and during the government car auctions in Arizona.

A Quick Guide To Local, State, And Federal Government Auctions

There are million of dollars of seized and unclaimed property auctioned by the government on an everyday basis. These potential hidden treasures include cars, houses, boats, jewelry, antiques, and more. Since the government has nothing invested and often lacks potential buyers, the amount required to purchase can be obscenely low. Auctions are a common method used to dispose of anything and everything they have accumulated.

Government auctions are held everyday all across the United States. Federal, State and Local governments all hold their own auctions on a regular basis. The following is some helpful information to get you started in your quest to find a new home, car or other property at a bargain price.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I locate a government auction near me?

— Unfortunately there is not one nice consolidated place that lists all of them for you. Local, state and federal governments tend not to operate in cooperation, but each has their own unique method of advertising their own auctions or sales. You can begin by contacting your local or state government in person, by phone, or email. Sometimes you will find listings for auctions in the local newspaper or posted at various city or county buildings. Searching the internet may also turn up listings.

Is it complicated to buy via an auction?

— No, generally there is a simple registration process. When you register, you get information about their payment and other policies, like how long you have to remove an item, once youíve purchased it and whether or how closely you will be allowed to inspect what is up for bid, before they begin the auction.

How do I find that particular item I’m looking for?

— This is where the fun begins. It can take lots, and lots of looking. Often auction listings only mention some of the items being sold, not all of them. Checking with the local agency that would logically have the item you might want is a good idea. An agriculture related agency would be a good place to start looking for used tractors, instead of a business oriented department or agency.

Why are things so cheap?

— Simple supply and demand. The government seizes property everyday and there are a limited number of people that know how to buy it. The government is not at risk of taking a loss since they did not invest in the item to begin with.

Can you really buy a car for $100?

— Yes, there are cars that cheap, but they most likely will not be in mint condition. You should pursue this like you would when buying any used car. Kick the tires, look under the hood, and take it for a test drive if they will allow it. Try to check to make sure the car is not a ‘salvage car’ before purchasing.

What about real estate?

— The current economic situation likely makes this the newest potential goldmine for those with some money to invest. With the housing market and mortgage market taking huge hits this year, more homes have gone into foreclosure or are being seized by the government for back taxes owed. Watch the papers and internet websites for ‘tax sales’. The flood of homes being seized is making it difficult to impossible for various government agencies to find buyers for a wide range of properties.

The potential is only limited by the effort you put forth. I have seen a pallet of computers go for less than the cost of a single computer, because I was in the right place at the right time, but without a truck For those who have done the research and have prepared there truly are treasures waiting.