Netanyahu at Western Wall: I respect Obama, but it’s my duty to ensure Israel’s security

Netanyahu at Western Wall: I respect Obama, but it’s my duty to ensure Israel’s security

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to the Western Wall Saturday night, just hours before flying to Washington on one of the the most contentious visits there by an Israeli prime minister in recent memory.

With the Wall as his backdrop, Netanyahu said that he wanted to visit Judaism’s holiest site before embarking on his trip Sunday morning to Washington where his scheduled speech before Congress on Tuesday has placed him at loggerheads with the White House.

“I want to take this opportunity to say that I respect US President Barack Obama,” he stressed. “I believe in the strength of the relationship between Israel and the US and in their strength to overcome differences of opinion, those that have been and those that will yet be. ” Netanyahu reiterated his position that as Israel’s prime minister it was his obligation to worry about Israel’s security, “and for that reason we strongly opposed the agreement being formulated between the world powers and Iran that could endanger Israel’s very existence.”

This is the first time since he became prime minister for the second time in 2009 that Netanyahu visited the Wall before embarking on a trip to the United States. This followed by two days a visit he made to his father’s grave in Jerusalem. His father, Netanyahu explained to the haredi radio station Kol B’rama on Friday, always gave him advice at critical junctures in his life.

“He said to always look at the threats endangering our people,” Netanyahu said of his father, Benzion, a noted historian who passed away in 2012. “He said that one of the things that was lacking in Jewish history was seeing in real time what endangers our existence.” The obligation incumbent on Israel’s leaders, Netanyahu said, is to identify the dangers in time and do everything they can to scuttle them.

“My responsibility is to worry not only about the State of Israel, but also the future of the Jewish people,” he said, “to stand up and raise our voice. Seventy, eighty years ago no one could raise their voice when there were plans to destroy us. Today there is, and it is my obligation.”

In the interview Netanyahu pointed to former prime minister David Ben-Gurion, Levi Eshkol, and Menachem Begin as leaders who during their tenures took action they felt was necessary even though it ran contrary to strongly-stated US policies.

“When there is something that is connected to our very existence, what do they expect the prime minister to, bow his head and accept something that is dangerous in order to have good relations?” he asked. “I think the relations are strong enough to overcome the disagreements, and that Iran with an atomic bomb is much more dangerous than one disagreement or another [with the US].”

Government officials said that, as is Netanyahu’s won’t, work on the speech to Congress will continue until it is delivered at 11.00 am Tuesday morning. The officials said that Netanyahu genuinely believes this is a historic moment, and that in the best case scenario the speech could compel “policy makers to rethink concessions that they are willing to make to the Iranians.”

Netanyahu is scheduled to arrive in Washington Sunday afternoon, and deliver a speech to AIPAC’s annual policy conference Monday morning that will focus on the strength of the US-Israel relationship. He is scheduled to have lunch with a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders on Tuesday afternoon after delivering his address to Congress, and then fly back to Israel, arriving a few hours before the onset of Purim.

In his interview on Friday he noted the timing, saying that just as Jews on Purim remember the attempt in Persia in antiquity to destroy the Jews, “it is the same Persia with a regime that is waving the banner of destroying the state of the Jews. The means by which they intend on implementing this threat is with many atomic bombs.”

Netanyahu will be accompanied to Washington by ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, who was in Jerusalem last week helping him prepare for the trip, his top advisors, and his wife, Sarah.

Maher vs. Charlie Rose: To Claim Islam Is Like Other Religions Is Naive And Plain Wrong

Maher vs. Charlie Rose: To Claim Islam Is Like Other Religions Is Naive And Plain Wrong

Bill Maher clashed with Charlie Rose over Islam during an appearance on Rose’s Bloomberg Television program this week. Maher, the host of Real Time on HBO, scoffed at Rose’s numerous attempts to link Islam to Christianity and to try to disavow radical Muslims as representatives of the religion. Rose contended numerous times that “moderate Muslims” do not approve of the actions of radical groups like ISIS. Maher noted Muslims when polled overwhelmingly agree with ideas like killing those who leave Islam and stoning adulters. Rose said the Koran does not teach Muslims to do “these kind of things.” Below is a transcript of their conversation:

BILL MAHER: I saw Howard Dean on TV the other day and he said something along the order, he said the people in ISIS — he said I’m about as Islamic as they are, you know, distancing the vast numbers of Islamic people around the world from them. That’s just not true.

CHARLIE ROSE: It is true.

MAHER: It is not true, Charlie. There is a connecting tissue between —

ROSE: Behind every Muslim is a future member of some radical?

MAHER: Let me finish.

ROSE: I was doing that.

MAHER: There are illiberal beliefs that are held by vast numbers of Muslim people that —

ROSE: A vast number of Christians too.

MAHER: No, that’s not true. Not true. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians —

ROSE: I agree with that —

MAHER: — do not believe if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it. So yes, does ISIS do Khmer Rouge-like activities where they just kill people indiscriminately who aren’t just like them? Yes. And would most Muslim people in the world do that or condone that? No.

ROSE: No.

MAHER: But most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think.

ROSE: How do you know that?

MAHER: They do. First of all they say it. They shout it.

ROSE: Vast majorities of Muslims say that?

MAHER: Absolutely. There was a Pew poll in Egypt done a few years ago — 82% said, I think, stoning is the appropriate punishment for adultery. Over 80% thought death was the appropriate punishment for leaving the Muslim religion. I’m sure you know these things.

ROSE: Well I do. But I don’t believe —

MAHER: So to claim that this religion is like other religions is just naive and plain wrong. It is not like other religious. The New York Times pointed out in an op-ed a couple weeks ago that in Saudi Arabia just since August 4th, they think it was, they have beheaded 19 people. Most for non-violent crimes including homosexuality.

ROSE: I know that they cut the hands off the thief.

MAHER: Right, okay, so we’re upset that ISIS is beheading people which we should be upset about but Saudi Arabia does it and they’re our good friends because they have oil. Okay. But they do it too. This is the center of the religion. I’m not saying –

ROSE: But they’re now fighting against ISIS too. They’re joining us in the fight. As is the Emirates. As is Jordan. They are all Muslim countries.

MAHER: Well, they are both fighting ISIS and they are for ISIS.

ROSE: Well, it’s not the government. I mean, some of them —

MAHER: Certainly the governments.

ROSE: It’s a bit like today about Qatar. The big story today in The New York Timesabout Qatar. And some guy there is supporting, who is a Muslim —

MAHER: But I mean in Mecca where infidels, non-Muslims, are not even allowed in the holy parts of the city. I mean, right there, we don’t have that example in other religions. They do behead people. Now if they were beheading people in Vatican City, which is the equivalent of Mecca, don’t you think there would be a bigger outcry about it? So this is the soft bigotry of low expectations with Muslim people. When they do crazy things and believe crazy things, somehow it’s not talked about nearly as much.

ROSE: Would you come to the table and debate this with a moderate Muslim?

MAHER: Find one, yes. Find one.

ROSE: I promise you I’ll find one.

MAHER: Find a Muslim —

ROSE: I do believe that what we see with ISIS is not representative of —

MAHER: As I said, connecting tissue.

ROSE: — not representative of the Islamic religion. I don’t think the Koran teaches them to do these kinds of things.

MAHER: Well you’re wrong about that. The Koran absolutely has on every page stuff that’s horrible about how the infidels should be treated. But for example again ISIS says that they should perform genital mutilation on all women 11-46. Would most Muslims agree with that? No. Or carry it out? No.

But as Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out, she says —

ROSE: I wouldn’t expect for her to —

MAHER: And she would know better than —

ROSE: Exactly.

MAHER: But can we really say —

ROSE: She’s been a victim.

MAHER: — women are treated equally in the Muslim world? I mean, their testimony in court is very often counted as half. They need permission to leave the house in some places.

ROSE: But a lot of moderate Muslims would say in fact one of the things that we need to modernize is the idea of the way we treat women.

MAHER: But in this country, if you just use the wrong word about women, they go nuts. And all these other countries —

ROSE: As they should.

MAHER: — they’re doing things like making them wear burqas and I hear liberals say things like, ‘they want to.’ They want to. They’ve been brainwashed. It’s like saying a street walker wants to do that.

Duke backs down, cancels Muslim call to prayer from chapel tower

 Duke copy

Duke backs down, cancels Muslim call to prayer from chapel tower

by Todd Starnes

Duke University has abandoned its plan to transform the bell tower on the Methodist school’s neo-gothic cathedral into a minaret where the Muslim call to prayer was to be publicly broadcast.

“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

Duke University draws fire as it announces weekly Muslim call to prayer

Starting this Friday, Duke University plans to have a regular Muslim call to prayer on campus. Most students support religious diversity, but off-campus critics are concerned by what it symbolizes.

Christian Science Monitor

As of Friday, residents of Durham, N.C., near the Duke University Chapel bell tower will now hear the tones of a male Muslim Students Association member chanting the Muslim “adhan” or “call to prayer” at 1 p.m. each week.

 “On campus among students and faculty the response has been overwhelmingly positive,“ says Duke spokesman Keith Lawrence in a phone interview.

And… unleash the ignorant haters! (I think this is great) — Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University http://t.co/imWV0M2BTK— Emily (@expatemily) January 14, 2015

“Those responding from the outside, particularly on social media like Twitter, have been mixed with some negativity that has begun to feed off of itself,” Mr. Lawrence adds.

I wonder how Duke or atheist would feel if Christians wanted to recite the lords prayer once a week?… http://t.co/J09Ojp5ScA— Bill LuMaye Show 850 (@BillLuMaye) January 14, 2015

Via @WRAL: Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University http://t.co/Vw97l0tjQc More capitulating. The sound of Satan. WHY?— A Mountain (@annie_amountain) January 14, 2015

The chant, which announces the start of the group’s jummah prayer service, which takes place in the chapel basement each Friday at 1 p.m., lasts about three minutes and will be moderately amplified, according to a Duke University press release.

Imam Adeel Zeb, Muslim chaplain at Duke says in a phone interview that the addition of the chant was in the works months prior to the militant Islamist attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and are in no way in response or politically motivated.

Muslim students at Duke are supported by the university through the Office of Student Affairs’ Muslim Life department, which hosts religious services, community service projects, and interfaith events. The Center for Muslim Life provides on-campus social and spiritual meeting spaces for students as well as opportunities for counseling and advising.

“This is not about politics,” Mr. Zeb says. “This is part of Duke’s mission to promote religious diversity on campus.”

Zeb adds that he “did not hesitate for a moment” or waver at all in the plan following the Paris attacks or after learning about negative feedback on Twitter.

“As always, I advise my students to respond to negativity by being very positive and loving in their character,” Zeb says. “It is a tradition and an honor to carry on the chant and call to prayer.”

“Duke is in the minority for having he call to prayer,” Zeb says. “I don’t know of many others doing it.”

He adds that the service is open to the public,

The words will be chanted in Arabic, then spoken in English by either male or female students over the public address system, according to Zeb who offers the following English translation of the Adhan:

God is Most Great. God is Most Great.

God is Most Great. God is Most Great.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

Come to prayer. Come to prayer.

Come to Success. Come to Success.

God is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.

There is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

Zeb says that he has spent the past week training seven male students in the proper intonation, rhythm, and pronunciation of the chant. The adhan is traditionally performed by males unless it is a call to an all-female gathering, in which case, Zeb says, a woman would call the adhan.

“The adhan is the call to prayer that brings Muslims back to their purpose in life, which is to worship God and serves as a reminder to serve our brothers and sisters in humanity,” Zeb explains. “The collective Muslim community is truly grateful and excited about Duke’s intentionality toward religious and cultural diversity.”

“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life and a Christian, is quoted in a press release. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”

Maher on Islam: “When There’s This Many Bad Apples, There’s Something Wrong With The Orchard”

bill-maher

Maher on Islam: “When There’s This Many Bad Apples, There’s Something Wrong With The Orchard”

HBO’s Bill Maher discusses the Paris terror attack and the threat of radical Islam with author Salman Rushdie, who received a fatwa from Ayatollah Khomeini, businesswoman and political commentator Carly Fiorina, and Democratic strategist Paul Begala.

Maher listed off some of the major attacks pulled off by Muslim extremists since 9/11 saying, “when there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard.”

“We tend to forget how often it happens and we’re Americans so we don’t want to single out people, but when you look at that list just since 9/11. We had the Madrid bombings in ’04; London in ’05; Mumbai; the Kenyan mall attack; Benghazi, which was one of 20 cities that erupted when that movie the Innocence of Muslims was on the internet; ISIS; Boko Haram, who killed an entire village this week; Pakistan this year, last year, killing all those kids at school; Canada, the parliament; Australia, that guy,” Maher said.

Maher also cited a report 60 Minutes did last fall on Muslim men accosting female Londoners about the way they dressed.

Relevant transcript below:

BILL MAHER, “REAL TIME” HOST: This was kind of a dark week for humor and for free speech and make no mistake about it our very way of life is threatened and under attack. But, you know me, I’m a cockeyed optimist. I want to look on the bright side and actually I feel like there was a bright side this week. I saw a reaction from non-Muslims and Muslims alike that I’ve never seen before when s— like this went down. Do you think we’ve reached a tipping point where people have just had enough of this s—?…

MAHER: We tend to forget how often it happens and we’re Americans so we don’t want to single out people, but when you look at that list just since 9/11. We had the Madrid bombings in ’04; London in ’05; Mumbai; the Kenyan mall attack; Benghazi, which was one of 20 cities that erupted when that movie the Innocence of Muslims was on the internet; ISIS; Boko Haram, who killed an entire village this week; Pakistan this year, last year, killing all those kids at school; Canada, the parliament; Australia, that guy.

And that’s just the terrorists, let’s not forget also governments. That’s the thing that I think gets lost. It’s inside the establishment and it’s outside. Saudi Arabia today, a blogger gets a 1,000 lashes —

RUSHDIE: They flogged the blogger for saying something that a priest didn’t like.

MAHER: Right.

FIORINA: And let’s not forget Syria slaughtering 300,000 of their own citizens.

MAHER: Right, but I mean like Turkey. The president of Turkey said, “Women are not equal to men. Our religion has a defined position for women, motherhood.”

I can’t imagine a Western government leader saying that. And what we’ve said all along is, and have been called bigots for it, is when there’s this many bad ideas, there’s something wrong with the orchard…

MAHER: There should be a distinction because obviously the vast majority of Muslims would never do anything like this, but they share bad ideas. This is the thing that caused the big raucous when Ben Affleck was here was that Sam Harris said Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas and everyone went f—ing nuts on this side of the panel. But it is!

The guy who shot up — these two guys who shot up the cartoonist the other day they were avenging the prophet when they did it. A bad idea. To martyrdom, a bad idea. Women as second class citizens, a bad idea. And unfortunately the terrorists and the mainstream share a lot of these bad ideas.

In a related story:

Ohio Man Arrested for Alleged ISIS-Inspired Attack Plot on US Capitol

PHOTO: A flag of the Islamic State is seen on the other side of a bridge at the front line of fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Islamist militants in Rashad, on the road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, Sept. 11, 2014.

The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for allegedly plotting an Islamic State-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he hoped to set off a series of bombs aimed at lawmakers, whom he allegedly considered enemies.

Christopher Lee Cornell -– also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah -– was arrested earlier today on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official.

ISIS: Trail of Terror
U.S.Homeland Warns of ISIS Retaliation in US by Sympathizers
Tracking ISIS: Homegrown Terror Threat

Government documents say the FBI first noticed Cornell after he voiced support for violent “jihad” on a Twitter account.

Further investigation revealed his intent to attack the U.S. Capitol, and he planned to detonate pipe bombs there and open fire on any employees and officials after the bombs went off, according to government documents.

The FBI and Department of Homeland security issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country, notifying them of the case.

“The alleged activities of Cornell highlight the continued interest of US-based violent extremists to support designated foreign terrorist organizations overseas, such as ISIL, by committing terrorist acts in the United States,” the bulletin read. “Terrorist group members and supporters will almost certainly continue to use social media platforms to disseminate English language violent extremist messages.”

Obama Will Never Stand With Figures Who Insult Muslims

slander

Obama Will Never Stand With Figures Who Insult Muslims

By Jim Geraghty

January 13, 2015 10:19 AM

Why didn’t President Obama go to Paris?

Monday brought a lot of quickly discarded excuses. 1) The excuse that the United States was adequately represented, as suggested by Kerry’s claim that critics were “quibbling” because the U.S. ambassador attended. White House press secretary Josh Earnest eventually retreated on that one. 2) The claim that there were security concerns, which suggested the security measures taken to protect the French president, U.K. prime minister, and Israeli prime minister were somehow insufficient. Also note that the entire point of the march was to send a message to the world that leaders will not be intimidated by extremists who threaten to kill them. 3) Complete and total staff incompetence: “White House aides were so caught off guard by the march’s massive size and attention that they hadn’t even asked President Barack Obama if he wanted to go.”

The simplest explanation — and one that doesn’t contradict option 3 — is that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to put his personal stature and credibility on the line to support something like Charlie Hebdo. Since those awful attacks, we’ve witnessed a lot of allegedly intellectual leftists offer versions of “the attacks were terrible, but —” and then explaining why Hebdo was offensive, hate speech, and unnecessary provocation, foolish, etc., and imply that the magazine isn’t really worth defending and that the world would be a better place if these immature, impudent cartoonists would stop making fun of one of the world’s great religions.

There’s very little evidence to suggest that Obama disagrees with this progressive intellectual reaction, that while satire of Islam is theoretically legal, the consequences of enraging Muslims is too much trouble and risk to be worthwhile. We saw this in the response to Hebdo before, and the infamous YouTube video that the administration cited as a scapegoat for the Benghazi attacks. To a lot of progressives, while depicting Muhammad or mocking Islam shouldn’t be banned, it should be discouraged, and a presidential appearance at that rally and march would be too close to an official endorsement of the magazine and its contents.

As then–White House press secretary Jay Carney put it in 2012 while discussing the French magazine’s Muhammad cartoons:

We don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. And I think that that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offense in the Muslim world.

Obama would never support going into a magazine and shooting people. But he’s afamously thin-skinned public figure who thinks he has a particularly powerful connection and understanding of the Muslim world because he spent some childhood years in Indonesia. He is so mono-focused on “de-escalating” tensions with the Muslim world that he thinks about how he would advise ISIS. The last thing President Obama is going to do is take some sort of personal action that indicates a real show of solidarity with cartoonists who offend Muslims.

New York Times Reports On Muslim Proselytizing During Charlie Hebdo Attack, Then Deletes It

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New York Times Reports On Muslim Proselytizing During Charlie Hebdo Attack, Then Deletes It

JIM TREACHER
 When Islamic terrorists expressly tell their victims why they’re being attacked, our mainstream media will do anything to cover it up. They’ll change the subject, they’ll blame the victims… they’ll even stealth-edit* their own copy.

Here’s the latest example of the New York Times censoring itself to avoid offending Muslims after an act of Islamic terror. This morning,BenK at Ace of Spades quoted an NYT story by Liz Alderman titled “Survivors Retrace a Scene of Horror at Charlie Hebdo.” Take note of these two paragraphs from that story:

Sigolène Vinson, a freelancer who had decided to come in that morning to take part in the meeting, thought she would be killed when one of the men approached her.

Instead, she told French news media, the man said, “I’m not going to kill you because you’re a woman, we don’t kill women, but you must convert to Islam, read the Quran and cover yourself,” she recalled.

I was intrigued by this quote, and it seemed worth exploring, so I went to the NYT story to quote it. But guess what?

Here’s what it says now:

Sigolène Vinson, a freelance journalist who had come in that morning to take part in the meeting, said that when the shooting started, she thought she would be killed.

Ms. Vinson said in an interview that she dropped to the floor and crawled down the hall to hide behind a partition, but one of the gunmen spotted her and grabbed her by the arm, pointing his gun at her head. Instead of pulling the trigger, though, he told her she would not be killed because she was a woman.

“Don’t be afraid, calm down, I won’t kill you,” the gunman told her in a steady voice, with a calm look in his eyes, she recalled. “You are a woman. But think about what you’re doing. It’s not right.”

Nothing about telling her to convert to Islam. Nothing about telling her to read the Quran. Nothing about telling her to cover her face.

 Nothing about the very reason these animals did this.

So, imagine yourself as an NYT editor for a moment, if you can withstand the nausea. Why would you specifically take out the part about the Islamic terrorist proselytizing for Islam in the middle of the terrorist attack? Why delete this woman’s account of being threatened at gunpoint and being told to convert to Islam?

That’s easy. Because you’re one of America’s moral, ethical, and intellectual betters, and you don’t want it to be true. Your reporter hastily left that inconvenient truth in her story by accident, so you airbrushed it out, without any acknowledgment, to preserve the narrative. You turned it into, “Hey, maybe these guys aren’t so bad after all. They didn’t kill the women, right? Let’s not be too hasty.”

Because that’s your job.

The New York Times is garbage.

A TERRIFYING YEAR — YET THERE’S HOPE

 On the Money

A TERRIFYING YEAR — YET THERE’S HOPE

By Ben Stein

Away from the White House and Justice Department, America has been doing great things.

Christmas 2014
This has been a terrifying year. Unspeakable brutality by Islamist terrorists in the Middle East and in Africa. A level of barbarity towards the innocent that would have made Eichmann envious. A world that in large measure kowtows to the most violent and bloodthirsty and turns on the most innocent and law-abiding (think Hamas vs. Israel). In this year, no one demonstrated in the streets of Europe’s capitals against Islamists who murdered children by the thousands but did protest screamingly against the major guardians of law and decency in the world, the USA and Israel.

In this year, man’s essential mean-spiritedness ran riot, with fanatics of various stripes and Islamists brutalizing universities either physically or by the essential evil of their tortured so-called “thoughts.” This was at prestige universities in the United States. indonesianislamists

In 2014, the President and the Attorney-General, both men of color, sought to awaken the demons of racism for votes. That was not “just politics.” That was something like sedition from on high. People are fragile on the subject of race. To have the most exalted in the land stir up fear and anger about race over highly dubious claims of racism was in fact wildly dangerous racism in and of itself.

To see the “black power” flags run up on Pennsylvania Avenue by the mightiest of the mighty was a distressing spectacle. It got the GOP overwhelming control of Congress. I am sure it will get the GOP the White House if it continues, for even Hillary is not inevitable if the Democrat party makes itself the party of anti-white racist feeling.

Is America racist? Well, Americans are people. People dislike other people pushing them around. Black people do not like being pushed around and white people do not like being pushed around. That is not racism. That is basic humanity. Nations get into trouble when one sector pushes another sector around for grievances that were once horribly real, but no longer are.      

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton speaks at the National Action Network in Harlem, New York                                                                                                                                              
In other words, until Mr. Obama came along to capitalize on racial feelings, poll data showed Americans feeling pretty good about race relations. Now, Americans are fearful and anxious about race. This is a colossal step backwards. This is what happens when the President is beholden to extremists and agitators and must dance to the tune they call about race-baiting. I totally see how it came about. But it’s time to walk back. Time, high time, to back down from that race-baiting cliff.

In other words, when the President of the United States listens to Al Sharpton and takes him seriously, we are in a lot of trouble. We are a glorious, God-centered nation. We can rise above racial antagonisms. We have done it in the past. We can do it in the future, if, if, if politicians can step back from mortgaging America’s future to win votes. A big “if”…

So my gloomy thoughts run on this glorious Christmas in Rancho Mirage, with the stars painting the night sky behind my palm trees.

But I also have seen great things this year. My job is, in large part, to speak at events, often business-related events. And here I see magnificent things happening. I see auto dealers who have completely changed the way selling and financing and servicing of cars works. A business notorious for sharp practice is now a business people trust and love. It is fun to buy a car.

I have seen the tenacious oil people, who fought like warriors to drill—and now they have brought cheap gasoline to America—at huge cost to themselves. When you fill your tank for roughly two-thirds of what it would have cost a year ago, it’s no thanks to the government. No thanks to Hollywood. It is thanks to those oilmen whom the government loves to criticize and lambaste.gas-price

But the most surprising and impressive people I saw were the finance people. Cursed and double-cursed by the media, they have wrought miracles. In health care especially, they have financed breakthroughs in diagnosis and cures for disease, in management of pain, in making the lives of us humans longer, more pleasant, and pain-free. It is an inspiring sight to see a room filled with the best and brightest of our young people and middle-aged people, men and women of all races, seeking to find the best medicines and diagnostic tools and anodynes to keep the world’s people’s lives brighter.

Yes, they do it for money. That’s fine. That is a perfectly good motive. But they do it, and the meds get in the pipeline and heart disease and tumors get diagnosed early. This is what finance should be.

I have seen America working together for a better life for the whole world, the intelligence and money coming out of finance and into the hearts and bloodstreams of Earth’s people. It is an inspiring sight. On TV and on the campuses, people look for trouble and ways to cause pain. In the venture capital and private equity firms, without fanfare, without the mainstream media, lives are being made better. And if profits come, they pay for the retirements of firefighters and police and elementary school teachers. Capitalism is working beautifully. If we can keep the wolves of envy away from the door, man’s world will be sunnier.

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