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Random House Unfairly Censoring Paula Deen

July 12th 2013

In 2008 the publisher Random House self-censored for political reasons by refusing to publish Sherry Jones’s The Jewell of Medina, even though it had thoroughly vetted the manuscript and paid a substantial advance.  The reason was political: the book might offend some in the Muslim community.  Five years later it has committed the same offensive act by backing out of the publication of the latest cookbooks of Paula Deen, the Southern food maven.


A few weeks ago Paula Deen admitted in a deposition that thirty years ago she had used the infamous n-word.  Immediately, the political correctness crowd denounced her.   Business after business tossed red meat to this mob while it undulated in a frenzied dance, chanting “She used the n-word!  She used the n-word!”  The cable company that carried her cooking show dropped her, as did many retailers who carried her products or were her sponsors, such as Sears, J.C. Penny, Walgreen, Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot.  It would seem that this constituted vastly disproportionate punishment for a one time use of the n-word thirty years ago.  Yet it really did not touch upon the work of our foundation until late June when Random House determined to yank the publication of her latest cookbook, Paula Deen’s New Testament, scheduled for October 2013 as well as four additional books for which she was under contract. Her book was running very high in advance sales; indeed, it was the number one seller on the Amazon list of advance sales and continued so well after the n-word revelation.   We cannot pretend that it was a fear of economic backlash that motivated Random House.  It was simply a political decision to appease a particular mob and an act of cowardly self-censorship.  This represents a threat to all literature, not merely cookbooks. Back in 2008 we imposed a boycott on Random House for consideration of their books for our prizes until The Jewel of Medina was published by a different publisher.  Our action received a lot of notice, both of praise and criticism, but the only critique that made sense to us was that it might be unfair to authors whose books were already in the process of publication by Random House.   So today we announce a two-year boycott on all imprints of Random House/Penguin for consideration for our prizes, but to take effect prospectively, on July 1, 2014, all books published prior to that date remaining eligible.

While the IRS Line Dances My Mother Waits in Line for Her Refund

June 5th 2013
While those at the IRS are participating in line dancing, graffiti lessons, and 200-plus conferences in two years to the tune of $50 million on our hard-earned tax dollars...,  yesterday, my 83 year old mother...who lives alone in a city far from me...drove herself down to the local IRS office in Tallahassee, Florida at 8:30 a.m. attempting to learn why she has not received her overdue income tax refund. She filed her income tax months ago and has heard nothing. Upon arriving at the IRS office at 8:30 a.m., there was a line out the door of people waiting...who had been there waiting since 7:30 a.m. She was told she could not come inside as only 6 people were allowed inside at a time because they only had 6 chairs inside.  All others had to wait outside...no seats...standing in the Florida heat. All this while there was ONE...I repeat--ONE IRS representative behind the counter to help everyone in that long line. Well, my 83 year old mother waited for TWO long, hot, difficult hours...sometimes sitting on the floor because it is difficult for her to stand for any period of time...until she couldn't endure it any more. After two hours, she then gave up (unable to endure such a wait at her age), got in her car and drove home.

I would like those at the IRS to know that my 83-year-old mother, like many Americans today, struggles from month to month to care for herself on a fixed income. While you IRS employees are dancing and partying in fancy hotels, some months she cannot afford to pay her electric bill, buy her much-needed medications, or even go see a doctor when necessary because she cannot afford to pay the copay. If she has to pay the copay, then she cannot eat. She eats potatoes for days and days, and tells no one...suffering this in silence as she tries to remain independent. She counts on that IRS income tax refund to "catch up" on unpaid bills or necessities she has refused to allow herself throughout the year...she counts the days and hours for that refund to arrive...checking her mailbox anxiously every day. I assure you, she is not alone in this situation. How many Americans have lost their homes, are living in their cars or with relatives or under bridges...while these IRS employees and our government that supports them....dance and party wasting our tax dollars.  I'm so disgusted I can barely write this. Heads should roll. This agency needs to be gutted and reformed immediately. In fact, the entire tax code needs reform and simplification.

I'm terrified that these are the same people who will now be placed in charge of our health care. What is going to happen to us? What can simple citizens do?

ADL Shocked that Newseum Honors Two Terrorists

May 13th 2013

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is expressing shock and outrage at the decision by the Newseum to proceed with honoring two members of the Hamas terrorist propaganda television operation Al-Aqsa TV as part of its ongoing memorial to journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2012. Despite vocal public criticism of the decision last week, Newseum officials have said they will go ahead with including the terrorist operatives in its annual ceremony honoring fallen journalists. ADL says the inclusion of Hussam Salama and Mahmoud Al-Kumi in the Newseum Journalists Memorial is "a dark day for an American institution devoted to free speech and the First Amendment." Salama and Al-Kumi were members of Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State. Salama and Al-Kumi were terrorist operatives working for a network that routinely promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence. These men were working for a propaganda outlet, not a legitimate news organization." ADL urges the Newseum to reconsider the decision and remove the names of Al-Kumi and Salama from the roster of the Journalists Memorial before they are officially added to the permanent memorial scheduled to be unveiled on Monday.


Legal Proceedings Against Boston Bomber Outrageous

April 27th 2013

The Nation’s largest grassroots pro-troop organization Move America Forward has asked President Obama in an open letter to classify the terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a military combatant in order to allow interrogators more time to determine if he has links to Al-Qaeda or other organized terrorist groups. President Obama currently has the ability to interrupt the legal proceedings and allow investigators to interrogate Dzhokhar as an “Enemy Combatant”, which is now necessary because he has stopped cooperating with investigators immediately after being read his Miranda Rights. MAF spokesperson and Gold-Star Mother Debbie Lee, whose son was the first Navy SEAL to be killed in the war in Iraq, sent the letter to President Obama at the White House, stressing that the issue hits home for millions of American who have been affected by the War on Terror and atrocities committed by terrorists against American citizens. “My son Marc gave his life in Iraq to protect this country from men like Tsarnaev who wanted to kill Americans. President Obama, we must not pass up an opportunity to interrogate terrorist suspects in our custody to determine if they have links to Al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups. Tsarnaev could still have vital information that might save lives. If he has information, we must stop at nothing to get it. We owe that to every American who has lost a son or daughter in the War on Terror or a terrorist attack.” said Lee. 

People in the Streets Do Not Remedy a Broken Immigration System

April 10th 2013

The agenda being promoted by the people in the streets would do nothing to remedy a broken system. It would do nothing to ensure that our immigration laws are enforced in the future and that newly amnestied illegal aliens are not replaced by a new wave of illegal immigrants. It would do nothing to repair our bloated legal immigration system that admits excessive numbers of people without regard to their likelihood of succeeding in the United States. The American people witnessed the spectacle of lawbreakers taking to the streets demanding amnesty and other rewards before. After similar marches in 2006 and 2007, the American people overwhelmingly rejected amnesty disguised as immigration reform. Americans continue to reject amnesty as an answer to illegal immigration. They recognize that with high levels of unemployment and more people dropping out of the labor force than jobs being created, amnesty and the admission of still more foreign workers would deliver a lethal blow to the middle class. They understand that with federal deficits exceeding a trillion dollars annually, legalizing millions of poorly-skilled illegal aliens would be fiscally irresponsible. Illegal aliens and their supporters are poised to make a lot of noise, but as we have seen in the past, the American people will make their voices heard as legislation makes its way through Congress.

North Carolina Should be Condemned for Trying to Establish a State Religion

April 3rd 2013
North Carolina's recent bill to establish an official state religion is in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution and the 14th Amendment. The bill filed by North Carolina's state legislature on Monday states that the United States Constitution does not restrict states from making laws respecting an establishment of religion and furthermore asserts that North Carolina's General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings that would restrict their ability to make laws concerning establishment of religion. Not only is North Carolina's declaration that states are exempt from rulings of the United States Constitution and federal courts directly contradictory to the Constitution, but their attempt to establish an official state religion specifically violates the 14th Amendment which says that states cannot 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' Religious freedom must be protected for all. To establish a state religion is to give unfair and unequal privilege to members of one faith under the law which is in violation of every American's Constitutional rights to equal protection and free exercise of religion.

Turkey and Israel Restoration Will Serve All

March 22nd 2013

We applaud the restoration of relations between Israel and Turkey, two of America’s most reliable allies in the region.   The long friendship and mutual cooperation between Israel and Turkey has been beneficial for both countries and an important model for partnership between Muslim nations in the region and Israel. Full diplomatic relations at this time of increased regional instability will serve the interests of both and contribute to international efforts to address the many challenges ahead. We express our appreciation to those who have been working to make today’s development happen, including the direct facilitation of President Obama.

Representative Jose E. Serrano is Shameful for His Chavez Praise

March 6th 2013

Move America Forward, the nation’s largest grassroots pro-troop organization has publicly called a sitting U.S. Congressman ‘shameful’ after Representative Jose E. Serrano (D-NY) praised the late Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez on the day his death was announced by the government of Venezuela. “Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless. R.I.P. Mr. President.” read, Rep. Serrano’s tweet, now famous on twitter. It is an outrage and shameful that a sitting U.S. Congressman would praise a foreign dictator like Hugo Chavez. Far from being a champion of freedom, Chavez was the chief progenitor of suffering and misery for millions of Venezuelans. Chavez was a dictator who tried to take over the country by force of a coup before he ever considered using the democratic process. As dictator, Chavez stole wealth from those who produced it, creating egalitarianism in Venezuela by reducing everyone to poverty and squandering the country’s oil resources. Chavez nationalized every sector of the economy, crushing private industry and driving out entrepreneurs. Most insulting of all, Chavez openly hated the United States and opposed any effort to spread freedom, democracy and free markets to Latin America. He was cozy with other anti-American dictators like Castro and Ahmadinejad. For Representative Serrano to praise a leader like Chavez is irresponsible and embarrassing to the citizens of New York he represents.” concluded Gonzalez.

NY Times Biased on Torture But Not Drones

March 5th 2013
The Times relentlessly criticized Bush on what it refers to as torture. Operating the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. And water boarding. Now water boarding may be unpleasant but no one dies or is injured. It's not torture. If it were then there should be criminal charges rising from the 25,000 U.S. servicemen and women who've been water boarded as part of their POW training. Since the 9/11 attacks, the New York Times has published about 200 articles, editorials and letters attacking Bush over torture. It's a different story regarding Obama and drone strikes that have killed thousands of suspected terrorists and civilians. Obama personally approves many drone strikes - including those that killed three Americans -- one a teenage boy. Hundreds of innocent civilians -- including women and children -- killed in drone strikes are considered collateral damage. In contrast to the 200 stories on Bush, the New York Times published less than a dozen on Obama. And some offered favorable coverage.

Obama Using Illegal Immigrants Against Americans

February 28th 2013
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC's spokesman is accusing the Obama administration of engaging in a form of threats by unlawfully releasing 10,000 illegal immigrants from detention centers, threatening to facilitate a new mass influx of illegal aliens, while at the same time demanding more money and power and amnesty for illegals. The White House is making the spurious claim that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released the illegal immigrant prisoners without authorization from the President. This tactic is the same the White House used as a defense in the Fast and Furious gun walking scandal. The fact that US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham just emerged smiling from a closed door meeting with Obama regarding immigration reform amnesty on the backdrop of these threats shows an agenda in motion. McCain and Graham are thumbing their noses at a new Reuters poll showing 70% of Republicans, and a majority of all Americans, want illegal immigrants deported instead of being allowed to stay in America. The Obama administration is telling Congress and the American public that if we do not give them more money, power, and amnesty for illegals that they will release more illegal immigrants upon our communities and signal more to enter the US through our undefended borders. Since his words and deeds will clearly lead to loss of American lives, property, jobs, and security, his administration is engaging in a form of terroristic threats. If Americans and Congress back down to these kinds of threats and abuses this time, they will get worse and more damaging in the future.

More Wind for Maryland will be a Boon

February 24th 2013
The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 (House Bill 226) was brought to the House floor for a vote yesterday, February 22. I am happy to report the bill passed by a vote of 86 to 48. With passage in the Senate as well, the Wind Energy Act promotes the development of a wind farm 10 to 30 miles off the coast of Ocean City. This legislation addresses the concern of cost to consumers by placing a cap of costs to individuals ($1.50 per month), as well as commerical and industrial customers (1.5%). Wind energy is a clean and sustainable energy alternative to coal and gas, that reduces greenhouse emissions. In addition, wind energy will boost Maryland's economy by creating jobs. The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 is a sensible step to develop new energy technologies while helping our state's economy.

French Court Correct in Issuing Twitter Identification Order

January 25th 2013

ADL is committed to reducing the prevalence of anti-Semitic and other hate speech on the Internet. With respect to the circumstances surrounding the French court order to Twitter demanding the identification of the person who posted anti-Semitic content on that service, we welcomed Twitter’s removal of the anti-Semitic content at issue last October.  Prompt response by social media platforms to concerns over hate content is critical to reducing the prevalence of online hate. The important thing is that the content is no longer there to harass and intimidate victims, to incite potential violence against innocent people, and to suggest to uninformed readers that such repugnant views are acceptable.   We encourage Twitter and other social media companies to continue to exercise their right and obligation to protect readers from harmful, hateful content. We also encourage them to recognize that the posters of such content hide behind the anonymity afforded to anti-Semitic and other hate-filled, harassing, intimidating and potentially violence-provoking posts and are emboldened to continue to use social media platforms to spread their ugly messages. Whether the French court order can or should be enforced in the United States gives rise to complicated issues of French legal interests versus American legal interests. While the law may be one tool in the fight against online hate, we believe that the best antidote to hate speech is counter-speech which exposes its deceitful, false content and promotes the values of respect and civility.  While the purveyors of online hate are free to express their odious views, they should not hide behind the mask of anonymity afforded to them by the internet and the companies whose platforms they use.

Abraham H. Foxman is National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

Barnes and Noble--The Book Business will be Better without Them

January 21st 2013
I take the position that Barnes and Noble has done more to kill quality bookselling in our country than any other company. Like many in the Bay Area and beyond, I witnessed what Barnes did to the independents that tried to survive. It ran them out of business with predatory locations and operations and predatory pricing. The company has been arrogant through and through. It snubbed local authors and never stocked the books I wanted to read. I no longer go in to the store nearest me. What better justice than to have this bad company disappear from the American landscape. Once it does, independents will slowly come back. The book business will be better without Barnes and Nobles.

Barnes and Noble Nook is Destined to Same Doom as the Stores

January 17th 2013

I think the Barnes and Noble Nook is destined to same doom as the stores that I have been reading about. My cousin has a book recently senht up to both Nook and Kindle. She just told me me this report: In the first two weeks of January, she sold 41 Kindles and only 3 Nook copies. Sounds like a few people received Nooks for Christmas, and then gave up. She also told me the Kindle production site is easy to use--and the Nook site is a nightmare.

Barnes and Noble Campus Store Too Stupid to Order Harry Potter

January 16th 2013
On the issue of BN's survivability...consider this. I recently called my campus Barnes & Noble and asked if I could order a book...not a course book, but a regular well-known book. The store clerk, after checking, said, "It is our policy not to order any books unless they are required for courses." That would include Harry Potter and Gone With the Wind. At this point, I suggested to the clerk that it might be a means of delaying bankruptcy if B&N would actually order a book that was not on its book shelf--you know, act like a book store. He laughed and agreed. I rest my case. If B&N is too stupid to order Harry Potter, how long can you expect this company to remain in business?

Barnes and Noble Coverage is Spot On

January 13th 2013
Your coverage of the Barnes and Noble implosion as reported in your publication and elsewhere in the business and tech media is clearly spot on. I have witnessed the shelf space disappear in my own Barnes, particularly on Civil War books. These shelves--and others--formerly given to good books have been transformed into displays for teddy bears, calendars, and cutesy journals--none of which I go to a bookstore for. I have lived through the destruction of the independent bookstore world because of the bullying tactics of Barnes and Borders. As soon as Barnes and follows Borders into bankruptcy, I can only imagine that our nation will be left with no bookstores where one can browse and discovery literary works. Shame on Barnes for what they have done and what they are doing.

Hagel is Bad for Israel and Should be Opposed

January 7th 2013

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama nominated former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to be his next Secretary of Defense in succession to Leon Panetta. Chuck Hagel’s record is one of being a frightening and dangerous apologist for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah, as well as for the Iranian terrorist regime, while being arguably one of the most vicious and hostile critics of Israel. The ZOA believes that appointing Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary would also serve to confirm the fears that many have that President Obama is no friend of Israel and is not serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear program. 

In 2009, Hagel signed a letter urging President Obama to begin direct negotiations with Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist group committed in its Charter to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, a position President Obama has not taken up. In 2008, Hagel was “solely responsible” for blocking an Iran sanctions bill (Seth Colter Walls, ‘Dems Blame Senate GOP For Blocking Iran Sanctions Bill,’ Huffington Post, March 10, 2008). In a 2006 interview with former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller, Hagel said that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” on Capitol Hill (‘Hagel named to intelligence board,’ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 29, 2009). In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to formally call upon the European Union to designate as a terrorist organization Hizballah, which in 1983 murdered 242 U.S. marines in Beirut ('NJDC Criticizes Senators for Refusing to Call on EU to add Hezbollah to List of Terrorist Organizations,' National Jewish Democratic Council press release, August 7, 2006). In July 2006, at the outbreak of the Lebanon war, Hagel argued against giving Israel the time to break Hizballah, urging instead an immediate ceasefire (‘Key Republican breaks with Bush on Mideast,’ CNN.com, July 31, 2006). December 2005: Hagel was one of only 27 senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bush urging him to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA) to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections. June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran's nuclear program at the G-8 summit and was one of only two senators in to vote against renewal of the Libya-Iran sanctions act. In November 2001: Hagel was one of only 11 senators who refused to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yasser Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel. In July 2001, Hagel was one of only two senators to vote against extending the original Iranian sanctions bill.     October 2000: Hagel was one of only four senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel.


Current TV to Al Jazeera Troubling for its anti-Israel Rhetoric

January 4th 2013

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has ongoing concerns about the pan-Arab satellite network Al Jazeera, which it says has “a troubling record” of providing a platform to all manner of virulent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic extremists and of serving as a propaganda tool against the State of Israel, particularly in its Arabic-language broadcasts. While it is true that Al Jazeera has toned down its anti-Israel propaganda in the network’s English broadcasts, the Arabic-language channel’s content “continues to be of great concern.”  The League voices these concerns following the Qatar-based network’s acquisition of Current TV in a deal which will provide unprecedented access for the network’s English-language programming to a potential audience of millions of viewers in the United States. Al Jazeera, whose major broadcast focus is in the Arab world, has a troubling record and history that is very disturbing, particularly in its Arabic language broadcasts. It has exploited and exaggerated the Arab-Israel conflict in a heavy-handed and propagandistic manner, and always at the expense of Israel, while giving all manner of virulent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic extremists access to its airwaves. However, in its English version lately Al Jazeera has toned down its anti-Israel propaganda. Yet it continues to be of great concern. We will be watching and monitoring the broadcasts as they become available to a much wider audience in the United States.

Where Are The Palestinian Arab Refugees From, Why Are They “Refugees” And Who Is Supporting Them?

January 3rd 2013

I recently read a headline: “SYRIA -Islamist Rebel Faction Captures Base in Aleppo”. It mentions, “Syrian warplanes blasted a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus”. My questions are: where are the Palestinian Arab refugees from, why are they “refugees” and who is supporting them?

The answers are: The Palestinian Arabs left their homes in 1947-1948 because The Arab National Committee in Jerusalem, on March 8, 1948 ordered women, children and the elderly to leave their homes: “Any opposition to this order...is an obstacle to the holy war...and will hamper the operations of the fighters in these districts” (Morris, Middle Eastern Studies, January 1986). “The invading Arab armies also occasionally ordered whole villages to depart, so as not to be in their way” see “The Birth Of The Palestinian Refugee Problem ” Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 592).  
Had the Arabs accepted the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, not a single Palestinian Arab would have become a “refugee” and an independent Arab state would now exist beside Israel.

UNRWA the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees was established by United Nations (GA Resolution 302 December 8, 1949), to carry out direct relief and works programs for “Palestinian Refugees”. The Agency began operations on May 1, 1950. UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees - four generations of Palestine refugees. No other group, ever, has been especially selected for this perpetual hostage taking by their totalitarian leaders to be used as propaganda tools and fodder for hate and incitement against the West and Israel. Through 2011 UNRWA has doled out $4,119,000,000 (mostly US tax dollars) specifically to the Palestinian Arabs in the derelict UNRWA camps in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West bank. Of all the displaced people since 1947; India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Eastern Europe, Africa, the 800,000 Jews displaced from Arab lands – only the Palestinian Arabs remain “refugees” under UNRWA’s handouts.

Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R-IL), amendment to the State Department Authorization Bill for 2013 requires the Administration give a count for the number of refugees serviced by UNRWA who were actually alive at the time of Israel’s independence, and who qualify for the widely accepted definition of a refugee used in all other conflicts around the world. It is estimated that of the 5 million Palestinian Arabs receiving benefits from UNRWA, as few as 30,000 would meet the normative definition of a refugee used by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the amendment.

America Mourns with India over Gang Rape

December 31st 2012
The men and women of India should know that all those in America who have learned of the monstrous gang rape of the a young woman on a New Dehli bus mourn with the Indian nation. This is an unspeakable act. In an era of massacres at Newtown, and at movie theatres in the USA, it seems evil dwells everywhere--and must be confronted.

Rape Against Girls Must Stop Throughout India

December 30th 2012

The All India Council has stated that the Christian community hangs its head in grief and shame as India loses yet another Braveheart girl to sexual violence. It offers prayers for the family members of the victim who has passed away. It demands immediate punishment under law for those who carried out the crime. In recent years the nation has watched with horror the growing crimes against women and girls and the sad comment by the UN that India is one of the most unsafe countries in the world for women and girls. There is not a single day now in India where there is no report in the Indian newspapers of some sexual crime occurring against women. The rape of Dalit and tribal women is common place. Rape of girls within extended families is widely reported. Those who prey on minor girls roam free in the land. We have yet to see justice for countless victims of rape including those who were gang raped in Gujarat in the communal violence and those who were gang raped in Kandhamal in Orissa. For too long we have allowed a culture that targets our young girls under flimsy excuses of them following some outside culture, dress code and fashion. Any element of society that targets the way our women dress, appear and carry themselves should be condemned and brought under the law'. We cal upon the national government to immediately institute a national registry for all sexual offenders. Sexual offenders have a pattern and history and turn out to be habitual. We cal upon the Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister, Mr Kiran Reddy to take the lead and begin a registry for such sexual offenders and to immediately act on complaints filed by victims. This menace of violence against women will not end unless there is a complete change of mindset in the culture towards women. A culture that allows degradation of human beings will not be able to effectively fight this menace, said the All India Christian Council.

The writers represent the All India Christian Council, Rev Dr. Joseph D'souza president, Rev Dr G Samuel, vice president, and Dr. John Dayal, secretary general.

Staples Well-Practiced Trick to Wear You Down--They Ignore You

December 24th 2012
Seeing the Washington customer frustrated with Staples for flubbing their computer repair (see Staples Computer Tech Support Becomes Flop Squad--Leaves Customers Stranded and Stapled, Action Line November 30, 2012), I was reminded of my own company's aggravation with this horrid company. Staples employs a now well-practiced trick to wear you down and reject your claim. Part One: delay responding to your complaint by weeks and then months. Part Two: after you get all intense, the company finally replies that your complaint is too old to act on. Now that is being Stapled.

Staples Should Never be Trusted

December 9th 2012
I find it hard to believe that a Washington company with any savvy whatsoever could possibly trust Staples for computer or other tech support (see Staples Computer Tech Support Becomes Flop Squad--Leaves Customers Stranded and Stapled, Action Line November 30, 2012). Staples should never be trusted for anything more complex than stocking file folders, pencils, and cartons of cheap too-thin paper. Its store people are confused. Its customer service is atrocious. I am amazed this company has not yet shuttered its doors out of sheer incompetence.

An Open Letter to Stevie Wonder

December 6th 2012

Please permit me a moment of your time to express our collective dismay and disappointment at your decision to cancel your scheduled performance for an IDF (Israel Defense Force) fundraiser. I understand it was with a “heavy heart” that you cancelled and that it was recommended by the UN because you are “a messenger of peace”. Herein lies my confusion. You have been the voice of a generation, you once sang with so much conviction That’s What Friends Are For and that Ebony and Ivory could live together in perfect harmony. You campaigned vociferously to make Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a national holiday in the US. He was one of the greatest supporters of Zionism and the rights of the Jewish people to call Israel home. You were a champion of the civil rights movement and used your voice effectively to help end the heinous system of Apartheid in South Africa, my country of origin. You proved with Ghandi-esque effect how peaceful protest could bring about great changes and you have proclaimed time and again that you are “against war, any war”.

Well Mr Wonder, we here in Israel are also against war. The fundraiser which you have pulled out of follows a month where once again, Israeli citizens faced a barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza based terrorists. This time, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were not spared. Hamas showed us their intentions without compunction for the civilians under threat. And once again the visuals of buses blown up permeated our psyche. The hideous twist of metal post explosion is all too familiar. Mr Wonder, we could do with a messenger of peace. Sadly you have fallen prey to the anti-Israel lobby who disguise their hatred with concern for human rights. Odious accusations of Apartheid are not only libelous and fiction but greatly insult and diminish the suffering of the real victims of Apartheid. The anti-Israel lobby bully and intimidate with their petitions and accusations but fall silent on Palestinian incitement against Jews. No Mr Wonder, you may not hear “I just called to say I love you” on Palestinian radio or see the video for “My Cherie Amour” on Palestinian television, instead your fans in Gaza may be treated to songs about how much they would love to slaughter the Jews or become a martyr for Jihad. Hardly Billboard 100 material!

Mr Wonder, I would implore you, as a messenger of ambassador of peace, the next time (should there be one) you are invited to perform at a Pro-Israel fundraiser, please remember that peace is not a solo effort but rather an ensemble that requires dialogue from both sides. Please use your considerable voice and celebrity to advocate for positive change.

Consider this Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

Staples Tech Support Like Calling the Three Stooges for Serious Drama Lessons

December 5th 2012
Your earlier writer had it right. The company that contracted with Staples for computer support (see Staples Computer Tech Support Becomes Flop Squad--Leaves Customers Stranded and Stapled, Action Line November 30, 2012) must have been nuts. That would be like calling the Three Stooges for serious drama lessons. My company tried them on a printer and it was a nightmare of polite apologies and never-ending delays. I learned my lesson and I think the Washington company in question learned theirs.

Customer who Trusted Staples was Naive

December 4th 2012
I could not help but laugh at the recent Action Line about the DC company that was dumb enough and naive enough to trust Staples with computer repair (see Staples Computer Tech Support Becomes Flop Squad--Leaves Customers Stranded and Stapled, Action Line November 30, 2012). Of course he or she got stapled. Why would anyone expect reliability from this company. If they can't deliver their supplies correctly, why would they deliver service correctly to the same address. I blame the customer. You don't ask a barber to do brain surgery.

Condemning those in Pakistan who vandalize Ahmadiyya Gravestones

December 3rd 2012
According to recent reports, over one hundred Ahmadiyya gravestones were vandalized early this morning in Lahore, located in Pakistan's Punjab province. In a press release issued by Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, 12 to 15 people, several who brandished weapons, beat the cemetery's night watchman before desecrating 120 graves at approximately 3:00 AM on Monday, 3 December. Twenty guests and family members of the cemetery caretaker and security guard were locked up during the attack. It has been reported by witnesses that the attackers said they were members of "a banned organization and the Taliban". As of Monday afternoon, no action has been taken by Pakistani police to bring those behind the violence to justice. Ahmadi Muslims represent approximately 0.2 percent of Pakistan's population, but they are not recognized as "Muslims" by Pakistani law. In 2010, Anti-Ahmadi militants carried out coordinated attacks on Ahmadi mosques, killing 93 people and injuring many more. The number of attacks on Ahmadis continues to steadily rise, and Ahmadis live in constant fear of being violated for their beliefs. The Institute on Religion and Public Policy condemns the continued persecution of Ahmadis and calls upon the government of Pakistan to take immediate action to bring the individuals behind the recent attacks to justice.

Hillary Clinton and the Muslim Brotherhood

November 22nd 2012
You can't argue with success. Hillary Clinton took the winning side with her assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood is becoming a central player in the region: “Egypt’s new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace.” She continued by expounding the American angle on the violence emanating from Gaza: “the United States will work [to] improve conditions for the people of Gaza.” Clinton ended the joint American-Egyptian production in Cairo with a promise that should worry Israel: “Now that there is a ceasefire (with the Islamic terrorist group Hamas), I am looking forward to working with the Foreign Minister and others to move this process.” This is to say: from now on the Muslim Brotherhood is to be involved in political developments in Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”), in the spirit of the Islamic Spring that the Americans helped bring to the region.

Obama Fantasy About Libya Led to the Massacre at Benghazi

October 23rd 2012
The truth is out showing I think conclusively that our president Barack Obama was more concerned with pretending that Libya was a success story to focus on the threat. What a fantasy. Our men in Benghazi were massacred. No one in Washington would respond to their cries in advance for sanity and help when everything went to flames. This is Obama's fault and I think voters will express themselves. I never thought I would vote for a Republican. But I will in November.

Obama Sent Our Libyan Diplomats to Slaughter--Switching Votes

October 15th 2012
I am so sad about where our country has gone. It now it seems that our president was too busy being a rock star and pretending the Arab Spring was all blossoms to pay attention to our security in Libya. He sent our diplomats to slaughter. For shame. I am switching my vote. I voted my Obama last time. Not this time.

Lawsuit Challenges Hostile Environment at UC Berkeley

October 1st 2012

I am pleased to report some important and encouraging news in our efforts to combat hostile environments confronting Jewish and pro-Israel students on campuses throughout the country. In July, San Francisco attorney Joel Siegal and I filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice and Education Departments alleging that Jewish students at the University of California at Berkeley have been subjected to a pervasive hostile environment and that the university has failed to take effective measure to cure the situation. In a major development, we have been officially advised that the federal authorities have accepted our complaint and that a full investigation will be undertaken.

Central to our complaint are the on campus activities during "Apartheid Week", which is nothing short of a modern day version of the “Passion Play”, the notorious anti-Semitic German theatrical performance which portrays Jews as bloodthirsty and treacherous villains. During Berkeley’s Passion Play, student activists from the Muslim Student Association and Students for Justice in Palestine - both officially registered student organizations which receive funding from  the university and operate with the blessing of school officials -  resort to depictions of  Jews which are clearly racist and anti-Semitic. Moreover, they have been authorized by the University to carry realistic looking assault weapons which they brandish as they interrogate innocent students on campus about their religious and ethnic backgrounds. All this in an effort to convey a portrayal that “all” Jews are blood-thirsty barbarians. Regrettably, the university has effectively put its imprimatur on this despicable behavior.

It is also significant that the decision to investigate Berkeley comes on the heels of an internal U.C. Berkeley report regarding anti-Semitism on campus as well as California House Resolution 35 which acknowledges campus anti-Semitism. The OCR investigation sends a strong signal not only to Berkeley officials and trustees, but to all other college administrators as well, putting them on notice that “Apartheid Week” demonstrations, including Passion Plays, mock check points, mock guns, mock walls, instances where Jews are depicted using racist anti-Semitic stereotypes and intimidation of Jewish students will be subject to OCR investigation. Schools which violate Title VI run the risk of forfeiting federal funds.

Does Anyone Remember Anderson Cooper Keeping Us Honest on Egypt?

September 18th 2012
The article reporting CNN's big drop in audience (see CNN Suffers Massive Drop in Viewership in Features August 31, 2012) rang a bell with me. Anderson Cooper talks the talk about "Keeping Them Honest." But does anyone remember him "Keeping Us Honest?" on the Muslim Brotherhood? During the Egypt uprising, Cooper over and over again told us the Muslim Brotherhood could never garner 20 percent or so of the power or the vote? I guess we saw what happened.

Democratic Convention an Exposé of Ideology and Expediency

September 8th 2012

The recent 2012 Democratic Convention was a masterful, albeit unintended, exposé of both the ideology and expediency underlying the current directions motivating the DNC. First "God" and then "Jerusalem as the capital of Israel" were removed from their convention platform, a pre-existing platform subject to many reviews, discussions, focus groups and conscious design. Then the proverbial **** hit the fan. Furious complaints and outrage filled the media to the obvious consternation of those politicians at the DNC that were hyper-focused on reelection at any price, any cost. By the end of this same short convention, these two principles were inexplicably back in the platform. First we had a blatant, yet honest and clear expression of the core ideological issues of the extreme-left faction seemingly running the DNC's platform. Now we have incontrovertible proof of the Machiavellian expediency of their spin masters. Which is it? The art of flip-flopping endemic to both parties has just been taken to a new high. Either way, any confidence in the bottom line, in the DNC's final and reliable position on these two seminal issues is shattered. Who now believes they won't again move the goal posts? To many it's a shame and a scandal. I had hoped for more from this revered party, this crucial election.

Who is Keeping Anderson Cooper Honest--Remember the Muslim Brotherhood?

September 7th 2012
Your article on CNN dropping dramatically in viewers (see CNN Suffers Massive Drop in Viewership in Features August 31, 2012) could not have been more timely. Focusing on Anderson Cooper is more than perfect. Cooper likes to talk about "Keeping Them Honest." Who is "Keeping Anderson Cooper Honest?" Remember the Muslim Brotherhood?During the Egypt revolution Cooper and his guests kept putting down warnings that the Brotherhood would seize power. How many times did Cooper and his guests assure the world that the Muslim Brotherhood could never poll more than 20 percent? Has Cooper ever apologized for misleading the world so thoroughly?

CNN's Dramatic Drop and Anderson Cooper's "Ridiculist" Performance

September 5th 2012
I knew CNN was dropping dramatically because after a life of viewership I could not stand to watch them babble any more (see CNN Suffers Massive Drop in Viewership Features August 31, 2012). In my case, I just could no longer stomach Anderson Cooper. Here is a guy who wants us to take him seriously as a dead serious journalist who breaks up his reporting to giggle away a segment called the "Ridiculist." I would look at Anderson Cooper and then look at his ratings drop and CNN's overall ratings drop. Can we draw any conclusions?

Obama Supporter Switched to Romney--Hoping for a Change

September 3rd 2012
I am a life-long Chicago Democrat. My family gave money to President's Obama campaign--not much, but for us it was money. I began to sour on my decision some months ago when I lost my job and I took a hard look at Obama's policies. I am now at a point I thought I would never be--voting for a Republican. I realize now that "Hope and Change" really was an empty slogan. I am hoping for a change. I now trust Romney has a better chance of helping me and our country.

Switching from Obama Because Romney Allows us to Change our Sense of Hope

August 31st 2012
After watching the Republican convention last night I am saying something I never thought I would say. I will switch from Obama. Why? Because Romney it seems allows us to change our sense of hope. Hope and Change from Obama did not work. So I will change my hope. I am voting for Romney. Not a Republican but voting for Romney. Who would have guessed it.

BioFuels Industry Rebuts Calls to Curtail Production

August 20th 2012

Responding to various calls to dramatically reduce the use of biofuels across the world, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance released the following statement: "Calls to curtail biofuel production and use because of one bad growing season in the U.S. is putting the cart before the horse. We don’t yet know how extensive the damage from the drought in the U.S. will be, nor do we know how farmers in the rest of the world will respond to stronger markets for their crops. Biofuels have proven to be an effective way to help lift rural communities worldwide out of poverty. Stronger grain prices have spurred investments in agricultural production that are yielding more crops from the same acre of land.  In turn, this is helping traditionally food and energy poor nations become more self-sufficient. Eliminating the market created by biofuels would be a setback to progress made in these areas and could very well increase poverty rates. Investments made by nations around the world in domestic biofuel production is spurring innovation and evolution in the industry.  Removing policies that drive that innovation would stall efforts to develop new biofuel technologies and relegate the world to an increased reliance on an ever-depleting supply of oil. Farmers in the U.S. and across the globe are a resilient group and will respond to the signals being sent by the market. In fact, farmers around the world responded after the commodity price spikes in 2008 with one of the largest corn crops in history in 2009. Biofuels are an important part of that market and are in no small part responsible for the increase in global grain production over the past few years. It may seem pennywise, but it is pound foolish to be calling for an end to biofuel production and use."


Egyptian Blockade of Gaza Not Foreground

August 10th 2012
Until I read Edwin Black's story on Egypt's blockade of Gaza--air, land, and sea for five years (see Cairo Tightens Egypt's Blockade of Gaza After Sinai Terrorist Attack, Page One, August 7, 2012), I had zero idea that the Arabs next door blockaded Gaza for the same reasons Israel does--terrorism. It has been going on for five years. Why has the media ignored this? From everything I have read the blockade is from the Israel side. Now it seems the bigger blockade is from Egypt. Now THAT is news. Thank you for turning on the lights.

Sinai Tourism No More--Egypt a Danger

August 6th 2012
I regret to agree with your other letter writers. As one who has trekked through the Sinai five times, I am very sad that I must cancel my plans to visit this year. I love the desert air and the desert night. I have ventured across the highlands and lowlands of Sinai and loved the people. But the last time, three years ago, I felt endangered by the bribes my guide had to nervously pay the police. This year, the rampant lawlessness I read about and the whole danger of Cairo are enough. Sinai trekking no more--Egypt is a danger for foreigners. Not like it was. This year I will choose from two other outstanding desert realms: the Negev in Israel or Death Valley in America. I will be safe in either. I hope one day to return to the Sinai. But since we visit only every other year, that return will not probably not take place until late this decade if at all.

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