Daily Alert

25 July 2008

The Victims of Postville

The victims of the Postville ICE raid are not the undocumented workers as both the articles below have distorted the story. The real victims are the American citizens whose personal identifying information was used to document these workers so they could be hired. Illegal entry into the US, stealing personal identifying information and flaunting labor laws should not be defended with sympathy. Please lefties, stop trying to turn this legal action into a union, right to organize fight. It isn't. In addition, for those lefties who are Jews, the claims you make against Agriprocessors should be tempered with benefit of the doubt. Please refrain from guilt by allegation and merely say, certain business practices should be reviewed for consistency with halacha and the practice we expect Jews to exercise. Alas, I know I am asking for too much but please, it is almost Av.

If I should be angry and resentful, I would say the secondary victims of this raid are the Kosher consumers whose food prices have risen as supply and thereby availability of meat and chicken has decreased.

I harp back on what Rabbi Pesach Lerner of Young Israel said in responding to Uri L'Tzedek's ridiculous call to boycott Agriprocessors, paraphrasing, {there are locations in the US which would not have had access to kosher meats if not for Agriprocessors}. That's nothing to take lightly and certainly buys the company some benefit of the doubt. Damage-Control Mode For Embattled Kosher Meat Giant

As far as the politics are concerned, the left is merely playing up to needed voting constituents, the unions and the perceived Hispanic vote which theoretically is more concerned about other Hispanics illegally entering the US to work than they are about upholding the rule of law which is a pretty cynical approach and one for which I would say is insulting.



A U.S. congressional subcommittee investigated the federal immigration raid at a kosher slaughterhouse. - JTA

Published: 07/25/2008

A U.S. congressional subcommittee investigated the federal immigration raid at a kosher slaughterhouse.

In a hearing Thursday, a subcommittee of the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee considered whether law enforcement agencies guaranteed due process of law in its prosecution of 389 illegal workers at the Agriprocessors meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa, May 12.

The raid, said to be the largest single-site workplace raid in American history, led to a "fast-tracked" legal process in which some 300 Spanish-speaking defendants pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to document fraud and identity theft. The bulk were sentenced to five months in jail to be followed by deportation in a legal process completed in less than two weeks.

"I saw the Bill of Rights denied, and it all appeared to be within the framework of the law," Erik Camayd-Freixas, a certified translator who participated in the legal proceedings, told the committee.

David Leopold, the national vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told the committee that defendents were faced with an impossible choice: They either could accept a government plea, serve five months in jail and then be deported, or they could plead not guilty, wait several months for trial and risk a two-year mandatory jail sentence. However that turned out, they ultimately would be deported anyway.

"Faced with the choice of five months in prison and deportation, or six months in prison waiting for a trial which could lead to two years in prison and deportation, what choice did the workers really have?" Leopold said. "The spectacle was a national disgrace."

House members grilled representatives of the Department of Justice and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the two federal agencies chiefly responsible for the raid and its legal aftermath.

Deborah Rhodes, a senior associate deputy attorney general, told the committee that defendants were permitted to meet with experienced counsel, were given seven days to consider their legal options and that measures were taken to ensure that the charges were understood before the guilty plea was accepted.

"While the sheer number of illegal aliens in this unusual case presented challenges that we do not often face," Rhodes said, "we believe that the defendants’ constitutional rights were carefully protected and exercised throughout the operation and that each defendant was treated fairly and with respect and dignity."

A standing room-only crowd was on hand when the hearing opened. It was followed by a news conference that included Father Paul Ouderkirk, a Postville priest who has ministered to many of those affected by the raid, and Joe Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.


Liberal Jewish Groups To Rally At Postville Plant - The Jewish Week (Weak).

JTA

An interfaith coalition is planning to demonstrate next week in Postville, Iowa, in support of justice for workers and comprehensive immigration reform.

Conceived by Jewish Community Action, a Minnesota-based social justice group, the rally comes in response to allegations of worker mistreatment at Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat producer in the United States.

The rally, scheduled for July 27, will follow by one day a visit to Postville by members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The group, led by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), will meet with the families of plant workers, as well as community organizers and local religious leaders.

“An immigration system that is predicated on fear tactics and piecemeal, deportation-only policies profoundly worsens our immigration crisis by creating broken
homes and tearing the fabric of our society,” Gutierrez said. “It is my sincere hope that in bringing the stories of the parents, children and workers of Postville back to Congress, our lawmakers will see the very real consequences of punitive actions in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform.”

Both the congressional visit and the rally promise to keep the spotlight on Agriprocessors, whose Postville facility was the target of a massive immigration raid on May 12.

In the wake of the raid, the plant’s workers claimed, among other allegations, that they were underpaid and made to suffer an atmosphere of rampant sexual harassment. Company officials have denied the charges.

Among the groups supporting the rally are the Chicago-based Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Jewish Labor Committee and Workmen’s Circle. Funds for transportation were provided by Mazon, a Jewish hunger relief group.

“There are two targets here,” Jane Ramsey, the executive director of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, told JTA. “One is a message to the government for comprehensive immigration reform on the one hand, and secondly to Agriprocessors for the permanent implementation of livable wages, health care benefits and worker safety.”

The plant’s purchase in 1987 by the Brooklyn butcher Aaron Rubashkin injected a much-needed dose of economic vitality into Postville, which was a struggling farm community. With a workforce of approximately 1,000, Agriprocessors was said to be the largest employer in northern Iowa.

The arrest of nearly half its employees in the raid has significantly cut the plant’s production.
Agriprocessors is hardly alone. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, 4,940 workplace arrests were made in the 2007 fiscal year, up from 510 in 2002. As of May, the agency has made 3,750 arrests this year.

Critics say such arrests are devastating to workers and their families and can have crippling effects on communities. Jewish Community Action raised $10,000 for Postville families, according to its executive director, Vic Rosenthal. The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs has delivered another $5,000.

“We think that this was a very poorly conceived action by ICE that hurt people and didn’t bring any further safety to you and me,” Ramsey said. “Who did this help? They swept into a little town of 2,500 that has now been devastated, that has a just-opened playground and now there are no children for that playground.”

Steven Steinlight, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Study and a leading critic of the mainstream Jewish position on immigration, says such stories are sad on a human level but are not a basis for making policy.

“I can’t get bleary-eyed about these people,” Steinlight said. “They’re here in violation of federal immigration law. You don’t know if these people are from Mexico or from al Qaeda. They have engaged in identity theft. They have engaged in felonies. These are not minor issues. I don’t consider the violation of America’s sovereignty to be a minor issue.”

While Steinlight defends the raid as a legitimate exercise in law enforcement, he shares the sense of outrage over allegations of worker mistreatment even as he opposes the call for a path to legalization for Postville workers.

“The reason they’re hired is because they are exploitable,” Steinlight said. “And if they were legalized, they wouldn’t be any better off.”

Chaim Abrahams, an Agriprocessors representative, said the company is committed to abiding by all state and federal laws.

“Mr. Steinlight has apparently joined the chorus of those who accept the allegations and several newspaper accounts as fact,” Abrahams said. “Agriprocessors will have no further comment on those allegations, as they are part of an ongoing investigation. It merely urges all fair-minded people to reserve judgment until this investigation process has run its course.”

The demonstration is scheduled to begin with an interfaith service at St. Bridget’s, the Catholic church that has taken the lead in providing relief to immigrant families. It will be followed by a march through town to the plant and then back to the church for a rally. Organizers expect about 1,000 people to attend.

“We think that Jews as consumers of kosher food need to understand the importance of who is producing the food and how they get treated, how they get paid,” Rosenthal said. “We really want to energize the Jewish community to think much more clearly about the role they play as consumers.”

Stumble Upon Toolbar

17 July 2008

Winning Through Mythology or Arabian Fractured Fairy Tales

The article below is a timely piece in light of the Israel-Hezbollah prisoner exchange where the bodies of Eldad Regev(H'Y'D) and Ehud Goldwasser (H'Y'D) were traded for living and dead terrorists. World media reports of the celebrations around arabia in honor of the release of the murderous barbarian Samir Kuntar from an Israeli prison, abound. Kuntar, by all rights should have been executed. Begging the question, the absence of a death sentence in Israeli law is a matter which will have to wait for some other time.

It would be hoped, but for only a lack of good sense, that the festivities revolving around Kuntar's release would shock good western sensitivities. But western sensitivities no longer exist, the victims of de-sensitization a by-product of liberal politically correct revisionism. This de-sensitizing toward the spilling of Jewish blood is part programed antiJewism and part the seemingly successful foisting of the "palestinian myth", a fairy tale brought to life in the same way a toddler acts out an episode of his favorite cartoon character, but changes the ending.

The myth stimulates the basic antiJewism which has been handed down through the centuries, calling to someone with normally good reasoning to question basic logic. The Jews are certainly stronger than the arabians, this person might reason, after all, it is the Jews who man the check points and who would want to have to go through a check point every day? Who flies the top fighter planes? Who has the strongest lobby? Who has the greatest intelligence agency? Who owes their country to the UN? The lack of basic knowledge of the challenge faced by Israel, influenced by the MSM, is easily manipulated by the well-crafted myth proponents.

Israel's failed diplomacy has bolstered the authenticity argument of the myth to the point that previously what was a question is now matter of fact "truth". Such acceptance of the corpses for terrorists trade as we recently observed on a world wide basis is the best evidence. The writer below takes a stab at why the myth is "believable".

for a good discussion on the pali myth listen to Jihad in the Holy Land: The Real Arab-Israeli Conflict on Middle East Radio Forum with guest Shai ben Tekoa

(see the youtube video Samir Kuntar - A new Hero!!.)



Exclusive: The World’s Most Successful Con Game - Family Security Matters
July 17, 2008 - Leslie Sacks

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. That selective claim now underpins world politics. It seems that since the war of 1967, with its stunning victory against all odds, Israel finally lost its "underdog" identity. The guilt-ridden post-Holocaust populations in Europe were now not any more coerced into feeling sorry for their decimated Jews. Anti-Semitism could once again afford to be fashionable. Thereafter Israel's follow up victory in the Yom Kippur war of 1973, when attacked by overwhelming numbers on all sides, was a remarkable rerun of "David" effectively overcoming "Goliath." Yet politically, the war finally buried the remnants of the underdog scenario as far as Israel and the Jews were concerned. The burgeoning wealth and unsurpassed success of America's Jews, from then until now, gave further ammunition to those United Nations, NGOs, co-mingled human rights groups, incestuous leftists and Third World radicals to finally reverse common perception of Israel.

The magical sleight of hand, that perversion of truth, is now complete. Israel has become the fascist, the Nazi, the apartheid oppressing country and conversely Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and their compatriots have transmogrified into the underdogs. The transformation of Mephistopheles is finished - Goliath is now Israel whilst the symbol of David is assumed by all the poor, undernourished, undereducated, disenfranchised Arab refugees and citizens across North Africa, the Middle East and on into South East Asia. Five million Jews are now incontestably victimizing one billion Muslims and Arabs. There are no limits to the nefarious machinations of the conspiratorial Jewish puppeteers of Tel Aviv and Washington. All the world's injustices and problems, inequalities and inequities are laid out at the foot of this latter day Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

And it will only get worse, as Israelis and Jews everywhere continue to fight adversity and do better, become more successful and refuse to be downtrodden, refuse to apologize for their normality. Their success is breeding their political ostracization, their success proves to the world that they are on the wrong side; it proves they are the oppressor - how else could it be? The logic is indisputable. And the oil rich Arab states understand this only too well - they keep their riches in Dubai and in banks, investing in Citibank, UBS and in Western stock exchanges, whilst keeping their populations and their women disenfranchised - ensuring their underdog image remains in perpetuity.

Their biggest export seems to be endless numbers of madrassas and terrorists. They continue their century-old con by ensuring the continued existence and expansion of the refugee camps, home to millions of Palestinians, a unique phenomenon in the last 100 years. The partition of India and Pakistan created millions of refugees - all resettled. The creation of Bangladesh, millions more - all resettled. Mao Tse-tung, tens of millions - all resettled. The great east-west exodus after WWII, across the iron curtain - all resettled. Only in the Middle East, with trillions of excess oil dollars to invest in anti-Israel, anti-West, pro-jihadist education and mosques, and in the NASDAQ, in hedge funds - everywhere but into the refugee camps. And these Arab potentates know only too well the propaganda game of choice: exacerbate the indignity and tragedy of the refugee camps and it will keep the world infatuated with the Arab David conflicted with the Israeli Goliath.

Everything becomes upside-down in this Alice of Wonderland. Five million Israelis on 1% of the land in the Middle East with no oil and natural minerals are holding hostage to 300 million Arabs with 75% of the world's oil reserves and an unbreakable majority in the UN councils.

These Jews must be very powerful, very sinister. But wait - is there not a major Arab investor in Fox News? Is not Arab money a partner in Citibank, the London Stock Exchange and a myriad of other western financial icons? Are not the riches of the West exchanged for Arab oil, going not for the improvement of Arab hospitals, schools and legal institutions, but to purchase the West's leading companies and properties and to buy influence in Washington, Harvard and even at the Louvre. So from whence cometh this secret power of the Jews? Perhaps it's merely their seemingly magical survival over thousands of years, in spite of Torquemada, Hitler, Stalin and al Qaeda. This has become most irritating, most annoying to those who would like to see the back of the Jews. They defy the numbers, the logic and the will of majority. They insist on success, on not being the underdog. Most perturbing, most bothersome. They were, in times past, "untermenchen," Dhiminis, second-rate non-citizens squeezed into European ghettos, powerless and dependent serfs limited to professions such as money lending. Now Israel has an unrivaled army - outrageous. Its desert is blooming amidst a sea of Middle Eastern deserts - provocative. Its women have equal rights, naked thighs, and become prime ministers - outlandish and obnoxious. Israel is the tiny pin pricking the bloated 18th Century Middle East that is still mired in its Dark Ages, desperate to retain its unchanging ways. And Israel is still only the Little Satan. Everyone knows the Jews also run the Big Satan. Why, Jews must own the New York Times and Washington Post, CBS and CNN, the State Department and the CIA, in spite of all the continual anti-Israel bias - more subterfuge.

And moreover, Bush is clearly controlled by Israel, in spite of his intimate handholding photo-ops with Saudi Arabian princes, and now more with Condi's overtures to Iran and Syria - further devious camouflage, I imagine.

All in all, these Jews must be very clever, very shrewd: to cause 9/11 and the many suicide bombings and intifadas, to pretend to be under the whip of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas - most ingenious, to play at being the underdog when in fact, to all enlightened Jihadists and liberal Westerners, they are in fact the secret Goliath, the masters of deceit, even to the extent of six-million Holocaust deceits. Clever Jews, those people, clever magicians these Israelis.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Leslie Sacks is an art dealer and gallerist in Los Angeles. Feedback: editorialdirector@familysecuritymatters.org.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

16 July 2008

Israel Trades, Jews Cry, Arabs Cheer, Barbarians Revealed

Prisoner Swap: Israel Mourns, Hizbullah and PA Celebrate

13 Tammuz 5768, 16 July 08 06:09 by Ze'ev Ben-Yechiel(IsraelNN.com)

With the prisoner exchange with Hizbullah approaching its tragic climax, dozens of news crews at Rosh HaNikra and throughout the country are broadcasting the reactions of observers to the latest developments. The bitterly contested prisoner exchange is developing into one of Israel's most riveting and painful episodes, while Hizbullah and the PA celebrate victory and renew their threat to kidnap more IDF soldiers.

The conclusion of the prisoner exchange began Tuesday night with the release of child-murderer Samir Kuntar and four of his co-terrorists, and continued through Wednesday morning with the release of the coffins of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, all caught on camera for the nation and the world to see.

To the families of the two captured IDF soldiers, the news that their sons are dead is a tragedy, while to others in Israel the prospect of handing over alive-and-well murderers of innocent Jews in exchange for dead bodies is a travesty. For those who support terrorism, the release is being hailed as a victory for Hizbullah and the struggle to destroy Israel, coupled with an admission of defeat from the Jewish state.

As images of the coffins of Regev and Goldwasser appeared on television, cries could be heard coming from the Regev family home when they suddenly realized what they feared most: They would never see their son Eldad alive again.

Once the news he was dead began to spread, the area around the Regev residence became quickly crowded with family members and friends of Eldad, who gathered outside his home to show support for the grieving parents and to honor the memory of their loved one. The visitors began a vigil outside his Kiryat Motzkin home as they lit memorial candles for Eldad. Another vigil formed at the Goldwasser home.

Eldad Regev's aunt, Hanna, collapsed when she saw the images of her nephew's coffin, and had to be treated by paramedics who were standing by.

Meanwhile, the family of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit sent the Regev and Goldwasser families "all their love and support on this hard day." The words of comfort came from Gilad's father Noam, who added: "We support the families, love them and strengthen them." Noam said that he has not spoken yet to the two families. "I assume they want to be alone right now, and I respect their wishes," he explained, but said he will contact them later in the day.

Speaking hours before he saw the televised images of his brother's coffin, Eyal Regev accepted the prospect of his brother's death with equanimity: "We understand the weight of the price, and it is a source of pain." He went on to praise the Israeli government for their decision to release multiple murderers in exchange for his likely-dead brother. "The State of Israel should be proud of returning the boys; this is our moral responsibility towards their fate," Eyal remarked.

Shlomo Goldwasser, father of Ehud Goldwasser, had defiant words for those who killed his son. "If Hizbullah's great achievement is the release of Kuntar, who is nothing but a repulsive murderer, then I pity them."

The Regev and Goldwasser families have quietly accepted the fate of their slain sons and expressed gratitude for Israel's willingness to hand over the terrorists in order to get their boys back, dead or alive. However, there are many who have strongly opposed the swap, including top military and intelligence officials who urged Prime Minister Olmert's cabinet to reject the deal, considering it a big mistake for Israel.

A backlash against the prisoner release was heard from many in the Knesset. MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) condemned the release of Kuntar and the other terrorists, calling it a "tragic".

"This is a tragic end for the families [of the soldiers], and it is also a very bad end for Israel's fight against terrorism," said Steinitz in a Tuesday morning Channel 2 interview. "The celebrations of the terrorist organizations in Lebanon - and they have reason for celebration - conclude two years of a failed Israeli battle against terrorism."

Steinitz underscored the growing strength of Hizbullah as a factor in the terror group's ability to manipulate Israeli policymaking. "Hizbullah has come out of these two years stronger military and stronger politically. With our help, Hizbullah has mislead us for two years regarding the condition of the abducted soldiers, as to whether they are dead or alive.

"We have become the only country in the West and perhaps in the entire world, which is ready to release terrorist murderers in exchange for bodies and body parts," he remarked. "This is a dangerous precedent… and I must say that the entire country has derailed."

Steinitz also indicted the Israeli press for contributing to national derailment: "The media has a part in this," he charged.

"Even in difficult situations, there remain principles. And our leadership…must lead, and not be led by the public or by the media, and not even by the families [of the POW's]. And when you lead, there are long term factors of national security to be taken into consideration.

"A prize was awarded today to terrorism. It reflects a general policy of surrender to Hizbullah and to Hamas in Gaza. We have given Hamas a de facto authorization to continue to rearm and build itself into a Hizbullah II in Gaza," Steinitz concluded.

Former Defense Minister Moshe Arens echoed the anti-swap deal sentiment, deeming the decision to release the terrorists a "complete lack of judgement" and calling the Olmert cabinet's deal a "mistake that is forbidden to make," as it encourages the enemy to kidnap more soldiers.

There has been public as well as official outcry in Israel at the prisoner swap.

Shifra Hoffman, founder of Victims of Arab Terror International (VAT) organization, said her group “strongly condemns the government of Israel for agreeing to release Samir Kuntar, the bestial child killer and other Arab terrorists with ‘blood on their hands.’ This obscene exchange with Hizbullah, has, in effect, murdered the Jewish victims twice, and has opened the door for future terrorist attacks by Arab killers, who see that they have nothing to fear in perpetrating these horrendous acts on innocent Israeli men, woman and children.”

Hoffman added in a Tuesday interview with INN that Hoffman added in an interview with INN that in its decision to release the Hizbullah murderers, the Israeli government is acting against the express opposition of military and security experts.

The release of the murderers has touched a personal nerve among other Israelis who've lost loved ones to terrorists. Nina Keren, the mother of one of Samir Kuntar's four victims, expressed outrage at the release her son's killer and other murderers, calling it a "disgrace."

Keren, mother of Dani Haran-one of the four Jewish victims of Kuntar's 1979 cross-border murder spree-said that she "could not stop crying" when she heard the news that her son's killer will be freed.

Keren said that releasing terrorists with blood on their hands is a "big mistake", warning reporters Tuesday that Samir Kuntar will kill more Jews once he is released back into Lebanon, echoing Kuntar's own vow to resume his terrorist activities against Israelis once freed. Similar statements have been made by Arab leaders, several of whom said Wednesday that the release of Kuntar and the others is a sign that kidnapping IDF soldiers works and that will continue to promote such kidnappings.

While Israel mourns a painful homecoming for its dead soldiers amid a chorus of protest over the release of living and unrepentant terrorists, the enemies of the Jewish state are cheering what they see a clear victory over Israel.

The Lebanese government plans to hold a state ceremony in Beirut honoring the terrorists about to be released by Israel, including those who murdered innocent Israeli civilians.

In the ceremony in the Lebanese capital, Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and President Michel Suleiman will officially greet the freed operatives, ahead of a Hizbullah event celebrating what the terror group declares is an Israeli admission of defeat.

Hizbullah boasted about the prisoner swap in a report from the AP. The terrorist group who kidnapped and killed several IDF soldiers announced Tuesday that Israel's approval of the swap deal is an official admission of defeat by the Jewish state.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated the family of Samir Kuntar and sent his condolences to the Lebanese families receiving their loved ones' bodies as part of the deal.

In Gaza, Hamas terrorist leader Ismail Haniyeh congratulated Samir Kuntar on his impending release from Israeli prison and his triumphant return to Lebanon. Haniyeh praised "the great victory the resistance has had, which proved the righteousness of our ways," and said his own terrorist organization would likewise remain loyal to its operatives jailed in Israel as well, a hint that Hamas has been emboldened by the release to kidnap more IDF soldiers.

"From the al-Bureij camp, the camp of strong standing, I once against congratulate Lebanon," proclaimed Haniyeh. "We tell them that this operation is the best lesson that can be achieved – a victory over the occupation, liberating lands and liberating prisoners."

The Hamas prime minister said that the deal with Hizbullah, which included the return of the bodies of kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, gave him hope. "This is a precedent," he said.

Abu Mujahed, a spokesman for the Gaza-based umbrella terror group Popular Resistance Committees, told Ynet Wednesday that the completion of the deal "even after the images of the Israeli soldiers' coffins, proves that kidnapping soldiers will continue to be the most efficient, favored and ideal way to release Palestinian prisoners, particularly those defined by the enemy as having blood on their hands."



Sincerest sympathies to the Regev and Goldwasser families. HaMakomb yenachem eschem bsoch sha'ar avalai tzion b'irushalayim.

The framework of all the analysis needed has already been printed. The truth is that any action which puts into harm's way other Jews as a result can never result in good. To the families, such calculations cannot be considered for their main mitzvah is to bury their dead. I will let people with more learning than I discuss the mitzvah of redeeming captives vs. redeeming corpses and the national/Jewish/halachik ramifications.

All I will add to this talk is this observation. There will be celebrating in the Arab world while the Jewish world mourns her sons and weighs in on the future of these exchanges. Two Jewish sons have been returned home. Hundreds of dead arabians will be cleansed from the land. Arabs will cheer, Jews will cry. Two Jews who died for no good purpose are home, while murderous barbarians who killed for no good purpose will be free to kill and plot again. The rest of the story, is contained within the paragraphs I wish to highlight from the Arutz Sheva article. Notice, there is fundamentally no value difference between the organizations and people mentioned below:

While Israel mourns a painful homecoming for its dead soldiers amid a chorus of protest over the release of living and unrepentant terrorists, the enemies of the Jewish state are cheering what they see a clear victory over Israel.

The Lebanese government plans to hold a state ceremony in Beirut honoring the terrorists about to be released by Israel, including those who murdered innocent Israeli civilians.

In the ceremony in the Lebanese capital, Prime Minister Fouad Saniora and President Michel Suleiman will officially greet the freed operatives, ahead of a Hizbullah event celebrating what the terror group declares is an Israeli admission of defeat.

Hizbullah boasted about the prisoner swap in a report from the AP. The terrorist group who kidnapped and killed several IDF soldiers announced Tuesday that Israel's approval of the swap deal is an official admission of defeat by the Jewish state.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated the family of Samir Kuntar and sent his condolences to the Lebanese families receiving their loved ones' bodies as part of the deal.

In Gaza, Hamas terrorist leader Ismail Haniyeh congratulated Samir Kuntar on his impending release from Israeli prison and his triumphant return to Lebanon. Haniyeh praised "the great victory the resistance has had, which proved the righteousness of our ways," and said his own terrorist organization would likewise remain loyal to its operatives jailed in Israel as well, a hint that Hamas has been emboldened by the release to kidnap more IDF soldiers.

"From the al-Bureij camp, the camp of strong standing, I once against congratulate Lebanon," proclaimed Haniyeh. "We tell them that this operation is the best lesson that can be achieved – a victory over the occupation, liberating lands and liberating prisoners."

The Hamas prime minister said that the deal with Hizbullah, which included the return of the bodies of kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, gave him hope. "This is a precedent," he said.


Rabbi Drukman: "This day is darker than dark"

Stumble Upon Toolbar

14 July 2008

Employment Identity Theft and the IRS

Stolen Identities Used to File Tax Returns Grows 644 Percent - Fraudwar Blogspot

Taxpayer Advocate Report to Congress - 2008




Ed Dickson at Fraudwar Blog reported on the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Fiscal Year 2009 Objectives, report to Congress. The IRS has proposed improved processes to identify and manage consumer files where notification of identity theft has been previously made and fraud previously determined.

My experience in the past working with employment fraud is that, year upon year, a consumer who is a victim of this type of identity theft must wait for a letter from the IRS requesting payment for unreported income, submit a claim of non-responsibility and wait for an investigation from the IRS which occurs behind closed doors. When the IRS requests to be paid, the consumer contacts TAS and a fraud claim is submitted. The role of the employer is important. The IRS usually wants the consumer to attempt to contact the employer, the furnisher of employment data to the IRS, to seek correction of the record. The consumer, the party defrauded, is to attempt to set the record straight with the data furnisher on behalf of the US Federal Government's main tax collection authority, which has arresting and subpoena power. Obviously, something is wrong with this process.

Consumers subjected to employment fraud identity theft must take this step as if it were just a normal part of the annual tax filing process, but one which takes place months after the initial filing of a return. When the records are mixed, refunds are delayed and consumers have this threat to face late fees and penalties unless the proper corrections are made.



Essentially, the consumer becomes a non-paid employee of the IRS, initiating what, in a more just process would be a criminal investigation either handled by the IRS or ICE (or both). The task is made more complicated by the fact that the consumer is well-advised to request from the Social Security Administration (SSA) a detailed work history which includes copies of (or a listing of) previous years (10 years usually) W-2s and 1099-Misc forms submitted by employers to the SSA for withholding purposes. These records are used to uncover evidence of the fraud and discover if any other fraudulent employment was obtained using the consumer's Social Security Number. These forms will also verify the address on file of the fraudster, at least that reported by the employer to the SSA. The SSA cannot by law share this information with the IRS.

Theoretically, SSA could implement fraud practices which look for inconsistencies in their files based upon employment information submitted to the agency and share this information with the IRS for investigation or investigate themselves. Such analysis may not be easy and often good explanations can be given for why a consumer for instance has three full time jobs worth of income originating from three separate corporate entities and reports three (or more) addresses as residences around the USA. However, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, in a provision soon to become active later this year will require financial entities to look for similar inconsistencies in the long awaited "Red Flag Rules". But, as usual, the Federal Government does not include itself in such provisions.

Back to our consumer - unless some action is taken to intervene with the employer (provided the employer is merely also a victim of the fraud which is NOT always the case), the process will repeat itself year after year. Then again, the fraudster may start anew in a different location each year.

Unlike credit type identity theft, law enforcement at the local level often does not or is unable to assist a consumer with employment fraud. Even in situations where the fraudster lives within the same jurisdiction, this is not a guarantee of law enforcement intervention. It is encouraging to see the IRS make progress on assisting law abiding consumers with improved fraud reporting and file management. Now, if the IRS will only be able to investigate and make arrests. Investigations and arrests of identity theft perpetrators are few and far between.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

11 July 2008

The New Jewish Socialism

Below there is an article written by Rabbi David Eliezrie, president of the Rabbinical Council of Orange County, who has an interesting take on the Agriprocessors story. The original article ran in JPOST. Before I read this article I was formulating the same idea, that the divide in the Jewish world between traditional Kashrus and this new fangled socio-kosher (more socialist than kashrus) is yet another manifestation of the forces at work of the yetzer hara, giving an accusation against us and stick in the hands of our foes. But one shouldn't be so surprised at this event. Conservativists have tried for many years to be relevant in kashrus, against the odds. Who trusts them with such things? But, by re-defining kashrus as a social movement, now that's a horse of a different color. And here is where the liberal, claim to be orthodox Uri L'tzedek comes in. It is at this juncture where the bigger picture comes together. Underneath the scapegoat of Agriprocessors is the joining up, or attempted joining up of a common purpose, the coming together out of "necessity" to make kashrus in America not just about food but about what is proper, what is good, what is - politically correct. The birth of the new Jewish socialism is here. Why, we can even make friends with Reformists now.



Jewish culture wars - Shturem

What is really going on is the creation of a new frontier in the battle between the liberal and more traditional.
David Eliezrie/Jerusalem Post

For weeks it's been a he-said, she-said about the nation's largest kosher meat producer. There have been all kinds of allegations about Iowa-based Agriprocessors. The critics have primarily been the union, which is trying to take over the plant, and Heksher Tzedek, a recent liberal initiative calling for new-style kosher certification.
Most of the allegations have not been substantiated. It's ludicrous to claim that mezuza cases are pipe bombs, or that there is a drug lab in a plant under constant supervision by federal regulators and nationally recognized kashrut supervisory agencies.

While there seems to be no question that illegal workers did provide false ID to get employment at the plant, that seems to be the only real issue.

What is really going on is the creation of a new frontier in the battle between the liberal and more traditional ends of the Jewish community. Maurice Allen, a Conservative rabbi from Minnesota, has led the charge. He has received some support from his movement. But his real allies seem to the union and members of the Jewish Left such as the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the Jewish Labor Committee. These groups have never had any involvement in kosher food. Nor are they known for supporting its observance. Rabbi Allen wants to create a new brand of kosher based on modern social values. In any case, the classic dictums of the Shulhan Aruch - the Code of Jewish Law - apparently do not resonate for Allen, since he reportedly eats vegetarian in non-kosher restaurants.

THE REAL issue is not Agriprocessors. The company is just a battlefield of convenience, since its plant is not far from Allen's home town of St. Paul, while a history of contention with the union and PETA make it an attractive target. The Rubashkins, the Old World hassidic family which owns the plant, seems ill-equipped to respond to questions which play into Allen's hands.

One can wonder what is driving Allen. Is it a quest to bring the Conservative movement back into the multimillion-dollar kosher supervision business? Or does he truly believe, as many liberal Jews do, that a liberal social agenda should be the central value of the Jewish community?

His alliance with the union raises serious issues. He needs to reveal to the public if he or his organization are receiving any funds or support from the union. Many have also questioned Allen's tactics, which seem far from ethical. Recently he parked himself in a church in Pottsville, and, after interviewing plant employees pre-screened by the union, declared that there were "issues" with the plant. This action ignored Jewish law, which demands one not judge a case without hearing both sides objectively.

KOSHER CONSUMERS want little to do with this new kind of hechsher. The Orthodox community has rallied around the company. Allen got some support from tiny Uri Tzedek, a new liberal Orthodox social action group. But even that has evaporated. The group dropped its call for a boycott. After a month of strenuous effort, all it could muster was a bit over 1,000 signatures on the Web - no great feat when no one knows if those who signed even keep kosher. No prominent rabbinical leaders supported it, and its claim that Rabbi Steven Riskin signed the petition turned out to be false.

The kosher community looks to reputable kosher supervisory agencies like the OU to ensure kosher standards. It does not believe that kashrut should be based on a leftish agenda of social engineering. When a food producer is given a choice of either a reputable kashrut certificate, based on historic halachic standards, or one that gives liberal rabbis and the union a vote, he will undoubtedly choose the former.

The Jewish legal principle of dina demalchuta dina, that a Jew must follow the law of the land, includes food plants owned by Jews. This means Jewish law mandates them to follow all federal and state health, safety and worker regulations. If there have been infractions, Agriprocessors should be held accountable by the proper authorities.

OVER THE last few years, tensions have diminished across the theological spectrum in the Jewish community. The ideological splits still exist, but the rancor has dropped. Rabbi Allen's new initiative - and tactics - will not gain much support in the religious community. However if he persists, there is little question that he will heighten tensions between Liberal and Orthodox Jews. If he wants to fight for unions and higher wages for workers, let him do this as part of his Temple Social Action Committee.

No food manufacture in the US has accepted his hechsher, and it is doubtful that any will. Continuing this battle will only return us to the period of denominational feuding many of us thought we had left behind.

The writer is president of the Rabbinical Council of Orange County.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

The Israeli - US Attack on Iran

Officials: Israeli jets flying over Iraqi territory in preparation for strike on Iran - Ynet

Sources in Iraq's Defense Ministry say for past month Israel using American bases to conduct overflights as part of rehearsal for possible bombing or Iranian nuclear facilities

Roee Nahmias Published: 07.11.08, 11:54 / Israel News

Israeli fighter jets have been flying over Iraqi territory for over a month in preparation for potential strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, sources in the Iraqi Defense Ministry told a local news network Friday, adding that the aircraft have been landing in American bases following the overflights.

Word of Israel's alleged Air Force maneuvers in Iraq has reached Iran. The sources said the US has boosted security in and around the bases used by Israel during the exercises.

According to the Defense Ministry officials, retired Iraqi army officers in the Al Anbar district reported that fighter jets have been regularly entering Iraqi airspace from Jordan and landing at the airport near Haditha.

The sources estimated that should the Israeli jets take off from the American bases it would take them no more than five minutes to reach Iran's nuclear reactor in Bushehr.

American officials said recently that more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters took part in maneuvers over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June, apparently a rehearsal for a potential bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities.



The IAF using American airbases in Iraq to prepare for an attack on Iran? For anyone who doubts that the relationship between Israel and the US is strong, this story should put an end to such doubt. Given the combination of a strategic relationship with a common threat, the report appears highly credible. Why would the US allow an IAF attack to originate from bases in Iraq, a country which still is not very fond of Israelis and will be placed in harm's way during an Iranian retaliation to occur unless the need is great and the relationship tight? The clear advantage for Israel in the closer range is sortie time and turn around time taking considerable pressure of the pilots.

The likely results of an Israeli attack on Iran would be a missile strike response on American positions in Iraq along with a medium range missile attack on Israel. How effective the missile defense systems will be in limiting the damage remains an uncertainty. While I am not an expert in missile systems, I would welcome feedback from readers to the question, would US anti-missile systems be capable of launching against Iranian missiles targeted against Israel (presumably over-flying Iraqi airspace? I might speculate yes. And, moving the launch point to Iraq possibly draws fire away from Israel, a calculation most likely responded to by the Iranians this week with their declaration that an Israeli attack will be met with missiles fired at Tel Aviv.

Most telling though, is the strategic calculation that the US and Israel have made. Israel is counting on Iran directing counter attacks against US positions in the region. But what if, Iran only counter-attacks specifically against Israel? Thus, we have the Condi Rice quotes from this week saying the US will defend her allies in the region. Israel is counting upon an Iranian strike on US targets in order to draw the US (with a US wink and nod approval) into the conflict, giving George W. Bush Jr. every opportunity to fire back without appearing to have started shooting first. This sort of attack needs sustained bombing possibly up to a couple of weeks worth, not only to inflict significant damage to the Iranian nuclear (nuklar) program but to knock out Iran's ability to defend her airspace, launch missiles, maintain effective communication, command and control, political targets, etc., and generally keep Iran from sustaining an organized and meaningful counter attack based upon full tactical capacity.

Such a sustained offensive cannot be managed by an IAF with other responsibilities (northern border for instance) and a limitation of aircraft and manpower. It requires the hundreds of combat aircraft and personnel available only to the USAF and USN. The IAF only holds approximately 127 of the most advanced variants of the F-16i and F-15i (pictured below) although there are reportedly approximately 230 older model F-16s available and maybe 65 older variants of F-15 available Global Security - IAF inventory. APRPEH has speculated for some time that the Israeli Navy's submarine launched cruise missile capability may make the difference in the expected attack, taking a lead role in fact. If Iran does counter attack with medium range missiles, don't be surprised if Israel launches Jericho missiles in response. The advantage of the cruise missile strike is that it keeps pilots fresh for when you need them and the missiles are of course highly accurate. They would, however, only be useful as penetration support, IE, knocking out radars, anti-aircraft systems, command and control, etc, where the targets are not hardened or buried.

However, it is the unexpected which, as in all military operations, is scary. Iranian blocking of the Strait of Hormuz, preventing access from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea and disrupting the free flow of oil is now a well known expected response from Iran, one for which the US Navy has certainly (we hope) prepared a plan to prevent. At the very least half sinking a couple of oil filled supertankers and igniting them would most certainly cause a huge spike in world wide oil prices and delay enough of a percentage in the total supply of world oil to cause a panic and result in international pressure to condemn Israel and force the US to back off. What else may Iran have planned? Terrorist dooms day cell activated? Hezbollah attack? More northern kidnappings? Unexpected sympathy move by Hamas? Iranian F-14 loaded with bombs on a suicide flight against US targets? What, if any of the Iranian air force will fly against the US and Israeli aircraft is also an unknown.

All such calculations those that can be presumed have certainly been presumed. The question returns to the cost of not acting in the future to the short term cost of acting to stop Iran today. Bush will act. McCain probably would act. Obama, probably not. For this reason, Israel must plan her strike now and execute it before November 4th and at the very latest before the official hand off of the US Presidency at noon (EST), January 20, 2009.

Having just engaged in a very physical world discussion, I would like to end by bringing this around the other way, to the true strength of the Jewish people. It is our prayer and faith which obliges HaShem to remember us in the good times and the bad. It is our eyes and voices lifted up, unified, and directed in prayer and purpose which characterizes the Jewish way. It is HaShem in charge of all events, no less now than in the past and all events have a purpose. Should the events described above take place it is important to focus on the understanding for which we are required to strive, the achdus we are required to build, and the emuna in our Creator we must hold above us, no matter what the results.

It is my concern that in these times of such division amongst the Jewish people that HaShem could judge us for a significant dose of onesh intent on driving us back together and bringing us closer to our mission, not a mission demonstrating military capability but to make this world a dwelling place for Him. If removing the Iranian threat is a function of that mission, Israel will certainly prevail, if not, who knows.

Since I am no navi and I am not in the business of prophecy, such words are mere speculation. It is however, my prayer that the Jewish people rally around our calling, to open our hearts to his Torah and raise our voices in prayer and learning to make this world a dwelling place for HaShem. When we do so, the threats that currently face us will vanish.





Sufa - F-16 on steriods




Ra'am F-15

Stumble Upon Toolbar

10 July 2008

Give Credit to a Dog

$142 Collection Bill Sent To Couple's Dog - KCRA

70,000 Consumers Complained About Debt Collectors In '06

POSTED: 9:23 pm PDT July 9, 2008
UPDATED: 11:39 pm PDT July 9, 200

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- More than 70,000 consumers complained about third-party debt collectors in 2007, but one Sacramento couple said they have good reason to bark about the bill they received.

Steve Fanelli received a bill from AFNI collections claiming an Andy Fanelli owes Verizon Online $142.34.

And although Steve Fanelli does indeed live with an Andy Fanelli, there is a small, furry problem with the bill.

Andy Fanelli is Steve Fanelli's dog.



"The point is that Andy has never had a Verizon account. We were just curious why this showed up," Steve Fanelli said.

After some "dogged" detective work by Call 3 Problem Solvers, Verizon said the debt is owed by a guy on the East Coast named Andy Fanelli.

"Just because there's an Andy Fanelli back east doesn't mean you send a letter to an Andy Fanelli in California," dog owner Shawn Donovan said. "There has to be something else to connect it."

Andy Fanelli, who is Steve Fanelli's and Donovan's Lhasa Apso, has its own American Express card that Donovan got when it was offered for "family members."

"It's an active card. From time to time I take my girlfriend's to lunch on Andy," Donovan said.

Consumers have complained about AFNI online and to the Illinois Attorney General, claiming AFNI tries to collect outdated or incorrect billing.

AFNI told Problem Solvers that it is a large company and diligent about debt verification.

The company said it thinks the problem with the Fanelli's happened because of the American Express Card.

Verizon Online cancelled Andy's debt, which he just shook off.



While this seems like a just fluff or maybe matted fur story for laughs there is a serious issue to consider. It is has been my observation working in an environment where credit and collection issues are a daily concern that this story underscores a problem many Americans face. No, pets are not routinely contacted by third party debt collectors (3PDCs). But every day plenty of Americans are contacted by mail or telephone by 3PDCs on a phishing expedition who treat these consumers as if they were dead beats. Unexpecting consumers have payment demands thrown at them for no better reason than they share the same or similar name to someone who indeed owes money on an account.

The debt collectors are merely skip tracing a name, developing lists of names of possible matches based upon name commonality, location and possibly credit report pulls and making collection calls. Some of these attempts to collect will be met head-on and the collector will move to the next consumer. However, far too often, the consumer receiving the collection will pay on an account in debt which is not their own due to fear or being unaware they can dispute the collection. 3PDCs do not make it a practice by and large to turn down payment on an account even if they have a doubt as to the authenticity of the contact they have made.

In other cases, the collection account will make its way to a credit report, sometimes because the 3PDC has presumed they contacted the correct consumer even though the consumer was not actually spoken with and never corresponded with the 3PDC. Sometimes, it is the credit bureau's mistake in failing to match the data to the correct consumer.

Another way an unsuspecting consumer can lose out is to a greedy mortgage broker (imagine that) telling a consumer, "we can wrap the debt into what you borrow" or insisting that the consumer pay the debt even if it is not there responsibility solely to quickly get a loan approved. This is doing a terrible dis-service to the consumer. Once a payment is made on an account, the 3PDC or creditor has every right to presume the correct consumer, that is the correct debtor is paying on a defaulted account. That credit information becomes attached to the credit file of the wrong consumer for at least 7 years, reflected as a paid collection.

Worst of all is the fear placed upon the elderly when they receive these phishing collection attempts. Afraid of losing independence, of looking bad, being sued or receiving a court judgment, often many elderly pay without a fight. This is essentially elder abuse and should be treated as such.

The collection world does have some decent people who conscientiously do there job to support an economy based upon credit and confidence in alternative payment vehicles (credit cards, checks, etc). Far too many 3PDCs though engage in reprehensible tactics which encroach upon and slip over permissible practice as laid out in the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA).

Stumble Upon Toolbar

09 July 2008

The Role of Religion in Picking a President

Religious Jews support U.S. Sen. John McCain for president in much higher numbers than non-religious Jews, a poll found. - JTA

Published: 07/09/2008

Religious Jews support U.S. Sen. John McCain for president in much higher numbers than non-religious Jews, a poll found.

The 39 percent of U.S. Jews who said religion is important in their daily lives evenly split their support for the presumptive candidates in November -- Arizona's McCain for the Republicans and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for the Democrats -- at 45 percent, according to a Gallup Poll released Tuesday.

For Jews who said religion is not important, however, McCain picked up only 26 percent to 68 percent for Obama.

For all Americans who say religion is important, McCain received the support of 50 percent to Obama's 40 percent. Those who said religion is not important backed Obama over McCain, 55 percent to 36 percent.

The percentage of Jews who said religion was important fell well below the overall national average. Nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed said religion is important to them, according to the poll.

Nearly 95,000 registered voters were interviewed as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking between March and June.



The speculation has been for some time that McCain will do better than the most recent Republican candidates for President and may well surpass Reagan's 39% of the Jewish vote in 1980.

The Gallup poll does not mention a growing Orthodox population as a factor nor is there any evidence that the polling methodology accounts for a larger Orthodox population. It would be greatly encouraging to find more than 39% of American Jews responding that "religion is important in their daily lives". This same body of Jews can fairly be called the most knowledgeable about Jewish matters, the most personally connected with Israel and to the chagrin of Eric Yoffie, the real "Jewish" majority. Those Jews whose daily lives are energized and occupied with Torah, davening, mitzvas, Israel, chesed, etc., are indeed the real Jewish majority as defined by "use" and participation. The other 61% who are not yet religious would be well advised to bind themselves to the real "Jewish" majority.

Now, we can have a conversation about what it means to be a Jew, however I have little patience for arguments that define Judaism as what Jews think vis a vis what is the halachic approach and a Torah true mind set. Judaism is clearly definable as a religion with law, faith, history, and most importantly a Divine and everlasting covenant which does not provide for options in belief and merger of secular politics into the requirements placed upon the Jew by the G-d of the universe.

Is there one value or set of values or ideas which leads to more religious people favoring McCain and Republicans in general and less religious people favoring B. Hussein Obama and Democrats in general?

Perhaps. Religion is built upon a general belief in a common set of ideas usually known as values which manifests itself as a "morality", a concrete code by which the righteous are defined as those who uphold that morality while those who are less consistent in upholding the morality code defined by degree of their decreasing observance in the code. This structure provides for a consistent approach to judgment for both good and bad.

For liberals who have adopted a code which permits and encourages a lack of a common set of values except that a common set of values cannot be universally applied, the morality code is not a viable approach, a barrier to free expression no matter how bizarre it's manifestation.

And while the statistics do not support that every religious person will favor McCain and every non-religious person will favor Obama, the recurring voting patterns over multiple elections for a number of years seems to extend credibility to the theory.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

01 July 2008

The Power of a Pup - The Impurity of a Religion

MUSLIMS OUTRAGED OVER PUPPY AD! - Steve Gill Show
July 1, 2008 - 08:20
The "peaceful and tolerant" Muslims in Scotland have their knickers in a twist over an advertisement for the local police department that featured a small black puppy sitting in a policeman's hat. Isn't it amazing that these folks won't get outraged over the brutal jihadist murder of innocent people in the name of Allah but DO get bent out of shape over a puppy? CLICK HERE. Maybe if he was sitting in a turban...






A "tail" of Western Civilization and Muslim fanatacism:

The advert has upset Muslims because dogs are considered ritually unclean and has sparked such anger that some shopkeepers in Dundee have refused to display the advert.

A spokesman for Tayside Police said: 'Trainee police dog Rebel has proved extremely popular with children and adults since being introduced to the public, aged six weeks old, as Tayside Police's newest canine recruit.


As radio host Steve Gill pointed out you don't see riots when raging speeches calling for jihad are broadcasted worldwide, chants of death to the Jews, death to the Americans echoed by thousands of enthusiastic death seeking followers, but an 'impure' puppy causes hysteria.

Hey - followers of Mohammed, how about some riots on behalf of the victims of honor killings and against the abuse of children by fanatic parents dressing them in bomb belts, holding real weapons and glorifying suicide assassination?











pictures courtesy the following websites:
Little Green Footballs
Recovered Liberal
Think-Israel
Fort Liberty
Israel Wat
Eye on the World


Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sderot QassamCount - via Daled Amos

Nice Jerusalem Video from Yeshiva Beit Orot

The Path To The Final Solution

 
Who links to my website?