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July 26, 2007, same old same old (a people betrayed by their "leaders") too complicated for W:
OBAMA: The period that has just come to an end, in which the wages and incomes of average workers actually went down during economic expansion. The average family had a $1000 less disposable income than when George Bush took office. Part of this was globalization and trends that we can't lay at the feet of George Bush. But we can blame this administration for having made those trends worse, by giving those of us who were winners in the global economy a tax break, those of us who didn't need them and weren't even asking for them. By failing to provide the training that workers needed as they watched their jobs get shipped overseas. So people are having a tough time. They're working harder and harder just to get by. They are paying..they've never paid more for healthcare or gas at the pump . It's harder to save and harder to retire.
They were using home equity as a way of balancing their budgets, and when the housing market crashed because this administration provided no oversight and no regulation, because we haven't given enough concern given to whether or not the economy was working for those at the bottom and the middle...
Man in the Crowd: "I'm going to Pennsylvania this week to knock on doors for you. What should I expect? What should I know before I go there?"
OBAMA: It depends on the communities you're in. There are communities in Pennsylvania that actually probably have more in common with San Francisco than they do with the rest of Pennsylvania. and Then, there are other communities that you know are you know culturally very different. They have more in common with downstate Illinois than they do with Philadelphia, for example. It depends on where you are.
But I think it's fair to say that the places where we will have to do the most work are the places where people are the most cynical about government.
The people are misapprenhend...I think they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.
But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is -- so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points.
But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing.
President Bush, in his speech ten days ago, compared Hamas and Fatah in stark terms, painting a picture of contrasts in which the Arabs under PA jurisdiction can, seemingly, choose either evil (Hamas) or good (Fatah).
"This is a moment of clarity for all Palestinians," Bush said," and now comes a moment of choice... There is the vision of Hamas, which the world saw in Gaza - with murderers in black masks, and summary executions, and men thrown to their death from rooftops. By following this path, the Palestinian people would guarantee chaos, and suffering, and the endless perpetuation of grievance. They would surrender their future to Hamas's foreign sponsors in Syria and Iran. And they would crush the possibility of a Palestinian state."
"There's another option," Bush continued, "and that's a hopeful option. It is the vision of [Fatah] President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad; it's the vision of their government; it's the vision of a peaceful state called Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people. To realize this vision, these leaders are striving to build the institutions of a modern democracy. They're working to strengthen the Palestinian security services, so they can confront the terrorists and protect the innocent... And they're ensuring that Palestinian society operates under the rule of law. By following this path, Palestinians can reclaim their dignity and their future -- and establish a state of their own."
In fact, however, Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have actually taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years. Just this week, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein reports, Fatah terrorists organized yet another terrorist cell in Samaria for attacks against Israel. In addition, the 178 wanted Fatah terrorists whom Israel agreed to pardon last week if they would renounce terrorism described their hand-in of weapons as a "big joke."
Interestingly, Bush noted that Hamas men threw Fatah members out of apartment buildings during their recent battles, but neglected to mention that Fatah did the same to Hamas members.
As Caroline Glick wrote in the Jerusalem Post on Dec. 26, 2006, "If Abbas were interested in peace, he would not be demanding that Israel [do the following]: release terrorists from prison; stop arresting wanted terrorists; make it easier for terrorists to operate in Judea and Samaria by suspending IDF counterterror operations and taking down roadblocks; bring more terrorists into the areas from Jordan; arm terrorists through Egypt; and give him money to pay the salaries of terrorists."
Former Israeli Cabinet Minister Natan Sharansky succintly described the cultural milieu in the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority as one that “promotes genocide” against Jews: “As in Nazi Germany, there is an entire culture of hatred in Palestinian Arab society today, from textbooks to crossword puzzles, from day camps to TV music videos. Calling for the murder of Jews, as Jews, is the end result.”
Gush Katif Report: No Housing Solutions in Sight
By Hillel Fendel
The latest report on the former Gush Katif communities shows a satisfactory educational situation - but severe housing and other problems.
The report, issued in December 2006/Kislev 5767 by the Gush Katif Committee, describes the situation of the Disengagement-expelled residents after 16 months of homelessness.
45% of the residents, or some 1,460 men and women, are still unemployed, and only 150 out of 700 business-owners have reopened their businesses. The expelled residents are no longer eligible for unemployment or adjustment-period payments.
Some 500 families are receiving food packages and other aid from welfare organizations.
Only 33 out of 400 farmers have received alternate lands, and only a small number of them have resumed actual production. In general, they have lost their markets, customers and connections abroad, and various bureaucratic and other issues have cost them much of their potential income. The impending Shmittah year [during which the Torah forbids agricultural work in the Land of Israel, except via complex legal machinations - ed.] only compounds the expected losses.
Of the 1,667 families listed as having lived in Gush Katif last summer, nearly 7/8 of them continue to live in their communal frameworks - waiting for bureaucracy-mired permanent housing solutions.
For instance, some 50 families of Ganei Tal are living in a "caravilla" site (pre-fab temporary homes made to look permanent) in Yad Binyamin, and most of the families from N'vei Dekalim, Gan-Or, Gadid, and others are living in Nitzan. Several dozen other N'vei Dekalim families are in Ein Tzurim, while families from Netzarim and Atzmona are in the Halutza area.
Only one agreement has been signed with the government for a new permanent replacement community. It involves some 45 families from two northern Gaza communities, Elei Sinai and Nisanit, which are to live in Bat Hadar, just outside Ashkelon. Construction has begun, and the families are expected to move in "soon."
Families that rented apartments on the private market, whether after or before the expulsion, find themselves in total uncertainty regarding the continuation of government rental aid. This problem affects mainly families in Kibbutz Or HaNer, Carmiya and Ashkelon, who are dependent on the good will of their landlords.
Sixteen months after the expulsion, some families have received the entire compensation as stipulated by law, while other have been given nothing at all. The remainder have received various amounts in between.
Entire sectors - farmers, businessmen, and the officially unrecognized communities - "appear to have no recourse," the report states, "in the face of the clauses of the Compensation Law that prevents them from receiving the compensation they deserve."
The community of Tel Katifa - 18 families living in northern Gush Katif for 13 years - has finally had its technical problems partially solved, and should be receiving some compensation soon.
Hundreds of families with special claims are being dealt with by a single "exceptions committee," which is having trouble dealing with the heavy load. Waiting-time for cases to be heard is between six and twelve months.
On the whole, the report states, the residents are satisfied with the Education Ministry's performance vis-a-vis their situation.
However, the following problems still exist: Many students have fallen behind in their studies because of a lack of educational frameworks; there is a higher dropout rate than there had been in Gush Katif; and the destabilization of the communal and family cells has strongly affected many students, leading to fears, apprehension, frustration and anger that make school-learning difficult.
"Many residents find themselves in a very difficult emotional state," the report states, "as a result of:
- family tensions arising following the expulsion;
- economic problems stemming from the forced unemployment;
- the crisis of the dismantling of the communal framework and loss of friends;
- small houses that preclude normal family functioning and hosting;
- bureaucracy demanding emotional strength, and more."
Among the issues is uncertainty regarding future living plans, which makes it emotionally hard to "close the door on the past." In addition, unemployed families are reduced to using up their compensation money to pay day-to-day expenses, unable to reserve them to rebuild homes in place of those that were destroyed.
More and more people require health care, both emotionally and physically. A study released last month shows that the frequency of high blood pressure, heart problems, and even malignant growths has increased by 75-90%. Diabetes and asthma attacks have also risen significantly.
The Gush Katif Committee asks that the government track down those who were being treated for emotional problems and see how they are faring. The Committee has found that the situation of most of most of them has gotten worse; the families are not willing to make their own efforts to begin once again with a new set of social workers - yet would be willing to cooperate if counselors would arrive at their homes.
The General Security Services (GSS) has released its 2005 year-end report, which reveals a dramatic increase in weapons brought into Gaza by Arab terrorists since Israel's evacuation of the region.
According to the report, released Monday, there has been a 900% increase in the number of anti-tank missile launchers Arab terrorists have brought into Gaza from Egypt since Israel's unilateral withdrawal in August as compared with the preceding seven months. Approximately 350 anti-tank missiles were brought across the border in the same post-Disengagement period, representing a 600% increase since the Palestinian Authority took over Gaza.
In addition, the GSS reported that an estimated five tons of explosives have made their way into Gaza since August, as well as 5,000 rifles and handguns, and more than a million bullets.
The GSS report states that the PA, which holds jurisdiction over Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal, is doing nothing to halt the flow of weapons into terrorist hands. Therefore, the report concludes, the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has become an easy, safe passage for the importation of weapons and other supplies for various Arab terrorist groups. In this regard, the GSS sees the abandonment by Israel of the Philadelphi Route, bordering Egypt, as a turning point in the threat Israel faces from Gaza.
Security services say the beefed-up arsenal has provided the terrorists with greater capability and incentive to start firing Kassam rockets into central Israel from Judea and Samaria, as well.
While noting an increase in certain types of terrorist attacks in 2005, the GSS report notes a decrease in the overall number of victims of such attacks. During the year just concluded, there were 2,990 terrorist attacks of all types against Israeli targets, with an increase in rocket attacks (377) over 2004 (309). There were 45 Israelis murdered by terrorists in 2005, down from 117 in 2004. Of those killed, half were victims of seven suicide bombings carried out over the last year, four of which took place subsequent to Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria.
The GSS report clarifies that the drop in the number of victims is primarily the result of Israeli measures preventing, disrupting or intercepting terrorist organizations attempting to carry out attacks. The report further specifies that during 2005, the GSS arrested 160 suicide bombers in Judea and Samaria.
Despite declarations of "calm" by terrorist organizations during 2005, the GSS reported that the number of security alerts remained fairly consistent all year. In fact, there was an increase in attacks in the Judea area during the terrorist-declared "calm" as compared to an equivalent period before the declaration. Only in the Gaza region was there a significant decrease in enemy attacks during the period of "calm", but still representing 1,205 attacks (as opposed to 2,637 attacks during an equivalent period beforehand).