Friday, February 29, 2008

Shabbat Shalom 23 Adar I 5768 300th Edition

Pause a moment for economic common sense
Sam Zell discusses his view of the economy on CNBC

When you are worth Billions of dollars, own a baseball team and a media empire, people tend to listen to what you say, especially when it comes to the economy. That is what your brilliant blogger is asking you to do. Take 20 minutes out of your day and listen to real estate/business icon Sam Zell discuss the reality of today's economy as well as his optimistic outlook for the rest of 2008.

In a 16 minute interview this past Wednesday, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Tribune Company and Equity Group Investments discussed more than the future of the Chicago Cubs and selling naming rights to Wrigley Field. He sees a housing rebound beginning this spring, believes Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake has been spot on with his economic analysis and handling of interest rates. Zell, who tends to be private regarding political matters, believes some of the negativity in the markets is caused by fear of an Obama or Clinton Presidency. If I recall your brilliant blogger has also made the same claim.

Educate yourself and listen to Sam.

Kudos to the British media, Drudge simply a whore
Journalists kept safety of Royal and troops in mind, Drudge does not

Being part of the journalism profession requires sound judgment and a moral obligation not to place the innocent in harms way. When investigative reporters publicize information that come from sources that could be fired or murdered for disclosing the truth, they will decide not to publicize their names, using other means for source disclosure.

Last month an Australian tabloid magazine New Idea, a weekly women's magazine published a story that Prince Harry had been serving on the front lines in Afghanistan despite opposition from the British government and members of the Royal family. The story received no attention, viewed as typical tabloid nonsense.

However Matt Drudge, founder, owner, editor of the Drudge Report decided to run the story yesterday and now the whole world, including Al Qeada and the Taliban are fully aware of the Royal Prince in Afghanistan.

British media was informed by the government and Buckingham Palace of Harry's deployment and service this past December. Journalists were asked to keep his service quiet in exchange for embedded journalists being allowed to film, photograph and follow him during his tour for future use after his service ended in April. It has also been stressed to the journalists that word of him in Afghanistan would make him a highly desirable target, putting him and his unit in a higher level danger.

In a rare showing of decency, the British media including the anti-war BBC honored the request. However Matt Drudge, who is not a journalist, but publisher of a one-stop news outlet, took the limited information available and ran with it. Consideration for the welfare of Harry and the young men serving beside him probably never phased the journalist wannabe.

As a harsh critic of a profession I once admired and once was a part of, it is refreshing to see the moral high ground take precedent in an occupation that's respectability has sunken lower than trial lawyer or congressman.

Even though some believe Drudge is a journalist and a powerful one at that. The fact is that he is a necessary evil in the 24 hour information age. His staff monitors hundreds of news services world-wide, linking articles they deem as important. Unfortunately he has the integrity of the National Enquirer with more power than the New York Times and Fox News combined.

However take note. What goes around comes around Mr. Drudge.

Did Israel threaten a Holocaust in Gaza?

Hamas rocket attacks increasing, Israel has few options

What is left for Israel to do? Do you just sit back and do nothing as your citizens flee for their lives on a daily basis from rocket attacks? Do you continue seeking out the terrorists in targeted attacks, putting soldiers in harms way and having no affect on the rocket assault? Or do you unleash a Hell like fury to once an for all to end the attacks knowing full well that civilians will be hurt, killed and the world will condemn you?

The answer is not that simple. Jews tend to believe in a higher ground when it comes to defending ourselves. We have adopted the slogan, "never again is now," referring to not allow the Holocaust to ever happen again. However how many countries that you know of would permit 7662 Kassam rocket attacks (as of today's Jerusalem Post) on their citizens without launching a full military assault on the perpetrators? None. Except for the Jewish state.

Today the media is reporting that Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai used the word "Holocaust" when describing what may happen in Gaza if the attacks do not stop. What he actually said in Hebrew was the word 'shoah' which means 'catastrophe' and in this context does not refer to the 'the Shoah' - the Holocaust. This was clarified by a spokesman for Vilnai. No matter the media, especially in Europe will do their best to compare Israel to the Nazis when they decide to defend themselves of the now over 7700 rockets, which have been launched at citizen targets. No doubt a few more have been fired since I began writing this post.

The sad reality for Israel and many Palestinians is that the Jewish state has no more options when it comes to Hamas. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has already sent messages to world leaders warning them of a pending confrontation with Hamas. "Hamas bears responsibility for this deterioration and it will also bear the results," Barak said.

The world chooses to ignore the fact that Hamas can care less how many of their own people die in the conflict with Israel. In fact the more civilian causalities they suffer the better for their PR machine. Of course the more dead Jews the better, so shooting rockets at civilians including schools and apartments are their preferred target.

As I have said time over time, Jews have always tried taking the high road when it comes to dealing with those that want to finish the job Hitler started. However when your very existence is depending on fighting back, sometimes the high road doesn't exists or at least detours into a lane that requires the use of deadly force so you and your children can survive.



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