Lame Duck or Mighty Mouse?

Long-time Democrat pollster, Pat Cadell, demonstrates the breadth—and the limitations—of his understanding of Barack Obama:

When I watched the State of the Union address at the end when the president talked about how people shouldn’t demonize the other side and how you shouldn’t be fundraising all the time. It dawned on me that this man in his own bizarre world. Look, we’ve had presidents who were competent or incompetent. We’ve had presidents who have been manipulative or open. I have never seen a president occupying himself in his own fantasy world in the twilight zone…

It is a “fantasy world”, but it is also a world built out of the tawdriest of lies—as Cadell himself documents: “people shouldn’t demonize the other side and how you shouldn’t be fundraising all the time”. From Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers and the flag pin to today, he has not only gotten away with lying brazenly, but been cheered on the nightly news for doing so. His serial dishonesty has never ceased to amaze me, but I can’t say it surprises me anymore.

As for the “fantasy world”, wouldn’t you create a fantasy world if the real world were so hostile? The line of people who despise him forms to the right, with the American electorate just behind Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bill and Hillary, John Boehner, and the Cambridge police officer who arrested Skip Gates. In Obama’s World, he can propose any giveaway he likes, spend as much as he wants, and watch his approval rating rise. Oh wait…

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The Obama Regime Gets it Right Again

Terrorism? Don’t be silly. How droll!

Deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz, filling in for Earnest, would not call the Taliban a “terrorist group,” but instead an “armed insurgency.”

At today’s briefing Josh Earnest seemed to double down on the rhetoric by tip-toeing around the term ‘terrorist group.” Earnest used phrases like “this description that you have put forward” and “designating them in a way that you have described.”

“It is important to draw a distinction between the Taliban and al Qaeda,” Earnest told Karl. “The Taliban has resorted to terror tactics, but those terror tactics have principally been focused on Afghanistan.”

Earnest also called the Taliban a “dangerous organization.”

The dude’s a regular soothsayer!

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack at a military base at Kabul’s international airport that killed three Americans and one Afghan Thursday.

A U.S. official confirmed that the shooting occurred at about 6:40 p.m. local time Thursday. There was no further comment because the incident was under investigation.

The Taliban’s claim of responsibility came in a message from spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who identified the attacker as a man named Hessanulla from Laghman province, just east of Kabul.

Mujahid said that the militant had infiltrated the ranks of Afghanistan’s forces to stage the attack and wore an Afghan police uniform. An Afghan official with the country’s Defense Ministry said the attacker was in an Afghan army uniform. According to The Washington Post, Mujahid added in a tweet that the terrorist had “opened fire on invaders” before he was “martyred by return fire.” It was not immediately clear if the Afghan confirmed dead was the gunman.

Earnest later amended his remarks to add that the Taliban were “mean” and “big bullies”. He said they made him “so mad he could just spit”.

Actually, he did allow this:

Press Secretary Josh Earnest later acknowledged that the Treasury Department had put the Taliban on a terror list as far back as 2002.

Earnest also acknowledged that the Taliban “carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism, they do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda.” The Obama administration has repeatedly said the U.S. government does not negotiate with terrorists, despite trading five Taliban fighters held at Guantanamo for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

We don’t negotiate with “terrorists”, you understand, just with “armed insurgencies”, “dangerous organizations”, and “akin” groups. (That puts the Taliban on par with patriot and tea party organizations as far as the Regime is concerned.)

In case you forgot, “this description that you have put forward” gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden. But then, Osama wasn’t a terrorist either, but “a guy who lives in [Tora Bora], who’s a [Islamic holy man] who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.”

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Freedom of Speech

Code Pink has it.

And so does John McCain:

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain had harsh words for protesters who shouted criticism at 91-year-old Henry Kissinger at a hearing Thursday.

“Get out of here, you low-life scum,” the Arizona Republican told the protesters.

Kissinger, the diplomat who was secretary of state under President Richard Nixon, as well as President Ronald Reagan secretary of state George Shultz and Madeleine Albright, who was secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, were on hand for a hearing on global security challenges.

As the hearing started, several protesters approached the table where Kissinger was seated, holding signs and shouting at him.

“I’ve been a member of this committee for many years and I have never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration that just took place,” McCain said.

“You know, you’re going to have to shut up or I’m going have you arrested,” he said, summoning Capitol Hill police.

And then, to a smattering of applause, McCain added: “Get out of here you low-life scum.”

I won’t take sides in this debate, but I have to give McCain credit for accuracy and pithiness.

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Drudge Lead: Obama Outraged With Israel

This is a NY Times article, and you can just bet that they have great contacts with the Obama administration.

The administration has been so furious about this speech for so long, and can’t seem to let go of it, that I have concluded that the administration is helping Iran to get the bomb, pronto. Why else would they flip out like this?

The Obama administration, after days of mounting tension, signaled on Wednesday how angry it is with Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Republican leaders’ invitation to address Congress on Iran without consulting the White House.

The outrage the episode has incited within President Obama’s inner circle became clear in unusually sharp criticism by a senior administration official who said that the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, who helped orchestrate the invitation, had repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States.

The official who made the comments to The New York Times would not be named, and the White House declined to comment. The remarks were the latest fallout after Mr. Dermer, without the White House’s knowledge, worked with House Speaker John A. Boehner to arrange the speech, which is scheduled for March.

G.O.P.’s Invitation to Netanyahu Is Aiding Obama’s Cause on IranJAN. 28, 2015
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a Holocaust event on Tuesday, is scheduled to address Congress on Iran in March.Netanyahu Talk Stirs Backlash in Israeli RaceJAN. 27, 2015
The remarks are likely to escalate a feud between the White House, Republicans on Capitol Hill and Mr. Netanyahu over the invitation, which has led to a new low in American-Israeli relations and threatened to mar the long tradition of bipartisan support for Israel in Congress.

Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States. He said he did not intend to anger the White House over the speech. Credit Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Such officially authorized criticisms of diplomats from major allies are unusual.

In a telephone interview late Wednesday, Mr. Dermer said, “I have no regrets whatsoever that I have acted in a way to advance my country’s interests.” He said he never meant to slight the White House by keeping the confidence of the House speaker, who had suggested the invitation. He said he left it to Mr. Boehner to notify Mr. Obama’s team.

“My understanding was that it was the speaker’s prerogative to do, and that he would be the one to inform the administration,” Mr. Dermer said. “The prime minister feels very strongly that he has to speak on this issue. That’s why he accepted the invitation, not to wade into your political debate or make this a partisan issue, and not to be disrespectful to the president.”

Note to Jews who voted for Obama: You Own This. If the bomb drops on Israel, you were a big part of the reason why. Knowing full well that Obama has deep ties to the antisemitic Left (Jeremiah Wright!) you insisted that it was not true, that it was racism to point this out, that America has and will always have Israel’s back, ad nauseum. Now that there are no more elections for Obama to win, he is letting his Jew hatred shine.

– Aggie

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NY Times Defines Merely Affluent

Anyone who has a 529 plan

This is quite an amusing article. According to the NY Times, if you have a 529 plan for your kids, you’re kinda rich and need to pay more in taxes. The the rich meanies rebelled at the suggestion, even the ones who read their newspaper! So poor old Obama had to pull it off the table.

The first rule of modern tax policy is raise taxes only on the rich. The second rule is that your family isn’t rich, even if you make a lot of money.

President Obama’s State of the Union proposal to end the tax benefits for college savings accounts ran afoul of these rules, which is why he abandoned it, under intense pressure from both political parties, within a week.

Tax-free college savings accounts, like the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction, principally benefit people who range from affluent to wealthy. In pushing its proposal, the White House pointed to Federal Reserve data showing that 70 percent of balances in the college accounts were held by families making at least $200,000 a year. In theory, tax reform is supposed to be built around cutting back preferences like these, in order to pay for some combination of lower tax rates and tax preferences aimed at people with lower incomes.

But in practice, politicians from both parties have made a point of holding the group you might call the “merely affluent” harmless from tax increases. If you make $150,000 to $225,000, you make about two to three times the national median income for a married couple. The list of occupations that can get you into this income bracket — government official, academic, lobbyist, journalist — can sometimes make it hard for people in political circles to remember that 92 percent of American married couples make less than $200,000 a year.

They keep hammering away at this, and disdainfully mention this article by economist Megan McArdle.

…There’s a reason for that. Americans like to hear that rich people are going to be forced to pay their fair share. They would probably be considerably less excited to hear that Obama wants to tax the earnings on educational savings accounts, or that any assets they inherit from their parents would be subject to a capital gains tax. To be fair, there are generous exemptions. But there are a lot of affluent-but-hardly-wealthy folks in blue states who would be very unhappy to hear that that nice Westchester home Mom and Dad bought for $15,000 in 1952 is going to be subject to a capital gains tax — at the same time they’re suddenly paying income taxes on the capital gains and dividends in little Sally’s college account.

In some ways, this is a measure of how difficult the American fiscal picture is. Estates get what’s known as a “stepped-up basis” on assets — meaning that when you inherit a house from Mom and Dad and later sell it, you’re taxed on the difference between the value at the time you inherited it (your basis) and the value at the time you sell it. Obama proposes to use the price your parents paid as the basis, though the first $200,000 is exempted, and there’s an additional $500,000 exemption for homes.

The people this hits will be a small group, but again, it’s a group that includes a lot of fervent Obama supporters in blue states. Moreover, there’s good reason to step up the basis, because over the decades, records are lost and it can be hard to determine what price Mom and Dad paid, especially for assets that aren’t homes. Taxing the earnings on college savings accounts is even stranger, both because this hits the middle class, and because if you tax the earnings, there’s not all that much point to having the account; essentially, Obama is taxing college savings accounts in order to fund universal community college. This is scraping the bottom of the barrel, and what it tells you is that Obama has already run through most of the practical and politically palatable ways to tax the affluent.

And she makes this brilliant point:

Of course, these are never-never proposals; the new Republican Congress is not going to open its career by taxing America’s college savings. But in a way, that makes it even stranger; since you can’t get it done anyway, why bring it up?

The answer is that this gives him an imaginary revenue source he can attach to his equally imaginary plans to subsidize community college and child care. The real benefit of these proposals is that they’re complicated and hard to explain. Republicans have been understandably reluctant to attack these policies directly, and for good reason.

Heading back to the disappointment at the NY Times:

A lot of people in this category don’t think of themselves as rich, and they benefit from tax provisions like college savings accounts.

So when he first ran for president, President Obama repeatedly promised not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year. The flat thud his college proposal landed with emphasizes why that promise resonated so.

The savings plans debacle illustrates a problem for both the president and Congress: If you can’t go after tax provisions for the merely affluent, you are exempting almost everyone from tax increases. And if you can’t broaden the tax base, then you are very limited in how much you can finance tax reform.

And by reform, the NY Times means redistribute income from the middle class (they deny that the middle class is using the 529 plan, I call bs) to the poor. Because there just isn’t enough money among the rich to pay for everything that the Left wants to pay for. By the way, the comments at the end of the NY Times article are just priceless. Their readers are furious that Obama would take away their favorite tax break.

– Aggie

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Hey, You Six Million!

How do you like him now?

As many as 6 million people will have to pay a penalty under ObamaCare for going without health insurance in 2014, federal officials suggested in projections released Wednesday.

That means between 2 percent and 4 percent of all taxpayers lacked medical coverage for all or part of the year and do not qualify for an exemption under the individual mandate, according to the Treasury Department.

Another 10 to 20 percent of taxpayers — or 15 million to 30 million people — were uninsured but will qualify for an exemption from the mandate, shielding them from paying $95 or 1 percent of household income when they file their taxes.

What did we just learn the other day? That ObamaCare will end up costing $2,000,000,000,000 and still leave almost 30,000,000 uninsured? (I just busted my 0 key.)

The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured in 2025, compared to the year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Pulling that off will cost Uncle Sam about $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head.

The numbers are daunting: It will take $1.993 trillion, a number that looks like $1,993,000,000,000, to provide insurance subsidies to poor and middle-class Americans, and to pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) costs.

Offsetting that massive outlay will be $643 billion in new taxes, penalties and fees related to the Obamacare law.

So, all this wasn’t about controlling costs or covering the sick. It was about power. By that metric, it has been a raging success.

Who has the last laugh?

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The UN’s “Never Again” Moment

The Jew-hating genocidal jackals of Hamass have finally incurred the wrath of their benefactors, UNRWA:

The United Nations’ Gaza envoy has expressed his “outrage” at an incident in which Palestinian protesters attempted to storm UN headquarters in Gaza, accusing Hamas of turning a blind eye.

“During a pre-announced demonstration, of which Hamas was well aware, a number of protestors climbed the perimeter wall and entered the compound causing damage to United Nations premises and property,” Robert Serry said in a statement quoted by the Bethlehem-based Maan News Agency.

Expressing his “deep concern” over Hamas authorities’ inaction, Serry issued a rare scathing criticism of the Islamist terrorist group which runs Gaza.

Did you get that? “Deep concern”? That’s worse than the “mild distress” they expressed over the shelling of an Israeli kindergarten or their resigned shrug after the most recent bus stabbing. But he was just getting started:

“Pending a full transfer of security responsibilities to the legitimate Palestinian Authority, we continue to hold Hamas fully responsible for the security and safety of all United Nations personnel and operations in Gaza.”

It does seem ungrateful for Hamass to bite the hand that feeds, clothes, and shelters—and stores their missiles for—them. We’ve covered this story for a couple of days now, but it’s like Vitamin C or french fries: we have our daily requirements.

“$5.4 billion was pledged at the Cairo (aid) conference last October and virtually none of it has reached Gaza. This is distressing and unacceptable. It is unclear why this funding has not been forthcoming,” the agency said in a statement.

Earlier this month Hamas threatened the international community, demanding that it pay to rebuild Hamas’s stronghold of Gaza, or else face the region “becoming” a hotbed for extremism and terrorism.

Blah-blah-blah. Hey Hamass, why don’t you tunnel your way into UNRWA HQ and just take stuff? You might be able to get something for a fax machine on eBay.

Until tomorrow’s chapter…

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Fabulous Dog Pics

BTL, this is for you.

I can’t paste any of them, but go to the site. They are wonderful.

– Aggie

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Deriving Their Just Power From the Consent of the Governed

What is the role of government?

Is it this?

The Vermont House has endorsed a measure to ban so-called microbeads from personal-care products sold in the state. The tiny plastic particles are used to make some soaps, toothpastes, and over-the-counter drugs more abrasive. But environmentalists said they pose a threat to water quality, marine life, and possibly to human health. Microbeads are blamed for attracting and becoming a vehicle for toxic chemicals in water. One concern is that they then can be eaten by fish that are later eaten by humans. A bill given preliminary approval Tuesday would ban the sale of personal-care products containing microbeads beginning at the end of 2018, and in over-the-counter drugs in late 2019.

Or this?

Vermont lawmakers are considering whether to become the first state Legislature to legalize marijuana.

Or even this?

A political showdown is developing at the Vermont Statehouse over a gun control bill. The governor doesn’t support it.

Or how about this from Vermont West?

Seattle began enforcing this month a new law, which aims to curb the amount of food sent to landfills. As of January 1, residents of the city, including all commercial establishments, must have a composting service haul away their food waste, drive the waste to a processing site, or compost it themselves at home or on-site. The law applies not only to food but also any cardboard or paper with food on it.

For those unwilling to cooperate, there will be a price.

For now, the cost of defiance will come in the form of public shaming. Those who refuse to separate their garbage will find their bins tagged with a red sign for all to see. The hope is that the tags will help serve as both a warning as well as an incentive to make composting a habit. But come June, after a public education campaign lasting several months about the new rules, violators will begin facing fines—$1 per infraction for households; and $50 per breach by apartment buildings and businesses.

That’s a bit of a walkabout from life, liberty, and the pursuit of #2 plastics.

But I’m torn. The more local the government, the more it represents the will of the people it governs. But as these cases clearly show, local government represents the will—the tyrannical will—of the majority of the people it governs. The minority can get [bleeped].

Think I’m wrong?

Seattle’s new law is meant to help the city achieve its goal to recycle 60 percent of waste by the end of this year. Strict rules, which have banned recyclables from trash bins since 2005, have helped Seattle come within striking distance of that promise—the city currently recycles approximately 56 percent of its waste. But progress toward that goal appears to have stalled; the percentage has barely increased in recent years, and even fell in residential homes between 2012 and 2013, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

You don’t get in much more Marxist marching formation than in Seattle. And they still can’t reach that Utopia of universal recycling and unanimous composting. Even with Maoist public shaming.

I hold nothing against recycling (even after watching Penn & Teller’s vicious beatdown of the program), and nothing for microbeads. But ask anyone who knows me and they’ll answer as one: I hate being told what to do. What I have to do. I have a compost pile because I have a garden. I half-assedly throw kitchen scraps into a bin for mixing in with leaves and other yard waste. (To be honest, I just as often throw the crap into the garbage after marinating in its own supperating juices for a week.) But the moment my community passes an ordinance mandating compost piles, I am going to pour lighter fluid all over mine and set a match to it. They’ll see it from the International Space Station.

Like the old lady here in Concord, Mass who spearheaded the ban on the sale of individual bottles of water. How did the tyranny of this individual benefit the rest of the citizenry? She was portrayed as a Joan of Arc. To me, she was Typhoid Mary, Tokyo Rose, and Axis Sally rolled into one.

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529 Fiasco

The dumbest administration evah continues its unbroken track record of dumbness…

Here’s my favorite line of the year, so far:

Well, that must have polled badly.

I guess the middle class wasn’t too impressed with the idea of free community college in trade for losing their tax-advantaged college savings plan, huh?

The White House on Tuesday dropped its proposal to tax 529 education savings accounts, a week after President Obama floated the idea in the State of Union. This is a cut-their-losses move, but we wish the idea had rotted in the sun for a few more months. It would have been instructive to the same middle-class taxpayers Mr. Obama claims to serve.

Mr. Obama wanted to tax 529 plans to finance a more targeted college subsidy program that politicians could better control. The 529 plans put the power in the hands of parents. The political problem is that 529s have become popular with, well, the middle class; there were some 11.8 million accounts and the average balance was $20,671 as of last June.

You can see the appeal. All that juicy tax money, squirreled away in the brats’ college accounts, instead of being used for good stuff.. like maybe more money for (you’re favorite goofy program here). Because let’s face it, the only real money to be had is in all those middle-class bank accounts, in just about every neighborhood in the USA.

House Speaker John Boehner had called on Mr. Obama to withdraw the proposal, and the Ways and Means Committee was already rolling out legislation to force Democrats to go on record for the 529 tax increase. “Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision,” a White House official told the Journal, in a a classic of political rationalization.

It’s a shame there won’t be a vote, because the 529 tax increase is a rare example of the President’s policy sincerity. Liberals sooner or later must raise taxes on the middle class because taxing the rich alone can’t possibly finance all of the Democratic Party’s entitlement schemes. The middle class is where the real money is. So while taxing 529s may die for now, it’s only a matter of time before liberals are back with a carbon tax or value-added tax or something. That’s the real meaning of “middle-class economics.”

Yep. And given the fact that he did win two elections, the middle-class deserves what’s coming. And come it will, because the debt keeps growing.

– Aggie

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The Courage of Our Convictions

A couple of days ago, I told you that Elizabeth Warren would not only run for the Democrat nomination, she would beat Hillary Clinton like the proverbial red-headed stepchild.

Others don’t have the BTL’s ‘nads:

Indeed, even as Elizabeth Warren denies she’s running for president, Team Clinton continues to be anxious about whether she jumps into the race, forcing Clinton to take positions to the left of the political sweet spot. She’s focused on the wrong Democrat. For all the hype, Warren is unlikely to run and won’t be the Democrat pushing Clinton to the left. It will be Obama himself.

This writer’s point is that Obama is driving the party to the left in order to herd Hillary that way.

I had a different take.

Also, Obama’s antics lately are all about positioning the party to Crockagawea’s liking. Goodness knows, there’s no love lost with the Clintons, and the 0/32nds Cherokee has always been his squaw.

Did I really write that adolescent twaddle? Good for me.

Let me elaborate. Warren won’t be running? Why on earth not? Seriously, unless she just doesn’t want to run, every factor points toward her running (deer). This is her time: as Obama made clear, even the most shallow, improbable, lie-based biography is a winning platform on which to run. She’s been senator for barely two years, but she’s already our senior senator—she’s supposed to languish in the Senate for another four or eight years? It’s just as far beneath her as it was beneath Barack Obama. Her supporters will feel betrayed? Hardly. They are urging her most ardently to run. We can and will replace her with another robotic liberal (as we replaced Kerry with Markey). She can’t beat Hillary? You wait and see. She will beat her like Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson. Like Ali beat Liston. Like Krystal beat Alexis.

Remind me if I prove to be wrong. You can be sure I’ll remind you if I prove to be right.

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Laws of Physics

Newton’s Second: The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object.

Boyle’s: At constant temperature for a fixed mass, the absolute pressure and the volume of a gas are inversely proportional.

Ampère’s/Maxwell’s: Maxwell’s addition states that magnetic fields can be generated in two ways: by electrical current (this was the original “Ampère’s law”) and by changing electric fields (this was “Maxwell’s addition”).

Gaza’s:

Hundreds of protesters on Wednesday tried to storm the Gaza headquarters of the United Nations, an AFP correspondent said, after the UN announced it lacked funds to rebuild the enclave from the damage caused by Hamas’s most recent terror war against Israel.

Around 200 people demonstrated outside the building in Gaza City of UNRWA, burning tires and throwing rocks, while shouting “we are still homeless!”

As the riot continued to turn violent, some tried to storm the building before police of the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza, broke up the demonstration.

The incident came a day after UNRWA announced it can not afford to repair tens of thousands of homes damaged during the July-August war between Israel and Hamas because donors have failed to pay.

Hamass staged the demonstration so that Hamass could break up the demonstration. Street theater.

There are besieged and oppressed people in the world, but Gazans are not among them. The victims of Boko Haram, Ebola patients, Tibetans, even commuters on the Southeastern Expressway in a light drizzle are more deserving of your sympathy than one single Arab occupier of southwestern Israel.

The reconstruction has barely begun, not only because world nations have not delivered, but also because construction materials allowed in by Israel have been used by Hamas to rebuild terror tunnels into Israel meant to attack civilians, leading Israel to limit the transfers.

Earlier this month Hamas threatened the world, demanding that it pay to rebuild Hamas’s stronghold of Gaza, or else face the region “becoming” a hotbed for extremism and terrorism.

“Becoming”?! Since when has that human fly trap not been a hotbed for extremism and terrorism? Strawberries, tomatoes, and Qassam missiles—that’s all it’s good for.

Home is where the heart is, the saying goes. If you are “homeless”, you are homeless in every meaning.

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