28 January 2009

What Is Identity? Who Am I?

In honor of Data Privacy Day 2009, APRPEH presents the article from 2006 "It’s Me, and Here’s My Proof: Why Identity and Authentication Must Remain Distinct - Technet Microsoft - Steve Riley" mentioned last week by Bruce Schneier on Schneier on Security. Schneier's blog is a great place online to go for security information.

When discussing identity we must first determine the audience to whom we are speaking. To some people identity is who they are. "My name is Ploni". To others identity might be a reflection of some important fact to which they identify answering the questions what they are, what they do. "I am a doctor", "I am a Republican", "I am a Jew". But is this really identity or something else?

Identity is defined in the information management and protection world as a way that an individual can be universally distinguished from another person and the access rights set for that person are enabled. Failure to authenticate identity results in denial of access.

For databases which the consumer visits, identity also means proof of identity and access level (authorization). In the article linked above, the reader will learn that identity is provided initially by the individual. Authentication is defined as proving who you are. Access is defined as setting user limitations. But of these three, identity and authentication can be faked by a perpetrator of identity theft. When the perpetrator acquires enough knowledge about the consumer to enter a less secure database - user name and password, we end up with hacked Paypal accounts and hijacked Facebook sites.

Truly secure databases will utilize two or multi factor authentication. This is how your ATM card operates. One factor is something you have (the card). One factor is something you know (PIN). Other factors could include some biometric or challenge question in addition to the PIN. Combining these authentications along with requiring them to change on a regular basis will provide the greatest level of security. None of this however will prevent a data breach. Only proper encryption of data can reduce the likelihood of stolen data being utilized by a perpetrator. Think of it this way. You cannot always prevent a traffic accident. But when you wear your seat belt and have an air bag, you can reduce the chances of serious injury to the driver and passenger when you do have an auto accident. Same with encryption. Not all encryption is equal and not all encryption is unbreakable. However, in the world of data theft when data is stolen, bought and sold daily - why bother wasting the time finding someone who can break the encryption (or steal the key).

However, in at least one high profile breach, the consumer information - encrypted and encryption key were stored on the same network.
{Avivah}Litan's sources in the financial industry have told her that thieves hacked into a as-yet-unknown system, and made off with data stored on debit cards' magnetic stripes, the associated "PIN blocks," or encrypted PIN data, and the key for that encrypted data.

The recommended multi-factor authentication will also not protect a consumer who's computer is vulnerable to key logger programs and malware. When your computer is transmitting all your user names, passwords, PINs, etc. to a fraud perpetrator along with what websites you visit, falling victim to at the very least account takeover is a sure bet. Real identity theft could be the result of your Social Security Number and Date of Birth being accessed from your computer. Computer security must be kept up to date. Again, this is the best protection possible but not fool proof.

In any event, data system designers need to think through these questions and try to solve the equation of security vs. user experience. While most people will say they want businesses they do electronic commerce with to be good stewards of their personal identifying information, the reality is that if the experience on that website is disappointing, the consumer will not come back again. Efficient access to identity and authentication on demand, along with storage or custodianship of information, information about us which we trust the custodian to protect, and policies which limit access to that information to an "as needed" basis is not the future of IT. It is the present. The future may look very different. The answer to the future of identity and authentication may be "you". I do not endorse stand alone biometrics mind you. But along with other authentications, maybe randomly applied authenticators along with private, trusted 3rd party identification warehousers, bio is coming.

It’s Me, and Here’s My Proof: Why Identity and Authentication Must Remain Distinct - Technet Microsoft - Steve Riley Published: February 14, 2006

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27 January 2009

The Gaza Cease Fire - Merely a "Lull"

Hamas: Member wounded in Israeli air strike - USA Today

The MSM, reporting from Gaza City is once again showing its bias against Israel. By reporting an Israeli reaction to an act of violence at the beginning of an article, the intent is to cast the IDF and Israel in the worst possible light. The roadside bomb which killed an Israeli soldier and wounded three others, mentioned initially in the second paragraph without explanation and then in the third paragraph where you finally see for the first time that the air strike, the lead idea in the report, was in response to an attack on an Israeli patrol.

The writer of the article then attempts to place a few doubts in the reader's mind as to the true nature of the exchange. First, the reader is told that Israel threatened responses to violations of the cease fire. This is written specifically to label one party "Israel" and not label the other party so that the accountability falls on Israel. Since withdrawing its troops, Israel has threatened to retaliate hard for any violations of the truce. Notice the way that a fact {Israel withdrew her military and will try to enforce the cease fire} is mangled into a statement breeding mistrust - a play on the sneaky Jew mythology. It seems to say, "those Israelis are just looking for an excuse to attack".

The reader then moves on to ...Gazans struggle to resume normal.... The reader is supposed to think, if only the Israelis would leave alone the peace loving arabians in Gaza, they would be able to re-build their homes and cities that were shattered by Israeli bombardment. No mention is made of Israeli cities trying to recover from bombings and shellings. Renewed warfare would return a wave of rockets into Israel.

After an attempt to rehabilitate Hamas as a reputable organization that would never think of confiscating money sent by donors to relieve the non-combatant population {never mind this was going on during the conflict} a minuscule attempt to remind the reader that Hamas is a terrorist organization with a wanted leader (Ismail Haniyeh) is easily overlooked given the drama of the article itself.

The writer's bias is on display as an attempt to sub-consciously remind the reader of the slant that Israel used "dis-proportionate" force is found in the next part of the report

After Tuesday's bomb blast, heavy gunfire was heard along the border in central Gaza and Israeli helicopters hovered in the air firing machine gun bursts, Palestinian witnesses said. An Israeli jet set off a loud sonic boom over Gaza City not long afterward, possibly as a warning.
For one measly little road side bomb, an IED after all, the IDF responds with overwhelming force and executes collective punishment. Oh, those evil Jews.

Its one thing to write the normally biased report and to write badly. Its another to report half facts and to ignore facts.
In the days immediately following the cease-fire there was shelling by Israeli gunboats and some gunfire along the border — including the killing of two men Palestinian officials identified as farmers — but there were no serious clashes until Tuesday.
Somehow forgotten was Hamas rocket attacks against Israel after the cease fire. See also Israel Matzav report and video.

Moving right along the reporter makes no effort to tell the reader that he is about to quote a major arabian death cultist. We are just supposed to assume he is another member of the respected and beloved religion of peace:
Although there was no claim of responsibility, Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas leader, said Israel was to blame for continuing to fire into Gaza. Al-Masri said his group had not agreed to a full cease-fire but only to a "lull" in fighting.
"The Zionists are responsible for any aggression," he said.

Masri believes the cease-fire is a hudna. Hamas just needs some time to catch its breath, reload, rearm and rest a little while the international world gleefully rests on it laurels of once again interfering with the Israeli right of self-defense.

Masri is merely labeled "a Hamas leader" in the McPaper article. In a December 2007 article he is quoted as reported by JihadWatch as speaking to a Hamas rally,
In another speech to the rally, senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri warned Israel to expect many casualties if troops invade the coastal territory in an attempt to stop almost daily rocket firing by militants into Israel.

"Jews, go back, because we have already dug graves for you," Masri said. Israel carries out regular raids on Gaza and has killed dozens of militants in the past month.

Finally, we have the summary paragraph:
Israel wants an end to Hamas rocket attacks and guarantees that Hamas will be prevented from smuggling weapons into Gaza from Egypt. Hamas has demanded that Israel and Egypt reopen Gaza's border crossings, which have been largely closed since Hamas took power. The crossings are Gaza's economic lifeline.

See the problem? Hamas, the terrorist organization with stated goals to kill Jews and destroy Israel has had it's border crossings legitimately shut off by Israel(not necessarily so successfully). The crossings are Gaza's economic lifeline. Since when has Hamas attempted to build any economic system? The first thing that happened when Israel withdrew from Gaza was the destruction of the business infrastructure that existed. Yet, this "factoid" in the article remains unquestioned. Worse, this false statement is meant to be the fulcrum's center point against Israel's demand that cities inside Israel should be free of random rocket and mortar fire. The writer is attempting to equate denial of weapons to terrorists with the use of those same weapons against civilian populations. In the mind of the antiJew, the Jews are just as guilty as their harassers - moral equivalency must reign. Both sides must come to terms.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Islamic Hamas movement says one of its members has been wounded in an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip.
Tuesday's violence is the worst since the sides declared a cease-fire last week.

Hamas says the militant was struck as he was riding a motorcycle in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis. Residents say Israeli tanks and bulldozers have also entered the area where the roadside bombing took place and are leveling some farmland.

The airstrike comes hours after a roadside bomb along Israel's border with Gaza killed an Israeli soldier and wounded three others.

Palestinian militants detonated a bomb next to an Israeli army patrol along the border with Gaza on Tuesday, killing one soldier and wounding three in the first serious clash since a cease-fire went into effect more than a week ago.

Israeli soldiers briefly crossed the border in search of the attackers, and Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, called an urgent meeting of Israel's top defense officers, saying Israel "cannot accept" the attack.

"We will respond, but there is no point in elaborating," Barak said in comments released by his office.

The explosion jolted the calm that has largely prevailed since Israel ended a devastating three-week offensive on Jan. 17. Since withdrawing its troops, Israel has threatened to retaliate hard for any violations of the truce.

The flare-up came as Gazans struggle to resume normal life after the fighting, and as international donors discuss how best to help the territory rebuild. Gaza's Hamas leader said Tuesday the group — which is boycotted as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union — would not try to claim any of the reconstruction funds, an announcement that appeared aimed at clearing the way for money to start flowing.

The announcement from Ismail Haniyeh, who remains in hiding because of fears he could be assassinated by Israel, appeared directed at donors who concerned their funds could end up in Hamas' hands.

"Our aim now is to ease the suffering of our people and to remove the aftermath of the aggression in Gaza," the statement said. "Therefore we emphasize that we are not concerned to receive the money for rebuilding Gaza and we are not seeking that."

After Tuesday's bomb blast, heavy gunfire was heard along the border in central Gaza and Israeli helicopters hovered in the air firing machine gun bursts, Palestinian witnesses said. An Israeli jet set off a loud sonic boom over Gaza City not long afterward, possibly as a warning.

The Israeli military said the bomb targeted an Israeli patrol near the border community of Kissufim. It was not clear if it was planted after the cease-fire, or whether it was an older device. There was no claim of responsibility.

Not long after the bombing, a 27-year-old Gaza farmer was killed by Israeli gunfire along the border several miles away, according to Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of Gaza's Health Ministry. Two other Palestinians were wounded. The military had no immediate comment, and it was unclear if the two incidents were related.

Israel closed its crossings into Gaza to humanitarian aid traffic after briefly opening them Tuesday morning. Gaza border official Raed Fattouh said Israeli officials informed him the closure was due to the attack.

Israel and Gaza militants have been holding their fire since Israel ended its offensive, which was aimed at halting rocket fire from the territory. Israel announced a unilateral cease-fire on Jan. 17, and that was followed by a similar announcement from Gaza militants.

In the days immediately following the cease-fire there was shelling by Israeli gunboats and some gunfire along the border — including the killing of two men Palestinian officials identified as farmers — but there were no serious clashes until Tuesday.

Although there was no claim of responsibility, Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas leader, said Israel was to blame for continuing to fire into Gaza. Al-Masri said his group had not agreed to a full cease-fire but only to a "lull" in fighting.

"The Zionists are responsible for any aggression," he said.

Egypt is currently trying to negotiate a longer-term arrangement to allow quiet in the coastal territory of 1.4 million people, which has been ruled by the Islamic militants of Hamas since June 2007. Local experts believe the fighting caused some $2billion in damage.

Israel wants an end to Hamas rocket attacks and guarantees that Hamas will be prevented from smuggling weapons into Gaza from Egypt. Hamas has demanded that Israel and Egypt reopen Gaza's border crossings, which have been largely closed since Hamas took power. The crossings are Gaza's economic lifeline.

The Israeli offensive killed 1,285 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, according to records kept by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, were also killed during the fighting.

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26 January 2009

The Vatican and Holocaust Denial

On the heels of Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino using Holocaust references to criticize Operation Cast Lead, a de facto admission that the Shoah did indeed occur, the Vatican strikes again with dishonoring and disgracing the memory of Jewish Martyrdom in Europe. Relations between the Vatican and world Jewry seem to be heading into a period of uncertainty after what seemed to be a time period of relatively decent relations fostered by the previous pontiff. It is noted in the story below the irony of a German born Pope seemingly insensitive to Holocaust revisionism and false application of imagery. The claim by the Bishop is

"people who are against uh -what is widely believed today as "quote unquote the Holocaust", I think those people conclude, the revisionists as they're called, uh I think the most serious conclude that between 200,000 and 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but not one of them by gassing in gas chambers"

One could easily believe from the video, especially in terms of the Bishop being unable to define anti-semitism, that he might also conclude that those numbers 200,000 - 300,000 were far too few.

The Jewish world needs to get over dealing with the Vatican for now and just recognize that the children of the Nazis both in body and spirit are now in charge.

German Jews condemn pope move over Holocaust denier - Reuters
BERLIN (Reuters) - Pope Benedict's rehabilitation of a bishop who has denied the full extent of the Holocaust is a slap in the face for the Jewish community, especially coming from a German pope, Germany's Central Council of Jews said on Monday.

"It's a deep shock," Dieter Graumann, the Council's vice-president, told Reuters. "I'm not imputing bad intentions to the Vatican or the pope, but in fact this is a slap in the face for the Jewish community."

"It's a provocation and I'm worried that dialogue between Jews and Catholics will now be frozen to some extent, that the process of reconciliation that has advanced so much over the past 50 years will be interrupted, if not aborted."

Pope Benedict on Saturday rehabilitated four traditionalist bishops who lead the far-right Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), which has about 600,000 members and rejects modernizations of Roman Catholic worship and doctrine.

One of the four, British-born Richard Williamson, has made statements denying the full extent of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews, as accepted by mainstream historians.

"Especially from a German pope, I would have expected more understanding and sensitivity," Graumann said. "The fact that this comes from a German pope leaves a certain taste and provokes certain feelings."

In comments to Swedish television broadcast and widely available on the Internet, Williamson has said: "I believe there were no gas chambers." He said up to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi camps, rather than the 6 million widely accepted.

Graumann said it had taken a long time and much effort to strengthen dialogue between Jewish and Catholic communities over the past decades, adding Pope Benedict's predecessor John Paul II had moved the process forward significantly.

"This dialogue is being overshadowed by what has happened," he said. "Those who rehabilitate anti-Semites are ... bringing anti-Semitism back into the church to some extent."

"It's without bad intentions but that's the actual effect," he said.

The four traditionalist bishops were thrown out of the Roman Catholic Church in 1988 for being ordained without Vatican permission. The Vatican said the excommunications were lifted after the bishops affirmed their willingness to accept Church teachings and papal authority.

(Reporting by Kerstin Gehmlich; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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23 January 2009

Reform Guilt - All Halacha Must be Stowed in Luggage

The Reformists are fighting El Al's decision to have seperate seating flights for religious Jews. Liberal Judaism can justify and tolerate every yetzer hara but has no tolerance for traditional Jewish observance. No - You may not ask for services which accommodate the most observant of Jews, even or maybe especially in Israel. The guilt of the non-religious Jew is brought to the surface upon seeing an observant yid talking Torah, doing mitzvas, dressing in "funny" clothes and embarrassingly un-modern. In a time when Jewish unity is so necessary, divisiveness such as this anti-charedim action is disheartening.

The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ)decision to question the legality of special flights is an antiJew position taken by Reformists and a cynical attempt to play socially divisive politics so close to the Knesset elections. With the polls showing electoral power shifting away from the left, Reformists pull out the social warfare card to help stir things up. Bashing the observant is typical leftist politics and their friends in the IMPJ will carry the water. After all, in their minds, we have to stop these favors for the charedim who take and don't give back.

El Al needs to stick to its plans and ignore those who meddle in the airlines business.

Reform movement challenges legality of kosher flights.
Movement's legal branch asks transportation minister, El Al CEO to clarify plans to launch special flights for haredi public that would include separation between men and women - YNet

Kobi Nahshoni

The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which represents the Reform stream of Judaism in the country, has asked the Transportation Ministry and El Al Airlines to look into the legality of the airline's intention to launch exclusive flights for the haredi public.

According to the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), IMPJ's legal branch, the move represents "an illegitimate policy that violates Israeli law."

In a letter to Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and El Al CEO Haim Romano, IRAC Attorney Orly Erez-Likhovski wrote that "flights that institute separation between men and women should not be approved offhandedly."

According to Erez-Likhovski, the law in Israel prohibits any form of segregation based on gender, and therefore any agreement that infringes on this principle should be grounded on a solid rationale and adhere to the law.

A copy of the letter was sent to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.

The Reform movement believes that these special flights are wholly unnecessary. "It's clear that if a haredi passenger asks not to be seated next to a woman, he can ask to switch seats," the letter stated.

"The fact that these arrangements often happen on flights illustrates that there is no need for such a compulsory gender-based segregation."

IRAC also noted that the kosher bus lines that are operated by the public bus companies are currently being reviewed by an inter-ministerial committee appointed by Mofaz, and that the a petition on the issue has also been filed with the High Court, with a ruling still pending.

The movement asked Mofaz and Romano to clarify how the separation on flights would be enforced, how many special flights would be introduced, are the fares expected to be lower and whether flight attendants would have to adhere to specific restricting dress codes.

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Forecasting Obama's Budget and Economic Mistakes

Here is a good read making the free market case in opposition to the Obama economic plan. The article written by John Tamny of H.C. Wainwright Economics provides an important lesson in economics and the damage caused by ineffective and damaging government intervention. Government moving wealth around, the essence of the Obama tax plan disguised as tax credits will stifle demand and not serve as a vehicle of economic growth. Tamny points out that since no change in wealth will result from the Obama tax policy (unlike what would be the result of an across the board real tax rate reduction) it merely is a punitive measure aimed at the producers and achievers in favor of the non-producers and non-achievers in the economy. John Tamny's supporting argument as to why he believes that the Obama plan will result in slowing economic recovery is based in part upon the crowding out theory. Since government debt is now at historic levels both in real dollars and in percentage of the GDP less money can be made available for the sort of entrepreneurial activity which drives economic growth.

The Obama plan at every turn takes decision making away from the private sector and replaces it with government redistribution and allocation of hard earned dollars. The American people still have the ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit needed to lead the world economy if only the government will not stand in the way and not interfere with the free market's invisible hand.

However, this time unlike in other recession and recovery cycles, the US government is now part owner of some of the biggest names in the financial sector and the auto sector due to billions of dollars in debt buyouts meaning, Uncle Sam sits on the boards of these companies that were bailed out. That debt belongs to all of us yet we have little to no say in demanding that those companies now partly owned by the taxpayers shape up. Tamny points out the truth proven time after time that left alone, companies or industries are reorganized and that the bailouts are "... delaying the process whereby people and capital are managed productively. "

hat tip to Ralph Bristol's Nashville's Morning News, WTN 99.7
Ralph interviews John Tamny on Friday mornings.

John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, a senior economist with H.C. Wainwright Economics, and a senior economic advisor to Toreador Research and Trading (www.trtadvisors.com). He can be reached at jtamny@realclearmarkets.com.

Obama's Economic Solutions Are Contractionary
By John Tamny
"The man, that lives upon the production of other people, originates no demand for those productions; he merely puts himself in the place of the producer, to the great injury of production.” - Jean-Baptiste Say, A Treatise On Political Economy

With President Barack Obama now in control in Washington, it’s time to ask how his economic plan might affect the real economy.

Obama has stated that “We are in one of those periods in American history where we don’t have Republican or Democratic problems, we have American problems.” Obama and his economic team have released a broad outline of the way they intend to fix an economy that some say is on the verge of falling into a second Great Depression. But Obama’s solutions meant to aid the economy—at least on paper—won’t fix anything. Indeed, if implemented it’s easy to see how they might actually cause the economy harm.

Eager to attract support from the Republican side of the aisle, Obama has expressed a high degree of willingness to include tax cuts in his post-inauguration legislation. At first blush, tax cuts sound appealing and speak positively about a politician who’s been up front with his belief that a “monopoly on good ideas does not belong to a single party.”

Good political theater for sure, but we might add that neither party has a monopoly on bad ideas either. Reading the fine print, we see that the definition of a tax cut in Washington is far more nuanced than what we might be used to. The tax cuts Obama has in mind might attract votes, but they have very little to do with economic growth.

First up are income credits described as tax cuts. The latter are meant for low-income families, and as the Wall Street Journal described them, they will allow “more families that earn too little to pay income taxes to claim at least some of the $1,000-per-child tax credit.” At present, a household must have income of $12,500 per year to be eligible for tax credits, but under the Obama plan, the cutoff will be reduced to $3,000.

So what Obama and his advisors call a tax cut is really only a transfer payment from one set of hands to another. Such redistribution fosters no new production, and with that, no subsequent demand.

For at least two reasons, the credit will be an economic retardant. Productive workers will see more of their earnings taxed or borrowed in order to stimulate immediate consumption. When we consider that all profits in society result from past parsimony, we can see that the productive economy will be weakened if this form of alleged stimulus is put in place.

Most important, Obama should not run from the basic truth that economic growth is always and everywhere the result of productive work effort. To the extent that low-income families are plied with yet another form of welfare, this will reduce the individual incentives within impoverished households to engage in more work.

Put simply, the tax credits masked as cuts will reduce the work incentives for those redistributed from, all the while making real work less necessary for the alleged beneficiaries of the credit.

On the taxation front for top earners, the story gets worse. The late Warren Brookes once wrote that “We are all blessed by the genius of the relatively few.” What Brookes meant was that thanks to the frequently innovative and entrepreneurial efforts of a vital few in this country, all Americans are able to enjoy better jobs and better products.

That is far from Obama’s mind. He has made plain that he intends to return the tax rate on top earners to the Clinton-era level of 39.6 percent, and the capital gains rate on investment success will move from 15 to 20 percent. Higher tax rates in the Obama model are meant to pay for the aforementioned credits, along with yet another stimulus package.

Assuming Obama’s plan to soak the rich works, it has to be said that increased revenues for the federal government will reduce the amount of capital available for the business sector to fund the wages of the poor. Whether the government is borrowing or taxing in order to redistribute, capital is being removed from the private pool of available funds meant to create new industries, new companies, and new jobs.

And when it comes to Brookes’s vital few, the poor and the middle class alike will be made worse off if the successful among us choose to remove their skills from the productive economy due to higher penalties on work.

Jean-Baptiste Say once noted that the heavily taxed “are seldom regular in their payments,” but it seems he actually downplayed the negatives that come with penalizing the successful. If they were merely irregular in their payments to the tax man the economy would be fine, but the real threat is perhaps the unseen. Indeed, it’s tax distortions which cause the rich to be irregular in their work and investment habits that lead to economic degradation.

With regard to corporate taxation, according to another Wall Street Journal account, a key provision of Obama’s plan is to “allow companies to write off huge losses incurred last year, as well as any losses from 2009, to retroactively reduce tax bills dating back five years.” Translated, failing companies will write their losses off on the backs of successful individuals and companies alike.

When we consider what actually causes economies to grow, the corporate tax provision is creating incentives for something quite the opposite. In his Theory of Economic Development, Joseph Schumpeter wrote that “development consists primarily in employing existing resources in a different way.” But if failing companies are kept alive not by a simple reduction in the tax rate on their profits, but rather thanks to a bailout of the non-financial variety, entrepreneurs waiting in the wings to redeploy mismanaged physical and human capital will be hampered in their efforts to bring the economy out of its slump.

In the end, entrepreneurs can only innovate to the extent that they’re able to purchase the assets of failed business combinations with visions of more profitable future combinations. So when governments prop up failed or dying businesses, far from saving the economy, they only hurt it by delaying the process whereby people and capital are managed productively.

All of which brings us to the jobs portion of the Obama corporate tax plan. For the companies that make new hires or forgo layoffs, the Obama administration is set to offer a one-year tax credit in return. Once again, the incentives here are backwards, and if heeded, will surely stimulate the opposite of growth. Indeed, if there’s one certain rule when it comes to business success, it has to do with producing as much as possible with as little labor as possible. Far from a job killer, when companies do more with less they free up the very capital that allows them to expand into other potentially profitable areas previously out of reach due to a lack of funds.

To the extent that businesses keep workers employed for non-productive reasons, the economy will surely be rendered poorer in time. Workers are like capital. When either labor or capital is wasted, the end result is less growth.

The tax portion of the Obama package includes write-offs for business expenditures, and it’s safe to assume here that companies producing business equipment will be the beneficiaries of this new rule. Equipment write-offs recall a frequent Wainwright theme over the years that when the Federal Reserve moves around its target interest rate, it merely reschedules economic growth, as opposed to fostering new economic activity. Write-offs should be viewed in much the same way. Businesses will simply move up equipment purchases in the near-term; those purchases will detract from capital spending over the long-term.

It’s also important to remember that as a mature economy, U.S. economic growth has very little to do with spending on capital equipment, but quite a lot to do with spending on human capital. Using Google as an example, its growth over the years has been the result of heavy investment in the best minds, as opposed to the best equipment. Equipment write-offs at best address a past version of the U.S. economy that most Americans would no longer recognize.

Sadly, the tax portion of Obama’s recovery plan was only put in place to give Republicans the political cover necessary to vote for the various spending initiatives that the new administration envisions. This is the alleged “stimulus” part of Obama’s economic package, and as Wainwright publications have emphasized over the years, government spending can in no way stimulate economic growth.

Beyond the negative work incentives created by wealth redistribution, the basic reality is that no one—least of all government—can profit from the same transaction twice. That’s the assumption the government is making when it claims it can grow the economy through the transfer of wealth already created. In a sense, the very notion of stimulus turns routine economics on its head.

But to address arguably the worst aspect of Obama’s proposed $775 billion spending package, we must once again bring in the notion of the entrepreneur waiting in the wings. It’s tautological to say that entrepreneurs cannot innovate without capital. When the federal government is borrowing at relatively low rates from the private sector, there’s necessarily less capital at higher rates for entrepreneurs to access in order to utilize human and physical capital more effectively.

At its core, Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan is anti-entrepreneur, and as such, anti-growth. So while we should expect to read quite a lot about how “change” in Washington will enhance our economic wellbeing, we shouldn’t be fooled. The new administration plans to engage in feverish activity. It may be meant to make us better off, but it would be charitably naïve to mistake it for any real prescription for economic recovery.

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2009 Data Breach Season Begins Strong

2009 is not even a full month old and already we have learned of two significant data breaches. Both breaches 5 Million Checkfree Consumers Warned involve account information, not personal identifying information (PII). Both, however could leave actual bank accounts of millions of consumers vulnerable to unauthorized access. The latter breach, if it proves to be as big as the initial indicators reveal, may result in the selling or closing of the business. Too extreme? The Heartland breach is being compared in scope to TJX (TJ Max) who was unable to handle the attorney general investigation, publicity and fines changed hands or even a better example,CardSystems Solutions which ended up sold and doing business as a different entity after the FTC had its way.

At some level, there is always a negligence story buried in these breaches. While even the most secure company could fall victim to a breach due to intentional attack, the least secure companies will almost certainly become breach victims and some many times. Breaches can be the result of company data retention policies, keeping more PII or account information than needed for far too long, providing more access than needed to that data to too many employees, or basically not doing enough to block electronic access to their data or not encrypting data transmissions. Having said all that, a data breach does not need to put at risk thousands of consumers at one time to be a data breach. One employee with access to consumer information as part of normal job duties carefully targeting a few of those consumer records and selling them to some one on the outside infrequently also amounts to a breach of data.

Given the fact that Heartland was unaware their responsibility as a trusted data custodian had been compromised until notified by Visa and MasterCard leads an unbiased observer to believe that Heartland's security was indeed lacking. The company is now claiming that malware infected their database, a conclusion that Heartland's own IS department should have discovered without having to be told by a third party. All this points to rogue/insider cooperation or even an insider planning the entire attack. That a global crime organization had access to Heartland's data does not mean that the same organization stole the data. PII or in this case credit and debit card numbers are easy to transmit back and forth (there would not be a credit industry otherwise) and can change hands many times before ending up in the hands of an end user perpetrator.

The scenario of greatest concern is whether or not debit card numbers along with PINs were compromised. The PIN system was once thought of as the solution to electronic credit and ATM fraud. That idea has gone by the wayside. From intentional malware type hacks like at Heartland or intercepted, non-encrypted transmissions (or weak encryption) debit and PIN while still a little safer for the credit issuers than standard credit card transactions is not the saviour it was once thought to be. From the consumer's perspective, the dispute of un-authorized credit transactions is pretty simple. Disputes where money comes directly from your checking account, money which may well have been set aside for rent, car payment, or mortgage payments, is another matter. And while disputes involving Heartland will probably be fairly easy, a consumer may still find themselves out the funds for a short period of time, (up to 10 days in some cases). Don't be surprised if Heartland is forced to sell due to fines and credit issuers billing them for each account that had to be closed and re-opened, a cost which the unsteady banking industry will do everything possible to pass along to someone.

Heartland: How This Disaster Exploded - Bank Info Security
January 22 - Tom Field
Let's talk about how a big disaster becomes an even bigger one.
On Tues., Jan. 20 - Inauguration Day - Heartland Payment Systems (HPY) President/CFO Robert Baldwin announced the company had been breached sometime in 2008. Heartland, which processes roughly 100 million transactions per month for 250,000 different businesses, says it discovered malware attached to its processing platform, and an undetermined number of consumers had their names and card numbers exposed to hackers. The breach has subsequently been contained, Baldwin says, and he believes the incident to be part of a broader cyber fraud operation.

Heartland did what we wish all such companies would do. They stood up and said "We've been breached."

Mind you, no enterprising journalist uncovered and exposed this breach, nor was it revealed by any external investigators or law enforcement agencies. It became news when Baldwin made it news, announcing the breach and a website, www.2008breach.com, set up for consumers who fear they may have been victimized. Rather than try to sweep the incident under the rug or hope not to be exposed, Heartland did what we wish all such companies would do. They stood up and said "We've been breached."
But, boy, talk about "No good deed will go unpunished..."

Within hours of the Heartland news going public, our office was besieged by queries from eager PR reps whose clients wanted to jump on this story as a platform to discuss security strategies and solutions.

And you could see right away that many of these correspondents hadn't quite read the story's fine print. Because suddenly a breach of undetermined magnitude had become:

"... a data breach that could be potentially larger than TJX."

"...tens of millions of credit and debit transactions may have been compromised..."

"...a data breach of 100 million credit cards."

"...the biggest breach ever reported."

By late Weds afternoon, I was contacted by KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, whose talk show host Patt Morrison wanted to include me in a panel discussion of the Heartland breach. The storyline here:

"Credit card processor Heartland Payment Systems suffered a huge security breach in 2008, allowing hackers to steal credit card information on more than 100 million accounts. What damage has been done and how worried should consumers be?"

By Weds night, CNBC's On the Money hosted a short exchange on Heartland, punctuated by a bunch of airbags talking over one another and attributing this breach "to a bunch of kids in an Internet café in Amsterdam."

It's like an Internet-age game of telephone. Person A says one thing to person B, and by the time it gets down the line to person Z, the story is unrecognizable.

So, the question for Heartland today is: "What damage has been done and how worried should Heartland be?"

I don't even know how to begin to answer that. Until Tuesday, it's safe to say that the average citizen didn't even know who or what Heartland was. Now, having been publicized everywhere from The New York Times and USA Today to NPR and CNBC, the company is suddenly the poster child for what the public is going to perceive as "the biggest breach ever reported."

But while Heartland struggles with its breach and the popular media struggle with getting the story straight, there are serious issues here for all of us to deal with:

Yes, Virginia, there are global fraud schemes - It's foolish for anyone who calls himself an expert to attribute a sophisticated data breach to "a bunch of kids in an Internet café in Amsterdam." We're so past that stereotype now, and it's time to acknowledge that the biggest external threats are organized, professional, expert criminals who are focused 110% on finding new ways to crack secure systems. That said...

Locking the outside door is only half the job - Think about it: Two of the biggest breaches of 2008 - Bank of New York Mellon and Countrywide Financial - were the result of data loss and a rogue insider. These are two of the biggest threats any of us face today. How much critical data walks out of your institution daily in a laptop, PDA or portable media (thumb drives, etc), and what happens if those devices get left on a train? How many critical employees have walked out of your company's employ recently - their choice or yours - and what sensitive information might have walked out with them? How will your trusted employees behave if they fear losing their jobs or their homes? Remember, bad times don't build character; they reveal it. We're going to see a lot of scary revelations in 2009.

Heartland is just the beginning - Right now, Heartland's greater issue isn't that it's "the biggest breach ever reported," but rather that it's the first one of 2009, and it fell on a day when the only other news was the Inauguration. It became the big story by default. Safe to say, though, we'll see many similar headlines as the year unfolds. Times are tough, the threats are real, and before this year gets much older we'll all be hearing about new hacks, lost data, malicious or inattentive insiders and The Next Big Story.
It's funny. On Tuesday morning, I'm sure Heartland President Robert Baldwin felt he'd done the right thing by standing up and saying "We've been breached." I wonder how he feels about that decision today?

different opinion:
Report Credit:Heartland Payment Systems - Breach Blog

From the online sources cited above:

NOTE: This breach is very significant and potentially affects millions of credit and debot card holders from multiple credit and debit card companys, regardless of bank or card issuer. In this section, we will first explore the press release before moving on to additional facts found discovered by others.

[Evan] I have to say that this is one of the worst press releases I have ever read announcing a breach. I'll comment below.

Princeton, NJ — January 20, 2009 — Payments processor Heartland Payment Systems has learned it was the victim of a security breach within its processing system in 2008. Heartland believes the intrusion is contained.
[Evan] The very first sentence in the press release states that Heartland is the victim. In my opinion, it is rarely a good idea to announce yourself as a victim when you are the custodian of confidential information. The owners are truly the victims.

"We found evidence of an intrusion last week and immediately notified federal law enforcement officials as well as the card brands," said Robert H.B. Baldwin, Jr., Heartland's president and chief financial officer.
[Evan] Heartland was actually alerted by Visa and MasterCard.

"We understand that this incident may be the result of a widespread global cyber fraud operation, and we are cooperating closely with the United States Secret Service and Department of Justice."

No merchant data or cardholder Social Security numbers, unencrypted personal identification numbers (PIN), addresses or telephone numbers were involved in the breach.
[Evan] So what? I want to know what information WAS involved.

Nor were any of Heartland's check management systems; Canadian, payroll, campus solutions or micropayments operations; Give Something Back Network; or the recently acquired Network Services and Chockstone processing platforms.
[Evan] Again, I don't care about what Heartland systems were safe. I want to know what information wasn't safe. There is no mention of the specific data that was actually compromised anywhere in the press release.

After being alerted by Visa® and MasterCard® of suspicious activity surrounding processed card transactions, Heartland enlisted the help of several forensic auditors to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.

Last week, the investigation uncovered malicious software that compromised data that crossed Heartland's network.

Heartland immediately took a number of steps to further secure its systems.

In addition, Heartland will implement a next-generation program designed to flag network anomalies in real-time and enable law enforcement to expeditiously apprehend cyber criminals.
[Evan] This sounds like network intrusion detection/prevention, which has been around for quite some time. Network intrusion detection/prevention employing anomaly detection is used by many organizations processing much less sensitive information.

Heartland has created a website — www.2008breach.com — to provide information about this incident and advises cardholders to examine their monthly statements closely and report any suspicious activity to their card issuers.
[Evan] This web site is nothing more than the press release and Q&A with regurgitated press release information.

Cardholders are not responsible for unauthorized fraudulent charges made by third parties.
[Evan] Not directly anyway. The money comes from somewhere (banks) and the costs will be passed on.

"Heartland apologizes for any inconvenience this situation has caused," continued Baldwin.

"Heartland is deeply committed to maintaining the security of cardholder data, and we will continue doing everything reasonably possible to achieve this objective."


A data breach last year at Princeton, N.J., payment processor Heartland Payment Systems may have compromised tens of millions credit and debit card transactions

If accurate, such figures may make the Heartland incident one of the largest data breaches ever reported.

The data breach could turn out to rival the massive breach reported by TJX in 2007, which affected as many as 94 million credit card accounts.

Robert Baldwin, Heartland's president and chief financial officer, said the company, which processes payments for more than 250,000 businesses, began receiving fraudulent activity reports late last year from MasterCard and Visa on cards that had all been used at merchants which rely on Heartland to process payments.
[Evan] According to this statement, it appears as though fraud has already occurred. This is important information to keep in mind as you read more below.

Baldwin said 40 percent of transactions the company processes are from small to mid-sized restaurants across the country.

He declined to name any well-known establishments or retail clients that may have been affected by the breach.

Baldwin said it would be unfair to mention any one of his company's customers.

"No merchant of ours represents even [one-tenth of one percent] of our volume, and to put out any name associated with what is obviously an unfortunate incident is not fair," he said.
[Evan] This is an indication of how widespread this could get.

"Their customers might end up having their cards used fraudulently, but that fraud might turn out to have come from their store, or it might be from another Heartland store and no one will ever really know."
[Evan] Exactly, and this makes this a very scary breach.

Baldwin said it wasn't until last week that investigators uncovered the source of the breach: A piece of malicious software planted on the company's payment processing network that recorded payment card data as it was being sent for processing to Heartland by thousands of the company's retail clients.

Baldwin said that the breach was the result of keylogging malware, which covertly captures anything typed on an infected computer, such as user names and passwords.
[Evan] How could a computer connected to a network that carries extremely sensitive information become infected with malware? There are many ways in which malware can find it's way into an organization, but on a network like this?

"There were two elements to it, one of which was a keylogger that got through our firewall," he said. "Then subsequently it was able to propagate a sniffer onto some of the machines in our network. And those are what was actually grabbing the transactions as they floated over our network."

Baldwin said Heartland does not know how long the malicious software was in place, how it got there or how many accounts may have been compromised.

The stolen data includes names, credit and debit card numbers and expiration dates.
[Evan] Finally, we get an indication of what data was compromised.

"The transactional data crossing our platform, in terms of magnitude... is about 100 million transactions a month," Baldwin said. "At this point, though, we don't know the magnitude of what was grabbed."

The company stressed that no merchant data or cardholder Social Security numbers, unencrypted personal identification numbers (PIN), addresses or telephone numbers were jeopardized as a result of the breach.

The data stolen includes the digital information encoded onto the magnetic stripe built into the backs of credit and debit cards.

Armed with this data, thieves can fashion counterfeit credit cards by imprinting the same stolen information onto fabricated cards.

"The nature of the [breach] is such that card-not-present transactions are actually quite difficult for the bad guys to do because one piece of information we know they did not get was an address," Baldwin said.
[Evan] This maybe true in some card-not-present transactions, but means nothing for data written to physical cards. People can make credit cards out of any card with a magnetic strip; gift cards that you can pick up at the Target checkout, blank cards bought online, etc. For people who want to go the card-not-present route, it may not be difficult to find an address if given a name. Mr. Baldwin's statement here means little.

As a result, he said, the prospect of thieves using the stolen data to rack up massive amounts of fraud at online merchants "is not impossible, but much less likely."
[Evan] Again maybe this holds true for ONLINE merchants, but means nothing for PHYSICAL merchants.

In many cases where a processor experiences a breach, the affected banks may simply re-issue new cards to some customers.
[Evan] Which costs the bank $10-12 per card by some estimates. The bank pays for the fraudulent charges by not holding legitimate cardholders responsible AND/OR reissues cards at 10-12 bucks per card. The costs add up quick and will likely be passed on to all customers. We all end up paying eventually.

It is unclear whether consumers who receive new account numbers from their bank will ever be able to definitively tie the re-issuance to the Heartland breach.

Baldwin said it was not appropriate for Heartland to offer affected consumers credit protection or other identity theft protection services.

"Identity theft protection is appropriate when there is enough personal information lost that identity theft is possible," he said.
[Evan] Not identity theft, just credit/debit card fraud.

"At the same time, we recognize and feel badly about the inconvenience this is going to cause consumers."

Avivah Litan, a fraud analyst with Gartner Inc., questioned the timing of Heartland's disclosure -- a day in which many Americans and news outlets are glued to coverage of Barack Obama's inauguration as the nation's 44th president.

"This looks like the biggest breach ever disclosed, and they're doing it on inauguration day?" Litan said. "I can't believe they waited until today to disclose. That seems very deceptive."
[Evan] After reading the horrible press release and supporting information, I tend to agree with Avivah Litan.

Baldwin said Heartland worked to disclose the breach last week.

"Due to legal reviews, discussions with some of the players involved, we couldn't get it together and signed off on until today," Baldwin said.

"We considered holding back another day, but felt in the interests of transparency we wanted to get this information out to cardholders as soon as possible, recognizing of course that this is not an ideal day from the perspective of visibility."
[Evan] Transparency? Please.

"There are a host of things we didn't go into that we're implementing, some larger, some smaller, all of which are designed to say, 'Okay, we had a commitment to high security. We were PCI compliant -- that was certified in April of last year. Yet we had this problem. Clearly we need to do more.' So our IT team is implementing as many additional precautions as it can as quickly as possible."
[Evan] Wait?! PCI compliance doesn't equal "high security"? The answer is NO. It's a start.

If this data breach represents heartache for Heartland, security vendors see it as an opportunity to play doctor.

"As the Heartland breach illustrates, you can be PCI compliant and still be breached," said Phil Neray, VP of security strategy at database security company Guardium, in an e-mailed statement. "Good compliance does not mean good security."
[Evan] Exactly.

There is still too much information missing. Personally, I am very displeased with Heartland's response and spin. It's disappointing. Effective communication is a critical piece of a good incident response plan. Poor communication can be more destructive to a company than the breach itself.

There are many missing facts. If fraud has already taken place AND it can be tied to this breach, then I think we have a very big problem on our hands. If not, we still know that the potential is there. Who would think that a little piece of code (the malware) could cause so much trouble? What can you learn from this and put into practice in your organization?

I am always interested in your thoughts…

Heartland Payment Systems' Big Breach & Lame PR Tactic - The Information Week - George Hulme

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13 January 2009

Israel Rally in Nashville - Event Coverage

APRPEH reporting from Legislative Plaza - from Sunday 11 January 2009

On a blustery Sunday, January 11 with temperatures falling through the 30s, the Christian and Jewish communities of middle Tennessee came together to support Israel in her war with the Hamas Islamic terrorists. Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN) and the local Jewish community organized the rally held at Legislative Plaza adjacent to Capitol Hill which overlooks the plaza. With no barriers to prevent the wind from whipping through, a bone chilled but warm hearted crowd, most of which stayed for the entire program listened to speaker after speaker explain why Americans should support Israel and her Cast Lead operation to inflict maximum damage on Hamas and stop the rocket fire into Israel from Gaza.

The attendance, before the cold weather reduced the numbers is estimated (by me) to have been between 250 - 300 people (75% not Jewish). Supportive signs and waved Israeli flags were only eclipsed by an over sized flag of Israel draped over the steps to Legislative Plaza held by some of the children in attendance. Although invited and on the schedule to speak, none of the cities non-Orthodox Rabbis attended the second of the day’s pro-Israel gatherings. An earlier gathering at one of Nashville’s Reform congregations included the Conservative and Reform Rabbis both as speakers and attendees.

more pictures here

The rally began with an invocation and inspiring talk by PJTN President
Laurie Cardoza Moore

Laurie Cardoza Moore laid the groundwork for one of the main themes echoed throughout the day, challenging the institutionalized double standard and disproportional force arguments regularly targeted against Israel and the Jewish people (vis a vis the barbarians who try to harm them) and assumed by world leaders. This bias is strengthened by the international pro-Arabian media and serves to complicate understanding Israel's true situation.

“It is acceptable after all, because it is just the Jewish people” Ms. Moore stated as a hypothetical answer to the world’s lack of concern over “Hamas’s disproportionate response to Israel over the last three years as thousands of rockets rained down on innocent civilians daily including men, women and children”, “where were the protesters?” “where was the outcry for the Jewish people?”

Laurie Cardoza Moore's Remarks:

After Ms. Moore completed her remarks, and following remarks by Steven Edelstein (see Newschannel 5 coverage at the bottom), Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Rabbi Saul Strosberg of Congregation Sherith Israel spoke.

Comparing the Jewish people to Judah Ben Yaakov Avinu (the Biblical patriarch), Rabbi Strosberg said
“Judah stood up when he sensed injustice, Judah stood up for his family, Judah stood up and so do we stand up for Israel. As Jewish people each day we wake up with a mission. Our mission is to follow the ways of G-d and to do justice and mercy. And this is not an easy mission. Sometimes, we have to go against the stream. Sometimes we’re criticized. Sometimes, we realize that we will never be accepted. That certain people in the world don’t want us to be alive. And I know this is hard to accept, but that is the truth. So together with Laurie and Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, we gather to stand up for our brothers and sisters in Israel. Yes, we must stand up. And if we don’t stand up for Israel who will? Who stood up for us 60 years ago in Europe? Who stood up for us then? And as recently as this past Thursday night, who stood up for us and stood against the United Nations resolution calling on Israel to cease its operation of breaking down the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza? No one. No one stood up. Not even our own United States. And throughout history we have stood alone. And if we do not stand up for ourselves who else will? If we don’t stand up what will our children think?
Rabbi Saul Strosberg

Rabbi Strosberg charged the Jewish and Christian communities to counter the inaccuracies about Israel’s offensive and not to accept the “moral equivalency” arguments which claim Israel and Hamas are equal. Such beliefs, Rabbi Strosberg went on to say will not lead to peace.

Rabbi Strosberg's Remarks:

Additional speakers from the pro-Israel Christian community spoke in addition to other members of the Jewish community with ties to Israel see video from ICEJ

Also speaking were Rabbi Yitzchak Tiechtel and Rabbi Shlomo Rothstein, Chabad Rabbis in Nashville.

Rabbi Tiechtel after wishing the blessings promised to Avraham (that those who bless you shall be blessed) be fulfilled in all those non-Jews who came out to support Israel, Rabbi Tiechtel focused upon the crime of using civilian locations for military purposes putting non-combatants intentionally in harm’s way. Implied in his remarks, but not stated is the fact that most militaries purportedly representing a contingent of non-combatants goes out of its way to protect civilians while Hamas sends them to the slaughter.

Rabbi Yitzchak Tiechtel - The Chabad Center For Jewish Awareness

“When is a school not a school? And the answer is when it is turned into launch pad for missiles and hideouts for terrorists. We stare in horror at images of innocent men, women, and children who were slain because they were forced into a situation not of their making. Innocent lives are being lost daily in the Gaza Strip and unfortunately this is a prime tactic of the terrorists Israel is trying to defeat.”
Rabbi Tiechtel went on to question the morality of people (Hamas) to use the deaths of their own constituency as a weapon for propaganda.

Rabbi Tiechtel's Remarks:

The rally closed with a message of chizuk from Rabbi Shlomo Rothstein. Rabbi Rothstein’s charge was to change the world.
“There was a great sage many, many years ago who was asked about his view on the world. He said – ‘The world it’s upside down. They’ve changed sweetness for bitter and bitter for sweet.’ Isn’t it ironic that underneath large peace signs flourishes hate? Isn’t it ironic that people that support terrorists that want such acts of violence to continue cry out for justice? Isn’t it ironic that with so much evil and corruption, pain and suffering in the world, it’s the tiny little country in the Middle East, Israel that gets the wrath and ire in the world? Isn’t it ironic that that one nation that cares so much for peace, that will give anything for peace that prays three times a day - morning, noon and night for peace gets all the war?....”Such evil, such corruption will continue as long as this world is an upside down place. Our job is to right side up this upside down world. We all have the power with our own two feet and our own two hands to engage in acts of goodness and kindness, and acts of rightside up – true justice and peace.”

Rabbi Shlomo Rothstein - Chabad at Vanderbilt

Rabbi Rothstein's Remarks:

The local and regional media was sparsely seen in the crowd. To the best of my knowledge, the major local Nashville newspaper The Tennessean, did not cover the event. Unfortunately, only one television station in Nashville News Channel 5 reported on the rally. An earlier PJTN rally on December 31 received more media attention.

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08 January 2009

Vatican Cardinal Invokes Holocaust Imagery to Criticize Israel

The Jew or Israeli being described in imagery designed to stir up visions of Nazi Germany or Gestapo soldiers is usually confined to the channels of antiJew publications or websites. The first time I recall seeing a Jew as Nazi image was in an editorial cartoon accompanying a Pat Buchanan column in 1988 which ran in a local newspaper. Arabian newspapers are filled with this antiJew propaganda. The pictures below are of arabian origin and are found on the Fraud Factor website.

Certainly, Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino knows that this new mythology exists? He must be aware that these false comparisons have been around for many years?

For the record Cardinal, the 'concentration camp' of Gaza is made that way by the arabians who have complete control of it. It is they who force civilian women and children to stay in the line of fire and use buildings in which those women and children reside as locations to launch rockets and shoot at soldiers.

If conditions were bad in Gaza before, it is because the ruling Hamas thugs did nothing to improve those conditions. Jews in Europe, by comparison had everything taken away from them, were forced into their living quarters by the Nazis not because other Jews thought they would make good pawns and provide good photo ops. Real concentration camps are run by ruthless single minded barbarians. Wait, that's Gaza too! But it is the arabians, not the Jews who are the barbarians who have brought Gaza to warfare.

Additional coverage of this story is below. Note the lame, not very informative version presented by the New York Times in comparison to the UPI, JPOST and Reuters coverage. The NYT doesn't seem to want anything but the mildest criticism of the Cardinal.

Vatican official: Gaza resembles ‘concentration camp’ - JTA
January 7, 2009

ROME (JTA) -- A senior Vatican official said the conditions in Gaza "resembled ever more a big concentration camp."

Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, called for dialogue to end the conflict between Israel and Hamas in an interview with an online Italian daily. Martino said "violence does not resolve problems, and history is full of confirmations of this."

At the root of the conflict, he said, is the fact that "no one sees the interests of the other but only its own." The consequences of such egoism, the cardinal said, were "hatred for the other, poverty and injustice. The ones who pay the price are always innocent populations."

ADL blasts Holocaust imagery in anti-Israel protests - JPOST
Jan. 6, 2009
Etgar Lefkovits , THE JERUSALEM POST
The comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany being made at protests worldwide against the IDF's Gaza operation are a "cynical perversion" of history that has no place in civil societies, the New York-based Anti Defamation League said Tuesday.

"Comparisons of Israel to the Nazis are a deeply cynical perversion of history, an attempt to turn the tragedy that befell the Jewish people into a bludgeon against Israel," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director and a Holocaust survivor.

Foxman particularly deplored the fact that this comparison was being heard at demonstrations in the United States.

"While we have come to expect to see such and hear this type of inflammatory rhetoric in Arab and Muslim capitals overseas, it is deeply disturbing that it is appearing in anti-Israel demonstrations at home," Foxman said.

"Offensive Holocaust comparisons and the use of Nazi imagery are deeply offensive and have no place in a civil society such as ours."

The anti-Israel demonstrations in major American cities have included expressions of support for Hamas, which is designated by the State Department as a foreign terror organization, as well as inflammatory anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric, the ADL said.

A January 3 mass rally in New York's Times Square, which was endorsed by Al-Awda, the Muslim American Society, and the Islamic Circle of North America, included signs that read "Israel: The Fourth Reich;" "Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors;" "Stop Israel's Holocaust;" "Holocaust in Gaza;" and "Stop the Zionist Genocide in Gaza.

One sign juxtaposed gruesome images of Holocaust victims and Gazans and read, "Nazi Genocide, Israeli Genocide."

Similar anti-Israel protests using Nazi imagery were held in Chicago, Los Angeles, Tampa and San Diego.

Israel Condemns Vatican’s ‘Concentration Camp’ Remarks - NYT
January 9, 2009

ROME — Tensions rose between the Vatican and Israel on Thursday after Israel condemned a high-ranking Vatican official for comparing the Gaza Strip to “a concentration camp.”

"Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp,” Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Council for Justice and Peace, said in an interview published Wednesday in an online publication.

He defended his comments in the center-left daily newspaper La Repubblica on Thursday. While noting that Hamas rockets into Israel were “certainly not sugared almonds,” he called the situation in Gaza “horrific” and said conditions there went “against human dignity.”

Israel on Thursday harshly condemned the cardinal’s use of World War Two imagery. “We are astounded that a spiritual dignitary would have such words, that are so far removed from truth and dignity,” said Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

He added that it was “shocking to hear the vocabulary of Hamas propaganda coming from a member of the church.” But he denied that it would cause a diplomatic crisis. It “doesn’t change the nature of relations between Israel and the Holy See,” Mr. Palmor said.

The Vatican sought to downplay the cardinal’s remarks. The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, called Cardinal Martino’s choice of words “inopportune,” and said they created “irritation and confusion” more than illumination.

While calling the cardinal “an authoritative person,” Rev. Lombardi added that “The more authoritative voice and line would be that of the pope.”

Indeed, the cardinal’s remarks overshadowed an important discourse that Pope Benedict XVI delivered on Thursday, in which he called for a ceasefire in Gaza and decried “a renewed outbreak of violence provoking immense damage and suffering for the civilian population.”

“Once again I would repeat that military options are no solution and that violence, wherever it comes from and whatever form it takes, must be firmly condemned,” he told diplomats accredited to the Vatican.

In unusually direct remarks, the pope looked ahead to “crucial elections” coming up in the Middle East and called for dialogue between Israel and Syria, the “strengthening of institutions” in Lebanon and a “negotiated solution” to “the controversy surrounding” Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican, Mordechay Lewy, said events Gaza had “no connection” to plans underway for Benedict to visit Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this spring. The Vatican has not yet officially announced the trip.

In the past, some Jews have seen the Vatican’s approach as more sympathetic to Palestinian suffering than Israeli security. Mr. Lewy called the pope’s speech “equivocal.”

“The language and the expectations of the Holy Father and the scope of his interests are different from those of a politician,” Mr. Lewy said. “In practical politics, I’m sure Israel wouldn’t have existed if we would have acted without any force.”

Vatican-Israel ties tense over cardinal's camps comment - Reuters
Thu Jan 8, 2009 7:11pm GMT
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Relations between the Vatican and Israel grew tense on Thursday when the Jewish state condemned an aide to Pope Benedict for calling Gaza "a big concentration camp."

Israel criticised Cardinal Renato Martino as the pope delivered a speech to diplomats in which he spoke out against the use of violence by both Israel and Hamas Islamists in Gaza.

On Wednesday, Martino, president of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, delivered the Vatican's toughest criticism of Israel since its offensive in the Palestinian-ruled enclave, calling Gaza a "big concentration camp."

"We are astounded to hear from a spiritual dignitary words that are so far removed from truth and dignity," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Reuters.

"The vocabulary of Hamas propaganda, coming from a member of the College of Cardinals, is a shocking and disappointing phenomenon," he said.

Jewish leaders around the world also condemned Martino.

"His comments are offensive and an insult to the memory of the Holocaust and survivors worldwide," said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

"He is either trying to nefariously disseminate anti-Israeli propaganda or he doesn't have the faintest clue about the murderous conditions inside a concentration camp," Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Handelsblatt newspaper.

"These remarks are untrue, distort the memory of the Holocaust and are only used against Israel by terrorist organisations and Holocaust deniers," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.


The row over Martino's remark as well as Israel's bombing of Gaza have cast a shadow over negotiations for the pope to visit the Holy Land in May, a trip some diplomats say is now in doubt.

The exchange of accusations heated up as the pope delivered his yearly "state of the world" speech to diplomats in which he seemed at pains to be even-handed following the furore over Martino's remarks.

The pontiff lamented "a renewed outbreak of violence provoking immense damage and suffering for the civilian population" in Gaza and Israel and urged "the rejection of hatred, acts of provocation and the use of arms."

"Violence, wherever it comes from and whatever form it takes, must be firmly condemned."

More than 750 Palestinians have been killed since Israel started bombarding Gaza on December 27 with the aim of halting Hamas rocket attacks. At least eleven Israelis have been killed, eight of them soldiers, since the offensive began.

In a follow-up interview in Italy's La Repubblica newspaper on Thursday, Martino defended his comments, saying the people of Gaza "are surrounded by a wall that is difficult to breach, in conditions that go against human dignity."

Martino said "certainly, the rockets of Hamas are not confetti. I condemn them" but forcefully criticised Israel for an attack on a U.N. school.

(Additional reporting by Erik Kirschbaum in Berlin)

ADL: Nazi imagery abound at anti-Israel rallies - YNET

Comparisons of Israel’s actions to those of Hitler, signs altering Jewish Star of David into swastika a recurring feature at many rallies across US

Of all of the recriminations aimed at Israel at scores of demonstrations held across the country in response to its military operation against Hamas, none has been more consistently or emphatically employed than comparisons of Israel to the Nazis, or the situation in Gaza to a “Holocaust", the Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday.

According to a statement issued by ADL, in-your-face comparisons of Israel’s actions to those of Hitler, or signs altering the Jewish Star of David into a swastika, have been a recurring feature at many rallies across the country, including protests held over the past weekend in several major US cities.

Some demonstrations have included expressions of support for Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, or for terrorism against Israel in general, ADL said. And some protesters at rallies have spewed inflammatory anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

In New York City’s Times Square, six city blocks were filled Saturday with anti-Israel demonstrators holding signs that read “Israel: The Fourth Reich;” “Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors;” “Stop Israel’s Holocaust;” “Holocaust in Gaza;” and “Stop the Zionist Genocide in Gaza.”

One sign juxtaposed gruesome images of Holocaust victims and Gazans and read, “Nazi Genocide, Israeli Genocide.”

'A deeply cynical perversion of history'

On December 30, demonstrators gathered at the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles waving Palestinian flags and holding signs, including ones that read, “Every Israeli committing the genocide in Gaza is a 'Hitler'.”

One sign depicted an image of the Israeli flag with the Star of David replaced by a swastika and above the flag, the words, “Upgrade to Holocaust Version 2.0.”

The same day, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Tampa, Florida carrying signs that compared Israel to Nazi Germany and calling for the dissolution of Israel. One sign declared, “Zionism is Cancer; Radiate it,” and other signs featured the word “Nazi” written over an Israeli flag with a swastika.

“Freedom of speech is not just a right, it is also a responsibility,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director and a Holocaust survivor. “Comparisons of Israel to the Nazis are a deeply cynical perversion of history, an attempt to turn the tragedy that befell the Jewish people into a bludgeon against Israel.

“While we have come to expect to see such and hear this type of inflammatory rhetoric in Arab and Muslim capitals overseas, it is deeply disturbing that it is appearing in anti-Israel demonstrations at home,” said Foxman. “Offensive Holocaust comparisons and the use of Nazi imagery are deeply offensive and have no place in a civil society such as ours.”

Nazi Imagery, Anti-Semitism Rampant In Arab Media As Gaza Crisis Unfolds - ADL Press Release

Roseanne Barr: Israel is a 'Nazi state' - JPOST

Urban Dictionary definition of "Jewish Nazi"

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07 January 2009

UK Lib-Dems Offensive Against Israel

Lib Dems call for British arms embargo on Israel - Guardian
Once again, the most extreme left politicians in the UK have sided with the enemies of the Jews. Having read this Guardian article, I thought it would be constructive to take a look at the three leading political parties in the UK and the positions they are taking vis a vis Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The Guardian article is a backgrounder covering the political dog fighting between the Liberal Democrats and majority Labour parties. Left out of the Guardian article is any opinion from the opposition Conservatives.

I have assembled annotated statements and links to the most recent statements made by each of the three leading parties in the UK, although I am hesitant to refer to the Liberal Democrats as leading - in seats, ideas or morals. The current breakdown of the UK House of Commons is:

Member Constituency
Conservative (193)
Democratic Unionist (9)
Independent (5)
Independent Conservative (1)
Independent Labour (1)
Labour (350)
Liberal Democrat (63)
Plaid Cymru (3)
Respect (1)
Scottish National (7)
Sinn Fein (5)
Social Democratic & Labour Party (3)
Ulster Unionist (1)
Speaker and Deputies (4)

Based upon the statements below, it appears to be necessary in the UK to throw a bone to the antiJews. Even the favorable, er..make that favourable statements from the Conservative party include flashes of 'both sides' faux fairness. It is also telling that the Conservatives statement does not come from the party leader Mr. Cameron but from an MP, who based upon his bio online does not have any foreign affairs assignments or responsibilities. Maybe, Mr. Cameron wants deniability? Maybe it is the political reality in the UK given the level of anti-semitism and growing radical arabian population? This is troubling to me. I suppose friends are always welcome, even ones who are embarrassed of being friends.

PM Brown's statements seem to be right in line with US Secretary of State Condi Rice echoing the obvious, that Israel has a security interest in stopping rocket fire. This is in contrast to the Liberal-Democrat pressure tactics of ending arms sales to Israel and blocking Israeli trade with the EU, actions which are nothing short of taking the side of Hamas. I find it interesting how the most liberal party with any standing in the UK is in favor of the right to free fire rockets into democratic and liberal Israel.

For readers from the UK, please feel free to correct, amend, reprove, etc. the details of this post.

Labour Party - Majority

PM Gordon Brown (Labour)
Gaza is a humanitarian crisis - PM
Speaking to journalists in 10 Downing Street, Mr Brown said he was hopeful that the basis for a ceasefire, providing assurances to Israel over security and securing an open border under international supervision for Palestinians in Gaza, could be found.

Gaza needs “immediate ceasefire” - PM
“We need an immediate ceasefire, and that includes a stopping of the rockets into Israel. Secondly, we need some resolution of the problem over arms trafficking into Gaza and, thirdly, we need the borders and the crossings open and that will need some international solution.”

PM “deeply concerned” by Gaza violence
In a Downing Street statement, the PM said that only “peaceful means” could secure a lasting solution to the dispute between Israel and Palestine. He called upon Gazan militants to end their rocket attacks and asked Israel to “meet its humanitarian obligations”.

Conservative Party Opposition

Opposition Leader MP David Cameron

MP Stephen Crabb

The conflict in Gaza has caused yet more distress and suffering
Stephen Crabb MP, Wednesday, January 7 2009
There is nothing about the current military conflict in Gaza which is not tragic and disturbing. The immediate consequences for the people of Gaza of the fighting between Hamas and Israel are yet more distress and suffering, compounding the humanitarian disaster in which they have been living for years.

But this is not a conflict made in Israel. We may criticise Israel for settlements on the West Bank; for the ugly and imposing security barrier which it has constructed; for the roadblocks and checkpoints which cause so much disruption to the economy and daily lives of Palestinians on the West Bank. But the blame for the current misery of Gaza lies squarely with its own leaders.

Just as NATO would not allow Afghanistan, under the Taliban, to provide a platform for international terrorists like Al Quadea, so Israel cannot be expected to allow Hamas to construct a terrorist statelet in Gaza and use it as a base for continous attacks on its people. No government which takes seriously its responsibility to protect its citizens would do otherwise.


Nick Clegg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Clegg: We must stop arming Israel

Of course, Israel has every right to defend itself. It is difficult to imagine what it must be like to live with the constant threat of rocket attacks from a movement which espouses terrorist violence and denies Israel's right to exist. But Israel's approach is self-defeating: the overwhelming use of force, the unacceptable loss of civilian lives, is radicalising moderate opinion among Palestinians and throughout the Arab world. Anger in the West Bank will make it virtually impossible for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, to continue to talk to Israeli ministers.

Brown must stop sitting on his hands. He must condemn unambiguously Israel's tactics, just as he has rightly condemned Hamas's rocket attacks. Then he must lead the EU into using its economic and diplomatic leverage in the region to broker peace. The EU is by far Israel's biggest export market, and by far the biggest donor to the Palestinians. It must immediately suspend the proposed new cooperation agreement with Israel until things change in Gaza, and apply tough conditions on any long-term assistance to the Palestinian community.

Brown must also halt Britain's arms exports to Israel, and persuade our EU counterparts to do the same. The government's own figures show Britain is selling more and more weapons to Israel, despite the questions about the country's use of force. In 2007, our government approved £6m of arms exports. In 2008, it licensed sales 12 times as fast: £20m in the first three months alone.

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What Words Offend Arabs? The Truth.

Children's Poetry Booklet Recalled After Arabs Complain
(Israeli censorship kowtows to Arabs.
When Will We Tell The Truth Without Fear)

(IsraelNN.com 7 Sivan 5768/June 10, '08) Ynet's web site and Arab complaints against a ten-year-old boy's poem about terrorists has resulted in the recall of all of the Nes Ziona municipality's children's poetry booklets.

Ynet boasts that its coverage of the poem resulted in its being recalled.

The text of the poem (Ynet's translation):

Ahmed's bunker has surprises galore: Grenades, rifles are hung on the wall. Ahmed is planning another bombing!What a bunker Ahmed has, who causes daily harm.Ahmed knows how to make a bomb. Ahmed is Ahmed, that's who he is, so don't forget to be careful of him.We get blasted while they have a blast!Ahmed and his friends could be wealthy and sunny, if only they wouldn't buy rockets with all their money.

Poetry competition director Marika Berkowitz, who published the booklet, was surprised at the protests and told Ynet: "This is the boy's creation and this is what he wanted to express. Of course there should be a limit, but I think the there is no racism here. 'Ahmed' is a general term for the enemy. These are the murmurings of an innocent child."

The Education Ministry told Ynet: "The local authority that published the booklet should have guided the students in a more correct manner through the schools. The district will investigate the issue with the local authorities."
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