Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In The News: Pestilence, Financial Ponzi Scheme, Two-State Solution Dead, 'Volcano Season'

CDC Confirms Patient In Dallas Has Ebola

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control have confirmed that a person in Dallas definitely has the Ebola virus. Tuesday’s official determination makes the patient, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, the first diagnosed Ebola case in the United States.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas Department of State Health Services, Presbyterian Hospital and Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) all participated in an afternoon press conference. CDC Director Thomas Frieden related the information that the individual who tested positive had traveled to Liberia. The person left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20 with no virus symptoms. Frieden said it was four or five days later that the patient, who is believed to be male, began developing symptoms and was ultimately admitted to Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Sunday, September 28.

As far as the medical condition of the infected patient, Frieden said he “is critically ill at this point.” Presbyterian Hospital would not confirm the condition of the individual, citing the patient’s right to privacy. CBS 11 News learned late Tuesday evening the man is communicating with health workers and telling them when he’s hungry.
The patient is in a special isolation section of the Intensive Care Unit and is being watched through glass walls. Officials say an important part of his treatment is making sure he is well hydrated.
After confirmation on the virus, the City of Dallas was put on Level 2: High Readiness. The City is now working closely with DCHHS and the CDC.

Now that the virus is confirmed, Frieden said the next steps are three-fold. “First, to care for the patient… to provide the most effective care possible, as safely as possible, to keep – to an absolute minimum – the likelihood or possibility that anyone would become infected. And second, to maximize the chances that the patient might recover.”
Frieden said another important step would be to identify all of the people who may have had contact with the patient while he could have been infectious. Frieden did state with emphasis that Ebola DOES NOT spread from someone who is not infectious. “It does not spread from someone who doesn’t have fever and other symptoms,” he said. “So, it’s only someone who is sick with Ebola who can spread the disease.”

An unusual respiratory virus has sickened more than 400 children across the United States, and the emergence of sudden paralysis in some Colorado youths is sparking concern among doctors. The nationwide outbreak of enterovirus D68 -- which can cause wheezing and coughing -- coincided with the hospitalization of nine children due to limb weakness in Colorado since early August, and officials are investigating if there is any link between the two.

The nine children in Colorado "had respiratory illness and later developed neurologic illness," the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
In the meantime, experts are struggling to understand why so many young people -- ranging in age from one to 18 -- have fallen ill from the virus in the past two months.
"It is concerning," said Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
"It is not clear why, given the widespread nature of this virus, at this point it is now showing some neurological symptoms in a very small portion of patients," he told AFP.
"The investigation is ongoing to find if there is a link."
Eight of the nine children afflicted with paralysis are up to date on their polio vaccines.

A mosquito-borne virus that can cause debilitating joint pain lasting for years has spread to the continental U.S. after infecting hundreds of thousands of people in the Caribbean and Central America.
The virus is called Chikungunya, an African name meaning “to become contorted.” While the illness, first identified in Tanzania in 1952, has long bedeviled Africa and Asia, the only recorded cases in the U.S. before July involved patients who contracted the virus abroad.
Now, 11 cases have been confirmed as originating in Florida, spurring concern this may be the beginning of the type of explosive growth seen elsewhere from a disease that has no vaccine or cure. Medical and environmental experts are debating how best to quell the outbreak before it takes off.
While the disease generally isn’t fatal, more than 100 people have died in the Western Hemisphere since December, according to the Pan American Health Organization. Treatment includes hydration, rest and medicine that reduces fever or pain such ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

I know that headline sounds completely outrageous.  But it is actually true.  The U.S. government is borrowing about 8 trillion dollars a year, and you are about to see the hard numbers that prove this.  When discussing the national debt, most people tend to only focus on the amount that it increases each 12 months.  And as I wrote about recently, the U.S. national debt has increased by more than a trillion dollars in fiscal year 2014.  But that does not count the huge amounts of U.S. Treasury securities that the federal government must redeem each year.  When these debt instruments hit their maturity date, the U.S. government must pay them off.  This is done by borrowing more money to pay off the previous debts.  In fiscal year 2013, redemptions of U.S. Treasury securities totaled $7,546,726,000,000 and new debt totaling $8,323,949,000,000 was issued.  The final numbers for fiscal year 2014 are likely to be significantly higher than that.

So why does so much government debt come due each year?
Well, in recent years government officials figured out that they could save a lot of money on interest payments by borrowing over shorter time frames.  For example, it costs the government far more to borrow money for 10 years than it does for 1 year.  So a strategy was hatched to borrow money for very short periods of time and to keep "rolling it over" again and again and again.
This strategy has indeed saved the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars in interest payments, but it has also created a situation where the federal government must borrow about 8 trillion dollars a year just to keep up with the game.
So what happens when the rest of the world decides that it does not want to loan us 8 trillion dollars a year at ultra-low interest rates?
Well, the game will be over and we will be in a massive amount of trouble.

The only way that this game can continue is if the U.S. government can continue to borrow gigantic piles of money at ridiculously low interest rates.
And our current standard of living greatly depends on the continuation of this game.
If something comes along and rattles this Ponzi scheme, life in America could change radically almost overnight.

And it is hard to believe, but Americans received more than 2 trillion dollars in benefits from the federal government last year alone.  At this point, the primary function of the federal government is taking money from some people and giving it to others.  In fact,more than 70 percent of all federal spending goes to "dependence-creating programs", and the government runs approximately 80 different "means-tested welfare programs" right now.  But the big problem is that the government is giving out far more money than it is taking in, so it has to borrow the difference.  As long as we can continue to borrow at super low interest rates, the status quo can continue.
But a Ponzi scheme like this can only last for so long.
It has been said that when the checks stop coming in, chaos will begin in the streets of America.
The looting that took place when a technical glitch caused the EBT system to go down for a short time in some areas last year and the rioting in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri this year were both small previews of what we will see in the future.
And there is no way that we will be able to "grow" our way out of this problem.
As the Baby Boomers continue to retire, the amount of money that the federal government is handing out each year is projected to absolutely skyrocket.  Just consider the following numbers...

Nationalist MKs welcomed Netanyahu’s speech on Monday, saying among other things that it was a fitting response to “the lies and slanders of [Palestinian Authority Chairman] Mahmoud Abbas,” and that Netanyahu had “held up a mirror in front of the western world and emphasized the immediate dangers that Iran, Hamas and ISIS place before it.”

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Hotovely said Netanyahu’s speech sent a loud and clear message that the so-called “two-state solution” is dead.
"The speech yesterday was the way to tell the world that the two-statesolution had died. Netanyahu told the world that Abbas and Hamas are the same, they want to destroy Israel," she said.
In the speech, explained Hotovely, the Prime Minister suggested that the world start thinking outside the box.
"He spoke about the Middle East, about Cairo and Saudi Arabia and inessence hinted at other solutions rather than dividing the country. He alluded to the concepts of confederation. It was an important speech,” she said.
"In principle, there was an official announcement [in the speech] that the two-state solution is impossible and that a Palestinian state will not be established. What solutions will come later requires serious discussions,” added Hotovely.

The Earth seems to have been smoking a lot recently. Volcanoes are erupting in Iceland, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ecuador and Mexico right now. Others, in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, erupted recently but seem to have calmed down. Many of these have threatened homes and forced evacuations. But among their spectators, these eruptions raise question: Is there such a thing as a season for volcanic eruptions?
While volcanoes may not have “seasons” as we know them, scientists have started to discern intriguing patterns in their activity.

A study published in the journal Terra Nova in February showed that, since the early 19th century, changes in the Earth’s rotation rate tended to be followed by increases in global volcanic activity. It found that, between 1830 and 2013, the longest period for which a reliable record was available, relatively large changes in rotation rate were immediately followed by an increase in the number of large volcanic eruptions. And, more than merely being correlated, the authors believe that the rotation changes might actually have triggered these large eruptions.

Earth's magnetic north and south poles have flip-flopped many times in our planet's history—most recently, around 780,000 years ago. Geophysicists who study the magnetic field have long thoughtthat the poles may be getting ready to switch again, and based on new data, it might happen earlier than anyone anticipated.

The European Space Agency's satellite array dubbed “Swarm” revealed that Earth's magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than previously thought, decreasing in strength about 5 percent a decade rather than 5 percent a century. A weakening magnetic field may indicate an impending reversal, which scientists predict could begin in less than 2,000 years. Magnetic north itself appears to be moving toward Siberia.
Geophysicists do not yet fully understand the process of geomagnetic reversals, but they agree that our planet's field is like adipole magnet. Earth's center consists of an inner core of solid iron and an outer core of liquid iron, a strong electrical conductor. The liquid iron in the outer core is buoyant, and as it heats near the inner core, it rises, cools off and then sinks. Earth's rotation twists this moving iron liquid and generates a self-perpetuating magnetic field with north and south poles.

It is hard to know how a geomagnetic reversal would impact our modern-day civilization, but it is unlikely to spell disaster. Although the field provides essential protection from the sun's powerful radiation, fossil records reveal no mass extinctions or increased radiation damage during past reversals. A flip could possibly interfere with power grids and communications systems—external magnetic field disturbances have burned out transformers and caused blackouts in the past. But Glatzmaier is not worried. “A thousand years from now we probably won't have power lines,” he says. “We'll have advanced so much that we'll almost certainly have the technology to cope with a magnetic-field reversal.”

Also see:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Russia Threatens To Retaliate Against U.S., Ships Anti-Aircraft Missiles To Syria, 'Is The World At The Cusp Of A New Dark Age?'

Russia Threatens To Retaliate Against U.S. Military

Russia has delivered a behind-the-scenes threat to retaliate if airstrikes carried out by the U.S. or its allies target the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Middle Eastern security officials told WND.

The security officials said Russia complained Sunday in quiet talks with United Nations representatives that the Obama administration’s current aerial campaign against Islamic State fighters in Syria is a violation of international agreements regarding control of Syrian airspace.
The officials said Russia warned it could potentially retaliate if U.S. or Arab airstrikes go beyond targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and instead bomb any Syrian regime targets.
The officials said Russian diplomats asserted terms regarding Syrian airspace were agreed upon last September as part of a sweeping deal to disarm Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons by the middle of 2014.
At the time, the international community feared Assad could target chemical weapons inspectors acting in Syria. That fear in part lead to a deal in which Moscow says it was provided with significant responsibility over the skies of Syria, purportedly to insure against Assad’s air force acting against the international disarmament effort.
The officials further said that both the Russia and Iranian militaries are on heightened alert amid the ongoing situation in Syria.

 Russia last week sent a shipment of anti-aircraft missiles to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND.

Another shipment of Russian weaponry is currently on the way to Syria, the officials said.

The officials said last week’s shipment arrived at the port city of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast of Syria, where Russia maintains a naval base.
The Russian shipments come as the Obama administration steps up support for the rebels battling the Assad regime. The U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels is purportedly aimed at fighting ISIS terrorists.
Two weeks ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters his government would provide military support to Syria, claiming the anti-aircraft munitions were meant to aid the Assad regime in the fight against terrorism.
However, neither ISIS nor any other jihadist group operating in the area possess any aircraft.
The U.S. and allies have been carrying out airstrikes in Syria targeting ISIS.
The report of weapons shipments to Syria come as WND reported yesterday Russia has delivered a behind-the-scenes threat to retaliate if airstrikes carried out by the U.S. or its allies target the Assad regime, according to Middle Eastern security officials.

We appear to have reached one of those extraordinary moments in history when people everywhere, communities and even entire nations, feel increasingly stressed and vulnerable. The same may be said of the planet as a whole.

Whether intellectually or intuitively, many are asking the same question: Where are we heading? How do we explain the long list of financial, environmental and humanitarian emergencies, epidemics, small and larger conflicts, genocides, war crimes, terrorist attacks and military interventions? Why does the international community seem powerless to prevent any of this?
There is no simple or single answer to this conundrum, but two factors can shed much light.

The first involves a global power shift and the prospect of a new Cold War. The second relates to globalisation and the crises generated by the sheer scale of cross-border flows.

The geopolitical shift has resulted in a dangerous souring of America’s relations with Russia and China.
The dispute over Ukraine is the latest chapter in the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Washington and Moscow. In what is essentially a civil war in which over 3,000 people have been killed, the two great powers have chosen to support opposing sides in the conflict by all means short of outright intervention.

Put simply, a new Cold War is in the making; perhaps the Cold War never ended.
Both the United States and Russia are modernising their nuclear forces, making them more lethal than ever. Of their combined arsenal of over 15,000 nuclear weapons, about 1,800 warheads are on high alert, ready for use at short notice. Should even a tiny fraction of these weapons be used, the humanitarian impact would be catastrophic.
The nuclear risk is compounded by US efforts to retain global supremacy just as Russia is reasserting itself after two decades of humiliating decline. China’s virtually irreversible rise, the Sino-Russian marriage of convenience and the emergence of new centres of influence, notably Brazil, India and Iran, add to the high levels of risk and uncertainty.
All of this is happening against a backdrop of failed and costly Western military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Africa and proxy wars, notably in Syria. These have unleashed demons that may take decades to tame.
Given these fault-lines and their religious and cultural overlays, it is no surprise that the UN Security Council has been unable to function effectively in discharging its security mandate.

As if the fast degenerating geo-political situation isn’t bad enough, here’s another lorry load of concerns to add to the pile.
The UK and US economies may be on the mend at last, but that’s not the pattern elsewhere. On a global level, growth is being steadily drowned under a rising tide of debt, threatening renewed financial crisis, a continued squeeze to living standards, and eventual mass default.
I exaggerate only a little in depicting this apocalyptic view of the future as the conclusion of the latest “Geneva Report”, an annual assessment informed by a top drawer conference of leading decision makers and economic thinkers of the big challenges facing the global economy.
Aptly titled “Deleveraging? What Deleveraging?”, the report points out that, far from paying down debt since the financial crisis of 2008/9, the world economy as a whole has in fact geared up even further. The raw numbers make explosive reading.
Contrary to widely held assumptions, the world has not yet begun to de-lever. In fact global debt-to-GDP – public and private non financial debt - is still growing, breaking new highs by the month.

The only way the world can keep growing, it would appear, is by piling on debt. Not good, not good at all.

Crisis or no crisis, the Geneva Report’s authors – Luigi Buttiglione of Brevan Howard, Philip Lane of Trinity College Dublin, Lucrezia Reichlin of the London Business School and Vincent Reinhart of Morgan Stanley – argue that rising indebtedness in developed economies has been crimping potential output growth ever since the 1980s.

The crisis has made an already bad situation worse, caused a further, permanent decline in both the level and growth rate of output. This in turn makes it much harder to work off debt; when economies are not growing, debt to GDP tends to rise automatically.
We now see much the same thing happening in emerging markets with output growth slowing markedly since 2008, particularly in China. Buying growth with debt is reaching the limits of its viability.
And in conditions where excessive debt cannot be worked off through growth, restraint and inflation, adjustment will eventually be forced much more divisively through default. It’s a toss-up who is going to breach the dam first, but unless the European Central Bank rides to the rescue with debt monetisation soon, the betting has to be on Italy, where debt dynamics already seeem to have entered a death spiral. That this is not yet reflected in bond yields is down only to the assumption that the ECB will eventually oblige. Perhaps it will, but even if it does, it will only buy time.

Syria took the stand at the UN on Monday announcing its support for the global struggle against Islamic State (IS) militants and warning of the severe danger the jihadists pose. However Syria has warned that strikes could violate its sovereignty.
“ISIS and Nusra [front] and the rest of the Al-Qaeda affiliates will not be limited within the borders of Syria and Iraq but will spread to every spot that it can reach, starting with Europe and America,” Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

While he steered clear of outright condemning the US airstrikes within Syria’s borders, he did offer a warning that any military action while support for militants continued could lead to the development of a situation in which “international community will not exit in decades”. 
The Syrian FM pointed out that Damascus has been warning of threats for three and a half years, adding that they have been warning, and reiterating the warning.

He said that a lesson needs to be learned from previous years and an international effort devised to stop terrorist groups “in the same way that those organizations have rallied themselves from all corners of the earth and brought them to one spot to train and arm and re-disseminate their ideology and terrorism through those extremists.”

On September 21, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, told his US counterpart John Kerry, that Washington must respect Syria’s sovereignty while dealing with the IS.

Lavrov stressed “the importance of coordinated action... by the international community aimed at countering the threat” coming from IS. 

Moualem on his behalf implied a degree of support for the international effort in suppressing ISIS militants, but with respect for “national sovereignty”.

“It is high time that we gather all our efforts,” he said. “ISIS …let us exert pressure on the countries that joined the coalition led by the US to stop their support of the armed terrorist groups.” 

Several rounds of sanctions have been imposed on Syria by the US and EU, with embargoes and travel bans being in place against certain officials.

The Syrian FM pointed that sanctions can be counterproductive.

“The inhuman sanctions imposed by the EU and US aggravated the living conditions of Syrian civilians. At the same time, in collaborating with the UN, my government…is willing to meet the basic needs…of the citizens, especially those forced by terrorist attacks to flee,” he said.

A call for worldwide jihad has gone out, asking for Muslims to attack, by any means, the communities where they live. No longer are the "faithful" required to go to the Islamic State to wage war on the infidel.

ISIS is calling for the slaughter of Americans, the British, French, Australians and Canadians in their/our own countries by "lone wolves." One jihadist tweeted, "You could literally search for soldiers, find their town, photos of them, look for addresses in Yellowbook or something. Then show up and slaughter them."

Abu Mohammad al Adnani, an ISIS "spokesman" announced to all "lone wolves": "Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter low up their homes. Civilians should not be exempt from brutality. Do not ask for anyone's advice and do not seek anyone's verdict. Killed the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war. Hinder those who want to harm your brothers. The best thing you can do is to strive to do your best and kill any disbeliever, whether he be French, American or from any of their allies."

Over swirls of teargas and blankets of pepper spray that covered Hong Kong, the humble umbrella has become a vital defense tool for Occupy Central protesters, rapidly growing into the rally’s new symbol and an inspiration for viral posts on the web.

Hong Kong’s weeklong student sit-in is turning into an “Umbrella Revolution” as Twitter has been deluged with a flood of protesters shielding themselves with umbrellas from clouds of teargas.

The umbrella trend caught on like wildfire, especially when it was learned that some 78 people were arrested, ranging from 16 to 58 years old.

But the violent confrontation did not deter the protesters, as tens of thousands again convened in central Hong Kong on Monday to rally for the right to elect their city’s executive by universal suffrage.

Sunday’s pictures have gone viral online as the protest enters its second week and the second day since clashes with police.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

PM Netanyahu Speaks To UN

Joel Rosenberg: Netanyahu At UN Warns 'Militant Islam Is On The March' From Hamas To ISIS, But Greatest Threat Is A Nuclear Armed Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the opening Fall session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday by noting that “militant Islam is on the march” and warning the leaders of the world that “to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle and lose the war.”
The Israeli premier cast the recent war with Hamas as part of the broader Radical Islamic jihad that is sweeping across the region from Gaza to Syria to Iran. But he stated that the greatest threat to his country and the world was a nuclear armed Iranian regime, or one that could rapidly produce nuclear warheads.
Netanyahu said he sees a new alignment of interests between Israel and moderate Arab nations in the region, and suggested such a realignment — involving common threats from ISIS, Hamas and an Iranian nuclear power — could help lead to a sustainable peace deal with the Palestinians.
“I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people,” Netanyahu told his fellow presidents and prime ministers.
He reached out to “Cairo, Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere,” noted the Times of Israel, and asserted that a rapprochement with Israel by such Arab players could in turn yield a peace agreement with the Palestinians, which, he also said, “will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise.”
“Israel wants to transform our common interests with moderate Arab states to a partnership that can facilitate peace with Palestinians.”

Here are some of the key lines from the address that caught my attention:
  • “To defeat ISIS & leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle & lose the war.”
  • “ISIS & Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. They share the same fanatical creed.”
  • “The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith.”
  • “Militant Islam is on the march. It’s not militants. It’s not Islam. It’s militant Islam.”
  • “What would your countries do if thousands of rockets were fired at your cities?”
  • “You wouldn’t let terrorists fire rockets at your cities with impunity.”
  • “Hamas deliberately put its rockets in hundreds of residential areas.”
  • “Israel was using its missiles to protect its children. Hamas was using its children to protect its missiles.”
  • “No other country and no other army in history has gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemy.”
  • “Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. Israel did everything to minimize Palestinian casualties.”
  • “Allowing Iran to reach nuclear capabilities will pose the greatest threat to us all.”
  • “A broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate Israeli-Palestinian peace.”
  • “Israel is prepared to work with Arab partners to confront dangers and seize opportunities.”
  • “There is a new Middle East. It presents new dangers but also new opportunities.”
  • “In any peace agreement I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself by itself.”
  • “The UNHCR has betrayed its noble mission to protect the innocent. The Human Rights Council has become the Terrorist Rights Council.”
  • Quoting Scripture: “For the sake of Zion I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still.”

There were no gimmicks. Few excruciating one-liners. Just a single visual aid: a photograph of three children in Gaza at play right next to a rocket launcher.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a no-nonsense address to the United National General Assembly on Monday — presenting himself as the leader of a “proud and unbowed” nation, charged with the “awesome responsibility” of ensuring his much-threatened people’s future in a brutal, unstable region.

But the outlook he presented was immensely grim, nonetheless. His bitter overview, he said toward the end of his remarks, “may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it is the truth. And the truth must always be spoken, especially here in the United Nations.”
As spoken by Netanyahu, the truth is that “militant Islam is on the march,” that its ambitions are global, and that all its many, sometimes competing factions are “branches of the same poisonous tree.” Thus it is ridiculous and self-defeating for countries to support the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State but criticize Israel for tackling Hamas. If not stopped in its tracks, he indicated, Islamic extremism would come for everyone.
The truth, as further set out by the prime minister, is that the most potent such example of globally ambitious militant Islam is what he took pains to call “the Islamic state of Iran,” which has been seeking to export its revolution for 35 years and must be denied the nuclear weapons to further its radical cause. Just as world powers would not let IS enrich uranium, build a heavy water reactor or develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, so Iran must not be allowed to “do those things either,” he insisted. “To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war,” he declared — a point he considered so fundamental that he repeated the sentence.

The truth, Netanyahu asserted too, is that Israel has faced “libelous charges” of deliberately killing civilians in its war against Hamas terrorism this summer, when in fact “no other country and no other army in history” had gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemy. The IDF, he declared, “upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world… Israel’s soldiers deserve not condemnation but admiration. Admiration from decent people everywhere.”

It is Hamas, said Netanyahu, that committed war crimes. It is Hamas, not Israel, that the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should have singled out for castigation from the same UN podium last Friday, and it is Hamas that the UN should be investigating. Indeed, by focusing its bias on Israel, he charged, the UN’s Human Rights Council was “sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere” — to use civilians as human shields. The UN Human Rights Council “has thus become a terrorists’ rights council,” he lamented.

For Netanyahu, that UN bias was just one dire manifestation of another awful truth — the revival of the disease of anti-Semitism, as reflected in calls from “mobs in Europe” for the gassing of Jews, and some national leaders making foul comparisons of Israel to the Nazis. “This is not a function of Israel’s policies. It’s a function of diseased minds. And that disease has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism,” he said. “It is now spreading in polite society, where it masquerades as legitimate criticism of Israel.”

Having fumed since Friday at Abbas’s accusation that Israel committed “genocide” in Gaza this summer, Netanyahu batted the charge away here in just a few angry sentences. The Jewish state was being demonized with “the apartheid libel” and allegations of genocide, he said in horror. “In what moral universe,” he asked, did warning the enemy’s civilian population to get out of the way, ensuring humanitarian aid, and setting up a field hospital to aid the enemy’s wounded, constitute genocide? “The same moral universe,” he answered, in which Abbas could level his accusations from the UN podium. The genocide charge, he also noted, had been made by the selfsame Palestinian leader who, as a student, produced “a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust” and who now insists upon “a Palestine free of Jews — Judenrein.”
If Abbas’s speech left little prospect of future dealings with Netanyahu, the prime minister made clear in those few sentences that he will not be inclined to interact any further with Abbas.
The next truth as delivered by Netanyahu was, like it or not, that the Middle East has changed for the worse in recent years, that states were “disintegrating,” that Islamic militant groups had filled the vacuum when Israel left Gaza and South Lebanon, and thus that Israel had heightened concerns about territorial concessions in the future. Israel simply could not tolerate IS within mortar range — the situation that would prevail if Islamic militants took control of the West Bank. And thus, under any peace agreement, he said, repeating a theme he had returned to several times during the summer, “I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”
There were some, he said — choosing to name no names, after months of friction with the US over West Bank security proposals — who “still don’t take Israel’s security concerns seriously. But I do,” said Netanyahu, “and I always will, because as prime minister of Israel I am entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the future of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.” And “no matter what pressure is brought to bear,” he pledged, “I will never waver in fulfilling that responsibility.”
In those phrases, Netanyahu vouchsafed his deepest truth of all — highlighting the sheer weight of the burden he feels he carries, albeit one he considers himself uniquely well-equipped to shoulder.
This passage came at the end of a speech that his critics at home and abroad, he knew, would immediately seize upon as defensive, stubborn and bleak. In Netanyahu’s worldview, however, he was merely being realistic, firm and clear-headed.