Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Tale Of Two Speeches

There were two speeches given today that were of personal interest to me as both a Pennsylvanian and an Israeli. The local and international mix that I heard today was an interesting mix of “what are you thinking” and “what are we thinking”. As Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (in sheep’s clothing) took to the podium in Harrisburg I prepared for the former and as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approached the podium in Congress I couldn’t help but consider the latter. In both instances I was left with the feeling that there are too many people in this world and in politics in particular that are completely out to lunch. But let’s take one speech at a time…

Wolf’s address to the commonwealth was to explain the reasoning behind his 2015 budget. Specifically he stated that the budget would achieve the following:

It is a budget that reflects my conversations with many of you here today.
It includes democratic ideas, republican ideas, and ideas that exist beyond party lines.
It is rooted in the values of fairness, inclusion, and common sense.
It is a balanced budget, and it eliminates our $2.3 billion deficit.

However, his ‘rescuing’ of the middle class is not what it seems on the surface. While he is supposedly proposing a decrease in the state income and real estate taxes as well as the corporate tax rate, he is also looking to raise the sales tax, pull $1 billion from the burgeoning natural gas industry, and increase educational funding in the commonwealth from 35 to 50%. The last might be the most crippling to his theoretical ‘balanced budget’ in that the system is broken. We need to put the system in dry dock and find the cracks, holes, and weak points rather than buying more duct tape and hoping we stay afloat. While all this is supposedly going to save the average tax payer over $1000 per year I am betting that the opposite will be true (if we are lucky).

As much as Wolf’s declarations annoyed me, Netanyahu’s assertions inspired me. In the face of a hostile political play which has been in production for weeks, the Prime Minister took center stage and said what many of us were thinking… the President’s policy, his deal, is misguided and dangerous. While this excerpt from his speech doesn’t address the nuclear development in Iran, it does speak to the heart of the matter:

America's founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran's founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Iran's goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world's oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That's just last week, while they're having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran's attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real. 

Those who have opposed this speech and have questioned the opposition to Obama’s deal should take note of those two paragraphs. Iran is a threat to my people, Israelis and Americans alike, and we should recognize that reality rather than allowing a rogue regime continue to run rampant throughout the region. Such situations, when left unchecked or addressed without a firm resolve, can have a dire impact on the world not just the countries and people surrounding them. We should stand with our only true democratic ally in the region and prevent the terror from overtaking the world.