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There is nothing like an election campaign to bring out Barack Obama’s cheerleading for Israel. Knowing that he needs to hold on to his support in the politically important Jewish-American constituency, President Obama is planning to deliver an address this Sunday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He is reportedly going to announce plans to visit Israel – his first since taking office. In short, as he gears up for his re-election campaign, Obama is seeking to prove his pro-Israel credentials.

Excuse me for my skepticism, but I have already been burnt once. I was present on June 4, 2008 when Illinois Senator Barack Obama delivered a stirring speech before AIPAC in which he expressed his unwavering support for Israel. The speech came the day after he secured enough delegates to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.

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I am always skeptical whenever anyone uses phrases like “big oil” or “big business” which are just code words for “evil capitalists.” Notice, those phrases never get used when talking about teachers unions (which actually give more money to lobbyists and political campaigns than “big oil”). The newest talking point to run around Washington D.C. and the cable networks has to do with “oil subsidies.” Rachel Maddow sternly rebuked the evil oil executives claiming they need to give up these lucrative subsidies and a cacophony of similar demands is rising from the Left and the Right.

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Incredibly, the U.S. Navy has decided to name a cargo ship after the guy who came up with the Obama campaign slogan, “Yes, we can!” That man is the late labor agitator and community organizer Cesar Chavez. Chavez’s union, the United Farm Workers, used the saying he coined as its official motto. (In Spanish, “¡Sí se puede!”)

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Last night I watched an incredibly moving documentary about the early civil rights movement in America in 1961. The film is based on Raymond Arsenault’s book about the many hundreds of young volunteers who faced savage beatings and possible death as they rode buses in an attempt to end Jim Crow racial segregation laws and practices. Directly by Stanley Nelson, the film shows us the extraordinary dignity and determination of the “freedom riders” whose courage inspired and guided even the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

These young people were mainly African-Americans, but they were also white, and both male and female. They dressed conservatively and were trained not to fight back—not even when they were being beaten by racist mobs wielding baseball bats, lead pipes, sharp instruments, deadly fists, and hearts filled with hate.

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The size of her breasts, the shape of her backside, and of course, her name. These are some of the details Le Monde, the French “journal de référence,” and its subsidiary Le Post published about the woman who says IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn groped her genitals and forced her to perform oral sex on him in a room at the Sofitel near Times Square.

France-Soir described the cut of her hotel maid uniform and how good she looks for a woman in her thirties, while France’s RMC radio reported that Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys were surprised by how “unattractive” she is.

And a bevy of friends and supporters rallied to the defense of Strauss-Kahn, a leading figure in the French Socialist Party, hoping to discredit his accuser lest she derail their plans for him to oust Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential elections.

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