This is what we are fighting on Facebook today. Reblogged

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Reblogged This is a Facebook Post by  Anna Berg
This is what we are fighting on Facebook today. Please get involved (by clicking on Anna’s “going”) and SHSRE, SHARE, SHARE and get your friends to click as well. We need to help ourselves if we are to receive help. I don’t think Zuckerberg, (despite his Jewish background) gets how awful this is and how damaging allowing it is.. I don’t know why he doesn’t, but I hope we don’t et sidetracked in our conversation about this. Instead, I hope we can think of additional strategies to deal with the problem itself..
Anna Berg's photo.
Anna Berg's photo.
Anna Berg's photo.
Anna Berg's photo.
Anna Berg's photo.
Anna Berg's photo.
Anna Berg's photo.
Anna Berg's photo.
Anna Berg's photo.
I’m reposting these pics into one post so it’s easier for you to share. I think it’s difficult for people to believe that this is allowed on FB since Mark Zuckerberg is Jewish. Nevertheless, as you all know, it is, and we need to get that sad fact out! If you have any other photos/pages that you have reported but are still up, please post them here and I will update this collection when needed.Also, if you see anti-Semitic comments, please take a screen shot and post here (just look for a Hate Israel page and you’ll find plenty).

Thanks! Keep up the good work!

Like ·  · Share · 3 hours ago

David Brotsky: @ All Israel Supports Welcom. As long as you agree with my BS.

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David Brotsky

David Brotsky

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  3. PLEASE Share to protect those who Love Israel!If one looks closely at the #JIDF page, you’ll see lots of Bravado, lots of pandering for donations & postings of music.

    But the page has no substance. Zero successes in anything…once again, only bravado. All his efforts are to rally donations for his personal gratification.

    Do Not fall for hollow chants and fraudulent claims!!
    PLEASE Share Widely!

    Read all about the real creator of this Fraud and the JIDF at:
    http://www.israelandstuff.com/jidf-once-respected-now-a-platform-for-harassment-bullying-and-libel

    Photo: PLEASE Share to protect those who Love Israel!</p>
<p>If one looks closely at the #JIDF page, you'll see lots of Bravado, lots of pandering for donations & postings of music.</p>
<p>But the page has no substance. Zero successes in anything...once again, only bravado. All his efforts are to rally donations for his personal gratification.</p>
<p>Do Not fall for hollow chants and fraudulent claims!!<br />
PLEASE Share Widely!</p>
<p>Read all about the real creator of this Fraud and the JIDF at:<br />
http://www.israelandstuff.com/jidf-once-respected-now-a-platform-for-harassment-bullying-and-libel
    Like ·  · Share
  4. Don’t let the “J I D F” make a monkey out of YOU
    Photo: Don't let the "J I D F" make a monkey out of YOU
    2Like ·  · Share
  5. Because the #J‘Post disabled their Twitter feed, so I can’t exploit it, my 3 sockpuppets
    1. Elisheva@Baleboosteh,
    2. Daniella@thejewess
    3. Batya@batya_18now RT HAARETZ & Yahoo!

    JIDF Defamatory Spams Force Jerusalem Post to Remove Twitter Feed
    The internet site, inaccurately named the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF), is notorious in its extremely aggressive behavior with those who share opposing opinions. David Brotsky, the site’s creator, has opened…
    Like ·  · Share
  6. If you donate to the JIDF this could be you!
    Photo: If you donate to the JIDF this could be you!
    Like ·  · Share
  7. Like ·  · Share
  8. Liar Liar, pants on fire.
    Photo: Liar Liar, pants on fire.
    Like ·  · Share
  9. MORE incitement and hate against Jews and Israelis by the sole admin of the #JIDF (www.JewishInternetDefenseForce.org) Today & Yesterday the JIDF creator is celebrating with those in Gaza, the death of Prime Minister AND #IDF Hero (who saved Israel in war), Ariel Sharon.
    PLEASE UNFRIEND this #scumbag from his #Facebook page, #Twitter & #Google+Source from his page: https://www.facebook.com/thejidf/posts/10202073356107590?stream_ref=10

    The coward will probably delete the above once he realizes how heartless he was, so below is a screenshot as proof.

    Photo: MORE incitement and hate against Jews and Israelis by the sole admin of the #JIDF (www.JewishInternetDefenseForce.org) Today & Yesterday the JIDF creator is celebrating with those in Gaza, the death of Prime Minister AND #IDF Hero (who saved Israel in war), Ariel Sharon.<br />
PLEASE UNFRIEND this #scumbag from his #Facebook page, #Twitter & #Google+</p>
<p>Source from his page: https://www.facebook.com/thejidf/posts/10202073356107590?stream_ref=10</p>
<p>The coward will probably delete the above once he realizes how heartless he was, so below is a screenshot as proof.
    Like ·  · Share
    • Leschäm Mohr likes this.
    • David Brotsky Damn that “Israel and Stuff” for taking this screenshot! I was so enjoying dancing to “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” upon hearing of Sharon’s death! They just HAD to spoil it for me!!
    • Stephen Darori
  10. The internet site, inaccurately named the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF), is notorious in its extremely aggressive behavior with those who share opposing opinions.

    JIDF Defamatory Spams Force Jerusalem Post to Remove Twitter Feed
    The internet site, inaccurately named the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF), is notorious in its extremely aggressive behavior with those who share opposing opinions. David Brotsky, the site’s creator, has opened…
    11Like ·  · Share
  11. For refusing to denounce fellow activists for Israel, I have become a target by the JIDF. My name and the Israel and Stuff page is being libeled on Facebook, Twitter and the Internet.UPDATED Plus links to other victim’s stories of how the JIDF viciously attacked them!

    JIDF, once respected, now a platform for harassment, bullying & libel
    For refusing to denounce fellow activists for Israel, I have become a target by the JIDF. My name and the Israel and Stuff page is being libeled on Facebook, Twitter and the Internet. By Phillip Pasmanick,…
    Like ·  · Share

2013

  1. why does EVERYONE say such awful things about me????…well, except for my sockpuppets! And there’s a lot of them too!!
    Ripoff Report | Jewish Internet Defense Force Complaint Review Dallas, Texas: 1054064
    Jewish Internet Defense Force Complaint Review: Jewish Internet Defense Force aka David Appletree aka David Brotsky aka David Pitch Fraud, Libel, Slander, Computer…
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  2. ANOTHER victim of my lunacy and harassment tells his story.

    Founder Of The Jewish Internet Defense Force Threatens Murder And Vigilantism Against Dissenters
    thetrenches.us
    When persecution complex hits rock bottom it looks something like this. I’ve known of the founder of the Jewish Internet Defense Farce Force (JIDF), David Appletree (some say his real name is David Brotsky) for a…
    22Like ·  · Share
  3. This is a Petition to close my 17 Twitter accounts and 8 Facebook accounts,God Forbid!! Who would I have to talk too??!!

    DON’T you DARE sign this…if you do, I will hunt you down, send thousands of hateful emails to your parents, kids, siblings & your dog AND I’LL spread even more outrageous lies even you couldn’t imagine!

    Facebook, Google, Twitter: Ban David Brotsky aka David Appletree aka JIDF and aliases from using…
    David Brotsky aka David Appletree aka JIDF is dangerous to the community.
    1Like ·  · Share
  4. I know LOTS of people have reported me to the FBI, but the money I swindle from my supporters is chump-change, for God’s Sake!!

    FBI Investigating JIDF, David Brotsky For Hacking, Fraud, Harassment
    Will Africa fall to Islamic Jihad?Israel: Canada An Example To Global Democracy In Cutting Diplomatic Ties With IranDoing Business – seeking more leads in the Jewish world?
    Like ·  · Share
  5. How did he figure out I’m also known as Pete?? pasmanik plastered this 50 times on Twitter…. every time I hassled one of his followers.
    Photo: How did he figure out I'm also known as Pete?? pasmanik plastered this 50 times on Twitter.... every time I hassled one of his followers.
    Like ·  · Share
  6. Follow me on any of my aliases on Twitter.
    I use them all to Harass & Discredit anyone who:1) Exposes my scam
    2) Retweets something by Phillip Pasmanick
    3) Argues with me because they don’t believe my lies
    4) Supports the Israel and Stuff page

    Photo: Follow me on any of my aliases on Twitter.<br />
I use them all to Harass & Discredit anyone who:</p>
<p>1) Exposes my scam<br />
2) Retweets something by Phillip Pasmanick<br />
3) Argues with me because they don't believe my lies<br />
4) Supports the Israel and Stuff page
    3210Like ·  · Share
  7. HERE is a perfect example of how the #JIDF #FRAUD & #Scam works on his #Jewish & pro #Israel page!!First the JIDF makes its phoney claims.
    Then he changes into another account of his to ‘Share’
    Then he changes into even another account to ‘Like’

    This gives an unsuspecting viewer the impression it’s legit.

    Photo: HERE is a perfect example of how the #JIDF #FRAUD & #Scam works on his #Jewish & pro #Israel page!! </p>
<p>First the JIDF makes its phoney claims.<br />
Then he changes into another account of his to 'Share'<br />
Then he changes into even another account to 'Like'</p>
<p>This gives an unsuspecting viewer the impression it's legit.
    311Like ·  · Share
  8. what kind of moron believes this shit?
    We’re infiltrating, monitoring, and documenting the online activities of Israel haters, antisemites, Islamic terrorists, & their supporters.
    2Like ·  · Share
  9. Yep…all true….My site is boring……
    No need to follow anyone who seeks out Jews to attack! Please Report: https://www.facebook.com/thejidfThese guys at the #JIDF (MPD – one guy, 24 aliases lol) needs to just go away and leave the pro-Israel activists alone!
    I guess, ‘back in the day’ it was a Job, ‘Well Done’….but NOW, the groups I’m in get hate pages closed on a daily basis.

    Want to REALLY Help??….Join these two groups: https://www.facebook.com/TheyCant – They don’t brag….they just do the job!!

    This group does more in ONE day, than the #JIDF does in 3 YEARS! https://www.facebook.com/HelpReportHateAntiSemiticPages

    Just REMEMBER….#JIDF was created and run by a hateful bully & expert panderer.

    Photo: No need to follow anyone who seeks out Jews to attack! Please Report: https://www.facebook.com/thejidf</p>
<p>These guys at the #JIDF (MPD - one guy, 24 aliases lol) needs to just go away and leave the pro-Israel activists alone!<br />
I guess, 'back in the day' it was a Job, 'Well Done'....but NOW, the groups  I'm in get hate pages closed on a daily basis.</p>
<p>Want to REALLY Help??....Join these two groups: https://www.facebook.com/TheyCant  - They don't brag....they just do the job!!</p>
<p>This group does more in ONE day, than the #JIDF does in 3 YEARS! https://www.facebook.com/HelpReportHateAntiSemiticPages</p>
<p>Just REMEMBER....#JIDF was created and run by a hateful bully & expert panderer.
    31Like ·  · Share
  10. Has anyone notice the #JIDF is being deserted by hundreds of their followers?I guess you can’t fool all of them all of the time. Those with common sense are waking up!

    Along with their incessant pandering, the #JIDF is notorious for their bullying. They’re known for repeatedly sending harassing emails to those to oppose their point of view. The JIDF has GONE AGAINST William Daroff, AJC, ZOA, Birthright, Israel21c, Israel News Agency, IsraelandStuff.com, Hatikvah and SO MANY OTHER pro- #Israel, pro- #Jewish advocates like me, and the almost defunct org,:http://www.actforisrael.org/.The JIDF defames, hassles and libels pro-Israel activists on their webpage, and their many #Facebook and #Twitter accounts. People need to know the depth of it’s cyber-terrorism.

    PLEASE – WARN your Friends!

    REMEMBER – They ARE NOT a Charity!! They are NOT associated with ANY Israeli Charity.

    Photo: Along with their incessant pandering, the #JIDF is notorious for their bullying. They're known for repeatedly sending harassing emails to those to oppose their point of view. The JIDF has GONE AGAINST William Daroff, AJC, ZOA, Birthright, Israel21c, Israel News Agency, IsraelandStuff.com, Hatikvah and SO MANY OTHER pro- #Israel, pro- #Jewish advocates like me, and the almost defunct org,: http://www.actforisrael.org.</p>
<p>The JIDF defames, hassles and libels pro-Israel activists on their webpage, and their many #Facebook and #Twitter accounts. People need to know the depth of it's cyber-terrorism.</p>
<p>PLEASE - WARN your Friends!  </p>
<p>REMEMBER - They ARE NOT a Charity!! They are NOT associated with ANY Israeli Charity.
    4Like ·  · Share
  11. #Israel Even after being warned in advance @JIDF remained silent while thousands launched internet attacks on the #Jewishhomeland today. Proof they were warned in advance are here:http://is.gd/LQu54m and here: http://is.gd/SeqcZn
    Zero effort was made by Jewish Internet Defense Force to counter this #opBOYCOTTisrael campaign or warn others in advance.
    They failed to defend the Jewish homeland o…See more
    1Like ·  · Share
  12. The bumbling bozo of the #JIDF has almost 300,000 ‘Friends’ after 5 years and has to use his aliases to come and make comments, ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ to generate movement on any of his pages.The JIDF is a #Fraud who post crap when not attacking Israel activists or posting self-promoting BS to attain illicit donations!

    A disgusting example of a #Jew and an embarrassment to pro-#Israel activism.

    Photo: The bumbling bozo of the #JIDF has almost 300,000 'Friends' after 5 years and has to use his aliases to come and make comments, 'Likes' and 'Shares' to generate movement on any of his pages.</p>
<p>The JIDF is a #Fraud who post crap when not attacking Israel activists or posting self-promoting BS to attain illicit donations!</p>
<p>A disgusting example of a #Jew and an embarrassment to pro- #Israel activism.
    5Like ·  · Share
  13. This article was written by a real anti-Semite, but in this case, knows what he was talking about as he EXPOSES the creator of the #JIDF who was lying about his identity:AGAIN…the author is NO friend of Israel or the Jews!

    David Brotsky’s Romance With Guns, Violence and Pro-Israel Hate
    A year ago or so I exposed the identity of the founder of the Jewish Internet Defense Force (Wikipedia article). David Brotsky, aged 37, lives in Dallas, TX (and appears…
    Like ·  · Share
  14. The #JIDF has branched out to Linkedin.com for more…new suckers!Help your friends from falling victim to this ‘sweet talkin’ Fraud & Please Share!

    Photo: The #JIDF has branched out to Linkedin.com for more...new suckers!</p>
<p>Help your friends from falling victim to this 'sweet talkin' Fraud & Please Share!
    Like ·  · Share
  15. Who told Felicia Grossman? As soon as I find out….I’m gonna block them!
    Photo: Who told Felicia Grossman? As soon as I find out....I'm gonna block them!
    Like ·  · Share
  16. I have begun saying Pasmanick called for a ‘violent Jihad’ against us.
    https://www.facebook.com/thejidf/posts/10152031231368142?comment_id=31119691&offset=0&total_comments=15Even though he hasn’t, I don’t care….what’s another #Lieamongst thousands??

    Photo: I have begun saying Pasmanick called for a 'violent Jihad' against us.<br />
https://www.facebook.com/thejidf/posts/10152031231368142?comment_id=31119691&offset=0&total_comments=15</p>
<p>Even though he hasn't, I don't care....what's another #Lie amongst thousands??
    Like ·  · Share
  17. Hey…the thumb is pointing in the wrong direction! Who moved it??
    Photo: Hey...the thumb is pointing in the wrong direction!   Who moved it??
    1Like ·  · Share
  18. Who’s investigating me?????
    FBI Investigating JIDF, David Brotsky For Hacking, Fraud, Harassment
    Will Africa fall to Islamic Jihad?Israel: Canada An Example To Global Democracy In Cutting Diplomatic Ties With IranDoing Business – seeking more leads in the Jewish…
    12Like ·  · Share
  19. ALERT! Please READ, LIKE and SHARE if you support Israel and are against antisemitism, terrorism, Holocaust denial, and the harassment, defamation, and breach of privacy, safety, and security of Jews and Israel supporters!
    Photo: ALERT! Please READ, LIKE and SHARE if you support Israel and are against antisemitism, terrorism, Holocaust denial, and the harassment, defamation, and breach of privacy, safety, and security of Jews and Israel supporters!
    11Like ·  · Share
  20. Yea…and if your for pizza, beer, cigarettes & beating off too!
    ALERT! Please READ, LIKE and SHARE if you support Israel and are against antisemitism, terrorism, Holocaust denial, and the harassment, defamation, and breach of privacy, safety, and security of Jews and Israel supporters!http://is.gd/pasfraud

    2Like ·  · Share
  21. Now I’m being called a ‘fool’ on that Israel & Stuff page because I lie & use hate to discredit him!What nerve!!!!! The Palestinians do it all the time!

    Like ·  · Share
  22. I just saw this on Philip PasManiac’s page, calling my group the,
    Jewish Imbecile Defending Fraud.Who the hell is he calling an imbecile????

    Like ·  · Share
  23. Everything you need to know about me…but, shuuuuush (it’s a secret!)
    Ripoff Report | Jewish Internet Defense Force Complaint Review Dallas, Texas: 1054064
    Jewish Internet Defense Force Complaint Review: Jewish Internet Defense Force aka David Appletree aka David Brotsky aka David Pitch Fraud, Libel, Slander, Computer…
    1Like ·  · Share
  24. sooooo funny, since he’s not a real person! He’s ME!!!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:DavidAppletree

    Photo: sooooo funny, since he's not a real person! He's ME!!!</p>
<p>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:DavidAppletree
    2Like ·  · Share
  25. hahahahahah yea, they call me Brotsky, David Brotsky~
    Have you ever been accused of being a “JIDF agent?” If so, it means you’re doing something right!
    1Like ·  · Share
  26. Who believes this shit??
    Want to learn about #JIDF‘s effectiveness? Simply search for “JIDF” on any antisemitic or jihadist forum, or even popular forums, I’m general. Right now, someone who is pro-Israel and against antisemitism is being suspected of bring a “JIDF agent!” Have you ever been accused? If do, you’re doing good work!
    1Like ·  · Share
  27. 3Like ·  · Share

Why they don’t want you to know Arabic

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Education Minister Shay Piron doesn’t want school kids to learn Arabic. Of course, he doesn’t say this out loud, and if he is asked about it, not only would he not deny it, but he would also pratter on about how important it is to speak Arabic and how learning the language would serve as a cultural bridge and blah, blah, blah, just like the minister knows how to do.

In practice, though, he doesn’t want us to learn Arabic. He wants Arabic studies to last no longer than three years so that he could slash the budgets allocated to teaching the language.

Could this reform be part of the new policy introduced recently by the Education Ministry, which seems to be encouraging kids towards ignorance while teaching them a whole lot of nothing? At the same time, it is worth wondering whether there is anything special about learning Arabic.

It appears that there is. Whoever knows Arabic is likely to listen to Arab news media, surf Palestinian websites, and read Arabic newspapers. Then they are likely to discover the truth: the other side is awash with such a virulent stream of anti-Semitic racism that all talk of peace here is delusional.

The party to which the education minister belongs is entrenched firmly in what is inexplicably referred to as “the peace camp.” Knowing the Arabic language is anathema to this camp. The more Arab-language speakers there are, the less supporters.

Thus spake Abu Mazen

“The woman known as ‘the Maiden of Ludmir,’ Hannah Rachel Verbermacher, who became famous because of her outstanding studiousness and her becoming the only female rebbe in the history of the Hasidic movement, was, of course, a Palestinian.”

(Mahmoud Abbas, a doctor in history, from his book “How the Palestinians Created the World”)

Segmenting society

Polls in Israel consistently show that most Mizrahi Jews are on the Right side of the political spectrum, while a large chunk of Ashkenazim lean toward the Left. There are sociologists who have nurtured ridiculous theories in order to explain this state of affairs. The only thing they overlook is the most basic fact: a large chunk of Mizrahim speak Arabic.

Now, perhaps, just perhaps, that this is what lies beneath one of John Kerry’s bluffs, the one that says that a peace deal with the Palestinians would include monetary compensation for Jews kicked out of Muslim countries.

This is a bold-faced lie, and Kerry knows it. The agreement on which he is working, if it is ever signed, will be between Israel and the Palestinians. It won’t be with Iraq. It won’t be with Egypt. it won’t be with Syria or with Yemen. They won’t be party to the agreement, and they won’t pay billions. This conflict isn’t theirs.

Let us assume for a moment that they persuaded Syria to pay compensation. Where would the money come from? From hemorrhaging Yemen? An Iraq in ruins? Will it come from Egypt, where tens of millions of their citizens don’t know from where they’re going to get their next dry slice of bread?

Kerry knows that in the best case scenario, it’s a media fabrication for purposes of spin. In the worst case scenario, it’s a bluff. So why did he say it? Here’s a wild guess, which is certainly not true but in any case is worth mentioning just so that it’s clear what didn’t happen.

One day, one of Kerry’s advisers walked into his room and explained to him how Israeli society was structured and which of our various groupings are on the political right. “Jews love money. Should we try to buy them?” he asked one of his aides.

Again, we should emphasize that it is inconceivable for this to be a motivating factor in creating this compensation bluff.

Abu Mazen strikes again

“Three-thousand years prior to the Israelis, the Palestinians had already given the world the Patrick Kim pulp fiction series of books and they had documented the first-ever prescription for a congealed leg.”

(Abu Mazen, from his book “The Dawn of Humanity”)

Questions that will never be asked

Achinoam Nini, if you refuse to go on stage alongside a person who can’t stand homosexuals, then how is it that you performed in front of the pope?

Yisrael Shiran and Esti Brand, two individuals who were fired from the Education Ministry because of harboring right-wing views, will you agree to have your photo taken for the front-page of Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth?

Dear Sudanese migrant, if Israel is such a racist country, why are you fighting to stay here?

John Kerry, could you ask Mr. Obama what he would think about a proposal that would ban blacks from living in eastern Washington, DC? What about Jews in east Jerusalem?

Dear justice minister, as part of the campaign pushed by your ministry against racism and discrimination, will you also demand that Jews be permitted to pray on Temple Mount?

A reminder from Abu Mazen

“The Palestinian immigrants drained the swamps by planting eucalyptus trees. In short time, clashes erupted between the Palestinian pioneers and the clerks of Hebron.”

(Abu Mazen, from his book, “The Palestinian Pioneers”)

Trouble at home

On the order of the grand rebbe of Satmar, this Hassidic dynasty has begun a campaign against the Whatsapp application. They have a catchy slogan for their campaign: Press 1 for destroying the house.

It’s interesting to note that until now I was certain that Ariel Sharon destroyed more houses.

Just a minute, Abu Mazen is talking

“The Palestinians sat alone in the dark for at least 1800 years before the Poles.”

(Abu Mazen, from his book, “The Palestinians in the Krakow Ghetto”)

On the other hand

A photographer from another newspaper told me that Achinoam Nini asked him one time not to photograph her from the left, but to only get her right side. That’s because her left is the less photogenic side.

By chance, Achinoam Nini showed off her left side this week. She’s right. It really doesn’t look all that great.

Abu Mazen is just getting started

“Even Mordechai the Jew, Rabbi Shalom Shabazi, Hershele Ostropoler, and The Flying Matchmaker were all Palestinians.”

(Dr. Abu Mazen, from his book, “Gideon Levy Reveals”)

What do they want?

Last year, two ultra-Orthodox members of Knesset threatened that if this “wicked government” continued in its ways, they will not agree to accept budgets from the state. This week, the High Court of Justice took them up on their offer. What exactly is wrong with this?

One more

“The Palestinians arrived on the scene 2,000 years before the Palestinians.”

(Abu Mazen, from his book, “Conversations with Ilan Lukach”)

Jacob Zuma The Cost Cutter… vote for anyone else

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Jacob Zuma accused of corruption ‘on a grand scale’ in South Africa

Opposition say president should be investigated if preliminary findings that he misspent huge sums of public money are upheld



Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma’s aides said they ‘cannot comment on a report that his not been handed to us’. Photograph: Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

Opposition parties have accused President Jacob Zuma of being at the centre of one of the biggest corruption scandals in democratic SouthAfrica, after reports that millions of rand of taxpayers’ money were spent on a swimming pool and other facilities at his private home.

Zuma was accused of deceiving parliament about the expense and scope of the security upgrade to his residence in a scathing draft report by the country’s anti-graft watchdog, entitled ‘Opulence on a Grand Scale’, that was leaked to the Mail & Guardian newspaper. Opposition parties said that, if the findings are upheld in the final report, the president should face a parliamentary investigation with the potential to lead to his impeachment.

The scandal over state-sponsored construction at Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, a modest rural town in KwaZulu-Natal province, has been rumbling since a December 2009 article in the Mail & Guardian about a 65m rand (£3.9m) “splurge” there.

The cost soared in the intervening years to 215m rand, with a further 31m rand in works outstanding, triggering intense media scrutiny and public condemnation, as well as an investigation by official public protector Thuli Madonsela. The acrimony over “Nkandlagate” has intensified in recent weeks as ministers went to court in an attempt to block the release of her report, while newspapers published photos of the home in defiance of a government warning that this might break security laws.

Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home 4/11/13Villagers’ huts in front of security fencing surrounding Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home. Photograph: Rogan Ward/ReutersThen came Friday’s Mail & Guardian with a front-page cartoon depicting Zuma floating on a swimming pool full of cash. The paper published details of Madonsela’s provisional report, saying she found that Zuma had derived “substantial” personal gain from the security upgrade at “enormous cost” to the taxpayer, and that he must repay the state.

Officials have repeatedly sought to justify the millions spent on Nkandla, insisting it was essential to provide Zuma with security befitting a head of state. But according to Madonsela, the improvements included a visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, cattle enclosure, marquee area, extensive paving, new houses for relocated relatives and a swimming pool – referred to in official documents as a “fire pool” on the pretext it could double up as a water reservoir for firefighting purposes.

The Mail & Guardian estimated that these facilities added up to 20m rand (£1.2m) of taxpayers’ money – a striking revelation in a country where the average black-headed household earns 5,051 rand (£302) a month.

In what “may be Zuma’s greatest embarrassment since taking office”, the paper added, Madonsela recommends that parliament call him to account for violating the executive ethics code on two counts: failing to protect state resources, and misleading parliament for suggesting he and his family had paid for all structures unrelated to security.

Zuma told parliament a year ago: “All the buildings and every room we use in that residence was built by ourselves as family and not by government.”

The report also said Zuma ordered that his private architect be drafted in as “principal agent” to oversee the upgrade, even though he was not a security expert. This led to an “uncontrolled creep” of the project and eightfold increase in the cost, with elements such as an underground bunker going way over budget.

The 215m rand spent on Zuma’s home is in stark contrast to state money spent on improving the security of previous presidents, the Mail and Guardian said. FW de Klerk, South Africa‘s last white president, who left office in 1994, received 236,000 rand (£14,179) for upgrades to his house, while 32m rand (£1.9m) was spent on Nelson Mandela’s home.

The opposition Democratic Alliance said the provisional findings contained in the report “are so damning that, if accurate, they would warrant the most severe sanction of president Jacob Zuma’s conduct“.

Lindiwe Mazibuko, its parliamentary leader, said she would consider tabling a parliamentary motion to investigate Zuma. “As more and more details surrounding Nkandlagate emerge, it is becoming increasingly clear that President Zuma is at the centre of one of the biggest corruption scandals in democratic South Africa,” she said. “He must be accordingly held accountable by parliament for his actions.”

Thabo Leshilo, a spokesman for Agang SA, said the facilities “were purely intended to ensure the president and his family can live in the lap of luxury at taxpayers’ expense”.

He added: “President Zuma should pay back every rand of public money improperly spent on making him live like the monarchy he fancies himself to be, which is out of kilter with the behaviour expected to the head of government in a constitutional democracy accountable to the public.”

Zuma’s political career has been littered with scandals. More than 700 corruption, fraud, money-laundering and racketeering charges against him were dropped shortly before his election in 2009. The following year he fathered a child out of wedlock. But the Nkandlagate saga has particular resonance in a nation whose elite are often accused of betraying the principles of the liberation struggle and showing disregard for the poor. It could also define his presidency just six months before a national election.

Justice Malala, a political commentator, said: “It’s going to be the main motif of the election. Every single politician in the opposition will grab the microphone to say ‘Nkandla’ and that will say it all. It’s going to be a big liability for the ANC and it will run and run.”

On Friday Madonsela condemned the leaking of her draft report as unlawful. She is yet to give the interested and affected parties, including Zuma, a right to reply, which may affect her final findings.

Jackson Mthembu, national spokesman for the ANC, urged South Africans to show restraint until the final report is published, adding: “As the ANC, we continue to have confidence in our president and we believe and know that he is not responsible for any wrongdoing with regard to the Nkandla security upgrade.”

A source close to Zuma said: “We cannot comment on a report that has not been handed to us. I think this is on the edge of undermining the justice system.”

The economist who predicted the financial crisis just sounded another alarm—it would be wise to listen this time

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The economist who predicted the financial crisis just sounded another alarm—it would be wise to listen this time

By Manuel Hinds September 22, 2013

Manuel Hinds is El Salvador’s former finance minister. He also has worked with the World Bank in the public and private sector. In 2010, he won the Manhattan Institute’s Hayek Prize.

Raghuram Rajan, left, was not afraid to take on Alan Greenspan. And now, he’s sounding another clarion call as India’s new central banker. Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

In his first official act as the new governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Raghuram Rajan raised the benchmark interest rate from 7.25 to 7.5%, causing a ripple of surprise in financial circles and eliciting protests from various business representatives. But for people who know the current condition of emerging markets and Rajan’s professional trajectory, this was not surprising, at all.

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Rajan has no qualms about staging such challenges. In 2005, Rajan was chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and attended the top central bankers’ get together in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to present a paper on how the financial sector had evolved during Alan Greenspan’s era.  As Rajan later described the meeting, which was to be Greenspan’s last, in his book Fault Lines: “Some of the papers in the conference, in keeping with the Greenspan-era theme, focused on whether Alan Greenspan was the best central banker in history, or just among the best.”

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Not Rajan. He argued that under Greenspan, incentives had been artificially skewed in favor of the managers of the financial system, which reaped millenary rewards if things went fine but paid very little, if at all, when things turned sour. And he added that things were likely to turn sour because the skewed incentives were offering incentive to those managers to take excessive risks. He then focused on the “credit default swaps” which promised to repay delinquent loans in exchange for moderate insurance premiums. Noting that nobody really knew how repay delinquent loans in exchange for moderate insurance premiums Rajan said that the banks were probably taking excessive risks because they trusted that the insurer would repay them. In these circumstances, a sudden increase in defaulting loans could exceed the reserves of the insurer, leading to a financial crisis. This is exactly what happened two years later, leading to the 2008 financial crisis.

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His warning was not well received.  Many people thought that Rajan didn’t understand modern finance. As it turned out, he understood it all too well—and it was those who looked down on him who did not.

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Now Rajan has issued another warning by increasing the benchmark rate in India, shortly after the US Federal Reserve decided to keep on buying $85 billion of securities per month under its quantitative easing 3 program, to the general happiness of financial sector managers and traders. The Fed’s announcement spurred an immediate mini-boom in all financial instruments. The day after the announcement, I published an article in Quartz in which I argued that the current high rate of monetary creation and the extremely low interest rates caused by QE3 are unsustainable and that, sooner than later, interest rates are bound to increase. I argued further that the long prevalence of extremely low interest rates is likely to be creating the conditions for a serious financial crisis; all the economic activities that are profitable due to low rates will become unprofitable and will not be able to repay their obligations.

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For this reason, it is necessary to prepare for such eventuality. This is what Rajan is doing by increasing interest rates in India, by easing the appetite for unsustainable activities that can survive only with low rates. The Financial Times quotes his rationale: “Let us remember that postponement of tapering is only that—a postponement…Let’s not lose the chance, the warning that we have been given, because this is going to come back and what we need to do is put our house in order before.”

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This is a warning that the entire global economy should take seriously.  Not just other emerging markets.

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What can be done in this situation? In emerging markets, central banks should start increasing interest rates now that it can be done very gradually. Higher interest rates would deter investment in unsustainable activities and attract funds to more solid ventures. Moreover, they would help in sHigher interest rates would deter investment in unsustainable activities and attract funds to more solid ventures that are seeking higher rates in the United States, and alleviating the trend toward currency devaluations, which are only accelerating those outflows. The postponement of the interest rates increases in the United States will allow these countries to go through the adjustment process in a gradual way. In a crisis, interest rates are raised in leaps, which causes considerable more damage to the economy.

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Individual investors should see ahead of the curve, noticing that a world of higher interest rates looms. People now holding the kind of assets that would experience a sharp fall if interest rates go up should get out of them, particularly if these investments are burdened with fixed obligations that will not be reduced as interest rates go up. Of course, this is the kind of advice that cannot be useful for everybody at the same time. Aggregate losses cannot be avoided. Someone will have to absorb them because, as interest rates go up, the prices of the assets will go down. If you sell your assets before prices fall, for example, it is the buyer who will have to take the loss. This is the price that society has to pay for having unsustainably low interest rates for a long time.

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Rajan’s warning is just one of the many that point to higher interest rates in the near future.

Congress Is the Biggest Risk to the Economy

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Congress Is the Biggest Risk to the Economy

It sure would have been great to hear Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke start last week’s press conference like this: “Sorry toc psych you out, but Congress is the biggest risk to the U.S. economy, so we have to keep buying $85 billion worth of bonds each month.”

Instead, Bernanke’s defense of the Fed’s monthly bond-buying program, fondly known as Quantitative Easing or “QE3,” included a three-pronged rationale: (1) the labor market remains weak, (2) the recent rise in interest rates could slow down the economy and (3) lawmakers in DC could throw everything for a loop if the government were to shut down or if the nation hits the debt ceiling in October.

Before diving into the three Fed concerns, let’s reflect on how Bernanke amped up investors’ anxieties with “taper talk”. During Congressional testimony on May 22, Bernanke discussed reducing bond purchases, saying:

If we see continued improvement and we have confidence that that’s going to be sustained then we could in the next few meetings… take a step down in our pace of purchases. If we do that it would not mean that we are automatically aiming towards a complete wind down. Rather we would be looking beyond that to see how the economy evolves and we could either raise or lower our pace of purchases going forward.”

Bottom line: if the economy were to improve, the Fed would pull back on its stimulus. After theJune FOMC meeting, Bernanke offered more specific parameters that would argue for a change in bond buying: when the national unemployment rate drops to 7 percent, it would indicate that the economy would have improved “substantially”, and that it would be appropriate to begin tapering within the next few meetings.

OK, so now into the Fed’s three worries.

1. The labor market remains weak. Despite dropping to 7.3 percent (from 8.1 percent when the Fed launched QE3), Bernanke is not convinced that all is rosy on the employment front. Maybe officials were spooked by the last three reports, which indicated that job creation slowed to 149,000 on average, from 172,000 in the previous three months or that long-term unemployment and broader unemployment remains too high.

2. The recent rise in interest rates could slow down the economy. There was some irony in Bernanke using rising interest rates as a reason to maintain bond buying: rates skyrocketed because HE started talking about pulling back on the program! But maybe rates rose higher and faster than the Fed had anticipated. Regardless, Bernanke is worried that higher interest rates “could slow the pace of improvement in the economy and labor market”. There was one other troubling issue with regard to interest rates: the biggest jump in rates occurred between June and July, but there was nary a mention of higher rates posing downside risk in the Fed’s statement from the July 30-31 meeting.

3. Lawmakers in DC could throw everything for a loop. Fiscal uncertainty appears to be the largest unknown that the central bank faces and what was likely the most important reason for holding firm on current policy. Although the Autumnal Equinox will have passed, the heat index is likely to soar in Washington DC next week, as lawmakers duke it out over two fiscal issues: the funding of the government and the debt ceiling. House GOP leaders led a successful effort to pass a bill (230-189) that keeps the government open for business, but eliminates funding of the Affordable Care Act. This week, the Senate is expected to restore ACA funding and then send a stand-alone continuing resolution to fund the government back to the House.

You can see how quickly this could get ugly and might lead to a partial government shutdown on October 1, the start of a new budget year. On top of the pesky issue of funding the government, the nation will likely reach the debt ceiling limit of $16.7 trillion in mid October.

The Fed likely learned a painful lesson from the summer 2011 debt ceiling showdown. The central bank had just concluded its second round of bond buying in June 2011 (the $600B QE2 started in August 2010) so there were no active policies in place when Congress went at it in August 2011. In the aftermath of the debt ceiling smack down, S&P lowered the US credit rating by a notch; economic growth was nearly halved, falling from 2.5 percent in Q2 to 1.3 percent in Q3; the stock market tumbled by 17 percent; and the Fed reacted by introducing “Operation Twist,” in an effort to keep longer-term interest rates low and to spur economic activity.

Sure, the labor market is a bit wobbly of late, but Bernanke himself noted some positive undercurrents, like an increase in hours worked and a drop in weekly claims; and yes, higher mortgage rates could slow the housing recovery. But most housing experts note that the recovery should remain in tact, thought the pace of price gains are likely to moderate.

Bernanke couldn’t say it, so I will: Congress is the biggest near-term risk to the U.S. economy.

 

Is Your Facebook Page Nothing More Than a Second Website?

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Is Your Facebook Page Nothing More Than a Second Website?

It’s totally understandable that you will have some duplicated content on both your main website and your Facebook page.  But please don’t have your Facebook page simply become a second website.  Your Facebook page is for recruiting and developing a community of interested followers.  It’s an opportunity for you to connect with them directly and for your followers to connect with each other.  So make that its primary purpose both in layout, content and administered use.  And cherish the relief from not having to always replicate your various website edits and content updates/additions onto your Facebook page.