Share the Light

The Knesset, named after the ancient Great Assembly, Knesset HaGedolah, likewise composed of 120 members, is the parliament of the modern State of Israel. Its powers are virtually unquestioned, since the Constitutional Assembly which was supposed to compose and ratify a Constitution during the establishment of the state (according to the Declaration of Independence), instead enacted the Transition Law, in which the body renamed itself the Knesset and gave itself undefined and near unlimited powers as the state’s only and unicameral parliament.

A series of “Basic Laws” are supposed to function as a quasi-constitution until that issue is eventually settled.

Background – a Flawed System

The much touted “checks and balances” and three branches of government (as in the USA) do not exist. The Prime Minister, rather than heading the Executive, is a creature of the Knesset, being the minister leading the majority party or coalition of parties in the Knesset. The relationship between the High Court and the Knesset is unclear at best. What is left is a single chamber of 120 members, who, unbounded by constraints, decides everything from its own customs and procedures, the powers of the judiciary who review and apply its legislation, to who is the Prime Minister.

Ironically, the “executive” administration under the Prime Minister is extremely weak in this arrangement. He serves not only at the pleasure of the Knesset (which can remove him at any time trough a vote of no confidence), but typically must form a ruling coalition with other parties. The parties tend to lend their support for the ruling coalition in exchange for, among other things, cabinet minister seats. Thus, the ministers, rather than serving at the Prime Minister’s pleasure, as cabinet members do in the US, are often not only political adversaries to the Prime Minister with their own agendas but also often completely unqualified to head the Ministry they were given responsibility for (ie Amir Peretz as Minister of Defense during the recent Second Lebanon War).

These administrations are paralyzed in terms of a long term plan, or a comprehensive strategy that a country like Israel must have visa vi, the enemy states that surround it and other existential threats it faces. What normally exists is no more than a feuding cabinet barely held together by a Prime Minister constantly worried about his job, that rules “tit for tat” rather than strategically; the cabinet (rather publicly) meets after every development, be it a terrorist act, peace initiative or international pressure campaign to decide on Israel’s very next step, after which they must meet and vote again for any subsequent step. Often immediately after these meetings, the decision made is criticized by some cabinet members who presumably opposed it and were outvoted.

Though all this may sound somewhat familiar in European and other parliamentary governments, it would be shocking in the US, where Secretaries and Ministers are professionals, experts in their fields, who are heard only saying “The President believes…” and the “President this… ” and “The President that…”. Even when fired, they will publicly “resign” for personal reasons, and still praise the President (who will usually praise them back). In short, the Executive is a respected, powerful single team, with a single leader, who is able to formulate longer term strategies and plans, and when necessary, keep things confidential and “throw off” the media, the public and possible enemies who are listening.

This is true for the executive, that leads international diplomacy, treaties, war and peace, etc, but legislation in the US is another much more difficult matter. The party that controls the House of Representatives does not necessarily control the Senate, and even when it does, agreement between the two on bills is never simple. Even after both houses agree on a bill, the Executive who is also not necessarily from the same party controlling either chamber must sign off. And beyond all that, the scope of any bill can be challenged on constitutional grounds. So while the US has a fairly strong executive, legislation is relatively difficult to pass.

As mentioned above, some European nations find themselves with a system quite similar to Israel’s, but they are not surrounded by hostile nations populated by overwhelming numbers. They do not find themselves daily living with international onslaughts about their every move, and their very right to exist. In such cases, the weak executive is perhaps a lesser problem.

But in Israel what the Executive lacks in power, undoubtedly the legislative (the Knesset) more than makes up for in tyranny. Though the Prime Minister is helpless in trying to deal with Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, Iran, Israel’s hostile Arab neighbors or hostile Arab domestic population, the Knesset can do anything… it can pass laws all day long; it can even regulate popcorn at the Movies.

The simple majority in the 120 member Knesset can legislate anything. The Prime Minister is appointed by the very same simple majority, and the President holds a merely symbolic office. No constitution bars the way; the Basic Laws are established, annulled and amendment by the very same simple majority. True Parliamentary Supremacy. The Supreme Court, though much hailed or villainized, itself only exists due to an act of parliament.

Israel’s Popcorn Law Passed

Back to the Popcorn

Recently, we witnessed a glaring example what unbridled Parliamentary Supremacy can lead to. Pandering Populism of a kind that is normally reserved for warnings of what the “slippery slope” can lead to… in this case there is no reason to warn about the slippery slope; we have well slipped, and slid nearly all the way down. The Popcorn Law.

Talk about dumbed down populism, the bill’s father, Shama-Hacohen, actually said:

“We can see the new law as a kind of “Iron Dome”, that will protect the consumer.

Using the image of the popular high-tech Iron Dome Missile system that very expensively intercepts cheap flying tin cans (Kassam missiles) from Gaza to urban centers in Israel, Shama-Hacohen sinks to pretty new lows in describing his crappy bill.

We will treat this bill thoroughly, and give it a fair shot, from its philosophical and legal aspects to its economics (a price to be paid in long articles, no out of context soundbites here). To describe this embarrassing bill that passed the third reading in Knesset (a bill passing the third reading becomes law), let me simply quote one of the most vocal supporters of the bill, who shouted praises to it (and to himself and others responsible for getting it passed) on social networks.

The “Popcorn Bill” passed – They will no longer be able exploit us at theaters, concerts and sporting events.
You know how when you go to a movie or to a show they multiply the price of your outing because you want to drink Coke or eat popcorn and there is no alternative?

Have you visited the snack bar at performances or soccer games, where they charge exorbitant prices and a drink costs you twice as much as in the supermarket?

Now that’s over.
This phenomenon is called a “captive audience.”

Once you enter the stadium or the cinema the competition for food disappears, and that leads to outrageous prices.

This is a market failure, “a blockage in the pipeline,” and, like hundreds of other blockages, we are opening them.
Yesterday, the Economic Affairs Committee approved for the second and third readings the “Popcorn Bill” which eliminates the prohibition against bringing your own food and drink into entertainment areas.

Once the law takes effect you will be allowed to bring food and drinks from home.

The snack bars will understand the message quickly. Suddenly you will have real competition – yourselves. Your sandwich from home will compete with their popcorn, and prices will drop accordingly.
These are precisely the cases in which the state should intervene, in places where there are market failures, where there is exploitation of captive audiences.

I want to thank the people who helped advance this bill: The Commissioner of the Consumer Protection and Fair Trade Authority, Lawyer Tamar Pincus, and of course Committee Chairman MK Avishay Braverman.
For my wife’s birthday, Gilat and I went to see the movie “Philomena.” It is one of the more powerful films I’ve seen recently.

I highly recommend you watch this movie, and that you bring your own drinks.

In the US, one Joshua Thompson in Michigan filed a class action lawsuit (the original local article) against AMC (in 2012), with his attorney Kerry Morgan, and made worldwide headlines about the issue. In the US, the courts would have none of this nonsense, and the case was promptly and appropriately dismissed.

In socialist Israel one could say that this isn’t too surprising. Surely, the Labor unions, the Labor Party, Meretz (left of the Labor Party) or others could be concerned with something like this and tout it so eagerly as such a heroic victory over greedy capitalist exploiters of humanity (in this case, movie theater owners). I wish.

The words above are by none other than Mr. Naftali Bennett (and/or his team), and straight from his Facebook Page. Mr. Bennett, represents in Israel the right of the right; he represents the religions nationalist camp, a hawk when it comes to Arab issues, and a supporter of economic liberalization. And not talking here about the “normal” right which for the mainstream usually would mean the Likud party, but well right of the Likud, well into nearly “there is no more right beyond you right”, well into the camp demonized by the media; Mr. Bennett represents the right that a large section of the Jewish population in the West Bank supports (the “settlers”) and with an American background, a man whom one could expect understands the free market.

Just to illustrate, the leading newspaper Haaretz in Israel recently wrote this article about Bennet’s Party and Ayelet Shaked, one of the leading (and young) figures in the party:

Ayelet Shaked is gradually finding her place in the pantheon of the extreme right that has taken over the country.

Well there you have it… the “extreme right” taking over the country brings you…

Utter Leftist Communism.

In a nation where the “extreme right” jumps for joy (along with everyone else of course) at the passing of a bill regulating popcorn at the movies and demanding rights for this movie going “captive audience” being exploited by evil expensive-popcorn selling capitalists…. I think the fat lady has sung. And it has left me dumbfounded (but not speechless).
Avishay Baverman, Committe Chairman who Bennet praises here is a left wing Labor minister closely associated with the ignominious likes of Amir Peretz.

Now let me be clear, I respect Mr. Bennett. As a fighter in the nation’s super elite Sayeret Matkal, a man of principle, a successful businessman, a Zionist, and a patriot. He is fact one of the leaders in the current government which I most highly respect. So I cannot believe that the politics in this nation bring a man of this stature to the point that he is proud of legislating movie theater popcorn rules. His supported elected him to make sure Israel remains a Jewish state, not a communist one.

We often warn about the “slippery slope” of all the progressive thinking going around in recent years; if you think you have the right to housing, to education, to healthcare, etc etc merely by existing… there is no reason why you don’t end up thinking people are innately born with the right to be entertained by Brad Pitt in multi-million dollar productions while consuming inexpensive popcorn. Well, here it is.

This generation that knows neither freedom, nor personal responsibility, and knows the word “restraint” only as what you do when facing your enemies who want to kill you in order to be politically correct, but never what you do in taking your brother citizen’s liberty, property and rights, as long as it (seems to) benefits you is in a drastic political decline… the road to serfdom as a big man once put it.

Let’s have a quick look at this undeserving bill.

It was first brought to notoriety in 2010 by its sponsor Karmel Shama-Hacohen, a young attention loving and rather undistinguished Likud MK (who got the 27th seat reserved for a “youth” MK). By 2012, he had gotten the bill introduced and close to passing.

I will focus on movie theaters here for brevity’s sake, but the principles apply similarly to all venues the law is intended for. The principle of the matter is simple and straightforward. The movie theaters (and other venues the law applies to) are private property and private businesses. There is no reason why they should be forced to allow consumers with their own food onto their premises. Not only are they private businesses, but they provide things far from basic needs, the stuff that is the usual target of socialists (food, shelter, healthcare). You don’t have to go to the movie theater, nor once there, do you have to eat popcorn.

Alas.. one can easily imagine a government regulation heavily taxing the price of popcorn in order to decrease its consumption as part of its campaign against obesity, if not outright banning it as an unhealthy food for its citizens.  Ironically here the salty, oily, carb rich and vitamin poor popcorn is not only not being fought against by the all-knowing wise bureaucrats, but rather heralded as a basic right which cannot be infringed upon nor provided at anything but rock bottom low prices.

Additionally, this isn’t rocket science. As it is widely known, movie theaters make a large portion of their revenues from snacks and drinks. These in fact, subsidize the ticket prices. So this ridiculous bill will only raise ticket prices which ironically will hurt the lower income population of movie goers (along with everyone else) who currently could enjoy the lower ticket prices and NOT have to buy any snacks or drinks at the theater. I don’t know what kind of movies the parliamentarians are used to, but I was unaware of people starving to death during 2 hours at the movie theater.

While the targeted venues are private establishments, ironically public (government) places very often in many countries ban the public from entering with food and drink into their premises. You can’t walk into a public library and enjoy your T-bone steak. From libraries and schools to universities, hospitals, police stations, government offices, ministries and the like, the public very often is forbidden from eating and drinking, at least outside designated areas (so you may not be able to eat in the classroom, but you can at the designated cafeteria or dining hall). In a large variety of public government run places, the public can either not eat or must also buy from the very expensive concession stores.

Israel’s Nature and Park Authority is no exception, and whether you are the Herodion, ancient Ceasaria, Stalactite caves or any of the many other Parks the Authority runs, manages and has monopoly control over, you will often be restricted on whether food and drink is allowed (for example Ein Gedi and the Soreq Stalactite cave I can recall offhand do not allow food on the grounds), and/or you will have a monopoly expensive concession stand for food and drink. Americans can think of National Parks such as Yellowstone where concession stores are notoriously expensive. I point these out because these, rather than a private venue, have a monopoly over national treasures that belong not to a private business but to all the people of the state.

Other public places do not have a single concession for food and drink, and rather have quite a few with the prices still being very high; for example Ben Gurion Airport. The government has not thus far allowed other airports to open as a competition to Israel’s main International Airport (outside a few specialty flights to Eilat and Haifa), and the government’s rent for this limited space is very high.

In any event, a wide variety of private and public businesses do not allow the public to enter with food and drink, and/or offer more expensive (than average outside prices) food and drink within their space. By this bill’s logic, not allowing food and drink within a private business premises should be even worse than offering high priced food and drink, since in the latter case the public can at least have access to it (and not starve while inside!).

So if the government of Israel does not expect that the public can exist for 2 hours without nutrition, then why is a visit to the Dentist, a bookstore, a sauna, a yoga class, etc etc any different? Aren’t we constantly “captive audiences”? Can a taxi driver ask you not to eat or smoke in his brand new car? Should he also offer reasonably priced popcorn for you for the ride?

The Economics

First, let’s take a look at the “problem”.

To very roughly illustrate the matter, note that the 2011 average household income in the USA was about $50,054 USD per year. That of Israel was $49,900 per year, nearly identical. Of course, household sizes in Israel one can assume are a bit larger, and many other parameters should come into play, but this is merely a rough illustration.

Nearly identical household average incomes. Minimum wage in the US (federal) is $7.25 per hour, while in Israel it is 23.12 NIS per hour, roughly (at the time of writing) the equivalent of $6.57 per hour. So Israel’s is about 9% lower.

Average movie ticket price in Israel is about $10.50 USD, but this includes Israel’s high 18% VAT, so a net of $8.89 USD. The national average in the US (without sales tax) in 2013, was $8.16. However, it is noted that this average is lowered by many rural theaters and matinee rates, where as urban Saturday night and Friday night ticket prices tend to be from $15 to $20.

So movie ticket prices are pretty close, on average about 8% more in Israel, or quite a bit more in the US, depending on where you live.

Movie theater Popcorn prices average about $6 in both the UK and the USA, while they average $5 in Israel, about $4.24 without VAT. That means the horrific capitalist exploitation by movie theater tycoons in Israel on popcorn was nearly 30% less than in the US and England. Movie tickets, nearly identical pricing and popcorn quite a bit cheaper.

Why? Well the movie theaters often do not make any money on movie tickets! Hollywood movies for example, often take 100% of the gross movie ticket receipts during the first few opening weekends. Have we not all heard how much a new movie grossed opening weekend? An item that often makes headline news. Movies frequently make it or break it based on their performance the first 2 or 3 weekends at the the theaters. The reason this gross income in ticket sales is so important to the studios is because it goes to them and not movie theaters!

If the studios had simply “sold” the movie to the movie theaters for x price, and it was then the movie theaters that needed to profit now by selling movie tickets, the studios would hardly be concerned about how many people are buying tickets. But in fact the vast majority of movie ticket revenues worldwide goes directly to movie studios, distributors and the producers themselves. This accounts for the near uniformity of ticket prices domestic and internationally. In Israel, where you often have additional middlemen in the equation (international movie rights distributors) or additional cost due to having to acquire the movie rights from abroad, ticket prices are just slightly more expensive, 8% on average. Pretty darn close.

However, the moment you get to the popcorn, in which there is no Hollywood monopoly over, but rather pretty widespread free market competition on the production of corn, it drops a nice 30% from comparable prices both in the US and the UK. This despite the fact that corn is more expensive in Israel, since it mostly has to be imported, and the US, specifically the Midwest, is the corn breadbasket of the world.

What this means is that the Israeli movie theaters buy their popcorn at somewhat higher prices than their counterparts in the US. However, they resell it to their movie going customers at quite a bit less. Not surprising, rents, insurance, labor, and food in general is usually less expensive in Israel than in America. The movie ticket though, remains the same or more expensive because the movie is not (generally) produced locally and must be imported from abroad.

The picture left is that the movie theaters are in fact very heavily subsidizing movie ticket prices; one can say they are more in the business of selling popcorn and drinks than selling movie tickets. The entertainment is just to attract a certain popcorn consuming audience.

So as was stated, all those who can forego nourishing themselves at the movies while watching a movie, benefit from basically watching top notch (or.. not so much these days) entertainment at less than wholesale cost. They are not paying for the rent on the large premises, nor for the fancy seats, the big screen, the cleaning staff, the giant sound system etc, nor any profit above that to the business, but basically only the wholesale rate that the studios, and their related bureaucracies demand for the movie rights. Quite a bargain. Meanwhile, those who do chose to partake in snacks and drinks, allow the tickets to be cheaper.

More irony lies in the fact that one would figure the leftist and socialist would love this arrangement as it is quite progressive. The “rich” people who want to and can afford to eat unhealthy and highly overpriced food can do so, and those who do subsidize the ability for all the rest of the public to actually have access to these multi-million dollar productions. If the entire cost was on the tickets rather than snack bar, more people would be left out completely.

Plenty of studies have been focused on popcorn prices at the movies (since they are obviously quite expensive relatively speaking, they stand out), and rather than determine that people are somehow being exploited and are “captive audiences” of this “market failure”, economists far more leftist than I most often determine that the arrangement rather “benefits moviegoers” as does this 2009 Stanford Study on the issue.

There is no free lunch… government intervention or not. Limit the theater in their ability to make profits on the snacks and drinks, and they will simply raise movie ticket prices. Ironically, it is arguably not the movie theater owners that are hurt the most, but the people in general.

As long as the theaters were hurt equally by this new bill, then this is simply a new cost that they will pass down the viewing public. If snackbar revenues go down, movie ticket prices will go up (and/or more ads or any other thing that they may come up with). The movie theaters are hurt that in general, it will be more costly to go to the movies and so there will less of it going on, but it’s the people in general who will have to pay for this obstruction of freedom.

We are not even talking about an even redistribution of revenues from snackbar to ticket sales, dollar for dollar. There are costs to this stupidity. For example, some specialty theaters do not allow food at all in the premises, for cleanliness sake and to maintain a certain ambiance. All theaters consider the type of food and drink they sell to the audience in its potential effect to detriment the viewing experience. Food that is very bulky, loud, dirty or smelly to eat is not a good choice. Now who knows what people will bring. One must remember this is not Sweden, it’s Israel.

Furthermore, the theater enjoys a direct correlation between how dirty a theater is after a viewing and their revenues. If no one bought food or drink, it will be pretty clean after a showing, and if everyone bought food, there will lots to clean up but the theater made a lot of revenue. By everyone being allowed to bring in all sorts who knows what garbage from outside, this bill legislates that the theater is obligated to be your free maid by government decree. The theater can be left a complete mess, while the theater could have made no revenue from snackbar sales if the audience all brought it from home. Cleaning expenses go up while revenues went sharply down. Even if the theaters do manage to sell food and drink by being so cheap they compete with your supermarket prices, the margin then will be so much lower, that it has a similar effect… much more cleaning and maintenance for far less net revenues.

The bill has a lame provision saying that the venues must allow only food and drink “similar” to what they offer… but who decides that and who is going to enforce it. The theaters will not want to get sued and go to court to find out if a Quesadilla is “similar” to the nachos they were selling. Nor are they likely to employ extra staff to thoroughly inspect your grocery bags you bring into the theater (if they do, just another extra cost that would be passed down to the customer in ticket prices). What a joke of a law.

So this wonderful bill that has extinguished another flicker in the dying flame of liberty can promise us either completely food-less theaters at higher ticket prices or dirtier, smellier theaters at higher ticket prices. But we will no longer be offended that the popcorn that we do not have to buy will only be selling at say 40 times cost, instead of 90. Wonderful.

 “Captive Audience” and “Market Failure”

Some of Bennett’s apparently incompetent advisers told him that this bill fought a “market failure” and protected “captive audiences”.

This is absurd. The better translation is perhaps “captive market” (it’s an audience only because they are watching a movie), and is more appropriately used for example to refer to the people in a town that has only one supermarket. They must buy groceries and there is only one store. Now, even in these cases, government regulation is not required, since these monopoly cases can only arise from either government regulation itself (ie the corrupt town’s zoning board does not allow any other supermarkets to open) or the current supermarket is keeping prices so low, and service quality so high, that opening a competition does not currently seem profitable to other would be competitors. Even while only one supermarket exists, the market constantly provides alternatives, convenience stores, local mini markets, driving to the nearest supermarket in the next town/city, buying groceries online etc. All of these rein in and constrain the local supermarket’s prices.

And this is in fact what tends to happen in reality, supermarket chains who are alone serving a community, dread the idea of the competition showing up, and protect their temporary monopoly by actually being very consumer friendly and offering low prices, rather than what we are often led to believe happens. The blatant “jacking up” of prices and lousy quality/service that we associate of monopolies come only from monopolies who are safe in their monopoly position thanks to government decree, charter, law or regulation. That often includes electric and water utilities, cable companies, and the like.

But in any event, the conversation in the above example is at least somewhat coherent. The population LIVES in the town and must buy groceries to survive. To call people who voluntarily attend a movie for a couple of hours a captive market or audience is insane. Firstly, there is competition among movie theaters, both in the sense of allowing or not allowing people to bring their own food, and in the prices and quality of the food  and movies offered there. A movie theater is free to allow the public to bring in their own food in order to attract more customers; but it won’t since then it will have to raise the movie ticket prices, which will in fact bring it less customers.

A movie theater that charges “too much” for their popcorn and maintains ticket prices too cheap to attract customers will find itself with lots of customers who wish to see the movies and not buy popcorn; so this will not work, while viewers who want to enjoy a movie and snacks will attend theaters that have more reasonable snack+drink+ticket prices. All this requires from the government is that of course, it be easy, and not difficult, to set up competition and there be a lot of theaters, something that is not true today. The permitting process to open a theater in most of Israel today is a prolonged public debacle.

So the “captive audience” can not only chose whether or not it wants to attend the movie theater (as opposed to watching movies at home, rent DVDs, stream them with online services, or perhaps just attend the ballet instead), but it can also chose which movie theater it attends. Finally, once in the theater of their choosing, the audience can chose whether they buy popcorn, a coke or nothing at all! That is not a captive audience, it’s called a “Free” audience who chose to go to the movies, and who can chose to eat or not eat at the movies. How much pandering paternalism can a free people take?!

What’s next? Unfair that you can’t bring in your own food to a restaurant that charges high prices for a salad (salads tend to be just as extremely overpriced in restaurants as popcorn is in theaters), why can’t you just sit there and enjoy their view while you eat your cheap food and them have them clean up after you?

There is no difference between applying the principle of this bill to movie theaters and to restaurants. Restaurants (or bars) are private businesses that offer some sort of atmosphere and sometimes entertainment as well as food and drink. They both tend to prohibit that customers enter with outside food and drink, and subsequently allow you to only consume their food and drink while in their premises, regardless of how high their markup is. While you are within their capitalist establishment, you are a Captive Audience, completely at their mercy… choosing between withering away from malnutrition or paying their listed prices for some precious nutrition.

The supermarket is no different, forcing you to buy food and drink offered only within its premises.

Heck, no need for “what’s next” scenarios… I think this is as bad as it gets.. the government legislating popcorn rules. I doubt the soviet union went that far.

The Persistent Human Flaw

More and more, people around the world are supporting freedom usurping laws at an alarming rate.

This law in Israel was hailed by media outlets around the world and several countries are in the process of or already have enacted similar laws. The human mind apparently, is highly fine tuned to notice the instant anyone even remotely threatens or removes a right belonging to the individual possessing that mind, but its hopeless when identifying the same thing when it is against others.

For example, one can easily imagine the movie theater owner’s reaction on hearing about this bill…. “But it’s MY theater!”. Why can they force me to let people in with their garbage into my theater? The fact that his private property rights and freedom are being assaulted is obvious to him, whether he himself is a socialist, a capitalist, religious, secular or anything else.

However, this simple fact is lost on everyone else who will debate economics, public good etc etc. Any citizen would be shocked at a law that allowed people to enter their private homes with food and drink whether the owner liked it or not; when the freedom removed hits home, it is crystal clear to see. But take others’ freedoms away, and the public is indifferent.

The same movie theater owner mentioned above may very well be in favor of similar laws when they don’t apply to him. This is an inherent danger in the political power given to the mob, they don’t seem to care very much for anyone else’s freedom. Ultimately, after thousands of these laws, none of us are free any longer.

If Bennett wants to help, all you need to do is make sure that competition is possible. The government in Israel makes it very difficult to open new movie theaters, and it is always an endless and public permitting debate about everything from its parking to whether it will be open on Shabbat.

Naftali Bennett – You are better than this Law

The people are not as dumb as you think Mr. Bennett, they may be too dumb (or rather not interested nor informed enough) to figure out that this nice sounding law is horrible, but they are plenty smart to figure out if they want to buy popcorn or not at the movies.

Your supporters elected you to make sure Israel is not given away to her enemies, to make sure we do not endlessly release terrorist murderers with blood on their hands at the whims of the like of John Kerry, perhaps most importantly they elected you to make sure people are not evicted from their homes by the force of an army they love merely because they are Jews. They elected you to guard their liberty to, despite being guilty of being Jews, be able to live in Judea, a place that common consensus seems to dictate must be ethnically cleansed to be only Muslim. Some even hoped that besides that, you would defend liberty in other ways, such as fostering economic freedoms and loosening the stranglehold of government tentacles on our economy.

But surely, none of your supporters voted for you to intervene with liberty and regulate soviet style everyone’s popcorn rights and obligations. Do not succumb to this glaring populism, the respect people have for you is because you most often are quite the opposite. Lead us to liberty, to security, and to victory, and at least I for one will gladly follow you

(oh and get new economic advisers).

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