Wednesday, February 21, 2018

RIP. Haley Lays In On. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Legislates.

I posted these two sentences again because there is so much hypocrisy that is PC driven and, in the case of the first sentence, is based on an intent to stifle speech, comparisons etc.
Perhaps the death of Billy Graham at this time will serve as a poignant reminder that when we eliminate the lessons of believing in a higher being and/or natural source some bad things can creep into our lives and change the character of an entire nation.

Rev. Graham walked the talk and by the way he lived he was an amazing example of everything decent.

Amb. Haley speaks to Abbas in clear and certain terms.  Bolton praised her when he was here and were he in her position he would be saying much the same.(See 1 below.)
Pennsylvania's Supreme Courts legislates and oversteps its bounds. (See 2 below.)
Holman Jenkins discusses Mueller's investigation and the FBI and Intelligent Communities efforts to withhold what they do not want known. (See 3 be;low.)
1)Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East
Ambassador Nikki Haley
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
February 20, 2018
Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, for being with us today, as well as to Mr. Mladenov for his briefing.

We are meeting today in a forum that is very familiar to all of us. This session on the Middle East has been taking place each month for many, many years. Its focus has been almost entirely on issues facing Israelis and Palestinians. And we have heard many of the same arguments and ideas over and over again. We have already heard them again this morning.

It is as if saying the same things repeatedly, without actually doing the hard work and making the necessary compromises, will achieve anything.

Beginning last year, we have tried to broaden the discussion, and we have had some success in doing so. I thank my colleagues who have participated in those broader discussions.

One reason we did that is our well-founded belief that the United Nations spends an altogether disproportionate amount of time on Israeli-Palestinian issues. It’s not that those issues are unimportant. They are certainly very important. The problem is that the UN has proven itself time and again to be a grossly biased organization when it comes to Israel.

As such, the UN’s disproportionate focus has actually made the problem more difficult to solve, by elevating the tensions and the grievances between the two parties.

Another reason we have attempted to shift the discussion is that the vast scope of the challenges facing the region dwarf the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As we meet here today, the Middle East is plagued by many truly horrendous problems.

In Yemen, there is one of the worst humanitarian disasters on earth, with millions of people facing starvation. Meanwhile, militia groups fire Iranian rockets from Yemen into neighboring countries. In Syria, the Assad regime is using chemical weapons to gas its own people. This war has taken the lives of over half a million Syrians.

Millions more have been pushed into neighboring Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon as refugees, causing major hardships in those countries.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah terrorists exert ever-more control, illegally building up a stockpile of offensive weapons, inviting a dangerous escalation that could devastate regional security.

ISIS is engaged in an inhumane level of cruelty in much of the region. They’ve been dealt severe setbacks in Iraq and Syria, but they are not completely yet destroyed, and they still pose serious threats.

Egypt faces repeated terrorist attacks.

And of course, there is the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iran that initiates and encourages most of the troubles I just outlined.

These immense security and humanitarian challenges throughout the region should occupy more of our attention, rather than having us sit here month after month and use the most democratic country in the Middle East as a scapegoat for the region’s problems.

But here we go again.

I do not mean to suggest that there is no suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides have suffered greatly. So many innocent Israelis have been killed or injured by suicide bombings, stabbings, and other sickening terrorist attacks. Israel has been forced to live under constant security threats like virtually no other country in the world. It should not have to live that way.
And yet, Israel has overcome those burdens. It is a thriving country, with a vibrant economy that contributes much to the world in the name of technology, science, and the arts.

It is the Palestinian people who are suffering more. The Palestinians in Gaza live under Hamas terrorist oppression. I can’t even call it a governing authority, as Hamas provides so little in the way of what one would normally think as government services.

The people of Gaza live in truly awful conditions, while their Hamas rulers put their resources into building terror tunnels and rockets. The Palestinians in the West Bank also suffer greatly. Too many have died, and too much potential has been lost in this conflict.

We are joined here today by Palestinian Authority President Abbas. I’m sorry he declined to stay in the chamber to hear the remarks of others. Even though he has left the room, I will address the balance of my remarks to him.

President Abbas, when the new American administration came into the office last January, we did so against the fresh backdrop of the passage of Security Council Resolution 2334.

In the waning days of the previous American administration, the United States made a serious error in allowing that resolution to pass. Resolution 2334 was wrong on many levels. I am not going to get into the substance now.

But beyond the substance, perhaps its biggest flaw was that it encouraged the false notion that Israel can be pushed into a deal that undermines its vital interests, damaging the prospects for peace by increasing mistrust between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

In the last year, the United States has worked to repair that damage. At the UN, I have opposed the bias against Israel, as any ally should do.

But that does not mean I or our administration is against the Palestinian people. Just the opposite is true. We recognize the suffering of the Palestinian people, as I have recognized here today.

I sit here today offering the outstretched hand of the United States to the Palestinian people in the cause of peace. We are fully prepared to look to a future of prosperity and co-existence. We welcome you as the leader of the Palestinian people here today.

But I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.
The Palestinian leadership has a choice to make between two different paths. There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people.

Or, there is the path of negotiation and compromise. History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan, including the transfer of territory. That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it.

The United States knows the Palestinian leadership was very unhappy with the decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem. You don’t have to like that decision. You don’t have to praise it. You don’t even have to accept it. But know this: that decision will not change.

So once again, you must choose between two paths. You can choose to denounce the United States, reject the U.S. role in peace talks, and pursue punitive measures against Israel in international forums like the UN. I assure you that path will get the Palestinian people exactly nowhere toward the achievement of their aspirations.

Or, you can choose to put aside your anger about the location of our embassy, and move forward with us toward a negotiated compromise that holds great potential for improving the lives of the Palestinian people.

Putting forward old talking points and entrenched and undeveloped concepts achieves nothing. That approach has been tried many times, and has always failed. After so many decades, we welcome new thinking.

As I mentioned in this meeting last month, the United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership.

Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.

Thank you.
2) Pennsylvania’s Redistricting Coup

Democratic judges decide they can redraw election lines.

By  The Editorial Board

Political chaos has broken out in Pennsylvania after the state’s high court last week redrew the congressional map for this year’s midterm elections. Behold our future judicial overlords if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that partisan gerrymanders are unconstitutional.
Last month a 5-2 liberal majority of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down, with unvarnished political hubris, the congressional map adopted by the GOP legislature way back in 2011. The districts “clearly, plainly and palpably violate our state Constitution” that guarantees that “elections shall be free and equal,” the judges opined.
According to the majority, the gerrymander diluted the voting rights of some Democrats by cramming them into a handful of districts. As evidence, the judges noted that in 2012 Democrats won five of 18 congressional districts with an average 76.4% of the vote in each while receiving 50.8% of the statewide vote. The judges also emphasized that Republicans haven’t lost a district since 2011, yet the special election next month in southwestern Pennsylvania for Rep. Tim Murphy’s seat is competitive. So was the race in November to replace Republican Patrick Meehan in Philadelphia’s suburbs.
While the U.S. Supreme Court has held that partisan gerrymanders may violate the U.S. Constitution, it has been unable to articulate a precise legal standard. Democrats are now trying to tempt the Supreme Court into intervening in the intrinsically political redistricting process with social-science methodology that purportedly measures proper representation.
The arguments that the Supreme Court heard last fall in Gill v. Whitford involving Wisconsin’s legislative maps are similar to those made by the Democratic plaintiffs in Pennsylvania. But as the Pennsylvania redistricting battle shows, striking down partisan gerrymanders will politicize the courts.
Pennsylvania’s constitution gives the legislature plenary authority to draft congressional maps. Nonetheless, the Democratic majority on the high court—judges in Pennsylvania are elected—gave the legislature all of three weeks to redraw districts that would meet Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s approval.
The judges specified that the districts must have equal populations, be “compact and contiguous geographical territory” and respect “the boundaries of existing political subdivisions contained therein.” These requirements are nowhere in the state constitution.
Notably, the judges did not articulate a precise standard for reviewing partisan gerrymanders. It’s possible for the legislature to draw a map complying with the court’s “neutral criteria,” the majority wrote, but that still could “unfairly dilute the power of a particular group’s vote for a congressional representative.” In other words, the judges can do what they want.
And with the help of Stanford University law professor Nathan Persily they drafted their own new map Monday for use in the May primaries after the Governor and legislature failed to agree. The revised map makes at least three GOP districts more competitive and disrupts several races.
Republicans plan to ask federal courts to enjoin the map, as they should. The U.S. High Court last month declined a request to intervene, perhaps giving deference to state judges’ interpretation of state law. But the judge-drawn map violates the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause, which provides that “[t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”
State judges can’t usurp the legislature’s authority over redistricting willy-nilly. The Supreme Court ought to block this judicial coup d’etat, but be warned. Pennsylvania will be the future in every state if the Justices decide that judges should be redistricting kings.
3) Mueller Focuses on Molehills

The mountain is whether the FBI was an unwitting agent of Russian influence.

By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

On Aug. 17, 2015, 63 days after Donald Trump’s escalator ride at Trump Tower, a lightbulb went on. Certain pro-Trump emails that colleagues and I were receiving were coming from Vladimir Putin’s internet trolls. “The Kremlin is now in the Donald’s corner . . .?” I emailed a co-worker.
The most valuable thing said last week was said by Sen. Jim Risch during a hearing, when he pointed out that the American people “realize that there’s people attempting to manipulate them.”
The least valuable was the prediction by three intelligence chiefs that Russia’s meddling will continue through 2018 and 2020. It may or may not, but what else were they going to say? There’s no upside to “estimating” anything else. This is a big part of what’s wrong with our intelligence establishment, handling inherently ambiguous matters and overwhelmingly incentivized, at least at the top, to say whatever is most politically and institutionally expedient.
Let’s be realistic: The Russian propaganda activities detailed in Robert Mueller’s indictment last week had less impact on the election than 20 seconds of cable TV coverage (pick a channel) of any of Mr. Trump’s rallies.
Only the media’s beloved hindsight fallacy suggests otherwise. In fact, Hillary Clinton’s campaign made good use of Russia to discredit Mr. Trump in the eyes of voters. What was the net effect on the vote? The press doesn’t know. Worse, it doesn’t know that it doesn’t know.
Ditto the media’s new favorite song that the U.S. has done nothing to punish Mr. Putin’s provocations. The U.S. government does not tell the public everything it does. American warplanes recently killed dozens, perhaps as many as 200, Russian mercenaries in Syria employed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a key figure in the Mueller indictment. For the first time in the Syrian theater, a man-portable antiaircraft weapon appeared in the hands of the Syrian opposition, shooting down a Russian jet. The U.S. government has denied a role, but the message, if that’s what it was, would be historically resonant. The U.S. used such missiles to raise the cost of Soviet adventurism in Afghanistan and Angola in the 1980s.
Let’s hope so, because such means will be necessary in Mr. Putin’s case, not just waving legal paperwork at him as Mr. Mueller has done.
That said, give Mr. Mueller credit. So far, we’ve relied on partisan leaks and memos to tell us what little we know. His court filings, insufficient as they are, at least contribute to the air-clearing.
His latest includes information that could only have come from U.S. intelligence intercepts. He cites reports that Russia’s alleged operatives filed with each other, and even an email one operative sent to a relative. But this also highlights a problem. Mr. Mueller is dependent on U.S. intelligence agencies, which share only what they want to share.
James Comey’s intervention in the Hillary Clinton email matter now is widely understood to have been prompted by a false, possibly planted, Russian intelligence intercept of some kind in March 2016.
News reports as well as basic logic suggest U.S. intelligence agencies, at some point, would have started monitoring Christopher Steele’s communications. They likely know more about his alleged Russian sources and their credibility than they are telling.
Both episodes have done far more to inflame U.S. politics than anything outlined in the Mueller indictment. Yet here’s betting a Battle Royal lies ahead before we get the truth out of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Remember your Watergate: The CIA is a natural and perhaps irresistible instrument for pressuring the FBI. Did Obama intelligence chieftains John Brennan and James Clapper use their positions to lean on Mr. Comey to spy on the Trump campaign or protect Mrs. Clinton? Is the intelligence community even now trying to shape Mr. Mueller’s probe by what it decides to share with him? If we had to guess based on what we know today, the answer is yes.
The Foreign Agents Registration Act, the basis for many of Mr. Mueller’s charges against the Russians, was passed in 1938, aimed at Nazi propagandists, who were active in the U.S. in ways very similar to the Putin regime. Implicit was the idea that Americans can’t be insulated from foreign influence, but they can certainly understand who is trying to influence them.
The Washington Post, in a lengthy reconstruction last year, concluded that President Obama held back from doing more to inoculate the American people against Russian influence because he didn’t want to upset the apple cart of an expected Clinton victory. That’s one mistake future administrations will find it harder to make.
Even so, keep in mind that the most consequential Russian meddling may well have been via the administration’s own handling of the Steele dossier and the Hillary Clinton email controversy. If so, the real struggle is yet to come. It will involve pulling teeth to get information from the FBI and CIA that they don’t want us to know.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Anger Trumps Logic Every Time. Some WSJ LTE's. Founders Focused On Protecting That Which We Are Hell Bent On Throwing Away.

Get rid of Netanyahu and impeach Trump. This would embolden all our enemies and that is what liberals in both countries, supported by their chums in the mass media, want to accomplish.

Israel also has an active and angry deep state.

Since they hate leaders they did not elect they are willing to endanger the nation in which they live.  Anger trumps logic every time.. (See 1 and 1a below.)
LTE's in yesterday's WSJ that express my oft spoken/written  sentiments. (See 2 below.)
How men and women record things in their diaries.

Wife's Diary:

Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. 
We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it.
Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. 
He agreed, but he didn't say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, nothing.' I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it.
On the way home, I told him that I loved him. 
He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can't explain his behaviour. 
I don't know why he didn't say, 'I love you, too.'
When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent.
Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. 
But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep; 
I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. 
... My life is a disaster!

Husband's Diary:

A two-foot putt ... who the hell misses a two-foot putt? 
A truly dear friend who I adore, who reads my memos is sincerely  concerned about what happened in Florida and asked me: "How SHOULD we deal with massive killings with guns?  I’ve  been asking every one who listens to me. Is it jawboning makers of violent games that create violent behavior that they act out? Movies too! Or is it a result of spending less on mental institutions and mental health generally?

What are your thoughts? No one needs these fully automatic guns with huge magazines.!"

My response is below. (See 3.)


Impeachment or Bust

What if ‘Resist!’ makes it harder for Democrats to take back the House?

Democrats have a single goal when it comes to Donald Trump : impeachment. Their strategy is likewise clear: Resist! What no one seems to ask is whether resistance is really the best path to the House majority Democrats would need to pass articles of impeachment.
Democrats do have a few things going for them this year. On average, the party that holds the White House loses 30 seats or so in midterm elections—and the GOP has only a 24-seat majority. Moreover, 35 House Republicans are leaving their seats, more than twice the number of Democrats who are.
That’s not all. The intense dislike for Mr. Trump energizes the Democratic base the way Barack Obama energized the Republican one. Many swing districts will be in suburban areas where the vote margin may be decided by college-educated women, one of Mr. Trump’s weakest demographics.
But the idea that Mr. Trump’s unpopularity makes a blue wave inevitable overlooks some Republican advantages. Mr. Trump’s popularity is beginning to move upward with the growing economy, which points to a key weakness in the Resist! strategy:
Because the tax reform passed without a single Democratic vote, good news about the economy is bad news for Democratic candidates. It further means the Democratic message is rooted in enabling Washington dysfunction, because they cannot run as people willing to reach across the aisle to get things done.
It’s too early to know how last week’s failure to pass an immigration bill will play out politically. But if Mr. Trump goes around the country saying he offered to compromise but Democrats refused because they’d rather have a political issue, that could hurt them too. Especially because he will remind voters this is the same party willing to shut down the government for people here illegally.
There’s also the problem of candidates. Among this year’s crop of Democratic hopefuls are some military veterans. But it’s not a uniform message. A progressive Democrat backed by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is targeting seven-term Rep. Dan Lipinski in Chicago, a pro-life Democrat who voted against ObamaCare. If the goal is a Democratic majority, purity campaigns are a distraction. When Rahm Emanuel was engineering the party’s retaking of the House in 2006, his strategy was to settle on a candidate who would be competitive in the district (even if not as liberal as the party would like) and then reduce the primary bloodshed.
It’s not clear Democrats are following that path today. In the California district where Republican Darrell Issa is retiring, for example, five Democrats are vying to replace him. Does anyone believe that in this competition a centrist Democrat will rise to the top?
In California, there’s an added problem: Under the state’s jungle-primary law, the two largest vote getters run in the general even if they are from the same party. So California Democrats are worried that their five candidates may split the vote and send two Republicans into November contention.
Finally there’s Mr. Trump. Even with his recent bump in the polls, he remains divisive. But he’s not the only divisive politician who will figure in this election. The most recent Politico/Morning Consult poll suggests that Nancy Pelosi has pulled off a largely unheralded achievement: In the Age of Trump, she is arguably the most unpopular politician in America.
What does that mean for impeachment? Well, in 69 House districts surveyed by the Congressional Leadership Fund (a super PAC devoted to maintaining the GOP majority), Mrs. Pelosi is underwater in every one. She is also toxic among independents.
Take California’s 10th District, held by Republican Jeff Denham. Hillary Clinton carried this district in 2016, and Mr. Trump’s approval rating is at minus four. But again, Democrats are split among eight primary contenders. And the CLF survey showed that voters in Mr. Denham’s district prefer Paul Ryan as speaker to Mrs. Pelosi by 13 points. Come this fall, expect many GOP ads featuring Mrs. Pelosi calling tax cuts for workers “crumbs” and reminding voters that even if they find their Democratic candidate for the House reasonable, a vote for him will be a vote for Speaker Pelosi.
Of course it’s still early, and the polls remain volatile. The received orthodoxy may well turn out to be true, and the blue tsunami will wash over Congress in November, which will be followed by President Trump’s impeachment the following year.
Even so, the Resist! card remains a huge gamble. If Democrats cannot take back the House or Senate in an election year when they enjoy many advantages, they will wake up Nov. 7 in worse shape than when Mr. Trump beat Mrs. Clinton. And they will then enter the 2020 race without the White House, without either chamber of Congress and without a message.


Israel's 'Deep State' Targets Netanyahu with Bogus Charges

The Israeli police investigation against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows remarkable similarities with the Special Counsel probe against President Donald Trump in the United States.
During the prime time news broadcasts Tuesday evening in Israel, the dramatic news was announced that Israel Police investigators are recommending that Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on bribery and breach of trust charges in two investigations.
The news raises a number of obvious questions about Netanyahu’s political future. But it also raises an equal, if not greater, number of questions about the purity of the police service’s intentions and its trustworthiness.
Let us begin by considering the specific cases that form the bases of police recommendations against Netanyahu.
The first investigation has been dubbed Investigation 1000 by the Police’s main criminal investigations unit, Lahav 433. The investigation surrounds the relationship between Netanyahu and his old friend, Israeli businessman and Hollywood movie producer Arnon Milchen. The police have recommended that Milchen be indicted for paying bribes to Netanyahu. The police recommend indicting Netanyahu for taking bribes from Milchen and acting illegally on his behalf.
According to Israel’s Hadashot television news, this investigation was the top story in terms of volume of coverage during 2017.
The police allege that between 2007 and 2016, Milchen showered Netanyahu and his wife Sara with cigars, champagne, and jewelry, often purchased at their request. In 2014, Milchen’s business partner, Australian businessman James Packer, who was also a friend of Netanyahu and his family, allegedly began giving similar gifts to the Netanyahu family.
In exchange for those gifts, the police allege that Netanyahu supported extending a law passed in 2008, when Netanyahu was the head of the parliamentary opposition, that gave returning Israeli expatriates a ten year exemption on income earned abroad and a ten year exemption for reporting income earned abroad.
According to the police, after Netanyahu returned to office in 2009, Milchen lobbied Netanyahu’s finance minister at the time, Yair Lapid, to extend the tax and reporting exemption period from ten to twenty years. Lapid, who is now in the opposition, heads the center-left Yesh Atid party. If Netanyahu’s Likud party fails to win the next election, according to the polls, Lapid and his Yesh Atid party will form the next government.
In other words, today, Lapid is Netanyahu’s chief political rival.
On Tuesday, the police told reporters that Lapid is the key witness against Netanyahu in Investigation 1000.
In other words, Netanyahu’s chief political rival is the key witness against him.
Lapid reportedly told investigators that Netanyahu asked him twice to advance Milchen’s request to extend the period of tax and reporting exemptions for returning expatriates and new immigrants. Lapid and the finance ministry opposed Milchen’s proposal and his initiative went nowhere.
According to the Times of Israel, the law has been harshly criticized by Israel’s State Comptroller and foreign governments — including the U.S. State Department — who view it as a means to facilitate money laundering. At the same time, in part due to the law, Israel has been able to attract a high volume of very wealthy immigrants, which benefits society.
Netanyahu also allegedly intervened on behalf of Milchen in two proposed deals related to Israeli television stations that Milchen either owned or wished to own.
But then, neither of his proposed interventions, if they occurred, were successful.
The police report that Netanyahu intervened on Milchen’s behalf when the latter was experiencing difficulty renewing his residency visa in the U.S. Netanyahu called then-Secretary of State John Kerry and asked him to intervene on Milchen’s behalf to renew his residency visa.
Since Milchen stood to lose a significant amount of money if he was unable to remain in the U.S., the police claim that Netanyahu’s intervention on his behalf with Kerry represented the return on Milchen’s gifts.
Milchen himself has a long record of service to Israel’s Mossad — its foreign spy service — and reportedly has contributed significantly to Israel’s defense. Netanyahu claims that he acted out of respect for Milchen’s long service to Israel’s security. In addition,, Israel’s late president and prime minister, left-wing icon Shimon Peres, also intervened on Milchen’s behalf with U.S. authorities.
In the second probe, dubbed Investigation 2000, the police recommend indicting Netanyahu following a discussion he held – and recorded surreptitiously – in 2014 with Arnon Mozes, the publisher and controlling owner of Israel’s mass circulation daily, Yediot Ahronot. The police found the recorded conversation on the mobile phone of Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, Ari Harow, who is the subject of a separate and unrelated influence-peddling probe. Netanyahu claims he recorded their conversation on the advice of his attorney because he was afraid that Mozes would try to extort him.
The police claim that the conversation is proof that Mozes offered Netanyahu a bribe and that Netanyahu accepted the offer. They recommend charging Mozes with bribing Netanyahu, and charging Netanyahu with accepting a bribe from Mozes.
The odd thing about this claim is that no deal was struck. To the contrary.
Mozes is Netanyahu’s nemesis. Yediot Ahronot is the most influential newspaper in Israel. Its front page dictates the daily news programming for radio and television broadcasts. And Yediot Ahronot‘s coverage of Netanyahu is implacably hostile to the premier and to his family. To a lesser but significant degree, Yediot Ahronot is also deeply hostile to the Israeli political right.
According to the recording of the men’s conversation, which was leaked to the media by the police more than a year ago, Netanyahu and Mozes discussed an elaborate scheme to change the newspaper market in Israel in Yediot Ahronot‘s favor.
Israel’s largest circulation paper is Israel Hayom, a free tabloid that is owned by conservative American billionaire — and Netanyahu supporter — Sheldon Adelson. In their recorded conversation, Mozes raised the possibility of Netanyahu curtailing government advertising in Israel Hayom and working to cut back its circulation in order to increase Yediot Ahronot‘s market share.
In exchange, Mozes offered to scale back the negative tone of his paper’s coverage of Netanyahu.
In the event, nothing came of the conversation. Indeed, in late 2014, against Netanyahu’s expressed wishes, then-justice minister Tzipi Livni put forward a controversial media bill, which was based on a legal opinion written by Yediot Ahronot‘s legal advisor. The bill, which was dubbed the “Israel Hayom law,” would have forced the shutdown of the paper by barring its owners from not charging money for it.
The law passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset with 43 votes. Netanyahu and his Likud Party voted against the bill. Moreover, to prevent the bill from going forward, Netanyahu disbanded his government and the Knesset and called new elections a bit more than a year into his term.
In other words, to prevent any harm to Israel Hayom – and transitively, to prevent any advantage from being accrued to Yediot Ahronot — Netanyahu took the radical step of standing for election again.
For more than a year, the police refused to investigate any of the 43 lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill, or to analyze the coverage they received in Yediot Ahronot in following their support. Three weeks ago, the bill’s sponsor, Labor Party member of Knesset Eitan Cabel — who enjoyed extraordinary coverage in the paper — was brought in for a brief interview.
In other words, the police are recommending that Netanyahu be indicted for a conversation that went nowhere, which he recorded. And the police are not investigating 42 out of the 43 lawmakers that supported a move that would have given Mozes everything he asked Netanyahu for, but didn’t receive, while the 43rd lawmaker was subject merely to a brief interrogation.
This brings us to the police.
Since Netanyahu served his first term as prime minister from 1996 until 1999, he and his wife Sara have been the subjects of 19 police probes and or investigations. The Hebrew language website has published a review of all of them earlier this month.
The police recommended indicting the Netanyahus in three probes in 1999. The attorney general rejected their requests.
In January 2017, the attorney general closed four probes of Netanyahu that had been ongoing since 2009.
In September 2017, the attorney general closed six police probes against Sara Netanyahu, which the police had opened in 2015. One probe, relating to an administrative, rather than criminal, charge that Mrs. Netanyahu ordered food from restaurants instead of using the services of the cook at the prime minister’s residence, is still under review.
Two other probes, related to accusations that a French businessman gave Netanyahu illegal campaign contributions, and that the Likud overpaid a secretary in the U.S., disappeared after leading the headlines for several news cycles in 2016.
Of the three open cases, the Milchen and Mozes investigations led to Tuesday night’s announcement of the police’s recommendations. A third investigation, of influence-peddling related to Israel’s purchase of submarines from Germany, is unrelated to Netanyahu, but since his associates are under investigation, his name was dragged into the discourse related to the probe.
The endless stream of criminal investigations against Netanyahu has involved investigating witnesses across the globe, and has cost tens of millions of shekels to Israeli taxpayers.
At the end of this long, 22-year road, what we have are just two charges — which, if anything, show that Netanyahu is probably most worthless bribe-taker in history. Aside from assistance with his residency visa in the U.S., Netanyahu provided Milchen with no meaningful support in any of his endeavors. The one piece of legislation that passed, the law that entitles new immigrants and returning Israeli expatriates to a ten year exemption on income taxes and reporting requirements for income earned abroad, passed when Netanyahu was out of office.
Over the past eight years of Netanyahu’s tenure as prime minister, none of Milchen’s proposals in either the media market or tax laws was advanced even slightly.
As for Investigation 2000, it is almost impossible to understand the basis for the charge against Netanyahu. Mozes apparently offered him a bribe, in the form of diminished hostility in his newspaper in exchange for a larger market share for Yediot Ahronot. But Netanyahu did nothing to advance his offer. To the contrary, he preferred new elections to curtailing Israel Hayom‘s operation.
Over the past year, as the police investigations dragged on, investigators fed the media with a never-ending stream of negative leaks that all disparaged and vilified Netanyahu.
The police campaign against Netanyahu reached its peak last Wednesday night. Police Commissioner Roni Alscheich, whom Netanyahu appointed in 2015, gave an hour-long interview on Israel’s leading television magazine Uvda, or “Fact.”
Alscheich claimed that Netanyahu was behind three separate, arguably felonious conspiracies against the police. Netanyahu, he alleged, had arranged for private detectives to “sniff around” the families of his investigators to try to find dirt on them.
Netanyahu, he claimed, conspired with a female police officer who in 2011 brought sexual harassment charges against her commander, Police Superintendent Roni Reitman, the head of Lahav 433, the unit responsible for investigating Netanyahu. Alsheich claimed that Netanyahu was behind the police officer’s decision to petition Israel’s Supreme Court against Reitman after the Attorney General chose to close the investigation against him without indicting him in 2015, due to the passage of time since his alleged acts of harassment took place.
Alsheich also claimed that Netanyahu had offered himself a sort of bribe. The Commission of Police alleged that when Netanyahu appointed him to serve as police chief, Netanyahu knew that Alsheich really wanted to serve as Director of the Israel Security Agency, where he was serving as deputy director when Netanyahu asked him to take over the police. Netanyahu, Alsheich alleged, told him that if Netanyahu was still prime minister when Alsheich finished his tour of duty, Netanyahu would appoint him the head of the Israel Security Agency.
Even the police’s most fervent media supporters were aghast at Alsheich’s allegations – coupled with the fact that he has refused to investigate any of them. To summarize: just as the police were set to announce their recommendations, Alsheich made clear that he has a personal vendetta against Netanyahu and is prepared to overthrow his government.
Alsheich’s wild charges that Netanyahu was actively conspiring against his investigators gave credence to the allegations of bias, verging on animus, leveled against the police by Netanyahu and his supporters.
And so the parallels between the indictment of Netanyahu and the witch hunt against President Trump are remarkable. But there is a key distinction.
The U.S. is governed by a constitution that places checks and balances on the executive that extend to the permanent bureaucracy. In Israel, there are no constitutional checks on the bureaucracy. The Knesset cannot compel civil servants to appear before its committees. It cannot force civil servants to testify under oath. It cannot hold them in contempt.
After his scandalous interview last week, Likud Party lawmakers requested that Alsheich come before the relevant committee and explain his charges against Netanyahu. Although he tentatively agreed to appear this week, on Tuesday night, reporters said that Alsheich has no intention of appearing before lawmakers to answer their questions.
Some commentators claimed on Tuesday night that the police deliberately threw every possible charge at Netanyahu to pressure the Attorney General into indicting him for something. The bias against Netanyahu that Alsheich revealed so extravagantly in his interview last Wednesday night, and the thousands of hours and tens of millions of shekels that the police have invested over the past 22 years in their endless pursuit of Netanyahu and his family, now stand in the balance.
If Netanyahu is cleared — and given the weakness of the charges against him, it’s hard to see how he can be indicted — then the police will lose their credibility and the public trust.
Then again, given that Israel’s elected officials have no oversight over the civil service, it could be that Alsheich and his officers don’t care.
Caroline Glick is a world-renowned journalist and commentator on the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, and the author of The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.

Government Is Popular If Someone Else Pays

Many Americans want something for nothing, and they don’t stop to think about who pays for the difference (as long as it isn’t them) nor to think about who will pay for the national debt (as long as it isn’t them).

Ideas, Feb. 14): I don’t believe Americans want “big” government. I do believe that
many Americans want something for nothing, i.e., they want the government to give
them more than they pay in, and they don’t stop to think about who pays for the
difference (as long as it isn’t them) nor to think about who will pay for the national
debt (as long as it isn’t them).
I don’t believe politicians have any incentive to be responsible for enlightening
Americans about who will pay for the difference. I do believe that many politicians
will say whatever they think will get them elected.
Both problems have the same root. No one spends other peoples’ money as well, as
wisely or as carefully as they spend their own money.
Robert Allan Schwartz
Lexington, Mass.

Our political system seems incapable of self-correction although the unexpected consequences of bad policy are evident to anyone interested in making a 
connection.Making allowances for the ways poll questions are structured, as well 
as how respondents often give answers masking their true beliefs, a less categorical
 conclusion can be drawn. One may just as easily conclude that a large majority of 
adults are simply ignorant of the effects of their political choices.
J. David Hosfield
Eugene, Ore.
It isn’t surprising that most Americans want big government when almost half of 
them pay no federal income taxes. It’s only logical for people to want more goods
 and services when someone else foots the bill.
Fidelina Gehner
The polls Mr. Galston cites may be more accurate if they added: “at the likely cost 
of higher taxes, lower economic growth and higher unemployment,” as we see in 
most European countries with this kind of government. Amazingly, we need another
 Milton Friedman to explain “no free lunch” to a new generation.
Ari Weitzner
New York

3) The first thing we need to do is stop being hysterical - ain't gonna happen

Then we need to re-exmine why we are where we are in a rational and dispassionate
way. ain't gonna happen either.

Finally we need to stop being PC and get serious and return to/re-introduce
our old behavioral verities. you must be kidding to believe that is going to happen.

Because that means we have to stop rappers, get rid of foul mouth comedians, ban 
all entertainment that is George Carlin like but not as clever and sophistaicated, 
regain respect for those who abide and enforce the law, start being patriotic and 
read about what once made us great. 

Add to these tasks, we need to quit alowing Hollywood to entertain us, the
mass media to blame everything on those they oppose, and study and emulate the 
1950's as opposed to living the 1960's. Now you must be thinking I am smoking pot 
with Obama.

So let's try these  ideas on for size.
First you rebuild the family - impossible
Then you make marriage sacred again - impossible
Famlies, consisting of a mother and father, are more likely to raise a child not out of wedlock - highly 
doubtful will happen again.
Two parental influence produces more security and stability - not going to happen either.
Parents teach children responsibility and set examples - that too is a laugh. parents are either 
scared of their children and/or still believe Spock was correct.
Families return to going to church and ministers, pastors, priests preach lessons children need to 
hear, ie.obedience, do unto others  etc.  - ain't gonna happen because that is old fashion.
Then, when kids go to school they are told they must behave and study - you gotta be dreaming if 
you think that because  most  teachers are not competent ,loving and understanding enough
to be ableto raise children at school because they have discipline problems that take up their time,
are told they must teach so kids will pass stupid state tests and the list of inanities is endless - you 
must really think I am  smoking something weird
When a child misbehaves the parents must punish the child so he /she gets the message that such 
conduct  is un-acceptable - today's parents fear their children so screw that idea. Even if they do not 
fear their children they cannot touch their children because they have more legal rights than parents.
Parents must be devoted to raising their children so they are on top of things and know exactly 
what the child is doing, reading, watching and who they play with - you must be crazy because 
parents, if responsible, are working their ass off to earn enough to squeak by.
If the child learns about who has weapons or is pulling limbs off animals they know to seek out  their 
parents and the parents will  tell the police and the police will visit the strange child and give the 
errant, potential criminal a pass go pat on the head but they will also inform the FBI and the FBI
 puts this note in a place that they forget about.  more bull s--- that ain't gonna happen. Who wants
exosure to being sued?.
Now the child feels left out because he is behaving and is beat up by a gang for being a pussy.  
Happens all the time and is called bullying.
Then the bad kid comes to school, because he was dissed, and blows a bunch of his former 
classmates away and liberals blame Trump and demand we get rid of the Second Amendment.
Eventualy we get rid of the Second Amendment and tighten rules about who buys legal type guns 
and those who continue killing buy them from illegal gun dealers who now have raised the price so
more stealing, hold ups, burglaries and high jackings occur to defray the increased cost of illegal 
weapon purchases. It is called supply and demand.
Chicago's murder rate stays the same as it was because they already had stringent gun laws.
By now, people have gotten used to the killings, gangs with illegal guns and blame Republicans
because they have not allocated enough money for buying guns from former gun owners.
That is how liberals solve problems. Pass laws, get rid of the rights/freedoms of abiding citizens, 
spend a lot of money and when everything  fails blame conservatives because they did not spend 
enough money.  
Oh, by the way, if you think I am wrong, track how Johnson's War on Poverty has worked. More on 
welfare, more ill prepared for work, more on food stamps, more uneducated, more births out of
wedlock, more broken families, less church attendance, decline in curriculum comprised of tough but necessary courses if one has a chance at being a good citizen and more emphaiss on patronizing ill behaviour because  PC'ism now dictates our responses and has replaced our Constitution which is
mocked as being a bunch of written old rules dreampt up by men who wore wigs and pantaloons
and did ot understand what LGBT meant, nor seemed to care, did not understand the hurt felt by
those who had chips on their shoulders or felt agreived over some wrong. These founders knew
nothig about technology and/or  the future and how ithe world would change  and bring comforts
and extend lives because they were focused in another direction. They were hell bent on protecting
what we eventually became hell bent on throwing away.

We can stop murders by putting to death those who engage in this criminal act, We can get tough 
on those who have record sheets longer than newspapers. We can reduce heinous crimes if we 
are serious about going back to turning our schools into institutions of learning where we teach 
responsibility, correct behaviour, teach how to reason and understand right from worng and raise 
standards rather than lower them so everyone feels good. We did this once before and we can try 
to do it again but I doubt it will happen because we have lost our way and are too lazy to embrace 
sparton ways because we have become a  "successful, rich but divided" nation, unwilling to deprive
and discipline ourselves and that is our downfall.

Hate to be so glum and am sure something modest and knee jerk will happen as a result of Florida
but the basic patterns of our societal bahaviour and character will continue much as before
because we are simply not serious about enduring the pain of solving that about which we complain. 

To hell with this. Think I'll go shoot up some designer drug, listen to some rocker music and participate in a
parade of disaffected radicals who disrepespect our flag and believe our nation should be invaded by protected illegals.! Now that's what I call being a red blooded America because "deplorables" are out of touch and get upset when the Supreme Court makes laws they prefer.
Once again, I believe POGO was right.