Indyk says it is time for Netanyhau to make a choice - between caving or continuing to defy Obama. In his analysis, Indyk cites several former Israeli PM's who made concessions. One gained something the other did not.
What Indyk proposes and Netanyahu opposes is the crux of the matter and frankly I do not believe the history of Israel's dealings with Palestinians supports Indyk's position as plausible. But then Obama has the upper hand because he seems far more prone to appease Iran, Syria and the Palestinians than continue dealing with Israel's concerns.
It is easy to conclude Netanyhu's intransigence is predicated on unrealistic objectives pertaining to Israeli security when, again, that ugly word called history has proven Israel generally gets the short end of the stick, ie Hezballah's re-arming , Gazans attacking Israel after Israel cedes land, The Intifada after Rabin elevated Arafat, Arafat's rejection of Barak's offer and Clinton's efforts to bring peace.
Amazing, that in the face of all this history, Indyk concludes Netanyahu should trust Obama, should trust Syria by returning The Golan for 'peace' as the theoretical price for having a relationship with the new American president who basically dislikes Netanyahu, is fed up with Israel and now buys into the Carter clique's view that Israel is to blame for all the problems in the region.
Frankly, Indyk sounds more like an unrealistic apologist (See 1 below.)
Goldman Sachs is guilty of causing ash to disrupt plane travel and also global warming. Why? Because everyone knows Wall Street types are full of hot air.
But then politicians are also guilty of global warming because they too are full of hot air. But what about smokers? Aren't they guilty of blowing smoke and causing the earth's atmosphere to warm. So light up a Camel and melt an ice berg.
(See 2 below.)
More years than I like to remember, after Robert Bork was 'Borked' by elitist liberals, I wrote a memo entitled "Bork and The Liberal Stork." The thrust of the memo was that this bird would come back to haunt the nation and lay more rotten eggs.
And, not only did the word 'Bork' become part of our language and is in Webster's Dictionary, but this 'Bork Stork' also continues to get trotted out every time an appointee, a movement etc., threatens Liberals and their pet agendas.
The Far Left subsequently trotted out Anita to 'Bork' Justice Thomas and now Ole Bill is out 'Borking' those who drink tea. It's a clever, 'Pinata" set up - a straw man strategy that casts a wide net. Why? Because if something dumb should happen Ole Bill can lay the event at the door of those who protest acts of an overzealous, dangerously bloated and overreaching government as well as the various bureaucrats involved.
You can't demonize unless you construct a demon and people who drink tea are demons for sure. Why? Because they do not approve of the direction Obama and his Czars and Czarinas are taking our nation.
Ole Bill used the 'straw man' approach in S Carolina against Obama but now that his wife is on the Obama team Ole Bill has also become the 'loyal husband' team player.
Stifle dissent of those you tag as dangerous and disloyal and you too can become engaged in a patriotic charade. (See 3 below.)
Fannie, Freddie and fleeced! (See 4 below.)
A Jew defends Catholicism against a biased press which is anti-religion and most particularly anti-Catholic. It's the hypocrite PC thing to do and be these days. It is called "Pile on the Pope' time. (See 5 below.)
Recently someone in the Pentagon felt concerned enough to become deliciously insubordinate and leaked what we already, intuitively, should have known. Sec. Gates' memo reveals Obama has embraced the Mother Hubbard approach towards Iran, ie. there is no developed military option on the table. Our cupboard is empty. Obama and his administration has chosen to give Iran a pass on becoming nuclear.
Government by leak is a Pentagon attempt to wake up and/or embarrass our golf playing president to take action.
Again, I would pose to Indyk the simple question - why should Netanyahu trust Obama?
The only ones who trust Obama should be Iran's leadership because they know Obama is an empty suit. (See 6 below.)
1)When Your Best Friend Gets Angry
By MARTIN INDYK
How do you know when there’s a real crisis in U.S.-Israel relations? It’s when the president of the United States convenes a nuclear security summit to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the Israeli prime minister declines the invitation.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has made Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel’s existence the central organizing principle of his second term. Yet at the nuclear summit in Washington last week, President Obama was the one to do the heavy lifting, persuading China to join in a new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran.
Netanyahu explained that his presence at the summit would have prompted some leaders to focus attention on Israel’s nuclear program. But one suspects the real reason for his conspicuous absence was that he does not have an answer to President Obama’s demand that he freeze new building announcements in East Jerusalem for a few months to give peace negotiations with the Palestinians a chance to take off.
That an issue of as much strategic import to Israel and the United States as Iran could be subordinated to the demands of Netanyahu’s right-wing government underscores the growing divide between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government.
The president views curbing Iran’s nuclear program and resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as two sides of the same coin. In order to isolate and pressure Iran, he believes he needs to unite Israelis and Arabs with the rest of the world in a grand international anti-Iranian coalition.
The common threat is there — Arab leaders are at least as concerned as Netanyahu about Iran. But the inability to make progress on the Palestinian issue enables Iran’s leaders to play to the Arab street, claiming they are the real supporters of the Palestinian cause through sponsorship of violence and terrorism and threats to destroy Israel. The tension also gives Iran the opportunity to use Hamas and Hezbollah proxies to provoke conflict with Israel, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seen as the hero.
Netanyahu rejects these linkages. He argues that resolving the Palestinian problem won’t change Iran’s intentions or placate the Arabs; that it is Israel’s use of force that deters Hamas and Hezbollah; and that the split with the United States over building in East Jerusalem only encourages Tehran to believe that Obama will restrain Israel from striking Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Whoever is right, there is no denying the reality of a fundamental disagreement, one that has poisoned relations between the American and Israeli leaders.
At the heart of this disagreement lies a dramatic change in the way Washington perceives its own stake in the game. It actually began three years ago when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared in a speech in Jerusalem that U.S. “strategic interests” were at stake in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — a judgment reiterated by Obama last week when he said resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict is a “vital national security interest” for the United States.
In other words, this is no longer just about helping a special ally resolve a debilitating problem. With 200,000 American troops committed to two wars in the greater Middle East and the U.S. president leading a major international effort to block Iran’s nuclear program, resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a U.S. strategic imperative.
Ironically, as the U.S. position has evolved in this direction, Israeli attitudes have evolved in another. To many Israelis, especially those in Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, peace with a divided Palestinian polity seems neither realistic nor particularly desirable.
Given Israel’s dependence on the United States to counter the threat from Iran and to prevent its own international isolation, an Israeli prime minister would surely want to bridge the growing divide. Yet the shift in American perceptions seems to have gone unnoticed in Jerusalem. Hence Netanyahu’s surprise when what he saw as merely a matter of a poorly timed announcement during Vice President Biden’s visit drew a stinging rebuke from Washington.
For Obama, however, Netanyahu’s apology doesn’t begin to address the real problem. His envoy, George Mitchell, had been struggling for nine months to launch Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The day before Biden’s visit, Mitchell had announced agreement with Netanyahu and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to commence “proximity talks.” The East Jerusalem building announcement came the next day, rendering those negotiations over before they had even started.
From Obama’s perspective, a zoning decision in an obscure Jerusalem suburb had dealt the United States a strategic setback. Deferring building announcements and other provocative actions in East Jerusalem thus became the litmus test of Netanyahu’s commitment to the common cause of curbing Iran’s nuclear enthusiasm.
As he studies his options, Netanyahu would do well to reflect on the decisions taken by two earlier prime ministers from his Likud Party — Menahem Begin and Ariel Sharon.
Begin gave up all of Sinai for a peace deal with Egypt that avoided a fight with Jimmy Carter over a Palestinian homeland. Sharon believed that the best way to survive politically was to allow no daylight to show between him and the president of the United States. That led him to propose full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in order to head off what he foresaw as inevitable friction with the United States over the West Bank and Jerusalem. Both Sharon and Begin were excoriated by their right wings.
Or there’s the example of Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s greatest strategic thinker. He believed that the best way for Israel to counter the threat from Iran, in the Middle East’s “outer circle,” was to make peace with the Arab “inner circle.” That led him to offer his hand in peace to the PLO’s Yasser Arafat, and to offer a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights to Syria’s Hafez al-Assad.
Today, nothing could better help Obama to isolate Iran than for Netanyahu to offer to cede the Golan, as four other Israeli prime ministers have, in exchange for peace with Syria, which serves as the conduit for Tehran’s troublemaking in the Arab-Israeli arena.
The shift in America’s Middle East interests means that Netanyahu must make a choice: take on the president of the United States, or take on his right wing. If he continues to defer to those ministers in his cabinet who oppose peacemaking, the consequences for U.S.-Israel relations could be dire.
Martin Indyk, vice president and director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, served twice as U.S. ambassador to Israel.
2)EU Sues Goldman Over Volcanic Ash Fallout
By Benjamin N. Dover
BRUSSELS—European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced late Sunday that the European Union has filed suit against investment banking giant Goldman Sachs for the fallout of ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The volcanic ash, which has blanketed the skies over most of Europe for the last four days, has grounded almost all European air traffic, stranding travelers and disrupting economic activity throughout the European Union.
In a statement delivered in Romansh, the official EU language of the month, Barroso said, “We have uncovered evidence that this so-called ‘natural disaster’, which is costing the EU hundreds of millions of Euros, is in fact an Act of Goldman, and we intend to hold the Zionist-American cabal in charge of the firm accountable.” “First the profligate Americans drag the world into a near-depression and now they crap all this ash on us. Who the hell do they think they are?” added Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou from Athens, where he was chairing a conference on Greek sovereign debt entitled, “How American Speculators Forced Us to Cook the Books, Lie to Our European Partners, and Pretend We Don’t Need A Massive Bailout”.
The EU complaint alleges that Goldman operated a proprietary wind-blowing strategy to direct the volcano’s ash into Europe’s stratosphere. Goldman is accused of profiting from the fallout by buying complex Flight Cancellation Swaps that are netting Goldman millions of dollars every time another European flight is cancelled. The complaint cites a smoking gun email from Francois Tubbey, a 16-year old Goldman vice president, to an unidentified woman at “i@&$*edTiger@gmail.com” stating, “That’s right, baby, Fat Franky’s in charge of the weather.”
Several European banks who are counterparties to the FCS’s are alleged to be suffering billions in losses with no end in sight, apparently because they continue to sell the FCS’s to Goldman. Reached for comment, the Chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the counterparty banks, said, “Yes, we know almost all European flights are cancelled, but our advisor is Goldman Sachs, and they keep urging us to sell these FCS’s to them, so we do. We intend to hold them fully responsible.”
Goldman issued a statement saying that it intends to “vigorously defend itself,” adding that the EU’s charges are “unfounded in meteorology and probably also in fact.”
In a related development, the InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change said today it is considering investigating Goldman’s role in climate change. “We’re going to get the documents, proceed cautiously, and determine precisely when Goldman started melting the Polar icecaps.”
More years than I like to remember, after Robert Bork was 'Borked' by elitist liberals, I wrote a memo entitled "Bork and The Liberal Stork." The thrust of the memo was that this bird would come back to haunt the nation and lay more eggs.
And, not only did the word 'Bork' become part of our language and is in Webster's Dictionary, but this 'Bork Stork' also gets trotted out everytime an appointee, a movement etc., threatens Liberals and their pet agendas.
The Far Left subsequently trotted out Anita to 'Bork' Justice Thomas and now Ole Bill is out 'Borking' those who drink tea. It's a clever, 'Pinata" set up a straw man and cast a wide net, strategy. Why? Because if something dumb should happen Ole Bill can lay the event it at the door of those who protest the acts of an overzealous and overreaching government as well as the various officials involved.
You can't demonize unless you construct a demon and people who drink tea are demons for sure.
Ole Bill used this approach in S Carolina against Obama but now that his wife is on the Obama team Ole Bill has become the 'loyal husband' team player.
Stifle dissent of those you tag as dangerous and disloyal and you too can become engaged in a patriotic endeavor.
4) Fannie and Freddie Amnesia: Taxpayers are on the hook for about $400 billion, partly because Sen. Obama helped to block reform.
By PETER J. WALLISON
Now that nearly all the TARP funds used to bail out Wall Street banks have been repaid, the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stand out as the source of the greatest taxpayer losses.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that, in the wake of the housing bubble and the unprecedented deflation in housing values that resulted, the government's cost to bail out Fannie and Freddie will eventually reach $381 billion. That estimate may be too optimistic.
Last Christmas Eve, Treasury removed the $400 billion cap on what the government might be required to invest in these two GSEs in the future, and this may tell the real story about the cost to taxpayers. In typical Washington fashion, everyone has amnesia about how this disaster occurred.
The story is all too familiar. Politicians in positions of authority today had an opportunity to prevent this fiasco but did nothing. Now—in the name of the taxpayers—they want more power, but they have never been called to account for their earlier failings.
One chapter in this story took place in July 2005, when the Senate Banking Committee, then controlled by the Republicans, adopted tough regulatory legislation for the GSEs on a party-line vote—all Republicans in favor, all Democrats opposed. The bill would have established a new regulator for Fannie and Freddie and given it authority to ensure that they maintained adequate capital, properly managed their interest rate risk, had adequate liquidity and reserves, and controlled their asset and investment portfolio growth.
These authorities were necessary to control the GSEs' risk-taking, but opposition by Fannie and Freddie—then the most politically powerful firms in the country—had consistently prevented reform.
The date of the Senate Banking Committee's action is important. It was in 2005 that the GSEs—which had been acquiring increasing numbers of subprime and Alt-A loans for many years in order to meet their HUD-imposed affordable housing requirements—accelerated the purchases that led to their 2008 insolvency. If legislation along the lines of the Senate committee's bill had been enacted in that year, many if not all the losses that Fannie and Freddie have suffered, and will suffer in the future, might have been avoided.
Why was there no action in the full Senate? As most Americans know today, it takes 60 votes to cut off debate in the Senate, and the Republicans had only 55. To close debate and proceed to the enactment of the committee-passed bill, the Republicans needed five Democrats to vote with them. But in a 45 member Democratic caucus that included Barack Obama and the current Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), these votes could not be found.
Recently, President Obama has taken to accusing others of representing "special interests." In an April radio address he stated that his financial regulatory proposals were struggling in the Senate because "the financial industry and its powerful lobby have opposed modest safeguards against the kinds of reckless risks and bad practices that led to this very crisis."
He should know. As a senator, he was the third largest recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, behind only Sens. Chris Dodd and John Kerry.
With hypocrisy like this at the top, is it any wonder that nearly 80% of Americans, according to new Pew polling, don't trust the federal government or its ability to solve the country's problems?
Mr. Wallison is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
5)Jewish Sam Miller on Catholics
Excerpts of an article written by non-Catholic Sam Miller - a prominent Cleveland Jewish businessman:
"Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States , namely the Catholic Church?
Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to that Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. The graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%.
The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students.
The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the United States today
But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage.
Let me give you some figures that Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church , 41.8% of clergy women reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed. Not to mention coaches, teachers and Boy Scout leaders. Even our own Jewish rabbis.
Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem.
A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.
The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.
Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States . Then remember what Jeremiah said: 'Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls'. Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions.
Be proud that you're a Catholic."
9)Gates Says U.S. Lacks a Policy to Thwart Iran
By DAVID E. SANGER and THOM SHANKER
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.
Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.
Officials familiar with the memo’s contents would describe only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies.
One senior official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the memo, described the document as “a wake-up call.” But White House officials dispute that view, insisting that for 15 months they had been conducting detailed planning for many possible outcomes regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
In an interview on Friday, General Jones declined to speak about the memorandum. But he said: “On Iran, we are doing what we said we were going to do. The fact that we don’t announce publicly our entire strategy for the world to see doesn’t mean we don’t have a strategy that anticipates the full range of contingencies — we do.”
But in his memo, Mr. Gates wrote of a variety of concerns, including the absence of an effective strategy should Iran choose the course that many government and outside analysts consider likely: Iran could assemble all the major parts it needs for a nuclear weapon — fuel, designs and detonators — but stop just short of assembling a fully operational weapon.
In that case, Iran could remain a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty while becoming what strategists call a “virtual” nuclear weapons state.
According to several officials, the memorandum also calls for new thinking about how the United States might contain Iran’s power if it decided to produce a weapon, and how to deal with the possibility that fuel or weapons could be obtained by one of the terrorist groups Iran has supported, which officials said they considered to be a less-likely possibility.
Mr. Gates has never mentioned the memo in public. His spokesman, Geoff Morrell, declined to comment on specifics in the document, but issued a statement on Saturday saying, “The secretary believes the president and his national security team have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort considering and preparing for the full range of contingencies with respect to Iran.”
Pressed on the administration’s ambiguous phrases until now about how close the United States was willing to allow Iran’s program to proceed, a senior administration official described last week in somewhat clearer terms that there was a line Iran would not be permitted to cross.
The official said that the United States would ensure that Iran would not “acquire a nuclear capability,” a step Tehran could get to well before it developed a sophisticated weapon. “That includes the ability to have a breakout,” he said, using the term nuclear specialists apply to a country that suddenly renounces the nonproliferation treaty and uses its technology to build a small arsenal.
Nearly two weeks ago, Mr. Obama, in an interview with The New York Times, was asked about whether he saw a difference between a nuclear-capable Iran and one that had a fully developed weapon. “I’m not going to parse that right now,” he said. But he noted that North Korea was considered a nuclear-capable state until it threw out inspectors and, as he said, “became a self-professed nuclear state.”
Mr. Gates has alluded to his concern that intelligence agencies might miss signals that Iran was taking the final steps toward producing a weapon. Last Sunday on the NBC News program “Meet the Press,” he said: “If their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? I don’t actually know how you would verify that.” But he cautioned that Iran had run into production difficulties, and he said, “It’s going slow — slower than they anticipated, but they are moving in that direction.”
Mr. Gates has taken a crucial role in formulating the administration’s strategy, and he has been known over his career to issue stark warnings against the possibility of strategic surprise.
Some officials said his memo should be viewed in that light: as a warning to a relatively new president that the United States was not adequately prepared.
He wrote the memo after Iran had let pass a 2009 deadline set by Mr. Obama to respond to his offers of diplomatic engagement
Both that process and efforts to bring new sanctions against Iran have struggled. Administration officials had hoped that the revelation by Mr. Obama in September that Iran was building a new uranium enrichment plant inside a mountain near Qum would galvanize other nations against Iran, but the reaction was muted. The next three months were spent in what proved to be fruitless diplomatic talks with Iran over a plan to swap much of its low-enriched uranium for fuel for a medical reactor in Tehran. By the time Mr. Gates wrote his memo, those negotiations had collapsed.
Mr. Gates’s memo appears to reflect concerns in the Pentagon and the military that the White House did not have a well prepared series of alternatives in place in case all the diplomatic steps finally failed. Separately, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote a “chairman’s guidance” to his staff in December conveying a sense of urgency about contingency planning. He cautioned that a military attack would have “limited results,” but he did not convey any warnings about policy shortcomings.
“Should the president call for military options, we must have them ready,” the admiral wrote.
Administration officials testifying before a Senate committee last week made it clear that those preparations were under way. So did General Jones. “The president has made it clear from the beginning of this administration that we need to be prepared for every possible contingency,” he said in the interview. “That is what we have done from day one, while successfully building a coalition of nations to isolate Iran and pressure it to live up to its obligations.”
At the same hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one of the military’s most experienced officers on nuclear matters, said that Iran could produce bomb-grade fuel for at least one nuclear weapon within a year, but that it would probably need two to five years to manufacture a workable atomic bomb.
The administration has been stepping up efforts to contain the influence of Iran and counter its missiles, including placing Patriot anti-missile batteries, mostly operated by Americans, in several states around the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon also is moving ahead with a plan for regional missile defense that reconfigures architecture inherited from the Bush administration to more rapidly field interceptors on land and at sea.