Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! Al Sharpton - The Shakedown Artist! Palestinians Defeated and Begin End Run! Entertainment!

Al Sharpton may be a loud mouth lout but he demands and receives a lot of hush money which is forked over and on which he owes a ton of alleged taxes.  The IRS seems too busy abridging the rights of Conservatives to pay attention to Hustler Al! (See 1 below.)
Cuban exile feels betrayed by Obama's policy .  Meanwhile,Obama is due credit for directing our 
representative 's comment in the U.N. to point out the fallacy in the the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition by the U.N.

Netanyahu and Lieberman worked effectively behind the scene to get Nigeria to abstain so the United States did not have to veto the proposal.

But Abbas remains committed to end run Israel andnot negotiate face to face. (See 2, 2a  and 2b below.)
How Obama views Iran.  (See 3 below.)
Like that song, "That's Entertainment:"


Stores That Pay Hush Money to Al Sharpton

by Sara Noble • December 30, 2014

Hush money for Al Sharpton and his National Action Network or NAN comes from a large number of corporations despite the fact that he is a complete fraud.

He doesn’t pay his taxes, supports uprisings, creates racial divides, but is an advisor to the president.

The New York Times reported in November that records show “more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses”.
Sharpton operates like the mob and he’s been getting away with it for years.
 hush money
They are paying for his silence. They make nice with his “civil rights activists” and keep his boycotters away from their stores with payoffs.

Sometimes he’s hired as a consultant. SONY recently hired him for a job that will give him a say in the movies they produce. It was to keep him quiet over racially disparaging remarks made by two of their directors in hacked private emails.

Can we expect a movie rewriting the Tawana Brawley saga or perhaps a movie demonizing Jews?
Anheuser-Busch gave him six figures, Colgate-Palmolive shelled out $50,000 and Macy’s and Pfizer contributed thousands to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s charity by 2008.

About 50 companies – including PepsiCo, General Motors, Wal-Mart, FedEx, Continental Airlines, Johnson & Johnson and Chase – and some labor unions sponsored Sharpton’s National Action Network annual conferences.

When he threatened GM with a boycott in 2006, they paid out and he agreed to disappear. He did the same thing to Chrysler, claiming there was racial bias in car loans. Honda didn’t escape his threats either.
It’s a shakedown operation according to Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center in Virginia.

He harasses and they pay him protection money – protection from him and his goons.

The Rev’s National Action Network is the same organization that the Federal Election Commission found illegally subsidized his 2004 presidential campaign committee, according to the Village Voice which wondered in 2009 why companies and celebrities lend their voice to this corruption run by a tax dodger.
Ironically, Sharpton supports anti-business policies.

If corporations wanted to ever stop playing along, they’d have the Obama administration to deal with. Sharpton is an Obama advisor, having paid more than 84 visits to the White House.

Sharpton operates under the guise of protecting and supporting blacks while he enriches himself and dodges the IRS. Sharpton, with ties to organized crime, has built his career on racial hatred and divisiveness. He deserves to be in prison. Instead, he’s a White House advisor.

He likes to make demands and then announce he’s on his way to the White House.
Corporations have to play along to get along.

The NY Post published a list of companies paying him off back in 2008. The corruption continues.

More information at Capital Research.

Vice News has a piece worth reading – “Al Sharpton Is a Huge Fraud
2)  As a Cuban exile, I feel betrayed by President Obama

I am furious, in pain, and deeply offended by those who laud this betrayal of the Cuban people as a great moment in history.

My family and native land were destroyed by the brutal Castro regime. In 1959, as an 8-year-old, I listened to mobs shout “paredon!” (to the firing squad!). I watched televised executions, and was terrified by the incessant pressure to agree with a bearded dictator’s ideals.
As the months passed, relatives, friends, and neighbors began to disappear. Some of them emerged from prison with detailed accounts of the tortures they endured, but many never reappeared, their lives cut short by firing squads.
I also witnessed the government’s seizure of all private property – down to the ring on one’s finger – and the collapse of my country’s economy. I began to feel as if some monstrous force was trying to steal my mind and soul through incessant indoctrination.
By the age of 10, I was desperate to leave.
The next year, my parents sent me to the United States.  I am one of the lucky 14,000 unaccompanied children rescued by Operation Pedro Pan. Our plan to reunite within a few months was derailed by the policies of  the Castro regime, which intentionally prevented people like my parents from leaving Cuba. Although my mother did manage to escape three years later, my father remained stuck for the rest of his life. When he died, 14 years after my departure, the Castro regime prevented me from attending his funeral.
* * * 
I am now a professor of history and religion at Yale University.
And I long for justice. Instead of seeing Raoúl Castro shaking President Obama’s hand, I would like to see him, his brother, and all their henchmen in a court room, being tried for crimes against humanity. I also long for genuine freedom in Cuba. Instead of seeing his corrupt and abusive regime rewarded with favors from the United States, I long for the day when that regime is replaced by a genuine democracy with a free market economy.
The fact that I am a historian makes me see things differently, too. I earn my living by analyzing texts and documents, sifting evidence, and separating facts from lies and myths. I have been trained to read between the lines, and to discern the hidden meaning in all rhetoric.
While much attention has been paid to President Obama’s Cuba policy speech, hardly any has been paid to dictator Raoúl Castro’s shorter speech, broadcast in Cuba at exactly the same time.
In his spiteful address, the unelected ruler of Cuba said that he would accept President Obama’s gesture of good will “without renouncing a single one of our principles.”
What, exactly, are those principles?
Like his brother Fidel, whose name he invoked, and like King Louis XIV of France, whose name he dared not mention, Raúl speaks of himself as the embodiment of the state he rules, as evidenced by his mention of “ourprinciples,” which assumes that all Cubans share his mindset. Raúl claims that he is defending his nation’s “self-determination,” “sovereignty,” and “independence,” and also dares to boast that his total control of the Cuban economy should be admired as “social justice.”
In reality, he is defending is his role as absolute monarch.
Cubans have  no freedom of speech or assembly. The press is tightly controlled, and there is no freedom to establish political parties or labor unions. Travel is strictly controlled, as is access to the Internet. There is no economic freedom and no elections. According to the Associated Press, at least 8,410 dissidents were detained in 2014.
These are the principles that Raúl Castro is unwilling to renounce, which have driven nearly 20 percent of Cuba’s population into exile.
Unfortunately, these are also the very principles that President Obama ratified as acceptable, which will govern Cuba for years to come.
Although President Obama did acknowledge the lack of “freedom and openness” in Cuba, and also hinted that Raoúl Castro should  loosen his grip on the Cuban people, his rhetoric was as hollow as Raoúl’s. He didn’t make any demands for immediate, genuine reforms in Cuba. Equally hollow was his reference to Cuba’s “civil society.” He made no mention of the constant abuse heaped on Cuba’s non-violent dissidents, or of the fact that the vast majority of them have pleaded with him to tighten rather than ease existing sanctions on the Castro regime.
But it was not just what was left unsaid that made his rhetoric hollow. Some of the “facts” cited in support of his policy changes were deliberate distortions of history that lay most of the blame for Cuba’s problems on the United States.
Among the most glaring of these falsehoods was the claim that “our sanctions on Cuba have denied Cubans access to technology that has empowered individuals around the globe.” The real culprit is not the embargo, but the Castro regime itself, which actively prevents Cubans from accessing the Internet. Cuba has been purchasing all sorts of cutting-edge technology from other countries for use by its government, its military, its spies, and its tourist industry.
If studied carefully, what President Obama’s artful speech reveals is a fixation on the failures of American foreign policy, and on his role as a righteous reformer. Moreover, the speech is riddled with false assumptions and wishful thinking.
Does President Obama really believe that somehow, magically, an influx of American diplomats, tourists, and dollars is going to force Raoúl Castro and his military junta to give up their beloved repressive “principles”?
Dream on. President Obama knows all too well that the Castro regime has had diplomatic and economic relations with the rest of the world and hosted millions of tourists from democratic nations for many years. Such engagement has brought no freedom or prosperity to the Cuban people. He also knows that tourism has only served to create an apartheid state in which foreigners enjoy privileges that are denied to the natives.
President Obama’s disingenuous formulation of a new Cuba policy has been praised by many around the world, but will be challenged by the legislative branch of the government of these United States.
Thank God and the Constitution for that.
The American people and the Cuban people deserve a much better future and a much better interpretation of history than those offered to them in President Obama’s shameful speech.

2a)  The Palestinian statehood bid fell short in the UN Security Council, with a draft resolution failing to get the nine votes necessary to pass. The money quote from US Ambassador Samantha Power:
“It is deeply imbalanced and contains many elements that are not conducive to negotiations  between the parties, including un-constructive deadlines that take no account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns,” she said, adding that it “was put to a vote without a discussion or due consideration among council members.”
Lacking nine votes, it wasn’t necessary for the US to cast a veto. Nigeria’s abstention, a surprise to the Palestinians, turned out to be the swing vote. YNet lays out in nice detail the Nigerian back story.

"There was a clear message from international community to the Palestinians: Do not try to use tricks to replace negotiations," a top Foreign Ministry official told Ynet, but the American effort to torpedo the Arabs UN Security Council resolution demanding Israel end its 'occupation' of Judea and Samaria proved once again the importance of maintaining good relations with Washington. Furthermore, the abstention by African nations also demonstrated the importance of the visits made by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to the African continent. However, the change of power set to take place in the Security Council on Thursday will change the balance of power against Israel. The rejection of the 'Palestinian' resolution by the UN Security Council on Tuesday night was a reminder of the great extent to which Israel-US relations serve as a critical factor in Israeli national security. It only strengthens the need for Israel to maintain good relations with Washington in general and more specifically with the White House, even when the man in charge is not very pro-Israel. "The US had a very significant role," said a high-ranking official at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. "Not only were they willing to veto, they also worked side-by-side with Israeli diplomats in order to prevent support for the decision within the Security Council. It's not that they just said they would vote against it. They worked. There were phone calls and messages. The American diplomatic effort is noteworthy."
Apart from the critical help from Washington, the results of the Security Council vote are also a testament of the diplomatic achievements made by the Foreign Ministry headed by Avigdor Lieberman, who marked Africa as a target for diplomatic efforts. The African nations proved themselves loyal during the moment of truth with the support of Rwanda and Nigeria. Representing the Netanyahu government, Lieberman set out on a trip that began in September of 2009 in which he visited Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. In June 2014, Lieberman returned to Africa and visited Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Visits of by an Israeli diplomat of this stature to Africa have not been seen since the days of Golda Meir as foreign minister. During her tenure, Israel had 27 representatives in Africa compared to the 10 that exist today. The wide-ranging investments Israel has made in African aid, along with the Israeli business that operate in the continent, proved to be very worthwhile. an Israeli businessman may have contributed to the resolution being shelved. Businessman Hezi Bezalel has been working in the past few weeks behind the scenes to ensure that the draft resolution would fail to gain crucial support, Arutz Sheva has learned Wednesday. Only eight countries supported the proposal: Russia, China, France, Jordan, Chad, Luxembourg, Argentina and Chile. The United States and Australia opposed. Five countries abstained: United Kingdom, Rwanda, Nigeria, Lithuania and South Korea. Bezalel operates primarily abroad, mostly in Africa, and has a special relationship with the leaders of those countries. Bezalel currently serves as honorary consul of Rwanda in Israel. This is not the first time that Bezalel has worked for the State of Israel in the UN and in African countries. In recent years, he has quietly helped defend Israel from foreign interests looking to harm the Jewish state.

2c)Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome Statute, requesting membership in the International Criminal Court. It paves the way for a possible war crimes probe of Israel by the International Criminal Court. The Israeli cabinet is meeting today to consider responses — presumably withholding tax transfers to the PA, rescinding Palestinian officials’ VIP travel permits, settlement activity, as well as legal steps to shield IDF personnel from possible ICC inquiries.
But take a deep breath before imaging the worst. The Jerusalem Post, in a must-read piece, explains the hoops the PA would have to go through to trigger real activity in The Hague. And the Washington Post points out something else:

Iran Is Getting Away With Murder

By Jeffrey Goldberg
December 30, 2014

In an interview in late 2006, I asked then-Senator Barack Obama to talk about the challenges to rational deterrence theory posed by the behavior of rogue states. “Whatever you want to say about the Soviets,” Obama answered, “they were essentially conservative. The North Korean regime and the Iranians are driven more by ideology and fantasy.”

Earlier this year, I asked Obama the following question: “What is more dangerous: Sunni extremism or Shia extremism?”

His answer was revealing, suggestive of an important change in the way he has come to view the Iranian regime. He started by saying, as would be expected, “I’m not big on extremism generally.” And then he argued—in part by omission—that he finds the principal proponent of Shiite extremism, the regime in Tehran, more rational, and more malleable, than the main promoters of Sunni radicalism.

“I don’t think you’ll get me to choose on those two issues,” he said. “What I’ll say is that if you look at Iranian behavior, they are strategic, and they’re not impulsive. They have a worldview, and they see their interests, and they respond to costs and benefits. And that isn’t to say that they aren’t a theocracy that embraces all kinds of ideas that I find abhorrent, but they’re not North Korea. They are a large, powerful country that sees itself as an important player on the world stage, and I do not think has a suicide wish, and can respond to incentives. And that’s the reason why they came to the table on sanctions.”

Since becoming president, Obama has made the argument that Iran could be induced, cajoled, and pressured into compromise, a view that has been proven provisionally, partially, correct: Sanctions, plus Obama's repeated (and, to my mind, at least, credible) threat of military action, convinced Iran to temporarily halt many aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief. But Obama and his international partners have been less successful at bringing Iran to permanent denuclearization.

A long-term, verifiable arrangement that keeps Iran perpetually a year or more from nuclear breakout is surpassingly important for the national security of the United States (as Obama noted in this interview); for the health and safety of America’s friends in the Middle East; and for the cause of nuclear nonproliferation in the world’s most volatile and dangerous region. Over the past year, the two sides of international nuclear negotiations have apparently moved somewhat closer to each other, and when the second round of talks came to an end without achieving a deal, both sides agreed that yet another negotiation extension was in order. As Iran and its interlocutors move into what stands to be the fateful year for these negotiations, a credible deal does not look to be achievable; so far, at least, the Iranians seem unwilling to make the truly creative concessions necessary to meet the West's minimum requirements.

Especially if a deal is ultimately proven to be unachievable, another question will arise: Is the price the U.S. has paid to reach this elusive deal too high? An admirable aspect of Obama’s foreign-policy making is his ability to coolly focus on core issues to the exclusion of what he considers to be extraneous matters. This is also, however, a non-admirable aspect of his policymaking, in particular when the subject at hand is Iran’s role in supporting the killer Assad regime in Syria.

Obama seems to believe that a nuclear deal is, in a way, like Casaubon's key to all mythologies: Many good things, he believes, could flow from a nuclear compromise. In an interview last week with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, the president suggested that a nuclear agreement would help Iran become “a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules.” This, he said, “would be good for everybody. That would be good for the United States, that would be good for the region, and most of all, it would be good for the Iranian people.”

This is a wonderful notion, the idea that the end of Iran’s isolation could lead it to moderate its more extreme impulses. But there isn’t much in the way of proof to suggest that Iran’s rulers are looking to join an international order whose norms are defined by the United States and its allies. In fact, there is proof of something quite opposite: Iran seems as interested as ever in becoming a regional hegemon, on its own terms. And its supreme leader, and his closest confidants, have made it clear, over and over again, that he is not interested in normalizing relations with the United States.

Across the greater Middle East, Iran's efforts to extend its influence have been blunt and brutal: It supports Shiite insurrections in Yemen and Bahrain; it attempts to manipulate Lebanese politics through its Beirut-based proxy, Hezbollah; it intervenes in Gaza and against the already-fading hope for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab crisis; and certainly its unceasing threats to eradicate a fellow member-state of the United Nations, Israel, suggest that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has a vision for Iran that differs from Obama’s.

But nothing underscores the Iranian regime’s imperialistic, hegemonic nature more than its support for the Assad regime in Damascus. Without Iran’s assistance, Assad would have fallen a long time ago. The death toll in Syria is more than 200,000half of Syria's population has been displaced. These dark achievements of the Assad regime would not have been possible without Iran. Thousands of Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps troops and advisers, plus Iranian weaponry, have made all the difference for Assad. As a recent study by the Middle East Institute states:

It is no longer accurate to describe the war in Syria as a conflict between Syrian rebels on the one hand and Bashar al-Assad's regime forces “supported” by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG), Hezbollah, and Iraqi militias on the other. Most major battles in Syria—along the frontlines of regime-held areas—are now being directed and fought by the IRG and Hezbollah, along with other non-Syrian Shi‘i militias, with Assad forces in a supportive or secondary role. ...

One result of this heavy Iranian involvement in the war in Syria has been a change in the nature of the relationship between the Syrian and the Iranian regimes. From historically being mutually beneficial allies, the Iranian regime is now effectively the dominant force in regime-held areas of Syria, and can thus be legally considered an “occupying force,” with the responsibilities that accompany such a role.

There was no commensurate effort made by opponents of Assad to help those Syrians who were trying to overthrow him. President Obama called on Assad to go, but kept the U.S. on the sidelines through the first years of the Syrian civil war, for reasons he has explained in many places, including here.

Today, the U.S. and its allies are fighting in the Syrian theater, but they are fighting Assad’s putative enemies, the Sunni extremists of ISIS, not Assad and his Iranian allies. And yet ISIS is a derivative problem of a larger crisis: Without Assad—which is to say, without Iran—there would be no ISIS “caliphate” in Syria in the first place. The midwives of ISIS are Assad, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, and Ayatollah Khamenei.

If Assad had been overthrown early in the civil war, a more moderate, multi-confessional Syrian government could have plausibly emerged to take its place. The early rebels, who frightened the Assad regime to its core, were not seeking to build a cross-border caliphate on a foundation of medieval cruelty; they were simply seeking to remove Assad’s boot from their necks. As the Assad regime, with Iran’s invaluable help, recovered from the first blows of the rebellion, many Sunni Syrians, seeking help everywhere but finding it mainly among radicals, became radicalized themselves. This was an explicable, if not justifiable, reaction to the mortal threat posed by what they saw as a massed 
Shiite threat.

Earlier this year, in a conversation about the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy, Senator John McCain brought me up short when he criticized the president for launching attacks on a symptom of the Syrian civil war, ISIS, rather than its root cause. He told me that the U.S. should be battling the Assad regime at the same time it attacks Sunni terrorists. I asked him the following question: “Wouldn’t the generals say to you, ‘You want me to fight ISIS, and you want me to fight the guys who are fighting ISIS, at the same time? Why would we bomb guys who are bombing ISIS? That would turn this into a crazy standoff.’”

McCain answered: “Our ultimate job is not only to defeat ISIS but to give the Syrian people the opportunity to prevail as well. ... If we do this right, if we do the right kind of training and equipping of the Free Syrian Army, plus air strikes, plus taking out Bashar Assad’s air assets, we could reverse the battlefield equation.”

There is even less reason to believe today that the Free Syrian Army, such as it is, is capable of fighting the Assad regime (and ISIS) effectively. So at this late stage, McCain’s policy prescriptions may be unrealistic. But his diagnosis of the core problem seems tragically accurate.

“I don’t think ISIS would exist if Bashar al-Assad had been removed two or three years ago,” McCain told me when we revisited the question earlier this month. “He was on his way out until the Iranians brought in 5,000 Hezbollah fighters, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps came in, to train Assad’s troops and provide them with weapons, including the barrel bombs, which are horrible weapons of war.”

McCain argues that the Obama administration has avoided confronting Assad in part for fear that doing so would alienate Assad’s patrons in Tehran, the same men who are in charge of the nuclear file. “The whole theory hinges on a major breakthrough in the nuclear talks, that once they get their deal, Iran will stop funding Hamas, stop supporting Hezbollah, stop destabilizing Yemen, that they’ll join us in fighting extremism. So they have to get a nuclear deal at all costs, and not do anything in Syria. This is just so farfetched it’s delusional.”

I wouldn’t go so far as to call proponents of this theory delusional, but let's say that they are not approaching the issue of leverage in an effective way. Gary Samore, a former Obama administration official who was in charge of the National Security Council’s Iran nuclear file, told me this month that he would use Iran’s deep exposure in Syria to U.S. advantage.

“Confronting Iran forcefully in Syria and Iraq increases chances for a nuclear deal because Iran will only meet our nuclear demands if it feels weak and vulnerable,” Samore wrote in an email. “Conversely, Iran’s sense that it is winning in Syria and that it is indispensable in Iraq decreases chances for a nuclear because the Supreme Leader won’t make nuclear concessions if he feels strong and ascendant.”

Is it likely that Obama will move toward a policy of containing Iran in Syria, and away from his more accommodationist stance? Arab states that count Iran as an enemy and the U.S. as a friend have asked him repeatedly over the past two years to treat Iran as a root cause of the Syrian catastrophe. But Obama appears focused solely on achieving a nuclear deal with Iran, in part because he seems to believe that Iran is ready to play the part of rational and constructive actor, rather than extremist would-be hegemon. I hope he’s right, and I hope he achieves a strong nuclear deal, but I worry that he is empowering an Iranian government that isn’t about to change in any constructive way. In the meantime, the Iranian regime continues to get away, quite literally, with murder.

This article available online at:
Copyright © 2014 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year! What Is In Store In The Next Two Years! So Goes Israel So Goes Western Freedoms!

Stop and think, except for constant  attacks on police and the tragic assassination of two in New York, with Obama vacationing in Hawaii, the news has really been  benign.  
 Now that Obama is back, I would expect matters to heat up because he will  be doing everything he can to make things unpleasant either because he will continue spewing lies, will be contentious as he implements his ideology, and will soon be giving his SOTU Address.
President 'go it alone' has  already begun by threatening he will  use his pen to veto what he does not like. The man is always seeking to pick a fight so he will appear besieged, citing his blackness, in order to gain support from the unwashed and so he can grease his political tracks!
Obama may be thin skinned and resent his lack of popularity but frankly I do not believe he gives a damn because he is ideologically driven.

Obama needs an enemy, an adversary to blame   Having attacked Wall Street, the wealthy, police, Netanyahu, GW, white bible thumpers and gun toters etc. I wait with bated breath to see what/who will be his next pinata.

So what is in store for America as his two years wind down?

I suspect we will see continuing governance through Presidential Fiat and constant challenges to the intent of the Framer's Constitutional Process.

In a pre Christmas interview, Obama declared the Afghanistan war is over.  I hope he is right but I doubt ISIS and The Taliban got the word.  Did Obama  not mock G.W for saying pretty much the same when he was campaigning the first time?

We still have 11,000 troops exposed in Afghanistan and I fear they will continue to sustain casualties.

Granted Americans are disgusted with Congress and that is understandable considering the way Congress dysfunctions. However, some of the blame has to do with the way Harry Reid conducted the Senate preventing any bills to pass so he could protect the flanks of  Democrats and save Obama from vetoing contentious bills.

Voters expressed their dissatisfaction in November but Obama, seemingly/purposefully, did not get the message .
Republicans have choices as to how they respond.  They can fight among themselves, they can freeze like deer staring at headlights, they can act responsibly passing needed legislation that is rational and challenge the president to veto til the cows come home . (See 1 below.)

With Jeb Bush's announcement he most likely will run the 2016, Presidential Campaign has begun because the press and media need a story with long tails. This too can shape how Republicans respond in choosing their legislative agenda.

One thing seems certain.  Obama continues to have contempt for those who stand in his way and challenge his reforming our nation and well they should. To most objective observers Obama is a lousy negotiator who plays his entire hand first. The most recent evidence is his decision regarding Cuba and now seemingly to be followed by our establishing an Embassy in Iran if the Ayatollah will just be nice and give up his nuclear ambitions.

Happy New Year America, Obama's term in office has only two more years.
The decline in oil prices could last longer than assumed and have an earthquake political effect. Could Iran and Russia's leaders be overthrown. I doubt it but with mounting economic stress strange things can happen.. (See 2 below.)
Two articles by Tom Sowell - Random Thoughts and What Happened to Facts?. (See 3 and 3a below.)

The case for Israel is being lost because tired and worn past strategies, which worked when Israel was the 'victim,'  are failing. When Israel was the underdog the world embraced it and felt empathy for the little besiege nation. Once Israel began consistently defeating its enemies world opinion shifted and began to support Israel's 'victims.' The world loves the victim!

As the collective West is hard pressed, no longer as strong as it once was and their Muslim populations are growing and it is being effectively  challenged by committed Jihadists, it is tired and seeks to place external blame. Israel has become the whipping boy.  That is not to say everything Israel does is right. However,when you do not have a legitimate and trustworthy negotiating partner and that partner has learned intransigence wins, the problem for Israel mounts. Furthermore, when Israel has been willing to give in to demands it has had its hand bitten and  had to deal with escalating terrorist attacks.

Finally,Obama has proven a reluctant and often unreliable friend of Israel.  Obama was naive and premature in his quest to bring about a two state solution. When circumstances proved this to be the case Obama became petulant  and sought to blame Israel, citing Netanyahu and settlements as the culprit(s.)

Finally, the Arab World has become more adept at twisting world opinion. They have manipulated youth on American campuses, been expert at deceiving the press and media by refusing them access unless they were sympathetic in their reporting and the list and positive effect of Arab propaganda is endless.

When supporters of Israel do not cower in the face of the above and meet the attacks head on and learn to present Israel's legitimate case of having to deal with world hypocrisy, it proves the right course of action.  This is why I continue to present the other side and will continue to do so because I fervently believe the unwarranted attacks on Israel are symptomatic of a greater threat - the survival of the West and America and the freedoms we enjoy.  (See 4 below.)
1) GOP Congress Should Tell Obama: Bring It On

By Greg Richter

The newly elected Republican Congress should use its power to differentiate itself from President Barack Obama, conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer told Fox News Channel on Monday.

Obama told National Public Radio recently that he's pretty likely to bring out his veto pen during his last two years in office as Republicans send him bills he doesn't like.

"I think the Republicans ought to say bring it on, Mr. President," Krauthammer told "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren." 
The party can best position itself for the 2016 presidential election by showing that it controls the House and Senate now that Democrat Sen. Harry Reid will no longer be acting as "blocking guard" for Obama, Krauthamer said. Reid's refusal to take up controversial legislation kept Obama from having to use his veto pen until now, he said.

With Republican Mitch McConnell running the Senate, the GOP will be able to enact its agenda, Krauthammer said, "And they should be willing to pass whatever they can and to dare the president to go ahead and to veto."

He suggested first passing legislation they know Obama will sign, such as trade negotiating authority, which both Obama and Republicans favor.

"But then they should begin to work on stuff and challenge the president," Krauthammer said, pointing specifically to the Keystone XL pipeline, tax reform and repealing the medical device tax and the employer and individual mandates of Obamacare.

"Let the president show where the party stands, and let the country know that with a new president —  a Republican president — this stuff, which is very popular, will be able to get through," he said.

2) This Era of Low Cost Oil Is Different
By Mohamed El-Erian

Having seen numerous fluctuations in the energy markets over the years, many analysts and policy makers have a natural tendency to “look through” the latest drop in oil prices — that is, to treat the impact as transient rather than as signaling long-term changes.

I suspect that view would be a mistake this time around. The world is experiencing much more than a temporary dip in oil prices. Because of a change in the supply model, this is a fundamental shift that will likely have long-lasting effects.

Through the years, markets have been conditioned to expect OPEC members to cut their production in response to a sharp drop in prices. Saudi Arabia played the role of the “swing producer.” As the biggest producer, it was willing and able to absorb a disproportionately large part of the output cut in order to stabilize prices and provide the basis for a rebound.
It did so directly by adhering to its lowered individual output ceiling, and indirectly by turning a blind eye when other OPEC members cheated by exceeding their ceilings to generate higher earnings. In the few periods when Saudi Arabia didn't initially play this role, such as in the late 1990s, oil prices collapsed to levels that threatened the commercial viability of even the lower-cost OPEC producers.

Yet in serving as the swing producer through the years, Saudi Arabia learned an important lesson: It isn’t easy to regain market share. This difficulty is greatly amplified now that significant non-traditional energy supplies, including shale, are hitting the market.

That simple calculation is behind Saudi Arabia’s insistence on not reducing production this time. Without such action by the No. 1 producer, and with no one else either able or willing to be the swing producer, OPEC is no longer in a position to lower its production even though oil prices have collapsed by about 50 percent since June.
This change in the production model means it is up to natural market forces to restore pricing power to the oil markets. Low prices will lead to the gradual shutdown of what are now unprofitable oil fields and alternative energy supplies, and they will discourage investment in new capacity. At the same time, they will encourage higher demand for oil.

This will all happen, but it will take a while. In the meantime, as oil prices settle at significantly lower levels, economic behavior will change beyond the “one-off” impact.

As costs fall for manufacturing and a wide range of other activities affected by energy costs, and as consumers spend less on gas and more on other things, many oil-importing nations will see a rise in gross domestic product. And this higher economic activity is likely to boost investment in new plants, equipment and labor, financed by corporate cash sitting on the sidelines.

The likelihood of longer-lasting changes is intensified when we include the geopolitical ripple effects. In addition to creating huge domestic problems for some producers such as Russia and Venezuela, the lower prices reduce these nations’ real and perceived influence on other countries. 

Some believe Cuba, for example, agreed to the recent deal with the U.S. because its leaders worried they would be getting less support from Russia and Venezuela. And for countries such as Iraq and Nigeria, low oil prices can fuel more unrest and fragmentation, and increase the domestic and regional disruptive impact of extremist groups.
Few expected oil prices to fall so far, especially in such a short time. The surprises won’t stop here. 

A prolonged period of low oil prices is also likely to result in durable economic, political and geopolitical changes that, not so long ago, would have been considered remote, if not unthinkable. 
2)Random thoughts on the passing scene:
By Tom Sowell
Now that Barack Obama is ruling by decree, he seems more like a king than a president. Maybe it is time we change the way we address him. "Your Majesty" may be a little too much, but perhaps "Your Royal Glibness" might be appropriate.
It tells us a lot about academia that the president of Smith College quickly apologized for saying, "All lives matter," after being criticized by those who are pushing the slogan, "Black lives matter." If science could cross breed a jellyfish with a parrot, it could create academic administrators.
Mitt Romney seems to be ready to try again to run for president in 2016. But most defeated presidential candidates who ran again lost again. There are much stronger Republican candidates available now than there were in 2012, including governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. At this crucial juncture in the nation's history, why run a retreaded candidate?
Explaining differences in achievements between groups often pits those who attribute these differences to ability against those who attribute differences to barriers. Neither seems to pay much attention to differences in what people want to do. Few guys from my old neighborhood were likely to end up as violinists or ballet dancers, simply because that was not what they were interested in.
When Professor Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T. boasted of fooling the "stupid" American public, that was not just a personal quirk of his. It epitomized a smug and arrogant attitude that is widespread among academics at elite institutions. There should be an annual "Jonathan Gruber award" for the most smug and arrogant statement by an academic. There would be thousands eligible every year.
Every society has some people who don't respect the law. But, when it is the people in charge of the law -- like the President of the United States and his Attorney General -- who don't respect it, that is when we are in big trouble.
Has anyone asked the question, "How could so many people across the country spend so much time at night marching, rioting and looting, if they had to get up and go to work the next morning?"
Hillary Clinton's idea that we have to see the world from our adversaries' point of view -- and even "empathize" with it -- is not new. Back in 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said, "I have realized vividly how Herr Hitler feels." Ronald Reagan, however, made sure our adversaries understood how we felt. Reagan's approach turned out a lot better than Chamberlain's.
Our schools and colleges are laying a guilt trip on those young people whose parents are productive, and who are raising them to become productive. What is amazing is how easily this has been done, largely just by replacing the word "achievement" with the word "privilege."
There are few modest talents so richly rewarded -- especially in politics and the media -- as the ability to portray parasites as victims, and portray demands for preferential treatment as struggles for equal rights.
Republicans complain when Democrats call them racists. But when have you ever heard a Republican counterattack? You don't win by protesting your innocence or whining about the unfairness of the charge. Yet when have you heard a Republican reply by saying, "You're a lying demagogue without a speck of evidence. Put up or shut up!"
President Obama's establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba was not due to what the American public wanted or even what his own party wanted. It was a decision in defiance of both, just as his decisions about military matters ignore what generals say and his decisions about medical matters ignore what doctors have said. Yet pundits continue to depict him as a helpless lame duck president.
When the political left wants to help the black community, they usually want to help the worst elements in that community -- thugs they portray as martyrs, for example -- without the slightest regard for the negative effect this can have on the lives of the majority of decent black people.
If anyone in the mainstream media is at a loss for what New Year's resolution to make, try this: Stop "spinning" or censoring stories about race, and try telling the plain truth, if only for the novelty of it.

2a)  Are Facts Obsolete
By Thomas Sowell

Some of us, who are old enough to remember the old television police series "Dragnet," may remember Sgt. Joe Friday saying, "Just the facts, ma'am." But that would be completely out of place today. Facts are becoming obsolete, as recent events have demonstrated.
What matters today is how well you can concoct a story that fits people's preconceptions and arouses their emotions. Politicians like New York mayor Bill de Blasio, professional demagogues like Al Sharpton and innumerable irresponsible people in the media have shown that they have great talent in promoting a lynch mob atmosphere toward the police.
Grand juries that examine hard facts live in a different world from mobs who listen to rhetoric and politicians who cater to the mobs.
During the controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin, for example, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus said that George Zimmerman had tracked Trayvon Martin down and shot him like a dog. The fact is that Zimmerman did not have to track down Trayvon Martin, who was sitting right on top of him, punching him till his face was bloody.
After the death of Michael Brown, members of the Congressional Black Caucus stood up in Congress, with their hands held up, saying "don't shoot." Although there were some who claimed that this is what Michael Brown said and did, there were other witnesses -- all black, by the way -- who said that Brown was charging toward the policeman when he was shot.
What was decisive was not what either set of witnesses said, but what the autopsy revealed, an autopsy involving three sets of forensic experts, including one representing Michael Brown's family. Witnesses can lie but the physical facts don't lie, even if politicians, mobs and the media prefer to take lies seriously.
The death of Eric Garner has likewise spawned stories having little relationship to facts. The story is that Garner died because a chokehold stopped his breathing. But Garner did not die with a policeman choking him.
He died later, in an ambulance where his heart stopped. He had a long medical history of various diseases, as well as a long criminal history. No doubt the stress of his capture did not do him any good, and he might well still be alive if he had not resisted arrest. But that was his choice.
Despite people who say blithely that the police need more "training," there is no "kinder and gentler" way to capture a 350-pound man, who is capable of inflicting grievous harm, and perhaps even death, on any of his would-be captors. The magic word "unarmed" means nothing in practice, however much the word may hype emotions.
If you are killed by an unarmed man, you are just as dead as if you had been annihilated by a nuclear bomb. But you don't even know who is armed or unarmed until after it is all over, and you can search him.
Incidentally, did you know that, during this same period when riots, looting and arson have been raging, a black policeman in Alabama shot and killed an unarmed white teenager -- and was cleared by a grand jury? Probably not, if you depend on the mainstream media for your news.
The media do not merely ignore facts, they suppress facts. Millions of people saw the videotape of the beating of Rodney King. But they saw only a fraction of that tape because the media left out the rest, which showed Rodney King -- another huge man -- resisting arrest and refusing to be handcuffed, so that he could be searched.
Television viewers did not get to see the other black men in the same vehicle that Rodney King was driving recklessly. Those other black men were not beaten. And the grand jury got to see the whole video, after which they acquitted the police -- and the media then published the jurors' home addresses.
Such media retribution against people they don't like is part of a growing lynch mob mentality. The black witnesses in Missouri, whose testimony confirmed what the police officer said, expressed fears for their own safety for telling what the physical evidence showed was the truth.
Is this what we want? Grand juries responding to mobs and the media, instead of to the facts?
4) While American Jewish organizations fiddle

In late 2004, as I was nearing the end of my tenure as President of the World Affairs Council of Boston, a foreign policy forum, we invited Nabil Fahmi, the then-Ambassador of Egypt to the United States, to speak to a group of Boston’s civic leaders about the Mideast. Fahmi delivered the predictable fare, blaming Israel not only for the Arab-Israeli conflict but for the region’s problems more generally. Straying somewhat from my proper role as host, I questioned him directly, and sharply, about his version of events, and insisted that he address the recently-released United Nations Arab Human Development Report written by Arab social scientists that placed blame for the Arab countries’ woes on the Arabs.

When it was time for him to leave, Fahmi made a special point of coming to see me to say goodbye, and asked me to come see him the next time I was in Washington, D.C. This was a gracious act on his part, particularly given my critical questioning of him in a public setting, and I did go see him at the fortress-like building that is Egypt’s Embassy to the United States. The meeting took place on November 22, 2004 in Ambassador Fahmi’s office, with only the two of us and his note-taker present. For an hour, Fahmi leaned back in his chair and explained to me that “the plan” as far as the Arabs were concerned was to “peel” American Jews away from the major American Jewish organizations, and in that way dilute American support for Israel.

I was struck by this in large part because, to put matters mildly, I had given him little reason up in Boston to regard me as sympathetic to Arab claims about the conflict, let alone to treat me as a confidant. Indeed, I have never understood why Fahmi wanted to meet with the likes of me to outline the Arabs’ strategy for driving a wedge between Israel and the United States.

I have thought about Fahmi’s “plan” often while following J Street, founded in 2008 as a challenge to the Jewish organizations that he was talking about. It is difficult not to regard J Street’s branding itself as “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans” as brilliant gimmickry of the first order, casting those who are unable to accept its particular analysis of the conflict as “anti-peace” while J Street alone favors it. This bit of marketing razzmatazz might be eye-rolling had it not proved so successful.

J Street has dined out on the amusing conceit, which it has promoted with some skill, that it requires “courage” to criticize Israel when, quite to the contrary, criticizing Israel is the most comfortable fashion of them all, on campuses, on op-ed pages and, for that matter, in synagogues. And it has deftly portrayed itself as the victim of incivility even as it levels caustic attacks on Jewish organizations and leaders who happen to simply disagree with it.

Still, the Jewish organizations that J Street sustains itself by treating as bogeymen have in some ways done their best to undermine their own appeal. They have sometimes made themselves easy targets for the impatience, or downright exasperation, of American Jews waiting for them to show signs of life in the face of the challenges before us.

These organizations — ones with which I have been, and remain, very proud to be associated – too often present as tired, wedded to the same-old same-old, and as determined to remain as uninspiring to young people and to people without large bank accounts as possible. Their raison d’etre sometimes appears to be soliciting funds rather than providing energized leadership. Instead of organizing responses to the attacks on Israel in America’s public square – attacks that are taking a very serious toll – they devote themselves to planning the formulaic, all-too-familiar fundraising dinners, centered on honorees whose principal accomplishments have been accumulating vendors who can be counted upon to purchase tables and ads in a tribute book. The dinners are attended by almost no one under the age of 35, and those few young people who do attend can be observed mentally calculating how long it will be before they ever attend another one.

The organizations’ use of social media is woeful, and the positive consequences were it otherwise are incalculable. Organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, AIPAC and the Jewish federations have thousands of supporters who would like to help make Israel’s case, if they were only enlisted to do so – on social media, in the mainstream media, or in the general community at large. The organizations do not merely fail to harness this desire; they pour cold water on it, confining themselves, as in days of old, to asking these individuals to write them a check.

The big Jewish organizations have too long and too often seemed to be invitation-only affairs, with invitations limited to the wealthy, generally meaning those over 50. Their penchant for being of the altacockers, for the altacockers and by the altacockers has not only been off-putting for young people. It has also contributed to their own heartbreaking slowness in comprehending that Israel’s adversaries are waging an assault on American support for Israel, and that effectively confronting this assault demands political skill and genuine energy, not the traditional donor-centricism of the past.

During this summer’s war with Hamas, for instance, both Gallup and CNN released polls showing that by very substantial margins, Americans under the age of 30 blamed Israel for the conflict. These potentially lethal findings, widely reported in the American media, appeared to barely penetrate the consciousness of the major organizations, whose efforts on Israel’s behalf during the summer appeared confined to issuing pronouncements to which no one paid attention, and arranging conference calls for large contributors. This was donor-maintenance, intended to offer to big givers the impression of actual activity. But without vigorous, creative, street-smart advocacy aimed at young people – Jews and non-Jews alike – it called Nero to mind, playing his lyre while Rome burned.

The truth is that Israel’s supporters in the United States are being outhustled by its adversaries, and have been for some time. The organizations’ lack of urgency is matched by their lack of organizing and political skills necessary to effectively take Israel’s case to Americans under the age of 40. Precious little attention is paid to outreach to young people, let alone people of color, who are among the dominant constituencies in the Democratic Party and en route in short order to becoming the American majority.

The fresh energy of Obama volunteers dropped into seemingly inhospitable caucus states in 2007 and 2008 ought to be the model for the kinds of efforts mounted by the pro-Israel community to meet the challenges it faces. Instead, the organizations are slow, encumbered by bureaucrats and ennui, and frequently hapless. They are often staffed by decent and well-meaning people who lack the organizing skills demanded as a matter of course in political campaigns, who work under leadership oblivious to the urgent need to bring such skills on board and rapidly deploy them.

The challenge is not merely overcoming the torpor of the organizations, but increasing the knowledge and self-confidence on matters related to Israel of American Jews – a community so self-confident when it comes to almost everything else. It does not help in explaining the wars of self-defense against Hamas rockets that Israel has been obliged to fight three times since 2008, for example, that many Americans do not know the difference between the Gaza Strip and the Louisiana Purchase. But this lack of knowledge, and engagement in a just cause, is a failure of American Jewish leaders, national and local. It is one to be remedied — and fast — not 
merely bemoaned.

The good news is that there are plenty of American supporters of Israel who are hungry for leadership that enlists them in making the case for Israel based on its progressive values – values that are shared with the vast majority of Americans – and in doing so with energy. The question is: will American Jewish leaders provide that leadership at this critical historic moment, or will they revert to dysfunction and tired mediocrity?

Better news still is the evidence that when Israel’s supporters are actually robust in making her case, their arguments resonate. During this summer’s conflict in Gaza, Jewish organizations in Massachusetts, did, after some stumbling, ultimately mount a vigorous campaign to explain the facts, utilizing social and traditional media, op-eds, rallies, email lists and young people to articulate Israel’s predicament and its fundamental need to defend itself. Despite an impassioned, fairly strident effort by Israel’s detractors, the data showed that Israel came out decisively on top.

A poll taken by veteran Democratic pollster John Martilla showed that, in dramatic contrast with national polls, Massachusetts residents under the age of 30 supported Israel’s actions in Gaza by a margin of approximately 3 to 1, even in the bluest of Blue States. Even more promising, Martilla’s polling revealed that young people in Massachusetts believed by margins of 5 or 6 to 1 that Israel represented young Americans’ values on the issues most important to them: women’s rights, LGBT rights and individual freedom.

The lesson for the American Jewish organizations ought to be that tired strategies aimed at the rich and the over-50 crowd, in the face of the threats faced by Jews everywhere, are not merely outdated. They are disastrous. On the other hand, vigor, concentration on young Americans and people of color, and a laser-like focus on educating people who know little about Israel can make a difference to both Jews and non-Jews alike.

The progressive case for Israel, one grounded in liberal values, is a flawed one. It is also an extremely strong one, and neither listlessness nor a predilection for hand-wringing and chin-stroking should be permitted to get in the way of making it.