Thursday, March 31, 2016

Jefferson's Words and Pagliano's Testimony Hold Keys to Unlocking Serious Matters!

A little sardonic humor.
Jefferson was one of our brightest. We could use him now. Will we choose to follow his command and words in our Declaration of Independence? (See 1 below.)

I posted this once before but believe it needs to be re-posted.  (See 1a below.)


Prager does it again.   An American Muslim tells his own what their responsibility is: Islamic Terror: What Muslim Americans Can Do | PragerU
Does Bryan Pagliano hold the key to Hillarious' political fortunes?  Stay tuned. (See 2 below.)
U.N maintains Israel is the world's greatest threat. What a pitiful amoral organization.  If we had any self respect we would leave and order them out of New York. That would demonstrate leadership. (See 3 below.)
This is more about our son and he wrote and sent me this link etc.:

Here is a link to the project that Flomio (the tech company of which
I'm a part) did for Visa and the House of Holland at London Fashion
Week this past November.  We built a contactless payment terminal that
was so small and fashionable the models wore it down the runway.
People could literally use smart phones or designed jewelry to buy the
clothing directly off the runway.

1)Thomas Jefferson foresaw today’s civil rebellion     
By Donald Conkey

Few Americans fully realize the powerful impact the Declaration of Independence has had, and continues to have, on the governing of this free nation, called the United States of America. Thomas Jefferson drafted the initial draft of the Declaration in just 17 nights.
I emphasize nights because he attended to his convention business during the day and returned to his room to complete his committee assignment — the drafting of a document to declare our independence from England.

Few Americans fully recognize the political brilliance of this document. This document was more than the wisdom of just one man, or a group of men, it was the collected wisdom of He who Jefferson referred to in his document as the “Creator,” the “Supreme Judge of the world” and as the “divine Providence” that rules over the earth.

Students of political science realize that the timeline of a nation is often short. For Hitler, it was only 12 years — 1933 to 1945. It was longer, much longer, for the Roman Empire as it was for ancient Israel, and for many of the Chinese dynasties. And these same students are now wondering, given world conditions and a sharply divided America, if America has reached its zenith. Personally, I don’t think so. Yet America is at a crossroads and Jefferson foresaw today’s crossroads and suggested a workable solution in his Declaration.

Jefferson began his Declaration by declaring that this new nation would be founded upon two eternal laws. The first law would be “the Laws of Nature.” The second law would be “the Laws of Nature’s God.” Growing numbers believe that America is floundering today because it has ignored and currently is flouting these two eternal laws.

But in paragraph two, Jefferson laid out the basic principles of freedom: the equality of mankind and a plan for the nation to get back on track should it fail to live the two eternal laws that would make America, as was ancient Israel, a covenant nation to prevent it from ending up on the ash-heap of lost civilizations. Paragraph two begins by declaring that equality is a self-evident truth, “that all men are created equal.”

The second principle declares all mankind are “endowed by their creator with inalienable rights” of which he names but a few of the 22 basic rights of mankind. Jefferson’s third principle lays out a plan to “secure these inalienable rights” by declaring that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Jefferson declared this principle at a time when there were no governments derived from the consent of the governed — people were “subject” to the king or ruling elite.

At this point, Jefferson foresaw America today — in civil rebellion against its government. Jefferson was a brilliant scholar and had studied the governments of many nations and he knew a day would come when the federal government would attempt to re-enslave its people with excessive taxation, excessive regulations and create a welfare state that could not sustain itself financially. At this point Jefferson declared: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government …”

But Jefferson then warned the people not to change the government in haste or for “light and transient causes.” And this is where America is today, very unhappy with its government. But some believe the changes being advocated today are being done in haste. And this has widened the divide that has been created in America by the use of “political correctness” to silence the people. Now the people are fighting back — at the ballot box, as it should be.

Nevertheless many are fed up with both political parties, as Jefferson foresaw when he declared: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and provide new guards for their future security.”

This is the source of today’s divide. The people have lost trust in their government to provide fair leadership for them. Newt Gingrich identified “the establishment” as a “secret society” of elites, in both parties, who want to control the people for their own gain.

American will continue to prosper if “We the people” vote to take back our government by having a “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.

”Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock__________
1a)This is based on Alinsky's eight steps
From democracy to socialist society.

Obama quotes him often in his book and
Hillary did her thesis on Alinsky.



There are 8 levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a socialist/communist State.  The first is the most important.


1.  Healthcare: "Control Healthcare and you control the People"

2  Poverty:  Increase the Poverty level as high as possible."  Poor People are easier to control and will not fight back if the government is providing everything for them to live.

3.  Debt: Increase the National Debt to an unsustainable level."  That way you are able to increase Taxes, and this will produce more Poverty.

4.  Gun Control: Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government.  That way you are able to create a Police State - total local control.

5.  Welfare: Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Livestock, Housing, and Income).

6.  Education:  Take control of what People read & listen to; take control of what Children learn in School.

7.  Religion: Remove faith in God from the Government and Schools.

8.  Class Warfare:  Divide the People into the Wealthy against the Poor.  Racially divide. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to Tax the Wealthy with full support of the voting Poor.

The bases are all covered!  We are ripe. 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 2) The FBI stalks Hillary while Bill Clinton trolls Obama
The Clintons may sense a breakdown
 - The Washington Times
Do Bill and Hillary Clinton sense a breakdown in whatever deal they may have struck with President Obama to protect her presidential ambitions? Is whatever negotiation they may have been conducting over her email server problem and any inside information she may have on him now imploding? Or have the Clintons “won” the negotiation with Mr. Obama, freeing them to hit him publicly to get her elected?
Something has happened, which has led Mr. Clinton to openly slam Mr. Obama: ” If you believe we’ve finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us ” he said recently. A few days later, Chelsea Clinton launched a broadside on Obamacare’s costs. A classic Clintonian one-two punch, coming just days before a report that the FBI is seeking interviews with Mrs. Clinton’s top aides, and likely Mrs. Clinton herself. Most investigations interview the target last.
What’s going on? No one knows for sure, but we have a clue.
In political scandals, sometimes it’s the person you’d least expect who says or does something that brings down the whole house of cards.

On July 16, 1973, Alexander Butterfield, former deputy assistant to President Nixon but a relatively minor White House player, revealed the existence of an Oval Office taping system to the Senate Watergate Committee and the nation. That disclosure began the denouement of the Nixon presidency.
Today, another relatively minor player may be revealing highly damaging information about someone who would like Mr. Nixon’s old job.
Former Hillary Clinton IT specialist Bryan Pagliano, a key witness in the investigation into her use of a private server, struck an immunity deal with the Justice Department and apparently has been singing. An intelligence source told Fox News that he has told the FBI a range of details about how her personal email system was set up and maintained. The source described him as a “devastating witness.”
Mr. Pagliano is a pivotal — perhaps the pivotal — key to Mrs. Clinton’s server and what was being done on and through it — and by whom.
Mr. Pagliano was in charge of server(s) since the 2008 campaign. He was paid $5,000 for “computer services” by the Clintons before he joined the State Department staff. After he started working there in May 2009, Mr. Pagliano continued to receive payments from the Clintons to maintain the server.

Mr. Pagliano can name all those who had access to the Clinton server and devices and when, and reportedly is doing so, allowing investigators to piece together an evidentiary timeline. It was emphasized to Fox News that Mrs. Clinton’s deliberate “creation” and “control” of the private server used for her official government business is the subject of “intense scrutiny.”
Mr. Pagliano can also testify to the security of the server and what was told to whom about it. Again, the server has the documents, including  at least 22 top secret and above top secret ones deemed too damaging to national security to publicly release under any circumstances. That is a matter of some risk for Mrs. Clinton.
In another deeply problematic development, the FBI is focused on documents she and her aides sent rather than received, because sending them demonstrates deliberate intent much more than receiving them would. It’s been reported that over 100 highly sensitive documents originated with her.
If there are major classified emails that were sent by Mrs. Clinton, then one of my sources said “there won’t be escape from prosecution”.
Mrs. Clinton’s defense has been that she neither sent nor received anything “marked classified” at the time. This is more Clintonian parsing: documents are classified “confidential,” “secret” or “top secret.” Further, in January 2009 Mrs. Clinton signed the classified information non-disclosure agreement indicating that she understood that classified information could be marked and unmarked, and that it included verbal communications.
The Pagliano immunity deal is a piece of the puzzle. But in what way? As a general matter, DOJ does not like to grant offers of immunity unless it is assured something major in return.
A second State Department staffer, John Bentel, who managed IT security issues for the secretary’s office, has refused to answer Senate investigators’ questions about her use of the server. They are now reportedly considering a subpoena to compel his testimony.
These investigations are proceeding along multiple tracks: the FBI and two Senate committees are looking into her possible mishandling of classified material; the FBI is also examining possible violations of public corruption laws involving the co-mingling of her work at the State Department with Clinton Foundation operations. Judges continue to rule on several lawsuits involving the State Department and FOIA requests. Possible legal jeopardy surrounds her.
There is also big political jeopardy. The calendar is a problem for the FBI and DOJ. The longer the investigation goes, the more manageable it is for the Clinton campaign. An impending nomination is her greatest weapon.
To paraphrase a key Watergate query: What did the secretary know and when did she know it? Perhaps Mr. Obama and the FBI know the answer, and that has made Mr. Clinton and his wife dangerously unhappy.
• Monica Crowley is editor of online opinion at The Washington Times.
3)You can’t make it up. UN names democratic Israel as world’s top human rights violator
By Anne Bayefsky  

According to the United Nations, the most evil country in the world today is Israel. 
On March 24, 2016, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) wrapped up its annual meeting in New York by condemning only one country for violating women’s rights anywhere on the planet – Israel, for violating the rights of Palestinian women. 
On the same day, the U.N. Human Rights Council concluded its month-long session in Geneva by condemning Israel five times more than any other of the 192 UN member states. 
There were five Council resolutions on Israel.  One each on the likes of hellish countries like Syria, North Korea and Iran.  Libya got an offer of “technical assistance.”  And countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and China were among the 95 percent of states that were never mentioned. 
No slander is deemed too vile for the U.N. human rights bodies that routinely listen to highly orchestrated Palestinian versions of the ancient blood libel against the Jews.
In Geneva, Palestinian representative Ibrahim Khraishi told the Council on March 24, 2016:  “Israeli soldiers and settlers kill Palestinian children. They shoot them dead. They will leave them to bleed to death.”  And in New York, Palestinian representative Haifa Al-Agha told CSW on March 16, 2016:  “Israel…is directing its military machinery against women and girls. They are killing them, injuring them, and leaving them bleeding to death.”
Operating hand-in-glove with governments and the U.N. secretariat are the un-elected, sanctimonious NGOs, to which the UN offers free facilities and daily advertisement of “side-events.”  In theory “materials containing abusive or offensive language or images are not permitted on United Nations premises.”
In practice, in Geneva the UN permitted handouts that claimed Israel “saw ethnic cleansing as a necessary precondition for its existence.”  A film accused Israel of sexual violence against children and “trying to exterminate an entire Palestinian generation.”  Speeches focused on the 1948 “catastrophe” in which a “settler colonial state” was established on Palestinian land. 
The New York CSW-NGO scene included a film set in in the context of Israeli “oppression” and the “tear gas of my childhood,” and statements analogizing the experiences of Palestinians to today’s Syrian refugees.
Picture these real-life scenes:
In Geneva’s grand U.N. “Human Rights” Council chamber, 750 people assembled, pounced on the Jewish state, broadcast the spectacle online, and produced hundreds of articles and interviews in dozens of languages championing the results.
On the ground, Israelis are being hacked to death on the streets, stabbed in buses, slaughtered in synagogues, mowed down with automobiles, and shot in front of their children.
At the New York’s UN headquarters, 8,100 NGO representatives gathered from all corners of the globe, in addition to government delegates, and watched the weight of the entire world of women’s rights descend on only one country.
On the ground, Palestinian women are murdered and subjugated for the sake of male honor, Saudi women can’t drive, Iranian women are stoned to death for so-called “adultery,” Egyptian women have their genitals mutilated and Sudanese women give birth in prison with their legs shackled for being Christian.
Isn’t it about time that people stopped calling the U.N. a harmless international salon or a bad joke?
The poison isn’t simply rhetorical.  One of the Council resolutions adopted last week launches a worldwide witch-hunt for companies that do business with Israel – as part of an effort to accomplish through economic strangulation what Israel’s enemies have not been able to accomplish on the battlefield.  The resolution casts a wide net encompassing all companies engaged in whatever the U.N. thinks are business “practices that disadvantage Palestinian enterprises.”
And the toxicity is self-perpetuating. Acting at the beck and call of Islamic states and their conduit – French Ambassador Elizabeth Laurin and Council President Choi Kyonglim selected Canadian law professor Michael Lynk as the newest U.N. “independent” human rights investigator on Israel.
Lynk’s qualifications?  He has likened Israelis to Nazis, and challenged the legitimacy of the state of Israel starting in 1948 as rooted in “ethnic cleansing.” 
All of this played out in the same week that Europe was reeling from the Belgian terror attacks.  Petrified or already vanquished, no European state voted against this onslaught of U.N. resolutions against Israel.  Germany and the United Kingdom occasionally abstained, while France voted with Arab and Islamic states on all but one Council resolution. 
Here we are just 70 years after World War II and Europeans believe that they can license this vitriol against the Jewish state – the only democracy on the front lines of an Islamist war against human decency – and the consequences can be contained to the Jews.
Even as the converse stares them in the face.  Two days after the Brussels attacks, Islamic states rammed through a Council resolution slyly labeled “Effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of all human rights” that was actually so anti-human rights even Belgium was forced to vote against it.
As for the United States, the Obama administration has been the Human Rights Council’s most important supporter.  Though the U.S. is currently in a mandatory one-year hiatus -- after serving two consecutive terms -- President Obama plans to bind his successor by running again in the fall for another three-year term that starts January 1, 2017.
Memo to Americans who are mad as hell: It's time to elicit a promise from our would-be leaders to refuse to sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council or to legitimize the United Nations. 

Henninger Nails It! More Bullets Left To Aim At Each Other If They Employ Rule 40?

Whatever Trump Chooses To Say!
Henninger said, in somewhat more words but better, what I have been alluding to. I just used different phraseology.

Yes, Republicans would rather tear each other apart because they are undisciplined, poorly led and more interested in self-deception. They also do not know how to stay in front of and employ technology.

The only benefit Repubs might receive, should they lose everything, is that whomever The Demwits turn into our next president will finish the destruction of America that Obama helped hasten and perhaps this will bar them from office for decades but then they always have the hapless  Republicans to insure that may not happen because the Repubs have more Trumps and Cruz's lurking in the wing lusting to be president. (See 1 below.)
As for Trump, his abortion comment was classic proof he is totally capable of self-destruction and taking a lot of others with him.

He is like that battery bunny, he just keeps on giving! Trump is a living abortion.

Donald reminds me of that old corny joke about the guy sitting on the beach and a hooker comes by saying "I am selling." They go off and have their session and he later gets a social disease.

Six months pass and he is on the same beach and the same girl comes by and says "I am selling."  He asks, "what are you selling this time, cancer?"

Trump has proven to be a cancer on the body politic but American voters are perhaps still dumb enough to elect him out of anger and protest and Obama's two terms remain my evidence and yes,  I might be dumb enough to believe this.

I must admit,  with the passing of each day Trump, using his brain and tongue, does lower the bar making his defeat/rout easier. (See 2 below.)
Will Republicans, led by Cruz, resort to employing Rule 40 and turning the Cleveland Circus into a three ringer? Stay tuned because the contestants seem to have more bullets left to aim at each other.

I wonder what Christie must be thinking now about his endorsement? Like a used car? (See 3 below.)
Now let's go foreign: "With  Europe its like the frog being boiled in a kettle ... They may wake up one day and find themselves cooked ..."
Nasrallah speaks and say nothing particularly new.  (See 4 below.)

Obama’s Greatest Triumph

He is six months away from destroying both the Republican Party and Reagan’s legacy.

By Daniel Henninger

Barack Obama will retire a happy man. He is now close to destroying his political enemies—the Republican Party, the American conservative movement and the public-policy legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Today, the last men standing amidst the debris of the Republican presidential competition are Donald Trump, a political independent who is using the Republican Party like an Uber car; Ted Cruz, who used the Republican Party as a footstool; and John Kasich, a remnant of the Reagan revolution, who is being told by Republicans to quit.

History may quibble, but this death-spiral began with Barack Obama’s health-care summit at Blair House on Feb. 25, 2010. For a day, Republicans gave detailed policy critiques of the proposed Affordable Care Act. When it was over, the Democrats, including Mr. Obama, said they had heard nothing new.

That meeting was the last good-faith event in the Obama presidency. Barack Obama killed politics in Washington that day because he had no use for it, and has said so many times. The Democrats survived the Obama desert by going to ground. But frustrated Republicans outside Congress eventually started tearing each other apart.

After Mr. Obama won in 2008, Democrats controlled the Senate and House with large majorities. Normally, a party out of power is disabled but not destroyed by the presidency’s advantages. Democrats, when out of power, historically remain intact until the wheel turns again. Their ideology has been simple: tax and spend.
The minority Republicans began well. In 2010, ObamaCare passed with zero Republican Senate votes, and Dodd-Frank with only one Republican Senate vote. It was a remarkable display of party discipline.

In the first term, Republicans and conservatives fought Barack Obama. In the second term, they decided it made more sense to fight each other.

Among the reasons is that the Republican leadership missed the messaging force of social media until it was too late. Congressional politics is mostly process. Modern politics is mostly message. The Obama message machine, “tax cuts for millionaires,” never stopped.

With no party spokesman for conservatism, an ideological vacuum existed. Freelance operators filled it.
They included two hyper-ambitious Senate freshman, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. They also included a movement to purge and cleanse conservatism, led by groups such as Heritage Action and by talk radio hosts. Together they conjured an internal enemy—the Republican Establishment.

Conservatives complain constantly about the bias of the mainstream media. With the bar so low on website entry, members-only media alternatives emerged, such as RedState and Breitbart News.
But the hated MSM is essentially a Roman phalanx. It stays in formation and protects the progressive castle. The conservative alternatives showed no such discipline. Early into the second Obama term, they commenced an internecine political war.

The right began demanding that congressional Republicans conduct ritualistic suicide raids on the Obama presidency. The MSM would have depicted these as hapless defeats by presidential veto, but some wanted the catharsis of constant public losses—on principle.

By early 2015, when the primary season began, virtually all issues inside the Republican Party had been reframed as proof of betrayal—either of conservative principle or of “the middle class.” Trade is a jobs sellout. Immigration reform is amnesty.

With his Cheshire Cat grin, Barack Obama faded into the background and let the conservatives’ civil war rip. For Republicans, every grievance, slight or loss became a scab to be picked, day after day.

In time, the attacks on “the establishment” and “donor class” became indiscriminate, ostracizing good people in the party and inside the conservative movement. The anti-establishment offensive created a frenzy faction inside the Republican base. And of course, it produced Donald Trump.

The Trumpians and Cruzians, who of late have been knifing one another in a blind rage, say this is a rebirth. So was Rosemary’s baby.

The New York Times this week published a lead piece by Nicholas Confessore called “How the G.O.P. Elite Lost Its Voters to Donald Trump.” It is a gleeful, disingenuous and malign burial of the one thing the Democratic left never thought it could kill: Ronald Reagan’s conservative legacy.

The piece, which mostly transcribes the opinions of “some conservative intellectuals,” is a road map to Republican self-destruction, delegitimizing everything Ronald Reagan stood for—tax cuts, deregulation, entitlement reform, even economic growth. (Archaic footnote: Reaganomics produced an historic economic boom, for everyone, from 1983-90.)

Conservatives, it says, instead of challenging the economy Barack Obama rendered half-dead for two terms, now favor “wage subsidies, relocation aid” and “even targeted infrastructure spending.”

And Citizens United merely enabled the “donor class,” identified as Paul Singer and Charles and David Koch, who favor the discredited “Ryan budgets,” a proxy for Reagan.

In early 2015, Republicans were one election away from defeating a weak Democratic opponent and controlling both houses of Congress. Barring a miracle in Cleveland, they likely are six months away from losing two of those three plus the Supreme Court.

Barack Obama should frame the Confessore piece and hang it in the Obama Library. His presidency produced a moribund U.S. economy for eight years. In a response so bizarre that future historians will gape, the Republicans decided to destroy each other.
2) Trump’s Abortion Gaffe

His campaign will be a daily political adventure from here to November.

Some months ago we wrote that Republicans who nominate Donald Trump for President would be diving off a cliff without knowing what’s at the bottom, and Wednesday was the latest illustration. The first-time candidate showed how little he understands about the politics of abortion by suggesting that “there has to be some kind of punishment” if abortion were made illegal.

“For the woman?” asked progressive partisan Chris Matthews of MSNBC. Mr. Trump: “Yeah, there has to be some form.” He added that men who impregnate women who have an abortion should not be punished.
The remarks caused an uproar—on the right and left—when the network released them Wednesday. Not even the most fervent abortion opponent favors punishing a woman who has one. IfRoe v. Wade were overturned, opponents would try to pass laws that punish abortion providers or the clinics where they take place. Mr. Trump’s remarks were thus a political gift to Democrats and the left, who would like nothing better than to stereotype abortion opponents as misogynists who want to put women in jail.

The Trump campaign realized the mistake and he soon reversed himself. “If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed—like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.”

All candidates make mistakes, and we’ll credit the campaign statement as Mr. Trump’s genuine belief. But the gaffe is nonetheless telling because it shows how much the Republican front-runner’s campaign is a daily policy adventure. As he likes to say, he’s his own best adviser, and he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. The result can be a refreshing sense of political candor, but as often as not he also hands his political opponents a sword.

Mr. Trump’s loyal GOP partisans have been willing to ignore his rhetorical mistakes and excesses, but Democrats will be merciless. So will the media if he secures the GOP nomination. His abortion blunder is doubly troubling because it will reinforce his growing unpopularity among women voters in both parties. Imagine his Wednesday remarks playing as part of a national advertising loop from June to November. His talk-radio chaperons are going to have their work cut out.
By Jonathan Tobin

How frustrated is Ted Cruz with John Kasich? We already knew that the Texas senator is unhappy with Kasich’s somewhat inexplicable decision to try and split the votes of those Republicans that don’t want Trump in states where Cruz is giving the front runner a run for his money. But yesterday, Cruz showed that he might be willing to use some arcane rules to keep Kasich’s name from being placed in nomination in Cleveland. Perhaps Cruz will think better of the infamous rule 40(b) of The Rules of the Republican Party that was revised before their 2012 national convention. But the dustup illustrates the ongoing tension between the two campaigns that reduces the chances that Trump can be stopped from winning the nomination that both covet.

The rule in question was a product of the 2012 convention that was controlled by the Mitt Romney campaign. Like every national convention since the last contested one in 1976, the 2012 edition was a lengthy infomercial for the nominee. Romney’s people got to write the script for the convention and choose the speakers. But while they were sloppy enough to let New Jersey Governor Chris Christie give a keynote address about himself rather than Romney and to allow Clint Eastwood to give a bizarre rambling talk to an empty chair, they were very concerned about letting Ron Paul’s acolytes steal the show. In particular, they wanted to prevent Paul from stealing some of Romney’s thunder on the evening the convention would nominate him. So they cooked up a rule that said a candidate had to have a majority of the votes of eight state delegations in order to have their name placed in nomination and to then get votes. Since Paul was the only GOP contender that hadn’t stood down before the conclave, it was solely directed at stopping his fervent libertarian supporters from getting any airtime.

It was a petty measure that further alienated Paul’s crowd and didn’t do much to ensure the GOP’s Romney lovefest got more of an audience. But it’s still on the books and could conceivably play a role in this year’s edition at Cleveland. As it happens, as Politico points out, even though Cruz has won nine states to date, he only holds a majority of the delegates in five. Kasich has won just one, in his home state of Ohio. But while Cruz has a chance for more wins, it’s not clear whether Kasich will wind up winning another, leaving him, in effect, a modern-day version of a staple of the conventions of the past: a favorite son candidate.

If Trump fails to get the 1,237 delegates he needs for a majority and the nomination, the Cleveland convention will be the most dramatic Republican gathering in 40 years, and no one can say what the outcome of such an open battle will be. But the drama will start even before it opens as a GOP committee writes new rules that will all be aimed at giving one side or another an advantage.

It’s not clear to me that Cruz would actually help himself by telling his representatives to join forces with the Trump crowd to keep rule 40 on the books. If so, then Kasich’s delegates, which might be enough to put Trump over the top, will be up for grabs rather than committed to the governor and force a second ballot when anything might happen. But while he ought to be thinking that far ahead, the mere mention of it (in spite of the fact that some of the earliest picks for the rules committee, are, as Politico reports, inclined to spike number 40 indicates that Cruz and Kasich are locked in a fight that is every bit as nasty as the one they are both conducting against the front runner.

That fight was made obvious yesterday when the Cruz camp began a $500,000 ad buy in Wisconsin attacking Kasich as a “liberal governor” that will air in the days before that state’s primary. Given the stakes in Wisconsin, it’s hard to blame Cruz for focusing on him rather than Trump. If we assume that Trump voters are unpersuadable and that the 60-70 percent of the electorate that wants someone other than the billionaire to be the nominee is in play, then ensuring that Kasich doesn’t get enough votes to let Trump win another plurality is Cruz’s priority.
For those in the GOP that have longed for the field to winnow to the point where the majority that doesn’t want Trump will not be beaten by the rock solid plurality of Trump voters, this is very discouraging. Polling in Wisconsin is all over the place. One of the recent surveys actually gives Kasich second place to Trump in what is virtually a three-way tie. The other two polls out in the last week give the lead to Cruz with Kasich far behind.

Cruz’s path to an overall majority of delegates or something close to it is narrow. Kasich doesn’t have one but is counting on an open convention giving him the nomination because he’s the most electable candidate. But if the pair of them spend the next few weeks battling each other, then Trump’s already likely victory becomes certain.
The point here is that all the talk of rule 40 is not only premature, it will be moot if the two last standing non-Trumps in the GOP race are fighting rather than cooperating in a desperate battle to keep the reality star from getting to 1,237. You can blame it on Kasich’s outsized ego or his fantasy scenario about the nomination. Or you can fault Cruz for sounding as if he’d like to deny Ohioans the right to vote for their governor on the first ballot in Cleveland.

But no matter where the blame falls, what we are witnessing is the crackup of the stop Trump movement. It’s obvious that any day that Cruz and Kasich are fighting each other is a day that Donald Trump gets a little bit closer being the GOP nominee. What isn’t obvious is why both Kasich and Cruz don’t realize this.
Analysis: Behind Nasrallah's recent threats to Israel
Nasrallah’s threats to Israel are designed to remind the organization’s supporters and critics that the bedrock of its existence is the principle of resistance, i.e., the struggle against Israel.

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah recently made two media appearances in close proximity. The first, a recorded speech aired on February 16, 2016 in memory of the organization’s soldiers killed in combat, included his threat that Hezbollah was capable of targeting the ammonia tanks in Haifa Bay. 

The second speech was a March 21, 2016 interview on Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen network, in which Nasrallah referred again to the threat posed by Hezbollah to Israel’s sensitive facilities, including its nuclear facilities. Nasrallah, who customarily speaks to the political and public discourse in Israel, here too referred to issues on Israel’s security agenda. 

However, although he addressed Israel directly and devoted a large portion of his remarks to it (in contrast to his speeches in recent years, which have been focused primarily on the war in Syria), his remarks were not aimed solely at Israel, but elsewhere as well: first and foremost to the Lebanese public, followed by the greater Arab world. Despite the possibly fateful meaning of his words in the Israeli context, Nasrallah’s appearances and the meaning of his statements should be examined in the greater light of events on the strategic level.

Overall, Nasrallah’s remarks can be seen as directed at his various enemies and referring to different dimensions. The first dimension, which affects Nasrallah to the greatest extent, is the war in Syria. Nasrallah has naturally taken the side of his allies (Assad, Iran, and Russia) while assuming an aggressive stance toward his enemies in this theater (the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the many factions opposing Assad). 

The February 16 speech came at the height of the international effort in the Geneva talks to reach a ceasefire arrangement in Syria. Predictably, Nasrallah praised the Assad regime and its importance to the integrity of Syria, and tried to exert pressure on the negotiators to reach understandings that would safeguard Hezbollah’s interests in in Syria. By the second media appearance, the larger picture had changed, with the ceasefire entering into effect, Russia’s surprise announcement that it was (partially) withdrawing its forces from Syria, and the withdrawal of certain Iranian forces. The Russian move prompted the United States and its regional allies to question the future of the fighting by the Shiite axis in Syria. 

Nasrallah addressed that point, stating that he had been briefed in advance about the measure, as he had been briefed when Russia entered the campaign. He thereby attempted to demonstrate the strength and unity of the Hezbollah-allied axis, as if a chain of well-orchestrated and carefully timed steps had been planned to achieve positive results in the war in Syria. He stressed the effectiveness of the Russian move, and the fact that an important advantage was achieved for Assad and his allies, thereby again portraying Hezbollah’s involvement as contributing to the defense of Lebanon.

The second dimension focuses on the actions of Hezbollah’s enemies, which in Nasrallah’s perspective are linked with each other: the United States; the Sunni Arab world, with Saudi Arabia and Turkey playing the key roles; and Salafi-jihad organizations led by the Islamic State and al-Qaida. Aside from familiar accusations of subversion by Saudi Arabia and Turkey and their support for terrorism, and criticism of the United States for not realizing that the alternative to Assad is the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra, a new factor was added to the equation, namely, the measures against Hezbollah led by Saudi Arabia: Riyadh’s decision to withdraw its financial support for the Lebanese army and threats to take further measures in this direction; restrictions on citizens of the Gulf states visiting Lebanon; and the Arab League’s classifying Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. 

The Saudi measures were designed to punish Lebanon for its inability to take Saudi Arabia’s side, or in other words, Riyadh’s view of Lebanon as a country completely controlled, politically and militarily, by Hezbollah and its interests. Saudi money carries great weight in the Lebanese economy, as do the local Sunni financial magnates whom Saudi Arabia supports, and thus the slashed support constitutes a dramatic step, and requires Nasrallah, as the accused party, to refute the domestic criticism. Moreover, the idea among Hezbollah’s opponents in Lebanon that the organization’s involvement in the Syrian civil war will bring the war into Lebanon itself has only become stronger. In response, Nasrallah clung to his defiant posture of “business as usual.”

The third dimension, closely related to the previous levels, involves the internal Lebanese sphere. Despite Hezbollah’s dominance and the gradual weakening of its opponents in the country, the organization has not yet succeeded in bringing about the election of a president by the Lebanese parliament. May 2016 will mark two years since President Michel Suleiman left the presidential palace, and the presidential vacuum remains. 

The March 14 movement, dominated by the Sunnis and led by Saad al-Hariri, is supporting Suleiman Frangieh as its candidate for presidency. For its part, Hezbollah persists in its support for Michel Aoun, and was helped by the withdrawal of his bitter enemy, Samir Geagea, who decided to throw his support to Aoun. The deadlock has not been broken, however, and no solution is in sight, which for Hezbollah highlights the limitations of its political power within Lebanon, despite the strengthening of its position. Realizing this, Nasrallah is trying to reach understandings that will pave the way towards a sustainable solution in the presidential palace. It is by no means certain that a head-on collision with Saudi Arabia, as consistently reflected in his remarks, is the right way for him to bring about an end to the presidential crisis.

Finally, there are Nasrallah’s comments to and about Israel. Nasrallah’s threats are presumably sincere and reflect his intentions, as illustrated on more than one occasion in the past. In any event, it appears that there is little dramatically new in the substance of what he said. Hezbollah’s firepower capabilities in range and accuracy for reaching these targets are well known to the military and political echelons in Israel, and it is hard to believe that his words took anyone by surprise. 

Nasrallah’s statements do not necessarily mean, however, that Hezbollah will be in any rush to hit the targets he mentioned, and it is clear that he will have to take Israel’s response into account. Hezbollah’s firepower should not, of course, be taken lightly, and military preparations (offensive and defensive) are needed to reduce the potential damage. Israel should also prepare for other strategic surprises hinted at in the past, such as underground infiltration and/or seizure of an Israeli community in northern Israel. Most important at present, however, is not only the question of whether Hezbollah is able and wishes to damage sensitive installations in Israeli territory when a major conflict with Israel develops, but why Nasrallah is mentioning it now.

As is clear from an array of contexts, Hezbollah is engaged in both a battle for survival in the regional campaign and in power struggles on its home territory. Nasrallah’s threats to Israel are designed to remind the organization’s supporters and critics that the bedrock of its existence is the principle of resistance, i.e., the struggle against Israel. Flaunting the organization’s military capabilities reminds constituents of Hezbollah’s success against Israel during the Second Lebanon War, when it succeeded in disrupting daily life in northern Israel with ongoing rocket fire for more than a month. 

Nasrallah has good reason to mention this, since that war was not only the most recent significant success of the Arab world against Israel on the battlefield (at least so it was perceived at the time), but also the last time that the Arab consensus favored Hezbollah and the organization enjoyed overall support from the Sunni countries – an achievement that appears unimaginable in the current situation. As the tenth anniversary of that war approaches, it appears that Hezbollah is trying to remind itself and other actors in the Middle East of this fact, thereby restoring to Hezbollah some of the legitimacy it gained in 2006. In addition, although Nasrallah emphasized in his latest speech that he does not foresee a conflict with Israel in the near future, it is entirely possible that he senses that Israel is bound to initiate a conflict with Hezbollah. He is trying to erect a solid wall of deterrence in order to convince Israel not to attack.

Thus when Israel tries to understand Nasrallah’s remarks, it is important to consider the overall context in which his statements were made. It therefore follows that his speeches constitute not only a warning to Israel about the damage it can expect in the next war, but also, and chiefly, the absence of any desire for escalation, and a wish to postpone the next conflict through deterrence against Israel.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Family Doings! Emory University Blows It Again!

Beats Waterboarding!       Republican Establishment Gathering Forces To
                                          Dump Trump By Using Cruz!

How to get people to exercise:
I believe the dilemma posed by the 2016  candidates is not limited to Jews.  It should be, and probably is, a concern of all thinking Americans. I understand Leibler's focus but it is too narrow for my blood. I am an American first who supports our relationship with Israel and any other Democracy whose policies are positive for world peace and stability and are willing to be a true friend of this country.  (See 1 below.)
I had a very interesting chat this morning with a very astute relative who is actually older than I am, far more informed about what is happening in Republican Party circles and he believes Trump would be a disaster for our nation, for Republicans and Donald could not beat Hillary.

My family member responded to my memo posing this question and then responding with is view. "Donald gets enough delegates before the convention. At that time polls clearly and overwhelming show by a large margin that we will lose the Senate and the Supreme court and reduce our congressional margin. In addition the actual total votes Trump received is 40% and the Republicans who voted in the Primaries
total 60%.
You are the decision maker. Do you march the party over the Cliff?
I believe you are a Conservative forget the party and the past... I know you are a pessimist. In addition you are very smart. Put together all the "Conservative" Pessimists in the party. My guess would be your group would be in the 10% range or less...

If I were making the decision I would publicly make sure we have a transparent convention. Let the delegates speak. I am sure they will overwhelmingly say we must win. The United States of America as we knew it is in "mortal danger" We the people should not stand idly by in the face of a continuation of the OBAMA doctrine, a divided country, deeply in debt, withdrawing from the world as it does not exist, ignoring the Constitution etc.  A majority of our population has been saying "we are going in the wrong direction" We have a vision and a plan which should be presented here at the convention for you to understand how we will make it happen with all your help.

You have spoken load and clear "we have been heading in a wrong direction for eight years.'" the next Generation, all our children and Grandchildren's future is in our hands We the people cannot stand idly by. A-----."

Again, I am not supporting Trump but I believe, if Trump gets the nomination, which I know will become a  more uphill battle from here considering the nature of the remaining states yet to vote, he can become the president because of the reasons I stated in my previous memo.

My rationale boils down to these simple  facts: The Democrats are offering flawed candidates, a potential ISIS attack on our own shores would work to Trump's advantage, emotion often has proven
a more powerful force than intellect and particularly when politics is involved.

Time till tell.

I might add, I believe the content of my previous memo was one of my better.
A family member has been tapped to clerk for Justice Thomas. Her grandfather practiced with my father after returning from WW 2 service.  (See 2 below.)

While I am beating my chest about family here is an article about our son and his group. (See 2a below.)
This judge believes all lives matter and being black should be of concerned to other blacks. (See 3 below.)
Meanwhile closer to home, Emory University aims at Trump and shoots itself all over again. (See 4 below.)
From The Daily Tip! Obama ducks again. (See 5 below.)

American Jews face dilemma in presidential elections
By Isi Leibler 
The turmoil associated with the American presidential elections has 
impacted on much of the nation, and certainly on the Jews. Many, both 
liberal and conservative, feel that their traditional political affiliations have 
been destabilized.

Grass-root voters have rebelled against entrenched long-term politicians 
and have astounded analysts by supporting relatively obscure personalities 
who have introduced levels of primitive populism into American politics 
unseen since the days of Huey Long.
Those deeply concerned about Israel find themselves in a special quandary.

Democratic supporters witnessed a struggle between Hillary Clinton -- who 
until recently faced virtually no competition -- and Bernie Sanders, a 
relatively unknown older Jewish senator from Vermont, a leftist throwback 
to prewar Jewish socialists raging against the “domination” of Wall Street 
and calling for a redistribution of wealth. He is also highly critical of Israel 
and a J Street supporter, pandering to the growing anti-Israeli sentiment 
among left-wing Democrats. His populism has generated substantial 
support, especially from young people.

Nevertheless, despite being widely resented and distrusted in her own party,
Hillary Clinton is likely to win the Democratic nomination. But the dramatic 
flow of support of the radical views promoted by Sanders has created 
concern that in office, she would seek to placate the radicals within the 
party. That, in turn, could encourage her to revert to the hostile attitude that 
prevailed during her term as secretary of state toward Israel and especially 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It also reinforces concerns about some
of the vicious anti-Israeli advisers she had engaged in the past, who were 
exposed in her declassified emails.

Every presidential candidate invited to the recent annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), passionately supported the Jewish state. The only exception was Sanders, who declined to address AIPAC and spoke at 
another location where he bitterly criticized Israel. But electoral pledges and
passionate undertakings by presidential candidates and politicians at 
AIPAC must be treated with considerable cynicism, as from experience, 
they are frequently watered down or breached.

Yet, Clinton’s address to AIPAC was significant (click here to watch Clinton 
address). Despite justifying President Barack Obama’s Iran policy and 
criticizing Israeli settlements, her powerful endorsement of support for Israel
was warmly received. She distinguished herself from Obama by promising 
that a renewal of good relations with Israel would be a priority, and that one 
of her first acts in office would be to invite Netanyahu to Washington. She 
expressed these views obviously aware that she would be intensifying the 
ire of the radical anti-Israel elements in her party.
The uneasiness concerning the Clinton candidacy shared by some 
traditional Jewish Democratic supporters pales when compared to the 
turmoil among many Republican supporters at the explosive ascendancy of 
Donald Trump, who was initially perceived as a clown, with virtually all 
analysts predicting his early political demise.

Trump primitively denigrates intellectual discourse but has displayed an 
extraordinary populist talent to communicate and reach out to the 
disaffected masses who have flocked to support him, ditching seasoned 
leaders like former Governor Jeb Bush, eliminating Senator Marco Rubio, 
and at this stage enjoying a substantial lead over Senator Ted Cruz, his 
sole remaining credible opponent.

He has adopted crude, inconsistent and contradictory policies but struck a
responsive chord from many Americans alienated and frustrated with their current status and seeking radical solutions.

He has created a major schism in the Republican Party because of his 
rabble-rousing, vulgarity, abusive remarks about women and discriminatory 
outbursts against minorities -- especially Mexicans. Many traditional 
Republicans, including senior party leaders, refuse to endorse him and 
some have even stated that they would never vote for him as president. His
critics include the neoconservatives and the most prominent conservative 
thinkers and commentators who are outraged by his isolationist outbursts 
and demagogic anti-intellectual approach.
Trump attests to his long track record of friendship for Jews and Israel and 
constantly highlights the fact that his daughter converted and leads a 
traditional Orthodox Jewish lifestyle.

But those voters seeking the restoration of warmer relations between the 
United States and the Jewish state are concerned with Trump’s ad lib flip-
flop responses in relation to Israel.

Initially, he antagonized supporters of Israel by stating that he would be 
“neutral” in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On one occasion, he 
promoted the extreme isolationist view that Israel should not be reliant on 
U.S. defense support and should repay American military aid. He even 
suggested that the U.S. should withdraw from NATO. He particularly 
angered Jews when initially, perhaps in ignorance, he dismissed calls to 
dissociate himself from support he was receiving from white supremacists 
and extreme anti-Semites.

When it was announced that Trump would join other presidential candidates
and address AIPAC, a group of Reform and Conservative rabbis planned a
demonstrative walkout as he approached the podium. Their widely 
publicized threat turned out to be farcical and resulted in the boycott of only
about 30 of the 18,000 participants.

Trump’s address to AIPAC (click here to watch Trump address) was his first
attempt to present a crafted policy on any subject. He used a teleprompter 
which diverted him from his customary ad-libbing. It was an extraordinary 
political coup in which he received repeated standing ovations as he swept 
the audience off its feet by pressing all the pro-Israel buttons and 
systematically presenting a coherent case for Israel. He contradicted some 
of his earlier critical remarks, including his intention of being “neutral” in 
order to consummate a “deal” between Palestinians and Israel. He also 
announced his intention to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump’s direct critique of Obama drew such a demonstratively 
wholehearted response from his audience that Lillian Pinkus, the newly 
elected president of AIPAC, desperate to display ongoing bipartisanship, 
felt obliged to go to the other extreme and reprimanded him, tearfully 
apologizing to Obama supporters and castigating the enthusiastic applause 
of Trump’s denigration of the president.

Events of the past few weeks indicate that, barring a dramatic last-minute 
turnaround at the national convention, Trump should win the Republican 

But he is widely distrusted and considered unpredictable, even among 
those who are bitterly opposed to Clinton. Indeed, some may ultimately 
support her as the lesser of two evils.

Ironically, the hostility Trump faces among segments of the Republican 
Party matches the opposition Clinton faces from within her own party. It is 
unprecedented for both party representatives to face such resentment and 
distrust from their own circles.

AIPAC can take satisfaction that the 18,000 enthusiastic participants at 
their convention included a healthy and diverse cross section of young 
people, demonstrating that, contrary to what much of the media and liberals
maintain, committed Jews remain strongly supportive of Israel. It also 
highlights the fact that, notwithstanding its confrontation with Obama over 
Iran, AIPAC has not lost its clout and remains one of the most effective 
bipartisan lobbying groups in the U.S.

There could be many surprises before a new president is elected. Although 
today, polls suggest that Clinton seems destined to win overwhelmingly 
against Trump, one should not underestimate the huge anti-establishment 
anger that prevails among voters.

Undoubtedly, Trump gained support from some Jews with his unexpectedly 
coherent pro-Israel AIPAC address. But other than the most committed 
supporters of Israel, the majority of Jews will not vote exclusively or even 
primarily on a single issue.

Yet if Trump’s AIPAC speech was the harbinger of a more responsible and 
coherent approach, dispensing with vulgarity and seeking support from 
centrists, predictions that he will be defeated by a landslide could prove to 
be wrong. Further terror attacks, especially an incident in the U.S., could 
also tilt many voters in his direction.

Indeed, many Jews -- like other wavering American voters -- will probably 
only decide at the last minute, and even then may hold their noses when 
they go to the polling station, concerned that their candidate will prove to 
be unpredictable and will not live up to their expectations. Some may even 
abstain, although most will retain their allegiance to the Democratic Party.

There is one ray of sunshine: Irrespective of who is elected, the next 
president will endeavor -- at least initially -- to reaffirm and repair the 
relationship with Israel. And whoever is elected should still be a massive 
improvement on the current U.S. president.

Alabama attorney tapped to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Last week, the Birmingham law firm Maynard Cooper & Gale announced that 
one of their attorneys would be clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. That 
lawyer, Mrs. Kasdin Miller Mitchell, will be one of Thomas’ four clerks for the 2016 term beginning 
this summer.
Mitchell received both her undergraduate and law degree from Yale University. While in law school, 
she was Senior Editor of the Yale Law Review and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law & Policy 
Review. Prior to attending law school, she served as the Assistant Press Secretary to the First Lady 
at The White House and as a special assistant at the United States Department of Energy.
Currently, Mitchell is a member of the firm’s Securities Litigation and Appellate and Post-Verdict 
practices. Prior to joining Maynard Cooper & Gale, she served as a law clerk to Judge William H. 
Pryor Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and as an assistant solicitor 
general in the Office of Attorney General of the State of Alabama.
Being selected as a law clerk for the Supreme Court is very prestigious. Each justice is allowed to 
have up to four clerks, except the Chief Justice who gets five.
The primary job of the clerks is research. When a justice is assigned an opinion to write, she will have her clerks
organize all the relevant information, deconstruct arguments from briefs and oral testimony and amicus 
sources, develop the legal framework for the opinion, and assist in drafting the opinion.
After the passing of Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas is now considered by most to be the most 
conservative jurist on the bench. Thomas, who first joined the court in 1991, employs a brand of 
Originalist interpretation that is unique among his more progressive colleagues.
Thomas has also gained renown for his perpetual silence during court. Beginning on February 22, 
2006, when he asked a question during a death penalty case, Thomas had not asked another 
question from the bench for over ten years, finally asking a question on February 29, 2016.
Justice Thomas and his clerks will be integral in the key issues before the court in the 2016 term. 
The court will hear a wide array of issues ranging from union political spending power to 
environmental regulations.

2a)  A dynamic duo is turning up the volume on Beechview s future 

Daniel Berkowitz strolls into Brew on Broadway, a coffee shop with an eclectic décor and an eclectic clientele, 
housed on the main drag of Beechview, a South Hills neighborhood to which most Pittsburghers don’t give a second

Berkowitz is known here. He is greeted with a smile by the barista, Renée, as well as several of the customers, 
mostly lifelong Beechview residents who have come to the shop to talk politics with their neighbors 

Brew on Broadway is conceptually about as far away from Starbucks as you can get: a nonprofit community-based 
coffeehouse whose proceeds are directed for the benefit of the Beechview community. It is the perfect place for 
Berkowitz, a member of the Squirrel Hill Jewish community, to set up shop and get to know the people who make up
the fabric of the neighborhood that he, along with friend Ben Samson, is working to revitalize.

Samson, who is an architectural design professional, and Berkowitz, a real estate developer and former board 
member of The Jewish Chronicle, have partnered in creating Atlas Development Co., with the aim of breathing new 
life into this residential neighborhood that has seen its share of urban blight.

Berkowitz reached out to Samson after the latter’s master’s thesis proposing a mass transit plan for Allegheny 
County went viral. Although there has been no commitment from the city on implementing the $7 billion rehaul of the 
light-rail lines based on Samson’s proposal, the plan was enough to pique the interest of Berkowitz, who had his 
eyes on Beechview, which has the trolley running through its center.

“Beechview is the first residential neighborhood in the city of Pittsburgh heading south of the [existing] rail line,
” Berkowitz said. “We consider Beechview the Brooklyn Heights or the Rosslyn, Virginia of Pittsburgh.”

In other words, the two men see a lot of potential in this sleepy community that happens to be only a 12-minute rail 
ride to downtown Pittsburgh, a quick trolley ride to the stadiums and convenient to the airport. Just this week, the 
Port Authority began work replacing the T rail line that runs through Beechview.

Berkowitz and Samson have put together a 181-page development plan for the neighborhood and have been 
working together along with community members “to figure out what the future can be,” Berkowitz said.

In doing so, he continued, they are heeding lessons learned from developers of other underachieving communities 
such as East Liberty “to be sure we are socially developing too.”

The potential in Beechview is huge, according to Berkowitz.

“We think we can add 3,500 residential units in the next 10 years and do it in a way that maintains the affordability 
and character of Beechview.”

The neighborhood has a lot to offer, he said. A three-bedroom, two-bath home with a garage and a driveway 
currently can be had in the neighborhood for about $65,000. The 2011 demographic TRID study showed that 
Beechview is the second safest neighborhood in Pittsburgh, with only Squirrel Hill beating it out. Beechview is also 
increasing its diversity, boasting one of the fastest growing Latino communities in the mid-Atlantic region. 

“There are supermarkets and banks and a trolley,” Berkowitz added. “It’s honestly Squirrel Hill but with a trolley.”

Well, not quite yet.

Many buildings on Broadway Avenue remain empty and in disrepair. But Berkowitz is confident he and Samson can 
change all that. They are working to acquire properties and so far own three, one of which is an apartment building 
they have renovated and which is leased at full capacity. Another of their acquisitions will be the site of an Italian 
restaurant, with two apartments upstairs. Their third property will house a community radio station, and they are 
negotiating options for additional properties as well.

“Sixty percent of the neighborhood is under the age of 40,” Berkowitz said. “They come home from work, and there 
is nothing to do after work. We are going to try to activate the commercial district.”

That commercial district has been mostly stagnant for years, since Pittsburgh real estate developer Bernardo Katz 
bought up a lot of property in a plan to revitalize Beechview in the 1990s but then “absconded to Brazil in 2007, 
leaving the city, local banks and taxing authorities on the hook for millions,” Berkowitz said.

“This past fall, the city finalized the legal process and took ownership of the remaining Bernardo properties that had 
plagued the city for so long. Now this neighborhood won’t have any artificial reasons holding it back.”

At first, Berkowitz and Samson got a lot of push back about their plan from skeptical locals who feared a replay of 
the Katz fiasco. But the two men are now embraced, according to Berkowitz, because they are taking the concerns 
of the community into account in their planning. 

Jeff Mooney, a 41-year-old lifelong resident of Beechview, agrees.

“What he’s doing is awesome,” Mooney said of Berkowitz. “He’s doing a much better job than anybody I’ve seen 
before. I’m thinking things might change a bit now.”

“It’s a move in the right direction,” said Phyllis DiDiano, president of the Beechview Area Concerned Citizens.

Samson, who is also a Jewish resident of Squirrel Hill, is not yet ready to move to Beechview because of the lack of 
a Jewish community there. He is, however, enthused about his contributions to the neighborhood’s development.

“It’s a seven to 10-year plan,” Samson said. “We are working with the city to get the main street rezoned to make it a 
more walkable, livable place.”

Samson still has his day job, working at architect Arthur Lubetz’s Front Studio, but is all-in on the Beechview project
as a partner of Berkowitz.

“This is a dream come true,” Samson said. “I get to work on something that I came up with in my studies.”

If Berkowitz has his way, the new Beechview won’t be different from the old Beechview, only amped up a few notches.

“We are not coming here just to make money at the expense of the community,” he said. “We want to keep the 
neighborhood the way it is, with its organic feel, but just turn up the volume. We’ve done our homework.” 


NYC judge scolds convicted felon: 

‘Black lives don’t matter to black 

people with guns’

 - The Washington Times 
A New York City judge told a convicted felon Tuesday that “black lives don’t matter to black 
people with guns” before sentencing him to 24 to 26 years in prison.
“Black lives matter,” Justice Edward McLaughlin told 24-year-old Tareek Arnold as he 
sentenced him in Manhattan Supreme Court, the New York Post reported.
“I have heard it, I know it, but the sad fact is in this courtroom, so often what happens is 
manifestations of the fact that black lives don’t matter to black people with guns,” the judge 
said. Arnold, who is black, was convicted for the attempted murder of Jamal McCaskill, also 
black, after shooting him four times at close range on June 8. Arnold, who authorities say was 
a member of a gang called Forty Wolves, later escaped from police custody with his hands 
cuffed behind his back and remained on the lam for almost a month. The jury also convicted 
him of escape, gun possession and assault, the Post reported.

Prosecutor Meghan Hast asked for the maximum sentence, arguing that “but for extreme luck, his would have this would have been a homicide,” the Post reported.
Justice Edward McLaughlin told a convicted felon Tuesday that "black lives don't matter to black people with guns" before sentencing him to 24 to 26 years in prison. (New York Law Journal).

Defense lawyer Mark Jankowitz requested the minimum sentence of 10 years, arguing that Arnold’s 1-year-old son would be without a father.
“Do not ask a judge in this room, in this building, or in this system to somehow make amends for the people who commit violent acts and who by their violent acts wind up leaving people orphaned, abandoned, fatherless, etc,” Justice McLaughlin said.
Arnold had been arrested five times before. He was convicted in 2008 on weapons possession charges and was sentenced to five years in state prison, the Post reported.
Judge McLaughlin has been very outspoken against gun violence in Harlem.

“Only Harlem can save Harlem,” he said in 2011, the Post reported. “If Harlem’s leaders are at 
all sick of ‘the pools of blood on the block,’ they must mobilize their neighbors to find and get
rid of the guns in their homes.”
Chalk up another example of college 
student wimpiness
By Ron Hart/contributing columnist

An Emory University degree just went down in value – again.
I’ve never been a fan of any Emory undergrad I’ve met. Emory is an expensive, whiny 
Northern rich kid’s college. Around its home town of Atlanta, its graduates are called 
“Em-roids” because of their entitled attitude, and they just proved why.
Emory students and their school president are all in a prissy tizzy because there might be one
or more Trump supporters on campus. When someone with chalk wrote “Trump 2016” 
around campus, the school was all but locked down. Students cried and said they felt
“unsafe.” They chanted protests to the president: “You are not listening! Come speak to us; 
we are in pain.” The president immediately had the admissions office investigate how it was 
that a Republican was admitted to Emory.
Responding to their Em-roid rage, he then sent out a letter expressing that he felt their pain. 
These princesses were offered grief counseling for the worst trauma of their lives: seeing 
Trump’s name.
The students then went into the campus quad and played hacky sack (with helmets, for safety)
because it just felt right. I never trust a college that doesn’t have a football team.
Emory President and PC hero, Jim Wagner, is the guy who presided over the intentional lying 
for ten years on SAT scores to U.S. News and World Report. Emory reported higher SAT 
scores admitted and omitted the bottom 10 percent of students’ scores in order to look better 
on the poll.
A friend’s daughter has a liberal arts degree from Emory, which means she is a receptionist at 
her dad’s friend’s law firm.
The First Amendment has died a slow death on college campuses, strangled over time by 
their left-wing bureaucracies. If our founders were around life today, they (after visiting the 
Times Square theater district to catch the musical “Hamilton”) would be appalled at this 
Emory thing.
Campuses were supposed to be places where ideas are debated. Today, they are where 
opposition speech is labeled “hate” and shut down. Many college campuses cannot stand the
idea of free speech unless it is speech they agree with; if they do not like what is said, they 
seek to silence the speaker. The whole idea of free speech is that people are allowed to say 
things you do not agree with.
This is not the best way to get Donald Trump. If your goal is to stop the man who is winning 
by saying we are too politically correct and that we have lost sight of the Constitution and are 
soft, the best way might not be to cry like you have been beaten by the Gestapo when you 
see “Trump 2016” scrawled around your campus. Kids, you just made his point.
These kids are so dumb, they are lucky they are in Georgia and not Texas. In Georgia, 
someone whose IQ is below 80 cannot be executed.
This weak millennial generation grew up receiving participation trophies and expects us to 
applaud and positively reinforce what little they do. Jugglers, street mimes and community 
theater actors need applause – real leaders don’t. I cannot imagine Gens. Patton or 
Eisenhower putting up with this. I just hope this generation does not have to go to war.
We know the Left on college campuses loves Bernie Sanders and hates Trump. At a recent 
campus rally, a woman took her top off, saying “Vote for Bernie Sanders.” She also made a 
nasty anti-Trump nasty gesture.
Sanders has won the love of narcissistic millennials who are not good at economics. (which 
means all millennials?). To them, Sanders is a rock star. What is amazing is that he is the first
 person revered by this generation without posting a single nude selfie on social media.
And why do millennials always want to take selfies or video everything they do, even sex? I’m
just the opposite. When I am done with sex, I think to myself, “Well, at least no one had to 
see that.”
The Emory kerfuffle came during the same week as the bad optics of President Obama doing
the tango in Argentina while ISIS bombed civilians in Belgium and Iraq. We may look weak 
and feckless as a world power these days, but we are still the world’s undisputed superpower
when it comes to televised dance contests.
Ron Hart, a libertarian op-ed humorist and award-winning author, is a frequent guest on CNN. 
He can be contacted at or @RonaldHart on Twitter.
5)A letter sent this week by U.S. Ambassador Power to U.N. officials criticizes 
recent Iranian ballistic missile launches but stops shortof describing the 
launches as a “violation” of the Security Council resolution that codified the 
nuclear deal with Iran, according to Reuters. The outlet's U.N. correspondent Louis 
Charbonneau wrote that the letter describes Iran’s missile tests as “inconsistent with” 
and “in defiance” of UNSC Resolution 2231, but pointedly does not label them 
violations. However, last December, when asked by Chairman of the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) if Iranian missile launches after 
implementation of the nuclear deal would constitute a violation, Ambassador Stephen 
Mull, Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation, replied “it would violate that part of the U.N. Security Council resolution.”
Iran has launched five ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal was reached in July. 
Photos of the last round of missiles distributed by the Iranians showed the missiles 
inscribed in Hebrew with the phrase “Israel must be wiped off the Earth.” Efforts by 
American diplomats in New York to hold the Iranians accountable for the missile 
launches were stymied by Russia, a veto-holding member of the Security Council, 
which said that the language agreed to by American and European diplomats in UNSC 
Resolution 2231 was too weak for the Iranian launches to constitute a "violation." UNSC Resolution 2231 weakened the prohibition on ballistic missile work in the previously relevant UNSC 
Resolution 1929, which it replaced. While UNSCResolution 1929 stated that Iran “shall 
not” engage in activity related to ballistic missiles, in Resolution 2231 Iran is “called 
upon” not to undertake in activity related to ballistic missiles.

At a Senate hearing last July, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.),challenged Secretary of 
State John Kerry on the concession. Secretary Kerry insisted that the language had 
not been changed. According to the Reuters report, however, “[d]iplomats say key 
powers agree that request is not legally binding and cannot be enforced under Chapter
7 of the U.N. Charter… But Western nations, which view the language as a ban, say 
there is a political obligation on Iran to comply.”

In the absence of multilateral options, lawmakers are moving to pass unilateral sanctions. These include the Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act of 2016, introduced by Senator Kelly Ayotte 
(R-N.H.), which aims to impose sanctions on sectors of the Iranian economy that 
directly or indirectly support Iran's ballistic missile program including the automotive, 
energy, construction and mining industries; as well as theIran Terrorism and Human 
Rights Sanctions Act of 2016, introduced by Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), which would 
impose sanctions on entities in which the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or its 
affiliates have an ownership stake of at least 25%.

On Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei asserted that missiles, rather 
than negotiations, are key to Iran’s future. Khamenei stated, "Those who say the future
is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors."