Friday, December 30, 2016

The New Year Begins Starting With Krauthammer and Ettinger, Some Personal Predictions. Maxine Walters. Trump's First Year To Do List.

The New Year begins but the same old issues remain.

Hope everyone had a safe New Year and that your favorite football team came through victorious.
Before the New Year came to a close, I had lunch with a very old friend and fellow memo reader and we discussed politics .

While I was driving home I heard  an explanation of why Obama was the kind of president he was. The commentator pointed out Obama hated  political give and take and what it took to birth legislation and thus, why he did not work with Congress, resorted to avoiding politicians in general and used Executive  Orders to get what he wanted.  The  commentator went on to explain Obama did not have the patience it took to suffer the pains of working with those he thought less bright  and he was a loner of sort. (See 1 below.)

I cannot disagree with anything above but I doubt that these qualities make for good leadership and I believe 8 Obama years proved that to be the case.  Meanwhile, everyone is attacking Trump because he has stated Putin is very smart.  Well Putin must be "brilliant" because he constantly outsmarted Obama who is supposed to be the smartest president since Wilson, who also had a 'uge' ego.

Well, we will soon learn whether Trump's personality and leadership skills, such as they maybe, will work as he deals with Congress, at large, and even those within his own party who believe they know more than he does and have already begun to indicate they do not like being ignored as they were during the Obama years.

Can Trump overcome dissension within his own party in order to get his espoused campaign goals legislated?  If he cannot and if The Republicans allow internal discord to prevent timely change to and replacement of Obama's destructive legislation and policies, they will earn the further contempt of those "deplorables" who have given them a golden chance.

It is one thing to want to see your ideas implemented which you believe are better than what is being proposed but it is another to allow lofty egos to bring matters to a halt because this will be the goal of Democrats. This is why Obama  is meeting with Democrats.

Push back, delay and discord are the allies of Democrats and negative political strategies become enhanced and made more effective if strong Republican egos seek to overwhelm Trump.  Can Trump and Republicans avoid the traps Obama and Democrats are setting in furtherance of Obama's mythical "Smooth Transition" promise?

Stay tuned and I will do my best to enlighten with appropriate postings of others and my thoughts and opinions always buttressed by assorted acrid un-PC humor,(See above.)
So, let's begin the New Year with Charles Krauthammer and Yoram Ettinger. (See 2 and 2a below.)

A few personal predictions but do not bet on them:

a) Trump's ratings will improve as he proves he has what it takes to be president.

b) Obama will continue to be heard from the sidelines and external events will continue to impact  the implementation of Trump's domestic agenda.

c) Alabama's Football team becomes number 1 again.

d) Military confrontation in The Middle East among Israel and Hamas, and maybe Hezbollah,  is a strong possibility.

e) The press will be forced to adjust to Trump's ability to frequently convey his message by going around them and they will continue to be contentious adversaries.

f) Ryan and Trump will learn to work together to get what was voted for accomplished but The Senate will remain the sticking point because of 'uge' egos.

g) The Dow will break 20,000 and move higher but probably not exceed 21,000

h) Rep. Maxine Walters will continue to remain an embarrassment to the nation, to Congress but not to her beloved constituents and The Black Coalition she dutifully serves.
Finally, in his first year, Trump must accomplish the following domestic changes:

a) Real tax reform that unshackles small business and encourages corporate America to repatriate offshore money and use this capital for productive domestic purposes.

Simplification should also be part of any reform.

b)Incorporate some of the positive features of Obamacare and pass a healthcare bill which allows the market to operate so we return to a system of choice, competition and thus, health providers feel enthused to remain in their practices.

c) Apply rational common sense thinking to the problem of illegal immigration and return to enforcing the rule of law.

d) Rebuild our military while restricting waste as much as possible and restructure the delivery of deserved health care to The V.A.

e) Allow Agency appointees to reign in bureaucracy operatives and restrain their desire to cripple our economy with worthless red tape and implement the intent of Congress versus their own agendas.

From a foreign policy:

a) Rebuild our relationship with Israel and let the U.N know, in no uncertain terms, we will no longer fund this organization until they become more balanced in their operation.

b) Recognize deal making may be Trump's strength but he must also realize making deals with Putin does not insure he will keep his word. Putin's eyes may be blue but they are made of steel and his strategy is not benign. Don't allow your ego to permit Putin to play you as he did GW and Obama.

c)  Devise and put in place an effective strategy regarding Islamic Terrorism.

d) Rebuild faith in our word among our allies and be straight forward in clear language what we expect of them in support of our willingness to re-engage in and strengthen NATO.

e) At the same time, Trump and his advisers are implementing the above, we need to think strategically how we can live alongside N Korea and China but blunt their aggressive intentions.

f) Do what is feasible to choke  Iran's intentions and ability to develop a nuclear capability until such time the Iranians are ruled in a more democratic fashion.

Quite an awesome amount of to do's in Trump's first year considering that Congress wastes time and  opportunities because democracy is messy..

Obama's full-blown, year-end temper tantrum

Liz Peek
Let’s be honest: President Obama is throwing a good old-fashioned foot-stomping world class temper tantrum. He is just beside himself that the stupid American voter elected Donald Trump. How could the country willfully dismiss the erudite recommendation of nearly every news organization in the nation – as well as Obama’s personal plea that not electing Hillary would be a personal insult to him? How could young people not respond to Obama’s call to “bend the arc of history in a better direction?” It is beyond comprehension.
But it happened, and Obama is having an extremely difficult time dealing with what may be his first-ever serious setback. This is a man described by his closest advisor, Valerie Jarrett, as “just too talented to do what ordinary people do.” More flattering, Jarrett noted that “I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. …” He is so smart, said Jarrett, that “he’s been bored to death his whole life.”
Very few people surround themselves with people capable of such uncompromising adoration. It isn’t healthy. But Obama is different. He has been told over and over – even by the Nobel Committee that awarded him their coveted Peace Prize on spec– that he is extraordinary. So when a man like The Donald bests him, a man Obama clearly considers a joke, he is undone.
That is certainly the way he is behaving. Not for Obama the normal gracious withdrawal into political stasis; no, he wants to prove in these waning weeks of his presidency that he was right all along. That his agenda is what The People want, even if they don’t know it. That putting America’s valuable natural resources permanently off limits is the correct thing to do, because only Obama can see the future. That taking over vast swatches of the west is in the best interests of the reluctant residents there, because only Obama will protect our environment. That publicly confronting Russia for cyber misbehavior after years of looking the other way is called for, even if it complicates diplomacy in a number of theaters. Because Obama knows best.
He also knows what is best for Israelis. Upending long-standing tradition, he has allowed our only true ally – and the only democracy -- in the Middle East to be further isolated and compromised, in the interests, we are told, of seeking a meaningful peace. The reality is that Obama fully expected that by dint of his winning personality, superior insight and sympathy for the Muslim people, to conquer the divides in that region.
He was shocked that his Cairo speech did not cause the waters to part, and the wounds to heal. And he is angry that, in his mind, Bibi Netanyahu has stood between him and fulfilling this key legacy achievement. As he revealed in 2010 to an interviewer with Time magazine, “[Getting peace in the Middle East] is just really hard”; notably, this came as a surprise.
Make no mistake: we do need to rein in Russian misbehavior. Putin is a dangerous adversary and should never have been allowed out of the penalty box inflicted by drooping oil prices. But, Obama gave him running room by putting him in charge of the Syrian debacle and making him a key figure in the Iran nuke deal. So important were those quests to Obama that our president chose to ignore Moscow’s serial aggressions and misbehavior. Indeed, after the conclusion of the Iran accord, Obama called Putin to thank him for his help. Is it any wonder that an emboldened Putin felt he could act out his hostility to Hillary Clinton?
Obama is having a difficult time passing the baton, because he thinks the baton should be his in perpetuity. Unlike most of his predecessors, Obama intends to stay involved in his party’s politics, and to continue living in the nation’s capital, better to keep his finger on the pulse. Whether Democrats want him involved, since after eight years of his leadership the party’s pulse is barely discernible, remains to be seen.  
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has once again outfoxed President Obama. His response to Obama’s eviction of 35 diplomats and other grave-sounding but ultimately unimportant retaliatory measures? Instead of engaging in traditional diplomatic tit for tat, the Russian leader has invited the children of U.S. diplomats to the Kremlin for a holiday party. Who looks like the adult in the room? 

Liz Peek is a writer who contributes frequently to She is a financial columnist who also writes for The Fiscal Times. For more visit

2) Obama's final, most shameful, legacy moment
By Charles Krauthammer


Palestinians walk in front of the Dome of the Rock. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

“When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.”
— Barack Obama, AIPAC conference, March 4, 2012
The audience — overwhelmingly Jewish, passionately pro-Israel and supremely gullible — applauded wildly. Four years later — his last election behind him, with a month to go in office and with no need to fool Jew or gentile again — Obama took the measure of Israel’s back and slid a knife into it.
People don’t quite understand the damage done to Israel by the U.S. abstention that permitted passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel over settlements. The administration pretends this is nothing but a restatement of long-standing U.S. opposition to settlements.
Nonsense. For the past 35 years, every administration, including a reelection-seeking Obama himself in 2011, has protected Israel with the U.S. veto because such a Security Council resolution gives immense legal ammunition to every boycotter, anti-Semite and zealous European prosecutor to penalize and punish Israelis.
An ordinary Israeli who lives or works in the Old City of Jerusalem becomes an international pariah, a potential outlaw. To say nothing of the soldiers of Israel’s citizen army. “Every pilot and every officer and every soldier,” said a confidant of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, “we are waiting for him at The Hague,” i.e. the International Criminal Court.
Moreover, the resolution undermines the very foundation of a half-century of American Middle East policy. What becomes of “land for peace” if the territories that Israel was to have traded for peace are, in advance, declared to be Palestinian land to which Israel has no claim?
The peace parameters enunciated so ostentatiously by Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday are nearly identical to the Clinton parameters that Yasser Arafat was offered and rejected in 2000 and that Abbas was offered by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. Abbas, too, walked away.
Kerry mentioned none of this because it undermines his blame-Israel narrative. Yet Palestinian rejectionism works. The Security Council just declared the territories legally Palestinian — without the Palestinians having to concede anything, let alone peace. What incentive do the Palestinians have to negotiate when they can get the terms — and territory — they seek handed to them for free if they hold out long enough?
The administration claims a kind of passive innocence on the text of the resolution, as if it had come upon it at the last moment. We are to believe that the ostensible sponsors — New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and a Venezuela that cannot provide its own people with toilet paper, let alone food — had for months been sweating the details of Jewish housing in East Jerusalem.
Nothing new here, protests deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes: “When we see the facts on the ground, again, deep into the West Bank beyond the separation barrier, we feel compelled to speak up against those actions.”
This is a deception. Everyone knows that remote outposts are not the issue. Under any peace, they will be swept away. Even right-wing Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in one of these West Bank settlements, has stated publicly that “I even agree to vacate my settlement if there really will be a two-state solution.” Where’s the obstacle to peace?
A second category of settlement is the close-in blocs that border 1967 Israel. Here, too, we know in advance how these will be disposed of: They’ll become Israeli territory and, in exchange, Israel will swap over some of its land to a Palestinian state. Where’s the obstacle to peace here?
It’s the third category of “settlement” that is the most contentious and that Security Council Resolution 2334 explicitly condemns: East Jerusalem. This is not just scandalous; it’s absurd. America acquiesces to a declaration that, as a matter of international law, the Jewish state has no claim on the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, indeed the entire Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. They belong to Palestine.
The Temple Mount is the most sacred site in all of Judaism. That it should be declared foreign to the Jewish people is as if the Security Council declared Mecca and Medina to be territory to which Islam has no claim. Such is the Orwellian universe Israel inhabits.
At the very least, Obama should have insisted that any reference to East Jerusalem be dropped from the resolution or face a U.S. veto. Why did he not? It’s incomprehensible — except as a parting shot of personal revenge on Benjamin Netanyahu. Or perhaps as a revelation of a deep-seated antipathy to Israel that simply awaited a safe political interval for public expression.
Another legacy moment for Barack Obama. And his most shameful.


Secretary Kerry’s suspension of disbelief

The term “suspension of disbelief” refers to well-intentioned subordination of documented-facts and common sense to one’s zeal and wishful-thinking: sacrificing long-term realism on the altar of oversimplification and short-term gratification and convenience.

Secretary Kerry’s December 28, 2016 speech was replete with suspension of disbelief, totally inconsistent with Middle East reality, but consistent with the Secretary’s 31-year foreign policy track record.

Secretary John Kerry’s Middle East track record:

Kerry was the top frequent-flying Senator to Damascus, allowing his own idyllic   vision of the globe and his hosts’ duplicitous rhetoric to cloud reality.  He contended that Hafez and Bashar Assad – two of the most ferocious, cold-blooded dictators in the world - were constructive leaders, referring to Bashar Assad as a generous reformer and a man of his word, while Bashar terrorized his people and facilitated the infiltration into Iraq of Islamic terrorists, whose aim was to murder Americans. In March 2011, 
Kerry stated: “My judgment is that Syria will move, Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the US and the West….”  Indeed, Syria has changed, but contrary to Kerry’s assessment, with 400,000 deaths and 10MN refugees out of 18 million Syrians.

In his 1997 book, The New War (sold by Amazon for $0.01), Kerry demonstrated inclination to dismiss the writing on the wall when in conflict with wishful-thinking: “Terrorist organizations with specific political agendas may be encouraged and emboldened by Yasser Arafat’s transformation from outlaw to statesman.”  

In 2012, 
Kerry contended that theArab Street was transitioning toward democracy, “the most important geo-strategic shift since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”  He referred to the Arab Tsunami as an Arab Spring and to the regime change in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen as youth and Facebook revolutions. Kerry supported regime-change in Libya, which has transformed Libya into a leading global platform of Islamic terrorism.

Critical pitfalls of Secretary Kerry’s roadmap to peace:

1. In his December 28, 2016 speech, Secretary Kerry maintained that the crux of the failure to conclude a peace agreement is lack of trust: “Negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] did not fail because gaps were too wide, but because the level of trust was too low….”  

2. Apparently, Kerry takes lightly the failure of the Palestinian leadership to pass any of the crucial test of its commitment to peaceful coexistence – in 1993 (Oslo Accords), 2000 (Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s unprecedented proposals) and 2005 (the uprooting of all Jewish settlements from Gaza) – by responding to unparalleled Israeli territorial and diplomatic concessions with a dramatic escalation of hate education and terrorism. Such a Palestinian track record should be expected due to the notorious hate-education and incitement, which has been a most effective production-line of terrorists, and is the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian strategic goal.  

3. Contrary to the Secretary’s observation, the crux of the failure has been the inherent nature of the Palestinian leadership, highlighted by its long-term track record: from waves of anti-Jewish terrorism, through the collaboration with Nazi Germany, the USSR and the East European rogue Communist regimes, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Islamic, Asian, African, European and Latin American terror organizations.

4. While Palestinian leaders are welcome by the US State Department with a “red carpet,” Arab leaders welcome them with “shabby rugs” in response to the Palestinian violent back-stabbing of Arab hosts (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and most painfully, Kuwait in 1990).

Kerry stated that “the two state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians…. The vote in the UN was about preserving the two-state solution…. The US did vote in accordance with our values….” However, the aforementioned Palestinian leadership track record certifies that a Palestinian state would be another rogue, violent regime, undermining US values and national security, adding fuel to the regional fire, constituting a lethal threat to the vulnerable pro-US Hashemite regime – with potential spillover into Saudi Arabia and the pro-US Gulf states – undermining stability in Egypt, upgrading the potential of a pro-Ayatollah bloc from Teheran to Ramallah, west of the Jordan River, providing port facilities to the Russian (and possibly Chinese and Iranian) navy in the Eastern Mediterranean, and adding another anti-US vote at the already anti-US UN.

6. Once again, Secretary Kerry attempts to scare the Jewish State into reckless concessions, implying that the only way to preserve Jewish demography (majority) is by conceding Jewish geography (the over-towering mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria). Once again, he reverberates inauthentic, manipulated Palestinian statistics, and therefore ignores the demographic reality in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel: an 
up-trending 66% Jewish majority, featuring an unprecedented Westernization of Arab demography and a robust Jewish demographic (fertility and net-migration).

7. Kerry misled the public when claiming that UN Security Council Resolution 242 “called for the withdrawal of Israel from territory that it occupied in 1967 in return for peace and secure borders….” 
Kerry failed to indicate that 242 did not stipulate “all the territories;” that Israel has already complied with 242 by conceded 90% of the territory by evacuating the entire Sinai Peninsula; and that Israel fought a defensive/preemptive war in 1967.  He failed to mention that in 1988 Jordan waived its claim to sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (which was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan); and that Israel possesses the best legal title over the area based on Articles 77 and 80 of the UN Charter, which upholds the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, aimed to establish a Jewish national home.

8. While Kerry attempts to coax Israel into reliance on security arrangements and guarantees, he fails to indicate that such tools are characterized by non-specificity, non-automaticity and ample escape routes, which may doom Israel on a rainy day. For example, the NATO treaty does not commit the US beyond considering steps on behalf of an attacked NATO member “as it deems necessary.”  Furthermore, in 1954, President Eisenhower concluded a defense treaty with Taiwan, to be annulled by President Carter with the support of Congress and the US Supreme Court.

The US’ and Israel’s national security, and the pursuit of peace, require long-term, tenacious commitment to realism, in defiance of oversimplification, short-term convenience and suspension of disbelief; avoiding rather than repeating critical past errors, which doomed a litany of well-meaning peace initiatives.

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