Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Andy & Kevin. Trump and The Budget, ISIS and Israel. Powerful and Backpedaling. Which Is It or Both?

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Andy and Kevin at Regional Awards in Nashville.  Kevin, our NBC TV Reporter Grandson, was not up for an award this year but we expect that will change as his future unfolds. Andy, his wife of 5 months,  graduates in May with an art  degree.
Can Trump gore Oxen?  Stay tuned and we will find out. Will the elite stand still?  Will entitlements be next?  If not, then Conservative Republicans may revolt as Trump begins to create a deficit akin to Obama's.

You cannot spend on the military, infrastructure, reduce taxes and not cut wasteful spending and eliminate some major entitlement spending and programs. (See 1 below.)
Trump and Mattis start attacking ISIS.  (See 2 below.)
Two articles regarding Trump and Obama and Israel. In the first, has Trump discovered the difference between talking and doing-welcome to reality

Once again we find Obama is a liar.

With respect to Trump back peddling re moving our embassy to Jerusalem, I understand the threats other Arab nations will make but we should not allow our policies to become hostage. If we do where does it stop?

I suspect the Arab nations who are speaking out are more fearful about the implications for their own shaky foundations.

Our foreign policies should be based on reality and nothing will get the Palestinians to negotiate if they are not faced with paying a price for their intransigence. (See 3 and 3a below.)

I have the good fortune with spending today with an official of The Israeli Government.
1) Trump Plans to Eliminate NEA, NEH, Cut Spending by $10.5 Trillion

The Trump administration is seeking major cuts to federal spending upon taking office, with plans to eliminate agencies and programs to reduce the budget by over $10 trillion.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated, according to a new report on the administration’s spending priorities published by the Hill.
Both arts agencies have budgets of roughly $147 million. The NEA awards millions of dollars worth of grants for art projects each year, which have included plays about assassinating Christopher Columbus, food stamps, and gun-control activist lesbiansclimate change poetry, and “Doggie Hamlet.”
Aside from the art agencies, the Hill reported the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, home of PBS and NPR, would be privatized, and the Commerce and Energy departments would “see major reductions in funding.”
The State Department, Department of Justice, and Department of Transportation would also see programs removed entirely. The Government Accountability Office has identified hundreds of billions of taxpayer funding that could be saved by eliminating duplicative programs.
The new administration will release a “skinny budget” approximately 200 pages long within 45 days summarizing the president-elect’s spending priorities. A full budget is not expected until April.
Trump plans to cut spending by $10.5 trillion over the next 10 years, higher than the Republican Study Committee’s plan to slash spending by $8.6 trillion.
The U.S. national debt is set to surpass $20 trillion this year.

Fight To ISIS, Bomb ISIS 31 Times On Day 1

The Gloves Came Off Today Against ISIS.
Donald Trump made good on his promise to immediately crack down hard on ISIS which he says will lead to its complete and total destruction.
Secretary of Defense James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis took the fight to ISIS on his first day as the new Secretary of Defense. The U.S. bombed ISIS 31 times in what is surely just a warm-up for the aggressive Trump & Mattis. The attacks took place in Syria and Iraq.
From The Pentagon:
U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack, bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 25 strikes consisting of 39 engagements in Syria:
— Near Bab, two strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an artillery piece and damaged a tactical vehicle.
— Near Raqqa, 22 strikes engaged 12 ISIL tactical units; destroyed nine fighting positions, two tunnels, two tanks an improvised-bomb factory and an ISIL headquarters; and suppressed three ISIL tactical units.
— Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed two oil well heads.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted six strikes consisting of 16 engagements in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
— Near Rutbah, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a tactical vehicle, two weapons caches and a mortar.
— Near Beiji, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle.
— Near Kisik, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle and an ISIL-held building.
— Near Mosul, two strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units; destroyed a vehicle-borne-bomb factory, a vehicle-borne bomb, a tank, three fighting positions and a vehicle; and suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.
— Near Tal Afar, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a semi-truck and a command-and-control node.
Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.
For anyone who thinks Trump is going to go soft on the murderous thugs known as ISIS, think again…
3) Trump turns noncommittal on Jerusalem embassy move

Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other Arab allies have warned the White House of severe repercussions should it proceed with the move.

WASHINGTON -- Once committed to quickly moving America's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Trump administration is now expressing caution, promising only to review the matter extensively and in consultation with "stakeholders" in the conflict.

That deliberative process tracks closely with the policy evolutions of two prior presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who also campaigned on a pledge to move the embassy. Both ultimately reversed course while in their first terms office. 

"If it were already a decision, then we wouldn't be going through a process," Sean Spicer, the new White House press secretary, said in his first press briefing on Monday. He declined to commit the administration to moving the embassy by the end of Trump's term, four years from now. "His team is going to continue to consult with stakeholders as we get there."

Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other Arab allies have warned the White House of severe repercussions should it proceed with the move, including a review of bilateral relations with both the US and Israel. Arab states have also warned of an upsurge in violence should the embassy be relocated.

Trump's campaign promise was unflinching: "We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem," Trump told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March. He repeated that commitment at several subsequent campaign events. 

"The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable," he said.

In readouts from the prime minister's office and the White House on Sunday, neither said that a phone call between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made any mention of the embassy relocation.

By delaying the move, the White House buys itself time to weigh how such a move would adversely impact its coalition against Islamic extremists and its plans for a Middle East peace initiative, to be led by the president's adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It also suggests the administration is mindful of the impact such a dramatic act would have on the politics of the world's most tumultuous region.

"We're at the very early stages of that decision-making process," Spicer said.

3a) http://lidblog.com/dore-gold-obama-arrogance/

Senior Israeli Diplomat Dore Gold Says Obama’s Arrogance Hurt Relationship W/Israel

by Jeff Dunetz 

Now that Obama has been replaced by Donald Trump, those who served in the Israeli government can start to unburden themselves about the anti-Israel Obama administration that left office last week. The first to speak out was Dr. Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, former Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and advisor to Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Friday, Israeli Newspaper Makor Rishon (First Source) published an interview with Gold who spoke about the incredible arrogance of Barack Obama, who along with saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, thought he knew more about what Israel and the Palestinians needed than Israel and the Palestinians knew themselves.
The interview (in Hebrew) started with Gold relating a story from the funeral of Shimon Peres four months ago. He spoke of Prime Minister Netanyahu  greeting each world leader who came to the funeral individually. As each leader left, Netanyahu shook their hands and exchanged a few niceties. Suddenly there was a phone call from Air Force One which along with the crew carried President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and Secretary of State [never will be president] John Kerry.

Yoav Horowitz, Netanyahu’s chief of staff, answered the phone because the Prime Minister was trying to see off the other leaders
“Tell your boss that if he wants a funeral like Peres’, he should begin to move, to go forward.” the American voice on the other end said. Horowitz passed on the message immediately. “Tell him,” Netanyahu responded, “that I give up the honor, because I have no intention of participating in the funeral of my country.”

So what Obama was trying to say to Netanyahu in his crass manner, If you “move forward” then you will be world-famous and admired and you will have a splendid funeral like Peres with dozens of world leaders coming to pay tribute.

According to Gold that particular story encapsulates the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu over the past eight years. Dr. Gold added that he knows some other [worse?] stories about the interaction between the two, and he might tell them (but not for another two years or so).

Dr. Gold was present during the entire history of the Netanyahu/ Obama relationship. He attended the first meeting between then-Senator Obama and then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (before either had been voted into office)  “everyone was so polite, differences emerge only when you come to power,” he said.

Until recently Gold was the Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a government where the Prime Minister also held the Foreign Ministry portfolio so Dr. Gold was very involved with all foreign relations decisions. And he says he is no longer surprised by stories such as the one he related about Peres’ funeral.

Now, that the Obama administration finished its term, Gold accuses the Obama ]administration of arrogance.  “They developed an attitude that no matter what the Israeli Government says and no matter what the Arabs say, they know better what the needs of both sides.”

Gee, Obama had the same exact attitude with Americans (his policies weren’t wrong, Americans were just too stupid to understand).

That was the sharpest statement that Gold was ready to express about the band that was going to end its management of the USA today (Friday). “But even now I refuse to stick all these definitions –anti-Semite, pro-Muslim, threw Israel under the bus– on Obama. By no means. Not at all.”

But then again, Gold is a diplomat, the rest of us are free to tell it as it really was with out the diplomatic restrictions.

Gold went into more detail about the arrogance of the administration and how they ignored decades of international protocol.

For example, direct talks included US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with former commanders of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria. Contrary to all rules, the US secretary of state investigated Israeli army officers and reprimanded them for the destruction of Palestinian homes.

Another example was a statement made by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, that “even if Israel and the Palestinians reach an agreement, it is possible that the United States would oppose it” – because he would not do justice to the Palestinians.

In other words Gold is telling is that Obama didn’t want peace, he wanted peace his way.

The outgoing Obama administration was hostile to Israel’s positions especially the settlements. According to Dr. Gold the settlements were a bigger issue to Obama than to the Palestinians.
“The issue of settlements has become an obsession,” says Gold. “There are many indications that the Palestinians saw it was not a big nuisance or constraint prevents negotiations. But in the eyes of Washington, for some reason, it is becoming the central issue.” As proof Gold mentioned  Abu Mazen’s statement, that in 2011 he said that “Americans put me on the tree (when required the construction freeze) and then took away the ladder”.

I would add the fact that during the Bush Administration, when lord comb-over Ehud Olmert was the PM, negotiations as well as construction in settlement communities were ongoing and they did not stop negotiations.
The settlement attitude hit Gold and Israel hard immediately after the second meeting of Netanyahu and Obama, and this time they already are serving as leaders of the countries. In this meeting Obama smashed three conventions that until then characterized the relationship between the United States and Israel.
The first is the prior coordination of meetings, this is an accepted fact worldwide. Gold arranged Netanyahu visits in the 1990s, and some of the visits during the Sharon govt. What the arrangements entailed were an agenda was set a few days earlier and there were to be no surprises. ‘No surprises is one of the principles of Israel-US relations. ”

The second convention was American recognition, at least partially, the rights of Israel in Jerusalem. The third says that any new government is subject to commitments of its predecessor, and in this case an international convention.
“And now the Israeli prime minister sitting in the White House, and he is surprised. Surprised the demand to freeze construction beyond the Green Line, which moved him ahead of time. Surprised that the requirement that refers to Jerusalem – which was not in the days of George W. Bush. But what bothered me more than anything else, Obama was ignoring the letter (which includes “recognition of demographic changes on the ground”, ie the settlement blocs – if so). This letter was approved by both houses of Congress, as if it were a formal contract. But Obama arrives and throws the letter Bush sent dustbin of history.
How the US administration can ignore the previous government commitments, especially when they have the backing of Congress? Hillary Clinton also supported the letter to Bush when she served in the Senate, so what’s going on here?
I saw it very seriously, because we can not return to the ’67 borders, and we must rely on the promise of the United States.

Bush’s letter was originally written to make the Israelis comfortable with the Gaza disengagement.
Gold realized that things under Obama were going to be difficult, because they had trusted that the U.S. government would honor agreements form one administration to another, therefore they didn’t have back-up positions–they had believed everything was settled.
But according to Gold the Obama administration said “we have a different position.”
In the American press Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed the agreement never existed.
We’ve covered the Obama trashing of this particular agreement here at The Lid, including comments by Elliot Abrams who negotiated the agreement for the Bush administration with then prime minister, Ariel Sharon.
On the major settlement blocs, Mr. Bush said, “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” Several previous administrations had declared all Israeli settlements beyond the “1967 borders” to be illegal. Here Mr. Bush dropped such language, referring to the 1967 borders — correctly — as merely the lines where the fighting stopped in 1949, and saying that in any realistic peace agreement Israel would be able to negotiate keeping those major settlements.

On settlements we also agreed on principles that would permit some continuing growth. Mr. Sharon stated these clearly in a major policy speech in December 2003: “Israel will meet all its obligations with regard to construction in the settlements. There will be no construction beyond the existing construction line, no expropriation of land for construction, no special economic incentives and no construction of new settlements.”

Abrams added that Obama’s contention that there was no previous agreement was “an outright lie.”
At least for now that’s about as far as Dr. Gold is willing to go. It is likely that Gold will say more over time for the historical record, and there are rumors that former Ambassador to U.S. Michael Oren has some spicy vignettes of Obama’s insulting behavior toward Netanyahu that he didn’t cover in his book, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide. 
Whatever comes out, and whenever it comes out you can read about it here at The Lid.

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