Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Random Thought About A Black Gelding. Trump and Israel. When I lived in Rome A Long Time Ago.


This is just a random thought. I have told this corny joke before but it makes the point, I believe , that our so called partners and allies, should recognize what Trump is saying about our nation having been taken advantage of because we allowed it and you would think, since we are the central player, they would want to see us strong and prospering.

A man wants to buy a horse so he goes to a horse farm and sees a group of horses all huddled around a beautiful black gelding.  The man says to the horse owner ,I want to buy that beautiful black gelding, how much do you want for him?  The horse seller replies, you cannot buy him he is holding up all the other horses.

The point being, a continued weakened America makes the entire West more vulnerable.  This nation has been generous beyond fault. It is time we restore logic and stop allowing ourselves to be the patsy. That is Trump's message and what is meant by: "Make America Great Again."

Perhaps he is crude at times in pressing his argument but I prefer to tell the rest of the world to get used to him, suck it up and encourage Trump to keep pressing the issue. (See 1 below.)
Trump and Israel, the sounder approach?  Europe's approach is based on prejudice and cowardliness.   You decide. (See 2 below.)
Today over 100 million Americans will engage in watching brutality versus talent and eat and drink a lot while doing so.  Reminds me of the days when I lived in Rome under the Emperors and watched the gladiators and lions have at it.
1) The case for a border adjustable tax system

To create a level playing field, America must fix its tax system


If America’s competitors were intentionally trying to design a tax system to destroy the American economy, they probably couldn’t come up with a dumber tax system than the way the United States currently taxes our own businesses.
To fully appreciate the stupidity of the American corporate tax, consider this simple example:
If you are an American company making cars in Michigan, you have to pay a 35 percent profits tax on the car made here and then if the car is sold across the border to Mexico, the Mexicans slap a 16 percent value added tax on the car, so it is taxed on both sides of the border. Almost all countries tax goods produced in the United States this way.
Now let us say that the auto factory is moved from Michigan to Mexico City. Now the car produced in the factory in Mexico is not taxed by the Mexicans if the auto is sold in the United States.
Even more amazing: the U.S. imposes no tax on the imported car. To summarize, the car is taxed twice if it is built in America and then sold abroad and never taxed if it is built abroad and sold here in the U.S. And we wonder why companies are moving out in droves for China, India, Ireland, Mexico and the like.
Donald Trump is right. What we have in America is not free trade. It is stupid trade with the deck stacked against American producers and workers. Our federal tax is effectively a 35 percent tariff imposed on our own goods and services.
2)Trump Isn’t Repeating Obama’s Middle East Mistakes
Contrary to mainstream-media reports, the new president is already taking a tougher stance on Iran and a friendlier stance toward Israel than his predecessor.
By Jonathan S. Tobin 
By the end of his second week in office, President Donald Trump has discovered it is actually possible for him to do something that garners applause from the mainstream media. Though Democrats seem more interested in futile gestures of “resistance” to his government than in normal opposition, all Trump had to do to gain a modicum of respect from the New York Times and other denizens of the liberal echo chamber was to preserve rather than reject the policies of his predecessor. Or at least that was how the Times and the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC perceived the new administration’s statements about Israel, Iran, and Russia this week. In reality, the claim that, as the front-page headline in Friday’s Times put it, “Trump Reverts to Pillars of Obama Foreign Policy,” is actually dead wrong when applied to the Middle East.

The Times story treated administration statements about Israeli settlements, sanctions against Iran, and Russian aggression against Ukraine as proof that Trump was backing away from efforts to reverse President Obama’s policies. The jury is still out on what direction the administration will take toward Russia, though this week’s statements from U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley signaled the administration’s continued opposition to Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine, which should give hope to those who believe the president’s crush on Vladimir Putin needs to be nipped in the bud.

With respect to the Middle East, however, the effort to interpret administration statements as an embrace of Obama’s policies — namely his unprecedented pressure on Israel and his desire for d├ętente with Iran — are simply false. The argument that Trump is embracing Obama’s approach centers on one statement from White House press secretary Sean Spicer:
While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful.
That can be reasonably interpreted as opposing the creation of new Jewish settlements in the West Bank. But its first clause is a complete and total rejection of the repeated assertions of both Obama and former secretary of state John Kerry that settlements are the primary obstacle in the way of a peace deal.

Spicer’s words are actually a declaration that Trump is embracing the terms of President George W. Bush’s 2004 letter to the Israeli government, in which Bush said that changes on the ground since 1967 would have to be taken into account in any peace agreement. In practice, Bush made it clear that meant Israel would keep parts of Eastern Jerusalem as well as the major settlement blocs erected near the 1967 lines, where more than 80 percent of West Bank settlers live. Just as important, he signaled that new construction in those areas would not be considered an issue by the United States. Bush’s position was explicitly rejected by Obama, who consistently blamed Israel for the failure of his efforts to broker peace no matter what the Palestinians did, and advanced the belief that 40-year-old Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the blocs were just as “illegal” as the most remote hilltop settlement in the middle of the West Bank.

As to the question of “new settlements,” according to the Obama administration, Israel never stopped building them in vast numbers. Indeed, in December Obama’s deputy National Security Council adviser actually defended the administration’s decision to allow a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel to pass by claiming that the Israelis had been constructing “tens of thousands” of new settlements. The claim was, of course, rubbish.

In fact, there are only approximately 230 settlements in the West Bank including those unauthorized by Israeli law. When Israel’s critics speak of its government’s building “new settlements,” they are referring to the erection of new houses or apartments in existing communities. So the announcement this week that Israel is building several-hundred new homes in Jerusalem and West Bank settlements does not actually fall under Spicer’s definition of construction that “may not be helpful” to the efforts toward a peace deal.

The timing is interesting, because this week Israel did announce legal authorization for what is, contrary to what the mainstream media might tell you, the first “new settlement” to go up in more than 20 years. But even that decision isn’t as bad as it sounds: The settlement was approved to house Israelis who have just been evicted from Amona, a controversial village built on land that wasn’t legally purchased and was ordered demolished by Israeli courts.

At worst, then, Spicer’s message may be seen as a mild slap on the wrist for the replacement of Amona. The notion that it is an embrace of Obama’s obsessive criticism of Israeli settlement policy has no basis in fact. The new administration appears to understand, as Obama never did, that the biggest obstacle to peace is the Palestinians, who have repeatedly rejected Israel’s offers of a two-state solution that would involve dismantling settlements. Had they ever said “yes” to Israel’s offers, those settlements beyond Jerusalem and the blocs would have been vacated years ago.

On Iran, those arguing that Trump has come around to Obama’s point of view are on even shakier ground. According to the Times, Trump’s decision to impose new sanctions on Iran for its violations of U.N. resolutions forbidding them to test ballistic missiles is proof that he is reverting to one of the “pillars” of Obama’s strategy. Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, however, was contingent on America’s agreeing to dismantle international sanctions. And while Trump has not torn up the deal — a move that would involve its other signatories — he has pledged to try to enforce it more strictly than Obama, and he appears determined to hold the Iranians accountable for non-nuclear misbehavior such as their support for international terrorism.

While Trump has not yet moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as he promised during the campaign, he has already made it clear that Obama’s quest for more “daylight” between the two allies is over. Only someone who expects Trump to take positions to the right of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on settlements and the two-state solution — Netanyahu has restrained the growth of the former and publicly backs the latter — could characterize the new administration’s policies as being reminiscent of Obama’s.

Predicting what Donald Trump will ultimately do in the Middle East or anywhere else is a fool’s errand. But if there is any one overarching theme to his foreign policy it is a rejection of his predecessor’s approach. Trump has already shown an understanding that Obama’s misguided Middle East preoccupations weakened the U.S. position and made the region a more dangerous place. He may make mistakes of his own in the next four years, but it is highly unlikely that he will repeat those of his predecessor.


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