Friday, February 3, 2017

The Workaholic Does Not Stop and Heaven Forbid! Refreshing For Deplorables. Frightening For The Cocktail/Canape Crowd.

More Foster:
The Australian controversy. (See 1 and 1a below.)
Trump is proving to be a workaholic and it is exhausting politicians who are used to wasting a lot of precious time at taxpayer's expense. After all, time is money and since it ain't their's who gives a damn.

Secondly, Trump has probably accomplished more in several weeks that is having a positive effect than Obama did in 8 years.  Obama accomplished a great deal but note I used the words positive effect not negative effect.

No doubt Trump's style, language and methods are driving our State Department fancy pants nutsy but then when have they been right about much of anything?

Trump has managed to tell Iran be on the look out, he took a call from Taiwan that angered the Chinese and told Australia the deal they snookered with Obama was a bad one for America and one which he probably would not have signed but will honor.  The Palestinians have to be wondering what is about to hit them.

Wait til Trump really gets started. Actually, though Trump tweets a lot, he has even been good for the mass media who now have a lot more to write about and then retract because they still get it all wrong. They remain bewildered and continue to suffer from predicting he was un-electable.

Being a deplorable I am quite comfortable with Trump's blunt talk and desire to meet his campaign commitments.  That alone is refreshing.  Businessmen are prone to do that kind of thing.  Politicians just tend to  wiggle.

Let's see what Donald comes up with for next week. Perhaps he will end run the Democrats and get a few more of his appointees approved - heaven forbid!

Stay tuned.(See 1, 1a and 1b below.)

I hope your Team Wins The Super Bowl. I have no skin in the game though I lived in Atlanta for 42 years.

Who are Those Refugees Australia Doesn’t Want?

The Manus Island regional processing facility, where Australia sends illegal immigrants. (Photo: Australia Department of Immigration and Citizenship)

It is hard to complain about Australia -- democratic, sunny, cheerful, and oh, those koalas and kangaroos. On a more serious note, Australia is a welcome ally, participating in military operations around the world with American forces and sharing our concerns about aggressive Chinese behavior in the South- and East China Seas. Australia is spending billions to modernize its military forces.
But a few things about Australia should be made clear as President Trump scuttles an Obama-administration deal to take 1,250+ refugees currently in Australian-run internment camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Internment camps? Papua New Guinea and Nauru?
The Wall Street Journal explains:
"Under laws first put in place in 2001, successive Australian governments have required asylum seekers coming by boat to be intercepted. The conservatives, on winning power in 2013, set up a maritime blockade that Mr. Turnbull has offered as a model for Europe. But the system began to unravel after Papua New Guinea's highest court last year ordered the closure of the Australian-operated immigration center on Manus Island, ruling asylum seekers were being held illegally."
So chipper Australia has been intercepting ships at sea and dropping the passengers off on less well-developed islands. They are mostly men from Myanmar (Rohingya Muslims), Malaysia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, although there some women and children. The Los Angeles Times further explains:
"The refugees are the collateral damage in Australia's widely criticized "Stop the Boats" policy, the rule that asylum seekers who try to reach Australian shores by sea will never "make Australia home," even if they are genuine refugees, are children or have skills. "If you come to Australia illegally by boat, there is no way you will ever make Australia home," an Australian army chief warned in a 2014 video aired online and on television in countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka."
Australia does take thousands of refugees each year under official programs. J. Weston Phippen wrote in The Atlantic:
"To be sure, it's not that Australia has an issue with refugees–in fact, it has agreed to resettle 12,000 Syrians, atop the refugees it typically takes through its Humanitarian Programme. It granted 13,800 refugee visas between 2013 and 2014, and 20,000 between 2012 and 2013.
But the arrivals by sea seem to prompt anger. One reason for this could be that migrants and refugees who try to reach Australia by sea are, in fact, coming illegally. Those that are being resettled through its Humanitarian Programme, meanwhile, are registered refugees being accepted under Australia's international obligations. The two main parties also contend that its policies deter human-smuggling."
So off they go to Nauru and Manus.
Out of sight, perhaps out of mind until the UN documented serious problems in the camps, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The Guardian (Australia) published a series last summer on abuses at the Manus camp, following the leak of more than 2,000 "incident reports" detailing "assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty." Although children make up only 18% of those in detention, more than 51% of the incident reports involve children.
Cases of depression and self-harm are high; two people set themselves on fire last year, one of whom died, and one girl swallowed bleach. Many have reported that the biggest problem is the sense of paralysis at being trapped in limbo indefinitely, according to Tracey Donehue, a former teacher at one of the facilities interviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
Following the very unpleasant exposure, the government of Malcolm Turnbull announced in August 2016 that it would close one center on Manus Island, but would bring none of its internees – 854 adults, all men – to the Australian mainland, raising the question of what to do with them. Australia's Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, said Canberra's "position is very clear, and that is we are not going to accept people who have sought to come to our country illegally by boat, they will not settle permanently in our country."
Enter President Obama.
In September, Turnbull agreed to resettle Central American refugees who were in a processing center in Costa Rica. At the time, Australian officials said firmly there would be no quid pro quo. "There will not be a people swap," announced Scott Ryan, a special minister of state. The American agreement to take Australian internees came two months later, providing a convenient way for Mr. Turnbull to keep his promise to his people and get rid of people who had become a public relations disaster.
Then-Secretary of State John Kerry worked out the deal with Australia to "fast track" the immigrants, but did not tell Congress. In November, responding to information it received, WND reported that the chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees demanded details:
"Congress only learned of the deal through media reports two weeks ago [November, 2016] and – according to a letter sent to administration officials by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) – the deal is not only a matter of grave national security concern, but it could be illegal."
It would be illegal if the deal was considered a treaty negotiated by then-Secretary Kerry. According to the Constitution, it would have to have been sent to Congress for ratification.
Asked if he had discussed the deal with then-candidate Donald Trump, Turnbull said, "We deal with one administration at a time and there is only one president of the United States at a time." But Donald Trump is now president and his decision appears to have left the Australian government with few choices.
Asked if there was a "Plan B" for Australia, Turnbull said he was examining several options, but that Australia would not back down on its decision not to let those refugees stopped at sea enter the country:
"Our expectation naturally, given the commitments that have been made, is that it will go ahead. The only option that isn't available to [the refugees] is bringing them to Australia for the obvious reasons that that would provide a signal to the people smugglers to get back into business."
Whether there is an agreement to be had between the United States and Australia for the resettlement of Australia's interned population or not, it is clear that this deal had more to it than the Obama Administration -- or the Turnbull government -- wanted to admit. The United States and Australia both had reasons not to admit the migrants closest to their borders, but trading Central Americans who wanted to come to the U.S. for Muslims who wanted to reach Australian shores would allow Turnbull to keep a campaign promise and Obama to divert attention from the massive breach of America's southern border.

1a)When Undiplomatic Talk Wasn’t Awful
They didn’t complain when Obama did it.
By Jonathan S. Tobin 
There were two Trump-administration scandals du jour on Thursday. One concerned a joke the president made at the National Prayer Breakfast, in which he asked those present to pray for better ratings for his successor on the New Celebrity Apprentice television show. But the main reason for a daily dose of outrage against President Trump wasn’t generated by sympathy for Arnold Schwarzenegger or even dismay over a joke about prayer. Rather, it was the reaction to the reports about what appears to have been a stormy conversation with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

According to reports, Trump told Turnbull it was “the worst call by far” with a foreign leader. The stormy dispute was even alleged to have ended with Trump hanging up on one of America’s staunchest allies. Though both sides said that last part wasn’t true, there was little doubt it was a difficult conversation. One can well imagine Trump responding to Turnbull’s insistence that the U.S. stick to President Obama’s agreement to take in migrants that Australia didn’t want by saying (as he allegedly did) that the Aussies were trying to force them to take in the “next Boston bombers.”

The reaction from the foreign-policy establishment as well as most of the press was yet another round of demands that Trump grow up and frustration with his unwillingness to speak like a diplomat when dealing with foreign governments. But what especially annoyed the critics was the president’s lack of caution when it came to antagonizing an ally. The consequences of the argument with Turnbull might, we were assured by a chorus of sober television talking heads speaking more in sorrow than anger, influence Australians to turn more to China and against the U.S.

There is something to be said for not picking fights with friends in public, and it was probably unnecessary for the two leaders to engage in an open dispute when continued cooperation between the two nations on security issues is so much more important than the fate of 1,250 migrants currently held on some of Australia’s Pacific-island possessions. Trump should try remembering Theodore Roosevelt’s admonition that Americans should “speak softly while carrying a big stick” rather than mouthing off every time he doesn’t like something.
But those damning Trump for this latest evidence of his unsuitability for the presidency need to take a deep breath. That’s especially true for the chorus of press critics who were ardent fans of President Obama. Using undiplomatic language with allies is a bad thing, but it is not a principle that was upheld by Obama. None of those knocking Trump uttered a word of criticism when the 44th president and his aides were regularly insulting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

None of that earned Mr. Obama a scolding from the foreign-policy wise men who now shake their heads at Trump’s bad behavior. From virtually the moment he took office, shortly after Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Netanyahu was subjected to a steady stream of abuse from the president both in private and in public. In Obama’s case, this wasn’t, as is assumed to be the case with Trump, a matter of losing his temper, but rather a concerted strategy that aimed to create more “daylight” between the U.S. and the Jewish state as part of an ultimately futile attempt to tempt the Palestinians to make peace. In pursuit of this goal, Obama goaded Netanyahu, ambushing him during a 2011 visit to Washington with a policy shift on the 1967 borders without prior notice and generally damned the policies of a man who won three consecutive parliamentary elections during this period. Nor was he the only one doing so, as subordinates also sought to get into the act. Hillary Clinton boasted of being the “designated yeller” at Netanyahu while she was secretary of state and anonymous White House aides leaked stories to the press in which they said the Israeli was “chickens**t.”

But leaving aside the hypocrisy of Trump’s liberal critics, that isn’t the only absurd aspect of this “scandal.” There is also the question of whether it is wrong for Trump to think he has the right to criticize or even renege on a deal done by a predecessor.

Trump probably isn’t alone in being surprised to hear about the illegal-immigrant swap Obama made with Turnbull. In exchange for taking in people (largely from the same countries regarding which Trump ordered a temporary pause on immigration) that Australia doesn’t want on its soil, the U.S. planned to ship down under illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. How this is in America’s interest eludes me at first glance as, no doubt, it did Trump.

But a deal’s a deal and if Obama shook on it with the Aussies, it’s an ironclad principle that Trump must also honor it, right? Maybe, but that’s another principle Obama didn’t respect when it came to America’s Israeli ally.

President George W. Bush sent a letter to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in 2004 in which the U.S. promised to recognize Israel’s right to keep Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and its major settlement blocs on the border with the West Bank, as well as to the Israelis’ right to build there. In exchange for this, Sharon pulled every soldier, settler, and settlement out of Gaza, a decision that ultimately led to the creation of an Islamist terror state run by Hamas in the strip. But when Obama came into office, the Israelis were told that the Bush letter was null and void. Washington not only continuously attacked the Israelis about building in Jerusalem and the settlement blocs, but also made more of an issue of the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem than any of Obama’s predecessors had.

Seen in that light, outrage about Trump’s brusque attitude toward the Australians doesn’t seem so terrible, or at least not any worse than Obama’s undiplomatic conduct. There’s plenty wrong with Trump’s temperament but the high dudgeon about his bad behavior on the phone with foreign leaders is not only hypocritical, it’s a political loser. Americans aren’t likely to be outraged about a president who talks tough to friends or foes. Nor are they likely to be convinced that this is a big deal by those who had no problem with Obama’s insults of other allies.

1b) The Trump way of winning the war
By Caroline Glick

trump in oval

The PLO is disoriented, panicked and hysterical. Speaking to a U>S magazine editor this week, Saeb Erekat, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas’s chief conduit to Israel and the Americans, complained since President Donald Trump was sworn into office, no administration official had spoken to them.

“I don’t know any of them [Trump’s advisers]. We have sent them letters, written messages. They don’t even bother to respond .”

The Trump administration’s shunning of the PLO is a marked departure from the policies of its predecessor. For former president Barack Obama, together with Iran, the Palestinians were viewed as the key players in the Middle East. Abbas was the first foreign leader Obama called after taking office.

Erekat’s statement reveals something that is generally obscured. Despite its deep support in Europe, the UN and the international Left, without US support, the PLO is irrelevant.

All the achievements the PLO racked up under Obama – topped off with the former president’s facilitation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 against Israel – are suddenly irrelevant. Their impact dissipated the minute Trump took office.

Israel, in contrast, is more relevant than ever.

While Trump occasionally pays lip service to making peace in the Middle East, his real goal is to win the war against jihadist Islam. And he rightly views Israel as a woefully underutilized strategic ally that shares his goal and is well-placed to help him achieve it.

During the electoral campaign, Trump often spoke derisively of Obama’s nuclear pact with Tehran. And he repeatedly promised to eradicate Islamic State. But when asked to explain what he intended to do on these scores, Trump demurred. You don’t expect me to let the enemy know my plan, do you?

Trump’s critics dismissed his statements as empty talk. But since he came into office, each day signals that he does have a plan and that he is implementing it. The plan coming into focus involves a multi-dimensional campaign that if successful will both neutralize Iran as a strategic threat and obliterate ISIS.

Regarding Iran specifically, Trump’s moves to date involve operations on three levels. First, there is the rhetorical campaign to distinguish the Trump administration from its successor.

Trump launched the campaign on Twitter on Wednesday writing, “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the US has squandered three trillion dollars there.”

Shortly before his post, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi appointed Iranian proxy Qasim al Araji to serve as his interior minister.

At a minimum, Trump’s statement signaled an abandonment of Obama’s policy of cooperating with Iranian forces and Iranian-controlled Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

At around the same time Trump released his tweet about Iranian control of Iraq, his National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn took a knife to Obama’s obsequious stand on Iran during a press briefing at the White House.

While Trump’s statement related to Iran’s growing power in Iraq, Flynn’s remarks were directed against its non-conventional threat and its regional aggression. Both were on display earlier this week.

On Sunday, Iran carried out its 12th ballistic missile test since concluding its nuclear deal with Obama, and its first since Trump took office.

On Monday, Iranian-controlled Houthi forces in Yemen attacked a Saudi ship in the Bab al-Mandab choke point connecting the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Flynn condemned both noting that they threatened the US and its allies and destabilized the Middle East. The missile test, he said, violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that anchored the nuclear deal.

Flynn then took a step further. He drew a sharp contrast between the Obama administration’s responses to Tehran’s behavior and the Trump administration’s views of Tehran’s provocative actions.

“The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions – including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms,” he noted.

“The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk.”

Flynn ended his remarks by threatening Iran directly.

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he warned.

While Flynn gave no details of what the US intends to do to Iran if it continues its aggressive behavior, the day before he made his statement, the US opened a major, multilateral, British-led naval exercise in the Persian Gulf. US naval forces in the region have been significantly strengthened since January 20 and rules of engagement for US forces in the Persian Gulf have reportedly been relaxed.

Perhaps the most potent aspect of Trump’s emerging strategy for defeating the forces of jihad is the one that hasn’t been discussed but it was signaled, through a proxy, the day after Trump took office.

On January 21, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a remarkable message to the Iranian people on his Facebook page. Netanyahu drew a sharp distinction between the “warm” Iranian people and the “repressive” regime.

Netanyahu opened his remarks by invoking the new administration.

“I plan to speak soon with President Trump about how to counter the threat of the Iranian regime, which calls for Israel’s destruction,” the prime minister explained.

“But it struck me recently that I’ve spoken a lot about the Iranian regime and not enough about the Iranian people, or for that matter, to the Iranian people. So I hope this message reaches every Iranian.”

Netanyahu paid homage to the Green Revolution of 2009 that was brutally repressed by the regime. In his words, “I’ll never forget the images of proud, young students eager for change gunned down in the streets of Tehran in 2009.”

Netanyahu’s statement was doubtlessly coordinated with the new administration. It signaled that destabilizing with the goal of overthrowing the regime in Tehran is a major component of Trump’s strategy.

By the looks of things in Iran, regime opponents are taking heart from the new tone emanating from Washington. Iranian dissidents have asked for a meeting with Trump’s team. And a week and a half before Trump’s inauguration, regime opponents staged a massive anti-regime protest.

Protesters used the public funeral of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to denounce the regime. In 2009, Rafsanjani sided with many of the Green Movement’s positions. His daughter was a leader of the protests.

Among the estimated 2.5 million people who attended the funeral, scores of thousands interrupted the official eulogies to condemn the regime, condemn the war with Syria and condemn the regime’s Russian allies.

This then brings us to Syria, where the war against ISIS and the campaign against Iran are set to converge. To date, Trump has limited his stated goals in Syria to setting up safe zones inside the country where displaced Syrians can live securely. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have agreed to cooperate in these efforts.

Trump is now engaged in a talks with the Kremlin both above and below the radar about the possibility of coordinating their operations in Syria to enable safe zones to be established.

It is fairly clear what the US objective here would be. The US wishes to convince Moscow to effectively end its alliance with the Iranian regime. Trump repeatedly stated that the entire spectrum of US-Russian relations is now in play. Talks between the two governments will encompass Ukraine, US economic sanctions on Russia, nuclear weapons, Russian bases in Syria and Russia’s alliance with Iran and its Hezbollah proxies.

Everything is on the table.

Trump understands that Russia is threatened by Sunni jihadists and that Russia views Iran as a counterweight to ISIS and its counterparts in the Caucasus. A deal between the US and Russia could involve a Russian agreement to end its support for Iran and Hezbollah in exchange for US acceptance of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, cancellation of sanctions and perhaps some form of acquiescence to Russia’s military presence in Syria.

Russia and the US could then collaborate with Arab states with Israeli support to defeat ISIS and end the Syrian refugee crisis.

Combined with actions the Trump administration is already taking in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and its telegraphed aim of backing a popular Iranian insurrection, Trump’s hypothetical deal with Russia would neutralize Iran as a conventional and non-conventional threat.

This then brings us back to Israel – the first target of Iran’s aggression. If Trump’s strategy is successful, then the PLO will not be Israel’s only foe that is rendered irrelevant.

Earlier this week it was reported that in the two and- a-half years since the last war with Hamas, the Iranian-backed, Muslim Brotherhood-affiliate terrorist group has rebuilt its forces. Today Hamas fields assets and troops that match the capabilities it fielded during Operation Protective Edge.

Hezbollah, with its effective control over Lebanon, including the Lebanese military, is a strategic threat to Israel.

To date, Israel has demurred from targeting Hezbollah and Hamas missile arsenals, but not because it is incapable of destroying them. Israel’s efforts to avoid conflict with its enemies, even at the price of their rearmament, also haven’t stemmed from fear of European or UN condemnation or even from fear of the so-called “CNN-effect.”

Israel has chosen not to defeat its enemies – not to mention the EU-backed NGOs that whitewash them – because the Americans have supported them.

The Clinton administration barred Israel from taking decisive action against either Hezbollah or the Palestinians.

The Bush administration forced Israel to stand down during the war with Hezbollah in 2006.

The Obama administration effectively sided with Hamas against Israel in 2014.

In other words, across three administrations, the Americans made it impossible for Israel to take decisive military action against its enemies.

Under Obama, the US also derailed every Israeli attempt to curb the power of EU-funded subversive organizations operating from inside of Israel.

Trump’s emerging strategy on Iran and ISIS, together with his refusal to operate in accordance with the standard US playbook on the Palestinians, indicates that the US has abandoned this practice. Under Trump, Israel is free to defeat its enemies. Their most powerful deterrent against Israel – the US – is gone.

Israel has long argued that there is no difference between al-Qaida and Hamas or between ISIS and Hezbollah. It has also argued that Iran threatens not only Israel but the world as a whole. Hoping to co-opt the forces of jihad rather than defeat them, successive US administrations have chosen to deny this obvious truth.

Unlike his predecessors, Trump is serious about winning. To do so, he is even willing to take the radical step of accepting Israel as an ally.

The PLO is right to be hysterical.

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