Sunday, February 12, 2017

Two Narcissists In A Row? UGH! Was Bret Stephens Right? Jury Still Out.Correcting A Myth. Egypt and Israeli Relationship. embed/UD7UA1d-WnA?rel=0 <https :// UD7UA1d-WnA?rel=0>

It is alright to be a political hemophiliac.  Just make more sense to bleed for the right cause.
The skinny on Elliott Abram's rejection. It is more a negative reflection on Trump's thin skin than on Elliott's much needed thick depth and talent he would have brought to our, often clueless, State Department.

Yes, Trump seems to have surrounded himself with independent thinkers but if he fails to listen or allow them to penetrate his thinking he will be under served and it will harm our nation.

Obama surrounded himself with lackeys, always considered himself the brightest human in the room and it caused him and our nation untold pain and suffering. More to come.

Two narcissists in a row - UGH! (See 1 below.)
 According to John Fund's co-author and friend, Spakovksy, the most reversed Circuit Court got it wrong again. (See 2 below.)
I sure could have made a mistake voting for Trump for president. Jury still out. Was Bret Stephens right? That said, I did not make a mistake not voting for Hillary.  That is for sure. (See 3 below.)
Dispelling a myth. (See 4 below.)


Israeli-Egyptian relationships reach a high. (See 4a)

That said, Egypt and the Saudis apparently urge Trump not to rush into establishing the American Embassy in Jerusalem so soon.
These one liners are from my former associate , dear friend and no, only an occasional fellow memo reader. Doesn't care for politics.

Her humor was generally corny but she was bright, loyal and a great worker. (See 5 below.)
1)Trump dumped Abrams over his criticisms during the campaign, sources say Abrams had said publicly that neither Trump nor Clinton were fit to be president.

President Donald Trump intervened at the last moment to deny Rex Tillerson his pick to be deputy secretary of state — former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams.

 The president overruled his secretary of state — following meeting with Tillerson, Abrams and son-in-law Jared Kushner — after reading news reports about their meeting, which included references to Abrams' criticisms of Trump during last year's presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the decision. Though his staff was aware of Abrams' statements, the president was not — until he read news reports about their meeting earlier this week.

 “The core point here is that this comes from Trump’s thin-skinned,” said a top Republican strategist who supported the Abrams appointment. “He is the problem, this is all he cares about.”

 While Abrams didn't sign any of the so-called "Never Trump" letters that emerged from the Republican foreign policy establishment during the campaign, he said publicly that neither Trump nor his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton was fit to be president.

Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO, wanted the deep government experience Abrams would have brought to the position.

 “It really speaks so poorly of Trump,” said Eric Edelman, a former United States ambassador to Turkey and undersecretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration. “It robs him of somebody who could have helped him enormously because they know the State Department extremely well and would have been respected enormously by the foreign service officers who work with him.”

 On the right, Abrams’ supporters had put elbow grease into advancing his cause. Since December, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton had been making the case for Abrams not only with Tillerson, but also with Priebus, Kushner and Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon. In particular, Cotton assuaged their concerns that Abrams, who played a peripheral role in the Iran-Contra scandal, would face a tough Senate confirmation.

 Cotton assured them repeatedly that Abrams’ confirmation was a “100 percent certainty,” according to a source familiar with the conversations.

 Abrams, known as a right-wing hawk, was also winning bipartisan support both inside and outside of the administration. Key Democrats — including Chris Coons and Tim Kaine of Virginia — said they were inclined to support his nomination.

 In foreign policy circles and on Capitol Hill, the president’s decision is sparking concerns that by overruling his secretary of state on a key personnel decision in a semi-public manner, he is weakening the country’s top diplomat out of the gate.

 One Republican senator worried that foreign leaders look to a secretary of state to have a strong personal relationship with the president — and this is not the way to show the strength of that relationship.

 "Now everybody knows he doesn't have any juice with Trump," said the GOP strategist. "He can't even get his own people in."

 The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 Abrams' name appeared last week as an attendee at Trump's meeting with Tillerson in standard off-the-record guidance sent to reporters from the White House press office, sparking speculation that Abrams had emerged as a top choice for Tillerson — and, subsequently, as evidence that Trump had overruled his secretary of state.

 “It speaks well of Secretary Tillerson that he was looking at Elliott,” Edelman said. “Does this really mean Trump can’t take any criticism? Well, we know the answer to that.”
2)The Ninth Circuit gets it wrong
By Hans A. von Spakovsky
 A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court has repeated the mistakes made by the district court judge who stayed President Trump's executive order (EO) temporarily suspending visas from seven terrorist havens.

 Both the judge in Washington State and the San Francisco-based circuit court have now refused to recognize the authority of Congress and the president to make this national security decision.

 Neither the judge in Washington State nor the court has offered anything approaching a detailed discussion of 8 U.SC. §1182 (f), the law which specifically gives the president authority to suspend the entry of any aliens into the U.S. if he believes their entry would be "detrimental to the interests of the United States." Unless this statutory provision is unconstitutional, the president has acted completely within the law.

The Ninth Circuit gives lip service to the fact that "courts owe substantial deference to the immigration and national security policy determinations of the political branches - an uncontroversial principle that is well-grounded in our jurisprudence."

Inexplicably, it then proceeds to give no deference to the president’s policy determination that a temporary suspension is necessary to ensure that adequate vetting procedures are in place.

 The court also gives no deference to the decision of Congress to delegate its plenary power over immigration to the president on this issue.

The Ninth Circuit also claims that there is "no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States." But as Washington Examiner journalist Byron York reports, that’s simply not true. In fact, there is plenty of this sort of evidence:

 Last year the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest released information showing that at least 60 people born in the seven countries had been convicted — not just arrested, but convicted — of terror-related offenses in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. And that number did not include more recent cases like Abdul Artan, a Somali refugee who wounded 11 people during a machete attack on the campus of Ohio State University last November.

 Instead of discussing the relevant statute under which the president acted, the Ninth Circuit instead engages in an extensive discussion of its concern that the executive branch is failing to provide due process to aliens barred from entry into the United States. While it can certainly be argued that permanent resident aliens may have certain due process rights before their residency status can be cancelled, the White House has already said the order does not apply to permanent residents.

 The court's apparent opinion that other aliens who don't live in the U.S. have due process rights if they are refused entry can only be true if they have a constitutional right to enter the U.S. That is an absurd proposition yet that is the end result of the court's opinion: that a foreign alien can demand a hearing and due process rights if one of our embassies refuses to give the alien a visa.

So far in the numerous lawsuits that have been filed against this EO, the only Federal judge to get it right is Nathaniel Gorton of the District Court of Massachusetts.

 He analyzed the relevant statute, 8 U.S.C. §1182(f), and concluded that the EO is fully within the president's authority: "the decision to prevent aliens from entering the country is a 'fundamental sovereign attribute' realized through the legislative and executive branches that is 'largely immune from judicial control.'" Contrary to the Ninth Circuit, Gorton says the EO is "facially legitimate and bona fide."

 The Ninth Circuit’s ruling has as little basis in the law as the original decision by the district court judge. It is just another example of arrogant federal courts grabbing power from the legislative and executive branches in violation of basic separation-of-powers principles.

 After the decision was announced, President Trump tweeted, "the security of our nation is at stake." He is right.

 Hans von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a former Justice Department official. Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and former Justice Department official.

Along with John Fund, he is the coauthor of “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk” and “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
3)No surprises here but I'm glad it has come out. 

MORE information to open the eyes of those not-so-sure-about-the-Clintons !  How corrupt and deceitful!  

These figures are from an official copy of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation for the tax year 2014.  

The copy of the tax return is from the National Center for Charitable Statistics website!

You can get the latest tax return on any charitable organization!  (link below)

Total revenue (line 12)  ...................$177,804,61 2.00
Total grants to charity (line 13) ...........$5,160,385.00  (that's less than 3%)
Total expenses of............................ .. $91,281,145.00
expenses include: salaries(line 15)....$34,838,106.00 
fund raising fees (line 16a) ..........$850,803.00 
other expenses (line 17) .....$50,431,851.00

They list 486 employees (line 5)! 

It took 486 people who are paid $34.8 million and $91.3 million in fees and expenses, to give away $5.1 MILLION WHICH IS LESS THAN 3% OF TOTAL REVENUES!

Line 22 shows ending year net assets/fund balances of $332,471,349.00 which is up $85,171,891 from last year’s tax return!

And they call this a CHARITY?

The full tax return is at http://990s.foundationcenter.o rg/990_pdf_archive/311/3115802 04/311580204_201412_990.pdfPart IX reflects some “interesting” expenses.  
Travel of almost $8 million and meeting expense over $12 million.
4) Dispelling the Myth that Israel Is the Largest Beneficiary of US Military Aid

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Many American detractors of Israel begin by citing that Israel receives the lion’s share of US military aid. The very suggestion conjures the demon of an all-powerful Israel lobby that has turned the US Congress into its pawn. But these figures, while reflecting official direct US military aid, are almost meaningless in comparison to the real costs and benefits of US military aid – above all, American boots on the ground. In reality, Israel receives only a small fraction of American military aid, and most of that was spent in the US to the benefit of the American economy.

Countless articles discrediting Israel (as well as many other better-intentioned articles) ask how it is that a country as small as Israel receives the bulk of US military aid. Israel receives 55%, or $US3.1 billion per year, followed by Egypt, which receives 23%. This largesse comes at the expense, so it is claimed, of other equal or more important allies, such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea. The complaint conjures the specter of an all-powerful Israel lobby that has turned the US Congress into its pawn.
The response to the charge is simple: Israel is not even a major beneficiary of American military aid. The numerical figure reflects official direct US military aid, but is almost meaningless compared to the real costs and benefits of US military aid – which include, above all, American boots on the ground in the host states.

There are 150,500 American troops stationed in seventy countries around the globe. This costs the American taxpayer an annual $US85-100 billion, according to David Vine, a professor at American University and author of a book on the subject. In other words, 800-1,000 American soldiers stationed abroad represent US$565-665 million of aid to the country in which they are located.

Once the real costs are calculated, the largest aid recipient is revealed to be Japan, where 48,828 US military personnel are stationed. This translates into a US military aid package of over US$27 billion (calculated according to Vine’s lower estimation). Germany, with 37,704 US troops on its soil, receives aid equivalent to around US$21 billion; South Korea, with 27,553 US troops, receives over US$15 billion; and Italy receives at least US$6 billion.

If Vine’s estimate is correct, Japan’s US military aid package is nine times larger than that of Israel, Germany’s is seven times larger, and Italy’s is twice as large. The multipliers are even greater for Egypt. Even the Lilliputian Gulf states, Kuwait and Bahrain, whose American bases are home to over 5,000 US military personnel apiece, receive military aid almost equal to what Israel receives.

Yet even these figures grossly underestimate the total costs of US aid to its allies. The cost of maintaining troops abroad does not reflect the considerable expense, deeply buried in classified US military expenditure figures, of numerous US air and sea patrols. Nor does it reflect the high cost of joint ground, air, and maritime exercises with host countries (events only grudgingly acknowledged on NATO’s official site).

US air and naval forces constantly patrol the Northern, Baltic, and China Seas to protect American allies in Europe and in the Pacific – at American expense. Glimpses of the scale of these operations are afforded by incidents like the shadowing of a Russian ship in the Baltics, near run-ins between Chinese Coast Guard ships and US Navy ships dispatched to challenge Chinese claims in the South China Sea, and near collisions between US Air Force planes and their Chinese counterparts in the same area.

In striking contrast, no US plane has ever flown to protect Israel’s airspace. No US Navy ship patrols to protect Israel’s coast. And most importantly, no US military personnel are put at risk to ensure Israel’s safety.

In Japan, South Korea, Germany, Kuwait, Qatar, the Baltic states, Poland, and elsewhere, US troops are a vulnerable trip-wire. It is hoped that their presence will deter attack, but there is never any assurance that an attack will not take place. Should such an attack occur, it will no doubt cost American lives.

This cannot happen in Israel, which defends its own turf with its own troops. There is no danger that in Israel, the US might find itself embroiled in wars like those it waged in Iraq and Afghanistan at a cost of US$4 trillion, according to Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor and Harvard University researcher.

Japan’s presence at the top of the list of US military aid recipients is both understandable and debatable. It is understandable because Japan is critical to US national security in terms of maintaining freedom of the seas and containing a rising China. It is debatable because Japan is a rich country that ought to pay for the US troops stationed within it – or in lieu of that, to significantly strengthen its own army. At present, the Japanese army numbers close to 250,000, but it is facing the rapidly expanding military power of its main adversary, China. A similar case can be made with regard to Germany, both in terms of its wealth and its contribution towards meeting the Russian threat.

What is incomprehensible is not why Israel receives so much US military aid, but why Japan has received nine times more aid than Israel does. This is a curious proportion given the relative power Israel possesses in the Middle East and its potential to advance vital US security interests in times of crisis, compared to the force maintained by Japan relative to China.

Ever since the Turkish parliament’s decision in March 2003 not to join the US-led coalition, and the Turkish government’s refusal to allow movement of American troops across its borders, Israel has been America’s sole ally between Cyprus and India with a strategic air force and (albeit small) rapid force deployment capabilities to counter major threats to vital US interests.
It takes little imagination to envision these potential threats. Iran might decide to occupy Bahrain, which has a Shiite majority seriously at odds with the ruling Sunni monarchy. It might take over the United Arab Emirates, which plays a major role in the air offensive against the Houthis, Iran’s proxies in the war in Yemen. There might be a combined Syrian and Iraqi bid to destabilize Sunni Jordan, in the event that both states subdue their Sunni rebels. Any of these moves would threaten vital energy supplies to the US and its allies. Only Israel can be depended upon completely to provide bases and utilities for a US response and to participate in the effort if needed.

The politicians, pundits, and IR scholars who attack Israel and the Israeli lobby for extracting the lion’s share of US military aid from a gullible Congress know full well that this is not true. Israel receives a small fraction of the real outlays of military aid the US indirectly gives its allies and other countries. These experts also know that 74% of military aid to Israel was spent on American arms, equipment, and services. Under the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, that figure will be changed to 100%. The experts simply cite the wrong figures.

The US is now led by a businessman president who knows his dollars and cents. He has been adamant about the need to curb free-riding by the large recipients of real US aid. He will, one hopes, appreciate the security bargain the US has with Israel – a country that not only shares many common values with the US, but can make a meaningful contribution to American vital interests with no trip-wires attached.

Prof. Hillel Frisch is a professor of political studies and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

4a)Egypt-Israel relations have quietly reached a high point

Both want peace with the Palestinians and victory over terrorism

CAIRO – The vast six-lane boulevard from Cairo International Airport into the city center is lined with buildings and offices connected to Egypt’s powerful military. Hotels cater to air force officers, and buildings commemorate, with glorious murals, the country’s fighting history. One shows Egyptian soldiers crossing the Suez Canal in 1973 to strike at Israeli forces in Sinai.

Many Egyptians see the 1973 war as a victory. From that war came the peace treaty signed in Washington in 1979 between president Anwar Sadat and prime minister Menachem Begin. Insiders say that Israel and Egypt are experiencing the closest cooperation in decades, based on shared interests.

On the surface there is nothing about the Egyptian-Israeli cold peace that appears warm. Israel was not represented at the Cairo International Book Fair that wrapped up on Friday. Official meetings with Israelis are controversial – a parliamentarian named Tawfik Okasha was heavily reprimanded for sitting down with the Israeli ambassador last year.

Israel reopened its embassy, albeit in smaller quarters, in September 2015, four years after an angry mob stormed it during the chaos of the Arab Spring. “We’re working together for the sake of stability and prosperity in the Middle East. Egypt will always be the largest and most important state in our region,” then-Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold said. However, reports noted that the embassy building itself would not be re-opened and the ambassador’s residence would be used until a suitable location could be found.

This shows the relationship with Israel is multi-layered. Large portions of the population are hostile to Israel, fed by populist media. That may have changed slightly for the better in recent years. “There is still a lot of hearsay and conspiracy theories going on,” said Ayman el-Khatib, a former teacher.

There is a bifurcation between the political and diplomatic level – which officially demands that Israel make peace with the Palestinians and sees the Palestinian issue as a core of the region’s problems – and the strategic and military sector, which sees potential in cooperation with Israel.

Egypt and Israel quietly share strategic interests in the region. Egypt’s leadership sees the result of the Arab Spring as incredible instability and rising Islamist extremism. In discussions with people knowledgeable of the current situation, it was stressed that Cairo views the conflict today in the region as one between political Islam, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates, and more traditionally “secular” regimes. 

It also fears the rising influence of Iran as Iranian proxies in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq creep closer to Cairo’s eastern flank. In this set-up Israel is a key ally. Egypt treads a fine line in its relations with Saudi Arabia and Syria. It needs financial support from the Gulf, but wants to retain its traditional position as a military and cultural powerhouse in the region and see Islamist extremism defeated.

The Egyptian-Israeli relationship is also a foundation of US policy in the region. With the US providing more than $80 billion in funding for Egypt since the 1978 Camp David Accords, and similar military support for Israel, the two countries have much in common. “Bilateral relations are the best in recent history” and “the relationship with Israel has never been better,” said insiders.

On December 22, Egypt withdrew a draft UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, after what reports described as “frantic” lobbying by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s spokesman told reporters that they would allow the incoming US administration of Donald Trump to address the issue.

In an embarrassment for Cairo, the Security Council then passed a resolution a day later that was submitted by New Zealand, Venezuela, Senegal and Malaysia. Egypt ended up supporting a resolution it had withdrawn.

Today Egypt wants Washington to declare the Muslim Brotherhood, which was ejected from power in 2013, a terrorist organization and it sees an interest in fighting terrorism alongside Israel. Hamas’s brand of political Islam is viewed as similar to that of the Brotherhood. Last week Egypt destroyed six tunnels linking the Gaza Strip and Sinai.

The new US administration provides Egypt opportunities and potential pitfalls relating to the Israeli issue. On the one hand there is a feeling that “the US always takes advice from Israel,” according to one knowledgeable source who asked to remain anonymous. “But Israel is not an Arab state – Washington should listen to our advice.” Some influential Egyptians believe that the US State Department is influenced by Israeli interests. Only a small minority openly speaks of more open public relations with Israel.

Egyptian diplomats and politicians fear that relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem could inflame the region. Comments by Trump prior to being sworn in about moving the embassy caused much concern in Cairo, and they stress that it must not happen. 

In 1978, Sadat emphasized the need to provide Palestinians with rights. Egypt still argues that Israel must make peace with the Palestinian Authority and create what one source said is a “win-win solution for the Palestinian and Israel.” This should be modeled on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank in return for recognition by the Arab states, locals said. 

They are worried about the Israeli public’s continued drift to the Right, which makes any solution impossible. They paid close attention to the passage of the “settlement regulation law” last week and think it will lead to an attempt to annex the West Bank.

According to Dr. Eric R. Mandel, founder and director of the Middle East Political and Information Network, who recently led a trip to Egypt organized by Keshet Insight Seminars, there is reason to be optimistic. “They should broaden and strengthen their relations with Israel, not as a favor to Israel, but to advance Egyptian interests, including strengthening the US relationship.” 

Mandel sees much to gain for Egypt in cooperation on developing fresh water resources and desalination that can benefit the country’s growing population. He argues that the relationship should not be held hostage by the Palestinian issue. “They are handicapped by generations of incitement against Israel,” he pointed out. “If they can somehow think out of the box, they could profoundly improve their economic situation and relationship with the United States.”

5).1. What do you call a cheap circumcision? A rip-off
2. What do you get when you cross the Atlantic with the Titanic?About half way.
3. A man in New York gets stabbed every 52 seconds. Poor bastard..
4. I, for one, like Roman numerals.
5. Why does a chicken coop have two doors? Because if it had four doors it would be a chicken sedan.
6. Working in a mirror factory is something I can totally see myself doing.
7. I broke my finger last week. On the other hand, I’m okay.
 8. You’re not completely useless, you can always serve as a bad example.
9. What’s the difference between a well dressed man on a bike and a poorly dressed man on a unicycle?
10. You can never lose a homing pigeon – if your homing pigeon doesn’t come back, what you’ve lost is a pigeon.
11. I have a stepladder, because my real ladder left when I was a kid.

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