Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Personal recap and My Concerns. Franken The Cowardly Fraud.
America's economic stagnation is not of recent vintage.  It has been building for decades.  Trump's election is the result of an accumulation of citizen frustrations and discomforts due to fear, a sinking middle class, penetration of our borders, engagement in winless wars, unending deficits; welfare policies that are insane, self defeating and destructive, intrusive government, attacks on basic American traditions and institutions among a host of other legitimate discontents. The '60's was the beginning of a cancerous growth that has weakened us and left us confused, mis-directed and distrustful.

The party most associated with these failures lost the presidency as a result of the electoral vote but not the popular one.  Having placed their blind faith in America's first black president they have not been able to bring themselves to recognize they have been widely rejected.  Their rejection has been building and their anointed Obama, statistically speaking, has been a disaster. Democrats have shrunken in virtually every public office category throughout the nation.

They ascribe their loss and Obama's rejection as racially biased and refuse to get real notwithstanding the fact he was re-elected.

The tectonic plates of national politics are shifting and their settlement remains an emerging story. Will America's decline, as a stabilizing global force, continue or will/can America resume it global leadership role?

For sure, our leveraged financial structure should restrict our range and ability to engage as in the past.  Does this mean our adversaries will have the playing field all to themselves? Can we meet the various challenges without another military confrontation?  Will China curb the excessive ambitions of N. Korea's dangerous leader? Will Russia be allowed to continue pressing forward in their desire to supplant us in The Middle East? How do we restrict Iran from becoming a nuclear power? Is it reasonable to even think radical Islamism can be defeated and, if so, at what cost?

What happens domestically in America is the key to our global reach. As long as America remains politically divided any attempt to return to our former role as leader of The West will be strained at best if not impossible. Is this good or bad?

What concerns me most is that the seeds of our own self-destruction have been planted and are beginning to bloom.  They have been fertilized by the systemic dry rot we have allowed to take over public education, the embrace of the siren song of dependency, eight years of Obama's tantalizing efforts, under the guise of radical transformation,  to bring about social discord through class warfare, legislative actions occurring outside constitutional parameters and foreign policy pronouncements and actions that have given ammunition to radicals.

Trump's methods of campaigning helped seed the negative responses and personal rejections he now endures as Democrats do everything they can to block all avenues of potential success. If Trump and the Republicans can rectify many of the wrong headed policies that have choked America's sustained and historical progress Democrat obstinate behaviour will fade.

Another worrisome problem is that too many social issues have been allowed to take hold and gain a degree of unwarranted legitimacy.  Socialism is not preferable to Capitalism. Yes, Capitalism has its faults because no economic system is perfect. Wealth is not bad per se but uneven distribution is not healthy. Widening and inattention to legitimate grievances becomes rich soil in which to spread discord, plant the seeds of rancor and elevate  feelings of being disadvantaged.

Obama proved to be masterful in executing Alinsky's play book all the while professing he was doing so to improve the lot of the underdog. By any meaningful metric Obama failed to improve the lot of the underdog. I submit he is not finished in his journey of sending more torpedoes into our Republic's hull.

Granted, nothing I have written is new for those who read my missives. The cumulative effect and responses to our challenges continue to direct America's path.  I believe we have only a few years to redress them before re-direction is completely beyond our grasp. The bad mouth syndrome attaches in subtle ways and its grip becomes impenetrable.

The market's optimism will be justified if The Republican Congress implements Trump's agenda as outlined in his recent address to Congress and America.  Time will tell.
Kudo's still coming in regarding Trump's speech. (See 1 below)

Meanwhile, Senator Al Franken, who is in the Senate only because his opponent chose not to further pursue a fraudulent campaign tally, challenges the integrity and veracity of Trump's Attorney General.  Angry, bitter Democrats continue their pursuit of disparaging Trump's Cabinet members.
Netanyahu, Trump and The Golan.  (See 2 below.)
ErickErickson: Have Democrats and media lost their minds? (See 3 below.)
1)Trump's speech and our infantile left

Tuesday's address to a joint session of Congress was without a doubt the best speech President Donald Trump has ever given, perhaps the best speech to a joint session of Congress since the great Ronald Reagan.  But who could watch it and not be embarrassed by our infantile, bitter Left?
It was uplifting, optimistic, full of unifying words, and obvious to everyone. The pathetic exception was the Democrats in Congress. And those were the ones who did not boycott the event. 
Like spoiled children, who had not gotten their way, they refused to applaud at the most obvious good-for-the-country lines.  In fact, they were like a clique of mean girls in middle school who have decided to target one of their own.  
They knew what they were hearing was monumental and good for the nation. But consumed in schoolyard jealousy, they got angry, not glad. In doing so, they showed no intention of working "with" President Trump.  They are still scrambling for, and planning to sabotage him any way they can.
They proved one thing:  They do not have America's best interests at heart.
Is there any member of Congress more horrid than Nancy Pelosi?  Her "we're all wearing white and purple to protest Trump" nonsense means ...  what?  She rolled her eyes, snickered to her seatmates like an ill-mannered child, and, of course, refused to stand and applaud, no matter how positive Trump's words.  The Democrats would not applaud or stand when he spoke of government ignorance of the criminal decimation of Chicago, Baltimore, and Detroit.  They would not applaud when he spoke of protecting American citizens by securing our borders.  They would not applaud when he spoke about the companies who have promised to invest billions in U.S. manufacturing which will provide thousands of new jobs, or when he spoke about de-regulating business to unleash the economy.  They do not want the economy unleashed; it would expose the dismal failure of the eight-year Obama administration. 
The Democrats also refused to approve of his call to enforce our immigration laws.  These leftists favor illegal immigrants over American citizens which is why they institute sanctuary cities.  They do not distinguish between the criminals among them and those who commit no crimes.  To the left, they are all the same.  Yet to normal Americans, they are not. 
Nor do our elected Democrats aim to protect and defend the citizens of the United States.  They oppose the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" despite the graphic, barbaric actions of ISIS.  They do not approve of "extreme vetting" to keep potential terrorists out of America.  They would not even applaud Trump's stated allegiance to and alliance with Israel!  Who are these people?   By two-thirds of the way through the speech, it began to seem as though they were enemies of America.  Schumer stared into his lap. Steny Hoyer was stone faced.  None of them could applaud Scalia or his proposed replacement, Neil Gorsuch.  
Perhaps the deplorable behavior of the Democrats throughout the speech was shame.  There are 94 million people out of work, 43 million living in poverty and 43 million on food stamps.  This is Obama's legacy.  He transformed American into something it was never meant to be.  Iran is building its nukes.  Cuba is still a communist nightmare.  The Middle East is  a seventh circle of hell.  They should be embarrassed by these facts.  Poverty has increased. Crime has increased.  Maybe that is why they stare at their laps and do not clap.  They all know Obamacare is collapsing but cannot cheer Trump's plan to repeal and replace it with something that is affordable and actually provides health care. 
The Democrats booed Trump's new agency, VOICE, Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.  God forbid the public should be informed about the tragedies inflicted on innocent Americans by criminal illegals. 
And we all know the Left hates the military, so of course they sat on their hands as Trump spoke of increasing defense spending.  Rebuilding our military after Obama's evisceration of it is anathema to the Democrats in Congress.  They seem to loathe any and all methods of self-defense, be it national or individual.  Such has been the state of the nation for the last eight years.
For those who initially thought Trump to be comic relief,  those who were stunned by his candidacy and his victory, this speech must be a systemic shock; the man is presidential  after all.  Let us hope they admit it and readjust their antipathy to something nearing acceptance.  Democrats, let the man do his job and get behind him.  And one more thing, Democrats, grow up!  You're all too old to behave as you did tonight.
2) Comment: Trump, the Golan Heights and regional progress
Author:  Matthew R.J. Brodsky     
Netanyahu’s request for the US to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights represents a bold move that would help accomplish several American objectives in the Middle East.
The biggest news to come out of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington is not what’s grabbing most headlines. Rather, it’s his decision to ask the US to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. It comes at a time when US President Donald Trump is seeking to reinvigorate US relations with its Middle East allies and entertaining new strategies to solve a myriad of challenges facing the United States. In that context, Netanyahu’s idea should prompt more than a casual review from Washington.
Israel captured two-thirds of the Golan territory from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed it in 1981, to the international community’s consternation. The strategic highlands represented less than one percent of Syrian land area, yet under their control it served as a forward operating position from where Syrian artillery regularly shelled northern Israel and the Palestinian Fatah organization launched regular cross-border raids.
What the Trump administration decides to do about Syria necessitates an even more important decision, about Russia. Seeing clearly where Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interest intersect with or diverge from America’s will serve as a keystone in crafting a coherent, wider Middle East strategy that fulfills Trump’s twin objectives of destroying Islamic State (ISIS) and pushing back against Iran. At the same time, Washington’s definition of Moscow’s regional role will have direct implications for Israel’s security posture and intelligence sharing.
There are several reasons why recognizing the annexation of the Golan Heights would benefit both the US and Israel. Whether the previous Syrian-Israeli peace attempts were conducted under Hafez Assad during the 1990s and 2000, or overseen by his son Bashar in 2008 and 2010, the results were the same: the Syrian leaders demanded more than either Egypt or Jordan received in their agreements, while offering significantly less in return. In essence, they were asking Israel to pay a premium for several additional decades of Syrian belligerence.
 The initial attempts at making peace under the Obama administration shifted from the land-for-peace formula to a land-for-realignment theory where it was believed that Syria could be flipped from the Iranian orbit. The idea that Tehran and Damascus merely shared a marriage of convenience was absurd at the time. President Obama’s later decision to “respect” Tehran’s “equities” in Syria demonstrated his belated understanding that Assad’s rule in Syria was a core Iranian interest. At this point, there is nothing Syria is able to offer Israel or the US that couldn’t be secured by engaging with Russia or Iran instead.
In fact, the risk of returning the Golan Heights should be measured against the fact that Iran is actively setting up another forward command along Israel’s border with Syria. It comes at a time when Israelis are acutely aware that the reward for giving up land has been the shower of rockets and mortars from Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Had Israel accepted Hafez or Bashar Assad’s previous territorial demands for peace, Iran, Hezbollah or ISIS would be threatening Israel today from their perch along the Golan plateau.
Weakening Iran’s hand in Syria and beyond is also beneficial for the US given President Trump’s professed desire to come to an understanding with Russia. The moment has arrived for the Trump administration to realize that Putin’s interests do not align with America’s. Russia’s latest arms shipment to Syria – the largest to date since they sashayed into Syria unopposed by the previous US administration in 2015 – is not designed to crush ISIS. Its purpose is to keep Assad in power, provide security for its Iranian client and increase the Russian threat to NATO’s southern flank by upgrading and expanding its Mediterranean base in Tartus, making its presence a permanent feature in the Middle East.
Putin’s message to the US is clear: Russia is back, prepared to defend its former Soviet client state, and all roads to solving the conflict lead to Moscow.
With that understanding should come the realization that prying Russia apart from Iran through bilateral discussions is likely as vacuous as the hope Syria could be flipped from Iran. As Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Lee Smith points out, these are strategic partnerships, not marriages of convenience. The way to change the Russian-Iranian dynamic isn’t by talking to Putin, it’s by devaluing Iran as a strategic asset to Moscow through sanctions, clandestine operations, cyberwar and a variety of other measures.
Capitalizing on Netanyahu’s idea will help the US limit Russia’s reemergence as a Middle East power broker after a 40-year absence. Rather than being encouraged by the Obama administration as a result of a self-inflicted “red line” wound, their influence will be checked against American interests. That is not to say that Washington and Moscow cannot cooperate where their interests align. Destroying ISIS should be a common goal. But the days of supporting a fundamentally flawed nuclear deal with Iran by giving in to Putin, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Bashar Assad are over.
Yet another benefit from recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli is the manner in which it could help reset the moribund peace process with the Palestinians and provide new options for US senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner. It removes the idea that the June 4, 1967 lines are sacrosanct in peace agreements while lessening the damage caused by the recent anti-Israel UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution. That unreasonable decision not only fixes those lines as the starting point for negotiations but also entitles Palestinians to pre-1967 Israeli territory as a part of mutually agreed land swaps.
This approach mistakes the possible outcome of negotiations with the starting point of peace talks. It’s no wonder, then, why the Palestinian Authority prefers to avoid direct negotiations with Israel. They pocket benefits and concessions as a reward for their avoidance and belligerence.
UNSC Resolution 242 has long served as the cornerstone of Middle East peacemaking and it called for the return of territory (not all territory) in exchange for peace. At this point, Israel has returned 80% of the land it gained in the 1967 war. Syria has missed the boat; the ship has already sailed. Regarding the Palestinians, the depth of the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank may only match the depth of peace they are offered.
Much has changed since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and convening of the Madrid Peace Conference over a quarter century ago. American policy should also adjust to reflect the lessons learned from past successes and failures. Israel is no longer perceived as enemy number one by the rulers of the Arab states. While they would no doubt oppose an American recognition of the Israeli Golan Heights, they have a better understanding of their priorities and would be more accepting if it was presented as part of a region-wide plan that works in their favor. Besides, given the choice between aligning with Russia or a reanimated America determined to reward its allies and push back against its adversaries, most Arab states will likely lean to the West.
With the changing of the guard in Washington comes the pursuit of new objectives in Syria, the region and beyond. America has pushed the land-for-peace boulder uphill for decades and reached a point of diminishing returns. There should be penalties rather than rewards for truculent defiance, whether Syrian or Palestinian. Netanyahu’s request for the US to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights represents a bold move that would help accomplish several American objectives in the Middle East, while jettisoning policy prescriptions that have long lived past their expiration dates.
The author is a senior Middle East analyst at Wikistrat and former director of policy at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington, DC.
The Press and Democrats Have Lost Their Damn Minds
By Erick Erickson

Do you not hear yourselves? You think Jeff Sessions is an agent of the Russian government or somehow duplicitous in sabotaging the American election? That is insane. Trump Derangement Syndrome has officially set in and is rotting the brains of Democrats inside and outside the American press corps.
Jeff Sessions loyally and patriotically served his country as a United States Attorney where he prosecuted members of the KKK and desegregated Alabama schools. He then ably served in the United States Senate along side Ted Kennedy, who actually did ask the Russians to intervene in the 1984 election and the Democrats were fine with that.
This is a real slur against Sessions.
He was asked, during his confirmation, if he had met with the Russians about the Trump campaign. He said no. During his time on the Senate Armed Services Committee he had met with the Russians on international business. Claire McCaskill, his colleague for part of that time, denied having ever met with the Russian ambassador, but a quick check of her Twitter timeline showed she actually had met with him.
If Claire McCaskill cannot remember, why should Jeff Sessions? More so, it is not even relevant because the context of the questions asked of Jeff Sessions were about the Trump campaign.
Sessions’ Democrat colleagues from the Senate are so desperate to find something to use against Donald Trump, they are willing to ruin the reputation of a man many of them will privately acknowledge is an honorable person. Members of the media, in their desire to fight back against Donald Trump instead of fairly covering him, are willing to engage in character assassination of a good man.
If you think Jeff Sessions worked with a foreign power to undermine American elections, you are a loon. More so, if you have lost your mind over this no one is going to believe you when real problems occur. The imaginary phantoms the left now fights will distract them from the real ones that may come later.


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