Sunday, March 26, 2017

Some Rotten Apples In Our Intelligence Agencies? Feeding Bullies Never Works and We Never Learn!

Our replacement: rVlhMGQgDkY?rel=
Perhaps one day the truth about our intelligence agencies spying on Americans will be revealed. Nothing surprises me when it comes to "spooks."

I believe this is why  the Democrat Rep. from the independent Republic of California is working overtime to destroy the credibility of Rep. Nunes.

I am not conspiratorial, by nature,  but I have often stated I believe some members of America's various Intelligence Agencies are rotten apples as is the case in every professional group.

You would think, if there are any righteous truth seekers in the mass media, they would be questioning Obama as to why he suddenly changed the rules allowing wider use of names during intelligence sweeps the last weeks of his administration. Ah, the reason there is no interest in truth seeking is because the mass media will not embarrass their own and, in doing so,  possibly help Trump.

If Nunes really wants to get at the truth and play hardball, something foreign to Republicans, he would subpoena Obama and haul him before his committee and inquire.  It will never happen because Republicans lack the willingness to  fight.

Trump will make his share of mistakes and maybe a disproportionate amount because he was never engaged in D.C politics but the roadblocks that have been placed in his way are without precedent. (See 1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d and 1e  below.)
For some illogical reason our State Department believes if you feed  bullies it  calms their appetite. Logic and empirical evidence suggests otherwise.

Chamberlain thought if he fed Hitler it would appease him.  Obama thought if he fed Iran it would restrain them unless he truly wanted to allow Iran to become the dominant power in The Middle East, which I believe he did. Bill Clinton actually fed N Korea and prevented mass starvation and now the nation is testing missiles.

Trump is about to make the same mistake and which of the four Trump's and Netanyahu's will show up? (See 2 and 2a  below.)
A few classy insults.(See 3 below.)
The Obama Administration spied on Mike Flynn.

Then, they released the transcript of one of his phone calls which is against the law.
We know that for a fact.
Donald Trump says that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
He’s likely right.
Now, it looks like a CIA whistleblower claimed to have evidence of the government spying on Trump. Two years ago.
From Zero Hedge:
The same day House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes gave a press conference disclosing that President Trump had been under “incidental surveillance,” Attorney and FreedomWatch Chairman, Larry Klayman, sent a letter to the House Committee on Intelligence imploring them to pursue the claims and evidence presented under oath at a Washington DC FBI Field Office by his client – CIA / NSA Whistleblower Dennis Montgomery – who Klayman claims “holds the keys to disproving the false claims… …that there is no evidence that the president and his men were wiretapped”
When Montgomery attempted to deliver this information through the appropriate channels two years ago, the former CIA and NSA contractor wasn’t given the time of day:
How many more reports like this need to come out before the mainstream media just admits that Obama did something really bad?
Here’s more.
Montgomery left the NSA and CIA with 47 hard drives and over 600 million pages of information, much of which is classified, and sought to come forward legally as a whistleblower to appropriate government entities, including congressional intelligence committees, to expose that the spy agencies were engaged for years in systematic illegal surveillance on prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen such as Donald Trump, and even yours truly. Working side by side with Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence (DIA), James Clapper, and Obama’s former Director of the CIA, John Brennan, Montgomery witnessed “up close and personal” this “Orwellian Big Brother” intrusion on privacy, likely for potential coercion, blackmail or other nefarious purposes.
He even claimed that these spy agencies had manipulated voting in Florida during the 2008 presidential election, which illegal tampering resulted in helping Obama to win the White House.
President Obama’s time in the White House was marred by scandal after scandal.
Literally, over a dozen scandals. So, why is it so hard to believe that he was doing something nefarious here?
The guy can’t be trusted.


BOMBSHELL: NSA WhistleBlower Bill Binney Tells Tucker Carlson NSA Spying on All Branches of Government 

Bill Binney, a 30 year veteran of the NSA and whistleblower, appeared on Tucker Carlson Friday night. He dropped a bombshell when he told Tucker that the NSA spies on every branch of government on a daily basis.  Trump was right on wiretapping.

This bombshell revelation really exposes the level of corruption we are dealing with inside of the NSA.
Binney: “Inside NSA there are a set of people who are — and we got this from another NSA whistleblower who witnessed some of this — they’re inside there, they are targeting and looking at all the members of the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress, both House and Senate, as well as the White House.”
“And all this data is inside the NSA in a small group where they’re looking at it. The idea is to see what people in power over you are going to — what they think, what they think you should be doing or planning to do to you, your budget, or whatever so you can try to counteract before it actually happens,”
The Feds did their best to ruin Binney’s life after he stood up against the NSA and exposed the illegal spying.
We need more Patriots like him who are prepared to stand up and expose any illegal activity that they see within the government.


Obama Did Wiretap Trump: It’s Like Putting Together a Russian Nesting Doll

Matryoshkas are Russian nesting dolls. Inside each doll are several others, smaller but identically shaped characters, until you get to the smallest one inside. Studying what we have learned of the timeline -- and we still don’t have the entire story -- we see Wikileaks, the smallest, at the core, and Obama as the largest piece in what is the most historically outrageous misuse of the people and institutions of government for partisan advantage.

During the campaign, Wikileaks posted a number of email messages from the DNC -- largely Podesta, but Hillary as well. The communications (not well reported, but, in any event, more embarrassing tittle tattle) had been on unsecured accounts, poorly guarded and easily accessed because of carelessness on the part of the Hillary team. Assange, who published them, denied the source of this information was Russian hackers. This now has been confirmed by the heads of our intelligence community, but the Clinton camp claim that the Russians did it set the stage for the notion that her opponent was the favored candidate of the Russians.

Apart from the fact that our intelligence services have denied the claim, there are a number of reasons to believe that the Russians would have preferred Hillary to Trump. For one thing, Russia is in terrible financial shape and relies on its sales of oil and gas to Europe to stay afloat. Is it sensible to believe that the Russians would prefer Trump, who made clear he wanted to vastly increase U.S. oil and gas production, over Hillary, who gave every indication of keeping it down and the worldwide price of oil and gas higher? (I can’t imagine -- for the same reason -- that Iran and OPEC wouldn’t prefer her as well.) Why you do suppose the Russians have been funding “green” groups in Europe -- and possibly here -- who oppose fracking?

Secondly, for eight years Russian businesses and businessmen closely aligned with Putin pumped millions into the Clinton Foundation slush fund, paid her husband a half-million dollars for a single speech, and got in return a substantial portion of our uranium assets when, as Secretary of State, Hillary okayed their purchase. Finally, John Podesta, chair of Hillary’s presidential campaign was closely aligned with Russian interests. His brother was hired by the Russians to lobby for the uranium sale. He was on the board of a company closely aligned with Putin.
As the crack investigative reporter Richard Pollock notes:
John Podesta, national chairman of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, may have opened himself up to a Russian “influence campaign” designed to temper his views of the Kremlin, The Daily Caller News Foundation (TheDCNF) Investigative Group has learned.
Influence campaigns are conducted by many governments -- including the United States -- with the aim of influencing decision makers in other countries to realign their geopolitical worldviews more closely to the influencing country.
Some national security experts interviewed by The DCNF wonder if Podesta may still be a target of Russian influence. They trace the campaign back to his company board membership, in which one-third of the board were top Russian businessmen with direct ties to the Kremlin.
The last time Podesta talked negatively about Russia was Dec. 18, 2016, when he charged in an NBC “Meet the Press” interview the 2016 election was “distorted by the Russian intervention.”
The former Clinton national campaign chairman has since been silent, even as other former top Clinton aides, such as Robby Mook, Brian Fallon and Jim Margolis have repeatedly aimed high-decibel rhetoric at President Donald Trump about Russian “meddling” in the 2016 presidential race.
Podesta’s silence is particularly striking, according to retired Air Force Col. James Waurishuk.
“We haven’t heard very much from Podesta lately, particularly on the subject of Russia’s interference in the elections,” Waurishuk told the DCNF. He served on the National Security Council and worked on “information operations” for military intelligence.
The suggestion is that he’s staying out of it because the Russians want this chatter about their influence silenced.
In any event, Russia has now been cleared of the claim, yet in the recesses of the dimmer voters’ minds the charge remains a cogent explanation of why their candidate lost the election.

The National Security Agency and the FISA

The NSA engages in global monitoring for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence. It does by passive means (signals Intelligence) and active means like physically bugging systems and through subversive software. It assists and coordinates SIGINT elements at other government organization like the DIA.

Domestic communications can be intercepted under two circumstances: in the first instance to protect us against sabotage or international terrorism or sabotage. In such a case, when authorized by the president through the attorney general, it can be done without a court order provided that it is for only one year and only to acquire foreign intelligence information and there is real likelihood that a U.S. person is a party to the communication. Even then it must be done in such a way to minimize the impact on the U.S. person. The attorney general must report such surveillance under seal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and report their compliance to both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Surveillance can also be done on a court order from FISA when the attorney general persuades the court that there is probable cause (i.e. a reasonable suspicion) that the target is a “foreign power” or an “agent of a foreign power” and the minimization requirements for information pertaining to U.S. persons will be followed. Such orders may be approved for 90 days,120 days, or a year.

FISA court authorization is almost always granted. Reliable reports indicate that the Obama administration sought authorization in July of last year when Trump appeared a likely opponent (the application is still secret) and it was denied. These reports also state that a pared-down application was sought in October and granted by the court. We have no idea on what basis the Department of Justice sought these warrants nor who the purported target was.
From the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, we learned this week that Trump team’s conversations were caught in the surveillance, that for over nine months this was never reported to his committee. Moreover, it is public knowledge that three days before the inauguration in January, for no legitimate purpose, President Obama authorized wide distribution of the surveillance reports to 16 other agencies, the names of U.S. persons involved in the conversations were not redacted, the contents were of no intelligence value and they were widely leaked -- a perfectly predictable consequence of spreading the raw data so widely in contrast to normal redaction and dissemination patterns. Suspicious minds like mine think may well be to further hamper the incoming administration by leaks designed to embarrass members of his team. Nunes also reported the post-election spying “had nothing to do with Russia.”  By January 20, for example, the New York Times reported that Trump had been wiretapped.

We learned this week from Nunes’ work that the investigation is continuing.

On his own Mike Rogers, head of NSA, met privately with Trump shortly after the inauguration. We have no details of their discussion, but my guess is he told him what had happened and how. At the moment, Rogers appears to be the sole white hat in our intelligence network. But he may not be the only one, which, I think, would mean a number of former Obama officials have to be looking for lawyers.
Tom Lipscomb, a former reporter and online friend, thinks the white hats in the intelligence community fed the truth about the wiretapping directly to Trump so he could weed out from their ranks the Obama confederates. Like him, I think the Trump tweet that he was wiretapped was smart. He’s giving “fair warning to what is coming,” and the claims that Trump was engaged in some “crazy conspiracy” are evaporating just as had the earlier nonsense that he and the Russians were conspiring via Wikileaks.

Christopher Steele and John McCain

Christopher Steele is a former British intelligence agent of dubious character and credibility. He had been hired early by the Clinton camp to dig up dirt on Trump. When Hillary ended that agreement, unnamed Republicans engaged him to continue, and when they stopped paying him, the FBI -- for as yet unexplained reasons -- took him up. His “dossier” is preposterous, based on accounts to his aides from unnamed and thus unverifiable sources. In the rare instance when they provide recognizable details, they have been proven false. As incredible as the “dossier” was, it was used to tar Trump with salacious nonsense and to further encourage the ridiculous notion that he and his team were Russian agents.

There are three different versions of how John McCain, a bitter #NeverTrumper always seeking media cuddles and enamored by globalization, came to get the dossier -- he says, in December.  In one version, he got it from a member of the McCain Institute, in other published accounts he dispatched someone abroad to get it, and in a third he first heard of it from a former British ambassador while at a meeting in Halifax. That he’s offered various tales in itself suggests some dissembling on his part. Nevertheless, he concedes he widely distributed the scurrilous dossier to the media and members of Congress. He was either a useful dupe of those determined to bring down Trump or a willing partner of theirs. Right now, he’s flailing about abroad, attacking the president and moaning that Trump hasn’t yet met with him.

1c) We Need an Independent Investigation of the Trump Leaks Mystery Now

The detective story of our times is unspooling before us and the MacGuffin could affect all of our lives for years to come and the very nature of our republic.
That mystery is "whodunit" in the great Trump Transition leak(s) scandal that actually pre- and post-dates the transition itself.

Who unmasked Michael Flynn and -- so it seems now -- others and why did he, she or they do it? Who later leaked (selectively) President Trump's conversations with the leaders of Australia and Mexico? Is this the same person or are there several?

More importantly, who is watching the watchers and why was their work -- this raw data that supposedly is never seen except on the most extreme "need to know" basis -- apparently so widely distributed? Who inspired this? And who ordered what is known as a "tasking" to enable this to happen in the first place?

These questions are as or more important than healthcare, immigration, taxes or even how long ISIS will survive because they speak to the very nature of our society and the values for which we stand.  Are we still a democratic republic or have we drifted so far into a high-tech Orwellian nightmare that we will never emerge from it again?

Yes, I am aware some of Mr. Flynn's activities may be dodgy. But that doesn't excuse the unmasking, particularly of others, one of whom may even have been the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Devin Nunes, who was himself a member of the Trump transition team.

We need a truly independent investigation as divorced from partisan politics as humanly possible to unravel this mystery and expose the roots of this surveillance -- if, as now seems likely, something of this nature occurred -- to public light.

Yes, for the sake of bipartisanship, putative electoral collusion between Trump people and the Russians must be part of this investigation,  But I think at this point we can stipulate that the Russians have been trying to monkey with our elections from time immemorial and are now able to do that more effectively due to cyber technology.  We should work to counter that and undoubtedly are.  And we can also stipulate that people like Paul Manafort and John Podesta -- just to name two on opposite sides of our politics - in their zeal to enrich themselves probably made deals with Russian business-types many of us would regard as unsavory.  But I would be surprised, again at this point, if the activities of those men rose to anything close to treason.

1d) Ex-Asst FBI Director: 'Fifth Column Marching Strong' Against Trump

A former assistant FBI director during the President Bill Clinton administration lashed out on the felonious intelligence community leaks, saying it is "disgusting" and "disgraceful" a "fifth column" is embedded working against President Donald Trump.
"From time to time there's been leaks, but nothing like today," James Kallstrom told Sunday's "The Cats Roundtable" on 970 AM-N.Y. "We have a fifth column that's marching strong against our president, marching strong against our culture and the American way.

"And it is just disgusting."
Kallstrom said the surveillance of President Trump's campaign – whether it was lawful or not – should have been "shut down" when it incidentally captured American citizens, but "political appointments at high levels" have worked to discredit President Trump.
"I hope there is an investigation, and I hope we get to the bottom of it," Kallstrom told host John Catsimatidis. "How many people had that information? Where was it disseminated? Who made the decision to release the names of American citizens?

"We need to get to the bottom of it and get to the bottom of it quickly. And that's not a political thing. It doesn't matter what party you're from. This is about America and the rule of law."
Kallstrom said the political embeds extend back to the Clinton administration

"The Clinton people don't leave – they don't leave until they're actually physically forced out of the building," he said.
"For this group here, that's part of this fifth column, [you] have to blast them out with dynamite. They're going to do everything humanly possible to make the Donald Trump administration very difficult."
Kallstrom said most of the appointees are "patriots" but are "people who have just lost their way and just willy nilly take political sides in these things."

"It's just outrageous," he added.
"Obama handed Trump a basketful of hand grenades with the pins pulled."
Kallstrom added even FBI Director James Comey "has been very very inconsistent on things he has said publicly and things he refuses to talk about."
"The American people deserve more than that. . . . It's absolute lunacy.
"The lying is totally out of control, we have to rein this back in."

1e) Gowdy: Nunes Briefed President On Matters ‘UNRELATED’ To Russia Probe 
“So if that’s a big deal in Washington, then we’ve sunk to a new low.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Sunday defended House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) after Nunes bypassed his own committee to brief the president on information related to U.S. surveillance of his transition team.
“My understanding is Chairman Nunes briefed the commander in chief on matters unrelated to the Russian investigation,” Gowdy said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”
“So if that’s a big deal in Washington, then we’ve sunk to a new low.”
The Hill reported,
When pressed, Gowdy reiterated that Nunes briefed the president on “something that has nothing to do with the Russia investigation.”
“So if the commander in chief cannot be briefed by the chairperson of the House Intel Committee on a matter that has nothing to do with the FBI investigation, then I don’t know what they can talk about.”
“He’s the commander in chief.”
Nunes last week said that he had learned from a source that the U.S. intelligence community incidentally collected information on members of Trump’s transition team and then “widely disseminated” the information internally.
The news blindsided Democrats on the committee, as well as many Republicans.
Gowdy, a former prosecutor, on Sunday also dismissed the idea of establishing an independent commission to investigate the Russian interference.
“Thank goodness we have one. It’s called the FBI. The FBI has counterintelligence jurisdiction and they have criminal jurisdiction,” he said.
“And what we learned on Monday, and it’s about the only thing we learned on Monday, was that the FBI is investigating both.”
He added that he knows incidental collection in the country happens, but he hopes people will focus on the unmasking.
“The felonious dissemination of classified information is the only thing we know for sure is a crime, and it would be nice if we showed the same level of interest in that,” he said.

By Offering the Palestinians Something for Nothing, the Trump Administration Starts Off on the Wrong Foot

Last week, Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s “special representative for international negotiations,” met with Israeli and Palestinian officials in an apparent attempt to revive the peace process. With Benjamin Netanyahu, Greenblatt emphasized the importance of improving the Palestinians’ economic situation and obtained assurances that Jerusalem is committed to doing just that. Efraim Inbar argues that this is precisely the wrong way to go about bringing peace:
It is odd to offer carrots to the Palestinians before they have committed themselves to returning to the negotiating table they left in March 2014. The impulse to give out carrots displays the conventional wisdom of the international community (including the Israeli government): that the Palestinians must be well fed to prevent their erupting into violence. This attitude has led to continuous financial support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) despite the growing awareness that a large proportion of that aid is channeled to terrorists and their families.

Short-term calculations of this kind only prolong the conflict. Indeed, the campaign of terror that started in September 2000, dubbed the second intifada, took place after several years of economic progress during which the Palestinian standard of living was the highest in history. The many carrots provided did not overcome the Palestinians’ appetite for political achievements; nor did it channel their energies from terror to the negotiating table.

The art of negotiation requires a carefully calibrated mix of carrots and sticks. The cumulative failures since 1993 suggest that the right balance . . . has not yet been reached. Considering the huge amounts of money the PA has received over time and the Palestinians’ persistent refusal to recognize that a deal is in their interest, it is reasonable to conclude that the approach adopted to bring them around has lacked sufficient sticks. . . .

The Palestinians’ choices will never change if their poor decisions never exact a cost.


Two Netanyahus Meet Two Trumps

One of the most widely accepted misconceptions concerning the Arab-Israel conflict (a subject awash in misconceptions) is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a “hard-core right-winger.” There is nothing in his behavior as prime minister from his first years in that office (1997-99) or in his more recent period in that office, beginning in 2009, to support this belief. On the contrary, like his predecessors, he has made repeated dramatic territorial and other concessions, including acceptance of the so-called “two-state solution.”

In Jan. 1997, still in the first year of his first term, he signed the Hebron Protocol with the Palestine Authority, turning over most of Hebron, after Jerusalem the most important city in Jewish history, to the PA. Netanyahu did so little to change Labor’s disastrous post-Oslo policy that erstwhile supporter Benny Begin (Menachem’s son) derided him at a Likud Party meeting in March of that year. “Arafat releases terrorists and so does Israel. Arafat smuggles in weapons and we give him assault rifles to round off his stores… We have government offices in Jerusalem [supposedly the unified capital of Israel] and so do they.” The following year, under President Clinton’s prodding, Netanyahu signed the Wye River Memorandum in which he promised to turn over 40% of Judea and Samaria to Arafat, a safe corridor between these areas and Gaza, even an airport in Gaza. It’s true Wye was not implemented, but that’s only because (predictably) Arafat promptly reneged on his commitments under the agreement.
That same year, Netanyahu embarked on secret negotiations with Syria in which he offered to return the Golan Heights. Was Netanyahu prepared to go back to the 1967 border (which Clinton and Dennis Ross assert in their respective memoirs) or did Netanyahu, according to other reports, hold out for several kilometers beyond the international border line? Although Assad backed out, according to widespread reports in the Israeli press, in 2010 Netanyahu tried again, this time with Bashar Assad, offering to return to the June 4, 1967 lines. Fortunately, the negotiations collapsed with the onset of the rebellion against the Syrian ruler. (One shudders to think what “success” would have meant for Israel, with Hizb’allah and/or ISIS embedded on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.)
That near miss with disaster has not prevented Netanyahu from continuing to offer major concessions. In the wake of Obama’s Cairo speech, Netanyahu agreed to adopt the “two-state solution” as his government’s policy. Moreover, retired Brigadier General Michael Herzog (brother of Israeli Labor Party head Yitzhak Herzog), who has participated in almost all Israel’s peace negotiations since Oslo in 1993, writes in The American Interest that Netanyahu in the Obama years offered such large withdrawals that he could not admit their scale to the Israeli public or his coalition partners.

And contrary to the widespread perception, fostered by the media, that Netanyahu has peppered the landscape of Judea and Samaria with Jewish settlements, Israel has not built a new settlement in 25 years. The much publicized on and off settlement freezes to which Netanyahu has agreed applied to existing communities, the “freezes” meaning there was no building even to accommodate natural population growth within them.

So what accounts for Netanyahu’s reputation as an unbudging hawk? The reason is that he knows better than he acts, with the result that his rhetoric differs from his policies far more than has been the case with other Israeli leaders. Prime Minister Shimon Peres seems clearly to have believed in the mirage he concocted of a New Middle East. Prime Minister Olmert appears to have genuinely felt the emotions which in 2005 (in a speech to the Israel Policy Forum) he attributed to the people of Israel as a whole: “We are tired to fighting; we are tired of being courageous; we are tired of winning; we are tired of defeating our enemies.”

But Netanyahu sounds very different. He has a long history of realism about the Arab-Israel conflict. As far back as 1978, fifteen years before Oslo, Netanyahu went to what remains the heart of the matter: “The real cause of the conflict is the Arab refusal to accept the state of Israel.” In a January 28, 1985 interview with the New York Post, Netanyahu, then Israel’s UN ambassador, said of Judea and Samaria: “We’re not going to survive if we get out of that territory -- we’ll die.” In September 1993, as Oslo was being celebrated by a country dizzy with the hopes for peace Rabin and Peres had promised, Netanyahu addressed Peres in the Knesset: “You are much worse than [British Prime Minister Neville] Chamberlain, because Chamberlain threatened the security and freedom of another nation, while you are threatening the security and freedom of your own.” One could go on and on quoting from Netanyahu’s eloquent speeches, articles, books, and interviews focusing on the delusory premises and devastating consequences of the so-called “peace process.” Obama’s betrayal at the UN, orchestrating Resolution 2334 in the last days of his administration, provoked Netanyahu into a fresh burst of honesty as he declared that the PA had no intention of living beside Israel but was determined to replace it.

The fact that Netanyahu obviously comprehends and is able to articulate Israel’s situation so well -- along with his genuine success in pushing through economic reforms that have propelled Israel from socialist basket case to technological powerhouse -- have won him considerable wiggle room with those who might normally be expected to sharply criticize his policies. But even his long-time staunch defender Caroline Glick has balked at Netanyahu’s most recent failure of political courage and resolve, arguing that if you refuse to act on your knowledge of the enemy, you will lose your war against him. Glick observes that “it is deeply destructive for Israel to continue paying lip service to the fake peace process. And yet, that is precisely what Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing.” In Glick’s view the advent of Trump, well-disposed toward Israel and the first president in decades not wedded to the delusory two-state solution, offered Netanyahu an opportunity to explain why it could not succeed and an alternative approach was essential -- and he had squandered it.

If there are two Netanyahus, complicating matters further, there are also two President Trumps. In striking contrast to Obama, the first Trump, in word and deed, is strongly supportive of Israel. Early on, Trump departed from precedent in stating that he did not think Israeli settlements were a barrier to peace. In the transition period before taking the oath of office, at Netanyahu’s request, Trump sought to derail Obama’s farewell assault on Israel at the UN by persuading Egypt’s al Sisi, who had officially proposed the anti-Israel resolution, to withdraw it. (Obama promptly found other sponsors for his knife in Israel’s back Resolution 2334, so it passed anyway.) Trump promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and although he has not fulfilled the promise thus far, he seems to have genuinely wanted to do so.  When Trump met with Netanyahu on February 15 at the White House, he suggested he would not be bound by the past sacrosanct allegiance to the two-state solution: “I’m looking at two state and one state formulations.”

Newly appointed ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley blew such a breath of fresh air into its see-no-evil-but-Israel culture that the New York Sun dubbed her Haley’s Comet. She denounced the obsession with attacking Israel and declared the U.S. would cease any participation in the UN Human Rights Council until it cleaned up its act. The Washington Free Beacon quotes a senior administration official calling the Human Rights Council “morally bankrupt” and saying “We’ve wasted enough time and money on it.”

Trump appointed two strong supporters of Israel (including the much-maligned settlements) to prominent positions, David Friedman as ambassador to Israel and Jason Greenblatt as Special Envoy for International Negotiations. Indeed, Friedman was such a strong supporter that he set off a strong effort among such anti-Israel Jewish groups as J Street to block his appointment in Congress.

However, there are worrisome signs of a second Donald Trump. On Nov. 22, 2016, not long after his election, in an interview with New York Times editors, he said “I would love to be the one who made peace with Israel and the Palestinians. That would be such a great achievement.” He proposed sending his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner to lay the groundwork. And on Feb. 15, at the White House, after the words quoted above “I’m looking at two state and one state formulations” he added “I’m very happy with the one both parties like.” All this suggests a dangerous ignorance about the nature of the Arab-Israel conflict. There is no conceivable formulation Kushner or anyone else can come up that “both sides like” because Abbas and the PA want to replace Israel, not live in peace beside it.
 Trump’s willingness to live with expanded Israeli building activities in Judea and Samaria seems to be evaporating as well. He sent Greenblatt to Jerusalem to inform Netanyahu that Trump would support construction in Jerusalem but wanted a quota on new building inside major Jewish communities beyond the old Green Line and no new construction in “isolated West Bank settlements.” This would force Netanyahu to renege on his promise to build a new settlement for the evacuees of the now destroyed (thanks to a ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court) community of Amona. According to Daniel Horowitz in Conservative Review, the pressure is so strong Netanyahu has held off on his plans to fully annex Ma’ale Adumim, the largest suburb of Jerusalem.

Trump has also “balanced” his pro-Israel appointments with anti-Israel officials. He has retained Yael Lempert, regarded as one of the most radically anti-Israel individuals in the anti-Israel Obama administration, as the person responsible for Israeli-Palestinian issues on the National Security Council.  He has retained Michael Ratney, former U.S. consul in Jerusalem, to head the Israeli-Palestinian desk at the State Department. Ratney, according to the Times of Israel, oversaw a program “in effect setting up an armed Palestinian militia in the consulate.”  Typifying this “balanced” approach, Trump sent Lempert to accompany Greenblatt in meeting with Abbas and pressuring Israel.

It’s too early to know how the multifaceted collision between the two Netanyahus and two Trumps will turn out. But one thing is certain: no genuine peace lies at the end of the road.

·    "He has all the virtues I dislike and none

of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

·    "He has never been known to use a

word that might send a reader to the

dictionary." - William Faulkner (about

Ernest Hemingway).

·    "He has no enemies, but is intensely

disliked by his friends.." - Oscar Wilde

·    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first

night of my new play; bring a friend, if

you have one." - George Bernard Shaw

to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will

attend second ... if there is one." - 

Winston Churchill, in response.

·    "I feel so miserable without you; it's

almost like having you here." - Stephen


·    "He is not only dull himself; he is the

cause of dullness in others." - Samuel


·    "He is simply a shiver looking for a

spine to run up." - Paul Keating

·    "In order to avoid being called a flirt,

she always yielded easily." - Charles,

Count Talleyrand

·    "He loves nature in spite of what it did to

him." - Forrest Tucker

·    "Why do you sit there looking like an

envelope without any address on it?" -

Mark Twain

·    "His mother should have thrown him

away and kept the stork." - Mae West

·    "Some cause happiness wherever they

go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar


·    "He has Van Gogh's ear for music." -

Billy Wilder

·    "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening.

  But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx 

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