Tag: Elections

UK VOTERS GO TO POLLS AMID INCREASING ISLAMIST TERRORISM

London Attacks Followed by Same Old Stale Arguments: Jonah Goldberg, National Review, June 7, 2017 — The saddest part about the recent terrorist attacks in the U.K. — aside from the actual horror for the victims and their families, of course — was that there was so little new to say about it.

England’s Islamic Domino Effect: Ron Jager, Arutz Sheva, June 5, 2017 — The current wave of Islamic terror in Manchester and in London only reinforces the general feeling that the excessive political correctness of recent years by the Obama Presidency, by the British Labor party, and the European media has fostered and festered breeding grounds for Islamic terrorists in the heart of England.

A Very British Radical: Ross Douthat, New York Times, June 7, 2017 — The next Donald Trump — the next populist insurgent, the next outsider riding a wave of anti-establishment discontent, the next dangerous extremist with a chance to grab the reins of state — was supposed to be Marine Le Pen.

The British Election: Will Voters Opt for Intolerance and Xenophobia?: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, June 3, 2017 — On June 8, British voters will head to the polls, three years early.

 

On Topic Links

 

UK Elections: Anti-Semitism and the Labour Party 2017: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, June 6, 2017

Terrorism Shouldn’t Interrupt Election Campaigns — At Least as a General Rule: Colby Cosh, National Post, June 5, 2017

Are Jihadists Taking Over Europe?: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, June 7, 2017

War on Terror vs. Justification of Terror: Ben-Dror Yemini, Ynet, June 7, 2017

 

 

LONDON ATTACKS FOLLOWED BY SAME OLD STALE ARGUMENTS

Jonah Goldberg

National Review, June 7, 2017

 

The saddest part about the recent terrorist attacks in the U.K. — aside from the actual horror for the victims and their families, of course — was that there was so little new to say about it. But that didn’t stop anyone. Everyone backed into their usual rhetorical corners, filling in the blanks on the familiar post-terror conversation like it was a game of Mad Libs, only none of the answers were particularly funny.

 

I, for one, could easily recycle one of umpteen columns on how the Left’s response is wrong and why we have to shed our dysfunctional aversion to speaking plainly about the nature of the threat and what is required to fight it. Or I could note that President’s Trump’s response to the attack was less than helpful. But to what end? Who hasn’t heard the arguments a thousand times already? Watching cable news and surveying the algae blooms of “hot takes” on Twitter, it’s hard to imagine anything will dramatically change. We are growing numb to the problem as it becomes part of the background noise of daily life. One of the attackers in London was even featured in a 2016 TV documentary titled The Jihadi Next Door.

 

Contrast the reactions to the London attacks and to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord. A writer for The Nation spoke for many when he assured readers that “this is murder” and a “crime against humanity.” No sane liberal condoned the terrorist attacks, but the condemnations seemed rote, while passion was reserved for admonishing those who made too big a deal of them or flirted with “Islamophobia.”

 

In 2014, Jeremy Corbyn, who has a remote but possible chance of being the next British prime minister, argued that supporting the Islamic State is just another “political point of view” and that the government shouldn’t put up “legal obstacles” to Islamic State fighters trying to return to England. This perspective hasn’t cost him much with his admirers on the left, but I have to wonder what the reaction would be if he described climate-change “denial” as just another political point of view.

 

But there I go, falling into the familiar trap of scoring ideological points rather than dealing with the larger truth. And what truth is that? Simply that we are in a rut when it comes to terrorism. The Ariana Grande concert attack in Manchester did generate more than the usual passion because lots of pundits and policymakers, never mind television viewers, have teenage daughters they could imagine attending an event like that. But did you hear about the bombing of a popular ice-cream parlor in Baghdad last week? Families taking their kids there for a post-fast treat were blown to bits by the Islamic State. A day later in Afghanistan, the Islamic State blew up a tanker truck in the diplomatic quarter of Kabul. That got some attention because of the brazenness of the attack, the death toll among Westerners, and because the explosion was really big.

 

But even these attacks will be forgotten, absorbed into the gray maw of “the way things are.” Don’t believe me? Do you remember the Paris terrorist attack that took place a month before the Manchester bombing? How about the Stockholm truck attack two weeks before that? The Saint Petersburg bombing four days prior? The Westminster Bridge attack in London in March? The machete attack at the Louvre in February? What about the horrible Christmas Market attack in Berlin? The assaults at Ohio State University; Hamburg, Germany; and Normandy, France? I think people still remember the truck attack that killed nearly 80 people in Nice last year.

 

Next week will be the first anniversary of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Many people will say, “Wow, has it been a year already?” I suspect we’ll stay in this rut reading from stale scripts for a good while. The hopeful scenario, I suppose, is that Islamic terrorism will eventually be ground down, after years or decades of attrition. Those who kept reminding us that more Americans die in bathtubs than from terrorism will consider this result a sort of vindication. The alternative is that a dedicated group of attention-seeking murderers will react to the blasé navel-gazing and self-absorption of the West by doing something so horrible that we will be shocked out of our torpor.

 

                                                           

Contents                

ENGLAND’S ISLAMIC DOMINO EFFECT

Ron Jager

Arutz Sheva, June 5, 2017

 

The current wave of Islamic terror in Manchester and in London only reinforces the general feeling that the excessive political correctness of recent years by the Obama Presidency, by the British Labor party, and the European media has fostered and festered breeding grounds for Islamic terrorists in the heart of England. London’s current Mayor Sadiq Khan, a practicing Muslim, could have a significant impact on the minds and hearts of many of England’s young Muslims, should he decide to express what should have been said years ago to Muslims living in England and throughout the Western world by the very Muslims that have enjoyed the privileges and benefits of living and prospering in a Western nation.

 

In response to this week’s Islamic terror attack in the heart of London, Mayor Khan should have taken the initiative using himself as a role model of what it means to be a Muslim in a Western nation. Mayor Sadiq Kahn is a practicing Muslim and regularly attends the Al-Muzzammil Mosque in Tooting. He has two daughters both raised in the Islamic faith. Khan could have forcibly reinforced the idea that practicing Muslims such as himself are modern citizens who happen to worship Allah, yet do not belong to any kind of belief in the preeminence of Sharia Law which clearly is based on the belief that Sharia Law must be imposed on others, Islamic terror being the logical extension of this imposition.

 

Mayor Kahn could state that the former would not pose a threat to England or the Western lifestyle while the latter would be a “mortal threat.”  The danger facing England and other Western nations from the Islamic wave sweeping the Middle East and beyond arises not from the fact that people practicing the Islamic religion are Muslim, but rather from the degree to which they adhere to the totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine of Sharia.

 

However, you don’t have to go back very far in Mayor Sadiq Khan’s past to find links with some obviously questionable characters. Some of these associations date back to his time as a human rights lawyer — trying to get England to lift its ban on the American Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has described Jews as ‘blood-suckers’ and called Hitler ‘a very great man’, and speaking at the same conference as Sajeel Abu Ibrahim, a member of the now proscribed Islamist organization that trained the 7/7 bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan.

 

In 2004, Sadiq Khan appeared on a platform with five Islamic extremists at a conference in London organized by Al-Aqsa, a group that has published works by the notorious Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. In, the same year, Khan was the chair of the Muslim Council of Britain’s legal affairs committee and was involved in defending the Muslim scholar Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. So who is this Muslim scholar so vigorously defended by Sadiq Khan? Among other things, he’s the author of a book called The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam in which he justifies wife beating and discusses whether homosexuals should be killed. Most notoriously, he condones ‘martyrdom operations’, i.e. suicide bombings, against Israeli civilians, which he describes as ‘God’s justice’: ‘Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do.’

 

In spite of holding these views, Qaradawi was not an ‘extremist’ in Sadiq Khan’s eyes. In 2006, by which time Sadiq Kahn had been elected to Parliament, Khan was one of the signatories of a letter to the Guardian that blamed terrorist incidents, such as 7/7, on British foreign policy, particularly Britain’s support for Israel. ‘It is our view that current British government policy risks putting civilians at increased risk both in the UK and abroad,’ Khan can align himself with the call for tougher counterterrorism measures suggested by the British PM and be the first to demand that England must not pretend that things can remain the same. Khan can abandon the politically correct rhetoric about Islam and the legitimacy of terror to advance political goals. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, can be that agent of change that modern Islam so clearly needs.

 

                                                                       

Contents   

                       

A VERY BRITISH RADICAL

Ross Douthat

New York Times, June 7, 2017

 

The next Donald Trump — the next populist insurgent, the next outsider riding a wave of anti-establishment discontent, the next dangerous extremist with a chance to grab the reins of state — was supposed to be Marine Le Pen. In the Western press and Western capitals, there was a summons to the barricade when Le Pen reached the French presidential runoff. The liberal order was in the balance, the whiff of fascism was in the air, the entire French political system was expected to do its duty and keep her out of power. All this even though Le Pen never came within 16 points of her rival, Emmanuel Macron, in any poll between the first round and the runoff, and ultimately lost by nearly 33.

 

Now, though, in the imminent British election called by an overconfident Theresa May, a different sort of Trumpian figure is closer to victory than anyone expected. This is Jeremy Corbyn, the radical backbencher turned Labour leader, whose campaign was supposed to be a joke but now finds itself, like Trump’s before it, just a “normal-sized polling error” away from a truly shocking upset. Yet at this prospect the Western establishment seems more bemused than actively alarmed. Le Pen was cast as the madwoman in the attic, poised to set fire to the mansion. But outside Britain’s right-wing newspapers, Corbyn is portrayed more as the balmy uncle in the conservatory, puttering around with tulips and murmuring about the class struggle. Nobody exactly thinks he would be a good prime minister, but there isn’t a palpable fear that his election would be an emergency for liberal democracy.

 

In a way this is a good thing, since Corbyn probably isn’t a threat to the liberal order, and in this Trump-crazed moment we could use a little less hyperventilating about politics. (Also, he’ll probably still lose.) But neither was Le Pen necessarily such a threat, and yet the fascism-in-France freak-out happened anyway. So for the sake of evening the scales, let’s dwell for a moment on what Corbyn’s farther left has in common with her farther right.

 

First there is the matter of anti-Semitism. Le Pen’s party was an heir to anti-Dreyfusard tendencies and included enough Holocaust-minimizers that one was briefly chosen as the party’s acting leader. If you are troubled by this, good, you should be. But then you should also be troubled by the Corbyn-era Labour Party’s tendency to find itself explaining why its members, activists and sometimes politicians are merely anti-Zionist and not actually anti-Semitic, even as their critiques of Israel or global finance blur into old-fashioned anti-Semitic cliché. Especially since the intersection of left-wing anti-Zionism and Islamist Jew-baiting is probably a more substantial threat to Jewish security in Western Europe than what remains of right-wing anti-Semitism.

 

Second there is the matter of historical and ideological associations. Le Pen aspired to be Gaullist, but her party retained a Petainist taint, a connection to fascism and a tendency to minimize its crimes, plus the inevitable far-right links to Putin and his nationalist international. But Corbyn’s inner circle has a similar minimizing tendency where the crimes of Stalinism are concerned, plus the equally inevitable far-left affinity for Latin American authoritarianism. If the specter of long-ago Vichy lurked behind Le Penism, the specter of present-day Venezuela lurks not that far in the background of Corbynism.

 

Third there is the matter of terrorism and political violence. Le Pen, through her father and his allies, had an ancestral connection to the far-right violence of the Algerian war-era pieds noirs. But those paramilitary operations are rather more historically distant than Corbyn’s fellow-traveling with the Irish Republican Army at the height of its bombing campaigns, or his habit (for which he recently offered regrets) of offering comradeship to Hezbollah and Hamas. In the wake of the recent Manchester horror and London attack, the Labour leader has been hitting May from the tough-on-terror right for not adequately funding the police. All’s fair in love and the last week of a campaign, but still it’s a little audacious, since Corbyn clearly has an old revolutionary’s soft spot for a certain kind of terrorist.

 

Now, one can concede all this and still cobble together a case that Le Pen would have been more dangerous to existing European institutions than Corbyn. She’s a French chauvinist; he’s a lefty internationalist. She wanted France out of the European Union; Britain has already taken that leap (and a Prime Minister Corbyn would probably make Brexit somewhat softer). She traded in clash-of-civilizations rhetoric about Islamic immigration; he’s fluent in the pieties of multiculturalism.

 

But some of this amounts to saying that it’s O.K. to elect an extremist with anti-Semitic and authoritarian and even terrorist connections if he or she just takes the official European Union line on immigration and monetary policy. Meanwhile Corbyn’s habits of mind on defense policy — think Chomsky with a dash of Trump — could threaten as much destabilization for NATO as Le Pen threatened for the Continent’s monetary union.  Again, I don’t think it would be a better world if Corbyn were being met with Le Pen-level fear and loathing. The entire populist phenomenon, left and right, is happening because our establishment is in need of serious unsettlement, and that can’t happen unless movements and ideas with extreme or disreputable associations are allowed into the conversation.

 

Her own very-establishment stumbles and weaknesses notwithstanding, May’s attempt to reimagine conservative politics along more populist, “Red Tory” lines strikes me as a healthier response to the moment than Corbyn’s unreconstructed socialism. But after so much centrist failure, I can understand the urge to give the old socialist a chance. Nonetheless — in allowing the extremes in, we should not be blind to where their worst tendencies can lead. No such blindness is likely where the right’s populists are concerned, since the entire media-intellectual-academic complex of the West has its fascist radar set to “high.”

 

Where the far left is concerned, though, a haze of elite sentimentality can still settle over ideological impulses that killed people and wrecked countries on an extraordinary scale. So with Corbyn closer to power than Le Pen ever got, spare a thought for the far left’s actual 20th-century record, and remember that when history’s arc bends away from liberalism and consensus, sometimes there’s a commissar waiting at the end of it.

 

           

Contents                                                                                                                                                        

                                      THE BRITISH ELECTION:

WILL VOTERS OPT FOR INTOLERANCE AND XENOPHOBIA?

Alan M. Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, June 3, 2017

 

On June 8, British voters will head to the polls, three years early. When Prime Minister Theresa May called last month for a snap election, the assumption was that she would win easily and increase her parliamentary majority. Recent numbers, however, show the gap closing between May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

 

Corbyn – who was given 200:1 odds of when he ran for the party leadership in 2015 – is doing surprisingly well again. This is despite the fact that Labour has been under fire for anti-Semitism in its ranks, and Corbyn himself has been accused of anti-Jewish bigotry. Corbyn denies having a problem with Jews, claiming that he is merely anti-Israel. Even if it were possible to hate Israel without being anti-Semitic – and I am not sure that it is – Corbyn's words and deeds demonstrate that he often uses virulent anti-Zionism as a cover for his soft anti-Semitism.

 

For example, in a speech last year, he said that Jews are "no more responsible" for the actions of Israel than Muslims are for those of ISIS. In 2009, he announced: "It will be my pleasure and my honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I also invited friends from Hamas to come and speak as well."

 

The company that Corbyn keeps, too, suggests that at best he gives a free pass to bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism within the ranks of his own party, and at worst, he espouses them. He has shared speaking platforms and led rallies with some of the most infamous Jew-haters. He has attended meetings hosted by 9/11 conspiracy theorist Paul Eisen, author of a blog titled: "My Life as a Holocaust Denier." He has been associated with Sheikh Raed Salah – leader of the outlawed northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a blood libel perpetuator convicted for incitement to violence and racism – whom he referred to as a "very honoured citizen" whose "voice must be heard." Corbyn was also a paid contributor for Press TV, Iran's tightly controlled media apparatus, whose production is directly overseen by anti-Semitic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

 

One of the biggest criticisms of the "Corbynization" of British politics has been the mainstreaming of traditional anti-Semitism. The country's chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, has called the problem within the Labour party "severe." Consider the late Gerald Kaufman, a Labour veteran and close political associate of Corbyn's who touted conspiracy theories about Jews throughout his political career. When speaking at a pro-Palestinian event, Kaufman said: "Jewish money, Jewish donations to the Conservative Party – as in the general election in May – support from the Jewish Chronicle, all of those things, bias the Conservatives." While Corbyn condemned this remark, he refused to yield to widespread demands for disciplinary action against Kaufman. This is in keeping with what a key former adviser to Corbyn, Harry Fletcher, wrote: "I'd suggest to him [Jeremy] about how he might build bridges with the Jewish community and none of it ever happened."

 

Let's be clear: I do not believe that Corbyn's rise in the polls is due to his hatred of Jews and Israel, but rather in spite of it. May called for elections and then refused to debate her opponents. She is running a lacklustre campaign somewhat reminiscent of U.S. Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton's last year. For his part, Corbyn is a populist, like U.S. President Donald Trump. Although politically polar opposites, they have much in common, such as a penchant for shooting from the hip and unpredictability.

 

Furthermore, many British voters are unaware of Corbyn's anti-Semitic associations. Others know, but don't care. Those on the hard-Left, such as union activists and academics, include knee-jerk opponents of the nation state of the Jewish people and supporters of academic and cultural boycotts of Israel. Many of these favor trade and engagement with such egregious human-rights violators as Iran, Cuba, China, Russia, Belarus and Venezuela. Singling out Israel – the Middle East's only democracy, with one of the world's best human-rights records, rule of law and concern for enemy civilians — for boycotts itself is a form of anti-Semitism.

 

Corbyn himself has called for boycotts of the Jewish state. He has advocated for an arms embargo, citing Israel's supposed "breach" of the human-rights clause of the EU-Israel trade agreement. He also led the call to boycott Israel's national soccer team in the European Championship in Wales. (Ironically, Israel only plays in this league because it was expelled from the Asian Football Confederation due to the Arab League's boycott.) Corbyn, as well, has been a vocal supporter of the so-called Palestinian "right of return," something that would lead to an Arab majority and Jewish minority within Israel, and render the two-state solution completely obsolete.

 

Whether anti-Semitism is the cause or effect of the Labour party's problem is not important. What is relevant is that Corbyn not only has not stemmed the tide, but has played a big part in perpetuating it. British voters now have the opportunity to choose where they will go as a nation. Will they opt to move away from stability, rationality and tolerance toward simple mindedness and xenophobia? I sincerely hope not. Bernie Sanders has already made his choice. He is campaigning for Corbyn despite his record on anti-Semitism. Sanders will have to explain why a Jew is helping to elect a bigot with the views Corbyn holds about the Jewish people and their nation state.

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

UK Elections: Anti-Semitism and the Labour Party 2017: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, June 6, 2017—n 2016 the UK’s Jewish defense organization, Community Security Trust, recorded 1,309 anti-Semitic incidents, the highest total ever and an increase of 36% from 2015. In 2014 there was the previous highest total recorded with 1182 incidents.

Terrorism Shouldn’t Interrupt Election Campaigns — At Least as a General Rule: Colby Cosh, National Post, June 5, 2017— History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce: so said Marx. He was making a joke about the second Emperor Napoleon, and it is still the first thing everybody remembers about the man; it is thus one of the greatest bon mots in the history of journalism. And it is, incidentally, the only law of history devised by Marx that actually works.

Are Jihadists Taking Over Europe?: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, June 7, 2017— "Germany is quietly building a European army under its command," according to some in the media. Apparently German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after her clash with U.S. President Donald Trump, would like to invest, along with France, in a European army.

War on Terror vs. Justification of Terror: Ben-Dror Yemini, Ynet, June 7, 2017 — The finest experts are struggling with the following question: What makes them terrorists? There is no answer. Among the perpetrators of terror attacks in Europe there are people who became radical in mosques, people who became radical in prisons and those who became radical following online propaganda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN WAKE OF TRUMP’S UNLIKELY VICTORY, AN “UPRISING OF THE PEOPLE”, LIBERALS RAGE & DEMOCRATS TURN FURTHER LEFT

Eleven Nine: James W. Ceaser, Weekly Standard, Nov. 21, 2016— Americans awoke on the morning of 11/9 to a different political world.

America Moves Right, Jewish Groups Move Left: Richard Baehr, Israel Hayom, Dec. 4, 2016— On January 20, the Republican Party will control the White House…

Dear Liberals: Start Practicing the Empathy You Preach: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Nov. 20, 2016— Elections have consequences and an obvious one now is your distress.

Donald Trump’s Jacksonian Revolt: Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 11, 2016— The election of Donald Trump was a surprise and an upset, but the movement that he rode to the presidency has deep roots in American history.

 

On Topic Links

 

Donald Trump as Nixon’s Heir: Reihan Salam, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 12, 2016

Can the Democrats Move Right?: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Nov. 30, 2016

Before Donald Trump, There Was Menachem Begin: Daniel Gordis, Bloomberg, Nov. 25, 2016

The Disintegrating Obama Coalition: Jay Cost, Weekly Standard, Nov. 21, 2016

 

 

ELEVEN NINE

James W. Ceaser                                                           

Weekly Standard, Nov. 21, 2016

 

Americans awoke on the morning of 11/9 to a different political world. There is only one word to explain what happened, and it is called democracy. The usual claims progressives invoke to deny that real democracy exists in America do not seem to apply in this case. A bought election? Hillary Clinton outspent her rival massively and enjoyed the support of many more of the big donors. There are no Koch brothers to kick around this time. Support from the big organized interests? Major unions, prestigious associations, and the denizens of the most powerful corporate board rooms were overwhelmingly in Clinton’s camp, just as Bernie Sanders had charged. Bias for one side by the major media? No contest here; Clinton enjoyed a huge advantage.

 

Fabulists are sure to discover a few things to confirm their thesis—instances of voter suppression, a right-wing conspiracy in the FBI and the bumblings of Director Clouseau, an electoral system that does not count the national popular vote. But even the most ardent will be hard pressed to deny that the people spoke.

 

Progressives face a difficult choice. Either they can blame democracy or they can fault Clinton. Much might be learned, of course, if they offered, like America's own founders, an honest assessment of democracy's limits. But it is encoded in their DNA to flatter it, at least in public. Only in the back rooms and among themselves do they define democracy as the rule of the deplorables. It is more likely, therefore, that they will turn their animus against the Clintons and blame them for pulling progressives into their culture of unseemly deals and continuing corruption. The civil war within the Republican party may ebb just as the civil war in the Democratic party begins to heat up. Democrats will need to look for new heroes, as Bill Clinton's luster was destroyed by this campaign and President Obama's vaunted legacy looks more and more tenuous.

 

The 2016 election reminds many of the election of 1980. Both featured a strong reaction on the part of the "little people" against an elite, especially against a progressive intellectual elite. Economic hardship was no doubt a factor in their arousal, but far more important was their anger—anger at being patronized by those professed, or who had once professed, to be their helpers. The uprising of the people was so overlooked that even the scientists of democratic behavior, the pollsters, missed it. Hence the surprise victories in both elections of a Republican president and the much-better-than-expected performance of the GOP in congressional races.

 

Yet there is this difference. The 1980 movement was made in the name of a guiding set of ideas, conservatism, to which its leader, Ronald Reagan, willingly and publicly tethered himself. This public philosophy both enabled and set limits to the movement. It naturally favored and honored thinkers and intellectuals, who in the aftermath of 1980 came to occupy an important place inside the Republican party. A vast conservative intellectual infrastructure was built, consisting of institutes, think tanks, publishing houses, and journals. (Progressives had so successfully done the same earlier in the century that their movement had become virtually one with the entire culture of intellectual thought.) The movement of 2016 has no such coherent philosophy. It is the product, for now, of raw and powerful sentiments and of a set of discrete and inchoate positions that can change by the day. It has been tied to one person, Donald Trump, who eschewed this entire intellectual infrastructure, less really from contempt than from indifference. Practicing politics (or anything else) by reference to a structure of ideas is to him simply another world, a different way of processing reality, of getting things done, and of managing affairs. His is not the art of theoretical thinking, but the art of the deal. Some in the conservative intellectual class have even taken to seeing this approach as a liberating step, freeing conservatism from what they charge has become a form of modern-day scholasticism.

 

Progressives and their followers in the media delighted in savaging both Reagan and Trump as incompetent, ignorant, well beyond the pale. The more these men were dismissed, the more many rallied to them in defiant solidarity. To this, Donald Trump added, often in plain sight, a shocking incivility and vulgarity. Undisciplined by any ideology, his different positions wandered into extremes and extravagances, which drifted in and out of a fluctuating agenda. In his flamboyance he more than reflected the collapsing standards of contemporary popular culture, where he has been an avatar of the changes. He clearly understood this realm better than any of his rivals.

 

Trump's unlikely emergence was akin to that of a party crasher. No one in the GOP initially took him seriously, as he defied one conservative piety after another. Some of his rivals chose to coddle rather than confront him, hoping to absorb his growing support once he was disposed of. If there is blame to be assessed for his rise, much of it goes to his major contenders who, each naturally ambitious for himself, refused to subordinate their personal careers to a larger set of conservative principles that they held, roughly, in common. Consciously or not, Trump followed the age-old strategy of divide and conquer, and his rivals played their part to perfection, offering themselves one by one to the slaughter…                                       

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents                                                                                                                                                       

AMERICA MOVES RIGHT, JEWISH GROUPS MOVE LEFT                                                                    

Richard Baehr                                                                                                        

Israel Hayom, Dec. 4, 2016

 

On January 20, the Republican Party will control the White House, both houses of Congress, at least 33 governors' offices, and over two-thirds of state legislative bodies, including 25 states where the governor is a Republican and the GOP is the majority party in both branches of the state legislature. The Democrats will have similar control in four states. The other states will have mixed party governance. One would need to go back to the 1920s to find a time of similar dominance by the Republican Party. In but eight years, the Democrats have lost a dozen Senate seats, 66 House seats, near 1,000 state legislative seats, 13 governors' offices, and the presidency.

 

The president-elect, Donald Trump, won 24-25% of the Jewish vote, according to the national exit polls and a J Street survey. Democrat Hillary Clinton won either 70-71% of the Jewish vote in these same surveys. The margin for the Democratic nominee was the second smallest for any Democratic nominee with Jewish voters since 1988. Only the 2012 Obama vs. Romney race among Jewish voters was closer (69% to 30%).

 

When the national popular vote total is finally complete (California, supposedly our most technologically advanced state, takes longer than any other state by a matter of weeks to complete its tally), Clinton will have won the popular vote by about 2%, while getting trounced in the Electoral College 306-232 (a 14% margin). Exit polls and final polls before Election Day showed Clinton winning by 4-5%. Given what some analysts are calling "shy Trump voters" who did not want to reveal their support for Trump to pollsters, it is certainly possible that Trump exceeded the percentage of support reflected in the exit poll or J Street survey among Jewish voters. In any case, it is safe to assume that Jewish voters were far more supportive of the Democratic nominee than almost any other group, which occurs in every presidential election.

 

What is clear since election day is that several major Jewish organizations have chosen to identify with those who seem panicked by the election results, particularly the election of Trump. Charitable organizations rely on contributions, and if two-thirds to three-quarters of Jewish voters went for the Democrat, it is not surprising that many Jewish organizations reflect this partisan split among their members and donors. Nonetheless, there is "a new sheriff coming to town," and typically, most major Jewish organizations look forward to working with the new president on their issues of concern, rather than going to war with him during his presidential transition.

 

In the past few weeks, the Anti-Defamation League, led by former Obama staffer Jonathan Greenblatt, was one of the first organizations of any kind to aim fire at Trump's naming of Breitbart executive chair Steve Bannon as an in-house adviser. The ADL leader was quick to label him an anti-Semite and a leader of the "alt-right." Most of those scurrilous charges have been walked back after the ADL was hit with pushback by those who have worked with Bannon or for him, and knew him far better than his critics, with several Jews among his leading defenders. But it was clear that the ADL wanted to be early out of the box to show it was not at all concerned with striking a partisan pose, and was part of the team on the left who were committed to making life miserable for Trump, even during the transition period before he took office. Today, the ADL is playing the role of victim, claiming it is under attack from the Right for doing its job.

 

Accusing Republicans of bigotry is nothing new at this point, and has become part of the standard campaign fare by Democratic candidates and those on the left. A major reason why Hillary Clinton was defeated was the near total emptiness of her campaign in making a case for why she should be president, as opposed to electing her so as not to have Trump in office, due to his temperament, and of course, alleged bigotry. In the weeks since Trump selected Bannon, mainstays of the major media, such as The New York Times and major networks, have given a lot of coverage to a collection of a few hundred white racists meeting at a convention in Atlanta. Clearly, guilt by association was the order of the day — white-power racists equals Bannon equals Trump.

 

The Bannon selection, which does not require Senate ratification, drew attacks from predictable Jewish groups on the left — J Street, the National Council of Jewish Women, T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and Uri L'Tzedek (the Orthodox Jewish social justice movement), among others. But a collection of groups associated with the Conservative movement was similarly harsh in attacking Bannon — the Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Cantors Assembly, the Women's League for Conservative Judaism and the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs issued a joint statement of condemnation.

 

Just days after the Trump victory and the Bannon pick seemed to create a certainty of a dystopian future for many American Jews and their organizations, a Minnesota congressman, Keith Ellison, had his name put forward as a candidate for the next leader of the Democratic National Committee. Remarkably, with the exception of the Zionist Organization of America and a few other politically conservative Jewish groups, most Jewish groups held their fire on Ellison, and seemed to think all was well regarding Ellison and Jews and Ellison and Israel. After all, New York Senator Chuck Schumer immediately endorsed him for the job. That Ellison once had ties to the Nation of Islam and its leader, Louis Farrakhan, and had called Israel an apartheid state, seemed to be of no great concern. Greenblatt's first comment was that he had contacted the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota on Ellison, and they gave him a clean bill of health. Greenblatt subsequently told The New York Times that he thought Ellison was "an important ally in the fight against anti-Semitism" but held a posture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "on which we strongly differ and that concern us."

 

Now, as other groups have continued digging into Ellison's' unsavory history with regard to Israel, the ADL has reversed course, and now argues that he is disqualified for the job. Greenblatt seemed disturbed that Ellison, in a 2010 speech to a Muslim group, had echoed the Stephen Walt-John Mearsheimer thesis that Israel controlled U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East: "The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people," Ellison said in the recorded speech to his supporters. "A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes."…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents                                                                            

DEAR LIBERALS: START PRACTICING THE EMPATHY YOU PREACH                                                         

Michael Goodwin                                                                                                           

New York Post, Nov. 20, 2016

 

Elections have consequences and an obvious one now is your distress. Your grief over Hillary Clinton’s defeat is understandable, but your rage over Donald Trump’s victory is not. Yet instead of searching for the reasons, you embarrass the city by booing Mike Pence at “Hamilton.” You screech over Trump’s personnel picks and reflexively smear people you don’t know. Too often, your argument is “Shut up.” You are playing with fire by hardening the very polarization you decry. Please stop before you burn down the American house. By all means, mourn Clinton’s loss and the probability that you will never again see her name on a ballot. Her concession speech felt like “goodbye” and someone else will shatter the final glass ceiling.

 

While I am relieved Clinton will not be president, it is impossible not to feel for her on a personal level. Twice she was denied victory when it seemed inevitable, and there is no joy in imagining her pain. But neither is there any appetite for her politics. Back in February, I wrote that, win or lose the nomination, Bernie Sanders “has already won the future of the Democratic Party.” My only mistake was in underestimating the extent of his victory. With the Clintons out of the way, Dems are making a ferocious socialist turn, led by Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and presumed party boss Rep. Keith Ellison. Excepting Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, Dem leadership is embracing radical policies that make President Obama look like a centrist. With unrestrained ideology, it’s leftward, march.

 

That way lies more madness and defeat, and Republicans already hold more federal and state power than they’ve held in nearly 100 years. I urge you to open your eyes and hearts to better understand the revolution taking place in the America outside your bubble. That’s not to deny that your rejection of Trump was reasonable. His thin skin is a concern and things he said and did were offensive. His lack of experience presents a steep learning curve at a very dangerous time. But the election is over, so let’s be fully honest: You don’t just reject Trump, you also hold contempt for his supporters. You belittle their concerns and demonize their resistance to your power. Among yourselves, you ask, how can they be so stupid to elect such a stupid man?

 

I hear such things, and it confuses me. I know you as warm and generous people, full of passion for your families and friends. You love America and share its bounty through charitable good works. And yet, that contempt for certain less fortunate Americans is real. Such hate is anathema to the classical meaning of liberalism, and is often directed at an unknown adversary. So it is here, because most of you don’t actually know Trump supporters. They are everywhere. They are checkout clerks in supermarkets, they fix your car, deliver your packages and maybe watch your kids. Some are doctors and many own small businesses. Too many are unemployed. They are the soldiers who defend you, the farmers who produce your food and the cops you trust. When you call 911, the first responders are probably Trump voters. They are essential to your lives, but you are ignorant about theirs. Except when you need them, you probably don’t notice them. Actually, you don’t really hate them, either. What you hate is the caricature of them the Democratic Party and the national liberal media created, and that you swallowed, hook, line and sinker.

 

You fell for the oldest trick in the propaganda playbook. Obama, Clinton, Hollywood and their media handmaidens “otherized” tens of millions of hardworking, God-fearing Americans, and you said amen. These hucksters turned anecdotes into universal truths. They found a racist or heard an anti-Muslim comment at a Trump rally and bingo, declared an entire movement bitter clingers, deplorables and irredeemables. You accepted the caricature because it fit the stereotypes reinforced in your closed circle. It has ever been thus for the smart set.

 

Here’s Time magazine describing the 1932 Democratic convention that nominated FDR: “Like Irish potatoes and more noxious growths were the city delegations — Tammany’s full-blown ward heelers, micks from Brooklyn and Boston, hybrids from Chicago. . . lusty bumpkins from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana and drooping-gone-to-seed specimens from the country roadsides.” Minus the flair, that’s pretty much how the New York Times, MSNBC and this year’s version of Time described Trump supporters. They lied to you. If you must be angry, be angry at them. They are the great deceivers, and they haven’t stopped. You are better people than that. Declare your independence from partisan propaganda and go see for yourselves the truth about America. For its sake, and yours.                     

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                                                         

DONALD TRUMP’S JACKSONIAN REVOLT                                                                                               

Walter Russell Mead

Wall Street Journal, Nov. 11, 2016

 

The election of Donald Trump was a surprise and an upset, but the movement that he rode to the presidency has deep roots in American history. Mr. Trump’s strongest supporters are the 21st-century heirs of a political tendency that coalesced in the early 1820s around Andrew Jackson.

 

Old Hickory has been the despair of well-bred and well-educated Americans ever since he defeated the supremely gifted John Quincy Adams in the 1828 presidential election. Jackson’s brand of populism—nationalist, egalitarian, individualistic—remains one of the most powerful forces in American politics. The Republican Party’s extraordinary dominance in this election demonstrates just how costly the Democrats’ scornful rejection of “hillbilly populism” has been. Jacksonian culture can be traced to the 18th-century migration of Scots-Irish settlers to the colonial backwoods and hill country. Some Jacksonians have long been Democrats; some have long been Republicans. They are not a well-organized political force, and their influence on American politics, while profound, is often diffuse.

 

The folk ideology of Jacksonian America does not line up well with either liberal or conservative dogma. Jacksonians have never been deficit hawks when it comes to government spending on the middle class. In the 19th century, they enthusiastically supported populist land policies culminating in the Homestead Act, which gave out western farm land for free. Today, Jacksonians support middle-class entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, even as they remain suspicious of policies and benefits seen as supporting the poor. They do not, on the whole, approve of free trade. Jacksonians are often libertarian when it comes to everyday life. While many of them support tough drug laws, some are recreational drug users.

 

Jacksonian farmers participated in the Whiskey Rebellion against federal excise taxes on alcohol in the 18th century, and Jacksonians today still view tax collectors and federal agents with skepticism and hostility. One issue that largely unites Jacksonian opinion is gun control. Jacksonians often view the Second Amendment as the foundation of American liberty, ensuring the rights of a free people against overreaching government.

 

On race, Jacksonians have been slow to accept change. Their conception of America’s folk community has not historically included African-Americans. While a small fringe of violent racists and “white nationalists” seeks to revive old Jacksonian racist attitudes, Jacksonian America today is much more open to nonwhite and non-Anglo cultures. Now their bitterness is directed primarily against illegal immigration and Islam, which they see as culturally and politically incompatible with their conception of American values. Jacksonians have come a long way from Jim Crow, but they still resent their tax money being spent to help the urban poor, and they overwhelming support both the death penalty and tough police tactics against violent criminals.

 

As for foreign policy, Jacksonians are motivated by threats. When other countries are not threatening the U.S., Jacksonians prefer a course of “live and let live.” They believe in honoring alliance commitments but are not looking for opportunities for military interventions overseas and do not favor grandiose plans for nation-building and global transformation.  In war, the fiery patriotism of Jacksonians has been America’s secret weapon. After Pearl Harbor, Jacksonian America roused to fight the Nazis and Japan. After 9/11, Jacksonians were eager to do the same in the Middle East, particularly after they were told that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. When Iraq turned out not to be such a threat, Jacksonians felt betrayed.  

 

Many of them voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 out of disillusion with the neoconservative agenda of war and democracy activism. Mr. Trump’s criticisms of the Iraq war and President George W. Bush struck a chord in Jacksonian America. When war does come, Jacksonians believe in victory at any and all costs. Jacksonian opinion has never regretted the atomic attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In a war of self-defense, Jacksonian opinion recognizes no limits on the proper use of force by the U.S.

 

Social scientists and urban intellectuals have been predicting the death of Jacksonian America since the turn of the 20th century. Urbanization and immigration were the forces that observers like Woodrow Wilson and Walter Lippmann hoped would transform American popular culture into something less antagonistic to the rule of technocratic intellectuals ensconced in a powerful federal bureaucracy. This did not work out as planned…                                                                                          

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents           

On Topic Links

 

Donald Trump as Nixon’s Heir: Reihan Salam, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 12, 2016—If you ask Republicans what their party stands for, most will say conservatism. The trouble comes in trying to define what that means.

Can the Democrats Move Right?: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Nov. 30, 2016 —Since Election Day the great intra-Democratic debate over What Went Wrong has been dominated by two visions of how liberalism should be organized, identity politics versus economic solidarity, with writers variously critiquing or defending each tendency, or arguing that they are complements and that any tension can and ought to be resolved.

Before Donald Trump, There Was Menachem Begin: Daniel Gordis, Bloomberg, Nov. 25, 2016—So shocking was the electoral upset that Israeli television created a word for it: mahapakh. Derived from the root that means “revolution” or “turning upside down,” the word was fashioned because Menachem Begin’s 1977 election as prime minister was such a game-changer in Israeli politics that no existing word seemed to suffice.

The Disintegrating Obama Coalition: Jay Cost, Weekly Standard, Nov. 21, 2016—Political coalitions are tricky things to manage in the United States. Ours is a country of more than 320 million people but only two major political parties—so each side's voting bloc tends to be unstable at the margins, where national elections are actually won and lost.

 

 

 

 

 

TRUMP’S STUNNING WIN—AN ASSAULT ON ESTABLISHMENT, “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS”, & OBAMA’S DISMAL RECORD—SHAKES UP PARTIES

 

How Donald Trump Pulled It Off: Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., Wall Street Journal, Nov. 9, 2016 — Donald Trump probably w

on’t get credit, even from those bending over backward to be charitable to last night’s winner, for his most-revolutionary endeavor—namely his effort to lighten up campaign rhetoric.

Donald Trump’s Assault on Both Parties Will Make America Better: Conrad Black, National Post, Nov. 9, 2016— It is not such a surprise that Americans have elevated Donald Trump to the headship of their country.

Tuesday's Biggest Loser: Michael Graham, Weekly Standard, Nov. 9, 2016— Forget Hillary and Trump. The biggest loser Tuesday night was Barack Obama.

Trump and Israel, Now What?: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 9, 2016 — “I love Israel and honor and respect the Jewish tradition and it’s important we have a president who feels the same way,” US President-elect Donald Trump said in a pre-recorded video message to a rally held two weeks ago in a restaurant overseeing the Old City.

 

On Topic Links

 

Defeat Likely Spells the End of Clinton Dynasty: Daniel Halper & Marisa Schultz, New York Post, Nov. 10, 2016

Reminder: Hillary Clinton Lost Because She’s Hillary Clinton : Heather Wilhelm, National Review, Nov. 11, 2016

Iran Nuclear Deal Could Collapse Under Trump: Carol Morello, Washington Post, Nov. 9, 2016

What Israel Doesn’t Need From Trump: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Nov. 9, 2016

 

 

HOW DONALD TRUMP PULLED IT OFF

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

Wall Street Journal, Nov. 9, 2016

 

Donald Trump probably won’t get credit, even from those bending over backward to be charitable to last night’s winner, for his most-revolutionary endeavor—namely his effort to lighten up campaign rhetoric.

Even now many Republican anti-Trumpers continue to fume over his remark about John McCain: “I like people who weren’t captured.” It was disrespectful, yes. It was also a joke; a wisecrack, offered in response to Sen. McCain’s equally flippant dismissal of Trump supporters as “crazies.”

 

Mr. Trump never stopped being an entertainer in his campaign. Though his approach went over the heads of the media, in one way it was genius: He basically stopped trying to convince anybody soon after his famous escalator ride in the Trump Tower in Manhattan. He figured out early that his voters didn’t need any more explanation or justification. His argument was completely embodied in “Make America great again” plus his outsize public persona. He only needed to keep his fans jollied up, and fired up, for the long wait ’til election day.

 

The biggest embarrassment of this campaign has been the sodden pundits who kept insisting on taking oh-so-seriously his every remark. They never understood that Mr. Trump did not speak to lay out a platform. He was inventing almost daily a new episode of the 16-month Trump-for-president reality show to keep his audience from drifting off. Mr. Trump was defined by the liberal media as the angry candidate. A few of his fans obviously were looking for an aggressive outlet, but Mr. Trump was not one of them. His performance over the course of the race was nothing short of remarkable. A man of his years, in rally after rally, kept summoning the juice to give his fans the upbeat, improvisational show they were waiting for.

 

The pantomime that was universally interpreted by the media as a parody of the disabilities of a New York Times reporter, his defenders pointed out, was actually pretty typical of how he mocks anybody whose words he wishes to satirize. His jokey monologue in the closing stage of the race about his struggles to stay on message was interpreted by some as a sign the pressure was getting to him. C’mon. He was engaged in meta hilarity at the expense of the unemployed campaign professionals who critique his efforts 24 hours a day on the cable channels.

 

Then there was the vulgar Billy Bush tape. Ninety-nine percent of America that doesn’t work in a media company in midtown recognized instantly that it wasn’t two rapists discussing the finer points of sexual assault. It was one guy clowning for another on the subject of celebrity sex appeal. Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and auto-contrarian, stealing a line from the New York Post’s Salena Zito, spoke of voters taking Mr. Trump “seriously, not literally.” This was something the media should have understood earlier than it did.

 

His immigration stance correctly identified the anxiety of less-educated Americans who’ve seen the economy pass them by. Even so, by the end of the campaign, he had talked them down to a policy roughly identical to Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s. His Syria policy is closer to Mr. Obama’s than Hillary’s: He doesn’t believe in spending American money and lives to sort out that country’s problems.

 

None of this means Mr. Trump is actually prepared to be president, though he might be: Whatever his public persona, in his business life he has shown himself to be shrewd, flexible and capable of learning—especially from his own failed episodes of risk-taking.

 

He is dismayingly indifferent to the accuracy of his facts. He doesn’t give two hoots about what many of us consider policy holies concerning NATO, nonproliferation, international trade, etc. His platform comes down to “trust me”—a remarkable mandate if you can pull it off. More than anything, though, this column criticized his unwillingness to do what was necessary to win. He kept doubling down unnecessarily on his fan base long after it would have been advisable to reach out to undecideds and assure them that he would not be a crazy or dangerous president.

 

Indeed, it continues to be our suspicion that Mr. Trump took too long to begin taking his own presidential ambitions seriously. With his shocking win on Tuesday, now he will have to decide in his heart if the outcome was a colossal accident—or the hand of destiny. Ironically, had he lost and become a kibitzer on cable TV, Mr. Trump would have had to start thinking seriously about policy. Now he will have an entire government to help with that. Voters, perhaps shrewdly, saw him as better suited to being a leader than an adviser.                                

 

                                                                         

Contents                                                                                                                      

                                     

DONALD TRUMP’S ASSAULT ON BOTH PARTIES

WILL MAKE AMERICA BETTER                                             

Conrad Black                                                                                   

National Post, Nov. 9, 2016

 

It is not such a surprise that Americans have elevated Donald Trump to the headship of their country. It was improbable at first, because of his raucous personality, and the fact he had never held public office or a high military command (the almost invariable qualifications for a nominee). He financed his own campaign, avoiding the endless demeaning roundel of fundraisers, (and doing quite well selling silly hats and T-shirts). It was also apparently unpromising because he was attacking the entire entrenched leadership of both parties, the Clintons, Obamas, and Bushes, OBushtons, as I called them here last week, and because he was opposed by and deliberately incited the escalated hostility of the national media, and the officious polling organizations.

 

The whole Trump campaign was audacious because it relied altogether on a broad swath of all socioeconomic groups — it was not a coalition based on pitching to the particular desires of voting blocs. As Trump said on election night, and as his wife had stated in several speeches recently, it was a movement, a mighty national rejection of the prim, robotic flimflam that disguised a corrupt failing system and feckless leadership behind the façade of “bridge-building, inclusiveness,” and self-abasement in the world.

 

Two premises undergirded the whole enterprise: that the party elders and their apparatus in both parties were castles made of sand and sawdust, and that a majority of Americans were so concerned about the first period of outright decline in American history and when the economic well-being of the middle and working classes had deteriorated outside the downdraft of normal cycles, that they would vote for a purposeful strategy put in plain and politically incorrect language. These were bold conclusions, and even in the aftermath of their thunderous validation, those who right into election night counting were complacently expecting Trump to be sent packing back to his demi-monde of golf clubs, condos and low-brow television, are divided between those who wonder if they had completely misjudged or misheard or just missed what was happening, and the imperishables.

 

The latter group, including a number of the conservative intellectuals who stormed out of the Republican party and noisily slammed the door behind them, are claiming to be prophets who will be honoured, are proud of the martyrdom they have (unintentionally) chosen, and warn darkly of Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. Such tendencies are less pronounced in the president-elect’s character than in the personality of his chief opponent, and the whole concept is nonsense, given the robustness of the constitutional strength of the legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government. (All three branches have performed poorly during the past 20 years, which is ultimately why Donald Trump will be the next president, but they are at least proficient in ensuring they are not overrun by the other branches.)

 

What made Trump such a long shot was the tenacity of the pompous certitude of entitlement of the political class. This is always a dangerous attitude in a country that actually holds free elections. Donald Trump was well known to the public before he started his campaign. He had the means to finance the campaign, used the social media and the conservative talk shows and bloggers to counter the mainline media and exploited their ignorance and malice to gain popularity from the wide section of the public that resented the bias and condescension of the Clinton News Network (CNN) and its ilk.

 

He knew, from polling and from echelons of the public that he encountered in his entertainment business, that the Archie Bunkers of America were angry and numerous, and that they were decent, plain-spoken, patriotic people, not ignorant slobs in need of guidance from my esteemed but disoriented friends such as (to pick two names out of a distinguishedly full hat) George Will and Fareed Zakaria.

 

Those who have been routed should have seen it coming. Trump thundered into the nomination race, cleaned up most of the primaries, routed 14 candidates, including five serious governors (Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Scott Walker), and three prominent senators (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio). And is credited with raising the Republican primary vote by 60 per cent in four years.

 

His entire campaign was an assault on everyone in both parties who was complicit in the blunders of the past 20 years: the soft early response to terrorism, the housing bubble and financial crisis and great recession; the admission of 12 million illegal and unskilled migrants, the disastrous Iraq war, 15 million dropouts from the workforce, immense trade and budgetary deficits, and a doubling of national debt in seven years to produce one per cent economic growth. Given their lengthy intertwined involvement in high government office, the Bushes and Clintons were both obvious targets for Trump’s uproarious billingsgate, and his political incorrectness shattered many taboos and enjoyed a much wider appeal than had been thought possible for many months. He debunked global warming (more or less accurately) as a leftist attempt to hobble capitalism and incidentally destroy the coal and oil industries, and reviled U.S. President Barack Obama and former secretary of state Clinton for their inability to mention “Islamic extremism.”

 

His attacks in the crowded Republican debates were often brutal and personal: Sen. Rubio’s slight stature and tendency to perspire, Bush’s alleged lack of energy, Sen. Cruz’s claimed ethical lapses, even Carly Fiorina’s (unexceptionable) appearance; it was often gratuitous and unseemly but none of his opponents had any idea how to deal with it. He tapped a tremendous volcanic lava pool of public anger at poor government that has produced the first absolute and comparative decline in American history. Historians of the future will wonder how the political class imagined it could admit so many migrants without taking effective measures to control the southern border, and merely babble garrulously on, year after year, about “comprehensive immigration reform.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link —Ed.]               

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                           

                                                    

TUESDAY'S BIGGEST LOSER                                                                                         

Michael Graham                                                                                                  

Weekly Standard, Nov. 9, 2016

 

Forget Hillary and Trump. The biggest loser Tuesday night was Barack Obama. Yes, his approval rating is above 50 percent. In at least one survey Obama is more popular than Reagan was at the end of his second term. But numbers are fleeting. The facts are not. President Obama's record on foreign and domestic policy is dismal, to say the least. His withdrawal of American power from the world coincided with the rise of ISIS, the ravaging of Syria and a series of successful terror attacks both in the heart of Europe and here on American soil. Would there have been a Brexit, or victories for anti-immigration parties in Europe without the failure of Obama's leadership in the Middle East and North Africa?

 

President Obama's domestic-policy record is even worse: The weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression; a record number of Americans on food stamps and for the longest time; a stimulus plan that was an economic joke even before "Cash for Clunkers" became a punchline; and a doubling of the national debt in eight short years. And then there's Obamacare. On election night Democratic operative James Carville announced "Obamacare is dead." He's right, but that was true whether Trump or Clinton won.

 

Obamacare didn't die in the ballot box, it died in the mail box: Millions of Americans getting letters announcing premium increases of 50, 60, even 100 percent. And that's on top of huge deductibles that made their "insurance" little more than a reverse lottery ticket against medical catastrophe. President Obama did this to America on purpose. Obamacare wasn't crippled by being the best deal he could wrangle from the Republicans. It was crafted and passed entirely by Obama and his Democrat allies. He wanted it and he got it. Good and hard.

 

Obama's supporters shrug off such criticism. They believe Obama will be viewed as a success because history is written by political winners, not masters of healthcare policy. As the first black American to achieve the presidency and the first Democrat to win a popular-vote majority since 1976, Obama fans believe his two White House wins make him a lock for the list of successful presidents. But now President Obama is going to hand the keys of the White House to Donald Trump. It's the biggest of his electoral defeats, but hardly the first. In fact, the devastation of the Democratic Party is Obama's true political legacy.

 

If Democrats were a species of wildlife, Barack Obama would be indicted under the Endangered Species Act. As Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia reports, the Obama era cost Democrats 11 governorships, 13 U.S. Senate seats, 69 House seats and 913 legislative seats(!). And that's before the 2016 results, in which (for example) Kentucky Republicans won the statehouse for the first time since 1921, and the Iowa GOP picked up the state senate. The Obama Effect has wiped out a generation of Democrats—rising stars like North Carolina's Kay Hagan or Indiana's Evan Bayh or Wisconsin's Russ Feingold—who could be potential POTUS or VP candidates…if they hadn't been defeated in the Obamacare backlash (in Feingold's case, twice!) So who is the face of the post-Obama Democratic Party: Joe Biden? Elizabeth Warren? Bernie Sanders? I'd make a "Golden Girls" wisecrack but they'd all have to play Sophia. (She was the really old one.)

 

To paraphrase Hillary Clinton, the entire Democratic village went all-in to raise Barack Obama to the White House. He, in turn, razed that village and set it ablaze. Now he's leaving the White House in the hands of a man who spent a year searching for his birth certificate. Because Barack Obama couldn't beat him—not with all the money, all the media and all of his magical "light-bringer" political powers. Barack Obama is a failure. Obamacare is done. His executive orders will be overturned. He has no political successor. There are not "Obama Democrat" to champion his ideology. And the indisputable evidence of Obama's failure will come the moment Donald Trump stands with him on January 20 and takes the oath of office.

 

Contents           

             

TRUMP AND ISRAEL, NOW WHAT?                                                                                

Herb Keinon                                                        

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 9, 2016

 

“I love Israel and honor and respect the Jewish tradition and it’s important we have a president who feels the same way,” US President-elect Donald Trump said in a pre-recorded video message to a rally held two weeks ago in a restaurant overseeing the Old City. “My administration will stand side-by-side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect, not only Jewish Americans and Israelis, but also all Americans and Israelis,” he said. “Together we will stand up to enemies, like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people, together we will make America and Israel safe again,.”

 

Now we will see. The unexpected, improbable, against-the-odds victory Tuesday of Trump over Hillary Clinton undoubtedly shocked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem as much as it shocked leaders in capitals throughout the world. Now Netanyahu and his aides will have to begin figuring out what exactly it means for Israel.  And that will not be an easy chore, considering that Trump does not have any real practical record on Israel.

 

While Netanyahu obviously had policy differences with Clinton, at least he knew where she stood and what to expect. Israeli policy-makers, in general, like the predictable; they like to know what they are getting, even if it is not everything they want, because at least in this regard they know how to prepare. Clinton was a known-commodity because she has been involved for so long at a policy level on Israel-related issues. There was a degree of predictability regarding how she would act, and who she could be expected to bring on board her national security team.

 

No such predictability exists with regard to Trump. He is a blank slate; a wild card. While during the campaign Trump hit the right rhetorical buttons when it comes to Israel –, though he also raised some eyebrows by talking at one stage about US “neutrality” in the conflict with the Palestinians and at another about the need for US allies to pay more of their share of US military assistance – he has no track record. Being the grand marshall of the Israel Day Parade in Manhattan is commendable, but it is not the same as having dealt over the years with the nitty-gritty of Mideast issues..

 

That being the case there are certain elements of a Trump presidency that had to have Netanyahu smiling on Wednesday morning. The first is Trump's running mate, Mike Pence. The former Indiana governor and congressman is an Evangelical Christian and strong supporter of Israel. He stated at that rally in Jerusalem two weeks ago – shortly after UNESCO voted to expunge any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount – that Jerusalem is the “eternal undivided capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.” He called Israel America's “most cherished ally,” and said that he and Trump stand with Israel because “Israel's fight is our fight, because Israel's cause is our cause.” And, unlike Trump, he has a long record of political support for Israel.

 

Pence is not the only reason Netanyahu is smiling. He is also smiling because the Republicans retained control of both the House and the Senate. During the last eight rocky years of his relationship with Obama, Netanyahu found some solace in having an extremely supportive Congress on his side. And although there was pre-election talk that the Republicans might lose the Senate, that did not transpire. Netanyahu, who in his more than 10 years as Israeli prime minister has never had the opportunity to work alongside a Republican president, will now get the chance to work not only with a president whose worldview is much closer to his own, but also with a president who will be buttressed by a Republican-held Congress whose support for Israel remains extremely strong.

 

Netanyahu also had to be smiling because as of January 20 there will be sitting in the White House a man who has trashed the Iranian nuclear deal. Though Trump never promised to scrap the deal, as some other early Republican candidates did, he has been scathing in his criticism of the deal, and he obviously does not have any emotional investment in it that could possibly blind him to Iranian violations. It is not clear who will make up Trump's national security team, but it will surely not include those who pushed through the Iranian deal, and are so wedded to that they would do anything to ensure that it succeeds, including overlooking  any Iranian behavior that contravenes the agreement.

 

The prime minister also had to be smiling because groups such as J Street, a Jewish obbying organization that has encouraged Administration pressure on Israel, will lose much of its impact and influence as a result of the election results. J Street's influence stems largely from its connections and access to the Administration, whose work if often did. Tellingly, its head Jeremy Ben-Ami borrowed a football metaphor in saying to the New York Times in 2009 that “our No. 1 agenda item is to do whatever we can in Congress to act as the president’s blocking back.” The job of the “blocking back” is to protect the quarterback. But now that the quarterback has changed, and the playbook will be completely different, the importance of that particular blocking back will be greatly diminished.

 

Netanyahu has to be smiling as well at some of the names of candidates being bandied about to fill various high profile positions in a Trump administration, first and foremost as the new secretary of state. Among the names being discussed for secretary of state, for example, are former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a leading Trump supporter, and former ambassador to the UN John Bolton. The appointment of either would be loudly applauded in the Prime Minister's Office, as their outlooks on the region and its threats are very similar to those of Netanyahu. Another leading candidate, current chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), would also be applauded, as he was a leading opponent of the Iran deal…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link —Ed.]               

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Defeat Likely Spells the End of Clinton Dynasty: Daniel Halper & Marisa Schultz, New York Post, Nov. 10, 2016 — Hillary Clinton’s second defeat in her quest for the White House — capped by a humbling concession speech Wednesday — may be the farewell for a family that has been Democratic royalty for nearly three decades.

Reminder: Hillary Clinton Lost Because She’s Hillary Clinton : Heather Wilhelm, National Review, Nov. 11, 2016—Well, that didn’t take long. Just hours after Hillary Clinton lost the presidency to Donald Trump — and hours after she left her disconsolate supporters at New York City’s Javits Center, hightailing it to the confines of Manhattan’s Peninsula Hotel—cries of “sexism” erupted across America’s fruited plain.

Iran Nuclear Deal Could Collapse Under Trump: Carol Morello, Washington Post, Nov. 9, 2016—The future of the historic nuclear agreement with Iran is in the air with the prospect that a Donald Trump administration could take steps that would cause Iran to abandon its commitments, experts said Wednesday.

What Israel Doesn’t Need From Trump: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Nov. 9, 2016—What assumptions can we make about U.S. foreign policy in the next four years, especially with regard to the Middle East? The first, I think, is that the contrast between Trump’s policies and those of President Obama will not be as great as people might think.

 

 

 

 

U.S. DIVIDED & DISAPPOINTED AFTER ELECTION CAMPAIGN— ISRAEL’S POLITICS, IN COMPARISON, ARE SANE & STABLE

 

The Gamble of Trump: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 6, 2016 — The case for Donald Trump is political disruption.

The Rise and Fall of Hillary Clinton: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Nov. 7, 2016 — One hundred years ago this month, after nearly 68 years as emperor of Austria-Hungary, Franz Joseph died, leaving the throne to his grandnephew Charles.

Israel is the Sane, Stable Democracy: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Nov. 4, 2016 — What can one say about the ghastly U.S. presidential election campaign that is (thankfully) coming to an end next week?

Will Betraying Israel be Obama’s Farewell Gesture?: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2016 — Throughout his entire presidential term of nearly eight years, US President Barak Obama has insisted that he “has Israel’s back.”

 

On Topic Links

 

Sanctity and Dispossession: Mark Steyn, Jewish World Review, Nov. 8, 2016

Obama’s ‘Hope and Change’ has Given us ‘Fear and Loathing’: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Nov. 6, 2016

History Repeats as Farce, Then as 2016: Joseph Rago, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 4, 2016

Why No #Never Hilllary?: Jonathan Rosenblum, Jewish World Review, Nov. 8, 2016

 

 

THE GAMBLE OF TRUMP

Editorial              

Wall Street Journal, Nov. 6, 2016

 

The case for Donald Trump is political disruption. A broken Washington needs to be shaken up and refocused on the public good, and who better to do it than an outsider beholden to neither political party? If only that reform possibility didn’t arrive as a flawed personality who has few convictions and knows little about the world.

 

The best hope for a Trump Presidency is that he has aligned himself with enough sound policy impulses that he could liberate the U.S. economy to grow faster again. He would stop the crush of new regulation, restore a freer market for health insurance, unleash U.S. energy production, and reform the tax code. His default priority would be growth, which the U.S. desperately needs after a decade of progressive focus on income redistribution and the worst economic recovery in 70 years.

 

Assuming Republicans hold Congress, the House GOP has already put many of these reforms in legislative language. Mr. Trump could adopt them as his own reform agenda and get a fast start on governing. With a GOP Senate he could fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court with someone from the fine list of candidates he has publicly released. For many voters, the future of the Court is by itself enough reason to support Mr. Trump.

 

Yet while this could be a 1980-like moment of economic renewal, Mr. Trump is no Ronald Reagan. The Gipper came to office with a coherent and firmly held world view formed by decades of reading and experience as a Governor. It isn’t obvious that Mr. Trump reads anything at all. He absorbs what he knows through conversation and watching TV, and he has no consistent philosophy.

 

This makes it hard to predict how he would respond to the shocks and surprises that buffet any President. His firmest policy conviction seems to be that trade is a zero-sum game and that America is losing from global commerce. But if he follows through on his vow to withdraw from trade pacts, impose tariffs on imports and punish U.S. companies that invest abroad, he could cause a recession. The main economic battle in a Trump Administration would be between his pro-growth domestic reforms and his anti-growth trade policy.

 

The strongest argument against Mr. Trump, as Hillary Clinton has recognized, concerns his temperament and political character. His politics is almost entirely personal, not ideological. He overreacts to criticism and luxuriates in personal feuds. President Obama’s greatest failure has been to govern in a deliberately polarizing fashion, and Mr. Trump’s response has been to campaign the same way. If the businessman loses a race that Republicans should win this year, one reason will be that his often harsh rhetoric has repelled women, minorities and younger voters. He ignores or twists inconvenient facts, and even when he has a good point his exaggerations make it harder to persuade the public. Yet a President needs the power to persuade.

 

The least convincing Never Trump argument is that he would rampage through government as an authoritarian. That ignores the checks and balances in Washington that constrain GOP Presidents in particular. If Mr. Trump wins, the media would awaken from their Obama-era slumbers and dog his Administration with a vengeance. The permanent bureaucracy would resist his political appointees, working with the media to build public opposition.

 

The more realistic concern, especially for conservatives, is that Mr. Trump would be as haphazard in office as he has been as a candidate and thus fail to change Washington as he has promised. Mr. Trump would start out with more than half the country disliking him, and most of his advisers lack government experience. Too many blunders or an early recession could cause voters to sweep out the GOP Congress in 2018, setting up a return to an all-progressive government in 2020. Another risk comes from the negative impulses on the political right that Mr. Trump’s meanest rhetoric has awakened. Populism has its uses, and the media stereotypes of Mr. Trump’s supporters don’t capture their variety and general goodwill. But populism becomes dangerous when it is rooted too much in ethnicity or class.

 

Mr. Trump’s Breitbart posse has a vendetta against Republicans on Capitol Hill and is motivated by brooding resentments that too often veer into white-identity politics. If Mr. Trump indulged these sentiments as President, he would further polarize the country and alienate non-whites for a generation. Then there is the biggest Trump gamble of all—foreign and security policy. The good news is that Mr. Trump wants to rebuild U.S. defenses that have eroded on Mr. Obama’s watch. He would be more candid about, and more aggressive against, the Islamist terror threat…                                                                                        [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link —Ed.]                                                                                                                                                         

 

Contents                                                                                                                      

                                                 

THE RISE AND FALL OF HILLARY CLINTON                                                                      

Father Raymond J. de Souza                                                                                                 

National Post, Nov. 7, 2016

 

One hundred years ago this month, after nearly 68 years as emperor of Austria-Hungary, Franz Joseph died, leaving the throne to his grandnephew Charles. The last ruler of the Hapsburg monarchy had a short reign, the liquidation of his empire and the abolition of his royal house being among the terms of peace that ended the First World War. Driven into exile, he died in Madeira before his 35th birthday.

 

Charles was a holy man who understood that he had a duty to serve his people and to work assiduously for peace. In 2004, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. This election day in the U.S., the witness of Blessed Charles is a reminder that holiness and high office are not incompatible, and that great power can be a means of humble service. That he reigned a century ago is also a reminder that history is not a matter of progress, for the descent of man, and woman, from Blessed Charles to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, is steep and stomach-churning.

 

I have no greater gifts of electoral analysis, so I presume that Clinton, the heir presumptive, will emerge triumphant Tuesday night. She is not, as her opponent said, a “nasty woman,” but the return of the Clintons is a nasty business, indeed. After this sordid year, perhaps the single service that Trump has rendered was to expose just how nasty the establishment culture of entitlement is in America, of which the Clintons are both exemplars and experts. The Economist has spent the entirety of 2016 expressing the exasperation of the transatlantic establishment, which believes that Americans have been insufficiently appreciative of Clinton. After all, the “establishment politics that Mrs Clinton encapsulates almost to the point of parody” is what voices like The Economist think, on balance, is a good thing.

 

Trump, it is universally agreed, is a master of mendacity. But it is also true that, in Hillary Clinton’s 40 years in public life, she has mastered the art of prevarication. Her husband, possessing greater charm, preferred the brazen lie. Nevertheless, despite the cataract of untruths that cascaded from Trump, he did tell one truth over and over again: America’s political establishment could be bought and sold. He knew this because he had bought and sold it himself, while attending to his celebrity properties.

 

Trump ran for president having held no public office. A lacuna to be sure, but surely as troubling is the permanent political class, which does nothing but trade public offices. The Clinton family business of personal enrichment through public office is odious, but by no means unique. It has become something of a norm, but no one has done it better, or for as long. To hear Clinton and her ilk speak of public service is nauseating, unless it is to be understood as the public servicing her family. Yet this is the way the permanent political class operates. They decide who is in and who is out, and whatever arrangements need to be made to protect each other. When Trump blasted the Clintons last summer for having a man as repellent at Anthony Weiner in their inner circle, it was one of many ways in which the privileges of the political class were finally being called into question.

 

Astonishingly, it fell to Trump — a narcissistic blowhard who is clearly unfit for the presidency — to play the role of the boy who declared that the emperor had no clothes. It took a wealthy man entirely outside the normal partisan apparatus to say what no one in the imperial court is permitted to say — namely, that the system is corrupt, and that the Clintons, seeking the White House a quarter-century apart, are this generation’s most corrupt couple. Hillary Clinton, with the connivance of the partisan and media establishment, the co-operation of a politicized justice system and resources accrued from rapacious influence-peddling, will have heaved herself over the finish line for the presidency as she always has: within the rule, but just so. Trump changed the rules in 2016. Clinton will win the election, but her presidency is already lost.                                                                       

Contents                                                                                                           

                                          

ISRAEL IS THE SANE, STABLE DEMOCRACY                                                                                

David M. Weinberg                                                                                                       

Israel Hayom, Nov. 4, 2016

 

What can one say about the ghastly U.S. presidential election campaign that is (thankfully) coming to an end next week? That we cry for America, the greatest nation on the face of this earth, which is self-immolating; sunk by candidates who are insincere, uncouth, and unprincipled. The crude campaigns of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton leave the U.S. badly divided along the lines of race, economic status and political ideology; with dark forces of intolerance dominating every talk show and rally. Alas, there is almost no discussion of important policy issues in a world where U.S. leadership acutely is being challenged.

 

What can we say? Say this: In comparative perspective, Israel seems like the sane, stable democracy these days. Consider the situation in America to the situation in Israel on almost any foreign or domestic issue, and you're forced to admit that, heck, Israel is in a better place. To begin with, perhaps Israel's system of government — long maligned — is more satisfying and representative. Voters here in Israel have more than two binary choices for leader of the country. Don't tens of millions of Americans wish that they had a serious third-party candidate to vote for this year?

 

And for all the rough and tumble nature of Israeli party politics, hasn't the cutthroat, populist primary system in America disappointed Republicans and Democrats alike? By the way, Israel had a female leader (Golda Meir) almost 50 years ago, while in America they're still arguing about the glass ceiling and wondering whether a woman can be trusted with the highest office in the land. It's true that Israel hasn't had a black, or a Sephardi, prime minister, while America has elected an African-American as president twice. But given the ongoing and escalating race riots in U.S. inner cities, I'm not sure that America has too much to brag about in this field. In any case, Jews from Arab lands have served in Israel as military chief of staff, defense minister, president, and Supreme Court justice.

 

As for the quality of candidates for national leader, I bet you that Americans would bus themselves in droves to the polling stations in order to vote for Benjamin Netanyahu if he were running as a candidate in this U.S. election! Now consider the language used in campaigns. Israeli politicians regularly accuse each other of fascism and corruption, which is bad enough. But no one mixes female hygiene, the size of male organs, and other deplorables into political discourse. Nobody in Israel has questioned the integrity of our electoral system either, even when the result was decided by a hair — for example when Netanyahu edged Shimon Peres out of office in 1996 by less than 1% of the vote. Nobody claimed the vote was rigged and nobody threatened to reject the result.

 

Israeli prosecutors have actually put corrupt politicians behind bars, including a president, prime minister, finance and interior minister, and others. They didn't cover up and close the books on crimes akin to "extreme carelessness" in handling "very sensitive, highly classified information that possibly was accessed by hostile actors" — which is what the FBI did this year. More important is the fact that Israel has charted for itself intelligent courses in foreign and domestic policy, which is far more than can be said of the U.S. in the Barack Obama era and likely beyond. Furthermore, such issues are actually debated intensely in Israeli election campaigns, whereas the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign has been dominated by personal insults and peccadilloes, rather than policy.

 

Israel has a working national health system that, for all its problems, is the envy of most countries in the world. Everybody benefits from considerably comprehensive mandatory coverage. Obama's health reforms have been a disaster, yet neither presidential candidate has bothered to present a realistic plan to fix things.

 

Israel built a fence to keep millions of illegal immigrants from Africa from flooding into the country through Sinai, and passed several iterations of tough yet humanitarian immigration/deportation laws that have been debated at length in parliament and the highest court. It is a controversial policy arena that has been met head-on by intelligent debate and determined government action.

 

In the U.S., beyond Trump's lazy, hazy and haphazard Mexican wall idea, neither he nor his opponent have offered any realistic approaches to confronting immigration issues. There is a serious and worthy debate underway in Israel about the direction, composition, and scope of powers of the Supreme Court. The justice minister is also seeking to reform the selection process for justices, in an above-board and open process that will involve give-and-take between conservatives and liberals. In the U.S., however, the Supreme Court has become the ultimate political football, with presidents unabashedly yanking it left and right, and the fiercely partisan Congress flat-out blocking presidential appointments just because.

 

Who has handled relations with Russia better in recent years, Netanyahu or Obama? The Israeli prime minister has navigated a difficult situation with Russian fighter jets flying along our northern border, backing our enemies — without incident; while the American president has completely botched his ballyhooed "reset" with Moscow, and let Putin muscle into Eastern Europe and the Mideast.

 

Who has done a better job of setting down red lines regarding the conflict in Syria? With determination, Netanyahu has relayed the limits of what Israel can tolerate north of its borders, keeping Hezbollah and Iran at bay for the time being. He quietly and smartly has used humanitarian diplomacy with rebel groups to safeguard the border too. Obama on the other hand, whimpered down from the red lines he loudly set over chemical weapons and other war crimes in Syria, leaving America with little credibility or clout.

 

Who has more allies now in the Arab world — Israel or the U.S.? Egpyt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states today tacitly rely on Netanyahu's acumen and security assistance more than they count on Obama. Only the mullahs in Iran have a better relationship with the White House than with the Israeli Prime Minister's Office; and the Obama-Rouhani nuclear accord isn't a great feather in America's cap either.

 

This listing of America's woes and foibles and their comparison to Israel's relative resiliencies, is not meant to gloat. It is with sorrow that I chronicle the yanking of America off its solid policy moorings by an outlier president, and its sullying by a loutish election campaign. I weep for America and wish it a speedy and full recovery. The world needs America to bounce back, and I am praying that it will. But the contrast detailed here should instill some modesty in American politicians and pundits (and Jewish community leaders) who are quick to lecture Israel about what it must do on a range of external and internal matters. Hey, American friends, get your act together before hectoring Israel..

 

Contents           

             

WILL BETRAYING ISRAEL BE OBAMA’S FAREWELL GESTURE?                                                               

Isi Leibler                                                                                                              

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 1, 2016

 

Throughout his entire presidential term of nearly eight years, US President Barak Obama has insisted that he “has Israel’s back.” The reality is that Obama’s appalling foreign policy has been geared toward the creation of “daylight” between the US and Israel. To this end, Obama reneged on the longstanding bipartisan policy that the US would never be a party to forcing Israel into reverting to the 1949 armistice lines. That policy was reflected in the carefully drafted UN Security Council Resolution 242, unanimously adopted on November 22, 1967, which intimated that Israel would never be expected to revert to indefensible borders. The armistice lines imposed at the end of the War of Independence were never considered formal borders. They left Israel only 14 km. wide at its narrowest point and were described by foreign minister Abba Eban as the “Auschwitz borders.”

 

In explaining the language of UN Resolution 242, US ambassador to the UN Arthur Goldberg was specific. In order to achieve “secure and recognized boundaries” there would be a necessity for both parties to make “territorial adjustments in their peace settlement, encompassing less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories, inasmuch as Israel’s prior frontiers had proved to be notably insecure.” It was also clearly understood that withdrawals would only take place in the context of an overall peace settlement.

 

In September 1968, president Lyndon Johnson stated that “it is clear … that a return to the situation of 4 June 1967 will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be recognized borders.” President Ronald Reagan in September 1982 stated, “In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.” Secretary of state George Shultz in September 1988 declared, “Israel will never negotiate from, or return to, the lines of partition or to the 1967 borders.” President Bill Clinton in his final January 2001 attempt to promote a solution continued to emphasize the importance to Israel of “secure and recognized boundaries.”

 

Even the Palestinians who initially bitterly opposed Resolution 242 ultimately accepted it when the PLO signed the Declaration of Principles with Israel in September 1993. In an April 14, 2004 letter to prime minister Ariel Sharon responding to Israel’s announcement of the unilateral Gaza withdrawal, US president George W. Bush wrote that “the United States reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders.” More explicitly, Bush stated that “in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”

 

The US Congress endorsed the letter in joint resolutions by the Senate (95-3) and the House (407-9). Sharon regarded these Bush commitments as a negotiated deal based on his total withdrawal from Gaza. He considered it to be his most important diplomatic achievement and used it vigorously in an attempt to justify what subsequently proved to be the disastrous withdrawal from Gaza. As late as November 2009 secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who was a major critic of Israel within the Obama administration, still acknowledged the goal of “a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflects subsequent developments and meets Israeli security requirements.”

 

On May 19, 2011, in a shameful humiliation, without any prior notice, just hours before meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama stunned his guest by radically reneging on and deviating from this longstanding bipartisan US policy. He did so when it was clear that the PA was totally inflexible and the entire region was being engulfed by a barbaric civil war. Obama chose that time to state that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” If adopted, that would effectively impose the indefensible 1949 armistice lines as the benchmark for opening future negotiations, with any variation subject to Palestinian consent. Given the consistent Palestinian track record of refusing to make any concessions, the concept of “mutually agreed swaps” is pure fantasy. The fallback would be imposing the 1967 borders which would entail forfeiting secure borders and ceding the major settlement blocs including the Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem – something that no Israeli government could contemplate…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link —Ed.]           

 

On Topic Links

 

Sanctity and Dispossession: Mark Steyn, Jewish World Review, Nov. 8, 2016—The latest amusing electoral intervention by James Comey? As I wrote on the very day the FBI Director "re-opened" the Hillary investigation: I suppose if you've run one sham investigation there's no harm in running a second. And so it proved.

Obama’s ‘Hope and Change’ has Given us ‘Fear and Loathing’: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Nov. 6, 2016—So this is how Hope & Change ends. With the FBI in turmoil, with surging anti-police violence, with fears of voter fraud and foreign hacking, with a sluggish economy, with a terror warning and with two unpopular presidential candidates tearing at each other like wolves. Heckuva job, Barack Obama!

History Repeats as Farce, Then as 2016: Joseph Rago, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 4, 2016—Americans elected the greatest president, Lincoln, four years after the worst, Buchanan, so there’s some hope that 2020 will redeem 2016, whoever wins on Tuesday.

Why No #Never Hilllary?: Jonathan Rosenblum, Jewish World Review, Nov. 8, 2016—Thumbing through latest issue of the Yale Law Report recently, I came across my class secretary's quarterly musings in which he recounts how he first heard Hillary Clinton speak at our fifteenth class reunion, the year her husband was running for his first term.

 

 

 

LEGACY OF ELECTION WITH TWO UNPOPULAR CHOICES IS CONTINUING DIVISION, WEAKNESS

 

Final Days, Awful Choice: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Nov. 3, 2016 — Rule of thumb for a presidential campaign where the two candidates have the highest unfavorable ratings in the history of polling: If you’re the center of attention, you’re losing.

The Case for Trump: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Oct. 17, 2016— Donald Trump needs a unified Republican party in the homestretch if he is to have any chance left of catching Hillary Clinton — along with winning higher percentages of the college-educated and women than currently support him.

Tuesday Will Bring No Peace to the United States: Rex Murphy, National Post, Nov. 4, 2016 — The day of reckoning is at hand. Most of the world is on the verge of nervous collapse as the Americans prepare to go to the polls and force themselves to the painful duty of determining whether their aversion to Donald Trump is stronger than their distaste for Hillary Clinton.

1776: Would You Like to Reconsider?: Andrew Roberts, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 28, 2016 — The American primary system, which has thrown up two presidential candidates who are despised by 60% of Americans, is broken and urgently needs to be reformed.

 

On Topic Links

 

What a Spectacle this Election Has Been: Conrad Black, National Post, Nov. 4, 2016

Americans Have a Chance to Dethrone the House of Clinton: Deroy Murdock, National Review, Nov. 5, 2016

Crisis of the Conservative House Divided: Steven F. Hayward, Weekly Standard, Oct. 31, 2016

The US Elections, 2016, Panel Discussion (Video): Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Nov. 3, 2016

 

FINAL DAYS, AWFUL CHOICE

Charles Krauthammer                     

Washington Post, Nov. 3, 2016

 

Rule of thumb for a presidential campaign where the two candidates have the highest unfavorable ratings in the history of polling: If you’re the center of attention, you’re losing. As Election Day approaches, Hillary Clinton cannot shake the spotlight. She is still ahead in the polls, but you know she’s slipping when she shows up at a Florida campaign event with a week to go accompanied by the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado.

 

The original plan was for Clinton to pivot in the final week of the campaign from relentless criticism of Donald Trump to making a positive case for herself. Instead, she reached back for a six-week-old charge that played well when it first emerged back then but now feels stale and recycled. The setback and momentum shift came courtesy of FBI Director James Comey. Clinton’s greatest hurdle had always been the Comey primary, which the Democrats thought she’d won in July when he declined to recommend prosecuting her over classified emails. This engendered an outpouring of Democratic encomiums about Comey’s unimpeachable integrity and Solomonic wisdom.

 

When it was revealed last Friday that there had been a Comey recount and Clinton lost, Solomon turned into Torquemada. But, of course, Comey had no choice. How could he have sat on a trove of 650,000 newly discovered emails and kept that knowledge suppressed until after the election? Comey’s announcement brought flooding back — to memory and to the front pages — every unsavory element of the Clinton character: shiftiness, paranoia, cynicism and disdain for playing by the rules. It got worse when FBI employees began leaking stories about possible political pressure from the Justice Department and about parallel investigations into the Clinton Foundation.

 

At the same time, Clinton was absorbing a daily dose of WikiLeaks, offering an extremely unappealing tableau of mendacity, deception and the intermingling of public service with private self-enrichment. It was the worst week of her campaign, at the worst time. And it raises two troubling questions: Regarding the FBI, do we really want to elect a president who will likely come into office under criminal investigation by law enforcement? Congressional hearings will be immediate and endless. A constitutional crisis at some point is not out of the question. And regarding WikiLeaks, how do we know it will have released the most damning material by Election Day? A hardened KGB operative like Vladimir Putin might well prefer to hold back whatever is most incriminating until a Clinton presidency. He is surely not above attempted blackmail at an opportune time.

There seems to be a consensus that Putin’s hacking gambit is intended only to disrupt the election rather than to deny Clinton the White House. Why? Putin harbors a deep animus toward Clinton, whom he blames personally for the anti-Putin demonstrations that followed Russia’s rigged 2011 parliamentary elections. Moreover, Putin would surely prefer to deal with Trump, a man who has adopted the softest line on the Kremlin of any modern U.S. leader.

 

In a normal election, the FBI and WikiLeaks factors might be disqualifying for a presidential candidate. As final evidence of how bad are our choices in 2016, Trump’s liabilities, especially on foreign policy, outweigh hers. We are entering a period of unprecedented threat to the international order that has prevailed under American leadership since 1945. After eight years of President Obama’s retreat, the three major revisionist powers — Russia, China and Iran — see their chance to achieve regional dominance and diminish, if not expel, U.S. influence. At a time of such tectonic instability, even the most experienced head of state requires wisdom and delicacy to maintain equilibrium. Trump has neither. His joining of supreme ignorance to supreme arrogance, combined with a pathological sensitivity to any perceived slight, is a standing invitation to calamitous miscalculation.

 

Two generations of Americans have grown up feeling that international stability is as natural as the air we breathe. It’s not. It depends on continual, calibrated tending. It depends on the delicate balancing of alliances and the careful signaling of enemies. It depends on avoiding self-inflicted trade wars and on recognizing the value of allies like Germany, Japan and South Korea as cornerstones of our own security rather than satrapies who are here to dispatch tribute to their imperial master in Washington. It took seven decades to build this open, free international order. It could be brought down in a single presidential term. That would be a high price to pay for the catharsis of kicking over a table.                                                                                                

Contents                                                                                                                      

                                                                                     

THE CASE FOR TRUMP                                                                                                       

Victor Davis Hanson                                                                                                      

National Review, Oct. 17, 2016

 

Donald Trump needs a unified Republican party in the homestretch if he is to have any chance left of catching Hillary Clinton — along with winning higher percentages of the college-educated and women than currently support him. But even before the latest revelations from an eleven-year-old Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump crudely talked about women, he had long ago in the primaries gratuitously insulted his more moderate rivals and their supporters. He bragged about his lone-wolf candidacy and claimed that his polls were — and would be — always tremendous — contrary to his present deprecation of them. Is it all that surprising that some in his party and some independents, who felt offended, swear that they will not stoop to vote for him when in extremis he now needs them? Or that party stalwarts protest that they no longer wish to be associated with a malodorous albatross hung around their neck?

 

That question of payback gains importance if the race in the last weeks once again narrows. Trump had by mid-September recaptured many of the constituencies that once put John McCain and Mitt Romney within striking distance of Barack Obama. And because Trump has apparently brought back to the Republican cause millions of the old Reagan Democrats, various tea-partiers, and the working classes, and since Hillary Clinton is a far weaker candidate than was Barack Obama, in theory he should have had a better shot to win the popular vote than has any Republican candidate since incumbent president George W. Bush in 2004.

 

What has always been missing to end the long public career of Hillary Clinton is a four- or five-percentage-point boost from a mélange of the so-called Never Trump Republicans, as well as women and suburban, college-educated independents. Winning back some of these critics could translate into a one- or two-point lead over Clinton in critical swing states.

 

Those who are soured on Trump certainly can cite lots of understandable reasons for their distaste — well beyond his sometimes grating reality-television personality. In over-dramatic fashion, some Against Trumpers invoke William F. Buckley Jr.’s ostracism of John Birchers from conservative circles as a model for dealing with perceived Trump vulgarity. He is damned as an opportunistic chameleon, not a true conservative. Trump’s personal and professional life has been lurid — as, again, we were reminded by the media-inspired release of a hot-mic tape of past Trump crude sexual braggadocio. The long campaigning has confirmed Trump as often uncouth — insensitive to women and minorities. He has never held office. His ignorance of politics often embarrasses those in foreign- and domestic-policy circles. Trump’s temperament is mercurial, especially in its ego-driven obsessions with slights to his business ethics and acumen. He wins back supporters by temporary bouts of steadiness as his polls surge, only to alienate them again with crazy nocturnal tweets and off-topic rants — as his popularity then again dips. He seems to battle as much with GOP stalwarts as Clintonites, often, to be fair, in retaliation rather than in preemptory fashion.

 

All these flaws earned Trump nemesis in his disastrous first debate, which was followed by marked dips in his polls. He seemed not to have prepared for the contest, convinced that he could wing it with his accustomed superlative adjectives and repetitive make-America-great generalities. He so obsessed over Clinton’s baited traps and contrived slights about his commercial reputation and his temperament that he allowed her to denigrate his character with impunity — even as he missed multiple opportunities to chronicle her spiraling scandals and contrast his mostly conservative agenda with her boilerplate, Obama 2.0, “you didn’t build that” neo-socialism. Trump’s second debate performance was far stronger, and stanched his hemorrhaging after the Access Hollywood revelations, but it was not the blow-out needed to recapture the lost momentum of mid-September — nor will it yet win over Never Trump Republicans and independent women.

 

The counterarguments for voting Trump are by now also well known. The daily news — riot, terrorism, scandals, enemies on the move abroad, sluggish growth, and record debt — demands a candidate of change. The vote is not for purity of conservative thought, but for the candidate who is preferable to the alternative — and is also a somewhat rough form of adherence to the pragmatic Buckley dictate to prefer the most conservative candidate who can win. The issue, then, at this late date is not necessarily Trump per se, but the fact that he will bring into power far more conservatives than would Hillary Clinton. No one has made a successful argument to challenge that reality.

 

Nor is the election a choice even between four more years of liberalism and a return of conservatism; it’s an effort to halt the fundamental transformation of the country. A likely two-term Clinton presidency would complete a 16-year institutionalization of serial progressive abuse of the Constitution, outdoing even the twelve years of the imperial Roosevelt administration. The WikiLeaks revelations suggest an emboldened Hillary Clinton, who feels that a 2016 victory will reify her utopian dreams of a new intercontinental America of open borders and open markets, from Chile to Alaska, in the manner of the European Union expanse from the Aegean to the Baltic…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                            

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                                                                   

                      

TUESDAY WILL BRING NO PEACE TO THE UNITED STATES                                                   

Rex Murphy                                                                                                                     

National Post, Nov. 4, 2016

 

The day of reckoning is at hand. Most of the world is on the verge of nervous collapse as the Americans prepare to go to the polls and force themselves to the painful duty of determining whether their aversion to Donald Trump is stronger than their distaste for Hillary Clinton. They are caught between a rock and a hard place, the devil and the deep blue sea, writhing painfully on both horns of the fiercest dilemma democratic voters have, perhaps ever, to face.

 

As to predicting the outcome, no fool am I. Looking at it over the last year or so, this election of our friends down south has had more twists, turns and novelties than the wildest amusement park. It participates of a logic all its own.  The introduction of Trump to the world of politics has produced a twilight zone, where the normal dynamics, the conventions and rituals of modern media-driver democratic politics, have been blistered and battered beyond recognition and perhaps even beyond repair.

 

The great merger of high-celebrity culture — the Kardashian universe — with that of cynical Washington power lust has occurred, and the offspring is a strange, unfathomable amalgam of the worst, most distressing of both. Making predictions does not belong to this world — what was true yesterday may no longer be true today. And seeking predictive guidance from any previous campaigns is an errand for fools or mystics.

 

There are some moments from this weird cycle I shall never be able to purge from memory. Does anyone recall the early moments of the campaign when it seemed Trump might be in trouble because he said Clinton had been “schlonged” in the 2008 battle for her party’s nomination? For two days the discussions raged — was he being sexist? Rude? Lewd? By campaign’s end, however, we had the great tape of Access Hollywood and Trump and Billy Bush discussing the various super-subtle approaches famous men can deploy toward attractive women. This was the “grab them by the pussy” monologue that effectively put “schlonged” in linguistic Quaker territory.

 

Bernie Sanders will always be with me. A Don Quixote figure, a Knight of the Woeful Countenance, if ever there was one. His quest was forlorn from the start. Poor, innocent, socialist, geriatric Bernie – his previous big moment had been the famous honeymoon in Moscow. But Clinton had his goose in the oven from the get-go. She owned the party; she had, as now we know, friends in the media forward her questions for some of the debates; and, of course, she had early secured all the super delegates.

 

Then came the saddest gesture. Bernie, already hemmed in and tormented by Clinton’s ministrations with the Democratic National Committee, gave up his only sword. He dismissed all the controversy of “her damn emails.” He probably thought this was noble politics — pushing the campaign away from gossip toward “the issues.” Alas and alack, as time and WikiLeaks were to so severely prove, how he might have wished the emails did not go away. They became the single most dramatic and continuous element in the campaign, the one most corrosive to Clinton’s struggle up political Everest. Trump had no such delicacy. And here in the final days of the campaign, where the leaks are at full tide, the Federal Bureau of Investigation drops its now-famous bombshell and the result on Tuesday is really anyone’s guess.

 

I recall Clinton’s first dealing with the email and server. It seems a long time back. She withdrew from all government systems and installed that private server for convenience, she said. Having “two” portable devices was just too burdensome.  She wanted to work from one. Oh, Hillary. Why did you start so badly. She had more “devices” during her term as secretary of state than are in Bill Gates’ hobby room.  She lost them more often than she ran out of bleach. The server debacle also opened the door to her very lowest moment. It is a truth universally acknowledged, if I may twist a phrase from Miss Austen, that it is never good news for a presidential campaign when people start talking about wieners. Particularly, a Clinton presidential effort — for the Weiner factor has exerted its dark magic in ways reminiscent of her own husband’s darkest political days.

 

But when wiener politics brings to centre-stage the very Mother of all wieners, Anthony Weiner himself, and when the doings of that compulsive exhibitionistic erotomaniac — the estranged husband of your closest confidante and aide — somehow collide with your campaign, it is the day of the locust indeed. Weiner’s picture scandal and Clinton’s email woes intersect at the FBI, which has been investigating both. Clinton must bathe in tears every time she recalls, as Washington lore has it, that she introduced Weiner to Huma Abedin. She was Fate’s chosen instrument to bring the most ridiculous and disgraced figure on the American political scene into the very heart of her now very troubled effort to reach the White House. Schooled? It appears Trump was right.

 

Tuesday will bring what it may. Whatever the result, there will be no peace. The factions will rage, and the great messy tensions and anger within the American political systems will increase. But as spectacle it has been and will likely remain without rival, a farce as rich and ridiculous as Art of Nature has ever provided.

 

Contents           

             

1776: WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECONSIDER?                                                                

Andrew Roberts                                                                                

Wall Street Journal, Oct. 28, 2016

 

The American primary system, which has thrown up two presidential candidates who are despised by 60% of Americans, is broken and urgently needs to be reformed. The only rational response to the choice of  Hillary Clinton or  Donald Trump is that of  Henry Kissinger on the Iran-Iraq War: “A pity they both can’t lose.” For a non-American who defends the U.S. at every opportunity, I must ask: Are you deliberately trying to make it more difficult for me this year?

 

For all the undoubted genius of your Constitution, in 2016 it is no longer sustainable for Americans to say they have the best democratic system in the world. There have been many types of democracy—the Athenian agora model of direct participation, the Westminster-based constitutional monarchy, the Swiss referendum and cantonal model, Indian mass democracy, and so on. But it is impossible any more to suggest that the finest one is that which has thrown up Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump as the final choice for 320 million Americans.

 

When Chinese GDP is overtaking America’s, we are engaged in a vital ideological struggle over which political system delivers the best results: the state corporatism of the Beijing model, where there is no free speech and no democracy, or the democratic model of the West, whose leading democracy today presents its people with a choice between a preposterous, petulant monster of self-regard with deep, dark psychological flaws on one side, and on the other a proven failure whose views float with the polling data and whose word of honor cannot be relied upon.

 

I’m not for a moment suggesting that democracy is under threat in America. With your Constitution, Bill of Rights, First Amendment, Congress, separation of powers—and the sublime instincts of the American people—democracy is under no threat whatsoever here, for all your president’s absurd hyperbole. But the concept of democratic values as worthy aspirations for modern society certainly is under serious threat globally from a totalitarian state-capitalist model that is dangerously attractive in what it is producing for its populations, while American democracy is offering a choice between a crook and a clown.

 

So what is to be done? First, the Republicans need party leaders and candidates who confront people like Mr. Trump seriously from the start and do not coddle him in the vain hope that if you’re nice you inherit his supporters when he collapses. Second, it is ludicrous to have debates controlled by TV channels that want the GOP to split and the Democrats to win, and which frame their questions accordingly. Third, the talking down of America, even in an election year, has gone too far and is likely to be misinterpreted abroad. Newt Gingrich has said that if Mrs. Clinton wins, America will go the way of Venezuela. No it won’t. When Adam Smith was brought the news of Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga, and was told that Britain was ruined forever, he replied. “There’s a great deal of ruin in a nation.”

 

If we in Britain got over losing America and went on to become the largest empire in history, you can get over four years of Mrs. Clinton. The word “again” in “Make America great again” is a terrible libel on your country, which is still great on any objective criterion, albeit clearly going in the wrong direction. Self-pity is not a part of the American national character—however emotionally and rhetorically alluring it might be during election time—and you must not permit Mr. Trump’s sloganizing to allow it to find a place there.

 

Fourth, the percentages of support that guarantee a candidate a place in the debate should be drastically higher so that you don’t have a dozen or more people taking part and thus sometimes given no more than 30 seconds in which to try to sum up complex issues, leading to a moronically low standard of debate. If Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas were forced to debate each other in 30-second bursts, answering politically loaded questions from CNN and ABC and CBS intended to embarrass them, you probably wouldn’t have got a much better outcome.

 

That Donald Trump has held no public office also ought to have been an automatic disqualification. I know you like the idea in America that anyone can be president, but you are really testing that dictum this year. You’ve had plenty of presidential candidates who have not previously held elected office, including William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Wendell Willkie and Dwight Eisenhower. But they all held high offices or served their country outside politics: Taft was governor of the Philippines, Hoover was head of the Belgian Relief Agency during World War I, Willkie fought the Ku Klux Klan and headed his local bar association, and Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander during World War II. These were all honorable positions of importance and responsibility. Mr. Trump has been head of Miss Universe and star of “The Apprentice,” both businesses in which he owned an interest.

 

The Republican Party should not have allowed itself to be hijacked by a man with so minute a record of contribution to the nation, and it needs to alter its rules to prevent a similar demagogue with deep pockets and no conscience from doing it again. The Republicans need a superdelegate system of sane party elders who want to see the party win. If there hadn’t been superdelegates in the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders would be within a hair’s breadth of the White House right now…                                                             

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link —Ed.]                    

On Topic Links

 

What a Spectacle this Election Has Been: Conrad Black, National Post, Nov. 4, 2016—Squalid, garish, heavy-laden with mud-slinging and mired in corruption though the U.S. election campaign is, almost unmitigated mockery of everything that the founding documents of the United States proclaimed as they artfully reinterpreted a rather grubby colonial tax squabble with Great Britain into the dawn of human liberty, though it also is, it has been engrossing.

Americans Have a Chance to Dethrone the House of Clinton: Deroy Murdock, National Review, Nov. 5, 2016—Drain the swamp!” GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has insisted before huge crowds increasingly confident of a well-deserved, sorely needed, come-from-behind victory.

Crisis of the Conservative House Divided: Steven F. Hayward, Weekly Standard, Oct. 31, 2016—For months it has been clear that in one vital respect Donald Trump's fate in the presidential election does not matter. Win or lose, he has divided and may yet shatter the conservative movement, a fact that was evident before the Access Hollywood tape gave us a TMI moment barely suitable for TMZ. Who could have foreseen that the Great Pumpkin candidate would turn out to be a Black Swan event for conservatism?

The US Elections, 2016, Panel Discussion (Video): Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Nov. 3, 2016—Canadian Institute for Jewish Research and Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem present: "The US Elections, 2016", Panel Discussion, Oct. 31, 2016.

 

 

 

Frederick Krantz: As U.S. Election Looms, Terror Bombings at Home & Marginalization in M.E. Portend a Difficult Year Ahead

 

 

 

 

As U.S. Election Looms, Terror Bombings at Home & Marginalization in M.E. Portend a Difficult Year Ahead

 

Frederick Krantz

 

 

As the November Presidential election approaches, several recent events underline the U.S.’s increasingly dangerous domestic and foreign situations.

 

A series of bombing incidents (the perpetrator, an Afghan Muslim terrorist, was quickly caught) occurred across the September 17-18 weekend. One exploded pipe-bomb caused 29 casualties in Manhatten, another exploded harmlessly in a Jersey Shore town, and one, undetonated, was found in Elizabeth, New Jersey. 

 

And as the East Coast bombs went off, nine people in a St. Cloud, Minnesota knife-attack were wounded by an Islamic State-claimed killer shouting “Allahu akbar”. Shot and wounded, the attacker was taken into custody.

 

These multiple incidents—the first explosions in New York City since 9/11–once again brought home the deepening crisis of ongoing Islamist terrorism in America.  

 

And also, once again, municipal and state "authorities" were quick, initially, either to discount the attacks as (Islamic) terrorism or to downplay possible "external" (i.e., Islamic State) sources.

 

A subdued Hillary Clinton immediately counselled caution in attributing the assaults. But Republican Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, reflecting the public’s  reaction to these events (and the fact that they clearly strengthen his candidacy), immediately termed them terrorist bombings. Trump called for quick action to stem the widening incidence of Islamist terror across the U.S.

 

Abroad, over the same weekend, America’s disastrous Syrian policy (or, better, lack of policy) worsened, as yet another fragile cease-fire, tortuously negotiated by John Kerry with Bashar Assad’s Russian enablers, collapsed.   Assad refused to honor it, blocking emergency food convoys into besieged Aleppo, this as the Americans made a dreadful air-attack targeting mistake, resulting in over sixty Syrian army deaths.  

 

Although the US immediately admitted and apologized for the mistake, Assad claimed the US consciously targeted the Syria troops, and Russia called an emergency Saturday night Security Council meeting at the UN.

 

 (U.S. UN ambassador Susan Powers, sounding a bit like Gertrude in “the lady doth protest too much” scene from Hamlet, shrilly attacked the Russians, calling their action a “stunt” and “hypocritical”: one assumes Hillary Clinton’s infamous “reset” policy with Russia’s Putin, inaugurated as she assumed the Secretary of State title, is now definitively over.)

 

The Syrian situation is turning into a potentially explosive tinderbox, a Hobbesian bellum omnium contra omnes or “War of all against all”, which risks setting off a wider M.E. conflagration.  

 

U.S.-Russian and Turkish-Kurdish tensions are growing. magnified by conflicts between the various anti-Assad militias, the Islamic State “caliphate” and other Islamist forces, and Assad’s army and airforce, backed by Iranian and Hezbollah troops, And of course tensions with Israel, on both the northern Golan and southern Lebanon borders, must also be factored in.

 

Behind the Syrian scene, but very much part of it, is Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which has already funneled ca. $35 billion (cash!) into the coffers of the world’s leading terror-supporting state (and hence into the bank-account of its pro-Assad Lebanese client, Hezbollah). 

 

Meanwhile both Iraq and Afghanistan are falling apart, and post-coup Turkey may well follow suit.  And Libya–already rent asunder (thanks to Hillary’s knocking off of Gaddafi without making provision for a replacement)—is replacing Turkey as the jumping-off point for continuing waves of Muslim migrants.  Desperately trying to escape an imploding Middle East, they seek entry into a Europe destabilized by the rise of nationalist political parties and still reeling from Britain’s E.U. “Brexit”.  

 

To these disastrous M.E. Obama-Clinton foreign policy debacles must be added the unchecked and aggressive Chinese South China Sea expansion, “crazy state” North Korea’s nuclear and intercontinental missile tests, Iran’s risky Persian Gulf challenges to the U.S. Navy, and  Russia’s ongoing threat to Ukraine and the Baltic states.

 

And these foreign policy woes are aggravated by a continuingly sluggish American economy yet to return to pre-2008 recession levels. Real unemployment is estimated at well above the official 4.9-5.0% rate, ninety-five million people are either unemployed or have ceased looking for work, and the national debt is rapidly approaching $20 trillion.

 

Hence the coming American election, now two months away, is of decisive importance. A period of global and regional instability and tension may well be upon us, as–no matter who wins–the new President will surely be tested by powerful adversaries sensing any indecision or weakness.

 

As the ancient Chinese curse has it, May you live in interesting times.  Still, for those of us who, products of an even older civilization, have lived to see the miracle of reborn Israel, let us hope and pray that the New Year 5777, arriving this month, will bring peace and only good things for us and for Israel. And let us, as our Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, enjoins, Choose life.

  

         (Prof. Frederick Krantz, Editor of the Isranet Daily Briefing, is

President & Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

 

U.S. ELECTION 2016: TRUMP & CLINTON SPAR IN KEY DEBATE; REGARDLESS WHO WINS, SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL IS “BEYOND PARTISANSHIP”

 

Trump Deserves to be Taken Seriously After Surviving Round One: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Sept. 27, 2016 — Her smile betrayed Hillary Clinton.

Beyond Partisanship: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 26, 2016 — While in New York, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the presidential candidates of both major parties.

Sizing Up the Next Commander-in-Chief: Robert M. Gates, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 16, 2016 — You wouldn’t know it from the presidential campaigns, but the first serious crisis to face our new president most likely will be international.

The Construct of the White Working-Class Zombies: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Sept. 26, 2016 — One of the strangest transformations in the era of Obama has been the overt and often gratuitous stereotyping of so-called white people…

 

On Topic Links

 

Trump Vs. Clinton: First Debate Highlights (Video): Breaking Israel News, Sept. 27, 2016

No Wobbles, Tantrums or Knockouts on a Relatively Good Night for Trump: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Sept. 27, 2016

Study Shows US Jewish Votes Could Play Decisive Role in Swing States: Penny Schwartz, Times of Israel, Sept. 23, 2016

If Hillary Loses, Democrats Face a Long Time in Exile: Michael Barone, New York Post, Sept. 23, 2016

 

 

 

TRUMP DESERVES TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY

AFTER SURVIVING ROUND ONE

Michael Goodwin                            

New York Post, Sept. 27, 2016

 

Her smile betrayed Hillary Clinton. It was too long, too frequent and obviously planned. It was a silent statement that she, the mature adult on the stage, was showing the stoic forbearance of a saint against an unruly child. But the unruly child didn’t cooperate with her plan. Donald Trump was a brawler from start to finish and played very rough, but was never wild, and was nowhere near the monster she needed him to be. Maybe now she will take him seriously. She’d better if she wants to be president.

 

Going into the first debate, Trump had to step over a very low bar. All he had to do was reassure voters that he was neither a lunatic nor an idiot, and could control his temper for 90 minutes. He cleared the bar, delivering a series of passionate moments on issues of substance, such as trade, jobs and taxes in the first few minutes. And while he regressed into an old habit of wandering into rhetorical dead ends, interrupting, making faces and talking too much about his business, he never lost his cool in a way that would have been a disaster.

 

Clinton faced several key challenges, too. One, given her health issues, was to avoid a coughing fit or show any signs of physical distress. A second was to display her preparation and vast library of knowledge without getting lost in the weeds, and a third was to get under Trump’s skin. Check, check and check. Mission accomplished.

 

Yet while both candidates achieved most of what they had to, the result isn’t equal. A slugfest standoff, which is what America witnessed last night, is much better for Trump than it is for Clinton. She is the de facto incumbent and his merely surviving benefits him as the challenger. He wobbled at times and was not as orderly in his preparation, but proved he could take her best punches on the big stage. It wasn’t his best night, but it was good enough.

 

If that sounds as though the Republican nominee is being graded on a curve to win the most powerful and important office in the world, don’t blame Trump. Blame Clinton and her media handmaidens. Their synchronized effort to demonize Trump and paint him as being temperamentally unfit to be president is not working. They set the bar too low by defining Trump as way outside the lines of normal political discourse, and therefore an unacceptable alternative to her. Tens of millions of Americans don’t agree. Moreover, the strategy also gives Trump a challenge he could handle and control over his own destiny. For last night at least, he beat the Clinton juggernaut at their own game.

 

Chalk the mistake up to Clinton arrogance. As it did with Bernie Sanders, who almost grabbed the Democratic nomination from her, Clinton’s team never took Trump seriously. They assumed that general-election voters wouldn’t, either. Even more amazing, they apparently still believe that if only they keep describing him as unqualified, the public will get on board and the Trump candidacy will collapse. Just the other day, Clinton asked union supporters, “Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?,” suggesting she still doesn’t understand why the race is even competitive, let alone a dead heat.

 

At the same time, her own problems — an image of being dishonest and untrustworthy — are not things she can fix or control. Her only hope is that Trump would come off as too risky for most voters, and the smile would be her way of saying, “I told you so.” He still might cooperate, but not last night. He flirted with danger, yet did not get tripped up or make any huge mistakes. No surprise, she did benefit from the decisions of moderator Lester Holt. He asked only one brief question about her email scandal without mentioning the FBI investigation, and never raised the family foundation scandals.

 

Fairness dictated Holt should have pressed Clinton more, especially because he asked Trump about two hot-button issues: the Obama birther issue in the context of race, and why he hadn’t released his personal income taxes. But even that imbalance ultimately might serve Trump. The test was survival, and media bias is fuel for his movement. So even after an unfair fight, he lives to fight another day. We’ll know in a few days whether undecided voters were moved in either direction, but my guess is that the race still will be close when the second debate comes around in 12 days.                                                                               

                                                                       

 

Contents                                                                                                                                                                         

BEYOND PARTISANSHIP                                                                                                            

Editorial                                                                                                      

Jerusalem Post, Sept. 26, 2016

 

While in New York, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the presidential candidates of both major parties. To his credit, Netanyahu managed to maintain a statesmanlike neutrality that reflects America’s broad, non-partisan support for Israel. The prime minister was less successful at doing this in the previous presidential elections, during which he was perceived as favoring Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.

 

In the months that remain until the November presidential election, Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders should strive to maintain their neutrality. The ties between Israel and the US are too strong and profound to turn support for Israel into a partisan issue. Israel is an American ally in the most profound meaning of the word, and this should be reflected in our diplomacy. Regardless of which party receives a mandate from the American people to enter the White House, relations with the US will remain strong. That is apparent from the statements made by both candidates, but it is also self-evident from the very nature of the alliance between the US and Israel. In every significant way Israel and America are allies.

 

Ideologically speaking, Israel shares America’s values. Though they developed differently, the democratic institutions of both countries are informed by many of the same ideals. The founding fathers of both countries were influenced by the Bible’s skeptical and ambiguous approach to absolutism and the divine right of kings and its insistence on the basic dignity of every human being as made in the image of God.

 

Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are protected in both countries even in the most extreme of cases. In Israel, Arab Israeli parliamentarians speaking in the Knesset are permitted to voice radically anti-Zionist positions; Israeli policies on the West Bank are regularly and publicly attacked; even the most high-ranking officials are not immune to muckraking. In America, the right to express the most distasteful opinions – from Holocaust denial to white supremacism to radical criticism of US policies abroad – is zealously defended.

 

Tactically, Israel identifies with and promotes the US’s global vision of promoting freedom. Israel’s army is formidable and completely loyal to its democratically elected governments. The Jewish state helps to secure America’s borders and its interests and protects the lives of Americans – not just in the Middle East but elsewhere. Economically, Israel’s dynamic hi-tech industry – tightly related to its defense sector – develops both civilian and military technologies that have helped upgrade American capabilities. And Israel helps stimulate the US economy through trade, technological innovation and job creation.

 

Israel is the only Middle Eastern state never to oppose America on major international issues. Unlike other true US allies such as European states, Israel is one of the few countries aligned with the US that not only has the will but also the wherewithal to aid the US when necessary. Though Israel is a tiny country, the IDF is said to be larger than the French and British armies combined. Throughout the decades since its creation, Israel has been in constant conflict with its neighbors, which has forced it to maintain a superbly trained and equipped military that is capable of mobilizing within a few hours. Both candidates understand this as do the vast majority of Americans, regardless of their party affiliation.

 

Foreign policy “realists” have attempted to argue that the US’s open support for Israel is detrimental to American interests. If America were to reduce its exposure to Muslim criticism of Israel by limiting its ties with the Jewish state, it would be beneficial to US interests, they say. But these realists – who see themselves as driven solely by rational considerations – forget that this line of thinking leads to increasingly larger concessions and compromises on the sorts of basic values shared by the US and Israel. For just as the US’s close ties with Israel anger Islamists, so does America’s defense of gender equality, its defense of the freedom of speech, its support for religious freedom…                                                                                 

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]            

 

Contents                                                                       

                                                    

SIZING UP THE NEXT COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF                                                                            

Robert M. Gates                                                                                                  

Wall Street Journal, Sept. 16, 2016

 

You wouldn’t know it from the presidential campaigns, but the first serious crisis to face our new president most likely will be international. The list of possibilities is long—longer than it was eight years ago.  Here is the world the new president will inherit at noon on January 20—a range of challenges for which neither candidate has offered new strategies or paths forward.

Every aspect of our relationship with China is becoming more challenging. In addition to Chinese cyberspying and theft of intellectual property, many American businesses in China are encountering an increasingly hostile environment. China’s nationalist determination unilaterally to assert sovereignty over disputed waters and islands in the East and South China Seas is steadily increasing the risk of military confrontation.

 

Most worrying, given their historic bad blood, escalation of a confrontation between China and Japan could be very dangerous. As a treaty partner of Japan, we would be obligated to help Tokyo. China intends to challenge the U.S. for regional dominance in East Asia over the long term, but the new president could quickly face a Chinese military challenge over disputed islands and freedom of navigation. Dealing effectively with China requires a president with strategic acumen and vision, nuance, deft diplomatic and political skill, and sound instincts on when to challenge, when to stay silent and when to compromise or partner.

On this most complex challenge, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has said or done much to give anyone confidence. All we really know is Mr. Trump’s intention to launch a trade war with a country holding over $1 trillion in U.S. debt and the largest market for many U.S. companies; and Mrs. Clinton’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which she helped to craft and the failure of which would hand China an easy political and economic win.

 

Then there is Vladimir Putin’s Russia, now routinely challenging the U.S. and its allies. How to count the ways. There was the armed seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea; Moscow’s military support of the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine; overt and covert intimidation of the Baltic states; the dispatch of fighter and bomber aircraft to avert the defeat of Syria’s Assad; sales of sophisticated weaponry to Iran.

 

There is Russia’s luring the U.S. secretary of state into believing that a cease-fire in Syria is just around the corner—if only the U.S. would do more, or less, depending on the issue; the cyberattacks on the U.S., including possible attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election; and covert efforts to aggravate division and weakness with the European Union and inside European countries. And there is the dangerously close buzzing of U.S. Navy ships in the Baltic Sea and close encounters with U.S. military aircraft in international airspace.

 

The only thing longer than the list of hostile Russian actions abroad is the list of repressive actions inside Russia to stifle dissent and strengthen Mr. Putin’s security services-run state. Mr. Putin will continue to behave aggressively until confronted and stopped. No one in the West wants a return to the Cold War, so the challenge is to confront and stop Mr. Putin’s aggressions while pursuing cooperation on international challenges that can only be addressed successfully if Russia is at the table—from terrorism to climate change, from the Syrian conflict to nuclear nonproliferation and arms control. Again, neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump has expressed any views on how they would deal with Mr. Putin (although Mr. Trump’s expressions of admiration for the man and his authoritarian regime are naive and irresponsible).

 

North Korea and Iran are sworn enemies of the U.S. North Korean potentate  Kim Jong Un is building more nuclear weapons for his arsenal even as he develops ballistic missiles that now, or very soon, can reach all of our allies (and U.S. military forces) in Asia. During the first term of the next president these missiles will be able to reach the U.S. mainland.

 

On his good days, Kim Jong Un appears to outsiders as a cartoonish megalomaniac; on his bad days, he seems to yearn for a Gotterdammerung finale in which a perishing North Korea takes a lot of Asians and Americans with it. Or is he simply continuing to pursue a strategy designed to preserve his rule and North Korea’s independence through nuclear blackmail? The new U.S. president could face an early North Korean provocation against the South, the Japanese or us, and for sure will be confronted by a long-term strategic nuclear threat to our allies and to America.

 

Regarding Iran, whatever value Mr. Obama’s nuclear agreement has brought, the deal has led to no decrease in Iran’s aggressive meddling in the Middle East nor any lessening of its hostility to the U.S. Iranian naval challenges to U.S. warship operations in the Persian Gulf have nearly doubled over the last year. Iran will do all it can to embarrass the U.S.—such as allowing Russian planes to use Iranian airfields to attack the Syrian opposition and testing ballistic missiles—even as it strives to eject us from the entire region. Our new president had best be prepared for an early test of U.S. resolve in the Persian Gulf and Iran’s continuing regional subversion.

 

While Mrs. Clinton gave a speech on Iran over a year ago, she has since offered no inkling of her views and has said little about North Korea. Mr. Trump has said nary a word on the challenge posed by either country. Both candidates have spelled out how they would deal with ISIS, and terrorism more broadly, but their approach in essence sounds like what President Obama is doing now—with more ideological fervor and some additional starch. Neither has addressed what the broader U.S. strategy should be toward a Middle East in flames, from Syria to Iraq to Libya, and where Gulf Arab states worry about their own stability amid growing doubts they can rely on the U.S.; both Egypt and Turkey are ruled by increasingly authoritarian strongmen; and an Israeli-Palestinian conflict further from resolution than ever.

 

Mr. Trump has suggested we should walk away from the region and hope for the best. This is a dangerous approach oblivious to the reality that what happens in the Middle East doesn’t stay in the Middle East. Mrs. Clinton has ruled out putting U.S. ground troops in Iraq and Syria “ever again.” That is a politically driven categorical declaration of a sort no president (or candidate) should make, and it raises the question whether she would pull out the 5,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq. She has expressed no new ideas to deal with the boiling caldron that is today’s Middle East…                                                                                               

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]         

 

 

Contents           

THE CONSTRUCT OF THE WHITE WORKING-CLASS ZOMBIES

Victor Davis Hanson

National Review, Sept. 26, 2016

 

One of the strangest transformations in the era of Obama has been the overt and often gratuitous stereotyping of so-called white people — most often the white working classes who have become constructed into veritable unthinking and unrecognizable zombies. For progressives especially these were not the sympathetic old foundation of the Democratic party, who were once romanticized as the “people” pitted against the industrialists and the bluestockings, but rather have become monstrous caricatures of all sorts of incorrect race/class/and gender behavior and speech.

 

Stranger still, this disparagement was concurrent to the release of a variety of recent studies that have shown that the white working class has been “losing ground” in far more dramatic terms than have other ethnic groups, especially in key areas such as health and life expectancy. Such news might once have earned liberal sympathies rather than derision. Odder still, the so-called one percenters — that includes high percentages of whites, who have benefited from globalization and changes in the U.S. economy — are often precisely those who damn the less fortunate for supposedly enjoying racially based privileges that are largely confined to themselves.

 

Obama himself had long ago made popular the idea that there are not individual white people, good and bad, lazy and industrious, but more generally a collective Borg of racist and culpable “white people.” Or, as he characterized his own “effective” tricks over clueless whites in his admittedly fictional memoir Dreams from My Father, “it was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: [White] People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves.”

 

The president himself repeatedly amplified this emphasis on clueless retrograde whites during his two presidential campaigns, which in toto can be fairly characterized as a refutation of his earlier admirable 2004 speech at the Democratic convention (‘There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America”).

 

Indeed, on a number of occasions during the 2008 campaign, Obama reverted to the “white men” tropes earlier found in Dreams from My Father and commonly heard in Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity Church. In Obama’s much heralded March 2008 apologia (“A More Perfect Union”) for intimacy with the racist Reverend Wright, he drew a moral equivalence between the racist firebrand Wright and his own grandmother, who had sacrificed to send him to prep school (“I can no more disown him [Wright] than I can my white grandmother”).

 

When later he was called on equating Wright’s racism with his clueless grandmother’s supposed racist fears of being alone on a street with young African-American males (in the manner that progressives such as Jesse Jackson, Mark Cuban, and Lena Dunham have similarly confessed), Obama further dismissed her with the curt remark that “she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, you know, there’s a reaction that’s been bred in our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society.” In a public reading of Dreams From My Father in Cambridge, Mass., in September 1995, a young Obama emulated his prejudicial grandmother’s supposedly nerdy white accent.

 

“Typical” (along with “they” and “them”) is a favorite stereotyping adjective of Obama’s and reappeared recently during his Laos trip, when he blasted Americans as racist: “Typically, when people feel stressed, they turn on others who don’t look like them.” That invoked memories of his clinger speech eight years earlier. After losing the Pennsylvania primary, Obama generalized the white working classes as mindless zombies of a xenophobic and racist sort who had not supported his candidacy: “And it’s not surprising, then. They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

 

In repeatedly emphasizing “they” and “them,” Obama sought to reinvent the country into two groups — one, a noble if not long-suffering ascendant coalition of various aware racial minorities, aided by largely sympathetic but naïve and condescending well-meaning whites. The other half were the “lazy” Americans who in times of economic stress “typically” revealed their innate ignorance through racism and nativism…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

Contents                       

           

On Topic Links

 

Trump Vs. Clinton: First Debate Highlights (Video): Breaking Israel News, Sept. 27, 2016—Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton face off in the first of three major debates which both hope will tip the scales in their favor.

No Wobbles, Tantrums or Knockouts on a Relatively Good Night for Trump: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Sept. 27, 2016—It may have been primetime American TV, but the first Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential debate came at an awkward time for Israel, getting underway at 4 in the morning. And for those here who stayed or got up, there was nary a reference to us to lift our tired, pre-dawn spirits — no direct mention of Israel, and just a single Trump namecheck of our prime minister.

Study Shows US Jewish Votes Could Play Decisive Role in Swing States: Penny Schwartz, Times of Israel, Sept. 23, 2016—A new study, touted as the first-ever state-by-state, county-by-county Jewish population estimate, shows how the Jewish vote could play a crucial role in key battleground states.

If Hillary Loses, Democrats Face a Long Time in Exile: Michael Barone, New York Post, Sept. 23, 2016—There’s been lots of speculation about the fate of the Republican Party if (as most of the prognosticators expect and hope) Donald Trump loses. There’s been less speculation, though recent polling suggests it may be in order, about the fate of the Democratic Party if Hillary Clinton loses.

 

 

 

 

TRUMP, REJECTING POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, WOOS “DEPLORABLES”, WHILE CLINTON IS AFFLICTED BY SCANDALS & SECRECY

Deplorably, Trump is Going to Win: David P. Goldman, Asia Times, Sept. 11, 2016 — The presidential election was over the moment the word “deplorable” made its run out of Hillary Clinton’s unguarded mouth.

The Way Trump Talks: Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 7, 2016 — Until recently, American politics was as flat as a backyard swimming pool.

The Bribery Standard: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Aug. 25, 2016 — Bernie Sanders never understood the epic quality of the Clinton scandals.

This is America’s Last Chance: Conrad Black, National Post, Sept. 9, 2016 — In news terms, it has been a quieter summer than usual, and not remotely reminiscent of invincible summers that presaged a global descent into terrible times, such as 1929 or 1939.

 

On Topic Links

 

Hillary Lies About Her Health, Nets Say ‘Both Candidates’ Guilty: Kyle Drennen, MRC News Busters, Sept. 12, 2016

Third-Party Candidates Set to Shake up Presidential Election: Marisa Schultz, New York Post, Sept. 10, 2016

The Problem with Hillary: David Suissa, Jewish Journal, Aug. 30, 2016

President Trump Isn’t Farfetched: Douglas E. Schoen, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 6, 2016

 

 

                 DEPLORABLY, TRUMP IS GOING TO WIN

David P. Goldman

Asia Times, Sept. 11, 2016

 

The presidential election was over the moment the word “deplorable” made its run out of Hillary Clinton’s unguarded mouth. As the whole world now knows, Clinton told a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender fundraiser Sept. 10, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’ Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that, and he has lifted them up.”

 

Hillary is road kill. She apologized, to be sure, but no-one will believe her: she was chilling with her home audience and feeling the warmth, and she said exactly what she thinks. The “Clinton Cash” corruption scandals, the layers of lies about the email server, health problems, and all the other negatives that pile up against the former First Lady are small change compared to this apocalyptic moment of self-revelation.

 

You can’t win an American presidential election without the deplorables’ vote. Deplorables are America’s biggest minority. They might even be the American majority. They may or not be racist, homophobic and so forth, but they know they’re deplorable. Deplorable, and proud. They’re the median family whose real income has fallen deplorably by 5% in the past ten years,  the 35% of adult males who deplorably have dropped out of the labor force, the 40% of student debtors who deplorably aren’t making payments on their loans, the aging state and local government workers whose pension funds are $4 trillion short. They lead deplorable lives and expect that their kids’ lives will be even more deplorable than theirs.

 

Americans are by and large forgiving people. They’ll forgive Bill for cavorting with Monica “I did not have sex with that woman” Lewinsky in the Oval Office and imposing himself on any number of unwilling females. They might even forgive Hillary for losing tens of thousands of compromising emails on an illegal private server and then repeatedly lying about it in a way that insults the deplorable intelligence of the average voter. But the one thing you can’t do is spit on them and tell them it’s raining. They’ll never forgive you for that. They’re hurting, and they rankle at candidates who rub their faces in it.

 

Mitt Romney’s campaign was unsalvageable after the famous 2012 “47% remark,” by which he simply meant that the 47% of American workers whose income falls below the threshold for federal taxes would be indifferent to his tax cut proposals. The trouble is that these workers pay a great deal of taxes–to Social Security, Medicare, and in most cases to local governments through sales taxes and assessments. After a covert video of his remarks at a private fundraiser made the rounds, Romney spent the rest of the campaign with the equivalent of an advertising blimp over his head emblazoned with the words: “I represent the economic elite.” Clinton has done the same thing with the cultural elite.

 

There are racists and homophobes in the Trump camp, to be sure. Everybody’s got to be somewhere. Trump is no Puritan, however, and really couldn’t care less what sort of sex people have, or who uses what bathroom (as he made clear), or who marries whom. He built a new country club in Palm Beach two decades ago because the old ones excluded blacks and Jews. He’s no racist. He’s an obnoxious, vulgar, salesman who plays politics like a reality show. I’ve made clear that I will vote for him, not because he was my choice in the Republican field (that was Sen. Cruz), but because I believe that rule of law is a precondition for a free society. If the Clintons get a free pass for influence-peddling on the multi-hundred-million-dollar scale and for covering up illegal use of private communications for government documents, the rule of law is a joke in the United States. Even if Trump were a worse president than Clinton–which is probably not the case–I would vote for him, on this ground alone.

 

That’s not why Trump crushed the Republican primaries. He won because Americans are tired of an economic elite that ignores them. Americans know the game is rigged against them. For generations Americans could make their way from the bottom to the top of the heap by starting businesses. In some periods more of them succeeded than others, but everyone knew someone who got rich more or less honestly. That came to a crashing end during the Obama Administration. There were fewer small firms with fewer workers in 2013 than there were in 2007…

 

The deplorables look at the American economy as a lottery. They aren’t sophisticated, but they’re sly: They know the game is rigged, because there aren’t any winners. The American economy is more corrupt and more cartelized then at any time in its history. Productivity growth was negative for the past two quarters, and five-year productivity growth is the lowest since the stagflation of the 1970s. Corporations are making money by gaming the regulatory system rather than deploying new technologies. Close to half of the increase in corporate profits during the past decade can be attributed to regulatory rent-seeking by large corporations, according to a June 2016 study by Boston University economist Jim Bessen. Bessen concluded that “investments in conventional capital assets and R&D account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.”

 

That’s why Trump won the nomination. Ted Cruz, an evangelical Christian, solicited the religious vote (what Hillary Clinton thinks of “homophobes”), but the evangelicals by and large voted for Trump. They want an outsider with a big broom to come in and sweep away the Establishment, because the Establishment has given them deplorably few crumbs from the table these past eight years. As “Publius” wrote Sept. 5 in Claremont Review, “A Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.” There are any number of things I would like Donald Trump to do as president. I have no idea what he will do when elected. Deplorably, we’re going to find out.

 

 

Contents                                                                                                                                   

                                                                         

                                  THE WAY TRUMP TALKS

         Daniel Henninger

Wall Street Journal, Sept. 7, 2016

 

Until recently, American politics was as flat as a backyard swimming pool. This year, the politicians gathered for their quadrennial family cookout, known as the presidential primaries. Suddenly, everyone saw some big old blond guy in red trunks bouncing on the diving board. Uh-oh. Then the big guy launched himself, butt first, into the middle of the pool. Everyone, and I mean everyone, got soaked. Uncle Don, the uninvited guest at the 2016 election, has upended almost everything we knew about presidential campaigns. Not least is the way Donald Trump talks.

 

“I would build a great wall. And nobody builds walls better than me, believe me. And I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall…Get ’em out of here. That’s right. Get ’em out of here.” Nobody in politics talks like that. It violates what we now call “the political discourse.” For years, politicians have been oh-so careful with their words. In part, this is the language of constituencies and coalition-building, the constant calibrating of support.

 

But it is also because in our time the media has made politicians pay a price for saying anything that risks harming this or that collection of political sensibilities. When Hillary Clinton said, “I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation,” the press said she had disrespected Native Americans. It’s ridiculous, but real. No straighter jacket exists in politics today than language. Marco Rubio, an articulate and often forceful speaker, is careful not to push too far beyond the spin zone.

 

There is also the fact-checking mania. PolitiFact got a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for its microscopic fact-checks . . . and the politicians went to ground. Scrupulous exactitude in politics may be a good thing, but it’s also dull. A century or more ago, “intemperate” wasn’t in the political vocabulary. Compared with Teddy Roosevelt, Donald Trump is Little Bo-Peep. The historian William Leuchtenburg writes that Roosevelt once attacked the Colombians as this “pithecoid community” of “Dagos” and “homicidal corruptionists.” Possibly we are better off without TR’s red-faced eruptions. The problem today is that fear of offending or losing votes has so blanded out the political class that many of these politicians and the American electorate are no longer speaking the same language.

 

Into this void flopped a couple of rhetorical throwbacks—Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Though both lacked eloquence, people everywhere responded to their blunt language, to the point of being oblivious to its content. It was the way they talked that connected with voters. Messrs. Trump and Sanders liberated their audiences from normal politics, because normal politics had become suspect. Some argued that Mr. Trump merely tapped into latent anger at political correctness. But Bernie embodied PC. Something else in the culture elevated this new political language.

 

It isn’t exactly truth-telling, because so much of what these two said remained obscure. Liberal critics pointed out that Bernie’s spending was essentially limitless. The Trump wall, like Jack’s beanstalk, kept getting bigger. It didn’t matter. It seemed—or sounded—so real. Many people today think food isn’t real unless the label tells them it is organic or artisanal. TV commercials announce, “Not actors, real people.” Politics has no immunity from these new interpretations of what’s real. Just the feeling of authenticity for many has become more powerful than understanding the grubby realities of political limits.

 

Many voters don’t want to hear established politicians talking about the political process, as Mrs. Clinton is doing now, endlessly. What they want is a fighter, a valiant gesture. The Trump and Sanders detractors thought they were hearing a fascist or a socialist wingnut. Their supporters were hearing Sir Galahad, a knight to the rescue. The political language of a Trump or Sanders also became a kind of shared code of entry. Only individuals able to speak the new language among themselves could “get it.” The discussions of illegal immigration and income inequality go on inside a kind of impenetrable regional dialect, like the way Donald Trump says China—“Chiiii-nuh!”

 

Hillary Clinton is the antithesis of the current need. Every word she speaks, because it is so carefully planned, rings instantly false. Even the true ones. Still, the now-evident limitation of this new emotive political language is that none of its speakers or hearers knows what to do next. What comes after the words remains an unchartered frontier.

 

Bernie Sanders fell short. The current Trump campaign looks like a game of Twister, covering the blank spots. Even the Clinton camp is wrestling with two words—honest and trustworthy. In the suddenly tightening presidential race, we are seeing, or hearing, the careful and “reliable” political language of Hillary Clinton in competition with the intemperance of Trumpian rhetoric. One sounds real, the other just doesn’t. The new way of talking in American politics may turn out to be enough to win.‎

 

 

Contents           

THE BRIBERY STANDARD

Charles Krauthammer

Washington Post, Aug. 25, 2016

 

Bernie Sanders never understood the epic quality of the Clinton scandals. In his first debate, he famously dismissed the email issue, it being beneath the dignity of a great revolutionary to deal in things so tawdry and straightforward. Sanders failed to understand that Clinton scandals are sprawling, multi-layered, complex things. They defy time and space. They grow and burrow.

 

The central problem with Hillary Clinton’s emails was not the classified material. It wasn’t the headline-making charge by the FBI director of her extreme carelessness in handling it. That’s a serious offense, to be sure, and could very well have been grounds for indictment. And it did damage her politically, exposing her sense of above-the-law entitlement and — in her dodges and prevarications, her parsing and evasions — demonstrating her arm’s-length relationship with the truth. But it was always something of a sideshow. The real question wasn’t classification but: Why did she have a private server in the first place? She obviously lied about the purpose. It wasn’t convenience. It was concealment. What exactly was she hiding?

 

Was this merely the prudent paranoia of someone who habitually walks the line of legality? After all, if she controls the server, she controls the evidence, and can destroy it — as she did 30,000 emails — at will. But destroy what? Remember: She set up the system before even taking office. It’s clear what she wanted to protect from scrutiny: Clinton Foundation business. The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc. Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons’ lifestyle (offices, travel, accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration.

 

Now we learn how the whole machine operated. Two weeks ago, emails began dribbling out showing foundation officials contacting State Department counterparts to ask favors for foundation “friends.” Say, a meeting with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon for one particularly generous Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire.

 

Big deal, said the Clinton defenders. Low-level stuff. No involvement of the secretary herself. Until — drip, drip — the next batch revealed foundation requests for face time with the secretary herself. Such as one from the crown prince of Bahrain. To be sure, Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, is an important Persian Gulf ally. Its crown prince shouldn’t have to go through a foundation — to which his government donated at least $50,000 — to get to the secretary. The fact that he did is telling.

 

Now, a further drip: The Associated Press found that more than half the private interests who were granted phone or personal contact with Secretary Clinton — 85 of 154 — were donors to the foundation. Total contributions? As much as $156 million. Current Clinton response? There was no quid pro quo. What a long way we’ve come. This is the very last line of defense. Yes, it’s obvious that access and influence were sold. But no one has demonstrated definitively that the donors received something tangible of value — a pipeline, a permit, a waiver, a favorable regulatory ruling — in exchange.

 

It’s hard to believe the Clinton folks would be stupid enough to commit something so blatant to writing. Nonetheless, there might be an email allusion to some such conversation. With thousands more emails to come, who knows what lies beneath. On the face of it, it’s rather odd that a visible quid pro quo is the bright line for malfeasance. Anything short of that — the country is awash with political money that buys access — is deemed acceptable. As Donald Trump says of his own donation-giving days, “when I need something from them . . . I call them, they are there for me.” This is considered routine and unremarkable.

 

It’s not until a Rolex shows up on your wrist that you get indicted. Or you are found to have dangled a Senate appointment for cash. Then, like Rod Blagojevich, you go to jail. (He got 14 years.) Yet we are hardly bothered by the routine practice of presidents rewarding big donors with cushy ambassadorships, appointments to portentous boards and invitations to state dinners. The bright line seems to be outright bribery. Anything short of that is considered — not just for the Clintons, for everyone — acceptable corruption. It’s a sorry standard. And right now it is Hillary Clinton’s saving grace.          

 

 

Contents                                   

             

THIS IS AMERICA’S LAST CHANCE

Conrad Black

National Post, Sept. 9, 2016

 

In news terms, it has been a quieter summer than usual, and not remotely reminiscent of invincible summers that presaged a global descent into terrible times, such as 1929 or 1939. There has not even been the sort of flash crisis that brought us all in from the verandas or off the water early to follow president Dwight D. Eisenhower’s brilliant invasion of Lebanon in 1958 or the Soviet Bloc’s brutal suppression of the Czech pursuit of the chimera of “Communism with a human face” in 1968.

 

This summer, we really only had the clangorous American presidential campaign to divert us from our comparative leisure. In some ways, it has been the most astonishing of these quadrennial electoral Super Bowls of living memory: an unprecedented mountain of legal and ethical baggage obstructing one candidate, and the other a total outsider to political office, violently opposed to and by the entire political class, including the media, and with a propensity to utterances vastly more self-injurious than some famous gaffes of the past that sank candidacies. An early such incident was when a spokesman for Republican candidate James G. Blaine dismissed the Democrats as the party of “rum, Romanism, and rebellion” in 1884, enabling Democrat Grover Cleveland to carry New York state and the election by 1,149 votes. (In 1891 as secretary of state, Blaine intervened in the Canadian election and urged Canada to seek annexation, through the pages of the Toronto Star — obviously that didn’t fly either). Many readers will remember president Gerald Ford’s denial that Poland was a Soviet-dominated country in 1976, and president Jimmy Carter’s reference to a “national malaise” in 1979 (of which the chief symptom was shortly judged to be his presence in the White House).

 

In this election, at least until recently, neither nominee was imaginable as a victorious presidential candidate except in contemplation of the other. However, and as some readers will recall that I suggested might happen, Donald Trump, having sewn up the Archie Bunker vote, the roughly 40 per cent of Americans who hate political correctness, dislike government on principle, own firearms, and have a generally macho view of America, tempered in policy terms by isolationist tendencies; has deposited that vast following, which he richly entertained through the primaries, on the electoral scale. And now he has set out to give enough of the mainstream a comfort level that he is not, himself, temperamentally or stylistically unsuited to the great office he seeks, to tip the balance for him. It is working, as the polls are now about even. However it ends, this is the final stage of a tactical progress of great virtuosity.

 

Everyone who has followed this campaign will recall the smug conventional wisdom of the Republican insiders and both the conservative high-brow and liberal middle-brow media, and the immense clot of international America-watchers that quadrennially thickens and becomes more vocal each election year. They smugly repeated to each other that Trump was just “building his brand,” couldn’t attract the votes of more than 20 per cent, then, 30, 40 per cent of Republicans, would be sand-bagged at the convention by the credentials committee, would split his party and trail Hillary Clinton by 30 points. He would be dropped “like a hot rock” (Senate leader Mitch McConnell) by other Republican candidates. He was pandering to violence and misogyny and racism, and was a crackpot and a warmonger.

 

Those were the trees; there are three whole forests that were generally unnoticed. The public will not stand any longer for the chronic misgovernment produced by the Bushes, Clintons and Obama, each begetting the next: the housing bubble, the Great Recession, 12 million illegal immigrants; a decade of war in the Middle East, mostly to Iran’s benefit, which generated a massive humanitarian crisis; Iran and Russia as putative allies in the shambles of Iraq and as opponents in the adjoining Syrian bloodbath; and doubling the national debt and quadrupling the real money supply in seven years to achieve an economic growth rate of one per cent. The people gave the Congress to Newt Gingrich opposite Bill Clinton, to Nancy Pelosi opposite George W., to John Boehner opposite Barack Obama; they all failed, the presidents and the Congresses. Turning the rascals out didn’t produce better rascals. Trump was the only person on offer who wasn’t complicit in any of it.

 

The second forest is that Trump raised the Republican vote in the primaries by 60 per cent. In many swing-states, such as Indiana, his vote equalled that of Clinton and Bernie Sanders combined. Millions of Americans who had given up on the great political charade, jubilantly bought the political incorrectness, a candidate who called Islamic terror “Islamic terror” and did not call the San Bernardino massacre “workplace violence.” Trump is now the only person in American history to gain complete control of a major political party from the outside without being a cabinet officer selected by his predecessor or a prominent general…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents                       

           

On Topic Links

 

Hillary Lies About Her Health, Nets Say ‘Both Candidates’ Guilty: Kyle Drennen, MRC News Busters, Sept. 12, 2016—After Hillary Clinton nearly collapsed due to an undisclosed case of pneumonia on Sunday, on Monday, all three network morning shows tried to deflect from questions about her health and honesty by claiming that “both candidates” were guilty of not being forthcoming on the issue.

Third-Party Candidates Set to Shake up Presidential Election: Marisa Schultz, New York Post, Sept. 10, 2016—Third-party candidates are usually an afterthought in presidential elections, but Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein could impact the outcome of this year’s race, analysts say.

The Problem with Hillary: David Suissa, Jewish Journal, Aug. 30, 2016—My friends who support Hillary Clinton defend her habit of playing fast and loose with the truth and with ethics by saying, “Well, you know, that’s what politicians do.” It’s a clever strategy. It doesn’t pretend to deny Clinton’s ethical breaches; instead, it puts them into some vague larger context that "files them away" so we can all go back to bashing Donald Trump, who is really doing stuff we’ve never seen before.

President Trump Isn’t Farfetched: Douglas E. Schoen, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 6, 2016—To listen to conventional wisdom, Hillary Clinton practically cannot lose the presidential election. The various forecasting services, from FiveThirtyEight to CNN to Predictwise, give the Democrat about a 70% chance of winning the White House in November.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ERDOGAN ROUNDS-UP OPPONENTS AFTER FAILED COUP; FRANCE CAN LEARN FROM ISRAEL IN WAKE OF TERROR ATTACK; GOP & DEM’S “FAR FROM LOCKSTEP” RE: ISRAEL

The Revenge of Turkey’s Erdogan: Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2016— If it did nothing else, Friday’s failed coup in Turkey proved the adage that even paranoids can have real enemies.

The Coup Failed in Turkey Because Mutineers Didn’t Capture the King: Matthew Fisher, National Post, July 17, 2016 — The astonishing events that gripped Turkey and fascinated the world Friday night had not been expected.

Best Way of Coping with Trauma of Terrorism is to Imitate the Israelis: Christie Blatchford, National Post, July 15, 2016— It’s going to be a hard sell in a time where trauma is expected…

How the Republican and Democratic Platforms Differ on Israel: Armin Rosen, Tablet, July 14, 2016—The Republican platform’s language relating to Israel was adopted by the party’s platform committee on July 12.

 

On Topic Links

 

RNC Supports Israel (Video): Youtube, July 13, 2016

Erdogan ‘Evaded Death by Minutes: Josie Ensor, Telegraph, July 18, 2016

Erdogan Blames Former Military Attaché to Israel and Muslim Peace Advocate for Coup Attempt: Jewish Press, July 16, 2015

GOP Convention Promises Delegate Drama, Israel Dissonance, and Guns: Eric Cortellessa, Times of Israel, July 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

THE REVENGE OF TURKEY’S ERDOGAN          

                    Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2016              

 

If it did nothing else, Friday’s failed coup in Turkey proved the adage that even paranoids can have real enemies. In the 15 years that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics, he has pursued vendettas against military officers, journalists, police, social activists, Kurdish opposition figures and fellow-travelling Islamists, among others. Now it turns out there was a fifth column against him, and the irony is that its failure may accelerate his march to Putin-like authoritarian power.

All of Turkey’s opposition parties joined Mr. Erdogan in denouncing the Keystone coup, and rightly so. Mr. Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been consistent winners at the ballot box, most recently in November’s elections. Most Turks don’t want to return to the days when the military ran a self-dealing “deep state” that routinely overthrew elected governments.

 

The coup threatened Turkish stability at a dangerous moment. Turkey is already suffering from a slowing economy and accelerating attacks by Islamic State. The Turkish army is battling Kurdish guerrillas in the country’s southeast, and the air force has been in a face-off with Russia over the latter’s violations of Turkish airspace. Some 2.5 million refugees from Syria have flooded the country, thousands of whom go begging in the streets. Had the plotters succeeded, they would have had to use violence to suppress the millions of Turks who would have rallied against them. Unlike in Egypt, where then-defense minister  Abdel Fattah Al Sisi took power from elected President  Mohammed Morsi in 2013, in Turkey the crowd was not with the coup.

 

Nor were the chief of staff and other senior Turkish commanders who could have resisted with garrisons loyal to Mr. Erdogan. Even the President’s most vehement critics couldn’t have relished a civil war. A broken Turkey would have extended the chaos of Syria even closer to Europe and given Islamic State and other jihadists the opportunity to exploit it.

 

The U.S. conducts many of its operations against Islamic State from the Turkish air base at Incirlik, where some 1,500 U.S. service members are stationed. At this writing Turkey has closed airspace over the base and shut off external power because some of the coup plotters seem to have been stationed there. When those operations might resume is uncertain, but at least the U.S. won’t have to evacuate Incirlik in emergency conditions.

 

But if Turkey has avoided the worst, it still faces what could be a bitter reckoning. Mr. Erdogan wasted no time blaming the coup on followers of his erstwhile ally, exiled imam Fethullah Gulen, and demanding his extradition from the U.S. Mr. Gulen, who teaches a mystical form of Islam, broke with Mr. Erdogan over his increasingly autocratic ways. The Obama Administration has indicated it will consider the extradition request, and Mr. Erdogan will doubtless play Incirlik and cooperation against Islamic State as cards to get him back.

 

But Mr. Gulen and his followers adamantly deny participation in the coup. Without solid evidence of his direct involvement, it would be dishonorable and shortsighted for the U.S. to offer what would amount to a blood sacrifice to Mr. Erdogan’s rage. If Turkey threatens to evict the U.S. from Incirlik, the Administration should indicate a willingness to relocate the base in the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil.

 

As worrying is Mr. Erdogan’s round-up of thousands of opponents in what looks like it could become a wholesale political purge. So far some 2,800 officers and soldiers have been arrested, including nearly 40 generals. That may be necessary for restoring democratic rule, but it’s hard to make that case about the immediate dismissal of 2,745 judges, including two members of the Constitutional Court. It’s worth wondering if their names were already on a list before the coup gave Mr. Erdogan a pretext to dismiss them.

 

U.S. policy toward Turkey should be to support the principle of democratic rule in a stable and cohesive state. The failure of the coup staved off one threat to Turkish stability. What remains to be seen is whether Mr. Erdogan’s revenge does even graver damage to Turkey’s hopes for decent self-government and further destabilizes the world’s most dangerous region.                                                       

 

 

Contents                                                                                   

                                           

THE COUP FAILED IN TURKEY BECAUSE                                                          

MUTINEERS DIDN’T CAPTURE THE KING                                                                                      

Matthew Fisher                                                                                          

National Post, July 17, 2016

 

The astonishing events that gripped Turkey and fascinated the world Friday night had not been expected. Turkey had been in turmoil and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was at the centre of every drama. But the main international focus lately has been on how the country was reeling from a string of terrorist bombings by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an increasingly bloody civil war against Kurds in the southeast, how to manage the economic and social consequences of playing reluctant host to more than 3 million refugees from Syria and the political whirlwind created by the arrival in Europe of so many refugees and migrants who were using Turkey as their bridge to the West.

 

The economy had collapsed when Erdogan became prime minister at the beginning of 2003. His top priority at the time was to join the European Union. The International Monetary Fund gave $30 billion on fairly generous terms.  As Turkey quickly became the darling of western investors, Erdogan undertook massive infrastructure programs. Compulsory schooling was raised from Grade 5 to Grade 12 and more university places were created. Relations with the large, restive Kurdish minority were greatly improved. GDP soared.

 

So, how did it come to this? Coups and botched coups do not happen in a vacuum. One of Erdogan’s early disappointments was the EU’s frosty reaction to his overtures to let Turkey join their club. Over time his government became beset by crony capitalism and corruption allegations. More recently, the Arab Spring and ISIL caused tumult along the country’s southern border and frayed relations with NATO and with Russia.

 

Since Erdogan was first elected as mayor of Istanbul in 1994, he has always had an authoritarian streak and a strong Islamist bent. That has never pleased the military, which regards defending secularism as a sacred national duty. Unable to get close to realizing his dream of Turkish membership in the EU, and with an increasingly difficult domestic situation complicated by the tragedies in Iraq and Syria, the president has lashed out at his critics, jailing some and dismissing others. In an about-face that the masses and the generals supported, he abruptly stopped the peace process with the Kurds after a terrorist attack. He unleashed the military on the Kurds, triggering a new round of violence that has killed 600 security forces and even more civilians.

 

At the same time, newspapers and television station that opposed Erdogan were closed or new managers were brought in. Nearly 1,000 journalists and editors lost their jobs. Users of social media who criticized the president or the government landed in court. Isolated from the country’s intellectual, business and military establishments, Erdogan came to depend even more heavily on religiously conservative Turks for support… Protests against Erdogan’s rule grew. But except for one hiccup early last year, he kept winning elections. Although the West has strongly opposed his crackdown and has been uneasy about his Islamist power base, it had no choice but to oppose the coup that was launched against him.

 

The putsch failed for many reasons. First among them was that the mutineers did not capture the king or seize control of media outlets. Crucially, they were also unable to convince many of the senior army leadership to go along. What their role really was behind closed doors is not yet clear but by Sunday the Turkish Adadolu Agency was reporting that 70 of Turkey’s approximately 350 generals and admirals have been arrested. This suggests the plot was wider than originally suspected and that there are deep divisions within the armed forces.

 

The most obvious reason that those leading the revolt failed was because Erdogan was free and able to use a cell phone app to call his followers into the street where they dared the troops to kill them. When many of the soldiers hesitated, the coup was finished. Within hours, the repercussions began. As happened during Egypt’s drama in Tahir Square and other offshoots of the short-lived Arab Spring, the shortcoming of most westerners trying to understand the deep fissures in Turkish society is that they have been drawn to the urban elites who want more social and cultural freedom. Not less.

 

In so doing foreigners have ignored the opinions of those who inhabit Istanbul’s poorer quarters and the tens of millions of poor Turks who live far from the big cities and the tourist resorts that welcome huge numbers of tourists who make locals unhappy by drinking, partying and wearing bikinis on the beaches. Erdogan’s backers do not regard such freedoms as being central to their well-being. They remember that their economic circumstances improved under Erdogan. They regard him as their only champion. As they see it, he still is.                                                           

 

Contents                                                                                   

                                                    

BEST WAY OF COPING WITH TRAUMA OF TERRORISM                                                   

IS TO IMITATE THE ISRAELIS                                                                                        

Christie Blatchford                                                                                                         

National Post, July 15, 2016

 

It’s going to be a hard sell in a time where trauma is expected, victims revered and when the first thing out of the mouth of every statesman, television talking head and person on Twitter is a version of, “My heart goes out to…,” but a little of the old “accommodation effect” would go a long way right now. It’s an adaptive behaviour, or in the modern parlance, a way of coping. It means that as traumatic events such as the latest terror attack in Nice, France, occur more often, people get used to them such that the amount of stress actually decreases – if, that is, the targeted people and society are reasonably resilient.

 

Accommodation was first noticed in the British during the German blitz of London, again in Israel during the first Gulf War of 1991 and again in Israel during the bloody second Palestinian Intifada, from September of 2000 to the beginning of 2005. In a 2011 scholarly paper entitled Living with terror, not Living in Terror, political science professor Dov Waxman of Northeastern University in Boston examined the effects of repeated terrorist attacks on Israelis.

 

During the second Intifada, more than 1,000 Israelis were killed, most of them civilians who died in suicide attacks, many going about their ordinary business in places like cafés, outdoor markets and on public buses. In fact, 19 months into the second Intifada, an astonishing 44.4 per cent of the population had either been a victim of a suicide attack, had friends or relatives who were victims, or knew someone who had survived an attack. By comparison, France has had three major terrorist attacks in about 18 months; in 2002 alone, there were 53 suicide attacks in Israel.

 

As Waxman said, “Suicide terrorism can be particularly effective in terrifying people because it projects an aura of fanaticism, which makes the threat of future attacks seem more likely.” Add to that the fact that Israelis have long feared terrorism with good reason. “No country has endured more acts of terrorism over a prolonged period than Israel,” Waxman said. “From before the state was established in 1948 and ever since then, Israelis have been the targets of terrorist attacks, both within Israel and around the world.” (Indeed, modern terrorism is inextricably linked to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, as Arab militant groups pioneered new tactics and carried out some of the most notorious attacks.)

 

Waxman found that more than a third of Israelis who participated in a major psychological study reported at least one traumatic stress-related symptom. It’s similar to the number reported by Americans after the 9/11 terror attacks, though far fewer of them were directly exposed. Interestingly, that study found that those who are actually injured in such an attack are “no more likely to suffer from psychological disorders than a person whose only connection to the attack was seeing it on television. “The extensive media coverage of terrorist attacks can therefore seriously harm people’s psychological well-being.”

 

But, as another study in 2010 showed, the Palestinian terror attacks of the second Intifada had a very limited – negligible — effect on the overall happiness of Israelis. That suggests, Waxman said, “that the psychological effects of terrorism should not be overstated. While they can be severe, they are generally short-lived.” Most Israelis recovered well, he found. Take the worst month of the Intifada, March of 2002. “In one week alone,” Waxman said, “Palestinian suicide bombers struck at a restaurant in Haifa, a Jerusalem supermarket, a café in Tel Aviv, and a hotel in Neyanya, the latter during a meal for the Jewish holiday of Passover.” The last attack alone killed 30 and wounded more than 140 others.

 

Yet, “Instead of panic and public hysteria, there was stoicism and fortitude.” Though they were afraid and under stress, Israelis kept going to cafés (though now they sat far from the entrances where suiciders might blow themselves up) and those who used buses kept on doing it. “When one considers the huge toll in Israeli lives that Palestinian terrorism during the second Infada took” (in more than 13,000 attacks, 1,030 were killed and 5,788 injured or about 0.1 per cent of the population), “the ability of Israeli society to cope … is quite remarkable.” Waxman identified three key factors: acclimatization to terrorism; declining media attention as attacks became chronic; and growing social resilience…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                           

 

 

Contents                                                                                                                       

                                          

HOW THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PLATFORMS

DIFFER ON ISRAEL

Armin Rosen                

                                                 Tablet, July 14, 2016

 

The Republican platform’s language relating to Israel was adopted by the party’s platform committee on July 12. In past elections, the official Republican and Democratic positions on Israel and the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were largely identical, signaling the remarkable success of pro-Israel organizations and brass from both parties in ensuring that one of the most emotional topics in international affairs wouldn’t become a partisan issue in the U.S. But that bipartisan consensus is fraying, at least as far as the parties’ official positions go.

 

The Republican platform language—touted by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and others as the most pro-Israel “of all time”—clearly diverges from its Democratic counterpart. The Democratic platform registered the party’s opposition the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement; the Republican platform decries it as one of several “alternative forms of warfare” being waged against the Jewish state. The Republican platform “reject[s] the false notion that Israel is an occupier;” no similar statement appears in the Democratic platform, and the party considered naming Israel as an occupying power in their own platform. The Republicans will seek to “thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories,” a dig at efforts to sanction or limit trade related to Israeli enterprises in the West Bank or Golan Heights, like the EU’s special labeling of settlement products earlier this year. The Democratic platform opposes BDS, but makes no mention of efforts only targeting lands outside of Israel’s internationally recognized territory.

 

Unlike the Democratic platform, the Republican platform actively opposes “measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms,” and “call[s] for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so”—a provision likely referring to the possibility of the UN Security Council passing a resolution outlining a final status outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that the Obama administration has reportedly considered backing over the years. The Democratic platform includes no such language. Most notably, the Republican platform contains no reference to the establishment of a Palestinian state, although it affirms that the U.S. “seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region.” The Democrats, meanwhile, urge that “Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.”

 

For Republicans, the differences between the platforms honestly and accurately reflects what the two parties believe about Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians. This belief that there exists a tangible difference of opinion between the parties comes into clearer focus when looking at the architects of the Republican platform language. During a speech to the Republican platform committee on July 12, committee member Alan Clemmons, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, exhorted his colleagues to “send a message to the tens of millions of pro-Israel voters who must see that our party stands on faith and principle.” He added that Republicans’ “support for Israel’s well-being is of paramount concern and will not be sold out or dumbed down for the sake of petty interest, ever again.”

 

Jeff Ballabon, an activist and chairman of the Iron Dome Alliance who was involved in advocating for the platform’s current Israel-related language, told Tablet: “One party is debating whether or not it’s politically expedient to call out Israel for its oppression and occupation. The other is saying what are you talking about, there is no occupation? The difference couldn’t be more stark.”

 

As Ballabon interprets it, the Republican platform backs Israeli territorial rights in the West Bank, and even “goes beyond stating the obvious that Judea and Samaria are properly Jewish territories” since it rejects the notion of an Israeli occupation, while also making no distinction between the BDS that targets the entirety of Israeli-controlled territory, and BDS that only targets the areas outside Israel’s internationally-recognized borders. This interpretation is consistent with Clemmons’ speech, which was greeted with a standing ovation. “The false notion that the Jewish state is an occupier is an anti-Semitic attack on israel’s legitimacy,” Clemmons said. “It is impossible for the Jew to be an occupier in his own ancestral homeland, a region that his been known as Judea since time immemorial.”

 

The Republican platform arguably goes beyond Israel’s own policies, too: Israel has not annexed the West Bank and does not consider it to be part of its national territory. It also applies military law in the West Bank in a way consistent with the legal responsibilities of an occupying power, rather than a fully recognized sovereign authority. For Ballabon, Israel’s equivocal official position on the status of the West Bank is all the more reason for the Republicans to back Israeli sovereignty over the territory: “Many positions are taken by the Israeli government diplomatically or legally that are in response to pressures from the outside,” he said. “The point here is to remove that kind of pressure on israel that distorts Israeli decision making and Israeli independence and sovereignty through coercion.”

 

It’s unclear whether the Trump campaign has the same view of the platform’s meaning as Ballabon and Clemmons do. A statement published on Medium by Jason Greenblatt, the Trump Organization’s general counsel and one of the Trump campaign’s two advisers on Israel-related matters, lauded the platform language, writing that the campaign was “pleased that the committee has recognized that BDS is a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism.” But the Medium statement made no mention of the language rejecting claims that Israel is an occupier. Even so, both Greenblatt and David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy attorney and Trump’s other top Israel adviser, were involved in drafting and vetting the platform language. “Jason Greenblatt and I worked with the committee and others to finalize and support the language in the platform,” Friedman told Tablet by email.

 

Tacking to the right of the Democrats on Israel could turn out to be smart politics for the Republicans: Some 70 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Israel, and the relative lack of debate over Israel during the drafting of the Republican platform is in contrast to the Democratic side, where the party’s approach to Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the subject of hours’ worth of passionate discussion. Yet the contrast in the two platforms highlights how the parties are drifting apart on Israel—and how they might be driving a political divide over something that used to be one of the few consensus issues in American politics. “There’s an illusion that the parties are in lockstep,” Ballabon said, “and they’re very far from being in lockstep.”

 

Contents           

                                                                                                                                                            

On Topic Links

 

RNC Supports Israel (Video): Youtube, July 13, 2016 —The Republican National Platform Committee unanimously adopted the pro-Israel Amendment presented by South Carolina delegate Alan Clemmons.

Erdogan ‘Evaded Death by Minutes: Josie Ensor, Telegraph, July 18, 2016—It had been planned for weeks, but in the end, even the coup plotters were taken by surprise.

Erdogan Blames Former Military Attaché to Israel and Muslim Peace Advocate for Coup Attempt: Jewish Press, July 16, 2015 —One of the senior military officials mentioned in the flurry of accusations in Turkey over who exactly was responsible for the failed coup attempt Friday night was former air force commander Akin Ozturk, who was the Turkish Military attaché to Israel between 1996 and 1998.

GOP Convention Promises Delegate Drama, Israel Dissonance, and Guns: Eric Cortellessa, Times of Israel, July 18, 2016—A little more than a year ago, when Donald Trump descended an escalator at Trump Tower to announce his presidential bid, hardly anyone believed it was the start of a successful quest to become the Republican Party’s nominee. But this week, that’s exactly what it will officially turn out to be.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. POLITICS: WHILE BREXIT MAY BE A VICTORY FOR TRUMP’S POLITICS, CLINTON, HELPED BY MEDIA, AVOIDS CRITICISM ON BENGHAZI

Thatcher-Reagan, Blair-Clinton, Brexit-Trump: Richard Cockett, Foreign Policy, July 5, 2016— Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe Donald Trump really does have a political sixth sense.

The Benghazi Debacle Should Have Ended Hillary Clinton’s Career: David French, National Review, June 28, 2016— Do failures and lies matter any longer?

The Latest Attempt to Rewrite the History of the Iraq War: Benny Avni, New York Post, July 6, 2016 If hindsight indeed is 20/20, how come no one ever examines foreign-policy actions not taken, while those like George W. Bush’s 2003 decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein are forever second-guessed?

Obama’s Money and Israel’s Sovereignty: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2016— This week, MK Michael Oren stood up to his boss in the Kulanu party, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, to the political Left, including hundreds of retired security brass, and to the IDF General Staff.

 

On Topic Links

 

FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, July 5, 2016

How Hillary and Obama Caused the Orlando ISIS Attack: Daniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine, June 26, 2016

Obama Will be Neck-and Neck With G.W. Bush as the Most Incompetent U.S. President of our Time: Conrad Black, National Post, June 3, 2016

Obama’s Death Sentence for Young Refugees: Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, June 25, 2016

THATCHER-REAGAN, BLAIR-CLINTON, BREXIT-TRUMP

                             Richard Cockett                                                            

                  Foreign Policy, July 5, 2016

 

Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe Donald Trump really does have a political sixth sense. Either way, it was with exquisite timing that The Donald descended out of the skies onto the soil of his mother’s birthland just a couple of hours after the European Union referendum result, to claim the Brexit vote as his own. Standing in front of the clubhouse of his Turnberry golf course, the rotor blades of his helicopter still whirring, he declared the British people’s decision to leave the EU to be a “great thing.”

 

Fair enough. Trump is entitled to his opinion on the matter of British sovereignty. But he also made a more empirical claim about the Brexit result, namely that it represents a “great” victory for his politics — and here one is forced to concede that he is correct. British and American politics have tended to move in tandem since World War II, sometimes one country a bit ahead, sometimes the other. On this occasion, it is Britain that is a couple of steps in front.

 

Even a cursory glance at the polling data suggests that the people who voted to leave are indeed Trump’s kind of people. By considerable margins, leavers were usually poorer, less educated, less urban, and older than those who voted to remain. Moreover, according to polling by the Tory politician Lord Michael Ashcroft immediately after the vote, those who voted to leave were indeed trying, in Trump’s words, to “take their country back” — or, one might say, to make their country great again.

Nearly three-quarters of “Remainers” thought that life in Britain was better today than 30 years ago; but 58 percent of those who voted to leave said it was worse. How so? Well, the overwhelming majority of “Leavers” in the poll (80 percent) thought that social liberalism had been a “force for ill” in Britain, 74 percent thought the same of feminism, and 70 percent of globalization itself. In other words, they were flatly rejecting the whole liberal worldview of a globalized, open, multicultural trading nation that successive governments — both Labour and Tory — have cultivated over the past 40 years or so.

 

Europe had become a proxy for these discontents. But the lightning rod for all this resentment was immigration. Very specifically, it was the net migration figures that killed the Remain campaign. Last year over 300,000 more people came to Britain than left the country, yet Prime Minister David Cameron had foolishly promised that his government would bring this figure down to the “tens of thousands.” To the Leavers, there was no clearer example of the country’s inability to “take [its] borders back.”

 

Moreover, there was plenty of evidence from the campaign to suggest that arguing against more immigration did not necessarily lose the votes of immigrants and ethnic minorities. This is another axiom of Trump politics, advanced in America by Republicans such as Tom Cotton, the freshman congressman from Arkansas. In the referendum in Britain, about a quarter of blacks and ethnic minorities said they would vote to leave before the poll. Often — and I know this firsthand from campaigning on the streets for the Remain campaign — immigrants seemed keener to pull up the drawbridge behind them, to reduce the competition for jobs and public services, than to extend a hand of friendship to others fleeing poverty, or worse. Translated to America, this suggests that Trump Republicans might yet appeal to millions of Hispanics while demanding that Mexico build its wall and all illegals be deported.

 

The biggest reason why all this should matter to American observers is that historically, postwar America and Britain have moved in political lockstep, often with plenty of cross-fertilization between the two. The postwar Keynesian consensus of full employment and managed economies prevailed on both sides of the Atlantic until the late 1960s, when a reaction set in at exactly the same time, producing the victories for Richard Nixon in America in 1968 and the Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath in 1970. After brief left-of-center respites in the mid-1970s (Jimmy Carter in the United States and Jim Callaghan in Britain) both countries ratcheted to the right with the ideological soulmates Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. They were followed in the mid-1990s by “Third Way” social democratic reactions (Clinton and Blair).

 

Now the conventional wisdom that both Britain and America inherited from these eras of dramatic political change — a conventional wisdom in support of globalization, free trade, open markets, and multiculturalism — has been challenged again on both sides of the Atlantic, most dramatically by Trump in his campaign for the presidency, and more persuasively by Britain’s Brexit voters. Given the history of British and American politics moving in tandem, Trump is right to draw encouragement from the Brexit vote. For the same reason, Americans opposed to his politics should heed Brexit as a warning…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                                                                                             

THE BENGHAZI DEBACLE SHOULD HAVE ENDED                                                  

HILLARY CLINTON’S CAREER                                                                                                         

David French                                                                                                       

National Review, June 28, 2016

 

Do failures and lies matter any longer? If you are a prominent Democratic politician, what exactly is the level of wrongdoing that will end your career? Reading the long-awaited report from the House Select Committee on Benghazi and the associated media coverage, I was struck by the sheer scale of the failures and the deceptions surrounding the terror attack on the Benghazi compound, and by the mainstream media’s dismissiveness.

 

Here’s the opening paragraph of the New York Times’s story on the report: Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead. And here’s the Washington Post on the report: A final report issued by the Republican majority that investigated the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, found fault with virtually every element of the executive branch response to the attacks but provided no new evidence of specific wrongdoing by then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

 

This is an extraordinary response to a report that comprehensively details one of the most shameful episodes in recent American diplomatic and military history. Clinton’s State Department failed to adequately protect its diplomats in Libya, with the Obama administration so intent on avoiding “boots on the ground” in the aftermath of its Libyan air war that it left Americans dangerously exposed even as the jihadist threat was plainly and clearly ramping up. The report details at least ten previous terror attacks in Benghazi, including two IED attacks on the American compound, yet the State Department had decreased its security there in the months before Ambassador Chris Stevens and four others were killed.

 

Obama’s Pentagon failed to mobilize assets to protect those same Americans even as they endured an hours-long assault on September 11, 2012. One of the most painful elements of the report is its description of exactly how difficult it was for the Pentagon to ramp up even the quick-strike elements of the most powerful military in the history of the world. Fighters were in one location, tankers in another. Ground assets were in one place, air transport in another. It took hours for clear commands from the White House and Pentagon to filter sufficiently far down the ranks to spur actual military activity.

 

Then, confronted with the damage afterward, the administration lied, repeatedly. Of that there can no longer be any reasonable doubt. The report lays out in excruciating detail the contrast between the administration’s private and public statements about the attack: The private statements consistently attributed the Benghazi attack to terrorists while the public statements either directly blamed an anti-Islamic YouTube video for causing the violence or conflated the Benghazi attack with a protest at the Egyptian embassy that did appear to be connected to the video.

 

While Clinton can’t be held responsible for the Pentagon’s failures, her own failures and deceptions can’t and shouldn’t be addressed by a mere apology. The Benghazi attack and the subsequent collapse of Libya into a jihadist playground should have ended her career. Instead, because of the well-worn (and media-assisted) process of progressive scandal management, she looks primed for a promotion to the highest office in the land.

 

The pattern is familiar: When news first breaks, say what needs to be said to escape the news cycle unscathed. Next, when the truth starts to emerge, deny wrongdoing and state that any comprehensive judgment should be withheld pending a full investigation. When the investigation commences, stonewall the investigators and accuse conservatives of being “obsessed” or on a “witch hunt.” By the time wrongdoing is finally confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt, the average voter will have forgotten why the scandal was a scandal to begin with, or, if he hasn’t forgotten — and actually did withhold judgment — the waters will have become so muddied he won’t know whom to believe.

 

To some in the media, the very act of stonewalling is heroic. Confronting congressional investigators makes you a “fighter.” Enduring inquiries and consolidating your base makes you a “survivor.” Bill Clinton used this playbook to escape political accountability for infidelity, perjury, and obstruction of justice. The Obama administration has used it to flush the IRS’s targeting of tea-party groups down the memory hole, transforming one of the most outrageous abuses of power in the modern history of the executive branch into old news in record time.

 

It should be acknowledged that in their efforts to outrun their misdeeds, Obama and the Clintons always get an inadvertent assist from the conspiracy-mongering right. Obsessed with finding smoking guns personally connecting their targets to wrongdoing, they help the media define scandal down. They swing for the fences, and journalists are all too happy to treat doubles and triples as signs of failure. Can’t find any records proving Obama and Clinton specifically ordered administration officials to lie about Benghazi? Well then, they must not have done anything wrong. Can’t uncover e-mails directly tying Obama to IRS abuses? The story moves to the back page, and then out of the media entirely.

 

So here we are. The presumptive Democratic nominee for president is largely responsible for one of the great foreign-policy disasters of the last eight years and unquestionably responsible for helping mislead the public, yet in the media calculus of our time the Benghazi report is a “win,” because it merely confirms failures we already knew about. And everyone knows that old failures are no failures at all.

 

 

Contents                                                                                                                                   

THE LATEST ATTEMPT TO REWRITE THE

HISTORY OF THE IRAQ WAR  

              Benny Avni                                                          

          New York Post, July 6, 2016

 

If hindsight indeed is 20/20, how come no one ever examines foreign-policy actions not taken, while those like George W. Bush’s 2003 decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein are forever second-guessed? Thanks to a British public commission, we’re once again relitigating Iraq. According to John Chilcot, the principal author of a new British inquiry into the war, it was waged on the basis of unchallenged, yet deeply flawed intelligence. There was no post-war planning, and diplomacy wasn’t exhausted in the lead up to military action that should have only been used as “a last resort.”

 

As he released the 6,000-page, 12-volume, 2.6 million-word report Wednesday, Chilcot said his inquiry didn’t attempt to assign legal culpability. Nevertheless, he said, legal justifications for the war were “far from satisfactory.” That will no doubt be used as ammunition by those who’ve long called for trying the British prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, on war-crimes charges. And can Bush be far behind?

 

Politically, the Chilcot report will embolden those, like Bernie Sanders, who say Iraq was “the worst foreign-policy blunder in the history of the country.” Or Donald Trump, who just added Saddam to the list of his favorite foreign dictators. “Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right?” Trump told a crowd in North Carolina Tuesday. “But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good.” OK, leave it to Trump to ignore Saddam’s well-documented support of terrorists in the Mideast. Yet he’s reiterating a received wisdom: Saddam’s Iraq had “nothing to do with 9/11” and by overthrowing him America and our allies have opened Pandora’s box, which bred the current Mideast mess and gave birth to ISIS.

 

True: Dismantling state organs after the overthrow of Saddam — known as de-Baathification — was a terrible mistake that deepened sectarian hatreds. It was based on a faulty, idealistic notion that once Saddam was gone, freedom would replace his despotic rule. But remember when the decision to invade Iraq took place: two years after 9/11, the deadliest terrorist attack in American history, which didn’t at the time look like a one-off. Anthrax envelopes, a shooting spree and the fear of a follow-up attack put America on war footing.

 

Afghanistan was first, but it wasn’t enough. While al Qaeda was headquartered in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, its principals were Arabs and they were a product of the Arab world’s ills. As in Saddam’s Iraq — where chemical weapons were used to put down resurrections; where sectarian enmities that bubbled under the surface were only capped by a ruthless, corrupt and megalomaniacal tyrant; where destructive weapons, including nukes, were in development in the past, were widely believed to still exist, and could easily fall into the hands of terrorists.

 

But Chilcot’s also wrong about a very big part of the report’s conclusion. Diplomacy with Iraq did, in fact, reach a dead end. At the United Nations, Russia and France were about to dismantle the sanctions regime that kept Saddam from resurrecting his chemical, biological and nuclear programs. And while Bush made terrible mistakes after toppling Saddam, he eventually managed to turn the tide. Between 2007 and 2009, al Qaeda in Iraq was defeated, the Sunnis cooperated with Baghdad and Iraq was mostly peaceful.

 

President Obama’s decision, in 2010, to back Nouri al-Maliki — even though he’d lost an election — and, more generally, America’s vow to withdraw forces from Iraq threw Iraq back into chaos. On Wednesday, Blair insisted that “Iraq in 2003 had no chance; Iraq today has a chance.” Well, maybe — though it’s hard to see it now. But clearly his and Bush’s decision to overthrow Saddam wasn’t the only reason for the current bloody state of the Middle East or for Sunni-Shiite enmity or the rise of Islamist terrorism. History is much trickier than that.

 

George H.W. Bush’s decision not to overthrow Saddam after the first Iraq war in 1991 was just as momentous. Bill Clinton’s decision to largely ignore the 1996 attack on Americans housed in Saudi Arabia’s Khobar Towers signaled to Islamist terrorists that they could strike Western powers and get away with it. Obama’s avoidance of any serious military intervention in Mideast disputes prolongs war, mayhem and terrorism. There’s a lot to criticize about how Bush and Blair led their respective governments — and the world — in the last decade. Their actions are endlessly dissected and investigated. But lack of leadership and inaction, while much harder to write lengthy reports about, can be just as bad, if not worse. Because, errors and all, an America-led world is a better place than one led by Russia, China and ISIS.    

 

Contents                                                           

                                                               

OBAMA’S MONEY AND ISRAEL’S SOVEREIGNTY                                                                         

Caroline Glick                                                                                                       

Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2016

 

This week, MK Michael Oren stood up to his boss in the Kulanu party, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, to the political Left, including hundreds of retired security brass, and to the IDF General Staff. The former ambassador to Washington urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to sign the multi-year security assistance deal that US President Barack Obama demands Israel accept. The problem isn’t the money. By all accounts, Obama’s multi-year military assistance package is generous. The problem is that in exchange for the expanded military aid, Obama is demanding that Israel surrender its diplomatic and military independence to the White House.

 

For more than 40 years, every US administration – including the Obama administration – that has sought to harm Israel in any way has hit up against an unmovable obstacle. Whether the White House wanted to enable the UN Security Council to pass an anti-Israel resolution, place an embargo on military exports or bureaucratically slow them down to force Israel to stand down during wartime; whether the White House wanted block expanded trade deals, crowd out Israel’s military industries, or sell game changing weapons systems to Israel’s enemies, the US Congress has always stopped it in its tracks.

 

Israel-haters in the US speak endlessly about the supposedly all powerful and malign “Israel lobby,” which controls US foreign affairs. But the simple truth is that it wouldn’t matter all that much if AIPAC were to shut down tomorrow. Even without AIPAC, Israel would enjoy the support of Congress. It would continue to enjoy that support because the vast majority of Americans support Israel and expect their representatives in Congress to support Israel. In other words, the “Israel lobby” is none other than the American people.

 

As Oren warned, Obama’s military assistance package would disenfranchise the American public when it comes to US policy toward Israel. The agreement bars Israel from asking that Congress augment the assistance that Obama has offered and bars Congress from acting. So if a future administration chooses to breach the agreement, or to suspend it, or if conditions change and Israel requires other assistance, Congress would be barred from stepping into the breach.

 

Then there is the assistance agreement’s assault on Israel’s military independence. Israel’s military industries are the primary guarantor of its independent capacity to fight and win wars. Successive administrations have sought to restrict the activities of Israel’s military industries and have used the military assistance to achieve their goal.

 

Israeli critics of US assistance note that Israel’s military industries are the primary casualties of the aid. Currently, the US allows Israel to use a mere 25 percent of its assistance at home. As a consequence, the main beneficiary of US military assistance to Israel are US defense contractors. Critics of the US aid argue that if Israel stops receiving military assistance, far from harming the economy, the move would strengthen Israeli industry and expand economic growth. The thousands of jobs at US defense contractors that are created through US military assistance to Israel, will move to Israel, and go to Israelis.

 

Moreover, whereas Israel gives the US its technology for free as part of the security assistance package, if it stops accepting the assistance, it will be free to sell its technology to other partners such as India, which will eagerly partner with Israel in weapons development and production projects. Strategically, canceling the US military aid package would massively expand Israel’s military independence of action.

 

On the other hand, the deal that Obama is now trying to coerce Netanyahu to sign will require Jerusalem to give up the 25 percent of the military assistance it is now allowed to spend at home. Oren noted that such a concession will cost thousands of Israelis their jobs.

 

But even worse, an Israeli agreement to spend all future US military assistance in the US would be tantamount to an Israeli agreement to concede its military independence to the White House for a fistful of dollars. Without the independent capacity to develop and produce defense systems, spare parts and munitions, Israel will be unable to take military action without White House approval…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents        

   

On Topic Links

 

FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, July 5, 2016—There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust.

How Hillary and Obama Caused the Orlando ISIS Attack: Daniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine, June 26, 2016—The media has desperately tried to blame anything and everything for the Orlando Muslim massacre. The bloodshed by a Muslim terrorist has been attributed to guns, homophobia, family problems and mental illness. By next week, the media may be blaming global warming and UFOs.

Obama Will be Neck-and Neck With G.W. Bush as the Most Incompetent U.S. President of our Time: Conrad Black, National Post, June 3, 2016 —Gary Mason wrote in the Globe and Mail on May 27 a column presumably entitled by his editors “Obama’s Imperfections Already Fading.” The contents of his piece justify the title, and my subject here is that column, not Mason himself.

Obama’s Death Sentence for Young Refugees: Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, June 25, 2016—Cristóbal, a 16-year-old Honduran refugee fleeing a drug gang that wants to kill him, has never heard of anyone named Barack Obama. Neither can he name the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto.