Sunday, July 30, 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia is expelling 755 U.S. diplomats and technical personnel in retaliation against new U.S. sanctions proposed against Moscow.
On Friday, Russia's Foreign Ministry had signaled that the U.S. would need to downsize its staff to 455, to exactly match the number of Russian diplomatic and technical staff in the U.S. Now, Putin has announced the exact number of staff he's ordered the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to cut.
In an interview Sunday on Russian TV, Putin said he is opposed to any additional retaliatory actions against the U.S., at least "as of today," Reuters reports.
The new U.S. sanctions against Russia were overwhelmingly approved by Congress earlier this week, with a veto-proof majority. President Trump was initially opposed to the sanctions, but the White House says he is preparing to sign them into law.
"The legislation slaps Moscow with new financial restrictions on doing business with American entities while also restricting Trump's ability to waive those penalties. Often, a president has a freer hand in dealing with foreign governments, but the bill deliberately takes away that discretion.
"To waive sanctions on Russia, Trump would have to send Congress a report explaining and justifying his decision, and lawmakers would then get 30 days to decide whether to allow it.
"The vote puts Trump in an awkward position. He raised eyebrows from his first days on the campaign trail by expressing a desire to improve the U.S.- Russia relationship. He and his staff have specifically expressed an openness to easing sanctions.
" 'I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only, is possible, absolutely possible,' Trump said last year at a campaign speech in Washington."
Speaking in Estonia on Sunday, Vice President Pence criticized Russia's "destabilizing activities." But, he said, "if Russia will change its behavior, our relationship will change for the good."
Sunday, July 23, 2017
hard left former advisor to one term President Carter led the attack against the Jewish state this morning on CNN.
"The Zionists’ ultimate goal,” said Wilkerson, was an expansion of Israeli control into “greater Israel,” including Gaza, Jerusalem, the “West Bank,” the Sinai Peninsula, parts of Lebanon and Syria, and all of Jordan. He described this vision as “untenable” and contributing to “apartheid” between Jews and Arabs.
The former adviser of antiJew Bernie Sanders stated earlier this month that Israel “would be eliminated by the international community” or surrounding Muslim Arabs if the status quo of the Jewish state continues.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.) was tapped as a quasi-adviser by Sanders’s campaign, reported left-wing Politico in February. He formerly served as Chief of Staff for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, illustrating that former President George W. Bush was not particularly diligent in staffing the executive with right-wing persons.
Speaking with socialist outlet The Real News, where he has a regular eponymous segment, Wilkerson described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “ultra-right-wing.” Attributing Netanyahu’s political party with dismantling the “peace process,” the former colonel stated that Likud had fomented the discord which led to the assassination of left-wing former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Rabin’s death, according to Wilkerson, led to the demise of the “peace process,” and is attributable to Netanyahu’s politics.
Casting America as “one-sided” in its approach to the conflict between Israel and the “Palestinians,” Wilkerson regularly describes the American-Israeli relationship as a liability for U.S. interests. Adopting the narrative of left-wing academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt - authors of The Israel Lobby - Wilkerson claims that American foreign policy has essentially been hijacked by a minority ethnic interest group to benefit Israel at America’s expense.
Casting AIPAC - a left-wing Democrat-run organization that provides cover to anti-Zionist politicians like President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton - as right-wing, Wilkerson warned against what he described was America's subservience to Israel. Speaking at a left-wing anti-Zionist conference entitled, "Israel's Influence: Good Or Bad For America?", he stated that Islamic terrorism resulted from widespread perceptions among Muslims of desperation. He recommended that Islamic terrorism be combated with international aid and development, not-so-subtly invoking the neo-Marxist view of Jihadism as a function of global income inequality. Ceasing military aid to Israel, he added, was another essential ingredient to pacify Islamic terrorism targeting America.
“The ultra-right-wing of Israel has captured AIPAC, and AIPAC has captured the United States Congress, and to a certain extent, the Oval Office,” said Wilkerson, aligning himself with neo-Nazi and Islamic viewpoints of malevolent Jewish conspiratorial political control.
Wilkerson also claimed that Israeli policy towards the “Palestinians” amounted to an ethnic cleansing, stating that the American-Indian Wars of the 19th century amounted to a meaningful parallel.
So, CNN was able to bash Israel via proxy Wilkerson.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
It’s exhausting, I know, but don’t let outrage fatigue numb you to the moral bankruptcy and gross incompetence of the Trump administration.
This ugly departure from American norms and values must be opposed with sustained passion — and with the knowledge that things will probably get worse before they get better.
Heaven help us, look where we are.
We have a president — commander in chief of the armed forces, ostensibly the leader of the free world — whose every word is suspect. President Trump is an inveterate liar. He dismisses provable facts as “fake news” and invents faux facts of his own that bear no relationship to the truth. He simply cannot be trusted.
We have a president whose North Star is naked self-interest, not the good of the country. Trump cares about his family, his company and little else. He dishonors the high office he holds, then reportedly spends hours each day railing against cable-news coverage that he finds insufficiently respectful. His ego is a kind of psychic black hole that devours all who come into its orbit.
We have a president whose eldest son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with emissaries purportedly sent by the Russian government to deliver dirt on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump claimed on Twitter that “most politicians” would have gone to such a meeting, which is another lie. Try to find politicians who say they would have attended.
We have a president who fired the director of the FBI for continuing to investigate “this Russia thing” — a sophisticated effort by the Russian government, according to U.S. intelligence officials, to tip the election in Trump’s favor. Will he also try to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III? If he does, will Congress let him get away with it?
We have a president — was he made in Russia? — who has declared this to be “Made in America” week, despite the fact that so many of the retail products that bear his name or that of his daughter Ivanka are made in Mexico, China, Indonesia and Bangladesh. When asked about this irony by Politico, a White House spokeswoman responded, “We’ll get back to you on that.” They won’t.
Trump has broken his promise to help the struggling middle class. After pledging health insurance “for everybody,” he supported legislation that would strip more than 20 million people of coverage. His approval rating, according to a new Post-ABC News poll, has fallen to 36 percent — a historic low for a president at this point in his tenure. Yet Trump continues to enjoy strong support from self-identified Republicans, whose resentment against liberal “elites” he plays like a violin.
His administration is in shambles. Members of his inner circle snipe at one another via anonymous quotes to reporters. They compete for the president’s favor not by doing their jobs well but by showing a willingness to defend anything he says and does, no matter how ridiculous. In the space of a week, his surrogates went from “the campaign had no meetings with Russians” to “there was a meeting but no collusion” to “collusion is not actually a crime.” One wonders how they sleep at night.
Trump presents the world with something new: In place of American leadership, there is a vacuum. In keeping with the pattern set at the Group of 20 summit, adversaries will try to use Trump’s ignorance to their advantage while allies try to nudge him into doing the right thing.
The “madman theory” of foreign relations can only be employed effectively by a leader who is actually steadfast and serious; Trump is neither.
There is no point in looking to Republicans for salvation. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) still hope to get Trump to sign into law massive cuts in taxes and entitlements. Many rank-and-file members fear Trump’s loyal support among the base. The former “party of Lincoln” has adopted the moral code of the Oakland Raiders’ late owner Al Davis: “Just win, baby.”
So that is what Democrats and independents have to do — win. As long as there are pro-Trump majorities in the House and Senate, there will be no real congressional oversight and no brake on an out-of-control president’s excesses. Incumbency and gerrymandered districts mean that winning anti-Trump majorities in 2018 will be difficult. But not impossible.
The Democratic Party needs a plan, a message and a sense of urgency. Trump hopes to bully critics into submission, but the country is bigger than this one president. And much better.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Saturday, July 15, 2017
William Bradford Smith, Chair of the Division of History, Politics & International Studies at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, once sent a letter to the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia, which said in part:
When I taught at Emory University, I used to see former President Jimmy Carter on a fairly regular basis, and it was all I could do at times to stop myself from spitting at him.
Carter’s hatred of Israel and, by extension, of all Jews (and make no mistake, if you spend any time in the man’s presence, his discomfort at being in the same room with someone who merely appears to be Jewish is palpable), is rooted in the man’s megalomania, and his unflinching belief in his own rectitude.
In an interview
Carter once said, “When you single out any particular group of people for secondary citizenship status, that’s a violation of basic human rights.” But, if the former president really believes that, he should look at his own life, since he has displayed anti-Semitism during much of his presidential and post presidential career.
According to many observers Carters anti-Jewish bigotry stems from his feeling that he lost reelection campaign because he became the first Democrat since 1920 not to receive a majority of the Jewish vote. Carter got 45%, Reagan received 39%, and 3rd party candidate John Anderson got 14%. It is also that perceived abandonment behind Carter’s disdain of Israel.
Ambassador Marc Ginsburg was Jimmy Carter’s deputy senior adviser on the Middle East, and from 1977 through 1980 was White House liaison to the State Department. He has a unique perspective of Jimmy Carter’s Middle East dealings. According to the Ambassador, the reason Carter goes out of his way to bash Israel is that he feels American Jews did not fawn over him enough for all that he did for Israel.
…When former President Jimmy Carter revealed that Israel has more than 150 nuclear weapons, he clearly had a motive, according to his administration’s deputy senior adviser, Marc Ginsberg: “I think there’s no doubt — particularly given the vantage point I had in the White House at the end of his administration — that he resents the way in which Israel and the American-Jewish community have failed to express sufficient gratitude for his efforts on behalf of peace in the Middle East.
“In my judgment, there’s no other explanation,” Ginsberg says.
(…) “There’s no doubt he knows exactly what he is doing when he’s making these statements, or making misrepresentations that Hamas has agreed to recognize Israel if certain conditions occur, or to the book he wrote [‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid’] referring to Israel.”
Believe it or not, when he was in the Oval Office, President Carter rejected someone for a position on the board of the Holocaust Memorial Council because the guy’s name was too Jewish. That’s right the Holocaust Memorial Council. Monroe Freedman, who was executive director of the council during Carter’s presidency, told a reporter that Aaron Klein, that a noted Holocaust scholar who was a Presbyterian Christian, was rejected from the council’s board by Carter’s office because the scholar’s name “sounded too Jewish.”
Freedman said he sent a memo to Carter’s office containing recommendations for council board members. The memo was returned with a note on the upper right hand corner that stated, “Too many Jews.” The note, Freedman said, was written in Carter’s handwriting and was initialed by Carter.
Ultra-liberal famous law professor Alan Dershowitz also feels that Carter is a Jew-hater. In an essay talking about Carter’s anti-Semitic claims that the Jews control foreign policy and the media, he wrote:
The entire premise of his criticism of Jewish influence on American foreign policy is that money talks. It is Carter, not me, who has made the point that if politicians receive money from Jewish sources, then they are not free to decide issues regarding the Middle East for themselves. It is Carter, not me, who has argued that distinguished reporters cannot honestly report on the Middle East because they are being paid by Jewish money. So, by Carter’s own standards, it would be almost economically “suicidal” for Carter “to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine.”
(…) If money determines political and public views as Carter insists “Jewish money” does, Carter’s views on the Middle East must be deemed to have been influenced by the vast sums of Arab money he has received. If he who pays the piper calls the tune, then Carter’s off-key tunes have been called by his Saudi Arabian paymasters. It pains me to say this, but I now believe that there is no person in American public life today who has a lower ratio of real to apparent integrity than Jimmy Carter.
Ken Stein was director of the Carter Center and even collaborated with Jimmy Carter on the book, “The Blood of Abraham,” resigned in protest from the center after Carter published his biased tome “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.”
Jimmy Carter should examine his own life before makes false charges of bigotry against others. Thankfully the drug he is taking that was tested in Israel seems to have eradicated the cancer in his brain (yes the nation and people he abhors may have saved his life). I only wish him a long life to examine the hatred in his own heart.
By Jeff Dunetz