Mutual Disagreement of Mediators and Judges in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Mediators serve an important role in conflicts. They attempt to bridge the gap between parties to arrive at a mutually-agreed upon compromise to conclude the disagreement. If the mediator cannot resolve the matter, it is most likely that a judge would be tasked at making – and imposing – a final ruling.

Take divorce as an example. A mediator may be brought in by the parties to resolve issues related to child custody. If the mediator cannot get the parties to agree to terms, the case would go to court to rule on the matter.

Obama and Trump as Mediators

In February 2017, US President Donald Trump seemed to take a new stance in trying to mediate the Israeli-Arab conflict. In response to a reporter’s question about how the US will approach its role as a mediator, Trump said:

“So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.  (Laughter.)  I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.  I can live with either one.  

I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two.  But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

The media went wild. They printed headlines that Trump abandoned the two-state solution.

In actuality, Trump said that he is happy if the parties themselves are happy. The role of the mediator was not to dictate the outcome but to resolve the conflict so that the parties themselves reach a consensus. The goal was peace between the parties, not necessarily a particular formula to get there.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) laughs with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Consider the contrast in Obama’s approach to the negotiations and the response of the media. In May 2011 Obama said:

“I said that the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine.  The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps — (applause) — so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”

The media noted that Obama laid out a conclusion of what the final result of the compromise would look like: two states.

The Obama speech irked the Israeli government that was clear in its intention of not returning to the “Auschwitz” lines of 1967.  Obama countered that he had not laid out a conclusion that was not a matter of consensus, as he specifically included language that there would be “mutually agreed” land swaps.

From Mediator to Biased Mediator to Judge

If a mediator in a divorce announced that she was open to the father having custody or the woman having custody of the children, whichever conclusion could be worked out by the parties, her position would be considered open and balanced. However, if she stated that the mother would have custody and that the only matter to work out was whether the father would see the children on Tuesdays or Fridays, her position as mediator would be seen as clearly biased. The inclusion of a minor clause that the only point being considered was a matter of visitation, while the broad parameters were already concluded, would be seen as a jaundiced farce.

And so was the position of Obama.

He did not focus on a bringing peace agreed to by each party, but stated an outcome that he viewed as fair. Obama abandoned his position as a private unbiased mediator. Not surprisingly, the Israeli government not only questioned the content of Obama’s statement, but his role as both a mediator and important ally.

In November 2016, when Obama’s preferred presidential successor Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic election, Obama decided that ANY role for the United States as a mediator had concluded, as he did not believe that Donald Trump’s administration would be fair, competent or effective. It was therefore time to pass the Israeli-Arab Conflict to a judge: the United Nations.

In December 2016, Obama directed his UN ambassador Samantha Power to abstain from an important vote, thereby allowing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass which declared that Israelis living east of the Green Line was illegal. Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry then went on to berate Israel (still under the guise as a “mediator”):

“Provide for secure and recognized international borders between Israel and a viable and contiguous Palestine, negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed equivalent land swaps.”

Team Obama again left the “mutually agreed” clause at the edges – literally. And Kerry added a new dimension that the land swaps should be “equivalent,” echoing a phrase (“comparable”) introduced by the Arab League.

President Obama moved his team from an impartial mediator to a biased one, happy to hand the situation to a judge that shared his animus for Israel. As he left office, Obama chose to belittle and undermine both the Trump administration and Israel, by enabling the UN and world to begin boycotting and suing the Jewish State.

Obama was well aware that the UN was anti-Israel at its core as it moved to sideline a negotiated solution between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. Samantha Power read a prepared statement right after UNSC 2334 passed:

“But in reality this vote for us was not straightforward, because of where it is taking place – at the United Nations. For the simple truth is that for as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations. And not only in decades past – such as in the infamous resolution that the General Assembly adopted in 1975, with the support of the majority of Member States, officially determining that, “Zionism is a form of racism” – but also in 2016, this year. One need only look at the 18 resolutions against Israel adopted during the UN General Assembly in September; or the 12 Israel-specific resolutions adopted this year in the Human Rights Council – more than those focused on Syria, North Korea, Iran, and South Sudan put together – to see that in 2016 Israel continues to be treated differently from other Member States.”

In other words, Obama knew that the judge would eviscerate Israel, but if Team Obama could not bring peace, this was the best that could be hoped for.

Trump’s Two Fronts: A New Mediator and Sidelining the Judge

The Trump administration now has a two-pronged effort to resolve the century old conflict: as a new unbiased mediator, and as an active player in managing the judge.

As the UN officially declared (with Obama’s blessing) that Jews are illegally living in their homeland in a reversal of the League of Nations declarations of 1920 and 1922, the Trump administration is actively fighting back.

On March 18, 2017, after a UN agency released a report that Israel is an “apartheid state,” the US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley pressured the UN to withdraw the report. The diplomat that co-authored the report refused and resigned. Haley applauded the move, saying “When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the U.N., it is appropriate that the person resign.

Earlier in the week, Trump’s new envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to re-launch the peace process that was crippled by the Obama administration. After the meeting with Abbas, the US Consulate General said that the two men “reaffirmed the commitment of both the Palestinian Authority and the United States to advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”


Obama concluded his tenure regarding the Israeli conflict as a disgrace. He proved to be a terrible and biased mediator. To add an exclamation to his failure, his hubris compelled him to undermine the Trump Administration’s role of mediator, and passed the conflict into the hands of anti-Semitic judges at the United Nations.

Obama made the odds of achieving peace in the Middle East more remote. But perhaps under the watch of Nikki Haley and Jason Greenblatt, the peace process will get another chance.


Related First.One.Through articles:

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

The Illogic of Land Swaps

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

A “Viable” Palestinian State

John Kerry: The Declaration and Observations of a Failure

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Remembering the Terrible First Obama-Netanyahu Meeting

On May 18, 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington, D.C. to meet the new president of the United States, Barack Obama. It was the beginning of a terrible friendship.

FILE - In this May 18, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. For six years, Obama and Netanyahu have been on a collision course over how to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a high-stakes endeavor both men see as a centerpiece of their legacies. The coming weeks will put the relationship between their countries, which otherwise remain stalwart allies, to one of its toughest tests. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

May 18, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Netanyahu was extremely distressed about the state of the Iranian nuclear weapons program and urged Obama to set a hard, near-term timetable to reach a conclusive deal with the Iranians, or use military force to dismantle the dangerous program. Obama rejected both the idea of a timetable and the threat of military force.

Quite to the contrary, Obama used the public forum with Netanyahu by his side, to PRAISE IRAN, even though the US State Department defined it as a state sponsor of terrorism and the country’s leadership had threatened to destroy Israel. In his remarks before Netanyahu, Obama said:

“I [Obama] indicated to him [Netanyahu] the view of our administration, that Iran is a country of extraordinary history and extraordinary potential, that we want them to be a full-fledged member of the international community and be in a position to provide opportunities and prosperity for their people, but that the way to achieve those goals is not through the pursuit of a nuclear weapon.”

It would take SIX YEARS for Obama to conclude a deal with the Iranians that left their entire nuclear weapons infrastructure in place and permitted the country a legal path to nuclear weapons in a decade. Netanyahu considered the negotiation a collosal failure and argued against it. Obama walked out on him.

Along the way Obama did threaten to use force against another state sponsor of terrorism – Syria – but ultimately decided to retreat from his August 2012 “red line.” A couple of hundred thousand dead Syrians later, Obama announced the legalization of Iran’s nuclear program while millions of Syrian refugees swarmed the western world.

And now Netanyahu is meeting a new US president.

Netanyahu is meeting with Donald Trump to discuss a range of issues. Like Netanyahu, Trump thought that Obama’s handling of Iran and Syria were complete failures. So it is unlikely that Trump will treat Netanyahu like a cuckold the way that Obama did in publicly lauding Iran in his face.

Will this meeting set the tone and restart the US-Israel relationship? Time will tell.


Related First.One.Through articles:

International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu

Some Global Supporters of the P5+1 Iran Deal

Netanyahu’s View of Obama: Trust and Consequences

Obama’s Iranian Red Line

Seeing Security through a Screen

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A Country Divided

Politicians have a long history of throwing mud at each other. However, over the past ten years, our elected officials have turned from attacking each other, to attacking sectors of Americans. It has divided our nation.

When Barack Obama ran for office, he took aim at the top 1% of wage earners in the country. He blamed “fat cat” bankers for making too much money and further blamed them for pushing the country into financial ruin (“you guys caused the problem,“) conveniently ignoring the government failings for pushing banks to lend to credit-challenged people to buy homes. Obama continued to attack wealthy Americans as people that did not pay their “fair share” of taxes. His attacks appealed to the masses – the 99% of Americans – that would be the beneficiaries of his wealth redistribution. He bought votes by dividing a slice of Americans.

Obama’s class warfare was enhanced by far-left wing politicians like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Sanders claimed that “the business model of Wall Street is fraud,” attacking the entire financial sector, not just some “fat cats.” Warren wouldn’t even allow a banker, Antonio Weiss, to leave his position at an investment bank to help fix the economy of Puerto Rico which was in crisis, because she viewed him as part of the evil Wall Street, even though Weiss had nothing to do with the financial meltdown.

The radical socialists in Congress were no longer satisfied only picking the pockets of “fat cats,” they wanted them either in jail or unemployed.

What these left-wing politicians failed to appreciate, was that there were professions more reviled by Americans than bankers. Specifically, politicians and the news media.

According to polls – both by Pew and Gallup – politicians were ranked as the least trust-worthy group by Americans. The October 2016 Pew poll ranked the military, scientists, school principals, religious leaders, the news media, business leaders and then elected leaders in order of highest to lowest in regards to confidence. A total of 73% of Americans had little or no confidence in their elected officials.

The December 2016 Gallup poll had similar results, with people in the medical profession scoring as the most honest and ethical, with the least trust-worthy professions being state senators, business executives, stock brokers, HMO managers, Senators, advertising people, insurance salespeople, car salespeople and members of Congress. A total of 59% and 50% of Americans had either low or very low views of members of Congress and Senators, respectively. That compared to 30% for bankers and 41% for journalists.

Donald Trump understood this. He rode Americans distaste for their elected officials, and became the first non-public official in the White House.

Rather than attack bankers, Trump has taken aim at the media, another industry that is not trusted by Americans. He called out “fake news” which the public has long believed. One of his advisors sited “alternative facts” in an interview with the press in an ongoing debate with the media.

trump-fake-news

Donald Trump in first news conference as President-elect labeled CNN as “fake news”
January 11, 2017
The press, which has long enjoyed crafting a narrative to fit the political agenda of their editorial boards, are appalled.  Already under threat from changes in technology that is making their work uneconomic, they are attacking every move being made by Trump, in sharp contrast to the gentle treatment of Obama for eight years.


It would be nice to have politicians debate issues rather than resort to personal attacks. Unfortunately, that has never been proven effective in political campaigns.

But politicians have moved passed throwing mud at a single opponent to attacking the American people they are meant to serve.

Obama decided to splinter off only a small number of Americans – the “fat cats.” He made fun of Americans that “cling to guns or religion,” but he didn’t vilify them as bringing down the country. We are past that now.

Hillary Clinton said that she was proud that Republicans hated her, and then described half of America as “deplorables.” Warren and Sanders have continued the attack broad swaths of America.

For his part, Trump narrowed his attacks on those that were unpopular in America. When Americans said that they were more scared of terrorism than mass shootings, he attacked radical Islamic terrorism and went light on gun control. When Americans showed their hatred for politicians and the news media, he berated them to their faces, to the cheers of many.

It is ugly. It is popular. It is the voice of protestors and people angry with the state of our world.

It is us.

Our leaders contributed to our division. Do we rely on them to fix it?

We are all media pundits in a world of social media. We celebrate and castigate politicians with whom we agree and disagree. But we are also doing so with friends and colleagues.

That splinter that Obama opened with the top 1% has opened a chasm in our country and our relationships.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Political Pinatas: Populist Greed Meets Populist Anger

American Hate: The Right Targets Foreigners, The Left Targets Americans

An Open Letter to Non-Anti-Semitic Sanders Supporters

Naked Democracy

Eyes Wide Shut

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If you Only Loved Refugees as Much as you Hate Donald Trump

There have been many protests launched against President Trump’s Executive Order slowing the number of refugees coming to the United States from particular war-torn countries. People have debated about whether the EO was specifically targeting Muslims as each of the seven countries on the list were Muslim-majority countries. Democratic politicians have called out Trump as being “backward and nasty.”

Here are statistics about refugees coming to America from war-torn countries since 2002 – covering the George W Bush and Barack Obama presidencies. Periods which had NO protests about refugees.

First a review of the countries not impacted by Trump’s EO.

Afghanistan

The United States has been battling in Afghanistan since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Thousands of people have been killed and many more injured and displaced as the USA fought to eliminate al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

From 2002 through 2016, the US allowed 14,072 refugees into the USA. The annual average under Bush was 966 people per year, slightly higher than the 913 average under Obama.

There were no protests that not enough people fleeing the war were let into America.

Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon

Boko Haram launched numerous attacks in the Lake Chad Basin for several years. The United States has responded with… allowing almost no refugees into the US.

From 2002 through 2016, the USA permitted a total of 557 refugees from the three countries confronting terrorism combined. President Bush allowed an annual average of 49 refugees, about twice the annual average of 27 under Obama. The large difference was mostly due to the discrepancy in how each administration treated Nigeria, with Obama only allowing an average of 3 people per year, compared to 34 by the Bush administration.

Ethiopia and Kenya

While the majority of the attacks by the terrorist group al-Shabaab occurred in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have also suffered attacks.

Between 2002 and 2016, the USA admitted 14,890 refugees from the two countries, almost all of them from Ethiopia. The Bush administration welcomed an annual average of 1,292 per year, 77% more than the 731 annual average under Obama.

Saudi Arabia

People have questioned why Saudi Arabia – home to 15 of the 19 September 11 terrorists – was not on Trump’s refugee order. In truth, the US barely admits any refugees from the country – a total of 7 people since 2002.

 

In summary, for seven countries that have been involved in terrorism, the US barely admitted any refugees over the past 15 years. The Obama administration let in many fewer refugees than the Bush administration, even though the terrorism was much more prevalent in the countries over the past eight years than during the Bush years.

And no Americans protested.

So let’s consider the countries in Trump’s Executive Order.

Libya

Obama overthrew the Libyan government and then watched as jihadists took over the country; a real moment to celebrate. Not surprisingly, there were no refugees from Libya under Bush (since there was no war or mayhem). However, Obama barely allowed any refugees from the country he actively dismantled – a grand total of 12 people over his eight-year presidency.

Yemen

Yemen has been in on-and-off again civil war for decades. In recent years, the situation deteriorated as the government fell while Iran and Saudi Arabia engaged in a proxy war to control one of the poorest countries in the world. The US sided with its ally Saudi Arabia in the war, and involved with killing many civilians.

Even while thousands died, the Obama administration only admitted 123 Yemeni refugees over his entire tenure. Bush admitted just 25.

Sudan

Sudan has suffered from both ongoing civil war and terrorism for a long time and the USA has been more forth-coming granting refugees asylum – a total of 21,180 people since 2002. President Bush welcomed an annual average of 1,678, about 42% more than the 1,179 granted by Obama.

Iran

Iran has had a repressive government since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. It remains one of the leading countries that executes gays and one of the only countries that executes minors.

The US has consistently granted asylum to over one thousand refugees from Iran every year. Since 2002, 45,791 refugees have come to America, with an annual average of roughly 3000 per year under both Bush and Obama.

Somalia

Somalia has been a mess for 30 years, undergoing a variety of civil wars. The unrest was so bad that in 2006, that Ethiopia sent troops in 2006 to help repel the advance of the Islamic Courts Union, which soon splintered into the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Mayhem continues to this day.

The US allowed entry to 100,930 refugees from Somalia from 2002 to 2016; a great number of whom have settled in Minnesota. Both Presidents Bush and Obama allowed roughly 6700 Somalis to enter each year.

Iraq

The United States entered Iraq shortly after the attacks of 9/11 and overthrew the government. While the long war under Bush finally helped settle the country, the rapid withdrawal under Obama and the decision to not leave any US troops behind led to chaos and the emergence of ISIS.

Over 140,000 refugees have come to the US from Iraq since 2002. The majority have come under the watch of Obama, with over 15,000 coming annually, compared to an average of 2800 under Bush.

Syria

Syria has been in a civil war since March 2011, in a war that has killed roughly half a million people.

Before the war began, there were few people fleeing the country, and President Bush admitted about 14 people per year. From 2009 through 2013, the number of refugees welcomed to America barely changed, but gradually increased towards the end of Obama’s presidency, with 249, 2192 and 15,479 coming in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.

refugees

Aside from the spike of Syrian refugees in 2016, Obama did less for refugees – over a much more tumultuous period – than Bush.

Observation

The number of refugees admitted under Bush and Obama were roughly the same, even though the situation for people in the Middle East was much worse since the “Arab Spring” began in early 2011. Further, the terrorist threats from groups like ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and others grew dramatically during the Obama years. In a time of greater instability and violence, Obama barely acted in providing sanctuary.

But there were no protests in the streets of America to let in more refugees.

Even as millions of refugees fleeing the war-torn countries overwhelmed Europe, Obama did not increase the numbers entering the US until the final two years of his second term- and only for Syria.

Why the lack of protests in the streets of the USA?

Presumably it was because American liberals loved Obama and trusted his liberal instincts. They assumed that he was doing whatever he could – even though it was clear that Europe was doing much, much more than the US in protecting refugees.

Conversely, liberal protesters assume the very worst of President Trump. They have listened to his campaign promises about banning Muslims and concluded that his executive order was really a step to ban all Muslims from entering the US. They have channeled their hatred today in regards to refugees. Yesterday it was for abortion rights. Tomorrow it may be about bank reform.

In other words, the protestors hate Trump much more than they care about refugees. Their protests are masked as concern for the weak and disenfranchised, as it lends a smug self-righteousness to conceal their ugly anger.

It is emotional, not fact-based.

refugees
Protestors at JFK Airport January 28, 2017
(photo: Reuters: Stephen Yang)

So why review the facts above? Why combat or discuss #AlternativeFacts or #FakeNews? Americans stopped paying attention to facts long ago and have relied on screaming and sharing their emotions.

It is our new reality, the lack of reality. As conveyed in “Eyes Wide Shut,

“In a world where facts are extraneous, we are only left with a clash of emotions.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Arab Middle East Makes Refugees, They Don’t Help Them

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

Trump’s Take on Obama’s “Evil Ideology”

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

The Presidential Candidates on Islamic Terrorism: The Bumblebee, the Crocodile and the Pitbull

Republican Scrutiny and Democratic Empowerment of Muslims in Minnesota

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Liberal’s Protest Bubble Harms Democracy

I still remember the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in January 1981. It was not Reagan himself that made the day memorable, but the thrill of seeing the incompetent Jimmy Carter leave the White House.

I had spent my mornings during my 1979-80, 1980-81 high school years driving to school past a gas station which posted the number of days that the American hostages were held in captivity in Iran. Each day the sign would update the count, and my anger would rise along with the revised total. But on January 20, the day of Reagan’s inauguration, the hostages were finally released, just as the embarrassment of a president vacated Washington, DC.

On that day, my liberal high school classmates chose to wear black armbands, in protest of the election of a Republican. They had convinced themselves that there was nothing so terrible as capitalism and free markets, and they opted to show the world their disgust at Reagan’s ascent. While the country celebrated the release of hostages and dawn of a brighter future, these liberal teenagers saw a dark day.

I would see the silent liberal protests again. In January 2001, liberals would claim that George W Bush wasn’t really their president. I saw bumper stickers all over town that had a “W’ with a slash through it. I read about how Bill Clinton’s staffers removed all of the “W”s from the computer keyboards in the White House. Real mature.

This year’s election of Donald Trump has brought yet a new wave of liberal protests. Some schools cancelled exams after the election. Family celebrations which had once included a wide range of divergent political views began with declarations “No political discussions!” before anyone had a chance to say hello.  Now we are hearing that many elected Democratic officials are going to boycott the inauguration. Some liberal rabbis have even said that they will mark the day by fasting – I kid you not.

notmypresident

I don’t know what kind of president Donald Trump will be at this moment in time, any more than predicting Reagan 36 years ago. I do know that I am glad to say goodbye to eight terrible years of foreign policy, and am not surprised at the immature liberal cries of anguish I have seen for decades.

The silent protests don’t upset me. Free speech is an American right, and everyone is allowed to express themselves.

Granted I do not know any non-liberals that carried on in such a fashion over the past eight years. I never met someone that placed a “Nobama” sign on their front lawn or fasted at Obama’s election. I couldn’t catch any black armbands when Bill Clinton asumed office or any Republican officials boycotting the ceremony. No matter.

The problem with the liberal actions are not the protests themselves. It is the withdrawal from reality and debate.

For the last eight years people debated issues ranging from transgender bathrooms to the use of drones to kill Americans to Obamacare. People accepted the presidential election results and engaged in a discussion about policies.

Yet now, liberals claim “he’s not my president” and shout at friends “no talking politics!” when they dislike the results of their democracy. After eight years of a constant comfortable exchange while the president echoed and enshrined their worldview, will people discuss important matters with people with whom they disagree, or just rely on the liberal mainstream media to attack Trump?

President Obama saw the problem in his own party. In his farewell address, he asked people to get out of their bubbles and engage in a healthy debate with people with different opinions:

“For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.

This trend represents a third threat to our democracy. Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.”

I strongly disagreed with Obama on many of his policies, and I made my case to people of all political persuasions. But in this instance, I agree with him. Healthy debate is critical for a healthy democracy. I wish Obama would have followed his own advice during his presidency, and not walked out on people, such as boycotting speeches (as Democrats did to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), or supporting Democrats when they fled the Wisconsin state house, or the Indiana state house. Or as Democratic officials now plan to do in boycotting the inauguration of President Trump.

I don’t care about your armbands, your fasts or your walkouts. If you have a coherent argument, make it. Engage in the debate and understand your fellow Americans without name-calling. Our democracy will be better off if you left your liberal bubble.


Related First.One.Through articles:

“Coastal Liberal Latte-sipping Politically-correct Out-of-touch Folks.”

Magnifying the Margins, and the Rise of the Independents

A Deplorable Definition

American Hate: The Right Targets Foreigners, The Left Targets Americans

Older White Men are the Most Politically Balanced Demographic By Far

Libertarian Validation and Absolution

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The Trump Pinata Preserving the False Obama Messiah

Summary: Democrats have been pounding on Trump and his loss in the popular vote to defend the legacy of their anointed liberal messiah. Stating that Clinton Hillary lost just because of “racists and misogynists” as the New York Times declares, is to ignore the facts of the failed Obama policies.

trump-effigy
Democrats burning an effigy of Donald Trump on Easter

Barack Obama was hailed as the deliverer when he was elected president in 2008. Indeed, in the election of 2008, the Democrats swept all branches of government, including adding 8 seats in the Senate, 21 seats in the House of Representatives, plus a governorship. When Obama was sworn into office in January 2009, Democrats held 57% of the Senate, 59% of the House and 58% of the state governors. Quite a victory and mandate.

The Democrats chose to use their mandate to advance a liberal agenda.  Their primary focus was healthcare which had been increasing in costs at rates that far surpassed inflation. Rather than implement solutions that would cut to the core of the cost structure like major tort reform, they advanced a program for Americans to subsidize the millions of uninsured, creating a new, complicated entitlement program.

The American people balked at the Democrats’ actions.

In the 2010 election, the Democrats were trounced, losing 6 seats in the Senate, 63 seats in the House and 6 governorships. Did the population that had just elected Obama two years earlier suddenly become racist and xenophobic?

In the 2012 election, Obama won the presidency again, and brought along some Democratic victories in the Senate (+2) and House (+8), while it lost another state governor to the Republicans. But the net losses for the Democrats over Obama’s first term were still huge: -2 Senate seats; -56 House seats; and -10 governors, from 29 down to 19. All of these losses were realized before the rise of Donald Trump.

The 2014 election witnessed another thrashing of the Democrats. The Democrats lost 9 Senate seats, 13 House seats, and another 3 governorships.  And Donald Trump had still not declared that he was running for office.

By the time Barack Obama steps down from office in January 2009, he will have stood watch as his party was eviscerated over his eight years. The Democrats would have lost the majority of the Senate (from 57% to 48%), the majority in the House (from 59% to 45%) and state governors (from 58% to 30%).  The vast majority of all of the losses happened during Obama’s first term, post passing of Obamacare.

How has the Democratic party reacted? What did the liberal press claim was the reason for Democrats losing the White House?

Racism. Xenophobia. Misogyny. Anti-Semitism.

The Democrats could not reevaluate the party’s stances and actions. It could not fathom that the American people did not care for the failures in US foreign policy, doubling down on entitlements rather than entitlement reform, or a sloppy economy. The Democrats chose to look through a lens of hatred as it considered an America that turned on its messiah and his second coming, in Hillary.

What are the facts?

Men preferred Obama in 2008 by a small margin, but turned against him by a spread of 7 points in 2012. By 2016, men preferred Republican Donald Trump by an incremental 5 points (a total 12% spread). The liberals ignored the facts and trends. They declared that men are misogynists because they didn’t vote for Hillary. The reality that men turned away from Democratic policies – by an even wider margin – four years earlier is seemingly irrelevant to people who view things from a singular biased vantage point.

Hillary preached to her liberal base as she proudly called Republicans enemies.  She did not bat an eyelash as she labeled half of America “deplorables.” Only white racists and misogynists could possibly turn from Obama and Hillary in this world view. To fathom that America would reject this woman, or reverse course in undermining the legacy of the first black president, was too much for the liberal psyche.

So the liberals continue to paint their political opponents as the “alt-Right,” as they double-down on a more “progressive” approach against a stupid and racist populace. They have chosen to nominate a far left black Muslim to head the Democratic Party.

The Democratic approach seems to be: if you challenge us because of poor policies, we can accuse you of racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, or any slur that seems appropriate.

keith-ellison-end-the-occupation-podium
Rep. Keith Ellison was a listed speaker at a pro-BDS, anti-Israel conference

And who is better to represent that liberal view of a biased America, than the new President-elect, who has made comments that offend Muslims, women and illegal immigrants?

Democrats will pound on the Trump piñata and burn the American flag as they try to protect the legacy of their liberal messiah. The divisive America will not abate until people focus on core issues, instead of name-calling.


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Michael Bloomberg Talks to America about Marrying a Prostitute

Money Can’t Buy Clinton Love

Eyes Wide Shut

Older White Men are the Most Politically Balanced Demographic By Far

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What Would America’s Founding Fathers say to Barack Obama?

US President Barack Obama addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA on July 27, 2016.  The founding fathers would like to reply:

Patriots on Executive Actions:
It is not tyranny we desire; it’s a just, limited federal government.” Alexander Hamilton
“The essence of government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”  James Madison
“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”  James Madison

Patriots Executive Action2

Patriots on Defining the Enemy:
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it the superficial appearance of being right.”  Thomas Paine

Patriots Enemy

Patriots on Gun Control:
“Are we at last brought to such humiliation and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?”  Patrick Henry
Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”  James Madison

Patriots Gun Control1

Patriots on Obamacare:
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”  James Madison

Patriots Obamacare

Patriots on Funding Abortion:
To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”  Thomas Jefferson
“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed”  James Madison

Patriots Abortion1

Patriots on Government Welfare and Charitable Endeavors:
“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”  James Madison

Patriots on Orders for Tax Audits of Political Opponents:
Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties or his possessions.” James Madison

Patriots on Oratory Skills:
Well done is better than well said.” Ben Franklin

Patriots Oratory

Patriots on Reducing the Military:
To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” George Washington

Patriots on Military Exercises in Libya and Elsewhere:
The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.”  George Washington
“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home” James Madison

 

 

 

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy on Israel is like the United Nations

As Barack Obama ends his presidency and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seeks to become the next president, it is worth noting the similarity between Obama/Clinton and the United Nations in their stances towards Israel.

  • Neither Obama nor the United Nations will refer to terrorism as coming from radical Islam
  • Both Obama and the UN think a root cause of terrorism is from poverty, even though research shows no correlation
  • Both Obama and the UN have aligned themselves with some of the worst state sponsors of terrorism including Iran and Saudi Arabia
  • Both Obama and the UN are highly critical of Israel
  • Both Obama and the UN state that Palestinian Arabs “resort” to violence because they are “frustrated,” even though the two main political Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, both have charters calling for the destruction of Israel
  • Neither Obama nor the UN will state that they stand in solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism
  • Both Obama and the UN want Israel to stop the blockade of Gaza meant to curtail weapons shipments into Hamas, even though the blockade was deemed legal by a UN report
  • Both Obama and the UN endorse the anti-Semitic Palestinian platform of a new country devoid of any Jews
  • Both the UN and Obama want to see the terrorist group Hamas be part of a Palestinian unity government
  • Both Obama and the UN refer to acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas as a “moderate” and seeking peace, even though he is much more extreme than the “right-wing” current Israeli government
  • Both the UN and Obama prejudge the outcome of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs arguing for a two-state solution, even though the Oslo II Accords never call for such conclusion
  • Both the UN and Obama prejudge the outcome of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs arguing that Jerusalem should be divided, even though the Oslo II Accords never call for such conclusion

obama-with-un-secretary-general-ban-ki-moon
US President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

The United Nations under UNSG Ban Ki Moon continued its long and terrible history of being very anti-Israel.  Unfortunately, this US administration, headed by Obama, aligned itself with those same disgraceful positions.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The United Nations’ Ban Ki Moon Exposes Israeli Civilians

The Undemocratic Nature of Fire and Water in the Middle East

The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel

UN Press Corps Expunges Israel

A “Viable” Palestinian State

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The Dangerous Red Herring Linking Poverty and Terrorism

There is a commonly held thought that if society understood the root cause of a problem, it would be able to arrive at solutions. Such reasoning implies that diagnosis is an essential part of solving the problem.

One of the major problems confronting the world in the 21st century is terrorism. Innocent civilians are being murdered and maimed in such diverse places as: Bangladesh; Turkey; France; United States; Nigeria; Israel; India; England and Libya. Stopping such violence is a global priority.

In attempting to stop the scourge, the United Nations and the United States made a common diagnosis and prescription for stopping terrorism: poverty leads to despair and violence, so solving global poverty would eradicate terrorism.

The problem with the diagnosis is that it has no basis in fact.

The United Nations on Poverty and Terrorism

The UN developed a global counter terrorism strategy which called on all of its member states to take a series of steps to eradicate terrorism. It stated:

Affirming Member States’ determination to continue to do all they can to resolve conflict, end foreign occupation, confront oppression, eradicate poverty, promote sustained economic growth, sustainable development, global prosperity, good governance, human rights for all and rule of law, improve intercultural understanding and ensure respect for all religions, religious values, beliefs or cultures” would promote stability and end terrorism.

The UN repeated its call for economic opportunity for all as a cure for stopping the mass murder of innocents in its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy:

“To reiterate our determination to ensure the timely and full realization of the development goals and objectives agreed at the major United Nations conferences and summits, including the Millennium Development Goals. We reaffirm our commitment to eradicate poverty and promote sustained economic growth, sustainable development and global prosperity for all.”

While no one would suggest that poverty is positive, it also true that pollution and disease are problems plaguing our global society. Yet the UN had enough sense to not include those issues in a document meant to specifically address terrorism (yet- is global warming coming?).

The Obama Administration was in sync with this line of thinking.

The United States on Poverty and Terrorism

In February 2015, after terrorists beheaded Christians on a beach in Libya, the US State Department’s spokesperson Marie Harf said that the root cause of extremism was poverty:

“the root causes that lead people to join these [terrorist] groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs…we can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance, we can help them build their economy so they can have job opportunities for these people….If we can help countries work at the root causes of this- what makes a 17-year old kid pick up an AK-47 instead of trying to start a business, maybe we can try to chip away at this problem.”

President Obama made similar remarks about Countering Violent Extremism at a summit at the same time where he said:

“we must address the grievances that terrorists exploit, including economic grievances.  As I said yesterday, poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, any more than poverty alone causes someone to become a criminal.  There are millions, billions of people who are poor and are law-abiding and peaceful and tolerant, and are trying to advance their lives and the opportunities for their families. 

But when people — especially young people — feel entirely trapped in impoverished communities, where there is no order and no path for advancement, where there are no educational opportunities, where there are no ways to support families, and no escape from injustice and the humiliations of corruption — that feeds instability and disorder, and makes those communities ripe for extremist recruitment.  And we have seen that across the Middle East and we’ve seen it across North Africa.  So if we’re serious about countering violent extremism, we have to get serious about confronting these economic grievances.”

obama-1
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at the State Department in Washington
February 19, 2015. (Photo: Reuters / Joshua Roberts)

The United Nations and the Obama administration were lock-step in finding the root cause of terrorism.  Insanity had company.

No Connection Between Poverty and Terrorism

The UN and the Obama Administration have repeated this poverty propaganda without any evidence, or more specifically, despite the evidence.

Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 was from a wealthly family, as were many of the hijackers on the planes.

The terrorism that struck Bangladesh in July 2016 was perpetrated by wealthy men that attended elite universities.

This is often the norm.

The National Bureau of Economic Research did a study in September 2002 that found no connection between poverty and terrorism.  Among its findings was that racism and nationalism was behind the widespread support for killing Israeli Jewish civilians among Palestinian Arabs of all income levels.

A report by the Brookings Institute in 2010 authored by Corinne Graff noted that:

“since 9/11, terrorism experts have invoked empirical evidence that poverty does not correlate with a higher incidence of terrorist attacks and participation. The consensus appears to be that poverty does not motivate individuals to participate in terrorism, and that development assistance, therefore, has no place in a longer-term counter-terrorism strategy.”

The New York Times also came around to reporting this conclusion on March 27, 2016, in an article called “Who Will Become a Terrorist? Research Yields Few Clues.” The article discussed how there is little correlation between an a person’s education and poverty level with the probability he will engage in acts of terrorism. For example, the shooters in San Bernardino, CA in December 2015 were a middle class couple.

Yet the global body of the United Nations, and the most powerful democracy on the planet, the United States, are working on combatting terrorism with a flawed world view.

Ramifications

There are many ramifications of chasing a myth.  The implications are enormous when the subject is combatting global terrorism.

President Obama was correct when he called out the “warped ideologies espoused by terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIL” that use “their propaganda to Muslim communities, particularly Muslim youth” to advance a program to kill innocents. He is also correct that “Muslim communities, including scholars and clerics, therefore have a responsibility to push back” against these dangerous notions.

All citizens of the world have a similar responsibility to push back against the Obama administration and the United Nations that is pivoting the focus of counter-terrorism to economic development. The tactic to fight against twisted ideologies cannot be to give those communities more jobs and money.  Such thinking led the Obama administration to give the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, an estimated $150 billion and a legal pathway to obtain ballistic missiles, while keeping its nuclear infrastructure in place. The Obama administration logic that the Islamic Republic of Iran will be so happy to have the money and be embraced by the global community, that it will abandon sponsoring terrorism and its twisted ideology, has (yet) to play out.

Meanwhile, the world does little to combat the narrative and ideology itself.

In Gaza, the United Nations has allowed the Hamas government to ban the teaching of the Holocaust in UNRWA schools, and the teaching of global human rights.  Instead, UN Secretary General just talks about providing economic opportunity to Gaza.  When the UNSG said that he stands with Gaza, while never pushing to reform the thinking of the Palestinian Arabs, what message does he think he is conveying?

There was a thin line that separated the “Hope” that characterized the election of Obama in 2008, and the “wishful thinking” without basis in fact, that Obama’s detractors feared.  The trauma of global terrorism that has spread on his watch is anchored in a worldview that often denies uncomfortable truths and replaces it with a propaganda of his own.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Failures of the Obama Doctrine and the Obama Rationale

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

Absolute and Relative Ideological Terrorism in the United States

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While Joe Biden Passionately Defends Israel, He Ignores Jewish Rights and the History of the Jewish State

Vice President Joe Biden addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 2016. He spoke passionately about the importance of the security of Israel and America’s commitment to defend Israel.

At roughly the 29 minute mark of the speech, he said that “One thing is certain: the United States will constantly and forever have Israel’s back….no administration has done more to advance the security of Israel than we [this administration] have. Our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge is unquestionable; it will not change.” Putting aside the enormity of the pending threat of Iran from the JCPOA, the statement strikes many people in the Israeli government as accurate.

Biden_at_AIPAC

Vice President Joe Biden at AIPAC, March 20, 2016

However passionately Biden spoke about the importance of Israel’s security and America’s commitment to such, he confused the cause of safety, with the contours of  the basic history of the Jewish State. At three different occasions Biden spoke about the Holocaust and the current anti-Semitism in Europe. He stated that Israel needs to exist “as the ultimate guarantor of security for Jewish people around the world…Never, never, never again! And without Israel, there is no guarantee.”

The pro-Israel crowd rose to its feet in a standing ovation (video 33:30).

I was sad.

  1. “Never Again” is universal. It is the moral, ethical and primary responsibility of every government to protect each and every one of its citizens. It is true that many countries throughout history have turned on the Jews. But in 2016, I expect the Vice President of the United States of America to stand a foot taller and declare twice as loud as the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls who saidif 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”
    ”Never Again” should not just be a slogan inside of Israel; it must be the slogan of every country in the world. How could a leader of the greatest country in the world pawn off the security of Jews to Israel alone?
  2. Modern Israel is the Third Jewish State. Israel was not created as a reaction to the Holocaust in World War II. It was not made as the United Nations’ pen for holding people out of harm’s way. That is a mischaracterization that President Obama has made repeatedly over his term. In his interview in The Atlantic in 2015, Obama compared the security of Jews to American blacks when he said “There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law. These things are indivisible in my mind.
    Nope.
    Israel was established in international law as the homeland of the Jewish people in 1920 in the San Remo Agreement, well before World War II. The 1922 British Mandate for Palestine clearly stated that the reason for the Jewish homeland in Palestine was specifically because of “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” The mandate facilitated Jews to move there, acquire property and citizenship once again.

Does the myopic view of Vice President Biden seeing and describing Israel solely as a safe haven for Jews matter?

You bet.

Without an understanding of Jewish history that dates back more than 3000 years in the land, and the international law that gives Jews the option of living throughout the land, Jews have no real rights.  They are interlopers and recent arrivals in “Arab lands,” rather than the indigenous people.  They are only entitled to security – and that security could be in an arbitrary, very small part of the holy land.

That is why the Obama administration calls Jewish homes east of the Green Line (EGL) as “illegitimate.”  That is why the administration could propose “settlement freezes.”  It leads to a view that Jerusalem, the holiest city to only one religion (Judaism), that has been the capital city of only one people in history (Jews), could be subject to negotiation and division.

When Biden said (video 20:45-22:45) that settlements hurt the chance for peace with Palestinian Arabs, he wasn’t just advocating splitting the land; he was segmenting his logic and ignoring facts.  To him, Israel has no inherent rights and Jews have no freedom to live where they want.  Israel and Jews are only entitled “to exist” with security.

For their part, the Democratic administration argues that Palestinians are entitled to “dignity and self-determination.”  And if that “dignity” means anti-Semitic laws, banning Jews and squashing the freedoms and rights of Jews, this administration will support it – as long as Israel has security.

Such a view destroys there ever being peace between Israel and Arabs.

The underlying reason preventing peace is the Arabs’ refusal to recognize the basic and fundamental rights Jews have for living in the land – regardless of whether it is under an Israeli flag, a Jordanian flag or a future Palestinian flag.  Sadly, the Obama administration holds the same position.

Perhaps, sadder still, is watching a pro-Israel community applaud.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Narrative that Prevents Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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