Beyond the Cusp

September 22, 2017

Did the Republicans Out Maneuver the Republicans?

 

President Trump made a miscalculation at the beginning of his term which he is unlikely to make again. He believed that as he had won the Presidency that he was now the leader of the Republican Party. He assumed that the Republican Party was very similar to the Democrat Party which he knew rather well having seen them operate for many of his years. He believed that the Republicans would be assisting him with his agenda. He now knows that his assumption was not quite valid. There were Republicans who believed that they had the right to control the Republican Party and that they were going to force President Trump to allow them to control the agenda no matter what it took. Their first stand was over repeal and replace of Obamacare where they prevented all three proposals from passing and brought President Trump to his realization that there was a sufficiently sizeable group of Republicans who did not care about the good for the American people, they cared solely about their power and control. They would sacrifice the Republican Party from holding the White House if it meant they could impose that they were the real powerful members of the Republican Party. They had everything figured out, they would hold the promises made by candidate Trump hostage until President Trump submitted to their control. Then they would dictate policy as they were meant to do. One felt particularly cheated because he should have been the Republican in the White House the past eight years but he was robbed by President Obama. Then they threatened to foil President Trump’s tax reform plans unless he allowed them to take charge and do what was the right thing to do. These rebelling Republicans were a motely group of very liberal Republicans plus a few very angry Republicans who despised that this upstart who has never held any elected office or paid his dues to the Republican Party was now the President and leader of their party, that is their party. They were not going to bow before this upstart and he was going to bow to them and they would finally dictate and make things right, make them how they had always believed they should be, finally achieve those things they knew were necessary.

 

President Trump is a different kind of politician, a business politician who believes in making deals as necessary. When he realized that because of this small band of aggravated Republicans who were bent on refusing him any victory, President Trump did the only thing which makes any business sense, he went to work with the Democrats. He offered the Democrats hope for a deal but first they had to prove they could produce the votes by giving him something he badly needed, raising the debt limit. The Democrats gave President Trump his debt ceiling increase and the will to achieve more things which they hold in common. There are Republicans who have accused and thought that President Trump would be right at home amongst the Democrats. Now there will be howls from the Republicans about President Trump joining with the Democrats and deserting the Republican Party. The discussion will be interesting between the Republicans and President Trump as each one accuses the other of betrayal. Which one honestly betrayed the other will depend upon one’s own views and probably which side your political bread is buttered. It might even just come down to which of the two main characters in this grand opera you believe is the better person, President Trump or Senator McCain. What comes next will prove to be telling and it will depend heavily on whether President Trump actually cares about working with the Republicans or now feels he has new friends he can depend upon.

 

Senator McCain versus President Trump

Senator McCain versus President Trump

 

The one thing, which we can tell President Trump, is that the Democrats suffer from an ideological block that only permits them to serve their own purposes. Then President Trump also needs to know that those renegade Republicans who appeared to hate his becoming President with so much passion that they refused to do things even that they had promised for the last seven years to their own constituents are just as untrustworthy. But it is very likely that the President already has this game figured and will work with whomever wishes to play ball with him and assist him in getting certain ideas pushed through to fruition. This may mean working with the Democrats on Tuesdays and Thursdays and working with the Republican on Mondays and Fridays and working with a combination made up from both parties who are simply interested in advancing what is best for the people of the United States on Wednesdays. In such a scenario, we predict that Wednesdays would be outstandingly productive. But the real question is what is the immediate path the President might try as neither party has a proven record or appears completely committed to his ideas and programs.

 

President Trump is going to need to prove that he really can perform the art of the deal. The question will be with whom he will be dealing. President Trump will most likely move to have the Republicans take a shot at passing his tax reform plan, something they will probably demand not be as deep a cut or that so many of the loopholes and deductions be removed. The Democrats would be even more averse to working with President Trump on any form of tax reduction unless he would agree to raising other taxes or enacting Single Payer Healthcare, otherwise known as Medicare for All. The Democrats have always been the deal makers where their half of the deal always has to be enacted first and too often their agreement to enact more later often does not come to fruition. At least that has been the record in their past, especially when it comes to amnesty for illegal aliens (undocumented immigrants) and closure of the border to prevent additional illegal aliens (undocumented immigrants). Fortunately, the President’s next major fight will be tax reduction and reform. This would be an area better suited to working with the Republican Party. That would be a good starting point for President Trump if that is his next venture, but he should also enlist any willing Democrat assistance available just in case the Republican rebellion is still in vogue, then the tax program could still have a good opportunity for passage. Wherever President Trump’s agenda plans may be, he might be required to enlist the willing on each program from both parties in order to bring his campaign promises to fruition. The immediate problems facing President Trump is finding a coalition of the willing from both parties and proceed with the work at hand. To do anything less would be disrespectful of those who elected him to accomplish those items he promised during the campaign. The voters did not care who President Trump works with, they just wanted him to work on those items he promised. They do not even care if he believes in that which he promised, they just demand that he deliver or he will have only one term. Then again, after the way President Trump has been treated, he may not desire another term which makes him even more of a problem as then he has nothing to lose by doing whatever he feels is necessary. At least things will be interesting, and that is very good for those who write about politics.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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September 21, 2017

A Tale of Two Speeches

 

There were two very marked changes in the speeches given before the United Nations General Assembly at the annual opening ceremonies. The speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was quieter and less bellicose. He gave recognition and thanks to the numerous leaders of the nations who visited Israel, many marking the first visit by their country’s leaders to the Jewish State. He also gave thanks to those nations he had visited on six continents, also many for the first time for an Israeli Prime Minister including to South America. Prime Minister Netanyahu also commended the United Nations for taking a more balanced view and positions on Israel and to the President of the General Assembly for their parts in this new enlightened set of views. The Prime Minister still had some harsher comments for the Iranian leadership and a not so veiled threat for the Grand Ayatollah concerning their nuclear, missile technologies, and their interferences on the Israeli border along with their sponsorship of terrorism. There were the specific acts of United Nations agencies such as UNESCO who received special note for ludicrous ignorance of history with their naming of Jewish Biblical sites as not belonging to the Jews but instead to the Palestinian entity and added that perhaps people might look to and read a best selling book on Amazon, the Bible. Still, all-in-all, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a more upbeat speech where probably the most meaningful comment was his praise for the speech given by President Trump quoted below.


“Thanks to President Trump’s unequivocal support for Israel in this body, that positive change is gathering force. So, thank you, President Trump. Thank you for supporting Israel at the UN. And thank you for your support, Ambassador Nikki Haley. Thank you for speaking the truth about Israel.
But, ladies and gentlemen, here at the UN, we must also speak the truth about Iran, as President Trump did so powerfully this morning. Now, you know I’ve been ambassador to the UN and I’m a long-serving Israeli prime minister, so I’ve listened to countless speeches in this hall, but I can say this: none were bolder, none more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today.
President Trump rightly called the nuclear deal with Iran, he called it an embarrassment. Well, I couldn’t agree with him more. And here’s why: Iran vows to destroy my country every day, including by its chief of staff the other day. Iran is conducting a campaign of conquest across the Middle East and Iran is developing ballistic missiles to threaten the entire world.”

 

 

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

 

The other speech, which was a marked change from those of the past decade, was the speech given by United States President Trump. The President spoke long and large about the pro-active approach the United States could entertain should the problem spots in the world continue to grow in the threats they posed. These were not so much threats to the United States, though that was also mentioned, but threats to the wellbeing of the people these governments were tasked with providing and protecting. President Trump summarily denounced socialism and communism as failed policies stating, “wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.” President Trump will be called out and has already been denounced for ignoring the sovereignty of other nations. Some from the leadership of these nations will surely have pointed and vicious responses to the comments made by the President. In particular, President Trump called out the Cuban government, the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, and Kim Jong-un in North Korea of whom the President cautioned was facing, “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” The President went on to warn and congratulate in his conclusion on North Korea stating, “It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved.”
The President denounced Iran with a strong warning as well with the below statement.


“The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people.
Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors. This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran’s people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East.
We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. (Applause.) The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me.
It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.
The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict Internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protestors, and imprison political reformers.”

 

The main thing left, other than waiting for all the caterwauling by their opposing media critics for both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, is their, as their critics will claim, unmitigated, awful and dangerously threatening speeches, which were cowardly and overflowing with unrestrained flattery and threats to depose sovereign national governments. We are aware that the above statement has mutually irreconcilable contradictions but so will the media depending on which critique one reads and about which speech. All of these and more will be levelled as criticisms of both leaders who will have, of course, embarrassed themselves and their respective nations. There will be call to impeach the President and dissolve the coalition in the Knesset respectively. Personally, we loved both speeches and if we were to be critical, we might suggest that Prime Minister Netanyahu was too forgiving and spoke too softly but then he was attempting not to steal any thunder from President Trump’s earlier words. President Trump, on the other hand, was strong enough and direct enough and definitively announcing the era of a new sheriff in the free world willing and able to take out the trash. We might have asked that he have come up with other nicknames for the other leaders to add to the calling of Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man” so the media would have had a larger target upon which to concentrate and sound all the more unhinged. We will also join those waiting for Elton John to demand that President Trump cease using his song title in such a mean-spirited manner and insist on an apology. About Elton John should he desire an apology, we advise he not hold his breath on that one.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 20, 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s United Nations Speech Video and Transcript

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s United Nations Speech Video and Transcript
September, 19, 2017

 

 

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,

We’re in the midst of a great revolution, a revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations. This is happening because so many countries around the world have finally woken up to what Israel can do for them. Those countries now recognize what brilliant investors like Warren Buffet and great companies like Google and Intel, what they’ve recognized and known for years: that Israel is the innovation nation — the place for cutting-edge technology in agriculture, in water, in cyber security, in medicine, in autonomous vehicles — you name it, we’ve got it.

Those countries now also recognize Israel’s exceptional capabilities in fighting terrorism. In recent years, Israel has provided intelligence that has prevented dozens of major terrorist attacks around the world. We have saved countless lives. You may not know this, but your governments do, and they are working closely together with Israel to keep your countries safe and your citizens safe.

I stood here last year on this podium and I spoke about this profound change in Israel’s standing in the world and just look at what has happened since, in one year: hundreds of presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other leaders have visited Israel, many for the first time.

Of these many visits, two were truly historic. In May, President Trump became the first American president to include Israel in his first visit abroad. President Trump stood at the Western Wall, at the foot of the Temple Mount, where the Jewish people’s Temples stood for nearly a thousand years. When the president touched those ancient stones, he touched our hearts forever.

In July, Prime Minister Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel. You may have seen the pictures. We were on a beach in Hadera. We rode together in a jeep outfitted with a portable desalination device that some thriving Israeli entrepreneur invented. We took off our shoes, waded into the Mediterranean and drank seawater that had been purified only a few minutes earlier. We imagined the endless possibilities for Israel, India, for all humanity.

In the past year, Israel hosted so many world leaders, and I had the honor of representing my country on six different continents. One year. Six continents.

I went to Africa, where I saw Israeli innovators increasing crop yields, turning air into water, fighting AIDS.

I went to Asia, where we deepened our relations with China and with Singapore, and expanded our cooperation with our Muslim friends in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

I went to Europe, where in London and Paris, Thessaloniki and Budapest, we enhanced our security and economic ties.

I went to Australia, becoming the first Israeli prime minister to visit our great allies Down Under.

And just last week, I went to South America, visiting Argentina and Colombia, and then I went on to Mexico, becoming, if you can believe it, the first Israeli prime minister ever to visit Latin America.

After 70 years, the world is embracing Israel, and Israel is embracing the world. One year. Six continents. Now, it’s true. I haven’t yet visited Antarctica, but one day I want to go there too because I’ve heard that penguins are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel. You laugh, but penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white, are right and wrong.

Unfortunately, when it comes to UN decisions about Israel, that simple recognition is too often absent. It was absent last December when the Security Council passed an anti-Israel resolution that set back the cause of peace.

It was absent last May, when the World Health Organization adopted — you have to listen to this: the World Health Organization adopted a Syrian-sponsored resolution that criticized Israel for health conditions on the Golan Heights.

As the great John McEnroe would say, “You can-not be serious!” I mean, this is preposterous.

Syria has barrel-bombed, starved, gassed and murdered hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and wounded millions more, while Israel has provided lifesaving medical care to thousands of Syrian victims of that very same carnage. Yet who does the World Health Organization criticize? Israel.

So is there no limit to the UN’s absurdities when it comes to Israel?

Well, apparently not, because in July, UNESCO declared the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage site. That’s worse than fake news. That’s fake history. Mind you, it’s true that Abraham, the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, is buried there, but so too are Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca – Sarah is a Jewish name, by the way – and Leah, who just happen to be patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. You won’t read about that in the latest UNESCO report.

But if you want to, you can read about that in a somewhat weightier publication — it’s called the Bible. I highly recommend it. I hear it even got 4 ½ out of 5 stars on Amazon. And it’s a great read. I read it every week.

Ladies and gentlemen, a moment to be serious: Despite the absurdities, despite the repetition of these farcical events, there is change. Slowly but surely, there are signs of positive change, even at the United Nations.

Mr. Secretary General, I very much appreciate your statement that denying Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism, pure and simple. Now, that’s important, because for too long the epicenter of global anti-Semitism has been right here at the UN. And while it may take many years, I am absolutely confident that the revolution in Israel’s ties with individual nations will ultimately be reflected in this hall of nations. I say that because there is also a marked change in the position of some of our key friends.

Thanks to President Trump’s unequivocal support for Israel in this body, that positive change is gathering force. So, thank you, President Trump. Thank you for supporting Israel at the UN. And thank you for your support, Ambassador Nikki Haley. Thank you for speaking the truth about Israel.

But, ladies and gentlemen, here at the UN, we must also speak the truth about Iran, as President Trump did so powerfully this morning. Now, you know I’ve been ambassador to the UN and I’m a long-serving Israeli prime minister, so I’ve listened to countless speeches in this hall, but I can say this: none were bolder, none more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today.

President Trump rightly called the nuclear deal with Iran, he called it an embarrassment. Well, I couldn’t agree with him more. And here’s why: Iran vows to destroy my country every day, including by its chief of staff the other day. Iran is conducting a campaign of conquest across the Middle East and Iran is developing ballistic missiles to threaten the entire world.

Two years ago, I stood here and explained why the Iranian nuclear deal not only doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, Iran’s nuclear program has what’s called a sunset clause. Let me explain what that term means: It means that in a few years, those restrictions will be automatically removed — not by a change in Iran’s behavior, not by a lessening of its terror or its aggression. They’ll just be removed by a mere change in the calendar. And I warned that when that sunset comes, a dark shadow will be cast over the entire Middle East and the world, because Iran will then be free to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, placing it on the threshold of a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons.

That’s why I said two years ago that the greater danger is not that Iran will rush to a single bomb by breaking the deal, but that Iran will be able to build many bombs by keeping the deal.

Now, in the last few months, we’ve all seen how dangerous even a few nuclear weapons can be in the hands of a small rogue regime.

Now imagine the danger of hundreds of nuclear weapons in the hands of a vast Iranian Islamist empire, with the missiles to deliver them anywhere on earth.

I know there are those who still defend the dangerous deal with Iran, arguing that it will block Iran’s path to the bomb.

Ladies and gentlemen, That’s exactly what they said about the nuclear deal with North Korea, and we all know how that turned out. Unfortunately, if nothing changes, this deal will turn out exactly the same way.

That’s why Israel’s policy regarding the nuclear deal with Iran is very simple: Change it or cancel it, fix it or nix it. Nixing the deal means restoring massive pressure on Iran, including crippling sanctions, until Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons capability. Fixing the deal requires many things, among them inspecting military and any other site that is suspect, and penalizing Iran for every violation. But above all, fixing the deal means getting rid of the sunset clause.

And beyond fixing this bad deal, we must also stop Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and roll back its growing aggression in the region. I remember we had these debates. As you know, I took a fairly active role in them. And many supporters of the nuclear deal naively believed that it would moderate Iran. It would make it a responsible member, so they said, of the international community.

Well as you know, I strongly disagreed. I warned that when the sanctions on Iran would be removed, Iran would behave like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations, but devouring nations, one after the other. And that’s precisely what Iran is doing today.

From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East. Iran spreads this curtain of tyranny and terror over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, and it pledges to extinguish the light of Israel.

Today, I have a simple message for Ayatollah Khamenei, the dictator of Iran: The light of Israel will never be extinguished.

Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions. We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces. We will act to prevent Iran from producing deadly weapons in Syria or in Lebanon for use against us.

And we will act to prevent Iran from opening new terror fronts against Israel along our northern border.

As long as Iran’s regime seeks the destruction of Israel, Iran will face no fiercer enemy than Israel.

But I also have a message today for the people of Iran: You are not our enemy; you are our friends. Shomaah doosteh mah hasteed [You are our friends]. One day, my Iranian friends, you will be free from the evil regime that terrorizes you, hangs gays, jails journalists, tortures political prisoners, and shoots innocent women like Neda Sultan, leaving her choking on her own blood on the streets of Tehran. I have not forgotten Neda. I am sure you haven’t too.

And when that day of liberation finally comes, the friendship between our two ancient peoples will surely flourish once again.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel knows that in confronting the Iranian regime, we are not alone. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those in the Arab world who share our hopes for a brighter future.

We’ve made peace with Jordan and Egypt, whose courageous President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi I met here last night. I appreciate President el-Sissi’s support for peace, and I hope to work closely with him and other leaders in the region to advance peace.

Israel is committed to achieving peace with all our Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians. Yesterday, President Trump and I discussed this, all of this, at great length. I appreciate President Trump’s leadership, his commitment to stand by Israel’s side, his commitment to advance a peaceful future for all. Together, we can seize the opportunities for peace and together we can confront the great dangers of Iran.

The remarkable alliance between the United States and Israel has never been stronger, never been deeper. Israel is deeply grateful for the support of the Trump administration, the American Congress and the American people.

Ladies and gentlemen, in this year of historic visits and historic anniversaries, Israel has so much to be grateful for. A hundred and twenty years ago, Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress to transform our tragic past into a brilliant future by establishing the Jewish state. One hundred years ago, the Balfour Declaration advanced Herzl’s vision by recognizing the right of the Jewish people to a national home in our ancestral homeland. Seventy years ago, the United Nations further advanced that vision by adopting a resolution supporting the establishment of a Jewish state. And 50 years ago, we reunited our eternal capital Jerusalem, achieving a miraculous victory against those who sought to destroy our state. Theodor Herzl was our modern Moses — and his dream has come true. We’ve returned to the Promised Land, revived our language, in-gathered our exiles and built a modern, thriving democracy.

Tomorrow evening, Jews around the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of our new year. It’s a time of reflection, and we look back with wonder at the miraculous rebirth of our nation, and we look ahead with pride to the remarkable contributions Israel will continue to make to all nations.

You look around you and you will see those contributions every day — in the food you eat, the water you drink, the medicines you take, the cars you drive, the cell phones you use, and in so many other ways that are transforming our world.

You see it in the smile of an African mother in a remote village, who, thanks to an Israeli innovation, no longer must walk eight hours a day to bring water to her children.

You see it in the eyes of an Arab child, who was flown to Israel to undergo a life-saving heart operation.

And you see it in the faces of the people in earthquake-stricken Haiti and Nepal who were rescued from the rubble and given new life by Israeli doctors.

As the prophet Isaiah said, “I have made you a light unto the nations, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Today, 2,700 years after Isaiah spoke those prophetic words, Israel is becoming a rising power among the nations. And at long last, its light is shining across the continents, bringing hope and salvation to the ends of the earth.

Happy New Year, Shanah Tovah from Israel. Thank you

 

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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