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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

In Strongest Showing, Trump Fails to Bridge Gap with Women

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Had Donald Trump been as in command of his demeanor and of the debate subject matters in his previous bouts with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and had he been able to restrain his impulsive reactions to her skillful provocations, he would probably not be trailing her in the polls as badly as he is doing these days. The big story most media outlets have run with right after the third presidential debate in Las Vegas Wednesday night has been Trump’s refusal to commit to honoring the results of the November 8 elections—the first presidential candidate to have done so before the actual vote. But it’s doubtful that his coy response, that he’ll keep us in suspense, will actually hurt his numbers in the coming nineteen days. After all, he has done just that during the early primary debates, refused to commit to supporting the Republican nominee, no matter whom he or she would be — and his poll numbers increased. Trump’s devastating failure this third debate has been to move the needle on his appeal to American women.

A new CBS poll of 13 battleground states taken a couple of days before Wednesday night’s debate showed women voters favor Clinton by 15 points over Trump, compared with 5 points a month earlier. Regardless of how he got there, how unfair that hot mic recording of his uttering really vulgar words on the bus had been, how the media were ganging up on him and how the Clinton campaign was to blame for the ten or so women who came out to portray him as an abusive man — it worked, and it was Trump’s job to fix it.

He didn’t have to win over the swing state women, he just needed to bring their support back to what it had been — a +5 for his opponent, because he had the majority of male voters on his side. Making peace with women had to be his top priority, if he wanted a shot at winning Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, the must-win-2-out-of-3 states for Republican presidential candidates. He failed abysmally.

He didn’t even have to be contrite, he didn’t have to apologize, he didn’t have to make any of the PC gestures he—and many of the rest of us—despise so much. He just had to show empathy, take the high road, look and sound like a mensch. Instead, he willingly conceded the women’s corner to his opponent, and became entangled in a string of denials that focused attention on the accusations against him, rather than build him up as a human being. It wasn’t enough to repeat the line, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody,” which elicited one of the very few roars of laughter from the audience. He had to show respect, and he had a perfect opportunity right there and then, seeing as his opponent happens to be female. He couldn’t do what a number of better skilled American politicians have done with grace — including, most emphatically, presidential candidate Bill Clinton, who, during the 1992 campaign, was floored several times by very serious allegations of sexual misconduct. Bill Clinton showed the skill and smarts that were required to dig himself out of the hole every time some woman from Arkansas had stood up to remind him of their quality time together.

Instead, Trump went on the attack against his accusers, not understanding the fundamental rules of the complex game known as American politics: you can’t ever appear like the bully, you can’t ever express contempt towards people who are weaker and poorer than you, and you can’t ever, ever, tell a rape victim she’s a liar, even if she’s lying.

But when it came to hitting his opponent hard where she deserved to be hit, Trump was weak and unforcused. Hillary Clinton evaded the moderator’s hard-hitting questions with admirable facility, at one point turning Chris Wallace’s poignant question on the corrupt “pay to play” conduct of the Clinton Foundation into an infomercial on the good works of the same foundation, but Trump stood and watched, overmatched, as his rival was taking his lunch.

The media are congratulating Wallace on his strength and competence, and he certainly has been better than everyone before him, but look at this exchange, and notice how Trump was unable to deliver a devastating blow against his opponent, despite the enthusiastic support from the moderator on this issue:

Wallace: Secretary Clinton, during your 2009 Senate confirmation hearing you promised to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest with your dealing with the Clinton Foundation while you were secretary of state, but e-mails show that donors got special access to you, those seeking grants for Haiti relief separately from non-donors and some of those donors got contracts, government contracts, taxpayer money. Can you really say you’ve kept your pledge to that Senate committee and why isn’t what happened and what went on and between you and the Clinton Foundation […] what Mr. Trump calls pay-to-play?

Clinton: Well, everything I did as secretary of state was in furtherance of our country’s interests and our values. The state department has said that. I think that’s been proven, but I am happy — in fact, I’m thrilled to talk about the Clinton Foundation because it is a world-renowned charity and I’m so proud of the work that it does. I could talk for the rest of the debate. I know I don’t have the time to do that, but just briefly the Clinton Foundation made it possible for 11 million people around the world with HIV AIDS to afford treatment and that’s about half of all the people in the world that are getting treatment in partnership with the American health association.

Wallace then reminds Clinton, “The specific question is about pay to play —” and he asks Trump for his input.

Alas, Trump is unable to form a coherent, razor-sharp attack and resorts instead to anecdotal arguments. He is not in command of the facts in those Wikileaks, he can’t make the case, and falls flat instead, coming across yet again as grumpy Trump.

Trump: It’s a criminal enterprise. Saudi Arabia given $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries. You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off business, off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly and yet you take their money. So I’d like to ask you right now why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money? I think it would be a great gesture because she takes a tremendous amount of money. And you take a look at the people of Haiti. I was in Little Haiti the other day in Florida, and I want to tell you they hate the Clintons because what’s happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace. And you know it and they know it and everybody knows it.

There’s a reason why the vast majority of American politicians are Law School graduates. Law School is where you learn to think on your feet to form a counter argument quickly and convincingly, before a critical judge who isn’t interested in your trip to Little Haiti and how the folks down there hate Hillary. And while Trump was busy going nowhere, Hillary was preparing a massive counter attack. And, remember, she didn’t have to destroy her opponent, only to divert attention from the very real accusations made by Wallace against her conduct as Secretary of State, affording access to her foundation’s donors.

Wallace: Secretary Clinton?

Clinton: Well, very quickly, we at the Clinton Foundation spend 90%, 90%, of all the money that is donated on behalf of programs for people around the world and in our own country. I’m very proud of that. We have the highest rating from the watchdogs that follow foundations. And I would be happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald. I mean, who does that? I mean, it just was astonishing. But when it comes to Haiti, Haiti is the poorest country in our hemisphere. The earthquake and the hurricanes, it has devastated Haiti. Bill and I have been involved in trying to help Haiti for many years. The Clinton Foundation raised $30 million to help Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake and all of the terrible problems the people there had. We’ve done things to help small businesses, agriculture, and so much else. And we’re going to keep working to help Haiti because it is an important part of the American experience.

This is how it’s done.

Finally, close to the end, when most pundits were prepared to declare him the winner, at least by points, Trump shot himself in the foot and provided the opposition with a golden slogan. The topic of discussion was entitlement programs, including Social Security, that “third rail of American politics,” where countless Republicans have lost to countless Democrats who knew that any voter over age 50 doesn’t care about the program’s solvency, they just want to be reassured their checks will be in the mail for as long as they live once they retire. Which is what Hillary gave them, possibly without a shred of real figures to support her:

Clinton: Well, Chris, I am on the record as saying we need to put more money into Social Security Trust fund. That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it, but what we want to do is —”

And Donald Trump leaned into the mike and said hoarsely: “Such a nasty woman.”

Clinton either hadn’t heard him or chose to ignore him, but millions of women saw an angry man belittling and attacking one of their own. Expect T-shirts saying “I’m voting for the nasty woman,” very much like the Obama campaign’s T-shirts from 2008, with the slogan, “I’m voting for that one,” following Sen. John MacCain’s unfortunate reference to his debate opponent Sen. Barack Obama. And, as has been the theme of this post 3rd debate analysis, should he lose the election, Donald Trump will have mostly himself to blame for rigging it.

Finally, in the discussion of third-trimester abortions, Hillary Clinton presented the familiar, feminist argument about the woman’s right to make decisions about her body, with the support of her family, her doctor, and her spiritual adviser. Jewish law, which does not believe that we own our bodies, since they belong to the Creator, we are merely the custodians of our bodies, nevertheless sides with those who permit third-trimester abortion, for a completely different reason.

In a case where the birth of the fetus poses a threat to the life of the mother, before the birth has begun, as long as the fetus is completely in the womb, the fetus that threatens its mother’s life is considered a “rodef,” a person who wants to kill another person and should be killed first. In such a case, the midwife is permitted to even cut the fetus up and pull it out in pieces, to save the mother. In fact, Donald Trump described in great detail precisely what the halakha encourages the midwife to do should the fetus risk its mother’s life:

Trump: Well I think it is terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that is okay and Hillary can say that that is okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she is saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take a baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month. On the final day. And that’s not acceptable.

Had he asked his Orthodox Jewish daughter Yael, she would have told him that this is exactly how our tradition describes what is permitted in that tragic case where the mother’s life is at stake.

However, everything changes in our halakha when it comes to partial birth. If most of the baby is out of the womb, we’re no longer dealing with a fully realized life—the mother, versus a potential life—the fetus. Now we have two fully realized humans with equal rights to life. According to our laws, if the baby’s head has emerged completely (the maximalist view), or 51% of the baby’s body has emerged (the minimalists), we can no longer kill the baby.

Two of our major scholars, Maimonides and Rashi, hold different views on abortion for reasons other than the health of the mother. In a cases where the fetus is likely to be born deformed, Rashi, who holds it is not a realized human, would permit an abortion, Maimoides does not.

By the way, all Jewish authorities agrees that for the first 40 days of pregnancy a woman may terminate without any question, because the fetus only receives a soul on its 40th day.

But overall, Jewish law never views the killing of an unborn fetus as murder, at most it would be a case of manslaughter, but more likely a case of civil damages, if done against the woman’s will.


Netanyahu Asking Kerry to Avoid UN 2-State Resolution

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night phoned Secretary of State John Kerry to tell him Israel expected the Obama Administration not to change its policy and promote or support a vote on the Israeli-PA conflict at the UN Security Council between the November 8 vote and the inauguration of the next US president in January, Ha’aretz reported citing an anonymous Israeli official.

According to the same source, Kerry responded by saying the Administration has not yet made its decision on this matter — which is probably what he would have said if he didn’t want an Obama anti-Israel move to hit the news before the election.

The chances for a hostile American move have increased following reports on the plan to relocate the Jewish residents of Amona in Judea and Samaria, which is slated for demolition on orders from the Israeli Supreme Court, to new homes that will be built for them in nearby Shilo, also in Judea and Samaria. This is because while the Supreme Court only objects to keeping Jewish residents on land whose ownership has been disputed by local Arabs, the US objects to any sign of new Jewish life in Judea and Samaria.

According to Ha’aretz, Netanyahu did not raise the issue of an anti-Israel US vote at the UNSC during his meeting with President Obama in New York in September. But following Netanyahu’s meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a few days later, the latter issued a statement saying she objects to any unilateral US move against Israel at the UN. Netanyahu is hoping that, should she win—which appears to be a certainty at this point—Clinton would restrain Obama during the transition period.

Pundit Eli Lake writing for Bloomberg suggested the mildest move on Obama’s part after November 8 would be a speech in favor of the two-state solution. This approach is similar to a speech Bill Clinton gave at the end of his presidency that laid out such parameters. Lake expects Obama to disclose in such a speech the concessions Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were willing to make in their negotiations that fell apart in 2014.

A second option, which Hillary Clinton has vowed to try and block, could be US support for a new Security Council resolution to replace resolution 242, which was drafted after the 1967 Israeli liberation of the territories occupied by Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1949. 242 does not mention a Palestinian State, but instead calls on Israel to return liberated territories to the Arab aggressors along its borders.

A third option would be for the Obama Administration to declare war on rightwing Israeli NGOs. Anti-Israel Jewish organizations such as J Street have suggested altering the US tax code to exclude rightwing Israeli NGOs which today frustrate Arab illegal settlement in Area C, placed under Israeli custody in the Oslo Accords. The NGO Regavim, for instance, has done an aggressive job compelling the Israeli Supreme Court as well as the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to act against illegal Arab squatters, enraging the EU and Us which have been paying for those illegal settlements.

Finally, the Obama Administration might declare its recognition of a Palestinian State in borders that include Area C, and issue an ultimatum for Israel to withdraw its military and civilians from the new state. It’s probably the least likely option, but it’s out there, being bandied about in think tanks in Washington DC and in Jerusalem.


Trump in 2nd Debate: Aleppo Has Already Fallen

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Focusing, as we always do, on the Jewish-Israeli niche of presidential politics, we paid great attention Sunday night to the exchange between candidates Trump and Clinton on the situation in Syria. In general, both debaters agreed the situation was tough, and neither was eager to get into specific solutions. What stood out for us was the statement by Donald Trump that the battle of Aleppo between the US-backed rebels and the coalition of Assad, the Russians, Iran and Hezbollah will go to the pro-Assad forces.

Martha Raddatz (ABC News) asked Trump: “What do you think will happen if [Aleppo] falls?” Which Trump answered, “I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen.”

It should be noted that on Saturday in the UN Security Council Russia vetoed a French resolution calling for an immediate halt to its air strikes on east Aleppo, where reportedly hundreds of civilians are being killed, including many children. The Russian delegation, accusing the rest of the council of “Russophobia,” watched many council members walk off as the Russians were giving the floor to an envoy of the Assad regime. The Russians are fast running out of friends over this campaign — except, apparently, for Trump, who described Allepo as collateral damage of the effort to destroy the real enemy of the US in the Middle East — ISIS.

“I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump said during Sunday night’s debate. “Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.”

Raddatz pointed Trump’s attention to the fact that not only the entire Western world objects to what the Russians have been doing in Syria, but his own running mate, Mike Pence, had said a week ago, that the “provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.”

Trump, who had praised Pence’s debate performance, came right out and said, “OK, he and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.”

Raddatz: “You disagree with your running mate?”

Trump: “I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran, who [Clinton] made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly, very, very quickly.

“I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. And that was the line. And she didn’t.”

To delineate Trump’s foreign policy point on Aleppo from all of the above, the defeat of ISIS justifies permitting Russia, Iran, the Assad regime and its Hezbollah satellite to recapture all of Syria and turn it into their permanent base, with all the ramifications for Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and, of course, Israel.

A debate then ensued between Raddatz, who as her network’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent is probably familiar with the issue, and Trump, over the need for secrecy before attacking a target like the oil rich city of Mosul in Iraq. “The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul,” Trump argued. “They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul. So we have announcements coming out of Washington and coming out of Iraq, we will be attacking Mosul in three weeks or four weeks.”

“Well, all of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul,” he continued. “Why can’t they do it quietly? Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack, and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success? People leave. Why do they have to say we’re going to be attacking Mosul within the next four to six weeks, which is what they’re saying? How stupid is our country?”

Raddatz suggested, “There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.”

Trump retorted, “I can’t think of any. I can’t think of any. And I’m pretty good at it.”

Raddatz: “It might be to help get civilians out.”

Perhaps. Trump could also be correct in pointing out that the US campaign in Iraq has remained as undisciplined and as badly coordinated as it has been since the 2003 invasion, under two different administrations.

Hillary Clinton sounded as hapless as the Obama Administration when she said the Russians don’t care about ISIS, and are instead “interested in keeping Assad in power.” As remedy, she proposed: “…when I was secretary of state, I advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground.”

Of course, there’s no way the US and its allies would be able to enforce a no-fly zone on the Russian air force, short of starting WW3, which is why Clinton sounded hollow when she declared, “I’ve stood up to Russia. I’ve taken on Putin and others, and I would do that as president.” And she sounded even less realistic when she warned, “…I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.”

Hillary Clinton then committed a blunder that could haunt her in the future should she be elected president, when she suggested, “There are a lot of very important planning going on, and some of it is to signal to the Sunnis in the area, as well as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, that we all need to be in this. And that takes a lot of planning and preparation. … I would also consider arming the Kurds. The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria, as well as Iraq. And I know there’s a lot of concern about that in some circles, but I think they should have the equipment they need so that Kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principal way that we take Raqqa after pushing ISIS out of Iraq.”

That’s not something an American president should say if he or she wish to elicit Turkey’s support in the Syrian campaign. Proposing to arm the Kurds sounds about as bad to Ankara as the idea of the US arming Hamas would be received in Jerusalem. That would be one of those cases where Clinton would be well advised to have one policy for public consumption and another for insiders.

You probably noticed we did not deal at all with the Trump tapes or the Clinton emails, because everyone else in the media are offering a wealth of information on those. We only tried to point out that when it comes to one of Israel’s most burning issues, the escalation of the war north of its border, neither candidate has offered a particularly convincing formula, and Clinton actually declared she would definitely keep US ground troops out of the Syrian civil war.

We should note with satisfaction that Israel was not mentioned even once in the debate and neither was the two-state solution or Jewish settlements. Thankfully, both candidates are too clever to step on that landmine.


Huma Abedin Email Attacked AIPAC

Thursday, October 6th, 2016



By Richard Pollock

Huma Abedin, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s closest aide, urged former President Bill Clinton in 2009 to reject a speaking invitation before the American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC), asking his assistant in an email, do “u really want to consider sending him into that crowd?”

Abedin’s comment about “that crowd” has sparked anger and consternation among Jewish and non-Jewish leaders who consider it hostile to Jews and to the State of Israel. Her comments are raising uncomfortable questions about Abedin’s past and her family’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Appalling” is how Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, described the email, adding that it, “shows hostility toward Jews and Israel in light of the fact that ‘that crowd’ gives huge ovations to White House speakers.”

Klein pointed to the Abedin family’s ties to a radical Islamic group, saying, “it makes me think about the allegations about her parents and other family members who were associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes called Abedin’s comment “disdainful” of AIPAC. He also noted her past association with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Abedin’s disdainful comment about AIPAC as ‘that crowd’ could derive from her Muslim or her leftist identity – or both,” Pipes told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Andrew McCarthy, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who led the prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and others for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, told The DCNF Abedin’s background raised security concerns.

“During Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, some of us pointed out that Abedin’s background raised concerns about Islamist sympathies and unfitness for a security clearance that gave her access to top-secret intelligence,” McCarthy said.

Abedin was raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by fundamentalist Muslim parents who ran the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. The journal was published by Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, which was founded by her father Syed Abedin. Abedin remained on the masthead as an editor of the journal for 12 years until she entered the Department of State with Clinton in 2009.

Critics noted her father’s main benefactor was Abdullah Omar Naseef, secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL). The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Rabita Trust, a subsidiary of the MWL, as a terrorist entity. Osama bin Laden credited MWL as a funding source after the 9/11 attacks.

Abedin has kept her personal political views to herself. Accusations of anti-Semitism were blunted by her marriage to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish. That marriage is ending after Weiner was caught multiple times sexting online, most recently while sitting next to his son.

The issue of AIPAC’s interest in Bill Clinton’s attendance was raised in two sets of emails, all dated Sept. 10, 2009.

The State Department released them Sept. 21, 2016, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the conservative advocacy group Citizens United.

The AIPAC issue was raised by Doug Band, who was Bill Clinton’s White House “body man.” Band now boasts on his corporate web site that he was “the key architect of Clinton’s post-Presidency” and created and built the Clinton Global Initiative that critics link to corrupt “pay to play” deals with overseas corporations, wealthy individuals and foreign governments.

Band also was recently credited with securing access of Clinton Foundation donors to Hillary Clinton. Band is now the chairman of Teneo, a company that has been dubbed “Clinton, Inc.” Abedin was senior adviser to Teneo while she was serving as deputy chief of staff for Hillary Clinton.

Abedin’s special status allowing her to draw paychecks from the government and Teneo is being investigated by Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

In a Sept. 10, 2009, email, Band told Cheryl Mills and Abedin that Bill Clinton was reluctant to attend the AIPAC Jewish forum, stating, “Aipac begging for wjc to come speak at conference.  He doesn’t think he should unless you all do.”

Mills, Hillary’s chief of staff, told Band the final decision was up to Hillary Clinton and she would touch base with her. As Mills sought that answer, Abedin comments, “U really want to consider sending him into that crowd?”

An apparently impatient Band pointedly asked, “Go or not go?”

Abedin finally responds: “No go to aipac.”

It’s unclear from the email exchange why they wanted to skip the AIPAC meeting. Bill Clinton twice addressed AIPAC in the 1990s as president. Hillary Clinton spoke before AIPAC in 2010 after her husband was asked to address the group.

Bill Clinton attended the funeral for Israeli leader Shimon Peres last week, but in years past, Bill Clinton has expressed more sympathy for the Palestinians than Israelis.

“I will never forget what it taught me about your suffering, your history of dispossession and dispersal, but also about your resilience and courage,” he said in an open letter to the Palestinian people on Jan. 19, 2001, the day he left the White House.

He also released a statement to the Israelis. Here, however, he counseled “compromise” rather than empathy: “Compromise is often difficult and always painful. But the people and leaders of the region must understand that to seek a peace without compromise is not to seek peace at all.”

A spokesman for AIPAC declined to address the email. The Clinton campaign did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

The Daily Caller News Foundation

In VP Debate Pence Fails to Score Resounding Blow on Iran Deal

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

In Tuesday night’s debate between Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), most of the pundits early on scored a slight win for Trump’s VP, mostly because he was much more restrained than Trump had been in his bout with Hillary Clinton a week earlier, and did not let Kaine go under his skin. One pundit even joked how presidential this guy Pence is, I wonder who’s going to be his VP pick. But while Pence held his own for 90 minutes, although he left all of his opponent’s challenges on Trump’s scandals and questionable statements unanswered, he let Kaine get away with at least one terrible lie: that the nuclear deal carved in part by Clinton as the former Secretary of State removed the Iranian nuclear threat.

This point should probably be scored as a win for the Democrat, because it’s one issue about which the consensus is wide and clear among many Democrats, as well as the bulk of the media: the much celebrated deal was forced on Congress by massive political trickery and outright lies, led to the release of an estimated $150 billion to the world’s largest perpetrator of terrorism, and freed Iran to start working on its nuclear weapon in as little as five years.

Overall, the debate veered to the Iran deal four times, and Gov. Pence was not able to turn any of them into a decisive knockout, or even a win on points.

When Sen. Kaine asked, “Do you know that Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon and Russia was expanding its stockpile? … [Sec. Clinton] worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.

Pence responded, astonished, “Eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program?”

Kaine came back, “Absolutely, without firing a shot.”

Pence let that statement stand and was dragged instead into a debate over who was responsible for the US withdrawal from Iraq. Advantage Kaine on the Iran deal.

Later on, the moderator, Elaine Quijano (CBS), asked Kiane, “Has the terrorist threat increased or decreased?” To which he responded, among other things, “The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways because an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been stopped.”

Kaine continued with an avalanche of points about why Clinton was a better leader to deal with terrorism, repeating ad nauseam that Donald Trump is an admirer of Vladimir Putin and other world tyrants.

When his turn came to respond, Pence first waded through a sluggish attack on Clinton’s responsibility for ISIS, which is not easy to prove, and only towards the end he reached what should have been his money shot, saying, “And a reference to the Iranian deal, the Iranian deal that Hillary Clinton initiated, $150 billion to the radical mullahs in Iran.”

Kaine said, “Stopping a nuclear weapons program without firing a shot?”

Pence then retorted, “You didn’t stop the nuclear weapons program.”

Kaine said, “Yes, we did.”

Pence was then cut off after blurting, “You essentially…” by Kaine, who actually said, “Even the Israeli military says it stopped.”

Pence, instead of pausing to challenge that misleading half-truth, made a weak statement lacking in specificity, that the deal “guaranteed that Iran will someday become a nuclear power, because there’s no limitations once the period of time of the treaty comes off.”

A little later on, Kaine said, again essentially unchallenged, “Hillary Clinton is the secretary of state who knows how to build alliances. She built the sanctions regime around the world that stopped the Iranian nuclear weapons program. And that’s what an intelligence surge means. Better skill and capacity, but also better alliances.”

Had Pence been better versed with the history of the Iran deal, he could have done a lot with this generalized statement, including, perhaps, mentioning the fact that by the Obama Administration submitted the nuclear deal for Congressional approval, it had already been implemented by all its “allies,” so that a continued US embargo would not have mattered — Iran’s revolutionary regime had already been legitimized by the world powers.

Pence then missed his last opportunity to score big on the Iran deal, when he opened, “But let me go back to this Iran thing. I mean, he keeps saying that [the deal] Hillary Clinton started [with the Iranians] prevented Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Kaine quickly interrupted: “That’s what the Israeli [chief] of staff is saying right now.”

Pence said, quite correctly, “Well, that’s not what — that’s not what Israel thinks.”

Kaine announced triumphantly, “Gadi Eizenkot, you can go check it.”

For the record, in January 2016, IDF Chief of Staff Lieut. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and six world powers was “significantly changing the vector that Iran has been on.” But in that same speech, and in many assessments that followed, Eizenkot and other Israeli generals have been warning against “many dangers as well as opportunities” created by the accord.

And on the day after that much quoted Eizenkot speech, a mini diplomatic crisis erupted when Israel’s Defense Ministry issued a statement comparing President Obama with British Premier Neville Chamberlain, who signed the 1938 Munich agreement with Adolph Hitler, basically abandoning the free democratic state of Czechoslovakia. But Gov. Pence probably did not bone up on that part, as can bee seen from his weak response, “You wouldn’t necessarily know that,” regarding Eizenkot’s supposed blessings for the Iran deal.

Kaine challenged him, saying, “Go to the tape.”

Pence then had enough of his wits about him to recall a talking point, when he said, “I know you boycotted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech when he came before the Congress.”

Kaine did not deny the charge, but said, apologetically, “No, I visited him in his office. I visited him in his office.”

Pence then, finally, pounced on him, saying, “You boycotted the speech.” Except that instead of marshalling the facts to expose the Iran deal for all its dangerous failures, Pence delivered a weak jab: “The point is, what this Iran — so-called Iran deal did was essentially guarantee — I mean, when I was in Congress, I fought hard on a bipartisan basis with Republican and Democrat members to move forward the toughest sanctions, literally, in the history of the United States, against Iran.”

Which Kaine, quick on his feet, responded to, saying, “And then Hillary used them to get a deal.”

Pence would not let his opponent have the last word, though, repeating, “We were bringing them to heel, but the goal was always that we would only lift the sanctions if Iran permanently renounced their nuclear ambitions. […] Elaine, let me finish a sentence. They have not renounced their nuclear ambitions. And when the deal’s period runs out, there’s no limitation on them obtaining weapons. […] And the fact that they got $1.7 billion in a ransom payment… is astonishing to the American people.”

That was the sum total of Gov. Pence’s effort, which could have revived a very sore, anti-Obama sentiment among undecided American voters, especially Jewish voters who at this point are second only to African Americans in their commitment to the Clinton camp. Perhaps Presidential Candidate Trump would be able to articulate a forceful argument in Sunday’s debate. It would require an intimate familiarity with the details of the deal, as well as with the range of violations of a variety of UN resolutions on the part of Iran. Can Donald Trump do it? If he wants to become president, he really should.


Setting the Record Straight: Clinton Bears Partial Responsibility for ISIS

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

During Monday night’s presidential debate, Candidate Trump accused Secretary Clinton and President Obama of bearing the responsibility for the creation of the Caliphate, a.k.a. the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Trump charged: “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — […] they shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.” Trump suggested that ISIS “wouldn’t have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn’t have had them.”

Clinton responded: “I hope the fact-checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard.” She explained that “George W. Bush made the agreement about when American troops would leave Iraq, not Barack Obama. And the only way that American troops could have stayed in Iraq is to get an agreement from the then-Iraqi government that would have protected our troops, and the Iraqi government would not give that.”

Without taking sides, there is something to what Trump is saying. The fact checkers on Politico found his statement attributing the responsibility to Obama to be wrong, since, as they put it, “ISIS formed as Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2004, before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state and Barack Obama became president, and long before the US began drawing down troops in Iraq.” But the fact is that the core of both Al Qaeda in Iraq and its splinter group ISIS that became much bigger and better organized than the original franchise, were Sunni Baath Party members who lost their government and military positions once the Americans had occupied Iraq and handed the national rule to the Shiite majority.

As Reuters reported in 2015, the rising Islamic State, with the help of former Saddam Hussein military officers, out-muscled the Sunni-dominated Baath Party troops which had been fighting a guerilla war against US troops in Fallujah and elsewhere, and absorbed thousands of them. The new recruits joined Saddam-era officers who already held key posts in the Islamic State.

It’s safe to say that President GW Bush, by invading Iraq and then sending hundreds of thousands of Saddam loyalists to the unemployment lines instead of incorporating them into the new, semi-democratic Iraq, created ISIS. The creation of the Taliban and later Al Qaeda, by the way, can be largely attributed to President Reagan, whose CIA recruited and trained the Arab Mujahideen insurgent groups who fought against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Those same highly trained, largely Saudi troops were later galvanized into a disciplined and effective force in Bosnia, Somalia and Chechnya.

So the bulk of the blame rests with the second Bush administration, which altered the Middle East forever. Incidentally, despite the citation of a lone radio interview with shock jock Howard Stern, in which Trump made a noncommittal, off the cuff comment supporting the Iraq invasion, he clearly has been one of the earlier voices against the American presence in Iraq, while Senator Clinton with her vote actually handed President Bush the keys to start the war. She says she and fellow Democrats had been duped by Bush, who promised not to use the war powers they gave him, but some in the Senate (Sen. Obama, for one) did not fall for it.

But the most devastating point was made by Secretary Clinton when she said the Obama Administration had no choice but to pull out of Iraq, because the Shiite government, practically operating on instructions from Tehran, wouldn’t agree to let them stay. Seriously? Had President Obama actually insisted on staying he couldn’t have come up with ways to persuade the Iraqis?

The fact was Obama had promised his voters to pull the military out of Iraq by the appointed time. He did not begin the withdrawal of troops, GW Bush did, starting in 2007. But it must be noted that the last US troops left Iraq on 18 December 2011, just in time for the first Democratic primary in Iowa. They left behind a Sunni-owned Fallujah where only the US military had been able to maintain a semblance of law and order, with a combination of raids and bribes. As soon as the declared date for withdrawal had arrived, those same former Saddam loyalists who had been transformed several times over the previous decade, were ready for their current reincarnation as ISIS.

Many, including several US senators, most notably John McCain and Lindsey Graham, begged for a contingency of troops to stay, just in case things went south in Fallujah. They urged Obama to sell the idea, with a measure of force if necessary, to Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki. But as Iraq analyst Kirk Sowell told NPR in 2015, Obama never really tried. “This is one of the criticisms of Obama — that he sort of wanted the negotiations to fail,” Sowell said, “and, so, he didn’t even talk to Maliki until it was basically all over.”

To complete this fact check: the Obama-Clinton Administration did not start the complex and incredibly expensive process that led to the creation of ISIS, but there’s no doubt they could have stopped it with a comparatively low investment of troops and funds.

Advantage Trump.


Everyone Wants a Photo Op With the Jewish Prime Minister

Monday, September 26th, 2016

What a change there is in the world when the candidates for President of the United States vie for some face time with the Prime Minister of the Jewish State of Israel.

Trump and Netanyahu

Clinton and Netanyahu

Clinton and Netanyahu

Trump and Netanyahu

Photo of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/everyone-wants-a-photo-op-with-the-jewish-prime-minister/2016/09/26/

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