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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan’

Paul Ryan Set to be Next Speaker of the House

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

It now appears that Wisconsin Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R) will become the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives after a supermajority of members of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus voted for Ryan in a session Wednesday evening, Oct. 21.

Shortly after current Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH) announced last month that he would not seek to retain his position, attention began to focus on Ryan, the former vice-presidential candidate.

Ryan, 45, is known as a strong fiscal policy expert. He is currently chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and former chair of the House Budget Committee.

Until this week Ryan had shied away from seeking the Speaker position, insisting that he already had his dream job of chairing the Ways and Means Committee. Many understood his reluctance as a recognition that the very conservative element in the Republican party did not feel that Ryan was a member of their fold.

On Tuesday, Ryan said he might accept the speakership position if the party united behind him and if it accepted several conditions, one of which was to remove the procedure known as “vacate the chair” which is essentially a no-confidence vote, with teeth, that takes place within two days of the motion being initiated.

While members of the House Freedom Caucus had balked at some of Ryan’s conditions, by Wednesday evening enough had become convinced that Ryan was the right person to assume the role of Speaker.

It is expected that Ryan will be selected as the Republican choice for Speaker of the House by next Wednesday, and a floor vote confirming his position should take place the following day.

Hillary ‘F.’ Clinton Way Ahead of the Pack in Poll

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a 6-1 lead among Democrats answering a Washington Post-ABC News poll on their choice for president in 2016.

Clinton, whose middle name easily could be “F.” considering how many times she has been reported as using the “f—“ word,  has virtually no competition in both areas – the nomination for presidency and an uncouth vocabulary. She has used the four-letter word not only as an adjective for Jews but also as an adverb for almost every subject imaginable.

For better or worse, Clinton has 73 percent backing of Democrats, according to the poll. The second most popular is Vice President Joe Biden, with only 12 percent.

On the Republican side, the nomination is up for grabs, and the party does not look like it is any better shape than it was in 2012, when it failed miserably to take advantage of President Barack Obama’s sagging popularity.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s aura has been blackened by the recent bridge-traffic scandal, and he is in third place with 13 percent support, behind Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. None of the potential candidates has solid backing from the Tea party.

After Christie, there are senators Ted Cruz of Kentucky and Marcio Rubio of Florida.

The Republicans have a year or so to get their act together and unite, a distant possibility at this stage of the game.

Clinton, if she runs and wins,, would be the first woman president of the United States and the first president whose husband held the office.

Congress to Obama: Time to Punish Arabs for Blowing Up Oslo and Blowing Off the US

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

A bi-partisan majority of congressional members sent a letter to U.S. President Barak Obama late last week.  In the letter, the members insist that the time has come for this U.S. government to hold the Arab Palestinian leadership responsible for their bald refusal to comply with repeated requests from the United States government to refrain from seeking an enhanced status at the United Nations General Assembly, as is required of the Arabs under the Oslo Agreements under which it is bound.

The PLO pledged in the Oslo Agreements that it would take no unilateral actions to change the status of the disputed territories and Gaza.

Congressional leadership that has long been involved in working with Israel and the Arab Palestinians in attempts to resolve the Middle East conflict, such as U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee, U.S. Reps. Edward R. Royce (R-CA) and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY, Chairman-designate and Ranking Member-designate, respectively, of the Committee, along with more than 230 other members of  Congress, signed and sent the letter to the President on Friday, December 21.

The letter informed the President that “we believe the United States must react strongly to the ‘Palestinian’ leadership’s failure to uphold its obligations,” and explained that in order to send a clear message of U.S. disapproval, the Arab leaders must learn that their actions are not “cost-free,” and, “at a minimum, they result in setbacks to U.S.-‘Palestinian’ relations.”

Congressional members suggested that the minimal steps the U.S. should take at this time would be to close the PLO office in Washington, D.C. and to call on the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem – who is, illogically, responsible for relations with the Arab Palestinians but not Jewish or Arab Israelis – back to Washington for consultations.

The congressional letter to President Obama points out the necessity for the U.S. government to ensure that the UNGA vote on November 29 “does not serve as a precedent for elevating the status of the PLO in other UN bodies or international forums.”

Should the PLO attempt to force its hand by seeking membership in those other UN institutions, the congressional members told President Obama that, “we should do everything possible to make sure that does not happen, including by reaffirming our commitment to maintaining and enforcing U.S. laws that require withholding U.S. contributions from any international forum that grants membership to the PLO.”

The PLO envoy in Washington, Maen Aerikat, told the Palestinian News Agency Ma’an, that the congressional letter “is an attempt by Congress to undermine the U.S. administration in any possible role it is planning to play in Palestinian affairs.”

In addition to pointing out that “punitive measures won’t pay off.  If they were effective we would have already changed our mind,” Aerikat railed at Israel, suggesting it was behind the congressional effort.  He said, “It is a political decision, a decision on the part of the Israeli government to escalate things against the Palestinian people at home and here…the U.S. is their other front.”

In a letter circulated to members of Congress by the PLO Envoy on December 14, Aerikat sought to dissuade Congress from responding to the PA provocation.  Aerikat makes several points in his letter, one of which should qualify for the Chutzpah Hall of Fame.  Perhaps he forgot that the action taken by Congress was in response to the decision by his colleagues to spurn dialogue and negotation, and instead to take unilateral action by introducing a one-sided resolution at the U.N.  This is what Aerikat wrote:

Engagement and dialogue is the only way to express the views of Congress.  Biased and one-sided resolutions cannot contribute to an atmosphere that is conducive for a political resolution to the conflict.

Not all Jews supported the congressional effort.  In the interview with Ma’an, Aerikat appreciatively listed both J Street and Americans for Peace Now as organizations that oppose the initiative to punish the Arab Palestinians for violating the Oslo Accords by seeking unilateral changes through the UN vote.  Although not mentioned by the PLO Envoy, the Union for Reform Judaism has also actively lobbied against congressional efforts to shutter the PLO Office.

Ryan Still Has a Job

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

While he lost out on becoming the Vice President, Paul Ryan did manage to win in Wisconsin and keep his congressional seat. Ryan was competing against Democratic businessman Rob Zerban.

Bias Charge: Obama Is Friends with VP Debate Moderator Martha Raddatz

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

President Barack Obama attended the wedding of the correspondent who will be the moderator for the only debate between Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential hopeful Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) which takes place tonight.  Martha Raddatz, ABC Foreign Affairs senior correspondent and tonight’s debate moderator, married Julius Genachowski, in 1991.  Genachowski was a few years behind President Barack Obama at Columbia University, and they were both officers of the elite Harvard Law Review.  Both graduated in 1991, the same year Raddatz and Genachowski married.

Genachowski, from Great Neck, New York, was appointed in 2009 by President Obama to be the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.  The FCC is an independent agency of the U.S. government, which regulates communications capabilities in North America.  Genachowski’s parents are Holocaust survivors.  His cousin is Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division, and a well-known scholar and student of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

In what has been described by some as a lame effort to downplay the significance of the connection between Raddatz and Obama, David Ford, spokesperson for Raddatz’s employer, ABC News, sent an official statement to various media including Politico and the Daily Beast, even before the article appeared which questioned the propriety of Raddatz as moderator. Even the liberal Huffington Post questioned the propriety of the pre-emptive statement which claimed that “nearly the entire [Harvard] Law Review” attended the wedding of Raddatz and Genachowski.  When pressed by the Daily Caller, which broke the story, to name additional law review members who attended the marriage, Ford came up with only one other name.

The ABC statement was apparently prompted by calls from the conservative news outlet, seeking confirmation of the connection between Obama and Raddatz.  That release states:

Martha Raddatz is known for her tough, fair reporting, which is why it was no surprise to her colleagues inside and outside ABC News that she was chosen by the Commission on Presidential Debates for this assignment. Barack Obama was a law school classmate of Raddatz’s ex-husband Julius Genachowski at Harvard. At the time Barack Obama was a student and president of the Law Review. He attended their wedding over two decades ago along with nearly the entire Law Review, many of whom went onto successful careers including some in the Bush administration. Raddatz and Mr. Genachowski divorced in 1997 and both are now remarried.

After an initial story dismissing the Daily Caller‘s suggestion that Raddatz may be biased, or that, at the very least, the connection should have been disclosed, Politico‘s Katie Glueck did a follow-up article, headlined “Right defends Raddatz’ debate role.” Glueck went through a litany of conservative pundits who were unmoved by the suggestion that Raddatz might be an inappropriate choice as moderator simply because Obama attended her wedding some twenty-odd years ago.

Among the conservatives whom Glueck catalogues as certifying the issue as not-an-issue, Commentary‘s John Podhoretz had the best line, “I have no memory of who attended my 1997 wedding to my ex-wife and I’d like to keep it that way. I bet Martha Raddatz is the same.”  Others who expressed disinterest included the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin.  Despite the title of the Politico follow-up, at least as many conservatives were mentioned as bothered by the connection and the lack of disclosure, as those who took a pass.

Absent from the Politico articles, and indeed all other commentaries other than that of the Daily Caller, is the failure to call ABC on its clearly from-the-hip, and outright wrong statement that “nearly the entire Law Review” attended the Raddatz-Genachowski marriage.  In fact, out of approximately 70 members of that year’s Harvard Law Review membership, only Barack Obama and one other, thus far unnamed, member was apparently at that wedding.  That doesn’t make the selection of Raddatz wrong, but it does make ABC’s efforts to downplay it, and everyone’s willingness to ignore the the inaccuracy of the statement, raise at least an eyebrow.

Greta Van Sustern of Fox News, reported that the Ryan campaign said “no” when asked the day before the debate about whether they were concerned that Raddatz would be biased because of the long-time connection between Raddatz and Obama.

Instead, when asked what he thinks Biden’s biggest weakness will be at the debate, Ryan said: “Barack Obama’s record.”

Our Egyptian Ally: More Confusion from Obama

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Soon after the attacks on American embassies in Egypt and Libya, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan criticized President Obama for lacking a clear and forceful message to the world.

And while Romney was criticized for bringing up the President’s shortcomings, the latest example of how that criticism was right on the money comes from the mixed messages being sent by Victoria Nuland of the State Department (who always seems to be tasked with explaining the explainable, such as how the U.S. position on status of Jerusalem “has not changed”) and Obama himself.

Yesterday President Obama told the Spanish-language Telemundo television channel that Egypt was neither an ally nor a foe of the United States, and that the determination would be based on the Egypt’s response to the attack on the embassy and on its willingness to maintain the peace treaty with Israel. (Video here).

Later in the day, Nuland said the opposite, confirming repeatedly that Egypt was indeed an American ally – a “major non-NATO ally” (though she wouldn’t comment on what the President said). Check out the video below.

A White House spokesperson also confirmed that Obama was not signalling a change in Egypt’s status. This is yet another example of how Obama can have his cake and eat it to by acting tough on Egypt in public, but not actually doing anything to back it up. (Precisely his strategy for Iran, saying the U.S. will not accept a nuclear-armed Iran, but refusing to delineate any red lines for Iran’s nuclear program).

Ally or not, as Barry Rubin noted, the U.S. has offered to forgive $1 billion in Egyptian debt (the debt is over $3 billion total) as part of a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan which the administration lobbied for, Obama helped them acquire two German submarines over Israel’s objections, while their Islamist President received an invitation to the White House, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed that Morsi was “his own man,” i.e., someone the U.S. could do business with.

A Middle East Policy for President Romney

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

There was virtually no discussion of foreign policy at the Republican National Convention. This was entirely appropriate given the crisis and priority of domestic issues. Yet I haven’t even seen a single article discussing this issue at all, and it is going to be important.

Here is the key factor: Mitt Romney, the Romney-Ryan ticket, and Republican congressional candidates have a variety of choices on foreign policy. Some of them can be bad and because there are different and complex issues the line taken will not—and arguably should not—be consistent.

Of course, there are the general principles: make America strong and respected again; support the soldiers; help friends and make enemies sorry that they are enemies. There must be an end to apologies and the defense of legitimate U.S. interests. Popularity is okay but respect and trust are far more important. Avoid either isolationism or excessive interventionism and get over the democracy-solves-all naivete. Don’t be chomping at the bit to go to war with Iran as a supposed panacea.

These are important but these principles don’t necessarily tell us how to do things. An average Arab citizen put it best in private conversation: “We don’t want an American president who acts like an Arab. We want an American president who acts like an American.” The old diplomatic virtues of credibility, national interests’ protection, preserving alliances and promises, recognizing friends and enemies, and so on need to be reinstalled.

The easiest theme is to stop helping anti-American dictators in Venezuela and several other Latin American countries; the Muslim Brotherhood (everywhere, including Hamas as the ruler of the Gaza Strip); and Hizballah; as well as many small terrorist groups and al-Qaida.

The basic grand strategy for the Middle East should be to form and lead a very broad and very loose—not institutionalized—alignment of forces opposing Islamism. These include showing real leadership to the Europeans, many of whom are better on this issue than Obama. It also means supporting Israel, of course, but there is a long list of others:

Governments: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain (despite its faults), Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya (we hope, Obama can claim credit for that one), Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia (despite its faults), and the United Arab Emirates. You can add some other former Soviet Muslim-majority republics.

Opposition and democratic moderate movements: Iran, Lebanon, Syria (where the United States is supporting the Islamists!), Tunisia, and Turkey (see Syria, above). Let’s also keep in mind the Berbers, Christians, and Kurds in general as communities that overwhelmingly link their survival to fighting revolutionary Islamism. Such ethnic communities can also be found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This cooperation to defeat radical Islamism, however it disguises itself, should be the backbone of U.S. policy. It can be implemented in a thousand different ways. Post-victory planning, which better start soon at least among independent analysts, needs to define these.

There are some Middle East problem countries that require special consideration.

It is time for a withdrawal from Afghanistan and a clever policy of backing—with a mixture of covert and financial as well as other assets—those who will fight to keep the Taliban out of power. Afghanistan is not going to be democratic or a nice place. But it must a place that does not threaten America again.

Yemen is a mess and, like Afghanistan, will continue to be a mess. The U.S. policy should cooperate to the maximum extent with Yemen on fighting terrorism without illusions about the nature of the regime and its willingness to betray the United States at any moment.

Qatar must also be treated with great caution. For reasons of local pride and ambition, it likes to stir up trouble and often supports Islamists, as well as playing footsy with Iran. Qatar should be treated with extreme suspicion not because its interests are different from America’s (everybody’s are) but because it likes to play the role of joker in the deck of cards.

Unfortunately, there is a parallel here with the far more important case of Pakistan. This is a headache without resolution. On one hand, the United States must ensure that the regime is not overthrown by radical Islamists. On the other hand, the United States cannot trust Pakistan at all to cooperate in fighting terrorism. Indeed, Pakistan is a major world sponsor of terrorism, not only against India but also to help the Taliban in Afghanistan, even—as we’ve vividly seen—al-Qaida! As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan the relationship with Pakistan should be reduced.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/a-middle-east-policy-for-president-romney/2012/09/10/

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