Thursday, November 30, 2017

Trump Is Circling the Wagons around Kim Jong-un -- Is He Getting Ready to Strike?

THERE IS REAL NEWS TODAY. It is all about North Korea. • • • NORTH KOREA IS AT IT AGAIN. And the screws are tightening around Kim Jong-un. North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) around 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the first such launch from the rogue regime in more than two months. The ICBM was launched from Sain Ni, North Korea and flew roughly 620 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan. The ICBM flew to an altitude of 2,800 miles into space, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. Compare this with NASA's International Space Station that orbits the Earth from 250 miles into space. In a rare address, Kim Jong-un declared "with pride that now we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force." The dictator personally authorized the test launch which NK claimed soared to an altitude of about 4,475 km (2,780 miles) and flew 950 km (590 miles) during its 53-minute flight. It flew higher and longer than any North Korean missile before, landing in the sea, near Japan. Experts said the new "Hwasong-15" missile theoretically gave North Korea the ability to hit the United States, including the East Coast, although it was not clear whether it could carry a nuclear weapon because of re-entry issues. • North Korea has now test-launched three ICBMs. Tuesday's missile flew 1,000 miles higher than the regime's first launch on July 4. South Korea fired pinpoint missiles into nearby waters to make sure North Korea understands it can be "taken under fire" by the South, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said. • The Pentagon says that NK has been working hard to perfect “re-entry” technology so that one day it will have a warhead able to survive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. This ICBM would be able to hit any city within the US if a warhead is able to survive re-entry. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) stated that the missile "did not pose a threat to North America, our territories or our allies." Secretary Mattis explained that North Korea is continuing to build missiles that can "threaten everywhere in the world" as it continues to endanger world peace, regional peace and "certainly the United States." House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry told Fox News : "With each launch, [North Korean officials] are advancing their capability and they are making it clear that they can hold the entire US at risk. It is incredibly serious partly because [North Korean dictator] Kim Jong-un is very serious about what he says and what he says is that he wants to hold the entire United States at risk with his missiles, with nuclear weapons, and we have seen him actually deliver on what he says he wants to do." • President Trump told reporters Tuesday that the missile launch "is a situation that we will handle," and added the US will "take care of it." The President was briefed on the launch while it was still in the air, press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted earlier in the day. Trump delivered an ongoing message to North Korea -- don't underestimate the United States. • • • ANOTHER UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and ambassadors from Japan and South Korea, requested and got an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in record time on Wednesday following the NK launch. Let's review what the UK Express had to say about the situation, some of it positive and some of it 'wailing.' The Express used as its lead UN Ambassador Haley's words : "North Korea’s 'continued acts of aggression' are bringing 'the world closer to war, not father from it." And, the next point made by the express was : "The US ambassador to the UN said that China must stop selling oil to North Korea and issued a warning to Beijing that if action wasn't taken - then the USA would have to step in." Then, the express quoted Haley again : “We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it. If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday.” • Using the UNSC platform to call on China to cut off oil supplies to North Korea in a bid to strongarm Kim Jong-un into halting his nuclear weapons program is a gutsy, in-your-face challenge from Trump to Xi. China is North Korea's sole major ally and they share a long border and significant trade, and it has been China's refusal to completely cut off energy exports to North Korea that is a sticking point between Beijing and the US. The Express reported that "Haley confirmed during her UN speech that President Trump had called Chinese President Xi Jinping to tell him the time had come to cut off crude oil supplies to North Korea." Haley's words were : "We now turn to President Xi to also take that stand. We believe he has an opportunity to do the right thing for the benefit of all countries. China must show leadership and follow through. China can do this on its own, or we can take the oil situation into our own hands." • The Express then noted that earlier in November, President Trump declared North Korea is back on the US watch list for state sponsored terrorism amid rising tensions over Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons program. Trump said : “In addition to threatening the world by nuclear devastation, North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil. This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime.” Trump added that North Korea, who was removed from the list in 2008 under then-President George W Bush, should have been re-listed "a long time ago.” Meanwhile, said the express, some experts, including a former chief US negotiator during the 1994 North Korean nuclear crisis [under President Bill Clinton, who, like every other prior US President, got nowhere with North Korea], have warned it could be a “miscalculation” by Trump and “just further cements a dangerous game of escalatory brinkmanship” amid World War III fears." • • • FOX NEWS TOOK A CUMULATIVE VIEW OF THE NK LAUNCH. Fox News said : "This is the first missile launch since North Korea fired an intermediate-range KN-17 on September 15 that flew over Japan's Hokkaido Island before splashing into the Pacific Ocean. There have been signs indicating Kim Jong-un’s regime was planning a missile launch in recent days. Japan’s Kyodo News reported Monday the Japanese government detected radio signals pointing to a possible missile test in the near future. However, satellite images did not show a missile or movable launch pad. North Korea's September 15 missile launch flew 2,300 miles out, putting the US island territory of Guam within its range. Kim previously threatened to strike the island with four medium-range ballistic missiles in August, but ultimately stepped away from the plan. North Korea’s lull in missile launches made October the only month a test wasn’t conducted since the start of the year. Between February and September, the regime tested a missile an average of every two weeks. This is also the first provocation since Trump designated North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism." • • • NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM KEEPS ON GROWING. South Korean unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon told foreign correspondents in Seoul on Tuesday that North Korea is on the verge of achieving full nuclear capability with an ICBM that could carry a nuclear warhead, according to Yonhap News Agency. Cho said : “North Korea has been developing its nuclear weapons at a faster-than-expected pace. We cannot rule out the possibility that North Korea could announce its completion of a clear force within one year." • Hawaii officials announced Wednesday the beginning of monthly siren tests, starting Friday. The tests would be conducted to prepare islanders for a possible nuclear missile attack by North Korea. The tests would be the first since the Cold War. • And, North Korea and Iran are deepening their military relationship, making NK's rapidly developing ICBM capability even more worrisome. • • • HIGH-LEVEL CONTACTS BETWEEN NORTH KOREA AND IRAN HINT AT DEEPER MILITARY COOPERATION. That is what the Washington Institute (TWI) states in a Monday article by Jay Solomon, who says : "Pongyang has emerged a critical partner in Teheran's 'Axis of Resistance,' and officials warn that their joint efforts may extend to weapons of mass destruction. Solomon states : "High-level meetings between North Korean and Iranian officials in recent months are stoking concerns inside the U.S. government about the depth of military ties between the two American adversaries. In September, President Trump ordered US intelligence agencies to conduct a fresh review of any potential bilateral nuclear collaboration. Yet officials in Washington, Asia, and the Middle East who track the relationship indicate that Pyongyang and Teheran have already signaled a commitment to jointly develop their ballistic missile systems and other military/scientific programs. North Korea has vastly expanded its nuclear and long-range missile capabilities over the past year, developing intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially target the western United States with nuclear warheads. Over the same period, US intelligence agencies have spotted Iranian defense officials in Pyongyang, raising the specter that they might share dangerous technological advances with each other. 'All of these contacts need to be better understood,' said one senior US official working on the Middle East. 'This will be one of our top priorities.' " • We have talked before about the August visit to Iran of Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's number two political leader and head of its legislature, who departed Pyongyang with great fanfare for an extended visit to Iran. Solomon says : "The official reason was to attend the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani, but the length of the visit raised alarm bells in Washington and allied capitals. North Korean state media said the trip lasted four days, but Iranian state media said it was ten, and that Kim was accompanied by a large delegation of other top officials." • Kim Yong-nam had last visited Teheran in 2012, focused on signing a bilateral scientific cooperation agreement with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. According to US intelligence officials, that pact looked very similar to the one NK signed with Syria in 2002 -- and we know that five years later, Israeli jets destroyed a building in eastern Syria that the United States and UN believe was a nearly operational North Korean-built nuclear reactor. Current and former US officials consider NK's construction of the graphite reactor in Syria's Deir al-Zour province as one of the greatest acts of nuclear proliferation in history. Called al-Kibar, the facility was almost an exact replica of the Yongbyon reactor that North Korea has used to harvest plutonium for its own nuclear weapons arsenal. The Syrian reactor was close to being operational when Israeli jets destroyed it in 2007, killing a number of North Korean technicians working there. The US government and the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, have yet to close their investigations into the al-Kibar reactor. Where did Syria get the infrastructure, raw materials, fuel fabrication plants, uranium and money to build the plant -- one theory is that Iran funded al-Kibar and sought to outsource some of its nuclear research to Syria. And, according to David Asher, former special coordinator of the State Department's North Korea Working Group : "It seems pretty clear the North Koreans never stopped working in Syria, which raises a whole bunch of other questions." • Similarly, Kim Yong-nam's 2017 trip focused on more than just lending support to Rouhani, according to North Korean and Iranian state media. Kim and Vice Foreign Minister Choe Hui-chol inaugurated NK's new embassy in Teheran, a symbol of deepening ties between the two governments. They also held bilateral meetings with foreign leaders, many from countries that have been significant buyers of North Korean weapons in recent decades -- Zimbabwe, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Namibia. In his TWI article, Solomon says the Trump administration has been intensifying diplomatic pressure on all these countries to cut their economic and military ties with Pyongyang. And, like Pyongyang, Teheran has moved forward with a string of ballistic missile tests in recent months, despite facing UN Security Council resolutions and condemnation by the Trump administration. After meeting with Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani on August 4, Kim declared, "Iran and North Korea share a mutual enemy [the United States]. We firmly support Iran on its stance that missile development does not need to be authorized by any nation." • BUT, COVERT MEETINGS, according to Solomon, have gone unreported in state media and are even more worrisome for allied governments : "In recent years, US and South Korean intelligence services have tracked a steady stream of Iranian and North Korean officials visiting each other in a bid to jointly develop their defense systems. Many of the North Koreans are from defense industries or secretive financial bodies that report directly to dictator Kim Jong-un, including Offices 39 and 99 of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. Last year, US authorities reported that missile technicians from one of Iran's most important defense companies, the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, had traveled to North Korea to help develop an eighty-ton rocket booster for ballistic missiles. One of the company's top officials, Sayyed Javad Musavi, has allegedly worked in tandem with the Korea Mining Development Trading Corp. (KOMID), which the United States and UN have sanctioned for being a central player in procuring equipment for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. For example, Shahid Hemmat has illegally shipped valves, electronics, and measuring equipment to KOMID for use in ground testing of space-launch vehicles and liquid-propellant ballistic missiles." • THE AXIS OF RESISTANCE that used to be Iraan, Russia and China, now seems to include North Korea. In fact, Solomon asserts that : "North Korea has emerged as a critical partner in the alliance of states, militias, and political movements known as the "Axis of Resistance," which Teheran developed to challenge US power in the Middle East. Pyongyang has served as an important supplier of arms and equipment to Iran's most important Arab ally, Syria's Assad regime, during the country's ongoing war. And Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have procured weapons from North Korea in their efforts to topple the internationally recognized government in Yemen, according to current and former US officials." The inclusion of North Korea in the Axis of Resistance was evident in Kim Yong-nam's August trip -- as official support came from Russia and China. Solomon states : "On his way to Iran, he first flew to Vladivostok on Air Koryo, the North Korean airline that the US Treasury Department sanctioned in December 2016 for financially aiding the Kim Jog-un regime and its ballistic missile program. He then flew on to Teheran via Russia's state carrier, Aeroflot, passing through Chinese airspace. • Solomon asks the obvious question needing to be answered -- will a smoking gun appear proving direct nuclear cooperation between Iran and North Korea? The US government and the International Atomic Energy Agency say they have yet to see such conclusive evidence. But, says Solomon, Iranian opposition groups allege that senior regime officials have visited North Korea to observe some of its six nuclear weapons tests, and : "Chief among these officials, they add, is Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian general whom the UN has accused of working closely with Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani on secret nuclear weapons research. Current and former US intelligence officials say these accusations cannot be ruled out, so all known contacts between the two regimes need to be scrutinized closely." NORTH KOREA IS STILL IN SYRIA. Jay Solomon is well-placed to analyze both Iran and Syria -- he is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute and author of "The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals That Reshaped the Middle East." In a November 2 TWI article, Solomon said that the Syria-North Korea alliance has been strengthened during the Syrian civil war : "North Korea's decades-old military alliance with the Assad regime is stoking fears inside the Trump administration that Kim Jong-un is not only profiting from Syria's six-year war, but also learning from it. According to US, Arab, and Israeli officials, he has continued to supply weapons and military equipment to Damascus throughout the conflict despite facing numerous international sanctions. In recent months, UN investigators have uncovered North Korean supplies being smuggled to Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), the secretive body that oversees Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons program. Syrian opposition groups and the UN also allege that North Korean military advisors are present inside the country to help Assad, a charge Pyongyang has denied. Such activities have led officials to conclude that North Korea's alliance with Damascus poses a long-term security threat to the United States and its allies in the Middle East and Asia -- a threat that could grow as Pyongyang advances its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, and as Assad strengthens his hold on power with help from Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah. Officials already fear that North Korean advisors have been integrated into the planning and operations of these military players. Even more worrisome, the West has proven incapable of shutting down Pyongyang's arms shipments to the wider Middle East, which are expected to become even more lethal in the coming years." • American and South Korean officials say the Syria-North Korea alliance goes back to the 1960s and is far deeper and more entrenched than many Middle East analysts realize. Pyongyang and Damascus were both clients of the Soviet Union during the Cold War and established formal diplomatic relations in 1966. North Korean fighter pilots aided the Syrian air force during its historic conflicts with Israel, including the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. NK has also sent tank crews and missile technicians to Syria to support its unending "struggle" against Israel. NK's assistance to Damascus has intensified as the Kim family develops more sophisticated weapons systems. Solomon says that according to current and former US officials, North Korea has proven willing to transfer equipment directly to Damascus and help the regime procure it from third countries such as China. The latter contention is particularly disturbing given that Pyongyang has used front companies across China to not only procure equipment for its military and nuclear weapons, but also export it. • North Korea analysts also believe Kim Jong-un is learning from al-Assad's battlefield tactics, including the use of chemical weapons. There is little question, says Solomon, that Kim is willing to use such weapons abroad -- Washington believes he authorized the use of VX nerve agent this February to assassinate his half-brother Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia, so he can be expected to use his vast chemical arsenal in any conflict with the West. Military strategist Bruce Bechtol Jr. in a 2015 report for the Korean Journal of Defense Analysis write : "Korean analysts should take note of how chemical weapons were used in the [Syrian] civil war because this is likely going to be a test-bed for future North Korean actions in conflict with the South." • • • THE WEST SEEMS INCAPABLE OF COMING TO TERMS WITH THE NORTH KOREAN MENACE. If the US government and the UN International Atomic Energy Agency cannnot find answers to the al-Kibar auestions, and if the North Koreans have never stopped working in Syria, there are probably a lot of other unanswered questions. • For example, Solomon states that US government cables indicate that officials in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations were equally stunned by the web of front companies Pyongyang used to procure equipment for Syria's missile programs. North Korean brokers purchased graphite, specialty steel, nozzle throats, and related materials to help Syria develop Scuds and other short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Some of these transfers directly involved the SSRC, which US and Israeli officials believe is central to all of the Assad regime's nonconventional weapons programs. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in 2009 : "This dependence on North Korean sources both directly and via North Korean brokers for a range of missile-related materials, advanced chemicals, and technology is likely to continue, given the difficulties Syria has encountered purchasing such items directly from other suppliers." Pyongyang's smuggling for al-Assad and the SSRC has continued, if not accelerated, throughout Syria's current war, even as international sanctions against both regimes have been strengthened, and according to Solomon : "Likewise, North Korean government workers maintain a heavy presence in Damascus. A September report by the UN panel tasked with overseeing North Korea sanctions said it 'continues to investigate the widespread presence of [such] Africa and the Middle East, particularly in the Syrian Arab Republic, acting on behalf of or at the direction of designated entities, including their involvement in prohibited activities such as trade in surface-to-air missile systems.' " Solomon stated : "The panel noted that two UN member states had interdicted shipments of North Korean equipment bound for Syria in recent months. The consignees for these shipments were Syrian companies sanctioned by the European Union and Washington for serving as SSRC fronts. Syrian-based representatives from one of Pyongyang's main arms suppliers, the Korea Mining Development Trading Corp. (KOMID), were believed to be facilitating the shipments. According to the UN, 'The panel is investigating reported prohibited chemical, ballistic missile and conventional arms cooperation, including activities on Syrian Scud missile programs and maintenance and repair of Syrian surface-to-air missile air defense systems.' " • President Trump and his administration have increased US efforts to choke off North Korea's overseas businesses and proliferation networks. The President has also ordered US intelligence agencies to redouble their efforts to uncover all military cooperation between NK and Iran, including missile work and potential nuclear weapons links. US officials have told Solomon they are worried that North Korea has been integrated into the coalition of Middle Eastern regimes, terrorist groups, and militias that Teheran dubs the "Axis of Resistance." This alliance has helped Assad but is also active in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. • But, even with Trump's stepped-up efforts, Solomon say that some fear that Kim Jong-un's rapidly expanding weapons arsenal -- which now includes as many as twenty atomic bombs, according to US and Chinese officials -- could be even more difficult for the United States and UN to track. The White House will need to mobilize all of its Middle Eastern and Asian allies to guard against acts of proliferation potentially worse than the reactor North Korea built in eastern Syria. There is wide consensus that the cash-strapped North has every incentive to try selling even its most advanced weapons systems. In recent years, the United States has tracked North Korean arms sales to some of its closest regional allies, including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, so preventing transfers to Iran's "axis" will no doubt be more difficult than ever. • • • DEAR READERS, with all these rumors and intel reports floating around, we can be sure that President Trump isn't the only Western leader who sees the dangers posed by North Korea. But, he seems ot be the only one who is actively trying to build the consensus needed to tamp down and eliminate North Korea's nuclear capabilities and aggressive military presence in the Middle East. On TV, every day since the ICBM launch on Tuesday, we have been accosted by diplomats and ex-diplomats telling us how wrong Trump is. Reuters reported that President Trump dismissed a Chinese diplomatic effort to rein in North Korea’s weapons program as a failure on Thursday, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Beijing should do more to limit oil supplies to Pyongyang. Reuters took an anti-Trump tome, saying : "In a tweet, Trump delivered another insulting barb against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who he called 'Little Rocket Man' and a 'sick puppy' after North Korea test-fired its most advanced missile to date on Wednesday." Rueters quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying that Washington’s approach was dangerously provocative. Lavrov pointed to joint US-South Korean military exercises planned for December and accused the United States of trying to provoke Kim into “flying off the handle” over his missile program to hand Washington a pretext to destroy his country. He also flatly rejected a US call to cut ties with Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile program, calling US policy toward North Korea deeply flawed. Russia also sells oil products to North Korea and thousands of North Koreans work in Russia, sending remittances back to the authorities in Pyongyang. In his remarks on Thursday, Lavrov said Haley’s call for the world to isolate North Korea was wrong : “We have already said many times that sanctions pressure has exhausted itself.” • Before he tweeted, Trump spoke with Chinese President Chinese President Xi Jinping and reiterating his call for Beijing to use its leverage against North Korea. So far, China says it will support sanctions but has not mentioned what, if anything, it will do to curtail oil shipments ot North Korea. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Secretary of state Rex Tillerson welcomed Chinese efforts on North Korea, but said Beijing could do more to limit its oil exports to the country : “The Chinese are doing a lot. We do think they could do more with the oil. We’re really asking them to please restrain more of the oil, not cut it off completely.” It was clear that Reuters favored the Tillerson approach : "While Trump has been bellicose at times in rhetoric toward North Korea, Tillerson has persistently held out hopes for a return to dialogue if North Korea shows it is willing to give up its nuclear weapons program." And, it is surely that difference of opinion about how to deal with North Korea, as well as Iran, that has been feeding rumors that President Trump is getting ready to replace Tillerson at State -- Tillerson said it himself on Thrusday. For some weeks now, the name of Mike Pompeo, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been floated as Tillerson's replacement. • President Trump -- and his administration, most notably UN Ambassador Nikki Haley -- have used tough rhetoric and warnings that all options, including military ones, are on the table in dealing with North Korea, but have stressed that a diplomatic solution to the crisis is preferred, but Tillerson is more like European leaders who try to mollify Kim Jong-un while pretending there is no real problem with North Korea being a rogue nuclear country with ICBMs. Ambassador Haley at the Wednesday emergency UN Security Council meeting warned that North Korea’s leadership would be “utterly destroyed” if war were to break out. • In a very different tone than he usually uses when speaking about President Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN : "North Korea is seriously 'miscalculating' President Donald Trump's potential response to its continued provocations and missile tests. That is likely because previous US Presidents have not always made the consequences real. Every President before him has said, 'we're not going to allow North Korea to have nuclear weapon.' Well, they've got nuclear weapons. Every President before President Trump has said, 'we're never going to allow them to hit the homeland with an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top.' They're about to get a capability. This [the Tuesday ICBM launch] is a provocative act by North Korea. They're miscalculating President Trump. And he is ready, if necessary, to destroy this regime, to protect America. And I hope the regime understands. If President Trump has to pick between destroying the North Korean regime and the American homeland, he's going to destroy the regime. I hope China understands that also." Even it it means hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are hurt, Graham said he stands with Trump if he decides to retaliate. • Let's add it all up -- Haley told China to stop selling oil to North Korea or the US would do the job, Trump called Xi Jinping, soft-peddling Secretary of State Tillerson appears to be on the way out, hardliner Mike Pompeo may be waiting in the wings at State. Is Trump gathering his forces -- diplomatic, intel and military -- for a retaliatory strike at North Korea's nuclear mountain? When Senator Graham says he supports a strike, we can be pretty sure there is at least serious late-stage planning about military retaliation to make the US position clear to Kim Jong-un and his henchmen.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 30 -- The Feast of Saint Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland, Greece, Barbados and Russia, and the Symbol of Generosity and Helping Others

THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS THAT IT'S SAINT ANDREW'S DAY. Not many saints have a celebration that reaches beyond the borders of one country or region. Saint Patrick is surely the most famous and most widely celebrated saint in the Christian religion. That is probably because the good saint was renowned for chasing snakes out of Ireland -- a legend that refuses to be cast aside, even in the 21st century, and perhaps more important, the Irish love to celebrate almost anything and so as they spread over western Europe and to America, they took Saint Patrick with them and the world soon agreed that March 17 was the perfect day for parades, Irish songs, green beer and the celebration of Ireland and its patron Saint Patrick. And, of course, there is Saint Valentine, whose February 14 feast day is celebrated as the worldwide day of love. • There is also another saint who gets a lot of attention outside the country where he is the patron saint, and the attention is growing -- Saint Andrew. November 30 is his feast day, celebrated nationally in Scotland and everywhere that Scots have put down their roots outside their native soil. • • • WHO IS SAINT ANDREW? Saint Andrew was born in Bethsaida, in Galilee, which is now Israel. His remains were moved 300 years after his death to Constantinople, now Istanbul, by the Emperor Constantine. While he was generally revered in Scotland from around 1,000 AD when feasts began to be held in his honor, he didn't become Scotland's official patron saint until the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 when Scotland's independence was declared. Since then Saint Andrew has become linked closely to much of Scotland's tradition. • Like his brother Simon Peter, Saint Andrew was a fisherman. Andrew, along with Peter, James and John formed the inner circle of Jesus’ 12 apostles. Andrew was, however, a disciple of Saint John the Baptist prior to becoming a follower of Christ. He was baptised by John the Baptist and was the first disciple of Jesus. In the Greek Orthodox tradition he is known as "Protokletos" -- literally "the first-called.” • Not a great deal is known about his early life, but he is mentioned in the Bible as taking part in the ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand.’ It is not bsolutely certain where he preached the Gospel, or where he is buried, but Patras in Achia claims to be the place where he was martyred and crucified. It is also not certain where Andrew actually preached -- Scythia, Thrace and Asia Minor have all been indicated -- but it appears that he traveled great distances in order to spread the word, and it may be this which links him with Scotland. Two versions of events claim this link. One legend comes from Andrew’s extensive travels, claiming that he actually went to Scotland and built a church in Fife, which is now called Saint Andrews, and the church became a center for evangelism, and pilgrims came from all over Britain to pray there. Another ancient legend recounts how it was after the death of Andrew, sometime in the 4th century, that several of his relics where taken to Fife by Rule, a native of Patras. Whichever legend is closer to the truth, we are unlikely to ever unravel the entire story of Saint Andrew's travels and whether he ever really visited Scotland. But, it is these links that explain why Andrew is now the patron saint of Scotland. Churches were dedicated to him from early times throughout Italy and France, as well as in Anglo Saxon England, where Hexham and Rochester were the earliest of 637 medieval dedications of churches to Saint Andrew. • On November 30, by law, every building in Scotland must display the Saltire, or Saint Andrew’s Cross, a flag whose imagery is itself intrinsically linked to the saint. Saint Andrew's Cross is also recognized on the union flag of Great Britain, sometimes referred to as the Union Jack, which is made up of three overlaid crosses. One of these crosses is the flag of Saint Andrew. He was crucified in Greece on 30 November 60 AD -- hence the date of his feast -- by order of the Roman governor Aegeas. Legend has it that he asked to be tied to an X-shaped cross because he did not feel worthy of dying on the same shape of cross as Jesus. The shape has been represented by the white cross on the blue Scottish flag, called the Saltire, since at least 1385. • Purported relics of Saint Andrew, including a tooth, kneecap, arm and finger bone, kept in the town of Saint Andrews, made the tiny town a popular medieval pilgrimage site until the 16th century -- when they were destroyed in the Scottish Reformation. In 1870, the Archbishop of Amalfi sent an apparent piece of the saint's shoulder blade to Scotland, where it has since been stored in Saint Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh. Today, pilgrims of another sort make the journey from all over the world to the city of Saint Andrews, internationally recognized as the traditional home of golf. • Saint Andrew is not just the patron saint of Scotland. Greece, Russia, Italy’s Amalfi and Barbados also count Saint Andrew as their patron saint. He’s also seen as the patron saint of singers, spinsters, maidens, fishmongers, fishermen, women wanting to be mothers, gout and sore throats. Saint Andrew is also the patron saint of the Order of the Thistle, one of the highest ranks of chivalry in the world, second only to the Order of the Garter. • • • WHY IS SAINT ANDREW SO IMPORTANT? It’s worth considering how Saint Andrew came to be so important to Scotland. The answer is surprisingly simple, and sums up some of the most prominent characteristics that you can find in Scots both at home and abroad. Despite his relatively humble upbringing, Saint Andrew was known throughout his life for being a generous man. When Scots talk of him today, they specifically look at these traits that made him so saintly (figuratively and, later, literally). Saint Andrew’s philosophy was incredibly simple : take what you have and share it with those less fortunate. He became known as a strong and fair man who took every opportunity to help others whenever he could. His fairness and generosity have struck a chord with Scots for thousands of years and they still remain important aspects of how the Scottish treat others. Anyone who has visited Scotland can vouch that this co-operative spirit. If you’re lost, there’s always someone there happy to point you in the right direction. In fact, Scotland is known around the world for its incredibly warm welcome and friendliness. It’s one of the many things that keeps people going back to visit. • • • THE SCOTS TOOK THEIR SAINT WITH THEM AROUND THE WORLD -- BEGINNING WITH AMERICA. Despite the fact that Saint Andrew has been Scotland’s patron saint for almost a thousand years, it wasn’t until the 18th century that the popular celebration of his feast day became commonplace. What might surprise you even more is that the tradition of celebrating on November 30 was not even technically started in Scotland, but by a group of Scots in the United States who wanted to reconnect with their Scottish roots. It all began with the creation of the "Saint Andrew’s Society of Charleston" in South Carolina, founded in 1729 by a group of wealthy Scottish immigrants. The organization is actually the oldest Scottish society of its type in the world and was set up with one simple goal -- to adhere to Saint Andrew’s philanthropic beliefs. The Charleston Society became famous throughout the region for its work assisting orphans and widows in the area. This was followed by another society, in New York, which was founded in 1756. "The Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York" is the oldest charity of any kind registered in New York and was founded by Scotsmen who wanted to give relief to the poor and distressed in the town. From these seeds, Saint Andrew’s societies have spread around the world as Scots have travelled and settled everywhere. They have taken with them the ideals of their homeland and its patron saint and helped spread the kindness and goodwill that Saint Andrew was known for. • • • DEAR READERS, Saint Andrew’s Day has become more and more special to Scots and ranks as one of three major dates during the winter period. Starting off Scotland’s Winter Festival each year on November 30, people across the country gather together to celebrate Saint Andrew and share good times. The day is usually marked with a celebration of Scottish culture, including dancing, music, food and drink, with parties going on long into Scotland's cold winter nights. • To celebrate the day, many a Scot will have a wee dram of whisky and say thank you to Saint Andrew for Scotland's blessings. If you know someone named Andrew, wish him a happy feast day on Thursday. And, above all, give a thought and a hand to someone you know who may need a little extra help to get by.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1947 UN Partition Resolution, the 3,500-year Jewish Presence, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- Where Is the Middle East Headed?

THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS A QUESTION. What is more important right now -- finding out that Moses wrote the Pentateuch or that a Kuwaiti journalist has told the Arab world that Israel was there long before Islam existed or the Saudi Crown Prince vowing to defeat terrorism? In reality, all three stories tell us something about the Middle East and its current issues of who belongs and who doesn't. • • • THE ALPHABET OF MOSES. That title alone should shock most of us who have been taught that the alphabet was created by Phoenicians. But, new work by Douglas Petrovich gives a new view of the origin of an phonetic alphabet. The summary is found in the Monday American Thinker article "Moses Vindicated" by Randolph Parrish. It realtes that thirty-five hundred years ago, slaves toiling in the harsh mines of the Sinai scribbled some graffiti on the desert rocks. One of them wrote : "Moses then provoked astonishment." That, says Parrish, "plus a lot of other inscriptions, deserves more than a passing glance. Archaeological evidence of Hebrew events has been slow to come by. Now, in a new book, The World's Oldest Alphabet, Douglas Petrovich has deciphered the Sinai inscriptions, and for the first time outside the Bible, we can read how the slaves looked at things : 'He sought occasion to cut away to barrenness our great number, our swelling without measure.' (Sinai 349) / 'Our bond servitude had lingered. Moses then provoked astonishment. It is a year of astonishment.' (Sinai 361). Parrish says that anyone familiar with the Book of Exodus will immediately spot parallels with the account of Pharaoh's attempt to reduce the number of newborn Israelites and the subsequent actions of Moses : "So much, then, for the dismissive arguments that the Israelites could never have numbered enough to be considered a threat to Egypt. Or that there never was an Exodus. Or that Moses never existed. So much, then, for the JEPD theory of the Pentateuch (written, according to the theory, by a variety of late authors with varying concepts about the nature of God). So much for the idea that the Israelites never lived in Egypt at all, or were just a group of wandering tribes who made up most of their history centuries later. All washed away like Pharaoh's chariots. ll this should be headlines, but it isn't. • Petrovich also "demonstrates in his book how the first alphabet was likely created not by paleo-Canaanites or Phoenicians, but by the Hebrews, who developed it by adapting Egyptian picture images for their own use during their 400-year stay in Egypt. This, in fact, was probably the world's first truly phonetic alphabet. History, which usually credits that to the merchants in the Levant, may have to be revised on this score also." • BUT, the JEPD Theory, or Documentary Hypothesis, is taught in many university Bible courses. It was developed in the 19th century by the Julius Wellhausen and others, when scholars thought that few could write in Moses' time. It claims the Bible's first five books (as well as Joshua) were oral tradition written down many centuries after Moses, by at least four or five different authors. And, for another explanation of JEPD, try Theopedia, which states : "The JEDP theory seeks to understand the authorship of the Pentateuch in light of the Documentary Hypothesis. This view believes that the Pentateuch represents the conflation of four different sources rather than the work of primarily one author, traditionally Moses. The results of Source Criticism first proposed two authors (or sources) for the Pentateuch supposedly distinguishable by the use of the terms Yahweh and Elohim. Two additional sources were later proposed as P for Priestly, and D for Deuteronomic resulting in the JEDP theory of authorship, most notably associated with German scholar Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918). • Traditionally, Moses is viewed as the author of the Pentateuch, and this has caused proponents of the JEDP theory to question: what role did Moses play? Some have suggested that his role was minimal, with the majority of the Pentateuch having been written after his death. On the other hand, it has been put forth that Moses developed the core of the Pentateuch, or in other words, the basis for which all other material would follow. However, one critical view of the JEPD theory states that when something is labeled true or false, the criteria for making the assessment must be outlined. In general, the crotocosm goes, when a document claims to be written by someone in a particular time period, the benefit of the doubt goes to the claim, unless there are substantial reasons to think otherwise. The best historical example is that there is no record that Julius Caesar ever took his armies on campaigns in Gaul, except for his own history of the campaign -- yet no one doubts that Caesar did this. Son it is not objective to use one standard for secular history, and a more skeptical standard for history by religious people, that is rejecting the claim that Moses wrote the Pentateuch without being able to provide anything but conjecture for the claim. You can read more on this at < > Many of the Sinai inscriptions can be viewed with a Google search. • For our purposes, we need only remember that the Sinai writings, now readable because of scholarly work on deciphering their letters and marks, means that it is perfectly possible that Moses, who lived in the 14th -13th century BC, wrote the entire Pentateuch, as the Jewish religion believes, and that the first phonetic alphabet was developed by the Hebrews who used the Egyptian heiroglyphs to create the first phonetic alphabet based on 'letters' to represent sounds instead of whole ideas or phrases. • • • THE KUWAITI JOURNALIST. Fast forward to November, 2017. Israel Today reported on Monday that "a leading Kuwaiti journalist this month sparked public outrage when he dared to get real about the Jewish state." Writer Abdullah Al-Hadlaq was taking part in a panel discussion on Kuwait's Alrai TV when he "not only rejected the notion state that Israel is not an occupying power, and went so far as to accept the legitimacy of the Jews' return to their ancient homeland." Al-Hadlaq also praised the advanced and progressive Jewish state, which puts to shame most of its Arab neighbors. In remarks translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Al-Hadlaq said : "When the State of Israel was established in 1948, there was no state called 'Palestine.' Like it or not, Israel is an independent sovereign state. It exists, and it has a seat at the United Nations, and most peace-loving and democratic countries recognize it. The group of states that do not recognize Israel are the countries of tyranny and oppression. For example, North Korea does not recognize Israel, but this does nothing to detract from Israel or from the fact of its existence, whether we like it or not. The State of Israel has scientific centers and universities the likes of which even the oldest and most powerful Arab countries lack. So, Israel is a state and not a terror organization. There is no occupation. There is a people returning to its promised land. Are you aware that the history of the Israelites is ancient, predating Islam? Therefore, we Moslems must acknowledge that the Israelites have a right to that land, and that they have not plundered it." • The Times of Israel quoted Al-Hadlaq citations of Koranic verses as proof that “Israelites have the right to the Holy Land. Allah assigned that land to them, and they did not plunder it, said AL-Hadlaq. Al-Hadlaq also celebrated Israel’s loyalty to its soldiers, speaking effusively of the lengthy public campaign to free soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity in 2011. He said he wished Arabs could be like the people of Israel “who rallied, down to the very last one, to defend a single Israeli soldier, adding “By Allah, if he were a soldier in any Arab country, would his nation, country or head of state rally the same way Israel did? The Arab countries have had thousands of casualties, and nobody cares about them.” Finally, Al-Hadlaq called for cooperation with Israel against common enemies such as Iran and its allies : “Why shouldn’t we live in peaceful coexistence with Israel and cooperate with it?” he asked, suggesting a three-way alliance between Israel, the US and Gulf states to “annihilate Hezbollah beyond resurrection.” • The story of Al-Hadlaq's support of Israel is being covered all over Europe -- French, German nad Scandinavian outlets are running the video [ < > ] and writing about it. And, it was not the first time Al-Hadlaq has made his pro-Israeli opinions known. He has in the past written columns in which he has defended Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of Hamas attacks, and lauded Israel’s democracy in a region of oppressive regimes. But, he has been heavily criticized in Arab circles for these views. • According to British-based Imam Muhammad Al-Hussaini, traditional commentators from the 8th and 9th century onwards have uniformly interpreted the Koran to say explicitly that the Land of Israel has been given by God to the Jewish people as a perpetual covenant. Hussaini bases his argument upon Koran 5:21 in which Moses declares : "O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has prescribed for you, and turn not back in your traces, to turn about losers." He cites the Koran commentator Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, who says that this statement is "a narrative from God...concerning the saying of his community from among the children of Israel and his order to them according to the order of God to him, ordering them to enter the holy land." He argued that this promise to the Jews is ever lasting, and further said : "It was never the case during the early period of Islam... that there was any kind of sacerdotal attachment to Jerusalem as a territorial claim." • This interpretation of the promise to the Jews as ever-lasting is not uniformly accepted by all Islamic commentators. According to a translation by the Islamic Law scholar Khaleel Mohammed, Ibn Kathir (1301–1373) interpreted Koran 5:20–21 using the following terms : "'That which God has written for you' i.e. That which God has promised to you by the words of your father Israel that it is the inheritance of those among you who believe." • THE BALFOUR DECLARATION OF 1917. The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government during World War I announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" "IN" Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population. It read : "His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." The declaration was contained in a letter dated 2 November 1917 from the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The text of the declaration was published in the press on 9 November 1917. • On March 23, 1918, Al Qibla, the daily newspaper of Mecca, printed the following words in support of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 : "The resources of the country [Palestine] are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants (...) we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain, and America. The cause of causes could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons [abna'ihi-l-asliyin], for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles [jaliya] to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and all things connected to the land." • On 3 January 1919, Hussein's son, king Faisal I of Iraq and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization signed the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement for Arab-Jewish cooperation, in which Faisal conditionally accepted the Balfour Declaration based on the fulfilment of British wartime promises of development of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and on which subject Faisal I stated : We Arabs... look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through; we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home... I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of the civilised peoples of the world. • But, it wasn't going to be easy. The statement that such a homeland would be found "in Palestine" rather than "of Palestine" was deliberate. The proposed draft of the Balfour Declaration referred to the principle "that Palestine should be reconstituted as the National Home of the Jewish people." But, in the final text, the word "reconstituted" was removed and the word "that" was replaced with "in," avoiding clearly committing the entirety of Palestine as the National Home of the Jewish people, and resulting in controversy in future years over the intended scope. The deliberate ambiguity was clarified by the 1922 Churchill White Paper, which wrote that "the terms of the declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded 'in Palestine.' " Since the Declaration didn't include any geographical boundaries for Palestine, following the end of the war, three documents -- the Declaration, the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence and the Sykes-Picot Agreement (a 1915 agreement between France and Britain to divide the post-war Middle East into their two spheres of influence) -- became the basis for the negotiations to set the boundaries of Palestine. • So, the Balfour Declaration had the consequence of the emergence of a Jewish state and a chronic state of conflict between Arabs and Jews throughout the Middle East. • Starting in 1920, intercommunal conflict in Mandatory Palestine, governed bythe British, broke out, which widened into the regional Arab–Israeli conflict. The "dual obligation" to the two communities quickly proved to be untenable. The British subsequently concluded that it was impossible for them to pacify the two communities in Palestine by using different messages for different audiences. The Palestine Royal Commission made the first official proposal for partition of the region, stating that the "disease is so deep-rooted that, in our firm conviction, the only hope of a cure lies in a surgical operation." Following the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, and as worldwide tensions rose before World War II, the British Parliament approved the White Paper of 1939 -- their last formal statement of governing policy in Mandatory Palestine -- declaring that Palestine should not become a Jewish State and placing restrictions on Jewish immigration. While the British considered this consistent with the Balfour Declaration’s commitment to protect the rights of non-Jews, many Zionists saw it as a repudiation of the Declaration. This policy lasted until the British surrendered the Mandate in 1948, serving only to highlight the fundamental difficulty for Britain in carrying out the Mandate obligations. • The foundation stone for modern Israel had been laid, but the prediction that this would lay the groundwork for harmonious Arab-Jewish cooperation proved to be wishful thinking. • • • THE 1947 PARTITION. This week marks the 70th anniversary of the 1947 UN partition resolution, the first international legitimation of a Jewish state. Martin Kramer writes that : "To advance future opportunities for peace diplomacy and normalization, governments should pay more attention to the seventieth anniversary of the landmark UN vote." Earlier in November, the governments of Britain and Israel marked the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. • Kramer states : "A centenary is certainly a rarer thing, and the Balfour Declaration makes for dramatic telling. But the vote over the UN partition resolution had plenty of drama, too, and some of us, or our parents or grandparents, still remember the suspense that attended it and the elation that followed." Kramer cites Israeli novelist Amos Oz who, in an autobiographical passage, recalled that night in Jerusalem as his father stroked his head in his darkened bedroom : 'From the moment we have our own state [said Oz's father], you will never be bullied just because you are a Jew and because Jews are so-and-sos. Not that. Never again. From tonight that's finished here. Forever.' I reached out sleepily to touch his face, just below his high forehead, and all of a sudden instead of his glasses my fingers met tears. Never in my life, before or after that night, not even when my mother died, did I see my father cry. And in fact I didn't see him cry that night, either. Only my left hand saw.' " • • • IS THE 1947 PARTITION RESOLUTION WORTH CELEBRATING? The United Nations vote occurred in the presence of cameras, and anyone can see it on YouTube, along with the joyous celebrations that followed. By contrast, says Kramer, "the ecstasy prompted by the Balfour Declaration seems remote. Some 100,000 reportedly turned out in the streets of Odessa, but not even one photograph attests to it. So why, one asks again, did the Balfour Declaration centenary resonate, while the partition-vote anniversary doesn't?" • Kramer"s answers are many and include the following -- the subsequent 70 years have been marked by repeated assaults on Israel's legitimacy, launched from within the same UN and one wonders if in 2017, the partition vote would pass in the UN General assembly. // Israel's founders knew that a General Assembly vote wasn't a firm anchor, so while Israel's Declaration of independence in May 1948 invoked the partition resolution, it added a new assertion : "This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their state is irrevocable." Why irrevocable? Because the founders knew perfectly well that a future vote at the UN might revoke it. The resolution reflected the political interests of UN member states at a moment in timen and they were bound to shift, and very quickly did -- away from Israel. // Britain had earlier betrayed the Balfour Declaration, just as the UN would betray the partition resolution. // Of the states that voted for partition, only the United States is prone to issuing comparable reassurances. Ironically, Abba Eban, who led the Zionist effort at the UN in 1947, wrote that, after the vote, "I was disturbed by the weakness of American support," which had been "more lukewarm than the Soviet." // The partition resolution wasn't all that important anyway, so why bother? By 1947, the Jews in Palestine were 600,000-strong and unstoppable. Even with a resolution, Israel wound up fighting a war of independence, and it certainly would have fought one had the UN vote been deadlocked. It's a war Israel would have won, whatever the UN had decided or failed to decide in November 1947. But, Kramer says he cannot construct any scenario for 1947-1948 in which a Jewish state, recognized by the major powers, could have emerged if there had not been Zionist victories at UNSCOP [the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine] and in the UN General Assembly." // Ben-Gurion. Absent a UN resolution or Ben-Gurion, the trauma of Israel's birth would have been much worse. Better to have had both. But for those who emphasize Israel's birth as the result only of battlefield grit and sacrifice, there is a logical prejudice against celebrating the UN vote as a watershed. // The other half of the UN resolution recommends the establishment of an Arab state as well as a Jewish one. Indeed, in 1988, the Palestine National Council, while citing the partition resolution as precipitating a "historical injustice," added that "it is this resolution that still provides those conditions of international legitimacy that ensure the right of the Palestinian Arab people to sovereignty." It was a partition plan, and for Zionist opponents of partition today, it's nothing to celebrate. The 1917 Balfour Declaration is much less complicated: it didn't even mention Arabs, and merely insisted that the "national home" of the Jewish people not prejudice "the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities." // The partition plan came with a map -- a division that many say would have left all of Jerusalem under international control, surrounded on all sides by the proposed Arab state. It also would have cut the Jewish state into three chunks, linked at two points. But, there was Ben-Gurion, and, beginning in the spring of 1948, when the Arabs went to war to throttle Israel, Israel seized the opportunity to occupy a good part of the territory allotted to the Arab state, and to push through a corridor to the besieged Jews in western Jerusalem. Israel insisted that the Arabs, by going to war, had nullified the partition plan -- and its map. In 1949, Ben-Gurion declared the resolution "null and void," bereft of "any moral force." In 1956, he said: "[Just as] we cannot bring back all our dead sons and daughters who died in that war of independence, [so] that resolution cannot be brought back." • • • SO, WHY CELEBRATE THE PARTITION RESOLUTION? In the view of Ben-Gurion and Israel's founders, Israel didn't arise from the UN resolution, but emerged upon its death after the 1948 war for independence. Why then celebrate a dead letter -- strangled at birth by the Arabs, and then buried by Israel? Again, Kramer has answers : "Most obviously, the Balfour Declaration spoke only of a 'national home' for the Jews, which the British later interpreted to be less than a state. Because of that vagueness, millions of Jews in Europe for whom the Declaration was originally intended were prevented from immigrating there and did not survive the Holocaust. The 1947 UN resolution, by contrast, explicitly recommended a Jewish state, and at a moment when the yishuv (the body of Jewish residents in the land of Israel) had the strength to leverage international recognition to maximum advantage. There also is another reason to emphasize the 1947 resolution : the Arabs rejected it. And because they did, preferring war, they cannot escape their share of responsibility for the war's consequences : their 'catastrophe,' or nakba. Evasion of responsibility explains why the Palestinians, in telling the saga of their 'dispossession,' stress the Balfour Declaration and downplay the partition resolution. By claiming that the die was cast against them as early as 1917, their own mistakes in 1947 and 1948 are made to seem inconsequential." • Kramer argues that while the Balfour Declaration was British and presumed to make promises for another set of 'national' interests (although Kramer says the Declaration "could not have been more legitimate -- by the standards of its time), the 1947 resolution meets today's standards : "Prior to the vote, the General Assembly empowered UNSCOP, comprising representatives of eleven uninvolved member-states, to investigate the situation and make recommendations to the General Assembly. This is now standard procedure in the handling of conflicts, and it was here that the Palestinian Arabs made their first mistake -- one that their apologists, to this day, seek to cover up. Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi states as fact that Palestinian Arabs 'were either not consulted, or were effectively ignored by the various international efforts that culminated in this resolution.' UN 'expert' Richard Falk makes the same claim : UNSCOP 'never consulted the wishes of the Palestinian people or the residents of historic Palestine....Falk has said, the 'fundamental flaw with the partition proposals contained in Resolution 181 was the failure to consult the people resident in Palestine at the time.' " Kramer rejects this position : "This is false and deceptive. The Palestinian Arab leaders boycotted UNSCOP, which was eager to meet with them. There was no UNSCOP 'failure to consult the people,' there was a Palestinian failure to engage UNSCOP. Henry Cattan, a Jerusalem jurist and advocate for the Palestinian cause, thought this decision 'unfortunate,' since it allowed the Zionists to present their arguments 'without contradiction from the Arab side.' But he couldn't get it reversed : 'When UNSCOP came to Palestine for its inquiry, its [Moslem] Indian member came to my house and, speaking as a friend, asked me to suggest to the [Palestinian] Arab Higher Committee that it was unwise for it to boycott UNSCOP and its investigations. I transmitted his view to the Arab Higher Committee but without result. Its attitude was adamant : there was no need for any inquiry or investigation, since the only course was to end the Mandate and to proclaim [Arab] Palestine's independence.' " • Kramer says that :"Not only did the Arab Higher Committee then reject the majority report of UNSCOP, which recommended the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states; it also rejected the minority report, which recommended a federated, binational state. In the Arab view, the Jews had no right to anything -- not a single immigrant, not a shred of self-government. Once the Mandate ended, the Arabs believed they could set the clock back to 1917. Their leaders and thinkers, lost in a fog of wishful thinking, had no way to gauge the strength of the yishuv, which had gathered near-sovereign force under their very noses." Their second mistake compounded the first -- the Arabs misread the significance of the partition vote. Partition was adopted by a two-thirds majority vote in the General Assembly -- not by a secret agreement, not by a great-power proclamation, but by an open vote of sovereign states. This is a procedure we have come to regard as fundamental to international legitimacy. No less important, the two rising superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, drove the "yes" vote forward. This, says Kramer, "despite the fact that the Soviets had been hostile to Zionism and supportive of the Arabs all through the 1920s and 1930s. The sudden Soviet turnabout showed how strongly the wind was blowing against the Arabs. The voting procedure, and the identity of the yes-sayers, meant that the partition resolution had far greater political weight than the Balfour Declaration. It's also why the international two-state consensus forged by it has lasted to this day." • The Arabs rejected the partition vote exactly as they had rejected the Balfour Declaration -- not a partial rejection, but a total one. Why? Kramer's answer : "Because they thought that once the British left, they would defeat the Jews. This is why the Arabs refused to accept partition, or a federated state, or any plan that recognized any Jewish rights at all....Instead the Palestinians went down to an ignominious defeat, dragging the Arab states with them. Indeed, their conduct in the war conformed almost precisely to the conduct they had expected of the Jews, making them contemptible in their own eyes and in the eyes of other Arabs." • Which is why it is important to mark this 70th anniversary, and every anniversary to come. It isn't just a reminder of Israel's legitimacy; it's a reminder of Arab responsibility. • Martin Kramer is the Koret Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute. • • • THE SAUDI CROWN PRINCE. Breitbart's John Howard wrote on Monday that : "Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia promised on Sunday that the military coalition his country heads will renew its efforts to 'pursue terrorism until it is eradicated completely' following Friday’s monstrous attack on a Sufi mosque in Egypt. Salman spoke at the first formal meeting of the 41-member Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) in the Saudi capital of Riyadh." • IMCTC Secretary-General Abdulelah al-Saleh said : “The enemy is terrorism. It’s not sects or religions or races, it’s terrorism.” However, Reuters notes that the delegation from Yemen’s internationally-recognized government said that the coalition should view Iran as a major adversary, along with groups like ISIS and al-Qaida. And, Turkey asked for “support from our friends” against Kurdish separatist groups. • Crown Prince bin Salman told attendees that the attack in Egypt, which appears to have been carried out by ISIS, was “a very painful occurrence” which must “make us contemplate in an international and powerful way the role of this terrorism and extremism. I express today our condolences to our brothers in Egypt, as a leadership and people, for what happened in the past days. We will not allow them to distort our peaceful religion. Today we are sending a strong message that we are working together to fight terrorism. Today we affirm that we will pursue terrorism until it is eradicated completely. The biggest threat from terrorism and extremism is not only killing innocent people and spreading hate, but tarnishing the reputation of our religion and distorting our belief.” • The IMCTC Ministers of Defense affirmed that terrorism represents a constant and growing challenge and threat to peace, security and regional and international stability, as it has transcended the borders of countries, while casting aside all values. Terrorism has become deadlier than ever before, particularly in our Islamic world, which suffers from the crimes of terrorism, leaving heavy losses in property and lives, and has shattered the dreams of broad sectors of societies trying to live in peace and tranquility. They emphasized the resolve of their countries to coordinate and unite their efforts, to ward off the dangers of terrorism and take a stand against it. They emphasized the importance of joint efforts, organized collective actions, and comprehensive strategic planning to deal with the threat of terrorism, and put an end to those who seek to fuel conflicts and sectarianism, and spread chaos, strife and unrest within their countries.” • When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sat down recently with the New York Times, he offered some very hard words for Iran’s leader : Iran’s “supreme leader is the new Hitler of the Middle East. But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East.” • Saudi Arabia and Iran are rivals for dominance in the Middle East. Iran indirectly controls four Arab capitals today -- Damascus, Sana, Baghdad and Beirut. This Iranian over-reach is one reason Mohammed bin Salman was scathing about Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The rivalry has spread into Lebanon. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri traveled to Saudi Arabia and announced his resignation. But, he has since returned to Beirut via France and Egypt and rescinded his resignation. Bin Salman told the NYT : "The bottom line of the whole affair is that Hariri, a sunni Moslem, is not going to continue providing political cover for a Lebanese government that is essentially controlled by the Lebanese shiite Hezbollah militia, which is essentially controlled by Teheran.” • Saudi Arabia, a sunni kingdom, considers Hezbollah, a shiite organization, a terrorist organization. The dominance of Hezbollah in Lebanon has led one Saudi official to say that Lebanon is “in a state of war with the Kingdom.” Analysts say a war was unlikely because any Saudi actions that raise the temperature increases the risk of an accidental regional conflagration. • • • DEAR READERS, the Middle East is so complex that it requires a lifetime of study. But, we can take away from today's short account the fact that the problems are neither recent nor easy to solve. It is also clear that the Palestinians are not on the right side of history -- any history. And, the Iranian support for terrorist takeovers in the region, and its actual de facto takeovers in Syria and Iraq have made Israel and the Arab States -- led by sunni Saudi Arabia -- bedfellows in a sense that they have not been since 1917. Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman could be the coalescing leader that the Middle East needs to confront Iran and reduce its danger to the region and the world. • Israel cannot and should not be the leader in the sunni battle for an Iran that supports peace in the Middle East, or is vanquished. But, Israel can help in significant ways if and when an Arab leader emerges who is ready and has the resources to lead the battle. Mohammed bin Salman may be that person. There are many Moslems who would support such an anti-Iran coalition. And, it would eliminate Palestinian refusal to deal with the reality of a Middle East that includes, as it has for at least 3,500 years, a Jewish state.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Media Soft-peddling on ProgDem Sexual Predators Is Based on Their Desire to Protect Bill Clinton and JFK

THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS THAT DESPITE THEIR ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY PRESIDENT TRUMP, IT IS THE PROGDEMS WHO ARE BEING SWAMPED. We Deplorables are not surprised, and perhaps feeling a bit justified that President Trump, who takes a beating every day from ProgDems and their lapdog leftist mainstream media, is looking ever better as the end of 2017 arrives. The effort of ProgDems and their #NeverTrump GOP fellow travelers to nab Trump but even special counsel FBI veteran Robert Mueller has managed only a ho-hum case against Paul Manafort totally unrelated to either Trump or the Fake Trump-Russia collusion. Mueller was the ProgDems last resort for kicking President Trump out of the White House and installing Crooked Hillary. So far, no deal. That isn't to say the ProgDems have folded their tents and gone back ot the deep Swamp from which they came, but it does say a lot about how much their hatred of the real America and its leader, Donald Trump, has skewed their political judgment and warped their sense of reality. • • • THE MSM SAYS 'DON'T ATTACK A PROGDEM.' Jack Hellner put it very nicely in his Sunday American Thinker article titled "Let's stop pretending leftists care about abused women." Hellner wrote : "I find it tremendously sad that so many supposedly intelligent people who tell us how to run our lives are all of a sudden faking that in 2017 that powerful people have been mistreating people for years while they have intentionally looked the other way. They are obviously enablers. I am 64 years old...and I have never believed that it was OK to slap [people I worked with] on their behinds -- or any of the rest of the nasty stuff coming out now. I certainly have known not to hang around with pedophiles, let alone fly over two dozen times with a billionaire who procures underage girls for powerful men on an airplane called "Lolita" to something called 'orgy island.' " • But, the MSM has never cared about Jeff Epstein and Bill Clinton and still don't. • Hellner has some pretty simple facts to support his contention of ProgDem years of elitist cosiness with the media : "I have worked for seven employers after I graduated from college, and I didn't see any of them in possession of a slush fund for treating people badly. I would have been fired. How did anyone in Congress believe he had the right to use our money to pay claims and then keep them secret? Where was the appropriation? Was it the same place Obama stole unappropriated funds from to cover up losses in Obamacare? Who approved the payments? My guess is that a lot of people know whom the payments were made for. Why weren't those people expelled from Congress? We see every day that politicians throughout the country really care little about how taxpayer funds are used. They believe that the money is theirs, not ours." As Hellner and many others who write online for the real America know, and as real Americans decided to end by electing Donald Trump : "The Swamp is extremely deep, and they care about maintaining and expanding their power. That is almost their only goal." • Now, ProgDems and their communications mouthpieces talk about requiring that everyone take a few hours of courses to learn how to treat people -- especially women. Hellner has a simple solution : "Treat those you work with as you would your mother or your daughter. The lesson won't cost much and won't take much time." • • • THE LEFT PROTECTS ITS OWN BUT LOWERS THE HEAT BY BEATING UP NON-POLITICIAN CELEBRITIES. The behavior of Democrat politicians over more than 50 years, and its cover-up by their fellow politicians and the obliging media, is one more proof that ProgDems and mainstream media are not interested in either America, the integrity of its political processes, or the Americans whom they joyfully ignore while coddling predators. The sad truth is that the Left, Progressives, Democrats, Socialists, Marxists -- call them any of these and you would be right -- never have been interested in the treatment of women. They have championed and continue to support the Clintons, Franken, Conyers, and those whose names have not yet surfaced. They are still telling us that Hillary is the best choice for President. The MSM has found a scapegoat in show biz celebrities like Weinstein and Spacey, who can be attacked in order to appease the Deplorables while leaving the ProgDem elite untouched. • The fall of Charlie Rose was the most astonishing. The Federalist Papers' Sunday article by Regan Pifer said : "Recently, eight women have come forward and accused journalist Charlie Rose of sexual harassment. From nudity to lewd telephone comments to groping, Rose has proved to be a grade-A creepo." The Washington Post said : "Eight women have told the Washington Post that longtime television host Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas." • These women were employees or aspired to work for Rose at the “Charlie Rose” show from the late 1990s to as recently as 2011. They were from 21 to 37 years old at the time of the alleged encounters. Rose, now 75, was, like Weinstein in Hollywood, so powerful that women were afraid to come forward sooner. But, within hours of the publication of the allegations, PBS fired him and Bloomberg LP suspended distribution of the “Charlie Rose” show. CBS announced it was suspending Rose as it looked into the matter, and later fired him. Rose has also lost several university awards -- Arizona State University and the University of Kansas on Friday announced that they would no longer honor awards presented to Rose. The Washington Examiner reports that both universities said they want to underline how serious they consider the allegations against Rose to be. Dean Christopher Callahan of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication announced that Rose was being stripped of a 2015 award given to Rose, telling the Associated Press that the mounting accusations surrounding Rose were just too “egregious” to ignore : “The actions victimized young women much like those who make up the overwhelming majority of Cronkite students. Young women who deserve to enter workplaces that reward them for their hard work, intelligence and creativity and where they do not have to fear for their safety or dignity.” Pifer says : "The power, prestige, and many awards Rose won also made him feel immune to any sort of moral code. He preyed upon young women who were hoping to make it in journalism. He used their fear, their inexperience, their hope to advance in their career and took advantage of them. The young women, ashamed, embarrassed and harassed -- feared saying anything as it might threaten their career, worried they would forever be stamped with this identity. But thankfully, the truth has come to light. And Rose is paying -- in awards, in business opportunities, in life. No one should be able to get away with that sort of behavior. No one." • TheHill's Jonathan Easley says : "A wave of sexual harassment allegations is ripping through the White House press corps and broadcast networks, forcing a reckoning on sexism and power dynamics inside newsrooms at a time when the media’s credibility is already under attack. The list of men in political media accused of sexual misconduct is long and growing by the day. Glenn Thrush of the New York Times, Charlie Rose of CBS, author Mark Halperin, NBC’s Matthew Zimmerman, NPR’s Michael Oreskes, Vox’s Lockhart Steele, the New Republic’s Hamilton Fish and the Atlantic’s Leon Wieseltier have all been suspended or fired in the last month over varying degrees of alleged harassment or assault. New allegations are coming out at a furious pace, in part because of the newfound willingness of news organizations to pursue and publish allegations from women who now feel emboldened to tell their stories, many of them on the record....Lists are circulating in journalism circles of men suspected of misconduct. The flood of allegations about top editors, reporters and executives is expected to continue." Jeffrey McCall of DePauw University's media studies group, told Easley : "Further complicating the media's image in all of this is the sanctimonious manner in which the media has covered sexual harassment in other corners of society. It is difficult for the news media to parade around as haughty overseers of right and wrong in broader contexts of society when they clearly have in-house confusion about first principles of decency.” • • • WHO ARE THESE CULPRITS? Thrush, 50, was suspended by the NYT after a first-person account ran on Vox about his boorish behavior toward young women journalists who sought his professional counsel. Thrush gained prominence for his aggressive reporting on the Trump administration that earned him a contributing spot on MSNBC and a portrayal on “Saturday Night Live.” Rose, the anchor of CBS’s hit morning news program “CBS This Morning” and longtime host of an eponymous interview show broadcast on PBS, was fired by both CBS and PBS after the Washington Post detailed the accounts of eight women who have accused him of misconduct ranging from groping and improper touching to undressing in front of them. Thrush and Rose were leaders in political print media and broadcast news, putting the revelations about their alleged chronic sexual harassment into stark contrast with their previous attacks on Donald Trump for all sorts of inappropriate behavior thatthey never bothered ot prove. • CBS says its reputation is on the line : “CBS News has reported on extraordinary revelations at other media companies this last year. Our credibility in that reporting requires managing basic standards of behavior. That is why we have taken these actions.” • As in Hollywood, many female reporters said they’d become accustomed to poor treatment. But, with allegations being reported and discussed, they feel that their careers wouldn’t be damaged by speaking out about their experiences. Steven Livingston, media studies professor at George Washington University, describes journalism as a competitive, male-dominated industry where the right contacts can make or break a career -- a fact that could have helped drive and cover up the misconduct : “These institutions where upward mobility is a challenge and you have a lot of males in legacy positions of power, it sure looks like they’ve been using those factors to extract payment for passing through the gates. It’s shocking. The idea that it’s this widespread is mindboggling but totally affirming of what women have been saying for a long time. It’s only now they feel they have the social space or opportunity to speak out about it.” • • • WHY IS EVERYBODY HESITANT TO REPORT ABOUT POLITICIANS WHO ARE SEXUAL PREDATORS? My guess is that the political media was silent about politicians who preyed on vulnerable women because opening the flood gates on politicians would have led inevitably to two ProgDem icons -- Presidents Bill Clinton and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. But, that will now change, too. • • • PRESIDENT KENNEDY. Last week, IrishCentral published an article about the letter JFK wrote to his lover a month before he died. The letter that John F. Kennedy allegedly wrote to Mary Pinchot Meyer, believed to be his lover, went up for auction, in June 2016. She was later found murdered and a secret diary she had of the alleged affair disappeared. The letter -- which was never sent -- was meant for Meyer, a family friend thought to be romantically linked to the former President. Meyer met Kennedy through Robert Kennedy when he sold his house to close friends of hers, says IrishCentral. Famed Washington Post Editor Benjamin Bradlee, her brother-in-law, subsequently wrote that she was indeed involved romantically with Kennedy and often met with him when Jackie was out of town. Meyer was murdered in 1964 taking her daily walk by a Georgetown area canal. A suspect, Ray Crump, an African American who was arrested at the scene, was acquitted. According to IrishCentral : "The existence of Meyer's diary became known to Bradlee, who was married to Mary Pinchot Meyer's sister, Toni. He went to Meyer's home to break in and grab the diary after she died and found CIA Director of counter-intelligence James Angleton, who also knew Meyer, already there sawing off the lock. Meyer's husband had also been a CIA operative. Bradlee took possession of the diary, which has never been made public. It is alleged the diary was eventually given to the CIA who burned it." Kennedy close friend and journalist Charles Bartlett stated : "This was a dangerous relationship, Jack was in love with Mary Meyer. He was heavily smitten. He was very frank with me about it." The unsent letter from Kennedy, says IrishCentral, has real historical import. The top of the White House stationary is cut off, but a faded watermark is visible, according to the New York Times. Although the letter is undated, it is believed to be from October 1963, a month before Kennedy was assassinated. The letter reads : "Why don’t you leave suburbia for once -- come and see me -- either here -- or at the Cape next week or in Boston the 19th. I know it is unwise, irrational, and that you may hate it -- on the other hand, you may not -- and I will love it. You say that it is good for me not to get what I want. After all of these years -- you should give me a more loving answer than that. Why don’t you just say yes." • This letter presents a rather warm picture of JFK. But, his sexual encounters weren't always so full of love and kindness. In 1997, renowned investigative reporter Seymour Hersh published a book titled "The Dark Side of Camelot." The Slate Group's chairman and editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg wrote a review of the book that said : "The book is better than the critics say it is...It's hard to remember a book that has benefited from as much bad publicity as Seymour Hersh's The Dark Side of Camelot....The Vanity Fair story, by rival investigative reporter Robert Sam Anson, flayed Hersh as a greedy journalistic thug who blackmails sources." • Pretty hard stuff. But, Weisberg pointed out that "the press has greeted Hersh's examination of JFK's sexual excess, his various connections to the mob, and other sometimes hyperbolic charges with exaggerated derision. Time tries to have it both ways with a cover this week that says : 'DEBUNKING JFK: Seymour Hersh takes on Camelot, but how believable is his new book?' The inside story, like the one in Newsweek, attacks Hersh for repeating old hat charges, and for producing a farrago of implausible fantasies. On the Today show, Hersh endured a two-day grilling that seemed like payback for the time and money NBC had wasted on a documentary it abandoned because of suspicions about the forged papers. 'Do you think you were blinded by the desire to tell a sordid tale?' was the kind of question Matt Lauer asked him. The most bitter critics are those whom one must hesitate, in light of current knowledge, to call the Kennedy Mafia. Former aides and acolytes like Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Theodore Sorensen have lumped Hersh with Oliver Stone, taking the line that the book is paranoid speculation. Sorensen, whom Hersh portrays as a Kennedy toady, has been especially nasty in denouncing it as 'a pathetic collection of wild stories.' " • But, Weisberg read The Dark Side of Camelot. [So have I.] And, as Weisberg noted : "It comes as something of a surprise, then, to read The Dark Side of Camelot and find that it is not a trashy conspiracy screed at all. Investigative reporters are often difficult people, and Hersh, who is one of the best, sounds less pleasant than most. His book, however, is not merely a great read. Much of what's in it is also 1) new; 2) shocking; 3) well supported; and 4) worth knowing." • Here are some of Weisberg's explanations about Hersch's book : "The Kennedy flame keepers would have you believe that Hersh passes off malicious gossip as historical fact....but he still manages to present his case in roughly the way a fair-minded historian or journalist should. He includes enough contrary evidence that readers can disagree with his conclusions without doing their own research elsewhere. Take one of his bombshells, the story of Kennedy's secret first marriage. Hersh thinks Kennedy married a divorcee named Durie Malcolm in Palm Beach in 1947 and that the marriage lasted about 15 minutes. His chief witness is Charles Spalding, a close friend of JFK's, who says he was asked to remove the wedding documents from a Palm Beach courthouse. Hersh acknowledges that Spalding, 79, suffers from short-term memory impairment, and that he couldn't find family members or friends to confirm the story, which Malcolm indirectly denies. While he buys it himself, Hersh doesn't portray his evidence as better than it really is. The same goes for his fascinating scoop about a break-in at Judith Exner's Los Angeles apartment in August 1962. Exner, who was at various times the lover of Frank Sinatra, JFK, and the Chicago-based mobster Sam Giancana, was under heavy surveillance by the FBI because of her mob ties. According to FBI files obtained by Hersh, agents monitoring her home saw two men break in via the fire escape. Tracing the license plates, they determined that the burglars were the two sons of I.B. Hale, a former FBI special agent who was head of security for General Dynamics Corp. Hersh links this to the company's pursuit -- and otherwise inexplicable award, a few months later -- of a contract to build a $6.5-billion jet fighter. He thinks General Dynamics blackmailed the President into giving it the contract. Once again, though, he readily admits that his evidence falls short of proof. "During the five years of research for this book, I tried unsuccessfully to find out how General Dynamics learned of Judith Exner's ties to Jack Kennedy," he writes. "I was unable to make contact with Billy or Bobby Hale despite repeated efforts." • Seymour's book also provides evidence of JFK's skinny-dipping parties, prostitutes at the White House and on the road, his range of venereal diseases, his affair with a suspected East German spy, or his narrow escape from being drawn into the Profumo scandal. • Weisberg wrote that : "The press treats these eye-popping revelations as if curiosity about them, rather than the deeds themselves, were something to be ashamed of. Even if true, the critics suggest, such information is not historically 'relevant.' But it is obviously relevant to any real understanding of JFK. Hersh does not argue this point very well. In The Kennedy Imprisonment, Garry Wills did a much better job of connecting the family attitudes toward sexual conquest, the pursuit of power, and the conduct of foreign policy. But Hersh supplies the raw material that substantiates that case as never before." • Weisberg recounts Hersch's outline of how "the press protected Kennedy. Trusted reporters were at his beck and call, ready to advise on policy and bury indiscretions. In a 1960 letter Hersh found in the Kennedy Library, Ben Bradlee -- then of Newsweek and later the editor of the Washington Post -- advises Kennedy not to pick the unmannered rube LBJ as his running mate. Bradlee also helped out in 1962 when Kennedy needed to put rumors about his secret [first] marriage to rest. In cases where a reporter wouldn't play ball, Bobby Kennedy could easily pick up the phone and get editors to kill a story." • Sadly, Weisberg's concluding paragraph about the press is not true today : "Of course, the press no longer plays this role on behalf of the Kennedys or any other politicians. But something of the old dynamic may persist in the hostile reaction to Sy Hersh's book." • Will the "sainthood" of President Kennedy continue, even after the cascading allegations and admissions of sexual harassment by ProgDems? Are we at long last going to get a more objective view of JFK? It's rather obvious that President Kennedy had a problem with women. When will the media address it and give America and the world a full picture ofthe man? • • • PRESIDENT CLINTON. Unlike the case with JFK, there aren't many secrets about Bill Clinton's sexual predation. But, Zero Hedge's Tyler Durden wrote a long article last Friday about Bill Clinton and the Jeffrey Epstein "Lolita Express." This is a series of episodes not often mentioned by the mainstream media. Durden wrote : "In a furious twitter exchange with a Clinton aide on Friday, former secret service agent Dan Bongino threatened to reveal new details about Bill Clinton’s 26 documented trips aboard notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet, nicknamed the 'Lolita Express.' Bongino and former Hillary Clinton aide Nick Merrill started feuding after Merrill challenged Bongino’s claim that Clinton was the most 'manipulative political person in a position of power [he had] ever met in my entire life'....Merrill fired back that Hillary 'has enormous respect for the Secret Service & a great relationship with the agents on her detail.' He also alleged that Bongino was never on the Clintons’ detail -- a claim that Bongino almost immediately disproved by supplying a photo of him sitting behind Hillary Clinton back in 2001. After accusing Merrill of being a 'fraud,' Bongino dropped a ominous-sounding threat : 'Be careful Nick, people know things not yet released publicly about your messiah Hillary. Don’t poke the bear loser, you may not like the results. #Epstein #EmailGate,' tweeted Bongino." • Durden's story is all about Jeffrey Epstein is a New York City financier who pled guilty in 2008 to a single count of soliciting sex from an underage girl. He eventually spent 13 months in prison and was forced to register as a level three sex offender (considered the highest risk of re-offending)...stories of his lust for girls as young of 12 have spread like wildfire in recent years. Epstein allegedly installed beds in his custom jet, and also purportedly filmed powerful men during romps with underage girls to obtain materials for blackmail, asserts Durden. According to Fox News, Epstein allegedly had a team of traffickers who procured girls as young as 12 to service his friends on Epstein’s “Orgy Island,” an estate on Little St. James in the US Virgin Islands. • Bill Clinton chose to continue his association with Epstein even after the lurid trial, according to the Alliance to Rescue Victims of Trafficking : “Everyone within his inner circles knew was a pedophile." Speculation that Clinton was involved with Epstein was noted in "Bill Clinton Was Here" : The Elite One-Percent’s 'Orgy Island' Exposed." The private passenger jet's logs show that Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a 'potential co-conspirator' in his crimes." • Durden says : "Virginia Roberts, claimed in a federal court filing that Epstein recruited her as a 'sex slave' at the age of 15 and 'sexually trafficked [her] to politically-connected and financially-powerful people,' including Prince Andrew, who adamently denied the charges. • Durden's Zero Hedge article also recounts allegations in stories about : "Two female associates of Epstein -- the socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein's former assistant Sarah Kellen -- have been repeatedly accused in court filings of acting as pimps for him, recruiting and grooming young girls into their network of child sex workers, and frequently participating in sex acts with them. Kellen in particular was believed by detectives in the Palm Beach Police Department, which was the first to start unraveling the operation, to be so deeply involved in the enterprise that they prepared a warrant for her arrest as an accessory to molestation and sex with minors. In the end, she was never arrested or charged, and federal prosecutors granted her immunity in a 2007 non-prosecution agreement that described her as a 'potential co-conspirator' in sex trafficking. Maxwell, the daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, has been accused by Roberts of photographing Epstein's victims 'in sexually explicit poses and [keeping] the child pornography on her computer,' and 'engag[ing] in lesbian sex with the underage females she procured for Epstein.' She has denied the allegations in the past." • Durden states that : "In January 2002, for instance, Clinton, his aide Doug Band, and Clinton's Secret Service detail are listed on a flight from Japan to Hong Kong with Epstein, Maxwell, Kellen, and two women described only as 'Janice' and 'Jessica.' One month later, records show, Clinton hopped a ride from Miami to Westchester on a flight that also included Epstein, Maxwell, Kellen, and a woman described only as 'one female.' " • On Saturday, American Thinker published a piece titled "Bill Clinton and the 'Lolita Express' " by Daniel John Sobieski, who writes : "The belated attempt by the left to cover their hypocrisy on sexual predators by throwing Bill and Hillary Clinton under the bus now that they have no further political use for them is staggering. They forget their mantra that his being serviced by Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office was personal and didn’t matter as long as he was doing a good job as President. It was the GOP, you know, that was waging a war on women. Republicans were the predators, as serial accuser and so-called feminist lawyer Gloria Allred reminded us when she appeared with a box of tissue and victims to accuse GOP candidates Herman Cain, Donald Trump and, now, Judge Roy Moore." • Allred isn't thus far representing victims of Senator Al Franken or Representative John Conyers. Sobieski says : "The 'right on the issues' defense does not apply to Republicans like Judge Roy Moore, nor does presumption of innocence. Democratic hypocrites rushed to condemn Moore faster than you can say 'Anthony Weiner' [because they] are right on the issues, which may be why the chorus for their unseating is, to say the least, somewhat muted. Judge Moore has been accused of dallying with underage girls, which is a charge his accusers are mysteriously not bringing up against Bill Clinton, a frequent passenger on the jet of accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein." Fox News wrote in 2016 that the Lolita Express, a Boeing 727 jet, was “reportedly outfitted with a bed where passengers had group sex with young girls.” • Sobieski says that Bill Clinton had a habit of ditching his Secret Service protection when flying with child predator Epstein on his “Lolita Express” -- Fox News reports that records show Clinton declined Secret Service protection on at least five flights : "Official flight logs filed with the Federal Aviation Administration show Clinton traveled on some of the trips with as many as 10 US Secret Service agents. However, on a five-leg Asia trip between May 22 and May 25, 2002, not a single Secret Service agent is listed. The US Secret Service has declined to answer multiple Freedom of Information Act requests filed by seeking information on these trips. Clinton would have been required to file a form to dismiss the agent detail, a former Secret Service agent told In response to a separate FOIA request from, the US Secret Service said it has no records showing agents were ever on the island with Clinton." • Sobieski states : "It is not known why Clinton flew so many times with a child sex predator....There is more to chew on here than Roy Moore’s stalking at a restaurant he says he never ate at or a mall the manager says he was never banned from. Yet even as liberals engage in Clinton coverage mea culpas, this is strangely not brought up. It deserves to be brought up." • • • THE GOP SWAMP CREATURES TAKE AIM AT TRUMP. TheHill reported on Sunday that President Trump "drew criticism from fellow Republican lawmakers for his apparent support of Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, who has refused to drop out of the special election race despite mounting [?] accusations of sexual misconduct." Senator Lindsey Graham, a prominent critic of Moore, described to CNN what he sees as a losing situation for the GOP in the Alabama race, where Moore faces off against Democrat Doug Jones on December 12 : “If you think winning with Roy Moore is going to be easy for the Republican Party, you’re mistaken.” Graham said the decision to back Moore is ultimately up to Trump, and said the President appears to be tossing “a lifeline” to Moore. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio in his own Sunday interview continued to say that Moore should exit the race, saying he would back a Republican other than Moore if he were an Alabama voter. • • • DEAR READERS, perhaps Senator Graham could explain why he is not calling ofor the resignation of Senator Al Franken or Representative John Conyers -- or perhaps even the resignation of House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has declined to call for the resignation of Conyers over sexual assault settlement payments, calling Conyers "an icon in our country...He has done a great deal to protect women..." Pelosi says Conyers deserves due process. Of course he does. So does Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore. Nancy Pelosi told NBC's Meet the Press : “We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused – and was it one accusation? Was it two?” • TheHill also reported on Monday about the latest attacks on President Trump by Senator John McCain, who said in an Esquire interview : “He’s an individual that unfortunately is not anchored by a set of principles....I don’t think there was any doubt about his views toward me. But I’m a loyal Republican.” • Really??? Senator McCain voted against the GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. His dramatic vote killed the bill, leaving Obamacare the law of the land. That's a pretty good indication of his devotion to the Republican Party and its efforts to help ordinary Americans suffering under Obamacare. • If John McCain is the poster child for #NeverTrump Swamp Creature Republicans, Al Franken is the poster child for the Progressive Democrat belief in its own entitlement. Franken, the product of both Show Biz and Progressive Democrat politics, said at a Monday news conference he is not resigning. I did not see either Senator McCain or Senator Graham immediately grab a microphone ot demand his resignation. • "2017 was a bad year for the resistance," said Eddie Zipperer, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College, in an email to LifeZette. "The NFL tried to embarrass Trump; now their ratings are tanking. Hollywood tried to embarrass Trump; now they're worrying who the next disgraced actor will be. The Democrats tried to play morally superior -- now Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is on TV explaining why sexual harassment rules don’t apply to icons like John Conyers." Democrats were absolutely certain that 2017 would vindicate them in the minds of American voters. President Trump would be bogged down in Russian-related election scandals, and his general temperament and tasteless tweets would sink him. • Didn't happen. The more the ProgDem and #NeverTrump elites pushed President Trump, the more he fought back. With 2017 coming to its end, Trump's enemies in the MSM and the Democrat Party are confused and exhausted from scandals -- their own. • And, it isn't just about sex scandals. It is about the mother milk of politics -- Money. The DNC raised $3.9 million in October, compared to $9.2 million raised by the Republican National Committee. The RNC ended October with $42.5 million in the bank and no debt. The DNC, meanwhile, has $5 million in cash, and $3.2 million in debt. That bodes trouble for the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats whistle in the dark that they will win the GOP-led House and Senate in congressional races. • "It's a year poorly spent," says Zipperer. "Democrats and the leftist media have spent all year trying to manufacture Trump scandals," Zipperer said, with "the crown jewel in their effort, of course, being Trump-Russia collusion. But here we are months later, and still nobody has found evidence of the non-crime crime of 'collusion.' Not the media. Not the investigating committees." No Evidence, dear readers, No Evidence. • And, once again, President Trump and America had a good laugh at the ProgDem media, when he tweeted on Monday : "We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!"