Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Concerns About McMaster

My initial impression of General McMaster as a Trump adviser was very favourable.  His military record seemed highly competent. There have however been a lot of recent rumblings about him from conservative commentators.  America's re-involvement in Afghanistan, against Trump's election promises, has been attributed to him.

Most troubling of all, however, is that he seems to be antagonistic to Israel. The Zionist Organizatuion of America has taken particular note of that and publicized their concerns.  One hoped that ZOA was wrong but the response to ZOA has not been impressive.  ZOA re-iterates their concerns below.  I am afraid that I am now hoping that Trump will lose patience with McMaster as he has with so many other people he has looked to for advice.  If Bannon can go, so can McMaster

The Zionist Organization of America’s August 2017 report detailed US National Security Chief General H.R. McMaster’s troubling record regarding Iran, Israel and radical Islamist terrorism. McMaster’s statements and actions appear to be diametrically opposed to President Donald Trump’s support for Israel, opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and determination to name and combat radical Islamist terrorism.

Critics of ZOA’s report have failed to show that ZOA’s report was wrong in any substantive respect. The criticisms have amounted to name-calling against ZOA, and McMaster’s friends vouching for his character — which is irrelevant to the vital policy issues addressed in ZOA’s report.

McMaster reportedly wrongly refers to the existence of a Palestinian state before 1947 — when no Palestinian state ever existed, and maligns Israel as an “illegitimate,” “occupying power.” In fact, Israel’s re-establishment in 1948 and her self-defensive capture of Judea/Samaria (West Bank) in 1967 were both legal under binding international law, and deprived no country of its sovereign territory.

McMaster wrongly claimed that President Trump would recognize “Palestinian self determination” during his visit to Israel; reportedly opposed President Trump’s visit to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, refused to state that the Western Wall is in Israel, and insisted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not accompany President Trump to the Western Wall.

And alarmingly, when Israel installed metal detectors at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount after Palestinian terrorists smuggled in firearms and murdered two Israeli policemen, McMaster, according to a senior defense official, described this as “just another excuse by the Israelis to repress the Arabs.”

In his short tenure at the National Security Council (NSC), General McMaster has fired or removed from the NSC six staunchly pro-Israel/anti-Iran officials: Steve Bannon; K.T. McFarland; Adam Lovinger; Rich Higgins, Derek Harvey and Ezra Cohen-Watnick.

McMaster quickly removed Bannon, architect of much of President Trump’s pro-Israel, anti-Islamist terrorism agenda, from the Principals Committee of the NSC. McMaster also promptly removed K.T. McFarland, a key member of the team of Iran deal opponents originally assembled by President Trump, and a veteran pro-Israel national security professional in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations.  She was shunted off to be ambassador to Singapore. Lovinger, a pro-Israel national security strategist from the Pentagon, was returned to the Pentagon with his security clearance revoked.

McMaster also sacked Iran “hawk” Rich Higgins, the NSC’s director of strategic planning, after Higgins wrote a memo about personnel opposed to President Trump’s foreign policy agenda.  McMaster removed Derek Harvey, senior director for the Middle East, who has been described by former Army Vice Chief of Staff General Jack Keane as “hands down the very best intelligence analyst that the United States government has on Iraq,” after Harvey prepared a list of NSC Obama-era holdovers. McMaster should have removed the personnel on Harvey’s list — but instead fired Harvey. And McMaster also fired Cohen-Watnick, a staunch opponent of the Iran deal, who sought to intensify efforts to counter Iran in in the Middle East and rein in officials opposed to the president’s policies.

McMaster’s replacements and appointees are on the wrong side of the issues of concern. McMaster appointed Colonel Kris Bauman, who has blamed Israel for Palestinian terror and urged Israel to negotiate with Hamas, to work on the Israel-Palestinian desk. Bauman is working to revive General Jim Allen’s defective and dangerous Obama-era plan for Palestinian statehood. McMaster also replaced K.T. McFarland with Dina Habib-Powell — a defender of Huma Abedin and friend of pro-Iran-deal Obama era figures such as Valerie Jarett.

As PJ Media New York editor David Steinberg wrote: “One is hard-pressed to identify a member of the NSC brought in by McMaster with a history of aligning with President Trump on Iran or with his Mideast policy in general.”

A White House official estimated that well over fifty percent of the NSC staff are Obama holdovers.

McMaster has also promoted certifying that Iran is in compliance with the Iran deal — even though Iran: banned International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from its Parchin nuclear facility; refused to allow IAEA investigators to interview Iran’s nuclear scientists; and has repeatedly tested intercontinental ballistic missiles in violation of UN Security Council resolutions; and despite German intelligence reports that Iran is cheating on the deal.

And when pressed about Iran’s violations, McMaster inaccurately and misleadingly stated that Iran is merely violating the Iran deal’s “spirit.” This flies the face of President Trump’s promise to tear up or rigorously enforce the Iran deal and punish violations.

Mirroring the Obama administration’s practices, McMaster opposes using the term “radical Islamic terrorism” or other indicia of terrorists’ jihadist ideology.

It’s notable that those who have castigated ZOA’s detailed critique of McMaster have failed to refute a single ZOA concern. They merely condemned ZOA as wrong and scurrilous. The most that any of ZOA’s critics could offer was the “opinion” of anonymous Israeli officials that McMaster is a “friend” and that there is “no need to agree with every position McMaster has taken.”

Another issue that’s been ignored is why has a bevy of anti-Trump, anti-Israel activists and groups — including CNN’s Van Jones, Media Matters, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — leapt to Trump appointee McMaster’s defense. Yet they never leapt to defend the pro-Israel David Friedman’s appointment as ambassador to Israel when he was criticized. Meanwhile, many strong supporters of Israel have supported ZOA’s critique of McMaster’s actions.

All of ZOA’s critics have two things in common. They use ugly, nonsensical, vacuous name-calling ​to​ defend McMaster and they ​fail to ​refute a single issue of concern ZOA raised. The critics’​ inability to address ZOA’s​ numerous concerns only strengthens ZOA’s​ case about McMaster’s hostility to Israel and ​failure to take strong action against Iran and radical Islami​st​ terrorism.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

There is another dubious McMaster action reported here


The politicization of Big Business


The collapse of President Trump’s business advisory councils had little to do with Trump’s policies, or even his presentation. After all the business leaders had joined the councils after he became President, so knew what they were getting into. Traditionally, businesses have been careful to maintain a political neutrality, so their opposition to President Trump appears surprising. Yet in reality, 22 years of funny money have corrupted businesses as they have economic life in general, and in an age of crony capitalism, the media friendly activist left is where you can expect to find CEOs.

I once commiserated with the aide to a Chilean-Croatian tycoon, whom I believed, given his free-market economic views, to have been subjected to defeats in two elections in a week, in both his native and adopted countries. She responded to me coldly: “No, you don’t understand. Mr. Big is a Governmentalist. He supports whichever government is in power in any country at any time, and contributes to their campaigns. He finds it easier to do business that way.” Governmentalism, it seemed, had become a way of life for U.S. business also.

Not any longer. The mass resignations from President Trump’s business advisory councils demonstrate that virtue signaling to the left is now more important to U.S. business than coziness with the administration in office. Donations by big business to such entities as Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center show the same thing; those are not politically neutral charities, they are organs of the hard left, deeply offensive to a large percentage of their fellow citizens. The censorship of “alt-right” entities by Google and other Internet titans also shows that political neutrality is thought no longer to be good business. Even minor gestures, like Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tweeting that Trump was “casting a shadow over the country” during an eclipse shows a willful disregard for the views of half the country’s consumers that is surprising in a major corporation that wants to do business with everybody, if they are rich enough.

It is not clear why this is happening. The example of the [pre-war] Liberty League should demonstrate that Big Business’s hope of swinging the next election against a candidate they apparently dislike is almost certainly futile, and in the interim alienating the President and his supporters surely cannot help their hopes for goodies from the Federal government.

You might also suppose that swinging politically against the more free-market, small government party was not the interests of Big Business, until you looked at the actual incentives in place. After 20 years of ultra-sloppy monetary policy and negative real interest rates, businesses are leveraged to the hilt, but at the same time enjoy record earnings as a percentage of GDP, especially when the reduced share count from buybacks is taken into account. Consequently executives, who these days are rewarded mostly by stock options, enjoyed fat pickings in the Obama years, even when few others did.

Certainly, the traditional Republican remedies of sound money, lower government spending and lower tax rates partly financed by eliminating loopholes do not look attractive to today’s top executives. Add to these disincentives the possibility of Trump undertaking protectionist policies that reduce the profitability of the global sourcing networks to which they have committed themselves, and the further possibility of Trump reducing the flow of cheap labor on which many of them have depended in their businesses and almost all of them have depended for their maids and gardeners. Thus, the overall Trump package, however good it might be for the economy and for ordinary working people, is very unattractive for Fortune 500 CEOs. A world of lower stock prices, higher interest rates, higher U.S. wages and fewer tax loopholes is to them a dystopia not a utopia.

The leftward turn of the country’s CEOs is thus not surprising. Obama-era policies were good to them, and a continuation of those policies would continue to widen the wealth disparities in U.S. society in their favor. They have in any case never known a true free market economy, since the United States during their adult lifetime has been a big-government Keynesian-meddling compromise, continually eating the economic seed corn and piling up massive obligations for future generations. When Big Business CEOs are both economically somewhat ignorant and beset by economically counterproductive incentives, it is not surprising that they act in their own short-term interests rather than in the long-term interests of the country and the world.

The CEO virtue signaling of Big Business giving money to leftist scams and cutting off Internet service for those with whom they disagree is however truly nauseating – and in the long term yet another danger to the freedom and prosperity of the rest of us.



Harvey: History Repeats? The Leftmedia hope to replay their successful undermining efforts with Bush and Katrina

George W. Bush Donald Trump completely botched the federal response to Hurricane Katrina Harvey, undermining confidence in the executive and permanently tarnishing his presidency. That’s the Leftmedia narrative already, and the hope for these leftist propagandists is clearly to hang Harvey around Trump’s neck the way they successfully did with Katrina and Bush in 2005. The fake news media falsely blamed Bush for failing in the response then, and subsequently continually referenced back to it the rest of his presidency so as to undermine him. Democrats swept the next two elections, taking control of Congress and the White House. If history can just repeat itself, Democrats hope…



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1 comment:

ScienceABC123 said...

The fact is that the mayor of Houston is a Democrat and he refused to order an evacuation or otherwise prepare. So now the blame MUST be shifted away from the mayor. History does indeed repeat often when it comes to Democrats.