Thursday, 28 July 2016

Israel - US Aid Deal

Can Israel close US aid deal before US elections?


If there are no tumultuous last-minute developments, the US aid agreement with Israel for the next decade (2018-2028) will be finalized next week, or soon after in August. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been spending the last year toying with the idea of postponing the signing until the next president takes office, he has finally been forced to give up on this. Now he has no choice but to sign the agreement with his mortal enemy, US President Barack Obama.

Just to reach this final agreement, Netanyahu had to climb down from several trees he had climbed up earlier and accept the Americans’ latest decree within the framework of the new agreement: Israel will no longer be able to exchange 26% of the aid money for shekels and then spend the money on acquisitions from Israeli defense industries. The Americans are aiming to reach a situation in which all aid money to Israel (about $3.7 billion per year) is spent in the United States. This would be a big boost to American industry and contribute to the administration’s war on unemployment. Netanyahu was forced to grit his teeth and agree.
The person who spearheaded these compromise efforts was Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. For at least some of the time, Kahlon spoke directly with the Americans about it. There was a strategic obstacle along the way, when former Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon was removed from his position and resigned from the government. Ya’alon was one of the most significant factors behind efforts to sign the agreement as quickly as possible. Just a few days later, however, it became clear that Ya’alon’s successor, Avigdor Liberman, shared the same position. He believed that Israel should do everything it could to close the deal and sign an agreement with the current US administration, reasoning that there is no telling what the situation will be like in the next administration. While Israel’s defense establishment needs money, it needs certainty and stability even more. These will only be obtained if the agreement is signed over the next few weeks.
Kahlon was able to obtain one significant compromise from the Americans. For the first five years of the agreement, Israel will still be allowed to exchange 26% of the aid moneys for shekels. This benefit will be cancelled gradually, starting in the sixth year, and only be completed at the end of the decade (2028). Kahlon told the Americans that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recently completed a multiyear development plan with the Ministry of Finance and that this plan relied on American aid money as originally distributed. He asked the Americans to consider this constraint and to agree to the gradual implementation of the new policy until the IDF’s new multiyear program is completed in the next five years.
The Americans consider Moshe Kahlon to be the “responsible adult” in the Netanyahu government, so they agreed. Kahlon is, in fact, considered the most pragmatic force in the current coalition. He has no qualms about transferring tax money that Israel owes to the Palestinian Authority (PA), even in the most troublesome times. He withstands all pressure from the rightand even the prime minister’s demands that these transfers be frozen. Kahlon fully understands what the defense establishment has long been trying to explain to the political class. Drying up the cash-strapped PA could propel its security forces to engage in terrorism. There is no reason to let that happen.
The coalition between Kahlon and Liberman, coupled with the pressure for over a year now by the security apparatus on the political echelon to close the deal with the Americans, has ultimately brought about Netanyahu's surrender.
On the evening of July 25, the prime minister posted a rather lengthy video in which he delivered a bizarre apology speech to Israel’s Arab population. Netanyahu had already offered a hasty apology to Israel’s Arab population following his racist comment last election day (2015), when he warned his electorate that Israeli Arabs ''are voting in droves.'' At the time, Jerusalem received an ultimatum from the United States, demanding that Netanyahu make a far-reaching apology. In response, the prime minister quickly assembled a makeshift group of Arab officials and stammered out a brief admission that he was wrong. Now, without any prior warning, he suddenly posted a rather lengthy speech (almost three and a half minutes) praising Israel’s Arab population and calling on them to get an education “in droves,” to work “in droves” and to prosper “in droves” in the State of Israel.
The prime minister’s office also posted an English-language version of the video clip. Both the Hebrew and English versions are accompanied by an opening sentence in Arabic. Political sources believe that this was part of Netanyahu’s effort to clinch a package deal centered on the new aid agreement with the US administration.
Netanyahu has recently switched policies, too, and allowed Kahlon to grant permits to thousands of construction workers from the PA so that they can work on projects in Israel. Furthermore, Defense Minister Liberman announced July 25 that the defense establishment was preparing a new bundle of measures to alleviate restrictions on Palestinians who are not involved in terrorism.
“We are talking about a comprehensive deal,” one senior political source in Jerusalem told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity. “Netanyahu is trying to clear the table and move toward the demands made by Obama’s people in the hope that the aid agreement will be finalized. For the same price, Netanyahu is trying to assuage any desire for retribution that Obama might still nurture. He is also trying to increase his own chances of getting through the Obama era in peace, without any new diplomatic initiative, a formative presidential address or some problematic Security Council resolution.
Right now, the chances of Netanyahu succeeding are reasonable. Within President Obama’s circles, there is, as of yet, no decision as to what the final chord of his administration’s Middle East policy will be. Some are pressuring Obama to reveal the draft of the framework agreement (as reported in previous articles in Al-Monitor) that he reached with Netanyahu and his staff, or to allow the French to bring their own initiative to the Security Council and then not veto it. Obama will only decide what to do at the very last minute.
The question now being asked in Israel is which of the two temperaments will ultimately triumph. Will it be Obama’s desire to get back at Netanyahu, who taunted him for the last eight years and dragged him into ugly and unnecessary mud-slinging matches? Or will it be Obama’s cool, collected temperament, which will keep him from reshuffling the deck and shaking everything up just moments before he exits the arena?
People close to Netanyahu say that Obama has no plans to disappear. Even after he leaves office, he will remain an active and influential figure in America. It could, therefore, be worth it for him to maintain a reasonable relationship with the Israeli government.

Written BY:
063 News - Online Press Agency 
Political Analyst & Journalist
Covering U.S. Presidential Elections .....

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ted Cruz fakes out at RNC

Ted Cruz’s Antics at the RNC Are 

ABSOLUTELY Disgusting!

Remember during the first debate when all the Republicans in the primary were asked if they would pledge their support to the eventual Republican nominee? The only person who said they wouldn’t was Donald Trump – earning him a round of boos and criticism from the other candidates.
And look what actually happened. Donald Trump is the nominee – and Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz haven’t endorsed him. In fact, only one of those candidates listed bothered to even attend the Republican National Convention: Ted Cruz. He spoke… and still refused to endorse Trump.
Ted Cruz walked onto the stage here Wednesday night to a standing ovation, but left to deafening boos. It was the strangest, most surreal sequence of a Republican convention that has been defined by disorderly proceedings and dreamlike speeches from an odd collection of established politicians, conservative activists, and quasi-celebrities.
“I congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night,” he said mere moments into his remarks, earning booming applause from an audience that seemed to anticipate a forthcoming endorsement of the presumptive nominee. Instead, it was the only time Cruz mentioned Trump’s name in what was easily the day’s most anticipated speech.
“We deserve leaders who stand for principle, unite us all behind shared values, cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect from everybody,” Cruz said. As the arena began to buzz, Cruz delivered two fateful lines. First: “And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November.” The audience erupted with applause, clearly expecting an endorsement of Trump. Instead, Cruz then added: “Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
Sections of the crowd began to boo loudly: “Vote your conscience” was the rallying cry of the anti-Trump mutiny that tried and failed to re-write the GOP’s rules and oust him as the party’s nominee. Cruz’s words, intentionally or not, seemed to salute those rebels — and Trump’s supporters inside the convention hall weren’t having it.
News Edited By:


063 News (Global Online Press Agency)

Online Chief Editor & Political Analyst

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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Bill Clinton Convention Speech

Five things Bill Clinton needs to do with his convention speech

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The pressure is on Bill Clinton to deliver one of the most important testimonials for his wife, Hillary Clinton, on Tuesday night when he headlines the Democratic National Convention.
The former president at midday Tuesday was still working on his speech, which he was crafting mostly by himself with the help of speechwriter Steven Rinehart, according to an aide familiar with the process.
It’s a reversal from his 2012 convention speech, when he enlisted the help of several longtime friends and former aides. This time, it's personal.
And he plans to make the personal central to his speech to convention delegates, many of whom remain more loyal to Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.) than to his wife, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
“He thinks that it's important for other people to know the secretary as well as he does,” the aide said. “So tonight's speech will very much be a personal one for him.”
Here are five things the former president needs to do in his speech: 
Be the “explainer-in-chief”
Clinton delivered what many believed were the strongest arguments for why President Obama should be reelected in 2012, bringing down the house in Charlotte, N.C. Some Democrats, with perhaps a touch of hyperbole, said the speech single-handedly helped catapult Obama to a second term. Obama himself dubbed the former president the “secretary of explaining stuff.”
It was a particularly important moment for Clinton given the animosity between him and Obama during the 2008 primary.
This time, Clinton will seek to explain why Hillary Clinton should be president — and not GOP nominee Donald Trump.
In doing so, Democrats believe the former president can help his wife with independent voters and men, two groups that have gravitated toward Trump.
“He's great at showing how Democrats are better than Republicans in meeting our challenges in a way that doesn't come across as partisan,” said one longtime Clinton adviser. His common-sense approach, often with humor, can be very appealing to moderates and undecideds.”
But stick to the script
The former president has been an effective, if subdued, surrogate for Hillary Clinton during this election cycle. But he also tends to have a weak spot when it comes to her.
While he’s been better at not causing unforced errors during this election cycle — many blamed him for causing too much damage in 2008 — he got into a tiff or two with protesters at his events and caused headlines when he angrily interacted with Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
He also has a habit of going off script. This was an issue in 2012, though not one that seemed to hurt him.
Still, even longtime allies and friends say Bill Clinton shouldn’t stray too much from the teleprompter on Tuesday night.
“He can’t become the story,” one Hillary Clinton surrogate said. “He has to be the chief character witness.”
Show Hillary's personal side
Hillary Clinton has been struggling with trust and likability issues for much of the campaign. And who better to paint a portrait of the personal side of Clinton than her husband?
Spouses often speak at the convention with a primary role of humanizing their significant others. And Bill Clinton, who left office with approval ratings in the 70s and remains popular with Democrats and independents, can show the side of Hillary Clinton few people ever get to see.
Surrogates say they’d like to see the former president weave the thread through her life like no one has before and detail what motivates her and why people should feel confident that she’ll work for them.
“He is well able to focus on her personal qualities, including her smarts and experience, as well as her diligence, empathy and resilience,” the longtime adviser said. “He can testify to how the cause of children has really driven her work throughout her life and will continue to influence her presidency.”
They also say Bill Clinton should focus on the positive and not the negative. It would be unwise, they say, for him to focus on Trump’s sniping or conspiracy theories and tabloid headlines about the Clintons' marriage.
“You can spend too much time worried about the negatives,” one surrogate said. “But the negatives are the negatives. You want to minimize them, but what the campaign should do is highlight the positives about why one should be for her.”
Forget about 1992 and 1996
The Democratic Party has changed a lot, particularly when it comes to policy since the Bill Clinton era.
His involvement in the North American Free Trade Agreement and the 1994 crime bill became complicated issues for Hillary Clinton to explain to progressives this cycle. And the party’s platform is significantly more left-leaning — thanks to Sanders — than ever before in its history.
It highlights a $15 per hour minimum wage and progressive views on controlling Wall Street greed.
Bill Clinton, in many ways still the patriarch of the party, needs to give a nod to these issues even as Hillary Clinton aims to pivot back to the center for the general election.
But Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons pointed out that while policy has changed for the Democratic Party, “the message of unity and hope remains the same.”
“There are things he used to say that are applicable now. He said it best in 1993 when he said, ‘There is nothing wrong with America that can’t be cured by what’s right with America,’ ” Simmons said. “Nobody is better at expressing that optimism than him.”
Focus on the future
One of the most important things Bill Clinton can do on Tuesday night is start the conversation about how Hillary Clinton will pick up Obama's baton and keep running if she wins the presidency.
Even some Democrats are still in the dark about how exactly she'll connect the dots.
Two nights ahead of her acceptance speech, Bill Clinton can start laying the groundwork not only on how far Democrats say the nation has come in eight years, but on where Hillary Clinton can take it.
It would also be a message of hope that Democrats want to contrast with what they see as a message of fear sent by the Trump campaign last week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. 
News Edited By:
Kanwal Abidi - 063 News
Online Editor & Political Analyst

Monday, 18 July 2016

Democratic National Convention 2016 details

Host City: Philadelphia (Host committee link)
LocationWells Fargo Center and the Pennsylvania Convention Center
Dates: July 25-28, 2016
Philadelphia has been selected to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced this morning.
The city, along with Columbus and Brooklyn, was among the three finalists for the event, which will take place the week of July 25, 2016.
“In addition to their commitment to a seamless and safe convention, Philadelphia’s deep rooted place in American history provides a perfect setting for this special gathering,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.
The DNC evaluated cities on factors that included transportation, security, finances, logistics and hotel capacity.
City leaders had aggressively wooed the selection committee, touting the city’s vibrancy, history, landmarks, transit and hotel capacity. The city had also sought to assure the selection committee it could line up the funding necessary for the convention, and that the announced mayoral candidates were as supportive of hosting the event as current Mayor Michael Nutter.
“The City of Philadelphia is excited and honored to be selected as the host city for the 2016 Democratic National Convention,” Nutter said in a statement Thursday. “We believe that it was our proven track record of hosting big events safely and efficiently with a dynamic team of top-tier professionals to organize and manage a conference of this magnitude, paired with our City’s tremendous amenities, its accessible location and historical significance, which made Philadelphia the ideal choice for the 2016 DNC.”
Philadelphia hosted the Republicans’ convention in 2000.
Reported By:
Kanwal Abidi - Journalist and Political Analyst
Head of International News 
Global Online News Agency - 063 news