Category Archives: Presidential Politics

Bad deal? Netanyahu’s not alone!

Who else agrees with Netanyahu that the emerging nuclear deal with Iran is a bad deal?

Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress on March 3, 2015 laid bare dramatic gaps between his Israeli government and the Obama administration regarding Iran.

Netanyahu’s message to Congress was that a deal, in its current formation, would constitute a historic mistake.

The policy disagreement has resulted in what experts say is the greatest chasm between Washington and Jerusalem in decades.

Natanyahu's speech to Congress, March 2015

After Netanyahu’s address on March 3, 2015, publication A ran an article by Mr. A, the editor-in-chief of its English website titled “President Obama, listen to Netanyahu on Iran.”

Faisal J. AbbasMr. A wrote: “…one must admit, Bibi [referencing Netanyahu by his nick name] did get it right, at least when it came to dealing with Iran.”

“The Israeli PM managed to hit the nail right on the head when he said that Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that “terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum” wrote Mr. A.

“In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other U.S. allies in the region”.

“What is absurd, however, is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together [these two peoples*] (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [referring to the supreme leader of Iran] (although, the latter never seems to write back!)” wrote Mr. A


Netanyahu's address to Congress, March 3, 2015
Netanyahu’s address to Congress, March 3, 2015.

In a separate article published one day prior to Netanyahu’s speech in publication B that was reported on by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), columnist Mr. B supported Netanyahu’s decision to speak at the US Congress against a nuclear deal with Iran.

“I will conclude by saying the following: Since Obama is the godfather of the prefabricated revolutions in the Arab world, and since he is the ally of political Islam, [which is] the caring mother of [all] the terrorist organizations, and since he is working to sign an agreement with Iran that will come at the expense of the US’s longtime allies in the Gulf…” said Mr. B, “I am very glad of Netanyahu’s firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress despite the Obama administration’s anger and fury”. Mr. B went on to conclude, “I believe that Netanyahu’s conduct will serve our interests, the people of the Gulf, much more than the foolish behavior of one of the worst American presidents.” 


Publication A is the Saudi Al Arabiya and Mr. A is Faisal J. Abbas, the Editor-in-Chief of its English website.

Publication B is the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah and Mr. B is its columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj.

Newspapers in Saudi Arabia are subsidized and regulated by the government. The “Basic Law” of the kingdom states that the media’s role is to educate and inspire national unity, consequently most popular grievances go unreported in Saudi Arabia. As of 2013, BBC news reports that criticism of the government and royal family and the questioning of Islamic tenets “are not generally tolerated. Self-censorship is pervasive.” As of 2014, Freedom House rates the kingdom’s press and internet “Not Free”.

Thus, you may correctly infer that the above ‘opinions’ are fully supported by the Saudi Arabia’s government.

*[these two peoples] was originally referred to by Mr. A as “Arabs and Israelis”.

We’ve averted the fiscal cliff – or have we?

Passed by the Senate at a 2 am vote on January 1, 2013; passed by the house at an 11 pm vote that same night; signed into law by the President on January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 is perceived as a deal struck by congress at the eleventh hour that largely eliminated the Fiscal Cliff.

Has this legislation really averted the Fiscal Cliff?

The Fiscal Cliff is the sharp decline in the budget deficit that could have occurred beginning in 2013 due to increased taxes and reduced spending as required by previously enacted laws.

But the deal to avert the Fiscal Cliff doesn’t achieve any of that. Instead, it…

A) Does not reduce the Federal Government’s budget deficit

B) Does not avoid increased taxes

C) Does not reduce spending

A) The Fiscal Cliff deal does not reduce the budget deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the legislation to avert the Fiscal Cliff will reduce revenues and increase spending, overall adding nearly $4.0 trillion to the Government deficits over the next 10 years.

B) The Fiscal Cliff deal does not avoid increased taxes.

As a result of the deal, the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington research group, estimates that taxes on 77.1% of U.S. households are going up in 2013.

Among the households facing higher taxes, the average increase in taxes would be $1,635, the Tax Policy Center said.

  1. The two-year old 2% cut to payroll taxes is being allowed to expire. The payroll tax, which was reduced to 4.2% in 2011 and 2012, returns to 6.2% in 2013. This is expected to take about $120 billion out of the economy, which should have a negative impact of about 0.7% on GDP growth.
  2. Marginal income and capital gains tax rates are increased for those with annual income over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. The top income rate is going up from 35% to 39.6%. The top capital gains rate increases from 15% to 20%.
  3. A phase-out of tax deductions and credits for incomes over $250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for couples is reinstated.
  4. Estate taxes are set at 40% of the value above $5,250,000, indexed for inflation, up from 35% of the value over $5,120,000.
  5. A 2.3% tax on gross sales of medical devices (such as heart valves and hip replacement parts – a tax firms making equipment must pay even if they have no profit at all.
  6. A new 3.8% surtax on investment income (possibly including profits from the sale of a home) for individuals making more than $200,000 a year or couples with $250,000 or more.
  7. An increase of Medicare tax on wages above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.  The current 2.9% Medicare payroll tax will be increased to a total of 3.8%.
  8. A raise in the threshold for allowed Itemized Medical Deductions from 7.5% of adjusted gross income to 10%, burdening those with the largest medical expenses by limiting how much of these costs they can deduct on their taxes.

C) The Fiscal Cliff deal does not reduce Government spending.

The budget sequestration created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the directed automatic across-the-board cuts totaling $110 billion per year for 10 years beginning on January 2, 2013, split evenly ($55 billion each) between defense and non-defense discretionary spending) is delayed by two months.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 does include, however, over $67 billion in tax breaks for ‘renewable energy’, Hollywood, multinational corporations, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands rum industry, NASCAR, plug-in electric scooters and others.

Obama’s Rift with Israel – A By-Design Strategy: Part III

On July 13, 2009, in a meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room with influential Jewish leaders in America, Obama explained his thinking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Look at the past eight years,” he said, referring to the George W.
Bush administration’s relationship with Israel. “During those eight
years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that? When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states.”

 

So he created one.
[Part III of a 3-segment video*. Click to view Part I and Part II].

He has also…

Adopted Palestinian’s demands on borders and refugees and incorporated them in the 2012 Democratic party platform.

Refuses to acknowledge Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

Crafted the current Israeli-Palestinian stalemate

Broke an American promise given to Israel back in 2004

 

* Video curtsey of Emergency Committee for Israel