Trump’s turnaround?

Maybe things are turning around for Pres. Trump:

  1.  The Supreme Court reinstated most of the provisions of Trump’s streamlined immigration policy covering citizens of six Muslim nations, mostly where there is civil war and/or violent insurrection.  This was intended to keep out potential terrorists, and is not an “anti-Muslim ban” as it has been termed by Trump’s enemies (mostly democrats and the media), since citizens of most Muslim countries are not affected.  Contrary to several liberal-leaning local federal courts that ruled this policy unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled that it was basically acceptable, but added a rider that citizens of those countries affected that can show a prior connection to the US, either through close family ties or business dealings will be temporarily exempt. 
  2. The ongoing media furor over the supposed covert connection between the Trump Presidential campaign and Russia has proven to be all hot-air.  Three CNN reporters resigned because of a ‘fake’ story that mistakenly implicated a friend of Trump and now the tenure of the Head of CNN itself is said to be tenuous. CNN and other reporters have deliberately attacked the President in press conferences in a most unseemly and rude manner.  This must stop.
  3. The Health-Care Bill is gradually taking shape despite Democratic opposition and Republican schisms.  It was supposed to start as a ObamaCare retraction followed by a new Health Care system.  But it got very complex, although it may finally be coming to a resolution just before this July 4 in two separate Bills.
  4. The Trump Tax Bill is being worked on in parallel with the Healthcare Bill so that there will not be a long delay after the Healthcare Bill is passed before the Tax legislation is ready.  Since it includes tax cuts as well as changes in the tax code there hopefully won’t be so much opposition.

Gross bias

Throughout the Western world  the stigma of being a “Zionist” has replaced the stigma of being a “Jew” as a pejorative term, and in fact any Jew can now be regarded as a Zionist (whether he/she supports Israel or not).  That is clear anti-Semitism.  Here are two examples:

In the UK, the Government allowed a few hundred activists to march through the center of London with pro-Hizbollah flags unfurled and messages stating “Death to Zionists.” Everyone knows what that means, its the same old story “death to Jews.” and it was allowed even though Hizbollah is recognized in the UK as a terrorist group that is a proxy of Iran.  Can you imagine them allowing any group to march that had banners saying “death to Muslims” or death to Arabs” or “death to Blacks.”  No that would be considered to be racist and would be banned because it would upset the targeted racial group.  But, Zionists and Jews can be targeted, that’s not racist.

In Chicago, the annual Dyke March refused to allow a group of Jewish lesbians to march with them with a rainbow flag with a Magen David (Star of David) in the center of it. They said the Magen David would cause concern for the safety to the other marchers and anyway they are all pro-Palestinian.  So now even dykes won’t accept Jews among them. What is it coming to?  Are we back in the 1930’s again.  But, note that dykes can march in the US and Israel, but they would be attacked if they tried that in any Muslim country.

No Western Wall Compromise

The Israeli Government dropped a bombshell Sunday when it announced that it will not support a compromise at the Western Wall, the Kotel.  Because the ultra-Orthodox refuse to allow men and women to pray together at the Wall and because they hold a monopoly over the current Western Wall Plaza, a compromise was negotiated thru the good offices of Natan Sharansky, former Head of the Jewish Agency, in which a third section (to the right of the Wall) was set aside for egalitarian prayer for the Reform and Conservative movements.  This was supposedly agreed and had Government support.  But, now after several years of negotiations, the Government has reneged on the deal.

This is a slap in the face of the Diaspora movements as well as Israeli affiliates and leaves the situation as it was, with the ultra-Orthodox in charge of everything.  Also, the Government backed out of a deal over control of conversions in Israel and they remain in the hands of the Chief Rabbinate.  These setbacks can only be seen as a casualty of the Coalition Government system in Israel, in which the Netanyahu Government feels it is forced to avoid policies that will upset the ultra-Orthodox, who might then leave the Coalition and bring down the Government.  So instead they have dropped a very necessary compromise solution to a difficult problem.

Israel is not the only country with a Coalition system, now the UK with a minority Conservative Government has formed a Coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.  Their agreement was announced today.  It seems tht in order to get their support PM Theresa May was forced to agree to pay an extra billion pounds to N. Ireland.  It’s blackmail, but that is the way the system works.  How they will handle the problem of the Northern Ireland-Irish Republic border remains to be seen.  It was supposed to be a “soft” border, like the rest of the EU.  But, now that the UK is leaving the EU, that becomes the border between an EU and a non-EU state, hence a “hard” border, which contravenes the Irish Good Friday Peace Treaty.


Trans-Atlantic Differences

Since I grew up in Britain and spent most of my adult life in the US, I tend to watch the news from both countries.  At present they could not be more different.

The news from Britain is all about Brexit, PM Theresa May’s challenges and its consequences, with a secondary item about the fire at Grenfall Tower in London where up to now 79 people are known to have died.   The current conclusion, that seems obvious, is that the cladding they put on the building in 2016 was not fire-resistant and this caused the fire to spread very quickly, trapping many people on the top floors.   There is brief mention of Pres. Trump, usually emphasizing his problems.

In the US, the news is dominated by Pres. Trump’s problems, how Congressional Committees are investigating his terrible deeds, how he gave secrets to the Russians and how he is decimating the healthcare system of the USA.  The bias in the news reports is incredible, one recent example was a commentator who compared Trump to the Communist dictator of North Korea.  There is only one channel, Fox, that has a semblance of balance in its news reports, MSNBC and CNN have no consideration for the fact that Trump is the elected President of the USA, they clearly regard him as the enemy. Brexit is occasionally mentioned in the US news.

It is not unexpected that there is a different agenda and a distinct set of news stories in each of these two countries.  But, the current emphasis is so different that there is really hardly any overlap.  In a way this is bad, since it means that the alliance between Britain and America is weakened by their lack of common interests.


A Peace Process?

It is an extraordinary fact that all three US representatives present at a meeting with PM Netanyahu this week are Jewish.  Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and personal representative, Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s peace negotiator, and David Friedman the US Ambassador to Israel.  If they can’t come up with a plan that is acceptable to Israel no-one can.

But, what is the current plan emanating from the Trump Administration in Washington. It is the same as the Obama plan, pressure Israel to stop construction on the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in order to placate the Palestinians and get them to agree to negotiate with Israel.  In other words, Israel has to make pre-concessions just in order to get them to agree to negotiate.   Have they learned nothing?  If you have to get tough with Israel to start negotiations, what about getting tough with the Palestinians?

At the same time, the PA President Mahmud Abbas is stoking the flames of war by cutting the payments for electricity from Israel to the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas.  Hamas receives m$20 pa from Iran, that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel thru war. However, they don’t use this and other funds from Qatar for paying for electricity from Israel, they want to get it free and they don’t care if the Gazans suffer without light and heat.  By refusing to pay for the electricity, Abbas is risking a reaction from Hamas, but it will be against Israel, as Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned this week.

The prospects for any kind of peace process are almost nil.  Abbas can offer nothing and can deliver nothing.  The Palestinians are irretrievably split between the secular Fatah/ PLO and the Islamist Hamas.  Apparently the meeting between the US representatives and Abbas became heated again and tense and the latest reports suggest that there may be a change in Trump’s position.  Could it be that at last there will a  US President who will tell the truth about the Palestinians, that they are intransigent, they support terrorism and they have no intention of ever recognizing Israel.

Shame on me!

We were just about to eat dinner and I decided to turn the air conditioning off.  I went to the remote control that is attached to the wall in the corridor and pressed the on/off button – and nothing happened!   I tried it again (dumb) and the same thing didn’t happen.  I looked at it and sure enough the damn remote was dead.  I thought, ha ha, change the batteries and went to find some AAA batteries, but did not have any.

Then Sahlee our carer reminded me that this had happened before, last year.  She said check and see if the remote is wet inside, and sure enough it was.  What had happened before, and evidently had happened again, was that the water pipe outlet of the a/c got blocked, the water builds up and then leaks on the floor of the compartment and then drips through the hole in the ceiling where the wire connects to the remote switch and then drips down onto the remote control, which I had placed immediately below it.  Yes, shame on me, how stupid can you get.  I had replaced the remote in exactly the same position it had been last year, when in fact I could have placed it anywhere.

Then I had to wait for the remote to dry out, I did this by placing it below a fan that blew air on it.  I went out and bought AAA batteries, then when I got home it was already dry and I replaced the batteries and – it worked.   I forgot to mention that since I could not turn the a/c off with the remote I turned it off at the main switch.  Also I got up into the a/c compartment and detached the water pipe outlet and blew through it hard and cleared it.  Then I poured about half a liter of water (containing some soap and some anti-algae copper solution) thru the pipe using a funnel and then I reconnected the pipe to the a/c and took out the bowl of water that had collected below it (without spilling too much of it).

Finally I turned the a/c back on at the mains and turned it off with the now working remote and then attached it to the wall – in a completely different location, far from the potential drip.  At least I learnt that lesson.  Then I checked, as long as water drips out of the end of the water outlet pipe (three stories below near the ground) I know its working.


Fixing the Electric Buggy

My sister Barbara and her husband Allan are visiting Netanya from the UK.  But, she has some trouble walking, so in previous years we have ordered an electric buggy for her to get around.  This time we waited until she was here and then went to rent a small one-seat buggy from this tiny shop in Netanya run by a little old man.  She chose a small one and then we had to get it into the trunk of my car.  To do this we had to disassemble it and take the seat off the chassis.  There was a fairly large metal pin that went through a hole in the seat assembly that we had to keep in order to reassemble it.

When we got back to the hotel where they are staying I wanted to put the pin back in the hole, but it wouldn’t go.  I realized the hole was not aligned so I managed to twist the tube sticking out from the chassis a bit by hand, until the pin went in. and then the seat could be reattached. Barbara got on the buggy and quietly rode away.

Sunday evening at 7 pm I received a call that they could not get the seat back on the buggy, again!  They had removed the seat and the electric battery pack in order to recharge it in the hotel luggage room, and now could not get it back together.  Of course, the problem was that the pin would not go in.  I raced down there with some tools, luckily I took a  wrench that I figured would be useful.

When I arrived I found three men, Allan and two custodians, around the disassembled buggy in the lobby of the hotel, one man on his knees and hitting the tube inside the chassis from the bottom with a large hammer.  I told him to stop.  Then I took the wrench and in a few turns found the hole and managed to pull it and twist it until it was aligned. Then I put the pin back in. But, then the battery pack would not fit in again.  I remembered that the battery had been below the pin in the morning, so I took the pin out, replaced the battery pack and then put the pin back in and then replaced the seat.  It was all reassembled and it worked.

Remember, next time you’re in trouble, you know who to call!