Foreign Nationals Manipulate Kushner With Ease

The Sound Was Sweet And Clear
The Sound Was Sweet And Clear

If there was ever a candidate who should have his citizenship stripped, and should be sent to Gitmo, or Yemen, it’s Jared Kushner. Well, maybe he wouldn’t be alone, and would be joined by his wife, his brothers-in-law, and a few others in the Trump circle…

Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.

Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said.

It is unclear if any of those countries acted on the discussions, but Kushner’s contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, the officials said.

Kushner’s interim security clearance was downgraded last week from the top-secret to the secret level, which should restrict the regular access he has had to highly classified information, according to administration officials.

H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report. The issue of foreign officials talking about their meetings with Kushner and their perceptions of his vulnerabilities was a subject raised in McMaster’s daily intelligence briefings, according to the current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

Within the White House, Kushner’s lack of government experience and his business debt were seen from the beginning of his tenure as potential points of leverage that foreign governments could use to influence him, the current and former officials said.

(click here to continue reading Kushner’s overseas contacts raise concerns as foreign officials seek leverage – The Washington Post.)


You know, Hillary’s emails…

Kushner has been Trump’s designated reader of the highly classified Presidential Daily Briefing for over a year now, without appropriate security clearance. Isn’t that disturbing to you? It is to me. These foreign nations who laughingly considered Kushner easy to manipulate were very interested in information discussed in the PDB. How do we know Kushner wasn’t trafficking it to the highest bidders?

If Kushner can read the PDB, why can’t I? I bet I’d pass an FBI security investigation within 2 months, if not sooner. Sure I was born in Toronto to Vietnam War draft-dodgers, but my ancestry can be traced back to Jamestown in the 1600s, and elsewhere in Colonial America, plus no member of my family has been jailed for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. Maybe the PDB should be available to every voter who can pass an FBI check? We are still, allegedly, a democratic nation, theoretically, the citizen is in tenuous charge of the government.

Senator Chuck Schumer and His Intemperate Gaza Talk

If Senator Charles Schumer were a journalist, like Helen Thomas perhaps, would there be a call for him to resign?

Speaking to the Orthodox Union earlier this week, Chuck Schumer offered a revealing policy rationale for the Gaza blockade—it’s collective economic punishment of the local population:

Fall with me for a million days

“The Palestinian people still don’t believe in the Torah, in David, in a Jewish state, in a two-state solution. More do than before, but a majority still do not. The fundamental view is, the Europeans treated the Jews badly and gave them OUR lad – this is Palestinian thinking .. You have to force them to say Israel is here to stay.”

“The boycott of Gaza to me has another purpose — obviously the first purpose is to prevent Hamas from getting weapons by which they will use to hurt Israel — but the second is actually to show the Palestinians that when there’s some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement. When there’s total war against Israel, which Hamas wages, they’re gonna get nowhere. And to me, since the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas, while certainly there should be humanitarian aid and people not starving to death, to strangle them economically until they see that’s not the way to go makes sense. “

I find these sentiments disgusting, but I don’t want to jump all over Schumer with the condemnations too quickly. The important thing in the first instance is to say that it’s good to debate this issue honestly. The Gaza blockade isn’t a security measure designed to prevent Hamas from getting rockets. It’s a collective punishment aimed at making civilians’ lives miserable, while avoiding mass starvation. You can make a case for that if you like, but that’s what you’re making the case for. I’ll note for the dozenth time that the majority of the residents of the Gaza Strip are children, so the moral logic here seems to be particularly grizzly. A policy undertaken with this rationale also seems to be clearly in violation of international humanitarian law.

(click to continue reading Matthew Yglesias » Senator Chuck Schumer Wants to “Strangle” Gaza Residents “Economically” as Collective Punishment.)

Yes, punish the children for the alleged crimes of the parents. What a lovely policy.

Reading Around on July 18th

Some additional reading July 18th from 20:56 to 23:29:

  • Falling Off the Turnip Truck… – ” four heads of cabbage? Some of us fled the shtetl and crossed the North Atlantic precisely to avoid having to eat four heads of cabbage n a single week…”
  • Drug WarRant – Prosecutors Scared of the Constitution – Of course prosecutors are scared by this ruling. It makes their job harder and it also means that more drug cases might go to trial in the hope that they could get a dismissal if the prosecutor can’t produce the analyst. The only way prosecutors manage the huge load of drug cases is to see to it that only 5% go to trial (through piling on charges to make the plea deal attractive in comparison to the alternative). If more drug cases go to trial, the whole system falls apart, particularly in a time when more money for courts is unlikely to be found.

    And the system is corrupt. This Supreme Court ruling merely states that the prosecutors and judges must do their job as specified in the Constitution. If they can’t handle it, then maybe we’ll finally take a look at why we’re prosecuting so many people.

  • heroin
  • From Israel to the N.B.A., Missing the Hummus – – The first Israeli in the N.B.A., Omri Casspi, is busily trying to adapt to life in the United States.

    For starters, he needs a cellphone with a local number. He just received a $4,500 bill for about two weeks of calls, which is expensive even by N.B.A. standards. He needs new chargers for all his gadgets. But he is struggling most to find comfort food.

    “Hummus,” Casspi said, with a hard h and a long u, stressing the first syllable in a way that conveyed utter seriousness. “You don’t have that here, though.”

The Black Hebrews

Fascinating article about the Black Hebrews who left Chicago (and the US) to settle in Israel, often under duress. The African Hebrew Hebrew Israelites persevered and flourished in the desert village of Dimona1 long enough to become assimilated, and even nearly accepted by the Israeli citizens.

Elyahkeem Ben Yehuda could have become another statistic, growing up poor, black and fatherless on the west side of Chicago during the 1950s.

But he never had a run-in with the law, nor did he see the inside of a jail cell, until he moved to Israel to join the African Hebrew Israelite community. “I had to come to Israel to get my first experience in jail,” he said. “But in those days, that was like a badge of honor, to be arrested for God and His people.”

Last month, the 62-year-old Ben Yehuda — father of 10 children and husband of 3 women — became the first member of his community to gain full Israeli citizenship. Looking back on the hurdles he overcame since his 1971 arrival, Ben Yehuda mused, “I can only describe this journey in relationship to my forefathers,” referring to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “They were able to endure. As long as we put fulfilling the will of the God of Israel first, there’s no challenge that we can’t overcome.”

The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem — or Black Hebrews, as they are more commonly known (though not all members are black) — have sparred with the Israeli government for decades over their right to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return. It is a right they still do not have. But presaging Ben Yehuda’s achievement last month, Israel granted the community permanent residency status in 2003, offering its 3,000 members a five-year path to apply for citizenship on an individual basis. It’s a process that many others are now undertaking.

[Click to continue reading Once Reviled, Black Hebrews Now Fêted –]

via Michael Hawthorne‘s Friday afternoon twitter feed

DNA Bricks

The African Hebrew Israelites web page offers a bit of their history:

In 1966 our spiritual leader, Ben Ammi, had a vision that it was time for the Children of Israel who remained in America (the land of their captivity) to return to the Holy Land (the land of their origin).

In 1967, after almost two thousand years in the Diaspora, four hundred Hebrew Israelites were inspired by the spirit of God to make an exodus from America. According to plan, they settled in Liberia’s interior to purge themselves of the negative attributes they had acquired in the captivity. After spending a two-and-one-half year period in Liberia, The African Hebrew Israelites were prepared to make the last portion of their journey home, returning to Israel in 1969.

In today’s world, man has created so many diversions from and substitutions for the true worship of God that the people have lost their way. We realized just how far we had been led away from God and were astounded by the drastic changes required for those of us who desired to fulfill our responsibility to God as Hebrew Israelites. Nonetheless, we have committed ourselves to the high degree of courage and discipline required to establish an alternative lifestyle that is in harmony with the cycles of God.

[Click to read more of Our Philosophy]

I don’t know if the Black Hebrews have done any deep DNA study, but they explain their origins thusly:

Prior to the excavation of the Suez Canal (1859-69) the entire Arabian Peninsula and what has become known today as the ”Middle East” were physically connected with the African continent. African people lived and moved freely throughout this region of the world.

After the invasion of the Romans in 70 C.E., remnants of the Hebrew Israelites were driven from Jerusalem. For more than 1,000 years many of them migrated across the continent, eventually reaching West Africa.

“Soul Messages from Dimona” (Various Artists)

Update2 via Kumar303’s twitter feed, the African Hebrew Israelites have put out an album called, Soul Messages From Dimona:

Following a path blazed in Belize and the Bahamas, The Numero Group finds yet another stop on the soul diaspora tour: Dimona, Israel. Between 1975-1981, a group of American ex-pats took their native sounds of Detroit and Chicago and intermingled them with the messages of the Black Hebrew culture. The results are a heavenly mix of spiritual soul and jazz with an undercurrent of gospel psychedelia. Featuring the Soul Messengers, the Spirit Of Israel, Sons Of The Kingdom, and the Tonistics, Soul Messages From Dimona is the only living document of a thriving community at both the center and fringe of the world.

Deluxe CD and 2LP set comes stuffed with rare photographs, sleeves, and expansive liner notes about the African Hebrew

sounds fun.

  1. דִּימוֹנָה []
  2. gotta love Twitter []

Rashid Khalidi and modern-day McCarthyism

Eric Alterman discusses the latest McCain smear: namely that Obama and Rashid Khalidi were at a dinner party, five years ago. Terrifying news I know, but what else does McCain have to run on? Not much apparently.

This pathetic effort should, in a normal world, be laughed off the airwaves and news pages. First and most importantly, Khalidi is not someone that anyone should be ashamed to know. He is a noted and well-respected Palestinian scholar. Michael Hudson, director of the Centre for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown, describes Khalidi as pre-eminent in his field, a courageous scholar and public figure. John McCain apparently thought so too at one point, since the International Republican Institute, with McCain at the helm, gave Khalidi’s Centre for Palestine Research and Studies a $448,000 grant in the late 1990s.

No concrete offence of Khalidi’s has actually been alleged, so far as I’m aware, except that he once served as spokesman for the PLO, which Khalidi denies. Still, McCain made this stunning comparison on Wednesday: “If there was a tape of John McCain in a neo-Nazi outfit, I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different,” he said in an interview with Hispanic radio stations.

This modern-day McCarthyism seems to rely much more on the fact that Rashid Khalidi’s name is Rashid Khalidi than any concrete allegations of wrongdoing. And the haphazard insinuation that maybe Ayers was there too is a transparent attempt to bait the Times into releasing the tape. The McCain people must know that a journalist cannot and will not burn a source. “The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it,” said the newspaper’s editor, Russ Stanton. “The Times keeps its promises to sources.”

Perhaps Sarah Palin is actually ignorant enough about journalism to believe the foolish charge she utters when complaining: “It must be nice for a candidate to have major news organisations looking out for their best interests like that. Politicians would love to have a pet newspaper of their very own.” But surely Goldfarb, who left the Weekly Standard to join McCain’s campaign, knows better, and is playing the dim bulb for purely political purposes.

[From Eric Alterman: McCain’s attacks on Obama and Rashid Khalidi is modern-day McCarthyism ]

Way to keep it classy, John.

Obama sets out his Israel vision

David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post has met three major American politicians in the last two months: President Bush, John McCain and Barack Obama. Horovitz was much more impressed with Obama than the other two dim bulbs.

Two months ago in the Oval Office, President George W. Bush, coming to the end of a two-term presidency and presumably as expert on Israeli-Palestinian policy as he is ever going to be, was accompanied by a team of no fewer than five advisers and spokespeople during a 40-minute interview with this writer and three other Israeli journalists.

In March, on his whirlwind visit to Israel, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, one of whose primary strengths is said to be his intimate grasp of foreign affairs, chose to bring along Sen. Joe Lieberman to the interview our diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon and I conducted with him, looked to Lieberman several times for reassurance on his answers and seemed a little flummoxed by a question relating to the nuances of settlement construction.

On Wednesday evening, toward the end of his packed one-day visit here, Barack Obama, the Democratic senator who is leading the race for the White House and who lacks long years of foreign policy involvement, spoke to The Jerusalem Post with only a single aide in his King David Hotel room, and that aide’s sole contribution to the conversation was to suggest that the candidate and I switch seats so that our photographer would get better lighting for his pictures.

Several of Obama’s Middle East advisers – including former Clinton special envoy Dennis Ross and ex-ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer – were hovering in the vicinity. But Obama, who was making only his second visit to Israel, knew precisely what he wanted to say about the most intricate issues confronting and concerning Israel, and expressed himself clearly, even stridently on key subjects.

There is a limit to what can be gauged of a politician’s views as expressed in a relatively short interview at the height of an election campaign. But Obama, who chose to give the Post one of the only two formal sit-down interviews he conducted during his visit, was clearly conveying a carefully formulated message – and it was striking in several areas.

[Click to read more David Horovitz Exclusive: Obama sets out his Israel vision | Jerusalem Post ]

Experience is a false metric for political success, in my estimation. More important is cleverness, and a willingness to be educated on issues. Our current half-assed President has never been interested in learning anything new, nor in parsing the complicated nuances of international diplomacy, and based on all evidence I’ve seen, neither is John McCain. Barack Obama, for all his other faults, is the sort of intelligent human who should be running the Executive Branch of the US.