A national emergency: an imperial president

U.S. President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, his security advisors did not suggest that there is indeed a security threat at the border. These advisors recently delivered a report to Congress to delineate the real threats that the U.S. faces.

Based on his putative emergency, President Trump claims that he can and will divert funds from accounts outside the Department of Homeland Security to build a 250-mile border wall.

The real emergency is that the president is disregarding the U.S. Constitution:

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives … (Article I, Section 7). No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law … (Article I, Section 9).

In 1976, Congress granted the president the expediency of quickly directing funds for recognized emergencies like hurricanes and wild fires. We see thereby that Congress still has the authority but has granted the president a small share of the “power of the purse.”

It’s now almost Shabbat and an opportunity to tune out the President’s noise.

And to drink a cup of hot tea with sugar.

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Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East conference: Will Kushner reveal peace ‘deal of the century’?

An international conference for a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East will meet in Warsaw on Wednesday and Thursday Feb 13 and 14, 2019. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and other administration officials will attend.

A question arises: Will Kushner reveal U.S. President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

Kushner and other administration officials will also swing through Middle Eastern Arab countries later in February, possibly to garner economic support for Palestinian development.

This report has been gleaned from the AP by way of The Washington Post, “US officials visiting Mideast to seek backing for peace plan,” February 11, 2019. Also from the “U.S. Department of State Weekly Digest Bulletin.”

Russia’s Lavrov decries ‘plunge in U.S. journalism standards’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on January 16, 2019, that U.S. newspaper reports about an FBI investigation of whether President Trump was working on Moscow’s behalf reflected a plunge in journalism standards. Lavrov dismissed the idea as “absurd.”

It seems to me that this is a projection. Russia has a muzzled journalism. Its journalists lack independence. Even more so, Russian journalists have been murdered in recent times.

Criminality reigns in Russia from the highest reaches down. No law enforcement agency in Russia can investigate alleged criminality, in contrast to the U.S.’s FBI.

So the pot is calling the kettle black.

Source: “Kremlin calls idea that Trump worked for Moscow ‘absurd’.” The Washington Post. January 16, 2019.

U.S. to reveal ‘Deal of the Century’ to Israel in early November

from: Middle East Monitor (MEMO) | October 27, 2018

Israeli public radio reported that the U.S. administration would reveal the details of its “Deal of the Century” to Israel during the first week of November.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, is scheduled to travel to the region to meet with Israeli officials and reveal the details of the U.S. plan, Quds Press reported.

The so-called “Deal of the Century” is claimed by Trump’s Administration to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict …

(See MEMO’s original article with its pro-Palestinian rhetoric.)

Demise of the U.S. Consulate General to Jerusalem after 174 years

On October 18, 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the merger of the U.S. Consulate General to Jerusalem with its Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.

Citing significant efficiencies and increased effectiveness, Pompeo said that a full range of reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank and Gaza as well as with Palestinians in Jerusalem will be conducted through a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the U.S. Embassy.

Pompeo added that this action does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip. “As the President proclaimed in December of last year, the United States continues to take no position on final status issues, including boundaries or borders. The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties.”

The Consulate General to Jerusalem was established as an independent mission in 1844. Since 1912, it has operated out of a complex on Agron Street in western Jerusalem not far from its earliest location in the Old City.

The U.S. State Department built a contemporary annex in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood. Although styled as an annex, this new campus is larger than the facilities on Agron Street.

In May 2018, the U.S. Embassy to Israel began operations on a small scale in the Arnona annex.

U.S. warns no one will be ‘fully pleased’ by Israeli-Palestinian peace plan

“No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that’s the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved,” officials said. “Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities.”

NoOnePleasedPeacePlan

(Times of Israel August 15, 2018)