Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

WITH ALLIES LIKE BARACK OBAMA WHO NEEDS ENEMIES

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Approximately 14 million Jews exist in the entire world. Forty-two percent of them live in Israel. Forty percent of them live in the United States. This only partially explains why U.S.-Israel relations have been so tight over the years since Israel became a state in 1949. The plight of Jews in the Holocaust and Jewish-Americans staunch support for Israel also are major factors. Still, negative anti-Israel attitudes are not uncommon among Americans. Working in the Department of Defense for 23-years, I encountered many people who believed Israel didn’t deserve the treatment it received from the U.S. Government, reflecting similar segments of public opinion. Until President Barack Obama came along, however, no U.S. president had been so outright anti-Israel.

It’s possible to argue persuasively that there are several reasons for this. Barack Obama ascended to the presidency believing that his “magic” could cut through the decades of intransigence in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Then he came face to face with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who took office three months after Barack Obama. Like most Israeli prime ministers, Netanyahu was a no-nonsense pragmatist undazzled by Barack Obama’s proclaimed “charm and brilliance.” He didn’t ask “How high?” when Obama said jump. Their relationship was strained from the outset. Netanyahu understood that President Obama was competence challenged and that the president’s policy approach to the problem was flawed.

Another popular explanation is that President Obama is pro-Muslim and anti-Israel. From his apology tour in 2009 to his support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to his over indulgence of Iran to his rejection of the term Islamic-jihadist terrorism, he has demonstrated his affinity for the Muslim world on numerous occasions. Is it any wonder that so many Americans, as many as 40 percent in one survey, believe he is a Muslim?

Finally, I have no doubt that President Obama truly believes that Israel settlements are the main roadblock to peace and although his principal purpose in abstaining from the vote on the UN resolution condemning them may have been to stick a finger in Netanyahu’s eye, he likely believes that ultimately he’s doing Israel a favor.

Ever since the Camp David Accords achieved through the efforts of President Jimmy Carter, the prevailing rationale behind U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the belief that a negotiated settlement is possible by Israel trading land for peace, and even though this almost happened when Yasser Arafat was leading the Palestinians, it remains a distant mirage. When the peace process fell apart because Arafat couldn’t accept the best deal from Israel he was ever going to get, it proved that Palestinians have no intention of living side by side with Israel in a “two state” solution.

Indeed, however, President Obama may have done Israel and incoming President Elect Donald Trump a favor. By allowing the UN to remove whatever bargaining chips Israel had by declaring all Israeli settlements, including those in Jerusalem, as illegal, he destroyed any incentive Israel had for a negotiated peace. The Palestinians, emboldened by the UN will no longer seek a negotiated settlement trading peace for land. The UN says they don’t have to.

It’s time to stop believing that Washington, D.C., can discover the magic formula for peace. It should stop pouring U.S. taxpayer funds into the Palestinian National Authority, reduce U.S. funding for the UN and make it abundantly clear that the United States has Israel’s back by providing the military and economic assistance necessary. The UN, with President Obama’s help, has destroyed any chance for peace between Israelis and Palestinians for at least another generation.

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Filed under: National Security, Politics, , , , , , , ,

WHY AMERICANS ARE FED UP WITH GOVERNMENT; AND WHY THEY’RE TURNING TO DONALD TRUMP

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If you follow politics and the presidential election campaigns at all, you’ve read or glanced through dozens of articles about why Americans are dissatisfied with the government in Washington, D.C.. As someone who worked in the military and government in our nation’s capital for nearly 30 years, let me give it to you succinctly. The U.S. Government, whether run by Republicans or Democrats (but worse under Democrats) has come to see itself as above the American people and not a servant of them.

The plain and simple reason for this is money. There is so much money swashing around the Nation’s capitol that practically everyone who is elected to federal office soon realizes that their mission is to gain control of as much of it as possible. To do that they need to be reelected and to be reelected they need lots of donor money from people who want control of the government’s money by proxy. This above all is the principal reason Donald Trump is likely to win the Republican nomination and go on to become the 45th President of the United States.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not enemy of Wall Street or lobbyists or the big banks. Money is what they are all about and what they are supposed to be concerned about. I blame government for this problem. It’s people in government that let them get away with the highway robbery that are so often accused of. Money is power, and the aggregation of power is how political ideologies achieve their agendas. The reason government is worse under Democrats is because, unlike Republicans, Democrats tend toward totalitarianism. They want to control everything all the time.

An issue secondary to the money problem is competence. The amount of incompetence among politicians reaches biblical proportions. With a few exceptions, almost everything the federal government does cost twice as much as it should, is inefficient, and enormously wasteful. Despite all this, few are rarely held accountable. How many people have been fired over the rollout of Obamacare or abuses at VA hospitals?

I said there were exceptions. Often criticized and admittedly imperfect, U.S. foreign aid is one program that benefits the U.S. enormously at modest cost. It helped contain the Soviet Union, kept us out of numerous wars, won friends and influenced leaders in world capitals around the world. Why is it so criticized by many senators and representatives? Because the money doesn’t line the pockets of the donor class. The meager few billion dollars spread across the world don’t make defense contractors rich. Defense spending is a mixed bag. The weapons systems we have produced and fielded are what make the U.S. a superpower. Nevertheless, the Defense acquisition system is seriously broken.

Democrat and Republican voters ostensibly have different reasons for being fed up with the federal government, but they all center on the same problem—money. Democrats believe the federal government doesn’t take enough of it. Republicans voters believe the federal government takes to much. Democrats believe Republicans have blocked the President on spending and other issues. Republicans believe their elected representatives have given in too much to President Obama on Obamacare, spending, unconstitutional executive orders.

Along comes Donald Trump. He’s a multi billionaire and he’s never been elected to government office of any kind. Perhaps he’s immune to the money disease corrupting America? Perhaps not; but Americans have had enough of government that places it’s elected officials self-interest above the American people’s.

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MY THOUGHTS ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

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Donald Trump: Those who believed/hoped that Donald Trump would self-implode or that another candidate would surpass him in gathering delegates for the Republican National Convention should snap out of it. Trump is a legitimate, winning candidate, and it will take more that wishful thinking to defeat him. The remaining Republican candidates have to understand Trump’s appeal and address it’s roots as strongly as Trump has. Republican and most Independent voters are fed up with the Republican establishments failure to stand up to President Obama and his destructive policies. Most have done this to a lesser extent, but not with the force and believability Trump has. Cruz has made this the backbone of his campaign, but not as convincingly as Trump. Until his poor performance in the New Hampshire debate, Rubio had been doing this almost as well as Cruz, but now has to dig himself out of the the hole he dug for himself.

John Kasich did well in New Hampshire because of the time and attention he paid to New Hampshire voters and his good ground game. Like Bush, however, Kasich is unlikely to turn his second place showing in New Hampshire into a trend. If the Trump / Sanders victories demonstrate anything they demonstrate that this is not the year for establishment candidates, and Kasich doesn’t have the organization beyond New Hampshire to pull off a repeat.

Ted Cruz has the benefit of being a non-establishment candidate and a strong conservative, and he is likely to remain in the top three as the primaries progress. Nevertheless, he has to fight to get out of Trumps shadow, and after New Hampshire, that has become more difficult.

Jeb Bush turned in his best debate and vote-getting performance in New Hampshire, but he still has an up-hill climb he may not have the strength for.  He was the principle beneficiary of Rubio’s stumble and likely would have finished behind Rubio had that not occurred. Still Bush, more than any other Republican candidate, represents the establishment now so reviled by Republican voters. To paraphrase Rush Limbaugh, Republicans want their party to be a true opposition party and it has ceased being that.

Marco Rubio’s still hangs on by his fingernails and if he does well in South Carolina, he could make a comeback. Even if he does, however, Trump would have to stumble big time for the race for the nomination to become a two-man race between Rubio and Cruz

Chris Christies’ suicide attack on Marco Rubio was effective, but it ruined his chances of finishing in the top four or five. Before the New Hampshire Republican debate Christie made the strategic decision to go after Rubio hard as a way of advancing his own candidacy. That strategy failed partially because of the meanness in which he executed his attack on Rubio and partially because of his incessant bragging about it during interviews after the debate. His behavior came across as un-presidential and downright nasty. As a result, he is out of the race.

Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson: Both are good people, but they did not do well in New Hampshire for different reasons. Carly, in my view, didn’t catch on because Republican voters didn’t buy into her electability in a general election against Hillary Clinton. Memories of devastating personal attacks on conservative women have left cars on Republican voters. Carson was too weak on foreign affairs and too meek as a candidate. This year Republican’s want a fighter. Carly dropped out today and how much longer Carson will stay in the race, I don’t know, but neither stood any chance of becoming the party’s nominee.

Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton:  The conventional wisdom is that from here on out it’s Hillary’s show. She will do better in states where blacks and other minorities make up significant portion of Democratic primary voters. True; however, Clinton is a seriously damaged candidate, and even if she wins the nomination as most pundits on both sides predict, odds of her winning a general election against Trump or any of the other top republican candidate are not good. Hillary has proven a poor, un-energetic campaigner, mired in the past and hobbled by scandals past and present. Today’s young Democratic voters lack the forgiving attitudes their counterparts had 20-years ago; and Bill Clinton is not the adroit politician campaigning on behalf of his wife he was as a younger man. Hillary’s attacks on the the women in her husbands “bimbo eruptions” has her now viewed no so much a victim as an enabler. Comparisons of Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby make the point. Most damaging is Hillary’s email scandal which will likely come to a head before the November election. The FBI already has begun to drop breadcrumbs suggesting the referral of a criminal case to the Department of Justice. The attorney general and President Obama likely will do everything they can to stonewall, but the accusations of cover-up will become deafening and damaging.

Bottom Line: Right now a Trump-Clinton match up in the November election appears most likely. Of course, anything can happen between now and then. The vicious, dirty Democratic campaign, like those we’ve witnessed in the past is about to begin, first on Bernie Sanders then on Donald Trump. Presidential politics is about to become very dirty–again. Hillary’s next book may be titled “Guess What Happened to Me on the Way to the Coronation?”

 

 

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,

THE DONALD VS. MEGYN

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The biggest story in politics and about the media this week is the tussle between Donald Trump and Fox News over Megyn Kelly. Ever since Megyn asked Donald a question he didn’t like about his attitudes toward women in the first Fox News debate, he has been calling her a bimbo, a terrible journalist and worse. Megyn, for her part, has tried to stay above the fray, having the natural advantage of being the “victim” of the Donald’s attacks. Her question at the opening of the first debate was well with acceptable parameters for presidential debates.

All this came to a head this week when Trump said he wouldn’t participate in the second Fox News debate tomorrow if Megan Kelly was one of the moderators. We don’t know the totality of communication that may have taken place behind the scene between the Trump campaign and Fox News, but Trump first said he “probably” wouldn’t participated in the debate and then soon followed with a statement that he would not participate. Instead, he would hold a separate event in Iowa to raise money for veterans. That probably has something to do with the sarcastic statement the Fox News press office put out.

“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

Trump has been a master at manipulating the media, and many see this as just another artful move on his part to garner attention before the Iowa caucuses. Until Trump came along, the media has had the upper hand in American politics. It has been able to destroy any politician that didn’t genuflect before it. All Trump is doing in the dust up with Kelly, the argument goes, is demonstrating that he can tell the mighty Fox News “screw you” and get away with it. This no doubt will endear him even more to his host of ardent supporters. He’ll win Iowa and New Hampshire and breeze through the primaries to the nomination at the Republican National Convention. In the end the way he has treated Kelly will have been justified as part of a winning strategy.

The other side of this coin is that Trumps comments and treatment of Megan Kelly are un-presidential and uncalled-for and expose Trump for who and what he really is—an egotist, a narcissist and a misogynist. His attack on Trump will turn off voters and, in the end, could help cost him the nomination.

Where do I stand on all this? I fully understand and appreciate Trumps masterful manipulation of the media. A vast number of voters, Republicans and Democrats, are fed up with the status quo and enjoy, no love, Trumps act. They want to see the establishment toppled—the equivalent of stabbing Caesar. However, they may have felt about Megan Kelly before the clash, they excuse Trumps behavior toward her as brilliant strategy.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am among the millions of admirers of Megyn Kelly. She is one of the brightest media stars to come along in a long time. Many pundits refer to her as the new Barbara Walters—forget the Barbara Walters of The View and consider her impressive life’s work. I agree. I understand also why Fox’s Roger Ailes is supporting Megan and refusing to cave to Trump’s pressure. She earns Fox News a lot more money than they will lose because of lower ratings in tomorrow’s debate. Should Ailes pull Kelly from the debate, she no doubt would bolt from the network.

Furthermore, I’m not among the legion of Trump loyalists. While I share much of their dissatisfaction with Washington, D.C., establishment, I have my doubts about his ability to run the country and command the U.S. Armed Forces. There is no room in the presidency for on-the-job training. It didn’t work with Barack Obama and I don’t believe it will work with Donald Trump.

We won’t have to wait long to determine who benefits the most from this scuffle. Frankly, I’m pulling for Megyn.

Here’s the link to the article I wrote on Rosie O’Donnell, Donald Trump, and Barbara Walters ROSIE, THE DONALD AND BABS

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , ,

TO TRUMP OR NOT TO TRUMP, THAT IS (WAS) THE QUESTION

On December 27, 2011, if it isn’t cancelled for lack of participants, Donald Trump is scheduled to moderate the Newsmax ION Television Republican Presidential Debate in De Moines, Iowa. The jury is out on whether Trump’s P.T. Barnum approach to the 2012 presidential election ultimately will help or hurt Republicans. What’s clear is Trump and P.T. Barnum have a lot in common; and “The Donald’s” approach to the upcoming presidential election is right in tune with the three-ring circus Barnum invented and American presidential elections have become.  (More)

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WAITING FOR SARAH PALIN? Why She Will Run for President in 2012

Sarah Palin addressing the Republican National...

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Listen to Ed’s Audio Blog:

Media coverage of who’s in and who’s out of the race for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 has intensified with the withdrawal of Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, and now Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. But despite a Gallup poll showing Sarah Palin as the principal person to gain from Huckabee’s decision not to run and not-so-subtle hints by the former Alaska governor that “. . . I do have the fire in my belly,” most Republican and Democratic pundits continue to believe she won’t run. I believe that she will run and here’s why.  (More)

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ROSIE, THE DONALD, AND BABS REDUX

Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fash...

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There’s no new column this week. I was traveling and spending the Easter Weekend with family. However, with Donald Trump in the news talking about running for president, here’s a link to my January 15, 2007 column on the public spat between Rosie O’Donnell, Donald Trump, and Barbara Walters. What does this tell us about a Trump presidency? (More)

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SORTING OUT THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT

With his family by his side, Barack Obama is s...

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Listen to Ed’s Audio Blog:

President Barack Obama will kick off his reelection campaign this week with an announcement followed by a series of fundraisers in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles with a growing gaggle of GOP candidates forming up to run against him. Sorting them out by their ranking in the polls is the traditional approach. I prefer, however, to look at them another way.

Currently there are 18 people in the monthly Townhall.com straw poll, and it doesn’t include Donald Trump or others people have talked about as potential candidates. Not all of them, of course, will decide to run. Gov. Chris Christie, for example, has stated emphatically that he won’t run. Many question if Mike Huckabee will; and who knows what Sarah Palin will decide to do?

For those contemplating a serious bid, there are numerous daunting obstacles besides the incumbency of a sitting president they must contend with. Few are wealthy enough or can raise the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to run a successful presidential campaign; and, judging from the polls, most have insufficient popular support and quickly will fall by the wayside after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Ranking them by their poll numbers is the conventional way of sorting the candidates. There’s another methodology, however. It requires us to read their minds and is completely subjective. It sorts them into three categories.  (More)

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