Thursday, December 8, 2016

Conversation With Son. With Obama Buck Never Stops on His Desk. Businessmen Running Government - How Novel Obama On White Southern Voters.

The U.S tried killing Castro for decades.

Three weeks after Trump is elected president
the job is done.

And it continues. (See 1 below.)
This from a wonderful friend, great tennis and bocce player and fellow memo reader: "Dick ...  As always, you have constructed a terrific piece of logical, instructive analysis for those interested in understanding what is really happening!  I particularly like your comparisons of the America Obama loves, and the one you and I love!!  Keep on writing!     J--
PS ...Tell me more about the Rue of Law (sorry ... couldn't help myself!!).
My son called a few nights ago to update me on the progress of his real estate development company and then our conversation turned to Trump and Boeing.

He brought up an interesting observation and said perhaps Trump was sending a more subtle message which the mass media and anti-Trumpers missed as the did with the Taiwan call.  The point being, the Taiwan call was possibly a shrewder act than our businessman president elect was being given credit for orchestrating.

My son suggested perhaps Trump was sending a signal to Boeing that since he did not like the Iran Deal, and Boeing had eagerly jumped at the chance of doing business with Iran, maybe the management of Boeing might want to reconsider.

Obama castigated Boeing for moving a plant to South Carolina, if my flawed memory serves me, so perhaps the mass media are reporting their knee jerk prejudice when only a few years ago Obama's interference was dismissed, and as with Taiwan, are totally missing Donald's subtlety.

Meanwhile, Trump's pace continues to give the mass media plenty to carp about.  Today's complaints focus on too many generals being selected and then we always have their reserve complaint regarding Trump's hotels benefiting from his presidency and Michael Moore has called upon America's anti-Trumper anarchists to disrupt the Election Celebration. And don't forget about Trump's selection for The EPA.  After meeting with Gore, apparently Trump, according to the anti-Trumpers, are now convinced Donald wants to ruin our air, pollute our water, melt those icebergs and kill off those pesky polar bears.

An alternate view is that Donald understands it is time to dial back the impact of un-elected bureaucrats who, for decades, have over reached their authority by interpreting laws with utter contempt for Congress' intentions and total disregard of the destructive cost of regulatory creep relative to the benefit derived etc.

Stop and think about this.  Greens and climate worshipers complain we are going to leave our children a destroyed and unprotected world yet they raise no voice that we are bankrupting our children with debt.  All conservatives ask for is balance and I believe, for the first time in decades, our government is going to be run by intelligent and responsible businessmen and I believe that will prove a refreshing change and perhaps they will be able to roll back mountains of rules and regulations based on aggressive bureaucratic stupidity who have engaged in autocratic extensions beyond the intent of Congress.  

To add insult to injury, if you try to have a rational discussion with the "huggers" they resort to character assassination and foam at the mouth. They refuse to engage in a discussion based on a factual defense of their views and they have no concept of balancing saving the world against a justifiable cost. For them no expense should be spared.  Consequently, people lose jobs as businesses no longer can compete.

More administrators have been hired to keep track of records demanded by government laws in the health sector than health personnel. Next time you go to your doctor ask him how many people he has hired simply to comply with new rules and regulations. My own knee surgeon told me added personnel costs caused him to rethink doing what he loved so he quit.

I have been told by doctor friends they are so busy filling out forms they no longer have the luxury of looking at their patients and/or taking time to engage in a conversation.

On another note, seems Trump is selecting people with real life experience and successes based on common sense, logic, leadership skills and even a sense of patriotism.  DUH!

[I served on George Bush '41's  "Presidential Commission on White House Fellowships," and had the distinct privilege and pleasure of interviewing some of our nation's brightest and most accomplished. Among the candidates were young military officers who were headed for future generalship positions

I never met a more outstanding group of officers and during my time my impression of our future military leadership soared.  They spoke many languages, had many advanced degrees from some of our finer universities and colleges and their accomplishments ran the gamut of social involvement.] (See 2 below.)

Finally, the changes that seem at hand suggest many, who are being selected for top jobs in Trump's Administration, have come from colleges and universities that are quite diverse and more representative of our citizenry. Therefore, The Ivy League is taking a back seat and it is about time, and I am a graduate of Penn's Wharton Business School.


When it comes to George Will what comes to mind is: "Where there is a 'will' there is usually a snide intellectual comment from an angry loser."

Is it possible, George, Trump was suggesting to Carrier Management, tax laws were about to change and they should recompute and not be too myopic and/or premature? Perhaps Trump was doing them a gratuitous favor by suggesting they take their head out of the sand? (See 2a below.)

Meanwhile Obama seems to have off loaded another personal failure regarding his claim he was not adequately briefed about the potential strength/rise of  ISIS. Perhaps had Obama  called them Radical Islamic Terrorists it might have made a difference.

With Obama the buck never lands on his desk! Truman must be turning over in his grave.
In a previous memo, I suggested the drug industry could benefit from prospective legislation and it might cause the industry to bifurcate into drug developers and price raisers. (See 3 below.)
Victor Davis Hanson addresses Obama's legacy against his own mileposts.

Last night Obama,in an interview,stated that southern white voters were more negative toward him than northern white voters.  In essence, Obama was accusing me and Southerners of bigotry because he was viewed by me and my regional brethren as foreign.

My  attitude toward Obama is based on the fact that I reject his policies even though I believe he is also too thin skinned, has lied too may times and empirically has left America deeply in debt and weakened in virtually every aspect .

That Obama is black is his problem just as using being Jewish as an excuse for my failures would be my problem.

No President Obama I reject your assertion.  White Southerners simply have a tradition of being more conservative than white northerners.  We are more agrarian, more independent and more self reliant on ourselves so that is why we reject your community organizer nonsense.

Know this is hard for you to swallow but it is time you started choking on your failed legacy which you chose to shove down our throats. (See 4 below.)

1)Students are shouting down pro-Israel speakers — and silencing free speech

David Greenberg is a professor of history at Rutgers University and the author of “Republic of Spin.”
Cary Nelson is a English professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an affiliated professor at the University of Haifa. David Greenberg is a history professor at Rutgers University. They are members of the Alliance for Academic Freedom.

Since 2014, there has been a disturbing surge in the number of invited campus speakers being repeatedly interrupted or actually prevented from delivering a public lecture. A startling share of these silencing efforts have been directed at Israelis or other speakers sympathetic to Israel who have run afoul of the growing anti-Israel movement on campuses.

Behind this spike is an idea called “anti-normalization.” This concept, which anti-Israel organizations began vigorously promoting two years ago, holds that any activities that might “normalize” relations between Israelis and Palestinians — from children’s soccer leagues to collaborative environmental projects to university panel discussions with both sides represented — should be summarily rejected because they treat both parties as having legitimate grievances and aspirations. Joint projects are to be shunned unless they begin with the premise that Israel is the guilty party.

Shouting down speakers — including defenders of Israel — didn’t start with the adoption of anti-normalization. But in the past such episodes were regarded as exceptional and scandalous violations of academic freedom. In one of the first of these episodes, in 2010, Michael Oren, a distinguished historian serving as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, tried to give a presentation at the University of California at Irvine, when pro-Palestinian students interrupted him with epithets and slogans. He was unable to utter more than a few portions of his remarks at a stretch, although he did ultimately finish the speech.

But that incident was widely condemned. Ten protesters were later found guilty of disrupting a speech and ordered to perform community service. Upholders of free-speech rights insisted that at an institution of higher learning, you don’t shout people down; a liberal education requires that all views be given a hearing. And when Oren’s critics countered that Israel’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank placed its defenders beyond the protections of academic discourse, they found themselves in an impossible position. Free-speech principles, after all, are either universal or they become politicized and diminished, subject to the whim of those in power.

In recent years, however, anti-normalization has provided a new justification for singling out Israel’s supporters for silencing. For decades, Israel’s detractors struggled in vain to rebut the point that they were unfairly targeting a relatively liberal democracy while ignoring the far worse human rights violations of numerous state and non-state actors. Anti-normalization offered a convenient principle specific to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — one that could create a rhetorical escape hatch from questions of why, by this logic, defenders of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia or China didn’t also deserve to be silenced.

As anti-normalization spread as a tactic, it acquired a higher status. Advocates of BDS — the campaign to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — began to grant this “principle” a quasi-theological character, lending its application to campus events an air of moral urgency and ethical superiority. By last year, BDS supporters had a transcendent reason to voice their contempt for academic freedom when they refused to participate in “normalizing” dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to block campus access to speakers deemed sympathetic to Israel.

As a result, such incidents proliferated. In October 2015, former Israeli Supreme Court chief justice Aharon Barak, noted for his support of Palestinian rights, had his own UC-Irvine talk interrupted and curtailed. The following month the world-renowned Israeli philosopher and New York University faculty member Moshe Halbertal had a University of Minnesota lecture disrupted. In February, Israeli Arab Bassem Eid was relentlessly heckled by BDS activists at the University of Chicago; in April, they blocked Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat from speaking at San Francisco State University.

In other cases, anti-normalization prompted people to prevent a speech simply because it was co-sponsored by a Jewish student group. At Brown University in March, the transgender activist Janet Mock canceled a speech after 160 anti-Israel students objected because the campus Hillel chapter was among the sponsors.
Anti-Israel speakers have also faced calls to have their invitations rescinded. In 2013, the University of Michigan withdrew an invitation to Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker, who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany. In 2011, the City University of New York withdrew an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner, a fierce critic of Israel, only to quickly reinstate it. These incidents, too, are completely unacceptable, but — significantly — they were one-offs, not the result of a policy espoused by an international campaign.

The growing practice of silencing pro-Israel speakers — of denying them the right to be treated as equals in campus debates — constitutes a dire threat to academic freedom. In our deeply polarized times, it is more important than ever that universities create opportunities for students and faculty to hear and engage with ideas that they don’t share. Their leaders must defend more vocally than they have thus far the free-speech rights of all speakers on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They must do so now, before the shouting down of unpopular views becomes, for lack of a better word, normalized

One China, one Taiwan

by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
AS A CANDIDATE and a president-elect, Donald Trump has compiled a long list of follies, gaffes, and outrages. His phone conversation with Taiwan's president isn't among them.

Trump's few minutes on the telephone Friday with Tsai Ing-wen, who phoned by prearrangement to congratulate the incoming US chief executive, sent the foreign-policy establishment into meltdown mode. For the first time in nearly 40 years, an American president or president-in-waiting had spoken directly with his Taiwanese counterpart, and the reaction in many quarters was hysteria. "These are major pivots in foreign policy w/out any plan," tweeted an alarmed US Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. "That's how wars start."
In truth, wars are made more likely when the United States attempts to appease powerful and dangerous aggressors at the expense of weaker but peaceful allies. For eight years, President Obama has largely pursued such a foreign policy, bending over backward to accommodate brutal regimes — in Iran, Russia, Cuba — while ignoring or abusing friends from Kiev to Aleppo to the prison cells of Havana. The result has been a world more violent, fanatic, and unstable.

For years, under presidents of both parties, Washington has gone along with China's demand that Taiwan be marginalized and embarrassed in the international arena. Taiwan is denied membership in the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank, for example. Its Olympic athletes are not permitted to compete under their nation's proper name or flag. Last month Taiwan was denied permission to attend the annual meeting of Interpol, the international criminal police organization even as an observer. These exclusions are shameful in their own right, and they retard American interests in the Far East by encouraging China to advance its goals through bullying and intimidation. If Trump's gesture last week signals that the United States will no longer collaborate in the snubbing of Taiwan, foreign-policy realists should be the first to applaud.
Creative fictions have their place in diplomacy, but the so-called "one-China" policy is a good example of one that years ago outlived its efficacy. There was a time when Beijing and Taipei each claimed to be the sole legitimate government of both the Chinese mainland and the island across the Taiwan Strait. It wasn't factually true, but American policymakers found it useful to pretend otherwise. Thus, from 1949 to 1979, Washington maintained the diplomatic charade that China's rightful government was in Taipei. In 1979 the US position was reversed under Jimmy Carter; the fig leaf became that Beijing was the authentic government of "one China."
In the wake of a savage civil war that left both mainland China and Taiwan ruled by dictatorial regimes vowing to destroy each other, America's "One China" posture may have been defensible. But it has been 67 years since Chiang Kai-shek's flight to Taiwan, and his authoritarian regime is a dusty memory. Taiwan is now a free and democratic republic, a thriving nation in which human rights are protected, civil liberties enforced, and freedom of conscience guaranteed. It is a trustworthy American ally and our 10th-largest trading partner; its intentions toward China are those of a respectful and peaceable neighbor.

In every respect that matters, Taiwan is a sovereign, independent, civilized nation. There should be no hesitation about saying so — not by Taiwan, and not by its friends. The kowtowing to Beijing should have ended decades ago. Yes, Trump's protectionist trade rhetoric toward China (and other countries) is deplorable, and Congress should staunchly resist his threats to impose choking tariffs on Chinese exports. But it should just as staunchly encourage Trump to normalize relations between Taiwan and the United States.
The "One China" sham is obsolete. A full-fledged diplomatic mission — not a back-of-the-bus "economic and cultural office" — should represent Taiwan in Washington. High-level American and Taiwanese officials should be welcomed as guests in both countries. The State Department should press for Taiwan's admission to the UN and other international bodies. The new president and defense secretary should appear together at the Pentagon early next year to confirm that America's commitment to Taiwan's defense — a commitment mandated by the Taiwan Relations Act more than 35 years ago — is unwavering.

No more fig leaf. Beijing may be the sole legitimate government of China, but China stops at the Taiwan Strait. There is one China and one Taiwan. Let's all stop pretending otherwise.
(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe).

2a)Trump’s Carrier deal is the opposite of conservatism

 Opinion writer  
So, this is the new conservatism’s recipe for restored greatness: Political coercion shall supplant economic calculation in shaping decisions by companies in what is called, with diminishing accuracy, the private sector. This will be done partly as conservatism’s challenge to liberalism’s supremacy in the victim hood sweepstakes, telling aggrieved groups that they are helpless victims of vast, impersonal forces, against which they can be protected only by government interventions.
Responding to political threats larded with the money of other people, Carrier has somewhat modified its planned transfers of some manufacturing to Mexico. This represents the dawn of bipartisanship: The Republican Party now shares one of progressivism’s defining aspirations — government industrial policy, with the political class picking winners and losers within, and between, economic sectors. This always involves the essence of socialism — capital allocation, whereby government overrides market signals about the efficient allocation of scarce resources. Therefore it inevitably subtracts from economic vitality and job creation.
Although the president-elect has yet to dip a toe into the swamp, he practices the calculus by which Washington reasons, the political asymmetry between dispersed costs and concentrated benefits. The damages from government interventions are cumulatively large but, individually, are largely invisible. The beneficiaries are few but identifiable, and their gratitude is telegenic.
When, speaking at the Carrier plant, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, “The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,” Donald Trump chimed in, “Every time, every time.” When Republican leaders denounce the free market as consistently harmful to Americans, they are repudiating almost everything conservatism has affirmed: Edmund Burke taught that respect for a free society’s spontaneous order would immunize politics from ruinous overreaching — from the hubris of believing that we have the information and power to order society by political willfulness. In an analogous argument, Friedrich Hayek warned against the “fatal conceit” of believing that wielders of political power can supplant the market’s“efficient mechanism for digesting dispersed information.” The Republican Party is saying goodbye to all that.
Indiana’s involvement in the Carrier drama exemplifies “entrepreneurial federalism” — states competing to lure businesses. This is neither new nor necessarily reprehensible. There are, however, distinctions to be drawn between creating a favorable climate for business generally and giving direct subsidies to alter the behavior of businesses already operating in the state. And when ad-hoc corporate welfare, including tariffs, becomes national policy, it becomes a new arena of regulation, and hence of rent-seeking, which inevitably corrupts politics. And by sapping economic dynamism, it injures the working class.

The most widely discussed and properly praised book germane to today’s politics is J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy,” about the sufferings and pathologies of the white working class, largely of Scots-Irish descent, in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. This cohort, from which Vance comes, is, he says, one of America’s most distinctive subcultures, particularly in its tenacious clinging to traditional mores, many of them destructive.
His book has often been misread as primarily about the toll taken by economic forces — globalization, automation, etc. Actually, Vance casts a cool eye on the theory that “if they only had better access to jobs, other parts of their lives would improve as well.” His primary concern is with “lack of agency” and “learned helplessness” — the passive acceptance of victim status.

One theory of the 2016 election is that the white working class rebelled not just against economic disappointments but also against condescension, demanding not just material amelioration but, even more, recognition of its dignity. It is, however, difficult for people to believe in their own dignity when they believe that their choices are powerless to alter their lives’ trajectories. Eventually, they will detect the condescension in the government’s message that their fortunes are determined not by things done by them but by things done to them.

Such people are susceptible to charismatic presidential leadership, with its promise that executive power without limits can deliver them from unhappiness by delivering to them public goods. In contrast, there was dignity in the Joad family (of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”). When the Dust Bowl smothered Oklahoma, the Joads were not enervated, they moved west in search of work.
What formerly was called conservatism resisted the permeation of society by politics, and particularly by the sort of unconstrained executive power that has been wielded by the 44th president. The man who will be the 45th forthrightly and comprehensively repudiates the traditional conservative agenda and, in reversing it, embraces his predecessor’s executive swagger.
3)  Senate Clears Bill to Ease FDA Drug and Device Approvals

Measure includes money for NIH, cancer moonshot, precision medicine initiative

WASHINGTON—Passage of legislation aimed at speeding up Food and Drug Administration approvals, combined with an incoming president who has pledged to “cut red tape” at the agency, is expected to usher in a new, more industry-friendly era of drug and device regulation.
The Senate on Wednesday cleared the measure known as the 21st Century Cures bill, which lays out in detail speedier and more pro-industry methods for the FDA to approve new drugs and medical devices. Its supporters, such as PhRMA, the drug-industry association, and AdvaMed, representing device makers, praise it as a way to bring about more innovation and get treatments to patients faster.
Republicans have been pushing for the changes for the past few years, arguing that the FDA takes too long to study scientific evidence and sometimes wrongly insists on large, multiyear clinical studies that delay important treatments to patients.
The bill’s mechanisms allow the FDA to use shorter and simpler studies more widely. Under the measure, certain new antibiotics could see shorter trials, and a fairly wide range of drugs could get additional approvals for new uses based on relatively low amounts of evidence, such as data summaries and data from company registries.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said the bill “will help us take advantage of the breathtaking advances in biomedical research and bring those innovations to doctors’ offices and patients’ medicine cabinets around the country.”

The bill includes funding for the “cancer moonshot” program led by Vice President
 Joe Biden and a precision-medicine initiative endorsed by Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, which would receive $4.3 billion over 10 years under the bill.President Barack Obama said after the vote he would sign the measure “as soon as it reaches my desk.”
The White House, too, has said it “supports FDA’s efforts to modernize clinical trial design.”
But the legislation has drawn strong criticism from some medical experts and consumer advocates, who say the legislation in combination with the expressed views of Mr. Trumpwill amount to an unfortunate mix.
“The worry is that this could be a potentially toxic combination, a kind of one-two punch,” said Jerry Avorn, a medical professor at Harvard Medical School. “The bill instructs the FDA to use non-conventional methods to approve drugs, in the hands of a new FDA commissioner with a deregulatory bent.”
Critics and supporters alike agree the measure will give the new administration broad latitude to shape the drug and device approval process as it sees appropriate, and both fully expect the incoming Trump administration to embrace the approach laid out in the Cures bill.
President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t been specific about whom he will select as FDA commissioner. But he has talked about significantly scaling back federal regulations, including food-safety measures.
In a campaign document laying out his priorities for his first 100 days, Mr. Trump said part of his health-care agenda would include “cutting red tape at the FDA.”
“There are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of lifesaving medications,” he said.
In medical products, the legislation mostly will allow the FDA to use smaller studies, less scientifically rigorous research and “real-world evidence” for approval of several drugs and medical devices.
For instance, that real-world evidence is expected to include company registries of patients and other evidence that falls short of the current gold-standard—clinical trials with patients randomly assigned to a study drug, or to a placebo or standard treatment. Consumer groups say it will allow companies to put greater pressure on the FDA to regulate combination drug-device products as devices, which are often subject to a relatively lower standard of evidence than drugs.
The measure also will allow far wider use of simpler goals in medical studies called “surrogate endpoints.” This can mean, for instance, measuring bio-markers in the blood or changes in a tumor, rather than harder to prove outcomes, such as measuring the death rate. One of the main areas in which such surrogate goals are now used is for cancer drugs, and consumer advocates say this experience raises concerns based on some recent research.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute and Oregon Health Sciences University recently looked at all 36 cancer drugs approved by the FDA from January 2008 through December 31, 2012. The drugs were approved based on factors like tumor size or period of time in which the disease didn’t progress. The researchers, Drs. Chul Kim and Vinay Prasad, concluded in the 2015 research in JAMA Internal Medicine that five drugs ultimately showed a survival benefit, 18 didn’t, and that 13 have unknown survival benefits.
Already, more FDA approvals get faster treatment through mechanisms called accelerated, fast-track and expedited approvals.
“We were already seeing weakening of FDA standards under the Obama administration,” said attorney Sarah Sorscher of the Public Citizen Health Research Group. She cited the recent example of the FDA approving a muscular-dystrophy drug that didn’t prove any benefit in outcomes of patients.
The FDA had no comment.
The director of the Public Citizen health group, Michael Carome, said, “Industry will be emboldened by this legislation, and under a deregulation-minded commissioner, will seek further changes in the FDA regulatory scheme.”
With all these changes, the drug industry, with estimated U.S. retail sales of $325 billion annually, and the $150 billion-a-year device industry, are poised to benefit. The industry group PhRMA said the legislation will “improve the discovery and development of new medicines for patients. The legislation includes pro-patient, science-based reforms which enhance the competitive market for bio-pharmaceuticals.”
Medical-device startups will benefit from a requirement for the FDA to more quickly approve “breakthrough” products that are significant advances over existing treatments, said Stryker Corp. Chief Executive Kevin Lobo in an interview. Mr. Lobo said such provisions could incentivize the development of new devices to treat neurological conditions, a small but growing portion of Stryker’s business.
Still, the law is unlikely to have a significant financial impact on large device companies like Stryker, based in Kalamazoo, Mich., Mr. Lobo said. The bulk of Stryker’s $10 billion in revenue last year came from hip and knee replacement implants, and other established technologies are already approved under less-stringent FDA reviews.
The measure includes a number of provisions that helped secure broad support in the House and Senate. The House passed it Nov. 30, with a 392-26 vote, and the Senate on Wednesday cleared the measure 94-5. In addition to the NIH money, it would make $1 billion available for prevention and treatment of opioid addiction, and it would make mental-health treatment more widely accessible to people with mental illness.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) said in an interview that she supported the bill for what it can do to lessen the “public-health emergency” of opioid overdoses, saying that with treatment and counseling, “it is pretty compelling that people can get off addiction.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) said, “I doubt there is a family in America who will not be touched by this important legislation in some way.”
Now that he will be leaving, how well did these initiatives listed in the press release actually work out?
“Securing the historic Paris climate agreement.”
The accord was never submitted to Congress as a treaty. It will be ignored by President-elect Trump.
“Achieving the Iran nuclear deal.”
That “deal” was another effort to circumvent the treaty-ratifying authority of Congress. It has green-lighted Iranian aggression, and it probably ensured nuclear proliferation. Iran's violations will cause the new Trump administration to either scrap the accord or send it to Congress for certain rejection.
“Securing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
Even Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton came out against this failed initiative. It has little support in Congress or among the public. Opposition to the TTP helped fuel the Trump victory.
“Reopening Cuba.”
The recent Miami celebration of the death of Fidel Castro, and Trump's victory in Florida, are testimonies to the one-sided deal's unpopularity. The United States got little in return for the Castro brothers' propaganda coup.
“Destroying ISIL” and “dismantling al Qaeda.”
We are at last making some progress against some of these “jayvee” teams, as Obama once described the Islamic State. Neither group has been dismantled or destroyed. Despite the death of Osama bin Laden, the widespread reach of radical Islam into Europe and the United States remains largely unchecked.
“Ending combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
The Afghan war rages on. The precipitous withdrawal of all U.S. peacekeepers in 2011 from a quiet Iraq helped sow chaos in the rest of the Middle East. We are now sending more troops back into Iraq.
“Closing Guantanamo Bay.”
This was an eight-year broken promise. The detention center still houses dangerous terrorists.
“Rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region.”
The anemic “Asia Pivot” failed. The Philippines is now openly pro-Russian and pro-Chinese. Traditional allies such Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are terrified that the U.S is no longer a reliable guarantor of their autonomy.
“Supporting Central American development.”
The once-achievable promise of a free-market, democratic Latin America is moribund. Dictatorships in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua remain impoverished bullies. All have been appeased by the U.S.
“Strengthening cybersecurity.”
Democrats claimed Russian interference in the recent election. If true, it is proof that there is no such thing as “cybersecurity.” The WikiLeaks releases, the hacked Clinton emails and the Edward Snowden disclosures confirm that the Obama administration was the least cybersecure presidency in history.
“Growing the Open Government Partnership.”
The NSA scandal, the hounding of Associated Press journalists, some of the WikiLeaks troves and the corruption at the IRS all reveal that the Obama administration was one of the least transparent presidencies in memory.
“Honoring our nation's veterans.”
Obama's Department of Veteran Affairs was mired in scandal, and some of its nightmarish VA hospitals were awash in disease and unnecessary deaths. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki was forced to resign amid controversy. Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized for issuing an offensive report falsely concluding that returning war vets were liable to join right-wing terrorist groups.
“Making sure our politics reflect America's best.”
The 2016 presidential campaign was among the nastiest on record. WikiLeaks revealed unprecedented collusion between journalists and the Clinton campaign. Earlier, Obama had been the first president in U.S. history to refuse public campaign money. He was also the largest fundraiser of private cash and the greatest collector of Wall Street money in the history or presidential campaigns.
“Protecting voting rights.”
Riots followed the recent presidential election. Democrats, without merit, joined failed Green Party candidate Jill Stein's recount in key swing states they lost. Progressives are berating the constitutionally guaranteed Electoral College. State electors are being subject to intimidation campaigns.
“Strengthening policing.”
Lethal attacks on police are soaring.
“Promoting immigrant and refugee integration and citizenship awareness.”
The southern U.S. border is largely unenforced. Immigration law is deliberately ignored. The president's refugee policy was unpopular and proved a disaster, as illustrated by the Boston Marathon bombings, the San Bernardino attack, the Orlando nightclub shooting and the recent Ohio State University terrorist violence.
Note what Obama's staff omitted: his doubling of the U.S. debt in eight years, the unworkable and soon-to-be-repealed Affordable Care Act, seven years of anemic economic growth, record labor nonparticipation, failed policy resets abroad, and a Middle East in ruins.
Why, then, has the president's previously sinking popularity suddenly rebounded in 2016?
Obama disappeared from our collective television screens, replaced by unpopular candidates Clinton and Trump, who slung mud at each other and stole the limelight.
As a result, Obama discovered that the abstract idea of a lame-duck Obama was more popular than the cold reality of eight-year President Obama.
He wisely adjusted by rarely being heard from or seen for much of 2016.
So Obama now departs amid the ruin of the Democratic Party into a lucrative post-presidency: detached and without a legacy.

Time Will Tell As It Always Does. Let's Hear It From Ellison.

One of the reasons most Liberals get reality wrong is because they repeat their own lies so often they begin to believe them. Bless their souls.

I connect the telling of lies to the firestorms happening on our campuses and universities.  How come? 

 First, it is a fact that most of academia are Liberals.  

Second, much of the funding of Islamic Departments is by the radical Wahhabi element within the Saudi Royal Family.  

Third, much of what is taught in these departments is biased and abject lies but academics are susceptible to embracing lies first, because of their own bias and second, because of their own cowardice and willingness to tolerate lies under the self-delusion of free speech.

Fourth, the attacks on American campuses, the punishment of those opposed to the spread of hate, deceit and lies, the intolerance by those of other's rights to that which they falsely demand for themselves is a subtle but effective effort to destroy our Republic from within. Yes, chaos is an effective tool of anarchists.

Fifth, once something is repeated often enough it begins to take on a life of acceptability and when it is not crushed and exposed for what it is, it spreads and this is what has taken root and is happening in America and on our campuses.  

This is what McCarthyism was all about in the '50's and it had a terrible effect on our nation and caused Americans to turn on each other, to destroy reputations and ruin lives. 

Some 50 years later we are re-living McCarthyism and it also begins with an M - radical Muslimism.
Will another Joseph Welch save us? If so where is he? (See 1 below.)

I find it amazing when free "progressive" women, who talk about breaking glass ceilings, tolerate and even support radicals who deny women their rights, dress them as if they are non-persons etc.

Sixth, yes Time Magazine is correct.  We are a divided nation and Obama is part of the equation as to why.  Trump asserts he is getting along famously with Obama. Remember GW and his love affair with Putin's blue eyes? 

Trump tells us how much Obama loves America.  Perhaps he does but it is not my America, It is Obama's vision of his America and the two, I submit, are vastly different countries. My America is rooted in the Constitution, is a nation that has sought to live down its more sordid history and truly become a shining light of tolerance for the rest of the world.  However, our tolerance is not radical and intolerant tolerance. It is genuine tolerance within the restraints and application  of our Bill of Rights, our adherence to The Rue of Law and this is why, I personally, was offended by the Clinton's, why I oppose Obama's disregard of our Constitution and his efforts to turn us into Germany, France etc. and Bernie Sander's appeal to failed Socialism

I am no student of history but I have lived long enough to understand the blessings and benefits of strength and the ability to rely upon a"mailed" iron fist and the benefits of Capitalism, with all its faults.  Trump understands strength  as well and probably this is why he has selected three Marine Generals to serve - Semper Fi!  

That said, I also am concerned by his possible self-delusion believing he can lay down with liberal lions and convert them to his side under the rubric of healing. Obama's former connections and associations and belief that America must atone for its sins, his sick need to apologize for this country he professedly loves  is something I reject and never bought.  I have judged Obama not by his silky words but his coarse actions and I intend to apply the same method of measurement to Trump.

I fear the tyrant as much as I do the self deluding romanticist. Hell is paved with good intentions and those who succumb to the siren song of fairness and togetherness because they are blinded by their own egos and believe they know best and their personalities are so awesome they can , yes, drink their own bath water, are also capable of bringing about great tragedy thinking they are healing.

The professedly Liberal anti-Trumpers, anti-Bannoners are lamentably fanning the campus flames by tagging them racists.  Donald may be excessively inured with his ability to narrow our divide but he is no racist, He truly cares about America, the blessings he and his family have been allowed to create and enjoy and intends to and believes he can make America Great Again.

Time will tell as it always does. (See 1a and 1b below - Pomerantz is a friend.)
Now let's hear it from Ellison. (See 2 below.)


A " 'uge" proposed letter from The New York Sun;
Long but could not resist sending at last moment before I leave for Orlando and you will have over a week to digest without any memos.
June 9, 1954
"Have You No Sense of Decency?"

Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy rocketed to public attention in 1950 with his allegations that hundreds of Communists had infiltrated the State Department and other federal agencies. These charges struck a particularly responsive note at a time of deepening national anxiety about the spread of world communism.

McCarthy relentlessly continued his anticommunist campaign into 1953, when he gained a new platform as chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He quickly put his imprint on that subcommittee, shifting its focus from investigating fraud and waste in the executive branch to hunting for Communists. He conducted scores of hearings, calling hundreds of witnesses in both public and closed sessions.

A dispute over his hiring of staff without consulting other committee members prompted the panel's three Democrats to resign in mid 1953. Republican senators also stopped attending, in part because so many of the hearings were called on short notice or held away from the nation's capital. As a result, McCarthy and his chief counsel Roy Cohn largely ran the show by themselves, relentlessly grilling and insulting witnesses. Harvard law dean Ervin Griswold described McCarthy's role as "judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one."
In the spring of 1954, McCarthy picked a fight with the U.S. Army, charging lax security at a top-secret army facility. The army responded that the senator had sought preferential treatment for a recently drafted subcommittee aide. Amidst this controversy, McCarthy temporarily stepped down as chairman for the duration of the three-month nationally televised spectacle known to history as the Army-McCarthy hearings.
The army hired Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to make its case. At a session on June 9, 1954, McCarthy charged that one of Welch's attorneys had ties to a Communist organization. As an amazed television audience looked on, Welch responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy's career: "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, "Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"
Overnight, McCarthy's immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, 48 years old and a broken man.
Related Links:
U.S. Congress. Senate. Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations(McCarthy Hearings 1953-54), edited by Donald A. Rtichie and Elizabeth Bolling. Washington: GPO, 2003. S. Prt. 107-84. Available online.

Reference Items:
Griffith, Robert. The Politics of Fear: Joseph McCarthy and the Senate. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1970.
Oshinsky, David M. A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joseph McCarthy. New York: Macmillan, 1983.
U.S. Senate, Committee on Government Operations, Special Senate Investigation on Charges and Countercharges Involving Secretary of the Army Robert T. Stevens, John G. Adams, H. Struve Hensel and Senator Joe McCarthy, Roy M. Cohn, and Francis P. Carr, 83rd Cong., 2nd Sess., part 59 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1954), pp 2429.

1a)The Son-In-Law Also Rises       
Jared Kushner (Jamel Toppin for Forbes)

It's been one week since Donald Trump pulled off the biggest upset in modern political history, and his headquarters at Trump Tower in New York City is a 58-story, onyx-glassed lightning rod. Barricades, TV trucks and protesters frame a fortified Fifth Avenue. Armies of journalists and selfie-seeking tourists stalk Trump Tower's pink marble lobby, hoping to snap the next political power player who steps into view. Twenty-six floors up, in the same building where washed-up celebrities once battled for Trump's blessing on The Apprentice, the president-elect is choosing his Cabinet, and this contest contains all the twists and turns of his old reality show.

Winners will emerge shortly. But today's focus is on the biggest loser: New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who has just been fired from his role leading the transition, along with most of the people associated with him. The episode is being characterized as a "knife fight" that ends in a "Stalinesque purge."

The most compelling figure in this intrigue, however, wasn't in Trump Tower. Jared Kushner was three blocks south, high up in his own skyscraper, at 666 Fifth Avenue, where he oversees his family's Kushner Companies real estate empire. Trump's son-in-law, dressed in an impeccably tailored gray suit, sitting on a brown leather couch in his impeccably neat office, displays the impeccably polite manners that won the 35-year-old a dizzying number of influential friends even before he had gained the ear, and trust, of the new leader of the free world..

"Six months ago Governor Christie and I decided this election was much bigger than any differences we may have had in the past, and we worked very well together," he says with a shrug. "The media has speculated on a lot of different things, and since I don't talk to the press, they go as they go, but I was not behind pushing out him or his people."

The speculation was well-founded, given the story's Shakespearean twist: As a U.S. attorney in 2005, Christie jailed Kushner's father on tax evasion, election fraud and witness tampering charges. Revenge theories aside, the buzz around Kushner was directional and indicative. A year ago he had zero experience in politics and about as much interest in it. Suddenly he sits at its global center. Whether he plunged the dagger into Christie--Trump insiders insist the Bridgegate scandal did him in--is less important than the fact that he easily could have. And that power comes well-earned.

Kushner almost never speaks publicly--his chats with FORBES mark the first time he has talked about the Trump campaign or his role in it--but interviews with him and a dozen people around him and the Trump camp lead to an inescapable fact: The quiet, enigmatic young mogul delivered the presidency to the most fame-hungry, bombastic candidate in American history.

"It's hard to overstate and hard to summarize Jared's role in the campaign," says billionaire Peter Thiel, the only significant Silicon Valley figure to publicly back Trump. "If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer."

"Jared Kushner is the biggest surprise of the 2016 election," adds Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, who helped design the Clinton campaign's technology system. "Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources."

No resources at the beginning, perhaps. Underfunded throughout, for sure. But by running the Trump campaign--notably, its secret data operation--like a Silicon Valley startup, Kushner eventually tipped the states that swung the election. And he did so in manner that will change the way future elections will be won and lost. President Obama had unprecedented success in targeting, organizing and motivating voters. But a lot has changed in eight years. Specifically social media. Clinton did borrow from Obama's playbook but also leaned on traditional media. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, delved into message tailoring, sentiment manipulation and machine learning. The traditional campaign is dead, another victim of the unfiltered democracy of the Web--and Kushner, more than anyone not named Donald Trump, killed it.

That achievement, coupled with the personal trust Trump has in him, uniquely positions Kushner to be a power broker of the highest order for at least four years. "Every president I've ever known has one or two people he intuitively and structurally trusts," says former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who has known Trump socially for decades and is currently advising the president-elect on foreign policy issues. "I think Jared might be that person."

JARED KUSHNER'S ASCENT from Ivanka Trump's little-known husband to Donald Trump's campaign savior happened gradually. In the early days of the scrappy campaign, it was all hands on deck, with Kushner helping research policy positions on tax and trade. But as the campaign gained steam, other players began using him as a trusted conduit to an erratic candidate. "I helped facilitate a lot of relationships that wouldn't have happened otherwise," Kushner says, adding that people felt safe speaking with him, without risk of leaks. "People were being told in Washington that if they did any work for the Trump campaign, they would never be able to work in Republican politics again. I hired a great tax-policy expert who joined under two conditions: We couldn't tell anybody he worked for the campaign, and he was going to charge us double."

Kushner's role expanded as the Trump ticket gained traction--so did his enthusiasm. Kushner went all-in with Trump last November after seeing his father-in-law pack a raucous arena in Springfield, Illinois, on a Monday night. "People really saw hope in his message," he says. "They wanted the things that wouldn't have been obvious to a lot of people I would meet in the New York media world, the Upper East Side or at Robin Hood [Foundation] dinners." And so this Harvard-educated child of privilege put on a bright-red Make American Great Again hat and rolled up his sleeves.

A power vacuum awaited him at Trump Tower. When FORBES visited the Trump campaign floor in the skyscraper a few weeks before Kushner's Springfield epiphany, there was literally nothing there. No people--and no desks or chairs or computers awaiting the arrival of staffers. Just campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, spokesperson Hope Hicks and a strategy that centered on Trump making headline-grabbing statements, often by calling in to television shows, supplemented by a rally once or twice a week to provide the appearance of a traditional campaign. It was the epitome of the super-light startup: to see how little they could spend and still get the results they wanted.

Kushner stepped up to turn it into an actual campaign operation. Soon he was assembling a speech and policy team, handling Trump's schedule and managing the finances. "Donald kept saying, 'I don't want people getting rich off the campaign, and I want to make sure we are watching every dollar just like we would do in business.'"
That structure provided a baseline, though still a blip compared with Hillary Clinton's state-by-state machine. The decision that won Trump the presidency started on the return trip from that Springfield rally last November aboard his private 757, dubbed Trump Force One. Chatting over McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, Trump and Kushner talked about how the campaign was under-utilizing social media. The candidate, in turn, asked his son-in-law to take over his Facebook initiatives.

Despite his itchy Twitter finger, Trump is a Luddite. He reportedly gets his news from print and television, and his version of e-mail is to hand write a note that his assistant will scan and attach. Among those in his close circle, Kushner was the natural pick to create a modern campaign. Yes, like Trump he's primarily a real estate guy, but he had invested more broadly, including in media (in 2006 he bought the New York Observer) and digital commerce (he helped launch Cadre, an online marketplace for big real estate deals). More important, he knew the right crowd: co-investors in Cadre include Thiel and Alibaba's Jack Ma--and Kushner's younger brother, Josh, a formidable venture capitalist who also co-founded the $2.7 billion insurance unicorn Oscar Health.
Jared Kushner: The FORBES cover story

"I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley, some of the best digital marketers in the world, and asked how you scale this stuff," Kushner says. "They gave me their subcontractors."

At first Kushner dabbled, engaging in what amounted to a beta test using Trump merchandise. "I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting," Kushner says. Synched with Trump's blunt, simple messaging, it worked. The Trump campaign went from selling $8,000 worth of hats and other items a day to $80,000, generating revenue, expanding the number of human billboards--and proving a concept. In another test, Kushner spent $160,000 to promote a series of low-tech policy videos of Trump talking straight into the camera that collectively generated more than 74 million views.

By June the GOP nomination secured, Kushner took over all data-driven efforts. Within three weeks, in a nondescript building outside San Antonio, he had built what would become a 100-person data hub designed to unify fundraising, messaging and targeting. Run by Brad Parscale, who had previously built small websites for the Trump Organization, this secret back office would drive every strategic decision during the final months of the campaign. "Our best people were mostly the ones who volunteered for me pro bono," Kushner says. "People from the business world, people from nontraditional backgrounds."

Kushner structured the operation with a focus on maximizing the return for every dollar spent. "We played Moneyball, asking ourselves which states will get the best ROI for the electoral vote," Kushner says. "I asked, How can we get Trump's message to that consumer for the least amount of cost?" FEC filings through mid-October indicate the Trump campaign spent roughly half as much as the Clinton campaign did.

Kushner and his father-in-law Donald Trump, America's President-Elect. (Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Just as Trump's unorthodox style allowed him to win the Republican nomination while spending far less than his more traditional opponents, Kushner's lack of political experience became an advantage. Unschooled in traditional campaigning, he was able to look at the business of politics the way so many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have sized up other bloated industries.

Television and online advertising? Small and smaller. Twitter and Facebook would fuel the campaign, as key tools for not only spreading Trump's message but also targeting potential supporters, scraping massive amounts of constituent data and sensing shifts in sentiment in real time.

"We weren't afraid to make changes. We weren't afraid to fail. We tried to do things very cheaply, very quickly. And if it wasn't working, we would kill it quickly," Kushner says. "It meant making quick decisions, fixing things that were broken and scaling things that worked."

This wasn't a completely raw startup. Kushner's crew was able to tap into the Republican National Committee's data machine, and it hired targeting partners like Cambridge Analytica to map voter universes and identify which parts of the Trump platform mattered most: trade, immigration or change. Tools like Deep Root drove the scaled-back TV ad spending by identifying shows popular with specific voter blocks in specific regions--say, NCIS for anti-ObamaCare voters or The Walking Dead for people worried about immigration. Kushner built a custom geo-location tool that plotted the location density of about 20 voter types over a live Google Maps interface.

Soon the data operation dictated every campaign decision: travel, fundraising, advertising, rally locations--even the topics of the speeches. "He put all the different pieces together," Parscale says. "And what's funny is the outside world was so obsessed about this little piece or that, they didn't pick up that it was all being orchestrated so well."
For fundraising they turned to machine learning, installing digital marketing companies on a trading floor to make them compete for business. Ineffective ads were killed in minutes, while successful ones scaled. The campaign was sending more than 100,000 uniquely tweaked ads to targeted voters each day. In the end, the richest person ever elected president, whose fundraising effort was rightly ridiculed at the beginning of the year, raised more than $250 million in four months--mostly from small donors.

As the election barreled toward its finale, Kushner's system, with its high margins and up-to-the-minute voter data, provided both ample cash and the insight on where to spend it. When the campaign registered the fact that momentum in Michigan and Pennsylvania was turning Trump's way, Kushner unleashed tailored TV ads, last-minute rallies and thousands of volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls.

And until the final days of the campaign, he did all this without anyone on the outside knowing about it. For those who can't understand how Hillary Clinton could win the popular vote by at least 2 million yet lose handily in the electoral college, perhaps this provides some clarity. If the campaign's overarching sentiment was fear and anger, the deciding factor at the end was data and entrepreneurship.

"Jared understood the online world in a way the traditional media folks didn't. He managed to assemble a presidential campaign on a shoestring using new technology and won. That's a big deal," says Schmidt, the Google billionaire. "Remember all those articles about how they had no money, no people, organizational structure? Well, they won, and Jared ran it."

CONTROLLED, UNDERSTATED and calm, Jared Kushner couldn't be more different from his father-in-law in personality and style. Take Twitter. While Trump's impulsive tweeting to his 15.5 million followers reportedly forced his staff to withhold his phone during parts of the campaign, Kushner--who has had a verified account since April 2009--has never posted a single tweet.

And whereas Trump's office is wall-to-wall Donald, a memorabilia-stuffed shrine to ego, the headquarters for the Kushner Companies is sparse and sober. A leather-bound copy of Jewish teachings, the Pirkei Avot, sits on a wooden pedestal in the reception room, and identical silver mezuzahs adorn the side of each office door. The only decoration in his large, terraced boardroom is an oil painting of his grandparents, Holocaust survivors who immigrated to the U.S. after World War II. But enter Kushner's corner office and you see--under a painting with the words "Don't Panic" over a canvas of New York Observer pages--two critical commonalities that unite the pair: columns of real estate deal trophies and framed photos of Ivanka. If you are looking for a consistent ideology from either Kushner or Trump, it can be summarized in a word: family.

Kushner and his wife, businesswoman Ivanka Trump. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Jared and Ivanka met at a business lunch and started dating in 2007. During the courtship Kushner had met Donald only a few times in passing when, sensing the relationship was getting serious, he asked Trump for a meeting. Over lunch at the Trump Grill (which Trump briefly made a household name with his infamous taco bowl tweet), they discussed the couple's future. "I said, 'Ivanka and I are getting serious, and we're starting to go down that path,'" Kushner says and laughs.

"He said, 'You'd better be serious on this.'"

"Jared and my father initially bonded over a combination of me and real estate," Ivanka Trump says in her Trump Tower offices as dark-suited Secret Service agents stand watch in the halls. "There's a lot of parallels between Jared as a developer and my father in the early years of his development career."

Like Trump, Kushner grew up outside Manhattan: New Jersey in Kushner's case, versus Trump's Queens. Also like Trump, Kushner is the son of a man who created a real estate empire in his local market--Charles Kushner eventually controlled 25,000 apartments across the Northeast--and steeped his children in the family business. "My father never really believed in summer camp, so we'd come with him to the office," Kushner says. "We'd go look at jobs, work on construction sites. It taught us real work." Raised with three siblings in an observant Jewish home in Livingston, New Jersey, Kushner went to a private Jewish high school and then to Harvard (a 2006 book about college admissions would later single out Kushner as a prime example of how children of wealthy donors get preferential treatment; administrators quoted within that work later challenged its accuracy, calling it "distorted" and "false"). Next came New York University, for a joint J.D. and M.B.A.

His father was a huge supporter of Democrats, giving $1 million to the Democratic National Committee in 2002 and $90,000 to Hillary Clinton's Senate run in 2000, and Jared largely followed suit, with more than $60,000 to Democratic committees and $11,000 to Clinton. During grad school Kushner interned for Manhattan's longtime district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, before a family scandal upended his life. In 2004 Charles Kushner pleaded guilty to tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering. The latter charge brought national tabloid attention. Angry that his brother-in-law was talking to prosecutors, Charles had paid a prostitute to entrap him--a tryst that he secretly taped and then mailed to his sister.

Just 24, Jared, as the elder son, suddenly found himself charged with keeping the family together. He saw his mother most days and flew to Alabama to visit his father in prison on most weekends. He also developed a deeper bond with his brother, Josh, who had just started Harvard when the scandal broke. Says Josh, who considers Jared his best friend: "He is the person that I turn to for guidance and support no matter the circumstance."
"The whole thing taught me not to worry about the things you can't control," Kushner says. "You can control how you react and can try to make things happen as you want them to. I focus on doing my best to ensure the outcomes. And when it doesn't go my way I have to work harder the next time."

That applied to the family business, too, which Kushner now led. To start fresh, he took aim at Manhattan, just as Trump did 40 years before, determined to play in America's most lucrative and competitive real estate market.
The timing couldn't have been worse. His first big purchase as CEO of the Kushner Companies, 666 Fifth, for a record-breaking $1.8 billion, closed in 2007--just in time for the financial crisis. Rents fell, leases broke, funding vanished. To stay solvent, Kushner sold 49% of the building's retail space to the Carlyle Group and others for $525 million and seemingly restructured every loan agreement possible, showing a willingness to pay more down the road for room to breathe in the short term. In the end he avoided the kind of bankruptcy maneuvers that Trump pulled in the 1990s and weathered the storm.

Kushner had learned a lesson. Rather than chase top-dollar, blue-chip addresses around New York, he would try to ride up with cooler, up-and-coming neighborhoods, which he has done to the tune of $14 billion worth of acquisitions and developments, in places like Manhattan's SoHo and East Village and Brooklyn's Dumbo. "Jared brings a youthful perspective, an innovative mind-set, to a very traditional industry that's comprised of predominantly 70-year-old men," Ivanka Trump says. He has also pushed into resurgent areas--Astoria, Queens, and Journal Square in Jersey City--that were once the stomping grounds of Fred Trump and Charles Kushner, respectively.

PART OF THE REASON Jared Kushner has engendered such public interest, besides the power he suddenly wields and the curiosity generated by his near-invisible media presence, is the paradoxes that he represents.
He brought the Silicon Valley ethos, which values openness and inclusiveness, to a campaign that promised closed borders, trade protection and religious exclusion. He is the scion of prodigious Democratic donors yet steered a Republican presidential campaign. A grandson of Holocaust survivors who serves a man who has advocated a ban on war refugees. A fact-driven lawyer whose chosen candidate called global warming a hoax, linked vaccines to autism and challenged President Obama's citizenship. A media mogul in a campaign stoked by fake news. A devout Jew advising a president-elect embraced by the alt-right and supported by the KKK.
Kushner's answers to these conflicts come down to one core conviction--his unflagging faith in Donald Trump. A faith that, ironically, given his role in the campaign, he defends with the "data" he's accumulated about the man over a decade-plus relationship.

"If I know somebody and everyone else says that this person's a terrible person," he says, "I'm not going to start thinking that this person's a terrible person or disassociating myself, when my empirical data and experience is a lot more informed than many of the people casting these judgments. What would that say about me if I changed my view based on what other people think, as opposed to the facts that I actually know for myself?"
Regarding Trump's worldview: "I don't think it's very controversial in an election to become the president of the United States to say that your position is to put America first and to be nationalist as opposed to a globalist."
As for Trump's endless stream of statements that insulted and threatened Muslims, Mexicans, women, prisoners of war and U.S. generals, among others? "I just know a lot of the things that people try to attack him with are just not true or overblown or exaggerations. I know his character. I know who he is, and I obviously would not have supported him if I thought otherwise. If the country gives him a chance, they'll find he won't tolerate hateful rhetoric or behavior."

On his political affiliation, he defines himself thus: "To be determined. I haven't made a decision. Things are still evolving as they go." He adds: "There's some aspects of the Democrat Party that didn't speak to me, and there are some aspects of the Republican Party that didn't speak to me. People in the political world try to put you into different buckets based on what exists. I think Trump's creating his own bucket--a blend of what works and eliminating what doesn't work." (Though in using the GOP-favored pejorative "Democrat Party" over the traditional "Democratic Party," Kushner gives a hint about the contents of his bucket.)

The allegations of anti-Semitism hit closer to home. In July, Trump tweeted a graphic of Hillary Clinton against a background of dollar bills and a six-pointed star that contained the words "most corrupt candidate ever," an image that had allegedly originated on a white supremacist message board. Dana Schwartz, a reporter for Kushner's Observer, wrote a widely read piece for the paper's site urging her boss, given the prominence he places on his faith and family, to denounce the tweet. Kushner responded with an opinion piece that defended Trump using the same old line: that he knows Trump. "If even the slightest infraction against what the speech police have deemed correct speech is instantly shouted down with taunts of 'racist,' then what is left to condemn the actual racists?"
Kushner insists today that there will be no hate element in the Trump Administration, starting at the top. "You can't not be a racist for 69 years, then all of a sudden become a racist, right?" he says. "You can't not be an anti-Semite for 69 years and all of a sudden become an anti-Semite because you're running."

His reaction to fringe elements, like the KKK and the white nationalist alt-right, who have embraced Trump? "Trump has disavowed their support 25 times. He's renounced hatred, he's renounced bigotry, and he's renounced racism. I don't know if he could ever denounce them enough for some people." He then paraphrases a quote he attributes to Ronald Reagan: "Just because they support me doesn't mean that I support them."

Kushner's support extends to Steve Bannon, Trump's strategic advisor, who had been accused by his ex-wife of making anti-Semitic comments (he denies it) and whose website, Breitbart, has often published articles that dog-whistle racist, anti-Semitic sentiments. "Do you hold me accountable for every single thing that the Observer' s ever written, like they came from me?" Kushner says. "All I know about Steve is my experience working with him. He's an incredible Zionist and loves Israel. He was one of the leaders in the anti-divestiture campaign. And what I've seen from working together with him was somebody who did not fit the description that people are pushing on him. I choose to judge him based on my experience and seeing the job he's done, as opposed to what other people are saying about him."

And that seems to reflect how Kushner feels about friends upset by his role in electing someone who offends their values, to the point where, before the election, several wrote to him in fits of pique. "I call it an exfoliation. Anyone who was willing to change a friendship or not do business because of who somebody supports in politics is not somebody who has a lot of character.

"People are very fickle," he adds. "You have to find what you believe in, challenge your truths. And if you believe in something, even if it's unpopular, you have to push with it."

MANY OF THOSE fickle friends are likely to return now that Kushner, after masterminding Trump's stunning victory, has the ear of the future president. What he will do with that power is anyone's guess.
For now, Kushner plays coy: "There's a lot of people who have been asking me to get involved in a more official capacity. I just have to think about what that means for my family, for my business and make sure it'd be the right thing for a multitude of reasons."

It's unlikely that he can hold a formal position in the Trump White House. Nepotism laws established after President Kennedy made brother Bobby attorney general bar the president from giving government roles to relatives--including in-laws. Reports have stated that the administration is exploring every legal angle to get Kushner into the West Wing--including adding him as an unpaid advisor, though even that may be covered by the law, which was written to ensure fealty to the Constitution rather than the individual.

But it may be a moot point. With or without a government title or a $170,000 federal salary, there's no law that bans a president from seeking counsel from whomever he wants. It's clear America's tech and entrepreneurial leaders, who heavily backed Clinton and collectively denounced Trump, will use Kushner as a go-between and that Trump will lean on him just as heavily.

"I assume he'll be in the White House throughout the entire presidency," says News Corp. billionaire Rupert Murdoch. "For the next four or eight years he'll be a strong voice, maybe even the strongest after the vice president."

1b)  Mississippi’s Governor Learns at Pardes

By Sherwin Pomerantz

While Mississippi’s 9,000 Jews make up just 0.003% of the state’s 3 million citizens, the state is an incredibly strong source of support for Israel and understands the potential mutual benefit that can be gained from increasing the economic activity between the two states.

Led by two-term Governor Phil Bryant, the state recently completed its third business mission in the last two years, each time encouraged and led by the Governor. Never before has a US state governor visited Israel as often.

But that’s only half the story. There is, among the political leadership of the state, an incredibly strong identification with the Jewish people that finds its roots in bible stories that locals there learned in their youth. During this visit, State Representative Donnie Bell, who hails from a small community of 2,200 in rural northern Mississippi, said that coming to Israel has been on his bucket list for as long as he can remember. He related that his mother taught him from an early age that Jews are special to God and that he must always respect the Jewish people.

In the governor’s case, as an early student of the bible he has a very well defined affinity for both the land and the people of Israel. So perhaps it was divine planning that the most recent Mississippi trade mission coincided with a  Pardes Lunch & Learn session hosted by a law firm located in Tel Aviv’s Azrielli Center. Full disclosure: When I am not wearing my Pardes Chairperson’s kippah I head an economic development consulting firm in Jerusalem which, among other activities, formally represents the trade and investment promotion interests of Mississippi in Israel and the region.

Pardes was honored to host Governor Bryant along with his aide-de-camp and the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority as well as Lior Haiat, Israel’s Consul General in Miami who accompanied the mission for  Rabbi Dr.Daniel Roth’s session on “Can Advocates of Justice also be Pursuers of Peace?” The reaction? The Governor absolutely loved being there and even participated in the havruta  session and discussion that followed.

Afterwards, he reflected on his first Pardes learning experience, “I am amazed that people here take time out of their work day to study topics discussed and debated centuries ago. This is something all of us could learn from. It reminded me of my days in church school. We were happy to be invited and enjoyed being with the participants.”

In many ways this was a real Kiddush haShem. I can just imagine the look on the face of Rabbi Jeffrey-Kurtz Lendner of Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson, the state capital, the next time he sees the Governor and this experience is related to him as I am sure it will be. At Pardes we often think of North America in terms of the major Jewish cities and sometimes forget the visceral support Israel has in smaller and more isolated Jewish communities. This event brought that lesson home to many of us.

Sherwin Pomerantz is a 33 year resident of Israel, CEO of Atid EDI Ltd., a Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm, past National President of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel and Chairman of the Board of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

Comment: Keith Ellison’s speech was an Islamic-supremacist, chauvinist diatribe


The real story with Ellison is that, as with so many religious-nationalist Muslims in the West, his views dovetail much more logically with the extreme Right.

Women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (photo credit:REUTERS)
In mid-November Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison announced he would run for chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. He received support from influential Democrats such as Bernie Sanders and Senator Chuck Schumer, who is expected to be the Senate minority leader in 2017.

Ellison’s personal story in many ways is the kind that makes America exceptional: a black man who converted to Islam and found himself at the center of American politics. As such he represents two minority groups, and has been outspoken in support of both. 

What’s also exceptional is that he has supported extreme ethno-religious nationalism as well. In law school at the University of Minnesota he wrote passionately about the Nation of Islam and affirmative action in columns that might raise eyebrows today with terms like “white barbarism,” but surely were normal in hyper-racially-aware campus life. 
An April 1990 op-ed The Minnesota Daily put online under Ellison’s pen-name Keith Hakim even proposes the creation of a black country in the US South. “Blacks, of course, would not be compelled to move to the black state, and, of course, peaceful whites would not be compelled to move away.”

Ellison later distanced himself from the Nation of Islam and these black nationalist concepts, noting in 2006 that the Nation of Islam leader was antisemitic and “I should have come to that conclusion earlier than I did.” 

Now the pro-Ellison crowd is trying to highlight his progressive views. J.J Goldberg at The Forward says the congressman supports “gay rights and marriage equality, women’s equality and empowerment.” His views on Israel are merely left of center, he “stands on platforms with fellow leftists and Muslims and publicly defends Israel’s rights.”

On November 29 the Investigative Project on Terrorism released a 2010 clip of Ellison condemning Israel and US foreign policy. 

The Anti-Defamation League excoriated his views. But, wait a sec, supporters said. Read a transcript of the full tape. There’s nothing outrageous here.

Well, I read it, and so should you. Goldberg says that those who oppose Ellison “target him in an attempt to combat the visible presence of Muslims at all levels of American society on the assumption that what’s good for Muslims must be bad for Israel.” Ellison is merely a “Muslim peacenik” whose sympathy is for Palestinians.

Ellison’s 2010 speech at a fundraiser with Esam Omeish, who had run for Virginia State Assembly, was in itself strange.

Omeish was asked to resign from the Virginia State Commission on Immigration by governor Tim Kaine in 2007 when it was revealed in a December 2000 speech on “Jerusalem Day” he had claimed Palestinians “have known that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land.” So why was Ellison standing by Omeish? “I’m bringing 16 Minnesota companies to Saudi Arabia, Riyadh and Dammam,” Ellison told the guests in 2010. “What’s going on with the US-Libyan relation, business relationship? We got to build it up. Morocco, we got to build it up. Saudi Arabia, we got to build it up.”

Ellison said it was the job of Muslim Americans to mobilize, “by supporting my campaign you’re keeping me in business doing this stuff.” The “stuff” was more bilateral business relationships with the “Muslim world,” and he claimed that “these business relationships can be leveraged to say that we need some, a new deal politically.”

Part of that would mean “if you have come to America, if you’ve left Syria, let’s do something about that sanctions bill that prohibits trade.”

I want you to read these quotes again. Here is “progressive” Keith Ellison talking about increasing relations with Saudi Arabia and taking a delegation there. A delegation to one of the most repressive regimes in the world, where there are public beheadings and women may not drive or travel without permission. He didn’t say “let’s build relations with liberal Muslim countries,” but rather Saudi Arabia. And where else? Libya under Muammar Gaddafi.

He wanted sanctions lifted on Syria under Bashar Assad and he wanted Syrian Americans who fled the brutal, fascistic Assad government to support that.

This is Ellison’s true face: not anti-Israel and antisemitic, but an Islamic supremacist who was also either ignorant of the reality in Syria under the Assad regime, or a willing dupe for these dictators. He complained that the Middle East was “a region of 350 million all turns on a country of seven million,” referring to Israel’s role in US policy. His solution? For Americans who “trace their roots back to those 350 million [to get] involved.” When Muslim Americans get involved, he saw them as Muslim first: “I am telling [you] that the Muslim [Capitol] Hill staffers are a group of highly, highly competent professionals. Brother Assad Akhtar, yeah, who did such a great job...” It’s not clear who “brother” Assad is, but it’s clear that if a Christian or Jewish American spoke about “the Christian capital hill staffers, brother John,” it would be problematic.

It was a very religious speech also. He said “only Allah knows who is going to win” and “I keep the ummah [Muslim community] in my prayer constantly.” Ellison’s speech wasn’t about anything liberal, this was a speech about chauvinism, Saudi Arabia-style chauvinism. Does this sound liberal and progressive, or like a religious reactionary? Can anyone imagine a US politician saying, 

“We just want to say all praise is due to Christ for those Christian doctors and nurses and physicians who every single day heal Americans”? That’s a direct quote from the 2010 speech, but with Christ substituted for “Allah” and Christian for “Muslim.” Well you can imagine a right-wing Christian conservative saying it. But Ellison said this under the guise of “liberalism.”

The real story with Ellison is that, as with so many religious-nationalist Muslims in the West, his views dovetail much more logically with the extreme Right.

He says God decides who wins and “all praise is due to God.” He asserts that US policy should be guided by a religious lobby in the US to connect the US to coreligionists abroad, and his complaint about the Israel lobby is merely why should such a small number of believers have such influence. The solution? More Muslims will counterbalance the influence of “them,” the word he uses for Jews in his speech. 

“They live in my district, they are my constituents. I have a moral and legal obligation to meet with them...they want to tell me, well you know the real issue is, the real issue is Iran...if Iran is such a big deal, is it a big enough deal for you to suspend your building houses, colonizing what will be the future state of Palestine?” In this zero-sum worldview there’s no place for rightwing and left-wing Muslims, secular and religious; for him Syria and Saudi Arabia were the same in 2010. This isn’t the “pro-choice” story, this is anti-choice, a clear view that Muslims in America have one choice, and that’s to blindly support every Muslim country abroad and every Muslim “brother” in America. That’s a scary thought and one out of step with the Democratic party’s traditions and the secular view of politics.

The reality is that things are not black and white and nothing is more dangerous than Ellison’s religious test for people. If Ellison wants to think that Israel uses the US as “their ATM,” as he said, or complain Israel is “colonizing what will be the future state of Palestine,” that’s less scary than his views on Saudi Arabia. 

The offensive statement, “that country [Israel] has mobilized its diaspora to do its bidding in America,” is less frightening than his solution: “The question is, with all of us here, we ought to be able to do at least as much.” The solution isn’t to reduce Israel’s influence, but to mobilize Muslim Americans to march in lockstep against it. But Muslim Americans have other interests abroad, a Muslim Kurdish woman from Iran has different concerns than a Muslim Ahmadi man from Pakistan or a Shia from Iraq.

Marching in nationalist, religious lockstep is not what America is about. That’s what sectarians in Syria think life is about. If you’re a Shi’ite you do X and if you’re a Sunni you do Y. Being Muslim does not imply that you must support Saudi Arabia’s outrageous policies. Lots of Muslims understand that nuance. 

But in the West elected leaders like Ellison have eschewed responsibility to fight for the same liberal values in the Islamic world that they pretend to support in the US. Too often politicians who are Muslim in the West end up being members of liberal political parties while not espousing anything liberal. An Islamist Swedish Green Party politician refused to shake hands with women. That’s not liberal and it should be condemned as the right wing extremism that it is.

There are plenty of real liberals in the Muslim world and in the West. For some reason what percolates to the top is the reactionary views of those like Ellison’s 2010 speech that puts “Muslim” first, and rights second.

If those like Ellison think US policy toward Israel is immoral, as he says – “this is about being pro something, it’s about being pro human dignity” – where is the human dignity in Assad’s Syria, or Libya under Gaddafi, or Saudi Arabia? Where is the human dignity for Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to be whipped 1,000 times, like African-American slaves once were? Where is the dignity for the 28-year-old Saudi woman who was gang raped on video and sentenced to 200 lashes? How about human dignity for Asia Bibi in Pakistan, sentenced to death for blasphemy?

Ellison says “build it up.” How about dignity for the Kurdish towns harmed by ongoing war in Turkey? Maybe Ellison is right that some economic relations should be predicated on Israel’s actions, then subject Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and others to the same quid-pro-quo, don’t take delegations to the most religious, fascist country in the Middle East, take them to Tunisia where local democrats crave investment.

Ellison said in 2010, “When I go to Jumuah [Friday prayer], I can get an update on Sudan, on Pakistan.” An update about executions and genocide in those countries? Ellison has nothing critical to say. He complains about the Jewish Diaspora in the US supporting Israel, but Jewish Americans are among the foremost critics of Israel. Ellison doesn’t say Muslims should critique the outright fascism, autocracy, monarchy, intolerance and inquisitions in many Muslim countries, and support the liberals there, he presents a blind nationalist, chauvinist, religious approach to partnership.

A nuanced liberal approach doesn’t see the world through a religious lens. It doesn’t have a religious test for US foreign policy. Ellison should be held to account, not for his views on Israel, but his views on America, Muslims and the Muslim world.

Follow the author @Sfrantzman.