Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Additional Debate Commentary - Some Personal and Some From Those On The WSJ's Editorial Board!

As long as Obama is president and Kerry is Sec. of State, Israel and, most particularly, Bibi, will have a problem and need to watch their back. (See 1 below.)
Sowell discusses the problem of undeserved favoritism. (See 2 below.)
Personal commentary and thoughts regarding last night's debate and Dan Henninger et al thoughts. (See 3 and 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d and 3e below.)

Bibi’s Problem Is Still Obama

By Jonathan S. Tobin

The contrast between the outgoing administration and the two people who hope to succeed President Obama couldn’t have been greater yesterday with respect to one person: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. While Obama and Secretary of State Kerry seem determined to push Israel to the edge before they head into retirement, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seem eager to demonstrate they’ll be different. Should Israelis or U.S. voters believe any of it?

On Sunday, Haaretz published a report about a private meeting in New York in which Secretary of State John Kerry lambasted Israel and, according to diplomats present, “rais[ed] his voice” and urged the international community to “act” to force the Jewish state to change its policies. The upshot of the story is that Kerry seems to want the administration to use its last months in office to pass a United Nations Security Council resolution that would either recognize Palestinian independence or lay parameters for future talks. Such negotiations would essentially undercut Israel’s position by forcing it to agree to Palestinian demands before talks even began.
Yet the same day, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were paying court to Netanyahu and promising a very different atmosphere for Israel should either of them become president.
Whether under the influence of his Jewish son-in-law or out of eagerness to curry favor with pro-Israel voters, Trump went full Likud in his promises to Netanyahu. He reiterated his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and said that peace is not possible with the Palestinians until they “renounce hatred and violence and accept Israel as a Jewish state.” He also pledged to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the U.S. embassy there.
In her statement, Clinton paid similar tribute to the U.S.-Israel alliance but also indicated a significant possible difference with her successor Kerry. She said that a two-state solution could only be brought about by direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians and specifically opposed “any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the UN Security Council.”
While it’s not clear if either Trump or Clinton will gain much by their meetings with Netanyahu, the prime minister came away a big winner, at least for the moment. The willingness of both candidates to pose as Netanyahu’s friends indicates that, at least for now, the bipartisan pro-Israel consensus that is the foundation of the alliance remains intact. But what Netanyahu must ponder is not so much whether he can count on future support from either Trump or Clinton but what impact these pledges might have on a lame-duck Obama administration’s willingness to torch the alliance on its way out the door?
The really interesting dynamic here is whether, like Kerry, Obama is so angry at Israel that he’s willing to end his time in office by stabbing it in the back at the UN. Last week, former State Department staffer and veteran peace processer Dennis Ross predicted that if Trump were elected rather than Clinton, Obama might be more inclined to do something that would hamstring his successor and create pressure on Israel via a UN resolution that couldn’t be walked back by the next president. But assuming that Clinton means what she says about opposing UN intervention in the conflict, it’s not clear whether that will deter Obama or convince him to act against the Jewish state no matter who wins in November.
Netanyahu would do well not to completely trust either candidate. But considering that Obama came into office pledging to create more “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, Trump and Clinton’s statements both seem to portend at the very least a slight improvement on the last eight years regardless of the outcome of the election. If Kerry’s intemperate outburst about trying to rally the world to crack down on Israel is any indication, the problem remains of how to get through the next 116 days without the U.S. helping to pass the kind of resolution that will brand Israel as an outlaw state. Until then, Obama still has the power to create havoc in the Middle East, and there may be nothing that Trump, Clinton, or Netanyahu can do about it.
2) Favors To Blacks
By Thomas Sowell
Back in the 1960s, as large numbers of black students were entering a certain Ivy League university for the first time, someone asked a chemistry professor -- off the record -- what his response to them was. He said, "I give them all A's and B's. To hell with them."
Since many of those students were admitted with lower academic qualifications than other students, he knew that honest grades in a tough subject like chemistry could lead to lots of failing grades, and that in turn would lead to lots of time-wasting hassles -- not just from the students, but also from the administration.
He was not about to waste time that he wanted to invest in his professional work in chemistry and the advancement of his own career. He also knew that his "favor" to black students in grading was going to do them more harm than good in the long run, because they wouldn't know what they were supposed to know.
Such cynical calculations were seldom expressed in so many words. Nor are similar cynical calculations openly expressed today in politics. But many successful political careers have been built on giving blacks "favors" that look good on the surface but do lasting damage in the long run.
One of these "favors" was the welfare state. A vastly expanded welfare state in the 1960s destroyed the black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and generations of racial oppression.
In 1960, before this expansion of the welfare state, 22 percent of black children were raised with only one parent. By 1985, 67 percent of black children were raised with either one parent or no parent.
A big "favor" the Obama administration is offering blacks today is exemption from school behavior rules that have led to a rate of disciplining of black male students that is greater than the rate of disciplining of other categories of students.
Is it impossible that black males misbehave in school more often than Asian females? Or Jewish students? Or others?
Is the only possible reason for the disparities in disciplining rates that the teachers and principals are discriminating against black males? Even when many of these teachers and principals in black neighborhoods are themselves black?
But Washington politicians are on the case. It strengthens the political vision that blacks are besieged by racist enemies, from which Democrats are their only protection. They give black youngsters exemptions from behavioral standards, just as the Ivy League chemistry professor gave them exemption from academic standards.
In both cases, the consequence -- unspoken today -- is "to hell with them." Kids from homes where they were not given behavioral standards, who are then not held to behavioral standards in schools, are on a path that can lead them as adults straight into prison, or to fatal confrontations with the police.
This is ultimately not a racial thing. Exactly the same welfare state policies and the same non-judgmental exemption from behavioral standards in Britain have led to remarkably similar results among lower-class whites there.
The riots of lower-class whites in London, Manchester and other British cities in 2011 were incredibly similar to black riots in Ferguson, Baltimore and other American cities -- right down to setting fire to police cars.
One of the few bright spots for black children in American ghettos have been some charter schools that have educated these children to levels equal to, and in some cases better than, those in affluent suburbs.
You might think that this would be welcomed by those who are so ready to do "favors" for blacks. But you would be dead wrong. Democrats who have been in charge of most cities with sizable black populations, for decades, are on record opposing the spread of charter schools. So is the NAACP.
That is a de facto declaration of moral bankruptcy in both cases, just as in the case of the Ivy League chemistry professor. In all three cases, it is a question of promoting one's own special interests, while offering "favors" to blacks.
The Democrats' special interest is in serving the teachers' unions, which oppose charter schools and support Democrats financially. The NAACP's special interest is in serving the same donors -- and in keeping ghetto schools controlled by racial activists, as part of their turf.
3) Last night, after the debate, I made a few brief comments about my conclusions. Trump did not lose, Hillary did not win but I believe America lost because there were a lot of words thrown around but not much that enlightened or of real substance.
Hillary assumed the role of attack dog and tried to intimidate Trump and monopolized the stage. However, as is her usual style, though somewhat more animated, she basically repeated from her play book, slipped in as many innuendos as she could and continued to make comments , many of which were either lies or twistings/maulings of the truth by way of what the Clinton's are masters at - projections of their actions on others or just unmitigated lies.
Trump gave his general broad brush replies, does a poor job of connecting dots and  was more on the defensive and acted restrained.  Perhaps this was purposeful behaviour but I believe he missed a lot of opportunities to reply in a manner that would have been effective.

 I am listing a few using H for Hillary and D for Donald.

H: Wants to raise taxes and the minimum wage. I oppose trickle down.
T: The economy is too soft to raise taxes and minimum wages. Also,the latter were never intended to provide for the support of a family. Yet, in typical government fashion, the minimum wage has morphed into what was never intended.

Third quarter earnings will prove to be the 6th consecutive period when earnings have been less than stellar.

Finally, capital formation is not to be expected from those with no capital. Employment will surge when we repatriate income due to lower taxes, corporations and various businesses are relieved of stupid and restrictive government regulations and consumers feel confident about their economic prospects.

Your ideas are anti-Capitalism and free market are what have crippled our economy.

H:  You had 6 bankruptcies.
T: Yes, and Babe Ruth struck out many times but he hit a lot of home runs.

Name your home runs and exclude Benghazi, failed policies that cost us the entire Middle East, The Iran Deal, Whitewater, your failed health proposals when your husband was president, Travel Gate, The Rose law firm's documents that disappeared and then reappeared and let us not forget the vacuum that brought about ISIS, and your private server which put our nation's security at risk.

Are these the kind of home runs you will hit as president?

H: You supported the War in Iraq and Bush set the terms of the status of American troops.
T: I did not support the Iraq War so you continue to lie but I did support our troops once we were engaged as any patriotic citizen should. As for the status forces agreement, Obama wanted out at any cost and your support helped create the vacuum filled by ISIS. That JV Team. Remember?

H: When are you going to release your tax returns?  You must be hiding something.
T; My lawyers tell me I should not release them and I pay them a lot of money to advise me and they are lawyers who have not been barred as your husband was or had their license suspended as was yours, Obama's and his wife.

As for hiding something. I pay as little taxes as the law allows and in real estate you can do so through depreciation.

Incidentally, it has been reported that during your tenure as Sec. of State over 6 billion, yes, 6 billion dollars have been unaccounted for. Did they wind up in your Foundation? Would you like to explain. I yield my time.

H: You have a history of racial bias.
T: Some of my most important positions are run both by people of color as well as women so chew on that one.

I also am a Republican nominee who has made more effort to go into the black community seeking their vote unlike Democrats who take them for granted. Democrats have enacted policies which have destroyed their families, made them dependent upon a government that has failed them.

Sen. Moynihan, of your own party, warned about what Democrats were doing to our black citizens and he was vilified for telling the truth and now you are doing the same to me. Quit projecting and attributing your personal failures and those of your party on me. It is the tired act of a desperate candidate.

H: Stop and frisk is unconstitutional and crime is down.
T: Stop and frisk is not unconstitutional.  It was ruled so in New York for specific reasons and the current mayor,chose not to appeal the decision. Killings are now on the rise again and you are lying again.

Race relations in this nation have deteriorated horribly since Obama became president. Respect for police is at an all time low since Obama became president. You and Obama have played the race card as did your husband in N. Carolina when Obama ran initially so don't lecture me about the tragedies that have infected black communities.

As the debate proceeded I sat there making responses similar to the ones above and realize the comfort of your own home is different than being in the pressure cooker.

Trump has two opportunities to course correct and Hillary will try the same because that is who she is.

3)And the Winner of the Trump-Clinton Debate Was . . .
The Journal’s editorial board weighs in on Monday’s presidential debate.

Before we open the envelope in the category of Best Candidate in an Abominable Election, let us understand what the two performers had to do Monday evening.

Hillary Clinton’s primary goal in the debate was to get Donald Trump to restate what he’s said before about Muslims or Hispanics and his presumably misogynistic attitudes toward women. The stuff that upsets people. Her do-or-die goal was to cut down Mr. Trump among doubtful white upper-middle-class voters. These are the battleground-state Americans who live in suburban Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Columbus and in North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin. With the rest of the white vote locked up, these upper-middle-class Republicans and independents will make or break the Trump candidacy.

Hillary needed either to convince them that Donald Trump is unfit or induce Mr. Trump to do it for her by “scaring” these crucially important voters.

Donald Trump needed to give these same people a “get out of Trump jail” card—a reason to look past his flaws and just vote for him rather than the other three options available—her, a Libertarian, or stay home—all votes they really don’t want to cast.

And the winner of the first abominable debate is?

Trump. In what was—shifting metaphors—a photo finish. It shouldn’t have been close. If we know anything, it’s that this is a change election. I couldn’t hear a single element of change in Hillary’s outpourings. “Investments” means familiar spending. ISIS? Drop more bombs.

Did Mount Trump erupt? Not quite. She didn’t get under his skin, but she got on it—and he always has to scratch. That said, it could be that his seething contentiousness matches the electorate’s disgust with the status quo. This isn’t an election about details. It’s broad brush. Mr. Trump is better at broad brush—if only he didn’t splatter so much on himself.

‘People Watched It Like a Mike Tyson Fight’
Say this for the high negatives of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: They guaranteed that millions of Americans tuned in for the first presidential debate the way they would a Mike Tyson fight—wondering if someone would get an ear chewed off. That didn’t happen.

Mrs. Clinton looked cool and collected; she smiled; and though she often launched into full-wonk mode, mostly she avoided the hectoring tone we’ve all become accustomed to. For his part Mr. Trump was at times pushy and too defensive; he spoke well about how ill-served African-Americans have been by Democratic policies; and though his attacks on trade were almost completely mistaken they may nonetheless resonate with workers apprehensive about their future.

But all this may miss each candidate’s real appeal. Mrs. Clinton had her numbers and her programs and her zingers lined up. Along the way, she invoked the great progressive god of fact-checking, a way of appealing to people who have no faith in the ability of ordinary Americans to think for themselves.
Perhaps she did thump him. But democracies can be unruly things, and Mr. Trump isn’t running on policy detail or finesse. He’s running on “Making America Great Again”—and againstWashington and political correctness.

So whatever the pundits may say about this first encounter, we won’t know what it really means until a few days from now when the post debate polls give us the verdict of the only people who matter here: the American voters.
3c) ‘Neither Candidate Was Better Than Ordinary’
“Donald, it’s good to be with you,” Hillary Clinton lied in her opening remarks, and the incline was fairly steep from there. Neither candidate was better than his or her ordinary self. Mrs. Clinton spoke in halting lists of proposals without articulating the animating themes behind her otherwise joyless death march to the White House. Mr. Trump’s performance was echt-Trump—digressive, grandiose and easily baited; naturally, there was native advertising for his D.C. hotel and the ritual demands to take the Middle East’s oil.

But if history is any guide—and this year it has not been a reliable one—voters tend to come away with different impressions than political professionals. The most lasting could be Mr. Trump’s portrait of Mrs. Clinton as the empress of the status quo. On economics, foreign policy and crime, the businessman returned to the same question repeatedly: “I’d just ask you this. You’ve been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now?” Why will conditions improve when they didn’t when Mrs. Clinton held positions of power?

But Mr. Trump needs to overcome public doubts about his candidacy and character, and while he didn’t choke like a dog, he made no forward progress beyond asserting that temperament was his “strongest asset.” Then again, the Clinton campaign is predicated on the idea that he is uniquely unfit, and Mrs. Clinton didn’t even bring herself to enforce her own narrative. She demanded that the fact checkers “turn up the volume,” whatever that means, and assailed his economic program as “Trumped-up trickle-down”—as if he was no different than a typical Republican. Mr. Trump’s best shot to win is if he convinces voters that he is.
3d)‘Just How Dissatisfied Are Voters?’
In 1980 Ronald Reagan asked Americans if they were better off than they had been four years earlier. An electorate disappointed with the failing economy and America’s declining position in the world handed him a landslide victory. The key question raised by Monday night’s debate is just how dissatisfied today’s voters are with their security and economic prospects.

Donald Trump, sometimes awkwardly and vaguely, expressed anger and disappointment with the plight of American workers, the safety of American cities, the state of our defenses against terrorism. Hillary Clinton was the smiling, condescending defender of the status quo.

Ironically, the businessman was least effective when making the economic case against the slow growth and declining opportunities offered by the Obama-Clinton agenda. He might have explained the Tax Foundation analysis showing that his tax plan would boost the economy between 6.9% and 8.2% over a decade, while under Hillary Clinton’s plan the economy would shrink under the weight of new federal burdens.
Mr. Trump was most effective in making the case for law and order—especially in minority communities in inner cities wracked by rising violence. His anguish over the wave of shootings in Chicago was a contrast to the cool Mrs. Clinton, who didn’t seem to think the problem was significant enough to force a reconsideration of any long-held liberal positions.

The Journal reports that 49% of Hispanics and 42% of African-Americans say that the debates will be extremely or quite important to their decision. Mr. Trump likely earned a few votes in these communities on Monday night.
3e) ‘Trump Squandered His Best Right Hook’
Kimberley A. Strassel

Debates are about pressing an advantage, and Donald Trump’s biggest going into Monday night’s event was the issue of Hillary Clinton’s ethics. Nearly two-thirds of the country views the former secretary of state as untrustworthy, the result of endless shenanigans from her email server, to her family foundation, to decades of other Clinton immorality.

Yet in the entire exchange Monday, Mr. Trump barely mentioned the Clintons’ long history of scandal, and even then did so only as a retort. Hillary had delivered a compelling critique of the billionaire’s failure to release his tax returns. Mr. Trump’s response was to claim that he would make public his returns when Mrs. Clinton released the 33,000 emails that she deleted from her private server rather than turn over to the State Department.

What about the pay-to-play allegations at the Clinton Foundation? What about FBI Director James Comey’s declaration (in his press conference and in front of Congress) that Mrs. Clinton was “extremely careless” with classified information, and that she lied about her server? What about her and Bill Clinton’s extraordinary speech cash-outs, especially in light of her empty concern about income inequality? What about her mistruths about sniper fire in Bosnia or the Benghazi YouTube video?

Mr. Trump did go after Mrs. Clinton on other issues: the Iranian nuclear deal, her tax policy, her proposed regulations. But for the most part, Mr. Trump allowed Mrs. Clinton to bait him into defending himself—on his financial leverage, his claims about where Barack Obama was born, his position on the Iraq war. Perhaps Mr. Trump demurred deliberately, so as not to be seen attacking the nation’s first female presidential nominee. It was a mistake. Mrs. Clinton will pull no punches, and Mr. Trump squandered his best right hook.

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