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.

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