Monday, February 1, 2021


As the nation comes out of what can only be described as an historically terrible year, the public and political focus remains on the pandemic, its economic and social affects, and the new presidential administrations plans to deal with these enormous issues.

Unfortunately, the political and social context existing at the time the pandemic first appeared in the U.S. in January, 2020 was already in a state of chaos as the Trump Administration entered it’s final year. The previous three years had been ones of extreme political conflict including rabid personal attacks by both sides and their allies in the media as Democrats and the Left turned their shock at Trump’s upset defeat of Hillary Clinton into a program of hate and “resistance”. This of course was exacerbated by Trump’s reliance on daily hyperbolic Tweets and his thin skinned public hostility to any criticism. Democrats initially staked their hopes of an early demise of his Administration on a twenty-two month long investigation of allegations of Russian interference and possible collusion with the Trump 2016 election campaign.  While the investigation finally found no evidence of “collusion”, the political divisions and hostility it engendered remained. 

Since then the nation has endured  a “dead on arrival” politically motivated impeachment and trial attempt by the Democrat controlled House of Representatives in December, 2019; the full onslaught of the Covid19 pandemic and angry debates over school and business closings and mask wearing.  Months of race based protests, violence, destruction, looting and attacks on police and demands to eliminate or “de-fund” police departments were followed by the outrageous and disgusting mob attack on the halls of Congress, and now a second futile, politically based process to impeach and convict  a former, none serving  President despite the unambiguous language of the Constitution’s Article 2, Section 4 which says “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States” shall be removed from office if convicted in an impeachment trial of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” 

The political divide has become a chasm.  Emotions have conquered reason,  tolerance for opposing viewpoints on public policy is non-existent.

Now comes President Joe Biden whose first words as President conveyed a sense of conciliation and a goal of “uniting” the nation”; not to overcome deep seated political differences but to supposedly to seek compromise on some of the less polarizing legislative issues, and a return to some measure of civility.  Unfortunately the warm glow of his words lasted about one day as they were exposed as mere platitudes.  The Trump presidential era is over but his 74 million supporters remain.  The Congress is almost evenly divided although the Democrats have a narrow majority in the House and a Vice Presidential tie breaker in the 50/50 Senate.  

Even with strong and persistent presidential leadership, reducing the intense level of partisan based mutual contempt would be a long and difficult process.  But when the new President, like Trump, becomes and agent of division there is little hope for any measure of reconciliation.

Biden’s first working day of “unifying” the nation was taken up by signing a pre-prepared stack of Executive Orders.  Even though he and the Democrats control all three branches of government and can, with party discipline, pass any legislation they wish, Biden felt it necessary to send a theatrical “on day one” message to the “progressive” far Left while sticking a political finger in the eye of conservatives who supported Trump’s positions.  Out went border control and deportation of millions of illegal immigrants; construction of the border wall; energy leasing on government lands and sea beds; travel bans from Muslim nations identified as sources of terrorism; restrictions on the military’s ability to exclude costly and dysfunctional enlistment of trans-genders; the completion of the Keystone pipeline with Canada on which over a billion dollars has already been spent and which would provide huge economic benefits to workers, state governments and  oil storage and refining centers in Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma.  Gone is  the order excluding illegal immigrants from the census based on the assumption that they won’t now be deported.  He also restored the ability for collective bargaining (unions) for federal workers and ended federal contracts with private prisons (without specifying what will be done with the thousands of federal prisoners confined there.)

Biden’s message was clear; revoke the four year Republican-Trump policy agenda and steam roll the progressive agenda over night.  

But even with presidential leadership if it was to be a political priority, there is much more to the problem of “unifying”, or even modifying the divisions in both the Congress and state legislatures and in the wider culture. 

The nation’s education systems from K-12 to it’s colleges and universities are busy teaching revisionist American history and a curriculum of divisive “multiculturalism”, “victimization” and “oppression”.  Of course the “victims” are all racial and ethnic minorities and genders.  The “oppressors” are heterosexual, politically conservative, white males. Even white females can’t escape the viral nonsense and unscientific condemnation of Critical Race Theory which is spreading through the education system as well as the corporate world.

Mandatory “sensitivity and inclusiveness” “re-education” training i.e. guilt and thought control, and enforcement by government and education administrators, is demanded as the only solution to evidence challenged claims of “white privilege”, “white supremacy” and “systemic racism”, all of which are racist stereotypes themselves. Such broad based condemnation will perpetuate ideological, racial and partisan hostility. Resistance is inevitable as the racialized economic and social agenda and Biden’s own commitment to  “identity politics” become legislation. 

Social media.   Beyond education, each ideological bloc and over lapping political party, contains it’s extremist fringe groups.  While these polarizing groups are equally radical, they, and minority political parties, represent tiny percentages of the population. Unfortunately  they have a disproportionate public voice enabled by social media and even “main stream” cable and internet “opinion sites”.  First Amendment rights protect them but the establishment news and opinion sites feel little responsibility to offer objective analysis or exclude the hysterical or fraudulent content they derive from the fringes as controversy creates readers, viewers and revenues, which overcome social and journalistic responsibility.

The influence of this spectrum of extremism of both the far Left and far Right is thus enhanced beyond their real importance by the political figures and opinion leaders who through simple political malice and ambition or intellectual laziness, insist on stereotyping the broader political parties as reflecting the values and viciousness of the fringes.  Thus to many on the Left, Republicans are “racists, “sexists”, “homophobes”, “Fascists”, and “xenophobic” “chauvinists”. Democrats are all labeled as “socialists”, “Marxists”, “communists”, “globalists” and “America haters”.  

As members of Congress and state legislatures adopt this inflammatory rhetoric and media figures and celebrities join them, civility and cooperation ends and legislation becomes conflict.  Here is former Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor and current professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, Robert Reich, in a recent commentary in the Left wing Guardian journal entitled “Why Biden Must Be Bold & Ignore Republicans”.

    “If Biden is successful, Americans’ faith in democracy might begin to rebound – marking the end of the nation’s flirtation with ‘fascism’

    “The worry is Biden wants to demonstrate “bipartisan cooperation” and may try so hard to get some Republican votes that his plans get diluted to the point where Republicans get what they want: failure.”

“Biden should forget bipartisanship.”

So what is to be done?  Do the nation’s divided voters really want some level of “unity”, cooperation and civility across society and especially in legislatures tasked with the creation of important public policy that supposedly makes individual lives better?  Certainly some do not and for them conflict becomes and end in itself. But polls seem to indicate that nation-wide, people are unhappy and frustrated by the hate and the “victory and defeat” character of the political process. 

A 2020 poll by the Hoover Institute at Stanford University shows distinct differences in terms of trust and policies at the party identification level but it also found   a more general positive result:   “Overall, the results of our poll show that there are major differences between the political parties that will make it difficult for the newly elected president to bring about unity. On the other hand, majorities of both parties say they prefer representatives who compromise on politics and would prefer to be American rather than citizens of any other country.”

The nation will never be “united” on specific public policies. Social policies especially have taken on the character of civil religions in which moral certitude makes compromise impossible. This attitude then spreads like it’s own virus to just about all other issues i.e. the economy and issues of political procedure, environmental and national security. Progress, if at all possible, would seem to be limited in scope to fundamental agreement on the virtues of constitutional government; rule of law, individual liberty, and equality of opportunity.  Within that context and with enhanced interaction between individuals not encumbered by demagogues or “group think”, perhaps progress can be made on civility and objectivity.

 There is no question that Donald Trump was an instigator and provocateur for whom aggression was a political tactic, albeit a successful one in his upset victory of 2016.  But Trump’s election defeat seemed to have a component of “Trump, or conflict fatigue”, especially among “independent voters”.  Although President Biden has a different, more traditional political personality, if he continues to define “unity” as exclusionary defeat of non-“progressive” far Left agendas and he quietly supports hate speech by proxy, he will, as the leader of his party and as the public focus of national government, defy his own message of national reconciliation and the chaos will continue. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


With the nation still trying to cope with the corona virus and just as the devastation to the economy seems to be on the way to improvement, America is steeped in new turmoil initiated by the death of “another unarmed black man” at the hands of police officers, three white, one Asian.  The original focus of the ensuing social protests was police violence against blacks and an alleged general  lack of equal justice for blacks by the country’s law enforcement and judicial agencies. These are the claims  which produced  the name of the most prominent organizing group in the protests, “Black Lives Matter”. Now the original focus  has quickly been expanded to include numerous groups and governmental bodies, into a broad radical agenda of societal upheaval.

The physical circumstances of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the four Minneapolis police officers is not in doubt.  The video of the event speaks for itself.  What occurred before the video started, what possibly motivated the officers to do what they did, must be investigated to achieve a full understanding of the “why?”  But causing the death of a man restrained by handcuffs can’t be justified.

The demands of “Justice for George Floyd” will be met by the criminal justice system itself.  The four officers involved have all been criminally charged and the legal process will be completed through the normal and accepted rules and procedures; but that is not the goal of the nation’s racial activists and the radical Left. The death of George Floyd has now been transformed from a personal tragedy into a tool to be exploited by these ideological and racial extremists.  

The leading organization in that movement, Black Lives Matter, itself is not simply focused only on criminal justice reform,  although that was the  issue stated as the original ,basis for it’s creation, as its web site explains.
“BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. ”

The facts are that there was no police involvement in the death of Trayvon Martin.  He was shot by George Zimmerman a mixed race Hispanic, who was acquitted of murder charges in Florida while defending himself after being attacked by Martin.  There was no evidence submitted at trial that race was a motivating factor in the incident. An investigation by Obama’s Department of Justice found no violations of Martin’s civil rights.

But since then BLM has adopted a much broader,  more militant, public ideological orientation.  Again, from their web site:

“Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy.”
“We foster a queer affirming network.  We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege”

“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement”

However, using the public perception of Black Lives Matter as simply i.e. a racial justice organization, fringe ideologues on the radical Left are defending looting and destruction of buildings. Even more extreme are their claims that police departments should be defunded or even abolished, as the recent vote by the Minneapolis City Council intends.  Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti wants to cut funding to the L.A. police department by $150 million and give the money to the “black community”. Left wing school superintendents are removing police “school resource officers” to show their displeasure with police in general and are supporting anti-police activists.  Of course the presence of police officers at schools is intended to protect the children and faculty, a policy widely supported after the rash of school mass shootings in recent years. 

What is obvious are the race based and anti-police tactics of collective guilt and thus collective punishment. “Systemic racism” has become a popular charge even among white Democratic politicians, which is an easy way to claim universality without identifying “ the system” or providing any data to substantiate the claim.  Of course there are racists in the world, they come in all colors and exist in all societies. It’s an unfortunate remnant of tribal mentality. Fortunately, in the U.S. racial extremists are a tiny minority and awareness of racial differences in the general population is mostly cultural and doesn’t substantiate  racial bias in “the system”.  

The individual acts of a very few police officers does not prove racial hostility among all of the nation’s 800,000   officers. In some of the largest urban cities police department  demographics  would indicate otherwise (2013 figures: “”): New York City Police Dept.: minorities  48%; black: 16%:   Los Angeles.: 65% minority; black 12% : Chicago: 48% minority; black 25%: : Detroit: 67% minority; 63% black.  

Claims of “white supremacy” and “white privilege” nation wide are vague concepts and essentially themselves racist slogans which too few are willing to challenge and which are distortions of outcomes in social and political status largely based on demographics.  Blacks make up only 13% of the U.S. population; the white population is 68%. Disparities in wealth and income have many causes including cultural factors that black intellectuals have identified. Shelby Steele , Fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, University cited the “75%” figure for black children born out of wedlock; “no fathers” (6/9/20), as just one important factor, and government dependency as another. He points out that confrontation and violence won’t solve either of these problems. Oft cited imbalances in incarceration rates are  based on imbalances in criminality which improvement in the factors described by Steele would have help ameliorate. 

The protests and marches have quickly become politicized and offer opportunities for politicians at all levels of government for exploitation for their personal benefit. The fact that the country is in the final five months of an election year is a stimulative for these kind of behaviors and has had a serious negative impact.  Since politics is adversarial by nature, the political exploitation adds to the hostility and societal divisiveness that already plague the nation.
Democrat House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Senate Minority Leader Charles Shumer  made sure to wear their printed version of Kente cloth African attire when  recently announcing a hurried, “knee jerk”, Democrat sponsored federal  “law enforcement reform bill” in an “us against them” theatrical news conference.  The “them” of course is President Trump and the  Republicans in the U.S. Senate.  Protests, rallies and marches also stimulate demagoguery among those who seek status and profit by being self appointed “leaders” among aggrieved groups. Al Sharpton for whom racial conflict is a career, is planning yet another “march on Washington” in which he will be the “drum major” at the head of the mob.  He is no doubt hoping for prime time coverage of conflict with local and federal police which he and sycophantic CNN commentators will brand as evidence of “systemic racism”. Thus the underlying need for clear thinking and conflict resolution is pushed aside and the conflict is perpetuated. 

What is to be done?  A single bill passed by Congress won’t be enough. Inane overreach like attacks on the nation’s police forces will make things worse.  This conflict has been accurately described as a “culture war”.  It is not new and has little to do with the death of George Floyd except as the flash point in a new Leftist offensive in the “war”.  Radical educators in the nation’s public schools and in its universities, have been indoctrinating young adults for generations with anti-social, divisive class warfare, and hostility, towards their government, culture and history. Products of this “education’ in anger, victimization, and divisiveness, inhabit the media in all its forms where “news” has become opinion, and discord and ideological hostility have become the currency of the information market place.  

Honest, realistic, issue oriented leadership is needed from top to bottom in the political establishment and in the nation’s minority communities. Ideological extremism must be opposed and replaced by measured compromise on all sides.  This process might seem to be impossible given the role of the mainstream media and social media  and the access they provide to all angry voices. The radical Left, both in the streets and in politics, riding the heady wave of support by the media and market fearful corporations, are expanding their demands and claims to ever more extreme levels.  Still there is hope. The popular rejection even among the political Left Democrat Party, of Bernie Sander’s social and economic “revolution” indicates a still healthy respect for moderation and stability among a majority of Americans. The majority of American blacks who were gainfully employed and enjoying increased wages in the economic boom prior to the corona virus, and who value the social aspects of traditional family values, might find new leadership and speak up.  Once the excesses of the 2020 election are over, and the inevitable bitterness that will ensue subsides,  perhaps a combination of common purpose and crisis fatigue will lead to some level of conflict resolution.  It will still take enlightened leadership on many sides; academia, media, business and of course politics.  A tall order but the alternatives serve no one.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


The early election 2020 primaries are finally underway and the operative description so far is “confusion”.   After months of leading in the polls, former Vice President Joe Biden has apparently tripped over his tongue and fallen off the edge of the Progressive’s far Left platform.

After completion of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the Left’s media pundits are promoting the claim of a Bernie Sanders “surge”based on Sander’s victories in both early states.  To be sure, some are casting wary eyes at the rising popularity of another candidate. It’s not the runner up in both contests, junior achiever, former mayor Pete Buttigieg, it’s one of the three billionaires currently in play in the national election;  not Donald Trump, the “evil greedy” billionaire on the Republican ticket; not Tom Steyer, the “good greedy” but quixotic and largely irrelevant  billionaire still in the Democratic race, but the newcomer, the used to be “bad but now trying to be good”, billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg  wasn’t even on the ballots of either Iowa or New Hampshire but campaigned from the outside, spending millions of his billions on television aids.  Although Bloomberg didn’t enter the race until November 21, 2019 long after his Democratic competitors had begun their campaigns, he in three short months, has risen to third in the national polls average with 16.1%
preference,  topping long time candidates Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.

Bloomberg has been anointed as the best “moderate” alternative to Bernie, a title formerly bequeathed by the media on Biden, then Buttigieg, and sometimes Klobuchar.  But of course compared to Bernie, anyone to the “right” of, and including, Fidel Castro, who Bernie once praised for his “progressive” social policies, is in relative terms a “moderate”.

Still, Bloomberg has a steep hill to climb to put a dent into the commitment of Sanders’ far Left activist popularity.  His campaign website lists many “plans” but few details and no mention of costs or financing.  But to the Progressive Left, especially the young, he is another “old white male billionaire” who won’t receive the socialist exception for these “oppressive flaws” that the 78 year old Sanders has.  Bernie has always been a political radical while Bloomberg was a Democrat until 2001 when he switched parties to become a Republican.  Then in 2007 he switched again to become a registered Independent, only becoming a “born again” Democrat shortly before declaring his candidacy for the presidency in 2019.   

This checkered past is giving a clearly concerned Sanders an abundance of raw material for attacks on Bloomberg who served three terms as mayor of New York City.  Campaigning in Nevada prior to their caucuses on February 22nd Bernie who has previously attacked Bloomberg’s wealth, added Bloomberg’s pre-Democrat "racism", opposition to a minimum wage increase, opposition to increased taxes on the wealthy and advocating cuts in Medicare and Social Security to Bloomberg’s “moderate”“ heresy.  

Early polls show Bernie likely to win the Nevada caucuses, not surprising given the huge number of service employee union members who work in the state’s hotels and casinos. 
That would give Sanders another boost in his goal of portraying the inevitability of his nomination ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries held in fourteen states on March 3rd.

But Democrats themselves are concerned with how broad Sanders support really is, given his self identification as a “Democratic socialist” and his plans for a “revolutionary change” in the nation’s free market capitalist system which is currently booming.  Bernie’s victories have so far been close calls in small states with a significant lack of diversity.  He won in Iowa with  26.5% of the vote over Buttigieg’s 25.1%.  Thus 73.5% of Iowa’s voters were unenthusiastic about his proposed “revolution” and it’s most prominent feature, government controlled Medicare for all and the end of private health insurance. It also worth noting that since 1972, while the Iowa caucuses winner has gone on to win the Democratic nomination for President 7 of 10 times in “contested races” (no incumbent president in the race), only two, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama went on to win the presidency.

In New Hampshire, where Sander’s was supposed to have a huge advantage based on his residence in neighboring state Vermont, the results were similar.  Sanders won with 25.7% of the vote to Buttigieg’s 24.4%.  Thus the combined votes of the “moderates”, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Biden, even with the exception of the “queen of plans”, Elizabeth Warren, was still 52.6%, more than double the “revolutionary” vote.

How can this be?  In more normal times with more “normal” i.e. establishment candidates, three victories in a row would definitely be seen as a significant momentum advantage which brings more money, more enthusiasm and a media boost.  But these are not “normal” times and Sander’s is the most far Left major contender in modern history.  

So in the context of uncertainty, important questions remain:

1.  If Sanders goes on to win the nomination by just squeaking by in the remaining primaries, will the revolutionary doubters, the supporters of the so called “moderates”, lose their interest for the national election and stay home; or will the “anyone but Trump” meme overcome their fears and give Sanders their votes?

2.  If Joe Biden somehow achieves a “Phoenix” like resurrection on Super Tuesday and beyond and regains a lead sufficient to win the nomination, will irate and disheartened Sanders believe the nomination was once again “rigged” against their man like in 2016 and stay home on election day in November?

3. If Biden’s Phoenix bird fails to get airborne and Buttigieg stays close to Bernie, will the likely withdrawal of Klobuchar, the only candidate deserving of the title “moderate”, move her supporters to Buttigieg allowing him to edge out Sanders for the nomination?

4. Is the “anyone but Trump” incentive strong enough to overcome Bernie’s or Buttigieg’s basic disadvantages?  Buttigieg is young (38 yrs.) and would be the youngest U.S. President to ever serve. His political resume’ is thinner than Elizabeth Warren’s tomahawk collection.  He was defeated in his 2010 State Treasurer of Indiana run,before wining two terms as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, population 101,000. That’s it.  Despite his relative success among the Progressive Left dominated Democratic primaries, being openly gay is still a problem on a national level. Only 50% of registered voters declared that they were “ready” for a gay president. Thirty-two percent of Independents and twenty-two percent of Democrats said they “weren’t ready”.

Bernie’s “socialist” problem:

Sanders says he’s not a socialist; he’s a “democratic socialist”.  What is a “democratic socialist”? 
Apparently it’s whatever Bernie and his thirty year old sock puppet and campaign participant Ocasio-Cortez says it is. The short academic definition of socialism has always been the “public” (gov’t) ownership of the means of production.”
Sanders was a member of the Liberty Union Party, a socialist party founded in Vermont in 1970.
He was the party’s Senate candidate in 1972 and the party’s candidate for Vermont Governor in 1976.  He went on to become the party’s Chairman until 1977 when he resigned reportedly because of the party’s lack of activity between elections.

While a member in 1971 Sanders advocated for the nationalization of major industries, specifically energy, banking, and manufacturing, as well as state control of Vermont’s public utilities, all of which fit neatly into the definition of “means of production”.  In 1976 he proposed a marginal federal tax rate of 100% for “millionaires and again called for the government of Vermont to seize all public utilities without compensation.  In 1976 he called for the conversion of privately owned manufacturing industries into “worker controlled enterprises”.

In the years since Bernie’s youthful radicalism, he hasn’t changed much. Although he’s tried to soften his approach in the 2020 campaign by emphasizing “free stuff” he remains true to his assault on free market capitalism and the promotion of big government to fulfill most of society’s needs.

In 1981 he expressed opposition to private charities claiming that “Government should take over responsibility for social programs.” In 1987 he defined “democracy” as “ public ownership and worker self management in the workplace.”
As recently as February, 2016 on the far Left website Daily Kos, he declared that “Democracy means public ownership of the major ‘means of production’.  And in December of that year in a quote published in the New York Times, he advocated for politicizing the Federal Reserve, an independent regulatory agency, by creating a Federal Reserve Board made up of “representatives of labor, consumers, homeowners , urban residents, farmers, and small business owners.”

It only gets worse, if one actually takes the time to read Sander’s campaign web site which is a blue print for social and economic disaster.
Here’s just a few items from that site:

Immigration:   “Break up Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and stop deportations of illegal immigrants, essentially an “open borders policy”.

Green New Deal: This is Bernie’s rendition of Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic Socialist of America’s plan to bankrupt the federal government. Unlike that plan he leaves out the danger of methane producing “farting cows” but includes actual dollar amounts he would spend to  save the world while destroying the U.S. economy.
Support the Green Climate Fund, an aid program for developing countries to “mitigate” the effects of global climate change.
Cost: $200 billion

“Guarantee health care, housing, and a good paying job to every American.”
Cost: $ unknown

 “100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization of the economy by 2050 by expanding the existing federal Power Marketing Administration to build new solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources.”
Cost: $16.3 trillion

A “Climate Justice Resiliency Fund”to provide grants to racial minorities, elderly, children and other special “victims” deal with the impact of, and prepare for climate impacts”.
Cost: $40 billion

Free electricity for all by 2035 requiring a new national renewable energy power grid.
Cost: $526 billion

Grants to change heating and cooling systems in homes and businesses from fossil fuels to electricity.
Cost: $964 billion

Grants to “low and moderate income families and businesses” to trade in their gasoline powered automobiles for electric vehicles.
Cost: $2.09 trillion

National network of automobile electric charging stations.
Cost: $85.6 billion

Grants for electric school buses.
Cost: $407 billion

Grants to replace diesel commercial trucks.
Cost: $216 billion

Research to “decarbonize industry”.
Cost: $500 billion

Fund public transportation.
Cost: $300 billion

Fund high speed rail.
Cost: 607 billion

Research to “decarbonize” aviation and maritime shipping and transportation.
Cost: $150 billion

While doing this Sanders would shut down the already “decarbonized” electric power generation  nuclear power industry which currently provides 19.4% of the nation’s electricity.

Add to this Sanders’ most prominent policy of free Medicare for all which is estimated to cost $34 trillion over ten years and his free college tuition which is estimated to cost $79 billion per year, his plan to cancel all $1.6 trillion in existing student college loan debt and grant $1.3 billion per year to historically black colleges, and the sheer fantasy of this “democratic socialist’s” remake of the entire U.S. economy should be a stark political reality for 2020 voters.

Saturday, January 25, 2020


The Democratic Party’s nomination campaign has now  thankfully been reduced from its original platoon sized gaggle of “not him again”, “who’s that”, and “you’ve got to be kidding” candidates,  to a still large but more manageable twelve, of which only three are polling in double digit numbers and only six  qualified for the January debate.                                                     
The first six debates have consisted mostly of a combination of the usual “values” platitudes, condemnation of Trump, and an endless argument about the political and economic viability of “Medicare for all”. The seventh just held, was not much different, best exemplified by the fact that the media’s post mortem made the issue of whether Sanders told Warren in a private meeting a few years ago that he didn’t think a woman could win the presidency.  He denies it; she says it’s true. If true, Sanders didn’t say he didn’t think a woman “should” be president. He said he didn’t think a woman “could” be president.  This absurd non- issue, attempt by the media to create a politically relevant  “issue” just shows how flaccid and superficial  the whole process had become.  What has been noticeably missing, even in the sixth debate which was supposed to feature the subject, has been any meaningful discussion of foreign policy.

The Constitution awards almost exclusive powers and responsibilities in this area to the President as “Commander in Chief” of the armed forces and chief diplomat with his attendant power to “receive diplomats” and “make treaties”.  The first is a shared power only by the requirements of a declaration of war by the Congress and the largely ignored War Powers Act of 1973 which places restrictions on the deployment of troops without Congressional consent,  and the second, with respect to treaties, which requires a 2/3 approval by the Senate.

Given the preponderance of foreign and national security powers that reside in the office of the President it would seem obvious that an understanding of the candidates positions on the many current issues in this realm as well as their respective backgrounds, level of knowledge and experience, if any, should be examined as part of their candidacy.

The debates, never known for vigorous policy examinations by the journalists who moderate them, have so far shed little light on these important issues and the candidates themselves have shown little interest in the subject.

Of the three front runners , those  polling in double digits, only Joe Biden would seem to have any credentials for foreign policy expertise.  As a Senator from  Delaware for many years, he served as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.  As President Obama’s Vice President for eight years, he held a seat on the National Security Council.  If he attended the meetings and played an active role is not known.  Now it has been asserted that he was the Obama Administration’s “point man” on relations with Ukraine, an association he may now regret.
Unfortunately he also has a reputation, summarized succinctly by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates , as getting everything wrong about “nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

A look at Biden’s campaign web site reveals an Elizabeth Warren like blizzard of “plans” which he, like she, promises will solve all the problems Americans face.  Of the eighteen “plans” however, none addresses any of the world’s or America’s foreign policy problems.  Voters have to look elsewhere to see what Biden thinks about what’s going on beyond our borders.

Fortunately the Council on Foreign Relations contacted the candidates and asked a few specific questions about current issues. Not all the candidates responded and since then, some of them have dropped out of the race. But Biden, Warren and Sanders did provide written answers to the questions, a sample of which provide some insights into the candidates knowledge and preparedness to assume the responsibilities of the Commander in Chief and “chief diplomat”.

THE JCPOA, i.e.  Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) signed by Obama and from which Trump withdrew.


“I would re-enter the JCPOA as a starting point to work alongside our allies in Europe and other world powers i.e. China and Russia,  to extend the deal’s nuclear constraints.”

 I would take “a redoubled commitment to diplomacy to more effectively push back against Tehran’s other malign behavior in the region.”


“I would re-enter the agreement on day one of my presidency and then work with the P5+1 and Iran to build upon it with additional measures to further block any path to a nuclear weapon, restrain Iran’s offensive actions in the region and forge a new strategic balance in the Middle East.”


“If Iran returns to compliance with its obligations under the nuclear deal, the United States should return as well. If Iran is not in compliance, I will pursue strong and principled diplomacy in concert with our allies to bring both the United States and Iran back into the deal.”
“The JCPOA is only the beginning. We will need to negotiate a follow-on to the agreement that continues to constrain Iran’s nuclear program past the “sunset” of some of its original terms. “

“We also need to address serious concerns about Iran’s policies beyond its nuclear program, including its ballistic missile program and support for destabilizing regional proxies. ”
Biden seems to acknowledge indirectly, that the JCPOA was flawed from the outset.  It contained a “sunset provision” in which the constraints of Iran’s development of weapons grade nuclear material would have to be renegotiated.  It relied in part on Iran’s self reporting of nuclear development sites to the UN Atomic Energy Agency and did not contain any restraints on Iran’s development of long range missile nuclear capable delivery systems.  It also made no mention of Iran’s regional interventions and support for international terrorism.  Reentering the agreement would require the lifting of the harsh economic sanctions imposed by Trump to incentivize a return to negotiations to correct these serious flaws. This would remove any pressure on Iran to agree to more comprehensive terms which they have already said they would never do.
Sander’s and Warren’s  responses are  pure naivete’. They join Biden in thinking that the removal of sanctions as a first step would lead to broader based renegotiations. Russia, is a member of the P5+1 nations and is a partner with Iran in the intervention in the Syrian civil war on the side of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad , and would not be a useful negotiation partner. Reentry on “day one” would simply be a concession to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and would provide huge oil related financial assets to support Iran’s regional ambitions.

Warren’s idea of pressure is “strong and principled diplomacy with our allies”, whatever that is, and she also seems to have forgotten about the other participants in the agreement Russia and China, who are certainly not “our allies”.

NORTH  KOREA:   Question: “Would you sign an agreement with North Korea that entailed partial sanctions relief in exchange for some dismantling of its nuclear weapons program but not full denuclearization?”


“As president, I will empower our negotiators and jumpstart a sustained, coordinated campaign with our allies and others – including China – to advance our shared objective of a denuclearized North Korea.”


“I would offer partial relief of economic sanctions in return for partial progress on denucleariztion:” “I will work to negotiate a step-by-step process to roll back North Korea’s nuclear program, build a new peace and security regime on the peninsula and work towards the eventual elimination of all North Korean nuclear weapons.”


“Our goal should be the full elimination of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. But while we work toward that goal, we must reduce the threat now. “

“We need serious, realistic negotiations to address this threat. As a first step, and in coordination with our partners and allies, I would be prepared to consider partial, limited sanctions relief in return for a strong, verifiable agreement that keeps North Korea from expanding its arsenal or proliferating to other countries. An interim agreement would open the door to negotiations to reduce North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, control conventional weapons, and stop the regime’s crimes against humanity. That’s not only an imperative for our national security, it is the only credible path toward denuclearization.”
Biden’s brief response is a statement without substance and a complete dodge of the question, reflecting a lack of any diplomatic strategy or acknowledgment of North Korea’s goals or negotiating tactics.

Sanders and Warren offer a return to the past by offering “partial sanctions relief” for “partial denuclearization”. Warren’s response is typical of the simplistic and fatuous approach she has to most complex issues. Discussions, negotiations, bargaining and inconsistent behavior by the Kim dynasty with regard to nuclear weapons development has been on-going since December,1985 when N. Korea’s founding leader, Kim Il-sung agreed to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1970), which basically states that non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) will agree to not pursue development of nuclear military capability.

Since then four U.S. Presdents, Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2 and Obama, in cooperation with our allies i.e. S.Korea and Japan, as well as China and Russia/, have been carrying out “serious, realistic negotiations” with the three Kims who have ruled North Korea. These negotiations have included sanctions relief, aid, renewed sanctions in response to blatant violations of the NPT and the negotiated agreements.  All along it has been all three of the Kim’s position that no meaningful progress would be made unless all sanctions were repealed first. Essentially, it has been a fundamental goal of all of the N. Korean leadership to acquire nuclear weapons, live with the resulting sanctions  and become a permanent nuclear weapons state. Warren offers nothing new.
Kim Jong-Un’s motivations are to acquire the international importance that goes with such nuclear power status and to make his regime immune from any possible attempts at regime change. Concessions on nuclear development could also create push back on the part of hawks in the N. Korean military and even in competitors for power in Kim’s own family. Also development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems validates the myth of U.S. aggression which justifies the hardships imposed on the N. Korean people.

Sanders is engaging in simple campaign blather to say he will “ will work towards the eventual elimination of all” N. Korea’s nuclear weapons. As long as China is willing to keep N. Korea’s economy afloat the U.S. should focus on deterrence while making it clear that proliferation on his part is unacceptable and result in even more punitive economic isolation and sanctions. Partial economic sanctions relief could be used as an incentive for de-escalation of tensions and strict adherence in this regard, but there is no reason to think that such a policy will result in complete denuclearization.



“On the military side, I would provide more U.S. security assistance including weapons  to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself. I would also expand the successful training mission for the Ukrainian Armed Forces that was initiated by the Obama-Biden administration.”

“Economically, I would work to increase Western direct investment and support for Ukraine’s energy independence from Russia, particularly if the Nordstream II pipeline is built in the coming year, because this project would severely jeopardize Ukraine’s access to Russian gas.”
“Finally, I would support a much stronger diplomatic role for the United States, alongside France and Germany, in the negotiations with Russia. For diplomacy to work, however, we need stronger leverage over Moscow, and that means working more closely with our European partners and allies to ensure that Russia pays a heavier price for its ongoing war in Ukraine.”


“My administration will make clear to Russia that additional aggression will force the United States to increase pressure, including expanding beyond current sanctions. For now, our main priority should be to work closely with our European allies to help the new Ukrainian government make good on its promises to reform the economy, improve standards of living, and substantially reduce corruption. “


“Ukraine faces immense challenges that will require patient, long-term diplomacy and support from the West. We should start by shoring up relations with our EU partners in order to maintain the strongest possible diplomatic front, and by keeping pressure on the Kremlin to encourage changes in behavior. “

Biden at least seems to understand the issues.  The Russian intervention into Ukraine is a complex issue which for several years has been the subject of French, German and Ukraine diplomatic efforts with Russia.  Essentially, Russia has intervened and supported an armed separatist movement in the eastern provinces of Ukraine which is populated by a large number of ethnic Russians. Diplomatic solutions are complicated by the fact that polls show that a majority of the population in the disputed territories want to rejoin the post- Soviet Union Russian Federation. The governments of France and Germany have specific foreign policy/security interests in not allowing Russia to extend its control past its Western borders.
France is leading the diplomatic efforts.  An aggressive involvement by a Biden Administration in the negotiations could complicate the problem and would have to be carefully analyzed prior to its inclusion.

Sanders seems to be saying ‘don’t worry”about the current Russian intervention and conflict, let’s rebuild the Ukrainian economy and tell the Russians, “no ‘further aggression’ or we’ll put big pressure on you’.

Warren response is similar, just more platitudes.  “Long term diplomacy”?  “Shoring up our relationships with our EU partners”. With respect to this problem our relationship with the EU is sound. Russia is the problem. This is a follow on to Putin’s successful annexation of the Crimea.
There is a state of armed conflict currently in the eastern regions of Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty needs to be defended with military assistance by the U.S., France and Germany.  Economic sanctions are already in place against Russia and these need to be strengthened especially in light of the potential completion of the Nordstream II pipeline which will bypass the current pipeline to Ukraine and supply natural gas to the EU through a distribution center in Germany.  As Biden points out and Sanders and Warren seem unaware, this  would allow Russia to cut off Ukraine’s supply of natural gas to force it to make territorial concessions.



“I would bring American combat troops in Afghanistan home during my first term. Any residual U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would be focused only on counter terrorism operations. We need to be clear-eyed about our limited enduring security interests in the region: We cannot allow the remnants of Al Qa’ida in Afghanistan and Pakistan to reconstitute, and we must destroy the Islamic State presence in the region. Americans are rightly weary of our longest war; I am, too. But we must end the war responsibly, in a manner that ensures we both guard against threats to our Homeland and never have to go back.”


“I would withdraw U.S. military forces from Afghanistan as expeditiously as possible.
“It’s time to end our intervention there and bring our troops home, in a planned and coordinated way combined with a serious diplomatic and political strategy which helps deliver desperately needed humanitarian aid. Withdrawing troops does not mean withdrawing all involvement, and my administration would stay politically engaged in these countries and do whatever we can to help them develop their economy and strengthen a government that is responsible to its people. “


It's long past time to bring our troops home, and I would begin to do so immediately. “Redirecting just a small fraction of what we currently spend on military operations toward economic development, education, and infrastructure projects would be a better, more sustainable investment in Afghanistan's future than our current state of endless war. We should enlist our international partners to encourage a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that is sustainable and that protects U.S. interests. And we should redouble efforts to support the Afghan government and civil society as they work to promote the rule of law, combat corruption and the narcotics trade, and ensure the basic rights of all Afghans.”

Biden appears to miss the point that the underlying problem is the Taliban forces that have ruled Afghanistan off and on since the Soviet Union withdrew its forces in 1989.  Peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the fundamentalist Taliban have broken down in their early stages.  The war against the Taliban is not winnable. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and fought a losing nine year effort to destroy the Taliban’s antecedent Islamic militias ,the Mujahideen.  The Taliban are more centrally organized and reflect the same problems of asymmetric warfare in a rugged and mountainous country.

Sanders’ response is purposely vague:  “Expeditiously as possible”?  “Serious diplomatic and political strategy” ?  “Stay politically engaged” ?  Bernie needs to offer some definitions of these generalities.  He also totally ignores the basic issues: the civil war with the Taliban insurgency which wants to establish an Islamic state in Afghanistan, and the issue of the possible re-emergence of Al Qaeda, the international terrorist organization which launched it’s 9/11 attacks on the U.S. from Afghanistan and precipitated the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Staying “politically engaged” conforms with Warren’s “plan” which is essentially to abandon military assistance and training and rely on others, “are international partners” to solve the problem of the insurgency.
Unless the Taliban finds some kind of motivation to agree to a political settlement which would necessarily grant them significant political power, the conflict will continue and “economic development, education, and infrastructure projects” won’t be possible in a hostile, unstable environment.

 Biden’s plan to stay until Al Oaeda and the Islamic State elements are eliminated requires the cooperation of both the Taliban and the Afghan government and might still take years.  But if successful, it would make possible the claim, even if not entirely true, that the “mission was accomplished” and withdrawal was then fully justified. But the conundrum for the U.S. now, and in the future, is continuing military support for the Afghan government to avoid a complete Taliban victory, or abandon a hopeless enterprise and accept the consequences of endless internal conflict with the ultimate prospect of the establishment of another fundamentalist Islamic state in the region.  Either way, Sanders plan to “strengthen the government” or Warren’s plan to “redouble efforts” to create a viable non-corrupt civil society in what is essentially a failed state without the unlikely cooperation of a murderous theocratic military and political entity is just non-specific 2020 election blather.



“I believe a two-state solution is the only path to long-term security for Israel, while sustaining its identity as a Jewish and democratic state.”
“I will restore credible engagement with both sides to the conflict. America must sustain its ironclad commitment to Israel’s security. Palestinian leaders should end the incitement and glorification of violence, and they must begin to level with their people about the legitimacy and permanence of Israel as a Jewish state in the historic homeland of the Jewish people. Israeli leaders should stop the expansion of West Bank settlements and talk of annexation that would make two states impossible to achieve. They must recognize the legitimacy of Palestinians' aspirations for statehood. Both sides should work to provide more relief to the people of Gaza while working to weaken, and ultimately replace, Hamas. And Arab states should take more steps toward normalization with Israel and increase their financial and diplomatic support for building Palestinian institutions.”


“Two states based on the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. Ultimately, it’s up to the Palestinians and Israelis themselves to make the choices necessary for a final agreement, but the United States has a major role to play in brokering that agreement. My administration would also be willing to bring real pressure to bear on both sides, including conditioning military aid, to create consequences for moves that undermine the chances for peace. “


As president, I would take immediate steps to reestablish America’s role as a credible mediator by welcoming the Palestinian General Delegation back to Washington and reopening an American mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem. I would also make clear that in a two-state agreement both parties should have the option to locate their capitals in Jerusalem, as all previous serious plans have acknowledged. We should immediately resume aid to the Palestinians and financial support to UNRWA, and focus real financial and political resources on fixing the man-made humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. I will oppose incitement to violence and support for terrorism by Palestinian extremists like Hamas. And I will make clear my unequivocal opposition to Israeli settlement activity and to any moves in the direction of annexation of the West Bank.

Biden’s response includes a lot of “shoulds”, and “musts” which may make sense, but he doesn’t seem to  recognize the complexities of the seventy-two year old conflict whose roots go back to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.  Bernie thinks his simple solution, which has defied negotiations and included wars in 1948, 1956, 1963 and 1967, as well as conflicts in Gaza and Lebanon, would be successful. Hamas, which controls Gaza is a militant, Islamic terrorist organization with armed components, which has denied Israel’s right to exist in its founding documents. It is supported by Iran and shows no interest in a diplomatic solution or in allowing it’s “replacement” as Biden suggests.
The issues of the status of Jerusalem, the “right of return” of Palestinians to Israel proper, and existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank don’t seem to have been focused on by Biden.  Jerusalem, where Warren wants to put a U.S. mission to the Palestinians is currently the capitol of Israel as declared by the government of Israel and by President Trump.  The current political administration in Israel believes that a Palestinian state on it’s borders would inevitably be weaponized and only control over the disputed West Bank can maximize its security. Until a new administration comes about, and advocates  a politically risky position towards a Palestinian state, the status quo is likely to be maintained.

Also, without a change of governments in Israel, Bernie has already squandered his credibility for the U.S. to have “a major role to play in brokering” an agreement by calling Israeli Prime Minister a “racist” and now threatening to block U.S. military aid which has been vital to Israel’s survival through all these years.  Even with such a change, Warren’s stated “plan” is heavily slanted towards accommodating the demands of the Palestinians.  But she doesn’t acknowledge the problem of the lack of a single Palestinian government with which to negotiate. She states opposition to Hamas inspired violence but has no leverage to use to make them agree to a secure Israeli state. Jerusalem, as a capital for two independent and hostile states is fraught with political and practical problems and it’s status, as well as West Bank settlements and possible annexation cannot be dictated by any U.S. President.   Bernie is correct on this; saying any final settlement must be negotiated by a unified Palestinian authority and the government of Israel whose national security is its primary concern and responsibility.

It should be noted that President Trump has just announced that both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his major challenger in the March 2nd general election, General Benny Gantz of the more moderate Blue and White political party,  are both coming to Washington D.C. to discuss the second phase of Trump’s “Peace Plan” for Israel and the Palestinians.  The plan will be released prior to the visits and leaks from “informed sources” indicate that it will be strongly pro-Israel including U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the entire city of Jerusalem and the 100 plus Israeli settlements in the West Bank along with a  highly limited “right of return” for Palestinians wishing to reenter Israeli proper.

The Palestinian Authority which speaks for the West Bank portion of the Palestinian territories not including Gaza, has already said they will reject the new proposal as they did the first part which included substantial economic development in Gaza.  The Trump proposal will probably be enthusiastically supported by the Netanyahu government. But he first must overcome an indictment for alleged corruption in office by a vote for immunity in the Knesset. Then he must put together a conservative coalition government even if his Lukud party wins a plurality in the election.  His challanger, General Benny Gantz  might take a different view of the proposal which essentially would make a Palestinian state in the West Bank an impossibility.

Nonetheless, a new Netanyahu government would almost certainly affirm its claim for sovereignty based on U.S. affirmation even if the peace plan is rejected by the Palestinians.
The Democrat candidates will certainly reject and condemn the proposal but even if Trump is defeated, a new conservative  Netanyahu government will proceed under its terms and make it difficult for a new Democrat administration in the U.S. to reject an official U.S. position after the fact.


Biden seems to know far more history and details of the foreign policy issues queried by the Council on Foreign Relations.  Sander’s shows little interest, apparently more focused on getting his “socialist revolution” started and transforming the economy and culture of the nation.  Warren is just minimally informed and her constantly mentioned  preference for multi-national “diplomacy” seems to indicate an aloofness and lack of leadership with difficult problems. Foreign policy doesn’t play a role in her election strategy.  Promising trillions of dollars in government handouts has more private citizen appeal than instability in far away places. When forced to address those problems ,she ignores the fact that  Iran, North Korea ,Hamas and Russia and China  are not responsible negotiating participants.  They all have adversarial intent and perceived national interests that run counter to U.S. goals.  Warren and Sanders use “diplomacy” as an escape for a reluctance to the proposal of specific strategies. Thus for them, “diplomacy” becomes a strategy itself, but it isn’t.  Diplomacy is a negotiating process which seeks to identify mutual interests between parties in the pursuit of strategic goals and compromise on other interests or implementation.  Both, or all parties, must have goals and real strategies in mind in order to avoid prolonged and useless conversations with the attendant frustrations and political theater which can deepen the divide.

Ir should go without saying that the roles of Commander in Chief and “chief diplomat” are extremely important components of presidential power. Trump has little experience in this are, but the does now have a three year record in trade relationships and national security. Voters should take the time to examine his record and the qualifications and current positions of his would be replacements which unfortunately, with the possible but uncertain, exception of Biden, seem to indicate a lack of knowledge, a naive dependency on  ununified groups of "diplomatic partners" and a withdrawal from vital U.S. leadership. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


The stability of the Executive branch of the United States has served as a hallmark of a functioning democracy since the creation of our constitutional republic 230 years ago.  The wisdom of the framers of our Constitution has not only stood the test of time, it has proved its value in comparisons with the democratic parliamentary systems in Europe and the flawed and less democratic presidential systems in other parts of the world.

 Parliamentary changes of   “government”, i.e. the executive branch,  by the mechanism of   “no confidence” votes or failed coalition governments in legislative bodies have created numerous periods of political instability, multiple divisive national elections and non-functioning governments in advanced democracies such as England, France, Israel and Italy, just to name a few.  Prime Ministers in these nations have fallen to the failure to pass core policy initiatives and to “scandals” both political and personal.  The high bar of the U.S. presidential fixed term and removal of a sitting President only through the purposely difficult impeachment process in the House of Representatives and conviction for the constitutionally mandated standard of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” by a 2/3 majority in the Senate,  has spared the American people the instability and political chaos so common abroad.

The 45 Presidents of the U.S. have included both strong and weak, effective and ineffective, and popular and unpopular individuals, but only two have been impeached i.e. charged, by the House of Representatives, and neither was removed from office by the Senate. President Nixon resigned office before he would certainly been impeached and removed for the “high crime” of accessory to felony burglary and to obstruction of justice in the subsequent investigation.

The current charges and impeachment investigation being conducted by the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives has, to date, provided more heat than light and so far has proved insufficient to meet the Constitutional requirement of “treason, bribery or other high crimes or misdemeanors”. 

The Democratic effort is flawed on several levels. 

First, context and credibility:

Democratic politicians and liberal activists went into a state of shock on election night, November 2nd, 2016,, when the blustery, iconoclastic, real estate developer billionaire with no political experience defeated the pre-ordained Democratic, life long political insider and chromosome entitled Hillary Clinton.  That psychological trauma, more commonly described as
“Trump derangement” still infects a large segment of the extreme Left today and has guided their actions since that fateful night three years ago.

Overturning the election results before Trump was inaugurated in January, 2017 was the immediate emotional knee jerk response.

First came an attempt to demand a recount in enough states with close results with the hope of changing the Electoral College count.  This effort failed to meet the legal requirements regarding vote totals and was denied in federal court.

But desperation can be the mother of invention and the next ploy was to convince enough Electors in the various states which Trump won to defy state laws which require them to vote for the candidate who won that states majority.  One elector in Texas was convinced and abandoned law and principle, but the attempt on the national scale failed.

Since then, Democrats, have claimed correctly that impeachment of a President by the House is not a legal/criminal process but a political exercise. However, while ignoring the Constitutional requirements for removal of the President by the Sen, they have fallen back on impeachment as a remedy for their frustration and emotional pain.  Some demanded impeachment of Trump for alleged acts and things he said prior to winning the election  and even before he took the oath of office. 

Faced with the obvious futility of these demands, Democrats found new hope when it became apparent that the Russians had attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 election using social media and hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computers as well as Clinton’s e-mails and making their findings public through WikiLeaks.

A Special Prosecutor was named by the Department of Justice and the two and one half year saga of the Mueller investigation into possible “collusion” between Trump, his campaign organization and the Russians stimulated a frenzy of hopes and predictions by the Left that Trump was sure to be politically destroyed.  When the Mueller report was finally released it crashed, not with the sound of an explosion of scandal and malfeasance but with the soft thud of a waste of time and public money, accompanied by the wails of despair and denial by the Democrats.  Mueller found no collusion between Trump, his campaign and the Russians, found that the Russian interference had no effect on the outcome of the election,  and took no position on possible illegal attempts by Trump to obstruct justice in the inquiry.

It is in this context of on going failed attempts to overturn the 2016 presidential election that the current Democratic  “impeachment inquiry” and partisan investigations are taking place.

The ideological/partisan personal hate that is the basis for the continuous effort to overturn the 2016 election can perhaps best be displayed by the re-emergence of former Nixon Administration White House Counsel, John Dean who is exciting the Left wing media with his “expertise” on presidential impeachment.  The 81 yr. old Dean who himself spent four months in prison for obstruction of justice in the Watergate cover up, has since tried to make a living writing books demonizing the Republican Party and its former officials.  He has written that former President George W. Bush should have been impeached, and forgetting his “expertise” on the Constitutional requirements for impeachment and removal of a President from office, he said this about the Trump impeachment “inquiry”.

- "I think this president probably should have been impeached the day he walked in," Dean said on CNN. "He's incompetent. He has a terrible attitude. He doesn't understand government. He is in there trying to build his own brand, and he's taking advantage of the office from day one.”

Fortunately, the low standards for Trump derangement syndrome haven’t replaced the high standards of Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution.


The Democrats are divided on what the most politically advantageous charges against President Trump should be emphasized.  Politicians and pundits on the Left have argued since the “investigations”  barely started that Trump is guilty of:   abuse of power, bribery, illegal campaign donation solicitation, obstruction of justice, and illegal emoluments.  Some simply say “all of the above”.

While the impeachment process is indeed a political exercise and federal officials don’t have to break a law to be impeached (charged by the House), that is just the first stage but the standards for removal from office in the second stage of  “treason, bribery or “other high crimes” and misdemeanors”, are all statutory based crimes as their plain language describes. In fairness, it should be noted that there exists a body of thought that this language can mean more than just crimes, and bills of impeachment by the House for lesser federal officials than the President have included non-criminal charges. Even so, this wider interpretation of the Constitutional language which was applied by the House Judiciary Committee with regards to the Nixon impeachment effort, reflects the need for very serious misconduct by the President.
“The Framers intended that the impeachment language they employed should reflect the “grave misconduct that so injures or abuses our Constitutional institutions and form of government as to justify impeachment.” (Staff Report of Committee on the Judiciary: “Grounds for Presidential Impeachment”: Nixon: 1974)

These standards makes it clear that removal from office, especially of a President, is not allowed because, you don’t like him or your candidate didn’t win, or even if he engages in “troubling” or “inappropriate” but legal behavior. 

Abuse of power:

It is clear from the testimony of diplomatic and national security staff, that Trump tried to pressure the President of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into the Ukrainian energy company Burisma and some claims that the Ukraine, under their previous president, was involved somehow in the Russian interference in the 2016 elections.  Trump also wanted the publicly announced investigations to include the possible roles of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden . The pressure was in the form of a delay on Ukrainian President Zelensky’s desire for a “heads of state” meeting with Trump and on the funding of $400 million in military aid.
Internal investigations into a Ukrainian corporation based on possible corruption, which had been previously investigated by the Ukrainian government, would be perfectly legal and proper on the part of the Ukrainian President, with or without Trump’s request or pressure.   Investigations into the Bidens relation to Burisma on whose Board of Directors Joe Biden’s son Hunter had held a seat paying him $60,000 a year since 2014, though  legal, would be  politically sensitive and generally considered “improper” if initiated by the U.S. President’s request  given Joe Biden's potential candidacy in the 2020 U.S. federal election .

 The problem for the Democrats becomes the question: Did Trump's communications with the govt. of Ukraine personally in a phone call on July 24th, 2019, and through his subordinates, primarily his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani,  constitute an "abuse of power" because they referenced the Bidens,  as well as the two month delay in the funding of the military aid, and did such an effort constitute a "high crime or misdemeanor"?  Testimony by Lt. Colonel Alexander Vidman, Director for European Affairs for the United States National Security Council (NSC), who Democrats hoped would provide damaging information against President Trump, said that there had been a National Security Council opinion that Trump’s delay of the funding of the military aid was “legal” and based “on a purely legal point of view.”

Thus the weakness in the argument is obvious.  The legal temporary hold on the military aid was released on Sept. 11, 2019 and he "Heads of State" meeting desired by Zelensky, was held on Sept. 24th at the UN.  No "quid pro quo", “something for something” ever came about because Zelensky never made a public announcement of any investigations into the 2016  U.S. elections or into Burisma and the Bidens. Trump's pressure, which never met the Constitutional requirement of “high crimes or other misdemeanors” anyway, and which he characterized as “a favor” in the phone call, failed.

In addition, and specifically to the point, Ukrainian President Zelensky “has said repeatedly that he never felt extorted in his July 25 phone call with Trump.  Zelensky told journalists on Sept. 25, “nobody pushed me.” During extensive discussions with some 300 journalists in Kiev, Zelensky said on Oct. 10: “There was no pressure or blackmail from the US.”  (New York Post: 11-4-19).


With the weaknesses of the “abuse of power” claim becoming more apparent, House Democrats are talking up a switch to “bribery” which sounds more “criminal” and is less subjective in definition.  But such a charge in reference to the Ukrainian affair requires a redefinition of significant proportions to push the square shape of the charge into the round hole of reality.

The constitutional standard of bribery for impeachment implies an agreement between a President and another person in which, by acceptance of a  personal monetary gift to the President,  he uses his powers to provide a policy or services that personally benefits the other individual, a “quid pro quo” in reverse of the Ukrainian situation.  Zelensky didn't make an initial offer of anything to induce Trump to offer military aid, which simply continued a long term policy of military support by the Obama Administration. Trump didn't agree to a request for military aid by Zelensky in return for something of monetary or any other kind of value. The military aid in question was legislation passed by the Congress as part of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.  Zelensky didn’t try and “bribe”Trump with anything and on the flip side of the coin, Trump didn't try and "bribe" Zelensky. The aid was a congressional appropriation which preceded the Trump-Zelensky phone call and was going to go out at some time and it did. Trump did try to pressure Zelensky, which most people agree was "improper" given the “possible” domestic election connection to a “possible” Joe Biden candidacy.

Essentially, the big picture in which the impeachment process resides, explains the true nature of the exercise.  It is just the latest attempt in a three year effort to overturn the 2016 election. All the previous attempts failed.  This one will also fail also since it doesn’t have the support of a large majority of the American public, or even based on one recent poll, any majority.

No impeachment effort in the House of Representatives should ever be undertaken without highly serious, provable offenses to support it; a bipartisan consensus to commence the procedure (not a single Republican member of the House voted to proceed with the “impeachment inquiry”); broad based public support for the effort and a high probability that the Senate will find the charges sufficient to take the drastic step of removing the President. 

This exclusively  Democrat led process, fails to meet any of these important standards and the Democratic leadership knows this.  So the only possible explanation for their motivation is to attempt to further discredit the President in an effort to win the 2020 presidential election.
The Democratic majority has simply usurped the responsibilities and legislative functions of the House to carry out a partisan election “dirty trick”.

Thursday, April 25, 2019


While the attention of the nation is being focused by the media on the early stages of the crowded Democratic presidential primary campaign, important events in the international arena are happening.  These events could give the many Democratic candidates an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, or at least informed awareness, of international relations. But for the most part the candidates are still caught up in a competition of slogans, Left wing “grand” promises, and condemnation of President Trump, all of which  avoid hard questions and detailed answers.

One important event that impacts U.S. interests and has an domestic political consequences as well, was the recent parliamentary election in Israel.  The regional implications of the election are enormous.  The complex Israeli/Palestinian conflict which has been a source of international tension and war since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 remains unsettled and in apparent stalemate despite changes over the years in the political leadership of both Israel and the Palestinians and their supporters. 

The  history of the conflict shows a spectrum of political and military support by American presidential administrations but  the political significance of the recent election in Israel and the 2016 election of Donald Trump has potentially redefined the relationship between the two nations.

The Israeli election was won by a prospective coalition of conservative, nationalist and religious  political parties.  The largest of these was the Likud Party, led by Benjamin Netanyahu who has been the incumbent Prime Minister for three previous, though not consecutive terms of office.
It was a very close election, a virtually unavoidable condition based on the structure of the Israeli government and political process.  

Israel has a parliamentary system which means that voters don’t  vote directly for the head of government.  They vote for lists of candidates submitted by political parties which will determine the make-up of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.  Membership is determined by proportional representation based on each party’s percentage of the voter’s preferences in the total vote. The head of the largest party based on the new make-up of the legislature is usually chosen by the President of Israel, a mostly symbolic office, to “form a government”.  That means  picking  cabinet secretaries  from among a coalition parties to create an executive branch.  The problem in Israel is that the political spectrum is fractured into a great number of political parties, sometimes as many as 40.  Parties much achieve at least 3.25% of the total vote to gain seats in the Knesset which has only 120 members. Achieving an absolute majority by any single party has been impossible for the entire history of the nation.  In a close contest, several coalition partners may be necessary  and often results in a “strange bedfellows”, and sometimes contentious executive branch, as cabinet seats are doled out to minor parties with their own political agendas.

This was the result in the recent election.  The Likud Party won only 30% of the vote and 36 seats in the Knesset,  narrowly  beating their major rival, the new Blue and White Party which won 29.2%. and 35 seats.  This requires Netanyahu to create a majority of 61 seats from among the conservative portion of the remaining 49 seats won by smaller parties.  This he appears to have done by prior agreement, creating a ten seat majority in the Knesset with several conservative and religious parties.  

The U.S. political connection with this recent event represents both a long term relationship of support and a new environment with potentially serious problems.

President Trump has been “Israeli friendly” since taking office in January, 2017.  This has been a notable contrast with the tensions between the two nations during the Obama Administration. Still,  Trump’s orientation has reflected the generally tolerant to supportive alignment of the U.S. since the post WWII international discussions relating to the creation of the state of Israel. 

 On November 29th, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution affirming the recommendations of it’s Special Committee on Palestine (SCOP) which devised a partition of the former League of Nations British Mandate of Palestine.   The partition divided the territory between a new Jewish Provisional Government of Israel and a proposed Arab state.
On May 14, 1948 the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed itself a new independent state and President Truman personally recognized the new government as the legal governing authority of the new state of Israel.  The next day a coalition of regional arab states attacked Israel and the First Arab-Israeli War began. Although the Truman administration provided little material support, Israel successfully repelled the Arab forces and UN sponsored cease fire agreements were negotiated.

However, Israel’s relationship with the U.S. has not always overcome all policy disagreements, as in the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Second Arab-Israeli War.  The conflict began when Israeli, French and British troops attempted to take control of the Suez Canal after Egyptian President Gamal  Abdel Nasser nationalized it. President Eisenhower facing threats by the Soviet Union to intervene, ordered the French, British and Israel forces to withdraw or face economic sanctions, which they did. 

Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in cooperation with the British, sought to avoid a military arms race in the region and withheld arms sales to Israel after the Suez conflict.  But Soviet arms transfers to Egypt and Syria upset the balance and President Johnson changed U.S. policy in support of Israel with significant armor and aircraft sales.  

Arab nationalism led by Egypt’s Nasser, and a series of terrorist attacks on Israel from Jordan connected to the issue of the partition of  Palestine, complicated the Cold War issues and resulted in the 1967 “Six Day War” between Israel, Egypt, Syria and Jordan. This was the Third Arab/Israeli War and resulted in a complete Israeli victory including a large expansion of territory in the Egyptian controlled Sinai Peninsula; the mountainous Syrian border with Israel called the Golan heights, and the West Bank territories and Eastern portion of the  city of Jerusalem controlled by Jordan.

After, the Six Day War, the U.S. under President Nixon tried once again to achieve a more permanent settlement of hostilities by supporting UN Resolution 242 that required Israel and its Arab neighbors to conclude peace treaties in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory.  These attempts failed as the parties could not come to an agreement. 

In 1970, after the death of Egypt’s Nasser,  Anwar el-Sadat  became the President.  Hoping to regain control of the territory lost to Israel in 1967 and persuade Israel that the never ending conflict with Egypt was not in Israel’s national interests,  he made a new compact with Syria and plotted a surprise attack on the formerly Egyptian territory of the Sinai.  It began on October 6, 1973 while Syrian forces attempted to retake the Golan Heights.  Thus began The Fourth Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Yom Kippur War because October 6, was the similarly  named Jewish holy day.  
The surprise was successful and the combined Arab forces armed with up to date Soviet weapons, made early advances.  The Nixon Administration provided massive amounts of military equipment to Israel and the Israeli armed forces managed a successful counter attack. Th conflict soon turned into another military disaster for the Arab forces including the successful encirclement of Egypt’s Third Army just East of the Suez Canal.   However, the war, and Israel’s military domination set the stage for a series of peace negotiations between the Egypt and Israel.

In 1974, the first of two Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreements providing for the return of portions of the Sinai to Egypt were signed.    In 1978 Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin met in the U.S. at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, in what was to be an historic event.  After tough negotiations, a framework for a future peace agreement was reached and in March, 1979 a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed.  

In general terms, the policy of all U.S. administrations after the creation of the Jewish state, has been to create stability in the region, seek balance in terms of military capabilities, and encourage a permanent peace through negotiations.  An underlying approach was to minimize regional influence by the Soviet Union and to assist Israel at times when they faced the possibility of military defeat at the hands of the Arab states.  The Camp David Accords and the following Israeli/Egyptian peace treaty changed the character of the conflict by removing Egypt, the largest and most powerful Arab state, from future region- wide Arab/Israeli wars. 

Despite the significance of the Israeli/Egypt peace treaty and a subsequent peace treaty with Jordan, the peace has not come to the area.  The creation of an Arab (Palestinian) state as provided by the UN partition proposal and which was rejected immediately by the Arab states, has never been accomplished.  Armed conflict, limited and wide, between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization created in 1964  and led by Yassir Arafat from 1969 until his death in 2004, wars with Hamas, the terrorist and political organization in control of the Gaza Strip, the “Arab Spring” revolts which failed in Egypt and is still ongoing in Syria, cross border terrorist attacks from Gaza and the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, all have produced constant conflict since the end of the 1973 war.

From the beginning, in 1948, all U.S. presidents have also supported the original concept of UN Resolution 181 which called for the partition of the Palestinian Mandate into a Jewish and an Arab state as the only effective way to end the now 71 year old conflict.  Now commonly just called the “Two State Solution”, it remains as complicated as always.  

While the Cold War has ended, new entities have entered the environment.  Iran, has declared itself a permanent and implacable foe of the state of Israel, even calling for it’s annihilation.  Iranian and Russian forces have entered the civil war in Syria and along with Iran’s proxy terrorist organization Hezbollah located in Lebanon and now also fighting in Syria.  Hamas, in Gaza also refuses Israel’s “right to exist” and is in a permanent state of hostilities with Israel which has occasioned several major conflicts with the Israeli Defense Forces.  The Palestinian Authority, which was created by the Oslo Accords in 1993, is in administrative control of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, thus creating a divided Palestinian government.  

 U.S. relations with Israel have always been considered in the larger Middle East regional context with most regional consideration going to the primary players, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon.  However, Iran’s growing influence and development of a nuclear research program with possible military applications created a new source of instability and ramifications to the long term  Arab/Israeli conundrum.

Iran has been the target of economic sanctions since 1979 when Iranian militants occupied the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took the diplomatic staff hostage.  The hostage crisis ended on January 20, 1981, the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as President of the United States.

However, in  the ensuing years the U.S., the EU and the UN Security Council added additional, and broader economic sanctions against Iran in connection with their support of international terrorism and their nuclear development program.  On July 14, 2015, after months of negotiations, the “ P5+1" nations (UNSC permanent members plus Germany) signed an agreement with Iran called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which began a process of reducing the sanctions on Iran contingent on Iran adopting limits on its nuclear fuel processing production and nuclear weapons technology.  The plan came into effect on October 18th of that year.

The plan had been a special project of President Obama who had been seen during his first term  by the Israeli government as a committed friend and ally. “Obama put an end to the linking of loan guarantees to Israel’s spending on settlement construction and increased defense assistance to Israel to the unprecedented level of $38 billion over 10 years, making permanent hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to Israel’s anti-missile programs. He authorized assistance to Iron Dome, the short-range anti-missile system that has proven critical in Israel’s three wars since 2009 with Hamas on its border with the Gaza Strip. ," (TJP 7/28/18).

However, Obama as a candidate for President had expressed a level of disdain for Likud, the Israel’s largest conservative party whose leader at the time was Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama, like the last several American Presidents had hoped to be the arbiter of the evasive solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and Netanyahu and Likud represented a hard line, security oriented approach which seemed to Obama as inflexible and an obstacle to productive negotiations.  The problem became more real by the fact that shortly after Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Likud led a conservative coalition to victory in the Israeli Knesset elections of the same year and Netanyahu once again became Prime Minister.  

In 2011, in a speech outlining his approach to Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations Obama included the controversial requirement that Israel withdraw to it’s pre-1967 borders as stipulated in UN Resolution 242 but which had been rejected for years by the establishment of numerous Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He later ordered his UN Ambassador not to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Israeli policy of creating the settlements; a departure from all previous U.S. president’s policies of defending Israel when each of many anti-Israel UN Resolutions were submitted for votes in the Security Council.

The Iran nuclear deal, JCPA, approved in 2015 was the breaking point between the Obama Administration and Netanyahu’s government.  Netanyahu was adamantly opposed to the deal and came to the U.S. to appeal to Republicans in the Congress to kill the deal.  He complained that; “. . .A nuclear-armed Iran is far more dangerous to Israel, to America, and to the world than an Iran that benefits from sanctions relief,”.  He made the point  to Obama and the rest of the P5+1, that the JCPA was a temporary diplomatic achievement but to Israel it was a threat to their very existence.

The U.S. presidential election of 2016 has fundamentally changed the U.S./Israeli relationship and Netanyahu’s victory in 2019 cements that relationship at least until the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

The French Ambassador to the U.S. who is also the former Ambassador to Israel, recently said that Trump was more popular in Israel than Netanyahu.  If that is so, it can be partially explained by the tenuous Netanyahu/Obama relationship which featured open disdain on both sides.  Trump has supported Israel both diplomatically and materially. 

On December 6, 2017 Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced his plans to move the U.S. embassy there. Although Israel’s important government offices were located there, they are in the western half of the city. The Palestinian position was that East Jerusalem was to be the capital of the future Palestinian state.  Also , though Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama had all said they would move the embassy, all had deferred to what was the pro forma U.S. and EU position of keeping all territorial issues in the conflict on the table to help stimulate negotiations between the parties. Thus Trump’s recognition of the entire city which had been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 War, as Israel’s capital, was a major blow to the Palestinian view of a “two state solution”.

On May 8, 2018, fulfilling a campaign promise, Trump announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (PCPOA), the “Iran Nuclear Deal”.  Calling the agreement deeply flawed and dangerous, he reimposed U.S. economic sanctions and handed Prime Minister Netanyahu a major diplomatic and political gift.  The effect was to destroy Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement and reimpose significant economic pressure on the government of Iran.

Trump wasn’t finished in his rebuilding of the U.S. relationship with Netanyahu.  On May 25, 2019, he surprised his own State Department and U.S. allies in Europe by announcing that the U.S. government now recognized Israel’s claims to the Golan Heights region on the border with Syria.  This territorial, under Israeli occupation since 1967 had also been viewed by the EU leadership and Syria as a negotiable component of a broader Arab/Palestinian/ Israeli peace plan.
Of course Trump was simply rejecting diplomatic maneuvering and recognizing the reality that no Israeli government was going to relinquish control of the strategically important defensive region which had gained greater importance since the Iranian entry into the Syrian civil war.

It is believed by some political observers in Israel that Trump’s pro-Israeli acts and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Golan helped Netanyahu build his conservative coalition to win the parliamentary elections in April, 2019.

During the campaign and encouraged by Trump’s support,  Netanyahu stunned the international community by saying if elected Prime Minister he would assume sovereignty over the @131 (in 2017) Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This promise,  if accomplished, in combination with Trump’s recognition of all of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel  would effectively end the seventy-one year old prospect of a “two state solution” to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Of course, Netanyahu may delay, modify, or even reject such a plan in the face of what will be certain international pressure.  And, Netanyahu will not always be the Prime Minister and head of a governing conservative coalition. Future Prime Ministers could have a very different approach.  Still, there are an estimated 413,400 Israelis living in the 131 modern villages (settlements) and “outposts” in the West Bank.  An additional 209,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem, presenting an enormous obstacle to the creation of a Palestinian state in these areas.

Prior to Netanyahu’s “sovereignty” announcement, a Trump “peace plan” had been in negotiation for about two years, led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.  After Netanyahu’s announcement, Kushner announced that the plan which was to be revealed in April, would now be delayed until sometime in June, apparently signaling that adjustments would have to be made to accommodate what appears to be an intractable blockade into any proposed “two state solution”.

Now,  in the beginning of the Democratic presidential primary campaign with an ever growing crowd of candidates competing for headlines by attacking Trump, all his policies, and everyone connected to him, including the Prime Minister of Israel, the Israeli/American relationship is at risk of becoming a domestic political football.  

Former House Representative Robert (Beto) O’Rourke who the media declared a viable Democratic candidate after losing his campaign for the Senate from Texas in the 2018 mid-term elections provides an unfortunate example.  In a highly contradictory campaign speech in April,  he declared that :

 “The US-Israeli relationship is among the most important "on the planet" .That relationship, if it is to be successful, must transcend partisanship in the United States, and it must be able to transcend a prime minister (Netanyahu) who is racist, as he warns about Arabs coming to the polls, who wants to defy any prospect for peace as he threatens to annex the West Bank, and who has sided with a far-right, racist party in order to maintain his hold on power," 

O'Rourke continued, saying he did not believe Netanyahu "represents the true will of the Israeli people" or the "best interests" of the relationship between the US and Israel. “Beto” went on to endorse a two-state solution to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Thus “Beto”, believes that the all important U.S. relationship with Israel must “transcend partisanship in the United States.”? The partisan divide in support of the state of Israel is obvious and is being led by members of  Beto’s Democratic Party.  The “first” two Muslim female members of the House of Representatives were elected in the 2018 mid-term elections.  Somali born Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has made attacks on Jewish organizations and Israel the most prominent part of her new status as a member of Congress.  In May she claimed the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) was “funding Republican support for Israel”causing a major controversy . In spite of the fact that AIPAC offers no financial support for political parties, she went on to say she was “simply criticizing Israel.” She went on to “clarify” that she was opposed to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and “the occupation” (of the West Bank).

 “Palestinian-American”, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) a highly partisan, vociferously crude,  anti- Trump newcomer,  supports Omar and since being elected says she rejects a “two state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and now supports a “one state solution” and canceling U.S. aid to Israel.  A “one state solution” is essentially the incorporation of millions of Palestinian Arabs into the state of Israel and the elimination of the Jewish state. 

 Both Tlaib and Omar support the Left wing Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement popular among U.S. college students and faculties.  One of the goals of the international BDS movement is the “right of return” for all Palestinians and their descendants who lived in the territory of what is now the state of Israel prior to its UN recognized independence in 1948, a similar tactic to a “one state solution”. “Transcending partisanship” in the U.S. doesn’t seem to be a possibility.

“Beto” also believes that the U.S. relationship must “transcend a Prime Minister (Netanyahu) who is racist”.  Transcend (ignore?) the head of government of “one of the most important relationships on the planet”?  Does O’Rourke really believe that should he actually become the President, dismissing that head of government of Israel by calling him a “racist” will lead to an improved or even viable “relationship”?
Unsurprisingly, self described “socialist” candidate Bernie Sanders, hater of all things conservative, foreign and domestic, agrees: “ Israel is currently run by a “right-wing, racist government”, Bernie says, thus establishing his own “relationship” with the vitally important state of Israel.
“ Beto” shows his lack of understanding of the highly complex nature and history of the challenges facing the Israeli state when he simplifies the conflict to a simple choice of a “two state solution”’ That goal has been negotiated since the original Partition Plan of the UN’s Special Committee on Palestine and was rejected by the Arab states resulting in the First Arab/Israeli war.  Bernie knows better but just doesn’t care.

Similar “solutions” have been rejected by the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s leader Yassir Arafat and currently by Hamas, the political leadership in Gaza, which still calls for the eradication of Israel.

“Beto” concluded his simplistic and uninformed comments with the assertion that he does “not believe that  Netanyahu "represents the true will of the Israeli people . ..”  This is a very difficult claim to justify given that Netanyahu has just been elected in a democratic process for his fourth term as Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is a realist who for his whole political career has been faced with the problem of armed aggression by larger, regional states in three general wars, numerous limited wars against the PLO and Hamas, three violent general uprisings (Intifadas) by the Palestinians, decades of cross border terrorism, and rocket attacks and threats by Hamas and now Iran, to destroy his nation.  He, and all other heads of the Israeli government have had to defend a tiny country, of only 8,355 square miles, only 9.3 miles wide at its most narrow point between the West Bank, the proposed site of a Palestinian State, and the Mediterranean Sea.  Netanyahu sees such a state as an inherently hostile threat to Israel’s existence. His positions are not about race but about security. 

As the history of the conflict shows, there are no easy answers.  The domestic partisan hatred of Trump has extended  to his foreign policies and the foreign beneficiaries of those policies.  
Israel is America’s only ally in the volatile and important Middle East region.  It is also the only democratic nation in the region, and possessed of one of the most efficient militaries and intelligence services in the world.  

Former four star general and Secretary of State in the Reagan Administration, Alexander Haig once said that: “Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security.”

If any of the prospective Democratic U.S. Presidents want to have a productive relationship with the dominant player in the conflict, they must avoid the presumption of telling Israelis that they know what is best for them for the protection of their very existence as a nation.  

Putting pressure on Israel to “negotiate” is pointless without a first fundamental change.  There can be no negotiation for peace as long as the Palestinians are governed by two separate and opposing governments in the West Bank and in Gaza and while one such government, Hamas, refuses the “right of Israel to exist”.