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Tag: US Elections

Romney Leads Obama Following First Televised Debate

The upcoming election to decide the next U.S. commander-in-chief is going to be a tight race. Most polls show a slight lead for President Obama, which is practically a tie with the margin of error. The tide, however, appears to be shifting after the two met for their first televised debate.

Romney brought his A-game and was clear and concise in explaining exactly what he would do to fix the economy and get Americans back to work. The president on the other hand, fumbled his words and looked absolutely unprepared. This came as somewhat of a surprise as Obama is normally known as being a great orator. Polls of likely voters following the debate show that it is now Romney who holds a slight lead with 46 percent over Obama’s 45 percent.

Due to poll numbers being so close, the outcome of the race will depend on independent voters who currently favor Romney by a percentage of 44 to 32.

The president and governor both have opposing views over how they will handle the economy and lower the unemployment rate. They also disagree on foreign affairs. The president wishes to cut spending on military defense and has also been very vague over his stance with Iran. He has consistently been criticized by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu for not taking a tougher position over Iran’s nuclear program.

When it comes to the Jewish vote, however, Jews have traditionally voted democrat. AJC, a non-partisan Jewish advocacy group, shows that Jewish voters favor Obama by a percentage of 65 to 24.

The debate has certainly won Romney some favorable views among the public with 52 percent saying they have a positive view of him, as opposed to 48 percent prior to the debate. This is the first time the governor accumulated a favorable view rating of over 50 percent and also the first time he leads Obama.

Jerusalem in The Democratic National Convention

Is Jerusalem in or out? You decide…

Anniversary of Bin Laden’s death is marked by Attack from al-Qaeda

One year ago, an elite team of Navy Seals stormed a compound in Pakistan and shot to death the most wanted terrorist in the world. Now, a year after Osama Bin Laden’s demise, al-Qaeda is beginning to show signs of fracture.

Intelligence believes that the terror organization has been diminished and now just numbers in the few hundreds due to relentless air strikes by the U.S. and coalition forces. It is speculated that their infrastructure is now just engaging in small operations and no longer capable of large-scale attacks like the one that was carried out on 9/11.

This doesn’t mean, however, that al-Qaeda is no longer a threat. They are still capable of inflicting heavy damage; this was evident when they launched an assault on a housing compound for foreign workers in Afghanistan that claimed seven lives.

The attack started off with a car bomb that ripped the compound entrance. Militants disguised in burqas then tried to force their way into the Green Village complex through the damaged gateway. Their assault was repelled by Afghan forces, which engaged in a two hour gun battle with the insurgents.

When the smoked cleared, four civilians passing by in a car were killed. A Nepalese security guard and a student on his way to school were also among the casualties.

The attacks came just hours after President Obama made a secret visit to Kabul to deliver a message of hope and praise to the troops. A Taliban spokesman later claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying that the president was “not welcome.”

Though it appears that al-Qaeda’s foundation is in shambles, it is clearly no time to celebrate. For the same reason that a wounded animal is more dangerous, a wounded al-Qaeda will likely act out of desperation. There will likely be more attacks to come in the near future. Vigilance is more crucial than ever.

The Obama visit to the troops is also a matter of debate as its been seen a part of the November Election campaign and an asset used by the Obama campaign. The GOP is calling it a “Play on Politics” (CNN):

Gillespie, a former aide to former President George W. Bush and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said utilizing the raid for political purposes is one of the reasons Obama has “become one of the most divisive presidents in American history.”
“He took something that was a unifying event for all Americans, and he’s managed to turn it into a divisive, partisan political attack,” Gillespie said in a separate interview on the same NBC program. “I think most Americans will see it as a sign of a desperate campaign.”

Sheldon & Newt

Having rich lobbies acting behind closed doors with politicians is nothing new. The whole system is run by money, as anyone who investigates what goes on in Washington could tell you, and those individuals and corporations who make big donations to politicians also get big friends. Now with last year’s Citizen United rule that was added to the books, opening the way for anyone to give unlimited amounts to presidential candidates, the money play is even more pervasive than before. Just this week, news media learned that Gingrich, one of the top Republican nominees, receives large amounts of cash from a single man, Sheldon Adelson. This multi-millionaire invests many millions into Gingrich’s campaign, and is making a powerful friend.

But what exactly does that mean, and why could this be a problem? For one thing, anyone who becomes, by far, the biggest donor behind your campaign is sure to get the candidate’s attention. Indeed, the two men have regular meetings, discussing important subjects like Israel, campaign finances, and gambling legalization.

You see, Sheldon has some very strong political views. For one thing, he made most of his fortune in Las Vegas, by owning casinos. So of course, he’s all for the legalization of gambling. But he’s also a hardliner, and believes in full US support of Israel. These views are shared by other Americans, but not all, and the problem is that if one man becomes so important to the next president, basically giving him the money he needs to reach the office, then that may give him and his views privileged access as well.

The problem with these types of donors is that the money they give always carry a political agenda, and thanks to the recent law, the door is wide open for these agendas to enter politician’s offices. In this case, it’s clear that Sheldon is betting his fortune on Gingrich, and doing everything he can so that he will win the White House. Often, voters don’t know the details of campaign finances, and they only hear what the candidate says, not what goes on behind closed doors, and what’s on the agenda, often an agenda that may be influenced by these big donors. But in this case, will Sheldon influence Gingrich? There’s no way to know for sure, but one reporter asked, after a meeting of the two men, what his view was on Israel, and not surprising, Gingrich had a view that was identical to Sheldon, promising to do aggressive backing of Israel, saying that in his term he would “seek to defend the United States and United States allies.”

Overall, this should not be much of a surprise. Many people warned that should such a law pass, and the doors stay open to large donors, then we would see cases like this, where a single entity funnels most of a politician’s budget, and the political agenda of the country could suddenly become very one sided.

Romney Victorious in New Hampshire

Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night with a broad-based coalition of both conservative and moderate voters overwhelmingly motivated by their worries about America’s economic future and wanting above all to beat President Barack Obama in November.

According to exit poll data, more than a third of voters on Tuesday said the quality that mattered most in deciding their vote was the candidate’s ability to defeat Obama. Romney won an overwhelming 62 percent of those voters.

Regardless of how they voted, 56 percent of Tuesday’s voters thought Romney would be most likely to beat Obama in November; the runner-up in that category was Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with only 15 percent and only 11 percent saw former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman as most likely to defeat Obama.

Even though Tuesday was a Republican primary, independents could request Republican ballots and vote in the primary.
Remarkably, self-described independents accounted for nearly half of all voters Tuesday – a piece of data which has implications for November. Paul won 32 percent of independents, with Romney getting 29 percent, and Huntsman picking up 23 percent of them.

In his 2000 battle with Al Gore, George W. Bush won New Hampshire by 7,211 votes out of a total of nearly 570,000 votes. If Romney is the GOP nominee that would make New Hampshire competitive this fall. Having an appeal to independents would be crucial to his hopes of carrying the state and its four electoral votes.

Among self-described Republicans Romney won a solid 49 percent of them, according to exit poll interviews. The closet contenders with appeal to Republicans were Paul with 16 percent and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with 13 percent.Huntsman invested heavily in New Hampshire and will likely finish a distant third once all the votes are counted.

Jews Against Obama?

With the first round of GOP primary debates already underway, a lingering question is whether President Obama honored the Jewish vote he had so clearly secured when he won the 2009 presidential race.

Republican Bob Turner’s upset victory last Tuesday in the special election for the mostly Democratic congressional seat in New York’s ninth district is said to be a referendum on Obama’s failed economic policies and relations with Israel.

House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday night that voters from New York “delivered a strong warning to the Democrats who control the levers of power in our federal government. It’s time to scrap the failed ‘stimulus’ agenda and the misguided policies on Israel and focus on getting America back to creating jobs again.”

Obama’s campaign is downplaying the suggestion that Jewish voters are turning against the president. Pete Sessions, the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman however said in a statement that the race demonstrates “voters are losing confidence in a president whose policies assault job-creators and affront Israel.”

Other issues are lingering wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and Libya where a NATO assisted coup on the Qadaffi regime will win control over the region for the al-Qaeda.

Democratic State Assemblyman who lost to Turner, David Weprin, is an Orthodox Jew while Turner is a Catholic who has managed to maintain a stronger pro-Zionist stance than his Jewish opponent.

Ed Koch, former New York Mayor and Jerusalem Post columnist said this summer he was endorsing Turner as a way to “send a message” to Obama on his policies toward Israel.

Executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matt Brooks said in a statement “without question, Obama’s policies are causing significant numbers of Jewish voters to re-examine their loyalty to the Democratic Party.”

Abe Novick wrote on his blog over at Jerusalem Post:

“From Rick Perry to Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum et al., their backing is clear. During the last decade, especially since President George W. Bush had to confront the reality of terrorism head on, the GOP has worked to position itself as the more supportive party, favorable and in line with Israel and therefore to many Jewish voters. At the same time, for the past several elections, Democrats have taken the Jewish vote for granted. Behind the scenes, JStreet, the leftwing lobbying organization, has been overly influential on the Obama administration and has shaped and influenced its policy vis-à-vis Israel.”

Nonetheless, Abe Novick writes:

1. Prior to yesterday’s win in the Brooklyn-Queens district where Anthony Weiner had been the Democratic Representative to Congress, a Democratic polling firm (Public Policy Polling) found that 54% of all voters in the Weiner district and 68% of Jewish voters, disapproved of Mr. Obama’s position on Israel. Additionally, 37% of all voters and 58% of Jewish voters said Mr. Obama’s Israel position was “very important” in deciding their vote. Yesterday, even in the heavily Democratic district where they have a 3-1 majority, Republican Bob Turner won. Moreover, in a district that is 40% Jewish, Turner is a 70-year-old Catholic who won against David Weprin, a Jewish Democrat. If that’s not a wake-up call, then the Whitehouse needs to install air raid sirens from Israel.

2. In the midst of the upcoming U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood, the Obama Administration has only recently publicly said they plan to veto it in the Security Council. Why the long wait in making a public statement and elongating the mystery? Meanwhile, he has sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton off in a last minute attempt to beg and cajole the PA not to go through with it. By not understanding that the PA is now one-half Hamas, due to their alliance, he’s dealing with a terrorist organization and one that does not and will not recognize Israel.”

The US Elections and Israel

I was asked to provide my take on the Impact of the US elections on Israel. I got a little carried away….
In terms of the US elections and impact on Israel.

I think that the impact is significant and that we are all aware of it especially in these hard financial times. The relationship between Israel and the US is historically close and obviously there is a genuine interest in keeping that relationship going. Just from the fact that out of 3 major TV channels at least 2 are showing all week long specials on the elections and the candidates, you realize that the interest level is more then casual.

Impact is a scary word. It can sometimes refer to an adverse effect and I think some people are worried about that with Obama – especially when compared with McCain. McCain is “more of the same” and in this race seems to be the “sure thing” in terms of Israel. He is a Naval Academy grad and an “old army man” (I know the pun…) so that makes him good for Israel. The unknown here is Obama. Will Obama be good for Israel seems to be the million dollar question and the papers and commentators in Israel ask it all the time. But media fed fear is a great ratings/money maker and so I don’t really consider it a good basis for a decision.

I look at a combination of the Job and the Man. I think the presidency of the world’s largest corporation is a difficult gig and brings with it a very steep learning curve. I think that many “presidents to be” had one set of rock solid opinions when they stepped up to the plate and then faced with the realities of the land, the advice of experienced consultants and even previous leaders arrived at different decisions when it came down to executing strategy. Israel and the Middle East is
a traditional “Hot Potato” – period. It’s a foreign policy swamp/nightmare for any US president because of the strategic importance of the area and the volatile population in the region. Finding a steady partner in that swamp is the only way to wade through this particular swamp and this is a lesson that every US president in the last 50 years has had to learn, pretty much the first week on the job.

Now for the man. I like Obama. I think he will be first of all – good for America. I think more of the same is not a good idea for so many obvious reasons. I also think the idea of bringing in a man that will finish his first term of presidency at the age of 76 and the second term (maybe..) at the age of 80 is a problem, especially considering the second in command is an Alaskan with a set of values taken from the middle ages.

Obama is a political loner and in many cases even an outsider. I also don’t think of him as black. He is a determined, dynamic, educated, new world, self made man. He has been able to learn and adapt quickly. He has been able to learn from his mistakes. And, he has been able to stand and fight when needed. All important qualities for a future president.

I also think that these are the characteristics that make this candidate very likely to learn the importance of Israel to the US and value the long standing relationship with this country.

In the long run the Clean & Green policy that Obama wants to move forward will start to reduce the impact of the Middle East on the rest of the world. You need to make that assumption carefully because not “all things remain equal” in this world, but that is a possibility. I also see that as a positive development because it will make the countries in the region look at developing other resources and capabilities in their respective countries and that might actually mean a higher education
rate and real social progress – which of course means less room for fundamentalism and ignorance.
Who knows….

Transit Governments

  • Tzipi Livni has decided last night to forego her last attempts in assembling a parliamentary coalition. This means we’re heading into general elections within 3 to 4 months, probably somewhere in middle February 2009.
  • Municipal elections in Israel are slated for November 11.
  • While the US Presidential elections are due November 4.
  • On top of it all, Abu Mazen, president of the Palestinian Authority, is ending his term in office come January. Hamas has already declared that his people will not regarded Abu Mazzen as a legitimate president if the dejected man decides to remain in office despite the deadline. If such a scenario materializes — and there is high probability it will — then the West Bank might turn into a bloodbath between Fatah and Hamas.

Back to Olmert… As the head of a transit government, he has no public mandate to craft new policies or to resume diplomatic negotiations, yet nevertheless he is still Prime Minister for at least 3 more months.

And as of today he has to deal not only with the Iranian threat, the financial crisis, and the possibility of a looming chaos in the West Bank; but also with the growing tensions between the Settlers and the Israeli army.

If you haven’t heard yet, the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) dismantled tonight a tiny unauthorized settlement outside of Hebron — that belonged to far-right-extremist Noam Federman. As a result, several people in the Jewish Settlers community called out to kill Israeli soldiers as retaliation!

Despite his lack of public or parliamentary support, and while several indictments are awaiting him in court, he has to face the threats of both a Palestinian civil conflict as well as a Jewish civil conflict.

Liking the Kid or Is Obama good for Israel?

Are Israelis really for Obama? I am not sure. I came across this ad for Obama. It’s a campaign piece but it made me think a little.

Today the front pages of the newspapers were showing the pearls of wisdom provided for us by the good Rev. Jessy Jackson. I clearly remember the famous Haimi speech that basically flushed Jessy’s political career down the toilet – that was one of those “brilliant” moments that I just know left Jessy scratching his head for years to come.

Since then Jessy tried to stay relevant (even remembered) and whenever possible tried to stick it to Israel. So I guess when I see that he suggested that he says that: Obama will be less of a friend to Israel and will be better for Palestinians, I am a little skeptic.

I asked my nephew (4 yrs old) about his opinion. These days I think that his opinion is actually as relevant as anyone I see on the news.. And he had a simple answer. I showed his both McCain and Obama on TV (he recognized both) and asked him who he preferred – “I like the kid” he said. You know what, I have a feeling he is right and that he is predicting the future.

McCain’s woman strategy was a good idea on paper but not the “woman at all cost” execution. Palin is a problem and a tough pill to swallow for probably the one group he was mostly trying to reach – Women. My Mom (self proclaimed old school lady) was first very impressed – she loved the fresh attitude and the glasses were just fabulous…. But then some cracks appeared. The talk about Anti Abortion, Pro NRA and the fact that she had such a narrow point of view of life (mostly from Alaska) started making her a little nervous.

Let’s face it – Sarah’s views belong in a different century and of all demographics women, are the one group that knows it. Can the US really afford to go marching into 2010 with a leader (any leader) that feels its a sin to abort a pregnancy no matter the circumstances? Wasn’t this issue laid to rest ages ago?

I like John McCain. I am more confident that he is the better leader for Israel-US relations. Period. No doubt. I think that Obama is young and inexperienced. I think Obama is Naive. Can Obama get past that – can he learn and improve? Yes.

Look at his track record during these elections:

In these elections Obama proved a couple of things. He has the balls to bypass the Clintons (no small thing). He had a good potential running mate there with Hillary that would have taken him all the way to the brass ring but she would have stabbed him in the back the first chance she would have had.
What’s worse, Hillary comes with a built in Ex President with an over developed ego that makes her even more difficult to control and predict.

Joe Biden was a good choice. Obama brought in a “deal maker” to make those uneasy political moves he is going to need some grease and Biden is the right Mechanic for the job.

Now back to Pailin. If anything happens to John (God forbid) SHE WOULD BE PRESIDENT! Let me say that again: Sarah Pailin would be the US President!

And now for a commercial break…


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2VFRt5W4FM[/youtube]

Sarah Palin Anti-Semitic?

Look at this video, especially the timeframe from 01:40 to 02:20. Apparently Obama isn’t the only one who has problems with his pastor.

For the Good of All Baby Boomers

Dr. Mark Klein
Just who is this guy who dares to test the political waters as a virtual unknown running for America’s highest political office? Meet Dr. Mark Klein, a physician and psycho-therapist, a father of 4 and a grandfather; who at age 65 has decided to become a candidate for the Presidency of the United States. He’s not a Joe Lieberman, or a John Edwards. And he’s certainly not a Barack Obama. He’s everyman’s candidate, even though he’s never run for political office.

Why? Because Mark represents that large group of Americans born between 1941 and 1960 – in other words, he’s a baby boomer. He represents a large group of Americans who grew up in a different, more innocent America than that which young Americans are growing up in now. The America of Mark’s youth was one filled with hope and promises. It was a period in which guys working for companies like Ford, General Motors, U.S. Home, etc., could live a decent middle class life and afford to put their children through college. It was a period in which people fell in love, got married, and
stayed together to see their offspring graduate high school, go to college, and then begin their own lives.

Mark Klein also represents what is meant by the American Dream. A second generation American whose grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe, Marks’ father was a butcher in New York and his mother a housewife. Mark was able to attend college due to receiving a scholarship, and this led to being admitted into medical school. In addition to his professional career, Mark was also successful in the stock market; another benefit of living in a free and democratic society where success in only limited by one’s own ability.

Mark may not be strong in foreign policy issues, but he is aware of what is needed locally on the Home Front. And those needs include returning to former values and ideals that have since been lost by too much greed and desire for immediate gratification (No. 1 comes first syndrome).

Mark’s chances of winning the office he wants to run for are perhaps a bit of a long shot. Yet he knows that if guys like him don’t come forward and stand up for what they believe is needed in America, then most likely those issues will not be dealt with, and institutions like marriage, family, and especially America’s middle class will be replaced with those of either the ‘get rich quick’ group or at the other end of the scale, the “Wall Mart generation”.

Americans who created Mark’s generation are either old or gone now, but we all need to think back and reflect on those who lived during a period of one of America’s greatest challenges, i.e., World War II; when tyranny threatened to destroy everything that democracy and human freedom represented. The dangers facing America and the free World today are no less and perhaps even more challenging than those people faced in WWII. People need to come together to meet these challenges, and this can best be accomplished by a return to values represented by people like Mark Klein.

The 2008 Presidential elections are still a long way off, but it’s not too early (or late) to think about what really needs to be changed in America. And for all you baby boomers out there, it’s time to stand up with Mark and be counted!

The writer is an author, free lance journalist and fellow baby boomer, just like Mark.

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