Absentee ballots have already been distributed to Floridians. And on those ballots – along with several federal, state and local offices – are six amendments to the state constitution. Proposed amendments require 60% voter approval to pass, thus permanently changing the state's constitution.
Legalese can be cumbersome, so before you cast your vote – just as we have in previous elections – we are breaking down the six constitutional amendments in Florida, letting you know who supports or opposes them and what they mean for you.
Here’s a look at the constitutional amendments up for a vote this election cycle:
AMENDMENT 1: Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections
What it says: “This amendment provides that only United States Citizens who are at least eighteen years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall be qualified to vote in a Florida election.”
A YES vote means: You support changing the text of Florida’s Constitution from “every citizen” to “only a citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.”
A NO vote means: You support the current text of the constitution, which states “Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.”
ARGUMENTS AGAINST: There is no clear opposition to the amendment, most likely because it has no legal impact on the voting process in Florida since noncitizen voting is illegal in Florida.
ARGUMENTS FOR: Anonymous donors are funding a group called Florida Citizen Voters, who got the amendment on this year’s ballot. According to the group’s chairman, John Loudon, the group believes the amendment is necessary to ensure noncitizens can’t participate in elections.
AMENDMENT 2: Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage
What it says: “Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.”
A YES vote means: You support the amendment to the state’s constitution that would increase Florida’s minimum wage in increments until September 2026 when it would reach $15, or a full-time annual salary of around $31,200.
A NO vote means: You believe Florida’s minimum wage of $8.56 per hour, which would be a full-time annual salary of $17,120, should remain unchanged.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST: According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the new minimum wage could result in job losses and reduced hours for employees.
ARGUMENTS FOR: Well-known Florida Attorney John Morgan helped fund the Florida For a Fair Wage initiative, which argues the rising cost of living in Florida is more than those making the current minimum wage can handle. They argue that the increased minimum wage would give the working-class more disposable income to spend, boosting the state’s economy.
AMENDMENT 3: All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet
What it says: “Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held and winner is determined in general election. Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law. Effective January 1, 2024.”
A YES vote means: You support changing the Florida Constitution to allow an open primary in elections for state legislators, governor and cabinet officials, regardless of party affiliation. Meaning a Republican or Democrat registered voter could vote in a primary helping to choose who his candidate runs against in the actual election.
What a NO vote means: You do not support the change and want the state to continue with its current closed system, which only allows registered voters to vote within their own party during a primary to decide who will represent them in a general election.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST: Both Democrats and Republicans in the Florida Legislature oppose this amendment saying that an open primary could have two top candidates from the same party, leaving one party without representation.
ARGUMENTS FOR: A South Florida businessman who was the finance chairman for former governor Rick Scott largely funded the initiative called All Voters Vote. It would also allow independent voters to participate in the state’s primary elections.
AMENDMENT 4: Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments
What it says: “Requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal applies the current 60% thresholds for passage to each of the two elections.”
A YES vote means: You support changing the voting process to Florida’s constitutional amendments to be approved by 60% twice. It is hard to get 60% approval once... let alone twice.
A NO vote means: You’re fine with the current amendment process, which only requires an amendment to garner a 60% vote in one election.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST: The League of Women Voters of Florida says this amendment would end citizen-led constitutional amendments, adding another layer of cost and participation to the process.
ARGUMENTS FOR: A group called Keep Our Constitution Clean, funded by a nonprofit connected to Florida Power & Light, ran a petition stating that the process to amend the constitution should have an additional layer to the process.
AMENDMENT 5: Limitation on Homestead Assessments
What it says: “Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective date January 1, 2021, to increase, from 2 years to 3 years, the period of time during which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.”
A YES vote means: You support extending the two-year deadline for residents to transfer their “Save Our Home” benefits, which range from $25,000 to $50,000 in homestead exemptions, to three years.
A NO vote means: You support the current two-year deadline for transferring the “Save Our Home” benefits and do not believe it should be extended.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST: According to the League of Women Voters, putting this legislation in the Florida Constitution limits local governments’ ability to manage their budgets, which are funded mostly by property taxes, to best respond to the needs of their communities.
ARGUMENTS FOR: The Legislature placed Amendment 5 on the ballot. Homestead exemptions take effect on Jan. 1. Therefore, the sale of a home late in the year would effectively reduce the portability from two years to little more than one year and a few days under the current rules. So Amendment 5 would help those homeowners.
AMENDMENT 6: Ad
Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain
Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities
What it says: “Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions. The amendment takes effect January 1, 2021.”
A YES vote means: You support a change to the state’s constitution that would allow spouses of disabled or deceased veterans receive a Homestead Property Tax discount.
A NO vote means: You don’t support the amendment and don’t believe property tax discounts should be transferred to the spouse of a disabled or deceased veteran.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST: The League of Women Voters believes the amendment would take away tax revenue that supports law enforcement, schools and infrastructure.
ARGUMENTS FOR: Florida lawmakers unanimously approved putting this amendment on the ballot in an effort to help the spouses of deceased veterans.
Have you lit your gas light? If so you might want to blow it out after reading this. WHAT IS GASLIGHTING?
The term originates in the systematic psychological manipulation of a victim by her husband in Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 stage play Gas Light, and the film adaptations released in 1940 and 1944.
In the story, the husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment and insisting that she is mistaken, remembering things incorrectly, or delusional when she points out these changes.
The play's title alludes to how the abusive husband slowly dims the gas lights in their home, while pretending nothing has changed, in an effort to make his wife doubt her own perceptions. The wife repeatedly asks her husband to confirm her perceptions about the dimming lights, but in defiance of reality, he keeps insisting that the lights are the same and instead it is she who is going insane.
Today we are living in a perpetual state of gaslighting. The reality that we are being told by the media is at complete odds with what we are seeing with our own two eyes. And when we question the false reality that we are being presented, or we claim that what we see is that actual reality, we are vilified as racist or bigots or just plain crazy.
You’re not racist. You’re not crazy. You’re being gaslighted.
China and Japan have been wearing masks for decades are they virus or illness free - NOPE.... IT’S a lie..
New York State has twice as many deaths from Covid-19 than any other state, and New York has accounted for one fifth of all Covid-19 deaths, but we are told that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has handled the pandemic better than any other governor.
But if we support policies of Governors whose states had only a fraction of the infections and deaths as New York, we’re called anti-science and want people to die. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
We see mobs of people looting stores, smashing windows, setting cars on fire and burning down buildings, but we are told that these demonstrations are peaceful protests And when we call this destruction of our cities, riots, we are called racists. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
We see the major problem destroying many inner-cities is crime; murder, gang violence, drug dealing, drive-by shootings, armed robbery, but we are told that it is not crime, but the police that are the problem in the inner-cities.
We are told we must defund the police and remove law enforcement from crime-riddled cities to make them safer But if we advocate for more policing in cities overrun by crime, we are accused of being white supremacists and racists. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
The United States of America accepts more immigrants than any other country in the world. The vast majority of the immigrants are “people of color”, and these immigrants are enjoying freedom and economic opportunity not available to them in their country of origin, but we are told that the United States is the most racist and oppressive country on the planet, and if we disagree, we are called racist and xenophobic. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Capitalist countries are the most prosperous countries in the world The standard of living is the highest in capitalist countries. We see more poor people move up the economic ladder to the middle and even the wealthy class through their effort and ability in capitalist countries than any other economic system in the world, but we are told capitalism is an oppressive system designed to keep people down. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Communist countries killed over 100 million people in the 20th century. Communist countries strip their citizens of basic human rights, dictate every aspect of their lives, treat their citizens as slaves, and drive their economies into the ground, but we are told that Communism is the fairest, most equitable, freest, and most prosperous economic system in the world. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
The most egregious example of gaslighting is the concept of “white fragility”. You spend your life trying to be a good person, trying to treat people fairly and with respect. You disavow racism and bigotry in all its forms. You judge people solely on the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. You don’t discriminate based on race or ethnicity. But you are told you are a racist, not because of something you did or said, but solely because of the color of your skin.
You know instinctively that charging someone with racism because of their skin color is itself racist. You know that you are not racist, so you defend yourself and your character, but you are told that your defense of yourself is proof of your racism. So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Gaslighting has become one of the most pervasive and destructive tactics in American politics. It is the exact opposite of what our political system was meant to be. It deals in lies and psychological coercion, and not the truth and intellectual discourse. If you ever ask yourself if you’re crazy, you are not. Crazy people aren’t sane enough to ask themselves if they’re crazy.
So, trust yourself, believe what’s in your heart. Trust your eyes over what you are told. Never listen to the people who tell you that you are crazy, because you are not, you’re being gaslighted.
Sophocles said: "What people believe prevails over the truth.
And that's what the media are trying to exploit.
If you have read this far let me say one thing. I did not write the above and I am not sure who the author is.
Hopefully you are smart enough to understand what is being done to you on a daily basis from many directions.
It doesn't matter what your political party affiliation is. Just think through what you are being told. Don't listen with a deaf ear, or see with a blind eye. Question everything -- even things from people who you think you can trust. Question why you are being told whatever, by whoever. Question their motives. Question who benefits. Question if there is a hidden agenda behind the propaganda. Question, Question, Question. Then do your own research, and use some of your own critical thinking skills to get to the truth.
Listen with your heart and with your mind.
Sadly, 95% of the masses don't even know that they are being gaslighted. At least now you do!
Federal Communication Communications (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai also weighed in on Thursday after senators announced they were subpoenaing Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey.
Here's Exhibit A for how shameless PBS looks during the fall presidential election campaign. On Sept. 22, PBS "Frontline" aired a two-hour documentary on the presidential election called "The Choice," as it does every four years.
The quick review: Donald Trump is a vicious "killer" and bully. Joe Biden is "Obama's trusted partner."
It began with President Trump's hostile experts such as biographer Gwenda Blair, who said: "Donald's father's overall message to his children was ... compete; win; be a killer. Do what you have to to win." Narrator Will Lyman added Trump "was determined to live up to his father's ideal: Be a 'killer.'"
Young Donald was sent to military school, where it was a "five-year lesson in how to be a bully." Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher set the scene: "Donald Trump yelled at his classmates. He pushed them around. He even used a broomstick as a weapon against classmates who didn't listen to him when he told them what to do. ... He became one of the student leaders who had a number of kids under him in the dormitories, and he ruled the dormitory life with an iron fist."
The narrator summed up: "Inside that brutal world, Donald had found his place. ... With his father and mother by his side, Donald graduated. He'd become a killer, learned the power of bullying to get ahead, a method he'd carry into the future."
Then the documentary turned to Biden, and the tone changed entirely. "Joey Biden's crisis was stuttering," narrated Lyman. The viewer was told a cruel nun at his Catholic school mocked his stuttering. His sister, Valerie Biden Owens, touted how their mother went to the nun and said, "if you ever, ever, ever do that again, I'm going to come back, and I'm going to knock your bonnet right off your head. Do we understand each other?"
The narrator intoned: "Bullied, harassed, ridiculed: He was hell-bent on beating the stutter. ... He kept pushing -- against the stutter, the bullies -- and it paid off."
All this overt pro-Democratic messaging was just in the first 15 minutes of the film. It did not improve.
Fast-forward through the biographies. After tugging heartstrings by covering all the tragic deaths in Biden's family -- the loss of his wife and daughter to a car accident in 1972, and his son Beau Biden to cancer in 2015 -- the documentary taunted Trump by playing the "Access Hollywood" tape and talking about how deeply racist his family is.
Biden got a free pass on anything he has ever done that would upset minorities, from opposition to school busing in the 1970s to the 1994 crime bill. Democrat Bakari Sellers said: "Joe Biden has the Obama halo; everybody knows that. That is the cleansing of Joe Biden and everything that may have happened."
Former Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery added: "Even if they don't agree with him, they think he's a good faith actor. That means a lot. To a community of people who have been betrayed and oppressed and tricked and lied to, someone who you can trust at their word, that goes a very long way."
The concluding sermon came from another Washington Post reporter, Dan Balz: "Policy is not the choice that's on the ballot this year. It is a choice of character. It is a choice of temperament. It is a choice of persona and personality. That's always a factor in our presidential campaigns, but I don't think it's ever been as big a factor as it will be in November."
Policy is not on the ballot?! Forget defunding the police, "Medicare for All," the "Green New Deal" or gun control. Don't vote for the "killer." Vote for the man with the "Obama halo." This hustle is not subtle.
Beware the carefully scripted puffball "town halls" that have been organized by CNN and NBC to help Joe Biden's campaign. As Biden makes a virtue out of having tiny, underpopulated "campaign events" for the TV cameras, these provide the fraudulent illusion of Biden engaging with undecided voters. The questions are toothless and designed to promote answers that impress the audience as being thoughtful and measured.
The first words out of NBC anchorman Lester Holt's mouth on Oct. 5 were the following: "Good evening, everyone. Welcome to tonight's town hall, where we are surrounded by dozens of undecided voters." Listening to the questions asked disqualifies that claim.
For example, Holt presented Ingrid Gilliam-Alexander as "undecided but leaning toward Biden." She insisted President Donald Trump was "bullying" Biden at the debate and said: "I'm worried that it knocked you off your game. How do I know that you're able to forcefully lead this country moving forward when being faced with unforeseen challenges and other bullies?"
Surprise! On her LinkedIn page, she posted a video with the hashtag "#joebiden2020."
Or try this Holt introduction: "Our next one comes from Cassidy Brown in Orlando. Voted for the first time in 2016." Brown's question? "My youngest sister is in high school right now. And I knew whenever I was graduating high school and entering college that I wanted to obtain my degree and start a career before starting a family. Having access to birth control and safe reproductive health care was imperative in making that true for me. So, considering the new Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, what are your particular plans to protect women's reproductive rights in the U.S.?"
That sounds like a Planned Parenthood questionnaire, not an undecided voter. Sure enough, on her public Facebook page, Brown reposted a meme in 2019 from the "VOTEPROCHOICE" Facebook group showing a protest sign that reads, "You're pro-life until the baby is poor, transgender, black, gay, Mexican, disabled, sick, etc."
This is ironic since the "right to choose" is often reserved for eliminating disabled or sick unborn babies.
Or try Michelle Cruz Marrero, presented by Holt as someone who "used to be a registered Republican but voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016." She professed, "As a mother of a police officer and the wife of a retired police officer, served 28 years, the term 'defunding the police' is of concern and troubling. ... With that being said, I would like to know what you and your administration's policies in reforming the police -- how those will come about, how -- how they will be best handled to ensure police officer safety and the public -- citizens' safety as well."
It turns out that Michelle Cruz Marrero can be easily found on Facebook posting on the "Cubanos con Biden" page. She's no undecided voter. After the event, she wrote: "Biden was eloquent and I hope that this clarified all questions regarding the false narrative of 'defunding the police' and that he seeks to reform the police and make it a better place for all of us to live in."
The valentine continued: "He is intelligent. He is elegant. He is poised and he has a plan. He does not dismiss COVID and the future of our country rests on this election and a vote for Trump is a vote for insanity. This country needs Biden. We need Biden. ... He will save America and he will restore the country we had before this monster took over."
The proper description for this NBC "News" event is an infomercial. Holt was selling Joe Biden like Larry King hawks Omega XL diet supplements and Prostagenix prostate pills. Can we expect more of the same at the Oct. 15 "town hall" debate, with a much larger audience?
Much of this is repetition of what I have been writing for the past 6 or more years but it must be repeated.
Previously “classified” (hidden would be a better description) hand written notes from previous CIA and NSA Director Brennan were “declassified” and guess what was found! Brennan’s hand written notes from Brennan’s briefing Obama on Hillary Clinton’s scheme to steal the Presidential election by slandering and libeling then Candidate Trump, by creating a relationship between Trump and Russia, and trying to direct the Presidential election.
Brennan now says “if it’s true and THAT”S a big if…it’s not a crime”.
Mr Brennan …we have your hand written notes…dumb ass! There’s no IF!
AG Barr, let’s get Brennan before a federal Grand Jury along with Clinton ,Obama , Biden, Comey, Strzo, McCabe, Yates…and all the others…then indict them…for what? Take your pick.
AG Barr, with all due respect… stop sitting on your hands and INDICT these CRIMINALS…what the hell does it take?!
How about RICO…Title 18 Section 1961 USC…???!!!
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of Racketeer Activity (eg. money laundering)… to use or invest, directly or indirectly, any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income, in acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of, any enterprise (DNC)which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce…
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person …associated with any engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such ’s affairs through a pattern of …
Definitions and 32 predicate crimes can be found in Title18Sec1961 US Code.
If you read through S1961 and can’t locate a dozen violations of the law committed by President Obama and his entire Administration from Lois Lerner, to John Brennan and James Clapper to Rice to Comey to Holder and Lynch …you need to get glasses.
There’s even a no-brainer for Hussein himself…it’s T18 Sec 1028 …read it! Counterfitting a Government Document is a predicate crime under RICO…(a Birth Certificate is a Government document)!
In April, 2017 I wrote an article for the Sunbaypaper setting forth the argument for the FBI to initiate a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) case against a large organization, as defined by the law, where the common goal was to prevent Donald Trump from becoming President. (Article can be found on their website search: The Right Side: Unacceptable)
Now, I renew my case with more recent predicate crimes they attempted and continue to attempt, to overthrow the duly elected President Donald Trump.
Since I wrote that column in 2017, this Criminal Organization has in my opinion further cemented their RICO criminal activities with the discovery of former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State John Kerry and others acquiring millions of dollars through an alleged Hobbs Act-Extortion scheme against Ukraine… again to the common cause of gaining control of the Office of the Presidency through corrupt acquisition of money to be applied towards the commission of the stated Predicate Crimes and an illegal Impeachment!
The stated purpose of the RICO statute in US Code Title 18 is to bring to justice a Criminal Organization which violates at least two stated, predicate Crimes under Title 18, as a group defined as two or more people working either together or individually, to a common criminal, goal… in this case, for personal enrichment by the “overthrow” of our Rule of Law through illegal activities…money laundering; illegal Impeachment without direct evidence, and denial of Due Process to a US Citizen, the President; fraudulent use of a Dossier, used as evidence, (wire fraud and mail fraud); the creation of a Special Council, through evidence tampering, creating fraudulent FISA warrants, Illegal wiretaps of the RNC and US citizens; using Foreign Agents Christopher Steele and his Russian “sources” to interfere in a US Presidential Election… and on and on and on, ad -nausea !
The acquisition of the DNC by former Secretary of State and unsuccessful, Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, through the use, in my opinion, of illegally acquired funds from the Clinton Foundation or some other illegal source is “illegal”…where did she get some $25 million dollars to pay off the DNC debt?
If that money was acquired illegally and used to acquire the DNC… that alone would explain why she told her staff, after the CNN Town Hall Debate, when she threw a glass at a staffer and said, “Don’t you f…..s understand, if that f….r (Trump) wins, he will put a noose around all our necks and we will all hang”! Very astute, indeed! I would have thought a real FBI Agent would have long ago had that question answered!
Even if Clinton used “legally” acquired funds to buy the DNC, $25 MILLION +, it’s still the Corrupt Organization used to commit numerous predicate crimes to gain the office of the President!
Many have been investigated and the Probable Cause has dust on it… like everything Hillary Clinton did, with her staff, to hide her illegal activities as Secretary of State, to gain wealth to buy the DNC and win the election!
Mr. President, GET OBAMA’s SEALED RECORDS ; they will prove that he lied about his entire life AND CHANGE EVERYTHING… revoke Obama’s clearance classifications as a threat to this Nation!!
Mr. President, it’s time to take off the gloves, the FBI already has most of the violations already made!
When you put it all together it extends the statute of limitations that James Clapper used (5 years) when he, smugly, admitted he lied under oath to Congress two weeks after the 5 year statute expired … RICO has a much longer statute than lying and it doesn’t start until the LAST predicate crime was committed by ANY one of the participants in another crime that is part of the RICO.
So Clapper’s lies under oath could be prosecuted as part of the RICO because he lied about monitoring US Citizens by Intel agencies, like the CIA, when they in fact were monitored by the FISA warrant AND by NSA, and he actively conspired to have the Steele Dossier used as evidence against Trump the candidate and then Trump the President.
J.Gary DiLaura FBI RED
When President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced he would install an embassy in the Holy City in December 2017, the foreign policy establishment said bad things would follow.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned the move "has the potential to send us backwards to darker times than the one we already are living in." Then-British Prime Minister Theresa May said the move was "unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region."
Former Secretary of State John Kerry warned it would cause "an explosion in the region." Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., urged Trump not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital lest the move "spark violence and embolden extremists on both sides of the debate."
The moment shined an unforgiving spotlight on Washington's fecklessness -- really, its comfort with failure that fits within the Beltway's business-as-usual mold versus success reached through unusual channels.
Before Trump, the grown-up thing to do was to give lip service to an embassy in Jerusalem without even pretending to follow through after winning the election, as former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did.
Likewise, the Senate passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in June of 2017 -- as it did regularly since 1995 when then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., supported the bill, without delivering a doorknob. Feinstein was one of 90 Senators to vote in favor of the measure in 2017, and still, she opposed the embassy move.
Not a single sitting Democratic senator or member of the House showed up for the historic embassy opening in May 2018 after so many years of voting to move the building.
Last month, the United Arab Emirates normalized relations with Israel. Bahrain followed shortly thereafter. Which country will be next? There's talk of Sudan. At Thursday's daily briefing, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump is "the only president to have overseen the normalization of relations between Israel and two Middle East countries."
In Las Vegas recently, Trump told me that he thought Saudi Arabia would follow "at the right time."
President Barack Obama's Iran deal united Israel and Arab states in opposition to the deal, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies noted. To his credit, Trump saw the opening, won the trust of Gulf leaders and showed the world that the path to peace could be paved without Palestinian leaders, if it came to that.
And Trump did it with his real estate developer son-in-law turned White House senior adviser Jared Kushner to broker "the deal of the century."
Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, admitted in The Washington Post Wednesday, "The developments confounded the predictions of many peace process veterans -- me included."
Otherwise, "it would seem the majority of the peace process community is eager to return to the failed paradigm of the past," Schanzer noted. "They are literally pining to return to failure."
In April, former Vice President Joe Biden said that the embassy move was "short-sighted and frivolous" but that since it was done, he would not move the embassy back to Tel Aviv. But: "My administration will urge both sides to take steps to keep the prospect of a two-state solution alive."
Really? Because that worked so well?
I spoke with former Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., one of four GOP senators who supported the embassy move on paper and attended the event in real life. He predicted it will be in history books 300 years from now and he credited it for the recent peace pacts.
Heller, who lost a reelection bid in 2018, told me, "I was disappointed that Democrats decided to boycott the event." But, he added, "That's just politics in America today for you."
Debra J. Saunders
The first presidential debate probably didn't win many votes for former Vice President Joe Biden, who was vague and unconvincing. I do think, however, the debate may lose President Donald Trump some votes. I may be one of them.
In 2016, I voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson because I saw Democratic Hillary Clinton and Trump as self-destructive chaos agents.
Trump turned out much better than I expected. He is about to put a third highly qualified conservative jurist, Amy Coney Barrett, on the Supreme Court, and he has filled federal courtrooms with qualified judges who won't legislate from the bench.
His decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem was followed by the Abraham Accords that aligned the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain with Israel.
Trump signed the First Step Act, which brought needed reform to the draconian federal criminal sentencing system, yet supports local law enforcement at a time when beat cops are under siege. Biden wrongly referred to antifa as just an "idea."
Trump's handling of the coronavirus started strong. Rather than try to shut down the country completely early on, Trump tapped key agencies and health officials to craft a plan to slow the spread of the pandemic while bringing the American public on board. His gift for logistics should help produce and distribute a vaccine in record time.
Given a choice between a president who wants the country to remain open for business and a candidate who virtue signals in a mask, I'll take the leader who doesn't want the cure to be worse than disease and trusts Americans to choose their level of risk.
Lately Trump hasn't done so well on COVID. He stopped reminding the public about risks to be avoided. He has said he is willing to override federal regulators if they won't approve a vaccine when he thinks they should. Such rhetoric gives skeptical Americans reason not to trust a vaccine that only works if enough people take it.
Perhaps now that he has contracted the virus, Trump will take it more seriously. While his use of masks and social distancing has improved somewhat over time, and the president was tested daily, his example could serve as a cautionary tale.
I think the Russian probe was an attempt to undermine a duly elected president. I still don't understand why the White House hasn't held an on-camera briefing to expose the outrages associated with the investigation. But I do know why. Trump can't or won't lay out the case systematically and, he won't share the spotlight.
We saw that during the first debate Tuesday night. Trump won't prepare a careful case, as he prefers to bluff his way through an argument.
I know that with his elbows-out posture, Trump has achieved things I never could do. But I don't know that he can continue to deliver. As with every tactic, it works until it doesn't. I don't understand how a man who has achieved so much seems to never learn from his mistakes.
When moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would condemn white supremacist. Trump answered "Sure, I'm willing to do that".
I've never seen a president less willing to do things he doesn't like, such as listening to an opponent and moderator during a debate. If Trump can't do something that simple, what else won't he do?
So I've decided if Trump's feelings are so important, what about my feelings? Why should I support someone who has nothing but contempt for my belief in civility and behavioral norms? Maybe I could just stay home and pout.
Debra J. Saunders
All of the pages on Joe Biden's campaign website carry a motto that sits -- appropriately -- at the upper-left corner of the page. It says "Battle for the Soul of the Nation."
The site recently added a page that, beneath this ubiquitous motto, presents a statement from Biden urging the Senate not to vote on President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
What is Biden's reasoning? He argues that many Americans are already casting their votes in this year's presidential election.
"Election Day is just weeks away, and millions of Americans are already voting because the stakes in this election could not be higher," says Biden. "They feel the urgency of this choice -- an urgency made all the more acute by what's at stake at the U.S. Supreme Court."
And what does Biden believe Americans believe is at stake at the U.S. Supreme Court?
"They are voting," Biden says, "because they don't want Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land for nearly half a century, to be overturned."
Yes, this is a battle for the soul of America.
And Biden -- with his very soul, apparently -- is battling to make sure the Supreme Court continues to hold that killing an unborn child is a constitutional right.
With almost as much consistency as his webpages, Biden's speeches are punctuated with references to the battle for our nation's soul.
On April 29, 2019, four days after he officially announced his presidential campaign, Biden held an event in Pennsylvania. There he declared that the battle for the soul of America was the primary reason he was running.
"There are three basic reasons why I'm running for president of the United States," Biden said. "The first is to restore the soul of the nation. And the second is to rebuild the backbone of the nation. And the third is to unify this nation."
On Aug. 12, 2020, Biden presented his newly named running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, as a comrade in arms who would fight alongside him in the battle for America's soul.
"I knew we were in a battle for the soul of the nation," Biden said at an event in Delaware. "That's why I decided to run, and I'm proud now to have Sen. Harris at my side in that battle, because she shares the same intensity I do.
"She is someone who knows what's at stake," said Biden. "The question is for all Americans to answer: Who are we as a nation? What do we stand for? And, most importantly, what do we want to be?"
What issues (other than abortion) had cemented this philosophical bond -- this common understanding of our future -- between Biden and Harris?
On March 13, 2019, Harris signed on as an original Senate co-sponsor of the Equality Act. "The bill," says the official summary posted on the congressional website, "prohibits an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual's gender identity."
In other words, the bill would prohibit preventing a biological male -- who claims he "identifies" as a female -- from using "a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room" that are set aside for biological females.
What about female basketball or track teams?
When the Equality Act came up in the House Judiciary Committee in 2019, Republican Rep. Greg Steube of Florida offered a commonsensical amendment -- that failed.
"An amendment by Mr. Steube," the committee's report explained, "to add a rule of construction providing that nothing in the Act or any amendment made by it may be construed to require a biological female to face competition from a biological male in any sporting event was defeated by a roll-call vote of 10 to 22."
Under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the full House approved the Equality Act on May 17, 2019.
Harris instantly applauded. "The Equality Act just passed the House, sending a clear message that discrimination against LGBTQ* people won't be tolerated," she said in a tweet.
"I urge the GOP to bring it to the Senate floor," she added.
The Republican Senate leadership did not.
But what would a President Biden do with this legislation that was pushed through the House by Pelosi and co-sponsored in the Senate by his own vice president?
A page on Biden's website -- that, like all others, declares a "Battle for the Soul of the Nation" -- says: "Biden will make enactment of the Equality Act during his first 100 days as President a top legislative priority."
Would Biden actually require schools to let biological males play on the girls' sports teams and use their restrooms and locker rooms?
If he doesn't, he would be reneging on an explicit campaign promise.
"On his first day in office," says Biden's website, "Biden will reinstate the Obama-Biden guidance revoked by the Trump-Pence Administration, which will restore transgender students' access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity."
That -- in addition to promoting abortion -- is that another way Biden plans to battle for the soul of our nation.
World Wrestling Entertainment fans have a new sport. It's called presidential debate, and they should be sure to catch the next one.
President Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered no new ideas or insights into policy, but they had fun bludgeoning each other with personal insults. Everyone expected such behavior from Trump, but Biden played along by calling Trump a "racist" who uses "racist dog whistles." Trump is a "clown." Biden said "will you shut up, man," after Trump suggested Biden would lose the far left for trying to sound moderate on socialized health care.
For Biden's fans and foes alike, this debate was a test. They wondered if the 78-year-old candidate, appearing confused routinely while speaking extemporaneously in recent months, could get through 90 minutes without an embarrassing blunder. He did just fine, possibly putting the "mentally fit for office" question to rest for a while.
Biden came across as a man trying to be more Trump than Trump, and Trump came across as Trump. The president tried to cast Biden as stupid after Biden used the word "smart."
"Smart?" Trump quipped. "Don't ever use the word smart with me. There is nothing smart about you, Joe."
Trump berated Biden for graduating near the bottom of his class. He said Biden could not remember which college he attended, a reference to Biden's claim this weekend he got his start the historically Black Delaware State University. The university reports Biden never enrolled at the school, but he has spoken there several times.
And on and on it went, with the American public learning nothing new about either man. It became a contest of who could deliver a better personal jab.
Biden blamed Trump for the pandemic and accused him of wanting to take free health care from millions of Americans. Trump accused Biden of trying to take private health insurance from millions of Americans. Yawn, we've heard it all before.
The closest thing to a WWE Ironclaw Slam maneuver came when the men discussed law and order. Trump enumerated some of his endorsements from law-enforcement organizations, then put Biden in a lurch.
"Name one (law enforcement) group that came out and supported you," Trump demanded. "Go ahead, we have time. Name one. There aren't any."
Looking mildly befuddled, Biden had no answer.
Moderator Chris Wallace moved the awkward moment along quickly, asking Biden if he had called on the Democratic mayor of Portland, Ore., or Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to seek help from the National Guard in quelling violent protests.
"I don't hold public office now," Biden said.
It was a problematic answer, given that Biden had declared "I am the Democratic Party" earlier in the debate. One might expect a man who is one-in-the-same as the party to lead Democratic politicians in solving big problems.
Another almost substantive and telling moment during the made-for-TV brawl fest came when discussing the environment. Biden scored points with a base that supports him by condemning Trump for pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. Biden pledged to rejoin the agreement upon taking office. Another yawn-we've-already-heard-that moment.
Trump fired back by telling Biden the Green New Deal would cripple the country economically, ruining air travel, harming the military and costing the economy some $100 trillion.
"The Green New Deal is not my plan," Biden said in reply.
That somehow led to Trump accusing Biden of calling the military "stupid bastards." Then, as from out of the blue, a Reverse Frakensteiner move had Biden back on the ropes defending the Green New Deal.
"The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward," Biden said, sounding like a man who planned to implement the plan.
Puzzled by that statement, from a candidate who distanced himself from the plan just moments prior, Wallace jumped in to save Joe.
"Do you support the Green New Deal?" Wallace demanded.
"No, I don't support the Green New Deal," Biden said. That was weird because he just finished explaining how the deal would help resolve "global warming" and pay for itself. We're left to wonder whether Biden will or will not give us a Green New Deal.
That was as close to a moment of substantive insight as this debate offered. The rest was an artful display of pre-planned Headlock Drivers and common body slams.
Given the near-complete lack of meaningful and insightful discussion, Biden could have won the night by appearing as the seasoned, respectful, civilized and erudite statesman. He made no such attempt, appearing instead like a man who chose to take on Trump by acting like Trump. Conversely, Trump could have won the debate by appearing like a man who can play with respect for the rules. Instead, he routinely interrupted Wallace. Even worse for his cause, Trump interrupted Biden during answers in which the candidate might otherwise have found himself lost in a lengthy train of thought.
The debate was fun to watch, for those who like manufactured and meaningless conflict. It offered nothing more and should have no role in moving the needle among the small demographic of undecided voters who will determine this election. If they watched, they must be as confused and dismayed about this election as they were the day before. But that's the world of TV wrestling. Win or lose, it's all just a show.