Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reagan versus Begin

It seems President Reagan had a similar problem with an Israeli PM to what president Obama is going through now. He wasn't happy.

I didn't like having representatives of a foreign country – any foreign country – trying to interfere in what I regarded as our domestic political process and the setting of our foreign policy. I told the State Department to let Begin know I didn't like it and that he was jeopardizing the close relationship or our countries unless he backed off.

and:

On Oct. 1, an angry Reagan told a press conference that "it is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy." When asked if that meant Israel, he responded. "Well, or anyone else."

And now there are Republicans who are perfectly willing to go along with whatever Bibi wants. Didn't think I'd ever miss Republicans like Reagan, but they've actually devolved a little further. Today's word is obeisant. Can you say obeisant?

Another reason Ronnie would be a RINO today.

Plus: Charles Pierce

The president embarks on delicate negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. He allows his aides and underlings to do so because he is firm in his belief that in the presidency resides the sole power to conduct the foreign relations of the United States. A year or so earlier, his deputy national security advisor wrote a memo in which he said that the president "was ready to confront the Congress on the constitutional question of who controls foreign policy." The Office of Legal Counsel in his Department of Justice argues that the president had "far-reaching discretion to act on his own authority in managing the external relations of the country." When these negotiations are uncovered, this is the primary argument presented by the president and his defenders against the angry opposition of the Congress. The president is Ronald Reagan.

There's much more and it's wonderful.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fallows On Netanyahu's Address

James Fallows at the Atlantic:

When you're proven right, you trumpet that fact—and when you're proven wrong, you usually have the sense to change the topic. Usually.   
 
Was it because Netanyahu has a better plan that he wants Congress or the United States to adopt in dealing with Iran? No. His alternative plan for Iran is like the Republican critics' alternative to the Obama healthcare or immigration policies. That is: It's not a plan, it's dislike of what Obama is doing.

And he cites Michael Tomasky pointing out what I've suspected all along:

Netanyahu is creating a much bigger problem here. Ultimately, he wants war with Iran. And American neoconservatives want it, too. ... Think about it. What is the alternative to negotiating with Iran? Well, there is only one: not negotiating with Iran. And what are the possible courses of action under that option? At the end of the day, there are two. Number one, let Iran do what it wants. Number two, ultimately, be willing to start a war to block Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Back to Fallows:

It is in American interests (as I have argued) to find some way to end Iran's excluded status and re-integrate it with the world, as happened with China in the 1970s. And it is in Israel's interests, at least as defined by Netanyahu for regional-power reasons, that this not occur.

Let's see if we can get Obama back on the Apology Tour. The Mossadegh edition.

Monday, March 2, 2015

It May Be That the Media is Centrist and You're a Right Wing Loon

This is in response to a Mark Frost editorial of a few weeks back that I didn't want to let slip totally into the ether without a bit of comment.

Are you as concerned about the nuclear deal with Iran that the Obama administration is pursuing?

Yes, but likely for different reasons since I'm not a neo-conservative. Mostly I'm concerned that most of our Congress doesn't realize that Bibi Netanyahu is a lying warmonger.

And then he does a copy and paste that would make Donald proud to a mystery editorial that has concerns about the negotiations with Iran. And zounds! It's from the so-called liberal media. The WashPo to be precise. Apparently, they have grown in Frost's estimation, while the NYT is, of course, still a liberal slime bucket.

Another line I wanted to point out was:

I know everybody is fixated on Lyin' Brian and Kim and Kanye, but count me as having no confidence in the Obama administration to make far-reaching foreign policy decisions by itself imposing its pre-set mindset.

You know who else has a pre-set mindset? Bibi Netanyahu. One more link to people saying he's lying. Why not? Also wanted to mention the first part of that quote. I barely know who the K's are. But, I do know that Bibi Netanyahu is a lyin' warmonger and that's more important to me than anything a lyin' anchorman has to say.

UPDATE: Had to come back and tuck this in here. It's the history of Bibi's Chicken Littleism over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

 In 1992, then-parliamentarian Netanyahu advised the Israeli Knesset that Iran was “three to five years” away from reaching nuclear weapons capability, and that this threat had to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.”

There's more at the link. I'll thank the prime minister to not volunteer our military for such forays.

Frost ends by saying the Wall Street Journal is still his favorite paper. Why? Has Murdoch brought the page 3 girls to it? That link is NSFW, BTW. This brings up a question I frequently ask myself, though (and never get an answer). A series of questions, actually.

If the so-called liberal media is lying to you, why the fuck do you read it?

Is your bullshit detector so good that it automatically pierces the left-wing lies to get at the creamy, truthy center?

Why don't you just read the goddam NY Post and quit whining?

If the media is so liberal, what happened last November?

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe 90 some odd percent of the media in this country is centrist and you are just a right-wing lunatic?

This leads to my request for a theory of how this liberal media conspiracy works. I'd like to see a "Loose Change: The Liberal Media Edition." If you're going to go around ballyhooing about the liberal media, you should at least be able to present a theory (not a postulate) for how it's possible that all the media outlets (sans Murdoch owned and talk radio) are in the pockets of the forces of evil (i.e. Democrats).

Just want to tack this on. You know where else liberals are hated? Russia.

Analysts believe that the majority mood of hyper-patriotism and the official media's labeling of liberal opponents as "traitors" may be encouraging violence by ultra-right fringe groups. And one of several theories currently being studied by the Kremlin's powerful Investigative Committee is that Nemtsov's murder may have been connected with "Ukrainian events."  

"The poisonous atmosphere we're living it is the basic problem," says Alexei Kondaurov, a former KGB general turned politician. "There are new people out there, armed groups, who are not controlled by the authorities. It's a new generation," he says. This includes Russian volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine who now equate Russian liberals with Ukraine's Maidan revolutionaries. "I'm afraid this tragedy is just the beginning," he says.        

Vladimir Putin has condemned Nemtsov's killing, and created a high-level investigative team that will answer to him directly. Some protesters at Sunday's march said they blame Mr. Putin personally for the Nemtsov murder, but most were more circumspect.”

In recent years, the Kremlin successfully marginalized Russia's liberals by denying them access to mainstream media and tarring them as agents of Western influence. Putin currently enjoys 86 percent public approval while Nemtsov has barely showed up in opinion polls in recent years.

Kind of like the Bush years on steroids.

Hey, at least I didn't mention Hitler or Coulter.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Be Careful What You Wish For

Seems to me, and I only play at political prognostication on this blog, but it's not that good for Republicans if the Supremes hack away a big part of the ACA. I don't think they're going to do it, but what do I know. I have the good fortune to live in King Andrew's Socialist Fiefdom where we have healthcare exchanges, thank God. Chris Christie must have been too busy closing bridges to set them up in Jersey.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act that would end the federal subsidies for people who bought health coverage on the federal marketplace, a decision with enormous potential impact in New Jersey — and not just for the 210,000 insured residents directly affected.

The loss of subsidies — which average $309 a month for eligible consumers in New Jersey — would make it difficult for many recipients to afford to continue insurance coverage, experts say.

The ripple effects could be substantial. Without the subsidies, the ranks of uninsured in New Jersey would grow, leading tens of thousands of people to fall back on charity care and putting more stress on hospitals and other health care providers, according to the state hospital association and groups that have filed briefs with the court.

Hey, fuck it, he's losing to Jeb anyway. But, how about those guys who have voted 67 times to implode it?

The possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon eliminate federal subsidies for people buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is the biggest story in politics and economics that no one wants to talk about... Democrats won’t talk about what they would do because they don’t want the court to believe they could contain the fallout. Republicans don’t want to talk because they’re loath to admit that, even after voting 67 times to repeal or defund the ACA, they have no plan to help the millions who would be affected. (But they’d sure love the court to kill the law anyway.)

Yeah, it's that last part. My Rep doesn't have to worry. She campaigned on killing it. Maybe she can find a way to take credit. And her constituents aren't going to be hurt, thanks to Guv Cuomo. The author of the article did come up with a turncoat, RINO Heritage refugee named Stuart Butler.

Practically alone among Republicans, Butler is sounding an alarm about what a decision in favor of the King plaintiffs would carry with it. While Democrats would be dismayed if the court guts Obama’s signature initiative, Butler’s worry is grounded in an understanding that voters with skyrocketing premiums may not blame Obama, as Republicans assume. They’ll expect the party hellbent on destroying the law to have a solution—and react badly if none is forthcoming. Because 16 states operate their own exchanges and therefore won’t be affected by the court’s ruling, Butler believes the ACA will stagger on and eventually recover, since voters won’t abide a system wherein some states have affordable, federally subsidized health-care coverage and others do not.

I just want to interject here that we would be counting on the same group of insane right-wing ideologues who can't even provide funding to protect us from teh terrorists for more than a week at a time. I'm thinking, do Republicans, or possibly did they, get a lot of campaign donations from the healthcare industry?

The result would not just leave millions uncovered but also risk destroying the individual health-care markets in states that don’t act. According to a brief filed by a consortium of hospital trade groups, “A market without subsidies will trigger a premium ‘death spiral’ in those states: With subsidies gone and premiums pushed higher, younger and healthier patients will likely drop coverage. Those that remain, paying the higher rates, are likely to be sicker and use more health-care resources. That, in turn, will push rates for everyone in those states even higher, which will cause more to drop coverage, and so on.”
On the business front, the effects would be no less significant. “If the U.S. health-care system were its own economy,” says Butler, “it would be the sixth-largest in the world—larger than Britain’s.” Entire segments of the health system redesigned their business models to take advantage of the ACA’s incentives. Hospitals, for instance, were given a trade-off: They stopped receiving government payments to offset the cost of treating the uninsured, cuts that amount to $269 billion over a decade. In return, they were promised millions of new patients insured through federal subsidies. “All the major hospital systems and big insurers like Kaiser and Geisinger spent a ton of money adapting to the ACA,” says Butler. If subsidies vanish, “suddenly the market is misaligned. If you’ve hired all these new doctors and health-care workers to cover all these new people walking in the door, and they don’t come, what do you do? You lay them off.”

Post Star Letters - Edward Binder Edition

I agree with Mr. Binder that the Post Star should not censor letters, as long as they fall within certain parameters anyway. I love to read all the letters, even his. I don't share his opinion on my buddy Al, but I'll let him take that up with Edward.

Katherine Verbeck-Lobban, if any letters are to be censored as you suggested, I think it should be yours, not Mr. Hepp’s. He at least presents facts and points for discussion. Your letter seems to only insist that his should be censored because you don’t agree with his understanding of the USA’s current condition. Fortunately, The Post-Star editors understand the concept of the First Amendment and do print letters that not everyone agrees with, and to their credit, I am sure they will continue to do so in the future.

I knew Mr. Hepp’s letter would get under Mr. Scoonzarielli’s skin and he would present the same old, tired, half-true Democrat talking points which he has so often done in the past. Mr. Scoonzarielli, you are so predictable. You must just copy the talking points from one letter to the next without thought or concern for their truthfulness. Even the vice president said (recently on TV) the middle class is in worse condition now than in the past 40 years: “They have gotten hammered.” Their income has been flat or has lost about $3,000 to $4,000 annually.

I do agree with most of Mr. Hepp’s statements, since they can be proved by looking at the national statistics.

I am glad to see that he went through and fact-checked Mr. Hepp's statements. I'll just point out that my investments, both taxable and retirement are in a much better place than they were when Dubya hit the dusty trail back to Texas. When he left, they were in that oval, porcelain bowl in the bathroom.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Unwritten Letters to the Post Star

At the risk of looking like too much of a crank, do believe I'll send some editorial letters to my blog and not the Post Star. Anyway. This one goes out to you, John Siebrecht.

As the left continues to flounder and gasp for air like a fish dying on a beach, we on the right chuckle over our morning coffee.

Throwing pebbles against the one news outlet that is not in the left’s back pocket, these pitiful souls sweating from panic will do or say anything to divert our attention away from the fact that their liberal experiment, their apology for something that took place 200-plus years ago, has failed miserably. The anti-American liar occupying the White House now has set race relations back years and has made us a laughing stock around the world.

In Moreau, we have a guy living in his basement with one eye glued to Fox News 24/7 while the other eye watches the letters to the editor for anything that displeases him. His latest rant was accusing Mr. Hepp of creating the Islamic State; anyone but the empty suit hiding beneath his desk in Washington. A couple of weeks before this, a liberal guardian of our letters submitted an attempt at humor by way of a poem that was so embarrassing I almost felt sorry for the guy.

Over in Lake George, we have a woman seated on the left of the lake wants only her and her ilk allowed to voice their opinions. So typical of the left. Call people names embarrass them when they voice their opinions, and shout them down if they don’t fall in line. Sorry liberals, you’ve had six years and look at the mess the world is in. Who is at fault? This is now Obama’s war.

JOHN SIEBRECHT

First off, chuckling into your coffee while we die gasping for air doesn't seem very Christian. But, I'll leave that for another time. And I'll let my buddy Al and the lady from LG fend for themselves. What I really want to address is "The anti-American liar occupying the White House now has set race relations back years and has made us a laughing stock around the world."

I've seen this attack on President Obama here and in other venues. See, I don't think you can lay it all at the feet of Obama. The reason I like putting it up here is that I can add pictures like this to illustrate the point:

 
 
 
And if you don't think that's racist there are plenty more at the link. I do realize that he's not as white as all the presidents we've had that have come before him. In his defense, as Rudy points out, his mother was white.
 
 
 
 
No word on whether she was Dutch. Oh yeah, and I don't think we're a laughing stock around the world either, John.


Can you see why this well thought out rebuttal didn't become a letter to the local press? Some stupidity doesn't deserve a lot. Just a little blogging!

Just want to tack on an RIP for Leonard Nimoy, a beautiful man.

Significantly, Nimoy did not disregard his Jewishness after becoming a star. Even after his depiction of Dr. Spock became famous throughout the world, Nimoy continued to actively participate in Jewish causes, from fighting to preserve the Yiddish language and narrating a documentary about Hasidic Jews to publishing a Kabbalah-inspired book of photography, The Shekhina Project, which explored “the feminine essence of God.” He even called for peace in Israel by drawing on the mythology from “Star Trek,” recalling an episode in which “two men, half black, half white, are the last survivors of their peoples who have been at war with each other for thousands of years, yet the Enterprise crew could find no differences separating these two raging men.” 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Can't Help Myself

I've been trying not to pay much attention to the GOP hopefuls. Let me pause to say to The Donald and The Sarah: Run! For the love of God, go for it. OK. Now then. Scott Walker is turning out to not be so much ready for primetime. It is, of course, still the fault of the liberal media.

"I want a commander-in-chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up on American soil. We will have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message not only that we will protect American soil but do not take this upon freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world," Walker said. "We need a leader with that kind of confidence. If I can take on a 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world."

Following the remarks, the National Review's Jim Geraghty wrote that he took no pleasure in defending the union protesters, but that Walker gave a "terrible response" to the Islamic State question. A spokeswoman for Walker's political committee later sent Geraghty a statement downplaying the governor's mention of the protesters.

"Governor Walker believes our fight against ISIS is one of the most important issues our country face," the statement to Geraghty from Walker spokeswoman Kristen Kukowski said. "He was in no way comparing any American citizen to ISIS. What the governor was saying was when faced with adversity he chooses strength and leadership. Those are the qualities we need to fix the leadership void this White House has created."

It's good that he doesn't feel his fellow Wisconsinites are on par with the group IS. Well, he cleared another hurdle. So to speak.

Added: I'm thinking maybe Walker should not have run for president. I can't help but think he's hurting his brand down the road. Not to mention the Republican brand.