Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Maybe The Daily News Was Right On The Traitor Call

Let's start with the Daddy Warbucks of today's Republican Party.

The biggest donor to Republican Party political groups said Tuesday that the United States should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran to spur the country to end its own nuclear program.

In all fairness, though, he only wants to drop it in the desert and stir up the snakes and scorpions. So, it's not like it's going to land in downtown Tehran. Moving on to James Baker, who worked for Republicans who would surely be seen as squishes today. 

When former Secretary of State James A. Baker III accused Israel’s leader this week of undermining the chances of peace in the region, he said nothing more than the kinds of things he had said at times when he was in office a quarter-century ago.

But the instant backlash from fellow Republicans that prompted Jeb Bush, the son of Mr. Baker’s best friend, to distance himself underscored just how much their party has changed on the issue of Israel. Where past Republican leaders had their disagreements with Israel, today’s Republicans have made support for the Jewish state an inviolable litmus test for anyone aspiring to national office.

The Republican infatuation with Israel is becoming unseemly. Get a room, will ya!

“It is remarkable,” said William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine and one of the leading voices promoting Israel’s cause in the United States. Mr. Netanyahu, who goes by the nickname Bibi, has become a rallying point for Republicans, he said. “Bibi would probably win the Republican nomination if it were legal,” he said.

It's going to be interesting to see which of the GOP candidates can display the most out and out love and affection for Zionism. Gotta get them Adelson bucks.

(I)n the days since Mr. Baker’s speech — in which he criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel for failing to work harder for Mideast peace — the criticism from Republicans has only intensified.

The perceived breach presents a new and potentially significant obstacle for Mr. Bush as he seeks to lock up prohibitive support of the Republican donor class for his presidential campaign.
Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul and a powerful donor to Republican “super PACs,” is among those who have expressed concerns to Mr. Bush’s friends and allies, several of them said. Mr. 

Adelson is said to be incensed over Mr. Baker’s comments and the lack of pressure put on him by the Bush team before his address — a significant concern, given that Mr. Adelson has the resources to pour tens of millions of dollars into the Republican presidential primary.

And today's news on the talks themselves:

China’s longstanding friendship with Iran, set alongside Beijing’s fears of it acquiring a nuclear bomb, could offer Wang the chance to play peace broker.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Round-Up Of Terror News

Reading the Christian Science Monitor so you don't have to. Oh fuck, you should read it, too. First up, because the Saudis have lots of money and their subjects citizens don't want to fight their own wars and the Pakistanis are poor, they are asking for mercenaries to fight in Yemen.

The Pakistani foreign ministry confirmed that the Saudis have asked Pakistan contribute ground forces to Yemen, Reuters reports, but Defense Minister Khawaja Asif indicated that Pakistan is reluctant to get involved.

Which is way more polite than saying, "fight your own battles." At least the Saudis know who they're fighting against, although maybe not what they're doing since the IS group in Yemen is likely quite happy to see a civil war going on between ex-president's of the country of Yemen. The US on the other hand is a little confused in Syria. 

 As the US grapples with whether it should pursue a larger role in the Syrian War – and just how much military aid to give Iraqi troops battling the Islamic State – it is also trying to figure out how to avoid one of the most basic and nettlesome blunders of all: inadvertently creating a Frankenstein’s monster in the form of corrupt local power brokers.

With large influxes of cash and military training – and in ways both formal and informal – the US military has often tapped the wrong people with disastrous consequences, say senior US military and intelligence officials. 

In Afghanistan, by relying on small units of Special Operations Forces working alongside mujahideen forces, the US “super-empowered” these militias, says Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, widely considered to be one of the Pentagon’s premier practitioners of counterinsurgency and now the deputy commanding general of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command.

It was one of the key wrong turns in America’s war in Afghanistan. These militias in turn “morphed into organized crime networks,” he says, and eventually “hollowed out institutions that we, the international community, were trying to build.”

That's not to mention Osama bin Laden a bit further back. Because, here at Hometown USA, we like to end on a high note I include this story

Seduced by scathing critiques of Western society, young people were carrying out bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations across Europe and the Middle East. Graphic images screamed from the front pages of newspapers. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies were caught off guard. “The struggle against terrorism knows no borders,” the French minister of justice declared.

It was the 1970s. The Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhof gang, the Japanese Red Army, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and a bewildering array of Palestinian factions were spreading mayhem. Read through a list of terror incidents in the 1970s and you’ll relive month after month of drama. Enter “Carlos the Jackal” or the Irish Republican Army. Meet the latest Palestinian, Croatian, Quebecker, or South Moluccan militants as they hijack planes or trains and set off bombs in public places. A new cause was always demanding attention.

It's been worse. And, of course, if you're with me reading this in Hometown you're in no danger at all from terrorists despite my seeing these on a somewhat regular basis, though not so much lately:

If I was braver, I might ask, "how's the hunting." But, never bring snark to a gunfight, I always say.

Don't miss the Syrian quiz. I got a very disappointing 54%. Obviously learned a lot, though.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sharing The Letters Page

Happy to see my letter printed in the Post Star today. Even happier to read one from Wayne Judge, as well. I've read Mr. Judge's letters and enjoyed them in the past, so it was an honor to share the page with him.

In addition to Iran and ISIS we should add the name of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) to the list of those who pose grave risks to the future of the world.

Sen. Cornyn’s commentary in this paper on Wednesday criticized the terms of a proposed agreement between five nations and Iran even though he knows next to nothing about the terms of the final agreement being negotiated. He proposes, instead of negotiation, that the U.S. “bring to bear devastating sanctions on Iran with the credible threat of decisive military action as a backstop” — a “backstop.”

The senator ignores the fact that Russia, China and probably India will not agree to the “devastating” sanctions and will ignore them. That will leave the Iranians free to continue their nuclear development unchecked, and it will leave only war as the remaining American option. I suppose at that point the senator would have the U.S. “unleash” Israel which already has nuclear weapons, having built its first nuclear weapon in December 1966. That might be a nice way to end the world.
The commentary might also be just another ludicrous attempt to undermine just about anything accomplished by this American president.


And yours truly,

So, John Cornyn says the White House is insulting the intelligence of the American people by saying Republicans want to rush to war with Iran. Why would anyone think that? Let’s see. After the Bush administration successfully propagandized the country into the Iraq war, a common quip among neoconservatives was, “anyone can go to Bagdad, real men go to Tehran.” Then there was 2008 GOP nominee for president, Sen. John McCain, singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” I’m delighted that sanctions are good enough for Republicans like Cornyn and Charles Krauthammer now, when they were insufficient in March 2003. War was the only solution then.

Inspections in Iraq correctly told us there were no WMDs. An agreement with Iran will allow inspections there. No agreement, no inspections; and continued sanctions gives them no reason not to pursue nuclear weapons if they desire to.

Cornyn mentions an Iranian connection to the barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983. He doesn’t mention the Reagan administration secretly shipping arms to Iran two years later. I’d worry about the intelligence of anyone putting faith in the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party to make good decisions in the Middle East. More diplomacy may lead to less foreign entanglement.


And what Charles Pierce says, as always.

Call this. Do it now. Tell them their money is no good here any more. Give these brigands the 86 the way any respectable saloonkeeper gives the heave to a chronic deadbeat who's run up an unpayable tab. Show the country in simple (and not necessarily civil) words what these people really are. Demonstrate, speech by speech, that they have no loyalty to the political entity that is the United States of America, that they are stateless gombeen bastards who would sell this country's democracy off like a subprime mortgage to put another ten bucks into their pockets. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Meet A Man John Bolton Wants To Kill

In today's CSM, otherwise known as the paper of record here in Hometown USA, we meet a young man who has returned to Iran. John Bolton would have no problem with his being killed in the interest of "regime change." In all fairness, many others would die as well.

His move back to Tehran is part of a reverse brain drain encouraged by the June 2013 election of President Hassan Rouhani. Shouting out PINs is just one of many quirks embraced by those young professionals educated abroad who have spurred good prospects in the West to return to live and invest here. 

It’s a bet on the future, and for many a bet on the presidency of Mr. Rouhani, the relatively moderate regime insider who has promised to resolve Iran’s nuclear issue with world powers and revive an economy crippled by sanctions and tumbling oil prices. 

That's it. I just wanted to introduce Salar in case a president is elected who will not share President Obama's interest in actually not engaging in hostilities with Iran. In that case, his life may end. Thanks to the 47 asshat senators who pointed that out.

It Could Have Been Worse

They could have been Rick rolled, or as it's now known, Ted Cruzed. It's just one more instance of the internet having that liberal bias that Al Gore built into it.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House GOP conference, took to Facebook tocommemorate the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act by asking to hear real-life horror stories from real people. 

Hilarity ensued. I tried to go add my "horror story" of how the government is subsidizing my health insurance to the tune of $273 per month. Oddly, the site no longer exists.

ONLY SLIGHTLY OFF-TOPIC: I was curious as to how many Greens have been elected to, well, anything. I knew there were none in Congress. Otherwise, there actually are a few a levels above dogcatcher.

As of October 18, 2012, there were 134 elected Greens across the United States. Positions held varied greatly, from mayor to city council, school board to sanitation district. 

At least, I believe sanitation district is above dogcatcher.

Differences between Dems and Reps.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'd Really Love To Get Mark Frost's Reaction

Fuck it, I'm just going to link to Charles Pierce.

The United States assists Israel in bombing the living isotopes out of two uranium-enrichment plants and a reactor. Leaving aside the pre-emptive nature of the attack, it unleashes a public health catastrophe with untold ongoing consequences on a country where the public-health system is rudimentary at best. Which results in a population that is so excited about being bombed and sickened that it rises up and overthrows the government and installs one more likely to be friendly to the powers that have bombed and sickened them.

That quote is from Pierce, though you would be excused for any confusion.They must be competing with the WashPo for Mark's love. Liberal media? It must suck to be on the same side of an issue as the pathologically insane.  

Salon sees the Times as doing a reverse end around of some sort. I'll go with that, the devious bastards. 

The New York Times editorial page pulled a fast one on Iran hawks today by publishing an op-ed from the most indiscreet member of their rank, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. While some Times readers may have been aghast to see the venerable paper publish Bolton’s ravings — under the headline “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran” — the editorial decision should be cheered. Here we have a leading conservative hawk plainly admitting that the alternative to the deal currently under negotiation is not a “better deal,” but is a bombing campaign followed by some hazily defined efforts at “regime change.” Meaning, ultimately, war with Iran.

Well, it is the paper of record. And Bolton as a member in good standing of the neocon crowd is now on record calling for mass murder. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Send Money To The Tea Party Liberty Freedom America-Lover Express Constitution Jesus Train

That's my new group that supports all that stuff. I'm obviously not going to give money to any wingnuts, but the groups that purport to, don't either. Yeah I know, if you're a liberal you've been hearing that for years. Maybe the righties have, too. But, they didn't believe it.

“The problem with the articles that have come out so far is that most of them have come from liberal outlets and have only discussed limited aspects of a few organizations,” wrote John Hawkins, of Rightwing News. “That naturally led people to wonder if they were reading hit pieces.” 

The bad news for my new scam freedom supporting money raising enterprise is that possibly the grifted are getting smarter.

Hard times have arrived for the Republican Party and particularly for right-wing pressure groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, Heritage Action and the one-time lavishly funded tea party PAC, FreedomWorks. According to a report in Politico, heavyweight Republican donors are frustrated and “horrified” that their money is going to wrong-headed politicians and groups that appear to have no effect on election outcomes. 

Bad news for Republican candidates, too. Always love a silver lining. Of course, it wasn't doing them any good anyway.

Crossroads spent $300 million in 2012 and saw nearly every single one of its candidates lose that November. 

Everyone knows what a great lover of irony I am. The irony I find in this is that the same people who have been successfully conned by these groups are also in a tizzy because the IRS either did or didn't target these groups. Nihilist that I am, I don't care. 

This does pierce my little nihilist heart, though. Move America Forward, and isn't that a great  name, was scamming the hoi polloi with calls for donations "for the troops." 

Yet an examination of its fundraising appeals, tax records and other documents shows that Move America Forward has repeatedly misled donors and inflated its charitable accomplishments, while funneling millions of dollars in revenue to the men behind the group and their political consulting firms.

In several instances, the charity has taken images and stories from other groups and from veterans themselves without permission to use in fundraising appeals.

I believe most liberals have a functioning bullshit detector. Conservatives, not so much. 

Over the years, Troopathons have featured live and taped appearances by conservative stars from entertainment, media and politics, including actor Gary Sinise, rock idol Gene Simmons of KISS, Sarah PalinRick PerryRush Limbaugh andSean Hannity. The charity counts all the money raised in the month of the broadcast as part of Troopathon.

If they did have one, they would look at that big groups of scam artists and run in the other direction. I'm going to turn over the closing prayer today to Mike Huckabee

“Let me tell you, diabetes can be reversed,” Mr. Huckabee says. “I should know because I did it. Today you can, too.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Green Versus Faux Green

Being both curious and open-minded, I did a web search to discover what the Green Party actually stands for, if anything. I didn't want to judge the whole party simply on the basis of Matt Funiciello. Besides which, I wanted to see how he stacks up as a representative of that party. I was presuming there was an environmental aspect involved and my presumption proved correct.

We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. 

We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.

Off the bat, I'm liking that very much. So, I realize there are no perfect Christians, and likely no perfect Greens (except maybe Ed Begley Jr.). I do think it's necessary to take MF to task on his environmental record, though. At some point during the recent campaign, it came to my attention that he drives a Ford pick-up truck. I know someone with a similar vehicle that gets 12 MPG. Driving a vehicle with mileage that abysmal doesn't seem like the action of someone who wants to utilize resources to benefit future generations. 

As discussed previously on the blog, I feel (as do many others) that a meat-free (or greatly reduced meat) diet is the only one that will help sustain our planet. When I look at MF (and no offense, I'm chubby,too), I don't think vegan. In his defense, the 10 key values do not push for a vegetable diet. If they have not been updated to include that, I believe it's a massive oversight. The meat industry is the greatest polluter in the country, surpassing transportation. Tax meat now!

There is also a non-violence plank in the GP values.

We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

Also liking on that very much. In his interview with The Chronicle, MF stated, "If you don't feel we need to have guns to defend ourselves against tyranny, then you are not paying attention." I suppose you can chalk that up to falling under the defense rubric of GP values. Readers of Hometown blog will realize I see it as crazy talk. As Jim Jefferies says, "You're bringing a gun to a drone fight." When they knock at your door with an MRAP, all you're doing is committing suicide by cop. The non-violent methods part of that principle would be what I prefer to see in a candidate.

Just wanted to touch on the hypocrisy of the Ford Pick-up as well. In The Chronicle interview (a great source of amusement for me) MF chided President Obama for being a corporate puppet due to his getting ACA passed. The government is subsidizing my health insurance to the tune of $273 a month. Yes, I still pay $129, but something beats nothing. Is MF a corporate puppet for driving a Ford?

My dream is that the Democrats find a Volt-driving vegan with a solar paneled home to run in 2016. Let the Green-off begin!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ted Cruz Goes On Talk Show: Spouts Bullshit

Yeah, I know. Quel surpris,eh?

The bullshit is found to be false in today's CSM, which likely is not read by anyone who would consider voting for him. I was going to put the link to this story up anyway, but since Senator Green Eggs and Smarm volunteered to accompany it, what the hey.

Bostonians still digging out from a record snow season may scoff at the news, but global temperatures for December through February were the warmest on record – which is saying something, since that goes back 135 years.

In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s report this week, global temperatures for the period could have been even higher but for cooler-than-average numbers across eastern North America (the United States and Canada).

And of course, Cruz does mention the cold in New Hampshire, where he recently visited and successfully fear-mongered a 3 year old. And while we're on the subject of Texas pols with double digit IQ's, this too, from the paper of record here at Hometown:

Texas may soon allow people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, thanks to a new bill that was given preliminary approval by the state Senate on Wednesday.

The “campus carry” bill was approved by a 20 to 11 vote along party lines. The Senate is expected to hold a final vote on Thursday, after which the bill will go to the GOP-controlled state House of Representatives. 

While gun-rights advocates and Republican senators support the bill, many student groups and school officials do not.

What do those students and school officials know? Fuckin' libs! Here's one now. 

One of the most vocal opponents of the bill is retired Adm. William McRaven, the architect of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, and the University of Texas’ chancellor.

"There is great concern that the presence of handguns, even if limited to licensed individuals age 21 or older, will lead to an increase in both accidental shootings and self-inflicted wounds," he wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

And today in Democrats not acting like Republicans comes this bit of news. Try as you read the article to imagine John McCain or Willard Romney taking similar action.

President Obama signed an executive order Thursday to rein in heat-trapping emissions from a major polluter: the federal government.

Hamstrung by a GOP-controlled Congress, Mr. Obama’s order is the latest in a series of executive actions to address climate change. Environment and climate policy have emerged as centerpieces in Obama’s second term – from his plan to cut US power plant emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, to last fall’s bilateral climate accord with China.

Truly, as Faux Green candidate Matt Funiciello will tell you, Democrats and Republicans are the same.

Good Sweet Jesus, please go watch this video (hat tip Chas Pierce. The fun starts at 17;55. I hadn't heard about Obama nuking Charleston and Santorum fails to address that. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Getting Back To Hometown USA

Today we leave the travails of the Levant behind and return to Hometown USA. We had a wonderland of wingnuttery in our local fishwrap today (bless their liberal hearts). In order not to bury the lede, I'll start with the biggest and bestest story. Don't call me between 1 and 2 on Thursday come mid-April.

Green Party congressional candidate Matt Funiciello is becoming a radio talk show host.

His program is to be called "UnCommon Sense." Whether that's because he lacks the other kind is not noted. I should point out that it was good enough for Thomas Paine, however.

“We’re looking to do primarily an interview and call-in show. But we’re also looking to try to make sure that the production value is a little above what would be expected for a public affairs program that was done locally for free,”

Not  sure what "production values a little above" means. More cowbell maybe. Apparently, he believes the wingnuts who listen to Dennis Miller (if any there be) will stick around for his leftwing views. I'll pass on the Miller lead-in.

Funiciello said talk radio is a great way for him to reach conservative-minded voters.
“We’re trying to get the faux conservative and faux liberal mentalities together and come up with something that is other,” he said.

Thinking back on his platform, I'm not sure what conservative, faux or otherwise, would've supported a $15 an hour minimum wage and single payer healthcare. And since I believe he may have labeled me a faux liberal in a Post Star comment thread, I'll mention why he lost my vote quite early on. In his first interview with The Chronicle, he stated we need guns to protect ourselves from tyranny. I'll just say that I hear enough of that from the Right and let Jim Jefferies carry the ball from there. Thanks again, Magpie.

This is a good opportunity to once again bring up the Dems = Reps BS. Matt also, in a PS comment, pointed out to me his support for HR 676 Single Payer Healthcare Bill. Which is great. Love it. Unfortunately, he left the thread and never responded to my response. I pointed out that this resolution was sponsored by John Conyer, democrat from Michigan (bless his everlasting soul), and co-sponsored by 88 additional democrats (bless them as well). Need I mention the zero Republicans who put their names to it? I do need to mention that these democrats put their asses on the line only to be slandered by Matt Funiciello as no different than Republicans.

Moving on from the once and future Green Party candidate for district rep, brings us to a military recruiter who has run afoul of the law here in the hometown.

The former military recruiter who pleaded guilty earlier this month to sexually assaulting two women in Washington County pleaded guilty Wednesday to possessing an illegal assault rifle as well.

Robert S. Haas, 36, of Kingsbury, pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the seizure of an illegal gun from a storage unit in Glens Falls last April.
He faced four counts of criminal possession of a weapon — two felonies and two misdemeanors — after the rifle, an unregistered handgun, an electronic stun gun and brass knuckles were seized from the storage unit, police said.

But don't you see, he needs that weaponry to defend himself from the tyrannical government that is set on keeping him from raping women. The SAFE Act fails again.

On a normal newsday, this letter writer might have had the post to himself. Today he finds himself in show.

I have written in the past that some of the president’s missteps were because he was absent from school when it was taught in history. I may sound like Rudy Giuliani (I can’t join the Mayflower Society either) to point out that he may have been educated in Indonesia. History should be the same worldwide.

The attempt to marginalize the visit of the prime minister of Israel which was treated as a breach of protocol and ignored the importance of what he said. When Neville Chamberlain, Edouard Daladier met with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, President Eduard Benes of Czechoslovakia wasn’t invited, although his country was being divided. History does repeat itself, doesn’t it? I doubt if Parliament ratified the agreement. These days it could have become a reality “by executive action” as so many important matters have become. I don’t recall hearing much about executive action until President Bill Clinton was pardoning so many of those who donated to his library. It must be legal. Could those executive actions be reversed by the next president?

The few well-placed atomic bombs would be in Hitler’s words “the final solution to the Jewish problem.” During the negotiations with Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt said he could charm Stalin while Winston Churchill didn’t want to be so generous. Churchill was right about Munich also. FDR certainly was charming. Iran doesn’t seem to be easily charmed.


I'm sorry I don't have the time or energy to Fisk your letter, and I'm not going to respond in print either. Your loss. Of course, I have nearly no idea what you're going on about anyway, except to say "Obama bad." Well, maybe just a few.
some of the president’s missteps were because he was absent from school when it was taught in history.

It what? 

History should be the same worldwide.


When Neville Chamberlain, Edouard Daladier met with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, President Eduard Benes of Czechoslovakia wasn’t invited, although his country was being divided. History does repeat itself, doesn’t it?

Hunh? Getting tired of what. Congrats on getting Chamberlain and Hitler in there. Hitler is a Godwin, don't know if Chamberlain has his own yet. 

I don’t recall hearing much about executive action until President Bill Clinton was pardoning so many of those who donated to his library. It must be legal. Could those executive actions be reversed by the next president?

Pretty sure Clinton wasn't the first to extend prez pardons. Gerald Ford comes to mind. As far as reversal; executive actions, yes and pardons, no. That's my guess.

Iran doesn’t seem to be easily charmed.

See my last couple posts before this one. I don't care if they're charmed. That's hardly the point. And whether the Israelis or the Saudis like our negotiating with Iran, I don't care there either.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Sad Day For Israel

For the nutters outnumber the rational.

  If Netanyahu prevails, the nature of Israel's diplomatic alliance with the United States will have to change — the U.S. cannot continue to extend its U.N. veto to a country whose government has formally disavowed negotiations.


In the long run, a deep American alliance with the kind of garrison state Netanyahu envisions will become untenable. The only remaining diplomatic strategy will be to deepen Israel’s ties with right-wing America, whose support for Israel is not contingent upon it fulfilling its liberal, democratic ideals. The Republicans who hailed Netanyahu as a Churchillian prophet are cheering a figure who no longer disguises his intention to bury forever the original Zionist dream.

Speaking of nutters, the WashPo continues to shine as a member of the no-longer-liberal media. Here's torture enthusiast Marc Thiessen:

So let’s get this straight: Iranian-backed rebels have overthrown the pro-American government in Yemen that was helping us fight al-Qaeda’s most dangerous branch. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has deployed its terrorist Quds Force into Iraq, and its infamous commander, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, is on the ground leading the offensive against the Islamic State. Iran is on the verge of getting the world to lift economic sanctions in exchange for a nuclear agreement so bad that it has actually united Arabs and Israelis in opposition. 

I'm not going to go through and Fisk his article. Suffice to say, once again, that American foreign policy should be conducted to benefit the US and not the Israelis and Saudis.

Leading to Charles Pierce:

(A)s much as Bill Kristol and Tom Cotton may want to believe it, and stipulating that the United States will stay the current course in negotiations, Tuesday's elections in Israel were not a referendum on whether or not this country should strike a deal with Iran on the subject of the latter's nuclear weapons program. The effort to sabotage those negotiations is likely to continue, and grow ever louder, but it should be ignored as thoroughly as it has been to this point. It is possible that a few more American legislators may show the white feather on the subject, but there should not be enough of them to wreck the possibility of a breakthrough. And Tuesday's results are damned sure not an endorsement of another catastrophic war in the Middle East.

And apparently the members of Old Europe share the enthusiasm of us DFH's over Bibi's win.

The EU congratulated Netanyahu on his victory, but said it was committed to relaunching the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians that he rejected in the last days of the campaign.

British Prime Minister David Cameron took a similar stand, tweeting his congratulations but letting his spokesman emphasise that "he wants to see peace, wants to see a two-state solution".

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hat Tip to Mark Frost

He's right about The Atlantic having some fine articles. I looked at the last few issues and was mightily impressed. I had read it on occasion in the past, but am going to have to at least browse it from now on. The Christian Science Monitor, daily and weekly, is my main news source and I love it dearly. Four articles really caught my eye in the past few issues. I'll refrain from linking to the interview with Erick Erickson. I will point out that Mr. Erickson does not have the physique that I'd expect to see on a viking.

Yeah, I used their photo figured I better link to the story. Don't want The Atlantic going medieval on me. Onto stories I hope Mark Frost read. First up, "Be Not Afraid." Dear God, try to buck up and survive the Hell that is the Obama years. 

It often befalls presidents to be most criticized in office for what later turn out to have been their particular strengths. Disparaged at the time as simplemindedness, timidity, and slickness, Ronald Reagan’s firmness, George H. W. Bush’s caution, and Bill Clinton’s adaptability look in hindsight like features, not bugs. (Unfortunately, George W. Bush’s bugs still look like bugs.) President Obama catches flak for his supposed underreaction to crises in the Middle East, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Instead of leading, the professorial president lectures the American public not to be so darned worried. “If you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart,” he said last August. “I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago, or 30 years ago. This is not something that is comparable to the challenges we faced during the Cold War.” Blame social media, he tells us, for shoving so much upsetting stuff in our faces. 

Amen, sing it brother! Fucking idiots that are afraid of a handful of religious zealots in Northern Iraq and Syria. And if that isn't bad enough they want to make war on the country that is over there providing ground troops to fight the religious zealots. And yeah, I realize the Right thinks that the Iranians are suicidal religious zealots, too. But they're wrong. Oh, that brings me to the big surprise I received in seeing Robert Kaplan "Warming to Iran."

Foreign policy is about necessity, not desire. And multiple necessities have been driving the United States and Iran toward a d├ętente of sorts. Indeed, the American-Iranian estrangement, which has gone on a decade longer than America’s estrangement from “Red China” did, is anomalous in international relations, given how many amoral geopolitical interests the two nations share. The idea that the interests of Israel, even with Saudi Arabia alongside it, can indefinitely or even permanently override some degree of reconciliation between the United States and Iran—the ancient world’s first superpower—is problematic. Yes, Israel’s domestic lobbying machine is formidable, and yes, Israel’s prime minister is by some accounts a determined schemer, but they may not ultimately be able to prevent the American executive branch from seizing the kind of diplomatic opportunity that comes along only a few times a century. Whatever the eventual outcome of the long-running negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli interests cannot impede a warming of relations between Iran and the United States in the coming years, under either this president or the next.

I'm even going to re-read that and maybe do a longer post on it. He said many things I had been thinking and even mentioned Yemen, where the Shiites (if not the Iranians) are doing us some good in fighting AQAP. Last, and certainly not least, is James Fallows with a very nice article explaining that we are now a chickenhawk nation. I had never thought of the country as a whole as being chickenhawk, but he is absolutely right. 

(Obama) noted that they were often the face of American influence in the world, being dispatched to Liberia in 2014 to cope with the then-dawning Ebola epidemic as they had been sent to Indonesia 10 years earlier to rescue victims of the catastrophic tsunami there. He said that the “9/11 generation of heroes” represented the very best in its country, and that its members constituted a military that was not only superior to all current adversaries but no less than “the finest fighting force in the history of the world.”

If any of my fellow travelers at O’Hare were still listening to the speech, none of them showed any reaction to it. And why would they? This has become the way we assume the American military will be discussed by politicians and in the press: Overblown, limitless praise, absent the caveats or public skepticism we would apply to other American institutions, especially ones that run on taxpayer money. A somber moment to reflect on sacrifice. Then everyone except the few people in uniform getting on with their workaday concerns..

Saying Bye Bye to Bibi Edition

Hold the phone! He's got Walker, Texas Ranger in his corner.

And omigod, he's got Jon Voight, too. 

“I love Israel. I want to see Israel survive and not be overtaken by the madmen of this world,” Mr. Voight said in a video released exclusively to the Just Jared celebrity news website. “President Obama does not love Israel. His whole agenda is to control Israel. And this way he can be friends with all of Israel’s enemies. He doesn’t want [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to win this upcoming election.”

As was noted earlier about Rudy Guiliani, I will paraphrase to say, Jon Voight loves Israel like a dog loves your leg.

TOTALLY OFF THAT TOPIC: Charles Pierce on the Missouri Lt. Guv.

In other words, we've "come an enormous way" in 50 years, and we're "moving on beyond it," but, somehow, we still have a town that uses its African American citizens as revenue enhancers. Which is Eric Holder's fault because this is not About Race because nothing ever is About Race.

Monday, March 16, 2015

St. Patrick's(and Israeli Election) Eve Roundup

Would you trust Marco Rubio to handle the finances of the nation? Hell, would you trust any Republican, really?

(T)he three-bedroom property stands as a stubborn symbol of both a politically problematic friendship and lingering questions about Rubio’s personal finances, which dogged him on the campaign trail in 2010 and may do so again. The friendship has frayed in recent years, friends say, as the fortunes of Rubio, 43, and Rivera, 49, have diverged. Last week, they put the 1,228-square-foot house up for sale. The list price is $125,000 — $10,000 less than what the two men paid for it a decade ago.

Of course, the fact that Marco's pal David Rivera is an out and out crook is the real problem. And all I can say to Kurt Schlicter is, "wanna bet?"

The only people who should be afraid of Hillary Clinton running in 2016 are her fellow Democrats, and the only thing they should fear more than her running and losing is her running and winning.