Archive for the 'Election / Politicians' Category
Yes, the mighty Lobby didn’t get what it wanted, for now. It seems Sen. Schumer gave up ground here in exchange for a leadership position later.
I am not one for admitting I am wrong but sometimes the evidence is so overwhelming that I have to say it. I was wrong.
Specifically I have been repeatedly wrong when I said that the Israel lobby could not be defeated unless and until the President of the United States confronted it directly. In that situation, I always believed the United States would prevail. I did not understand that a deft president could beat the lobby through indirect means — by quietly using his authority to prevail.
But that is what happened when the Obama administration first nominated and then achieved the confirmation of former Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.
There of course are those who accept the line put out by the lobby, most notably its main component AIPAC, that it was neutral on Hagel.
That is just silly. If AIPAC was neutral, it could have ended the whole battle against him by issuing a statement that it recognized a president’s right to choose his own cabinet. That might not have stopped Republican groups like Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee ror Israel or Sheldon Adelson’s Republican Jewish Coalition from pursuing their smear campaign against Hagel, but it would have stopped the very mainstream Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee from joining the attack. AIPAC’s public silence on a campaign waged by its closest allies demonstrated what it wanted: Hagel’s defeat.
President Obama outsmarted the lobby by ignoring it. He understood that if he could get Sen. Chuck Schumer to endorse Hagel, then the game would be over. That is because Schumer, a Jewish senator from New York, is the de facto leader of the lobby’s forces in Congress.
Usually a hardliner on all matters relating to the Middle East, Schumer might have been expected to oppose Hagel and thereby give a signal to his fellow Democrats that doing so was the safe pro-Israel position. Had he done that some Democrats would have felt that they had better oppose Hagel.
With most Republicans already on record as opposing his nomination, just a shift of a few Democrats would have killed the nomination. Schumer’s announcement in support of Hagel guaranteed that not a single Democrat would oppose him.
So what convinced Schumer to stand with Obama on Hagel? My friends on Capitol Hill, who without exception correctly predicted Schumer’s position, tell me that it was made clear to him that he could not oppose Obama on Hagel and still expect to become leader of Senate Democrats when Harry Reid retires. (Read more)
the speaker is the author of Family of Secrets.
I hope the 65% of Germans who oppose the Euro support these guys, but I doubt it.
Well, it was probably only a matter of time: a German anti-euro party has just come onto the scene.
Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten reports that the new party will launch in April under the name “Alternative for Germany”. The party appears to be an offspring of “Wahlalternative 2013” (Election Alternative 2013) – a group consisting mostly of academics but also including Hans-Olaf Henkel, the well-known and outspoken former head of Germany’s employers federation BDI. (Read more)
On Saturday, Dr. Orly Taitz – who has filed several birther lawsuits against Obama – posted on her website that the president has paid more than $5 million in legal fees to national law firm Perkins Coie to keep his personal, and possibly professional, records hidden from the public. The $5 million figure, which was previously thought to be less than $3 million, does not include fees paid to other parties and law firms acting on behalf of Obama.
In addition, Obama appointed a partner at Perkins Coie, Robert Bauer, as White House Counsel ten months after taking office in 2009. Bauer also served as general counsel for the Democratic National Committee and “Obama for America” presidential campaign.
For opponents, the president’s secrecy provides political ammunition given that, in 2008, then-candidate Obama accused his colleagues at the U.S. senate, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, of a lack of transparency for not releasing more IRS tax returns. (Read more)
The anti-Rand Pauls, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, took to the Senate floor this morning to defend killing American citizens at presidential discretion. Graham is doing so live on C-SPAN2 right now, saying that everything you do is a danger to America no matter who or where you are, as long as the U.S. government has decided you have “joined al-Queda,” whatever the hell that means. (Read more)
Sen. Rand Paul took to the floor of the U.S. Senate just before noon Wednesday and vowed to stay there “at length” in order to filibuster John O. Brennan, whom President Obama has nominated to be the next CIA director.
The Kentucky Republican said he will hold up the nomination until he gets more information about the U.S. drone execution program, which has become a major sore point for many lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
“I will speak today until the president responds and says, ‘No, we won’t kill Americans in cafes. No, we won’t kill you at home at night,’” Mr. Paul said early on in the filibuster, that began at 11:47 and showed no signs of slowing more than four hours later.
Five hours into the filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid came to the floor to try to end it. He asked if Mr. Paul would agree to limit himself to another half-hour of remarks, and then the chamber would vote on the Brennan nomination — which likely has majority support.
Mr. Paul said he would be glad to end his filibuster immediately, but only if the administration would promise not to make Americans in the U.S. the subject of targeted killings.
Mr. Reid said he wasn’t in a position to speak for the administration and stalked off the floor.
“We’re through for the night,” he said, releasing senators who had stuck around thinking they might still vote on the Brennan nomination.
Speaking from his corner desk Mr. Paul, in red tie and gray suit and with a glass of ice water — within reach but rarely touched — spoke about political history and the origins of key constitutional precepts.
One nice thing about most foreign governments, even horribly corrupt ones, is that they don’t subject their people to as much propaganda as the US government does:
A picture has been released of the Dear Leader shooting skeet at Camp David. In an article released on Breitbart.com entitled White House Warns: Don’t Photoshop Obama Gun Pic there is a stern warning:
“This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.” (Read more)
Joining Netanyahu in his denunciation of those pushy Americans was none other than “libertarian” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Gooberville). Fresh from a recent trip to Israel paid for by the American Family Association, a Christian fundamentalist activist group, the “libertarian” Senator and wannabe presidential candidate declared:
“’That’s an arrogant and presumptuous point of view and doesn’t further progress on anything,’ the senator said, and he returned to that view throughout the call as he discussed the location of Israel’s capital and Israeli settlements. Paul decried U.S. politicians who display ‘this flippant and arrogant’ attitude about internal Israeli affairs, saying that ‘no one can really know as much as people in the region’ about such matters. ‘It is not up to the U.S. to dictate’ to mayors and West Bank officials where housing goes, Paul added. Paul said he considers himself more pro-Israel than some pro-Israel audiences because ‘I’m for an independent, strong Israel that is not a dependent state, not a client state.’”
Siding with a foreign leader against an American President is always problematic for any US politician, but lest one think this is an example of political courage on Sen. Paul’s part, consider the context of his remarks. US military aid to Israel now exceeds $3.5 billion a year – not counting the value of special projects like the “Iron Dome” missile defense system the Senator is so enthralled by. Those billions pay for a program of systematic ethnic cleansing: Arabs are being forced off their lands, and “settlements” are being erected on the ruins of their former homes.
Surely the Senator – who, despite appearances, is no dope – knows this. And if he didn’t know it, surely he was educated on the subject in his meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas – although, oddly, in all the news reports of Paul’s trip to Israel, where hear nothing about this scheduled encounter.
. . . .
Pretending not to grasp the significance of the settlements issue, or of the larger issue of Palestine and the two-state solution, simply will not do – not for an alleged “leader” of the libertarian wing of the GOP, and certainly not for a somewhat over-eager presidential candidate who flaunts his ambitions. Since Israel could not exist – let alone bomb, invade and subjugate its Palestinian and Lebanese neighbors – without extensive US military and economic aid, it is viewed as America’s regional proxy. This is what “the people in the region” know and Sen. Paul appears not to want to know.
Paul has long since backed off his stance of wanting to end aid to Israel: he now says he would do it gradually, and would start cutting the aid budget by immediately ending it for countries “where they burn our flag,” singling out Egypt and Pakistan and specifically exempting Israel.
Previously under attack by the Israel lobby for saying US aid to Israel ought to be ended – and just because he is, after all, his father‘s son – the Israel trip was meant to make amends, and Paul earned plaudits from the Lobby in this country for his efforts.
The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin took a breather from her frantic campaign to impugn the character of Chuck Hagel to give the lesser Paul a thumbs up, having earlier contrasted him favorably with his father.
Phil Klein exulted in the birth of “Zionist non-interventionism,” which apparently means we pay the bills and don’t bother the Israelis as they ethnically cleanse Palestine of the Palestinians. Seth Lipsky, writing in the New York Post, hailed Paul’s comments as “the most supportive of Israel since Sarah Palin.”
Dave Weigel reveals more of the tortured rationalization for Paul’s conversion on the road to Jerusalem:
“I asked Paul to revisit the settlement question. Had his trip taught him anything that was being incorporated into his new thinking?
“’One question is: If I’m the mayor of Jerusalem, or if I’m looking at places in the West Bank and settlements in the West Bank, obviously there’s either advisability or inadvisability with regard to ultimately finding places to build, whether it’s antagonistic or provacative,’ said Paul. ‘Where I distinguish myself, though, is while there might be right or wrong answers to these questions, it’s not American politicians’ business to be dictating the answers. The answers need to come from the participants who live on the ground in these areas. I think it’s just presumptuous and arrogant of us to think, well, we’re going to go down to a roadmap of Jerusalem and decide where the neighborhoods can be expanded? It did influence me some that I did see the map of the neighborhoods, and I did see that there are neighborhoods being expanded in the Arab areas as well as the Jewish areas of Jerusalem, but the comments I heard from officials were: What does America want? Do they want there to be a religion test on who’s going to buy land? How would we feel in America if land that was designated for development, we said you have to prove what religion you are before you can build on the land? You can see how it’s a funny sort of bias we’re asking for, how we want them to develop the land.’”
Shorter Sen. Paul: Who cares about “right” and “wrong”? Let the Israelis go wild with our tax dollars.
. . . .
Having been granted observer status by an overwhelming vote of the General Assembly – with even America’s European allies deserting Washington – why shouldn’t the Palestinians participate in the UN? Sen. Paul and his flock of “born again” Israel Firsters don’t want that to happen because it recognizes the legitimacy of Palestinian statehood – and delegitimizes the occupation. There are many humanitarian services the deprived and long-suffering people of Palestine might enjoy as a result, but the petty cruelty of “born again” Rand would deny them even that.
So the Senator did go see Abbas, and took the opportunity to threaten him with sanctions – and to demand that he drop the “no more settlements” precondition for resuming the peace process. Of course, not even that kind of servility to the Greater Israel lobby will satisfy the Jonathan Tobins of this world, but no one can say Sen. Paul didn’t try. (Read more)
Adam Kokesh tries to question soldier about Constitution:
Rapper Lupe Fiasco Raps anti-Obama lyrics, thrown off stage
Rapper Lupe Fiasco was thrown offstage and escorted off the premises of a Washington, D.C. concert hall during a pre-inauguration concert Sunday night, after going on an anti-war, anti-Obama rant, according to concertgoers.
Josh Rogin, a reporter with Foreign Policy magazine, tweeted late Sunday, “Lupe Fiasco just got thrown off stage here at the Hamilton Live after he went on an anti-Obama diatribe mid set.”
“So Lupe played one anti-war song for 30 min and said he didn’t vote for Obama,” he continued, ”and eventually was told to move on to the next song…Lupe refused to move to the next song so a team of security guards came on stage and told him to go.” (Read more)
Justin Amash is a new Representative inspired into politics by Ron Paul.
In the wake of waves created by U.S. Rep. Justin Amash’s vote for House Speaker, the West Michigan Republican guided through two rule changes aiming to make legislation easier for the public and Congress to understand.
The rule changes require Congress to include more context with new legislation. Scattered references to old bills, amendments and other changes often make new laws difficult to digest. (Read more)