Apr 072015
 

You don’t see me featuring clips of Chris Matthews very often, because I not really a fan of his.  Of the MSNBC crew, he ‘s more of a Hillary Democrat than the more progressive Schultz, Hayes, Maddow, and O’Donnell.  But every once in a while, he hits home, and this is one of those times.

GOPwarmongersChris Matthews took apart all of the nonsensical objections to Obama’s negotiations with Iran with a few pointed questions to Michael Rubin from the American Enterprise Institute (aka Koch Industries Thinkers, Inc.)

We begin with the "appeasement" talking point, which is a crowd favorite on the right, despite the fact that it has absolutely no basis in fact. Nevertheless, conservatives have trotted out such knowledgeable beings as Ron Christie, Allen West, John Bolton, and Ted Cruz. Armed with their talking points and media training, each looks straight into the camera and tells their fearful audience this deal is as terrible as Chamberlain’s agreement with Hitler.

Tweety isn’t having it, and reminds that the very same argument was used to get us into the Vietnam war…

Inserted from <Crooks and Liars>

 

Simply put, if Republicans sabotage this deal, Russia, China and Europe will not back us in proposing a tougher deal that Iran will not accept. Rubin’s better settlement is as big a lie as his claims about Iraq.

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Apr 052015
 

I’m feeling a bit under the weather, but I am taking it easy.  My Easter message from last year has lost none of it’s relevance, so I’m just reposting it.  I think it’s worth a second go round.  Hugs to all from the Easter Cat!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:01 (average 4:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From Daily Kos: Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… end of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

  1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
  2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
  3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual unseemliness – Lev. 15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
  1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev. 1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
  1. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
  1. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
  1. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
  1. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
  2. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
  3. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev. 24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed. D.
Professor Emeritus Dept. of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

A classic!

From NY Times: As the proposed agreement over Iran’s nuclear program is debated in coming weeks, President Obama will make his case to a Congress controlled by Republicans who are more fervently pro-Israel than ever, partly a result of ideology, but also a product of a surge in donations and campaign spending on their behalf by a small group of wealthy donors.

One of the surprisingly high-profile critics is Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who burst to prominence with a letter signed by 46 Republican colleagues to leaders of Iran warning against a deal. Mr. Cotton, echoing criticism by Israeli leaders, swiftly denounced the framework reached on Thursday as “a list of dangerous U.S. concessions that will put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons” — words, his colleagues say, that expressed his deep concern about Iran’s threat to Israel’s security.

But it is also true that Mr. Cotton and other Republicans benefited from millions in campaign spending in 2014 by several pro-Israel Republican billionaires and other influential American donors who helped them topple Democratic opponents.

When hatred and billionaire bucks come together, it’s a Republican wet dream.

From Alternet: Mike Huckabee could give Cruz a run for his money in anti-LGBT hysteria.

All-but-declared presidential contender Mike Huckabee is right up there with Ted Cruz in his anti-gay hysteria. In an interview with CNN this week, the Huckster warned of the “militant gay community” that has mobilized behind “more pressure to put sanctions on Indiana than Iran.”

Ah, but the down-home, grits ‘n’ gun-loving former pastor, does have a way with words.

He especially did not appreciate the fact that big corporations like Apple and Walmart—which he loves, don’t get him wrong—joined in the condemnation of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, enabling people and businesses to discriminate against gays.

“The reason that those corporations put the pressure on Indiana and Arkansas was because the militant gay community put the pressure on them,” Huckabee insisted. The dreaded “militant gay community” does not represent average Americans according to the Huckster. He does.

On an appearance on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” this week, Huckabee continued his crusade, saying the LGBT rights movement is akin to something out of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984: “It is a classic example of — really a page out of 1984, when what things mean are the opposite of what they really are,” he said.

Hmmm. Really interesting point, Mike, because if ever there was an excellent example of 1984-like Newspeak, it has to be calling the license to discriminate “religious freedom.” Huckabee is a consummate speaker of this language: “That’s what I’m seeing here is that in the name of tolerance, there’s intolerance. In the name of diversity, there’s uniformity. In the name of acceptance, there’s true discrimination.”

Wow! He’s good.

This blast of garbage from Upchuck Huck is just one of the five most deranged Republican moments from last week alone. Click through for the other four.

Cartoon:

0405Cartoon

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Apr 032015
 

To delay Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, I have been expecting a deal that gives up a lot more than I’d like to see, and was prepared to support such a deal, because the other two alternatives to a negotiated settlement would leave us facing an Iran that not only possess nuclear weapons sooner, but also, would be more hostile toward the US.  The deal in the works is actually far better than anything I had imagined.

0403IranDealIran and the United States, along with five other world powers, announced on Thursday a surprisingly specific and comprehensive understanding on limiting Tehran’s nuclear program for the next 15 years, though they left several specific issues to a final agreement in June.

After two years of negotiations, capped by eight tumultuous days and nights of talks that appeared on the brink of breakdown several times, Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, announced the plan, which, if carried out, would keep Iran’s nuclear facilities open under strict production limits, and which holds the potential of reordering America’s relationship with a country that has been an avowed adversary for 35 years.

President Obama, for whom remaking the American relationship with Iran has been a central objective since his 2008 campaign, stepped into the Rose Garden moments later to celebrate what he called “a historic understanding with Iran.” He warned Republicans in Congress that if they tried to impose new sanctions to undermine the effort, the United States would be blamed for a diplomatic failure…

Inserted from <NY Times>

If you don’t already know and understand the details, Rachel Maddow brings it down to a level that a child could understand. Republicans, however, seem to lack that degree of sophistication.

There you have it.  Two major questions remain.  First, will Republicans sabotage the negotiations, because they are such a spectacular success for the Obama Administration?  I hope they realize that, while the US would be blamed by other nations, they would be blamed here.  Second, given the opportunity, can the Obama administration and their international partners close the deal?  If they can, “historic” would be an understatement.

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Mar 092015
 

I thought that the Republicans’ unfrequented act of sedition, the Butcher Bibi Show, marked the limit of how far the Republican Party would go in their unconstitutional sabotage of the President’s responsibility to conduct foreign policy.  I was wrong.  Now Republicans are actually reaching out and directly threatening a party to those negotiations.

0309Sedition

Republican senators warned Iran on Monday that any nuclear deal made with U.S. President Barack Obama could last only as long as he remains in office, in an unusual intervention into U.S. foreign policy-making.

The letter, signed by 46 U.S. senators, says Congress plays a role in ratifying international agreements and points out that Obama will leave office in January 2017, while many in Congress will remain in Washington long after that.

"We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei," the letter read.

"The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of an agreement at any time," it read.

The letter, first reported by Bloomberg News, followed a speech to a joint meeting of Congress last week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned that the United States was negotiating a "bad deal" with Tehran.

It comes as world powers have been negotiating with Iran to try to reach some form of understanding by the end of March before a final deal in June that could ease crippling sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy…

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

These Republicans are conducting their foreign sabotage the same way they do domestically: with lies.  Republicans know that they have a short time with a power advantage, because the outlook for 2016 is as favorable for Democrats as 2014 was for Republicans.  In all probability there will be Congress far more amenable to backing up the policies of a Democratic President.  How can I be confident that we will have a Democratic President?  We have no alternative.  If the Republicans win the White House, the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS will become the SS Six or Stranglehold Seven.  If that happens, America will be over.

As for the graphical question, it most assuredly is sedition.

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Mar 042015
 

I call it a show, because that’s what it was.  On the plus side, I have to admit that Butcher Bibi pulled off a very talented act, but that’s all it was.  There was no substance there.  In fact, it really had little to do with Iran.  Both Butcher Bibi and Agent Orange had their own separate agendas, neither of which involves Iran, per se.

0304evilduoPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel could not have hoped for a more rapturous welcome in Congress. With Republicans and most Democrats as his props, he entered the House of Representatives to thunderous applause on Tuesday, waving his hand like a conquering hero and being mobbed by fawning lawmakers as he made his way to the lectern.

Even Washington doesn’t often see this level of exploitative political theater; it was made worse because it was so obviously intended to challenge President Obama’s foreign policy.

Mr. Netanyahu’s speech offered nothing of substance that was new, making it clear that this performance was all about proving his toughness on security issues ahead of the parliamentary election he faces on March 17. He offered no new insight on Iran and no new reasons to reject the agreement being negotiated with Iran by the United States and five other major powers to constrain Iran’s nuclear program.

His demand that Mr. Obama push for a better deal is hollow. He clearly doesn’t want negotiations and failed to suggest any reasonable alternative approach that could halt Iran’s nuclear efforts.

Moreover, he appeared to impose new conditions, insisting that international sanctions not be lifted as long as Iran continues its aggressive behavior, including hostility toward Israel and support for Hezbollah, which has called for Israel’s destruction… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

As long as the US remains in a state of war against nations or groups that claim to follow Islam, Israel remains an important regional ally.  That limits US pressure for Israel to honor  treaty obligations and and helps maintain the regional view that the US is anti-Muslim.

Chris Hayes provided excellent coverage.

In addition to the reasons I referenced, Butcher Bibi was making a campaign speech casting himself as the sophisticated international player condescendingly schooling the ignorant, naive black man.  How insulting!

In addition to his normal sedition against Obama, Agent Orange is just as devious.  A small minority of American Jews are political activists.  The conservatives gravitate towards AIPAC, and the liberals, toward J Street.  The vast majority, on the other hand, are nominally liberal, and tend to vote Democratic, but support for Israel is important to them.  Boehner is trying to make Democrats appear to be anti-Israel, and if he can drive that wedge deep enough, he might be able to remove that block of voters from the Democratic into the Republican camp.  He’d happy to send thousands of young Americans off to die in a needless war for political gain.

Like me, most Democrats are not anti-Israel.  We’re pro-Israel.  But many of us are anti-Netanyahu, because his war crimes and his pursuit of a one-state solution, contrary to treaty obligations.  We're for permanent peace in the region for both Israel and a Palestinian State.  That’s why American Jews, and Israelis for that matter. should oppose both Butcher Bibi and the Republican Party.

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Feb 062015
 

Day 93.  I slept in, which is good.  I needed it.  This afternoon my building is having a community meeting in which management will be going over the steps they are going to start talking to help us recycle and lower our carbon footprint.  While that may see like a pain in the ass, I’m glad they care.  You folks back east had betted get ready for some nasty weather.  Although it has been unseasonably warm here, it’s been raining nonstop for over a day and is forecast to continue for two – three more.  When that mixes from cold air out of Canada, watch out!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today;s took me 2:59 (average 4:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Florida Attorney Steve Medina has been working on a case, pro bono, to expose the environmental corruption which has been taking place in Tallahassee and Putnam County, Florida.

Tons of toxic waste is being dumped into St. Johns River, daily, by the Koch Brothers company, Georgia-Pacific. Aspects of the deal allowing Georgia Pacific to massively assault the environment, were misleading, sometimes illegal, and unbeknownst to the local citizens. Florida Governor Rick Scott and former Governor (and Republican presidential hopeful), Jeb Bush, are also involved.

Click through for the dirty details. Those four are peas in a pod.

From Reuters: A senior Israeli official suggested on Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been misled into thinking an invitation to address the U.S. Congress on Iran next month was fully supported by the Democrats.

Netanyahu was invited by the Republican speaker of the house, John Boehner, to address Congress on March 3, an invitation Boehner originally described as bipartisan.

The move angered the White House, which is upset about the event coming two weeks before Israeli elections and the fact that Netanyahu, who has a testy relationship with President Obama, is expected to be critical of U.S. policy on Iran.

I don’t doubt that Agent Orange lied. After all, his mouth was open, and there was no inflow of whiskey. However, if Butcher Ben were truly concerned, he would cancel the trip. He says he has no such plans.

From Right Wing Watch: Creationist leader Ken Ham is incensed that the state of Kentucky is supposedly abridging his organization’s “fundamental rights” by declining to provide around $18 million in tax incentives to his Noah’s Ark theme park. The park is a planned addition to Ham’s Creation Museum and is intended to be, according to Ham, “one of the greatest evangelist outreaches of our day.”

Since Ham’s group plans to discriminate on the basis of religion in its hiring practices, it is no surprise that it won’t get public funds. But Ham claims that he has a “right” to receive taxpayer money and has filed a lawsuit [pseudo-Christians delinked] against Kentucky, insisting that his organization, Answers in Genesis, is the real victim of discrimination.

He took his case to “Washington Watch” [pseudo-Christians delinked] yesterday, where he told host Tony Perkins that Kentucky’s decision somehow violates his organization’s right to the freedom of speech: “Anyone who wants to have freedom of speech in this nation, freedom of religion, free exercise of religion, needs to stand with us as we do this because that is what we are standing for.”

In short this Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian is saying that failure to fund his attempt to proselytize others in a manner that violates the US Constitution violates his freedom of speech and freedom of religion. He is free to spread the Republican gospel of greed, lies and hate to his heart’s content, and I defend his right to do so. But, if government pays for it, that violates our rights.

Cartoon:

0206Cartoon

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Jan 252015
 
President Barack Obama has worked long and hard at negotiating a settlement with Iran in conjunction with European Union.  If successful, it will go a long way to restore the relationship with Iran that deteriorated when Republicans overthrew a democratically elected government the to enable Britain’s control of Iran’s Oil.  It can prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  To undermine that, Republicans want to impose sanctions on Iran now, virtually assuring war in the future.  To that end Speaker John “Agent Orange” Boehner (R-OH) has invited Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address Congress and request sanctions.  A prominent liberal Jew, Philip Weiss has an excellent idea regarding that visit.

 

0125ButcherBen

A lot of the commentary on the shocking/outrageous/inappropriate/unprecedented/ dangerous invitation from the Republican leadership to Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress about our Iran policy, thereby undermining Obama’s negotiations, has said that Netanyahu shouldn’t have accepted the invitation or the Republicans shouldn’t have invited him. A couple of liberal Jewish organizations, for instance, are pleading with Congress to delay the speech.

But they did invite him. And he did accept the invitation, for March.

The Republicans and neocons and Netanyahu have all taken action. But our side is being passive.

Here is the real challenge to all those who don’t want another war in the Middle East: Tell your congressperson not to undermine our president’s efforts to strike a deal with Iran. Tell your congressperson not to attend the speech. That’s right. Tell your congressperson to give Benjamin Netanyahu the cold shoulder, lest he lead our country to war, or undermine the American president on his efforts to strike a deal with Iran.

Inserted from <mondoweiss.net>

Butcher Ben has been lobbying for a US attack on Iran, because Iran has threatened Israel.  Iran lacks the capability to make good those threats.  Butcher Ben also wants Israel to remain the only illegal nuclear power in the near east.  For a foreign leader to be invited lobby Congress to undermine  the President’s foreign policy is unprecedented and seditious.  I urge you to tell your Congress critter to boycott Netanyahu’s appearance.  I also would consider it appropriate for them to show Netanyahu their back, because of the total disrespect he is showing this nation by participating in this Republican scheme.

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