Published on Sep 11, 2014
In the wake of an assortment of self-inflicted wounds that left many wondering whether he was on top of the ISIS challenge, President Obama needed to communicate some clarity to the country. He did so last night in a 15-minute prime-time address.
It was crisp, concise and compelling. It should leave the average American … someone who is neither gung-ho Obama nor an Obama-basher … with the feeling that they have a President who is on the case and has a plan that makes sense.
Now that he’s caught up to the power curve, he’s got to get ahead of it. If we have intelligence capabilities that allow our people to listen in on Angela Merkel’s private telephone conversations, we should be able to get some good intel on what’s going on with al-Baghdadi, the boss of ISIS, and some of his top people. A successful hit on the top of the ISIS organization would go a long way towards rebuilding the critical mass of support Obama will need for the remainder of his presidency.
Obama can make it tough on those of us who like him. Who can forget the first debate with Romney in the 2012 campaign? If it was a boxing match, they would have stopped it, and someone would have had to carry Obama out. Almost as bad was a listless press briefing Obama gave about two weeks ago in which he admitted that he didn’t have “a strategy” to deal with ISIS. To add to the weirdness of that statement, Obama was wearing a strange tan suit that didn’t seem to fit him. Continue Reading…………
Before this, Israel’s third slaughter operation in Gaza in six years, the average American accepted Israel’s propaganda line that, “Hamas terrorists in Gaza are raining down missiles on Israel, which is only exercising its legitimate rights of self-defense.”
They accepted this explanation because the pathetically timid American press was afraid to ask logical follow-up questions, like:
1. Does Israel’s practice of regularly executing Gaza citizens by bomb or missile attack confer any self-defense rights on the citizens of Gaza? Or …
2. Does Israel’s practice of blockading Gaza and strangling its economy create circumstances under which the citizens of Gaza are allowed to indicate their displeasure with Israel in any way?
Apparently, this kind of follow-up was beyond the capability of most members of the American press.
Thanks, however, to the courage of some on the scene reporting from people like Ayman Mohyeldin of MSNBC, and Nic Robertson and Karl Penhaul of CNN, plus the online activism of Glenn Greenwald, Noam Chomsky, and the people at Mondoweiss.net, a more complete picture of Israel’s action in Gaza is emerging.
A few relevant facts: Continue Reading……………
Published on Jul 26, 2014
In the summer of 1982, the Israeli Air Force pummeled the densely-populated and virtually defenseless city of Beirut, Lebanon for nine weeks. A Newsweek Magazine reporter on the scene cabled his New York office … “Watching the Israeli Air Force smashing Beirut was like having to stand and watch a man slowly beating a sick dog to death.”
The Secretary of State at the time, George Shultz, pleaded with President Ronald Reagan to do something to stop the slaughter. Reagan’s Deputy Chief of Staff and longtime friend, Michael Deaver, told Reagan he couldn’t continue to serve in the administration if Reagan was unwilling to do something to stop the carnage.
On August 12, 1982, President Ronald Reagan made the following entry in his diary:
“Met with the news the Israelis delivered the most devastating bomb and artillery attack on West Beirut lasting 14 hours.
King Fahd called begging me to do something. I told him I was calling Israeli Prime Minister Begin immediately. And I did – I was angry – I told him it had to stop or our entire future relationship was in danger. I used the word holocaust deliberately, and said the symbol of his war was becoming a picture of a seven-month-old baby with its arms blown off.” Continue Reading…………….
On June 12, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped while hitchhiking in the occupied territories about 40 miles from Gaza. They were found dead on June 30.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s immediate response: “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.” His evidence: None.
Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition partners want dead Palestinian bodies, and a lot of them, to pay for the deaths of the three teens. Assembling evidence and finding the actual perpetrators is of little importance compared to exacting a heavy price from the entire Palestinian population in Gaza.
So much for “shared values”. Shared with whom?
The blood lust of a senior member of Netanyahu’s governing coalition, Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home Party was reflected in a post to her social media page stating Israel should kill the mothers of combatants and bomb their houses “otherwise more little snakes will be raised there.”
Netanyahu will do whatever he has to do to pacify his right-wing coalition partners and achieve an “acceptable” body count. If he doesn’t, he will not remain as Prime Minister.
The shelling of Gaza is now in progress, and the body count is building. Precious few Israeli soldiers will get anywhere near harm’s way. It will all be done from above, with the best weapons US taxpayers can buy. Ms. Shaked of the Jewish Home Party will be pleased. Continue Reading………
Published on May 7, 2014
Yeah, I know his approval rating is only 44%, but that’s a damn sight better than Regan’s lowest of 35%, or Bush II at 25%.
I’m familiar with Obamacare, and the website. But remember, he passed it and he hit the numbers he had to hit, and he stuck with Kathleen Sebelius all the way. Good for him.
Congress can always amend and improve it, as they have with Social Security and Medicare over the years. The basic tenets of the Affordable Care Act are, however, here to stay. Good for us.
FOX likes to say he was deceptive when he said, “If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it.”
Not so. If you had a plan with low lifetime limits that excluded preexisting conditions and had high deductibles and copays and the insurance company could cancel it on 30 day notice, you did not have a Health Insurance Plan. You had a Certificate Of Victimhood. Obama assumed people knew the difference.
I’m aware that the right wing and TEA Party types have been whining that the IRS has been unfair to them when it processed their applications for tax-exempt status under that part of the Internal Revenue Code that requires an applicant to engage “exclusively in social welfare activities.” Continue Reading……….
Published on Apr 2, 2014
The conventional wisdom holds that Russia is not leaving Crimea; that Putin wants more; and that Putin has outmaneuvered Obama on the world stage.
The conventional wisdom is about half-right.
Russia Is Not Leaving Crimea
Since the Russian incursion into Crimea, Vladimir Putin’s popularity within Russia has soared. CNN has reported that he enjoys an approval rating of 82%, not withstanding a very weak economy.
If Putin had done nothing after his friend and ally Viktor Yanukovych was unceremoniously run out of the country, it would have given the lie to the image of Putin as a strong leader willing to move swiftly to protect the interests and restore the grandeur of Mother Russia.
If Putin had not moved on Crimea, he would have shown himself to be less than a “regional power”. Russia would have been exposed as a country that could not even protect a vital interest on its border. Putin’s approval rating at home would have been cut in half in a New York minute. Continue Reading………
If Viktor Yanukovych, the Russian-friendly President of Ukraine and his dentist son had been satisfied with stealing millions of dollars from the Ukrainian people instead of billions, the US-Russian confrontation over Ukraine and its autonomous province of Crimea would probably never have happened.
Such, however, was not the case. The Yanukovych kleptocracy, enforced by brutality, reached a level of obnoxiousness that it was a close call if the dear leader could find somebody to pilot a helicopter to help him escape his loving subjects before they tore him limb from limb.
With his man Viktor defeated and hiding from his people, Putin had a problem. What would be Russia’s relationship with the new, hastily-installed leadership of Ukraine and, specifically, how would the change of leadership in Kiev impact the autonomous province of Crimea?
Crimea, which has a majority Russian population, was given to Ukraine by Russia (at that time, the USSR) in 1954. It is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol. Continue reading………………
Published on Feb 12, 2014
If you are capable of believing National Football League teams wrongfully discriminate against weak people who run slow and weigh less than 150 lbs and that they wrongfully favor strong people who run fast and weigh over 250 lbs, then you are capable of believing FOX and thinking there actually is an IRS scandal.
Let’s examine the law that FOX claims has been scandalously administered by the Internal Revenue Service. And, let’s take a look at the parties FOX claims have been wronged and those FOX claims have unfairly benefited from IRS actions.
What does the law say?
This whole sham controversy revolves around how the Internal Revenue Service has administered section 501c 4 of the Internal Revenue Code, which allows tax-exempt status “… for organizations not organized for profit, but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare …” Webster defines the term “social welfare” as “services for the assistance of disadvantaged groups.”
Those discriminated against according to FOX
FOX claims TEA Party groups have been unlawfully discriminated against by the IRS in the administration of the law.
Published on Jan 7, 2014
Around the time of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, I attended an event at a synagogue in Washington DC. The speaker was Abba Eban … former Foreign Minister of Israel, Cambridge-educated, erudite, probably the best public spokesman the state of Israel has ever had.
He was there to make the case for Israel on a number of matters, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He used his famous line about Yasser Arafat, “he never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace.”
Eban, however, was quick to assure his mostly-Jewish audience that the Palestinian problem was not solely their fault. There was plenty of room for the Israeli government under Begin-Sharon to do more for peace.
Touching on how difficult his fellow countrymen could be to deal with, I remember, vividly, him saying that, “There are Jews in Israel that believe it’s not murder if a Jew kills a non-Jew.” A significant portion of the audience gasped.
I was surprised, not so much by the substance of the remark, but that he, one of the founding fathers of Israel, would say it in public in the US. Good for him.
Max Blumenthal does not have Abba Eban’s stature. Not by a long shot. He has, however, told some powerful and discomforting truths about life in present-day Israel. In doing so, as a Jew, he has no doubt alienated himself from a not-insignificant part of his own community in order to tell a story that the American press, in its pathetic timidity, is loathe to tell. Good for him. Damn good for him. Continue Reading………………..
Published on Dec 5, 2013
Working mostly in secret over a period of many months, Barack Obama and John Kerry have succeeded in putting together a deal on Iran’s nuclear program acceptable to our European allies plus China and Russia, whose closest border is less than 200 miles from Iran.
The deal was accomplished with minimal hand-holding of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, and without giving him veto power over the final product.
Mon Dieu! What is this world coming to? An American President acting pursuant to American interests on a foreign policy matter in the Mideast. It’s been a while.
Bibi was not pleased. But, with a nuclear arsenal of his own and a hammerlock hold on the US Congress, he has options.
He could seek to blow up the deal in Congress, where Republicans are looking to embarrass the President on any and all issues, and many Democrats are aware that there is a price to be paid for getting crosswise with the Israel lobby.
He could strike Iran unilaterally, or he could calm down, stop grandstanding, and work with the President towards the best possible final deal. Continue Reading……….