The Widdershins

Preying or praying…

Posted on: November 26, 2013

Good afternoon Widdershin friends.  Here’s hoping your work week is a light one in preparation for a Thanksgiving holiday heavy in family and friends.  Given that this a holiday week, I’m just going to throw out a couple of subjects for your consideration — please talk about anything and everything circulating on the interwebz.

Somewhere back in time I read Colin Powell kept a Thucydides quote on his  desks throughout his career.  That quote:  Of all the manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most.

This past weekend we saw the embodiment of that Thucydides quote with the announcement of the interim agreement with Iran.  All the secret meetings, all the intrigue, all the high drama to announce a six months speed date to see if we can trust one another long enough to come to the simple understanding that throwing kerosene on the fires of the Middle East wouldn’t be a good thing.

Sounds infinitely reasonable to almost everyone except the neo-cons who have never seen a war they didn’t love.

Walrus envy or whisk broom experimentation gone horribly wrong...

Walrus envy or whisk broom experimentation gone horribly wrong…

Chief among them is that human with a whisk broom implanted on his upper lip — John Bolton.  Bolton is not alone, but he is the go-to guy anytime the neo-con chicken hawks feel they have been cheated out of a war.

Among other things, the interim agreement provides for daily monitoring of the Iranian enrichment facilities, a 5% cap on any enrichment activities, a commitment to dilute any uranium above that 5% cap, and in turn, we will just so slightly loosen economic sanctions on Iran to the tune of $6.0 to $7.0 Billion out of the $100 Billion we are holding over the next six months.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s position of total elimination of nuclear development for peaceful uses by Iran is unworkable, inadvisable, and ultimately dangerous for the world.  There are those of both political stripes in Congress who Netanyahu controls so there are sure to be obstacles to this agreement.

Any additional sanctions during these six-months completely voids the agreement.  Anyone, of whatever political flavor, voting to abandon this process before it begins should be shown the door at the next election.

No matter what the ill-informed reporters and pundits offer, there are only three options logically available if a negotiated settlement isn’t reached:  1.  Retain or enact tougher sanctions; 2. Actively work to change the Iranian regime; or 3. Military action.

We’ve tried military action next door in Iraq with abysmal results and during eight years of the Bush Administration where the official policy was regime change, Iran went from zero enrichment centrifuges to over 8,000.  At some point politicians need to pay attention to those stubborn things called facts.

Since the Saturday night announcement, I’ve been amazed at the number of critics who see absolutely no alterative other than a military strike.  The dirty little secret is this:  A military strike only temporarily eliminates brick and mortar, we do not, as yet, have a bomb that can suck out the brains of Iranian scientists.

Hassan RouhaniA military strike just prolongs the inevitable and with it, hardens the resolve of the Iranian regime against constructive engagement with the West.  The new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has shown great courage to take such a positive step after thirty-four years of our countries ignoring one another.  We should reward such courage.

No matter what the protestations of Bolton and his ilk are, we need to show, as Thucydides advised, we are powerful enough to exercise restraint.

The next story I want to share is one I’m sure you will think I’ve dug out of The Onion.  It is not.  This is real.  This is scary and most disheartening.

More time hobbyin' less time hobnobbin'...

More time hobbyin’ less time hobnobbin’…

The Supreme Court, just a few minutes ago, decided to take a case out of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (sits in Denver and covers Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming).  The case:  Whether or not for-profit corporations have guaranteed religious freedoms.

You read that correctly, the case is whether or not Hobby Lobby, a secular, for-profit corporation has guaranteed religious freedoms based upon the religious beliefs of its primary shareholders and executives.

Supreme Court watchers had their eyes on this case since it is such a departure from anything we have seen before.  If corporations are people with free political speech rights, who’s to say they don’t have religious rights.

This is yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act by Paul Clement who was the Capt. Stubing of the unsuccessful 2012 challenge.  This case centers around whether or not Hobby Lobby can deny its employees coverage for birth control, sterilization, and certain other services based upon its owners religious beliefs.

The 10th Circuit, in overturning the lower court decision, used Citizen’s United to essentially say if a corporation has free speech rights then the Supreme Court must have also meant for a corporation to have other First Amendment rights.

“This is a perfect storm,” said Richard Garnett, a law professor at Notre Dame.  “Debates about campaign finance in Citizen United and abortion and Obamacare could distort the court’s analysis of religious freedom.”

Bad law begets a progeny of bad law and this is another potential ugly stepchild of Citizen’s United.  It has implications for privacy rights, contraceptive rights, women’s freedom of choice, and most importantly, the applicable constitutional test for religious freedom.  Beware — the improvident legal stepchild which may spring from this mess might well be named Damien.  Watch this space.

This is an open thread.


6 Responses to "Preying or praying…"

Here is a good piece by Dana Milbank published this morning on the reflexivity of Republicans to oppose anything attached to Obama — even before they know what they are opposing.

Milbank particularly filets, skewers, and tosses Ari Fleischer on the barbie who tweeted opposition at 9:08, eight minutes after hints about the deal and long before its provisions were made public. Methinks Ari might have had a few too many adult beverages — step away from the tweeting buttons Ari.

Steve Scalise, my Congr. tea-party twit rep from La could not wait to badmouth the Iranian initiative. Of course he and his wife, along with some other congress-critters just got back from a two week trip to Israel paid for courtesy of an arm of AIPAC. Cost: $23,000. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to vote against said twit.

Good piece by Milbank. It’s amazing how all the Repubs took their responses fro Breibart. 🙄

Well, well, well. If corporations have people rights, do people then get corporate rights?

@4 Now you’re talking, Chat!

Seems only fair.

Comments are closed.

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