The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Ron Dermer

Good afternoon Widdershins. The “Elderly Testosterone-inhibited Personage of the December Solstice” — a prolixous way of saying, “Old Man Winter” just will not give it up. We are expecting perhaps a foot of snow this evening after four to six inches of rain plus all-time record low temperatures — floods, they are a’comin’ and yesterday was the anniversary of the tornado that completely chewed-up and destroyed our little town. Perhaps if Sen. Jim Inhofe were hog-tied to the newly replaced flagpole in our town square, as the leading Koch-head climate change denier, he might exhibit Jethro Bodine’s acumen for science or at least Jed Clampett’s commonsense.

Yesterday was a big day. Speaker John Boehner decided it was moderately unseemly to put the nation at risk based upon nothing more than a robust loathing of the President. He called up the funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Unfortunately, 167 members of his Republican caucus felt no such embarrassment or no such concern for our safety by voting against the matter. It’s just plain hard to overcome a good case of the Obama “hates”. If not for Nancy Pelosi once again riding to the rescue, Boehner would have found himself corseted and astraddle of the railroad tracks.

There was another thing happening in Washington yesterday. Something no one, not a single solitary soul, can recall ever netanyahu shifty eyeshappening before. John Boehner, the same one doing his best Nell Fenwick on the railroad tracks, cheekily welcomed Bibi Netanyahu to the well of the People’s House to challenge the foreign policy of this country.

All I could think about was the Eagles’ song Lyin’ Eyes and its refrain:

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise.
I thought by now you’d realize there ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes.

As a way to explain yesterday’s breach of protocol and seditious assault on our national sovereignty, I’ll use some of the words of Lyin’ Eyes to elaborate.  That is if you will suffer the not-so-poetic license I’ll employ.

You see, Bibi “just seemed to find out early how to open doors with just a smile.” His invitation to speak before a joint session was conjured between Boehner and Ron Dermer, the new Israeli U.S. Ambassador. Dermer is a graduate of the Frank Luntz Finishing School of Sewer Politics where the proud motto is “the biggest turd always travels the fastest“.

Netanyahu knows that “every form of refuge has it price” since a joint session of Congress was the way to cushion his falling popularity in the upcoming Israeli election, but Bibi knew he was “headed for the cheatin’ side of town”. What Netanyahu needed to convey back home was simple — he has so badly handled the relationship with the Obama Administration, he had to show he could go over the head of Obama and appeal directly to Congress. Trouble is — there are Generals, the Mossad, former officials, other candidates, Cabinet secretaries, and a majority of Israeli voters who lay the blame squarely on Netanyahu’s shoulders and have publicly stated his decision to speak was a mistake.

netanyahu bombBibi “wonders how it ever got this crazy? Did he get tired or did he just get lazy? He’s so far gone he feels just like a fool.” The premise of Netanyahu’s speech is incredibly inane. Inane is too urbane a word — his whole premise is something just short of a Three Stooges retrospective. Here’s Netanyahu’s logic: Although no deal has yet been negotiated, Netanyahu says whatever the deal might be, it must be rejected.

This leaves two prongs on the Lyin’ Eyes decision tree. Prong One is the incredibly asinine Bibi theory that proceeds like this: Iran is run by crazy, suicidal, apocalyptic mullahs who will suddenly awake under economic pressures of greater sanctions and suddenly, afore-noted craziness aside, come to the realization that electricity for the majority of their country is not such a big deal after all.

Prong Two will ring familiar. It is the military, occupation, regime change option. Since Iran starts with an “I” just like Iraq — all we have to do is dust off those plans since they worked so well last time. Just bombing the sites will delay the enrichment program two to three years at the most. The only long-term solution is forcibly ousting the theocratic Irani leadership and replacing them with something more suitable to Netanyahu’s preferences. Maybe Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld could be on the pledge rush committee? What can go wrong? The last time we installed a Shah everyone seemed to think it was a great idea.

Bibi “gets up and pours himself a strong one and stares out at the stars up in the sky. Another night, it’s gonna be a long one. He draws the shade and hangs his head to cry.” Netanyahu’s ability to forecast the future is as audacious as a slug’s pole vaulting ability. In 1992, as a member of the Knesset, Bibi said, “Iran will have an atomic weapon in three to five years.” In a 1995 book, Bibi wrote, “Iran will have an atomic weapon in three to five years.” That was twenty years ago.

Something more Cheney-esque and cogent to this review is Bibi’s strategic analysis in 2002. One year and one day after Cheney and Netanyahu9/11, September 12, 2002, Bibi, occupying an all important pivot position during a Cheney/Rumsfeld congressional circle jerk, declared Saddam Hussein had WMDs and was actively pursuing a nuclear arsenal. Thirteen years later Bibi made no mention of his 2002 Congressional testimony and his rush to war.

My, oh my, you sure know how to arrange things. You set it up so well, so carefully. Ain’t it funny how your new life didn’t change things. You’re still the same old person you used to be.” Yesterday was Netanyahu’s declaration of war. He made it clear he will act alone knowing full well the U.S., as a doting big brother, will come to the rescue.

But here’s the thing — these negotiations are not between the U.S. and Iran. These negotiations are among the P5 + 1 — U.K., France, Russia, China, U.S., plus Germany. Netanyahu didn’t just call Obama an incompetent fool yesterday. He didn’t just call the State Department a bunch of pikers. What he did was to arrogantly call out all the countries participating in these talks. He also offered not one whit of advice on how we negotiate around the five other powers if we go it alone. Forget a coalition. Forget funding. Forget U.N. participation. The Iranian war and occupation will be on our blood and our dime.

Bibi, “you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes”.

If there is shame in all of this and shame had a color, it should be orange. John Boehner wears it so well.

Take the conversation in any direction you might like.

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Folks, there is so much to say and so little time to say it today. I am pretty sure when the aliens dropped me on this rock to live amongst the good earthlings, they left a good bit of alien DNA in this quickly deteriorating meat suit of mine. “How do I know?” you say. During the past week recuperating from whatever it is I have, the antibiotics have stirred up and unleashed stuff I know can’t be of this world.

The good news is that I’m on the mend. The other good news is that I’m not feeling strong enough to do one of my interminably long and loquacious posts. Given the steroids and inhalers and the litany of selections from columns A, B, and C of the pharmacopeia menu, I could easily fire off 26,000 words and never would any two ideas come within the same zip code of one another.

But there are some things that need to be said today. I’ll try and be brief.

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Kayla Mueller

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Jon Stewart and Brian Williams are about the best New Jersey has to offer. Add Bruce Springsteen and you have what is easily the holy New Jersey Trinity and undoubtedly the three wisest men from the Garden State. I know this is true because they would have never nicknamed New Jersey the Garden State.

Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. I will miss him for more than his brilliant satirical wit and his insightfully acidic tongue. During the years of being my mother’s caregiver, she insisted on watching “her boyfriend” each evening. Jon brought her much happiness. For that I will always be grateful.

Jon Stewart and Brian WilliamsBrian Williams was and will continue to be the guy I want to give me 22 minutes of news headlines. He was a volunteer fireman at one time and I respect and relate to that. He is also wickedly funny. These days the requirements of building one’s personal brand required him to climb out from behind the desk and be a “personality”. He did that and was good at it. In this age of personality driven everything, perhaps he jumped a little too far beyond the desk. Perhaps the “drive to please” drove his misremembering, but pleasing others is never a good enough reason to tarnish your credibility when it is your stock-in-trade. I, for one, will forgive him that foible.

Benjamin Netanyahu speaking before Congress is so wrong on so many levels, it would put to shame an ant farm cranked up on blue ice meth. I won’t begin to list them other than to say this: Never before has any Israeli Prime Minister allowed an Israeli issue to become partisan and politicized.

It seems this John Boehner invite was scored by Ron Dermer, the new Israeli Ambassador. He’s same guy who was an acolyte of Frank Luntz and a full-blown Republican operative until he gave up his American citizenship to take up residence in Bibi’s bum.

This speech is a political speech. This is a speech plotted to alter American foreign policy. This is a speech designed to weaken a President trying to walk a tightrope of negotiation between Iranian nuclear policy and Irani generals advising the Iraqi troops fighting ISIL. This is a speech designed to make the Middle East, unfathomably complex on a good day in terms of policy, a never-ending quagmire of blood and treasure for generations.

Here’s what the politicians are afraid to say: When anyone says Netanyahu is Israel, they are willfully ignorant or just plainNetanyahu and Dermer stupid. Netanyahu’s party currently has only 18 seats in the Knesset. His coalition is best described as a “wink, a hope, and a prayer”. His policies are not popular. Former advisers call him dangerous. His approval is on a well-oiled banana peel. Yet he continues to subscribe to that harebrained testosterone trait exemplified by Cheney and Rumsfeld, “If you admit wrong, you are weak.”

Something that has been absolutely nonexistent in any discussion of Netanyahu’s tantrum to come is this: Are we willing to participate in causing the world to live a real life Groundhog’s Day? I’ll explain.

Netanyahu’s position is no Iranian nuclear power — period. Not just ending enrichment — nothing even conceivably reaching enrichment by years of refinement even with on-site inspection and verification can be considered. Translation: No nuclear power for a country starving for an electrical grid. In addition, he wants increased sanctions while the Iranians are still at the negotiating table. And most of all, Netanyahu wants to bomb the existing processing facilities in Iran. Facilities that were built and operational during Dubya’s administration.

Netanyahu Job RatingAs always, he wants us to either participate in the bombing or like the ever watchful big brother, wants us to stand guard as he acts in contravention of virtually every treaty, convention, and U.N. mandate to the contrary. And then he wants us to veto any sure-to-follow United Nations’ sanctions.

Now here’s the thing: What do we do then? Iran will reconstitute its nuclear program within two to three years. They will be loath to negotiate because negotiating got them blown to smithereens three years previous. Do we Groundhog’s Day it again, and again, and again? That guarantees at least two things: (1) A permanent Middle East preoccupation premised upon just about the most unpopular policy possible; and (2) A constant state of U.S. war footing with increased hostility that does nothing but make the world, and our part of it, infinitely more dangerous. It is this second point that serves as Netanyahu’s guiding credo: If all your neighbors’ houses are burning, they will never commit arson against you.

We just spent 13 years learning the idiocy of that policy by eradicating a top line predator from the Iraqi political ecosystem. Are we again that unimaginably stupid?

I have dozens of Israeli friends — all with beautiful families. They deserve better than Netanyahu and Dermer, his political incubus, trading on their safety and gambling with the future of Israel.

Take the conversation in any direction you might like.

Good afternoon Widdershins. I hope your Tuesday is a good one.

So much news! Everywhere you look there is another headline screaming or better said, everywhere you look there is a pundit screaming in order to hear his head rattling. As is my chronic condition of being unable to focus on any one subject, I’m exercising a fielder’s choice and offering up a grab-bag of topics.

Picture from a few hours ago...

Picture from a few hours ago…

Turning first to the Middle East, we so often forget that Israeli politics can be even more divisive than our own. True to form, where there is canyonesque political division there is opportunity. Such is the case with young Mr. Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. I’m sure you have seen Mr. Dermer on any number of talk shows extolling the regrettable virtues of raining bombs down on a captive population of civilian Palestinians while asking the unanswerable question of, “Would any country suffer rocket sieges without protecting itself?“

If you noticed a pronounced lack of accent in the 43-year-old’s rapid fire debate delivery, it is because he was born in Miami where his father was a conservative Democratic mayor. He went to the University of Pennsylvania for its Wharton business school and happened into a political class taught by Frank Luntz. After graduating, he briefly worked for Mr. Luntz and became completely immersed in GOP politics. Through networking at a speed that would put the Hadron Large Collider to shame, he is now known as “Bibi’s Brain” for his close relationship with Netanyahu. The article is well worth the read to remind us “all politics is local” — it’s just that the definition of local has been enlarged.

Children approaching borderBack home with the refugee situation everyone has dubbed a “border crisis,” there is an enlightening opinion piece by El Paso county judge, Ms. Veronica Escobar. Judge Escobar’s opinion, backed up by a Rio Grande River of facts, is that:

…There’s no crisis. Local communities like El Paso have done an amazing job of assisting these migrants. Rather, the myth of a “crisis” is being used by politicians to justify ever-tighter restrictions on immigration, play to anti-immigrant voters in the fall elections and ignore the reasons so many children are coming here in the first place.

Her essay is persuasively written and is well worth the read.

For three weeks now, I have been focused on this child refugee opportunity facing the country. I deem it an opportunity since great leadership can’t select its circumstance. Will we meet the challenge?

Comprehensive immigration reform could be had in the time it would take for John Boehner to hold a roll call vote in the House since the bipartisan Senate bill sits there languishing. But instead, the Tea Party’s tribalism is producing an immigration policy of total undifferentiated deportation. It is deportation without a whiff of due process protection for these children who have trudged through the desert to reach our border.

Along with deportation, the only other facet of immigration policy these nativists will countenance is further One childmilitarization of the border with troops and walls and armed aggression. All the while forgetting, these are children — children who are endangered by drug lords, war lords, or sex traffickers.

I’ve yet to hear the first explanation of the unavoidable circumstance where children, already spent from their desert trek, are stopped at the border by armed American soldiers and turned away with nowhere to go. There will be maybe ten at first, then twenty, then perhaps hundreds. How do we caption that picture for the world stage? We, as a country and as a people, are better than that — or at least most of us are.

Turning north to yet another instance of reining in the “others” there were two differing decisions regarding the Affordable Care Act by two different federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. The issue was whether or not the subsidies are available to those who have enrolled in healthcare plans through the federal exchange versus state exchanges. The case is Halbig v. Burwell and the divergent opinions were from the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit.

This one is easy — the opinion by the D.C. Circuit, a 2-1 decision attempting to cripple the ACA with a cockeyed reading of the statute, is wrong or as one of my professors used to say, “It couldn’t be wronger.” It will be summarily denied effect by a full en banc panel of judges when it is reargued.

ACA Legal ChallengesThe D.C. opinion was a political opinion. It ignored a basic legal concept taught in first year law school from the case of Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. Simply put, a court should defer to a federal agency when there is a discrepancy in statutory language rather than declaring the legislation a nullity. I guess the two D.C. appellate judges missed that day in law school.

Crossing the street from the D.C. Court of Appeals to Capitol Hill, our old friend Paul Ryan is at it again. He just can’t help himself. In an unending quest to breathe life into the vacuous heartless fictional philosophy of the atheist Russian émigré Ayn Rand, he unveiled yet another anti-poverty plan. To be fair, a portion of the plan is laudatory — increasing and extending the Earned Income Tax Credit to the working poor, but that nugget comes at the price of basically “eliminating dozens of programs and block granting a capped amount to the states.”

This state block granting of aid to the poor is where most observers have a massive anal bleed — me included. Block granting aid to the states, the very same states forbidding what is essentially free healthcare to the poor through Medicaid expansion will then be charged with using unfettered block grants as they see fit to help the poor. What could possibly go wrong!?!

After we give the poor people life coaches, P90X is next...

After we give the poor people life coaches, P90X is next…

A piece of Ryan’s plan has gotten little play: A mandatory precursor to receiving any aid is that a poor person would have to craft a “life plan.” In conjunction with a government worker or a deputized non-profit organization, a poor person would have to agree to benchmarks, timelines, sanctions, and cutoff dates for receiving “opportunity grants”.

You read that right — the darling of the small government crowd, the doyen of the government is too big and can’t do anything right crowd, Paul Ryan is proposing the poor must now have “life coaches.” Even conservatives love-struck with Ryan are saying he’s gone a chapter or two too far in his Ayn Randian quest.

Quite surprisingly, since corporations are now people, there’s no mention in Ryan’s proposal for “corporate life coaches” to set timelines for the sun-setting of corporate welfare. I’m sure the oversight was inadvertent.

Sarah and KimSpeaking of failed vice presidential nominees, the long wait is over my friends. For those of you jonesing for more Sarah Palin, your prayers have been answered. For only $99.95 a year, you can subscribe to Sarah teevee — all Sarah, all the time with her wit and wisdom irradiating like an aurora borealis backlit test pattern.

For those of you who think it might be a coincidence that Kim Kardashian also announced a new “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood App” costing $99.95, could it be Sarah and Kim are the new power couple — the Palashian? Don’t forget Kim’s baby is named “North” for no apparent reason until now. Or might it just be Sarah and Kim are the same person? They certainly have the same outlook when it comes to celebrity — it’s great to be paid to be famous.

I could go on and on with other tidbits in the news, but I’ll turn over the discussion to you — this is an open thread.

 


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

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