Archive for negotiations

Surprise: Newest American Saboteurs are Democratic Senators

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aipac

When you hear names like Charlie Schumer, Mark Warner, Cory Booker, Kay Hagen, Mary Landrieu, Bob Casey and Richard Blumenthal, you usually hear that some Democratically sponsored bill has their support. And usually you're right, give or take one of the above.

Yet recently, led by Senator Bob Menendez, these US elected officials to the upper house have been sold a bill of goods. And it's not a jobs or education bill. Nor is it some health plan or civil rights issue. It's war.

Real war. A potential nuclear war.

Why these guys? This isn't the Republican Party war stalwarts, Lindsay Graham and John McCain. These are normal people -- at least as normal as it gets in the senate.

The truth is these new Hawk senators are on the dole. Not necessarily news there -- all elected officials are influenced by lobbyists. But this time, and I'm going to take heat for this, it's the Jewish Mafia. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It's the most influential Jewish lobby group in the US. And historically they have backed candidates who fight for justice and equality in social issues, and political ones when it comes to Israel.

Now Israel has a special place in my heart. Not just because it's the Jewish homeland and I was born a Jew, but my wife is a Sabra, a native born Israeli. And once you have that in your blood, you're generally a dyed-in -the-wool supporter of anything the Israeli Knesset (parliament) proposes.

This brings us to war and peace. For nearly 30 years we've been in a cold war with Iran. We've had no formal diplomatic talks with them and we've been the world leader in getting other nations to impose austere economic sanctions against them. That was until about four months ago. There was a breakthrough. John Kerry reported back to the US that talks on stopping or at least tightening nuclear safeguards with Iran were possible. But like all negotiations, there's a bit of 'give a little' to 'get a little.' The price for us was to hold off on further economic sanctions while negotiations would take place (a six months moratorium). The price to the Iranians is to allow open international monitoring of the Iranian nuclear program -- full inspections.

This was a great tit for tat -- especially as pressure was building for war between our two countries.  That would ultimately would result in a nuclear conflagration. There's no way around that. Yet here's a potentially peaceful solution at hand. The only ones unhappy in that region are Saudi Arabia (remember where the 911 trainees spent much of their pre-attack time) and Israel -- the other nuclear armed country in the region who doesn't want any competition in weapons superiority. And I can understand that.

Obviously those in the pocket of the neo-cons -- the entire GOP party hierarchy -- were against this. But the Democrats? How could they be against peace -- especially one their President is working so hard to accomplish? And if you're looking at public opinion, over 60% favor a peaceful solution with Iran over war. So how could 16 Democrats come out and favor new sanctions which would lead to Iran pulling away from the negotiating table?

Obama was told in no uncertain words that new sanctions  against Iran would be a line in the sand by the their President. Secretary of State Kerry was told the talks would be DEAD if Congress passed new sanctions by the Iranian Foreign Minister. So until we find a reason not to, why not give peace a chance?

The Republicans want war and they've been able, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. to stir the pot and brainwash the Jewish senate members (or those gentile members who aren't totally anti-semitic) by selling a bill of goods that peace negotiations can't be trusted. Netanyahu along via the dangerous and borderline deranged John McCain (who's totally bonkers) contacted his influential PAC, the AIPAC, and forced them to exert pressure on the weak and vulnerable among the Democratic senators. Face it, backbone is not a prerequisite for being a Democrat.

But don't take my word for it. Here's Chris Hayes:

Finally, some sense of sanity. Obama spoke to the Democratic Senate Caucus last night and evidently they've seen the light of their wayward ways.

UPDATE: Since this airing, according to WAPO:

But editorial boards and commentators have harshly condemned the push for a vote. Many Senate Democrats have continued to remain silent, which could well be a sign of an unwillingness to sign on to the bill. A couple Dem senators have come out against it in the last couple of days, joining 10 Dem committee chairs who have already done the same. At last whip count, this bill will not get past Harry Reid and is now considered dead.

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There Once Was A Speaker Named Boehner

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painting of Boehner

There once was a Speaker named Boehner
Whose leadership couldn't be vainer
He followed the extremist tea party
Which proved he wasn't a smarty
So now he’s known as John No-brainer.

His leadership was drifting away,
At least that’s what the pundits say.
With a government shutdown
Blame going all aroun’
He was a train wreck every step of the way.

When the going got rough for the Speaker
He tried to get tough but grew weaker
Down with what’s fair
To the budget he’d pare
His conscious was that of a tweaker.

Soon the public demanded his head
And his face became ever-more red
John wouldn't give in
He’d not committed enough sin
There was still some blood to be shed

He feared the loss of his gavel
Especially as things would unravel
Having hitched up with Cruz
Bedding with him he did choose
Now control in the House would travel.

A gun he did put to Barack’s head
Demanding his ego be fed
“Sacrifice your baby
And maybe, just maybe
I’ll bury you next to Senator Ted.”

So surrender to my ransom demand
Or you’ll never again see command
Now give in to me
Or I’m going to be
Late to my booth to get tanned.

Boehner went back to his House
Feeling defeated and much like a tit-mouse.
Wouldn't it be rich
If just like Gringrich
He became former Speaker and head louse?

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Video- The Daily Show: Republican Hostage Negotiation

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In This Corner, Barack Obama. In the Challenger's, John Boehner

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tango

It takes two to tango, so we're told. And the two we need to tango right now are Barack Obama and John Boehner. So far,only Obama seems to be moving with the rhythm. He's agreed to sign a clean continuing resolution at budget limits billions below his suggested levels. He's willing to move things ahead, forgo any negotiations for the short term in order to keep the government open.

What about Boehner? He seemed as recently as two weeks ago to agree to this, but then he found religion -- evil, dark, sinister black magic. It's called, in shorthand, Tea Party-itis. It's cauldron of bubbly poison is being stirred by Rafael 'Ted' Cruz and his minion, Mike Lee.

If truth be known, and it is in the video below, this pot has been simmering for some time. But it wasn't until the noxious brew was forced down Boehner's throat by the demonic Cruz-Lee duo, that the devil within has been released.

What's at the root of the Obama/Boehner feud? Take a look.

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Congress Boozes While America Burns

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Fiddler on the Capitol Roof

We've all heard the legend of the ancient Roman leader, Nero. He is infamously known as the Emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned."

Well, there's a modern day equivalent now that we have the government shutdown and the debt ceiling looming, just two weeks away. It's called Boehner boozed while America burned. (C'mon, you don't think the speaker got that color from tanning, do you?)

Numerous reports have surfaced that members of both parties were so well oiled, or boozed, or even potentially drunk during the final vote in the House of Representatives just prior the the shutdown, that the wafted aroma of alcohol could be sensed hundreds of feet away. These "representatives" didn't even care to hide their liquid inebriation with an Altoid or stick of gum.

Luckily for them, they weren't given Breathalyzer tests before driving home. I wonder who was their designated driver, if they had been tested.

These reprehensibles had the gall to take such an important vote while on Stoli and Jim Beam? C'mon. Rumor has it, Jack Daniels got thirty-three write in votes and it was a "yes" or "no" vote they were talking.  Show America some respect. Here's just a few of the things your vote has impacted and explain why you didn't feel sobriety was in order for this decision:

From HuffPo:

Medical research won't move forward
The National Institutes of Health will not add new patients to life-saving clinical trialsduring the shutdown, reports NBC. And that could delay crucial new trials.

Francis Collins, director of the NIH, told the Wall Street Journal that about 200 patients, 30 of them children, who would have otherwise been admitted to the NIH Clinical Center this week will be turned away. He noted that most of the kids are cancer patients.

Stoli vodka

Take a swig.

Nutritional support for women and children will be suspended
While most government "safety net" programs, like retirement and welfare, won't be shut down, that's not the case for a program that ensures nutrition, counseling and food benefits to low-income pregnant women and new mothers.

cocktails

Bend that elbow again.

Food safety could be at risk
The Food and Drug Administration will put half its employees on furlough. While a skeleton staff will handle high-risk recalls, regular food inspections will be suspended,reports NBC.

Jim Beam flask

Go ahead, pop another one back.

New drug approvals
What's more, the FDA will be unable to continue its review and approval process of new drugs. Here are five drugs that were scheduled for October reviews and that may now face delays under a government shutdown. They include a new osteoporosis drug for postmenopausal women and a new approval for the cancer drug methotrexate to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

bourbon

Top it off with one for the road, your vote.

Congress does not take their jobs or responsibilities seriously. They are politically motivated, not morally so.

I've said it before and I'll echo it through the next election cycle. Sometimes even the good have to go with the bad in a house cleaning, but it's time we start thinking about "Dump the Chump." Washington needs to be swept clean and voices to represent the people's best interests must be their replacements. The moment you start picking and choosing from the current crop, you end up with the same old people with their same old flask uncorked.

Congress has a 10% approval rating. It's certainly not going up anytime soon. So why try to find the one good among the nine unfavorable?

Time for a real change in 2014. And for those few 2013 elections coming up, make some noise. It's a long, long time from now to the next general election. We could burn down, just like Rome if we don't let ourselves be heard.

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Could Tip And The Gipper Teach Boehner And The Big O?

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Tip and the Gipper

Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked by Chris Matthews. Tweety, as author and a former junior assistant to the Speaker of the House, tells of numerous occasions where the two leaders of opposing parties would argue and fight, but when it came to crunch time, doing what's right for America, they joined forces and made concessions. They knew that their jobs were, by necessity, mutually inclusive.

Now flip forward all these many years and you have John Boehner and President Obama. The two men couldn't be much more different from one another. Yet, like Reagan and O'Neill, they do understand their mutual needs.

And so, despite their differences, today, at 5:30 EST, the President has called together congressional leaders from both parties and both houses to the White House to discuss an end to the government shutdown and potentially increasing the debt borrowing ceiling. Negotiations on both of these matters is something Obama has repeatedly stated he won't do.

So why the meeting?

Some might say, capitulation. Other's might surmise it's just publicity. Even others might think the President is bowing to public pressure to end this standoff and government shutdown. He's doing what is best for the country.

I have a different thought in mind. What if the president was taking a page out of history, the Reagan-O'Neill book? What if Obama's actually tossing Boehner a lifeline?

Here's the way I see it. Boehner, who's in a tough position made even tougher by his own weakness. He's allowed the Tea Party to prevail over the Republican caucus in the House. Boehner's lost control. He has no way out but one. He's totally ego consumed, not unlike Ted Cruz, that his only way free is to get a concession from Obama in order to save face. The Republican brand is taking a real hit with the shutdown, despite all of their lame and ineffective efforts to put the blame on the Dems.

This is spelled out in poll after poll. Voice of America sums it this way:

WASHINGTON — Public opinion polls suggest that congressional Republicans will get most of the political blame in the wake of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government.  The data also shows that Americans are growing tired of what they see as crippling political polarization and dysfunction coming from both major parties.

The latest poll found that 72 percent of Americans oppose the government shutdown and a growing number put most of the blame on Republicans in Congress

So, as Tip and the Gipper would do, they secretly talked. I believe Boehner secretly got word to Obama that he's willing to cave, but needs help. Congressman Boehner begged Obama to hold a "negotiating" meeting, this one tonight, and then he could go back to his caucus and say they won. They forced Obama to the bargaining table.

Why would Obama agree? For the same reasons that Tip and the Gipper struck deals. Obama has always put America first.

Obama will make no concessions tonight, but it'll allow Boehner to strut to the floor tomorrow or the next day and propose a clean continuing resolution (CR) for two weeks. Then discussions on the debt ceiling between the House and the Senate will commence.

It's not pretty. It's not meant to be. It's politics.

And as Tip would say to Ronnie, "You owe me one." That will be the understanding between the president and the speaker. Boehner owes Obama one for saving his ass from his own morass. Hey, don't they say politics makes strange bedfellows?

How timely and perhaps prescient Chris M's book might turn out to be. Don't be surprised, should my prediction come true, to see Chris Matthews, on HARDBALL, taking credit for this salvation. The thought of it sends shivers up my leg.

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Shopping List of Debt Ceiling Demands

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putting out a fire

Even without  the first fire being put out -- funding of our budget -- discussions are underway to hammer out our debt ceiling. That deadline is quickly approaching and it's even a bigger deal than the budget. This is a huge battle and has a tremendous impact on our international standing. Our financial markets could actually collapse. And so this negotiation must be met with genuine seriousness.

It's great to see the Republicans are giving it the respect that it's due. They have no problem in raising the debt ceiling, but in return, they just want a few, small things picked up at the store on the way to the signing ceremony.

Behold, the Tea-party shopping list. According to HUFFPO, in order to approve an increase in the borrowing limit, President Obama and Congress must also approve:

...a ban on late-term abortions in a bill to authorize a one-year increase of the debt ceiling just three weeks before the Treasury Department expects that the United States will not have enough money to fund its obligations, according to the Washington Post.

SNIP

While other provisions considered by the GOP had at least a plausible relationship to the debt, a late-term abortion ban does nothing. In fact, the CBO estimated that such a ban will increase the debt.

Okay, what else are those GOP and Tea Party zealots looking for that do relate to the debt?

Republicans are considering demanding provisions favorable to Wall Street banks, expanded drilling, and healthcare and social service cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

Shopping list

Well, there you have it. That's quite a shopping list, from abortion to oil drilling. Toss in helping out Wall Street banks, big Oil and more social service cuts and we should have ourselves an agreement.

The White House has looked over this shopping list and here's their comment covered by TPM News:

“The only thing I didn’t see was a birther bill attached to it," Carney quipped during the White House press briefing.

What, no Birther bill?! Both congressional Democrats and President Obama have called this bevy of  bureaucratic BS ludicrous and have stated categorically that the debt ceiling is not going to be a negotiation.

We'll see. I'm sure Obamacare defunding will be part of this on the Tea Party/GOP side as well. As the tail wags that dog, lets see how destructive these right-wingers can be. My bet is they'll shoot themselves with their second amendment protected guns before they'll give up on destroying America over raising the debt ceiling.

Maybe they haven't noticed, but every time the Presidents in the past have asked for and gotten a raise in the debt ceiling, the sky didn't fall in. We didn't suffer. In fact we prospered. It's only when the rest of the world fears our default do we run into problems.

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