Saturday, February 28, 2015

Countdown to Bibi

++The latest flap are the anti-Hillary ads being run on radio and television by something called the Emergency Committee for Israel. The soundtrack opens with ominous music and a voice over saying in menacing words, "While President Obama negotiates with the enemies of Israel, he refuses to meet with Israel's Prime Minister", somehow this segues into Hillary Clinton. The group funding this nonsense is headed by Bill Kristol, who will not be asked about this on any talk shows. The Prime Minister's Office officially expressed ignorance of the ads or the groups itself. 

++I actually believe the denial because this circus has gotten out of control and even Dermer doesn't know what's up after hatching this scheme with Boehner.

++President Obama has vowed to veto the Senate resolution calling for him to reveal the details of the Iranian negotiations once it is completed. Senator Corker is quoted in the Israeli press and not understanding why Obama would threaten a veto over such a small thing.

++American Jewish groups are livid over ads in the New York Times attacking Susan Rice linking her statements on Rwanda to some mythical connection to her condoning a new Holocaust. The ads are being placed by a rabidly rightwing rabbi, who has been a marginal figure for years.Susan Rice will be speaking on Monday to AIPAC.

Correction: Rand Paul won his third straight CPAC poll--not second consecutive

Tim Kaine Latest To Boycott Bibi

++David Harris Gershon, frequent contributor to Tikkun, writes in the Dailykos that Time Kaine is boycotting Bibi's speech, bringing the number of Democrats to 40. He says this number will grow before Tuesday's speech. I tend to doubt it.

++But his assertion that Kaine is boycotting is important because Kaine is on the list to be Hillary's Vice-Presidential choice. If he thought this would cost him politically, it is not obvious.

++Yesh Atid's party leader, Yair Lapid, said that Bibi has zero chance of changing the outcome of the nuclear talks and will lose the Democrats, almost fifty percent of America. He said,"This man should not be Prime Minister.

++Bibi said before departing Israel,"I respect President Obama." He voiced confidence that the ties between Israel and the United States would remain strong.

Rand Paul Romps To Victory at CPAC

++Rand Paul won his second consecutive straw poll at CPAC. He stressed foreign policy this time.

++The results were:
Bush--     6.3%

++Walker is now number 1 in the polls in early primary states. 

++If I were a Democrat, I would worry about Jeb Bush. Despite the booing and heckling,Bush handled himself well on immigration and education. Sean Hannity gave him some softballs but it is clear where Bush will push his message. He boasts of his record as governor until the Recession. He cuts the Great Recession and who might be responsible and picks up where he left off while Governor. He argues he can increase growth rates to 4%, even though both his father and brother never got near these numbers. On foreign policy,cut the Iraq War, and start at the end of W's term and the warning about what happens if we leave early. 

++I've read alot on leftwing blogs about Jeb's performance but I found him weirdly slick in a rough way. He is trying to portray himself as authentic and he does act like the adult in the room. He already has his plate of policy positions.

++What looks like a negative--opposition to same-sex marriage is moot because the SCOTUS decision will come way before any primaries. He can still oppose but say we have to obey the law. 

++What will be seductive to the voter if his foreign policy language. The GOP is now hung-ho for war. It believes and probably can convince the country that the United States is "retreating" in the world. No news media is going to argue we are actively involved in military operations in 130 countries or that our military budget is obscene. Jeb makes the case for war smoother than W. 

++I would be stunned if someone like Walker actually got near the nomination. Yes, he has won in a Democratic state. Yes, he beat the recall. Yes,he has bullied his way through the legislature. But he is only a high school graduate who has only been a politicians all his life and has been under constant investigation.

Nuke Deal?

++Carol Morello, writing in the Imperial Post,says the Iranian deal is closer than one thinks. Her excellent article in buried down in the paper in small type.

++The US keeps saying it is 50-50 but European negotiators say that the odds are higher than that and and the United States is underplaying the progress being made.

++In Carol Morello's article Hossein Mousavian, visiting scholar at Princeton and former spokesman for the Iranian nuclear team, says that the negotiators have reached agreement on three of the stumbling blocks and two others are remaining but solvable. The most difficult point will be the degree of inspection and the length of this period.

++Morello's piece outlines the more negative consequences of not making a deal. Despite the likelihood of additional American sanctions,it is unlikely that the United States can maintain the cohesion in the international community on this issue.

++The Iranian negotiator yesterday said that Israel will not be able to stop the agreement,suggesting that it is a done deal. 

++There is little likelihood for an extension of the talks if they don't come up with an agreement. Mousavian said that the progress made is unprecedented and historical and he doesn't see how the P5 +1 can walk away now.

++The State Department tried to pre-empt Bibi's criticism by defending the agreement without revealing any of its content. The key argument was that Bibi never proposed an alternative, which seems to me very lame. If there is an agreement, I hope the Obama Administration will defend it better than they have so far.

++The framework for the deal must be reached by March 25 and the final agreement in June. 

++Bibi talks to AIPAC tomorrow and the week will be a circus.

The Big Retraction

++In the last Congress, the GOP House was amazing in its failure to count votes. Bill after Bill had to be pulled from the floor. Just an FYI, Nancy Pelosi never lost a vote count.

++This Congress has already stunned Washington with its failures. The House had to pull their anti-abortion bill,their education bill, and now defeated their own DHS Bill. 

++Don't expect anything good to happen this year. Will Boehner keep his promise to Nancy Pelosi about allowing a clean bill for DHS? He is already backpedalling on this.

++Kiss tax reform goodby. Remember this was one of the things that President Obama said he could work with Republicans on.

++The September Budget process will be awesome to watch. This is the budget to stimulate a recession for a Republican to comeback to the White House. 

++Before then there will have to be a vote to raise the debt ceiling. Watch the antics on this one. Could Boehner manage to downgrade the US's credit rating again?

++Maybe the way out is to invite more foreign leaders. Bibi could come back after the Iranian agreement to comment on it paragraph by paragraph.

Lampoon or Reality

++The Onion put it in perspective this morning. "Iran worried that the United States is building its 8,500th nuclear weapon." The article raises concerns about the United States invading anywhere it wants and that it might provide weapons to rogue states.

++I don't no whether Josh Marshall was getting loopy with the nutty DHS debate or what. He has a post "Grand Bargain". Obama will meet with Bibi Netanyahu. In exchange Bibi will use his clout with GOP House members to get DHS funded.

++From Israel, we learn that Israel is directly asking Congress to add $300 million to President Obama's budget request for an upgrade in Israel's missile defense.

++The United States Senate is drafting legislation that President Obama must submit the full agreement with Iran to the Senate within five days of its completion and that President Obama can not do anything about sanctions for 60 days afterwards.

++Robert Kagan, that Robert Kagan, writes in the Washington Post that Bibi's speech sets an awful precedent. What if Congress had invited Oscar Arias to speak to Congress to criticize President Reagan's Central American policy?  Or during the Poppy Bush administration during the fights within Israel, Congress invited the Israeli Prime Minister. Kagan's point is that history provides ample opportunity for Congress being controlled by another party than that of the President and do we really want to invite foreign leaders to attack a sitting President?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weee! Congress Approves A Week Extension to DHS Funding--I'm sure that's good for morale.

House Republicans Vote Down Their Own Bill 203-224 ,Letting DHS' Funding To Lapse

"Dr. SPOCK" Leonard Nimoy has died at the age of 83


Franklin Graham Says Muslims Have Infiltrated D.C.

++So have Ethiopian taxi-drivers and Pakistanis owning 7-11s.

++Asked by Fox News to name the Muslims ,Franklin couldn't thinks of one. But he did say his friends told them they have infiltrated the White House. 

++Not only that the entire West has been infiltrated by Muslims who have gotten into the hallways of power. 

++But Franklin said he was praying for them.

Full Squads Have Reported For Spring Training

++The Washington Post baseball writers haven't done anything to upset me yet--but it's only time.

++If you want o see a classy man, check out for Sandy Koufax's spring training interview. Its hard to believe Sandy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972, some 43 years ago. 

Ex-Mossad Chief Blasts Bibi

++Meir Dagan ,the former head of Mossad,will headline anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv.The former spymaster said that Bibi's actions caused "heavy strategic damage" with Washington and that Israel should experience " regime change". 

++AIPAC still urges Bibi to re-consider his decision. They told Times of Israel that they had prepared a detailed argument with multiple exhibits showing the damage his acceptance of the speech would do to U.S.-Israel relations and the deep concern the American Jewish community has for his actions. AIPAC said Bibi wasn't impressed and that the deal with Iran by the United States would be an "existential threat" to Israel and he had to go.

++Calling itself "Bibi's lobby", an AIPAC spokesman said the day Bibi accepted the invitation from Boehner was "AIPAC's Day of Atonement","the lowest point we reached"

++But controversy sells tickets. This year's AIPAC conference will be the largest ever. 16,000 tickets have been sold.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Zionist Union 24-Likud 23

Your D.C. News

++Senator Inhof again proved that climate change was a hoax by throwing a snowball at Senator Cassidy in the Senate today.

++House Republicans are thinking about a three-week continuing resolution to fund DHS. Senate Republicans want to have a funding bill sans immigration to last to the end of September.

++Bobby Jindal is tied of hyphenated Americans and thinks there should be no Indian-Americans or African-Americans.

++James O'Keefe says he deserves a Polk Award for his scams about voter fraud.

++Chris Christie taunts Jeb Bush about being the establishment choice but that he, Christie would be unafraid to tell you what he thinks. He thinks the Obama White House should sit down and shut up.

++Scott Walker says if he can defeat 1,200 protesters, eating pizza from Ian's Pizza, he can defeat ISIS anywhere in the world.

++Ann Coulter says we should fear immigrants more than ISIS.

++CPAC panelists said that coke users die before the age of 50 because they have holes in their heart.

++Carly Fiorina, failed Hewlett-Packard CEO, doesn't like Hillary Clinton.

++A Nebraska judge ruled for the landowners against TransCanada's seizure of their property under eminent domain which would postpone the pipeline for at least three years. Mitch McConnell will bring the pipeline up for a vote next week.

++Loretta Lynch made it out of committee today and made be voted on next week to replace Eric Holder.

++No word about the Authorization to use military force from the Congress.

++Today marked the longest period since 9/11 when no Americans had been killed in combat--not 79 days and counting.

FOX News Now Accuses President Obama Of Being Anti-Semitic

++ No, not liking Bibi doesn't make you anti-semitic. John Kerry's testimony before the Senate proves the Obama Administration has bent over backwards to accommodate Bibi's requests. The Israeli military claim relations with the United States are the best in years.

++But if you are interested in anti-semiticism, look at the new PEW report that finds anti-semiticism is on the rise in 77 countries since 2013.

++Unfortunately,anti-semitic episodes are being reported in American universities, some of them harkening back to the era before WWII.

++Susan Rice, after blasting Bibi on the Charlie Rose Show, will enter the Lion's den at AIPAC. Samantha Powers will speak their also.

++Israel held a debate for Prime Minister last night but the Zionist Union and Bibi were absent. Iran never showed up as an issue the whole night but the economy did.

54% of the GOP believe President Obama Is A Muslim

Tom Wheeler Wins Net Neutrality Vote

++Broadband will be regulated as a public utility and net neutrality has won a stunning victory.

++Observers thought this was impossible months ago until President obama weighed in with his support for net neutrality.

++Net neutrality advocates said that such a popular victory is so rare these days that it is no wonder that the House Republicans will now have three subcommittees studying how this happened.

++Republicans have vowed to fight this tooth and nail and have a lot of lobbying money backing them.

++But for today, take a very rare victory.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

While The House Wrestles With Defunding DHS

++A Public Religion Research Institute poll of 500,000 Americans in 50 states found that a majority wants immigration separate from funding Homeland Security.

++Majorities in all 50 states favored a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

++More than 3/4rds supported citizenship or a legal status for them.

++Only 19% want to identify and deport them.

++In all the discussion in Congress there is no discussion of providing the funds necessary to deport all illegals. It never has been an option. 

++Today, there is a negative influx at our southern border but the GOP says we have to secure our borders first. 

Things I Missed While Finishing My Taxes

++I missed Vishnu Jindal showing up for the Governors' Conference and protesting outside the White House, saying that President Obama wasn't qualified to be Commander-In-Chief. Gee, I wish he told us six years ago.

++CPAC just opened up today and the Donald has really hired bona fide political consultants for a 2016 run for the GOP presidential nomination. Lots of Koch Brothers connected figures.

++Rand Paul is being hit because the GOP has gone militaristic. I'm sorry Andrew Sullivan isn't around to comment on the dwindling fortunes of one candidate he thought would appeal to millenials.

++PEW Research has come out with a poll that shows the GOP has ended its temporary isolationism. 67% want American ground troops in both Syria and Iraq. 71% of all primary voters want the same. And a stunning 74% say that only military options should be used to fight terrorism.

++The great Bill O seems to keep making things up. Now he saw nuns executed in El Salvador. Previously he had been the intrepid reporter in the Malvinas Islands. What next? He killed Patton himself?

++Yossi Cohen, Bibi's National Security Adviser, is still not a happy lad with Bibi's planned speech.

++Senator Menendez told John Kerry that the rumored Iran nuclear agreement will not work in "this universe", meaning the US Senate. So what are they going to do? It's not a bilateral agreement so what say does the Senate actually have?

++The Republicans in Idaho want the state to be declared a Christian state. Besides violating the constitution, wouldn't this offend Mormons whose God is on Kolob.

++The Georgia school system wants to screen D'Nesh D'Souza's film against Barack Obama.

++Hillary better clean up her donor picture before she announces. Too many foreign governments have given to the Clinton Foundation, when she was Secretary of State.

++The Big O gave a town hall meeting today and rocked the audience. You will be sorry when he's gone.

++When the Senate stops napping, Mitch McConnell will re-introduce the Keystone Pipeline bill because President Obama, in John Boehner's words, is too beholding to the extreme environmentalists. The Nebraska farmers were called anarchists by the GOP. Watch for the "terrorism" designation next. Bill McGibben watch out.

++I can't see how Boehner can get out of the Homeland Security problem. Maybe he is a genius we never recognized. Could we change the name of the awful Department! Homeland, Fatherland, Seig Heil. Let's get rid of it as Nick Gillespie argued in the Daily Beast.

++Chicago is getting ready to announce the site of the Barack Obama Presidential Library.

++Is we learning yet? Scott Walker has gutted the funding for the University of Wisconsin,following the trend of Republicans everywhere. Brownback in Kansas,Kasich in Ohio, Scott in Florida,and the list goes on.

++President Obama pulled a cute one today as he told a Latino audience that Jeb Bush should mediate between Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to get an immigration bill passed. Nice way to throw a bomb.

++I forgot John Matlock, Reagan's former ambassador to the Soviet Union, gave a speech which was covered by the Nation where he warned that Russia can't be considered a regional power because it has thousands of nuclear armed missiles. And we should take that into consideration even if John McCain is ashamed because of our response in the Ukraine.

++Times of Israel changed the header to a story where John Kerry roasted Bibi for his enthusiastic support of the Iraq War. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo chronicled how Bibi, while out of government, campaigned across America for the war. Josh ruled it a clean hit while the Israeli papers tried to mute it later in the day.

++Scott Walker has moved into 25% according to various polls measuring the GOP field. Ben Carson is second. Iowa will look funky, especially now that the Donald has Santorum's Iowa field coordinator.

++Hillary leads every single GOP candidate by a significant margin.

Rahm Emmanuel Falls Short

++Rahm Emmanuel felt short of a majority against Jesus Garcia. Rahm netted 45% to move him into a primary run-off in April. The turnout was low but in Spring observers expect it to pick up and that the Latino vote will increase and give Garcia a real shot at an upset.

Brainwrap Reports Final ACA Figures

++Brainwrap or Charles Gaba was disappointed that HHS is not going to provide weekly updates through tax season.

++The final number for the 2015 season is 11.74 million. Over half the renewals were self-choices.
The 2015 numbers represent a 46% increase over 2014. Not too shabby.

++Ms. Burweil in his letter to the House said there is no Plan B if the Supreme Court rules against subsidies. This would be catastrophic for the health insurance market, leading to large premium increases, and life-threatening to those who would lose their healthcare insurance. The numbers would reach in the millions for those who lose their policies. Apparently the GOP doesn't care even though their base will get crushed. The biggest returns this year are in Florida and Texas.

++Health insurance observers are looking at problems areas for next year. If ACA looks like it is a going concern, they look at drop-offs in California and other states, which had the largest initial enrollments. But from these concerns, you still have the numbers for the plan as originally projected.

Bibi Bungles His Way To Washington

++Ed Rogers at the Imperial Post usually parrots the GOP line. His last column was why the GOP thinks Obama doesn't love America. It was a column filled with every meme the Right has ever used against Obama since he was first elected President. He even threw out the bit that Obama removed Winston Churchill's bust from the White House, without explaining there was still another one left over.

++Tonight, however, he goes after Bibi who he likes better than Obama. Rogers feels Bibi's refusal to meet with the Democratic Caucus was a big violation of the rules of the Beltway. He thinks the way his speech was handled was a mess also. But his point was that Bibi got it in reverse when he said it would look like partisanship. His speech through the invitation of Boehner already is raw partisanship. 

++Rodgers says he gives Democrats a real reason to be aggrieved and more of a reason to give Obama what he wants. He believes if Bibi knows what he's talking about--a dubious assumption--he should be more than willing to share it with anyone.

Let The Games Begin

++The Senate passed a clean bill for funding the DHS by 98 to 2. Now John Boehner has to show his stuff.

Benjamin Netanyahu's Blinkered Vision of American Politics

++Daniel W. Drezner in the Imperial Post tries to game out Bibi's thinking about his speech to Congress and the ramifications for bilateral relations. As he says, Bibi's re-election and a P5+ 1 deal combined would be a disaster for bilateral relations. He repeats the news that Bibi's National Security adviser is against the speech as too provocative and that the identification with the GOP is disastrous for Israel.

++Josh Marshall reports on the state of the election campaign in Israel and shows that it is easier for the Right to form a coalition.

++Josh Goldberg at the Atlantic reviews how we got to this spot with Bibi's speech.

More News on Bibigate

++John Kerry blasted Bibi at the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee for his cheerleading the Iraq War and now misrepresenting the deal on the Iranian nukes.

++Susan Rice said that Bibi's speech would tear at the fabric binding our two nations.

++Bibi said in Israel that the world had given up at the Iranian talks.

++Senator Feinstein and Senator Dick Durbin asked Bibi to meet with the Democratic Senators. Bibi turned it down as too "partisan".

++Isaac Herzog turned down Bibi's request to joint him at the Congressional speech because Israel faces an "existential threat" caused by the Iranian agreement.

++Herzog also turned down AIPAC.

++Last night all the Israeli press were ablaze with reports from Geneva that seemed to confirm Bibi's concerns that the Western powers were agreeing that the terms of the agreement would expire in 10-15 years.

++David Ignatius defended a "flawed" Iranian deal as the least worse choice.

++The National Council of Resistance in Iran revealed yesterday the site of a new secret nuclear project in Iran. Brookings Institute says the IAEA should investigate it.

++The Israeli critiques now of the so-called deal focus on the inability of the IAEA to have the sophistication to monitor the centrifuges.

++The Times of Israel said that the deal is flawed because it doesn't take into consideration ballistic missiles and sizes of warheads. Of course, the Iranians don't admit that the nuclear program has any intentions to manufacture weapons.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

No! Those Ads For Keystone XL Pipeline Haven't Stopped . They Changed Saying Keystone Doesn't Affect Climate Change

PPP Finds 49% of Republicans Don't Believe in Evolution,16% Unsure

PPP Finds 57% of GOP Want Christianity As National Religion

++Now all they have to do is find a few in their ranks.

Does Obama Love America?

++Huffington Post/YouGov poll shows that 69% of Republicans believe President Obama does not love America. Is this a sign of mental illness? Eugene Robinson attributes tho to Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Israeli Election Tied

++Zionist Union 23 to Likud 23, with only 3 weeks to go.

President Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline

++The minute it landed on his desk, President Obama vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline. He informed the Senate quietly. This was only the 3rd veto in his Presidency.

++The Republicans figure they are four votes from over-riding the veto in the Senate and 14 or more in the House.

++Senator Hoeven has said they will append Keystone XL Pipeline to every budget bill from here on out.

++Will I be spared the pop-up ads for Keystone?

++If the GOP wanted a program to create as many jobs as Keystone, why don't they open three Chipotles?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Now Bibi Has Gone Too Far

++Not only did Bibi not inform the President or the State Department he had been invited by Boehner but he left out the one person in Israel who is an expert on Iran--His National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen. Cohen used to brief Bibi on Iran when he was with Mossad. Maybe today's leaks of Mossad cables explains why Cohen wasn't informed until the State Department knew.

++On other fronts, Christians for Israel, an organization whose leader believes in a second Holocaust, are now threatening to muscle Democrats who plan to boycott Bibi, informing them of retaliation during the next election. This usually is done by AIPAC whips during such speeches. I guessed their farmed out the muscle.

Now We Have Gone Too Far

++This is the post that ties the number of posts for the first full year of In Another Country. Are we really turning to the past.

++Today my town announced it was holding a mock terrorist attack on a local movie theater. Read Robert Kuttner's article in Huffington Post that the 2016 presidential election will be on National Security.

++A mock attack? Really. Why not a drudge siren to announce the degree of terrorist threat.

++You will recall the first theme against the Obama administration was the impending terrorist attack that Dick Cheney keep appearing on national television to warn against. When the underwear bomber was a flop and the Times Square bomber was a dud, the major theme was to create economic anxiety. This actually worked for a while and allow the GOP to win in 2014. Since the economy without any help from the GOP has started humming along, now it's back to terrorist.

++The Beltway is abuzz with war talk but no one seems to know what war anyone is talking about. But it is Obama's fault.

++Mock attacks on theaters? Terrorist threats are real but by now a trillion dollars in our terrorism/intelligence complex should give some assurance to people. 

++Give me a call when we get bombed. 

Ka-Boom, Mossad Cables Destroy Bibi

++The Guardian reproduced some of the cables Al Jezeera received from Edward Snowden. The Guardian highlighted those cables between Mossad and South Africa which undercut Bibi Netanyahu's presentation to the United Nations where he produced the Boris and Natasha bomb graphic.

++At the time Bibi said Iran was months away from producing a bomb. Mossad told its spy colleagues that Iran didn't seem to be working on a weapons program but on filling the holes in its reactor program. At the time,Mossad said that you needed 90% enriched uranium but Iran only had reached 20%, most of which was diluted in the interim agreement.

++I would love to see cables about "nuclear triggers". Just because you can enrich to a level where a bomb could be created, you need information and the technology to produce a trigger for the device. General Cartwright who advised President Obama said that hey thought they did not have that capability.

++Juicy cables hitting the press.

++Meanwhile in Geneva, John Kerry was emphatic that the United States and all those of the p5+1 were on the same page in the negotiations. There is no great Obama fold being set up.

Rumblings about Iran

++Al Jazeera is about to release thousands of cables from Mossad obtained by Edward Snowden that reveal Israeli's spy agency true assessment of the Iranian nuclear program. The story "Spy Cables" is set to be released this week.

++After only one day of meeting with John Kerry, Iran's chief negotiator threatens to leave for tehran is the West keep pressing him.

++Bibi says that the West should stop talking to Iran since they haven't come clean on their past programs.

++Russia has offered Iran a new deal on anti-missile defense programs.

++Ayatollah Khomeini says that if attacked by Israel Iran will destroy Tel Aviv.

++Joe Lieberman asks everyone to listen to Bibi's speech.

++Fred Hiatt in the Post says that since President Obama has a credibility problem in Foreign Policy--i.e. the Middle East--he should not press for an Iranian deal because it will antagonize Congress.

++Congress is confused about the Authorization for Military force because Senate Republicans want it open-ended with the possibility of large numbers of combat forces. House Republicans doubt the President and mistrust him so they are reluctant to give him anything. Democratic House members want it to be severely limited. Whether it gets done is a matter of speculation.

++The Daily Beast has a piece about how the United States created ISIS in the detention camps in Iraq. ISIS used the camps as recruitment sites for their re-emergence. 

The Hills Are Alive With Lady Gaga

++The Oscars are history. Birdman beats Boyhood. Citizenfour wins documentary and Julienne Moore finally gets her Oscar. Congratulations to all the winners. And I didn't watch any of it. In memorium reminds us that we lost Robin Williams, which was the horrible event of last year. I was surprised Joan Rivers didn't get a mention since she was the regular at Hollywood Red Carpet events. But that's showbiz.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

While You Are Watching The Oscars

++Mike Barnicle has a piece in the Daily Beast likening Rudy Guiliani to Jake LaMotta after he lost to Sugar Ray Robinson.

++Daryl Issa thinks Guiliani should be thanked for questioning President Obama's patriotism.

++Glenn Kessler gives Rudy 4 Pinnochios for his statements about President Obama's speeches and saying he doesn't love the country since the man says it every opportunity he can.

++I received an email from a conservative that thanks Guiliani for raising the issue of patriotism because progressives have a more relativist view of patriotism that takes in a person's experience while traditional patriots just know what is their duty and what is right for the nation. Say, like Torture.

++Stormy Monday at Democratic Underground previews this week with CPAC opening on Wednesday with their star-studded conservative speakers, Rahm Emmanuel faces a tough re-election campaign on Tuesday. The Homeland Security Department will furlough about 30,000 people if Congress doesn't pass funding and others will serve without pay. That's patriotism. 

++My problem with the oscars this year is that I haven't seen any of the nominees. So I vote for Boy,Linklater's epic film shot over the entire life of a boy growing up and in documentary for Kennedy's account of the last days of Saigon. But I am sure I will be wrong.

Oh myy, says George Takei

++Maureen Dowd did a more malign take of Jeb's advisory board reminding us who backed Ahmed Chalabi, torture, wiretaps,and the whole Iraq War in its glory. The point many people have made is that you can't expect anything different from Jeb than the rest of them. I just pointed out how old they were and that none of them have any experience in areas of the world other than the Middle East and maybe parts of Central Europe.

++John McCain is ashamed for our country, and ashamed of President Obama and himself. So ashamed. He was talking, of course, about the Ukraine and the fight against ISIS.

++Trans Canada has a perfect idea. Build the Keystone XL Pipeline in reverse, sending American oil to Canada for use there. The pipeline would travel north through the Dakotas.

++If you like Jeb, then you might like the jobs-creating record of the Bushes put together. Then compare them to Democrats.

++Ms. Lindsey Graham says that the Senate must pass the Homeland Security funding or else the GOP will be blamed. Are you sure about that? Especially if Al Shabab bombs the Mall of America.

++I received an e-mail from a conservative saying that the real victim of the Obama presidency are community-organizers. Remember when that was the rap against Obama. Now the author says that Obama was charismatic and that was a fatal flaw in his character. Oh myy.

++The Obama Administration now has established strict criteria for drilling for oil in the Arctic. Late but good news, nonetheless.

++Bobby "Vishnu" Jindal says that America has to become more educated. So what does he do--but cut Louisiana's education budget drastically.

++I am refraining from commenting further on the case before the Supreme Court against Obamacare. The plaintiffs have no standing. The legal case against them is so overwhelming. There is the Chevron precedent,the indemnity issue for insurance, the seems of amicus curiae briefs about why the intention of the law was for everyone to receive subsidies. Affadavits from authors of the state exchanges about their intentions. And on and on.

++The Court should never have received the case. But Linda Greenhouse, the court reporter for the New York Times alerted us all to the political nature of this case of the judges involved. The non-profit behind the case is a libertarian think tank funded by the Koch Brothers. 

++I would say that all Americans should be urged to send all their medical bills to the Koch brothers. They have the wealth to pay for them all. 

++So on the legal side,I believe this case is a loser. But I am skittish because I do not have any trust in the Supreme Court. Even the plaintiffs lawyers do not believe this is constitutional.

So Where Are We In Our Perpetual War?

++Israelis across the political spectrum think the Iran deal is flawed but they don't want Bibi to make his speech. The former mayor of New York,Rudy, tells Iranian Americans that Bibi fights for his country unlike President Obama. 

++Now first off, there is no Iranian deal and what has been said is pure speculation about what such a deal may or may not look like. Also there doesn't exist an Iranian bomb. I guess we go to war now before anyone gets Weapons of Mass Destructions. 

++I would like to remind people that we have had warnings since 2002 about the Iranian bomb. It hasn't appeared. The interim agreement actually did reverse momentum in this area.

++Now John McCain was upset with President Obama's conference on violent extremism because "You can't win a war unless you can name the enemy."

++Ok,that sounds reasonable. Who's the enemy? For most of Congress, not just John McCain, the enemy is Assad, Hezbollah,the Iranian Revolutionary Guard,Al-Nusra,and ISIS. 

++The US military claims it is preparing an offensive to take back Mosul from ISIS in the spring. But They doubt their strategy because the Iraqis don't trust their army and fear the bloodthirsty Shi'ite militias. In addition,the Kurds don't work well with either Iraqi groups. 

++Bernard-Henri Levy,the French Jewish intellectual who did not leave Paris for Israel,recommends arming the Kurds. One of the problems with that is that the US still insists Iraq is a nation-state and funnels its support through Baghdad. I'm sure there is a covert operation assisting the Kurds. 

++Not that you would know from our media. The Kurds look like they will separate ISIS in Syria from ISIS in Iraq by seizing the critical highway between the two countries. 

++ISIS is a millennial cult which believes the end times will come when "Crusader' troops enter southern Turkey and a small town in eastern Syria. Their whole strategy is to hang on if attacked by US and allied ground forces. 

++As the Young Turks said this week, we are falling into their trap.

++So I go back to my previous posts asking what is in the national interest and how can we avoid a strategy that has so many enemies and so many moving parts. 

++What has not been mentioned is the massive upheaval of populations in Syria,Iraq,Lebanon and jordan. It still seems to me that the United States and all its allies should pump billions and billions of dollars in relief aid and humanitarian assistance, including the construction of schools in these areas. It will pay off a hundred fold. Aid agencies report they are way behind the demand in servicing these people, who also now pose to destabilize Lebanon and Jordan.

++Rachel Maddow in Friday has a short clip of the three teenage girls from England who skipped school to travel to Syria. This segment of her show was matched by a young child soldier, who had been wounded in a firefight and escaped ISIS.

++It seems we have to step up a program to rehabilitate the child soldiers before it is too late. We failed in Liberia and Sierra Leone, which left a generation of young paralyzed with guilt over their brutal acts. American assistance programs did not deal with the aspects of their problems, which were ruled by drug addiction and alcoholism. Certainly, a sophisticated program came be developed with international aid agencies that would facilitate the re-entry of this younger population into their societies.

++Human Rights reporters have been cataloguing the atrocities of all sides. One of the peculiar events of the past two weeks has been the exclusive attention to ISIS while neglecting the Assad regime's accelerating their war crimes. This is also true of the Iraqi militias in Iraq who have been slaughtering Sunnis who have had nothing to do with ISIS.

++So you want to get into this. At least with the Iraq War, you had a dictator and his sadistic son, which were the prime targets. So anyone could believe anything about them. But strip away the situation where personalities are murky and alliances are uncertain you have a situation worse than Vietnam or even the last Iraq War.

++If President Obama ever decides to love America,he can prove it by keeping us out of that mess.

++Today,the DHS announced they were taking Al Shabab phone calls threatening to attack American shopping malls seriously. The prime target is the Mall of America in Minnesota. 

++So what do our Congressional warriors want to do, defund Homeland Security. They have two work days to sort this out. 

++And meanwhile,our warrior Congresscritters haven't considered the Authorization Of Military Force Resolution. House conservatives don't want to pass it because they do not trust President Obama. Liberals on the Democratic side want it to be restrained and not as open as Obamas draft.

++Sheppard Smith at Fox News has been frustrated with all the critics of Obama's plans and interviewed one of my old employees at IRI, Ambassador Stuart Holliday. Stuart had worked on the Middle East in my days at the Republican Institute. But Sheppard cut him a new one when Stuart fell back on the right-wing cliches--more intelligence, coordination among allies,possible boots on the ground. 

++What struck me about Holliday's statement was his support of President Cessi in Egypt and his bombing of ISIS in Libya. Conservatives love the Egyptian President because he has slaughter thousands of so-called adherents of the Muslim Brotherhood. Of course, Cessi says openly that the United States supports ISIS along with Qatar. Great ally.

++Another potential ally, according to Holliday, is Morocco, which illegally holds the Western Sahara. Lately the Spanish and Moroccans have collaborated in sweeping jihadists out of Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Northern Africa. 

++Curious about this. This is a pure Republican formulation. It was Algeria that stopped Al Qaeda from seizing their oilfields. But in GOPland, Algeria is not a potential ally. Instead, it is a model of counter-insurgency as run by the French and includes water boarding. 

++I'll let Holliday off on this one because only Democrats back Algeria. That's an old one that goes back to the last century.

++So what do you have? A region going through an epic upheaval without any visible strategy to bring order there. And don't even try to play a mental game where you could. It's not feasible.

++I still say my all-humanitarian approach will bring you better results. But the zeitgeist won't allow it.

The Othering Of President Obama

++Jon Parr at Dailykos has a column this morning about the long history of the GOP trying to portray President Obama as "The Other". Read it. He did all my homework.

++Besides Rudy's blasts this week, Scott Walker says he doesn't know whether President Obama is a Christian,Eric Erickson the same and D'nesh D' Sousa says you can get the black man out of the ghetto. The Last was said when President Obama appeared on buzz feed, an audience of 6 million younger viewers, to pump the healthcare bill. 

++I'm not sure what it would mean if President Obama didn't love the country and was not a Christian. I'll take him as is.

++But what does it signify? We are in the last two years of his presidency and with the exception of Rand Paul and a lukewarm Jeb Bush, Republicans still bring out this theme. 

++I think it is a distraction from the failure of the GOP-controlled Congress and the potential damage the GOP will do on the country and various states. What better than to have a distraction and pick your pockets. This happened to a lesser degree with the W. administration. 9/11 happens and the wealthy get a massive tax break while no one was looking. 

++The other aspect is that President Obama has put the voodoo on their hoodoo. He owns them and will for the rest of my life. There is no an email I received from a Republican that doesn't tie a problem in the country directly to President Obama. He is their master and they know it. The man has totally psyched out the GOP, despite their victories in 2014.

++Since the GOP decided to launch their presidential campaigns early,their candidates have to throw red meat to their base. They will campaign through the primaries and into the general election against President Obama. 

++Part of this is shrewd. They barely beat Al Gore because they forced him to divorce himself from President Clinton, a strategic mistake that cost him the election --at the Supreme Court.

++The Democrats have blundered twice in 2010 and 2014 by not supporting President Obama's policies. President Obama gave a clear pep talk to the DNC last week where he listed everything the democrats have done for the economy and pointed out that he was pleased that the GOP now is concerned by the wealth gap. 

++President Obama made the salient points. We have had the strongest job growth since the last time a Democrat was President. We have had the biggest debt reductions since the last time a Democrat was President. And we have had millions more insured by the ACA than at anytime in our country and health costs have increased by the lowest in 50 years.

++The GOP is going to campaign against Hillary Clinton on Benghazi and tied her to President Obama and force her to distance herself from him. That would be a mistake. She should endorse a litany of what he has done and then say we can do more. Not avoid the relationship. 

++As Jon Parr noted about the nativism that has emerged in this country,Robert Kennedy had referred to this as America's darkest underbelly. 

++The last week has brought our America The Awful and it needs to be countered or we will all pay a steep prices.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Rudy Strikes Again--It Must Be The Polar Vortex

++I guess Rudy didn't get enough smack down the last few days.

++Rudy told the New York Post that President Obama was under Communist influence since the age of 9.

++What he is referring to is that President Obama's grandfather introduced him to his old friend Frank Marshall Davis,an African-American he knew in Kansas. Frank Marshall Davis was thrown out of the Communist Party before President Obama was born and was a poet while living in Hawaii. 

++President Obama wrote about him in his autobiography as "dashiki" Frank who lectured him on race relations in the States. 

++It should be noted that Frank told the young Obama to have nothing to do with whites if he could avoid it and not to go to university. 

++I guess he was surely indoctrinated but somehow skipped Frank's lessons.

++Meanwhile Rudy, whose father was a mob enforcer, grew up to idolize Putin.

++A blogger on DailyKos mentioned he had visited the Amana cooperatives in Iowa when he was young and ate luncheons there of copious German food so he grew up to be a co-operative socialist.

++ I must be like the Dailykos blogger because I need to get my rocking chair's reeds rewoven. It was built from a cherry tree on my wife's grandfather's farm in Iowa by the same Amana workmen.

++You might remember Amana refrigerators.

++But it is OK because the residents of Amana are white unlike President Obama who is only half white and who has been a communist since the age of 9.

++This week has been odd in that the GOP was erupted with old themes about President Obama. When will we see Orly Taitz re-emerge. Remember Orly is Facebook friends with Bibi Netanyahu so keep your eyes open the next few weeks.


++Armin Rosen's piece is in the Business Insider,not the Business Reporter. It is worth reading to get a sense of the complexity of the Iranian negotiations.

The Rumble In The Desert

++The Times of Israel reports that the Saudis,Qatar, and other Gulf states oppose the nuclear deal with Tehran. I wonder how they know the purported agreement?

++Michael Oren, now running for the Knesset and former Ambassador to Israel, says the Obama Administration plans to boycott the AIPAC meeting is tantamount to boycotting "the strategic alliance with Israel". Interesting formulation about the relationship with AIPAC.

++Business Reporter has a piece by Armin Rosen on the details of the nuclear accord with diagrams. A good and very detailed piece with lots of technical data. Basically,he quotes scientists about why the alleged Accord may not be good.

++The Jerusalem Post allows Caroline Glick to run a hit job on President Obama, accusing him of being anti-semitic and the real enemy of Bibi Netanyahu.

++The head of the Iranian nuclear program is to meet with Secretary Munoz, the nuclear scientist who heads our Energy Department,in Geneva to discuss Tehran's program. Personnel from our Energy Department have regularly participated in the negotiations so far. Forget the politics involved,these are highly technical negotiations which none of us really know what they mean. For better or worse, the United States has enormous expertise in the area of nuclear weapons and energy.

++The Obama Administration is considering ways to amp up their conflict with Bibi over his speech. The Administration first floated the idea that the President flood the talk shows in discussing the negotiations. That was nixed. I would have nixed it too because you don't know whether you will have a successful deal yet. Instead there will be no high-ranking Administration officials attending AIPAC, which has a meeting right after Bibi's speech. Biden appears to be out of town again. Kerry will not be available. 

++Harold Meyerson in the Post earlier this week contemplated why Bibi is siding with the elements in our political culture the American Jewish community finds loathsome. Just purely from domestic policy,Meyerson finds that the current GOP is even farther from the attitudes and policy positions of the American Jewish community. There is a reason that the GOP has only one, lonely Jewish congressman. That the American jewish community voted by 80+% for Obama adds to the confusion why Bibi ignored the White House,Joe Biden, and John Kerry.

++Sheldon Adelson,one of Bibi's biggest backers, is a media mogul in Israel and through his free paper has launched attacks on Ynet once it editorialized against Bibi's speech and the damaging effects on US-Israeli relations.

++Interestingly, the CIA whistleblower case here in Alexandria, Virginia turns out to play a role in the IAEA's evaluation of whether they give Tehran a pass on not coming clean on their "old" bomb plans. This was the case where James Risen was supposed to testify and name his source. The whistle blower was convicted. What did he reveal? That the CIA under Bill Clinton did a sting on the Iranians to plant flawed nuclear bomb plans in Turkey for their spies to get. The IAEA believe the so-called "old" bomb plans of Iran are those provided through this sting.

++A WARNING SIGN ON THE IRANIAN NEGOTIATIONS. The March date is to come up with a framework for an agreement that would be finalized in June. John Kerry came up with a framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinians but only saw it rejected by Bibi. That's why the Administration has floated the idea of releasing the Kerry framework agreement in response to Bibi's speech. They fear he will torpedo the framework agreement on the Iranian deal.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Most Important News of the Day

     Taco cat spelled backwards is Taco cat. 

Rudy's Best

++ Rudy told Sean Hannity,"I lived through 9/11 and Obama didn't."  I guess President Obama was in Kenya at the time.

++To bolster Rudy, Sean Hannity who had Mark Levin on to criticize President Obama for his "apology tours" and his relationship with the Weathermen. Hannity said Obama never defended American exceptionalism, except he is the only President to use the term. The GOP only discovered it in 2012 and put it in their platform.

Rudy Steps in It

++Rudy Guiliani used a line he tired out in Arizona to great applause by saying that Obama doesn't love America as much as we do. But it has turned back on him.

++Unfortunately the White House responded which it shouldn't have.

++Vishnu Jindal said Rudy got the gist of it. Marco Rubio said Obama loved this country but his policies were the problem.

++Rudy claims he wasn't being racist because Obama had a white mother.

++Rude Pundit dispatched with this nonsense by simply listing all of President Obama's statements on his love of the country.

++But it is Wayne Barrett in the Daily News that did Rudy in. Wayne,an investigative reporter on New York City politics,did a column of what Rudy knows about love going into his marriages and affairs and citing the parental influence of a father who spent time in Sing-Sing. Of everyone writing about this, Wayne skewered Rudy the best.

Bibi Foodfight

++In response to the State Department's claim that Israel does not know the contents of the Iranian nuclear deal, Bibi fired back that Tehran knows the contents of the deal and so does Israel. And he went on to say the contents are a bad deal. I guess he just exposed a Mossad agent in Tehran.

Stay tuned.

David Ignatius On Bibifest

++David Ignatius has a must-read op-ed in the Imperial Post about why Bibi broke from President Obama on the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Read closely and it is mind-boogling.

++Israel claims the United States--who apparently is negotiating with no other partners--will allow Iran to be a nuclear threshold state--that is they wouldn't have a bomb but could in a short time.

++Something to remember,a bipartisan commission already determined that an Israeli strike against Iran's sites would set the program back 2 years, and American strike 4 years. Of course,this assumes Iran will not counter-attack. A full invasion of Iran would cost $1.7 trillion dollars and would affect the world economy.

++Now the United States wants a 10-20 year agreement with Iran. It is assuming that there will be a change of leadership and the younger, more democratic generation will emerge. Israel says this is wishful thinking and it may be right.

++So the issue of the centrifuges revolves around the export of the enriched uranium to be processed into reactor fuel, a process France does well. 

++Bibi has slipped back to the position that Iran should have no enrichment capability. An impossible negotiating position. 

++So if the United States gets only a 10-year agreement,the assumption is that we will be too pre-occupied by another crisis and it will take the investigators several months to determine whether Iran has broken the agreement and another few months for the West to react. 

++But then a 10-year agreement means that Israel and we can not attack the facilities and risk the regional counter-reaction. It seems a ten year or more agreement works in this uncertain world.

++Another point of the divorce is that Bibi won't guarantee he would notify the US before his attack on Iran. The implication is that American facilities and troops would be at risk without our knowing it. Israeli military has said prior notification would limit their options.

++Bibi and Obama do agree that additional sanctions prior to the end of the negotiations would sabotage the talks, which Bibi wants to do. The problem with this is that the US is to blame and this would leave Iranian facilities without any international inspections. In other words, Bibi would create an Iran at the nuclear threshold.

++Washington is annoyed as hell at Bibi's leaks because he doesn't mention the checks in place being negotiated and will end up with the nightmare he fears through his own actions.

++This may be moot because the IAEA says that Iran has not accounted for a period of its nuclear program in the past which seemed to produce explosions.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

President Obama Designates 3 New National Monuments

++Speaking on the South Side of Chicago, President Obama reminisced about his first office,car and working in frigid weather. He was there to bolster Rahm Emmanuel's re-election bid as Mayor of Chicago.

++With the 100th anniversary of the US Park Services coming up, he announced that all fourth graders and their families would get a year free pass to our national parks. 

++Then he designated three new national monuments, making him the top President in saving wilderness and park lands in American history.

++The three were: In Hawaii,the place where the Japanese were interned during WWII; Brown's Canyon in Colorado; and the site of the Pullman Town on the South Side of Chicago, which was the site of the famous Pullman strike and riots during the recession of the 1890s.

A Person That Makes Life Worth Living--Oliver Sacks

++ "I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return;I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world,the special intercourse of writers and readers.

      Above all, I have been a sentient being,a thinking animal,on this beautiful planet,and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."

Rudy Keeps On Going

++Rudy says that President Obama isn't as patriotic a President as others like ,say, Ronald Reagan. FYI--Ronald Reagan is still dead.

++Fox News says that President Obama is making the middle East a giant welfare state. I thought the question was there are no states anymore and you get ISIS.

++P.S. You are going to miss him when he's gone. The odds are the Music will become dreadful. You'll be lucky to get Toby Keith.

Satanists To Use Hobby Lobby

++Judge Ginzberg argued this day would come.

++The Satanist Temple is going to use the Hobby lobby case to argue that all women are exempt from all anti-abortion laws.

++Bravo, nicely played

Strange Doings

++Donald Rumsfield tells Fox News "The Rise of ISIS puts us in the same period as those days leading up to WWII. " As I recall,the Nazis controlled a major European nation, which had lost a previous World War. I guess he was alluding to the Nazis seizing power in countries where they claimed Germany had rights to protect the German minority. Or maybe that Nazism was a pernicious ideology. Or maybe because the Nazis had the Luftwaffe. That doesn't work because ISIS doesn't have an air force. Never mind.

++Scott Walker is concerned about ISIS in the United States. I guess like the American Bund, which had members on the Jersey Shore.

++Scott Walker was at 21 in Manhattan to wine and dine supply-side financial moguls. He said he was like Ronald Reagan in that he busted a major union. Unlike Reagan,he has not been a head of a major union. 

++Walker didn't know whether President Obama loved America. To be fair Rudy Guiliani was at the same dinner and said that President Obama didn't love America because he didn't grow up like you or I. I guess that means he didn't grow up white.

++Bill O'Reilly calls on American religious leaders to call for a Holy War against ISIS. Chris Hayes took the bait and argued that this is what they want.

++If you were in the Beltway,President Obama held a conference on extremist violence, which received no coverage by the Imperial Post. I guess they realized he didn't love America.

++Josh Marshall posted an article on how Obamacare is in trouble because its advocates have adopted a political strategy to persuade Justice Roberts that the Court would be in disgrace if the plaintiffs won. It would but the frustrating part is that the author lists the myriad reasons why this case shouldn't be in the Court in the first place.

24 Democrats Ask Boehner To Postpone Bibi's Speak

The operative words,"It appears that you are using a foreign leader as a political tool against the President."

The Great Oliver Sachs Signs Off

++Oliver Sachs writes his farewell in today's New York Times. A brilliant neuroscientist and writer, Oliver Sachs has treated us to the bizarre nature of the mind, exploring our love of music and colors as well as strange conditions that had defied diagnosis.

++Oliver has lost vision in one eye because of a cancerous tumor. Now many years later at the age of 81 he has been told he has terminal liver cancer. 

++With typical panache he quotes David Hume's writings when that philosopher was dying at the age of 64 in "My Life".

++Hopefully Oliver's case will be like Art Buckwald's when the humorist had to be kicked out of the hospice because he was living too long.

Jeb's Team

++Looking over Jeb's roster of advisers,I was struck by Theodore Hesbergh's statement to me when we were on the same committee evaluating scholarships for undergraduates. He said," Pity these young people,they will grow up in a world determined by 80-year olds." 

++I personally know many of Jeb's advisers and admire many of them but others are permanently tarnished by the Iraq War and the torture regime of the United States. Some are quite elderly--Henry Kissinger,George Schulz, James Baker. No one is younger than me. You have hard-line Cubans and a few unreconstructed Cold Warriors. Technically, you have international finance covered with Zoellick and Wolfowitz. But this aspect is thin.

++Missing from his advisers are people who know about Asia,Latin America, and Africa. The Atlanticists are pretty old. 

++It is no a roster that speaks to the challenges of the 21st Century. It is a selection of who's who in the Republican world, which once had foreign policy expertise but have dimmed in the new global economy and multi-polar world. 

++The problem is that this may be as good as it gets for the GOP. Since President Obama was elected in 2008, Republicans have not done the necessary policy thinking they did between elections during the Clinton years. We saw this with Romney's campaign. There was nothing about 3/4rds of people who live on planet earth. Romney said he would farm out Middle Eastern policy to Bibi Netanyahu--so I guess we would have supported Al Qaeda in Syria.  The only European issue was Russia and, of course,China but that was because Romney was embarrassed by his business ties there.

++After Romney's defeat, you would expect some foreign policy deliberations but so far I haven't seen them. It is the No Obama Policy--that is policy-free just oppose whatever Obama does.

++Jeb's speech did not get good reviews, even from the new Republican party. I think only Politico raved about it. Jeb seemed stale, blundered with facts,and reversed what his brother said about an Iran deal and out his position as the same as Bibi.His brother said no deal was possible that would totally prohibit Iran from enriching uranium. Israel wants no ability--hence no deal.

++What the United States must do is to come to grips with all the implications of our failures in Iraq, which are not just no weapons of mass destruction and not creating a secure political environment.

++His selection of Michael Hayden as one of his intelligence advisers should concern everyone because of Hayden's defense of torture and the NSA programs.

++Still not even close to the 21st century. But politically it serves notice on the others in the GOP field that the Family still rules. Maybe that was the point.