Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

In my latest piece for Souciant, I look at the opportunity for change that exists right now. In the attempt to change US Mideast policy, we get opportunities from time to time, though they are rarely great opportunities. This one isn’t that dramatic, but it is the sort of starting point we have regularly bypassed. If we had taken one such years ago, we would be in a very different place today.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

When writing about President Obama’s speech on Thursday, I got one thing very wrong. I wrote:

“Bibi will not have anything here to fight with Obama about tomorrow.”

Well, that was wrong; but not as much as you might think.

Bibi lectured and bossed around Obama. So far, the President has just sat there and taken it.

As MJ Rosenberg pointed out in his Friday column, a lot of this anger is contrived, and geared toward attaining a political goal.

We need to understand what that goal is and what Netanyahu’s reprehensible hubris on Friday after meeting with the President of the United States, was meant to achieve.

We can start with a basic fact: this tumult is not really about Obama’s statement regarding the 1967 borders. This is a contrived controversy, based, to begin with, on a willful distortion of what Obama said.

The President did not call for a return to the 1967 borders. He merely stated what is obvious, what has been American de facto policy all along and the fundamental truth of any two-state solution: that negotiations must start with the 1967 borders, and whatever modifications may be agreed to start from there.

So, what was the purpose of this intentional distortion and elaborate theater by Netanyahu, one which was subsequently lauded and backed by the ultra-right wing Israeli cabinet and a drove of Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle?

In fact, it was a bold, albeit clumsy, gambit by Netanyahu to rework the entire framework of what is generally understood to be the framework for negotiations.

Netanyahu is hoping to re-create the change wrought by George W. Bush with his 2004 letter to Ariel Sharon. In that letter, Bush went some distance toward pre-determining the outcome of final status issues by promising Sharon that Israel would not have to go back to the pre-1967 borders and that Palestinian refugees would not be able to return to Israel. (more…)

Read Full Post »

This space is normally devoted exclusively to the Middle East. But the absolute insanity that has gripped Washington all of my life has reached a new height these days, and so I break here with “something completely different.”

At this writing, Congress has authorized spending cuts of $38 billion, and sent a bill to the President so that the government can continue operation until September.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the leading advocate for "The People's Budget"

“There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.”

As is so often the case with this president, the words sound good, but the actions don’t match the rhetoric. Obama and the Democrats in Congress are faced with Republicans in overdrive; the GOP is rushing to squeeze the few pennies poor and middle class Americans have left for no better reason than to make the rich even richer. (more…)

Read Full Post »

I wrote recently of my decision to support the intervention in Libya, and the difficulty of that decision. I have rarely seen a question that has so divided people, and it’s happened on both the left and the right. I struggled with the question because there are good arguments both for and against the now-NATO-led military action there.

There’s one argument, though, that does not have much merit, though. That’s the issue of Obama’s not seeking Congressional authorization for this action. And the fact that it doesn’t have merit raises a whole set of new questions that all Americans, as well as the masses around the world affected by American foreign policy, need to consider most seriously.

Obama pointing the way to bypass obstructionist Republicans

Let’s start with the legal issue. Some members of Congress seem to either ignore or be ignorant of the US Constitution.  Congress has the exclusive power to declare war, a provision meant to check the power of the President as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. But there was no war declared here on Libya. In no way can this action be called unconstitutional.

Even Obama got this wrong when, in a 2007 interview while he was still a Senator running for the big job, he said: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Though he does go on to say, correctly, that, “History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.” The problem, as I’ll address below, is that this Congress has made that option considerably less than preferable.

But is Obama’s action legal? After successive presidents got the US caught up in Asian quagmires in Korea and, most especially Vietnam (including, of course, the fabrication deceiving Congress about US forces being attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, though the US had already been involved in Vietnam by that time for years), the Congress, in 1973, enacted the War Powers Resolution. The purpose of this law was to ensure that the president could no longer drag the US into a prolonged conflict without congressional permission. (more…)

Read Full Post »

In my latest piece at the Meretz USA blog, I look at some of the interpretations out there of the mid-term elections and offer my own view of them.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: