Monday, August 17, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scuttling the Iran Deal - No Big Deal?

So the Republicans and those Democrats who owe more fealty to Israel then to their own country want to scuttle the agreement reached between the major powers and Iran to limit Iran's progress towards obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The rhetoric I hear from the right is all about "Obama's deal with Iran", with the suggestion that it will fall apart if is not approved by Congress, or is reneged on by a future president.

I'm puzzled by this assurance on the part of the right.  The US is just one of the countries that has been imposing sanctions on Iran, and the agreement between Iran and the US, China, Russia, France, Britain, and Germany means that sanctions will be lifted, and trade will resume. So what if the US reneges? The other five major countries will be ending the sanctions as long as Iran keeps to its end of the bargain, allowing continuing inspections of its nuclear sites by the IAEA.  So businesses in those countries can expect to profit from the renewed trade, but US businesses  won't if the US alone insists on keeping up the sanctions.

And once the other countries have resumed normal relations with Iran, leaving the US isolated, what do the renegers propose?  The two options I hear are "Go back for a better deal" (as though the deal was solely a US deal, and was not hammered out through years of negotiations with all parties as the best deal that could be made), or military action.  Can anyone seriously propose unilateral military action once the rest of the international community has accepted the Iran deal?  Well - I suppose the crackpots of the right might continue their warmongering rhetoric, but to put it into practice against the wishes of every other major power?  Could they really be that crazy?

Update 8/14/2015  Fareed Zakariah takes Senator Schumer to task for opposing the deal:
Rejecting this deal would produce an Iran that ramps up its nuclear program, without inspections or constraints, with sanctions unraveling and a United States that is humiliated and isolated in the world.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Picking the Date

I don't think it's a coincidence that the Fox Republican "debate" is being held on Jon Stewart's last night as host of the Daily Show.

You can see Fox's thinking here:  if the event were held before Stewart's departure, Fox and the candidates were certain to be held up to ridicule in the well practiced Daily Show tradition.  Holding it just as Stewart is leaving means that the event will be covered by the Daily Show just as the new host and his team are finding their footing - and perhaps they won't be quite ready for the epic take down the event is certain to deserve.  Holding the forum after the new team was up and running would increase the risk of them doing a fine job of skewering Fox and the Republicans in true Daily Show fashion.
So -  from Fox's point of view, the perfect time to reduce the chance for ridicule is to hold the "debate" tonight. Smart move on Fox's part!

Update 8/11/2015  And I see that Trevor Noah's Daily Show will not begin until September 28, giving Fox and the Republicans more breathing room

Monday, August 3, 2015

Posing the Question

I do wish reporters were able to find the right words for questions to politicians.

For instance, asking "Do you believe in evolution?" carries with it the suggestion that evolution is a subject that can reasonably be doubted.  A more appropriate phrasing would be: "Do you accept the scientific reality of evolution?"

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Winner or Loser

At the the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on the Iran nuclear deal, Senator Graham had this exchange with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter:
Graham: Could we win a war with Iran? Who wins the war between us and Iran? Who wins? Do you have any doubt who wins?
Carter: No. The United States.
Graham: We. Win.
If Carter had had his wits about him, he could have replied something like this:
 "If you are talking of a strict military to military confrontation, the United States wins. If you are talking about the state of the world after such a confrontation,  the United States loses."

Monday, July 27, 2015

Huckster Huckabee

So President Obama has responded to Mr. Huckabee's outrageous comment:
This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.
But Mr. Obama's response is, I'm afraid, too tepid:
The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are, I think, part of just a general pattern that we’ve seen would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad.
What I would have liked to have heard is something like:
I would remind Governor Huckabee (assuming he was ever aware of the fact) that this is not just an agreement between the United States and Iran, but an deal agreed to by all six nations that have imposed sanctions on Iran.  And one of those six nations is Germany. For Governor Huckabee to suggest that Germany is returning to its Nazi past is simply outrageous.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Republicans Lie

A bold statement, perhaps, but I'm quoting a friend who worked for years in broadcast journalism, and had the opportunity to see many politicians up close and personal.  His sad conclusion, he told me, was that Republicans lie.

The most recent confirmation comes from Tom Moran of the NJ Star-Ledger Editorial Board on Chris Christie's record of non-veracity.  Politifact's "Truth-o-meter" tells us that 68% of Ted Cruz's statements are false.  And let's not forget Mitt Romney's serial dishonesty during his 2012 election campaign, which justified a weekly update of untruths from Steve Benen with the appropriate title of Mitt's Mendacity.

Now stand by for a wave of untruth as the 2016 campaigns come closer.  I suspect the zombie lies we have already been hearing from Republicans will seem mild by comparison.

Update 7/6/2015  And it continues....

Update 8/13/2015  And continues....