Monday, September 30, 2013

Republicans Pretend To Compromise In Newest Debt Ceiling Hostage Situation

Republicans are at it again.  The government is slated to run out of money in a couple days and Republicans are refusing to compromise on anything insisting that they already are dealing with Democrats and that in the end the Democrats will vote for their bill and fund the government for only a couple months.  The big question Republicans are hoping you don't ask is "What happens then?"

Sabrina Siddiqui wrote the following for The Huffington Post in regards to the delusiional stance the GOP has tqaken in regards to their push:

"I have never foreseen a government shutdown and I continue not to see a government shutdown," said Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.), who was a senior Hill staffer before being elected to Congress in 2010. "The Senate has plenty of time to deal with this. This is good, common middle ground that is in this package. I think we're gonna get a big bipartisan vote in the House. I think we're gonna get a big vote in the Senate too."

Voters in survey after survey overwhelmingly say Republicans will be to blame for any shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly said that all GOP attempts to attach Obamacare changes to a government funding bill will be rejected out of hand. President Barack Obama has consistently promised a veto.

Yet it hasn't penetrated. House Republicans' inability to recognize the same reality as voters and their opponents has made it virtually impossible to come to a deal.

"We just need to stand firm. I think we may get Democrats on this," said Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky.).

A reporter asked why the president would sign a bill undermining his signature health care law. "He had 22 Democrats vote for a delay of the individual mandate back in July. I think you will get Democrats. I will predict that," Massie said Saturday afternoon. Republicans did get Democrats to support them in the vote that happened later on Saturday -- two of them, the same number of Republicans who switched sides.

Much of the GOP thinking seems to be rooted in the fact that Obama has already delayed some provisions. So why not delay the whole law?

"The president is setting a precedent of delays," said Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) "So based on that precedent I think we have a strong argument."
So the party that believed Mitt Romney was going to win in a landslide last year also believes they are going to get broad bipartisan support from the party they lost to on a bill they intend to use to delay the president's signature law for a year while only funding the government for a couple months.  They state that they are compromising because they started out on defunding the Affordable Care Act but are now only seeking to delay the law.  The Republicans are being disingenuous.  Just a couple of weeks ago the Republicans voted to defund ObamaCare for the 42nd time knowing it would never pass the Senate simply because they wanted to give newer members the opportunity to defund the bill so they can go back to constituents and say they voted against the already-signed-into-law bill.  If the Republicans can delay implementation for another year they could prevent benefits from the law from being seen before the midterm elections and claim a victory over what they claim to be a train wreck.  On top of that once they get their delay now, when the debt limit looms in a couple month the Republicans will certainly demand even greater concessions in addition to their delay.  And let us not forget their continued attempts to push completely unrelated measures into a budgetary bill, such as contraception-related riders.

Basically, Republicans are pretending to compromise and paint the Democrats as the unwilling party.  The Republicans - the party that refuses to negotiate - is blaming the other party for not wanting to negotiate on their already non-negotiable position.

Nice try, Republicans.  Most voters are placing the blame on the GOP but their strategists are convinced that they will come out on top.  Those same strategists also saw a Mitt Romney landslide so there leaves little to be said.  There is always the chance that Obama would cave in the final hour as he has done so many other times but to do so now would be stupid.  Especially when taking into consideration the long game.  Democrats have a real chance of making some grounds next year and cannot risk it now because of an ignorant opposition.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Putin Lies To Americans Direct Through Times. Why?

The Oscar for best acting goes to Vladimir Putin!

Russian Bond villain and real-life president Vladimir Putin took to The New York Times to plea to the American public to oppose an American strike in Syria.  Why is Putin trying to convince Americans when just days earlier America somewhat backed down from direct intervention in Syria's civil war when Syrian dictator Bashar Assad basically admitted to owning chemical weaponry when he sort of agreed to surrender chemical weapons under their own free will and not under duress?

Putin wrote the following:

Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.

Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.
What is interesting about this piece?

Puting claims to be the true defender of international law and then shifts the blame of the conflict solely on the opposition and the forces feeding arms to fight the Syrian government while conveniently forgetting to mention that it is his government that is supplying the Syrian government with the weapons they are turning on their own citizens.  In fact Putin agrees that chemical weapons have been used, but not by the government. 
No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.
Again, why is this interesting?

In the beginning of Putin's appeal he discusses the integrity of the United Nations by stating countries must not act alone and that the U.N. must maintain leverage against member nations in order to be effective, but later when he places the blame on opposition forces claiming they are the ones who used chemical weapons, the reason behind Putin's editorial becomes clear - Russia has greater involvement then Putin leads the American public to believe.  Ignoring the fact that this article does not mention Russia's role in this civil war, a recent United Nations report indicates that the Syrian government was responsible for the nerve gas attacks - not the opposition that Putin claims.  In one breath Putin urges America to respect the United Nations and in another breath he completely ignores the United Nation's findings to push the broken narrative Russia and Syria had been using this entire time.  Let's ignore the fact that just a couple days ago in an interview with Charlie Rose, Assad denied Syrian involvement in the attacks and implied that his government did not even have such weapons.

Both Assad and Putin also played up American anti-war sentiments and fear of terrorism, with Putins comments designed especially to hit home on the twelfth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.  Both insisted that a strike against Syria would only empower anti-American terrorists and you can see how the two worked hard on their messaging.  While Putin had the comfort of a New York Times editorial, Assad constantly stumbled in his interview with Rose, referring to the opposition forces first as "rebels" before shifting to the term "terrorists."

It wouldn't be surprising if Russia is appealing to the American public if Russia supplied Syria with the chemical weapons they used on the opposition forces?  After all, why deny so hard despite mounting evidence for the contrary?