Slamming Shut America’s Door – The New York Times

“Republicans in Congress have reacted to the Orlando, Fla., tragedy with a meanspirited and illogical proposal to ban all refugees to the United States indefinitely.The impulse to slam the door shut on some of the world’s most vulnerable people is not new. In recent years, congressional Republicans have tried to limit the numbers of refugees coming into the country from conflict zones like Syria. Meanwhile, officials in states such as Indiana and Texas have tried to bar resettlement of Syrian refugees, although, so far, none have succeeded.

Donald Trump, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has given xenophobic sentiments a megaphone by endorsing a ban on all Muslims coming to this country, whether refugees or not, and building a wall to keep out Mexicans. Since Orlando, he declared his intention to “suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism” against the United States and its allies. On Sunday, he called for racial profiling as a preventive tactic against terrorism.”

Source: Slamming Shut America’s Door – The New York Times

Excellent Editorial. On a related topic, NPR reported this morning on the Syrian army using snipers to kill doctors, nurses and patients going in and out of hospitals in rebel held cities. I hope the US organizes NATO, like we did for Bosnia, and shuts down the Syrian military, and create a “huge” no fly zone, so Syrians can live in Syria. The human population has gone from 2 to 7 billion in the last 100 years. Population control should be our main national security objective, in this new era, the Anthropocene age.

Read Hillary Clinton’s Speech to AIPAC | TIME

“And here is a third choice. Will we keep working toward a negotiated peace or lose forever the goal of two states for two peoples? Despite many setbacks, I remain convinced that peace with security is possible and that it is the only way to guarantee Israel’s long-term survival as a strong Jewish and democratic state.(APPLAUSE)CLINTON: It may be difficult to imagine progress in this current climate when many Israelis doubt that a willing and capable partner for peace even exists. But inaction cannot be an option. Israelis deserve a secure homeland for the Jewish people. Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity. And only a negotiated two-state agreement can survive those outcomes.(APPLAUSE)If we look at the broader regional context, converging interests between Israel and key Arab states could make it possible to promote progress on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Israelis and Palestinians could contribute toward greater cooperation between Israel and Arabs.I know how hard all of this is. I remember what it took just to convene Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas for the three sessions of direct face-to-face talks in 2010 that I presided over. But Israelis and Palestinians cannot give up on the hope of peace. That will only make it harder later.All of us need to look for opportunities to create the conditions for progress, including by taking positive actions that can rebuild trust — like the recent constructive meetings between the Israeli and Palestinian finance ministers aiming to help bolster the Palestinian economy, or the daily on-the-ground security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.But at the same time, all of us must condemn actions that set back the cause of peace. Terrorism should never be encouraged or celebrated, and children should not be taught to hate in schools. That poisons the future.”

Source: Read Hillary Clinton’s Speech to AIPAC | TIME

Hillary Clinton and Other Candidates on Counterterrorism – The New York Times

After the Brussels attacks, the G.O.P. front-runners offered bravado, while Clinton articulated a sensible approach to counterterrorism.

Source: Hillary Clinton and Other Candidates on Counterterrorism – The New York Times

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Bravo New York Times for pointing out that Hillary Clinton is the clearest, smartests, and most experienced voice on foreign policy and how to combat the threat of terrorism. Thank you for an informed and articulate editorial. I would have given Obama some of the credit.
The Bernie Bros have a point that Saint Sanders deserved at least an honorable mention. I took seriously the complaint of one commentator, that Hillary Clinton caved in to the Jewish lobby with ignorant pandering at Aipac. I am outspoken in my condemnation of Israel for their illegal land grabs using settlers. So I looked up Hillary’s speech, and her words are not ignorant, or uninformed, or giving the Netanyahu government the cover they crave for their disgraceful behavior.
Hillary said: “And here is a third choice. Will we keep working toward a negotiated peace or lose forever the goal of two states for two peoples? Despite many setbacks, I remain convinced that peace with security is possible and that it is the only way to guarantee Israel’s long-term survival as a strong Jewish and democratic state.
It may be difficult to imagine progress in this current climate when many Israelis doubt that a willing and capable partner for peace even exists. But inaction cannot be an option. Israelis deserve a secure homeland for the Jewish people. Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity. And only a negotiated two-state agreement can survive those outcomes.”

Netanyahu wins, peace loses. US should quietly withdraw from supporting Israel.

Most recommended comment from NYT:

Paul King
USA 2 hours ago

As a Jew I shout a loud OY! to the heavens!
That coalition is a rogues gallery of right wing fanatics.

Israel helps create it’s own reality, its own insecurity with its policies and actions.
My view and also the view many security personnel in Israel.

If we encroached on land just over the Canadian border and built American settlements and brutally suppressed opposition to this action and had a fair number of our citizens declare that God gives us the right to do so because HE promised us the land:

1) the world would rightly condemn us

2) our citizens in Europe might expect a backlash from people who would have come to revile our policies

3) we would further poke the world by continually re-electing a man who pushes those policies in the face of world protest and who makes racist comments against Canadians

4) we would poison any chance of living in peace with Canadians of good will most of whom would be rightly radicalized against us

And I haven’t even mentioned that we are going on 50 years(!) of such policies.

Israel, which I love and support as a nation has lost its way. Period. As the world turns against it, it doubles down on policies that disgust the world. We are witness to madness.

I hate Netanyahu and his right wing cabal because I love Israel and all that it can be as a positive force in the region.

It is being destroyed by the hand of its own fanatics before our eyes.
166 Recommended

“Our country’s everyday reality doesn’t give us the luxury for delay,” he said in a statement after a victory as Isaac Herzog, the center-left opposition leader, conceded…|By Isabel Kershner

Paul Krugman demystifies Netanyahu.

Paul Krugman demystifies: “According to Luxembourg Income Study data, the share of Israel’s population living on less than half the country’s median income — a widely accepted definition of relative poverty — more than doubled, to 20.5 percent from 10.2 percent, between 1992 and 2010. The share of children in poverty almost quadrupled, to 27.4 percent from 7.8 percent. Both numbers are the worst in the advanced world, by a large margin.”

Why is the country’s inequality a political issue? Because it didn’t have to be this extreme.|By Paul Krugman

Great comment in NYT by a regular blogger:

Karen Garcia
is a trusted commenter New Paltz, NY Yesterday
Once you realize that billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson owns both Netanyahu and the GOP, the increasing inquality in both countries comes as no surprise. Both Israel and the US are essentially client states of a handful of oligarchs and defense contractors who are becoming richer by the day off the high tech weapons trade and a mutually profitable global surveillance/police state financed by too big to fail banks. The well-being of ordinary people is the least of their concerns. They have perpetual war and endless money on their brains.

Those 47 craven saboteurs wrote their letter to Iran because Adelson as vowed to spend whatever it takes to prevent the reelection of anyone daring to thwart him. He is the big money behind the extremist Club for Growth, which bankrolled the election of Neocon newbie Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

The Neocons, never satisfied with the havoc they have wreaked all over the world, are openly calling for war with Iran. And the corporate media, controlled by the taxpayer-subsidized oil and defense and high finance industries, are only too happy to rev up the plutocratic profits through a nonstop paranoid marketing campaign designed to terrorize the public into submission.

But Adelson and Bibi may finally have overplayed their hands. The corrupt GOP senators are mouthing their mealy regrets, and the people of Israel seem to be fed up with Manichean world views. I only hope we Americans signal the same disgust the next time we go to the polls.

1134 Recommended

NYT: Republican Idiocy on Iran

Thank you New York Times for a strong, and clear editorial. They write: “Besides being willing to sabotage any deal with Iran (before they know the final details), these Republicans are perfectly willing to diminish America’s standing as a global power capable of crafting international commitments and adhering to them.

Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. was blistering in his condemnation, saying, “This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that our commander in chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments — a message that is as false as it is dangerous.” But perhaps President Obama described this bizarre reality best. “It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran,” he said. “It’s an unusual coalition.” ”

Instead of being leaders and statesmen, Republicans in Congress seem to think their role is outside the American government.|By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

47 Rogue senators abuse their position in US Senate, interfere with foreign policy.

This is weird. I think these senators are committing treason, or at least, making us, the U.S., look like fools and idiots. It is pretty clear they have no authority to interfere with the President trying to conduct foreign policy through a treaty negotiation.

The letter, signed by 47 Republican senators, warns Iran that a nuclear agreement may not last without congressional approval, angering the President and Iran..|By PETER BAKER

Frank Bruni illuminates “Benjamin Netanyahu, John Boehner and America’s Evangelicals”

A good friend of mine recently said she would like to know a right wing Republican writer or two, to understand the other side better. Here you go. I don’t understand this story, but I learned a lot from it, and the comments after it.

The Republican support for Israel on display last week is largely faith-based.|By Frank Bruni

David Lindsay My favorite NYT Comment:
Verona, N.J. 12 hours ago
“Some evangelical Christians’ interest in Israel reflects an interpretation of the Bible’s prophetic passages that maintain that the End of Days can play out as God intends only if Jews govern Israel and have reconstructed a temple on the Temple Mount”

The United States is founded upon the principle of the separation of church, synagogue, mosque and temple from state.

That separation has allowed it to blossom into a secular state where thought, reason, fairness and freedom of thought and expression are the building blocks of the nation.

And the accompanying “belief, rooted in scripture, that God always intended Israel for Jews and that honoring that and keeping Israel safe is a way of honoring God” conflates religion with reason, which unerringly leads straight down the road to ruin to religious apocalypse.

Israel is a special place – the only thriving democracy in the Middle East and a great tribute to the Jewish people and their resourcefulness – but it was established as a haven after genocide and it has served that purpose very well.

While Israel is technically a ‘religious state’, it also is a democratic state best served by reason and thought … not by religion or divine inspiration or ‘God’.

The invocation and conflation of ‘God’ into Israel’s and America’s affairs is nothing less than a recipe for holy war.

Republican pandering to Christian religiosity, delusion and supernatural hallucination is a blatant abrogation of the Constitution and the nation’s ideals.


Bill O’Reilly: Benjamin Netanyahu the antithesis of Barack Obama

This writer finally registered at the New Haven Register website, to leave a comment on Bill O’Reilly’s Op-Ed piece Benjamin Netanyahu the antithesis of Barack Obama, published March 7, 2015. Here is the gist of my comment: This piece on Netanyahu is actually one of the best things Bill O’Reilly has written in a long time, even though it is still demagogic in several places. defines demagogue as:  “a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.”

            There are numerous problems with O’Reilly’s analysis. Let’s start with the fact that President Obama has not refused to tell the public what he wants or is thinking over Iran. It is not wise to print such falsehoods, and it is sad that people get away with it, unchallenged by the press. The New Haven Register will lose discerning customers by supporting such ideologically biased and unscrupulous writers.

            O’Reilly also wrote, “Iran is led by some of the world’s most dangerous villains.”  He makes such grandiose statements without supporting them. It has recently been written in the New York Times that it is the troops of Iran, with US air support, that are enabling the Iraqi Army to push back ISIS. There is an old saying, that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Back in the 1950’s, the US helped overthrow a democratically elected leader in Iran to put the Shah in power,  just to give one example of greater complexity regarding villainy. From Wikipedia, “In 1951 Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected prime minister. He became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran’s petroleum industry and oil reserves. He was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first time the US had overthrown a foreign government during the Cold War.[92]  After the coup, the Shah became increasingly autocratic and Sultanistic. Arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, SAVAK, were used to crush all forms of political opposition.”   American exceptional interest in oil apparently was greater than our exceptional interest in democratic procedures in Iran.

            Today, a nuclear pact with Iran to keep it from making a nuclear bomb, would make the region safer, because a war with Iran over such issues would guarantee that they develop nuclear weapons, and then so would the rest of the neighborhood want and develop nuclear weapons. Then there could be hell to pay. A nuclear arms race in the middle east would make the United States and the world less secure. It is absurd to suggest that Obama has been hiding such thinking. There have been numerous speeches, statements and articles.

            O’Reilly rants and raves at President Obama, while ignoring that Netanyahu is building illegal settlements on Palestinian lands, making peace with the Palestinians impossible, and galvanizing the Arab world, helping ISIS recruit, and hurting US interests.  These missing points are examples of how O’Reilly simplifies complicated issues, reducing them to a series of chest beatings, and unsupported claims. He leaves out critical parts of the puzzle.

            O’Reilly scores points when he criticizes Netanyahu, and Senator Mitch McConnell, but doesn’t mention that Netanyahu and the Republican congress insulted President Obama and the American people by presenting Netanyahu to address congress to speak against our own President, and our country’s foreign policy, without notifying the State Department or requesting permission, which protocol demanded. It is the President’s right by the constitution to run U.S. foreign policy.

            It is a pity that the New Haven Register supports the rants of such ideologues as Bill O’Reilly. The Register should be helping their readers discern fact from fiction. It is confusing as to why they support or even put up with the demagoguery displayed in this latest O’Reilly op-ed.