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May 7, 2015 / 18 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Tom Cotton Challenges Iran’s Zarif to Debate on US Constitution

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton called Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif a “cowardly” on Wednesday and challenged him on Twitter to a debate on the U.S. constitution “to debate Iran’s record of tyranny, treachery, & terror.”

Cotton was replying to Zarif’s  comments at New York University Wednesday that a deal with Iran will be accompanied by the removal of sanctions “whether Sen. Cotton likes it or not.”

Cotton then dared Zarif to a debate but assumed that Zarif would turn down the opportunity because of his “cowardly character” he demonstrated by deciding to “hide” in the United States during the Iran-Iraq war.

Zarif, speaking about the next president after Obama, said at the university:

The resolution will endorse the agreement, will terminate all previous resolutions including all sanctions, will set in place the termination of EU sanctions and the cessation of applications of all U.S. sanctions…

I’ve studied and lived in the U.S. I know enough about the U.S. Constitution and U.S. procedures, but as a foreign government I only deal with U.S. government. I do not deal with U.S. Congress.

Cotton, who last month penned a letter to the Iranian government that it “may not fully understand our constitutional system,” tweeted yesterday:

Hey @JZarif, I hear you called me out today.  If you’re so confident, let’s debate the Constitution.

Here’s offer: meet in DC, @JZarif, time of your choosing to debate Iran’s record of tyranny, treachery, & terror.

I understand if you decline @JZarif after all, in your 20s, you hid in US during Iran-Iraq war while peasants & kids were marched to die.

Rubio’s ‘Poison Pill’ May Force Democrats to Get Off the Fence on Israel

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio’s insistence  on amending the proposed Senate bill for review of a deal with Iran by requiring  the Islamic Republic to recognize Israel is beginning to make Democrats squirm.

Iran has repeatedly stated that Israel should be wiped off the map. It is building Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and by all accounts, except Tehran’s, is not far from being able to obtain a nuclear warhead.

It doesn’t take an evangelist Republican to connect the dots despite Iran’s position that it would never never even dream of obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Iran never would accept Rubio’s proposal that it recognize Israel, at least not in Ayatollah Khamenei’s lifetime, and Rubio knows it.

So does President Barack Obama, who warned on Wednesday he would veto a Congressional bill if it makes negotiations with Iran impossible.

Democrats, especially the Jewish ones, also know that supporting the president and voting against the suggestion that a Muslim country recognize the Jewish state will be recorded in the history book on warped thinking, with the notion the way to peace is to allow an enemy to scheme to destroy an enemy instead of dismantling the scheme, admitting defeat and recognizing that the enemy is its own hallucinations.

Where is Shimon Peres when we need him? Peres has said dozens of times that “one makes peace with enemies, not with friends.” The cliché is more ridiculous than it is trite, but if that is his philosophy, why isn’t he out there backing Rubio?

The Senate began on Tuesday to debate the proposed law that any deal with Iran on its nuclear development must be submitted to Congress for review.

President Obama originally said he would veto such a law, but after Republic Sen. Bob Corker toned down its original language so that the legislation would have a veto-proof majority, he changed his mind.

That was until Rubio, who has announced he is running to be the GOP’s presidential nominee next year, came up with seven amendments,  known as the “poison pills” because there is no chance Obama and Iran would accept them.

Besides demanding that Iran recognize Israel, the Florida Republican wants Iran to release American it is holding. He also demands that sanctions having nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear development be retained on Tehran.

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, Jewish and strongly identified with Israel, blocked Rubio’s effort on Wednesday to bring the “recognize Israel” amendment to a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I appreciate the senator from Maryland’s passion,” Rubio said, “but I want a vote on the amendment,” and he intends to do so when the bill comes to the floor of the Senate.

Rubio has managed to scare Republicans as well as Democrats.

Several GOP Leaders are angry with Rubio because his “poison pill” amendments would destroy the bi-partisan support for a watered-down bill for Congressional review of a deal with Iran.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a strong backer of Israel, said he would vote against Rubio’s amendments.

Graham explained:

I don’t think anybody is going to accuse Lindsey Graham of being anti-Israel. I’ve been working for a year … to put this coalition together. And failure is not an option.\

Politico reported that “GOP leaders appear to siding with Rubio [and] so far, they have not moved to orchestrate Republicans to vote against problematic amendments.”

Rubio has the Democrats in a tight corner. He said, “Do Democrats not support Israel?”

The oddity is that Democrats are holding their collective breath for Corker, a Republican, to convince Rubio to back off or convince his colleagues to vote against the amendments.

Jewish Sen. Bernie Sanders to Run for President

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Jew who is not involved in organization religion, will toss his hat in the political rang today and announce he is challenging Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic party’s nominee for president in 2016.

We would write that he is throwing his kippa into the ring except for the faint possibility that he even owns one.

Vermont Public News (VPR) reported, “Sanders will release a short statement….and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks…. Sanders’ basic message will be that the middle class in America has been decimated in the past two decades while wealthy people and corporations have flourished.”

Sanders is an Independent and a vocal critic of “corporate America” and the government’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

A socialist, the 73-year-old Sanders wants to make campaign finance reform, climate change and the rich-poor gap as the center of his campaign, and he will focus on the proposed TPP to try force Clinton to declare whether she supports or opposes it.

Sanders might be exactly what the United States needs, someone who is not afraid to challenge the “billionaire class” instead of cooperating with it while the middle class, as in almost every other western country, fells it is becoming an endangered species.

His being Jewish is not going to win him any points from Orthodox or even the Conservative Jews.

Sanders, born in Brooklyn, once volunteered on an Israeli kibbutz after university, an experience which may have bolstered his socialist views.

As for Judaism, he is not actively involved, and the Burlington, Vermont Free Press reports:

When it comes to the impact of religion on his life, he said, ‘I find myself very close to the teachings of Pope Francis,’ and he described the pope as ‘incredibly smart and brave.’

A quote from Pope Francis also graces Sander’s Sanders for President Facebook page.

Judaism and being Jewish are not part of his public face. The Jewish Telegraph Agency wrote last January after an interview with Sanders, “With a series of observations about the Jewish history of rootlessness and oppression, Sanders begins to describe the role of his lower-middle-class upbringing in forging him into the Congress’ only self-described socialist.

Sanders boycotted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress last month. He has deep roots in the civil rights and the anti-Vietnam war movements but has tried to remain neutral concerning Israel.

He said a Town Hall meeting in Vermont last year that Israel “over-reacted” to Hamas missile attacks but noted that the terrorist organization attacked from within populated areas and wants to destroy Israel.

If it is good news that this Jew is running for president, pray that he beats Clinton so he can lose the big race.

Below is a video of Sanders explaining why he boycotted Netanyahu’s speech.

Corker-Menendez Bill So Bipartisan that Even Obama No Longer Objects

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

In what looks like a complete reversal, the proposed legislation intended to impose tough Congressional oversight of the Iranian nuclear deal has been the subject of so much compromise that rather than simply gaining enough Democrats to override President Barack Obama’s threatened veto, it has gained the support of the President himself.

The President said that so long as the legislation passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, April 13, is not the subject of further amendments, the President will not veto the bill but instead will sign it.

The vote in the Committee in favor of the bill was 19-0. The zero may represent the teeth remaining in the legislation, or it may simply mirror the rounded mouths of the president’s advisers who told him Congress would not dare insert themselves into his foreign policy prerogatives.

At this point some of the details of the compromise legislation have been revealed: the original Corker-Menendez Congressional review period was 60 days after the negotiators concluded their deal, the amended bill which was approved Tuesday afternoon provides for 52 days of Congressional review.

The way it works, according to Omri Ceren of The Israel Project, is this: once the President’s team of negotiators (and their counterparts from the other P5+1 countries) arrive at a deal, Congress then has 30 days to review the details. “If Congress acts to block the deal,” it is expected that the President will veto the blocking legislation, and then Congress will have the additional 22 days to assemble a large enough group of lawmakers to override the veto. They will need 67 senators to join on to a veto override.

A change the White House wanted which was removed from the proposed legislation was requiring the President to certify that Iran was not supporting or itself engaging in terrorism against Americans or the United States.

Two things that Israel supporters wanted that they did not get was, first, language in the bill that would require the Islamic Republic of Iran to recognize Israel as a fellow nation, and two, have the deal between the U.S. and Iran be treated as if it were a treaty rather than an executive agreement. Had that been the case, it would have had to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

The next stage is for the House of Representatives to consider the Corker-Menendez bill.

Putin Lifts Ban on Selling Iran S-300 Missiles in Return for Oil

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday lifted the ban for delivering to Iran S-300 anti-missile systems in return for oil in a move that is going to send Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu through the roof.

Putin’s daring move to pocket billions from the emerging deal on Iran’s nuclear program, in which Russia has a huge investment, paves the way to allow Iran to defend itself better against American, Israeli or Saudi missiles.

The S-300 systems would make it more difficult for a retaliatory attack on Iran in the event that Tehran is caught reneging on a deal and caught in the last stages of developing a nuclear weapon.

Russia suspended deliveries of the systems after pressure from the United States, encouraged by Israel, and from other Western countries five years ago.

The missiles-for-oil deal could be worth up to $20 billion.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters that the deal does not violate current sanctions.

“In exchange for Iranian crude oil supplies, we are delivering certain products,” he stated.

Israel has not yet commented on Putin’s lifting the ban on the deliveries of the missile systems but definitely will make it clear to the U.S. Congress that it makes President Barack Obama’s agreement for a temporary framework deal even more problematic.

The deal does not stop Iran from continuing to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles that could easily reach Israel.

Put together ICBM missiles, S-300 anti-missile systems and a “bad deal” and you come up with a nuclear weapon aimed at Israel.

Putin’s announcement Monday is great timing for Republican senators.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will formally draft legislation tomorrow that would prevent President Barack Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran for 60 days while Congress reviews the final deal and possibly vote to keep sanctions in place.

 

 

Suicide Shooting and Suspicious Package Lock Down Capitol in Washington

Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Police have closed the Capitol and the immediate area Saturday afternoon after one man shot himself dead and left a suspicious package outside the building.

Visitors and workers were not allowed to enter or leave the Capitol, but Congress was on spring break.

Capitol police are investigating the package, apparently a suitcase belonging to the man who shot himself, but officials ruled out terror as a motive.

Police are searching for the man’s car.

Ex-Sec’y of States Kissinger and Shultz Blow Up Obama’s Deal with Iran [video]

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Two former secretaries of State have co-authored a thoroughly reasoned and blistering condemnation of the Obama administration and the rest of the P5+1 agreement with Iran, but the government totally rejected their comments.

Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, both of whom were as far as possible from being considered pro-Israel, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Obama’s approach to Iran that can lead the Islamic Republic to the capability of easily ditching the deal, procuring a nuclear weapon and leaving the United States holding an empty bag.

They stated that Obama’s approach is full of holes that risk an even more volatile Middle East, and wrote:

For Iran to be a valuable member of the international community, the prerequisite is that it accepts restraint on its ability to destabilize the Middle East and challenge the broader international order.

State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf, as seen and heard in the video below, dismissed Kissinger and Schultz’s article as nothing more than “big words and big thoughts.”

She pointed that they did present an alternative while ignoring one that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has constantly suggested – a better deal.

President Barack Obama’s defense has been that his deal is the best possible, and therefore he is trying to sell it as if it is a “good deal.”

The two former secretaries of State’s rejection of his policy is a severe blow to his defense, even if they did serve in Republican administrations. The Senate reportedly is only two votes short of a veto-proof majority to pass a bill demanding that the proposed deal be subjected to Congressional review.

Kissinger and Schultz wrote, “For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests—and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability, albeit short of its full capacity in the first 10 years….Under the proposed agreement, for 10 years Iran will never be further than one year from a nuclear weapon and, after a decade, will be significantly closer.”

Their criticism of the arrangement with Iran focused on problems of verification, enforcing the conditions, re-establishing sanctions, and the failure of Obama’s policy to link political restraint with nuclear restraint, setting the stage for Iran to fulfill Israel and Sunni-ruled powers such as Saudi Arabia that Tehran will destabilize the entire region in an effort to control it.

They wrote:

Unless political restraint is linked to nuclear restraint, an agreement freeing Iran from sanctions risks empowering Iran’s hegemonic efforts… [Iran must accept] restraints on its ability to destabilize the Middle East.

Under the proposed agreement, for 10 years Iran will never be further than one year from a nuclear weapon and, after a decade, will be significantly closer.

Harf’s unconvincing response was:

I didn’t hear a lot of alternatives. [I] heard a lot of, sort of, big words and big thoughts in that piece.”

In a perfect world, of course we would have an agreement that would do all of these things. But we are living in the real world, and that’s the responsibility of the secretary to negotiate where we can see if we can get this one issue dealt with….

We have always said that once you start linking the nuclear issue, which is complicated enough on its own, with all these other issues, it’s really hard to get anything done.

That is why the Obama administration has dismissed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran signal that it does not want to destroy Isle simply be recognizing the country. The president said that is a lousy idea because it is not practical, meaning it would make a deal impossible. The “deal” has become the ends and not the means, and that is why Harf, Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and all of the other administration sages look like used-car salesmen.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ex-secy-of-states-kissinger-and-shultz-blow-up-obamas-deal-with-iran/2015/04/09/

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