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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Analysis: The Costly War on the Hearts and Minds of 232 Democrats

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

(JNi.media) There are 188 Democrats in the House and 44 in the Senate, and over the next two months millions of dollars and unprecedented lobbying efforts will be invested in courting their votes on the Iran nuclear deal.

The math is relatively simple: both Republican-led houses of Congress are expected to pass a resolution rejecting the deal, some time in early September. President Obama will then veto the resolution, which will return to Congress. Starting at that point, Congress will have 10 days during which to try and overturn the veto with a two-thirds majority.

This is when the Democrats in both houses will become the most important people on the planet, because the Republicans cannot overturn the Presidential veto on their own.

And as is often the case in such competitions, the discussion is not so much about the validity of the deal itself—which has both strengths and very obvious weaknesses—but about conflicting loyalties. Many Democratic lawmakers will have to decide between their President and their pro-Israel voters.

And as there are significantly more Jewish voters backing Democrats than Republicans, the President has a serious challenge on his hands.

In this context, it’s important to note that the NY Times, that bastion of pro-Obama politics, is not a big supporter of the deal, regardless of the exclusive access to the President it has enjoyed. This week, the Times published its own version of The Iran Deal for Dummies, or, as they headlined it: “The Iran Deal in 200 Words.”

Here are some of the key assertions in that article—redacted for effect:

Can Iran keep enriching uranium? Yes.

Will inspectors have access to military facilities? The provision is short of “anywhere, anytime,” because the inspectors first need to present evidence.

How can the US be sure Iran won’t cheat? It can’t.

AIPAC’s newly hatched Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, is reported to be spending close to $5 million on an ad campaign in a large number of Democrat-leaning markets. Their first ad, titled “The Iran nuclear deal. Good deal or bad deal?” states a short list of talking points against the deal:

Iran gets to keep its 18 nuclear facilities, its 50 military facilities remain out of reach for inspectors, Iran has cheated the UN 20 times in the past, Iran is the Number 1 sponsor of terrorism.

According to sources cited by The Jewish Voice, AIPAC’s full media buy breakdown for the anti-Iran deal campaign includes:

Baltimore: $167,600; Boston: $263,850; Charleston-Huntington: $56,275; Chicago: $114,675; Dallas: $251,625; Denver: $158,200; Detroit: $222,700; Fresno: $16,965; Hartford: $128,055; Honolulu: $44,605; Houston: $234,750; Indianapolis: $110,735; Laredo: $28,904; Las Vegas: $132,770; Los Angeles: $415,350; Miami: $179,050; New York City: $474,700; Omaha: $66,045; Panama City: $23,960; Philadelphia: $151,400; Phoenix: $181,840; Pittsburgh: $91,500; Portland: $98,818; Providence: $60,105; Richmond: $41,319; San Antonio: $100,575; San Diego: $142,525; Seattle: $202,975; Tallahassee: $26,800; Tampa: $168,240; Washington, DC: $444,900; West Palm Beach: $96,300.

The White House has begun its own, massive media campaign in favor of the deal, with briefings by Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz, and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. All three senior officials are also scheduled to appear on Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the first open hearing on the deal.

Israel’s US ambassador Ron Dermer has been meeting with conservative House Republicans, asking them to “derail the accord,” as the NY Times has put it.

Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) has already called on Democrats to choose “whether to vote to protect the national security of this nation, to stand with our friend and ally the nation of Israel and to protect the lives of millions of Americans, or in the alternative, whether to value partisan loyalty to the White House above the most solemn responsibility each and every one of us has.”

Black Republican Ben Carson Running for President

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon and black Republican Dr. Ben Carson has announced he is running to be his party’s nominee for president in next year’s election.

Dr. Carson visited Israel in December, reported here, an unofficial prerequisite for presidential candidates.

The 63-year-old Republican is from Detroit, lived in Baltimore for more than 35 years and now lives in Florida. He was the first black doctor to head the Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgery unit.

His lack of both political experience and ties with such factions as the Tea Party offers Republican voters a distinct choice among the growing number of candidates. However, he does not have the organization and political experience of other contenders, the most popular being Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, also from outside the political world, is considering tossing her hat in the political ring.

Dr. Carson grew up in poverty and has the appeal to white voters as their desired image of an America where anyone can achieve success through hard work and without making himself out to be a victim.

He has been a harsh critic of President Barack Obama, whom Dr. Carson once described as someone who “seems to believe more in a utopian view of cradle-to-grave care.”

He has made headlines, for better and for worse, on the issue of same-sex marriage. Below is an interview on CNN in which he maintained that homosexuality is a choice and that each state should decide for itself whether or not to allow marriages of homosexuals. He said in the interview that many people become homosexuals after being in prison.

After harsh criticism, he apologized, and Dr. Carson stated before announcing his candidacy today:

I’ve come to recognize that when you use certain terms, people can no longer hear anything else you say. As you’ll notice in the last several weeks, I’ve been able to get my points across without inflammatory language.

In his visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in December, Dr. Carson placed a note between the bricks and later referred to King Solomon in an interview with CBN and said he asked God for “Solomonic wisdom on what to do” concerning the race for president.

His stand on Israel is clear, and he told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,

“Until such time as their neighbors are no longer desirous of their elimination,” Israel’s continued control of the West Bank “makes perfectly good sense.”

Dr. Carson’s strong conservative stand may appeal to Christian evangelists despite his being black.

He said at the national Prayer Breakfast earlier this year that the United States is headed for “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.” He also declared:

We have imposed upon people restrictions on what they can say, on what they can think. And the media is the largest proponent of this, crucifying people who say things really quite innocently.

President Barack Obama was sitting a few feet away, and although Carson did not directly blame the president for America’s ills, the White House was upset.

“Within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him,” Carson later wrote in his book “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future.”

Carson added in his book, “I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”

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.

One-Third of GOP Voters See Obama Worse for US than Assad and Putin

Monday, March 30th, 2015

A Reuters online poll reveals that 34 percent of Republican voters view President Barack Obama as more of an imminent threat to the United States than Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The survey asked 2,809 Americans to list countries, organizations and individuals who they think are an imminent threat to the country.

Among 1.059 Republican voters, Obama “won” hands down, nine percent points ahead of Putin and 11 points ahead of Assad.

The fact that one-third of a major party’s voters view their president as a threat to their own country would have been shocking not long ago. It is even more shocking when taking into account that so many people consider Obama more of a threat to the United States that Assad, who is allied with Iran, and Putin, who by most accounts is leading a new cold war against America.

Reuters said that sociologist Barry Glassner thinks the results are not such a surprise. The author of “The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are afraid of the wrong things” told Reuters that both the Democratic and Republican parties have capitalized on “fear mongering,” which he said will be part of the 2016 presidential campaign.

“The TV media here, and American politics, very much trade on fears,” he added.

Democrats returned the Republicans “compliment,” with 22 percent citing the GOP as in imminent threat to the United States.

The biggest threats, according to the overall poll, are terrorist attacks by the Islamic rated by 58 percent of the respondents as the most imminent threat. Next in line were Al Qaeda, cyber attacks, Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, drug trafficking and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A Big Deal: Bipartisan Senate Panel Investigates Obama Link to Anti-Netanyahu Electioneering

Monday, March 16th, 2015

{Originally posted to author’s website, Liberty Unyielding}

As Israel closes in on the national election scheduled for Tuesday, 17 March, Fox News has come out with an exclusive report.  The U.S. Senate has appointed a bipartisan panel to investigate the use of funds donated from the Obama State Department to the organization OneVoice, which in January partnered with an Israeli anti-Netanyahu group, V-2015 (or V15) to import Obama’s own campaign operatives for the election.  The goal of V15 and OneVoice:  to defeat Netanyahu’s Likud coalition in the Knesset.

That this inquiry has bipartisan agreement is obviously significant.  Senators on both sides of the aisle think something stinks — and that’s just the first-order conclusion.

The Fox story outlines the initial concern of the investigation: the $350,000 the State Department has funneled to OneVoice.  State says the funding is unrelated to the V15 effort in the Israeli election:

One expert told FoxNews.com earlier this month the State Department grants constituted indirect administration funding of the anti-Netanyahu campaign by providing OneVoice with the $350,000 — even though State Department officials said the funding stopped in November, ahead of the announcement of the Israeli election.

Fox quotes an NGO funding expert who considers that a bit disingenuous:

Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor, which tracks money flows to unmask non-governmental organizations that deviate from their stated human rights or humanitarian agendas, said even ostensibly unrelated grants keep an organization going during periods it is not engaged in political activity.

But there’s another reason to parse the timeline closely here.

The timeline

The story has expanded since late January, with additional evidence that U.S. groups are involved in an effort to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu.  Alana Goodman reported at Washington Free Beacon in early February that a U.S.-based group called Ameinu (motto: “Liberal values; Progressive Israel”) sent out a fundraising memo on 17 December 2014, outlining a very Jeremy Bird-like plan to “get out the vote” and transform the Israeli political landscape.

The December memo cited consultation with “American experts,” including Obama campaign operatives.

We are already in touch with a highly talented combination of knowledgeable Israeli professionals and American experts with experience in similar recent operations, including the Obama presidential campaign.

Ameinu president Kenneth Bob told Free Beacon in February that Ameinu had indeed consulted with Bird and V15, but had since parted ways with them:

[Bob] later said that V15 and Bird’s consulting group 270 Strategies were involved in the discussions early on, but have since parted ways with Ameinu.

“When we first began soliciting funds for GOTV efforts ahead of the Israeli elections, we spoke to a number of entities with projects in mind, including Strategies 270, which ultimately became V15,” said Bob.

But that disclosure, even assuming it’s accurate, puts the State Department’s claim about when its funding for OneVoice stopped in an interesting light.  It’s obvious why the Senate thinks it needs investigating.

The State Department, as cited by Fox News, said its funding for OneVoice stopped in November (emphasis added):

State Department officials said the funding stopped in November, ahead of the announcement of the Israeli election.

The early election in Israel was announced on 2 December 2014, when Netanyahu’s governing coalition was officially dissolved.  That means interested parties – like V15, OneVoice, Jeremy Bird, and Ameinu – were certain, less than a month after the State Department funding to OneVoice stopped, that there would be an election.

That alone means it’s hard to make the case that State Department funding was irrelevant to a OneVoice project decision that could have been in progress no later than 2 December.  OneVoice clearly could have been using, in December – and probably in January and February – money it received from the State Department in November.

But OneVoice and its partners could very well have been eying an Israeli election project before 2 December.  And since we also know that Bird and V15 were discussing an election plan with Ameinu sometime before 17 December, it becomes, at the very least, increasingly unbelievable that the OneVoice funding Bird and V15 ultimately went with was on no one’s radar screen earlier than late January, when Bird and his cohort showed up in Israel.

The big picture

The announcement of an early Israeli election didn’t come out of the blue.  In fact, it had been talked about as a possibility for months, and was publicly discussed as likely throughout the month of November 2014.  From statements by cabinet ministers in September, to speculation in October about the meaning of early Likud primaries (see here as well), to MSM statements in November that the “smart betting” was on an early election, to pointed disclosures in mid-November that Netanyahu was telling Likud leaders to get ready for an early election, the word was out.

November, or even October, was when advocacy groups and full-time political professionals would have been putting their scope on an early Israeli election.

Indeed, the phrasing of Kenneth Bob’s statement about the discussions with Bird and V15 evokes a timeline that probably did start earlier than 2 December 2014 – a bare 15 days before the Ameinu fundraising memo went out with its shaping-the-vote plan.

In that light, the timing of State’s last release of funds to OneVoice – according to State, in November 2014 – might even look like a severance for appearances’ sake.  If the Fox News report conveys the Senate’s concerns accurately, one of them seems to be with the coincident timing of Marc Ginsberg’s resignation announcement from OneVoice.  Ginsberg made that announcement on 11 November 2014.

By 11 November, as the links above illustrate, it was received wisdom in MSM reporting that Netanyahu would call for an election in early 2015.  But 11 November was also less than two weeks after the Obama administration had thrown its infamous tantrum by “leaking” the news that someone in its ranks thought of Bibi as a “chickens***.”  Moreover, 11 November was one week after the Democrats lost the Senate to a Republican wave in the mid-term election, and Obama thus lost Congress for the balance of his presidential term.

At that point, Obama’s actions on more than one front – e.g., executive amnesty; executive restrictions on firearms; ignoring Iran’s violations of the 2013 “nuclear deal” in order to press ahead with ill-advised negotiations – were beginning to show an increasing recklessness and disdain, not only for public opinion but for the prerogatives of Congress.  It would actually have been quite in character for the administration’s post-election agenda to include a strategy to campaign against Netanyahu in the widely anticipated Israeli election.

Congress may or may not be able to turn anything up with this investigation.  The Obama administration is likely to stonewall, as it so often does, and the non-profits involved may be able – ironically enough – to hide behind the IRS in declining to reveal their financial information.  (This although it may well be a violation of IRS regulations for OneVoice to fund V15’s activities in the first place – a point Ted Cruz has twice made official inquiries about.)

Apparent certitude and unity in the Senate

The fact that this is a bipartisan investigation is telling, however.

Senate Democrats aren’t moving to protect the administration from scrutiny.  That may represent fall-out from the administration’s thinly-veiled attack on New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, the Democrat who has opposed Obama on both his Iran and Cuba policies.  In part, at least, Senate Democrats are probably sending a signal of their own to the Obama White House.

But this goes beyond not protecting Obama.  The Democrats could have simply not participated, and thereby split the baby: neither protecting Obama nor helping the Republicans put his officials in the hot seat.

Instead, they’ve signed up for a legitimate inquiry: an inquiry whose outcome will matter.  The Fox story indicates that the investigation has been ongoing, apparently for some weeks before the public heard about it.  It’s possible – even likely – that the senators know things we don’t (not yet, at any rate).  And the Democrats, at least, can’t be in this just for the theater.

It would be remarkable for both parties to undertake an investigation they didn’t think anything would come of.  The opposition party (the GOP, in this case) would still be motivated to try to air improprieties in the president’s administration.  But the president’s own party doesn’t have a motive to involve itself, if it doesn’t expect to achieve anything more than that.

It’s not clear precisely what’s going on.  News of the bipartisan panel has been leaked just three days before the Israeli election.  The Senate is well aware that that, too, is political timing.  Whatever’s going on, it seems to be something big.

Senate Resolution Unanimously Welcomes Netanyahu

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously passed by voice vote a resolution welcoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who will address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

The voice vote allowed Democrats to support the bill without their names being printed, and the unanimous vote was a message to the White House that the Democratic party is not his pocket concerning the deal he is negotiating with Iran.

The resolution was co-sponsored by 50 Republican senators but not a single Democrat.

The resolution states in part:

Whereas, in particular, the Government of Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a tremendous threat both to the United States and Israel;

Whereas the negotiations between the so-called P5+1 countries and Iran over its illicit nuclear weapons program are entering a key phase, and Congress has heard the perspectives, both publicly and privately, of a number of close allies involved in the negotiations;…

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate

–warmly welcomes the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on his visit to the United States, which provides a timely opportunity to reinforce the United States-Israel relationship;

–eagerly awaits the address of Prime Minister Netanyahu before a joint session of the United States Congress;….

–continues to strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself from threats to its very survival.

John Cornyn, who initiated the resolution, said that “for some reason, some people are trying to turn this into a public controversy, but to me and I imagine to many others, it is mystifying and somewhat disappointing.

“Both of our countries are threatened by radical Islam….

“I would also argue that we have no bigger foreign policy challenges than stopping the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons and keeping those weapons out of the hands of terrorists. A nuclear Iran would make this world a far more dangerous place. For starters, it would dramatically increase Iranian leverage, Iranian power, and Iranian aggression in the Middle East.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported that a pro-Israel political strategist said, “By refusing to block this resolution that passed unanimously, Democrats are showing they’re still grappling with this new political situation surrounding the U.S.–Israel relationship….

“And you can see part of the internal struggle of these members play out in public when Democrats don’t cosponsor the resolution, but don’t object when it’s brought up for unanimous consent. Even the most liberal Democratic senator didn’t object when it would have been easy to do so if they wanted.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu seen as he prepares for his speech ahead of his speech next week in Congress

Prime Minister Netanyahu seen as he prepares for his speech ahead of his speech next week in Congress

Poll: Americans Divided by Race and Party on Netanyahu in Congress

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Most Americans think that President Barack Obama should meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he visits the United States next month, but a large plurality disapproves of House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation for him to speak in Congress, according to a new poll.

The different results made interesting reading for Israeli newspaper readers, with Haaretz headlining that “Americans Disapprove on Netanyahu Invitation to Netanyahu” and the Times of Israel offering ” Poll: Most Americans think Obama should meet PM in March.”

Both headlines are correct but neither one tells the whole story.

Details of the poll, carried out by the British-based YouGov in association with the Huffington Post, revealed a sharp split along racial lines.

Concerning whether it was “appropriate” for Boehner to invite Netanyahu two weeks before the Israeli elections:

All respondents: Inappropriate – 47 percent

Appropriate: – 30 percent

Blacks and Hispanics: Inappropriate – 67 percent

Appropriate – 12 percent.

An even sharper difference was shown when respondents were asked if their local Congressman should attend Netanyahu’s speech:

All respondents  Yes – 46 percent

No – 24 percent

Black respondents: Yes – 16 percent

No – 47 percent

More than half of the respondents – 58 percent – said that President Barack Obama should meet with the Prime Minister , something which the president has said he will not do, while most Afro-Americans said Obama should not meet with him.

Not surprisingly, half of Republican respondents said their Congressman should attend Netanyahu’s speech, while only 30 percent of Democrats agreed.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/poll-americans-divided-by-race-and-party-on-netanyahu-in-congress/2015/02/12/

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