The Water’s Edge

Stung by President Obama’s end-zone spike during last night’s SOTU speech, Republican leaders have invited the REAL president of GOP America, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address Congress. Obama’s speech last night mostly focused on the stupid old USA rather that scary religions and foreigners, so Netanyahu’s remarks will be a refreshing change.

House Speaker John Boehner knows the Obama administration is involved in tricksy negotiations with Iran, and it’s important that he (Boehner) fuck them up. How else do you explain this message to his fellow GOPers?

You may have seen that on Friday, the president warned us not to move ahead with sanctions on Iran, a state sponsor of terror. His exact message to us was: “Hold your fire.” He expects us to stand idly by and do nothing while he cuts a bad deal with Iran. Two words: “Hell no!” … We’re going to do no such thing.

See, Obama, the duly elected President of the United States x2, naively believes he and his State Department minions are empowered to shape US foreign policy (with congressional consent, of course!), sort of like how the Bush-Cheney cabal felt entitled to destroy a bystander country and bone US taxpayers to the tune of a trillion dollars because 9/11. Nope.

I wonder if anyone will bother shrieking “Traitor!” at Boehner & Co. for openly undermining US negotiations with Iran? There wasn’t a fleck of paint on a building within a hundred miles of DC due to the wingnut screeching when a handful of Dems attempted to find out whether Saddam Hussein was a real threat in the run-up to the Iraq War.






137 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    They can haz Bibi expound if we can haz Pope Francis.

    Who do you think will make the more memorable speech?

    ETA: also, thank you for the fresh thread. Properly inflated, yet.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    This is appalling on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin.

  3. 3
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    These people have no conscience.

  4. 4
    Schlemazel says:

    I assume this is just a quid pro quo for Bebee’s attempt to undermine Obama during the ’12 election.

  5. 5
    beltane says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: They also don’t have much in the way of actual patriotism either.

  6. 6
    SatanicPanic says:

    I’m surprised they haven’t invited Putin since they love him so much

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    I think the great Mr. Netanyahu may be way less popular than the GOP assumes.

    Who paying attention doesn’t remember that visual of him with an Inspector Clouseau bomb drawing?

    Maybe he’ll bring a visual of a banana peel this time.

  8. 8
    c u n d gulag says:

    Putin disappointed our manly-man conservatives.

    Now, it’s Bibi’s turn to give them a woody that can last until the 2016 election!!!

  9. 9
    Cacti says:

    Close but not quite right.

    The real President of GOP America must be a Christian.

    Vladimir Putin is their real President.

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    @SatanicPanic: Putin has standards.

  11. 11
    mk3872 says:

    I’m sure that Ron Fournier is penning a new article as we speak about Boehner’s awesome leadership in this matter, not to mention counting up how many times Obama said I, me, mine last night.

  12. 12
    trollhattan says:

    I’m trying to recall the last time I voted for any Likud Party candidate. Mind, there have been a few on the ballot from time to time.

    Bibi can kiss my ass and go the hell home.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    @SatanicPanic: A Putin speech would create excessive dissonance. Mitt’s prediction that Russia is the new Great Satan existential threat to the US (besides Iran, NK, Venezuela, Cuba, Sweden and several others) will be important for 3016.

    They could invite Putin as a motivational speaker on leadership. Emphasis on domestic policy. Big fee. Russia needs the money.

  14. 14
    slag says:

    If there were an opposite term for “peace talks”, that’s probably what this would be.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  15. 15
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    a damn disgrace and a shame, but judging by MSNBC’s post speech coverage* last night, the Village has it’s war on. And Bob Menendez is apparently reclaiming Joe Lieberman’s fallen standard.

    “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran,” Menendez said. “And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization, when they are the ones with original sin — an illicit nuclear weapons program going back over the course of 20 years that they are unwilling to come clean on.”

    I think that would have been too ham-fisted for Holy Joe’s more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger painful-truth-teller schtick

    *Every time I flipped it on to see if Tweety had gone to bed yet, he was talking about ISIS, until for reasons unclear (beyond his sad old man’s horniness and star-fuckery) he was interviewing Ruth Wilson about “The Affair”.

  16. 16
    jl says:

    @mk3872: Fournier will make an ironclad case, using strict geometrical logic, that the way Boehner alternates between hurt feelings, weeping jags, and bellowing ‘Hell No!’ is the model of perfect leadership. Washington, Lincoln FDR Truman and Saint Reagan all rolled into one.

  17. 17

    Put Bibi shirtless on the back of a horse and game over man. Game over.

  18. 18
    SatanicPanic says:

    @jl: is excessive dissonance really a problem for them?

  19. 19
    Suffern ACE says:

    Well, when you start from the CW fact that Iran is Satan’s playground, I guess any deal that doesn’t involve starving their children is a loss.

  20. 20
    jl says:

    @SatanicPanic: The little that they both notice and are equipped to understand, probably yes, they would think it is a problem A lot slips through by that criterion, I admit that. MLK holiday was a recent demonstration.

  21. 21
    Citizen_X says:

    Good to see that these Defenders of the Constitution aren’t letting Obama do anything like conduct foreign policy. That’s their job, and his is to advise and consent.

    That’s what the Constitution says, right? In GOP land, at least?

  22. 22
    Tommy says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: No they do not. I have had five jobs. Four of them were small business owned by Jewish people. I grew up in a rural area and being at college later where most students were “white collar” kids from Chicago. I recall the telling of a Jewish joke. Everybody laughed. I didn’t, said I didn’t get the joke. They said Jews are cheap. I said I didn’t know that.

    When in DC I was thousands of miles from home. Not close with my parents (we changed that) and those Jewish bosses always opened their house to me. Welcomed me in.

    I got a place close to my heart for Jews.

    But two states and step off the neck of the Palestinian people. All those people that took me in, devote Jews, they want a two party state. They joke non-Jews in our Congress are more ramped than they are and they are confused by it all.

  23. 23
    Peale says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Good Catholic Bob needs some schooling on the concept of original sin.

  24. 24
    beltane says:

    Follow the money.

  25. 25
    Peale says:

    Boehner is correct, however, to invite Bibi. Israel has so few opportunities to get its point of view on these matters heard. Its a shame that no one in our media or in Congress seemed interested in what Israeli interests are until this morning. Its a shame when Bibi has to come and do all of this heavy lifting.

  26. 26
    Turd Burglar says:

    Does anyone seriously believe that Barack Obama would have thrown that obvious red meat out there– a specific warning not to fuck up his Iran negotiations– without having thought through every angle and move, and attaching a heavily spring-loaded trap to the thing?

    I expect to see the Iranians, Likud, the cable TV wargasm crew, and Bohener, McCain and the whole pack of loons, completely schooled by the time this is over.

  27. 27
    Archon says:

    This is a dangerous game for Israel to have their Prime minister in a joint session of Congress in effect dump on the sitting President’s call for a negotiated settlement with Iran.

    This has the potential to really effect the goodwill a lot of left of center Americans have for Israeli national security concerns. I’d expect to help mitigate the damage this will cause, many Israeli politicians will come out and pre-emptively bash Bibi and the Republicans for this move.

  28. 28
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Turd Burglar: This is a good point.

  29. 29
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Archon: This has the potential to really effect the goodwill a lot of left of center Americans have for Israeli national security concerns

    I hope so, but I doubt it. Bibi’s attempts to meddle in our last two presidential elections were ineffective, but seemed to pass largely unnoticed outside the world of political junkies.

  30. 30
    Peale says:

    @Archon: It effects noting. Every one of those congressmen knows to stand and applaud constantly for the speech of Bibi and they will all fall in line. From the perspective of the reporting on the topic, it will look like everyone favors Israeli interests. That’s all that matters.

    We should go back to his last joint session speech and watch our John Kerry fawning before he was at state. None of our congressmen can afford to do anything but clap.

  31. 31
    Cervantes says:

    @beltane:

    This is appalling on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin.

    And Netanyahu has behaved similarly before, in 1996 and in 2011.

    @Turd Burglar:

    Does anyone seriously believe that Barack Obama would have thrown that obvious red meat out there– a specific warning not to fuck up his Iran negotiations– without having thought through every angle and move[?]

    Should we assume also that Netanyahu, who is facing an election in less than two months, has thought it through as well?

  32. 32
    D58826 says:

    How many times does this guy get to appear before Congress. Seems like its the second or third time in the past half dozen years. I don’t remember any other foreign leader having a standing invitation. Boehner has promised to support Israel in all it does whenever it does it. Who does this guy work for – the US or Israel? Yea I know the answer.

  33. 33
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Turd Burglar: From your lips to the FSM’s orecchiette!

  34. 34
    Elizabelle says:

    @Turd Burglar: I think you’re right, actually. LOL.

  35. 35
    The Ancient Randonneur says:

    Isn’t this where all the Tea Party constitutional scholars jump up and down and demand that Congress stay out of foreign policy, or are they too busy trying to keep the gubmint out of Meidcare?

  36. 36
    jl says:

    @Turd Burglar:

    ” Does anyone seriously believe that Barack Obama would have thrown that obvious red meat out there– a specific warning not to fuck up his Iran negotiations– without having thought through every angle and move, and attaching a heavily spring-loaded trap to the thing? ”

    No, I do not think so. I can see how Obama could gull war hawks and knee jerkers into being the bad cop while he is the good cop with Iran. If the GOP goes berserk on this, rhetorically at least, Obama’s people can say ‘you want to deal with these nutcases, maybe you better deal’.

    I don’t think Obama talked very much about his tax proposals, even though he telegraphed those big. I wonder why not.

    I think Obama talked up a lot proposals that the public will support strongly. Sort of an implicit dare to the GOP to slam him on those.

    I think all this was thought through by Obama and his staff.

  37. 37
    dedc79 says:

    This is problematic for a number of reasons noted above in the comments. It also runs the risk of improving his standing in Israel where he is up for reelection and hasn’t been doing so well.

  38. 38
    tsquared2001 says:

    @Peale: I chuckled.

  39. 39
    sharl says:

    Not that it will matter much, but for the record:

    White House: Boehner Invite to Netanyahu Breach of Protocol

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS JAN. 21, 2015, 12:11 P.M. E.S.T.

    …Earnest says typical protocol is that a country’s leader would contact the White House before planning to visit the United States. But Earnest says they didn’t hear about Boehner’s invitation until Wednesday morning, shortly before the speaker announced it publicly….

  40. 40
    trollhattan says:

    If Bibi does this, I certainly hope his address includes cartoon illustrations of Acme-brand bombs. And no fvcking PowerPoints, Bibi!

  41. 41
    Elie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    A joint address to Congress however, would not be a low key thing that would not be noticed. It will be noticed and if Bibi had a lick of sense, he would not do it. But he doesn’t have the good sense and just like someone said upstring, this is not going to be good for Israel or the Republicans. And I do believe it will damage perceptions of Israel further. It is somewhat like the move that the NYPD unions made on DeBlasio… Looked like a good idea in the emotion of the moment, but backfires ultimately, putting them in an inferior position (Art of War). These are not linear power situations and you have to be careful the pressure you exert and where. Victory can become defeat in a blink…Of course, Republicans don’t think like that… they don’t think.

  42. 42
    Anya says:

    @Archon: This will only matter if the Dem president was white. Obama suffers so much indignities that other POTUS’ didn’t suffer. It makes me really angry. It’s okay to shit on a sitting president because it’s Obama.

  43. 43
    jl says:

    @Cervantes:

    ” Should we assume also that Netanyahu, who is facing an election in less than two months, has thought it through as well? ”

    I think we should assume that Netanyahu is thinking through the upcoming Israeli elections very carefully. It would be mistake to think that the US public or GOP nincompoops in Congress are his only, or even most important, audiences when he visits.

  44. 44
    Peale says:

    @jl: Obama gains nothing with the Iranians if our Congress is going to behave this way. The US really isn’t a very honorable nation when it conducts foreign policy and hasn’t been in my lifetime. There is no reason for Iran to think “Hey, we need to deal with this reasonable guy before he leaves office.” Presidents Bush or Clinton or Santorum will just undo any promises that are made.

  45. 45
    jl says:

    @sharl: Obama should say that the breach of protocol has hurt his feelings greatly, has generated bad faith, poisoned the atmosphere and the well, that he was personally hurt and nearly weeped (gesture to Johnny Bones) and he will veto every single thing over the next two years.

  46. 46
    KG says:

    @slag: I believe the opposite of “peace talks” is “sabre rattling”… which is really something of a specialty among the GOP. It’s also something of a specialty among “punk ass bitches”, the type that talk shit and then make sure there’s always someone there to hold them back (or more realistically, to calm the other guy down before he plants the punk ass bitch’s nose in the back of his head).

  47. 47
    jl says:

    @Peale:
    Obama’s pitch would be that a real big fucking deal agreement would play a role in reducing the chances of a GOP Senate and President in 2016.

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @dedc79: That’s why Bibi is coming. He went to Paris for the same reason even though he was asked not to.

  49. 49

    @ranchandsyrup:

    Bibi shirtless on the back of a horse

    Pass the brain bleach, plz.

  50. 50
    Elie says:

    @JPL:

    That was different than making a speech before a joint session of the US Congress… A LOT different….

  51. 51
    jl says:

    @jl: Maybe if the Democrats had retained control of the Senate in Nov, the strategy would be different. But the GOP runs it now, and Obama’s can’t do much prevent people like Graham from emtting endless deranged prissily panicked and bloodthirsty nonsense, or people like McCain from more impressive warmongering with Senate leadership behind them.

  52. 52
    Schlemazel says:

    @dedc79:
    so it IS a quid pro quo for 2012!

  53. 53
    dedc79 says:

    @JPL: I think his motivation for being in Paris was way more benign (and that he should have been invited) although he certainly used the opportunity for all it was worth.

    This on the other hand is plain awful however you look at it.

  54. 54
    burnspbesq says:

    This is payback, plain and simple. Bibi tried to influence the 2012 election here, and now, in his hour of need (he stands a far above trivial chance of losing his majority in the Knesset, and thereafter his job, in the March election), his pals are coming to his aid.

  55. 55
    Keith G says:

    I don’t think that the administration should be calling them traders, but if the White House feels that this is a dangerous interference in foreign policy, they really need to call them out early, often, and fiercely for the dangerous tactics that are harmful to this country.

    For years the GOP had simple messages about liberal behavior. These are words that stuck and were used by the media and others to describe behavior in a way that really wasn’t accurate. Words matter. Messaging matters. Working the refs matters

  56. 56
    JPL says:

    @Elie: True. I still think that Bibi is trying to raise his status at home, and the republicans are trying to change the subject from the middle class to Iran.

  57. 57
    jl says:

    @JPL: I read Netenyahu said that he would defer to the French request to stay away, until two of his more reactionary and bellicose rivals said that they don’t defer to nobody and would attend. I think Netenyahu is thinking very carefully about the elections, and doing well in them is his current prime directive.

  58. 58
    Brendan in NC says:

    @SatanicPanic: Cognitive dissonance is a far greater problem for Republicans.

  59. 59
    Tree With Water says:

    B.N. is taking a big risk if he’s resolved to throw in whole hog with the GOP. Even people disinclined to credit the power inherent in the bully pulpit must realize this president is uniquely qualified to slice such an effort to ribbons, were he so inclined. For starters he could cite/allude to harm being done our national interest by such collusion. God knows the republican party wouldn’t hesitate to hurl that accusation if the tables were turned. But even barring that extreme scenario, Obama is not to be trifled with when he’s in the mood to counter punch. Let’s hope he is, and unloads on the Israeli Dick Cheney when he arrives on our shore.

  60. 60
    Paul in KY says:

    @ranchandsyrup: That poor horse…

  61. 61
    Elie says:

    @jl:

    Invariably, O seems to be able to goad them to do things that end up backfiring. This is just so very very wrong in so many ways…

    Lets play it out.. how does this help them? They will be accused of advocating having Israel run our foreign policy… how does that help in the ME where we are trying to get on top of things where we need cooperation with Iran and Saudi Arabia? Bibi is going to insult all of them and do nothing but make all of this a lot harder. And for what exactly? It will definitely make people like me become even more against policies supporting Israel… there are more and more people like me…

  62. 62
    sharl says:

    @dedc79: It’s now behind a pay wall, but according to Haaretz, Netanyahu ignored a request from the leader of France (Hollande) to stay home. This was – as I recall from reading the article when it was available to non-subscribers – for reasons of domestic politics, as was his subsequent reason for strong-arming the next-of-kin of the slain Paris Jewish merchants into agreeing to burial of those victims in Israel.

  63. 63

    @Paul in KY:

    That poor horse…

    The horse doesn’t have to look at him. That poor photographer…

  64. 64
    Alex S. says:

    Less than two months until the elections for the Knesset…

  65. 65
    SteveinSC says:

    @sharl: “Paging Ron Fournier, paging Ron Fournier. Cleanup on Isle One of your former AP rat hole.”

    In other Huffpo news: Richard (Aaron) Burr will have that CIA mess cleaned up before Bibi gets here.

  66. 66
    Alex S. says:

    @JPL:

    Conservatives across countries need and help each other. Ahmadinejad was very good for Netanyahu’s electoral prospects, the House of Saud was very good for the electoral prospects of the Bush family.

  67. 67
    Archon says:

    I’m trying to game this out and the only thing that makes sense to me is that Bibi and the Republicans think an Obama breakthrough with Iran is imminent and they are trying to goad Iran into scuttling the deal (or postponing it until after the elections in Bibi’s case).

  68. 68
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Original sin? Twenty years?

    What the fuck was this shit, then?

    Is our Congress learning? Nein!

  69. 69
    blueskies says:

    @Archon:

    This has the potential to really effect the goodwill a lot of left of center Americans have for Israeli national security concerns. I’d expect to help mitigate the damage this will cause, many Israeli politicians will come out and pre-emptively bash Bibi and the Republicans for this move.

    You may be onto smoothing there…

  70. 70
    jl says:

    @Elie: We disagree then. I agree with Turd Burglar (did I read that handle right?). Every little detail of the speech was thought through. I think there was a reason why Obama spent so much time, went into what detail, on every issue. Maybe Obama figured the GOP should have their tantrum on his timing not the GOP’s. The calculus surely changed on election day last November.But politics is usually the art of making the best of a crummy situation.

    Edit: important to remember that the executive branch is doing the talking in the quiet back rooms of international negotiations, not Congress ( and thank God for that, in this case).

  71. 71
    gene108 says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    These people have no conscience.

    Republicans have a conscience.

    They stay up late at night worrying, “did I do everything I could possibly do to win?”

    Did I pass up an opportunity to ratfuck my opponent?

    Was there some negative attack ads I failed to run?

    Were there some lies or distortions that would have helped me that I refused to tell?

    See very conscientious people.

  72. 72
    Schlemazel says:

    @burnspbesq:
    God help me, I agree with burnsie – the only saving grace was I got there much earlier:
    @Schlemazel: @Schlemazel:

  73. 73
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Tommy: There’s a big difference between cheap and frugal, and between driving a hard bargain and being a cheat.

    I never heard “jew” as a verb growing up in New England, probably because Yankees were the original practitioners of extreme frugality and proud of it. It wouldn’t have computed as an insult. The only edge of that I ever heard was this WASPish sniffing about “never pay retail” because old money, though frugal, never bargains and certainly never bargain shops, unlike these crass upstarts. I acculturated. I thought anti-Semitism consisted of Holocaust deniers and racist skinheads who desecrate cemeteries.

    Since moving to the South, I have been schooled. My wife worked a sales job for years that put her in contact with a lot of rural managers and she also worked out of an office in Jacksonville. The one subjected her to some of the vilest sexist and racist drivel, intermixed with “well I don’t mean you/mean it in a good way”, the latter there was, well, all but mandatory Evangelical Christian prayer meetings in the office. I think she has recurring trauma from it. After hearing “jew” as a verb one too many times she started to replace it with “protestant”, then, with specific denominations.

    Her boss during much of this time was this very funny, worldly, decent moderate Muslim and the two of them bonded over the racism of the people around them, including other people in the same office. We both miss him. He moved far up the east coast for the job. She (finally) quit.

  74. 74
    chopper says:

    @Turd Burglar:

    this. i forsee some serious dick-stepping before this is done.

  75. 75
    Mike in dc says:

    If and when a center left coalition takes power in Israel, what are the odds Boehner invites that PM to address Congress?

  76. 76
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @gene108: I’m not sure narcissistic anxiety qualifies as a conscience, exactly–that would imply the well-being of others and one’s honor when no-one (or, for the theist, no-one but God) is looking are a driving factor, rather than preserving the NPD false self image and ensuring the continued provision of narcissistic supply.

    Still, it’s true, worrying that your “enemies” have gotten one over you and you need to find a way to crush them once and for all will keep you up nights just as surely as a scruple.

  77. 77
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Mike in dc: The center left will take power in the US Congress long before the center left leads a ruling coalition in today’s Israel, I fear.

    I guess BY talking smack about The Kenyan Usurper to the crowned heads of Europe best Congress Koch-money can buy helps him look like an important and tough bad-ass for voters? Or maybe he just relishes the attention. It seemed like when he was stumping (lol) for Romney that he’d always dreamed of being a US Senator. It is more of a sinecure I would think than his current job and has all the opportunities to showboat, grandstand, and talk like an ass you could want.

  78. 78
    jl says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Ahhh… the wonderful world of bigotry. Jews are cheap and conniving. But Yankees are frugal and shrewd. Scots are thrifty, and we should all emulate their virtue. Scots, especially the Border people, are careful of their honor and will not back down, and loyal to their kin, which again are virtues. They certainly are not violent people with insufficient self control, like some other groups, liable to descend into undisciplined internecine chaos.

    It all makes sense if you repeat it over and over and over again to yourself and those who agree with you…

  79. 79
    Elie says:

    @chopper: @jl:

    I agree with you on the points made by Turd Burglar… — or tried to. Some serious dick stepping is going to ensue

  80. 80
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    OT: yesterday Rick Santorum said he regretted getting bogged down in crazy talk about birth control. Today he said this.

    In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, Santorum appeared baffled by recent remarks by the Pope suggesting that faithful Catholics need not procreate “like rabbits.”
    “Sometimes very difficult to listen to the Pope and some of the things he says off the cuff, and this is one of them,” Santorum, a professed Catholic, said.
    “When he speaks as the leader of the Catholic Church, I’ll certainly pay attention,” the former senator continued. “But when he speaks in interviews, he’s giving his own opinions, which I certainly will listen to, but from my perspective, that doesn’t reflect the idea that people shouldn’t be fruitful and multiply, and that people should be open to life as something that is a core value of the faith and of the Catholic Church.”
    Santorum went on to repeat several times, “I don’t know what the Pope was referring to here.”

    I said yesterday, he’s willing but not able to abandon who and what he really is.

  81. 81
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Israeli elections are March 17?! My blood pressure is not going to survive two more months of this nonsense.

    Intriguing story on Haaretz. I do not anticipate a happy ending: http://www.haaretz.com/news/is.....m-1.637916

    That incident with the cuffed pregnant woman has been reported on elsewhere. It was outrageous as hell. Israeli feminists live up to the sabra reputation but I feel like they are fighting a losing battle in these times.

  82. 82
    jl says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Netenyahu pines for McCain’s reserved pulpit on the Sunday talkies? Where your every word is a priceless treasure beyond price? Where Great Men of Journalism hang on your every phrase?

    Could be. Some love bubbles more than others.

  83. 83
    boatboy_srq says:

    the duly elected President of the United States x2

    Effing brilliant.

    @Iowa Old Lady: They have no morals. Conscience has to have some material to work with.

    @Turd Burglar: I’d be very surprised if BHO didn’t have this thought through for the next thirty moves. Far as I can tell, Boehner’s already put foot to nads with the invitation: all that’s needed now is a bit of heel-twisting. Makes you think that there’s a solid, defensible deal in the works with Iran – and Orangeman inviting Mister Iron Dome to try to jinx it will backfire bigtime. Consider, though, that there’s no war the GOTea doesn’t love, and no foreign power the Teahad isn’t happy to p!ss off, so this could just be an own-goal with no particular driver besides Next pResident Please.

  84. 84
    Bill Arnold says:

    @jl:

    I think we should assume that Netanyahu is thinking through the upcoming Israeli elections very carefully.

    Does the PBO administration have a reliable mental model of Netanyahu?

  85. 85
    burnspbesq says:

    @Tree With Water:

    B.N. is taking a big risk if he’s resolved to throw in whole hog with the GOP. Even people disinclined to credit the power inherent in the bully pulpit must realize this president is uniquely qualified to slice such an effort to ribbons, were he so inclined. For starters he could cite/allude to harm being done our national interest by such collusion. God knows the republican party wouldn’t hesitate to hurl that accusation if the tables were turned. But even barring that extreme scenario, Obama is not to be trifled with when he’s in the mood to counter punch. Let’s hope he is, and unloads on the Israeli Dick Cheney when he arrives on our shore.

    All true, but it’s equally possible that Obama has taken a look at the range of right-wing crazies that could take over Netanyahu’s job if Likud is outside the ruling coalition after the March election, and concluded that the devil he knows is preferable to the devils he doesn’t.

  86. 86
    jl says:

    @Bill Arnold: Politician + upcoming election + might be close = ?

  87. 87
    JPL says:

    Iranghazi.

  88. 88
    NonyNony says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Today he said this.

    Santorum is coming to terms with something that liberal Catholics who grew up under conservative Popes have had to deal with for decades – the Pope isn’t the Church, no matter how much the mythology of the Church wants you to believe otherwise.

    That said – Santorum is also an idiot. The Pope’s words are very clear – just because the Church says birth control is bad, that doesn’t mean that Catholics should be having kids left and right either. What the Church expects is that Catholic men and women will completely abstain from sex except for when they want to have children – and they should be responsible about the number of children they bring into this world. Is that a ridiculously high bar to set for the Church? Yup. Do they expect a lot of people to not be able to live up to it? Yup. Is that baked into the Church’s whole worldview on sin and contrition and guilt and confession of said sin? Abso-freaking-lutely. Santorum is just upset because he’s coming this close to figuring out that the Catholic game is rigged to make sure that nobody can live up to the high ideals that it sets and will always have something to feel guilt about.

    (This was outlined for me completely clearly by a priest of my acquaintance who basically flat out told me that the game was rigged to encourage Catholics to feel guilt over just about everything they did. It’s what set us apart from Protestants. I didn’t realize it at the time but conversations with him set me on the path towards atheism – I don’t think that was what he was trying to encourage but sometimes I wonder.)

  89. 89
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: So open to life your brains fall out.

    Francis articulated a conservative position, in a way a lie, that I have heard from Catholic priests before. Lecturing the pious woman not to have the Nth kid and leave her children motherless. A lie because in Catholic hospitals they refuse to perform live-saving abortions and a lie because they support this world where a wife has no options but to keep having babies.

    But that isn’t good enough for the frothy shit-stirrer.

    Btw, South American Catholics use condoms just as avidly as US American Catholics.

  90. 90
    jl says:

    @NonyNony: @Another Holocene Human:

    A cynical person might say that Pope Francis threatens Santorum’s religious sex- money- and control-freak patriarchal racket, and Santorum is not sure how to respond. If Santorum claims to be baffled, I think that is what he is talking about.

    I don’t agree about much with Catholic doctrine on birth control, or their men’s club BS, but there is worse and worser. And Santorum is definitely worser. Pope Francis will continue to hold doctrines that I strongly disagree with, but his general attitude does not emit a total stench like the US religious Taliban, and that will be a growing problem for the likes of Santorum.

  91. 91

    Republicans have a conscience.

    They stay up late at night worrying, “did I do everything I could possibly do to win?”

    Did I pass up an opportunity to ratfuck my opponent?

    Was there some negative attack ads I failed to run?

    Were there some lies or distortions that would have helped me that I refused to tell?

    See very conscientious people.

    @gene108: If only Democrats cared as much about politics.

    Sadly, they do not.

  92. 92
    Mike in NC says:

    Republican love for Israel is curious, in that the country is one of the world’s few actual welfare states, with cradle to grave benefits funded by the US taxpayer. You’d think they be against such horrors.

  93. 93
    Elie says:

    @Mike in NC:

    You have to look at it in the backward mirror of Christian influenced policy. They actually hate the Jews but love that certain things that they will do (as ordained in the bible), will lead to the second coming of Christ and when we can all go to heaven (excluding the Jews and other religions of course). They Love them only as a means to an end.

  94. 94
    Mike in NC says:

    Two words: “Hell no!”

    This is also frequently told to bartenders on Capitol Hill when they ask Boehner if he’s had too much to drink.

  95. 95
    Schlemazel says:

    @jl:
    My niece has 4 kids, the third one produced a lot of complications for her and the doctors said she should not have any more as she was risking her life. Her husband is a devote Catholic and refuses to get snipped or to allow her to have her tubes tied. Of course they can’t use any birth control other than rhythm & she threw herself into all the latest with taking her temp regularly & all. It took emergency actions to save her after the fourth birth. If there is a god she was looking after the morons as her 5th and 6th conceptions ended with spontaneous abortions.

    I want to ask them why they are trying so hard to make him a widowed father of 4 young kids but she who must be obeyed has made it clear I am not allowed to do that.

  96. 96
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Mike in NC: Anything that props up The Most Important Precondition for The End Times is valuable just for that. Recall that FundiEvangelical Xtianity has a deathgrip on the GOTea these days. They have a very blind eye turned toward Israeli politics simply because it doesn’t matter what the conditions are on the ground (Israel could be an absolute monarchy headed by some descendant of Herod for all they care), so long as there is a Jewish presence in the Holy Land so that Jeebus will come back with His sword and His AR-15 and His Holy Thermonuclear Bombs with which to smite the unRighteous.

    @Elie: I see you beat me to it, only slightly less snarkily.

  97. 97
    scav says:

    Maybe we will be so blessed as to see Santorum and all the More Properly Catholic than the Pope so He Should Listen Up crowd feel the inpiration to adopt a visible symbol of garb by which the truely faithful might be publically recognized. Bunny Rabbit Ears would work well. Combine that with handing out little stone tablets engraved “Com II. Fucketh Like Rabbeth”. Tell me that combo wouldn’t attract the kids at the mall to the flock, ermm, warren.

  98. 98
    jl says:

    @Schlemazel: I am sorry to hear about your niece’s situation. I don’t think the general attitude of Pope Francis will lead to an overly politicized religious movements to legislate onerous laws and regulations that will endanger your niece’s life. Santorum lives and breathes that stuff, it is his money and his fame, and a government run by people like Santorum, or in political debt to him will pass dangerous legislation. So, Santorum is definitely far worser, and if Pope Francis causes Santorum bafflement or problems, I say that is just fine with me.

  99. 99
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    You may have seen that on Friday, the president warned us not to move ahead with sanctions on Iran, a state sponsor of terror.

    Why the fuck haven’t we imposed sanctions on Israel, which is also a “state sponsor of terror?”

    Oh, I forgot. If Israelis starve and shoot Palestinians, it’s OK, because we all know that Palestinians are untermenschen.

  100. 100

    @Elie:

    They actually hate the Jews but love that certain things that they will do (as ordained in the bible)

    By their understanding of the Bible, at least. There’s actually very little in the Bible about Armageddon and the second coming, and the material that is there is confusing and deliberately obscure. Most of the what Christian millenialists believe about that stuff is based on a mixture of extra-Biblical sources, far out interpretations of what little material there is, and wishful thinking.

  101. 101
    NonyNony says:

    @jl:

    but his general attitude does not emit a total stench like the US religious Taliban, and that will be a growing problem for the likes of Santorum

    Eh – the Church isn’t going to change it’s doctrine on birth control just because one Pope knows that the Church’s doctrine on birth control is stupid and harmful. He can hint at and say all he wants, but when he ceased to be Pope the Church’s official position will still be anti-birth control and the majority of Catholics will continue to simultaneously ignore it and feel somewhat guilty about ignoring it. (And a handful will continue to have more kids than they can responsibly raise because they haven’t figured out that the Church expects them to ignore the rule and feel guilty about it instead of following the rule and making their lives and their children’s lives utterly miserable.)

  102. 102
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Most of the what Christian millenialists believe about that stuff is based on a mixture of extra-Biblical sources, far out interpretations of what little material there is, and wishful thinking.

    And nearly all of it was dreamed up over the last two centuries. It’s recent bullshit, just like LDS and Scientology.

  103. 103
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @NonyNony:

    making their lives and their children’s lives utterly miserable

    Nowadays misery doesn’t just love company…it demands it.

  104. 104
    danielx says:

    Ah, yes. Politics stop at the water’s edge.

    Except in the case of the Kenyan imposter, where the water’s edge referred to is on Lake Michigan.

  105. 105
    Mandalay says:

    @jl:

    if Pope Francis causes Santorum bafflement or problems, I say that is just fine with me

    Me too. Santorum’s chances of becoming president were very close to zero anyway, but Pope Francis will have made things even worse for him. Santorum runs the risk of appearing to be a rigid, intolerant and uncaring Catholic compared to Francis, and he will have to be very careful not to contradict him when he runs his mouth, which he does a lot.

    Benedict and Rick was more of a match made in heaven, but God had other plans.

  106. 106
    jl says:

    @Roger Moore: The Dispensationalist Endtimes stuff is a bizarre and incoherent pastiche of several Old Testament prophets, separated by hundreds of years that talk about different things entirely, and some snippets of metaphorical prophetic language by Jesus. I think the pastiche was codified by commentary to the Scofield reference bible, around 1900, but the ideas were cobbled together starting in the mid 19th century.

    That kind of endtimes second coming prophecy was discouraged, by all major Christian sects including Protestant, for the first 1900 years. But now ignorant people deem it the real genuine old time religion, the real deal. One of the most influential Presbyterian Bible scholars deemed it heretical (which he admitted was kind of quaint term these days), but we Presbys are all surely bound for hellfire, so take that judgment with a grain of salt.

    Edit: I forget that Presby guy’s name. Later I read more about how Dispensationalism started, and it included a very pharisaical and self-righteous doctrine of Christian Holiness Code: to be truly saved and know it meant you had to have that special fizzy spiritual high (aka spiritual pride) of being saved by Christ and being better than those crummy sinners. So the Presby bible guy had more of a point than I thought when I first read him.

  107. 107
    Mandalay says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Republican love for Israel is curious

    It’s also very recent. Bush One and his administration didn’t give a flying fuck about them.

  108. 108
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mandalay: I recall James Baker at a congressional hearing offering a phone number to Israel (it happened to be a line in the State Department) to call if they were ever actually serious about negotiating a peace.

  109. 109
    Tree With Water says:

    Obama need only fire back on grounds of his own choosing, and the democratic rank file will have his back. So too will more rocked ribbed republicans than you might think. Americans across the board are fed up with the Israeli right wing (aka, its government), and would enjoy seeing that country straightened out about who calls the shots with American foreign policy- the tail, or the dog?

  110. 110
    D58826 says:

    @Elie: The Jews are simply cannon fodder in the war between Christ and the anti-Christ in the fundamentalist end times theology.

  111. 111
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @jl: The First Amendment’s passage on freedom of religion has a downside; idiotic heresies cannot be constrained, because there is no established religion with the power of the state behind it to squash utter nonsense. So this country is awash in idiotic cargo-cult like belief systems that have no solid basis in biblical scholarship at all…not to mention the ones that don’t even bother with a Abrahamic veneer to peddle their snake oil (see the “Church” of $cientology).

  112. 112
    beltane says:

    OK, now I am shocked. Hillary Clinton backs Obama on Iran and has come out against more sanctions: http://www.nbcnews.com/politic.....or-n290776

    Something’s going on here and I wouldn’t be surprised if Netanyahu and the Republicans come out on the losing end of whatever it is.

  113. 113

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    And nearly all of it was dreamed up over the last two centuries.

    Sure, but that’s not because people haven’t been misinterpreting Revelations since the day it was written. It’s just that there’s a constant need to invent new misinterpretations that align with contemporary beliefs and fears. Nobody would believe the stuff about the end of days they were scaring people with 500 years ago.

  114. 114
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: Or around the turn of the last millennium (meaning 999 to 1000), for that matter.

  115. 115
    jl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: We could adopt the Roman custom of allowing stolid genuine old time religions, but not ignorant and socially dangerous new fangled superstitions. That was the angle the Romans used to persecute Christianity, it was an ignorant and dangerous anti-social superstition, recently hatched from some disturbed and unbalanced minds.

    Conservative Islam adopted a newer version of that idea. If you got your silly imperfect prophecy before Mohammed, we’ll let you slide, but no more making up stuff after the Truth was revealed since there is no excuse for that.

    I say Conservative Islam, since want to distinguish that from fundamentalist Muslim fanatics who lop off heads and shoot for pretty much any old thing that the local warlord/clergy or fundraiser deem a qualifying offence. (Which in far less drastic terms has some similarities with US fundamentalist prots).

  116. 116
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    One year later, actually.

    (The turn of that millennium, I mean.)

    @jl:

    We could adopt the Roman custom of allowing stolid genuine old time religions, but not ignorant and socially dangerous new fangled superstitions.

    Exactly. Easy as pie.

  117. 117
    jl says:

    @Roger Moore: Yes, people have been trying to gin up Revelations into an actual prophecy about future history ever since the fact that it was aimed mostly at pagan Rome faded into the mists of forgotten memory. But official Christianity of all stripes opposed those efforts strongly since they first appeared (that is, over the whole history of Christianity).

    The new fangled version which so promiscuously mixes up unrelated stuff is only about 150 years old though. And somehow got itself identified as the real deal in popular culture.

  118. 118
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @jl: Which is the thing about so much of Islam…it’s used as a justification for a lot of local tribal culture that needs to be preserved at all costs so the same patriarchy is perpetuated in the face of changes outside the tribe.

  119. 119
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes: I know what you’re saying, but we just went through this with the innumerate only 15 years ago. Particularly the innumerate with access to television studios and printing presses.

  120. 120
    JoyfulA says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I heard a radio talk show host fulminate about “jew you down” said by people who meant “gyp you.”

    He was totally oblivious that he was advocating replacing one slur with another.

  121. 121
    jl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Which is also the thing about most major religions. Parts of Islam are in particularly strict and ruthless phase right now. But it has been different in the past, and probably will be again in the future.

  122. 122
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yes, well, like the poet’s father, we, too, should not go gently into that good night.

  123. 123
    Renie says:

    @jl: This comment wins.

  124. 124
    Tree With Water says:

    @JoyfulA: I’m an Irish-American mongrel.* A woman once wrote the San Francisco Chronicle in an absolute snit because the paper had used the term ‘paddy wagon’. Until that moment, it had never occurred to me to call it anything else, much less that it could be construed as an insult to the sons and daughters of old Eire. Even today, if someone were to refer to one as “a police wagon”, I’d probably ask, “do you mean a paddy wagon”? But that woman meant business. She was genuinely insulted, and I didn’t get it. I mean I did, but I really don’t, because it’s such a damn silly thing to take offense over.

    * (…”don’t care where you’re from or where you’re going, all I know is that you came”…)

    Dr. Winston O’Boogie

  125. 125
    sharl says:

    Hmmm…

    Israeli Mossad Goes Rogue, Warns U.S. on Iran Sanctions
    4 Jan 21, 2015 7:26 PM EST
    By Josh Rogin & Eli Lake

    The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling U.S. officials and lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Congress would tank the Iran nuclear negotiations.

    Already, the Barack Obama administration and some leading Republican senators are using the Israeli internal disagreement to undermine support for the bill, authored by Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Robert Menendez, which would enact new sanctions if current negotiations falter.

    Israeli intelligence officials have been briefing both Obama administration officials and visiting U.S. senators about their concerns on the Kirk-Menendez bill, which would increase sanctions on Iran only if the Iranian government can’t strike a deal with the so-called P5+1 countries by a June 30 deadline or fails to live up to its commitments. Meanwhile, the Israeli prime minister’s office has been supporting the Kirk-Menendez bill, as does the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, ahead of what will be a major foreign policy confrontation between the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government in coming weeks.

    Evidence of the Israeli rift surfaced Wednesday when Secretary of State John Kerry said that an unnamed Israeli intelligence official had said the new sanctions bill would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.” But an initial warning from Israeli Mossad leaders was also delivered last week in Israel to a Congressional delegation — including Corker, Graham, McCain and fellow Republican John Barrasso; Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly and Tim Kaine; and independent Angus King — according to lawmakers who were present and staff members who were briefed on the exchange. When Menendez (who was not on the trip) heard about the briefing, he quickly phoned Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer to seek clarification.

    Barrasso told us Tuesday that different parts of the Israeli government told the delegation different things. “We met with a number of government officials from many different parts of the government. There’s not a uniform view there,” he said.

    I usually ignore anything involving Eli Lake in the byline, given his well earned reputation as a stooge for anonymous war hawks and AIPAC types. But an exception seemed warranted here.

  126. 126
    priscianus jr says:

    @Cervantes:Should we assume also that Netanyahu, who is facing an election in less than two months, has thought it through as well?

    Sure he’s thought it through. But between Bibi and Obama, which of them do you think has a better grasp of American public opinion? As for Israel, see comment 125, just above.

    (Don’t all answer at once.)

  127. 127
    priscianus jr says:

    @Tree With Water: Obama need only fire back on grounds of his own choosing, and the democratic rank file will have his back. So too will more rocked ribbed republicans than you might think. Americans across the board are fed up with the Israeli right wing (aka, its government)

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I’m thinking.

  128. 128
    Elie says:

    @priscianus jr:

    I agree – also (for what its worth)

  129. 129
    Bill Arnold says:

    @sharl:

    Israeli Mossad Goes Rogue, Warns U.S. on Iran Sanctions

    Pretty interesting.
    Is Kirk-Menendez still this: Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013?
    It is hard to shake the impression that it was written, if not by the Israeli right directly, by Americans channeling the Israeli right fairly directly. It is also hard to shake the impression that it is intended to derail negotiations with Iran, and the reading of the NNPT (NPT – nuclear non proliferation treaty) is hard to reconcile with the actual text of the NNPT.

  130. 130
  131. 131
    brantl says:

    Of course, how can you f*ck things up, without a Boehner?

  132. 132
    Cervantes says:

    @priscianus jr:

    I’d guess that, at the moment, Netanyahu is more concerned with Israeli (as opposed to American) public opinion — but is, incidentally, relying on, and helping, the Republicans to do what they can to further scare the American public about “Iran.”

    (By the way: Is Obama is playing the wrong cards. He may be, but I wasn’t positing it.)

  133. 133
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    I wonder if anyone will bother shrieking “Traitor!” at Boehner & Co. for openly undermining US negotiations with Iran?

    Are you kidding? Negotiating with Iran is the act of treason; undermining said negotiations is the height of patriotism. Simply talking to Iran runs counter to the notion of American Exceptionalism, which roughly translated is that we can literally do no wrong and the rest of the world can just go screw.

    Also, too, BLACK BLACK BLACK BLACK BLACK BLACK BLACKITY NEGRO.

  134. 134
    Cervantes says:

    @sharl:

    I usually ignore anything involving Eli Lake in the byline, given his well earned reputation as a stooge for anonymous war hawks and AIPAC types. But an exception seemed warranted here.

    Plus Josh Rogin was co-author.

  135. 135
    Chris says:

    @Peale:

    It effects noting. Every one of those congressmen knows to stand and applaud constantly for the speech of Bibi and they will all fall in line. From the perspective of the reporting on the topic, it will look like everyone favors Israeli interests. That’s all that matters.

    Yeah.

    And as far as the public is concerned, I suspect that if this does balloon into a big argument, the public will just see it in simple terms of “Israel versus Iran” (which one should we piss off by being nice to the other?) And the reaction will be “Israel, of course.” That might not be true if Bibi was actually asking us to go to war with Iran or some such, the public’s tired of war (for now) – but sanctions? That’s no skin off any of our noses.

  136. 136
    Chris says:

    @Elie:
    @boatboy_srq:
    @D58826:

    As often as I’ve heard this, I’ve never completely bought it. Yes, there are plenty of right wing Christians who support Israel because of their Revelations fan fiction… but not every right winger is an end-of-days, Jews-must-rule-in-Israel-so-Jesus-can-return-and-kill-them believer. Pretty much every right winger, however, is 100% in the tank for Israel, certainly all of those I’ve met – including those from more mainstream denominations, and even the occasional atheist.

    There’s an even simpler explanation for the fanatical support for Israel; Jews, like the Irish, the Italians, the Poles et al, “became white” at some point during the 20th century. Arabs, like blacks, Latinos and Asians… did not. Identity boundaries and the people our right wingers identify with have changed, even as the basic “us versus them” worldview remains, so now they support people that they never would have sixty years ago. (Much like they cheer on the Catholic Church in all its confrontations with the Obama administration as it attempts to get special exemptions written in for itself and otherwise dictate how U.S. law should be – even though for most of history they’d have been furiously attacking Catholics for plotting to do exactly that).

  137. 137
    Bokonon says:

    @Anya: The GOP did this kind of crap to Bill Clinton as well. At one point during the impeachment garbage, back around 1998, Denny Hastert was going around telling the diplomats and leaders from other countries that they should just deal directly with the Republican leadership in Congress instead of talking to Clinton. Since Clinton was finished.

    That was really, really bad. This is just a reprise.

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