Posted on November 08, 2011 in Countdown
Countdown Vol. 10, No. 22
Oops, Was That Mic Still On?
When politicians forget that the mic is still hooked to their tie and get caught saying something they’re not supposed to be saying, usually it’s something really embarrassing like bragging about sexual exploits with lobbyists, or calling people names. But this latest hot mic gaffe we actually like. During the G-20 meeting in France, French President Sarkozy opened up to President Obama about his feelings towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "I cannot stand him. He is a liar." To this, President Obama replied, “You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!" Sometimes, a moment of candidness can be beautiful! The first visible damage from these comments was to John McCain’s feelings, who said “I happen to be a great admirer of Prime Minister Netanyahu.” We all are, Senator. After all, the man is so obnoxious he manages to annoy, frustrate, and disappoint everyone and still stay in power; how can you not admire that?
The 28th Amendment
In 2002, Congress passed a bill that would allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to list their country of birth as “Israel,” reversing a decades-long State Department policy to keep the status of Jerusalem as neutral, pending a final Palestinian-Israeli settlement. The State Department, exhibiting common sense in the face of posturing and politicization, has refused to implement the law, and the fight has finally made it all the way up to the Supreme Court, which appears to find the bill equally ridiculous. Despite claims by its sponsors that the “United States Policy with respect to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel” bill had no foreign policy implications, the Justices weren’t buying it. “What entitles Congress to trench on a presidential power that has been exercised virtually since the beginning of the country?” asked Justice Sotomayor. We’re not sure where judge Sotomayor went to law school, but she’s clearly not familiar with the 28th amendment of the U.S. constitution which mandates Congress outdo the administration at least twice a year in demonstrating support for Israel.
How Dysfunctional is Washington?
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, aka “the supercommittee,” was formed back in August to circumvent Washington’s partisan deadlock and figure out a reasonable way to get our financial house in order. Well, guess what? The supercommittee is stuck in partisan deadlock and appears to be on the road to failure. Senator Schumer (D-NY) criticized Republicans’ unwillingness to compromise, saying “I don't think ... the supercommittee is going to succeed because our Republican colleagues have said no net revenues.” Speaker Boehner (R-OH) responded by criticizing Schumer’s "ideological addiction" to raising taxes. If the supercommittee fails to reach a deal soon, billions of dollars will be cut from national security programs. Thanks a lot, supercommittee, for being just like the rest of Washington.
The Sharia Comeback
It’s been a few days since our friendly presidential candidates invoked the “sharia law” threat, hasn’t it? Worry not, Michele Bachmann is on it! Last week, she warned that considering sharia in U.S. courts "would usurp, and put Sharia law over the Constitution, and that would be wrong." Our favorite part is not the overdone delusional hysteria about Sharia taking over, but Bachmann’s last line clarifying that the subverting of the U.S. constitution “would be wrong.” It really says something about your constituent-base when you have to explain that to them.
Because Obama Wasn’t on SEAL Team 6
Rick Perry is not particularly impressed with President Obama’s taking out of Osama Bin Laden. In an interview with Bill O’Rielly, Perry said “those Navy SEALs that took out Bin Laden, they knew what they were doing a long time before the president of the United States took office… It was because of the dedication and the focus and the professionalism of the military men and women of this country, not because he ended up being the president of the United States.” By contrast, President Perry’s solution to illegal immigration will be to personally patrol the border in his pickup truck, so vote for him if you don’t want a President who will try to steal the achievements of public servants carrying out his policies.
First UNESCO, Now Turkey?
Turkey has long been a close U.S. ally and NATO partner, and, as Ali Gharib of Think Progress and Dan Drezner of Foreign Policy note, has bankrolled the U.S.-supported Libyan revolution and is “now creating an enclave for the Free Syrian Army.” However, none of this has stopped some House Democrats from trying to reevaluate American-Turkish relations. Why? Because Turkey won’t make up with Israel on Israel’s terms. Not only did 7 Democrats decry Turkey’s “confrontation with our closest friends and allies” in a letter to President Obama, but Elliot Engel (D-NY) and Shelley Berkley (D-NV) have also introduced legislation seeking to block a $100+ million sale of helicopters and support equipment to Turkey. This quest to further isolate America for the sake of supporting Israel’s hardliners clearly doesn’t stop with the defunding of U.N. agencies that recognize Palestine.