Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hump Day News...

Bibi Netanyahu has unofficially won re-election as Prime Minister of Israel. As I and many other Americans and Israelis had hoped, the people have re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu to be their leader. Netanyahu, an outspoken critic of President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, won the election despite opposition interference from the Obama administration.

 A group called “One Voice,” reportedly funded by American donors, has recently traveled to Israel to work with Bibi's opposition. The group is led by Obama’s 2012 field director Jeremy Bird, who is the founder of Battleground Texas, the federal and state PAC that worked hard to turn Texas blue in the November 4, 2014 election. It is also known that 270 Strategies, a consulting firm whose senior leadership is comprised mostly of former top staffers for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, was hired to help work against Netanyahu in the election. It is suspected that group also gets federal funding, which would possibly make it a criminal act by the Obama administration.

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) have penned a letter to the State Department asking for an investigation into possible interfering by the Obama administration in official elections in another country

“OneVoice lists the State Department as a partner on its website. In its 2013 annual report, the CEO of OneVoice touted the organization’s work ‘together in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem…made possible by two parallel U.S. Government grants,'” the letter explains.

Did Obama try to unseat Netanyahu? We may never know. Will the State Department investigate the possibility that the Obama administration interfered in the election is Israel? What do you think?

Either way, congratulations to Prime Minister and to the people of Israel. You, the people, made the right choice.

A couple of days ago, in an internet interview with Vice News, President Obama pretty blatantly stated that ISIS and its dramatic rise to power in Syria and Iraq was the fault of the Bush administration.

Shane Smith, Vice News: "One of the biggest questions that I had was how did they become so popular so fast? How did they get so many foreign fighters from America, from the U.K., from Scandinavia, from all over the world, go there, outstrip al Qaeda, almost overnight. So, a, how did they become so popular out of nowhere? And then, b, how do we stop them?"

President Obama: "ISIL is direct outgrowth of al Qaeda in Iraq which grew out of our invasion which is an example of unintended consequences which is why we should generally aim before we shoot."

Once again President Obama does what he's good at - deflecting responsibility for current affairs away from himself onto others.

"We should generally aim before we shoot." Let's take a look at that.

President Bush took his request for war powers to Congress as required. The Republican Congress and the Democrat Senate both voted overwhelmingly to allow it. Because you, Mr. President, voted against it doesn't mean we didn't "aim before we shot." The attack on Iraq was carefully planned. The surge later on was completely successful.

When you took office in 2009 Iraq was stable and ISIS was a non-entity. After you drew a red line in the sand against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and he laughed at you, you decided to arm the rebels fighting against him. Those rebels are the ones who developed into ISIS. ISIS isn't an "unintended consequence of the invasion of Iraq" as you say. It's the direct result of your poor leadership and the unintended consequence of your leaving Iraq unprotected. You can deny it all you wish but you, President Obama, are directly responsible for the creation and arming of ISIS.

You are also directly and personally responsible for their growth and spread into Iraq. Against all expert military advice you pulled all of our troops out of Iraq. You mumble and stammer about the Status of Forces agreement that Bush didn't get but you could have negotiated one. You intentionally did not do that so you could keep your campaign promise of ending the Iraq war and bringing the troops home. The void of power in Iraq following your troop withdrawal left it wide open for ISIS to take over. 

Bottom line, Mr. President, is that no matter what you say or who you blame, you own ISIS, at least its creation and strength. It wasn't Bush's fault and it never was. It's yours. You helped create it, you financed it, you armed it, and you're still not doing much about it. One can only guess why that is. Perhaps you're OK with all the killing of innocents. Most of the rest of us are not.

Finally, in the news here at home, Starbucks coffeehouse has begun a new campaign for race relations they call "Race Together," The company is encouraging their baristas to write their new slogan on customers' cups to encourage dialogue about race.

The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, says he got the idea after an impromptu meeting with some of his employees. I'm sure Mr. Schulz means well in his misguided, liberal effort but let's look at it realistically.

People don't come to Starbucks, especially first thing in the morning, to have a discussion about race relations. They come for coffee and a muffin, or perhaps some pumpkin bread (which, by the way, is very good.) I doubt many of them are even awake enough to have a real conversation at that time.

When I am ready to have a conversation about race it's probably not going to be with the person who prepares my coffee (on that rare day that I actually go to Starbucks.) What training do these baristas have to conduct racial dialogue with customers? What if the barista happens to be a racist and initiates a conversation with someone toward whom he/she has prejudices? What if the customer is a racist? I can imagine some pretty serious arguments and possibly violent encounters as a result of Starbucks trying to force racial dialogue.

Don't get me wrong - I think dialogue on race relations is a good thing. I address it here often and on various social media pages. But I don't think it should be forced down my throat by the people who serve me my coffee. Many agree with me.

From 'Tressie McMillan Cottom at Medium says "It is unclear who Starbucks is aiming for with this campaign. If you are a colorblind ideologue, just mentioning race is racism. If you are racist, being confronted with "perspectives" on race will piss you off. If you know the difference between race and racism, race stickers will confuse you. If you would rather talk about your feelings about that thing that was about race that one time rather than talk about racism, you're really going to slow down the latte line."'

'Think Progress: "The branding of places like Starbucks are particularly obnoxious: the operation requires you to adopt a nonsensical lexicon that elevates the ordinary (calling a cashier a barista is the equivalent of calling an Apple employee, a.k.a., a glorified RadioShack worker, a "genius"). Even a small is "tall" at Starbucks. A place that manipulates language in this way should not be responsible for "starting a conversation" about anything, least of all an issue as fraught, complex and sensitive as race."'

'Entrepreneur says: "Putting this immense task on workers, even if it is voluntary, is taxing and unfair. Customers sue restaurants and attack employees over problems as inconsequential as order mix-ups. With hundreds of customers served at a single Starbucks every day, it's easy to imagine employees suddenly dealing with a slew of ignorant, racist or violent reactions — or individual baristas making ignorant or racist comments themselves."'

And my personal favorite comes from Danielle Henderson at Fusion: "It's the height of liberal American idealism and a staggering act of hubris to think we can solve our systemic addiction to racism over a Frappucino."

Better make mine a Trenta. This could take a while...

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