DC Perspective: Open Thread


step snow steffler.jpg
(photo credit: Alexander Steffler)
I’ve just flown home from Pittsburgh and was looking through some photos that a good friend and blogger, Alex Steffler, took of my house. The one above is of a step after a recent snow.
— Steve Clemons


11 comments on “DC Perspective: Open Thread

  1. Kathleen says:

    You better watch out
    You better not pout
    You better give Dopey and Darth
    One helluva Rout


  2. erichwwk says:

    otiwa ogede writes:
    “the Russian deliveries may still be conditional on Iran suspending enrichment on receipt.”
    Wishful thinking. Helene Cooper reports in the International Herald:
    Iran said that it had no intention of suspending its uranium enrichment just because it had received the fuel shipment for Bushehr, a point that it underscored by saying, for the first time, that it needed to enrich uranium for another new nuclear power plant in the south of the country. That announcement came through the Fars news service.
    Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran’s Atomic Organization, said that Iran needed to produce fuel for a second plant under construction.
    “We are building a 360-megawatt indigenous power plant in Darkhovein,” Aghazadeh said. “The fuel for this plant needs to be produced by the Natanz enrichment plant,” he added, according to the news agency.


  3. Hedley Lamarr says:

    You have a Wedgewood Blue house? Cool!


  4. Homer says:

    Harvey Wasserman on New Ohio Voting Report: “The 2004 Election Was Stolen… Finally We Have Irrefutable Confirmation”
    But the 2004 election was stolen. There is absolutely no doubt about it. A 6.7% shift in exit polls does not happen by chance. And, you know, so finally, we have irrefutable confirmation that what we were saying was true and that every piece of the puzzle in the Ohio 2004 election was flawed.


  5. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at December 17, 2007 09:36 AM
    I was going to repost my true story of the man and his monkey in regard to Israel but you beat me to it by posting Ritter’s article which says the same thing.
    I have been listening to c-span this morning and there was a fight going on about Lieberman’s endorsement of McCain…..a lot of callers saying Lieberman can’t be trusted because he is an Israeli firster first and foremost….other callers supporting Lieberman and McCain because they would be good for Israel and the wur on terriers.
    A lot of people who say they were former dems or repubs calling it to say Paul is the only candidate who is talking about America first.
    Paul is the most non MSM reported revolution going on in the country. Even though he has been shut out by the political and media establishment so to speak I don’t think this revolution thinking among Americans is going away. If anything another bizness as usual dem or repub adm will only intensify it.


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hmmm, Ron Paul raises six million bucks in 24 hours. The most, in the shortest time, of ANY candidate in history. Think maybe the natives are getting restless?
    No wonder these treasonous lyin’ schmucks in Washington want to rein in the internet. Its either that, or start killing every Ron Paul that rolls down the pike. Sooner or later one of these Ron Paul type folks will rally us into the streets. I mean hey, how much longer will we tolerate taxation without representation?
    Apparently, I’m not the only pissed off American.


  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    December 17, 2007
    US Must Reevaluate Its Relationship With Israel
    by Scott Ritter
    I have for some time now publicly articulated my sympathy and support for the state of Israel, even while criticizing those cases that I believed constituted poor judgment and bad policy. My stance was based upon my past experiences with Israel, which began indirectly in 1990-1991 when I was involved in counter-SCUD activities during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and continued in a much more direct fashion as a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), charged with disarming Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
    As a weapons inspector I made numerous visits to Israel for the purpose of coordinating with the Israeli intelligence community on matters pertaining to Iraqi WMD. I was greatly impressed not only with the professionalism of the Israeli intelligence services, but also with the Israeli people and society. During my time in Israel, I was witness to numerous horrific events, including several terrorist bombings and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The resilience of the people of Israel in absorbing these blows yet continuing to live life to its fullest was remarkable, and worthy of admiration.
    As a firsthand witness to the remarkable vigor of the Israeli state and its people, and as someone who considers himself to be their friend, it saddens me to see just how poorly the current Israeli government returns this friendship, not to me personally, but to my country, the United States of America. The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has embarked on policies that are questionable at best when one examines them from a purely Israeli standpoint; they are nothing less than a betrayal of the United States when examined from a broader perspective.
    The insidious manner in which the current Israeli government has manipulated the domestic political machinery of the United States to produce support for its policies constitutes nothing less than direct interference in the governance of a sovereign state. The degree to which the current Israeli government has succeeded in this regard can be tracked not only by the words and actions of the administration of President George W. Bush and the American Congress, but also by the extent to which a pro-Israel lexicon has taken hold within the mainstream media of the United States. Witness the pro-Israel bias displayed when discussing the situation in southern Lebanon, the air strike in Syria, or the Iranian situation, and the retarding of any effort toward a responsible discussion of anything dealing with Israel becomes apparent.
    One would expect such efforts to shape the domestic public opinion of a state deemed hostile, but when the target of these Israeli actions is its ostensible best friend, one must begin to question whether or not the friendship is a one-way street. And if this is indeed the case, then perhaps it is time for the United States to reconsider its decades-old policy of strategic partnership with Israel.
    It must be understood that the government of Ehud Olmert is acting in a post-9/11 environment, with considerable facilitators in the administration of President Bush, including the vice president. These two factors combine to create a cycle of enablement that allows a purely Israeli point of view to dominate American policy. If the Israeli point of view were built on logic, compassion, and the rule of law, then this tilt would not constitute a problem. But the Israeli point of view is increasingly constructed on a foundation of intolerance and irresponsible unilateralism that divorces the country from global norms. In this day and age of nuclear nonproliferation, the undeclared nuclear arsenal of Israel stands as perhaps the most egregious example of how an Israel-only standard destabilizes the Middle East. It is the Israeli nuclear weapons program, including its strategic delivery systems, that is the core of instability for this very volatile region.
    The statements by Israeli officials concerning the recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran and its nuclear program are perhaps the best manifestation of this reality. Avi Dichter, Israel’s public security minister, has condemned the NIE as a flawed document, and in terms that link the American analysis to a cause-and-effect cycle that could lead the Middle East down the path of regional war. Like many Israelis, including the prime minister, Dichter disagrees with the American NIE on Iran, in particular the finding that Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program in 2003. The Israelis hold that this program is still active, despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached a conclusion similar to the NIE’s based upon its own exhaustive inspection activities inside Iran over the past five years.
    In threatening the world with war because America opted for once to embrace fact instead of fiction, Israel, sadly, has become like a cornered beast, lashing out at any and all it perceives to threaten its security interests. The current Israeli definition of what constitutes its security interests is so broad as to preclude any difference of opinion. Israel’s shameless invocations of the Holocaust to defend its actions not only shames the memory of those murdered over 60 years ago, but ironically dilutes the impact of that memory by linking it with current policies that are cruel and intolerant. The message of Holocaust remembrance should be “never again,” not just in terms of the persecution of Jews, but in terms of man’s inhumanity to man. The birth of the Israeli state, as imperfect and controversial as it was, served as a foundation for the pursuit of tolerance. However, Israel’s current policies, rooted in ethnic and religious hatred, are the antithesis of tolerance.
    Israel at present can have no friends, because Israel does not know how to be a friend. Driven by xenophobic paranoia and historical grievances, Israel is embarked on a path that can only lead to death and destruction. This is a path the United States should not tread. I have always taken the position that Israel is a friend of the United States, and that friends should always stand up for one another, even in difficult times. I have also noted that, to quote a phrase well known in America, friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and that for some time now Israel has been drunk on arrogance and power. As a friend, I have believed the best course of action for the United States to take would be that which helped remove the keys from the ignition of the policy vehicle Israel is steering toward the edge of the abyss. Now it seems our old friend is holding a pistol to our head, demanding that we stop interfering with the vehicle’s operation and preventing us from getting out of the car. This is not the action of a friend, and it can no longer be tolerated.
    It is time for what those who are familiar with dependency issues would term an intervention. Like a child too long spoiled by an inattentive parent, Israel has grown accustomed to American largess, to the point that it is addicted to an American aid package that is largely responsible for keeping the Israeli economy afloat. This aid must be reconsidered in its entirety. The day of the free ride must come to an end. The United States must redefine its national security priorities in the Middle East and position Israel accordingly. At the very least, American aid must be linked to Israeli behavior modification. The standards America applies to other nations around the world when it comes to receiving aid must likewise apply to Israel.
    Let there be no doubt: Israel and its considerable lobby of supporters here in America will scream bloody murder if their aid is trimmed in any fashion. But in the greater interest of what will best benefit the security interests of the United States, and indeed the Middle East and the entire world, the grip Israel has on American policymaking must come to an end. It is up to the American people to make this change, first and foremost by recognizing that a real problem exists in American-Israeli relations, then by electing officials to Congress who will deal responsibly with these problems based not on the behind-the-scenes lobbying of Israel and its proxies, but rather the legitimate interests of the United States.
    If Israel decides it wants to be our friend, then it will change its behavior accordingly. Absent this, America has no choice but to declare its independence from a relationship that has destroyed our credibility around the world and drags us dangerously down the path toward another irresponsible military misadventure in the Middle East. If, in the future, Israel desires to reestablish a relationship with the United States built upon the principles of mutual trust and benefit, then so be it. Such a relationship is something I could embrace without hesitation. But one thing is certain: no such friendship can truly exist under the conditions and terms that are in place today, and for that reason the entirety of the American-Israeli relationship must be reexamined.
    Now, after reading Ritter’s commentary, I heartily suggest you pay the AIPAC website a visit, and read for yourself the pure unmittigated horseshit they are trying to cram down our throats in regards to Iran and the recent NIE…..
    By the way, there are only two candidates currently running for president that will attest to the wisdom of Ritter’s words, and the sheer dishonesty of AIPAC’s warmongering. You know who they are.


  8. otiwa ogede says:

    thanx, but that sounds like the Russians had decided not to wait for Iran to comply with the UNSC before delivering the uranium for Bushehr. The NIE and IAEA reports could have tipped Russia’s hand.
    However the Russian deliveries may still be conditional on Iran suspending enrichment on receipt.


  9. erichwwk says:

    No, quite the contrary.
    “Russia has probably concluded that Iran is not going to be dissuaded and that enrichment is a fait accompli”
    Mark Fitzpatrick IISS


  10. otiwa ogede says:

    Dear Steve, the news today is of Russia’s delivery of enriched Uranium to Iran for its Bushehr NPP. Interestingly RIA Novosti is reporting Russia’s foreign ministry as saying that….
    “We believe that entirely new conditions have been created, allowing Iran to take steps to restore trust in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program,” the ministry said in a statement.
    The ministry said Iran had provided additional written guarantees that the fuel would be used solely for electricity generation.
    “This includes the suspension of uranium enrichment activities, as Iran will not need its own enrichment facility in the mid-term,” the Foreign Ministry said.”
    So am I reading this right? Has Iran agreed with the Russians to suspend its domestic uranium enrichment?


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    By Representatives and Members of the Judiciary Committee:
    Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
    On November 7, the House of Representatives voted to send a resolution of impeachment of Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee. As Members of the House Judiciary Committee, we strongly believe these important hearings should begin.
    The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.
    Now that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has indicated that the Vice President and his staff purposefully gave him false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent to report to the American people, it is even more important for Congress to investigate what may have been an intentional obstruction of justice. Congress should call Mr. McClellan to testify about what he described as being asked to “unknowingly [pass] along false information.” In addition, recent revelations have shown that the Administration including Vice President Cheney may have again manipulated and exaggerated evidence about weapons of mass destruction — this time about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
    Some of us were in Congress during the impeachment hearings of President Clinton. We spent a year and a half listening to testimony about President Clinton’s personal relations. This must not be the model for impeachment inquires. A Democratic Congress can show that it takes its constitutional authority seriously and hold a sober investigation, which will stand in stark contrast to the kangaroo court convened by Republicans for President Clinton. In fact, the worst legacy of the Clinton impeachment – where the GOP pursued trumped up and insignificant allegations – would be that it discourages future Congresses from examining credible and significant allegations of a constitutional nature when they arise.
    The charges against Vice President Cheney are not personal. They go to the core of the actions of this Administration, and deserve consideration in a way the Clinton scandal never did. The American people understand this, and a majority support hearings according to a November 13 poll by the American Research Group. In fact, 70% of voters say that Vice President Cheney has abused his powers and 43% say that he should be removed from office right now. The American people understand the magnitude of what has been done and what is at stake if we fail to act. It is time for Congress to catch up.
    Some people argue that the Judiciary Committee can not proceed with impeachment hearings because it would distract Congress from passing important legislative initiatives. We disagree. First, hearings need not tie up Congress for a year and shut down the nation. Second, hearings will not prevent Congress from completing its other business. These hearings involve the possible impeachment of the Vice President – not our commander in chief – and the resulting impact on the nation’s business and attention would be significantly less than the Clinton Presidential impeachment hearings. Also, despite the fact that President Bush has thwarted moderate Democratic policies that are supported by a vast majority of Americans — including children’s health care, stem cell research, and bringing our troops home from Iraq — the Democratic Congress has already managed to deliver a minimum wage hike, an energy bill to address the climate crisis and bring us closer to energy independence, assistance for college tuition, and other legislative successes. We can continue to deliver on more of our agenda in the coming year while simultaneously fulfilling our constitutional duty by investigating and publicly revealing whether or not Vice President Cheney has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
    Holding hearings would put the evidence on the table, and the evidence – not politics – should determine the outcome. Even if the hearings do not lead to removal from office, putting these grievous abuses on the record is important for the sake of history. For an Administration that has consistently skirted the constitution and asserted that it is above the law, it is imperative for Congress to make clear that we do not accept this dangerous precedent. Our Founding Fathers provided Congress the power of impeachment for just this reason, and we must now at least consider using it.
    For more info on this campaign go to http://www.WexlerWantsHearings.com.


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