Sunday, March 1, 2015

Netanyahu's speech: trying to prevent nuclear Obamacare with Iran and a bomb.

A lot has been written about Netanyahu's speech to congress with the emphasis on the superficiality of things like breaches in protocol,  mostly by some Democrats who see the speech as an afront to Obama as opposed to what is really is and what it was intended to be -- an affront to Obama's policy. 

The comparison to Obamacare is not politics nor has it anything to do with Republican attempts to overturn it. First and foremost it was a betrayal of Democrats and their voters and in pulling what amounted to a bait and switch by dropping the public option in an unnecessary capitulation to health insurance companies,  Obamacare became the most egregious sell out of a government policy to a special interest group -- the health insurance lobby -- in American   history. Netanyahu is trying to prevent the same result with a bad deal with Iran. Which it seems some Democrats still don't understand. Instead a few Democrats, roused by the White House decided to make an issue out of which side of the plate the salad fork really belongs. 

 You would have thought after getting wiped out in two elections for the same reasons --supporting or defending Obama's failures and his betrayals  of Democratic ideals and his promises reneged on over critical policies like healthcare with Obama caving in to the health insurance industry, Democrats would have learned a valuable lesson in what happens when you support failure for partisan reasons. Obviously they haven't and seem intent on doing what they do best politically -- shoot themselves in the foot especially in compromising their own principles to support Obama.

The reason for Netanyahu's speech is simply about one thing: Obama from the very beginning has proved he can't be trusted on anything much less a deal with Iran to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.  And Netanyahu knows what too many Democrats still won't admit -- that if Obama couldn't stand up to the health insurance industry, if he couldn't stand up to Wall Street, if he couldn't stand up to the threat of Isis calling them " the junior varsity" after refusing the advice of his former Secretary of State and three Secretaries of Defense to arm the moderate Syrian rebels to stop the threat and spread of Isis, if he wouldn't stand up to Putin in Crimea and won't stand up to Putin now  in eastern Ukraine, if he backed off his threat against Assad over the use of chemical weapons, why would Netanyahu or anyone else trust him to stand up to the Iranians and come away with anything more than a tepid, cosmetic, ineffective deal in order to claim success just like the ineffective cosmetic cave in on healthcare reform known as Obamacare?

A nuclear Obamacare with the Iranians is not something Netanyahu, nor most in congress are going to buy even if they do at Tea Party Left places like Daily Kos and ThinkProgress.

Hasn't anyone noticed that it's always Obama and Kerry who are afraid Iran will walk away from negotiations if they get their feathers ruffled? What kind of negotiating from a position of strength is that? Why isn't it the Iranians who are afraid the U.S.  will walk away? They're the ones who want all the sanctions lifted that are strangling their economy. 

Some in the news media like CNN are trying to put the best White House  face on Netanyahu's speech on behalf of the White House by trying to peddle the nonsense that it could hurt U.S. Israeli relations  and that the speech could backfire, calling the 34 Democrats who won't attend the speech (out of 535 members of congress) a "major backlash against Netanyahu" . But no one that matters takes that seriously. Nor their contention that it is somehow hurting U.S. -Israeli relations. It isn't. It only magnifies the strained relations between Netanyahu and Obama which goes back to June 2008 and got subsequently worse which the news media either out of their usual incompetence or cowardice over reporting anything that could jeopardize their White House  "access",  ignores.

The distrust of Obama by Netanyahu began when Obama ruined any chance to broker a mid east peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians  after  a speech he made to AIPAC  in June 2008 when he proved he was not only no statesman or even cared about accomplishing anything other than getting elected, but that  he was willing to say anything to anyone at anytime to get what he wanted politically regardless of consequences. Consequences that have affected his entire presidency when it comes to the middle east. And Netanyahu knows that too. 

It was in June 2008 that Obama made a speech in front of AIPAC  whose clear and obvious purpose was to appeal to the Jewish vote anticipating the need for Florida's electoral votes in the upcoming 2008 presidential election and Florida's substantial Jewish population. In that speech Obama sent shockwaves through the middle east when he said that he "supported a unified single Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel". Obviously so does Netanyahu and most Jews and Israelis, except that for decades U.S. negotiators had gotten both sides to agree to put that most contentious issue, the final status of Jerusalem, the last issue on the agenda in the hopes that if agreements could be made on everything else the two sides would be more likely to try and find some compromise  rather than see everything go out the window over Jerusalem. 

Obama's  politically self serving statement calculated to get the hoped for Florida Jewish vote took Jerusalem off the negotiating table and yanked the rug out from under the Palestinians feet  and while he was rewarded  in the moment with a standing ovation by the 7000 Jews at the conference, the reaction of the Palestinians and most Arab countries around the world was predictable. They went berserk.  They called Obama's reckless and politically self serving public statement biased and that he could never be trusted by the Palestinians or the Arab world. 

Obama's response was to do what he has done his whole political career and throughout his entire presidency in the face of the slightest adversity -- he immediately reneged on his original statement of committment and reversed himself  trying to claim everyone misunderstood him (kind of like " I never campaigned for a public option") . Sounding more like the ingratiating Eddie Haskell from the old Leave it to Beaver series than a presidential candidate, he tried to claim that what he meant by supporting a single unified Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel was "a Jerusalem with no barbed wire". That's what he said. Even though everyone knew there hadn't been any barbed wire partitioning  Jerusalem since 1967.

Now it was the Israelis turn to be infuriated and they were. And it proved to both sides that Obama couldn't be trusted and that his word on anything was worthless. It's the single biggest reason why he has been the most ineffective president in history in dealing with Israeli-Palestinian issues and why there has been nothing but deep distrust by Israel and the Palestinians, even more so by the Palestinians as bad as Obama's relationship with Netanyahu is. And it's that justified and fundamental distrust that gets carried over into any negotiating  Obama does with Iran. 

None of this gets pointed out by the mainstream news media either because of stupidity, fear of angering the White House and jeopardizing their "access"  or just  plain incompetence.  In an interview on CNN's State of the Union Dana Bash asked a former Israeli ambassador why the relationship between Netanyahu and Obama was so bad from the very beginning. It was like the speech Obama made in June 2008 and his reversals never took place.

Obama destroyed his crediblity with both the Israelis and Palestinians and not only was his original statement,even if he believed it (though there is no archeological record that Obama has ever actually ever believed in anything) reckless and irresponsible for someone who one day might have to be seen as an objective and honest broker,  it proved to both sides his word couldn't be trusted.  And it  not only  put the entire middle east peace process on hold for his entire presidency but the result is Netanyahu doesn't trust him as far as he can throw a nuclear reactor. 

All that  Obama accomplished with the Israelis and Palestinians  was to unite both sides in their mutual contempt for him. So it should come as no surprise that Netanyahu, on an issue as vital to Israel's security as a nuclear Iran, something vital to U.S. interests as well and the entire world given that Iran is the world's largest source of state sponsored terrorism,  isn't going to trust Obama to negotiate anything real given Obama's history and his track record of weakness and failure and making bad decisions and a bad   problem worse ( see Isis, Syria, Ukraine).

To underscore the disconnect by the White House , John Kerry actually said on Sunday that the Obama administration's diplomatic record "entitles it to the benefit of the doubt" in the negotiations with Iran. He actually said that. As if the previous six years of Obama's presidency and it's failures never happened. 

For those interested in reality, Obama is entitled to the benefit of the probability of failure and making a bad deal rather than no deal just to claim he accomplished something. Like the 32 million he said got health insurance under Obamacare who don't exist. Or the 10 million he claimed got health insurance who didn't have health insurance before . Who also don't exist. This isn't mixing metaphors . It's what Obama's track record shows he is. And what  he's willing to say or do and why he can't be trusted. 

Just as Obamacare concessions to the health insurance industry completely failed to fix the two main problems healthcare reform was supposed to fix -- getting healthcare coverage for the 50 million Americans who don't have it and lowering the obscenely high cost of healthcare for those who do -- there is concern that any deal negotiated by Obama won't solve the real problem -- to prevent Iran from enriching uranium or plutonium to the 20% needed to make a  nuclear weapon. It's not complicated. It's simple. 

Kerry's comments has to make Netanyahu more certain than ever that deciding to give the speech to congress was the right thing to do. Especially given Kerry's most recent comment that one of the major "sticking points" is the percentage  of Uranium that Iran will have the right to enrich. This isn't a "sticking point".  This is the whole point. 

Iran says they only want to enrich uranium for medical and energy purposes. Uranium only needs to be enriched 1.5% for medical isotopes and 5% for fuel. It needs to be enriched 20% to make a nuclear bomb. There should be no "sticking point " as to the percentages. And no need for a heavy water reactor which so far Iran refuses to give up but is only needed to enrich uranium to 20%. 

Pointing this out  is what Democrats boycotting the speech are protesting and instead seem to be supporting what Netanyahu and many in congress  in both parties are trying to prevent --  a bad deal that  Obama calls  a good one and that left to Obama's judgement alone could end up as a nuclear Obamacare. Which is to say hazardous to a lot of people's health. 

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