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21 January 2015


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Respectfully, BSHO is not reading the Constitution and ruling by executive action so why should Congress obey the law?

BSHO veto will be overridden in the Senate...


Actually, what he's guilty of is sedition.

Swami Bhut Jolokia

As expected Mr Obama has declined to meet Mr Netanyahu, as members of Congress declare their fealty to him.

Of course this is being spun in the right wing 'news' outlets as a fit of pique.

William R. Cumming

Apologies P.L. I thought that was the question or citation you needed!


This should interest you and WRC:

"John Boehner's outrageous plan to help a foreign leader undermine Obama"
First, http://www.vox.com/2015/1/21/7866089/netanyahu-boehner-congress

Then the Supreme Court case:
"Zivotofsky v. Kerry: The Supreme Court case over Israel and US foreign policy, explained"


The President also holds the position of Head of State, which Netanyahu does not.

scott s.

Of course the President has the power to "receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers", but let's face it: the President has been happy to stick it to the republicans in congress so shouldn't be surprised when they return the favor. Is it statesman-like? No, but when was that ever a criterion?


Perhaps it is time to prosecute AIPAC as an unregistered foreign agent and for some of the foreign aid checks and military supplies going to Israel to get "temporarily lost and delayed" for a while?


Obama sets the tripwire for WW III:

WASHINGTON — American soldiers will deploy to Ukraine this spring to begin training four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard, the head of US Army Europe Lt. Gen Ben Hodges said during his first visit to Kiev on Wednesday.


The Twisted Genius


I haven't seen the new edition. I was well acquainted with the works of the Brothers Grimm, H.C. Andersen and Aesop at an early age. Nor did I miss out on Dr. Seuss.


Or will we soon see Bibi on his way to Moscow to find out what the Russians want in return for postponing any S-300 deal?

It could be a nice way for the Russians to get their hands on some US military technology without any risks. Giving the impunity with which Israel can spy on US companies.

I would not by surprised if the Russians played a similar game using Syria.

alba etie

What could possible go wrong with having US militray training neofascist anti Russian elements in the Near Abroad ?

Swami Bhut Jolokia

King Abdullah passed away. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30945324

This ought to make things interesting in Saudi Arabia, what with succession struggles, Iran/US negotiations, Wahabi-ism, rising Shia power, conflicts in Yemen etc.

alba etie

Laura Wilson
I see it more as governance by an unregistered foreign agency AIPAC . Citizen United has led us to this; BiBi being feted by Congress Critters bought and paid for by AIPAC . But yes the agenda here is to eventually destroy Iran and embarrass BHO . I guess the one potential bright spot in this unfolding clusterf --ck is that the neocons & BiBi will not be able to actually bomb Tehran and Natanz until after the 2016 election cycle. Now is the time for We the People stand up to the war mongers and elect a POTUS that will stop this clusterf--ck of going to war with the Persians ...



If the Ukrainians fight light the last army we trained then the Donetsk separatists have little to worry about. BTW $189,000 for a glorified jeep? Who the heck got the payoff for that deal?


It may be worth keeping in mind that the national politics since 2008 have been repeatedly shocking. I would argue that is not the point.

It's worth noting:

In 2012, 58% of the eligible US population voted.
Obama received 65,915,796 votes - from every city and state in the United States.


In contrast, in 2012, John Boehner ran in one congressional district (Ohio's 8th). He garnered 71,120 votes:


We are now treated to the ominous spectacle of the Speaker of the House, who garnered a paltry, orders-of-magnitude-fewer votes than the President, taking it upon himself to invite international leaders to the U.S. -- and **without telling the President**.

This is not a simple story about political payback and DC knife-fighting. Being blinded by frustration about Obama distracts from the underlying, constitutional issue(s).

What must people watching this train wreck think of the US?! We must look like a pack of bickering, unprincipled lunatics, or worse.

What this says about Boehner is reprehensible, and if Pelosi had pulled a stunt like this, I'd be just as contemptuous and derisive.

What it says about Netanyahu is equally appalling (but not surprising). Netanyahu has been interfering in US politics for years now - no matter what I think about Obama, watching Netanyahu's delight at the sight of Romney in a yarmulke in Jerusalem, next to Sheldon Adelson, was unsavory (to say the least).

This incident unfurls a whole new level of American political dysfunction. If Boehner gets away with this, the confusion and conflicting messages that ensue will be dangerous for all of us.

Here's hoping that Obama channels Pope Gregory VII, and takes decisive action.

I'm with MRW in viewing Boehner's actions as sedition, in the sense that it incites disrespect for the legal authority of a duly elected President -- whether that happens to be Obama, Bush II, or anyone else.

I can't imagine Eisenhower tolerating this kind of nonsense for a nanosecond; he knew the importance of communicating clearly about international affairs.

Since when did winning a congressional election, and obtaining a leadership role in a legislative body, authorize one to conduct foreign policy? Will the Chair of the Banking Committee invite Ms Merkel for talks in March? Will the Chair of the Armed Services Committee take it upon themselves to 'host' other international leaders, whenever it suits their political machinations?

This is a dangerous precedent.

The implications of this post go far beyond the political infighting of the moment. This is about whether there is cohesion, or clarity, in US foreign policy.

What must international leaders and business interests think when someone who garnered fewer than 72,000 votes takes it upon himself to pretend that his opinions outweigh those of the duly elected President, who garnered 65,000,000 votes? They must think we are absolute idiots if Boehner gets away with this nonsense.


The end of the Max Fisher article I link to above says this, which is in keeping with the Colonel's point.

"To be very clear, this is not just a breach of protocol: it's a very real problem for American foreign policy. The Supreme Court has codified into law the idea that only the president is allowed to make foreign policy, and not Congress, because if there are two branches of government setting foreign policy then America effectively has two foreign policies.

The idea is that the US government needs to be a single unified entity on the world stage in order to conduct effective foreign policy. Letting the president and Congress independently set their own foreign policies would lead to chaos. It would be extremely confusing for foreign leaders, and foreign publics, who don't always understand how domestic American politics work, and could very easily misread which of the two branches is actually setting the agenda. (This confusion, by the way, is exactly what some Republicans are hoping to create in Iran with new sanctions.)

This could also allow a foreign country to play those two branches off of each other. That's in part what Netanyahu is attempting to do here, and it's working. The Obama administration did not even find out about Netanyahu's planned visit to Washington until Boehner announced it. The Republicans are attempting to run a foreign policy that's separate from the actual, official US foreign policy.

One more anti-Obama speech from Netanyahu on the floor of Congress is not going to break US foreign policy, of course. But it's troubling that Republicans are willing to breach such an important principle for some pretty modest short-term gains."


Further, the Max Fisher article links to a case currently before the Supreme Court called "Zivotofsky v. Kerry." Kerry being the US Federal Govt. Oral arguments were held last November. An American couple's son was born in Jerusalem and they want the child's American passport to read Israel. The State Department refused: its policy since 1948 has been not to register Israel as the place of birth for Americans born in Jerusalem. The Zivotofskys sued the State Department because Congress passed a law in 2002 overruling the State Department's policy on registering passports from Americans born in Jerusalem. So now it's also a fight over who has the right to set foreign policy: Congress, or the Executive.

There's an interesting paragraph in the article.

"The primary reason that the court will likely side against Zivotofsky is that the Constitution is widely understood as giving the executive branch the bulk of foreign policy powers. That derives from something called **the "sole organ" doctrine**, named for a speech that founding father John Marshall gave in 1800, a year before he became the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Marshall said, "The President is the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations." A 1936 Supreme Court decision, United States v. Curtiss-Wright, ruled that the "sole organ" doctrine grants the president inherent constitutional powers in foreign relations."

Here is the link to the "sole organ" doctrine: http://fas.org/sgp/eprint/fisher.pdf.


"the President has been happy to stick it to the republicans in congress"

I think you have got that backwards


looked at admittedly very, very superficially, I don't think this changes matters essentially, Lars.

a) they ultimately distrust the Obama admin as much as their 'leader', they only differ on the fact that Israel cannot do this on it's own, ideally doesn't need to join a war enterprise at all. Which secretly Bibi would prefer too. Just as him they want to restrict the admin's ability to succeed in something like a political détente, or at least a slight relaxation of tensions between the US and Iran.

b) their suggestion will overall have the same result as Bibi's. Forcing Iran, who no doubt watches this political struggle closely, to get more and more hesitant about any of these offers that reduce them to puppets that have to sign whatever is put in front of them. In other words they stand no chance to get out of this affair with a limited amount of self-respect in place.

The core is this:
"Despite the intelligence analyses, however, predicting Iranian behavior is no exact science. There is still much about Iran’s program that U.S. spies do not know. In November, former CIA director Michael Hayden told Congress that U.S. intelligence assessments do not have a “complete picture” of the extent of Iran’s nuclear program."

Elections: No doubt Bibi will be considered as dealing with matters more straightforward, while the Israeli majority may reduce matters to something like a palace revolt about how to best handle matters. They have been spoonfed details about Iran's antisemitism for a long time now. All you need to do is connect the dots effectively with the "present danger".


You very well may be right but somebody leaked this on purpose and I suspect it was not Bibi's crowd. It certainly undermines his proposed congressional "show and tell". I think Mr. Speaker should be reminded of being careful about what you wish for. You may get not only it, but a lot more.


I know for a fact that one does NOT have to give up foreign citizenship to work for the US gov't in a national security position. I worked with/know several individuals in DoD with foreign citizenship. Granted, they were from EU countries and solid people that we were fortunate to get.

My recollection is that former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren's disavowal of his US citizenship was prompted by Israeli, not American, requirements. I read years ago (don't remember the source or its credibility) that the Israelis require this of immigrants who want to work in sensitive billets. (ambassadors, crew on nuclear weapons carrying diesels boats, etc)



You are looking at this problem of Boehner's independent foreign policy from the VP of a foreigner. For me the challenge to the constitutional order here is more important. pl


Imagine, from my own limited perspective the standing ovations were created quite cleverly. I am sure I once watched this.

Tell me if I am wrong. He starts by letting them applaud to their own virtue as Americans? Once he has them in this mood, it's easy to see how the rest--at least partially--could be produced in the "heat of the moment" that left no time for reflection on how the speech worked. In other words, I wouldn't want to pick out each single member raising to his or her feet as a potential traitor. If I had a video on the audience, and where American.

I am not trying to deny the influence of money on elections, but this support is also created based on a more emotional layer. ...


tv, apart from the fact we all--with variations-- assume that you are a republication, very concerned about terrorism, or alternatively Israel's safety. Plus whatever I forgot to add.

Could you tell us more about Obama's specific hardball games?

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