Yeah, We Call That “Lunch Money” Around Here

A work story:

Among other things I’m the outgoing shipping manager where I work; a few weeks ago I was emailed by our UPS rep (UPS being our primary small package carrier) asking to drop by so that she could tell me about a new UPS program.  I was going to be busy on the day she proposed so I suggested that perhaps the next week would be better, and to please send me some info so that I could review it when I had the chance. She sent me a link and I took a look:

UPS Rewards

So what’s it about? With this program, if I ship more with UPS this year than last, I get points which can be redeemed for… stuff.  You can see the examples they provide:  Kindle.  TV.  Barbecue grill (for, um – the company picnic!  Yeah, that’s it!).  I’m also the purchasing agent for our office supplies and I manage the accounts for services we use like security, IT, telecom, photocopiers, and so on.  I see these kinds of programs from many, many different vendors, and they all work much like this one.

I emailed to her that we wouldn’t be participating in this program.  She asked me why not, and I wrote back, “The benefits could easily be construed as a gratuity from a vendor, i.e., a kickback.”  I know that’s kind of indelicate, perhaps blunt, but that’s how I roll.  I didn’t hear back from her until yesterday when she showed up at my workplace.

She said she wanted to speak to me in person regarding the program, and to reassure me that the rewards were most certainly was not intended as a kickback, and many other vendors have had similar programs for years.  I told her that I’m familiar with these kinds of programs: In exchange for business the purchasing agent gets a “reward”, i.e., a gratuity.  It’s a conflict of interest for me to take any gratuity from a vendor when I spend company money on their product or service.  It would give me an incentive to give company business to a vendor with little regard for the value of the transaction to my employer since I would be getting a personal benefit.  That’s a kickback.

I also told that I didn’t hold it against her; it’s not like she slipped me a Jackson and told me there’s more where that came from if I’d give UPS all the SPS business next week (Rep: “Oh, I would never do that! My personal ethics wouldn’t allow me to do that!” Slab: “Yes, I know, and if you ever did that I’d be done with you and toss you out.”)  I also told her that I understood that she was just doing her job in introducing me to the new program as was required of her, and that understandably she wasn’t able to agree with my characterization of this new program, but also that she hadn’t and wouldn’t change my mind on this.  Regardless, I told her, this did not damage our professional relationship, that I did not hold this against her personally or as our rep, but she might want to consider telling UPS Corporate that one of her clients thinks this is a kickback program and would not participate.

So, there we were standing in the loading dock having this somewhat-awkward-but- friendly discussion, and about midway through it one of our salesreps who works out of my office sauntered up to me with a gleam in her eyes and a big sunshine smile, waving a Jackson in her hand as she sang out my name, “Oh, Slaaa—aab!”  I took her money and looked at the UPS rep and said, “Of course, she hands me money.”  We smiled at each other, and I added “It’s for her lunch – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”


ACE in Spades

ACE (Automated Commercial Environment) is the new website from the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection).  As a part of my work I need to process shipments through it, but recently my account was disabled.  Why?  Beats me, and I’m the Administrator of the account.  Friday I was able to log in – and I all I did was log in and navigate to a particular webpage – but come Monday morning I was locked out.  This is the page you see when you’re locked out:

ACE - Account Disabled

Error: (unintelligible error code) This account is disabled.

(unintelligible error code) This account is disabled.

Explanation:  (unintelligible error code) This account is disabled.

Solution:  (unintelligible error code) This account is disabled.

You consent to monitoring & and audit trail, and here are some legal threats for misuse.

I called the Helpdesk to open a ticket; they say it takes two or three days or longer for the technical department to reactivate an account (!), and, two days later, that appears to be correct.  There is no way for me to contact the technical department.


I want everyone who’s in favor of “Single Payer” healthcare to get it, because that will be their punishment.

NYTimesplaining: Add Liberal, More Liberal

Following the passing of Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia of the SCOTUS there’s been no shortage of incandescent hypocrisy as Liberals demand that the Senate must put to a vote POTUS Obama’s forthcoming nomination for a successor. That’s a Constitutionally reasonable demand, albeit one which is at odds with the Senate’s tradition of deferring the nomination to the next POTUS in an election year.

On that, I’ll say this: Liberals will always take whatever position suits their interest in terms of the benefits it provides them, and will provide whatever historical precedents, legal justifications, and ethical arguments can be had to buttress their case. As I wrote on EoT in “The Pretext of Principles“, as their self-interests dictate a swing from one polar extreme to the opposite, so do their historical precedents, legal justifications, and ethical arguments follow suit, and never expect them to remind you of their positional shift by explaining why they’ve changed their mind.

My answer to them is this: You First. The restoration of respect and civility in our governing process must depend a demonstration of good faith and trust-building measures. The right-wing cannot play by rules which the left always changes to their own benefit. If the left will forego their naked partisan self-interest then they may look to the right-wing to follow suit. It’s simple game theory: reciprocity in-kind.

Moving along, I was amused this morning (2016-02-18) to find an article front page and center in the NYTimes (“The Potential for the Most Liberal Supreme Court in Decades“) which helpfully explains how the political alignment of the SCOTUS could be shifted leftwards by a leftist nominee by leftist POTUS Obama.  No, really, this is front-and-center news for The Gray Lady:

NYTimes - 2016-02-18 9-07A - Front Page

[Note also the typically race-baiting grievance-mongering story beneath it – Oh, NYTimes, don’t ever change. Stay exactly the same, keep losing market share, bleed out, and die.]

Also included in the article are graphs, which make it so much more sciencey!

NYTimes - 2016-02-18 - Scalia's Seat Could Become Much More Liberal
To recap, a more liberal SCOTUS judge to replace the conservative Scalia would make the court more liberal – see below!

NYTimes - 2016-02-18 - The Court's Center Would Also Become Much More Liberal
Way to scoop Weekly Reader. To be fair, they do their best to accommodate their content to the intellectual capacity of their readership.  Hey, if you wanted clickbait cartoons & puppets, you should have gone to the HuffPo (clickbait also sold separately in the WaPo).

Both of the above charts are premised on the the supposition that the ideology of SCOTUS judges can be quantified numerically.  If that wasn’t laughable enough, the University of California, Berkeley (!) website for both the data and the GIGO algorithmic analysis provides this LOL YMMV caveat, “Because estimation takes place using simulation, it is likely you will get slightly different results between runs and across different platforms.”

[Note also the article in the lower left of that front-page screenshot, “Mainstream G.O.P. Field Faces Brutal Delegate Math“, which reminded me of the 2016 New Hampshire primary in which Sanders had a landslide 22pt victory over Clinton but ended up getting about the same number of delegates (delagates + superdelegates).  How did the NYTimes headline that robbery?  By focusing on Clinton and her struggles.  No, really: “After New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton Struggles to Find Her Footing” (NYTimes – 2016-02-10).]

Commie, Criminal, Clown

It’s not true that the front runners of the two parties are the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel; I can think of worse candidates with national recognition.  Nevertheless, these are the front runners and I… I have reservations.  I have concerns.  I sometimes wake up screaming obscenities.

What’s with this trainwreck of the Democrat field?  I think it’s this: Clinton wields great power over the party and that helps explain why there are precious few who would oppose her nomination despite her many obvious liabilities.  Although the Clinton Foundation has served to launder bribes it’s got the advantage of having the willful blindness of liberals to shield themselves from acknowledging her rampant corruption, and a light-touch liberal MSM to note that corruption with a sense of unanswered curiosity, as if to say, “Hmm, isn’t that odd, how about that, huh?”

Without ABSCAM-style suitcases full of cash in exchange for explicit favors liberals would always counter that “You Can’t Prove Anything!”, although the timing of some of these donations can be correlated with favorable outcomes explicitly or implicitly granted by Clintons or their minions.  That’s evidence enough to get most people put in jail, but they’re not most people, are they?  They’re powerful, connected, protected.  Which gets you to how you can give a private speech to Goldman-Sachs for $225K and still run for POTUS without being hounded by the press or run out of town on a rail.

The matter of the private email server, and the classified information therein, well, that’s another matter.  That’s a criminal matter.  And there’s no way around it.  The law is clear.  The evidence is indisputable.  The crimes are numerous and the penalties for those crimes involve incarceration.

This helps explain the rise of Sanders.  He’s far enough outside the circle of power brokers in the party that he’s willing to compete for the nomination.  As such he’s the only credible alternative to Clinton for the nomination despite his many electability issues.  Issues like, for example, his being a Marxist, and as such having demonstrated his blithering idiocy and ignorance of economics.  Oh, there’s more, plenty more which make him an otherwise unlikely choice for the Democrat nomination but Clinton is repugnant enough to liberals that many prefer him to her.  They’ll hold their nose and vote for her if they have to, then go to the bathroom to retch, but better either one of them than a (*shudder*) Republican.  I could be wrong about that, though.  They might end up voting for her in the general election with their heads held high.  Either way, they’ll vote for whatever yellow dog gets the ticket.

On the other side of the aisle we have Trump, although I’m unconvinced that he has any business being on the other side, what with his close associations and donations to the Democrats.  There’s anger, even outrage from the Republican base at the Republican leadership for their ineffectual fecklessness, and it’s deserved.  They talk tough then cut deals which are indistinguishable from capitulation.

Still, how Trump came to be the alternative to inside-the-beltway Republicans is a unfathomable.  To me, at least.  Leaving aside the outstanding alternatives like Cruz or Rubio (and you’ll note that I’ve characterized them as “outstanding” and not “perfect”), the fact is that Trump is a boorish buffoon who has no business in the White House; not even as a guest.

It’s not like the pollsters are being trolled; Trump has actual turnout at rallies – and they cheer him.  If there’s a ray of hope it’s this: we have yet to see him win a primary, although that may only be because there haven’t been any primaries.  So, it may be that pollsters are being trolled, that the liberal MSM is hyping the worst alternative, and that people will come to their senses when they cast their ballots.

If I had a god I would pray that it be so.  I would give prayers.  Offerings too, I can do offerings!  An unblemished year old lamb, male or female, perhaps a ram?  Let’s talk turkey.

How Badass Can You Be With a Name Like Bernie?

So I got this email from Bernie Sanders, and … OK, that deserves an explanation, so I’ll back up.

I’m on the DNC and Democrat candidate-contender email lists for this election cycle. I find it interesting to see their tactics and read their talking points. For a party that prides itself on intellectual acumen it’s remarkable how often and relentlessly these emails target the uninformed and simple-minded, but perhaps that’s a subject for another blogpost.

Getting back to the point, I got an email from the Bernie 2016 campaign purporting to have been written by Bernie Sanders himself, and let’s just go with that, shall we? Here’s some of what Bernie had to say:

“One of the biggest mistakes President Obama made once he was in office was, after mobilizing millions of Americans during his brilliant 2008 campaign, to basically tell those supporters, ‘Thank you, I’m going to sit down with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and take it from here.’
I will not make that mistake.
[…] If we’re going to accomplish what we want for this country, it won’t happen by negotiating with Mitch McConnell — it will only happen when millions of Americans get out and make their voices heard.”

It’s worth noting that POTUS Obama started out setting the tone his 1st term by declaring “I won” to Republican lawmakers during negotiations over the “stimulus” package of 2009. Negotiations between the Republicans and the Obama Administration have since been contentious and often unproductive, with the Republicans characterizing Obama and Democrats as having issued “my way or the highway” ultimatums to Republicans. Naturally, Democrats disagree with that characterization, and it’s worth a separate discussion, but in this blogpost I’d like to put a spotlight on Bernie’s words. So, here we have Presidential-hopeful Bernie Sanders promising not to negotiate with the Republicans. Lovely.

Bipartisanship be damned. That’s not right-wing Republican propaganda; that’s what he has to say for himself. I’ll go on to make the point that the Liberal definition of “bipartisan” is when Republicans do what Democrats want, and when Democrats do what Republicans want it’s called caving-in, regardless of whether both are part of a negotiated agreement. Happily, we wouldn’t have to deal with the headache of that cognitive dissonance if Badass Bernie becomes POTUS!

EmDrive Pushing Forward

Here’s more news as a followup to “EmDrive – Propulsion Revolution” – NASA continues to test the EmDrive reactionless thruster with promising results, and they’re making progress with theory development to explain the otherwise inexplicable test results.  There’s a report that experiments show EM drive works in a vacuum, thus dispelling the leading debunking theory that the measured thrust was an artifact arising from internal thermal convection.  What’s more, the working theory helps explain disparate results between U.S. & UK & China teams.

This is exciting!  Read the latest here, although sadly there’s no word yet on what it sounds like.

Scandalmongering the Letter of the 47

Syndicated columnist Michael Gerson has the goods on the GOP and is here to tell us “The true scandal of the GOP senators’ letter to Iran“:

“The true scandal of the Tom Cotton letter to Iranian leaders is the manner in which the Republican Senate apparently conducts its affairs.”

Opinions vary; many liberals think the true scandal was that the letter was a treasonous violation of the Logan Act. Right-winger Michael Gerson will set them straight by telling us the true nature of the scandal.  The manner in which they’ve conducted themselves, you see, not the content of the letter.  Not what they did, but how they did it.  So what was wrong with the manner in which they “apparently” conduct their affairs?

“The document was crafted by a senator with two months of experience under his belt.”

We know we’re off to a bad start when the very first sentence to address the nature of this “scandal” turns out to be an ad hominem swipe at the author. Sure, 101st Airborne combat veteran Senator Tom Cotton, the author of the letter, is a freshman, but does Gerson really mean to imply that it’s a scandal that this freshman Senator would pen this letter and pass it around for signatures? Know your place, uppity newbie!

“It was signed by some members rushing off the Senate floor to catch airplanes, often with little close analysis.”

The interesting question this raises is whether Gerson thinks this (alleged) cursory attention to detail in some way exonerates the signatories – as in, hey, you can’t blame them, they didn’t know what they were signing!

“Many of the 47 signatories reasoned that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s endorsement was vetting enough. There was no caucus-wide debate about strategy; no consultation with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has studiously followed the nuclear talks (and who refused to sign).”

There were also no think tank studies commissioned, nor public polls taken, nor moderated televised debates, nor consultations with the United Nations, nor a hundred other bogus prerequisites Gerson can pull out of his ass.  What’s more, the reference here to Corker is disingenuous: Gerson, who first asserts his deep and intimate knowledge of the thinking of the Senate members, does not mention that Corker was working on getting legislation passed which would require congressional approval of any deal the Obama Administration is making with Iran.

Corker was a couple of votes shy so this was, at the time, a non-starter, but Corker would be unlikely to take part in a shot across the bow of the Executive Branch while he’s trying to scare up votes from Democrats. Gerson leaves this out hoping you’ll think Corker wouldn’t sign the letter because he’s the more senior and experience hand in these matters of international affairs, what with his being the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Gerson must be highly selective in what he tells his audience lest they come to a conclusion other than the one proffered, like, for example, that Corker was busy chasing unicorns down the road to perdition, or say, digging for unobtainium.

“This was a foreign policy maneuver, in the middle of a high-stakes negotiation, with all the gravity and deliberation of a blog posting.”

Take note of the derisive characterization of this letter, then leave it aside to consider that the Senate was left few alternatives because the Obama Administration is effectively bypassing them. What’s under negotiation is an executive order, not a treaty, and as such it is not subject to a vote. Unless the Senate can come together to force their involvement (as Corker was unsuccessfully trying to do) they would have few options in terms of putting the kibosh on a done deal to which they are opposed.

“In timing, tone and substance, it raises questions about the Republican majority’s capacity to govern.”

It raises questions… by Gerson. The questions are raised by Gerson. Columnists always, always say “questions are raised” in the third person when, really, they’re the ones raising the questions.

“It is true that President Obama set this little drama in motion. Major arms-control treaties have traditionally involved advice and consent by the Senate.”

I love that – “traditionally” treaties involve the advice and consent of the Senate, as if it were optional. The reality is that this is the way our government is structured, by law, not “tradition”, and it requires their “advice and consent” in the form of an approval by vote.  The more hostile the country and the more far-ranging the ramifications of the deal, the more critical it becomes to get our government in agreement on it.  Cutting a deal on nuclear weapons development (a.k.a. “Ramifications City”) with Iran (our enemy – our mortal enemy, as they put it) unquestionably qualifies as something which should take the form of a treaty which is passed by Congress.

“Obama is proposing to expand the practice of executive agreements to cover his prospective Iranian deal — effectively cutting senators out of the process.”

… and by “proposing” Gerson means “acting” to expand the power of the POTUS to enact a de-facto faux-treaty by fiat. Gerson is soft-pedaling an Obama power-grab.

“By renewing a long-standing balance-of-powers debate — in a way that highlights his propensity for power-grabbiness — Obama invited resistance.”

… and again, while implicitly acknowledging this is a power-grab by a man prone to power-grabs, Gerson soft-pedals it by characterizing this as “renewing a […] debate”. Even if it were a debate – and what’s going on is not to be mistaken for a debate – renewing discussion of it does not “invite resistance”; it would bring to the fore the pre-existing differences regarding the issues at stake. What POTUS Obama is doing is bypassing the legislative branch in enacting a major “arms control” agreement with a hostile nation of islamofascist terrorists.

“And there is a practical argument for Senate approval of arms-control agreements: It strengthens and empowers the president in punishing violations. The whole U.S. government is placed on record promising consequences for infractions (if, of course, the Senate concurs).”

Senate approval in the form of a treaty would also bind the next POTUS in a way that an executive order does not, which was the point of the letter, and a point studiously avoided by Gerson.

“The exact shape of a possible Iran deal remains unknown. I’m on record predicting that it may be a bad one — a very unlikely throw of the dice that a terror-sponsoring, clerical regime will become a minimally responsible regional power”

Naturally the details are secret for now but we’ve gotten early intimations of the nature of what’s taking shape, and it’s outrageous. No comprehensive on-site inspections, continuation of uranium enrichment, etc., and it all comes with a ten-year expiration date. Indeed, a “glide path” to getting a nuclear weapon while Iran achieves regional hegemony at our invitation, not an “arms control” agreement. There’s a lot to hate about this deal and the SOB responsible for it.  As a precursor to a deal the Obama Administration has removed Iran and their proxy Hezbollah from the 2015 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the Intelligence Community.  Take a moment and let all of this sink in.

Getting back to this Gerson column, remember the promise of revealing the nature the “scandal” of the Senate letter? Did you spot it? Here’s the scandal: The Republican Senators reminded the genocidalist Iranian jihadists that any “agreement” they reach with our POTUS is not binding on any future POTUS.

The “scandal” is that they attempted to preemptively sabotage the deal by telling the truth: That any “deal” with POTUS Obama that doesn’t take the form of a treaty is probably time-limited and therefore of little value; what they need to get an agreement of lasting value is for that agreement to take the form of a treaty.  Any such agreement would need to pass a Senate vote, and would undoubtedly get more meaningful concessions out of the Iranians.  That’s a possibility only so long as they are under financial or military duress to do so, which is doubtful under our current POTUS; POTUS Obama won’t hold Iranian feet to the fire, and the Iranians won’t agree to a meaningful, enforceable deterrence to their pursuit of nuclear weapons without that.

The strategy of the letter isn’t so much to raise doubts about the long-term viability of such a deal with Iranians because they don’t particularly care about that anyway, what with their having no intention of abiding by it anyway.  No, that’s not too cynical, it’s why a set of on-site verification requirements would make this deal a non-starter with the Iranians.  Rather, the purpose of the letter was to raise internal domestic pressure on the Obama Administration to abandon their unilateral negotiations and involve the rest of our government and our allies in the effort to keep nukes out of the hands of the mullahs – and, absent that, to kill this capitulation baby of a deal in the crib.

I hope it works.

Boehner Invites Netanyahu & Obama Flips Out

House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress, which resulted in outrage from the Left. I saw some berserker comments on a Facebook meme-image by the Daily Kos (no link for you, Kossaks!) which were predictably unhinged. Boehner violated the Logan Act! Boehner the traitor! Yes, I know, the FB comments are as brain-damaged as YouTube comments, but still, it was somehow startling and amusing in terms of extremism in stupidity. Boehner is of course neither a traitor nor in violation of the Logan act, but it’s amusing in that Liberals are often accused of possibly violating the Logan Act and they shrug it off (You want a link? Feh. Go amuse yourself by Googling “John Kerry”, or “Barack Obama”, or “Nancy Pelosi”, and “Logan Act”). No, I’m not a lawyer, but if you’ve got a few brain cells to rub together it’s obvious that what Boehner did was not a violation of the Logan Act.

Eugene Robinson doesn’t quite go so far as to make that accusation in his latest column “Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu backfires on them both“, but he comes oh-so-close. Let’s begin:

“The political ramifications are clear: House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a colossal mistake by conspiring behind President Obama’s back, and the move has ricocheted on both of them.”

It’s not at all clear to me what the political ramifications are, but it is clear that the reaction from the White House and Liberals has been swift and hair-on-fire furious. OK, it’s clear in that respect, but otherwise? Pissing off Liberals is not a “ramification”. Nor is it clear that this was a “colossal mistake”. It’s not even clear to me that it was a mistake at all but we’ll see what kind of case Robinson can make for that later. Here, though, in the same sentence, Robinson characterizes this as Boehner “conspiring behind President Obama’s back”, and there in the first sentence of his piece we can see that this column was clearly a colossal mistake.

So, Boehner “conspired” with Netanyahu – it’s a conspiracy – as if this were a crime instead of an invitation to speak before our government and the American people. Israel is an ally of the United States, a liberal (note the small “L”!) republic with more freedoms than all other Middle Eastern countries combined, and as such I have no problem with his speaking here in the Capital on American foreign policy issues which are of vital importance to the survival of his country. Note that this spirit of open dialog does not extend to the enemies of the United States, such as “Supreme Leader” (*giggle-snort*) of Iran, Ali Khamenei, whom I invite, along with every other member of that criminal cabal, to go screw a goat.

“The big, scary issue underlying the contretemps — how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program — is a more complicated story. I believe strongly that Obama’s approach, which requires the patience to give negotiations a chance, is the right one.”

You don’t just believe it, Eugene, you believe it strongly. Of course you do. For Liberals, when dealing with the enemies of America, negotiation is the only path, whether it succeeds or fails. Negotiations, sweetened with incentives, and forgiving of transgressions and insults, is the way they snuggle up to our enemies. There’s a soft spot in their hearts for our enemies because they both share a similar anti-Americanism. Conversely, our allies get undermined and slighted, as with the United Kingdom, Australia, and of course, Israel, because in their minds the allies of the United States share in the imperialistic and capitalist crimes of the United States. Only the far Left says this out loud but it’s a sentiment which runs through all but the most centrist Liberals, and it’s a sentiment which gets translated into policy when Leftists come into power.

“To the extent that a case can be made for a more bellicose approach, Boehner and Netanyahu have undermined it.”

Well, no, they certainly are trying to dissuade us from this course, but it’s far from clear whether it’s working or not. For Liberals, it’s worth pointing out that the very act of “undermining” – well, actually, opposing and advocating for something different – their President is unacceptable, and that’s conditional on it being their President, i.e., of their party, whereas opposing the President when he’s a Republican is all kinds of patriotic speaking of truth to power.

“First, the politics. Why on earth would anyone think it was a good idea to arrange for Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress without telling Obama or anyone in his administration about the invitation?”

Oh, dear, this has to be explained to Eugene. OK, here goes: Boehner violated the protocol of getting the informed consent of the President before inviting a foreign head of state to speak in Congress. This would be an issue if that foreign representative were from a hostile country, but we’re talking about Israel, our ally. The White House took extraordinary umbrage at this protocol violation because they do not consider Israel to be their ally – yes, an ally of the United States, but not the ally of the Liberal Left; again, something they dare not say out loud.

Boehner did this because he knew that the POTUS would try to put the kibosh on it. Israel doesn’t have a seat at the table of these “negotiations” and the Administration would like to keep Netanyahu from speaking to the United States government and people on this matter. Hearing the head of Israel tell us that these negotiations are a very, very bad thing for both Israel ans America is not what they’d like you to hear, and so they would have tried to put a stop to it before it happened, and especially before the offer was made public, the better to kill it quietly, in the crib.

So intent is the Administration to prevent further sanctions being levied on Iran that Secretary of State John Kerry falsely claimed that Mossad chief Tamir Pardo had opposed more sanctions on Iran. I’ll give them this: it takes a lot of chutzpah to tell a whopper like that. Still, with the Administration making up astonishingly flagrant lies like that, you can see how both Boehner and Netanyahu would want to address the American government and people directly.

“Yes, Congress has an important role to play in international affairs.”

In acknowledging this Robinson is also dismissing it; you can almost hear him add, sotto voce, “but not really…”  Not so much now that Congress is controlled by Republicans, that is.  When it’s a Democrat Congress vs. a Republican President, Robinson will be right there to tell you just how very important that role really is.

“And yes, the days are long gone when disputes among officials over foreign policy ended at the water’s edge; members of Congress routinely gallivant around the globe and share their freelance views of what the United States should or should not be doing. But inviting a foreign leader to speak at the Capitol without even informing the president, let alone consulting him, is a bald-faced usurpation for which there is no recent precedent.”

A usurpation! Our king Obama is being usurped! Although the definition of that word relating to the throne may not have been the one Robinson had in mind, it was the word that came to his mind, and the association doesn’t bother him or he doesn’t even hear himself. “Bald-faced” is, literally, “unshaven”, but in American English it is associated with the phrase “bald-faced liar” (and no other) and connotes “flagrant”, which is the word Robinson was looking for but could not find.  Happy to help, Eugene – see above for an example of the proper use of the word “flagrant”.

“Pending legislation, which Obama threatens to veto, would automatically impose tough sanctions against Iran if the drawn-out, multiparty nuclear negotiations fail.”

Now, remember, Robinson just asked the question of why Boehner would invite Netanyahu to speak before the House without checking with POTUS Obama. It’s as if he can’t see the connection between the two, but it’s right there. POTUS Obama’s threat of a veto in the event that negotiations with Iran fail means that the Administration wants for there to be no consequences for the failure of negotiations. For the Administration, and Liberals, the failure of a negotiated deal would necessitate another round of negotiations, as has happened multiple times in the past. This is not an acceptable outcome for Israel or the American Right because this series of failures is a win for Iran as it gives them more time to develop nuclear weapons and to produce weapons-grade fissile material. Sanctions have hurt Iran and slowed down their work, and stronger sanctions can be expected to have a greater effect on the slowdown of their nuclear weapons push. You don’t need to extrapolate here: the Obama Administration is running out the clock which will give Iran time to get the bomb. Again, something they dare not say out loud.

“If Boehner wanted to build support for sanctions, he failed spectacularly. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee and a vocal hawk on Iran policy, announced Tuesday that he would not vote for his own bill imposing automatic sanctions — at least not until after a March 24 deadline for negotiators to produce the outlines of an agreement. Nine of his pro-sanctions Democratic colleagues in the Senate joined him, meaning the bill is unlikely to win the necessary 60 votes for passage.”

In other words, Obama turned the screws hard on Democrats who are now falling in line, to the extent that these Democrats are willing to put off the vote on additional sanctions – until after negotiations fail. Not exactly a spectacular failure, but whatevs, Eugene.

“If Boehner’s aim was to paint Obama as somehow soft on Iran, he failed at that, too. The speaker inadvertently turned the focus on himself and has had to spend the week explaining why he went behind the president’s back, not even giving the White House a heads-up until hours before the March 3 speech was announced.”

Boehner doesn’t need to “paint Obama as somehow soft on Iran” (“somehow“!). We have ample evidence that POTUS Obama is soft on Iran. Also note that here Robinson admits that Boehner did give a heads-up to the WH some hours before the announcement; recall that he started out this opinion piece by accusing Boehner of “going behind the back” of POTUS Obama and repeats it in the same sentence, because giving advance notice to the WH vs. going behind the back of the WH is completely the same, apparently.

“Netanyahu, for his part, may have thought this was a way to boost his prospects in the upcoming Israeli election, scheduled for March 17. Or he may have fantasized that somehow, by openly siding with the Republican Party, he could snatch U.S. foreign policy out of Obama’s hands. Judging by the pounding he is taking from the Israeli media, he was mistaken on both counts.”

If you think the Liberal media in Israel is giving Netanyahu a pounding – and, yes it’s the Liberal media in Israel giving Netanyahu a pounding – then consider what the Obama Administration had to say to the Israeli government: Netanyahu “spat in the face” of Obama, and “there will be a price”. Would that they would speak so forcefully to the North Koreans.

“Note to all foreign leaders: We have one president at a time. Americans respected this fact when George W. Bush was president, for better or worse. And we respect it now.”

It’s hard to know what Robinson means by his use of the word “respect” in this context, but no, Liberals did not respect POTUS W, neither in his being POTUS nor his being the only POTUS. They didn’t even believe he was the POTUS; they thought he’d stolen the election from Gore.

“The speech episode borders on farce, but the larger debate over Iran’s nuclear ambitions could not be more serious. The central issue is whether a negotiated deal will leave Iran with the theoretical capability to build a nuclear bomb if it were to decide to do so. No amount of diplomatic legerdemain, it seems to me, can avoid answering this question with a simple yes or no.”

Or, as the Blogfather noted in the comments of a WaPo “Right Turn” blogpost, the Iran nuclear deal will amount to this: “Iran pretends they don’t have a nuclear weapon program. And we pretend to believe them.”

“If you say yes, as Netanyahu does, then Iran must be stripped of all ability to enrich uranium. It is easy to understand why the Israeli government sees a nuclear-capable Iran as an existential threat — and also worries that other regional powers concerned about Iran’s growing influence, such as Saudi Arabia, might decide that they, too, need to get into the nuclear game.”

As the above paragraph clearly demonstrates, Robinson is not oblivious to the issues or stakes, which makes his position on a nuclear-armed Iran and these negotiations all the more despicable.

“Iran insists, however, that it has the right to a peaceful nuclear program. The government in Tehran is unlikely to give up that right but may be willing to limit itself to low-grade enrichment that produces material incapable of being used in a bomb. At least some infrastructure for high-grade enrichment would remain, however — and so would some risk of an eventual Iranian bomb.”

Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, the Iranians will pinky-swear to keep their uranium enrichment low-level, say no more, say no more! And make no mistake: Liberals are A-OK with that.  When the Iranians nuke Israel, directly or through a terrorist proxy, Liberals will wring their hands and lament it as if it were an act of nature, something that just sort-of happened, like a tornado that nobody could have seen coming, and in their next breath they’ll condemn Israel for bringing it on themselves.