The image to the left of this text shows my Congressman’s Facebook reaction to a deal that the “P5+1” countries reached with Iran over its nuclear weapons and energy program.
The deal was a modest thing, significant for the fact that Iran came to the table in apparent good faith at all. It would dilute existing nuclear material so that it could only be used for energy, and not weaponry, and there would be a 6 month halt to its nuclear weapon program altogether. The aim would be a final deal within 6 or 12 months, allowing for one 6 month extension of the pause.
Iran’s economy has been absolutely devastated by international sanctions over its nuclear program, and it has a huge incentive to roll back its pariah status. The world benefits if Iran has no nuclear weapons to use against its myriad enemies. To my mind, the whole thing should be rolled into deal whereby Iran ends its support of Hezbollah and recognizes Israel, but diplomacy is often about baby steps.
So, turning to the representative of NY-27, we could certainly fisk his simplistic statement to kingdom come – e.g., it wasn’t an “Obama Administration” deal, it was a deal between Iran on the one hand, and the US, Russia, China, and the European Union (read: the UK, France, and Germany – it’s called “P5+1” because it includes the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, meaning it would be veto-proof in that body, plus Germany) on the other. Germany, for its part, does huge business with Iran, and all of these powers – working together – have the ability together to put great pressure on Iran to behave and comply.
I could snarkily comment on Collins’ recent praise of Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin, or the fact that Collins chooses to manufacture his tchotchkes in China, but I also realize that his public pronouncements are not meant to be taken seriously. I think that we’re witnessing an Andy Kaufman-like comedic performance art that is, unfortunately, unfunny and predictable. Collins is a caricature of a closed-minded conservative backbencher.
The point of diplomacy, of course, isn’t just to talk with friends. The diplomatic process involves talking with our sworn enemies, as well; to work out differences in a peaceful way rather than war.
So, why would our caricature be so knee-jerkedly opposed to a rather contextually modest, temporary deal to freeze Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the easing of some sanctions? Because he’s effectively been paid to oppose it.
Just this past August, Collins took his son on an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel. The trip was financed by a private lobbying group, the American Israel Education Foundation. It paid for transportation, lodging, meals, and all incidentals for Collins (who is well able to afford spending $18,000 to visit Israel) and his son, who visited Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and Bethlehem.
Dr. Craig Holman with the government watchdog group Public Citizen said the trips are designed to influence and lobby members of Congress.
“These types of travel junkets have long been one of the favorite means for special interests and lobbyists to use to try to influence members of Congress and peddle their wares on Capitol Hill,” Dr. Holman said.
While AIEF is a non-profit, it is simply the charity wing of the AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC is the largest pro-Israel lobby in America.
AIPAC and its lobbyists are prohibited from giving lawmakers or staff members gifts, including trips. So the group’s charity wing does it for them.
“(The ethics committees) have allowed a lobbying organization — any lobbying entity — to set up a 501(c)3, a charity wing even just on paper,” Dr. Holman said. “And if that (c)3 itself doesn’t employ lobbyists, then it can pay for these congressional travel junkets.”
Neither Congressman Reed nor Congressman Collins would speak with 2 On Your Side either on camera or by phone. They each emailed statements through their spokespeople.
“Congressman Collins’ trip – vetted and approved by the House Ethics Committee – was paid for exclusively by private donations at zero expense to taxpayers,” Collins Spokesperson Grant Loomis said by email. “The bipartisan effort involves both Democrats and Republicans and is critical to educating Members of Congress on the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and protecting American interests in the Middle East.”
Israel, for its part, has slammed the Iran nuclear deal, and her Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called it an “accommodation” and “political theater” that will “wreak havoc” in the region. Well, not all of Israel. For instance, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has taken a much more conciliatory tone, arguing that the 6 month Iran deal gives Israel an opening to solve the Palestinian crisis so that Israel and the Arab world can be united in putting pressure on Iran. The opposition Labour Party has blasted Netanyahu, as has at least one of his former associates,
On April 27, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Yuval Diskin said Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were not fit to stand at helm of the Israeli regime.
“I will tell you things that might be harsh. I cannot trust Netanyahu and Barak at the wheel in confronting Iran. They are infected with messianic feelings over Iran,” Diskin said.
Later on Sunday, Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan expressed support for Diskin, saying he was stating his “internal truth.”
Israel’s Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said on April 25 that he does not believe Iran will pursue nuclear weapons after years of efforts made by Tel Aviv and its allies to convince the world otherwise.
Gantz described Iran’s leadership as “very rational” who would not make such a decision.
There hasn’t been a havoc-free day in the last 3,000 years anywhere surrounding Israel, given its neighbors’ insistence that it be eliminated. Yet with careful diplomacy, Arab and Islamic enemies have succumbed and recognized Israel. It happened with Egypt and Jordan, it could happen with others if talks would take place, but as with all things in the Middle East, it’s just too complicated and fraught with peril.
If Chris Collins was so effusive with his praise for Putin’s supposed out-maneuvering in Syria, which pledged to destroy its chemical weapons to avoid American military action, his heart should be just as full of praise for the Iran deal, because there isn’t a damn reason why anyone would trust Syria’s Bashir Assad more or less than any of Iran’s mullahs.
by Alan Bedenko (@BuffaloPundit) - posted 7:30 am, November 21, 2013
Last night I was listening to Michael Caputo filling in for Tom Bauerle on WBEN, and the topic of the Common Core curriculum came up. Admittedly, I don’t know quite enough about Common Core to be strongly for or against it – I know that there are concerns about excessive testing, and this is troubling to me.
However, one of the callers likened Common Core to Mein Kampf (OF COURSE) because, although the new school curriculum doesn’t call for, e.g., the extermination of international Jewry, it was implemented under Indo-Kenyan socialist Hussein N0bama.
The wildly inappropriate Hitler analogy was prompted by a sentence culled from a textbook on grammar that reads as follows,
The commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.
It’s a simple active/passive voice exercise, but people can find anti-American outrage EVERYWHERE. I mean, if you look at that sentence, it’s palpably true, in 99.9% of instances. If a cop orders you to pull over, you’re supposed to obey. If a government official is carrying out the law, within the bounds of his authority, you’re generally supposed to obey the command – to be drafted, to pay taxes, to stop at a red light, to show your passport at the border, etc. It is a completely uncontroversial sentence that helps instill the notion of civic duty in a kid. Back in the allegedly “good old days”, this is precisely what was taught.
Furthermore, there are myriad textbooks and materials from which school districts can choose, and if a particular district doesn’t like the way its grammar exercises are set up, it can pick another one.
Now, if you look at the insane lunatics at Infowars, you find that it wasn’t developed by the Chavista cadres of Obama’s cabinet, but by a massive private corporation. (I’m not linking to Infowars, sorry).
This country is so fundamentally sick, I think it’s beyond help. It’s not sick because of idiots being outraged by a sentence in a textbook; it’s sick because everything is perceived to be a Stalinist/Hitlerist assault on God Bless America.
Here’s how easy this is:
The results of a Buffalopundit investigation reveal that children throughout Obama’s America are forced to swear a loyalty oath every morning. This loyalty oath is directed to a multicolored piece of cloth that the innocent children are told represents the government; the “Republic for which [the piece of cloth] stands”. But our exclusive investigation of the content of this loyalty oath also reveals that the children are forced to swear fealty to the government itself; “…United States of America, and to the Republic…”
The oath goes on to shunt aside the rights of the individual, instead claiming that they are part of an “indivisible” “one Nation” collective taken right out of Marx’s Das Kapital. That collectivist agenda is tempered somewhat by the addition of the invocation of the Judeo-Christian deity, in whom some of the individual taxpayer-children in the crowd may not believe.
We don’t know what kind of “liberty and justice” the totemist-communard loyalty oath anticipates, but it’s clear that Obama is indoctrinating America’s children into something that mirrors his particular anti-American agenda.
by Alan Bedenko (@BuffaloPundit) - posted 7:25 am, October 9, 2013
There’s supposedly a group of moderate Republicans who are willing to to vote for a clean Continuing Resolution (CR), which would fund the government and not include some sort of fantastical effort to defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Chris Collins is not one of these people. He never was, and he never will be. He is a demagogue of the lowest sort, who feeds of the government teat while positioning himself to be a leader in Congress – his ego won’t tolerate anything less. Collins is a better-spoken Carl Paladino. He’s a wealthier, more polished Rus Thompson. He’s not a leader – he’s a follower; a wealthy tea party parrot.
As it stands now, this narcissist backbencher has whatever “principles” FreedomWorks and the Heritage Foundation order him to hold. Now the truth is laid bare – Chris Collins cares about Chris Collins, and no one else. This is why he is helping to hold the country hostage over Obamacare.
He has health insurance, but doesn’t frankly care if you do or don’t. It’s not important to him, and he believes that he was elected based on his repetition of “Obama”, “Pelosi” and/or “Obamacare” – a law he lies about daily. It’s like the tea party hatred trifecta that he got himself, and the omniphobes love it.
Collins thinks Obamacare is horrible for the economy. That’s why Zeptometrix and Volland must be readying to accept Euros or Swiss Francs, because – like a lemming – Collins has followed the rest of the suicide caucus of Republicans who are threatening not just the work of the federal government, but the global economy as a whole. And for what? To ensure that you can’t get affordable private health insurance. That’s it.
The pinkos over at the Economist believe that the Republicans are in a completely untenable situation. Having manufactured a crisis, they are cornered. The continuing resolution would fund the government at tea party-approved sequestration levels – something the Democrats already detest.
When Mr Obama stops speaking as a partisan advocate of ambitious liberal goals, adopts his mature school-principal voice, and demands simply that political players adhere to reasonable norms of democratic governance, Republicans are left with nothing to oppose except the reasonable norms of democratic governance. At the moment, Republicans need to be reminded that Democrats do not want the government to reopen and the interest on our debt to be paid. They want the government to reopen, double its infrastructure spending and guarantee pre-school from age three to poor Americans; they want to pay the interest on our debt, then borrow more to run larger deficits right now and for the next couple of years, and lock in higher taxes five to ten years down the road to handle the long-term deficit problem. A fight between Democrats and Republicans over whether or not those are good ideas is a fight America can survive and even thrive with. A fight over whether or not to default on our debt isn’t.
Cue Chris Collins, unpatriotic follower of Washington fashion:
Rep Chris Collins (R-NY), former clean CR supporter, is now a NO on clean CR and clean debt ceiling. Says situation has changed.
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) October 8, 2013
Rep. Collins on clean CR: “That day has come and gone. We’re now talking about the debt ceiling so we need to talk about them together.”
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) October 8, 2013
There you have it. Collins and the rest of the GOP want to “talk”. This despite their months-long abject refusal to do anything of the sort.
Perhaps there’s a silver lining, though. In his partisan blindness, he has discovered the value of big government.
— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) October 7, 2013
False. First of all, the federal Amber Alert site doesn’t issue alerts – it merely collects and disseminates statistics. Second of all, he tweeted the wrong link to Michelle Obama’s health initiative. What does Snopes.com have to say about Collins’ asinine allegation?
Why would a sitting Congressman lie – in public, to his constituents – about something like this? For short-term political gain? Is he just pathological?
— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) October 7, 2013
This one is fantastic, really. Obamacare is working because it is a permanent appropriation – mandatory spending specifically budgeted-for in 2010 by an act of Congress. It doesn’t need to be reauthorized.
— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) October 2, 2013
National Parks and the National Institutes of Health? Why? Don’t you remember Collins’ declaration that, “people now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things“?
This is all a distraction from the real points:
1. Chris Collins has a lot invested in the failure of the Affordable Care Act. If it is a success, he’ll be in a spot of trouble. If it’s a success and his constituents come to appreciate it, he’ll be in a lot of trouble, as his words come back to haunt him.
2. Chris Collins had an opportunity to vote in favor of funding the National Institutes of Health, the Amber Alert website, the National Parks, and all the other federally-run and paid-for programs that have been adversely affected by the government shutdown. He failed and refused to do so, because he is not a leader who is looking out for his constituents’ best interests, but a follower who is concerned only about political expediency and his own congressional tenure.
3. Chris Collins will say anything – will concoct any lie – to gain a perceived political advantage – it can be as trivial as a claim that the Amber Alert system is shut down, or as serious as a claim that people don’t die from cancers anymore.
4. Chris Collins is a contented passenger on the tea party-driven bus that is hurtling the United States towards global economic disaster.
5. The Affordable Care Act was debated and negotiated. Passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the President in 2010, and declared Constitutional by a conservative Supreme Court. It is the law of the land, and Collins is acting extra-Constitutionally, attempting to nullify a duly enacted statute. What other statutes would Collins like to see de-funded or repealed? If unsuccessful there, over what other laws would he shut down the government. or risk the full faith and credit of the American treasury? The House has voted over 40 times- unsuccessfully – to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If Republicans want it gone, they should elect themselves a president and a Senate.
President Obama said he is willing to talk with them about whatever they want to discuss – including the Affordable Care Act. All they have to do is remove the figurative gun from the country’s head, and re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling. Simple. Because ending the shutdown and avoiding default isn’t a win for Democrats and Obama – it’s what the country desperately needs. Is Collins more interested in destroying Obama than in running the government? That’s not policy – that’s pathology.
Chris Collins, millionaire of Clarence, is a new breed of confederate secessionist – willing to take down the entire country over a law with which he disagrees, because it helps people obtain quality, affordable, private health insurance in a new marketplace. We’ve crossed over from loyal opposition, and we’re deep in lunatic territory.
I hope Collins and his family like that federal healthcare program.
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