Congressional Democrats May Boycott Netanyahu Speech
While a number of key Democrats were still wondering whether attending Netanyahu's speech to Congress in February would be proper, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) was adamant that "it sends the wrong signal. Congress acting in contradiction to the wishes of the President undermines his authority. If his Congressional subordinates can defy him without consequence, what will foreign leaders think?"
A second consideration weighing on Pelosi's mind was "the unfairness of the United States appearing to endorse Netanyahu in his upcoming March election campaign. For Congress to interfere with another country's electoral process is just not right."
As for interfering with another country's elections, though, it would seem that the arrival of Obama's former campaign aides to assist those campaigning against Netanyahu is okay. "It is the President's duty to protect our country's vital interests and prevent individuals who may be hostile to him from gaining or retaining political control in foreign countries," Pelosi contended. The former House Speaker cited President Obama's efforts to oust former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as "an instance in which our influence was pivotal in helping the Muslim Brotherhood to bring true democracy to that nation."
The Muslim Brotherhood has since been deposed by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Since taking power Sisi has caused a stir by urging Muslims to turn away from violence as a means of propagating Islam. Pelosi called this turn of events "regrettable," but insisted that "it should not be blamed on President Obama. He did the best he could, but cannot yet control everything that happens around the world."
Ironically, news of Obama's hostility toward Netanyahu seems to have boosted the Israeli Prime Minister in the polls. As one poll respondent put it, "Obama is an enabler of antisemitism and jihad. If he's against Bibi, then every Jew who hopes to avoid extermination should be for him."
University Bans Use of Sexist Salutations
Contending that "Mr., Mrs., and Ms" are hurtful and offensive to those with nontraditional gender identification, City University of New York wants its employees—professors and staff—to stop using these greetings.
Dean of Students Peter Beaver explained that "for us to assume that because a person looks male we should address him as 'mister' overlooks the possibility that inwardly that person may identify as female. The situation for those who look female is even more complex, as 'miss' and 'missus' inject a marital status into the equation."
"The appropriate form of salutation will be situational," Beaver said. "If a university employee knows the person's first or last name the employee should simply use that in addressing the person. If the individual is unknown to the employee he should use the term 'student' if the person being addressed is known to be a student. If that information is not known a non-sexist term like 'hey,' 'hello,' 'you', or 'comrade' should be used. Under no circumstances shall the terms 'sir' or ma'am' be used."
Biden Says Everything Ought to Be Free
In what some are saying may be a move to lock up progressive support for a possible 2016 presidential run, Vice-President Joe Biden declared that if he were running this country everything would be free.
"You know how we've all heard that the best things in life are free, well, that clearly hasn't been the case," Biden observed. "Almost everything people want costs money. And a lot of people just don't have enough money to fully partake of this nation's abundance."
Biden criticized past efforts to try to solve the problem by handing out government benefits to the poor. "No matter how energetic we are there'll always be some who fall through the cracks," Biden lamented. "Then there's the stigma of having to flash an EBT card or cash a welfare check. We have clearly fallen short of our ideals."
As Biden would have it, "if the government were to abolish prices, if everyone were simply enabled to take as much as they need from wherever they could find it, no one would go without anything merely because he has no money. No one would be embarrassed by coming up short."
The Veep attributed our nation's failure to implement an "everything is free" policy to "pure spite. The haves are content to feather their own nests and ignore their moral obligation to be their brothers' keeper. It's time we turned this around and held their feet to the fire. Let them work off their debt to society."
While a snap poll showed nearly two-thirds of adults responding favorably to Biden's rhetoric, economists questioned the feasibility of his plan. "If everything is supposed to be free why would anyone undertake the tiresome task of working for a living?" asked George Mason University Professor, Walter Williams. "If history is any guide, Biden's idea will be a colossal failure characterized by a widespread dearth of material goods and a brutishly coercive state apparatus. The world has already been there and done that. It's called communism."
Biden's lunge to the left was praised by Communist Party, USA Chairman John Bachtell. "We are pleased to see that the ideas we have been pushing so long and hard have taken such a firm hold on the Democratic Party," Bachtell crowed. "All those right-wing intellectuals who predicted that communism would never take root in America have been decisively proven wrong. It's just a matter of time before progressive policies are the only policies tolerated in this country thanks to the efforts of men like Biden and Obama."
Castro Makes Demands
Saying that President Obama's apology for 50 years of aggression, discrimination, and abuse of his country by the United States government "was a good start," current Cuban dictator Raul Castro demanded further concessions as the price for normalizing relations between Cuba and the US.
First on Castro's list was compensation for the economic damage done to Cuba by the US trade embargo. "Prior to this embargo Cubans had the highest standard of living in Latin America," Castro pointed out. "Now, Cubans are worse off than any country in the western hemisphere."
Castro called upon President Obama to "use his executive powers to seize the undeserved wealth hoarded by American capitalists and use it to make reparations for the wrongs committed by his predecessors."
A second grievance cited by Castro was the US policy of admitting Cuban refugees into the United States. "Cubans belong to Cuba," Castro maintained. "They have obligations to the collective well-being of their countrymen. They have no right to evade these obligations. Their escape to America is selfish. The United States government has the responsibility to return these refugees and their offspring to Cuba so they may begin making amends for their sins."
A third grievance was Castro's objection to his country's inclusion on a list of nations sponsoring terrorists. "We sponsor those fighting on behalf of the revolution," Castro argued. "The enemies of the revolution are powerful. Directly confronting the armed forces of the United States would invite annihilation. This forces revolutionaries to select soft targets. They should not be labeled 'terrorists' for sensibly targeting unarmed civilians."
US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that "the Cuban government has made a persuasive case. There is no doubt in my mind that the people of Cuba have been grievously wronged by US policy over the years. I can't say that we can grant all the demands President Castro has made, but we do promise to look into what form of compensation we may be able to make to help indemnify them for the suffering we imposed."
Venezuelan Army Authorized to Execute Protesters
The Venezuelan Ministry of Defense has authorized the Army to shoot any protesters that do not obey orders to disperse. Minister of Defense, General Vladimir Padrino López defended the decree as both "necessary and proper. In this time of crisis everyone should be working together in support of the government. Public complaints alleging that the government has not fulfilled its promises encourages people to oppose the government's measures to deal with the crisis. Such disloyalty cannot be tolerated."
There is also a pragmatic aspect to the policy. According to the General, "to the extent that shortages of food and other necessities have provoked the crisis, the physical elimination of anti-government individuals helps to close the gap between supply and demand. This will decrease the number of shares into which limited supplies must be divided and leave more for those loyal to President Maduro."
María Esperanza Hermida, leader of some of the protests, called the authorization "a violation of both the Venezuelan Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Ministry of Defense cannot legally issue such a policy. Shooting people for publicly expressing their grievances against the government is a gross violation of civilized behavior. It is analogous to the terroristic threat to behead those who insult Islam. Imitating the policies of those barbarians is not a direction our country's officials ought to be taking us."
AG Nominee Makes Case for Summary Executions on President's Order
In Senate hearings designed to vet Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee for Attorney General, the question of whether it is constitutional for the government to use extrajudicial lethal force on an American citizen on American soil failed to elicit the obvious "NO" that should be expected from someone aiming to become the nation's top law enforcer.
As Lynch sees it, "it all depends on who gives the order. If it's someone trustworthy like President Obama, I think we give him the benefit of the doubt. We can't allow ourselves to get tied in knots over 'due process' concepts originating more than 200 years ago. It is essential that our nation's ruler have the flexibility to carry out whatever actions are needed to protect the government elected by voters."
Lynch's answer provoked startling divergent responses from key Republicans. Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) called her answer "absolutely disqualifying. Every attorney is an officer of the court and bound by ethics to pursue justice. Lynch seems more suited to the role of consigliere to a mob boss than chief legal adviser to a president."
Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah), though, expressed admiration for Lynch's "intellectual dexterity. The ability to create new legal standards on the fly is an invaluable talent. The only prudent course for us is to approve her elevation to the post, lest we ourselves be perceived as threats and get added to the President's list of targets."