Senator John McCain (R-AZ) complains about Obama's approach to ISIS. Problem is, McCain is in kind of a bind. On the one hand, Iran is acting against ISIS on the ground in Iraq. ISIS is a truly awful, terrible outfit that commits atrocities. We're conducting active hostilities against them, bombing them very frequently. Iran is the entity we're negotiating with about their not-yet-built nuclear weapon and is supporting many not-friends in the Middle East. Iran is also actively conducting hostilities against ISIS (A point that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared to be very confused on a while ago). McCain wishes to replace Iran in Iraq with American “boots on the ground,” but Americans are very unenthusiastic about getting back into a war in Iraq. A Quinnipiac University poll (18-22 Nov 2014) asked respondents: "Do you think the United States military should have combat troops on the ground in Iraq or not?" The response was that only 37% of the public is in favor of that, 55% said no.
Speaker of the House John Boehner is also very unhappy and is also in a bind. He's very unhappy with the draft AUMF that President Obama has proposed for authorizing a war against ISIS. Also, “For years, Boehner and other GOP leaders have complained that Obama is an out-of-control tyrant, hell-bent on ignoring the Constitution and amassing excessive power in the executive.” So, Boehner's statement on the situation is: “President Obama should scrap his war powers request to fight Islamic terrorists and go back to the drawing board, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday.”
But why is the President the one who has to “go back to the drawing board”? Why can't Congress draft and pass its own AUMF? There's no obvious reason that anyone is able to see for Congress to delegate this job to the President. Yes, it's a difficult process, with lots of clashing priorities. That doesn't get Congress off the hook. Boehner is a Speaker “with a large majority in the House at his back and a longing for historical significance in his heart, Boehner is determined to be remembered by history as someone who did something.” But in order for a legislator to be remembered as a significant figure, that means doing the hard work of governing, not just slacking off and expecting others to do your work for you.
ISIS and Iran and the unwillingness of the American people to re-engage in Iraq makes for a tough, hard-to-resolve situation. It's not difficult to see that there are no quick and easy and simple, expedient answers. It appears that the Republican Congress and Senate are both so used to simply saying “No” to everything, they've forgotten how to do the hard work of governing.
In "Have a vote on Iran deal," Senator Toomey states: "President Obama wants to remove American economic sanctions from Iran in exchange for Iran's promises to delay its pursuit of nuclear weapons."
Incorrect. The outline of the deal so far calls upon Iran to freeze their development of a nuclear weapon, not to simply delay it. Yes, the deal is for "only" ten years, but the deal can easily be renewed or extended. It is highly premature to state that development will pick up where it left off upon the expiration of the ten-year period.
"Can Iran be trusted to keep any deal?" Negotiations on a basic framework took as long as they did precisely because both sides mistrust each other and both sides wanted to make verification as foolproof and as airtight as possible.
Let's consider the list of charges that Toomey makes: that allegedly demonstrate that we're settling for far too little: 1. That Obama previously said he wouldn't anything less than complete dismantlement of Iran's nuclear program, 2. That the US and UN both previously insisted that Iran must surrender all of its centrifuges, 3. That Iran must ship all of its enriched uranium out of the country, and 4. That the facility at Fordham was supposed to be destroyed.
Why would the US and its negotiating partners have decided to not press for any of these? Obviously, because these objectives were going much too far for the leverage we had and pushing for complete victory would have left us with fists holding empty air.
Yes, sanctions got Iran to the table, but other nations are perfectly happy to cancel those sanctions, deal or no. Senate interference that insists on going for maximalist objectives will simply give Europe and China and Russia an excuse to discard sanctions and resume trade. Sanctions have limited effectiveness and we have a limited time period in which to use them.
What Senator Toomey appears to want to do is to use a limited tool that's only of so much use as though it was an unlimited tool that will effortlessly achieve everything we want. Failing that, Toomey seems perfectly willing to discard the deal framework that Obama has so painstakingly built and to simply go back to square #1, with absolutely nothing having been achieved.
So, having watched the Claudette Colbert 1934 version of Cleopatra and the Elizabeth Taylor 1963 version, I saw that TCM was showing the Vivien Leigh 1945 version, so I went ahead and taped it. At first, having listened to the book-on-tape Cleopatra: A Life, I griped about historical inaccuracies, but then I found a source that gave me a quickie biography and realized that, actually, none of the movies were all that fussy about precise historical details.
Each era takes from the story what's important to them. In 1936, Cleopatra was a wily and shrewd manipulator; in 1963, the film focused on Mark Antony's (Richard Burton's) obsessive love for Cleopatra; in 1945, the film focused on Cleopatra's childlike nature (She was after all, 21 years old to Caesar's 52) and Caesar's wise, fatherly affection for her (In reality, she had been the effective ruler of Egypt since the age of 18 and she had a son with Caesar nine months after meeting him) calls to mind the shows Father Knows Best (before my time) and My Three Sons (I remember watching this).
Apparently, there's a Cleopatra film in development today and Angelina Jolie is scheduled to star in it. What would a film about her be like today? My guess is that it would focus on her executive abilities (which were considerable, she'd spend a few hours each morning hearing cases and issuing decisions) and she'd probably be portrayed as quite determined to pursue whatever goal she had in mind that day.
Back in the Navy, my shipmate was having trouble at work. Our supervisors talked to him about it. He let slip something about his family causing him problems (Personally, I didn't like his wife and thought she was part of his problems at work), so our supervisors followed up and asked him lots of questions, questions that he complained to me about.
I felt bad for him, but also felt that he opened himself up by mentioning his family in the first place. That gave our supervisors a legitimate reason to pursue the matter further.
The WaPo piece quoted here says: "...if say an employee is making slanderous statements about their employer in social media, that the employer has the right to know that.” But why do employers need to know about statements you make on private parts of your social media account? I agree with the statement, but only up to a point. Employers are properly concerned with the public, openly accessible part of your social media account. Yes, having privacy on social media is a two-way thing. If you're not publicly slagging your employer, they have no reason to go into your Facebook or other social media accounts.
But if they feel you're slagging them, then they should have to prove that. They shouldn't simply be given the benefit of the doubt. And no, I don't feel that just because you work with children or for a church or religious group, that the rules on social media should be relaxed and that employers should be able to snoop into your accounts.
Citizens who wish to keep their social media accounts private from their employer should be given the benefit of the doubt and should be shielded from snooping employers. But yes, if an employer has evidence that you're bad-mouthing them or are engaged in immoral activities, then yes, the employee opens themselves up to investigation.
Update: Just to expand on the privacy issue, I completely agree with this piece in the Inky, that when one posts test questions and/or answers on social media in a manner that's accessible to anyone, no, it's really not a question of privacy. It's not even a question of whether we rely too much on test scores (I think we do), but whether charter schools can legitimately monitor social media and take action on cheating. Yes, I think it's entirely legitimate for them to do so.
If people were truly keeping this information private, if students could only access it via a secure password, that is, that they were members of a defined group, then there might be some privacy argument. But no, if test questions are being posted publicly, then those posting them have no reasonable expectation of privacy and should expect to be found out and pursued.