Tag Archives: United States Congress

Opinion:Should Netanyahu Address Congress?

Tomorrow Mr. Netanyahu is scheduled to address the United States Congress on the floor of the house, in advance of upcoming elections in Israel.  Some have voiced concern, and others feel it is much ado about nothing.  To those who fall within the latter group, perhaps there are some things you should consider.

First of all, the established protocol for foreign affairs and visits to the U.S. by heads of state, has always been via invitation of the sitting President of the United States.  In this instance, President Obama was neither consulted nor involved. It appears as if some of the more juvenile members of Congress only issued this invitation as a tool to publicly disrespect the President of the United States.  It seems that they need to feel as though they have elevated another head of state to the same level as the President, thereby, in their minds, diminishing the importance of President Obama’s State of the Union Address. It is as if they are saying to their base: “See? Anybody can do this. We are in control. Not Obama.”  However, what some see,  is a shameful disrespect for the President’s unique right to handle foreign policy. And, clearly, this is an issue of foreign policy. Netanyahu has been clear that he disagrees with President Obama’s determination to work with Iran and its nuclear policy via diplomacy, sanctions, and pressure from other countries in the region.  Whether or not President Obama’s choice is the correct one is not the issue here, but rather his role as President of the United States, to make that choice.

What should Netanyahu do? It is not too late for him to decline the invitation on grounds of respect for our president.

What is he hoping to gain via the speech? Some say that he feels that he can convince Congress to put pressure on President Obama to take a more forceful stand regarding Iran. Seriously? Has he not been watching U.S. politics? This Congress will not work with President Obama, only against him.  Foreign policy is within the purview of the President.  Others say he is only doing it to elevate himself in the eyes of those back at home. Why? So that he can win the upcoming election.  White House policy is not invite leaders of countries who are facing an immediate election bid… period.  This is to make certain that it is clear that America does not have a dog in the fight of other countries’ election process. And, in this way, if a new leader is re-elected, then there are no negative feelings or grudges between the U.S. president and that new leader. Recently, NSA Director Susan Rice publicly denounced the visit/speech which is indicative of the White House displeasure.  http://news.yahoo.com/obama-aide-calls-netanyahu-visit-destructive-relations-115835398–politics.html

What will he gain? Not much. His speech will have no impact upon how President Obama directs his cabinet to proceed.  He will lose even more access to the White House.  And, his failure to understand the disrespect which is intertwined with his speech, will diminish his own standing in the minds and hearts of many American people.  He will have cooperated with a divisive, obstructionist congress who seem to be hell-bent on disrespecting our president.  As for the invitation itself,  Congress has dedicated too much energy trying to do things to thwart the  success of the current administration instead of what they are paid to do for the American people.  They seem to still be smarting over President Obama’s stunning re-election victory, and remain in denial.

So, should Netanyahu address the U.S. Congress? No. Should the American people watch it? No. Should those opposed to him speaking attend? No.  Poetic justice would be for him to lose the upcoming election.

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Should Requirements to Serve in U.S. Congress Be Changed?

Unofficial seal of the United States Congress....

After watching the circus surrounding the House Republicans, one wonders if the requirements to serve in the United States Congress be changed to include  a mandatory civics lesson.  And, no one should be allowed to serve unless they take a course and pass it.  There are now people in positions of legislative power who do not have the first clue as to how our government works, and worse, have no clue as to just what role they play in governance.   It is their shock and surprise as to the services provided to ordinary Americans that is mind-boggling.  They didn’t know that the federal government pays for expenses of those American troops who have died in the service of our country?   They didn’t know that the FDA, funded by the federal government, protects our food supply?  What part of  the Constitution of the United States of America which reads “… for the people…”  have they failed to understand?

Some Republicans are comparing President Obama’s discretionary closures to the closures of President Clinton in the 1990’s.  One even had the audacity to complain that the Lincoln memorial has never been closed, and was not closed during the House Republican shutdown in the 1990’s.  Perhaps they are not paying close attention to the dates.  That was the 1990’s.  This is 2013. That makes it what?  It makes it a post 9/11  decision, when potential high-profile targets for terrorists have to be factored into the equation as to what will or will not remain open.  Another factor is that the Park Services personnel has been furloughed and should not be expected to work for free.  (To the Tea Party Republicans: That would be the dreaded Socialism against which you so adamantly and routinely rail against.)

But back to the civics lesson.  No one should be in office who does not know how our government works and just how much our government does for us.  It appears that this batch of Republicans is a bad stew that needs to be thrown out.

And lastly, no one should be allowed to serve without taking an I.Q. test, and passing it with at least a score of 120.  That would, in and of itself, more likely than not, go hand in hand with the passing of the civics tests.   It is  doubtful  that any of the Tea Party Republicans currently serving in the House of Representatives would pass either test.

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