Bernie Sanders: ‘I’m not a great fan’ of Benjamin Netanyahu

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (screenshot/youtube)


Earlier this week, NPR host Diane Rehm asked Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is competing for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, whether he is an Israeli-American dual citizen (he isn’t). What was less noticed was the dialoguebetween Rehm and Sanders afterward, where they discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sanders went on to explain his views on Netanyahu:

REHM: Tell me your feeling about whether there should be a two-state solution should Palestine be given statehood?

SANDERS: Absolutely. What you have in that part of the world is an unspeakable tragedy. And it seems like it’s never-ending and it seems like it every year gets worse and worse and more killing and more bombings and everything else. And again, Diane, if I had the magical solution to that problem I would be in the president’s office today giving it. I don’t have it. But clearly the goals are two-fold: number one the Palestinian people, in my view, deserve a state of their own, they deserve an economy of their own, they deserve economic support from the people of this country. And Israel needs to be able to live in security without terrorist attacks. Those are the goals of I think any sensible foreign policy in that region.

REHM: How do you believe President Obama’s relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu has affected our relationship with Israel?

SANDERS: Well, I gotta tell you, I am not a great fan of President Netanyahu I did not attend the speech that he gave before the joint session of Congress. I think it was opportunistic. I think he was using it as part of his campaign for re-election. I think he was being used or did use the Republicans to go behind the President’s back. And I think in that region sadly on both sides I don’t think we have the kind of leadership that we need. And so you know I think the President is trying to do the best that he can in enormously difficult circumstances.

Sanders did not call for ending the sizable diplomatic, military and economic support that Israel receives from the United States. He didn’t match the position of his brother, Larry Sanders, who ran for Parliament in Britain under the Green Party ticket in calling for boycotts against Israel.

But it is unusual for a major party candidate seeking the presidency of the United States to criticize Israel’s government during the campaign. Hillary Clinton strongly defended Netanyahu during a summer 2014 interview with the Atlantic and never offered any criticism of his attempt to sink the Iran negotiations. One of her biggest backers is the pro-Israel tycoon Haim Saban, who is working with Sheldon Adelson to crack down on Palestinian activism on American campuses.

Homeowner Who Shot Girl Seeking Help At His Door Charged With Murder

man gun

Think Progress

A Detroit-area homeowner who shot in the face a 19-year-old girl at his door will be charged with murder, Wayne County prosecutors announced Thursday. The charges include murder in the second degree, which carries a term of up to life in prison; a manslaughter charge with a maximum term of 15 years in prison; and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony or attempted commission, which carries a term of two years in prison.

In the two weeks since Renisha McBride was shot dead outside the Dearborn Heights home, protests have escalated around the country to charge the homeowner, suggesting comparisons to the killing of Trayvon Martin. The shooter was white and McBride is African American. While the homeowner, now identified as Theodore P. Wafer, age 54, initially told police he discharged the gun by accident, his lawyer since told the press the shooting was “justified”and “reasonable,” invoking language from Michigan’s “Shoot First” laws that allow immunity for some self-defense shootings. At a press conference Friday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said her office determined that Wafer “did not act in lawful self-defense.”

It is now clear that Michigan’s Stand Your Ground-like laws did not stop prosecutors from charging Wafer. Wafer may, however, still seek immunity from charges at trial.

Here’s what we know:

  • Police believe McBride was in a car accident and knocked on the door of the home for help. Worthy reported Friday that McBride, was bloodied, confused, and disoriented. Toxicology reports also show that her blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.
  • The shooter didn’t know McBride. In audio released by the police, the homeowner told the dispatcher he shot someone he didn’t know.
  • The homeowner’s lawyer is calling the shooting “justified.” The homeowner initially said he accidentally discharged the gun, but when his lawyer, Cheryl Carpenter, spoke to the press, she said the shooting was “justified” and invoked the language of Michigan’s “Shoot First” laws that could immunize the homeowner from prosecution if he was acting in self-defense. Carpenter also told NPR that the knocking sounded like a lot of banging, rather than a knock.
  • There were no signs forced entry into the home. Prosecutor Worthy said during the press conference Friday that McBride had not attempted to forcibly enter the home. For Wafer to successfully invoke immunity under what is known as the “Castle Doctrine,” which authorizes deadly force without a duty to retreat in one’s home, he would have to show that McBride was “in the process of breaking and entering a dwelling.” He could also use the state’s Stand Your Ground law to show that he reasonably believed force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.


Poynter’s Biggest Media Corrections Of 2011

The Huffington Post

Poynter’s Craig Silverman released his annual roundup of the year’s biggest media errors and corrections on Sunday.

The President Obama/Osama Bin Laden gaffe topped Silverman’s list for the biggest typo of 2011. In the wake of Obama’s Sunday night announcement on May 1st, media organizations scrambled to break news of Osama Bin Laden’s death. For reasons Silverman described in a piece for Columbia Journalism Review, anchors became tongue-tied and repeatedly said “Obama” when they meant to say “Osama.” Editors also committed the Obama/Osama typo, with “Obama Bin Laden” appearing in print and online media publications.

The false reporting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ death was Silverman’s “media error of the year.” According to Silverman, news broke that Giffords was dead afterNPR tweeted that the congresswoman and six others were shot and killed. The news spread on Twitter like wildfire, creating a lot of confusion shortly after news of the shooting broke.

View the rest of Silverman’s list at Poynter, including some lighthearted, mistakenly profane gaffes. Remember this one?

7 Billion and Counting

This video really does a great job explaining the earth’s population growth to 7 billion people in such a short period of time…

Mario Piperni

One of the hypothesis concerning the origin of modern humans is that we emerged out of Africa 50,000 to 100,000 years ago.  By 1804, there were 1 billion of us on the planet.  Over the next 200 years, we found a way to increase that number to 7 billion (give or take 56 million).

If you’re not quite sure how we accomplished that feat, here’s a short NPR video which helps explain it.

Related articles

Breaking Their Promise To Focus On Job Creation, House GOP Proposes Slashing Job Training Programs

The crazy thing about the Congressional GOP is that they still expect to get the White House, a majority in the Senate, as well as maintaining their majority in the House in the 2012 election.

This is preposterous.  They are counting on the mood of the country who polls show are extremely dissatisfied with Obama.  What they tend to forget is that the American people are even more disgusted with their policies.

I have to ask, what color is the sky on the GOP’s planet?  They are certainly not living in the reality of our planet.

Think Progress

House Republicans yesterday released their draft budget proposal for labor, health, and human service, which in one fell swoop revives the assault on all their favorite bugaboos, including Planned Parenthood, National Public Radio, the National Labor Relations Board, and President Obama’s health care reform law. The GOP also targeted heat subsidies that prevent low-income families from freezing in the winter, and slashed education funding by $2.4 billion. The bill also eliminates the Administration’s “Race to the Top” education reform program and reduces eligibility for Pell Grants for low-income college students.

Perhaps most surprisingly for a party that claims to be focused on job creation, the GOP budgetreduces funding for job training programs that give the unemployed the skills they need to find work in an ailing economy:

Employment Training Administration (ETA) – The legislation provides the ETA with $7.5 billion in new discretionary budget authority – $2.2 billion (-23%) below last year’s level and $2.1 billion (-22%) below the President’s request. Much of this reduction is due to the transition of employment and training programs to a federal fiscal year and the elimination of $2.4 billion in advance appropriations for the 2013 fiscal year.

Slashing funding for these training programs by nearly a quarter will deprive thousands of workers of a better chance to find employment. The bill also cuts the Department of Labor’s funding by $2.6 billion and “increases oversight” of job training programs by requiring the GAO to conduct a study on their cost-effectiveness — a transparent pretext for further diminishing the programs. The budget also laughably claims to “foster a pro-job growth environment” through a number of anti-union measures.

The national unemployment rate remains above 9 percent and 25 million Americans are unemployed or can’t find full-time work. Yet this is not the first time congressional Republicans have tried to zero out job training programs.

In February the plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) — and approved by almost the entire GOP caucus — gutted federal job training funding by nearly 50 percent. Republicans’ preoccupation with abolishing these programs illustrates that their talk about creating jobs is nothing more than empty rhetoric to conceal a pro-corporate agenda.

James O’Keefe’s Endless Flirtation With Disgrace Continues In New Playboy Feature

James O’Keefe is another GOP bottom feeder who will undoubtedly fall from grace with the GOP at some point in his corrupt, shady career.


Conservative film- and troublemaker James O’Keefe does little to dissuade animosity from the left, though after a series of faux pas has left him adrift as ideological allies question who in their right mind who greenlight wiretapping a Senator’s office or cornering a journalist in what can only be described as a “dildo boat.” To that end, Playboy’s Jordan Lieberman sought O’Keefe and found a conflicted picture of a passionate activist with a serious judgment problem.

Struggling to explain him, Lieberman– who received access through O’Keefe after convincing him to trust the columnist because they “inhabit the same circles”– alludes to everyone from Johnny Knoxville to Woodward and Bernstein to G. Gordon Liddy himself: an “ace performance ­artist–political shit stirrer–jackass.” This convoluted description, while accurate, doesn’t explain too much, though the background that Lieberman gives on his life certainly adds some clarity. O’Keefe has been at this since performing in high school musicals. That preposterous “pimp” coat he wore in the famous ACORN video? On loan from grandma. Yes, he lives in his parents’ house, but he’d rather not talk about it. He is very poor and appears to trust people he barely knows on a whim. He has a cache of juicy “investigative” pieces he can’t release because of the legally questionable way the information was obtained, one– Lieberman’s favorite– in which O’Keefe plays a “high-roller” who visits a resort owned by a prominent politician in search of prostitutes. Always the prostitutes with this one.

Continue here…



On Budget Deal, House Republicans Once Again Prepare To Break Their Own 72-Hour Rule

I’m wondering why the GOP in the House and Senate keep breaking their promises to “The American People”.  That phrase, “The American People” is tossed around by each and every one of them when discussing legislation or Obama’s policies.

The problem is, the GOP (and a lot of Blue Dog Dems) in congress care nothing about ALL of “The American People”. Their main concern is about corporate interest and military spending.

Think Progress 

When Republicans took over the House in January, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) promised the public, “I will not bring a bill to the floor that hasn’t been posted online for at least 72 hours.”

House Republicans are set to break that promise tomorrow afternoon when they push through a vote on the budget deal reached last Friday with Senate Democrats and President Obama. The agreement, which has been criticized by both progressive and Tea Party members of Congress, was posted online last night at 2 am, and is set to be voted on tomorrow at 2 pm — leaving less than 36 hours for public review.

It’s not the first time Republicans have waived the transparency rules they passed in January to move contentious legislation through the House. Last month, House Republicans debated and voted on a bill defunding NPR more than twenty hours before the review period had even ended.

The violation prompted an outcry from Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), forcing then-presiding speaker Ted Poe (R-TX) to insist the GOP’s 72-hour rule actually meant only three calendar days:

Two weeks later, Republicans again waived the rule while considering another piece of radical right-wing legislation, the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, which would have implemented HR 1 without the Senate’s assent.

As Minority Leader, Boehner repeatedly said that a 72-hour review period was necessary to allow lawmakers to read the bills they were voting on and keep the public informed about pending legislation:

As Paul Blumenthal notes, the GOP House majority is evading their pledge — and their commitment to public involvement in the legislative process — “for nothing other than the pursuit of quick political wins and message control. This is very disturbing.”

The last-minute budget deal: What gets cut?

I have no doubt that the Republicans won their standoff with Obama on Friday night.  I also have no doubt that the POTUS’ re-election efforts will not be as easy as it was nearly four years ago.

Rachel Maddow illustrates an excellent point in this video.  Please view it if at all possible.

(Starting at 5:04 you can view the section I’m talking about, but the entire segment is worth watching!)

The Week

Congress settled on $38.5 billion in spending reductions late Friday, mere hours before the government would have shut down. Endangered wolves are on the chopping block. What else?


High-speed rail
President Obama agreed to a $1.5 billion cut on a policy close to his heart, says Sam Stein at The Huffington Post: The planned national high-speed rail system. This represents a “major hit to one of the president’s favorite transportation priorities,” and only strengthens critics’ suspicion that high speed rail is a “pie-in-the-sky policy.”

Endangered wolves 
Wolves in Idaho and Montana will be removed from the endangered species list as part of the budget deal on the environment. While that’s “bad news for the northern Rockies,” says Glenn Hurowitz at The Huffington Post, the Democrats fared slightly better on environmental funding as a whole. The EPA’s funding was cut by $1.49 billion, not the $3 billion originally proposed by Republicans, and the agency will continue to regulate carbon emissions.

The United Nations
The bill cuts $377 million from the U.S. contribution to the United Nations. That may not seem like a significant number in the big picture, says Howard LaFranchi at The Christian Science Monitor, but it will have a marked effect on the U.N. The U.S. contributes nearly a quarter of the U.N.’s total budget, and Obama is requesting $3.5 billion for the U.N. in his 2012 budget. A “wall of Republican resistance” is likely to spur further cuts to U.N. spending.

Abortions in Washington, D.C.
Planned Parenthood may have been spared, but the GOP did manage to end taxpayer-funded abortions in the District of Columbia. The Mayor of Washington D.C., Vincent Gray, was arrested Monday on the streets of the capitol during a protest against the provision.

Summer school Pell Grants
On education, the president’s “Race to the Top” initiative was left unscathed, but the Pell Grant program will be trimmed. Scrapping summer school grants and preventing students from using two Pell grant awards simultaneously will save $493 million this year, and more than $35 billion over the next decade.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program
The government will save $3.5 billion by scrapping bonus payments to states that successfully enroll large numbers of previously-ininsured children in Medicaid. Republicans were unsuccessful in pushing for an end to all funding for President Obama’s signature health care reform law.

The Joint Strike Fighter jet
The Pentagon is one of the few government departments that did not see an overall funding reduction — in fact, it will receive a $5 billion increase — but the bill does slash $4.2 billion in military earmarks, including funds for the Joint Strike Fighter jet engine that would have been built in John Boehner’s Ohio district.


Pimps, Lies, and Videotapes

Mother Jones

Inside Andrew Breitbart’s and James O’Keefe’s right-wing video fantasy factory.

Ever since ACORN was taken down by a bad pimp costume and a hidden camera, right-wing media mogul Andrew Breitbart and provocateur James O’Keefe have discovered that by the time their work is exposed as disingenuously edited hit jobs, the damage is done, and their brand has been boosted. As Breitbart told the AP, “I’m committed to the destruction of the old media guard. And it’s a very good business model.” Below, their stings to date.

See Chart on Mother Jones


Sunday Talk: Shall we play a game?

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...
Image via Wikipedia

Silly Rabbit over at Daily Kos has a wicked sense of humor.  Love it!

While President Obama was ignoring the worsening crises in Japan and Libya in favor of making his NCAA basketball tournament picks, House Republicans were busy dealing with a real emergency… namely, federal funding of NPR.

True presidential leadership—the type that only money can buy—would’ve resulted in Obama donning a HazMat suit and flying to Tokyo to help put out the reactor fires.

Instead, he chose UCONN to win its third straight women’s national championship.

Let’s all hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.