Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Will Obama & GOP Play Good-Cop-Bad-Cop With Iran?

While the United States and its allies test the newly elected Iranian president for any change in that country’s nuclear ambitions, the Obama administration has rejected Tehran’s calls for easing sanctions as a down payment for negotiations.

The administration is hanging tough on that one and can count on more than full backing from the Congress.  Friction may come, however, if Obama decides to delay implementation of new sanctions to test the government of Hassan Rowhani, who takes office in early August.

Egyptian Tourism Tzoris

UPDATE --  The Islamist radical President Morsi appointed governor of tourism-center Luxor, Adel el-Khayat, resigned in the wake of intense public criticism that he was unfit for the job. The ultra-conservative el-Khayat is a member of a terrorist group that murdered 58 tourists at the 3,400-year-old Hatshepsut Temple in Luxor in 1997.  With a touch or irony that clearly went right past him, el-Khayat  said he resigned  to prevent "bloodshed."  

Sometimes the worst wounds are self-inflicted. 

Could Bank Of Israel Governor Come To The Fed?

While many of the world's economies were tanking during the great recession that began during the Bush administration, Israel's seemed to be one of the strongest and grew when others were shrinking.

Much of the credit for that performance has been given to Stanley Fisher, the retiring Bank of Israel governor. He is being mentioned now as a possible success to his former MIT doctoral student Ben Bernanke, when his term as chairman of the Federal Reserve ends early next year.

Game Changer: Too Little, Too Late?

A day after Bill Clinton said staying out of Syria is a mistake and called for greater American intervention, the White House announced President Barack Obama has concluded that Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons, including sarin nerve gas, against his own people and it is time to begin arming the rebels.

But after more than a year of hesitation while his State Department, Pentagon and CIA have urged a more robust involvement, Obama’s decision could be too little too late.

Why Did Bibi Wimp Out?

There’s one weapon Israel wishes it didn’t have: all those loose cannons.  The latest salvo was fired for all the world to see this week when the deputy defense minister essentially accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of bluffing on his commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Power's Interventionism Gets Mixed Reviews In Pro-Israel Crowd

Samantha Power brings to foreign policy an activist impulse that many in the pro-Israel community wish was more prevalent among American diplomats.

Except Power, a former White House National Security Council staffer nominated this week by President Obama to represent the United States at the United Nations, also has directed her interventionist inclinations at Israel.

We’re Going To Miss Ahmadinejad

I will be sorry to see Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leave the Iranian presidency after this week’s elections. 

His confrontational style, virulent strain of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, threats to wipe Israel off the map and boasts of weapons capable of destroying enemies within a thousand or more miles have made it so much easier to mobilize international opposition to Iran and build a broad international coalition against his country’s nuclear program.

At Mayoral Forum, Weiner and Liu Fervently Court Frum Vote

Naturally, all the Democrat candidates for mayor tried to score points with the mostly Orthodox audience at a debate sponsored by the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition earlier this week.

 But Anthony Weiner and Jon Liu seemed to be the most over the top in trying to connect.

The Jewish ex-congressman turned comeback hopeful greeted people with “Shalom aleichems,” on two occasions referred to “shekels” instead of dollars, threw in an Eretz Yisrael or two and used his standard remark about understanding the Orthodox community “in his kishkes.”

A Solution For The IRS Scandal

If you think Karl Rove and the Koch brothers are a bunch of well-meaning humanitarians running social welfare agencies then you don't understand the real IRS scandal.  It's not just a question of whether workers at the Cincinnati office were singling out some applications for political reasons or carefully vetting all suspicious applicants for 501(c)(4) tax exemptions. 

This is not a partisan issue. Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives use and abuse the 501(c)(4) status equally and share responsibility for the present mess.

Frank Lautenberg, Last Of An Era

The last U.S. senator of the Greatest Generation and the oldest member of the U.S. Congress died earlier today after a long illness.  Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) was 89.

He was something of an anomaly in the Senate, a wealthy and highly successful businessman who was an outspoken pro-government liberal.

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