Distractions: nuclear options, nuclear weapons programs and selfies - Los Angeles Post-ExaminerLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Distractions: nuclear options, nuclear weapons programs and selfies

It’s a distraction, I tell you! The president and his Democratic lackeys in the Senate are distracting the American public from what’s going on with Obamacare.

First: Harry Reid and his cabal of backstreet boys changed the rules of the Senate so the GOP couldn’t filibuster judicial appointments. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was all over that. We don’t need judges to be appointed to the 100-plus vacancies in the federal court system. What we need is for the Democrats to roll over and do what the GOP wants to do: end Obamacare.

Then, over the weekend, the Iranians came to a deal to stop their quest for nuclear weapons. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have been using diplomacy to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat and it worked.

Mitch McConnell on the floor of the Senate warning the Democrats the nuclear option won't be a distraction. (Screen shot from C-Span)

Mitch McConnell on the floor of the Senate warning the Democrats the nuclear option won’t be a distraction.
(Screen shot from C-Span)

Before the diplomacy could work we had to have in place multi-national sanctions on Iran that eventually drove the Iranian government to negotiate, but they did, in the end, negotiate to end their nuclear weapons program.

And of course it is a distraction, according to Senator Mitch McConnell.

Senator Cornyn of Texas tweeted, “Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care.” A little while later he followed up with, “Isn’t it true that WH are masters of distraction?”

The fine folks at FoxNews didn’t skip a beat either, parroting the GOP-talking points that the Democratic “nuclear option” in the U.S. Senate and the nuclear weapons deal with Iran are distractions.

We should be talking about the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare —  24/7, not the filibuster of federal judges or the Iranian efforts to create a nuclear weapon.

The State Department entered into the negotiations, with five other nations, to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program eight months ago after years of sanctions. Somehow the White House timed the agreement so it would distract from the GOP’s obsession with Obamacare.

The GOP cannot give credit to President Obama for anything, even though for years they have been decrying his lack of leadership on the world stage, especially as it pertains to Iran.

Okay, in all fairness to the GOP they wanted us to bomb Iran and start another war with another Muslim nation. We had the troops right next door in Iraq. All we needed to do was shift their mission east a little and SHAZZAM! Abracadabra, we’re deposing the Iranian government, just like we did in in August 1953.

That worked out well, at least for a little bit.

And the nuclear option in the Senate, which effectively prevents the GOP from blocking nominations for federal courts, has been an issue from the beginning of President Obama’s first term.

Both sides of the aisle are guilty of blocking nominations with faux filibusters. A faux filibuster occurs when a lone senator puts a hold on a bill or nomination without having to hold the Senate floor indefinitely. Like an actual filibuster, it takes 60 votes to get past that hold.

“Well gosh, isn’t that unconstitutional,” you might be asking?

No it isn’t! The Senate is allowed to make up its own rules, as per Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution. There is no mention of filibusters or judicial holds anywhere in the Constitution.

Senator John McCain warned the Democrats they would pay “… a very, very heavy price …” for changing the Senate rules on judicial nominees. John McCain is a scary guy, at least visually.

No he’s not. I’m just joshin’. He can’t help the way he looks. He is after all very, very old. It’s a dangerous thing, mocking old people, especially if you are over 50. Because there will come a time when someone 20 years younger will look at you and make jokes about your appearance and fuddy-duddy ways. But what the hey …

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice, and Phil Gordon (Left), White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region, left, in the Oval Office, Nov. 22, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice, and Phil Gordon (Left), White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region, left, in the Oval Office, Nov. 22, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

So, the Senate Majority (Democrats) got the Senate back to a point where it only take a majority of votes to get something done, which is how the rules are set up in the Senate anyway. Over the years the Senate put rules in place that gave the minority (currently the Republicans) a little veto power.

To be fair, the Democrats upped the usage of the hold when George W. Bush was in office, using the judicial hold over 30 times in those four years the GOP controlled the Senate. Republicans upped that to over 80 holds since President Obama first took office in January 2009.

Of course just eight years ago the GOP and their lackeys in the media were decrying the judicial holds of the Democrats. “Why I oughta …” then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened. He would change the rules — invoke the “nuclear option” — and whamo — the Senate would be back to simple majority rules.

Every nominee deserves an up or down vote in the Senate, according to Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, “I think we should bind both Democrats and Republicans that presidential nominees for the judiciary deserve an up-and-down vote once they reach the floor…” he famously said on May 19, 2005.

But they didm’t pull the trigger on the nuclear option because they wanted to use holds, or filibusters, to obstruct the government when they were in the minority. And so the GOP did — over 300 times, 81 of those holds just for judicial and administration appointees.

Now the new rule that allows judicial and administration appointees to avoid the 60-vote supermajority rule will end the logjam in the Senate that has left hundreds of federal jobs and judicial seats unfilled. Well now you got your wish Senator Hatch. Both Democrats and Republicans are bound to the principle that all nominees get their vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate once they clear the appropriate committees.

And it’s all a distraction.

The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is all the GOP has to pummel the president with, as far as issues go. Their various non-scandals all flopped, although they keep trying to revive Benghazi-gate. Although this time they are gearing up for a possible presidential campaign from Hillary Clinton.

CNN has plenty of distractions on their site. (Screen Shot of CNN website)

CNN has plenty of distractions on their site.
(Screen Shot of CNN website)

When healthcare.gov flopped the GOP had its one big shot — Obamacare didn’t work!

Well, the website didn’t work, but people could still apply via telephone and American citizens who had been prevented from getting affordable health care due to pre-existing conditions or cost were finally able to get coverage.

But then there were those people who were adversely affected by the ACA, about one percent of the population, maybe five if you want to be generous to the GOP. These were people with “Cadillac” health plans (they had to pay more) and poor people who opted for “junk” plans that really didn’t cover much of anything. They were forced to get actual health insurance that gave them basic coverage.

Well, Bill Maher famously said that Americans should be free to buy junk plans, as long as we were going to keep a profit-driven health care system. Hard to disagree with that, but one thing the ACA was designed to do was rid the nation of the rip-offs in the health care industry so everyone could be adequately covered.

Health care plans had to offer a basic level of services in order to be sold. President Obama’s big mistake: telling us nothing would change for those Americans who already had plans they liked. What he didn’t count on, what no one really expected, was that people with crappy plans that didn’t cover much of anything would prefer what they already had to plans that actually gave them coverage for basic services.

The offending selfless, top to bottom: Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Geraldo Rivera, all available on Twitter and Instagram.

The offending selfless, top to bottom: Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Geraldo Rivera, all available on Twitter and Instagram.

So the Twitter and Facebook went wild with crazy talk about how Obamacare was destroying the very fabric of America. The melodrama continues to be quite entertaining.

Despite the hoopla over the failed website, the issue is beginning to fade from the consciousness of the American public. Because of that we have the GOP getting on TV to remind their dwindling base the real and only issue is “Obamacare.”

Hatred towards the president goes a long way in those mid-term elections and the GOP needs to keep their base fired up if they are going to hold the House of Representatives and maintain over 40 Senators in the upper chamber.

If www.healthcare.gov is fixed by the November 30 deadline the steam will be let out of the one remaining GOP talking point. More people will start signing up and there goes the ballgame.

Until then, things like ending the obstructionism of the GOP over judicial appointments and stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons will just be distractions.

You know what’s really distracting? While doing a little research for this I saw promo buttons for “10 Female Athletes you Will Leave your girlfriend for,” “Orcas Kill Dolphins,” and “Kim, Miley Make the Selfie Hall of Shame.”

You take the time to look at Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus and then the next thing you know you’re looking at the photo essay of the top-25 Victoria’s Secret models of all time.

  • Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum are on that list, if you’re wondering.

Now that’s distracting, but I gotta ask: what’s with Miley Cyrus and that tongue? Why is she sticking it out in all those pictures? And Geraldo Rivera going Anthony Weiner on us with his semi-nude selfie? C’mon dude, you’re 70 years old!

This is America, freedom of expression, yadda-yadda-yadda … err … I have some selfies of me shirtless, in case anyone is interested. Ya know, just sayin’.


About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that. Contact the author.
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