Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Last Call For That Syrian No-Fly Zone

A no-fly zone over Syria is not going to happen, folks...and here's why.

Delivery of long-range anti-aircraft missiles to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces “is a stabilizing factor,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, even as Israel denounced the decision. 

“We won’t cancel this contract,” Ryabkov told reporters today in Moscow. “We understand the concerns and the signals that are being sent to us from different capitals. We see that many of our partners are worried about this, but we have no reasons to reconsider our position.”

The S-300 missiles with a range of 200-300 kilometers (186 miles) are a threat to Israel and can reach aircraft over Ben Gurion airport, Yuval Steinitz, Israeli Minister of International Relations, told reporters today. That makes them “not just defensive weapons, but offensive,” he said, calling the Russian move “terribly wrong.”

The exchanges came hours after the European Union authorized arms sales to the Syrian opposition. While Britain and France, the prime movers behind the decision, said there would be no immediate shipments to rebels, both countries said the move was intended to narrow the options for Assad, who has clung to power during two years of civil war that has cost 80,000 Syrian lives.

Ryabkov accused the EU of “pouring oil on the flames of the conflict.” The Russian minister declined to say what stage the S-300 deliveries have reached, but Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the systems have not yet been shipped. “If, by some misfortune, they arrive in Syria, we will know what to do,” he told reporters today. 

What Israel will do is precisely nothing, because those S-300 SAMs will shred the Israeli Air Force, and they damn well know it.   Getting rid of them, once they're in place, is going to require a serious military effort on the part of Israel (and most likely the US too.)  Since there's no stomach for that in either country, Russia is playing this card to take Israel's air power out of the picture.

That means the Syrian Army can bring in Hezbollah and Iraqi fighters to continue the civil war.  Hell, at this point Syria is turning into Vietnam.

Enjoy the show, folks.  This one's going to be around for a while.

In The Dark Recesses Of The Mind(less)

Apparently all 45 Republican senators, even the "moderate" ones, now believe that every other President in history could make recess appointments except for, well, you know, the black one.

All 45 Republican senators co-signed an amicus brief filed Tuesday calling on the Supreme Court to curtail the President’s power to temporarily appoint nominees without the Senate’s approval.

“[R]ecess appointments have become a means to sidestep Senate confirmation,” the brief declared. “In any case, the President himself has made clear that he will resort to recess appointments, and indeed has done so, precisely to circumvent perceived Senate opposition.”

In January, a three-judge panel on the conservative-leaning D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that President Obama overstepped his constitutional authority when he recess-appointed three members of the National Labor Relations Board. The court decreed that the president may not recess-appoint nominees during pro-forma sessions, when the Senate tends to meet briefly, sometimes just for a few minutes, without holding debate or votes.

The Obama administration has appealed that decision; the Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to take the case. 

See, the wacky part is the President's power to make recess appointments is actually in the Constitution, whereas the Senate using the filibuster and secret holds to block appointments is not.  Republicans suddenly don't care about that anymore, because A) it's not part of the Second Amendment, and B) Obama is a fascist for exercising a power he has used far less than any other remotely recent President, Democratic or Republican.

We'll see what SCOTUS does.

Scouting Out The Backlash

I am completely unsurprised at the fact that the first mega-church to abandon the Boy Scouts over their decision last week to include gay youth in troops is right here in backwards, homophobic, hate-filled Kentucky, just down the road in Louisville.

Southeast Christian Church will break ties with a Boy Scout troop because it believes the youth organization has become too polarizing, its executive pastor said.

The organization’s National Council voted last week to allow openly gay youth but maintained its ban on gay leaders.

Tim Hester, executive pastor of Southeast Christian, said the youth organization’s consideration of that issue started the discussion that eventually led to the church’s board of elders deciding against renewing the church’s charter with Troop 212, but it wasn’t the deciding issue.

The charter was going to be broken regardless of the Boy Scout vote, he said.

“Truly for us it’s a logical decision,” he said. “We cannot be distracted from the mission God has called us to.”

The Scouts have until the end of the year to relocate.

Barry Oxley, CEO of the Boy Scouts’ Lincoln Heritage Council, said Southeast Christian had notified the council earlier this year that scouting would not be offered on its campus in 2014.

He said the Boy Scouts are working to identify a new organization to charter Troop 212 and Cub Scout Pack 212. He said about 300 families participate in Scouting in the two groups at Southeast Christian.

Sure.  Boy Scouts accepting gay members wasn't the "deciding issue" and I'm really the King of Versailles.   Nice message of Jesus's acceptance, tolerance, compassion and humility there, guys...and way to put Kentucky on the map again nationally.


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