I’ve heard an interesting tidbit: the suggestion that Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower’s civic career may not be anywhere near its sunset, that her name may be on next year’s city ballot, this time for a Commission race.
Her third and final two-year term as mayor ends November a year from now. But the scuttlebutt has her seeking a four-year Commission seat and extending her presence on the Beach dais to at least Nov. 2017.
Can she legally do that in a city whose elected officials are term-limited?
I put that question to City Hall and heard back from City Clerk Rafael Granado who, in an opinion concurred with by Assistant City Attorney Debora Turner, confirms that a previously term-limited city commissioner (Matti served two consecutive 4-year terms as Group 6 representative from 1999 to 2007) is not precluded by the city charter from seeking an additional stint on the dais.
In other words, though she served two previous terms as a commissioner, it’s sort of like having a “reset” button. Bower can run for a third and a fourth term because she served in another capacity (mayor) in the interregnum between her last Commission term and any future third term she may seek.
And were she to win election to a Commission seat next year, and seek and win reelection in 2017, she could conceivably serve until 2021, when she will be 81. At that point, she will have served an unbroken 22-year stint on the dais, both as a commissioner and mayor.
(And you thought Hugo Chavez was the only one who relished the idea of serving for perpetuity.)
If she runs next year, it would be her seventh city race (her first, in 1995, was an unsuccessful challenge of incumbent Commissioner Simon Cruz).
There is precedent for a former mayor returning to the dais as a commissioner: Leonard Haber (mayor, 1977-79) was a commish before becoming mayor, then returned to the dais as a commish in 1981.
NO MORE ISRAEL?
Readers of Cindy Adams’ New York Post column Sept. 18 were greeted with a big, bold heading that shouted, “No More Israel.”
“Reported to me, Henry Kissinger has stated – and I quote the statement word for word: ‘In 10 years, there will be no more Israel.’
“I repeat: ‘In 10 years, there will be no more Israel.’”
A Kissinger spokeswoman later denied her boss ever said it.
Real or not, the comment has stirred up plenty of discussion surrounding a recent Foreign Policy Journal report about an alleged 82-page analysis entitled, “Preparing For A Post-Israel Middle East,” that is purported to be a leaked confidential study commissioned by the American intelligence community.
Israel, the study posits, has become a strategic liability for the U.S.
Sixteen intelligence agencies, the report claims, “agree that Israel cannot withstand the coming pro-Palestinian juggernaut consisting of the Arab Spring, the Islamic Awakening, and the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Further, U.S. leaders are “growing fed up with Israeli intransigence and fanaticism” and “the American Jewish community is no longer united in support of Israel.”
Kevin Barrett, in a piece for Press TV’s website, says the study contends that Washington no longer has the military and financial resources “to continue propping up Israel against the wishes of more than a billion of its neighbors” and suggests that “the U.S. will have to follow its own national interests and pull the plug on Israel.”
The Jewish state, he adds, “has reached the end of its shelf-life.”
Trouble is, Press TV is an official English-language TV network. Of Iran.
The FPJ report’s author, Franklin Lamb, a former assistant counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, is assailed by the pro-Israel community as a Hezbollah supporter with a decided bias against an Israeli presence in the Middle East.
Local congresswoman and House Foreign Relations Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen figures prominently in Lamb’s piece. He claims she –
“a congressional cheerleader also for her Jewish voters in Florida, a key battleground” in the upcoming presidential election – is familiar with the study’s conclusions and will be using it against the president in this campaign.
Rather than keep to the talking points about Mitt Romney, who “she is aware is unlikely to win the White House,” Ros-Lehtinen will instead be meeting with Jewish leaders “in this must-win state where she has been assigned the task of reassuring them that the Republican Party is Israel’s best friend and that a recent U.S. government draft report urging a U.S. re-think of its relationship to Israel is the responsibility of none other than Barack Obama, and it reveals his true disdain for Israel,” Lamb writes.
Lamb’s report is being circulated by pro-Arab and pro-Iran online media (such as Press TV) at a time when tensions are rising in that part of the world over Israel’s ever-shortening fuse regarding Iran’s continuing nuclear program, and the sanction-punished Islamic regime’s efforts to divert the world’s attention from its illicit nuclear activity and focus it instead on Israel’s heightening saber-rattling over nutty Ahmadinejad’s menacing moves.
I could find no such leaked intel study. Nor could Ted Belman, writing for Israel National News:
“The existence of such a study, even in draft form, is hard to credit as no corroborating evidence has been supplied. But what is certain is that the Arabs have long wanted Israel eradicated from the Middle East and that Lamb has been a notorious shill for them.”
“I now am of the opinion that he so attributed it not because he had knowledge to that effect but in order to make it sound more credible. Liars often provide great detail on some collateral point to add credibility to the lies they are telling. Furthermore he reported that Ros-Lehtinen and [Weekly Standard publisher William] Kristol would be attacking Obama for backing such a report.
“I wrote to him and asked how they had come into possession of such a report….He replied that this draft report was circulated to some members of Congress….[H]e had no evidence that Ros-Lehtinen and Kristol had copies of it, much less were going to attack Obama over its findings. He acknowledged that he did not have a copy of the draft report.
“The whole point of this hoax,” Belman concludes, “was to achieve a platform for his venom.”
Is this just a “planted” story designed to drive pro-Israel voters from Obama and toward Romney, thus helping put into the White House a president whom the pro-Israel community trusts will be more empathetic towards Israel?
Or is it a “planted” story concocted to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel on behalf of Israel’s enemies?
Does an actual “post-Israel” intel study exist at all?
Your guess is as good as mine.
IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT WHO WON
It isn’t enough for us to have a winner on Election Night. Impatient and eager to find a winner and loser in practically everything – in sports, in entertainment (the Oscars, the Grammys, etc.), in politics (Republicans vs. Democrats), in Olympic medal counts – we just can’t wait that long.
So, being the overly-competitive society we are, we must declare a victor in each of the debates leading up to the election. And because that’s not enough, we must declare who won the bigger post-convention bounce following his respective party convention.
And – even that not being enough – we must seek out a winner in the polls, from week to week: who’s on top of the other?
Why can’t a presidential debate be just about the substance? Why must it always be framed as a who-won-and-who-lost contest?
For one, calling these “debates” is a misnomer. These are not really debates. Having been a collegiate debater, I can attest that debate rules and forms are rarely practiced in these. The term “forum” is more apt.
Plus, true debates are intended to determine winners and losers based on rhetorical skills and strength of argument. Presidential debates should be more about edifying the voting public about the issues and where each candidates stands; less about who won or lost.
If we pay more attention to how the candidates “perform” in these debates and less about what they say, we are doomed to make stupid choices on Election Day. And then we have only ourselves to blame for the ensuing consequences and the continuing erosion of our democratic process.
THE ASS-WIPE TROPHY
Paul Broun is a GOP congressman from Georgia. He’s also a licensed medical doctor and a certifiable moron.
Speaking to a Baptist church banquet recently, he told his audience – well, rather than me tell you, let’s let the moron’s own words speak for him:
“All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory; all of that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there’s a lot of scientific data that I found as a scientist that this really is a young earth. I don’t believe that the earth is but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was made in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible tells us.”
Wait till you read the kicker: Broun serves on the House science and technology committee.
The World According to Paul Broun has been immortalized on video thanks to someone in the audience recording it and posting his nonsense to YouTube, much like what the guy sitting in the Boca fundraiser listening to Romney’s “47%” spiel later did.
(Don’t you love how these guys get tripped up by one of their own kind secretly or overtly recording their most embarrassing foot-in-mouth moments and posting them for all the world to see? How else might we better discover what blithering idiots these nutty conservative Teapublitards are?)
God led Broun to run for Congress, he told the congregants. God also guided the bullet that felled the lion that was about to leap into the back of a truck he was once riding in, during a hunting expedition.
I prefer to think that maybe God was actually aiming to taking out Broun that day and call him home, but instead the bullet interceded, the lion failed, and the idiot lived to see another day and go on to get elected to Congress.
Broun also shared with his audience a hunting story of once shooting a bear in the chest. Injured, the bear ran for another fifteen minutes.
“I can tell you as a medical doctor, in four minutes, your brain dies. How that bear did that, I don’t know.”
Broun’s brain, for all intents and purposes, has been dead for a long time. Only he hasn’t been told yet.
When boneheads like Broun deny evolution – and unfortunately the Bible Belt is chock-full of them – it’s a sure sign that some in our species haven’t yet made it to that stage of evolution which the others of us have reached.
In his case, I doubt there is any more evolving to be done – the concrete, so to say, has already hardened.
And most of it is inside his skull cavity.
Let’s hope that if they won’t vote him out of Congress they at least keep any impressionable children away from him.