Does this sound familiar? Congress is more partisan than ever; Republicans and Democrats do not know how to work together; the Parties are so divided that nothing gets accomplished. But there have been a number of issues for which Republicans and Democrats have recently worked across the aisle with one another.
Here are eight issues where Republicans and Democrats demonstrate a spirit of bipartisanship:
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The U.S. State Department plans to close embassies and consulates located in predominately Muslim countries on Sunday because of unspecified security concerns, officials announced Thursday.
U.S. embassies, including those in Abu Dhabi, Baghdad and Cairo, that are normally open on Sundays will be closed. The action is being taken out of an "abundance of caution," State Department officials said.
The planned embassy closings were tied to U.S. intelligence about an al Qaeda plot against U.S. diplomatic posts in the Middle East and other Muslim countries, CBS News reported. Specific locations were not mentioned in the intelligence, said CBS. more >>
On July 3, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), was ousted from power. His detractors came from many segments of Egyptian society, but it is the Coptic Christian community that the MB is scapegoating as the principal actor behind his removal. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that, in a recent article on the MB website entitled "The Military Republic of Tawadros" (Tawadros being the Coptic Orthodox pope), the MB urges its followers to believe that the Copts "openly and secretly led the process of opposition to the Islamic stream and this stream's rise to power."
Attacking the Copts will prove to be as destructive to Egypt as to the religious minority itself. Following Morsi's ouster, the MB rejected the invitation of interim president Adly Mansour to be part of the political process, and instead has taken to the streets. It seems intent on regaining some of its lost power through the time-honored tactic of stirring up political unrest and then negotiating reconciliation on its own terms.
Copts came under severe attack right after Morsi's removal and continue to bear the brunt of violence and threats from the MB and other Islamist groups. As a result, numerous churches have decided it is no longer safe for them to hold regular worship services, Sunday school, and catechesis classes. In Minya governorate, the Holy Mass is now being broadcast on the Internet so the faithful won't have to risk their lives praying in the churches. Elsewhere in Upper Egypt, liturgies finish by 7 a.m., and then for the rest of the day the churches are closed and put under guard. Death threats forced Pope Tawadros II to leave his seat at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo three weeks ago, and his whereabouts are now kept secret; the threats were issued because he attended a conference called by Egypt's military to work out the country's road map and because Copts had joined in the anti-Morsi protests. more >>
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is commanding big speaking fees. She regularly gets $200,000 for unburdening her mind on important topics of the day. Bill Clinton has topped all former presidents, however, in speaking for dollars. He can command as much as $500,000 for a 45-minute address. That ain't chopped liver.
As interesting as it would be to hear these very knowledgeable folks, however, one thing they do not tell us is why they thought it was a good idea to divide Jerusalem and give a portion of it to Yasser Arafat's PLO faction.
Yasser Arafat was for many years listed as a leading terrorist in the world. He invented airline hijacking for terror purposes. It would not be out of line to call him the mentor to the 9/11 hijackers. Yasser Arafat personally ordered the murder of U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel in Sudan in 1973. more >>
The European Union recently sent out a directive barring its 28 members from cooperating with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The boycott includes "all funding, cooperation, and the granting of scholarships, research grants and prizes" to Israeli entities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
If this is how the EU chooses to spend its limited diplomatic and political resources "to help" the Middle East, then its moral compass is badly broken. The EU still hasn't even mustered the clarity or courage to join the USA, Canada, and six Gulf states (led by Bahrain) in designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization, even though Hezbollah has committed terrorist acts on EU soil that killed a EU citizen, and has supported Basher Assad's butchery in Syria. The EU has also failed to take any decisive action to address the urgent crises in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran (which marches ever closer to nukes and imports ore -- for armor and missile production -- from Germany and France). And where is the EU's boycott of Mideast governments that persecute women, execute homosexuals, and condone the slaughter of Christians?
If the EU wants to wield its economic clout to impose peace on disputing parties, why not boycott China for its brutal occupation of Tibet? Clearly that occupation doesn't matter because the EU is China's largest trading partner. And why isn't the EU boycotting Northern Cyprus, which is under foreign military occupation by Turkey (against the wishes of the EU)? more >>
President Obama's Middle East policy has been an ever-worsening train wreck because it lacks credibility and strategy, as Egypt, Libya, and particularly Syria, have shown. And the region is about to get much worse, unless Obama exercises resolute leadership on the most important global security issue of this generation: Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
In a commerce-critical region where "might makes right" and only the strong survive, Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons could have catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and beyond. The resulting dangers potentially include: (i) nuclear proliferation, as other Mideast countries feel threatened into pursuing their own nuclear programs; (ii) the transfer of nuclear materials from Iran – the world's chief sponsor of terrorism – to terrorist organizations and/or rogue states; (iii) bolder attacks by Iranian terror proxies (Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, etc.) protected by Iran's nuclear umbrella; and (iv) an even more belligerent Iran that flexes its nuclear arsenal to: export its radical Islamic ideology, acquire disputed territories and resources from neighboring countries, and/or undertake actions like blocking the Strait of Hormuz to increase the price of oil.
As Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently told CBS News's Face the Nation, the Islamic Republic is now dangerously close to a nuclear capability. Because Iran has stockpiled about 190 pounds of 20 percent enriched uranium, Iran is just 60 kilograms – potentially just weeks – short of crossing the nuclear "red line" that Netanyahu set in his speech before the UN last September. more >>