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Sunday News Round-Up

April 3, 2011

I am cross posting this from Taylor Marsh. I’ll be doing a photo bomb later this afternoon, so check back if you are interested.

Good morning political junkies, welcome to Sunday.

Here are some links to start off your morning:

~Guess what? Obama is going to announce he wants to run for re-election.

~In yet another shift away from the values and themes he championed as a candidate in 2008, Obama’s reelection campaign will focus more on big-money donors unrestrained by spending limits, as opposed to focusing on the type of small donor, grassroots fund raising he bragged about in 2008.

~So how does the Côte d’Ivoire fit into the Obama administration’s claim that “we are not just going to sit back and watch a government slaughter their own people”? Whether one agrees or disagrees with our military engagement in Libya, I don’t think there is any denying that both liberals and conservatives are scratching their heads looking for some sort of over-arching foreign policy theme. Secretary Clinton called for Laurent Gbagbo to “step down immediately”– this is the strongest condemnation from the administration to date.

~This morning there is breaking news that French forces have taken over Abidjan airport in Côte d’Ivoire.

~The White House is reportedly divided over how to deal with Syria.

~Arianna Huffington announces what has been obvious for some time now- the HuffPo is not a progressive site anymore. I don’t know how I’d describe it- another corporate news experiment, shameless Search Engine Optimizer, ad revenue generator?

~Did the U.S. get Saudi and Bahraini support for military action in Libya by agreeing to not speak out against Saudi troops going into Bahrain to quash democracy protesters?

~If this is true then the military is moving pretty quickly on repealing DADT. That’s good because if the GOP makes more gains in 2012 (or should I say “when”), things could get tricky.

~Israeli President Shimon Peres will be in Washington this upcoming week to work with President Obama to try to find a way to prevent the UN from recognizing a Palestinian state in September. You know, because this conflict hasn’t gone on long enough, we want to draw it out a bit longer.

~Speaking of Israel and Palestine, the International Crisis Group (ICC)released a report last week that details the rise of extremism in Gaza and how it has been influenced, in part, by rival factions within Palestinian politics but also, notably, the Gaza blockade itself has not only not stemmed the militant tide in Gaza but may actually have increased it. We tend to view Palestinian politics through the lens of Hamas and Fatah but the report details the rise of Salafi-Jihadi groups who are more extremist than Hamas. Given that Hamas did not claim responsibility for the recent murder of the Fogel family and the bombing in Jerusalem, it is actually possible that they in fact weren’t responsible, but rather some of these more extremist groups were. The ICC argues that the situation in Gaza makes it more important than ever to reach a quick, just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict- in other words, the recent violence should not be seen as a reason to not make peace.

~The pointless, provocative burning of the Koran by that malcontent Pastor Jones in Florida continues to reverberate around the Muslim world, not just in Afghanistan. Some believe Afghan President Hamid Karzai may have added fuel to the fire on Thursday when he openly condemned the burning and called on the U.S. to arrest Jones. Then on Friday during morning prayers, various Imans and Mullahs urged people take action in response to the Koran burning, which clearly was taken to mean “do violence,” whether or not that was the original intent (and it may have been). It was on Friday that the worst violence took place, with nine killed and over 80 wounded at the United Nations headquarters in Afghanistan.

~Our attention has been diverted away from Egypt, but there is trouble brewing as this article makes clear. Pretty soon the U.S. is going to have to pressure the Egyptian military to stop the torture, detentions and repression that continues to take place to this day. The U.S. has a very close relationship with the Egyptian military and in my view, we’ve been giving them a bit too much credit for their “restraint” when in fact, the same repressive system that existed under Mubarak continues to hold [and abuse] power. It’s difficult to see them voluntarily giving up all the power and the perks that go along with military dictatorship.

~Political history according to Newt Gingrich.

~So, is the Capitulator In Chief going to allow the GOP another huge victory by agreeing to over $70 billion in budget cuts, much of it targeted at social programs and the usual stuff that the GOP hates. Naturally, the Defense Department gets a pass on this one. You know, because there is no waste, fraud and abuse there. Maybe Obama should stand up for something and allow the GOP to shut down the government? Oh wait, but he doesn’t stand for anything. Does Obama want to help the average middle class American or does he just want to be liked by the GOP and moderates? Because at this point, his military and economic policies are anything but “progressive” and they still can’t stand him. It’s time for Barack Obama to accept that no matter what he does, the GOP will say “no.” Apparently Obama thinks that “compromise” means giving the GOP almost everything they want and getting little to nothing in return. The compromising of late has been rather one-sided.

~Glenn Greenwald does a nice job illustrating why Obama is totally willing to take the progressive vote for granted- because some Obama supporters, just like the G.W. Bush supporters of yore, will rationalize everything Barack Obama does, even if they don’t agree with it. In another recent post, Glenn Greenwald exposes Obama’s hypocrisy and total about-face on the limits (or lackthereof) of Executive Power, particularly as it relates to war and national security.

~Senators have sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding she insist the Palestinians cease their incitement against Jews and Israel in their media, schools etc. No argument there. Incitement by definition throws fuel on an already-smoldering file. But over at Foreign Policy, Mathew Berkman argues that BOTH Palestinians and Israelis should be urged to cease incitement and that Congress, and Israel, tend to have a double standard on this issue.

~Israel will ask the United Nations to retract the Goldstone Report after Judge Goldstone wrote an op-ed in Friday’s Washington Post where he reconsidered some of his conclusions. Ethan Bronner of the NYT has a pretty balanced take on Judge Goldstone’s op-ed.

~592 American soldiers have died since President Obama announced the surge in Afghanistan.

~I hope you don’t mind a little pesticide in your water.

~Fox News lowers the bar. Again. They have given The Donald a regular Monday segment where he say outrageous things without having to explain them while promoting himself as a potential Presidential candidate. They are rationalizing that this ok because he’s not a paid contributor like some of their other Presidential candidates.

~Speaking of The Donald, Glenn Beck has…get this…dismissed Donald Trump as a “showboat” candidate. Hahahahaha. And what would Glenn know about showboating?

~More fun with Fox News- A Fox News executive admits he lied on air about candidate Obama during the 2008 election. Now, if this were any other “news” agency heads would roll. But this is Fox, a place where such biased nonsense is not only encouraged, but rewarded.

~The National Organization for Marriage is warning Virginians and whoever else that will listen, that pretty soon Virginia will have “mandatory gay adoptions” whatever the hell that means. Does that mean gay people will be mandated to adopt? Or does it mean straight people in Virginia will have to adopt gay people? Apparently what it actually means is that there shouldn’t be discrimination in the adoption process. The problem is that the religious right and anti-gay groups have mobilized around this issue and could tilt the balance against what appears to be an entirely reasonable regulation.

The End.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Thain permalink
    April 3, 2011 1:11 pm

    Wow, lots of good stuff!

    The Goldstone editorial is pretty fascinating. I could help but get the feeling that the guy has been so beaten down over the past two years that he’s trying to dig himself out. The timing is weird and he raises issues that he has brought up before- none of which contradict the finding that Israel and Hamas didn’t do enough to protect civilians.

    I follow AIPAC’s tweets and they are orgasmic over this. So are certain members of Congress who will remain nameless and other orgs.

    That Glenn Greenwald article calling out the Obots is really good- the great thing about Greenwald is he makes tight arguments and it’s tough for people to rebut them. The idea that Obama should get a free pass for anything for no other reason than he’s Obama, is crazy. Blind loyalty is undemocratic.

    • April 3, 2011 1:50 pm

      After I read Goldstone’s editorial I read the report he referred to by the independent commission headed by that NY judge whose name escapes me at the moment- he totally misrepresented her findings in the report, which is so strange- Goldstone is an outstanding lawyer, jurist with impeccable credentials- why would he toss out such an easily rebutted argument for why he changed his mind? The editorial was filled with red herrings.

      Then I came across this article which basically says what I feared- the Israel Lobby and Jewish groups in particular, were merciless in their demonizing of him and they totally alienated him- he got death threats, they tried to block him from attending his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah, they accused him of blood libel and of aiding Israel’s enemies. I think they broke him.

      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4051403,00.html

      If that article is accurate than it’s a sad statement on the international diaspora community, including in this country, which also demonized him. They sent a clear message- if you dare speak truth to power and question Israel’s actions, we will go after you, alienate you, make you a pariah in your own community, we will go after your family and everything you care about. It’s a thuggish tactic that should cause the Jewish community to rethink what they have had to give up (a willingness to engage in critical debate, the promotion of democratic values, adhering to traditional liberal Jewish values which always championed human rights and social justice) as a result of Israel demanding their unquestioning loyalty.

  2. Steve permalink
    April 3, 2011 4:43 pm

    @stacy- that Ynet article is incredible. Good find. You do your homework.

    I think it’s pretty clear what went down. Is anyone really surprised? As I’ve said a million times we in the Jewish community need to stop acting like tribal thugs, silencing all debate by throwing our political weight around- talk about feeding into all the negative stereotypes about Jewish control of this or that! The Lobby BRAGS about it’s unparalleled influence and in that Ynet article the South African Jewish community brags about how they made Goldstone’s life living hell and they would seem to be saying that Goldstone changed his mind not for the reasons articulated in his WaPo editorial but because he was sick of being harassed by the Jewish community and others. Nice, real nice. We eat our own apparently.

    Now here’s the question- given the US mainstream media has been absolutely giddy at the Goldstone reversal will they cover this story in Ynet which clearly is relevant in that it provides at least an alternative rationale for why Goldstone reversed course by bullying him into “atonement” as they call it? Will that oh-so-0bjective NYT dynamic duo in Jerusalem, Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner -the Batman and Robin of Israeli govt stenography- cover this part of the story? If the US mainstream media doesn’t discuss this aspect of WHY Goldstone may have written that op-ed then isn’t that just one more instance where our media’s insistence on being an Israeli govt echo chamber gets in the way of actual journalism?

    So, if anyone sees any mention in the MSM about what Ynet covered let me know by dropping a link here. MJ Rosenberg is already all over the Ynet story but of course, the US MSM doesn’t touch him with a ten foot pole after he turned on AIPAC (traitor *hiss*)

  3. Steve permalink
    April 3, 2011 5:28 pm

    Sorry to comment again but I wanted to throw my wife’s theory of what happened out there to see what people thought. She’s a lawyer and did pro bono human rights work when we lived in Israel and she followed Cast Lead and the Goldstone Report and it’s aftermath very closely- more closely than I did. I asked her what the basis for her theory was and because she’s a lawyer I expected to hear her throw out some evidence she had come across- an article or something. But she surprised me when she said “I’m a Jewish mother” and she explained that she believes there is only one thing that would make Judge Goldstone put his credibility on the line and seemingly walk back on his own values about the importance of consistency in international law- he must have been afraid for his family and in particular his children and grandchildren. We know he got death threats and needed 24/7 security but we also know that he was devastated (according to reports) when members of the Jewish community in South Africa started targeting his family by trying to block him entering the synagogue where his grandson was being Bar Mitzvah’d . My wife thinks that is what he found intolerable- that his family would be punished for his role in the investigation into Cast Lead.

    After she finished telling me why she thought that was the reason, I was struck by how it really seemed to make sense- Goldstone put up with bullying, harassment, threats of violence against him for 2 years but something made him go to the Jewish community in South Africa and discuss this and what parent or husband/wife wouldn’t try to do everything they could to protect their kids/their spouse?

    • Seamus permalink
      April 4, 2011 8:53 am

      @Steve- that sounds like a credible theory.

      Over here in N. Ireland they are talking about Goldstone being pressured by the Lobby to change some of what he said in the report but keep in mind that Goldstone wasn’t the only author or investigator, there were others and they haven’t retracted ANYTHING.

      I agree with Stacy, Goldstone’s op-ed is really weak and all he really says is that Israel was right to follow up on some of the findings while Hamas was wrong not to. The finding that Israel did not make hardly any effort to safeguard civilians still stands and while it may not have been Israel’s official policy to target Palestinian civilians there was plenty of evidence offered from IDF soldiers who took part, that they were told any Palestinian man, woman or child should be considered a terrorist target, whether they are or not. That = war crime.

      He never retracted the finding that Israel used disproportionate force, something which Israel not only doesn’t hide but brags about. Israel says it has no choice to use disproportionate force because they have to send a message to all their enemies- Israel sees itself as the only victim in the world and thus there are special rules which apply to it.

      Also, it’s great that Israel is investigating itself but they’ve largely cleared themselves of wrong doing and given a few IDF soldiers a slap on the wrist- is that the accountability Goldstone was hoping for?

      When Cast Lead 2 happens and Israel uses even more disproportionate force I hope Goldstone realizes he’s given them a free pass to commit more crimes.

  4. Terry permalink
    April 3, 2011 5:29 pm

    So what did dear Arianna do now, just shaft everyone and retire somewhere with the cool third of a billion bucks she made on this deal while she reinvents herself? Is Arianna just another evil member of the 1 percent super wealthy class that is ruining this country? Probably. This transfer to middle of the road and “balanced” is just so ingenuous. Its like asking us to believe a hip cool Studio 54 disco will be just fine run by a bunch of corporate types at Mutual of Omaha headquarters in Nebraska. Not! What does AOL know about news or opinion? I feel used. Its such a slap in the face of the readers which made the site successful. Its going to blow up in her face but so what, she’s made her money. She has duped us. Playing coy and saying the HP is not a progressive liberal site is just ridiculous. The whole site came together because of all the issues being discussed in the 2008 primaries and election. Although now it has seriously degraded. Tt’s more like People Magazine and you can read the opinion pieces in about the same amount of time it takes to go to the toilet. How she got away with not paying her contributers is scandalous. I hope all serious bloggers have learned something from this.

  5. January 26, 2013 11:24 am

    Looking at owls always scares me I dunno why.

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