Monday, September 8, 2014

The House of So Many Republi-CON Lies

Bob McDonnell was once "a popular governor once considered a rising star in the Republican Party. He had chaired the Republican Governors Association, and he was on the short list to be Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election."

At his corruption trial, the McDonnell strategy to explain $100,000+ in loans and gifts, including  golf trips, Rolexes, vacations, checks, vacations, Ferrari rides to everyone in the family was an attempt to "explain lies with lies . . . : 'We couldn’t have been lying to you about our finances, Virginia, because we were too busy lying to you about everything else. We lied about our marriage for years. We lied about our values and our integrity. We lied about our political and economic convictions. We lied about the centrality of family and marriage to our vision of governance.' In the end, when the jurors were asked to believe one more lie—that the McDonnells’ whole life was an 'act' (a lie that may or may not now come true, if the McDonnells’ marriage fails to survive this spectacle) to explain the other lies—it may have been too much to sanction."

Read Slate, A Shameful Defense Fails

Of course, the other guys are no better.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Is Palestinian Terrorism 'Justified'?

UPDATE II:  "Six months ago, after Vladimir Putin annexed part of Ukraine, President Obama authorized sanctions against Russia. 'The basic principles that govern relations between nations in Europe and around the world must be upheld in the 21st century,' said Obama. 'That includes respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity—the notion that nations do not simply redraw borders or make decisions at the expense of their neighbors simply because they are larger or more powerful.'

The United States has defended that principle in Ukraine and Iraq: You can’t use force to grab territory or change borders. But Israel, a U.S. ally, continues to violate the rule. This weekend, Israel claimed yet more Palestinian territory: nearly 1,000 acres, its biggest land grab in 30 years.

The land isn’t in Gaza, where Hamas has been firing rockets and digging tunnels. It’s in the West Bank, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been preaching nonviolence and trying to negotiate a peace agreement. Israel controls more than 40 percent of the West Bank, using its army to facilitate the occupation of this land by Jewish settlers. This is land never granted to Israel under any agreement. It’s theft. . .

This isn’t a Putin-style invasion or an ISIS-level bloodbath. But it’s offensive for many reasons. It’s a slap at the United States, which stood with Israel in its latest war in Gaza, and at European countries that cut Israel lots of slack during the lopsided conflict. It’s a thumb in the eye of Secretary of State John Kerry, who keeps trying to restart peace talks. And it discredits Abbas, sending every Palestinian a message that negotiation is for suckers."

Read Slate, Why Israel Is No Better Than Russia.  

UPDATE:  "The Middle East has been trapped for decades between repressive dictatorships and illiberal opposition groups — between Hosni Mubarak and al-Qaeda — leaving little space in between. The dictators try to shut down all opposition movements, and the ones that survive are vengeful, religious and violent. . .

In the Palestinian territories, Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, is indeed a moderate. But notice that the Israeli government and the West have happily postponed elections in the West Bank year after year — because they know full well who would win. Moderates don’t do well in an atmosphere of despair and war.

Perhaps the biggest stretch of all is the idea that the moderates could win in Syria. It is one thing to believe that moderates can organize well, make their case and get to the polls. But the Bashar al-Assad regime turned its guns on the opposition from the start. In that circumstance, the groups that are going to gain power are those that will fight back with ferocity. . .

And who are those people? After the Syrian struggle began, the Associated Press reported that the opposition to the Assad regime could be characterized as 'poor, pious and rural.' Describing these people in Aleppo, it said, 'They frame the fight in a religious context and speak of martyrdom as something they wish for.' University of Oklahoma scholar Joshua Landis points out that of the four largest and most effective rebel forces in Syria, not one espouses democracy. . .

Asserting that the moderates in Syria could win is not tough foreign policy talk, it is a naive fantasy with dangerous consequences."

Read the Washington Post, The fantasy of Middle Eastern moderates

In answering the question, does it matter that Zionist paramilitary groups used terrorism "to drive Britain from the region in the 1940s."

Read The New York Times, Israeli Columnist Is Fired for Writing That Palestinian Terrorism Is 'Justified', which quotes "Ehud Barak, the current defense minister, who during a 1998 TV interview was asked what he would do if he were born a Palestinian. His response, immediately controversial, was: 'If I were a Palestinian of the right age, I would join, at some point, one of the terrorist groups.'"

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Romney 2016

Says one pundit:  "Romney’s struggles in 2012 flowed from his defensiveness and his fear of alienating Tea Party conservatives he didn’t truly understand. When Romney was himself, as he was during his first debate with the president, he seemed solid and self-assured. If Romney did indeed decide to run again, he’d be wise to jettison his old playbook and to instead detail how he, as a practitioner of creative destruction and disruptive innovation and all the rest, can help make these powerful economic forces work for all Americans. He could build a new presidential campaign around the need to reform and renew America’s safety net, to make it fiscally sustainable while also making it more effective. Imagine if Romney, having been caricatured as a cat’s-paw of the Wall Street overclass, decided to rail against the outsize power of the megabanks and in favor of a more competitive and inclusive capitalism. If we let Romney be Romney, we might find the populist the party needs."

Read Slate, Romney 2016!

The problem is, of course, the so-called Tea Party would never go for it.