Friday, August 1, 2014

Those Wacky Wepubli-CONs

UPDATE: "As a House analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, I’ve personally interviewed over 300 congressional candidates over the course of seven years, both to get to know them and evaluate their chances of winning. I’ve been impressed by just as many Republicans as Democrats, and underwhelmed by equal numbers, too. Most are accustomed to tough questions.

But never have I met any candidate quite as frightening or fact-averse as Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney, 55, who visited my office last Wednesday. It’s tough to decide which party’s worst nightmare she would be.

Whitney, a graduate of Nicholls State University who is running for Louisiana’s open 6th District, owned a dance studio in Houma, La., for 34 years and also worked in sales for small telecommunications and oilfield equipment companies. She clearly relishes poking Democrats in the eye, cites Minnesota’s Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) as a political role model, and takes kindly to the nickname 'Palin of the South.' . .

The GOP’s fringe fears aren’t limited to the Deep South. In Wisconsin, state Sen. Glenn Grothman is locked in a fierce three-way primary for retiring moderate GOP Rep. Tom Petri’s 6th District, near Sheboygan. In 2012, Grothman sponsored a bill to classify single parenthood as a contributing factor to childhood and neglect. Grothman has derided the Democratic group Emily’s List as a 'historically racist organization' and has been quoted alleging 'unwanted pregnancies are the fault of mothers … many mothers lie about the circumstances of their pregnancies.' If Grothman wins the August primary, he would be the favorite in November. . .

[A]t the moment, there are more than enough exotic Republican candidates not easily persuaded by basic facts or scientific evidence to overshadow others in the GOP laying out cogent policy alternatives, such as retiring GOP Rep. Dave Camp, whose tax reform plan died a quiet death this spring. The newest pack of provocateurs threatens to continue wreaking havoc on the party’s image among the growing ranks of independents and college-educated voters in 2015 and beyond."

Read the Washington Post, The most frightening candidate I’ve met in seven years interviewing congressional hopefuls.  

 "Timothy Ray Murray lost out to opponent Frank Lucas in the Oklahoma Republican Primary and rather than take defeat gracefully he, well, he claimed Licas wasn't human.

In an incredible statement on his website after his defeat, Murray wrote: ‘It is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive.’

He went on to claim that Lucas was in fact HANGED in a televised execution in Ukraine in 2011 and replaced by a robot body double."

Read Daily Star, Failed US politician claims opponent was executed and replaced by a ROBOT.

According Murray's webite:

"This is a situation similar to the Senators’ from Kentucky situation in the 2012 election. I am contesting that this matter has happen since his election was blocked, because of the U.S. Defense Department’s use of Mr. Murray’s DNA. To my knowledge, the U.S. Defense Department has not released to the public that information, as it is their confidential information about many people. Congress is likely wanting me to state that all my DNA used will not result in benefits to people I have never had relations with of a family nature. I have been bound to protect that information unless it causes harm to The People."

Read also Business Insider, Oklahoma Republican Claims His Opponent Is A 'Robot Look-Alike'.

Another one lost to hysteria, dispair, and rage, thanks to Hedgehog News and the tea party radio network

The Mess That is the Middle East

UPDATE IV:  Of course maybe "[t]he conflict raging in Gaza is different this time. . .

'This is unprecedented in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict,' says CNN's Ali Younes, an analyst who has covered the region for decades. 'Most Arab states are actively supporting Israel against the Palestinians -- and not even shy about it or doing it discreetly.'

It's a 'joint Arab-Israeli war consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia against other Arabs -- the Palestinians as represented by Hamas.'"

Read CNN, This time, Gaza fighting is 'proxy war' for entire Mideast.  

UPDATE III:  Two years later, Israel loses again because:

You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again. – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Read also Slate, Israel’s Deadly Gambits, which notes that "[t]he Israeli government seems to have forgotten how to think strategically; at the very least, they have a self-destructive tendency to overplay their hands. . .

[T]he Iron Dome anti-missile shield, whose production [Obama] greatly accelerated, has shot down the few dozen—out of several hundred—Hamas rockets that would have exploded in Israeli cities.

As a result, Hamas’ rockets—most of which have landed in the middle of nowhere—have killed just one Israeli, while Israeli air strikes have killed more than 200 Palestinians and wounded another 1,500-plus, most of them civilians, many of them children, including the four children whose deaths while playing on the beach were captured by photographers on the scene.

Fatality ratios mean little up to a point, but a 200-to-1 ratio seems awfully disproportionate. Israeli bombs have struck 1,500 targets in Gaza so far—another remarkable fact: Who knew there were 1,500 militarily legitimate targets in that tiny, impoverished strip of land?"

UPDATE II:  As I first stated more than three years ago, "[t]he reasonable solution has always been obvious: to draw a borderline somewhere between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea that both sides, however grudgingly, could live with. Yet the conflict casts a shadow over world peace, and continues to fester."

Read The New York Times, The Elephant in the Map Room, which notes that"we need to look at the conflict with fresh eyes. For Jewish Israelis, the Biblical relation with the land of their forefathers is crucial to why they're there. But in his controversial book 'The Invention of the Jewish People,' Shlomo Sand argues that Judaism used to be a proselytizing religion like Christianity or Islam, and that consequently many of today's Jewish Israelis are descendants of converts, without an ancestral link to Eretz-Israel. Inversely, many of the Palestinians may just be the descendants of the large Jewish community who remained to toil the land, even after the destruction of the Temple and the suppression of the Bar Kochba revolt in the first and second centuries, respectively - and who gradually converted to Islam in the centuries after the Arab conquest."

UPDATE: A new foreign policy for the Middle East:

Some, no make that many, took issue with my frank discussion of the options in the Middle East. As I see it, kill them all (one side or the other, right-wing radical propose killing all the Muslims and letting Allah sort it out, but not very Christian if you ask me), relocating one party to someplace outside the Middle East, such as South Florida (again either party makes no difference for the discussion cause it ain't gonna happen), or relocation within the current borders of Israel, I suggest Palestinians to the north.

Of course the discussion wasn't well received. But I think most people fail to understand the situation in the Middle East. As luck would have it, Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist sums it up well in his article today, Don’t Try This at Home:

"Where to begin? Palestinians are now divided between the West Bank and Gaza, with a secular Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah in the West Bank and a fundamentalist Hamas government based in Gaza. But Hamas is further divided between a military and political wing, and the political wing is further divided between a Gaza-based leadership and a Damascus-based leadership, with the latter taking orders from both Syria and Iran.

Are you still with me?

Best I can tell, the Palestinians from Gaza are simultaneously negotiating a cease-fire with Israel in Cairo, pursuing war-crimes charges against Israel in Europe, digging new tunnels in the Sinai to smuggle more rockets into Gaza to hit Tel Aviv and trying to raise money for reconstruction from Iran. Meanwhile, the West Bank Palestinian leaders are busy publicly collecting food and blankets to help all those Palestinian civilians brutalized by the Israeli incursion into Gaza, while privately demanding to know from senior Israeli officials why they wimped out and didn’t wipe Hamas in Gaza off the face of earth — casualties be damned.

Israel, meanwhile, has a government in which the prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister each has a different peace plan, war strategy and cease-fire conditions for Gaza, and the foreign minister and defense minster are running against each other in Israel’s election on Tuesday. Speaking of that election, a whole new party, Yisrael Beiteinu, led by Avigdor Lieberman, which has been accused of having “fascist,” viciously anti-Arab leanings, appears headed to make the biggest gains and possibly become the kingmaker of Israel’s next government. The other day, the Labor Party leader, Ehud Barak, was quoted in the newspaper Haaretz as criticizing Lieberman as a lamb in hawk’s clothing, asking: “When has he ever shot anyone?”

How did this conflict get so fragmented? For starters, it’s gone on way too long. The West Bank is so chopped up and divided now by roads, checkpoints and fences to separate Israel’s crazy settlements from Palestinian villages that a Palestinian could fly from Jerusalem to Paris quicker than he or she could drive from Jenin, here in the northern West Bank, to Hebron in the south.

Another reason is that every idea has been tried and has failed. For the Palestinians, Pan-Arabism, Communism, Islamism have all come and gone, with none having delivered statehood or prosperity. As a result, more and more Palestinians have fallen back on family, clan, town and tribal loyalties. In Israel, Peace Now’s two-state solution was blown up with the crash of the Oslo peace accords, the rising Palestinian birthrate made any plans to annex the West Bank a mortal threat to Israel’s Jewish character, and the rockets that followed Israel’s withdrawals from both Lebanon and Gaza made a mockery of those who said unilateral pullouts were the solution.

All of this has led to a resurgence of religiosity. According to Haaretz, the following questions were posed by a well-known rabbi in one of the pamphlets distributed by the Israeli Army’s Office of Chief Rabbi before the latest Gaza fighting: “Is it possible to compare today’s Palestinians to the Philistines of the past? And if so, is it possible to apply lessons today from the military tactics of Samson and David? A comparison is possible because the Philistines of the past were not natives and had invaded from a foreign land.”

Who in the world would want to try to repair this? I’d rather herd cats, or become John Thain’s image adviser, or have a colonoscopy, or become chairman of the “bad bank” that President Obama might create to hold all the toxic mortgages. Surely, any of those would be more fun. If Mitchell is still up for it, well, then God bless him. My next column will look at some ways we might just start over. "

Here is my suggestion, rearrange the current borders as such:

In short, New Palestine to the north, New Israel to the south, exact borders TBD, BIG wall in between.

Better hurry, before the next war starts.