It doesn’t really surprise me that Sen. Ted Cruz thinks that former UN Ambassador (R-Ironic) John Bolton is the apian patellas—that particular candidate is happy as an arsonist in a match factory when he’s signifying for the dropped-knuckle set. But a moment’s reflection on how this dumbass thinks should reflect back on Cruz.
After all, the call to bomb Iran in this recent op-ed is blatantly stupid, or, to put it in context, shamefully consistent with the rest of his mental work-product. But to put it mildly, if someone has been paying a bit of attention to nuclear proliferation, his mention of Israel’s 1981 attack on Osirak as being particularly successful is just babbling. Because the attack on Osirak didn’t end Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program. After the 1991 US invasion of Iraq, inspectors discovered a pretty active underground nuclear program which was, depending upon who you asked, months or scant years from having bombs. The military strike damaged material capacity, but as I’ve been banging on about—it doesn’t destroy know-how, and likely increases the desirability of having such a weapon.
For that matter, in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, Bolton was one of the very wrong people who insisted that Iraq had an ongoing nuclear program. When, no. Hussein isn’t alive now for us to ask him about it, but it looks kind of like having sanctions on and inspectors in was keeping him largely in check. So is there any earthly reason why anyone should listen to this yutz?
Neidermeyer Cotton is apparently a very driven sort of person. Made his way to Harvard as nothing less would do, and turned like Cincinnatus from the plow of his studies to war at the time of our nation’s need. Quotes the Founders and philosophers. Comes off a little bit like Otto from A Fish Called Wanda, that last bit.
Via ThinkProgress, an important moment in the discussion regarding US foreign policy with respects to Iran occurred between Senator Marco Rubio and Secretary of State John Kerry:
During a tense exchange with Kerry at a Senate Foreign Relations committee on Wednesday, Rubio confronted the former Massachusetts senator. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” the potential GOP presidential candidate declared. “Tell me why I’m wrong.”
Kerry responded forcefully. “Because the facts completely contradict that,” he said, before offering to discuss more details in classified session with Rubio. But the likely GOP presidential contender didn’t take up the offer and pressed on with the line of questioning, claiming that the United States is going easy on terrorism because Iran does not support America’s campaign against ISIS.
But of course, the two assumptions that he has are false—of course, the US is involved in fighting ISIL, whether Sen. Rubio thinks the response is adequate or not, and of course, Iran is also opposed to ISIL, because why in the world would a Shiite government want a radical Sunni Wahhabist caliphate in their backyard? To think, nay, insist, that the Obama Administration is soft-pedaling the fight with ISIL to please Iran would be weapons-grade ignorance. And that is precisely where Rubio is coming from.
I read about the open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran last night and was just appalled. I couldn’t put my finger on why, at first. They weren’t offering aid and comfort to an enemy, per se, so you couldn’t call it treason. They weren’t in direct, private communications, solicited or otherwise, with the foreign government, so I don’t know if you could consider it a violation of the Logan Act. But is very unusual, and the tone was, I thought, disrespectful to the President, to other negotiators at the table, and disrespectful of their offices as US Senators. Because while this letter isn’t necessarily treason or sedition—it’s a political stunt over foreign policy made wide-open, which does not strengthen the President’s hand in making a good executive deal, but rather aims at diluting the nation’s effectiveness to carry out successful diplomacy.
I know this was the aim of the letter, because the freshman Senator who spear-headed the effort, Tom Cotton, has previously admitted he wanted to sabotage the negotiations. What astonished me is that he managed to get 46 other senators to go along with him. Not a one of them read the thing and thought it might be a bad idea?
Because this is where the politicization of foreign policy has taken us. I’ve offered my immediate impressions of why being impressed with the speech is kind of wrong, because it’s wrongly-premised and offers no legitimately not-awful strategy on my “boutique blog”, but my longer term concern is that Netanyahu thinks we’re easy. When it came to entering the Iraq War, you bet a lot of us were. But we can learn from history. And history did not really support the action of invading Iraq, and that the WMD claims weren’t solid absolutely did matter.
The other concern I have is that we’ve dumbed down the discourse so far that the knee-jerk “Hitler/Chamberlain” thing is supposed to work on us like we’re Pavlov’s trained dogs. Netanyahu hinted at it in his speech, but smart-person-talking-down-to-dumb-people-and-overshooting-the-mark Ted Cruz just brings it out like that (like the demagogue he is). As lazy and inaccurate analogies go, it’s way up there, for me. Negotiation is in essence a give and take—something has to give. That’s not appeasement. (Also not appeasement are détente, economic sanctions, and bombing the shit out of people without “boots on the ground”.) And I am at a loss to see how the influence of Iran in any other nation is exactly like, say, invading Poland. For that matter, what would we call the regular negotiations Reagan and Gorbachev made together? Appeasing the Soviet Union?
In any event, I never really clapped for Tinkerbell, myself. Sometimes one might, politely, clap so as not to be a fink, when everyone is pulling for a hero. . But the whole Lost Boys and Peter Pan dynamic was f’d up IMHO and Tink should have gone out like a G to inject a little adulthood in Neverland.
I’ve really not made a big point of following CPAC this year because I finally get that I am not the audience this whole shindig is for. Of course, part of the deal is that the prominent voices of today’s conservatism are supposed to be showcased. Yes, some of these people are running for POTUS. But that doesn’t mean I have to take it totally seriously, because the likelihood that, for example, the CPAC straw poll actually ever meant anything would probably mean that we were experiencing Ron Paul’s second term. And we are not. So, if Sen. Rand Paul has enjoyed his third CPAC poll win, this has more to do with inheriting his father’s libertarian apparatus, and less to do with anything like being able to win in 2016. (I think.)
WI Gov, Scott Walker has come in a respectable second, despite or probably because he compared union workers to ISIS, which would no doubt haunt him if he made it to a general election. His claims that facing protesting union folks prepares him for foreign policy is kind of strained, I think. And making the “Reagan” connection is so obvi. Try harder, you try-hard!
I can’t help but feeling like being Senator Jim Inhofe is good work if you could get it. He brought a snowball to a science-fight. He is impervious to how dumb that is. I can’t imagine having a job anywhere on this planet where handling a snowball is supposed to invalidate all the points regarding global warming. Only in the legislative branch of these United States, I guess. Yay (um, no) us (no, we are not worthy)!
So for a quick and meaningful primer—yes, seasons still exist with global warming, and winters will still be the coldest of the seasons. It is possible that global warming has fuxxored the gulf stream in such a way that cold and stormy is the new normal for the East Coast, which includes Washington DC and Philadelphia, so fuck you, global warming!
The following questions I’d like to posit for Senator Inhofe are:
Do you think anyone ever implied that global warming meant there wouldn’t be winter anymore?
Is the freezing point of water supposed to change in any way? (Show your work.)
What do you think of heat waves, like the ones Australia generally has while we US East Coast folks are wrapped up in snow?
Might I suggest that Senator Inhofe should go and investigate the Australian heat, perhaps locate a forest fire, and figure out whether he’d survive longer than a snowball therein? Or is my general disdain for his lack of knowledge transparent enough?
Of course, the sort of people who burn people would also burn books. A group like ISIS that depends on the most narrow interpretation of religion is threatened by learning and the mere existence of anything that counters their cramped worldview. But no matter how many books are burned, more are always being written. It still angers me to see people try to blot out history and culture in this way, though.
I feel a little like a heel picking on poor ole Pat, but I can’t help recording a dis on yoga that is remarkably, um. Hm.
I like yoga and meditation myself. I am in theory an atheist and in practice a Buddhist. I sit in half or full lotus most of the time, because it is very comfortable for my back, you understand (arthritis problems). I meditate because I am insomnia-and-anxiety-prone and finding my center keeps me on an even rational keel. I am familiar with some Buddhist mantras derived from Sanskrit but filtered through the Tibetan practices that I learned my little bit of yoga from. I am going to state something that is probably obvious to you, that is not obvious to Pat or Pat-like persons.
I read things. And if I read about a mantra—I also study it, because why would it mean anything if I didn’t? People educated in critical thinking want to understand why they say or do things. At least, they should. Robertson is taking for granted that people on a spiritual journey are unqualified to understand why they are making that journey, and how they will relate to what they find. But yoga derives from the same root idea as “religion” does—unification. There isn’t anything spiritually less-than in “hindu” or “Sanskrit” coming out of a yoga-inclined mouth. This beef seems really weird. But the idea that yoga makes people “speak in tongues” is funny. There are other people who spoke in tongues…
Vixen, you may be thinking, the problem? Texas Congressman Lamar Smith is certainly “a” problem, but he can’t actually be “the” problem all by himself?
And you would be right, Dear Reader, because no one person is, all by themselves, the whole entire problem. He is just a profound example of the problem. One of the best examples. And no, not just because he’s one of those science-denying, fossil-fuel industry paid-for seat warmers. Although that’s totally true. It’s because he doesn’t believe anything he doesn’t want to—and here’s some proof, via Right Wing Watch, do be a love and click the link. Here’s some of what he said, though:
“One might hope that he would be a little bit more responsive and a little bit more assertive and, frankly, trying to assert American power and provide weapons to individuals who are our allies, for example, or take actions to stop the atrocities that are occurring, or support other nations that are doing more than we are. But the president is doing none of these things,” Smith continued.
Technically, there really ought not be a religious “litmus test” when it comes to achieving any elected office. It honestly should not matter whether our current president, Barack Hussein Obama, is a Christian, as he actually professed publically many times over and witnessed to as a member of Trinity United Church for 20 years, is a practitioner of Islam, having some incidental relationship with that faith having a father and stepfather who were in some respects Muslim, or even as I am, an intellectually inquisitive militant agnostic. The First Amendment technically means that everyone is free to worship as they will, and does not deny anyone their rights because of some heterodoxy. This needs to be understood as part of a long tradition within US history, where Islam was considered among many religions as part of the experiment in allowing such a freedom of thought.
(Contra David Barton, who is an idiot, and is about as much an historian as I am an Olympic Decathlete. Even setting aside Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, or his Iftar Dinner with representatives from Tunis, the reality is that the Islamic nation of Morocco first recognized the US as an independent nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli declared us as “by no means a Christian nation”. Islam was definitely a part of the Founders’ consideration of what religious freedom might mean. For that matter, the willingness to cast the US as having no part in Islam because the Islamists were the people who sold slaves to “us”—quite elides the actual fact that many of those slaves were also of the Muslim faith, and that supposedly “good” Christians willingly bought and held those human beings for generations. In other words, there were many Muslims here denied the right to practice their faith, as they were in every respects also denied their other freedoms, and it was because Christians did not mind any bit of that for a very long time, as their book never gave them a solid reason to. A very bad word I might say to David Barton for trying to erase that very real history. You can not remedy the enormity of slavery by disappearing the history of the people who were actually held in bondage, and you can not defend our founders by denying the shit they actually did. I’m sorry real history is inconvenient to paste-eaters like Barton, but whoop, there it is.)
The reason “liberal” or “mainstream media” ask a drowsy-eyed Koch-whore like Scott Walker a truly philosophical question like whether evolution is real or whether Obama is a Christian, is sort of a litmus test in whether he tracks to reality. Is he so completely a puppet that he can’t answer simple questions without being backstopped by a PR team?
Well, regarding evolution, he punted. When faced with the question regarding the current president’s allegiance, he also sort of punted. He “does not know” because he never read anything regarding the controversy—how Palinesque! I have exactly zero faith in anyone who can claim they do not know why they are being asked either question, and have no response. He doesn’t know if he is required to pander to the tea party assholes or has to be at least somewhat real. He hesitated because of alliances. That is so chickenshit. I neither know nor care what Walker believes, because he doesn’t hisownself. I just don’t think he ever should be president.
You know what the Democratic Party seems to be missing? Shindigs. We do not seem to have neat gatherings like CPAC and traditions like the Ames straw poll, and hosting religious groups like The Response, or doing that very interesting “Freedom Summit” in Iowa—you know, shindigs. I watch them as a political observer, but have to admit—not my team, looks like fun. I mean, there’s Netroots Nation. It’s blogger-oriented so I should be able to really get behind that. But that’s a wonkfest. Where’s our uncovered nekkid id triumphialization? Where’s our scattering of red meat for reubens? (Why is Blogger’s spellcheck so madly unaware of the correct spelling of the perfectly jake 1930’s slang for gape-jawed hayseed? Or even the perfectly cromulent term “jake”?)
Anyway, I digress. Dave Weigel over at Bloomberg notes what “serious” 2016 candidates Mitt, Jeb, Bobby, Marco and Rand have missed. What I believe they missed was associating too broadly with Rep. Steve King, whose blue eyes always seem to carry the faraway milkseed pollen drift of a person whose thoughts take him back again and again to the border and the constant battle against the cantaloupe-calved drug-runners whose backpacks full of Acapulco’s finest hops have once again consigned a generation to jazz music, sloth, and backtalk. There are people who think he might be a little bit too racialist to actually be an appropriate association.
And yet there are so many who do not!
Left bloggers have noted that Sarah Palin’s speech seems to have defaulted to Whargarble after her Teleprompter fail—but I listened and frankly think that although her sentence structure resembles nothing so much as an attempt at cut-up poetry using all the Republican memes, I tend to think that a sympathetic audience could have tracked what she was saying very well.
All in all—not really any surprises or over the top signifying that got my leftist goat—oh except Carly Fiorina. She actually got my Irish up. She said:
“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe,” she said. “But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment.”
Oh huh? You know, I could go back to Hillary Rodham being the first student to give a commencement speech at Wellesley in 1969, or being chosen to help draft the articles of impeachment against Nixon, and point out that she was instrumental in creating SCHIP, which has insured thousands of children who might not have otherwise had access to good health care. I think it’s more apropos, though, to point out that Hillary Clinton won two elections to the US Senate which is two more than Carly Fiorina ever did, and that while Hillary blazed a trail as the first woman partner at Rose law firm and sat on the board of many successful corporations, it is true that she never was the CEO of a nearly bankrupted tech firm whose stock prices shot up like WOW after she resigned—which is the kind of “accomplishment” she is probably glad not to have on her CV.
Flying to many nations as a respected diplomat and Secretary of State is probably not an “accomplishment” in Carly Fiorina’s mind because she can raise questions about things that are negative, like Benghazi or whatever Putin is doing, but let’s ask her what to do about it. Hard Choices, Tough Choices, meh? But still and all, a nice audition for being selected Vice Presidential candidate, maybe?
I’m sure no one will hold her being a regular Bill Maher Real Time guest against her.
Sometimes I think us East Coasters are a little sort-changed when it comes to the SOTU speech and the rebuttals—it’s late by the time all the coverage is done. I have to get up for my paying gig the next day, and I usually have to get to bed before I’ve been able to properly ruminate on the President’s speech, let alone the rebuttal. Especially not if there are five rebuttals.
What is a blogger to make of five rebuttals from the opposition party? Given that there’s an “official” GOP response, I have to guess that the “takes” from different “rebuttals” have to be taken individually, on their own merits, and not view them cumulatively. I mean—would that be fair—five against one? (Well, yeah. I did think Obama did a heckuva job. Easily worth about five of those other speeches.)
See, I’m not what you’d call a pro, like Ron “No ‘I’ in Leadership, well, except that one” Fournier. And the benefit of blogging for seven years is that my regulars pretty much know where I stand on the major points President Obama brought up (raising the minimum wage—for it, equal pay for women—for it, addressing climate change—for it, land wars in the middle east—against’em), so I just feel like a point by point of the SOTU itself is pointless. In general, he looked more at home giving the speech this year and his zinger about winning two elections himself took some of that expectation that Dems losing the midterms overall would leave him “checked out” and lame-ducking it until January 2017 away. He’s still “all in” as far as I can tell. But that’s just my opinion.
Jeanine Pirro, whose presence on the FOX network utterly obviates the entire concept of “sober as a judge”, devolved into a rant upon the killing of Muslims because they apparently freak her out by existing. To hear old Jeanine blow it, the 1% of Muslims in the United States have led to the likelihood that the First Amendment will be altered (without congressional ratification?) to somehow not be mean to Muslims, and praying with them is weird and she doesn’t like it. And also—“We need to kill them”. Nope—listen to it in all its sick glory. She really is hot about genocide.
Now, Steve Emerson is sorry about his comments, and realizes his credibility is in a bit of jeopardy. Would Jeanine Pirro feel anything like the same thing over her genocidal and ill-informed rant, I wonder? Or even feel that her utter journalistic failure and immoral bigotry against an entire religion sort of disqualifies her from being a judge or you know—a reliable journalist?
The cartoons that were likely the justification the perpetrators will use for their murder spree were often quite shocking, crude, and yes, offensive. This is hardly the point, though. Even crude and offensive speech should be protected—which is not to say it cannot be protested or criticized! But the standard that we have for freedom of speech, that enables the KKK or Westboro Baptist to have their say in public is the same standard that protects people of other, less noxious, but possibly threatened minority positions from being persecuted. It is never acceptable that ideas, words, and images, be responded to with violence. To attempt to silence people in this brutal way is an affront to civilization itself.