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I’m Disillusioned by the People Who Are Disillusioned by the People Who Are Disillusioned With Obama

9:11 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

George Clooney in ad by Anti-Republican Crusaders

The above ad, by Anti-Republican Crusaders, which they are encouraging people to distribute openly and widely, featuring actor George Clooney, is aimed at progressives who feel betrayed by Obama’s policies.  As in other pushes to draw people who had once supported Obama back into the fold, it is – to borrow the term Obama has been using on the stump this past week – Sketchy.

Has anyone yet caught Clooney openly and ardently defending the NDAA and its onerous indefinite detention provisions, that Obama is now defending to the hilt?

Or the secret kill list?

The secret kill list article:

kill list

Or the position of his Justice Department that the banksters are unprosecutable?

Or Obama’s stepped up program against medical marijuana clinics and users of medical marijuana, many of whom are Veterans and extremely ill?

Or his full-speed-ahead support of Shell Oil’s Arctic offshore drilling?

Or his rubber stamping of Department of Energy policy regarding nuclear power in the post-Fukushima world?

Or his scuttling of the Copenhagen climate conference?

Or his intentional torture of Bradley Manning?

Or his unprecedented war on whistleblowers?

Of course they haven’t

Clooney and his ilk cannot defend those policies, so he and the others avoid them or plead ignorance, like Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz did above.

They are wearing blinders.

And –  yes, Romney is the worse of two evils.

Unfortunately, my spiritual beliefs preclude me from voting for war criminals, so nothing Clooney says will influence me.  Perhaps others.

Meanwhile, I’m content working hard to convince people NOT to vote for Mitt Romney.

And getting ready to vote for some progressive ballot initiatives (local Alaska ones).

And some Democrats.

Just not the war criminal one.

American Jews Like Muslims Twice as Much as They Like Christian Evangelicals

11:55 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

IMG_0196

A poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, published April 3rd, finds American Jews to be very wary of the Christian sects that claim to support Israel and its expansionist policies most vocally.  The Forward has published a thoughtful article on the poll results and on related recent polls:

The survey [PDF],conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and published April 3, asked Jewish respondents to rate the favorability of several religious groups. Mormons received a 47% favorability rating, Muslims 41.4%; the group described as “Christian Right” was viewed in favorable terms by only 20.9% of Jewish Americans. [emphasis added] In contrast, the general American population, as shown by other polling data, views evangelicals more favorably than Muslims and Mormons.

“Most liberal Jews view the Christian right as wanting to impose a Christian America on them,” said Marshall Breger, professor at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and leading voice on inter-religious relations. “To the extent to which the bulk of Jews are liberal, both politically and culturally, they’ll have negative views of the Christian right.”

Social views of Christian conservatives have been drawing attention in recent months as an increasingly significant part of the Republican presidential primary discourse. Attempts by GOP candidates to prove their conservative credentials in order to win over the Christian right have had, experts believe, an adverse effect on the Jewish community, turning it away from the Republican Party.

Given all the money some prominent uber Zionist Jewish donors, such as Sheldon Adelson, have thrown at GOP candidates so far this cycle, this news may come as a surprise to some.

The poll was conducted during the height of the GOP’s late winter war on women.  Over the winter, Jewish members of my family, all very liberal, were at least as upset as I’ve been over the crescendo of anti-feminist and sexist rhetoric aimed at eroding hard-fought positions American women have won over the past 40 years or so.  The Forward article on the poll results seems to note that:

Social views of Christian conservatives have been drawing attention in recent months as an increasingly significant part of the Republican presidential primary discourse. Attempts by GOP candidates to prove their conservative credentials in order to win over the Christian right have had, experts believe, an adverse effect on the Jewish community, turning it away from the Republican Party.

“It’s a huge factor in preventing Jews from becoming more attracted to Republican candidates,” said Kenneth Wald, distinguished professor of political science at the University of Florida and a leading expert on the intersection of religion and politics. He explained that the prominent role played by Christian conservatives in Republican politics is the major obstacle facing the party as it tries to win over Jewish voters.

The Forward article, though not directly addressing the growing rift between American Reform Jews and their more conservative Orthodox brethren, does note:

All research points to the sharp contrast between Jews and Christian conservative views on abortions, women rights, gay and lesbian rights, and the separation of religion and state as the key factor distancing the two communities. But David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, America’s largest evangelical pro-Israel organization, sees these issues as an excuse.

“On the social issues, there is more-or-less unanimity between Christian Conservatives, Mormons, Muslims and Orthodox Jews,” Brog argued. But it is only the Christian conservatives who are treated with mistrust by Jews — a situation caused, Brog posited, by Jewish concerns over evangelical proselytizing or adherence to the belief that the Christian faith should replace Judaism. “We in the Jewish community need to stop viewing the present through the lens of the traumatic past,” he said.

While praising Jewish organizations and federations for welcoming Christian evangelicals, Brog pointed to the Reform movement as leading the opposing views. [Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews] spoke generally about liberal Jews who “are concerned about tikkun olam [repairing the world]” more than about Israel, as those who still refuse to trust evangelicals as partners.

In response, Rabbi David Saperstein, head of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, said that it is not the Christian right’s beliefs on social issues that pose a problem to the Jewish community — it is their attempt to bring those beliefs to the public sphere.

I’m reading Peter Beinert’s new book, The Crisis of Zionism, right now.  Beinert has much to say on how the evangelical right, and liberal Jewish distrust of their machinations play a part in the changing tenor of the debate on support for Israeli governmental policies.

To me, it is not surprising that American Jews are far more wary of Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists than the media seems to portray as the case.  It might be interesting to see more detailed polling on this subject, to find out how deep-seated the mutual distrust between these communities actually is.

The high standing American Jews seem to give to Mormons, on the other hand, must be good news to the Romney campaign, particularly regarding the swing state of Florida.  Recent articles on Romney’s decades-old friendship with Israel’s prime minister point toward an already formed relationship where Romney considers Benjamin Netanyahu to be the senior partner in a possible future leader-to-leader dependence:

The relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Romney — nurtured over meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem, strengthened by a network of mutual friends and heightened by their conservative ideologies — has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East.

In a telling exchange during a debate in December, Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Gingrich for making a disparaging remark about Palestinians, declaring: “Before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’ “

…Martin S. Indyk, a United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether intentional or not, Mr. Romney’s statement implied that he would “subcontract Middle East policy to Israel.”

..Mr. Netanyahu was startled in January by an article exploring why Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino executive and outspoken supporter of Israel, was devoting millions of dollars to back Mr. Gingrich. It described Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Adelson as close friends.

Indyk’s analysis of Romney’s words aren’t Romney’s own words, but his analysis is troubling.  To me, Obama’s Middle East policy is already subcontracted to Israel more than enough, thank you.

image by Philip Munger

My Annual Tax Day Wasilla Tea Party Poll – With Interesting Results

1:34 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Mat-Su Democrats voting for Obama - April 14, 2012

Saturday April 14th brought the intersection of two seemingly irreconcilable groups of political activists in the hometown of Sarah Palin (it is also my hometown, since 1985).  On Saturday morning, the Mat-Su Democrats, easily the most progressive area Democratic Party organization, held their presidential choice caucus, and met in their legislative district groups (for the last time, as statewide redistricting will fragment them by the end of June).  Saturday afternoon, the Conservative Patriots Group Tea Party of Wasilla, easily the most regressive area Tea Party organization, held their annual tax day protest less than a mile from where the Democrats were winding down their caucus.

I attended the Mat-Su Democrats’ caucus as a party member (and past district and area officer).  I was questioned by the State Central Committee Treasurer – a dear friend of mine – as soon as I came in.

“You’re not going to object to the nomination of Obama, are you, Phil?”

I hadn’t thought of what I might do when motions were presented.  I asked, “Why?”

“Every other area caucus has endorsed the President by acclamation, and by unanimous consent.  If you object, we would be the only group that didn’t do that.”

“Do you want me to STFU?”

“What does ‘STFU’ mean?”

A friend interjected, “It means ‘abstain,” I think.”

“In that case, yes,” replied the statewide treasurer.

I decided to not make waves on the issue and said “Sure.”

I brought a poll with me.  I had four questions I wanted to ask both the Wasilla Democrats and Wasilla Tea Party Patriots.  I polled 18 of the 78 or 79 people there.  I attended my district caucus of 22 people, voted on resolutions for the upcoming state convention in Fairbanks, and signed up to be a delegate.

After the scheduled events were over, I drove over to Wasilla Lake, where the Tea Party event was about to start.  I had polled this annual tax day protest in 2009 and 2010.  I missed 2011 because of a work schedule conflict.  I polled 20 of the 350 people there with the same questions I’d posed to the local Dems.  The poll results for both groups are below the fold. [cont'd] Read the rest of this entry →

Compare and Contrast – Three Palins

10:31 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

When the movie trailers for Game Change (debuts March 10 on HBO) and Iron Sky (debuts in theaters on April 4) came out, a few Alaska blogs covered them.  Even though I live in Wasilla and have known Palin for far too long, I’ve pretty much stopped covering her, as she’s no longer the major danger to the direction of political discourse she once was.

Palin pretty much did herself in, which was inevitable.  But as the GOP presidential primary and caucus scene gets more complicated, we’ll see Palin doing everything she can to attempt to be part of what might end up being some sort of an arbitration process.

Her speech Friday at the end of the CPAC Convention has been hailed by supporters and critics as one of her better efforts.  The Christian Science Monitor even went so far as to insinuate Palin back into the center of the GOP vortex – “Sarah Palin wows CPAC. But has the race for the White House moved beyond her?”

We’ll see.  Jesse Griffin, an Alaska Blue Dog blogger and Obama apologist, who basically survives off  of nipping at Palin, writes quite effectively of the CPAC speech:

Palin is fired up like we have not seen her since the 2008 campaign.

Clearly this is what she has been preparing for during the last several months.

Her big comeback.

As much as I hate to say it, she hits EVERY note that this crowd wants to hear, and throws out more red meat than a train slamming through a herd of caribou.

Just a sample: “The Tea Party rose up, because Americans WOKE up! And our movement, it is bigger than one person. It is bigger than one candidate. It is bigger than one party. It’s about one country united under God. We aren’t red Americans.  We’re not blue Americans. We’re red, white, and blue, and President Obama we are through with you!”

Even at the 7:00 mark the OWS protestors cannot stop her momentum.

She not only leads the crowd in a chant to shout the protestors down, which evolves into a chant of “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah,” she then takes a victory lap at the end, in which, bathed in the crowd’s adulation, she trumpets her victory over the interlopers, “See you just won! You see how easy that is?”

There is little doubt that this speech, chock full of attacks on the President, will inspire her followers to start throwing money at her again by the truckloads, while fantasizing that THIS clearly means that she has reconsidered and is now ready to throw her hat into the ring and save the country from the evils of the Obama administration.

And that is exactly why she showed up.

It is.   And her nutty supporters will send her scores of thousands of dollars for her effective use of a teleprompter.

But she’s as doomed as a political fixture as Thomas Eagleton was in the late summer of 1972. The two movies, coming out over the next couple of months, will be the final straw. Read the rest of this entry →

More – Much More – On Newt’s Lies on Palestine

11:41 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

In the last few days before the ABC News GOP candidate debate this weekend, Newt Gingrich managed to get the most prominent headlines from among the set of them, with his statement Friday to the Jewish Channel Cable TV Network:

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state,” he said. “I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places.”

In a diary here Saturday about this, I speculated:

The goal of these candidates, in bringing up Israel, is not so much designed to court Jewish Republican voters, but to court Christian Zionists.  78% of American Jews voted for Obama in 2008, and most will vote for him again. Fundamentalist Christians who believe in the necessity of repopulating the “Holy Land” with Jews to facilitate the coming of the end times represent a high percentage of the GOP voters who will determine their party’s candidate in the caucuses and primaries.

In a post-debate panel discussion Saturday on Current TV, Cenk Uygur pressed his panel on this same point:

Uygur seemed more animated in bringing this up than any of his panelists.  But he was able to do that.  I doubt he would have been cleared to go down this line if he was still at MSNBC.

After the Palestine issue came up during the debate, while it was still happening, Max Blumenthal tweeted:

Sawyer & Stephanapoulos smile & avoid pointed follow-up questions to racist and ahistorical invective against Palestinians

“Racist and ahistorical invective” it was.  Though Sawyer and Stephanapoulos (and Al Gore on Cenk’s panel) were far beyond merely glib, other news sources did follow-up.

The Washington Post fact-checked Gingrich’s debate claim about Palestinian textbooks:

“These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?’ We pay for those textbooks through our aid money. ”

–Gingrich

During the debate, Gingrich reiterated his controversial claim the Palestinians are an “invented people,” which has been criticized in some Republican quarters. But he also raised a new charge about Palestinian textbooks, which he said the United States pays for “through our aid money.”

This funding claim is correct only in an indirect sense: The United States is the largest single-state donor for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), providing nearly $250 million in 2011. As a recent Congressional Research Service report made clear, this funding is closely scrutinized by Congress. But UNRWA underwrites the schooling of Palestinian refugees and thus provides money for textbooks

The issue of Palestinian textbooks is controversial, one the Palestinian Authority says it is addressing. We cannot immediately find evidence of the statement claimed by Gingrich, and it is not clear if he is referring to a statement in one of the newer textbooks.

There have been a number of reports by pro-Israel groups that say the textbooks in Palestinian schools reinforce hatred of Jews. But one Palestinian expert has argued that studies in English that claim to show such bias in Palestinian textbooks are “based on innuendo, exaggeration, and downright lies.”

Here is what the State Department’s human rights report said about the new Palestinian text books:

The PA Ministry of Education and Higher Education completed the revision of its primary and secondary textbooks in 2006. International academics concluded the textbooks did not incite violence against Jews, but showed imbalance, bias, and inaccuracy. Some maps in Palestinian textbooks did not depict the current political reality, showing neither Israel nor the settlements. Palestinian textbooks, used in Palestinian schools, as well as in Jerusalem municipality-administered schools in East Jerusalem, inconsistently defined the 1967 borders and failed to label areas and cities with both Arabic and Hebrew names.

But the Israeli media has reported that Israeli educational system “is hardly better than the Palestinian one when it comes to inserting political messages in textbooks.”

The WaPo story didn’t address the issues of Palestinian authenticity, the “rocket every day” canard, or unwillingness of Palestinians to cut a fair deal with the Israelis, because, Newt alleges, they instead want that ” not a single Jew will remain.”

Let’s examine the authenticity issue.  On Friday, in the JCCTV interview, Gingrich said:

“Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman empire.” He added that Palestinians were “an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs”.

Give that historian an “F-minus.”

The most authentic early mention of Palestine that has come down to us from an author outside of the Levant, is that of Herodotus, in his 420BCE book, the Histories.  He described “Syria Palaistine” several times.  But no Israel.  The earliest local authentic description of a word used elsewhere to identify the geographic area known more recently as Palestine, was about 700 years earlier, with the use by the XX Dynasty of Egypt (c. 1150 BCE) of the term “Peleset.” But no Israel.  That term did not exist to define a physical place until later.

1150 to 420 BCE were important times in the history of Judaism, and fundamentalist Christianity.  But a lot of what has and has not been found archeologically, that might show evidence of a strong state in the area of Palestine, that was predominantly or solely Jewish in a sense we might recognize, leaves immense holes in any assertion that accepts much of what early-date Biblical material fundamentalists believe as fact.  Many of these supposed historical events that fundamentalists accept as fact are not.  They are myths.

Since Herodotus called the area Syria Palaistine, the area now comprising Israel, Gaza and the occupied West Bank, has been called something like that by post-Alexandrian Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Caliphs, Crusaders, Ottomans and British.  They have called the place “Palestine.”

So many tribes have moved into and out of the place over the thousands of years, that the political constructs of Arab and Jew, or Palestinian and Israeli are just that – political.  In countries that call themselves Muslim states or Jewish states, politics IS religion all too often.

The argument Gingrich is attempting to bring to the fore here isn’t just calculated to gain a few fundamentalist votes in Iowa and elsewhere.  It is a conscious effort by an experienced candidate to dig down into the lower reaches of the ideologies of GOP primary likely voters, to begin bringing out the same enthusiasm Palin could pull off in 2008.

Gingrich’s main inroads right now may be among Christian Zionists who were supporting Cain, and from a peeling away of evangelicals who were trying to digest Romney.  Maybe somebody reliable is polling that.

We’ll see if he can pull it off.  Maybe having Franklin Graham re-convert him to fundamentalism after Newt carries Pennsylvania (April 24th) would help cinch the deal.  After all, this is the most cynical and desperate set of major candidates many of us have ever witnessed.

Will Newt Have to “Reinvent” The Palestinian People for Today’s GOP Clownfest Debate?

2:55 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

This past week GOP presidential candidate hopeful Newt Gingrich, from his new perch as alleged frontrunner, made two controversial statements regarding Israel and the Palestinians.  Here was Wednesday:

Newt Gingrich told a gathering of Jewish Republicans Wednesday that he would name former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton to be his secretary of state if elected president, and would immediately move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Mr. Gingrich showed his trademark flare for provocation as he spoke at a presidential candidates’ forum sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition, pledging not to let President Barack Obama dodge his invitation to debate and invoking Mr. Bolton, who advocates an interventionist foreign policy and hawkish stance toward Iran, a longtime antagonist of Israel.

On Friday, Gingrich claimed that the Palestinians are an “invented” people, in an interview with the Jewish Channel Cable Network:

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state,” he said. “I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places.”

The promise on Bolton prompted some to question whether or not Gingrich may have violated some law by offering up Bolton’s name.  He had not.  He’s not the first presidential candidate to promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, either.  Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made the same campaign promise, only to forget about it once elected.

Gingrich’s statement regarding the Palestinian peoples’ authenticity has elicited some severe criticism from Palestinians in the occupied territories:

The Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, demanded that Gingrich “review history.”

“From the beginning, our people have been determined to stay on their land,” Fayyad said in comments reported by the Palestinian news agency Wafa. “This, certainly, is denying historical truths.”

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, accused Gingrich of incitement. “Mark my words … these statements of Gingrich’s will be the ammunitions and weapons of the bin Ladens and the extremists for a long, long time,” Erekat told CNN.

Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, a top official in the PLO, said that Gingrich was seeking a “cheap way” to win Jewish and pro-Israel voters in next year’s election.

Sen. Carl Levin, from Michigan, a state with many relocated Palestinians, was critical:

[Levin] said “Gingrich’s cynical efforts to attract attention to himself with divisive and destructive statements will not help his presidential ambitions since they are aimed at putting the peace between Israel and the Palestinians that Americans yearn for even further out of reach than it is today.”

The presidential hopeful, Levin said, “offered no solutions — just a can of gasoline and a match.”

The reactions prompted his campaign to have to issue a clarification today:

Mr. Gingrich’s spokesman issued a clarification Saturday afternoon. “Newt Gingrich supports a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which will necessarily include agreement between Israel and the Palestinians over the borders of a Palestinian state,” the spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said in a statement.

“However, to understand what is being proposed and negotiated you have to understand decades of complex history, which is exactly what Gingrich was referencing during the recent interview with The Jewish Channel.”

The competition among GOP presidential race candidates to show who is most loyal to the Jewish State is keen.  Remarking on how ridiculous some GOP statements of fealty to Zionism have been, one @chucktodd tweeted:

Will someone one-up Romney and pledge to give their inaugural address FROM Israel?

Israel has come up more in these debates than it did in the 2004 and 2008 national election cycles. Many have predicted this would happen, as the GOP candidates seem to feel compelled to outdo each other in criticism of Obama’s policies regarding this conflict.

The goal of these candidates, in bringing up Israel, is not so much designed to court Jewish Republican voters, but to court Christian Zionists.  78% of American Jews voted for Obama in 2008, and most will vote for him again. Fundamentalist Christians who believe in the necessity of repopulating the “Holy Land” with Jews to facilitate the coming of the end times represent a high percentage of the GOP voters who will determine their party’s candidate in the caucuses and primaries.

I’m wondering if Gingrich is going to get off scott free on his statements and misstatements this past week.  Ron Paul, who was banished from the Republican Jewish Coalition debate, for having been critical of Israeli policies in the past, will probably lead attacks on Gingrich, but may steer clear of this set of issues.

Gingrich really is a target-rich candidate for a host of reasons.

Incoherence: US House and State Department Band Together to De-fund Holocaust Remembrance Education

10:37 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

(photo: Rusty Stewart)

The U.S. House of Representatives, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland all made statements this week indicating they are willing to end U.S. support for this ongoing program:

[T]eaching the lessons of the Holocaust is fundamental to establishing respect for human rights, basic freedoms and the values of tolerance and mutual respect….

….States are encouraged to develop educational programmes to transmit the memory of the Holocaust to future generations so as to prevent genocide from occurring again.

….the Organization works with The Holocaust and the UN Outreach Programme and other major specialized institutions to promote educational resources that use the lessons of the Holocaust to develop knowledge, attitudes and skills that will help students become more tolerant and prevent future genocides.

Why? Perhaps Ms. Nuland gave it an appropriate name: Incoherence.  I’ll get back to the term.

UNESCO’s board has recommended Palestine’s membership in the UN.  The House and Obama administration are threatening to withhold U.S. funding to UNESCO because of the move:

Lawmakers on Wednesday warned the U.N. cultural agency that it stands to lose tens of millions of dollars in U.S. funding if it agrees to admit Palestine as a member before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is concluded.

Two top members of the House panel that oversees such funding say the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization could lose roughly $80 million in annual U.S. contributions if it follows the recommendation of its board and admits Palestine.

Over U.S. objections, the UNESCO board voted earlier Wednesday in Paris to recommend Palestine’s membership. A vote from the full body is expected later this month.

In the Dominican Republic Wednesday, Hillary Clinton was asked about the threat:

It is unfortunate that there is a policy to pursue recognition of whatever sort through the United Nations rather than returning to the negotiating table to resolve the issues that will result in a real Palestinian state, something that the United States strongly supports and wants to see as soon as possible. But we know that there cannot be a state without negotiations.

What is the boundary of this state that is being considered by UNESCO? What authorities does it have? What jurisdiction will it be endowed with? Who knows? Nobody knows because those are the hard issues that can only be resolved by negotiation. And unfortunately, there are those who, in their enthusiasm to recognize the aspirations of the Palestinian people, are skipping over the most important step, which is determining what the state will look like, what its borders are, how it will deal with the myriad of issues that states must address.

With respect to the question about the United States’s response, we are certainly aware of strong legislative prohibition that prevents the United States from funding organizations that jump the gun, so to speak, in recognizing entities before they are fully ready for such recognition.

HRC characterized the move by the Palestinians to seek recognition at various powerful UN agencies as a premature “threat.”  Yet the State Department has said since last week that the Obama administration will ultimately veto Palestine’s request for full membership at the UN, when it comes before the Security Council. The State Department’s chief media spokesperson, Victoria Nuland (wife of Robert Kagan, one of the founders of the Project for a New American Century),  tried to explain to CNN‘s Matt Lauer Wednesday why the Palestinian move at UNESCO is not only a threat, but “Incoherent.”

MS. NULAND: I’m simply saying that as a procedural matter, you have the Security Council looking into this issue. So to have a separate track in the constituent entities doesn’t make a lot of sense.

QUESTION: Okay. Well if – you guys have – correct me if I’m wrong; I thought you guys said you were going to veto it in the Security Council. So no matter how long the Security Council takes to look at it, whether it’s in the Security Council or not, it ain’t going anywhere. You guys are going to kill it, correct?

MS. NULAND: Was there a question there, Matt?

QUESTION: Yes. Is that right? You’re going to veto it in the Security Council. Why should the Palestinians wait when you’ve already said you’re going to veto it in the Security Council? Why is it incoherent for them to go to someplace else to try and get the – something minor that they would like, that they think is important to them.

MS. NULAND: Again, our view has not changed. This is not going to create a state for them.

QUESTION: But Toria, they don’t even say it’s going to create a state for them.

MS. NULAND: It is going to make things harder.

QUESTION: Why?

MS. NULAND: It creates tensions that add to the environment and makes it harder –

QUESTION: In other words, it gets Israel upset.

MS. NULAND: I didn’t say that. I simply said that it further exacerbates the environment of tension. We’re trying to create an environment of trust. We’re trying to create constituencies for peace.

QUESTION: And you think that Palestinian membership in UNESCO creates tensions? Palestinian membership in the Office for Outer Space Affairs creates tensions?

MS. NULAND: Matt, I think I’ve said what I can on this subject.

QUESTION: Well, the problem with what you’ve said on the subject is it doesn’t make any sense, and most of the world, almost all of it, disagrees with you. A, they don’t believe it’s incoherent because they’re voting for it, and B, I don’t think you can get away from the fact that you have said you were going to veto it at the Security Council. So saying the Palestinians should wait for the Security Council to act when they know – because you’ve told them and the rest of the world – that you’re going to kill it, doesn’t make any sense.

MS. NULAND: Doesn’t change the fact that we oppose this at UNESCO.

[emphases added]

One has to hand it to Matt Lauer for being persistent.  He has been asking hard questions about the wisdom of going up against much of the rest of the world to support the continuing and rapidly expanding colonization of Palestine, merely to keep from losing pro-Zionist political funding from the Democratic Party (and Obama 2012), and see those funds go to the GOP instead, especially the far right GOP, which is already increasingly being funded by rich Christian Zionists.  His persistence is encouraging other journalists to realize he has not been taken out for his honesty.  So, now more journalists at State Department briefings are following him up.  And – to bring back the word – the State Department is sounding increasingly, uh – incoherent.

It is extremely incoherent to threaten to de-fund UNESCO’s hundreds of important programs worldwide, merely because they agree with most of the rest of the world on an important human rights issue.

Unfortunately, it is just going to get more bizarrely incoherent in these matters, as we approach next year’s election.

hat tip – Philip Weiss

FDL Book Salon Preview: The Rogue – By Joe McGinniss (The Hate Continues)

1:41 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The Rogue - Searching for the Real Sarah Palin

The Rogue - Searching for the Real Sarah Palin

[This is the extended version of the preface to Sunday's Firedoglake Book Salon, which was limited to about 1,000 words.]

I. Longtime journalist and award-winning author Joe McGinniss’ newest book, The Rogue, is the latest – but by no means last – book about Sarah Palin.  Palin is not only the most famous Alaskan in history, she has uniquely combined political activity, celebrity, motherhood, grandmotherhood, a spousal relationship, borderline religious beliefs, professional victimhood, the American gossip universe, pop culture, legal obfuscation, new media and social networking.  Increasingly known for being thin-skinned and somewhat lacking in spatial awareness,  Palin, more than any American politician in a generation or so, almost begged McGinniss – or any investigative author – to move next door.  As I wrote here last year, a couple of days after McGinniss was able to do just that:

[A]uthor Joe McGinnis, who is writing a critical book about Sarah Palin, was looking for a place in Wasilla to rent this summer, as he continues his research. He was offered the house next door to the Palins’ Lake Lucille cult compound-in-progress. He wasn’t looking for the place. It came looking for him. What would you do?

Having spent time with McGinniss at the crucial point between when he moved in, and the Palins’ reaction to their new neighbor set in concrete the scene for how the book played out, I can say that Joe really was hoping to be able to just be their next-door neighbor.  He did not want to make waves, and was hoping to sit down with Sarah and Todd socially, perhaps professionally, and go through notes with them as work proceeded.  I’m not kidding.

What ended up happening was another over-reaction by Sarah, similar to many those of us who had been watching her for a long time had witnessed before.  Her facebook people went all professional victim for her and, to quote Palin in another context – “Game on!” Read the rest of this entry →

Where Are Sarah Palin’s Norway Tweets?

11:47 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Several of the people who inspired aspiring Norwegian Templar Knight and World of Warcraft devotee Anders Behring Breivik to become a mass murderer also inspired Sarah Palin to resort to twitter last year, in her less explosive attack against another country that supports multiculturalism.

Ours.

That’s the Palin, who, according to her family, left college in Hawaii because she was uncomfortable about so many brown people.

Last Friday, using a Glock and a semi-automatic assault rifle, as he killed scores of liberal and progressive kids who might someday support the building of mosques in Trondheim, Bergen, Narvik or Oslo, Breivik used dum-dums to inflict maximum damage to their bodies.

Last year, Palin, using twitter, facebook and her perch at Newscorpse, scored, using dumb-dumbs to oppose a mosque-community center in NYC:

Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand. Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in the interest of healing

and:

Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real

that was her amended version of the “refudiate tweet”:

Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate

Today, her BFF Glenn Beck compared the kids murdered by the guy inspired by Palin’s and Beck’s colleagues’ schtick to “Hitler Youth”:

BECK: And then there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth or whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics? Disturbing

Palin is quite absorbed with taking in the monumental failure of the documentary she had been convinced by her closest devotees would revitalize her presidential aspirations, so responding to Oslo might have intruded upon what has to have been a very bad week for her and her closest associates.

So far, she has said nothing about an event that not only killed a higher percentage of the Norwegian population than 9/11 killed of ours, but was targeted at people Palin has vilified herself, though in less strident terms than Beck.  Perhaps she doesn’t consider the murdered kids “real Norwegians.”

She’s not going to post the tweets, so I’ll try to do them for her:

Peace-seeking Norwegians, pls understand.  Ctiicisizing Israel whose bling I adore UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in the interest of not being attacked by Christian Knights

and:

Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute multiculturalism if you believe catastrophic pain caused @Utøya is too raw, too real

in such a tweet, she would be echoing not only Beck, but the Jerusalem Post.

And, finally:

Norski multikulti supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the rest of the white heartland? Peaceful squareheads, pls refudiate

Where’s RAM when Palin really needs her?

Palin Fires Releases Scheunemann, Hires Breitbart BFF Peter Schweizer to Replace Him

12:19 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

It was announced this morning that Sarah Palin has let Randy Scheunemann go. He had been working with or for Palin periodically, since the McCain campaign. In his place, SarahPAC has hired Hoover Institute fellow, Andrew Breitbart associate and Reagan worshipper, Peter Schweizer, to run her foreign policy shop:

Sarah Palin has a new foreign policy adviser. Out is Randy Scheunemann, one of the few remaining links to her time on the McCain/Palin ticket, and in is Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the Hoover Institution.Scheunemann was a key foreign policy adviser to the campaign of Senator John McCain, and a played a huge role advising Palin during her debate prep. He stuck with her after the election. But now, Tim Crawford, the Treasurer for SarahPac, tells ABC News, “Randy couldn’t give us the time that the Governor required.”

Scheunemann is the President of the “Committee for the Liberation of Iraq,” and is seen as something of a NeoConservative, supportive of a far-reaching American foreign policy. He worked for Palin along with Michael Goldfarb, a former writer at the Weekly Standard.

Incoming adviser Peter Schweizer is seen to view the United States with a more limited role in world affairs.

The shift in adviser might have been reflected in a foreign policy speech Palin delivered last night in Colorado. She called on American foreign policy to have “clearly defined objectives.” In recent weeks she has been critical of U.S. policy in Libya for its “lack of clarity.”

Here’s the speech, laden with conspiracy theory fluff, referred to in the article. It drew a crowd of about 350 people (Palin begins her “Palin Doctrine” speech at about three minutes):

Schweizer recently joined prominent Islamophobe Frank Gaffney, to become a part of Andrew Breitbart’s Big PEACE web page. Here’s Gaffney and Schweizer talking about the “roll-out” of BigPEACE.com:

It is probably too early to tell if the hire of Schweizer will change Palin’s positions on foreign policy. Other than her often-repeated simplistic mantras, she really doesn’t have an articulated foreign policy platform per se. Beyond American and Israeli exceptionalism and a fascist-oriented view on what our military can be allowed to do, she has been fairly inconsistent, not to mention shallow.

Speaking of which – shallow – here she is dealing with a really, really tough question: