Monday, December 15, 2008

Tuesday Topics

And we're back!

A few crazy days there, but now we're back in the saddle.

Okay. So. Let's review:

Let's agree that there are several ways to have a discussion between Blago's rep John Harris and Emanuel occur that are neither unethical nor illegal. Discussions about who should be given consideration for a vacant Senate seat appointment. Discussions advocating for one particular candidate. Discussions making it clear that you would appreciate that candidate's selection. Every single one of these discussions is absolutely kosher ethically and legally, no matter what the Weekly Standard would have you believe. They happen in politics all the time. The key to Emanuel's innocence here is whether any of those discussions veered into the quid pro quo neighborhood. Again, you can--in my humble politically-minded opinion--absolutely volunteer to help someone raise money for his campaign as gratitude for being selected. That doesn't strike me as improper in the least. But you can't give him or his wife a job, can't raise money for them personally, and can't overtly connect the selection of your candidate to any illegal activity in return. The evidence (based on Fitzgerald's statements) indicates that nothing illegal occurred on those wiretapped conversations between Harris and Emanuel. But they might indicate a level of old-style politicking that will be difficult for Obama to publicly countenance as the Apostle of Change We Can Believe In. So we'll see. Bottom line is this: if Fitzgerald had anything on Obama, et. al, he'd have brought it already, instead of going to great lengths to articulate the fact that nothing in the investigation points to any wrongdoing on the part of the PEOTUS.

Caroline Kennedy for NY Senator.
Um, okay. With all due respect: No. If you want the gig, run for it. Again, totally kosher for her to call around and say she'd like the appointment. Totally fine for her and others to advocate for her candidacy. But what experience in NY does she bring to the table that would mandate such an appointment? It strikes me as an odd choice, is all I'm saying. Especially since she supported Obama, and the outgoing senator is Hillary Clinton. I'm bettin' ol' Hills is havin' none of it, and nor should she.

On the numerous bailouts.
A funny link at newshoggers: Thursday morning, the Canadian Union of Bloggers and Slackers (CUBS) – an industry group representing about 333,000 bloggers – announced they were lobbying the federal government to create an infrastructure stimulus fund that mirrors the $50 (U.S.) plan laid out by the incoming administration of U.S. president-elect Barack Obama. “I can understand some of this will be seen as a bailout, but I like to see it more as buffering a transition,” he said.

“Canadians traditionally think of infrastructure as roads and highways. But if we get more people blogging than we don’t need to upgrade roads and highways. If we improve our technological infrastructure, we can get people sitting on their couches at home who will increase their technological know-how. In a period of increased unemployed this will have the benefit of getting peoples minds off their unfortunate situation. Blogging is part of knowledge industry and it will teach people new skills like sitting for long hours and writing good and stuff like that too. Moreover, blogging has been documented to empower people by giving them an inflated sense of self,” he noted in a follow-up email. "Bloggers suddenly become very opinionated and aggressive when they are behind a computer. So, even if they can’t writ gud and they have no income, they feel like what they have to say matters."

On Bush's "So What?"
BUSH: One of the major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take–

RADDATZ: But not until after the U.S. invaded.

BUSH: Yeah, that’s right. So what? The point is that al Qaeda said they’re going to take a stand. Well, first of all in the post-9/11 environment Saddam Hussein posed a threat. And then upon removal, al Qaeda decides to take a stand.

Did you catch that? "So what?"? So what that al-Qaeda as a matter of absolute fact was not in Iraq until the US invaded? So what that Saddam Hussein was an enemy of al-Qaeda and would never have allowed it in Iraq? So what that Bush's total mismanagement of this ill-conceived and misbegotten war has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of US servicepeople? This man and his contempt for truth would be a joke if it were not so deadly. If my child had been killed while serving in Iraq and I heard my president say "So What?" regarding his culpability in creating the fertile ground for that killing, I'd be incandescent with rage. Say what you will, but someone who can respond to that question with "So What?" richly deserves to have shoes thrown at him. It's just too bad an American journalist has not "thrown a shoe" in the form of tough questions and rabid follow-up toward this President in well-nigh eight years. Oh that's right: they're too busy investigating whether Obama offered Blago a handjob in exchange for Valerie Jarrett's appointment as Senator. Time well-spent.

And, finally, a word on the settler violence in Hebron, Israel. You all know that I'm a supporter of Israel, from the J Street perspective, which is one of absolute security for Israel with a homeland for Palestinians; a two-state solution. The violence erupted when settlers refused to leave a home that belonged to a Palestinian man, and were evicted by Israeli police. Settlers began rioting and setting fires to Palestinian homes in protest. All I can say is that Olmert spoke wisely on the situation:

"We are the children of a people whose historic ethos is built on the memory of pogroms," Olmert said. "The sight of Jews firing at innocent Palestinians has no other name than pogrom. Even when Jews do this, it is a pogrom. As a Jew, I am ashamed that Jews could do such a thing. I formulate these words with the greatest care that I can," the prime minister said.

As Jews we've got to call this stuff out, even--and especially--when it is Jewish people doing the deeds. And we here in the States need to finally accept that there is a Settler Problem. Removing people from their homes and moving yourself in is WRONG. It was wrong when the English cleared the Scottish from the Highlands. It was wrong in every single historical situation. And it's wrong now. The Settlements are an obstacle to peace, and have been an obstacle for 40 years. The majority of Israelis recognize this fact but are outgunned by a small, vocal minority in the government. These settlers are not acting in Israel's best interest; they are acting in their own. It's madness, pure and simple.

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