Barbara Walters Shocked by Cain!

Herman Cain has done what Quddafi, Fidel, Arafat and dozens of celebrities, straight or hyped on drugs could not! He took her totally off guard. Watch it!

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A Conservative’s Lament

Still, is it that unreasonable to expect more than Gingrich and Romney? I find both of them inadequate for the monumental challenges facing this country. For starters, both have been rejected by the party at points in the past – Gingrich by the House Republicans in 1998 and Romney by the whole GOP electorate in 2008 – so why, now that times are even tougher, should we turn to them? Beyond that, our government needs widespread reforms; old ways of doing business must be undone, and that requires presidential leadership of the highest caliber, and I doubt that either can deliver. In different ways, they’re too attached to the old ways, and I just doubt that the country will follow their lead.   Jay Cost, The Weekly Standard</em>

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DId Lowes Boycott ‘The Cosby Show’?

The backlash against Lowe’s Corporation pulling its ads from  ‘All American Muslim’  because the Florida Family Association says it has a hidden agenda and undermines American values should grow into a tidal wave.

I have a few questions:

1.  What did Lowe’s think the Florida Family Association would do if it didn’t pull its support for the show?  Did they think a boycott by a fringe group would hurt them more than insulting 10 million Arab-Americans?

2.  Why did Lowe’s buy the ads in the first place?  Did they think they could sneak under the noses of anti-Muslim bigots?  Or were they just clueless?

3.   If Lowe’s pulled ads from ‘All American Muslim’, did it pull them from ‘Al American Black Family’ a/k/a the Cosby Show when it became the first TV sitcom to present a stable, educated and successful (read: non-threatening) black middle class family as a counter-force to the crude stereotypes of that period?  After all, many corporations wouldn’t touch that show until it showed its demographic marketing worth.

4.   Jon Stewart asks:

“The problem with the show is the absence of radicals. The problem is the televising of Muslims without the terrorist element. You’re angry about that? … Why would you be upset to learn that there are non-Jihadi Muslims?”

5.    Eddie Haskell was more dangerous to American family values than anyone on ‘All American Muslim.’

6.    In five years, Muslim Americans will become the new niche marketing group, following blacks, women and Latinos into marketing gold.  Then Lowe’s execs will fire some body for being late to get into this new market.

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Israeli Settlers Attack IDF & Palestinians

Fifty Israeli settlers and right-wing activists stormed an IDF base in the West Bank on Tuesday.  According to the Jerusalem Post:

They punctured the tires of nearby military vehicles and hurled rocks at brigade commander Col. Ran Kahane as he drove nearby in his military jeep. He was not injured.

The infiltrators were pushed out of the base by IDF troops and Israel Police forces alerted to the scene.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to use all of the resources at its disposal to prevent further “price tag” attacks and to capture the perpetrators of Tuesday’s morning’s attack.

The attack was in retaliation for the IDF clearing out an illegal settlement on the West Bank/Jordanian border.  In another trouble area, JNET reports:

Violent night clashes: Some 300 settlers hurled stones at Palestinian vehicles on the main road near the settlement of Ramat Gilad fearing an eviction on Monday night. They also opened the door of the Ephraim Brigade commander’s jeep and pelted the vehicle with stones causing the officer and his deputy light wounds.

The attacks are presumed to be part of the ‘price tag’ movement, a militant settlers’ posse aimed at punishing Palestinians and Israelis for any actions taken against their settlements.

Israel is in a mess.  Israelis fighting the IDF is startling.  But the settlers have been encouraged by 20 years of non-stop building on Palestinian land by successive Israeli governments and further prodded by Netanyahu’s hard-line stance against negotiations for peace.

Even if Netanyahu condemns the militants’ actions, it will mean little.  He’ll use even Israeli on Israeli violence as an excuse to maintain the status quo.  However, Netanyahu faces an increasingly violent threat of retaliation from the right and must keep in mind that PM Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli man angry at what he saw as Rabin’s appeasement of the Palestinians and international opinion.

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Andrew Sullivan on Israel/Palestine

The shift in Israel from a democratic - even socialist – society into a fundamentalist-driven, expansionist state, contemptuous of its closest ally, and aggressively hostile to all its neighbors is one of the most depressing developments in our time. It is driven by the religious parties, the settler movement and the opportunism and paranoia of Netanyahu. To give a flavor of his government, note that his neo-fascist foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, just went to Moscow to give Putin an embrace after the latest rigged elections, and denigrated the Russian opposition. The idea that a man like Lieberman is interested in democracy for the Palestinians on the West Bank is ludicrous. To him, the Palestinians are sub-human irritants, one day to be expelled or subdued.

All of this would be disastrous enough, but we now know that the two likeliest Republican nominees next year back neo-fascists like Lieberman to the hilt. Today, Gingrich has all but declared that under his presidency, the American position would be that of Netanyahu’s. This is Pamela Geller territory:

Ben Smith, the best reporter on the US-Israel struggle, quotes Hussein Ibish:

To call the Palestinians ‘an invented people’ in an obvious effort to undermine their national identity is outrageous, especially since there was no such thing as an ‘Israeli’ before 1948,” he said. “Arab and Jewish identities are very old, but Israeli and Palestinian nationalisms are both 20th-century phenomena, and arose at the same time in competition with each other. The idea that either is more ‘invented’ and hence less ‘authentic’ than the other is ignorant, ahistorical claptrap.

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Newt’s Claims Disqualify Him

Ron Paul is right, charging Newt Gingrich as ‘trying to make trouble’ by insisting Palestinians are an invented people.  Newt (as all the GOP) is trying to appeal to Jewish voters.  First of all, research shows US Jewish voters don’t vote on the single issue of Israel.  Second, what American Jewish organization would agree with Gingrich.  None, except maybe The Emergency Committee on Israel, founded by the same neoconservatives who brought us war in Iraq.

The problem is that Gingrich’s comments were picked up by the Arab Press.  His stature as front-running Republican candidate make his remarks seem like they’re endorsed by more than a tiny sliver of Americans (if there are any besides Gingrich!), most of whom know little about the history of the Middle East.

Juan Cole sets the history straight in Informed Comment:

Gingrich said that there had never been a Palestinian state in history. If you want to play the romantic nationalist game of finding ancient forebears for modern nations, it would be easy in the case of the Palestinians, who were mentioned by the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians. But today’s Palestinians are equally descended from the ancient Canaanites and as well as from the ancient Jews.

If Gingrich meant to argue that Palestine was never an administrative unit of Muslim states, this is incorrect– under the Mamluks it was one of the five districts of Syria and had its capital at Jerusalem.

Palestine was a known place in medieval Islam. People referred to it as a place. It was sometimes the name of an administrative unit. There are coins stamped Filastin. People who lived in that area were Filastinis or Palestinians. Over time, 80% of them came to be Muslims, with the rest Christians. Between 1000 AD and 1800 AD there were very few Jews in geographical Palestine (Bonaparte found 3,000 or so as I remember).

That Palestinians were part of the Ottoman Empire is irrelevant to whether they are a nation or not. You could make all the same assertions about Albanians that Gingrich made about Palestinians. There was no Albanian state in antiquity. They were ruled by the Byzantine, Bulgarian, Serbian and Ottoman Empires. There was no Albanian province under the Ottomans…

–f you want a “national” precedent for the Palestinians, in the 18th century when the Ottoman Empire had largely decentralized, Jazzar Pasha ruled Palestine from Akka and successfully fought off Napoleon Bonaparte.

As for Palestinians being “Arabs,” actually no Palestinians would have called themselves Arabs in the nineteenth century, except Bedouins. The word then for the most part meant pastoral nomad. The idea of a pan-Arab nation only arises in the 20th century, and it hasn’t been notably successful. The only thing “Arabs” have in common is that they speak Arabic. But it is arbitrary that we call all forms of Arabic “Arabic,” but we do not speak of Romance as a language. The difference between Moroccan spoken “Arabic” and the “Arabic” spoken in southern Iraq is greater than the difference between Spanish and Portuguese.




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Lindsey Graham and Nullification

It seems Graham announced he does not want to see the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau to come into existence.  It’s too late.  It’s already in existence by an act of Congress.  Republicans are blocking the President from appointing a head of the Bureau.

James Fallows cites Ta-Nehisi Coates and recently retired Senate Republican aid Mike Lofgren on the constitutional history of Republican nullification today.

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes today about the persistence into this moment’s news of the past centuries’ racial traumas and racist institutions. Mike Lofgren, who recently retired from a career as a Republican staffer in the Senate, and whom I have quoted before, by coincidence makes a directly parallel point about the origins of the filibuster and the recent return of “nullification” thinking by Republican members of the Senate.


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How Cain Resurrected Gingrich

Gingrich had a winning debate on Saturday night.  Calm, cool and collected, he blithely told an audience of millions that character is an important issue, he’s made mistakes but now he’s a ’68 year old grandfather’ and voters will have to choose.

A triumph of form over substance.  A triumph of contrasts!  He is NOT HERMAN CAIN.  Cain just proved he has no character.  He hid a years-long affair, multiple sexual harassment accusations and displayed what seems like a psychological problem admitting anything.

Gingrich, on the other hand, doesn’t deny any of his blemishes.  Yes, he cheated. Yes, he asked for a divorce from his wife while she was recovering from cancer.  Yes, he took money from Fannie Mae – as a ‘businessman’ no less!

Gingrich has pulled an amazing ‘bait and switch’ off of Cain.  Gingrich has the character than Cain doesn’t.  He is open with his flaws and the sins for which he’s sought redemption.

Mr. Gingrich’s skill in facing criticisms head-on — sometimes fiercely rebutting them, sometimes apologizing for past errors in judgment — has only swelled his support. And his strong debate appearance in Iowa on Saturday, in which he faced a barrage of attacks, showed his resiliency.

“He’s willing to stand up and take the heat,” said Cheryl Semarad, who visited Mr. Gingrich’s headquarters in suburban Des Moines on the afternoon of the debate. – New York Times

This is what it has come to.










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