Daily Archives: Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thomas Ricks on FORA – three things Americans don’t know about Iraq

fora show here
You have the choice to watch Ricks talk for four minutes or to watch the entire discussion


Today’s eyes

Bush Legacy Project update

Yesterday, former attorney general John Ashcroft spoke at the University of Texas at Austin on the differences between the Obama and Bush administrations in a lecture hosted by the Young Conservatives of Texas and College Republicans.

“I think history will be very kind to [former President George W. Bush],”

Ashcroft’s appearance was part of a blitz by former Bush administration officials to secure a good legacy for their boss. Both Vice President Cheney and former White House flack Ari Fleischer recently tried to justify the war in Iraq by falsely tying together Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda (again). Loyal Bushies have even started a Bush-Cheney alumni association to “help build a lasting legacy.” Karl Rove, the man behind securing Bush’s reputation, plans to release a book that will “name names” of all the Bush haters.  story at Think Progress

Of course Ashcroft spoke the sentence noted above.  It is the key talking point of the Legacy Project.  Everyone on board repeats it, usually verbatim.

What is it with these people?

Republican governor Jim Douglas announced yesterday that he will veto the same-sex marriage bill which the state Senate approved by a vote of 26 – 4.  His argument is:

“During these extraordinary times, the speculation about my decision has added to the anxiety of the moment and further diverts attention from our most pressing issues, and I cannot allow that to happen.”

That is, because there’s an economic crisis and this is a controversial issue, I have to shut down the controversy by vetoing a bill so we can all concentrate on the economy.

Of course, the reverse will happen.  Given the vote in the Senate (and one assumes something similar in the House) and given that this is Vermont, his veto will be the thing which will carry this matter forward as a controvery and as a legislative distraction.  He’s just lying. What a jerk.

story here

“How some military rabbis are trying to radicalize Israeli soldiers”

The zealot settlers and their clerical accomplices are establishing an army within the army so that one day, if it is ever decided to disband or evacuate the colonial settlements, there will be enough officers and soldiers, stiffened by enough rabbis and enough extremist sermons, to refuse to obey the order. Torah verses will also be found that make it permissible to murder secular Jews as well as Arabs. The dress rehearsals for this have already taken place, with the religious excuses given for Baruch Goldstein’s rampage and the Talmudic evasions concerning the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Once considered highly extreme, such biblical exegeses are moving ever closer to the mainstream. It’s high time the United States cut off any financial support for Israel that can be used even indirectly for settler activity, not just because such colonization constitutes a theft of another people’s land but also because our Constitution absolutely forbids us to spend public money on the establishment of any religion.

Sometimes, Chris Hitchens at Slate gets it exactly right.

h/t Andrew Sullivan

Update: Here’s Joe Klein

Meanwhile, the Netanyahu government poses a real challenge to Barak Obama. What, if anything, does he say about a government that includes Lieberman? How much pressure does he put on Netanyahu to stop the spread of new settlements? (It should be noted, but usually isn’t, the all the West Bank settlements are illegal.) And if those settlements aren’t halted, what chance is there for a two-state solution? It should go without saying that there will be no peace for Israel without a viable Palestine.

For a great many of us–Jews who support Israel, but not these policies–this government is an embarrassment. In fact, according to a recent poll conducted for the liberal group J Street, 60% of American Jews oppose the expansion of settlements and 69% oppose Lieberman’s participation in the government. According to that same poll, 72% believed the US should exert pressure on both sides to move toward a deal–a policy one hopes Barack Obama will have the courage to pursue.

The first black President

h/t Rick Hertzberg via Thomas Schaller at Salon

Quote of the day – “Mirror funhouse” category

Tuesday night’s news conference showed a fluid, self-assured president — but one who seems to think that repeating a false argument will make it true  – Karl Rove