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Sunday Late Night: What’s Happening?

We’ve had a couple of really serious discussions today. How about looking at the lighter side of politics for a bit? If you’d like to imbibe some liquid or chemical refreshment, please feel free. I had to quit all that stuff more than a quarter of a century ago myself. Now I’m just high on life! Actually, I’m a complete political junkie and internet addict, in case you hadn’t noticed.

So anyway, our Dear Leader is on another one of his trips, this time to Latin America for the “Summit of the Americas.” The Castro brothers are warming up to Mr. Obama, and Hugo Chavez seems to like him a lot too. Chavez gave Obama a book called Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, by Eduardo Galliano. The book quickly rocketed to second place on Amazon’s bestseller list and is now sold out. According to the BBC:

President Obama looked surprised when Mr Chavez got up from his seat, handed him the book and then shook his hand.

It was a Spanish-language paperback copy inscribed with the message: “For Obama, with affection”.

A little later, Mr Obama had this reaction: “Well I think it was a nice gesture to give me a book. I’m a reader.”

Fox News, in their usual unbiased “we report, you decide” manner, offers an entertaining story from the summit with the headline “Obama Endures Ortega Diatribe.” (H/T, Jangles)

President Obama endured a 50-minute diatribe from socialist Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega that lashed out at a century of what he called terroristic U.S. aggression in Central America and included a rambling denunciation of the U.S.-imposed isolation of Cuba’s Communist government.

Obama sat mostly unmoved during the speech but at times jotted notes. The speech was part of the opening ceremonies at the fifth Summit of the Americas here.

Actually, the U.S. has subjected Latin America to more than a century of nighmarish aggression, exploitation, and interference with sovereign governments, but I digress. Back to the Fox story:

Ortega denounced the U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro’s new Communist government in Cuba in 1961, a history of US racism and what he called suffocating U.S. economic policies in the region.

In his 17-minute address to the summit, Obama departed from his prepared remarks to mildly rebuke Ortega.

“To move forward, we cannot let ourselves be prisoners of past disagreements. I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old. Too often, an opportunity to build a fresh partnership of the Americas has been undermined by stale debates. We’ve all heard these arguments before.”

Actually, the president misspoke on the sequence of events in Cuba. The invasion of CIA-trained rebels at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba occurred in April 1961. Obama was born August 4, 1961.

As Jangles pointed out in a comment on the previous thread, once again Dear Leader is confused about the timing of public events in relation to his birth. Perhaps if he didn’t have to reflexively make everything about himself, he wouldn’t repeatedly make these kinds of mistakes.

While I was perusing the Fox News website, I came across this hilarious story about Vice President Joe Biden: “Rove Calls Biden ‘Liar’ After VP Boasts of Scolding Bush.” Apparently the gaffe-tastic Mr. Biden told this story on CNN recently.

“I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office,” Biden began, “‘Well, Joe,’ he said, ‘I’m a leader.’ And I said: ‘Mr. President, turn and around look behind you. No one is following.'”

Karl Rove is having none of it.

The exchange is purely “fictional,” said Rove, who was Bush’s top political adviser in the White House.

“It didn’t happen,” Rove, a FOX News contributor and former Bush adviser, told Megyn Kelly in an interview taped for “On The Record.” “It’s his imagination; it’s a made-up, fictional world.

“He ought to get out of it and get back to reality,” Rove added. “He’s making this up out of whole cloth.”

Rove also said few presidents would spend a long time with anybody in the Oval Office, particularly “with all due respect, a blowhard like Joe Biden.”

OK, I can’t stand Karl Rove, but that’s funny. In 2004, Biden told a similar story on Bill Maher’s show.

“When I speak to the president – and I have had plenty of opportunity to be with the president, at least prior to the last election, a lot of hours alone with him. I mean, meaning me and his staff,” Biden said on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” in April 2006. “And the president will say things to me, and I’ll literally turn to the president, say: ‘Mr. President, how can you say that, knowing you don’t know the facts?’ And he’ll look at me and he’ll say – my word – he’ll look at me and he’ll say: ‘My instincts.’ He said: ‘I have good instincts.’ I said: ‘Mr. President, your instincts aren’t good enough.'”

Hmmm…I wonder if Biden would have the guts to talk to Dear Leader like that?

So what are you reading/watching/hearing tonight? If anyone is still around, that is.

I keep forgetting that only in Massachusetts is tomorrow a legal holiday. Patriot’s Day. It’s the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord–the beginning of the American Revolution. Nowadays we just have a marathon and an early baseball game.

Concord Minuteman Memorial

Concord Minuteman Memorial

Ralph Waldo Emerson:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

Tea Party Thoughts

I didn’t pay much attention to the buildup to the “Tea Parties” that were held on April 15, and I didn’t follow any of the coverage of these events after they happened. I had gotten the impression that the “tea parties were a right wing phenomenon focused on high taxes. Since I actually would like to see higher taxes for the super-rich and corporations, I didn’t think I would fit in. It turns out the “Tea Parties” were also about other issues, like protesting the bank bailouts that most Americans, including myself, didn’t want. Apparently, the “tea parties” were heavily promoted by Fox News Channel as well as former U.S. Representatives Newt Gingrich and Dick Army.

I also thought it was interesting that so-called “progressive” bloggers like Jane Hamsher and Mike Lux along with professional organizers Joe Trippi and Zephr Teachout organized a protest on April 11 called “A New Way Forward.” Please note that the rallies were heavily promoted by William Greider and The Nation magazine. Greider even appeared on The Bill Moyers show to promote the “movement.” Here is a report on the Washington DC “a new way forward” demonstration, attended by Jane Hamsher. The video has a Republican bias, so tune that out if it bothers you.

Our own Riverdaughter attended the “new way forward” rally in New York City, and reported that it was a little small and disappointing, although she did meet two very nice young people there named Zach and Alana.
Continue reading

Sunday: Israel/Palestine rears its ugly head again

Palestine UN Partition Plan- 1947  How far back will we go?

Palestine UN Partition Plan- 1947 This map?

The issue that caused the “Great Schism” on The Confluence (or the excuse anyway) is back in the news.  Rahm Emanuel has signaled to the Israelis that there will be conditions on our support.  From Mid-East Peace Pulse:

Rahm Emanuel told an (unnamed) Jewish leader; “In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn’t matter to us at all who is prime minister.”

He also said that the United States will exert pressure to see that deal is put into place.”Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory,” the paper reports Emanuel as saying.  In other words, US sympathy for Israel’s position vis a vis Iran depends on Israel’s willingness to live up to its commitment to get out of the West Bank and permit the establishment of a Palestinian state there, in Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

Obama is also not going to be taking last minute invitations to have a talk over drinks with the Israeli Prime Minister next time he’s in DC for an AIPAC conference.  Our protection of Israel from the Persian meanies in Iran seems to be contingent on Netanyahu bargaining in good faith. (H/T Corrente)  Plus, Obama is easing up on restrictions of financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.  I’m not sure how far the pendulum should swing in this regard.  After all, Hamas has links to terrorism and Israeli’s do have a legitimate concern for their safety.

Or this one?  Pick one quickly.  We havent got all day.

Or this post 1967 one? Pick quickly. We haven't got all day.

On the other hand, electing an right winger like Netanyahu sounds like an attempt by Israelis to move the Overton window as far hardline as possible in anticipation of a change in US policy.  Maybe they think they can reach some homeostasis by pushing ferociously back to where they started at the end of the Bushie administration.   But it looks like the US is saying the jig is up and we will be expecting compliance from Israel for a two state solution regardless of who is prime minister.  I have a feeling that recitations of past horrors inflicted on the Jewish people may be met with “Tell it to the chaplain”.  There may be an expiration date on emotionalism.  Israelis can still make legitimate claims about the threat of terrorism but inhumanity cuts both ways these days.

Sounds like Hillary and George Mitchell have their work cut out for them.

In other news:

From the files of No $%@! Sherlock, it has come to the attention of some Washingtonians on the Democratic side that Obama is not a fighter:

Mr. Obama has not conceded on any major priority. His advisers argue that the concessions to date — on budget items, for instance — are intended to help win the bigger policy fights ahead. But his early willingness to deal or fold has left commentators, and some loyal Democrats, wondering: where’s the fight?

“The thing we still don’t know about him is what he is willing to fight for,” said Leonard Burman, an economist at the Urban Institute and a Treasury Department official in the Clinton administration. “The thing I worry about is that he likes giving good speeches, he likes the adulation and he likes to make people happy.”

So far, he said, “It’s hard to think of a place where he’s taken a really hard position.”

In some of his earliest skirmishes, Mr. Obama eventually chose pragmatism over fisticuffs.

So funny that the left blogosphere worked so hard to push back the Republicans and elect Democrats who would finally act like Democrats and what did we end up with for a President?  A shmoozer who hijacked the Democratic party and has jettisoned all that Democratic stuff to ride out four years of the worst economic crisis we’ve seen since the Great Depression by catering to the Blue Dogs.  It sounds like some Democrats in the party who caved to the Obama faux juggernaut last year are starting to realize that he is going to seriously damage the party’s reputation.

Obama has taken a pragmatic approach because he doesn’t want to get into a partisan fight- with his own party.  This man has been given every opportunity to turn around the hardass, mean-spirited policies of the Bushies and he chooses to sit on his hands and deal pragmatically.  Where is the big Change™ agent?

Markos Moulitsas has a lot of explaining to do.