August 19, 2009
This is confirmed in a recent NBC poll: Obama's health care approval ratings -- while not impressive -- have not gotten any worse in recent weeks. Meanwhile, misinformation on the proposal abounds. As Jon Stewart remarked on the TV coverage of politics, "The race to the bottom is done with tenacity."
August 06, 2009
August 05, 2009
Several sources are reporting that the plane crash in Northwest Iran that killed 168 people two weeks ago was caused by the detonation of explosives meant to be given to Hizballah by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. This explosion comes on top of one in Lebanon not long ago, an illegal Hizballah weapons cache. The existence of this cache was known to the UN force in Southern Lebanon for months, but they predictably did nothing about it. Sadly, the Iranians will once again walk away scot-free.
August 03, 2009
July 31, 2009
But if liberals are guilty of creating an Obama cult, then some conservatives have responded with an Obama paranoia—a burning hatred and distrust of Obama so intense as to totally defy reason. One way this manifests itself is to repeatedly and brainlessly denounce Obama as “socialist,” even as his economic policies have been stridently anti-socialist. For example, most liberal opinion leaders thought early on that Obama’s approach to the banking issue had to include temporary nationalization of the affected banks. Obama’s proposal not only shied away from that idea (Treasury Secretary Geithner was said to be deeply wary of it), but it seemed to shift the public debate away from public ownership.
An early example of this came back in April, when President Obama approved the use of military force to get back the American hostage taken by Somali pirates. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg—hardly one who looks for excuses to support the left—caught flack from his readers and from de facto Republican party chairman Rush Limbaugh when he (gasp!) said that Obama deserved a minimal amount of credit for his handling of the situation.
More recently, Glenn Beck made the preposterous claim that Obama has a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” And still stronger than ever is the “birther” movement, the people who believe the president is actually a native Kenyan. Birther-in-chief Orly Taitz appeared on the Colbert Report, and, as FactCheck.org documented, all but admitted that there’s nothing Obama can do to quell their concerns:
Colbert: What would he have to do to satisfy you and those in your movement?
Taitz: In order to be president and commander in chief, he has to be a natural born citizen. So even if he were born in Hawaii, he cannot be the president and commander in chief specifically because of his multiple citizenship.
Colbert: So there’s absolutely nothing he can do to satisfy you?
Taitz: Unless he can bring his father out of the grave and make him a citizen post-mortem.
July 27, 2009
Regardless, here is an opportunity for American supporters of the Palestinian cause to dare the Obama administration to pursue an even-handed foreign policy: get the Palestinian government of Mahmoud Abbas to agree to something as necessary and overdue as the Israeli government just has. According to American and Israeli sources, the Israeli government will abide by a temporary freeze in settlement activity.
This is quite a step for the Israeli government. At no point even during the Oslo process was there an explicit agreement between the U.S. and Israel on settlement construction. And this comes on top of PM Netanyahu's previous endorsement of a Palestinian state. He has even kept his word on his campaign promise to ease Palestinian freedom of movement. One year ago there were 35 manned checkpoints in the West Bank; today there are 10. Say one thing about Netanyahu: he is expending significant political capital to protect his relationship with the United States. A country with a foreign lobbying movement so powerful and manipulative shouldn't have to rely on such political maneuvering on behalf of its patron, should it?
Alas, for Obama to push the Palestinian government into an equally needed act would prove fruitless; there is no Palestinian government. Netanyahu's promise to freeze settlement construction is a just act on its own. In fact, it is a pure act of altruism; what could Abbas promise now and deliver? If nothing else, this episode illustrates one crucially important point: Even the most dovish of Israeli leaders would not have a negotiating partner right now.