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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Palestinian UN bid a reality??

Today we will find out if this thing is really going to happen. And if it happens, what will the fallout or result be? It's been talked about for some time. This country and that country want to sanction Palestinians for the move, say it is unilateral and unwise, threat to peace, etc. Spain will back it, Germany will abstain, the US of course will do anything to block it and Britain has conditions. Some really want to prevent it and most say it is virtual or symbolic. If it's symbolic, what's the big deal, then?

The US, for one, oddly seems to be more emphatic on blocking this apparently symbolic UN bid than on ending the very real Israeli settlement and wall building on Palestinian territory, which is ACTUALLY a threat to a solution, justice and peace (and violation of international law, UN resolutions, etc) as there will soon be no land left with which to "negotiate."Which brings us to the interesting question of when someone has forced you from city to city and finally moves in on your yard and into your house, kills your family and "generously" lets you live in the closet, controls your comings and goings, what/if you eat etc, what can you negotiate? There needs to be some context and justice in this whole situation. You can't just tell both sides to cooperate. If someone's got their boot on someone's neck, you can't just ask them to come to the table and be friends and tell the guy on the ground that he's got to respect the right of the boot to kick him around if he wants to get up again.

I don't understand the opposition whatsoever. It's past time for recognition and they won't be able to vote anyway. This whole thing started when Britain washed their hands of it and gave it to the UN. Why not take it back to the UN? (besides the fact that they haven't been able to get Israel to abide by any resolutions except the portion of the one that gave them statehood) The original partition gave a minority of Jews half of Palestinians' land. (not exactly fair to begin with...) The original idea was to protect both peoples' rights to have a homeland and have the right to live there, but that has shifted to Palestinians having to accept a Jewish majority, which is translated as Israel's "right to exist," accept being an unarmed entity, accept Israel's right to barge in and arrest and kill whomever they want and demolish whatever they want in order to get a tiny measure of freedom.

I think getting this status upgrade could only help to try and balance the imbalance of power. I don't buy that it will hurt chances for peace- if Israel's settlement building isn't considered to hurt chances for peace, then this certainly doesn't. But on the other hand, I don't know that it will be enough to balance out those military facts on the ground and the fierce opposition to the bid itself from the US and Israel.

Francis Boyle weighed in with some possible benefits for Palestinians as UN non-member observer state:

1. “Palestine can join the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court and file a Complaint with the ICC against the illegal settlements and settlers, who are committing war crimes;
2. “Palestine can join the Statute for the International Court of Justice, sue Israel at the World Court, and break the illegal siege of Gaza;
3. “Palestine can join the Law of the Sea Convention and get its fair share of the enormous gas fields lying off the coast of Gaza, thus becoming economically self-sufficient;
4. “Palestine can become a High Contracting Party to the Four Geneva Conventions [this deals with the laws of war];
5. “Palestine can join the International Civil Aviation Organization and gain sovereign, legal control over its own airspace;
6. “Palestine can join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines, bandwidths.”

Other links:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gaza 2012

I guess I have a few things to say about this, though I haven't had a ton of blogging time lately.

I was listening to David Ignacius talk about Gaza on NPR yesterday- update, who will win, etc. Of course I heard some things that made me think and get a little angry...

(Here is a much better explanation of events, in my opinion... )

Who will win?? Such a stupid way to describe it- no one wins in war. Have you not heard that quote about winning a war being like winning an earthquake? 

And anyway, you know who will win. Who is the 4th strongest military power and backed unconditionally by a superpower? Uh, yeah. No contest. And the winners write history. So that was easy.

Now let's talk about facts. Here are some links to help you out if you like facts and context like I do:

5 Lies the Media Keeps Repeating About Gaza

Israel's 'right to self-defense' - a tremendous propaganda victory

When the Smoke Clears in Gaza

Back to the radio-- a truce is spoken of, but not the one Israel interrupted with bombing in the first place...

Ignatius did mention that Clinton will only be talking to Israeli officials, PA (who have nothing to do with Hamas), and Morsi in Egypt. Congress has declared Hamas a terrorist group, so we "can't" talk to them... I think it's a good point on why our policy is messed up, but others will of course see it as why Palestinians are wrong, not a partner for peace, pick your own cliche...

Rocket attacks from Gaza are said to be the cause of this conflagration. Funny how Israel is always responding, never ever starting anything. Yeah, that's believable. Everything happens in a vacuum over there. I keep forgetting!

I've been told I'm drinking the Kool-Aid, when in fact, I just want to shake people and get them to stop drinking it. I guess it's easier to be strong in your convictions the fewer facts (context, etc) you bother yourself with.
NPR also mentioned how Israel wants a respite for its elections. Boo hoo. How about not putting all those innocent people in an open air prison, limiting movement, raiding them, limiting food by arbitrary embargo, counting calories so they are "put on a diet, but not killed" (sounds familiar, no?), and creating a pressure cooker situation where you keep putting the lid on and it keeps blowing up in your face. Find the solution, don't just keep putting the lid back on!

Oh by the way, Gaza doesn't have bomb shelters or sirens like Israel- they aren't allowed to dig (?!?!)- and their infrastructure is targeted in bombing. What comes to my mind is that Romney theory on why Israel is more prosperous than Palestinians- he said culture when in fact it was the occupation and Israeli boot on their necks. It's kind of the same here. It is Israeli policies that get in the way of development and, uh, not starving to death, not whichever group you want to label terrorists in this particular decade.

Think freedom, whether one state or two, reparations, reconciliation; not "surgically" targeted political assassinations in which hundreds or thousands of innocents also happen to perish, too. Let's face it, it's closer to policy than accident to kill more Palestinians. Extra-judicial assassination is not a long term solution. Compete for power the way democracies do it- not with walls, occupation, and guns.

Some of the articles above address the thorny issue of self-defense, how people play fast and loose with this term, so I won't say much more than is only one side allowed the right of self defense, existence and freedom?

Another phrase that gets thrown around in these discussions is Israel's right to exist. I have a few words to say about existence. That has also become a code word of sorts...

If you are talking about living, living in peace, fine. Existence is great. Jews have a right to exist. Palestinians have a right to exist. But what you may not realize is that when the Israeli government and many others speak of Israel's right to exist, they are talking about a very different concept. Existence to these people means a Jewish majority at any cost (research demographic threat- Arab birthrate being higher than the Jewish one)- killing, "transfer", raids, assassinations, visa trouble, family reunification trouble, building permit trouble, general daily harassment (checkpoints, closures, settler attacks, availability of goods) that makes people want to move if they have the means. 

This type of existence is code for ethnic cleansing and it is wrong. Everyone should be against it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

an Israeli soldier's story

I love The Story with Dick Gordon on NPR. This week, there was a particularly interesting one since it intersected with my interest in Israel/Palestine.

There were good and not so good points. I don't think the segment was long enough, personally. I know the point is for him to tell his story, but there were things left unaddressed. Maybe they needed a visit from Diane Rehm. She would go there! :) 

I'll have to see about the book that is mentioned- I've heard a lot of good things about Breaking the Silence.

Let me start with an explanation the guest, Oded Na'aman, gave about checkpoints. He said they aren't meant to be walls; they are supposed to let people go through and keep some out.

He begins by saying how at first, he wants to be compassionate and use good judgment, but then there was an incident that made him feel differently. His boss tells him the checkpoint must be closed indefinitely (for what reason, who knows- real reason- or some vague mumbo jumbo excuse, how often does that happen- every day- for how long- if unpredictable, how does that impact people). 

A 10 year old kid comes crying to him because he's on his way home from school and can't get back home because his checkpoint is closed, so he lets him through. An hour later, there are a bunch of crying kids- maybe they are lying, maybe not- because they heard this was the way to get through the checkpoint when all other ways out of the village are blocked. Then families send the kids to soften him up so maybe they can get through. He said letting that boy through was a mistake and he felt manipulated. This is why they feel a need to let their presence be known, he claims, so people won't even think about disturbing this (im)balance of power.

There was no discussion of why the people are that desperate to get out- the fact that checkpoints are more like walls in practice- and innocent people shouldn't be held in open air prisons. There is no stepping into their shoes and wondering if we would tolerate decades of being at the mercy of the whim of an 18 year old kid (possibly drunk with power- see later points) or occupying power- only allowed to go in and out at certain times, the unpredictability of closings, the hours long wait to get through for work, shopping, and all those simple errands we don't give a second thought to when we hop in the car, etc.

There was some good discussion of how it is easy for people to get drunk with power in this situation and how he did horrible things to people (no elaboration for him specifically) because you don't see them as people. He did say that those drunk with power can ask them to sing, dance, play violin, whatever they want because the people want so badly to get out and through that soldier is the only way to do it.

He makes some good points about anti-semitism then makes a point that I didn't agree with about having to accept Israel's existence. I agree with him that it is patriotic to speak out against your country's policies that are destructive, but you should define existence before we make the determination that you have to accept it. I agree that you shouldn't want to massacre Jews, so in that way, I accept Jewish Israelis' existence. But, if maintaining a Jewish majority is inherent in your definition of Israel's existence, this is by definition institutionalized, legal ethnic cleansing. I will not support that, nor should anyone else.

post-election drama

Some 30-45 states want to secede from the United States?!? I didn't think that was real when I heard it. Maybe Republicans do drama better than Democrats who generally say they will move to Europe or Canada if a Republican is elected :) Crazy talk.

And that infamous CEO who said there may be "consequences" if people vote for keeping that promise.

Virginia Republicans, armed rebellion and the election- I don't have a follow up on that...  What can one say to that?

Karl Rove can't believe Ohio's (and the US) called for Obama...

Fox News tells Romney supporters exactly how to get to Canada.

a little of the Facebook pre- and post-election feel:

(though my recent purge probably prevented me from getting the ones that would have really made your jaw drop...)

This is just a sample of things I disagree with, not meant to single anyone out- it was rampant.

 "It is clear in the Bible that God is an angry God when we don't follow him, He is a jealous God when we worship others over Him, and He wants us to stand up for what is right. Now is the time! Now is the time to stand on the rooftops and shout that this is NOT OK! Babies dying in their mother's belly because they are an inconvenience in NOT OK! Gay marriage is NOT OK! It is NOT OK to take God out of our schools! Christians, it is ok to be mad! It is ok to make your voice heard!"
-God's chosen were the Israelites and they had a purpose- to bring us Christ who established the church which was accomplished in his death and resurrection. I seriously cannot believe God will be mad if a Democrat is elected or happy if a Republican is elected. We are saved through Christ, not the government. We should act like it.

"Christians losing their rights." Really?
Obama Admin Tells Court: Hobby Lobby Must Obey HHS Mandate
-We still have the right to assemble, worship, pray, disagree with the President, same as when Republicans ran things.

"I don't understand why if all these people wanted to live in a socialist country, why didn't they just go to Europe? There was absolutely no need to ruin this one!"

-I just don't get the socialism thing. I know people are trying to make a point and that's probably how it took off, but I think some have actually started believing the massive exaggeration. I'm still not sure how.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2nd Presidential Debate

Again in progess... maybe I'll finish this time? Who knows.

Obama was definitely more on top of things this time around, though both talked over the moderator at times and were tough on each other.

Conservatives say Obama danced around the questions. I, like progressives, thought Romney seemed to care about coming back to "you had 4 years, I can do better" rather than answering with specifics on his plans- or dancing around the question. The slow recovery thing is a bad argument, but one they try and push- I mean, we're recovering, not free falling- why should I believe Romney would make us recover faster (after Obama recued us from the abyss (yes, I know, that's overdramatic)) because he says so?

I am a little tired of people saying turn off the sound or only listen to the audio to figure out who REALLY won. In a debate where both people are not totally making fools of themselves or at least both making points and making rebuttals, each party is going to see what they want, and ignore the other stuff. And now I will tell you what I see :)

Jeremy: Mr. President, Governor Romney, as a 20-year-old college student, all I hear from professors, neighbors and others is that when I graduate, I will have little chance to get employment. Can — what can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?

R:  1.Make it easier to afford college and 2. create jobs for when you get out. Answered the question yes I can assure you, but lacking on HOW. As usual. 
Brought up Mass. top quarter of class gets John and Abigail Adams scholarship for 4 yrs tuition free- didn't promise that or say who pays for it. He said he would grow Pell Grant program, but there has been back and forth on details- plan would or wouldn't grow it? Brought up 4 yrs of middle class squeeze and blamed it all on Obama, as though the recession didn't start before he took office. Instead of details on how to create jobs, he keeps saying he "has what it takes," is a businessman, etc. Kind of a non-answer. Don't even have to fact check that!

O: Cites 5 million jobs created. That's one of those things that is true, he's a net job creator, but we have lost a lot of jobs to the recession, so it's not a number to brag about. But he didn't cause the recession...
Brought up Romney and his let Detroit go bankrupt op ed. Good point.
Education- talks about record on student loans
Energy- invest in the current natural gas and also the future- solar and wind and biofuels, energy-efficient cars
Deficit- Make wealthy pay more,  invest war money into infrastructure and education... that money is borrowed, though.

*Both candidates mention poor Jeremy in the questions to come. He's the new stump speech example of "I care"! A little funny.

Crowley: Let me ask you for a more immediate answer, beginning with Mr. Romley

R: Obama's policies haven't put Americans back to work, fewer Americans working (jobs numbers spun the other way) . Says his 5 point plan will make 12 million new jobs...The problem is that people have said 12 million will be created even if Obama stays in office and things stay the same...And 5 point plan seems to be 5 more generalities/goals rather than actual specifics, though saying you have 5 points sounds better than - I have what it takes. He tried to refute teh Detroit thing saying the President did what he actually suggested in his op ed and it worked- bankrupt them... except the President helped them back up again and Romney would not have and the necessary loans wouldn't have been there and the companies would have been sold piece by piece.

O: Rightly refuted Romney's Detroit response. Called out his 5 point plan as favoring wealthy...not sure...I think it's just too general. Equated Romney's plans with Bush's that got us into the recession.

Romney tries to talk over Crowley with more on Detroit...

Phillip: Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it's not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?

 Neither of them really answer the question, but I don't know that the question's answer is related all that much to the election, so I guess the candidates made it relevant in not answering it directly.

O: Production is up, coal production and employment up. Continue drilling, but tweak/ regulate for efficiency and also focus on future, clean energy equally.

Crowley: Governor, on the subject of gas prices.

R: Brings up that production is down on federal land, up on private in ND, but forgets to tell the whole story - what about the 2010 oil spill- had to shut things down, really no choice.

When the president ran for office, he said, if you build a coal plant, you can go ahead, but you'll go bankrupt. (Did he and what does it mean?)

Claims Obama isn't Mr. Oil, Mr. Gas, Mr. Coal, wants clean energy, but claims Obama is holding us back. 

Promises energy independence, but again doesn't say how.

They're already beginning to come back because of our abundant energy.
(If manuf jobs are coming back under Obama, why do we need you?)

Crowley: Mr. President, let me just see if I can move you to the gist of this question, which is are we looking at the new normal? I can tell you that tomorrow morning, a lot of people in Hempstead will wake up and fill up, and they will find that the price of gas is over $4 a gallon. Is it within the purview of the government to bring those prices down, or are we looking at the new normal?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

VP Debate

In progress... but here it is...

There is a lot of talk about Biden smirking and laughing, what is so funny, it's disrespectful, look how respectful Ryan was, etc. Some of Ryan's answers were funny. The centrifuges spinning faster? C'mon. Totally funny.

1. Libya. Pre planned, not video /protest driven. Intel failure?

didn't give the best answer initially, but did bring up the wider security issues:
Iraq- Romney wanted to leave troops, Obama ended it.
Afghanistan- Obama set a date to get out, Romney leaves that very ambiguous
Bin Laden- Obama's highest priority from day one, Romney "wouldn't move heaven and earth" to get him, the 9/11 perp, the reason we are in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last statement was that we didn't need more wars, could have brought up the Euro tour in which Romney fumbled his way through... another indicator of the opposite of clear vision, steady hand.

Of course
Ryan siezed on the "was it protest, was it planned" confusion and says (with the benefit of hindsight) that they'll call it what it was- a terrorist attack. Hard to believe when the first thing Romney did was call that press conference condemning Obama for apologizing and in the process getting his own facts totally wrong!
He claims to have had the same position as Obama on getting out of Iraq, but wanted Status of Forces which Obama didn't get (Biden addresses later that Republicans blocked it?)
Threw a random comment about veterans in and there- and Biden's son- I guess to try and make him seem like he's being magnanimous,, which I don't think Biden took the opportunity to attack...
Calls the 2014 deadline projecting weakness ??? even though his ticket agrees with it.

Tired and oft repeated line about "unraveling of Obama foreign policy" (the new apology line replacement?)

2. Raddatz: to Ryan- is the apology thing appropriate in the middle of the crisis?
said Obama had same position as Romney and disavowed their Cairo statement, repeating the fact confusion Romney was called out for at the time.
Should have supported Iran 2009 Green Revolution sooner (just time wise, or with force, what does he mean)

Should not have called Assad a reformer when he used Russian guns on his own (Russia opening as to why to proceed with caution on Syria...not taken I think)- I agree he's no reformer, but Clinton was talking about some in Congress thinking that, not in talking about White House love for him.
Should not be making defense cuts
Tries to spin the weakness in foreign policy line again... he will keep trying, but never comes up with anything good to support that very emphatic point of his.

Biden got to make a few points, referred to the $300 million in embassy cuts (fact check is inconclusive on being that specific ,but lack of details on what cuts also doesn't help RR), the Libya response and Romney's bungled facts, and countered the weakness argument with the facts of the difference Obama made in the world's trust and confidence being repaired, getting Russia and China on board for the most crippling sanctions on Iran.

3. Raddatz:
Back to Libya. Good moderating-bringing them back. When were you told? Why talk about protesters if it was planned, not spontaneous. Why did it go on for weeks.

Biden tried to say they announced things as info was made available by intel community. Then Raddatz tried to ask about the request for more embassy security again. Repeated that they said what they knew, we'll get to the bottom of it, supposed to pull together in an attack, not call press conference attacking president, that's not leadership. (good point, esp since Romney didn't have facts straight and used tragedy for political gain right away)

(The Libya thing seems to be blown out of proportion a bit in that the embassy just wanted a few guards to stay on longer, they weren't asking for a large marine contingent for a big threat they had been telling Washington about for months or anything. Eric Nordstrom at the House probe said the attack was not like anything they'd seen or expected and the few guards they wanted probably wouldn't have made a difference. So teh effort to prove this was like Bush and 9/11 kind of falls flat, but Biden didn't grab that opportunity, so it will be seen as a win for Ryan.

The request was handled at the State Department, so the President and Vice President probably didn't know. And the request was for Tripoli, not so much for Benghazi.

4. Raddatz tries hard to ask Ryan about the apology theme, the book entitled No Apologies (  :)  ), should we apologize for burning Qurans and urinating of corpses?

on corpses- "of course!"- Raddatz interrupts and asks about Qurans- Ryan totally what does he think about that one? Is it fine to burn Qurans?
He again tries to say we
=shouldn't apologize for our values (implying that we did??), - either referring to the tired debunked apology tour or Romney's criticism of the Cairo embassy tweet sent to calm tensions, not authorized by White House
=shouldn't call Mubarak good one day and call for ouster the next,
=appears to reference the 1982 marine barrack attack, but then shifts it back to the Benghazi embassy security and quotes the unraveling of fp talking point again.

Ryan begins on Iran and
Raddatz directs it firmly to Iran. Both agree Iran must not get nuke weapon and will use force if necessary. Gates says attack on facility would be catastrophic, haunting us for generations.
5. Both- how effective is a military strike on Iran?

Ryan was quite comical on this one and begins with the lie that Iran had enough fissile material for one and under Obama, now has enough for five ??? (Biden points out that they don't have a weapon to put it in, so they are not close, but he forgot to say 5 is a big stretch of the truth and they don't have that much enriched enough to make the weapons- so there are many reasons to support Iran being far from a weapon.

Romney supported sanctions since 2007, Ryan since 2009- admin blocked them every step of the way (?)
(Obama actually was slow at first in order to build a coalition, something I elected him specifically for (diplomacy, no cowboy go it alone antics), and stepped it up after the EU joined. The crippling sanctions would have hurt allies, so we had to work that out, too.),0,1293383.story

Some of the repetitive, well-debunked or funny points he made:
*racing toward a nuke
*four years closer to a nuke
*stepping up terrorist attacks (Saudi ambassador)
*wants to change minds of ayatollahs ???

Biden makes a point about Republican Congress not being able to get support of Russia and China for sanctions and on not doing enough- suggests they want war.
says we want to prevent war
Biden effectively refutes the fissile material claim and says we could deal a military blow to Iran, but since they aren't close to a bomb, that's not the course of action now.

continues the watered down sanctions claim, adds a criticism of space/snub with Israel and not meeting publicly with Netanyahu (Bibi, as both insist on calling him to prove familiarity), and actually criticizes the admin for not threatening war more it seems (walked back all options talk).

asks about how Ryan will "change their mind" on the nuke in the time Netanyahu has set for spring with his red line.

Ryan bumbles around and ends up with- we'll debate a timeline and -you have to have credibility- we have it, they don't ... again.

pretty well establishes that sanctions are working and they have credibility and hits back on the distance with Israel, pointing out (that it is possible to be close even if you don't so teh photo op) that they talked beforehand and are in close contact even if they didn't hang out after the UN in NY.

Biden says stuff and malarkey, is called out by Raddatz, and goes on to make a great point about war being on the table, but not in view because they don't have a weapon, which is our goal (to keep it from happening), sanctions are working, they are more isolated than when they took office.

addresses Ryan, he interrupts, saying thank goodness we have the sanctions despite Obama admin opposition...  (again with that distortion)
Ryan: repeats 4 yrs closer to a nuke / Biden says no  in the back and forth

accuses Biden of meaning that Iran doesn't want a weapon. I think that was wrong of her. Maybe she's trying extra hard to please the right who thinks she's in Obama's pocket because she wants to help her ex-husband's friends he attended her wedding in the 90s before he even knew Biden. He's been saying the uranium's not enriched to the proper level, Ryan exaggerated with 5 bombs, and there's no weapon to put any material in- hardly saying Iran doesn't want one. And he brings up the necessity of diplomacy, bringing everyone together against the bomb, for sanctions.

asks Ryan about Gates statement that an attack on the nuke facility could be catastrophic.
Ryan: Tries not so well to make a credibility point about walking back again- his statement makes Iran think they can get a bomb (what do we do, threaten war all the time?), precondition statement, silent 9 days on Green Rev, space between Israel, Russia watered down sanctions

tries to respond, but Raddatz asks a question she tried to ask earlier- which is worse another war in Mid East or Iran with nuke?

Ryan: nuclear armed Iran that triggers arms race, then adds they want to wipe out Israel and call us the Great Satan
: war is last resort, sanctions are working and we are working with Israel, to refute that Israel at arm's length point, and throws in a flip flop comment about Romney

Raddatz: Can you get unemployment to under 6 percent, and how long will it take?
Biden says they can, but don't know how long. Rightly points out where we started- free fall, hits on helping middle class, rescue of GM (Romney- let Detroit go bankrupt), 47%, RR won't give middle class a cut unless wealthy get it too.
Ryan compares Scranton and Janesville, has that exchange with Biden about Scranton's unemployment and says the nations unemployment is also going way up. Biden rightly laughs and corrects him since the recent numbers were actually down. Ryan: Admits the free fall situation inherited, but says we are going in wrong direction (after providing nothing else but the assertion that unemployment is up, contradicting facts) and tries to push the slow recovery idea, which seems to be a bad argument seeing as how we are talking about a recovery and not worse. Mentions 5 point plan (supposedly adding detail to ideas..., but need details on each point- shady still). Makes the car guy comment. Wow! Big opening. Then goes into how charitable Romney is personally. ??? Relevance? And an opening to Biden's tragic history...  Claims the Detroit quote is misquote, and digs at Biden about gaffes-" I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way." Then mentions opportunity and upward mobility as RR admin goal.

reinforces that Romney's 47% was different than Biden's little slips, then takes that opening to tell of his own tragedy. Took on Ryan's car guy comment again, this time mentioning two wars on credit, jobs bill opposition, tax cuts, Obama saved jobs, prescription drugs on credit. He does mix up how he voted I think... Does note irony of doing all that while emphasizing the debt reduction priority.

: Obama came in with Congress control and just did stimulus. RAddatz asks him again if he could get it lower than 6%. He generalizes about growing economy and creating 12 million jobs. Mentions stimulus and DOE corruption charges.

points out that Ryan's colleague started the investigation that didn't find any corruption. And pointedly notes that Ryan sent 2 letters asking for stimulus funds. Bam. He admits it.

After the gotcha that really got him, he throws out electric cars in Finland, windmills in China, borrowing from China.

comes back with a defense for the green jobs- 4% failed, that's better than investment bankers 40% loss.

Raddatz keeps things going with "Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive, Mr. Ryan?"

Romney Ryan tax plan:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Romney won't raise taxes on middle class because he says so...

Fact checking is great, but one I saw recently had me wondering...

Fact checkers judged Julian Castro's  statement that Mitt Romney will raise taxes on the middle class as misleading because Romney said he wouldn't and there's not enough details out on his economic plan to really verify that. The RNC Convention had a ton of vague "big ideas" but no actual numbers or details.

CNN fact check on this taxes on the middle class business

Fact check of Romney saying Obama raised taxes on middle class

Romney is now saying five studies back him up that he can cut taxes, bring in the same revenue. Two are editorials, one is by an adviser to the Romney campaign, and one is AEI, the conservative think tank. The fact check says this is - mostly false.

Obama proves he is qualified; Romney flails

Let's get some statements, then sort out the timeline ;)

Romney:  "When our grounds are being attacked, and being breached, that the first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. And apology for America's values is never the right course," he said, slamming the Obama administration for "sympathiz[ing] with those who waged the attacks."

Obama:  Romney "seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later."  and here are his remarks that embody true leadership and strength rather than threats and accusations based on bungled facts.

Clinton:  “Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith, and as long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace” and “a free and stable Libya is still in America’s interest and security.”

Politicians on social media...(monumentally bad idea):

Reince Priebus:   “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic."

Allen West (R-FL, Tea Party):  Repeats weakness, apology, Jimmy Carter talking points, accuses media of protecting President when Romney should be cross examined because he made incorrect statements and is running for president, advocates bringing diplomats home, and unbelievably repeats the incorrect timeline of the Embassy condemnation of the video (confused with White House statement) as a response to the Libya attack.

Jim DeMint (R-SC):  “Governor Romney is absolutely right, there is no justification for these deadly attacks and we should never apologize for American freedom,”

Sarah Palin- Classic Palin: crude, factually incorrect and includes debunked Republican talking points. On Facebook...

Donald Rumsfeld:  The attacks on our embassies & diplomats are a result of perceived American weakness. Mitt Romney is right to point that out.


On September 11 of this year, our ambassador to Libya died, along with 3 employees. The timeline generally starts at one showing of an anti-Islam movie which barely anyone attended and the trailer for it which, rather, may have been the thing that circulated widely. The film details are sketchy, the funding and producer's details are not known, but an Egyptian Christian ex-con could be involved and the Florida Quran burning pastor had much praise for it. When picked up by Arabic news, this inflamed tensions in the Middle East because wild rumor had it that it was supported by our government (as films must be there) and viewed widely in America, neither of which is true. 

It is widely thought to be an event that extremists used to their advantage and not necessarily the cause of the Cairo protest that turned angry and the tragic Libya embassy attack. It appears to be a well planned attack in the case of Libya. I'll be watching to see if the timing video is coincidence, if the ex-con suspected to be involved with the video was giving info to extremists, or if by chance both the video makers and the extremists wanted to use 9/11 to broadcast their hateful messages.

This is usually a time for putting politics aside and for expressing sympathy for victims' families together as Americans (or humans). Instead, Romney got his facts out of order and used that mistake to try and prop up the long debunked "apology tour" talking point to say Obama is not a leader and we need Romney to provide that leadership in Washington. Misguided is an understatement.

There are several things wrong, here. All pretty much lead one to conclude Romney shouldn't be anywhere close to an office that informs American foreign policy. He would be a disaster. GWB certainly made bad choices in foreign policy and advisers, but Romney is gunning for war and alienating allies well before we vote on who will make the best decisions in cases like these! 

1. He got the facts wrong.
*Obama did not apologize;
*the Twitter statement of tolerance was not an apology and came one guy from the embassy, not the White House;
*and the embassy statement was made BEFORE the attack to cool tensions ignited by an anti-Islam video.

2. He shamefully used the deaths of 4 Americans for political gain, along with Ryan and RNC chair Preibus.

3. It appears that he wasn't moved to make a statement condemning violence or expressing condolences or urging Americans to come together in crisis- his aides urged him to make a political statement separating him from Obama and dividing the nation.

4. Romney, Ryan also tried to tie in the "no leadership" talking point, and in the process proved Obama is the one you want in a crisis, without a doubt.

One of the tired Republican talking points seems to be that Obama lacks leadership, but ironically, this is the very thing in which Romney keeps displaying his profound lack of understanding and leadership. Just as McCain jumped the gun and made a spectacle of himself when the bottom dropped out of the economy (wanting to stop the campaign and debates to appear to be doing something), Romney with his gaffe ridden European tour, irresponsible Libya comments and criticism of Obama's careful diplomacy in favor of Romeny and Ryan's guns blazing, sabre rattling "American strength" does not inspire confidence the way a leader should in times of trouble. In fact, it goes beyond not inspiring confidence, though-  his way is bellicose and coarse, his approach is belligerent, undiplomatic and he is unqualified for the presidency.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Jerusalem is given to Israel; both parties clueless

The historic vote on Jerusalem being given to Israel. Final status negotiations? We don't need 'em. We already wrote the outcome. Go through the motions, meet with Palestinians, take the vote, but you know what the outcome is. Ask Israel. We are working off of their paper.

What a spectacular show that DNC convention was! For most of the speeches, that is sincere. For one part in particular, this is extremely sarcastic. 

The passing of motions, two thirds vote, etc verbally- I've got to say that's the worst way to make a decision, especially when you've got a coliseum full of participants. Are they judging a dance contest? Are they on Sabado Gigante?? I couldn't tell. Shouldn't this be taken more seriously? 

 And what about leaving out the Palestinians in this whole charade? This impacts them more than it does us. What are we doing saying anything about this?? And where were they in this decision?

And third- I didn't know I had this many- what are Democrats doing letting Republicans write their platform? Stand up for peace, diplomacy; don't cave to extremists.

How many times did it take to get the "right" answer? I didn't know you could keep calling for a vote until it came out they way you wanted. Maybe Congress should operate this way. And by right, I mean the one the teleprompter already had on there. It was already decided. This voting garbage is just theater. (Hmm... a metaphor for our electoral process?)  On the third try, I definitely wouldn't call that two thirds! He must have just got tired of standing up there or something. Or he didn't know what to do if it didn't pass. After 3 times, all very close noise-wise, should they not take an actual vote?? Ridiculous! Who orchestrated that "voting" display of solidarity and door mattery for Israel, the far right- I'm not sure who they were trying to please, here.

RNC Convention fun and facts and fun with facts

Several superstar Romney fans have made news... what to say, what to say...


Chuck Norris's Romney endorsement video
1000 years of darkness if Obama is elected? Wow! :)

Hank Williams Jr is now. insisting Obama's a Muslim who hates farming, military, and the US. Last year he apparently compared him to Hitler. Nice.

Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair at the RNC convention.

The whole RNC Convention in Tampa, or maybe it was just the first night?, was based on a misinterpreted antecedent. What's that about? President Obama said "you didn't build that," referring to roads and bridges, the original American system of government- we came together to build it, but Republicans took the opportunity to drop the context and say that Obama's saying you didn't build your business, he did.

A great Comedy Central sketch narrated by Leonard Nimoy that highlights how silly the out of context remark is and how ridiculous the "I built that" thing is when taken to extremes:
Mitt Romney: A Human Being Who Built That

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  --President Obama

The cropping context out of the picture strategy is kind of a theme...

Ryan and his Janesville plant-  just wrong in the assumptions prior to the convention. He ended up getting Obama's quote right for the convention, but misled by leaving out some context.

Ryan said Obama did nothing with the Simpson- Bowles commission on deficit reduction- forgot to mention he voted against it himself. I don't know if Romney has made the accusation against Obama, but he claims his plan is similar to the commission's.

Ryan essentially said S & P downgrade is Obama's fault- left out that a reason for the downgrade was the Congress impasse (Ryan led the charge to politicize) and the threat that Republicans wouldn't raise taxes.

Ryan, Romney, their ads, and various others accused Obama of funneling money from Medicare ($716 million or some such), but forgot to mention his Ryan plan does the same.

Both sides do it, but there are some glaring instances in the Republican convention where when the context is revealed, you feel a little embarrassed for them.

Ryan said don't forget speech is about big ideas when confronted with various misstatements. :)

Ryan, however, appears to have made the calculation that the misleading won't hurt him with voters. He might be right. CNN's David Gergen, while acknowledging some "misstatements" in Ryan's address, suggested that pundits focus elsewhere. "But let's not forget that this was a speech about big ideas," he told his audience.  --

Romney said he wasn't going to let fact checkers run the campaign. That's the understatement of the year!

Big on "ideas" sparse on details- also a theme- that with the shifting position one and some say these things weren't resolved on the last night of the convention, his opportunity to shine.

Here's the Guardian live blogging the Republican convention like a woman scorned ;) Funny stuff.

Romney said Americans come together after elections, but 8 days after Obama was elected, he was on a talk show saying his policies failed- or that he wanted them to?!  And, Republicans (more than a few fringe people) made it known they would oppose everything Obama tried to do. That seems unprecedented to me. I thought Americans tended to come together after elections as well.

Romney for his part, has a few misstatements as well. Even after the European gaffe tour and the apology/diplomacy tour gaffe...

He's going to create 12 million jobs, which would be created no matter who is president...

Washington Post fact check
Politifact Mitt Romney file
Fact Check .org

And more stuff to look for:
*He says he/Bain was responsible for the IN mill, Steel Dynamics
*$716 Medicare thing again
*Accuses of and criticizes military cuts
*Claimed Obama would raise taxes on middle class via Obamacare (implied)- fact check sided with Romney when Obama accused Romney of raising taxes on the middle class because Romney said he wouldn't do it and there aren't any details in his plan to prove.
* He claims incomes are down, gas prices double and that it's Obama's fault.

After the Republican convention, it seems the message is still fuzzy, They use things like lead, reapply, we'll get it done, in contrast to Bill Clinton's numerous numbers and specifics. Not to snub Obama, but Clinton's was a whopping 50 minutes. Wow. :)