Monday, March 22, 2010

Bring Back Black Panthers, Buy Rush's Ticket Good-bye

Eugene Robinson
Marc Thiessen
Mark McKinnon

"The social movements that allowed Obama to become president and Pelosi to become speaker proved that the arc of history bends toward fairness and inclusion." - Eugene Robinson
"If Americans give Republicans their reins of power in November, it will not be to bring home the bacon -- it will be to protect the smokehouse" - Marc Thiessen
"We did not fear our future. We shaped it." - Barack Obama

It was a busy week in Washington last week, with a lot of protesting going on. First, we had a gay activist chaining himself to the iron fence that surrounds the White House during Congressional hearings over the "don't ask don't tell" policy. Then, we had folks protesting both for and against the health care bill, which resulted in some real ugly public displays of hostility. Most important, there were the people who marched for a better immigration policy on Sunday, their crowds dwarfing all of the others.

The most troubling incidents happened during the anti-health care protests. A respected black civil rights leader was called "nigger" as he walked past the group, and another black Congressman was spit at. Congressman Barney Frank was called "faggot" as he also walked by. Maybe we are gearing up for violent confrontations in our current culture war. Maybe it's time to bring back the Black Panthers to intimidate the intimidators, if we're going to get racial might as well level the playing field, hire some ex-NFL linemen as bodyguards to ensure safe passage through the mobs. Where I grew up in LA, you just didn't say the N-word unless you wanted an instantaneous ass kicking, and I have no sympathy for people who still need to learn similar lessons. Of course, such incivility could be a byproduct of the prescription medications that we are all taking, a side effect from the anti-depressants.

Despite all of the mean spirited personal attacks, and angry deranged arguing, the health care bill was passed. I haven't read the bill, and confess that I was pretty apathetic over the debates about it, couldn't bring myself to get emotionally involved. Whether or not it is a good bill remains to be seen, as we watch carefully how it will be implemented. Since it resembles most the health care bill that Mit Romney passed in Massachusetts, it might give him the best platform for running in 2012 - that's he is the best qualified to implement the health bill. As for the rest of the Republicans who have vowed to never cooperate again, like John McCain, they sound like 5 year old boys, whining in front of the cameras. Once again, I'm soooo glad that John lost the election...

Much punditry over whether Barack Obama will get re-elected or not in 2012. If he also tackles financial reform, a bill that is being voted on today, immigration reform, and gets the Israeli - Palestinian peace talks going again, he will have accomplished more than any other President has in one term, securing his place in history. But I think that he will continue to be successful and that when summer rolls around, his poll numbers will be positive. If there are more people finding jobs come summertime, we may have another Summer of Love, with people dancing in the parks, despite the dead grass and shrubbery, you know, actually sipping tea instead of taping bags to their foreheads...

If you would like to donate money to buying a first class, one way ticket to Costa Rica for Rush Limbaugh, click on his name here. The website is giving him four weeks to make good on his promise to leave the country if the health care bill passed, and is hoping to be able to buy him the plane ticket, out of the goodness of their hearts... I'm sure that Rush will respond on his show today, or else he will be ridiculed every day that he ignores his promise. Payback can be sweet, maybe we can all kick him in the butt on his way to the airport...

It will be interesting to see how well Israel's Prime Minister is received at this week's AIPAC conference. Hillary Clinton has already addressed the crowd, telling them: "... that Israeli settlement activity in occupied Arab lands – East Jerusalem and the West Bank – undermines trust between the two allies and makes the US role in the peace process more difficult. Her words follow Mr. Netanyahu's assertion Sunday that Israel would not cease all settlement construction in Jerusalem, which it claims as its capital.

Secretary Clinton took her argument a step further, saying Israel’s settlement activity complicates other US goals in the region that are also Israel’s goals –specifically, ensuring that Iran does not become a nuclear power. Stating that a nuclear-armed Iran would touch off an arms race in the Middle East and embolden Iran’s “terrorist clientele” to take new actions, Clinton said, “This … is unacceptable to the United States. It is unacceptable to Israel. It is unacceptable to the region and the international community.”

What will Benjamin Netanyahu's response be? Can he please the crowd and appease the Obama administration tomorrow? "He's meant to please everybody, isn't he?" quips Peter Medding, an expert on the US-Israel relationship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

"My guess is that he will say nothing that offends his coalition partners back home, nor that offends the American administration," says Medding, noting that Mr. Obama's team has asked him to reaffirm his commitment to the two-state solution after plans emerged for 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem. "But we have to distinguish between words and actions. Netanyahu will make a public statements in Washington that won't offend anyone, and that will give hope to Israelis and Palestinians. But what is he actually agreeing to do once he arrives home?" So he is here to suck up and garner large donations, which is really the job of the Israeli representative at the conference. The real action will take place behind closed doors tomorrow as he meets with Obama and they see if they can't come up with a winning strategy forward out of this diplomatic mess.

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