"Over the past three years, American politics has been dominated by a liberal fantasy and a conservative freakout." - Ross Douthat
"America is exceptional - utterly and absolutely exceptional - because the rest of the world depends on American guns, American money and American mediation in a way that no other country or combination of countries possibly might replace." - Spengler
The Council of Europe just released a report accusing Kosovo's Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, of having murdered Serbs for their kidneys for organ transplants, and being the drug kingpin for heroin distribution. Pundits think that this might give him difficulty in forming a new government after the election.
It gets worse in Belarus, making the fraud in Iran and Afghanistan look like the amateurish tinkerings that they were, as reported by the Economist: "IT WOULD be more honest if Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belarus's thuggish and dictatorial president, did away with elections altogether. Instead, yesterday's charade of a poll resulted in false expectations and cracked skulls. As the country's slavish electoral committee declared Mr Lukashenka the winner, with 80% of votes on an improbable turnout of more than 90%, the true outcome of this election began to emerge.
Last night a massive demonstration of some 30,000 people was brutally dispersed by the Belarusian KGB and riot police. Six hundred people have been arrested. Many more have been beaten up. Seven of the nine candidates standing against Mr Lukashenka are in prison, some of them badly hurt. Their supporters are being hunted by the local KGB. Vladimir Neklyayev, a poet and one of the main candidates, was knocked unconscious as he tried to make his way to a demonstration. Later security services removed him from hospital—as his wife, reportedly, screamed from a locked room—and placed him in detention."
"America's competitors have seen the erosion of American power as if through a time-lapse camera, and they don't like it at all. Obama's self-shrinkage of American influence may give us a civil war in Iraq, a new Israeli-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, a nuclear-armed Iran, a replay of the Cuban missile crisis in Venezuela, an unshackled rogue state in North Korea, an ungovernable Pakistan, and - worst of all - another American recession as the US Treasury struggles to fund a government deficit in excess of 12 percentage points of gross domestic product. Confronted with the consequences of a naked emperor in Washington, the other powers of the world can only avert their eyes and hope he will get some clothes before it is too late..." We'll see how many rabbits are left in his hat, after the recent show before Congress.
The GOP freakout should continue, with the Republican control of the House. In order to get any legislation passed in their favor, the Repubs will have to get at least 4 Senators to cross the aisle in voting. Then, there's no guarantee that the President will sign it... TPM also reports on another way that the Repubs will use to obstruct: "What they found is an obscure authority provided by a 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act. It provides Congress with an expedited process by which to evaluate executive branch regulations, and then give the President a chance to agree or disagree.
House Republicans will have carte blanche next year, and will be able to pass as many of these "resolutions of disapproval" as they want. The key is that a small minority in the Senate can force votes on them as well, and they require only simple-majority support to pass." It's not much, but it might be enough to make those afternoons watching CSPAN turn into real snoozers.