Monday, August 10, 2015

The Other Side: As Ugly As It Gets

President Obama's speech defending the Iranian nuclear deal last week contained some hard words for the deal's opponents and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular, and some of those opponents, realizing the deal is going to pass Congress at this point, are resorting to accusing the president of all but antisemitism. Case in point: Power Line's Scott Johnson.

Obama has a thing about Israeli opposition to the deal. He harps on it both in his American University speech and following it in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria to be broadcast today, reported on here by the Times of Israel.

Obama has Jews on the brain. He resents the opposition of America’s organized Jewish community to the deal. In a meeting on Tuesday before the speech, he made the Jewish leaders in attendance an offer he hoped they couldn’t refuse. See this report carried by Jewish Journal. Lee Smith also picked up on the meeting in an excellent column for Tablet. Obama had the assembled Jewish organizations and leaders he convened on Tuesday in mind in this unsavory passage of his speech on Wednesday: 
Between now and the congressional vote in September, you’re going to hear a lot of arguments against this deal, backed by tens of millions of dollars in advertising. And if the rhetoric in these ads, and the accompanying commentary, sounds familiar, it should — for many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.

Obama has jammed this deal down the throats of the American people. With the mechanics of the Corker bill in place and Obama’s Democratic adherents reliably in line behind him, Congress will present no serious obstacle to the deal. Obama’s Jew-baiting is the gratuitous act of an extraordinarily vindictive and, to give him the benefit of the doubt, misguided man. It should be nevertheless be recognized for what it is.

Obama’s real problem is not with Israel or Jews, but rather with the American people. They have the number of Iran’s regime and its Supreme Leader. They know that this deal is good for the Iranian regime and rightly suspect that it is bad for us.

It's amazing how given the fact that opponents of the deal are not going to be able to muster the 67 Senate votes and 290 House votes to override President Obama's veto of the GOP disapproval measure on the Iran deal that Johnson turns to the old anti-Semite canard.  But then again, Power Line has on multiple occasions accused the President of racism, stoking racial tensions, and wanting to start a race war, so charges of antisemitism are actually somewhat of a change of pace in the Obama Derangement rotation for them.

He.s The Heavy, He's My Brother

Of all the problems of his own making that plague Kansas GOP Gov. Sam Brownback (like a state economy disintegrating under tax cuts for the rich, vice tax for the poor, and basic government services like public school districts that can't pay their bills to keep the lights on and can't pay teachers enough to keep them working) the most interesting problem may be his asshole brother Jim.

Undulating fields of crops and livestock-dotted pastures are the domain of a trigger-happy bully who brags about a political cloak of invincibility keeping him beyond reach of the law in faithfully conservative Linn County. 
Adversaries say he has woven a liquor-infused tapestry of fear colored by intimidation, abuse and lies. The saga features stalking, death threats, trespassing, drive-by gunfire, massive explosions, cattle theft, loan defaults, hit-and-run driving and marital strife. Linn County Sheriff’s Department files bulge with complaints about him. 
There is trepidation among acquaintances to speak freely, a point accentuated by the number expressing nervousness about reprisal if they were candid. There is genuine fear. 
Descriptions of events offered by those willing to speak out converge to reveal a potentially lethal menace. Neighbors allege some in law enforcement responded to cries for help with degrees of indifference or favoritism. 
Locals aware of the dynamics shake their head in dismay. In a place where people honor the Second Amendment and revere the self-defense castle doctrine, there is astonishment no one has been gunned down. 
Folks in direct path of this prairie hellion pray for an end to what some coined “neighborhood terrorism.”
So far, their nemesis has found no reason to relent. 
Not when your name is Jim Brownback and you are a brother to Sam, the most powerful politician in Kansas.

I swear, this story reads like a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child, or an episode of Longmire. Farm pigs mauled by dogs, a keg of nails scattered on the driveway, drunken shotgun drive-bys, blowing up stuff in the middle of the night to wake the neighbors, cattle unleashed to devour crop fields, frightened insurance adjusters, and good ol' boy shitkicker cops that won't touch the governor's brother.

Jim Brownback is possibly the second biggest asshole in the entire state, next to his brother. It's terrorism by a cartoon bully and nobody can put a leash on this guy.

Least of all the governor of the great state of Kansas. What Jim is doing to his neighbors on the Kansas plains, Sam is doing to the entire state.

Bullies all around, doing what they do best, has always been the way.

A Gradual Berning Curve

Bernie Sanders is starting to pay attention to his critics of color and to his credit, is addressing issues of racial inequality.

A day after being interrupted by Black Lives Matters protesters at a campaign event in Seattle, Washington, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released a detailed platform on combating racial inequality. 
Sanders' campaign posted the platform on his website on Sunday, and he addressed the issue of racial justice that evening in front of more than 20,000 supporters in Portland, drawing his largest crowd yet along the campaign trail. Nearly 12,000 people attended Saturday’s event in Seattle.

The platform delineates policy proposals pertaining to what Sanders calls “the four central types of violence waged against black and brown Americans: physical, political, legal and economic.” 
Sanders proposes a series of police reforms, including the demilitarization of police forces, a federal program giving police body cameras, and increasing police transparency and accountability. He also calls for an end to mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenses and bemoans the disproportionate rate at which blacks are targeted by police. 
“It is an obscenity that we stigmatize so many young Americans with a criminal record for smoking marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy. This must change,” he said. “We must address the lingering unjust stereotypes that lead to the labeling of black youths as ‘thugs.’ We know the truth that, like every community in this country, the vast majority of people of color are trying to work hard, play by the rules and raise their children. It’s time to stop demonizing minority communities.” 
To combat what he calls political violence, Sanders stresses the expansion of the Voting Rights Act and restoring the Act’s “preclearance” provision, which was gutted by the Supreme Court last year. He also proposes ending laws that ban convicted felons from voting.

Again, credit where credit is due.  These are the issues that Black Lives Matter activists in Seattle wanted Bernie to address, and it didn't take him very long to do it, either.  These are all programs and reforms that I can support.  More will need to be done, but Sanders absolutely gets points here for understanding that he will need the black vote to win both the primary and the general.  My estimation of Sanders has gone up somewhat,

But the problem remains that Sanders is willing to talk about people of color, and not as much directly to us.  More needs to be done.

So two things:  Bernie Sanders is willing to learn, and activism does work.

Your move, rest of the Democratic field.


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