Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Last Call For Return Of The Granny Starver

Chuck Pierce believes House Speaker Paul Ryan's AIPAC speech is a definite indicator that he's running...for...something.

All three of the remaining presidential candidates got the prime speaking slots Monday night at the annual AIPAC policy conference, to which we were not invited, alas, although that seems to have been somewhat epidemic. But any chance we get to hear Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, talk about foreign policy, the area in which Joe Biden literally laughed him out of the campaign in 2012, is one that we never should pass up. (Remember when Ryan explained to us that, in Afghanistan, it snows during the winter? Gravitas!) Of all the barefaced pandering that went on yesterday, and Hillary Rodham Clinton was singing in tuneMonday afternoon, the face of Ryan's pandering was the barest of all, and not just because he's lost the scruff he was cultivating a few months back. This was a guy doing more than rattling the saber. He was swinging it around his head until the air whistled. And, yes, this was a guy who's still thinking about being president, no matter how many non-facts he burbles out on the topic to various interviewers.

There are two outcomes from the GOP Convention in Cleveland: the party knuckles under for Trump and goes on to get crushed in November, or the party tries to steal it from Trump and gets crushed in November.  The latter requires somebody young, telegenic, utterly under the control of Republican orthodoxy, ideally already in the GOP leadership and from a swing state and ambitious to the point of near psychopathy.

Paul Ryan, in other words.  In his words, actually:

"The threats are very different now. North Korea thumbs its nose at the world as it plays with its nuclear weapons. Iran openly backs tyrants and funds terrorist groups as it jockeys for dominance in the Middle East. An emboldened Russia is only too happy to try to reclaim its neighbors as client states. And with the rise of ISIS, an even deadlier strain of Islamist extremism has taken hold. Once again we face an aggressive militant ideology—with an assist from a gang of rogue states. And why is our relationship with Israel so important? Because in the fight against terrorism and proliferation, our interests are one and the same. For the terrorists, Israel is the first target, and we are the ultimate one. That's because we share the same values." 
Yeah, he's running.

I'd say so, yes.  He's so eager to shiv Trump right now he's practically vibrating.

The Don's Capo, After Hours

Ever since Donald Trump started making things pretty awful for our friends in the media, it turns out that they're no longer content to sit on the stories of abuse that they're taking on the campaign trail anymore, especially since Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is a scary, awful pile of talking garbage, it seems.

To a degree that is virtually unprecedented for a political operative in his position, Lewandowski frequently places himself in the middle of chaotic press scrums and volatile campaign crowds, and has reacted with physical aggression at times. 
At a press conference earlier this month in West Palm Beach, Florida, Lewandowski physically pushed CNN reporter Noah Gray away from Trump as he tried to ask the candidate a question, according to a source with close knowledge of the incident. 
It was not the first time the campaign manager had gotten in Gray’s face to prevent him from reporting. In November, when the reporter attempted to film protesters who were disrupting a Trump rally, Lewandowski threatened to pull his credentials unless he went back inside the pen the campaign uses to corral journalists. He was also heard instructing the press secretary that if Gray didn’t obey him he would be “fucking blacklisted.” The CNN reporter’s tweets about the incident riled Lewandowski and briefly inflamed tensions between the campaign and the traveling press corps, reporters told BuzzFeed News. 
A spokesperson for CNN did not respond to a request for comment. 
The campaign manager’s aggression is not necessarily physical: In one instance, at a restaurant in New York last year, Lewandowski was seen throwing back multiple drinks and loudly threatening someone on the phone. 
There is also talk among Trump’s traveling press corps for his behavior toward women. Politico first reported that Lewandowski has made “sexually suggestive” comments to female journalists that one recipient described as “completely inappropriate in a professional setting.” 
In conversations with reporters, he has expressed frustration with female journalists covering the campaign while also voicing a wish to have sex with them. And sources told BuzzFeed News that more than once, he has called female reporters late at night to come on to them, often not sounding entirely sober. Some in the press corps joke that if Lewandowski is calling after a certain hour, women are better off not answering.

It's about time that the Village started to turn on Trump.  Only fitting, as they helped create his rise in the first place nine months ago.  Now they are learning pretty quickly what the cost of covering Trump for ratings truly entails.  I'm only surprised that it took this long.


If there's one thing Bernie Sanders has done during this primary season that I agree with, it's skipping AIPAC's annual meeting in DC on Monday, something he has been able to do being a major-party Jewish candidate.  Hillary Clinton did show up at the conference yesterday, and her speech was frankly the best reason yet why I still have major reservations about her.

WaPo's Paul Waldman:

In any case, every politician knows what they have to do when it comes to AIPAC: go to the conference, talk about the times you’ve visited the Holy Land, wax rhapsodic about the deep connection between our two countries, say that when you’re elected the bond between us will be stronger than ever, and make sure everyone knows that you’re as “pro-Israel” as you could possibly be. 
There has been a shift recently, however. For many years, everyone paid lip service to the idea that a two-state solution, with Palestinians eventually freed from Israeli occupation and left to govern themselves, was what we all wanted. The difference was that Democrats usually meant it, and many Republicans didn’t. These days, many Republicans no longer pretend that the Palestinians deserve self-government, or any rights at all. Ask them about a two-state solution, and they’ll just talk about how Palestinians are terrorists. 
Clinton’s brief discussion of this issue in her speech can only be described as half-hearted:

“It may be difficult to imagine progress in this current climate when many Israelis doubt that a willing and capable partner for peace even exists. But inaction cannot be an option. Israelis deserve a secure homeland for the Jewish people. Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity. And only a negotiated two-state agreement can survive those outcomes.” 
What she failed to mention is that the current government of Israel isn’t a “willing partner” to negotiations either. Just before he got reelected last March, Prime Minister Netanyahu made explicit what everyone already knew, that there will never be a Palestinian state on his watch. And in her entire speech, the closest Clinton got to a criticism of the Israeli government was this line: “Everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements.” If you were her speechwriter, that’s about what you’d come up with if she told you, “Put the word ‘settlements’ in there somewhere just so I can say I mentioned it, but make it so vague that it doesn’t actually sound like I’m taking any position at all.”

If there's serious differences between Clinton and Obama on foreign policy, it's on the subject of Israel and Palestine.   And it got worse:

Clinton also came out forcefully against the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), which seeks to exert pressure on Israel to change its policies toward the Palestinians. I’m not going to wade into the debate over BDS, but it was striking that Clinton took what is essentially the position of maximal opposition to BDS: not that it has legitimate arguments to make even if it often takes them too far, or that the movement tolerates anti-Semites within its ranks, or that people within it are starting from liberal values and thus might be persuaded to agree with someone like her, but that the entire thing is anti-Semitic and therefore must simply be fought:

“Many of the young people here today are on the front lines of the battle to oppose the alarming boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS. 
Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, especially in Europe, we must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people
“I’ve been sounding the alarm for a while now. As I wrote last year in a letter to the heads of major American Jewish organizations, we have to be united in fighting back against BDS.” 

Now, it's one thing to believe Israel is committing collective punishment against the Palestinian people and using your pocketbook as something to try to convince Israel's government to be more lenient.

It is another thing entirely to treat those efforts as purely anti-Semitic and without any merit, value, or even saying they do not have the right to exist.  That is the kind of ridiculous rhetoric I expect to hear from Ted Cruz or Rick Santorum, that disagreement with Israel is in and of itself anti-Semitic. But from Hillary Clinton?

I have a tremendous problem with that train of thought.  I understand that Sanders has issues on foreign policy fitness, but Clinton's Israel policy as stated Monday is abysmal.

Granted, I know in a general election Clinton's total policy package would be far and above any of the GOP contenders, but on this issue there's no difference, and that's something that's going to hurt us down the road.  It's just a matter and how soon and how badly.


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