Trump, Al Shabab: Shish Kabab

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

I will make Shish Kabab out of Al Kababob. I will hire the best generals, the best fighters. The Green Berets, the Navy Seals, the Russians, the Germans, the Israelis. It will be great. And the Mexicans will pay for it. The Mexicans will pay! It will be great.

(This is a work of satire. Trump didn’t say this, yet.)

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Filed under Campaign 2016, Trump

US Presidents – regarding Israel

JFK_Israel

 

Who would be better for Israel and the United States? Bernie Sanders? Hillary Clinton? Martin O’Malley? Lincoln ChafeeJeb! Bush? Chris Christie? Marco Rubio? Ted Cruz? Rand Paul? Donald Trump?

This brief survey of statements and actions by various U.S. Presidents on Israel leads to the inexorable conclusion that Democrats are better for Israel than Republicans, therefore Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley or Lincoln Chafee would likely be better than any of the Republicans.    

Truman, D, recognized Israel. 
Eisenhower, R, refused to support Israel, UK, France in ’56, allowed CIA and British MI 5 (or MI 6) to topple 
Mossadegh in Iran, which resulted in Islamic Revolution against the Shah and created the modern Iranian theocracy.  
Kennedy, D, inspired Israel as he inspired the US and the world. And Israel inspired Kennedy. See above. 
Johnson, D, supported Israel in ’67. 
Nixon, R, did not support Israel in ’73.
Carter, D, brought Israel and Egypt to table, Begin & Sadat signed a historic accord. 
Reagan, R, laid a wreath for the Nazi SS at Bitburg and criticized Israel’s bombing of the Iraqi nuclear weapons reactor at Osirak. Initiated support for Osama bin Laden and Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Mujahideen transformed itself into Taliban. 
Bush, G. H. W., R, asked Israel for restraint in the face of Iraqi SCUD missile attacks during the first US War in the Gulf. 
Clinton, D, tried to bring Israel and Palestinians to the table. Arafat walked away. 
Bush, G.W., R, despite assertions of his “Love” for Israel, the invasion, occupation and destabilization of Iraq has strengthened Iran immeasurably. However, Pres. Bush may deserve credit for initiating “Operation Olympic Games.” 
Obama, D, may deserve credit for continuing “Operation Olympic Games.” With current negotiations w Iran may deserve credit for acting to stabilize the region.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Israel

The Southern Strategy v the Second Amendment

ColinPowell

The Republican Party, the “Party of Lincoln,” once stood against slavery. And the KKK was organized by Democrats. But in the 1960’s, when Loving v Virginia was being litigated (Cornell Law School, here), when, perhaps in recognition of the roles of the African American Tuskeegee Airmen, the Navajo Code Talkers, of the Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Europe in the Manhattan Project and the massive injustice of the American incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II, when President Johnson had followed President Kennedy’s lead on Civil Rights, when the US military was desegregating itself as it had integrated Little Rock, Arkansas, the Republican Party was embracing what it called “The Southern Strategy.”

Kevin Phillips, one of President Nixon’s strategists, quoted in the New York Times, May 17, 1970, put it succinctly, here,

“From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are.”

Allen Clifton pointed out in Forward Progressiveshere, “Essentially it was the Republican party saying, ‘Look, blacks are voting for Democrats so you white people need to vote for Republicans—the party that will represent whites and oppose the blacks.’”

In Saddam’s Iraq the army’s top brass, if not the army itself, was composed of the Sunni minority. This is why ISIS is so effective: It is composed of officers from Saddam’s army and it’s Sunnis (we once trained) fighting for their country. In Assad’s Syria the army was – and remains – comprised of members of the Alawi minority. Here in the United States we appear to have overcome segregation in the military.

The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (US Archives, here).

I think this means that no one may, on the basis of his or her gender, skin color, hair color, religious beliefs, lack of religious beliefs, cultural or ethnic heritage, may be denied the right to serve in the defense of our nation. Unlike Saddam’s Iraq or Assad’s Syria the defense forces of the United States are comprised of members of all the tribes, regardless of how they live, how they love or when they or their forebears came to the United States.

Let’s look at a comment from a 1970′s interview in the New York Times with Richard Nixon’s political strategist: “From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.” Essentially it was the Republican party saying, “Look, blacks are voting for Democrats so you white people need to vote for Republicans—the party that will represent whites and oppose the blacks.”Read more at: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/the-truth-about-republican-racism-and-the-southern-strategy/
Let’s look at a comment from a 1970′s interview in the New York Times with Richard Nixon’s political strategist: “From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.” Essentially it was the Republican party saying, “Look, blacks are voting for Democrats so you white people need to vote for Republicans—the party that will represent whites and oppose the blacks.”Read more at: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/the-truth-about-republican-racism-and-the-southern-strategy/

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Bill Of Rights., Democratic Party, GOP

Governor Christie – An Apology

Governor Christie wants an apology from the press. (Politicker and Vice). As a citizen of New Jersey, a blogger, and a card carrying member of the newspaper guild, I would like to apologize for Governor Christie.

Photo, Gage Skidmore

Photo, Gage Skidmore

I am sorry that the Governor of New Jersey settled New Jersey’s $9.0 Billion damages suit against Exxon Mobil for $225 Million, pennies on the dollar, 2.5 ¢ on the dollar (NY Times, here) but I’m glad NJ General Assembly Judiciary Chairman John McKeon is fighting the settlement (NJ Journal, here).

I am sorry that the Governor of New Jersey, who in 2011, before Superstorm Sandy said, “climate change is real…. human activity plays a role” and that climate change is “impacting our state” (Star Ledger, here) has, since Sandy refused to acknowledge any role climate change may have played in Hurricane Sandy, calling it “a scientific discussion and debate that I’m simply not engaged in” (Star Ledger, here).

I am sorry that the Governor of New Jersey is an arrogant bully and an obnoxious thug who’s only decisions while governor seem to be which contracts to reward to which cronies (“Politics, Policy & Jersey“) and which non-allies to punish.

Governor Christie may or not have directly ordered the closing of the George Washington Bridge, aka “Bridgegate,” as an act of retribution against a political non-ally. However, whether he ordered it or not, and whenever he knew about it, he clearly created the cultural milieu in which such an action was desired. As such, he has demonstrated a lack of fitness for office and an incapacity to govern.

Most of all, I’m sorry the voters of New Jersey elected Christie in 2009 and re-elected him in 2013.

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Implications of Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Jon Stewart on the Daily Show (here) and Roger Cohen in the New York Times (here) discussed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3, 2015 speech to the US Congress (Youtube, here).

Jon Stewart, spoke about the “Festival of Slights,” and said, “No one can speak for all Jews … we like to argue.”

He also played clips of Netanyahu’s speeches to Congress.

Netanyahu in 2015, “Iran’s break-out time would be very short… about one year.”

In 1996, “The most dangerous of these regimes is Iran… If this regime or its despotic neighbor Iraq were to acquire nuclear weapons this could presage catastrophic consequences. Time is running out. We have to act.”

In 2002, “If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, [you] could very well create an implosion in a neighboring regime like Iran.”

Cohen wrote (here),

Netanyahu … portrays a rampaging Islamic Republic that “now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sana,” a nation “gobbling” other countries on a “march of conquest, subjugation and terror.” Then, in the same speech, he describes Iran as “a very vulnerable regime” on the brink of folding.

Well, which is it?

… where is the leverage to secure that “much better deal”?

[Netanyahu] dances over the fact that military action — the solution implicit in Netanyahu’s demands for Iranian nuclear capitulation — would likely set back the Iranian program by a couple of years at most, while guaranteeing that Iran races for a bomb in the aftermath.

What better assures Israel’s security, a decade of strict limitation and inspection of Iran’s nuclear program that prevents it making a bomb, or a war that delays the program a couple of years, locks in the most radical factions in Tehran, and intensifies Middle Eastern violence?

No wonder Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party’s House Leader, saw Netanyahu’s speech to Congress as an “insult to the intelligence of the United States.”

In commenting on the speech, here, Mier Dagan, former head of Israel’s Mossad, was skeptical that Iran could produce nuclear weapons in less than a year. That remark, Dagan said, was “bullshit.” Dagan called Netanyahu’s address “a political speech that caused diplomatic and defense damage to Israel.”

Isaac Herzog, Netanyahu’s opponent in the Israeli elections, said,

“The painful truth is that after the applause, Netanyahu was left alone. Israel was left isolated. And the negotiations with Iran will continue without any Israeli involvement. This speech badly damaged U.S.-Israel relations. It won’t change the administration’s stance but will only widen the rift with our greatest friend and strategic ally.”

Meanwhile this fellow stood outside Congress asking a very simple question:

American Protesting Israeli PM Netanyahu at US Congress, March, 2015. He stands with a sign asking members of Congress if they are loyal to the US or Israel.

American Protesting at US Congress, March, 2015

Netanyahu appeared to have openly supported Mitt Romney in the Presidential election of 2012 (ABC News/CS Monitor/Guardian). Had Mr. Romeny won the Presidency, whether or not he would have changed US policy toward Israel and the Middle East, there might have been the perception that the US was an agent of Israel.  The Republicans in Congress seem to have forgotten Washington’s and Jefferson’s policies about entangling alliances.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Israel, Netanyahu, Obama

Chris Smith & The War on Women, 1

Representative Chris Smith R, Tea Party  lives in Virginia, yet claims to represent New Jersey. ( Video )

Chris Smith, R-TP, NJ 4Smith Votes NO on:

  • Equal Pay for Women.
  • The Right to Choose.
  • and Birth Control.

Smith Votes YES:

  • To close health care facilities that provide diagnostic tests for breast cancer and cervical cancer.
  • To redefine rape.
  • To eliminate funding for birth control.

Smith does NOT represent the citizens of NJ-4 on social issues, especially women’s health care, the right to choose and birth control.
Continue reading

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Questions about Bengazi, and Sept. 11

Bengazi, and September 11.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, and “Pundit” Charles Krauthammer want a few questions answered about Bengazi. Me too. I’d like to know if Congress turned down requests from the State Department for additional resources to secure and defend the Embassy.

Four Americans were killed in the rioting in Bengazi. 4,000 Americans were killed in the attacks of September 11, tens of thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands were injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’d also like a few questions answered about September 11 and the Bush Administration’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why did President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rice ignore the intelligence memo of August 6, 2001? The memo that said “bin Laden prepared to strike in the US.” Why, in January of 2001, did incoming President Bush ignore outgoing President Clinton’s warnings regarding the threat posed by bin Laden and Al Queda?

I understand why we pursued bin Laden in Afghanistan – we thought he was there. And I understand why we went to war in Iraq – Alan Greenspan said, “It was a war for oil.” But I have a few more questions.

  1. Why did Bush, Cheney, Rice & Rumsfeld gave up the hunt for bin Laden?
  2. Why when they did so, didn’t we pull all troops from Afghanistan? And
  3. Why did the Bush Administration allow Saudis, including bin Laden’s family, leave the US on September 12, 2001?

All other flights were grounded on September 12, 2001. And it seems to me that by questioning various Saudis and various members of bin Laden’s family, in September, 2001, our intelligence community might have learned of the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden in 2001 or 2002 – before the wars.

Given that intelligence work found that bin Laden was in Pakistan, and that President Obama gave the orders to send a small, well organized commando unit to “bring him to justice,” which they did, and in so doing retrieved computers with gigabytes of actionable intelligence regarding Al Queda, I understand why Krauthammer wants to focus on Bengazi: It’s a distraction from questions about September 11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the utter catastrophe that was the Presidency of George W. Bush.

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Filed under Politics and Policy

May 1914

Writing in the May, 1914 issue of The World’s Work,  David Starr Jordan set out to explain to Americans what Europeans thought of them, and why. He quoted an unnamed German:

“We have an old tradition that ‘Germany is the land of the thinkers and the poets.’ We have in Germany everything well-ordered. The military training of the people gives them order and organization.  We have, therefore, fewer criminals, fewer accidents, no “American bribery,” no corruption of judges or public officers.

“Moreover, in Germany, we have more culture, more idealism.  Our science stands at the apex of the world.  Our philosophy, our music, our theatre, our army, our railroads, our order. Thus it goes: ‘Germany above all, above all in the world.”

And so it went. Just a brief summer away from the first cataclysmic event of the twentieth century, one  which not only shattered the self-regard of Jordan’s  complacent German, but of the entire pantheon of Powers of that composed the acme of the era, leaving F. Scott Fitzgerald to express the profound sense of loss through his character Dick Diver: ” All my beautiful lovely safe world blew itself up here with a great gust of high explosive love.”

Welcome to Cultural Forensics. It is not so much a history blog as a history-in-the-making blog. With the past a preamble of the future, we are as much interested in where we are going as where we have been. And so it goes that we try to grasp that future by examining, in a metaphorically forensic way, the past’s entrails. We are forever betwixt the two, past and future, an interesting place to be.

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Mitt & W: Side by Side


Round 1 – Papa.
Mitt – His father, George Romney ran AMC, then ran for President & lost.
W – His father George H. W. Bush ran the CIA, then ran for President & won.
Round 1 goes to W

Round 2 – early adult life.
Mitt – spent a few years in his 20’s in France prosetizying for the LDS.
W – spent a few years blowing coke then turned away from present day sinners
Round 2 goes to Mitt
Wait – didn’t Mitt strap his dog to the roof of his car for a trip from Boston to Montreal or Toronto or somewhere in Canada? Didn’t the dog subsequently run away?
Round 2 – Mitt disqualified, loses half-a-point

Round 3 – Graduate School
Mitt – Harvard MBA & Harvard Law
W – Harvard MBA
Round 3 goes to Mitt
Score after 3 rounds: Mitt 0.5, W 1.0

Round 4 – Professional Experience

Mitt – Bain Capital made a fortune downsizing failing businesses
W – Oil company and Texas Rangers – Made a fortune in failing businesses
Round 4 – a tie.
Score after 4 rounds: Mitt 1.5: W: 2.0

Final Round – Electability
Mitt – except for his lovely wife, people don’t like him. Seems unlikely to be elected President
W – able to git enough people to vote fer him that, despite losing popular vote by 543,895 votes (50,999,897 to 50,456,002) won that crucial vote in the Supreme Court.
Round 5 we don’t know the answer, we hope Round 5 goes to the American People

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Filed under Bush, Gore, Obama, Romney

Romney, Hitler, & Energy

“Gosh, Hitler, during the second world war, I guess, because he was concerned about losing his oil, liquefied coal—that technology’s still there. Why don’t we develop those sources? I think government has a role to do that, by the way.”

– Mitt Romney, in a video posted May 15, 2012, on Buzzfeed. See also Brian Merchant’s post on Treehugger,

Well . . .

As Brian said, 

Obviously, Romney isn’t pro-Hitler. But what right-minded politician seeking office in the 21st century ever considers it a good idea to let fly a statement endorsing Hitler’s ideas? It’s f@$&ing Hitler!

There is simply no other politician I can think of that would ever dream of voluntarily and publicly casting Hitler’s ideas in a positive light, apropos of nothing. ‘Well, nation, Hitler had some good ideas’ is perhaps the single least effective rhetorical framing device in the world.
Actually, there may be two: David Duke, a perennial GOP Presidential candidate – expelled from Germany in November, 2011 (Question More / wikipedia). And Pat Buchanan, the “Pundit” who used to talk about the American auto industry and drive himself around in his Mercedes? He also also lost a GOP Presidential primary run in the 1980’s and went on to become one of President Reagan’s advisers.
Duke was a Grand Wizard in the Ku Klux Klan. His slogan could have been “All the way with the KKK,” altho he would have needed a Madison Ave “Creative” to come up with it and even the ones that are not Jews think like Jews. Buchanan persuaded Reagan that “We must mourn the Nazi SS victims of World War II.” Those guys are Nazis. 
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is probably not a Nazi. After all, some of Romney’s best friends are Jews: men like Shelly Adelson and Bibi Neranyahu, and the boys from Wall Street. These are real humanitarians, the best friends money can buy. Unlike, say, Todd Akin or Sarah Palin, Romney probably doesn’t even believe Jews have horns.

And remember: Romney’s a Morman. The members of The Church of the Latter Day Saints love Jews. LOVE JEWS – especially the light-skinned ones. They Baptize Jews after they die – at least the light skinned ones. It’s wonderful, in a creepy sort of way. But it’s kind of nice; they’re saying “We like you, we want you with us in heaven.” That’s better than offering Jews Mel Ginson’s choice:  “Baptism or Hell.” Or Torquemada’s choice: “Baptism or die,” or the choice favored by Romney’s dead energy maven, Hitler: “die or die.”

But in his defense, Romney is only suggesting we adopt one of Hitler’s bad ideas, and one on energy policy, “Burn Baby Burn,” not his domestic policy, “Burn Baby Jews.” And it makes sense that the Repulican’ts would look to the Nazis for energy policy. German-American Republicans in the 1930’s like Lindbergh were Nazis. German-American Republican’ts today, like Karl Rove, Donald Trump, and Newt Gingrich use Nazi propaganda tactics when talking about their opponents (Newt Gingrich: Language A Key Mechanism of Control). Goebbels would be proud.

But bad politics aside, Coal Liquification is also bad policy. We should be moving off fossil fuels. Pioneered in Nazi Germany because we cut off their oil supply, and further developed in Apartheid South Africa because of the embargo on that regime, coal liquification is simply a technology that furthers “Burn, Baby, Burn.” Pursuing it will lead to “Rise, Oceans, Rise,” “Swim, Baby, Swim,” and “Drown, Baby, Drown.”
And  quoting Hitler on the campaign trail, illegal in Germany, is like telling senior citizens about the beauty of turning Medicare into a voucher program – it’s “Stupid, Baby, Stupid.”

– originally posted here, on Cultural Forensics

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Filed under Coal, Energy, Hitler, Romney