Posted on August 31, 2011 in Countdown

Smart or Dumb, Just Don’t Pander to the Crazies

Yesterday, POLITICO asked its readers to consider whether or not Rick Perry is dumb. We’re not kidding; if you missed it, plastered on the front page of the website was the headline: Is Rick Perry Dumb? The general consensus is… well, read the article. Apparently, the concern is that Perry is no huge fan of reading or scholarship. A former Republican Governor close to Perry said “He’s like Bush only without the brains,” POLITICO reported. He’s reportedly disinclined to seek information of his own accord, concerning himself only with things that come across his desk by way of aids and advisors. The problem, as speculated in POLITICO, is that as Governor Perry pushes his way further onto the national scene, he’ll have to deal with bigger and more complex national issues. When that happens, will he be able to answer our questions? We’re actually taking it easy on Perry & starting with a simple question for him.

More Posturing From Ros-Lehtinen

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has unveiled her UN reform bill yesterday, conditioning US funding to the UN on UN acquiescence to efforts undermining Palestinian rights. The bill would “block US funding of any UN entity that upgrades the status of the Palestinians before the […] conflict is resolved, ban contributions to [UNRWA] until UN policies are changed, and […] withhold a portion of U.S. funds based on the HRC budget until […] the termination of a permanent investigation into Israel's human rights record.” US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice was not happy with this legislation, telling Ros-Lehtinen, “There's no question that when the United States is in debt to the United Nations, when we fail to meet our treaty obligations to pay our assessed contributions, that our influence is diminished, our standing is injured, and our ability to pursue important initiatives that advance US national security and US national interest is gravely undermined.” Whether Israel-Firsters (as MJ Rosenberg calls them) like Ros-Lehtinen will bother to heed Rice’s cautions is doubtful.

Guess Who’s Not a Sarah Palin fan!

No, not some liberal Democrat or center-leaning Republican, but former influential Bush administration official Karl Rove. Well, it’s actually not too surprising if you’ve been paying attention to their quarrels over the past couple of years. Last year, Rove had made some comments questioning the compatibility of Palin’s behavior with seeking the office of President. A few days ago, Rove speculated that, by the looks of a video that Palin released and the speaking schedule she’s keeping, she’s probably going to run for President. Palin’s PAC was not happy with that speculation and issued a statement criticizing “media pundits” who “mislead the American public.” In response, Rove said he was “mystified” by Palin’s “enormous thin skin” and said “if she doesn’t want to be speculated about as a potential presidential candidate, there is an easy way to end the speculation, simply say ‘I’m not running’.” Comics for Palin certainly hope she makes no such statement.

Everything Can Be Solved with Bombing or Waterboarding

“Cheney Says He Urged Bush to Bomb Syria in ‘07” was the headline that The New York Times ran with a few days ago. This was in regards to intelligence speculation that the Syrian facilities in question, later bombed by Israel, were intended to build nuclear weapons. Cheney admitted that his view wasn’t popular even within the Bush administration: “I was a lone voice. After I finished, the president asked, ‘Does anyone here agree with the vice president?’ Not a single hand went up around the room.” All of this is discussed in Cheney’s upcoming book, In My Time, where he also defends water-boarding and takes shots at Colin Powell and Condi Rice. Powell was quick to deliver a view-worthy rebuttal to Cheney’s “cheap shots.” It’s no Palin-Rove squabble, but it might get more interesting.

If There’s a Reason to Suspect Muslims, King Will Find It

At first we chuckled, but then we were a bit disappointed when media outlets started releasing headlines indicating that a recent poll found American Muslims to be moderate (like it’s surprising news or something). Congressman Peter King was also disappointed, but not for the same reasons we were. No, nor because Muslims being moderate ruined the whole basis for his silly hearings. Peter King was disappointed because that same “Muslims are normal people” poll also found that 21% of Muslims had observed support for extremism. By King’s own admission, he doesn’t like to rely on polls. But if he can dig through a poll and find any reason to justify his hearings’ targeting of the Muslim community and treating it as suspect, then polls are just dandy!

Spy vs. Spy? Not Since They’ve Joined Forces

Last week, the Associated Press reported that the CIA has teamed up with the New York Police Department (NYPD) to conduct domestic spying operations, claiming that “the NYPD has become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government.” You know it’s bad when their disregard for civil liberties makes the federal government look good by comparison. While this spying has been discussed by many in the community, Adam Goldman’s investigative piece is bringing major national attention to this developing story (stay tuned for updates).



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