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Longing for Sanity

Tuesday June 19, 2012

Countdown Vol. 10, No. 53

 

Political or Not, Good Move on Immigration

A few days ago, President Obama said (if you could hear him through the interruptions) that his administration would stop the deportation of young immigrants who are eligible for the DREAM Act, an Act that AAI has supported for a long time. This also seems to have been a brilliant political move on Obama’s part, catching Romney off-guard and presenting a multidimensional problem for the GOP while simultaneously boosting Latino enthusiasm (a major constituency for Dems) about the President’s reelection. Apart from calling the President’s timing political (which it probably was), the GOP has struggled to come up with an attractive alternative policy, and Romney has avoided addressing whether he would repeal this new Obama policy if he became President. Obama also thwarted momentum in support of the only GOP immigration policy made public, namely Marco Rubio’s version of the DREAM Act. With the election still months away, expect continued jockeying by both parties on immigration.

Update from the Insane Asylum

The first time New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed his support for Sharia’s takeover of America, it was when he defended the right of American Muslims to build a community center in his city. Having failed to facilitate Sharia’s takeover, he’s now pushing more aggressive measures, like banning large soda cups in New York. If you don’t understand how the large soda cup ban relates to the Muslim threat, it’s because you haven’t read this piece by the paranoid Islamophobe Robert Spencer. It takes quite the unhealthy obsession with Islam to think about it every time you read about New York’s relationship with soft drinks, no? Elsewhere, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam hired Samar Ali as a high-level officer in his Economic and Community Development department, and “Tea party and anti-Islam activists” are fuming. They “depict Ali as an Islamic fundamentalist with close ties to President Barack Obama” (are these things equally scary now?). On a sane note, efforts to push out this (and I’m quoting) “financial jihadist” have gained no traction, with a department spokesperson saying they had “no intention of firing Ali.” The irony of it all? Scary extremists who are undermining what America stands for are somehow under the impression that they’re defending America from extremists who are undermining what it stands for.

Emergency: Iran Hasn't Been Bombed Yet

You remember the Emergency Committee for Israel, right? It’s that shady organization which is forever entangled in its own concocted emergencies, putting out silly adds attacking politicians they don’t deem as sufficiently pro-Israel. Well, they’ve just released a video basically calling on President Obama to bomb Iran, and their own Bill Kristol called on the President to seek war authorization from Congress. This is so ridiculous that Mitt Romney, the guy promising to do the opposite of everything Obama does on Israel and Iran, has distanced himself from Kristol’s call. Meanwhile, the IDF’s Moshe Ya'alon tells Ha’aretz that “we are not bluffing” about attacking Iran and suggests that people prepare for war. Because a regional war would certainly not be a cakewalk for Israel, its warmongering so-called “friends” living far away from the disaster they’re pushing on the region will probably be the only ones satisfied once the dust settles on yet another major military confrontation. Whatever you think of Obama’s or Romney’s policies (shortcomings everywhere), let’s be thankful that neither is eager to jump on the crazy train. 

SCAF Shows Who's In Charge

The news from Egypt over the weekend was opaque and contradictory, but we’ve gathered enough to understand this: it’s nothing good. It began last week, when a panel of Mubarak-appointed judges disqualified a third of the parliament, leading SCAF to dissolve the entire Brotherhood-dominated body. Then, voting in the presidential runoff took place Saturday and Sunday, and concluded with… you guessed it: both candidates claiming victory! The Presidential Election Commission won’t settle this “we’re all winners” outcome until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest, but there is a chance it won’t matter much anyway. Why not? That’s because the military has issued a decree that “weakened the role of the presidency and made the armed forces virtually unaccountable to an elected president.” The decree also included a declaration of principles to govern the next constitution and announced that they had named the members of a Constituent Assembly to replace the one picked by Parliament in May. Better yet, the decree allows for continued trials of civilians in military courts. Now how’s that for democracy? In response, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has signaled that aid to the Egyptian military could be cut off if it doesn't take real steps towards a democratic transition.  

Civil War in Syria

If you’re looking for a place to make Egypt’s developments seem rosy by comparison, look no further than Syria. Last week, the U.N.’s peacekeeping chief said Syria was in a state of civil war, noting that the government has lost “large chunks of territory.” U.S. officials said that Russia has sent troops into Syria to guard its port and military base in the city of Tatrus. Meanwhile, the U.S. military has completed its own initial plan for possible intervention in Syria, in order to present the President with options should he entertain the possibility. Whatever happens next (and it’s particularly frustrating to not have any leverage to stop the destruction), our hearts and thoughts are with the Syrian people.

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