Posted on November 23, 2011 in Countdown
Revitalizing the Egyptian Revolution
Chaos has once again engulfed Tahrir Square (or “Maidan of Liberation,” to switch mainstream media’s arbitrary half-translation around), with dramatic footage emerging of clashes between police and tens of thousands of protesters over the past few days. The demonstrators were expressing their frustration with the slow pace of the transition under military rule, and the authorities brilliantly confirmed the legitimacy of their grievances by killing dozens of them in a needless violent crackdown to clear the square. Whether it’s SCAF or the interior ministry that is responsible for the bloody crackdown seems entirely secondary at this point, and the need to grant real democracy to Egyptians is more urgent than ever. In an apparent attempt to diffuse the situation, the head of the military council has pledged to transfer power to a civilian government by… July, 2012? This probably won’t cut it. All eyes on Tahrir Square to see how the ongoing (indeed, growing) protests will be handled from here on out.
Why Did He Drop Out of the Race?
Speaking of Egypt’s recent developments, an exceptionally wise voice weighed in on the mistakes America has made in handling the revolution. That voice, unrivaled in its brilliance, is that of Donald Trump, who almost ran for president before realizing he was way too awesome to follow through with it. Two nights ago, Trump tweeted: “Egypt is turning into a hot bed of radical Islam. The current protest is another coup attempt. We should never have abandoned Mubarak." Wow! We don’t usually do action alerts in Countdown, but we also don’t see such brilliant analysis too often, so we’ll make an exception. Action alert: Call the State Department immediately and demand that whoever heads their Near East policy analysis division be immediately replaced by the country’s leading foreign policy expert Donald Trump.
He’s So Ridiculous It Hurts
Every week, we reach the conclusion that we’ve seen the full extent of Herman Cain’s ridiculousness, and every week he proves us wrong. How has Cain raised the bar on absurdity? It’s not that he thought that people spoke “Cuban” in Cuba, or that he was worried that the “Taliban” were in Libya… Well, normally it would be those things, but not compared to his anecdote with Dr. Abdullah. During his chemotherapy, Cain noticed that one of his doctors was named Dr. Abdullah, and told the physician’s assistant that while he had nothing against foreign doctors, he was concerned because “Dr. Abdallah… sounded too foreign.” When the assistant told Cain that the doctor was from Lebanon, he grew even more concerned, and his face could no longer hide it. That’s when she told him “don't worry, Mr. Cain, he's a Christian from Lebanon.” Cain responded with “Hallelujah! Thank God!" Can you think of a bigger indictment of American political culture than that this man continues to be taken seriously as a presidential contender? We certainly can’t.
The Rise of the Grinch
Ok, that was a typo, we meant Gingrich. Yes, it didn’t look like he had much of a chance a few weeks ago, but he is now at the top spot of the GOP field, beating Romney by 4 points. Apparently having noticed how it did Cain well to have blamed the unemployed for their own difficulties, Gingrich is raising the threshold some more, suggesting that child labor laws are “stupid.” Gingrich specifically suggested school children should replace janitors in schools. But according to the Labor Department, being a janitor is no easy job, and involves handling dangerous chemicals and performing basic electrical and plumbing repairs. That should play well with the crowd that cheered letting poor sick people die. Well played, Newt. Well played! It may have earned him enough brownie points to get cheers while defending the DREAM Act in last night’s debate, which is quite the contrast from the reception Rick Perry got for the same move.
Super Committee Crash
So, um, the “Super Committee” that was formed to resolve the partisan deadlock over the budget has itself failed due to (wait for it….) partisan deadlock! The failure of the Super Committee automatically triggers massive cuts in domestic and defense spending, but surely Congress will waive the automatic trigger despite not having reached a deal, right? Well, here is President Obama’s message to them: “No! I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts… There will be no easy off-ramps on this one.” So how much cheddar are we talking about? $1.2 trillion! That’s 300 billion more dollars than the number of times we used exclamation points in this paragraph! It’s like watching high-stakes bluff-calling in poker, only in this game there might be no winners at all.
If you watched last night’s Republican debate, you may have gotten a warm and fuzzy feeling about one special candidate who goes by Rick Santorum. Santorum was the only candidate during last night’s debate to explicitly call for the profiling of Muslims in airports, and said that America wasn’t at war with terrorism, but with radical Islam. He also cautioned about the threat of socialist militants joining forces with radical Muslims (a little too much Glenn Beck-watching there, Mr. Santorum?). And you thought Cain was one of a kind! But unlike Cain, Santorum didn’t just suggest that there was no such thing as a Palestinian, he actually said that everyone who lives in the West Bank was Israeli. His Israeli friends may not be very happy with his endorsement of the one-state solution where all Palestinians become Israelis.
Michele Bachmann Lies Again
In a previous Countdown, we highlighted a montage of Michel Bachmann’s biggest lies, put together by CNN’s ticked off Anderson Cooper. Well, the biggest lie of last night’s debate was, yet again, delivered by the one and only. She said “[Ahmadinehad] has said that if he has a nuclear weapon he will use it to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. He will use it against the United States of America." Unlike false “intelligence” which the Bush administration cited to get us to wage war on Iraq, someone should explain to Bachmann that lying about public statements to wage war doesn’t work as well because people can actually check other leaders’ public statements.