Posted on November 16, 2011 in Countdown
Countdown's Herman Cain Disclaimer
It may be hard to believe at this point, but we promise that Herman Cain is not being paid by the Countdown team to provide us with material; he really is behaving this absurdly entirely on his own (pinky swear). After a tough week of battling multiple sexual harassment allegations, Cain decided this was a good time to compare himself to Moses and say that God had chosen him to run for President. Nope, pull your jaw back up, we’re not done yet. Yesterday, Cain expressed his belief that the majority of American Muslims are extremists, based on the knowledge of a “very prominent voice in the Muslim community” whom he refused to name. Of course, neither Zuhdi Jasser nor Hermain Cain’s imagination is a particularly prominent voice in the Muslim community, so the two most plausible suspects for providing this insight are out; but hopefully we’ll learn who this mystery voice is soon. Until then, enjoy this video of Herman Cain’s foreign policy expertise on full display (or better yet, Jon Stewart’s take on that video).
Bring Back the Torture
Remember the last election when we had two presidential finalists who were against torture? Boring! Well it’s going to be more interesting this year with at least three presidential contenders, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, coming out in favor of waterboarding. John McCain (himself a victim of torture) expressed his disappointment with the views expressed by the Republican candidates, as did President Obama, saying: “Anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that it’s torture. That’s not something we do, period.” On the bright side, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul seem to have held on to their aversion to extreme cruelty, coming out against the use of torture in the debate. Ok, maybe that was poorly phrased: It’s not the “use of torture in the debate” that they are against (after all, they had to listen to Herman Cain speak), it’s that they made their views against torture known during the debate. Much better.
Is “Pathetic” Too Strong a Word?
After a GOP debate full of enthusiasm for such brilliant ideas as torture and war with Iran, the Democratic response predictably tackled… U.S. aid to Israel? Sigh! Apparently what the Dems found troubling weren’t the platters of madness on full display in the latest debate, but the suggestion of Republican contenders that Israel should not be exempt from a proposal to start all foreign aid at zero and ask countries to make the case for why they should be funded. Can we call that response pathetic? Even if this were a smart political move, one ought to still be concerned about an American political discourse where stopping an inch short of unconditional support for Israel is viewed as a bigger liability (and opportunity for the other side) than supporting war and torture.
Because AIPAC is Too Left-Leaning, Peace-Loving for Them
Speaking of Israel-related pandering, you have your run of the mill Members of Congress who will frequently pledge special love and support for Israel, and then you have your really… fitting words don’t immediately come to mind. Last week, several of these indescribable Members of Congress, incidentally all Republican, went on a special visit to… the West Bank? No, not a visit to the Palestinian territories, but one to the Israeli settlement blocks in the West Bank, in support of Israel’s occupation and settlement expansion project. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), “explained how Israel cannot sacrifice its own security by relinquishing land to those who are committed to its destruction.” That’s the same Congressman who (we kid you not) said Palestinians were building illegal settlements in Israel, and who got into a hilarious exchange with CNN’s Anderson Cooper over his imaginary “terror babies” conspiracy. With such amazing regional ambassadors giving such a wonderful impression, who needs the State Department?
From Rhetoric to Reality
If you thought all this anti-Muslim rhetoric of the last couple of years was harmless, think again. Citing FBI statistics, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project Director Mark Potok said, “Anti-Muslim hate crimes soared by an astounding 50% last year, skyrocketing over 2009 levels in a year marked by the vicious rhetoric of Islam-bashing politicians and activists, especially over the so-called ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ in New York City.” Who would’ve thought that propagating malicious ideas like “the majority of Muslims are extremists” could lead to more hate crimes against Muslims? So counterintuitive, isn’t it? But while the likes of Herman Cain spread bigotry, we should not forget those who combat it; like Senator Durbin who recently pressed Attorney General Eric Holder about the need to combat Islamophobia within law enforcement. Durbin was questioning the consistency of the revelation that some pretty bigoted materials were introduced into FBI counterterrorism training with the country’s stated principles of non-discrimination. Holder admitted that this was a mistake and said all the training materials were being reviewed to make sure this kind of thing never happens again.
AIPAC’s Palestinian National Council Member?
When we recently criticized U.S. law that mandates cutting funding for U.N. agencies that recognize Palestine, we were opposed by a blog commenter who said “Time to admit that just as we Arab Palestinians have a right to self determination [sic] so do the Jewish Palestinians, in a state of their own, the Jewish State of Israel.” It’s a bit of an incoherent response (off topic and kind of shady), but what we discovered next was the best part: this “we Arab Palestinians” comment was posted by one “Lillian Pinkus." That name and the email address this commenter used to log into our comments section belong to none other than AIPAC National Council Member Lillian Pinkus. So is an Arab Palestinian serving on AIPAC’s National Council? Or is an AIPAC National Council member blog-trolling as a fake Palestinian?