Posted on November 01, 2011 in Countdown

Vol. 10, No. 21

Congress vs. US Interests

Last week, Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Tom Cole (R-OK) sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, outlining the countless problems that would arise from a law that requires Congress to withdraw funding from any U.N. agency that recognizes Palestine. Since UNESCO voted to admit Palestine yesterday, Israel and Cole worried about slashing funding to the “promotion of literacy and education programs in Afghanistan, programs that support the advancement of women and girls, and efforts to protect free speech around the globe.” They also mentioned the damage it would do to “companies such as Cisco, Intel, and Microsoft.” They even mentioned that we would be “severely diminishing the United States’ influence in global decisions.” After all that, what was their conclusion? Why, the same conclusion as most of Congress: Keep that law on the books, and defund UNESCO! Clearly, not all terrible ideas in Congress are driven by ignorance of the consequences.

Tooth Fairies & Palestinians 

Herman Cain is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He doesn’t believe in mythical beings like... the Palestinian people? Yup, you’re hearing this right: he referred to “the so-called Palestinian people” exploiting President Obama’s alleged “weakness” on Israel to push for alleged “unilateral” recognition. Indeed, Cain managed to get everything perfectly backwards in that sentence: it is not so much Obama’s  weakness in supporting Israel, but more like his unwillingness to stand up to Israel that pushed the “actual” Palestinian people to pursue “multilateral” recognition through the UN. But let’s not be so hard on Cain, for he is dealing with sexual harassment allegations which he is having trouble refuting because he can’t for the life of him seem to give consistent accounts of what happened. Then again, how do you expect consistency from a guy who caused everyone’s head to explode when he combatively took both pro-life and pro-choice positions in the course of one interview?

You Won’t Believe Who’s Running Now 

Remember the lunatic Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones? Well, guess what? He’s running for President. No, like, seriously. NOW it’s a real campaign season! Wait for the best part… Asked who he would pick from the Republican field, here is what he had to say: “I would definitely pick Cain. He’s got lots of guts and comes the closest to telling [sic] American people the truth. But don’t forget, I’m running too.” Oh Jones, how can we possibly forget? The struggle is to get it out of our minds long enough to remember how absurd some of the other candidates are. Jones also found the kindness in his big loving heart to assure us that he wouldn’t burn Qurans at the White House; how can you not vote for that?

Romney’s Moment of Candid Subservience 

How would Mitt Romney attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? “The actions that I will take will be actions recommended and supported by Israeli leaders,” he said, continuing, “I don’t think America should play the role of the leader of the peace process, instead we should stand by our ally.” Thank you, Romney, for your straight talk with the American people. This whole idea that the U.S. should act in its own interests and show leadership in the world instead of allowing Israeli leaders to dictate U.S. Middle East policy is totally silly. Are such bold positions tied to having amazing people like Walid Phares as foreign policy advisors?

Who Could’ve Won

Time Magazine has a new poll that will change the course of the 2012 race: you know who can handily crush Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in the next election? Hillary Clinton. Oh, wait, she’s not running? Come on, people. Are we seriously using up news coverage time and space to announce how well non-candidates could be doing if they were in the race? That’s like a waiter telling you how awesome the lamb kabob is before telling you the restaurant doesn’t serve any. Can we focus on what’s actually in play please?

Protecting the Homeland from the Islamist Threat

If that headline sounded like a fringe anti-Muslim slogan, it’s because it actually reads like one. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorization bill in both houses of Congress includes language about “countering homegrown violent Islamist extremism." Not only is singling out “Islamist” extremism unnecessary, but it is actually counterproductive as DHS itself acknowledges, and could alienate the American Muslim community while encouraging policies of ethnic and religious profiling. House Democrats made an unsuccessful attempt to strike out some of the problematic language. We are calling on people to contact their members of Congress today and demand the language be changed.

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