Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hit & Run Thoughts

  • I’m still processing the bizarre performance of Timothy Geithner yesterday with respect to the Obama administration’s inept plan to rescue America’s banks. It seems to me we are watching a kabuki dance unfold. Nationalization is only a matter of time but first the corporate media and Wall Street apologists need yet another demonstration of why the system as we’ve known it can’t be saved. If a few million American citizens are financially ruined during this demonstration I suppose it will be regarded as collateral damage.
  • Liberals need to begin mobilizing for what comes after the stimulus package is passed. There is no sense whining about President Obama’s mistake bargaining way too much at the onset of negotiations to appear bipartisan. What’s done is done and hopefully he’s learned the way a small child realizes that touching a hot stove burns. Instead we need to regain the initiative with the upcoming omnibus appropriations bill. Yes, it would have been better to maximize Obama’s political leverage in a comprehensive economic recovery package. But that ship has sailed so the next step is to win as much as possible in the appropriations process.
  • If you keep stocking your administration with center-right people it will result in a center-right presidency. Nominating Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen as Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) would be tantamount to dropping a cluster bomb on the Democratic Party’s liberal base. Whenever HMOs regard a candidate for HHS to be “reasonable” it means another presidency with no healthcare reform.
  • As a Jew I am mortified at the rise of a fascist party in Israel. I had just turned 21 when I visited the Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland in 1990 and to this day I have nightmares from walking those grounds. Concentration camps are the end result when extreme right wing political figures that initially appear to be clowns are not stopped. Make no mistake, Avigidor Lieberman is a fascist and so is his Israel Is Our Home party.
  • If Netenyahu prevails, Lieberman will exploit the rules of parliamentary democracy as his coalition partner and subvert Israel’s civil society in the name of national purity. Eventually, a Netenyahu government will be forced to disappoint Lieberman’s supporters when dealing with the United States. At that juncture, Lieberman will likely withdraw his support resulting in political chaos. Perhaps Netenyahu will become more inclined to reach out to centrist parties to maintain power. It is also possible however that a nationalist populist backlash will propel Lieberman into power in the next election. At best that could be the last election Israeli Arabs enjoy equals rights as voting citizens. I shudder to think about the worst that could happen.
  • I am no fan of Kadima’s Tzipi Livini. As far as I’m concerned she, her party and the Kadima-Labor governing coalition have innocent blood on their hands. Tragically though, Livini represents the last finger in the dike against Israel’s version of Vladimir Zhirinovsky. There is an old cliché that eventually we are doomed to resemble our enemies. We Jewish people above all others have no excuse for failing to recognize the danger that Avigidor Lieberman represents. That a figure like this could emerge in the Jewish state is a shameful irony.

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