President Obama’s “Pass the Bill Now” plan looks like it’s on track to crash and burn in the Senate. Despite Sen. Harry Reid’s adjustments to the legislation, several Democrats still aren’t on board:
Democrats can only afford to lose two of their own and claim a thwarted majority. They appear to have no extra leeway because Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is a likely “no” vote despite calls last week for bipartisan action on jobs. It is unclear how GOP Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe will vote.
Yesterday, Nikita Khrushchev’s great-granddaughter, Nina Khrushcheva, warned that the trial of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was the clearest and most alarming example of what happens when post-Soviet nostalgia informs state policy in Eastern Europe. Tymoshenko, who left office in 2010, was charged with harming Ukraine’s state interests by signing a gas deal with Russia during her second premiership. Today, she was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison and fined nearly $200 million.
Not only did the West consider the charges politically motivated, but Tymoshenko had been a key figure in the country’s Orange Revolution. The substance and the symbolism of the case have been giving the European Union heartburn. Khrushcheva wrote:
Here is what accusations of racism in America have come to. According to a column by Jonathan Capehart in this morning’s Washington Post, Rick Perry is “associated” with a hunting camp “widely known” as Niggerhead — he “had no problem” with it, you see — and that is “beyond troubling.” End of his candidacy. End of his respectability.
True, there is no evidence at all — none whatever — that Perry ever used the term, ever referred to the camp by it, ever spoke the word aloud, or ever did anything other than painting over the name and laying flat the rock on which it appeared. You might think the efforts to obscure the name suggest that Perry did have a problem with it. You’d be wrong. To be contaminated with racism, all Perry needs is to be “associated” with a name that doesn’t even appear on U.S. topographic maps.
A few days ago, the indefatigable and always valuable Michael J. Totten wrote a short entry at CONTENTIONS noting disturbing signs that the post-Qaddafi order will not be as welcoming to Libya’s exiled Jews as, say, the new Tunisian or current Moroccan governments have been. As Totten notes, “The Arab world has been more bigoted against Jews in the last hundred years than it was at any time during the previous thousand.” In Libya, it wasn’t always this way, of course. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing Maurice Roumani’s The Jews of Libya, and subsequently of meeting this brilliant scholar. Roumani explains how the Libyan crackdown on its own Jewish population accelerated through the 20th century, as well as the tensions that sometimes existed between the Libyan Jewish population and their Italian counterparts across the Mediterranean. As with the Palestinians and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem’s flirtation with the Nazis, so much in Libya dates back to the legacy of World War II. As I summarize Roumani in my review:
As anti-Semitism grew in Italy during the fascist period, anti-Jewish incidents increased in Libya, and as the Axis oriented its foreign policy toward the Arabs, Italian leaders privileged Libya’s Arabs over its Jews. As the Axis solidified in the late 1930s, Rome imposed anti-Semitic race laws on both Italy and Libya. Libyan Jews were interned in local labor camps, deported, and, in some cases, transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
I stopped by the Occupy DC protest in McPherson Square yesterday evening, and was mildly surprised to run into these guys:
If those Obama-as-Hitler signs look familiar, it’s because they’re from the same fringe, left-wing Lyndon LaRouche group the media falsely lumped in with the Tea Party back in 2009. Remember all the panic over “Nazi imagery” at Tea Party rallies? Almost all of it was due to the deranged LaRouche supporters, who show up pretty much to every political protest – right or left – to peddle Obama-Hitler comparisons and corner unsuspecting rally-goers into boring conversations on the Glass-Steagall Act.
Under its current head, Yukia Amano, the International Atomic Energy Agency has taken a far more aggressive investigatory stance toward Iran than in the past. In the past year, the IAEA has laid out the growing volume of evidence that Iran is working on a nuclear weapon. But with the next quarterly report of the agency on Iran due out in November, observers will be waiting to see whether the UN’s nuclear watchdog group continues to highlight the facts about the Iranian threat even though many in the world body don’t want to hear it.
While there is no longer much doubt about the military aspect of Iran’s covert nuclear program, the IAEA has not yet issued a clarion call to the world about what is going on. Instead, Amano has allowed a steady drip of information that is enough to convince the West their fears are justified but not enough to generate an international consensus on behalf of action. But even if the agency does draw the drastic conclusions the evidence proves, it’s far from clear Russia or China will allow the UN to enact draconian sanctions on Tehran that would be required to avoid the use of force.
Anwar al-Awlaki was not alone in the vehicle which was struck by a Predator-fired hellfire missile. With him was another American citizen, Samir Khan, a propagandist who edited an al-Qaeda magazine which encouraged al-Qaeda followers to kill Americans.
So what does the State Department do? According to this story in the Charlotte Observer, Khan’s family received a phone call from someone at the State Department apologizing for Khan’s death. Harry Edwards, a State Department spokesman, confirmed to the Charlotte Observer the call was made, but would not elaborate.