This President Doesn’t “Apologize” for America

Mitt and the GOP falsely accuse President Obama of “apologizing” for America.  I was pleased to see Colin Powell slam Sean Hannity on this phony talking point last week.

Our relations with Pakistan are at an impasse precisely because the President has refused to apologize for last November’s NATO strike that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the border with Afghanistan.  There was plenty of blame to go around in that attack, especially since Pakistan didn’t inform us where their troops were.

The President also declined to meet with Pakistani President Zardari at the NATO summit in Chicago.  Zardari was invited because it looked as if the dispute over NATO’s using their roads to move supplies to Afghanistan was getting resolved.  But when the talks broke down, Obama snubbed Zardari, including leaving Pakistan out of the countries Obama publicly thanked for their help with Afghanistan.

The President also has refused to ease up on drone strikes against militants in Pakistan, despite Pakistani demands that we end those strikes.

The President is playing hard ball with Pakistan, as he should, but not getting any credit from the GOP.  They owe him an apology.

Explain This, GOP

Mitt and the GOP keep scaring people by saying that we are like Greece.  If that’s true, why is it that the U. S. can borrow for ten years for less than 1.75%.  Greece can’t borrow at all except from bailout funds and some very high-flying hedge funds.  Meanwhile, Spain is paying more than 6% to borrow for ten years, and Italy is paying 5.6%.

The rest of the world has much more confidence in us than our own Republican party.  Yet they say Obama is “un-American.”

The Donald Strikes Back

Trump has struck back at George Will, calling him the “dumbest political commentator of all time.”

But that response doesn’t have quite the oomph of Will’s calling Trump a “bloviating ignoramus,” does it?

To me, the fact that Mitt is so afraid of Trump that he feels compelled to campaign with him doesn’t say much about Mitt’s ability to take on Putin or Ahmadinejad, does it?   There’s just something so craven and cowardly about Mitt, you can see it in his eyes.

The End of the Euro?

From “A Power Vacuum Is Choking the Euro Zone,” Tyler Cowen, NYT:

“Since December, the European Central Bank has lent more than a trillion euros to euro-zone banks, but that has bought no more than few months of peace.  It isn’t clear how much more can be done.  It probably is about time to judge the euro zone as a failed idea — and rarely is it wise to double down on failed ideas.

“What is most disturbing is that the euro-zone nations are democratic, protective of basic liberties, and have advanced intellectual and research communities.   The final lesson of this debacle is that smart nations with noble motives can make very big mistakes.  And that should concern us all.”

Trump as “Bloviating Ignoramus”

“I do not understand the cost-benefit here.  The costs are clear. The benefits – what voter is going to vote for him because he’s seen with Donald Trump? The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me. Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low, and you can still intrude into American politics.”

Conservative pundit George Will on ABC, exasperated that his guy Mitt is campaigning with birther Trump.

Leaders in Europe Ceding Control by Their Inacton

If Europe’s leaders don’t set policy at the top soon, the street is going to take over, and panic and fear will dictate events, not elected officials.

Spain is experiencing a run on its banks (either moving money from weak banks to stronger ones or out of the country entirely) that is only going to gain more momentum, and Spain’s deposit insurance system is bankrupt.  There is still time for Europe to offer European-wide deposit insurance that would quell this run before it becomes a full-blown panic.  Of course, Germany doesn’t want to do this.

European leaders have to decide if they want to cut Greece loose, but try to save other countries like Spain.  That’s the first decision.  Are you going to try to save everyone, are you going to try to save everyone but Greece, or are you going to let the whole thing go to hell?

Europe could offer euro-zone deposit insurance to everybody in the euro zone or dump Greece and offer it to the remaining countries.

Europe could offer euro-zone bonds guaranteeing countries’ debt to everybody or dump Greece and offer them to the remaining countries.

But Europe’s leaders are in a state of paralysis, which in itself is a form of decision-making, an abdication of control and responsibility.

Greece has become an excuse for not addressing the problems of other weak periphery countries, like Spain and Italy.  But ignoring these problems doesn’t make them go away.  Not deciding becomes a decision.

We saw what happened in this country when events overtook our leaders in September 2008, and our entire financial system was brought to the brink of collapse.  We saw Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson go down on his knees, begging Nancy Pelosi to stay in bailout talks after the Republicans walked out.  For Paulson, the arrogant former head of Goldman Sachs and the quintessential Master of the Universe, to be brought to such a shocking state tells you how close we came to tipping over the edge, how close we came to another depression.

Europe is on its knees, and Angela Merkel is on her way out of the room.

Birther by Association

Donald Trump continues his birther ravings.  He’s now latched on to the 1991 pamphlet from President Obama’s literary agency that said he was born in Kenya.  Trump’s take — “He didn’t know he was running for president , so he told the truth.”

Mitt has scheduled two high-profile events with Trump, one in Las Vegas and one in New York.  Mitt either needs to dump Trump or Trump needs to back off the birther garbage.  I don’t see either happening, so Mitt will go through this campaign as a birther by association.

I also have a question for the birthers that I’ve never seen addressed.  They rely on a statute that applied to those born outside the U. S. before 1986.  That statute says that if your parents are married and one parent is foreign and you were born outside the U. S., the American parent must have lived in the U. S. for at least five years since he or she was 14.

The birther argument is that Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was 18 when Obama was born, so she hadn’t lived anywhere for five years since she was 14.  But Obama’s father was already married to a woman in Kenya when he married Ann Dunham, so he was guilty of bigamy, and Obama’s parents were never legally married, the marriage was void.  Therefore, I would argue that wherever Obama was born (and I believe it was Hawaii), he was born to a single mother who was American and therefore he was American.

This Isn’t About Freedom of Religion

As regular readers know, I am a practicing Catholic.

The lawsuit the Catholic Church has filed against President Obama on coverage for contraception isn’t about freedom of religion.  It isn’t even really about contraception.  It’s much more about abortion and defeating President Obama.

Back in 2004, Catholics voted for Bush over Kerry, 52 to 47%.  In 2008, despite being harangued by their priests not to vote for someone who is pro-choice, Catholics voted for Obama over McCain, 54 to 45%.  The Church is determined to reverse that result in 2012.  They want Mitt to win.

Having failed to get their flocks sufficiently “wee wee’d up” about abortion in 2008, the Church is now trying to convince them that freedom of religion is under assault.

But if that’s the case, why hasn’t the Church made a big fuss about contraception coverage at the state level, where it’s been in place for years.  Many states have coverage rules that are stricter than the Obama compromise.  The Obama rule makes things easier for the Church in those states.  This mandated contraception coverage exists in the vast majority of states, including big states like California and New York, and red states like Arkansas.

Back in 2005, then Gov. Huckabee of Arkansas signed a contraception coverage law that was like Obama’s original proposal that drew such outrage.  So Obama’s compromise puts him to the right of Mike Huckabee!

I feel as if some of the money I put in the collection basket at my parish church is in effect a political contribution to Mitt Romney because it will be used for this ridiculous lawsuit and attendant publicity to try to hurt Obama.  That’s a donation I have no interest in making.  Then as a taxpayer, I am paying to defend the lawsuit.  I would rather that both my church money and my tax money help feed and care for the people who are struggling right now.  I think that’s what Jesus would prefer as well.