Shorter Question Everything
Can I help it if I automatically thought of the Iran-Contra scandal, especially given Argo being in the news all the time?
• Saudi Arabia has been supplying Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with arms bought from Croatia, according to The New York Times. Citing unnamed US and Western officials, the newspaper reported late Monday that the Saudi-financed “large purchase of infantry weapons” was part of an “undeclared surplus” of arms left over from the Balkan wars in the 1990s and that they began reaching anti-regime fighters via Jordan in December.
The Right Wing
Darkest before the dawn, a dying tiger is the most dangerous. Probably a lot more sayings with this theme but the idea fits right wing behaviour to a tee. The right wing is losing, and losing badly. That appears to have sent many of them out of their everloving minds.
• If it appears to you that Democrats are approaching the Friday sequestration deadline with greater poise than the GOP, you’re not mistaken. Democrats enjoy a massive public relations advantage over the GOP. Voters are prepared to blame Republicans. The Democrats have an unusually steady message. Republicans are lurching from message to message as they try futilely to blame Obama for sequestration’s very existence, while contending that its consequences won’t be so dire (except when they contend it will hollow out the military) and to argue just as futilely that Obama’s revenue demand is an act of duplicity. But Democrats are also confident because they have an institutional memory of winning a similar fight, when Republicans shut down the government in 1995.
• Texas elected the new Joe McCarthy, except—and this is a critical point—even more of an idiot than McCarthy. After all, when McCarthy was around, we actually were in conflict with the Soviet Union. McCarthy was battling phantoms, but Cruz is battling phantoms from the past.
• Rightwing backlash to Michelle Obama’s Oscar night appearance. The idea that she intruded upon or crashed the event doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Michelle Obama is also far from the only inhabitant of the White House to drop in for a surprise Oscar visit. The tradition began with Franklin Roosevelt, who kicked off the 1941 Oscars ceremony via radio. More recently, beloved Republicans Ronald Reagan and even George W. Bush appeared in taped appearances, in 1981 and 2002, respectively.
• Michelle Obama gave away the Best Picture award at last night’s Oscar telecast, and would you be surprised to learn that this has driven the wingnut keyboard commandos into fits of extreme racist rage? No? Me neither.
• The truth is, guns empower lots of people to do violence they wouldn’t otherwise do. George Zimmerman was not going to get out of his car and stalk Trayvon Martin with a pocketknife. We need to be honest about that.
• Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina said Saturday that former Vice President Dick Cheney would likely end up in hell because of his role in the Iraq war. At a Young Americans for Liberty conference, Jones said it was impossible under current law to prosecute a president for intentionally manipulating intelligence reports to make the case for war. He explained he co-authored a bill to change the law, but the legislation was killed in committee by his Republican colleague Lamar Smith of Texas. “I have no malice towards Lamar, I have respect for him,” Jones remarked. “But that again is the problem. Congress will not hold anyone to blame. Lyndon Johnson’s probably rotting in hell right now because of the Vietnam War, and he probably needs to move over for Dick Cheney.”
In other news
• Pat Robertson: Can demonic spirits attach themselves to inanimate objects? The answer is yes. But I don’t think every sweater you get from Goodwill has demons in it.
• Italian voters delivered a rousing anti-austerity message and a strong rebuke to the existing political order in national elections on Monday, plunging the country into political paralysis after results failed to produce a clear winner.