Zero Dark Thirty
What seems to be the funniest part of the President’s announcement of his support for gay marriage is that he has taken the line of most Libertarians like Ron Paul and even some conservatives. Him “coming out” and telling America that he supports same-sex marriage does nothing to further the issue or progress legislation.
As Joe Scarborough pointed out on Morning Joe today, if the President believes that same-sex marriage is an equal rights issue, then as President he has not only a right but a responsibility to push for it at a federal level. Why? Because the President is sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States which protects the rights and equality of all Americans.
However, that’s not what he did. He came out in “support” of gay marriage while simultaneously saying that the issue should be left to the states, a basic tenet of Federalism, Libertarianism and of course the Republican party. Those are the same state of which 32 banned gay marriage. How can someone who believes same-sex marriage to be an issue of equality live with themselves if they didn’t do what they could to not only push for but enforce equality for all?
In a satirical column I posted yesterday I tried to point out how little control the President has over his own staff and his administration at large. His plan, as he told it, was to come out during the Democratic National Convention but was beat to the punch by his own Vice President. This is just another example of failed leadership of a President to afraid to enforce his views of equality.
Today, David Frum, wrote an obituary for The Daily Beast in response to the sudden and unexpected passing of Andrew Breitbart. This afternoon as I sat behind my desk perched in front of my laptop, I couldn’t help being overcome by anger. Frum is a conservative by nature and has been a fearless defender of the conservative movement himself, just as Breitbart was. His differences with Breitbart cannot be compared to the differences more liberal commentators have had with him. But differences aren’t the issue in the wake of anyone’s death.
Even liberal commentator Ariana Huffington, a well-known progressive and someone who has herself been demonized by the opposite end of the aisle stated: “My thoughts and prayers go out to Andrew Breitbart’s family and friends, especially his wife Susie and their 4 beautiful children,” after learning of his death. A well-read and largely liberal New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow tweeted: “Regardless of political diffs, we can still join in mourning the loss of a life. Pundits, of all stripes, are ppl too. R.I.P. Andrew Breitbart.” And finally, Russell Simmons a well-known activist for race-related issues wrote: “My condolences to family of Andrew Breitbart. Political differences aside, he was a great patriot.” Those are all fair-minded points of view, which are respectful of Andrew Breitbart and his family in their time of suffering.
On the opposite end of the spectrum were the maliciousness words of David Frum who criticized Andrew Breitbart even in death. This is the exact type of venomous hatred that he was accusing and criticizing Mr. Breitbart for. The following are excerpts from Mr. Frum’s column for The Daily Beast:
But to speak only “good” of Andrew Breitbart would be to miss the story and indeed to misunderstand the man.
This indifference to detail suffused all of Breitbart’s work, and may indeed be his most important and lasting legacy. Breitbart sometimes got stories right (Anthony Weiner). More often he got them wrong (Sherrod). He did not much care either way.
Premature death deprived him of the chance at redemption often sought and sometimes found by people who have done wrong in their lives and work.
And this is where it becomes difficult to honor the Roman injunction to speak no ill of the dead. It’s difficult for me to assess Breitbart’s impact upon American media and American politics as anything other than poisonous. When one of the leading media figures of the day achieves his success by his giddy disdain for truth and fairness—when one of our leading political figures offers to his admirers a politics inflamed by rage and devoid of ideas—how to withhold a profoundly negative judgment on his life and career?
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to be hypocritical. I believe there are many people who should be and rightfully were criticized even in death. The postmortem criticisms of Stalin, Hitler and Osama bin Laden among others were understandable and deserved. But these are individuals that were responsible for the deaths of thousands and even tens of thousands of people and by no means comparable to Mr. Breitbart, not that Frum compared Breitbart to any of those individuals. David Frum did mention some of the positive aspects to Andrew Breitbart’s life, but his focus was on the negative and the attacks were without purpose given that Breitbart is no longer here to defend himself. An example of the positive statements David Frum made include:
The good was there. Breitbart was by all accounts generous with time and advice, a loving husband and father, and a loyal friend.
But the negative outweighed the positive by leaps and bounds. There were many times that I disagreed with Andrew Breitbart, but nevertheless, he was a titan of the conservative movement, and as David Frum stated he was by all accounts a loving husband, father and friend and I do not believe this column serves to do anything more than attack him when he can no longer defend himself.
A comparable example would be Christopher Hitchens who was just as controversial and at times toxic to the national debate on important issues as was Andrew Breitbart. Yet his passing was rightfully met with a focus on his accomplishments and a positive remembrance of his life through a parade of printed prose and mainstream media accolades.
Mr. Frum should have taken his own advice at the beginning of his piece. In death we should celebrate life, not ridicule, attack and criticize the defenseless. There’s no reason for hatred and vitriol in the wake of anyone’s death. You’ve sunken to the level you proclaim he passed away at. You can read David Frum’s obituary in its awful entirety here, if you feel you can stomach it.
My personal condolences go out to the Breitbart family, especially his wife and children. While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one it is my hope that time will begin to transform the salt-filled wounds of today into scars from loving memories of the past.
There is a road that’s being paved by the United States and Iran and it doesn’t seem anyone has noticed, it’s the road to war. This is no laughing matter as some who say ‘the U.S. will never enter another war in the Middle East’ seem to believe.
On one end of the spectrum there’s the recent surge in sanctions pushed by the United States and parts of Europe that take direct aim at Iran’s primary industry, oil. The sanctions imposed on Iran have had a major impact on their economy and are, at least in part, the cause of their recent irradic actions.
In the last days and weeks there’s been a flurry of accusations pointed at the U.S. and the West that range from assassination to espionage. These accusations may or may not be true, but the fact remains that all of these indictments are ramping up tensions between Iran and the rest of the world. The United States has repeatedly said that a nuclear powered Iran is unacceptable, and most of the world seems to be supported by Iran’s own actions. Iran is not stable or mature enough to have the power of life and death of the nations within range of it’s nuclear weapons.
Iran has been at the center of worldwide Islamic terrorism since the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979. It’s an extremely complex situation both domestically and internationally for the Persian country. The sanctions imposed by the “West” have caused a catastrophic rise in unemployment, inflation and commodity shortages. The Iranian currency, the rial, has fallen sharply against the dollar, reaching an all time low in recent days and weeks. The Iranian government is witnessing the demonization and degrading of their country and they believe the only way to secure their future is through a nuclear weapon. In their mind, the evidence is clear, they need nuclear weapons in order to survive. Exhibits one and two in their case for nukes would be Libya and Pakistan. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is seen by Iran as being untouchable but Libya a country which tried and failed to get nuclear weapons just fell to forces beyond their governments control, the people.
The people of Iran are hurting, they are paying a price for their governments actions and are now weighing the benefits and pride that comes with being a nuclear power versus its exorbitant cost. The problem is that even if the people determine that nuclear power isn’t worth high cost of economic sanctions there may not be anything they can do to stop it as their tyrannical government proved during the 2009 Green Movement after the fraud-ridden Presidential election. With their people suffering and economic sanctions weighing them down the leaders of this theocracy believe they have to step up before they are shot down, whether it be by foreign powers or their own people, that’s why they’ve chosen to ramp up the rhetoric against the United States and other Western enemies.
Iran has stepped up their rhetoric and threats largely because they see the U.S. as being in a position of weakness, both economically and internationally. They’ve also stepped up their rhetoric because the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the West have succeeded in their goal of devastating the Iranian economy. Despite the economic turmoil within the country, there seems to be no willingness by Iranian officials to admit weakness or start negotiating in a mature and responsible manner.
The opportunity for peaceful and coherent dialogue presented itself when the U.S. rescued 13 Iranian citizens but that opportunity was largely ignored by both sides. Instead focus has been put on Iran’s choice to execute an American citizen for his alleged espionage and the recent killing of the Iranian nuclear scientists.
If full-fledged war in Iran becomes a reality each country would suffer. For the United States a war with Iran is just that, another war in the Middle East. It’s more blood treasure in a region that some consider to be a “lost cause”. Nationally, there is very little will with the American people to get into another prolonged war in the region. Conversely, for Iran it means the complete destruction of their government, critical infrastructure, military forces and economic industries which most would assume they do not want.
Even other “lighter” options for military action, like only striking the nuclear facilities would likely lead to the same result, full-fledged military action against Iran and that is an outcome that neither side wants.
I am by no means in support of Iran getting a nuclear weapon, in fact quite the opposite, I believe a nuclear powered Iran could be the most dangerous country since the Soviet Union during the Cold War. But I also hope that both of these nations can push for a peaceful solution to their vast differences. The exits are flying by and fading fast on this road to war and if neither side jumps on an off-ramp soon, then military action could become inevitable. That outcome is not something either country wants or can afford.
Could this be a sign of things to come? The small town of Dixville Notch, which has long been known for casting the first votes of the New Hampshire primary have tallied their votes for the first primary of the 2012 election cycle. The Associated Press reports that Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman will each take two votes for the nomination, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul each taking a single vote.
Romney and Huntsman tie 2-2 in tiny village famed for casting first ballots of NH primary. apne.ws/wWQKLJ _MM— The Associated Press (@AP) January 10, 2012
But could this longstanding tradition be a sign of what’s to come as we close in on tomorrow mornings voting. Recent polling indicates that Romney’s lead in the more moderate state remains strong but the Former Ambassador’s to China Jon Huntsman is on the rise while Rick Santorum lead has been slipping as his momentum fades.
Barack Obama also received three votes in the Democratic New Hampshire in his uncontested primary, although that should come as no surprise. Despite being uncontested the Obama team pulled out all the stops to prepare for what is sure to be a tough fought battle come this fall.