Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Now that we're keeping Gitmo open I have a few people I would like to send

Another new Republican governor is missing the point.  Newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is struggling to balance his state’s budget but like many of his fellow Republican’t state executives, he appears to be singling out education.  Corbett’s budget includes massive cuts to education, not just to teacher salaries and benefits, but to infrastructure which will impact the quality of learning.  "Education cannot be the only industry exempt from recession," Corbett said. "We need to change the whole system. We need a new set of priorities: child, parent and teacher -- and in that order."  For starters Corbett, education isn’t an industry, if you think it is, you are sadly mistaken.  Education is a long term investment, and while throwing more money at a problem doesn’t necessarily solve it, you can’t cut your way to success.
Pundits and politicians are asking for the President to enact a no-fly zone over Libya and some are even suggesting we begin arming the rebels against Gaddafi.  Meanwhile, the President has continued his calls for the Libyan dictator’s resignation while working the coalition angle behind the scenes.  Obama is correct in waiting for a coalition of NATO and Arab League leaders to jointly take the lead in establishing a military buffer.  As for arming the rebels, I refer to Butch Cassidy, as portrayed by Paul Newman, “Who are those guys?”  Do we know anything about these rebels?  What do they stand for?  Are they secular?  America’s foreign policy all too often relies on ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ theory and we saw how well that worked out for us when we armed Osama bin-laden and the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the Soviets.   We also need to be careful about urging citizens to stand up to their authoritarian leaders only to leave them high and dry when we fail to act just like we did in Iraq after desert storm.  For once, let’s not rush into that region guns-a-blazing and mouths-a-running.
I know many on the left are disappointed that President Obama has suspended his plans to close our detention center at Guantanamo.  In fact the President, via executive order, has reinstated military tribunals to try the ‘enemy combatants’ still in custody.  With a Congress unwilling to allow the transfer of prisoners to the mainland, the President had no choice, not that he had an appetite for a long drawn out battle with the neocons and the conservative wing of his own party.  Liberals are disappointed, but there simply is no appetite by Congress or the American people to change the Bush strategy. 
While James O’Keefe, of Acorn and Mary Landrieu infamy, and the GOP are trying to embarrass NPR and cut its federal funding, one fact seems to be lost in the mix: NPR only gets 1-2% of its funding from the federal government.  Cutting it won’t help the budget gap and how does that help with job creation? 
Beijing Barbie gets foreclosed while Kowloon Ken is last scene on the ferry headed to Macau.  That’s right Mattel has pulled the plug on its Big Barbie venture in China citing poor sales.  Mattel joins Best Buy and Home Depot as recent American giants that failed in China.  No word where Barbie’s Pink Bus is headed next.
Looks like negotiations are underway in Wisconsin between Republican governor Scott Walker and the absentee Democratic legislators hanging out in Illinois.  The governor’s 1st offer from Sunday was rejected by the Democrats in hiding, but it does represent a step in the right direction.
As reported in this space earlier this week, Representative Peter King will be holding hearings about the radicalization of American-born Muslims.  King has come under fire for his previous ties to the I.R.A.  Mr. King said: “I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the I.R.A. never attacked the United States. And my loyalty is to the United States.”  He said he does not regret his past pro-I.R.A. statements. The Irish group, he said, was “a legitimate force” battling British repression.  Clearly one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.  Further, King says he backed the I.R.A’s efforts to end British rule in Northern Ireland, while fellow Conservatwat Mike Huckabee implied that when the native people of Kenya fought to end British colonial rule during the Mau Mau revolt, these freedom fighters were the bad guys.  Same empire same half-century.  How can they both be right, but can they both be wrong?  More on that later in the week when the hearings start.

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