News and Digganalysis
1. Big week at the Supreme Court for same sex marriage. On Tuesday, the court will hear arguments challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and on Wednesday arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act will be heard. In the meantime social conservatives like Ralph Reed will argue that the 58% of Americans, per recent polls, are wrong. The time has come for conservatives to realize that same sex marriage and the commensurate benefits are not progressive ideals, but AMERICAN ideals. I hope the old white men on the court also realize the same. Civil rights for all IS American Exceptionalism.
2. The story of the banking failure in Cyprus and the subsequent bailout from the troika of the IMF, EU, and ECB is a complex mélange of punishment, politics, and warning. Warning #1: If your house-of-cards economy is based primarily on finance and tourism, you are in deep shit when debt is your foundation. Warning #2: The gun to the head deal being ‘offered’ to the Cypriot government and people is a clear signal to Spain and Italy that ‘bail ins’ are the new bail outs. Make no mistake about it, the terms of this deal are driven by coercion and to punish nations who let their finances get out of hand. It also sends a political signal to Moscow that the EU will not be bullied by Putin. Which brings me to the hypocrisy of the Putin-Medvedev government of kleptocracy that has stripped private property rights and now defends Russian depositors of >100,000Euros in Cypriot banks who will fund the bail in.
3. I do not believe President Obama’s visit to Israel was neither as great nor as bad as some talking heads claim. The big success was brokering the renormalization of relations between Turkey and Israel after convincing a previously obstinate Netanyahu to apologize for the 2010 flotilla raid. That was pure diplomacy at its greatest: tough talk between allies. As for the speeches and visits to Israel, Ramallah, and Jordan, the president may have increased his popularity with the Israeli populace, especially the young, but there will be little tangible change in the peace process. Why? The new Netanyahu government is not about turn its back on the settlers in the occupied territories of Judea and Samaria less the fragile coalition comes apart. No matter how many speeches President Obama, or any other president, makes, the reality of a two state solution will not happen until Israelis decide to call for it via the ballot box. Perhaps like all social movements, the tipping point will occur in the future and when it does….
4. Still on Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a great week. I have always viewed the Islamist leader suspiciously, but the aforementioned agreement with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama shows that the man realizes the greater need. It is in the same regard his brokered cease fire with the Kurdish separatist PKK (Kurdish Worker Party) movement may be a sign that the decades long insurgency may be coming to an end. This brings stability in the region with northern Iraq and helps provide a clearer approach to dealing with an imploding Syria.
5. Finally, there’s the 100 page rebranding plan for the GOP ordered by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus; a document that basically says the product needs a little tweaking, but the main failure is in the message and messenger. That’s like saying the Pontiac Aztec would have been a success if the car dealers and ad campaign were better. A bad product is a bad product and this rebranding campaign brings out the cynicism in me. In short, the GOP leadership thinks if it rolls out Nikki Haley and Susanna Martinez suddenly women will run to join just like it thinks the same will happen with Latinos if it promotes Marco Rubio. So here’s a little advice Reince, save the $10million you pledged for your marketing plan afterall, you cannot polish a turd.