A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Posts Tagged ‘Romney’

Israel’s Fading Democracy – NYTimes.com

In News, Politics, Really?!? on August 5, 2012 at 12:34

Israel’s Fading Democracy 

WHEN an American presidential candidate visits Israel and his key message is to encourage us to pursue a misguided war with Iran, declaring it “a solemn duty and a moral imperative” for America to stand with our warmongering prime minister, we know that something profound and basic has changed in the relationship between Israel and the United States.My generation, born in the ’50s, grew up with the deep, almost religious belief that the two countries shared basic values and principles. Back then, Americans and Israelis talked about democracy, human rights, respect for other nations and human solidarity. It was an age of dreamers and builders who sought to create a new world, one without prejudice, racism or discrimination.Listening to today’s political discourse, one can’t help but notice the radical change in tone. My children have watched their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, kowtow to a fundamentalist coalition in Israel. They are convinced that what ties Israel and America today is not a covenant of humanistic values but rather a new set of mutual interests: war, bombs, threats, fear and trauma. How did this happen? Where is that righteous America? Whatever happened to the good old Israel?Mr. Netanyahu’s great political “achievement” has been to make Israel a partisan issue and push American Jews into a corner. He has forced them to make political decisions based on calculations that go against what they perceive to be American interests. The emotional extortion compels Jews to pressure the Obama administration, a government with which they actually share values and worldviews, when those who love Israel should be doing the opposite: helping the American government to intervene and save Israel from itself.Israel arose as a secular, social democratic country inspired by Western European democracies. With time, however, its core values have become entirely different. Israel today is a religious, capitalist state. Its religiosity is defined by the most extreme Orthodox interpretations. Its capitalism has erased much of the social solidarity of the past, with the exception of a few remaining vestiges of a welfare state. Israel defines itself as a “Jewish and democratic state.” However, because Israel has never created a system of checks and balances between these two sources of authority, they are closer than ever to a terrible clash.In the early years of statehood, the meaning of the term “Jewish” was national and secular. In the eyes of Israel’s founding fathers, to be a Jew was exactly like being an Italian, Frenchman or American. Over the years, this elusive concept has changed; today, the meaning of “Jewish” in Israel is mainly ethnic and religious. With the elevation of religious solidarity over and above democratic authority, Israel has become more fundamentalist and less modern, more separatist and less open to the outside world. I see the transformation in my own family. My father, one of the founders of the state of Israel and of the National Religious Party, was an enlightened rabbi and philosopher. Many of the younger generation are far less open, however; some are ultra-Orthodox or ultranationalist settlers.This extremism was not the purpose of creating a Jewish state. Immigrants from all over the world dreamed of a government that would be humane and safe for Jews. The founders believed that democracy was the only way to regulate the interests of many contradictory voices. Jewish culture, consolidated through Halakha, the religious Jewish legal tradition, created a civilization that has devoted itself to an unending conversation among different viewpoints and the coexistence of contradictory attitudes toward the fulfillment of the good.


Mitt Romney plays to NRA interests in bid to win over conservative base -guardian.co.uk

In Politics, Really?!? on April 13, 2012 at 17:42

Mitt Romney at NRA

Mitt Romney plays to NRA interests in bid to win over conservative base

I am certain that the vast majority of NRA members vote Republican and that Romney would have their vote anyway.. What is the point of coming out with a nonsensical stance like this? He must have a reason, or know something we don’t. What a nitwit!

When the Second Amendment was passed, it was passed because the United States did not yet have a standing army. They were afraid the British could come back, and a well armed militia was a sensible deterrent. They could themselves, in the absence of an effective taxation regime, not afford to supply their citizens with the guns they would need to defend themselves

The guns at that point ware muzzle loaders… which would take between 30 and 90 seconds to reload. After 1 shot. At that time…. many Americans still lived in areas were there were wild animals that could attack them,  many Americans still needed to hunt for food. Law Enforcement during these times was not really all that organized.  The Founding Fathers would think the lack of Gun Control absurd, Nonsensical and would be embarrassed and offended that it was being done in their name. 

Mitt Romney sought to win over the arch-conservative membership of the National Rifle Association by promising to be the protector of American freedoms and accusing President Obama of launching a stealth attack on the constitutional right to bear arms.

Addressing the NRA’s annual convention in St Louis, Missouri, Romney tried to assuage doubts about his commitment to America’s love affair with the gun by peppering his speech with references to the US constitution and liberal use of the word “freedom”.

He also adopted the NRA’s own language by warning that were Obama granted a second term in the White House he would unleash an assault on gun ownership rights in the US. That is precisely the NRA’s lobbying argument, despite the fact that Obama has steered almost entirely clear of the gun issue in the past three years to the disappointment of gun control advocates.

“In his second term, [Obama] would be unrestrained by the terms of re-election,” Romney said. “Who will stand up for the rights of hunters and sportsmen, and those who act to protect their families? President Obama has not. I will.”


What Rick Santorum Wrought – NYTimes.com

In News, Politics, Really?!? on April 12, 2012 at 16:21

What Rick Santorum Wrought

Rick Santorum is a party crasher.

He has helped crash the Republican Party into a wall of public resentment. He suspended his campaign this week, but not before doing incalculable damage to the Republican brand and to the party’s presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney.

For months, Santorum became the favored face of the most conservative faction of the party, the one person who gave them a viable chance at resisting Romney.

Santorum surged by dragging the debate so far to the right he couldn’t see the middle with a telescope. The base dropped all pretense of moderation or even modernity and followed Santorum down a slippery path that led to a political abyss of social regression. The rest of America watched in stunned disbelief and was left to wonder: Was this the rise of some sort of “Judeo-Christian Shariah” movement, as the political comedian Dean Obeidallah pointed out on CNN.com?

Instead of small government and fiscal conservatism, Santorum overwhelmingly promoted — and the public overwhelmingly focused on — his apparent obsession with sex and religion.

He argued that allowing women to use contraception to control when they got pregnant — one of the foremost decisions a woman can make about her body, her health and her and her family’s economic security — was morally wrong.

Santorum opposed abortion even in cases of rape and incest, saying that women should be forced to carry those pregnancies to term and just accept the “horribly created … gift” and “make the best of a bad situation.”


Romney Trying to Erase Primary Extremism | The Nation

In News, Politics on April 9, 2012 at 16:15

Romney Trying to Erase Primary Extremism 

Now that Mitt Romney is combining his campaign operations with the Republican National Committee, he is, for all intents and purposes, the nominee. And so the process of erasing extremism has begun.

As Daniel Libit reports in the Daily, the RNC intends to introduce a major initiative to appeal to Latinos. “The RNC will unveil a Hispanic coalitions team with state directors in Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and New Mexico,” Libit writes. “The swing-state undertaking is part of a larger effort to stem the tide of Latino disaffection with the Republican brand—at least enough so that trouble doesn’t turn into certain disaster in the general election…. Perhaps most noteworthy of that operation is its emphasis in reaching out to voters in Spanish, at times exclusively, despite the calls of some conservative activists and Republican lawmakers who are currently to pushing English-only legislation in Washington.” The Romney campaign has plenty of room for improvement in its Spanish language outreach. Currently there is no Spanish language version of its website.

Democrats are determined not to let Romney run away from his positions on immigration that are wildly unpopular among Latinos. For example, Romney opposes the Dream Act, which enjoys support of 90 percent of Latinos. The Democratic National Committee is organizing conference calls for reporters with Latino Democratic congress members nearly every day. On Friday morning they gladly pulled one together after Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senator who wrote that state’s draconian anti-immigration law, said that he and Romney have an “identical“ position on immigration. “Romney’s locked into the most extreme position on immigration,” said Representative Charlie Gonzales (D-TX) on the DNC’s Friday call. “He supports states passing laws [similar to Arizona’s] meaning we could have 50 [state] immigration laws.”

Romney and his Republican supporters are also attempting to avoid responsibility for their opposition to women’s rights. Throughout the primary season Romney has pandered to opponents of women’s rights in the most cowardly and dishonest manner. He refused to state in a debate whether states should be allowed to ban contraception, pretending that even though he went to Harvard Law School he is unaware of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut that overturned state laws against contraception use. In a later debate he insisted that his healthcare reform law in Massachusetts did not require Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception for rape victims, as if such a requirement would be a bad thing. He was timid in his criticism of Rush Limbaugh’s sexist smearing of contraception advocate Sandra Fluke. And Romney promised to end funding for Planned Parenthood.

Now polls show he may pay the price among women voters.


Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu Are Old Friends – NYTimes.com

In News, Politics, Really?!? on April 8, 2012 at 09:38

Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu Are Old Friends

This is the very last thing we need. A potential President with personal ties to a man who has done more to damage the peace process than anyone else. A man who not only supports but has also encouraged  settlers…and there’s that wall too…

The two young men had woefully little in common: one was a wealthy Mormon from Michigan, the other a middle-class Jew from Israel.

Mitt Romney speaking via satellite last month to a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Mr. Romney has criticized the Obama administration over its policies toward Israel.

But in 1976, the lives of Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu intersected, briefly but indelibly, in the 16th-floor offices of the Boston Consulting Group, where both had been recruited as corporate advisers. At the most formative time of their careers, they sized each other up during the firm’s weekly brainstorming sessions, absorbing the same profoundly analytical view of the world.

That shared experience decades ago led to a warm friendship, little known to outsiders, that is now rich with political intrigue. Mr. Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, is making the case for military action against Iran as Mr. Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, is attacking the Obama administration for not supporting Mr. Netanyahu more robustly.

The relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Romney — nurtured over meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem, strengthened by a network of mutual friends and heightened by their conservative ideologies — has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East.


US election 2012: Mitt Romney’s problem with women – Telegraph

In News, Politics on April 7, 2012 at 19:38


Mitt Romney meets female supporters in Wisconsin

Mitt Romney’s problem with women

Polls in the key states where the battle for the White House will be decided showed Obama ahead of him for the first time, by nine percentage points. And if that were not enough, the same polls showed he has a significant women problem: among them, Obama’s lead in the battleground states was exactly twice as large.

It’s not the first time Obama has done well with women voters: in the 2008 election against John McCain he won 56 per cent of them, equalling Ronald Reagan’s record in 1980. He also won an amazing 77 percent of young, unmarried women’s votes.

But it presents Romney with a serious challenge. Only one presidential candidate in recent times, Democrat or Republican, has won without winning the majority of women’s votes: George W Bush. His first election win in 2000 was more close-fought than any candidate would wish for; but in 2004 he won more comfortably, having persuaded nearly 7 million more women to vote for him.


Obama brings facts to attack Romney and Ryan – The Washington Post

In Economy, Nonsense, Politics on April 3, 2012 at 22:29

This is not conjecture. I am not exaggerating,” President Obama declared in a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors Tuesday afternoon. “These are facts.” Those lines sum up what was best about a strong speech that (along with a Romney win tonight in Wisconsin) can be seen as kicking off the general election phase of the presidential race. The president peppered his speech with facts – a few examples:

[R]esearch has shown that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run….

Obama brings facts to attack Romney and Ryan

The income of the top 1 percent has grown by more than 275 percent over the last few decades to an average of $1.3 million a year.  But prosperity sure didn’t trickle down. Instead, during the last decade we had the slowest job growth in half a century.  And the typical American family actually saw their incomes fall by about 6 percent even as the economy was growing….

In fact, that renowned liberal Newt Gingrich first called the original version of the [Ryan] budget “radical” and said that it would contribute to “right-wing social engineering.”…

If this budget became law, by the middle of the century, funding for [domestic discretionary spending] would have to be cut by about 95 percent….

There is no way to get even close to $4.6 trillion in savings without dramatically reducing all kinds of tax breaks that go to middle-class families:  tax breaks for health care, tax breaks for retirement, tax breaks for homeownership.


Obama accuses Republicans of ‘social Darwinism’ over Paul Ryan budget – guardian.co.uk

In Economy, News, Politics on April 3, 2012 at 16:42

Obama accuses Republicans of ‘social Darwinism’ over Paul Ryan budget 

How can this be a good idea? It’s shameful!

Barack Obama has accused Mitt Romney, his likely Republican opponent in the presidential election, of supporting “thinly veiled social Darwinism” in backing a budget which sharply reduces taxes for millionaires while cutting public spending on education, justice and medical research.

The strength of Obama’s remarks are a clear indication that the White House has decided that the Republican frontrunner will be his party’s presidential candidate and is not waiting for the primaries to run their course before going on the attack.

Romney is poised to seal his position as the Republican favourite on Tuesday with expected victories in primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, DC, that will push him well past the half-way mark in the number of delegates required for the nomination.

Obama, in a speech in Washington, zeroed in on Romney’s support for the Republican budget in the House of Representatives which proposes deep budget cuts the party says are necessary to combat the deficit. He called that justification “laughable” as he took a pointed stab at the parallel tax breaks for millionaires – an issue on which Romney is particularly vulnerable because of his estimated $220m fortune.

The president painted the Republicans as serving the rich over the middle class by proposing “more than a trillion dollars in tax giveaways for people making more than $250,000 a year”.

Medvedev blasts Romney for ‘number-one foe’ remark- BBC News

In News, Politics on March 27, 2012 at 17:10

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

Medvedev blasts Romney for ‘number-one foe’ remark.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has rebuked US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for saying Russia is the “number one geopolitical foe” of the US.

Mr Romney made the comments while criticising President Barack Obama for appearing to suggest a future deal with Russia on the issue of missile defence.

Mr Medvedev said Mr Romney’s comments “smelled of Hollywood” and advised him to “use his head”.

Moscow has long opposed US plans for a missile defence system in Europe.

In remarks caught by TV cameras on Monday during a summit in Seoul, Mr Obama had appeared to suggest to Mr Medvedev that he would have more “flexibility” on difficult issues such as missile defence after November’s US presidential election.


Santorum , Romney and the “Very Conservative” Vote – NYTimes.com

In News, Politics on March 14, 2012 at 21:18

Santorum Wins Alabama, Mississippi 

In Mobile last week, Mr. Santorum stirred up fears that we’re in the midst of fighting an apocalyptic holy war with Islam, and suggested that the president is ill-equipped to lead the way. He said Mr. Obama has “swept clean all references to religion when referring to the enemy. He won’t say that it is radical Islam…Well, we may not be at war against them, but let me tell you, they are at war against us.”

He also went on an anti-science tear, characterizing environmentalism as “an ideology that puts humans not as stewards of the Earth but as servants of the Earth.” He sneered: “This administration officially labeled carbon dioxide as a toxin. Tell that to a plant! Tell that to all of us who exhale CO2 with every breath. According to Obama we’re all polluters by breathing. Obama sees us all as points of pollution instead of points of potential human beings.”

The subtext, I guess, is that any attempt to mitigate the effects of global warming is, in reality, part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to strip the American people of their liberty.

Will we hang our heads in shame in 10 years when we look back at this??I sincerely hope so.