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foreign policy

Maybe we should just let Trump take credit for Korea

by Eric Ferguson on April 28, 2018 · 1 comment

Screen grab from the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) shows Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in shaking hands at  Panmunjom.

Screen grab from the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) shows Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in shaking hands at Panmunjom.

Sure, it’s annoying when Trump claims credit for something he didn’t do, much like when Trump incoherently claimed credit for the Pyeongchang Olympics, and, it should be predictable if you’re paying any attention, Trump now wants to claim credit for North and South Korea talking peace.

 

Sure, here in the reality-based community, it’s hard to forget it was just last Winter that the offer by the North to talk peace with the South was supposed to be just an attempt to “drive a wedge” between South Korea and the US. If this is what driving a wedge looks like, drive away! Korea has been one of places World War III is most likely to break out ever since the country was divided after World War II. If they’re going to talk about formally ending the war and demilitarizing the border, the best thing we could hope for is Trump shuts up and gets out of the way.
 

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Does anyone know Trump’s goal in Syria?

by Eric Ferguson on April 20, 2018 · 1 comment

Do the general dress Trump like this to make him feel more manly when sitting in front of the Big Board?

Do the generals dress Trump like this to make him feel more manly when sitting in front of the Big Board (that’s a Doctor Strangelove reference)?

When I ask if anyone knows Trump’s goal in Syria, that begs the question, does Trump know? Don’t think too hard. The fact Trump hasn’t laid out the goal strongly suggests he has no idea. We might also gather that as most likely because this is Trump. Remember Trump’s Razor: the stupidest explanation is most likely to be right. That causes me to conclude the fake field marshall hasn’t the first clue.

 

Sure, you can make guesses as to the goal in Syria. Feel free. Say whatever you infer the goal to be, but I have my response already: you’re inferring, so you don’t really know (though FWIW, this seems plausible, that #RPOTUS wants to make it look like his tweets mean something, and maybe keep Fox New viewers happy).

 
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isil-300x162‘There are roads which must not be followed,
armies which must not be attacked,
towns which must not be besieged,
positions which must not be contested,
commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.’
Sun Tzu ~ On the Art of War

 

‘Don’t do anything stupid.’
President Barack Obama

 

War hysteria is a fascinating and horrifying thing to watch. I’ve seen it several times now in my life and it is always beyond ugly, like watching scorpions mate.

 

Aside from the verminous lies that tumble over each other like a swarm of filthy rats to electrify public opinion with fear and frenzy, our national leaders — grown men and women whose strength of character and deliberative judgment we rely on — daily prove susceptible themselves to the most transparent mendacity and appear spineless in the face of true moral challenge.

 

Until a few short months ago, the American public had never heard of ISIL and didn’t know a thing about them, even though ISIL has been fighting an insurgency in Syria against the Assad regime for years, and for years it has committed unspeakable atrocities against the Syrian people. The brutal murders of two American journalists notwithstanding, why now the sudden sense of urgency and demand for action in the public discourse and among our leadership?

 

The answer lies in war hysteria.

 

As the New York Times put it:

 

“… as President Obama prepares to send the United States on what could be a years-long military campaign against the militant group, American intelligence agencies have concluded that it poses no immediate threat to the United States. Some officials and terrorism experts believe that the actual danger posed by ISIS has been distorted in hours of television punditry and alarmist statements by politicians, and that there has been little substantive public debate about the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East.”

 

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millspartying2In so many words. (That would be Stewart Mills, running against Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN)). To wit:
 

But Mills doubted 8th District voters would be swayed by the candidates’ international viewpoints.
 
“The people within the 8th District aren’t necessarily concerned with foreign policy first,” Mills said. “But at the end of the day if we have people abroad able to launch another Sept. 11-style attack, we need to deal with that.”
(Duluth News Tribune)

Italics mine. Yeah, my MN-08 neighbors and I go around trembling in fear of another 9-11, and, in our ignorance, just count on neocon Republicans to protect us, like the Bushleaguers did. Heck, we’d be hard-pressed to find the United States on a globe, much less the Middle East. That’s why we’re so in need of wisdom and guidance from the mighty intellect of Stewart Mills III.
 
Still think the title of this is an exaggeration? Dig:
 

 
Rep. Nolan does not support making private handgun ownership illegal. And it’s telling that the Mills campaign is so fixated on guns at the expense of other issues that are especially important in this district, like labor/union rights.
 

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Foreign policy is now a Democratic issue

by Eric Ferguson on September 17, 2012 · 1 comment

I wish I had finished this post before Romney’s campaign imploded the night of September 11 and day of September 12, because I would have said before that foreign policy and national security were now Democratic issues. Romney is certainly helping to cement that, but it’s been the case for a few years. Republicans blew an advantage they had held since the debacle of Vietnam the only way they could, with their own debacle, but really they just created an opportunity. Democrats had to take advantage, which they mostly have, with Republicans helping by continuing to screw up. Democrats used to be advised to keep to domestic issues and avoid foreign policy if possible, and if they couldn’t avoid it, try to look as tough as the Republicans. Vote for all military actions and new weapons systems, just so your opponent can’t use your weakness against you. Those days are gone. If Republicans want to run on foreign policy, let them. If they can’t figure out this isn’t their issue anymore, good. Democrats need to try to make this the campaign issue.

When I say this is only partly about Romney, I date the shift to 2004. The charges against Iraq weren’t holding up with the US occupying Iraq and being able to look anywhere at anything they wanted, and the awful truth that the charges of WMDs and working with Al Qaida were bogus was dawning on us. The 911 commission report showed the Bush administration had bungled anything that might have stopped 911, so no wonder they tried to stop the commission from being formed and interfered with its investigation. Yes, Bush won the 2004 election anyway (probably, but that’s another story) which isn’t surprising, despite the damning commission report, because never in US history has an incumbent president lost when the country was at war, no matter how badly it was going. I strongly suspect the reputational damage was done though.

So when the 2006 elections were partly about Iraq, that was the first time since Vietnam when Democrats could run on a foreign policy or national security issue and have it work for them. There were other circumstances and issues of course, but the first time in decades, Democrats could seek the foreign policy debate instead of trying to survive it and steer back on to domestic issues.

But that just created the opportunity. The questions were whether Democrats could take advantage, and whether Republicans could recover their footing.
I’ll jump to the conclusions: yes, Democrats took advantage and no, Republicans haven’t been able to find their footing. Taking advantage required winning the presidency, and then a Democratic president being clearly a big improvement, and pretty much, Obama has done that. Obama singed an implemented the status of forces agreement that got us out of Iraq at the end of 2011. He announced a plan to get us out of Afghanistan at the end of 2014. He avoided occupying any more countries. His decision to focus on Al Qaida has inflicted a lot of damage.

Not that there aren’t legitimate criticisms to make, but they’re criticisms Republicans can’t make, at least not without risking being purged for being insufficiently conservative. We on the left mostly wanted to get out of Iraq sooner than 2011, but the right pressured Obama to ignore the agreement with the Iraqi government and stay longer. Many of us on the left want to leave Afghanistan sooner than the end of 2014, but the right objects to leaving at all. We object to continuing to keep Guantanamo open and holding prisoners without charge or trial, Republicans objected when Obama wanted to close it and object to holding trials or releasing anyone. We objected that Obama was slow to pick up on Arab Spring and slow to distance the US from unpopular dictators, while the right wanted him to use force is necessary to protect friendly dictators. So there’s the pattern. Not only has Obama been a huge improvement over Bush, but where there’s a case to be made against Obama’s policies, Republicans can’t make the case because they wanted him to go even further in making a mistake. Obama has taken advantage of the opportunity Bush left him to take over foreign policy as an issue, and Republicans seem unable to learn from their mistakes.

Lest it be thought I’m just trying to explain something I don’t actually know to be true, here’s one recent poll that shows Obama leads Romney on handling an international crisis and foreign policy in general. Democrats have caught up to Republicans even on a question specifically about who can better handle terrorism. Was it really just eight years ago the GOP convention was nothing but talk about 911?

To show how unfit Republicans — Romney specifically, but Republicans in general — are to handle foreign policy and national security, these three headlines were from September 11. Yes, just hours before Romney decided that breaking the 911 anniversary truce on negative campaigning, attacking Obama over an incident still in progress, and lying about what Obama said, all at the same time, seemed like a good idea:

Putin ‘Grateful’ to Romney for justifying the suspicion of America Putin is trying to spread.
Republicans upset Obama skips intelligence briefings, even though, you know, he doesn’t.
But guess who did ignore warnings? About 911 no less? The neocons in the Bush administration ignored more warnings than we knew about.

That the Bush administration ignored warnings isn’t news, but turns out there were more warnings than we knew about, and it was a big enough deal that the author who revealed it was denounced by professional liar Ari Fleischer as a “truther”. It wasn’t just Bush, but also the neocons he appointed, and some of these same are advising Romney. That’s right, Romney is listening to the same people who got both Al Qaida and Iraq completely wrong. That alone ought to be all we have to tell anyone to convince them Democrats are better at foreign policy than Republicans.

So when Romney denounced Obama for expressing sympathy for the attackers who killed someone at our Benghazi consulate (the numbers and identity were then unknown), which Obama didn’t of course, he showed how grotesquely unfit he is to handle foreign policy or international crises. He reinforced the impression he made when he screwed up so much in Britain that a conservative newspaper called him “Mitt the Twit” on its front page, when he said Israel is doing better economically better than the Palestinian territories because of a superior culture and ignored the occupation, and when he publicly criticized the Obama administration for handing a dissident back to China when they were actually negotiating to bring him to the US.

So Romney took what had become a Republican weakness, and made it a much bigger weakness. That’s why I’m saying Democrats should not only not shy away from foreign policy and national security, but recognize they now have the long term advantage if they will hammer Republicans with it. Just remember this phrase: “Romney has chosen advisers who were the same people who sold the invasion of Iraq.”

Since the events of September 11th and 12th happened fast and there was some errors and misleading about what happened when, here’s a timeline of events.

In case someone says only Democrats are complaining about Romney, here are Republican foreign policy pros distressed at how badly Romney handled the crisis.  

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Mitt Romney’s Lehman Moment?‏

by SJGulitti on September 15, 2012 · 1 comment

Did Mitt Romney, in his ill timed and ill conceived commentary on the violence in North Africa, just doom his presidential aspirations the way John McCain did in 2008 when he said that the economy was on sound footing just as Lehman Brothers collapsed? In a twinkling of a political eye Mitt Romney through his remarks on the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans has taken his focus off of the one topic where he has an advantage over Barack Obama, the economy, and redirected it to foreign policy, a subject where his campaign performance thus far has been woefully inadequate if not outright abysmal. As a result Romney has introduced the issues of his own lack of foreign policy heft and judgment into the race at what couldn’t be a worse time.

Buy now it is more than evident that Romney jumped to conclusions, those based on an absence of chronologically verifiable facts, in framing his condemnation of the president for a statement put out by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. The subject statement appeared six hours before the first protests and well over twelve hours before the deaths of American diplomatic personnel in Libya. The chronology of those events can be found in “What They Said, Before and After the Attack in Libya”, referenced below. This raises three fundamental questions. One, was Romney compelled to act in haste in addressing developments in Libya and Egypt as a result of the scathing criticism that he received from the far right and those conservatives who had raised questions about his chances of success only the day before, particularly those who suggested that he hasn’t been forceful enough? Or is it the case that Romney just doesn’t have the requisite background and temperament to adequately deal with fast moving foreign policy issues and as a result is prone to poor decision making when these issues are front and center? Lastly, is Romney too influenced by a claque of Iraq War era Neoconservatives who have him simply parroting those old canards that Obama is an “apologist” for America, a sympathizer who cares more about radical Islam than his own country and someone who doesn’t truly believe in American Exceptionalism?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions then Mitt Romney has proven one thing to the American people and that is that he is a deeply flawed candidate when it comes to foreign policy and crisis management and thus ill suited to be this country’s Commander-in-Chief. It’s more than a bit ironic that after doubling down on his ill conceived comments, Romney has yet to come out and condemn the man who produced the controversial film that mocks the Prophet Mohamed or the incendiary pastor, Terry Jones, whose previous actions in threatening to burn Korans set off a wave of earlier violence across the Muslim world. Political columnist Howard Fineman, appearing on MSNBC’s Hardball, summed up Romney’s performance as follows: “He got the facts wrong. And it’s a classic case of jumping out ahead of a fast-moving story, chasing what you think is some kind of immediate political gain. He [Obama] never sympathized or apologized. Mitt Romney is pursuing a political strategy that is so nakedly and obviously political…I don’t see Mitt Romney having studied his career as that much of a foreign policy guy. He never has been. He was plugged into the NeoCon view in about 2007, and that was the beginning of his foreign policy education, and that’s still where he is.” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson appearing on the same program stated that Romney’s actions gave rise to questions about his overall judgment and character.

Another ominous development for Romney’s is the almost total silence on Capitol Hill and among the Republican establishment where almost no one has come to his defense. In fact most of the support Romney has received thus far has come from the very critics who just three days ago where suggesting that his campaign was doomed to failure. In stark contrast to the questionable support Romney is getting from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill Kristol, Laura Ingraham et al., is the flak he taking from those on the right who you would expect to be in his corner. Here are several examples. Reliable Republican cheer leader Peggy Noonan: “When you step forward in the midst of a political environment and start giving statements on something dramatic and violent that has happened, you’re always leaving yourself open to accusations that you are trying to exploit things politically.” Mark Salter, a former McCain operative and regular critic of Obama’s foreign policy none the less criticized Romney’s actions: “However, his [Obama’s] policies are not responsible for the attacks on our embassy in Cairo and our consulate in Benghazi or the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. In the wake of this violence, the rush by Republicans – including Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and scores of other conservative critics – to condemn him for policies they claim helped precipitate the attacks is as tortured in its reasoning as it is unseemly in its timing…Moreover, the embassy’s statement was released before the attack, and was not, according to administration officials, approved by the State Department. If that’s true, it cannot be fairly attributed to the president…I understand the Romney campaign is under pressure from some Republicans to toughen its attacks on the president…But this is hardly the issue or the moment to demonstrate a greater resolve to take the fight to the president. Four good Americans, brave and true, have just died in service to their country…Nothing said or done by the president or anyone in the U.S. government is responsible for the violence that led to their deaths.” The National Journal’s Ron Fournier: “Romney’s actions are ham-handed and inaccurate.” Ben Smith of BuzzFeed: “If you think the eye-rolling at Romney is just coming from the MSM, call up some Republican foreign policy hands.” Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough: “I’ve been inundated with emails and calls from elected GOP leaders who think Romney’s response was a mistake.” Bush era Ambassador Nicholas Burns: “I was frankly very disappointed and dismayed to see Governor Romney inject politics into this very difficult situation, where our embassies are under attack, where there’s been a big misunderstanding in the Middle East, apparently, about an American film, where we’re trying to preserve the lives of our diplomats – this is no time for politics.” Conservative writer David Frum: “The Romney campaign’s attempt to score political points on the killing of American diplomats was a dismal business in every respect.” And even Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly: “I’m not sure the governor is correct on that. The embassy was trying to head off the violence” with their statement.” The bottom line is this, Mitt Romney has violated a cardinal rule of American politics, one promoted by Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg, that politics stops at the shoreline.

As serious a mistake as Romney has made this week it’s hardly an isolated incident. Earlier in the year when the Obama administration was locked in a controversy with the Chinese Government over a dissident who had taken refuge in the American Embassy and who then left it as part of a diplomatic deal, Romney inserted himself into the proceedings, again jumping the gun on events, saying that it “was a day of shame for the Obama administration. Romney was rebuked for his “foolish” remarks by none other than William Kristol of the conservative Weekly Standard. The dissident is now residing in the United States. Romney’s misguided approach to understanding foreign policy was on display again when he stated that Russia is America’s primary foreign policy concern: “Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe”; a statement that would lead to Colin Powell’s blunt rebuke: “I don’t know who all of his advisers are, but I’ve seen some of the names, and some of them are quite far to the right, and sometimes they, I think, might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought. For example, when Governor Romney not too long ago said, you know, the Russian Federation is our number-one geostrategic threat. Well, c’mon Mitt, think. It isn’t the case.” Earlier this summer Romney would question to what extent President Obama understood our special relationship with Great Britain only to then embarrass himself by publicly criticizing the London Olympics which, in turn, resulted in his being publicly scolded by the both the British Prime Minister and the Mayor of London. The remainder of Romney’s European tour was marred by misstatements and missteps culminating in a world wind tour of self inflicted political pratfalls.

Romney has been peddling the fantasy that if he were president or if elected that somehow he’d be able to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. At the same time he’s blaming Obama for the nuclear progress that Iran has thus far made. This of course, on its face, is seen to be an act of intellectual dishonesty coming from a candidate who is willingly ignoring the facts. In the words of veteran foreign affairs correspondent David Sanger, “The economic sanctions Mr. Obama has imposed have been far more crippling to the Iranian economy than anything President Bush did between the public revelation of Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities in 2003 and the end of Mr. Bush’s term in early 2009. Covert action has been stepped up, too. Mr. Bolton has called efforts to negotiate with Iran “delusional,” but other advisers – mostly those who dealt with the issue during the Bush administration – say they are a critical step in holding together the European allies and, if conflict looms, proving to Russia and China that every effort was made to come to a peaceful resolution.” Sanger in his op-ed “Is There a Romney Doctrine?” lays waste to the claim that the president has pursued a policy of appeasement showing how “the arrival of the general election requires Mr. Romney to grapple with the question of how to attack a Democratic president whose affection for unilateral use of force – from drones over Pakistan and Yemen to a far greater role for the Special Operations command – has immunized him a bit from the traditional claim that Democrats can’t stand the sight of hard power.” To this one should add the fact that Obama engineered the removal of Muammar Gaddafi without a single American casualty and that from Osama bin Laden down to rank and file Al Qaeda operatives the Obama Administration’s actions have killed hundreds of America’s enemies. This alone stands in stark contrast to conservative claims that Barack Obama is prone to appeasement. Sanger in the “The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power”, published in 2009, detailed how both Iran and North Korea had greatly expanded their nuclear programs as America was distracted by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That said it’s somewhat odd that Romney has resurrected the saber rattling of the now discredited NeoCons in calling for a more muscular American military posture overseas and that just when two thirds of Americans feel that the war in Iraq did nothing to make the country safer and at a time when America’s infrastructure is in need of serious investment at home. With regard to relations with Israel Romney’s criticism amounts to nothing more than the same old sound bites on the one hand and a pandering to the Jewish vote on the other. This is hardly the commentary of one experienced in the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict and certainly not one that accounts for the changed political landscape of the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring.

In his quest for the Oval Office Mitt Romney has attempted to sell himself to the American people as an accomplished businessman who would use the skills acquired in private equity to better run the business of government. Yet to date there has been little in the way of “actionable intelligence” that would lead the American voter to see Mr. Romney’s electioneering as anything other than a plea to take a leap of faith in casting one’s vote for him. This is particularly true with regard to his ability to intelligently address matters of foreign policy as Commander-in-Chief, a role where the president can affect events far more significantly than he can when dealing with economic affairs. For you see America isn’t a corporation where a CEO is beholden only to shareholders. A president has roles and responsibilities to fill that are far beyond the scope of a corporate leader. We’ve elected businessmen to the presidency before, Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush and none of them have been considered in the long run to be great presidents. Romney has now come under fire from John McCain for failing to articulate his own detailed foreign policy program. Then again Romney hasn’t detailed anything in the way of a detailed program as to how he would turn the economy around, an area of his supposed expertise, so why would anyone be surprised that he’s not even outlined one for foreign affairs, a subject where he has proven himself to be wholly out of his league? David Ignatius of the Washington Post described Mitt Romney as a man having “no grasp of foreign affairs” whose approach to the subject amounts to a “series of sound bites” all of which portray a candidate who knows little about a subject of the utmost importance. With Mr. Ignatius’ observations in mind I believe we may have reached a tipping point in the 2012 election much the same as we were in September of 2008. The latest polls show Romney falling behind the president in key swing states and events in the Muslim world may still go against Barack Obama. However, the poll results that hit the newswires this morning are based on data that predate Romney’s latest gaffe and as a result Americans may still favor Obama when the see the next round of polling and especially when they consider this latest episode in a recurring series of Romney foreign policy disasters.

Steven J. Gulitti

9/14/12

Sources:

What They Said, Before and After the Attack in Libya; http://www.nytimes.com/interac…

Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones backs anti-Muhammad movie; http://www.nydailynews.com/new…

Hardball with Chris Matthews for Wednesday, September 12th, 2012; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49…

Peggy Noonan: “Romney Is Not Doing Himself Any Favors”; http://www.buzzfeed.com/dorsey…

Noonan: Romney not helping himself; http://www.politico.com/blogs/…

Don’t Politicize Embassy Attacks; http://www.realclearpolitics.c…

Romney and Foreign Policy; http://thepage.time.com/2012/0…

Even As Experts, GOP Figures Criticize Romney’s Embassy Statement, Right-Wing Pundits Blame “The Media”; http://mediamatters.org/resear…

Mitt Romney Response To Libya, Egypt Attacks Called ‘Irresponsible,’ ‘Craven,’ ‘Ham-Handed’; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

Bloody Bill Kristol Calls Romney’s Attacks Over Chinese Dissident ‘Foolish’; http://videocafe.crooksandliar…

Romney: Russia is our number one geopolitical foe; http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn….

Why Colin Powell Bashed Mitt Romney’s Foreign-Policy Advisers; http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/po…

David Sanger : Is There a Romney Doctrine?; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05…

Marist Polling: http://maristpoll.marist.edu/

9/13: Obama Leads Romney by 7 Points in Ohio

9/13: Obama with Advantage Over Romney in Florida

9/13: Obama Up Five Points Over Romney in Virginia

Rasmussen Reports; http://www.rasmussenreports.com/

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Fox 9’s Political Happy Hour

by Joe Bodell on September 12, 2012 · 1 comment

Hey, look at that guy on the left on today’s Political Happy Hour on Fox9 News at 6. I’d embed the video if I could, but you’ll just have to head over to the channel’s website to watch.

Okay, so he has a dumb smile on his face in that first shot, but whatever. Political Happy Hour is a new feature on Fox9’s afternoon newscast, and it’ll be a regular feature through the election. I hope I’ll have a chance to join the discussion again — after the segment I heartily recommended that they make it even longer than the five minutes we had today. We discussed recent polling on the marriage amendment and the absence of foreign policy issues in the presidential race so far.

Congrats in advance to Ben Golnik, the guy on the other side of today’s discussion, who’s in red alert baby arrival standby mode.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is not what anyone might consider an expert on foreign policy.  She’s had numerous embarrassing gaffes on the subject.  She once claimed to have knowledge of super secret plans by Iran to divide up Iraq.  Unfortunately, these plans were so secret that nobody else anywhere knew of these plans and she had to walk her claim back.  Sort of.

What Michele Bachmann is noted for is fear-mongering and conspiracy theories.  Especially if she’s stoking fears about creeping Sharia Law, Islamic terrorists and fomenting hatred of Muslims.

So it’s no surprise that Bachmann is consulting Frank Gaffney on foreign policy:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is running for president and she is currently surging in polls. However, Bachmann isn’t exactly a foreign policy aficionado and she doesn’t talk too much about her views on international relations. Lake writes that when he started asking around about where she stands, he repeatedly was told to “talk to Frank Gaffney“:
Gaffney himself stressed that he had no formal relationship with Bachmann as an adviser. But he did say that he had contact with several of the GOP candidates. And, of Bachmann, he said this: “She is a friend and a person I admire. I hope she is getting the best counsel she can.” He added, “We are a resource she has tapped, I’m assuming among many others.” When I asked him whether Bachmann had been briefed on the Team B II Report, he replied, “We’ve spent hours, over several days with her. I think she’s got the bulk of what we would tell her in one of the more formal presentations.”

So it’s safe to assume that Bachmann is getting a regular dose of Gaffney’s crazy anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. Gaffney’s Islamophobia is welldocumented. Last year he released a report purporting to document the threat posed by Islamic law in the U.S. (no Muslims actually contributed to the report). Among the report’s wild accusations, one was that members of the Obama administration are part of the “Iran lobby.” Gaffney thinks the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to infiltrate the American conservative movement. Before her confirmation to the Supreme Court, Gaffney claimed Elana Kagan would impose Sharia law on America. He even accused Gen. David Petraeus of “submission” to Sharia and thinks the president is secretly Muslim.

But Gaffney’s baseless far-right views aren’t limited to his Islamophobia. In addition to flirting with birtherism, as late as 2009, he claimed to have evidence of al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq “collaborating on all kinds of things.” He has even said Iraq was complicit in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Gaffney also once said that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would lead to reinstating the draft (hasn’t so far) and he claimed the DADT repeal would force some “radical” LGBT “agenda” on the U.S. military.
(Think Progress)

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has pushed all kinds of conspiracy theories over the years.  From super secret Iranian plans to divide up Iraq to gays are converting the children to a one world currency to the census will lead up to concentration camps for conservatives.  I’ve seen them all.

So I shouldn’t be shocked when I read about her latest.  But I am.  She says that because of the wacked version of christianity she believes in, there is a curse upon the US if we ever in any way don’t do exactly what Israel wants.

When U.S. Representative and possible presidential candidate Michele Bachmann spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition she exposed a profound flaw in the religious right which has virtually unlimited potential for mayhem. She let the world know that she and the religious right believe in such unreasonable nonsense as curses. She said, “I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.”

Objectively looking at how putting Israel’s interests before America’s interests for the last 50 years or so shows us we were not “blessed” by any stretch of the imagination unless you consider the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and all of the suffering and misery they brought us and still bring us blessings. Add to these the accompanying huge debt the United States currently has due in a very large part to the two unnecessary wars and it becomes obvious Genesis 12:3 is false and Michele Bachmann and the religious right are wrong to believe in such ancient claims which, in reality, are probably part of a psychological warfare operation conducted by the ancient Israelis and which still provided dividends for Israel today.

This nonsense of believing in curses and hexes not only infects the religious right in the U.S. but also in Israel. It is believed that a Kabbalistic prayer known as the Pulsa diNura was used to bring about the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.
[my emphasis]

How did we ever survive prior to 1948?

— UPDATE —

For a complete explanation of Bachmann’s misunderstanding and wrong-headedness on this particular issue, check out the thorough and this fascinating post at Daily Kos.

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Hey Tim, still feel this way?

by Eric Ferguson on May 4, 2011 · 1 comment

Last month, indulging a fit of machismo on the Dennis Miller Show, governor turned presidential candidate turned definition of “Are you kidding?!” had this to say about President Obama’s handling of national security:

The intelligence people come in and brief him in the morning, he’s probably looking for a pair of Depends, and so I think he’s in over his head on a lot of levels and a lot of ways, and that’s reflective of how he thrashes about and in some ways almost reacts incoherently to these security situations.

Thrashes about? Like the way he heard the “Bin Laden can’t be found” jokes during the White Hose Correspondents dinner and gave no hint he knew what was about to happen? The way he bucked advisers to make the gutsier decision? Maybe before strutting, it’s a good idea to do something first. Maybe before cleverly dinging someone for failing, best to wait until they fail. You know, like Tim did.

Maybe we should send Gov. Gutshot a box of Depends with a note saying, “Thanks, but turns out Obama doesn’t need these. You might want to save these in case you have to debate him.” He might have to debate Obama, he’s not done yet — the Republicans have to pick somebody.

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