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Paul Krugman Warns About The Right-Wing’s Hold On GOP

by on Monday, November 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm EDT in Politics

Krugman makes some interesting points in his NY Times column about the Right-Wing’s new hold over the GOP.

First, he addresses the anti-health care reform rally last week in front of our nation’s capitol, and some of the now-all-too-common ‘grotesque’ visuals and rhetoric (i.e. “large signs showing piles of bodies at Dachau with the caption ‘National Socialist Healthcare.'”):

The key thing to understand about that rally is that it wasn’t a fringe event. It was sponsored by the House Republican leadership — in fact, it was officially billed as a G.O.P. press conference. Senior lawmakers were in attendance, and apparently had no problem with the tone of the proceedings. […]

What all this shows is that the G.O.P. has been taken over by the people it used to exploit.

He gives some historic background on the GOP’s courtship of the far-right:

With the rise of Ronald Reagan: Republican politicians began to win elections in part by catering to the passions of the angry right.

Until recently, however, that catering mostly took the form of empty symbolism. Once elections were won, the issues that fired up the base almost always took a back seat to the economic concerns of the elite.

But something snapped last year. Conservatives had long believed that history was on their side, so the G.O.P. establishment could, in effect, urge hard-right activists to wait just a little longer: once the party consolidated its hold on power, they’d get what they wanted. After the Democratic sweep, however, extremists could no longer be fobbed off with promises of future glory.

Furthermore, the loss of both Congress and the White House left a power vacuum in a party accustomed to top-down management. At this point Newt Gingrich is what passes for a sober, reasonable elder statesman of the G.O.P. And he has no authority: Republican voters ignored his call to support a relatively moderate, electable candidate in New York’s special Congressional election.

Real power in the party rests, instead, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (who at this point is more a media figure than a conventional politician). Because these people aren’t interested in actually governing, they feed the base’s frenzy instead of trying to curb or channel it. So all the old restraints are gone.

Krugman warns that the party of Beck and Limbaugh could make some serious gains in the midterm election, if only because Obama has been unable to stop the country’s economic bleeding (unemployment has now reached a 26-year high of 10.2%).  He cautions what this could mean:

if Tea Party Republicans do win big next year, what has already happened in California could happen at the national level. In California, the G.O.P. has essentially shrunk down to a rump party with no interest in actually governing — but that rump remains big enough to prevent anyone else from dealing with the state’s fiscal crisis. If this happens to America as a whole, as it all too easily could, the country could become effectively ungovernable in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster.

It sort of goes without saying, that if an ideological group as evil as the Nazis could come into power during extremely adverse economic times, who’s to say we won’t end up with an ever-increasing number of scary, fear mongering, destructive politicians of our own during this economic slide?  Probably a good rule-of-thumb is to never take the far-right lightly …

Watch: What Ethnic Cleansing Looks Like (In Occupied East Jersulem)

by on Monday, November 9, 2009 at 12:55 pm EDT in Middle East, World

Here’s a video of Jewish Settlers literally taking over a Palestinian family’s home in East Jerusalem — dumping the family’s possessions out onto the street, the furniture into their garden — while the Israeli police stand guard in case the Palestinians try to stop the settlers from taking the home for themselves.  Once emptied, the Jews move right inside, and change the locks on the doors.  Unbelievable!

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UPDATE: wrote today of the ongoing demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem:

“Make sure your father gets this,” the municipal inspector tells a 10-year-old boy at the gate of the concrete house in an alleyway in the al-Bustan quarter of Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood right under the shadow of the walled Old City.

“This” is a court-approved demolition notice, “No. 59.” It’s for a house under imminent threat of being torn down by the Israeli authorities because it does not have the requisite building permit.

The demolition notice is headed: “To Unknown Addressee.”

“Now they refer to me as ‘Unknown.’ But they know my name very well – they address payment orders for all municipal and other taxes to me by name,” says Moussa Oudeh.

Moussa, father of five, is one of 78 householders in al-Bustan whose homes are slated for demolition. Since the election of a new Israeli mayor exactly a year ago, 10 other houses in al-Bustan have been bulldozed.


The vans park near a new seven-story block of flats. A blue-and-white Israeli banner, with a large Star of David, has been unfurled from the roof down to the alley beneath.  It’s one of several buildings in Silwan where nationalist religious Israelis have settled in recent years in a bid to boost the Jewish presence in the Arab neighborhood.

For some time, it’s been an open secret that the settlers also don’t have the requisite permit for their building.  According to Israeli press reports, after the recent demolition nearby of a small Palestinian home, human rights groups took the matter to the Israeli courts.

A city inspector called to the dock was asked by the magistrate, “How come you didn’t serve a demolition notification on the seven-story building as well?”

“I simply didn’t notice it,” replied the inspector.

The court has yet to take action on the petition against the settlers for their infraction.

How in the world can President Barack Obama — the nation’s first African American President — continue to turn a blind eye to these bigoted policies, and continue to pledge both his allegiance — which he often describes as ‘sacrosanct’ — and billions of dollars in our tax money to this morally bankrupt country?


I found this story via Mondoweiss (as reported in Haaretz) regarding these extremist settlers:

Just weeks after the arrest of alleged Jewish terrorist, Yaakov Teitel, a West Bank rabbi on Monday released a book giving Jews permission to kill Gentiles who threaten Israel.

Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement, wrote in his book “The King’s Torah” that even babies and children can be killed if they pose a threat to the nation.

It is permissable to kill the Righteous among Nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation,” he wrote, adding: “If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments – because we care about the commandments – there is nothing wrong with the murder.”

Several prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Yithak Ginzburg and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, have recommended the book to their students and followers.

Unbelievable!  Why isn’t any of this stuff ever reported in our main stream media?  Don’t Americans deserve to know that billions of their tax dollars are subsidizing this scary shit?