Podcast #36: Mean Streets

Back for another podcast! Ashraf tells us about his ordeal in Tahrir Square, where secularists gathered against Muslim Brotherhood domination. We take a look at the political dynamics of the fight over Egypt's constitution, and the possible scenarios it could lead to. And finally we discuss the last US presidential debate, or at least the bits that have to do with the Middle East, and wonder at the lack of big ideas on either side.

Show notes:



Podcast #36:

The sheer gall of Dick Cheney

The sheer gall of Dick Cheney

From a NYT piece on how the embassy riots are effecting the US electoral debate:

In recent days, Republican critics like former Vice President Dick Cheney have opened up a new line of attack by accusing Mr. Obama of not paying enough attention to intelligence briefings. Mr. Obama receives the briefing in writing every day, but does not always sit down for an oral presentation, as President George W. Bush did. “The hubris of a president who believes he does not need to meet regularly with them is astounding,” Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for Mr. Bush, wrote in The Washington Post.

The amazing balls former Bush administration officials have about the president not reading intelligence memos. How about the ones they decided to ignore on an impending attack on the US by al-Qaeda or the absence of a WMD weapons program in Iraq?

A century from now, American historians just won't understand why these people were not impeached and put on trial. 

Israel and the American right

Take note of this Politico story by Ben Smith about the launch of the Center for American Freedom, a right-wing answer to the pro-Obama Center for American Progress that is setting up as a right-wing echo chamber ahead of the presidential elections. All of which is fair enough, but there's a passage revealing of the ties between the Israel lobby and the increasingly extreme (one might say proto-fascistic — note its militarism and eagerness for war with Iran) aspects of the contemporary American right:

A test run for CAF, Goldfarb said, was the Emergency Committee for Israel, which he also advised, and which waged a relentless guerrilla media campaign against the efforts of J Street – a national membership organization with a sizable Washington staff – to create a liberal counterweight in American Middle East policy.

“That showed that you can have a less well-funded organization but you can present a pretty devastating asymmetric counterweight to something much larger and more established on the other side if you go about it in an effective way,” Goldfarb said.