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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 04/15/2011

Morning Bits

John Bolton keeps his eye on the ball, when few others do. “Since the “Arab Spring” began four months ago in Tunisia, U.S. media have focused constantly and generally optimistically on the turmoil in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the rising threat of an Iranian Winter—nuclear or otherwise—is likely to outlast and overshadow any Arab Spring. Iran’s hegemonic ambitions are embodied in its rapidly progressing nuclear-weapons program and its continued subversion across the region. In a case that emphasizes the fragility of aspiring democracies, Iranian Winter has already descended upon Lebanon, where Iran’s influence has helped replace a pro-Western government with a coalition dominated by Tehran’s allies, including Hezbollah.”

Bibi Netanyahu sounds like he has his eye on the ball, but you can never be sure. “Netanyahu tells Likud he will demand ‘real, lasting peace, not peace on paper’; says invitation to speak [before Congress] shows strong alliance between US, Israel.” Not so much between the Obama administration and the elected government of Israel, however.

The American people keep their eye on the ball — unemployment, debt, etc.— but don’t seem to think President Obama does. Gallup shows his job approval down to 42 percent.

The Obama administration is certainly not keeping its collective eyes on the ball in Libya. In fact, we’re letting the situation devolve into chaos. “At a summit of NATO nations that opened here Thursday, U.S. officials played down emerging rifts among allies and rebuffed calls from within NATO for its members to commit more forces to the military operation in Libya. Since the United States turned over command of the airstrikes in Libya to NATO at the end of March, there has been growing criticism from some in the coalition — particularly France and Britain — that other allies need to do more to help Libya’s rebel opposition battle Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.”

Palestinian Media Watch always has its eyes on the ball. “This week a PA TV program for teenagers included a short video clip which opened with the words across the screen: ‘Palestine: We will return one day to our home,’ and then followed with a series of pictures of cities and regions in Israel, with the names on the screen, including: Tel Aviv, Haifa, Galilee, Negev, Caesarea, Acre, and Jerusalem. PA TV also showed a picture of Masada but incorrectly labeled it ‘Jericho mountains.’”

Republicans keep their eyes on the ball, the Paul Ryan budget. “Republicans ripped Obama’s suggestion that House and Senate leaders appoint 16 colleagues to negotiate a deficit reduction plan with Vice President Joe Biden by the end of June. They said this would create a meaningless ‘commission’ and suggested Obama has poisoned the well for a bipartisan deal.” But the president’s political attack sure did “galvanize” Republican support for Ryan’s budget.

George Stephanopoulos sure doesn’t have his eye on the ball, using interview time asking the president about Donald Trump’s birther claims. (Couldn’t he have asked him about his Medicare rationing board? Or why he’s using a ludicrous 12-year budget plan?) This is what gives broadcast news a bad name — the triumph of tabloid non-news.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 04/15/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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