Sadly, there was a lot more tragedy than comedy in today’s news, and the few bits of comic relief we were able to pull had a certain tragic element.
Tragic is the word that describes the Likud Party’s come-from-behind victory in Israel’s elections yesterday. Many of us held out high hopes that the much-more-reasonable Zionist Union (formerly Labor) Party would win enough votes to head up a new government. Sadly, Benjamin Netanyahu pulled out all the fear-mongering tactics he could muster (along with lots of Sheldon Adelson’s deep pocket monetary support – seriously) to pull off a surprisingly big win.
I know that there’s a large and active peace movement in Israel, despite the picture painted by our mainstream, corporate (owned & controlled) media. This morning, I spoke with the founder of the Gush-Shalom peace movement in Israel, Uri Avnery.
The 71-year old peace activist was still apparently undecided about whom he’d vote for, as he wrote in this column the day before election day, detailing his reasons to vote against or to consider voting for each of the candidates.
After ruling out all of the right-wingers (who dominated the ballot), and a few others, Avnery narrowed his choice to two:
… I am left with Meretz and the “Zionist Camp”. Meretz is far closer to my views than the larger list. But only the larger list can unseat Netanyahu. The problem would not have existed if my proposal for a joint list including “the Zionist Camp”, Meretz, Lapid and more had been set up in time. All the prospective parts refused.
So now I am faced with a choice: either vote ideologically for Meretz or vote pragmatically for the party whose chances of putting an end to Netanyahu’s reign will be enhanced if it emerges as the largest party in the next Knesset. But this party has many defects, of which I am painfully aware.
Otto von Bismarck, one of the greatest statesmen of all times, famously described politics as “the art of the possible”.
It is now possible to stop the march of the Right and restore some sanity to our country.
So how should I vote?
The best analogy for us here in the US would be the choice many of us faced in 2012 – to vote for the candidate with views closest to ours or for the candidate that had the best chance at keeping the presidency out of Republican hands. So, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, or the Democratic Party’s Barack Obama.
In the end, as Avnery revealed this morning on the show, he voted for Meretz, and didn’t compromise his beliefs. And now that Netanyahu won a big victory? He told us it’s time for the left to regroup and start the fight all over again. And he said it with an air of optimism.
And I’m honored to, once again, have had the opportunity to speak with this amazing man.
Our Talk Radio News corresponded, Luke Vargas, called in live from Jerusalem with some more background about the elections.
And we wrapped up the show with another conversation about another tragedy: the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership. Gaius Publius joined me to talk about the latest White House push to get Fast Track Authority to push it through Congress with limited debate and no amendments (the only way it’ll pass), as well as the latest tragically troubling tactics this administration is employing to do it.
Today, the White House is holding a briefing for House Democrats on the TPP. The problem is that they’ve prohibited the members from even talking about what they learned, under threat of criminal prosecution!
As the Obama administration gives House Democrats a hard sell on a major controversial trade pact this week, it will be doing so under severe conditions: Any member of Congress who shares information with the public from a Wednesday briefing could be prosecuted for a crime.
“I’m not happy about it,” said Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.). “It is part of a multi-year campaign of deception and obstruction. Why do we classify information? It’s to keep sensitive information out of the hands of foreign governments. In this case, foreign governments already have this information. They’re the people the administration is negotiating with. The only purpose of classifying this information is to keep it from the American people.”
As if that wasn’t Orwellian enough, many of us received an email from the White House this week, with a hard sell on what is purportedly “the most progressive trade agreement in history.” Arghh! Given the way they’re throwing around the word “progressive,” I’d guess it’s testing really well right now.
Before bringing Gaius on, I played a video of Senator Elizabeth Warren proving why so many of us progressive types are still hopeful that she might jump in to the presidential race. Just a week ago, she spoke on the Senate floor about the TPP and one of its most egregious provisions, the ISDS (investor state dispute settlement).
That’s what I’m talking about! Visit Gaius’ tumblr page for the wealth of information he imparts in his latest posts.
The comedy in today’s news has a bit of tragedy embedded in it. Pretty-boy, ripped Congressman Aaron Schock has announced he’s resigning from his seat, effective March 31, after a series of ethics violations from his ostentatious $40,000 Downton Abbey-style office decorating binge to new revelation of spending taxpayer dollars on concert tickets, travel and more. Somehow, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of his indiscretions. Stay tuned… rather than comedy or tragedy, it might be a real-life soap opera!
Tomorrow, a couple of our favorite regulars, Cliff Schecter and @GottaLaff, join in to help navigate the news, radio or not!