The short version here is that North Korea and the United States agreed to a deal that would have seen the North Koreans end nuclear tests, long-range missile tests and uranium enrichment, and allow inspectors into the country, in exchange for food aid[...]
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It's time we let the Israelis know who's boss.
World War I was sparked in part by a system of entangling alliances in which the Great Powers were held hostage to the erratic behavior of secondary countries, like Serbia, where an international crisis stemming from the assassination of an Austrian nobleman by a Serbian nationalist inexorably escalated into general war.
A similar volatile organic compound is festering in the increasingly imbalanced and distorted relationship that exists today between Israel and the United States. For decades now, Israel has curried favor and emotional sympathy with important constituencies in America by exploiting its reputation as an embattled liberal democracy valiantly holding out against the Arab autocrats of the Middle East.
But the reality is that Israel today is an expansionist, colonizing power whose governing Likud coalition is a toxic mixture of right wing war hawks, ultra-Orthodox authoritarian theocrats and out-and-out fascists who openly advocate the marginalization and disenfranchisement of Israel's Arab citizens as the first step toward the creation of a Jewish apartheid state.
The potential for this explosive combination to erupt into a larger conflict engulfing the entire Middle East is exponentially magnified by the miscalculations Israel's leadership are almost certain to make the longer it believes that Israel, like little Serbia, unilaterally controls the reactions of larger powers - in Israel's case, the world's only superpower.
Those delusions of grandeur are given dangerous encouragement every time Israel's prime minister is treated like a conquering hero during his visits to the United States by the cynical members of an opposition Republican Party that is horrified by the idea the United States and Israel might have separate, and perhaps conflicting, strategic interests in the region.
And so, we have a GOP that routinely takes the side of Israel against their own government whenever tensions or "daylight" appear in US-Israeli relations - as they have in recent years as the Netanyahu government has turned a blind eye to, if not actively conspired in, the illegal expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
And so, it was disconcerting to read this bit of straightforward political analysis in yesterday's Slate from neo-conservative Fred Kaplan, highlighting the hubris now rampant in the Israeli government today:
If the Israelis really are intent on attacking the Iranian nuclear facilities, they're likely to do so before this November's American presidential elections. If they started an attack and needed U.S. firepower to help them complete the task, Barack Obama might open himself up to perilous political attacks-for being indecisive, weak, appeasing, anti-Israel, you name it-if he didn't follow through. It could cost him the votes of crucial constituencies. If the Israelis tried to pressure the United States into joining an attack after the election, Obama would have (to borrow a phrase from another context more flexibility. So, to the extent the Israeli leaders have decided to attack (and it's not at all clear they have), they are probably thinking: much better sooner than later.
As Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan remarks: "This simply implies that a foreign government would be relying on US domestic pressure to force the US administration to join a war it did not seek. I'm not sure what that is, but "alliance" is not the correct word."
Kaplan headlined his piece: "The October Surprise." A better title might be: "The Guns of August."
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As upsetting as the "War on Women 2012" has been, I managed to keep my cool, I think, until last week or so. But at some point between the Masters Tournament at creepy Augusta National and the character assassination of Hilary Rosen (whose perfectly valid point was twisted wildly by everyone from the Romneys to the NYT's clueless Frank Bruni), things hit critical mass, and I truly began to question the wisdom of being born female.
IBM is one of the top sponsors of the Masters Tournament. Its CEO has historically been granted membership at Augusta National, which is denoted by a highly-coveted, silly green jacket that evokes shades of Rodney Dangerfield-meets-Richie Rich. Well, what to do when the CEO is a lady? Because that's what the current top dog at Big Blue, Virginia Rometty, happens to be. Apparently, if you're Augusta, you still deny her membership, so that she's forced to wear the crumpled pink jacket she brought balled-up in her roller luggage. (Just kidding; I'm sure her corporate jet has a very nice place to hang jackets!) Another day, another chick hits the Grass Ceiling.
I'm sure I'll get some emails saying, "They're a private club and they can do what they want!" While this may technically be true, it still doesn't mean they're not a bunch of retrograde douchesprockets.
Get a signed print of this cartoon from the artist.
Obama: 46 (47)According to the poll, 54 percent of Republicans now favor Mitt Romney for the nomination, a surprisingly low number given that he's basically clinched it. Just one-third of Republicans said they were enthusiastic about Romney. Nonetheless, just 8 percent of Republicans said they would not vote for him, and a vote is a vote, whether it is enthusiastic or not.
Romney: 46 (44)
When it comes to the ground game, however, and convincing voters through personal contact, that lack of enthusiasm will be a problem for Romney, and is a reminder that his path to victory is entirely dependent on winning the air war.
The full poll will be released at 6:30 PM ET. Also coming in the next 24 hours: our own Daily Kos/SEIU weekly tracking poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and April's Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.
As much as the Internet might try to fool you, the 2012 political season is about more than just Etch A Sketches and sweater vests. We?re up crap creek in a leaky canoe when it comes to the economy, and as the country heads into the general election, the debt and budget will be at the fore of public debate.
With competing budget proposals flying in from all sides, much of the political talk these days centers around the endless delays and extensions that Congress has thrown in the path of approving a long-term federal budget. Which might lead one to wonder: Would it matter if we never passed a budget plan ever again?
The federal budget is one big ?ol nasty bill thousands of pages long that determines the fiscal future of the country over the course of a year by allocating money to various programs like Medicare and Medicaid, as well as to things like defense spending.
April of 2009. But technically is was just an ?omnibus spending bill? and President Barack Obama was none-too-thrilled to be signing it, citing the excessive number of earmark projects. The following year, Democrats chose not to put forth a budget bill because they deemed it politically imprudent during the hotly contested midterm elections. Same thing happened the next year. You get the point.
Unfortunately, yes. It turns out that we?re a pugilistic people by nature, and when you put money into the mix, things just escalate like a Gambino family reunion. The last time that we had a full-on, real life federal budget that was signed into law, it was 1997. Bill Clinton was president and Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House (and only on his second wife).
With a whole lot of ?Continuing Resolutions.? These bills, called ?minibuses? by those who are gleefully in the know, keep the government going by feeding the beast with more money every couple of months. The last one that had a fuss surrounding it came late last year, just before the Christmas holidays, when a partial government shutdown loomed. Congress was embroiled in a fight over the payroll tax extension, and the passage of the budgetary measure was used as a bargaining ploy in the tussle. (Congress eventually passed the payroll tax extension in February of this year.)
Because it?s as irresponsible as it sounds. Even though continuing resolutions have become the new norm in Congress, stopgap measures, like margarine, will never be as good as the real thing. Without a cohesive spending plan, programs that receive federal funding aren?t able to plan out their year-long fiscal allocations, and call me crazy, but operating a government under the constant threat of shutdown can?t be good. The passage budget has become a political tool for both parties. Speaking of ?
The budget is a laundry list of the ways that the government is going to spend its money, but there?s a rule that says that approval from Congress is needed before additional moulah can be borrowed to pay for the programs and departments that help the government keep up with that whole sacred civic contract thing. The debt ceiling is needed to tell the Treasury Department how much money it can borrow. Historically, as a matter of course, Congress raised the debt ceiling without any real contentiousness. During the past decade alone, the ceiling was raised nine times. But the influx of über deficit hawks into Congress during the 2010 midterm elections meant that the typically mundane legislative task of raising the ceiling took on a shrieking aspect.
Paul Ryan, Clark Kent look-alike, Republican wunderkind, and Chairman of the House Budget Committee, recently introduced a budget plan that?s roundly stirred up ire with Democrats. President Obama has called the plan ?thinly-veiled Social Darwinism? and ?an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.? The plan would cut $3.3 trillion from programs designed to help low-income Americans like Medicaid and food stamps. These slashes to social programs account for 62 percent of the proposed budgetary trims. The Ryan Budget Plan passed in the House last week, though it received no Democratic votes. Mitt Romney called it an ?excellent piece of work.?
President Obama introduced his budget plan in February, and it?s basically the exact opposite of the Republican one. The marquee feature of the proposal is the Buffett Rule, a provision that raises taxes on households earning more than $1 million. In addition to the tax increases, the president has proposed cuts to military spending, and the cessation of tax breaks to oil and gas companies.
Not a whole lot of substantive work is expected to be done in Congress over the next few months of the campaign. In truth, the competing Republican and Democratic visions of the Federal Budget are doomed to be nothing more than campaign talking points, providing a cartilage legislative backbone to various stump speeches.
Let the continuing resolutions roll on.
Dayen's news roundup from April 17, 2017, including stories you missed -- because as usual, you waited until yesterday to file your taxes -- about Barney Frank, EPA, not-Secret Service, postal reform, housing prices, Bowles Simpson, IMF, Mississippi,[...]
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How Capitol Hill Republicans decided that deficits were just fine after all. [...]
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Ah yes, the infamous left-wing conspiracy, and that librul media! I don't blame Mittens for getting upset.Think of all those damned media socialists like Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough, Bill O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, G. Gordon Liddy, Laura Ingraham, Fred Hiatt, Matt Drudge, Charles Krauthammer, Michelle Malkin, William Kristol, Phyllis Schlafly, Brit Hume, S.E. Cupp, Howard Kurtz, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, George Will, Kathleen Parker, Neil Cavuto, Michael Medved, Dana Loesch, Dennis Miller, Michael Savage, Michael Reagan, the recently deceased Andrew Breitbart, Erick Erickson, Mike Allen, Tom Donahue, Ann Coulter, Paul Gigot, and John Stossel - oh, I can't go on.
Every single time you turn on the TV or radio, it's just another damned communist hippie.
And all those extreme librul organizations that fund their subversive propaganda: the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Koch Family foundations, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Scaife Family foundations, the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Adolph Coors Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Hudson Institute, the Hoover Institution, the Heartland Institute, or the Manhattan Institute.
Speaking to a right wing radio host Tuesday, likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney repurposed a phrase from Hillary Clinton, citing a "vast left wing conspiracy" brewing in the media and liberal advocacy organizations to derail his campaign.
Romney was making an appearance on Breitbart TV and was asked by host Larry O'Connor whether he was ready to take on "the media and these nonprofits groups that are working together."
"There will be an effort by the quote vast left wing conspiracy to work together to put out their message and to attack me," Romney said in response. "They're going to do everything they can to divert from the message people care about, which is a growing economy that creates more jobs and rising incomes. That's what people care about."
Romney's choice of words echoes Clinton's assertion in 1998 that a "vast right-wing conspiracy" was behind the sexual harassment charges her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was facing at the time.
"I mean, look at the very people who are involved in this ? they have popped up in other settings," Clinton, now the U.S. secretary of state, said on NBC's "Today" in 1998. "This is ? the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president."
Romney said dealing with journalists, many of whom he said were biased, was a perpetual problem for Republicans.
"Many in the media are inclined to do the president's bidding and I know that's an uphill battle we fight with the media generally," Romney said, before praising O'Connor for offering a conservative voice.
There's less than a week before primary day in Pennsylvania and, according to two consecutive polls, progressive challenger Matt Cartwright is leading reactionary and corrupt Blue Dog Tim Holden. It's the only race in the country where the Democrats have a plausible shot at replacing a dogged ally of Boehner's and Cantor's with a real Democrat. Even in Holden's blood red bastion in the newly redrawn district, conservative Schulkill Co., way down south and unrelated to the rest of teh bright blue northeast Pennsylvania district, longtime Holden supporters are sick of him, especially Democrats.
Democrats in this Holden stronghold weren?t enthusiastic about re-electing Holden to an 11th term. Democrats such as Vickie Lord, a longtime tour guide at Pottsville?s Yuengling Brewery, knows Holden as the ?local boy? who always aired positive advertisements. But the negative ad wars have worn on her, and now she?s not sure for whom she?ll vote in next week?s primary.
?Sometimes people get old and stagnant in their ways,? she said. ?I?m not opposed to new ideas, new faces, refreshing things every once in a while. Just because you?re there 20 years doesn?t mean you should be there 20 more. Maybe it?s time for a change.?
Holden, a member of the pro-corporate Blue Dog caucus, appears to be raising last minute campaign funds using a new bill that will allow agricultural giants in the mid-Atlantic region to continue to dump pollution into the Chesapeake Bay. While Cartwright picks up a number of public interest endorsements, Holden appears to be parlaying his polluter bill into political support.
Rod Snyder recently hosted a fundraising event for Holden in the offices of Tri-State Strategies, a Pennsylvania lobbying and consulting firm. Snyder is the president of the national Democratic club called Young Democrats of America, whose bylaws prohibit providing ?official endorsements to any candidate in a contested primary election,? so presumably Snyder hosted the event in his personal, not his YDA, capacity.
But Snyder also happens to be a lobbyist for the National Corn Growers Association. According to the NCGA?s latest disclosure filing, which was submitted to the Senate late last year, Snyder has been working on developing a new Chesapeake Bay bill that would prevent the EPA from using the Clean Water Act to create a multi-state solution for dealing with industrial farm run-off. The issue has been quite contentious, with many big ag interests working to undercut the EPA. Snyder has not responded to our request for comment.
And in March, Holden came to the rescue of industrial farm interests with a bill he introduced along with Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). Holden?s bill would prevent the EPA ?from implementing the long-awaited, court-ordered Chesapeake Bay restoration plan known as the Chesapeake TMDL (total maximum daily load).? The Chesapeake Bay Foundation?s Doug Siglin says Holden?s bill would ?undermine the pollution limits currently in place, derail clean-up efforts, and undercut the federal government?s role in making sure that all Americans have access to clean, swimmable, fishable waters.?
Holden?s bill bailing out industrial farm operations hasn?t escaped noticed from big lobbyists. Republic Report reviewed recently filed FEC disclosures and noticed an interesting pattern:
? On March 7, Holden introduced his bill to kill EPA efforts to regulate cross-state industrial farm pollution into the Chesapeake Bay.
? On March 12, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives gave Holden $1,000.
? On March 26, the National Turkey Federation PAC gave Holden $2,000 (in addition to $1,000 earlier this cycle).
? On March 26, the Cotton Growers PAC gave Holden $1,000.
? On March 26, Dean Foods Company PAC gave Holden $2,500 (in addition to $2,000 already given to Holden this cycle).
? On March 30, the National Chicken Council PAC gave Holden $2,000 (in addition to $1,000 given to Holden earlier in the cycle).
? On March 30, the National Cattlemen?s Beef Association gave Holden $2,000.
? On April 11, the National Corn Growers PAC gave Holden $2,500.
? On April 13, the pork industry?s Pork PAC gave Holden $3,000.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you?re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- The president of the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter, Rev. William Barber, came out boldly against Amendment One, describing the measure as “writing hatred and discrimination into the constitution.”
- Mecklenburg County has delayed taking action on a resolution opposing Amendment One due to the absence of two commissioners at last night’s board meeting.
- Openly gay Pennsylvania House candidate Brian Sims has been targeted with a viciously deceitful attack ad by his opponent.
- The National Organization for Marriage’s Dump Starbucks campaign is a flop overseas as well.
- Two new ads from Protect NC Families and the Campaign for Southern Equality call for protecting same-sex couples in the South: