Don't think for a minute that this isn't about the election. From EJ Dionne:The federal lawsuits filed Monday by Catholic institutions against the contraception mandate under the health care law are not surprising, but they are unfortunate. The Bishops? Conference and many ? though not all ? Catholic organizations are acting as if the Obama Administration had never backed down from its...
Corporations have debunked it, media has ignored it, and conservative politicians have fought it, but in spite of these self-serving efforts at denial, Americans get that global warming is real. People used to view climate change as questionable, far away from them, or something to worry about in the future. It was a hoax, or [...]Related posts:
Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here.Leading Off:
? TX-04: The Campaign for Primary Accountability is now committing a non-trivial amount of money to defeat turncoat GOP Rep. Ralph Hall in his primary. Over the weekend, they filed a $100K IE report with the FEC for mail, TV and radio buys against the incumbent, who switched parties in 2004 at the filing deadline. The TV spot hits Hall on a litany of tea party sins (voting to increase the debt, supporting earmarks, voting for the "wasteful" Cash for Clunkers program, etc.), and also makes a quick dig about his age. Hall faces two challengers in his primary: Steve Clark, a wealthy former telecom executive whom Hall beat by a 57-30 margin in 2010 (and who only very recently revved up his campaign) and auto racing parts company owner Lou Gigliotti. (James L)
So... do you find the Obama campaign's critique of Romney, Bain, and vulture capitalism "nauseating"?
P.M. Carpenter: The not-so-secret secret of Republican political success.
The Rude Pundit: For Campbell Brown, doing anything to help women is condescending.
Pruning Shears: Scenes from the grassroots campaign against fracking.
Mad Mike's America: The fundamental hypocrisy of cherry-picking the Bible.
Round-up by Michael J.W. Stickings of The Reaction (@mjwstickings). I'll be here all week.
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A variety of links to articles/interviews/speeches on current issues that may be of interest.[...]
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Alicia Cohn at The Hill sets the framework:
In a month where international affairs have taken a larger role in the presidential campaign, this past weekend?s G8 and NATO summits provided President Obama another chance to shore up his foreign policy credentials in the race against presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.The Washington Post Editorial Board asks why NATO is taking such a hands-off approach on Syria:
Romney?s campaign has sought to keep the election focused on the economy, dismissing other issues raised as "distractions" from Obama's record on jobs. But the president?s talks with world leaders at Camp David and in Chicago, combined with the arrival of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng to the United States, dominated the news cycle over the weekend, demonstrating one advantage of being the incumbent. [...] Overall, the weekend highlighted the challenges facing Romney as polls now consistently give Obama the advantage on foreign affairs, a rarity for Democrats.
Obama led Romney by 20 points in trust to handle terrorism and international affairs in an ABC News/Washington Post survey taken in February, and again held a double-digit lead (51 percent to 38) in a poll taken in early May by Politico/George Washington University in which likely voters were asked who would "better handle" foreign policy. Reports suggest Romney's campaign may be considering confronting foreign policy head-on with a speech by the candidate within the next month, but the campaign did not respond when asked to comment.
If anything, NATO has more of an interest in defusing Syria?s crisis than Libya?s. Turkey, a NATO member, is on Syria?s border and has seen violence spill into its territory. Other nations are threatened, too; Sunday night a cleric sympathetic to Mr. Assad?s opponents was assassinated in Lebanon. Libya is of modest strategic importance, while the fall of the Assad regime, Iran?s major ally in the Arab world, would have strategic benefits for the United States, Israel and everyone else working to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.David Brunnstrom and Adrian Croft at Reuters analyze the end of the mission in Afghanistan and the future of NATO:
And yet, at the summit of NATO leaders in Chicago, no leader raised the subject of Syria, Mr. Daalder said. ?We are very much concerned about the situation of Syria,? NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen explained, but the alliance has ?no intention whatsoever to intervene.?
Why not? What happened to the ?teachable moment,? just one year old? There?s a hint in the Foreign Affairs article: ?The United States facilitated this rapid international reaction,? the authors boast. In truth, the leaders of France and Great Britain prodded the United States into action, and a chief goad, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has since been turned out of office. But it is true that the Libyan action would not have taken place without the promise of substantial U.S. support. On Syria, that promise is missing.
The big question mark hanging over the summit was how will NATO, a 28-nation grouping originally designed for the Cold War, adapt to the world beyond 2014?James A. Linsday at the Council on Foreign Relations:
In an era where governments are slashing defense spending to cut budget deficits, the United States is increasingly tilting towards defense challenges in Asia while many of NATO's other members, preoccupied by economic problems, have little appetite for foreign adventures.
That raises the question of whether the United States, which accounts for three-quarters of NATO defense spending, will remain committed to the 63-year-old organization despite its frustrations at European allies' reluctance to contribute more towards their own defense.
NATO?s twenty-eight member counties wrap up their annual summit today in Chicago. The parting sound bites no doubt will tout this year?s summit for being especially productive?even with a few breaks to throw a football around and to watch a soccer game. And the final communiqué will almost certainly point to progress on critical issues such as Afghanistan, missile defense, and alliance modernization.The Register-Guard Editorial Board:
But that sunny talk won?t hide a dark cloud that hangs over the most successful military and political alliance the world has ever known?namely, the United States accounts for the vast (and increasing) bulk of the alliance?s military spending. [...]
That disparity is not likely to lessen anytime soon. Not in an era of austerity when most of Europe is looking to cut spending. Indeed, with all the talk of a possible ?Grexit? and fears that the financial markets might turn on Spain and Italy, the pressure in Europe to cut defense spending is likely to intensify.
Obama went so far as to tell reporters on Sunday that ?The Afghan war as we understand it is over,? and that Afghanistan is entering a ?transformational decade of peace and stability and development.?Carlo Munoz at The Hill reports that a certain congressman has really gotten on Hamid Karzai's bad side:
Military officials are less sanguine. They note that heavy fighting continues in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, the birthplace of the Taliban and the focal point of Obama?s 2010 surge of U.S. troops. Enemy attacks in Kandahar have increased by 13 percent over a year ago.
Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, cautioned Sunday against understating the challenge. ?The Taliban is still a resilient and capable opponent in the battle space. There?s no end of combat before the end of 2014. And, in fact, the Taliban will oppose the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) after 2014,? he said.
Obama may be overly optimistic in his assessment of NATO progress. But he is right to emphasize that the time has come for U.S. troops to get out of Afghanistan.
A House Republican who has been an outspoken critic of Afghanistan's central government has been banned from entering the country, Afghan president Hamid Karzai said Monday.Finally, on the CNN wire this morning...
Appearing on CNN's The Situation Room, Karzai was asked if he would allow Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, into Afghanistan if the lawmaker requested.
"Definitely not . . . until he changes his stand, shows respect to the Afghan people, to our way of life and to our constitution," Karzai replied. "It's is a matter of principle.
Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, is expected to step down this summer after a year in the job, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter told CNN early Tuesday.
Crocker was appointed to the post in Kabul on July 25, 2011. The relatively short length of his service in the Afghan capital is no surprise. In recent history, American ambassadors have served similar terms.
When Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) is not attempting to reenact the Babylonian Exile at the state legislature, he serves as Special Counsel for the regional corporate defense firm, Jones Walker. This rather innocuous fact has taken on greater significance in light of Rep. Gipson's interesting homily on homosexuality.
On its website, Jones Walker provides an index of its "Representative Clients," a list that touts some of the more gay-friendly employers in corporate America. Take, for example, General Electric Company, an organization that has formed a GLBTA Alliance to "attract, develop, and retain gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender employees." You will also find Chevron Corporation, the first major integrated energy company to include sexual orientation in its nondiscriminatory policies and offer domestic partner benefits to its employees. The list also includes Sodexo, a leading integrated food company that, in 2009, was named one of the top ten employers for the LGBT community by DiversityInc. This is to say nothing of those companies on the list who have adopted strong anti-discrimination policies like Devon Energy Corp. or Tulane University, a school with an Office of Muticultural Affairs that welcomes members of the LGBT community to campus.
These companies may be interested to know that one of their lawyers has gone public with a rather different view on equality and such.
The relationship between the Conservatives (Tories) and the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) has always been a bit strange. The Lib Dems sold their souls to the Tories in hopes of election reform but that never really worked out the way the Lib Dems had hoped. Were they fools for believing in the Tories? Probably, so there weren't too many tears shed for the Lib Dems.The next election is...
More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion
than for any other single reason.
That, my friends, that is true perversion.
Born May 22, 1930
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