One of the peculiar features of modern elections is the campaign conference call with the political press. It's like the bastard child of the press conference and the press release, a talking press release if you will. They rarely if ever feature the[...]
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Paul Ryan is feeling the heat from Catholic bishops. [...]
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?Everybody slips,? Biden said, but added that Romney?s mistake sounds like ?a mindset.? – TPM
I warned you about this last year and it has begun.
Team Romney tried to launch a prebuttal against V.P. Joe Biden’s foreign policy speech Thursday on a conference call, but it backfired.
Mitt Romney’s foreign policy adviser, Ambassador Pierre Prosper, has stepped into it up to his ear lobes. I’m not surprised, because it’s another cold war team, this one meant to revive the good old days of Ronald Reagan. They’re doing it with embarrassing gusto.
PROSPER: The United States has become a spectator on issues of national security. We?ve also been embarrassed by North Korea where again it continues to be a conciliatory leaning forward approach and yet the North Koreans will launch a missile surprising the United States by violating their agreement.
You know Russia is another example where we give and Russia gets and we get nothing in return. The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia, yet Russia does nothing but obstruct us, or efforts in Iran and Syria.
Prosper is 20 years late.
There’s another problem with this statement. From the New York Times way back machine:
The administration?s new four-phase plan would deploy existing SM-3 interceptors using the sea-based Aegis system in 2011, then deploy an improved version in 2015 both on ships and on land. Rather than the 10 bigger interceptors originally envisioned for Poland, there could be 40 to 50 of the smaller missiles on land by then and more on ships. A more advanced version would be deployed in 2018 and yet another generation in 2020, the latter with more capacity to counter intercontinental missiles.
The interceptors Mr. Bush wanted to put in Poland would not have been deployed until 2018, officials said.
Another issue, as you can see above, the missiles weren’t there in the first place.
Mitt Romney is on very shaky ground any time he ventures into foreign policy. With aides who clearly have been put in place to conjure up memories of days gone by it’s not going to get any better.
Clang the gong.
Talk about Southern hospitality! Apparently South Carolina has really rolled out the red carpet for ALEC, carving out a special exemption in the state's lobbying law to allow legislators some very special one-on-one time to plot their state-by-state legislative takeovers. Isn't that just the sweetest thing? Bless their hearts:
ALEC has insisted that it is the victim of a "well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign." It also denies accusations that it is a lobbying firm pressing state lawmakers to pass conservative legislation, though ethics watchdog group Common Cause has filed a lawsuit with the IRS, alleging that ALEC is a lobbying group and challenging its nonprofit status.
Yet there's no doubt that ALEC is an influential organization among conservative legislators, and that the extent of its reach is just beginning to become clear. It is such an integral group in some circles, in fact, that South Carolina law actually carves out a special ethics exemption just for ALEC.
enlargeGood old Dave Wilkins was also the state chairman for the Bush campaign.
The state's lobbying law has a section governing how lobbyists can interact with public officials. They cannot, for example, pay for an official's lodging or transportation. However, there are exceptions, one of which is for functions held by ALEC (emphasis added).
[...] ALEC is the only organization to get an individual carve-out in the section.
The outings that ALEC organizes for politicians are essential to its influence. At these retreats, ALEC officials work with state lawmakers to craft new legislation.
As the Post-Courier in Charleston recently reported, some of ALEC's "model laws" have been making their way into the South Carolina legislature. The state passed a voter ID law last year, for example, which had similar language to a model bill that ALEC had proposed.
State Rep. Boyd Brown (D-Fairfield) discovered the exemption in the lobbying law on Wednesday.
"I am disgusted that this group has been specifically exempted from ethics laws in the state of South Carolina," said Brown in a statement. "I am appalled but not surprised that an extremist group such as ALEC wields such influence in the South Carolina General Assembly."
Brown also told The Huffington Post that he would introduce a bill on Thursday to strike the (a) and (b) exemptions, although he did not expect the GOP-controlled legislature to pass it anytime soon.
House Democratic Caucus Director Tyler Jones said the ALEC exemption was the work of former state House Speaker and ALEC member David Wilkins, who later served as President George W. Bush's ambassador to Canada and as transition committee chair for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R). Wilkins was the lead sponsor on the lobbying bill and chose the conference committee members. Wilkins did not return a request for comment.
I’ve been thinking in recent days about the metaphoric value of lightships. Who isn’t considering this topic? (Above—An image of the lightship Sandy Hook from an 1896 book called The Ship’s Company and Other Sea People by a J.D. Jerrold Kelley Lieut.-Commander U.S.N.) A lightship is a floating lighthouse. There were at one time a number [...]
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This is another state of the Krugman post. You and I, flies on the insider walls, know that Ben Bernanke is a full professor at Our Betters U. ? in other words, deeply involved in running his chunk of the State for the lords and ladies who govern us. Like all retainers Bernanke works for a living, but as Chairman of the Fed he's very high up.
Paul Krugman is now acknowledging the same thing, and becoming less and less collegial in the process. Why do I say "less collegial"? Because Krugman and Bernanke are fellow academics; in fact, Bernanke used to be Krugman's boss at Princeton.
As you read the following, remember that the Fed has twin legal mandates ? low inflation (for the money crowd) and low unemployment (for the masses). In reality, of course, the Fed works only for the money crowd, keeping their pockets lined.
Krugman recently called him on that in the magazine piece linked below, and Bernanke has responded. As Krugman tells the tale [bracketed inserts mine]:
Ben Bernanke responds to my magazine piece; as I see it, in effect he declared that he has been assimilated by the Fed Borg:In other words, Bernanke is saying, Why trade a known-bad like inflation for something as ephemeral as improved employment? After all, my friends are fully employed right now.I guess the, uh, the question is, um, does it make sense to actively seek a higher inflation rate in order to, uh, achieve a slightly increased pace of reduction in the unemployment rate? ...Notice the framing ? ?a slightly increased pace of reduction in the unemployment rate?. It?s basically an assertion that we?re doing all right[.] ... Disappointing stuff.
To risk that asset [by "asset" he means "low inflation," though he's actually referring to the money crowd's well-lined pockets], for, what I think would be quite tentative and, uh, perhaps doubtful gains [by "gains" he means "work and food for the masses"], on the real side would be an unwise thing to do [because the world is ruled by "wisdom" and not, say, "greed"].
The White House announced Friday morning that President Obama will veto a student loan bill that would maintain lower interest rates on Stafford loans by gutting the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. The bill, H.R. 4628, would prevent interest rates on Stafford loans from rising from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1. The Prevention Fund will “provide for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer,” the White House said in its statement and argued that while the administration “strongly supports serious, bipartisan efforts to prevent interest rates from doubling,” the bill “is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America?s college students deserves.”
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), speaking on the House floor this week, singled out the top U.S. intelligence official and compared the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who is best known acquiescing to Hitler’s demand to expand the Third Reich into what was then Czechoslovakia in 1938.
Pompeo specifically addressed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. In January, Clapper related during Hill testimony an assessment on whether Iran had made a decision to build a nuclear weapon. “We don?t believe [Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei] has made that decision yet,” Clapper said. By saying “we,” Clapper was not speaking for himself, but for the bureaucracies that he leads and coordinates between, collectively known as the U.S. intelligence community.
But that didn’t stop Pompeo from taking a wildly overwrought shot at Clapper on the floor of the House:
Our president’s intelligence chief has said that the Iranians have not yet decided to build a bomb. To me, these words are reminiscent to those of Neville Chamberlain, who doubted that the Nazi command had finalized its decision to invade all of Europe, both East and West. The threat was either ignored or considered too irrational to be possible by a timorous and distracted world bent on avoiding conflict.
Watch the video:
Pompeo’s attack on Clapper — a Vietnam veteran who made a career in intelligence — seems a thinly-veiled call to military action against Iran, albeit one based on a persistent and flimsy counter-factual about World War II history and preventative wars.
War hawks frequently make Chamberlain comparisons, it seems, to those who express any reluctance whatsoever to go to war. Those who so much as urge caution get charged with “appeasement,” as President Obama has been. Likewise, hawks laud Winston Churchill — though that historic analogy, too, is imperfect for their purposes.
A potential Iranian nuclear weapon is widely considered a threat to both the security of the U.S. and its allies in the region, and the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The Obama administration vows to keep ?all options on the table? to deal with the possibility, but the efficacy and consequences of a strike raise serious questions, leading the U.S. to pursue, for the meantime, a pressure track aimed at a negotiated resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis.
One wonders if Pompeo would make his shocking comparison with Chamberlain for Israeli intelligence officials, who’ve also reportedly concluded Iran hasn’t decided to build a nuclear bomb.
No one knows how many LGBT Americans there are. You've surely heard the one in ten estimate, derived from Alfred Kinsey's groundbreaking studies; he claimed, based on research from a study of male prisoners, that one in ten men were "exclusively homosexual" for about three years of their lives. That's hardly generalizable to the idea that one in ten of us land somewhere to the right of center on the Kinsey Scale. More recent studies and estimates suggest that the number is somewhere between 1 and 3 percent of the population.
But no one knows. And that matters for all kinds of things. If you don't count a group, that group doesn't count. Gay bashings didn't get taken seriously until the Bureau of Justice Statistics started keeping track of how many there were. The LGBT voting bloc gets taken more seriously now that sexual orientation is one of the questions asked in exit polling. (About 3 percent of voters self-identify as LGBT in those polls.) Researchers want more information about LGBT health, wealth, welfare, parenting status, and so many other aspects of gay life?not the media depiction thereof, but the real, day-to-day lives of LGBT folks in every zip code, every race, every religion in the country. This week, a House panel heard testimony about the whether the U.S. Census should add questions about sexual orientation or gender identity, right alongside race, religion, marital and cohabitation status, and all the rest. You can find out more at the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force's "Queer the Census" page.
Here's what I recently learned: several Latin American countries?including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia?have started counting us, or at least, counting same-sex marriages or partnerships.
I'd love to know what the real numbers are. Is it true, as I read somewhere, that one-third of San Francisco is gay? How evenly is that divided between men and women? Is it true, as so many of us generally believe, that Boston's LGBT community overrepresents the ladies? Is there anyone in Dayton, Ohio?the city closest to the exurban/rural township where I grew up?who's gay?
Oh wait! I know the answer to that last one! Dayton, Ohio, of all the unlikely places in the universe, is considering a domestic partnership ordinance. Go, Dayton!
While most of the establishment media folks sleep or are busy demonizing Hilary Rosen for speaking the truth about Ann Romney, Michigan Republicans are destroying democracy in the Wolverine State.[...]
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