At The Nation, Robert Dreyfuss writes Panetta, Petraeus, Allen: Bad News, Good News:
There?s good news and bad news in the decision to shift Leon Panetta from CIA to Defense and replace him with General David Petraeus. Let?s start with the bad news first.
Most disappointing are the signals from the White House that the changes represent merely personnel shifts and don?t represent policy changes. Maybe it?s too much to expect President Obama, already preparing for his 2012 re-election bid, to admit that he has to oversee a drastic retooling of his foreign policy, and that putting new people in new positions is a way to start the ball rolling. Certainly, given the upheaval shaking the region from Morocco to Afghanistan and the free-fall decline of American power and influence throughout that part of the world, you?d think that Obama might want to rethink the direction of US policy. But in preparing the world for the appointments of Panetta and Petraeus, the White House is insisting on continuity, not change. Vis-à-vis Afghanistan, in particular, that?s a bad mistake, since Obama seems intent so far on walking a middle course between supporters of a withdrawal from Afghanistan and the stay-the-course hawks who insist that the Taliban and its allies can be defeated militarily. The result of that cautious, typically Obama-led approach is likely to be a gradual pullout of about 30,000 troops over the next eighteen months, a slow, grinding drawdown through the end of 2014, and an intensive effort to maintain US forces there in smaller numbers for years to come.
Other bad news: putting Petraeus at CIA puts an exclamation point on a twenty-year trend at the intelligence agency to shift its focus from intelligence-gathering to military action and covert operations. ...
Finally, on the (possibly) good news front: Panetta, during his years in Congress, was a budget hawk. If ever there was a time when the Pentagon needs a budget hawk in charge, it?s now. ...
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At Daily Kos on this date in 2010:
Official travel warnings normally run along the lines of don't go sailing off of Somalia or don't pack your bikini for that trip to Saudi Arabia ... now we have this:The Mexican government warned its citizens Tuesday to use extreme caution if visiting Arizona because of a tough new law that requires all immigrants and visitors to carry U.S.-issued documents or risk arrest.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that this is the first time a foreign government has warned its citizens against visiting a state in our country.
It's not a slur, but they think it's one. Republicans at the national level intentionally misuses the word "Democrat" as an adjective, thinking it comes across as a slur, or negative, somehow if they misuse the word. It's done by Fox, the Republican leadership of the Congress, and by Republican leaders nationwide. It's something widely known and acknowledged in Washington, DC And it's very weird. There's a childishness, and pettiness, to it that's actually quite shocking. Mitch McConnell did it again today, when talking about the Democratic budget, he called it the "Democrat budget." And the media never comments on it, never talks about it, writes about it, or exposes it to the American people.
Imagine if the Democrats had decided a while back to misuse the word Republican on purpose - oh, I don't know, say we drop the "l" from now on. It would be the talk of the media. There'd be a national debate excoriating the Democrats for their childishness. But when the Republicans do it, and have been doing it for years, not a peep.
Perhaps the media think (thinks?) that it's so petty and silly, it's just not worth reporting on. But it's the very nature of how petty and silly it is, how sophomoric it is, that makes it significant. Mitch McConnell is the Republican leader in the Senate, the second most powerful Republican nationwide. It's telling, in a seriously bad way, that the man would contort the word "Democrat" in an effort to secretly slur his political opponents. It says something about the man. And it's not good.
They won't be able to hide their love tomorrow morning. Good luck, Will and Kate, I'll be asleep.
What are you listening to this evening?
In response to Spatter, I took my ass back to Facebook to read the response to my comments about Tyler Perry's impatience with Spike Lee. Having spent half an hour writing about the latest jousting, I might as well post my comments at my own blog as well, right?
? FL-Sen: George LeMieux is unsurprisingly trying to distance himself from the label "Charlie Crist Republican," but all I can say is? good luck with that. The Miami Herald has a lengthy look at just how close the two men were, and while Crist himself won't say a word against LeMieux, other former staffers are more than happy to detail just how tight their working relationship was.
? MA-Sen: Hey, Richie Neal: Shut the fuck up. Seriously. What is it with Democratic congressmen from Massachusetts who love to crack out of turn? First Barney Frank, and now this crap. And yeah, you'll have to click the link if you want to know what I'm worked up about.
? TX-Sen: Over at Burnt Orange Report, Karl-Thomas Musselman, a long-time friend of SSP, has a good piece about Democrats' flawed strategies in Texas statewide races over the last decade, and how Team Blue should approach things differently going forward.
? IA-Gov: In a way, this might be the roughest "do-over" poll of all. Former Dem Gov. Chet Culver lost by double digits last fall, the worst performance of any incumbent governor, yet even he now beats Terry Branstad 48-46 in a hypothetical PPP rematch.
? PA-Gov: GOP Gov. Tom Corbett's disapproval rating has soared in the past couple of months. He was at 39-11 in February, and is now at 39-37, according to Quinnipiac. I guess this means not a single new person in the state of PA grew to approve of Corbett in two months!
? AZ-06, AZ-Sen: It's getting hard to keep track of what Republican Russell Pearce's plans are. The author of Arizona's notorious immigration law supposedly was out of the running for the open Senate seat, was heavily talked up for the open 6th CD, then was talked down for it, and is now saying he's leaving both doors open. He says he wants to stay on through the end of the 2012 legislative session, though, and Arizona has a resign-to-run law, so who knows.
On the other hand, House Speaker Kirk Adams just announced that he will resign from the legislature, which can only mean he's gearing up for a run in the 6th. (We've mentioned his name a couple of times before as a possibility.) It's going to be a crowded GOP primary, as the field already includes ex-Rep. Matt Salmon (who used to hold this seat, more or less) and former state Senate majority leader Chuck Gray.
? IA-04: These are statewide numbers, but still interesting: Steve King is the least-popular member of Iowa's congressional delegation, with 27-34 favorables. Christie Vilsack, meanwhile, is at 38-23. Certainly these scores within the new fourth district would look different, but unless there is some wild base of support for King in northwest Iowa, I can't see how you wouldn't prefer to have Vilsack's numbers.
? NC-11: Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell says he'll challenge Rep. Health Shuler in the Democratic primary next year. Shuler, thanks to his vote against healthcare reform, took just 61% in a primary last year against Aixa Wilson, who did not even file any FEC reports.
? ND-AL: With a Rick Berg run for Senate looking likely, people are starting to look at filling his at-large House seat. On the Republican side, state House Majority Leader Al Carlson said he's considering a race. Other possible names, according to the linked piece, are state Sen. Tony Grindberg and Tax Commissioner Cory Fong. I wonder if PSC Commish Brian Kalk might slide down from the Senate race, too.
? NV-02: Oh well, I can't always be right! Sharron Angle shot down an unsourced rumor in the LVRJ that she'd run as an independent in the special election to replace Dean Heller if she isn't chosen as the GOP nominee. (She won't be.)
? NY-13: Now it's Mike Grimm's turn to tell his side of the story about his instantly notorious nightclub incident from 1999. Meanwhile, NYC Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio is calling on the NYPD and DoJ to release their records from their investigations of the matter. Not really sure why DeBlas, of all people, is inserting himself into this one, except perhaps to try to take a GOP scalp as he eyes the 2013 mayoral race.
? OR-01: Here's another interesting bit of sub-text to the whole David Wu saga: Nike. The sneaker company has apparently never forgiven Wu for his vote against a bill that would have expanded trade with China back in 2000, and Nike's chairman endorsed Republican Rob Cornilles last year. (The company also donated to him via their PAC.) It'll probably be easier to get rid of Wu in the Democratic primary, though, so Nike may decide to get involved yet again.
? Philly Mayor: Even though several labor organizations endorsed his crazy ex-con nobody of an opponent, Philadelphia's largest union, the Federation of Teachers, came out for incumbent Michael Nutter earlier this week. But Nutter's been having problems with the municipal unions, with the city's white collar union (known as District Council 47? I've always wondered where they get these numbers) declining to endorse. (Several others have either backed Milton Street or no one at all.)
? Wisconsin Recall: As expected, Democrats filed signatures against Rob Cowles, making him the sixth Republican to face a possible recall election. Republicans have filed against three Dems and missed the deadline against three others. Meanwhile, the state's Government Accountability Board asked a judge to give them more time to review the petitions, which would allow the agency to consolidate the elections on July 12. However, the MSNBC article linked first in this bullet suggests the elections may not take place until the fall.
? WI Sup. Ct.: Under state law, the Supreme Court recount must be completed very quickly, by May 9. It's apparently only the third statewide recount in Wisconsin history. The most recent one took place in 1989? and the one before that in 1858! Unsurprisingly, things are off to a bumpy start in Waukesha, though fortunately the now-notorious Kathy Nickolaus has recused herself from the process.
? EMILY: EMILY's List announced its first four endorsements of the cycle: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Christie Vilsack (IA-04), and Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02).
? Pennsylvania: PPP did something on their new PA poll that I like, and that I hope we'll see more of: They included a statewide generic House ballot, which in this case showed respondents favoring Dems by a 42-36 margin, despite weak numbers for Obama.
? Town Halls: With Congress on recess and members back home doing town halls, we're seeing some turnabout from the summer of 2009, with motivated liberals showing up to castigate Republicans for their votes to kill Medicare. Ordinarily, this would be the sort of topic we'd love to cover in the Daily Digest, but the good news/bad news is that there are just too many of them for us to keep track of. What's more, other outlets are doing a great job of staying on top of them, like ThinkProgress and the DCCC. And there's also great coverage on the rest of Daily Kos, of course!
? Michigan: We've been saying this for some time ourselves, but now the MI state lege is hearing it, too: In order to preserve Detroit's VRA seats, a redistricting expert for the legislative black caucus agrees that new district lines will have to be drawn that cross the traditional "8 Mile" boundary separating the city of Detroit from its suburbs. Michigan's maps must be complete by Nov. 1.
? Missouri: Republicans finally reached an agreement on a map at the 11th hour, sending it to Gov. Jay Nixon. (You can see the new map here.) Democrats in the state House are urging Nixon to veto the plan, where the map fell 13 votes short of a veto-proof majority. The governor has not yet said what he'll do, but there's also a dispute brewing as to whether the legislature will be even able to schedule an over-ride vote this session, or if they'll have to wait until September.
? Nevada: Republicans have released their proposed maps, which you can find here. Democrats will put theirs out later today. Anjeanette Damon describes the congressional map as a 2-2 plan, but you be the judge.
? Texas: Score one for Rep. Lloyd Doggett: He snarfed up a copy of what he believes is the congressional map that Republican congressmen have proposed to leaders of the legislature. A copy is here (PDF). An unnamed source tells the Austin Statesman that they think the map is out-dated, but that Republican plans for splitting Travis County (home of Austin) four ways, as shown by the map, are in fact correct.
? Virginia: Well, it sure sounds like the Democrats have caved on the Virginia Senate map. A deal is reportedly done, and the key changes are summarized by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as follows:
Under the deal, the proposed new Democratic-leaning district in the Richmond area would be eliminated, according to Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan. Republicans would lose one of two senators in Virginia Beach and new districts would be created in Loudoun County and east of Lynchburg.
Also, the idiot Democrats in the House voted yet again for the newest Republican gerrymander (which makes mostly cosmetic changes). How stupid are these people? You don't fucking vote for the other side's gerrymander. I mean, it was one thing to act like this the first time around, when it appeared a multi-way deal was in place. But now these schmucks are like chickens voting to elect Col. Sanders. Hope you enjoy getting dipped in 11 herbs and spices and getting deep-fried to your doom, morans.
Why won't Crazy Allen answer Ms. Nicole's question? Why won't he invite everyone he represents to ask him a question? It's not like they are going to pretend to kill him just to get him to answer. They wouldn't do that, they want him to tell the[...]
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enlargeCredit: CorbisGeorge Meany: The Nixon Years were fraught with double standards.
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In his address to the National Press Club on April 7, 1972, AFofL-CIO President George Meany gave an assessment of how Labor viewed the nation. As always, and seemingly synonymous with a Republican administration, Labor was deemed the enemy of Corporate America and Corporate America seemed impervious to why Labor existed in the first place. As deregulation crept in, almost unnoticed until the Reagan Years when it was too late, the average worker (i.e. Middle Class) was being slowly dismantled and abandoned from the workplace. While, oddly but not surprisingly, corporate profits continued to soar and quality of life continued to plummet. In 1972 George Meany was there to point out these seemingly innocuous findings.
George Meany: ?One of the most shocking examples of the Administration?s double standards was the flouting of the intent in Congress to exempt low-wage workers from wage controls. On January 19th (1972) the Cost of Living Council headed by Secretary of The Treasury John Connolly and director Donald Rumsfeld decontrolled most retail stores and almost half of the nations rental units. That?s on Prices and Rents. Ten days later, in the face of the clear intent of the Congress, the same Council exempted only wages below one dollar and ninety an hour, less than the amount needed to meet the Government defined poverty line for an urban family of four. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has documented the fact that wages are being held down. On April 7th, today the Bureau reported that the average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory workers in private employment, about 47 million people, was three dollars and fifty-seven cents in March. There was an increase of one cent between January and February, and an increase of only 3 cents an hour from January to March. While prices are going up, workers wages are being very effectively held down. Under these conditions profits have begun to soar, although the levels of sales are disappointing and unemployment remains high. In the second half of nineteen hundred and seventy-one the Commerce Department reports that after-tax corporate profits were up nineteen percent from the same period of 1970. The major gains in profits are going to the big banks, corporations and conglomerate giants. The Gallagher President?s Report shows that the nations one hundred largest corporations scored a 76% rise in profits in 1971 over 1970. If you exclude the special case of General Motors because of the strike situation in 1970, then the record of the other 99 giants was a 70.8% rise in after-tax profits.?
And almost 40 years later, the hand-wringing continues. The Corporations are too big to fail, the banks laugh and the people continue to be mystified.
And the definition of insanity is . . . . . .?
Speaking of quality of life and poverty . . .
Elizabeth Warren on The Daily Show with John Stewart, 4/26/11
Elizabeth Warren "wants to give middle-class families a chance to survive economically with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau." So of course she's the most controversial woman in government. Can't have the middle class survive now, can we?
Because powers that be in Congress really want to see the financial sector continue to have the power to rip you off with impunity, the very existence of this agency is being threatened, much less the eventually agency head.
(Reuters) - The White House is zeroing in on close associates of law professor Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken critic of Wall Street, to head the new U.S. consumer financial agency, a source with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters....
Warren, who championed the consumer agency, has run into strong opposition from Republicans who say she would be too confrontational toward the financial industry.
But picking anyone other than Warren could be problematic for Obama because it would risk disappointing Democratic activists whose enthusiasm the president is counting on to help fuel his re-election bid in 2012.
Choosing someone with a close relationship with Warren might be one way to solve the problem for the White House.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said such a choice would be a clear signal that she would continue to help shape the consumer agency.
Reportedly, Warren is still in strong consideration for the job. Other reports have said that other candidates, including former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, have taken themselves out of the running for the job because they think it should belong to Warren.
The fight over this agency isn't going to go away if the administration lands on another candidate. As Warren said on Tuesday's "Daily Show," the "fight isn't over. The fight moved from Main Street to the dark alley. And so now the game is let's just see if we can stick a knife in the ribs of this consumer agency." Warren may as well be the nominee, because she has proven remarkably effective thus far in its creation and ramp-up.
But if the White House, or Warren, decide otherwise, she certainly has other options open. Like, say, the U.S. Senate.
Ladies and gentlemen, I now give you Repug U.S. House Rep from PA Lou Barletta here, ultra supreme jag off ("oooh, you filthy unkempt liberal blogger, you're not supposed to call people names.").
Well then, what would YOU call a U.S. Congressman or woman who laughs at his constituents (and yes, I realize the guy who spoke most of the time was strident, but he happened to be absolutely right). And isn't it disgusting to watch Barletta shine those pearly whites when someone speaks with whom he disagrees (and shuffles papers disinterestedly), but can suddenly try calling the crowd to order when he hears a sympathetic question (while the Fix Noise automatons try to hush the guy who actually makes sense)...
?and Dem Gov. Pete Shumlin of Vermont is my new hero; Rachel Maddow explains why?
?and happy 85th birthday to Harper Lee, one of the greatest writers of all time?
?and I know Lawrence O?Donnell teed off on Orly Taitz, and good for him, but sorry, I want to deal with stuff here that?s actually important ? that said, though, as long as we?re dealing with the supposed controversy over the place our president was born, let?s not forget about this also (h/t Atrios), which brings to mind this tune.
(Yes I know, Kiss last night and Van Halen tonight ? I?ll return to more normal fare tomorrow.)
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Republicans are getting worried that corporations might have to admit that they give money to Republicans. Much like the Chamber of Commerce is worried that corporations might have to admit that they give money to the Chamber of Commerce. They are all[...]
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