Member since: Tue Mar 8, 2005, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 26,284
Number of posts: 26,284
I could see this type of article from others, but frankly, from the Post, this s shocking. I know they have always been very pro Cold War, but how can they be that backwards ?
Obama gives the Castro regime in Cuba an undeserved bailout
The administration says its move will transform relations with Latin America, but that is naive. Countries that previously demanded an end to U.S. sanctions on Cuba will not now look to Havana for reforms; instead, they will press the Obama administration not to sanction Venezuela. Mr. Obama says normalizing relations will allow the United States to be more effective in promoting political change in Cuba. That is contrary to U.S. experience with ? Communist regimes such as Vietnam, where normalization has led to no improvements on human rights in two decades. Moreover, nothing in Mr. Obama’s record of lukewarm and inconstant support for democratic change across the globe can give Ms. Sánchez and her fellow freedom fighters confidence in this promise.
The Vietnam outcome is what the Castros are counting on: a flood of U.S. tourists and business investment that will allow the regime to maintain its totalitarian system indefinitely. Mr. Obama may claim that he has dismantled a 50-year-old failed policy; what he has really done is give a 50-year-old failed regime a new lease on life.
Posted by Mass | Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:53 AM (3 replies)
Frank Bruni’s “Bush worship” is back: Why this Times scribe must not cover Jeb
Lord knows the political media is drooling at the prospect of Jeb Bush throwing on the old epaulets and ermine robes and getting the family back into the presidentin’ business. But none seems to be more thrilled by the news than the New York Times’ Frank Bruni:
Why, he sounds downright loveable. Of course, Bruni has a long history with the Bush family, having been on the campaign trail with “W” back in 2000 and delivering some of the most glowing coverage any presidential candidate has ever been privileged to receive, and often on the front page of the New York Times. And the affection was mutual. Eric Alterman recounted a story that perfectly illustrates the relationship:
voters let it be.”
And do not forget to read Eric Alterman's excellent piece on Bruni, just read it, I cannot excerpt it without losing part of it. But Bruni is way too often regarded as a great reporter/columnist. It is more like he is a stenographer.
Think Again: The Times’ Frank Bruni, or How to Succeed in Journalism Without Really Caring (About Issues)
Posted by Mass | Tue Dec 16, 2014, 05:42 PM (1 replies)
A great piece by Brendan Nyhan on how the idea a president can reach across the aisle is irrealistic.
When will we give up on the idea of a leader who will magically bring consensus and unity to our politics?
The public and the news media still want someone who meets the mid-20th-century ideal for a modern president: a uniting figure who works across the aisle to build support for his agenda and commands public opinion from the bully pulpit. While this image was always mostly a myth — presidents typically struggle to move polls or legislators’ votes — the political realities of the time did allow presidents to build more diffuse coalitions in Congress and attract broad public support when the circumstances were favorable.
However, the political system that helped enable this approach is disappearing. The mid-20th century was a historical anomaly — a low point in polarization that was made possible by the ugly history of race in this country, which enabled the rise of a group of conservative Southern Democrats who functioned almost as a third party. After the civil rights movement, the parties realigned on the issue of race, setting in motion a return to the historic norm of polarization that prevailed in the late 19th and early 20th century. This process, which is transforming all of our nation’s political institutions, has been supercharged by the way the parties have become more closely aligned with ideological movements than ever before.
As we approach the next presidential campaign, we need to stop asking who can achieve the unity that has eluded Mr. Obama. For better or worse, the partisan presidency is here to stay. There are some people the next president will never get, as Mr. Rock puts it. The question we should ask instead is whether the candidate we choose will — or can — govern well without their support.
Posted by Mass | Mon Dec 15, 2014, 01:53 PM (0 replies)
Please click on the link and read the whole piece. You may want to cry reading this.
If Our Grief Were Colorblind
Hundreds showed up Wednesday morning for the funeral of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
Tamir was black, and all but a handful of his mourners in the pews were black, too. A group of white people was in the balcony, armed with cameras and media credentials.
I point out the lack of white mourners at Tamir's funeral because it illustrates a willful disconnect, here in Cleveland and across the country. We white people, even the good-hearted liberals among us, tend to view shooting deaths of black children as a black problem. We don't say that. Most of us don't even think it. But how else to explain why virtually none of us thinks we should show up at such a child's funeral? How better to telegraph that we, too, have suffered a loss than to disrupt our day and walk through the door of that church?
From Deputy Chief Jim Polak's Nov. 29, 2012, letter in Loehmann's personnel file:
"It appears from the pattern developing within our short time frame with Ptl. Loehmann that he often feels that when told to do something, that those instructions are optional, and that he can manipulate them if he so feels it can better serve him. I do not say he is doing this for some benefit, or in an insubordinate way, but he just appears to have the mind set that if he thinks he knows better, (then) that is the course he follows.
"Due to his dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl. Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment.
On Wednesday, hundreds of mourners prayed for a boy who should not have died at the hands of a man who apparently should never have been a Cleveland cop.
"This is not a problem of black and white," Tamir's uncle Michael Petty said in his eulogy, "but of right and wrong."
May we prove him right
Posted by Mass | Thu Dec 4, 2014, 07:19 PM (3 replies)
Different men, same policies.
Newly-minted House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) knows something about air pollution. A decade ago, his part of California averaged 153 bad ozone days a year and, while improved by force of regulation, it’s still the worst in the state. He’s averse to changing that situation in the near future.
McCarthy, who was promoted from whip this year when Eric Cantor lost his House seat, vowed to do what he could to thwart a new, stronger standard proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for reducing smog-producing ozone. Ozone is so geographically problematic in California, the federal government has a given the state a longer timeline to meet the standards.
In a statement, McCarthy called the Central Valley’s “cleaner air year over year” acceptable “progress.” But now, “EPA’s latest ozone regulation kicks the ladder out from underneath us.”
There isn’t that far to fall. San Joaquin Valley led the nation this year with 97 bad ozone days. If the new ozone standard were applied, the region would be out of compliance on 146 days. That’s not good. Ozone is hard on humans. It wrecks their lungs, wreaks havoc with asthmatics and has been linked to nervous system disorders and heart ailments.
There may be some disagreement about how low the particulate count has to be before people can breathe easy, but the consensus is we’re not there yet. The only question is do we want to pay the price to go lower.
McCarthy’s opposition to the EPA standard was echoed throughout the GOP hierarchy. Republicans are taking over the Senate and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), a vociferous climate-change denier, will become chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The ultra-conservative U.S. Supreme Court is business friendly and the surging GOP is one presidential election away from controlling all levers of the federal government.
Voters in Bakersfield and Congressional District 23 might be close to getting the kind of air they voted for.
Posted by Mass | Mon Dec 1, 2014, 11:23 AM (0 replies)
Note to the GOP. If you want to attract women, not attacking their rights by attending extreme rallies would be a good start, particularly when you are those who push rebranding toward a nice, gentler Republican party.
The resolution cites several abortion restrictions — such as parental notification laws, mandatory waiting periods, and later abortion bans — that Republicans should push for, since they tend to poll better with the American public. The measure will be introduced on Wednesday and will likely move on to a full committee vote on Friday.
The RNC’s annual meeting happens to coincide with the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion. Earlier this month, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced that he will rearrange the meeting’s schedule to allow members to attend the March for Life, the annual anti-abortion protest in the nation’s capital. Priebus will also charter buses to transport people to the rally. It’s the first time that a major U.S. political party has worked to accommodate the March for Life.
So far, the GOP’s rebranding efforts haven’t gone very well. Polling released this past fall — about a year after the 2012 presidential elections spurred Republicans to reconsider their strategy for appealing to women — found that female voters are actually drifting even further away from the Republican Party.
Next step: helping women raising their children, with paid maternity leave for example. I am sure that the GOP will support that immediately, or making sure pregnant women get care, ...
Posted by Mass | Wed Jan 22, 2014, 09:15 AM (0 replies)
(or even concerning events that happened in this country).
Yesterday, I saw this Newsweek article about France and how bad it is and I thought I was in the Twilight Zone. Sure, French bashing is something the media and American people love (just as French people and the French media love to bash the USA), but here, while the argument (the legitimacy of which is supposedly based on the fact that the person lives in France -- in a very ritzy part of Paris) is common to most Republican writers, reporters and politicians (as seen by the number of pols saying that Europe has unlimited unemployment insuracne??? Seriously? Not true, but who cares) this was just so full misstatements that it was unclear where the arguments came from.
Here is the article, for amusement purposes only.
t’s a stretch, but what is happening today in France is being compared to the revocation of 1685. In that year, Louis XIV, the Sun King who built the Palace of Versailles, revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had protected French Protestants – the Huguenots. Trying to unite his kingdom by a common religion, the king closed churches and persecuted the Huguenots. As a result, nearly 700,000 of them fled France, seeking asylum in England, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa and other countries.
The Huguenots, nearly a million strong before 1685, were thought of as the worker bees of France. They left without money, but took with them their many and various skills. They left France with a noticeable brain drain.
Since the arrival of Socialist President François Hollande in 2012, income tax and social security contributions in France have skyrocketed. The top tax rate is 75 percent, and a great many pay in excess of 70 percent.
What is more surprising is that Le Monde, arguably the equivalent of the New York Times in France, found necessary to answer, in an article called The Fall of Newsweek
Here is the link to the English translation - atrocious, but this will give you an idea
In contrast, M me di Giovanni - which bases its legitimacy on the fact of living in Paris - commits an incredible number of factual errors which remove much of the credibility of this indictment.
1 / "Since the election of François Hollande, in 2012, the income tax and social contributions peaked. The higher rate reached 75%, and a large number of people pay 70%."
It is not known if the article here talking about income tax or social security contributions, obviously, it mixes the two. But to say that the "top tax rate" , the maximum tax threshold is 75% is wrong.
Beyond 500,000 annual, the marginal rate of income tax is 49%. As for the tax to 75%, it was censored by the Constitutional Council as supplementary tax bracket, and is now paid by companies.
Just remember that when you read papers on countries that are much more culturally different than France. What you read is not necessarily true.
Posted by Mass | Mon Jan 6, 2014, 08:45 AM (9 replies)
Michelle Bachelet, who won Chile’s presidency in a landslide on Sunday, has vowed to overhaul her country’s economic model to deal with endemic inequality. And she plans to start by providing free higher education for all.
It’s a radical departure from the current system, in which the government accounts for just 15 percent of the sector’s total funding. That share is among the lowest in the world and is less than half that of the United States, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD.
The policy would also challenge the country’s image as the free-market poster child of Latin America. Chile was the first country in the region to adopt liberalizing economic reforms, in the 1970s. It now boasts the highest GDP per capita and the highest levels of human development in Latin America, says the World Bank. It also has the third highest university-enrollment rate, after Cuba and Argentina.
“The biggest challenge Chilean society faces is education,” she said in her 200-page campaign manifesto. “Inequality and segregation still persist in alarming levels.”
If carried out, the reforms would bring Chile closer in line with the rest of Latin America, where most countries offer some form of free, public higher education. Currently, most of Chile’s one million college students rely on government-subsidized loans to pay tuition, often incurring huge debt. They include the more than 100,000 people who defaulted on their loans in 2012 and who owed an average of $5,400—more than a fourth of the average annual income, according to government figures.
Sound familiar? Chile’s attempts at overhauling its higher-education financing system could provide key lessons for the current debate in the United States over college affordability. But it won’t be easy.
Posted by Mass | Sat Dec 28, 2013, 01:21 PM (0 replies)
Thanks for concrete actions that help people. More than we can hope from most people,
For many couples, the thought of living together in a 96-square-foot house sounds awful. But for Chris Derrick and Betty Ybarra, it’s a Christmas miracle.
That’s because Derrick and Ybarra have spent the better part of a year braving Madison, Wisconsin’s often-harsh climate without a roof over their head.
They’ll spend this Christmas in their own home, thanks to more than 50 volunteers with Occupy Madison, a local Wisconsin version of the original Occupy Wall Street group in New York. The group, including Derrick and Ybarra, spent the past year on an innovative and audacious plan to fight inequality in the state’s capital: build tiny homes for the homeless.
In a city where an average home for sale costs nearly $300,000, many low-income individuals simply can’t afford somewhere to live.
Indeed, in January of this year, a citywide count found 831 homeless people living in Madison, a 47 percent increase in the past 3 years. And it’s not just adults; 110 families with children were identified as well.
The “Tiny House Project” began the same month. The plan was for volunteers to build micro-homes that still include living necessities like a bed, insulation, and a toilet. The homes are heated via propane and include a pole-mounted solar panel to power the house’s light. The total cost: $3,000, paid for by private donations.
Posted by Mass | Fri Dec 27, 2013, 10:04 AM (13 replies)
WASHINGTON –- A group of Democratic Senators and House members expressed concern Friday that trade negotiators are trying to undermine fuel standards in the European Union so that the U.S. can export tar sands oil from the Keystone XL pipeline.
The EU has a policy known as the Fuel Quality Directive, which calls for a 6 percent reduction in emissions from transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel by 2020. As part of that, the EU wants to assign values to different types of fuel based on the emissions they generate. Tar sands oil, which has much higher emissions than conventional crude, would be assigned a higher value under the system. A letter from 21 Senators and House members cites "troubling" reports that the U.S. might be working to undermine those rules as part of the negations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
As The Huffington Post reported back in September, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has expressed concern about EU rules that would discourage the import of oil from the Canadian tar sands. This is an issue for the U.S. right now, particularly as the Obama administration considers whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Alberta down to refineries in Texas, from where it could be exported abroad.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the co-chairs of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change created earlier this year, led the letter-writing effort.
Posted by Mass | Mon Dec 23, 2013, 11:27 AM (0 replies)