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Name: Don
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Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Amherst. MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
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Review of "Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America," by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney

The last throes of Dick Cheney

Review of "Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America," by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney

By Carlos Lozada September 3 at 12:47 PM

EXCEPTIONAL: Why the World Needs a Powerful America

By Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney

Threshold Editions. 324 pp. $28.

It was a classic Washington split-screen moment.

On May 21, 2009, minutes apart and just a mile and a half away from each other, President Obama and former vice president Dick Cheney offered dueling visions of America’s war on terrorism — of Guantanamo and torture, of surveillance and civil liberties. Speaking at the National Archives, Obama decried the previous administration’s “hasty decisions” and said essential American values had been discarded “as luxuries that we could no longer afford.” Cheney, holding court at the hawkish American Enterprise Institute, defended “enhanced interrogations” as legal and valuable, and warned that “in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half-exposed.”

I was in the second row at Cheney’s speech, and I recall the energy in the room as the former vice president approached the lectern. Only recently out of office, Cheney still mattered. He embodied a worldview that carried sway. In 2009, Obama v. Cheney was a heavyweight prizefight.

Six years later, Cheney is out with a new book on national security and is once again scheduled to deliver a speech at AEI, with Obama again as his foil. But it’s hard to muster the same excitement. It is far from clear that Cheney’s arguments, calcified in the intervening years, wield much influence anymore, even within his own party, or that they should. Rather than a slugfest, this feels like a swan song.

And it is a song he performs, in perfect Cheney pitch, with “Exceptional.” Co-written with his daughter Liz Cheney, the book is part history of America’s role in the world since World War II, part assault on Obama’s record on foreign and defense policy, and part relentlessly militaristic to-do list for the next commander in chief. “Our next president must be committed to restoring America’s power and strength,” the Cheneys write. “Our security and the survival of freedom depend on it.”

In the authors’ telling, America’s influence over world events has been almost entirely benevolent, as leaders from Roosevelt and Truman to Reagan and George W. Bush stared down tyrants and dispensed freedom and security. “We are, as a matter of empirical fact and undeniable history,” the Cheneys explain, “the greatest force for good the world has ever known.” From D-Day through the Cold War and into the age of terror, “security and freedom for millions of people around the globe have depended on America’s military, economic, political, and diplomatic might.”


What the RNC’s pathetic loyalty pledge says about the GOP

By Paul Waldman September 3 at 12:10 PM

Some news outlets are reporting that Donald Trump will sign the loyalty pledge that the Republican National Committee has demanded of its candidates, in an apparent effort to foreclose the possibility that Trump will run as a third-party candidate if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination. Trump has scheduled a news conference for this afternoon where he’ll make his announcement.

Something tells me that Trump figures that by the time the party gets its nominee, either it’ll be him, or he’ll be bored of running for president by then and won’t want to bother running a long-shot third party candidacy almost sure to fail. On the other hand, if he really wanted to break the pledge because America so desperately needs his super-classy, gold-plated leadership, then he would do it in an instant.

But beyond the question of whether Trump will honor the pledge, this whole affair is an excellent demonstration of just how limited the modern political party’s power is.

Back in the good old days, parties picked their presidential nominees in the proverbial smoke-filled room, where the bigwigs would get together and make whatever choice they thought was best. There was plenty of factional maneuvering, infighting and intrigue, but the voters were only a tangential part of the process. Then between the 1968 and 1972 elections, both parties reformed their nomination processes to ensure that convention delegates would be selected by primaries and caucuses, which delivered power into the voters’ hands. That meant that anybody could run and potentially win, whether he had the support of the party establishment or not. When the 2010 Citizens United decision created a wide-open campaign finance system, the ability of the establishment to guide and shape the nominating contest was reduced even further, because now anyone with a billionaire buddy or two can wage a strong campaign whether they have the support of party leaders or not.

That doesn’t mean that those party leaders have no more influence. They can still deliver key endorsements, raise money, and help candidates move voters to the polls. But in the face of a phenomenon like Donald Trump, none of the tools at their disposal seem to mean very much. Just look at how that establishment helped Jeb Bush raised $100 million, a “shock and awe” campaign that was supposed to drive other candidates from the race and make Jeb the obvious nominee. It’s not exactly working out as planned; in the current pollster.com average, Jeb is in third place behind Trump and Ben Carson, with an underwhelming eight percent support.


Chris Christie refuses to sign RNC loyalty pledge on CNN, but signs it on Fox News

Source: Washington Post

This morning on CNN’s “New Day” program, co-host Alisyn Camerota waved a piece of paper in front of Republican presidential hopeful and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “Have you seen this pledge of loyalty from the Republican National Committee,” asked host Alisyn Camerota. The pledge seeks a signed promise from candidates not to run as an independent candidate in case they don’t secure the party’s presidential nomination. It’s essentially a ploy to contain Donald Trump’s ambitions.

“Did you sign it,” asked Camerota. “Not yet,” responded Christie, saying that he committed at the Aug. 6 Fox News presidential debate. When Camerota said, “I have a pen,” Christie said, “Not now.”

Within hours, Christie had changed his view on the optics of signing the RNC pledge in front of a cable news audience. During the Fox News “America’s Newsroom” show, Christie sat down with co-host Martha MacCallum. They talked about a number of issues on the campaign trail, including, of course, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and the Spanish language. Also a topic: That very loyalty pledge that Christie had declined to sign on CNN’s air. “I have no problem with it. I obviously will sign the pledge,” said Christie at the outset of his chat with MacCallum.

Later, as the two were wrapping up, MacCallum said to Christie: “All right, we have a pledge for you, sir.” At that point, a producer appeared from the shadows carrying a piece of paper.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2015/09/03/chris-christie-refuses-to-sign-rnc-loyalty-pledge-on-cnn-but-signs-it-on-fox-news/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_popns

Lawyers for gay couples offered Davis a "stay out of jail" card

UPDATE SEP 3, 2015 3:57 PM

Attorneys representing the same-sex couples in this case reportedly offered a deal, that Judge Bunning agreed to, which would allow Davis to leave jail if she permitted several of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. According to multiple sources on Twitter, however, Davis has refused this deal and elected to remain in jail.


O’Malley Super PAC Cuts Iowa Staff

Source: PoliticalWire

“A super PAC supporting Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley has laid off 38 organizers in Iowa — about three-quarters of its staff here,” the Washington Post reports.

“Generation Forward, a political action committee launched by longtime O’Malley aides and other boosters, maintains 13 people on the ground in the nation’s first nominating state, spokesman Ron Boehmer said Wednesday night.”


Read more: http://politicalwire.com/2015/09/03/omalley-super-pac-cuts-iowa-staff/

Judge rules against NFL, drops Tom Brady’s four-game ban

By Bob Hohler, Ben Volin and Matt Pepin GLOBE STAFF SEPTEMBER 03, 2015

A federal judge sharply repudiated the National Football League Thursday as he freed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady from a four-game suspension that had overshadowed his fourth Super Bowl title and hung over his legacy like black bunting.

With the suspension vacated, Brady is poised to lead the Patriots next Thursday night when they commemorate their Super Bowl victory and open the 2015 season against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium.

But how he reclaims his golden reputation remains in question. Brady’s status for the season opener had been in doubt until Judge Richard M. Berman tossed Brady’s suspension for allegedly conspiring to improperly deflate footballs in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Jan. 18 and trying to cover up the scheme.

Berman, ruling in US District Court for the Southern District of New York, cast Brady as the victim of an arbitrary, capricious, and fundamentally unfair disciplinary process administered by the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell.

Berman assailed Goodell for dispensing “his own brand of industrial justice” that violated Brady’s constitutional rights. Those violations included the NFL withholding notice from Brady that his penalty “would be the equivalent of the discipline imposed upon a player who used performance enhancing drugs,” Berman found.


Warmonger Lindsey Graham Throws a Temper Tantrum After Obama Win On Iran Deal

By: Sarah Jones
Wednesday, September, 2nd, 2015, 1:37 pm

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted this little bomb in reaction to the Democrats getting the needed 34th vote this morning that locks in their ability to sustain a Presidential veto if necessary, “The Iranians have now secured enough Senate votes to ensure they have a pathway to a bomb, missile to deliver it, & money to pay for it”.

Lindsey Graham

The Iranians have now secured enough Senate votes to ensure they have a pathway to a bomb, missile to deliver it, & money to pay for it.

12:31 PM - 2 Sep 2015
144 144 Retweets 58 58 favorites

So, according to this well thought out and emotionally measured tweet, Sen. Graham is suggesting Senate Democrats are working for Iran, which supports terrorists. He then claims that Democrats have “ensured” that Iran has a pathway to a bomb and can deliver it. Of course, he’s ignoring the truth, as it’s hardly just Democrats who are supporting the Iran Deal. The world decided to go with this deal – saying it’s not perfect but it’s the best shot we have at stopping Iran. These nuances are lost on the bomb-throwing Senator from South Carolina.

Furthermore, there is no way that Graham can know that the Iran deal will result in x, when it hasn’t even been implemented yet. But this is the kind of childish, reactionary, bumper sticker rhetoric we’ve come to expect from the warmongers in the Republican party.

These are the same people who told us we had to invade Iraq cuz’ WMD. We shouldn’t wait to verify, they told us then. We might be dead before we get facts- best to act impulsively. So they must expect some questions, given not only their past bad judgment but also their repeated claims to know something as a fact that they have no way of knowing, or as happened with Iraq, they are actually dissembling about.



Coordinated Strategy Brings Obama Victory on Iran Nuclear Deal

WASHINGTON — Just before the Senate left town for its August break, a dozen or so undecided Democrats met in the Capitol with senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia who delivered a blunt, joint message: Their nuclear agreement with Iran was the best they could expect. The five world powers had no intention of returning to the negotiating table.

“They basically said unanimously this is as good a deal as you could get and we are moving ahead with it,” recalled Senator Chris Coons, the Delaware Democrat who lent crucial support to the deal this week despite some reservations. “They were clear and strong that we will not join you in re-imposing sanctions.”

For many if not most Democrats, it was that message that ultimately solidified their decisions, leading to President Obama on Wednesday securing enough votes to put the agreement in place over fierce and united Republican opposition. One after another, lawmakers pointed to the warnings from foreign leaders that their own sanctions against Iran would be lifted regardless of what the United States did.

But the president’s potentially legacy-defining victory — a highly partisan one in the end — was also the result of an aggressive, cooperative strategy between the White House and congressional Democrats to forcefully push back against Republican critics, whose allies had begun a determined, $20 million-plus campaign to kill the deal.

Overwhelmed by Republicans and conservatives in previous summers when political issues like the health care legislation were effectively put on trial, Democrats sought to make sure that momentum remained behind the president on the Iran agreement in both the Senate and the House.


Trump Could Ensure Democratic Dominance for Years

Politico: “Donald Trump knows the United States will never deport eleven million undocumented immigrants or do away with birthright citizenship. But what if we did—what would be the political impact if Trump and other angry nativists in the GOP actually achieved most or all the changes they desire, cutting immigration back sharply?”

“We already know, because something very similar happened once before in American history. Ninety years ago, two Republican presidents—Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge—and a Congress dominated by Republicans enacted equally harsh policies against immigrants. Their success helped usher in the longest period of one-party rule in the 20th century. But it was the Democrats, not the GOP, who benefited, in one of the most whopping instances of unintentional consequences in American political history.”



Trump’s Success Makes Romney Want to Run Again

“As Donald Trump continues to dominate the Republican presidential race, frustration and panic have become high enough to make some inside the party Establishment pine for a candidate they roundly rejected as recently as January: Mitt Romney,” according to Gabriel Sherman.

Said on Romney insider: “Mitt wants to run. He never stopped wanting to run. These guys like Walker and Perry, they were big deals in their states, but you get them onto the national stage and it’s a different story. It’s like they were in middle school, and now they’re freshmen in high school and they’re getting their faces slammed in the toilets.”


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