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Member since: Tue Mar 8, 2005, 07:39 PM
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Great article for those who do not like the Clintons too much. It is extremely important that Trump and co are not elected. There is NOTHING to win in not supporting Hillary Clinton.


MAY I PILE ON THE REASONS why even the most bitter Sanders supporter should vote for Clinton? Forget the Supreme Court—it's too obvious. Here are three others:

1. It’s not about Clinton herself. Your vote puts not just Clinton in power but literally thousands of appointees. It may be the deputy administrator in an EPA regional office, or the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the new policy and strategy chief at U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services—or a new member of the National Labor Relations Board, or even chief number cruncher at the Census Bureau

2. If Hillary is out, the Left is out. Not just through 2020, but in four, eight, 12, 16 years from now. Fight for $15 is over. The fight against wage theft is over. If she is out, there is no center-left to push.

Sure. You think after four years of Trump there will be another Bernie or Bernie-like movement. There won't. Even assuming Trump doesn’t, in a Putin-like fit, cancel the 2020 elections, by then the country, or what's left of it, will be beyond your reach. The other side—the real Other Side—has four years to lock down policy with a lock that is bigger than the one on Fort Knox: requirements for balanced budgets, rules on redistricting, changes to the Voting Rights Act, federal voter ID laws, and on and on.
3. Consider the irony of a protest vote for the Green Party—a party of the global Left, not a national one—when the future of the globe itself is what’s at risk. Should such a Green vote indirectly put the GOP in power, it is the end of the Paris Accords on Global Warming. It's not just that the United States would drop out—with the U.S. gone, other countries would, too. What would be the point of any other country complying? This would be devastating to the global—not to mention the planet.

The mysterious absence of women from Middle East policy debates

Interesting and stunning numbers, particularly as women are very present in this field.


Last year, six leading Washington think tanks presented more than 150 events on the Middle East that included not a single woman speaker. According to data, which we recently compiled (available on request), fewer than one-quarter of all speakers at those events were women. How is it possible that in 2014, not a single woman could be found to speak at 65 percent of these influential and high-profile D.C. events?

Such questions are increasingly common in other fields, including the natural sciences. In our experience, organizers of all-male events reply to challenges with one of two answers: “I didn’t even notice there weren’t any women!” or “I couldn’t think of any women to invite.”

Really? Well-known women experts in Middle East politics are on the faculties at Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Northwestern, American, Georgetown and many more universities. Nine of the 15 members of the steering committee of the Project on Middle East Political Science (directed by Marc Lynch) are women. A dozen women have served as president of the Middle East Studies Association. Women are likewise a palpable presence in Middle East policy: Well over a dozen women have served as U.S. ambassadors in the Middle East, and Anne Patterson currently serves as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat dedicated to the region.

As for the think tanks, women run the Middle East Institute, the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution (Tamara Cofman Wittes), the Middle East Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Center for the Middle East and Africa at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and play key roles at the Middle East programs of the Center for a New American Security and the Atlantic Council. Women journalists covering the region are powerhouses in print, on air and on Twitter; there are, frankly, too many of them doing cutting-edge work in the region to even start to list them.


Steve Scalise office unsure if he spoke to white supremacist group (apparently now he is sure he did


“Throughout his career in public service, Mr. Scalise has spoken to hundreds of different groups with a broad range of viewpoints,” communications director Moira Smith said Monday. “In every case, he was building support for his policies, not the other way around. In 2002, he made himself available to anyone who wanted to hear his proposal to eliminate slush funds that wasted millions of taxpayer dollars as well as his opposition to a proposed tax increase on middle-class families. He has never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question. The hate-fueled ignorance and intolerance that group projects is in stark contradiction to what Mr. Scalise believes and practices as a father, a husband, and a devoted Catholic.”


If he did speak to the group, the Scalise aide said, she “didn’t know they were a white supremacist group.”

Apparently, he remembers now.

No. 3 House Republican leader spoke to white supremacist group

The office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) confirmed to the Washington Post Monday that he spoke at a white supremacist group’s event in 2002 while he served as a state representative.

In 2002, Scalise was a local representative for LA 82. Highly unlikely he would not have a sign of that. The Republican leadership looks better and better.

Who is on the Washington Post editorial board

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.

Frank Bruni’s “Bush worship” is back: Why this Times scribe must not cover Jeb

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:

[H]e learned between his 1994 defeat and 1998 victory to reach out to minorities and speak inclusively and hopefully. When he recently told an audience in Washington that a person had to be willing to lose the Republican primary to win the general election, he was in part alluding to that lesson, and he was telegraphing the tone that a Bush campaign would take. He was also signaling a suspicion of labels and boxes.

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:

Shortly after the 2000 election, Richard Wolffe, then a reporter for the Financial Times, summed up what went wrong in the coverage. “The Gore press corps is about how they didn’t like Gore, didn’t trust him. … over here, [on the Bush press plane], we were writing only about the trivial stuff because he charmed the pants off us.” The New York Times’s Frank Bruni, however, did not think he or his colleagues were to blame. Rather, the trivial nature of his work was apparently the fault of the voters. “Modern politics wasn’t just superficial because the politicians made it so,” he argued. “It was superficial because the
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)

Our Unrealistic Hopes for Presidents

A great piece by Brendan Nyhan on how the idea a president can reach across the aisle is irrealistic.

[link:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/upshot/our-unrealistic-hopes-for-presidents.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=0|Our Unrealistic Hopes for Presidents

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.

If grief was color blind (Connie Schulz about Tamir Rice's funeral)

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

GOP House Leader from Polluted-Bakersfield Leads Fight for Dirtier Air

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.

Roe vs Wade's 41th anniversary today.


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.

More here


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, ...


Just to remind people that what you read in papers about foreign countries is not always correct

(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.
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