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“Terrorism” is not a magical word

Acts of terror

Terror acts

An act of terrorism

The debate over what the president and his advisors & surrogates have said – and they words they have used to explain what happened in the __ attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi fails miserably to advance any substantive foreign policy objective.  We really should not be engaging in this particular debate.  Whether or not the president can win this particular formation of the debate – and it seems to me that he can as demonstrated by his debate performance last Tuesday - It’s a debate wholly within the framework of rightwing world talking points.  

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Many here on DKOS and others on the progressive left see a real failure of leadership on the HCR bill in the Senate. The calls have come from the left now to kill the bill and/or to use reconciliation to pass the progressive heart of health care reform.  And, perhaps predictably, these calls have been either ignored or rebuffed by the current crop of Democratic power brokers:  from Reid to Obama, to Emmanuel to Stenny Hoyer in the House.  

But the real problem with the way this process has unfolded is that all the various components of health care reform have been bundled into one massive must-pass piece of legislation.

This obscures a key strategic mistake by Harry Reid and the White House on the HCR issue:  by bundling all the various elements of health care reform into one absolutely-must-pass piece of legislation Reid both elevated the power of the 58th, 59th, and 60th votes (Lieberman et al.) and it made it more difficult for other more reasonable or progressive Senators to stand in the way of passage.  

The solution -- taken from the pages of American history -- seem clear to me -- Follow the example set in securing the passage of the Compromise of 1850.

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I was browsing through the various news webs when I came across this just now on Talking Points Memo:

During a tele-townhall with constituents today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he supports a public option...but then he added an extremely important caveat. Reid said he doesn't think the public option ought to be a government run program like Medicare, but instead favors a "private entity that has direction from the federal government so people that don't fall within the parameters of being able to get insurance from their employers, they would have a place to go. "

UPDATE I:  OK, well first time on the rec list and I have to add the obligatory thanks – though I am dismayed by a thread in the comments that declares I am "helping us lose" by reporting on a report about Reid while expressing my deep frustration with his leadership.  Strange that...

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Rant

God I am so sick and tired of the stream of disappointing and disheartening news coming out of Washington from Obama to Harry Reid and the Senate and Nancy Pelosi and the House.

I remember not that far back when many here were giddy about Senate Dems denying turncoat Dem Arlen Specter his seniority on this and that Senate Committee.  There was a diary on the rec list then with many in the comments expressing joy that the Democrats had finally found their spine.  I had my doubts...and expressed them in a diary here.  

Now, after a few weeks, I feel like my skepticism was too well placed.

The list of spinelessness and caving in to the opposition at the faintest suggestion that there might be some political difficulties in taking a progressive stand just seems to grow exponentially from day to day.

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I read with disdain and some amount of disgust the news about Senate Dems granting Arlen Specter (D-Crazy Land) the chairmanship of the Judiciary Crime and Drugs subcommittee.  The story was already reported on and well on DKOS this morning by justmy2 here.  

On the way home from a night out with the guys on Tuesday I remember reading a diary on the rec list about how Senate Dems had denied Specter seniority on his various committee assignments.

The reaction by DKOSers to the snub of specter was understandably positive -- though I thought too generous and too favorable to the Senate Dems.  

My reaction was totally different and not positive at all.  I saw the act by Senate Dems as them simply protecting their own narrow interests and perrogatives.  Far from demonstrating some actual spine -- as many here praised them for -- the denial of seniority to Specter was, IMHO, really all about the Senate Dems and not the people.  

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Rightous Rant

There is a good diary just now on the rec list about Democrats' refusing to grant Arlen Specter any seniority for time served on Senate committees.  

This is not in any way a critique of that diary or its author but I'm sorry why the hell should I give a sh&^ about the newly minted Democrat Arlen Specter and his seniority on this or that senate committee?  

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President Barack Obama's trip these past four days to Trinidad & Tobago for a summit with the other leaders in Latin America proved a stunning success.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the mainstream media gave cautious coverage of the summit.  News and analysis of the event also received relatively little attention here and on other blogs -- Though there were several good DKOS diaries here, here, here, and here.

What seemed clear from Obama's performance and the reaction of other leaders in the region is that Obama's approach to engaging foreign nations exposes the abject failure that was the Bush administration's approach to foreign policy -- not just in Iraq and the Middle East but throughout the world.  

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I was about to write that I was shocked at the recent comments by Glenn Beck and Texas Governor Rick Perry calling for Americans or Texans or teabaggers (?) to secede from the Union.  The very notion that prominent Americans would call for the dissolution of the republic is absurd and ought to be roundly criticized.  At their core these suggestions (calling as they do for an end to the republic) are deeply anti-American.  All this from the crowd that complains rather incessantly that it is the Left who hates and blames America for the ills of the world.  

But the sad truth is that these comments are no longer shocking because wing nuts like Beck and Perry long ago left the modern age and have retreated back somewhere into crazy land. (read this excellent travel log from one DKOSer who recently took a trip there)

So I thought it might be useful to provide a (very) brief primer on the history of secessionist ideas in America as a reference for the kind of action that conservatives are calling for and the beliefs they are associating themselves with.    

Poll

In Response to Beck & Perry's Call for Secession, Americans Should:

14%9 votes
25%16 votes
33%21 votes
6%4 votes
20%13 votes

| 63 votes | Vote | Results

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Yesterday leading necon and Sarah Palin backer Bill Kristol offered up another striking opinion piece in the platform handed to him by the Washington Post. In an essay entitled "Republicans' Day of Reckoning" Kristol responded to Obama's almost state-of-the-union speech and in a surprisingly cogent manner he laid out the reasons why the Republican Party as we know it is doomed to wither and fade away into dust.

Follow me below the fold for the explanation:

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Ronald Reagan liked to offer a little quip about government that indicated his attitude toward governing:  He would say, "The nine scariest words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

Reagan delivered the line in an avuncular and humorous way that drew laughs but his position was clear:  government is the problem and if we could only rein it in then your problems would go away.    

Bobby Jindal in his response to Barack Obama's almost state-of-the-union address this past Tuesday essentially attempted to resurrect both Reagan's engaging, folksy style and his philosophical approach to governing.  Both attempts, as many have observed, fell horribly short.

Leaving aside Jindal's struggles with delivery, tone, and style, it was, IMHO, the content of his speech that really fell flat. In the wake of the massive financial collapse in banking, on Wall Street, and in home mortgages, Jindal's calls for a Reaganite-solutions to the nation's pressing problems seemed irrelevant and out-of-touch.

But for me at least the most striking aspect of Jindal's speech, and the element which left commentators like Rachel Maddow speechless, were the moral lessons Jindal drew from Hurricane Katrina.  

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If you are anything like me people have been coming up to you since the election and congratulating you.  

People in my neighborhood stop me and say thanks for all the work I put in for the Obama campaign.  They know me well because I knocked on all their doors too many times to remember.  

I have emails from friends and family congratulating me for a successful  effort working on behalf a candidate who actually won this time round.

My mom, of course, phoned and pretty much credited me with Obama's victory and encouraged me to run for office.  

Let me tell you what I've told every one of them:  I didn't do shit for Obama.

Poll

What did you do to help Obama win?

12%36 votes
40%119 votes
27%79 votes
14%41 votes
5%17 votes

| 292 votes | Vote | Results

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OK, so the last few days I have had a few random exchanges with people that give me great hope for an Obama win in November.  However, you will have to take most of these exchanges with the proverbial grain of salt because I live in Seattle (the bluest of blue cities in one of the bluest states in the nation).  

Below the flip for the good news.  

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