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With negotiators nearing an accord on permanent tax breaks for businesses worth $440 billion over 10 years, President Obama rallied Democratic opposition and promised a veto.

“The president would veto the proposed deal because it would provide permanent tax breaks to help well-connected corporations while neglecting working families,” said Jennifer Friedman, a White House spokeswoman.

“It’s somewhat ironic they’re willing to just proceed here, unpaid for, leave the middle class behind and include a lot of things that I think wouldn’t benefit our economy,” said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

But Mr. Obama and Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, personally stepped in with a furious round of calling Tuesday afternoon to promise a veto. Shaun Donovan, the White House budget director, and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew also called lawmakers.

Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said a veto would be sustained, even if the negotiated package were chock-full of tax breaks for constituents of Senate Democrats.

http://www.nytimes.com/...

What a complete capitulation by Reid & Senate Dems. I gotta say, the contrast between Obama and Senate Democrats is so stark. Do they honestly think the reason for their losses were they didn't do giveaways to Corporate America? Simply Amazing.
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This reporting, which appeared last night, by Adam Montous at the WSJ is breathtaking. This article is such a blockbuster in that it has about a billion things that expose the utter disfunctionality of the US-Israel relationship and the utter contempt Obama, Netanyahu, and their respective administration have towards each other. The utter and complete entitlement of Netanyahu is jaw-dropping.

The relevant parts below, but you should really read the whole article cause its so shocking:

U.S. officials said Mr. Obama had a particularly combative phone call on Wednesday with Mr. Netanyahu, who they say has pushed the administration aside but wants it to provide Israel with security assurances in exchange for signing onto a long-term deal.
Today, many administration officials say the Gaza conflict—the third between Israel and Hamas in under six years—has persuaded them that Mr. Netanyahu and his national security team are both reckless and untrustworthy

A senior Obama administration official said the White House didn't intend to get into a "tit for tat" with the Israelis when the war broke out in Gaza. "We have many, many friends around the world. The United States is their strongest friend," the official said. "The notion that they are playing the United States, or that they're manipulating us publicly, completely miscalculates their place in the world."

A senior Obama administration official said the weapons transfers shouldn't have been a routine "check-the-box approval" process, given the context. The official said the decision to scrutinize future transfers at the highest levels amounted to "the United States saying 'The buck stops here. Wait a second…It's not OK anymore.' "

The last straw for many U.S. diplomats came on Aug. 2 when they say Israeli officials leaked to the media that Mr. Netanyahu had told the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, that the Obama administration was "not to ever second-guess me again" about how to deal with Hamas.

The White House and State Department have sought to regain greater control over U.S.-Israeli policy. They decided to require White House and State Department approval for even routine munitions requests by Israel, officials say.

Instead of being handled as a military-to-military matter, each case is now subject to review—slowing the approval process and signaling to Israel that military assistance once taken for granted is now under closer scrutiny.

http://online.wsj.com/...
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According the National Journals Major Garrett, who has great WH sources, Obama is planning on going big with his upcoming immigration executive action. The whole article is worth a read but below are the relevant excerpts:

Ever since, immigration groups on the left despaired over Obama's credulous paralysis. Protests ensued.

Not any longer. Obama told the groups what they had been dying to hear—that he was going to condemn House Republicans for inaction and set the most expansive legal course permissible to beef up border security, slow deportations of noncriminal aliens, and provide legal status to millions of undocumented workers—all by himself.

"He went from hanging back to calling the question and retaking the initiative," said Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice. "I kept thinking, 'Where has this guy been?' He's going on offense. He was a different guy. He was unplugged. After months of him and his team being angry with advocates for putting pressure on him to take executive action, it became clear he was no longer going to use the prospect of legislation to deflect attention and pressure from him."

Obama made it clear he would press his executive powers to the limit. He gave quiet credence to recommendations from La Raza and other immigration groups that between 5 million to 6 million adult illegal immigrants could be spared deportation under a similar form of deferred adjudication he ordered for the so-called Dreamers in June 2012.

Obama has now ordered the Homeland Security and Justice departments to find executive authorities that could enlarge that non-prosecutorial umbrella by a factor of 10. Senior officials also tell me Obama wants to see what he can do with executive power to provide temporary legal status to undocumented adults. And he will shift Immigration Control and Enforcement resources from the interior to the border to reduce deportations of those already here and to beef up defenses along the border.

"Things were getting ragged with some of the immigration groups," said Marshall Fitz, director of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress. "Many of us had long drawn the conclusion the House Republicans were not going to budge. After Obama spoke, the vibe was, 'Wow. This is a very clear, very serious pivot.' "

http://www.nationaljournal.com/...

Color me shocked. I thought he would take action, but it would be around the edges. For immigration advocates to be happy and shocked at his forcefulness means a lot, cause they're the part of his base thats been most willing to criticize him (see: Deporter in Chief).

If this reporting turns out to be true, it will be one of best political and substantive moves a President has ever done on his own. Or as Frank Sharry, one the advocates at the meeting said: "he'll go from Deporter in Chief to the Great Emancipator." That would be something.

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Before going into why I wrote this diary, lets talk about Strike #1 That was the wonderful episode where he was shilling for the Healthcare Industry by campaigning against the ACA's IPAB. This culminated with him writing a lie-filled Op-Ed in the WSJ on the subject which, naturally, gave credibility to those on the right who want to gut IPAB because it does what they don't want: cutting cost out of out the healthcare system by forcing changes to Doctors and Hospitals as opposed to consumers and the poor. Now, some people not familiar with our politics probably don't understand why the Republicans, a party that professes their #1 priority to be cutting out of control entitlement spending, is so religiously opposed to IPAB. Well, besides their desire in all things that pain shouldn't come to corporations but to people and especially the poor, there is also the reality that if Medicare is made more efficient and cost effective it reduces the needed pressure to force radical solutions that they prefer like "Premium-Support". So Dean, after saying, in 2010, passing the ACA wash't worth it cause it didn't have a public option and had no cost controls, is now opposed to the most consumer friendly cost-control out their and is the right's biggest ally on that cause.

But what really drove me over the edge and basically counts as 2 strikes is his op-ed with Rudy Gulianni published in today's Roll Call:

They urged us to convey to the US administration that Iranians are fed up with the ruling theocracy and do not view Rouhani as an element for change. They all called for firmness in dealing with Tehran’s rulers.

Yet, tragically, the firmness they were yearning for has become hostage to nuclear negotiations that are stuck behind “hard decisions by Tehran”— and that is while Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure has remained intact and the centrifuges keep spinning. In the meantime, the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, underscored last week that the regime “will not give up its nuclear achievements and nobody has the right to negotiate over these achievements.” The weak policy vis-a-vis Tehran has only emboldened it to intensify suppression, continue massive support for Syrian dictator Assad and to slaughter its opponents, members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran in Camp Liberty in Iraq.

During the nuclear negotiations in Geneva in November, France demonstrated that neither Europe nor the U.S. would lose from upholding a firm position. But offering concessions to a regime that views major compromise on its nuclear weapons program as a “poison chalice” and human rights as its Achilles’ heel only protracts the security threat for the U.S. and Europe and postpones the Iranian people’s desire for achieving democracy and freedom. America must commit itself to the principle that the human rights of others must not be sacrificed for ephemeral diplomatic gains.

http://www.rollcall.com/...

What we have here is an Op-Ed that is calling Obama weak and parroting Neo-con talking points that only complete and utter capitulation by Iran will suffice. Even worse, with the mention of opposition from the Iranian populous and the Ayotallahs being weak, the obvious subtext is that regime change is the only option. This shouldn't be surprising, cause Howard Dean is shilling for MEK, a shady exiled Iranian group that's sole purpose is the overthrow of the regime.

Whats so disgusting is how he's so completely embraced the cause of his clients, the HC Industry and MEK, and that either he really didn't believe any of his '03 message and  previous positions or that he's so money hungry that he'll subjugate his views with glee.

Either way, its disgusting. I'm done with him, and you should be too.

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The president wasn't lying when he said he'd do whatever he could to help middle-class families on his own. This Tuesday, with Lilly Ledbetter by his side, he'll sign an EO that prevents federal contractors from retaliating against employees who inquire about the salaries of their coworkers; basically the Paycheck Fairness Act for contractors. In addition to that, he'll ask the Dept of Labor to draft new regulations requiring all contractors to report salary data and, crucially, to include gender and race breakdowns.

If you add this to the minimum wage EO and the re-writing of overtime regulations, what you have is pretty substantive change, and there's nothing Republicans can do about it. Keep em coming Mr. President!

http://www.politico.com/...

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Just coming up on the Times. The guy has been a strong advocate of stronger gun control and is a strong Obama ally but the NRA pushed back and the WH has lost about 10 Democrats. Following the Adegbile vote, rhe whole article takes the posture of this showing weakness on Obama's part but that misses the point.

What this really shows is why many Senate Dems were against removing the filibuster. Now they're being exposed for the weak-kneed frauds that they are. All you need to say is "Boo!" and they scurry. Pathetic.

http://www.nytimes.com/...

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I don't know how many times we have to keep on seeing another search and seizure case where we have a 6-3 opinion where Breyer joins the majority and Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor are the only dissenters. We had the case with cops searching a suspect and undressing him, and the case on whether cops could have dogs sniff on your property among several others. Actually in one of those cases the decision was 5-4 cause Scalia joined the 3 female justices on the court. So, you can make a good case that on search & seizure cases, Scalia is our closest ally and is probably a 50% get:

The case about searches followed a confrontation at the Los Angeles home of Walter Fernandez, who was suspected of a role in a robbery. “You don’t have any right to come in here,” he told police officers. “I know my rights.”

Under a 2006 decision, Georgia v. Randolph, that objection was enough to bar a search of his home without a warrant even if another occupant consented, at least so long Mr. Fernandez remained present.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Stephen G. Breyer joined the majority opinion.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, wrote that “the police could readily have obtained a warrant to search the shared residence.”

“Instead of adhering to the warrant requirement, today’s decision tells the police they may dodge it, nevermind ample time to secure the approval of a neutral magistrate, " Justice Ginsburg wrote. “Suppressing the warrant requirement, the court shrinks to petite size our holding in Georgia v. Randolph.”

The alignment of justices in the search case, Fernandez v. California, No. 12-7822, was fairly typical, as Justice Breyer has recently been joining his more conservative colleagues in cases concerning the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches.

http://www.nytimes.com/...

The reason why these cases are important is cause I have ZERO faith in congress doing anything to unwind the NSA dragnet program and the Patriot Act more broadly. Because of the Snowden leaks these cases will now have their day in court due to NSA practices being made public and thus giving citizens standing. The effect has already been huge with one district judge striking down the entire program and thoroughly blasting the administration. So the chances of two appeals courts disagreeing on this issue and thus forcing the Supreme Court to be the final arbiter is high, and with Breyer basically a conservative on these issues, I'm worried that all the supreme court will do is ratify these policies and further entrench them into our general understanding of police powers.
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Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 09:55 AM PST

3 cheers for Tom Friedman

by ai002h

Before delving into Friedman, let me begin with Greg Sargents article from yesterday regarding Democrats getting ready to abandon Obama on Iran:

Senate Dems close in on Iran sanctions bill

It looks increasingly likely that any day now, Senate Dems will roll out a new proposal to impose new sanctions on Iran — in defiance of the White House’s request that they hold off, for fear that it will undermine the possibility of a long term deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

That means the pressure will now redouble on Harry Reid, who is caught between those in his conference who want sanctions action, and the administration, which doesn’t. The Senate Majority Leader had temporarily deferred the decision on sanctions over to the Committee. Now that it is unlikely to act, it will fall to Reid to decide whether the Menendez-Kirk bill gets a full vote.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

Now Greg Sargent, unlike most of the left, has been doing excellent reporting on the Democratic revolt against the administration, but even he hasn't gotten to the nub of the matter, In his many pieces on these developments, he has yet to use the word AIPAC or Israel Lobby, cause I guess there's some taboo in mentioning the elephant staring you straight in the face. This also applies to Chris Hayes, who has also done great reporting on this issue, but has asked quizzically why Democrats would abandon that WH without ever bringing up the Israel Lobby.

Now this brings me to Tom Friedmans excellent column from 2 weeks ago on the Iran deal that I just read, which, compared to the rest of the media, had breathtaking honesty and clarity.

The key paragraph:

Never have I seen Israel and America’s core Arab allies working more in concert to stymie a major foreign policy initiative of a sitting U.S. president, and never have I seen more lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — more willing to take Israel’s side against their own president’s. I’m certain this comes less from any careful consideration of the facts and more from a growing tendency by many American lawmakers to do whatever the Israel lobby asks them to do in order to garner Jewish votes and campaign donations.

http://www.nytimes.com/...

I'm what you would call a liberal Tom Friedman basher, mainly cause he's an avatar of the "centrist" Simpson-Bowles clap trap thats done so much to damage our domestic debate. So for a guy with that much "establishment cred" to sound like Mondoweiss is impressive, and dare I say it, courageous.

For that reason, I tip my hat and give him 3 cheers for calling a spade and spade, and putting the liberals that routinely bash him(for good reason) to shame.

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Since Wednesday of last week, via a leak to the NY Times, the foreign policy and international community have been rightly fixated on the ongoing drama on the possible deal with Iran, and the drama surrounding it. And this story deserves EVERY OUNCE of that attention because what we saw on Saturday and Sunday when the US SOS and the Iranian FM were pulling all nighters in one on one discussions and were for the first time on the same page on what needs to be done for a deal and were genuinely pulling in the same direction was a seminal moment in world politics. Coming to a nuclear deal with Iran, and consequently opening the door for a total normalization of relations, would be be only second to the berlin wall and the demise of the Soviet Union in its geopolitical importance, and would change Middle East politics for ever. Its that big. And thats the reason why all hell has broken loose with Israel openly blasting the deal and the war hawks flexing their muscles to kill this baby in its crib.  

Knowing all that, you know how much coverage this got from MSNBCs supposedly liberal prime-time lineup in the past 5 days? Not. One. Second. They have literally not said a word about the talks and how they hang on the precipice with John Kerry basically begging congress today not to pass new sanctions. For them to do that, shows not only a complete lack of interest in the gravity of the situation but a lack of understanding of the signal they send as the biggest progressives in cable news. When the talk of these developments are hardline criticism from Netanyahu, AIPAC, ADL, the American Right, and Congress on one side is met with literally absolute silence by what passes for the American Left, you pretty much are left with an administration that feels it has no room to make serious concessions to Iran, since as it is they represent the left end of the argument. With them boxed in, the only rational consequence is war and once the battle plans have been drawn I guarantee, unlike Syria which congress was ambivalent towards, this ship would be gone by then. So literally the fate of whether we go to war is being decided now and there is literally no pushback from the left, Daily Kos included.

Furthermore, the silence of people like Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow also give a free pass to the numerous democratic politicians who champion the progressive label but on this issue pretty much vote like Netanyahu would want, and for good reason. If there's no one on your side, not even Chris Hayes or Rachel Maddow, who would speak up for your position and on the other side hell would be let loose on you, the rational act is not to fight on this issue. The simple point is progressives with big profiles are, like it or not, signals for what the party base values in their representatives and a gauge for what your average democrat can freelance on with no repercussions. This has created a congress where, on Israel and Iran, liberals and conservative literally spout the same talking points and feel there's not a price to be paid. Lets hope they're wrong.

UPDATE: I do think there is a SUBSTANTIAL difference between Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow on these issues btw. Chris Hayes has in the passt, particularly when he was hosting UP, had lengthy discussions on this topic and was clearly aghast at the influence of AIPAC and actually mentioned the perversion of our politics on anything that touches Israel. Rachel Maddow, on the other hand, has been so absent and silent on this issue that it makes me wonder what her views are. I have watched her show religiously for 5 years and I honestly don't think she's ever talked about the Israel-Palestinian issue, not once. As the darling of the left, her coverage of this has been beyond embarrassing, its been cowardly.

Just felt the need to put that out there.

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The Obama administration, in the middle of delicate negotiations with Iran, has been pleading with Senators not to pass more sanctions, for fear of it toppling the delicate but hopeful negotiations now proceeding. But the admin is getting tons of pushback from Senators, including democrats like Patty Murray, Bob, Menendez, Bob Casey, Mark Blumenthal, Barbara Mikulski, and many others. Basically 80% of the Senate disagrees with the administration on how they've handled the prospects of reaching a deal with Iran.

Now here's where the rubber hits the road. The admin has been signaling over the past 24 hours that they're going to make an offer to Iran in which they will give sanctions relief in return for a 6 month freeze on their nuclear program, with the hopes that this will buy time for a comprehensive deal. Now, the only problem is AIPAC and most "pro-Israel" have come out strongly against this proposal and are beginning to push the Senate. So in lieu of the pressure, Bob Corker is introducing a bill to completely remove the administrations ability to issue sanctions relief:

We’ve crafted an amendment to freeze the administration in and make it so they are unable to reduce the sanctions unless certain things occur,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told The Daily Beast in an interview Wednesday. “They have the ability now to waive sanctions. But we’re very concerned that in their desire to make any deal that they may in fact do something that is very bad for our country.”

Corker said that his new legislative language would freeze the administration’s ability to waive sanctions currently in place until or unless Iran agrees to large concessions on its nuclear and missile programs. The concessions Corker is demanding go way beyond the incremental deal being contemplated this week in Geneva, where Iran will meet with officials from the U.S. and the other countries in the P5+1 group, which includes Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/...

People are saying this bill has a good chance of passing despite the administration protests, and it may even pass with a  veto-proof majority. Dailykos readers have to get rid of their apathy and realize that is this passes, we're basically guaranteeing war with Iran.

You think the Syria strike was a big deal, just wait. So please, please can we push back on "bomb Iran" consensus. The one reason that consensus exists is because of the lefts complete apathy on this. Only when the war plans are being drawn up will liberals wake up and start screaming, but then it will be too late. Lets nip this in the bud NOW.

UPDATE: Since many of you are asking for the link referencing the democrats, here it is:

http://mondoweiss.net/...

and another

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/...

There are about 20 more if you need them

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And here I thought it was Reid he was telling Obama to hold firm:

White House officials rushed Friday to squash an emerging bipartisan deal crafted by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) because they viewed it as a worse than proposals from Boehner.

It would have locked in next year’s even-deeper government spending levels and suspended the medical device tax, a key funding stream for Obamacare that’s unpopular with both parties.

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors called Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). The president didn’t want Democrats anywhere near that deal, and the Senate leaders, in turn, warned the rank and file to hold back and avoid committing to the deal. The president reiterated his concerns in a Saturday meeting with Democratic leaders, and they made clear that they couldn’t accept the proposal.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/...

Wow...they played that beautifully. Obama, as the face of the party, still gets to seem somewhat reasonable while people are calling Reid the real intransigent player on the Democratic side. Yet this whole time its actually the WH thats unwilling to take any deals.

This actually makes sense now cause people were shocked last Saturday when Reid rejected the Collins proposal, since there were already 6-7 Dems on it and it was looking like the vehicle that would come out of the Senate. Collins herself felt Reid's rejection and the subsequent pullback from Dem Senators came out of nowhere and was unexpected. Now we know its cause the WH told them to kill it.

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Consider that Ezra Klein is very sympathetic not only to the law, but to the administrations handling of most of its creation. But what he says here is really indicting: the problems are much bigger than we thought, could take a while to fix, and someone should get fired for this.

But here's the key excerpt that caught my attention:

This isn't about politics. A lot of liberals will be angry over this post. A lot of conservatives will be happy about it. But it's important to see the Affordable Care Act as something more than a pawn in the political wars: It's a real law that real people are desperately, nervously, urgently trying to access. And so far, the Obama administration has failed them.
The Obama administration's top job isn't beating the Republicans. It's running the government well. On this -- the most important initiative they've launched -- they've run the government badly. They deserve all the criticism they're getting and more.
I COMPLETELY agree with Ezra here. As someone who has been trying to access the site a billion times, to call it a disaster and failure doesnt do it justice. The administration knew they had an opposition party that would smell blood on even the smallest glitches, let alone a meltdown and yet some of the functions and communications with insurance companies weren't even Beta-tested, which is a level of carelessness and irresponsibility beyond comprehension.

All these blue states across the country are going gangbusters with their own exchanges, from NY to Cali to Washington and so on. So this isn't about the law, single-payer, or any other thing. This is about simple EXECUTION and running a government that can deliver the goods it promises.

They failed their supporters, but also congressional Democrats, who stuck their necks out only to have the administration completely bungle the mechanical stuff.

UPDATE: Here's the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

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