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E.J. Dionne Jr. at the Washington Post writes—Chris Christie’s conservative problem:

If Christie has a base, it consists of Wall Street donors, a media fascinated by his persona and relative moderation, and some but by no means all members of the non-tea-party-wing of the Republican Party.

He does not have the committed ideological core that Ronald Reagan could rely on to overcome Iran-Contra. He does not have the Democratic base that stuck with Bill Clinton during his sex scandal because the excesses of a special prosecutor and then of a Republican House that impeached him came to enrage Democrats even more than Clinton’s misbehavior.

What of Christie’s base? Wall Street is fickle and pragmatic. The media can turn on a dime. And the Republican establishment, such as it is, has alternatives.

Andrew J. Bacevich at the Los Angeles Times explores The misuse of American might, and the price it pays:
The U.S. military is like the highly skilled, gadget-toting contractor who promises to give your kitchen a nifty makeover in no time whatsoever. Here's the guy you can count on to get the job done. Just look at those references! Yet by the time he drives off months later, the kitchen's a shambles and you're stuck with a bill several times larger than the initial estimate. Turns out the job was more complicated than it seemed. But what say we take a crack at remodeling the master bath?

That pretty much summarizes the American experience with war since the end of the Cold War. By common consent, when it comes to skills and gadgets, U.S. forces are in a league of their own. Yet when it comes to finishing the job on schedule and on budget, their performance has been woeful.

Indeed, these days the United States absolves itself of any responsibility to finish wars that it starts. When we've had enough, we simply leave, pretending that when U.S. forces exit the scene, the conflict is officially over.

Ana Marie Cox at The Guardian writes—Marco Rubio isn't the 'Republicans' Obama', he's a Latino Rick Santorum:
Senator Marco Rubio's office hyped his speech Wednesday as an "Address on the 50th Anniversary of the 'War on Poverty'", a rather grand billing given its familiar proposals. Rubio has slipped in and out of a few different presidential wrappers since he appeared in the US Capitol. He used to be "The Republicans' Obama". His proposals suggest that now he is the Latino Rick Santorum.

In 2012, Santorum outlined the exact same three-point anti-poverty plan: promote marriage, eliminate federal poverty programs in favor of block grants to states, and "something something America hope-dream-optimism something"

More pundits can be found below the fold.

Paul Krugman at The New York Times goes for the heartless Republicans' jugular in Enemies of the Poor:

Suddenly it’s O.K., even mandatory, for politicians with national ambitions to talk about helping the poor. This is easy for Democrats, who can go back to being the party of F.D.R. and L.B.J. It’s much more difficult for Republicans, who are having a hard time shaking their reputation for reverse Robin-Hoodism, for being the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

And the reason that reputation is so hard to shake is that it’s justified. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that right now Republicans are doing all they can to hurt the poor, and they would have inflicted vast additional harm if they had won the 2012 election. Moreover, G.O.P. harshness toward the less fortunate isn’t just a matter of spite (although that’s part of it); it’s deeply rooted in the party’s ideology, which is why recent speeches by leading Republicans declaring that they do too care about the poor have been almost completely devoid of policy specifics.

Peggy Noonan at The Wall Street Journal seems to be a bit confused about heartless bloodsuckers in her praise of New Jersey's governor in How Christie Ended Up in This Jam:
Gov. Chris Christie acquitted himself well in his "Bridgegate" news conference, and emerged undead. He said he had "no knowledge or involvement" in the apparent scheme by his political operatives to take revenge on a New Jersey mayor who refused to back him in the 2013 election. He had "no involvement," in the four-day-long traffic jams they arranged on the George Washington Bridge. Learning of it left him feeling "blindsided," "embarrassed," "humiliated" and "stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here." He claimed personal responsibility, announced the firing of a top staffer, apologized to the state, and said he'd go to Fort Lee to apologize to the town and its mayor. Instead of leaving the podium at the end of his statement he stayed for a barrage of questions. The appearance went almost two hours. You can make mistakes, lose your focus and poise, when you let the press exhaust itself asking questions of you; it took guts and brains to pull it off.
Seriously, he's "undead"? That could explain a lot of things.

Karen Coates at Al Jazeera English laments about Blood on our backs:

On the other side of the globe, five Cambodians had been shot and killed and more than 20 wounded as military police cracked down on a swelling demonstration of garment workers protesting for higher pay. I clicked on the wrenching photo of a body bathed in blood, his shirt and pants painted the same startling red as the dirt beneath him. As rocks, bricks and Molotov cocktails flew, armed forces responded with batons and bullets. The human-rights group Licadho called it the worst violence against Cambodian civilians in 15 years.

It’s a remarkably risky job, making clothes for Westerners. When the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh in April, killing more than 1,100 people, we Westerners responded with a collective pause: How, exactly, should we think about the workers who make our clothes? But we didn’t think long or hard enough.Labor conditions in Cambodia won’t improve unless consumers in the West demand industrywide, systemic change — and companies commit to meeting those demands.[...]

We could start by accepting that we must pay more for our clothes — a difficult shift for many Americans who make minimum wages themselves. That’s why corporations need to step in, too. As consumers, we should insist that the stores and brands we patronize invest more in labor, both at home and abroad, and that factories increase workers’ wages. Multiple studies show that a happier, healthier, higher-paid workforce translates into less turnover and potentially greater company profits. Finally, we should ensure that our elected leaders hold other governments accountable.

David Sirota at TruthDig writes—Reefer Sanity Takes Hold in Colorado:
Of course, this portrait of tranquility, normalcy and pragmatism is often downplayed by the sensationalist national media in faraway Washington, D.C. There, amid wild speculation about absurdly apocalyptic hypotheticals, the fist-shaking “get off my lawn!” fogies are negatively caricaturing legalization in a fit of reefer madness.
For instance, there’s been tripe like Ruth Marcus’s Washington Post screed that at once warns of the supposed “perils of legalized pot” and absolves herself for previously using the drug. There was also the lament from the New York Times’ David Brooks, in which he first fondly reminisced about his erstwhile pot smoking and then claimed that legalizing marijuana harms America’s “moral ecology.”

To these hypocrites, and others like them, it is apparently OK for media elites to have smoked weed as kids, but not OK for today’s adults to do the same (you also have to wonder how many of them chatted up the “perils of pot” this month while enjoying a post-workday cocktail).

Worse, in casting legalization as a hazardous experiment, these sententious moralizers ignore how the failed and destructive experiment isn’t legalization—it is prohibition.  

Amitabh Pal at In These Times takes a whack at the former Secretary of Defense's new book in Robert Gates is in No Position to Criticize President Obama:
Gates has an unwarranted reputation as a wise elder statesmen who has profound insights to offer on national security and foreign policy. But Melvin Goodman of the Center for International Policy, a former CIA analyst who worked with Gates for more than ten years (and eventually testified against him in Congress), says that Gates’s major motivation in life has been to please his superiors.

“Gates has been a sycophant in all of his leadership positions,” Goodman states in an Institute for Public Accuracy press release. “For the most part, Gates has been a windsock when it came to policy decisions.” [...]

Bob Gates is hardly in a position to throw stones at anyone.

The Editorial Board of the Miami Herald calls Guantánamo a national embarassment and challenges new restrictions of reporting about it:
Under Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, institutional censorship has increased recently. Authorities no longer disclose the number of prisoners engaged in a camp-wide hunger strike, an embarrassment that once again focused unwanted attention on conditions at the prison.

In addition, the command imposed new rules that prohibit most soldiers from giving their names to reporters they talk to. In another instance, a military staff attorney assigned to the camp for ex-CIA captives was allowed to testify under a pseudonym — a mockery of genuine trial proceedings. Meanwhile, long-promised parole hearings finally got under way (in secrecy), but more than one month later, only part of the promised transcript of the pleadings has been made public.

The existence of Guantánamo is a national embarrassment, but erecting new barriers against news reporting will only make matters worse. As long as the prison exists, maximum transparency should be the operative rule.

Emily B. Landau at Haaretz writes—Just don't upset the Iranians:
Iran continues ‘turning tables’ on the P5+1, hoping to further weaken international leverage by underscoring that any demands made of it will be answered immediately in kind, with Iran resisting being singled out for condemnation. So in direct response to pending U.S. sanctions legislation, Iranian lawmakers drafted a bill that would force the government to enrich uranium to 60% if new sanctions are imposed.

While these moves are perhaps understandable from Iran’s bargaining perspective, what is less comprehensible is why the Obama administration is buying into Iran’s narrative, thereby weakening its own bargaining position. The White House has lashed out at Congress for contemplating sanctions legislation, threatening a veto, and has sternly warned senators that supporting this legislation brings the U.S. closer to war. At the same time, the administration has not pushed back against Iran’s nuclear moves, nor has it reacted harshly to Iran’s extreme bad-mouthing of Israel and the U.S. itself. It is rather projecting the sense that the worst thing possible would be to upset the Iranians.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Re Peggy Noonan's defense of Christie. (28+ / 0-)

    Peggy has that country club wink thing down pat, doesn't she?  

    She deliberately misses the point(s) of the Fort Lee jam-up, deliberately pretends that Christie's presser signals virtue across the fruited plains, and deliberately re-edits the whole mess into gallant action by a corrupt galoot of a governor.  

    Isn't there a country & western tune out there somewhere about ladies loving outlaws?

  •  Re: Andrew J. Bacevich's column (31+ / 0-)

    What he writes has been obvious for decades. Unfortunately as Country Joe sang:
    "There's plenty good money to be made, supplying the Army with the tools of the trade."

    "The solution to terrorism is not going to be found in bullets. It's not going to be found in precision ordnance or targeted strikes. It's really going to be found in changing the conditions. It's going to be found in establishing a global safety net that starts with security and goes to economic development and political development and the kinds of modernization which let others enjoy the fruits of modernization that we as Americans enjoy."

    ~ Gen. Wesley Clark, October 17, 2001, Annual Lecture sponsored by the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy at Temple University.

    BOHICA
    RA18960500

    Repentant ex member of Murder Inc.
    Southeast Asia Division
    Our motto, "Kill Anything That Moves"

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:04:57 AM PST

  •  A telling point from the Robert Gates piece (21+ / 0-)
    But the central war strategy that Gates helped design—the surge—was hardly the success it’s been made out to be.

    “The surge has been a failure,” Congressman Keith Ellison, who visited Iraq during the war, told me in 2008. “The reason we have any kind of reduction or flatlining of violence in Iraq is because our failed policy for many years allowed for Baghdad to be ethnically cleansed.

    If the surge was the highlight of Gates' career, then his career was, like the surge itself, a total failure.  That said, it is perfect GOP logic to write a memoir and blame the Democratic hierarchy for one's own shortcomings.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:06:20 AM PST

    •  Which point us the Democrats feckless policy (2+ / 0-)

      of hiring only Republican Secty. of Defense. WFT is that, anyway? Haven't we shed the weak-on-defense tag yet?

      Just wait and Chuck Hagel will turn on Barack Obama after one or the other is out of office.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

      by TerryDarc on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:32:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  E.J. Dionne hits the nail on the head. (15+ / 0-)

    The very Wall Street types who would support a presidential run for Governor Christie are not the people defending him - they were the victims of the 'traffic study'.

    Does anyone believe that these same people believe that Governor Christie had no knowledge of what actually happened?

    Mr. Dionne offers the most salient argument:

    "Erick Erickson, the right-wing writer, captured this rather colorfully. People sometimes want a politician to be “a jerk,” Erickson wrote on Fox News’ Web site, but “they want the person to be their jerk,” not a jerk “who tries to make everyone else his whipping boy.”"

    The republican financiers sat in that traffic.

    Even Senator Rand Paul has remarked, “I know how angry I am when I’m in traffic.  I’m always wondering who did this to me."

    This political vendetta has legs and will certainly harm Governor Christie's chances obtaining the GOP nomination.

    •  EJ Dione is entirely wrong, except about the money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, Aunt Pat

      Christie's base is similar to Rob Ford's base, Jesse Ventura's base, Arnold Schwarzenegger's base, even Marion Barry's base. It's politically naive people who want someone who talks straight. That's the voters, a nice big chunk of them. Remember how Ford & Christie's polls stayed up or even rose after their scandals broke? As for politically active people, including donors and those who ever been to a party meeting, Dione is correct. They are that kind of base, a base for big donor-fundraising - both the people to take the jobs doing the asking and people to answer with the money. Seems to me Christie might have even more trouble with the campaign types than the donor types, because campaign types, staffers, etc., have to worry about their careers.

      As for Joe & Kaya Sixtypack, they are his electoral base and if they turn on him it's all over.

      •  Joe & Kaya Sixtypack will not like..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, merrily1000

        Federal probe into use of Sandy Relief Funds being used for political ads.

        Joe & Kaya Sixtypack will not like that the money they personally sent for disaster relief being used to make 'tourism' ads starring Governor Christie.

        Senator Paul has been critical since those ads first started.

        Governor Christie won reelection with more than 60% of the votes in a state won by President Obama 58/42.  Suggesting Governor Christie supporters are all naive is naive.

        For instance, were 'Latinos' in NJ naive for voting for Governor Christie....he just passed the equivalent of the Dream Act.

        Are Muslims naive - Governor Christie appointed a Muslim to the State bench....and called critics, "Crazies."

        Also, Governor Christie called-out Congressional republicans who were unwilling to support disaster relief after Hurricane Sandy.

        I am no fan nor am I a supporter of Governor Christie, but calling people who voted for him naive belies a host of centrist facts.

        •  naive abopt politcs. (0+ / 0-)

          I see what you mean but people in the televisual age do not seem top realize that politics is a matter of organization not personality. So we constantly get duped by John Waynes, and rarely stumble upon FDR's. Also, the three baby boomer presidents have all a narcissism problem, something beyond normal politician testosterone.

          You gotta ask yourself, is NJ is such a no-holds-barred political state, why was Christie considered to be breaking the rules. Well, he's basically Walter White with an administration. A movie hero wannabe. So he himself does not see reasonable limits on his own actions. I'm convinced he pictured the three lanes unfairly owned by Fort Lee, and did not analyze it as a fact in context. Which incidentally blinded him to what has turned out to be salient - the PANYNJ is a federal situation. As a former US Atty he should have realized what a decent lawyer would have warned him about the law, but he was blinded by images of glory. This would be a lot easier for him to handle if the feds were not involved. Now everyone with a lawyer or law degree goes into no-obstruction-of-justice mode, the same thing that has happened in Watergate and countless post-Watergate scandals in D.C.

          Yes I think the voters are duped - the words I originally put in my post before I replaced them - because they want something better. Hey, was Schwarzenegger that bad?

    •  Rand Paul truly is an idiot (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Josiah Bartlett, vcmvo2
      Even Senator Rand Paul has remarked, “I know how angry I am when I’m in traffic.  I’m always wondering who did this to me."
      Yes, senator, when you're sitting in traffic, it really is all about you. Someone, somewhere is out to get you. What an asshole.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

      by TerryDarc on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:35:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Senator Kay Hagan (8+ / 0-)

    So should I be calling her to ask her to back off on the new sanctions on Iran ?

    I don't want to see another war in the Middle East !

  •  there is no such thing as a "Republican Obama" (29+ / 0-)

    that's not the way Rs do things.

    They do not allow people to come from out of nowhere.  The farm team process on that side is very tightly controlled.

    The conservative mindset does not lend itself to creating people with charisma. GWB was considered "likable" for some perverse reason by pundits and "i'd like to have a beer with him" voters, but when was the last time the Rs had a national figure who was respected around the world?

    Can anyone even imagine any of the current Red Team frontrunners having the kind of internationally influential personality that Obama had before he was elected?  Or that Hillary Clinton has now?  Or that Ted Kennedy had?  

    Their small minded approach to issues and how they affect people keeps ANY of them from being admired outside the Fakes News bubble.  And a lot of them are just considered laughingstocks--fill in your own list here.

    So no, there is no "Republican Obama" and there won't be and there can't be so long as the requirements for leadership in that party include racism, sexism, creationism, homophobia, climate change denial, and a myriad of bat crap crazy ideas.

    Obama caught on in this country and worldwide in large part because he was a representation of a future that people longed to move toward; the essence of Republicon leadership right now is about digging in heels and grasping at straws to resist change and derive power from a bigoted and ignorant past.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:09:38 AM PST

  •  Rubio as the Latino Santorum? (12+ / 0-)

    I'm okay with that if it means Rubio has as much an undignified end as Santorum and ends up as an "also ran" footnote in political history.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:14:48 AM PST

    •  I don't think either of them will even (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem

      rate a footnote in political history.  Unless and until Rubio makes up his mind who he is and stops flailing around from one group in his party to another (who are barely on speaking terms with each other) he won't rate much more than a footnote in present political reporting.  And of course Santorum is already burnt toast.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 06:51:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm curious.. (6+ / 0-)

    Why have we not heard from Cuomo on Bridgegate?

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:15:21 AM PST

  •  Chris Hedges takes down Wall Street Chris Christie (19+ / 0-)

    Often Chris Hedges is too far left for dailykos but he takes down Christie and ties it to what is happening in the US and what would happen if Christie was president.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been Wall Street’s anointed son for the presidency. He is backed by the most ruthless and corrupt figures in New Jersey politics, including the New Jersey multimillionaire and hard-line Democratic boss George Norcross III. Among his other supporters are many hedge fund managers and corporate executives and some of the nation’s most retrograde billionaires, including the Koch brothers. The brewing scandal over the closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge apparently in retaliation for the Fort Lee mayor’s refusal to support the governor’s 2013 re-election is a window into how federal agencies and the security and surveillance apparatus would be routinely employed in a Christie presidency to punish anyone who challenged this tiny cabal’s grip on power.

    Christie is the caricature of a Third World despot. He has a vicious temper, a propensity to bully and belittle those weaker than himself, an insatiable thirst for revenge against real or perceived enemies, and little respect for the law and, as recent events have made clear, for the truth. He is gripped by a bottomless hedonism that includes a demand for private jets, huge entourages, exclusive hotels and lavish meals. Wall Street and the security and surveillance apparatus want a real son of a bitch in power, someone with the moral compass of Al Capone, in order to ruthlessly silence and crush those of us who are working to overthrow the corporate state. They have had enough of what they perceive to be Barack Obama’s softness. Christie fits the profile and he is drooling for the opportunity.

    The Trouble With Chris Christie

    Chris Hedges was in East Germany talking with opposition leaders and asked them when the system would implode. It happened that day. Chris knows about the Stasi.

    The visceral need by Christie to ridicule and threaten anyone who does not bow before him, his dark lust for revenge, his greed, gluttony and hedonism, his need to surround himself with large, fawning entourages and his obsequiousness to corporate power are characteristics our corporate titans embrace and understand. They see in Christie versions of themselves. They know he will enthusiastically do their dirty work. They trust him to be a real bastard. If Christie and the billionaires behind him take the presidency and begin to manipulate government agencies and pull the levers of our Stasi-like security and surveillance apparatus, any pretense of democracy will be gone.
    I added the bold for Stasi. In the original article it is a link to the Encyclopedia Britannica article on them.

    I also added the bold for "any pretense of democracy will be gone."

    There is more at stake than the game between the political parties which is the fodder for main stream media and a diversion from the real issues.

    What if it had been three more years before an Edward Snowden showed us the truth? Where would the country be?

    •  The guy is SO right. (4+ / 0-)

      It's not been mentioned enough in proper context that one of the people Christie fired was due to run the NJ Rep party and have an important role at thr RGA.  Christie's present COS is due to be appointed NJ AG.  Christie's pet Democrat is soon to be NJ House Speaker.  If this had not happened, he would have soon been very powerful nationally and unstoppable in his state.  He is the very picture of Idi Amin.  Terrifying to contemplate.  Please go back to your donuts, Chris.

    •  I don't think Chris Hedges is too liberal (4+ / 0-)

      for the readers of DailyKos.  Chris is right-on in his critique of the state of our democracy, and the details he relates in some of the most beautiful and heart-rending prose available in the English language.  But he comes up short in policy recommendations or even alleviations for the misery and suffering caused by the country's inexorable march to plutocracy.

      I like him because he doesn't pull punches on either the Democrats or the Republicans and the extent to which both parties have contributed to corruption and war making and the demise of this country's highest ideals, but there is a limit to how much a person can gorge on ugly information - true as it may be - without respite.  I finally have to turn off Hedges for a while just to retain sanity.  

      However, when I find myself perilously close to accepting some of my country's rationalizations for its worst actions, I always come back to him just to be reminded of the true state of our morally bankrupt political system.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:20:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chomsky On Anarchism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen

        this is close to Chris Hedges position

        in Chris' Death of the Liberal Class, he describes how pressure from the left has always been part of improvements

        presentation by Chomsky on CSPAN on his new book

        http://www.booktv.org/...

        click on right for the video

        On Anarchism"

        Noam Chomsky

        About the Program on CSPAN

        N

        oam Chomsky, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, examines the political ideology of anarchism; from its history and early proponents to the author's thoughts on its current usage and practicality.  Noam Chomsky speaks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
        •  There are huge differences (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Unca Joseph

          in the overall general views of Hedges (a statist socialist more in the Marxist tradition) and Chomsky (non-statist, libertarian socialist in the Bakunin/Kropotkin tradition).

          Not sure what you meant by "close in position" and I may have misunderstood, so I'm making this comment to clarify differences between the two.

          iow.. not a problem, and not posting this to argue, just helping to better inform people. Both are great contributors to the discussion from the left.

          Chomsky would be closer to Graeber and other anarchists, in views.

          "The moment some people participating in an action feel they have more of a moral commitment to those who are threatening to attack them than they do to another activist, the game is over." -David Graeber

          by ZhenRen on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 02:49:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Emily Landau's quote brings up a really good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo

    question.

    Why didn't the Obama admin know Congress was planning even stiffer sanctions?  And, did they not even consult with Congress on this new deal with Iran?

    Not only does the country look foolish on the international stage, this squabble between the President and (mostly) his own party in Congress has emboldened Iran to push for even more concessions.

    And all this happens while Iran, reportedly, is jointly developing long range missiles with North Korea.

    We've been down this same road before - with with North Korea.  We lifted sanctions in exchange for their promise of abandoning nuclear weapons.  What did we get? A nuclear North Korea.  Does history teach us nothing?

    •  Bullshit. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, AmazingBlaise

      North Korea (a) already had nukes and (b) did not build any more nukes until (c) the Bush administration blew up the agreement and the North Koreans reactivated the plutonium processing plant.

      You're repeating right wing lying points, which might be welcome on any Sunday talk show, but they aren't going to fly here.

      Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

      by happymisanthropy on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:44:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And just exactly how do we do this? (9+ / 0-)
    As consumers, we should insist that the stores and brands we patronize invest more in labor, both at home and abroad, and that factories increase workers’ wages.
    Our state and federal governments with few exceptions refuse to even raise the minimum wage in this country. How do "we, as consumers," insist the foreign governments raise the minimum wage in theirs?

    Are we supposed to visit stores, ask to speak to the manager, and say, "I insist on paying more for these clothes"?  Even if we did, what guarantee is there that any of the garment workers would benefit?

    Even if we consumers as a group took out a full-page ad in The NY Times and The WaPo--which would be unbelievably pricey and where would we get the money to pay for it--who would care?  Not the policy makers--the ones who have the power hate the working class.

    It's not that I disagree with the sentiments in the blockquote--quite the opposite. I just question how these aims are to be achieved.

    "Power to the people" has devolved to "The people have no power."

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:21:38 AM PST

    •  Stop buying goods that come from (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, tobendaro, salmo, Aunt Pat

      countries known to exploit workers.

      Do you own any Apple products?

    •   (11+ / 0-)
      We could start by accepting that we must pay more for our clothes — a difficult shift for many Americans who make minimum wages themselves.
      The problem is that even high-end, expensive clothing is made in the same factories.  The stores here just charge more because of the label.
    •  Buy union or local (8+ / 0-)

      Very hard to do, and impossible for items like smartphones -- but for clothing and a number of other items, there are USA-made union-label alternatives, or small local shops. Green America's National Green Pages has sources and lists.

    •  No easy answers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      The Global Capital Elites have consolidated so many levers of power and impact that it is difficult to affect change in a timely manner.

      Persistence is part of the answer, however. I recall the 10 cents a garment argument that was made in the wake of the Bangladesh garment building collapse. And then I reflected that I purchase maybe 20-30 garments in any year, including holiday gifts.

      So I'm out an extra $3 to help create better working conditions on in effect the entire Indian Subcontinent. The deeper problem of course is how do we know that that 10 extra cents actually goes to more sure that building codes are better? Or that workers are limited to reasonable work schedules? Or that adequate child care/early education and basic medical care is available for those employees?

      Our organizing has to be both local and global. We aren't likely to finish the job, but we MUST begin and teach the succeeding generations that they must take up and maintain the struggle.

      Because the Sociopaths will never surrender.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 06:50:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The sad thing is that paying overseas garment (0+ / 0-)

      workers a better wage would probably add only like 10 cents to the price of a t-shirt.  When you look at how cheap raw materials are and how little the garment workers are paid, it is clear that the problem isn't with consumers paying too little but with people in the middle taking way too much.

  •  There hasn't been a plan to finish a war because (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, Don midwest, TerryDarc

    it is a great opportunity to steal money.

    This is why America was founded, to rape, rob & pillage.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:22:20 AM PST

  •  I discuss the Krugman column (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, salmo, Aunt Pat

    in Krugman: Republicans are "Enemies of the Poor".

    I start with his NY Times column and offer some additional thoughts of my own.

    I invite your attention

    peace

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:26:29 AM PST

  •  You know (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator, tobendaro, Aunt Pat, TerryDarc
    To these hypocrites, and others like them, it is apparently OK for media elites to have smoked weed as kids, but not OK for today’s adults to do the same (you also have to wonder how many of them chatted up the “perils of pot” this month while enjoying a post-workday cocktail).
    How kids and teens intuit that grownups are kinda hokey or something....

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:33:17 AM PST

  •  Feds investigating Christie's use of Sandy money (9+ / 0-)

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:34:11 AM PST

    •  drip, drip, drip (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, TerryDarc

      A form of water torture for Mr. Christie it seems.

    •  Thousands of homeowners and business owners (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TerryDarc

      in New Jersey whose possessions were destroyed by Sandy still have not seen a dime of the relief money sent to the the governor for state relief.  I don't think New Jersey is as enamoured of Christie as much as the rest of the country thinks they are, despite the recent election results.  If there is a  heavy-load crane is available, many in the state would be more than willing to hoist this governor on his own petard.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:29:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He never was (0+ / 0-)

        It's not obvious because all of our broadcast media come from New York and Philadelphia.  On top of that, he intimidated and/or bribed a lot of Democrats.  The media conveniently forgot that Christie had to struggle to win his primary in 2009, against a weak right wing challenger.

        It doesn't help that Buono didn't take a page out of McGreevey's playbook.  McGreevey challenged Christy Whitman in 2007, and it was assumed by the MSM that it would be a slaughter.  McGreevey lost but ran way, way ahead of expectations because he ran a very focused campaign.  Whitman's political career was ended.  This despite Whitman's generally much more moderate views relative to Christie.  Buono didn't do this: there were three issues to home in on (minimum wage, marriage equality, and property taxes) -- come up with a one sentence pithy position on each one and just keep repeating over and over again.

      •  Is THAT what a "petard" is... (0+ / 0-)

        ...always wondered. Nice to have some demonstrations in front of the NJ statehouse then by people waiting for Sandy relief funds.  Those would be standing next to the citizens of Ft. Lee holding up placards about the bridge debacle.

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

        by TerryDarc on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:58:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bridgegate: Sokolich says Christie did ask him (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crashing Vor, DRo, on the cusp, Aunt Pat

    for an endorsement.

    http://t.co/...

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:35:12 AM PST

  •  Quite an interesting article... (5+ / 0-)

    in today's NYT on the divergent politics of the "twinned" cities of Duluth, MN and Superior, WI under Governors Dayton and Walker: Twinned Cities Now Following Different Paths.

    Since Republicans in Wisconsin took control of the State Legislature and governor’s office in 2011, and since Democrats gained full dominance in Minnesota last year, people here have watched essential elements of their daily lives — their savings plans, job expectations, personal relationships and health insurance — veer apart.
    The article effectively narrates what this Duluthian sees every single day...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:38:17 AM PST

    •  The woman who lost her insurance (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, angry marmot, Satya1

      is emblematic of why the Scott Walkers get elected.  She lost her insurance because of the GOP loathing of the ACA, but she has bought the propaganda that the ACA is too complicated, so she goes without insurance, in spite of having medical problems.  

    •  Nice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angry marmot

      This is the sort of noble experiment that the states are supposed to provide and give reason to vote D. Be happy that you're in MN and not WI.

      If only the WI voters and other red state (ironic, isn't it, calling WI a red state?) voters would vote their own interests and turn the Repukes out.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

      by TerryDarc on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:03:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  rubio (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator, Stude Dude, Aunt Pat

    can give all the grandiose speeches he wants but speeches don't make a statesman and rubios agenda and politics are less than statesman like just as he is himself.
    hows that date certain as to when you and your family came to america marco?
    ps - i couldn't help but notice the earth to peggy noonan calls remain unanswered.

    save america defeat all republicans & conservatives.

  •  No, Marco Rubio is the new Dan Quayle (5+ / 0-)

    That is, he's made it this far thanks strictly to his good looks.  If he were as homely as Mitch McConnell, he'd be earning his keep by asking, "Do you want fries with that?"

    •  It will be hard for MR to live down his big gulp (0+ / 0-)

      moment, though. DKos never fails to put that up on any Rubio story and it IS pretty funny.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

      by TerryDarc on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:05:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  usually the... (0+ / 0-)

    "undead" tend not to be obese, mostly by design.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:44:22 AM PST

  •  bacevich is wrong (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Bernie68
    That pretty much summarizes the American experience with war since the end of the Cold War. By common consent, when it comes to skills and gadgets, U.S. forces are in a league of their own. Yet when it comes to finishing the job on schedule and on budget, their performance has been woeful.
    the US Military has been unable to conclude on schedule or budget it's wars since the end of the cold war...

    I'd argue the Military has been unable to conclude on budget or schedule any war since WW2.

    Vietnam?  Korea?

    •  Agreed. Bacevich's metaphor was flawed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      patbahn

      It's not like and incompetent but oversold contractor screwing up a remodel, it's using the wrong strategy for solving world problems.

      Bacevich is in the right place politically and I usually enjoy reading him.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

      by TerryDarc on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:07:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not sure I agree with Landau's piece (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, Meteor Blades

    She seems to be implying it's not important if Iran gets upset, but US sanctions and years of hostility mean Iran's posturing is pretty much expected when Congress is thinking about more sanctions. I think the Obama admin is making the right call here. Not pissing each other off is the start of diplomacy, so yeah, maybe we should treat Iran as less of an unruly teenager and more like an anxious peer.

    "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

    by MarthaPeregrine on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:54:23 AM PST

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