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Igor Ivanov and Malcolm Rifkind at The New York Times write The Risk of a New Cold War:

Russian and Western perspectives on the crisis in Ukraine are bound to diverge, but the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 should bring us together. This is not only because we can appreciate and feel saddened by the scale of the human loss, but also because the incident is a harbinger of the wider danger we are in. Of profound concern is the possibility of an unintended escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine to a direct NATO-Russia military confrontation. To avoid such a development, policy makers need to relearn some important crisis management lessons from history.

Just consider that even before the Flight 17 disaster, we had seen a huge deterioration in mutual trust between Russia and the West. Russian and NATO military forces are being deployed ever closer to each other. A number of frozen conflicts, like Transnistria (a breakaway province of Moldova, on Ukraine’s western border), already haunt Europe; these have the potential to widen the theater of possible confrontation between Russia and the West beyond Ukraine. In addition, there is very little contact or exchange of information on what our respective militaries are doing, and the existing crisis management arrangements — both between NATO and Russia and the European Union and Russia — are inadequate. And, always in the background, there are large numbers of nuclear weapons on both sides on high states of alert.

Many potentially useful mechanisms for dialogue, like the NATO-Russia Council, which in normal times might meet monthly and offer a forum for discussing difficult issues, are also being closed down.

Charles M. Blow at The New York Times writes The Do-Even-Less Congress:
Congress is a joke. But the joke isn’t funny — unless, of course, you’re into dark humor. [...]

The House of Representatives is scheduled to be in session even fewer days than last year’s depressingly low 135 days. That’s right: The House is underperforming even last session’s underperformance. Last December, The New York Times’s Jeremy W. Peters crunched the numbers and found:

“Not counting brief, pro forma sessions, the House was in session for 942 hours, an average of about 28 hours each week that it conducted business in Washington.”

Tell that to the average American full-time worker busting his or her hump working more than 1,700 hours a year. And the average American is laboring for only a fraction of the $174,000 most members of Congress bring home.

More pundit excerpts can be found below the fold.

DD Guttenplan at The Guardian writes When presidents lie to make a war:

Once there was a president who warned the world about conduct his government would not tolerate. And when this “red line” was crossed, or seemed to be, he took the US to war. Though this might sound like America’s involvement in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Belgrade, or Libya, and what may yet become a wider war in Syria, this story began 50 years ago, on 4 August 1964. [...]

That 4 August, Daniel Ellsberg was starting work at the Pentagon. A young mathematician who had served as a captain in the marines, then gone on to graduate study at Harvard and a job as a civilian analyst for the Rand Corporation, where he had helped shape America’s response to the Cuban missile crisis, Ellsberg was among the first to receive the classified “flash” signal from the USS Turner Joy, the battleship that claimed to be under attack.

At the time a devout cold warrior, Ellsberg told me his initial reaction was “We must strike back”. Yet within a few days, when Johnson repeated his accusation that “the attacks were deliberate. The attacks were unprovoked”, and assured the world that “we seek no wider war”, Ellsberg knew “all of those statements were false”—the beginnings of a disillusion that would eventually lead him to leak the top secret Pentagon Papers seven years later. What he didn’t know, and what remained for decades one of America’s most tightly guarded secrets, is that the attack on 4 August may never actually have happened.

John Nichols at The Nation With Confirmation of CIA Spying on Senate, It Is Time for Serious Oversight:
if Congress is to maintain meaningful oversight over the federal intelligence agencies, the need for a meaningful response to what Senator Patrick Leahy describes as ” a very dark chapter in our nation’s history” cannot be lost amid the usual flurry of internal inquiries, official apologies and “expressions of concern.” As Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine, says, “We’re the only people watching these organizations, and if we can’t rely on the information that we’re given as being accurate, then it makes a mockery of the entire oversight function.”

King is right. But what, then, is the appropriate response?

Andrew Tyrie at The Independent writes Why is the truth on torture so long in coming?:
For more than a decade I have been trying to find out the extent of Britain's involvement in kidnap and torture after 9/11. The UK facilitated it, but by how much is not known. Complicity in torture is not just unacceptable in principle. It undermines the values that democracies seek to export.

What's more, as many leading experts in the security field have frequently pointed out, in the long run it makes the collection of intelligence more difficult – both at home and abroad – from those very communities whose cooperation we most need. An investigation is therefore as morally essential as it is expedient on security grounds. It is why the allegations of complicity in torture should concern the whole family of western democracies, as President Obama acknowledged on Friday.

Allegations and disclosures keep dribbling out – a recent example being the unsubstantiated claim that the US operated a black site on Diego Garcia with the UK's co-operation. Allegations like this need to be investigated. The worrying question is whether the will exists to do so.

David Sirota at In These Times writes Clinton Isn’t Warren, No Matter What Her Allies Say:
Hillary Clinton’s political allies want Democratic primary voters to believe that the former secretary of state is just like populist Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and they've been claiming that there are no differences between the two possible presidential contenders. There’s just one problem: That’s not true. [...]

OK, fine. I’ll take the challenge—there are many differences between these two politicians.

For example, in her book, The Two Income Trap, Warren slammed Clinton for casting a Senate vote in 2001 for a bankruptcy bill that ultimately passed in 2005. That legislation makes it more difficult for credit card customers to renegotiate their debts, even as it allows the wealthy to protect their second homes and yachts from creditors. According to a 2009 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the bankruptcy bill’s provisions changing debt payback provisions played a central role in the foreclosure crisis, as the new law forced homeowners to pay off credit card debts before paying their mortgage.

“As first lady, Mrs. Clinton had been persuaded that the bill was bad for families, and she was willing to fight for her beliefs,” Warren wrote. “As New York’s newest senator, however, it seems that Hillary Clinton could not afford such a principled position. … The bill was essentially the same, but Hillary Rodham Clinton was not.”

Additionally, Warren has been a critic of so-called free trade deals, which create regulatory protections for patents and copyrights, but remove such protections for workers, consumers and the environment. Clinton, by contrast, was a key backer of NAFTA and voted for various free trade pacts during her Senate tenure.

Karin Klein at the Los Angeles Times writes Obama's first response to CIA spying shouldn't be to praise its director:
Brennan apologized to the senators on the committee and vowed to set up an accountability commission. I’d just as soon that he didn’t waste the time and money. Given the enormity of the CIA’s transgressions and the months of denial that followed, the last group anyone is going to trust at this point is a panel set up by the CIA itself.

Brennan himself might not be guilty of any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, Obama needs to spend less time praising his CIA director and more time getting his arms around the actions it will take to get to the bottom of this and punish the people who need to be punished. That includes an independent investigation by the Justice Department with charges brought against anyone responsible for the spying on the Senate committee and for any subsequent attempts to deny it. The inspector general’s investigation reportedly found that some of the employees involved were less than honest in their responses.

Eric Posner at The New Republic writes Obama Is Legally Allowed to Enforce—or Not Enforce—the Law:
Millions of illegal immigrants have lived in the United States for decades, under a semi-official policy that allows them to stay as long as they don’t commit serious crimes—and that, in many cases, allows them to obtain drivers’ licenses. The main effect of Obama's proposal would be to officially recognize current practice. The president cannot suspend or change the law: When he leaves office, the law will remain the same as it was, and the next president will be free to enforce it or not.

The executive branch spends a lot of time not enforcing laws. Congress has illegalized an enormous amount of activity without giving the president the resources to enforce the laws, so the executive has no choice but to make a list of priorities and devote its attention to law violations that, in its opinion, are the most serious. Thus, the IRS doesn’t audit paupers very often. The Justice Department ignores a lot of anticompetitive behavior that might raise prices a bit but not much. The DEA focuses on criminal syndicates rather than ordinary drug users, although both violate federal law. And so on.

Nearly all of this non-enforcement takes place with implicit congressional acquiescence; once in a while, Congress complains because the president’s priorities are not the same as its own. But the president has no obligation to listen to these complaints.

E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post writes Can the voters change the GOP?
The central issue in this fall’s elections could turn out to be a sleeper: What kind of Republican Party does the country want?

It is, to be sure, a strange question to put to an electorate in which independents and Democrats constitute a majority. Yet there is no getting around this: The single biggest change in Washington over the last five years has been a GOP shift to a more radical form of conservatism. This, in turn, has led to a kind of rejectionism that views cooperation with President Obama as inherently unprincipled. [...]

On balance, Washington gridlock has hurt Democrats more than Republicans by dispiriting moderate and progressive constituencies that had hoped Obama could usher in an era of reform. The key to the election will be whether Democrats can persuade these voters that the radical right is the real culprit in their disappointment—and get them to act accordingly on Election Day.

Leonard Pitts Jr. at The Miami Herald writes Poor? Don’t use this door:
Maybe you already know about this. Maybe you read on Slate, saw on Colbert or heard on NPR how a developer qualified for tax benefits under New York City’s Inclusionary Housing Program by agreeing to add to its new luxury building on the Upper West Side a set number of “affordable” apartments. How the company won permission to build that building with two entrances, one in front for the exclusive use of upper income residents, another, reportedly in the alley, for residents of more modest means. [...]

Anyway, Extell Development apparently thinks it too much to ask the well-heeled to use the same door as such relative paupers. Observers have responded with outrage. A New York Times pundit called it “odious.” CNN called it “income segregation.” The Christian Science Monitor called it “Dickensian.”

The door is all those things, yes But it is also the pointed symbol of a truth we all know but pretend not to, so as to preserve the fiction of an egalitarian society. Namely, that rich and poor already have different doors. The rich enter the halls of justice, finance, education, health and politics through portals of advantage from which the rest of us are barred.

Politicians who send you form letters line up to kiss Sheldon Adelson’s pinky finger because he has access to that door. O.J. Simpson got away with murder because he had access to that door.

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Comment Preferences

  •  ICYMI, good Ebola summary here (34+ / 0-)

    Updated: A Few Facts About Ebola right here at Daily Kos.

    See also here.

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

    by Greg Dworkin on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:36:06 AM PDT

  •  great pundit round up - more than Repubs stupid (12+ / 0-)

    too much time on dailykos is spent on the stupid republicans and their antics

    this reinforces the view that politics is a stage show

    this set of article shows the US acts as if the rule of law is quaint and diplomacy can be handled as a military action

    the empire is going down and it would be nice if we didn't accelerate the collapse

    so here we find ourselves in active support of genocide in Gaza


    Daniel Levy: 'No just war'
    Israeli scholar and former negotiator Daniel Levy tells DW that Israel has gone beyond legitimate self-defense in its war against Hamas. The Palestinian issue cannot be solved militarily, he says.

    and new article by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept on how the US through NSA and other surveillance agencies provide essential support to Israel and their war on the indigenous people

    Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack

  •  Thanks Greg (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koosah, JaxDem

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:46:17 AM PDT

  •  Sirota's throwing pie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, stellaluna, wintergreen8694

    I can't get over how little content there is to that Sirota piece. Phoning it in? Or just trying to see how little fuel is necessary to start a liberal pie fight.

    But I don't see why that's included in the round-up. Clinton isn't Warren isn't exactly groundbreaking analysis.

    •  Calling Clinton a "key backer" of NAFTA when (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      she was a First Lady supporting her husband, the President seems a little unfair.  To be fair, she did speak favorably toward it until about ten years ago when she started saying it had not lived up to it's promises and that certain provisions in the bill had been ignored.

      Though I agree, maybe it's because I get a lot of my links to news here, but I haven't heard or seen anyone say they are the same.  But it certainly behooves the GOP to get democrats fighting over something like that.

      "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

      by stellaluna on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:53:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I see scores of "Ready for Hillary" bumper stic... (0+ / 0-)

      I see scores of "Ready for Hillary" bumper stickers. And nobody knows who David Sirota is, or what "In These Times" is.

  •  Tell me lies about Vietnam (10+ / 0-)

    Where were you at the time of the crime?

    I was run over by the truth one day.
    Ever since the accident I’ve walked this way
    So stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

    Heard the alarm clock screaming with pain,
    Couldn’t find myself so I went back to sleep again
    So fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

    Every time I shut my eyes all I see is flames.
    Made a marble phone book and I carved out all the names
    So coat my eyes with butter
    Fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

    I smell something burning, hope it’s just my brains.
    They’re only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
    So stuff my nose with garlic
    Coat my eyes with butter
    Fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.
    Where were you at the time of the crime?
    Down by the Cenotaph drinking slime
    So chain my tongue with whisky
    Stuff my nose with garlic
    Coat my eyes with butter
    Fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

    You put your bombers in, you put your conscience out,
    You take the human being and you twist it all about
    So scrub my skin with women
    Chain my tongue with whisky
    Stuff my nose with garlic
    Coat my eyes with butter
    Fill my ears with silver
    Stick my legs in plaster
    Tell me lies about Vietnam.

    -- Adrian Mitchell

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

    We sick an' tired of-a your ism-skism game - Dyin' 'n' goin' to heaven in-a Jesus' name. Bob Marley

    by BOHICA on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:54:33 AM PDT

  •  Leonard Pitt's column is solid gold today. (11+ / 0-)
    It’s only money. Money is neutral. It’s what one does with money that defines character.
    In the final analysis, we all entered this life through the same door. And we’ll leave it that way, too.

    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 Aug 04, 2014 at 04:54:35 AM PDT

  •  Charles Blow points out a major prob w/our side (6+ / 0-)

    Do not like this.

    Part of the problem with Washington is a manifestation of polarization.


    The polarization has bastardized the meaning of compromise.

    We've known that 'round here for years.
    The June Pew poll found that the more liberal people were, the more they preferred politicians who compromise, and the more conservative Americans were, the more they preferred politicians who stick to their positions.
    OK, that may be in the nature of being "liberal", but elected D's need to see that the constant push to the right does them no good. And they need to see the benefit of rhetorical victories that finally end up as policy victories.

    R's know how that works.

    And yet, a majority of those who were consistently liberal and those who were consistently conservative thought that an ideal compromise was tantamount to their getting more of what they wanted than the other side.
    Duh. Or, no duh!
    There is no longer a real middle.
    Double duh! Democrats (my point of ref. is Sen. Mark Udall of CO) must acknowledge this and become as interminably pushy as the other side.
  •  Late information and analysis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, JaxDem

    from the crash site of MH17.

    CBC News - World

    and from AnderweldtOnline

    Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

    by truong son traveler on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:57:28 AM PDT

  •  What?....No BENGHAZEEE Inquisition?.....I am (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hulibow, Stude Dude
    •  What's to become of the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skillet, Stude Dude

      super special select committee? What will Hannity do for outrage now?

    •  House Republicans have joined the (5+ / 0-)

      Democrats in covering up Benghazi.
      According to wingnuts on Twitter. And in comment sections everywhere:

      This is "top secret" info not released to the public yet. Funny thing.... The hearings didn't even start yet, so why would anyone in the house reach any conclusion?
      Obama Admin sure knows how to stonewall and obstruct an investigation!!

      Has Holder finished the investigation into the voter intimidation by the black panthers or the obamacare fraud or the fast and furious or the IRS or the VA or any investigation? No is it has been many years for some of them.

      However, the main issue is not that Hillary and Obama let the Americans die but that they covered up the attack by insisting that it was not a terrorist attack that had been planned weeks before the attack which was done on 9/11. they had to or wanted to cover it since Obama was running on the assertion that the Islamic Terrorists have been defeated and that no more attacks on Americans will happen. If it became generally known that it was an attack on US Embassy and Americans just before the election, then Obama winning the election might be in jeopardy.
      This is our opposition, folks- why are we losing elections to these people?

      If trees gave off WIFi signals, we would probably plant so many trees, we would save the planet. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.

      by skohayes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:27:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 'Truth' is still out there..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, skohayes

        cue X-Files theme.

      •  SFGate == Nutpickalooza (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        IMO. Lot of festering going on around that waterhole. Maybe you should diary them like Kos does, skohayes.

        It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn't get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before... Richard P. Feynman

        by TerryDarc on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:34:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd be the nutty one after a few diaries (0+ / 0-)

          The festering is what gets to me...

           photo jesusnodependency_zps666cb6b2.jpg

          If trees gave off WIFi signals, we would probably plant so many trees, we would save the planet. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.

          by skohayes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:42:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  They lie and their voters believe them and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the RWMSM repeats the lie like it's the truth.

        Also, they hate the uppity negro in the WH.

        I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

        by a2nite on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 11:31:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ben Ghazi rise again like a zombie. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So that the Goopers can keep bashing Obama and Hillary.

      "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 Aug 04, 2014 at 06:23:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Nation headline (5+ / 0-)

    is somewhat humorous....spying on Congress? Now you've gone too far! PS link is broke.
    Sorry EJ, I don't think the voters, particularly mid-term voters, care to change the GOP. The Republicans are giving them all the motivation they need - show President Obama who is boss, it matters not that they don't stand for or do anything.

  •  NYT runs first ad for medical marijuana (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, tobendaro, skillet
    Right on the heels of the New York Times’ breakthrough series advocating the legalization of marijuana, the paper also displayed a full-page ad touting the medical benefits of marijuana in the Sunday edition. The ad was commissioned by Leafly, an app company and website that locates and reviews medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington state, where marijuana has been legalized, according to AdWeek.

    “We really think it is history in the making,” Scott Lowry, brand manager of Leafly parent company Privateer Holdings, told AdWeek. “It really would have been unimaginable a few years ago. Actually up until a few months ago, I think a publication like the Times would have told us no.” Lowry says the placement of the ad was suggested in direct response to the newspaper’s series of articles advocating legalization.

    The ad’s focus is New York’s Compassionate Care Act, which recently legalized medical marijuana in New York for certain medical conditions. Ad agency Heckler Associates created the campaign’s artwork. According to AdWeek, “Like Leafly, both shops are based in Seattle. While Leafly would not reveal the cost of the ad, it pointed to the Times’ open rate of $179,908 for such a placement.”

    - See more at:

    If trees gave off WIFi signals, we would probably plant so many trees, we would save the planet. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.

    by skohayes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:09:08 AM PDT

    •  It remains to be seen if recreational MJ will (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      become the next Marriage Equality, i.e. where real change came so fast and no one saw it coming.

      These two issues came amid all the horrors of the Tea Party  wreckage that clutters the US political landscape is simply unresolvable - to my weak mind at any rate.

      Unless it's this: kids don't give a shit about the TP, Dems, Reps or politics, but these two issues are worth upsetting the apple cart that is America today. That, and they're happening at a state level, in progressive states and marriage equality, at least, is being sustained by courts all over the country.

      It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn't get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before... Richard P. Feynman

      by TerryDarc on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:46:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think marriage equality, (0+ / 0-)

        except for a few deep red states, is pretty much a done deal. One judge after another declaring laws against gay marriage unconstitutional, state after state dropping their objections.
        Marijuana will take a good bit longer, because so many people have interest (read:$$$)in keeping the war on drugs going.

        If trees gave off WIFi signals, we would probably plant so many trees, we would save the planet. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.

        by skohayes on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 04:46:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Charles M. Blow: in fairness, Congress is good at (5+ / 0-)

    ...its real job, which is collecting millions of dollars from corporate sugar daddies in return for shaping policy to make them even richer.

    So, if you add up all the hours spent golfing and dining with billionaires and CEO's in return for campaign contributions, those Congressional work hours wouldn't be quite so sparse.

    •  Which in a nutshell is why people hate politics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think if you want to completely turn off young voters and keep the sugar daddies $$'s rolling in, keep doing what you're doing Congress.

      It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn't get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before... Richard P. Feynman

      by TerryDarc on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:48:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep, the system isn't broken. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      People will often complain that our political system is broken.  But to determine whether any system is broken or functioning as intended, you have to first understand what its intended function is.  When one looks at what America's political system is truly intended to accomplish, one sees that it's actually functioning quite well.

      The overall objective of our current political system is to preserve and expand the privileges of the wealthy and to increase the profits and influence of large corporations.  By any standard, the system is doing an admirable job of accomplishing those objectives.  So, far from being broken, it's actually thriving.

      Obviously, this is disappointing to those who continue to believe in the obstensible function of the system -- to provide for the common good.  The sooner we abandon the illusion that the political system as currently designed is intended to do anything other than further enrich the richest, the sooner we can start trying to change it.  First, though, we have to face the reality of how politics operates in the current era.  Once we start correctly distinguishing "bugs" from "features" we'll be on our way.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 10:15:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  House work 43 days Jul-Dec, 43 work days Jul-Aug (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare

    That's right, if you work every work day in July and August (and you're off for the 4th of July Legal Holiday) you will work the same number of days that the house has work the LAST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR.

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:32:42 AM PDT

  •  Perhaps O will give Brennan a Medal of Freedom? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One more practice to adopt from the previous administration -- rewarding gross dereliction of duty and deceit, if not malversation.

    I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    by Words In Action on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:57:43 AM PDT

  •  "Can the voters change the GOP?" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, SueDe

    That is the wrong question, entirely.  It's wrong to even be asking questions as a response to our current GOP.

    Try this out as an alternative.

    Throw the bums out.

    Don't worry about reforming the other party, making it a better institution.  They're beyond that.  They're not really an institution any more that is pushing any particular public policy agenda.  If that were the case, if their only problem was that they had the wrong set of public policy proposals, sure, then arguing with them, arguing with the electorate about our policy differences, would make sense, would be the way forward.

    In reality, the only way forward is to throw the bums out.  The last time they held the trifecta, they did absolutely nothing to advance any public policy agenda with that power.  Obama offered them anything they wanted to raise the debt ceiling, and they didn't actually want anything positive, they jut wanted to wreck things, to make governance impossible.

    The GOP right now isn't a recognizable political party with a recognizable policy agenda.  It's just a bundle of every pointless resentment and aimless grievance left behind by human progress.  It doesn't need to be reformed, it needs to be left out with the trash.

    Throw the bums out.

    Get rid of the obstructionists so that people who actually believe in something, anything, can get their policies enacted.  If the electorate doesn't like the results, as they surely will not always and in every detail, they can then throw our bums out.  But throw us out in order to get in an actual party that believes in policy alternatives, not the nihilist racist zeros collectively known as the Republican Party of 2014.

    As a practical matter, our side is reluctant to go beyond chiding the other side to be more bipartisan, to return to the cooperative ways of a largely imaginary Leave It to Beaver political past.  We tend to believe in dialogue and compromise almost as principles and ends in themselves.  A good part of the electorate that could swing to either party also is made nervous by extreme partisan talk.  And so our side has tended to downplay winning unobstructed power, winning the trifecta, as the goal to aim for.  We are reluctant to present to the electorate throwing the bums out as the goal we are aiming for.

    The result has been stasis.  The other side doesn't really want the trifecta, because they don't want to do anything with power.  They just want to obstruct power, they want to make governance impossible, and government services to continue the deterioration that sets in when no one is in charge.  They only need one leg of the trifecta to do that, because they are willing to play hardball and block everything, wreck everything, with that one leg's veto power.

    The crises they provoke to block everything get scarier and scarier, but our side refuses to exploit the fear that creates with a big bloc of swing voters who just want the scary crises to end.  Maybe at some point appealing to bipartisanship, asking the Rs to be more moderate, actually was the right way to appeal to these voters.  Now, that approach just seems weak, indecisive and reality-denying.  We're not going to get a reasonable GOP, a partner in bipartisan governance, no matter how mild and open to compromise we are.  Everybody's figured that out but our side.  Voters who recognize that one party or the other has to be given power, at least for a time, to get us out of stasis, are eventually going to decide to give it the Rs, who at least seem to recognize that reality, scary as they are.

    Throw the bums out.  

    Offer the electorate that alternative as a way out of stasis, that our side is ready and able to govern by itself for a while, at least until an actual opposition takes shape.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:56:16 AM PDT

  •  Buck up congress, and admit it. (0+ / 0-)
    if Congress is to maintain meaningful oversight over the federal intelligence agencies....
    It's simply not possible, any more than auditing the pentagon.  It's better to admit it now and devise another plan than to keep puttering around the edges and being lied to.  Face it:  they're never going to tell you the truth - none of them - if it doesn't fit the scenario they want residing in your head.

    The Church Commission was right then, and Angus King is on the money today.

    if Congress is to maintain meaningful oversight over the federal intelligence agencies and if we can’t rely on the information that we’re given as being accurate, then it makes a mockery of the entire oversight function.”
     Well you can't rely on the information you're given; the agencies have proved that over and over.  So dissolve them.   Now.  Before the enterprise becomes even more uncontrollable - because it will.

    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

    by SueDe on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 10:59:16 AM PDT

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