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today's headlines about gun control
Headlines vis Newseum
Joseph Stiglitz looks at the myth of social mobility.
The gap between aspiration and reality could hardly be wider. Today, the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country. Study after study has exposed the myth that America is a land of opportunity. This is especially tragic: While Americans may differ on the desirability of equality of outcomes, there is near-universal consensus that inequality of opportunity is indefensible. The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity.
The New York Times looks at the effects of the sequester. And the cause.
These cuts, which will cost the economy more than one million jobs over the next two years, are the direct result of the Republican demand in 2011 to shrink the government at any cost, under threat of a default on the nation’s debt. Many Republicans say they would still prefer the sequester to replacing half the cuts with tax revenue increases. But the government spending they disdain is not an abstract concept. In a few days, the cuts will begin affecting American life and security in significant ways.
Carl Hiassen thinks it's more than water that Rubio desires.
Dear Marco,

One simple word sums up your unorthodox rebuttal to the President’s State of the Union Address: Genius.

Pausing in the midst of a speech that nobody would otherwise remember, lunging off-camera for a bottle of water and then slurping it like a demented hummingbird . . .

Time magazine was right. You are the savior of the Republican Party.

Was the whole country laughing at you? Possibly. OK, yeah. ...

In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened... Thanks to you, Marco, nobody’s talking about that moldy little speech. They’re talking about you jonesing for that water bottle.

Leonard Pitts weighs in on the drone controversy. Read this one to warmup for the next installment of Armando's examination of the legal issues around drone strikes.  
To those acts of violence against clarity, we can add a new one. A Justice Department memo recently obtained by NBC News authorizes drone strikes to kill U.S. citizens who join al-Qaeda, saying this is legal when three conditions are met. The third is that the operation be conducted “consistent with applicable law of war principles.” The second is that capture is infeasible. But it is the first that puts ice down your back. It requires that “an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.”

If you don’t see why that should shiver your spine, perhaps you use a different dictionary than the government. Merriam-Webster for instance, defines “imminent” as an adjective meaning, “ready to take place; especially: hanging threateningly over one’s head.”

But in its memo, which surfaces as the Senate ponders confirming John Brennan as director of the CIA, the Justice Department says its definition of “imminent threat” doesn’t require “clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

In other words, “imminent” doesn’t mean “imminent.” And if U.S. intelligence — which we all know is infallible, right? — determines you to be a member of al Qaida, that determination, absent any evidence of a planned attack, gives the government the legal pretext to vaporize you. Worse, the government contends this may be done without oversight, judicial or otherwise. The president becomes, quite literally, your judge, jury and executioner.

Follow me inside for more punditry.

Thomas Friedman usually gets ignored in this space because, well, he's Thomas Friedman. But this week, he manages something even George Will hasn't — a column too stupid to be ignored.

To be sure, the G.O.P.’s lurch to the far right has been more responsible for this paralysis than the Democrats, but Barack Obama is president. He wants to succeed. The country needs him to succeed. Therefore, he owes it to himself and to the country to make one more good shot at a Grand Bargain on spending, investment and tax reform...
And no, I will not pay to replace the iPad you just hurled at the wall.

Ross Douthat talks ex-Benedict for breakfast... and the end of a Catholic era.

The collapse in the church’s reputation has coincided with a substantial loss of Catholic influence in American political debates. Whereas eight years ago, a Catholic view of economics and culture represented a center that both parties hoped to claim, today’s Republicans are more likely to channel Ayn Rand than Thomas Aquinas, and a strident social liberalism holds the whip hand in the Democratic Party.
Douthat, of course, is convinced that social conservatism is a winning position. Which fits so well with the last election results.

Frank Bruni profiles the folks to whom Friedman wants to hand the keys.

Ted Cruz, a Republican freshman in the Senate who has been front and center in his party’s effort to squash Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense, has a problem. He’s an ornery, swaggering piece of work. Just six weeks since his arrival on Capitol Hill, he’s already known for his naysaying, his nit-picking and his itch to upbraid lawmakers who are vastly senior to him, who have sacrificed more than he has and who deserve a measure of respect, or at least an iota of courtesy. Courtesy isn’t Cruz’s métier. Grandstanding and browbeating are.

... Cruz, 42, isn’t simply the latest overeager beaver to start gnawing his way through the halls of Congress. He’s a prime illustration of what plagues the Republican Party and holds it back.

Actually, I think this is a bit off. It's not Cruz that holds the party back. It's a backwards party that would elect an belligerent asshole like Cruz.

Dana Milbank, self-confessed Republican, gives a little profile of yet another GOP all-star

Lindsey Graham is turning himself into the mad dog of Capitol Hill. ...

And I guaran-damn-tee you this: Graham’s antics have as much to do with events in Columbia, S.C., as with events in Washington. His sentiments are no doubt genuine, but the ferocity with which he has been attacking the Obama administration — taking a high-profile role on Benghazi, Susan Rice, Hagel and gun control — are helping him to repel a tea party primary challenge at home.

A senator willing to act like a flipping idiot in the hopes of appeasing the crazies, isn't. Acting.

E. J. Dionne has a suggestion for restoring Catholic relevance... but Douthat's not going to like it.

It is time to elect a nun as the next pontiff.

Now, I know this hope of mine is the longest of long shots. I have great faith in the Holy Spirit to move papal conclaves, but I would concede that I may be running ahead of the Spirit on this one. Women, after all, are not yet able to become priests, and it is unlikely that traditionalists in the church will suddenly upend the all-male, celibate priesthood, let alone name a woman as the bishop of Rome.

Take the count of all the planets around other stars that havr been discovered over the last decade. Now subtract one.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 10:51 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for this (12+ / 0-)

    Stiglitz is always worth reading...Hiaasen too (and he's also funny -- ever read one of his murder mysteries?) but I loved the thing about the Incredible Shrinking Plenets.

    Great wrap-up tonight.  Again, thanks much.

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 11:40:50 PM PST

  •  on drones, if we acknowledge the legality of (8+ / 0-)

    drone strikes to kill American citizens on foreign soil for the sake of argument, it still begs two questions.  
    The first is immediate.  If the criteria is that the citizen is a member of a terrorist group which may at some future date launch an attack against US interests (I take it to mean to have the capability and not actual plans in the works), even if that citizen  has no part of the planning process, he is still liable to execution without any sort of due process.  However, does this justify the concomitant execution of citizens who are not associated with the group and may even be a minor as collateral damage?  This is germane as it has already taken place: http://denver.cbslocal.com/...
    The second is more removed but as urgent.  Do we now allow the CIA to operate domestically since they are now barred from doing so supposedly or do we allow them to execute citizens on American soil?  Or do we now give armed drones to the FBI or maybe even local LE?  After all, a drone strike on fleeing robbers may be safer to the general public than a highspeed chase and gun battle.  We have opened Pandora's Box and there are many agencies salivating to get their hands on the tech of armed drones for a multitude of tasks.  While this may seem farfetched, I could never have predicted this discussion in 2000.

  •  We really have to start asking the question: (11+ / 0-)

    Is the Republic now so broken that its existence is now a threat to its citizens? Would we not be better off breaking up the United States into more governable pieces? I am a Californian. My State holds 20% of the population of the USA. If it were an independent nation, it would be somewhere around the 8th largest economy in the world. California sends more money to DC than it gets back, by a ways. As a Californian, I have to ask just what it is that's so gosh-darned great about being part of a country held hostage by a bunch of knuckle-draggers from States I wouldn't visit if you paid me. I can't think that I am the only one starting to think this.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 01:19:12 AM PST

    •  Because even though (3+ / 0-)

      you have a large population, and a large economy, you're still part of the US- you use the currency, you use the full faith and credit of the federal government to conduct business around the world and to export the goods that come out of California, and you get billions in federal money from the government- not just in aid, but in paychecks for the thousands of federal workers on the 2 dozen or so military bases, federal prisons, and other federal offices.
      How would splitting off help California?

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 02:24:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What an ignorant thing to say (12+ / 0-)

      You wouldn't visit Alabama?  The home of Rosa Parks and the place where the Civil Rights Movement was born?  A progressive who wouldn't want to see Selma and Montgomery makes no sense to me.

      You wouldn't visit South Carolina?  The Spoleto festival each spring is one of the premier venues in the United States for the arts and culture.

      You wouldn't visit New Orleans?  New Orleans?

      Every single red state has something of value, not to mention thousands, even millions, of hard-working, honest people struggling to get their state's politics back on track.  They deserve our support, not opprobrium.

      When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

      by litho on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:53:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, North Carolina is the prettiest (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho

        of all. And most of the people I've lived with, worked with and met down south (I lived there 22 years) are pretty great. Friendliest people in the world live down south.
        There may be a bit of bias in this statement.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:31:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I feel the same way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anne Elk

        While I'm sure there are many great things to see and do in some of these states they don't rank high enough to put them on my 'things to do' list.  Spoleto festival?  I never even heard of it.  Been to SC, only thing I remember are the mosquitos.  Drove through a few times.  I'm sure Utah is great, maybe one day I'll drive through but I won't be stopping for a prolonged period of time there.  Same for Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska.  Alabama?  Why would I want to go to a state that is so fucking backwards we have to celebrate a person who for one instance fought the racism and bigotry that to this day remains so prevalent?  I'd much rather live and visit a state where the racism is NOT prevalent and multiculturalism is elevated.  Rosa Parks was a hero but only because the people down there were such fucking racist pieces of shit.  I want to live in a society where we don't NEED people like Rosa Parks to remind us that we're all equal.

        I fully understand the benefits that each individual state derives from being a member of this grand experiment called the United States of America but I'm also seriously questioning the wisdom of keeping states in the union that do not want to be part of it.  South Carolina never wanted to be part of the union, were one of the states that demanded we keep slaves when the Bill of Rights was drafted and were the first state to secede.  Maybe we should have let the fuckers leave.  Same for Texas.  At some point one has to weigh the pluses and minuses.  Would we as a nation really be better off with these parasitic states that take more than they give?  Would we be better governed if we didn't have these states dictate the course of our country by sending  degenerates, racists  and fucking downright idiots to govern our country?  New Orleans?  Sure I'd love to visit it.  I also want to visit Bangkok.  

        So my question is would we really be better off as whole nation or separate?  I personally would opt for the separate.  But that's just my opinion.  

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:40:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  E pluribus unum (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho

          "Out of many, we are one."
          As someone who was born and raised in the northeast (Philly), spent about 22 years living down south and now in Kansas, I can assure you that racism thrives outside of the south.
          Every state has it's pluses and minuses, which allow us to pick and choose where to visit, but even red states have their own beauty.
          As for mosquitoes, have you ever seen them in Alaska? ;)

          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

          by skohayes on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:48:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm well aware of the racism (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlueEyed In NC, greengemini

            It existed in my family in NJ.  

            However, it's not as readily accepted in NJ or in CT or even Philly which I visit every month to hang with a bunch of marine wildlife activists.  Later today I'll be going to a reunion, an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL reunion.  We all graduated in 1986 from a small catholic school in NJ.  Hungarians, Portuguese, Cubans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans and our Russian Orthodox priest/teacher.  All best friends until we die.  My son goes to a school and has grown up with kids who are Jamaican, Portuguese, Asian, White, every nationality you can think of.  Race is not an issue.  Infact from the various races and cultures we learned that even though we are different we are all one.  We teach and learn about each others culture and we share.  It's what makes this city I live in great.  The diversity and the bond we share from that diversity.   Oh and BTW CT was one of the first states to allow gays to marry.  Now does racism and bigotry exist?  Sure it does but it's not accepted.  I never tolerated it when my dad said racist shit at home and I don't tolerate it when my son says something insensitive or stupid that may be perceived as bigoted or racist.   So why the fuck should I accept it when our highest elected officials exhibit racism and bigotry in the open and think it's an acceptable thing to show it towards our president?  

            I have to ask myself why these assholes keep getting elected by 60-70% and more.  Their ideals, their policies, their speech, everything about these pieces of shit is born out of a deep seeded prejudice which has found new ways to hide that overt racism.  Their policies on education for example are blatant attempts to siphon money from public schools and  to segregate the schools into the haves (predominantly white and high achieving minority races in new swanky charter schools) and the have nots (predominantly African American and Hispanics in decrepit and old public schools).  If they can make a buck off it while being racist pieces of shit, even better.  Voting?  Their policies are nothing more than thinly veiled poll taxes which require these same have nots to go out of their way and pay to get ID's so they can engage in our democracy.   It's just a way to make it harder for them to vote so that more of the white people and people with similar ideology get voted in.  Immigration?  their policies are blatant forms of racial profiling where one has to fear of getting pulled over for the simple crime of being brown. Ted Cruz?  Marco Rubio?  They're just  fucking useful idiots.  A way for these racist fucking pieces of shit to say 'See I'm not racist, I got me a Latino friend right here'   Taxes?  'Entitlements'?  A full out war against what they perceive as being a redistribution of wealth by the black president who they think is taxing the haves (whites) so that he can give to the have nots (lazy welfare collecting blacks).  Any time you hear Marxist, Socialist, Communist, redistribution, Taxed Enough Already it's another way of saying 'this black president is taking OUR money to give to those blacks'.

            Sorry but I'm very disillusioned with certain states and the politicians who they sent to engage in this nullification of the policies of this president all because of his color and race.  It's affecting the overall health of the WHOLE UNION.  It's beyond time we either come together as one or they can go fuck themselves and choke on the black oil they're living off of.  Ironic that people who hate black people so much are living off something that is black.  The reality is these fucking pieces of shit need us more than we need them.  

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:20:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Hmmm... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Minnesota Deb

          You focus on the people Rosa Parks and Dr. King were fighting against.  I'd much rather focus on the people they were fighting with.

          See, Mama Parks's goal wasn't to "remind us" we're equal, her goal was to win equality for herself and her people -- her family, her friends, her neighbors, and for everyone who happened to have a skin tone similar to her.  She wasn't about reminding us of anything, and if her actions and works did serve to remind us that was really just a secondary effect of the movement she sparked.

          The people she mobilized, and their descendants, still live in  Montgomery, and Mobile, and Selma, and thousands of other towns throughout Alabama and the South.  Many of them continue the good fight, the fight for equality and racial justice.

          As the Republican Party continues its collapse nationally, a historic moment is opening for those folks, a moment when for the first time ever they might actually reach the goal of social and political equality.

          Now is not the time to cut them off.

          When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

          by litho on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:55:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why the fuck should they HAVE to fight? (0+ / 0-)

            That's my point.  

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:22:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Asking why is beside the point (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Minnesota Deb, llywrch

              They do have to fight, and they need our help.  Are you willing?

              When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

              by litho on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:32:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  If they had spent all their time asking that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Minnesota Deb

              question, they'd probably still be asking it.  It is the luxury of privilege that enables the position you are voicing in the first place.

              I find it much more useful to honor and respect those who met the world as it was and did something to change it, rather than curse the world for not simply being what I believe it should be.  The world is what we humans make of it, and some do a far better job than others at continuing the work to make it better.

              Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

              by a gilas girl on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:10:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  The places I wouldn't visit at this point are (0+ / 0-)

        AZ and ID, mostly because I have a real fear of the survivalist culture in the latter and because I don't want to give any encouragement to he crazy legislators in AZ to continue their pursuit of the looniest, most paranoid laws in the country.

        So, I'm sure for every one of us there's a place in the nation that we'd avoid for some reason or another.  I also have no reason or desire to go to Kansas, and given the political and cultural climate there, have no great incentive to LOOK for a reason to want to go there.

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:03:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But you do realize (0+ / 0-)
        You wouldn't visit New Orleans?  New Orleans?
        that there is no resemblance between N.O. and most of the rest of Louisiana?

        "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

        by gritsngumbo on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:27:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No. I wouldn't. (0+ / 0-)

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:33:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  We should ask that question (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, PJEvans

      "Is the Republic so broken that its existence is now a threat to its citizens?"
      I think the answer to that is "yes, if we can be killed without due process we are subjects at the mercy of the state, not citizens in control of it".
      I would hope that we could fix the problem rather than divide ourselves.  That approach has a very bloody historical track record.

      We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

      by Mosquito Pilot on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:31:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  After Christopher Dorner started killing cops ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... and their family members, how much process was due?

        A civilized society would have been better off to understand what drove Dorner - allegedly - to murder four people and to treat or penalize him accordingly.

        Sure, it would have been better if he'd made himself available to the court system. Or if he'd just fled and then waited to be found. If we'd all continued to wait it out, meanwhile reassigning a lot of street cops to protect the 60-some others he'd threatened or who were in his putative target zones and devoting many others to the manhunt, ugly as that word is.

        But eventually, it came down to a mountain cabin full of arms and ammunition and a guy who knew how to use them.

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:16:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The same amount of process (0+ / 0-)

          Is always due no matter the number OR the identity of the victims.  Isn't that the definition of "due" in e due process?

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:11:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Due Process varies. The term itself is designedly (0+ / 0-)

            ... flexible. And with respect, it isn't a matter of "amount." The question "How much process is due" is one I'll bet every class on constitutional and administrative law asks. And the answer can change, as all laws can change, as courts issue opinions.

            We constantly shift what process is due to deal with the exigencies of our time. Like the Patriot Acts - many provisions of which I profoundly disagree - we'll always be debating what constitutes "due process" in given cases and sometimes even who decides what it is.

            In our various criminal laws, we have built up very elaborate procedures to protect those charged with crimes. But when we're confronted with the urban terrorist, the enemy combatant within our own shores (or giving succor to those outside them), the need for mandatory security checks at virtually every airport, the vital public interest in forestalling unthinkable massacres ... we are in new territory. Flat out declarations of what must be aren't workable.

            In my observations about ex-officer Dorner, I was responding to a comment that said in part: " ...  if we can be killed without due process we are subjects at the mercy of the state, not citizens in control of it".

            Yes, we can be killed without due process, by Bad Guys and sometimes - regrettably - by Good Guys as well.

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:40:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Point of order. (0+ / 0-)

        We citizens are as much in control of it (the state) as any population can be in any state.  We still have elections and choose our representatives in government, from our city council representatives to the president.  And we keep electing these people who limit our rights and pass laws that are blatantly unconstitutional.  

        We elect people who share our views on the majority of policies we believe to be the best for the country, and every candidate brings with him policies that we absolutely do not agree with.  It's up to each voter to decide if the disagreeable policies being espoused by the candidates outweigh those we do agree with, and if so we are free to vote against them.

        "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 Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:31:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So if we agree w/blatantly unConstitutional action (0+ / 0-)

          and vote people into office who violate the Constitution, that makes it OK?

          If so, please explain to me what a law is.

          Sounds to me like your idea of democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.

          We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

          by Mosquito Pilot on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:06:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Misusing the term "unconstitutional" (0+ / 0-)

            "unconstitutional" is not the same as "I don't like it."

            You need a specific part of the Constitution that these actions violates. THEN you need to explain how this can apply to citizens only and not non-US citizens when the CONSTITUTION SAYS NO SUCH THING.

    •  All money initially originates in D.C. (8+ / 0-)

      Money is meant to flow, like the current in a stream. So, where it is at any moment in time is not significant. What is significant is if the flow is artificially reduced and the economy stagnates, as a result. Think of the oil in a car's engine. The oil is only incidental to motion, but removing it is critical.
      Congress rationing the currency is disasterous. "Sequester" is just a new name for what they have been doing for a long time.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:37:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you have your own currency, as CA would, (0+ / 0-)

        we would just do what the US does. All money would then originate in Sacramento.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:44:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Some Texans already "asked" that question n/t (0+ / 0-)

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:47:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Anne Elk's Comment is a Top Comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anne Elk, greengemini

      This is probably the most important comment that I have seen this morning  The answer to this one comment will be the answer to the future of the USA.

      Yes, there are things to see in other states.  But, there are things to see and people to visit in other nations!  Ease of trave is not a reason to remain united.  If we are to remain united, there must be a commitment to remain untied, and I don't see that in the Red States.  The Red States have a commitment to delay and obfuscate, to prevent progress when they are in the minority, and if they ever again have a majority, I hesitate to think what the Republicans might do!

      Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

      by NM Ray on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:10:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You and Rick Perry are like-minded. Ain't gonna (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Minnesota Deb

      happen.
      Because it ain't gonna happen.
      Judging direct flow of tax dollars is a little misleading, CA benefits in other ways from being part of the federal gov. and having open borders.

      A lot of the knuckle-draggers and the powerful 1% that so skillfully manipulate them live in CA.

      There are some urban enclaves of liberated, liberal people, and significant college communities, etc. that keeps CA's collective head above the ideological waterline, but just barely.

      We're making slow progress. Not a good time to bail. We need to stick together and see this through. Or they win.

      "This land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York Island..." etc.

      What  you're suggesting is exactly what the 1% want. They want to break down and remove all impediments to a global corporate feudalism.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:33:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the question I posed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David54

        is like the threat of divorce in a marriage when one party says, "Things have to change or I'm gone." If a CA and NY said that, it would provoke a national crisis that would be solvable by change. We are ruled by an incredibly unrepresentative Senate and a highly gerrymandered House. We have something pretty close to unrestricted bribery by lobbyists. We cannot get anything approaching reasonable governance out of this rotting corpse of a federal government, and people tell me we are making progress. Oh, sure, look there's a piece of flesh without a maggot in it! Yer-ha!

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:43:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that the pressure to change is inadequate. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          llywrch

          Even Dem Sens from small states (K. Conrad,) are problems.
          However, as a carpenter I think in terms of leverage, of wedges, fulcrums, momentum, inertia, etc.
          So when I see incremental progress, it makes me want to apply more force, sometimes very carefully, rather than abandoning the effort and trying a different method.

          I also think in terms of the "ship of state" and with the enormous behemoth that is the us gov. I think that it takes a pretty wide turning radius to get it around in the right direction.
          It also takes 'all hands on deck" and everyone who doesn't want to haul sail, shovel coal, bail, row, etc. should be set adrift (ie gop).

          To some degree, our biggest problem recently has been with the media, which has allowed the bs of the gop to flourish. I think that has to change or progress is near impossible. Maybe that's changing some.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:44:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am getting old and pessimistic. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greengemini

            I have never seen things as bad as they are now.

            For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

            by Anne Elk on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 12:46:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  great sig line, though. (0+ / 0-)

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:34:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cruz.....The Overeager Belligerant Beaver (14+ / 0-)

    The little worm.  He hasn't served a day of his life in the military, yet he upbraids & challenges Chuck Hagel who would be the first enlisted man to serve as Secretary of
    Defense.

    Cruz has a wife who is a banker & has worked @ Goldman Sachs.  Hagel has two Purple Heart.....Cruz hasn't sacrificed diddly.

    He's an ugly little son of a gun, to boot.  Grotesque man.

    •  He's so telegenic.....he should be given more air (5+ / 0-)

      time....Way to go Texas......you guys do unleash some real doozies on us.

      •  I wonder what will undo him... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes, tb mare

        ...when his "spotlight" moment comes. A green screen malfunction? A stray microphone assumed off when he says something vile (well, more vile than The Village finds acceptable)?

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:30:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have a feeling (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tb mare, LilithGardener

          that the Republican Senators will shut him down pretty quickly.
          They might accept that inflammatory behavior in the House, where it is diluted by 435 other members, but not in the Senate.
          If you don't work with the leadership, you won't keep those committee assignments very long. Nor will you get those coveted TV interviews.
          I agree with skillet, though- give him all the rope he needs to hang himself.

          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

          by skohayes on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:36:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Like Johnson, Jordan & Moyers? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ratcityreprobate

        We have larger than life heroes as well as larger than life idiots.

        Did you know that only 3 states cast more votes for Obama than Texas did?  3,294,440 Texans voted for Obama.  Only California, New York and Florida cast more votes for Obama.

        We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

        by Mosquito Pilot on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:43:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The electoral college is an embarrassment (0+ / 0-)

          Unfortunately, it is darned hard to get rid of.

          •  Almost next to Impossible. (0+ / 0-)

            I doubt that we will ever see an end to the Electoral College.  I hope that I am not just a total Pessimist.  The Electoral College is the worst single element in our Constitution and could very well be one thing that breaks up the USA.

            Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

            by NM Ray on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:05:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Don't forget Anne Richards and Molly Ivins. (0+ / 0-)

          In time, and not all that long, Texas will be redeemed by changing demographics.  (Though not my cousins in Lubbock, they will never be redeemed.) As we learned the last week or two, Florida is all pythons and monitor lizards and that is not even counting Rick Scott and Allen West.

          Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

          by ratcityreprobate on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 01:26:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Heh...Cruz an overeager beaver? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, skohayes

    More like a honey badger...

                            ...honey badger don't care

    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 Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 03:19:16 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the roundup, Mark! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ratcityreprobate

    Going to go read the Stiglitz article in full.

    That's really interesting about the exoplanet only having 70 million years left to exist.  Tends to make our little problems look really little--until you contemplate the effect on the lives being lived on this planet.

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

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:43:31 AM PST

  •  Also worth reading on this snowy Sunday morn (13+ / 0-)

    here in the Northeast, Josh Marshall's take on the issues behind the GOP's assault on Chuck Hagel:

    Now we’re now out of Iraq. We’re moving towards major if not total withdrawal from Afghanistan. So we stand at a crossroads between two very different visions of the country’s future — its security challenges and economic future. Let’s start with what we might incompletely call the Bush/neoconservative approach. It is a belligerent unilateralism, a vision based on an abundantly powerful and yet deeply endangered America, and — very significantly — one that sees almost all the big issues and future security of the country emanating out of the zone of conflict stretching from North Africa into Pakistan. In other words, it’s about oil, Islam, the Middle East and Israel.

    The people around Obama have a different take on goals, threats and tactics. It’s not just that we can’t continue — either in security or fiscal terms — with open-ended occupations of Middle Eastern countries or hapless efforts to ‘transform the region’. It’s that the Middle East is fundamentally more yesterday’s news than tomorrow’s and that we need to be in the business of making it more yesterday rather than less. The Persian Gulf is still the choke point for the world energy supply. Any American President and foreign policy will focus on that for the foreseeable future. But more oil is now being drilled in the United States; and the world is trying to move away from oil. So for the last decade, as the US has bled itself dry in the Near East completely different futures are being created by the so-called BRIC countries, with the US at risk of being left behind.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/...

    The GOP is looking more and more like last century's political party, scrapping and scuffling as hard as it can to stay relevant in an historical epoch which has already left it behind.  The way they're going about it, the only thing awaiting them is history's ash-heap.  They're cornered, they're desperate, and it doesn't pay to get to close to them.

    Like the rabid curs they are, a bullet to the head may be the only safe way to deal with them.  In political terms, that means no quarter, no compromise, hold their feet to the fire and make them come to us.

    They've got nothing.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:45:06 AM PST

  •  Mark ... silence ... (6+ / 0-)

    The crickets from the Daily Kos front page related to the #ForwardOnClimate rally today have been deafening.

    DKos had an amazing set of discussions last week and, well, crickets (with exception of MB).

    Couldn't even have one sentence calling out 10,000s who will be in front of the WH today?

    On wreck list right now, Mr. President: Stop your waffling on climate change

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:49:49 AM PST

  •  There is a rising chorus on the right (19+ / 0-)

    accusing Obama of acting like a dictator through his use of executive orders.  Every time he mentions issuing an executive order to get something done, the right goes off on a screaming jag.

    UC Santa Barbara has a program called The American Presidency Project.  This program has done a study of executive orders issued by every president since George Washington and has published a table listing the number of executive orders issued by each president, which can be found at the link.

    Turns out President Obama has issued fewer E.O.'s in his first term than any president since Franklin Roosevelt.  But that little inconvenient fact hasn't toned down the vitriol from the Republicans.  But at least it's possible to know the truth, and you can now through some factual numbers at your crazy Uncle Joe when he goes off on a tirade about the president's "going over the heads of congress" to govern the country.

    "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 Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:52:07 AM PST

    •  We don't need no steenking facts....He's a tyrant (6+ / 0-)

      I tells ya.

    •  Lies are all the rotten Rs have; they are working (0+ / 0-)
    •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, Whatithink

      The fewer the E.O.s the better.  But it's not the number of E.O.s that's the point.  It's about substance...always has been whether Dem or Rep.  There has always been Constitutionally sanctioned friction in the U.S. three part governance system, and the E.O., like it or not, supports and threatens this constitutional divide.  It's not about republicans or Democrats, it's about the substance of those E.O.s from the President, and the threat to representative government that it represents. --....  Before lambasting this comment as sacrilege..it's about the Tyranny of ignorance and intolerance that many in the U.S. exhibit.  The problem is that many would subjugate those who don't agree with themselves...instead of recognizing and protecting the point that the U.S constitutionally imposed divisions are there to protect against Tyranny of the majority.    

      •  You appear to misunderstand E.O.s (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SueDe, llywrch, greengemini

        An Executive Order is simply an instruction from the Chief Executive to the Executive Branch on how it will perform within existing law. An Executive Order does not make or alter law nor apply outside the Executive Branch. It in no way is contrary to the separation of powers under the Constitution.

        A perfect example is information security classification. The law covering that is in fact quite sketchy. The entire classification system in force is implemented by Executive Order, specifically Executive Order 13526- Classified National Security Information. The previous E.O.s governing information security are noted and rescinded by the current one:

        Executive Order 12958 of April 17, 1995, and amendments thereto, including Executive Order 13292 of March 25, 2003, are hereby revoked as of the effective date of this order.
        All of these orders simply defined the system under the existing, and quite vague, laws dealing with information that is treated as secret.

        So with Executive Order -- Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity that directs how Executive Branch organizations, including the Cabinet, will coordinate and deal with this matter. An E.O. is in this sense simply a very formal policy memo from "the boss" to all employees—all in the Executive Branch of the three powers.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:07:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So in a nutshell, an Executive Order (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greengemini, pelagicray

          is simply a statement by the President -- or his staff -- of how they interpret existing law. This interpretation can be changed by him or his successor, and can be invalidated by the Judiciary or Congress.

          Doesn't sound so dangerous to me. Of course, an Executive Order can have a subtle influence on consensus, thus changing what the law means -- but far less perniciously than signing statements.

          •  Pretty much. They can also just be about basic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            llywrch

            functioning within the Executive Branch. All are statements by the President, though all are also carefully staffed (another "mystery" for many), including a thorough vetting by legal, before signing. Examples:

            Executive Order-- Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on Monday, December 24, 2012

            Executive Order 13548 -- Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities

            and just making a statement as in Executive Order 13547 --Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes.

            A good summation is in  U.S. National Archives and Records Administration's Executive Orders FAQ's. Like to see a list going back to Franklin D. Roosevelt - 1937 then look at Executive Orders Disposition Tables Index, choose a President and then a year. The first one is Executive Order 7532 Establishing Shinnecock Migratory Bird Refuge, New York Signed: January 8, 1937. All of this administration's E.O.s can be seen at Executive Orders on the White House site.

            All the hyperventilation on the right about "dictatorial Executive Orders" is either pure ignorance or disingenuous. Among the public, including some here on KOS, it indicates again how little people know about the actual functioning of government and how little effort they tend to put out with keyboard and clicks to find out.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:31:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  P.S. "Signing statements" are also misunderstood. (0+ / 0-)

            They can be more controversial but in essence they have been statements on how the Executive will implement law. Basic civics that can be helped by reading the laws, then the implementing language in the U.S. Code.

            Most stuff coming out of Congress and signed into law is not really all that tightly hung together—remember, it comes out of "committee" and is "amended" with the usual kluge look. Law is implemented by the United States Code which is staffed and where signed laws are "distributed" to appropriate sections of the code. A signing statement then is about how the Chief Executive (through that staff) will implement and enforce law.

            A top-of-the-head analogy might be I, Congress, tell you to "go to the store and buy groceries" and, since I'm always on your case, money is involved and such you "sign on" with the clarification that you "will ride a bicycle to get eggs, bread and butter" or "take a limo to buy caviar, champagne and crackers." To which I then may say "let me clarify!"—which Congress may do in response to a signing statement up to and including an amendment.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:55:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  The misunderstanding and willful twisting of just (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SueDe

      what an Executive Order is makes one's head spin. Here I've given some detail but the fundamental fact is that first part:

      An Executive Order is simply an instruction from the Chief Executive to the Executive Branch on how it will perform within existing law. An Executive Order does not make or alter law nor apply outside the Executive Branch. It in no way is contrary to the separation of powers under the Constitution.
      By definition an E.O. does not apply outside the Executive Branch's functioning, officials and employees. Further, it in no way must contravene existing law. Though it may impact other branches and the public that impact is indirect. An interesting case is Order Signed by the President regarding the Acquisition of Four U.S. Wind Farm Project Companies by Ralls Corporation in which:
      Sec. 2. Actions Ordered and Authorized. On the basis of the findings set forth in section 1 of this order, considering the factors described in subsection 721(f), as appropriate, and pursuant to my authority under applicable law, including section 721, I hereby order that:
      Details of how the law applies in 31 C.F.R. Subpart F—Presidential Action,  § 800.601  Statutory time frame, standards for Presidential action, and permissible actions under section 721. In this case it is a Presidential finding under law with an instruction on how The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and Treasury will act under the law. CFIUS legal framework is described in the link as:
      CFIUS is an inter-agency committee authorized to review transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign person (“covered transactions”), in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States.  CFIUS operates pursuant to section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended by the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007 (FINSA) (section 721) and as implemented by Executive Order 11858, as amended, and regulations at 31 C.F.R. Part 800.  

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:39:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thinking about schools - something to share (0+ / 0-)

    offering a thought-provoking piece by a superintendent of schools from the suburbs of New York City.   In this post I quote what he wrote with his permission an add some commentary of my own.

    I invite you to read.

    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 Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:58:10 AM PST

  •  the Adam Lanza piece is in the Courant (11+ / 0-)

    http://www.courant.com/...

    Raising Adam Lanza
    In the weeks after the Newtown massacre, The Courant, in partnership with PBS "Frontline," contacted family members and friends on both Nancy and Peter Lanza's side. Reporters reviewed messages spanning the 10 years in which Nancy Lanza wrote to close friends. What emerges is a portrait of a mother, apparently devoted but perhaps misguided, struggling to find her son a place in society, and a boy, exceptionally smart in some areas, profoundly deficient in others, who never found a place in the world.

    Watch Adam Lanza As a Child on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:59:24 AM PST

    •  Thanks, Greg (5+ / 0-)

      I know many families with a child who isn't "normal" and no clear idea what to do with him (or her, but more often him). (One was the NH Chief Justice, now dean of UNH Law School, whose mentally ill son attacked him and did significant facial damage.) Sometimes these things straighten out with time and maturity, and sometimes they go even more to the bad side. People outside can second-guess but it's really difficult from the inside.

      I have long assumed that these children/young adults have some sort of biochemical or physical anomaly, poorly understood. I also assume that the toxins swimming in our environment and water supply may be responsible, probably pre-natally. Combine that with an economy that doesn't provide useful roles for young people, and it can be lethal.

      •  It goes beyond "not normal" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tobendaro, tb mare, belle1, greengemini

        Millions of us are marginalized to the point that it's next to impossible to "find a place in the world." Many of us seem to be "auditioning" for fewer and fewer spots on a rapidly diminishing number of stage productions controlled by the same handful of "successful producers."

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:12:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for the link (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, greengemini

      It was a very interesting article, and many of the details confirm my impression that the community and school system did their best to serve this child's needs.

      To me, the mother comes across as a troubled person, independent of the upset of trying to care for a child like Adam.  She comes across as having her own issues with physical and emotional isolation, along with lack of focus and direction.  Very bad combination--mother and son.

    •  I was surprised not to find a link (0+ / 0-)

      to the article under the picture. I had to google the title in order to read the very interesting details of Raising Adam Lanza, especially information from people at his high school who worked hard to help him overcome excruciating shyness, thought they were making progress, and then found that the mother had taken him out of the school.

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:19:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I posted the link in here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ybruti

        the pic was from the FP of the Hartford Courant today, but I don't usually post links to the paper headlines under the graphic

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 12:15:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The NYT piece is a very good rundown (9+ / 0-)

    of the costs to the economy of the sequester and how the effects are likely to push the country into another recession (or for those of us who have experienced the brunt of the fallout from the Great Recession, deeper into the ongoing depression).

    In order to keep from being blamed for doing nothing to avert this potential disaster, Republicans are now calling the sequester "Obama's Sequester."  Never mind that the Republicans in congress voted overwhelmingly for it, or that John Boehner went on national TV to crow that they got "98% of what he wanted."  Now that the facts of its potential devastation are being detailed, now the tar baby belong solely to the president.

    The Republicans are willing to do anything, including destroying this country's economy, to smear this president.  I used to think the GOP would take cheap shots at the administration, but not actually damage the U.S. standing in the world, but they have proved me wrong.

    "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 Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:08:58 AM PST

    •  Republicans made the sequester happen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SueDe, tb mare, LilithGardener

      Now they want nothing to do with it.
      But then why don't the Republicans just repeal the damn sequester?

      •  Regardless of whose idea it was initially, (4+ / 0-)

        congress has within its power the ability to rescind the sequester.  The fact that they don't - then go on vacation during which they spend most of their time bitching and complaining about it - should prove to everyone that they don't want it rescinded.  They want it to go into effect, severely damage the economy, then blame the president for the damage.

        "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 Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:41:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Groundwork Has Not Been Laid (0+ / 0-)

          To get popular support against implementing the sequester.  It was there for avoiding going over the fiscal cliff. It was sufficent to get enough Republicans in the House to join Democrats to raise taxes. Depressing that the effects of the sequester has not been made apparent to the public. If it was we would have sufficient number of Republican reps join Democrats to avoid this.

          •  The sequester was not devised to avoid (0+ / 0-)

            going over the fiscal cliff - it was designed to facilitate raising the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011, when the Republicans were threatening to refuse to give the Treasury permission to sell bonds to pay the country's debt.  The damage the threat of its actually going into effect now is a gaping wound in the country's economic policy, but it is completely self-inflicted.  

            When passed, congress believed the threat of the sequester would force both sides to come an agreement on cutting the deficit - and giving them time to work out that agreement.  But alas, here we sit a year and a half later, and we're no closer to an agreement than we were in the summer of 2011.

            In my opinion, though, we're searching for the wrong agreement.  Congress should be working on a plan to put people to work in jobs that pay a living wage and forgetting about the deficit until the unemployment number is down around 6% and the economy is growing at an annual rate of at least 3% or more.

            "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 Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 12:08:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Drone policy is bad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans

    First off, it is dubious that we are in a state of war.  Second off, giving any one person the say in who to assassinate is downright scary. Third, is this really doing any good?  We are creating more and more enemies doing this.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:14:40 AM PST

    •  Congress decides with whom we are at war (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gonnabechef

      In this case, they signed off on the Authorization of Use of Military Force not once but twice. So your first point is crap.

      Second, in war, soldiers kill those whom they determine are members of an hostile military force. So your second point is crap.

      •  go read the AUMF again (0+ / 0-)

        then tell us exactly who we're fighting. Because half the groups you're talking about didn't exist before we invaded Iraq. And US citizens are supposed to get fair trials before the government executes them.
        (Before you give us any more DINO talking points, al-Awlaki's son was 16 years old and a born citizen. He was murdered.)

        (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

        by PJEvans on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:16:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Al Qaeda, affiliated orgs, countries that help AQ (0+ / 0-)

          Perhaps you need some new reading glasses, that don't whiteout the parts you don't like to read.

          This bit about US citizens has already been answered. US citizens have NO MORE right to a trial than a non-US citizen!

          AND I DON'T KNOW IF YOU NOTICES, BUT SOLDIERS KILL PEOPLE IN WAR.

          If you choose to join an organization at war with the United States, you choose to make yourself a legitimate, legal, military target.

          In point of fact, US citizens who joined the German army in WWII were killed by US soldiers.

  •  Not to throw cold water on the Rubio-bashing.... (0+ / 0-)

    But we Democrats need to start finding a good candidate to go against Rubio if we hope to win 2016.

    Rubio is absolutely not infallible but he is young, charismatic and a far better bet to win 2016 if he is put up against Hillary Clinton.

    I love Hillary Clinton myself, but even I know that she is uncharismatic and- at this point- somewhat delicate in terms of her health. Joe Biden trips on his tongue too much and Andrew Cuomo is a boring white guy who has a bad history of caving to the GOP often. Cory Booker is a cool guy but he's not a great speaker (and- I have to say this- a pretty obvious closet case). Julian Castro is a much better bet against Rubio but Castro has made it pretty clear that he's not going to seek the presidency anytime soon.

    I'd feel a little less anxious about this if Christie were the front-runner and not Rubio. Christie at least has a history of going against his own party in favor of doing what's right for people. He has famously reached across aisles towards the Democrats... and that alone would make me happier about his winning the presidency than Rubio.

    Considering what a conservative wingnut Rubio is revealing himself to be we DEFINITELY need to win 2016. However the Democratic field is looking so weak at this point that I'm extremely worried.

    •  We are at least two years away (0+ / 0-)

      from even beginning to guess who will run in the primaries.
      A lot can happen between then and now.
      And before you write off Clinton, she's the leading candidate in many recent polls, but she has no competition yet, so there's no point in discussing her as The Candidate.
      And why do you think that Rubio could beat any Democratic candidate, when he's a "conservative wingnut"? We saw a rejection of that in the Republican primaries. He's going to be one wingnut among a field of them.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:06:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's true... (0+ / 0-)

        It is still a long way away... much could happen that could suddenly sink Rubio. I still remember the steep, swift descent of Rick Perry quite well.

        Nevertheless, being a conservative wingnut does not keep people from being the president. In 2004 a conservative wingnut decisively won the election against the enormously more-qualified John Kerry simply because Bush had more charisma. Please do not underestimate charisma.

        Also remember the failed recall election of Scott Walker. It doesn't matter how much your opponent stinks and how many political oopsies he makes.... if your opponent has better name recognition than the man on your side, your opponent is going to win.

    •  Rubio is "charismatic for being charismatic" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tobendaro, LilithGardener

      Much in the same way that Paul Ryan is considered a "serious intellectual" when it comes to budget policy. It's mostly coordinated press releases and redundant talking points.

      The more Rubio is forced to prove that he can actually live up to the hype manufactured around him the better.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:35:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  hillary uncharismatic? (0+ / 0-)

      really????

  •  After all this good serious stuff, I suggest you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, skohayes, Ohkwai

    look at Calvin Trillin's Al Qaeda’s AARP? It is especially rich if like me you have waved goodbye to 70.

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

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

    by ratcityreprobate on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:19:50 AM PST

    •  LOL (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ratcityreprobate, SueDe
      If it was for our convenience, it would be our belts they’d let us keep on.

      Why? Because as some men get older, they suffer from D.T.S. — Disappearing Tush Syndrome. An older guy with D.T.S. gradually loses his hindquarters, which makes it hard for him to keep his pants up even with a belt. I once saw a man in North Miami Beach, Fla. — a retired insurance adjuster from Paramus, N.J., who was using both hands to carry a tray in one of those cafeterias where you get all you can eat for $8.95 if you arrive before 5 o’clock — walk right out of his pants.

      So true!

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:10:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mr. Pitts, what about Clear and Present danger? (0+ / 0-)

    Mr. Pitts, I can understand the fear you place on the first condition of the drone strike authorization. That of a high official authorizing it based on it being an imminent threat. But that isn't really something new. The president already has policies in place for years now that relate to "clear and present danger" to the US. And who determines that there is a danger? The CIA intel gatherers are pretty much the front line of discovering these tidbits of information. Of course the information is validated, summarized and vetted by higher ups along the way to the President's desk. But in essence this is how our government has reacted to imminent threats for years now. The President is just the final signoff on a long line of people that think the issue rises to that of an imminent threat. So what is so damn new here?
    Yes, the wording is pretty scary. But it's how our government works and has worked on many occasions. My question then would be. What wording would be better?

    If an American citizen joins a terrorist cell then is involved in the run up to an actual plan to attack someplace. And the only way to intervene safely would be to drop a bomb on their hideout. Would we then simply hold off on the assault because of that one citizen in hopes to catch him and arrest him? This seems a bit odd to me.
    Now if there were questions as to the validity of the whole situation then yes we should hold off pending some actual facts on the whole thing. But that's where the whole "imminent" threat comes in. If it's something that is most likely going to happen then we can't just wish for the best can we? There has to be a point where being a citizen just doesn't affect the outcome. If our police run into someone that is a threat to another's life then they have some authority to bring that person down with lethal force. We appear to be doing pretty much the same thing here.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:20:58 AM PST

    •  the police (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Whatithink

      aren't doing it to someone who might be dangerous a month or a year from now.
      The police also generally have a judge involved in the process, who knows what the laws allow.

      The drone policies don't require a judge, or even a legal show of cause. They aren't even allowing the judges to know what legal justification there is. Or even if there really is one. We now have laws that are too secret for courts to know about.

      If you're happy with secret laws, fine. But that's not the way we should be going as a country.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:23:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  People who can't distinguish between police... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and soldiers are too stupid for words.

        Did you know, soldiers kill in war?
        Did you know, soldiers do not need a court order to kill in war?
        Did you know, soldiers kill people without a court order, and who is not an immediate threat in war?

        Like I said, you are too stupid for words.

        •  Now Jack... (0+ / 0-)

          We don't need to get personal. What he said made sense in a way.

          We as a country do not need to resort to tactics that make us act like terrorists. We need to redefine how we use our weapons of war outside the theater of combat. We have been dragged into a conflict like no other before. These people know no boundaries and are part of no country's government. But we cannot simply bring warfare into every country in the world without becoming just as bad as they are.

          We need to resolve these threats through ways that more often will involve the State Department and local authorities on the ground that need to act to root out these people. We cannot act arrogantly and expect to be treated kindly by other countries if we trample over their sovereignty with impunity. There is a process to this and we need to bring our policies of targeting individuals into that process more carefully.  

          "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

          by Wynter on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 01:49:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's not about the drone policy is it... (0+ / 0-)

        Again, you are missing the basic point. We aren't talking about months or a year from now. The term was "imminent" threat. That term doesn't equate to a year from now. If the threat was not imminent then we would have options for capturing a suspect then bringing them before a court. What they are describing isn't new. The government has been doing this for decades even before the AUMF of 2001.

        And yes, the police do act without involving a judge if someone is going to kill or harm another in front of them. What you are describing is something longer term which is not the case in this drone policy. They are targeting an individual that they cannot easily pick up, arrest and bring to trial. They cannot safely use a SEAL team or other group to capture without harm. The nefarious smokescreen people attach to this drone policy lately is bordering on conspiracy level crazy. I have been around for quite some time and I don't see that this policy really is that outrageous compared to what we have done back in the cold war era. This is just using a different bit of technology to basically the same effect.

        I am not a fan of taking people out by assassination. But I do recognize that instances do occur where this may be necessary for a government. I would say that you need to address the overall policy of the government acting in this fashion instead of complaining about this single policy with drones. We as a nation should be acting better than this. We shouldn't need to resort to tactics of a terrorist to keep ourselves safe. In that sense the real problem is much larger than a simple drone policy wouldn't you say?

        "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

        by Wynter on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 01:41:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well Nancy & Adam Lanza are now infamous; (0+ / 0-)

    It's mostly her fault for not securing her weapons of mass destruction.

    If there is hell, she and her rotten son are there. I am so solidly anti-gun because of the evil antiquated nonsense called the all important 2nd amendment.

  •  The Roman Catholic influence waning? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, skohayes

    One marker for measuring whether the Church has really diminished in influence will be the upcoming vote on marriage equality in the RI Senate. The bishop has made this a strident line-in-sand matter, and with something like 2/3 of our population at least nominally Catholic (and I think a larger portion of the legislature), we'll see if it matters. The pro-marriage side has the state Council of Churches and a number of non-Catholic denominations but has trouble even getting its voice heard.

    And then there's Scalia. . . .

  •  A Dios Due Process (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, a2nite, PJEvans

    Is this the loss of liberty the gun nuts are talking about?  If so, maybe I can almost understand......

    I'm not concerned about how "imminent threat" is defined, what's wrong here is that a government official is anointed judge, jury, and executioner.  

    We lost the whole ball game when we lost habeas corpus.

    Face it, we have no rights.  We are subjects, not citizens.

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:22:44 AM PST

    •  Perhaps you should review the meaning of war (0+ / 0-)

      Just saying... you could save yourself from future embarrassment.

      •  Why? Or are you saying the government (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mosquito Pilot, PJEvans

        is allowed to wage an unannounced Civil War upon its own citizens, or undeclared Wars on the citizens of other nations?  If I were over in power in Pakistan, I would let the US know I consider any further drone strikes as acts of War against Pakistan, given the number of civilians killed for simply 'being in the wrong place at the wrong time' just living their lives in their home country.

        •  They do the calculations (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          auron renouille

          The military aid is worth some dead civilians. There is much noise made in public about drone strikes, and then privately the government officials hold their hands out for more cash.

          This notion that we should let the sovereign governments of these countries deal with police/military matters within their own borders makes perfect sense in places where there is a functioning sovereign government. Nobody is talking about sending drones to Lyons or Lisbon.

          In many parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, you either use drones or soldiers. I can't think of a decent reason why we should forego the use of drones just to put our soldiers in harm's way. Because it hurts your sense of fairness? I'll risk your sense of fairness over my brother's life.

          Or, I suppose we could do nothing when the Taliban shoots a schoolgirl in the head for going to school. Let them terrorize and radicalize the local population, because if we don't use drones they're going to magically start liking us. Or something.

          •  No. Because of other people's lives. (0+ / 0-)

            What you 'risk' is the deaths of other people's brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers.

            It's not 'my sense of fairness'.  It's simply that I don't preference one innocent life over another.  Sure, you don't want to risk your brother's life over someone else's life when you don't know them.   But what if your mother was taking a vacation adventure trip in Pakistan and was killed by a drone strike?  Would you still feel the same about drone strikes?

            •  So your answer (0+ / 0-)

              You don't want any intervention when the bad guys do bad things. It's okay to take that position, but own it.

              Civilians are going to die regardless. The militants are targeting civilians. We can either let them do that without fear of reprisal, or we can do something about it. If we do something about it, that something is going to involve soldiers or drones. Take your pick.

              We are actively trying not to cause civilian casualties. We fail at that some times -- but if you don't see a difference between what we do and what they do, I can't help you.

              Since we're from that part of the world, my mother would have more sense than to travel in a war-torn region for vacation -- but thanks for your concern.

              •  This has been the best defence of (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mosquito Pilot

                right wing hawkishness I think I have seen here in a long time...bad guys doing bad things, gotta go in, civilians just collateral damage. Jesus christ, what next, increase defense spending too? How attitudes change when our guy is in charge!

                •  Categorization isn't rebuttal (0+ / 0-)

                  Make a real argument. What do you want done? I'm saying that in situations where we would either send in troops or send in drones, I'm all for drones. If you'd rather not do either, say so and live with the consequences.

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

                  This guy was killed in a drone strike, partially because Pakistan was pissed that NATO wasn't doing enough to go after Taliban in the area. If the host country wants us to take out a guy like this, why would we put our soldiers in harm's way to do that when we don't have to?

                  •  why are we killing anyone there? (0+ / 0-)

                    What if we just minded our own damned business?  It's not like our nation is in such great shape we've got nothing to do but go "help" other people (by killing some of them).

                    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

                    by Mosquito Pilot on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 02:55:42 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I see you ducked the question. (0+ / 0-)

                You don't need to re-evaluate your position because your mother simply wouldn't be there.  How convenient.

                I'm perfectly fine standing by my position.  Innocent lives are innocent lives, whether they're 'your brother' or 'some stranger'.  And they don't deserve to die simply because you want to kill 'a bad guy' who happens to be near them at some point in time.  You're no different from 'the bad guy' to them, when you murder them while trying to kill him.

                You both kill innocents, so you're no different.

          •  Yeah, I'll never understand the drone obsession. (0+ / 0-)

            We need to weigh a military intervention on its own merits - drones are just a tool.  The undercurrent on many liberal sites that drones are uniquely abhorrent because they don't put American lives at risk is a little bit disgusting.  American service members are rarely soldiers of fortune - we do not have an army staffed solely of Erik Prince clones.  They're typically working-class Americans (and lawful residents seeking citizenship) with a heavy overrepresentation of African Americans and Latinos.

            If a military action is meritorious, it ought to be conducted in a way that risks the fewest American and civilian lives reasonably possible, be that with drones, special forces, cruise missiles, or ninjas with lightsabers (we have those, right? ^_^).  If it lacks merit, it ought not be conducted at all.

            "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

            by auron renouille on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:10:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  No special procedure for civil war (0+ / 0-)

          The US Congress used their authority to declare war to pass the AUMF against Al Qaeda.

          If you are a member of Al Qaeda, you are a target.

          Why are some of you people so stupid you cannot comprehend this?

          And the right to due process applies EQUALLY to a US citizen and a German soldier in WWII. Go back and read it! Does it say "all persons"???? Why yes, it does.

        •  On some levels, they want the strikes. (0+ / 0-)

          Pakistan has been engaged in a low-level civil war in the tribal territories for quite a long time now.  The airstrikes relieve a lot of the Pakistani army's heavy lifting and disrupt the militants' ability to thrive without that disruption having to bear a Rawalpindi return address.  Islamabad is just as threatened by the Taliban's Pakistani components as anyone else and, while publicly making noise about them, is privately finding them a useful means to an end.  The enemy of their enemy and all that stuff.

          "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

          by auron renouille on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:03:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  perhaps. perhaps you should review Article 1, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PJEvans

        section 8.  Which of the other fascist actions of the last few decades do you approve of?

        We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

        by Mosquito Pilot on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:13:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly the right focus MP. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mosquito Pilot

      The 'imminence' argument begs some obvious questions: who decides whether or not a person or threat is imminent. And on what evidence does this person or persons rely? Bypassing jury and judge was a direct result of government officials treating al-Qaeda as an IMMANENT threat, as opposed to an occasional imminent threat.

  •  The state's claim to the right to determine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, salmo

    who lives and who dies is central to what is euphemistically referred to as "capital punishment," the order to register for the draft, and the legal supervision of medical care for reproducing persons, not to mention the definition of suicide as a criminal act.

    The first series of amendments to the Constitution, albeit intended to "secure" individual human rights (including to life), are all hedged with various conditions, many of them focused on procedures which emergency situations just might not allow.

    The elevation of the nation and national security into a position of pre-eminence mandates that human rights are less important.

    Remember the agitation against "secular humanism"? That was generally interpreted as being about non-religious principles supplanting religious ones. But, the real object of antagonism was/is the principle that humans and their rights should be more important than God or country. Which makes sense, if you are a person that's persuaded that humans are essentially flawed and the state exists to make them good, then the state has to be superior to all.
    Religious people prefer to assign that slot to a deity and they've got good cause. Deities do not wield weapons with which to dispatch humans into the after-life in an instant.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:23:22 AM PST

    •  Soldiers kill people in war (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gonnabechef

      Is this such a new concept to you?

      •  NON SEQUITUR. (0+ / 0-)

        You aren't getting it.
        The soldiers aren't the problem.
        It's the guys in suits in DC, the ones running the three-letter 'intelligence' agencies, who are deciding who lives and dies at the hands of someone else with a joystick. The ones who decide,they'll never be held to account for it. They don't have to answer to a court, they're above the law.

        (Brennan won't even answer questions about stuff that's already public information. He's going to be running those three-letter agencies if he's confirmed.)

        (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

        by PJEvans on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:29:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You aren't getting it (0+ / 0-)

          Soldiers KILL people without due process in war.
          THAT IS WHAT MAKES IT WAR, IDIOT.

          And this is no rogue war, either. The US congress has authorized war on Al Qaeda, all affiliated organizations and all countries that provide aid to Al Qaeda. Twice.

          Who is eligible to be killed?
          ANYONE who joins Al Qaeda.

          Who has the authority to decide who dies?
          In war, soldiers may use their judgement to decide who is a member of the enemy force and kill them.

          Hasn't the president imposed additional controls restricting the target list?
          Yes he has, but this goes beyond the requirements of the Geneva conventions, and US law.

  •  Love the deliberately stupid language re drones (0+ / 0-)

    Leonard Pitts should be give a special award for stupiditity. Every soldier is "judge, jury and executioner" in war.

    Does the gentleman think that the rules of war -- where we order young men to kill someone, even if that person is not an immediate threat to their life threatening their life -- are the same as those in civilian life? Really?

    Does the gentleman think that, had a young American soldier been able to kill Hitler, then that American would have been guilty of murder? I can just hear Judge Leonard Pitts pronouncing solemnly that the American soldier was guilty of have made himself "judge, jury, and executioner"!

    We should agree that there is no difference from taking the life of a member of a hostile force at war with the United States with a rifle shot and by means of a drone launched missile.

    Indeed in both cases, the soldier would be fully justified in shooting the enemy (as defined by the Congress' authorization of military force) on sight.

    Only in the case of the drone strike, where again shooting the enemy on sight is fully justified, the President imposes an extra, legally unneccesary, layer of oversight.

    Where is the due process, cry the critics. My reply is, where is the due process in any war?

    The only process required is the deliberation on the part of the Congress prior to declaring an authorization to use military force.

    I speak up here because, as liberal as I am, I cannot throw dirt on the soldiers who kill legitimate military targets, in war, with the full constitutional backing of the Congress.

    Frankly, Mr. Pitts, and all who fail to make a distinction between what happens in a military strike and a common murder, have left the path of honest discourse.

    •  For the third effing time (0+ / 0-)

      IT ISN'T THE MILITARY.

      We get that you think the Pentagon can do anything it wants.
      That's not what's involved here.
      NOWHERE did Pitts invoke your sacred military.
      This is CIA and NSA and maybe JSOC. Even the president isn't really mentioned. And certainly no judges or courts.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:33:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For the next 100 times (0+ / 0-)

        These are military strikes conducted under the authority of the commander and chief.

        WHEN HAVE THE COURTS DECIDED WHO CAN BE A LEGITIMATE MILITARY TARGET WHEN CONGRESS HAS AUTHORIZED WAR???

        The US killed thousands in WWII.
        The US killed thousands in the first Gulf War.

        How many times did they have to ask the courts to bring the enemy to trial before execution?

        How many????

    •  The problem is the perpetual nature of the AUMF. (0+ / 0-)

      American involvement in Libya was considered outside the broad scope of the AUMC because Libya could not be proven to have "supported or harbored persons or groups involved in the September 11 attacks." These two restrictions have been interpreted rather loosely by both the Bush and Obama administrations. For example any combatant in Iraq who just opposed our role as an occupier of their country could be deemed a member or supporter of al Qaeda at the whim of the president or others well down the chain of command. This MO has applied to Afghanistan as well. The AUMF is a declaration of a war that is potentially a world war of unlimited duration. The scope of this declaration has been interpreted in ways that are highly questionable.

      With respect to al-Awlaki, e.g., there is no doubt that he actually took action to injure US citizens and interests and was fair game, citizen or not. However, his sixteen year-old son, killed in a separate strike some two weeks after his father was killed, had not seen his father in two years, and was targeted despite his status as a minor. "I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children." Robert Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, told an interviewer. On Gibbs' explanation, the killing of this minor, who simply happened to share the wrong family name and was only searching for his father's whereabouts, was a war crime.

      This is just one specific example of how this particular declaration of war, the AUMF, has been misused. The problem is not abuses by soldiers on the ground, but decision making at a great distance by bureaucrats often given minimal and sometimes misleading data on the targets chosen by our intelligence services. The question is who gets to define, and on what evidentiary basis, persons or groups alleged to "support or harbor" those responsible for the 9/11/2001 attack?

  •  Is it self-reinforcing? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stagemom

    Does Republican senators catering to the crazy increase the influence of the crazy in the party?

  •  Order in the House? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tobendaro

    Saw an interesting article in WaPo this morning:

    But now Camp is part of a bloc of committee chairmen in the House and Senate trying to reassert themselves and reverse course; their aim is to re-establish their chairmanship gavels as meaningful tentacles of power after years of watching the legislative process atrophy, along with their roles in it. Tired of watching as flailing leadership negotiations fail to produce any key legislation, these senior lawmakers hope that a return to the old days of subcommittee hearings and bill markups, floor amendments and conference reports may offer a path forward on everything from immigration to a long-term budget plan.
    Congress’s committee chairmen push to reassert their power

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:14:35 AM PST

  •  Our own Bill McKibben was just on Chris Hayes. (0+ / 0-)

    Biut of course I forgot to comment until Chris was done talking to him :P

  •  This comment on the Stiglitz piece struck me (5+ / 0-)
    From the article: "After 1980, the poor grew poorer, the middle stagnated, and the top did better and better."

    What watershed event happened in 1980? The election of Ronald Reagan, shortly followed by "supply-side" tax and regulatory policies, a heightened attack on public education at all levels, and general acceptability of the notion that "big government "(including public schools and universities) was the enemy of the public. That pretty much explains everything.

    That sort of says it all!

    “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

    by musiclady on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:25:04 AM PST

  •  Ted Cruz is only 42?!?!? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, Mark Sumner

    In all his photos he looks like another of the angry Old White Man brigade.

    Jeez, it's spreading... You don't have to actually BE old to be and Old, White Man anymore.  Young white demagogues may also apply

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:53:13 AM PST

  •  Speaking of throwing ipads (0+ / 0-)

    at the wall or remotes at the t.v., and Obama reaching out to republicans for the Grand Bargain again instead of pummeling them . . .

    Did anyone see that insufferable republican child on Maher on Friday?  Jamie Weinstein, Sr. Editor of The Daily Caller, who said that Obama had not done a good enough job of reaching out to republicans in congress?

    Donna Brazile (classy as always, love her) said "they won't even have a chablis with him".

    The dolt says "Well, did he invite them?"

    Did he invite them?  Well, yeah, dude.  He invited them.  Even formal, probably engraved, invitations.  

    They hate him, in case you haven't noticed.  

    Donna hardly responded to this nonsense.

    Seriously?  This is who represents the gop?

    Even 'serious' (adult) pundits are saying Obama still needs to try harder to work with the republicans instead of smashing them into mush.

    {{shakes head}}

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

    by delphine on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:27:36 AM PST

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