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Today, 12:26 pmSign language
This one is for you!
Yesterday, 5:10 pmTrue Colors
The resident racist and bigot is showing his true colors. Now he depicts ALL Blacks that are Democrat as big lip, wide nose ass kissers. Arabs as camels mouths with wide noses. What a lowlife POS.
September 28, 2014, 11:34 pmI will say whatever for your vote.
September 27, 2014, 1:51 amLiving in Denial
September 23, 2014, 1:00 pmPAUL KRUGMAN: The Republicans Aren't Willing To Do The One Thing That Would Help Solve Poverty
PAUL KRUGMAN: The Republicans Aren't Willing To Do The One Thing That Would Help Solve Poverty
In recent months, former GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has been touting his concern for the poor, while eschewing some of his party's past economic rhetoric. But according to Paul Krugman, Ryan and the rest of the party aren't willing to entertain the one thing that's actually needed to address poverty: spending more money.
Edited by Justin Gmoser. Additional camera by Graham Flanagan and Alex Kuzoian.
The republicans as usual talk a good game but lack substance. They are so-called experts at giving advice, but are lousy at following their own suggestions. They talk loud and say NOTHING.
September 21, 2014, 11:33 pm10 Republican Red States That Mooch off Coastal Liberal States
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One of the most hilarious talking points coming from far-right Republicans and the Tea Party is that when “red states” like Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana are asked to bail out California or Massachusetts, that’s when they will finally become “fed up with socialism” and secede from the Union once and for all.
The problem with that meme is that it has no basis in reality: the more prosperous and Democrat-leaning areas of the United States are likely to be subsidizing dysfunctional “red states,” many of which are suffering from insufficient tax revenue and an abundance of low-wage workers who don’t have much to tax. Tea Party Republicans like to point out that poor cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Camden, New Jersey are run by Democrats, but they neglect to mention that some of the most affluent parts of the United States—from Manhattan to the Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area to Cambridge, MA to Seattle to Chicago’s North Shore suburbs—are dominated by the Democratic Party. People in those heavily Democratic areas pay a lot of federal income taxes, and quite often, their tax dollars go to red states.
Earlier this year, the personal finance website WalletHub.com conducted an in-depth study of the amounts individual states are paying in federal taxes compared to the amounts they are receiving. WalletHub analyzed data from the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. WalletHub’s research demonstrates that, as a rule, the states that are the most likely to rail against “big government” are the most likely to be benefiting from it.
A few of the states in WalletHub’s study that were receiving the most tax revenue from the federal government are states that President Barack Obama won in 2012 (most notably, New Mexico and Hawaii), but most were hardcore “red states.” And most of the states that, according to WalletHub, are taking less from the federal government than they are paying in are “blue states” that Obama won in both 2008 and 2012, including California, Massachusetts, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Minnesota. WalletHub’s research bears out comparable figures released by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation in the past: analyzing IRS data, Tax Foundation has found, more than once, that red states are likely to be the biggest recipients of federal tax money.
Below are 10 red states that take full advantage of the federal government and would be much worse off without the “coastal liberal elites” they love to complain about.
1. Mississippi: Mississippi is one of the most Republican states in the U.S.: Republicans dominate the state government, and not since Jimmy Carter’s victory in 1976 has a Democrat carried Mississippi in a presidential race. “Fiscal responsibility” is a recurring theme in Mississippi politics, where Democrats are often characterized as people who couldn’t balance a budget if their lives depended on it. Yet the reality is that Mississippi is one of the most blatant examples of a state receiving more federal tax money than it gives: WalletHub finds that for every dollar in federal taxes Mississippi pays, it receives $3.07 from the federal government. A 2007 report from the Tax Foundation found that Mississippi was receiving $2.47 from the federal government for every dollar it was paying in.
The fact that Mississippi has a hard time making ends meet without help from Washington, DC stems from being a so-called “right to work” state, meaning it has a very low rate of unionization and plenty of low-wage jobs. Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country, and Republican policies in that state—hostility to unions, opposition to raising the minimum wage at either the federal or state level, tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% of Americans—will likely keep Mississippi from being a substantial contributor to federal income taxes.
2. Alaska: Alaska didn’t become part of the U.S. until 1959, and since then, it has gone Republican in every presidential race except 1964 (when Alaska favored Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson over Republican Barry Goldwater). A bastion of hard-right politics, Alaska is the state where Sarah Palin was elected governor in 2006. But when it comes to “small government,” Alaska Republicans don’t practice what they preach: according to WalletHub, Alaska receives $1.42 from the federal government for every dollar it contributes. Tax Foundation’s research showed Alaska receiving $1.93 from Uncle Sam for every dollar paid in. Alaska Republicans love to rail against the federal government, but the reality is that Alaska needs federal tax revenue badly in order to function.
Alaska is infamous for its harsh winters, which put considerable wear and tear on the state’s infrastructure—and the money for that much upkeep and maintenance has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is Boston, Santa Monica, Brooklyn, Seattle and all the other places that are full of upscale Democrats Palin considers “un-American."
3. Alabama: Like Mississippi, Alabama is a state that hasn’t given a Democratic presidential candidate its electoral votes since 1976. Alabama is one of the most Republican-dominated states in the U.S., and it is also a state that is very reliant on the federal government. According to Wallet Hub’s study, Alabama receives 37% of its revenue from the federal government and receives $3.28 for every dollar it pays in federal taxes. Tax Foundation’s data showed Alabama receiving $2.03 in federal tax money for every dollar it was paying in.
There are ways in which Alabama could become less reliant on Washington, DC: raising the minimum wage and having a more unionized workforce would generate more income tax revenue. So would raising income taxes on Alabama’s 1%. But Alabama is a so-called “right to work” state, and a workforce that is generally underpaid and overworked isn’t going to generate a lot of federal income tax revenue.
4. Louisiana: In Republican-dominated Louisiana politics, it is fashionable to bash “big government liberals” who live in San Francisco or New York City. But when Louisiana Republicans do that, they are biting the hands that feed them. According to Wallet Hub’s research, Louisiana receives $3.35 from the federal government for every dollar it pays in; 44% of Louisiana's funding, WalletHub says, comes from Washington, DC.
Louisiana, under Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, is another “right-to-work” state, and a state with so many underpaid workers is naturally going to have a lot less income to tax. So instead of hating the “limousine liberals” in Seattle or Boston for voting Democrat, Louisiana Republicans should thank them for all the federal income tax revenue they are getting from them.
5. Indiana: When Barack Obama won Indiana’s electoral votes in 2008, it was an anomaly: Indiana, which went Republican in every presidential election from 1968-2004, is one of the most conservative states in the Midwest and is much more Republican than Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois or Michigan. Pundits have often said that when it comes to politics, Indiana is “more southern than the South.” But the disdain that Indiana Republicans often express for “big government” rings false because according to Wallet Hub, Indiana receives $2.01 from the federal government for every federal tax dollar it contributes and receives 33% of its funding from Uncle Sam. Indiana Republicans can hate coastal Democrats all they want, but without the federal tax revenue Democratic areas generate, Indiana would have a hard time functioning.
6. Montana: Montana has a long history of going Republican in presidential elections. Between 1952 and 2012, Montana went Republican in every presidential race except 1964 and 1992. But for a state that is so conservative-leaning, Montana receives a lot of help from the federal government: WalletHub’s research shows that Montana receives $1.55 from the federal government for every dollar it contributes (the Tax Foundation’s 2007 report found that Montana’s intake from Uncle Sam was $1.92 for every dollar paid). Montana faces the same challenge as Alaska—long, harsh winters that can put considerable stress on its infrastructure—and the idea that Montana could function without tax revenue is pure fantasy.
7. South Carolina: The fact that South Carolina hasn’t gone Democrat in a presidential election since 1976 is a badge of honor to the state’s GOP. And Republican Gov. Nikki Haley once boasted, “I love that we are one of the least unionized states in the country.” But that is nothing to be proud of, especially in light of the fact that non-union workers tend to have lower wages and therefore, contribute less tax revenue. The Tax Foundation found that South Carolina was receiving $1.92 from the federal government for every federal tax dollar it was contributing.
Haley doesn’t think much of liberals, but considering that Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota and New York State—all of which Obama won in both 2008 and 2012—are giving more tax dollars to the federal government than they are receiving, she might want to reconsider and start thanking them for their help.
8. West Virginia: Although West Virginia presently has a Democratic governor (Earl Ray Tomblin) and has a Democratic majority in its state senate (most of them center-right Blue Dogs), it is still a conservative-leaning state with a strong Republican influence. Republicans have carried West Virginia in the last four presidential elections (Mitt Romney won 62% of West Virginia’s vote in 2012), but that doesn’t mean that the state doesn’t receive a lot of help from the federal government: WalletHub described West Virginia as a state that receives $2.22 in federal tax revenue for every dollar it pays, and the Tax Foundation’s figure in its 2007 study was $2.57 received per dollar paid.
Poverty has a lot to do with that: West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country, with 17.6% of its population living in poverty from 2008-2012 compared to 14.9% nationwide (according to the U.S. Census Bureau). And with so many West Virginians living in poverty, they simply aren’t going to be a major source of income tax revenue.
9. Tennessee: One of the ludicrous talking points from Republicans is that the poor aren’t paying enough taxes. Actually, the poor do pay a lot of taxes, from sales taxes to taxes on utilities. But according to Republicans, the poor are freeloaders because they aren’t paying enough federal income taxes—and one way to balance state budgets, they cluelessly argue, is to cut state services and raise state taxes on the poor. Republicans flunk math, however, because someone making $7.25 an hour is going to have a lot less to tax than someone making $30 or $40 an hour. And therein lies the budgetary problem for a so-called “right-to-work” state like Tennessee: too many of its residents are working low-paying, non-union service jobs that generate a lot less sales and other state tax revenue than the unionized jobs Republicans are so bitterly opposed to. Tennessee, according to WalletHub, receives $1.64 from the federal government for every federal tax dollar it contributes—and WalletHub notes that 41% of Tennessee’s funding comes from Uncle Sam.
10. Kentucky: Kentucky, despite having a two-term Democratic governor (Steve Beshear), leans Republican: although Bill Clinton won Kentucky’s electoral votes in 1992 and 1996, that state has gone Republican in every other presidential race since 1980. Mitt Romney carried Kentucky by 22% in 2012, and many of the Democrats who hold office in the Bluegrass State are center-right Blue Dogs. But as widespread as talk of “small government” and “fiscal responsibility” are in Kentucky, WalletHub’s research shows that Kentucky receives $2.39 from the federal government for every dollar it pays. According to WalletHub, 35% of Kentucky’s revenue comes from Washington, DC. And the Tax Foundation found that Kentucky was receiving $1.75 from the federal government for every dollar paid.
September 20, 2014, 10:05 pmHow Long Can the GOP Hide the Crazy?
How Long Can the GOP Hide the Crazy?
We’ve recently seen some glimmers of Republican lunacy. Just last week the Arizona State Republican Party’s vice-chair, Russell Pearce, offered this gem: “You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations.” Translation: forced sterilization of poor women to make sure they don’t have more babies. Pearce resigned on Sunday.
That’s an awful remark. But that wouldn’t even get him to the GOP final four of crazy when you compare it with the crap we’ve heard come of the mouths of Republican candidates in recent years.
Who can forget in 2012 the double whammy of GOP Senate candidates comments about rape? First, there was Rep. Todd Akin who told us when there’s a “legitimate rape” of a woman, her body somehow is able to magically block the unwanted pregnancy.
Then came Indiana’s Senate nominee, Richard Mourdock, who told us that pregnancy from rape is in essence a good thing because it’s “something God intended.” Consequently he, like Akin, believed that women who were raped should be legally required to carry the rapist’s child to term.
And in 2010, there was Sharron Angle, who lost a possibly winnable Senate race against Harry Reid in Nevada with comments like people might need to look toward “Second Amendment remedies” to turn this country around and “the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” It’s not often—in America at least- we see politicians suggest that maybe their political opponent should be shot.
Now some might ask: Maybe we aren’t hearing those types of remarks because the Republican Party no longer has right-wing crazies? (I’ll pause so you can finish laughing.) True, some “wacko birds,” to quote John McCain, lost in the primaries this year, but still the GOP still is chock full o’ nuts.
And I think we are well positioned to see some of these candidates take a journey on the crazy train in the closing weeks of this election cycle. Why? Three reasons. First, the debates are coming up, and as we saw in 2012 with Mourdock, the more these people talk in an unscripted forum, the more likely the guano will ooze out.
Second, in the tighter races, the candidates are feeling the heat. Consequently, they may make an unforced error or try to offer some red meat to the far right hoping it brings their base out in what’s expected to be a low-turnout election.
Finally, there are some male Republican candidates for Senate, like Colorado’s Corey Gardner and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, who are playing with dynamite. By that I mean they’ve decided to talk birth control thinking it can help them, but one slip up on this issue, and cue the “Republican war on women” headlines.
Any of these scenarios could be trouble for the GOP. And not just for the candidate who made the comment, but it could put Republicans on the defensive nationwide. So in the vein of March Madness, here are my picks for the Final Four of the 2014 GOP championship of crazy.
1. Jody Hice—Choosing Hice is like picking Duke or UConn in the NCAA basketball tournament. Hice, the GOP nominee in Georgia’s conservative 10th congressional district, has already given us a buffet of cuckoo. He has made horribly anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments, plus he thinks women should only run for political office if their husbands consent. And as Stephen Colbert noted two weeks ago, Hice recently confused a quote made by John Quincy Adams with one made by Dolly Parton.
2. Rep. Joni Ernst—The GOP Senate nominee in the battleground state of Iowa has the potential to serve up a prime cut of crazy. During the primary, she stated that U.S. laws “come from God,” and judges must be aware of that when deciding cases. She has called Obama a “dictator,” suggested impeaching him, and advocated that states be able to nullify federal laws they don’t agree with. Plus she gave us a Palinesque commercial where she rode a Harley Davidson while shooting a gun, promising voters that “once she sets her sights on Obamacare, Joni’s gonna unload.”
3. Thom Tillis—Although the Republican Senate nominee in the Tar Heel State is a veteran politician, he still might just deliver up a whopper. In 2011, Tillis did give us a comment that conjures up the ghost of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark when he told a crowd: “what we have to do is find a way to divide and conquer the people who are on assistance.” And just a few months ago, Tillis offered us this beaut: Unlike blacks and Hispanics, the “traditional population” in our country isn’t growing.
4. Sam Brownback—The Kansas Governor might be the sleeper in this race to crazy. He’s in a tight reelection campaign and he’s very right wing. In fact, during a TV interview in 2012, he told a female caller that if she didn’t like the fact that her boss didn’t want to cover her birth control because of his religious beliefs, she should “go work somewhere else.”
Those are my top four. Sure, I could’ve picked others. There are perennial wingnut powerhouses like Iowa Rep. Steve King and Texas’ resident wacko Rep. Louie Gohmert, but I’m feeling pretty good with my choices.
So now it’s time sit back and let the games begin. I can almost guarantee you that in the final weeks of this campaign one of the above candidates will make headlines with some outrageous comment. For people like Hice, who is in a safe GOP district, it may not matter. But for those in tight races like Tillis and Ernst, one slip up could allow a Democratic candidate to be the Cinderella story of this year. And a few Akin-esque gaffes could actually help Democrats be bracket busters and retain control of the Senate and pick off a few governorships.
September 19, 2014, 11:51 pmAnother GOP talking point on 'Obamacare' bites the dust
September 19, 2014, 1:13 amThis is how we do it Alaskan style Yo!
New Witness To Sarah Palin Brawl: Bristol Palin ‘Quite, Quite Violent,’ Punching Party Host In Face
A new witness to the Sarah Palin family brawl that took place at a house party in Anchorage on September 6 has come forward to paint a picture of actions by the Palin family that she described in at least once instance as “quite, quite violent.”
While Sarah Palin has not yet commented on the brawl or even acknowledged that it took place — and neither has any member of her family — Anchorage police have confirmed that the melee involving about 20 people did occur and that Sarah Palin and her clan were indeed present.
There have been two versions of the events, though one of those versions is supported only by an anonymous source “close to the family,” who told the story to the conservative political site Real Clear Politics.
In the Real Clear Politics version, Palin and her family are portrayed as victims, as the brawl was instigated by a young man who was once in a romantic relationship with Willow Palin. The man was displaying “questionable behavior” at the party and attempted to force his way into the Palin family stretch Hummer when the vehicle carrying the Palins arrived at the party.
The version of the Palin family as victims who were drawn into the brawl against their will was contradicted Tuesday by a new witness, Roberta Thompson, who attended the party at the home of Korey Klingenmeyer, and who told her version of events to Talking Points Memo.
Thompson, who admits she is “not a big fan” of Sarah Palin, is also the wife of Eric Thompson, who was suddenly fired from his job after telling his version of events at the Palin brawl to ABC News.
In Roberta Thompson’s account, Bristol Palin, the 23-year-old daughter of Sarah Palin, became “quite, quite violent” during the brawl, assaulting the party’s host.
“What I saw was two girls run past and run towards Korey,” Thompson told Talking Points Memo. “And then I just saw Bristol Palin start punching him in the face.”
She described Klingenmeyer’s reaction as upset, but composed.
“She kept punching him and then he just said, you know, ‘You need to go,'” the new witness said.
Klingenmeyer then took the Palins out of her sight, Thompson said, as he ejected them from the party.
Thompson herself did not see Sarah Palin involved in the fight. She noticed only that the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate was wearing red, white and blue high-top sneakers.
Another witness has described Sarah Palin “crawling over people” and screaming profanity during the brawl.
September 17, 2014, 11:07 amThis is what happens when Republicans actually enact their agenda
This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
A persistent elite Washington trope, embodied by folks like Ron Fournier, says that bipartisanship is the key missing ingredient in our system of government. The two parties just need to stop their partisan bickering and join hands to hammer out serious, substantive compromises (read: slash social insurance).
It's certainly the case that because of U.S. constitutional design, compromise is necessary during times of divided government — and the ones who won't do it are ultraconservative Republicans. But there's another model of governance that gets short shrift among the lovers of bipartisanship: letting election winners implement their agenda. By providing clear lines of accountability and making clear who is responsible for which policy, allowing an election winner to govern makes democracy work.
We see this today in Kansas of all places, where Governor Sam Brownback is in an unexpectedly tight reelection race:
Although every statewide elected official in Kansas is a Republican and President Obama lost the state by more than 20 points in the last election, Mr. Brownback's proudly conservative policies have turned out to be so divisive and his tax cuts have generated such a drop in state revenue that they have caused even many Republicans to revolt. Projections put state budget shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually, raising questions of whether the state can adequately fund education in particular. [The New York Times]
Brownback's tax cuts were passed back in 2012 with the help of Arthur Laffer, the conservative policy hand who has made his career insisting in the teeth of contrary evidence that tax cuts increase revenue. Multiple experts warned that the Brownback/Laffer plan would actually crater the state revenue collection, but Brownback ignored them and did what he wanted. The results are in, and it turns out when you cut taxes you decrease revenue:
Kansas has a problem. In April and May, the state planned to collect $651 million from personal income tax. But instead, it received only $369 million. [The New York Times]
Naturally, the cuts have required more cuts to critical government services, and most of the tax benefits have been vacuumed up by the rich. Worse still, the promised job-creating effects have also failed to appear. On the contrary, Kansas has actually been performing worse than its neighbors on the jobs front.
In short, movement conservatism produces garbage economic policy. But the beauty is, now that fact is obvious to almost everyone in Kansas, including a bunch of Republicans. To his credit, Brownback actually believed in his ideas and put them in place. He is now paying the price for taking that risk.
Contrast that to the elite DC idea of bipartisanship, in which the ancient grandees from both parties get together, and through the magic of high-minded civil discussion, iron out a compromise to cut Social Security and Medicare, preferably by enough to be called a "Grand Bargain." This has the not-coincidental effect of making it impossible for most people to figure out who is responsible for what — and very easy for either side to spin negative consequences as the other side's fault.
Now, Brownback may well pull out a victory in the end. But Kansas is a very conservative state, and he ought to be cruising to a huge reelection. Future Republicans my well try to jam through similar tax policies copy-pasted from a conservative think tank's guideto enriching the wealthy, but the colossal failure of the Brownback cuts will surely give them pause.
Government by the permanent DC establishment used to at least keep the country on two legs, but with ideologically well-sorted parties, one of them increasingly extreme, it's come perilously close to breaking down multiple times. When considering reforms to the structure of government, as I believe will be necessary sometime in the future, we should keep in mind stories like this one. Democracy works best when the voters have meaningful and comprehensible choices.
September 10, 2014, 1:44 amLatest Benghazi Conspiracy
by Igor Volsky Posted on September 9, 2014 at 9:53 am
"Top Republican Appears On Fox News To Debunk Fox’s Latest Benghazi Conspir
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, dismissed a conspiracy about the attacks on U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, undermining a storyline actively promoted by the conservative news network.
On Friday, Fox aired a special about a new book from five commandos who were guarding the CIA annex in Benghazi on the night of Sep. 11, 2012. They claim that the chief of the CIA annex in Benghazi gave a stand down order that prevented forces from rescuing U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and other Americans. The charges echoed long-standing theories, perpetuated by Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators, claiming that the Obama administration bongled the rescue mission and later sought to cover it up.
But Rogers, whose committee found that no such “stand down” order was given, defended the station chief’s momentary hesitation and accused lawyers connected with the men and their book of lodging sensationalistic claims in order to sell more books.
“The problem is what happened was the commander on the ground, this guy they’re calling Bob, when these folks came up, they got in the vehicle and said, ‘we made a promise, we’re going,’ he said, ‘wait a minute. I need to figure out a, what’s going on and b, if I can get you any better weapons and maybe even some help to go,” Rogers explained, adding, “it was the commander on the ground making the decision. I think it took 23 minutes before they all, including that commander, by the way, got in a car and went over and rescued those individuals.”
Asked about accusations made by the commandos’ lawyer that intelligence committee sought to intimidate and dismiss the men in order to protect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rogers bristled.
“The lawyers asked that none of their testimony be released until after their book was out and being sold,” he said. “I think you have lawyers who have a financial interest in this certainly making allegations that are far from true.”
Obama administration and Defense Department officials have repeatedly debunked claims of a “stand down” order. In February of 2013, Joint Chiefs chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey explained to the Senate “these are not aircraft on strip alert” and then-secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified that “without an adequate warning, there was not enough time given the speed of the attack for armed military assets to respond.” The Republican-led House Armed Services Committee similarly concluded that U.S. military would have been unable to respond in time to the attacks.
September 8, 2014, 11:43 amWhat's Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy? The REAL TRUTH!
What's Wrong With U.S. Foreign Policy?
Obama bashing has been one of the characteristics of the 2014 midterm election. For the last few months the president was accused of lacking foreign policy leadership. Republicans blamed Obama for deteriorating conditions in Iraq and Syria, implying the president is solely responsible for the bad news. What's wrong with U.S. foreign policy?
It helps to consider the historical course of our foreign policy. Before World War II, American foreign policy was guided by colonialism. We were the dominant power in this sector of the world and considered North and South America to be within our sphere of influence -- Europe, in particular, should stay away. This policy worked well for American business interests, less so for advocates of democracy.
In World War II we used our beefed-up military forces to defeat the Axis and established ourselves as the number one world power. With the Marshall Plan, our foreign policy shifted towards spreading democracy across the globe. During the Cold War this meant that if a country adopted socialism, it was the enemy. (In 1953 the U.S. fomented a coup in Iran that overthrew a pro-democracy, socialist regime.)
When America entered the Vietnam War, our initial objective was to defeat the forces of North Vietnam and introduce democracy to the unified country. Our loss had a negative impact on our perspective and since 1973 U.S. foreign policy has been reactive; we've been less interested in spreading democracy.
Theoretically, when confronted with a foreign crisis, the president should consider the short-term security interests of the U.S., as well as its long-term strategic interests.
The Bush administration justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq initially focused on short-term security issues: "[remove] a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction, that harbored and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world." Later strategic interests were included: "to change the Middle East so as to deny support for militant Islam by pressuring or transforming the nations and transnational systems that support it." The security phase had detailed planning. The strategic phase made a weak attempt to introduce democracy to the region.
The U.S. occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated that the U.S., 70 years after World War II, continues to be effective at regime change; we know how to conduct military operations that decapitate enemy leadership. However, we were not effective creating a stable civil society; we were not able to "change the Middle East so as to deny support for militant Islam." (To the contrary, in many regions we made things worse.) At present, America is not able to inculcate democracy and nip terrorism in the bud.
This grim reality explains why Americans are unhappy with our foreign policy, especially the situation in the Middle East -- the death of the promise of "Arab Spring." In the minds of most Americans our foreign policy is based upon our use of overwhelming military power buttressed by the rationale that when we send in the marines we are paving the way for democracy.
The first U.S. foreign policy problem is obvious: it's not working. We've been unable to bring democratic stability to the Middle East.
The second problem is that Washington politicians are unwilling to explain why our foreign policy isn't working. Instead they blame Obama -- although he wasn't the one who created the problem -- and argue we should send thousands of our troops back into the region. Few politicians are willing to tell the truth: the U.S. is responsible for the mess in the Middle East.
In this respect, the Obama administration's de facto foreign policy, "don't do stupid stuff," makes sense because Bush era foreign policy was stupid, starting with the poorly thought-out war in Afghanistan and continuing through the debacle of the invasion of Iraq. America doesn't have a long-term strategy to spread democracy.
President Obama has been characterized as overly cautious in his handling of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). But considering the U.S. track record in the Middle East over the past twenty years, there's good reason to be cautious.
The third U.S. foreign policy problem is that the world Americans desire to create for others should reflect the world we have created for ourselves. But, at this moment, American democracy is not strong. We cannot offer a shining beacon of hope for the world because we have substantial problems. Many of our citizens lack meaningful employment and adequate housing, food, and health care. Many of our children go to bed hungry and are receiving a sub-standard education. Many of our cities are overcrowded and polluted. Many of our citizens do not trust the government and, in particular, their local police force. These problems can be fixed, but Americans understand that we should not be touting democracy overseas when our own democracy is struggling.
Thus, the fourth U.S. foreign policy problem is that while our armed forces are strong our citizens are dispirited. While Americans are afraid of terrorists many are more afraid of their local police.
American foreign policy won't be right until we strengthen our democracy.
September 5, 2014, 8:09 amBeware of a WUSS in repub clothing
The Religious Right's 'Nice Guy' Who Threw His Wife Under the Bus by Patricia Murphy
Bob McDonnell went from GOP family-values godsend to blaming everything on his ‘nut bag’ wife. Yet the Rolex-taking ‘Mr. Honest’ never acknowledged his own bad behavior.
When Bob McDonnell burst onto the national scene in 2009, he was everything the Republican Party needed—a good-looking family man who stopped the Obama juggernaut in its tracks in the swing state of Virginia just 12 months after the party’s McCain humiliation of 2008.
A family-values social conservative (he got his JD from Regent University), McDonnell cleverly wooed Commonwealth voters with his corn-dog “Bob’s for Jobs” campaign slogan and a heavy dose of what appeared to be the TV-perfect brood: five gorgeous kids, including a daughter who served in the military in Iraq, and a devoted, smiling wife who had once been a Washington Redskins cheerleader.
McDonnell’s family was emblazoned on his campaign bus and commercials. At the inaugural ball after he won the governor’s race, the McDonnells slow-danced to “Looks Like We Made It.” McDonnell had even written his master’s thesis on the breakdown of the American family and ways the Republican Party could build it back up. “As the family goes, so goes the nation,” he wrote.
Underlying the entire McDonnell package in 2009 was a known truth about the governor among political operatives who knew him and believed in him—that unlike the divas and the bullies and the egomaniacs who litter both political parties today, Bob McDonnell was just a good guy. Staff called him “Mr. Honest.” Republicans in Washington called him “the Boy Scout.”
It was that tangible persona, coupled with McDonnell’s talent for winning elections, that instantly drew national Republicans to the new Virginia governor and made him easily believable as a potential vice presidential or presidential contender. Mitt Romney made no secret of his interest in having McDonnell on his ticket in 2012 and, with the Peanuts Gang hodge-podge that is the current presidential pack for the GOP, there is no doubt that an untarnished Bob McDonnell would be a leading 2016 hopeful for Republicans today.
But fast-forward four short years and the image of “good-guy Bob McDonnell” is dead, not because Gov. and Mrs. McDonnell have been handed his-and-hers felony convictions for public corruption, as they were Thursday, but because of the grotesque decision that Bob McDonnell made about how he would prove his innocence before a jury of his peers.
Instead of shielding his family from the accusations against him and making his case on his own, Gov. McDonnell’s defense team pinned the couple’s hopes for freedom on persuading the jury that Mrs. McDonnell was a lovelorn, possibly mentally ill, “angry,” “manipulative,” “unpredictable,” “deceptive,” “nut bag,” all descriptions of the former first lady that came from defense witnesses, including several of Bob McDonnell’s relatives.
How could the governor and his wife have been conspiring to do anything, the reasoning went, if their marriage was so mangled that they couldn’t even have a conversation?
But the defense never bothered to explain how Mrs. McDonnell’s behavior, which may have been every bit as atrocious as described, would have made good-guy Bob McDonnell think that it was normal, let alone legal, for anyone to be buying him a Rolex for any reason, as vitamin salesman and bad-actor Jonnie Williams did. And why would Maureen McDonnell’s state of mind make a semi-stranger picking up the tab for a portion of their daughter’s wedding seem acceptable under any circumstance? And was it Mrs. M’s “angry” tone toward the mansion staff that made Bob McDonnell get behind the wheel of Williams’ $160,000 Ferrari and smile for the camera?
The defense, which was endorsed by Bob McDonnell, sought to blame all of the bad decisions of the governor on the chaotic mind-set of his wife—when it was the governor, not Mrs. McDonnell, who was the elected official and it was he who had the responsibility to make sure that his family, even his “nut bag” other half, lived up to the office he was serving in.
McDonnell’s defense team says it will appeal the verdict, but nothing the ex-governor does in the future will erase the way his wife has been treated at the hands of his lawyers in the last several weeks. For a man to forgo a plea deal that would have spared his wife any legal action, as Bob McDonnell chose to do, could be excused if he truly believed he did nothing wrong and they would both be exonerated in the end.
But for a man to humiliate his wife, even a wife he doesn’t seem to like very much anymore, as Bob McDonnell has done to Maureen McDonnell, proves only one thing: There is no “good-guy Bob McDonnell” in this scenario. There never was any “Mr. Honest.” The Boy Scout that a people thought they knew does not exist.
There is only a Rolex-wearing, Ferrari-driving, throw-the-wife-under-the-bus 21st-century politician. And from all appearances, he’s going to jail.
As the verdicts were read Thursday, Bob McDonnell broke down into sobs and it’s easy to see why. The entire spectacle amounted to a pile of mini catastrophes—the breakdown of a family, the corruption of a couple that seemed so unlikely to succumb to the temptations of greed, and the besmirching of a governor’s office that McDonnell liked to remind people once belong to Thomas Jefferson.
At a 2012 commencement ceremony in Virginia, with the gifts of Jonnie Williams long accepted, but the consequences of that largesse yet to come, Bob McDonnell told the assembled graduates that the previous three years had confirmed to him something he had long suspected.
“I believe the world is hungry, even desperate,” he said, “for people of character with a heart of service to others.”
September 3, 2014, 11:29 pmCrying wolf--time to try something NEW!
This editorial cartoon nails the current state of the politicians and pundits on the right. Despite constant whining about Obama's actions and blaming him for everything under the sun, recent NC polls and polls regarding AIG bonuses are proving that the Republican strategy isn't working. Before too long those that might still be listening will get tired of the endless crying of wolf coming from people with no real alternatives to offer.
Last Edited: September 3, 2014, 11:35 pm
August 24, 2014, 7:46 pmWhat we need are Anti-Racists
This is a very good article that was written by a White man. It's just an honest look at systemic racism and who has been benefiting from it and why Blacks has never had a so-called lever playing field. If you read it with an open mind you will get a lot out of it, but if you view it as an intrusion into your world of privileges then you are part of the problem.