Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Short Takes

Iraq security forces launched another attack against ISIS.

Four former Blackwater guards were sentenced for their part in murdering people in Iraq.

A Tulsa, Oklahoma reserve deputy sheriff was charged with manslaughter in the shooting of black man over the weekend.

The Tennessee Supreme Court is halting capital punishment in the state for the rest of the year.

Good move: Indiana is hiring a P.R. firm to help restore its image.

All good things… The Tigers finally lose a game, 5-4, to the Pirates.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Short Takes

South Carolina police officer charged with murder in shooting death.

Rahm Emanuel wins 2nd term in Chicago mayoral race.

Kansas basically outlaws abortion.

Russia hacked the White House computer system.

Secretary of State Kerry will meet his Cuban counterpart at Latin American summit.

R.I.P. Stan Freberg, 88, one of the funniest men in the world.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Short Takes

U.S. worried about living up to Netanyahu’s campaign promises.

Native American council offers amnesty to 220 million undocumented white people.

Boehner calls for National Guard to deal with illegal immigrants hiding in Mexico.

Sarah Palin announces presidential bid for 2016; vows to destroy Obama’s “liberal utopia.”

God shoots Himself while cleaning his gun.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An Old Story

Tom Cotton wasn’t the first GOP senator to try to derail an administration’s foreign policy.  Jeb Lund in Rolling Stone looks at the long and sordid history of Republicans interference for their own gain or profit.

Two weeks before freshman Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and 46 Senate Republican co-signatories sent a Missed Connections letter to Iranian hardliners (“Saw you in Tehran . . . thought you might want to get together and sabotage nuclear arms control talks?”), sparking accusations of treason, I got to see Cotton in action at the Conservative Political Action Conference. I already knew him as a bad liar who still thinks Iraq was involved in 9/11, wants to prosecute New York Times reporters and fears the inevitable partnership betweenMexican drug cartels and ISIS, but homeboy can work a room.


It’s easy to think Cotton is stupid and easy to think he’s insane. His robotically repeating the words “Barack Obama” 74 times during a debate or claiming that signing up for Obamacare will get your identity stolen by Russian hackers feeds both theories in a way that seems too simple. Cotton knows his audience, and he knows that the Republican Party has purity tested itself so many times that an entire conference room of people refusing to leave until they could touch his hand bears more resemblance to the Republican voting bloc than not.

The New York Times editorial page called his conduct “disgraceful” – but despite embarrassingly cretinous excuses after the fact, sending a letter to Iran to undermine Obama’s P5+1 nuclear arms control talks actually wasn’t a bad move. Obstructing presidential foreign policy has a rich bipartisan history. Cotton’s short-term strategy works on the campaign trail and in accordance with the necessities of neoconservative foreign policy. And his interference represents little more than another enactment of the theory of government espoused by his party. To admit that everything he believes in is either completely idiotic or extremely dangerous doesn’t take away from the fact that Tom Cotton, grossly enough, has a point.

Interfering in presidential foreign and military policy works.


Among all the conservative cries of “Munich! Munich!” these days – both Bolton and Cotton parroted it at CPAC like a Teddy Ruxpin shorting out in a pool of blood – you don’t hear a lot about Republican anti-interventionism in the 1930s, when Hitler was on the cover of Time, Mussolini was praised for his contempt of labor and anti-Semite industrialist Henry Ford was being given the highest civilian honor Nazi Germany could bestow. Japan just sneaked up on everyone, and Hitler is always Chamberlain’s fault, with Republican Senators like Arthur Vandenberg and Robert Taft skating on the butcher’s bill. Acknowledging this history tends to cloud the whole narrative of GOP moral clarity and the unalloyed necessity for the United States to defend itself under any circumstances. Still, whatever you think of the reasoning or outcome, this binding of the president’s powers in military and foreign affairs was wholly legal.

Besides, illegal works too, and Cotton knows this. In 1968, Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon dispatched a friend of his campaign named Anna Chennault to tell the North Vietnamese to back away from peace talks with the Democratic Johnson administration, promising the Vietnamese a better deal. Nixon’s campaign guarantee that he had a secret plan to win in Vietnam would have meant nothing if his opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, could have helped end the war and taken credit for it. And so the North Vietnamese backed away, Nixon condemned the Johnson administration for failing to even get the Vietnamese to the bargaining table; Nixon and genocide-and-assassination hobbyist Henry Kissinger admitted to each other that the war was unwinnable as early as 1969; and in the meantime 22,000 more Americans and hundreds of thousands more Vietnamese and Cambodians died. But, hey, Nixon won the 1968 election by a 0.7 percent margin, and Kissinger went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Republican philosophy: No one ever accuses the winner of being a traitor.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Taking Marco Rubio To School

The junior senator from Florida has been making noise about the Middle East, warning that the Obama administration has been afraid to go after ISIS because that would upset Iran.  Wow, that would be a good reason, except that Iran hates ISIS as much as everybody else.  It’s like saying the Allies went easy on Germany in World War II so as not to piss off the Russians.

Yesterday Mr. Rubio had a chance to take his concerns to Capitol Hill and hog a little camera time while grilling Secretary of State Kerry about the nuclear deal with Iran.  He thought he could show the rest of us — or at least the GOP base — that he’s ready to take on the world.

Yeah, it didn’t turn out so well.  Via Steve Benen:

At the recent CPAC gathering, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a likely Republican presidential candidate, seemed to stumble on one of the basic facts of the Middle East. “The reason Obama hasn’t put in place a military strategy to defeat ISIS is because he doesn’t want to upset Iran,” the Florida Republican said.

The senator seemed confused. In reality, President Obama has put an anti-ISIS military strategy in place, and that’s fine with Iran, since Iran and ISIS are enemies.

I’d hoped that Rubio just misspoke, or had been briefed poorly but an aide, but apparently not – -at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this afternoon, the far-right Floridian continued to push this strange theory, pressing Secretary of State John Kerry on the point. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” Rubio said. “Tell me why I’m wrong.”

And so, Kerry told him why he’s wrong.

Rubio went on to insist that many of our Sunni allies in the region – including Jordan and U.A.E. – feel as if we’ve kept them “in the dark” about the nuclear talks with Iran, reducing our “trust level” in the region.

Again, Kerry had to patiently explained to the Republican, “Senator, that is actually flat wrong.”

Honestly, it was like watching a competent teacher trying to explain the basics of current events to a student who failed to do his homework. Andrea Mitchell said the Secretary of State took Rubio “to school.”

Sounds like Marco has a lot of catching up to do.