Heavily-backed Koch candidate is losing more and more
Sep16

Heavily-backed Koch candidate is losing more and more

Heavily-backed Koch candidate is losing more and more: We’re talking about Sam Brownback, Kansas governor who appears to be losing to his Democratic challenger, Paul Davis. Conservative dominance in a state long known for moderation (and, before that, populism, socialism and violent abolitionism) has in many ways been the work of Davis’ opponent. Brownback, the son of eastern Kansas pig farmers, got his start in politics as...

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Are we a match for ISIS?
Sep14

Are we a match for ISIS?

Are we a match for ISIS? It’s quite possible we’re not. The numbers are daunting. The CIA estimates that ISIS has a fighting strength of 20,000 — at minimum. The high-end estimate is 31,500. Back in June, the Agency estimated that ISIS topped out at about 10,000 soldiers. But after its June 10 offensive that swept northern Iraq (explained in the above video), ISIS’ recruiting surged. Moreover, the group captured...

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Corruption in Government: First ask the right question
Sep11

Corruption in Government: First ask the right question

Amitai Etzioni suggests we’re on the wrong track if we want to stop corruption in government. Look at the convictions of Mr. Perp and Ms. Perp in Virginia. “The conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen on several corruption charges,” Etzione writes, “reveals yet again that Americans are more troubled by elected officials who pocket personal gifts than by those who accept large...

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But does America want the truth about 9/11?
Sep10

But does America want the truth about 9/11?

On the bottom floor of the United States Capitol’s new underground visitors’ center, there is a secure room where the House Intelligence Committee maintains highly classified files. One of those files is titled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.” It is twenty-eight pages long. In 2002, the Administration of George W. Bush excised those pages from the report of the Joint...

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Rescuing Foley and Sotloff
Sep09

Rescuing Foley and Sotloff

A real, and clever, attempt was made to find and rescue the two American captives of ISIS in Syria. It is described by Nicholas Schmidle in the New Yorker. The [FBI] agents hoped that the European former hostages could help them find these missing Americans. The agents listened as the former hostages relived their ordeals—recalling where they had been detained and how they had been treated by their captors. They both said that they...

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Dismantling ISIS
Sep06

Dismantling ISIS

The goal sounds reasonable and responsible for a coalition of nine governments — Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and the US. … Mr. Obama said the effort would rely on American airstrikes against its leaders and positions, strengthen the moderate Syrian rebel groups to reclaim ground lost to ISIS, and enlist friendly governments in the region to join the fight. While the president’s aides...

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What killing is for
Sep03

What killing is for

Dexter Filkins, who knows more about the Middle East than most of us know about our own neighborhood, puts the on-video murders of Americans in Iraq in a context. What do these beheadings mean to the men who are carrying them out? During the Iraq War, Al Qaeda in Iraq (A.Q.I.)—ISIS’s parent organization—used to post “greatest hits” videos of its bloodiest suicide bombings. These videos were slick productions, put together by A.Q.I.’s...

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Can you guess Eric Cantor’s new job?
Sep03

Can you guess Eric Cantor’s new job?

Can you guess Eric Cantor’s new job? Come on! You can do it! Just remember all you’ve learned about the people’s House of Representatives over the past several years… About the people’s House of Ill Repute in all its glory and the Republicans who made it that way. So no need to tell you about Eric Cantor’s new job. You’ve probably guessed. After being cruelly rejected by Virginia voters in...

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Not just in danger but being the danger
Aug31

Not just in danger but being the danger

Jelani Cobb, a New Yorker writer who has been spending some time in Ferguson, writes: Linda Chavez wondered on Fox News whether “the ‘unarmed teen’ mantra” really fit Brown, who was six feet four and nearly three hundred pounds and had been caught on video shoplifting—and, it perhaps bears repeating, was a teen, and was unarmed. Chavez was roundly criticized, but she was really only guilty of saying aloud what many others have...

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Quick! Where’s the waiter with the recording device?
Aug28

Quick! Where’s the waiter with the recording device?

Quick! Where’s the waiter with the recording device? In a stunning and sensational development that had political correspondents from Maine to Chesapeake Bay abandoning their families on the beach and rummaging through their luggage for their laptops, Mitt Romney told Hugh Hewitt, the conservative radio host, that he might yet be persuaded to run for President again in 2016. After echoing previous statements that he’s already...

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Is this gruesome enough for you?
Aug24

Is this gruesome enough for you?

Having trouble making up your mind about Ferguson? Julie Bosman, who reported for the Times from Ferguson during the protests, opens a report on the Ferguson shooting with this: Just after noon on Saturday, Aug. 9, Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer on Canfield Drive. For about four hours, in the unrelenting summer sun, his body remained where he fell. Neighbors were horrified by the gruesome scene: Mr. Brown, 18, face...

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Feeling sorry for the Texas governor?
Aug18

Feeling sorry for the Texas governor?

Feeling sorry for the Texas governor? No. But Amy Davidson makes a solid case for some pity. Governor Rick Perry of Texas was indicted Friday on charges of abuse of his office and coercing a public official—that does not sound good, for a man positioning himself to run for President in 2016. Both of those charges are felonies; in Texas, that means that, if convicted, Perry would lose his right to vote during any time in prison, which,...

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From the start, the police were behaving like they might be nuts. Then they went nuts.
Aug14

From the start, the police were behaving like they might be nuts. Then they went nuts.

There appears to be no justification for the police behaviors in Ferguson last night. First it was bad; then it got worse. Then it got positively insane, thanks to police behaviors. There something nutty about the police when, “at 8:22 P.M. the police began demanding that the crowd stay twenty-five feet away from them and their vehicles,” as Jelani Cobb reports in the New Yorker. A voice in the crowd shouted, “Michael...

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Failure isn’t Obama’s problem
Aug13

Failure isn’t Obama’s problem

Failure isn’t Obama’s problem Turns out it’s John Boehner who faces defeat. Mitch McConnell is hanging in there, but doesn’t seem to have a strong grip on reality or, perhaps, his own Kentucky constitutency. The tea party is back, relishing its primary successes, and ready for action. A legislative year in which Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio set out to publicly marginalize the more vocal right-wing members of...

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Can Americans actually learn to accept reality?
Aug11

Can Americans actually learn to accept reality?

Can Americans actually learn to accept reality? I think we know the answer to that. Many Americans want life to resemble a movie. Tell us a story! We want bombs bursting in air (preferably on Fox), winners, losers, heroes, villains, great endings, satisfactory solutions. So what’s with this Obumble business of political and military coitus interruptus? Just airstrikes? Saving some civilians’ lives but not standing on the...

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Obama’s New Rules
Aug09

Obama’s New Rules

Obama offers a formula for grownup behavior in and by the US. Whether this will deal effectively with Muslim and Republican extremists remains an open question. Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished. The United States is not going to be the air force of Iraqi...

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And now the bad news about the tea party
Aug07

And now the bad news about the tea party

And now the bad news about the tea party: They don’t lose when they lose. They bounce back and make even more trouble. They’ve become the common cold of our politics, the relentless pain in once-healthy joints, the anomalies found in our blood tests. The Tea Party wins when it wins, and it wins when it loses. Five years after it began and long after many people (myself included) thought it would fade away, it continues to...

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Dems leave the right in the dust on social issues
Aug06

Dems leave the right in the dust on social issues

Facing re-election, Gov. Scott Walker, Republican of Wisconsin, no longer talks about stopping same-sex marriage. “It’s those on the left that are pushing” the issue, he says. …NYT The New York Times’ John Harwood catalogues the vast changes in social attitudes — brought about by the left in America — and sometimes very rapidly. In fact, the left is leaving the right in the dust in that respect, as Republican...

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Sorry, but democracy is frustrating. If it’s not, it’s not democracy.
Aug03

Sorry, but democracy is frustrating. If it’s not, it’s not democracy.

You want final, satisfactory resolution in which you are shown to have been right all along? Here? In a democracy? Isn’t gonna happen. National Review columnist, Andrew McCarthy, makes his case for impeaching Obama because “Obama has continued to attempt to govern the country even though Republicans won a majority of House seats in 2010.” In other words, in 2010 the Republicans were handed the right to decide...

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Does Brennan know too much about Obama?
Aug02

Does Brennan know too much about Obama?

Does Brennan know too much about Obama? Very possibly, says Conor Friedersdorf. President Obama could surprise the country by axing his former counterterrorism adviser, explaining that under Brennan’s management, employees broke laws and undermined the separation of powers core to our democracy. Obama may well make a good-faith effort to act in the national interest. But it’s impossible to believe that he won’t be...

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