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Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

Elizabeth Warren finally speaks on Israel/Gaza, sounds like Netanyahu

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A sad sight, reported in The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald. From the article:

Warren said Hamas has attacked Israel “indiscriminately,” but with the Iron Dome defense system, the missiles have “not had the terrorist effect Hamas hoped for.” When pressed by another member of the crowd about civilian casualties from Israel’s attacks, Warren said she believes those casualties are the “last thing Israel wants.”

“But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself,” Warren said, drawing applause.

Just to be clear: Hamas may indeed put its rocket launchers next to hospitals and schools, but that does NOT in fact protect their military assets. The hospitals and schools are then termed “human shield”, and Israel believes that it is perfectly acceptable to kill human shields: once the civilians are seen to be shields, they are shelled and bombed to death.

Moreover, Israel seems simply eager to kill Gazans, civilians or not. The shelling of four boys playing alone on a beach, with no military assets around, killed four children. That was an Israeli gunship, and it was not defending Israel, it was attacking children.

I’m disappointed in Sen. Warren. And she seems to have a closed mind regarding alternative approaches. Also from the article:

Warren even rejected a different voter’s suggestion that the U.S. force Israel to at least cease building illegal settlements by withholding further aid: “Noreen Thompsen, of Eastham, proposed that Israel should be prevented from building any more settlements as a condition of future U.S. funding, but Warren said, ‘I think there’s a question of whether we should go that far.’”

Written by LeisureGuy

28 August 2014 at 9:40 am

Cuomo seems more and more despicable—has he no shame at all?

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The headline to Justin Elliott’s story in ProPublica pretty much sums it up: “Cuomo’s Office Denies Using Private Email Accounts. But it Does.” Details of why and who and what at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 August 2014 at 12:29 pm

It’s hard to have confidence in Hillary Clinton

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At least it is for me. She voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq, and in her new book she makes a poor case for why. Read this article by Jeff Gerth in Pacific Standard. From the article:

. . . Clinton continues to misstate parts of her record on Iraq, while failing to address some of the tough choices she took as America’s chief diplomat.

Here’s a refresher on the details, drawn from interviews and government records and reports on Iraq. Clinton’s office and the book’s publicist did not respond to requests for comment. . .

Lying about her statements and actions and refusing to face questions: not something I want in a president—or any official responsible to the public. Later in the article:

She also wrote that she “made the best decision I could with the information I had.”

In our 2007 book about Clinton, co-author Don Van Natta Jr. and I showed that she had never read what arguably was the most authoritative information available: the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. After book excerpts appeared, Clinton was asked in the first presidential debate with Barack Obama whether she regretted not reading the estimate. “I feel like I was totally briefed,” she said.

Evasiveness in response to direct questions constitutes a BIG warning sign.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 June 2014 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election

Findings from the latest Pew Poll

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Explained in the Washington Post with charts. Some highlights:

  • Conservatives dislike Democrats more than liberals dislike Republicans
  • Conservatives are more likely to say that the opposition’s policies are a threat to America
  • Conservatives surround themselves with people who share their views
  • The conservative echo chamber encompasses media too
  • Compromise is not a conservative value

The article concludes:

A few weeks ago, Tom Mann wrote the following in The Atlantic:

Republicans have become a radical insurgency—ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of their political opposition. The evidence of this asymmetry is overwhelming.

With the release of today’s Pew study, that overwhelming evidence becomes even stronger.

It’s worth reading the article. The charts are interesting and the commentary helpful. For example, in the comment on the last chart (“compromise is not a conservative value”), the article notes:

This may be the most telling chart in the Pew report. You’d expect partisans on either end of the ideological spectrum to be less fond of compromise than those in the middle. But as it turns out, compromise is basically a liberal value – 82 percent of consistent liberals prefer politicians who make compromises. Less than a third of consistent conservatives say the same.

It’s important to note that when it comes to the actual practice of compromise, both liberals and conservatives have a hard time grasping what the word actually means. But liberals are much more into the notion of compromise as a political ideal. Conservatives, on the other hands, have a stated preference for candidates who “stick to their positions.”

A party that is ideologically predisposed against compromise is going to have a very hard time governing, particularly within a divided government. You can see this reflected in the Tea Party’s repeated enthusiasm for shutting the entire government down instead of passing pieces of legislation they disagree with. [And that's the same attitude that brought us the Civil War, when the South took up treason as a cause. - LG]

Kevin Drum has a good post how how this conservative cocoon is built and maintained: Fox News. Well worth reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 June 2014 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Democrats, GOP, Media, Politics

Gov. Cuomo pulls an Obama: Promises transparency, promotes secrecy

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And Cuomo, like Obama, is a Democrat. Democrats increasingly resemble Republicans in their policies and mendacity. Justin Elliott reports in ProPublica:

dopting a tactic that has been used by officials ranging from Sarah Palin to staffers of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are sending emails from private accounts to conduct official business.

I know because I got one myself. And three other people who interact with the governor’s office on policy or media matters told me they have too. None of the others wanted to be named.

The tactic appears to be another item in the toolbox of an administration that, despite Cuomo’s early vows of unprecedented transparency, has become known for an obsession with secrecy. Emailing from private accounts can help officials hide communications and discussions that are supposed to be available to the public.

“Government business should never be conducted through private email accounts. Not only does it make it difficult to retrieve what is a government record, but it just invites the suspicion that a government employee is attempting to evade accountability by supervisors and the public,” said Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, a frequent requester of records under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

Emailing from private accounts also may violate state policy. State employees are not to “use a personal email account to conduct State business unless explicitly authorized,” according to a policy bearing the governor’s name published by the Office of Information Technology Services.

The Cuomo administration declined to comment on whether any employees are authorized to use private accounts.

Back when he was running for governor, Cuomo pledged, “We must use technology to bring more sunlight to the operation of government.” . . .

Continue reading. Apparently Cuomo is no more trustworthy than Obama—which is to say, not to be trusted.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 May 2014 at 10:47 am

Posted in Democrats, Government, Law

Bridgegate metastasizes to New York

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It’s going beyond New Jersey. Zach Fink reports in Salon:

It hasn’t been a great few weeks for New York governor Andrew Cuomo. He got in a public spat with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for closing down an anti-corruption commission, his budget was roundly criticized by many in his own party, and a new poll shows him losing serious ground to his Republican opponent if he gets a challenge on the left.

But another unwelcome development for the governor flew mostly under the radar, and has national implications. While the George Washington bridge scandal focused exclusively on the role of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the bridge is controlled by a joint New York-New Jersey bi-state authority – and last week Cuomo’s hand-picked Executive Director of the Port Authority, Patrick Foye, was issued a subpoena by the New Jersey legislative committee investigating the flap.

Investigators believe there are omissions in the carefully crafted timeline put forth by the Cuomo Administration about what they knew about the lane closures, and how they responded. ”Lots of questions need to be asked to fill in the blanks,” the committee’s Co-Chair John Wisniewski told Salon.

In a worst-case scenario, Cuomo’s version of events could . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 May 2014 at 8:44 am

Posted in Democrats, Government

Sen. Patrick Leahy loves Senatorial privileges more than he loves the country

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It’s pretty evident that Sen. Leahy puts the country’s welfare very much second to Senatorial privilege. The NY Times editorial:

The job of federal judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina has been vacant for more than eight years, one of the longest vacancies of 83 on the federal bench around the country. Last June, President Obama nominated Jennifer May-Parker, a federal prosecutor, for the position, but she hasn’t even received a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee because Richard Burr, the state’s Republican senator, is blocking her.

The strange part is that Mr. Burr himself recommended her for the seat in 2009. But now he’s changed his mind and won’t say why, exploiting an archaic Senate tradition to make sure Mr. Obama can’t fill that vacancy.

That tradition, known as the blue slip, gives senators the ability to block any judicial nomination in their state, no explanation necessary, before it even reaches the stage of a committee hearing — never mind the Senate floor. There’s no formal rule enshrining this tradition, and the committee’s chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat of Vermont, could end it tomorrow. But he has inexplicably clung to the practice, preventing worthy nominees from being confirmed and allowing petty Republican politics to reduce Mr. Obama’s influence on the bench.

If a home-state senator won’t return a blue piece of paper agreeing to a judicial nomination, Mr. Leahy won’t give the nominee a committee hearing or a vote. It’s a form of senatorial courtesy that goes back to 1917 or so, giving senators an anti-democratic power never contemplated in the Constitution.

As with the filibuster, members of both parties have abused the privilege, but only when it suits them. When Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican of Utah, was the chairman of the committee during the presidency of George W. Bush, he would allow nominations to proceed over the objections of both home-state senators, as long as the president “consulted” with them first.

Senator Leahy has not the done the same for President Obama and his nominees, thus undercutting the important Senate rules change in November that prevented a minority of senators from blocking any executive nomination. Blue slips, or the lack thereof, have held up 11 judicial nominees; there are also 30 vacancies with no nominees because it is clear that a Republican senator would object.

The administration has been reduced to nominating a few unpalatable judges in the hopes of cutting deals. Texas has nine court vacancies, but its two senators won’t work with the White House on any nominees.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Mr. Leahy claims that the Senate will always defer to home-state senators. But, if he were to eliminate the practice, he would force senators to raise their objections publicly.

Now they hide behind a procedure that allows them to block able nominees because they want one of their cronies to get the job, or don’t want liberals or minorities on the bench or are afraid that any appearance of collaboration would rile the Tea Party.

Senators with real complaints should state them on the floor and hope to persuade a majority. At the moment, unfortunately, Republicans believe they have a serious chance of regaining the Senate in November, and they seem to have no interest in approving any of Mr. Obama’s judicial nominations through the end of his term. That’s an abuse of the system, and Mr. Leahy is running out of time to stop it.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 March 2014 at 1:16 pm

Posted in Congress, Democrats

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