Saturday, May 31, 2014

GOP Outraged At POW Release

++When the Bush administration released Yemenis from Gitmo,no one protested when they became solid members of Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula. But when Taliban commanders are traded for our only POW,President Obama is accused of violating the law.

++Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon and Senator James Imhofe claim that President Obama didn't notify Congress about how the threat posed by the Taliban Commanders would be mitigated. President Obama alluded to this at his press conference with the parents. They also claim that they were supposed to have 30 days advanced warning.

++Talking Points provides the Administration's answers but I don't think they go far enough. What McKeon and Imhofe seem to refer to was the law prior to the last Defense bill, if I'm not mistaken.

++Imhofe claims this action gives incentives to terrorists to capture Americans.

God Is Confused

++Herman Cain,of Godfather Pizza fame,says he may run again for the GOP presidential nomination.

++Dr. Ben Carson says God is calling on him and he may run for the GOP presidential nomination.

++Bishop Desmond Tutu visited Alberta today to say that Tarsands oil was filth and we have to work together on the environment for all of creation.

++Rev. Hagee's son told a television audience that real Christians can not be allowed to believe in climate change.

++You be the judge on God's Will.

Just Saying

++David Atkins is editing Washington Monthly today as Ed Kilgore is tending to his mother's funeral. If you think my musings at lunch are off the wall,check out Atkins' analysis of the latest Gallup polls on social issues, which demonstrate America has moved way away from the GOP social conservatism. Both independents and Democrats are way beyond various prohibitions against same sex marriage, relationships, divorce, stem cell research,abortion, marijuana and the like. Even self-identified Republicans are moving also. 

++Atkins also has another post about the GOP's total lack of policies on major issues and how they are in a box even on things like the ACA. Even Rand Paul can't say whether he would eliminate the Kentucky exchange. That's why Atkins believes they have to continue down the road to #Benghazi because they have come up empty.

++Lastly, Atkins deals with the strange Rove attack on Hillary as "old". Remember these attacks are on FOX News,whose demographic is older than I am. He replays the clip of Reagan saying he wouldn't bring up age and inexperience for political gain against Walter Mondale and wonders why the GOP think they can use age against Hillary. Perhaps, they don't have any policy objections.

Don't Say I Didn't Tell You

++The House GOP leadership has been trying to figure out a way they might create jobs. To do this, they put forward the Surface Transportation Bill, which they expect to act on this week. Fantastic, hey?

++The CBO, the nonpartisan group evaluated the cost of the bill. They concluded it would bankrupt the Highway Trust Fund by 2016 and will create a $86 billion shortfall over ten years. In addition, it will destroy not create 550,000 jobs.

++So it will destroy what the GOP created years ago,add billions to the deficit and kill hundreds of thousands of jobs. This seems to reflect the Party's economic views at large.

Only American POW in Afghanistan Freed

++Army Sgt.Bowe Berghdal had been a prisoner of war for the past 5 years. It is widely believed he was held by the Taliban in Pakistan. Through Qatar,the Obama Administration has been negotiating for his release.Previously to this past year,it had been prevented from releasing prisoners from Gitmo without Congressional say so. With the change in the law,the Administration traded 5 Taliban commanders for his release. The commanders, according to conservatives, are part of the group highly likely to return to the battlefield. The administration says they will be held in Qatar for at least a year. No doubt,you will hear howls of protest for the deal. As it is, right-wing bloggers have started attacking Berghdal because he appeared in several Taliban videos. When American personnel picked him up today, he wrote on a paper dish "SF?", meaning Special Forces. They said "yes, we've been looking for you for a awhile." Sgt.Berghdal cried.

Musings at Lunch

++Tomorrow on the Corporate media Sunday Shows we will be treated to reactions to the week with a focus on the failings of the VA by Republicans who have failed for years to fund the VA system adequately. For all the criticism of General Shinseki this week he was the first to computerize the VA and he did significantly cut down waiting lists and dealt almost heroically with the homeless problem of Vets.Senator Bernie Sanders has been trying to pass necessary legislation to beef up America's response to  the veteran's problem. Remember since the two wars,an additional 2 million people have entered the VA system, which was antiquated in the first place. Does anyone remember the big legislative fight over the new GI bill, which President Obama passed? Does anyone remember the long tortuous road of the First Responders Bill? The GOP is running ads against vulnerable Democrats with VA ads but their record is dismal, filibustering the Sanders' bill. Does anyone remember John McCain's claims during his 2008 campaign? His record was and is terrible on veterans' affairs.

++Which brings me to the issue of what does the GOP believe? This past week saw the GOP meet in Louisiana with Dynasty Duck Man as their celebrity. Republican political operatives have urged the party to issue a Contract for America type promise for the mid-terms. Mitch McConnell doesn't want to commit on what their governing style will be. A group issued a manifesto about "reform conservatism", which is not a branch of Judaism. The American Enterprise Institute criticized the program as being retrograde, using economic policies from the 1980s or 1990s that do not apply. AEI impolitely pointed out that the conditions do not exist that enabled Reagan to cut taxes and even suggested they didn't exist really when Bush did the same thing. 

++So what's the poor party to do? Michael Gerson believes they should go after the middle class, which they have neglected the last several cycles. However,they are entrapped by the Koch Donor Network of billionaires like Art Pope who push policies that eviscerate the safety net,give a free ride to the oil and gas industries, and further cut taxes for the wealthy. The party is stuck in an ideological cul-de-sac.

++Look at the past wedge issues. In 2004,they effectively used same-sex marriage to their advantage. Today,all 50 states face court challenges to such laws and the majority of Americans favor same sex marriage. They have used guns, while gun ownership is at an historical low and repeated massacres have turned the tide toward more gun regulation. In the war on drugs, several states have legalized marijuana and the House passed a bill this past week to prohibit the DOJ from conducting raids against facilities that support medical marijuana. Their "God" issue is being challenged by the demographics of the millennial generation and the erosion of evangelicals in the United States. Their hostility to climate change is being attacked by the National Catholic Bishops Conference and key evangelicals. Their antagonism against raising the minimum wage has put them on the defense in states like Michigan, where they tried to neutralize it by raising it somewhat. 

++The GOP's advantage this cycle is money and voter suppression. But there is nothing that would mean something positive to the American people. If the GOP doesn't re-think their policies,they will be forced to fighting rearguard actions for the foreseeable future.

++This is what the GOP has opposed this year--first the first time in history the extension of unemployment insurance--this affects over 2 million people,the replenishing of the Highway Trust Fund,something created by the GOP,immigration reform, which even Reagan approved. And the list goes on. No matter what the Beltway media says,the Party's sole raison d'ĂȘtre is to oppose President Obama and to repeal everything he has done. There is no constructive proposals being offered to any one of the problems affecting this country.

++In the last two years of his Presidency, President Obama will face strong headwinds. The only thing he might get passed is immigration reform because without it the GOP is doomed. That is why he postponed his new deportation guidelines for two months so that the GOP might see reason. I don't believe it.

++The GOP is trying to mute criticism of Obamacare but they will continue to campaign against it. This week they postponed again a vote on a replacement plan because they simply don't agree on it. This is a Party now that denies healthcare to over 5 million people because they will not extend Medicaid. Here in Virginia,they propose shutting down the government so that Terry McAuliffe doesn't get his way.

++If you look at Foreign Policy,the GOP is beyond nowhere. As in the 2012 election,there is no Africa, no Latin America,no India, no China policy. There is only Israel, Iran, Central Europe and Russia. The world has made seismic changes since then. The same goes for energy policy. The GOP is against all alternative fuel sources,do not believe we are more than 84% independent in energy sources and are still "Drill, Baby, Drill". They are unaware that we are now an energy exporter. The world has turned upside down on energy since the W days.

++What has bothered me for the last 8 years is that the GOP doesn't know math. They just passed a bill in the House which would give the equivalent to $350 billion in tax breaks with no countervailing income. They are committed to an ever more draconian budget than Paul Ryan's, which will balloon the national debt further without any benefit to the American people.

++I find the GOP totally bizarre. Remember I was once a Republican and I am supposed to be their base, married white protestant man over 60. So you want to privatize Social Security, voucherize Medicare,just as I am heading to it,eliminate everything decent in the ACA, and give more tax cuts to people who earn several times I do, and raise my taxes. Not only that you think school massacres are an expression of Second Amendment rights and endless campaign funds are an extension of First Amendment rights. So why am I supposed to vote for you--because I fear the Gay,the Latino,women,the African-American? The bottom-line is that the GOP is against their base and their base vote against their best interests both economically and culturally. Ideology is not policy and can't be substituted for that which works. 

++Will the GOP do OK this year? Better than they deserve but not as good as they believe. Obama still has an approval rating three times GOP congress critters. Gerrymandering and second-term blues assure the GOP control of the House. Control of the Senate is still up for grabs because vulnerable Democrats are actually fighting good campaigns. Despite the Beltway pundits, the "establishment" GOP has not won over the tea party. Instead they have fused.

++The Democrats are blowing it at the state level. We are talking about GOP governors with atrocious economic records--Chris Christie,Vishnu Jindal,Walker, Scott, Le Page. We are talking collectively the last ten states in job growth.That should be a wake-up call to the GOP on domestic economic policy. But it won't be because from an ideological point of view these are successes.Liberal Democrats are frustrated that Democrats are too moderate. The issue is that Democrats have to fill the center, no one else is doing it. They are becoming the new normal.

++So if the GOP were honest about their policies,they would have to acknowledge that they have not generated any ideas for 21st Century America. This spells doom for 2016. The problem as I see it will be Obama will end pretty much where Clinton did on the budget deficit and the GOP will say now is the time for more tax breaks because deficits don't matter again. They will not get off their privatization kick,which has produced atrocious results in prisons and schools. They simply will try and retract the world to ignore Asia, Latin America,and Africa. They will revert to the remnants of the neo-cons with a slightly changed version of Romney's view to do whatever Bibi wants. Rather than Reagan's optimism,they will be all about "saving the country" from Them--namely you and I. 

++A liberal Democrat opined to me the other week that he thought once Obama is gone the GOP won't obstruct Hillary as much. I disagree. I think you already see the tone being set as she starts appearing once again in public. The one thing I do think Hillary Clinton will give the GOP is another war to keep them happy. But on domestic policy, forget about it.

The President of Geek

++Not since Nixon did his clumsy jig in front of the space capsule have we seen a President exuberant about anything scientific in a long time. This has been a very productive week for President Obama--his West Point speech,the declaration of the end dates for the Afghanistan war,and setting the table for next week's EPA rulings on carbon pollution. But the real enthusiasm for the office came when he hosted the White House Science Fair. 

++Science students created sand less sandbags for floods,bridges that can't flood and new ways to detect obscure types of cancers. The students, the majority of which were from High School, even had patents already. 

++At the beginning of his first term, this blog pointed out that one of his most important speeches was on scientific innovation at M.I.T.  That speech went totally unnoticed as a lot of his do, deliberately ignored.

++Today, his Weekly Address concerned his resolve to fight climate change. He recapped all the ways the United States has dealt with environmental issues in the past from restricting ozone to mercury poisoning. His problem today was how to convey the necessity of attacking climate change in a way that touches the average person. He chose children who suffer from asthma. I am sure he will be mocked for this.

++But he did revisit the subject I mentioned during the days of the stimulus package. I pointed out then that he slipped many alternative fuel projects into the mix. Later,the Right would howl about Solyndra and solar energy. Even today ALEC and the Right are fighting solar energy. But as President Obama pointed out, solar has made a 10-fold increase since the stimulus package,wind a three-fold increase and all the MPG standards that he has passed makes an enormous impact on fuel consumption. He pointed to over 1,000 cities and towns taking steps to be more energy efficient. So, naturally, next week he will take the next step on carbon emissions from old power plants.

++The forces of reaction will wail next week on his steps to restrict power plant emissions. These steps will be the next great scandal for the Right. It is pretty depressing to see how scientific fact can be politicized. We have seen how the administration has laid the table with the NASA report on climate change and the Pentagon's report on its destabilizing effect. Coupled with the Intergovernmental Report by the UN and even Pope Francis addressing this issue as urgent,the stars are aligned for making the intellectual case for action. 

++Will Obama's steady,gradual, incremental approach to this work as well as his similar approach to more cultural issues? I don't know but I hope so. But you will see massive pushback and the culprits will be the usual Koch Family combine and coal-mining interests. 

++The New York Times may be right--that these initiatives will truly be Obama's major legacy. But that means the Washington culture must fight them tooth and nail ,even if it means the human race goes extinct. Here's hoping the President of Geek succeeds.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pushback Against the Naysayers

++Sometimes the resurgence of the long dead spark writers to flourish in their rebuttal to the past. You may not agree with Andrew Sullivan but when he senses the neo-cons believe we are sleeping he will respond. Since people like Bob Kagan have a distinct history of disaster that they have not owned up to,people like Sullivan are great at lancing the boil. I strongly suggest your reading "Thoughts on Kagan" in today's The Dish where Andrew eviscerates Kagan's comeback bid in the article "Super-Powers Don't Retire." Sullivan also dwells on the once dominant theme that Americaphiles like himself growing up in England saw a flawed democracy trying to live by international law and combating a totalitarian rival. Those days were gone with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the United States violating international law at a whim. Kagan was an enabler and a big one for an America trampling on his own ideals. Andrew warns that America's overreach also means it is hollowed out domestically, allowing even its basic infrastructure to collapse. After sinking the S.S. Kagan, he moves on to Doug Brooks and his op-ed this morning to zero in on Brooks' unfortunate metaphor as America as the international gardner, trimming and weeding the international order.

++Sullivan's long post is worth the read. He is at his most articulate.

++Meanwhile Dick Cheney surfaced the last few days to lament Obama's weakness and opine that the international elites with whom he confers with lament America's failure to lead. Peter Beinart in the Atlantic is moved by Cheney and Rove's recent statements that we should suddenly be concerned about international opinion. In "Is the World Really Losing Faith in Barack Obama",Beinart decides to look at the comparison of international public opinion polls on the Bush and Obama eras. Alas,Obama's America still retains large approval numbers over W. If anything,Obama bought back the global respect for the country. This too is worth the read.

Shinkseki Resigns

++General Eric Shinseki resigned today to avoid being a distraction to the VA scandal. Naturally,President Obama is being criticized for waiting too long. He waited for the IG Report, which showed a systemic problem.

++The chapter on Benghazi in Hillary Clinton's memoir has appeared in Politico. I would't bet on Hillary becoming a wilted flower on the issue.

++Doug Brooks today wrote an op-ed challenging President Obama's West Point speech saying that "under reach" can result in catastrophe. He quotes approvingly a new article by Bob Kagan.

++Charles Krauthammer weighs in at the Imperial Post to argue against Obama's speech.

++Fareed Zakaria writes that Obama's attitude toward the world is what America needs right now.

++After his tirade against Edward Snowden, Secretary of State Kerry snorts at Dick Cheney's recent attacks on the President as of no use to Kerry for all the wreckage the Administration had to clean up after Cheney left.

++So far this week, President Obama has set the language to which people must respond and they aren't responding well.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

AP Poll On Congress

++AP poll on congress. 37% for Dems,31% GOP,31% no preference. Only 53% care a great deal about whom.

Further Reactions to West Point Speech

++ Andrew Sullivan says that it wasn't "dovish" but conservative in the manner of George H.W. Bush and Ike.

++The New York Times didn't like that it didn't soar.

++Ed Klein at Time magazine  sort of like it for its realism.

++The Hill published a story how the imperial papers didn't like it and the House Committee on Armed Services duly circulated this to its email list.

++David Corn thought "meh" . He's only got two years left and can't create a grand strategic design anyway with the world we have.

++Robert Parry thought it moved the ball forward but President Obama is still hamstrung by the neo-conservatives and has to give them too much.

President Obama To Take Most Significant Step Against Climate Change

++President Obama will take on June 1st the most significant steps a President has done to combat climate change or ,as the polls suggest, global warming, which scares people more.

++President Obama plans by executive action to cut carbon emissions from coal-powered plants by 20% over 6 years and close down hundreds of coal-burning plants.

++He will also adopt a "plug-in" style of cap and trade. Presently there are two operative cap and trade systems in the United States --Massachusetts and California. The plan is that states will link up with them.

++He will also allow states to form their own plans to use more alternative energy sources like wind and solar.

++Early reports are that this will have more of an environment impact than stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline. This makes me a little nervous.

++With the reaction to the West Point speech on foreign policy,these actions will make the political culture howl even more intensely. Maybe the Imperial Post will write an editorial about how naive the President is. Conservatives are already hawking Andrew McCarthy's new book on why President Obama should be impeached. The New York Times is already touting this action as probably the most significant contribution to President Obama's legacy.

What Are We Supposed To Think About Snowden?

++A very frazzled-looking John Kerry appeared on television to say that Snowden should "man up" and return to the United States and make his case in court. He called Snowden a "traitor". So far Snowden's indictment includes stealing government property and giving classified materials to people who should not have them. It is unclear whether that refers to journalists like Glenn Greenwald or to foreign governments.

++In the Brian Williams interview,Snowden said he wasn't debriefed by Russian intelligence and that he wasn't a Russian spy. He defended his resume, which I thought was pointless, saying he had been trained as a spy for the CIA. Williams seemed focused on what Snowden will do now and whether he will seek an extension of his temporary asylum that runs out in August. Snowden said he did try and work the system to raise alarms about the extent of the NSA programs. 

++This morning Peter King, Republican from New York,blasted the NBC interview as an "informcial for Snowden" and challenged Snowden to name one American whose rights had been violated by the NSA. Unfortunately for King,Glenn Greenwald's last article on the subject will be precisely that all those Americans on whom the NSA collected information.

++Between yesterday's FCC disclosures on the extent of information gathered by American corporations on Americans and the NSA revelations, we are seeing the contours of a system that makes sense of the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United, a vast of corporate and government control which does threaten the viability of a democratic system.

++Reading Glenn Greenwald's book and Harding's book on Snowden,I have to say I am faced with an enormous generation gap. Snowden in his twenties earned more income per year than I have ever made and he was a government contractor. He started as a libertarian who backed Ron Paul and has become the first of the digital generation to defect because of the very technology that generation has mastered.

++There remain a lot of questions about Snowden. For instance, is the Pentagon's claims about his theft of military secrets just disinformation or real. The real answer would cast his exploits into another realm. Why did he provide the Chinese with information about NSA activities against one of their internet companies when the U.S. has been concerned about it from the Bush days that it was run by military intelligence? Is Glenn Greenwald right that there was nothing on the four laptops he took to Hong Kong? Greenwald in his book claims they were a ruse.

++But while we can lay the blame on the Bush Administration for its prompting the NSA to expand its  programs, we have to admit new technology and the Obama Administration enabled the NSA to make a quantum leap in surveillance. It's one of those typical American things that just because you can you do without giving it a thought. President Obama's failure to reign in the surveillance state is probably his biggest failing as President. I would argue politically he couldn't with the forces arrayed against him and unfortunately I think he likes the wizardry of the NSA as much as any President.

++Whether one has an opinion about Snowden or not,it doesn't matter a bit. The issue is what are the implications for the society at large and the future.On the issue of terrorism, the verdict is in on the CIA's torture and rendition program--it did not yield operational intelligence on terrorist plots. From the revelations about the NSA, we understand it does a lot of economic surveillance but no one as yet demonstrated concretely that it's intercepts prevented a terrorist plot. In both cases, Humint have been the decisive factors. But I hope the NSA can prove me wrong.

++If Snowden's aim was to alert Americans to the threats to our freedom,why reveal that the entire country of the Bahamas is under surveillance and why pretend it isn't because of drug-running and money-laundering when the internal documents reveal this? Why go out of your way to reveal that the United States was interested in corporate secrets in Brazil? That revelation torpedoed the summit between President Obama and the Brazilian President. Why reveal that we had specific embassies under surveillance or for that matter the members of the United Nations Security Council? The natural response is "I hope so."

++Glenn Greenwald's "No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden,the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State",besides a great read,walks us through the variety of programs in Snowden's files. I would argue the meaty part of Greenwald's book is about the issue of privacy and its importance for our own system. I never could quite understand Michael Kinsley's review of the book in the New York Times. Are reporters or journalists supposed to be licensed? What if Greenwald had continued his writing his blog and had not contacted the Guardian? Would that make him less or more a journalist? I might argue with the scale  of Greenwald's revelations using the Snowden material but I don't doubt his right to write about them.

++We have not heard the last of the Snowden saga. Unfortunately, the so-called reforms of the NSA on the Hill are only cosmetic and do not address the issues raised by the revelations.

Sam Wang Strikes Again

++ Princeton Election is up again. Sam Wang has entered into the game again. He runs his analysis of those predicting the Senate. He has the Democrats at 67% at retaining it.

The Imperial Post Awakens

++ You must read Jennifer Rubin's glorification of Rafael Cruz's foreign policy chops. He toured Israel,the Ukraine, Poland and Estonia. Like the good patriot he is, he blasted President Obama at every stop and like a good conservative praised Putin's forthright lament of the demise of the Soviet Union. Rubin called his statements "deft". 

++Now flash forward to the 21st Century,which of these countries will play a strategic role in the future of the world--either economically or militarily?

++Partisan differences stop at the water's edge. Not so for the modern GOP. During the Ukrainian elections,Republican congresscritters who were observers took considerable time out to blast President Obama. 

++And the GOP wonders why America's prestige falters when they run around the planet on tax payer junkets blasting our foreign policy?

Meanwhile as the Imperial Post sleeps in their pup tents

++By the way, Dick Cheney says Obama is "weak,weak,weak".

++Fred Kaplan at Slate posts a positive article about President Obama's speech at West Point entitled "Obama Lays Siege to His Critics". Kaplan points out that Obama's point is to ween our foreign policy away from military adventurism and create a high bar for the future use of the military in overseas wars.Kaplan lays out President Obama's typology for varying American national interests from "core interests" where we will respond to issues like dictators where we find human rights violations appalling.

++Over at Ezra Klein's new shop The Vox, Max Fisher  wrote "Obama just announced the most anti-war foreign policy doctrine in decades." I think that might explain the Imperial Post's horror. Fisher thinks the closest analogies may be Jimmy Carter's Notre Dame speech on the Cold War and more precisely Ike's military industrial speech.

++Of course, Morning Joe Scarborough was alarmed.

++I thought President Obama was trying to make American actions around the world coherent and rational. Good Luck with that. His explanation of American leadership on the Ukraine helped explain how various actions formed a coherent and effective response,the explanation of which escaped the media while it has been on-going.

++However,if you look at our military and intelligence budgets, you will see it will take some time before the United States can step down from its imperial pretensions.

++Meanwhile in the world of elections, there is great news--the amazing Sam Wang of Princeton Elections is back with an article in Politico to explain when real data will appear to explain the mid-terms. He tries to explain how the Imperial Post and New York Times reach different conclusions about how will take the Senate. The Post has the GOP near 80%, while the Times have the Democrats at 58%. Basically, Sam sides with the Times because they use polls,the Post doesn't. Wang says the polls will tell the story. He also says that at this stage both predictions are statistically toss-ups because there is scant data available.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Imperial Post strikes again

++Tonight brought us another in a long series of Washington Post editorials against the foreign policy of Barack Obama. This one says that President Obama's West Point speech ran against several decades of American policy and ties the hands of the United States. They say that words about America's weakness are heard in Singapore and France. They lament President Obama failing to train and arm the Syrian opposition because he has promised many times. 

++Maybe the Post is sore because President Obama made it clear you can't invade other countries alone when you have no reason. Borowitz in the New Yorker had a good take on this earlier this afternoon.

++Or is the Post sore that President Obama only invoked FDR,JFK and Eisenhower. All the wars the Post supported came afterwards.

++E.J. Dionne made the case that Obama actually saved internationalism today by his restraint and made the country stronger.

++Elliot Abrams used the Post's imperial zeal to criticize the President's speech and cry foul that he didn't credit George W. with his excellent sanctions regime against Iran and his AIDS program in Africa.

++The Post and Mr.Abrams try to accuse President Obama of arguing against straw men. Hell, no one wanted to put boots on the ground in Syria or Libya, except The Post. No, we didn't mean you really had to invade people. Nah,we warned against that in the Ukraine--no they didn't.

++Maybe the Post is looking out for their owner, Mr. Bezos and his multi-million dollar contract with the intelligence community.

++The Post is wall-to-wall warmongering. How do you think D.C. has a 4.5% unemployment rate? You have to keep the Deep State alive and well-lubricated.

++I am sure we will have more attacks on President Obama in the days ahead. Maybe that's good because his National Defense University speech died after a day. Maybe that's because he argued for the repeal of the Authorization to Use Military Force Act passed after 9/11.

++I'm surprised that the Post has not condemned Putin attending the D-Day celebrations. There is still time.

++The problems with Obama's speech have nothing to do with the restraint on using force. It has to do with his assumption that a future foreign policy will need the economic tools of foreign assistance.

++Not to be too snarky,there is a new Museum at the lower end of Manhattan dedicated to the failures of the last administration's strategic thinking, which the Post seems to share.

You Fasten the Trigger for Others To Fire

++Glenn Greenwald in his new book referred to the bellicose nature of the Washington Post. I thought it was just I've become intemperate in my old age.

++But Martin Longman at Washington Monthly just posted a piece with the above title and a withering critique of the Post's impulse to war. He points out that no one at the Post who advocates endless deployments of our troops have ever been to war. 

++He then eviscerates Charles Krauthammer for his characterization of the Afghanistan withdrawal as a symptom of "Obama's narcissism".

++In his West Point speech, Obama did say the United States should lead the world but not succumb to the temptation of rushing to war.

++I am surprised that bloggers are getting hip to the Post's War Jones. I find it unsettling on a daily basis.

Quote of the Day--President Obama


" Since WWII,some of our most costly mistakes came not from our restraint but from our willingness to rush into military adventures--without thinking through the consequences; without building international support and legitimacy for our action, or leveling with the American people without the sacrifice required."

Post Poll on Hillary Clinton

++The Post poll this morning shows that 55% support a Hillary Clinton bid for the White House,39% are against. 66% were outraged by Karl Rove's statement that she suffers brain damage. 

++A majority of all classes,all ages,all races and all regions support her. 

++Two things struck me. 50% of whites support her and 46% oppose. Obviously she does exceptionally well among other ethnic groups and minorities. The Other thing was that the lowest region of support for her--still a majority--is the Midwest.

The Imperial Post Sad About Obama's Retreats

++The Washington Post isn't happy with President Obama's plans for Afghanistan. They even commissioned two former ambassadors to write an op-ed to lament the global perception of weakness our withdrawal will cause. The Post laments President Obama ending the war in Iraq,not sending troops to Libya or Syria and now ending the war in Afghanistan.They said he was just doing this so he can be seen in history as ending two wars.

++Just a factual note. The withdrawal plans for Afghanistan have been in development for 8 years. The US military commanders finally believe there is a definitive plan that provides real dates.

++Jennifer Rubin writs today that Hillary Clinton will have to repudiate Obama's foreign policy to show she is tough.

++John McCain said that just because a politician declares a war is over that doesn't mean it is. But you do have to try and end wars.

++The President delivered his West Point address today and spoke about coming to the end of a "long season of war". He went at length to say that military intervention should not be the first option of choice in policy-making. He said because of the cost of war the threshold for using force has to be higher than all the other options. I found it interesting that the three presidents he quoted were FDR, JFK and Eisenhower. Vietnam-era presidents and beyond didn't make the cut.

++The West Point speech was long on specifics, which I will deal with later.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Week Ahead

++ Wednesday, President Obama is set to make a foreign policy speech at West Point where he will urge  international engagement but no overreach.

++President Obama is to announce new measures to restrict carbon from power plants. This will be somewhat watered down so states can choose to comply. The International Community is anticipating this policy announcement as a sign the US will become serious about climate change.

++President Obama announced that the plan for Afghanistan is that American direct involvement ends this year and he advocates keeping 9,800 troops in country until 2016.

++Glenn Greenwald is set to announce what he thinks is his bombshell revelation--all the Americans who have been monitored by the NSA.

++Rasmussen has some funky poll numbers out today. Obama is at 50% approval rating.Democrats have a 42-38 lead in the generic congressional poll, which means it is a wash. Jason Carter has a 48 to 41 lead in the Georgia governor's race over Nathan Deal.

++The new Ukrainian President wants direct military assistance from the United States and wants to negotiate with Putin directly.

++President Obama has ordered military training for the "moderate" Syrians.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Washington Monthly's Longman Optimistic On Senate

++This is Karl Rove's third straight attempt to procure a Republican majority in the Senate. The Amazon Post has projected the GOP with 53 seats and many commentators like Michael Tomasky have written what a nightmare that would be. But Martin Longman at Washington Monthly did a personal post yesterday about why he believes --at this moment in time--the Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

++First a commercial break. Rasmussen has Senator Merkley with a ten point lead over GOP nominee Dr. Monica Wehby--47-37, with 6 for another candidate. Because of the stalking charges against Wehbey didn't register until the majority voted,the GOP has been optimistic about the race.

++First, the conclusion of Longman's analysis. He thinks the Democrats have enough padding not to fall below 49 seats. Biden would be the controlling vote. I tend to agree with him but differ on other conclusions.

++Basically, he feels that South Dakota, Montana and  West Virginia are lost or at least the GOP has large advantages. 

++He is concerned about Mark Begich of Alaska and Kay Hagen in North Carolina. I think Begich has waged a good campaign so far and shows it in polls.

++He is bullish on Mark Pryor in Arkansas and Mary Landrieu in Louisiana. 

++He notes the strong polling of Michele Nunn in Georgia and Alison Grimes in Kentucky. Personally, I think the Dems will win one of these seats.

++Like other Democrats and pollsters, he tends to think Michigan isn't up for grabs. I tend to think the GOP's Land is too competitive at this stage and the money will roar in.

++Midway in his article, he notes that Democrats will lose 3 and gain 2, if something horrible does not move against the Democrats in the coming months. I think that is a little too optimistic. 

++Since President Obama and I share the same poor summers,I try to suspend my pessimism.

Elections Abroad

++The politely called Euroskeptics or as we call them the Far Right has won 130 out of 751 seats in the European parliament. The French National Front led by Le Pen's daughter won 25% of the vote and the UKIP managed to win in the UK. The Dawn Party of Greece came in third. Now the far-right has begun fighting among themselves and departing whether they will cooperate with the French.

++Willie Wonka,Petro Poroshenko,the Chocolate billionaire won the presidency in the Ukraine on the first round. The Ukrainian forces began operations to seize the Donetsk airport.

++In the world's largest democracy,Narenda Modi and his Nationalist Party took office today and invited the Pakistan Prime Minister to attend.

++In Egypt, voters go to the polls and are likely to vote in General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. Personally,I think the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi and the show trials of supporters was a massive historical mistake. Even after the campaigns against the Moslem Brotherhood, Pew reports that they still retain a favorability rating of 40%. Yes, far below their 70% after Morsi's election but this reveals a hard base of support.

++Pope Francis ends his stay in Israel today after putting flowers at the memorial to Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism. Pope Paul had told Herzl that Jews were better off converting to Christianity. Pope Francis message was a bit different as he asked both Presidents from Palestine and Israel to visit the Vatican to talk about peace. Both accepted.

A Summer of Nixon

++Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Nixon junkie. What better summer than a summer filled with new Nixon books.

++Roger Stone claims he has the secret on the Nixon pardon,Rick Pearlstein writes another volume of his saga of how the country turned right,John Dean weighs in with a large tome on Nixon, and Douglas Brinkley published the Nixon tapes from 1971 to 1973.

++We have Nixon in Vietnam with the Resilient Nation, and Nixon in Vietnam with the last American Century.

++Ms. Drew republishes her Watergate reporting and I am sure I missed a few. 

++The irony of all this Nixon lore is that no one is writing about how Nixon is actually Left of Obama.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Odds and Ends

++John Boehner wants to privatize the VA.

++Mitch McConnell says KYNECT,the Kentucky health exchange, has nothing to do with Obamacare. BRAINWRAP,Charles Gaba, disagrees.

++Bibi Netanyahu says Obama got Syria right. He says 92% of the chemical weapons have been removed.

++Rasmussen has Michelle Nunn ahead of all Republicans in the Georgia Senate race. Warning: it is of registered voters, not likely.

++North Dakota remains the only state where their law against same sex marriage hasn't been challenged. 

++The House passed a law to reign in the NSA but it doesn't go far enough according to Google and Facebook.

++The Senate Energy Efficient Act, which allocated funds for Solar, was filibustered by the GOP, even though it was bipartisan and took two years to design.

++The House voted to prohibit the military from even considering climate change as part of national security.

++Pope Francis issued a proclamation that not dealing with climate change is a sin.

++Marco Rubio said that if God wants to make the earth hotter we can't stop him.

++Pat Sajak said that "global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists."

++Jerry Brown said that "Humanity is on a collision course with Nature."

++President Obama became the first sitting President to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.

++John Kerry said he would be delighted to testify before Darryl Issa's Benghazi committee. Boehner says Kerry may have to testify before both.

++Common Ground reports that the counter-terrorism Fusion Centers were used to monitor Occupy Wall Street.

++Former Congressman West questioned the patriotism of Tammy Duckworth and whether she would uphold her constitutional oath when serving on the Benghazi Committee. Congresswomen Duckworth is a multiply wounded, paraplegic Veteran. Sort of reminds one of the smears against Max Cleland.

++President Obama went on a stroll in the National Mall and wasn't arrested by the American Spring.

++Speaking of which,American Spring says Roaring Thunder, which rolls in here this weekend, backs them. Rolling Thunder vigorously denied this.

++The Washington Post,always disappointed Obama hasn't invaded anywhere,criticized the Administration on its Syria policy.

++Bernard Henri-Levy writes from the Ukraine that both East and West are eager to vote. Helsinki Watch,the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute have sent swarms of observers. Vladimir Putin says he will work with the winner whoever it is.

++Pope Francis is in Jordan,the West Bank and Israel for a three day visit. 

++BE SURE YOU WATCH FRONTLINE's UNITED STATES OF SECRETS. It trace the NSA programs from 9-11 through today with an excellent expose of the legal fights within the Bush Administration and how the FISA COURT signed off on its constitutionality.

++Read Think Progress' piece on how a journalist almost got arrested by Canadian authorities for having the gall to fly up to Alberta to report on the Tar Sands--"oil" sands as the Canadian government calls them.

++The European elections might yield scary results this weekend as the far-right parties mount a campaign against the whole European project. UKIP in England shocked the establishment with its massive wins in town council elections.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Answer To Yesterday's Question

++Pennsylvania's Republican governor will not appeal the same-sex decision.

++John Boehner went ballistic at Obama's audacity at establishing the Organ National Park.

Dems to Participate on Benghazi Panel

++Against my better judgment, Nancy Pelosi will announce Democrats will sent 5 to participate in the #Benghazi Kangaroo Court. Meanwhile, CNN has said they will only cover it when and if something newsworthy appears.

++The Democrats are Elijah Cummings,Adam Smith,Adam Schiff, Tammy Duckworth and Linda Chavez.

++Not to be outdone, Darryl Issa has subpoenaed the entire Justice Department on the IRS investigation.

++Meanwhile Mitt Romney's spokesperson proclaimed that last night's primary victories of establishment Republicans shows Romney is an elder statesman in the Party. Who knows maybe the Benghazi investigation can make him President.

Forget the Doom

++UPSHOT at the New York Times have the Democrats at a 59% chance to keep the Senate.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Which Will Get The Most Negative Reactions?

++Today, throughout the entire Northeast,same sex marriage is legal. Pennsylvania's law was overturned by a judge appointed by George W. Bush.

++Or President Obama plans to make the Organ Mountains in New Mexico a national park. This will include 496,000 acres.

++Previously Oregon legalized same sex marriage. In both Oregon and Pennsylvania,there are no stays. I'm losing count.

++I pick President Obama declaring another national park will upset the GOP the most.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Road to European Fascism

++Robert Kuttner,editor of the American Prospect,has a piece on Huffington Post, which is worth reading. He argues that the austerity policies of the center and center left parties in Europe have sparked the rise of proto-fascist parties. These parties are anti-immigrant,anti-Islam, anti-semitic and anti-European Union. They now comprise the 2nd or 3rd largest parties in what used to be liberal democracies.

++Today, it was reported that neo-Nazis are making inroads in the Greek elections. Then it should be no surprise that the ADL found that 69% of Greeks were anti-semitic. The Rise of the DAWN Party looked incredibly bizarre until you remember the crushing austerity programs Germany forced on the Greek state.

++Ironically, the country that seems to be immune to these extreme right parties is Germany. But Kuttner chides Germany for allowing the rise of proto-fascism without comment.

++The OpenEurope project anticipates that the extreme right will win 218 out of 751 seats in the European Parliament or 29%. They now have 21%.

++The British UKIP, whose spokespeople constantly get into trouble with racist remarks, is expected to pick up some seats,also.

You Don't Have To Be Jewish to Like Levy's Rye Bread

++It also seems you don't have to actually know a Jew to be anti-semite. According to the latest ADL global poll, 70% of those who would be considered anti-semitic have never met a Jew. Of all those polled,74% never met a Jew.

++As a non-Jew, anti-semiticism has always baffled me and actually pretty much disgusted me. There are typologies to anti-semiticism--the WASP version,the Catholic version, the Islamic version and the Eastern European version. Try reading an anti-semitic tract by anyone--I dare you. They are virtually unreadable. Even the Tsarist propaganda piece, the Protocols of Zion. Even Umberto Eco's novel that tried to track down anti-semiticism in Eastern Europe suffered from the same problem just repeating the anti-semitic tracts of the time.

++The DSM of a few years ago had anti-semiticism as part of the symptoms to real serious mental illnesses. That is an observable phenomenon. I have a relative who suffers from some serious border-line issues who was blessed with the symptom of philo-semiticism so he is obsessed with Jews and Israel in a positive way. The Israeli authorities were kind enough to return him to the United States when he flew over to fight for Israel because he believed it was being attacked. It wasn't at that time.He also thinks he is a Jew.

++If you are dubious about anti-semiticism as a symptom of mental illness,try reading Ezra Pound's Pisan Cantos and try to explain the beauty of his poetry and why the anti-semitic passages are so jarring and destroy the effect of the poems. Besides his love of Mussolini and Hitler, a WASP disease in the 1930s,he explained his anti-semiticism to Allen Ginsberg as a "suburban" prejudice. 

++Susan Cheever's wonderful new biography of E.E.Cummings explained the period when Harvard was anti-semitic. A Harvard President was alarmed that Jews were getting into Harvard at a higher rate than usual and adopted rules to restrict their entrance.

++When Abe Foxman introduced the new global ADL poll, he was self-denigrating and making fun of himself, knowing that many of us have felt Abe might have gone overboard in the past with episodes that seem more hooliganism than straight out and out anti-semiticism.

++The ADL poll was conducted in 102 countries with 53,000 respondents, representing 86% of the world population. If you answered affirmatively to 6 out of 11 questions,the poll considered you anti-semitic and if you answered higher, deeply anti-Semitic. 

++The poll found that 26% of the world or 1.1 billion people held deeply anti-semitic views. More men than women, more older than younger and more Muslims than Christians.

++35% polled never had heard of the Holocaust.

++One-third who had, believed it was a myth or exaggerated. 

++The least anti-Semitic country in the world is Laos at .2%. The most were the West Bank and Gaza at 93%. Iraq is in the 90% also. The least anti-semitic country is the Middle East region is Iran at 56%. 

++The least anti-semitic larger countries are Sweden, Phillippines, the Netherlands,Vietnam who are 6% of under. The United States is at 9% and Canada at 14%.

++In Israel, a recent poll showed that over 50% of Israelis believe the West was against them.

++Actually, the ADL poll shows something different. Outside of the Middle East,37% have a favorable opinion about Israel and 26% not. In the Middle East, 84% was an unfavorable view of Israel. And in Asia, where anti-semiticism is low,38% have unfavorable and 26% a favorable view.

++If you follow any hate polling, you always find that the haters believe those they hate are numerous. Take gays--in real numbers they are 3-5% of a population. But nowadays, you would think they are a major demographic.

++9% of the poll believe Jews are more than 20% of the population. 18% more than 10%. 30% believe from 1-10%. 

++So what is the real number--a whopping .19% of the world's population. Yes, point 1 9 percent. That's a lot of hate for people who barely register in the global census.

++Roughly,there are about 14 million Jews on planet Earth. 5.5 million are in the United States,about 6 million are in Israel, and 1.5 in Europe. The rest are scattered in small communities around the world.

++So reading this poll,I have to ask whether there are pre-Christian forms of anti-semiticism. I don't mean like Romans occupying Judea but real tangible prejudice. Recently, I read an anti-semitic hymn by an early Christian in 550A.D. and began to think that this noxious sentiment entered early Islam from Christian roots. But I wonder whether there were precursors.

++For all the years, some of us teased Abe Foxman for his focus on Swastikas on synagogues and other 
obnoxious acts by teenagers, I apologize. This was a truly valuable poll that sets the standard for the future.

++When the Ukraine erupted,I remember the saying of my Jewish friends "We are always looking over our shoulders to see whether the Kossacks are coming." Indeed, they have arrived.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

New York Is Saved and Other Sunday Notes

++Sean Hannity made good on his promise and has moved to Florida but keeping a ranch in Texas. New Yorkers can breathe easier now.

++In the ceremony opening the 9-11 Museum,the program deleted the scheduled musical interlude of "A Bridge over Troubled Waters" after Chris Christie spoke.

++California is burning as forest fires ramped up again as the entire state is considered a drought zone.

++April was the second hottest in recorded history.

++Richard Scaife, the 81-year old owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune has incurable cancer. Dick Scaife was a primary funder of conservative causes and institutions for generations.

++This week you can read about the largest funders of the Right in the new book "Sons of Wichita", which chronicles the history of the Scaife family and their emergence on the political scene. Goodies include inter-family disputes ,including private eyes, in the dispute over the father's estate,David's hedonistic heydays,the family's blackmailing the gay son, and the long history of federal violations. The book doesn't flinch from Dad, who favored Mussolini.

++Australia reports that "carbon sink", the capacity of the ocean to absorb carbon, has reached the tipping point where it threatens the entire marine food chain.

++Greenland is melting at a faster rate than previously thought but here in North America, glaciers in British Columbia and Alaska are melting even faster and getting now news coverage.

++Karl Rove this morning doubled down on Hillary's "brain damage" and Rinse Penis said that Hillary's health and age are fair game. 

++This week may not be a good one for Karl Rove. There is a story about to emerge about his divorce and his ex-wife accusing Karl of having an affair with a man. I'm betting it doesn't emerge because of Rovian pressures and that gay is so passĂ©.

++There has been an explosion of same-sex marriage decisions and stays it's getting confusing. Arkansas, Utah, Idaho, and the list goes on.

++Michael Lind has a provocative article in Salon about possible party alignments because of the death of "social conservatism".

++Conservative websites are attacking Jeb Bush for a host of imaginary ideological crimes but the nastiest writing is attacking his wife. They claim she doesn't like being a political wife,she isn't fluent in English,has the well-documented problem with Customs, bringing in significant purchases without declaring them. But I guess if you can attack Michelle Obama , you can attack Jeb's wife. Doonesbury today has a fake Jeb interview for good fun.

++The Right--or at least the social conservatives who met the other year at Mount Vernon--met here in Washington behind closed doors. Considering the GOP thinks this is their year,what are the Right complaining about--the nature of the GOP.

++Rubio must be running. He again asserted his anti-choice position and denied climate change. That's pretty ballsy considering this week scientific blogs ran maps how Miami and southern Florida will disappear because of the rise in the sea.

++This past week's announcement that the West Antarctic ice sheets are collapsing faster than expected raise the issue of how conservative climate scientists are. The UN report undervalued the impact of the melting poles and glaciers on the climate. What you have read is really worse. 

++Ms. Geller is back hiring busses to run her anti-Islam ads and ,of course, invoked the Holocaust. Could we reach agreement that the term "Holocaust" be used only for the Holocaust. And "Hitler" is the historical figure Hitler and not Barack Obama.

Phew,the Mobs Have Left Washington

++The American Spring has a huge success. It trended #4 on Twitter under the hashtag American Spring Excuses. It generated more good humor than anything in quite a while. 

++It seems people watching President Obama and Vice President Biden outdrew the American Spring. This morning from Puerto Rico,bloggers posted shots of the gay Pride parade in the Old City and they outdrew the American Spring.

++Posters at Democratic Underground deserve applause for the most clever visuals on the American Spring. This morning someone posted a clip from Woody Allen's "Bananas"about how a revolution succeeds.

++Lots of posters noted that the woman explaining that the millions were stranded at campgrounds was wearing a Julian Asange t-shirt and that websites covering the event live hailed Edward Snowden.

++Someone actually used the new software to estimate crowds and came up with 300. Yesterday,it was a gorgeous day but the scene looked like a lazy day at college with a lonely guitarist entertaining a handful of people relaxing on the lawn. I think I saw a few stranglers here in Old Town getting ice cream cones.


Friday, May 16, 2014

President Obama Escapes the American Spring

++This morning started with a drizzle here in D.C. and the millions who were to appear for the American Spring turned into about 3 dozen hearty souls who met at the Smithsonian's American History Museum. Their live cast eventually showed a few more appearing and they marched across some bridge. I expect they went to Arlington Memorial but can't be sure. 

++For an event that has been planned since February, it was a bomb. But don't worry, you can protest outside of your state capital and they will record the numbers around the nation, who couldn't make it today. After all Patriotism is never having to say you are sorry.

++Last night Rachel Maddow had a segment on this glorious event and the series of other bombs from the  Right. 

++Best graphic of the day was on Democratic Underground, which showed tumbleweed blowing down a street.

One Piece of Good News in the Insanity Here

++Yesterday Diane Humetewa was confirmed by a vote of 99-0 by the Senate to become a judge on the U.S. District Court of Arizona.

++Judge Humetewa is the first active member of a native American tribe to serve on the federal bench and only the third Native American in history.

++A Hopi, she becomes the first woman native American ever to serve on the bench.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


++President Obama opened the 9-11 museum with the Clintons, Mayors Guiliani,Bloomberg and de Blasio in attendance. 

++President Obama urged Congress to approve highway funds for the depleted Highway Trust Fund.

++Eleanor Clift has been ridiculed by right and left on her Benghazi theory. Ambassador Stevens went there to check on the detainees being held and interrogated by the CIA.

++The FCC makes its net neutrality decision. By a 3 to 2 vote that passed the measure that for-pay can have faster service.

++Torrential rains are predicted for tomorrow's coup d'etat. But than the patriots at Valley Forge experienced worse.

++The FBI is investigating the militia groups camped out at Bundy's Ranch.

++The Republicans are now claiming they will pass immigration reform if they take the Senate. They argue then they can pass a "piecemeal" approach that the House would approve. Talk about Bait and Switch.

++I have to say I like the political ads for Mary Landrieu with her father New Orleans Mayor Moon,Senator Pryor's in Arkansas, and Mark Begich's in Alaska.

++PPP has Begich at 42 against Republican Dan Sullivan 37.

++Harry Reid has introduced a bill that would introduce a constitutional amendment against campaign finance such as the Koch Brothers. 

++TMac is looking into ways to get around Virginia's restrictions on abortion clinics.

++Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard believes Hillary Clinton will not run.

++John McCain said he would send special forces into Nigeria without batting an eye to save the school children kidnapped.

++The EU has signed an associate agreement with Georgia.

++Iran claims Assad has won and brags about their role in keeping him in power. This brings new meaning to the word "winning".

++The Danish Government has urged Syria to speed up its shipments of chemical weapons. Syria is now at 92% compliance. But Western observers believe they are holding back certain capability to produce chorine gas.

++Ambassador Brahimi has quit as Special Envoy to Syria. Basically he threw up his hands in frustration. 

++Putin is trying to get around Western sanctions by signing a massive pipeline deal with China.

++The Philippines have offered the US a base to protect them from the Chinese.

++The Chinese and the Vietnamese are engaged in an almost "hot war" over offshore oil rigs.

Today's Obama's Last Day in Office

++Celebrate our first African-American President and maybe the last one democratically elected. Tomorrow 10 to 30 million people are to descend on the Mall and demand he and Joe Biden as well as the leaders of congress resign so a "real constitutional government" be created.

++Col. Riley (ret) has assured us that by reducing the size of government by 20-30%, the middle class will instantly gain large increases in their standard of living. Since Americans now only have trust in the military,it will take over the state temporarily.

++Obama and Biden will be tried by a tribunal of Governor Walker,Rep.Issa,former Congressman West and other "patriots". 

++If President Obama doesn't leave tomorrow,there will be a stay behind force of 400,000 to enforce that he does. 

++Sensitive to the failure of the Truckers' rally to shutdown Washington, Riley says he has learned the lessons from this. 

++So far, no press has reported a massive influx of people to the D.C. hotels, except for tourists to see the reopening of the Washington Monument. No one has reported whether Operation American Spring has the necessary licenses and the suitable number of port-a-potties for a crowd over 68 or the demographic   of FOX news. 

++Inquiring minds want to know whether former Judge and American hero Louie Gohmert will speak. No one has reported whether there will be any platform for the speakers and whether Col. Riley will make a Patton-like appearance in front of a huge American Flag.

++Bloggers of the even farther right warn that this is a trick so that President Obama will declare martial law and that the group clearly aligns itself with Islamic terrorists because they invoke the Arab Spring.

++Operation American Spring will have a parallel gathering at Cliven Bundy's ranch. It seems to me that the optics may be wrong. Bundy doesn't recognize the legitimacy of the United States. These guys claim they are restoring the constitution.

++Organizers have warned their people that Obama might use drones against them to provoke violence. 

++Riley and company have had five months to organize this. So tomorrow better be as impressive as the March on Washington. After all, it's all White and Cliven can tell you about how great whites are.

++Even sympathizers are wondering how these guys can retain their military pensions while advocating sedition. Yesterday,bloggers at Washington Monthly and Talking Points raised the issue about how certain rights-wingers advocating constitutionalism now say that they must go outside of political or democratic means to change the government.

++It is a good point. What happens to all of us who actually voted the last two presidential elections.