This is the era of Obama Unbound: The supposedly lame-duck president, with no more elections to run and little hope that much of substance can be accomplished through legislation, will say what he wants and do what he wants.
And it may turn out that this liberated Obama is exactly the one Hillary Clinton needs.
It’s against the law for there to be any official, explicit coordination of strategy and tactics between the White House and Clinton’s presidential campaign. But we’re probably going to see quite a bit of informal coordination, as the administration does things that just happen to benefit Clinton, and Clinton picks up cues from the administration. ...PaulWaldman,WaPo
Well, Russia and China, of course, if you're judging by the most hostile intelligence activities against our nation. But close behind?
... Israel targets the U.S. government for invasive electronic surveillance, and does so more aggressively and threateningly than almost any other country in the world. Indeed, so concerted and aggressive are Israeli efforts against the U.S. that some key U.S. government documents — including the top secret 2013 intelligence budget — list Israel among the U.S.’s most threatening cyber-adversaries and as a “hostile” foreign intelligence service. ...Intercept
Ah. Our friend and ally, Israel. Or maybe not so much.
Now, take a look at our "black budget" (whose existence you're not supposed to know about, much less have a grasp of its contents). We are no better friends of Israel than they are friends of ours.
The U.S. perception of Israel as a threat as much as an ally is also evidenced by the so-called “black budget” of 2013, previously referenced by The Washington Post, which lists Israel in multiple places as a key intelligence “target” and even a “hostile foreign intelligence service” among several other countries typically thought of as the U.S.’s most entrenched adversaries..." ...Intercept
A big problem? Should we get all upset about this? Sure. We (as citizens, voters) are being kept from making intelligent judgments about our relationship with Israel, judgments based on actuality, not fantasy. What we are told by our "representatives" is grounded in a lie about our "friendship" with that nation and its current leaders.
Knowing what we now know about Israel's intelligence activities, American voters are in a better position to choose our representatives. And our friends.
All of these stories, along with these new documents, leave no doubt that, at least as the NSA and other parts of the U.S. National Security State see it, Netanyahu’s denials are entirely false: The Israelis engage in active and aggressive espionage against the U.S., even as the U.S. feeds the Israelis billions of dollars every year in U.S. taxpayer funds and protects every Israeli action at the U.N. Because of the U.S. perception of Israel as a “threat” and even a “hostile” foreign intelligence service — facts they discuss only privately, never publicly — the U.S. targets Israel for all sorts of espionage as well. ...Intercept
Ted Cruz's wife, a Goldman Sachs exec, is taking a leave of absence from Goldman during her husband's White House run. This move leaves the Cruz family without Goldman's gold-plated medical insurance plan.
Cruz, who has been campaigning against Obamacare, is signing up for Obamacare.
The Texas senator was previously covered by a Goldman Sachs plan that was worth at least $20,000 a year, according to a 2013 report from The New York Times.
Cruz has previously boasted that he was not forced to buy coverage under ObamaCare. As a freshman senator in 2013, the Republican firebrand’s efforts to defund the ObamaCare reform law led to a government shutdown and rocketed him to the national stage.
Lawmakers can receive subsidies to pay for their health care through the exchanges, but it was unclear whether Cruz planned to accept one.
In his speech Monday announcing his 2016 run, Cruz pledged to repeal “every word of ObamaCare.” ...TheHill
The Cuban Canadian Texan apparently sees no irony in his move.
USA Today's immigration reporter has been keeping an eye on the Princeton/Harvard graduate and his "people like me" immigration policy.
From barring undocumented immigrants from ever becoming U.S. citizens to remaking our immigration system into one that welcomes mostly university-trained foreigners, Cruz has made clear that he celebrates only a certain kind of immigrant. ...
...Cruz proposed an amendment to triple the size of the Border Patrol from the 20,000 currently patrolling the Southwest border to 60,000. He proposed quadrupling the number of drones, helicopters, radars and sensors along that border. If the federal government couldn't certify that it had achieved "100% operational control" of the nearly 2,000-mile border, political appointees at the Department of Homeland Security would face pay cuts and federal immigration enforcement money would be transferred to border states, including Texas. ...USAToday
“Ted with nukes, Ted with nukes, let’s see,” Senator Lindsey Graham said on Monday, at the Council on Foreign Relations. He stroked his chin theatrically; the C.F.R. members in the room were already laughing. (I was the moderator at the event, and had asked about his confidence in a President Cruz’s handling of a nuclear crisis.) How about the other possible nominees, including Scott Walker, who has said that his fights with labor unions have prepared him to confront ISIS with nuclear weapons? How would Chris Christie deal with enemy supply-line traffic? The idea of another Bush handling the wars in the Middle East is a less amusing image than Ted with nukes, but it’s still not comforting. There may be many reasons Ted Cruz won’t win, from money to support in key states. But outlandishness alone won’t be enough. ...AmyDavidson,NewYorker
Take the Bush family as an example -- okay? Last week Jeb Bush was handed "win" by his successor in Florida.
On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that sets the date of Florida’s primary as March 15, the first date on which states may award their full quantity of delegates on a winner-take-all basis under Republican National Committee rules. States scheduling primaries between March 1 and 14 must award delegates in proportion to the percentage of votes they receive or lose half their delegates, as Florida Republicans did in 2012.
As the Palm Beach Post noted, the bill appears to be a “a boon for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio or former Gov. Jeb Bush, who both are considering a presidential run.” Such a front-loaded system often benefits establishment candidates with the most money to spend on television advertisements, as was the case with Mitt Romney in Florida in the 2012 race.
Florida, the state Bush governed for two terms, is perhaps the most important primary election for Bush in his expected quest to secure the GOP presidential nomination. Bush could lose the first few primary elections — which award delegates on a proportional basis — yet come out decisively in the lead in terms of delegates if he is able to win Florida’s winner-take-all primary, with its projected 99 delegates.
The New York Times recently reported that Bush’s political operatives have developed a confidential plan code-named “Homeland Security” to ensure victory in Florida for the primary and general election. The report notes that the Bush team intends to spend $50 million to secure support in Florida. ...Intercept
Jeb is exploiting the same Florida Republican machinery that gave his brother a presidential "win" in 2000.
Certainly looks that way. Check out this interview by the Washington Post's Greg Sargent with Richard Revesz, the director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University law school.
At issue is Mitch McConnell's "plan to derail Obama’s climate agenda," a plan that might work but a plan that undermines the US in its negotiations around the world. At no point do either Sargent or Revesz use the word "treason" during their discussion at PlumLine, but the fumes rising from their conversation certainly suggest the damage McConnell's political agenda does to the bona fides of America.
PLUM LINE: It’s remarkable that McConnell appears to be deliberately trying to damage the administration efforts to reach a global climate deal by sowing doubts as to whether the U.S. can meet its end of the bargain.
REVESZ: It’s part and parcel of the Republican strategy to undermine the president’s conduct of foreign affairs. It’s like Tom Cotton’s open letter to Iran.
PLUM LINE: Is there a plausible chance that it could work? What’s the worst case scenario?
REVESZ: It’s always plausible that enough questions could be raised in foreign countries about the ability of the United States to carry out its commitments. I regard the decision by China to reduce its greenhouse gases to be very significant, and I don’t think China would have done it if it had not believed the U.S. is committed to reducing its own greenhouse gases. The U.S. approach is likely to bring other countries into the fold as well.
If McConnell succeeds in convincing enough foreign countries that the administration’s view is wrong, which I doubt will be the case, it could have a serious impact on the probability that other countries would make significant commitments to reducing their own greenhouse gases.
He's been sliding almost from the beginning. Now that Ted Cruz wants to be president, he's alienated too many important people in his party to expect much support, and without that support, his candidacy goes nowhere. "He is the darling of conservatives in a conservative party. But he remains a long shot, at best," according to Nate Cohn at The Upshot.
Political scientists argue that the single most important determinant of the outcome of the nomination is support from party elites: those operatives who can staff a winning campaign; the donors who fund it; the elected officials and interest group leaders who bestow the credibility necessary to persuade voters and affect media coverage. ...Upshot,NYT.
His numbers are low within his own party. Only Chris Christie, the Times reports, does worse. With 18 candidates already ahead of them, the Texan and the New Jersey governor aren't looking exactly viable except -- maybe -- in Iowa.
You could perhaps conjure a scenario in which Mr. Cruz pulls it off. The Republican Party is conservative and populist, and Mr. Bush is hardly a perfect fit for the primary electorate. Forty-two percent of voters say they could not see themselves supporting him. Mr. Cruz runs a sharp campaign and excels in the debates (he was a champion debater at Princeton); comes across as capable of winning a general election and then governing responsibly; and ultimately earns grudging acceptance from party elites. ...Upshot,NYT
Okay. But how long has it been since a Republican -- at national level -- "governed responsibly"? Like ... five and a half decades?
The Washington Post's Dan Balz has a sunnier view of radical conservatism and perhaps Cruz's chances, writing that Cruz "also offered an upbeat portrayal of what the country would be like if it were guided by the conservative principles he espouses."
The speech was long on imagination of a better world grounded in constitutional principles. He imagined the repeal of Obamacare, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service, the demise of Common Core standards.
Absent were the practical policies that would bring about those changes, as well as the promise of robust economic growth and opportunities he said would take place with a return to first principles. This was not the day for policy white papers, however. Those can come later.
What Cruz offered in his announcement — what his candidacy is about — is a robust call to arms to tea partiers, evangelicals and people feeling cut out by the party establishments of both parties. Invoking God and the Constitution throughout his speech, he said, “I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America.”
In his relatively brief time as a national politician, Cruz has shown himself to be brainy, driven and ambitious. What he has yet to show is the ability to take his outsider message, convert it from criticism to optimism and expand his appeal beyond the true believers. He has made the argument about what his party needs. Now he must try to prove that he is the messenger conservatives want in 2016. ...DanBalz,WaPo
Jonathan Chait looks at what is driving Ted Cruz and his party.
Conservatives have not completely worked out how far they would go if given absolute power — back to 1932? 1905? — but they agree on the direction. This is the key factor distinguishing Cruz’s revolt against the party elite from Goldwater’s. Goldwater had both a substantive program and a political theory that distinguished him from his party’s leaders. Cruz has only a political theory. Because he agrees with the policy goals of figures like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, all he can do to distinguish himself from them is stoke the suspicions of the base that those goals have been undermined from within. His shutdowns, his filibusters, his wild personal attacks — they all reinforce Cruz’s story. He is the one Republican too brave and pure to submit to the Obama agenda. If his tactics fall short, it merely serves to dramatize his colleague’s fecklessness.
All this is why so many Republicans despise Cruz, and it will make it difficult for him to win the nomination. But the loathing between Cruz and his party is not some failing of etiquette. It is his entire plan. ...Chait,DailyIntel
Excuse me, please, but I'm spending a little time this Monday a.m. appreciating others' work.
Since they won control of both houses in last November’s election, everyone has said that Republicans now have to “show they can govern.” But more than that, they have to actually govern, whether they’re showing it or not. And the current intra-Republican conflict over the budget shows that they may have gotten so used to shaking their fists and drawing lines in the sand that many of them can’t imagine any other way to go about negotiating — even when Barack Obama and the Democrats aren’t involved. ...PaulWaldman,WaPo
A disturbed Canadian man wants to try to get into the White House, according to reports.
The man, who was born in Calgary before drifting to Texas, has been spotted in Washington, D.C. in recent years exhibiting erratic behavior, sources said.
In 2013, he gained entry to the United States Senate and was heard quoting incoherently from a children’s book before he was finally subdued. ...Borowitz,NewYorker
Historian Richard Hofstadter described the use of “heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy” in American political life. Hofstadter called this phenomenon “the American paranoid style,” built on the perpetuation of conspiracy theories and the use of apocalyptic prose. “[The] demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals,” Hofstadter wrote. “Since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration.” ...DavidLudwig,Atlantic
Empirical investigation into different modalities of knowledge production, distribution, access, and preservation has accelerated in recent years. Much of the energy behind that effort emerges from the intuition that formal intellectual property law frameworks are inadequate and/or incomplete to describe what one observes in the world when examining the governance of innovation. “Peer production” frameworks, and frameworks simply “beyond intellectual property,” are likewise inadequate and/or incomplete; broad, simple labels cannot themselves correct for the errors and omissions of IP as such and cannot capture the significance of diverse ground-level details. ...Balkinization
[But you knew that already, didn't you.]
Everyone in the Republican Party knows that Reagan presided over an economy that has never been equalled, before or since. When I was on TV with Rand Paul, he confidently declared
When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? It was under Ronald Reagan …
Of course, it’s not true.
There was an even bigger job boom under Clinton than under Reagan, and Obama has now presided over three years of fairly rapid job growth, with the most recent year the fastest since the 90s. ...PaulKrugman
The Hill has added up the number of candidates the Republican party is fielding in 2016. I guess we'd better say "so far" the number is twenty. Two zero. Or twenty zeros, depending on how you feel about each and every one of them. Only god a Koch brother can guess with some accuracy just how many there will be by next year.
Oh Jeb shit Scott here Rand they Chriscome. Ben Now Mikewhat're Ted we Rickgonna Lindsey do? John Should Bobby we Rick arm Carly ourselves John quickly Peter with George squeezy Jimmustard Bobcontainers Mark?
Or move to a real democracy?
How do we stop this? Another short-count demo on the Mall? Heads on pikes? Or the biggest vote turnout on the left of the modern era?