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The New York Times Editorial Board opines for the third time since October about withdrawing sooner than later in Choices on Afghanistan:

Ideally, the 66,000 American troops would already be leaving, and all of them would be out as soon as safely possible; by our estimate, that would be the end of this year. The war that started after Sept. 11, 2001, would be over and securing the country would be up to Afghanistan’s 350,000-member security force, including the army and police, which the United States has spent $39 billion to train and equip over a decade.

But there is a conflict between the ideal and the political reality. Mr. Obama has yet to decide how fast he will withdraw the remaining troops, and the longer he delays, the more he enables military commanders who inevitably want to keep the maximum number of troops in Afghanistan for the maximum amount of time.

Paul Krugman at The New York Times pens The Big Fail. Sigh. I wonder how long it will be before poor Krugman no longer has to write this same column?
The truth is that we’ve just experienced a colossal failure of economic policy — and far too many of those responsible for that failure both retain power and refuse to learn from experience.
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship at Alternet via Bill Moyers.com write We’d All Be Packing Heat If the NRA Had Its Way:
Every time we have another of these mass slayings and speak of gun control, weapon sales go up. And guess what? As journalist Lee Fang  reports in The Nation, “For every gun or package of ammunition sold at participating stores, a dollar is donated to the NRA.” Customers can make a contribution at the point of purchase or the gun companies make an automatic donation every time the cash register rings. Last year, just one of those merchants of death, Midway USA, used one of these NRA programs to give the gun lobby a million dollars.
Michelle Chen at In These Times believes We can curb gun violence by ending the War on Drugs:
But a key aspect of the gun-control debate remains hiding in plain sight. There's a major driver of gun violence in the U.S. that is neither the bloodlust of the “criminally insane” nor the weakness of public security forces. Failed gun policy is a manifestation of another, arguably more expansive, irrational policy regime: the War on Drugs.  While the most spectacular incidents of mass murder spark public panic, a more relevant, yet typically ignored, source of gun violence lies in the brutality born of the gun industry’s marriage to drug prohibition policies.
George Skelton at the Los Angeles Times recalls how a GOP governor got a California ban on civilian versions of assault weapons enacted in A Republican model on gun control.

The Editorial Board of The Nation suggests some Tough Questions for John Kerry, including:

How can the State Department reclaim from the military its proper role as the lead agency of US policy abroad? The militarization of foreign policy has continued unabated in the first Obama term. Regional military commanders act in effect as proconsuls who have far greater weight than ambassadors in regions around the world. Many countries know the United States only for its military bases, its military trainers or its drone attacks. Our foreign assistance budget is a global disgrace, while military spending is higher than it was at the height of the Cold War under Ronald Reagan. What commitments have been made, if any, by the president in terms of correcting this wrongheaded imbalance?
Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive writes a eulogy for Gerda Lerner, who was laughed at when she was getting her doctorate at Columbia in the 1960s. He writes:
“In Vienna, all the people I worked with were women: the people in the jail, the people in the underground … I saw women being active in every level except the executive level. Then in America when I worked with black women I was overwhelmed by the talent and persistence of their effort—and their total invisibility.”

This led her, in 1972, to write “Black Women in America: A Documentary History.”

Said Lerner: “I was told they left no record. I knew that to be a lie. My life experience told me that. This was the first collection of primary sources by black women at a time when everybody told me that it was impossible to do that.”

Her whole life, in a way, was an effort to make visible the invisible—and to honor it.

The Editorial Board of the Washington Post does a little pre-dancing on the grave of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela’s endgame approaches:
Sadly, the economic pain caused by Mr. Chavez could, after his death, help create a political movement that will revere his memory. Forty years after the death of Juan Peron, Peronism still haunts and holds back Argentina. If Venezuela is to escape a similar curse, Mr. Chavez’s successors will have to balance economic stabilization against the need to build a political system where democracy, and not autocratic populism, can thrive.
Ana Marie Cox at The Guardian warns us not to take the New Jersey governor's theatrics as evidence he is a maverick in Chris Christie, New Jersey's surprisingly standard-issue Republican.

Marilou Johanek at the Toledo Blade writes in 2013: Time for the silent majority to get loud:

Republican Party agendas on abortion, gay marriage, and labor unions have advanced in lieu of pressing dilemmas such as funding education or fixing rapidly deteriorating infrastructure.

Federal politicians have regressed to playground taunts in lieu of saving a country from an unsustainable future.

Cautious optimism won’t turn the ship of state around. It won’t compel leaders to lead, craft responsible fiscal policy, or finally end involvement in Afghanistan, the longest and least talked about war in U.S. history.

Stanley Crouch at the New York Daily News writes Drunk on dark money, Republicans have nothing new to offer the country.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the roundup, MB (12+ / 0-)

    The Repubs scream about the deficit that THEY voted for in the shape of tax cuts and unfunded wars--in defiance of all logic.

    I hope we don't go down the austerity path and suffer as Europe is suffering.  Why are these men so stupid as not to learn the lessons of history?

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:42:12 AM PST

    •  The ruling class (4+ / 0-)

      firmly believes that they have a shot at complete control - crushing unionism totally, etc.  They don't believe the Chinese proverb that warns "there is always a way, when the rich get too rich and the poor get too poor."  Or they are willing to take their chances that a majority of working class Americans will continue to buy the Horatio Alger myth that has helped divide us for a century plus.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 05:47:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "ruling class" as you call it - (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Diana in NoVa, KibbutzAmiad

        the wealthy, hedge fund managers, currency traders and corporatists alike, have a very short-term view of this country.  As long as they are enriched in the short term, they hold no long-term regard for the country.  Their thought seems to be, "By the time the shit hits the fan, if it ever does, I'll be dead, so what do I care?"  Even though the consequences may come down on their children and grandchildren, it doesn't appear they have any regard for the future.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:44:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Those who would "rescue" Venezuela... (6+ / 0-)

    ...from the "terror reign" of Chavez appear too much to be like that gang that descended upon post Soviet Moscow to develop a "market and rule based economy."

    Ultra cheap gasoline and a number of other short-sighted policies aside, what ticks most of those "experts" (and the underwriters if their Shock Doctrine assertions) off is that the average Venezuelan isn't as dirt poor as the average Haitian.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:43:31 AM PST

  •  Cox sums up Christie well (7+ / 0-)

    w/her last line:

    Even his anti-Boehner harangue is less a blow for independence than simply a well-timed channeling of the national mood … Christie is not a student of The Boss for nothing, it seems.
    and she gets major points for "Morning Joe" primary:
    And does his fundraising prowess give him the power to shape the GOP's national agenda or is he simply the most recent winner of the "Morning Joe" primary? (Past recipients of its zero delegates include Jon Huntsman and Michael Bloomberg.)

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:47:45 AM PST

  •  Not to worry (8+ / 0-)

    All those people 'stocking up" on guns and ammo will cheerfully line up to sell it all back at a fraction of what they paid once regulations are implemented and a buyback program is triumphantly announced.

    Nobody would actually think of stocking up on guns and ammo and then SELLING THEM ILLEGALLY AT AT GROSSLY INFLATED PRICE. That would be.....rude.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 05:00:15 AM PST

  •  A scary new political landscape (5+ / 0-)

    Americans are beginning to understand the deep level of the Republican Party's new embrace of anarchy and the constant political campaign. Rather than forging a novel path of actually respecting the will of voters from an election just two months in the past, conservatives are showing no signs of living in a world of reality, instead relitigating issues decided at the ballot box and inventing new ways to block the progress and routine operation of our nation. The GOP would take us to the very brink of disaster, then promises they want to do it again and again and again. Cabinet positions go unfilled because of petty partisan squabbles and the delusion from the right that they control whom Obama chooses to serve him. These terrorists even turn on one of their own, Chuck Hagel, a fine man to serve as defense secretary.    -  progressive

  •  michelle chen is exactly right (7+ / 0-)

    ending the war on drugs would solve so many problems above and beyond gun violence.

    Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

    by Cedwyn on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 05:13:23 AM PST

  •  Johanek: 'The Speaker and his republican majority (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, Brooke In Seattle

    are out of control.'.......Middle America are noticing GOP.

  •  Excellent round up, MB! (4+ / 0-)

    I have a lot of respect for Christie standing up to national Republicans, but it doesn't make him any less conservative.
    As  Ana Marie points out, he defunded PP, passed ALEC sponsored bills at the same rate as Scott Walker, and refused federal money for a new tunnel to NYC.
     there's no doubt he'll win another term as governor, but I'd rather see Cory  Booker in the senate anyway.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 05:52:49 AM PST

  •  As much as I appreciate the journalism (4+ / 0-)

    done by The Nation, I think they're asking the wrong question here.  The only way the State Department can regain control over foreign policy - and be seen to other countries as having that control - is for the DOD's budget to be lowered.  As long as Defense has the money (and the mandate) to keep hundreds of bases in operation all over the world, the perspective on America's power by other countries will be military power, not diplomatic power.

    A very good way to change the appearance of the U.S. as a military giant constantly threatening the globe would be to stop making foreign aid contingent on buying our weaponry.  It's disingenuous and disgusting that our foreign aid budget is being used as just another way to transfer funds to the military budget.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:38:43 AM PST

  •  Die, Hugo, die (0+ / 0-)

    sooner, faster

  •  afghani..what? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    43north, Ishmaelbychoice

    It is still unfathomable to me that we can have so so many of our children over there and it often doesn't even warrant a fart in the mainstream media.

    people don't want to know by choice or stupidity.. some don't even care.

    And the repub convention snubbing was the intolerable antithesis of patriotism and support.

    Good post- we should all be reminded, continuously.

    People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think. -George Carlin

    by downtownLALife on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:57:21 AM PST

  •  Meh. eom (0+ / 0-)

    "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

    by gritsngumbo on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:42:26 AM PST

  •  toledoblade.com now a paysite (0+ / 0-)

    It's now impossible to access the Toledo Blade's website without paying for access. However, if you click the link to the M Johanek story and then click "stop" as soon as it opens up, you can read the story without getting hit with the "pay up or no dice" box. Otherwise, it takes you back to the main home page. Buckeye Cablesystem (run by The Blade) has also dropped the local Fox affiliate over, of course, a money dispute. TB seems to be determined to drive away not only its viewers, but now its readers too. God bless Capitalism!

    "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." – Benjamin Franklin

    by ERJ1024 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:16:07 AM PST

  •  They'll Never Get It (0+ / 0-)

    "...the need to build a political system where democracy, and not autocratic populism, can thrive." -WaPo Eds.

    Do they mean the kind of democracy we have where the plutocrats rule?  Autocratic populism is democracy when the majority, not a rich, powerful minority rules.

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:47:20 AM PST

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