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Obama Is Not an Israel-Hating Dove

Obama Is Not an Israel-Hating Dove

By Conor Friedersdorf

Misguided right-wing myths on the president's foreign policy and biases

Among some right-leaning hawks, there is a persistent delusion that President Obama is a non-interventionist dove who rejects American exceptionalism and hegemony, all the while harboring a unique, possibly anti-Semitic distaste for Israel. The populist manifestation of this delusion has asked us to believe that Obama "pals around with terrorists;" that he is, at bottom, a Kenyan anti-colonialist; and that he hates Israel and only likes Jews who give money to Democrats. The more intellectual but no less inaccurate strain of this delusion is on display in a new Washington Free Beacon / National Review column by Matthew Continetti. 

"Since he became president, Israel is the one country in the world in whose affairs President Obama has seemed at all interested in intervening," he writes. "It is the one country whose politics and actions Obama has had no trouble judging harshly." This passes for sound foreign policy analysis in some neo-con circles.

 
Nixon's Nightmare—and Ours—Forty Years Ago

President Richard Nixon bids farewell to his White House staff, on August 12, 1974, with his son-in-law David Eisenhower at his side.

Nixon's Nightmare—and Ours—Forty Years Ago

By Jeffrey Frank

Remembering a Presidential resignation.

About a dozen years after Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency, on August 9, 1974, C. L. Sulzberger, a former Times correspondent who made his home in Paris, returned for a visit Stateside and discovered that passions still ran deep—that, “to my surprise, despite the passage of time since the Watergate scandal, the fevered detestation seemed to continue unabated. . . . This anger was, I found, astonishingly personal. . . . It was the same kind of personal hatred that survivors of Hitler and Stalin in Germany and Russia felt toward their persecutors,” he wrote, adding, “I cannot explain this extraordinarily venomous sentiment, this blind rage that focused its attention entirely on one man and displayed not the faintest sign of forgiveness.”

As we approach the fortieth anniversary of the resignation, next week, that “fevered detestation” has abated—in part, no doubt, because the generation that watched Nixon’s rise and fall is disappearing, or has been tempered by age, and in part because other Presidents have since become objects of hatred. As for forgiveness, President Bill Clinton said it well at Nixon’s funeral, in April, 1994: “May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.”

Yet Nixon remains an emblem of political villainy, the instantly recognizable man with the heavy jowls, startling nose, and awkward gestures; his image is still visual shorthand for any compromised public figure. He was, after all, a President willing to countenance law-breaking and then cover it up; we know this because he had the bad luck to leave an uncensored oral history: the secret White House tape recordings made between February, 1971, and July, 1973. They captured some of Nixon’s worst moments. In one, a conversation with his national-security adviser, Henry Kissinger, and two top aides, he said that he wanted someone to get him the so-called Vietnam-bombing-halt files, which were thought to be at the Brookings Institution—this should be “implemented on a thievery basis,” if need be, Nixon said. “God damn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.” And he used a lot of foul language (as did most Presidents) and ethnic slurs—more bad luck. (Harry Truman used the word “nigger” in private and called New York City a “kike town,” but no one taped him doing it.) If you listen to just a few hours of the Nixon recordings, you begin to get a portrait of harried insecurity, tantrums, and familial affection, as well as the moments of bonhomie he shared with such fellow political soldiers as Hubert Humphrey.

Richard Rovere, who wrote about politics for this magazine for three decades, described the 1955 edition of Nixon, then forty-two, as “robust, intelligent, conscientious, ruthless, affable, articulate, competitive, telegenic, and breathtakingly adaptable.” Not someone Rovere took to, perhaps, but someone about whom he could add, “If he takes the elementary precautions with his health and does not squander the formidable political assets that are now his, he has ahead of him a full quarter-century of service to the Republic and to the good name of Richard Milhous Nixon.”

This anniversary, then, is also the anniversary of a mystery: How and why did this ruthless, talented man—perhaps the best-prepared person ever to assume the Presidency—squander those assets?
 
Why Republicans think Harry Reid is playing mind games on the border crisis

Why Republicans think Harry Reid is playing mind games on the border crisis

David M. Drucker

House Republicans say Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is playing head games to undermine their attempt to pass a $659 million border package.

As Speaker John Boehner tries to build support among the Republican caucus for legislation to address the thousands of unaccompanied minors coming to the U.S. from Central America, his Democratic counterpart in the Senate has brought up the toxic issue of immigration reform.

On Tuesday, Reid threatened to attach comprehensive immigration reform legislation to any border bill that makes it through the House — a move that would infuriate immigration hawks and split the GOP caucus.

“If they pass that, maybe it’s an opening for us to have a conference on our comprehensive immigration reform,” Reid told reporters. “They are finally sending us something on immigration. Maybe we could do that.”

It’s unlikely that Reid has the votes to actually do that.

The four Republican members of the “gang of eight” sent a letter on Friday vowing not to support any border bill that includes their comprehensive immigration bill. Senate Republicans are highly unlikely to provide Reid the votes to do this in any event, given their broad opposition to the Democrats’ border proposal.

 
Gov. Mike Pence irked as Obama sends illegals to Indiana on sly

** FILE ** Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. (Associated Press)

Gov. Mike Pence irked as Obama sends illegals to Indiana on sly

By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana is the latest politician to accuse the White House of dumping illegal minor-aged immigrants in his state absent even a courtesy notification — and he’s now penned a letter to the president asking him to send them back to their home countries.

“In Indiana last week, we learned from media reports that more than two hundred unaccompanied children had been placed by the federal government with sponsors in our state,” Mr. Pence wrote to Mr. Obama, Breitbart reported. “Only after these media reports were published did the state receive notice from the Department of Health and Human Services that in fact 245 unaccompanied children had been placed in Indiana during the period from January 1, 2014 through July 7, 2014.”

 
The Republican Occupation of Detroit

The Republican Occupation of Detroit

By Sally Kohn

It took him two tries, thwarting his state’s voters’ will, but Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder got his wish—a major city that is dead politically.

Detroit is no longer a city. Sure, it looks like a city. But that’s a façade. The oldest city in the Midwest—home of the first traffic light in America and the first urban freeway, the birthplace of Motown and the automobile and the ice cream soda—is now a ghost. Detroit, the place, is recovering—even thriving in some ways. But Detroit, the political entity, is dead.  

In 2011, Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 4, which gave the state the power to place cash-strapped cities and school districts under the control of state-appointed emergency managers. In 2012, Michigan voters overturned that law. But in 2013, Snyder signed a barely revised version of the emergency manager law—and then used it to take over Detroit.

So in the fall of 2013, Detroit voters went to the polls to elect a new mayor and City Council, but it didn’t matter. The powers of the mayor and city council have effectively been suspended. Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, appointed by Snyder, has all the power and then some. A Democratic city that elected Democratic leaders is now controlled by the appointee of a Republican governor.

Or, to put it differently, Detroit—a majority African American city—is now controlled by a governor elected by a majority of white voters in the state. It really doesn’t matter that Kevyn Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager, is black, nor that Mike Duggan, Detroit’s mayor, is white. What matters is that half of the state’s black population lives in Detroit. So through the state takeover, “half of black Michiganders have essentially lost the right to vote,” says Ife Kilimanjaro, co-director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council.

..................................

Snyder isn’t just using the emergency management excuse to take over democracy in Detroit and other communities. He’s also seizing their resources. Yet another example is Belle Isle, a gorgeous 982-acre gem floating in the Detroit River. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Belle Isle was the largest city-owned park in the United States—until this past October, when Orr and Snyder signed a deal to lease Belle Isle to the state until the year 2043. The Detroit City Council voted to reject the deal. Snyder and Orr went ahead anyway, under the authority of the emergency management law. Now attendance at the park is down and state policing— and allegations of harassment of Detroit residents — is up. Meanwhile the state is phasing in a fee for visitors to the island.

 
As Sanctions Pile Up, Russians’ Alarm Grows Over Putin's Tactics

As Sanctions Pile Up, Russians’ Alarm Grows Over Putin's Tactics

Russia, facing the toughest round of Western sanctions imposed since the Ukraine crisis erupted, has adopted a nonchalant public stance, with President Vladimir V. Putin emphasizing the importance of self-reliance and a new poll released Tuesday indicating a “What, me worry?” attitude among the bulk of the population.

But beneath that calm facade, there is growing alarm in Russia that the festering turmoil in Ukraine and the new round of far more punitive sanctions — announced Tuesday by both European nations and the United States — will have an impact on Russia’s relations with the West for years to come and damage the economy to the extent that ordinary Russians feel it.

Until now, Mr. Putin’s tactics seemed to be working. Russia was feeding the separatist insurgency in Ukraine without leaving distinct fingerprints — able to press Kiev to come to terms while avoiding a rupture with Europe that would alienate Russia’s business elite. But that strategy is beginning to crumble, battered under successive shock waves generated by the crisis.

More frequent and prominent critics are saying that Mr. Putin and the hard-line leaders in the Kremlin overreached by suggesting that Russia, far more dependent than the old Soviet Union on international trade and financial markets, could thrive without the West.

“They were not anticipating the West to make radical moves, costly moves,” said Nikolai Petrov, an independent political analyst. “What is happening is different from what they wanted and what they expected.”

He and others pointed to the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 over embattled southeastern Ukraine on July 17 as upsetting the balancing act that Mr. Putin had managed to pull off to maintain support from the public, hard-line nationalists, the security services, the oligarchs and the more liberal business community.

“Until this catastrophe, Putin’s calculations were pretty good in terms of being able to win any tactical battle,” Mr. Petrov said.

The Kremlin had been counting on its ability to maintain just enough instability in Ukraine to keep the country dependent on Russian good will, while making Europe and the United States cautious about intervening too assertively there.

Right after this weekend, when the likelihood of more serious European sanctions materialized, Mr. Putin met with advisers to say that Russia needed to become self-reliant. He was referring to arms production previously done in Ukraine, but the sentiment echoed in other fields.

 
Impeaching President Obama is just a fantasy — for both parties

Impeaching President Obama is just a fantasy — for both parties

Karen Tumulty and Wesley Lowery

Few people think he is about to be impeached, but both Democrats and the GOP can’t quit talking about it.

President Obama is not being impeached.

But for several years, Republicans have been indulging and even encouraging that fantasy on the part of the far-right edges of their party’s base.

Conservative backbenchers have told their constituents that the House has the votes to impeach the president. High-profile figures such as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin have called for it. The new House majority whip, Steve Scalise (R-La.), in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” declined to rule it out.

And now Democrats are raising millions off the idea that the GOP is serious about doing it. “I would not discount that possibility,” presidential adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Friday.

On Monday night, members of the Congressional Black Caucus took to the House floor to sound the alarm in after-hours speeches.

 
Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered

displaced: Detainees play while others sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas. Such installations have handled more than 47,000 unaccompanied alien children. (Associated Press)

Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered

By S.A. Miller - The Washington Times

The Obama administration is concealing key details about its response to the surge of unaccompanied children illegally crossing the southern border, including where the unaccompanied minors are being sheltered and the circumstances under which some are set free inside the U.S.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill say the lack of information has handicapped their push to pass legislation to gain a handle on the surge — a debate taking place this week in both chambers.

“We’re getting almost no information, and there is all kinds of conflicting information,” said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, who for months has been hounding the administration for answers about where unaccompanied minors, who crossed the border without their parents, are detained and released.

 
Elizabeth Warren’s Biggest Donors Say Don't Run

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Elizabeth Warren’s Biggest Donors Say Don't Run

 

As speculation about the Massachusetts senator’s presidential ambitions swells, her biggest donors have one thing to say: there’s no way on earth they’re backing her over Hillary Clinton.

She “lit up” a gathering of liberal activists earlier this month with a barn-burner of a speech calling on Democrats to push back hard as thousands of attendees waved signs and chanted “Run, Liz, Run!” Her every denial that she will not run for president is parsed down to the verb tense for evidence that the door is open even a crack. She embarked on the kind of nationwide book tour that candidates-in-waiting always do as they drum up interest for a potential bid, and a “Ready for Elizabeth” draft movement is preparing to launch satellite chapters in states and cities around the country. .

But if Elizabeth Warren does in fact reverse her repeated denials of interest and decides to run for president, she will have to do so virtually alone. That’s because almost to a person, her earliest and most devoted backers do not want her to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

“If Elizabeth called me up and said I am thinking of running for president, I would say, ‘Elizabeth, are you out of your goddamn mind?”’ said one New York-based donor who has hosted  Warren in his living room. “I really like Elizabeth, but if Hillary is in the race it just makes no sense.”

 
GOP to deny Obama migrant request

GOP to deny Obama migrant request

Paul Lewis in Washington 

us immigration undocumented immigrants central american unaccompanied minors children border detainees detention center

House GOP members coalesced around plan to provide Obama administration with markedly reduced package

Republicans in the House of Representatives are planning to deny the White House the vast bulk of its request for resources to manage the surge of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally into the US.

Instead, Republicans have coalesced around a plan to provide President Barack Obama’s administration with a significantly slimmed-down package designed to help agencies cope with the thousands of Central American children arriving at the border over the summer.

Legislation unveiled to the House GOP during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, authorises only $659m, far less than the $3.7bn Obama requested weeks ago or the $2.7bn that would be released in a rival Democratic bill in the Senate. And it is less than half the $1.5bn that a working group set up by the Republican House speaker, John Boehner, recently suggested needed to be spent to manage the border crisis.

According to multiple sources in Tuesday’s meeting, the bill (pdf), which appears to have the support of the majority of House Republicans, will also tweak an 2008 anti-trafficking law that critics say significantly slows the deportation of children arriving from Central American countries.

Democrats are opposed to tweaking the anti-trafficking law, arguing it contains important provisions that guard against sex trafficking and ensure due process for children who may have valid claims for refugee status.
 
Mississippi's Last Abortion Clinic Will Remain Open—For Now

The last abortion clinic in Mississippi has been on the brink of closure for nearly two years. But the fight to shutter the Jackson Women's Health Organization may have ended Tuesday, when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the strict anti-abortion measure that would have closed its doors forever.

The court fight to save the clinic began in 2012, after state lawmakers passed a bill requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital—or else face criminal charges. Restrictive anti-abortion bills had already closed several clinics in the state, and, had the Fifth Circuit not ruled against the state, Mississippi was poised to become the first state since Roe v. Wade without a single abortion provider.

Attorneys for the Jackson Women's Health Organization argued that admitting privileges were unconstitutional and not medically necessary for the safety of its clients. (The clinic, after all, already had a patient-transfer agreement with a local hospital for rare cases in which a patient required hospitalization.) A federal judge was receptive to this argument and blocked the law from going into effect; in response, the state of Mississippi appealed the ruling to the Fifth Circuit.

 
Dramatic shift in Egypt deprived Kerry of vital tool

No Gaza cease-fire: Dramatic shift in Egypt deprived Kerry of vital tool

By Howard LaFranchi

Secretary Kerry has come under harsh criticism, particularly in Israel, for his efforts to secure a cease-fire in Gaza. Experts say Egypt's shift vis-à-vis Hamas has made diplomacy much harder.

The Israeli press has been especially brutal with the top US diplomat, accusing him of betraying Israel by circulating a draft cease-fire document that did not meet all of Israel’s demands concerning Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that governs the Gaza Strip.

The harsh tenor of that criticism could help explain why diplomatic efforts on Gaza so far have failed. But more important than a sudden surge in Israeli vitriol toward the US, some regional experts say, are the shifts in the Middle East’s political orientation and balance of power since the US brokered the last Gaza cease-fire, in 2012.  

“The regional constellation is very different from 2012, and in ways that make the diplomacy for getting some kind of cease-fire agreement in this conflict much harder than it was just a couple of years ago,” says Robert Danin, senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington. 

And the biggest change, he and other experts say, is with Egypt.

“Egypt doesn’t have the relationship with Hamas that it did, and its conception of its interests are very different from 2012,” Mr. Danin says.

 
Krauthammer: Impending White House Amnesty Order 'An Impeachable Offense'

Brendan Bordelon

Charles Krauthammer

Like many on the right, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer is politically opposed to impeaching President Barack Obama. But on Tuesday, he declared that legally, the rumored White House order granting amnesty to as many as 6 million illegal immigrants “would be an impeachable offense” — and Obama’s talk of impeachment may be a way to preempt that pushback.

Krauthammer spoke with Fox News’s Bret Baier on a panel with The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard and Fox News contributor Juan Williams. The group discussed the impeachment buzz swirling around Washington, which most observers agree is being ginned up by Democrats eager for the campaign donations such talk brings.

Krauthammer didn’t dispute that characterization, but offered a couple serious caveats. “There’s only one real thing here,” he claimed, “and that is that Obama is said to — or there are reports from the White House — that he’s going to do something by executive order about immigration.”

“If he were to do something like legalize five — let’s say half, which is what’s been talked about — huge numbers of illegal immigrants, to do it by executive order — which would be clearly lawless, and it would be the biggest overreach of a president in memory — it would be an impeachable offense,” Krauthammer declared.

“I would be 100 percent against impeachment,” the columnist clarified, “because it’s political suicide. But it really would be the basis for that.”

 
Even Left-Wing Congressmen Can’t Quit Israel

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Even Left-Wing Congressmen Can’t Quit Israel

Despite grassroots outrage at Operation Protective Edge, left-wing members of the House and Senate won’t criticize Israel’s ongoing incursion into Gaza.

Much of the American left is critical of Israel, particularly since its incursion into Gaza. But in the halls of Congress, even progressive Democrats beloved by grassroots activists are loath to criticize the Jewish State’s ongoing military offensive.

A Pew Research Center poll released Monday showed that a plurality of Democrats, 35 percent, and liberals, 44 percent, said that Israel had “gone too far” in its response to its conflict with Hamas. Meanwhile 47 percent of Democrats told Gallup that Israel’s actions during the current conflict were “unjustified,” compared to just 31 percent who thought the opposite.

But these opinions are nearly impossible to find in Congress. Democrats, when asked a question about Israel operation in Gaza, had two standard responses: irritation, or else a statement of their broad support of Israel, without going into specifics. It was as if the very mention of Israel turned the question into a hostile interview.

“Look, man, I’m a politician, with multiple constituencies. Why should I alienate one just so that you can write a story?” Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison angrily told The Daily Beast. Ellison, a stalwart progressive, was the first Muslim-American elected to Congress.

Ellison cited a Tuesday op-ed he had written that was critical of the Gaza blockade, but became noticeably agitated when asked to expand on his views. In particular, he did not want to address whether Israel had gone too far during its current operations in the Gaza Strip.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a darling of the left who identifies as a democratic socialist, was curt. His tone changed suddenly when the topic shifted from the Veterans’ Administration bill that he had been shepherding through Congress to Israel’s operation in Gaza.

“That’s not where my mind is right now," he told the Beast.

 
Israel’s Campaign to Send Gaza Back to the Stone Age

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Israel’s Campaign to Send Gaza Back to the Stone Age

The power station, the port, government buildings, and private homes have all fallen prey to Operation Protective Edge.

As the dust cleared this morning after a night of bombardment that felt as if it would never end, Gaza’s main power plant was out of commission and the already brittle civilian infrastructure lay in shards. The Gaza City port had been bombed and the finance ministry was flattened.  Tens of thousands more people had fled their homes as Israeli flares lit up the night sky, and shells and rockets pounded residences, businesses and government buildings. By Tuesday afternoon over 100 more Gazans had been added to the list of more than 1,000 who had died earlier in what Israel calls Operation Protective Edge.

Although the stated aim of Israel’s offensive is to end the threat of rockets and missiles launched from Gaza, and to destroy the system of underground tunnels Hamas has built as part of a guerrilla campaign, it is civilians that have mostly been killed or had their homes, businesses and communities obliterated. Few in Gaza will see a campaign that has now targeted civilian infrastructure as anything less than collective punishment for having a leadership that fights back. 
 
John Cassidy: Israel Goes It Alone
 
Roger Cohen: Yes, World War Could Happen Again

Yes, World War Could Happen Again

Instability in Ukraine, chaos in Syria—the trigger points for World War III are in place.

By Roger Cohen

Then, as now, Europe had lived through a long period of relative peace, after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Then, too, rapid progress in science, technology, and communications had given humanity a sense of shared interests that precluded war, despite the ominous naval competition between Britain and Germany. Then, too, wealthy individuals devoted their fortunes to conciliation and greater human understanding. Rival powers fumed over provocative annexations, like Austria-Hungary’s of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908, but world leaders scarcely believed a global conflagration was possible, let alone that one would begin just six years later. The very monarchs who would consign tens of millions to a murderous morass from 1914 to 1918 and bury four empires believed they were clever enough to finesse the worst.

The unimaginable can occur. That is a notion at once banal and perennially useful to recall. Indeed, it has just happened in Crimea, where a major power has forcefully changed a European border for the first time since 1945. Russia’s act of annexation and its evident designs on eastern Ukraine constitute a reminder that NATO was created to protect Europe after its pair of 20th-century self-immolations. NATO’s core precept, as the Poles and other former vassals of the Soviet empire like to remind blithe western Europeans, is Article 5, by which the Allies agreed that “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all,” triggering a joint military response. This has proved a powerful deterrent against potential adversaries. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has been most aggressive in the no-man’s-lands of Georgia and Ukraine, nations suspended between East and West, neither one a member of NATO. Had Ukraine been a member of NATO, the annexation of Crimea would have come only at the (presumably unacceptable) price of war. Article 5, until demonstrated otherwise, is an ironclad commitment.

When a 19-year-old Bosnian Serb nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914, he acted to secure Serbia’s liberty from imperial dominion. He could not have known that within weeks, Austria-Hungary would declare war on Serbia, goading Russia (humiliated in war a decade earlier by Japan) to mobilize in defense of its Slavic ally, which caused the kaiser’s ascendant Germany to launch a preemptive attack on Russia’s ally France, in turn prompting Britain to declare war on Germany.

 
Dan Balz: In Tennessee, consensus politics makes a last stand

In Tennessee, consensus politics makes a last stand

Throughout his career, Alexander has embodied Baker’s style of consensus-building politics — and largely for that reason he is now, at 74, facing tea party opposition in the Aug. 7 Republican primary. But the tea party activists are competing against more than just one sitting senator and a Republican establishment lined up behind him. They are running against Baker’s legacy — a culture of Republican politics that has married conservative principles with pragmatic attitudes about governing.

For half a century, Tennessee voters have elected a succession of Republicans to statewide office who are more problem-solvers than ideologues, consensus-seekers rather than rabble-rousers. The current trio — Alexander, Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam — all embody in one way or another the Baker tradition.

“They don’t want big government, but they do want government to work,” said John Geer, a political-science professor at Vanderbilt University.

Alexander’s chief opponent in a crowded field is believed to be state Rep. Joe Carr, who has the support of many tea party groups in Tennessee and radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham, whose advocacy for Dave Brat is credited with helping the conservative Virginia college professor defeat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in their June primary.

Carr, in a telephone interview, said Alexander is insufficiently conservative, wrong for having supported an overhaul of immigration law and far too willing to work with Democrats, and even President Obama. He called Baker a “great statesman” but said this of Baker and Alexander’s style of politics: “I don’t believe it’s suited to the times we’re in.”

 
Hillary Clinton declares war on the Redskins, says name ‘insensitive’

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton points to her Chicago Cubs baseball cap as she and President Clinton leave the White House Saturday, Oct. 3, 1998 on their way to Camp David. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Hillary Clinton declares war on the Redskins, says name ‘insensitive’

By Jessica Chasmar

Speaking with Fusion TV’s Jorge Ramos, the former secretary of state said she “would love to see” the NFL team’s owners change the name to something less offensive to Native Americans.

“I think there’s no reason for it to continue as the name of a team in our nation’s capital,” she said.

Asked if she had any ideas for a replacement name, Mrs. Clinton responded: “No. No. I haven’t thought a lot about that.”

 
America needs to end its obsession with trying to fix everything in Gaza

john kerry world

America needs to end its obsession with trying to fix everything in Gaza

aaron david miller

Aaron David Miller

John Kerry left himself open to criticism. The US may not be an honest broker, but it can still be an effective one

I worked as a US negotiator on the Arab-Israeli conflict for almost 20 years, and nobody ever lost money betting against peace. When mediators do succeed, it's largely because the locals are ready for a deal – and a need a third party.

Watching US Secretary of State John Kerry over the past year – and especially the past month – it strikes me that the Obama administration has lost sight of that basic principle: America has to get over its obsession with happy endings or definitive solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Because right now there are not any – either to the impasse in Gaza or to the broader challenge.

I understand the US determination to do it all – the death toll is rising, a crisis is escalating – but Kerry is out of sync, both in trying (and failing) for ceasefire after ceasefire and in trying (and flailing) to make peace between Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas. "It's crazy just to be sitting around," he said on a hot mic Sunday. But is it?

 
As fighting in Gaza rages on, Kerry battles hapless bumbler perception

Secretary of State John Kerry, joined by Rabbi David Saperstein, nominated to become ambassador at large for international religious freedom at the State Department, left, and Tom Malinowski,  Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, speaks at the State Department in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014, during a news conference to announce the 2013 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. The U.S. says millions of people were forced from their homes because of their religious beliefs last year. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

As fighting in Gaza rages on, Kerry battles hapless bumbler perception

By Dave Boyer - The Washington Times

As Israeli forces stepped up their attacks against Hamas in Gaza Tuesday, the Obama administration is battling the growing perception among Israelis that Secretary of State John F. Kerry is a hapless bumbler in his search for a truce.

After his latest round of mediation failed to achieve a cease-fire, Mr. Kerry has been portrayed in the Israeli media as a blunderer who unwittingly represented the interests of Hamas, a terrorist organization.

“U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything,” columnist Ari Shavit wrote in Monday’s Haaretz, Israel’s most influential liberal newspaper. “Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a ‘strategic terrorist attack.’”

Mr. Kerry said Tuesday he is not concerned about personal attacks.

“I’ve taken hits before in politics, I’m not worried about that,” he told reporters. “This is not about me. This is about Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself.”

 
Why Politicians Plagiarize So Often

Why Politicians Plagiarize So Often

Why Politicians Plagiarize So Often

By Evan Osnos

As he confronts the consequences, Senator Walsh might feel fortunate that he is a senator, not an academic or a college freshman or a blogger.

When the Times informed Montana Senator John Walsh last week that one of his graduate-school papers contained unattributed passages by other writers, Walsh tried out three responses. First, he told the Times that he did not do “anything intentional.” The next day, Walsh, a Democrat who spent thirty-three years in the military, suggested that his plagiarism was connected to post-traumatic stress disorder from service in Iraq. The public was unmoved by that explanation, and, on Friday, Walsh said that P.T.S.D. did not have “any impact” on the case. Instead, he urged voters to look ahead. “I made a mistake here and I’m going to move on,” he told the local CBS station.

As he confronts the consequences, Senator Walsh might feel fortunate that he is a senator, not an academic or a college freshman or a blogger. Last year, an assistant professor of English at Brown University lost her tenure-track job after she was found to have included unattributed passages in her book; undergraduates could flunk a course, or worse. Last Friday, as Walsh declared his intention to move on, BuzzFeed was firing one of its writers, Benny Johnson, after the site found forty-one “instances of sentences or phrases copied word for word from other sites.”

If one is going to plagiarize, it pays to be in politics, where the expectation for remorse, and the likelihood of punishment, are minimal. In 1950, Joseph McCarthy thundered about Communists using the unattributed words of Richard Nixon—but when he was asked, in a hearing, “Have you no sense of decency?” it wasn’t because of that. In 2008, Barack Obama took the words of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, but fended off criticism by explaining later that Patrick “gave me the line and suggested I use it.” Vladimir Putin was awarded an advanced degree by the St. Petersburg Mining Institute with the help of a dissertation that, as two Brookings researchers discovered, included sixteen stolen pages—and, remarkably, not a single set of quotation marks. Putin has simply avoided answering questions about it.

 
Red State Democrats Ditch Obama

Red State Democrats Ditch Obama

With the president’s approval ratings hovering as low as 25 percent in competitive states, some are running I-never-met-the-guy campaigns—though they may need his fundraising power.

In West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant’s latest ad, she hits a switch, plunges the White House into darkness, and promises, “I’ll make sure President Obama gets the message” on the importance of the West Virginia coal industry to the rest to the rest of the country.

But what Tennant does not mention is that she is a Democrat running to replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a detail probably best left unsaid in a state where President Obama’s latest approval rating was just 25 percent, the second-lowest of any state in the country.

Unfortunately for Democrats, Tennant’s challenge isn’t unique, or even unusual, in the 2014 midterm elections. Of the 10 states where Obama has his lowest approval ratings in the nation, Democrats are defending Senate seats in five, including South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, and Arkansas. Plenty more states where Obama’s ratings hover between 30 percent and 40 percent, like Colorado and Louisiana, feature incumbents defending seats, while in the two states where Democrats most hope to pick up seats, Kentucky and Georgia, Obama’s approval ratings are 35 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

It’s an association that’s giving red state Democrats more than a little heartburn as they proactively work to distance themselves from the White House without also alienating base Democratic voters they’ll need in November or losing out on Obama’s still powerful fundraising apparatus.

 
The Untapped Secrets of the Nixon Tapes

The Untapped Secrets of the Nixon Tapes

Two new books show how little we really know about Tricky Dick.

By Evan Thomas

Richard Nixon taped roughly 3,700 hours of his conversations as president. About 3,000 hours of those tapes have been released, while the rest remain closed to protect family privacy or national security. The public has a general impression of what’s on the Nixon White House tapes—the expletives deleted, the so-called “smoking gun” when Nixon appeared to try to use the CIA to derail the FBI investigation of Watergate, the slurs against blacks and Jews.

But very few people have actually listened to more than a few hours of tapes. Less than five percent of the recordings have been transcribed or published. The tapes, stored at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, will in time give us a much clearer and more accurate picture of Richard Nixon. Two tapes-based books published this summer, timed to the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974, go a long way toward showing Nixon’s underappreciated geopolitical genius and how he became the victim of his own emotionalism.

 Nixon’s emotional neediness shows through, and not just once or twice. He is obsessed with John F. Kennedy, or more specifically, Kennedy’s image in history, which Nixon feels (not without justification) was inflated. On April 15, 1971, Nixon complains to Kissinger and his chief of staff, H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, “Kennedy was cold, impersonal, he treated his staff like dogs.” (Nixon was more considerate to his staff.) “His staff created the impression of warm, sweet and nice to people, reads lot of books, a philosopher, and all that sort of thing. That was pure creation of mythology .…”

 
Israel Steps Up Attacks Against Hamas

Israel Steps Up Attacks Against Hamas

By Nicholas Casey and Tamer El-Ghobashy in Gaza City and Joshua Mitnick in Tel Aviv

Israeli forces attacked Hamas symbols of control and the Gaza Strip's only power plant in their heaviest bombardment of a three-week offensive. Netanyahu told Israelis to brace for a long fight.

Seventy-seven Gazans have been killed since the fresh Israeli attacks began early Tuesday, raising the Palestinian death toll to 1,156, Gaza health officials said.

In his televised address, Mr. Netanyahu had given no sign that the military would go beyond its stated goals-degrading Hamas's rocket arsenal and finding and destroying a network of cross-border tunnels that fighters use to infiltrate Israel. The military needs about another week to accomplish that, officials had said.

But the overnight strikes by Israeli aircraft, tanks and navy gunboats on dozens of targets pointed to a wider campaign.

The targets included the home of the top Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, and the government offices and the headquarters of the Hamas broadcast outlets, Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Aqsa Radio. The Israeli military said it hit the broadcast center to silence Hamas propaganda and messages to its operatives. The TV station continued to broadcast, but the radio signal went silent.

 
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