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Obama: Romney shoots first, aims later

Obama: Romney shoots first, aims later | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Responding to statements made by GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney accusing the Obama administration of apologizing for U.S.
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5 Issues this Election Should Be About, and One to Drop

5 Issues this Election Should Be About, and One to Drop | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine


Cutting through the campaign rhetoric and attack ads, here are five issues we believe should be at the center of the 2012 election, plus one that has no place in the public sphere.

Yes!

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Money & Politics, What Matters Today

Money & Politics, What Matters Today | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

This Week in Dark Money is a collection of stories and charts by Mother Jones Magazine shining some light on the corrupting influence of money in politics.  CLICK HERE for more.


by Gavin Aronsen, Mother Jones


Chart of the week: It's too big to cram onto this page, but head over to the Texas Tribune for a great visualization of the Lone Star State's deep-pocketed donors funding some of the country's biggest super-PACs. Topping the chart: billionare businessman (and "Dallas' most evil genius") Harold Simmons, whose favorite super-PAC (to the tune of $11 million) is Karl Rove's American Crossroads, and Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who's given $8.75 million to the pro-Romney Restore Our Future, among other groups.


Stat of the week: $570,000: The minimum amount raised by the Coalition of Americans for Political Equality, a super-PAC run by a former Arizona GOP county chair that put up a series of websites disguised as candidate homepages in an apparent effort to trick prospective donors. [MORE]

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Cole: America's 9/11 response subverted our values, liberties

Cole: America's 9/11 response subverted our values, liberties | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Jan Cole from The Detroit News


The United States government's reaction to the attacks of 9/11 some 11 years ago took the world into a tragic era of unnecessary wars and confrontation that destabilized allies and threatened vital long-term U.S.


Although the Obama administration has withdrawn from Iraq and plans on being largely out of Afghanistan by 2014, the perpetual wars continue. The U.S. is fighting remote-control conflicts by drone in northern Pakistan, Yemen and occasionally Somalia. The wars have no boundaries and are governed by no law. They include the use of drones for assassination, including of American citizens abroad. They do not have congressional authorization. They are classified so they cannot even be confirmed to us by our elected officials.

The U.S. government's response to the lawlessness and mass killing of 9/11 has too often been a subversion of American laws and values, and an abandonment of the ideals enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.


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Romney a Victim of Group-Think in Libya Blunder

Romney a Victim of Group-Think in Libya Blunder | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by ERIC BYLER, Coffee Party USA


Mitt Romeny's Libya blunder is being dubbed "Romney's Lehman Moment" in reference to John McCain's puzzling reaction to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, which many say cost him his chance at the White House.


Daniel Larison writes in The American Conservative:


"Romney has made many foreign policy blunders before now, but this is the only one that has provoked such swift, harsh, and near-unanimous criticism. The most incredible part is that all of this has been self-inflicted. Romney and his campaign volunteered for this by inserting themselves into the story. If it were simply the other campaign or Democratic partisans that were hammering Romney on this, it wouldn’t be any different from previous mistakes, but the backlash hasn’t been limited to his partisan foes. The dishonesty of the original Romney statement and the gall of his press conference ... have combined to create serious doubts about his judgment and to confirm the impression that there are no limits to his opportunism."


Whether or not this will be "fatal to his campaign," it reminds me of something rather innocuous.


Romney's behavior reminds me of a person in a large audience laughing each time an orator completes a sentence, in part because its funny, mostly because others are doing so. Then, when the orator shifts gears and speaks in a serious manner, one audience member ends up guffawing anyway, so hypnotized is he by the collective experience of periodic laughter.


By the same token, in his never-ending attempts to please the fringe right, Romney has become hypnotized by periodic, baseless attacks on President Obama, manufactured and echoed by media empires and political operatives outside his campaign. If I were a consumer of Republican media products, I could see myself gradually coming to assume that, with each new event and each new decision by the Obama administration, producers and consumers alike are expected to insist that the opposite should have occurred and/or that the President doesn't really love America. We've seen the mantra of "breaking news, attack Obama, breaking news, attack Obama" enough times to know what's coming next. But perhaps not always.


As the tragic situation unfolded in the Middle East, with Americans in danger and four having been murdered, people who are more experienced with politics and/or foreign policy were holding their tongues until more information was available, and, until there was a proper amount of time to come together as a People and honor our dead. But Romney is under a lot of pressure. He is one of the busiest, most frantic, and most overworked people in the U.S. right now. He didn't have time to think. He laughed loudly and heartily — thinking perhaps that he could be the source of the echo chamber for once. But most in the GOP establishment remained silent, leaving Romney's voice to echo all alone.


It's interesting that so many figures on the right have been so vocal in the aftermath of Romney's unfortunate remarks, some to back him up (Fox News is defending him belatedly) but most to rake him over the coals. Perhaps they want to protect their own national security credibility at the expense of his. Perhaps they want to make sure Romney is blamed for their party's implosion, instead of the extreme ideas and policies their media empires forced him to embrace. [MORE]

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History lesson: What Ronald Reagan said

History lesson: What Ronald Reagan said | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Glenn Kessler, The Fact Checker at The Washington Post


Some six hours before protesters gathered at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, at 12:17 p.m. local time Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy issued a statement condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” Thanks to the miracle of Twitter, and retweets, an impression emerged that the statement was issued in response to the protests, rather than the release of a YouTube clip that defamed the prophet Muhammad.


That in turned sparked a blast from GOP nominee Mitt Romney, saying, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”


We will leave aside the politics of the statement — or Romney’s decision to stand by it.


But because Republicans have frequently likened President Obama to Jimmy Carter, we were curious to learn how candidate Ronald Reagan responded to the worst foreign policy disaster on Carter’s watch — the failed mission to rescue U.S. diplomats in Iran, resulting in the deaths of eight servicemen. [MORE]

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Attacks Fuel Escalation in Presidential Race

Attacks Fuel Escalation in Presidential Race | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Peter Baker, New York Times


The deadly attack on Americans in Libya fueled a harsh escalation of the presidential campaign in the United States on Wednesday as Mitt Romney assailed President Obama’s handling of the situation, while Democrats accused Mr. Romney, the Republican nominee, of politicizing an international crisis.


After expressing sorrow over the deaths of J. Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya, Mr. Romney told reporters on the campaign trail that the Obama administration tried to appease Islamic extremists who should have been condemned instead. He said a statement issued by the American Embassy in Cairo before the deaths criticizing an anti-Islamic video was “akin to an apology” and a “severe miscalculation.”


“The first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation, and apology for American values is never the right course,” Mr. Romney said, speaking at a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Fla. He added: “They clearly sent mixed messages to the world.” An armed mob attacked the American post, killing Mr. Stevens and other staff members, at the same time, demonstrators stormed the walls of the American Embassy in Cairo.


Moments after Mr. Romney spoke, President Obama condemned “this outrageous and shocking attack” in a statement given from the White House Rose Garden.


“Make no mistake we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people,” he said, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stood by his side. [MORE]

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Hill ignores fiscal cliff warnings

Hill ignores fiscal cliff warnings | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Jake Sherman and Seung Min Kim (Politico)


Hello, Washington. It’s the real world calling. A disaster is coming. Can you do something — anything — to stop the bleeding?


Crisis after crisis this year, Washington has responded with a simple shoulder shrug.


Farm bureaus, financial credit rating agencies, Wall Street, the defense industry, chambers of commerce and postal groups have all sounded the alarm bell warning D.C. about all manner of debt, spending and tax crises. They’ve largely failed to spur the action they were seeking.


The latest get-it-together moment came Tuesday, when Moody’s — one agency that has not downgraded the nation’s credit — warned that it could lower the rating unless Washington came together to agree on a budget package in 2013 that significantly cut the nation’s debt. The agency’s caution signal came ahead of the so-called fiscal cliff — a massive package of tax increases and spending cuts set to go into effect after this year unless Congress reaches an agreement to avert it.


Moody’s, one of the three main ratings agencies, also warned that it would most likely keep its “negative” outlook on the nation’s debt — a move that could precede a credit downgrade — if the United States fell off the fiscal cliff.


Here was House Speaker John Boehner’s reaction.


“I’m not confident at all,” Boehner (R-Ohio) said about the prospects of the deal, noting that the House has done one-third of the work that needs to be done to stabilize the debt. 


[MORE]

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Why I left the GOP | Salon.com

Why I left the GOP | Salon.com | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

BY JEREMIAH GOULKA, TOMDISPATCH.COM


I grew up in a rich, Republican household, but after Katrina and Iraq, I realized my priorities were out of order


I used to be a serious Republican, moderate and business-oriented, who planned for a public-service career in Republican politics. But I am a Republican no longer.


There's an old joke we Republicans used to tell that goes something like this: "If you're young and not a Democrat, you're heartless. If you grow up and you’re not a Republican, you're stupid." These days, my old friends and associates no doubt consider me the butt of that joke. But I look on my "stupidity" somewhat differently. After all, my real education only began when I was 30 years old.


This is the story of how in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and later in Iraq, I discovered that what I believed to be the full spectrum of reality was just a small slice of it and how that discovery knocked down my Republican worldview.


I always imagined that I was full of heart, but it turned out that I was oblivious. Like so many Republicans, I had assumed that society's "losers" had somehow earned their deserts. As I came to recognize that poverty is not earned or chosen or deserved, and that our use of force is far less precise than I had believed, I realized with a shock that I had effectively viewed whole swaths of the country and the world as second-class people.


No longer oblivious, I couldn't remain in today's Republican Party, not unless I embraced an individualism that was even more heartless than the one I had previously accepted. The more I learned about reality, the more I started to care about people as people, and my values shifted. Had I always known what I know today, it would have been clear that there hasn't been a place for me in the Republican Party since the Free Soil days of Abe Lincoln.


[Read more.]

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Congress has little motivation for compromise before election - CNN.com

Congress has little motivation for compromise before election - CNN.com | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Deirdre Walsh (CNN)


After a five-week summer recess, Congress returns to a long list of unfinished business, but with 57 left days before Election Day, it's likely it will tackle only the bare minimum in its short fall session.


The one must-pass measure -- a short-term continuing resolution to fund federal agencies -- will avoid any pre-election talk of a government shutdown, with which neither party wants to be tagged. Republican and Democratic leaders struck a deal this summer on a six-month bill, but both chambers still need to pass the legislation before government funding expires at the end of this month.


The House is expected vote on the bill Thursday, and two GOP leadership aides predict it will get a sizable bipartisan majority. A senior Senate Democratic aide tells CNN the Senate is expected to approve the measure next week.


Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the third-ranking GOP leader in the House, did not directly answer whether a majority of House Republicans would vote for the stopgap spending bill, but said, "I expect that bill to be a bipartisan vote, and I expect the Senate to pass it as well and not add anything to it."


[MORE]

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Obstruct and Exploit

Obstruct and Exploit | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

A cynical Republican strategy: block all efforts to strengthen the economy, then exploit the economy’s weakness.


by PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times | Opinion


What about the argument, which I hear all the time, that Mr. Obama should have fixed the economy long ago? The claim goes like this: during his first two years in office Mr. Obama had a majority in Congress that would have let him do anything he wanted, so he’s had his chance.


The short answer is, you’ve got to be kidding.


As anyone who was paying attention knows, the period during which Democrats controlled both houses of Congress was marked by unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate. The filibuster, formerly a tactic reserved for rare occasions, became standard operating procedure; in practice, it became impossible to pass anything without 60 votes. And Democrats had those 60 votes for only a few months. Should they have tried to push through a major new economic program during that narrow window? In retrospect, yes — but that doesn’t change the reality that for most of Mr. Obama’s time in office U.S. fiscal policy has been defined not by the president’s plans but by Republican stonewalling.

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Mitt Romney's Shifting Stance On Health Care

Mitt Romney's Shifting Stance On Health Care | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Sunday that he might not want to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act after all.
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GOP uses filibusters to obstruct Obama, Democrats - Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor's Information - The Maui News

By the end of these six years with a Democratic-controlled Senate, Republicans will have used the filibuster to block legislation more than 400...
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Conservative Groups Focus on Registration in Swing States

Conservative Groups Focus on Registration in Swing States | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Busloads of illegal voters, cited by voter fraud groups like True the Vote, have yet to be seen. But that has not deterred such organizations, which widely support conservative causes.

 

More conservative pushing the vote around.

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Is Middle East Unrest the 2012 Election's 'Black Swan'?

Is Middle East Unrest the 2012 Election's 'Black Swan'? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Michael Falcone and Amy Walter, ABC News


A while back — even before Mitt Romney had assumed the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee — Yahoo News' political columnist and long-time election analyst Jeff Greenfield wrote about 2012's "Black Swan."


His column had nothing to do with the 2010 ballet-noir film starring Natalie Portman, but rather a 2007 book by author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which as Greenfield wrote, "examines our persistent 'ability' to ignore the potentially huge effects of unlikely, random events" — what Taleb termed "Black Swans."


Given the violence against American diplomatic missions in Middle East, and the deaths of four U.S. personnel including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and the spreading tensions to other parts of the world, we may have an election-year Black Swan on our hands.


And now it's up to both candidates to turn that challenge into an opportunity.


Before and after the killings in Benghazi, Mitt Romney's strategy has been to come out swinging. His defiant statement yesterday, accusing President Obama of sending "mixed messages to the world" showed Romney's willingness to make this week's foreign policy crisis a campaign issue — even if the facts weren't entirely on his side. [MORE]

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Anti-American Protests Over Film Expand to More Than a Dozen Countries

Anti-American Protests Over Film Expand to More Than a Dozen Countries | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, 

ALAN COWELL and RICK GLADSTONE, 

New York Times


Protests expanded to more than a dozen countries on Friday, as demonstrators breached the American Embassy in Tunisia and protesters in Sudan broadened their targets to include Germany and Britain.


[So much MORE]


[Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are only used to denigrate the religion and speech of others by fools. Coexist. THAT is the America I know. -jkl]

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Michael Lewis: Obama’s Way

Michael Lewis: Obama’s Way | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Hanging out with the president—on the basketball court, in the White House residence, and on Air Force One—provides an eye-opening lesson in what it takes to lead the free world, as well as an unparalleled portrait of Barack Obama.


The gist of Obama’s advice to any would-be president is something like this: You may think that the presidency is essentially a public-relations job. Relations with the public are indeed important, maybe now more than ever, as public opinion is the only tool he has for pressuring an intractable opposition to agree on anything. He admits that he has been guilty, at times, of misreading the public. He badly underestimated, for instance, how little it would cost Republicans politically to oppose ideas they had once advocated, merely because Obama supported them. He thought the other side would pay a bigger price for inflicting damage on the country for the sake of defeating a president. But the idea that he might somehow frighten Congress into doing what he wanted was, to him, clearly absurd. “All of these forces have created an environment in which the incentives for politicians to cooperate don’t function the way they used to,” he said. “L.B.J. operated in an environment in which if he got a couple of committee chairmen to agree he had a deal. Those chairmen didn’t have to worry about a Tea Party challenge. About cable news. That model has progressively shifted for each president. It’s not a fear-versus-a-nice-guy approach that is the choice. The question is: How do you shape public opinion and frame an issue so that it’s hard for the opposition to say no. And these days you don’t do that by saying, ‘I’m going to withhold an earmark,’ or ‘I’m not going to appoint your brother-in-law to the federal bench.’”

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Slain ambassador died 'trying to help build a better Libya'

Slain ambassador died 'trying to help build a better Libya' | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

J. Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador killed in Libya, will be remembered as a hero, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.


by Michael Pearson, CNN


Chris Stevens knew what he was getting into.


He knew, longtime friend Daniel Seidemann said, that Libya was a place of great promise, but also one of great peril.


"When he went to Libya, he had no illusions about where he was going," Seidemann said.


"He has probably done more than anybody on the planet to help the Libyan people, and he know going in that this was not going to protect him."


U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens died Tuesday in an assault on the American Consulate in Benghazi, the very city where he had arrived aboard a cargo ship in the spring of 2011 to help build ties between the upstart rebellion and the rebels.


"He risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to help build a better Libya," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.


"The world needs more Chris Stevenses," Clinton said.

Stevens graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1982, then took a pause in his studies to join the Peace Corps, according to his State Department biography.


"Growing up in California, I didn't know much about the Arab world," he said in a State Department video prepared to introduce him to the Libyan people after his appointment as ambassador in May.


"I worked as an English teacher in a town in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco for two years, and quickly grew to love this part of the world," he said. [MORE]

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The Politics of Benghazi & Cairo: The Chronology

The Politics of Benghazi & Cairo: The Chronology | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Garance Franke-Ruta, The Atlantic


If you weren't following this story closely as it developed over the past day and woke to news of the murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and a group of swirling charges around the U.S. response to September 11 protests against the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, here's who said what and when:


[MORE]

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Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala on Third-Party Politics | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala on Third-Party Politics | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Video - Bill talks to Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, who share their unique perspectives on the intersection of personal missions and modern politics.


Stein graduated from Harvard Medical School to become an internist specializing in environmental health. She was a Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate in 2002, co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities in 2003, and represented the Green-Rainbow Party in state races in 2004 and 2006.


Honkala is an anti-poverty activist and community organizer who co-founded the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. A formerly homeless single mother, Honkala became the first woman ever to run for Sheriff of Philadelphia in 2011.


[WATCH VIDEO]

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Strike Highlights Teacher's Pay

Strike Highlights Teacher's Pay | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Susanna Kim, ABC News


Teacher pay is back in the headlines as the Chicago school teachers went on strike Monday.


The average teacher salary is $71,236 in the Chicago Public School district, which includes elementary schools and high schools, according to the Illinois Interactive Report Card of Northern Illinois University. The average in the state is $64,978.


Jackson Potter, staff coordinator of the Chicago Teachers Union cautioned that the average salary figures likely include a large number of veteran teachers who retired this past spring: More than 1,000 teachers retired, according to the latest figures from the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.


While negotiations in the nation's third-largest school district are focusing on a number of issues, including job security and teacher evaluations, the complicated issue of teacher pay will always be a point of discussion across the country, said Chris Swanson, a vice president at Education Week.


"The idea that teachers have much more generous benefits packages than other occupations is complicated to get into," Swanson said.


Education Week's "Quality Counts" report published in January looked at teachers' pay parity, which measured teacher pay against 16 comparable occupations in each state.


The analysis found that public school teachers make 94 cents for every dollar earned by workers in 16 comparable occupations, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey data from 2010. [MORE]

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Khesli Johnson's curator insight, February 14, 2016 11:57 PM

Many public school teachers decided to go on strike because they were not with their pay, along with other things. The analysis found that public school teachers make 94 cents for every dollar earned by workers in 16 comparable occupations, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey data from 2010. 

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Decision Upholding Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Relied On 1886 Case Warning Of ‘Rogues,’ ‘Strumpets,’ and ‘Wandering Arabs’

Decision Upholding Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Relied On 1886 Case Warning Of ‘Rogues,’ ‘Strumpets,’ and ‘Wandering Arabs’ | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court prepares to review the constitutionality of the state’s photo ID law, a University of Pittsburgh law professor flagged the flimsy and offensive precedent upon which the lower court relied when it upheld the law.
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The Bush White House Was Deaf to 9/11 Warnings

The Bush White House Was Deaf to 9/11 Warnings | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

by Kurt Eichenwald, New York Times

 

It was perhaps the most famous presidential briefing in history.

 

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

 

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

 

That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.

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Voting Laws In Several States Remain Unsettled

Voting Laws In Several States Remain Unsettled | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Eight weeks before the presidential election, new laws passed by Republican legislatures that concern who can vote and when remain in the hands of federal and state judges.
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Fiscal cliff: Congress weighs another round of kick the can

Fiscal cliff: Congress weighs another round of kick the can | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

By Manu Raju and Seung Min Kim (Politico)


For all the hype surrounding the dreaded fiscal cliff on taxes and spending, an increasing number of lawmakers are starting to push for Congress to do what it does best when faced with a difficult decision: punt.


If Mitt Romney wins the presidency, Republicans in Congress will block any action until he’s sworn into office. If Republicans win the Senate, they’ll stall any effort to solve the massive tax increase and spending cuts until they hold the gavels. And if it’s a status quo election — President Barack Obama wins and Congress remains divided — negotiations may begin in earnest right after Nov. 6, but it will be hard to make a landmark deal before Dec. 31 given the resistance from House Republicans to any tax increases and Democratic unwillingness to overhaul entitlements.


All these scenarios are being actively discussed by congressional leaders as they return to what is likely going to be a brief, unproductive September session after a long August recess.
One thing is certain if Romney wins: Congress will kick any serious talks into early 2013, but the new president might have virtually no honeymoon as he would have to strike a very difficult deal on the most intractable spending and taxing issues facing Washington. The Congressional Budget Office, Capitol Hill’s nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, has warned that ignoring the fiscal cliff could trigger another recession. ...


[MORE]

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