Monday Reads

Good Morning!

This story in the NYT has my head spinning. It seems the Obama administration was thinking about putting together some kind of “Rule Book” for the use of Drones and assassination in the war against terror because they didn’t really trust Romney under the current situation.  I have to wonder if Romney would ‘ve followed it any way.  The bigger question is how do these policies jive with our Constitution and what should both our Legislative and Judicial Branches do to at least curb their use?

Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.

The matter may have lost some urgency after Nov. 6. But with more than 300 drone strikes and some 2,500 people killed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military since Mr. Obama first took office, the administration is still pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified.

Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory.

Though publicly the administration presents a united front on the use of drones, behind the scenes there is longstanding tension. The Defense Department and the C.I.A. continue to press for greater latitude to carry out strikes; Justice Department and State Department officials, and the president’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, have argued for restraint, officials involved in the discussions say.

More broadly, the administration’s legal reasoning has not persuaded many other countries that the strikes are acceptable under international law. For years before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States routinely condemned targeted killings of suspected terrorists by Israel, and most countries still object to such measures.

But since the first targeted killing by the United States in 2002, two administrations have taken the position that the United States is at war with Al Qaeda and its allies and can legally defend itself by striking its enemies wherever they are found.

Partly because United Nations officials know that the United States is setting a legal and ethical precedent for other countries developing armed drones, the U.N. plans to open a unit in Geneva early next year to investigate American drone strikes.

I doubt the UN will put any pressure on us but I wonder if this will at least get us all talking about the policy and if that’s the kind of policy we want as a country.

Several more Republican office holders in the District have announced they are willing to break with the Norquist pledge.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday said he is ready to violate conservative activist Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge to reach a deal to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff.”

“I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week.” “When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece.”

But Graham cautioned that he he would violate the pledge “only if Democrats will do entitlement reforms” and ruled our increasing tax rates.

“I am willing to generate revenue,” he said. “I will not raise tax rates to do it; I will cap deductions.”

The transcript shows that Graham was specific about what he was willing and unwilling to accept.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Senator Graham, you’ve signaled that you’re willing to raise revenues as part of an overall deal that also includes spending cuts, and that’s drawn the fire of Grover Norquist, you know, the author of that no-tax pledge that’s been in place among so many Republicans for 20 years right now. He thinks the best solution is actually not to negotiate a compromise right now, is to go over the cliff. He says the world won’t come to an end if this isn’t resolved before January. Take the sequester. The only thing worse than sequester cuts is to not cut spending at all. He’s saying don’t raise taxes, accept those spending cuts.

GRAHAM: Well, what I would say to Grover Norquist is that the sequester destroys the United States military. According to our own secretary of defense, it would be shooting ourselves in the head. You’d have the smallest Army since 1940, the smallest Navy since 1915, the smallest Air Force in the history of the country, so sequestration must be replaced.

I’m willing to generate revenue. It’s fair to ask my party to put revenue on the table. We’re below historic averages. I will not raise tax rates to do it. I will cap deductions. If you cap deductions around the $30,000, $40,000 range, you can raise $1 trillion in revenue, and the people who lose their deductions are the upper-income Americans.

But to do this, I just don’t want to promise the spending cuts. I want entitlement reforms. Republicans always put revenue on the table. Democrats always promise to cut spending. Well, we never cut spending. What I’m looking for is more revenue for entitlement reform before the end of the year…

This has to be the most horrible story of valuing stuff over people that I’ve ever heard.  Three Walmart workers killed a man who had shoplifted two dvd players.

It’s a sad, simple story. An unidentified man allegedly stole two DVD players from the electronics department and left the store through the front door. Two Walmart employees and a contracted security guard chased him into the parking lot. A “physical altercation” took place, and apparently, the security guard put the man in a choke hold. Police arrived soon thereafter to find the three workers on top of the suspected shoplifter who was unresponsive and bleeding from his nose and mouth. The man was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“No amount of merchandise is worth someone’s life,” said Walmart spokesperson Dianna Gee in a statement. “Associates are trained to disengage from situations that would put themselves or others at risk.” She added, “That being said, this is still an active investigation and we’re working with police to provide any assistance.” Walmart put the two employees on paid leave and fired the security guard.

Regardless of what happens at the end of that investigation, there’s no way Walmart is going to come out of this one looking good. It truly sounds like this was a horrible accident, the kind that makes it hard to point fingers or figure out what went wrong. However, this incident also happened as thousands of Walmart workers nationwide were protesting poor treatment by their employers. Are the two things related? Only insofar as it adds up to a ton of bad press for a company long known to promote mass hysteria on Black Friday weekend. It’s a problem that people are still dying at their stores, years after warnings signs like the Walmart employee who was trampled to death on Black Friday.

This has to be the worse thing I’ve ever heard in terms of class war.  Dancing Dave’s Disco is always the place to be for outraged q’billionaires.

Carly Fiorina, who reportedly stood to receive more than $42 million after being ousted at HP in 2005, says that public workers should receive less benefits because “it is not fair” that unions are “so rich.”

During a Sunday panel segment on NBC, MSNBC host Al Sharpton asserted that Congress must agree to raise taxes on the wealthy before cutting spending.

“This is about fairness,” he explained. “Why do we need to need to deal with the tax on the rich first? Because we must ensure Americans we are dealing with fairness. We keep talking about shared sacrifice, there was not shared wealth and shared prosperity. So, you’re asking people that didn’t enjoy the good times to share in paying for the tab that they never enjoyed.”

“Let us accept Rev. Al’s point and the president’s point about fairness,” Fiorina replied. “But equally, it is not fair that public employee union pensions and benefits are so rich now that cities and states are going bankrupt and college tuition is going up 25 and 30 percent or police and firefighters are being cut. There’s a lot that isn’t fair right now.”

During Fiorina tenure as the CEO of HP, at least 18,000 workers were laid off after the company’s disastrous merger with Compaq.

Evidently, it’s okay to pay bad management millions of dollars but it’s just too much for any one else to get a living wage and benefits.  What is wrong with these people?

So, that’s my list of reads today!  What’s on you reading and blogging list this morning?

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37 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. Finally able to log into WordPress.

    Did you see this:

    The war on men | Fox News

    and then read this, “Project on” you crazy diamonds | Firedoglake

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Gosh if I’d only read that piece from Fox earlier, I could have found my “prince charming” & lived happily ever after. Oh, well – I’m unhappily doomed to be responsible for myself & share my life with my critters. Don’t you just love it when a Stepford wife comes forward to bash other women?

    • Fannie says:

      Yeah right, just like I heard on tv this morning from the republicans “it’s not the message that is wrong, it’s just that we don’t express it properly”……………

    • dakinikat says:

      Well, another Stockholm Syndrome victim wants others to join her.

    • dakinikat says:

      We trashed some troll last week that was winning that there was no “free” birth control for me and that no one respected his reproductive rights. He was also winning that there was a war against white men what with affirmative action, etc.

      You have to wonder what sort’ve test tube these people were raised in …

  2. As far as the Walmart death goes, I think it was a couple of over-zealous employees. Walmart has a rule about pursuing suspected shoplifters, they can’t pursue 10 feet from the store doors, and they are not allowed to touch any suspect period.

  3. mjames says:

    Maybe O and his team were busy creating a rule book on drones because they knew, if Romney won, the Repubs would have no problem whatsoever prosecuting Obama for war crimes. The Repubs would never say “prosecution is off the table” (paraphrasing Pelosi). No matter they’re just as guilty. They are always after Dem blood – and, really, Obama is a war criminal.

    And the Repubs have no intention whatsoever of agreeing to any rise in the tax rate – only the “closing of loopholes” or some such hooey. It’s all sleight of hand by the odious Graham, a pretense of reasonableness. (BTW, the Repubs are always the ones cutting the resources of the IRS, so it’s transparent hooey.)

    Will Durbin or Obama or a united Dem Party stand against this fiscal cliff BS? I see no indication of that. The ad campaign (getting us on board with cutting the benefits we paid for) has been in full swing for close to a year now. Despicable. But we do have to pay for those wonderful baby-killing drones.

    • NW Luna says:

      That is a good article; thx for posting the link.

      — as a student leader in the 1960s, as a first lady, as a U.S. senator or now — Clinton has not really changed except to become more of the person she has always been: a deeply optimistic Methodist who believes that government can advance human progress and a hopeless wonk who knows her yurts from her gers.

      The second is that while Clinton is a famously shrewd political operator, she is never more energized or relentless as when she is pursuing a cause that she believes will improve people’s lives, however incrementally. …

      “As a Christian, part of my obligation is to take action to alleviate suffering.”

      • RalphB says:

        That article was really moving to me. I hope she gets lots of rest and then does whatever she darn well pleases from now on. Personally I’d love to see her run in 2016 though. :-)

    • dakinikat says:

      I love this:

      “It’s not a yurt. It’s a ger.”—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, correcting a reporter with the traveling press on her plane who “mentioned that she was scheduled to visit with the Mongolian president in his ceremonial yurt.” Mongolians, Clinton noted, “prefer not to use the Turkic term.”

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I like the George Harrison reading photo.

  5. RalphB says:

    Warren Buffett has his say on taxes.

    NYT: A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy

    SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

    Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.
    [...]
    All of America is waiting for Congress to offer a realistic and concrete plan for getting back to this fiscally sound path. Nothing less is acceptable.

    In the meantime, maybe you’ll run into someone with a terrific investment idea, who won’t go forward with it because of the tax he would owe when it succeeds. Send him my way. Let me unburden him.

  6. Greywolf says:

    Apologies if someone already posted this: proof that they really are Pro-Life Until Birth, http://mobile.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/11/21/michigan_considers_tax_credits_for_fetuses_not_so_much_for_actual_children.html

    I am shocked speechless.

  7. RalphB says:

    A last bit of Mittenfreude. I read that Rmoney’s vote is now down to 47.49%, rounded down to the magic 47%.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    If Lindsey Graham won’t accept tax rate increases and he will only accept caps on deductions if there are “entitlement” cuts, then his offer is nothing but nonsensical ragtime.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Under the heading of better late to enlightenment than never:

    On Fox, Journalist Tom Ricks Accuses The Network Of Operating As A Wing Of The Republican Party

    Ricks Rips Fox’s Overblown Coverage Of The Benghazi Attack

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/11/26/foreign-policys-tom-ricks-appears-on-fox-news-t/191509

    Bet he never gets invited back.