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Old 07-02-2013, 03:57 AM   #201
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this is weird
It doesn't seem weird to me, but desperate. He gambled with making public the information and he seems to be losing. So he's now trying to find a safe haven and probably hadn't thought everything through yet.
But yeah, some countries on that list seem like an odd choice, considering his reasoning for making classified information public. I mean, China, Cuba, Russia and Venezuela aren't exactly beacons of democracy and transparent societies.

BTW, his request won't succeed in the Netherlands as you have to be in the Netherlands in person to apply for asylum. And I just read that Poland has indicated to deny his request.
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:30 AM   #202
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He chose China, Russia, and the like because they're perceived as being not aligned with the United States. He probably chose the Western European countries because of the current anger there towards US spying on Europe. Realistically, I highly doubt that Western Europe will accept him, and I doubt that Russia and China will really care enough to accept him and cause a major row with Washington. That leaves places like Venezuela.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:21 PM   #203
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this is pretty much an act of war - imagine if it was Air Force One grounded like that? all hell would let loose lol

eta: VERY controversial article, but thought i'd throw it out there

Forcing down Evo Morales's plane was an act of air piracy | John Pilger | Comment is free | The Guardian


Denying the Bolivian president air space was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world

John Pilger
The Guardian, Thursday 4 July 2013 19.00 BST


President Morales arrives back in La Paz, Bolivia. ‘Imagine the response from Paris if the French president's plane was forced down in Latin America.’ Photograph: Zuma/Rex Features
Imagine the aircraft of the president of France being forced down in Latin America on "suspicion" that it was carrying a political refugee to safety – and not just any refugee but someone who has provided the people of the world with proof of criminal activity on an epic scale.

Imagine the response from Paris, let alone the "international community", as the governments of the west call themselves. To a chorus of baying indignation from Whitehall to Washington, Brussels to Madrid, heroic special forces would be dispatched to rescue their leader and, as sport, smash up the source of such flagrant international gangsterism. Editorials would cheer them on, perhaps reminding readers that this kind of piracy was exhibited by the German Reich in the 1930s.

The forcing down of Bolivian President Evo Morales's plane – denied airspace by France, Spain and Portugal, followed by his 14-hour confinement while Austrian officials demanded to "inspect" his aircraft for the "fugitive" Edward Snowden – was an act of air piracy and state terrorism. It was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders who dare not speak its name.

In Moscow, Morales had been asked about Snowden – who remains trapped in the city's airport. "If there were a request [for political asylum]," he said, "of course, we would be willing to debate and consider the idea." That was clearly enough provocation for the Godfather. "We have been in touch with a range of countries that had a chance of having Snowden land or travel through their country," said a US state department official.

The French – having squealed about Washington spying on their every move, as revealed by Snowden – were first off the mark, followed by the Portuguese. The Spanish then did their bit by enforcing a flight ban of their airspace, giving the Godfather's Viennese hirelings enough time to find out if Snowden was indeed invoking article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution."

Those paid to keep the record straight have played their part with a cat-and-mouse media game that reinforces the Godfather's lie that this heroic young man is running from a system of justice, rather than preordained, vindictive incarceration that amounts to torture – ask Bradley Manning and the living ghosts in Guantánamo.

Historians seem to agree that the rise of fascism in Europe might have been averted had the liberal or left political class understood the true nature of its enemy. The parallels today are very different, but the Damocles sword over Snowden, like the casual abduction of Bolivia's president, ought to stir us into recognising the true nature of the enemy.

Snowden's revelations are not merely about privacy, or civil liberty, or even mass spying. They are about the unmentionable: that the democratic facades of the US now barely conceal a systematic gangsterism historically identified with, if not necessarily the same as, fascism. On Tuesday, a US drone killed 16 people in North Waziristan, "where many of the world's most dangerous militants live", said the few paragraphs I read. That by far the world's most dangerous militants had hurled the drones was not a consideration. President Obama personally sends them every Tuesday.

In his acceptance of the 2005 Nobel prize in literature, Harold Pinter referred to "a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed". He asked why "the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities" of the Soviet Union were well known in the west while America's crimes were "superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged". The most enduring silence of the modern era covered the extinction and dispossession of countless human beings by a rampant US and its agents. "But you wouldn't know it," said Pinter. "It never happened. Even while it was happening it never happened."

This hidden history – not really hidden, of course, but excluded from the consciousness of societies drilled in American myths and priorities – has never been more vulnerable to exposure. Snowden's whistleblowing, like that of Manning and Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, threatens to break the silence Pinter described. In revealing a vast Orwellian police state apparatus servicing history's greatest war-making machine, they illuminate the true extremism of the 21st century. Unprecedented, Germany's Der Spiegel has described the Obama administration as "soft totalitarianism". If the penny is falling, we might all look closer to home.

www.johnpilger.com
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:52 PM   #204
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We'll just get Mike Tyson to fade them into Bolivian.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:32 PM   #205
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Love John Pilger, don't expect anyone else here to like him, though.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:38 PM   #206
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Love John Pilger, don't expect anyone else here to like him, though.


He's someone who actually is far Left, as opposed to people on here who think Obama is far left.

That said, I don't have much time for Stalin apologia. The article is so non specific and melodramatic it's hard to even know what he's talking about.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:44 PM   #207
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He is an actual Marxist, and I'm fairly sure he does not actually like Stalin.

His documentaries are worth a look, but again, probably not something that liberals would get behind.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:53 PM   #208
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I'm inclined to distrust any view of a real-life situation that sounds suspiciously like a movie, complete with evil malevolent government forces and noble lone heroes defying the Empire.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:18 AM   #209
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the IRS "scandal" -- along with all the other "scandals" -- continue to evaporate:

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I.R.S. Scrutiny Went Beyond the Political
By JONATHAN WEISMAN

WASHINGTON — In 2010, a tiny Palestinian-rights group called Minnesota Break the Bonds applied to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status. Two years and a lot of prodding later, the I.R.S. sent the group’s leaders a series of questions and requests almost identical to the ones it was sending to Tea Party groups at the time.

What are “the qualifications and experience” of Break the Bonds instructors? Does the group “present a sufficiently full and fair explanation of the relevant facts” about the West Bank and Gaza? Provide copies of pamphlets, brochures or other literature distributed at group events? Reveal all fees collected and “any voluntary contributions” made at group functions? Provide a template of petitions, postcards and any other material used to influence legislation, and a detailed accounting of the time and money spent to influence state legislators?

The controversy that erupted in May has focused on an ideological question: Were conservative groups singled out for special treatment based on their politics, or did the I.R.S. equally target liberal groups? But a closer look at the I.R.S. operation suggests that the problem was less about ideology and more about how a process instructing reviewers to “be on the lookout” for selected terms was applied to any group that mentioned certain words in its application.

Organizations approached by The New York Times based on specific “lookout list” warnings, like advocates for people in “occupied territories” and “open source software developers,” told similar stories of long waits, intrusive inquiries and bureaucratic hassles that pointed to no particular bias but rather to a process that became too rigid and too broad. The lists often did point to legitimate issues: partisan political campaign organizations seeking tax-exempt status, or commercial businesses hoping to cloak themselves as nonprofit groups. But even I.R.S. officials say lookout list warnings were often pursued in a ham-handed or overly rigid way.


Last month, the acting I.R.S. commissioner, Daniel I. Werfel, formally ordered an end to such lists after discovering that they were still in use after the controversy flared up.

Sylvia Schwarz, a co-director of the Break the Bonds group, shrugged at the treatment meted out by the I.R.S. She was used to rough scrutiny in a country that tilts against the Palestinians, she said. But the same questions, asked of conservative organizations, led to the dismissals of top I.R.S. officials, prompting criminal and Congressional investigations, scarring the reputation of the nation’s tax collection agency and eliciting charges that the White House had used the agency to pursue its political opponents.

Two months of investigation by Congress and the I.R.S. has produced new documents that have clouded much of the controversy’s narrative. In the more complicated picture now emerging, many organizations other than conservative groups were singled out: “progressive” organizations, medical marijuana purveyors, organizations formed to carry out President Obama’s health care law, and open source software developers who create software tools for computer code writers and distribute them free of charge.

“As soon as you say the words ‘open source,’ like other organizations that use ‘Tea Party’ or ‘Occupy,’ it gets you red-flagged,” said Luis Villa, a lawyer and a member of the board of directors of the Open Source Initiative. The I.R.S. feared that such groups were really moneymaking enterprises.

According to the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, the I.R.S. received 199,689 applications for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012. In 2012 alone, the agency received 73,319, of which about 22,000 were not approved in the initial review process. The inspector general looked at 296 applications flagged as potentially being from political groups. That means most of the applications pulled aside for further scrutiny in those years had nothing to do with politics, conservative or liberal, just as most of the red flags thrown up by the I.R.S.’s lookout lists were not overtly political.

Chi Eta Phi Sorority, a mainly African-American nurses’ society that advertises its mission as “social change,” applied for 501(c)(3) charitable status on June 24, 2011, days before the I.R.S. tightened its scrutiny of tax exemption applications. The organization fell under a “group rulings” flag in one of the lookout lists. Two years and 73 questions later, Chi Eta Phi is still waiting for the I.R.S.’s Cincinnati office, which handles the tax exemption applications, to respond.

Among the requests for more information: Describe in detail any legislative activities, with percentage of time and money devoted. Explain the following programs: sisterhood/brotherhood, networking, collaboration with other organizations, loving and caring, and commitment and service.

As for “occupied territory” advocacy groups like Ms. Schwarz’s, an I.R.S. “be on the lookout” list warned screeners that “applications may be inflammatory, advocate a one-sided point of view, and promotional materials may signify propaganda.”

Some Congressional Democrats say the new details show that the initial reaction to the I.R.S. findings was skewed.

“We replaced the leadership of the I.R.S. over this. We have subpoenas out. We are deposing employees. And we have damaged the president,” said Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia and a member of the House committee that initiated the I.R.S. inquiry. “It turns out this has been a gross distortion of reality.”

Even with the narrative muddied, most Republicans see no reason to back off. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week voted along party lines that an I.R.S. official, Lois Lerner, had waived her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination by offering a brief statement as she invoked the amendment when she appeared before the committee in May. The vote paves the way for the committee to bring Ms. Lerner back for more questioning.

Republican investigators say conservative groups singled out by the I.R.S. have received far rougher treatment than liberal groups.

Yet some Republicans have tempered their statements on the controversy.

“We haven’t proved political motivation,” said Representative Charles Boustany Jr., a Louisiana Republican who, as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, is leading one inquiry.

Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, said that in retrospect, suggestions that Mr. Obama had orchestrated an I.R.S. attack on his political enemies were unwarranted.

“Presidents have always been very careful about maintaining the appearance of keeping hands off the I.R.S.,” he said. “I don’t have any reason to believe there wasn’t targeting of conservatives, but it might well have been a lot more than that as well.”

Groups that produce and disseminate open source software — which is distributed at no cost to anyone for further software development — may have had it the roughest. A recent I.R.S. “be on the lookout” list warned screeners that such software groups “are usually the for-profit business or for-profit support technicians of the software.”

“If you see a case, elevate it to your manager,” the list orders.

That entreaty has proved to be the kiss of death, said Mr. Villa, of the Open Source Initiative. One group seeking a tax exemption was making software as a tool for political dissent abroad — with the blessing of the United States government. Another was making software, free, for struggling musicians seeking to distribute their work on the Internet. They were both rejected, unlike most of the political groups, which have secured their tax exemptions.

“None of the groups have been able to find the magic words to get over the hurdle,” Mr. Villa said.

Jesse von Doom, whose group CASH Music seeks to help musicians on the Internet, applied for 501(c)(3) status in February 2009. Finally, in June 2012, his application was rejected in a 13-page letter signed by Ms. Lerner, the I.R.S.’s director of tax-exempt organizations, who has been put on administrative leave.

Democrats are now aiming their anger at J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, whose audit in May helped make the controversy public. That audit focused on the targeting of groups that had “Tea Party,” “patriot” or “9/12” in their names.

Democrats say that they examined the 298 applications reviewed by the inspector general, and that some of them were from liberal groups. But Mr. George’s audit did not mention them.

Mr. George’s staff said he reviewed all the applications that the I.R.S. identified as potentially involving political groups, not just those from Tea Party groups. But the inspector concluded that only conservative groups got the extra scrutiny.

“When you serve in this capacity, you have to make determinations that, on occasions, upset people,” Mr. George said in a statement. “This obviously is one of those occasions.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/us...gewanted=print
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:33 PM   #210
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When is a coup not a coup? The WH refuses to say.

The law, passed during the Clinton administration, seems fairly clear.
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Old 07-09-2013, 01:52 AM   #211
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When is a coup not a coup? The WH refuses to say.

The law, passed during the Clinton administration, seems fairly clear.
Apparently these Egyptians haven't been keeping up with the news. And neither has the right wing friend on Facebook who posted this link.


25 Egyptian Protest Signs That Aren't Very Happy With President Obama

The anti-Obama crowd needs to get their talking points straight!
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:34 AM   #212
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Apparently these Egyptians haven't been keeping up with the news. And neither has the right wing friend on Facebook who posted this link.


25 Egyptian Protest Signs That Aren't Very Happy With President Obama

The anti-Obama crowd needs to get their talking points straight!
I'm thinking - we focus on solar power and let the Middle East settle this thing on their own. It's been a mess for a few thousand years now - and there is no reason to think things have changed...
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:02 AM   #213
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I'm thinking - we focus on solar power and let the Middle East settle this thing on their own.
I have been saying for quite a while with respect to the Arab spring, the clusterfuck in Syria and now this - it's clear that we have no idea what is going on there, we have no clear understanding of the culture or the sides but what we do have is a long and illustrious history of picking the wrong side.

Best to sit it out. Humanitarian help is one thing, but military involvement, arming people, etc, I just don't see a winning strategy there.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:07 AM   #214
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I have been saying for quite a while with respect to the Arab spring, the clusterfuck in Syria and now this - it's clear that we have no idea what is going on there, we have no clear understanding of the culture or the sides but what we do have is a long and illustrious history of picking the wrong side.

Best to sit it out. Humanitarian help is one thing, but military involvement, arming people, etc, I just don't see a winning strategy there.
Can it be? Have we finally agreed on something?
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:57 AM   #215
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Can it be? Have we finally agreed on something?
"Dogs and cats living together -- mass hysteria!"

I also agree. Humanitarian aid and that is all. I understand the political need to want to appear supportive of whoever we have to in order to avoid more terrorism in our country, but for pity's sake -- it's a volatile situation with no clear easy answer.

The course of Middle East democracy never did run smooth.
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Old 07-09-2013, 12:47 PM   #216
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"Dogs and cats living together -- mass hysteria!"
You just reminded me, I need to introduce my kids to that movie...
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:21 PM   #217
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Do we have any members who work for the US Government? Have orders to pay attention to fellow workers and report changes in behavior rolled down to you?
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:54 PM   #218
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Memphis does. haven't heard a word about this.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:56 PM   #219
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admissions from a conservative writer:

Quote:
The Unprecedented—and Contemptible—Attempts to Sabotage Obamacare
Doing everything possible to block the law's implementation is not treasonous—just sharply beneath any reasonable standards of elected officials.

By Norm Ornstein
July 24, 2013 | 7:30 p.m.


When Mike Lee pledges to try to shut down the government unless President Obama knuckles under and defunds Obamacare entirely, it is not news—it is par for the course for the take-no-prisoners extremist senator from Utah. When the Senate Republicans' No. 2 and No. 3 leaders, John Cornyn and John Thune, sign on to the blackmail plan, it is news—of the most depressing variety.

I am not the only one who has written about House and Senate Republicans' monomaniacal focus on sabotaging the implementation of Obamacare—Greg Sargent, Steve Benen, Jon Chait, Jon Bernstein, Ezra Klein, and many others have written powerful pieces. But it is now spinning out of control.

It is important to emphasize that this set of moves is simply unprecedented.
The clear comparison is the Medicare prescription drug plan. When it passed Congress in 2003, Democrats had many reasons to be furious. The initial partnership between President Bush and Sen. Edward Kennedy had resulted in an admirably bipartisan bill—it passed the Senate with 74 votes. Republicans then pulled a bait and switch, taking out all of the provisions that Kennedy had put in to bring along Senate Democrats, jamming the resulting bill through the House in a three-hour late-night vote marathon that blatantly violated House rules and included something close to outright bribery on the House floor, and then passing the bill through the Senate with just 54 votes—while along the way excluding the duly elected conferees, Tom Daschle (the Democratic leader!) and Jay Rockefeller, from the conference committee deliberations.

The implementation of that bill was a huge challenge, and had many rocky moments. It required educating millions of seniors, most not computer-literate, about the often complicated choices they had to create or change their prescription coverage. Imagine if Democrats had gone all out to block or disrupt the implementation—using filibusters to deny funding, sending threatening letters to companies or outside interests who mobilized to educate Medicare recipients, putting on major campaigns to convince seniors that this was a plot to deny them Medicare, comparing it to the ill-fated Medicare reform plan that passed in 1989 and, after a revolt by seniors, was repealed the next year.

Almost certainly, Democrats could have tarnished one of George W. Bush's signature achievements, causing Republicans major heartburn in the 2004 presidential and congressional elections—and in the process hurting millions of Medicare recipients and their families. Instead, Democrats worked with Republicans, and with Mark McClellan, the Bush administration official in charge of implementation, to smooth out the process and make it work—and it has been a smashing success.

Contrast that with Obamacare. For three years, Republicans in the Senate refused to confirm anybody to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the post that McClellan had held in 2003-04—in order to damage the possibility of a smooth rollout of the health reform plan. Guerrilla efforts to cut off funding, dozens of votes to repeal, abusive comments by leaders, attempts to discourage states from participating in Medicaid expansion or crafting exchanges, threatening letters to associations that might publicize the availability of insurance on exchanges, and now a new set of threats—to have a government shutdown, or to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, unless the president agrees to stop all funding for implementation of the plan.

I remember being shocked when some congressional Democrats appeared to be rooting for the surge in troops in Iraq to fail—which would mean more casualties among Americans and Iraqis, but a huge embarrassment for Bush, and vindication of their skepticism. But of course they did not try to sabotage the surge by disrupting funding or interfering in the negotiations in Iraq with competing Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish power centers. To do so would have been close to treasonous.

What is going on now to sabotage Obamacare is not treasonous—just sharply beneath any reasonable standards of elected officials with the fiduciary responsibility of governing. A good example is the letter Senate Republican Leaders Mitch McConnell and Cornyn sent to the NFL, demanding that it not cooperate with the Obama administration in a public-education campaign to tell their fans about what benefits would be available to them and how the plan would work—a letter that clearly implied deleterious consequences if the league went ahead anyhow. McConnell and Cornyn got their desired result. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell quickly capitulated. (When I came to Washington in 1969-70, one of my great pleasures was meeting and getting to know Charles Goodell, the courageous Republican senator from New York who took on his own president on Vietnam and was quietly courageous on many other controversial issues. Roger Goodell is his son—although you would not know it from this craven action.)

When a law is enacted, representatives who opposed it have some choices (which are not mutually exclusive). They can try to repeal it, which is perfectly acceptable—unless it becomes an effort at grandstanding so overdone that it detracts from other basic responsibilities of governing. They can try to amend it to make it work better—not just perfectly acceptable but desirable, if the goal is to improve a cumbersome law to work better for the betterment of the society and its people. They can strive to make sure that the law does the most for Americans it is intended to serve, including their own constituents, while doing the least damage to the society and the economy. Or they can step aside and leave the burden of implementation to those who supported the law and got it enacted in the first place.

But to do everything possible to undercut and destroy its implementation—which in this case means finding ways to deny coverage to many who lack any health insurance; to keep millions who might be able to get better and cheaper coverage in the dark about their new options; to create disruption for the health providers who are trying to implement the law, including insurers, hospitals, and physicians; to threaten the even greater disruption via a government shutdown or breach of the debt limit in order to blackmail the president into abandoning the law; and to hope to benefit politically from all the resulting turmoil—is simply unacceptable, even contemptible. One might expect this kind of behavior from a few grenade-throwing firebrands. That the effort is spearheaded by the Republican leaders of the House and Senate—even if Speaker John Boehner is motivated by fear of his caucus, and McConnell and Cornyn by fear of Kentucky and Texas Republican activists—takes one's breath away.

The Unprecedented—and Contemptible—Attempts to Sabotage Obamacare - NationalJournal.com


at what point does a political party cease to be a political party? threats to shut down the entire government unless the president defunds the ACA?
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:50 AM   #220
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DC is practically a war zone in some sense
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