Visual source: Newseum
Charles Blow on the coming Republican campaign:
This is the trick: Run on fiscal conservatism; bring social conservatism along for the ride. The Trojan horse platform.
Mitt Romney has made clear during this primary season that he was willing to be neither moderate nor independent — but rather “severely conservative” — in seeking the Republican nomination. He was willing to court the far right wing of his party and advance its agenda — a frightening fiscal agenda and an even more frightening social agenda.
E. J. Dionne Jr. on Mitt Romney as magician:
Romney is right in saying he has “a very different vision” from Obama’s, and this is where the magic comes in. He envisions “an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. And because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hardworking, educated, skilled employees is intense, so wages and salaries rise.”
Just like that, all would be well — as if we never needed the trust-busting of the Progressive Era, the social legislation of the New Deal, the health programs of the Great Society and the coordinated action of the world’s governments in 2008 and 2009 to keep the Great Recession from becoming something far worse.
Fareed Zakaria on President Obama’s picking the wrong “Buffett Rule” to push:
While polls might momentarily show that it works, Americans are generally aspirational, not envious. Over the years voters tend to support a government that focuses on creating opportunity rather than one that tries to reduce inequality. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair’s great feat was to position themselves as pro-market, pro-growth progressives. That hard-won image of a new, modern left can easily be lost. [...]
Warren Buffett has said that, in the midst of the economic slowdown, his strategy was to invest in America. That’s the Buffett rule Obama should follow.
Nick Turse says that more than 40 years after the Tet Offensive and more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, the United States still doesn’t understand guerrilla warfare:
As in Vietnam, the United States is once again betting on a war of attrition. But the enemy hasn’t bought in. Instead of slugging it out toe to toe, in large suicidal offensives, the Haqqanis and their allies have planned a savvy, conservative campaign meant to save fighters and resources while sending an unmistakable message to the Afghan population and the American public.
The attrition of U.S. support for the war is unmistakable. As late as 2009, according to a poll by ABC News and the Washington Post, 56% of Americans believed the Afghan war was still worth fighting. Just days before the Haqqanis’ coordinated attacks, that number had dropped to 35%. Over the same span, the number of Americans who are convinced the war is not worth fighting jumped from 41% to 60%. The latest Haqqani offensive is likely to reinforce these trends.
But if we want to talk about how things got so bad for formerly middle-class people like [Johnny] Whitmire, the culprit is basically the financialization of our entire system of capitalism and the crippling of the labor movement; the slow death of the Mainline Protestant tradition doesn’t really enter into it. Whitmire was screwed by a venal bank and betrayed by an administration that gave venal banks way too much leeway to screw people.
Derek Thompson seems to think Eric Cantor has a screw loose:
It is a matter of economic dogma that taxes discourage behavior. Eric Cantor has obviously convinced himself that higher taxes on income under $ 30,000 will discourage poverty. On the issue of ridiculous taxes, maybe we should create a new levy on comments that the tax code would be “fairer” if the bottom 40% did more to support the burden of top 1%. That sort of inanity ought to be discouraged.
Terence Jeffrey says a constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ted Deutch is an attack on the Bill of Rights.
Lawrence S. Wittner on the shame of nations:
On April 17, 2012, as millions of Americans were filing their income tax returns, the highly-respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its latest study of world military spending. In case Americans were wondering where most of their tax money — and the tax money of other nations — went in the previous year, the answer from SIPRI was clear: to war and preparations for war.
Robert Fisk on another shame:
After at first denying the use of phosphorous shells during the second battle of Fallujah, US forces later admitted that they had fired the munitions against buildings in the city. Independent reports have spoken of a birth-defect rate in Fallujah far higher than other areas of Iraq, let alone other Arab countries. No one, of course, can produce cast-iron evidence that American munitions have caused the tragedy of Fallujah’s children. [...]
Studies since the 2004 Fallujah battles have recorded profound increases in infant mortality and cancer in Fallujah; the latest report, whose authors include a doctor at Fallujah General Hospital, says that congenital malformations account for 15 per cent of all births in Fallujah.
Members of Congress, fond of quoting the country’s founders, should recall these words of Benjamin Franklin before voting on CISPA: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”