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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

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Regarding Kerry's "man up" comment:

NYT: Rebutting Critics, Obama Seeks Higher Bar for Military Action

The smartest speech he's given ...


WASHINGTON — As President Obama listens to assessments of his foreign policy these days, he grows deeply frustrated. Syria? Ukraine? Afghanistan? What more do his critics want him to do? Get into another war? Keep fighting one that has already become America’s longest?

After more than five years in office, Mr. Obama has become increasingly convinced that while the United States must play a vital role beyond its borders, it should avoid getting dragged into the quicksand of international crises that have trapped some of his predecessors. It is time for an end to what he called “a long season of war.” To his critics, mainly on the right but also some on the left, this is a prescription for passivity, an abrogation of decades of bipartisan leadership on the world stage. Stung and irritated, Mr. Obama used his commencement address to West Point cadets on Wednesday to mount a sustained rebuttal and to define an approach to foreign policy that he believes is suited to a new era and that he hopes will outlast his presidency.


Mr. Obama framed the debate on his own terms at West Point, presenting himself as the steward of a reasonable balance between isolationism and unilateralism. He tried, as he often does, to capture a middle ground of sorts. He even played to both sides with his language, using the phrases “indispensable nation,” a favorite of Democrats during the Clinton administration, and “American exceptionalism,” a favorite of Republicans ever since. But the commander in chief who in his first term waged a relentless drone campaign against terrorists and dispatched the Navy Seals who killed Osama bin Laden seemed more intent on setting the bar higher for future use of force.


n the future, when the United States is not directly threatened, “the threshold for military action must be higher,” Mr. Obama said. He presented the choice in binary terms, suggesting that his critics want to use force to solve many of the world’s troubles.

Hydrofracking Explained (toon)


The War on Drugs is working exactly as its backers intended ...

Elizabeth Warren: These Values Are What We're Willing to Fight For

Wisconsin: Home of the Worst Clown Ever

This clown's not funny, he's dangerous.

Social Security Threatens To Close All Field Offices


Need to figure out whether it makes sense to retire at 62 or 65? Wondering how much your monthly Social Security benefit will be? Been married three times and wondering what that means for your benefit? Answers have never been farther than your local Social Security office, where employees are extensively trained to give you accurate and helpful answers. There’s a reason Social Security is the most popular of all government programs.

But that will change if the Social Security Administration’s “Vision 2025” comes to pass. Bureaucrats are mulling closure of most of SSA’s more than 1,000 community field offices in the U.S., where 43 million people sought services last year. Even as the number of visitors continues to grow, Vision 2025 would virtually eliminate face-to-face service, replacing it with Internet services and an 800 phone number.

Thirty thousand field office employees would be laid off—following nearly 11,000 positions already eliminated. When SSA sought its employees’ input for Vision 2025, they responded overwhelmingly that field offices were vital to the agency’s mission. “Americans are going to be cheated out of what they deserve,” said Witold Skwierczynski, head of the workers’ union bargaining council. “Every Social Security beneficiary deserves the personal assistance they have paid for their entire lives.”


Skwierczynski noted that, according to surveys of SSA employees, many claimants who file on the internet make decisions that could lead to the permanent loss of benefits. SSA employees are trained to catch those mistakes. Ryan Gurganious, a claims rep for the disabled in North Carolina, cited an example: “When a disabled person is working, we’ll ask them, ‘In your job do you have any special expenses you have to pay to be able to work?’ They might say, ‘I have to get the county transportation service to come pick me up in my wheelchair, and that’s a $40 fee every month.’ “We know that that $40 comes out of the equation when we’re figuring their benefit, so they’ll get a larger SSI check. But the computer’s not going to ask them that.”

House of Representatives Tells Pentagon to Ignore Climate Change Science


Congressional Quarterly reports (subscription required) that the House on Thursday approved an amendment to the spending bill sponsored by McKinley that “would prohibit defense spending on climate change research and the social cost of carbon analysis.” Speaking on the House floor, McKinley called global warming science “ideology.”

The Defense Department and military analysts have been quite vocal for several years about the threat that climate change poses to national security and world stability, as well as the ability of the department to carry out its mission. Just last month, Defense Secretary Hagel hosted a roundtable meeting with defense ministers from nations in Southeast Asia at which non-traditional security challenges, including climate change, were discussed.

Two days ago, Defense Department officials testified before the Senate on how the military is incorporating energy into strategic planning.

That the department would not be able to use the best available science in its planning is worse than a joke. It’s a threat to our future stability and world leadership. The Senate should ensure that this amendment does not survive in the final legislation.

If you cheat your customers out of the service they paid for and they die as a result, what happens?

If you're an insurance company exec, you get paid handsomely ...

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