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I find myself in the strange position of defending President Obama's current negotiation approach on the austerity bomb while at the same time having to defend my criticism of his negotiating style in the past. It is strange to me because I believe the President has changed his approach to political bargaining - a change I believe began in August 2011 (see, e.g., How Occupy Defined the Election.) This appears to be a widespread view now - see the NYTimes' article Criticized as Weak in Past Talks, Obama Takes Harder Line.
I think I should applaud this change (even when Tim Geithner, someone I have been harshly critical of, is the chosen messenger.)
So what do I make of Glenn Greenwald's column today mocking progressive pundits moving to be "constructively critical" of President Obama? My own view is Glenn, who I consider a friend, is better off making his substantive critiques of the Obama Administration instead of keeping tabs on how MSNBC and The Nation are doing. More on the flip.
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Financially beleaguered Real Housewife of Tampa co-star Jill Kelley thought she'd try her hand at a business deal (using her closeness to Gen. David Petraeus and her honorary South Korea title.) She was rebuffed as an amateur, when she asked for an $80 million commission.
Adam Victor, president of TransGas Development in New York, recounts the adventure to the Tampa Bay Times. He met Kelley at an event at the Tampa Convention Hall at the Republican National Convention.
Victor said Kelley described herself as a close friend to Petraeus, which impressed him. In fact, he said, Kelley told him she might help him with a coal gasification project in South Korea. She said she could gain him access to the highest levels of the South Korean government, Victor said. Kelley told him she was an honorary consul for South Korea, and Victor said she told him she had obtained the position with the help of Petraeus.
Kelley followed up with Victor at a meeting in New York (his company flew her there first class.) Kelley told him that if the deal went through, she expected an $80 million commission. [More....]
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The FBI agent/friend of Jill Kelley who brought the anonymous e-mails she received to the FBI is Frederick W. Humphries. Humprhies works on terrorism cases. His friends describe him as obsessive, with "experience in counterterrorism, conservative political views and a reputation for aggressiveness."
Humphries and his wife were "social friends" with Jill Kelley. Humphries contacted Rep. Dave Reichert because he was convinced the FBI was stalling the case for political reasons. Reichert connected him with Eric Cantor, who passed his info on to FBI Director Mueller.
A friend of Humphries says the shirtless photo was sent years earlier and was "a joke." The Kelley and Humphries families often exchanged photos of each other.
First penalties: Paula Broadwell lost her security clearance today and Jill Kelley lost her special clearance to access the MacDill military base. [More...]
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There are lots of articles about the background of Tampa socialite and party planner Jill Kelley and her twin sister, lawyer Natalie Khawam, and their access to top military officials, here and in the Middle East, including Gen. David Petraeus and John Allen.
The first question that comes to mind: Why were Gen. Allen and Jill Kelley, who has no particular expertise in foreign affairs, the military or Government, exchanging 20 to 30,000 pages of documents (including several hundred e-mails) over a two year period? What documents would be of mutual interest to a party planner socialite and a top General? It doesn't sound like there was any romantic relationship between them, so what was their mutual interest? Was she feeding him information? About what? Where did she get the documents she sent him? What documents was he sending her?
[T]he bureau turned over a mountain of documents to Pentagon officials, including an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 pages, based largely on communication between Allen and Kelley, prompting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to order an inspector general inquiry.
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Jill Kelley has retained lawyer Abbe Lowell and crisis manager Judy Smith, who once represented Monica Lewinsky. Like Paula Broadwell, she is married to a physician, cancer surgeon Scott Kelley. Jill Kelley has a twin sister Natalie Khawam, who recently lost an ugly custody battle. Both Petraeus and Gen. Allen wrote support letters in support of her attempt to overturn the ruling. (You can read them here.)
Kelley, who grew up in Philadelphia, is of Lebanese descent. Her family, Maronite Catholics, immigrated from Jounieh, Lebanon, in the mid-1970s, according to a 1988 article about her family's restaurant, Sahara, in The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has a twin sister, Natalie, the article said.
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Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, is now under investigation for alleged "inappropriate communications" with David Petraeus' friend Jill Kelley -- the Tampa woman who asked her FBI agent friend (who is also under investigation) to help find out who was sending her harassing e-mails.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a written statement issued to reporters aboard his aircraft, en route from Honolulu to Perth, Australia, that the FBI referred the matter to the Pentagon on Sunday. Panetta said that he ordered a Pentagon investigation of Allen on Monday.
The FBI is going through 20,000 to 30,000 pages of communications between Kelley and Allen between 2010 and 2012. When did Gen. Allen have time for work? And if Kelley was not a paid Government employee, what were she and Allen exchanging? Books from Amazon? [More...]
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The FBI began searching Paula Broadwell's home around 8:40 pm ET tonight, according to WCNC reporter Dianne Gallagher, who is updating on Twitter. The search is still going on. Gallaher says there are lots of media outside the home, and she'll have a live report at 11 (RT) on WCNC.
Broadwell and her husband were out of town on a romantic getaway to celebrate her 40th birthday when the scandal broke. Friday night, her husband emailed guests who were scheduled to attend a birthday party for her, telling them it was canceled. It sounds like they haven't been home since, although they checked out Friday. The Broadwells are now at an undisclosed location. [More...]
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Jill Kelley, 37, of Tampa, Fla., an unpaid State Department liaison to the military's Joint Special Operations Command, located at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa (also home to the military's Central Command) has been identified as the woman who reported receiving threatening e-mails from Paula Broadwell.
Kelley and her husband are friends with Petraeus and it doesn't seem like they were having an affair.
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The David Petraeus story grows: An undisclosed woman started the FBI investigation when she reported getting threatening emails which came from David Petraeus' e-mail account. The e-mails had been sent by Paula Broadwell from Petraus' G-Mail (not CIA) account, reportedly because she thought the woman was getting to close to Petraeus. Woman #2 is neither a family member or government employee.
If this is all about jealousy, the Gin Blossoms could be the official band for Petraeus and Broadwell: Found Out About You; Follow You Down and Till I Hear it From You. They are playing Monday night in Denver (Lakewood) at The Grizzly Rock -- and free admission and no cover.
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George McGovern has passed away.
By all accounts, he was a good and decent man.
May he rest in peace after living a full life, filled with accomplishments and service.
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Arlen Specter has passed away. He was 82. A pretty important figure, from the "magic bullet" theory, to blocking Bork, to making sure Clarence Thomas was confirmed, to switching to the Democratic Party at the end of his career, Specter was always in the middle of contention.
When he was running for the Democratic nomination n 2010 against Joe Sestak, I got a chance to speak to him extensively. I'll write in more depth about him later, but for now, here are some links - On Kagan and Supporting the Public Option through the reconciliation process.
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This takes "brass" as they say:
“If President Obama were participating in his intelligence briefings on a regular basis then perhaps he would understand why people are so offended at his efforts to take sole credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden,” Cheney told the Daily Caller on Monday night[.]
Oh really? This from a guy who ignored the intelligence briefings on the imminent 9/11 attacks?
The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. [...] But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders [...] were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein[. ...] In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real. [...] Yet, the White House failed to take significant action.
Dick Cheney, one of the most disgraceful and despicable men ever to hold government office.
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Matt Yglesiais writes:
Broadening the tax base to finance big cuts in tax rates is the heart of Mitt Romney’s economic plan. Obama made the elimination of deductions the centerpiece of his plan to raise more revenue from the corporate income tax, and Senate Democrats are counting on broad tax reform as a key element in Democratic budget policy if Obama wins in 2012. But in specific terms, Washington remains hooked on the allure of tax breaks. ... [E]ven if major tax reform somehow does occur, the lesson of the Olympic Tax Elimination Act is that Congress is likely to undermine reform at world-record speed.
Uh, duh? Regular readers know that I have argued that elimination of tax loopholes rarely survive the "reform." There is always a good reason to give a "tax break," especially for "job creators." Maybe liberal wonks will understand this now. We can not cut tax rates, period.
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Apparently, The Donald heard me:
Donald Trump said Monday that the GOP wants him to have a role at the Republican National Convention. “I know they want me to,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends” when asked if he planned on speaking at the convention in Tampa. “I’ll see what happens.”
I know I want him to.
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Joe Lieberman does not have to attend any political conventions though the Americans Elect would no doubt welcome him.
This bothers me though:
“Joe Lieberman is a victim of polarization. He’s another person cast aside by people who aren’t interested in centrist views,” said Professor Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University, who has worked as a scholar in residence in the Senate.
Wait, what? Maybe people rejected Lieberman's views, as opposed to "centrist" views, whatever that means. Does that offend Professor Baker? Apparently so.
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