guardian.co.uk — The news that the UK, with negative growth in the fourth quarter of 2012, faces the prospect of a triple-dip recession, should be the final blow to the intellectual credibility of deficit hawks. You just can't get more wrong than this flat-earth bunch of economic policy-makers. They're pretty much batting zero. They failed to foresee the collapse of housing bubbles in the US and Europe and its consequent downturn. They grossly underestimated its severity after it hit. And their policy prescription of austerity has been shown to be wrong everywhere that applied it: in the US, the eurozone and, especially, the UK. By all rights, these folks should be laughed out of town. They should be retrained for a job more suited to their skill set – preferably, something that doesn't involve numbers, or people.
huffingtonpost.com — Wasn't it fitting that Sarah Palin's exit from Fox News was made official the same week President Obama celebrated his second inauguration? Didn't it just seem apt that the once-future star of Fox News and the Tea Party movement lost her national media platform just days after the president she tried to demonize for four years basked in the glow of his easy reelection victory? Palin's breakup with Fox was expected, but it's still significant. A "milestone," is how former Bush speechwriter David Frum put it. The move represents the end of a brief, ill-conceived era within the conservative media movement, and specifically at Fox, where in the wake of Obama's first White House win Palin, along with preposterous cohort Glenn Beck, was irresponsibly tapped to become a high-priced pundit who trafficked in hate.
dailykos.com — As we've seen today, a group of senators have jumped ahead of President Barack Obama's immigration proposal today and announced their own plan. It's okay, for the most part, except for one glaring problem: Full citizen rights for undocumented immigrants are contingent on Arizona wingnut Gov. Jan Brewer saying the border is "secure." But lest you think this is some sort of accidental flaw, it isn't. And while conservatives are furious at this proposal, they shouldn't be. Because this is the perfect solution for them.
prospect.org — Should the Supreme Court uphold it, last Friday’s decision by three Reagan-appointees to the D.C. Circuit Appellate Court appears at first glance to rejigger the balance of power between Congress and the president. The appellate justices struck down three recess appointments that President Obama had made to the five-member National Labor Relations Board during the break between the 2011 and 2012 sessions of Congress partly on the grounds that Congress wasn’t formally in recess. It’s not that Obama has made a lot of recess appointments. He’s only made 32—compared to the 171 made by George W. Bush. Presidents have been making recess appointments since the mid-19th century, but this is the first time that the courts have objected. Certainly, the three judges on the D.C. appellate court voiced no such opinions when Bush was president. The real issue here is who Obama appointed, and to what agencies.
dailykos.com — Republicans can't win national elections anymore, having lost the popular vote in five of the last six, and with demographics shifts moving solidly against them, rather than try to better represent the will of the American electorate, they're instead going to try to break the system so that the will of the American electorate no longer matters. And it would be perfectly legal, because we choose our presidents through the Electoral College, and there are very few rules about how the electors are allocated. Make no mistake: This is a war on the very concept of democracy and republic. This is a war on the very nature of our system of governance. If it succeeds, it will tear this country apart.
huffingtonpost.com — Immigration is one of the great stories of America's history. It is immortalized in the words penned by Emma Lazarus, and engraved on a bronze plaque that hangs on an inner wall of the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." The United States is a nation built on the blood and sweat of immigrants; it is a great melting pot of cultures that together have strengthened the country, and have broadened its horizons. America, the land of opportunity, of immense freedom, and of a generous people, has attracted millions of people from all over the world. Nonetheless, immigration has been politicized for decades, and reasonable reforms have eluded Washington. But now is the time to do something meaningful. President Barack Obama will announce an effort to overhaul immigration on Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, a critical state, where he carried the Latino vote this past November.
dailykos.com — How did Obama turn what was a seven-point deficit for the Democrats in 2010 into a four-point win in 2012, in spite of roughly similar numbers among the three ideological subgroups? The answer was that the ideological makeup of the electorate fundamentally shifted between 2010 and 2012. In 2010, 42 percent of the electorate self-identified as conservatives, while only 20 percent of the electorate self-identified as liberals. In 2012, the gap narrowed to a historic low. Only 35 percent of the Obama-Romney electorate called themselves conservative. Meanwhile, a full quarter of the electorate (25 percent), the high water mark for the modern era), self-identified as liberal. Therein lies a big part of the victory. It wasn't Obama's marginally better performance among conservatives that saved the day, it was the simple fact that conservatives comprised a substantially smaller share of the electorate than they had in 2010.
consortiumnews.com — Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Old Confederacy, is a fitting place for the neo-Confederates who now control the Republican Party to reinstate a version of the slave-era provision counting African-Americans as “Three-Fifths” of a person for the purpose of representation. This revival of the infamous “Three-Fifths” clause of the U.S. Constitution is part of a Republican scheme to give lesser value to the votes of African-Americans and other minorities who tend to cluster in cities than to the votes of whites in rural, more GOP-friendly areas. The goal is to give future Republican presidential candidates a thumb-on-the-scale advantage in seeking the White House, as well as to assure continued Republican control of the House of Representatives. The scheme is a direct Republican response to the emergence of Barack Obama’s coalition, which pulled together the votes of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and young urban whites (who are more comfortable with a multi-cultural future for the United States).
alternet.org — In wars, sometimes there comes a moment when the tide turns. The collapse of Ludendorff's offensive in 1918 presaged the Armistice; failure in the Ardennes meant the end for Germany in 1944. Today we have two drone wars in a similar state. One is mainly in Pakistan. Built on a gee-whiz technology that can't do what it promised, this war has claimed too many victims for too little effect. It is a diplomatic disaster and its days are numbered, almost surely, for that reason. The other drone war is in Washington. The drones are in groups with names like the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Campaign to Fix the Debt. They drone on, and on, about the calamities that await unless we cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That the goal of the deficit drones is to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid has been plain for years to anyone who looks at where the money comes from.
nytimes.com — Republicans have a problem. For years they could shout down any attempt to point out the extent to which their policies favored the elite over the poor and the middle class; all they had to do was yell “Class warfare!” and Democrats scurried away. In the 2012 election, however, that didn’t work: the picture of the G.O.P. as the party of sneering plutocrats stuck, even as Democrats became more openly populist than they have been in decades. As a result, prominent Republicans have begun acknowledging that their party needs to improve its image. But here’s the thing: Their proposals for a makeover all involve changing the sales pitch rather than the product. When it comes to substance, the G.O.P. is more committed than ever to policies that take from most Americans and give to a wealthy handful. Consider, as a case in point, how a widely reported recent speech by Bobby Jindal the governor of Louisiana, compares with his actual policies.