Thom Shanker & Helene Cooper of the New York Times: " Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal.... The proposal ... takes into account the fiscal reality of government austerity and the political reality of a president who pledged to end two costly and exhausting land wars. A result, the officials argue, will be a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations."
E. J. Dionne: "One of the disappointments of Obama's time in office is his failure to lead a thoroughgoing reform of the way the federal government works and to launch an inspiring campaign to bring fresh talent to its ranks. The devotion he won from young Americans in 2008 presented him with an extraordinary opportunity to draw a new generation into government service, much as Franklin D. Roosevelt did in the 1930s and John F. Kennedy did, even in his brief time in office, in the 1960s. Alas, Obama didn't really try. Now he can, and he should."
Greg Sargent: "While [Americans for Prosperity] is spending huge sums of cash on ads that hype or even invent stories about the law's supposed victims, the group is actively working to block health coverage under Obamacare from reaching untold numbers of real people." ...
... Paul Krugman: "Even supporters of health reform are somewhat surprised by the right's apparent inability to come up with real cases of hardship.... Why can't the right find these people and exploit them? The most likely answer is that the true losers from Obamacare generally aren't very sympathetic. For the most part, they're either very affluent people affected by the special taxes that help finance reform, or at least moderately well-off young men in very good health who can no longer buy cheap, minimalist plans. Neither group would play well in tear-jerker ads." ...
... "The Right's Sociopathic Scam." Brian Beutler of Salon: "If [Julie Boostra, the cancer-stricken star of an AFP anti-Obamacare ad] and AFP get their way, she'll be just as much a victim of Obamacare repeal as all the people who face health circumstances similar to hers. And the saddest part of that tragic irony is that Boonstra doesn't even seem to understand what her circumstances are, or why it doesn't make sense to devote her energies to repealing the law.... AFP, and everyone else on the right 'supporting' Julie Boonstra, are using her as a weapon in a war against herself."
... Steve Peoples & Ken Thomas of the AP: " America's governors, Republicans* and Democrats alike, suggest that President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is here to stay."
* Except for Bobby Jindal.
Zeke Miller of Time: "Republican Governors Association Vice Chair Bobby Jindal will take the lead when GOP governors visit the White House Monday morning for a business meeting with PresidentBarack Obama. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the embattled chairman of the organization, left this weekend's meeting of the National Governors Association early on Sunday morning to avoid the press & photo-ops with Obama return home for his daughter Sarah's 18th birthday...."
Last night, President Obama welcomed governors & their spouses to dinner at the White House. He begins with jokes:
Jennifer Steinhauer & Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "... under [Jim] DeMint, a South Carolinian who gave up his Senate seat last year to take the helm, [the] Heritage [Foundation] has shifted. Long known as an incubator for policy ideas and the embodiment of the party establishment, it has become more of a political organization feeding off the rising populism of the Tea Party movement.... In recent months, some of the group's most prominent scholars have left. Research that seemed to undermine Heritage's political goals has been squelched, former Heritage officials say. And more and more, the work of policy analysts is tailored for social media." ...
... CW: Actually, Krugman was eviscerating Heritage's work product well before DeMint took over. Last fall he wrote on his blog, "... it has done nothing but junk 'research' at least since 2000.... They took the think out of that think tank a long time ago." Weisman & Steinhauer should read their own damned newspaper.
Byron Tau of the Politico: "National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Sunday she has no regrets about her now-infamous round of TV interviews in 2012 about the the attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. Rice, appearing on NBC's 'Meet the Press,' said that nobody in the Obama administration intended to mislead the American people when she appeared on Fox, ABC, CNN, NBC and CBS in 2012 shortly after the attacks."
Promoting Putin's Puppet. Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed: "Several conservative bloggers repeated talking points given to them by a proxy group for the Ukrainian government -- and at least one writer was paid by a representative of the Ukrainian group, according to documents and emails obtained by BuzzFeed. The Ukrainian campaign began in the run-up to high-stakes Ukrainian parliamentary elections last year, and sought to convince skeptical American conservatives that the pro-Russian Party of Regions, led by President Viktor Yanukovych, deserved American support. During that period, articles echoing Ukrainian government talking points appeared on leading conservative online outlets, including RedState, Breitbart, and Pajamas Media." ...
... CW: If left-leaning bloggers had been taking payola in exchange for propagandizing for an anti-Western, Soviet-style tyrant, wingers would not just have accused the bloggers of being anti-American commies, they would have demanded that the Obama administration hang the bloggers for treason. And surely, surely Darrell Issa would be investigating the traitors while teabaggers like Steve King & Michele Bachmann filed articles of impeachment against Obama. Meanwhile, Tailgunner Ted would take to the well of the Senate, wave sheafs of paper & declare, "I have here in my hand a list of 157 communist bloggers, a list of names that was made known to the President of the United States...."
Raffi Khatchadoourian in the New Yorker: "... the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor..., the most complex machine ever built..., could solve the world's energy problems for the next thirty million years, and help save the planet from environmental catastrophe."
Edward Wyatt & Noam Cohen of the New York Times: "Comcast, the country's largest cable and broadband provider, and Netflix, the giant television and movie streaming service, announced an agreement Sunday in which Netflix will pay Comcast for faster and more reliable access to Comcast's subscribers. The deal is a milestone in the history of the Internet, where content providers like Netflix generally have not had to pay for access to the customers of a broadband provider. But the growing power of broadband companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T has given those companies increased leverage over sites whose traffic gobbles up chunks of a network's capacity. Netflix is one of those sites, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all Internet traffic at peak hours. The agreement comes just 10 days after Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner Cable...."
"You're Not Answering My Question." Josh Israel of Think Progress: "On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace grilled Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) about thousands of pages of e-mails released this week suggesting he knew his Milwaukee County Executive staff was illegally coordinating efforts with his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Walker refused to offer any specific defense, repeating that he was not charged and attempting to change the subject":
... Digby: " I guess Roger Ailes has someone else in mind for 2016. (Or Chris Wallace woke up with some sort of longing for the days when he was an actual newsman instead of a hack...).... I don't know why anyone would be surprised that the GOP Governors are all crooks. It's a defining feature of consrvatism. (They call it 'freedom.')"
Jason Stein, et al., of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "In the heat of the 2010 governor's race, Scott Walker urged both county employees and campaign aides to go to news websites and post comments promoting him and his record, newly unsealed documents show. It was just such anonymous posts by a county worker on campaign issues that prompted prosecutors to expand a secret 'John Doe' investigation -- launched to probe into missing money in a veterans fund -- to also examine whether taxpayer dollars were being used illegally to finance political operations."
I'm Not Christie. Zeke Miller: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came to Washington this weekend with a clear message to deliver to the national press: He's not New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie."
I'm just grateful that I don't have Democratic governors who have those challenges. We don’t get indicted, we don't get criminal investigations -- we create jobs. -- Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, chair of the Democratic Governors Association ...
New Jersey News
Revote on a Crooked Deal. Shawn Boburg of the Bergen Record: “The Port Authority next month will reconsider a controversial decision made two years ago to lease a North Bergen parking lot to NJ Transit for $1 a year, two sources said on Saturday. The vote in 2012 to reduce NJ Transit's lease payments to the Port Authority from more than $900,000 a year to $1 came under scrutiny last week when The Record reported that records indicated that Port Authority Chairman David Samson voted for the deal at the same time as his law firm was representing NJ Transit." Samson is a Christie appointee.
Congressional Election 2014
Nolan Finley of the Detroit News: "Rep. John Dingell is leaving the Congress he's served for longer than anyone else in United States history. At a luncheon Monday in his beloved Downriver, the Dearborn representative says he will announce he won't seek re-election this fall to the seat he's held since 1955."
New York Times: "Harold Ramis, a writer, director and actor whose sly but boisterous silliness helped catapult comedies like 'Groundhog Day,' 'Ghostbusters,' 'Animal House' and 'Caddyshack' to commercial and critical success, died on Monday in his Chicago-area home. He was 69."
New York Times: "Gary Melius, a well-known Long Island developer and prominent political patron, was shot in the head by a masked gunman on Monday afternoon in the parking lot of his opulent Gold Coast estate in Suffolk County, the police said. His daughter rushed him to Syosset Hospital and he was later transferred to North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, where he was undergoing surgery late Monday afternoon. He was described by the authorities as alert and conscious earlier in the day."
Gary Melius purchased Oheka Castle in 1984. The house was built in 1917 and its exteriors were featured prominently in the movie 'Citizen Kane.'” New York Times photo.New York Times: "The trial of Kerry Kennedy, who is accused of driving in 2012 under the influence of a sleeping pill, got underway on Monday.... The trial here in Westchester County has attracted widespread attention in part because it involves a member of the Kennedy clan. Ms. Kennedy is the former wife of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and a daughter of Robert F. Kennedy."
AP: " Egypt's interim prime minister announced Monday the resignation of his Cabinet, a surprise move that could be designed in part to pave the way for the nation's military chief to leave his defense minister's post to run for president. Hazem el-Beblawi's military-backed government was sworn in on July 16, less than two weeks after Field Marsh Abdel-Fettah el-Sissi, the defense minister, ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi after a year in office."
New York Times:"Ukraines acting interior minister issued a warrant on Monday for the arrest of former President Viktor F. Yanukovych, accusing him of mass killing of civilian protesters in demonstrations last week." ...
... Washington Post Update: "Russian leaders expressed their distrust and dislike of the new government of Ukraine on Monday, saying it came to power through 'armed mutiny,' just hours after the authorities here announced a nationwide manhunt for ousted president Viktor Yanukovych on charges of 'mass murder of peaceful civilians.' Russia questioned the legitimacy of Ukraine's interim leadership...."
AP: "Uganda's president has signed a controversial anti-gay bill that has harsh penalties for homosexual sex. President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill Monday at his official residence in an event witnessed by government officials and journalists. Government officials clapped after he signed the bill."
Guardian: "Washington will seek the extradition of Mexico's most-wanted man, the US attorney's office announced Sunday, as reports emerged that Joaquín Guzmán Loera spent his final days of freedom scrambling through tunnels and drains before ending up pinned to a bed in a beachside condominium unable to reach a Kalashnikov rifle lying on the floor.... The Mexican ambassador to the US, Eduardo Medina Mora, had earlier rejected calls for an American trial...." ...
... The Los Angeles Times has background on "Guzman's famous Houdini-style string of getaways."