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The New York Times
By Jr.
Published: May 11, 2012

WASHINGTON —Mitt Romney’s recent declaration that Russia is America’s top geopolitical adversary drew raised eyebrows and worse from many Democrats, some Republicans and the Russians themselves, all of whom suggested that Mr. Romney was misguidedly stuck in a cold war mind-set.

But his statement was not off the cuff — and it was not the first time Mr. Romney had stirred debate over his hawkish views on Russia. Interviews with Republican foreign policy experts close to his campaign and his writings on the subject show that his stance toward Russia reflects a broader foreign policy view that gives great weight to economic power and control of natural resources. It also exhibits Mr. Romney’s confidence that his private-sector experience would make him a better negotiator on national security issues than President Obama has been.

Mr. Romney’s views on Russia have set off disagreements among some of his foreign policy advisers. They put him in sync with the more conservative members of his party in Congress, who have similarly criticized Mr. Obama as being too accommodating to Russia, and generally reflect the posture of some neoconservatives.

But they have frequently put him at odds with members of the Republican foreign policy establishment, like Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who was defeated in a primary this week, and the party’s shrinking band of foreign policy “realists” — those who advocate a less ideological and more pragmatic view of relations with rival powers.

The Romney campaign has been critical of Mr. Obama’s record and positions on a variety of national security issues, including containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and confronting China’s rise. But many of the positions taken by Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, have either been vague or not fundamentally different from those of the administration.


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By: Jason Easley

April 16, 2012

After Senate Republicans blocked the Buffett Rule, President Obama took them to task and continued riding a wave of fairness towards reelection.

After only one Republicans voted with Democrats in favor of the Buffett Rule, President Obama said in a statement,

Tonight, Senate Republicans voted to block the Buffett Rule, choosing once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class.

The Buffett Rule is common sense. At a time when we have significant deficits to close and serious investments to make to strengthen our economy, we simply cannot afford to keep spending money on tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and didn’t ask for. But it’s also about basic fairness—it’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires. America prospers when we’re all in it together and everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. And I will continue to push Congress to take steps to not only restore economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach the middle class, but also to create an economy that’s built to last.

The only Republican who voted with Democrats in favor of moving the bill forward was Susan Collins of Maine. All other Republicans, including those who are in close contests to keep their seats like Scott Brown, voted against increasing taxes on those who make over a million dollars per year.


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The Road We’ve Traveled is screening TONIGHT at 8pm ET.

You can view it live at: www.barackobama.com

Starting 8pm David Axelrod will also be answering questions live. To submit a question, just use the hashtag #RoadTraveled on twitter.

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GOP Seeks Big Changes In Federal Prison Sentences
NPR- by Carrie Johnson

January 31, 2012

Every year, federal judges sentence more than 80,000 criminals. Those punishments are supposed to be fair — and predictable. But seven years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court threw a wrench into the system by ruling that the guidelines that judges use to figure out a prison sentence are only suggestions.

Republicans in Congress say that has led to a lot of bad results. They’re calling for an overhaul of the sentencing system, with tough new mandatory prison terms to bring some order back into the process. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, brought up the subject at a recent hearing.

“A criminal committing a federal crime should receive similar punishment regardless of whether the crime was committed in Richmond, Va., or Richmond, Calif., and that’s why I am deeply concerned about what’s happening to federal sentencing,” Sensenbrenner said.

Since the Supreme Court acted in 2005 to make the sentencing guidelines advisory — not mandatory — Sensenbrenner said, judges in places like New York City have imposed sentences below the guideline ranges almost half the time. But judges only a few hours further north in New York are still following the guidelines.

Former prosecutor Matt Miner — who also served as GOP congressional aide — says that’s not justice.

The way you make sure the guidelines get due respect is to make them respectable.

– Douglas Berman, Ohio State University law professor

“We have a federal system. There should be consistency not just in the same courthouse and on the same floor, or district by district, but across the country, and we’re failing in that,” Miner says.

Douglas Berman, a law professor and sentencing expert at Ohio State University, said, “The way you make sure the guidelines get due respect is to make them respectable.”

A lot of people argue that ever since the Supreme Court weighed in, black men have it a lot worse.

Judge Patti Saris of Massachusetts leads the congressionally created U.S. Sentencing Commission. Saris spoke about the issue at a panel sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington earlier this month.

“The average sentence for a black male was 20 percent longer than that for a white male. … And I think what’s important to add there is that no one here is accusing judges of being racist,” Saris said.

So, then, what’s going on?


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Obama on the Backs of the Poor

OpEdNews 8/3/11

By Ray McGovern

What are we to make of the Obama-brokered deal on debt and spending? It was certainly what the Germans call eine schwere Geburt (a difficult birth); it was one of the few times I would have favored abortion.

I am reminded of a sermon that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave during the turbulent 1950s, in which he peered into the future and issued a prescient warning:

“A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”

In promoting and then signing the so-called “deficit reduction” legislation, President Barack Obama has definitively confirmed that he stands in the ranks of those spiritual-death-dealing, “soft-minded” men about whom Dr. King warned so ominously.

In my view, even dyed-in-the-wool Obama supporters will now have to let the scales fall from their eyes. The new one-sided “compromise” so clearly promotes the interests of the wealthy over those of the poor that, in Biblical terms, it can readily be seen as a Goddamned deal.

More of the same

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Afternoon Jukebox

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