like a pair of giant ass cheeks Governors Get Together
There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates on its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. 
During the last five years, the news media have been flooded with pundits decrying the broken politics of Washington. The conventional wisdom has it that partisan gridlock and dysfunction have become the new normal. That is certainly the case, and I have been among the harshest critics of this development. But it is also imperative to acknowledge the limits of this critique as it applies to the American governmental system. On one level, the critique is self-evident: in the domain that the public can see, Congress is hopelessly deadlocked in the worst manner since the 1850s, the violently rancorous decade preceding the Civil War.
As I wrote in ” The Party is Over,” the present objective of congressional Republicans is to render the executive branch powerless, at least until a Republican president is elected (a goal which voter suppression laws in GOP-controlled states are clearly intended to accomplish). President Obama cannot enact his domestic policies and budgets; because of incessant GOP filibustering, not only could he not fill the large number of vacancies in the federal judiciary, he could not even get his most innocuous presidential appointees into office. Democrats controlling the Senate have responded by weakening the filibuster of nominations, but Republicans are sure to react with other parliamentary delaying tactics. This strategy amounts to congressional nullification of executive branch powers by a party that controls a majority in only one house of Congress.
Despite this apparent impotence, President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct “dragnet” surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in unprecedented — at least since the McCarthy era — witch hunts against federal employees (the so-called “Insider Threat Program”). Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement. Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress, to include arranging the forced landing of a plane carrying a sovereign head of state over foreign territory. Despite their habitual cant about executive overreach by Obama, the would-be dictator, we have until recently heard very little from congressional Republicans about these actions — with the minor exception of a gadfly like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Democrats, save for a few mavericks like Ron Wyden of Oregon, are not unduly troubled, either — even to the extent of permitting seemingly perjured congressional testimony under oath by executive branch officials on the subject of illegal surveillance.
Conservative and libertarian groups have moved beyond protests to oppose the National Security Administration’s digital surveillance of Americans. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday accusing President Obama and individual…
By Will Englund,
MOSCOW – Russia dramatically escalated its denunciations of American threats to attack Syrian military targets on Saturday, with President Vladimir Putin saying it would have been “utter nonsense” for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons as the Obama administration alleges.
The Foreign Ministry, in a statement issued before President Obama said he would seek congressional authorization before ordering strikes on Syria, said a U.S. attack would be a “gross violation” of international law.
Speaking out for the first time since an apparent chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, Putin called on President Obama to find a nonviolent way out of the crisis.
“I would like to address Obama as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate: Before using force in Syria, it would be good to think about future casualties,” Putin told Russian news agencies in Vladivostok during a tour of the country’s flood-stricken Far East.
“Russia is urging you to think twice before making a decision on an operation in Syria,” he said.
The White House argued Friday that intelligence shows more than 1,400 people died from exposure to chemical weapons in an attack carried out by the Syrian military.
Putin said he was sure the attack was the work of rebels trying to provoke international — and especially American — involvement in the Syrian conflict. The government of Bashar al-Assad, he said, would have had no reason to use chemical weapons at a time when it had gained the upper hand in the fighting.
Doing so, he said, would have been “utter nonsense’’ – with the clear implication that that is how he would characterize the American allegations.
On top of that, he said, the Obama administration’s “claims that proof exists, but is classified and cannot be presented to anybody, are below criticism. This is plain disrespect for their partners.”
Putin’s comments were soon underlined by a stern statement from the Foreign Ministry. After U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul had finished a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday, the ministry declared, “Russia has expressed its conviction that any forceful action against Syria that the U.S. could carry out in circumvention of the U.N. Security Council would be an act of aggression and a gross violation of international law.”
Putin said he was surprised by the vote in Britain’s Parliament on Thursday not to join a U.S. attack on Syrian military targets. “It shows that there are people guided by common sense there,” he said.
Putin said he and Obama have not discussed Syria since the alleged chemical weapons attack occurred.
The Russian president is fond of needling his opponents, often adopting a tone of apparent reasonableness tinged with a considerable amount of condescension. A U.S. assault on Assad’s government would do nothing to hurt his standing, at home or in many countries abroad, where his contempt for Washington tends to play very well.
“The U.S. president and I certainly discussed this problem at the G-8” summit in June in Northern Ireland, Putin said Saturday. “And, by the way, we agreed then that we would jointly facilitate peace negotiations in Geneva, and the Americans committed themselves to bringing the armed opposition to these negotiations. I understand this is a difficult process, and it looks like they haven’t succeeded in this.”
Obama arrives in St. Petersburg for the G-20 meeting on Thursday and leaves on Friday. The purpose of the gathering is to discuss economic growth, but the White House acknowledges there will be plenty of conversation about Syria on the side. There are currently no plans for a one-on-one meeting between Putin and Obama, who earlier this month decided not to attend a Moscow summit with the Russian president.
On Friday, the head of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of parliament, Alexei Pushkov, said the Nobel committee should strip Obama of his 2009 Peace Prize if he launches an attack on Syria.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday the US military was ready to take action against the Syrian regime if ordered, but stressed that Washington was still evaluating claims of a chemical weapons attack. “President Obama has asked the Defense Department…
A prison break in Egypt has left nearly 40 people dead, as the head of the country’s armed forces urged supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi to integrate themselves into the political process.
The country’s interior ministry said the prisoners, who were being loaded into a vehicle to be taken to a prison on the outskirts of Cairo, had taken an officer hostage during an escape attempt and died after suffocating on tear gas.
“Thirty-six of the prisoners died of suffocation and crowding after tear gas was used to stop their escape,” the ministry said.
The official MENA news agency reported an “unknown gunman” had tried to aid prisoners in their escape.
More than 830 people have died in Egypt since last Wednesday in clashes pitting backers of the deposed Islamist president Morsi against security forces.
Police have said they have arrested more than 1,000 Brotherhood sympathisers in recent days as part of a broad crackdown aimed at ending weeks of political turmoil.
The call from General Abdel Fatah al Sisi was the military’s first public comments since last week’s violent crackdown.
The General says there is room for everyone in Egypt.
“The Egyptian people are free to choose whom they want to rule them, and we are the protectors of this free will,” he said.
He urged Brotherhood supporters to “revise their national position and realise that legitimacy belongs to the people to give it to whoever they want and take it from them whenever they want.”
West pushes forward with economic sanctions to stop violence
Meanwhile, in the United States, senior Republicans are calling on President Barack Obama to withdraw more than $1 billion in aid to the Egyptian military in the wake of last week’s killings.
Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham went to Egypt at President Obama’s request two weeks ago.
Senator McCain said standing by and watching the massacre happen is a violation of what the US stands for.
“We have no credibility,” he said.
“We do have influence but when you don’t use that influence then you don’t have that influence.”
Senator Graham also favours cutting aid and other forms of economic pressure.
“Even though the Brotherhood overplaying their hand started this we can’t support what the military is doing in response.”
President Obama has so far delayed delivering fighter jets and postponed a joint military exercise and is being backed by senior Democrat senators.
European Union governments will this week question how to best use their economic ties with Egypt to pressure Cairo’s army-backed rulers into finding a peaceful compromise with Morsi supporters.
At stake could be a $7.2 billion package of grants and loans promised by the EU, its member governments and international financial institutions last year, as well as various trade incentives, EU officials and experts say.
(CNSNews.com) – At a joint news conference with his Brazilian counterpart on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry praised Brazil for its commitment to climate change initiatives, and he promised that the Obama administration also is determined to do something about it.”So the challenge is ahead of us, for all of us, and I know that the United States has a great commitment under President Obama to take our own initiatives, not even to wait for congressional action, but to move administratively in order to do our part. I know we can continue to work with Brazil on this issue of climate, and we look forward to doing so.”President Obama repeatedly has said he won’t wait for Congress to act — on jobs, recess appointments, immigration, gun control, and other issues — where “we can act administratively without additional congressional authorization, and just get it done,” as he said in October 2011.Congressional Republicans have done little more than complain about the president exceeding his constitutional authority. One of the most vocal critics is Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who told Fox News on Monday that he agrees with those who say that Republicans should sue the president to check his executive overreach:”I would sue,” Paul told Sean Hannity. “We did sue over the recess appointments (to the National Labor Relations Board). Remember, the president declared a (congressional) recess even though we said we weren’t in recess? And the court has rebuked him severely on this. When it goes to the Supreme Court, I think they’re going to once again say he usurped power that’s not his. We should do the same thing here,” Paul said, referring to Obama’s decision to delay various elements of the new health care law.On Tuesday, Sen. Paul told Fox News, “The way our country works is, legislation is written by Congress, passed by your representatives. The president doesn’t get to write legislation. And it’s illegal and unconstitutional for him to try to change legislation by himself.” –
See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/kerry-obama-will-act-climate-change-without-congressional-approval#sthash.VWQ9vVAf.dpuf
A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday reached a deal that, if passed, would fix the big jump in interest rates for federally backed student loans, sources told NBC News.
On July 1, rates went for new subsided Stafford loans doubled from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have decried the hike and have been working to figure out a deal before students return to campus this fall.
The tentative deal reached Wednesday evening would base future fixed-interest rates for student loans on the ten-year Treasury note plus an additional percentage, according to the sources.
Under the proposed deal, undergraduates this fall would be able access loans at a projected rate of 3.86 percent. Graduate students could borrow at 5.4 percent and parents could borrow at 6.4 percent. The cap was a key provision for Senate Democrats to agree to the deal.
And the agreement would set a long-term cap on undergraduate student loans at 8.25 percent, graduate students at 9.25 percent and parents’ rate could be as high as 10.5 percent.
Still, interest rates, which are based on financial markets, will continue to increase as the economy improves. That means loan rates may again rise above 6 percent in as soon as three years, according to senate projections.
However the rates will ultimately be capped, a key provision that Senate Democrats wanted in the final deal.
Announcement of a deal comes one day after a group of senators from both sides of aisle met with President Obama at the White House.
President Obama offered a defiant defense of government funding for Planned Parenthood Friday and urged the group’s members to help his administration sign up more women for benefits under his besieged health-care law.
The first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood, Mr. Obama accused conservative politicians of trying to “roll back the clock” on abortion rights and health-care services for women.
“They’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health,” Mr. Obama told the group’s annual convention in Washington. “When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you, they’re talking about the millions of women who you serve. And when they talk about cutting off your funding, let’s be clear, they’re talking about telling many of those women, ‘You’re own your own.’ “
The president’s address was delayed for a day. He was initially scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at the group’s gala Thursday night, but postponed it to attend a memorial service in West, Texas, for victims of a deadly fertilizer plant explosion.
“We’ve gone through a pretty tough week and a half, and I was down in Texas letting the people in West, Texas, know that we all love them and care about them in their time of grieving,” Mr. Obama said.
His address to Planned Parenthood came in the midst of a trial in Philadelphia involving an abortionist accused of murder and other charges for performing illegal late-term abortions. While Mr. Obama said in an interview last week he was following the case, he didn’t mention it at the Planned Parenthood meeting.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Mr. Obama should have reproached Planned Parenthood officials for not doing more to stop the alleged violations at the clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Planned Parenthood officials in Philadelphia said they encouraged patients who complained to them about the clinic to report it to state authorities.
“President Obama blatantly ignored this inconvenient truth about the abortion industry’s horrific lack of oversight, and disparaged the pro-life advocates who wake up each morning with the goal of saving the lives of unborn children and women from the pain of abortion,” Ms. Dannenfelser said in a statement.
Instead, the president decried efforts across the country to limit women’s access to abortion services.
“After decades of progress, there are still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than to the 21st century,” Mr. Obama said. “Forty-two states have introduced laws that would ban or severely limit access to a woman’s right to choose — laws that would make it harder for women to get the contraceptive care they need. Laws that would cut off access to cancer screenings and end educational programs that help prevent teen pregnancy.”
He added, “You want to check the calendar, you want to make sure it’s still 2013.”
The president singled out a new law in North Dakota, which bans most abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy.
“A woman may not even know that she’s pregnant at six weeks,” Mr. Obama said.
With implementation of his signature health-care law under fire from lawmakers in his own party, the president devoted a good portion of his address to urging Planned Parenthood members to sign up their patients for benefits under the law’s health-insurance exchanges. Some top Democrats are angry at Mr. Obama’s decision to take money from public-health prevention programs and use it to publicize the new law, which mandates insurance marketplaces in every state.
“I’m here to also ask for your help, because we need to get the word out,” Mr. Obama said. “We need you to tell your patients, your friends, your neighbors, your family members what the health-care law means for them. Make sure that they know that there are plans out there right now that cover the costs of contraception and preventive care free-of-charge.”