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A Clue Revealing the Republican Darkness

This piece will be appearing this week as an op/ed in newspapers in my very red congressional district (VA-06) **************************** Like the clue that unravels a...

Saturday News: “Hurricanes Prove That Climate Adaptation Is Not Enough”; Trump’s...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Saturday, September 23. Also check out Trump's unhinged, unpresidential rant...

Friday News: McCain Actually Does the Right Thing, #SkinnyRepeal Killed; Scary...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, July 28. Senate rejects bid to partly repeal Obamacare,...

Wednesday News: Health Care “Procedural Madness” in Senate; John McCain’s “Tragic...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, July 26. Also, check out the video, in which...

Tuesday News: Trump Violates Boy Scouts Oath; McCain to Vote on...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, July 25. Also, if you have the stomach for...

Comments on Sen. John McCain by Virginia Democrats

John McCain is the last Republican I've voted for, back in the 2000 Virginia GOP primary. That vote was in part a vote against...

In Re-Election Bid, John McCain Has Combined Cowardice with Folly

Many of us who have followed politics for a generation or more have found things to admire in John McCain’s role upon the political...

Hillary’s Waterloo Is Along the Road to Damascus

Hillary Clinton photo 130904Hillary_Clinton_zpsf69a494b.jpg This has to be a particularly uncomfortable moment for Hillary Clinton. She was an architect of this Syrian dilemma by omission and commission. Her team has been hoping we would ignore that. The statement that was released on her behalf was nuanced for deniability. Like her vote on Iraq, spineless.

"Secretary Clinton supports the president's effort to enlist the Congress in pursuing a strong and targeted response to the Assad regime's horrific use of chemical weapons."

There is no escape for this pretender this time. And it really doesn't matter that the situation in the Middle East is the culmination of a decade or more of national arrogance that overlays a crumbling economic foundation. Ms. Clinton bought a permanent stake in this when she cast her vote at that very important moment supporting George Bush's war. When she had an opportunity to redeem herself and demonstrate her moxie as Secretary of State, she didn't.

There have been too many missteps to count regarding Syria alone. And throughout this period, her understudy, Susan Rice, now the National Security Advisor, was completely ineffective in her role as Ambassador to the United Nations. Every bit of this has Hillary's signature all over it. And this will weigh her down throughout her campaign for 2016.

The Russian reset is part and parcel of this situation; Hillary owns that. At a time when Clinton's State Department team was sending out feelers to Assad's opposition, inviting representatives to meet with our Ambassador to Syria, we were handing Assad's benefactor a trump card. Unexpectedly, as the opposition transitioned to the use of organized violence, something happened to change Hillary's opinion of Assad and to cast him as a reformer. No wonder the Russians and their client read the tea leaves the way they did. Meanwhile, Senator McCain was allowed or maybe even encouraged to traipse around the region as though he had any ability to discern the situation on the ground. But that fit with Hillary's penchant for wanting to have it both ways. The United States could be seen supporting both sides.

Political Trivia in Times of Crisis

I've been trying to figure out why John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and several other Republican senators are piling on Susan Rice, UN ambassador, for her role as spokesperson for the administration on the Benghazi Sept.11 attack. There is no reasonable evidence for their ridiculous attacks, but maybe there's a political motive.

One of the "shining stars" of the GOP, Scott Brown, got wiped out by Elizabeth Warren, a genuine progressive, in his race to return to the Senate from Massachusetts. If we look at the two names mentioned for Secretary of State we come up with Susan Rice and John Kerry. If the GOP senators can make Susan Rice a difficult choice for President Obama, then perhaps Obama will simply nominate Kerry, thus opening a Senate seat in Massachusetts.

When Willard "Mitt" Romney was governor of Massachusetts, the Democratic majority in the  legislature took away his ability to name someone to an open Senate seat. That came back to bite them when Sen. Ted Kennedy died in office in 2010, and Scott  Brown won a special election against a feckless Democrat, Martha Coakley. (Coakley actually thought that Curt Shilling, hero of the Boston Red Sox victory in the 2004 World Series, played for the Yankees!) I'm coming to the conclusion that some GOP senators hope they can force the nomination of John Kerry as Secretary of State, thus giving Scott Brown another chance at a low-turnout special election.

Such Machiavellian maneuvers rarely work out as planned. Just ask Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling. In their dream scenario, Romney names McDonnell his Attorney General (!?!), thus enabling Bolling to be the incumbent governor when he faces crazy Ken Cuccinelli in 2013. Now, all Bolling can do is drop out of the race for the Republican nomination and scheme (we hope) for a way to stop Cuccinelli from getting to the governor's mansion.

Oh, I do love politics!  

Republicans, Deregulation, and Ruin

In 2008, free-wheeling, unfettered markets toppled, erasing $11 trillion of American's net worth and 8.5 million jobs. Right, don't blame Bush; blame the entire bankrupt, oversimplified "conservative philosophy" and its blind eye to history. It all will become clearer in this election year, the bad hand Barack Obama was dealt.

Yet another reason for Republicans to attack public broadcasting: Frontline's series: Money, Power, and Wall Street is helping set the record straight. Incompetence, malfeasance, and reliance on an economic philosophy that rationalizes policy rather than providing safeguards against illegitimate market action are the underlying themes. All of this complements of Republican and private sector influence.

The first episode of this "Election 2012 Special Event" provides an engaging glimpse into the development of a new unregulated market in the securities sector built on an instrument that spread like poisonous kudzu throughout the financial world. From humble beginnings at JP Morgan in an effort to abate the risk exposure to an Exxon line of credit following the Exxon-Valdez disaster, credit default swaps (a kind of derivative that insures a loan against default) became common instruments even in the predatory lending galaxy, usually insulated and isolated in the legitimate financial universe. The stage was set.