Quote of the Day

“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight.  He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.  It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger over-sight of the runaway intelligence community.”

NYT Editorial, “Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower”

I think our Founding Fathers would sign off on this.

Quote of the Day

“That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.”

Edward Snowden

Snowden has asked for temporary asylum in Russia until he can go to one of the Latin American countries that has offered him asylum.

If I were sentencing him here in the U. S., I think I would have a hard time doing more than a slap on the wrist.

My Yellow Brick Road

I would be heartbroken if yesterday’s bombing had happened in Boise or Birmingham.  But to have it happen in Boston is like breaking my heart and then stomping on it.

I grew up believing that I was incredibly lucky to be born an American and especially to be born a Bostonian.

If you were a bookish child in the 50′s and 60′s, especially a girl, Boston was a welcoming place to be.  Give us your near-sighted, your uncoordinated, your always-picked-last-for-sports…

I grew up not just in Boston, but in Dorchester, where Martin Richard was from.  It didn’t matter that I was poor because I knew that when I grew up, I would never again live in an apartment like my parents’.

When I passed through the doors of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, where I spent many Saturdays between 7th and 12th grades, I wasn’t just  on my way to whatever research I was doing that day, I was on my way to my future life.   Boylston Street was my yellow brick road.

At the library, I did the research and analysis and writing that didn’t just get me into Wellesley and then Yale when it went co-ed, but also made it easy to excel once I got there.  I was a student at Girls’ Latin School, but I became a scholar at that library,  learning to use and value original sources, learning to think critically and draw my own conclusions.

To see death and blood and severed limbs right outside my library, this home to all the wisdom men and women have achieved, this sanctuary where the poorest of the city can enjoy the same resources as the richest, is unbearable to me.  My brain and body ache.

The Phony Patriots of “Fix the Debt”

The NYT has a terrific take-down on the front page today* of that “Fix the Debt” group.  They’re not high-minded at all, just a front for high-value tax benefits and defense contracts.

It’s a bunch of lobbyists trying to protect stuff like the “carried interest” loophole for private equity, tax breaks for multinationals, military spending, etc.  They want to fix the debt on the backs of others while keeping their goodies.

For example, their core principles argue that we should cut entitlements dramatically, but don’t say a word about cutting even a penny from the defense budget.

The story links “Fix the Debt” leaders to specific companies:  Sam Nunn to General Electric;  Erskine Bowles to Morgan Stanley; Judd Gregg to Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, and International Exchange.

The article is sickening, but a must read.  They pretend to be about patriotism, but really it’s all about their perks.

* “Public Goals, Private Interests in Debt Campaign,” Nicholas Confessore

Madly Spinning

With the emphasis on madly…

Charles Krauthammer has gotten a lot of press for his comment to Sean Hannity that Obama is trying to provoke a “civil war” in the GOP.

Now pretend that Bush is president, that the Dems control the House, and that the GOP has a majority in the Senate, but not a filibuster-proof one.

What would Krauthammer say if Bush was trying to keep us from going over the cliff?

He wouldn’t say Bush was trying to provoke a civil war among Dems, he’d praise him for trying to reach out to what he’d call the “reasonable” Dems, who weren’t “crazy, far-left types with San Francisco values.”

Bush would be heroically trying to save the country, while the Kenyan Muslim Socialist is heinously trying to destroy it.

We need intelligent policy debates about the right level of taxing and spending, but all we’re getting is stupid personality attacks.

Quote of the Day

“I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) about his never-raise-taxes pledge to Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform.

Norquist wasn’t on the ballot, but he lost big in the election.  His days of getting all the GOP lunch money may finally be over.

Another Bad Guy Gone

On the eve of the 11th anniversary of 9/11, the President isn’t just out there making patriotic speeches, he’s making us safer, protecting us from another day of horror.

The Defense Ministry in Yemen is reporting that Al Qaeda’s No. #2 leader there, Saeed al-Shihri, has been killed in a drone strike.  This is a major blow to the terrorists because Yemen is now Al Qaeda’s most significant hub.

As Joe Biden would say, this is a BFD.

We have an excellent commander in chief — we need to keep him.

Were Mitt’s Returns Stolen? Oh Please, Oh Please, Oh Please.

From the Associated Press:

The Secret Service says it’s investigating the reported theft of copies of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s federal tax records before 2010. A letter sent anonymously to Tennessee political and newspaper offices demanded $1 million to prevent their disclosure.

“Romney’s accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said there is no evidence any Romney tax files were stolen. The letter said the returns were stolen in late August during a Watergate-style break-in at the company’s accounting offices in Franklin, Tenn.”

If I had copies of Mitt’s returns (note to Secret Service, I don’t), I wouldn’t be thinking about money, I’d just want to get them up online. 

Just because you’re a thief, doesn’t mean you can’t be a patriot.  If you have them, post them.

 

Condi Conservatism

From “Party of Strivers,” David Brooks, NYT:

“I see what the G.O.P. is offering the engineering major from Purdue or the business major from Arizona State.  The party is offering skilled people the freedom to run their race.  I don’t see what the party is offering the waitress with two kids, or the warehouse worker whose wages have stagnated for a decade, or the factory worker whose skills are now obsolete.

“The fact is our destinies are shaped by social forces much more than the current G.O.P. is willing to admit.  The skills that enable people to flourish are not innate but constructed by circumstances.

Government does not always undermine initiative.  Some government programs, like the G.I. Bill, inflame ambition.  Others depress it.  What matters is not whether a program is public or private but its effect on character.  Todays Republicans, who see every government program as a step on the road to serfdom, are often blind to that.  They celebrate the race to success but don’t know how to give everyone access to that race.

The wisest speech departed from the prevailing story line.  It was delivered by Condoleezza Rice.  It echoed an older, less libertarian conservatism, which harkens back to Washington, Tocqueville and Lincoln.  The powerful words in her speech were not ‘I’ and ‘me’ — the heroic individual.  They were ‘we’ and ‘us’ — citizens who emerge out of and exist as participants in a great national project.

“Rice celebrated material striving but also larger national goals — the long national struggle to extend benefits and mobilize all human potential.  She subtly emphasized how our individual destinies are dependent upon the social fabric and upon public institutions like schools, just laws and our mission in the world.  She put less emphasis on commerce and more on citizenship.