by Sam Stein and Michael Calderone, Huffington Post, 5/18/15
WASHINGTON — Though there were some bumps, leading Republican presidential candidates in the past week settled on an Iraq war narrative. Yes, the intelligence turned out to be faulty, so much so that there wouldn’t be a strong enough case to authorize the invasion in retrospect. But there was consensus that at the time President George W. Bush made the call, something had to be done about the threat posed by Iraq.
For those lawmakers who actually voted against the war, and those journalists who reported skeptically before the attack, this is misleading at best and self-serving at worst. Watching the revisionist story take hold 13 years after they opposed the invasion is reviving the frustration and marginalization they felt back then.
“I was amazed, absolutely amazed at how people were supporting going to war on the basis of things that just weren’t so,” said former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), one of a handful of members who opposed the invasion. “It was clear as it could be. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. None of the intel suggested they had anything to do with 9/11 and the whole rationale for WMD [weapons of mass destruction] was just very, very thin for anybody who read the intelligence reports.” As for the 2016 candidates’ comments, he said: “It is just a rewriting of history in an attempt for everybody to cover their extraordinary mistake; probably one of the most serious mistakes in the military and diplomatic history of the United States, and they were all complicit.”…
continue reading at Huffington Post
by Paul Krugman, New York Times, 5/18/15
Surprise! It turns out that there’s something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House. Thanks to Jeb Bush, we may finally have the frank discussion of the Iraq invasion we should have had a decade ago.
But many influential people — not just Mr. Bush — would prefer that we not have that discussion. There’s a palpable sense right now of the political and media elite trying to draw a line under the subject. Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it’s about time that everyone admits it. Now let’s move on.
Well, let’s not — because that’s a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it’s false. The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.
The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time….
continue reading at New York Times
by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, May 19, 2015
In honor of primary election day (today), I am reposting this, first posted in the Times of Chester County.
People go in to vote every May and November (at least, that’s what both major parties hope they do). But voters mostly can’t imagine how those names got on the ballot.
Access is basically in the hands of the Republicans and Democrats in our 2-party system.
Independents can get on the ballot in 2 ways:
1) By winning a party primary. That can happen only in a “cross-filed” primary for school board or for judge of the court of Common Pleas or Magisterial District Judge, most likely only when a party doesn’t have at least one candidate for each position open; or
2) By filing “nomination papers” over the summer, for any position.
The chances of an Independent ever winning in November are, to say the least, remote, which means 20% of the local electorate have virtually no chance to serve in elected office….
continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester
by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, 5/2/15
THE eruptions in Baltimore have been tied, in complex ways, to frustrations at American inequality, and a new measure of the economic gaps arrived earlier this year:
It turns out that the Wall Street bonus pool in 2014 was roughly twice the total annual earnings of all Americans working full time at the federal minimum wage.
You read that right: Just the annual bonuses for just the sliver of Americans who work just in finance just in New York City dwarfed the combined year-round earnings of all Americans earning the federal minimum wage…..
continue reading, follow links, at New York Times