truthdig.com — Located between the sea of sand that is Saudi Arabia and Iran, where Central Asia begins, Qatar is a coastal appendage of the former and faces the latter across the Persian Gulf. Bahrain—home port of the U.S. 5th Fleet—is its close neighbor on the Gulf, and Qatar itself hosts advanced elements of U.S. Central Command, responsible for American operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The miniscule state of Qatar is at the nexus of America’s collision with titanic national military and political failure. No one yet in Washington seems fully to appreciate or acknowledge the failure, but failure it is, the culmination of a series of events that inexorably will lead to America’s departure from the most foolhardy political and military adventure in the history of the nation.
washingtonpost.com — Rick Santorum is engaging in class warfare. Santorum accuses President Obama and Mitt Romney of that supposed transgression. Yet class warfare was at the heart of his “what a snob” attack on Obama for urging students to attend college, part of an angry broadside against “the elite in society who think that they can manage your life better than you can.” The contrast with Romney is striking. Mitt Romney’s is the politics of noblesse oblige, the man whose governor father advised him to make money before running for office so he wouldn’t have to worry about paying the mortgage. Santorum’s is the politics of personal grievance, bristling — or at the very least appearing to bristle — with resentment toward those elites. If Romney arrives at the political party bearing a silver spoon, Santorum comes with a deeply chiseled chip on his shoulder.
alternet.org — Last week, the New York Times published a widely discussed article updating an argument that progressive bloggers noticed a very long time ago. It's now well-understood that blue states generally export money to the federal government; and red states generally import it. Progressives believe in the redistribution of wealth, so we're not usually too upset by this state of affairs. That’s what it means to be one country. E pluribus unum, and all that. We’re happy to help, because we think we’ve got a stake in making sure kids in rural Alabama get educations and seniors in Arizona get healthcare. What’s good for them is good for all of us. We also like to think they’d help us out if our positions were reversed. It’s an investment in making America stronger, and we feel fine about that. But maybe it's time to admit that we're being played for chumps, and that there are people in the rest of the country who are taking way too much advantage of our good nature.
politics.salon.com — To come from behind to win your home state is embarrassing, but it’s better than losing. So Mitt Romney snatched a victory in Michigan — while winning Arizona as predicted — and looked relieved to be leaving his “home.” In the end, it’s amazing he won Michigan at all. In fact, I’d have advised him to renounce Michigan as his home state. He’s got too many home states – he played that card (vacation home anyway) in New Hampshire and will again in Massachusetts. More important, Romney didn’t seem as though Michigan was his home state in December, 2008, when he wrote a scorching New York Times op-ed opposing the Bush and Obama administration plans to keep the big three automakers alive, headlined “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Nobody talks like that about their home state.
thedailybeast.com — Somewhere deep in the heart of Texas, George W. Bush is chuckling. During the eight years of Bush’s administration, his penchant for talking openly about his evangelical faith and his strategy of cultivating ties with conservative religious leaders led liberals to charge him with being a theocrat. They warned that Bush’s faith-based initiative would funnel billions of dollars into building theocratic institutions. But Bush wasn’t a theocrat—he was just happy to accept the label if it helped to generate enthusiasm among his conservative religious supporters. Rick Santorum, on the other hand, is a real theocrat who does not believe in the separation of church and state. His rise from the presidential wannabe to potential Republican nominee has been so rapid that few people have noticed that his beliefs about religion and politics are not just run-of-the-mill conservatism. If the fear of theocracy during the Bush era was overwrought, Santorum’s candidacy has made it very real.
thedailybeast.com — In his acceptance speech for his primary victories in Arizona and Michigan, Mitt Romney repeated his pledges to cut taxes 20 percent “across the board” and to balance the Federal budget at the same time as creating jobs and promoting economic recovery. You don’t have to have had Economics 101 to know that Mitt Romney is peddling snake oil. Massively cutting government spending when the economy is fragile would risk throwing the country into another Very Deep Recession. Tax cuts don’t create jobs – often they send them abroad since they concentrate wealth in the hands of the super-rich, who don’t really care whether the jobs are created in the U.S. or abroad. But the biggest scam of all is the “across the board” tax cut.
thedailybeast.com — So Mitt Romney won Michigan. A win is a win. Certainly a loss would have been a complete disaster for him. Romney avoided that and remains the presumptive nominee. But he still had a rough week, during which he should have learned three things: first, that he has a hell of a lot of work to do as a candidate; second, that he basically lost Michigan to Barack Obama this week; and third, that he is going to face, still, a big fight in Ohio on March 6. Far from Michigan settling things, it has merely set up the next walk over the coals for the candidate no one really wants.
nytimes.com — The way the Greeks and their government have been treated tells us a great deal about the way Europe is structured and the dangers that beset it. The technocratic leaders of Greece have lost the confidence of the people, who are rioting because the conditions attached to help from the rest of Europe are so stringent that Greece would be better off in the future without such “assistance.” Yet this is not the first time the world has seen such zeal in the name of financial rescue. During the 1997-98 financial crisis, bailouts from the International Monetary Fund left Asian countries with no choice but the strictest of austerity measures and free-market reforms. These countries learned their lesson: they insured themselves against future macroeconomic instability — and vowed never to repeat the humiliating experience of an I.M.F. loan. The European Union is repeating this pattern, without even noticing that its version is even more violent than the I.M.F.’s.
robertreich.org — My father was a Republican for the first 78 years of his life. For the last twenty, he’s been a Democrat (he just celebrated his 98th.) What happened? “They lost me,” he says. They’re losing even more Americans now, as the four remaining GOP candidates seek to out-do one another in their race for the votes of the loony right that’s taken over the Grand Old Party. But the rest of us have reason to worry. A party of birthers, creationists, theocrats, climate-change deniers, nativists, gay-bashers, anti-abortionists, media paranoids, anti-intellectuals, and out-of-touch country clubbers cannot govern America.
progressive.org — Rick Santorum’s true colors are really coming out these days, and they are the colors of the Ayatollah and Savonarola. On Sunday, Santorum told George Stephanopoulos that JFK’s famous speech delineating the wall between church and state made him want to “throw up” and should make every American want to “throw up.” Well, here’s what JFK actually said: "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute... I believe in an America . . . where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source -- where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.” And that’s precisely where Santorum has a problem with JFK’s statement — and with our Constitutional system.