Welcome to the suck.

“Secret ‘Kill List’ proves a test of Obama’s principles and Will” – Jo Becker and Scott Shane (New York Times)

I found  this article to be deeply fascinating, mainly because it alternated between inspiring and disturbing.

I don’t like drone strikes; the idea of the CIA being able to take out anyone, anywhere, on the grounds of being a suspected terrorist is deeply disturbing. But, at the same time, I recognize the need for said strikes in combating America’s enemies. The article raises an interesting point: how much of Al-Qaeda’s leadership has to die before we say “Enough.”? At what point are we authorizing the killing of the Larry, Moe, and Curly of Islamic terrorism, just because they say they’re part of Al-Qaeda?

I think that the DOJ needs to release the memos authorizing this activity. They need to be scrutinized, challenged, and ultimately decided on by the courts. And we as a country need to decide how much blood we’re willing to have on our hands.

“The West has lost its grip on war” – Tarak Barkawi (Al-Jazeera)

Unfortunately, this illustrates the problem of being the world’s policeman. Afghanistan is inherently ungovernable; no one has been able to do it for centuries. The same is true for large parts of Africa. It was folly for the United States to think that any amount of blood or treasure was going to democratize the Graveyard of Empires, and intervening in Africa is a mistake.

Moreover, people have been raging against the United States for decades for meddling in Middle Eastern politics, and now that we’re extricating ourselves, we get hammered for not doing more?

As one of those Western liberals, I absolutely want the United States to “wash [our] hands of the hot places [we] have been messing around in for centuries.” It’s brought us nothing but trouble. I think we have major domestic problems that have to take precedence, and it’s time for the world to start collectively ponying up for peace. The United States has been footing the bill since World War II, and our credit card is maxed out.

“Chris Hayes apologizes for saying he feels ‘Uncomfortable’ calling killed soldiers ‘Heroes'” – Jack Mirkinson (Huffington Post)

I don’t think Chris Hayes should have had to apologize for his comments. We mock the terrorists that claim that suicide bombers will arrive in Heaven and be greeted by 72 virgins, but lionize dead soldiers.

Dead soldiers represent the failure of nations. When two countries must sacrifice their citizens to settle their differences, nobody wins. Somebody just loses less.

That’s not to denigrate the sacrifices these individuals make; they volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way in defense of a grateful nation, but dying in combat should never be looked to as heroic; rather, it should be looked to as the tragedy it is.

“Hope: The Sequel” – John Heilmann (New York Magazine)

From the team that brought you 2008’s “Hope and Change”, comes 2012’s “Fear and Loathing”!

A fascinating look into the Obama campaign. There are some really good insights here.

“Four signs American’s broadband policy is failing” – Timothy B. Lee (Ars Technica)

Let me summarize: Right Wing Hack writes a whitepaper for a Libertarian Think Tank arguing in favor of an absolutist free market viewpoint. Four years later, Right Wing Hack discovers that corporations inherently favor profit over customer service, and have created de facto monopolies and non-compete agreements which have caused the country to lag behind international standards.

To this I say: NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.

Anyone that’s had to buy cable or internet anytime in the last decade can tell you that it’s exceedingly rare to have a choice of providers. If you’re lucky, you get two Big Name providers like AT&T, Comcast, or Verizon, and a smaller local provider. But, for certain places, you’re often left with a single major provider who can soak you for whatever they want, because it’s either them or nothing and that’s the ballgame.

This isn’t anything new. It’s the way pretty much all under-regulated industry works. Fierce competition eventually gives way to mutual cooperation. AT&T and Comcast compete to sign up as many people as possible while pushing infrastructure improvements, then cease infrastructure improvements and willingly consolidate into certain markets to create forced subscribership and hike prices.

“Big Fiscal Phonies” – Paul Krugman (New York Times)

If you get a chance, I recommend you get a copy of last week’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”. Paul Krugman spends a solid hour demolishing Grover Norquist, whose every fourth word is “Reagan”.

“The IMF on UK macroeconomic policy: Part 2” – Martin Wolf (Martin Wolf’s Exchange)

It’s a given that austerity doesn’t work anywhere. It’s not working in any of the States that have tried it. It’s not working in Europe. It’s a disaster of an economic policy. And yet, it’s still being trotted around like a show pony as the cure for our economic ails.

Fundamentally, it’s because a lot of Very Serious People have bought in to the idea that the proletariat has become flabby around the midsection, what with their cushy right-to-work jobs, bottomed out 401k’s, zeroed out bonuses and raises, and rampant unemployment, and decided that “the deficit” is more important. I put that in quotes because they don’t care about the actual deficit, but rather the idea of “the deficit” as an excuse to slash and burn social spending.

Even though it’s not working, has never worked, and never will work, as long as the VSP’s keep pushing it, governments will keep trying it, until the people have had enough and vote the bums out.

“Could Latino voters turn deep-red Texas Democratic by 2020?” – Jason Margolis (The Atlantic)

This is the GOP’s worst nightmare. A Latino Texas going purple to blue would end the Republican party as a serious contender for the White House, and relegate them to minority status. The fact that the electorate hasn’t punished them sufficiently for their crimes is evidence of the Democratic party’s inherent disorganization more than anything.

“The New Welfare State: Faster, Cheaper… and Out of Control?” – Joseph Lawler (The Atlantic)

I wonder how much of a beating Clinton’s legacy is going to take before it’s all said and done? The repeal of Glass-Steagal and Welfare Reform are pretty big dents already.

“Breaking with movement conservatism over its ugliness” – Conor Friedersdorf (The Atlantic)

Every time I read these articles, I want to rip what’s left of my hair out.

At some point, these people need to be cast into the political wilderness and told “Look, you chose poorly. You had no problem with that ugliness as long as it was benefiting you and your friends, but now that the ugliness is running your party, you’re suddenly uncomfortable with it. That’s crap. Go wander in the woods for a bit and come back when you’re ready to be not quite so politically craven.”

In that vein, there’s more than a little irony in that when even the most conservative fire-breathers are bending on Obamacare, the groups that empowered them are warning them to stay the course or get eaten alive.

Of course, there’s always hope.

“How Florida Governor Rick Scott could steal the election for Mitt Romney” – Judd Legum (ThinkProgress)

If you can’t beat ’em, disenfranchise ’em.