5 Points On How New York State Got So Damn Corrupt

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) was merely the latest in a long line of state lawmakers who have been whacked with federal corruption charges. Which begs the question: Just how did New York state get so damn corrupt?

Editors' Blog

Truly a Brilliant Move

We learn that Israeli PM Netanyahu's decision to enter the Speech Pact with John Boehner is going so brilliantly that Netanyahu's been hitting the phones with top congressional Democrats to try to make nice and end the controversy. And according to this Times article, it isn't going very well. Netanyahu has reached out to Reid and Pelosi and had both tell him he's making a mistake. Indeed, this article says Netanyahu game-playing with John Boehner has had the effect of pushing Senate towards the White House on the Iran sanctions bill. So even on the terms of his own notional priorities, Netanyahu's gambit has been an abject failure in terms of Iran policy while adding the benefit of turning both Democrats and a significant portion of American Jewry against him.

Boehner: I Told Ambassador Not to Tell Obama

I had not seen this statement put up by Speaker Boehner's office trying to explain away the Boehner-Netanyahu speech debacle. For starters, the statement appears geared to suggest that reports questioning the incident are part of some sort of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory - claims that the Israelis "orchestrated" the invitation. But to the point, the statement has Boehner instructing Amb. Dermer not to tell the White House what they were agreeing to.

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Is the Net Tightening?

The administration seems to be upping the pressure, tightening the net around the political operative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put in place as his (and yes, I use that adjective advisedly) Ambassador to the US. The Times today reports that the White House has upped the ante, explicitly attacking Dermer's behavior in a statement to the Times. Oddly, unless I'm misreading the article, the Times doesn't actually quote what the unnamed but authorized "senior American official" said - which is odd and slightly undercuts the impact. But they provide the gist: "an unusually sharp criticism by a senior administration official who said that the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, who helped orchestrate the invitation, had repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States."

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Story of the Day

As a new poll says the public overwhelmingly wants Congress to fix the subsidy gap if the Supreme Court makes a corrupt bargain with the GOP and invalidates subsidies in states without state-run Obamacare market places, House Republicans demand the White House tells them what they will do if subsidies are pulled.

Apparently Republicans haven't thought through what they'll do if they succeed in blowing up the country's health care system and pulling coverage from millions of Americans.

Grand Illusion

Jeff Goldberg walks through the Boehner/Netanyahu Pact on every conceivable path and can't find one where it's not a disaster. Too true. Painfully true. To be clear, he's talking about a disaster for Israel and its security - not necessarily Netanyahu's electoral fortunes. He doesn't address that. Jeff also sees the move - or at least does so in this article - exclusively through the lens of Netanyahu's Iran fixation. I tend to think domestic politics plays a very large role as well. I would find the nature of the Iranian threat to Israel more convincing if the leaders of Israel's defense establishment saw it the way Netanyahu does. And they do not. Unlike Rabin, Barak or Sharon, he is no military man, though he served in one of the IDF's elite units as a young man. But that question is almost secondary to the key point Jeff makes, which is that in a fight he almost certainly cannot win (coercing Obama into abandoning his Iran policy) he is directly and immediately threatening - and more than threatening, concretely damaging - a lynchpin of Israeli security: the US alliance. The damage is not just with this President, who after all will be out of office in less than two years, but with Democrats and even American Jewry.

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