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Former Republican Sen. Warns GOP May ‘Have Gone So Far Overboard That We Are Beyond Redemption’

“In an age when far-right tea party activists have taken over the Republican Party and demanded lockstep allegiance, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) has been one of the few GOP lawmakers to step out of line. In particular, Lugar, the ranking GOP member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has blasted his own party for relentlessly blocking ratification of the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, calling on his fellow GOP senators to “do your duty for your country” and complete the pact.

Not surprisingly, this insubordination has earned Lugar significant scorn within the Republican base, which now seems to value blind obedience over principled independent decision-making. In a New York Times profile of Lugar published today, former GOP Sen. John Danforth feared that the backlash against Lugar from his own party signals that the GOP has gone “far overboard” with no hope of turning back.[…]
Diane Hubbard, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Tea Party, told the Times, removing Lugar “will be a difficult challenge. But we do believe it’s doable, and we think the climate is right for it and we believe it is a must.””

Scowcroft on START: ‘Partisan’ GOP Doesn’t Want To Give Obama ‘A Foreign Policy Victory’

“[Dick] Lugar has been reluctant to criticize his colleagues’ obstruction. When asked last week if they were just playing politics, Lugar said, “I am not ascribing motivations to anybody.” But other Republicans don’t seem to be holding back. Brent Scowcroft served as national security adviser to two Republican presidents and has been pleading with Congress to ratify New START. Profiling Lugar’s awkward position vis-a-vis other Senate Republicans on this issue, Politico reports today that Scrowcroft isn’t being as diplomatic as Lugar on the GOP’s incentive for holding up START.”

Officials Hammer Out Details On Ireland Bailout

“An Irish government minister said he expects an agreement within the next 24 hours on an EU-IMF loan worth approximately $115 billion. The comment came as more than 15,000 people marched to Dublin’s main thoroughfare to denounce the bailout as disastrous for Ireland.”

Imagine A Saturday Without Mail

“The U.S. Postal Service is losing billions and is considering whether to drop Saturday delivery. The idea falls flat with some, who point to people who rely on checks and prescriptions that could arrive on Saturday. But with UPS and FedEx serving our mail needs, do we need the post office at all?”

Holocaust survivors still waiting for insurance payouts

“Decades later, Holocaust survivors are struggling to recover payouts from large European insurers. David Mermelstein, then a teenager, lost his entire family: parents, grandparents, four brothers and a sister. He and others can’t sue the insurers, however, because a formidable foe is now standing in the way: the U.S. government.”

European Markets in Limbo as Irish Bailout Takes Shape

“European leaders planned a hasty meeting for Sunday to complete a multibillion-dollar bailout for Ireland, and one big question was whether Irish banks’ bondholders would face losses.”

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