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Tag: Administration


Gen. James L. Jones, National Security Chief No More

The Obama administration has seen another key player out the door. This time, it’s national security adviser James Jones, whom Obama thanked for his “sacrifices” in his announcement in the White House’s Rose Garden on Friday. Who’s next?

Posted on Oct 8, 2010 READ MORE



Official White House photo / Pete Souza

Obama Plays Rough at Recess

In alleged retaliation for Republican stonewalling, President Barack Obama will bypass the Senate and make recess appointments to 15 high-level administration jobs. For context, George W. Bush made more than 170 such appointments; Bill Clinton made nearly 140.

Posted on Mar 27, 2010 READ MORE


money handshake
ericjohnolson.com

Lobbyists Decamp From D.C.

Could the current climate in Washington, D.C., be discouraging lobbyists from practicing their persuasive trade in and around the White House? Or does the downsizing of their ranks have more to do with the economy than the political zeitgeist on Capitol Hill?

Posted on Nov 2, 2009 READ MORE


glass window
sheridangp.com

White House Adds to Faith-Based Advisory Group

The bad rap that “faith-based initiatives” got during the last administration hasn’t kept the new management at the White House from treating its Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships seriously. It has fleshed out the lineup of advisers to a total of 25 with two new recruits.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE



What You Dig

Here are the five most-read stories of the last seven days, including Chris Hedges on America’s moral meltdown and Robert Scheer on the economic incompetents who find easy employment in the Obama administration. Full list after the jump.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 READ MORE



Jonathan Shapiro on ‘The Tyranny of Dead Ideas’

Matt Miller, a host of KCRW’s “Left, Right & Center,” has written a book full of necessary honesty and courage—a welcome effort to rid us of the nostrums and shopworn notions that cloud our thinking and constrain our politics.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Fight Against the Politics of Evasion

Critics who argue that he is asking Congress to do too much are finding it far easier to talk about an overloaded system than to tell those without health insurance that they will have to wait a few more years.

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE


The Point of Pointing Fingers

Obama speaks disdainfully of “ideology,” but there comes a time when first principles need to be articulated. Conservatives have entered this fight with guns blazing while progressives have hidden behind a Maginot Line armed only with the word pragmatism.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 READ MORE


If Only Obama Were as Radical as They Say

While conservatives cry socialism, the president is trying to steer a moderate course. Moderation, however, may be the wrong recipe. There is something deeply disturbing about the drip, drip, drip of billions into the banking system with no apparent impact.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Chris Greenberg

Secret Bush Memos Gave President Even More Power

President Bush’s memo fetish is well documented, but the Obama administration has just made public a series of memos that said the executive had extraordinary powers far beyond those traditionally considered legal. According to the crack legal minds of the Bush administration, the president could overrule the other branches of government.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

America’s New Trajectory

Just six weeks into his term, Obama has opened his bid to redraw the boundaries of our politics and expand the realm of the possible.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE


Turn a Harsh Light Onto the Banks

It’s reaching the point where desperate measures—brutal honesty and complete transparency—may be the only way to bring the economy out of its kamikaze dive. If so, this won’t be pretty.

Posted on Feb 23, 2009 READ MORE


There Was No GOP ‘Victory’

Republicans congratulate themselves for remaining unified in defeat and whine about Obama’s refusal to capitulate—but in fact it is they who have failed in the initial episode of a confrontation that will certainly continue for four years.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


Downward Automobility

It makes sense to prop up ailing carmakers. Allowing GM and Chrysler to go bankrupt could be a triggering event that might make a very bad economy much worse.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


America’s Confused Cause in Central Asia

Exactly what do we think we are doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Are we there to liberalize their forms of religious observance, or conduct a war over theology, or establish permanent NATO bases there, or are we searching for Osama bin Laden? It seems that we are doing all of these things at the same time. But why?

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Petros Giannakouris

Bad News From America’s Top Spy

It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists. Just ask the new director of national intelligence, who warned that the deepening economic crisis could trigger a return to the “violent extremism” of the 1920s and 1930s.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 READ MORE


Where’s the Top Gun?

Well, that didn’t work out. In pushing for a new financial industry bailout, Treasury Secretary Geithner came across like a banker trying to do a politician’s job. Obama owes us some hands-on involvement.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


Stronger, Please, Mr. President

Having allowed his Republican opponents to dominate the economic debate, Obama used his first news conference to rebut them—coolly and civilly, yet without leaving any doubt that he can strike back harder if necessary.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


A Team of Zombies

Only weeks ago, the political world was buzzing about a “team of rivals,” but instead President Obama has populated his administration with Bush yes-men and Wall Street kleptocrats whose discredited theologies cannot be killed.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE


In Washington, Public Policy and Private Wealth Are Hopelessly Tangled

Barack Obama in Washington reminds one of Diogenes in Athens, with his lantern in search of an honest man.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Obama-Biden Transition Project

Obama Takes Responsibility for Nominee Mess

President Obama blitzed the networks Tuesday to say “I screwed up.” Three of Obama’s high-profile nominees had failed to pay all the taxes they owed. Two were forced to withdraw from consideration earlier Tuesday. The president said he wanted to “send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules—you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes.”

Posted on Feb 3, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Unhindered by Talent

Obama Keeps Renditions In the Toolbox

President Obama may be trying to shut down Guantanamo and CIA black sites, but he’s decided to make renditions a part of his regime. In case you’ve repressed it along with other Bush-era nightmares, extraordinary rendition is what the U.S. calls kidnapping someone and sending him to a nasty place to be tortured.

Posted on Feb 1, 2009 READ MORE


Stimulus Brings on a Family Feud

President Obama’s visit with House and Senate Republicans this week was useful for setting a new tone and a refreshing break from the Bush administration’s habit of consulting almost no one. But it was a sideshow to the main battle over how to improve the economy, which is among Democrats.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail

Millions have served time in U.S. prisons for crimes that fall far short of those attributed to the Bush administration. Some criminals, it seems, are like banks judged too big to fail: too big to jail, too powerful to prosecute.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Salvage Operation

Repairing the damage that George W. Bush did to the nation’s values, honor and pride will be complicated and, at times, politically inconvenient. But nothing is more urgent, and nothing will ultimately reap more benefits at home and abroad.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
Flickr / No. Nein

Obama Announces New Ethics Rules, Freezes Aides’ Salaries

President Obama says “[t]ransparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones” of his administration. To that end, he will toughen lobbying restrictions and require all federal agencies to give high priority to Freedom of Information Act requests. The president also announced a pay freeze for about 100 of his highest-paid aides.

Posted on Jan 21, 2009 READ MORE


Geithner Claw!
bloomberg.com

Geithner Urges ‘Fundamental Reform’ in Bailout

It’s the first full day of Obama’s administration and things are looking a bit different in D.C. Treasury secretary nominee Timothy Geithner called for “fundamental reform” of the $700 billion bailout, claiming the existing bailout package favored big business over struggling families.

Posted on Jan 21, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Saul Loeb, pool

Good Riddance

Say it with us: former President Bush. After eight crazy years, George W. Bush is escaping to Texas, where he plans to work on his memoirs and, one imagines, clear some brush. He leaves a nation in despair. Perhaps his greatest achievement was scaring America into the arms of Barack Obama. Heckuva job, Bushie.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Over—and Not a Moment Too Soon

George W. Bush promised to restore “honor and dignity” to the White House, but he leaves with less honor and with lower public approval than any other president since Richard Nixon.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE


Bush’s Short View of History

In his eyes, there’s “no such thing as short-term history.” It’s true that some presidencies look different after a few decades. But it’s also true that presidential acts can have immediate consequences—and Bush’s eight years are seen as a nadir that will take years to recover from.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



abc.go.com

‘Homeland Security USA’: The Outtakes

The inaugural episode of ABC’s newest reality television series did exactly as producer Arnold Shapiro told viewers it would: unabashedly celebrated the Department of Homeland Security. It also failed in every conceivable way to critically examine the largest reorganization of the federal government since World War II.

Posted on Jan 9, 2009 READ MORE


Beware, Mr. Obama, of Tax-Cut Seduction

Much of the business-tax package Obama contemplates fails his own test of cutting business taxes “where it makes sense and is going to work.”

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE


Let’s Pledge to Stop Being Stupid About Teen Sex

“Virginity pledges” are one of the ways that government officials measure whether abstinence-only education is “working.” They count the pledges as proof that teens will abstain. It turns out that this is like counting New Year’s resolutions as proof that you lost 10 pounds.

Posted on Jan 1, 2009 READ MORE


The 21st Century Is Finally Here, a Bit Behind Schedule

Social and political epochs rarely end precisely on schedules provided by calendars. The outcome of this year’s election means that 2009 will, finally, mark the beginning of the 21st century.

Posted on Dec 31, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Hatem Moussa

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History Are Ignored

We’ve got so used to the carnage of the Middle East that we don’t care anymore—providing we don’t offend the Israelis.

Posted on Dec 29, 2008 READ MORE


What Nixon Admitted (and Cheney Won’t)

To understand the philosophy of government that Dick Cheney brought to Washington over the past seven years, it is most instructive to see “Frost/Nixon,” with Frank Langella’s remarkable reanimation of Tricky Dick for a generation that never knew him.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE



USAF / Michael B. Keller

The Road Out of Iraq Begins in Vietnam

Iraq is not Vietnam, yet there are parallels between the two wars. The American military dominated the battlefield in both conflicts, and yet America the nation emerged the loser in each. A “decent interval” is now needed for American troops to withdraw.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Eric Draper

From ‘Mission Accomplished’ to ‘So What?’

The history-be-my-judge interviews that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have been giving recently help me understand their choices—but also reinforce my confident belief, and my fervent hope, that history will throw the book at them.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE



Wikimedia / Daniel Schwen / Altered

Obama’s Big Promise to Biden

The vice president-elect revealed Sunday that he sought and won a major promise from Barack Obama: For every major decision, “I’ll get to be in the room.” Even if you love the guy, that’s got to be tiresome—not to mention impractical.

Posted on Dec 21, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

James Blight on McGeorge Bundy

One of JFK’s “best and brightest” died wondering how the Vietnam War could have gone so wrong. Now, in an important new book, we have some answers.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008 READ MORE


Choice for Education Secretary Marks a New Path

  Because Arne Duncan gets along with teachers unions but is also seen as a reformer, his selection was interpreted as a politically shrewd, split-the-difference choice by Obama. But that is not the whole story.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Susan Walsh

Pelosi Gets Tough With Rahmbo

When he selected Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, Barack Obama acknowledged that he was looking for a bad cop, but Nancy Pelosi refuses to be bullied. A former mentor of sorts to Emanuel, the House speaker is “laying down the law,” according to the Politico.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008 READ MORE


steven chu and barack obama

Meet Obama’s Green Team

The president-elect rolled out his major energy appointments Monday, among them Nobel prize-winning physicist Steven Chu. That choice, Obama said, “should send a signal to all that my administration will value science. We will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that facts demand bold action.”

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE


Crippling the Auto Union Is Just a Warm-Up

I must admit that when the danger of a global financial implosion became apparent in March, I did not understand how all those worthless Wall Street credit swaps really could be the fault of an overpaid union welder at an auto plant somewhere in Michigan.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE


Premature Fretting on the Left

Oh, my: Barack Obama is still more than a month away from assuming the presidency and already there are reports about “the left” being dispirited about change it no longer believes in.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE


We Told You So

With the release of three new reports, there’s no debate anymore about who was correct and who wasn’t concerning the economic collapse and the Wall Street bailout. The studies prove that progressive critics were right and the Washington ideologues and the pundits were wrong.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE


Torture Report Points the Finger at Rumsfeld

A bipartisan report released by Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain blames former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high-level officials for interrogation abuses. Based on an 18-month investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the report determined that prisoner abuse “was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own,” as the administration has claimed.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE



Truthdig / Peter Scheer

Redrawing the Political Map

A little-noticed California proposition could limit the kind of partisan gerrymandering that Republicans and Democrats have used to influence elections around America for decades. But is that a good thing?

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE



USAF / Master Sgt. Kristen Stanley

For Pentagon, More Wal-Mart, Less Gucci

“It is going to be more of a Wal-Mart approach than a Gucci approach.” That’s how a senior Defense Department official, quoted in the L.A. Times, describes perennial Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ vision for Pentagon spending priorities.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Eric Draper

Talking Points Celebrate Bush’s 8 Wonderful Years

Putting a positive spin on George W. Bush’s two terms in office is no easy feat, which is why the White House has sent out a two-page memo detailing the president’s numerous achievements, including his protection of “the honor and the dignity of his office,” whatever that means.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


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