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Tag: Congress

America’s ‘Strong Commitment to Error’

John Kenneth Galbraith once warned that U.S. foreign policy suffers from institutional rigidity with a “strong commitment to error.” What better proof than the planned surge in Afghanistan?

Posted on Feb 3, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / respres

Produce the Note

Rep. Marcy Kaptur has a solution for beleaguered homeowners facing foreclosure: Dare Wall Street to produce the loan note that was bundled, securitized, sold and resold.

Posted on Feb 3, 2009 READ MORE


Ethical Malpractice

No need to fumble for words that sum up the stew of hypocrisy, arrogance and insiderism that is the unfolding saga of Tom Daschle. This is the audacity of audacity.

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


Stampede

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Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

President Obama’s outreach to Republicans is popular, but the coming week will test his resolve. Eventually, he’ll have to say “no” to the GOP, or lose what he’s fighting for.

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


Making Him Do It

Intragovernmental squabbling probably makes the conflict-averse Obama uncomfortable. But the “make him do it” dynamic could finally bring the center of Washington’s political debate closer to the progressive center of American public opinion.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Economic Policy That Might Actually Work? Who Knew?

After eight years of trickle-down tax cuts that pushed the prosperous up and left most everyday Americans sliding further down, the stimulus bill now moving swiftly through Congress is more than a reversal of political course. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Stuck Playing the Same Lame Game

The president took his swing in the 25-year-old game of ideological pingpong known as the global gag rule, but he also made it clear he’d like everyone to put their paddles down.

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



Flickr / hthg1983

Biden Says Banks May Get More, More, More

The vice president let it slip Sunday that the $700 billion TARP bailout bill could have a sequel. Also, Nancy Pelosi indicated that Congress might dole out more funds to financial institutions. Let’s see, that’s $700 billion on TARP, $850 billion for the still-pending stimulus package, plus the mysterious billions they’re tossing around at the Federal Reserve. ... Here’s hoping China doesn’t cut up our national credit card.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Partisan Politics Wait in the Wings

Beneath the warm pledges of bipartisanship and the earnest calls for cooperation lurks an unpleasant fact: From the moment it loses power, the opposition party turns to the task of getting it back.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


book covers

Brenda Wineapple on Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass

Two recent books show how a man of reason and conservative temperament and a man of passion and radical disposition joined together, even before either knew it, to end slavery.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


The Downside of Bipartisanship

Remember this, President Obama: There are few Washington traditions as annoying as the cultish worship of bipartisanship, for it ignores the simple fact that sometimes one party gets things disastrously wrong.

Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


Kennedy Collapses During Inauguration Lunch

An ailing Ted Kennedy experienced seizures during a ceremonial luncheon on Capitol Hill and was removed from the private function, according to reports. President Obama accompanied Kennedy from the room and then returned to offer a few words of support. The luncheon then went ahead, though without Sen. Robert Byrd, who was too upset over his friend’s seizure to stay. Update 2

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE


What Can Obama Learn From Bush?

The Bush administration’s specific failures—in foreign and domestic policy and on matters related to civil liberties—are clear enough. Yet the deeper cause of the public’s disaffection goes beyond these specifics.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Congress Sings the Bailout Blues

Want to know where the $350 billion banking bailout went and why it hasn’t done a bit of good? Read, and weep over, this little-noticed report from the congressional panel set up to monitor the Treasury Department’s distribution of our taxpayer funds.

Posted on Jan 18, 2009 READ MORE


Fool Me Once

Somehow, immediately releasing more bailout funds is being portrayed as a self-evident necessity. Amid Barack Obama’s paeans to “new politics,” we’re watching old-school paybacks from a politician who raised more Wall Street dough than any other.

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / jphilipg

What Does $825 Billion of Stimulation Feel Like?

There will be negotiation, revision and capitulation, but the basic guts of the Democrats’ $825 billion stimulus package are out in the open. There’s billions for infrastructure, billions for schools and billions for you and me. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded by saying “Oh. My. God,” which we’ll take to mean, “Praise Jesus! The Democrats have done it again.”

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE


Who’s in Charge—Obama, the Pentagon or Israel?

The military is far too accustomed to getting its way, so it was refreshing to see Barack Obama reject the Pentagon’s sluggish withdrawal plan. But will he stand up to Israel, whose Prime Minister Olmert recently bragged about pulling the American president’s puppet strings?

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Sgt. Whitney Houston

Obama Will End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Here’s what Robert Gibbs, Barack Obama’s top talker, had to say about whether the next president would work to end the military’s policy of discrimination against gay service members: “You don’t hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it’s ‘Yes.’ ”

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / exfordy

The Party of No Ideas

Would it be rude to ask whether the Republicans have any new proposals to save the country from this worsening recession? If not, they should halt their reactionary opposition to Barack Obama’s stimulus plan.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009 READ MORE


The Shame Beneath Inaugural Hoopla

Sorry to rain on the inaugural parade, but we need to find a better way to pay for these things. The financing of President-elect Barack Obama’s big day is just as much of an embarrassment to the country as the financing of inaugurations past.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009 READ MORE



Department of Justice

Bush’s Politics-First Justice Department Has a New Poster Boy

An internal investigation has found that Bradley Schlozman, a former high-ranking Justice Department official, hired and promoted conservative “right-thinking Americans” while making it clear that “adherents of Mao’s little red book need not apply” to work in his wing of the Justice Department. He also transferred an employee for allegedly using “ebonics.”

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE


Nothing to Fear but No Health Care

Fifty million Americans are without health insurance, and 25 million are “underinsured.” Millions being laid off will soon be added to those rolls. At this perilous moment, we need sweeping New Deal-caliber changes, not the impotent tinkering that has been proposed.

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
United States Senate

Obama Threatens to Use Veto Against Bailout Dissent

Barack Obama made sure that anyone who might oppose his plan for rolling out the next part of the $750 billion bailout package understands that he means business: In a meeting Tuesday on Capitol Hill, he threatened to veto a possible disapproval resolution, according to Democratic senators who met with him.

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE


One for the Workers

Hilda Solis does not have star power. What the nominee for labor secretary does have is a record of loyalty to those who work and want to work, and who wish to receive in exchange a decent wage and a measure of dignity.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

That’s Senator Burris to You, Bub

Although a majority of his state’s voters are opposed to his appointment (according to a recent poll), Roland Burris will be seated as the junior senator from Illinois. Senate Democrats had promised not to seat Burris but, true to tradition, promptly caved.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / respres

Obama Says He’ll Spend Some Bailout Money on Homeowners

With half of the $700 billion in TARP funds already spent and not a whole lot to show for it, Barack Obama has pledged to spend the second parcel differently, with at least some of the money going to desperate homeowners. President Bush has agreed to request the funds on Obama’s behalf in order to expedite the process.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Abdel Kareem Hana

The Language of Death

Israel will, from now on, speak to the Palestinians in the language of death. And the language of death is all the Palestinians will be able to speak back. The slaughter—let’s stop pretending this is a war—is empowering an array of radical Islamists inside and outside of Gaza.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE


Learning From Clinton’s Mistakes

One of the clearest signals President-elect Barack Obama has sent is his determination to learn from the Clinton years, and particularly from the former president’s failures on health care.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons / Kevin McCoy

Credentials in Order, Burris Is Heading Back to D.C.

Last time he came knocking at the Capitol, the Senate sent Roland Burris away empty-handed. But now that the Illinois secretary of state has ended his protest and signed the relevant paperwork, Burris is hoping his next visit has a happier ending.

Posted on Jan 11, 2009 READ MORE


The Politician in Chief Works for a Stimulus

The substantive issues surrounding an economic stimulus are clearer than the politics of getting it passed fast. Here’s how Obama is trying to weave the politics and the substance together.

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE


Should the Torturers Go on Trial?

The impending end of the Bush administration and the inauguration of Barack Obama pose the enormous and explosive question of what to do about those responsible for what are regarded by a significant part of the world as war crimes.

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE


Now Is No Time for Phony Thrift

As the government contemplates spending very large sums of money, it is reassuring to know that somebody still worries about waste. Or it would be reassuring, if only that somebody were not Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader.

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE


111th Congress
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Welcome Back, Congress

There were just a few action items—emphasis on action—for the 111th Congress to contend with on the broad domestic and global scale as veteran members reconvened and new recruits made it official on Tuesday. Get to work, people.

Posted on Jan 6, 2009 READ MORE


Navel-Gazing in the Grand Old Party

While Republicans are looking inward and focusing on appeals to the party’s activist base, Obama wants Democrats to concentrate their energies on recently acquired political terrain and the new converts who were central to his party’s sweep last year. 

Posted on Jan 6, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / M. Spencer Green

Blagojevich vs. the Senate

Some have argued that the Senate does not have the right to reject embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s pick to replace Barack Obama. However, history clearly disagrees.

Posted on Jan 5, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / FaceMePLS

The Jobless Hold Their Breath

President-elect Obama is still working out the nuts and bolts of his recovery (fingers crossed) package, but Obama advisers have disclosed that at least one proposal would expand benefits and compensation to the unemployed. With the economic meltdown vaporizing more and more jobs, here’s hoping Congress gets it done before February.

Posted on Jan 4, 2009 READ MORE


FDR Prolonged the Depression? Really?

If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself speechless when confronted with abject insanity, such as conservatives’ newest talking point—the one designed to stop Congress from passing an economic stimulus package.

Posted on Jan 1, 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


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


A Frank Assessment: Rev. Rick Is Offensive

Rep. Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, isn’t happy about the “high honor” Barack Obama has bestowed on the Rev. Rick Warren, who recently likened gay marriage to incest and pedophilia. This isn’t a speech at a forum, the congressman points out, but a role that is “traditionally given as a mark of great respect.”

Posted on Dec 21, 2008 READ MORE


Bush Bailed Out
The New York Times / Doug Mills

To the Bailoutmobile!

In an avowed effort to save capitalism from itself, President Bush announced Friday that he would throw the Big Three failing auto companies a $17.4 billion lifesaver, siphoning that money from the initial $700 billion bailout slush fund authorized by Congress in October.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008 READ MORE


Should She Be Sen. Kennedy?

In the culture of celebrity, the media have instantly deemed Caroline Kennedy a leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate, much to the frustration of elected officials who feel they have earned a chance to win what she would merely take.

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE


It’s a Man’s Meltdown

Today’s brainteaser: Name the top female executives who were forced to go before Congress, explaining why their companies made multibillion-dollar mistakes that helped wreck the economy but nonetheless deserve billions in taxpayer bailouts.

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE


Workers Laid Off, Executives Paid Off, Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff’s criminal pyramid scheme, in which losses are expected to be $50 billion, paints a grim picture—unless you are a corporate executive. Read the fine print. Of the TARP bailout funds, only those that were technically spent “in an auction” carry limits on executive pay.

Posted on Dec 16, 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


Dennis Kucinich
AP photo / Kevin Wolf

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks

Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. There was a time when their power was real. Come with me to Cleveland 30 years ago today.

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


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