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Tag: Congress

Obama and the Politics of Short Memories

Business has been on the ropes since last fall’s financial collapse, but the first glimmerings of recovery are calling forth a capitalist counteroffensive.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE


Scared of Health Care Reform

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Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE


The Justice Business

The appearance of extreme political impropriety is sometimes just too extreme, according to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in a case that shines a brutal light on the spiral of campaign contributions that threaten to compromise too many state courts.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


Why So Scared of a Public Plan?

Big insurance and pharmaceutical companies are lobbying frantically (and spending millions of dollars) to foreclose the possibility of the most promising aspect of health care reform: a public insurance option.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Outrage—and Business as Usual

The public face of Congress is angry and outraged at all the bad behavior by banks, but in the other Washington, the financial industry continues to have its way.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


Harry and Louise Need Health Reform

Remember the imaginary couple who appeared in the television ads that helped beat President Clinton’s health plan 15 years ago? That duo and the corporations behind them have switched sides in the debate, and for a good reason: 50 million new customers.

Posted on Jun 7, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Damian Dovarganes

Prop. 8 and the Misery of the Law

The right to rebel is my real subject here, but the misery of the law is not incidental. No good case can be made for rebellion as an unqualified good in itself. But the right to rebel also cannot be limited to the rebel causes that were won long ago and have passed over into our national mythology.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Cairo Speech: Significant, Eloquent—and Perhaps Just the Beginning

Obama’s speech was distinguished by the quality of his previous major speeches, that of speaking as an adult to adults. He promised to say what he thought, and did so on all of the topics he addressed. Correction

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Clean Coal or Dry Hole?

Obama should be applauded for taking climate change seriously, but one of his administration’s centerpiece initiatives may be digging a very expensive dry hole—literally.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


What Rhetoric Won’t Cure

The murder of Dr. George Tiller cannot be smoothed over with a speech. This is the lesson the Obama administration must learn from it.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Rush and Newt Are Winning

A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Ronald Reagan
Reagan Library

Reagan Didn’t Do It

It would be nice to blame Ronald Reagan for the economic meltdown, as Paul Krugman did recently, but the facts don’t support it. Unfortunately, the real villains are closer at hand.

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE


Petraeus
USAF / Staff Sgt. Bradley A. Lail

Replace Petraeus

Gen. David Petraeus has proven the rule that past military victories do not guarantee future success. The general has made a mess of Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet he remains dangerously popular.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Reform’s Pulse Is Fading

So it’s health care overhaul this year—or bust. If this is the bet, right now I’d put my money on bust.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE



reformation-lutheran.org

Abortion Doctor Murdered in Church

Dr. George Tiller was volunteering at his Kansas church Sunday when a gunman shot him dead. Republicans in Congress recently made a villain of Tiller when they stalled the confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


Fessing Up Has Lost Its Shock Value

It seems government and investors are now engaging in damning honesty. With these outbursts of candor so brazen and self-explanatory, the press is being bypassed.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


A Justice for Us All

President Obama’s nominee said she hopes Americans “will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.” Ordinary people have had a difficult time of it before the current Supreme Court.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Keith Srakocic

‘Clean’ Energy and Poisoned Water

Natural gas companies have managed to convince Congress and the EPA that millions of gallons of toxic water left underground or collected in huge open pits pose no threat to watersheds, yet wells in 11 states have already been poisoned.

Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE


Packing Heat in the Parks

With their usual steely conviction, contempt for the rights and safety of others, and string of nonsensical arguments, gun supporters in Congress managed to push through a law to allow national park visitors to carry loaded weapons—openly or concealed—in the millions of acres of wilderness, scenic byways and historic sites.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Jon Kyl
senate.gov

Top GOP Senator Threatens High Court Filibuster

President Obama has said he wants to nominate someone to the Supreme Court capable of “understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles.” That’s just too much for Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl, who has threatened to filibuster if Obama appoints anyone more empathetic than your garden variety liberal.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Guantanamo soldier
AP photo / Brennan Linsley

Congressional Duck and Cover

Congress is broken. The framers of the Constitution, building on nearly six centuries of parliamentary experience, situated Congress at the heart of the American constitutional system. For the past 25 years, however, Congress has made a joke of that system, as it has trivialized and mocked any meaningful representation in the sense that the makers of the Constitution framed it.

Posted on May 23, 2009 READ MORE


handgun
pistolpermitsofny.com

House OKs Handguns in National Parks

With the help of moderate Democrats, the House of Representatives signed off on a Republican amendment Wednesday that legalizes loaded handguns in national parks and wildlife refuges. The measure passed 279-147 in a victory for gun advocates, including the NRA.

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


Guantanamo prisoner
AP photo / Lynne Sladky

A Truth Commission Beckons

The partisan firefight over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s incendiary allegation that the CIA lied to Congress about its use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”—torture—is a blessing. It turns the compelling case for a public inquiry into the Bush administration’s policies toward terrorism detainees into an urgent necessity.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


credit cards
ehow.com

Got Good Credit? Too Bad

Those credit card holders who pride themselves on paying their bills on time, and who have enjoyed rewards in the past for so doing, are in for an unpleasant surprise: They may soon be targeted by the very companies that used to ply them with perks.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Specter
syracuse.com

With Their Magic Bullet, Dems Have No More Excuses

As counsel for the Warren Commission, Arlen Specter described a “magic bullet” that changed America. Four decades later as a U.S. senator, Specter is providing another history-altering magic bullet—one Democrats will either fire off in a starting gun, or use in their suicide.

Posted on May 1, 2009 READ MORE


Disclosure of ‘Secrets’ in the ’70s Didn’t Destroy the Nation

Back in the Watergate era, the Senate’s Church Committee exposed government abuses. Of course some people tried to block its work. You may have heard of a couple of them—Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


Sen. Arlen Specter on Switching

The Pennsylvanian is only the 21st active senator in U.S. history to switch parties. Here is what he had to say about his change of loyalties.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Sebelius at Last

Just in time for swine flu, the Senate has confirmed Barack Obama’s pick to head the massive Health and Human Services Department, Kathleen Sebelius. Democrats were able to use the health scare to shake the upper chamber out of abortion-obsessed confirmation gridlock.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


Look to the Law—Not to Whether Torture ‘Works’

The calls for an independent commission to investigate torture usually argue that a congressional investigation, or a Justice Department criminal investigation, would become so politicized as to be hopelessly compromised. I am not sure this is true.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Enough With This ‘100 Days’ Nonsense

On what basis have the cable channels decided that President Obama’s first hundred days are the most important thing to happen in the history of the world? As in the case of FDR before him, much has happened in the beginning of the president’s first term—and there is much more to come.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama Has Missed His Moment

The president had a fleeting moment to challenge the casino capitalism and financial recklessness of our economic and political elite. He could have orchestrated a state socialism that would have provided a safety net for tens of millions of Americans faced with dislocation and misery.

Posted on Apr 27, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / be_khe

U.S. Declares Swine Flu Emergency

The administration is taking the threat of swine flu seriously, as congressional Republicans’ main interest in the health arena seems to be roping the president’s nominee to head Health and Human Services into an abortion fight. The Centers for Disease Control and the Homeland Security Department issued an emergency declaration Sunday, while the World Health Organization and governments around the globe scrambled to confront the potential crisis.

Posted on Apr 26, 2009 READ MORE


Eric Holder
theblacksentinel.wordpress.com

Holder Says He Will Pursue Torture Wrongdoing

What to make of the administration’s policy on holding torturers accountable? Attorney General Eric Holder says he “will not permit the criminalization of policy differences,” but will pursue wrongdoing “to the full extent of the law.” The problem here is that when it comes to torture, policy differences just might be criminal.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


‘Reform’ With No Reform

The defenders of the health care status quo have been frantically arguing these past few weeks that any coming reform of the health insurance system cannot include a public insurance plan, even if that’s the whole point.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Stop Thinking About Yesterday’s Health Care Debate

Because of the defeat of health care reform in 1994, there will be a temptation to treat every dispute as the first step toward the collapse of the process, ignoring the fact that times and minds change.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


When Fascism Came to America

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, the first American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize, wrote a novel entitled “It Can’t Happen Here” to influence the 1936 presidential election. He was off by about 66 years.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Committee OKs Sebelius Over Republican Objections

President Obama presided over his first formal Cabinet meeting Monday with a rather important chair left empty. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s pick to head the $750 billion Health and Human Services Department and spearhead his ambitious health care reform initiatives, has finally made it out of hearings and should be approved by the end of the week.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama: Justice Could Prosecute Torture Lawyers

Responding to reporters Tuesday, the president walked back from his “torture is a thing of the past” policy. While the administration still doesn’t want to hassle the good Germans who carried out torture, or even the superiors who ordered it, Obama said the Justice Department may go after the Bush lawyers who tried to legalize such abuses.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE



Harald Dettenborn

Report: Rep. Harman Mixed Up With AIPAC, Espionage and Alberto Gonzales

Rep. Jane Harman agreed to go to bat for two AIPAC officials accused of espionage, in exchange for which an Israeli spy would try to get her appointed to chair the House Intelligence Committee, according to Congressional Quarterly. The NSA reportedly captured an exchange between Harman and the spy, during which the congresswoman allegedly said, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE


Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?

Ten years after the Columbine massacre, our president stood in Mexico, where assault rifles from the U.S. are used to murder police officers, and said the American gun lobby is just too strong for him push a rational gun regulation through Congress. How sad.

Posted on Apr 19, 2009 READ MORE


Gitmo Stretcher
guardian.co.uk

A Decision Not to Prosecute

After key Bush era CIA torture documents were released by the Obama administration, human rights officials are dismayed at the news that CIA agents who ordered and conducted torture will not be prosecuted.

Posted on Apr 17, 2009 READ MORE


Don’t Underestimate the Tea-Baggers

The cool, cerebral White House might logically conclude that Wednesday’s decidedly uncool, uncerebral “tea bag” protests were intellectually and politically incoherent, and therefore not worth a second thought. That would be a dangerous mistake.

Posted on Apr 17, 2009 READ MORE



There’s No Place Like Home, Unless You’re Chris Dodd

Congressional fundraising numbers are in, and the Political Wire has teased out some interesting performances. Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut managed to raise just 0.7 percent of his funds from contributors in his own state—all five of them. Roland Burris, the man appointed by Rod Blagojevich to replace Barack Obama in the Senate, pulled in a whopping $845. He’s $111,032 in debt.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE



abcnews.com

AIG’s War Business Draws Criticism

At least 30,000 private contractors have been injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the vast majority are insured by AIG. According to an investigation by ABC News, ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times, the insurance giant does about as good a job helping wounded contractors as gaming the derivatives market.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


Armey’s Tea Party Army

At the apex of the tea party movement is FreedomWorks, headed by former Rep. Dick Armey. His past career should be instructive to any starry-eyed citizens who believe that they have at last found the true right-wing revolutionary path.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


Tea and Ignorance

There is little anyone can do about the tax-protest rants except worry they will be believed by a wider public. So, on the theory that the truth will set us free, it is worth examining exactly what we’re all paying, and what for.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


A Strange Dual Citizenship

Melba Abreu and Beatrice Hernandez file state taxes as what they are—a legally married Massachusetts couple. But under federal law, they have to file federal taxes as what they aren’t—two single women.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Tax Speech
Associated Press

Obama Talks Taxes

As “tea parties” tepidly brew in cities across the country to protest government spending and budget deficits, President Obama is on the offensive, maintaining that the tax relief of his administration’s nascent months is helping resurrect our fallen economy.

Posted on Apr 15, 2009 READ MORE



Library of Congress

Castro Hails Obama Actions, Wants More

Barack Obama is so good at making friends. First Iran, of axis-of-evil fame, embraced the president’s flirtations, and now Cuba’s revolutionary in chief has warmed to El Diablo del Norte. Fidel Castro on Tuesday praised Obama’s recent overtures, but said many other U.S. policy changes are needed. His brother and president, Raul, is open to negotiations.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 READ MORE


Castro’s Racial-Paradise Myth

In 10 trips to Cuba, I have met Afro-Cubans who told me with conviction of their opportunities under the Castro regime. But I’ve also heard bitter complaints about deep-seated racism that many black Cubans believe is getting worse.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 READ MORE


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