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Tag: Government

Flickr / World Economic Forum

Livni Surprises In Israel Election

Tzipi Livni, leader of the centrist Kadima party, took a slight lead in exit polls and early returns after Israelis voted Tuesday in parliamentary elections. However, with Likud a close second and a splinter ultraconservative party set to win about 15 seats, conservatives may be the real winners. Update

Posted on Feb 10, 2009 READ MORE

Flickr / david55king

Israel Votes in a Bubble

With world opinion soured by the recent events in Gaza, Israelis are headed to the polls to elect a new government that is widely expected to move further to the right. Pre-election polls put the conservative Likud in the lead. Labor was a distant fourth, behind even the ultraconservative Yisrael Beitenu, despite taking a hawkish turn.

Posted on Feb 10, 2009 READ MORE

Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Slam the Door on Compromise

Bipartisanship is a cute idea, but with 600,000 Americans losing their jobs in one month, there simply isn’t time to be nice.

Posted on Feb 9, 2009 READ MORE

TV News Makes TV Look Bad

A survey of stimulus coverage by Media Matters has found that watching TV news may actually shrink your brain. Well, that’s not fair, but it certainly won’t teach you much about stimulating the economy. That’s because the personalities that populate the airwaves—and not just Fox News—are given license to repeat untruths over and over again.

Posted on Feb 9, 2009 READ MORE

UN Aid
Maan Images / Hatem Omar

Halt! Who Goes There? Well, Not Aid

Be it a political gamble or a mix-up of epic proportions, Hamas is being accused of stealing humanitarian aid from U.N. trucks in the Gaza Strip. Due to the thefts, officials say, aid has stopped flowing into the battle-torn territory, where half the population depends on the U.N. shipments for food.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE

book cover

David Rieff on ‘Africa’s World War’

Why does the Darfur violence arouse outrage but the slaughter of millions more in Congo does not? An indispensable new book by Gerard Prunier attempts an answer by combining cool analysis and scholarly dispassion without losing sight of the horror of its subject.

Posted on Feb 6, 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

Barack Obama and Howard Dean
AP photo / Alex Brandon

Howard Dean Should Have Been Obama’s Pick All Along

Now that Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name from the running to be health and human services secretary, President Obama should revisit the idea of nominating former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean for the position, an idea he abandoned last November for all the wrong reasons.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE

GOP Revs Up the Spin on Stimulus

Republicans have been winning the media wars over Obama’s central initiative. They have done so largely by defining the proposal by its least significant parts.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE

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

Marie Antoinette
Lie Louis Périn-Salbreux

Who Knew Bankers Were This Stupid?

Earth to Wall Street: It’s over, people. You had a terrific run, better than you deserved, but now you’d be wise to pay attention to those citizens outside, the ones with the pitchforks and the torches.

Posted on Feb 2, 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

AP photo / Nikolas Giakoumidis

It’s Not Going to Be OK

The daily bleeding of thousands of jobs will soon turn our economic crisis into a political crisis. Our empire is dying. How will we cope with our decline? Will we cling to the absurd dreams of a superpower and a glorious tomorrow or will we responsibly face our stark new limitations?

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

And the Winner Is ... Iceland

Hats off to the Scandinavians, who continue to make the world’s progressives green with envy. Even as Iceland faces economic catastrophe, the volcanic island nation has made history by naming the world’s first (for the most part) openly gay national leader. Johanna Sigurdardottir will become prime minister. (The New York Daily News says Norway briefly had an openly gay man as prime minister.)

Posted on Feb 1, 2009 READ MORE

The GOP’s Soundproof Room

Unbeknown to the House Republicans who voted unanimously against President Obama’s stimulus package, we are in the midst of a rare fundamental shift in American politics.

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

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

Civilian Courts Can Deal With Terrorism Cases

There is absolutely no reason to create some newfangled and untested system to charge and try those few terrorism suspects whose legal fates present President Obama with an excruciating political decision.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE

Timothy Geithner
Wikimedia Commons / Presidencia de la Nación Argentina

Senate Sends Geithner to Treasury

Timothy Geithner may be a tax dodger who helped funnel taxpayer funds to his banking buddies, but we need that kind of cunning right now. That’s the thinking on Capitol Hill, anyway. The Senate confirmed President Obama’s pick to head Treasury on Monday, over the grumbles of 34 senators.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Sebastian Scheiner

With Gaza, Journalists Fail Again

The assault on Gaza exposed not only Israel’s callous disregard for international law but the gutlessness of the American press. Nearly all reporters were, as during the buildup to the Iraq war, pliant stenographers and echo chambers.

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 Gulf Between Hope and Change

Though presidential festivities and media superlatives tried to numb any feeling other than happiness, it’s only natural to experience a twinge of anxiety while celebrating at the edge of an abyss.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE

To Each His Own Obama

President Barack Obama intends to use conservative values for progressive ends, and in doing so he will confuse a lot of people.

Posted on Jan 22, 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

Giving Obama the Benefit of the Doubt

Rarely has a new presidency been greeted with such a consensus of good will—and rarely has a new president so needed it.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE

AP photo / Hatem Moussa

Peace Is in the Eye of the Beholder

I do not like Hamas. I detest religious fundamentalism and the use of suicide bombers. I find the group’s anti-Semitism and ruthless silencing of internal Palestinian opponents repugnant. The rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are a war crime. But this does not negate the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance to the long Israeli siege and occupation of Gaza.

Posted on Jan 19, 2009 READ MORE


Citigroup Does the Splits

After receiving $45 billion from U.S. taxpayers just two months ago, Citibank’s much-maligned parent Citigroup will be no longer, as the financial giant announced in Solomon-style manner Friday that it will split itself into two, dividing the company’s traditional banking business— becoming Citicorp—and its riskier investment department—Citi Holdings.

Posted on Jan 16, 2009 READ MORE

Flickr / Betsssssy

Bank of America, Literally

The taxpayers’ bank opened a new branch on Thursday: Uncle Sam just threw $20 billion Bank of America’s way. The government is also on the hook for $118 billion more in crap assets. Bank of America chief Ken Lewis calls it the “deal of a lifetime.” No kidding.

Posted on Jan 16, 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

The District of Pandemonium

Our nation’s capital will survive the financial meltdown, the deepening recession and the plethora of foreign crises from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Whether Washington will survive Tuesday’s inauguration, however, is an open question.

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

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

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

Flickr / tomsaint11

This Common-Sense Solution Brought to You by the 19th Century

Barack Obama wants to spend as much as a trillion dollars on the nation’s infrastructure, from roads to bridges. A video on his transition Web site even touts the economic advantages of fixing potholes. Why so car-centric? A new article in the Washington Monthly claims that spending some of that money on rail lines instead of roads could pay dividends.

Posted on Jan 12, 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 / 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

book cover

Jay Feldman on ‘Concentration Camps on the Home Front’

A revelatory account of a hidden chapter of the treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II deepens our understanding of American prejudice and the abuse of power.

Posted on Jan 9, 2009 READ MORE

‘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

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

Our Cuba Policy: A Failure at 50

President-elect Obama will have more urgent matters to deal with after he takes the oath of office. But somewhere on his long to-do list, he should make a note to finally bring five decades of counterproductive American policy toward Cuba to a definitive end.

Posted on Jan 1, 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

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

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