Rewriting the Social Contract; Making Everybody Hurt

hookers and coke

Carl Bloice: I’m just intrigued these days by how much the people who have a lot have become the most insistent that those below them on the social ladder bear the brunt of paying for capitalism’s current crisis.

New DHS Documents Highlight Internal Confusion Over Secure Communities Program

homeland security

Michele Waslin: While ICE has said that the agency will eventually install Secure Communities in all state and local detention facilities nationwide (which makes it seem like a federal mandate), they have also indicated that the program is voluntary.

The Republican Shakedown

wall-street-wide

Robert Reich: As long as Democrats refuse to talk about the almost unprecedented buildup of income, wealth, and power at the top – and the refusal of the super-rich to pay their fair share of the nation’s bills – Republicans will convince people it’s all about government and unions.

Is This What a Populist Movement Looks Like?

care for educators

Tina Dupuy: The Tea Party will tell you it’s not the government’s job to make life better for the middle class. Ok, fine. Then whose job is it? Oh, the unions. Which the Tea Party is also apparently against…because the Tea Party is anti-populist.

On Wisconsin: End the War, Invest at Home

commander-wide

Tom Hayden: It is time for our most prominent liberal economists to broaden their analysis of the domestic crisis to include spending for these unfunded wars. Only Joseph Stiglitz has done so.

Across-the-Board Cuts Needed to Avoid Fiscal Armageddon

boehner-budget

Ivan Eland: To keep with the bipartisan spirit after the Gabrielle Giffords’ assassination attempt and also to avoid partisan fighting over spending priorities, which will bog down and probably eventually kill any significant budget cuts, all government programs should be cut by 15 percent from last year’s budget level, including heretofore sacred defense and entitlement programs.

Report from an Unclear Front

bob letcher ccc

Bob Letcher: In the face of last year’s healthcare reform efforts, opponents screamed the inherently violent and hardly constructive “Kill the bill”; now, it’s opponents of reducing collective bargaining rights for public employees who are screaming the still inherently violent and hardly constructive “Kill the bill”.

Financial Journalism and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

David Brooks

Carl Bloice: Some critics have taken the author Stieg Larsson to task for spending time on the state of economic reporting, suggesting that dragging in the issues of the day distracts unnecessarily from the enjoyment of a good murder mystery. For me it was one of the book’s highlights.

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When “Good” Dictators Go Bad

hillary

Norman Solomon: And so, the secretary of state condemns awful Iran, invoking “our sense of human dignity, the rights that flow from it and the principles that ground it.” But don’t hold your breath for any such condemnation of, say, Saudi Arabia — surely an “awful” government that “routinely violates the rights of its people.”

Activist Judges Strike Again

clarence thomas

Stanley Kutler: Thomas sometimes seems more comfortable with the Articles of Confederation, the failed authorization for a national government that had preceded the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. If conservatives are said to look backward, then Thomas clearly owns the longest view.

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Brewer Countersues Feds

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

Andrea Nill: Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) announced that she is filing a countersuit against the federal government on behalf of the state of Arizona. The countersuit names several counts, including a “failure to protect Arizona from invasion.”

Obama Fights Fire with Gasoline

obama's budget

Robert Reich: The President has to reframe the debate around the necessity of average families having enough to spend to get the economy moving again. He needs to remind America this is not 1995 but 2011 — and we’re still in a jobs crisis brought on by the bursting of a giant debt bubble and the implosion of total demand.

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Why We Should Trade Broccoli and Asparagus for Hot Dogs and Apple Pie

apple pie

Robert Reich: The requirement that everyone purchase health insurance, or pay a fine doesn’t appeal to many Americans. They don’t like the government telling them they have to buy something. But the healthcare system can’t work without this mandate. Only if everyone buys insurance can insurers afford to cover people with preexisting conditions, or pay the costs of catastrophic diseases.

State Department Approved Export of U.S.-Made Tear Gas to Egyptian Gov’t

tear gas

Marian Wang: The American-made tear gas used to disperse pro-democracy protestors in Egypt earlier this week was sold to the country after government review.

Why Has Every Pro-Repeal GOP Lawmaker Given Their Congressional Staff Taxpayer-Funded, Government Health Care?

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL)

Lee Fang: Evan as they rip the bill as some sort of “monstrosity” of “socialism,” nearly every Republican lawmaker eagerly accepts government health benefits afforded to them as members of Congress.

Filibuster Reform Dies a Quiet Death

Congress

Paul Hogarth: By a slim vote of 46-49 on Thursday, the U.S. Senate defeated a proposal by Jeff Merkley (D-OR) to actually require filibusters (as opposed to mere filibuster threats) before a 60-vote threshold is needed to end debate.

Arab Unrest Hopping from Country to Country

Tunisia Unrest

Jim Fuller: It’s a tossup at this moment as to whether the Jordanian and Saudi governments will be thrown out, I think. But what about Yemen and Algeria? No one can say at this point.

With Four Lawmakers Objecting, Senate Ends Practice of Secret Holds to Block Bills

John Ensign

Marian Wang: The Senate’s new rule won’t prevent Senators from putting a hold on legislation—it’ll just make sure that senators who do so will have their name published in the Congressional Record.

Are Government Workers the New Illegal Aliens?

fireman and medic

Tina Dupuy: Over 16.5% of Americans are employed by the government, about 22 million of the 135 million payroll jobs. And they’re not just pencil-pushing, useless cushy benefit collectors – but scientists.

The State of the Union and the Federal Budget: Investing in America’s Future

obama state of the union

Robert Reich: Over the long term, the only way to improve the living standards of most Americans is to invest in our people – especially their educations, skills, and the communications and transportation systems linking them together and with the rest of the world (infrastructure).

HSPD 12 Will Stand at JPL

On January 19, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it had decided in favor of the government in the matter of NASA, et al., v. Robert M. Nelson et al. In a unanimous decision, the court found that the questions the 28 JPL employees challenged were appropriate for the protection of JPL as a federal facility.

Republican Assault on Health Care Could Backfire

gop healthcare

Robert Reich: If successful—either in Congress or in the courts—a Republican victory could turn into a Phyrric one by opening the way to the alternative model, based on the system Americans seem to prefer: payroll taxes and public insurance.

Saving Social Security and the Poisonous Chalice

social security

Carl Bloice: Social Security is not, to any significant extent, a contributing factor in the burgeoning deficit. Defenders of the system, including some leading economists, have successfully advanced that argument. Yet, a growing number of conservatives have begun to advance other specious arguments for “entitlement reform” that may threaten Social Security.

Jury Nullification: Remedy or Danger?

jury

Wendy McElroy: Jury nullification did not technically occur in Missoula because no jury was seated. Nevertheless, the incident is viewed as a triumph for nullification, and the strategy is reinvigorated.

The Urgency of a Senate Rule Change

senate gridlock

Joyce Appleby: More than 300 historians, political scientists, and law profs from colleges and universities throughout the country have signed a petition calling upon their Senators “to restore majority rule to the United States Senate by revising the rules that now require the concurrence of 60 members before legislation can be brought to the floor.”

The Big Lie

death panels

Robert Reich: Americans no longer have the purchasing power to keep the economy going at full capacity. Since the debt bubble burst, most Americans have had to reduce their spending; they need to repay their debts, can’t borrow as before, and must save for retirement.

CNN Reignites Death Panel Myth, Sparking My “Network” Moment

hospice

Linda Milazzo: Corporate media’s constant drumming of death panel lies resulted in Section 1233 (which allowed Medicare to provide advance planning doctor visits every five years) being eliminated from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that passed in 2010. This week CNN was back using the same death panel misnomer, spreading the death panel myth. Well I’m mad as hell. I’m not going to take it anymore from CNN, MSNBC, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS and talk radio. We, the people, deserve better.

Christian Nation

christian nation

Steve Hochstadt: I don’t want to live in any version of a “Christian nation”. I want to live in the United States, in which religious ideas are a private matter, in which my government plays no role in my spiritual life, and denominational beliefs play no role in government.

WikiLeaks and Freedom of the Press

wikileaks founder

Anthony Samad: Government agencies (particularly the FBI and CIA) use leaks to discredit those they don’t like or who they see as threats to the public disclosures of government betrayal. Why should the press not be able to do the same when it becomes obvious that government has not been forthcoming in its dealing and has violated the public trust? That’s what the WikiLeaks debate is really about.