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.

America’s Future in Global Economy: This Week’s Words and Deeds

Obama in Minneapolis

Robert Reich: By extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, shrinking the estate tax, and freezing discretionary spending (on everything except defense), Obama’s leaving almost nothing for education and infrastructure.

White House Continues Drumbeat for DREAM

white house

Seth Hoy: Yet even with the weight of the White House and a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score that has DREAM reducing the deficit by $1.4 billion over ten years, Republican votes may be short.

Alarmed & Angry at Christmas Time

sad xmas

Carl Bloice: Reflect on the sudden, shocking awareness that that one third of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives are prepared to let 2 million people – victims of an economic crisis not of their making – face the holidays with no income.

The Showdown On Tax Cuts for the Rich

rich-get-richer

Robert Reich: In political terms, a strong stand enables the President to clearly demonstrate who’s side he’s on (the working and middle class that’s still bearing the brunt of this lousy economy) and who’s side the Republicans are on (the powerful and privileged who brought much of this on, and who are now doing just fine).

National Fiscal Hypocrisy Week

Medical_Workers

Robert Reich: The best outcome would be an agreement to extend the tax cuts for the bottom 99 percent, for two years. This would stimulate the economy in the short term when it most needs it, and reduce the long-term deficit.

New START Is Worthy, but Let’s Not Violate the Constitution to Save It

James Rubin

Ivan Eland: Denying Obama a victory—even if it’s good for the country—is very irresponsible. And on balance, the New START Treaty is good for the country.

4 Ways Healthcare Reform Will Affect Your FSA

sonogram

Manisha Thakor: Other cancer screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies as well a pre-natal care visits, vaccinations, and routine infant and childcare checkups may also be provided as part of your baseline insurance – thus requiring no additional out-of-pocket cost.

The Myth of the Overtaxed Europeans

Comedy Congress

Steven Hill: In return for their taxes, Europeans get valuable support systems like childcare, senior care, university tuition and healthcare. Americans must pay exorbitantly, out-of-pocket, for these support services often going without because the cost is prohibitive.

Who Is Behind the Deficit Crisis

tax breaks

Shamus Cooke: Unless labor and community groups massively mobilize working people in fighting for a pro-worker solution to the deficit crisis, austerity measures — like reducing Social Security and Medicare — will be forced upon us.

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