John Peeler: Obama’s also gullible in failing, after more than four years, to grasp just how obsessed the Republicans are with making him fail, without regard to the consequences for the country.
David Swanson: The late Howard Zinn’s new book The Bomb is a brilliant little dissection of some of the central myths of our militarized society.
Ivan Eland: With the justified firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his replacement with Iraq water-walker David Petraeus, it’s as if people are hoping for a second coming of Jesus in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the replacement may be similar to the second coming of the water-walking Joe Gibbs as coach of the Washington Redskins.
Gil Troy: Obama quickly plunged into a much-needed defense of the bank bailout and his stimulus plan. In his most human moment, he acknowledged that Democrats and Republicans united in hating the bailout: “I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal.” His stimulus defense appeared more substantive as he detailed the bill’s accomplishments. But to avoid being too professorial, Obama failed to connect the dots, not quite explaining how that controversial bill actually created the jobs he enumerated.
Although Obama may enjoy a brief up-tick in poll numbers after his talk, as soon as larger numbers of American bodies come home in flag-draped coffins, and Walter Reed fills up again with the damaged bodies and minds of soldiers whose lives have been ruined, the country will turn against what it thought, in November, 2009, was a good idea.
McChrystal, much like Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War, has publicly spoken out about decisions that are the exclusive purview of the elected civilian leadership. At great cost to his popularity, President Harry Truman cast a great blow for the critical republican principle of civilian control over the military by firing the insubordinate MacArthur. President Obama could do the same with far less cost; McChrystal just took his job and is not a popular war hero, as was MacArthur.
The ideal of universal care has revolved around two poles. In the 1930s, liberals imagined a universal right to health care tied to compulsory insurance, like Social Security. Johnson based Medicare on this idea, and it survives today as the “single-payer model” of universal health care, or “Medicare for all.” The alternative proposal, starting with Eisenhower, was to create a market for health care based on private insurers and employers.
Shortly after Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he attempted to push the U.S. military to openly accept the reality that it had gays and lesbians in its ranks. Colin Powell, then Clinton’s top general, and Sam Nunn, the powerful Democratic Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, nixed the effort by arguing that coming [...]
A letter to the editor in my local newspaper, the Charlottesville Daily Progress, has persuaded me to rethink the truly remarkable accomplishments of President George W. Bush and inspired me to join the movement to erect a Bush Memorial on the National Mall. The letter, published on February 9th, was from David H. Edmunds of [...]
When you stop to think about it, people measure how well their lives are going not by their absolute state of being but by their situation relative to their expectations. For example, a poor person in a developing country may be ecstatic about getting a pair of shoes for the first time; in contrast, a [...]