Thursday September 18, 2014
July 20th, 2014
From Ukraine to the Middle East, some bad actors - Hamas, Vladimir Putin and Israeli settlers to name but a few - are trying to bury the future with the past and divide people. Instead of focusing on them even more, I prefer to write about a company that is burying the past with the future, and actually bringing strangers together.
Tragedies concentrate the mind.
American politics was trundling along on its usual unserious and trivial trajectory when news of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine shook the world. Suddenly, the stakes in public life and foreign policy were very high.
How many Americans know how health reform is going? For that matter, how many people in the news media are following the positive developments?
I suspect that the answer to the first question is "Not many," while the answer to the second is "Possibly even fewer," for reasons I'll get to later. And if I'm right, it's a remarkable thing - an immense policy success is improving the lives of millions of Americans, but it's largely slipping under the radar.
In trying to lay the blame for the border crisis on the White House's doorstep, House Speaker John Boehner exploded at a news conference on Thursday, saying of the president:
"He's been president for 5 1/2 years! When is he going to take responsibility for something?"
The suggestion in the question - that the president doesn't take responsibility for anything - is so outrageously untrue that it demands strong rebuttal.
Last week, Standard & Poor's issued a short report about Boeing. "Boeing Co. Faces Long-Term Credit Risks If The U.S. Export-Import Bank Isn't Reauthorized," read the alarming heading.
Barack Obama's Justice Department on Monday announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with the seamy financial products the bank had marketed to an unsuspecting public, causing vast damage to the economy.
Citigroup is the too-big-to-fail bank that was allowed to form only when Bill Clinton signed legislation reversing the sensible restraints on Wall Street instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt to avoid another Great Depression.
On behalf of all liberals -- living and dead -- I'd like to apologize to Adam Bellow. In 1976, Bellow was at a Michigan State University writing workshop when a radical feminist publicly rebuked him for saying she had "balls." He says he meant that as a compliment.
Some formative experiences are forged in the hell of war, others in the crucible of writing class.
Sarah Palin is right about impeaching President Obama.
No, not that the president should be impeached. But Palin is correct in arguing that, for those who assert that Obama has grievously abused his executive authority, impeachment is the proper course of action.
I've argued for a while now that it is always useful to study the Israeli-Arab conflict because it is to the wider war of civilizations what off-Broadway is to Broadway. A lot of stuff starts there and then goes to Broadway.
So what's playing off-Broadway these days? The Israeli-Arab conflict has become a miniature of the most relevant divide in the world today: the divide between the "world of order" and the "world of disorder."
President Obama's yearning to become a peacetime president continues to be frustrated by the reality on the ground in the Middle East, and by Republicans' zeal to capitalize on it politically at home.
The disintegration of Iraq, the emergence of a new extremist "Islamic State," a deepening of the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate and more Russian mischief in Ukraine all have combined to challenge the Obama Doctrine of selective use of power in foreign policy.