Thursday December 12, 2013
October 10th, 2013
As the government shutdown dragged on, gloom mounted. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, warned that foreign intelligence services might swoop in and recruit furloughed CIA workers. That seemed a little paranoid, but then we're talking about spies.
When Barack Obama was seeking the presidency in 2008, he pledged to change the way Washington works. Well, it has changed all right, but he has not been the architect.
As emphatically confirmed in this week's government shutdown, that deed has been accomplished by the House Republicans, more specifically by their tea party element and by pliable House Speaker John Boehner, who so conspicuously has declined to push back against it.
It's time for the speaker of the House to start leading or leave. With some ingenuity, he might even be able to lead and keep his speakership.
We tend to think of John Boehner as the helpless pawn of an ungovernable caucus, under the thumb of ideologues who prevent the otherwise sane speaker from being the dealmaker he is at heart.
In this view, Boehner has little choice -- he must capitulate to the anarchists' demands or lose his speakership.
Chances are that when the GOP inevitably capitulates, the vote to end the government shutdown will be surprisingly one-sided.
And what with 72 percent of voters in a Quinnipiac University poll saying they disapprove of the shutdown, the retreat almost can't happen soon enough to save the Republican Party from the charlatanism of Sen. Ted Cruz and screwball allies like Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Look it up. The symptoms of hyperventilation are dizziness, tingling in the lips and extremities, fainting, and in the most extreme circumstances, full or partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
We are seeing hyperventilation’s fruits in the Republican Party’s frantic bid to talk away the Affordable Care Act.
The duly authorized, duly appropriated, already-law Affordable Care Act.
Skeptics and deniers can make all the noise they want, but a landmark new report is unequivocal: There is a 95 percent chance that human-generated emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are changing the climate in ways that court disaster.
Not long ago, an important New England Patriots game failed to appear on my cable lineup. There was a way to pay extra for it, but the heck with that.
This game was a matter of utter indifference to me, but its absence visited trauma on a gentleman staying at my house. Given the exorbitant totals I was already paying for cable, the least I expected was The Game with which to pacify the maniac stomping across my oak floors.
Secrecy is for the convenience of the state. To support military adventures and budgets, vast troves of U.S. government secrets are routinely released not by lone dissident whistle-blowers but rather skilled teams of government officials. They engage in coordinated propaganda campaigns designed to influence public opinion. They leak secrets compulsively to advance careers or justify wars and weapons programs, even when the material is far more threatening to national security than any revealed by Edward Snowden.
John Boehner wakes up in his English basement apartment on Capitol Hill, his head still in a merlot fog.
It's a glorious autumn morning, but Boehner doesn't want to open his baby blues. He lies there, in his "Man of the House" T-shirt and Augusta National gym shorts.
He wishes he didn't have to go to work. He reaches for his Camel Ultra Lights in his supposedly smoke-free apartment.
This time is different. What is at stake in this government shutdown forced by a radical Tea Party minority is nothing less than the principle upon which our democracy is based: majority rule. President Barack Obama must not give into this hostage taking - not just because Obamacare is at stake, but because the future of how we govern ourselves is at stake.