Thursday September 18, 2014
June 23rd, 2014
As Iraq unravels, a painful truth about U.S. politics and foreign policy is becoming more evident: The United States is very good in all-or-nothing situations, but all-or-nothing situations don't often arise.
The "war on terror" is the paradigm example of this syndrome. In Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, nothing is simple. The goals are complex, the trade-offs excruciating.
Last April, Melissa Ortiz, a low-income mother of four, gave testimony to a committee of the California Assembly detailing her life on the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids program, or CALWorks, the state's welfare program.
Americans are too worried and at the same time not worried enough about political polarization. Ideological rivalry is a good thing, not a bad thing: It's the reason for democracy, not a drawback of democracy. However, when rivalry hardens into a sullen standoff - not a contest of ideas but a bloody-minded refusal to engage - you have a problem. And to put it mildly, the U.S. has a problem.
Roger Ver, a computer-parts and explosives impresario known as Bitcoin Jesus, has come up with a pretty Bitcoiny idea: Give him some Bitcoins and he'll set you up with a passport and citizenship in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, ostensibly free of income taxes, bad weather and meddlesome governments.
The release of Hillary Clinton's "Hard Choices," and Marion Barry's "Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr." within days of each other was no doubt unintentional. But the timing is nonetheless fortuitous. The books draw attention to two of Washington's most enduring political war horses.
As critics debate whether President Obama is tough enough to lead America at war, he boosted his stock by ordering the capture of the alleged mastermind of the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Yet, at the same time, he appears to fiddle while Iraq burns.
Just as the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden with the president's go-ahead to the Navy Seals cast him as a decisive commander-in-chief, so has the seizing in Libya of Ahmed Abu Khattala by Army Delta Force and FBI operatives.
When historians get around to appraising the start of the new century, what will they say about it? If circumstances continue as they have been, the period may well be deemed a deep black hole in the political life of this country.
Fear not for the future of free speech after the Washington Redskins' trademark fight. The legal dividend could be more free speech, not less.
A lot of my fellow First Amendment advocates sound nervous about cancellation of the Washington pro football team's trademark by the United States Patent and Trademark Office this past week.
There are those who don't believe politicians can ever enjoy a second life. They're wrong. Just go to Sacramento and check in on Gov. Jerry Brown. He's not only enjoying a second political life, he's survived two, three, four, or five lives, depending on which offices you count.