U.S. Congress

European’s Have Rejected Austerity Madness: Will the U.S. Get the Message?

May 7, 2012 by

So the voters of Europe have spoken, and surprise, surprise: they are not too keen on fiscal austerity. France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, became the first incumbent to lose since 1981. In Greece, the mainstream parties that have been happily participating in the country’s national suicide were soundly rejected by the electorate.

Iran: Why This Time Is Different

May 3, 2012 by

The latest P5+1 talks in Istanbul rejuvenated the diplomatic track between Iran and the West, paving the way for a new chapter in Iranian nuclear negotiations. Yet if the recently concluded talks were a test of intentions, the upcoming negotiations in Baghdad are going to be a real test of wills. Both sides will have to overcome huge obstacles if they want to establish a “sustained process of serious dialogue” to resolve the Iranian nuclear impasse.

Obama and Immigration

April 19, 2012 by

President Barack Obama is talking big (again). This time it is about immigration. At the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Obama has said that he would deal with immigration reform during the first year of his second term. Now all he has to do is get reelected.

The Health Care Argument That Should Have Been Made

March 28, 2012 by

Every year in the United States of America, 14,000 children die within the first year of their life - each death is preventable. If the deaths of these children were due to an enemy state, the US would declare war in a heartbeat. If terrorists had crept into hospitals in the dead night and stuck a AK-47 into every one of those 14,000 cribs, there would be almost no limit to the degree the government would pursue those organizations.

Video: U.S. Commanders brief Congress on Afghanistan

March 21, 2012 by

Gen. John Allen and Defense Department Policy Undersecretary James Miller testified on Tuesday in front of the House Armed Services Committee on updates on the Afghan War following the alleged tragic shooting of 16 civilians by an American soldier. Congress is seeking updates from commanders on the ground in Afghanistan on a war that is increasingly unpopular after a decade of fighting.

Polling Shows Little Support for Syrian Intervention

March 20, 2012 by

Despite strenuous efforts by prominent neo-conservatives and other hawks, a war-weary U.S. public is clearly very leery of any armed intervention in what many experts believe is rapidly becoming a civil war in Syria, according to recent polls. In a survey released last week, the Pew Research Center found that only 25 percent of respondents said they believed the U.S. has a “responsibility to do something” about the year-old violence in Syria.

How to spend $100 billion: Apple announces dividend, buyback plans

March 20, 2012 by

Apple today announced it would pay its first shareholder dividends in almost 20 years, marking a distinct break from the late Steve Jobs’ “no dividends” policy. The world’s biggest corporation by market capitalization – now worth $US560 billion – will spend $US45 billion of its enormous $US100 billion cash stockpile, paying $US2.65 per share, commencing in Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter (September 2012). Apple will also engage in a share buy-back scheme, totalling $US10 billion.

Obama Deserves Credit for the Recovery

March 14, 2012 by

There should be little doubt that President Obama deserves credit for what recovery we are seeing; although he also must share in the blame for it not being faster. The basic story of this downturn is very simple: There was a plunge in private-sector demand after the collapse of the housing bubble. The $8 trillion housing bubble had generated more than $1 trillion in annual demand both from its direct impact on construction and through the effect that bubble-inflated house prices had in spurring consumption. When this bubble burst, there was nothing to replace this gap in demand.

Compliance and the Counter-Revolutionary State: The Case of the United States

March 14, 2012 by

Many adversarial relationships exist in politics. On the domestic level, political parties frequently compete with each other to gain control of coveted offices. A contest, which transpires on the international level during periods of international revolution, is counter-revolutionary and revolutionary states spreading opposing doctrines.

More Bad News on the Afghan Front

March 13, 2012 by

While U.S. officials insisted their counterinsurgency strategy is still working, Sunday’s pre-dawn massacre by a U.S. staff sergeant of 16 people, including nine children, in their homes in Kandahar province has dealt yet another body blow to Washington’s hopes to sustain a significant military presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

Life after Zoellick: will there be a new world order at the World Bank?

February 27, 2012 by

When World Bank President Robert Zoellick announced his resignation last week, a surprising number of names emerged as contenders for the Bank’s top job. Zoellick’s resignation doesn’t come into effect until July, so there’s plenty of time for political maneuvering. Traditionally, the president of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development – better known as the World Bank – has been an American appointee.

Congressman Kingston’s Irresponsible Letter on Sri Lanka

February 24, 2012 by

U.S. Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA) recently submitted a bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama. Cosigned by eleven other members of Congress, it effusively praises the Sri Lankan government for all of its accomplishments since end of the country’s twenty-six-year civil war. The short note is heavy on rhetoric and light on reality.

NASA, we have a problem: why America is lost in space

February 16, 2012 by

In its newly released budget request to Congress, the Obama Administration is seeking to reduce NASA’s funding by US$59m to US$17.7 billion – a reduction of just 0.03%, not that you would know that from the furore. More tellingly, some important realignments of NASA’s spending priorities have been proposed. In essence, funding is being cut for two proposed robotic missions to Mars which were being co-developed with planetary scientists from Europe.

When is an ‘NGO’ not an NGO? Twists and Turns Beneath the Cairo Skies

February 15, 2012 by

A confusing controversy between the United States and Egypt is unfolding. It has already raised tensions in the relationship between the two countries to a level that has not existed for decades. It results from moves by the military government in Cairo to go forward with the criminal prosecution of 43 foreigners, including 19 Americans, for unlawfully carrying on the work of unlicensed public interest organizations that improperly, according to Egyptian law, depend for their budget on foreign funding.

The Straw that Broke the War on Women’s Backs

February 7, 2012 by

Last week, the United States saw the culmination of the GOP War on Planned Parenthood (also known as the War on Women) when the Susan G. Komen foundation, which supports breast health for women of all incomes, defunded and, 48 hours later, refunded Planned Parenthood. Komen had supported Planned Parenthood in delivering breast exams and breast health services to low-income women who would be otherwise unable to afford such care.

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