Tag Archives: Washington Post

A way out of our dysfunctional politics – The Washington Post

A way out of our dysfunctional politics – The Washington Post.

Fareed Zakaria
Opinion Writer

A way out of our dysfunctional politics

In the standoff over the debt crisis, it’s easy to point the finger at the Tea Party. Even conservative commentators have argued that its uncompromising ideology is at the heart of the problem. But there have often been strong ideological movements in American politics, represented by politicians such as William Jennings Bryan, Barry Goldwater and George McGovern. Yet between elections, people still found ways to compromise and govern. What has steadily changed over the past three or four decades is not so much the ideological intensity (though it has grown) but the structure of politics, making it more beholden to narrow, specialized interests — including ideological ones — rather than broader national ones.

There was no golden age in Washington when people were more high-
minded than they are today. But 40 years ago, the rules and organizing framework of politics made it easier for the two parties to work together. Since then, a series of changes has led to the narrowcasting of American politics. […]

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Invoke the 14th — and end the debt standoff – The Washington Post

Invoke the 14th — and end the debt standoff – The Washington Post.

Katrina vanden Heuvel
Opinion Writer

Invoke the 14th — and end the debt standoff

On its current course, the United States is four weeks away from defaulting on its debt for the first time in its history. If that happens, businesses will fail. Financial institutions will fail. Home values will decline. Mortgage rates will skyrocket. Spending and investment will all but disappear. Social Security checks will stop being mailed. Everything from military pay to food inspection will be compromised, if not fully cut off. The millions upon millions of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed will be joined by millions more.Across the world, America’s second financial collapse in three years will drag down already fragile economies in Europe, Latin America and Asia, potentially creating a “worldwide depression,” as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described it. In short, we would be thrown back deep into economic turmoil — only this time with even fewer tools to crawl our way out.In theory, this is unthinkable, and it will be remedied by reasonable political parties making reasonable concessions across the negotiating table. But Republicans have been negotiating in bad faith, unwilling to compromise even an inch on their extremist and absolutist positions. Some are no longer willing to come to the table at all.

With that backdrop, President Obama may find that there is only one course left to avoid a global economic calamity: Invoke Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which says that “the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.” This constitutional option is one that the president alone may exercise.

[…]

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See also: The Huffington Post

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With Republicans majority, House loses its resolve for symbolic legislation – The Washington Post

With Republicans majority, House loses its resolve for symbolic legislation – The Washington Post.

Something is off in the House of Representatives: It’s already July 4, and the House still has not yet registered its opinions on bald eagles, motherhood or the American flag.By last Independence Day, the House had already voted to approve Resolution 1409, which declared the bald eagle “an inspiring symbol.” It had approved Resolution 1295, saying that American mothers “have made immeasurable contributions.” Resolution 1429 affirmed that “the United States flag is universally honored.”

Bills such as these — whose only purpose is to commemorate, congratulate or celebrate — are the legislative equivalent of empty calories. And last year, the House was on a binge.

It passed more than 250, honoring everything from the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. to the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon at Penn State University.

[…]

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Political groups, now free of limits, spending heavily ahead of 2012 – The Washington Post

Political groups, now free of limits, spending heavily ahead of 2012 – The Washington Post.

A contentious special election in Upstate New Yorkhas quickly become a test run of sorts for 2012 as outside political groups pump more than $2 million into an obscure three-way House contest.Republican and conservative groups, led by the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads, have flooded the airwaves with ads attacking the Democratic and tea party candidates vying to replace former Republican congressman Chris Lee. Democratic groups and unions have scrambled to catch up, with their own ads attacking the official GOP nominee, though they remain outspent by conservatives in the days ahead of the Tuesday election.

[…]

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– The Washington Post

Scalia and Thomas disagree about children and free speech

The Washington Post

The First Amendmentdoes not convey a free-speech right when minors are involved.
[…]
“The Framers could not possibly have understood ‘the freedom of speech’ to include an unqualified right to speak to minors,” Thomas wrote. “Specifically, I am sure that the founding generation would not have understood ‘the freedom of speech’ to include a right to speak to children without going through their parents.”

Thomas’s argument was the logical extension of his “originalist” position that the Constitution’s provisions be discerned by the most likely public understanding at the
time it was adopted.

[…]

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Two cheers for Germany – PostPartisan – The Washington Post

Two cheers for Germany – PostPartisan – The Washington Post.

By

Charles Lane has taken me to task for my repeated championing of the German economic model – a topic, he notes, to which I return as frequently as he does to electric cars. What’s the point of this German obsession, he wonders. Do I really think the United States can make the kind of structural changes to the economy that have served Germany so well? And do I really think we can do it quickly enough to help us find a way out of the Great Recession?

The short answer is No and No.[…]

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How states are rigging the 2012 election – The Washington Post

How states are rigging the 2012 election – The Washington Post.

An attack on the right to vote is underway across the country
through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. If
this were happening in an emerging democracy, we’d condemn it as
election-rigging. But it’s happening here, so there’s barely a whimper.The laws are being passed in the name of preventing “voter fraud.” But study after study
has shown that fraud by voters is not a major problem — and is less of a
problem than how hard many states make it for people to vote in the
first place. Some of the new laws, notably those limiting the number of
days for early voting, have little plausible connection to battling
fraud.

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Michele Bachmann, others raise millions for political campaigns with ‘money blurts’ – The Washington Post

Michele Bachmann, others raise millions for political campaigns with ‘money blurts’ – The Washington Post.

In the ever-evolving world of campaign fundraising, some
politicians have stumbled on yet another way to bring in buckets of
cash. Let’s call it the “money blurt.”Here’s how it works: An up-and-coming politician blurts out
something incendiary, provocative or otherwise controversial. The remark
bounces around the blogs and talk shows and becomes a sensation.

And in the midst of it all, the politician’s fundraisers are manning the phones and raking in the donations.

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Wahlbenachteiligung für Studenten in New Hampshire

Weil sie, wie der republikanische Sprecher des Repräsentantenhauses in New Hampshire, William O’Brien, liberal wählen, plant die republikanische Partei dort neue Wahlgesetze, die es Studenten in New Hampshire erschweren bis unmöglich machen, ihr Wahlrecht auszuüben. So sollen Studenten in Zukunft nur noch dann an ihrem Universitätsort wählen dürfen, wenn auch ihre Eltern dort schon vorher ihren ständigen Wohnsitz hatten. Andernfalls müsstne si an ihrem Herkunftswohnort bzw. in ihrem Heimatbundesstaat wählen – was für viele einen Ausschluss von der Wahlteilnahme bedeuten würde.

Diese Maßnahme, sowie auch die Einführung von Wählerindetifikationen, zielt nach Angabe demokratischer Politiker darauf ab, Kerngruppen demokratischer Wähler – klassischerweise Studenten und Angehörige von Minderheiten – von den Wahlen auszuschließen.

Mehr dazu im Slate Magazine und in der Washington Post.

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