Thom's Blog

How much damage can SCOTUS do in one term?

Our government is still shut down, but that won't stop the kings and queens of America from holding court. This week, the Supreme Court begins their new session, and the docket looks like a Republican wish list of laws they'd love to see overturned. On Tuesday, the justices will hear oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC, which is another challenge to campaign contribution limits.

Who's really winning in the government shutdown?

The real dangers of this government shutdown are becoming clear, but Republicans just want to keep up their political game. On Thursday, we found out that the Capital Police, who stopped a potentially-dangerous situation at the White House, will soon see their pay disappear. In Gulf Coast states, thousands of FEMA workers are furloughed, even as Tropical Storm Karen is expected to become a hurricane.

Americans understand real compromise. This is not it.

It's the third day of the government shutdown, and Congress appears no closer to a resolution. President Obama and Senate Democrats continue to call for a clean government funding bill, and Tea Party Republicans are still holding our nation hostage with a long list of demands. All the while, Republican leaders claim that the shutdown is the democrats' fault for being unwilling to negotiate.

Don't believe the Obamacare hype!

You wouldn't know it by listening to right-wing media, but Obamacare is off to a great start. On the first day of open enrollment, millions of Americans around our nation visited online marketplaces, and tens of thousands of people created accounts. The overwhelming demand for information did leave several sites running slowly, but overall, the first day of the Affordable Care Act was a huge success.

Will the Tea Party bullies back down?

For the first time in 17 years, our government is officially shut down. Just hours before the midnight deadline, the House Republicans passed a third government funding proposal, which included another absurd attempt to undermine Obamacare. As expected, the Senate rejected that version, and called on the House to pass a clean continuing resolution.

This is not a compromise.

Over the weekend, House Republicans approved a so-called compromise to avoid a government shutdown. However, their idea of negotiation was nothing more than ridiculous, right-wing demands they included in the continuing resolution. Rather than voting on the complete defunding of Obamacare, republicans voted to delay the healthcare law for an entire year.

Could we actually have peace with Iran?

On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Iran's Foreign Minister, for the first substantive talks in a generation. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been strong since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and no secretary of state has met with an Iranian counterpart since 2007. And, for almost three decades, relations have been strained further by economic sanctions imposed on Iran over their nuclear program.

Will Republicans blink?

Congress hasn't yet prevented one potential government shutdown, and the next one is right around the corner. On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that our nation will hit the debt ceiling on October 17th. At that point, the Treasury Department will have only $30 billion dollars in cash on hand.

Ted Cruz's Fake Filibuster

On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz took the floor of the Senate to launch an all-night fake filibuster. His 21-hour marathon speech was arranged in advance, and there was no way it would stop the Senate from voting on a continuing resolution to fund the government. Senator Cruz stayed on the floor all night, without so much as a bathroom break, just to keep himself in the public eye, and to fund-raise for the Republican Party.

Obama pledges to "secure" US "core interests" in the Middle East.

On Tuesday, President Obama addressed the United Nations about Syria and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The President challenged the UN and member nations to stand together against the chemical weapon use in Syria, and approve the controversial agreement under which President Assad would hand control of the deadly weapons to the international community.

The "God of Money"

Pope Francis did it again. On Sunday, during a meeting with a group of unemployed workers, the Pope abandoned his prepared comments and railed against economic inequality. Pope Francis has previously spoken out against harsh austerity policies that are harming millions around the world, but at this speech on the island of Sardinia, the Pope condemned the “god of money” and today's “economic culture.”

I guess slashing food stamps just wasn't bad enough...

Less than 24 hours after voting to slash food stamp funding, House Republicans moved on to a full government shut down. On Friday, the US House of Representatives passed their version of a short-term spending resolution, which includes a measure to defund Obamacare. Before the vote, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell called on Republicans to “wake up from their radical, ideological dream” and oppose the legislation.

House Republicans take aim at the hungry.

The United States House of Representatives is in the midst of a food stamp showdown. House Republicans want to slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by nearly $40 billion dollars, and House Democrats are fighting it with all their might. The drastic cuts are almost ten times the amount approved by the U.S. Senate in June as part of the farm bill.

Who will blink first?

On Wednesday, President Obama raised the pressure on Congressional Republicans, and asked business groups to help avoid another economic crisis. In a speech before the Business Roundtable, the president urged business leaders to demand that Republicans end their continued “brinksmanship” over two upcoming budget deadlines. President Obama said, “I'm tired of it, and I suspect you are too.”

"Something evil in our society..."

On Monday, 12 people were killed in a mass shooting in our nation's capital, and at least 8 others were injured. Within minutes of the first shots, hundreds of police and naval officers surrounded the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, and police shot and killed the lone gunman.

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Time to Rethink the War on Terror

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When Eric Holder eventually steps down as Attorney General, he will leave behind a complicated legacy, some of it tragic, like his decision not to prosecute Wall Street after the financial crisis, and his all-out war on whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

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