Tag Archives: Congress Watch

One reason Congress is broken? Negative ads cripple even the winners.


By David B. McLennan – These ads matter — but not in the ways that the candidates and their campaign consultants hope they do. When the negative barrage of ads is over, the winner will likely emerge with an approval rating well under 50 percent.

Majority of winning candidates take office without the majority support of the citizens they represent. They can no longer legitimately cite the “will of the people” in proposing legislation — because they are not in a position of strength when it comes to public support. Elected officials now often have little or no honeymoon period – even with the voters who supported them. more> http://tinyurl.com/l6vox44

Advertisements

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama makes case for war


By Dana Milbank – This is how a Nobel Peace Prize laureate goes to war.

He admits his country’s own flaws, praises “the path of diplomacy and peace,” and asserts that lasting gains cannot be “won at the barrel of a gun.”

“No god condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning, no negotiation, with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.” more> http://tinyurl.com/qhpbnd7

Afghanistan’s Failed Transformation


By Ahmed Rashid – John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, apparently is the only official in Washington who dares speak truth to power.

In a Sept. 12 speech at Georgetown University, he said that Afghanistan “remains under assault by insurgents and is short of domestic revenue, plagued by corruption, afflicted by criminal elements involved in opium and smuggling, and struggling to execute basic functions of government.”

His comments were largely ignored by the American media.

And yet anything less than a heavy dose of honesty and fresh thinking by Afghans and their Western supporters will almost certainly mean the relapse of Afghanistan into civil war and the emergence of groups even more extreme than the Taliban, as has happened in Iraq and Syria. more> http://tinyurl.com/qz7uuwb

The U.S. Tax Code Is Highly Uncompetitive


By Kyle Pomerleau & Andrew Lundeen – The recent string of corporate inversions—where U.S. companies move their headquarters to a new home—is a symptom of this problem.

The U.S.’s tax code, which is far out of line with other nations’, is driving investment overseas, reducing our economic potential.

Unfortunately, many politicians, instead of searching for solutions to improve the tax code, are looking for ways to make it worse. more> http://tinyurl.com/mf5nr3r

Which candidate should you vote for this fall?


By Matthew Yglesias – Most of American politics can be explained with a single liberal-conservative axis, but that at certain points in time — notably the middle of the 20th century — a second axis related to racial equality issues was also very important.

During the time when the racial axis was scrambled, the parties were not perfectly sorted around liberalism versus conservatism.

A lot of southerners with conservatives views on economics were in the Democratic Party for reasons related to white supremacy, and some northerners with moderate views on economics and liberal views on race were Republicans. more> http://tinyurl.com/pvxv7hb

A Principled Fight Against Surveillance


By Katitza Rodriguez – Years before Edward Snowden leaked his first document, human rights lawyers and activists have been concerned about a dramatic expansion in law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies’ efforts to spy on the digital world.

It had become evident that legal protections had not kept pace with technological – that the state’s practical ability to spy on the world had developed in a way that permitted it to bypass the functional limits that have historically checked its ability to spy.

  • It’s time to move beyond the fallacy that information about communications (metadata) does not pose as serious a threat to privacy as the content of communications
  • In a world of highly integrated digital networks, where individual interactions and data routes defy any semblance of territorial correspondence, such distinctions are meaningless
  • “Law” implies certain minimum qualitative requirements of clarity, accessibility, and predictability. Laws limiting human rights cannot be secret or vague enough to permit arbitrary interference
  • Laws should only permit communications surveillance by specified State authorities to achieve a Legitimate Aim that corresponds to a predominantly important legal interest that is necessary in a democratic society
  • Any restrictive measure which undermines the essence or core of a right is inherently disproportionate and a violation of that right
  • No law should impose security holes in our technology in order to facilitate surveillance
  • Notification must be the norm, not the exception. Individuals should be notified that access to their communications has been authorized with enough time and information to enable them to appeal the decision, except when doing so would endanger the investigation at issue
  • Governments should not bypass national privacy protections by relying on secretive informal data sharing agreements with foreign states or private international companies. Individuals should not be denied privacy rights simply because they live in another country from the one that is surveilling them. Where data is flowing across borders, the law of the jurisdiction with the greatest privacy protections should apply

It’s clear that under the cloak of secrecy, malfunctioning oversight and the limited reach of outdated laws, the practice of digital surveillance in countries from the far north to the far south, have overrun the bounds of human rights standards. more> http://tinyurl.com/l7qj7td

Related>

Obama is picking his targets in Iraq and Syria while missing the point


By Andrew J. Bacevich – Destroying what Obama calls the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant won’t create an effective and legitimate Iraqi state.

It won’t restore the possibility of a democratic Egypt.

It won’t dissuade Saudi Arabia from funding jihadists.

It won’t pull Libya back from the brink of anarchy.

It won’t end the Syrian civil war.

It won’t bring peace and harmony to Somalia and Yemen.

It won’t persuade the Taliban to lay down their arms in Afghanistan.

It won’t end the perpetual crisis of Pakistan.

It certainly won’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. more> http://tinyurl.com/qyp4ya7

Related>