Political Spectrum Moves Right

Host of The Young Turks Cenk Uygur guest hosting on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show explains how the political spectrum has shifted far to the right in the last 30 years.

 

 

Political Spectrum Moves Right

Host of The Young Turks Cenk Uygur guest hosting on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show explains how the political spectrum has shifted far to the right in the last 30 years.

 

 

A New Horizon of Nuclear Nonproliferation With Russia

I'm beginning to see the reasons why I voted for Barack Obama in 2008.  With the passage of the no doubt historical healthcare legislation, although with much work needed, Obama has defined himself as someone who is determined to work hard and show no fear when pursuing tough agenda items. 

Healthcare, however, was not the primary reason I voted for him.  Throughout the Bush Administration, the vision of America had been distorted.  We were seen as less of a country who was willing to help, and more of one who was willing to control.  Our doves were overpowered by our eagles, and the worldview of the United States was certainly not positive.

Bush perpetuated a vision of "shame-be-damned, caution to the wind" mentality was willing to bludgeon other countries with Thor's America Hammer.  

This vision, I believe, changed with the election of Barack Obama.  A more rational and warm approach to foreign policy was brought in when he was inaugurated January 20, 2009 (the same time I personally was in a hospital bed bearing a newly acquired "harry potter like scar," but thats a story for another day.)

During this time, peace and cooperation were synonymous with Obama's name, and hope and change were the figureheads of his campaign and the early days of his presidency.  I believe they still are.

Restoring America's reputation as a compassionate (yet strong) country was important to me when I cast my vote on election day, and I believe Obama has started to deliver.  The recent cooperation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama have proved very promising with the reduction of nuclear weapons and furthering better relations with our former Soviet Union friends.

Obama called the pact a step toward "the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." He said nuclear weapons "represent both the darkest days of the Cold War, and the most troubling threats of our time."

Source: Huffington Post

An landmark agreement, due to be signed April 8 in Prague, would help to reduce nuclear arsenals in both countries.  Both Russia and the United States seem to have genuine interest in creating a more nuclear-free world, and this is a refreshing site to see. 

Though being disappointed in the past, I remain cautiously optimistic that this will be the beginning of many great things for both Russia and the United States.

Baby steps America... Baby steps.

 

Senator Dodd's Sense of Urgency Long Overdue

The New York Times reports that Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, will unveil his own financial sector regulatory reform proposal on Monday after being unable to reach on a compromise measure with the GOP members on the committee.

The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, hoping to break a months-long logjam on the biggest overhaul of financial regulations since the Depression, will unveil his own proposal on Monday, without yet having a single Republican endorsement.

The chairman, Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, said on Thursday that the committee would take up the bill on March 22.

The breakdown in bipartisan talks dimmed hopes for a sweeping rewrite of Wall Street’s rules, nearly two years after the collapse of the investment bank Bear Stearns started a financial crisis that has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

Mr. Dodd suggested that he was acting out of a sense of urgency. The House adopted a regulatory overhaul — a priority of the Obama administration — in December on a largely party-line vote. But bipartisan negotiations in the Senate have repeatedly faltered over several critical points, notably the creation of a consumer financial protection agency to regulate mortgages, credit cards and other products.

While it's worth waiting to see what Senator Dodd's proposals actually are and if they include a stand alone independent Consumer Finance Protection Agency and a reigning in of esoteric derivative instruments, it is a relief to hear that Senator Dodd now has a "sense of urgency." It has long been clear that the Republicans are not interested in governing. With their interminable delays, they have sought, and frankly largely succeeded, in derailing the agenda of the Obama Administration. While it may not be too late to actually achieved wide-ranging reforms, that window of opportunity is now measured in just months. The hour of getting down to business is now.

The Atomic Energy Act of 1946: The Genesis of the Imperial Presidency

The last time United States Congress passed a bill with the title "Declaration of War" was in June 1942, against Romania. Given that the United States military has engaged in actions that clearly meet the standard of war in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, the question is why haven't we had a Congressional declaration of war since then?

In this segment from a recent lecture from the Berkeley Arts & Letter Series, historian Garry Wills, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State, discusses the transformation of American politics, and of the Presidency itself, that occurred in the decades since the nuclear bomb was developed and the importance of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (pdf.) in understanding the development of the Imperial Presidency.

"The Bomb," he writes, "altered our subsequent history down to its deepest constitutional roots," redefining the presidency in ways that the Constitution does not intend. "It fostered an anxiety of continuing crisis, so that society was pervasively militarized. It redefined the government as a National Security State, with an apparatus of secrecy and executive control. It redefined Congress, as an executor of the executive."

The Atomic Energy Act of 1946, also known as the McMahon Act after its chief sponsor Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut, was signed by President Truman on August 1, 1946. While the primary purpose of the Atomic Energy Act was to establish the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to safeguard and aid in regulating atomic resources, and to creat a five-person committee to oversee the activities of the AEC, the Act began to redefine the Constitutional powers of the Presidency usurping from Congress its Constitutionally mandated power to declare war by giving the President the extraordinary power to initiate and wage nuclear war.

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