When a carefully built, bipartisan energy bill failed in the Senate in May, it was one of the worst instances of unwarranted Washington gridlock. By the same token, precisely because it is so sensible and enjoyed such bipartisan support, it offers one of the most obvious ways for Congress’ new leaders to break Washington’s holding pattern on policy and to help the country.
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With almost all the results finally in, the official winner of the 2014 election is now clear: something called “dark money,” which reached record levels this year. Its victory has its roots in an adverb choice made by the IRS more than half a century ago.
Even with 3 percent growth last quarter and unemployment at 5.8 percent, the lowest rate since the summer of 2008, Americans still worry about the economy and with good reason.
Americans of every stripe should echo The Associated Press’ recent demand that the Federal Bureau of Investigation never present its agents as journalists again.
Opponents of strong and necessary action on climate change like to say it doesn’t matter what we do because China is spewing greenhouse gases like there’s no tomorrow.
Six years ago, the federal government’s classified computer networks were infiltrated by a tiny bit of malware. A massive operation known as Buckshot Yankee was carried out to clean the networks of the intruder and the event helped spur the creation of U.S. Cyber Command, which is now growing rapidly. The government has put cyberthreats at the top of its national security threat matrix.
Among the main pillars that support Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power and outlook on the world — graft, cronyism, paranoia and resentment at Moscow’s diminished post-Soviet stature — it’s hard to overstate the importance he attaches to propaganda. To the Kremlin leader, who cut his teeth as a KGB apparatchik, information is an important instrument of control, influence and intimidation; Western-style journalism and the free flow of news are anathema.
No less an authority than Mikhail Gorbachev is worried that, a quarter century after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War will return. It is hard to disagree: With confirmation that heavy convoys moving through Eastern Ukraine in recent days crossed from Russia, the fighting there looks set to restart in earnest.
Of all the tasks confronting the newly elected Congress, none is more basic, in terms of plain old democratic governance, than reforming the U.S. Postal Service. This workhorse agency, which epitomizes the federal government in the daily lives of ordinary citizens, is reeling from a double whammy: technological obsolescence and accumulated inefficiencies. Years of downsizing enabled the USPS to break even on its operations in fiscal 2013 (if you don’t count losses due to $5.6 billion in legally required retiree health care prepayments). Yet its bread-and-butter business, first-class mail, remains in long-term decline; the Postal Service’s only chance at a solvent future is to undertake further, more fundamental structural reform.
President Barack Obama on Saturday nominated Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, to be the next attorney general. In so doing he set up an early test of whether Republicans are serious about governing in a spirit of cooperation.
Xcor Aerospace is offering a chauffeured ride into space for $95,000. SpaceX has an all-inclusive Mars package (round-trip, of course) for $500,000. And for half that price, Virgin Galactic will ferry people 68 miles above the Earth, beyond the reach of gravity.
So-called dark-money groups spent 27 percent more on this year’s elections than they did in 2010, thanks to reckless Supreme Court decisions and regulatory failures allowing unlimited, undisclosed political contributions. The groups hide donors behind the tax code, disguising themselves as “social welfare” organizations. In fact, they are an increasingly powerful and poisonous political force.
Now that Republicans have gained control of Congress, no policy area is riper for bipartisan action than trade. President Barack Obama’s trade representative, Michael Froman, is deeply engaged in trade-expansion talks with 11 Asia-Pacific nations, including Japan. A bipartisan legislative framework for speeding passage of a finished agreement has already been written.
President Barack Obama awakened Wednesday morning to a seismic shift in the nation’s political landscape.
Developments in the evolving relationship among elements in Ukraine and Russia continue to play out, most recently with disputed elections Sunday in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of eastern Ukraine.