Netanyahu Addresses US Congress to Win Israeli Votes -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of the US Congress tonight, and he is widely expected to attack the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran over the latter's nuclear program. The Republican-controlled Congress has decided this is yet another way to throw mud at the president since they can't actually beat him at politics. That said, Mr. Netanyahu has an agenda as well. Not only does he want to sabotage the negotiations, but also he wants to win re-election. he calculates that slamming the Obama administration might just help on March 17, polling day. He might also be wrong. [3 March]
DHS Funded for the Week by Dysfunctional Republican Congress -- The Department of Homeland Security (Heimatschutzministerium in the original) was on the verge of a shutdown last week, but an 11th hour vote by the Republican controlled Congress saved the day. They will get to try again this week to fund the department because last week's bill only provided enough money to run the DHS for seven days. It is a sign of just how inept the Republican controlled legislature is. [23 February]
FCC Backs Net Neutrality -- Yesterday, on a party-line vote of 3-2, the Federal Communications Commission decided to back the idea of net neutrality. What that means is that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all data the same; they may not create a "fast-lane" for favored customers who pay more to move their data at higher speeds. The three commissioners appointed by Democrats voted for neutrality, while the two Republican appointed commissioners voted against it. Supporters are claiming a huge victory for the little guy, while opponents say it's government over-reach that will destroy incentives to innovate. Both are wrong. It's just one more adjudication among huge corporations that can be easily reversed. [27 February]
DC's Legalization of Pot Creates Federal Problems -- As of 12:01 am this morning, possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older does not result in being arrested in Washington, DC. This clashes with the federal laws that maintain marijuana is as dangerous as heroin and with federal employment practices which test federal employees for drug use. This is a tension that cannot endure, and eventually, the feds will have to legalize marijuana or overturn the democratic result of a referendum held in the capital last November. One expects pot to be moved from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act soon. [26 February]
Keystone XL Pipeline Still Alive Despite Obama's Veto -- Yesterday, President Barack Obama wielded his veto pen for the third time in his presidency. He vetoed a bill that would require the State Department to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The president made clear that his veto was about Congress usurping executive power and not about the pros and cons of the pipeline itself. In other words, this veto was about keeping the decision making power with the administration, which has yet to make a decision. [25 February]
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