Though torture supposedly ended, we still endured an excruciating, six-month health marathon that resulted in bad ideas driving out good. Last week, this political torture mercifully ended with a whimper, not a bang, enabling health insurers while disempowering people. But as this is the season of hope, let us count unintended blessings, as in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Painfully-won foresight at least clarifies the past, present and future:
1) the House stands as the only functional government body, not by much;
2) the Senate now cements the status quo with every backward constipation, laboriously passed. Its extra-constitutional 60-vote obsession, played expertly by well-paid drummer boys, neatly trumps majority rule;
3) our convivial caretaker president glorifies process over leadership and, while strong overseas with speeches and surges, seems not in charge, going along to get along.
One year ago today, Israel launched “Operation Cast Lead”, a murderous full-scale military assault on the small, densely populated, and defenseless Gaza Strip. The operation resulted in the massacre of over 1,300 Palestinians, the vast majority civilians, including hundreds of children.
This includes only those killed directly by military attacks. The actual casualty figure from Israel’s policies towards Gaza, including the number of deaths attributable to its ongoing siege of the territory, is unknown.
Philip Dine: Unions extremely disappointed with Obama but where is their independence?
Philip Dine is a Washington-based journalist, frequent speaker on labor and politics, and author of the recent State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence