A "Snapshot" of the US Political Scene Over the Past 2 Weeks....

As I write this, President Obama is speaking about his vision for the National Security Strategy he's envisionsed.  As he worked to wind down his speech, he was heckled about GITMO by who apparently was Madea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink.  I was shocked, for instance, as he noted how the United States spends 150 Million Dollars a year to house 156 prisoners.   I understand that over 100 of them continue to be on hunger strike and the President directly addressed the hunger strikers.

As he wound down his speech,  he reflected upon the resiliencey on  how Americans are resilient and come back after setbacks.     I am with him in underscoring that there needs to be a sense of politics & a strategy to reflect the sense of resiliency that I also seen every day.   This is why I launched "outsiders" which I hope I could build upon.     With the current political climate in Washington, I wonder if the President

Amongst the many key attributes I was pleased to hear was his affirmation about transparency.    One of the many key attributes of the one-hour long speech was his acknowledgement of the immense price the United States has paid for the Drone war in Pakistan.    He has underscored his commitment to the Constitution.   He also noted his profound opposition to Drones being deployed in the United States.   But he noted that if Americans leave the US, are on foreign soil and wage war on the US and there is no way to apprehend them, he used the comparision with a killer that is taken out by a SWAT team.  The key is to insure the appropriate constitutional safeguards.   The President reitrated it today.

Although the focus of this edition is on the US, I was shocked beyond words by the horrific and senseless act of the hacking to death of the British Soldier by the two sub-humans who used their senseless act.    I refrained from calling them animals because even animals have some code of honors.     The hooligans from the racist English Defense League, though, have taken advantage of the situation to attack Mosques to drive home their own twisted ideology.     My thoughts and prayers are with the Soldiers' Family and will trust the British Justice system to run its' course and punish these two sub-human losers.

Beyond the National Security Challenges the President directly addressed, there is the political paralysis in Washington as exemplifed by what one analyst called the "Scandal Industrial Complex".   Fully one third of Congressional Committees have some sort of an investigation going as exemplified by Darrel Issa's offensive regarding the IRS.      The analysis I have reviewed reflect an IRS that was overwhelmed, confused, not led properly as the explosion of tax exempt organizations applications that was filed especially after the Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision.   It had to do with a determination made by the IRS back in 1959 to change certain interpretation of how such organizations were approved.  What is striking to me is that all of them were approved even after the questions before them.    I could not help but laugh, though, when I tried to figure out what "social welfare" purpose Karl Rove's organization did under his IRS 501 c(4) designation.    

Beyond IRS, there is the scandale related to the AP.   The National Security leak is a problem that needs to be addressed.    Beyond the issues deliberated, the one key concern I had was that the AP apprarently was not even contacted with the request for information on phone logs and contact information.      The need for transparency and accountability by Government is key and it appears that there were clear breakdowns in the process.   But the notion of direct interference by the White House is a bit far fetched especially as it was Congress that actually called for an investigation and it appeared that the disclosure at the time put actual operations at risk.    There is also an implicit lesson in this:   No right is aboslute.  It seems as if this lesson is learnt especially as the Gun Control efforts have fizzled out.   I am pleased to see that the Sandy Hook families will continue with their campaign to elevate the discussion beyond the narrow and prejudicial focus of the NRA that had its' Lovefest (or as they call it a convention) recently.

The last one is Beghanzi.     4 Americans lost their lives during that horrible day on September 11.  I wrote about it on that horrific day.    Yet, the Republicans have been trying to somehow raise a conspiracy where in fact none has occurred.   Darrell Issa, the US Congressman that heads the Congressional Committee looking into it, had two US State Department Staffers testify and revealed no new information.     Darrell Issa has become the Inspector Closeau of the Congress instead of a Sam Irving who led the US Senate Watergate Committee that ultmately led to the resignation of Richard Nixon.  

What is tragic is how such actions deflects attention from the real story out there--a near lawless situation in Libya, continued political instability in Egypt, the Syrian civil war and its' implications for Lebanon, Jordan & Turkey.  There is also the worrisome rise in violence in Iraq along with the upcoming elections in Iran.

It continues to be a challenging World......

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