February 24, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The Army will shrink to its lowest troop levels since before World War II under a budget proposed Monday by the Obama administration that seeks to downsize the Pentagon from the wartime buildup of the last 13 years, and calls for retiring hundreds of aging aircraft and warships. The proposals reflect changing fortunes in the once-sacrosanct Pentagon budget. Congress has already ordered nearly $500 billion in defense spending cuts over the next decade, and automatic budget cuts - only partially rescinded - have caused a harsh reevaluation of military needs as the nation closes out the punishing ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
February 22, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Only a few weeks ago, the turmoil in Ukraine seemed like a remote conflict in which Washington had little at stake and not a great deal of leverage. Now, however, it is clear that the apparent collapse of the old order in Ukraine could leave the Obama administration with a mess it cannot ignore. The challenges that could soon face the White House include a Yugoslavia-style civil war, an expensive economic bailout and further damage to its strained but crucial relationship with Moscow.
February 17, 2014 |
The sprawling 2010 Affordable Care Act has proved so hard to implement that the Obama administration has delayed or waived multiple provisions of the law in the hope of avoiding even more breakdowns and confusion. Last week the administration put off for another year the requirement that larger employers provide coverage for some or all of their workers. It's also reportedly considering a longer delay in implementing the law's minimum standards for insurance policies. Although the administration may have the right motives, its aggressive use of executive power to change deadlines and weaken requirements sets an unwelcome precedent.
February 15, 2014
Re "An American on the kill list," Editorial, Feb. 12 The Times is apparently OK with the Obama administration ordering the killing of a U.S. citizen as long as the government provides a "detailed explanation" of why it has decided to snuff out the life of an American without due process. It is a sad commentary on the continuing erosion of our constitutional rights when the president can act as judge, jury and executioner without giving the accused the right to confront the evidence against him in a court of law. No detailed explanation can satisfy the due process rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
February 14, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration, taking the first regulatory step to accommodate the country's growing state-approved marijuana businesses, issued guidelines Friday designed to bring dispensaries into the banking system and end their risky reliance on stashing large amounts of cash. The step was a cautious one, reflecting conflicting pressures on the administration. On one side, many states now allow the sale of marijuana for medical or recreational use. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said last month that law enforcement agencies were increasingly concerned about marijuana sellers who are forced to deal in cash because the banks' unwillingness to deal with them prevents them from using credit cards.
February 7, 2014 |
In an old, whitewashed motel, where folklore has it studio executives once brought their secretaries for "lunch," Robert Greenwald, a mercurial man trailed by insults and death threats, leads a small band of filmmakers dedicated to unnerving political and corporate powers with righteous anger and quick-cut editing. Greenwald embodies the populism of George Bailey and the sly delight of a spy handed a secret dossier. His Brave New Films has skewered Wal-Mart, Fox News (Bill O'Reilly despises him)