Quick Takes: A Sexless Baby, CNN, NPR and Illinois junk bonds

After a short vacation, Thinking Man is back with quick takes on several and widely-varied topics.  Most just make you want to shake your head in disbelief. Continue reading “Quick Takes: A Sexless Baby, CNN, NPR and Illinois junk bonds”

Political Assassination and Gun Control (again)

Last week’s attempted assassination of a senior Republican member of Congress has rekindled the gun control debate, as inevitably happens after mass shootings, maybe understandably so.  The difficulty in debating gun control is that it is an issue that is driven primarily by emotion and not by information and data.  And you can’t debate how someone is feeling or affect how a person reacts to something deeply emotional. Continue reading “Political Assassination and Gun Control (again)”

The Continued Erosion of Obama’s Legacy

The Obama legacy continues to fade.  As Thinking Man first wrote in February in President Obama’s Legacy, the approach to governance taken by former President Obama largely determined what form his legacy would take.  This week, President Trump reversed many of the Obama-era policies regarding Cuba, further eroding the Obama legacy.  Continue reading “The Continued Erosion of Obama’s Legacy”

Violence in American Politics-An Assault on Democracy

Vitriol in American politics is not necessarily a new phenomenon.  But both in type and volume, the current level is out of control.

This week we saw an attempted political assassination when a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican Congressmen who were at an early morning baseball practice for the annual Congressional charity baseball game.  The gunman, a Bernie Sanders supporter from Illinois, had a list on him of several GOP lawmakers who were marked for assassination.  Continue reading “Violence in American Politics-An Assault on Democracy”

Bipartisanship in the Senate, At Least on This One

In a polarized political environment, the Senate yesterday passed a bill that imposes sanctions on Iran and Russia with overwhelming bipartisan support.  The legislation passed 98-2, coming months after intelligence agencies said Russia interfered in US elections.  It also strikes at Iran, who continues to expand its ballistic missile program and also continues to support terrorism.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul were the only senators to vote against the measure.

The bill is aimed primarily at financial resources for both countries, attempting to limit access to capital resources for both countries, and also for specific groups and individuals in those countries.

However, the bill’s real effect could be somewhat different in two ways.   First, current sanctions on both Russia and Iran were done by Executive Order, meaning that the President imposed them through and, by extension, a President could remove them.  By passing this bill, the Senate hopes to make the sanctions law, and so could not be changed by a President without changing the law.  Secondly, by tying the sanctions of Iran and Russia together in one bill, the Senate’s Republican leadership likely is attempting to tie President Trump’s hands on this point.  The President and Secretary of State Tillerson have only given luke-warm support on increasing sanctions against Russia.  But they have strongly supported sanctions against Iran.   With passage of this bill, the Senate is saying that you can’t get increased sanctions on Iran without increased sanctions on Russia.

The bill now goes to the House, where it appears to have strong bipartisan support, as well.