It has been a week since Ismaayl Brinsley, a deranged man with a long criminal record, killed two New York City police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, in cold blood, but so far we haven't heard a word from the National Rifle Association.
Apparently it wasn't Napoleon who said an army travels on its stomach. But surely the necessity of providing appropriate gear, food, water and other basics to troops was clear after his troops, freezing and dropping from starvation, staggered in retreat after the disastrous 1812 invasion of Russia. Of the 680,000 men Bonaparte took with him, fewer than 100,000 returned. Perhaps nothing that dramatic is about to happen in Afghanistan. But the warning signs of impending trouble are clear: the $57 billion U.S. investment in Afghanistan's security forces is at risk because the Afghans cannot supply, or resupply their troops, can't prevent their weapons and vehicles from breaking down and can't fix them when they do.
According to reports, one of the first acts of the Republican Congress will be to fire Doug Elmendorf, current director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, because he won't use "dynamic scoring" for his economic projections. Dynamic scoring is the magical-mystery math Republicans have been pushing since they came up with supply-side "trickle-down" economics. It's based on the belief that cutting taxes unleashes economic growth and thereby produces additional government revenue. Supposedly the added revenue more than makes up for what's lost when Congress hands out the tax cuts. Dynamic scoring would make it easier to enact tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, because the tax cuts wouldn't look as if they increased the budget deficit.
Americans are skilled at that combination of complacency and despair that assumes things cannot change and that we, the people, do not have the power to change them. Yet you have to be abysmally ignorant of history, as well as of current events, not to see that our country and our world have always been changing, are in the midst of great and terrible changes, and are occasionally changed through the power of the popular will and idealistic movements.
As 2014 closes, I want to take a moment to look back at what We the People accomplished in health policy and health justice this year. By celebrating these accomplishments, I hope our community of activists can find inspiration to keep up the hard work that waits for us in 2015.
Millions of Americans are still filing for bankruptcy because of medical debt, even though they have insurance. In 2015, families could be on the hook for 13,200 in out-of-pocket expenses before their coverage kicks in. That's far more than many household budgets will allow.
Wednesday marked a milestone in the 18-year battle between state and federal law concerning medical marijuana. But to me, and thousands of other Americans, it marks a day that our country has finally acknowledged that our battle exists.
In spite of the intense, unyielding, never-ending opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, nobody can deny that Obama has tackled the problem of health care costs growing out of control when nobody before him would. And that's not all.
Today, as The Colbert Report airs its final episode, I'm looking back with gratitude on nine years of great television. I loved being on the show several times, discussing everything from my Greek accent to self-sabotage to the obnoxious roommate living in my head. Here are some of my favorite moments on The Colbert Report over the years.
Normalization with Cuba will be a process, and its pace and scope will depend in part on the actions of the Cuban government to permit dissent. A good start would be to join international conventions that protect human rights.
Over the past month I've written about Title VII and the Macy Decision, and the growing acceptance of its reality within the LGBT community and the community's willingness to say so publicly.
Last week, I wrote a piece in this space lamenting the fact that so many Democrats had voted for a budget package that gutted a key provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. The so called swaps push-out provision, now repealed, required banks to separate their speculative business in derivatives from depository banking covered by government insurance and further protected by the Federal Reserve. The broader budget deal, technically a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through next September, also cut a lot of needed public spending and added several odious riders, including one that raises the ceiling on individual campaign contributions to party committees about tenfold. Had Democrats resolutely opposed the deal, I argued, it would have revealed Republicans as friends of Wall Street and enemies of Main Street -- a useful party differentiation between now and 2016.
A recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision regarding one trans woman, Michelle Kosilek, serving a life sentence for murder in a Massachusetts men's prison, was decided 3-2 on appeal on a claim brought under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Two weeks before Charles Schumer once again delivered for Wall Street with the omnibus budget deal, he gave a major speech in which he sounded like a progressive champion. He embodies the contradictions that will tear the Democratic Party apart over the next two years.
Changing the infrastructure in a nation's capital, filled with historic landmarks and powerful, entrenched political interests, as well as heightened security issues, is tricky to start with.
The failure of the U.S. criminal justice system to protect nonwhite people is at an all-time high. To begin any serious national discussion on radically transforming our criminal justice system, we must first confront our deepest beliefs about what truly makes each of us human.
An Ebola-like crisis accentuates the fragmented piecemeal nature of U.S. health coverage and access. Americans are stuck between a rock and a hard place -- some forced to buy insurance that they are unable to use because they cannot afford high deductibles and copays.
Sometimes people can change the course of history by being in the right place at the right time. This was my fortunate experience in helping to change America's 54 year old policy towards Cuba.