September 17, 2013
Larry Summers withdrew his bid to become Chairman of the Federal Reserve after increased pressure from Democrats in Congress indicated a contentious confirmation. Although Mr. Summers had been considered the frontrunner for the Federal Reserve Chairmanship since leaving the White House as President Obama’s Chief Economic Advisor in 2010 his national notoriety prompted opposition. Meanwhile, Mr. Summer’s withdrawal opens the door for Vice Chairman Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke at the U.S. Central Bank. Unlike Summers, Ms. Yellen is likely to benefit from her lower national profile, as recent poling shows the majority of the country still misidentifies her as either Bilbo Baggins from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings.
September 13, 2013
Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin published an opinion peice in The New York Times on Thursday, warning of the possible consequences of a U.S. military strike on Syria. Although Mr. Putin’s article was widely denounced by U.S. officials, the Prime Minister’s international fame contributed to the New York Times’ recording its largest online numbers ever on a Thursday. Meanwhile, The Huffington Post has hired Mr. Putin as a regular online contributor. “The Huffington Post prides itself on representing many different points of views, political ideologies, and pedantic musings”, founder Arianna Huffington wrote. “Although we are aware that Prime Minister Putin doesn’t like the United States, we believe our readers should be reminded of this in a weekly column.”
September 11, 2013
Bill de Blasio won the New York City mayoral primary on Tuesday, defeating Speaker Christine Quinn in what many are calling a repudiation of some of the controversial policies of the Bloomberg years, most recently ‘Stop and Frisk’. Mr. de Blasio, a New York City Public Advocate, will face Republican Joe Lhota, a former top advisor to Mayor Rudy Gulliani, in the general election this fall where he is favored to win. Despite finishing fifth, former Congressman Anthony Weiner, the once frontrunner brought down by a public sexting scandal, vowed to stay in the race. “This campaign is not over”, Mr. Weiner said in his concession speech Tuesday night. “We may have lost but that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend we won.”
September 11, 2013
President Obama addressed the nation from the East Room of the White House on Tuesday, laying out the case for United State’s military intervention in Syria. While the contents of Mr. Obama’s speech were disregarded by the news media, political analysts believe that subtleties in the President’s performance may have signaled a declaration of war. “During minute five, the President looked upwards, lifted his left hand, and tilted his head towards the right”, wrote columnist David Brooks of The New York Times. “I believe this was a clear commitment to military action.” “Our job is not to listen to what President Obama says”, Chris Wallace told Fox and Friends. “Our job is to listen to what he doesn’t say.”
September 3, 2013
President Obama announced Sunday that he would seek congressional authority for military intervention in Syria, following Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons earlier this month. This latest move by Mr. Obama furthers speculation as to the timeframe for a potential military strike, as Congress will not reconvene until September 9th. In a ten page letter, which included three hand drawn pictures of George Washington stabbing President Assad with a bayonet, Mr. Obama urged Congress to continue his administration’s “policy of vagueness.” ”A strike may be imminent”, Mr. Obama wrote. “It also may not be imminent. For all we know it already happened. At this point your guess is as good as mine.”
August 22, 2013
United States’ Army Private Bradley Manning was sentenced Wednesday to thirty five years in military prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, which reportedly exposed American military corruption. For nearly three years, Private Manning’s trial has been at the center of a larger debate regarding government overreach and transparency, with human rights groups calling Mr. Manning a whistle blower while the United States government is trying him for treason. Meanwhile in a bizarre twist, Mr. Manning released a letter Thursday, informing the public that he identifies as a woman, requesting that the media refer to him as “Chelsea Manning” in the future. Lawyers for Ms. Manning are asking the Texas military prison Fort Levensworth to provide hormone therapy for Chelsea during her time behind bars.
With his announcement, Bradley Manning joins two of the most underrepresented groups in the United States Armed Forces: spies and women.
August 20, 2013
Since the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian military last month (Mr. Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected in June, ending the thirty year rule of President Hosni Mubarek), thousands of vocal supporters have taken to the streets in protest. In response, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (head of the Egyptian military) has instituted a violent crackdown on the protesteres, killing and wounding thousands. Meanwhile, The United States appears wary of taking a firm stance on the situation in Egypt, as they walk the tightrope between supporting the ideals of political freedom and severing ties with an important ally. One thing keeping the U.S. on the sidelines could be the realization that their main source of leverage, 1.3 billion dollars of annual foreign aid to Egypt no longer holds the sway it once did, as countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates have vowed to continue supporting the Egyptian military with their annual shipment of 1980′s Mercedes’.
August 19, 2013
Thanks in part to his confrontational political style, Texas Republican Ted Cruz has gained national attention since his election to the United States Senate last year. In the meantime, some in Mr. Cruz’s own party have expressed concern that his newest campaign to vote to defund the government if Congress won’t repeal Obamacare could damage the Republican Party. Despite criticism, Mr. Cruz remains popular among the G.O.P. base, fueling speculation as to a possible Presidential run in 2016. Standing in the way could be Cruz’s Canadian birth certificate (he was born in Canada to an American mother), although the Senator maintains his eligibility for the office. Mr. Cruz remains the frontrunner among Canadian Texans, leaving open the possibility that the last two American Presidents will be first term Senators from foreign countries.