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Morning Musings – the Bread and Circus Congress

  • The Cold War may be long over, a thing for the history books that is barely a footnote in some high school history books I’ve read. However, it sure is really starting to feel like the 1970s and 1980s all over again. By threatening to build eight nuclear reactors for Iran, the Russians are exercising some old school brinksmanship. Maybe in preparing for June talks in Vienna or maybe just because it can, no matter. The bear is restless and it wants to play. Our flat-footed political leaders at 1600 Penn know not what to do. If the Russians are serious this time, the U.S. will need a lot more than economic sanctions to deal with this development. Heck, that could be what the Russians want, a further erosion of all sanctions against the Iranian regime, to the point that they are useless.
  • Bread and Circus I: The House of Representatives yesterday approved the USA Freedom Act. If they had approved the bill that was approved by the Judiciary Committee, it could have cleared things up as a matter of law. Reform was needed because times have changed, not because a traitor broke U.S. law and leaked sensitive and classified information to our enemies and allies. However, the version that passed yesterday muddles things up to the point that I can just about guarantee will lead to more political problems in the not too distant future. In the process legislators has created more confusion that will weaken, not strengthen, efforts by the NSA and other entity to protect U.S. national security. Opponents of the NSA got what they wanted, a weaker U.S. national security structure, while supporters of the NSA in this “Bread and Circus” Congress just wanted to do something for the sake of something, and accomplished the very same thing as their opponents.
  • Edward Snowden sits down in Moscow with Brian Williams of the NBC Evening News. Do folks really watch these shows anymore? It is Snowden’s first U.S. interview in what his become a seeming obsession or global crusade to tarnish the image of a country that once made it possible for him to pursue a life in freedom.
  • Bread and Circus II: Talking about weakening national security, Congressional Democrats, fearing that efforts at trapping Republicans to vote on immigration are failing, have turned to the next best trick, legislating via Executive Order. A group of Democrats from the Party’s extreme Left urged the President yesterday to use Executive Orders to implement immigration reform. Let him try. This will backfire on the Democratic Party in many ways. Will the Republicans have the stomach for a political fight? Let’s hope so. And, yes, immigration should first be viewed as a security issue. All else, including the economic arguments, are secondary problems that can de addressed under existing law.
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