It will not shock readers to hear that quite often legislation on Capitol Hill is not as advertised. When Congress wants to do something particularly objectionable, they tend give it a fine-sounding name. The PATRIOT Act is perhaps the best-known example. The legislation had been drafted well before 9/11 but was going nowhere. Then the 9/11 attacks gave it a new lease on life. Politicians exploited the surge in patriotism following the attack to reintroduce the bill and call it the PATRIOT Act. To oppose it at that time was, by design, to seem unpatriotic.
Nothing is less important in Washington these days than how Barack Obama's executive order on immigration will affect millions of unauthorized immigrants. Obama has turned a population roughly equal to Alabama into taxpayers who can live in America without fear of deportation, and this town yawns. All anyone really wants to talk about is whether the Republicans will completely freak out or manage to hold it together long enough for the government to function.
Illegal immigrants are the perfect Republican foe. They're easily exploited as low-cost workers benefiting business and easily maligned for being "lawless" benefiting politicians. They're a foreign other with a tendency not to speak English so suspicion is ready-made. Plus, how are illegal immigrants going to stick up for themselves? They're not. They're an ideal rival!
The autumn dark is lengthening, which means the English-speaking, Judeo-Christian Holiday Season is about to split open wider than a crocodile mouth at the bottom of a baby duckling water slide. It begins with Columbus Day. No mail and the banks are closed. Much is to be said for starting slow. Then the downward hurtle is set off by Halloween, when people toss about candy, free, incognito.
Most Americans, regardless of ideology, oppose "crony capitalism" or "cronyism." Cronyism is where politicians write laws aimed at helping their favored business beneficiaries. Despite public opposition to cronyism, politicians still seek to use the legislative process to help special interests.
At least once in a lifetime every American should lay eyes on the Grand Canyon, whose brilliant colors and dazzling erosional landscape inspire a kind of planetary patriotism. Stretching 277 miles long and a mile deep, it is perhaps our nation's greatest natural treasure.
Apparently, you're pretty busy. I'm a little surprised that you have time to read the paper, frankly. And you're not alone. Only 36 percent of our countrymen bothered to vote in the midterm elections. A lot of people were busy that day.
President Obama is leaning heavily on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency, to change the Internet from a competitive, free-market service into a government-regulated public utility.
Did the election last week really mean that much? I took to my Twitter account on Tuesday to point out that the change in control of the Senate from Democrat to Republican actually means very little, despite efforts by politicians and the mainstream media to convince us otherwise. Yes, power shifted, I wrote. But the philosophy on Capitol Hill changed very little. The warfare/welfare state is still alive and well in Washington.