Netanyahu argues that if the U.S. walked away, Iran would eventually capitulate on everything; the “better deal” he imagined is one in which Iran does everything short of dismantling its government. He had nothing to say about why this might happen if we weren’t negotiating, other than that we should “keep up the pressure.” That’s his alternative: Do nothing, and instead of just going ahead and developing nuclear weapons, Iran will see the light and completely reverse everything it’s been doing.
To call that position “absurd” is too kind. You don’t have to be some kind of foreign policy whiz to grasp that there’s something weird about arguing that 1) Iran is a nation run by genocidal maniacs; 2) they want nuclear weapons so they can annihilate Israel; and 3) the best way to stop this is to abandon negotiations to limit their nuclear program and just wait to see what they do. But that’s the position Netanyahu and his supporters in the Republican Party are now committed to.
Introduction to TRP News with James Andre, a production of the United States of America Rational Progressive Party. A short discussion of what the series is about and what it means to be a “Progressive.”
By now, you’ve heard of the crater on the Yamal Peninsula. It’s the one that suddenly appeared, yawning nearly 100 feet in diameter, and made several rounds in the global viral media machine. The adjectives most often used to describe it: giant, mysterious, curious. Scientists were subsequently “baffled.” Locals were “mystified.” There were whispers that aliens were responsible. Nearby residents peddled theories of “bright flashes” and “celestial bodies.”)
There’s now a substantiated theory about what created the crater. And the news isn’t so good.
It may be methane gas, released by the thawing of frozen ground. According to a recent Nature article, “air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane — up to 9.6% — in tests conducted at the site on 16 July, says Andrei Plekhanov, an archaeologist at the Scientific Centre of Arctic Studies in Salekhard, Russia.
The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, a milestone in regulating high-speed Internet service into American homes.
Tom Wheeler, the commission chairman, said the F.C.C. was using “all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers” and preserve the Internet’s role as a “core of free expression and democratic principles.”
The new rules, approved 3 to 2 along party lines, are intended to ensure that no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else. Those prohibitions are hallmarks of the net neutrality concept.
Explaining the reason for the regulation, Mr. Wheeler, a Democrat, said that Internet access was “too important to let broadband providers be the ones making the rules.”
On March 4, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a lawsuit designed by conservative advocates to destroy Obamacare. If the plaintiffs prevail, about 8 million people could lose their health insurance. Premiums are likely to skyrocket by 35 percent or more, threatening coverage for millions of others. Health policy experts have estimated that nearly 10,000 people a year could die prematurely if they lose their coverage. Obamacare itself could collapse.
The King case started out as a legal theory hatched by a group of conservative lawyers in 2010 at a conference sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the right-leaning think tank. Attendees were urged to devise a litigation strategy to bring down the Affordable Care Act, which months earlier had been signed into law. The libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank funded by big pharmaceutical firms, oil and gas outfits, the Koch brothers, Google, tobacco companies, and conservative foundations, answered the call. (“This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene,” Michael Greve, then CEI chairman, said at the conference.) But CEI had to recruit plaintiffs—actual people who could claim they had been harmed by the Affordable Care Act in a particular way—to launch its lawsuit.
So who are the two men and two women that CEI handpicked to front its assault on Obamacare? What harm had they suffered as a result of the health care law? And why are they willing to put their names on a suit that could jeopardize the health coverage of millions of fellow Americans?
Despite the potential to make more money, companies haven’t jumped at the opportunity in states that have lowered barriers. Insurance department officials in Georgia, Maine and Wyoming told Governing that no out-of-state insurers have expressed interest, and no such policies have been sold.
Denise Burke, a senior policy and planning analyst with Wyoming’s insurance department, suspects the state’s extremely low population density and the difficulty of building a provider network has discouraged insurers. “Accessibility, getting and keeping qualified providers — insurance companies are simply not interested in pulling us into the fold,” she said.
The investment of building a network of doctors in a state often comes up as a bigger barrier than state regulation, even among some supporters of the idea of selling policies across state lines. Thomas Miller, a resident health care fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, acknowledges “it’s not easy to be a new insurer overnight,” but he says there are a few ways to make the investment more worthwhile.
London Mayor Boris Johnson’s ambitious plan to reshape how the city handles cyclist traffic got final approval Wednesday, clearing the way for the spread of segregated bike lanes and dedicated traffic signals. Johnson plans to create a network for cyclists that rivals the city’s transit system.
“The board of Transport for London approved a plan to spend £160m (around $240 million) on segregated bike lanes,” Britain’s ITV reports. “The biggest investment will be on two controversial ‘cycle superhighways’ running east-west and north-south through central London.”
Overall, London plans to invest more than $6 billion in its Road Modernization Plan, which includes everything from replacing streetlights to revamping tunnels.
The internet wouldn’t have emerged as it did, for instance, if the FCC hadn’t mandated open access for network equipment in the late 1960s. Before then, AT&T prohibited anyone from attaching non-AT&T equipment to the network. The modems that enabled the internet were usable only because the FCC required the network to be open.
Companies such as AOL were able to grow in the early days of home computing because these modems gave them access to the open telephone network.
I personally learned the importance of open networks the hard way. In the mid-1980s I was president of a startup, NABU: The Home Computer Network. My company was using new technology to deliver high-speed data to home computers over cable television lines. Across town Steve Case was starting what became AOL. NABU was delivering service at the then-blazing speed of 1.5 megabits per second—hundreds of times faster than Case’s company. “We used to worry about you a lot,” Case told me years later.
But NABU went broke while AOL became very successful. Why that is highlights the fundamental problem with allowing networks to act as gatekeepers.
While delivering better service, NABU had to depend on cable television operators granting access to their systems.
Groups from around the world today joined together to denounce the US government for allowing the first genetically engineered tree, a loblolly pine, to be legalized with no government or public oversight, with no assessment of their risks to the public or the environment, and without regard to overwhelming public opposition to GE trees.
A secret letter from the USDA to GE tree company ArborGen, dated last August, was recently exposed by scientist Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Center for Food Safety. In this letter, the USDA made the unprecedented decision to allow ArborGen to pursue unregulated commercial cultivation of a loblolly pine genetically engineered for altered wood composition. These trees could be planted anywhere in the US, without public knowledge or access to information about them.
Progressivism is not an ideology at all, but an attitude towards the world of politics that is far less black-and-white than conservatism or liberalism, breaking free from the false and divisive dichotomy of liberal vs. conservative that has dominated American politics for too long.
Progressives aren't simply liberals; progressives see the world for what it is, accept it as ever-changing and dynamic, and choose the best course of action in line with decidedly American values.
The Rational Progressive is a publication of the USA Rational Progressive Party. Our purpose is to be a source of accurate, unbiased information, and a promoter of rational debate of government policy.
We believe in the power of people to effect change for the greater good, and we believe that violence and chaos are not the natural result of accommodating different needs and different perspectives.