The U.S. Senate is set to vote on the ratification of a deeply controversial United Nations treaty on disabled people, dubbed the UN “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” (UN CRPD), which critics say represents a serious threat to American sovereignty and certain unalienable rights. After voting to consider the agreement in late November during the lame-duck session despite furious protests, a vote on whether or not to formally ratify the planetary disability scheme has been set for Tuesday, December 4.
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted against the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees, despite veto threats from the White House. The measure was an amendment to the annual Defense Authorization Bill, which failed by a vote of 54-41, with 10 Democrats voting against their party in favor of the amendment.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) continues to pump his bill to impose transaction fees on high-frequency trading, saying that they would raise a lot of money with few consequences.
On November 29, the Senate passed the Feinstein-Lee Amendment to the 2013 NDAA, purporting to protect the right to trial of those detained as suspects.
President Obama has hardened his views on “fiscal cliff” negotiations with congressional Republicans, with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner telling a closed-door session of congressional leaders that Obama is now demanding $50 billion in more “stimulus” spending, $1.6 trillion in higher taxes over 10 years, and presidential control over the national debt limit. Any other deal, Geithner counseled, would be vetoed and make inevitable the fiscal cliff's the automatic tax increases and spending cuts on January 1.
Texas Republican Ron Paul, Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich, and New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt are continuing the fight in the House of Representatives against the use of drones for targeted killing by the Obama administration. They have once again called upon the Obama administration to release documents to justify the use of the overseas drone strikes.
In what might loosely be described as the "spirit of the season," the Congress of the United States will likely put together a huge grab bag "with a lot of stuff in it," including tax- and debt-ceiling increases, and drop it down the nation's chimney before adjourning for its Christmas recess, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) predicted Monday.
According to European Commission documents released Tuesday by WikiLeaks, two high-ranking U.S. politicians are responsible, at least in part, for a financial blockade that the organization claims has cut off 95 percent of its revenue. Those politicians are Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), both of whom pressured MasterCard, and possibly Visa, into refusing to process payments to WikiLeaks, the documents reveal.
The "pendency plan" just passed by the San Bernardino, California, city council includes "renegotiating" its pension liabilities with CalPERS, the country's largest pension plan.
While the U.S. economy is said to be en route to go over the so-called "fiscal cliff" on January 1, Congress has made little headway in the process of reaching a solution, though there were indications of compromise over the weekend. Unless a compromise is reached, the American people will experience an onslaught of tax increases and spending cuts that the Congressional Budget Office says will set the economy on a downward spiral.
Since Senator Saxby Chambliss' defection on Thursday from his Taxpayer Protection Pledge, two other senators and a member of the House have also bailed, claiming now that tax increases must be "on the table" to solve the fiscal cliff crisis.