With just two weeks left in office, President Bush designated almost 200,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean as a national monument using powers granted by the Antiquities Act of 1906. The new marine "monument," an area about the size of Spain, is the largest protected area of ocean ever established, breaking a previous record also set by Bush in mid-2006, when he decreed 140,000 square miles in Northwest Hawaii off-limits using the same authority.
On January 8, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (along with 11 House colleagues) introduced House Resolution 34, whose title reads: "Recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process." Within a day, H. Res. 34 gained 116 cosponsors and was passed by the House on January 9 (House Roll Call 10) by an overwhelming margin of 390 to 5.
Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, has declared that "you don't ever want a crisis to go to waste." As reported here yesterday, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has been busy lately promoting the idea that Obama should move quickly once in the White House to turn various economic and political crises into opportunities to create a "new world order." (The words are Kissinger's.)
"Federalism" is one of those words that turns many readers aside, as it conjures up images of boring old theoretical interpretations of John Locke treatises. The reality of federalism is much more exciting than the theory — it is actually about the insatiable struggle for power between elites in the federal government and elites in the state governments. Money, power, secret tribunals, corruption: now those things are interesting.
President Bush leaves office amidst the greatest economic calamity in several generations, perhaps ever. The federal budget deficit is poised to triple last year's record $400 billion, rising to a projected $1.2 trillion, perhaps far more. Trillions too have been added to the national debt by a desperate Bush administration and craven Congress, most to bail out America's corporate and financial oligarchs.