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Listless Congress cedes power to White House


By Lee Hamilton

Fri, Oct 12th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

By Lee H. Hamilton

There is a widespread sense, both in Washington and around the country, that Congress has just ended one of the most listless and unproductive sessions in memory. When its members bolted town to go home and campaign, they left a long list of big issues unaddressed — immigration reform, “the fiscal cliff,” climate change, entitlement reform, cyber-security. Even worse, they ignored the basics, too: a new farm bill; a Postal Service that desperately needs restructuring; spending bills to keep the government operating beyond next March.

So there’s no mystery why Congress’s standing is so low not just among the public at large, but also among the people who pay close attention to its behavior. “An unsurpassed record of failure,” is how USA Today characterized the just-concluded session.

There are consequences to this fecklessness, most of them pretty obvious: the nation’s many challenges are not being met, and everyone trying to plan ahead, from postal workers to farmers to federal contractors and most businesses in the country, is left in limbo. What is less appreciated is that when Congress fails to act, there is another consequence as well: it unwittingly transfers power to the President.

You can see this dynamic in play right now on the issue of cyber-security. A recent “denial of service” attack on six major US banks — which caused internet blackouts and online banking problems — illustrates why the issue has moved to the front burner in Washington. Indeed, many experts believe that computer intrusions and network attacks have become the greatest threat to our national security. Yet Congress, despite the urgent efforts of several of its leading members, was unable to agree on an approach to the issue; it adjourned without producing legislation to protect the nation’s digital infrastructure.

So voices within the national security establishment have urged President Obama to take action now, by issuing an executive order to put in place standards for protecting against cyber attacks. Indeed, even before Congress adjourned, such an order was being drafted; critics have labeled the move a power grab, but there’s a widespread consensus that national security requires action now, not when Congress can get around to it.

There’s a certain logic to this. If Congress can’t act on urgent matters, then Americans expect the President to .....
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Recessions and depressions

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Fri, Oct 12th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

By Stan Gudmundson Bill Clinton told us that the recession Obama “inherited” was too big for any president to solve in one term. Really? Earlier I noted that there is a simple explanation that precisely defines what recessions and depressions a ..... 
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We need a president who will serve “all the people”

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Oct 5th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

Foreign Policy The Bush administration saw leadership in terms of fear at home and abroad. They talked about “The War on Terror,” the “Axis of Evil,” and “You’re Either With us or Against Us.” We were warned of the Mushroom Cloud and ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Leadership

Thu, Oct 4th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

OK, so the dust has settled from the October 3rd Presidential Debate, and all of the pundits have weighed in on how the greatest show on Earth went down. Now it's my turn. This election isn't about electing one man over another. There is someth ..... 
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One Moment, Please... What’s important?

Fri, Sep 28th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

Seriously, what is important? In my world, professional sports are just a form of entertainment. When you look at professional sports like the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA or any others at that level, they are merely athletic reality TV shows. They are getti ..... 
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Choose the better neighbor

By Justin Gilbert

Fri, Sep 28th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

With the general election fast approaching, I’m taking an alternative path for a commentary. You’ve most likely decided who you are voting for anyway, so you don’t need me to persuade you to one side or tell you how much I dislike the other pa ..... 
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Why I write

Fri, Sep 28th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

If you dig very deeply into a closet somewhere in Canton, Minnesota, you will find a copy of something called “The Underwater Adventure,” consisting of two pages of dot matrix text and pictures depicting aquatic life and exploration, including a ..... 
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Correction

Fri, Sep 21st, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

In the September 17, 2012, issue of the Fillmore County Journal, a photo under the article titled “OMC in Preston sees farm-related injury and illness,” a woman in the photo was identified as Polly Kraling. It should have read Polly Harstad.

Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand

Fri, Sep 21st, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

By Karen Reisner Rights and freedoms granted by the first amendment to the Constitution including the freedom of speech carry with them the necessity to act responsively. Ideally at least, they should. With the unfolding of the protests and riots ..... 
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