Hard to blame anyone for wanting to get out of Washington and flee to some destination where the air is not polluted by politics. Understandable, then, that as Shane Goldmacher of Government Executive writes:
Members of Congress and their aides took more free trips around the world in 2013 than in any year since new restrictions were put in place after the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal.
Seems there is no end to the fact-finding that must be conducted in, among other places, “Ireland, Morocco, France, South Africa, Israel, Turkey,” and there are people willing to put up the necessary money and make sure that the whole thing stays legal. There are ways and creativity is rewarded as in the case of:
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and his wife [who] headed to Puerto Rico in December. They stayed at the El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property "uniquely nestled on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea," according to its website.
The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference picked up the tab. The annual meeting's theme was "Succeeding in a Time of Austerity.”
It has been 72 years and veterans of the attack are in their 90s, some of them taking tourists out to the memorial built over the sunken battleship Arizona, which is still leaking oil. Almost 1,200 men were killed and went down with that ship when a bomb found its magazine and blew it up. Total losses that day were over 2,500 killed, 1,000 wounded. Material losses amounted to 18 ships and nearly 300 airplanes destroyed or severely damaged.
While Germany was engaging in peaceful elections and the United States was watching football – civilized societies being big on democratic rituals and sports – people in other parts of the world were relieving their frustrations in violence.
In an article titled, "Refusal to Lead," Republican senator Marco Rubio writes, "The biggest foreign policy problem facing the United States right now is not too much U.S. engagement, but the danger of a world in which we increasingly refuse to lead. There are few global challenges that can be solved without decisive American leadership."
Jack Lew, who has been nominated as the next treasury secretary, oversaw up as many as a hundred Cayman Island investments when he worked at Citi Bank as chief operating officer of the alternative investment services unit, SEC disclosures reveal. It has previously been reported that Lew himself had been invested in a fund that was based in the Cayman Islands.
In a joint interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, Clinton reveals that Obama knew all along that expectations were set too high for him when he first came into office:
"What did he promise you [in order to accept the secretary of state job? And has he kept the promises?" Kroft asked Clinton, seated in front of Obama.
Or, maybe it is. In which case you should really cheer up. Getting all sulky and down in the dumps isn't going to starting adding days, weeks, months, and years to the Mayan calendar which runs out of tomorrows on the day after tomorrow (December 21, in case you are counting).
A newly released study by Transparency International finds the United States less corrupt now than it was in 2011. According to the survey's rankings, the U.S. is the 19th least corrupt country in the world this year; in 2011, the U.S. ranked 24th.
It is not even close: In a world poll of the U.S. presidential race, President Barack Obama is the clear favorite over Governor Mitt Romney. By a margin of 50-9 percent, Obama is favored in the poll of 21,797 respondents in 21 countries around the world.
President Obama's address at the United Nations was at times eloquently aspirational, and for the most part conventionally unobjectionable. But there was one sentence that gave away the fundamental lack of seriousness of the Obama worldview: "We have begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014."