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Benjamin Netanyahu was the first foreign leader to be invited to address Congress without a US president’s consent or knowledge. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Netanyahu address to Congress was more about domestic politics than Iran

For many Israelis, the potential danger of a bad deal with Iran pales in comparison to the damage caused to US-Israeli relations by Benjamin Netanyahu’s trickery.
In this 2008 photograph, former ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert H Tuttle greets President George W. Bush. Prior to becoming an ambassador, Tuttle was known for his empire of car dealerships. Jason Reed/Reuters

How do you become an ambassador?

If you want a desirable ambassadorship, becoming a Foreign Service Officer and earning the relevant degrees – in other words, accumulating experience – might not be the best plan of action.
If you’re in favor of copyright extensions – and aren’t a corporation holding the rights or a descendent of the original author – you probably need some sense knocked into you. Flickr

Why Batman and Rhapsody in Blue should be in the public domain, but aren’t

In 1998, if Congress hadn’t extended copyrights by 20 years, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind would all be in the public domain…
Barack Obama outlined a vision of post-recession liberalism that was at once hopeful and limited in his State of the Union address. EPA/Astrid Riecken

With a liberal State of the Union agenda, Obama revives theme of hope

On Tuesday night (US time), President Barack Obama gave his second-last State of the Union address – and the last one that has the potential to shape his legacy. Next year the country will be caught up…
Barack Obama is now entering the period when the notion of his legacy as US president becomes increasingly pertinent. EPA/Mandel Ngan

Obama defies lame duck fears with State of the Union address

President Barack Obama has pointed to an improving economy and the need for a taxation system that shares the benefits in an agenda-setting State of the Union challenge to the Republican congressional…
The US Supreme Court will consider whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional. Flickr/vpickering

Court to rule on same-sex marriage and American freedom

The US Supreme Court agreed last Friday to hear four cases about same-sex marriage. Essentially, this means that, having previously avoided doing so, the court will finally consider whether or not same-sex…
How well this lot can get along may depend most on the growing group of politicians hoping to sit in the president’s chair in two years. Reuters

What the budget deal means for Congress and the ‘16 elections

Given the contentiousness of recent fiscal negotiations, the prelude to the budget passed by the Senate last month was surprisingly placid. Will a uniquely unproductive Congress be followed by a more conciliatory…
Direct negotiations between top leaders may be the best and only way to get significant trade deals done, which requires fast-track authority. Reuters

Updating ‘fast-track’ is key to getting a trade deal in 2015

With the resounding Republican victory in November’s midterm elections, most pundits are despairing that Congress and President Barack Obama will find any areas for cooperation in the coming two years…
Stephen Colbert created an extraordinary character: a right-wing, bloviating pundit who was both outrageous and adorable. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The Stephen Colbert legacy

If you were following politics over the last few election cycles, you were most likely getting some of your information from satire. In fact, research has shown that in today’s political climate, satire…
As much as we like to think that we vote on substance – not style – studies have shown that physical appearance matters to voters. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Welcome to Politics4K

While much of the 2014 midterm election analysis centered on the Republican takeover of the Senate, the pundits may have overlooked an important development: the end of a time when politicians looked a…
Obama announces the biggest Cuba policy shift in 50 years. EPA/Doug Mills

After a tense 50 years, Obama and Castro announce US-Cuba thaw

In the United States and Cuba’s strained relationship over the past 50-odd years, certain key flashpoints stand out: the Bay of Pigs incident, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and many more. December 17 2014…
Congress raised the cap on how much an individual can donate to political parties in its spending bill that just passed last week, giving wealthy Americans a greater voice in elections. Shutterstock

Lawmakers show indifference to Americans' needs by gutting campaign finance caps

The political system’s indifference to the needs of the American people could not have been made clearer in recent days. At a time when economic inequality is increasing and the US racial divide is ever…
Secrets out? EPA/Dennis Brack

Senate CIA torture report release: expert reaction

The US Senate has released the executive summary of a long-withheld report on harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the post-9/11 era. Previously undisclosed techniques have been revealed and…
EPA/Michael Reynolds

Hagelian dialectics: Chuck gets the chop

To lose one Secretary of Defense might be considered unfortunate. To have lost three and to be looking for a fourth looks like something more fundamental and systemic. The early departure of Chuck Hagel…
Barack Obama has signed into law all but two of the bills to come before him, but is likely to use his power of presidential veto more often in the final two years of his term. White House/Pete Souza

US votes for presidential vetoes, filibusters and partisan fractures

Perhaps no sentiment better defines the American political psyche than distrust of government. It prompted the constitutional framers 226 years ago to create a system of national government that separates…

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