FROM Ben Cohen
The Defense Budget Keeps Growing The much-anticipated Senate debate on Iraq remains a non-starter as Democrats and Republicans squabble over the ground rules. Meantime, the Bush Administration is asking Congress to increase defense spending to near record levels, with the Pentagon ready to ask for still more. As proposed by the President , the 2008 defense budget would be 20% of all federal spending, with a total of $623 billion--8% more than this year, including $142 billion for the war in Iraq . House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls it "a huge number." The military agrees it'll take years to catch up with repair and replacement of basic equipment, but it still wants new, hugely expensive high-tech systems. The US already is spending more than the rest of the world combined on preparing for warfare. Does it get what it pays for? What are the tradeoffs in domestic services and alleviation of global problems?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.