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New Stories Now on Our Homepage

New stories now featured on our homepage: The editors on President Obama's troubling approach to the use of drones, and Charles R. Morris on high spending on health care.From the editorial:

It is both sobering and disheartening to learn that it was only the prospect of a President Romney ordering drone attacks that pushed [Barack] Obama to recognize that he himself needs to be more constrained by the law when making such life-and-death decisions. Administration sources told the New YorkTimes that, in light of the election results, codifying standards and procedures for the use of drones is no longer an urgent concern. Such thinking is hubris of a very dangerous kind. Rules for using unmanned drones need to be carefully laid out, vetted by both the Justice Department and Congress, and then made public. Americans need to know what is being done in their name.

Read the whole thing here.Meanwhile, in Better, Cheaper, Easier, Morris examines how the very effectiveness of modern health care affects the costs vs. spending equation.

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'It is both sobering and disheartening to learn that it was only the prospect of a President Romney ordering drone attacks that pushed Obama to recognize that he himself needs to be more constrained by the law when making such life-and-death decisions.'And it is both sobering and disheartening to see the folks who usually are first in line to criticize unjustifiable American aggression against other countries holding their fire on the drone issue until they were sure Romney wouldn't be the dronemaster-in-chief.

Tom,If we're the folks you're referring to, you'd better read this and this.

Matrhew, I was referring to you folks, among others, and I had read this and this. Compared to a FoxNews truthiness campaign like bringing down ACORN, what are two articles in a year? Fox gives that much time to true stories it doesn't like.But it wasn't just Commonweal treating the droning like a Victorian gentleman faced with a show of ankles. Maybe I am overwrought, and maybe (fat chance) droning really works so well that it limits civilian casualties. (Reagan tried to be surgical with Ghadaffi and killed a little girl.) But I think the president's assertion that he can be judge, jury and executioner with neither prior authorization nor post-assassination approval from Congress and/or the courts, is the most outrageous thing that has happened to the Constitution since Nixon was justly jeered and driven from office for his attitude (expressed later to David Frost) that if the president does it, it's OK. Nixon brought on Watergate hearings and trials. The drones of Obama brought on only this and this.

Tom,So now you're saying that unless Commonweal gives this issue as much attention as FoxNews gave the ACORN scandal, we must be in the bag for Obama? That seems silly to me (we're not a 24-hour cable-news operation; we're a biweekly covering politics, religion, and the arts. Good luck finding a foreign-policy issue we've written about more in the past year), but in any case this isn't what you said in your first comment, where you accused us of having held our fire on the drone issue until we were sure Romney wouldn't be the "dronemaster-in-chief." As the two links I provided in my last comment demonstrate, that is false.

Matthew. My impulse was more to needle :-) than get into an argument. But your first example, a very good editorial, came 11 months before the election, and the Pfaff column was dated three days before the election. I didn't see it until after. Compare the effort here and in print to parse Paul Ryan's version of, or not of, social justice teachings, or the bishops v Obama fight over the HHS ruling. Now, those are both churchy issues that wouldn't get much attention outside Catholic orbits, but "constitutional" assassination should also be an issue to church people, especially since it got little or no traction outside Catholic orbits either.I mean, when Nov. 2 came, I made my decision primarily on the drone issue. I think I might have had more company if more people had had their attention drawn to it, and I am sure no one registered my wild behavior because no one told the media to look for it. So, yeah, I am super sensitive about this. Commonweal was far from the chief offender. I should have applied the ACORN example to MSNBC, OK? :-)

"And it is both sobering and disheartening to see the folks who usually are first in line to criticize unjustifiable American aggression against other countries holding their fire on the drone issue until they were sure Romney wouldnt be the dronemaster-in-chief."Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for the UN noted in his report as far back as 28 May 10 the obvious - that extrajudicial executions are an unlawful use of legal force and thus constitute war crimes. Therefore I think it is unfair to say non-partisan organizations were "holding their fire".