Dianne Feinstein

The Republican committee chairman suggests Edward Snowden is a spy. Snowden says he isn't. The case for believing neither of them.

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On Monday, three Democratic Senators – Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, and Sheldon Whitehouse – released a Congressional investigation finding that the majority of weapons recovered and traced from crime scenes in Mexico originated in the United States. According to ATF figures quoted in the report, of the 29,284 firearms recovered in Mexico and traced by authorities in 2009 and 2010, 70% were found to have U.S. origins. These weapons have played a major role in the bloodshed of Mexico’s ongoing drug war, which claims thousands of victims every year.

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Within minutes of last Sunday’s announcement that the United States had killed Osama bin Laden at his conspicuous compound in Pakistan, accusations regarding the role played by his adopted country-of-residence began to fly. Had Pakistan’s notorious intelligence service (the ISI) known about bin Laden’s whereabouts all along? Or was a glaring oversight simply a sign of the agency’s incompetence?

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Speak, Obama

Joseph Margulies asks if torture was used to find Osama bin Laden.

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Not surprisingly, numerous Democratic Senators have come out against eliminating or scaling back the Senate's supermajority requirement: Five Senate Democrats have said they will not support a lowering of the 60-vote bar necessary to pass legislation. Another four lawmakers say they are wary about such a change and would be hesitant to support it. ... “It won’t happen,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said she would “probably not” support an effort to lower the number of votes needed to cut off filibusters from 60 to 55 or lower. Sen.

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In low-turnout elections where the outcome is a foregone conclusion, it's not uncommon for a non-trivial share of voters to cast some kind of protest vote. Some of them will vote for Mickey Mouse. California Democrats got the next best thing -- a chance to vote for Mickey Kaus. Kaus, a former TNR senior editor turned gadfly, has garnered a great deal of media coverage, and yesterday sent out an excited message to supporters claiming "We are peaking at the right time." After hauling in 5% of the vote, Kaus is claiming victory: I congratulate Senator Boxer on her primary victory.

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The dispatch is from Reuters. And the dateline is Wonderland. Flush with success in turning Iran away from nukes and Syria away from Tehran, the administration seems to be setting its sights on turning Hezbollah away from Hezbollah. If this is truly the goal of the administration, look for an another spectacular humiliation. No, worse: It will be a spectacular self-abasement. After all, there’s no evidence that the Lebanese terror fraternity is looking to become mild and modest.

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Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. Maybe it’s good that right after President Obama’s health reform signing ceremony, the Senate went right back to work to improve it.

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How to Beat the Blues

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. As President Obama has said, the rate hikes and practices of Anthem Blue Cross of California are the “coming attractions” of our health system without reform.

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Why Newsom Dropped Out

Joe Mathews is the Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation. In the days ahead, you may hear all kinds of explanations for why San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom dropped out of the race for governor. Poor fundraising. Poor standing the polls. Internal problems in his campaign. But none of them were decisive. Newsom had only one problem, but it was a problem to which there simply is no solution. That problem is the name Brown. This state has had only three Democratic governors in the past 67 years. Pat Brown. His son Jerry. And Jerry's chief of staff Gray Davis.

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