July 18, 2008
Jane Mayer's Torture Scoop
I wanted to flag a great interview with Jane Mayer I heard this morning on Democracy Now radio. I know, attention spans are short these days--but for those who want the Cliffs Notes for The Dark Side, Mayer's by all accounts extraordinary new portrait of the United States' torture program, give it a listen. The gist: Mayer reveals a secret report by the International Red Cross warned [sic] the Bush administration last year that the CIA’s treatment of prisoners categorically constituted torture and could make Bush administration officials who approved the torture methods guilty of war crimes.
Very strange testimony yesterday from John Ashcroft before the House Judiciary Committee. According to various reports that have come out since his departure from the Justice Department, Ashcroft was decidedly uncomfortable with--and flat-out opposed to--some of the more dubious aspects of the Bush administration's war on terror. For instance, during a 2002 White House meeting to discuss harsh interrogation practices of terror suspects, ABC News has reported: Then-Attorney General Ashcroft was troubled by the discussions.
July 17, 2008
WASHINGTON--On the issue of gasoline prices, Republicans think they have a winner in their call for new drilling and Democrats are playing defense. Democrats need--this is a technical term--a lot more oomph.
As the 2008 Beijing Olympics draw near, we’re taking the opportunity to compile our coverage of Olympics past.
“I count myself as a conservative Republican, yet I view it to a large degree in the Theodore Roosevelt mold,” John McCain told The New York Times last Friday. The presumptive Republican nominee for president speaks often of Roosevelt, another child of privilege who sought to make himself over into a man's man. He has referred to him as his "ultimate hero," and quoted approvingly Roosevelt's speech calling for a renewed commitment to American rule in the Philippines, in which Roosevelt declared, "Resistance must be stamped out.
Via First Read, this is about as impressive a case as I've seen a VP candidate make for himself: Remember that letter that South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R) sent to Obama -- over the fact that the Foreign Relations subcommittee that Obama chairs hasn't held a hearing on the issue of Afghanistan? Well, Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joe Biden -- a possible Obama veep pick -- responds to DeMint with his own letter. "As you are aware, under my chairmanship the Foreign Relations Committee has addressed most Afghanistan issues at the full committee level.
The Ballad Of George & John
Jay Carney has a good piece in Time that tells the story of the troubled relationship--and eventual rapprochement--between George W. Bush and John McCain. There's a lot of familiar stuff--South Carolina, the dalliance with Kerry, etc.--but this seems new: In March 2002, [McCain] and two other Senators were at the White House, briefing Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Adviser, about their recent meetings with European allies when Bush unexpectedly stuck his head in the door. "Are you all talking about Iraq?" the President asked, his voice tinged with schoolyard bravado.
July 16, 2008
Let's begin with the basic premise that our health care financing system should ensure that everyone receives the health care that they need without having to face a financial hardship. Everyone agrees that we have a very expensive system that falls far short of this goal, so it needs to be reformed. The enthusiasm for the model of reform described by Jacob Hacker and endorsed by the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) coalition, which Jonathan Cohn wrote about in his recent New Republic piece “Single-Minded,” is understandable.
July 15, 2008
Mission Not Accomplished
WASHINGTON--For years, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have touted his social programs known as "missions" as a model of social justice. But this narrative is a myth, according to a comprehensive study by the Latin American Institute of Social Research. The authors, Yolanda D'Elia and Luis Francisco Cabezas, are not ideological adversaries of Chavez's government. They don't even question the need for government-funded social programs. They simply trace the history of the missions and measure the results against the stated objectives.
The Dreyfus Affair 2.0
On May 21, 2008, a French court of appeals in Paris came to a remarkable verdict. Reversing an earlier decision by the (in)famous “Chambre 17,” which specializes in defamation, the judges exonerated Philippe Karsenty, an online media critic, of libeling the public television France2 and its star Middle East correspondent, Charles Enderlin. There was no question that Karsenty’s accusations did indeed strike at the “honor and reputation” of France2 (the charge).