May 02, 2012
In a speech Monday at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, John Brennan, President Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor, made a forthright defense of the drone war currently being conducted against Islamic militants in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. “As a result of our efforts,” he declared, “the United States is more secure and the American people are safer.” Brennan’s argument deserves credit for its boldness.
May 01, 2012
Why the Justices Should Be Careful
TNR's latest editorial is about the lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act and the implications that go beyond health care policy: The architects of American government wanted to protect individual liberty, from overzealous majorities and an overbearing federal government, so they insulated the Court from political influence and gave it final authority to say whether laws were constitutional. But overruling democratically elected officials is an inherently audacious act, which is why the justices must use their power in this regard thoughtfully.
Saving the Prospect
A member of the family is in trouble. On Monday, word began to circulate that the American Prospect is facing an immediate, potentially fatal financial shortfall. If the Prospect cannot raise $500,000 by May 31, plus additional pledges for the coming year, it may have to close its doors. How serious is the crisis? The Huffington Post first reported the funding crisis on Monday, after the magazine’s editors had informed staff. The Prospect has since published a letter and appeal for donations on its web page. I happen to owe the Prospect a great deal.
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about how the 2012 Obama campaign had a noticeably harder edge than the 2008 edition. While I was reporting the piece, some of the people I spoke to at the White House and working on the campaign downplayed the differences between this time and last time, but none of them put much effort into denying it.
Other than the brief period when the concept of “President Newt Gingrich” looked slightly plausible, the strangest phenomenen in this otherwise predictable election season has been Americans Elect, a political “party” without a platform or a candidate, but with a likely place on the ballot in almost every state. For now, it may seem the only reasonable response to the benighted Americans Elect is to ignore it (as many clearly have).
April 30, 2012
Mitt Romney, who was for the auto bailout before he was against it, is back to being for it. And to think they say the man has no principles. Romney’s latest effort to spin the rescue of America’s auto industry came on Satruday, when Eric Fehrnstrom, his top campaign strategist and longtime political adviser, was addressing a forum hosted by the Washington Post. Here’s the Post account: “His position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed,” Fehrnstrom said. “He said, ‘If you want to save the auto industry, just don’t write them a check. That will seal their doom.
In August 2011, my older brother Yassein—a businessman who is in no way politically involved—was praying inside the Mustafa Mosque in Daraya, southwest of Damascus, while a protest was happening outside. Security forces moved in to disperse the demonstration, arresting Yassein, who had not been participating. After his arrest, he was taken to the headquarters of Syrian Airforce Security.