April 04, 2008
That Which Must Not Be Said
Barack Obama is a liberal. Hillary Clinton wants you to know this now; if Obama gets the nomination, John McCain assuredly will, too. “Liberal” has had bad connotations ever since the Vietnam era, when conservatives successfully branded their opponents with the “amnesty, abortion, and acid” label. Now, the word “liberal”--or librul, in its nastiest form--has been cast to the bottom of the linguistic heap, to be avoided at all costs.
The Washington Post reports today on an interesting tidbit to be gleaned from the March 2003 John Yoo memo: The Justice Department concluded in October 2001 that military operations combating terrorism inside the United States are not limited by Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, in one of several secret memos containing new and controversial assertions of presidential power. The memo, sent on Oct. 23, 2001, to the Defense Department and the White House by the Office of Legal Counsel, focused on the rules governing any deployment of U.S.
April 03, 2008
The Pakistan Paradox
On the day that Pakistan saw a new prime minister sworn into office, one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers, The News, led with the headline, “Hands Off Please, Uncle Sam.” The article was a response to the arrival of two senior American envoys, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher. They were hoping to foster ties to a new government, true, but their more immediate mission was to convince the new prime minister to preserve President Pervez Musharraf’s policies of partnering with the U.S. in the war on terror.
The latest CBS/New York Times poll is out and its full of provocative results. The headline (literally) is "Weak Economy Sours Public's View of Future." Among the findings: 48 percent of Americans say the economy is "fairly bad" while another 30 percent say it's "very bad." The last time the CBS/Times poll captured such pessimism was January of 1992, while the country was deep in recession. Not surprisingly, the economy is also voters' top concern: 32 percent say it's the most important problem facing the country today.
April 02, 2008
What--a thoughtful plan for Iraq? Written by aspiring Democratic House members? Campaigning in highly competitive districts? Believe it. Led by Darcy Burner, who’s gunning to represent Washington’s eighth district, ten Congressional challengers recently released a 36-page proposal called, simply, “A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.” More than 40 candidates have now signed on to the document, which is a cross between a think tank report and a political platform. On the face of it, this doesn’t seem like a big deal.
Madame Chancellor, Mr. President, Nearly 20 years ago, we enthusiastically witnessed the most extraordinary event of the end of the 20th century: the fall of the Berlin Wall. A reunified Germany opened the way to the resurrection of the European continent. Then a wave of "velvet revolutions" brought down the communist dictatorships, one by one. We who have been unrelenting opponents of these iniquitous regimes since the long-ago days of the "New Philosophy," were thrilled by this magnificent celebration of freedom.
WASHINGTON--The Cuban government has finally blocked access to a Web log written by Yoani Sanchez, a young woman who has caused a sensation on the communist-ruled island with her daily postings about life in Havana. But she says she has found a way to outsmart her censors. In the spirit of Soviet-era samizdats and Czechoslovakia's Charter 77, her blog, www.desdecuba.com/generaciony, lives on. Sanchez is a linguistics graduate in her early 30s, with a husband more than two decades her senior and a 12-year old son.
On the one hand, it's not so surprising that Lee Hamilton would endorse Barack Obama. Obama's foreign policy team consists of several former Hamilton staffers, and Obama himself seems to embody Hamilton's foreign policy sensibility. (See this recent piece for more on that.) On the other hand, the Hamilton endorsement is actually pretty telling. While working on the piece I just linked to--this would have been in late February--I asked one of Obama's foreign policy advisers why, if the two men were on such similar wavelengths, Hamilton hadn't already endorsed Obama.
You may have been wondering: Just how shoddy did John Yoo's legal advice to the Bush administration have to be for even a conservative lawyer like Jack Goldsmith to be taken aback by it? Answer: very. Full text of Yoo's newly declassified Justice Department memos on detainee treatment here (part one) and here (part two). Emily Bazelon: What takes my breath away about the Yoo memos, now that we can finally read them, is their air of utter certainty. One after another, complex questions of constitutional law are dispatched as if there's no cause for any debate.