June 15, 2009

The Key Iran Debate For Obama
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  NYT: [T]he senior administration official said there was some debate within the administration about how openly to question the result. While some political operatives in the administration wanted to be more open about American unease with the election result, those from diplomatic backgrounds were portrayed as pressing for the United States to say as little as possible, so as not to disrupt the engagement process, which Mr. Obama has made one of his foreign policy priorities.

Dennis Ross, Out As Special Envoy To Iran; Was He Ousted Because He's A Jew Or A Bit Hawkish On Nukes?
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The news that Dennis Ross, long time State Department strategist and peace processor, is being bounced as special envoy to Iran comes from an article by Barak Ravid in the reliable (at least on these matters) Ha'aretz. The story seems to assume that Ross was declared persona non grata by Tehran either because he was a Jew or because he believes that Iran should not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. If the Obama administration so readily capitulated to Dr.

Daily Treatment: Is There A Doctor In The House?
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OBAMA PAYS A HOUSE CALL: The big news today is President Obama's speech to the annual convention of the American Medical Association. Although the AMA is not the monolithic giant it once was--more on that here, and perhaps to come later today--it's still important symbolically. As Marc Ambinder reported last week, the administration wants physicians as validators of its reform efforts. That means keeping the AMA from going ballistic or, better still, winning its endorsement. But don't expect Obama to avoid potential areas of disagreement in his remarks.

June 14, 2009

No Schadenfreude Over Ahmadinejad's Re-election But No Self-deception Either
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I wish I could harbor even a smidgen of the confidence the vice presidenthas that Dr. Ahmadinejad's sweep was really a fraud. In the Times on-line, Roger Cohen also harbors the belief that the balloting results were a fraud. And he came away with what for him must have been a desolating wish: Majir Mirpour grabbed me.  A purple bruise disfigured his arm.  He raised his shirt to show a red wound across his back.        'They beat me like a pig,' he said, breathless.

Un-cooperative: The Trouble With Conrad's Compromise
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Editor's Note: Jacob S. Hacker is co-director of the Center for Health, Economic, and Family Security at U.C. Berkeley; a fellow at the New America Foundation; and the editor of Health at Risk: America's Ailing Health System--and How to Heal It. He's also a regular guest contributor to The Treatment. In the fast-moving debate over health care, no idea invites more admiration or ire than the “public health insurance option”--or what I’ve been trying to get people to describe as “public plan choice”.

Always Illegitimate
12:00 AM

I'll have more to say about the administration's lackluster response (if one can even call it that) to the ongoing events in Iran, but this sentence from today's New York Times story about Vice President Biden's announcement that the White House will "engage" Iran regardless of how many pro-democracy protestors it kills or ballots it stuffs stuck out at me:  That cautious reaction reflected the combustible scene in Tehran, where riot police officers were cracking down on angry opposition supporters, and the likelihood that the administration would be forced to pursue its diplomatic initiative

June 13, 2009

The Verdict Is In
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Click here for Margo Howard's Week One coverage of the Clark Rockefeller case. Click here for her coverage of the first two days of Week Two. Click here for the last two days of Week Two. And click here for coverage of Week Three. Coming into today, the defense had high hopes for victory. In addition to the jury’s taking its sweet time with the verdict, during day three of deliberations, it also sent up a question for clarification. The jury asked for the exact definition of criminal responsibility.

The Drama In Iran
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  Who knows where this is leading. But how ironic it would be if an attempted demonstration of phantom support for Ahmadinejad wound up severely undermining the country's clerical regime. The White House's initial response, meanwhile, is notably cautious: Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians.  We continue to monitor the entire situation closely, including reports of irregularities. It'll be interesting to see what tone Obama takes tomorrow.

Ahmadinejad: 1; Obama: 0
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All of us were so eager for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to lose that we got caught up in the popular enthusiasm, especially among Iran's younger voters, for Mir Hossein Mousavi. Of course, we knew very little about the president's opponent in the beginning. But by election eve Mousavi's political profile looked very much like that of his incumbent rival. Except that he seemed a bit less nutsy. As for what Mousavi thought about nukes, no one could be found to say that he was much different than Dr.

June 12, 2009

Buyer Beware
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One of the more promising signs for health care reform over the past two years has been the apparent support of the business community. Corporate executives and trade groups have repeatedly spoken out about the problems of our health care system. Even more remarkably, they have joined coalitions pledged to finding comprehensive solutions--the sorts of plans that would bring affordable insurance to all Americans while easing the financial burden many companies now face.