From October, 2014

Chilling Story of the Day

If this is true, then I am appalled beyond measure: The intrusions into former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computers constitute the narrative spine of the reporter’s new book “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.” The book starts with not really a word, but a sound: “Reeeeeeeeeee.” That’s the noise that Attkisson’s Apple computer was making at 3:14 one morning. A Toshiba laptop computer issued by CBS News did the same thing a day earlier, around 4 a.m. All this goes down in October 2012, right in the midst of the…

Do You Hate the Koch Brothers?

Do you abhor and despise the control they allegedly exercise over the nature of political debate here in the United States? Are you afraid and worried that other similarly wealthy and powerful people/institutions could hijack political debate in a similar fashion? Well then, you should be absolutely outraged by this: Did You Hear the Koch Brothers Just Gave a Million Bucks to NPR to Cover Healthcare? No, you didn’t hear about that Koch gift to NPR, because it never happened. But now that I have your attention, let me ask you whether you heard that a different funder, who also has…

I Keep Telling You People that the Human Rights Situation in Iran Is Awful

And here is more proof–assuming that more proof is actually needed: Executions have surged in Iran and oppressive conditions for women have worsened, a United Nations investigator said on Monday, drawing attention to rights abuses just as Iran’s president is pushing for a diplomatic breakthrough with the West. The investigator, Ahmed Shaheed, a former diplomat from the Maldives and now special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, made the comments on the eve of presenting his latest findings to members of the United Nations General Assembly. Mr. Shaheed said he had been shocked by the execution on Saturday of Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, who was convicted of killing a man she had accused…

Smart Diplomacy

Recall that back in 2008, Barack Obama promised that if he became president, he would strengthen alliances and draw friends over to the side of the United States–unlike that George W. Bush fellow who supposedly angered and alienated allies left, right and center. Remember that? Good. Now read this: The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname.…

Quote of the Day

At some point, a compendium of condemnations against the Obama administration’s record of media transparency (actually, opacity) must be assembled. Notable quotations in this vein come from former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, who said, “It is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering”; New York Times reporter James Risen, who said, “I think Obama hates the press”; and CBS News’s Bob Schieffer, who said, “This administration exercises more control than George W. Bush’s did, and his before that.” USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page has added a sharper edge to this set of…

Wasn’t the Obama Administration Supposed to Improve the Conduct of American Foreign Policy?

I could swear that was the promise back in 2008. I could also swear that the president claimed to have delivered on that promise when he ran for re-election. And yet . . . When President Obama, after months of equivocation over how to respond to the takeover of parts of Iraq and Syria by radical militants, announced in September that the United States would “lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” the White House swung quickly into action, sending proposed legislation to train and equip Syrian rebels to Capitol Hill that same day. Unfortunately, the White…

Kevin Drum Is Fighting Cancer

I remember being invited to Kevin Drum’s house for dinner with some other bloggers back on December 13, 2003. I remember the date because it was the same day that Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces; it figures that a dinner gathering of bloggers would feature some important breaking news. But what I remember from the day was not any discussion of blogging, news, or political debates. Rather, I remember Kevin’s kindness as a host, his sincere interest in what each of his guests wrote and thought about the issues of the day, and of course, his cats, Inkblot…

Stalin Would Approve

This is what happens to Scott Walker supporters in Wisconsin: The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids. Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred…

“You Didn’t Build That” Redux

Oh great. Here we go again: At a Democratic rally in Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton’s attempt to attack “trickle-down economics,” resulted in a spectacularly odd statement. [. . .] She went on to state that businesses and corporations are not the job creators of America. “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” the former Secretary of State said. One wonders whether the Rose Law Firm, which gave Clinton a job out of law school, is and has been viewed by her as some kind of government agency. In related news, the next time that Democrats wonder…

Some Things Never Change–Like the Awful Human Rights Situation in Iran

To wit: Iran hanged a woman on Saturday who was convicted of murdering a man she alleged was trying to rape her, drawing swift international condemnation for a prosecution several countries described as flawed. Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged at dawn for premeditated murder, the official IRNA news agency reported. It quoted a statement issued by the Tehran Prosecutor Office Saturday that rejected the claim of attempted rape and said that all evidence proved that Jabbari had plotted to kill Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former intelligence agent. The United Nations as well as Amnesty International and other human rights groups had…