Number of people the U.S. military is holding in its prisons in Iraq, according to Gen. Douglas Stone. Approximately 860 of the detainees are under the age of 16.” The United States has incarcerated “10,000 more detainees compared to this time last year, worsening already serious backlogs in the court system.”
In an recent interview with the BBC, former President Jimmy Carter slammed Vice President Cheney as a “militant” who has been “disaster” for the United States:
He’s a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military and he has been most forceful in the last 10 years or more in fulfilling some of his more ancient commitments that the United States has a right to inject its power through military means in other parts of the world. [...]
You know he’s been a disaster for our country. I think he’s been overly persuasive on President George Bush and quite often he’s prevailed. It was one of his main commitments to go into Iraq under false pretenses, and he still maintains those false pretenses are accurate.
In an interview with CNN, President Carter said the U.S. is undoubtedly torturing prisoners in violation of international law. “I don’t think it. I know it,” Carter told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“It is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn’t doing. We’re getting all kinds of mixed messages,” Clinton said. “I don’t think we’ll know the truth until we have a new president. I think [until] you can get in there and actually bore into what’s been going on, you’re not going to know.”
Greg Sargent rides to the rescue with the full context:
Well I think I’ve been very clear about that too, we should not conduct or condone torture and it is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn’t doing, we’re getting all kinds of mixed messages. I don’t think we’ll know the truth until we have a new President. I think once you can get in there and actually bore into what’s been going on, you’re not going to know. I was very touched by the story you guys had on the front page the other day about the WWII interrogators. I mean it’s not the same situation but it was a very clear rejection of what we think we know about what is going on right now but I want to know everything, and so I think we have to draw a bright line and say ‘No torture – abide by the Geneva conventions, abide by the laws we have passed,’ and then try to make sure we implement that.
As Mark Kleiman says, this doesn’t really wash and seems to indicate that she accepts the view that, for example, waterboarding which we definitely do know is happening maybe doesn’t count as torture.
At any rate, Clinton has long distinguished herself as unusually friendly to executive power for an opposition party legislator, so there’s little reason to believe that if she becomes president she’ll be eagerly rolling the boundaries back from where Bush pushed them. I wonder if conservatives will be happy about the idea of HRC-administered torture, on the grounds that they just really love torture, or, maybe, once it’s being done by a politician they don’t admire they’ll start to see that there’s a problem here.
On Monday, the American Spectator posted a story on its website claiming that House Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) “has asked his investigative staff” to compile “reports” on right-wing radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. The Spectator, quoting anonymous sources, said the move was part of an effort to bring back the “Fairness Doctrine”:
Others on the Democrat side are pushing ahead with other plans. Rep. Henry Waxman has asked his investigative staff to begin compiling reports on Limbaugh, and fellow radio hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin based on transcripts from their shows, and to call in Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin to discuss the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.”
The Spectator’s article was quickly picked up by the rest of the conservative media. On his radio show on Monday, Rush Limbaugh called Waxman “un-American,” comparing him to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Most conservative blogs went into hysterics over the report, though some were skeptical of the source. The Family Research Council also sent an e-mail blast to supporters warning of censorship.
Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes unsurprisingly picked up the story as well. Watch it:
Waxman’s staff responded today, calling the Spectator’s report a “fictitious story“:
On October 8, 2007, the American Spectator printed a fictitious story alleging that Congressman Waxman and the House Oversight Committee were investigating conservative and Republican talk show radio programs.
The American Spectator report is completely false and was written without any documentation or attribution. There is not now nor has there ever been any investigation of this subject. [...]
The American Spectator should immediately retract its report and apologize for the confusion its fictitious report has caused.
On his radio show today, Limbaugh read Waxman’s statement. But Limbaugh refused to believe it, choosing instead to side with the Spectator who “stand[s] by their source”:
I think we need to investigate this. There’s obviously differing opinions here. The American Spectator claims, and they stand by their source, and Waxman is denying it. We need an investigation of this. We need to investigate this investigation, or this alleged investigation. [...]
Maybe some of Waxman’s staff said they’re going to investigate and Waxman didn’t know it for plausible deniability. Who knows. We need to get to the bottom of this. … That’s a pretty serious charge that somebody has made. And the seriousness of the charge here needs to be what is looked at. Anybody can deny anything and demand a retraction.
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has hired a “high-powered Washington criminal-defense lawyer” named George Terwilliger “to represent him in inquires by Congress and the Justice Department.” Their “top concern” is that DoJ Inspector General Glenn Fine may make “a criminal referral to the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department–or even seek the appointment of a special counsel to determine if Gonzales made false statements to Congress.”
Since I don’t like Radiohead very much, I think we can pretty safely say that without the “name your own price” gimmick I wouldn’t have bought In Rainbows. But given the gimmick I did buy it and I . . . still think they’re “okay” at best. Which would be fine, except they have this legion of super-devoted fans who sometimes make me want to stake out bolder “Radiohead Sucks!” kind of claims. But that would be wrong, it’s not Radiohead’s fault that Radiohead’s fan-base is too rabid, and we all owe them a debt for expanding the frontiers of digital music distribution.
Then I have the website for you: www.catalogchoice.org.
This is a free, on-line service that allows people to easily “opt out” of receiving unwanted catalogs. It is being operated by the Catalog Choice Task Force, which includes the Ecology Center, NRDC, and the National Wildlife Federation.
Each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers. The climate impacts alone are staggering:
- 53 million trees used
- 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to the annual emissions of two million cars
Do we really need so many catalogs when we’ve got the internet at our fingertips?
TPM notes that 87 members of the House “have now added their names to a letter to the President pledging not to vote for any more funding for the war and only to vote for supplementals that fully fund withdrawal.” In July, 70 House members signed onto a similar letter. “Now more than 15 new members have added their names to the letter…another significant step forward.” The letter reads:
Dear Mr. President:
Seventy House Members wrote in July to inform you that they will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.
Now you are requesting an additional $45 billion to sustain your escalation of U.S. military operations in Iraq through next April, on top of the $145 billion you requested for military operations during FY08 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Accordingly, even more of us are writing anew to underscore our opposition to appropriating any additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq other than a time-bound, safe redeployment as stipulated above.
I’d naively assumed that Paul Krugman’s book must not be available yet, since I haven’t even gotten a free copy yet. Instead, it seems that his publisher arrogantly assumes that sales will do well even if I just ignore it. Or, perhaps, that I won’t ignore it even if they don’t send me a free copy. Indeed, following this fairly positive review from the ideologically unsympathetic Tyler Cowen, I think I may need to buy a copy for myself. Meantime, Cowen ends with a question:
Is Paul Krugman willing to come out and simply pronounce: “Margaret Thatcher turned the UK around and for the better”? If so, how does this square with his broader narrative? And if not, why not?
With the proviso that I don’t know much about UK economic history, it’s clearly the case that despite the personal and ideological linkages between Thatcher and Reagan they were operating from very different baselines. It can easily both be the case that the UK in the late 1970s was too far left on the main issues being debated at that time and that the United States in the late 2000s is too far right on the main issues being debated at the moment. After all, even after Thatcher Britain has a health care system that’s so statist virtually nobody on the American left will defend it.