After rejecting an ad by the group Freedom’s Watch which NBC claimed was too political, the network reversed course today. In a statement issued Saturday evening, NBC said: “We have reviewed and changed our ad standards guidelines and made the decision that our policy will apply to content only and not to a referenced Web site. Based on these amended standards the Freedom’s Watch ad will begin to run as early as Sunday.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights recently produced an ad called “Rescue the Constitution” that criticizes the Bush administration for “destroying the Constitution” through the use of tactics like renditions and torture. Fox News refused to air the ad, claiming that it needed “documentation” that the Constitution “is indeed being destroyed.”
In the ad, actor Danny Glover states, “Trials. Renditions. Torture. The Bush administration is destroying the Constitution. They can be stopped. Rescue the Constitution.”
Yesterday, while discussing NBC’s recent refusal to run an ad from the White House front group Freedom’s Watch, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly explained why Fox News turns down ads:
Yeah, but I understand why. Fox News turns down blatantly anti-American ads. We just turned one down recently. I understand that.
It is not “anti-American” to believe that President Bush has shredded the Constitution. In fact, 55 percent of voters believe Bush “has abused his powers in a way that rises to the level of impeachable offenses.”
But protecting Bush’s power is a priority for Fox News. The network previously refused to run an ad that was critical of then-Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. The decision was seen as an “effort to shield President Bush’s choice for the high court.”
“Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been representing detainees held by the government at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, suggested that the disclosure by the CIA suggests the agency destroyed evidence in other cases. The center represents Majid Khan, a former ‘ghost’ detainee who was allegedly held in a secret prison in Eastern Europe before being transferred to Guantanamo. Warren said the center has asked for materials relating to interrogations of Khan. ‘I find it hard to believe the CIA would make videotapes of interrogations of only two people,’ Warren said.”
UPDATE: The ACLU is calling on Attorney General Mukasey to appoint an independent counsel to investigate, and if appropriate, prosecute any potential criminal activity.
UPDATE II: The Justice Department and CIA announced they will conduct a joint preliminary inquiry into the agency’s destruction of videotapes. The review will determine whether a full investigation is warranted.
I think I haven’t given the landmark energy legislation passed by the House its due, but Dave Roberts lays it all out for you. This is good, good stuff. And the even better news is that there’s majority support in the US Senate for passing it as well. But of course as we all know just because something’s a good idea and most Senators want to pass it doesn’t mean it’ll pass. Indeed, just the reverse! But the margins on this one are pretty close, so if the Democrats win some Senate seats in 2008 the dynamic stands a very good chance of changing, and even passing the Senate at this point probably woudn’t do any good since Bush would veto it.
Meanwhile, I thought I would highlight this one piece of analysis because I think liberals tend not to give enough credit to the most powerful genuinely progressive politician in America: “Nonetheless, what came out of the house was stronger than almost anyone expected, a fact that can be attributed in large part to the tenacity of one woman: Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”
American voters who believe that Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program, according to a Rasmussen survey. 66 percent disagree and say Iran has not stopped its nuclear weapons program.
One big strength of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is that he has a lot of institutional support from establishment-minded social conservatives. One big weakness of Romney’s presidential campaign is that he seems like a great big phony all the time. To liberals, he looks like a phony. But to the socially conservative rank and file he . . . also looks like a phony. So why all the love from elites? Tom Edsall and Ethan Hova have the story: Bribery!
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is distributing numerous payments, primarily to religious and social conservatives, most of them in Iowa, for what he calls “GOTV Consulting.” “GOTV” is political shorthand for get-out-the-vote – just what walk-around payments financed. [...] The payments start at $500 a month, the base rate for student leaders, many of whom are chairs in the “Iowa Students for Romney” campaign organization. At a higher level, Joe Earle, former director of the Iowa Christian Alliance (the successor to the Iowa Christian Coalition) gets $4,000 a month, and Gary Marx, a top-level member on the Romney for President National Faith And Values Steering Committee, gets $8,000 a month.
Well, that explains it.
Last night on the CBS Evening News, national security correspondent David Martin reported that a “well-informed source” informed the network that the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos to “avoid criminal prosecution.”
On Thursday, in a memo to CIA employees, Director Michael Hayden claimed that the videotapes were destroyed because they “posed a serious security risk“:
Beyond their lack of intelligence value — as the interrogation sessions had already been exhaustively detailed in written channels — and the absence of any legal or internal reason to keep them, the tapes posed a serious security risk. Were they ever to leak, they would permit identification of your CIA colleagues who had served in the program, exposing them and their families to retaliation from al-Qa’ida and its sympathizers.
CBS’s Martin reported, however, that a high-level anonymous source says that’s not true:
A well-informed source tells CBS News the videotapes of the interrogation of two high-level al Qaeda operatives were destroyed to protect CIA officers from criminal prosecution.
On Friday, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) scoffed at Hayden’s rationale for destroying the tapes, calling it a “pathetic excuse.” “You’d have to burn every document at the CIA that has the identity of an agent on it under that theory,” Levin said.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), however, said he would not side with calls for an investigation because he believed the CIA’s actions were legal. “That doesn’t mean I like it,” McCain added.
Like all informed people, I’ve always taken it for granted that rent control laws, while obviously nice for the occupants and rent controlled apartments, are ultimately quite inefficient and harmful to the overall housing situation in an area. But Tyler Cowen’s evil twin Tyrone turns out to be able to mount a pretty decent case for rent control. At the end of the day, this still probably isn’t very good policy, but the proposition that if we can get “everyone into a lower price, lower quality equilibrium for residences, that’s for the better” is certainly something I can endorse. Of course before we go around trying to accomplish that by means of rent control, the simplest thing would be to scale back (or eliminate) the mortgage interest tax deduction which has everyone in a higher-price, higher-quality equilibrium than they’d otherwise be in.
Hilarious. Via Chris Betram. I was never properly taught anything about Kant’s aesthetics in school, but it always sounded absurd.
Since the New York Times and other media outlets revealed Thursday evening that at least two CIA tapes documenting harsh interrogation of detainees were destroyed in 2005, Bush administration officials have been claiming complete ignorance.
White House counsel Harriet Miers knew of CIA’s plans but told them not to do it:
ABC News has learned that at least one White House official knew about the CIA’s planned destruction of videotapes in 2005 that documented the interrogation of two al Qaeda operatives: then-White House counsel Harriet Miers. Three officials told ABC News Miers urged the CIA not to destroy the tapes.
President Bush didn’t know:
[Bush] has no recollection of being made aware of the tapes or their destruction before yesterday.
Vice President Cheney was in the dark as well:
The vice president learned about the tapes and their destruction at the same time [as Bush], another administration official told CNN.
CIA Director Porter Goss wasn’t informed:
Mr. Goss became C.I.A. director in 2004 and was serving in the post when the tapes were destroyed, but was not informed in advance about Mr. Rodriguez’s decision, the former officials said.
CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo also didn’t know:
The chief of the agency’s clandestine service nevertheless ordered their destruction in November 2005, taking the step without notifying even the C.I.A.’s own top lawyer, John A. Rizzo, who was angry at the decision, the officials said.
The full blame for the destruction of the tapes has fallen on Jose Rodriguez, then the CIA’s head of the clandestine division. Rodriguez reportedly undertook the destruction of the tapes in a unilateral manner, without receiving any instructions from his bosses or giving them advance notice of his actions.
Last night on CNN, Ron Suskind — author of the One Percent Doctrine — said the idea that Rodriquez didn’t get “some authorization from above” is “hard to believe.” “It simply doesn’t work that way,” Suskind said, noting that “at this point, lots was being authorized from the White House in terms of the CIA.” Watch it:
UPDATE: Spencer Ackerman wrote that in State of War, the NYT’s James Risen reported “an effort by senior officials ‘to insulate Bush and give him deniability‘ on torture.” Kevin Drum recounts a conversation between George Tenet and President Bush that was reported in the One Percent Doctrine. “You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?” “No sir, Mr. President,” Tenet replied.
UPDATE II: Marcy Wheeler documents the responses from Congressional members as to what they knew and when they knew it. She notes the ostensible silence of former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), who is running for reelection next year.
Transcript: Read more