Thursday, March 28, 2013

The War Crimes Committed in Our Name

Jane Mayer reviews Jess Bravin’s The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay, and reminds us all of the war crimes that were committed in our name.  And the actions of those who tortured in our name didn't just destroy our moral authority as a people and a nation, it may well let murders walk away.

Take the case of Mohamadou Ould Slahi, a detainee who Marine Corps prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch concluded had “the most blood on his hands”,
Slahi, Couch learned, was horribly mistreated. Effeminate and childless, he was subjected to bizarre sexual gambits involving photos of vaginas and fondling of his genitals. When these methods, death threats, and physical abuse didn’t produce results, the military interrogator told him that his mother would be shipped to Guantánamo and gang raped if he did not talk. He was also subjected to a false kidnapping and threatened with worse torture.
Eventually, Slahi confessed incriminating details to his interrogators, but because of the abusive methods through which they were learned, Couch believed the confession was unreliable and inadmissible. Indeed, he no longer believed he could press charges against Slahi at all.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mitch Daniels missed Iraq War costs by $5.94 Trillion

Mitch Daniels is what passes for a policy wonk in the Republican party.

Dave Weigel brings us this blast from the past,
The administration's top budget official estimated today that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion, a figure that is well below earlier estimates from White House officials.

In a telephone interview today, the official, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., director of the Office of Management and Budget... would not provide specific costs for either a long or a short military campaign against Saddam Hussein. But he said that the administration was budgeting for both, and that earlier estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion in Iraq war costs by Lawrence B. Lindsey, Mr. Bush's former chief economic adviser, were too high.
The actual cost of $6 trillion was 100 times larger than GOP wunderkind Daniels estimated. 

You might think that in a party that talks often about accountability a political price would be paid for a blunder of such historically staggering proportions.  You'd be wrong.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A musical interlude for a rainy Sunday

The Indiana University Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Hersch performing Bohemian Rhapsody.

Don't laugh, it's excellent. 


Friday, March 08, 2013

Clinton Trounces Rubio in National Poll

Rublicans simply don't understand non-whites.  They convince themselves that Marco Rubio is their answer to the Latin problem -- like Michael Steele was the answer to Obama.

What underlies the GOP's problem is the essentially racist view that non-whites are incapable of understanding issues and vote simply on skin color.  There may actually be some projecting going on here, but I digress.

Quinnipiac University has just released a national poll testing a variety of possible 2016 pairings with 1,944 registered voters and had a margin of error of +/-2.2 percent.

Rubio's popularity, it would seem, is only among white Republicans.  Clinton led Rubio by a 50-34 margin among all groups.  But among Latin voters?   Clinton mops the floor with Rubio 60-24.

Chris Christie did better against Hillary but still trailed 45-37 nationally among all groups.  Latin voters favored Hillary over Christie 62-23.

Paul Ryan didn't do any better against Hillary, losing 50-38 in an overall matchup and even worse with Latin voters, 69-21.

Before you Democrats get too excited about this,  Hillary running is still a long shot by my estimation.  She'd be 69 on election day making her the oldest person in history elected president.  Ronald Reagan was 68.