Monday, October 26, 2020
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The Return of Torture As National Policy Under Romney

A chilling article in The New York Times by Charles Savage indicates that, if Romney is elected, he will probably re-institute the "enhanced interrogation" methods approved by President George W. Bush, which Mr. Obama, in one of his first acts as President, abolished by executive order. You will recall these "enhanced" techniques included "prolonged sleep deprivation, shackling into painful 'stress' positions for long periods while naked and in a cold room, slamming into a wall, locking inside a small box, and the suffocation tactic called waterboarding,"  as well as other methods such as slapping, head-grabbing, and withholding solid food (starvation tactic).

The Bush doctrine on torture as national policy, once disclosed, "ignited a heated debate," one in which Republican Senator John McCain tried to codify limits on torture in our domestic statutes, over strenuous objections from the Bush administration. In 2006 the Supreme Court ruled against Bush, holding that the Geneva Conventions applied to wartime al Qaeda prisoners---- but I suspect that some forms of torture did continue under the Bush regime, excused by a kind of picky bureaucratic hair-splitting.

McAuliffe Supports the Case for Obama Economic Success


There are ominous clouds on the horizon and an ill wind blows from across the Atlantic, so it is essential that the facts be made clear. If the jury is hung regarding what will be four years of policy come November, reelection is uncertain. McAuliffe's approach is essential to success.

Here is the essential difference between Terry McAuliffe's arguments and the immediate cut to the blame Bush message: it provides the broader historical and economic context necessary to convince independent voters. The message contained in the recent Obama ads is on track; it provides the background for understanding just how much this administration has accomplished. The conclusion that Republicans have twice set the economy reeling in the past 30 years doesn't require finger pointing and is a story that can be understood by the electorate.

Yes, McAuliffe does name names, but only after making his case for the successes of both Presidents Clinton and Obama. And, after pointing out that even Governor McDonnell agrees that the administration has had successes. This is the kind of message that will keep America on board. The position of strength emanates from the accomplishments and is not enhanced simply by attacking Romney or blaming Bush, no matter how much both deserve the disdain of Americans.

Money, Power, and Wall Street: The Financial Collapse

By March 2008, the prospect of a meltdown was looming. Bear Stearns fell first. It started with rumors about investment in sub-prime mortgages, tagged as toxic assets. Bear Stearns bought hundreds of thousands of sub-prime mortgages and bundled them. Little then did candidate Obama know the role he would play.

This continuation of the Frontline documentary takes up with the events of 2008, a Presidential election year. In this installment, the very foundation of the financial world trembles while we meet the major players: Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, and Tim Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Tim Geithner distinguished himself from the moment he received the first panicked call. Instead of acting without intelligence, he dispatched a team to survey the situation at Bear Stearns. They and teams from the SEC and JP Morgan discovered a drowning pool of toxic assets. Bear had made credit default swap deals worth trillions of dollars that had infected all of Wall Street and the financial world. Geither recognized the systemic risk to the world economy. This was the moment of realization that Bear Stearns was too big to fail. This took Federal regulators by surprise.  

Senator Webb In The Cradle of Jacksonian Democracy

Virginia's Senior Senator spoke frankly this morning about what is necessary to shore up Democratic fortunes this fall. He is attempting to right a fumbled message about what the Party has accomplished; to awaken the electorate to the facts about in whose hands they really want their futures to lie.

Yesterday he was in Wytheville for Congressman Boucher's campaign kickoff and today he followed this event with an appearance with Tom Perriello; later scheduled in Hampton Roads for a function with Bobby Scott. After an introduction by Creigh Deeds, the large crowd at the Buena Vista Democratic Committee's 32nd Annual Labor Day breakfast was provided Webb's take on the message. Webb began by assessing that a year is a long time in politics and we found that out last year in the gubernatorial race.

"I want to say, those of us who have been working for you in Washington, we let Creigh down...He ran against the same person that he lost to by 360 ? ... 360 votes and look what happened last year. Creigh Deeds didn't change; Bob McDonnell didn't change; some of the issues in the country perhaps changed. But we let Creigh down by the way we put issues forward." - Senator Jim Webb