Friday, September 08, 2006

Bits and pieces

It's all I have time for lately.

Via Max, an excellent and scathing James K. Galbraith on the travesty of the election ruling in Mexico.

In elections closer to home: Every day, Sen. George Allen reveals himself to be more of a petulant child under the pressure from Jim Webb to show any positive achievements from his six years in office. His latest stunt was to steal an amendment Dick Durbin was about to introduce to the Defense Dept. funding bill, to restore money for vets' brain injury research and treatment. Literally stole it; he took the amendment, which had been duly docketed, changed one word, and minutes before Durbin was to introduce it, asked to speak and presented it as his. Kennedy, a cosponsor, called him on it; you may enjoy the video of Allen fumbling for a response here.

With war crimes clearly on his mind, Bush proposes a bill to retroactively legalize the kidnaping, detention, and torture done in our names over the last five years. And to make evidence gained through torture admissible in trials. Without a few tough reporters and their editors, we might know almost nothing of this shameful history. On the other hand, much more could have been known much earlier if not for the cowardice and complicity of other editors; read Eric Umansky's thorough retrospective of torture coverage in the press. I keep remembering the moment in October 2001 when I read a front-page Washington Post story in which torture of terrorism suspects was first openly discussed. "This is how it begins," I said to myself. How does it end?

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