Mon, 29 December 2014
Holiday reunions always bring family discussions. This year, a large part of those discussions focused on the police.
I was used to family opinions. Everybody has one.
This was different. This time, everyone had a personal story.
On the way home, the traffic itself provided an insight in good, bad, and cascading effect.
Tue, 23 December 2014
Rudy Giuliani has found a theme in public statements by President Obama. It is that everybody should hate the police.
It occurs to me that a simple sense ethics will compel Mr. Giuliani to hold others to similar standards. It has to. His well known level of integrity demands it.
Mon, 15 December 2014
There is a harsh truth at the heart of the interrogation debate.
We are presented with a moral ambiguity, a sort of ethical Sophie's Choice. What about those rare cases in which a ticking clock presents us with a choice between torture and the death of innocents.
The harsh, terrible truth is that the choice does not exist. It never has.
Instead, we are endangered by a much more dangerous ticking clock.
Thu, 11 December 2014
Our culture has always reacted strongly against torture. Look at how we have portrayed our enemies.
But, for some of us, something changed the day we were attacked. What had been wrong became right.
Conservative reactions against the Senate report on torture contain an obvious self-contradiction:
On one hand, we did nothing wrong. On the other, it will hurt our image and provoke foreign opposition if the wrongdoing that we didn't do is exposed.
But I am struck by a less obvious, and more dangerous, consistency.
Mon, 8 December 2014
Chuck Todd's recent book offers a searing analysis of the Obama administration. The unwavering opposition of Republicans is already well documented. But Todd suggests that President Obama is also to blame for roadblocks to policies that would help the poor and middle class.
Todd worked hard, talking with hundreds of Washington insiders. He has been able convincingly to demonstrate insularity and isolation from the real world.
But not in the way anyone could have anticipated.
Thu, 4 December 2014
Sometimes important lessons from world developments; conflict with Russia, deadly battles with the self-styled Islamic State, the medical threat from Ebola; become clear only in later months or years.
But Republicans have taught us one unifying lesson from all of these issues. That lesson hasn't taken long at all.
Tue, 2 December 2014
Not quite buried in news accounts of protest, violence, and frequent missteps of authorities, was an incident that should have enraged pretty much everyone on every side of every aspect of Ferguson events. The New York Times published the home street and town where Officer Darren Wilson lives, along with the name of his new wife.
It reminds me of another incident from years ago. It is especially interesting to me how reactions have shifted.
Tue, 25 November 2014
Senator Inhofe swore Benghazi would go down as the biggest coverup in history. Impeachment was on the table.
Chairman Issa was insistent. The American public was deliberately misled. Talking points had been changed by the administration.
Senator Graham said he knew for a fact that witnesses were being forced into silence.
One Republican after another condemned the lying, the coverup.
Fox News reported, and let viewers decide, about why administration explanations were unraveling in a very public way.
But a Republican investigation reveals that there was no coverup, that the American public was not misled, that talking points were not changed for political purposes, that no employees were told not to talk, that there was no scandal, none.
Now that they know the truth, conservatives will certainly do the right thing.
Wed, 19 November 2014
It seemed like the perfect crime. So complex, nobody outside the conspiracy could understand it. And, just in case, the entire nation held hostage. Rescue us or everybody's home gets burned to the ground.
But someone has come into our lives who makes it just clear enough. Maybe we can bring a few of the hostage takers to justice after all.
Mon, 17 November 2014
It hardly seems like the sort of move any President would make right after losing the Senate and watching the opposition majority in the House go up even more.
But imagine the result if the President not only directs immigration reform by executive order, but goes farther than anyone thinks will happen.
Suppose, on top of that, the President directs some very tough words at those who criticize his executive order.
Here's a prediction. We will be reading about that precise event as Congress fails to act.