George Bush has given up.
We should have seen this coming. During the first debate of the fall 2004 campaign, a weary and frustrated Bush repeatedly referred to how the presidency had proven to be a difficult job for him. Again and again, the commander-in-chief responded to questions about the missteps, mistakes and misdeeds of his first term by pleading that, "It's hard work."
The guy was clearly overwhelmed a year ago. So it can't really come as much of surprise that he has thrown in the towel.
Last week the US Senate voted overwhelmingly (90-9) to stand solidly against torture. The amendment, introduced by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), calls for prisoners and detainees to be treated according to guidelines established by the Army Field Manual. In short, it outlaws degrading and inhumane treatment of anyone in US military custody. McCain's bill, as The Nation writes this week in the magazine's lead editorial, "stands as a singular legislative attempt to corral Bush into compliance with international law and human rights standards."
Politically, McCain has played this well. The amendment was appended to the massive defense appropriations bill. Consequently, passage of the $440 billion defense budget depends on the adoption of this vital amendment. Nonetheless, President Bush has threatened to veto the entire piece of legislation in order to kill the anti-torture amendment. This despite a recent report by Human Rights Watch documenting US soldiers' accounts of abuses against detainees committed by troops of the 82nd Airborne stationed at Forward Operating Base Mercury (FOB Mercury), near Fallujah. (Click here to read, and circulate, it in full.)
For once, the Senate has done the right thing. Now, a coalition of groups, led by FaithfulAmerica.org, an online community of progressive people of faith, is calling for all Americans to ask their Senators to stand strong against the president's threatened pro-torture veto.
Votes are now being counted in the first truly free election in Liberia's troubled history. It's a far cry from the 1986 election, which dictatorial Samuel Doe fraudulently "won" by shutting down not only newspapers but entire political parties. The Reagan Administration just looked on.
Gas-guzzling can be a revolutionary experience, like puffing
Montecristo cigars, now that Citgo's 1,800 gas stations and eight oil
refineries passed into the hands of Venezuela's national oil company.
It's easy to scoff at a rock star like Bono pairing up with
economist Jeffrey Sachs. But their tireless lobbying for debt relief
for the poorest nations could make a real difference for the 1 billion
people who live on less than a dollar a day.
Companies like Boeing, Dell and Daimler-Chrysler know how to extort
tax cuts and subsidies from states eager to keep jobs from fleeing. But
taxpayers, community groups and even a Supreme Court review are pushing
back on corporate giveaways.
Fitful efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast unfold against a backdrop
of looming economic disaster: rising unemployment and interest rates,
misplaced priorities and a recession that will hurt the weakest most.
Student protests against the presence of military recruiters on campus
are on the rise. So are angry--sometimes violent--pushbacks from
conservative students and campus police.
The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln
expertly balances the roots of a political revolution: the impact of a
few key leaders and the lives and aspirations of ordinary citizens
engaging with the government for the first time.