Dishonoring Reagan

April 27, 2009

The most damning argument yet against Bush torture apologists:

The UN Convention on Torture, which Ronald Reagan signed and championed, is very clear and its definition of what torture is obviously broad and inclusive. There’s actually a good discussion of it at Hot Air, which reproduces the legal definition thus:

Article 1.
1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2.
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Busy busy

April 27, 2009

A HuffPo blogger rounds up 100 accomplishments in the first 100 days, just on foreign policy alone.  Just a little perspective.

Brooks on Obama

April 27, 2009

David Brooks’ appearance on Charlie Rose is the best assessment yet of Obama the man, his presidency, and where he’s taking us.

As much as I consider myself a Progressive, I find myself agreeing with Brooks and Andrew Sullivan often.  I don’t know what that means exactly, except that perhaps the old right-left molds don’t apply as they used to.

After having joined the chorus lambasting GM for making cars ‘no one wants to buy’, Friedman this week quotes Bob Lutz to make his point that we can’t have green products without a price on carbon.  Oh, the irony:

Bob Lutz, a vice chairman at General Motors, offers a useful example of why price matters. When Congress demands that Detroit make smaller, lighter, better mileage vehicles, but then refuses to put a higher price on carbon — like with a gasoline tax — so more consumers will want to buy these smaller cars, said Lutz, it is the equivalent of ordering all American shirtmakers to make only size smalls while never asking the American people to go on a diet. You’re not going to sell a lot of size smalls.

It is the ultimate injustice that we deride our auto industry for not making fuel-eficient cars, when it is our government’s failure to have a consistent, long-term energy policy that creates havoc.

Detroit is stuck redesigning and retooling for the fickle U.S. consumer, while Toyota and BMW can count on consistently high gas prices at home, which creates consistent demand for their hybrids, diesels and turbos, whether oil is at $40 or $140 a gallon.

And keep in mind that it takes 3-4 years and hundreds of millions to bring a new model to market.