Dirty Wars has been selected as one of 15 finalists for best documentary by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The film follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill as he uncovers America’s covert wars on battlefields in countries including Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Scahill, author of Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield (read an excerpt), spoke with Bill Moyers in 2009 about what he described as the “dangerous US foreign policies” President Obama adopted from the Bush administration — themes explored in the film. See the trailer for Dirty Wars as well as two clip’s Scahill and his team made available to billmoyers.com. MORE
Happy Friday morning! Welcome to the last stop before the weekend. Here are some of the stories we’re reading around the office on this sad morning…
RIP, Madiba –> Paul Taylor, who was the WaPo’s South African bureau chief in the early 1990s, recounts Nelson Mandela’s brilliant use of the moral high ground. ALSO: MoJo has excerpts from a powerful 1964 speech Mandela believed would be his last. ALSO, TOO: Salon’s Joan Walsh doesn’t want you to forget that most of the American right supported Apartheid and considered Mandela to be a terrorist. AND FINALLY: Don’t miss Bill’s 1991 discussion with Mandela about overcoming hatred and the power of nonviolence.
Surprisingly good –> Dean Baker: jobs report shows that the economy added 200K jobs for the second month in a row, as unemployment rate declines by 0.3% to hit a 5-year low. BUT: EPI’s Elise Gould notes that the number of long-term unemployed keeps growing.
Are they serious? –> As Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan try to hammer out a budget deal, Sahil Kapur reports for TPM that some House conservatives are balking, which could lead to yet another government shutdown.
Freed –> Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi reports that a batch of Wall Street crooks who had been convicted for fraud were quietly freed last week on a technicality.
Kentucky –> Governor Steve Beshear calls out Sen. Mitch McConnell for misleading about Obamacare’s popularity in the state. MEANWHILE: The Nation’s Bill Greider notes that one Dem lawmaker is trying to make it easier for states to adopt single-payer systems.
Stink-tanks –> The Guardian‘s Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg continue their excellent reporting on dark money groups with a story about the State Policy Network’s concerted effort to undermine workers’ rights, public education and health care one state at a time.
Transparency –> Josh Gerstein reports for Politico that Obama plans tighter rules for NSA surveillance. MEANWHILE: AJA’s Jamie Tarabay notes that more leakers have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act under this administration than all others combined.
Not so smart –> Jonathan Turley writes that the Mexican thieves who stole several barrels of highly radioactive Cobalt-60 are probably going to die from exposure. Mexican authorities are recovering the toxic substance.
No, you’re out of order! –> Democratic Rep. Jared Polis flipped out on the House floor during an impassioned speech about how our broken immigration system is tearing families apart. Pete Kasperowicz reports for The Hill.
Gun-nuts go on offense –> TNR‘s Adam Winkler reports that they’re up in arms after the NFL upheld its policy of not accepting advertising from weapons manufacturers.
What else is going on? Let us know in the comments!
For decades, environmentalists have called for a tax on climate-changing CO2 emissions, arguing that it would be one of the most effective ways to reduce our country’s sizable carbon footprint. With such a tax, businesses would pay a fee for polluting, and, with the bottom line in mind, executives would quickly shift to low-carbon ways of operating. The market would find it’s own path to sustainability.
But Republicans in Congress largely oppose this idea, which many see as an infringement on the free market — a lurch to the right from when a similar system was first used by George H.W. Bush to combat pollution. The 1990 Clean Air Act included provisions, proposed by Bush, to use a cap-and-trade system to reduce sulfur emissions from power plants that were causing acid rain. At the time, Bush said, “By employing a system that generates the most environmental protection for every dollar spent, the trading system lays the groundwork for a new era of smarter government regulation; one that is more compatible with economic growth than using only the command and control approaches of the past.”
Today’s GOP rhetoric stands in stark contrast. “A national carbon tax would devastate an already struggling American economy, force the cost of gas at the pump to jump even higher and kill millions more jobs here at home,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) said last spring.
Scalise’s opinion is shared by many in his party, and with Republicans dominating the House, it doesn’t look like we’ll have a carbon tax in America anytime soon.
But Coral Davenport reports in The New York Times that many large corporations see such a tax as inevitable. From ConAgra Foods to Wal-Mart, Duke Energy to Google, companies are factoring a tax on carbon into their long-term financial planning. ExxonMobil, Davenport writes, is one such company, and “is representative of Big Oil’s slow evolution on climate change policy.” MORE
South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, has died at the age of 95. Mandela, who was a symbol of the struggle against racial oppression and embodied the ability to forgive and reconcile, spoke with Bill Moyers in 1991 for a documentary Beyond Hate, about the historical, philosophical and psychological roots of hatred.
In this clip from the film, Mandela talks to Bill about his personal ability to rise above hatred and cruelty during his 27 years in prison.
Good morning! And happy International Ninja Day! How will you celebrate? While you’re thinking it over — or perhaps sharpening your katana – here are some of the stories we’re reading…
#D5 –> Fast food workers strike in 100 cities today — RJ Eskow has 12 fast facts about this latest day of action at the Campaign for America’s Future blog. ALSO: You can find out what’s going on near you here. AND: Mother Jones has a series of charts that show why they’re fighting. ALSO, TOO: At The Atlantic, Emily Badger writes about the slow deterioration of the minimum wage — which was once enough to keep a family of three out of poverty.
Do they want to kill the planet? –> The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg and Ed Pilkington report on ALEC’s multifaceted plan to block renewable energy development, starting with charging people who install solar panels on their homes for feeding power back into the grid.
Cruel irony –> Map of food-stamp usage shows that Republican lawmakers represent more districts with heavy participation in the program than Democrats.
“Some of these guys have a lot to learn” –> Seeking to avoid another Todd Akin-type meltdown, the RNC is tutoring its male candidates about “messaging against women opponents,” according to John Bresnahan and Anna Palmer in Politico.
LIZ SMASH! –> Elizabeth Warren hits back at Third Way by asking them to disclose their Wall Street donors; puts group on the defensive. Alan Zibel reports for the WSJ.
Why we can’t have nice things –> Al Jazeera America’s Wilson Dizard reports that the oil and gas industry is suing Colorado towns that have passed bans on fracking.
They don’t tire –> Ari Berman reports for The Nation that Ohio officials are resurrecting voter suppression efforts that were struck down by a court last year.
And we can’t retire –> Survey: “More than half of U.S. workers aren’t saving enough money to be able to cover essential living expenses in retirement.” Stuart Pfeifer reports for the LAT.
Bishops and health care –> At Salon, Katie McDonough takes a look at growing tensions within the church over the US Congress of Bishops’ involvement in health care at Catholic hospitals.
And homeschoolers –> At TAP, Kathryn Joyce has a fascinating #longread about kids raised in ultraconservative religious households experiencing difficult journeys to independence once they leave home.
Profiles in courage –> In the House, a huge bipartisan majority voted to extend a ban on undetectable plastic guns — because undetectable guns! – but House leaders set it up so that Republican constituents can’t know if their representative supported the measure. Stephen Webster has the story at The Progressive.
Risky gambit –> At The Monkey Cage, Henry Farrell argues that Iran hawks in Congress aren’t helping negotiators by taking a hard-line on sanctions, as many of them claim.
Family tree gets convoluted –> Discovery of 400,000-year-old DNA from an early human ancestor is throwing much of what we thought we knew about human evolution into doubt. If you’re into science, this NYT piece by Carl Zimmer is a must-read.
What else is going on? Tell us in the comments!
Good morning! Here are some of the stories we’re reading on this fine Wednesday…
A raise! –> DC Council votes to raise minimum wage to $11.50 over two years — and to then index it to inflation — and mandate paid sick leave for some workers. The measure has to clear another vote before arriving on Mayor Vincent Gray’s desk. AP, via The SF Chron.
And a blow to workers –> Judge rules Detroit can cut public pensions. Nathan Bomey reports for the Detroit Free Press.
Relaunch –> WaPo‘s Sarah Kliff and Lena Sun report that HealthCare.gov is much improved, but some users are still facing glitches. ALSO: Jason Cherkis and Ryan Grim report for HuffPo that the law is going to get a big boost from efforts to enroll the uninsured in a handful of densely populated cities.
Fakes –> Kentucky authorities have ordered that three fake ACA sites (in Kentucky, it’s called Kynect) that were misleading people seeking to enroll be taken down.
Privatizers face pushback –> Salon’s Josh Eidelson reports that nearly half of state legislatures will be considering various reforms for outsourcing public services in the next year.
TTIP –> There’s another huge trade deal being negotiated behind closed doors. The Guardian’s George Monbiot says something’s rotten with the transatlantic partnership.
Budgets reflect priorities –> Amanda Terkel: New GOP plan would save military from sequestration by cutting Social Security. ALSO: According to the AP, House Republicans oppose extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.
More problems for ALEC –> Internal documents reveal that the conservative advocacy group continues to bleed donors and legislators. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg report on the group’s plans to bounce back for The Guardian.
Independency –> New research shows that the children of mothers who use food-stamps during pregnancy and early childhood are more self-sufficient when they grow up. Paul Rosenberg has the story for Salon.
LIZ!! –> Why does the Wall Street-friendly “Third Way” hate Elizabeth Warren? Daily Kos has a chart.
Unbelievable –> Diver searching for bodies in a tugboat that sank three days earlier is shocked to come face to face with a survivor.
Dispatches from the war on Christmas –> John Stewart reports from the front lines.
What else is going on?
This post first appeared in Mother Jones.
Last month, Democrats changed the rules of the Senate. Now, confirming President Barack Obama’s judicial- and executive-branch nominees will take just 51 votes instead of the previous 60. That is good news for Obama’s efforts to rein in big banks.
Since Obama took office in 2009, GOP senators have used filibuster threats to delay and block scores of executive-branch and judicial nominees. That has greatly benefited the financial industry. Three long-standing openings on the bench of the DC Circuit Court — which hears challenges to rules required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-reform act — have created an imbalance that has tilted rulings to favor big banks. And vacancies on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, if left unfilled, could slow Wall Street rulemaking to a snail’s pace. Last month’s rules change will make it easier for Senate Democrats to confirm Obama’s choices for these posts. That could lead to regulations and court rulings that are more to reformers’ liking.
Consider the CFTC, which regulates futures and derivatives markets. Since 2010, the agency has been weighing scores of rules intended to protect the economy from another financial crisis — including how much of a particular industry speculators can control and how US banking rules should apply to American firms operating abroad. MORE
Happy Tuesday! Here are some of the stories we’re reading here at Moyers & Company HQ this morning…
Grilling –> Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger to be questioned by UK parliamentary committee today amid allegations that publishing Snowden leaks “aided terrorists.” ALSO: At FireDogLake, Kevin Gosztola reports that the NSA sent its employees home for the holidays with a set of talking-points to share with their loved ones.
Bargain? –> Sahil Kapur reports for TPM that Paul Ryan and Patty Murray — co-chairs of the budget committee established in the latest fiscal standoff — may be nearing a mini-bargain that would temporarily roll back some sequester cuts.
Tale of two red states –> In the Louisville Courier-Journal, Laura Ungar looks at how the poor and uninsured are faring in Indiana and Kentucky — two states that took different paths with the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.
BP win –> A federal appeals court has sided with BP, suspending claims for indirect damages resulting from the Horizon disaster. Via: BBC.
Desperation move –> California GOP put up a fake Obamacare website to frighten people away from enrolling in the insurance exchanges, reports Karoli at Crooks and Liars.
Evidence –> UN investigation directly implicates Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with war crimes for the first time. From the AFP, via The Progressive.
death delivery robots –> At MoJo, Dana Liebelson and Matt Connolly write that America probably isn’t quite ready for Amazon’s plan to start delivering goods via drones.
Not enough –> Amy Traub writes at Demos’s PolicyShop blog that low wage workers aren’t just looking for a living wage — they’re also organizing to bring about an end to workplace abuses.
Bring on the lazy interpretations –> New study finds that the brains of men and women really are wired differently, according to Olga Khazan at The Atlantic.
Dystopian future, today! –> Lawsuit alleges that a private prison company stuck a 73-year-old grandmother into solitary confinement for five weeks as punishment for complaining about a lack of health care. Aviva Shen with the story for ThinkProgress.
Charmers –> TNR’s Alec MacGillis reports that members of a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are facing threats and online bullying.
Meet the beetles –> Climate change is allowing pine beetles to decimate forests that were once too cold to support them — a growing problem in the New Jersey’s famous pinelands, according to Justin Gillis in the NYT.
Chimps v. humans –> Four chimpanzees, with the help of some human lawyers, are suing for their freedom in a New York court. Salon’s Lindsay Abrams says there’s precedent for the suit in other countries.
What are you reading this morning? Let us know in the comments!
This post first appeared at The Nation.
Remember when the Occupy movement demanded that issues like income inequality, race-to-the-bottom globalization and the failures of the free market be placed on the agenda?
Remember the silly critique of Occupy that said the movement’s necessary challenge to austerity lacked specifics?
The pope has gotten specific.
Condemning the “new tyranny” of unfettered capitalism and the “idolatry of money,” Pope Francis argues in a newly circulated apostolic exhortation that “as long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.” MORE
Good morning! Hope you had a pleasant holiday weekend. Here are some of the stories we’re reading as we get caught up and ready to get back into the groove…
Better –> At least the front end of Healthcare.gov is working much better, according to HHS. In the LAT, Michael Hiltzik says there’s good reason to be hopeful about the relaunch.
Growing movement –> Following Black Friday protests last week, fast food workers seeking $15 per hour will stage one-day strikes in 100 cities this Thursday. Stephen Greenhouse reports for the NYT. ALSO: RJ Eskow writes at Campaign for America’s Future that the fight for a living wage may be creating a broader social movement. AND: Goldy reports for The Stranger that Seattle will be ground zero in the fight for $15 per hour this year, either through the legislature or at the ballot box. AND: U of M economist Arindrajit Dube on why it makes good economic sense to raise the wage floor.
Do-nothing Congress –> Paul Kane reports for the WaPo that the 113th Congress has only been capable of contrived crises and standoffs — it will go down in history as the least productive session.
Arizona kids left unprotected –> A scandal is brewing amid reports that Governor Jan Brewer’s hand-picked choice to head the state’s child protection agency ignored reports of abuse and neglect. Via: AP.
Talking-point down! –> New study shows that tighter regulations don’t kill jobs. Sean McElwee reports for Salon.
That’s one way to cut costs –> US Army was caught pirating $180 million in software, reports Brian Fung in the WaPo.
Poisoned fruits –> MoJo’s Tom Philpott looks at a study that found arsenic in all kinds of foods we like.
No permawar –> Robert Dreyfuss calls for blocking the US-Afghan security agreement in The Nation.
Time to play offense? –> Jeremy Bird, Obama’s 2012 field director, writes at TNR that fans of democracy should be pushing to use technologies that would make voting easier.
PM fight –> Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert blasts Benjamin Netanyahu for trying to undermine the Iran deal; says Bibi “declared war” on the US gov, according to Raphael Ahren in the Times of Israel.
Can’t have nice things –> At Salon, Alex Pareene argues that getting decent mass transit in the US is so tough because most politicians don’t actually know anyone who uses it.
Soft tissue –> Scientists claim they’ve found soft-tissue preserved from a Tyrannosaurus Rex, possibly containing DNA. This excites TPM’s Josh Marshall, and then a couple of paleontologists debate the discovery’s significance — here and here.
Scary clowns –> Guardian headline says it all: “Norfolk police warn of alarming clown epidemic.”
What else is going on? Let us know in the comments!
Good morning! Happy Black Friday, or I’m Still Too Stuffed to Shop Day — whichever you celebrate. Here are some of the stories we’re reading over our leftovers this AM…
On strike –> Salon’s Josh Eidelson on Black Friday strikes going on around the country today.
Big Turkey flexes some muscle –> Lee Fang reports for The Nation on how the “turkey lobby” helped block tighter child labor regulations.
Nastiest sheriff in America –> Joe Arpaio serves inmates 56-cent Thanksgiving dinners featuring tofurkey, says they should be thankful.
Strange rituals –>At Slate, Joshua Keating’s excellent series on how the US media would cover American events if they happened abroad continues with a look at Thanksgiving.
The definition of insanity –> In the NYT, Floyd Norris writes about how a Dodd-Frank rule requiring that banks hold onto some mortgage risk was killed.
Watching the police –> Barney’s New York to put NYPD officers under surveillance after repeated complaints of racial profiling in its upscale store. Via: Al Jazeera.
Take two –> Brian Beutler reports for Salon on what we should expect from the upcoming relaunch of the ACA’s online exchanges.
Low-wage workers need a raise –> So says the conservative millionaire backing a living wage in California, according to ABC’s Abby Phillip.
What could go wrong? –> Decades-old ban on firearms that can evade metal detectors may lapse because the current Congress is just awful. Ben Goad reports for The Hill.
Grassroots coup? –> Thai protesters are going out and occupying everything in a bid to topple their government. Via: AP.
A little misunderstanding –> Stephen Colbert apologizes for mixing up the meaning of Black Friday.
What else is going on? Let us know in the comments!
This post first appeared at Mother Jones.
Update: The Electronic Privacy Information Center reports that the court just granted the government more time to decide whether to release the kill switch plan. It now has until January 13.
This month, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Department of Homeland Security must make its plan to shut off the Internet and cellphone communications available to the American public. You, of course, may now be thinking: What plan?! Though President Barack Obama swiftly disapproved of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak turning off the Internet in his country (to quell widespread civil disobedience) in 2011, the US government has the authority to do the same sort of thing, under a plan that was devised during the George W. Bush administration. Many details of the government’s controversial “kill switch” authority have been classified, such as the conditions under which it can be implemented and how the switch can be used. But thanks to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), DHS has to reveal those details by December 12 — or mount an appeal. (The smart betting is on an appeal, since DHS has fought to release this information so far.) Yet here’s what we do know about the government’s “kill switch” plan:
What is a kill switch? A kill switch refers to the government’s authority to disconnect commercial and private wireless networks — affecting both cellphones and the Internet — in the event of an emergency, such as a viable threat of a terrorist attack.
How does a kill switch work? There isn’t any kind of big red button the Obama administration can push to turn off the wireless networks in the United States. Instead, there are a few ways the federal government could exercise its power to shut down and restore Internet and cellphone service (see below). It’s also unlikely that a “kill switch” would cause a nationwide blackout. Instead, the government is explicitly authorized to target a ”localized area” — such as a bridge — or potentially an “entire metropolitan area,” according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. (Both DHS and the White House declined to comment for this article.) MORE
Good morning! Here are some of the stories we’re reading as we get ready for the holiday…
Connecting some dots –> At Colorlines, Imara Jones argues that economic damage from the government shutdown is spurring more retailers than ever to move Black Friday into Thursday. ALSO: At US News & World Report, Susan Milligan calls for people to not shop on Thursday, even if the deals are enticing. ALSO, TOO: The manager of an Indiana Pizza Hut claims he was fired for refusing to open his store on Thanksgiving. He called the move “immoral,” according to Dave Edwards at The Raw Story.
“Inconsistent” –> Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Grim and Ryan Gallagher report for HuffPo that the NSA sought to discredit Muslim “radicalizers” by catching them viewing sexually explicit content online or doing other things that might appear to be inconsistent with their religious teachings.
Union busters busted –> The Nation’s Lee Fang exposes a former Wal-Mart exec behind a “shadowy smear campaign” targeting Black Friday activists.
Subprime on four wheels? –> David Dayen reports for Salon that the next subprime crisis may be an auto loan bubble.
Can corporations pray? –> Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel for the Constitutional Accountability Center, writes at CNN that religious liberties are for people, not businesses, as the Supreme Court takes up a suit against Obamacare’s contraception mandate. ALSO: David Badash reports for The New Civil Rights Movement that an atheist group is suing the government over what it claims to be preferential treatment of religious orgs by the IRS.
Pushing back? –> Obama admin set to issue rules that might rein in dark money groups’ massive political spending, according to Ben Goad and Bernie Becker in The Hill.
Must confer some sort of evolutionary advantage –> MoJo’s Chris Mooney with seven reasons why it’s easier for people to believe in God than evolution.
Natives are restless –> At TPM, Daniel Strauss notes that almost all primary challenges against Senate incumbents are on the GOP side this cycle.
Silent but not so deadly –> Oklahoma City man finds a suspicious burrito in a thermos, brings it to police, causes a minor bomb scare. Via: ABC News.
Good morning! Today, unnecessarily, is Shopping Reminder Day — consider yourself reminded. And while you’re drawing up a list, here are some morning reads…
American Dream? –> WaPo-Miller Center poll finds unprecedented economic insecurity among Americans, 6 in 10 of whom worry about losing their jobs. BUT: Some good news, as the AP reports that the Massachusetts senate approved a bill that would hike the Bay State’s minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2016 and then index it to inflation.
He said-she said –> UMass economist Nancy Folbre writes in the NYT that the ACA’s troubles may open the door to single-payer health care. TAP’s Paul Waldman disagrees, arguing that the law’s success provides the only way to get there.
Accountability –> Four adults who helped cover up the Steubenville rape case charged, including the school district’s superintendent. Tara Culp-Ressler with the story for ThinkProgress.
“Doomsday cache” –> US and British intelligence officials are worried that Edward Snowden has access to a trove of highly classified data that includes the names of field operatives, reports Mark Hosenball for Reuters.
What goes up… –> The cost of the food stamps program is falling, and would be even without recent cuts, reports Stephanie Mencimer for MoJo.
War on Thanksgiving –> Salon’s Josh Eidelson on how some retail workers will miss out on the holiday as Black Friday becomes Black Thursday.
Dealing –> As National Security Advisor Susan Rice visits the country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is trying to renegotiate a deal that would allow US troops to remain in the country beyond 2014. Rod Nordland reports for The NYT.
Hyped –> Jamelle Bouie writes at The Daily Beast that the “knockout game” is just the latest rage in white panic.
Spunky mayor –> At The Nation, Laura Flanders interviews Gayle McLaughlin, the mayor of Richmond, California, who “has taken on Chevron and big banks on behalf of taxpayers and underwater homeowners.”
There oughta be a law — Lawsuit alleges that a 16-year-old picked up by police on his way home from a party was jailed at NYC’s Riker’s Island prison for three years without a trial before being released without charge, reports Nicole Flatow for ThinkProgress.
She can’t even bear to look at cranberries anymore –> At Slate, food writer Regina Schrambling on why food writers hate Thanksgiving.
What else is going on? Let us know in the comments!
Although the word “historic” is being used in media reports, it’s too soon to tell whether the interim agreement struck over the weekend among five Western powers, China and Iran will lead to a lasting settlement of the longstanding stalemate over Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. But whatever the ultimate results, it is historic in one sense: it marks the first time in three decades that the US — “the great Satan” — and Iran — lynchpin of the “Axis of Evil” — have engaged in serious efforts toward détente.
Here are a series of articles that will give you everything you need to know about the agreement…
The Deal: Here’s the text of the agreement, courtesy of The Washington Post. Sergio Peçanha has an easily digestible graphic with the main points in The New York Times. And the Associated Press takes a look at the key players.
How We Got Here: Shashank Bengali reports for the Los Angeles Times that the US and Iran engaged in months of top-secret talks leading up to the breakthrough in Geneva. NPR’s Uri Berliner runs down the crippling economic sanctions that helped bring Iran to the table. But Simon Jenkins argues in The Guardian that efforts to strengthen Iranian democracy following a 2009 election that was widely viewed as illegitimate played an even larger role. Three weeks ago, Yeganeh Torbati reported for Reuters that Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was pushing back against Iranian hard-liners, giving Iranian President Hassan Rouhani political space to push for a deal. And Said Arjomand, Director of SUNY Stony Brook’s Institute for Global Studies, wrote earlier this month that Rouhani had a mandate to ease tensions with the West that previous reformers lacked.