Jimmy Carter in The New York Times on America's human rights record Carter harshly criticizes America's leaders for their human rights records in recent years. "This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues," he writes. Carter cites drone attacks, warantless wiretaps, and detentions at Guantanamo. "At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Carter writes.
David Martin in The Washington Post on Obama's immigration discretion Martin digs into the idea of "prosecutorial discretion," which President Obama cited when he announced his Justice Department would stop deporting thousands of illegal immigrants brought here as children. "[P]rosecutorial discretion, contrary to advocates' apparent assumption, isn't authority to negate whole realms of enacted law. It is authority to choose strategies and to direct resources while still achieving the basic aims of the relevant legislation." Because the government doesn't have resources to deport more than a small fraction of illegal immigrants each year, opponents of prosecutorial discretion are basically arguing for randomness, he says. Obama's robust record on deportation allows him to make these strategic calls with more authority.
Albert Hunt in Bloomberg View on Romney's differences with big business Hunt suggests that some of Mitt Romney's political positions put him at odds with the business community, despite his mutual embrace with its leaders. "[H]is political calculations changed some long-held views," Hunt says. Romney's hard-line on China's trade policies probably concerns some who fear a trade war. On immigration and deficit reduction, too, his political stands might conflict with the business community's priorities. "There always are trade-offs in backing a presidential candidate," he says.
Misha Glenny in The New York Times on regulating cyberwars The recent confirmation that America deployed the Stuxnet virus to take down an Iranian nuclear facility could foreshadow an uncontrollable cyberwar with our enemies, Glenny says. "[O]nce released, virus developers generally lose control of their inventions, which will inevitably seek out and attack the networks of innocent parties," Glenny warns. "Moreover, all countries that possess an offensive cyber capability will be tempted to use it now that the first shot has been fired." Glenny suggests an international agreement on military use of viruses, warning that without one, the impetus to attack preemptively will grow too large, making the internet unsafe for civilians.
Josh Barro in The Boston Globe on fixing air travel Hopes for high-speed trains on both coasts seem stalled, but Barro says there are ways we can make medium-distance air travel cheaper and more efficient. "By changing the way we charge airlines to use airports, we can get a lot more travel out of the infrastructure we already have — and reduce fares and delays while we're at it," he writes. "[A]irport capacity we have is badly misused because it is mispriced. Small planes aren’t charged enough, and big planes are charged too much. As a result, airlines run lots of flights with few seats, and the skies and runways get crowded with planes." There are easy ways to change the pay structure that will result in more efficient shuttling between our major cities.