Ryan Grim

Ryan Grim writes for politico.com.

Recent Articles

Looking at The Dark Side

In her new book, New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer chronicles the Bush administration's embrace of torture and secrecy in the War on Terror.

In the summer of 2006, the Republican Party still dominated Washington, but top White House officials could see the indictments written on the wall. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pushed the president to close the international "black sites" that the Central Intelligence Agency was clandestinely running, but Vice President Cheney and then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales pushed back hard. Gonzales was stressed. As New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer reports in her new book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals , he "warned the other top officials about the risk that administration officials faced of being prosecuted for war crimes." Mayer reports that a former senior White House official involved in the black site discussions said Cheney was "worried about what would come to light." At the time, Cheney was drafting legislation that would give retroactive immunity not to telecom companies but to policy-makers such as himself...

PART-ing Shots

This February in North Carolina, George W. Bush told a giddy crowd, “I'm here to talk about an issue that is going to be an interesting experience in dealing with the Congress [laughter]. And that is Social Security -- formerly known as the third rail of American politics [laughter]. That meant, if you touched it, there would be certain political death.” He may not have been electrocuted as the result of the felony he tried to commit against Social Security, but he seems to have learned what the rest of the conservative movement has known for years: Don't attack popular social programs directly. Instead, come at them from the side. While the indirect strategy may lack the glamour of a full-frontal counterrevolution, at least it's not suicidal. The “starve the beast” approach -- the idea that slashing government revenue through perpetual tax cuts eventually creates a fiscal situation that leaves eliminating popular programs as the only responsible solution -- is perhaps the best known...

MAS Protest

When Bolivia's interim president, Eduardo Rodriguez, announced on June 9 that he would hold new congressional and presidential elections within six months, it was widely portrayed as the end of a month-long crisis that nearly spurred a civil war. But the political divisions besetting Bolivia didn't begin this year -- and they're not likely to end easily. The most recent confrontation erupted when the Bolivian government, led by the now-deposed President Carlos Mesa, passed a law on May 16 to raise taxes on companies that exploit the nation's vast and recently discovered reserves of natural gas. Indigenous groups took to the streets -- shutting down the international airport, blockading La Paz and more than 100 roads in the country, and occupying foreign-operated gas and oil fields -- arguing that the bill did not go far enough. The demonstrators demanded that the government take full control of, or nationalize, the industry, and that a national assembly be convened to rewrite the...