Via Josh Marshall, “Prime Minister Tony Blair caved in to White House pressure by sharpening language on Iran and softening it on global warming in a speech he delivered Friday at Georgetown University, according to a British press report Sunday that Blair’s office immediately denied.”
The Boston Globe reports David Addington, i.e. “Cheney’s guy,” screens legislation before it reaches Bush’s desk in an effort to remove any limits it might place on presidential powers. Addington is the architect of the “signing statements” that Bush has used to assert his right to ignore laws passed by Congress. More at Firedoglake.
This weekend, President Bush delivered the commencement address at West Point and declared that his global war on terror is helping to spread freedom in the Middle East:
Decades of excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe. So long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place where terrorists foment resentment and threaten American security. So we are pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East.
This morning on Meet the Press, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered a strong rebuke of Bush’s assessment of what’s going on in the Middle East:
I think you could make a pretty strong case that things are worse off in the Middle East today than they were three years ago. By measurement of Iraq, by Iran, by the Palestinian-Israeli issue, what’s going on in Egypt. And, I think the United States must use its force of diplomacy to engage Iran.
Hagel isn’t alone in making his argument that the Middle East is worse off since the Iraq invasion. Read more
Last week, Sterling Burnett – a senior fellow at the Exxon-backed National Center for Policy Analysis – compared Al Gore to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
In this weekend’s Washington Post magazine, meteorologist Bill Gray – one of the most prominent climate skeptics – directly compared Al Gore to Adolf Hitler:
Gore believed in global warming almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews.
It’s telling that so many of the attacks on Al Gore and his movie are ad hominem, not substantive. There really is no credible scientific rebuttal to An Inconvenient Truth, so people are forced to attack the messenger.
Today on Fox News Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) tried to argue that banning flag-burning and same-sex marriage are two of the nation’s most pressing priorities, which is why he put them on the Senate agenda for June:
HOST: …Are gay marriage and flag burning the most important issues the Senate can be addressing in June of 2006?
FRIST:…When you look at that flag and you tell me that right now people in this country are saying it’s okay to desecrate that flag and to burn it and to not pay respect to it, is that important to our values as a people when we’ve got 130,000 people fighting for our freedom and liberty today? That is important. It may not be important here in Washington where people say, well, it’s political posturing and all, but it’s important to the heart and soul of the American people. … Why marriage today? Marriage is for our society that union between a man and a woman, is the cornerstone of our society. It is under attack today.
But as the Fox News host points out, these moves are nothing more than pandering to the right-wing base. Flag-burning incidents declined rapidly after 9/11 and haven’t shown any signs of rebounding. Right now, Cuba, China, and Iran are the only other countries to ban flag desecration and the issue doesn’t even show up on recent polls as an important priority for the American public.
On gay marriage, only 40 percent of the American public ranked it as an extremely or very important issue in a Feb. poll, behind eight other issues, including terrorism (89 percent), the war in Iraq (89 precent), the economy (88 percent), and health care costs (88 percent).
Looks like the “heart and soul of the American people” have different priorities, Sen. Frist.
Full transcript below. Read more