“The average temperatures of the first half of 2006 were the highest ever recorded for the continental United States, scientists announced today.” Almost 45 percent of the contiguous U.S. experienced “moderate to extreme droughts” while “some areas, such as the Northeast of the country experienced record rainfalls and severe floods.”
Last fall, the Senate declared that 2006 would be “a period of significant transition” for Iraq. We have now passed the halfway mark. Recall this statement and other key events in our updated Iraq war timeline.
Rove and Libby. Gregg Sargent talks with legal expert Jonathan Turley.
Yesterday Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) announced that the White House had agreed to a court review of the warrantless wiretapping program.
But what Specter didn’t say is that his legislation does not require President Bush to submit the program to the FISA court; it merely gives the president the option. Under the FISA law, the administration can wiretap persons inside the U.S. But it is required to demonstrate that the targets are agents of a foreign power, like al Qaeda or their affiliates. Specter’s bill actually empowers Bush by making it optional for him to follow the law and rewards him for illegal conduct.
Nevertheless, the media has quickly picked up Specter’s line, calling the legislation a “compromise,” a “concession,” and even a “policy reversal” by the White House. Some examples —
Bush Poised To Accept 2 Curbs On His Authority, Houston Chronicle, 7/13/06:
In compromises crafted by the Senate, the White House was poised Thursday to change the way the United States prosecutes prisoners from the war on terror and to require court review of government eavesdropping on terror suspects.
Bush Agrees To Review Of Domestic Spying Program, LA Times, 7/14/06:
The tentative agreement would mark a concession by the administration, which has insisted the president has the constitutional authority to authorize the warrantless surveillance, initiated after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bush Says Court Can Review Surveillance, Washington Post, 7/14/06:
Thursday’s agreement is the latest in a series of concessions Bush has made in his hard-line anti-terrorism tactics in recent days.
White House Agrees To NSA Review By Court: Senator, Reuters, 7/13/06:
The White House, in a policy reversal, has agreed to allow a secret federal court review of the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program, a top Senate Republican announced on Thursday.
Scared and unsure how to fight terrorists, they confront “climate change,” which only requires spending trillions of other people’s dollars on something that may not need fixing or may not be fixable. No wonder some of these people chain themselves to trees – they think money grows on them.
She’s not joking.
These are the lengths that reputable publications like the Christian Science Monitor are going to provide “balanced coverage” of the global warming issue. There is no meaningful debate within the scientific community, so scientific research is balanced by “conservative comedians.”
of the financial tracking program was discussed at an open House hearing in 2002, the Washington Post reports, providing yet another example of the program being discussed publicly prior to last month’s New York Times report.
The rising violence in the Middle East has apparently caused the editorial board at the Wall Street Journal to rethink its understanding of the war in Iraq. They write today:
Critics of the Bush Administration will surely find a way to blame it for the current crisis, on the theory that this is what happens when you push for change in the Middle East. But the real problem is the growing perception among Arab regimes and terrorist frontmen that the U.S. is so bogged down in Iraq, and so suddenly deferential to the wishes of the “international community,” that it has lost its appetite for serious reform. This has created openings for the kind of terror assaults on American allies we are now witnessing.
Despite trying to cast their stance as one that “critics of the Bush Administration” would dispute, the position that the WSJ editors take today is one that “critics” have been arguing for some time. American Progress’s Iraq strategy, Strategic Redeployment 2.0, explicitly states that, “As long as the United States is bogged down in Iraq and refuses to admit the thousands of mistakes it has made, it will not have the moral, political, and military power to deal effectively” with the threats it faces.
Sen. Chuck Hagel argued in Aug. 2005, “I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur,” adding, “We are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar or dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam.”
The political class and media treat the war as something whose “policy” details can somehow be revisited, even rethought. At home, the war is a political event, a normal partisan phenomenon. Its metaphors are borne out of Vietnam — quagmire, bogged down, body counts, Ted Kennedy. Guess what? Vietnam isn’t coming back. The people of this country tore the nation’s fabric terribly over Vietnam. They are not going to do it again. [Daniel Henninger, WSJ, 4/30/04]
Being “bogged down” in Iraq has had damaging consequences in the Middle East due to the disastrous choices the administration made. The WSJ finally seems to understand that. Better late than never.
Reacting to a new conflict igniting on Israel’s northern border, President Bush stuck to his standard talking points about freedom and democracy during today’s press conference with German Chancellor Merkel:
We’re concerned about the fragile democracy in Lebanon. We’ve been working very hard through the United Nations and with partners to strengthen the democracy in Lebanon. The Lebanese people have democratic aspirations, which is being undermined by the actions and activities of Hizbollah.
Indeed, the United States must support the advance of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. But simply holding elections – the focus of the Bush administration – will not create stability in the region. Consider:
- In Iraq, two elections and a constitutional referendum still has not brought freedom or stability to the country, which slips further into violence each day.
Democracy is not simply about going to the polls. It also means having institutions operating within the rule of law, a system of checking the power of strong executive bodies, and political actors that respect the rights of women and religious minorities.
We need to think beyond elections and take serious diplomatic steps to promote stability in the Middle East.
Starting July 30, the Young America’s Foundation – which “specializes in helping young people advance conservative ideas” – will host the The National Conservative Student Conference.
Julie Siegel, a staff member at the Daily Pennsylvanian at UPenn, contacted YAF and asked for credentials to cover the convention on behalf of CampusProgress.org, the student publication at the Center for American Progress.
Our event is open to real members of the press. You will not receive press credentials. My advice for you is to watch it on C-SPAN. If you have a problem with that decision, you can complain to the Foundation’s media department spokesman. Oh wait”¦that’s”¦me. :)
Subsequently, Mattera made clear that his decision to reject Siegel’s request was made on ideological grounds. Mattera told CampusProgress.org editor Ben Adler that The Nation, the country’s oldest progressive magazine with a circulation of almost 200,000, would also be denied credentials.
Mattera has twice covered the CampusProgress student conference for the National Review after that publication was granted press credentials, including the 2006 conference which took place on Wednesday.
Contact Rich Lowry, who is on the board of YAF’s National Journalism Center and writes for the National Review, and ask him if he supports Mattera’s decision to exclude reporters on ideological grounds. Let us know what you hear back.