CNN reports, “Hoping to break a deadlock with key Republican senators, the White House is making changes to its proposal to allow the CIA to continue using ‘alternative’ interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists.” No word on the specific language. McCain’s office said he would respond tomorrow.
Retired Colonel: ‘We Are Conducting Military Operations Inside Iran Right Now. The Evidence Is Overwhelming.’
Just now on CNN, Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner (Ret.) said, “We are conducting military operations inside Iran right now. The evidence is overwhelming.”
Gardiner, who taught at the U.S. Army’s National War College, has previously suggested that U.S. forces were already on the ground in Iran. Today he added several additional new points:
1) The House Committee on Emerging Threats recently called on State and Defense Department officials to testify on whether U.S. forces were in Iran. The officials didn’t come to the hearing.
2) “We have learned from Time magazine today that some U.S. naval forces had been alerted for deployment. That is a major step.”
3) “The plan has gone to the White House. That’s not normal planning. When the plan goes to the White House, that means we’ve gone to a different state.”
Read the full transcript HERE.
Following a letter from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) “announced Monday that he will resign his position as chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. … Ney made no mention of whether he planned to remain in office.”
In the Weekly Standard, official Cheney biographer Stephen Hayes attacks the recently-released portion of the Senate Intelligence Committee report that documents the fact that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were enemies, not collaborators.
The report’s conclusion deals a devastating blow to Hayes, who has previously declared “case closed” on the connection between Hussein and bin Laden and has authored on a book on that sole issue. Unsurprisingly, he strikes back against the Senate report with more deception and spin:
1. Hayes’ sourcing for his information is unreliable; Senate sourcing is authoritative. Hayes pieces together unverified media reporting to develop his theory of a “connection.” He continues to rely on a discredited Defense Department intelligence memo. At one point, Hayes even sources his claims to the fact that Vice President Cheney repeated them. The Senate Intelligence Committee report relies on “documents uncovered in Iraq and new intelligence collected, including Intelligence Community debriefs of detained Iraqis and al Qa’ida members. … The Committee supplemented this effort by soliciting the Intelligence Community’s judgments of the accuracy of their own prewar assessments.”
2. Hayes ignores the conclusions of the intelligence community. The report notes that the CIA Inspector General has concluded: “The data reveal few indications of an established relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda. The DIA, which has reviewed more than 34 million pages of documents that were recovered from Iraq, “continues to maintain that there was no partnership between the two organizations.”
Big media claims, “President Bush is preparing an astonishing U-turn on global warming.” Since Bush already has had one not so astonishing U-turn, when he abandoned his 2000 campaign pledge to put a cap on carbon dioxide emissions, don’t hold your breath.
Let’s be clear. As NASA’s James Hansen just said, “I think we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change … no longer than a decade, at the most.”
So only two “U-turns” matter–those on a Green Arrow Only. We need a serious cap on carbon dioxide emissions to reduce absolute levels of emissions in the utility and industrial sectors, and we need a big boost in fuel economy standards to cover the transportation sector.
If Bush embraces these two policies, that would indeed be “an astonishing U-turn,” especially since the administration announced just one year ago, “What will never fly is a mandatory cap on carbon.”
Blogs like Grist have been doing a good job of covering this. But big media has not. Time quoted a Bush adviser saying about the GOP, Democrats, the oil and electricity industries, and environmentalists:
NOT! Progressives have been waiting at the table for more than a decade — conservatives have chained themselves to their beds.
Today, Former Vice President Al Gore gave a major speech on global warming at NYU law. Notably, he called for an immediate freeze on CO2 emissions:
Well, first of all, we should start by immediately freezing CO2 emissions and then beginning sharp reductions. Merely engaging in high-minded debates about theoretical future reductions while continuing to steadily increase emissions represents a self-delusional and reckless approach. In some ways, that approach is worse than doing nothing at all, because it lulls the gullible into thinking that something is actually being done when in fact it is not.
An immediate freeze has the virtue of being clear, simple, and easy to understand. It can attract support across partisan lines as a logical starting point for the more difficult work that lies ahead.
Gore also called for the complete elimination of the payroll tax. It would be replaced by a tax on CO2:
For the last fourteen years, I have advocated the elimination of all payroll taxes — including those for social security and unemployment compensation — and the replacement of that revenue in the form of pollution taxes — principally on CO2. The overall level of taxation would remain exactly the same. It would be, in other words, a revenue neutral tax swap. But, instead of discouraging businesses from hiring more employees, it would discourage business from producing more pollution.
This is an opportunity for bipartisanship and transcendence, an opportunity to find our better selves and in rising to meet this challenge, create a better brighter future — a future worthy of the generations who come after us and who have a right to be able to depend on us.
Read the full text of the speech here.
Henry Abbot at True Hoop remarks that “The Wages of Wins blog keeps having all these team analyses, but they’re of no use if you don’t buy into the author’s central theory of how wins are produced” and that “10,000 applications of the same formula seems to educate little, especially when that formula has been met with mediocre reviews by some respected names in the field, and quite frankly fails the common sense test.” That seems very misguided to me. Performing team-by-team preseason predictions is precisely what the authors of a controversial method of quantitative analysis ought to be doing.
The criticism one would make of the WoW methodology is that even if you grant that they’ve succeed in decomposing the elements of team success, they’re method of breaking down individual players’ contributions is highly insensitive to the way actual basketball teams work. Consequently, the fact that in retrospect you can add up a team’s “wins produced” score and get a number very close to its actual wins has little value in rebutting that criticism. The real test is what kind of predictive value the WoW analysis has, so offering preseason analysis that we can then test against reality is precisely the correct, stand-up thing to do and if you’re interested in the general subject of quantitative analysis of the NBA it makes sense to pay attention.
Lee Siegel chats with Deborah Soloman and explains:
No, it never occurred to me at the time that I was doing something wrong. There are other people who appear anonymously on Web sites; they do battle with their detractors. Anonymity is a universal convention of the blogosphere, and the wicked expedience is that you can speak without consequences. What was wrong about it is that I did it under the aegis of The New Republic, as a senior editor of the magazine.
I think Internet-anonymity is a little unfortunate, but it’s an understandable second-best alternative given that lots of people don’t really have the option of posting opinions on controversial topics under their own names. That said, this just isn’t what Siegel did. He specifically pretended to not be Lee Siegel under circumstances where the fact that he was Lee Siegel was obviously germane to the issue at hand. What’s more, Siegel is a professional writer who published under his own name all the time, including on the very website where he was pseudonymously commenting. He had no legitimate reasons for anonymity and wasn’t really being anonymous at all — he was just lying about his identity.
Currently, Senate candidates don’t have to file their campaign finance reports electronically, meaning that “voters can’t effectively find out how much and from whom their would-be senators have collected money until long after the election — too late for them to act.” Bloggers from the right and left have started a campaign to change that. Get the details at DailyKos.
Since Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s article about Coalition Provisional Authority personnel practices specifically took on Kate O’Beirne’s husband and Michael Ledeen’s daughter, I’ve been eager to see the pushback from the Corner. Ramesh Ponnuru and Katherine Jean-Lopez oblige, but both seem off-target to me. They focus their ire on the implication on the insinuation that the CPA was handing out “posh perks” and plum patronage jobs pointing out, plausibly, that these are basically hardship assignments and not really super-desirable.
That seems like a reasonable riposte on the narrow issue, though my understanding is that life inside the Green Zone was actually fairly pleasant during the relevant period. It also completely misses the point, however, which is simply that the CPA was being treated as something more like an extension of the Republican National Committee than a serious institution of government. Not only did this compromise the quality and qualifications of the personnel, but it had an insidious impact on the operations of the CPA. “They don’t call it the Republican Palace for nothing” was the joke at the time. The upshot being that the civilian side of the operation was being run with a mindset in which there was perfect overlap between the political interests of the Republican Party and with the national interests of the United States in its policy toward post-war Iraq.
The upshot was that the entire thing was being run as a propaganda operation, an enormous press conference for U.S. domestic consumption. That ends up desperately compromising various things, most crucially the flow of information up and down the chain of command and from outside and inside the government. The political interests of the GOP just ran toward painting as pretty a picture as possible of events on the ground, while the interests of sound policy required an accurate assessment of the situation and a realistic portrait of events. If, for example, people had a more realistic understanding of what was going on in Iraq then various political milestones might have been used to much greater advantage as a way of getting the U.S. out of Iraq in a credible way that left a not-absolutely-horrible situation behind. Instead, deep institutional commitment to the view that we were making progress when we were, in fact, regressing led us to let these milestones slide and then publically commit the country to unrealistic — and often incoherent — long-term objectives.