“The growing consensus to take national action against climate change received a major boost Monday when 10 leading U.S. corporations — including General Electric, Alcoa, DuPont and Pacific Gas & Electric — launched a coalition with four environmental groups to push for mandatory federal emissions controls.” The corporate leaders pledged to work “for specific targets and timetables to reduce current levels of carbon dioxide and airborne pollutants by 60 to 80 percent” by 2050. Details on the partnership HERE.
escalation with “oversight.”
President Bush delivered remarks by telephone today to a Washington rally of opponents of abortion rights. “Bush calls the rally each year, usually from distant locations. This year, he extended his weekend stay at the Camp David presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains to phone the participants from there.” Kevin Drum notes: “Reagan did the same thing, didn’t he? These guys are so terrified of having their picture taken in the actual presence of people they supposedly support that they extend their vacations in order to generate some marginally plausible excuse for not showing up in person.”
Last week, Fox News and other Rupert Murdoch outlets amplified a right-wing report alleging that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attended an Islamic “madrassa” school as a 6-year-old child. One Fox News caller questioned whether Obama’s schooling means that “maybe he doesn’t consider terrorists the enemy.” Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade responded, “Well, we’ll see about that.”
Commenting on this report today, Wolf Blitzer said that CNN had done “what any serious news organization is supposed to do in this kind of a situation”: actually investigate and learn the facts. CNN’s Senior International Correspondent John Vause filed a report from Indonesia. Watch it:
In the report, Vause says, “I’ve been to those madrassas in Pakistan … this school is nothing like that.” He also interviews a classmate of Obama’s who says the school was not even strictly Muslim; it also taught Christian, Buddhist, and Confucian students.
CNN has more details HERE.
The new Capitol Hill newspaper, The Politico, launches tomorrow. In its lead story — an exclusive interview with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — the senator lashes out against Vice President Dick Cheney. Roger Simon writes:
With his presidential hopes tied to an administration whose Iraq policy he supports but cannot control, John McCain for the first time blamed Vice President Cheney for what McCain calls the “witch’s brew” of a “terribly mishandled” war in which U.S. forces are on the verge of defeat.
Although McCain had once lavished praise on the vice president, he said in an interview in his Senate office: “The president listened too much to the Vice President … Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense.”
At a July 15, 2004 appearance in Michigan, McCain called Cheney “one of the most capable, experienced, intelligent and steady vice presidents this country has ever had.”
Also in the interview, McCain continued his back-pedaling from the escalation strategy that he first proposed. After offering a full-throated endorsement of the Bush plan just days ago, McCain opened the door to the redeployment of U.S. forces back to the borders of Iraq should the president’s plan fail. He added, “I don’t know if this is enough troops or not. I can’t guarantee success by doing this.”
I try on this blog to always refer to New York’s junior senator as either “Hillary Clinton,” “Senator Clinton,” or “Clinton,” and never “Hillary.” I’d thought about blogging on this question of nomenclature and labeling the “Hillary” alternative sexist, but I suppose that’s complicated by the fact that Clinton and her aides encourage the “Hillary” usage (a less ambiguous case is referring to the Secretary of State as “Condi”) but now that J. Goodrich and Mark Schmitt mention it, I may as well chime in as well — unless you make a habit of being on a first-name basis with US Senators, don’t call her “Hillary.”
I’m afraid I don’t have a very interesting answer to the question of why I’m pro-choice, but suffice it to say that since fetuses lack the cognitive functions that are constitutive of moral personhood, it’s not wrong to kill them. One can introduce some additional complications into the equation but it’s basically that simple. That legal abortion encourages premarital sex is feature, not a bug.
[Note: This excerpt is being posted out of sequence because Chapter Six of Hell and High Water lays bare the rhetorical strategy that the President will no doubt use in his State of the Union address.]
There is no doubt that the time to act is now. It is now that timely action can avert disaster. It is now that with foresight and will such action can be taken without disturbing the essence of our way of life, by adjusting behaviour, but not altering it entirely.
–Tony Blair, 2005
It’s important not to get distracted by chasing short-term reductions in greenhouse emissions. The real payoff is in long- term technological breakthroughs.
– John H. Marburger III, president’s science adviser, 2006
The mantra of the Delayers is “technology” and “technology breakthroughs.” Their technological fix to the greenhouse gas problem is, unsurprisingly, not imminent. It is “long-term.” But as we have seen earlier, failing to act in the near term–now–will bring about such drastic conditions that soon our only choice will be to react with extremely onerous government policies.
In 2005, British prime minister Tony Blair described the crucial two- prong strategy we must adopt: “We need to invest on a large scale in existing technologies and to stimulate innovation into new low- carbon technologies for deployment in the longer term.” Future technology will be able to help preserve our way of life in the long term if and only if we have already moved “on a large scale” to technologies that already exist. Over the next few decades, we must rapidly deploy available technologies that stop global carbon dioxide emissions from rising. Then, in the second half of this century, we must sharply reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by deploying all the new technologies we have developed.
The time to act is now…..
Conservative message makers, like Frank Luntz, realized that it could be politically dangerous to oppose any action on global warming, even if their efforts to obfuscate the climate science were successful. Luntz lays out a clever solution to this conundrum in his 2002 “Straight Talk” memo on climate change messaging [a must-read for all progressives]:
Technology and innovation are the key in arguments on both sides. Global warming alarmists use American superiority in technology and innovation quite effectively in responding to accusations that international agreements such as the Kyoto accord could cost the United States billions. Rather than condemning corporate America the way most environmentalists have done in the past, they attack us for lacking faith in our collective ability to meet any economic challenges presented by environmental changes we make. This should be our argument. We need to emphasize how voluntary innovation and experimentation are preferable to bureaucratic or international intervention and regulation.
This is the technology trap, where clean energy technology is used to delay action, rather than to foster action, on climate change.
The person in charge of executing Bush’s escalation plan in Iraq is Gen. David H. Petraeus. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Petraeus “agrees with ‘surge’ advocates.” And he’s highly regarded by many. But in Iraq, his judgment has proven completely wrong before. Here is what Petraeus had to say about the Iraqi security forces in September 2004:
[T]here are reasons for optimism. Today approximately 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which about 100,000 are trained and equipped) and an additional 74,000 facility protection forces are performing a wide variety of security missions. Equipment is being delivered. Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.
Most important, Iraqi security forces are in the fight — so much so that they are suffering substantial casualties as they take on more and more of the burdens to achieve security in their country.
[T]here is no shortage of qualified recruits volunteering to join Iraqi security forces. In the past couple of months, more than 7,500 Iraqi men have signed up for the army and are preparing to report for basic training to fill out the final nine battalions of the Iraqi regular army. Some 3,500 new police recruits just reported for training in various locations.
Of course, the column has the usual caveats: “There will be more tough times, frustration and disappointment along the way.” But the conclusion of the column is clear: “Iraq’s security forces are…developing steadily and they are in the fight…this trend will continue.”
In fact the trend has not continued. Iraqi security forces have been infiltrated by insurgents and many have walked off the job “due to scheduled leave, absence without leave, and attrition.” Nealy two-and-a-half years later, U.S. troops are still bearing the responsibility of providing security in Iraq.