Does the cognitive dissonance ever get to be too much? Bush warns Iran he’ll “respond firmly” if they interfere in Iraq! We’re honestly in full-on crazy mode, people — we have over 100,000 troops in Iraq and our government threatens to overthrow the Iranian regime every once in a while. Shockingly, the Iranians plan to fight back. Some people wonder why I’m so worried we’re going to get into a war with Iran. No doubt after we bomb we’ll be doubleplus outraged that Iran has the gall to retaliate.
“I don’t think he really thought a lot about it,” said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow today when asked about President Bush’s reaction to the weekend’s march on Washington. Approximately 100,000 people from around the country converged on the National Mall on Saturday to protest Bush’s escalation in Iraq. Nearly 70 percent of the American public opposes President Bush’s plan to send more U.S. troops to Iraq.
A Drudge preview: “NYT: Bush executive order gives president much greater control over rules to regulate public health, safety, environment, civil rights, privacy, other issues…”
In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities.
This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats.
even though their country is the world’s top source of greenhouse gases, a 46-country survey showed on Monday. Some 57 percent of people around the world considered global warming a “very serious problem” and a further 34 percent rated it a “serious problem.” People in Latin America “were most worried while U.S. citizens were least concerned with just 42 percent rating global warming ‘very serious.’”
While he was acting Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton repeatedly said he was in favor of a “unified” Iraq:
“The United States remains committed to a unified, democratic and prosperous Iraq and looks forward to the continued cooperation of the international community for Iraq’s future.” [11/28/06]
“The unanimous adoption of this resolution is a vivid demonstration of broad international support for a ‘federal, democratic, pluralist and unified Iraq.’” [11/8/05]
Apparently, Bolton never really meant what he said. In a recent interview, Bolton said it’s not in the U.S.’s “strategic interest” for there to be a unified Iraq:
“The United States has no strategic interest in the fact that there’s one Iraq, or three Iraqs,” he was quoted as saying in the French daily Le Monde. “We have a strategic interest in the fact of ensuring that what emerges is not a state in complete collapse, which could become a refuge for terrorists or a terrorist state.”
The comments by Bolton marked the second time in less than a week that Bolton had contradicted Bush administration policy. Last week, he said the United States may not be able to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons because of a flawed diplomatic strategy. Bolton’s comments are a stark reminder of why he was unfit for the U.N. International diplomats could never determine what was his real agenda.
I’m not sure I really understand Chuck Schumer’s obsession with the “50 percent” concept, but most of his ideas seem pretty good. This one, though, I don’t get:
REDUCE PROPERTY TAXES THAT FUND EDUCATION BY 50%
* Encourage localities to cut property taxes that fund education by 50% over ten years by freezing them now.
* If unforeseen circumstances arise, restore the highest income tax bracket to mid 1990s levels before taking away the property tax reduction.
I, too, would like to see primary and secondary education become less reliant on property taxes as a means of financing schools. There are a lot or problems with property taxes and relying on them at all is mostly an archaic holdover from long past days and few if any of the rationales for reliance on property taxes still exist. That said, encourage localities to do this how? And how do you make up that 50 percent funding shortfall? The question could be answered easily — “cut property taxes by 50 percent and replace the money with a new Value Added Tax” or something — but it really does need to be answered. Clearly, the political difficulty in reducing reliance on property taxes isn’t that it’s hard to cut them, it’s that it’s hard to raise the missing revenue through some other new tax.
Yesterday, Washington Post columnist Robert Novak reported that TheVanguard.org, a new right-wing advocacy group, has hired Jerome Corsi as a senior political strategist.
Vanguard describes itself as an “online community of Americans who believe in conservative values,” and Novak claims it is a “right-wing version of the leftist MoveOn.Org.”
By hiring Corsi, Vanguard has made it clear that it intends to hit below the belt and be more than just an “online community.” Corsi coordinated the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth attacks against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), and plans to use Vanguard to “similarly undermine Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton” for her progressive policy stances. Media Matters has documented Corsi’s posts on the right-wing Free Republic site. Some excerpts:
On Islam: “a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion”
On Catholicism: “Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn’t reported by the liberal press”
On Muslims: “RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters — it all goes together”
On “John F*ing Commie Kerry”: “After he married TerRAHsa, didn’t John Kerry begin practicing Judiasm? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?”
On Senator “FAT HOG” Clinton: “Anybody ask why HELLary couldn’t keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?”
Corsi was also accused of (and later admitted to) plagiarizing the work of conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel.
I thought Greg Sargent did an adequate response to Joe Klein’s response to me. I am curious, however, about Klein’s view that my post undermined my reputation for “substance over slime.” I genuinely don’t think I slimed Klein at all. We seem to disagree about the significance of David Broder writing an unusually mean column about Hillary Clinton. Klein viewed Broder’s unusual meanness as evidence that Clinton’s behavior was unusually egregious. I view it as evidence of a continuing pattern of Broder bearing an irrational level of ill-will toward the Clintons. I think Klein and I even agree about Klein’s view of the Clintons (seriously, read the book if you’re interested; Klein’s domestic policy views are significantly to my right, but it’s still an interesting book).
For an example of actual slime, I think you have to turn to Jonah Goldberg’s repeated writings on me at the Corner — I’d just like to be clear as to whether or not Jonah’s trying to say I’m an anti-semite as he seems to be waffling on this point.