The new McClatchey website looks great. Through it I found Hannah Allam’s Middle East blog written from Cairo and elsewhere in the region, featuring this post where she discovers that she may have been accidentally using terrorist code words (“picnic,” apparently) — in Arabic, no less. Another McClatchey article, this one by Dion Nissenbaum, inquires into why Fatah put up so little fight.
McClatchy’s military analyst Joseph Galloway writes:
The president and his men, and Rumsfeld and his, happily put Abu Ghraib behind them and went merrily along knowing that the network of secret CIA prisons where high-value prisoners were subjected to extreme interrogation techniques was still secret.
The examples made of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki and Gen. Taguba weren’t lost on military commanders in the field or at home: If you dare speak truth to power in this administration, your career is toast, and any hopes you have of landing a cushy job in one of the defense industry behemoths are finished.
It’s long past time for Congress to reopen the matter of who’s really responsible for Abu Ghraib and let the chips fall where they may – even if that means they pile up around the retirement home of a former secretary of defense or the gates of the White House itself.
“The D.C. Circuit Court on Wednesday, after pondering the issue for more than two months, on Wednesday refused to delay any longer putting into effect its decision that Guantanamo Bay detainees have lost all rights to pursue habeas challenges to their prolonged imprisonment. In a brief order, the panel that ruled against the detainees on Feb. 20 formally denied a request filed in April by detainees’ lawyers not to issue the mandate and to hold the cases on its docket for several more months.”
[T]he Justice Department appears likely to act quickly to get 12 District Court judges in Washington to dismiss habeas challenges by scores of detainees, and also to wipe out so-called “protective orders” that assure the detainees’ lawyers access to their clients at Guantanamo and access to information the military may use to justify continuing to hold them.
Dave Weigel tells me the Take Back America conference straw poll‘s 727 respondents represents about 37 percent of the conference’s total number of attendees.
Today, President Bush issued the third veto of his presidency on legislation expanding funding for embryonic stem cell research, which recently passed Congress with a bipartisan, overwhelming majority.
Faced with the opposition of nearly two-thirds of Americans, White House spokesperson Tony Snow today attempted to spin the veto as a positive development. Snow claimed that Bush has a “unique and unprecedented role” in supporting stem cell research, and attacked critics for “misstating” the administration’s policies, claiming that Bush was in fact “putting science before ideology.”
In an attempt to drum up support for less potent alternatives to embryonic stem cell research, Snow falsely characterized the science behind stem cell research, claiming scientists “are not even entirely sure about what the possible benefits of embryonic stem cells [are].” Watch it:
Snow’s claim doesn’t pass the laugh test. Contrary to what Snow says, Bush has held a backwards and overly ideological perspective on scientific research. In 2001, Bush neutered the ability of scientists to engage in stem cell research by curbing funding for new embryonic lines. In 2006, he vetoed legislation lifting those restrictions. Even Bush’s top scientists have criticized him for these actions.
Currently, “not a single scientist who is pursuing research on any kind of cell has said that research involving embryonic stem cells should stop.” And scientists have seen potential treatments from embryonic stem cell research for a variety of ailments.
The only thing stopping federally-funded stem cell research from progressing is the White House’s insistence on putting right-wing ideology ahead of science.
Transcript: Read more
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) today “announced the launch of a new web page, to respond to the growing number of current and former Justice Department career lawyers and other employees raising concerns about politicization in the Department.” The page “provides a secure method for DOJ employees to communicate what they know to Committee investigators.” See the page HERE.
It seems the USA currently has high tarrifs on shoe and sneaker imports even though we don’t really have a shoe and sneaker making industry to protect. Who knew? But according to the DLC press release lauding the initiative, it’ll cost the government $2 billion a year (this all via Mike Crowley) which seems to be of remarkably little concern to the erstwhile budget balancers over there.
OK, Planet Gore posts this cartoon under the headline: “Dilbert Tells an Inconvenient Truth?”
Well, shouldn’t the headline be “Dogbert Tells an Inconvenient Truth”? And Dogbert is not so much a truth-teller as “a megalomaniac; one of his dreams is to conquer the world and enslave all humans.” So the fact that he spouts misanthropic conservative claptrap is not something that really advances PG’s (false) argument that environmentalists are elitists who only want other people to change their behavior.
This isn’t the first time PG has misued a cartoon to try to make a point. This one was far more inane:
It’s two days old, but this whole article warning that Democrats are DOOMED because they’ve become too liberal is a genuine classic of middlebrow political journalism. The paucity of imagination on display in this graf, in particular, is striking:
Some party strategists note that the Democratic candidates are not embracing the extreme left. No major Democratic candidate is endorsing gay marriage, single-payer health care, or an immediate and total withdrawal from Iraq — positions that have sizeable, if not overwhelming, support among Democratic primary voters.
As far as extremism goes, this is pretty pathetic. Are our political reporters truly incapable of even describing a policy position with a whiff of radicalism about it? Check out the Maoist International Movement if you want to see the extreme left. The inability to conceptualize a point of view on national security more radical than a desire to see the occupation of Iraq end very rapidly is truly benighted. I guess I’m an “extremist” by ABC News standards, but I know all these people with views to my left. Read Sawicky, check out the Project on Defense Alternatives.
All of us left of the center would benefit from somewhat demarginalizing further-left views. Insofar as the most extreme right-wing views of national security imaginable — Bill Kristol’s apparent belief that the USA should be perpetually at war with whichever country he was asked about most recently — are treated as respectable elements of the discourse, while the most mild deviations from establishment conventional wisdom are branded as “extremism” then bleating about the need to build bipartisanship in foreign policy only leads us in ever-more-militaristic directions.
“President Bush has talked with British Prime Minister Tony Blair about taking a role as a Middle East peace envoy after he leaves office next week,” the Associated Press reports. On Monday, Blair “strongly defended intervening in Iraq” in a “robust farewell performance” before one of parliament’s top panels.