According to Mike Crowley, the Anti-Defamation League has decided to make common cause with Turkish genocide deniers out of recognition for Turkey’s friendly relationship with Israel. I completely understand that Israel foreign policy needs to be what Israeli foreign policy needs to be, but I completely fail to understand why major American Jewish organizations need to subvert their own commitments to come closer in line with the dictates of Israeli foreign policy.
A study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that right-wing radio hosts helped kill comprehensive immigration reform by repeatedly referring to it as an “amnesty bill.” “If media attention translates into political pressure, the argument that talk radio helped kill the immigration bill in Congress has some support in the data,” the study says. “Thanks to energetic opposition from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage, immigration was the biggest topic, at 16%, on conservative talk radio in the second quarter.”
Mike Lux responds on the primaries issue, says my anti-Iowa, anti-New Hampshire views have some merit, but says he “still believe[s] passionately in small state starting this thing” because that forces closer interactions with the candidates. I see the merits in that, though I’m significantly less passionate about it than I am about the idea that it’s really deleterious to give this sort of outsized role to two lily-white states with no major urban centers. One could, however, have it both ways. Iowa has 7 electoral votes just like Oregon or Connecticut and it’s actually bigger than Rhode Island, Nevada, or New Mexico.
Progressive blogger Lane Hudson filed a complaint against Fred Thompson (R-TN) on Monday, accusing the former Senator of violating the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) “testing the waters” clause. The complaint argues that Thompson is running a full-blown campaign and should be held to the same regulations as the other candidates. ABC’s Jake Tapper writes, “The rule is pretty simple. If you spend more than $5,000 on campaign activities, you’re a candidate, whether or not you’ve officially declared. The question is what constitutes ‘testing the waters’ activity, and what constitutes ‘candidate’ activity.” Within five days of receiving the complaint, the FEC must notify the Thompson exploratory committee and provide it with a copy of the complaint. You can contact the FEC at (800) 424-9530.
UPDATE: Jane Hamsher writes, “I guess we won’t call him ‘The Decider.’”
Karl Rove’s unprecedented use of federal assets for political gain meant relaxing federal regulations on big GOP supporters. Arianna Huffington writes that the fallout is predictable; in some cases, the public safety has suffered. “Coal mining interests have donated more than $12 million to federal candidates since the Bush-era began with the 2000 election cycle, with 88% of that money — $10.6 million — going to Republicans. And what did that largess buy the coal mining industry? Mine safety regulators far more interested in looking out for the financial well-being of mine owners than for the physical well-being of miners.”
“Internal MnDOT documents reviewed by the Star Tribune reveal that last year bridge officials talked openly about the possibility of the bridge collapsing — and worried that it might have to be condemned.” Plans to reinforce the bridge were well underway when the project came to a screeching halt in January amid concerns about safety and cost. (HT: Kos)
TPMMuckraker reports that Brad Schlozman, who politicized the hiring process in the Civil Rights Division of the DoJ and attempted to suppress the votes of minorities, has left his post in the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys. Currently, Schlozman is under investigation by the DoJ’s Inspector General for his efforts to politicize the Department.
Nibras Kazimi from the Hudson Institute is hearing coup rumors in Washington:
So the folks in Stephen Hadley’s NSC outfit are allegedly putting out the word that Meghan “Wanna-Be Ms. Bell” O’Sullivan, the White House’s political envoy to Baghdad, has lined up the necessary support to unseat current Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, who would ostensibly be replaced by the former PM Ayad Allawi.
He points out, however, that “no one can pull-off a military coup in Iraq.” After all, Iraq notably lacks in security services that can effectively control the country. As Brian Ulrich says “Nibras Kazimi made an important point about this Allawi coup business that I’m just now seeing:
Seriously, how is this coup supposed to work? Is the United States supposed to do it openly? The Mahdi Army? Badr Brigades? The Kurdish peshmerga? What kind of reaction is this likely to get from the other factions? I suspect it won’t lead to national reconciliation.
Kazimi suspects that this is a way of trying to spook Nouri al-Maliki and his allies into compromising with the Sunni Arabs.
News Flash (as it were):
Now that is all the nudes that’s fit to print.
On a more serious note: “Switzerland has about 1800 glaciers and almost all of them are losing ground.” Everyone needs to do their part to raise awareness, even if it is a visibly small part.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently visited Iraq with Sen. John Warner (R-VA) and reported that the escalation is “totally and utterly” failing to produce the political reconciliation needed.
The media is reporting Levin’s comments as validation of Bush’s strategy. Fox News spins Levin’s comments as “praise” for the “surge results.” ABC claims the comments are proof of “success of the surge.”
In fact, in a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Levin conceded that the troop increase has “resulted in some reduced violence in some places in Iraq,” but specifically said the troop increase has not accomplished its stated objective:
[T]he whole purpose of the surge was to reduce violence so that the Iraqi leaders would have the breathing room to reach political settlement. That was the stated purpose of the surge.
Well, that purpose has not been achieved, even though the level of violence has been reduced in a number of areas. The purpose of the surge, by its own terms, was to have the — give the opportunity to the Iraqi leaders to reach some political settlements. They have failed to do that. They have totally and utterly failed.
Listen to a portion of his remarks here:
Arguing that political reconciliation will not occur under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Levin called on the Iraqi parliament to replace him. “I hope that the Iraqi assembly, when it reconvenes in a few weeks, will vote the Maliki government out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less sectarian and a more unifying prime minister and government.”
Levin and Warner met with Gen. David Petraeus for 2 hours. Levin said that the situation in Iraq necessitates that the U.S. begin troop reductions within four months:
[I]t is clear to me that the capability that the Iraqi military now has and will have by the end of this year will allow us to begin reducing U.S. forces significantly below our pre-surge level. We should begin that reduction within four months. The increased Iraqi capability will also allow us to move most of our forces out of Iraq by the middle of next year and to transition the forces that need to remain to perform missions away from the civil war. [...]
I cannot believe, however, that the president is going to do anything less than reduce the level our troops to the pre-surge level, because the way in which our troops simply have been so stretched out that they have very little choice but to do that.