The AP is calling America’s 4,000th death in Iraq. Every one a tragic result of a criminal mistake.
To to tell the guys responsible for attacking the Green Zone with 20 mortars that the surge has been an enormous success. Similarly with whoever planted the homemade bomb in southern Baghdad that killed four American soldiers. I hope things manage to stay on roughly this plateau until through the election and when we get a chance to start bringing the troops home, but I think you’ve got to fear that as spring turns to summer and we can’t maintain the full-size surge deployment that violence is going to keep crawling back up.
Four U.S. soldiers were killed in Baghdad today, putting the U.S. death toll at 4,000 since the invasion in 2003, reports MSNBC.
The Huffington Post has assembled a photo mosaic “in remembrance of the 4,000 brave men and women who sacrificed everything for us.”
We’ve heard climate double talk from McCain on “mandates” and “dependence on foreign energy sources.” Now, in a stunning interview with E&E News (subs. req’d), the McCain campaign seriously undermines its claim that the Arizona Senator could successfully take on the global warming threat.
As the reporter put it, “the Arizona senator’s presidential campaign is trying to differentiate itself from its Democratic rivals by rejecting calls for additional climate-themed restrictions.” This, however, is a potentially fatal difference.
I don’t know which of three statements by “Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a McCain campaign policy adviser” is more wrong-headed.
1. “The basic idea is if you go with a cap and trade and do it right with appropriate implementation, you don’t need technology-specific and sectoral policies that are on the books and that others are proposing simultaneously.”
This statement could not be more inaccurate and naive. A cap & trade system without on aggressive technology development/deployment effort, especially in the transportation sector, will inevitably fail because it causes too much economic pain, as I explained at length in “No climate for old men.” And now we get the explicit statement that McCain opposes “technology-specific and sectoral policies that are on the books” if we have a cap & trade.
Does anybody who cares about climate change really think we are pushing clean technologies and clean transportation too hard? Other than Sen. McCain’s campaign, that is — we’ve already seen that McCain does not support renewable technology tax credits that have been “on the book” for years even before we have a cap & trade. This is an especially jaw-dropping statement given that even the delayers themselves have been saying we need a bigger clean tech push for years.
2. Holtz-Eakin … questioned the candidates’ [Obama's and Clinton's] calls for a new federal low carbon fuel limit, stronger fuel economy standards and policies to reduce U.S. oil consumption. Cap and trade, Holtz-Eakin said, is the ideal solution by itself…. Asked if this position meant McCain would block implementation of new corporate average fuel economy requirements that President Bush signed into law last December, Holtz-Eakin replied, “He’s not proposing to eliminate those. He simply wants to check as time goes on if they become completely irrelevant. You might want to take them off the books [!!!], but we’re not there yet.”
He cannot be serious. We might “want to take [fuel economy standards] off the books” because a cap & trade system might render them irrelevant? Uhh, no. Let’s go through this again.
In the Energy Information Administration’s own analysis of using a cap & trade system to reduce U.S. emissions — a very flawed study, but one that is a good economic model of McCain’s strategy, since it doesn’t capture technology deployment strategies or fuel economy standards — the price of carbon hits politically impossible levels, $348 per metric ton, which, in the EIA analysis, doubles the price for electricity. But that price for carbon would raise gasoline prices by under a dollar a gallon and thus would not have much impact on average US fuel economy or the success of alternative fuels (much as the recent price jump from $2 a gallon to $3 didn’t). Long before the carbon price hit that level, businesses and consumers would demand the price be capped, or the program shut down entirely ending the U.S. effort to stop catastrophic global warming.
3. “You don’t need redundant policies that interfere with the flexibility that is the key to meeting these desirable goals at low costs….” Pressed to explain what beyond a cap-and-trade program would be needed, Holtz-Eakin replied, “He wants to see the use of nukes. The ultimate policy proposal will be designed to make sure that’s true.”
The hypocrisy is staggering. “Redundant policies” that push renewables or efficiency would interfere with flexibility that supposedly keeps costs low. Indeed, we can even take existing clean tech policies off the books once we have a cap & trade. But ramming expensive nuclear power plants down the public’s throat — that’s fine.
Note, the nonpartisan Keystone report “Nuclear Power Joint Fact-Finding,” from June 2007, found nuclear “power isn’t cheap: 8.3 to 11.1 cents per kilo-watt hour.” And as a study by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) found, nuclear power plant costs have soared in the last couple of years. And, of course, nuclear power has a major supply bottleneck, that will inevitably drive up costs for any country that wants to rapidly accelerate the construction of nuclear power plants.
The fact that this guy is a former director of the Congressional Budget Office means, of course, he is an economist, which is perhaps all you need to know about him. The fact he is acting as a senior advisor and surrogate for McCain is a very bad sign. Holtz-Eakin could easily end up as the head of McCain’s Council Economic Advisers, National Economic Council, or, scariest of all, the Office of Management and Budget — where he could (further) cripple clean tech programs for years to come (beyond the damage the Bush administration has already done).
This was one of the central points from my long analysis, No climate for old men: McCain would appoint all the wrong people to key positions, and they would undermine or block the key policies needed to tackle warming cost effectively. This stunning interview confirms my worst fears.
Here is the whole article:
The AP reports:
Rockets and mortars pounded Baghdad’s U.S.-protected Green Zone Sunday and a suicide car bomber struck an Iraqi army post in the northern city of Mosul in a surge of attacks that killed at least 57 people nationwide.
The latest violence underscored the fragile security situation and the resilience of both Sunni and Shiite extremist groups as the war enters its sixth year and the U.S. death toll in the conflict approaches 4,000.
Attacks in Baghdad probably stemmed from rising tensions between rival Shiite groups _ some of whom may have been behind the Green Zone blasts. It was the most sustained assault in months against the nerve center of the U.S. mission.
I find it striking that, as presented in episode two of John Adams, the case for independence is distinctly underwhelming. In particular, the point that a rebellion which can only succeed with foreign assistance is as likely to result in domination by France as in freedom from Britain seems like an important cautionary note. What’s more, favored by hindsight and the example of Canada and Australia, the imagine of a non-independent America as destined to be slowly-but-surely ground into a state of tyranny looks wrong.
Conversely, however, the British seemed to be badly missing the big picture as the crisis approached — risking a very valuable series of possessions over some relatively trivial policy issues. Taking the long view, independence looks more like the somewhat tragic result of short-sighted thinking on both sides than like a heroic triumph for the forces of liberty.
Which is a long way of saying, is there a book out there about the revolutionary era people would recommend that’s not in the “no this guy was the best founding father!” genre?
As it happens, I just got to read the first 15 pages or so of Nixonland yesterday before relinquishing Spencer’s copy back to him, and it’s eye-opening. While Rick’s been slumming it up as a blogger and pamphleteer, I’d sort of forgotten what an engaging, evocative narrative writer he is. Somewhat confusingly, the book’s not about Nixon, it’s about the “Nixon era” of American politics starting in 1966. But buy the book. And buy my book, too. Buy them together.
The latest affront, they say, is a recommendation this month from the UN’s drug enforcement watchdog, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), that Bolivia and Peru criminalize the practice of chewing coca and drinking its tea. The move has provoked widespread anger and street protests in the two countries, especially among the majority indigenous populations. For them, coca has been a cultural cornerstone for 3,000 years, as much a part of daily life as coffee in the U.S. (La Paz is home to perhaps the world’s only coca museum.) From the countryside to swanky urban hotels, it is chewed or brewed to stave off hunger or exhaustion or to ease the often debilitating effects of high-altitude life in the Andes. It is also “used by healers and in ceremonial offerings to the gods,” says Ana Maria Chavez, a coca seller in La Paz, who refers to her product as “the sacred leaf.” Pope John Paul II even drank coca tea on a 1988 visit to Bolivia. It is, says Chavez, “part of who we are.” [...]
Even as the INCB was issuing its report, the Bolivian government was reaffirming its desire to increase Bolivia’s legal coca crop limit from 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) to 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres). The Bush Administration has warned that the latter move would put Bolivia in violation of its international agreements — it is “not consistent with Bolivia’s obligations,” said the State Department — and risk tens of millions of dollars in U.S. aid.
Obviously, if we get our way on this the whole cocaine problem in the United States is going to go away. Hahaha. In broader strategic terms, it’s no coincidence that the regions of the world that have most consistently been subjected to an imperial approach from the United States — Latin America and the Middle East — is where you see the most hostility to the United States. Portions of the world that have received more dignified, respectful treatment generally return the favor.
Malik Rose comes off the bench to deliver a team-high twenty points on 8-13 shooting in New York’s 93-114 loss yesterday to the mighty Minnesota Timberwolves.
It took so long into this New York Times story about congressional efforts to bring some regulatory oversight to the unregulated elements of Wall Street that it actually brought a smile to my face when we finally arrived at the inevitable “But industry groups warn…” part of the article. After all, I was curious, what will industry groups warn? What dire menace would it propose to the Republic if financial institutions that get bailed out like banks when they go bust, and now get access to the discount window like banks, also get regulated like banks before they do things that could force the government to step in and clean the mess? What should a politician eager to the bidding of firms who’ve bribed him pretend to be worried about?
The answer is: But industry groups warn that heavy-handed regulation could dry up investment capital just when the economy needs it most.
Because, of course, had new regulations been proposed 18 months ago, industry groups would have leapt at the chance. But now’s not the right time!