Haven’t we reached an odd moment in our history when the burgeoning consensus among the media is that one of Barack Obama’s big problems is that he’s too good at drawing big crowds? His vulnerability is that he’s a charismatic guy who people want to see talk? It’s a bit of a perverse perspective.
Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, Iraq surge architect Fred Kagan criticized direct talks with Iran and made his case for attacking Iran, claiming it is the only means to “force” the country to halt its nuclear program:
Well, there’s nothing we can do short of an attack to force Iran to give up its nuclear program. … At the end of the day, the only way that you can make for sure that [a nuclear arm's race] doesn’t happen is with an attack. There are a variety of things you can do short of an attack and hope that they will work, but hope is not a method here.
This morning on CNN, anchor Kiren Chetry discussed Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) current trip to the Middle East with fellow CNN host Glenn Beck. Asked for his thoughts on the trip, Beck said there is never going to be “peace in the Middle East until you wipe out radical Islam.”
When asked if Obama’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “was a bad idea,” Beck said that “it is” because — seeming to lump Abbas in with “radical Islam” — “you cannot bring people together with an extremist ideology”:
CHETRY: So you think that it was a bad move for [Obama] to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas?
BECK: I think it is. [...] But if you’re sitting down and you’re talking to people, as he has said that he wants to do, and try to bring everybody together, you cannot bring people together that have extremist ideology. [...] You do not get into bed with people that want to destroy you and run you into the sea.
So it seems that Beck is taking his fear of “talking to our enemies” to a whole new level. Even President Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — both of whomhave linked direct diplomacy with “appeasement” — haven’t gone that far. In fact, Bush and McCain have not only met with Abbas but they have also lavished him with praise for his efforts in the Israeli-Palestine peace process.
Wetlands are an essential ecosystem that promote biodiversity and flood control. They are also essential to maintaining a livable climate — since wetland destruction potentially accelerates global warming.
Ret. Gen. John Abizaid, the former commander of the US Central Command from 2003-2007, told a meeting of the Pacific Council on Monday that if the people of Iraq want the U.S. to leave, the U.S. should leave. “We can’t be in Iraq more than the Iraqis want us to be there,” Abizaid said. Reportedly, Abizaid predicted that by January the Iraqis “will be close to getting their act together.” “The Iraqis have moved beyond the American political debate,” he added.
UPDATE: VoteVets launched this ad to highlight the true definition of “freedom” in Iraq:
Today, TPMmuckraker obtained the written answers from Karl Rove to questions posed to him by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) about former Alabama governor Don Siegelman’s allegedly politically-motivated prosecution. In the letter, Rove denies involvement in Siegelman’s prosecution, contradicting an affidavit and the sworn testimony of GOP lawyer Dana Jill Simpson:
I have never communicated, either directly or indirectly, with Justice Department or Alabama officials about the investigation, indictment, potential prosecution, prosecution, conviction, or sentencing of Governor Siegelman, or about any other matter related to his case, nor have I asked any other individual to communicate about these matters on my behalf. I have never attempted, either directly or indirectly, to influence these matters.
Earlier this month, Rove — despite being subpoenaed — skipped a House hearing on the Siegelman case by fleeing the country to Yalta, the historic Black Sea resort in Ukraine.
ConocoPhillips, the third largest American oil company, and Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company, both announced tremendous second-quarter profits today:
– Oil giant ConocoPhillips said Wednesday that record crude prices helped its second-quarter profit dwarf year-ago results, when the company incurred a $4.5 billion charge related to its former assets in Venezuela. The Houston-based company said net income rose to $5.44 billion, or $3.50 a share, for the April-June period, from $301 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue increased to $71.4 billion from $47.4 billion a year ago. On average, Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings per share of $3.40.
These profits are coming at a terrible price to our future. Much of ConocoPhilips’ earnings came from their Canadian tar sands Syncrude project, which is an “ecological disaster.” In the words of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Peabody Energy’s vision for “America’s Energy Future,” with U.S. coal consumption doubling by 2025, “ignores the nightmarish damages that would be caused to our air, water and climate.”
“CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual,” said esteemed NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen this June, twenty years after first he testified before Congress on the threat of global warming. “In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. Conviction of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal CEOs will be no consolation, if we pass on a runaway climate to our children.”
ThinkProgress received a statement from Amb. Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson on Robert Novak’s collision today, in which he “was cited by police after he hit a pedestrian with his black Corvette in downtown Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning.” From their statement:
Statement from Joe and Valerie Wilson on Novak’s hit and run:
Our sympathies go out to the victim of Novak’s action. Once again Novak has demonstrated his callous disregard for the rights of others, as well as his chronic inability to accept responsibility for his actions.
We have long argued that responsible adults should take Novak’s typewriter away. The time has arrived for them to also take away the keys to his Corvette.
Five years ago, Novak outed the identity of Wilson’s wife, undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.
In announcing his newfound support for offshore drilling, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) consistently touts the safety of offshore oil exploration. “[I]t’s safe enough these days that not even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage,” he said recently. To make his case, McCain was scheduled to helicopter tomorrow to an oil rig in the Gulf Coast.
But it seems even McCain is fearful of being caught on an offshore oil rig during rough weather. Jonathan Martin reports:
Just over an hour after finalizing plans to visit an oil rig tomorrow, the McCain campaign has cancelled the visit.“The meeting with Governor Jindal has been postponed and we are cancelling the trip to the rig due to weather,” said spokesman Michael Goldfarb. […]
The campaign declined to comment any further about the quick decision to spike the trip other than to cite the weather.
Ironically, the “weather” of concern is the strengthening Hurricane Dolly, which has been bumped up to a category 2 hurricane (Katrina was rated a category 5) with winds up to 100 miles per hour. Today, Dolly made landfall in Texas.
As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has noted multiple times, McCain and his surrogates have for weeks been peddling the false claim that Hurricane Katrina caused no major oil spills to push for expanded drilling. Watch a compilation:
The hurricanes destroyed 113 offshore oil platforms and caused 124 offshore spills and hundreds more onshore. In fact, because of Hurricane Dolly, “at least 62 production platforms and eight drilling rigs had been shut down and evacuated in the Gulf.”
As McCain makes his push for increased oil production, Louisiana officials are also dealing with a barge collision that caused a spill of an estimated 9,000 barrels of fuel into the Mississippi River, resulting in a 12-mile long oil slick. “Television stations reported the stench of diesel fuel wafting across the French Quarter.”
McCain has put safety first today, putting off his oil drilling photo-op for another day.