U.S. News reports that the Pentagon “will be sending 12,000 to 15,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, possibly as soon as the end of this year, with planning underway for a further force buildup in 2009.” In light of the soaring violence in the country, Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said that he has even requested “some additional forces on top of that for the current fight.” The Bush administration has consistently resisted talking about the deteriorating situation there, insisting that there is nothing “urgent or precarious” in Afghanistan. The Center for American Progress has put together a comprehensive counterinsurgency plan for Afghanistan here.
Part 2 began an analysis of the bipartisan compromise proposed by the Gang-of-10 Senators, suggesting that deal isn’t so bad. The other evidence the deal isn’t so bad is that the House GOP is threatening to refuse to vote for it (see “Part 2.5“).
The good of the 5-year extension of the renewable tax credits certainly beats the “bad” of doubly de minimis drilling. But what about the rest of the deal?
The $84 billion in investments in conservation and efficiency in the New Era bill will be fully offset with loophole closers and other revenues. Approximately $30 billion will come from new revenues from the oil and gas industry through such measures as modifying the Section 199 manufacturing deduction for oil and natural gas production and other appropriate measures to ensure that the federal government receives its fair share of revenue from Gulf of Mexico leases. Remaining offsets will be finalized in consultation with the Finance Committee after accounting for interaction effects with other pending legislation.
Pretty amazing, really. This bill is going to be paid for in part by “Repealing a tax break for oil companies that Democrats have long called for,” as CNN put it. This is probably a deal killer for those taking millions of dollars in contributions from Big Oil, like McCain.
And there is even more pretty good stuff, depending on exactly how the final bill is written:
Speaking to USA Today, Gregory Boyce, CEO of Peabody, the world’s largest coal company, “shrugged off any worries” about coal’s enormous greenhouse gas emissions or moves to make energy more environmentally friendly, declaring the U.S. would never move away from coal:
“It’s a good time to be Peabody,” says Boyce, an affable man who speaks in a confident baritone. “There’s not enough natural gas. There’s not enough renewables (such as wind and solar energy) to go around. So I’m not concerned that coal is going to disappear. For us not to use that resource, we are just shooting ourselves in the foot.” [...]
“There’s a perception out there that coal is dirty, and we have to change that,” he adds, noting that coal plants already have cut emissions of some pollutants and boosted efficiency to slash CO2 discharges. “Black is the new green.“
Though Peabody is swimming in green — with profits soaring so far this year to $290 million — it’s a lie to suggest coal is somehow clean. Burning coal “adds a significant amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per unit of heat energy, more than does the combustion of other fossil fuels.” What’s more, though Boyce boasts of a $9 million investment into “clean coal” technology, he fails to note that the coal industry’s largest front group has vowed to pour $40 million into efforts to block climate change and alternative energy legislation.
On Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Fox’s Chris Wallace that U.S. asylum for former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was “not on the table.” However, she refused to explicitly rule the option out, insisting that he had been a “good ally.” Watch it:
But now that Musharraf has officially stepped down, the Bush administration appears to be increasingly receptive to opening America’s doors to the former military leader. State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters that Musharraf “has a right to live wherever he wants.” AFP reports:
“We haven’t been asked to provide him with any asylum or place of residence,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said amid speculations that the former staunch US “war on terror” ally who quit Monday might stay abroad, including in the United States.
“If he chooses to take up residence somewhere, I mean if he were to request that, we would obviously look at it, but it’s not an issue that we’ve been approached with,” Wood explained.
This willingness to grant Musharraf asylum may be coming from the top ranks of the White House. Nearly nearly three weeks after Musharraf declared emergency rule last November, President Bush continued to insist that the Pakistani president had “advanced democracy in Pakistan.” According to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Bush was the “last holdout” of support for Musharraf in the Bush administration, outlasting both Rice and Vice President Cheney.
Shuja Nawaz, a former Pakistani journalist and International Development Agency official, told PBS on Monday that “a possible immediate destination [for Musharraf] may be Dubai, and then eventually may be New Mexico in the United States.”
During a conference call promoting the new Harry and Louise ads, Ron Pollack, the Executive Director of Families USA, revealed that the National Federation of Independent Business — a group which strongly opposed President Clinton’s health reform effort but now promotes changing “the status quo” — supports expanding public health programs:
In the conversation I had with Todd [Stottlemyer]….when I talked about…the problems with private health programs and their failure to meet people who in no doubt need support… I said to him that that it was a top priority for Families USA in terms of seeing change…[to expand public health programs]… He was not aware of that…[I told him] we are going to push really hard for that and he said he would support it.
Stottlemyer’s endorsement of an expansion of public health programs is a significant development and a welcome reversal from the group’s insistence that “Americans should receive their health insurance and healthcare through the private sector.”
Read more about the importance of public programs here.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann announces on DailyKos that frequent guest host Rachel Maddow will be getting her own show on the network beginning next month:
The network will be formally announcing this tomorrow, but I am pleased to inform you in this fully authorized leak, that as of Monday, September 8, our mutual friend Ms. Maddow will become host of her own show, on MSNBC, at 9 PM Eastern Time. And, yes, we will be making another unofficial announcement of this on tonight’s edition of Countdown. My guest to analyze the Rachel Maddow news will be Rachel Maddow.
“Yes, you had something to do with it,” Olbermann adds.
What does it say about the state of American literacy that it’s taken this deep into the “cross in the dirt” controversy for the fact that this anecdote doesn’t actually appear in any of Solzhenitsyn’s writings to come to light? Instead of something Solzhenitsyn wrote, this is just something that Chuck Colson once falsely attributed to Solzhenitsyn. The recent controversy, meanwhile, seems to demonstrate that not nearly as many people have read The Gulag Archipelago as would like you to believe (including, it would seem, McCain himself).
It’s conservative radio host Mike Gallagher by a landslide, as Matt Corley finds him arguing that lesbian adoptions will inevitably lead to the legalization of adoptions by pedophiles.
The National Clean Energy Summit at the University of Nevada Las Vegas began on Monday afternoon with an inspiring speech by former President Bill Clinton [pictured above with Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) President John Podesta]. The Summit is sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), CAPAF, and UNLV. Clinton spoke before 900 Summit attendees.
President Clinton’s speech included a new and important idea: create energy independent areas. These places would rely on renewables, efficiency, and home grown energy. These places would then prove to the rest of the world that energy independence built on clean energy can occur, and would lead to economic growth. He touted the strong economic potential of renewable energy, citing an example from nearby California “Recently the state of California commissioned a study…which showed that building a 100 megawatt solar thermal plant would provide ten times the economic benefit of a comparable coal-fired power plant. It would create 4000 person-years of employment, and a net, NET, $628 million of economic benefit.” In pursuing clean energy projects worldwide, he suggested the following places:
On his radio show today, right-wing talker Mike Gallagher responded to the California Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to bar “doctors from invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to deny treatment to gays and lesbians.” Gallagher agreed with a caller who wondered if the ruling meant “pedophiles could adopt”:
DAVID: The question I had told your screener, I said, if I’m understanding, California said because of sexual orientation, they can’t deny you service, so, does that mean pedophiles could adopt?
GALLAGHER: Well that’s just, that’s a great question. I mean, if you work in an adoption agency and a guy comes in saying, “I like little girls and I want to adopt a nine-year old girl and I’m going to probably sleep with her while I’m at it,” could the adoption agency person say, “well, excuse me, my religious beliefs find that, lead me to find that repugnant, I’m not going to do it.” Can he then turn around and sue the adoption agency and win like the lesbian did?
Gallagher and his caller’s claims are ridiculous. Sexual contact with a minor under the age of 18 is illegal in California. In fact, California passed the “toughest” sex offender law in the nation in 2006. No matter how much the right wing tries to insist upon it, being gay is not the equivalent of being a pedophile.