Earlier today, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin linked the Iraq war to the attacks of September 11, 2001, “telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would ‘defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.’” “America can never go back to that false sense of security that came before September 11, 2001,” said Palin at the deployment ceremony. Watch it:
As the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut points out, “The idea that Iraq shared responsibility with al-Qaeda for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself.”
Insurgents killed two U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan today, on the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Today’s attack brings the total number of U.S. troops who have died in Afghanistan this year to 113, making it the “deadliest year for American forces since U.S. troops invaded the country in 2001 for sheltering Osama bin Laden.”
During her much anticipated interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had a “deer-in-headlights moment” when Gibson asked her if she agreed with the Bush Doctrine. Surprised at the question, Palin asked Gibson what he meant. When Gibson asked, “Well, what do you interpret it to be?” Palin replied inquisitively, “His worldview?” Gibson then explained his understanding of the Bush Doctrine and asked if Palin agreed:
GIBSON: The Bush doctrine as I understand it is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense and we have the right of preemptive strike against any country we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?
PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country.
While Gibson did not get the Bush Doctrine wholly correct, he was at least on the right track. In fact, the Bush Doctrine is predicated on “preventive war” not “preemptive war” — a sharp distinction in which the former justifies launching war in an attempt to “prevent” a threat from emerging (i.e. the Iraq war), while in the latter case, the threat has already materialized.
“Preemptive war” is, as Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) once observed, something “the global community is generally tolerant of,” while “preventive attacks” — a policy that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has not rejected — “have generally been condemned.”
Indeed, as Matt Yglesias notes, Bush and McCain agree that the U.S. has “the right to use military force unilaterally even where there isn’t an imminent threat” and that “Palin’s view is sensible, so it would be interesting to learn her opinion of her running mate’s much less sensible view.”
UPDATE: The Jed Report posted this video of John McCain explaining the Bush Doctrine:
Tonight, Barack Obama and John McCain “will share the stage briefly as they appear back-to-back at the ServiceNation Presidential Candidates Forum at Columbia University in New York.” ServiceNation is a national grassroots campaign that asks citizen organizers to “rally their communities” to commit volunteer time for national service. As Pat Garofalo notes on the Wonk Room, McCain’s appearance “comes just a week after the Republican National Convention, where McCain’s supporters reserved some of their biggest jokes for community organizers – or those who make a career out of public service.” Watch it:
In the forum, McCain stated, “Of course I respect community organizers and people who serve their community.” “Senator Obama’s record there is outstanding,” he said, adding, “I admire anyone who is willing to serve their community and country.”
Yesterday, the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Dan Weiss stood up for working American families as CNBC host Trish Regan and two other guests defended unlimited oil speculators. They dismissed any notion that the wild price swings in the oil market harmed anyone, and scoffed at the idea that the oil markets need reform. Regan scorned an independent report that found unrestrained speculation by investors uninvolved in the oil market caused the 2008 bubble:
Guys, welcome to all of you. According to this report, in the five months from January to May traders poured $60 billion into the commodities market and basically per the report they caused a big spike in oil prices. My question to you is, Dennis, well, so what? So what? They invested in oil, oil went up. What’s wrong with that?
Futures speculator and promoter Dennis Gartman replied, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with it.” Infectious Greed blogger Paul Kedrosky called market reform “insidious.”
As Weiss tried to explain over the rolled eyes and scoffing laughs of the other guests, the oil price spike caused real harm to American families, especially as health, education, housing, and food costs simultaneously rose — also in part due to speculators gone wild in those markets — while incomes declined and jobs were lost.
Today, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a report recommending specific improvements to commodities markets to eliminate the swaps loophole that encourages risky bets that inflate speculative bubbles. The report also found that trades involving outside speculators (“noncommercial traders”) surged from 10 percent in 2000 to 40 percent by 2008. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said all of the commission’s recommendations “should be implemented immediately.”
As Andrew Golis says, this is why Rachel Maddow matters. As of last week, had a liberal journalist like Ari Berman broken a news story like this it would have been published on The Nation, picked up in some blogs, and then it would have died. Now, it’s on television:
And not only is the story on television, but Ari can come on to talk about it and why it matters.
Long story short, John McCain who hates lobbyists and celebrities decided to spend his seventieth birthday partying on a yacht off the shore of Montenegro with an Italian con man and his movie star girlfriend, a meeting organized by a lobbyist who also happens to be McCain’s campaign manager.
Interestingly, Sarah Palin seems to have outlined a sensible “imminent threat” standard for preemptive military action. It would have been nice for Charlie Gibson to point out that George W. Bush and John McCain agree that this is the wrong standard and we have the right to use military force unilaterally even where there isn’t an imminent threat. I think Palin’s view is sensible, so it would be interesting to learn her opinion of her running mate’s much less sensible view.
Yesterday on the Laura Ingraham show, Fox News’s Senior Washington Correspondent Brit Hume agreed with Ingraham that examinations of Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) religion are inappropriate. He argued that such reports are completely different than questions the press stoked about Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) church, because those questions were about Obama’s pastor, not about Obama’s faith:
HUME: There was a big controversy about Barack Obama’s church, not because of the Christian doctrine that was preached from the pulpit or the nature of the faith that was practiced there, but because of the highly political statements that the pastor had made, mostly about America. Which is an entirely different proposition and an entirely different story. There have been very little if any searching reporting done about Barack Obama’s faith.
Despite Hume’s attempts to rewrite history, the fact is that the media — with Fox leading the way — spent months discussing Obama’s religion, first wondering whether he was a Christian at all and then raising ominous questions about the type of Christianity preached at his church. In fact, a simple Nexis search of Fox transcripts for “black liberation theology” gets 37 returns in just the last six months — including discussions by Hume himself and on his show:
– BRIT HUME: And he distinguishes between Reverend Wright’s religious message and these occasional political assertions. … That is a church that is rooted in what is called “black liberation theology.” So is that really a distinction that can be credible? [Special Report with Brit Hume, 3/17/08]
– NINA EASTON: But I think the problem is actually deeper and one that will keep on coming back to haunt him, in that it is this church, Trinity Church, which a lot of it practices black liberation theology, which is what this reverend practices. [Special Report with Brit Hume, 5/29/08]
– JASON RILEY: I want to know what Barack thinks about black liberation theology. What dogs he subscribe to? What does he not subscribe to? I would be interested in knowing this. I don’t think it is a religious test. I think in our country, with its racial history, it is due diligence. [Journal Editorial Report, 5/2/08]
– SEAN HANNITY: Now, we explored the roots [of] liberation theology on last week’s program, but keep in mind that its, quote, “sole purpose” is to apply the freeing power of the gospel to black people under, quote, “white oppression.” [Hannity's America, 5/11/08]
Is it really “an entirely different proposition” to examine how Palin’s religion might affect her governing views?
The planet is boiling. The Wonk Room recently reported on the troubling new studies that show the spate of stronger storms — including Katrina — is tied to global warming caused by our unrestrained burning of fossil fuels. Today, Greenpeace notes that Ike is part of this trend of larger, more destructive storms fueled by hot oceans. As the Washington Post reports, “Hundreds of thousands of people began fleeing coastal areas in Texas today under mandatory evacuation orders as Hurricane Ike rampaged across the Gulf of Mexico, bringing 100 mph winds and a storm surge forecast to be as high as 20 feet.”
Tropical storm blogger Dr. Jeff Masters has been tracking Hurricane Ike, and he’s unequivocal about the threat of this “freak storm“:
Hurricane Ike’s winds remain at Category 2 strength, but Ike is a freak storm with extreme destructive storm surge potential. Ike’s pressure fell rapidly last night to 944 mb, but the hurricane did not respond to the pressure change by increasing its maximum winds in the eyewall. Instead, Ike responded by increasing the velocity of its winds away from the eyewall, over a huge stretch of the Gulf of Mexico. Another very unusual feature of Ike is the fact that the surface winds are much slower than the winds being measured aloft by the Hurricane Hunters. Winds at the surface may only be at Category 1 strength, even though Ike has a central pressure characteristic of a Category 3 or 4 storm. This very unusual structure makes forecasting the future intensity of Ike nearly impossible. . . . Ike is now larger than Katrina was, both in its radius of tropical storm force winds–275 miles–and in it radius of hurricane force winds–115 miles. For comparison, Katrina’s tropical storm and hurricane force winds extended out 230 and 105 miles, respectively. Ike’s huge wind field has put an extraordinarily large volume of ocean water in motion. When this swirling column of water hits the shallow waters of the Continental Shelf, it will be be forced up into a large storm surge which will probably rival the massive storm surge of Hurricane Carla of 1961. Carla was a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds at landfall, and drove a 10 foot or higher storm surge to a 180-mile stretch of Texas coast. A maximum storm surge of 22 feet was recorded at Port Lavaca, Texas.
Masters estimates that Hurricane Ike will do “$20-$30 billion in damage.”