“International efforts to combat global warming will come too late to prevent the evacuation of Pacific islands sinking as a result of rising sea levels and severe weather, said Anote Tong, president of Kiribati. “We can’t out-move the changes in the weather and the sea level rise,” Tong told Bloomberg News. “We have to consider leaving rather than wait.” Most of Kiribati will be uninhabitable by the middle of this century because of weather damage and rising tides.
I join many progressive critics in the belief that balanced budget monomania at times goes to far in left-of-center circles. That said, James Galbraith seems backwards here:
But these advances come at a price, which will be exacted in two areas: the world trading system and domestic fiscal policy. Both of these are far more fundamental to the Hamilton mission than any particular social policy reform. Indeed, one purpose of the Hamilton Project, it seems clear, is to propose just enough creative social advances–such as wage insurance, better teacher pay and healthcare reform–so as to divert discussion from the bedrock commitments to free trade and a balanced budget.
Progressives shouldn’t let this happen.
This seems to imply that progressives ought to have a bedrock commitment to an imbalanced budget; that when the Hamilton Project dangles the tempting candy of creative social advances in favor of the higher good of deficits. What I think we should say is that we shouldn’t allow our bedrock commitment to creative social advances be compromised by fanatical pursuit of fiscal discipline. At the same time, we should be willing to accept concessions and declare victory. If the Hamilton Project wants to roll out a good wage insurance proposals, let’s go get a wage insurance program implemented. After all, the budget is already non-balanced; keeping it that way isn’t much of a policy agenda.
“The U.S. military on Friday cast doubt on a report from the Iraqi government that al Qaeda in Iraq chief Abu Ayyub al-Masri was wounded in clashes with police. A senior U.S. official, who requested anonymity, told CNN that the U.S. military believes reports about the alleged incident Thursday are false.”
During yesterday’s House debate on Iraq, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) made the case for escalation by citing a fabricated quote falsely attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged.” Watch it:
This morning, Young’s spokeswoman Meredith Kenny told ThinkProgress repeatedly that Young does not plan to take any action to correct the record or clarify his House statement.
Kenny said that Young had learned of the quote from Tuesday’s Washington Times op-ed by Frank Gaffney, and noted that the Times has not yet issued a correction or retraction. Kenny said she “couldn’t confirm or deny” that Young would correct his statement even if the Times published a correction.
Kenny added that Young didn’t literally mean that those supporting the Iraq resolution should be “hanged,” merely that they should not be “undermining the morale of our military.”
AP: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “a staunch supporter of sending more troops to Iraq, will skip a Senate vote on the war Saturday to campaign in Iowa while other candidates rearrange their schedules.”
So . . . Bill Richardson’s presidential campaign is way too not major for him to afford the best speechwriters, but unlike the other candidates he has some practical experience conducting diplpmacy. He’s managed to come up with this petition that doesn’t involve dropping an “all options are on the table” chest-pounding note into the mix:
Our guest blogger is Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org and veteran of the Iraq war.
Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, but today is the real V-Day in the House of Representatives – Vote Day. Finally, after weeks of wrangling and days of debate, Members of the House will lay down a vote declaring whether they are for the escalation in Iraq, or for the Troops. Most likely, the House resolution will pass easily with bipartisan support and attention will turn to the Senate, where Sen. Harry Reid is delaying the President’s Day recess to vote on it.
VoteVets.org’s veterans of Iraq will be spending the weekend in D.C. to help ensure a vote and passage. We’ve had meetings with half of the Senate, and a few dozen House offices. The vast majority of Democrats are eager to cast their vote for the resolution. On the Republican side, while there are many that won’t support it under any circumstances, I do get the sense from many more that they are genuinely struggling with the issue — whether to put country above party.
I can tell you that the only thing that moves members more than hearing from the troops is hearing from constituents. The Senate resolution will pass only if their phones are flooded with demands from their constituents. Please do your part and take a few seconds to make a call (800-614-2803) or write and then report back.
– Jon Soltz
On Sunday, anonymous administration officials presented evidence purportedly showing that weapons have been smuggled into Iraq with “the approval of senior Iranian officials.” The next day, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace seemed to contradict this claim, saying that he has not seen evidence that the Iranian government “clearly knows or is complicit” in the weapons smuggling.
As it turns out, we’ve seen this exchange before. In March 2006, Pace and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held a Pentagon press briefing, during which Rumsfeld warned reporters that Iran was “putting Iranian Quds Force-type people” into Iraq.
When a reporter asked Pace whether the Iranian forces in Iraq were “backed by the central government,” Pace responded frankly, “I do not know.” Rumsfeld was then asked the same question, and provided a very different answer: “Well, of course. The Revolutionary Guard doesn’t go milling around willy-nilly, one would think.” Read the transcript:
SEC. RUMSFELD: I will say this about Iran.They are currently putting people into Iraq to do things that are harmful to the future of Iraq. And we know it, and it is something that they, I think, will look back on as having been an error in judgment. … They’re putting Iranian Quds Force-type people into the country. … The Quds Force. The Revolutionary Guard types. …
Q Do you believe it’s backed by the government, or are they individual elements not backed by the central government?
GEN. PACE: I do not know. …
Q Do you think this is backed by the central government in Iran? What’s your —
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, of course. The Revolutionary Guard doesn’t go milling around willy-nilly, one would think.
One year later, the Bush administration admits there is no evidence showing that officials in Iran’s central government are directing the weapons smugglers. “I do not know whether or not the Quds force was ordered from the top echelons of government,” President Bush said Wednesday. Yet the fact that Rumsfeld nonchalantly pushed that claim demonstrates once again how the most senior Bush officials have been willing to overlook facts to pursue their ideological agenda.
Number of Iraqis who may flee their homes this year because of “unrelenting violence and insecurity” in Iraq, according to the International Organization for Migration. Approximately 1.7 million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes since the start of the Iraq war in “one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in the world.”
Writing in The Wall Street Journal editorial page, New Republic editor in chief Martin Peretz bashes the “Democrat Party” and also gives us his view of the Iraqi scene:
I think the odds against us are huge. One reason is that Iraq is neither a state that coheres nor a society that coheres. Its civil society, if that is what it is, is not quite a civilized society. The carnage between Shia and Sunni, and the carnage among other religious and ethnic communions, since the end of Ottoman rule have left deep and bloodied breaches in Iraq.
I agree with some of this, in particular that Iraq is neither a state nor a society that coheres. That said, it’s hard not to notice that Peretz keeps claiming in his various writings that Iraqis are uncivilized (recall, e.g., the “rudiments of civilization” incident). Any conclusions to be drawn from this will be left to the reader.