“We would not be able to achieve our goals on the timelines that we’ve set for ourselves in terms of being successful in that other conflict,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said. “It would take a little longer and we would not be as precise. We would not have as many precision weapons. … It would be more of a blunt-force effort.”
The disappointing-but-still-worth-voting-for Iraq supplemental passed the house. Dems voting “no” from a left perspective are Michaud (ME), Woolsey, Lee, Lewis, Kucinich, Waters, Watson, and McNulty (NY). Dems votin “no” from a right perspective are Taylor (LA), Marshall (GA), Matheson (Utah), Boren (OK), Lincoln Davis (TN), Barrow (GA). Only two Republicans — Gilchrist (MD) and Jones (NC) — voted yes. This is the crux of the matter. Unless Congressional Republicans fear that continuing to vote for the war will cost them their seats and therefore turn against the White House, congress realistically can’t force Bush to end the war. If you happen to be represented by someone who voted “no,” you should really call or write in.
Nearly two weeks ago, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) called for a Senate ethics inquiry into whether Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) improperly pressured U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to bring indictments in an ongoing probe of a Democrat shortly before the November elections.
The Senate Ethics Manual says it is “the general advice” of the Ethics Committee that senators should refrain from intervening in pending legal actions. Domenici quickly hired former Rep. Duke Cunningham’s (R-CA) lawyer to defend him.
According to committee rules, an automatic preliminary inquiry was triggered once CREW issued its sworn complaint. But it’s doubtful that the inquiry will get a fair shake. Why? Because the ranking member of the Senate Ethics Committee is Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).
Cornyn has railed against Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for having “already reached a verdict.” But Cornyn himself has said that he doesn’t see what “all the hubbub is all about.” Cornyn has also called Schumer’s push for a deeper investigation into the attorney firings a “political circus or a witch hunt.” Watch it:
“I think there’s some who would like to make a decision and then maybe see if the facts come out later,” Cornyn added. “I think that’s the wrong order.” Exactly.
In the wake of the IPCC‘s report on the scientific basis of climate change from the first working group, news has begun leaking from the second working group (WGII), which concentrates on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.
The WGII’s summary report will be officially released April 6–on a Friday, again, which will no doubt mute coverage–but its conclusions are in circulation now. In a few words, we are very vulnerable. The experts anticipate:
- Water shortages affecting tens of millions in Latin American, hundreds of millions in Africa, and a billion people in Asia by 2050, with numbers growing expontentially by 2080.
- The rampant spread of tropical diseases, accompanying warmer weather and water management issues.
- Over 100 million flooded by storms and rising sea levels by 2080 (Exit Bangladesh).
- The disappearance of unknown numbers of plant and animal species.
- An initial agricultural boom followed by sporadic, extreme instances of drought that cause massive starvation and food shortages.
This segment of the four-part report by the IPCC is said to be the ‘emotional heart’ of the overall product. If destroyed ice sheets don’t pull at your conscience, these impacts should.
Near the beginning of the health care section of her diavlog with Jon Chait, Megan McArdle correctly observes that no one health care system can serve every person as well as they might be served, and then says “What you’re looking for is the average or the median.” Jon gives this the old “right, right” hoping to move on to more debatable concerns, but I think it is worth saying that a health care system that this is less obviously true than one might think. Simply abolishing Medicaid would, after all, have no real impact on the typical middle-class, middle-aged American and would leave room for him to pay lower taxes. It would just be, you know, wrong.
A lot of the time, I feel like the health care debate gets a little unduly technocratic. It’s unlikely that there’s such a thing as a unique “best” health care system in the sense of “system that works best.” Value issues about allocation of resources to health care versus to other things, and about allocation of health care resources to whom both come into play.
J. Steven Griles, the “former No. 2 official in the Interior Department,” today “will admit lying to the Senate about his relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who succeeded in gaining the official’s intervention at the agency for his Indian tribal clients.” “He is the 10th person — and the second high-level Bush administration official — to face criminal charges in the continuing Justice Department investigation into Abramoff’s lobbying activities.”
Mark Schmitt offers up some good mockery of Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton pollster and top political strategist. “I really am not against Senator Clinton or her presidential candidacy,” Schmitt writes “But I really would like to be rid of Mark Penn and the kind of unimaginative, narrow — and narrowing — thinking that he signifies in American politics.” This I don’t quite understand. Clearly, Clinton — Mark Penn and all — is superior to Rudy Giuliani or John McCain or what have you. But the good thing about a primary is you get to choose from a menu of options, all of which have at least some appeal. Under the circumstances if you believe, as Schmitt and I do, that Penn and his way of thinking about politics have been very detrimental to the country, I think you have to take this as a very good reason to hope that the person he works for doesn’t secure the nomination. We won’t “be rid of” Penn either way, but we really won’t be rid of him if Clinton wins the nomination; instead, he’ll be one of the main architects of party-wide political strategy.
The White House refuses to allow Karl Rove and other top aides to testify about the administration’s prosecutor purge. Instead, it has offered closed door “interviews” with no oath and no transcript. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees have rejected that offer and authorized subpoenas of White House officials.
Borrowing the White House’s talking points, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell pestered Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) about why he was insisting on “putting on a show trial.” She told him the White House offer was perfectly acceptable. “You’re going to get the truth from Karl Rove. What’s wrong with that?” Later, O’Donnell asserted, “You don’t trust the White House. The bottom line, you don’t trust the White House.” Watch it:
As Leahy told O’Donnell, this is about more than whether or not the Senate trusts the White House. “We want to have hearings the way this country has had hearing for over 200 years,” Leahy stated. “Do it open. Do it under oath. And then let the American people decide.”
(HT: Political Discontent)
Transcript: Read more
I’ve been a little lax on the US Attorney front, figuring the TPM superteam has it covered, but it’s always worth drawing attention to the screwed up dynamics of the American right which, naturally, touch this story as well as all others. As noted in my diavlog with Byron York, many conservatives have hated Alberto Gonzalez for years (he’s insufficiently fanatical about aboriton and affirmative action), which has created some space for rightwingers to agree that, at a minimum, something smells here. Thus, Charles Krauthammer and K-Lo say Alberto should go.
In steps Andy McCarthy to circle the wagons in an impressive tangle of non-sequiteurs and illogic.