On Friday, London was “gripped by a terrorist threat” when “police found two Mercedes sedans packed with gasoline, nails and gas canisters.” The New York Times notes that the “idea of a multiple attack using car bombs — a departure from the backpack suicide attacks of the London bombings of July 2005 — raised concerns among security experts that jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda may have imported tactics more familiar in Iraq.”
This week, Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and George Voinovich (R-OH) joined a growing chorus of conservative voices dissenting from the administration on the war in Iraq. Lugar said that victory in Iraq is “almost impossible.” Voinovich predicted that “many of us are going to look at legislation that will limit the number of troops.”
But while conservative lawmakers are dissenting in greater numbers, the White House is still insisting that we are making progress in Iraq. As recently as June 18, Tony Snow maintained that President Bush is “impressed and reassured by the progress [Iraq is] making on political, security and economic reforms.” Despite these rosy assessments however, recent public opinion polls suggest that most Americans aren’t buying what the President is selling.
According to an analysis of public opinion polls by American Progress fellow Ruy Teixeira, 54 percent of Americans believe that the situation in Iraq has gotten worse and only 29 percent believe that the United States is winning the war on terrorism:
It’s a bit odd that Pakistan’s security services are warning Musharraf about the spreading Taliban problem when, to the best of my understanding, Pakistan has gone back to its previous policy of seeking “strategic depth” in Afghanistan by backing Taliban forces. I should also add, though, that at least some people I’ve communicated with who are familiar with Afghanistan object to characterizing the forces in question — ethnically Pashto, strongly traditionalist — as “the Taliban,” arguing that Pashto nationalism is a larger and longer-lasting phenomenon than the specific institutions and individuals we came to know by that name.
Okay, I’m not a fan of “electability” arguments and this result is an outlier, but things like this ought to make people wonder if this is really the front runner the Democrats need: “More than half of Americans say they wouldn’t consider voting for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for president if she becomes the Democratic nominee, according to a new national poll made available to McClatchy Newspapers and NBC News.”
It’s pretty amusing that corporations upset about China’s new labor law dust off essentially identical talking points as they might use to oppose a bump in the New Jersey minimum wage. Surely it would make more sense for the businesses in question to use this turn of events to try to undercut the “race to the bottom” globalization narrative and help bolster support for business-friendly trade policies.
On Thursday, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing on “Examining Global Warming Issues in the Power Plant Sector” (translation — cap and trade). A video of the hearing and all opening statements are available here.
President and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation provided great entertainment as a witness. His remarkably memorable claim that the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 were responsible for ending marriages most certainly caught the attention of those present, including our intern on the scene, Nat Gryll.
In Murray’s rant — and if you watch the video, you’ll see “rant” is the right word — he accused Rachel Carson of killing millions and the Democrats of destroying the economy, exporting jobs to China, and not caring about working people. (EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer responded by bringing up a 2006 article showing that Ohio’s two largest mines, owned by Murray, “recorded injury rates about one-fourth higher than the national average last year.“)
In fact, we will destroy our economy if we do not prepare our utilities for an emissions cap or similar global warming policy that Congress will discuss in the fall. As we procrastinate meaningful policy, the U.S. is failing to lead in innovation and clean technology exports. And inaction guarantees the high economic cost of catastrophic global warming.
On the bright side, the same day Senators John Warner (R-VA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) announced plans to write an economy-wide cap and trade bill. With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, present as a witness at today’s hearing, and Republican Sen. Warner open to a cap an trade proposal, the environment and the environmental committee seem ripe for action.
CNN reports, “Normally VIP visits to Iraq are kept under wraps, at least until the day of the trip. But Senator John McCain Friday night said he’s going to Iraq next week.” In April, the last time he visited in Iraq, McCain claimed Americans were “not getting the full picture” of the situation in Iraq. On that same visit, McCain was escorted through a Baghdad market with 100 soldiers, 3 Blackhawk helicopters, and 2 Apache gunships. Here’s the video from that visit:
Light blogging today (I’ll post some stuff here eating breakfast) as I’ll be driving with Sara from the Yglesias family compound in Brooklin, ME to Acadia National Park on the other side of the bay. I was a little upset to see yesterday that the Bangor Daily News‘s usual steady diet of small town-ey stories has been interrupted by George W. Bush’s decision to follow me to Maine and, even worse, bring Vladimir Putin with him.
National Park Service Photo
Good for him. One of the big plusses of having guys like Webb with a military background in the Democratic congress is that he not only has pretty sound instincts about national security issues but has a lot of self-confidence and a willingness to push the envelop on these things.