Seeking “to promote its message on the subject of executive privilege,” the White House held a conference call with conservative bloggers this morning where they sought to “familiarize the blogosphere with the legal and political arguments on which the administration will rely” to respond to contempt citations from Congress in the U.S. attorneys probe.
“Iraq is in the throes of its worst political crisis since the fall of Saddam Hussein with the new democratic system, based on national consensus among its ethnic and sectarian groups, appearing dangerously close to collapsing, say several politicians and analysts.”
A new Democracy Corps survey indicates that young people (i.e., those aged 18-29) hate the Republicans. Or, at least, the GOP is massively unpopular. Some non-obvious things I gleaned from the report:
- White young people like the GOP just fine; the GOP has a two point advantage. The issue is that black and hispanic youth loathe Republicans and the younger demographic has disproportionately few non-Hispanic whites.
- Democrats have an edge among college graduates, but it’s small at +6 compared to the advantage with less educated groups.
- Young people don’t really like John Edwards. He gets a negative six net rating, similar to John McCain (negative eight), but way worse than Clinton (+10), Giuliani (+11), or Obama (+18)
When you think it through, none of that is actually all that surprising, but it’s worth keeping in mind. The internet features a lot of young, college educated white male liberals (oftentimes big John Edwards fans!) and it is true that young people are pretty liberal these days. Nevertheless, it’s not true that the young college educated white male liberals of the blogosphere are typical of the youth cohort. The Democratic leanings of young people are driven by giant advantages among women (+28), people with no college education (+28), Hispanics (+42), and blacks (+76). Your typical twentysomething white male college graduate seems, just like a typical thirtysomething (or fourtysomething, or…) white male college graduate to be a Republican.
During testimony before the House Armed Services Committee today, the Center for American Progress’ military expert and co-author of Strategic Reset, Lawrence Korb, challenged Congress to address the growing crisis of troop morale and readiness in the U.S. forces as a result of the Bush administration’s failures in Iraq. Korb argued the Army is “broken” and in need of immediate repair:
I say to those people who want to keep up this surge indefinitely, if you have the courage of your convictions, then call for reinstatement of the draft. Because our volunteer Army was not designed, as Gen. Abizaid said, for the long war.
Escalation architect ret. Gen. Jack Keane and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) tag-teamed in an effort to downplay the diminished strength of the military. Keane said calling the Army broken “is one of the most offensive statements we can make.”
Hunter, ignorant of the views of numerous national security experts, said to Korb, “I don’t think that any of those people you’ve quoted — did Gen. McCaffrey ever say, ‘the Army is broken?’” Korb responded, “I will give you the exact quote, ‘The ground combat capability of the U.S. Army forces is shot.’” Watch it:
Keane and Hunter are not only callously ignorant of the reality of the situation in Iraq and the condition of U.S. forces fighting there, but are also ignorant of the judgments of other military experts:
- Gen. Colin Powell: The “active Army is about broken,” Powell said. Even beyond Iraq, the Army and Marines have to “grow in size, in my military judgment,” he said, adding that Congress must provide significant additional funding to sustain them. [LINK]
- Lt. Gen. James R. “Ron” Helmly: In a “memo to other military leaders [Helmly expressed] “deepening concern” about the continued readiness of his troops, who have been used heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan, and warning that his branch of 200,000 soldiers “is rapidly degenerating into a ‘broken’ force.”" [LINK]
- Former Defense Secretary William Perry: The Bush administration has “failed adequately to assess the size of force and equipment needed in post-invasion Iraq, creating “a real risk of ‘breaking the force’.” [LINK]
- Chief Of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker: “Over the last five years, the sustained strategic demand … is placing a strain on the Army’s all-volunteer force,” Schoomaker told the commission in a Capitol Hill hearing. “At his pace … we will break the active component” unless reserves can be called up more to help, Schoomaker said. [LINK]
Not only do I agree with Ezra (who, I guess, is agreeing with me) about this newspaper business, but one should go further — on the internet, nobody even knows you’re a newspaper. Which is to say that in our bold digital future, and even to some extent our present, the distinction between a “newspaper” a “magazine” a “television station” a “radio network” a “wire service” etc. all collapses. At the moment, true, nobody’s confusing The New York Times with CNN, but it’s still the case that nytimes.com contains a mixture of words and video clips, whereas CNN.com contains . . . a mixture of words and video clips. For that matter, TheAtlantic.com also contains a mixture of words and video clips.
Last week, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly attacked Jetblue for working with “the radical left” by sponsoring the upcoming YearlyKos convention, eventually forcing the company to remove its banner from the convention’s website. Yesterday, Public Citizen’s WhiteHouseForSale.org revealed that JetBlue founder David Neeleman is a bundler for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He also sits on Romney’s Connecticut statewide finance committee.
Here’s some more from Brian Beutler on the worsening US-India nuclear deal. As approved by congress, we were going to violate international law and give India nuclear assistance unless India made a new nuclear test. The Indians, it seems, were prepared to look that gift horse in the face, so the Bush administration is hatching one of its ignore the law schemes, whereby “Bush has agreed to go beyond the terms of the deal that Congress approved, promising to help India build a nuclear fuel repository and find alternative sources of nuclear fuel in the event of an American cutoff, skirting some of the provisions of the law.”
Needless to say, we’ll also be urging the international community to clamp down on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The background here is that conservative Republicans think the NPT is useless and that the correct way to prevent “bad guys” from acquiring nuclear weapons is brute force (c.f., invasion of Iraq, desire to go to war with Iran) — a series of unprovoked, illegal, preventive wars. Liberals tend to think that’s wrong, but Democratic Party elected officials are really, really good at putting important questions of principle aside in order to pander to domestic ethnic lobbies, thus most Democrats backed the bill (including Sens. Clinton and Obama — if John Edwards or Bill Richardson has ever said anything about this please let me know)
In Sept. 2003, President Bush promised that he would help Iraqis “restore basic services, such as electricity and water, and to build new schools, roads, and medical clinics. This effort is essential to the stability of those nations, and therefore, to our own security.”
Before the war, Baghdad residents received 16-24 average hours of electricity each day. But on July 19, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said that residents of Baghdad are now receiving just one or two hours of electricity each day — the lowest level of the war:
The hard fact is, Senator, the availability of electricity — (off mike) — in Baghdad is still at very low levels — an hour or two a day. It’s better in much of the rest of the country, but — (off mike) — Baghdad in the middle of summer. There are a lot of reasons for it, and the main reasons have to do with continued attacks by insurgents against the electrical transmission lines and against the fuel pipeline that provide the — (inaudible) — that you need to generate electricity. It’s one more in a long series of problems, but it’s a very real problem for many, many Iraqis.
But as the LA Times notes, “that piece of data has not been sent to lawmakers for months because the State Department, which prepares a weekly ‘status report’ for Congress on conditions in Iraq, stopped estimating in May how many hours of electricity Baghdad residents typically receive each day.” Instead, the State Department is just reporting electricity levels nationwide, which “does not indicate how much power Iraqis in Baghdad or elsewhere actually receive.”
Crocker’s excuse that it’s “the middle of the summer” is not an explanation for the abysmally low electricity levels. Last year in July — before Bush’s surge — Baghdad received seven hours/day (data compiled by The Brookings Institution):
Earlier this month, Crocker told CBS News that electricity “is more important to the average Iraqi than all 18 benchmarks rolled up into one.”
Editor’s Note: We left June off the chart because no State Department data is available. July is based on Crocker’s remarks.
UPDATE: On June 14, 2006, Bush spoke about ways to measure progress in Iraq, stating, “You can measure progress in megawatts of electricity delivered.”
I was seduced back in May by GM’s seeming sincerity in developing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt. We must always remember, however, GM is a master greenwasher.
An article in Edmunds, “Chevrolet Volt Goes to Washington To Underline GM’s Anti-CAFE-Increase Argument,” suggests GM is using the Volt the same way it used fuel cell cars to kill the electric car in California (as the movie explains):
General Motors’ North American operations chief, Troy Clarke, is meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill today, and he’s bringing along the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid prototype. GM hopes the Volt will help convince lawmakers that electric and alternative-fuel vehicles are the route to energy independence. The Big Three have strenuously opposed a proposed increase in CAFE standards, saying the cost of meeting higher mpg averages would take away resources that could be put toward development of alternative-energy vehicles.
Sad. If the Volt is mostly or even partly a head fake, then Toyota will win surely win the race for the car of the future.
At the same time, the automakers may be winning the fight against the Senate CAFE bill, according to the Wall Street Journal (subs. req’d) and E&E News (subs. req’d), excerpted below:
“So far, only Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) have agreed to participate” in the Sept. 17 CNN/YouTube debate for the Republican presidential field. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, “both with dozens of videos on their YouTube channels,” have indicated they will not attend. Yesterday, Romney confused YouTube with Myspace, saying, “YouTube is a website that allows kids to network with one another and make friends and contact each other.”