… go to http://www.energybill2007.us and sign the petition. As we’ve seen, the bill is hanging by thread with a threatened presidential veto and partisan squabbling in the Senate. Still, if Bush is going to threaten a veto, best to actually make him do so, and force the key issues, fuel economy standards and a renewable portfolio standard, into the public eye and hopefully the presidential campaign.
Asked about Iran’s nuclear ambitions at his press conference today, President Bush warned for the first time in public of the risk of “World War III” if Iran gets nuclear weapons. “I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III,” said the President. “It seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” TPM has the video and Matthew Yglesias parses Bush’s words.
Last month at the Clinton Global Initiative (covered by Climate Progress), Van Jones, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, California, announced the initiative Green for All. The goal of the initative is to secure “job training for 250,000 workers from urban communities for the emerging green job market.”
Today Van Jones is featured in Thomas Friedman’s NYT op-ed column: The Green-Collar Solution.
And if you’re in D.C. and interested in the issue of green jobs and the socio-political aspect of building a low-carbon economy, I’d highly recommend checking out the event at the Center for American Progress on Monday. – Go here to view details and the invitation.
We will post videos from the event when they become available.
E&E Daily (subs. req’d) reports
The new [Warner-Lieberman] bill includes a 15 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 compared with 2005 levels. A draft circulated in August called for cuts of 10 percent in 2020.
Lieberman and Warner also have agreed to drop the free distribution of pollution credits for manufacturers after 2036 in favor of including the industrial sector in an auction where they must compete with power plants, petroleum refiners and others. Manufacturers under the draft bill would have been given free credits until 2050.
Sounds like improvements to a good bill, whose ultimate goal is an overall cut of 70 percent by mid-century. Still, the environmental community is torn. Environmental Defense likes it, while “Clean Air Watch and U.S. PIRG contend the Lieberman-Warner plan moves too far from their goals.”
In related news, American Electric Power, Duke Energy, Xcel Energy and several other electric utilities have joined together to ask the senators to attach a “safety valve” to climate legislation because of the “protection it would provide for our customers.” Boo! What about the protection it would cost future generations??
As for an update on where the energy bill stands …
More talk of a Republic split if Rudy Giuliani becomes the Republican nominee:
“He’s stated a pro-abortion-rights position,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative group. “There is nothing more fundamental to social conservatives than the preservation of human life. Right behind that is the issue of marriage, which he is vulnerable on. It gives social conservatives very little to be motivated.”
Frighteningly, Giuliani’s best hope of holding the party together is to try to stoke the flames of clash-of-civilizations type thinking, turning the “war on terror” into a Christian ersatz crusade.
I have to say I feel like Megan’s being willfully obtuse here. What happened is that Megan wrote a negative review of a book by a liberal for a conservative publication, in which Megan criticized liberals for overstating the influence of Laffer Curve thinking in the conservative movement. The conservative publication spiked her review on the grounds that the only acceptable manner in which to respond to liberal critics of Lafferites is to defend the Lafferites on the merits. Thus was refuted Megan’s view that liberals are overstating the Lafferites’ influence.
But to recover, Megan drew an equivalence between the influence of Lafferites on the right with that of teacher’s unions on the left. I pointed out in response that liberals who deviate from the union line don’t, in fact, have our writing spiked by the editors of liberal publications. Similarly, you have dissenters from the union line working at liberal think tanks. You even have groups like Democrats for Education Reform and Education Sector that exist for the sole-purpose of propounding a non-union progressive line on education policy.
So now Megan’s just changing the goalposts and arguing that teacher’s unions are an important constituency in Democratic Party politics. And, of course, they are since if they weren’t influential then you really wouldn’t ever see anyone criticizing them since what would be the point. But that’s not what we were arguing about! We were arguing about whether or not they exercise the same level of control over the progressive movement as what Megan saw in action when her review got spiked. And they just don’t. Megan should either find another analogy or else give me a call when the day comes that there are organized anti-Laffer organizations on the right and when Republican committee chairs start authoring legislation that includes tax increases. Until then, the analogy is preposterous, though connected to Megan’s equally preposterous view that I remember from a few months back that the insidious unions were the only reason any liberals anywhere oppose privatizing the school system.
On Tuesday, outed CIA operative Valerie Plame will release her book, Fair Game — My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House, marking the first time she will publicly detail the leak scandal. AP previews:
She offers harsh words for President Bush, whom she assails for administration “arrogance and intolerance.” She also said criticism of her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a “dress rehearsal” for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth effort that impugned Sen. John Kerry’s war record during his unsuccessful quest for the presidency in 2004. [...]
Some of the details Plame had planned to offer, including discussion of her CIA career and her job responsibilities, are redacted in the book. Sometimes that means whole pages of blacked-out text. The CIA objected to the publication of this material and Plame lost a court fight to include them. CIA employees have to clear their writings with the agency.
Okay, did some research and reporting into Bush’s statement that Iran must be denied not nuclear weapons, but the “knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” This isn’t an entirely new position from the White House, but it had kind of gone missing from administration rhetoric, so it’s return to prominence is potentially significant. Specifically, I’m told that the crux of the matter is that there’s no evidence of an active Iranian nuclear weapons program. There is, however, a uranium enrichment program that could at some point be used as part of a weapons program.
But basically were you to want to use military force against the Iranian nuclear weapons program tomorrow, you’d run into the problem that there’s nothing there. If you define the threshold down to some kind of war on knowledge, however, you put yourself in a position where maybe you can define the centrifuges Iran already has as constituting the knowledge they must be denied or at least a program to obtain the knowledge. Thus you have, on the level of rhetoric though not international law or sound diplomacy, the justification for military action.
On the other hand, perhaps Bush just screwed up and doesn’t know what he’s talking about and there’s nothing to worry about. Alternatively, maybe he knows exactly what he’s talking about and we ought to worry. Or maybe we ought to worry that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. At a minimum, I’m kind of worried.
Retired Vice Admiral Scott Redd, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told NBC News this weekend that the U.S. is not “tactically” safer as a result of the Iraq war. That message defied the official line from White House counterterrorism adviser Fran Townsend, who said the “threat level would have been worse” had we not attacked Iraq.
Redd also acknowledged that, over the short term, the Iraq war has created a “giant recruiting tool” for terrorists. Watch it:
Today, Redd announced his sudden resignation from the NTC. The AP reports:
Retired Vice Adm. John Scott Redd said he is stepping down next month to have a long-delayed surgery and spend more time with his five grandchildren and the rest of his family. His spokesman, Carl Kropf, said Redd needs to have both knees replaced. The surgery will require follow-up rehabilitation and would have meant a prolonged absence from the center.
In a note to employees, Redd “provided an upbeat assessment of the administration’s fight against terrorism,” which appeared to contradict his statements made to NBC just a few days earlier. “I believe that as a country we are better prepared today than at any time in our history to wage this war,” he said in his note, neglecting to mention his view that America is actually less safe today because of the Iraq war.
Our President: “So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”
Two points. One: This is inane. World War III? Against Iran? Really? Because Iran seems a lot like a medium-sized middle income country with few military capabilities rather than a near peer-competitor of the sort against which you might fight a world war.
Two: Note where Bush has placed the goalposts here. Not preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Preventing Iran from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I’m not sure what the significance of that switch is, but it seems significant.