Last month, the four Republican presidential frontrunners skipped a PBS debate hosted by Tavis Smiley that would have been the first time they answered questions from “a panel exclusively comprised of journalists of color.” At the time, Smiley said the snubbing was part of a “pattern” of “disrespect” towards “black and brown Americans.” Today, the Huffington Post reports that the GOP candidates are now postponing another black voter forum due to “scheduling conflicts.”
Before his press conference today, President Bush met exclusively with a group of GOP congressional leaders. According to Fox News, which spoke with some of the members at that discussion, Bush unequivocally promised that he would attack Iran if Iran “were ever to attack Israel.” Bush told the lawmakers, “I know I would respond. … In order for diplomacy to be effective, all options have to be on the table.” Watch it:
The Bush administration continues to publicly insist that it is pursuing a “path of cooperation” with Iran. But behind closed doors, in meetings such as the one today, the White House seems to be charting a different course. David Wurmser, who until recently served as Vice President Cheney’s Middle East adviser, told a “small group of people” that Cheney is pushing for an Israeli attack on Iran:
[T]he magazine quoted David Wurmser, until last month Cheney’s Middle East advisor, as having told a small group of people that “Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz — and perhaps other sites — in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out.”
According to the report, “The Iranian reaction would then give Washington a pretext to launch strikes against military and nuclear targets in Iran.“
Bush and Karl Rove also recently met privately with Norman Podhoretz for 45 minutes, listening to his case for war with Iran. Earlier this month, Podhoretz told CSPAN, “I believe President Bush is going to order airstrikes [on Iran] before he leaves office.”
Americans increasingly view a strike on Iran during Bush’s term as inevitable. A new Zogby poll finds that 53 percent of the public believe it is “likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election.”
Transcript: Read more
It’s noted in The New York Times which takes the cancellation of the Halloween parade in the Castro as its peg. Andrew “The End of Gay Culture” Sullivan, naturally, is psyched. And of course I, too, am glad to see gay and lesbian Americans taking their rightful place as equal citizens.
On the other hand, I do think it’s worth wondering what the consequences of all this will be for our urban ecology. When I see Atrios going on about “the Village,” my instinct is still to read that as my hometown, Greenwich Village, New York, NY (pictured above) which I suppose I didn’t realize was a “gay” neighborhood when I was little anymore than I realized that there might be a gay angle to the annual Village Halloween Parade. These neighborhoods, scattered in major cities across the country, have a unique and congenial character and though their disappearance would obviously be a small price to pay for equality, I think it should be recognized as a price. I’m not quite sure I have the chops to right the straight person’s appreciation of the vanishing gay neighborhood, but I think one should be written, so I’ll nominate Garance Franke-Ruta who grew up in the same area.
Photo by Flickr user Tiseb used under a Creative Commons license
You’ll be glad to know The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has launched a major climate program whose goals are to ensure that:
- the increased energy prices that are an essential part of climate-change legislation do not drive more households into poverty or make poor households poorer; and
- climate-change legislation generates sufficient revenue both to protect low-income households and to address other needs related to the fight against global warming, so that it does not increase the deficit.
CBPP is a great group. But they need to understand that a central strategy for fighting the impact of higher energy prices on low-income consumers is an aggressive energy efficiency strategy to keep overall bills from rising, which I don’t see in their work so far.
Following reports that the State Department had granted immunity to disgraced Blackwater security guards, the Iraqi cabinet on Tuesday “approved draft legislation lifting immunity for foreign private security companies, sending the measure to Parliament.” However, an “Iraqi government spokesman suggested that the new law may not cover Blackwater guards if they were defined by the State Department as an extension of the multinational forces in Iraq, rather than private security guards.”
I agree with Brad DeLong, this is a good song:
A lot of Rilo Kiley fans I know seem to have been disappointed by the new album, Under the Black Light in general. Not me, I think it’s pretty great and though it arguably lacks some of the pop triumphs of earlier albums, they do a better job of integrating their diverse stylistic interests into a consistent quality level.
This morning, President Bush met exclusively with Republican congressional leaders to discuss the SCHIP bill. Afterward, he held a press conference slamming the Democratic leadership for “not getting its work done” in Congress, stating that the Senate had “wasted valuable time” trying to end the war in Iraq:
BUSH: Congress is not getting its work done. Near — we’re near the end of the year and there really isn’t much to show for it.
The House of Representatives has wasted valuable time on a constant stream of investigations and the Senate has wasted valuable time on an endless series of failed votes to pull our troops out of Iraq. And yet there’s important work to be done on behalf of the American people.
According to Bush, the Senate has wasted time listening to the wishes of the American public. Sixty-eight percent of Americans want U.S. forces in Iraq reduced or withdrawn entirely, according to a September CBS poll. An October Washington Post/ABC poll also found that a majority of Americans “do not believe Congress has gone far enough in opposing the war.”
Congressional Democrats have faced stiff conservative opposition in their efforts to end the war. In May, Congress approved a bill stipulating troop withdrawals from Iraq — which Bush promptly vetoed. Two months later, Democrats pushed the issue in all-night Senate session, but Republicans again blocked the legislation.
The only person who has “wasted valuable time” is Bush, who continues to bury his head in the sand and back a failed policy in Iraq. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in April, Congress’s actions have been “helpful in demonstrating to the Iraqis that American patience is limited.”
What Ross and Daniel Larison say about Robert Kagan’s observations on the alleged “resilience” of autocracy in Venezuela and Russia. That leaves the case of China, where both important elements of the neoconservative right (à la Kagan) and of the labor-liberal left (à la several of my old editors at The American Prospect) would like us to believe that the links between globalization, the market economy, political liberalization, and human freedom have all been broken.
The trouble here is that I’ve rarely if ever heard from a Chinese person or a person who lives in China anything other than that China is, in fact, freer than it was twenty years ago. Is that in large part a reflection of how bad things used to be? Sure. Does that make China a liberal democracy? Of course not. But are things moving in a positive direction? Yes.
The unfortunate reality for those like Kagan who’d like to believe that an incredibly aggressive, violent, coercion-oriented US foreign policy is the height of moral probity is that living conditions around the world are, in general, improving for the better without us. There are major exceptions in Sub-Saharan Africa and North Korea but there’s nothing about a glance at those places — Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories — that have benefitted from American “democracy promotion” policy that would make any sane person think we need to Kaganize our approach to Russia or China.
A post by Nashville-based blogger Webutante, highlighted by Pajamas Media, compares former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer to Moses:
It was at that moment I saw Ari Fleischer in a totally new light: He was a modern day Moses leading his people out of slavery, into freedom. But rather than leading them out of the land of Egypt, he was taking them out of the bondage of the Democratic party.
Fleischer currently serves as a board member of the White House front group Freedom’s Watch. Recently, he callously told a dead soldier’s mom that “there are going to be a lot more mothers” like you, and admitted he did not know the name of a wounded veteran who appeared in his own organization’s ad.
Season starts tonight; I’m going to make a bold prediction that San Antonio will beat Portland. Also I figure, given the evenness of the year and all, that San Antonio won’t win the championship. Instead, I’ll take Dallas for best record in the West, followed by Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, Utah, Denver, Lakers, and New Orleans in roughly that order. In the East I have Boston (beyond the obvious, I think Rajon Rondo is better than people think) followed by Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto, Washington, Orlando, and Miami. Obviously, a Bulls-Lakers deal for Kobe could change that, though the current asking price of Gordon, Deng, Thomas, and Noah seems clearly too high.