She also seems to have coined a term, “MSB” or “mainstream blogosphere,” for those of us doing this professionally for established media organizations.
A new McClatchy-MSNBC poll finds that “Democrats and Republicans in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have dramatically different views of the nation’s priorities.” While “national security or terrorism” ranks at the top of the list for Republicans, it ranks near the bottom for Democrats. On the other hand, Iraq and economy rank near the top for Democrats, while Republicans rank them much lower on their list of priorities.
On Fox News Sunday this morning, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee denied that he ever called for quarantining AIDS patients in 1992, claiming that he “didn’t say that we should quarantine,” but that the onset of the AIDS epidemic “was the first time in public health protocols” that “we didn’t isolate the carrier”:
Chris, I didn’t say that we should quarantine. I said it was the first time in public health protocols that when we had an infectious disease and we didn’t really know just how extensive and how dramatic it could be and the impact of it, that we didn’t isolate the carrier.
Huckabee then asserted that he stands by his 1992 comments, saying he wouldn’t “run from” or “recant” them. Watch it:
Huckabee is being disingenious at best when he says he didn’t call for quarantining AIDS patients. As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, Huckabee told the Associated Press in 1992 that “we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague“:
In 1992, Huckabee wrote, “If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.”
“It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.”
In the same AP interview, Huckabee also claimed that “homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.”
As Fox’s Chris Wallace noted this morning, “seven years before” Huckabee “made” his statement, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “said that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact.” At the time of his comments, the CDC had recently reported that there were almost 200,000 AIDS patients in the United States, and 126,159 people had already died from the syndrome.
UPDATE: Politico’s Mike Allen adds: “Dictionary.com: quar-an-tine (noun) a strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease.”
Transcript: Read more
Greg Miller for The Los Angeles Times has a seemingly important scoop about a “previously undisclosed program” run by the CIA and called “Brain Drain” that was “designed to degrade Iran’s nuclear weapons program by persuading key officials to defect.” Naturally, the CIA doesn’t want to talk about it:
A CIA spokesman declined to comment on the effort to cultivate defectors, saying “the agency does not comment on these kinds of allegations as a matter of course.”
Some sources were, however, willing to speak off the record about the awesomeness of this program:
The defector program was put in place under CIA Director Porter J. Goss, who has since left. The agency compiled a list of dozens of people to target as potential defectors based on a single criterion, according to a former official involved in the operation: “Who, if removed from the program, would have the biggest impact on slowing or stopping their progress?”
“Did they have replacements for these people? Any country would have,” the former official involved in the operation said. “But we did slow the program.”
But as Isaac Chotiner points out, the lede is that “The CIA launched a secret program in 2005 designed to degrade Iran’s nuclear weapons program” and the National Intelligence Estimate’s new conclusion is that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was mothballed in 2003. How could the CIA’s activities have slowed an Iranian program that had already been put on hold?
In an interview with the London Times Online, White House press secretary Dana Perino describes her loyalty to her boss: “Once a Bushie, always a Bushie.” She adds that history will judge Bush kindly: “The president once said popularity is a puff of air; it can be gone in an instant. What matters are principles.” Karl Rove, also quoted for the piece, can’t understand what Perino doesn’t see in men like him, and why she married a British man:
Karl Rove, Bush’s former senior adviser, believes Englishmen have all the luck. “What has Peter got that the average American male like me doesn’t have? An accent? That’s not fair. One of our great American treasures has been taken by the British.”
Rove remains close to Perino, although he left the White House in August. “She has a really sharp mind, fine judgment and a great sense of humour. She is one of the most talented professionals I’ve seen,” he said.
Justin Fox penns an excellent piece for Time:
If there’s one thing that Republican politicians agree on, it’s that slashing taxes brings the government more money. “You cut taxes, and the tax revenues increase,” President Bush said in a speech last year. Keeping taxes low, Vice President Dick Cheney explained in a recent interview, “does produce more revenue for the Federal Government.” Presidential candidate John McCain declared in March that “tax cuts … as we all know, increase revenues.” His rival Rudy Giuliani couldn’t agree more. “I know that reducing taxes produces more revenues,” he intones in a new TV ad.
If there’s one thing that economists agree on, it’s that these claims are false.
Of course, what the world needs is something more than the occasional spot-on feature. What’s needed is a world in which this information filters into daily coverage. If a politician gives a talk about economic policy whose central premise is false, this should be the story of the day. If a politician persists in saying things that aren’t true, he should be branded a liar — a “serial exaggerator,” whatever — a person possessed of a political strategy dependent on making false claims, and blessed or cursed with a character that lets him keep on doing it.
How is it that a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran wound up getting released when it was (a) made the administration look ridiculous, (b) pissed off the administration’s key pyschotic warmonger allies, and (c) the administration has stated earlier that NIEs weren’t going to be released in the future? Well, Pat Lang has some rumor-mongering that aligns perfectly with my armchair speculation:
The “jungle telegraph” in Washington is booming with news of the Iran NIE. I am told that the reason the conclusions of the NIE were released is that it was communicated to the White House that “intelligence career seniors were lined up to go to jail if necessary” if the document’s gist were not given to the public. Translation? Someone in that group would have gone to the media “on the record” to disclose its contents.
Did that really happen? Who knows. But it certainly seems to me that this is the correct and honorable way to behave for people who find themselves in possession of important information that’s being kept classified for illegitimate reasons. The motives of the “leaker” can always be called into question, but a person willing to take a stand — or as we may be seeing here, even a person willing to say he or she is willing to take a stand — publicly and bear the consequences carries a lot more weight.
John Voelker has blogged from EVS23 for IEEE’s Spectrum, and he ain’t writing about fuel cell vehicles. Except to point out that Honda’s FCV rep actually got hissed as he dissed lithium batteries. The same lithium batteries without which Honda’s much heralded Clarity would chug along like a quiet 1960s era VW bug.
The FCX Clarity will be leased for $600 a month, starting next summer, to selected customers in Southern California. “That means,” said one bystander, “that Honda’s picking up the other $600,000 on each vehicle.” Which is as good a way as any to summarize the cost challenges of fuel-cell vehicles–even before looking at the infrastructure challenges.If one statement sums up this conference so far, it’s this one, overheard in the hallways: “It’s all about the plug-ins, stupid!”
– Marc G.
The Washington Post reports that in Sept. 2002, a bipartisan group of four congressional members — including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — met to get a “first look” at the the CIA’s harsh interrogation practices:
Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. [...]
Pelosi declined to comment directly on her reaction to the classified briefings. But a congressional source familiar with Pelosi’s position on the matter said the California lawmaker did recall discussions about enhanced interrogation. The source said Pelosi recalls that techniques described by the CIA were still in the planning stage — they had been designed and cleared with agency lawyers but not yet put in practice — and acknowledged that Pelosi did not raise objections at the time.
The Post reports the CIA gave about 30 private briefings between 2002-03 on its interrogation practices. Former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-FL) said “he has no memory of ever being told about waterboarding or other harsh tactics.” In Feb. 03, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) filed “an official protest about the interrogation program.”
UPDATE: John Aravosis suggests the story was leaked by the Bush administration to embarrass Pelosi.