While the Iraq debate was gripping Washington over the past few weeks, the Bush administration was also shifting its policy toward neighboring Iran -- in a more confrontational direction.
U.S. officials, who asked not to be identified, say that the Iran policy has expanded from focusing chiefly on Iran's nuclear ambitions to challenging Tehran's suspected misbehavior across the Middle East. Indeed, one source said succinctly that the new policy is geared to "confront Iran in every way but direct armed conflict, using all means short of war."
Also be sure to read Simon's analysis of the recent NYT article on moderate Arab governements' sponsership of anti-US propaganda in response to, again from Rozen, this development:
Middle East analyst Daniel Byman, who is the director of Georgetown University's Security Studies Program, said, "The most popular people in the Islamic world right now, and the two most popular people in Egypt, are Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And their popularity is increasing. They are like Che Guevara."
Not in the Senate, according to the Politico. I mention this because NDN met with good friend Kirsten Gillibrand this morning, the newly elected Congresswoman from NY's 20th Congressional District. Rep. Gillibrand is a young, rising star in the House. Now we'll just have to get her and more like her into the Senate, and soon.
Senator Biden's Foreign Relations Committee yesterday sent a strong message of opposition to the President over his plan to send 20,000 additional US troops to Baghdad. The non-binding resolution is an important step in involving Congress in fixing the failed approach of the Bush Administration in Iraq. NDN, as Simon's writing over the last few months shows, has been advocating for and supportive of this process from the beginning, and will continue to look for a better way forward in the Middle East. Click anywhere on the quote to read the entire article.
20% reduction in gas usage in 10 years, actually means 20% less then projected levels, not 20% less than usage today. That means gasoline consumption would actually increase slightly - not as ambitious as it sounded in the SOTU.
Bush's fuel economy standard increases would actually lead to more gas guzzling vehicles being sold, by moving from fleet average standards to individual vehicle standards.
When the President talks about alternative energy, he is really playing to coal producers who want to start producing liquid coal as a fuel - liquid coal that releases twice as much carbon into the atmosphere as gasoline.
The lesson, as NDN has argued, is that what the President, and so many conservatives in his mold, are good at is politics, not governing. Real leadership on energy and tackling the catastrophic threat of global warming will come from progressive thinkers, regardless of party, who are ready to move beyond the cynical half-measures of the current Administration.
Senate Democrats fell 6 votes short of the 60 needed to end debate on passing the clean, House veriosn of the minimum wage hike, and will now debate adding small business tax cut amendments to the bill. From the NYT:
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, expressed disappointment over the Senate vote. “Our colleagues in the House came together -- Democrats and Republicans -- and they passed a minimum wage bill with no strings attached,” he said.
Low-wage workers “deserved the same respect from the Senate,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We should have passed this bill today and put it before the president for his signature this afternoon. We will not rest until we do right by working families.”