NDN Blog

Nuclear Proliferation Still a Problem

More than a decade after Presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton's aggressive efforts to round-up nuclear materials after the end of the Cold War, there is still work to be done.  Yesterday's arrest of a Russian attempting to sell highly refined uranium, in Georgia, proves the need for continued vigilance to prevent against the unthinkable.

It's worth remembering today that John Kerry put a lot of emphasis on nuclear proliferation when he ran for the Presidency in 2004.

Changing US Policy Towards Iran

Don't miss this must-read from Laura Rozen in the National Journal.  The basic thesis:

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."

Where are the Young Whippersnappers?

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.

Not Much Energy in This Energy Plan

That is the early consensus on the energy policy elements of the President's State of the Union speech.  No specifics to cap carbon and reverse with global warming, modest increases in fuel standards, but no plan to deal with the 80% of emissions that don't come from passenger vehicles, and no specifics on how to balance the economics and environmental impact of alternative fuels. 

And much of what the President proposed is duplicitous:

  • 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.

Cheney: Saying Administration blundered in Iraq is "hogwash"

The Vice President gave a rather remarkable interview yesterday on CNN.  Read the story and see the interview here.

2008 candidates react to the State of the Union

The Washington Post points out the opinions (albeit different ones) expressed in response to the State of the Union from those bidding to occupy the White House in 2008.

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

Senator Hagel: "This is a ping pong game with American lives"

Watch Hagel speak out against escalation...

Minimum Wage Increase Stalls in the Senate

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.”

Kos on Webb

Our friend Markos Moulitsas has a must read post on the rise of Senator Jim Webb.

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