Updated: 5/16/2006; 2:46:18 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses

daily link  Monday, September 13, 2004

Powell said what?:  "respected British journalist James Naughtie [reports that] Powell, in a conversation with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, called Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz "f ----g crazies."

Powell denies it, and Straw backs him up, but Naughtie stood his ground, telling the New York Post: "Whatever the statements issued from the two offices concerned, I stand by the quote.""

  10:35:20 PM  permalink  

TIME Magazine: Who Left the Door Open?  So much for homeland security.  "The U.S.'s borders, rather than becoming more secure since 9/11, have grown even more porous. And the trend has accelerated in the past year. It's fair to estimate, based on a TIME investigation, that the number of illegal aliens flooding into the U.S. this year will total 3 million—enough to fill 22,000 Boeing 737-700 airliners, or 60 flights every day for a year. It will be the largest wave since 2001 and roughly triple the number of immigrants who will come to the U.S. by legal means. (No one knows how many illegals are living in the U.S., but estimates run as high as 15 million.) "  10:28:56 PM  permalink  

Hurricane gets Nader on ballot in Florida: "Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida's elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state. The Florida Democratic Party reacted with outrage, calling the move "blatant partisan maneuvering" by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's younger brother, and vowed to fight it. ..

Maddox noted that Tallahassee, the state capital where Davey sits, is not expected to be directly hit by the hurricane. He said the circuit court could hear the case as scheduled on Wednesday and rule immediately.  In addition, the case is before the Florida Supreme Court, which could also rule at any time, he said."  The state's rationale for allowing Nader's name is that the issue is before the court, which may not be able to meet as scheduled due to the hurricane (!).

  10:16:50 PM  permalink  

After the election, Bush will cut what he'll promise to fund: Mark Shields:  "Look at the new fiscal year begins Sept. 30, that's the fiscal year that we'll be dealing with for this presidential election.  The president has asked for increases in job training as he spoke of last night [in the convention], for the next fiscal year. But over the next four years, his administration and his budget calls for cuts of $1.7 billion in job training. 

In other words he's going to increase it just for this year, the same thing in elementary and secondary education, he's increasing it by $834 million, but he will cut it by five and a half billion over the next four years. Those are the administration's own budget documents for 2006 through 2009..

What it says is he made promises he can't keep. The president got the biggest cheer in the hall when he said I'm going to make permanent the tax cuts. He didn't address the deficits anyway.  And he said we're going to cut this runaway federal spending."

  2:10:53 PM  permalink  

Rebutting the fly paper thesis:  Josh Marshall is on a roll this morning.  "The recent run of denial on Iraq has brought back to the fore what a year ago was known as the 'fly paper' thesis.   Namely, that the outbreak of chaos, terrorism and insurgency in Iraq is actually a good thing since it allows us to kill 'the terrorists' in Iraq rather than wait for them to come to our own shores.  Thus the 'fly paper' analogy. ..

Logically this is nonsensical; strategically it is moronic; morally it is close to indefensible.  ..

The key fallacy, as so many have pointed out, is the notion that there are a finite number of 'terrorists' who we can kill and be done with.  Added to this, is the idea -- as antiquated as it is ridiculous -- that fighting 'the terrorists' in Iraq prevents them from hitting us in the United States. Have these fools heard about globalization? Can't [bin Laden] spare a couple dozen jihadis to come over here to spring another 9/11 on us? ..

As a TPM reader put it to me both hilariously and brilliantly more than a year ago, this 'fly paper' thesis is like saying we're going to build one super dirty hospital where we can fight the germs on our own terms.   ..  It is the classic case of dousing the fire with gasoline.

Of course that leaves untended the fact the guerillas we're blowing up in Iraq aren't the folks running the safe houses in Karachi and Peshawar who constitute the real threat. Adrift as well is the straightforward matter that turning Iraq into a killing field isn't really compatible with making it into a redoubt of democracy, prosperity and western values."

  11:40:11 AM  permalink  

Iraq in this election:  Josh Marshall on Iraq's Sept 12 Bloody Sunday:  "Iraq has quite simply become a disaster for the United States. And while people disagree over why this has happened, no thinking person can now fail to see that it has happened.  ..

In the last two months, all of this has been pushed to the side of the election debate -- either by rhetorical tangles over 9/11 and terrorism, or attack politics centered on the two men's war records or lack thereof. That is the reason for the president's resurgence in the polls. It's really that simple. ..

Recently, President Bush has sought -- with real success -- to edge Iraq out of the campaign dialogue by putting the issue back on to Kerry, asking what he would do differently and how it would produce a better result.   This puts Kerry in a bit of a bind because the politically-unspeakable answer here is that there are no good solutions anymore. A year ago, even six months ago, there were. Now, there really aren't.  President Bush at least has a straightforward approach: denial. Pressed to come up with a soundbite-able and practical policy, Kerry is, well ... hard-pressed.   (As I said, President Bush, in this way, has managed to derive political advantage from the magnitude of his own failure.) ..

The emphasis should be on the undeniable fact that though the way forward may be murky, the last person you want to lead the country down that foggy path is the guy who screwed everything up so badly in the first place.  As my friend John Judis noted recently, the key to winning an election is often simply a matter of bringing to the surface of the public consciousness what voters already really know. They know Iraq is a disaster. They know it's President Bush's fault."

  11:31:17 AM  permalink  

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 2:46:18 PM.