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The Nation

June 23, 2009
Christopher Hayes

The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) seemed to have hit a snag this week. One of the reasons was the opposition of House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson and agribusiness to the EPA -- instead of the USDA -- monitoring agricultural pollution. No agreement has been reached on that issue, but it looks like the bill will make it to the floor on Friday anyway -- even though, as CongressDaily reports, the 218 votes needed to pass it aren't a lock and negotiations continue.

Supporters and opponents of the bill are therefore kicking into high gear -- which means facts be damned in the case of the latter. The EPA and CBO have estimated the average household cost of the bill as somewhere between 22 cents and 48 cents per day ($80 to $175 per year) -- without taking into account the benefits of reduced global warming, energy efficiency promotion, or job creation. But that hasn't stopped Republicans from claiming the cap and trade program will "cost every American family $3000". They are also, of course, predicting massive job losses and a weak economy -- the same tired line they have used for decades in opposing clean air and clean water laws -- even though history has proven them wrong time and again and this bill would do the same.

Clean energy advocates like NRDC, Sierra Club, 1Sky, and Green For All are mobilizing activists to support and strengthen the legislation -- and fight any efforts to weaken it. Some of the issues include possible changes to clean energy incentives, emission reduction goals, the renewable energy standard, enforcement, green job investment in lower income communities, and auctioning pollution credits versus giving them away to polluters.

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June 23, 2009
Katrina vanden Heuvel

At a moment when the President is more popular than most of hissignature policies, when weak-kneed Democrats threaten to bolt onhealthcare reform and hypocritical legislators have turned Iran'selection into a political football with little regard for theramifications of their rhetoric for Iranian protesters, Obama workedhard to use his fourth press conference to refocus and reset thepolitical debate.

Keeping his cool (even while sparring with a handful of snarkyreporters), Obama displayed moral realism and principled respect for thecourage, dignity and sovereignty of the Iranian people. He did whatIranian expert Trita Parsi advised: condemn violence, without pickingsides.

In his opening remarks, Obama did sound a more impassioned notethan at any time since the Iranian election in deploring the violence inthe streets of Tehran. "The United States and the internationalcommunity have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings andimprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjustactions." Yet Obama was careful to continue, " I have made it clearthat the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republicof Iran, and is not at all interfering in Iran's affairs..... TheIranian people can speak for themselves." He referred again to Dr.Martin Luther King's powerful words, "the arc of the moral universe islong, but it bends toward justice," to affirm the belief--as he did inhis magnificent Cairo Speech-- that "suppressing ideas never succeeds inmaking them go away.....those who stand up for justice are always on theright side of history."

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June 23, 2009
John Nichols
John Nichols

Barack Obama is a popular president.

With an average approval rating of 61 percent in seven polls taken this month, according to CNN's Poll of Polls, Obama is more popular than George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan was at this point in his presidency.

But Obama needs to spend some of that capital, using his personal popularity to pump up support for his more controversial policy initiatives -- especially healthcare and energy reform.

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John Nichols
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June 23, 2009
Katrina vanden Heuvel

As I write today, turmoil and violence continue to roil Iran. Our Contributing Editor Robert Dreyfuss was on the ground in Tehran in the days before and after the election. He left Iran but is following the crackdown and protests; you can track breaking news at his blog The Dreyfuss Report, and see our slideshow, Iran on the Edge, for images from Tehran.

In other news from The Nation this week: Federal authorities in New Orleans have launched an investigation into the mysterious death of Henry Glover, a New Orleans resident who was found burned to death in the days following Hurricane Katrina. Glover's death went unsolved for over three years, until an expose by reporter A.C. Thompson in The Nation last December (supported by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute) raised serious questions about the incident and the role of New Orleans law enforcement. Six months after Thompson's cover story, new witnesses have come forward and a federal grand jury is hearing testimony from police officers and eye witnesses.

The debate over health care is heating up. Over the weekend we launched the first in a summer-long online debate series with National Review, with our Washington DC Editor Chris Hayes and the Review's Reihan Salam debating whether or not health care is a human right.

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June 22, 2009
Peter Rothberg
Peter Rothberg

There are no seasons in the American supermarket. In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner explains what this means as he lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, the USDA and FDA.

Watch the film, spread the word, sign the petition to help ensure the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, and check out the film's website for a range of suggestions on how to get involved in the fight against America's corporate controlled food industry.

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June 22, 2009
Christopher Hayes

Here's what's happening this week:

Congress will begin its July 4 recess at the close of business on Friday -- don't we all wish we could do the same? -- but before it does, it will attempt to make some headway on health care legislation.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee continues to markup its version of the bill, while according to the New York Times the Senate Finance Committee will be engaged in "intense back-room negotiations". In the House, three committees -- Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor -- will take up the 852-page draft of their joint health care bill.

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June 22, 2009
John Nichols
John Nichols

Once an election is done, it is hard to undo.

That's true in Iran, and it's also true in the United States.

This is why it is important to get the rules by which elections are held right before elections are held.

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June 21, 2009
Robert Dreyfuss
Bob Dreyfuss

Gunfire, tear gas, and water cannons used by baton-wielding security forces in Iran have forced an uneasy calm on Tehran and other cities, but Mir Hossein Mousavi isn't backing down. And the next explosion could come when the Guardian Council, the twelve-member clerical body assigned the task of reviewing the results of the June 12 election releases its report. By all accounts, the Council -- half of whose members are appointed by, and loyal to, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the other half is nominated by Iran's Parliament and approved by Khamenei -- will ratify President Ahmadinejad's reelection.

In today's post I want to focus on the election itself. A newly released statistical study of the rigged election by Chatham House raises enormous questions about the validity of the Interior Ministry's reported vote totals. And Mousavi himself is making the point, in detailed fashion, that the vote was bogus.

The Chatham House analysis, while wonky and full of detailed charts, provides the clearest evidence yet that Ahmadinejad and Co. rigged the vote.

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June 20, 2009
Robert Dreyfuss
Bob Dreyfuss

Tens of thousands of people appeared on Tehran's streets today, again, despite Ayatollah Khamenei's clear warning that they'd be met with force and violence.

According to reports from various quarters, the demonstrators have added a new chant to their repertoire: "Death to Khamenei!" If so, another red line -- and an extremely explosive one -- has been crossed.

Thousands of troops from the Revolutionary Guards, the police, and the Basij paramilitary force -- the mosque-based, devout followers of Khamenei -- blockaded Revolution Square in Tehran today, the proposed site of the main opposition gathering, and they used tear gas, metal batons, and water cannons to keep people out of the square.

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Bob Dreyfuss
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