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The Nation

April 3, 2007
The Nation

The Supremes have spoken. George, we put you in the White House back in 2000, but we can't go along with your "junk science" on global warming. We order you and your weak-spined EPA to obey the law. Do something real about the climate-change carbon emissions from automobiles that are killing the polar bears. Or, if you decide not to do so, then give us an explanation based on science, not on the latest press release from your pals at Exxon Mobil.

How radical is that? Of course, the four Corporate Justices – Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito--choked and sputtered and pounded the bench. In the majesty of the Constitution, they insisted, this issue should never have come before the court. Leave it to the Congress. In the wisdom of democratic process, the lawmakers can decide whether to side with Al Gore and a zillion anxious scientists or the good folks from autos, oil and electric utilities who pass out the checks to deserving legislators.

After the court delivered its 5-4 decision, a political hack who fronts for the car makers, solemnly announced they "look forward to working constructively with both Congress and the administration." That's a hoot. Detroit has resisted every small step forward for forty years, starting with Ralph Nader's observation that many fewer people would be killed if the companies designed more for safety, less for testosterone.

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The Notion
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April 3, 2007
Katrina vanden Heuvel

Here's another nominee for the Best Bush Folly--the Administration's latest plan to expand its "missile defense shield" by locating a radar base and 10 missile interceptors in the Czech Republic and Poland, respectively.

While too few among our pundit and political class are willing to expose the insanity of this plan, Czech and Polish citizens appear to have more sense --and guts.

According to the Financial Times, 70 percent of Czechs oppose the shield and Poles are evenly split – the latter is especially "surprising in a country that sees itself as the most pro-American in Europe."

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April 3, 2007
David Corn

Every day, the presidential campaigns email to reporters press releases touting the endorsements they have most recently snagged. On Tuesday morning, the Jo...

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April 3, 2007
The Nation

Generally that was a predictable performance by the Decider, but one thing stuck out to me. The New Rationale TM for the war, (I've lost track of how many this is) is that the generals say the surge will work and the politicians should just butt out and let the men do their jobs. As Josh Marshall points out, this is patently untrue. The generals didn't think the surge would work so Bush replaced them with someone who did. But even more absurd is the notion that the people executing war policy should be actually determining war policy, that we should just outsource the decisions about the duration of our occupation of Iraq to the all-knowing David Petraeus.

This is particularly ironic against the backdrop of the US Attorney's scandal. The administration's MO from the very beginning has been to overide the judgement of experts and career civil servants, whether they be scientists assessing climate change, or public health officials evaluating food and drugs, or US attorneys weighing whether there is sufficient evidence for an indictment. In short they have politicized every last function of the government, so much so that the work product of the entire federal bureacracy must now be assessed as if it were little more than an RNC press release. And now, on the single most vital political issue, Bush wants to argue that politics should play no part and the judgement of a single man should dictate the entirety of US policy.

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The Notion
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April 3, 2007
The Nation

President Bush describes Iran's seizure of fifteen British sailors and Marines as "inexcusable behavior."

But did the Bush Administration's anti-Iran machinations lead to the escalation in tensions that culminated in the seizure of the Brits?

One of the finest reporters on the Middle-East affairs argues that this is precisely the case.

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The Notion
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April 2, 2007
The Nation

If it's spring break in Washington, then that must be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi--accompanied by, my goodness, the perpetually pro-Israel Tom Lantos!-- heading for Syria this week.

Pelosi's delegation is currently in Lebanon. AP's Zeina Karam writes there that the Speaker,

    said she thinks it's a good idea to "establish facts, to hopefully build the confidence" between the US and Syria.

"We have no illusions, but we have great hope," she said.

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The Notion
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April 2, 2007
Katrina vanden Heuvel

Presidential candidate Senator Chris Dodd has made defending our Constitution a focus of his campaign in a way that the "front-runners" have not. In February, he introduced the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007 to address the wrongs of last year's Military Commissions Act. The bill was recently referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Military Commissions Act – passed on the eve of the 2006 elections – is an absolute disgrace. It allows a president absolute power to define an individual as an enemy combatant, imprison that person indefinitely, without charging a crime or having the case reviewed by a civilian court. Lock a person up, throw away the key, and pity if we got it wrong. The Orwellian legislation also allows the president to redefine the meaning of torture without regard for the Geneva Conventions or any other human rights laws.

"Righting the wrongs of the Military Commission Act becomes more critical with each passing day," said Dodd. "The people who perpetrated these horrendous crimes against our country and our people have no moral compass and deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but by taking away their legal rights, we are jeopardizing our own moral compass as well." In a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, Dodd – along with three cosponsors, Senators Boxer, Feingold, and Menendez – wrote, "The Military Commissions Act has weakened our nation's standing throughout the world and placed the system designed to prosecute enemy combatants under a cloud of legal uncertainty."

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April 2, 2007
The Nation

As the crisis between Iran and Britain enters its second week, and confrontational rhetoric fills our newspapers and airwaves, it is worth reading a statement published just a few days ago by Iranian,Iraqi and British women activists, academics and politicians (including a few Western colleagues).

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The Notion
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April 2, 2007
John Nichols
John Nichols

Memo to Fox Fanatics and All Other Defenders of Alberto Gonzales: Your Partisanship is Showing.

Fox News and its talk radio echoes, led by Rush Limbaugh, are among the staunchest defenders of the scandal-plagued Attorney General.

But that defense is not based on conservative values or ideas. Rather, it is a "my-president-right-or-wrong" rallying around an embattled Bush administration. This is old-school, maximum-leader politics, of a sort that places loyalty to a man over loyalty to the truth or to the Republic.

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John Nichols
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