NEGROPONTE BLOCKS IRAQ EVALUATION. Considering that the United States is fighting a major war in Iraq, it's a bit curious that it hasn't been the subject of a National Intelligence Estimate since 2004. Ken Silversteinreports "that some senior figures at the CIA, along with a number of Iraq analysts, have been pushing to produce a new NIE." What's the problem? "They've been stonewalled, however, by John Negroponte, the administration's Director of National Intelligence, who knows that any honest take on the situation would produce an NIE even more pessimistic than the 2004 version."
SHOW ME THE MONEY. Although there are many ways to compare �Hill committee� fundraising (year against, two-years-ago against, and, in the DNC/RNC case, four-years-ago against), and despite my advocacy for Howard Dean�s long-term investing in a 50-state strategy, you have to hand it to DSCC chair Chuck Schumer and DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel: These boys can ring the register.
YOU COULD HAVE IT SO MUCH BETTER. My colleague Harold Meyerson has analogized the current Mideast crisis to the crisis set off by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in late June 1914: "Nobody wanted global conflagration, yet nobody knew how to stop it, and the American president (Woodrow Wilson, who was not yet a Wilsonian) did nothing to help avert the coming war." Rich Lowryretorts "that this significantly underestimates Germany's drive to war." He quotes from Michael Lind's
COUNTDOWN TO CONSTITUTIONAL MELTDOWN. It's hard to avoid the temptation to begin counting the days in which H. Marshall Jarrett, director of the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), manages to remain in that post, especially since his objections to administration intervention in an inquiry he was conducting were made public earlier this week. OPR is the internal affairs office of the Department of Justice (DoJ).
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: I LOVE THE '90s.Greg Anrig liked Robert Wright's concept of "progressive realism" as a foreign policy doctrine, and thinks it would be a useful rubric to apply to domestic policy as well. He makes the case for reviving a Clintonian appeal based on effective government after six years of conservative failure.
REPUBLICANS AND CIVILIAN DEATHS.Here's the roll call for today's House resolution on the Mideast crisis. What Israel lobby?
Snark aside, despite the monolithic quality of the final vote there actually does appear to have been a bit of behind-the-scenes wrangling over some of the language in this resolution. At her weekly press conference today Nancy Pelosi was asked why she removed her name as co-sponsor of the resolution:
JUST POSTED ONLINE: POWER PLOY. To continue with the theme of the day, Marc Lynch of Abu Aardvark fame explains why pro-American Arab regimes are criticizing Hezbollah and Iran in such an explict and public fashion during this crisis. (Hint: shockingly, it's not because they're expressing the sentiments of their citizens.)
WHAT'S WRONG WITH SAMUELSON. To add to Tom's more ideological critique of Robert Samuelson's latest column, let me just point out that this is an excellent example of what irritates me about Samuelson: He's a policy writer who doesn't appear to know very much about policy. The whole column is about our lower-than-expected deficits and how stinky Republicans are for celebrating it. At no time does Samuelson see fit to mention why we have lower-than-expected deficits. Indeed, in no place does he signal that he even knows. And that's the problem.
TWO CHEERS FOR THE ALL-POWERFUL STATE. Some may disagree, but I say liberals should probably celebrate today's ruling that the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) supersedes the Maryland law forcing Wal-Mart to pay into a health fund. ERISA allows for uniformity across a single company's nationwide benefit plans so employers don't have to face down new regulations in every state. The Wal-Mart bill, according to the court, violated that legislative intent.