Monday, February 06, 2006

Morning copy 02.06.2006


The Christian Science Monitor:
In Anbar Province, an insurgent hotbed that borders Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, US and Iraqi officials say they have a new ally against the Al Qaeda-inspired terrorists: local tribal leaders like Jadaan and home-grown Iraqi insurgents.

"The local insurgents have become part of the solution and not part of the problem," US Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told reporters at a press conference last week.
The Washington Times: "Army officers getting immersion in Arabic"

The New York Times: "Pentagon Widens Program to Foil Bombings in Iraq"

Rough justice in Iraq, New York Times:
They restored stability, but at a cost: in the fall, an American soldier entered a room and found two Sunni prisoners hanging upside down during questioning. Another prisoner was shot dead during an interrogation. His Iraqi captors claimed that he had been trying to escape.

"There were welts on their bodies, bruises and abrasions on the bottoms of their feet," said Lt. Col. Richard Kucksdorf, the commander of a team of Americans advising the Iraqi forces here. "There were bruises you don't get by resisting arrest."

New York Times news analysis:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 — Hours after the United States and Europe prevailed in a contest over officially reporting Iran's history of clandestine nuclear activity to the United Nations Security Council, President Bush issued a statement on Saturday from his ranch, saying that the overwhelming vote showed "the world will not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons."

But even some of Mr. Bush's own advisers say that may prove an overstatement. Behind the diplomatic maneuvering, many of the diplomats and nuclear experts involved in the West's effort believe that stopping the program cold is highly unlikely, and probably impossible. They acknowledge that a more realistic goal now is to delay the day that Iran joins the nuclear club.
The Guardian:
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, taunted the west yesterday after his country was referred to the UN security council over its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.

As Tehran took swift retaliatory action, Mr Ahmadinejad told the west there was nothing it could do to stop Iran.

He said: "Our enemies cannot do a damn thing. We do not need you at all. But you are in need of the Iranian nation."
Government spying

Alberto Gonzales has authored an Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal. Here is the major point:
The use of signals intelligence--intercepting enemy communications--is a fundamental incident of waging war.
Senator Arlen Specter disagreed yesterday on Meet the Press, A.P. story.

Also, expect some fireworks from Senator Russ Feingold. In early January 2005, Feingold asked Gonzales about wiretaps. Last month, he wrote a letter to the Attorney General. Here is Specter and Russert discussing this line of questioning:
MR. RUSSERT: Well, tomorrow you will see the attorney general, Mr. Gonzales. At his confirmation hearing in 2005 Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin asked him about doing eavesdropping, surveillance, without a search warrant, and Gonzales said, “That’s a hypothetical question,” while the program was in place and ongoing.

SEN. SPECTER: Well, I have reviewed that transcript, and I think the attorney general is under an obligation to face that question. They had an extended discussion about torture and about electronic surveillance, and the attorney general did talk about a hypothetical question, and I think that’s fair game. And I’m sure—I’m going to defer to Senator Feingold on that, that’s his issue, but let’s see what the attorney general has to say. I think—I think that’s a fair question.
The Los Angeles Times: "Domestic spying tests GOP lawmakers' loyalties"

Bloomberg News: "Gonzales to Tell Senators Spying Needed in `War of Information'"

George W. Bush and 2006

The Christian Science Monitor: "Conservatives ask: Is Bush still one of us?"

A.P. via the Denver Post:
Washington - President Bush's 2007 budget proposes spending more than $2.7 trillion, showering big increases on defense and homeland security and a smattering of other favored programs such as scientific research, education and energy.

At the same time, Bush's blueprint being submitted to Congress today proposes shrinking or eliminating 141 programs while achieving $36 billion in Medicare savings over the next five years.
Bloomberg News:
Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush's pledge to cut the U.S. budget deficit in half will likely become a casualty of election-year politics and his own policy goals.
The Washington Post:
In his State of the Union speech last week, President Bush gave short shrift -- just 165 words -- to the subject of health care. Still, administration officials say finding an antidote to rising costs will be a priority for the White House this year.

Bush's prescription includes promoting health savings accounts (HSAs) and "consumer-driven" health plans that he says will trim expenses by prodding Americans to assume greater responsibility for their health care choices.
The Boston Globe (skipping most of the anecdotal lede):
If she had taken the raise, she and her son would be disqualified for Medicaid, the low-income medical program run jointly by states and the federal government.

For years, thousands of working-class parents like Arnold have faced a similar quandary.

Now, after more than six years of congressional lobbying by working-class parents, President Bush is poised to sign the Family Opportunity Act, which will allow parents of disabled children whose incomes exceed the federal poverty line to pay to join Medicaid, on a sliding fee scale based on their income.
The Arizona Republic:
As the Senate prepares to debate immigration-reform bills this spring, Bush and other Republicans are weighing their desire to overhaul the system against concerns that doing so would create a rift within the ranks of the GOP a few months before the midterm elections in November.
And in other news...

Dan Balz's eternal optimism in the Washington Post: "Handful of Races May Tip Control of Congress"

Dick Polman in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "The Democrats are a mess."


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