Here's what I don't get: Every serious analyst agrees that the current increase in gas prices is due to the current US policy of getting tough on Iran, and market fears that we, or Israel, may get even tougher. Even the CEO of Exxon has said as much. And yet we are having an absurd political debate about the gas price increases that barely mentions these actual reasons. See for example this story in today's Washington Post which never even mentions Iran.
Yet every single time the President's enemies bring up climate change, they invariably refer to efforts to mitigate climate impacts as some form of "gas tax". Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Urinal has spilled much ink making that connection, just as Sen. Inhofe (R-Oil) has released massive quantities of CO2 calling cap and trade proposals "Cap and Tax."
So why don't we talk about an Iran policy gas tax?
Look, every policy has costs associated with it, and if our political leaders ever treated us as adults, they would talk with us about what those costs are and why we should consider bearing them -- instead of telling us we can have whatever policies we choose while cutting our taxes to the bone.
The GOP has engaged in such endeavors in the past, of course, but this time it has an especially dangerous edge, so dangerous that a former head of the Mossad, Israel's fiendishly effective intelligence service, spoke up condemning Romney's op-ed in The Huffington Post. Efraim Halevy said that Romney, "by forecasting his military intentions---- and claiming that Obama would not act the same way" is "telling the Iranians, 'You better be quick about it.'" Halevy explained that an Iranian leader, reading Romney's fulminations promising that, when he becomes President, he will not hesitate to use military measures to stop Iran's nuclear program, would understand that he had nine more months to expedite their nuclear program, so he better hurry up. What else did Romney write that could so alarm the tough former boss of the Mossad? He opened his op-ed with:
A recent, blockbuster article in Bloomberg detailed how the dirty energy baron Koch brothers - who, the article points out, "blazed a path to riches -- in part, by making illicit payments to win contracts, trading with a terrorist state, fixing prices, neglecting safety and ignoring environmental regulations" - flouted U.S. law by "[selling] millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism." The connection between oil, corruption, and terrorism detailed in the Bloomberg article sounds like something out of the film Syriana. But in this case, it's not fiction, it's absolutely real: the connection between oil, corruption and Middle East-based terrorism cannot be clearer.
Barely over a week after the Bloomberg story broke, the oil-corruption-terrorism nexus was made even more glaringly obvious with breaking news of an Iran-backed terror plot against the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir.
In the Iranian plot outlined on Tuesday by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in Washington, officials in the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are accused of scheming to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States by hiring assassins from a Mexican drug cartel for $1.5 million. The main suspects were identified as Mansour J. Arbabsiar, a naturalized American citizen of Iranian descent from Corpus Christi, Tex., who has been taken into custody, and Gholam Shakuri, described by the Justice Department as a member of the Quds Force, who is at large and believed to be in Iran.
Every time I passed a former British outpost on Bahrain, I wondered if it would be an Iranian or Chinese officer who would one day have that same uneasy feeling passing a former American outpost. That day may be coming sooner than ever imagined. The subject of representative government in nations such as this always drew the ire of Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) officers when it arose in seminar discussions at the Joint Forces Staff College or at conferences in Tampa; never raised on host country terrain. Bahraini officers would rankle at the suggestion that the population was majority Shia (it is upwards of 80%; "but no "official" statistics are available," they would argue). I was there two years and lived across the road from third country nationals living in stables and down the street from Shia neighborhoods much larger and more Spartan than my Sunni area quarters.
In private, the Emir (today's Emir's father) scoffed at Shia affectations such as the "Tree of Life" out in the desert and joked about cutting it down. This widely held Sunni attitude left Shia connections to relatives and business partners in Iran as their most cordial. The dialect spoken in the streets was "Gulfy" rather than the more formal Saudi version and far from the Egyptian and Levantine. There was a nascent insurgency held at bay by a heavy handed hired gun; a retired British general, veteran of the Malay success. But there is so much time and just so many prison cells; they cannot contain all the disgruntled forever. And now, the disaffectation has spilled into the streets. Fine to turn a blind eye in Saudi and Bahrain, but not in Libya?
Speaking to state-run news agency, IRNA, Ahmadinejad cited a double standard over the outcry over an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, who had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, but was suspended due to international criticism. He said despite the chiding of Iran over Ashtiani, there has been no similar protest over the scheduled execution of Teresa Lewis, 41, a Virginia woman convicted of a double-homicide.Is it just Virginia's moral authority that's hurt by executions? Not even Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick is willing to step in.
"A woman is being executed in the United States for murder but nobody protests against it," said Ahmadinejad, who is in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly.
I attended this event at the Center for American Progress yesterday. The featured speaker, starting at about 2:45, was Rep. Tom Perriello (D-5th, VA). I've listed a few key points, after the "flip." Overall, excellent job - thoughtful, articulate, nuanced, wise - by Tom Perriello on an important topic, and yet another example of why he richly deserves to be reelected this November!