Quickhits - Bloggered
Bachelet, a socialist, has taken the presidency of another South American country, Chile, which is telling because Chile has been one of the biggest supporters of free trade agreements with the US in the last decade or so.
The US, Russia, and China are meeting today to discuss Iran, but I wouldn't expect much as China is unlikely to accept sanctions on their oil supply, Russia appears to be on the fence. Don't put China on the spot for a Security Council vote, they don't respond well to that kind of pressure/embarassment. Interesting to see how this will be spun into a "win."
Related, I find it very interesting that German Chancellor Merkl's travels took her from Washington to Russia inside a week. Bush praised her endlessly, now she's in Russia praising a Russo-German bond that takes the breath away. Bush butters her up, she flies to Russia to butter Putin up. Any guesses on what message she's carrying?
Cheney goes to Saudi and Egypt to work on terrorism and the Israel Palestinian issue, while Condi Rice is sent to Liberia. It's good having a strong and respected Secretary of State, isn't it?
Iran ups the threats on oil supplies I noted yesterday.
Also, Shell is evacuating hundreds of workers from Nigeria in the face of growing violence. So, fill up the car today.
I hope Bob Ney finds stripes slimming. MSNBC has a story of Ney accepting "contributions" to get sanctions against Iran loosened; Time has a story on Ney accepting 10K for helping in the SunCruz deal. And just like Delay a year ago, Ney has been asked to temporarily step down from his committee chairmanship.
A great piece on Ralph Reed in the WaPo. "After reading the e-mail, it became pretty obvious he was putting money before God," said Phil Dacosta, a Georgia Christian Coalition member who had initially backed Reed. "We are righteously casting him out." There're more quote like this.
And polls are showing that Iraq has become the number one issue to Americans. "The war is a problem that fouls up what we need to do in the world," said Peter Palys, a lawyer from Wheaton, Ill. "My feelings about Iraq have solidified over the last six months. ... We can't stay; we can't leave, and we can't win. Our success or failure is not in our hands."
That's why Murtha's prediction, that US troops will be substantially out of Iraq has merit.
And, lastly, take note of this. A US helicopter was apparently shot down by a missile in Iraq. (third copter down, second probably shot down this month.) Too early to know what sort of missile, but keep in mind that the turning point for the Russians in Afghanistan was when the US shipped all those Stinger hand held SAMS to the "Islamic resistance" now known as Al Qaeda. If the insurgents now have semi modern SAMS, the US forces lose a lot of their air cover and mobility. If a unit gets pinned down, the response will have to be far more cautious, read slow. No solid evidence yet, but very worrying.
(Sorry for this format, I really hate doing these catchall posts, but with blogger up and down this morning, I thought this was the best way to go. ---- Mike)