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The LiberalOasis Blog
The daily view from the oasis

June 5, 2006 PERMALINK
The Sunday Talkshow Breakdown
(posted June 5 12:30 AM ET)

If you read the Sunday NY Times, you have been dutifully informed, with the help of several anonymous White House “aides”, that Dubya and Condi have boldly changed course and embraced diplomacy with Iran:

...the story of how a president who rarely changes his mind did so in this case — after refusing similar proposals on Iran four years ago — illustrates the changed dynamic between the State Department and the White House in Mr. Bush's second term.

When Colin L. Powell was secretary of state, the two buildings often seemed at war. But [Ms. Rice’s] relationship with Mr. Bush has led to policies that one former adviser to Ms. Rice and Mr. Bush said "he never would have allowed Colin to pursue."

Have no fear, left-leaning NY Times readers! It’s a brand new White House, full of peace and love.

(Never mind all those 2002 stories about how Colin Powell had the upper hand against the neocons, getting Bush to go to the UN and back weapons inspections.)

Actually, it appears the folks at Fox News have a far clearer understanding of what’s going on inside the White House (after all, Fox News’ Tony Snow is literally inside the White House.)

On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume laid out what Bush's offer to talk with Iran if it suspends uranium enrichment really means:

[This is] not a particularly big deal. Not really a major policy shift.

This is an adjustment in tactics, is really what it was.

And there's no real hope in the administration that the Iranians will take this offer and agree to verified suspension of their uranium enrichment.

The whole purpose of this exercise was to force the pace of diplomatic events.

There's a belief in the administration that a moment of truth is coming with Iran when it finally does face the prospect of some U.N.- applied sanctions, and that's when we'll find out whether it's possible short of military action to end their military program.

Soon after, head neocon Bill Kristol essentially concurred and offered this disturbing nugget:

...senior American officials do, I think, now believe that they cannot kick this to the next administration.

I think that's the biggest development in the last few months, which I think does justify this diplomatic move -- if it accelerates the time table.

President Bush needs to deal with this threat on his watch.

Either we will have diplomatic success, or we'll have success through pressure and sanctions, or we'll be forced to use military action, or we will acquiesce to Iran getting nuclear weapons.

But that will be a decision made by the Bush administration.

Meanwhile, Rice was making the talkshow rounds, and per usual, subtly undermining diplomatic efforts by sending negative signals.

On both CNN’s Late Edition and Fox News Sunday, she went out her way, unprompted, to say the White House was not offering a “grand bargain.”

That phrase doesn’t have deep meaning to most Americans, but it’s what Iran has been shooting for since 2003: a deal that would have Iran renounce nukes and support for anti-Israel groups, in exchange for normalized relations and guarantees Bush wouldn’t attack.

And Condi made sure to let Iran know that the White House has no intention of giving Iran anything that they want.

Which gives Iran a major disincentive to suspend enrichment. From Iran’s perspective, it simply delays any nuclear program, making themselves more vulnerable to attack.

Over on Meet The Press, Dem Sen. Joe Biden and likely prez candidate indicated he will not be the handmaiden for an Iran War the way he was in the run-up to the Iraq War.

While he said of Bush’s move, “I agree with it in part,” he also made clear he believes in real talks, not phony talks, by saying “I think we’ve kind of seen this movie before in Korea,” where Bush agreed to talks but not to making any serious proposals.

Biden also talked down the prospects of a first strike against Iran:

TIM RUSSERT: If the Iranians simply refuse, and full-speed-ahead with their program to build a nuclear bomb, should we undertake military action?

BIDEN: No, we shouldn’t undertake military action now. It should be the absolute last resort...

...I’ve gotten all the briefings ... and there is no imminent threat at this point.

There is a looming threat, there is a threat of a capacity to be able to demonstrate a real threat to the United States and our allies down the road, but there’s nothing imminent at this point.

And we should be playing the inside and the outside game, both in Iran and outside to continue to put pressure on them.

Because there’s nothing at all certain about the support that this administration in Iran has from its own people.

And the one way to unite the 71 million Iranians with a government they do not like would be to attack them.

That’s an inch forward in formulating an alternative Dem approach to Iran.

June 2, 2006 PERMALINK
Editor's Note: Changes Coming
(posted June 2 2 AM ET)

In a few days, things are going to be a little different around here – hopefully in a good way – so I wanted to give you a heads up.

First, we’re in the homestretch of a complete redesign, which should launch next week. The design here was always pretty crude – either charmingly so or appallingly so, I think depending on your browser settings. So after the bloglift, the site should be eminently readable to all travelers.

Second, LiberalOasis is going to start taking ads. Thanks to generous donors and low operating costs, this has never been a money-losing endeavor. But it’s not income-generating either. Your fearless executive editor quit his day job a year ago to write that book you see on the right. And as exciting as that is, it’s not exactly a cash cow (at least, not yet.) So there is a pressing need for sources of income.

However, this is LiberalOasis, and it would not be much of an oasis if it promotes any ol’ widget. So I will only accept ads that are for products and causes with liberal goals. Making such determinations may be subjective and tricky, and feedback from you as we proceed is most welcome. Also, I plan to keep ads to a minimum, and prevent the site from looking like a cluttered billboard.

Finally, I will be getting married (to the Snow White of the Left, as Majority Report listeners know her) on June 10, and then heading off for a long honeymoon for the rest of the month. In my absence, I’m lining up a stellar group of guest bloggers to keep LiberalOasis humming. More on that next week.

If posting next week is a little erratic, blame the redesign and pending nuptials.

Thanks for your readership and support.
Bill Scher

The Blog Wire
Tracking the liberal blogosphere

**************

Wait!
The debut book from LiberalOasis' Bill Scher
Available 9/19/06
Pre-order today at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Powell's

**************

Angry Bear: "[New Treasury Sec. Henry] Paulson’s credibility will be destroyed if his only role is to sell the false notion that we can have permanent tax cuts without massively reducing Federal spending."

TPMmuckraker: "[The AP's John] Solomon has written a new piece purporting to illustrate still more of [Harry] Reid's ethical improprieties[, but] as was the case with Abramoff and the Marianas, Reid voted against the peddler's interest."

War and Piece: "San Diego Union-Tribune [has] definitive coverage of the Brent Wilkes-sponsored Watergate poker parties, and multiple-sourced accounts of the CIA aviation contract."

Altercation: "I went to a dinner for Al Gore last night ... I feel even more certain now, he’s thinking about [running for President]."

National Journal: "On September 29, 2003 ... Robert Novak telephoned ... Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being harmed by the investigation ... Suspicious that Rove and Novak might have devised a cover story during that conversation to protect Rove, federal investigators briefed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft on the matter in the early stages of the investigation .."

MyDD: Internet Freedom bill passes House cmte

Thoughts of an Average Woman: "why did Hastert have his pants in a wad over the FBI raid on Jefferson's congressional office? Because Hastert could very well be next."

The Left Coaster: "Mr. Cheney, we now know that your Energy Task Force had a convicted felon as a participant. How can you justify keeping those deliberations secret?"

Demagogue: "Clergy opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment are coming out of the closet. Not just a few, either."

Arms Control Wonk: Judy Miller busted again, misleading readers about Libya's WMD

Public Campaign Action Fund: Sign our petition demanding that Rep. Jefferson resign from Congress.

In These Times: "Charting a Sane Course in the Middle East," a roundtable discussion

**************

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Liberal Oasis Logo Design: Ed Kim | Advice and Assistance: LuckyDave, Gina-Louise Sciarra and Maya Voskoboynikov | Special Thanks to Eric Alterman, Bartcop, Hated.com, MediaWhoresOnline and Smirking Chimp for their early cybersupport