SHORT TAKES: Palestinians Do DC, Petraeus, Assad, Debates, Zimbabwe, Los Angeles, Railroads vs. Trucks

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PALESTINIANS IN GEORGETOWN There’s been a lull lately in the conflict between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. But it probably won’t remain that way for long. Yet, given the way Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his large delegation have been living it up at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Georgetown since yesterday, one could conclude Hamas surrendered, Abbas was in complete control of all Palestinians and the Israelis had cut a deal with him. Spirits…

Cheney’s Compulsive Obsession with Iraq WMDs & Syrian Nukes

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Even after all of this time and President Bush’s own abandonment of the WMD theme, Vice President Richard Cheney is still convinced that there are hidden WMDs in the Middle East that bear Saddam Hussein’s product mark. A source reported to me yesterday that in the last two weeks, Cheney held forth at a meeting on Iraq WMDs and insisted that they were real and still out there. Cheney believes that Syria has them — and has been watching closely…

Clinton-Obama Immaturity Can Be Fixed by Joint Ticket

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Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are escalating an immature tit-for-tat exchange on who their blocks of supporters would go to if not to each of them respectively. Obama has said “I have no doubt … that I can get her votes; the question is, can she get mine?” Most don’t doubt Obama’s high-flying vision. Those who doubt him question his political maturity and federal level experience. Some used to doubt his ability to organize a large scale election machine…

Coal Here vs. Coal Over There

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Riddle me this: why is coal “the dirtiest fuel on earth” when Europe burns it but a potential global warming and “energy independence” solution here at home? Elisabeth Rosenthal writes in the New York Times: “At a time when the world’s top climate experts agree that carbon emissions must be rapidly reduced to hold down global warming, Italy’s major electricity producer, Enel, is converting its massive power plant here from oil to coal, generally the dirtiest fuel on earth.” I…

PETRAEUS SUCCEEDS FALLON AT CENTCOM

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Bush is provoking the military establishment with lessons regarding reward and punishment by appointing General David Petraeus to serve as William Fallon’s successor as Commander of Central Command, or CentCom. Petraeus is on track for a 2012 presidential run possibility — even though he has stated he “will never run.” The New York Times and The Washington Note discussed this possibility recently. More on this breaking news in a bit. — Steve Clemons

SHORT TAKES: The Torturers, Syrian Nukes, NC Dem Debate, the Political Low Road, Bolivia and CIA, Beirut Tourism

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THEY AUTHORIZED TORTURE. . .AND THEN WATCHED Cheney chief of staff David Addington — author of one of the key “torture memos” — actually went to Guantanamo to see torture harsh interrogation techniques applied to Guantanamo prisoners. Accompanying him were Alberto Gonzales and Department of Defense General Counsel Jim Haynes. All of this is described in a forthcoming book by a friend and colleague Philippe Sands titled Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law. Phillippe Sands, Lawrence Wilkerson,…

Mike Mullen: Iran Killing Coalition Soldiers

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On Monday evening, I heard Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen speak at the annual Atlantic Council gala dinner, following Rupert Murdoch, Jim Jones, Brent Scowcroft, Tony Blair, and Colin Powell. I’ve been a fairly strong fan of Mullen since he ascended to his most recent post, but last night knocked him down a few notches. Without offering more than assertion — and certainly going farther than Defense Secretary Robert Gates has gone as of late, Mullen stated that Iran is…