Thursday, August 31, 2006

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Takes On Rumsfeld's Arrogance and Incompetence

I've read several biographies of Winston Churchill. He made a lot of mistakes in his life but his shining moment was his brilliant leadership in World War Two. One of the keys to that leadership was that he was part of a true coalition government (so was Roosevelt). One of the consequences of a coalition government in an emergency is that ideology is forced to take a back seat to facts, and the Churchill of World War Two was driven by facts. The same cannot be said about the Bush presidency.

Steve Clemons of The Washington Note has the text of an editorial that Keith Olbermann gave after Rumsfeld's demagogic, we know all the answers speech the other day. Here it is:

Olberman: The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld's remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis--and the sober contemplation--of every American.

For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration's track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life's blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as "his" troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld's speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril--with a growing evil--powerful and remorseless.

That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld's, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the "secret information." It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld's -- questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England's, in the 1930's.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions -- its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all -- it "knew" that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic's name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History -- and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England -- have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty -- and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy.

Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today's Omniscient ones.

That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count -- not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience -- about Osama Bin Laden's plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein's weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina's impact one year ago -- we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their "omniscience" as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire "Fog of Fear" which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have -- inadvertently or intentionally -- profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer's New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we -- as its citizens-- must now address, is stark and forbidding.

But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart -- that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld's other main assertion, that this country faces a "new type of fascism."

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: "confused" or "immoral."

Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," he said, in 1954. "We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

"We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular."

And so good night, and good luck.

Let's hope for the sake of our country that we start hearing more words like this, and not just from Mr. Olberman.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pelosi Says Rumsfeld's Judgment Is Impaired

I know some Democrats wish Pelosi would speak with a stronger voice but when circumstances are right, she can tell it like it is. Donald Rumsfeld spent his first two and a half years strutting around like a bantam rooster. Remember "old Europe" and "shock and awe" and "decapitation" and "we know where the WMDs are" and finally, "stuff happens"? Raw Story has a post on what Pelosi had to say:
Earlier today on MSNBC, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that she had "long thought" that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's "judgment has been impaired," a day after Rumsfeld compared critics of the Bush Administration's war in Iraq to Nazi-era "appeasers."

"I have long thought that the Secretary of Defense's judgment has been impaired," Rep. Pelosi told MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell. "Two and a half years ago, I called for his resignation."

Pelosi called on President Bush to publicly denounce Rumsfeld's statements.

"He speaks for the administration, so I can only assume that his words are the words of the president," said Pelosi. " If they are not, it behooves the president of the United States to reject this characterization of political debate in our country."

We all know Rumsfeld's type. People who talk loud but aren't competent always try to blame others for their own blunders and incompetence. Rumsfeld should simply do us all a favor and step down.

Finding a Thoughtful Post on Iraq

The Daily Kos sometimes talks about how some of the better posts on the diaries can easily get lost in the business of the day; they try to repost some of those better ones from time to time. I notice sometimes I get caught up in my own business of the day. Terrell of Alone on a Limb posted an excerpt from the Questing Parson the other day and at first I ignored it and went on to other things. But later I came back, clicked on the link and read a long, thoughtful post on Iraq, religion and war. Here's a couple of excerpts:
The Reverend Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota, garnered some attention back in April, 2004. A conservative evangelical pastor, he shattered the traditional image of such folk by preaching a series of sermons on why his church should not be involved in the chorus of right-wing political activity so prevalent that year. Twenty percent of his congregation walked out.

From that experience, Dr. Boyd has written a book, The Myth of A Christian Nation, How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church. It is a timely work. He states his thesis in the Introduction.
My thesis, which caused such an uproar, is this: I believe a significant segment of American evangelicalism is guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry. To a frightful degree, I think, evangelicals fuse the kingdom of God with a preferred version of the kingdom on the world (whether it’s our national interests, a particular form of government, a particular political program, or so on). Rather than focusing our understanding of God’s kingdom in the person of Jesus – who, incidentally, never allowed himself to get pulled into the political disputes of his day – I believe many of us American evangelicals have allowed our understanding of the kingdom of God to be polluted with political ideals, agendas, and issues.


In a previous posting on the 108th Armored National Guard troops returning to my town from Iraq, I wrote of Major Chaplain John Morris. He served two tours with the Minnesota National Guard, and talked with Krista Tippett on the American Public Media show Speaking of Faith. The show was titled, “The Soul of War.” In this program, Major Morris relates:

There’s a spiritual dynamic that I think often we, and I’m speaking of American military forces, fail to take into account and it’s to our demise … in this fight we call the Global War on Terrorism. We say we understand that the people we’re fighting are motivated by an ideology that’s an aberrant view of religion. That’s a great line, but I’ve often had to really be forceful with commanders that “You don’t understand. These people are tapping into something in the spiritual realm and if you fail to take it seriously it doesn’t matter how long we fight we will not defeat them.

I’m going to be blunt. And I don’t say this for effect; it’s just reality. We’re in a war, but this is a war where you cannot kill enough people to win. … We have to take seriously religious leaders; we have to take seriously the religious worldview of people. We have to think that when we fire that weapon and we miss, that round goes somewhere, and when it hits somebody else that’s innocent, it has a ripple effect of a culture that takes seriously life and death, clan and family. . . .

There's a lot of anger in the country right now. A lot of that anger is on the right and there are people who have deliberately stoked that anger for their purposes. But those on the right aren't the only ones who are angry. Anger clouds judgment and a country whose collective intelligence is marred by clouded judgment is going to continue to make mistakes. It's time to take a deep breath and look where we are. And it's time to change before we dig a deeper hole.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Republicans in Increasing Disarray; Bush and his Top Honchos Desperate

These are strange times and I have no desire to gloat over the disarray of Republicans. In some ways, the most dangerous people in the world are those who realize blunders have been made but who aren't particularly anxious to admit it. This is by no means something that is unique to Republicans. In fact, nearly every week, I come across an article about the Middle East where one of the many ethnic or religious groups is unable to admit and accept responsibility for their own blunders or mistakes.

Over the last few decades, liberal Democrats, of course, have made their own mistakes and have been stubborn at times about admitting it. But a different kind of mistake is rubbing people's faces in their blunders. It is never a smart move, particularly when we need to focus on the future. But it's a difficult line to walk. Our country faces serious problems on many fronts and it's important to properly identify those problems, to start working on solutions and to isolate wealthy interests whose greed and stupidity are endangering our future. But it's also important to somehow restore civility and some level of respect among people who don't agree about a wide range of issues, even if some of those people are deliberately trying to be divisive.

Every election for the last few years has been important and things have not gone well for the health of the nation. I would like to believe that Americans finally understand what's happening and that there are seriously damaging consequences if we continue to let Bush do whatever he wants without any accountability.

In the following article, in Insight Magazine, the word liberal seems to be defined as anything that doesn't agree with the dominant right wing philosophy of Washington at the moment (well the magazine is conservative); be that as it may, here's some excerpts (hit tip to Huffington Post) about the growing disarray among Republicans:
President Bush has been trying to maintain a united Republican Party amid flagging conservative support and a split with the GOP’s liberal wing.

The two wings are so far apart that party strategists no longer envision a united front for the November congressional elections. The strategists said many of the liberals, already alienated from the White House, have been campaigning as opponents of the president in an effort to win re-election as part of an expected Democratic Party sweep of Congress.

''I think we've lost our way,'' said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican and possible presidential contender in 2008. ''And I think the Republicans are going to be in some jeopardy for that and will be held accountable.''

The key leaders of the GOP’s liberal wing have been Mr. Hagel and Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut...


Mr. Shays, who concluded a visit to Iraq last week, has broken with Mr. Bush and supports a Pentagon withdrawal timetable from Iraq.

He has blamed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for the Iraq war amid plans to hold three House hearings titled "Iraq: Democracy or Civil War."


"If the Republican Party is no longer the party of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, limited government, or fiscal restraint, then what is it?" asked the Cato Institute....

The article talks about a liberal wing of the Republican party. To be honest, I didn't know there were enough moderates and traditional conservatives left to make up a 'liberal' wing.

After years of people like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson and a host of right wing commentators, I'm not sure how many Americans recognize just how much our politics have been drifting to the right, but there have been consequences to that drift and the main consequence has been the rise of powerful people so ideological and so incompetent that they have left the United States weaker than it was six years ago.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The PR President

With his sleeves rolled up for the cameras and his nose red from his vacation, our failed president is once again in full PR mode. Funny how efficient Bush is when it comes to public relations and how inefficient he is when it comes to doing his job. Rep. Nancy Pelosi has a column on The Huffington Post that reminds us of the reality behind Bush's latest attempt to buff up his image:
It's no secret that the Bush Administration values politics and press opportunities over policy. But the dichotomy between the White House media campaign marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the harsh reality Gulf Coast residents have been facing these past 12 months is unconscionable. President Bush has devoted more time and preparation to this public relations blitz than to helping the people of the Gulf Coast.

While the President pats himself on the back and touts his Administration's appalling performance, thousands of families are still waiting for FEMA trailers. The incompetence, mishandling, and shear opportunistic greed that has occurred under the President's watch has been stunning - with $2 billion of the $19 billion spent by FEMA having been wasted on fraud and abuse. But even as families continue to wait for temporary housing, the locks on as many as 118,000 trailers used by Gulf Coast hurricane victims have to be replaced because they could be opened by multiple keys. Tests have also revealed that 94 percent of FEMA trailers tested have hazardous levels of formaldehyde gas, a respiratory irritant and carcinogen. When it comes to the health, security and protection of the American people, negligence and failure have no place.

I can still remember Bush's televised speech from New Orleans in Jackson Square. There were floodlights providing Bush with a nice PR background. The only problem is that there was no electricity for the lights but Karl Rove brought in generators for the speech. And afterwards, the lights went out and the generators were sent away. That in essence is the Bush presidency: action when the cameras are rolling and inaction when the cameras are off.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Barry Goldwater: Yesterday's Conservative

I can remember when Republican presidential Barry Goldwater was considered by many to be too conservative for the country. The times have changed; here's the story from The Carpetbagger:
You know the Republican Party has shifted to the far-right when Barry Goldwater starts to sound like a liberal.
An interview in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine with C.C. Goldwater reveals that her HBO film to be aired Sept. 18 paints her late grandfather, Sen. Barry Goldwater, "as a kind of liberal," with testimonials from Al Franken, Sen. Ted Kennedy, James Carville and Sen. Hillary Clinton.

In 1996, Goldwater joked to Bob Dole, "We're the new liberals of the Republican Party. Can you imagine that?" As it turns out, yes.

How the times have changed.

Hillary Clinton Helping Lamont

After campaigning for Lieberman in the primaries, Senator Clinton is now supporting the winner of the Democratic primary in Connecticut, Ned Lamont. She's also sending an adviser as noted Taegan Goddard's Political Wire (hat tip to the Huffington Post):
Howard Wolfson, one of Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) closest political advisers, said he will join Ned Lamont's (D) U.S. Senate campaign in Connecticut as an adviser, the AP reports.
Senator Clinton may be running for president but she's also behaving now like someone who's thinking about being the Senate Majority Leader. Good.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Night Poetry

I'm always in awe of ancient Chinese poets but they were just as human as we are. Po Chu-I was a great poet, but he was always looking at things from unexpected angles. In fact, sometimes, he could be a bit of a wise guy, with a wink.

The Philosopher: Lao-Tzu

"Those who speak know nothing:
Those who know are silent."
Those words, I am told,
Were spoken by Lau-tzu.
If we are to believe that Lau-tzu
Was himself one who knew,
How comes it that he wrote a book
Of five thousand words?

—Po Chu-I


The Strange and Astonishing Ann Coulter

Pundit wannabe Ann Coulter has made many erroneous and inflammatory comments over the last few years. Nevertheless, the networks and cable news keep inviting her back despite her low credibility. But even Fox News may be getting tired of her nonsense; Think Progress has the story:
Last night on Hannity and Colmes, guest host Kirsten Powers confronted Ann Coulter about President Bush’s failure to capture Osama Bin Laden and the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

Coulter responded, “As for catching Osama, it’s irrelevant. Things are going swimmingly in Afghanistan.” Powers blasted Coulter for her answer. Coulter then abruptly decided to end her participation in the middle of the segment, saying, “OK, well, good night! It was nice being here.”

Perhaps Ann Coulter could explain her comments to the victims of 9/11. I imagine the British, Spanish and a few other folks around the world take a dim view of her comments about Osama bin Laden. It's a bit like saying terrorism is irrelevant.

As for her comments about Afghanistan, there have been more American deaths in the last two years than the first two years. Afghanistan was winnable until the Decider-in-Chief decided to take us to Iraq and put Afghanistan on the back burner. The more Ann Coulter speaks, the more ridiculous she makes Republicans look. Perhaps Bush ought to distance himself from her strange and astonishing punditry.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Slippery Definitions of Oil Supply

It's been obvious for over thirty years that the United States needs to develop alternative energy. The one thing that is not happening like the good old days is the discovery of new sources of light sweet crude to replace old sources of light sweet crude that have already been pumped out and used. The problem has existed for many years and has managed to get hidden by the fact that oil companies found all kinds of clever ways over the years to pump the oil out of existing fields at a faster rate.

Here's an article by Jay Fitzgerald of the Boston Herald on what I consider a mildly deceptive report:
A new report by a Cambridge research firm challenges the notion that the world is running out of oil.

High oil and gas prices may be hurting the economy and forcing motorists to dig deeper into their wallets to drive around. But higher prices are also encouraging companies to invest in projects to boost oil and gas production capacity across the world, according to Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

The firm released a study yesterday that said oil and natural-gas production capacity should rise by 25 percent by 2015, thanks largely to investments in new “unconventional” petroleum sources, such as oil-sand deposits and oil shale.

"Unconventional" petroleum is not what is meant when people talk about oil peaking (in coming years, even coal is going to be converted to "unconventional petroleum" or natural gas and at the moment there is plenty of coal). When we see $75/barrel for oil, that's the top dollar being paid for light sweet crude which is getting tougher to come by; increasingly the oil industry is turning to heavier grades of crude though they're much harder to refine. Another way to say this is that the production of light sweet crude is no longer able to keep up with demand. Light sweet crude oil is generally a very efficient source of energy, the easiest oil to pump and clearly the easiest oil to process and use.

And here's another way to look at this as well: thirty years ago some famous oilfields full of light sweet crude had reserves so large it was thought they would last a hundred years and according to the technology of the time that was an honest assessment. But because technology improved how much faster the oil can be pumped out, some of those same hundred year oil fields are now expected to last a total of 40-60 years.

Houston, we have a problem.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Senator Biden on George W. Bush

Senator Biden is finally making a more serious bid for president by making trips to Iowa. Here's an AP story by Mike Glover on what Biden had to say about Bush:
President Bush has staked out a hardline position on Iraq that is out of step with even his top military advisers and leaves the United States few options, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden said in Iowa Tuesday.

"With him digging himself in (Monday), he went even beyond what I'm confident his military advisers are saying, that under no circumstances are we going to leave," Biden said.


Biden argued that Bush's stance is so rigid it will be difficult for him to change - and that it will lock the United States into a deadly war for the foreseeable future.

"He doesn't have much of a theory but he's got a lot of opinions and he holds to them very firmly," Biden said.

Of the last six presidents or so, Bush knows the least about the Middle East with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan. Opinions and advisers going every which way in the Bush administration is no way to run a foreign policy after five years in office; some lower level Bush advisers are even famous for sticking their fingers up in the air to see which way the winds are blowing so they can adjust their 'advice.' Part of the problem is that the advisers themselves don't seem to know what Bush's policies are because Bush has made such mush of his own foreign policy; for Bush, it's full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes; but he hasn't a clue about the Middle East or the consequences of his policies. I should also note that the last president to be as rigid as Bush was Herbert Hoover who did nothing for the longest time as America sank into the Great Depression 75 years ago.

Joe Biden knows foreign policy backwards and forwards. He isn't always the most disciplined politician, but he's clearly one of the most able people in the Senate. If he doesn't win the Democratic nomination, I hope someone considers him for one of the main cabinet positions.

One thing that would help Biden perhaps is explaining how he tried for a long time to help Bush but that Bush is a poor listener. It's an important story for Americans to understand and Biden is uniquely qualified to tell it.

Speaking of other presidential possibilities, I noticed the AP story also mentioned the following:
Tuesday's event benefited Loebsack, a Cornell College professor and longtime Democratic activist, who is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Leach in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District.

Loebsack, who is an underdog in his race, has been the beneficiary of visits from several Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Biden, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

It's great to see these familiar Democrats making the rounds and I hope they show up around the country wherever there are close races.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bush Brings Back the Back Door Draft

Instead of being honest and drafting people through the front door, Bush is drafting people through the back door after they have served their country; Lolita C. Baldor of The Washington Post has the story:
The Marine Corps will soon begin ordering thousands of its troops back to active duty because of a shortage of volunteers for Iraq and Afghanistan —the first involuntary recall since the early days of the war.

Up to 2,500 Marines will be brought back at a time, and there is no cap on the total number who may be forced back into service as the military helps fight the war on terror.

It seems to me the Marines aren't being called back into duty to 'fight the war on terror.' They're being brought back to clean up Bush's mess in Iraq. It would be useful to remind people that the war in Iraq was first of all an optional war and secondly, that Bush failed to send enough troops in the first place, and failed to put together a large enough multinational force to have a reasonably chance of winning the peace. If we stop and think about it a moment, the failure to finish the job in Afghanistan has also cost Bush needed troops.

If, by chance, the Bush administration drags us into a larger war, will Bush be honest enough to demand a real draft? Remember, if Bush's incompetence drags us into a larger war and he suddenly realizes we need far more troops, a draft might mean it would take a year to get our troops fully up to speed. The danger is that Bush might use an extended bombing campaign to make up for his shortsightedness but then if a bombing campaign only makes things worse we're back to the next problem which Bush has never been very good at managing: what then?

War is a last resort; it is not a short cut or a substitute for the hard work of diplomacy. Bush has still not learned that lesson. Bush is not a war president. He's a what then? president.

Humor: The Best Medicine

The Left Coaster has posted an excellent cartoon by Nick Anderson that catches some of the absurdities of the times.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Most Americans Do Not Trust Bush

If Bush knew what he were doing, he would fire Donald Rumsfeld and either force Cheney to resign or severely cut back what Cheney can do (a vice president only does what a president permits him to do). Many of us have known for a long time now that Bush is incompetent and not particularly honest. Hurricane Katrina finally woke up most Americans to the fact that Bush is basically clueless about how to do his job. Any pretense that Bush knows what he's doing went out once the civil war in Iraq started. But now, to add insult to injury, Bush is now talking down to Americans as if he knew what he was doing. What he's really saying once again is: trust me. I believe we're past that point. CNN has released its latest polls:
Just 35 percent of 1,033 adults polled say they favor the war in Iraq; 61 percent say they oppose it -- the highest opposition noted in any CNN poll since the conflict began more than three years ago.


A bare majority (51 percent) say they see Bush as a strong leader, but on most other attributes he gets negative marks. (Interactive: Poll results)

Most Americans (54 percent) don't consider him honest, most (54 percent) don't think he shares their values and most (58 percent) say he does not inspire confidence.

Okay, how long can a leader be considered strong if he's not honest and he doesn't inspire confidence? I suspect Americans are being more generous to Bush than they really feel, but who knows?

I wonder how many people are making the connection between Bush's failed foreign policy and such things as high oil prices? First, Bush's bungled policies have led to a rise in oil prices. Higher oil prices means more money to such nations as Iran which turns around and sends more arms to people like Hezbollah. We, in turn, become more dependent on foreign oil. Bush, in the meantime, doesn't have an energy policy worthy of the name because he likes all that money the oil companies give to the Republican Party. More and more Americans are having trouble figuring out exactly what President Bush has done for our country lately.

Bush says he doesn't pay attention to the polls. I can't think of much that he does pay attention to. Perhaps this fall, in the midterm elections, voters can send Bush a message he does understand.

Time Magazine on Hillary Clinton

Time Magazine has a story for subscribers on Hillary Clinton and her probable run for president. Here's another Time article on Hillary's place in the polls:
Most Americans agree that Hillary Clinton is intelligent (81%) and that she's politically moderate (67%). She's the Democratic nominee they'd support the most if she runs for President (leading the field with 46%, just ahead of Al Gore's 41). And a majority (53%) agree that she makes a generally favorable impression. They don't agree on much else.

Hillary Clinton would make a fine president but there are twelve other Democrats thinking of running and once their campaigns get running we will probably see changes in the polls. We're now in the midterm elections and the time to get serious about Democrats running for president will be well under way by the middle of November. There's a question Democrats need to ask about Hillary before the Republicans do; it's simply a question about the role of Bill Clinton in a Hillary Clinton presidency. Time has some interesting numbers on the situation:
No matter what their political affiliation, most Americans — 67% — think Bill should play some role in Hillary's campaign. And, really, who would turn down Bill Clinton's campaign advice? But should she win, only 18% think he should play a major role in her administration, with 42% seeing no role at all; even Democrats come down mostly on the side of a minor role (43% ) for the popular former President, with fully 32% wanting him to step aside entirely. Not surprisingly, 61% of Republicans, faced with the prospect of a another Clinton administration, want at least one of those Clintons to step aside.

I'm not convinced anyone has really thought any of this through, including Hillary. I also wish the Democrats had the advantage of getting advice from a former president rather than advice from the husband of a potential candidate; the advice of a former president is a lot easier to take seriously in a time of national crisis.

Bush Administration: Your Government at Work

The Bush administration has repeatedly interfered with the work and staff of the CIA but it has also interfered with British investigations. In 2004, somebody in the White House (Karl Rove perhaps?) outed a double agent in Pakistan in an attempt to steal headlines from the Democrats during their convention. The British were not happy since it interfered with an investigation and cut off an important source of information. It has happened again. Justin Rood of TPMMuckraker reports:
Last week I noted the curious silence from the Bush administration about leaks to the press that appeared potentially damaging to the ongoing investigation of the British "liquid terror" plot.

Not everyone has been so sanguine as the White House, apparently. British counterterror police have angrily requested the FBI quit leaking sensitive information about the ongoing probes, according to the British paper, the Observer...

Apparently, publicity about catching terrorists is more important to Bush and Karl Rove than the reality of catching terrorists. There's growing evidence, however, that Americans aren't buying the scare tactics anymore. Terrorism is real but Americans are getting tired of being manipulated around the issue.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Even If Iraq Splinters, It Belongs to the Iraqis

Thanks to Bush's bungling, Pandora's Box is wide open in Iraq and possibly the wider Middle East. More and more people acknowledge that Iraq is in a civil war. What is not acknowledged, and this is very important, is that Iraq belongs to the Iraqis even if their country splinters into Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite zones. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Dr. Rice have shown no capacity for dealing with Iraq's problems but they show a dangerous inclination to possibly drag the United States into a wider war. Although I have reservations about many of their observations in their Washington Post article, at least Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack agree that Iraq has already crossed the line:
The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war.

In the following sentence after the above, I begin to disagree:
Indeed, the only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into total Bosnia-like devastation is 135,000 U.S. troops -- and even they are merely slowing the fall.

This sentence already implies that a larger force would stop the civil war and there is no larger force to bring in from the United States and no European country with a credible force is going to volunteer to clean up Bush's mess. Second, without a draft, there can be no talk of a greater American presence, at least not until twelve to eighteen months after Congress votes on what is likely to be a very unpopular draft. Third, comparison to Bosnia are convoluted at best; who's the Iraqi Milosovich? Fourth, diplomacy at this point could be far more effective than concentrating on military action but we need multiple parties involved; there is much to discuss. Fifth, we need to get out of the business of taking sides. Sixth, there are millions of people in the Middle East who do not want civil war or a larger conflict but they are being marginalized, often by our own actions; you can't even pretend you're talking about democracy if millions are not part of the dialogue. Seventh, and this is the most important, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, perhaps millions, are losing or have already lost faith in the United States to effect a decent solution; in the absence of effective American leadership, many Iraqis are working out their own solution violent though it may be; in addition, even if the US were not there (and we should at least have a presence in the vicinity), Iran would have its own set of problems if it tried moving in on Iraq; we spend too much time threatening Iran instead of talking with them, though every time Bush rattles his sabers, talk becomes more difficult. At the very least, we need to stop pretending that right wing neoconservatives have all the answers; they are in fact part of the problem, not the solution.

Read the article but be wary of what the authors are saying; some of it is useful, some of it is not.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Many Places Looking for Poll Workers

It's important for people to be involved in the coming midterm elections. Many polling places are looking for poll workers which is a close up way of seeing democracy in action. Democratic headquarters around the country are also looking for volunteers. Check your local Democratic headquarters or county registrar's office to get more information.

Here's Zappini of Daily Kos explaining what it's like to go through training for inspector in Washington state (inspectors are the head people of usually a group of three to five poll workers). Zappini also expresses some skepticism about touch screen voting. I also prefer paper ballots used by optical scanners. If there's a problem, it doesn't take long to count paper ballots by hand and see if the results matches the scanners.

One word of caution for voters. Make sure you're properly registered in the place you live. In the last presidential election, people were assuming they were covered by the new provisional ballot laws in a number of states. Technically, voters are covered but provisional ballots are easy to challenge and they're usually counted several days later, which is not a cool way to operate if it's a close election. Take the time to be sure you're properly registered.

Breaking from Politics for a Sports Story

If Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly can spend several days at a science fiction convention, I can take five minutes to write on one of my favorite football players: Jerry Rice. Here's the story from AP by way of MSNBC:
Receiver Jerry Rice will retire as a member of the San Francisco 49ers next week.

Rice, who holds most of the significant NFL receiving records, won three Super Bowls during 16 years with the 49ers. He will sign a contract Thursday at the 49ers’ training complex before making his retirement official, the club officially announced Saturday. The wideout will be honored again during halftime of the 49ers’ game against the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 19.

Gary Radnich, a local TV sportscaster, once ran a tape of most of Rice's touchdown catches to that point in his career. Jerry caught the passes low, he caught them high, he caught them all alone, he caught them in crowds: it was amazing footage to watch. He's a player many of us will long remember.

If the Cameras Are On, Bush Promises a Lot...

When Bush makes promises, they're usually a page one story; when he doesn't fulfill his promises, the story is lost somewhere in the back pages. Bush fell down on the job when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi and then he tried to make up for it with some public relations appearances and by promising Trent Lott to rebuild his expensive home. Okay, that didn't go over with the voters too well so he flew in and made promises to rebuild New Orleans. Karl Rove was very pleased with the prime time coverage, the statue of Andrew Jackson and the lights he set up for the event (which were turned off immediately afterward). Too bad Karl Rove doesn't have any talent in helping Bush keep his promises or get the facts right in the first place.

Matt Crenson of AP has a followup almost a year after Katrina:
Nearly half of New Orleans was still under water when President Bush stood in the Crescent City's historic Jackson Square and swore he would "do what it takes" to rebuild the communities and lives that had been laid to waste two weeks before by Hurricane Katrina.

"Our goal is to get the work done quickly," the president said.

He promised to spend federal money wisely and accountably. And he vowed to address the poverty exposed by the government's inadequate Katrina response "with bold action."

A year after the storm, the federal government has proven slow and unreliable in keeping the president's promises.


...More than 100,000 families moved into trailers or mobile homes parked either in the yards of their damaged houses or in makeshift compounds.

Meanwhile, FEMA flailed and flip-flopped on its contracting policies for trailers, mobile homes and other temporary shelter. The first big contracts were handed out non-competitively to four well-connected companies - Shaw Group, Bechtel Corp., CH2M Hill Inc. and Fluor Corp. Then in October FEMA director R. David Paulison promised to rebid the contracts after Congress complained that smaller companies, especially local and minority-owned firms, should have a chance to compete for the work.

A month after that, FEMA said the new contracts would not be awarded until February. That deadline came and went, and then in March a FEMA official announced that the contracts weren't going to be rebid after all.

Like I said, promises made and then nothing. Unless you're a wealthy friend of George or a wealthy campaign contributor, you're out of luck. Our government has become a racket.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Night Poetry

Some 70 million people died in World War Two. Signs of that great struggle can still be found. Here's another Chinese poem, this one translated by Kenneth Rexroth. One reason I keep quoting the Chinese is that they wrote often more than a thousand years ago from the viewpoint of the average man or woman rather than the viewpoint of warriors and kings.

Traveling Northward

Screech owls moan in the yellowing
Mulberry trees. Field mice scurry,
Preparing their holes for winter.
Midnight, we cross an old battlefield.
The moonlight shines cold on white bones.

—Tu Fu


John Kerry Gets the Hang of Blogging

Too bad John Kerry wasn't elected in 2004; our country would be on the right course by now. Kerry has a diary/blog on Daily Kos; here's some excerpts:
...once a primary is decided, we've got to stand up and be counted. In Connecticut, Democrats chose Ned Lamont, and we need to stand with Ned as he challenges the broken policy in Iraq. I mean really stand with him - put our money where our mouths are. No half hearted endorsements. It's gut check time for Democrats. Connecticut chose a Democrat who will go head to head with Don Rumsfeld and fight for a policy that makes Iraqis stand up for Iraq.

I spent a long time talking with Ned on the phone on Saturday. I was reminded what a small world this is. My Dad knew Ned Lamont when Ned was a young man and they shared a passion for the sea. My father was Greatest Generation tough, and he cared so much about America's role in the world. After volunteering to fly DC-3's during World War II, Dad was a foreign service officer because he knew America had to win the peace as effectively as we'd won the war. My father had misgivings about the Vietnam War even before I served. Knowing him and what he stood for, if my father was alive today, I know what he'd think of the foreign policy failure of this administration and the mess in Iraq. He'd want to see us change course, and he'd support the courage of guys like Ned Lamont who want to restore America's proper place leading the world and fixing the mess in Iraq.


[Update] A few of you have asked if I will travel to Connecticut to campaign for Ned - the answer is yes, absolutely. We're scheduling a trip and I'm looking forward to it.


Buffy Orpington asked about the wiretapping decision today. Today's decision proves one important thing: no one is above the law. We all know this administration is good at hiding the truth and spinning the politics and sorely lacking when it comes to making us safer in the world.

Next, Red Sox asked if he can count on me to work hard for other candidates this cycle - the answer is yes -- I'm not letting up, absolutely yes. I've already supported over 165 candidates across the country, from country chair to United States Senate races. And I mean support - we've raised or given away something like 10 M dollars....

John Kerry would have made a fine president. I can't imagine Bush doing anything other than going into his phony public relations mode trying to hide his right wing agenda; when's the last time Bush gave an honest answer to a real American? I mean someone who wasn't preselected to hear his phony speeches, etc? Can anyone imagine Bush on a computer? I can still remember his father not knowing what a price scanner was.

I'll take Kerry any day over Bush. Having said that, I confess that I share a bias of other voters of wanting to move on to other candidates in 2008 but I don't want to overlook Kerry. I won't count him out. I liked the way he wrote his post and then answered several people by using the *update* style so some of his key answers to comments are immediately visible. And I like that he's in the fight in the 2006 midterms. I notice that John Edwards is also in the fight. And so is Russ Feingold. Anyone else who is in the fight is going to have to be taken seriously in 2008. Even Al Gore who's in the fight in his own way on global warming. There's some good spirit this year.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hillary Clinton on Law and Public Service

Hillary Clinton has an article in Newsweek on the benefits of getting a law degree and going into public service. To be honest, the article is somewhat watered down but there was one paragraph that caught my attention—and why is is that so many journalists and politicians bury their most essential observations or thoughts deep inside an article?; read a few paragraphs of an article on the front page of The New York Times and you miss the best part which is somewhere back on A11 or somewhere. Anyway, here's the paragraph:
In the end, the law is a profession unlike any other. By sheer strength of argument you can right wrongs, protect society against abuse and serve the public good. At its best, law can be a field where your belief in justice can become justice itself....

It's a lesson that applies not just to law but to any situation where people can bring a level of expertise or simply informed involvement. It's a lesson that needs to be heard on the blogs a little more often.

Republican Sense of Entitlement

The Randy Cunningham affair is a comedy or tragedy depending on how one looks at it. I don't understand people who want more and more because, well, they feel entitled. Kitty Kelly has written a long article in The New Republic on Mrs. Cunningham that in some respects is very funny and in other respects is tragic. The usual Republican habit of blaming others is in full glory. Here's a couple of excerpts from Kitty Kelly's article as it appears in Truthout:
Nancy Cunningham's lawyer suggested introducing us "girls" in a quiet restaurant at the San Diego Marriott across the street from his office in the Mission Valley neighborhood. From newspaper stories, I had learned of Nancy's impressive credentials. She is bilingual and has two Masters' degrees and a Ph.D. in educational administration. But, when I read that she was suing the government for her "fair share" of equity in the house her husband had bought with bribes, I questioned just how smart this educated woman was. Who in her right mind would take on the federal authorities over that?

When I walked into the restaurant, I half-expected to meet some combination of Ma Barker and Carmela Soprano. Instead, I met a trim, attractive 54-year-old woman with honey blonde hair who looked like the president of the Junior League. Dressed appropriately for a weekday afternoon in Southern California, Nancy was wearing black-and-white checked cotton slacks, black sandals, a black twin set, and simple silver jewelry - but no wedding ring. The only discordant note was a capacious black vinyl bag stuffed with legal files, clipping folders, papers, tissues, and bottles of water.

Since the government raid on the Cunningham estate in Rancho Santa Fe, the forced sale of that property, and the public auction of most of her furnishings, Nancy has been living with her dog and her 87-year-old grandmother in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom bungalow in a downtrodden neighborhood. Her lawyer described the house as "a dump - a real dump."


Throughout our interview, Nancy referred to her husband as "Mr. Cunningham." "It's a mental distancing," she explained. "As far as I'm concerned, he no longer really exists." But, in this frosty dismissal and her constant Victorian references to "Mr. Cunningham," there was a sense of disappointment. "I have to tell you, I once idolized him," she later confessed. "He was the most charismatic person I ever met." In her recollections of their early days together, Duke mesmerized men as well as women. Despite his later lies and betrayals, she can still see him as the dashing young Navy ace. In weak moments when she isn't wishing him dead, she wonders why someone with "all the promise he once had" ever married someone like herself. "I identify with women like Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Diana," Nancy said. "They, too, had husbands like that."


The $2.55 million purchase of the house in Rancho Santa Fe became the tipping point of Duke's crash into corruption. "It was a fixer-upper. I mean, it doesn't look like that from the aerial views - it looks like an absolute Taj Mahal, and I understand that," Nancy said. But my credulity was strained as she struggled to explain how she and her husband parlayed their house in Del Mar into Rancho Taj. "He convinced me that, when he retired from Congress, he would make big money as a lobbyist, so I relaxed a little about the monthly payments," she said....


Although Nancy feels tainted by her husband's criminality, she occasionally defends him and strikes back at his detractors, knowing that she, too, is being judged the same way. Still, the crucial question remains: Did she or didn't she know the extent of her husband's corruption? The answer may be that she shared enough of her husband's Gatsby-like dream to turn a blind eye to the means he used to obtain it. But the real tragedy for Duke Cunningham is that, by the time he arrived in Washington, the prestige and glamour that he imagined he would find there were long gone. The people who had the lifestyle he fantasized about weren't politicians; they were lobbyists. And Duke, the war-hero who felt he had earned a place in the pantheon of Kennedys and Bushes, felt cheated. The psychiatrist who evaluated Duke Cunningham explained his greed in proprietary terms: "It is possible that his extraordinary deeds in the service planted a subconscious sense of entitlement, which fed his rationalization to accept these gifts [bribes] for his sacrifice."

Unbelievable. Most Republicans I have met are honest and hardworking but I have met a handful who are well-groomed men and women who feel entitled (it's not a subconscious sense) and are not shy about bending the rules and in some cases just breaking them. For some reason, quite a few Republicans of the same type have managed to make their way to Washington. And they all pity themselves when things don't go well.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bush Administration Says Everything in Iraq Is Going Great

I liked Scott McClellan. He actually looked embarrassed whenever he contorted the English language to give Bush some good spin. Tony Snow just glares and lies through his teeth. Here's today's press conference via Raw Story:
Q Is there a civil war going on in Iraq? And is the President frustrated with the lack of American public support for Iraq?

MR. SNOW: No, number one, there is not a civil war going on. I was on the phone earlier today with Major General Caldwell in Baghdad --

Q One hundred [dead] people a day?

MR. SNOW: He understands. And the other thing that's happening is that there has been -- there has been some improvement at least in the situation on the ground, slightly. Yes, you have a number of sectarian violence operations going on, but you've also seen now in targeted neighborhoods in Baghdad, there has been a notable decrease in violence in three of the neighborhoods that have been targeted in the last week, and that's obviously a promising sign; that's not a victory lap.

Prime Minister Maliki today went outside the Green Zone to talk about Iraqi forces...

Uh, isn't it a major security operation every time Maliki goes outside the Green Zone? The fantasies just go on and on. But over 3,400 people died violent deaths in Iraq last month. Sorry, no civil war, you can move along folks. That's the Bush Administration.

Why Is Bill Kristol Still Taken Seriously?

When a pundit has repeatedly been proved wrong, why do they continue to show up on TV? Bill Kristol has more pundit lives than a cat. Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly has a post on a segment of Charlie Rose where Richard Holbrooke and Bill Kristol were the guests:
Holbrooke is a guy with a ton of credibility. When he says that diplomacy has to be backed up by a credible threat of force, he obviously means it: he recommended military action twice in the Balkans during the 90s. At the same time, when he says it should be a last resort, he obviously means that too: he devoted uncounted thousands of hours to serious, toughminded diplomacy during the same period. Some of it worked and some of it didn't, but his dedication to the cause is hardly questionable.

And despite his continued unwillingness to flatly face the reality that we can't afford to stay in Iraq any longer, he had by far the better of the argument when the subject turned to Iran. Diplomacy is not, he reminded Kristol, in and of itself a sign of weakness. Of course we should be willing to talk directly to Syria and Iran, rather than leaving the job to third parties that we don't really trust to represent our interests in the first place. Kristol could do little more than splutter that there was no point since these countries already knew what we wanted and should just go ahead and knuckle under right now. It displayed an appreciation of human nature and the realities of foreign affairs that a junior high school student would have gotten low marks for.

I'll take Richard Holbrooke over Bill Kristol any day. Holbrooke, however, represents a kind of foreign policy expert that we've seen for decades now that have fallen into something of a policy trap. This is because he has three primary audiences:
a) The American foreign policy community.
b) The world.
c) The voters.

Sometimes, large segments of our foreign policy community knows what needs to be done but they have to worry about how the other segment of the foreign policy community can manipulate the voters with nonsense about the danger of showing American weakness. If a superpower cannot admit mistakes and therefore correct those mistakes, we just go down a road of making more mistakes and undermining our security and position in the world. The Soviet Union has blazed the trail on that route and it doesn't take much thought that maybe following in the footsteps of the Soviets is not such a great idea.

Holbrooke is one of the best, but we need to break our own self-imposed foreign policy trap. Even if we set aside the domestic side of Bush's policies, Bush is, by far, the most incompetent foreign policy president this nation has seen since before World War Two. We as a nation simply have to deal with the fact of Bush's mismanaged foreign policy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bush and Cheney Thinks War (or American Elections) Can Be Won with Propaganda

I remember when I was a kid we always laughed when we came across examples of Soviet propaganda. It was so lame you wondered how anyone took it seriously. Well, there are times when Bush and Cheney seem to believe their own propaganda. Here's Tom Lasseter of the McClatchy Washinton Bureau:
"The American policy has failed both in terms of politics and security, but the big problem is that they will not confess or admit that," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of parliament. "They are telling the American public that the situation in Iraq will be improved, they want to encourage positive public opinion (in the U.S.), but the Iraqi citizens are seeing something different. They know the real situation."

Othman charges that top American officials spend most of their time in the heavily guarded Green Zone in Baghdad and at large military bases across the country, and don't know what's happening in the neighborhoods and provinces beyond.


Some U.S. soldiers in Iraq reluctantly agree.

"As an intelligence officer ... I have had the chance to move around Baghdad on mounted and dismounted patrols and see the city and violence from the ground," wrote one American military officer in Iraq. "I think that the greatest problem that we deal (besides the insurgents and militia) with is that our leadership has no real comprehension of the ground truth. I wish that I could offer a solution, but I can't. When I have briefed General Officers, I have given them my perspective and assessment of the situation. Many have been surprised at what I have to say, but I suspect that in the end nothing will or has changed."

McClatchy is withholding the officer's name to protect him from possible retaliation by his superiors or political appointees in the Pentagon for communicating with the news media without authorization.

American officials and Iraqi officials appointed by them continue to orchestrate ceremonies, news conferences and speeches that suggest that things are getting better.

Let me point out that the first speaker is a Kurd and the Kurds have been our closest allies in Iraq. The reality is that even our friends can't get through to our leadership that we have a problem. And if you can't recognize that there's a problem, you can't fix it.

One of the reasons America became a great nation is simply because of our pragmatism. When the Erie Canal was built in the early 19th century, we didn't know how to build such a canal. But we learned as we went along. We recognized the problems, thought clearly about them and worked them through. It was a major accomplishment for that era. There is very little pragmatism in the White House or Republican Congress these days. Not in our foreign policy. And not in our domestic policies. It is embarrassing and a fiasco.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Iraq: Real Choices and False Choices

People who aren't interested in debate and who have an enormous ego and who are cocksure they know what they're doing based on their gut-feelings often frame issues in false either/or categories such as: you're either with me or you're against me. We've all met people like that and they're not pleasant to be around. Often, trouble follows them wherever they go. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld provide superb examples of the type. It takes an enormous public relations machine to make people forget they're being bamboozled.

The American Pundit reminds us that there are a number of arguments available for what to do about Iraq:
If the President's on the wrong track in Iraq, then what are the other options? President Bush would have you believe that the choice is "stay the course" or "cut and run", but the truth is, there are plenty of other solutions.

President Bush's offering is to "stay the course" as Iraq's rising factional violence leads to the government's disintegration and outright civil war, and US troops are forced to either choose a side or make a fighting retreat. That, of course, is the worst-case scenario, but it's a very real possibility as our highest-ranking military leaders pointed out last week. A couple days later, the top military commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, echoed that assessment, "The conflict here is transitioning from an insurgency against us to a struggle for a division of political and economic power among the Iraqis."


...While only 34% of Americans favor staying the course, according to the poll I cited earlier, only 26% think we should withdraw immediately. Politically, militarily, and realistically, "cut and run" is just not an option.

Several months ago, Senator Biden (D-Delaware) suggested creating in Iraq a republic with strong Shiite, Kurdish, and Sunni states. That's an idea that has strong support from members of the Iraqi Congress, particularly from those who represent the southern Shiite and northern Kurdish enclaves. The Sunnis vehemently oppose what they call "partitioning" because their provinces have little in the way of oil resources -- the country's only economic engine at this point -- and they're afraid they'll get the short end of the dip stick. That's a valid fear, but not an insurmountable problem, although it'll require some adroit diplomacy and probably some guarantees from the international community to solve.

American Pundit does a round up of other ideas. It's too bad the TV media continues to talk as if there are only two choices: Bush's flawed choice or a worse choice. That's not the reality. But it is an approach that George W. Bush and Karl Rove deeply appreciate being passed on to viewers.

American voters ought to know by now that Bush and his advisers do not learn from their mistakes. There was a time when stubborn administrations were called on the carpet by Congress and if the current administration couldn't explain itself, pressure grew for changes to be made, but the current Congress too is unwilling to learn from its own mistakes as it continues to give Bush a free pass. The real question this year is whether the American people will start demanding better answers and better performance from our officials, or simply continue to give Congress permission to sit on its hands while an incompetent president continues to blunder on.

Do Republicans Believe Their Own Reasoning?

We know that the Bush administration, with the help of Karl Rove, deliberately misleads Americans from time to time on various issues. Sometimes Karl Roves misguages how much he can fool the average American; a classic example was the Social Security bamboozlement that Bush tried to pull last year—nobody bought into Bush's fraud.

Even when they don't seem to be bamboozling the American people, I never know how much Republican politicians and officials buy into their own arguments. I do know that people like Karl Rove spend a lot of money finding out what appeals to focus groups and sometimes it's less important what a politician says, even if he or she is a buffoon, than how they say it. If you talk tough, Americans lap it up no matter how out to lunch your argument may be or how much evidence exists that the motivation for the arguments may lie elsewhere. Notice that every time Bush talks tough, the price of oil goes up and Bush's friends in the oil business are very happy.

Mahablog has an excellent post on Republican 'reasoning' or goofthink, as I like to call it:
Non sequitur is Latin for “it does not follow.” In English, non sequitur can refer to a response that has no relevance to what preceded it, or to a conclusion that does not follow from the premises.


An example of a conclusion that does not follow the premise — If I am in Tokyo I am in Japan. I am not in Tokyo, therefore I am not in Japan. Since there’s lots to Japan beside Tokyo, the statement is illogical.

I’ve come to believe that righties think entirely in non sequiturs.

I mentioned this in a post last week — check out this bit from Friday’s Hardball:

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D) NEW YORK: I like to quote Rumsfeld, who said that he didn‘t know whether we were creating more terrorists than we‘re killing. And I think that the terrible way in which we have gotten involved in Iraq, have no clue about how to get out, inability to have any diplomatic policy, that we got young people who are Islam but of course have now found that people are being killed, and they are being recruited to do this terrorist work.

So we‘ve created an atmosphere, not of diplomatic resolution of this problem, but thinking that we can bring peace and freedom at the end of a rifle. And it‘s not working,

MATTHEWS: Your answer, Mr. Lungren?

REP. DAN LUNGREN [Rep. -CA] Well, we weren‘t in Iraq when we lost 241 marines in Lebanon,
Five-alarm non sequitur, that.

Lungren, as far as I can tell, is one of the more honest right wing Republicans from California, but, he is, after all, from Orange County where the illogic of the John Birch Society has held sway for decades. Justifying Bush's policy blunders by going back twenty-five years to a blunder that Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, made by committing American troops into an ambiguous situation before diplomacy was completely worked out is a very strange argument to make.

Be sure to read Mahablog's entire post. She offers a link to Eric Alterman of MSNBC's Altercation who has more to say on the strange reasoning passing for political discourse these days:
One the country’s most significant problems is the stupidity of our political discourse. It’s most obvious in cable news, but it’s everywhere, in print, on the net, on the Sunday shows, on the left, on the right, on the center. It’s not just inconvenient and annoying; it interferes without our ability to address our problems and allows thugs to get away with metaphorical murder. Here’s three examples, two of which involve me.

Joe Klein represents virtually everything wrong with political discourse in this country; he’s ignorant, insulting, self-satisfied and feels himself to be some sort of victim. Witing about Connecticut, he complains of the “expected torrent of rubbish from left-wing blognuts and conservative wingnuts….nauseating triumphalism …. unblinking assertion… stupid excesses” and that’s just in the first few paragraphs. It’s all typical Klein but what caught my eye was the end, where he describes “bipartisan moderation” as “the highest form of patriotism” here. Oh really? What if the “center” goes off the rails, as in Iraq; as in the present economic policy? The Medicare bill? Etc, etc. Klein says, “Agree or else: dissent is unpatriotic.” Where does it end, Joe? Just a little bit of torture? A touch of illegal spying? Throw away half the bill of right[s]?

I don't understand the logic of people like Joe Klein. If liberals, moderates and even some conservatives say 2+2=4 and the right wingers come out and say 2+2=6, Joe Klein is one of those maddening 'moderates' who stick their fingers up in the air, and wedge themselves into the middle by splitting the difference: ahh, says Joe Klein, both sides are fools; it's obvious that 2+2=5. We're stuck with a president who has a philosophy fifty years out of date and we need analysts and journalists who can recognize that the problems of the 21st century are already here and they're being badly ignored because of 25 years of the Republican noise machine. We need to get back to the future.

9/11 and the Cynicism of Republican Leaders

A number of neocons are advocating war with Iran or even world war three. It's hard to understand how more war run by incompetents would make us safer. What's even more odious are the continued attempts by Republican politicians to keep using 9/11 to scare the voters. Paul Krugman of The New York Times brings up a few points in his column today:
We now know that from the very beginning, the Bush administration and its allies in Congress saw the terrorist threat not as a problem to be solved, but as a political opportunity to be exploited. The story of the latest terror plot makes the administration's fecklessness and cynicism on terrorism clearer than ever.

Fecklessness: the administration has always pinched pennies when it comes to actually defending America against terrorist attacks. Now we learn that terrorism experts have known about the threat of liquid explosives for years, but that the Bush administration did nothing about the threat until now, and tried to divert funds from programs that might have helped protect us. "As the British terror plot was unfolding," reports The Associated Press, "the Bush administration quietly tried to take away $6 million that was supposed to be spent this year developing new explosives detection technology."

Cynicism: Republicans have consistently portrayed their opponents as weak on terrorism, if not actually in sympathy with the terrorists. Remember the 2002 TV ad in which Senator Max Cleland of Georgia was pictuerd with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein?

The profoundly dishonest leadership of the new Republican Republican Party marches on. We went two years without terrorist alerts but the midterm elections are upon us. Will Americans be fooled again or will they notice the many failures of Bush and his friends? It seems to me that tens of millions of Americans have caught on to George W. Bush; hopefully a few more million will at long last catch on as well.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Likeable Barney Fife

Millions of Americans enjoyed the Andy Griffith show when Don Knotts played the hapless Barney Fife. Barney was tough on crime but nobody in his right mind believed he knew what he was doing.

Some Republicans argue that Bush is great at fighting terrorism but perhaps they could explain the following as reported in Democracy Arsenal:
Even if Nasrallah is killed, there will, apparently, be hundreds more. This, from the newspaper Al-Masri al-Youm (translation of the first sentence):
Health offices in Alexandria (Egypt) found that 128 newborn babies were given the name "Nasrallah."
Don't worry guys. These are the birth pangs of the "new Middle East."
In 2001, we faced 5,000 to 10,000 terrorists at the most; these were people who lived on the fringes of their societies. In late 2001, after the 9/11 attack, we had the sympathy and support of the world. Even Syria and Iran were trying to help us. Before Bush blundered into Iraq with his ridiculous neocon supporters who dream of empire, we had al Qaida utterly on the run. Now, because of Bush's cowboy diplomacy, his general stupidity, arrogance and incompetence, we face a far greater number of disgruntled people these days largely because Bush is better at making enemies than making allies. Let's hope people see Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and his other top advisers for what they are: failures. We need a Congress that will make the will of the American people clear: clean up your act, or resign.

Lessons from Franklin Roosevelt

In the past, liberals have sometimes tried to do too much and have gotten burned. On the other hand, some moderate Democrats get so cautious that they sometimes fail to show much leadership on the issues.

I've been reading a book on FDR by Richard Thayer Goldberg called, The Making of Franklin D. Roosevelt. I found this interesting passage on pages 124-125 talking about unemployment insurance; in it, Eleanor Roosevelt notes a philosophical connection between Franklin Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt:
Progressive labor leaders in New York had been discussing the need for unemployment insurance for many years. Advocates of progressive legislation from the Consumer's League, the League of Women Voters, the Women's City Club, the American Association for Labor Legislation, and the Women's Trade Union League united in support of unemployment studies.

In the winter of 1931 [during the Great Depression] Molly Dewson decided the time was opportune to call up the governor [FDR]. She wrote to Eleanor to ask whether she could see her when she came to New York. "As I drover her through the congested district, I said I wished Roosevelt would make unemployment compensation one of his major objectives. She said, 'I will speak to Franklin about it. I do not know whether he will consider it wise to take on another measure. He agrees with Uncle Teddie that, although a man can be ahead of his constituency on a couple of objectives and still be their leader, if he gets in advance of them at too many points, he ceases to be their leader and becomes separated from them.'"

If Americans understood how many issues Bush is out in front of them on (in a negative direction, one could argue), they would break with him. One of the things Bush has done effectively is hide how much he has been doing. And Democrats have not been effective at spotlighting Bush's reckless radicalism.

But let's go back to liberal and moderate Democrats. Liberal politicians in this era have lacked the public relations machinery of the Republicans and have had to be careful what issues to choose; one could argue they're too careful (though people are now finding ways to get their message out). But liberals are not nearly as cautious as moderates who are shy about leading on such easy and obvious issues as the incompetence of George W. Bush or the need to reform the corruption that is making Congress next to useless. The bottom-line is that Democrats are watching the polls too closely. The lesson of Roosevelt is that it's possible to get out in front of the nation on one or two issues regardless of the polls if the message is clear and reasonable and constantly put out. This is in addition to the issues on which Americans already tend to agree on with Democrats.

I'm not going to summarize all the candidates, but quickly, liberal Russ Feingold and moderate John Edwards are two politicians of late who have a knack of getting out in front of the crowd on one or two issues that may well prove winnable. Edwards and Howard Dean are two politicians learning how to get their messages out (Edwards is flying under the media radar somewhat at the moment but he's reaching a great many people). On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is an example of a poll watcher rather than a leader on issues; if the polls shift, she cautiously shifts while trying hard to remain consistent on her positions (there are signs she's finally realizing that she can't remain a poll watcher much longer and be credible as a presidential candidate).

I'll try to come back and say more on this.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Night Poetry

I would rather be hiking in the mountains than writing about the worst president in our nation's history. Here's a Chinese poet with similar feelings who was born more than 1,600 years ago (translation by Kenneth Rexroth with two or three minor changes).

I Return to the Place I Was Born

From my youth up I never liked the city.
I never forgot the mountains where I was born.
The world caught me and harnessed me.
And drove me through dust, twenty years away from home.
Migratory birds return to the same tree.
Fish find their way back to the pools where they were hatched.
I have been over the whole country,
And have come back at last to the garden of my childhood.
My farm is only five acres.
The farm house has two or three rooms.
Elms and willows shade the back garden.
Peach trees stand by the front door.
The village is out of sight.
You can hear dogs bark in the alleys,
And cocks crow in the mulberry trees.
When you come through the gate into the court
You will find no dust or mess.
Peace and quiet in every room.
I am content to stay here the rest of my life.
At last I have found my self.

—Tao Chien


The Terrorist That Got Away

We had him on the run, the number one terrorist in the world. Many of his lieutenants had been caught or had fled the scene. It was only a matter of hours before he was caught or so it seemed. We know Osama bin Laden left his cave in the mountains. As he was leaving, he must have looked over his shoulder, bewildered that no one was following him. He didn't know it but the truth is that our best troops were already heading for Iraq. The incompetent Rumsfeld and Bush had left an escape route for the worst terrorist of them all.

Here's the truth: Bush is an incompetent when it comes to governing. But he sure knows how to play the fear card as a way of covering up his blunders. And he sure knows how to blame others for his own stupidity. Did the Democrats let Osama bin Laden get away? Sorry, but Bush is lame on that one. Has our war in Iraq gotten the terrorists off our backs? Even Rumsfeld admitted at one point that Bush administration policies were creating more terrorists than we were killing. Is Bush winning the war in Iraq? How can he win when he can't even define what he's trying to accomplish and he keeps changing the reason every few months? The United States has gained not one advantage out of Bush's war in Iraq but Democrats and a growing majority of Americans are 'unpatriotic' if they don't support a complete fiasco? These are indeed strange times.

Now the truth is that an incompetent like Bush would never have gotten far if he weren't the son of a president and had lots of help from people in the media, people like the lunatics at FOX who, I suppose, would like the ratings advantages of world war three, or at the very least, a third war somewhere, anywhere (well, that's the way they behave).

Now it seems me the radical right has done enough harm. Here's E. J. Dionne of The Washington Post on some of the games being played by Republican dead-enders:
Oh my goodness, as Don Rumsfeld might say. Support for the Iraq war hits a record low, and all the president's hit men decide that it's time to smear their opponents as defeatists who give aid and comfort to the enemy.

Of course they didn't mention the poll on Iraq released by CNN on Wednesday. As a basis for their guilt-by-association campaign, they used the fact that Democratic voters in Tuesday's Connecticut primary favored antiwar businessman Ned Lamont over Sen. Joe Lieberman.

The gentlemen who have gotten us into a mess in Iraq prefer not to explain how they'll fix things. They would rather use national security for partisan purposes, and they were all out there on Wednesday, spewing incendiary talking points. Hey, they may not have sent enough troops to win a war, but they sure know how to win midterm elections.

My Republican grandfather was a businessman who was something of a corporate troubleshooter. If there was a problem, he was sent to fix it. He was a good man. If you were trying hard and learning from your mistakes, and wanted to get a handle on the job, he would help you. But if you were incompetent and spent a lot of time blaming others instead of owning up to your blunders, he wouldn't waste time: he made short work of you and you were out the door.

I wish more voters were like my grandfather. At least there are good signs that a large majority of Americans have at long last caught on to George W. Bush and think it's time to send some people to Congress who are willing to mind the store before George makes more of a mess. In Connecticut, people are remembering a thing called democracy; it's a way of holding people accountable who aren't getting the job done—or, who just don't seem to get it.

Joe Lieberman No Centrist

Now that Lieberman is using scare tactics we can drop any pretense that he's a centrist. Remember Bush when he said there was no difference between himself and Al Gore except character? In 2000, Bush kept selling himself as a moderate or centrist. Well, we've learned the hard way that Bush is about as right wing as they come (and no, he doesn't have much character).

It would be useful if the media would stop painting sort of likeable people like Lieberman and McCain as 'centrists' when they throw their hats in with Bush. McCain, remember, was famous for his campaign reform initiatives but he's thrown his modest reform credentials to the wind now that he's raising money for his presidential race.

Paul Krugman of The New York Times had this to say in his column today:
After Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut, I saw a number of commentaries describing Joe Lieberman not just as a "centrist"—a word that has come to mean "someone who makes excuses for the Bush administration"—but as "sensible." But on what planet would Mr. Lieberman be considered sensible?

Take a look at Thomas Ricks's "Fiasco," the best account yet of how the U.S. occupation of Iraq was mismanaged. The prime villain in that book is Donald Rumsfeld, whose delusional thinking and penchant for power games undermined whatever chances for success the United States might have had. Then read Mr. Lieberman's May 2004 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal, "Let Us Have Faith," in which he urged Mr. Rumsfeld not to resign over the Abu Ghraib scandal, because his removal "would delight foreign and domestic opponents of America's presence in Iraq."

It's a good article and I wish I could link to it. Krugman notices that Lincoln Chafee, who really is a centrist, is in danger of losing his primary to a right winger but the media is weirdly silent on that race. These are indeed strange times. Donald Rumsfeld is incompetent and dishonest. George W. Bush is incompetent and dishonest. And yet, we're asked to continue to have faith in them despite a long series of blunders that may yet drag us into a wider war that none of us need.

By all means, let us deal with terrorists without creating more of them and without destroying our country and our values. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was a far more dangerous adversary but we handled the Cold War in a way that largely kept the peace and kept our values reasonably intact. Let's not pretend that Bush is doing what's best for America. He's doing what's best for his campaign contributors and wealthy friends, even if that means fear-mongering to cover up his blunders.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More on the Downfall of Joe Lieberman

Joe Lieberman, who within hours of being defeated by Ned Lamont, sounds more and more like a neocon willing to use fear to wage a campaign, is continuing to self-destruct. It's sad to watch. Joe Conason in Working for Change has this to say:
As Connecticut Democrats went to their polling places to choose a Senate nominee, waves of rhetorical hysteria burst forth from the mouths of excitable conservatives. At stake in the primary was not only the fate of a single politician, they cried, but the very "soul of the Democratic Party" and perhaps even the fate of the West.

Moldy old terms like "appeasement" and "Stalinist" have been brandished to insinuate that anyone who dares to dissent from the failed policies adopted by Joe Lieberman and the Bush administration is at best a fool and at worst a traitor.

Such overwrought commentary, often phrased in terms of deep concern for the future of the party of F.D.R., J.F.K. and Harry S. Truman, usually emanates from commentators whose political objective is continued Republican domination of all branches of government. Democrats should reject the premises of this propaganda barrage -- which is designed to deceive but only reveals an extraordinary capacity for self-deception on the right.

Conason goes on to say more but the above just about sums up the hand-wringing hypocrisy of right wing Republicans. When politicians lose touch with the American people and have nothing to offer, it's just simply time for them to go. Republicans can see the writing on the wall and they're nervous.

Let's Stop Pretending Bush Knows What He's Doing

The most failed president in our nation's history wants credit for the war on terror. Well, if nothing else, he has the best public relations money can buy. How else to explain such an incompetent man getting so far? Under Bush, our enemies are multiplying, our friends are shaking their heads, the neocons are trying to drag our country into world war three and the president is once again on vacation. This is leadership?

Christopher Dickey of Newsweek offers his perspective:
Just five years ago this week the CIA sent a memo to President George W. Bush, vacationing then as now in Crawford, Texas, with the heading “Bin Laden determined to Strike in U.S.” But there was more, as Ron Suskind wrote at the beginning of his recent book, “The One Per Cent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11” (Simon & Schuster). Panicked CIA analysts flew to Texas to brief Bush personally in 2001, “to intrude on his vacation with face-to-face alerts.” Bush sized them up, as is his wont, looking to judge the content of what they told him by the confidence with which the message was delivered. Bush wasn’t convinced. “All right,” said the president, “You’ve covered your ass now.”

Let's stop a moment and look at President Bush telling the experts, "You've covered your ass now." Isn't that what Bush specializes in? Isn't that what Karl Rove is for? Isn't that what those hundreds of millions of dollars spent on public relations for? To cover up how incompetent these right wing Republicans are? At this late date, are there people who still trust Bush and his advisers? The polls say a small percentage of Americans still trust Bush and I don't understand it. Let's continue with Dickey's article:
There is no excuse for those who would carry out such atrocities, but there are reasons that keep pushing recruits to take up the suicidal cause of attacking the United States. To blame “Islamic fascism” that “wants to destroy those of us who love freedom” dodges responsibility for making those reasons more abundant, and making them worse, over the last five years. What’s at work in the heads of those who would kill themselves to slaughter Americans is less Al Qaeda’s ideology, such as it is, than a pervasive sense that Muslims are under attack: their lands occupied; their men, women and children victimized around the world. The Iraqi slaughterhouse, besieged Gaza, wasted Lebanon are all examples in the minds of those who convince themselves that suicidal terror is the only way to fight back. While partly blaming Israel, their frantic logic finds easier targets among the people who elected the invaders of Iraq, the backers of Israel, George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The American failure to limit these scenes of carnage in the Muslim world, or even to understand them, has combined with shortsighted military policies to create a kind of breeder reactor for explosive terrorism.

Under Bush, the world's opinion of the United States has dropped like a rock. The sympathy that the world had for us after 9/11 has completely disappeared; Bush has squandered five years on the most incompetent foreign policy in our nation's history. Oh, by the way, Bush has still failed to capture Osama bin Laden, the man who started all this. Like I said, let's stop pretending that Bush knows what he's doing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bush's Bubble Apparently Keeps Him Young

No man ever took his job as president more seriously than Franklin Roosevelt and the weight of all his responsibilities probably killed him in the end. But Roosevelt's efforts left us the strongest country in the world, with a magnificient economy, an enormous middle class, new prosperity for millions of Americans and years of relative peace compared to the previous hundred years. A third world war never came.

At the other end, we have Bush. President Bush's perpetual what-me-worry attitude keeps him young in the face of his many blunders. Here's a story from Ann McFeatters of the Scripps Howard papers:
This year's agenda is almost too grim to contemplate. Energy bills are crushing. (Congress remains divided on what to do if anything.) The horrifying carnage in Lebanon continues. (Bush refuses to endorse an immediate ceasefire because Israel is opposed.) The national debt is staggering. (Bush and Congress want more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.) Global warming is becoming serious. (Congress and Bush are not ready to do anything.) The working poor are working harder for less money. (Republicans will back a small increase in the minimum wage if Democrats swallow their antipathy to lowering taxes on inherited wealth.)


...Fresh from his annual physical, Bush is one of the healthiest, fittest presidents we've ever had. Sure, his hair is grayer. But he has aged far less than most of his predecessors.

And he remains absolutely convinced he is "the decider" making the right faith-based decisions - staying in Iraq, supporting Israel even as the world interprets his words and actions as anti-Arab, increasing the budget deficit, keeping Donald Rumsfeld on as defense chief, working to transform the world by spreading democracy or rather his version of it through military force. To Bush, being president means never having to say he's sorry. To tell him he might be wrong or bring him bad news or cause dissonance in his serene world is to antagonize him and be thought disloyal.

It's now well acknowledged that Bush is happy in his bubble of self-imposed isolation. He meets with foreigners but without true give-and-take even in crisis conversations. Foreigners visit the White House as they used to go on bended knee to ancient Rome. Bush travels but sees few real people. All is scripted. He talks with advisers but rarely interacts with members of Congress, even senior Republicans....

There's no question anymore that Bush will go down as the worst president in American history. But the real tragedy is the damage he is doing to our nation, our people and our democracy.

John Edwards and Christopher Dodd Support Lamont

Former Senator John Edwards and Senator Christopher Dodd are supporting Lamont. Neither of these two men could ever be considered members of the so-called radical left who usually don't vote for Democrats anyway. So Tony Snow and the Republicans, who have been throwing around such wild charges, show what frauds they are when they try to radicalize businessman Ned Lamont. Here's the story from Patrick Healy of The New York Times:
Mr. Lieberman’s determination to remain in the race may soon collide with the will of many Democratic leaders in Washington and Connecticut, however. The Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who is leading the effort to elect more Democrats in November, planned to announce this morning that they were supporting Mr. Lamont and that the party should unite around the nominee, according to Democrats close to both men. A spokesman for Mr. Schumer said a statement would be forthcoming, but declined further comment.


Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, Mr. Lieberman’s Democratic ally, privately congratulated Mr. Lamont last night and was expected to appear at a “unity press conference” with Mr. Lamont and other candidates at state party headquarters this morning. Two Lamont advisers said that they expected Mr. Dodd to help smooth Mr. Lieberman’s exit from the race; a spokeswoman for Mr. Dodd, however, said he would not play a go-between role to broker the senator’s exit.


Mr. Lamont said that former Senator John Edwards, the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee in 2004, was the first Democratic leader to call him last night....

We have a president who is incompetent and who has been repeatedly dishonest with the American people. Members of Congress who put up with Bush's nonsense should be joining the call for accountability, not sanctioning Bush's arrogance and disrespect for the law. Lieberman is a good man but he seems to have let Bush's manipulative gestures go to his head. It's a sad thing to see.

Our country needs a responsible foreign policy not the nonsense Bush keeps giving us with no end in sight.

Wesley Clark Urges Support for Lamont

Joe Lieberman has made a poor choice by deciding to run as an independent. There have been rumors for some time that Bush is considering making Joe Lieberman Secretary of State. If Joe Lieberman wins, he may not even begin his fourth term if he is appointed by Bush.

It's fascinating to read how so many Democrats are now behind Lamont. Here's Wesley Clark making some important points about Lamont and Lieberman:
On Tuesday, the message sent by Connecticut voters was loud and clear. They want change, and they want Ned Lamont to represent them in the U.S. Senate, voting for Ned by a 52% - 48% margin over Senator Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary.

You see, despite what Joe Lieberman believes, invading Iraq and diverting our attention away from Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden is not being strong on national security. Blind allegiance to George W. Bush and his failed "stay the course" strategy is not being strong on national security. And no, Senator Lieberman, no matter how you demonize your opponents, there is no "antisecurity wing" of the Democratic Party.


In 2000, the presence of a third party candidate, Ralph Nader, no doubt played a role in the defeat of Vice President Gore and Joe Lieberman. Now Joe Lieberman is risking our party's claim on his Senate seat by running as a third party candidate himself. Recent news reports detail the GOP's interest in supporting such an effort. It's time to draw a line.

Voters should keep track of where Lieberman gets his campaign money for the next three months. If Lieberman gets considerable money from Republicans, then I think we all have a pretty good idea of what's going on. Lieberman should withdraw while his good name is still intact.