Sunday, December 21, 2003

Howard Dean Has Become Synonymous With Our Very Selves

How the name of Howard Dean has become synonymous with the investment of our very selves

by Jude Nagurney

What do James Madison and Senator James Jeffords have in common?

James Madison warned that the majority must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. A majority of five out of nine caused George W. Bush to be the President in 2000. A majority of Republican-influence in the Senate make-up of 50 Rep-50 Dem in January, 2001, along with the new Bush administration pushing through an ultra-conservative agenda with no mandate was only the beginning of Madison's warnings-come-true.

Senator Jim Jeffords, then a Republican, understood this, and acted in Madisonian conscience when he made the tough decision to become an Independent. In his own words on the second anniversary of his switch to Independent, Jeffords said, " of the past two years have only heightened my concern over the president's veer to the right, and the poisoning of our democratic process of government." Unfortunately, it provided only a temporary remedy to the a malady within our Union that I will discuss in this essay.

The Republican party, along with rightwing media pundits, convinced many unsuspecting Americans that Senator Jeffords was a traitor, when in reality, he had acted in the utmost patriotic fashion.

Madison also said that a pure democracy, by which he meant a society consisting of a small number of citizens who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. He said that when we extend the sphere of society, we take in a greater variety of parties and interests and it would be less likely that the majority of the whole would have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens..or if such a common motive exists, it would be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength and to act in unison with each other. Where there is consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.

What's Happened to the Health of Our Democracy?

The body of our Union in Washington is suffering from an unchecked malady that has tainted members of both major parties. That malady is called the special interests.
Their common motive is to hijack America from individual citizens for whom the very idea of the American Republic was founded. We, the People, have the right and the reason to distrust the effect of the special interests upon our Representatives. The undue power of the special interests skews the scope of our individual rights. Special interests' monied influence upon our Representatives takes the place of our God-given individual freedom within this American society. The special interests are the unelected and invisible danger..the unriddable ghosts that have been possessing our Union's Representatives for far too long. Because our Representatives are ultimately the voice of the People of America within in this Republic, we need to bring the truth of the dangers of the special interests to the forefront. We need to drag the tragic way in which Washington has been infected into the light of day.

In your own good sense and in good faith, would you allow your destiny to rest in the hands of the unelected entity of the Energy/Oil lobby?
Do you believe the Insurance lobby or the AARP is your natural patron and friend?
With all your good sense, do you believe the interests closest to your American heart can be promoted by Ralph Reed or the Christian Coalition?

It is not what many of today's rightwing pundits would classify as "anti-American" interest that causes me to speak out about this issue. It is, rather, what James Madison called my "zeal, borne of Amerian pleasure and pride, in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character"of men like Jim Jeffords.

Along came Howard Dean, promoting joyous citizen participation as avidly as Bush was oppressing it

The spirit of Jeffords moved me in 2001, and has been complimented by the spirit of Howard Dean.
Although Senator Jeffords has not yet publically endorsed Howard Dean, the two men are so close in spirit that I cannot imagine Jeffords would endorse another.

I have long been possessed by the love of American democracy.
I would like to extend some of the credit for my more recent inspiration to Howard Dean.
He got my attention over a year ago when I heard him speak about his vision of America, which was so close to my own.
He is the one man who has inspired so many Americans like me to understand the duty and importance of acting upon our civic rights. He has caused me to invest in America in a most deeply personal way.
He makes an obvious distinction between himself and George W. Bush. He makes the undeniable point that while he promotes the egalitarian community of American citizens, self-reliance, civil liberties, and democratic participation, Bush supresses these values at every opportunity. In the end, Howard Dean's reminder of these distinct and nearly-forgotten American values was the dream of each and every one of our Founding Fathers--to have a Republic based upon the best each of us can be as individuals with rights bestowed upon us by God himself. God does not depend or rely upon a special interest group to make the rain; nor does God consult a special interest group to deem who lives and who dies on any given day. Our Representatives are far from being God (although some unbelievably act as if God is in their faction's camp). The Government is an artificial structure that has overcome some tremendous historical difficulties with often-unexpected unanimity. The beauty of America has been this: the translating the reality of what is best within each individual soul into a totally artificial government-structure. Through this potentially-miraculous translation, we have long enjoyed the mutual benefit to all in our American society...citizen-to-government/government-to-citizen.
In our history, I firmly believe it is the transcendent empowerment naturally held within each American citizen that has facilitated in capturing the hearts and minds of our best/most respectful governmental leaders and has shown the world the hopeful revelation of our common destiny as a people struggling to be the best that God can allow us to be.

When I hear people attacking Howard Dean (as I have heard so often lately), I am beginning to take each word in each attack in a deeply personal way.
I am not saying this because I am partial to Howard Dean (although I admit to being so).
I am telling you this because, most simply, it is true.

The name of Howard Dean has become synonymous with the investment of our very selves in the betterment of our nation, our love for healthy and strong American democracy,and our individual interests in preserving our American rights and performing our American duties.
This man, Howard Dean, has caused us to believe in ourselves and all we can be for our vision of America.
Most important is his reminder of the fact that America is ours...and we need to take her back.
The Bush Administration is beginning to see the danger to Dean's candidacy and I don't think they ever really saw it coming.
Every attack they will make on Howard Dean will be felt (quite deeply) as an attack on every American who feels they have the right to participate in American government.
What a paradox! With every attack on Howard Dean, he is further empowered.

What Does Madison's Scheme of Oppression Have to do with America in 2003 ?

The scheme of oppression in America has been a booming success these past few years. The most insidious of the Washington powerful have used (and will continue to use) the deaths of 3000 on 9-11 to defend their secret reliance upon the special interests.The scheme was strengthened by the majority of five in the Supreme Court in 2000 and got its most powerful after 9-11, when fear could easily be politically-used to continue the special-interest reign in Washington.
It continued through the false punditry of the rightwing media to further a special agenda(FOX/MSNBC/Hannity/O'Reilly/Snow/Hume/
Limbaugh/Savage/Beck); through vicious attacks by the GOP on good and decent men like veteran Max Cleland (decency and campaign finance concerns trampled in favor of a special interest group); through lies told to the American public resulting in a war that never had to happen; through the Patriot-Act theft of our precious liberties (for which so many of our soldiers have surrendured ALL and American cities have proclaimed against); through the Tom DeLay use of Homeland Security for the purpose of tracking down Democrats (while attempting to change a law every time something hasn't gone the GOP's way, even if it means a Federal intrusion into States' rights-as in the Texas redistricting case); through the deep darkness in which the Executive operates while attempting to usurp power from the People and store it in the reserve of the secretive Executive-(as in the mystery surrounding VP Cheney and the Energy industry). In these few examples (and many more), you might see how special interests have both benefitted from and contributed to today's democracy-thieving political machinery.

Although the GOP is not the only party to be sucked in by the special interests, they are the party most willing to play the game. It shows in the contributions they receive from the special interests and the legislation gifted to those interests in return. Meanwhile, millions of Americans lose jobs they will never see again.
The Democrats have participated in the game, too. In doing so, they have forgotten what it means to be Representatives of the People.
After 9-11, the People paid much closer attention. The Democrats were weak on defending their own decency and they ignored their own constituency. While I hate to have to say this, I was often ashamed of them. By not standing up proudly for who they were and what they stood for, they lost power to translate their decency into the artificial structure known as the U.S. government. We the People got a wicked case of laryngitis because of the malady in Washington.

It's well past the time for a major change.

That change is Howard Dean.

Words of Warning to Democrats

Democrats, take heed. If you do not move with and get behind your front-runner Howard Dean now, the party will remain voiceless.
I don't know if some of you who think you have great power within the Democratic party have some sort of secret strategy to damage Dean's campaign. I'm not privvy to that sort of thing. All I can say is to look into your own hearts.
When you calm your mind and forget the snare of ambition, I believe you'll see what I've seen for a long time...and what
hundreds of thousands of extremely successful grassroots activists have learned over the past year.
You know that it's too late to make these Dean-damaging moves and still reasonably hope to maintain a party of decent souls who wish the best for a healthy citizen-participant America. (And have shown they can get the job done). If you do not listen to these words with an eye upon sheer reason, you may as well get on board with George W. Bush's re-election team at this juncture.

Words of Caution to All Elected Representatives-
We Haven't Forgotten Who Owns America

A vow should be made to try to begin to change in Washington D.C.
I make a plea to our Represntatives:
The next time you look at a lobbyist, think of the millions upon millions of individual citizens
and the trust they placed in you on election day. That trust is worth more than any contribution they could ever make to your campaign or any political favor they could do for you..or you for them.
It's a new day.
The breach of that unspoken promise of trust for your special interest-hugging actions in the past has caused the
new-found political rise of Howard Dean.

James Madison warned that the majority must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. His warning rings true today. He made no provision to stem the tide of undue special interest-influence because it did not exist in the scope or magnitude that it does today. Yet, the spirit of his commentary and advice lives on. We need to render these special interests far less able to carry on this oppression through the channel of the government owned by the American People.


Howard Dean sets Washington Post straight:
Out of the Mainstream? Hardly.

"The Post's Dec. 18 editorial discussing my recent foreign policy speech ["Beyond the Mainstream"] badly misrepresents both my position and the central argument in the coming election on how best to strengthen America's security...."

"...The Post repeatedly misstates my views.."

"...The Post's editorial comes close to equating the Bush administration's foreign policy -- including its signature doctrine of "preemptive war" -- with the American foreign policy mainstream. In fact, the Bush agenda represents a radical departure from decades of bipartisan consensus on the appropriate use of U.S. power and our leadership in the world community..."

"...In the end, I believe it will be clear who is in the mainstream and who is swimming against the tide of history."

See other LETTERS TO EDITOR in response to "Beyond the Mainstream"

"....Your paper doesn't like Dean saying that the capture of Saddam Hussein has not made us safer, although none of us has seen the terrorist warning improve from Code Yellow to Code Green..."

"...I am a Dean volunteer, but I am not a Democrat and I am not angry. Attempts to typecast the campaign will prove futile in slowing his grass-roots support from people like me..."

"....your paper owes its readers a little more variety and balance. As Howard Dean would say: "We can do better than that!"

Prof. Gary Leupp has the Best Quote on the Capture of Saddam:

"....these pundits who see this as a big boost for Dubya may be right. The human mind is a complex thing, and many are capable of consigning their mounting realization that the war was based on lies to one section of their gray matter, while storing the image of the captured Saddam (hauled from his "rat's nest," his "snake pit," his "lair" in mainstream journalese) in whatever section produces seratonin..."

Gary Leupp***** *****
Professor of History at Tufts University, Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion

*Be sure to read Prof. Leupp's ten points of serious doubt about the Saddam-9-11 ties*


Reminder: "..the capture of Saddam
has not made America safer
.." Howard Dean

Trying link again.. idon't see that my first vote counted on TTLB.
Here is the vote--again. Chris Brown
Chris "Lefty" Brown's Corner: What's so funny about peace, love, and higher taxes
Saddam trial may backfire, prof says
Profesor Juan Cole Interview/Ann Arbor News

Sunday, December 21, 2003 By Art Aisner

"....One of the persons who is calling for a war crimes tribunal in Iraq is Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, current president ofthe interim Governing Council. Sixty-three members of his family were killed by Saddam Hussein. I'm willing to concede that the man is an upright man, but I don't know if saints exist to that extent in the world where he has no sense of vindictiveness about this...." -Prof. Juan Cole

There has been much national and international debate over what to do with deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein since his capture by the U.S. military.

University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole has taught Middle East and South Asian history since 1984, has a Ph.D. in Islamic studies and has written extensively on Iraq and modern Islamic movements in the Persian Gulf.
We recently spoke with him about Saddam's capture, how he should be prosecuted for the treatment of his people and the dangers of putting Saddam on trial.

Q: What concerns do you have about the suggestions of putting Saddam
Hussein on trial?

A: There are several. The Bush administration and Iraqi interim Governing Council both seem to think it's a good idea to try him in Iraq, and I understand why. But one wonders at what cost this will come. A lot of Sunni Muslims in Iraq fear the fall of the government because it will place them in the vast minority to Shiites who were persecuted by Saddam.
Any trial is going to cover his acts of genocide against the Kurds in the late 1980s and Shiites following the first Gulf War of the early '90s. Spending months on these kind of investigations has the potential for
provoking ethnic violence.

Q: What are other potential consequences of putting Saddam on trial?

A: I believe giving Saddam Hussein a stage or platform in Iraq through a trial is a bad idea because he's going to be defiant and still has Fedayeen and a loyal base active in the country. There also is the potential
that Saddam may find ways to underline U.S. complicity in the atrocities, which could make it difficult to maintain support for the occupation forces.

Q: The atrocities you mentioned that are attributed to Saddam are what we know about. Is there a danger that such trials would reveal more that we don't know about?

A: Diplomatic historians say there are no secrets if you know where to look. We already know a great deal about the U.S. government's [complicity] with Saddam Hussein and his actions. There could be more.

Q: Would he focus on that compliance to mount a defense?

A: I don't know that he would. It certainly would hurt his stature in the Middle East and Arab world to make himself look like an agent of the CIA, so he may not want to. But when he can bring that information to light in self defense, I believe he could.

Q: International human rights organizations have been collecting data on Saddam's brutal regime for decades. With so much documentation, what kind of defense could he mount?

A: What we have seen in the cases of those dictators who have been tried for war crimes in the past is that they are impertinent. They blame subordinates, say things got out of hand and blame the victims. He's already been quoted as saying the bodies of those found in mass graves throughout the country belonged to thieves and traitors.

Q: Is it possible for him to get a fair trial?

A: That's another issue. One of the persons who is calling for a war crimes tribunal in Iraq is Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, current president ofthe interim Governing Council. Sixty-three members of his family were killed by Saddam Hussein. I'm willing to concede that the man is an upright man, but I don't know if saints exist to that extent in the world where he has no sense of vindictiveness about this. That's a problem that a lot of the people involved in this have talked about, and for those reasons I really think it is important that any trial occurs in The Hague.

Q: Are there other reasons why any trial should be conducted by the
existing format of international war crimes tribunals?

A: There has never been such a tribunal in Iraq before. It's being created from scratch, most of the judges with long experience in Iraq are Baathists and there's no constitution in Iraq. Under what statutes can he be tried?

Q: Does it matter if he gets a fair trial?

A: I think it does matter. First, Saddam still has supporters, and to satisfy those supporters, it's important that any trial is conducted through a fair process. Otherwise, it could be construed that he was treated unfairly. I also think it's important for Iraq. If there is going to be a new Iraq, it must be founded on the principles of law and fairness. It would not [...] bode well that the country's first act would be to railroad someone even as despised as Saddam Hussein.

Todd P. at Dohiyi Mir has posted a couple of interesting articles about Howard Dean.
One by Frank Rich, the other by Joanthan Alter and Richard Wolffe.
Rather than trotting them out here, go to this link and read Todd's comments.