Monday, January 12, 2004

The Guardian: Bush besieged
by war college
Suzanne Goldenberg 1/13/04

"....The Bush administration's doctrinaire view of the war on terror, which lumped together regimes like Saddam Hussein's and al-Qaida as a single undifferentiated threat, led the US on a dangerous "detour" into an unnecessary war, according to an unusually strong critique from the US army war college. "The global war on terrorism as presently defined and conducted is strategically unfocused, promises much more than it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate US military and other resources in an endless and hopeless search for absolute security," says the study by Jeffrey Record, a visiting scholar at the Strategic Studies Institute.
The report, endorsed by other scholars at the institute, appeared yesterday at a delicate moment for the White House, which was fending off damaging comments from a former cabinet member on its decision to go to war..."

"...Although he says that Washington may be able to defeat al-Qaida, he concludes that its war on terror has designated so many fronts and enemies that it is fundamentally unwinnable.
Meanwhile the war in Iraq has led it into an open-ended conflict that has drained resources from its efforts to secure American soil against another attack by al-Qaida..."

The 97-year-old woman who survived being buried in the rubble after the powerful earthquake in Bam, Iran had said that she'd recited poems of the great Persian poets Rumi and Saadi to keep herself from going mad.
I read there was a man found alive after being buried for thirteen days following the quake.
Thirteen days.
Sadly, I just read the news that he has died.

His name was Jalil. He was the father of eight children, two of whom died in the quake.

What do you think you would do if you were buried--fully conscious and waiting for help? Would you pray? Would you sing? Whose poetry would you recite? Whose song would you sing? Whose face would come to mind? What would pull you through?

Howard Dean supporters from all over the country are in Iowa in new/different campaign to get Iowans to the polls for their candidate:
Adam Nagourney Speaks About the Latest on the Democratic Race on PBS/Lehrer Hour

Tonight on the Jim Lehrer hour, NY Times' Adam Nagourney says there have been numerous polls in Iowa.. LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Zogby. He states that in any year, polls are not all that accurate or reliable in Iowa. Ex: weather in mid-January-Iowa can throw all poll results way off. He says this year is even more difficult than many new people are coming out for Howard Dean. He mentions that the use of cell phones are not included in random samples, so this also throws off the accuracy of predictability. He says several candidates are strong on the ground. He mentions Dean and Gephardt first, saying they are very strong..Gephardt being the more "old-fashioned" campaigner and Dean campaigning in a new/different way..with thousands of people who have arrived in Iowa from all over the country to get Iowans to the polls for Gov. Dean. Nagourney says the Kerry campaign is quite active. According to Nagourney, the best on ground activity is coming from the John Edwards camp. Nagourney says Dean is having a "difficult period", but he doesn't say why he thinks this is true. Interviewer Gwen Ifill does not ask him to expound on this point. It seems like one of those rather 'of-the-moment/will change tomorrow' comments (based on the nature of sheer fluidity and unstable flurry of political campaigning). (I see *Matt Drudge trying to make a "BFD" about it over on his site-Duh.) Tom Harkin endorsed Dean..and is also saying many good things about John Edwards. Nagourney figures the real fight is all about who's going to wind up coming in first on January 19th..and any votes for Edwards would take away from Gephardt.

*Druge Report says: "Dean's supporters expressed distress Monday at what many described as his faltering performance in a televised debate over the weekend, the latest in a series of difficulties he has encountered," Nagourney claims. "With the rest of the field working in Iowa, Gen. Wesley Clark has taken advantage in New Hampshire to move up in the polls behind Dean, drawing crowds that are beginning to rival Dean's and threatening his once dominant position in the state."*

If they are true Dean supporters, they shouldn't be distressed at all. They should be putting forth all that much more effort to help Dean win next week in Iowa...or they should travel to New Hampshire to campaign for him there.
I assume this "turbulence" of which Nagourney speaks is related to what we know will be coming in future primaries...Clark vs. Dean.
Dean supporters need to get tough and understand there will never be time for hand-wringing if they want their candidate to win.

If I didn't know better, I might suspect a stop-Dean tone to this type of reporting.
Let's hope I know better...
I'll be watching.
Update (1-12/11:30 pm): Well, here's the story.
"...General Clark's rise is threatening Dr. Dean's once-dominant position in the state and could dash his hopes of essentially ending the contest with an overwhelming victory there..."
"...He[Dean] seemed tired..."I am rejuvenated and ready to fight," he said. "When people attack me, that rejuvenates me".....Dr. Dean's advisers said Monday that they were neither surprised nor worried about the suddenly stormy climate.....some Dean supporters expressed distress at his halting performance at the debate, in which the Rev. Al Sharpton managed to do what none of Dr. Dean's more established competitors had managed this year: knock him off his game. ...."He looked like a deer caught in the headlights," Jeff Bovee, 33, a professor of exercise science at Central College and a Dean supporter, said..."

**Some "supporter" Jeff is.**

JTA/Global News Service of the Jewish People:
Howard Dean's Statement

"..Ultimately, only the Palestinians and the Israelis themselves can make and keep the peace and work out the specifics of a lasting agreement. It seems clear that this will not happen as long as Yasser Arafat is in control..."

...The United States and Israel are partners. Let me be clear: preserving Israel’s security is a bedrock principle that will guide my administration’s foreign policy.
On a tour of the Old City in Jerusalem during my 2002 trip to Israel, I experienced first-hand the miracle of the modern Jewish state.
I saw remains of a house next to a stone wall that King Hezekiah had ordered built to defend against invaders. In a neighboring house, I looked out the window down at the stone wall and the remains of that house and understood that 3,000 years ago people prayed the same prayers in the same Hebrew language.
That experience reinforced my commitment to the special relationship the United States has with Israel. Israel will always have the resources necessary to guarantee its long-term defense and security. And we do this not as a favor for Israel but because it is in America’s interests to do so.
I also believe that peace in the Middle East is a key U.S. interest and that the United States is the only intermediary that can bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the peace table. Playing the role of a fair and honest broker is consistent with the special relationship the United States has with Israel..."

"....we’re never going to get peace in the Middle East as long as we have terror. Israel has both the right and the responsibility to protect and defend its citizens against terrorists..."

Waiting for Hutton report on the Number 10/Dr. David Kelly case

The Law Lord's report will be ferociously spun by every side. That's why he is right to take time and great care crafting his verdict
by Andrew Rawnsley, Sunday January 11, 2004

"....Truth to tell, the only person who really knows what Lord Hutton will say is Lord Hutton. Maybe even he doesn't entirely know yet. As they wait for the inscrutable judge, journalists and politicians are left to stab in the dark, that place they most hate to be...."

Blair is being called to account on Hutton report

"... Michael Howard has stoked up the pressure on embattled Tony Blair, accusing the Prime Minister of having "something to hide" over the death of Dr David Kelly. The Conservative Leader has fired off a letter to Downing Street calling for clear cut answers to questions on the forthcoming, long-awaited, Hutton Report....."

Blair Will Resign If Found Lying....

.....Vows Not to Hide from Hutton Findings

Boston Globe: A bold, new messenger
By Eileen McNamara, 1/11/2004

"...Where his rivals hear anger, Dean's audiences hear hope for real change. What his rivals perceive as rashness, Dean's supporters see as boldness. When he tells them that he does not have the power to change the country, that they do, these voters believe him and, maybe for the first time, think the political process belongs to them, not the candidates hungry for their votes...."

by William Rivers Pitt

"...the 'preparedness-gap' becomes the whittled-down talking point du jour. This is a whiff of colossal proportions, the implications of which will echo down the halls of history unless someone develops enough spine to speak the truth into a large microphone. The talking point is not difficult to manage. It was splashed in gaudy multi-point font across the front page of the New York Post in May of 2002.
Two words: 'Bush Knew.'
It is, frankly, amazing that this has fallen down the memory hole...."

"....too many facts are now in hand, thanks in no small part to the work of 9/11 widows like Kristen Breitweiser, which fly in the face of the administration's demurrals..."
I took this 45-question test.
Look at which leader they tell me I'm most like:


Have you seen the most-blogged-about books of 2003?
Know Thine Enemy:
Grover Norquist -
"Washington Grotesque"

"...He leaves the impression that perhaps some of the 18 hours a day he devotes to establishing a permanent Republican majority has to do with punishing college tormenters..."

"...Some conservatives have attacked him for his outreach to Arab and Muslim Americans, charging that he has embraced radicals with ties to terrorism. Administration officials, including Rove, have said there is no truth to the allegations...Other conservatives offered reasons of their own for avoiding him. One called his meeting "a freak show" that is "intellectually insulting." Another said he "represents a rare level of vitriol and suspicion."

"...Norquist issued meeting guidelines, including: "No gossiping. No whining. No rambling discourses or philosophical discussions. We know we are hard core."

"....During a monthly conference call with the state meeting leaders, Norquist asked the Vermont representative for dirt on the former governor, Howard Dean, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. "It would be extremely helpful for you to get the information out," Norquist said. "So people around the country have talking points on Dean."

"....Democrats used to anger him, Norquist said. He's past angry now. "Do you get mad at cancer? We'll defeat and crush their institutions, and the trial lawyers will go sell pizza. We're not going to hang them. Most of the people on the left will be happy in Grover's world. I feel about the left the way [Donald H.] Rumsfeld felt about the Iraqis."

"....And after Norquist purges the United States, there is the rest of the world. He says this with the confidence of a man who uses a black laundry marker as a pen. He has helped start Wednesday meetings in Canada, New Zealand, England and Japan. He has learned to be patient: "I now understand you can't just explain to the idiots how to do it and to see it your way, because they're too foolish to see it."


Labor Unions: Know Thine Enemy:

"..."The unions know that four more years of Bush will mean a huge number of union jobs lost to new free-trade agreements and the outsourcing of the federal work force." -Grover Norquist
Don't Miss Ken Burns' "Reconstruction" on PBS/American Experience

Richmond, Va. - photo by Iddybud

Airing Jan. 12th and 13th on PBS

Read about Ken Burns' new two-part documentary at USA Today.
It is also featured in the Boston Globe.

"....Southern blacks lost it all. That sweet thing they had tasted was gone. The promises of the 14th and 15th amendments, guaranteeing full citizenship and the vote, remained hollow for almost a century. If the North won the war, America's first modern horror, the South won its aftermath...."

Try this interesting feature at the PBS site: See what happened State-by-State after the war.
American Prospect:
In Hickory, N.C., they're trying desperately to save American jobs

Because of of lax -- and often unenforced -- trade laws, the Hickory-based hosiery industry still may lose out to cheap foreign labor

Hickory, N.C. - Circa 1912

I highly recommend reading this article. Journalist Ayelish McGarvey has done a good job of showing us how the WTO and lax enforcement of its rules are affecting real American lives.


"....In 2001, China's entrance into the World Trade Organization took the American hosiery industry by storm; within one year, the value of that country's exports of non-cotton socks to the United States soared by 462 percent....

"....without political intervention, the leanest of American hosiery manufacturers are still no match for China, which boasts a huge labor force and an undervalued currency. These days, Dan St. Louis is turning his attention to the politics of free trade: At the end of next year, quotas on Chinese imports will be lifted, giving China unlimited access to U.S. markets. St. Louis is assisting manufacturers in drafting a safeguard petition to the Committee for Implementation of Textile Agreements to extend the quotas. "I realized that no matter what I do and no matter how efficient our people are, we are going to lose a majority of our industry if we don't do something about China," he says. "We feel like we've been sold out..."

"...China's violations of trade rules such as transshipment and patent protection put American manufacturers even further behind. Assistant Commerce Secretary William Lash said in November that he would give China a "gentleman's C to a D+" grade on its performance over the past year in enforcing World Trade Organization commitments...."

Composer John Adams
Interview on NPR

John Adams
Credit: Deborah O'Grady Copyright 2003

John Adams is one of the most oft-performed and influential living American composers.
He's featured today at NPR.
Paul O'Neill Exposes the Ugliness of Post-Reaganites

This WSJ opinion is only a beginning for the poison-pen articles and columns soon to be written about Paul O'Neill.
In reality, O'Neill's honest tattle-tales could fall out in unseen yet healing ways.
It's time to heal our nation. What will that entail?
It will entail exposing everything that was wrong about the Reagan era.
Ultra-Conservative Republicans want to perpetuate a myth about the greatness of it all.
They hope to hold on to the highest power over Americans by perpetuating the myth. We need an honest conversation.
We need to expose the Dick Cheneys, the Karl Roves and the Grover Norquistians (I certainly didn't say Christians) for what they are. They are greedy, ugly-souled, unAmerican devils with a vicious, blind and unjust ideology. They are pulling the strings of the 2000-carefully-placed Howdy-Doody Bush in our White House.
I'm glad Paul O'Neill had the ego sufficient to remain an honest Lone Ranger. It allowed him the opportunity to see what really went on in the secretive Bush administration and survive to tell the gory tales.

When Dick Cheney says: "Reagan proved deficits don't matter", he conveniently forgets that the visionary Bill Clinton came along for eight years to cover his ass. Deficits do matter to American parents who don't want to pass all their greedy debt onto the backs of their children.
Poll: Alternative News Gaining Influence

"....People are turning increasingly to alternatives such as the Internet for news about the presidential campaign, shifting away from traditional outlets such as the nightly network news and newspapers, a poll found..."

If this means a reliance upon cable news and SNL, I'm very afraid to tell you we're being dumbed down. Beware.
SNL has become nothing more than entertainment (without the intellect). Cable news is tabloid schlock.
If it means the Daily Show and the blogs are kicking in as a meaningful influence, it's encouraging news.
The fact that network shows like Nightline and any newspapers are being ignored/abandoned is very discouraging.
Like them or hate them, the newspapers are a wonderful source of learning about some of the most important issues.
Perhaps people are becoming discouraged in the lack of truly liberal treatment of issues in today's newspapers.
The Internet has taken up the flame that was once carried by bold newsprint journalists. In a way, that's sad. But I guess that's progress in (small d) democracy.

Notes on last night's Democratic debate

Maria Celeste Arraras, who co-facilitated last night's Democratic debate was unprofessional to throw in her personal statements after candidates had respectfully replied to her open-ended questions. I thought it was a poorly-led debate which produced nothing more than soundbites and barely-explored ideas. Adam Nagourney at the NY Times said "The debate revealed no major new differences among the candidates, and for the most part allowed them to use their last joint televised appearance to restate the themes most of them have been sounding in the state for more than a year."
I think that's a fair statement.

I'll give you an example of how Maria Celeste Arraras was unprofessional. Howard Dean was asked if those non-citizens who went to war for the U.S. should be granted citizenship. Howard Dean, while generally in support, said the issue needs to be carefully thought out to avoid Hispanics eager for citizenship disproportionately signing up to serve. Rather than asking him to explain, Maria Celeste Arraras said (not once, but after TWO of Dean's statements, that Puerto Ricans sign up for the military because "they want to".
"Because they want to"?! HELLO? What the hell does that mean? it could mean anything from -they need money; -they think it's their only route to citizenship; -it's their only hope of paying for an education; it's the only way to support their family...or maybe they really DO want the thrill of being in the middle of a war where people shoot at them daily.
"Because they want to" could mean anything.

If Maria Celeste Arraras had asked Dean the right questions rather than defensively assuming he was trying to keep "her kind" out of the white-man's United States, here is what I think she would have heard:
Dean, out of compassion and fairness to all people, doesn't want to use poor Hispanics as toy soldiers for the pleasure of chickenhawk-dreaming.

John Kerry pandered to Arraras, reassuring her (at any cost,apparently) that legal immigrants in the military have already met certain standards and should get automatic citizenship. This, in my opinion, only assures that it will be easier for our leaders to send needy young men to their fact-manufactured wars. We'll have more (poor/brown) bodies to play with.

Howard Dean is right in saying we need to have a bitterly frank conversation about race in this country.

I wish Dean would have stood up a bit more to Al Sharpton. Sharpton had every right to bring up the record of
having no people of color in his Vermont cabinet. I think Dean should have shamelessly explained that Vermont has
less than 1% black population as compared to nearly 13% in the entire country.

Sigh. Lester Holt brought up the Confederate flag issue again. (Sadly creating division rather than drawing out some new ideas from these 9 candidates). Both Dean and Edwards hopped on the bandwagon, calling the Confederate flag a dreaded ugly symbol. Edwards said that the flag was offensive "to all Americans." While I realize that's how many people see it, I also realize it's because many people are not properly educated about the Civil War. I hate seeing politicians perpetuating ignorance. Pardon my blatant honesty here, but I have no choice. I'm compelled to step aside politics and tell the truth.
Yes-the Confederate flag is a symbol of where we never want to be again as a nation. But the flag is a symbol of where we were..under which many American men died in a tragic and lengthy confrontation between fellow citizens..fellow immigrants..fellow brothers.
I think they both miss a fact that would ring true with many southern families (and perhaps citizens of other American states who have since relocated). A lot of American family ancestors died in the Civil War. The flag stands for a heritage that is not exclusively tied to slavery. The Civil War was about much more than slavery. The Emanicipation Proclamation turned out to be Lincoln's resort...not Lincoln's initial goal. While Lincoln believed slavery was "founded on the selfishness of man's nature---opposition to it on his love of justice", he also made it politically clear that, before becoming President, he'd had "no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races....". In a debate with Stephan Douglas on August 21, 1858, in Ottawa, Illinois, Lincoln said: "I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position."
This is something not commonly known or taught in the public schools, but it is very true. Lincoln thought the black race was beneath the White. He said so please do not read this and consider me a race-beater. I am merely citing historical fact. In reality, I am a member of a racially-mixed family.
We cannot bury the truth, as hard as we try. We cannot bury the Confederate flag. And I don't think Democrats or Republicans should necessarily embrace it, but at the same time, they shouldn't totally toss it to the trash bucket of American history. I believe that, if we'd been taught HONESTLY in the public schools about the realities of the issues surrounding the Civil War, we wouldn't be living in this divisive twisted fantasy of Noth good/South bad today.

An honest discussion of America's perverted race-relations history is very necessary. Politicians must be honest about their stand on Reparations, too. Joe Lieberman was called on the issue last night and gave a vague-yet-fairly-appropriate reply (considering being put on the spot).

Governor Dean said a payroll tax cut would most likely come out of the general fund in the form of a tax credit. I hope he hurries. Thanks to smelly pigs like Grover Norquist, the general fund has been sucked nearly dry.