Monday, March 28, 2005

A Word of Advice For Democrats

A Word of Advice For Democrats

At MyDD, Chris Bowers leads us to a Matt Taibbi piece where he is upset with Taibbi for insinuating that the Democrats might abandon Social Security as a trade-off for National Security credibility. Chris Bowers believes there are unnecessary divisions being created in the Democratic party by some giving themselves the unofficial moniker, "National Security Democrats". Beating the drums about a national security and foreign affairs gap, Democrats are falling into the frame-trap set by the GOP, which too often shows Democrats as soft on National Security. He claims that the press only gives the big megaphone - the interviews - to those Democrats.

Bowers says:
"....the uniting feature about the big names who joined this group seems to be that they were wrong when it came to Iraq, and that they took a position that was in contradiction to the vast majority of those people who they claim to represent."
What is the answer to this problem? If I were a Congressional Democrat who'd voted "Yes" to the 2002 Iraq resolution and I was thinking about running for President, I would cautiously watch how I chose to proceed. I believe there is a faction within the Bush administration of whom an overwhleming majority of (left-to-moderate) Democrats not only distrust, but deplore. It is the faction Sy Hersh called "a cult" and it has taken over our nation's foreign policy. The Iraq War that was promoted by this faction - known as the NeoConservatives - has caused those millions of Democratic voters to deeply distrust any Congressional Democrat who failed to adequately question the merits of the Iraq resolution and raise concerns about the people who were manipulating and interpreting the related intelligence. We now know that MI6 chief Richard Dearlove said that he had briefed Tony Blair, well before the war, that America's Iraq intelligence was "fixed" to meet the administration's goal of invading Iraq at all costs.

What any Democrat serious about running for President in 2008 should think about is to start talking about this up-front. It's their political funeral if they don't. The mainstream media does not hold the same sway that it once did with informed Democratic voters. The blogs and the internet are a new tour de force in campaigns. Grassroots Democrats are entering the political scene with a force never before witnessed in American politics.

If any Democratic presidential hopeful thinks we want to hear our candidates competing with the NeoConservatives for who's the tougher cookie, the cookie's going to crumble. The Democrats should be highly criticizing the NeoConservatives and exposing the part they played in taking our country into the most unwise elective war since Viet Nam.

It's time we heard something realistic from our Democratic presidential-hopefuls. We aren't willing to play into any fantasy when it comes to our troops and how we decide to use them. I'm sick and tired of being labeled "a fanatic" for only wanting the truth and openness from our government. Truthfulness and openness are moral values and no one - especially a Republican government of free people - should be exempt from following them.

If Congressional Democrats want our trust back, and if they want our unwavering support, they need to:

- Start talking from a new frame of reference. Stop falling into GOP-frame traps.

- Talk about the process by which we eventually went to pre-emptive war in 2003, and how that process failed miserably...and why. Name the players who deceived the American people - and how they did it. Don't be shy about it.

- Tell us it's not going to happen that way - ever again. Make that promise. Our trust in American leadership has been breached. Tell us how your plan is superior to theirs. It will sound more honest and convincing than telling us how tough you wish you were. Why are you afraid? The majority of Americans polled recently agree that this war was not worth the lives it's taken. Most want our troops home - yesterday.

Monday in Syracuse Politics/Sports

Monday In Syracuse -
Politics and Sports

Congratulations go out to the UNC Tar Heels and Michigan State Spartans for their big win(s) at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse yesterday. The two teams will meet this Saturday in St. Louis for a national semifinal game. Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post Standard has a story about the UNC Tar Heels team - three members, in particular: North Carolina seniors Jawad Williams, Melvin Scott and Jackie Manuel.

photo by Jude Nagurney Camwell

There were many letters to the editor printed in the Syracuse Post Standard this morning by citizens who support the Onondaga Nation's Land Rights lawsuit. They are not available online. The lawsuit asks the federal court to declare that the Onondaga Nation is the rightful owner of a 4,000-square-mile strip of New York land from Pennsylvania to the Thousand Islands. The Post Standard's Mike McAndrew reports that tribal rivalry is playing no part in this land rights case.

Sid Hill, a tadodaho of the Onondaga Nation, believes that it is New York's strategy to split the tribes of the Six Nations up. Hill has said. "Divide and conquer. You can see the casino deals are splitting nations."

The land claim area has no precise boundaries but includes parts of 11 Upstate counties: Broome, Cortland, Cayuga, Chenango, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Tioga and Tompkins. The swath of land varies in width from 10 miles to 40 miles and includes the cities of Syracuse, Binghamton, Watertown, Cortland, Fulton, and Oswego.

From the Ithaca Journal:

While other tribal land claims are being used as bargaining chips in casino negotiations, Onondaga leaders said they would use their land claim to compel the state to undertake environmental cleanup of hazardous sites in the land claim area -- specifically Onondaga Lake.

"Our concern is for the water, the land, the air. They are not well," said Sid Hill, the tribe's spiritual leader. "It is the duty of the nation's leaders to work for a healing of this land, to protect it, and to pass it on to future generations."

The Syracuse lake -- a sacred location regarded as the birthplace of the Iroquois Confederacy -- is a federal Superfund site and one of the most polluted bodies of water in the world.

In an address given by President Thomas Jefferson to the Six Nations' religious prophet Handsome Lake, one cannot wonder - if Jefferson could see the state of Onondaga Lake today - what he might think about the real consequence of "a little land well-stocked".
"A little land well stocked and improved, will yield more than a great deal without stock or improvement. I hope, therefore, that on further reflection, you will see this transaction in a more favorable light, both as it concerns the interest of your nation, and the exercise of that superintending care which I am sincerely anxious to employ for their subsistence and happiness. Go on then, brother, in the great reformation you have undertaken. Persuade our red brethren then to be sober, and to cultivate their lands; and their women to spin and weave for their families. You will soon see your women and children well fed and clothed, your men living happily in peace and plenty, and your numbers increasing from year to year. It will be a great glory to you to have been the instrument of so happy a change, and your children's children, from generation to generation, will repeat your name with love and gratitude forever. In all your enterprises for the good of your people, you may count with confidence on the aid and protection of the United States, and on the sincerity and zeal with which I am myself animated in the furthering of this humane work. You are our brethren of the same land; we wish your prosperity as brethren should do." [Link- Yale]

Oil and American pockets

Oil and American Pockets

Thomas Friedman reminds us that, by doing nothing to lower U.S. oil consumption, we are financing both sides in the war on terrorism and strengthening the worst governments in the world. Smart geopolitics means smart fiscal policy, smart climate policy, and most of all - smart politics.

Oil prices have shot up by nearly 20 percent in the past five weeks to around $54 a barrel in New York — a little more than $1 shy of all-time records. OPEC is playing games as we speak, ensuring that they, in conjunction with U.S. oil companies, will continue raping Americans at the gas pumps. At Common Ills, there is reference to an article in April's Harpers magazine by Greg Palast in which he says NeoCons were plotting the destruction of OPEC, but failed to predict the virulent resistance of the U.S. oil industry itself. Palast says that the U.S. State Department officially denied the existence of a 323-page plan drawn up by ex-U.S. oil company officials for an Iraqi state-owned oil company under which the state would maintain official title to the reserves but operation and control would be given to foreign oil companies. The OPEC-friendly policy, which allows for a continued stranglehold on the U.S economy, was driven by none other than VP Dick Cheney.

The Voice of America reports:
"What is behind the near-doubling of crude oil prices over the last two years? The period coincides with the war in Iraq, as well as unrest in oil-producers Nigeria and Venezuela. But analysts say the trend cannot be explained solely by conflict and chaos on the world stage. Rather, they point to a dramatic boost in global oil consumption in 2003 and 2004 that more than doubled the rate of increase from previous years. Manouchehr Takin, an analyst at Britain's Center for Global Energy Studies, points to one country in particular.

"Chinese growth in oil imports has been the major force behind the growth in world oil demand," he reminded.

Mr. Takin says plans by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for expanding production capacity were based on previous assumptions of slower growth in demand. Today, only three of the cartel's 11 members - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates - have the capacity to boost production to any appreciable degree."