Sunday, October 09, 2005

Under Mars

Under Mars

Raw Story is talking about Under Mars, a controversial website which is described as "a really fascinating mix of war gore photos and really beautiful shots." It contains raw images of Iraq, taken by American soldiers.

Take a look at this artistic photo.

Howdy, boys!

No doubt, there's some excellent photography here.

Warning - this one is graphic.

I believe that too much of this commodity has been spilled.

Plamegate: Who lied?

Plamegate: Who lied?

Newsweek says:
"...lawyers close to the case, who asked not to be identified because it's ongoing, say Fitzgerald appears to be focusing in part on discrepancies in testimony between Rove and Time reporter Matt Cooper about their conversation of July 11, 2003."
Somebody lied. Hmmm - would you suspect it would be - - -
Matt Cooper or
Karl Rove!?

see: Karl Rove And The Case Of The Missing Email

Joseph Cannon and the Left Coaster resurrect the gay-male-escort ghost of Jeff Gannon, whom I have suspected of blatant unethical behavior all along. (See my post about Gannon and WHIG from last February).

See SusanG's piece at Daily Kos - Gannon To Be Charged Under Espionage Act? with an important correction made by Ron Brynaert about Jeff Gannon's Internal Memo Lie.

Raw Story has a piece on Gannon, too.

See "Rove's Nightmare" by Joe Conason (Salon)

Meet Fred

Meet Fred

Meet Fred Bieling, my new contributor to Syracuse Progressive. A new blogger on the horizon, he says he's not liberal, he's "just paying attention." He's been making conservatives cringe since 1977. Here's an introduction to Fred.

David Brooks on Capitalism, Government, and Poverty

David Brooks on Capitalism, Government, and Poverty

David Brooks is all for the dynamism of capitalism, but not for the type of capitalist leader who'd believe in filtering money to the affluent while ignoring the poverty of many American children. Although I do not think single-parent families are destined to poverty, which is too much of a generalization in light of the the rate of divorce and the diversity in what we call an "average American family" today, I'd find agreement with him when he says:
Like Alexander Hamilton, I love the dynamism of capitalism. And like Alexander Hamilton, that doesn't mean I hate government. I love government when it lifts people up to compete. I hate government only when it stifles competition and coddles. I hated the old welfare system, which pushed its victims away from work. I love welfare reform, which encourages work. I hate government that directs ever more money to the affluent elderly, but I would love a government that gave poor children savings accounts at birth, which would encourage them to think about the future and understand that their destiny is in their own hands.....
When David says...
"....the effort to promote democracy in the Arab world is one of the most difficult and noble endeavors any great power has undertaken." reply is that noble thoughts and ideas are soon forgotten when our leaders start unnecessary wars, screw up on the planning of those wars, and deliberately mislead their citizens into those wars. The ante was high. The President gambled with his credibility on Iraq and he has lost - miserably. If there is any insurrection to be had, it should be primarily because of what this President has done to the citizens and the military of the nation he's supposed to be leading. I'm with David, though, in the long run. I feel invigorated about the political change that is coming, too.

Bush's 9/11 Spin - NY Times nails it

Bush's 9/11 Spin - NY Times editorial nails it

The president's inability to grow beyond his big moment in 2001 is unnerving. But the fact that his handlers continue to encourage him to milk 9/11 is infuriating. For most of us, the memories are fresh and painful. We mourn the people who died on Sept. 11, as we mourn Daniel Pearl and other Americans, not to mention innocents from other countries, who were murdered by terrorists. The administration's penchant for using them as political cover is offensive. It threatens to turn our wounds, and our current fears, into cynical and desperate spin.
President Bush's Major Speech:
Doing the 9/11 Time Warp Again

Democrats: "Third Way" discussions

Democrats: "Third Way" discussions

It seems that all Democrats who subscribe to a Washington D.C.-manufactured "Third Way" agenda should be cautious. If it doesn't come from directly from the grassroots-up, it probably won't be trusted. Political credibility may be very shaky when it comes to the common citizen. Listen to the voices of Democrats out in the media and blogosphere:

David Sirota - The Nation: Debunking Centrism
The Washington Post reports that a group calling itself the "Third Way" (read: "Wrong Way") is forming to tout "centrist" policies for Democrats. Instead of leaving the Beltway and holding a town meeting to gauge the pulse of red America's working-class core, the group held its initial meeting "over dinner at a Georgetown mansion." Instead of engaging in grassroots funding efforts, it is openly relying on corporate contributions.

"The answer to the ideological extremes of the right has to be more than rigid dogma from the left," said Senator Bayh, a leader of the new group and one of Washington's most highly trumpeted "centrists." But really, who is pushing a rigid dogma: these bankrolled politicians who have hijacked "centrism" to sell out America's middle class, or the progressive populists who most often have the backing of the American people?

TPM Cafe:
"The Third Way shows why Democrats need to move to the center on social and national security issues, but it will done with the progressive social activists yelling, kicking and screaming...It just doesn't make any sense for Democrats to just scream louder....Given the current Republican dominance in Washington, it is easy to look at the "New Democrat" era of the Clinton Administration with nostaglia. A more careful and objective look at that time will show it was filled with not only accomplishment but also missed opportunities and failure. We need a Democratic nominee in 2008 that can appeal to the center, but a somewhat different approach than Bill Clinton took while campaigning and in office...."

TPM Cafe:
"...we need to stop fighting each other and start fighting those damn Republicans. Then and only then will we as a united Democratic party will be able to recruit new and old voters, and start winning elections instead of losing them."

The Third Way To Win A Democratic Majority- TPM Cafe
"..I support a consensus nominee in the party who is liked from the liberal, moderate, and even conservative wing in our party. Who could this candidate be?"

John Edwards - Podcast #6

John Edwards - Podcast #6
Listen here

Elizabeth Edwards kicked off the sixth podcast by discussing her hot summer in North Carolina with her children Emma Claire and Jack. They had fun times at the beach, and now the children are back in school.
Daughter Cate is in New York working with Vanity Fair. Elizabeth says that her health is better. She feels as if she has "slain the big dragon" of cancer. The "gargoyles" remain - meaning the side effects of the treatment that "nip at your ankles." She's feeling pretty good, though - and Sen Edwards assures us there's no doubt that she's looking good. ;) You could hear dishwashers and washing machines starting and stopping in the background at the Edwards house in Raleigh during this podcast, but as Elizabeth said, "life has to go on."

"Elizabeth says that her health is better. She feels as if she has "slain the big dragon" of cancer."

Sen Edwards discussed his own ideas in the aftermath of the Gulf coast hurricanes. The first was his idea about a new WPA. Instead of government handing out contracts to companies like Halliburton, he'd like to see the rebuilding of NOLA in a different way, such as citizens rebuilding their own city. People should be enabled to take advantage of opportunity - such as housing vouchers to promote cultural integration (cultural integration is provided where you don't lump poor people together and isolate them from greater society).

"We now have a window of opportunty to do something about poverty in the entire nation, and we shouldn't squander it."

He thinks it's a good idea to help to set up bank accounts for poor people so they can get used to dealing with financial institutions and to have a place to keep their money. Another idea is work bonds to get matching amounts from government to promote savings for poorer Americans. We now have a window of opportunty to do something about poverty in the entire nation, and we shouldn't squander it.

Less than a week ago Edwards was in Moscow on a trip, co-chairing a task force on US/Russia relations for the Council on Foreign Relations. It was a productive trip. He met with Russian leaders, including the recently announced presidential candidate for the 2008 Russian election - former PM Mikhail Kasyanov.
He got a lot of good information about what's happening in Russia, such as anti-democratic maneuvers put in place by Putin - such as government taking over the mass media, the stopping of direct elections of governors, and centralization of the government in the Kremlin which effectively eliminates all political opposition. The potential still exists for democracy in Russia and positive US/Russian relations. The U.S. and Russia still have many common interests such as security, economics, and China - but a significant obstacle is the anti-democratic actions which have been taken by president Putin.

"Crossing Red Square in Moscow, Sen Edwards was impressed and heartened to have Russian citizens stop him in the street to ask how Elizbeth was doing."

Unfortunately, the current trend-line on democracy in Russia is not a positive one.

Crossing Red Square in Moscow, Sen Edwards was impressed and heartened to have Russian citizens stop him in the street to ask how Elizbeth was doing. It made Elizabeth feel great to know that people from a land so far away were so caring.

Fred Hiatt has an October 2nd column in the Washington Post on Russia which Elizabeth recommends. (See "Silent on Putin's Slide - Bush Ignores Russia's Fading Freedom") A quote from the Hiatt column:
"What's striking is that for the first time in decades Russia is becoming less, not more, free, and Bush can't even bring himself to acknowledge what is happening."
Elizabeth thanked everyone who has nominated their favorite book for the One America book club, and a vote will soon be held to choose the overall favorite.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the Edwards support all activities which will assist fundraising for cancer research.

Questions for the Edwards
(Keep sending in your questions and see the Videoblog at the One America Committee site.)

On the Aftermath of Katrina: Many families have nothing to fall back on and if something goes wrong (such as a family illness or job lay-off), lives of the working poor are severely impacted. With no assets, no safety net or "cushion," many working Americans are one illness or one lay-off away from inescapable poverty. Journalist William Raspberry recently said on CSPAN that the people who've lived in poverty feel they can never escape the cycle which keeps them poor. The word "lucky" doesn't seem to apply to them. Segments of our population live with despair and hopelessness. Too many children live in poverty, and Elizabeth Edwards says that it should be easy to get people interested, motivated, and excited about ideas to bring about changes that could be made to give those children an opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Voluntary Voting System Guidelines: Debbie from Columbus, Ohio asked this question. In November, 2004, she spent two and a half hours in line in order to vote. The news media didn't seem to care about what happened...not even local media. There were three machines, and one was broken.

"Our country allegedly promotes democracy around the world, and that is all the more reason, for the future credibility of the U.S. election system, to avoid the "black-box voting" situation that we had in 2004."

They used to have four. Her friends in Republican Ohio districts had no idea this had happened, because it was never reported in the news. Debbie doesn't trust that her vote was counted. Elizabeth Edwards said that we watched the elections in Iraq with plastic tubs and paper ballots and we understand that no matter how primitive it seemed, there was still a verifiable system of counting the votes. We have a situation here in the States where the citizens do not trust the American voting system because there is no transparency as to how their individual vote is tallied, how it's counted..or whether it's counted at all. That is unacceptable. Our country allegedly promotes democracy around the world, and that is all the more reason, for the future credibility of the U.S. election system, to avoid the "black-box voting" situation that we had in 2004.

On the new Chief Justice of SCOTUS (John Roberts) and the choice of Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor: This question was from Allison from Granger, Indiana. Sen Edwards knew little about Miers at the time of the podcast. Elizabeth said that Harriet Miers has given money to Democrats in the past, including Al Gore and Lloyd Benson (1988). More recently, she contributed to Republican Phil Gramm (1995-96). She ran for and won a Dallas city council seat. She was paid $19,000 for investigating George W. Bush's National Guard service in preparation for his campaign (2nd gubernatorial run.) There are some interesting posts, including one at Blog Attitude, about Miers' time served as Lottery Commissioner of Texas. All of this may bubble up in time. She's argued that the ABA should not take a position with respect to abortion rights and the federal funding of abortion as a procedural position. She knew there was no chance of the ABA taking a position that opposed federal funding for abortion and/or abortion rights, but by her saying that it was what the ABA shouldn't be doing, we can glean her probable opinion on abortion rights. It's not good news if you support a woman's right to choose, since Sandra Day O'Connor represented the swing vote on Roe v. Wade. John Edwards said we can see a pattern here in the choices made - nominating people who have no record or paper trail and having them give only general replies to pointed questions so we cannot know what they stand for or what they'll do once confirmed. He expects that members of the Judiciary Committe will be tough on making Ms. Miers answer questions because she has even less of a paper trail and/or experience than Roberts. At least Roberts had been a judge for a few years. In the case of Miers, we're unlikely to get 20-year old memos as we were able to get on Roberts. She worked for private interests (Disney, Microsoft, etc). Roberts had academic credentials and excellence, and we cannot expect the same from Harriet Miers. She may be smart, but all the President can say is that her mother is proud of her - and that isn't exactly what you'd call an academic promotion.

The direction in which our country is headed: Elizabeth started by saying that her husband John didn't take PAC money or lobbyist funding when he ran for President. He was not indebted to the special interests in any way. Guys like Jack Abramoff have had the kind of power (tentacles) that they do because they have controlled money filtered through them from corporations - in exchange for favors from Congress. People are sick of politicians who wave with the wind and who willingly deal with "pay to play," as Abramoff and other lobbyists have represented. They want leaders they can trust and who will stand up for what they believe in. Washington D.C. "players" have nothing to do with real Americans' lives (other than keeping good things from happening). Government has to be able to do better. Now that Republicans have been in power for a few years, we see the results of their activities. It's been eye-opening. In 2006, the country will surely vote for change. Lobbyists have been spending as much on the Executive branch (wining and dining the decision-makers there) as they have spent on the legislators of Congress. This is the reason we have no-bid contracts with companies like Halliburton. They have their inroads/tentacles in Homeland Security or other federal agencies, while the local businessmen who could do work for less money are shut out of contract opportunity.

Tune in next month for the next Podcast.

President Edwards

President Edwards

Yep. You read that correctly.

I said President Edwards.

Sen Edwards will participate, along with former President Bill Clinton, in the Abu Dhabi World Leadership Summit on November 15, 2005, which is being promoted as an ultimate gathering of the world's most influential political and business leaders.

Natalie Gott, AP- Potential candidate Edwards remains focused on poverty "...some wonder if the former senator needs to move outside his comfort zone and start talking about other issues -- such as the war in Iraq and rising gas prices -- if he's serious about another bid for the White House."

Caryn Rousseau, AP - Edwards outlines duty to help poor
"..."Americans know that Katrina's victims shouldn't be out there on their own, that no one should be out there on their own," Edwards said Thursday in a speech on poverty at the [University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock]."

Sojourners - Time to End Poverty
You can tell a lot about people by how they treat their neighbors in need by Sen. John Edwards
We know that the Bible tells us the poor will always be with us. Some people hear that as an excuse for inaction. I believe it is a call for us to act and a call for us to serve. My family and my faith didn’t teach me to turn my back on a friend or neighbor in need. They taught me to open the door, let them in, and help them get back on their feet. And millions are calling for help right now. They don’t want a free ride. They just want a chance: a chance to work, buy a home, take care of their family, and live the American dream.