Last fall, Financial Times writer Edward Alden quoted Lawrence Wilkerson, retired Army Colonel and top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who claimed that Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, "and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world." Speaking of Mr. Wilkerson, there was an opinion of his printed in the Baltimore Sun just yesterday. In the column, the phrase "swaggering ineptitude" speaks volumes about the wrong direction in which our nation is headed. Wilkerson recommends returning to our founding roots and away from the radicalism of the "neoconservative" movement. Dumping Cheney would be a great start, provided he would be replaced with a sworn non-neocon (and that Rumsfeld would go, too.)
Joe Gandelman has a roundup on the 'Dump Dick' rumblings at the Moderate Voice.
"It was in the name of Jesus that Dorothy Day marched alongside auto workers in Michigan, brewery workers in New York, and marble cutters in Vermont. It was in the name of Jesus that E.B. McKinney and Owen Whitfield stood against a Mississippi oligarchy that held sharecroppers in servitude. It was in the name of Jesus that the young priest John Ryan - ten years before the New Deal - crusaded for child labor laws, unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, and decent housing for the poor. And it was in the name of Jesus that Martin Luther King Jr. went to Memphis to march with sanitation workers who were asking only for a living wage.
This is the heresy of our time - to wrestle with the gods who guard the boundaries of this great nation's promise, and to confront the medicine men in the woods, twirling their bullroarers to keep us in fear and trembling. For the greatest heretic of all is Jesus of Nazareth, who drove the money changers from the temple in Jerusalem as we must now drive the money changers from the temples of democracy."
- Bill Moyers, from A Time for Heresy , remarks delivered on March 14 upon the establishment by Marilyn and James Dunn, of the Wake Forest Divinity School, of a scholarship in religious freedom in the name of Judith and Bill Moyers. [Truthout.org]
Michelle Bair taped Senator John Edwards when he spoke to 200 people at a recent Democracy for New Hampshire fund-raiser at the Portsmouth Gas Light Co restaurant in the lovely city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Don't miss her entire series of videos of the Edwards speech at You Tube. Here's a clip:
At the DNC spring meeting in New Orleans, party chair Howard Dean said that President Bush did a cut and run on Katrina, creating a political legacy of deficits, divisiveness and deceit.
Criticizing Bush for leaving his mess in Iraq behind for some other President to deal with, Dean said..
"He got us into it. He owes it to the American people to get us out."
My American Street colleague Jenny Greenleaf of Oregon was in New Orleans for the DNC spring gathering. She compares the work that she and fellow DNC volunteers were doing in New Orleans to "moving a sand dune with a teaspoon" (Hey - that rhymes):
The DNC, meeting here in New Orleans, wanted to make this about more than political machinations. DNC members are fanning out around the city to clean up devastated homes, pack food at the food bank, and sort and distribute clothes, food and hygiene products in Plaquemines Parish. I helped salvage in a commercial kitchen/pantry for Food For Friends, which prepares and delivers meals to AIDS/HIV patients. When I signed up, I imagined scrubbing shelves and polishing the stove. This place was way beyond that: our task was to save what files we could, throw away trash, and remove the refrigerators still full of food from the building, which will not be repaired anytime soon. Fortunately Food for Friends has been able to resume operations elsewhere.[..]..It’s wonderful to do something to help, but it feels like trying to move a sand dune with a teaspoon. The need here is so immense.
In the latest installment of the Washington Post's editorial series about "inequality", they warn that
protectionism would have disastrous consequences for growth and would help limited numbers of exposed workers rather than the majority of poor and middle-income families. But the pressure to close borders, bash corporations and experiment with ineffective social programs will continue until government addresses inequality in a serious way.
I think both ideas, "protectionism" and "social programs", have to take on a new meaning here in 2006. The American people still expect decent and fair treatment from the companies that do business here in America, even while hundreds of thousands of jobs are outsourced to foreign shores. The American people still expect a poor child to grow up to be be able to have as much opportunity to succeed as a kid from the upper middle class right here in this country.
Multinational corporations need to be held to social responsibility standards that will disable them, through voluntary competitive standards, from taking advantage of workers in third world countries and wantonly sending American jobs to cheaper zones in which to do business. A new ISO standard (ISO-26000) on Corporate Social Responsibility is being drafted as I write this. The third meeting of the ISO/TMB/WG SR will take place next month. Some corporations are voluntarily paying attention to social responsibility, with a healthy push from their own employees. We need a new moral direction and our political leaders, through their perverted economic policies and unethical lobbyist-hugging governing practices, have not been setting good examples.
Business should be encouraged to be a strong partner in raising the poor up into the middle class. (See, for example, this case study titled Bridging the Cultures of Business and Poverty: Welfare to Career at Cascade Engineering, Inc. by James R. Bradley, Stanford Social Innovation Review.)
The richest in America should be paying their fair share of the American people's heavy tax burden. The last five years of the Bush administration's misguided economic policy have raped the middle class and have enriched the richest, while the current budget slashes threaten to make every one of our communities poorer in every way imaginable.
Some things in life are really great when they are steady and predictable, such as a secure job and a sturdy ladder. I've watched and analyzed President Bush's moves since he came into office. He's a stubborn and rigid man; fiercely so. He's stubborn to the extent that it can be categorized as a character flaw that has blinded him to acting for the good of the American people he is supposed to be representing. As David Gergen has written in his New York Times guest column, the recent shake-up in the White House seems to be all about "better management and marketing" rather than necessary change. Mr. Gergen suggests:
..[Better management and marketing] will help, but they almost certainly will not be enough to rescue [Bush's] presidency from its low approval ratings and loss of public confidence.
Judging from all I've seen so far from this President, we will likely get more marketing and management...long after the product has lost its sales appeal with the American public. What happens when everyone decides to mute the Oval Office commercials? You don't watch ads for cover-up when what you know you really need is an able physician. Most Americans understand we don't need cheap cosmetics. We need major surgery.