Dean Continues to Convince on Foreign Policy
Dean's message, that the Iraq War's long term effects on our security are not likely to be positive if we continue going it alone, continues to move public opinion to his side
. This is going to be a cruicial issue in '04, of course. The Administration is continuting to refuse any international participation in operational control in Iraq. Their credibility is invested heavily in Iraq and they know it. Good news for us, they have built their fortress on a quagmire. The bad news for us, our nation's credibility and security is in that fortress with them. For that reason, it's a difficult and perilous thing for Dean to attack that fortress.
He is doing it with skill and care. The success he is having is moving public opinion while under whithering fire from the GOP and even attacks from the right and left of his own party over his stance shows he has found effective themes; the credibility of Bush's claims which led us to war, and the long-term effect of the occupation on our security.
With this strong indication that Dean is making headway in foreign and security policy, he's moving inexorably toward putting together a complete package of credible policy with which to take Bush down in '04. Dean's choice of ground in this battle, the stable ground of common sense and sound geo-stategic sense, accounts for much of his progress. Before the election is over I predict that Dean will be popularly perceived as a national savior
in foreign policy. The Administration, on the other hand, must contantly shift messages and change postition to keep it's footing on the bog-full of quicksand on which it has choosen to make its stand.
The Administration is finding itself back on its heels rhetorically to defend the Iraq War and occupation. They are resorting anything they can think of, from transparent spin strategies
to revisionist history
to downplay the significance of our failure to find WMD and the "post major combat operations" death toll. The GOP and the Administration still haven't found a strategy beyond a blunt and pre-rational appeal to 9/11 sentiment
to reinforce their claim of the Iraq War's relevance to terrorism. The recent spate of serious bombings is hurting their case that invading Iraq was a way to reduce terrorism; the case is building swiftly that the opposite is the case.
As tragic as the results of the Iraq War and occupation are likely to be for America, the one consolation is that it is the foreign policy Achilles heel of an Administration which is harmful to America in so many ways. Democrats, and Dean in particular, have already made great progress in convincing America that we have the solutions for America's domestic woes - polling indicates
a complete collapse for Bush to a 32% approval rate and a whopping 58% disapproval on domestic policy.
Should these trends continue, and I see no reason why they should not, Dean is on the way to building an American consensus on both foreign and domestic policy that no amount of money spent by Bush will be able to disrupt. Softdrink companies outspend Bush several times over every year to shift a few percentage points in nearly meaningless preferences. Bush will not be able to buy a large enough slice public opinion about these vital policy matters to stay in office. Of course, there will always be a segment of the population inclined to favor Bush, as the continuing popularity of the undrinkably disgusting Red Bull indicates, you can sell some people anything if you advertise enough.
Calculating the Real Costs of War
The most important under-reported story
about the Iraq war may be that of the thousands of wounded it has produced. The estimate from the officer in charge of airlifting the wounded home puts the figure at about 8,000. The most astounding thing about this is the near silence in the media about the cost of the Iraq War in terms of suffering and permanent disabilities. Coverage pretends that the only price is the relatively few lives claimed and the 4 billion a month, or more, cost of the occupation. But this is this tip of an iceberg.
It is true that fatalities have been lighter than most past wars, but that is mainly due to the improvements in medical science which allow even some of the most greivously wounded to live. It is not because our troops are no longer being wounded. If somewhat less than 400 soliers have died, that makes the ratio of medi-vaced casualties to fatalities about 20 to one. Twenty soldiers seriously wounded enough to require medivac to the States for every one killed.
How many more are treated in the field hosptials and returned to action, as is the army's normal practice? We don't know exactly. That, too, is classified information. But even if it's only equal to those medi-vaced, and that's an unreasonably lowe estimate, that's 16,000 casualties, so far. More than 1 in 10 soldiers in Iraq may already bear the scars of this war. Every time that death toll increments by one soldier martyred to Bush's hubris, one can estimate there are probably 40 more who are injured by accident or mayhem.
If the public were exposed to the real cost of this war in blood and suffering would they still support Bush's War? How much longer would he sit in the office that allows him to order the carnage to continue if people were allowed to know of the hidden price we are paying? Meanwhile, at the same time our soldiers are wounded and maimed and disabled by the thousands, Bush is seeking reductions in their medical and disability benefits.
I remember reading what is likely an apocryphal story about Bush meeting a soldier during a hospital tour whose hand had been blown off in his war, and he grabbed the boys stump and began to pray over it. I can only imagine that if really happened, he was praying for forgiveness.
Tell people about the toll Bush's rush to war and refusal to internationalize the occupation is taking. If the media doesn't do thier jobs, we'll have to do for them.
Yet Another Obit for Dean. What's Next? Wills and Trusts?
An obituary appeared in the New Hampshire capitol's daily newspaper the Concord Monitor for Kenneth Reichstein, age 65, who died at his home in
Sabornton, New Hampshire. Described as "active in town and state politics
in New Hampshire and a passionate organizer on issues of social justice and
peace," the obit ended with this kicker: "Contributions in his memory may be
sent to the Howard Dean campaign at www.DeanforAmerica.com."
Peter Newton "On the Road for Dean" - Peter Goes Native!
There must be something in all that lake water, up in the land o' Garrison Keillor, where "A" is not a vowel, it's a question. What ever it is, Peter's caught it... and an important personage in Minnesotahhhh has caught Dean fever. Peter reports...
audblog audio post
The Dean Counterattack?
Some of Bush's supporters are so scared of Dean that they are calling for a "Dean Counterattack."
The article is put out by the National Review which if I remember correctly are the same people who backed the
Anita Hill and Clinton smear campaigns.
National Review - Kudlow's afraid
Peter Newton "On the Road for Dean"
Peter updates us on the fantastic amount of local press that Dean is generating in the places he's passed through.
audblog audio post
NEW FEATURE: AUDIOBLOGS! Peter Newton "On the Road for Dean!"
We have a new feature on Dean4AZ, audio posts. We will be having all sorts of new formats and content using this feature. The first is AZ volunteer district coordinator Peter Newton's reports from on the road. Peter is travelling on business and putting an ear to the ground to the national Dean scene while he does so. He will be reporting from all over the mountain states and the midwest. This week he is in Iowa, at one the most intense foci of the Dean campaign to take back America!
With no further ado, Heeeeeere's Peter!
audblog audio post
Tucson Children Left Behind?
For those of you who might miss it, one of Tucson's favorite people, Molly McKasson, wrote a thoughtful and balanced piece
in the Weekly about No Child Left Behind, which Dean has committed to reforming, for many of the reasons Molly highlights. Good reading with solid interviews with local educators.
Also in this week's Weekly a great short piece
about the disappearing of the beloved school nurses, who may be becoming endangered species, but who are currently a major source of primary care for uninsured kids nationwide. Both stories highlight the importance of Dean's agenda, with his focus on delivering healthcare and quality education to children, our most vulnerable and promising citizens.
Dean realizes that those little people in schools and nurses offices across the nation are the future. Children must be an investment priority, not an afterthought. Can any parent say that they wouldn't sacrifice everything they have in the world to give their children better, happier, healthier, wealthier lives? So how is it that, as a society, we can neglect our nation's children as shockingly as we often do? They aren't our kids, but they will be, much sooner than one can imagine, our co-workers, our government officials, our professionals, our sons- and daughters-in-law, our friends and our fellow citizens. Shorting them now, only shorts us later. Our society is in bondage to the short term and the quick result.
Our leaders seem bereft of any sense of continuity, any belief in, or plan for, the future. Our public dialog lacks any sense of moral duty to our future. Howard Dean is the exception. He says that politicians need to stop thinking in terms of the next election cycle (2, 4, 6 years) and start thinking in terms of centuries. He's absolutely right; we may not survive as a nation, as a society, as a culture, or even as a species, unless we do. Nobody in this cold and pitiless universe is looking out for the as yet unborn generations of humans that, if the species is lucky, will come to be in the fullness of time; nobody but we humans now living. Many would say God does, however one conceives of him, but s/he seems to help most those who help themselves.
Dean's emphasis on children in his record and in this campaign, reflects a desire for a return to the traditional American values of family (ALL,
families, not some group's narrow definition of family), community (that free and voluntary civil society built on volunteerism and citizen participation which has been dying a quiet death in the cities and towns of America for several generations now), and shared endeavor (the struggle to build something of value and wonder for ourselves and our progeny). These are the values that pull us together, encourage us to approach each other as equals in the struggle to better ourselves, our lives, and those of our children). When such values are made real in the works of our leaders, not just their slogans, it can remake this country a place of hope, love, and wonder - a beacon of human achievement and civilization where the true American spirit is available to all who believe in her. A place where belief in the goodness and rightness of your nation is not a pollyannish dream or a cynical pose.
I'm proud to be able speak of hope and love and equality in the same breath with the goals of my country again. I'm glad that there can be heard everywhere a rising whisper of American voices speaking out about what is really important to them. It's as if I'm waking from a dream of my own life, which was oddly drained of whatever makes life livable. These past 3 years, I have often felt like an exile or a stranger in my own country; one who cannot quite understand the language, nor understand what people in the news are trying to accomplish. I was afraid I wouldn't get the punchline or even see it coming. Now my fear is that it's not coming. In fact, I've stopped waiting for it.
I realized that there is nothing humorous here. America had become a very unfunny place. Like many others, I have started watching John Stewart's Daily Show for my news. Oh, I read the news online voraciously, so I'm not uninformed, but the sick amiability of the newscasters as they pertly spew lies, twist rhetorical drivel into news, and forthrightly shill for their corporate owners, is too sickening to watch. The few real journalists left, privately admit they are too intimidated and terrified to do their jobs with any integrity. Watching professionals soldier on with unseen guns to their heads is just unseemly; I won't watch their humiliation. Better to get a good laugh from John, who somehow finds humor in both the sadly unfunny and the simply absurd.
How to wrap this up?
Good news. The latest Zogby poll
has King George flat-lining politically. His approval is pre-9/11 at 52%, off a high of 82%. His hard re-elect number is beaten by "anybody but Bush" by 48% to his 45%. People still think he's a personable guy with a favorability rating of 56% (40% think he's a shrub), but ask Walter Mondale or Jimmy Carter, or Mike Dukakis (and I apologize to them all for grouping them in such boorish company as Bush) whether the nice guy always wins the race.
No. The "Unbeatable" rap which Rove's flacks threw down with such persistence to create an aura of inevitability for Bush's re-election, is sounding like they scratched that record once too often. It no longer pops. Bush is going away. He'll be on a 100k-per-pound-of-bullcake talking tour and be invited to sit on the Board of Carlysle once again with papa (maybe this time they won't find him such a feckless bore that they ease him out
after a few years) and become inordinately more wealthy from the wealthier of the world throwing scraps at his feet, as if he were a well trained, yet biddable, attack dog: not far from the truth, actually; just imagine the doggie with many well-camoflauged leashes and a crowd of weathy, anonymous handlers, trying to look as if they are following the dog. You get the picture. But with Bush, maybe it's even worse; maybe even when he's holding the leash, he's not one in control:
Poll Watch- Dean takes commanding lead in NH!
The latest Presidential Zogby Poll on the NH primary
is showing Dean zooming far out ahead of all competitors. Dean polled at 38%
, more than double his nearest competitor, Kerry, at 17%. All other candidates were in single digits.
Lieberman, Gephardt, and Edwards are in a seond tier of 4-6% with all others polling at 1% or less. The exception being Clarke; Waiting Wesley pulled 2%, half of what he is claimed to be polling nationally on name recognition alone.
On this news, Dean's NH win stock on Tradesport zoomed
several points and is being closely held on expectation of further growth.
It looks like the dam has broken and many Kerry and Gephardt supporters, as well as independents, have decided to join the Dean camp and back a winner. Once Dean pulls out a major win in NH the pull from the other campaigns can be expected to accelerate.
The Bat Hit Another Grand Slam
As of 10:00 pm EST Dean supporters across America raised $1,003,620.00, matching Bush's fundraising machine!
17,115 people contrinuted; 9,732 were new contributers.
Dean Going On-Air in AZ
The Howard Dean campaign is planning on running TV ads in the early primary states of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin, starting Friday.
A Goddard Endorsement in the Cards?
AZ Democratic Party insider Craig Columbus suggests that Dean's dance card
at his September 5th Phoenix fundraiser
is suggestive that AZ AG Terry Goddard
may be nearing a decision to officially endorse Dean.
Obits Against Bush
Submitted By Judith Lavendar, State Campaign Coordinator,
SALLY BARON, 71, of Stoughton died Monday, Aug. 18, 2003 ....born and raised in the Hurley area ... worked as an assembly worker, waitress, cook, dietician ... took care of her family, especially her husband "Slugger", after a bad mining accident in 1969 ... Memorial service at Covenant Lutheran Church, Stoughton, at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, 2003. Graveside services at Hurley later. Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush. This prompted an editorial in the paper
about how even the obits are coming out against Bush.
Our friend and fellow Dean supporter Peter Newton is taking a trip. He will be traveling through some of the mountain states and midwest on business. He will be taking some time along the way to contact Dean supporters. Hopefully Peter will be reporting back via a new feature on this Blog: Audio Blog Posts.
I hope we learn a lot about what's happening in the movement elsewhere in America from Peter's reflections. Here is his an email he sent on his return from the State Democratic Party Platform Convention in Flagstaff last weekend:
"I thought that the State Meeting on Saturday was pretty interesting. I learned a lot bout what's happening around the state, and Pima County isn't as well off as we would like to think, vis a vie the rest of the state. We've got our work cut out for us.
"As for Dean, we need to make our table have some more pizzazz. The Clark people had a power point presentation and VERY pushy people working the crowd. The Kerry folks got there early and placard the place with signs. The Edwards folks brought a big banner and snappy fliers. The Kucinich folks had videos, books, all matter of media to hawk (and their Flag people are far more humane than many of the Pima supporters). I couldn't tell how well any group did in convincing people. And I saw my first Lieberman, anything.
"If I weren't so tired and busy, I'd blog a bit about the experience [well, you just did, Peter- Michael]. I also have a bunch to blog about reading media sites along my planned trip route. Many of the NPR networks in the plains states are addressing some very interesting issues that ACTUALLY reflect the issues that face their listeners every day, and not just the ones the consultants throw at them. It should be an interesting learning experience, this trip. I'm interested to learn about my country again. Unfortunately, I won't have the chance that I'd like to have, chatting with folks, spending leisurely amounts of time sipping coffee in cafes and reading the paper, or simply gazing at the landscape, listening to the wind tell the stories that can't be found in the pretension of conversation. I hope that Dean will take that chance here soon.
"This trip is almost ALL business, but I will try to connect with a Dean group in Kansas City to see what they are up to. I am also planning a trip to St. Paul in Labor Day to join another Dean group at a Jim Hightower event. He will be signing copies of his new book, and Greg Palast is said to be speaking also. It should be good. I will also attend a Meetup in Mankato. Before I return, I will try to see if there are any events in Lincoln, Denver or Albuquerque.
"I will try to blog as I go, if Kinko's will let me [At this point Peter had not yet been informed of the phone in audio blog feature- Michael]. If not, I'll e-blast to Mike Bryan, and perhaps he can post it. I hope that there will be many interesting things to learn, much as I learned on Saturday. I only wish I had more time to network. Perhaps I will soon, traveling the state to learn more about what people are doing that is succeeding. We have a lot to learn down here about being "real" democrats. Pima County Democrats are more like Demagogues than Democrats, and in some cases, Demadogs. No individual one has the right answer, but each contain a piece of the puzzle that is the answer, and we must begin the building of that coalition to flesh out that puzzle.
"When I return, I have a few plans I want to put into place. One is to follow up on an earlier email that spoke about getting our Dean Teams active in the community. I hope to organize a Dean Team walk for our man Tom Volgy, so we can reach some of his people and try to make them ours too. I also plan to hold a happy hour for Young Democrats that will include a social with the campaigns, and no this happy hour will not be for students. I'm tired of everything going to the U of A or controlled by retirees. I love both, but we have a HUGE doughnut hole in the party that leave people ages 25-60 out in the cold. This must change, and I need to stop waiting for it to happen. Students, of course, are welcome.
"Anyway, I'm soapboxing, and I have to pack. I won't be able to check my email until Friday, so keep the emails to a minimum of high importance.
"BTW, I love the way spell check changes Lieberman to Liberian."
Have fun, Peter. I hope your trip is a success.
Now THAT's a bat...
CAPTION CONTEST! Leave a comment with your ideal caption for this photo. Mine: "The world's second million dollar bat, here's the first
Bushie Brain Sushi
A look inside the weltanschauung of the Bush Administration requires you to look no further than the top of your nigiri. The Bushies views on salmon in the Northwest clearly demonstrate their lack of any political principles beyond the gathering of campaign funds and the courting of self-interested votes. The Bush Administration is a political machine animated solely by expediency.
Take first Karl Rove's influence
over the administration's position on the Klamath River of Oregon. Rove led the administration to favor farmers over fish, to the point of suborning of the Interior department's internal decision-making process, for partisan advantage. The result: farmers got the water diversion they sought, and the salmon died in droves.
Contrast that with, the administration's approach in Washington state
, where they seek to tread a line between industrial interests who want cheap hyro-electrical energy and those who depend upon, and are concerned about, salmon populations. In order to have any hope of carrying Washington in 2004 the Bush administration must walk a careful line between interests groups neither of whom they can satisfy or alienate. The result is a typical Bushie suspension of realty; an insistence that there can be compromise between incompatible goals; the generation of maximum hydroelectric power from the state's dams, and the preservation of the spawning habitats of an already declining salmon population.
Every administration must respond to the needs and wishes of local constituencies to win elections and help their party; I haven't any quarrel with that. But the Bush administration subordinates every principle to political expediency. They do not even try to educate or convince anybody to pursue interests greater than their own. They simply bend any rule, corrupt every decision-making process, and pull out all the stops, to ensure that policy always coincides with political expediency.
That is why the Bush administration must go; no good can come of leadership whose vision of national purpose consists simply of giving way to the highest bidder. Leadership of America in this time of change, challenge, and great opportunity must project a robust vision of our future. A real leader challenges people, educates them, and motivates them to build a better nation. Leadership that simply appeases whomever shouts the loudest or opens their wallets the widest ensures the stagnation of our economy, a growing polarization of our people, and the mediocrity of America.
There is only one person in the race for the Presidency capable of challenging America is such a way. Only one with the spine and the honesty to tell America what's what. Only one who is truly a leader, not a weathervane, a relic, a tyro, a doppleganger, a cypher, a panderer, a jester, a token, or a puppet (guess which candidate each term refers to). And that person will to be our next President.
What's in a Name? The New Political Marketplace.
- let the buyer beware. The labels don't match the goods these days. The latest regressive California initiative, number 54, goes by the misleading monicker "The Racial Privacy Initiative". It is sponsored Ward Connerly, the Wrong Wing-Nut columnist and activist, whose misleading political PR could have served as a model for Bush's. Ward's Prop 209, which ended affirmative action in California's government sector, was touted as the "Civil Rights Initiative".
In CNN: Politics
Erwin Chemerinsky, a very well respected authority on constitutional law and federalism, explains why CA's Prop 54 is not only bad for minorities, it's bad for the state, bad for rational governance, will cost the tax payers of CA dearly, and is unconstitutional to boot. Chemerinsky points out that the two work wonderfully together; 54 leaves minorities farther and farther behind, while 209 covers it up by preventing the collection of relevant racial statistics. Ah, the joys of privacy...
The irony may be that the presence of this noxious piece of hate on the ballot could drive minorities to the polls, disrupting the GOP's plot to take over the State House with their Terminator tool.
Howard Dean, of course, hates 209
, and supports affirmative action. He has also opposed Arizona's own flirtation with thinly desguised and inaptly named racism, "Protect America Now"
Dean seems to oppose all programs and laws that can't quite seem to say what they really mean.
"Healthy Forrests" for unrestricted and legally unenjoinable logging.
"Clear Skies" for self-regulation of air pollution.
"Leave No Child Behind" for systematically forcing underperforming kids to drop out and then jiggering the statistics.
"National Energy Strategy" for a squalid giveaway of billions of taxpayer dollars to oil, coal, and nuclear producers.
"Economic Stimulus" for tax cuts that have carried us so far into debt that there is no hope they will have any stimulative effect.
"Operation Iraqi Freedom" for the occupation of a beaten, factured nation; more accurate would have have been the original name given it by Pentagon wordsmiths, "Operation Iraqi Liberation". The acronym would then have fittingly been O.I.L.
"PATRIOT ACT" for a law any patriot would spit on. And now, Ashcroft's latest dish of bulldookey, the "VICTORY ACT", designed to finally give the federal government victory over our pesky civil rights.
The language itself has become misshapen by the GOP's manipulation of it. Weakening a regulation is "streamlining" and "reform", logging a forest becomes "thinning", benefits become "entitlements", Social Security becomes just another "retirement benefit" no different than a 401K or IRA. There are so many more; leave your favorite examples of GOsPeak in comments, please.
Most of those who are supporting Dr. Dean are those willing and able to look past the headlines and examine what those labels are stuck to. Those who strongly oppose Dr. Dean also know what hides behind the wrapper, and relish a taste of iniquity.
But most people haven't the time or interest to get behind the packaging. It's what the GOP counts on. If people did, most would be horrified by the toy surprises inside. It's up to us to tell them. Lies the size of those the GOP have learned to tell don't go away on their own, nor can any one man dispell them. It takes an army of informed and caring citizens to ensure that the truth is heard.
314,892 and counting...
Linkapalooza: detritus from the campaign trail through cyberspace
Creating new ideas, novel connections, and new approaches to old problems: that is the essence of how the net will remake American politics. I stick my nose in some unusual places, searching for the scent of change in the electron winds. New ways of communicating, innovative ways to organize and exert political influence, emergent ways of learning and sharing information, and fresh ways of seeing the world abound on the net; to ignore them is to forfeit the future.
Occassionally, I look through the uncategorized favorites that I accumulate with such rapidity to see what is worth keeping, and go through my history cache to cull what I may have overlooked. This time, I thought perhaps some of you might find something inspiring or useful amid this jumble. In no particular order, and with no clearly defined theme, I give you a selection of links from the past week on the digital campaign trail for Dr. Dean.
Dean media team innovates
Tired of all those trees?
Independent source for Dean's public issue positions
Baghdad Bulletin: reconstruction news
AZ political wire
New Hampshire Dems
Dean gets bluesy
Dean defender general flap
IRV POTUS poll
Union activism online
A basic wiki to play with
A Muslim tells why he's for Dean
Zogby polls and news
Pima Co. Nucleus Club news
IP busting art
Funky Dean design
Democratic future vision
Findlaw local gov't crawler
Bush secrecy: public citizen
MIT open courseware
Please, leave your own recent discoveries in comments.
Victory (Over Freedom) Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2003
Governor Dean Condemns Proposed 'Victory Act'
Says Ashcroft 'must not be allowed to compromise our freedoms any further'
BURLINGTON--As Attorney General John Ashcroft begins his tour this week pushing for a 'Victory Act' that would build upon the USA Patriot Act, Governor Dean released the following statement:
"After September 11, the Ashcroft Justice Department took advantage of the climate of fear and adopted a series of anti-terror tactics that go far beyond protecting our country and erode the rights of average Americans. We should be rolling these back, but instead Attorney General Ashcroft is trying to build on them with his 'Victory Act' proposal.
"He must not be allowed to compromise our freedoms any further. I call on Attorney General Ashcroft to withdraw this dangerous piece of legislation.
"The September 11 terrorists sought to disrupt the American way of life, including our constitutional freedoms. They must not succeed. As President, I will lead the war on terror in a way that protects civil rights and civil liberties as well as our safety."
Following Governor Dean's statement, a petition was placed on his website, www.deanforamerica.com, for Americans to sign who supported his call to stop Attorney General Ashcroft's proposal.
The petition reads,
"To John Ashcroft: Stop compromising our freedoms. Stop eroding our basic civil rights. Stop trying to teach our neighbors to spy on each other, and American communities to mistrust each other. I will not stand for your using fear to threaten what it means to be America. The rule of law and due process are at the heart of the American tradition. There is no contradiction between protecting the country from terrorism and ensuring the protection of our basic civil liberties every step of the way."
More information regarding the petition, as well as the governor's statements on the USA Patriot Act, is available at www.deanforamerica.com/stopashcroft
A Love Letter From an Unexpected Source
Largely overlooked because of its unusual placement in FrontPageMagazine, David Horowitz's quirky vanity press, Dick Morris penned a love letter about Dean's use of the internet
and prognosticated that his campaign would mark a sea-change in American politics. There is much I disagree with Dick Morris about, compromising Democratic values for supposed "electability" for one, but I will be the first to admit that he often has insights into the political process which are peerlessly precise. Dick's founding of Vote.com initiated the serious use of the internet to mobilize mass political opinion. It currently is one of the most trafficked sites on the internet. Currently, Vote.com has a poll regarding the release of Dean's Vermont Gubernatorial records
, go express your opinion on the matter.
Dean Takes Lead Over Kerry In New Hampshire
An American Research Group (ARG) poll shows Howard Dean leading Kerry in New Hampshire by 28 percent to 21 percent. Joe Lieberman is down to 4 percent after being at 11 percent in June. It seems that the more people actually see and hear of Joe the less they like him.
The story appeared in the Union Leader
(Free Registration Required.)
A Site The Pros Use
A friend of mine--a woman who has worked in Democratic campaigns in seven states--put me onto a powerful free site that she reports is regularly used by political professionals. Surprisingly, it is the ABC news site, www.abcnews.com.
Go to the political page and from there go to 'The Note"
This is an excellent survey of political news. As always, judge for yourself.
Here is an article about Dean's lack of success wooing other Democratic governors. However, our very own Janet Napolitano seems to have quietly disagreed with them. You have to scroll down to read her statement. Might she come out and endorse him? Normally a statement like hers would not seem out of the ordinary but given the antagonism of the DLC, even a hint of normal behavior seems like support.
An exerpt from the Washington Post:
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano said DLC leaders were wrong to put so much focus on their fears about Dean's candidacy at their meeting in Philadelphia last month, saying, "I respectfully disagree with my DLC colleagues."
The Washinton Post article
Grijalva Endorsement Press Roundup
New of Rep. Raul Grijalva's endorsement of Howard Dean for President has made a considerable splash. I think we can look at this as another turning point in Dean's Arizona campaign. From here on out Dean is no longer an insurgent in Arizona; he emerges now as a top tier contender. Look for him to roll up more and more official support now that Grijalva and Volgy has expressed their confidence in him. From here on the campaign's momentum is established, and guiding it, not getting it moving, will be the challenge for we organizers.
Dean's official blog gives mention to the event
. The comments from the blog
include a large number of Arizonans for Dean and are worth reading. The Tucson Citizen ran two stories, one by C.T. Revere
and one by an AP stringer focusing on Dean's speech
. The Arizona Daily Star ran a feature story by C. J. Karamargin
. The Phoenix Business Journal picked up the story of the endorsement
but focused on the story of Lieberman's now defunct RV trip, noting that Lieberman would not himself be on the tour. Rather Arizona House Minority Leader John Loredo and Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox would serve as proxies on the tour.
The Arizona Republic ran a piece based on a phone interview with Dean
. Besides the Grijalva endorsement, the story features an announcement of the hiring of Frank Costanzo as Arizona campaign manager ( Congrats Frank, now that you have a salary we're all gonna bug you to take us out for drinks and dinner! ) and a statement of funds raised from Arizona so far.
"As of June 30, Dean had raised about $105,000 in Arizona from more than 1,300 contributors."
These numbers continue the pattern of large numbers of small contributors, in this case about 80 dollars per donor on average, whose money is eligible for Federal matching funds.
Many of the news channels covered the event, the best of the coverage being provided live by channel 4, with brief pieces throughout the rest of the day and evening. Unfortunately local news stations have notoriously lousy web sites. Here are the few that have online coverage (though none have streaming video); Channel 4
, and Channel 11
500 Rally For Dean in Tucson
Five hundred enthusiastic Dean supporters gave Dean a sun-drenched Tucson welcome when he came to accept the endorsement of Tucson Congressman Raul Grijalva. The crowd was a typical mix of Dean supporters. College students and young professionals, men and women of all ages and…I found…even a Republican or two.
Howard took off his tie and gave Bush hell. He outlined his positions on health care, the war in Iraq, and the failure of Bush’s economic plans. In the most courteous possible way he pointed out the, um, errors of fact and broken promises that characterize the President's public utterances.
Afterwards I met my wife and State Senator Gabriel Giffords for lunch at one of Tucson’s favorite bakery-coffee-and-lunch places. I was wearing my big blue Dean sticker and one of the Spanish signs from the rally was on the table. All during lunch people came up to say they were sorry to have missed the rally...Monday and work, y’ know.
One woman said she was a Dean supporter but asked why he didn’t have folks organizing in Tucson. Is there a lesson there someplace? I gave her a card.
ARNOLD & DEAN'S POLITICAL REVOLUTION
August 13, 2003 -- THE surges of former Gov. Howard Dean in New Hampshire and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California are taking place 3,000 miles apart, but reflect the same phenomenon: Voter disgust with the state of American politics.
The signs are everywhere for those who are not so obsessed with partisan advantage to see. Half of the nation's voters stay home. Bush's job approval has fallen one point every three days for the past two months. Last year, Minnesota voters were so disgusted by Democratic attempts to use the funeral of Sen. Paul Wellstone to elect retread Walter Mondale that this die-hard Democratic state voted Republican.
Why are voters so cynical, apathetic and downright surly? Count the reasons. In 2000, the supposedly nonpartisan United States Supreme Court voted, almost along party lines, to deny the voters a chance for a recount in the presidential election.
Every judicial nomination triggers a fight to the death and every bill starts a filibuster in the Senate. The political parties have conspired in a massive deal to protect one another's incumbents by so drawing congressional district lines that only four incumbent congressmen were defeated by insurgents from the other party - less than 1 percent of the body!
Now an actor is defeating all candidates in both parties handily in the nation's most populous state.
The politicians deserve to live in the world of voter antipathy that their antics have created.
In California on the right and in the Democratic presidential contest on the left, voters are demanding a return to direct democracy, taking politics out of the hands of politicians and their special-interest benefactors. Using the recall petition in California and the Internet in the Democratic contest, they are reaching out and insisting on reasserting their sovereignty over the political process that special-interest money has taken away from them. Even apart from Schwarzenegger, other candidates like columnist Arianna Huffington reflect this voter unrest and new militancy.
Voters know that the political system is fundamentally corrupted by special interests and their campaign contributions. They realize that Gov. Gray Davis can no more cut the budget or close tax loopholes than could one of a Roman galley's slaves steer the boat. Davis is no less shackled to his oar by the favors he owes for the money he has received.
The line between legality and bribery has been so blurred by recent Supreme Court decisions as to make payoffs almost impos-sible to prosecute. So explicit must be the linkage between the donor's bribe and the recipient's actions that even a reprobate like Bob Torricelli can't be convicted. Bill Clinton can exchange a pardon for a million-dollar donation to his library and Hillary can swap one for 1,400 block votes from upstate Hasidic Jews and neither gets prosecuted.
Sen. Chris Dodd of nearby Connecticut can push and pass legislation that enables the Wall Street scandals to take place by virtually barring private investor lawsuits against accountants, auditors and attorneys, and he escapes electoral punishment. Indeed, tens of thousands of investors his legislation helped to defraud will probably, in total ignorance, vote for their tormentor in the elections next year.
Bureaucracy on the one hand and corruption on the other are taking away our fundamental democratic rights. Can we vote on the leadership of the IMF, the World Bank or the U.N.? No way. And when we do vote, it's often for candidates like Davis who forget to mention, as they seek another term, that they face a $38 billion gap, which amounts to one third of the state's budget.
Is there a salvation for our democracy?
Yes. It will come through the Internet. Just as word of the Dean campaign spread virally through the 'Net without the aid of huge expenditures and anti-globalism demonstrators mass together without publicity from any establishment news organs, the free communication of the Internet will create an alternative to top-down manipulation by opinion leaders. The flow of information on the Internet is opening the door to grass-roots activism. The lack of money for postage, phone calls or ads need not deter average people from mobilizing.
The message of Dean's surge, Bush's slippage and Schwarzenegger's candidacy is the same: This is a revolutionary era we are entering.
Inviting In The Greens...
A while back I posted a critique of the Green party's electoral strategy
and suggestions for a new direction which would, I believe, lead to a more influential Green party and wider implementation of Green policies. I sent this critique to the Green party, of course, and recieved a reply, from Mr. Dean Myerson
, the National Political Coordinator of the Green Party USA, a former Co-Chair of the Green Party of Colorado, a member of the editorial board of Green Pages, and a member of Ralph Nader's staff in 2000. He authored an article
on the importance and role of third parties in American politics. I responded to his email asking for an elaboration of his view and responses to several additional remarks and questions.
He has yet to reply. I suspect that he feels there is too little common ground in our views for further correspondance to be useful. I disagree.
I think it's about time that Greens and Democrats had a frank and public discussion about the future of both partys. I have had my say, and while it's surely not perfect, it is a reasonable starting point for a deeper conversation about the future of the left in American politics. I am publishing the correspondence between Mr. Myserson and myself, and inviting Mr. Myseron to respond, unedited, in any way he wishes on this blog. I will be sending him this blog entry along with an invitation to post on the blog. My hope is that he accepts and will share his views and those of the Green party with the many Dean supporters who read this blog. I think I can promise him an interested audience for whatever he has to say.
I have no plans to ask him to leave the blog when and if he responds, either. It is very much my wish that he will stay and weigh in on the election as it unfolds. I think it will be useful to have a prominent Green giving his views. Hopefully, it will increase mututal understanding between Democrats and Greens for someone of his caliber to be representing the Greens on this blog.
I originally wrote asking the party to link my article from their web site without any real thought of a response:
At 03:05 PM 8/5/03 -0400, MBryan@aol wrote:
Please consider linking this article on the web site. It analyzes the Green national electoral strategy in light of relevant US elections law, and suggests a course to maxmize Green influence and long-term electoral success.
Michael D Bryan
University Arizona Law School, 3L
And rather unexpectedly, but certainly not unwelcome, came Mr. Myerson's response:
I don't see an article. There is some text in the attachment, but it does not offer an outline or strategy, only criticizes some of what we are doing now, without really seeing the whole of what we are doing.
We are not running candidates anywhere we can find somebody. That is what Libertarians do. Many Green chapters have specifically decided to avoid certain races. However this is lost when Greens do choose to run in a specific race that is not popular. For every Wellstone-type race we have entered, there are many similar ones that Greens specifically decided not to enter, but this is not known outside the Green Party.
What many critics miss is that only by proving a willingness to run consistently can the kind of reform we all want, even the simpler types like IRV, be at all possible. As soon as we decide to stop running in close races, any momentum or pressure for reform will be lost.
This is only a very simple and short response, there is much, much more.
Green Party Political Coordinator
In response, I wrote the following, begging for a more detailed critique and re-emphasizing several points:
Thank you for your feedback. I would certainly like to know what the "more" is. I am curious about your statement, "only by proving a willingness to run consistently can the kind of reform we all want, even the simpler types like IRV, be at all possible." Does this mean that you, and presumably others within the party, think that by running in races in which you suspect a Green candidate will split the left vote significantly, but not win, you will bring pressure to bear for electoral reform?
If so, I have to say that it seems unlikely to motivate the GOP to do anything if their candidates win as a result of the Green candidate's run. Just the opposite, in fact, they'll likely start cutting you checks. While it may create a constituency for electoral reform among Democrats, the likely [the] reforms they will call for is even stiffer requirements for third parties to get on the ballot to try and keep Greens out.
It hardly seems consistent with Green principles to use what amounts to electoral blackmail to propel reform. And, as I mentioned in what you are right to characterize as a critique of Green electoral strategy, such a tactic is counter-productive to long-term viability of the Greens, or any third party using it. No third party has even risen to electoral prominence in the US except upon the death of one of the other major parties (usually due to a too rigid ideological stand) or upon the breakup of an existing major party, splitting off a considerable portion of its' electorate and officeholders.
I can see no path to a significant share of power in the US in the Greens evident current strategy. I cannot judge the intent or plans of those inside the party, I am just a voter. And it is we, the one's who would vote for you if it did not aid the GOP, are the ones who matter most to your success of failure, not your inner cadre. So, I admit I am not familiar with the "whole of what you are doing" but unless that whole adds up to much more than the parts visible to the voter, all you have is a lot of very dissappointed would-be supporters who will have labor on for change in the Democratic party without you and your hidden mysteries of party strategy.
I don't mean to be sarcastic, but it is hard not to be when a party's political coordinator tells a well-intentioned critic who is concerned about the fate of the party, that he simply can't understand the party's real strategy. It looks very much to me like the party's strategy is to become as hated by the left as they possibly can. There is a lot of sentiment in the rest of the left that the very first thing a democratic nominee should do is trounce the hell out of any Green candidate. Thoroughly discredit him, oppo him or her so far into the dust that the Greens will never get up again. Spend everything that must be spent to ensure that the Greens never run again - ever.
I don't think that you recognize the towering anger at the Green party among many Democrats. All the sophistry you care to throw at the issue can't change people's instictual evaluation of the numbers: most Dems think Nader's Green candidacy put Bush in office. They won't forgive that twice. They might forgive it once if you're lucky. I fear even trying it again will premanently doom the Green party to being a minor third party of no significance. That would be a tragedy for the US and for the earth.
I've offered a critique with suggestions which reach the party's policy goals in a realistic manner. I will be the first to admitt that it is rough and, obviously uninformed by an inside perspective. But you can't discount that my viewpoint is exemplary of many of the left who wish they could support the Greens. You also can't ignore the fact that my evaluation of where your electoral stregth lies is correct and that my assessment of the Green Presidential candidacy is valid, as far as it goes. I would [be]very pleased if you, or anyone else in a position to instruct me, would introduce me to the "much, much more," so that I can make this outline a better-informed endeavor.
Changes to the electoral system must occur before the Greens will make significant headway. Right now the Greens are a vital collection of local parties. The national party connects these local parties, but the Greens are not a national party. You cannot call yourself a national party with a straight face without a single national officeholder and without even officeholders in every state. Only significant legal change will make that a reality.
Only the Greens, and other third parties, and apparently Dennis Kucinich, wish to make those required changes, and they must do so themselves. For instance, the initiative in the western states gives a wonderful lever of power to third parties, but third parties seldom use it effectively. Building a coalition with other third parties for electoral reform could be effective, but has not be done. Allying with the Democrats and working within to make electoral reform an issue may work. These are [the] sort viable strategies on which Greens should focus ALL their energies now instead of swimming against the electoral stream and nearly always losing. Once you have changed the direction of flow, the stream will take you where you need to go.
If you think I'm wrong, great! Tell me why. If you think I'm an idiot, great! But tell me why. Let me have it. I'm going to be a lawyer, I've got very thick skin.
BTW, I modified the "some text" I sent you somewhat. The result is essentially the same in conclusion but with some areas a little more fleshed out. It is at the following address:
Michael D Bryan
Now, I guess we wait to see what Mr. Myerson decides to do.
Random Thoughts On Attacks And Some Brave Handicapping
I get a kick out of all the DLC-types and other so-called centrists who are trying to label and typecast Howard Dean. What these folks are trying to do is judge this campaign through the lenses of conventional wisdom while conveniently ignoring the fact that the most stupendous attribute of the Dean effort is how he has flouted the conventional wisdom and rewritten the rule book. The '04 race for the Democratic nomination is quickly being recast by the innovations coming out of Burlington and these folks just don't see that...and neither does Karl Rove, last seen rubbing his hands in glee at the prospect of his boy facing ours in November. Remember that when he is circulating his resume among right-wing think tanks in January, 2005!
Take, for example, the oft-repeated prediction that Dean's opposition to unilateral action in Iraq will allow the Bushies to slam Dean as weak on defense. This ignores the fact that Bush's Iraq policy (assuming he has one!) unravels more each day as the postwar situation deteriorates and there are more revelations of the outright lies told to rally the country behind the war in the first place. Dean is no dove and said in Tucson that he understands that American military power must sometimes be used for just and proper ends. He was very clear about the circumstances under which he would have authorized military action in Iraq. Moreover, the American people also respect consistency and adherence to principle. Dean can lay claim to the mantle of integrity on this issue, as can Lieberman, whereas Kerry, Edwards and Gephardt, who voted with Lieberman to authorize unilateral action in Iraq are now trying to parse their positions.
The DLC also claims that Dean can not win in the South, conveniently forgetting that populism and advocacy for the common man are traits that Southern voters have sought in candidates for some time. Huey Long and George Wallace tapped into this vein and although many Southern populists also played the race card to a shameful degree, I think Dean has a winning strategy when he says that he will ask Southern voters to consider the economic hand the plutocratic GOP has dealt them. His positions on health care and his rational Jeffersonian position regarding the Second Amendment should make him competitive with middle and working class voters in Dixie. Some Southern states (Mississippi and South Carolina, for example) are so solidly Republican that we may not have a chance there, but I think Dean will play well in states lost by Gore, such as Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia, as well as border state West Virginia. Throw in a Southern running mate like Edwards, Graham or John Breaux and that improves the odds even more.
The only thing more amusing than the carping coming from the right of our party is adolescent rants from the Left about Dean lacking true progressive credentials. Sanctimony and self-piety are the hallmarks of these criticisms, but these folks ought to remember something Ronald Reagan said when he was advising the hard right in the GOP to lay off the moderates, "Someone who agrees with you 80% of the time is your friend and ally, not some 20% traitor!"
I think those to the left of Dean probably agree with him more than 80% of the time and when the lights go out in the Kucinich offices, I hope we will find them at our door!
The lefties are primarily after Dean for his environmental record and budgetary policies. There is also some criticism of his position on civil unions, which some claim he supported only after the Legislature and courts played the clear leading role. Dean wasn't Bernie Sanders and that upset them, especially after he took over from a Republican governor and largely carried out that man's fiscal plan.
A zeal for ideological purity is emblematic of those on the left and the right. Just ask Bush's dad, who was viewed so suspiciously by conservatives that they sent Pat Buchanan to bloody him and soften him up for Clinton. Zealots, however, are usually spoilers. They don't win elections...unless they run in certain Arizona legislative districts!
I leave for Las Vegas tomorrow to celebrate my pending 40th birthday with some buds, so I guess I'm in the mood to do some prognosticating about what the primaries hold. All of you can remember these bold predictions later if I'm wrong, but try to do so if I'm correct, too. OK?
My hunch is that this race is going to boil down to a contest between Dean and Dick Gephardt. Dean is corralling the support of progressives and college-educated Democrats and Gephardt is courting union and other blue-collar voters. Both can lay claim to supporters in all segments of the party, but that's the basic breakdown. A big question is which one will begin to get the corner on support from African-Americans and Hispanics, whose votes are fairly segmented right now.
These guys should finish 1-2 in Iowa and probably pretty close to each other. Dean should beat Gephardt in New Hampshire and I would guess Kerry might even outpace Gephardt there, although Kerry's stock is sinking every day. Similarly, where is the opening for Lieberman in the early primaries? I can't see him winning anywhere, except maybe South Carolina, and that's only if Edwards drops out due to a lack of money, buzz and the need to save his Senate seat for the Democrats.
Arizona is key! Grijalva's decision to back Dean comes with all the grass roots power his organization brought to bear on his race, Elias's supervisorial campaign and Adelita Grijalva's victory in the TUSD school board race. Ed Pastor is backing Gephardt and the unions will also work hard for Gephardt in this state, where union assistance still means a great deal, especially considering our historically low voter turnout rates. This is when "people-powered Howard" needs to bring to the polls all of those new voters and everyone else in our coalition.
Dean is right when he says this campaign is first a battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. I honestly see Gephardt as the standardbearer for the old vision of the party, which is why I think he and Dean will be duking it out at the end. Lieberman is not catching fire, nor is Edwards, and Kerry, once regarded as the frontrunner, comes off as canned, passionless and easy fodder for the Bush machine. The others are second and third tier candidates at best, which sounds harsh, and I leaven that severity by pointing out that each of them represents segments of the party that the eventual victor will need to bring to his side.
To sum up, Dean is the best choice to unite this factionalized party and take it to victory in November. He would toast Bush in a debate and he shows the ability to raise money, although any Democrat will be outspent by Bush and his corporate cronies. Dean's issues and his unique tactics can re-energize this party, bring in new voters and perhaps generate coattails that may lead to a Democratic takeover of the Senate and a closer margin in the House, which will likely stay Republican. As he endures attacks from both the left and the right, consider these barbs a blessing, not a curse. People who are difficult to categorize are often best equipped to be healers...and we need a healer!
Governor Dean IN TUCSON MONDAY!!!
CONGRESSMAN RAUL GRIJALVA
WILL ANNOUNCE HIS ENDORSEMENT OF
GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN, M.D.
FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES
at a rallly with GOVERNOR DEAN IN TUCSON, ARIZONA
on Monday August 18, 2003 at 9:00 AM (the Governor and Congressman are expected to arrive at about 9:15 AM) at the Old County Court Building at 155 Church Street (North of City Hall) in Downtown Tucson - parking available at the Main Library or Downtown YMCA Parking Ramp off of Alameda Street.
For more information, please contact Judy Lavendar at 520-444-6613 or visit www.DeanForAZ.com
media contact: Frank Costanzo, Arizona State Director Dean For America at 480-460-6054.
Excuse Me, What Did Chu Say?
The DoD made its bi-annual report to Congress and, according to The San Francisco Chronicle article
that broke the story, the report recommended against reauthorization of temporary imminent danger pay increases to soldiers in combat areas, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and to use the roughly 300 million of annual savings for other purposes. Asked about the report, a White House spokesperson indicated that the report reflected the Administration's views.
Howard Dean, and other Democratic candidates all criticized the decision. Dean released this statement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 14, 2003
Dean Condemns Bush Administration Decision To Cut Soldiers' Pay
DES MOINES, IA--Governor Howard Dean condemned President Bush's misplaced priorities today and the continued disconnect between the Bush Administration's rhetoric and reality.
"I am becoming more and more concerned by the poor choices this Administration is making. As the President meets today with Marines at Miramar Air Station in San Diego, I encourage him to explain why his Administration will discontinue current levels of funding for imminent danger pay and family separation allowances to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"Let's be clear. Virtually every priority faced by our nation is placed behind this President's obsession with tax cuts for those who need them least. As a result, we are now facing a ludicrous situation in which Vice President Cheney will reap a $116,000 per year tax windfall, and yet our soldiers--on extended deployments and tragically dying every day--are facing pay cuts of $225 a month. This Administration's priorities are simply out of sync with the American people's."
The very same day the Pentagon held a press gaggle
with Lawrence Di Rita, acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and David Chu, Under-Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. They immediately denied that there will be any pay reduction.
Chu said, " I'd just like very quickly to put to rest what I understand has been a burgeoning rumor that somehow we are going to reduce compensation for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is not true."
PL 108-11 §§1316 et seq.
provides for increase imminent danger pay through September 30th 2003. The flap was that the civilian Pentagon leadership were recommending against extending that provision and the White House concurred.
A reporter asked:
"The point was when this extra money provision expires in September, the report was that you were opposed to extending it."
"... we would prefer to use those other compensation powers as our way of ensuring that we target these compensation benefits on the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan..."
He went on to say, "What Congress really would do if they extend this is actually pay it to a lot of people who aren't in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Who are also in designated conflict areas - yes. Isn't that the point? He seems to indicate that the DoD wants to ensure that only personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan receive the pay increases. Under what concept of equity should some of our soldiers at risk of harm be compensated more than others? Unasked; unanswered.
Di Rita and Chu dismissed the idea that the Pentagon were even considering reduction of soldier's pay in combats zones:
"The premise that we would somehow disadvantage U.S. forces in a combat environment --"
"Is absolutely wrong."
"It's absurd. It's not even wrong, it's absurd."
Isn't interesting how the guilty always seem to offer the most vociferous denials? Then Chu indicated that the Pentagon had, in fact, been contemplating the exact opposite. He claimed they were looking for ways to increase the benefits, if not the compensation, of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"That's why I was so startled when this story arose. We are actually looking at the opposite issue. What should we be doing for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as appropriate for their circumstance, especially those who are serving long periods of time."
A reporter actually pulled him back to the central question:
So how do you explain the statement that says you hadn't budgeted for these increases and therefore you didn't want the increases?
Now Chu claimed that the recommendation against re-authorization was just a technical matter. They had merely decided against using this particular method of providing enhanced compensation to the soldiers. He dodged the real question nicely, of course.
What I think you're pointing to is one piece of a very thick technical appeal document that speaks to the question do we want to extend the language Congress used in the Family Separation Allowance and Imminent Danger Pay statutes. And no, we don't think we need to extend that language. That's a different statement from are we going to reduce compensation for those in Iraq and Afghanistan"
"...I don't mean to be a technocrat here, but we have plenty of authority that we think is frankly better suited to the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan to maintain that compensation at the level it now stands without this power. And what we're saying in this document is we don't need this authority."
Really? Then why did the report recommend using the 300 million in savings for other purposes? Unasked; unanswered.
It hardly has to be said that this was the one question they feared most. But they skillfully headed it off by framing the issue at the outset in terms of rejection of the disbursement authority, so they got questions about that instead. Then they started throwing in red herrings to ensure that the press stayed off balance.
Chu now began trying to lead the public to believe that the problem was a lack of flexibility in the existing law, not that the Pentagon wasn't willing to spend the money. But if that were the case, wouldn't the Pentgon have sought a review of 37 U.S.C. 310(a), the authorization act itself, not just PL 108-11 which merely replaces $150 with $225?
Chu continues, "You're dealing here with authority. This is not an appropriation. This is the authorization bill. This gives us authority.[Yes, the authority to give 225 rather than 150, not the authority to give danger pay in the first place, which is skillfully implied - Michael] In fact actually this mandates, this is a bit of entitlement kind of thing, this mandates pay.
But this is simply not the case. There is no mandate that ANY soldier ANYWHERE get one red cent in PL 108-11, nor for that matter in 37 U.S.C. 310(a) either. Chu is either grossly incompetent, which I don't buy, has been advised VERY poorly, which I also don't buy, or is trying to "create a public mis-impression," to borrow Gore's euphemism.
37 U.S.C 310(a)
, which provides authorization for imminent danger pay, reads:
(a) Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, a member of a uniformed service may be paid special pay at the rate of
$150 for any month in which he was entitled to basic pay and in which
Remember, all 108-11 §§1316 does is increase the amount of danger pay and separation pay allowable. Its language does not modify any other aspect of 37 U.S.C 310(a), which is clearly NOT mandatory, but discretionary. Indeed, the Secretary of Defense is free to issue such regulations as he sees fit to control the issuance of the benefit.
Those regulations, DoD Instruction 1340.9
, in the relevant section provide that designated areas, the preconditions for which are set by 37 U.S.C. 310(a), wherein soldiers may be eligible (not "shall be given"), are determined by the Secretary of Defense.
3.2. Designated Areas. Areas where it has been determined by the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary's designee, that Service members are subject to hostile fire or imminent danger under Section 310(a)(2) or 310(a)(4) of 37 U.S.C.
(a)(2) & (4) boil down to, "might have gotten shot at".
And the converse:
3.3. Nondesignated Areas. All other locations not designated by the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary's designee. Service members performing duties in nondesignated areas are eligible for special pay under Section 310(a)(1) or 310(a)(3) of reference (b).
(a)(1) & (3) boil down to, "got shot at, or got shot".
Chu claims that the reason why the Pentagon recommended allowing PL 108-11 to lapse was not to reduce compensation, but to increase administrative flexibility. That does not hold up to an inspection of the relevant law, which gives the DoD, in the person of the Secretary, nearly complete freedom to provide or withhold danger pay to any soldier, anywhere.
Indeed Chu himself alludes to the power of the DoD to decide what areas are eligible for imminent danger pay when he says, "Imminent danger pay boundaries are constantly reviewed..." And they are changed by the DoD without reference to Congress or anyone else.
There is, of course, a process provided by Instruction 1340.9 which requires these designations to rise through the bureaucracy from area commanders. This ensures that threat areas conform to conditions on the ground. But the Instruction which mandates this reasonable procedure is modifiable at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense.
So one has to ask, where is the "mandatory" "entitlement" which Chu claims is the reason for the DoD's recommendation? The statutory language is discretionary, the Instruction is discretionary, and the Instruction can be changed whenever the Secretary of Defense sees fit.
There are less practical limits on the DoD's discretion to assign imminent danger pay than there is on family separation pay, which at least has a clear statutory requirement of 30 days away from home.
When asked to sum up the DoD's newly concocted position, Chu said, "It's too broad-based. It's like using a sledgehammer to hit a small nail."
Well, that sounds like good military doctrine to me, actually... but it is simply not true. The laws and regulations governing this type of pay have ample flexibility.
The DoD's real motive was to convince Congress to quietly allow 108-11 to die, leaving the Pentagon with "no choice" but to reduce imminent danger pay across the board. The characteristic Congressional lack of accountability would dampen the political hit, and the Pentagon could walk away with 300 million bucks a year filched from the pockets of our men and women in harms way. When they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, this was the best excuse they could think up on short notice.
This was a poorly spun, clumsily concealed, attempted mugging of American service personnel in the field of combat. Combined with this Administration's past assaults on veteran's retirement and disability benefits
, military medical facilities and benefits
, and off-base educational programs
aiding the children of service personnel, and the short-sighted and illegal refusal to give all service personnel complete physicals
before entering a combat zone, the sum is total contempt for and neglect of military personnel. This Administration's constant attempts to ameliorate its self-inflicted budget problems at the expense of our service men and women is hypocrisy of the highest order. It is detrimental to military morale and thus to our national security.
Dean is shown as leading in national poll
Insider Advantage's polling indicates Dean out in front of the pack. The poll was based on 500 respondants around the country and has a margin of error of +/- 4%. Given that the separation between Dean and the back of the first tier (Gephardt) is closing in on 5%, the poll is fairly useful. Statistically, of course, this is just a dead heat among the four leaders, but Dean is far likelier than the rest to actually be out front, though by how much is certainly not clear.
An interesting footnote about this poll is it is showing Sharpton out ahead of Edwards and Graham. I find that surprising, if not incredible. I think this is an example of the margin of error at work, but I might be wrong. If Sharpton really is ahead of either of them it is about time for them to file papers and scoot on back to the Senate. Regardless, I think I'll have some fun and post this poll on Graham's blog and see what people say :)
Howard Dean's Youth Machine
Great Article about the youth movement from Mother Jones Magazine.
Howard Dean's Youth Machine
Not since McGovern has a Democratic candidate drawn a youth following the size of Howard Dean's - and that's got some in the party worried.
By Rick Perlstein
July 16, 2003
Gray Brooks is a young Southern gentleman from Alabama, the kind who says "yessir" and "no sir" and attends a small Christian college. One day last May he drove the 1,244 miles to presidential candidate Howard Dean's headquarters in Burlington, Vermont and deposited himself, uninvited, on the doorstep at 9 a.m. Soon he was working seven days a week, sometimes until 1:30 a.m., sleeping on the floor of a room with five other equally dedicated college volunteers. They did take one vacation recently -- a weekend trip to Lake Placid, New York, to hear Dean speak. "It doesn't seem fanatic to me," Brooks says. "I really do want Howard Dean to be president, and it just seems logical to me to try as hard as you can. A lot of people feel that way."
He's not exaggerating. Howard Dean first inspired shock and awe among Washington insiders by raising more than $7 million and by pulling within striking distance of John Kerry in New Hampshire and Dick Gephardt in Iowa. But for all the stories about Dean's extraordinary success in attracting supporters via the Internet, an even more consequential development has been less noticed: the extraordinary number of Dean volunteers on the ground, the lion's share of them young. By spring Dean had organizations in all 50 states, remarkable at this early date in the process; what's even more remarkable is that Dean headquarters had about as much to do with building this network as it did with recruiting Gray Brooks.
When Dean's official campaign organization, Dean for America, opened its door with six staffers and $157,000 in the bank last winter, organizers knew that they would have to tap the grassroots to have any hope of being taken seriously. "We just didn't know how we were going to do it," remembers campaign manager Joe Trippi. He didn't realize it was already being done -- by students. Earlier this year, two D.C. area college kids, Michael Whitney and Ari Mittleman, heard Dean speak and, two weeks later, put up the first Dean student website. By that date, students from dozens of colleges and universities had launched ten pro-Dean groups; before March was out, they had started a national organization, Students for Dean, with 30 campus chapters. By early July, Students for Dean had 184 chapters, all working without any official connection to the Dean campaign. As many as a third of their coordinators had never done anything political before in their lives. Now Dean has his grassroots army, and the campaign's playing it for all it's worth. "They want to work 18, 20 hours a day," Trippi says of the young interns Dean has attracted to Burlington. And it's blowing Trippi's mind. "As somebody who's been through seven presidential campaigns" -- beginning, in 1980, with Ted Kennedy -- "I feel like I'm in my first one."
This could mean far more for American politics than an unexpected boost for a single candidate. For over 20 years, the Democratic Party has worked successfully to structure the nominating system to give the advantage to the "safest" candidate as early as possible in the process. The current system -- a direct response to George McGovern's youth-centered, but disastrous, general election campaign against Richard Nixon in 1972 -- has brought some remarkable political successes, but at the price of stripping the party of the qualities associated with youth at its best: intensity, energy, commitment, momentum.
There are plenty of the starry-eyed idealists among the Students for Dean, to be sure: they sign their e-mails with nostrums that sound like Ô70s dorm room posters. But they are also focused, savvy, and, more often then not, moderate. Maya Hermann, chapter head at the University of Chicago, was first attracted by the effect she fears Bush's growing budget deficits could have "on our children and grandchildren" (Dean is a deficit hawk). Gray Brooks's presidential second choice is Gen. Wesley Clark. The thing that seems to keep the ideologically diverse organizers remarkably peaceful is a shared sense that, in a low and dishonest era, they have found in Howard Dean an honest man.
The grassroots boom does have some Democrats worried. In May, the Democratic Leadership Council released a scathing memo singling out Howard Dean for betraying "the mainstream values, national pride, and economic aspirations of middle-class and working people" that allow Democrats to win general elections, not just primaries. It hinted at Dean's two most controversial positions, his endorsement of gay "civil unions" in Vermont and his opposition to the administration's actions in Iraq. Al From and Bruce Reed, the founder and president, respectively, of the DLC took a second swipe at Dean in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. Without ever actually mentioning Dean by name, From and Reed chastised Democratic candidates to "follow President Clinton's strategy and seize the vital center, not veer left."
One consultant to a rival Democratic hopeful, who insists on anonymity, dismisses Dean as a new McGovern. "Maybe they need to run a guy so that people remember what it's like to really lose," he says. "To really lose bad."
The students, for their part, suspect another motive behind the backlash: fear of losing power. Dean foot soldiers are overwhelming the front-loaded nominating season that was put in place by DLC partisans, they note. Says Ruth Link-Gelles, an activist at D.C.'s George Washington University, "The party structure that they've worked so hard to design is falling down around them."
And not, the organizers argue, for a fool's errand. Dean can win the general election, they claim, and as they make their case they often sound like veteran political operatives: Keith Causin, an organizer at Queens College, complains about Democrats who bemoan Republican marketing savvy "rather than trying to counter with good three-word catch phrases" of their own. Link-Gellis, a former civil-liberties organizer, even extends Dean a pass on his NRA-approved gun control positions as one of the things that "would win big points with people in the South." Asserts Causin: "Once Dean really starts campaigning, people are going to see that he's not this kind of weird radical lefty, that he's actually quite an effective campaigner. A moderate voice." These are not your father's wild-eyed collegiate politicos. They want to change the rules.
New Poll Results: Dean Ahead!
An InsiderAdvantage poll shows Howard Dean ahead for '04 elections
Here are excerpts from the report:
"For the first time, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is leading the Democratic field for the 2004 presidential elections, according to a new tracking poll taken by InsiderAdvantage in conjunction with MWI Research.
"Of respondents who said they plan to vote next year for someone other than President Bush, 15.6 percent indicated they would vote for Dean. This nearly doubles his percentage of 8.6 from the previous month's poll.
"The poll was conducted August 6-9. It sampled 500 Americans and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
""This is an amazing change of circumstances," said Matt Towery, a Creators Syndicate columnist and co-founder of InsiderAdvantage. "Since the inception of our cumulative polling on this race, Joe Lieberman had led the Democratic field of candidates, usually by a comfortable margin.
"InsiderAdvantage is conducting a running, monthly tracking poll of the 2004 presidential race and has polled more than 6,000 Americans since early January. The company is known for its accurate polling of political races in the 2002 elections."
Read the good news:http://insideradvantage.com/stories/2003/aug/14/1384641.shtml
I think Mohur has a great idea, one of those sound bytes, catch phrases, rallying cries that can truly help a political campaign.
"The only thing George Bush fears is a lack of Fear itself."
It should be hand printed on Dean signs at events where TV cameras are rolling.
In today's NY Times a Kentucky gubernatorial candidate is tying up his Republican opponent with great phrases we should see on signs in Arizona too:
"George Bush: The Job Terminator"
"Bush Republicans Leave No Job Behind"
And the Democrat there has researched the number of jobs lost in the state in the last 3 years: 50,000. Do we have a net loss in Arizona? Or at least a net loss in income for everyone below the top 20 percent of Arizona wage earners?
Growing up in South Asia, I had heard that an American president once said that the only thing we needed to fear was fear itself. As I get older, I realize what a profound sentiment that was. When FDR spoke it he was trying to turn around a fearful people, lift spirits of the country, and get it out of the depression.
Once again we face Fear. This time generated and encouraged by George Bush and his administration. Fear coupled by blind faith is a deadly mix and has once again plunged us into a serious crisis. Fear is almost like a narcotic to these people. They seem to get a high generating fear in others. Scare a people enough and they will do the unthinkable. Believe the unbelievable.
Fear is the greatest distraction. It stops humans in mid step and they either fight or flee. We have real problems ranging from the economic, health insurance crisis, border issues, and the deficit. If there is enough Fear, people will not think about these very real issues, and instead focus on what they consider to be the primary threat, be it real or imagined or mass generated. It is human nature.
It is time to take back the country from Fear and do some real work about fixing these very real problems. Do not give in to the emotional manipulators. If people were no longer scared, they would have time to think about the reality of the mess this country has been plunged into and fire the people who got us there. Thus...
The only thing George Bush fears is a lack of Fear itself.
Pima County Democrats are planning a rally against Medicare privatization. The rally will be held tomorrow from 9 am to 10 a.m. at the Tucson office of Senator John Kyle.
Address: 7315 North Oracle (Corner Oracle and Ina)
Signs will be available...but this is a good opportunity to bring DEAN signs and join the rally. No problems with parking because there are shopping center parking lots at this location.
Something Worth Gushing For...
I just read a great summary of why all progressives should support Dean for President. It's published on Alternet, written by a student activist named Nico Pitney. I think it is so great, I have placed a permanent link at the top of the side bar to encourage everyone to read it, even if you already support Dean. You never know when the opportunity will arise to talk with a DK supporter or a Green about who they are backing for President. Nico's article is perfect preparation to make the most of such encounters.
Some Progressive pundits have expressed concern
about Dean's foreign policy. They perceive that Dean is not as dovish as his press might indicate. He opposed war in Iraq, not because he is opposed to the use of force, but because Iraq did not pose any genuine threat to U.S. security. Also,the pre-emptive and unilateral nature of the Administration's aggression sets a dangerous precedent in international relations and places the United States in a very disadvantageous position, financially, militarily, and diplomatically.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who think that no candidate who opposed war in Iraq can be a taken seriously as a potential Commander in Chief. But Dean is not a dove; he is a realist who is determined to protect U.S. security, by force if necessary. He supported the invasion of Afghanistan as a legitimate use of military power for self defense and he thinks the Bush administration is soft on Iran and coddles Saudi Arabia.
The theme continues in domestic policy, where Dean is a centrist
and an empiricist. He supports universal health care, but proposes a less than perfect plan that is most likely to be passed. He opposes centralized regulation in several areas, not out of ideological conviction, but for financial and historical reasons and to respond effectively to local conditions. He wants to expand some social spending programs, such as Special Education, yet his first priority is to balance the budget.
Being a moderate is often a difficult prospect; both ends of the spectrum tend to demonize you as a heretic. Dean is one such moderate, unlimited by the foolish consistency of ideology either left or right. He is neither a peacenik, nor a hawk. Neither a unilateralist, nor an internationalist. Neither a progressive, nor a conservative. As such, he does not fit comfortably into categories, which makes the press uncomfortable, and more significantly, generally inaccurate in their portrayals of Dean. But to voters his lack of ideopathology is refreshing, sensible, and pragmatic; it's why Dean draws support from across the traditional spectrum. Some will always claim he has failed to act or speak consistent with some predetermined label they presume he bears willingly, and it is so. Yet voters don't care.
Dean is a new kind of politician who does not sort easily into the standard pigeonholes of political classification. He borrows liberally from the whole spectrum of ideology for ideas with which to address problems pragmatically. Dean, in many ways is the founder of his own new party; the Rationalist Party.
Dean's Rationalist Party eschews doctrinal purity and ideology, both of which force one to view reality selectively, possibly ignoring important information and useful solutions. The Rationalist Party rejects policies that are based on prejudice or conventional wisdom, and embraces policy solutions with a proven record of success. The Rationalist Party strives to obtain the best information before making policy. For instance, Dean has been ridiculed for his stance on medical marijuana. He wants the FDA to evaluate it for medical efficacy before making a decision. It's as if journalists think that making sure your policy is based on sound science is simply an excuse to refuse to stake out an uniformed position. And the Rationalist Party refuses to make the perfect, the enemy of the good.
People recognize that Dean is a problem solver, a practical man, a healer, and a passionate politician who believes that government is meant to make peoples' lives better. More people every day are discovering this unique politician who combines integrity, personal charisma, and the courage to speak truth to power. There comes a moment for people when they realize that Dean must be our next President; at that moment they suddenly just "Get It"
For me, the moment I "Got It" was during the first Democratic candidates' debate with the nine candidates in a cramped and dull auditorium and running opposite Bush landing on an aircraft carrier and strutting around in his flight suit. There was something about Dean's demeanor and his common sense, which made Bush's antics seems even more absurd to me. Pondering that contrast, I suddenly saw that Dean was the one who would show Bush up for the grandstanding shallow-draft showboat that he is. Dean would never take that aspect of Bush seriously, and he makes you realize the emperor must feel a significant breeze up his fundament.
When did you "Get It"?
Anyone interested in seeing the Doonesbury issues which mention Howard Dean can go to www.doonesbury.com
. There is an archive section. June 30th
is the first day (that I know of) that the comic talks about Dean.
Everything is Anti-Bush
I said a while back the Dean's strategy boils down to being the Anti-Bush. Now the professionals have picked up the theme
. With Gore echoing the idea in his recent speech that being against the lies and mendacity of the administration is what this season's campaign is all about, the tone of the campaign is set. The race for President will not center around the economy or war, those will be talking points in the greater issue, Bush's unfitness for office and the need to get rid of him before he does any more harm will be the dominant Democratic talking point.
Wesley Clark looks to be joining the fray, having told his advisors to, "Crank it up!" in reference to his campaign. Clark has also been very critical of Bush's handling of military and homeland security matters, in addition to his handling of the economy. Clark's basic message is likely to look a lot like Dean's. The unknown is how much like it. Will his prescription for Iraq and terrorism look much like Dean's? Will he have credible and distinct policy positions on health care, energy indepedence, the environment, fixing social security? Is Clark even seriously bidding fo the Presidency or is this a way to raise his public profile for a SecDef appointment or a VP nod? What do you think?
BUSH Tucson Visit UPDATE--Protest INFO.
Here is the latest news regarding the Bush visit to Tucson....
He will arrive sometime before noon on Monday, August 11.
The pResident will helicopter to Mt. Lemmon, from Davis Monthan Air Force Base.
There, he will give a speech about "healthy forests" (read--"If you sell the forests to loggers, there will be nothing to burn in case of a fire!)
He will then go back to DM (by helicopter) and he will head off to Denver to tout some other horrible policy.
SO--Lets show up and protest his visit and his policies--
When? 4:30 - 6 :30 the day of his visit.
Where? Republican Party Headquarters---Fifth St. & Craycroft, on the NW Corner.
There are two articles in the local media...one in the Daily Star and one in the Tucson Citizen. I have read the Star one, it is pretty good. Haven't read the citizen one.
Come out and show your colors....while this is not an official Dean campaign event, this is our chance to show Dean as the solution to these problems.
Best to all,
An Even Better Editorial from the AZ Republic...
Don't ya just love political cartoons
? This one is especially good, and from the AZ Republic, too. Execellent!!
The Weapon is Revealed...
Today there is only one Democrat that could possibly beat Howard Dean in NH or IA. But he's not a candidate; he's Al Gore. With his speech to Meetup.com members at NYU
, Gore emerged once again from the shadows to deliver a knockout punch to George Bush's credibility. His speech was humourous, common-sensicle, understated, well-reasoned, and incredibly effective.
Gore demonstrated that he still has what it takes. He is still one of the handful of premier political figures in the world to whom the ears of the entire nation draw near when he speaks. With Gore in his camp - he did promise to endorse a Democrat - any Democratic nominee has a doomsday weapon of frightening ability at his side. The endorsement and support of the man who won the popular vote in 2000, yet had the Presidency stolen from him after a long and bitter legal struggle is bound to galvanize an already enraged Democratic electorate. Add to this the sense the greater anger which the CA recall, another naked and shabby attempt of GOP stormtroopers to overturn the democratic process, will add to Democratic ire and you have a electoral witches brew that could overturn the entire political establishment overnight in 2004. Did Gore realize the voter anger he would be able to wield if he didn't run, but rather stayed outside the process, when he made the choice to forgo 2004? One has to suspect he knew that he would be much more effective as a citizen concerned about America's fate, than as the GOP would cast him as a candidate, an embittered sore loser looking to get what he thinks is rightfully his back.
Finally, although he has remained quietly unobtrusive, issuing only a muted endorsement of his fellow Arkansan General Clark, he is likely to besitr himself as the general election nears, to stump for the nominee. His popularity and influence is still enormous, his appeal still undeniable. Clinton will play a role in this election. In fact, I would not be surprised if he played a roll in the next administration. His enui in his exile from power is well known; he even wants to change the Constitution so that he might run again. That may never come to pass, but a Secretary of State more capable of immediately restoring the shattered confidence of the world in the US's intentions is hard to imagine.
While we are at it let's play a game: Imagine a Super-Cabinet. Gore for Interior. Clark for Defense. Gephart for Labor. Kerry for Veterans Affairs. Napolitano for AG. Kucinich for Energy, Graham for CIA. Nader gets his choice of EPA or FDA. I've left some open, who do you think should fill them? What does you Super-Cabinet in a Dean administration look like?