Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The GOP 2004 meme

One meme the GOP hopes will carry them through the '04 cycle with their hides intact is becoming apparent. An RNC statement attacking the Democratic presidential MSNBC debate was headlined "Democrats So Desperate to Attack President Bush, They Will Say Just About Anything!"

Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the RNC said, "They're all Howard Dean now. They have adopted harsh, bitter, personal attacks as their approach. They are a party of protest and pessimism and offer no positive agenda of their own."

So this is at least the first meme the GOP will put in the water supply to try to convince America that GOP is a party which can govern and deserves four more years. Bitterly attacking the Dems with no policy basis, claiming that the Dems are just bitterly attacking them with no policy basis. Kinda funny, really.

We are the Party of Protest. Yes. Against tax cuts for the wealthy, endless budget deficits, reckless and ruinously expensive military adventurism, and the murder of 359 U.S. service men, 1500 Iraqi civilians and 3 million American jobs, by this Administration and this GOP controlled Congress.

We are the Party of Pessimism. Yes. Pessimism about the GOP's fitness to govern this country. Pessimism that anything will improve with the GOP at the wheel. They've had their chance to show what they can do, and the result has been an disaster of interstate pile-up proportions. The GOP needs to be put in the backseat where it can't do any more harm. We'll even provide them with a distracting illusion of control.

We offer no Positive Agenda. Except health care for all Americans, restoration of American credibility in the world, equitable taxes, balanced budgets, educated and healthy children, new American jobs, robust and beneficial enviromental protection, an alternative fuels policy to wean us off petroleum dependence, a sane anti-terrorism policy, the protection of the civil rights of all people. They must mean besides that.

We offer harsh, bitter, personal attacks. How dare we attack the usurper, an illegitimate and unelected President who stole the election with illegal military ballots, an illegal and racist voter role purge, violent protests, threats of insurrection, personal intimidation, and the aid of a suborned and corrupt Supreme Court. How dare we be bitter about Bush, who lied to drag a psychologically wounded nation into an unnecessary war which has claimed 359 American lives and counting, mired us in a quagmire of Vietnam proportions, will cost us hundreds of billions we cannot afford, and destroyed untold thousands of Iraqi lives. How dare we speak harshly of an Administration, a Congress, and a GOP filled with racists, bigots, fascists, criminals, third-rate intellects, and Christo-Talibani who want to foist their revolution upon America, destroy our civil rights, damage our enviroment, drive the poor further into poverty, trash democracy, tax the rich less than the poor, force women into subjugation, force minorities into second-class citizenship, and over-turn our Constitutional order of the rule of law in favor of their own rule by men and call into question our patriotism for opposing it. I'd say such behavior warrants some personal attacks. What these people have done to our nation deserves retribution and the exaction of justice. Do I take the attempted destruction of my nation personally? You bet your ass I do.

Their meme may slap on a tournequette and quickening exsanguination from their base, but this Administration is too gravely wounded to recover. Even most of the rank and file will find this meme insulting to their intelligence. The GOP are squirming desperately for any traction they can find. The overwhelming majority of America simply doesn't believe them anymore. Once you have lost credibility with Americans that's game, set, and match. You don't recover politically once you have lost the trust of the majority of Americans. Bush could reveal himself to be the second coming of Christ now and most would dismiss it as a trasparent play for the religous vote.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Clark and Dean, The Season's Most Fashionable Couple

A new article on Salon.com outlines the curious relationship between grassroots Dean and Clark supporters. Many supporters of both seem ready and willing to cross the lines in order to support the other guy. I think it's true. So many simply want to beat Bush that they don't much care who does it, they just have convictions as to who is more likely to be able to do the job. Who do you think is more likely to do the job of kicking Bush's butt out of the Oval, and why?

Best make it convincing folks, I've invited the Southern Arizona Coordinator for Clark to post here, so we're likely to have some Clarkians hanging about here soon.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

La La Lie Land

President Bush, having made his melodramatic, Land of Make-Believe, landing on USS Abraham Lincoln to deliver his Iraqi victory speech, stood under a banner that declared "Mission Accomplished" and claimed, "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." Since then, violence has continued to spiral out of control in Iraq. The increasingly frequent targeting of our soldiers by guerrilla and para-military forces, massive terrorist bombings, and the assassination of indigenous leaders, indicate that the nature of combat operations may have shifted, but it is no less major, nor less costly in the units of measure that really matter: American and Iraqi lives.

Yet, though he stood under a banner proclaiming victory, White House communications boss Dan Bartlett spun this web, "The President said exactly the opposite: "The mission continues." Why the banner, then? Bartlett says that the Lincoln's captain had the banner made up to thank his crew for the longest-ever carrier tour, not to declare the war over.

This is a laughably bad spin. This from an Administration which barged in vast klieg lights to light the Statue of Liberty just so for a televised address from New York? Who framed Mt. Rushmore perfectly over the President's shoulder for another speech? Who more carefully controls and scripts Presidential appearances than any director controls the action on his set? They allowed an unplanned and ambiguous message to hang behind the President during possibly the most important speech of his Presidency? yeah, OK, I'll buy that. And I'll take a little "Clear Skies" and smidgen of "No Child Left Behind" to choke it down with.

I have a hard time even understanding what it is meant to accomplish. To make Shrub look like less a fool, I suppose. It must be a fascinatingly bold and inept attempt to rewrite an embarrassing chapter in the Bush Administration's history. Don't expect to hear this spin more than once though, because the real effect is to draw attention to Bush's lies. I've heard people opine that this Administration lies subtly; they don't, they just lie deniably. A subtle lie is one that you can't detect, a deniable lie is one that you can't prove.

But Bartlett is right one thing, Bush did say that. But in the proper context, he said nothing like what Bartlett implies Bush said:

"Our mission continues. Al Qaeda is wounded, not destroyed. The scattered cells of the terrorist network still operate in many nations and we know from daily intelligence that they continue to plot against free people. The proliferation of deadly weapons remains a serious danger."

So Bush said the fight with Al Qaeda continues. That the fight with terrorism continues. But Bartlett clearly wants us to believe Bush meant that the combat mission in Iraq continues.

But Bush wouldn't conflate Al Qaeda and Iraq, would he? He wouldn't intentionally blur the distinction between them as justification for invading Iraq, right? No, no, don't laugh... yet.

At a joint press conference with Tony Blair on January 31, 2003, he was asked, "Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?" Bush said, " I can't make that claim."

Then why on the day of "victory", June 1, 2003, did he say of Iraq in his speech aboard the Lincoln, "We have removed an ally of Al Qaeda and cut off a source of terrorist funding," making the very claim he said he could not make just four months earlier?

It certainly wasn't the only time Bush blatantly implied a connection between the two, nor was he the only one in his Administration to do so. Bush recently owned up once again to the fact that there isn't and wasn't any connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Clearly, Bush is not on speaking terms with the truth. Nor is there is nothing subtle, nor even deniable about it. He was just lying through his teeth.

King Shrub also said, "The war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless. We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide."

Yes, the tide has turned. Unfortunately, the tide is rising, not falling; and we are on the beach below the tide line, buried up to our necks in sand.

Friday, September 26, 2003

CIA faces off with the White House

The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate the possibility that White House Officials may have broken Federal law by outing Ambassor Wilson's wife as a CIA undercover operative.

Ambassador Wilson clearly suggested that the official responsible is none other than Karl Rove. Has Bush's hubris finally made his Brain so reckless that he did his own dirty work? Will the Ashcroft's Justice Department be allowed to make a fair and thorough investigation? Will Novak drop a dime on Rove?

This has the potential to build into a major scandal. Even in the GOP, few will find it politically palatable to defend the outing of a national security asset endangering America's efforts to prevent WMD proliferation.

Making Waffles and MisDebatin'

Indecision Thy Name is Clark

A man who wants to be President ought to at least know his own mind before asking for the votes of his fellow citizens. The flip-flops and hedging of General Clark on the issue of the authorization of the Iraqi war is a little disappointing. I was hoping that he would display a clarity of judgement and eloquency of disposition that would convince much more of our populace that the rush to war in Iraq was complete folly and an abidication of the Constitutional role of Congress. By doing so he would humiliate and justly shame most of the Deomocratic field and frame the issue clearly for the showdown with Bush, no matter who the candidate was.

He's failed to do that; I hope he still can. Dean's positions couldn't be more clear - and the public couldn't be less ready to listen to him. So many are still caught in the delusion that the military can accomplish even an impossible mission. Who better to disabuse them then a 4 star General? The realization that Dean has been right to oppose this war, and did so for the right reasons, could not help but come eventually. Instead, the General has lost the operational initiative and will have to overcome the confusion and relativism of his early statements to marshall a message from the melee of opinions he's deployed.

I think I understand the military mind on this aspect of leadership. A good commander attacks a problem from many angles and considers the weaknesses and strengths of each option for before commiting himself to battle. However, a military commander should also know that this process must be internal and appear effortless to the troops. If you display indecision and vacillation, they won't follow you, trusting their lives to your judgment.

Niether will civilians trust a President who appears too indecisive. Their lives are no less in the hand of the President than those of the soldiers in the field are in that of their commander. Presidential leadership is a complex mix of the domestic and the martial. A inexperienced politician would understandably have diffuculty in adjusting to the role, but a military leader should be expected to at least have the martial quality of surety of command. Clark has demonstrated a lack of political savvy, but also a lack of that which makes him so appealing to many, a military mien and firmness of judgment on matters of foriegn policy and security.

I have to wonder what exactly Clark was thinking about if not this very issue and others of national significance as his draft movement was begging him to run and he was writing his book about Iraq and terrorism due out next month. If after writing a book on a subject he still doesn't know for sure what he thinks about it, when will he ever?

The Debate that Became a Dogpile

Dean again bore the brunt of Gephardt's and Kerry's attacks on his "record" in the New York debate. Despite these assaults Dean dealt with the attacks with firmness and even a touch of adomonition that felt quite well recieved by the audience. He kept his good humor and self-deprecating air and played the statesman calling for a positive tone and a focus on the real issues and the enemy that awaits them all.

The fascinating thing about these attacks by Gephardt and Kerry is that most the them are both nearly a decade old and they are almost all speculation or statements of general principles by the candidate, not what he DID, but what he SAID. They can't criticize his record so they attack him using out of context quotes talking generally about policy - not what he's done, not policies he implemented- just things he has speculated about or abstractly supported. Many are decontextualized so as to be misleading, make a fine distinction or simple misstatement into a policy flip, or imply his support for something which he does not support. It's simple dirty pool. It misleads and alienates the voters.

When attacked, Dean was straight-forward and honest about it when he had simply screwed up or when he had not been sufficiently clear in stating his position. He was very credible and did not seem to be weaseling out of the charges at all, but simply answering them and them admonishing his attackers. At one point, however, he counter attacked Gephardt by way of illustration how politicians have to make tough choices and sometimes change thier views. I saw it as a constructive counter-argument to Gephardt and Kerry's rehashing of the past, but it may have come off to some as overly defensive. He also got rather hot about Gephadt associating him in any way with Newt Gingrich and got a little too boisterous about defending himself. Al Sharp-tongue then gently chided him for his temper, which is likely to reinforce Dean's reputation as prickly and tempermental.

In all, Dean weathered the attacks fairly well. Outside of two moments, when Sharp's-tongue pricked Dean and when Kerry pointed out that Gephardt didn't actually compare him to Gingrich, Dean appeared relaxed, articulate and stateman-like. Dean is getting more polished, confident and cool in debate. He no longer seems like the member of a high school debate team out for the highest score.

I was actually rather surprised that no attacks or criticisms were leveled at Clark at all. I expected Dean to get some breathing room since Clark is leading in national polls and is running strongest in head-to-head polling with Bush. The are two possible explanations; either they don't see Clark as a threat in early primary states yet, or they have some other reason for holding their fire, especially on the Iraqi waffles. The first reason is clearly the most likely.

What that other reason(s) could be is only speculation of the rankest sort, but that's what blogs are for isn't it? Kerry, Lieberman, and Edwards all have the DLC to be concerned about. Going negative on Clark now could be impolitic to their bases and could jeopardize their funding streams. Gephardt and Kerry could be hanging fire because they do not want to call attention to their own compromised votes on the issue.

Down in the Minor League

Kucinich is harder to figure. Frankly, it doesn't much matter what he does, he's not going to be elected. He may see the General as a way to harm Dean. I can't imagine why he would he would think that any of the those pulled from the Dean camp by the General would gravitate to him, though.

Kuchinich is doing good things in Congress during his race and is using his run as a platform for very progressive legislation. I can see Kucinich's race as a future model for a smart legislator wanting to promote some interesting ideas by running for the Presidency while sitting in the Congress. It is actually a powerful legislative strategy in the right hands. Building a national constituency for fundraising in order to help finance other Congressmen's races can aid greatly with party advancement. The campaign, regardless of your chances, will afford you a national audience for your ideas and superior access to the press. You get to raise your status and cement the advantages of your incumbency with the folks back home, who now see you as a national figure. I see much of these goals in Kucinich's behavior in this campaign. He knows the odds against his winning are overwhelming, but much like Nader's Green campaign of 2000, winning is not really the goal.

Kucinich's latest bill to strip Consitutionally problematic provisions from the PATRIOT Act might actually have a chance at passing. An early sunset provision would be attractive, but until at least the Presidency is no longer in GOP hands, better the evil we know, than the evil the GOP can concoct. Congress might hold the line this time, but I wouldn't bet my civil liberties on it.

I genuinely like Al Sharpton. Really, how can you not? He is such a rascal and has a wonderful wit. He's possessed of a genuine and honest demeanor, too. You want to ask him over for dinner; he'd be delightful guest. He may be a charlatan, but he does have more than a dollop of genuine, hard-won wisdom and and a sincere compassion for the less fortunate. I suspect his run is a bid to supplant Jackson as the leader of black America. Jackson's recent scandals leave a vaccuum of high-visibility national leadership in the black community. Worthy or not, Sharpton and Braun both see an opportunity to claim that position.

To a greater or lesser extent they will probably both succeed. Braun, should she actually capture the endorsement of NOW, will be force to be reckoned with in the women's movement and possibly have a positive effect on the participation of women minorities in politics. That can only be positive for the Democratic party.

I have a hard time seeing Sharpton's effect. He is clearly a very smart and resourceful man and his run will probably succeed in cleaning up his image and rehabilitating him as a more mainstream leader in the black community. The depth of the credibility remains in doubt though. His numbers, much lower than Jackson's polling in 1999, tend to indicate that Sharpton remains unable to cross-over to get votes outside minority electorates.

Could Bob Graham be any more boring? I think he's a good man and genuine and honest politician, if that's not oxymoronic. But dang, even when he's speaking your eyes can travel right over him like he wasn't there. I don't know why, but he just doesn't excite any enthusiasm in most people. If ever there were a man destined to be VICE-President, it's Graham. And maybe Gore.

Edwards. Gosh Golly, I jess don't know. I grew up in town called Hope, strapped to an assembly line in the mill mah Daddy worked in. They fed me doggy biscuits till I grow'd up got me some legal larnin and became a multi-millionaire by suing big bad corp'rashuns that done hurt gran'mama. People aren't buying the marketing. They see a Slick Willie in those Saville Row trousers and they ain't having none. He's too young, too polished, too earnest, too... Clintonian? It just makes people uneasy. Kinda creepy in a serial killer pretending to be a cop sort of way, you know? It's the only expanation I can come up with. He advocates some genuinely smart and important things, but he just isn't able to get people to buy in to his vision. Maybe he's not ready. Maybe he needs to go back in the oven for eight years to finish up?

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Yuma for Dean, checking in!

First of all, I would like to thank Michael Bryan for inviting me to represent Yuma for Deanon the Dean for AZ Blog. As we move into autumn, Yumans are beginnning to emerge from their air conditioned aluminum cans en masse and we, Yumans for Dean, are committed to spreading the excitement for Howard Dean all across the county. We like to think of ourselves as the wildcard that will give Howard Dean's hand the winning edge in Arizona on Febuary 3rd. We had our first non-meetup event on September 20th, in conjunction with Dean Visibility Day. As seen in the photo below, we have a very energetic core of Dean supporters who are ready to fan out and build our base. Instrumental in this mobilization is the 'Yuma Dean Machine', which is the backdrop of the photo. Kudos to our valiant leader, Rodney Martin.

We are going to have a booth at the first Main Street celebration of the season, The Hispanic Heritage Celebration, this Friday night. I'll give you an update on that.

Oh, one more pic... check this out (more pics available at the website)

Helping With Tucson Audubon's Habitat Restoration

Another opportunity exists to raise Gov. Dean's profile among members of the local environmental community. On Friday and Saturday, October 3 and 4, Tucson Audubon will be having volunteer days at their habitat restoration site on the Santa Cruz River. Some members of the Environmentalists for Dean Group are going to attend on each day wearing our Dean T-shirts, as we did on the Native Plant Society's Desert Weedwacking project last Saturday. Those who wish to participate need to bring work gloves, shovels, lunch and water. E-mail me, or see the TAS Website for more information. We will have a meeting site for this project, somewhere in NW Tucson.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha

A New York times article , titled Kerry Says Dean Is 'Imploding,' addresses comments that Kerry has made about Dean when the cameras are running and when they are turned away (Kerry keeps forgetting that his microphone is still on). During a debate in Baltimore a microphone picked up Kerry muttering "Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean." Reading this I was reminded of a Brady Bunch episode where Jan, frustrated over perfect Marsha, starts muttering "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha." To add to Kerry's frustration, his remarks just seem to keep attention focused on Dean. The article sparked the question "Is Dean Imploding" for Village Voice's question of the day.
I've pasted some of the comments below.

The only thing "imploding" are Sen. Kerry's sour grapes. What do we have to show for our current policy towards the Israeli government, aside from more terrorists-in-training? Howard Dean won over this Republican Veteran long ago and cemented and only made my conviction in him stronger with that sagacious statement.

Forest Hills, NY

Dean is far from imploding. It's become clear that he's a force with which to be reckoned and the other candidates are grasping for ways to attack him. Dean's not perfect, but he's running the best campaign out there, and he's the only candidate so far to capture the passion and the fury that so many of us feel as we learn more and more about the destructive and deceitful mechanisms of the current administration.

Endicott, NY

Only in the minds of "Bush Lite" Democrats. He speaks his mind, and that ruffles establishment feathers. He has a large, dedicated, and growing grassroots following that's going to kick the butts of the political pros.

Flagstaff, AZ

Not in the least bit. Dr. Dean's remarks are accurate. Our taking sides with Israel have only made matters worse. There is no sight of resolution to be seen on the horizon, and there will not be one as long as America sides with Israel against Palestine. Neutrality and earnest efforts in peace-making between the two parties on the part of America is greatly desired.

Phoenix, AZ

Dean on Bush's UN Speech

NEW YORK, NY -- Governor Howard Dean today released the following statement on President Bush's United Nations Speech:

"Nearly six months into the war in Iraq, President Bush once again missed the opportunity to get our Iraq policy on track.  Instead, he continues to fail to take the steps necessary to restore American credibility and earn the trust and cooperation of our key allies.

"Today, at the United Nations, the President argued again that we were right to go to war, though the world continues to believe - as they did before it began - that the war was unjustified.  The President's continued insistence that the invasion of Iraq was integral to the war on terror only increases the skepticism greeting our current proposals for increased international involvement.

"We face a situation in which Americans increasingly doubt this mission, the lives of our sons and daughters continue to be at risk, and $87 billion could be diverted from urgent domestic priorities unless the President and the Republicans agree to take it out of their misguided tax cuts.   The need for international assistance only grows.

"Yet with this Administration unwilling to cede any authority in the mission to our allies, why do we believe they would contribute to what they see as a failing operation, when we will not give them any means to correct its failings?

"Today's speech was another example of George Bush's petulant foreign policy.  We run the risk that the result will be a UN Security Council Resolution that does nothing - no new desperately needed troops, no meaningful financial contributions - and that we Americans will continue to shoulder the burdens of this war alone.   A little humility - promised by this President but never delivered - could go a long way."

Dean Visible in Cochise County

You can't get much more visible than this for Dean Visibility day. Thanks to Britt Hason for getting the picture, and being nimble enough to get the thing up there in the first place!

Monday, September 22, 2003

Bush Red Handed

Bush lied to Congress to get us into a war, and he now admits it.

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.



But now, Bush says that:

"There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties," the president said. But he also said, "We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the Sept. 11" attacks.

The failure to find any imminent WMD threat is problematic for the presidential determination required under §3(b)(1). But is it fatal? Arguably not. (A) seems blown. Iraq posed no credible threat to the United States. Clearly, the President had no evidence that Iraq did, or he wouldn't have fabricated so much of his case. However, the language seems to presume a threat, not require proof of one.

(B), must also be true, but it too offers an easy out: should Bush determine that further peaceful means are not likely to lead to compliance with relevant UN Resolutions, he may attack. "Likely" is not a strong standard of proof. At best, it must appear plausable to the President. Given Saddam's games with the inspectors, Bush can make a case. And with a GOP Congress, a plausible case is all he needs.

Now Bush says he has no evidence that Saddam was involved in September 11 (when on March 18th he says he did have such evidence), which seems to negate Article 2 of his legislatively-required justification for war as outlined under PL 107-243.

Doesn’t this mean he lied to comply with the provisions of PL 107-243? Maybe. And isn't that an impeachable offense? Maybe. Did the drafters put in enough weasel words to allow Bush to slide by? Maybe.

This is the relevant language from the Presidential Determination section:

(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

"Consistent with" is the key language on which the Administration will hang their hats if the shit hits the fan. They will claim this language does not require an attack on Iraq to be "because of" 9/11, just "consistent with" the neccesary actions against terrorists "including", but not limited to, those who carried out 9/11. In short, this Resolution is so poorly drafted you can pole a raft of monkeys through it's holes; and that is exactly what the President did.

I doubt the President is in any danger of impeachment on this account. The President came clean on the 9/11 connection precisely so that he could not be accused of lying to Congress. Since the accusation against Iraq was more in the way of innuendo, obsfucation, and associative language, than actual clear statments, his confession clears the "misimpression" anyone might have gotten into their silly heads.

Bush's legal counsel are no fools, but the people who drafted PL 107-243 were. Or they were willing dupes.

Dean Visibility

Wow!! What an interesting experience for visibility day!! A group of us wore our Dean gear and headed to the U of A for the 11th annual Lesbian Looks Film Festival -- 300 lesbians and our Dean gear! Shannon wore her rainbow Dean button, and everyone wanted one. They are in development!! Stay tuned!

Though, as an aside, I must say that for me, every day is Dean visibility day. My backpack is a walking advertizement. Most days I am wearing a Dean t-shirt or hat. I spend lots of time talking to people in various locals.

I encourage you, fellow Deaners, to make every day Dean Visibility Day.

Spam in a Can

A very amusing parody of Bush's canned constituent letters:

"I would like to express my dismay at Bush's fiscal irresponsibility and at his "Action Center's" organized effort to spam newspapers with letters to the editor that preach lies. (reference: http://www.georgewbush.com/Economy/WriteNewspapers.aspx?AgendaID=2, lower right) I looked at the proposed "letter to the editor" he is asking his constituents to send in their own words. Well here it is in my own words:

President Bush should be commended for his strong leadership on the economy. He has taken bold action to spend our surplus and burden future generations with the bills for today's pork barrel spending. At the same time, he has led a bold assault on employment.

The President's economic agenda creates jobs in India. His economic plan is focused on foreign job creation and helps working families like Dick Cheney's and Bill Gate's with immediate tax relief.

Promoting investment in his campaign fund is another critical component in the President's agenda. Reducing the overall tax burden on the wealthy spurs election investments by those individuals and corporations, enabling much needed campaign ads."

Ha! The power of sarcasm. The unintentional and unself-conscious ridiculousness of our enemies will be their undoing.

You can write a real letter, in your own words to any newspaper in Arizona at the DeanForAZ site.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

America's First Gay Black Mayor Endorses Dean

Ken Reeves announced today that he has endorsed Democratic Presidential
contender Howard Dean for President. He will appear on stage with Governor
Dean during this Tuesday's "Democracy, Freedom, Action" rally in Boston's
Copley Square. Reeves will also attend a Monday afternoon poster session
event to promote the rally.

Ken Reeves has served on the Cambridge City Council since 1989. From 1992 to
1995 he was Mayor of Cambridge, and holds the distinction of being the first
African-American to hold a mayoral position in Massachusetts, as well as
being the first openly gay African-American to lead a city in the United
States. He currently serves on the Cambridge City Council.

Reeves says, "I learned from the Boston Globe article today that Howard Dean
had black roommates as a freshman at Yale. They seem to have schooled him
well. I absolutely am excited to support a candidate for president for whom
being either black or gay is neither news nor a negative."

Weedwacking for Dean or "Pass the Ibuprofen"

Jenny's message, posted by Michael, pretty much say it all. Except that using a 14 pound, 6 foot long pry bar to uproot buffelgrass introduced me to some muscles I had forgotten I had. It was fun, and I have great respect for the Native Plant Society's Sonoran Desert Weedwackers group, which does this difficult but vital work on a regular basis. I think we made a few converts to Dean, as one person left with a Dean sign, and another previously uncommitted woman was proudly wearing her new Dean T-shirt when we left.
After an appropriate period of recuperation, I joined Peter Newton and Barbara Tellman outside the Fox Theater block party last night. The event was not as condusive to public contact as we had hoped, but Peter and I hung around with the Light Rail Initiative folk in a sort of unofficial "free speech zone," holding up Dean signs and giving out Dean stickers. We got many positive gestures of support from pedestrains and motorists alike. And several people told me that Gov. Dean, "had [their] vote. All in all a good night in downtown Tucson. As to photos of the Weedwacking, Marilyn Hanson has sent them to both the Dean for AZ and Dean for America sites.

Greider on Weasely Wes

William Greider's interesting blog post on General Knowlegeless. I have to suspect that the general reaction to our very model of a modern Major-General, is turning out to be somewhat of a disappointment to his backers.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

WeedWackin' for Dean

Jenny Prileson sent the following post from Enviromentalists for Dean:

About 7 of us intrepid desert "Weedwackers" just returned from hiking into one of the Tucson Mountain Park canyons and pulling out non-native buffel grass, a nasty weed which threatens biodiversity and is a big brush fire hazard (how's THAT for a "Healthy Forest Initiative, Mr. President??). We're wiped out from the heat (it was 100 degrees when we got back to our cars) and exertion, but 3-4 of us wore our Dean T-shirts and held up signs along the road after the event, doing our best to be visible! Hopefully our group leader will be posting the digital photos soon.
Go Dean!

Weasely Wesley and Derring-Do Dean

I gotta admit, I'm sympathetic to Wes. I genuinely like his style and I was excited when it looked like there might be an early Dean/Clark ticket emerging. But I'm begining to be relieved that he didn't accept and decided to run on his own. Wesley is going to have to work out his own positions and take his lumps on his own dime.

And the first day of Wesley's campaign certainly qualifies as lumpy. His gaffes with the press and wild gyrations in public trying to figure out what he really stands for are frankly embarrassing. Whoever thought to put an untested candidate in an airplane full of tough reporters completely on the record deserves the boot. The General needs to stop shooting from the hip and start talking from a script - he hasn't the experience to wing it. The result of his first media impression as a candidate is a vacillating diletante who doesn't even know his own mind.

The media's focus on Wesley at this point is both predictable, and given his demonstrated penchant for vacillation and flip-flopping, harmful to his campaign. The Clark folk need to go to ground and avoid media while Wesley gets the hang of keeping his mouth shut until he's ready to say something useful. A good deal of today's Note is devoted to Wesley's exploits and the press likely will remain obsessed with him for some time. I must say, the most surprising revelation of the day is Wesley's admission that he had voted for Nixon and Regan. This reinforces in my mind the fact that Wesley isn't really a Democrat at all. The party is just a convenience to him, not his home team. I certainly haven't any problem with independent voters, but I don't care for one running for President on the Democratic ticket.

Speaking of teams, our man Dean is bringing out the bat again for the end of the quarter fund-raising push. Look for Dean to clear 10 million this quarter with ease. And speaking of fund-raising pushes, we are encouraging readers to donate to Dean's campaign on the side bar.

An interesting feature of the end of quarter drive is a Dr. Dean's National House Call. The campaign is encouraging people to host house parties on September 29th and sign up for participation in a giant conferrence call. Trippi is organizing the effort to get the call into the Guiness Book. Details and registration are available here. Even if you just have a few friends or family and are raising just a little money, sign up and put Dean in the Guiness.

Another features of the September to Remember drive is Dean Visibility Day, which is today. Many of our bloggers will be participating in Visibility Events. I encourage all of them to report in on their efforts as soon as possible. Also I invite any of our readers participating in Visibility events to email me with your reports at MBryan@aol.com, or to post them in the comments thread of this post.

Shhh... I'm Hunting Babbitts....

It looks like former Flagstaff mayor, Paul Babbit, Jr. may run for Congress in District One in next term's primary for a shot to take on freshman Republican Renzi. One closer to taking back the House, I'd say.

Keep an ear to the ground for news of another generation of Babbitt on this blog shortly.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Adding Insult to Injury

You may find this hard to credit- I know I certainly did- but our military hospitals actually charge our wounded soldiers for the meals they eat while recovering from their wounds. I swear, it's true. Gives new meaning to the phrase, "Let them eat cake." It tacks on, "So long as they pay for it."

Jaspora by Wyclef Jean: Dean's favorite song

Howard Dean's favorite song is a funky rap rant in Haitian French creole by Wyclef Jean from his album The Carnival. Recorded in 1997, it is slightly dated, but far hipper than the obviously pandering choices of the other candidates. I recorded this off iTunes using a cell phone, since that m4p copy protection is pretty serious stuff, thus the sound quality isn't great.

I strongly suggest people request this song from rap, alternative, world beat and top 40 format stations as a dedication. You can dedicate it to Howard Dean for helping me take my country back, or for making you feel that you have the power. It is an easy and costless way to get Dean's name out there. Just don't say anything about voting for Dean or that air time might be an in kind donation by the station.

Powered by audblogaudio post powered by audblog

The English translation of the lyrics:

This is what the world was waiting for
Wyclef who came from the Fugees
Jeremie, Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Flatbush...

Jaspora doesn't respect Jaspora (repeat 4 x)

Ever since I was little, I left Haiti
There's some that went to Brooklyn there's some that went to Miami
Why do Jamaicans always say they are Jamaicans,
But Haitians are afraid to say they are Haitians?
Why? Are you scared to say your name is Samuel?
Why? Are you scared to say you're with Israel?
Why? Every night you are sleeping with Jezebel!
You're scared to say Haitian girls are beautiful!
Beautiful girls are beautiful...

I respect your name just like I respect the angel Gabriel
Here, Diaspora men want to take you to hotels,
Start talking English, turning to playboy channel
They do not respect Israel.

Diaspora do not respect Diaspora
If you are a Diaspora I am going to give you to sharks
Diaspora do not respect Diaspora
If you are a Diaspora tonight we're going to disarm you

Diaspora ha ha o, put your hands up!
I am going to take them and throw them in prison
I will make them know who is Toussaint
I will make them know who is Dessalines
After, we will let them go and send them back to Brooklyn
So he could go to his mother who is cooking in the kitchen
His mom looked at him and said "Man, you've changed"
She said I changed because I am Haitian
They taught me a lesson, they put me in prison.

I see Diaspora women and Diaspora men
There are people who are not going to make it because
they will sleep with the fishes
They lost their knowledge just like a priest without religion

Diaspora do not respect Diaspora
If you are a Diaspora I am going to give you to sharks
Diaspora do not respect Diaspora
If you are a Diaspora tonight were going to disarm you

Port-au-Prince do not respect Diaspora again
Men Flatbush do not respect Diaspora
Men Canada do not respect Diaspora
Men Miami do not respect Diaspora

Pa Kayos do not respect Diaspora
Papa Djoume do not respect Diaspora
Refugees do not respect Diaspora
Men Florida do not respect Diaspora
Wrong things done are going to finish worse
If you disrespect native-born
Done wrong things are going to finish worse
Disrespect Haitians you will get hit...

Jaspora has to respect Jaspora
Jaspora has to respect Jaspora

There has been some speculation as to whether there is a political message in Dean's choice of this song. I tend to think that there is not. He doesn't speak Haitian creole. I'm sure he just likes the mood and sound of the song and it goes no deeper than that. It's pretty sad the a politician can't seem to have a preference that is superficial and simply aesthetic in nature. They asked him his favorite song, not his most politically significant song, or the song which would attract the most votes. He answered 'Jaspora' because he liked the way it sounded and he might even listen to the album often; how refreshing is that?

ST. PAUL, MN LABOR DAY (Better Late Than Never)

Peter Newton Files this Belated Report from on the Road:

September 1, 2003 -- Rolling Thunder Tour Stop No. 3 went swimmingly
as 4,000 Minnesotans enjoyed the 16th annual Labor Day picnic on
Harriet Island, St. Paul. Rolling Thunder Democracy Tour partnered
with St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly and Wellstone Action to bring
Jim Hightower, Granny D and Patch Adams out to speak at the event.
Jim sold out his books in half an hour. Today, his book is at No. 9
on the New York Times Best Seller list! Go Jim!

Joining Jim, Granny D and Patch Adams, were Richard Trumka, Secretary-
Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, and Shar Knutsen, President of the St. Paul
Trades and Labor Assembly, who reminded the crowd that Minnesota is
now a swing state and admonished them to continue the fight for
working people in the proud tradition of the prairie populists. Patch
ministered at rousing two hour special training session
entitled "What is Your Love Strategy" at the end of which 90 people
embraced and committed to principles of love and inclusion over
competition and war ~ personally and politically. For photos and
further reading, click here.

That's about the size of it, but one Arizonan was there as well. It was a gorgeous day and many people turned out to enjoy a cookout on the banks of the Mississippi River. I attended the Patch Adams seminar and one hosted by the Wellstone Action folks, with a group of Twinkie Deaners. (People from "The Cities" (the Twin Cities (Minneapolis + St. Paul, Minnesota)) are known as Twinkies. Just watch ESPN for reports about their baseball team and you'll understand.) The Wellstone seminar was GREAT!! but Patch Adams was a little too winded. Hightower was interesting, but the same. His stump speach gets old after a while. Granny D spoke for a little long. But the burgers were great, and the exhibition booths were great. I spent a lot of time speaking with various progessive groups in Minnesota. One wonders why they continue to vote so conservatively recently. Perhaps the book I bought will help me to understand this connudrum.

I hope to bring all of this acquired knowledge back to Arizona, and to make some changes in our political climate. The Deaners up there have a web site and business cards to hand out, but little more. They had 15 Meetups planned for September. Unfortunately, I haven't heard back from anyone I met up there, but I hope to keep in touch. It was fun, and everyone should plan more festivities like this in every community throughout the year. People need to meet each other more often without a commercial impetuous.


Thursday, September 18, 2003

Sometimes it's just downright embarassing...

Having the Bush Administration in power is not just harmful to nearly every aspect of our national life, it's damaging to one's intellect and self-esteem, and perilous to one's sense of reality.

Suddenly, everyone in the world thinks that if you're an American, you must be an idiot. It's humiliating; mostly because I can see why people think that. The credibility American's are giving people who are flat out liars, or full-stop stupid, or worse, stupid liars, makes me suspect sometimes that I'm just too stupid too to accept the newspeak maxim- the truth is a lie. The utterly unhinged clap-trap flowing unendingly from our government is getting so deep that even other parts of the government, those less political and more professional, are fed the hell up and have simply taken to calling a spade a spade, stating simply that the Administration is a bunch of dangerous lying Yahoos.

Take today's GAO report on the the state of the budget deficit, as an examiple. It basically calls the President a stinking liar whose policies are sucking us down a fiscal rat hole into third-world nation status. I can't recall a time when a professional staff has been more openly contempuous of the policies of a political branch.

Meanwhile, our 'leaders', or more accurately, our 'misleaders' can't even get on the same page about their whopping lies. Dick Cheney is still selling his particularly noxious brand of condescension and obsfucation: telling the nation 3 things which he knows to be untrue in a single breath. He, Rumsfeld and Bush just can't seem to keep their lies straight; Rumfeld is now admitting there's no connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein and so is Bush. Yet, Cheney apparently didn't get that memo. Someone needs to tell him that the government is telling a different pack of lies this week.

The Administration as good as admits by their unrepentant and blatantly contradictory behavior, that they are low-class scumbuckets who lied to everyone, including Congress, and they don't particularly care who knows it. So why haven't we pulled them off their thrones and drowned them in the gutter as they deserve? Aversion to reality? Ignore them and they'll go away? Democracy is only good once every four years? I don't know.

I do know that Thomas Friedman, the NYT columnist, has finally gone over the edge due to his sactimonious whoring for the Bush Administration. He now claims we're at war with France. In combination with Andrew Sullivan's celebrated swan dive off the deep end of reality over this war, the evidence is in that even the formerly even-tempered and reasonable among us is in danger of being sucked under by the swamp of lies which this Administration has plunged us into. Are there no depths, save lying about blow-jobs, that the American people, or specifically their jaded and wholly owned representatives, won't stand for? Is there no way to abort this Administration before it does more harm via neglect of the vital and obsession with the utterly non-sensical? Do we have to find someone to go down on W? Besides G. Gordon Liddy or Sean Hannity, that is...

I really don't know where I'm going with this post: nowhere specific, I suspect. Perhaps just a plea for damn sanity? And if I can't have that, how about some delusions of my own choosing? Can we please invoke that wise and sensible law of childhood, and call a do-over of this utterly stupid millenium?

Desert Weedwackers For Dean

Marilyn Hanson, who is participating in the Environmentalists for Dean group I chair, has come up with a great, environmentally friendly activity for Dean visibility day, this Saturday. The Sonoran Desert Weedwackers remove invasive buffel grass from Tucson Mountain Park, in cooperation with Pima County Parks. Several of us from the group are going to participate in this Saturday morning's project, wearing Dean shirts, from 7 to 10 AM. We are planning to meet at the Albertsons parking lot at Silverbell and Speedway at 6:15 AM, to carpool for the drive to the project meeting place, which is the old caretaker's house, across the street from the Desert Museum. Anyone wishing to participate should E-mail Marilyn Hanson at mfhanson@mindspring.com She needs to know how many will be participating so she can ask Pima County Parks for the proper number of digging tools and gloves. All tools are provided. Plan to bring sunscreen, a hat, water, and snacks. This is a good opportunity to showcase the Dean team's dedication to improving our environment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Wesley Clark: The New Anti-War Candidate?

Article at TruthOut.org claims that Clark has not been consistently anti-war. Excerpt below, for full article go to


"Hearing Clark talking to CNN's Paula Zahn (7/16/03), it would be understandable to think he was an opponent of the war. "From the beginning, I have had my doubts about this mission, Paula," he said. "And I have shared them previously on CNN." But a review of his statements before, during and after the war reveals that Clark has taken a range of positions-- from expressing doubts about diplomatic and military strategies early on, to celebrating the U.S. "victory" in a column declaring that George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair "should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt" (London Times, 4/10/03). "

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Clark: What will it mean?

The question many Dean supporters are asking themselves now is what will Wesley Clark's candidacy mean for Dean? This is a very difficult question to answer, but I'll take a stab at it. The short answer is either not much, or a hell of lot, either way, the likelyhood of Dean sharing a ticket with Clark has dropped to nearly nill.

The first and primary reason that Clark and Dean are unlikely to end up on a ticket together is that Dean is the front runner in the races that matter the most. The only way Clark is going to make progress in the long term is by attacking Dean. Not condusive to kissing and making up for the General Election.

It is likely that Clark will lay back for awhile trying to build his war chest and integrate his draft volunteers with his staff. He needs credibility and traction. He has to pull out of fifth place and start gathering forward momentum. He may focus his attention on the back of the second tier pack in IA and NH, Lieberman and Edwards. He may rely on Dean to dispose of or weaken Gephardt and Kerry. He will hope to winnow the field and pull out a 3rd or even 2nd place showing in those initial races, good enough to give his campaign momentum and fundraising credibility. I suspect Clark will steer clear of direct engagement with Dean until he's helped Dean cull the herd.

This early momentum and buzz could open the the field for Clark victories in SC and OK. His ultimate aim will likely be to try to make the race essentially Dean vs. Clark in AZ, NM, MO, DE and DC and thereafter.

Many of the candidates have attributes which Clark sees as his advantages over Dean. None of them can put the package together like Clark thinks he can. Edwards, Graham, and Gephardt are all southerners. Lieberman is ideologically to the right of Dean. Kerry has war hero status. To eliminate these disparate candidates, and fold their attributes into a single candidate will be the basis of the anti-Dean stretegy of the Clark campaign. Once those cadidates are cleared from the race, then the campaign to portray Dean as incapable of defeating Bush will begin, with Clark portrayed as the Democratic party's best hope.

The challenge for Clark will be to come up with reasons other than his biography to choose him. Right down the line Clark's positions, to date, are quite similar to Dean's. Mark Fabiani and, most likely, his business partner Chris Lehane, will be doing Clark's communications. I can envision the General caging these attack dogs until just the right moment, and then losing the dogs of war. With men like these at the helm, the reasons to prefer Clark will likely come in the form of attacks. Lehane was formerly with Kerry's campaign and is rumoured to have left because of the candidate's refusal to go more negative on Dean.

Now the good news. Clark has a lot of deficits to overcome and his campaigning style may be much more traditional than Dean's. Clark needs to raise funds and attract a great deal of volunteer enthusiasm or Democratic establishment support. Clinton's "endorsement that wasn't an endorsement" will help with the later, but it remains to be seen if Clark will be able to attract either the large donors of the DLC crowd or build a large base of small donors like Dean. Much of the activist energy right now is with Dean. Only time will tell whether Clark can siphon off any of that energy or whether he will run a more traditional top-down campaign. If the latter, he will need to pick up much of the Democratic establishment currently encamped with Kerry, Lieberman, Gephardt, and Edwards. He needs money and people and voters, and whether he will start to roll them up or languish remains to be seen.

What makes predictions especially difficult is Clark's lack of an electoral track record. We simply don't know how, or if, Clark will connect with voters. Nor do we know how he will deal with debates, attacks, and the inevitable gaffes.

Only time will tell. Clark is a leap into the dark electorally. An act of political faith. Or desperation. A political tabla rasa on which people can write their aspirations for an end to GOP corruption and misgovernance.

Here are some links to learn more about the enigmatic General and his people:

The Clark Sphere
United 4 Clark
Digital Clark
Clark's Company Wavecrest
Meet the Press Post War Interview

If Not Dean, Who?

Another interesting article from TomPaine.com. below is an except from the article.


"If the pundits have been consistent about one thing in this campaign, it's the argument that the Democrats will get slaughtered if Howard Dean is their presidential nominee.

He's not a national candidate, they say. He's too left-wing. He doesn't have enough foreign policy experience. By running as the centrist, tough-on-terrorism candidate, George W. Bush would beat Dean like a drum.

Or so they say.

But the Dean campaign has brought such unexpected energy into the Democratic primary that the Dems now have an entirely different problem: If Dean loses, the party will probably lose in November 2004. "

Dean Finds That Courting Blogocrats Means Answering Tough Questions

Interesting article in The Village Voice

Dean Finds That Courting Blogocrats Means Answering Tough Questions
Wired to Wired
by Anya Kamenetz
September 17 - 23, 2003

Thanks to his Internet-centered campaigning, presidential contender Howard Dean appears to be far more wired into the wired electorate than his Democratic rivals or George W. Bush. Dean's innovative use of the Web has gotten plaudits from the press, and his courting of the wired crowd seems to be paying off—10,000 people showed up for an August 24 rally in cybercity Seattle. But if Dean is to keep the goodwill of blogocrats, he must find the message to match their medium.

It is perhaps with this obligation in mind that the former Vermont governor spent a week in mid July as a guest blogger on the online journal of Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig. A cyberspace hero, Lessig is the author of Code, and Other Laws of Cyberspace and The Future of Ideas, both of which passionately advocate the value of preserving the Internet for the public domain and warn of the dangers of giving too much power over innovation to corporations through new copyright extensions and restriction of competition.

The emerging online intellectual-property movement is broad and potentially baffling to those not fluent in both legal and technological jargon. It covers controversies as diverse as Napster, FCC rules on media consolidation, the Microsoft monopoly case, and the use of open-source software. In recent years, techies' ire has coalesced around two pieces of largely under-publicized legislation: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, both passed in 1998.

The Sonny Bono Act, notably backed by Disney, extended the term of copyright for the 11th time in 40 years, to the life of the author plus 70 years. Online entrepreneur Eric Eldred lost a challenge to the act in the U.S. Supreme Court in early 2003; he unsuccessfully argued that copyrights were no longer meaningfully limited in time because of these repeated extensions.

The DMCA attempts to strengthen existing copyright protections for the new online media. Its most detested provision is referred to as "anticircumvention." Roughly, any software tool whose main purpose is to break security encryption on a piece of copyrighted intellectual content, whether a DVD, a music file, or a software program, is now illegal. This new protection for copyrighted material carries no accompanying provision for fair use; in practice, large media and software companies, including eight major movie studios, have had programmers prosecuted and jailed for writing decryption devices even when the programmers' code has had a legitimate academic purpose. And the law certainly doesn't make it any easier to trade movies or music in peer-to-peer networks like Napster.

For Lessig and his camp, including members of free-culture groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the new copyright protections are not annoying technicalities but a social counter-revolution in process, turning the "creative commons" that was the early Internet into an environment even more controlled by corporations than "real space."

"Those threatened by this technology of freedom have learned how to turn this technology off. The switch is now being thrown. We are doing nothing about it," Lessig concluded in The Future of Ideas.

On the surface, at least, Dean's campaign is operating very much in sync with the idea of the creative commons. His campaign manager, Joe Trippi, a software industry insider and a self-described avid reader of blogs, extols the virtues of Dean's "bottom-up" strategy over "broadcast politics."

His rivals John Kerry and John Edwards have taken note; both recently launched campaign blogs. But Dean's people have moved far beyond that. Using its official online campaign journal, Blogforamerica.com, the commercial website Meetup.com, and scores of unofficial sites, the Dean campaign has coordinated meetings and rallies, raising considerable funds from thousands of small donors in targeted message-sending bursts. (The campaign says it raised $500,000 in a few days in July in response to its publicizing a Dick Cheney $2,000-a-plate fundraiser.) Most appealing is the opportunity for young, wired citizens familiar with Web journals to give online feedback and thereby get excited about democracy. Lessig has referred to the Dean campaign's strategy as "open-source," a term describing free and collaboratively created software, like the original Linux.

But how committed is Dean to the principles behind the open-source idea? When the unofficial, but large, Dean Nation blog submitted a list of readers' 10 most popular questions to the Dean campaign in April, the DMCA made it, along with "9-11 Investigation" and "Cutting Gov't Spending." Yet in the five short entries that Dean posted on Lessig's blog, he managed to avoid the DMCA and the Sonny Bono Act, though hundreds of posters both during the week and later mentioned the issue or asked him to state a position.

"What is your position on the threat to the public domain? And what policies do you intend to support to address that threat?" asked Dean Nation blogger Aziz H. Poonawalla. A poster to Lessig's blog named J.B. Nicholson-Owens complained on July 21, "Dean had the opportunity to research something related to copyright issues before coming here. I see little (if any) evidence he did that. To me this comes off as profoundly disrespectful of the audience. During the (mostly one-way) discussion, he had time to compose a response that would give us some inkling of what he was thinking on any copyright-related issue (which is the main topic on this blog)."

Reached by the Voice, Dorie Clark, Dean's New Hampshire communications director, said, "Governor Dean recognizes the importance of these issues and his policy team is looking into them, but we haven't reached a policy yet."

Lessig himself seems disinclined to press Dean on the matter. "I invited Dean in particular," Lessig posted after Dean's visit, "because so much of the success of his campaign has come from those who spend time on the Internet, and I suggested that the mix who spent time at my blog had a valuable set of insights that might be useful to understanding the issues that rage on these pages. But as I've said before, these issues are not the central issues of a presidential campaign (yet, anyway). And necessarily, any attention a presidential campaign gives to these issues will be for the purpose of learning. No one launches a campaign for President in 2004 with the aim to 'free culture' or limit the excesses of creative regulation."

Though Stanford induced Lessig to move his site to a personal server after the Dean postings because of Federal Election Commission regulations aimed at keeping school resources out of political campaigns, the guest spot does not necessarily imply an endorsement. In fact, Lessig has personally contributed only to the Edwards campaign.

Many bloggers who do support Dean believe they understand why it may be in his interest not to come out just now in favor of copyright reform, as candidate Dennis Kucinich, for example, has (also guesting on Lessig's blog). "I was encouraged by Dean's appearance on Lessig's blog, and his stated desire to learn about IP [intellectual property] issues and make an informed decision," Brian Flemming, editor of the political and culture blog Slumdance.com, told the Voice. "I'd love it if he took a stand against the DMCA, the Sonny Bono Act, etc., but I do understand that would be throwing caution to the wind politically, given the power of the media companies. Al Gore had the media against him, and he nearly lost. I'm not anticipating a radical stand from a candidate already pegged as unelectable by some."

The Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America were both major supporters of the DMCA. Dean's list of individual contributors, on the other hand, already includes dozens of Hollywood names, including Warner Bros. president and COO Alan Horn, Disney producer Jeffrey Abrams, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, and executives at Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox, HBO, and Showtime. If Dean shapes his messages to please big media, that could be a big blow to the creative commons

Blues Festival Again

I am beginning to sound like a broken record (a broken B.B. King record?), but we currently have $175 pledged toward the $220 rental of a space at the Tucson Blues Festival. This is tough for me, since I was an English major, but I think that leaves us $45 short. I am going to beg at my environmental group's meeting tomorrow night at the NWNC, but I thought it couldn't hurt to put the plea here again as well. So, if you haven't pledged, and can spare a bit of cash (even ten or twenty bucks), you could help us reach this large, diverse (captive?) audience. For those unfamiliar with the Blues Festival, it is a free event sponsored by the nonprofit Tucson Blues Society. I don't know who the headliners are this year, but there are usually a number of fine performers throughout the day. It takes place on Sunday, October 19, this year, in Reid Park. It starts at 11AM (traditionally with a performance by students in the Tucson High School Blues Band), and is usually over by 7 PM. If you can contribute, contact me at 292-0693, or by E-mail at Jennel2@aol.com. Thanks.

Jim Nelson

President Bush Shortchanges Funding for His Own Emergency AIDS Program

-From the Daily Misleader

The President heavily promoted his emergency relief for AIDS after announcing it at this year's State of the Union speech, signing a $15 billion law to be spent over five years.  But while the President is publicly calling for full funding, he's actively seeking to underfund his own program.

The President said in Africa this July that "The House of Representatives and the United States Senate must fully fund this initiative, for the good of the people on this continent of Africa," Less than a week later, he sent a letter to Congress asking for 1/3rd less than full funding.  

The law that Bush signed authorized $3 billion a year, but President Bush has requested only $2 billion in his 2004 budget.  Despite the claim to fully fund the program in the State of the Union, the Bush Administration is now claiming that AIDS service organizations cannot absorb full funding immediately. The service organizations themselves disagree with the White House's position.

The Republican-led Foreign Operations subcommittee also disagreed when it approved a doubling of the commitment for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS from $200 million to $400 million, despite a letter from the White House requesting the lower figure. It was later scrapped by the full committee under White House pressure.

And the bottom line? The president's push for $1 billion less than authorized by Congress (and promoted by the President himself) blocks 1 million people from treatment and nearly 2.5 million new HIV infections that could be avoided.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Governor Howard Dean Endorses Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride

First presidential candidate to endorse ride

ATLANTA--Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D., became the first presidential candidate to endorse next week's Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, a historic effort to draw attention to the rights of immigrant workers and the need to reform America's immigration laws.

Modeled after the 1961 Freedom Rides, the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride will see immigrants board buses from ten U.S. cities and stop in over 100 towns.

In a letter to Maria Elena Durazo, National Chair of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, Governor Dean offered his strong support for the rides:

"I strongly support the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride and its goal of empowering millions of American workers to call for a clear roadmap to citizenship. It is my hope that the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, like the Freedom Rides of 1961 that inspired it, will serve as another defining moment in our history when the voices of a committed few help to raise the consciousness of all Americans," Governor Dean wrote.

Beginning with send-off rallies in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles on September 20--and subsequently in six other major cities--almost a thousand immigrant workers and their allies will cross the nation in buses, stopping in more than 100 towns and cities across the United States. The rides will culminate with Congressional visits and rallies in Washington, DC and New York during the first week in October, and will focus on drawing attention to the urgent need to reform America's immigration laws.

The Dean for America campaign has posted the Ride on its self-organizing action tools and set up a website to provide information on the ride.

"We are stronger when we are beholden to one another as part of a national community and weaker when we act only as individuals. The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride reflects this ideal, and for that, I proudly support their efforts," Governor Dean wrote.

Amusing (and highy apocryphal) Story

A little boy wanted $100 so badly that he prayed for two weeks, but nothing happened. He decided to write a letter to the Lord requesting the $100. When the postal authorities received the letter addressed to "Lord, USA," they decided to send it to President Bush.

The President was so impressed, touched and amused that he instructed his secretary to send the little boy a $5 bill. President Bush thought this would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy. The little boy was delighted with the $5 and sat down to write a thank-you note to the Lord, which read:

"Dear Lord,

"Thank you very much for sending me the money. But it's too bad you sent it through Washington. That moron President Bush and his friends deducted $95!"

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Story Updates

Battle Casualties

The Observer obtained records regarding the number of American wounded in Iraq which indicate that 6000 soldiers have been evacuated for medical reasons, 1500 of whom have been wounded, many seriously. While this is much lower than my stab in the dark estimate, it still a much higer figure than the Administration would like to admit, and higher than the populace is likely to accept.

This ratio of casualties to fatalities is running close to 4 to 1, but still only includes those wounded seriously enough to require treatment outside the battle theatre. The army's prefered locus of treatment is near the battlefield. We still do not know how many soldiers are being wounded, rehabilitated and returned to duty near the combat area, in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. I still suspect the number of wounded is being greatly understated by the Administration.

In addition, the type of injuries sustained is changing. It is more common now to lose one or more limbs instead of one's life in an incident than the recent past. Improvements in body armor protect the soldier's torso better, but still leave their limbs vulnerable. Hence we are seeing an increase in debilitating limb wounds requiring amputation.

The legacy of this war will be with us for a long time to come. Many years hence, young heroes in our midst missing one or more limbs will still serve as a grim reminders that the cost of electing a fool to the Presidency is more than we can afford. I remember wags cracking wise in 2000 about how with unemployment at an all time low, the stock market sailing along on a bubble of irrational exuberance, and a record budget surplus, that America could afford to elect an idiot to the Presidency; they couldn't have been more wrong.

Enemy of Israel

Updating my recent blog entry, Paul Snodgrass is the name of the student kicked out of Israel and threat to Israeli for wanting to go to school at Bir Zeit. It turns out that Paul belonged to the Alliance for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, a group that supports the Palestinians’ right of return and proposes that Israel and Palestine exist as either two, fully independent states, or one bi-national state. This may be the reason for his harrassment by the Israeli government. Apparently the Israeli's consider it a threat to their security for an American citizen and taxpayer to advocate enforcement of UN resolutions. American citizens pay the taxes which subsidize the Israeli military-industrial complex, the creeping annexation of the West Bank in the guise of temporary "settlements", and the brutalization of the Palestinian people. Yet the Israeli's consider it to be a threat to their security when one of them wants sane and humane behaviour in return for his tax subsidy.

When Dean said that we must be an impartial broker, I think he was begining to speak the truth about Middle Eastern politics. When Dean said that Hammas members were soldiers, he was attacked. He violated the great taboo of "moral equivalence". Never must a Palestinian fighting to free his homeland be given the same moral significance as an Israeli soldier defending his home, or an American defending his. As soon as they stop being "terrorists" and start being nationalists, or patriots, or simply desperate, the battle suddenly loses moral clarity. Suddenly, we are just people doing very nasty things to other people who are fighting back as best they can.

For far too long America has financed and abetted Israeli flouting of international law and common human decency in the name of an illusory security. Israel and the United States will never have peace in the Middle East unless it is built on a foundation of justice. US and Israeli policy currently seeks to build peace upon the corpses of those who demand justice and self-determination, both in Palestine and in Iraq. Until we stop abetting the worst tendencies in Israeli politics, the very same fascistic victim-fantasy currently twisting the United States' politics into a senseless spiral of violence and neurotic self-mutilation, a just and lasting peace is impossible.

Dean Attacked by Dems For Biased Foreign Policy

From Dean Defense Listserve:

I'm sure by now you've all heard of the letter signed by Congressional supporters of a certain other candidate attacking Howard Dean for his stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict. We need you to do several things:

1) We've included a list below of all the relevant Representatives, where they are from, and how to contact them. Use it. Especially contact any Reps from your home state. If none are from your home state, contact Nancy Pelosi. For a Democratic leader to make such a statement about a
Presidential candidate is, well, unacceptable in my mind. (NOTE: Nancy Pelosi and Dean have subsequently kissed and made up. Pelosi now says there is essential agreement between herself and Dean on the US role in Middle East peace)

2) Pass this message on to friends and other Dean supporters. We need to let these Representatives know that we, their supporters at the grassroots, don't appreciate their uncalled for attacks. There's hundreds of us on this listserv. We need thousands.

3) Keep the pressure on. Ask for an apology. These are attacks motivated by pure politics.

The letter from the Representatives can be found at:

The Berman Letter

These are the names, districts, and contact URLs for the Representatives. Where only the main page is provided, scroll to the bottom of their webpage to find contact info:

That's them folks. Get this list out there please.

Something to keep in mind, even as you're writing your own letters, is that
what these people are expressing outrage is the idea that the US should be a
fair negotiator in peace talks. Attacking fair mediation is not only
ridiculous, it's harmful to the Middle East Peace Process. If one side
doesn't trust us, no one can walk away a winner. To that extent, those who
would demand a biased negotiator are, in effect, demanding more violence in
the future.


By Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Race is a difficult subject in America. Politicians often tell black audiences that they believe in civil rights and affirmative action. Some talk about their own experiences in the Civil Rights movement. Some are now attacking the use of the word quotas in front of white audiences. Doing all of this is important.

But it is not enough.

No white American can understand what it means to be black in America. Things have improved significantly for African Americans in this country since 1964. However, it is important to recognize that the Civil Rights Movement was largely a victory over legal segregation.  Discrimination still exists, and we must continue efforts to eliminate it.

Polls show that the majority of white Americans believe that race is no longer a big factor in American life, and that equality of opportunity has mostly been successfully incorporated into American political and social culture.  Many white Americans assume that whatever segregation remains in the public school systems and universities around the country is either self-imposed or the product of neighborhood schools.

Bill Clinton is the only President or white Presidential candidate I have ever heard talk candidly about issues of race in America.  Black Americans still believe, with some justification, that white America does not understand the historical scars left by slavery and Jim Crow, scars which cannot be erased in a generation or two.  Black Americans often mistake white indifference or lack of understanding for racism, which is the case in only a small number of instances.

But many white Americans don't understand that indifference and lack of understanding does lead to institutional racism, where, despite the best intentions of the individuals who run the institution, day-to-day hiring practices only reinforce African American fears and suspicions of bias.  Just last week, a Wall Street Journal article reported that white job applicants with criminal records were more likely to be called back for job interviews than African American applicants with clean records.

Affirmative action is still needed in order to overcome the unconscious biases that all Americans of every ethnic group have toward hiring people like themselves.  And the discussion of that unconscious bias is essential if we are ever going to bridge the gaps between white America and not only African Americans, but the Latino community, Native-Americans, Asian Americans, and women of all ethnic backgrounds.

Talking about race means more than merely mentioning civil rights or condemning the President's use of the word quota.  Talking about race means confronting ourselves with the vastly different perceptions that we have about each other, and trying to walk a mile in one another’s shoes.

Race is not simply a matter of civil rights; it can influence the right to thrive and prosper in American society.  A discussion of race is incomplete without addressing the impact of race or ethnicity on the ability to access affordable health care, quality education and the capital to build businesses and create wealth.

It is particularly important for white candidates to raise these issues in front of white audiences. This kind of message can be too easily dismissed or pigeonholed coming from a member of a minority community.  If America is going to prosper as the most diverse nation on the face of the earth, we are all going to have to take responsibility for the stereotypes we have of each other, and debunk them.

Let us each commit to do our part.

What's in a name?

Last night I attended the annual Wingspan Benefit Dinner. The keynote speaker placed Dean in the same category as Bush and Kerry because Dean advocates equal rights for the LGBT community via civil unions in lieu of marriage. She proclaimed that those who work for these people have become the apologists for their candidate to the LGBT community. I was upset for two reasons: A. I am not now nor will I ever be an apologist for any person. B. The speaker's remarks indicate to me that people are not thinking critically about this issue.Those who desire equality must realize that this is not a black and white issue and if equality is to be obtained we must examine our society not with our hearts but with our minds. Below is my opinion on this issue.

Marriage, according to my American Heritage Dictionary, is the "state sanctioned union between a man and a women." What the dictionary leaves out is the religious connotations that are attached to marriage; the vast majority of marriages in this country are performed and sanctioned by religious institutions. We live in a secular country. Our government, regardless of how individual politicians or citizens feel, cannot force religious institutions to sanction unions between same-sex couples. It is sad that most religious institutions do not embrace all their followers but the government can not change religious beliefs. The work for equal recognition within religion is the job of the religion's members, they are the only ones who have the power and influence to make changes.

Our government does have the power to extend equal rights to all couples. It can sanction and recognize
unions between couples both homosexual and heterosexual. These unions are called civil unions. Many
ask why there is this distinction and why can't unions between same-sex couples be labeled as marriage.
As individuals, people can call their union whatever name they choose. As stated earlier marriage is a
religiously charged term. Our government recognizes religiously sanctioned unions because the majority of our citizens choose this type of union. I personally believe that because our government is secular it should not do this; civil unions should be used for everyone. Like the brand names Kleenex and Q-tips, marriage has become the common term used to denote a union between two people regardless of whether it is religiously sanctioned.

I support Howard Dean because he thinks critically about this issue. I support Howard Dean because he
supports me.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Dean Environmental Group Meeting

The second meeting of the Dean Environmental Group will be held on this coming Wednesday, Sept 17, at 6:30 PM, in room 112, at the Northwest Neighborhood Center, 2160 N. 6th Ave. I invite anyone interested in these issues to join us. This meeting, we will be getting down to action plans, including how to reach out to the attendees of the Arizona Association of Environmental Educator's conference in Tucson next weekend. We willl be recruiting people to participate in particular projects, such as group participation in volunteer projects for groups such as Audubon and the Sierra Club. We will be looking for ideas and suggestions for an environmentally themed event for the
Sept 20, Dean visibility day. Of course, I will also be pushing my Blues Festival idea, and looking for those final pledges to get that space reserved by next weekend. Everyone is welcome. Come and get your daily Dean fix, and help us brainstorm.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Reflections on the Current Political Climate

This is a free thought essay I wrote after trying to cope with the weight of this day.

Today started out with a trip to campus in the car. As usual the car radio was tuned to whatever clear channel (pun intended) we could get. There was this medley of patriotic songs playing and snipets of George W. making a speech about punishing the offenders of 9/11 (as though their being dead already wasn't punishment enough). Then I get to school and I am nearby the 9/11 memorial service taking place on the mall. The Arizona Daily Wildcat and every other news outlet is covering 9/11 memorials all over the world. Most of which are heartbreaking and act as a healthy reminder of the depths of human tragedy and loss. That was a horrible horrible day, and it is one, like the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, or the Day Martin Luther King Jr was shot, that everyone who was alive that day will remember where they were and what they were doing.

For me, I was in the shower listening to the radio (yes, I have a shower radio) and I remember jumping out of the shower, all soapy to turn on the TV and watch in horror as the 2nd plane hit the WTC. I sat, aghast and in shock, like the rest of the world. I had no idea the tragedy this would bring. I said that day that the US was at war and even if it hadn't been declared that we were.

Today is no different. I am still frozen with shock and grief and the memories of hugging my soon to be girlfriend and telling her that her mother would be ok (her mother works in Pennsylvania and was evacuated before the last plane crashed in that field).

My shock and grief have changed, in fundamental ways. No longer am I horrified only at the loss of the people that day. I am horrified by my country's response to it. Tragedy begets tragedy seems to be the lesson. I am horrified that Bush and Rumsfeld and Ridge feel that it is their place to speak of vengeance and of fighting terror when the U.S. is creating no less of a tragedy by dropping bombs on Iraqi children and starving families and cutting veterans benefits. It is no less of a tragedy that the people of Iraq must live in fear of our soldiers and of car bombs and that they have no infrastructure. No water, no electricity. We have wrought devastation upon their land. We have reigned TERROR on them. We are no better. No matter what mantle is given us by our flag and our nationalism and our "freedom", we ARE NO BETTER.

Bush and his cronies speak of freedom when I have friends (U.S. Citizens) of Middle Eastern heritage who live in FEAR that they are going to be detained and held without an attorney for suspicion of terrorist activity, just for disagreeing with this government.

The tragedy of 9/11 lives on, not only in the loss of lives that day and the stories of children who lost their parents or parents who lost their children. The terror of 9/11 lives on in US military action and occupation. It lives on in a government that is out of control and that doesn't recognize the sanctity of citizenship or of due process.

Today, I do not forget 9/11, I remember what my country can achieve and I remember that REGIME CHANGE BEGINS AT HOME. Today I renew my commitment to fire the current pResident and restore democracy to America and sanity to the world.

Today, in honor of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and all of the victims of the subsequent tragedies in their name, I ask you to do the same.


It seems as though Clark is on the fast track for VP run, and Dean seems to be at the top of the list. Does anyone have any good sources of information about him? I know a little bit, but I am ever careful not to support someone unless I have a clear understanding of their record.

Also, it is interesting to note that there seems to be some opinion among Clark's supporters that he will enter not as a VP candidate, but as a P candidate and that he will be strong because he is Southern and he can answer Bush's wartime popularity (as a decorated veteran). It will be interesting to watch, for sure!

Could it be...?

The Washington Post reports that Dean has met with Wesley Clark a number of times and the two men may be discussing the possibility of getting Clark to join the campaign in the VP slot. Seems September 19 is be the day Clark may make an announcement one way or another.

Here is the link: Washington Post

Should this happen this early in a presidential campaign, it would certainly give Dean a momentum that would leave other candidates, including Bush, in even more confusion and frustration.

Blues Festival Booth Donations

Here is what I have been told by Barbara Tell an regarding donations to pay for the space at the Blues Festival. The people wishing to donate should make their checks directly to the Tucson Blues Society, the sponsor of the festival, and the group that rents the spaces. The $220 they charge includes all city permits. I will be having a meeting of my Dean environmental group at the NW Neighborhood Center in room 112, on Wednesday Sept 17, at 6:30 PM. Checks could be brought there, or if you wish to mail them, E-mail me or call me and I'll give you my address. Barbara tells me that we have to record the information from all checks and report them as in-kind contributions to the Dean campaign. Then they would be mailed to the Tucson Blues Society. I appreciate the response, and as of now, with my $50, we have $175 of the $220. I expect to ask members of my group to pitch in, and I will make up whatever difference we lack as of next Wednesday. You may also E-mail Barbara at bjt@Ag.arizona.edu if you want clarification of the in-kind donation procedure, or if you just have questions for her. My E-mail again is Jennel2@aol.com, like all AOL customers, I am experiencing some problems with E-mail due to the recent Blaster Worm. So, if you prefer to call, my phone is 292-0693. Call or E-mail before you write your check, to be sure it is still needed. Thanks.

Jim Nelson

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Why Dean Can and Will Win in '04

Why Dean is the ONLY candidate that can beat Bush...

I have been reading www.blogforamerica.com. The Gov. has issued a statement regarding the underhanded tactics used by our Republican congress to pass school vouchers while they KNEW that two votes from the opposition, plus the entire Congressional Black Caucus were scheduled to be out of town for the debate.

I decided to read some of the comments to Dr. Dean's statements. Here is one that sums up why Dean can win and why the naysayers should think carefully before they say he is "too liberal"

Copy/Pasted text from www.blogforamerica.com:

"I can't believe I used to vote Republican. I feel so dirty. Although at the time they seemed (and were) honorable men and women. No longer. I am voting for Dean in the general election because I want to save the GOP from itself. No one else has the backbone to stand up to the ultra-right. If they lose, and lose big time, the GOP will hopefully choose to follow a different course. One which will make me proud to come from a GOP family once again. I don't agree with Dean on a lot of issues... But I am sick and tired of watching the ultra-right wingers hijack our political system and pollute our national dialogue with such bitterness.
Posted by a at September 10, 2003 01:35 PM"

RSS/Atom Feed Site Meter
Powered by Blogger