Friday, April 27, 2007

Thanks to BlueGal for the award

I hadn't heard about the Thinking Blogger Awards until I got one from Blue Gal.

In keeping with the tradition, here are my five selections for the Thinking Blogger Award:

1) Clammyc at My Three Cents. There has rarely been a brighter, more clarion voice in the progressive blogosphere. I'm proud to partner with him on our new Political Nexus blog radio shows. Just read his stuff--it's worth it.

2) Digby at the Hullaballoo. Yeah, everybody knows Digby so it's an easy choice--but DAMN she's good. Just about every single post is freaking brilliant and gives me the best food for thought, word for word, of any blogger out there.

3) bonddad at the bonddad blog. Brilliant economic commentary and analysis, though almost always bearish. But how could you not be bearish given the unprecedented structural anomalies in the American and world economies?

4) Juan Cole at his blog. We can all talk up a storm about what we think about the situation in the Middle East. But no matter what happens, it turns out that things are usually far more complicated than even we know. No blogger brings out the truth of that complexity like Juan Cole.

5) Last but not least, dday at dday's blog. IMHO, the most underappreciated blogger in the entire blogosphere bar none. He's got great stuff, and he posts often. An all-around pleasure to read.

Winners are asked to follow the rules here. Share the love!

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this is as good as they're going to get

Now that the first debate between the Democratic candidates for president is behind us, the blogosphere has been treated to a massive array of posts, counter-posts and arguments trashing one candidate's statements and performance while supporting the statements and performance of their own. And while this phenomenon has not been entirely unexpected, it is also disturbing and quite frankly puzzling.

I find it amazing how many Democrats and progresssives are willing to overlook the blemishes and flaws in their favorite candidate's positions. I see supporters of specific candidates defending their candidates' choice of centrist positions and rhetoric on everything from the Occupation of Iraq to healthcare to impeachment, and I'm amazed. I refuse to single any candidates out specifically, though certainly Hillary's stubborn refusal to call her war vote a "mistake" and centrist positions on civil rights issues, and Obama's tip-toeing and often capitulating rhetoric towards the administration on Iraq and a number of other issues do come to mind.

I've got news for people: this is as good as it's going to get with these people. If you ever intend to hold a candidate's feet to the fire--even your favorite, darling candidate--you MUST speak now or forever hold your peace. And quite frankly, though some are indeed better than others, I haven't seen any candidate SO devoid of flaws and SO progressive that I would be willing to defend them unto the death at this point and promise with undying affection my well-considered vote.

Why? Because this isn't just a Democratic primary race we're in right now: this is early in a Democratic primary race. It's a truism that the base is key in a primary election. But what often goes under-reported these days is that, while this election is unusual in the intensity of the attention given to candidates at this early date, it is still very early of even the primary election cycle. And what that means is that while the traditional media is providing cursory coverage of the race, pretty much only the Democratic activist base is paying a lot of attention at this point.

When you, the Democratic activist blogger, hear a candidate on our side speak at this point, realize that they are pandering to YOU right now. This is their best effort to earn YOUR support. Not the support of a Republican; not the support of an undecided; not the support of a moderate Democratic; not the support of your run-of-the-mill progressive. No, right here, right now, they are attempting to engage the support of YOU--the activist progressive base paying an almost unhealthy attention to all matters political.

If you don't like everything you're hearing out of a candidate right now; if you're not completely comfortable with a candidate's progressive language, credentials and policy positions, it's time to get worried RIGHT NOW. Everything they say and do now is their wedding proposal to YOU, down on their knees and on their best behavior in their best Sunday clothes. Just like in marriage, it's only going to get uglier from here from the moment you say "yes"--and unlike in marriage, you don't have the option of divorce.

Because once the primary race comes down to its last two months, the primary race itself will come down to swaying undecided, average Democrats. And once a candidate has taken the Democratic nomination, we're stuck with him or her for better or for worse, 'til death do us part--because the alternative is unthinkable. Papering over a candidate's weaknesses and centrist flaws now is as stupid as getting engaged to a lover thinking that you'll change his/her behavior once you're married, or that he/she will be more faithful to you once there's a wedding ring involved. It ain't gonna happen.

So be discerning. Play hard to get. Be choosy. Stop papering over weaknesses and pledging undying loyalties.

Because this is as good as they're going to get

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Jon Stewart Delivers Greatest Dem Performance in 6 Years

UPDATE: VIDEO LINK IS HERE (thanks to kossack Ekaterin).  Watch it again and again--you won't regret it.

Tonight on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart owned John McCain and showed the world what a REAL Democratic leader who understands how to tell the truth and sound authoritative doing it looks like. I say this without exaggeration: it was the most amazing rhetorical performance I have seen from any progressive in the last six years. In one 10 minute debate with John McCain, he did the following:

--compared the daily horrific tragedies in Iraq with the VA Tech shooting to show just how bad things are over in Iraq

--obliterated the very idea that we are fighting a "war" in Iraq, challenging McCain to explain how military strategy and battleships could possibly factor into "winning" in Iraq

--insisted that the "war" as such was over once we had captured Saddam Hussein

--obliterated the idea the timetables for withdrawal will allow the "terrorists and Sunni insurgents and Shia militias" to win, by telling the truth that it's THEIR country and they can wait us out as long as they want

--called McCain's bluff when he said that withdrawal would constitute surrender, by stating matter-of-factly that these groups are fighting not with us but with one another while we babysit them, and then going on to state unequivocally, quoting Petraeus, that any solution must be political rather than military. And that benchmarks and timetables are an essential part of diplomatic and political solutions.

--demanded that McCain explain to him how criticizing the President was a greater failure to support the troops than extending their tours of duty, initiating stop losses, and failing abjectly to keep Walter Reed up to snuff.

--explained that Al-Qaeda's stated purpose is to draw America out into a long and bloody that drains our lives and our treasury...and that even granted the premise that terrorists in Iraq want to follow us back to America, they will do so one way or another.

--challenged McCain to show him what the "new strategy" was, and laid out the truth quite clearly: that we can either put over 350,000 troops on the ground there (full occupation), or withdraw (ending occupation).

And there's so, so much more where that came from.

Let me tell you something--I have not been inspired by ANY Presidential candidate currently in the race for the Democratic nomination in their entire campaign than I was by just TEN MINUTES of watching Jon Stewart. Which might be because Jon Stewart has a freaking spine and isn't afraid to tell the truth--or because his writers are paid to be sharp-witted and incisive, rather than namby-pambying fools like Axelrod.

Stewart obliterated a flummoxed and utterly outmatched McCain by changing the entire debate, and leaving him with absolutely NO coherent ground on which to stand--something I have yet to see Reid, Pelosi or any of our prospective candidates come close to doing.

For those who say that a Democratic politician cannot seriously tell the truth about this ersatz "war" and truly connect with the American people in a way that leaves the Republican opposition no chance of even engaging the debate, Jon Stewart just proved you wrong.

If you didn't see it tonight, download it tomorrow from Comedy Central's Motherload, and then bookmark it and save it to your hard drive. If Dem leaders and candidates want to win, they'll watch Stewart's performance 10,000 times until his clarion words, searing clarity and gutsy demeanor are seared irrevocably into their consciences. Watch it--there are more lessons in that one short debate than I could provide in hundreds of diaries.

Because the man I watched tonight clobber McCain in a heated debate did more to earn my vote for any office than any Democrat has in the last six years. Every frame was perfect, every stand firm and considered, and every statement ringing with truth, rather than politically expedient bullshit.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Orrin Hatch Slanders DailyKos with Lies on Senate Floor

For all the Kossacks out there, this one is hilarious and irritating all at the same time:

I know that most of us were watching CSPAN3 to see Fredo squirm before his questioners yesterday, but an interesting thing happened on the CSPAN2 while few others were watching.

Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was on the Senate floor on CSPAN-2 in the late afternoon, pontificating about the late-term abortion ban, and called out DailyKos, calling it the "online meeting place of the left." In so doing, he once again showed ignorance of the community and the way it works.

His first mistake was to mispronounce the "Kos" in DailyKos with the familiar "kaws" pronunciation--though he quickly corrected himself to say "or DailyKos [correct pronunciation] as I guess it's called."

But his second mistake was far more egregious. Though I don't have the transcript available (it just happened), he said that DailyKos was promoting anti-Catholic bigotry by harping about the Catholicism of a few of the Supreme Court Justices. Mr. Hatch said that this was an example of what he called the "radical, I mean progressive, left" taking extreme positions and acting out of what he called "hysteria" (an interesting choice of words by Hatch in this context, given its misogynistic etymology and origins.)

Needless to say, it wasn't difficult to do a search of diaries on dKos over the last three days for any mention of the word Catholic. And what do I find? JUST ONE DIARY ON THE SCOTUS RULING. One. That particular diary by Sociosam--the only one of hundreds of diaries on the topic to make any statements that could be construed as anti-Catholic--was further peppered with comment after comment after comment after comment upbraiding the diarist for attacking the justices on the basis of their religious affiliation.

Most importantly, though, no frontpagers or "those who officially speak for DailyKos" ever mentioned the word "Catholic" once during discussion of the issue. Not one. It is a flat-out lie to say that "DailyKos" promoted anti-Catholic bigotry--a bald-faced, flat-out lie that has become all too typical of Republicans in Congress.

Amusingly, Hatch then went on to attack another blogger (I don't remember whom) for saying that an anti-choice congress with an anti-choice President and an anti-choice Supreme Court passed this legislation, using the argument that Nancy Pelosi and the majority of Democratic Senators are pro-choice! As if the current make-up of Congress has anything to do with a law passed during the Republican-only one-party rule.

So once again, a prominent Republican lies, makes shit up, slanders this community, and makes himself look like an idiot in the process.


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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Obama Response on SCOTUS Ruling Totally Out to Lunch

Update: BIG MISTAKE on my part: the law actually allows exceptions for the life of the mother. It does not allow exceptions for the HEALTH of the mother. And that is what is most at issue. Nevertheless, I still believe that "choice" is the wrong framing here: it's about the mother's health--not about her "choice" to terminate an advanced pregnancy.

Senator Obama is to be commended for standing tough in his public response to today's appalling 5-4 Supreme Court ruling declaring the constitutionality of the vicious 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Act.  It is good to see our leaders standing tall and refusing to back down on the basic rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness contained in our Constitution.

But not so commendable is the utterly tone-deaf nature of the response in question.  If the intent is to reverse policy positions and save the lives of mothers facing life-threatening pregnancies, responses like Senator Obama's will fail miserably in achieving our objectives.

The key section of Obama's response is that excerpted by faithfull:

I strongly disagree with today's Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women. As Justice Ginsburg emphasized in her dissenting opinion, this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman's medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient.  I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women.

While the libertarian framing of abortion in terms of "personal decisions between a doctor and patient" and "right to choose" has served us well in the more general debate about abortion, this kind of talk in relation to partial-birth abortion/dilation & extraction/late-term abortion is death to our efforts in this arena.  While the vast majority of framing surrounding our side of the abortion debate has long centered around choice, the issue of partial-birth abortion is NOT about choice.  It is, rather, an issue of life or death.  In fact, talking about this issue in terms of choice may be satisfying for many who have been in the trenches on the abortion issue for decades, but it is quite possibly the WORST thing we could possibly do when it comes to late-term abortion/D&E.

The fact is that the American public ALREADY DOES see late-term abortion as an issue of "choice"--and they're repulsed by it.  Americans don't want women to treat an abortion during the fifth or sixth month of a pregnancy as a simple "choice."  Allow me to illustrate this by point to an ABC NEWS poll from 2003:

Still, Americans long have been uneasy with the procedure [abortion] and the reasons it's done - and these doubts remain. Eight in 10 or more say an abortion should be legal to save the woman's life, to preserve her health, or when the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. A much smaller majority, 54 percent, supports legal abortion if there's evidence the baby will be physically impaired.

However, 57 percent oppose abortion solely to end an unwanted pregnancy - "if the mother is unmarried and does not want the baby." And opposition soars to about seven in 10 or more for so-called "partial-birth abortions" or abortions conducted in the sixth month of pregnancy or later.

Emphasis added

Now think about this logically for a minute: over 80% of Americans think abortion should be legal if the mother's health is at stake, but over 70% think that late-term abortions should be illegal.

Think about that.  What that means in no uncertain terms is that most Americans think that late-term abortions are being flippantly requested by women whose lives are not at risk.  If the American public believed that so-called "partial birth abortions" were taking place to save the lives of mothers rather than being the product of "choice", there would not be such overwhelming support for the bans.

And what is the truth?  The truth is that most of these procedures are, in fact, being done for medical reasons.  As the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada states:

A very small number of abortions occur after 20 weeks of gestation primarily because the fetus is gravely or fatally impaired, or the woman's life or physical health is at risk, or both (Statistics Canada, Therapeutic Abortions, 1995).  Many impairments or health risks are not detectable until after the 24th week of gestation. In 1998 an American Doctor, George Tiller, opposed efforts to ban late term abortions in Kansas, using "statistics and photos of catastrophic pregnancies he had aborted." The images showed fetuses with missing skulls or spinal cords, and in one case twins fused into a single body (Dave Ranney, "Tiller: Abortion Bill an Insult to Women," Wichita Eagle, April 11, 1998, and Colleen McCain and Dave Ranney, "Five Kansas Families share Deeply Personal Stories," Wichita Eagle, April 19, 1998).

Those opposed to abortion rights have portrayed women as having late term abortions out of "selfish convenience" or because they "suddenly can't get into a bathing suit." This misrepresentation of women's decision making with regard to abortion is always inaccurate, but especially so in cases of late term abortion.  Most women who terminate their pregnancies after 20 weeks wanted to have a child, and were forced to consider abortion for medical reasons. Other women may be in desperate social circumstances, such as an abusive relationship, or they may be very young teenagers who have delayed abortion care because they were in denial about the pregnancy.

Again, this issue is not about choice.  Indeed, it MUST NOT be about choice.  This issue is about life and death--and we are on the "pro-life" side.  We intend to save the lives of these mothers from those who would kill them so that non-viable fetuses with little or no chance of survival outside the womb can gestate within them as silent killers like something out of the movie "Alien."


To me, the answer is simple: since 80% of the American public supports saving the lives of mothers, let us use our Democratic majorities in Congress to send legislation to the president's desk demanding that women be allowed to take the medical steps necessary to save themselves in the case of a life-threatening pregnancy.  Force the villains in the GOP and the White House to oppose legislation saving the lives of mothers.  And if, God forbid, this new federal legislation (and btw, weren't the anti-choice Republicans always all about preserving states' rights?) results in the unnecessary death of a young mother-to-be, let us use the tragedy of that murder-by-legislation to put these SOBs on the defensive and do our duty to defend the Constitutional guarantees of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.

We must take a courageous stand on this issue.  But if we value the lives of our nation's women, we MUST stop talking about it as an issue of choice.  It is not, and must not be.  It's a matter of life and death.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Are the super-rich sure this is what they want?

If the Bush Administration policy ethic were boiled down to just two essential common denominators, they would have to be the following:

1. The pursuit of unchecked executive power; and

2. An obsessive compulsion to funnel money to the ultra-rich

We've seen the income inequality graphs.  We've seen the outrageous tax giveaways to the ultra-rich.  We've seen Darth Cheney's unprecedented power grabs for the executive branch in everything from Bush's signing statements to his disgusting and probably permanent perversion of the Justice Department.

At first glance, the objective of this dual-pronged attack on decency and moral values may seem self-evident.  After all, in the minds of the neoconservatives and their allies in the top .001% of American income holdiers, the calculus is simple enough:

-- Money = political victory

-- More money for the rich = more political victory for the rich

-- More executive power = more ability to enforce, secretly and openly, policies favoring the rich

-- More executive power = greater ability to exploit the wealth/cheap labor of foreign nations, using the poor as cannon fodder.

And certainly, that formula has worked well for the economic elites at least since Reagan, if not long before that.

But if there is one single identifiable third pillar of the Bush Administration policy ethic, it would have to be shortsightedness.  Neoconservatives and Bushites have a tendency not to recognize the enormity of disasters and blowback situations until it is far too late for them to free themselves from the ensuing debacle.  They're like a sabertooth cat leaping after a rodent in a tar pit: so enthralled with engorging themselves on their latest small-time victim that they fail to realize the mess they're getting themselves into.  We've seen this with Iraq; with Afghanistan; with Katrina; with the DoJ scandal; with Rovian politics of destruction; with global warming; and with the disaffection of the very allies we need to extricate our Middle East position.

They simply don't realize the monsters and nightmares of their own making until it is too late to save their reputations and often their own hides.

And I wonder strongly if they aren't making the same mistake by attempting to gain unbridled executive power in order to further engorge their already fat pockets.  After all, modern dictatorships--especially those in countries with widening income disparities and populist leanings--rarely turn out well for the rich.  This is not only true throughout the world, but also here in America.

America has a strong populist tradition dating from the gilded age of the late 1800's, if not before.  Whenever income disparity has grown to the degrees that it has in 2007, America has responded with aggressive populist presidents who often wield an uncomfortable degree of executive power to reign in the wealthy and redistribute income.

It happened with Bull Moose Teddy Roosevelt in the era of the robber barons.  It happened with his nephew Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who stacked the courts and became essentially President For Life in the wake of Hoover's Great Depression.  There's an argument to be made that it even happened with Abraham Lincoln, who used an uncomfortable degree of executive power to end slavery.  Unchecked executive power, while a hallmark of Nixonite conservative wetdreams, has rarely worked well for the aristocratic elite in America.

Nor has it worked terribly well throughout the world in the latter years.  Populist dictatorships are rarely friendly to maintaining wealth among elites.  One has only to look at Chavez in Venezuela; Kirchner in Argentina; Morales in Bolivia; even back to Vargas in Brazil or the wealth confiscations of wealth in the wake of Islamic Iranian revolution against the shah.

If anything, unchecked executive power in the modern era usually leads to confiscations of the wealth of elites.  It has also done so throughout the bulk of American history.

So, if I were in the upper .001% of income in the United States, I would be deeply concerned about the Bush Administration's policies set up to help my cause so generously.  In fact, if I were a wealthy elite, the very LAST thing I would want is to see institutionally mandated monarchical executive power in tandem with another million or five in my pocket.  Because I would know that severe blowback was not likely to be far behind.

But then again, I never did credit Bush or his allies with a great degree of foresight.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cheney and Limbaugh are right

I know it's bad form to call out a fellow blogger--especially one as brilliant and dedicated as front-pager BarbinMD over at dKos--but sometimes it is necessary for the sake of posterity to hold one another's feet to the fire in the interests of truth and honesty.

In this case, I must object strongly to BarbinMD's post today excoriating Dick Cheney for saying that "a significant portion of the Democrats -- including, I think, Nancy Pelosi -- are adamantly opposed to the war and prepared to pack it in and come home in defeat, rather than put in place or support a policy that will lead to victory."

With apologies to BarbinMD and to the progressive blogosphere agreeing with Barb's post, I must break to you the unhappy news that Cheney is right.

To refute VP Dick, Barb dicks around with the well-worn Democratic Party line in responding to Cheney's barb.  She says (echoing the safe and unthreatening lines about "endless wars" with "no military solution" parroted by Obama, Edwards and Hillary) the following:

After more than four years, hundreds of thousands of deaths and an Iraqi civil war, perhaps it would have been more helpful had they discussed their own devotion, their seeming allegiance, to the concept of fighting a war that has no military solution...

To be fair, BarbinMD was only quoting General Petraeus' own remarks on the subject--remarks which caused Petraeus to take quite a bit of heat.  And to be fair, this meme--that of the endless "war with no military solution"--is standard boilerplate for those who oppose Bush's foreign policy in the Middle East.  The only problem is that I have no idea what the #@*& that's supposed to mean.  Neither do Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh--and quite frankly, I don't blame them.

When I go to and look up the word "war", this is what I get:

1. A conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air. 

2. A state or period of armed hostility or active military operations: The two nations were at war with each other. 

3. A contest carried on by force of arms, as in a series of battles or campaigns: the War of 1812.

I challenge anyone to tell me how one achieves a non-military solution to "conflict carried on by force of arms", "period of armed hostility or active military operations" or "series of battles or campaigns" without the treaty-enforced capitulation and surrender of one side (or a langorous stalemate).  There is no non-military solution to a war, and never has been.  Those words are utterly meaningless.

Cheney is absolutely correct: If America is fighting a "war" in Iraq, then Democrats are urging for America's surrender and defeat in that war.  That's the plain and honest truth of the matter--and no amount of whining, gnashing our teeth and screaming about the nasty rhetoric coming from ghouls like Cheney is going to make a difference.  If you're fighting a war, and your side is losing, and you act to recall your troops from the field of conflict, that's the very definition of retreat and defeat.  It's just common sense--and any attempt to deny or wiggle out of that sounds, quite rightly, like bullshit to most clear-headed people.

And we can use all the periphrastic rhetorical circumlocutions like "escalation" and "conflict" and "endless war" that we want; it's still not going to change the heart of the matter.

The fact is that Democrats have the same choices today that we had six months ago, and the six months before that--and the six months before that: we can either wail and piss down our legs at being called surrender monkeys for trying to a end a "war" by dishonorably pulling our troops out of the conflict without first achieving "victory", or we can tell the goddamn truth: namely, that America is NOT FIGHTING A WAR IN IRAQ.

I have made this case in post after post after post after post: America may be babysitting a 3-way civil war currently taking place between Sunni, Shia and Al-Qaeda in Iraq (which, just for the record, Al-Qaeda will lose in short order once our occupying presence unifying and distracting the factions is removed), but our portion of the "war" ended when we completed our invasion and decapitation of the regime by capturing Saddam Hussein.  From that point forward, we were no longer fighting a "war" in Iraq, but were instead the Occupational Authority in a foreign land.  Our role in Iraq bears much more resemblance to that of France in Algeria or the British in India than it does to our efforts in WWII, Korea or even Vietnam.

We control the government.  We control the streets--or have the ability to do so with a single military raid.  We control the infrastructure.  We control the prisons.  We control the economy.  It is within our power to let the population live, or to "pacify" it brutally and without mercy.  We own Iraq in every sense of the word: there are no enemy leaders to kill; no territory to seize; no infantry battalions to crush; no navy to sink; no air force to shoot down; no landmarks over which to place our flag in triumph.  We are quite simply NOT fighting a war of any kind in Iraq.  Indeed, the reason there is no military solution to this war is because there IS NO WAR.  See how tidy that is?--and we don't even have to put on bullshit protectors over our ears!

As I said in GOP Bluff Finally Called: War or Occupation?:

In war, your objective is to seize (or defend) territory, kill or capture the enemy, and (hopefully) depose the enemy government.

In an occupation, your objective is to subjugate and manage a foreign population with peace and stability, while building up infrastructure in and/or exploiting the resources of that population.

And it makes a big difference.  To quote myself again, this time from How Can You Surrender If There Was Never a War?:

THERE IS NO WAR IN IRAQ.  There is an OCCUPATION.  And there is a resistance to said occupation.  This resistance takes many forms: criminal thuggery, despicable terrorism, sectarian violence, and guerrilla warfare....

And this is absolutely critical.  It's critical because there is a HUGE difference between wars and occupations: Occupations can end only in WITHDRAWAL or in ANNEXATION; Wars can end only in DEFEAT or VICTORY.

America is NOT ready to annex Iraq--even if such a thing were possible.  Cheney and Bush would like to, through the process of permanent bases--but the American public won't stand for it.  America IS ready to accept withdrawal from Iraq--But ONLY if it understands that what is happening in Iraq is an OCCUPATION and not a war.

And most importantly, as a I said in It's Not Defeat, Dammit:

Let me be very clear about this: America WINS by withdrawing from Iraq. We win because we're not spending $2 billion/week. We win because we're not losing more troops to targeted homegrown resistance. We win because we're not killing 600,000 more civilians and inflaming world anger. America wins by allowing Iraq to pursue its own destiny and stand up for itself. America wins by decreasing its foreign policy emphasis on oil. Most importantly, we win because we were never fighting an identifiable "enemy" once Saddam was toppled and imprisoned.

So to sum up:

1. It's an Occupation, not a War

2. Wars end it "Defeat" and "Victory", but Occupations end in "Annexation" or "Withdrawal"

3. America WON the "war" a long time ago.

4. America WINS by ending our occupation of Iraq and allowing them to make full use of their freedom.

Until we start shouting these things from the rooftops and telling it like it is, people like Cheney and Limbaugh are going to keep calling us Defeatocrat Surrender-Monkeys.

And so long as we keep swallowing their bullshit premises, they're going to continue to be right.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

I would work hard for a Hillary/Lieberman ticket

I would beat down doors for Hillary/Lieberman. I would fly across the country to swing states for GOTV operations for them. I would donate my hard-earned money to the campaign. I would serve in any capacity as an official attache or strategist for the campaign. I would carry signs and happily risk being pelted with objects by passing red-state motorists for Hillary/Lieberman. It would be an honor and a privilege to do these things for the Hillary/Lieberman campaign.

Or for Biden; or Dodd; or Kucinich; or Gravel; or Richardson; Obama; or Edwards; or Wes Clark; or Al Gore.

Any Democrat would be great, for that matter.

Today should be a constant reminder to any progressive sitting on the fence, insisting that they will positively not vote for any one of our primary candidates for any reason: the stakes are too high to allow one's personal feelings about specific votes on Iraq, bankruptcy bills or allegiances to the DLC to stand in the way of doing what is right by our country.

Today, as we all know, the Supreme Court insisted that the EPA do its job in acting on reduction of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming--and it did so by the narrowest of 5-4 margins. The four rightist members (Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas) stood firmly and unsurprisingly in opposition to justice and human decency, as they usually do.

Remember: the balance of the court hangs by thread. Five are sane, if not exactly progressive; four are nuts. All they need is one more nut.

Just ONE more rightwing activist judge, and you can say goodbye to commonsense rulings like this one. For the next decade or more, regardless of who wins the House or Senate, if a Republican takes the White House, the probability is that the the balance of the court will shift dramatically.

And there will be no solace or comfort in the nature of the Republican president: even the likes of Rudy Giuliani has pledged to nominate judges like Alito to the court, in the hopes of assuaging his distrustful wingnut base.

There is also little solace or comfort to be derived from the ages of the justices--especially the sane ones. Unfortunately, the nuts are comparatively young while the moderates are no spring chickens. Here's the list:

Stevens: 86
Ginsburg: 74
Scalia: 71
Kennedy: 70
Breyer: 68
Souter: 67
Thomas: 58
Alito: 57
Roberts: 52

Given the fact that incumbent presidents rarely lose elections, if a Republican takes the White House in 2008, it will probably be eight years before a Democrat can replace him. At that point Stevens will be 94 years old--if he survives that long.

And I'm going to say something somewhat controversial here: our immoral, misguided and inept invasion and occupation of Iraq will be a blip on the radar screen compared to decades of future Supreme Court rulings--especially those concerning the balance of power between the Executive and the Legislative branches. In the long run, we and the people we have violated in the Middle East will recover from our criminal actions in Iraq. The world will not so easily recover from runaway climate change and a runaway Imperial Presidency.

What that means is that I will fight like hell for whichever Democrat comes out of the primary process next year. Even if it's Hillary. Even if it's Biden. Even if it's Ben freaking Nelson, with Joementum as his running mate.

Now don't get me wrong: I will do everything in my power to ensure that a progressive we can be proud of graces the national Democratic ticket in the fall of 2008. But should we fail in that endeavor get a DLC centrist, occupation-justifying candidate, I will still work my heart out to ensure that that Democrat gets swept into the Oval Office.

And the same should go for anyone who calls themselves a Progressive. Or a Liberal. Or an Environmentalist. Or a Libertarian. Or an Economic Populist. Or an Anti-War Activist.

The stakes are too high to do otherwise.

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