Sunday, April 30, 2006

"Scott Ritter Talks Tough with High School Students"

Pamela Leavey sets up her post on Ritter's appearance at her daughter's high school in North Hollywood, California:
One of the greatest catalysts for me to get involved with politics after years of political apathy, was my teenager. Her future lies in delicate balance as our country and the future of our children, continues to be sold out by the Bush administration and their supporters. Thursday morning I had the opportunity to join my daughter at her school to listen to Scott Ritter talk about Iraq, Iran and the need for our youth to get involved with their future and the future of our country.

Now it just so happens I have a teenage daughter and I also graduated from North Hollywood High School after moving from New York as a high school student. So I feel close to this situation. Ritter believes we are going to war in Iran. Here's an except from Pamela Leavey's report on Ritter's remarks.
“They have it in their plan (the 2006 National Security Plan).” Ritter explained that the “2002 National Security Plan only mentions Iraq once,” however he said, “the 2006 National Security Plan mentions Iran 16 times.” In the rush to war with Iraq, the Bush administration had “pre-programmed minds to accept that Saddam was a threat,” said Ritter. He explained that they are now doing the same thing with Iran — pre-programming American’s to believe that war with Iran was right. The cost of war” Ritter said, “goes beyond the thousands in the hospitals around the country” who’s lives will never be the same, living with lost limbs, and PTSD. “The other cost of war” he told the students, “is that you have to shoot someone and they have lives just like you. You have to live with that. When you go to war, you are scared to death.”

On his flight to Los Angeles, Ritter said he spoke with Marines coming home from Iraq. They told him, it was now as if, “We’re going to war for the sole purpose of keeping our friends alive.”

“We are now heading towards a war with Iran,” Ritter told the students and it’s going to be ‘Your War.’” “Gas and oil prices are going to get worse. My generation let you down. Hopefully, you are going to get up and fix it” because he explained, “it’s your future.”

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Howard Dean on The Al Franken Show

Al was in Vermont, Howard was in Tennessee and they talked for five minutes and 43 seconds.

The "Unreachable President"

Update [2006-4-30 12:14:42 by howieinseattle]: You won't be too surprised to hear that "President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office," but it is nice to see it in the Boston Globe today.

Perhaps because of my own background as a psychiatric social worker, I find this analysis from Harvard-trained psychoanalyst Justin Frank to be very accurate:

We have a drunk as president, a drunk with a history of being able to do whatever he wants to -- with the possible exception of privatizing Social Security (though he is poised to bankrupt it instead by draining the Treasury). The only way to stop him is with an intervention, just as it is done with alcoholics.

Bush kids around like a fraternity boy with the press corps about Tony Snow while he is simultaneously destroying the future of our nation. The Senate, a deliberative body, has done more drooling than deliberating of late. And it's time to stop. Congressman Conyers is taking action, as he knows full well that our nation that is at stake -- the lives of our fighting men and women, our civil liberties, and our children's future.

The most important lesson I learned in my psychiatric training was that there is no substitute for "setting limits" -- limits on delinquent patients are the pre-requisite for any kind of contact or communication. Without limits, destructive and anti-social behavior thrives. The time is well past for such limits on Bush, and terrible damage has already been done. But with more than two years left to continue on his destructive course, there is still SOME time. People like Senator Byrd now are talking about impeachment. But Bush is too fast for us -- he will nuke Iran before any hearings on his high crimes and misdemeanors can take place.

The April march, as it were, is all good and well. But protests don't mean what they did in the 1960s. They just don't. It is past time for action, and the action that is necessary IS to take away Bush's Senate credit card. Specter is right. You can get Bush to say anything, but you can never get him to do what he is supposed to do if he doesn't want to. It's really that simple. He needs his access to money taken away. Only then will any discourse with this White House be even remotely possible. The House and Senate, even the media, must push through the shock and awe visited upon them by this delinquent and destructive president."-The Huffington Post.

Howie question for this other Good Doctor (Howard Dean comes to mind): How do we get a "drooling" Senate to take away Bush's "access to money," FAST?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Conyers: Another Sign of the "Constitutional crisis"

Here's just another example of blatant law-breaking from the Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rummy administration. Cheers to those who are insisting on some accountability.

"Anyone who has passed the sixth grade knows that before a bill can become a law, both Houses of Congress must approve it," blasted John Conyers (D-MI), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. "That the Bush Administration is now saying otherwise underscores the Constitutional crisis we are facing in this country."

In February, the President signed a version of the "Deficit Reduction Act" that never passed the House. The draft signed by Bush omitted provisions from the version that passed the House that required the government pay for 36 months of durable medical equipment rentals for those who qualified. The version Bush signed allows just 13 months--a difference of 23 months rental and $2 billion in spending.

Ten members of the U.S. House of Representatives will file a lawsuit tomorrow seeking to block implementation of a budget law as signed by President George W. Bush. Joining Conyers in the suit are: Rep. John Dingell, Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee; Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Committee; Rep. George Miller, Ranking Member on the Education and Workforce Committee; Rep. James L. Oberstar, Ranking Member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Rep. Barney Frank, Ranking Member on the Financial Services Committee; Rep. Collin C. Peterson, Ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee; Rep. Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Committee; Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Ranking Member on the Rules Committee; Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark, Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee; Rep. Sherrod Brown, Ranking Member on the Commerce Health Subcommittee. The Congressmen are represented by Dykema Gossett PLLC and Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional expert at Duke Law School."-from RAW STORY.
John Conyers gives us more details in this post on The Smirking Chimp, 'Taking the President to court.' USA TODAY also covers this with "11 House members to sue over budget bill."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"December 31, 2006"

"Many of you know that the Senate is debating Iraq funding right now as part of a supplemental spending bill. The last time we really debated the Iraq issue, back in November, we got 40 senators to vote for a flexible timetable to redeploy troops out of Iraq. While that amendment didn't pass, it was a strong show of support by Democrats for an Iraq policy, and national security policy, that make sense. The online community had a lot to do with that vote. Members of Congress heard from people around the country who stood up together and demanded a new course in Iraq - one that makes our country stronger.

Now, six months later, without any kind of timetable or strategy, things in Iraq are only getting worse. There is no end in sight for U.S. troops who have been asked to sacrifice so much in the name of a deeply flawed policy. That is why today I introduced an amendment to redeploy U.S. forces from Iraq by December 31, 2006.

Our country desperately needs a new vision for strengthening our national security, and it starts by redeploying U.S. forces from Iraq. Our military has performed heroically in Iraq, but the continued, indefinite presence of large numbers of U.S. forces there is preventing us from focusing on the global terrorist networks that threaten us today.
Last August I suggested December 31, 2006, as a target date for withdrawal. Since then, the situation in Iraq has only deteriorated, and the administration has done nothing to change course. Congress needs to step up and set a deadline ourselves. We have waited too long for the President to give us a vision and a plan for when our troops will come home. Congress cannot simply sit by and put ideas in the White House's suggestion box. The Administration refused to listen to those who questioned the rush to war, and now they refuse to listen to anyone who calls for a policy that makes sense for our troops, or for our national security.

We can't keep waiting for the President to finally figure out what we already know - that the U.S. policy in Iraq is failing. We need to focus our resources on defeating terrorist networks around the world that threaten our country. The debate happening in the Senate now is an opportunity to demand a deadline for the redeployment of U.S. forces by the end of this year."-Russ Feingold on Booman Tribune, cross-posted at MyDD.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mark Warner Drops by Seattle

Three very capable folks share their thoughts on his visit:

"Warner brings his blunt talk to Seattle"
In Warner's view, bad judgment by ideologues has left America with a list of bad options in Iraq. Iraq was to have become "a shining beacon in the Middle East," a dream fast dying.

"A failed Iraqi state right now is not in America's interests," Warner said. "This war, at the beginning, did not have anything to do with al-Qaida. Now, Iraq could be a base for al-Qaida. At the beginning, our intervention had nothing to do with Iranian expansionism. Now, a failed Iraqi state could serve Iranian expansionism."

What to do? Warner would give Iraq's feuding politicians "weeks, not months" to form a viable government. They would get "months, not years," to show progress at achieving order.

"At least we should not leave Iraq a significantly more destabilizing force than before we went in," he added.

Warner is more anxious to talk economics and jobs.-Joel Connelly in the P-I.

"Mark Warner's Seattle Visit"

Warner visited Ron Sims, which is fitting: Sims is a Warner-Democrat. Fiscally conservative, with a passion for good government. When Mark Warner annouces in early '07, it would help him signifigantly against HRC to have an establishment Democrat like Sims on his side.-from Will at Pike Place Politics.

"Looking at Mark Warner for 2008"
Warner brings a freshness to the Party. He is less an idealogue and more a pragmatist than many of our Democratic dinosaurs. He clearly believes in good government. In fact, in many ways, what he did in Virginia during his tenure as governor would make him right at home in Washington State where we have a governor and legislators who are just moving forward to get the right things done, not making a big deal out of good governing.

The two ideas of his that jumped out at me were 1) his take on addressing the difficult budgetary issues that all states have to face and 2) his focus on assisting small towns to catch up and thrive and provide the jobs that will enable them to remain where they grew up if they'd like.

Much as I liked Warner's stump speech and what I read of his positions and accomplishments on his PAC website, Forward Together, he has some work to do to connect with his audience. He doesn't have the less formal time down well. He was not particularly good during Q&A time, wandering around on answers to the two sets of questions that were on people's minds: the Iraq War and his stance on abortion. Oddly enough, his stances seemed fine, given the red state/blue state territory he has staked out but he wasn't particularly articulate or sharp in how he communicated that.-from Lynn at Evergreen Politics.
Howie opinion: The guy doesn't talk much about foreign policy and I wonder if he wants to be Hillary's running mate.

Neil Young: Exclusive 'Impeach the President' Lyrics

Whatever would we do without FOX News? They bring us this:
Neil Young’s new album, Living with War, is an incendiary, moving, totally American document of peaceful protest that is going to make a lot of people crazy one way or another.

And there’s no doubt that the centerpiece of the album, a song called “Let’s Impeach The President,” performed as a melodic, rocking, campfire ode will be what causes the most controversy. For one thing, though Young has lived in California since the late 1960s, his nay-sayers will decry him as a Canadian. Others will call him unpatriotic or treasonous.

But there are just as many fans of Neil Young who will cite him as a political poet, a hero, and a troubadour working in the most traditional vein of American music. Certainly “Living with War” contains the most pungent attacks on a US president in pop-rock since The Ramones recorded “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” in the late 1980s. And Young reaches back to the original rock protest singer, Bob Dylan, calling out to him in one of the songs.

But this album is no giddy hit and run. It’s far more serious and searing in its assessment of contemporary life than that, and it wouldn’t matter if it came from someone born in Kansas City or Ottawa. When Living with War starts streaming on on Friday, my guess is the servers will overheat. The real test will come next week, when the album is available for downloading on several sites.

For now, though, here are the lyrics many parents are going to be hearing their kids singing in the next few days. Young has been clever enough to write the catchiest protest song since Country Joe and the Fish’s anti-Vietnam ditty, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die.”

Here, for the first time, the lyrics to Neil Young’s “Let’s Impeach the President”:

Let’s impeach the president for lying

And leading our country into war

Abusing all the power that we gave him

And shipping all our money out the door

He’s the man who hired all the criminals

The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors

And bend the facts to fit with their new stories

Of why we have to send our men to war

Let’s impeach the president for spying

On citizens inside their own homes

Breaking every law in the country

By tapping our computers and telephones

What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees

Would New Orleans have been safer that way

Sheltered by our government’s protection

Or was someone just not home that day?

Let’s impeach the president

For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected

Dividing our country into colors

And still leaving black people neglected

Thank god he’s racking down on steroids

Since he sold his old baseball team

There’s lot of people looking at big trouble

But of course the president is clean

Thank God"-from FOX News.

"Smackdown Your Vote!"

This wrestler guy has a video and audio podcast with Howard Dean and some other guy here.

"Dean reflects on his presidential race, role of media"

"Former Gov. Howard Dean said Tuesday his 2004 presidential campaign was derailed more by his inability to adjust to being a front-runner than with how he was treated by the media during his upstart bid for the White House.

"I was never able to successfully switch gears and be seen as someone who could be president of the United States," Dean said. "You have to do that to be president."

Dean said he made a serious tactical error by failing to refine his insurgent image as polls began to show him in the lead among voters in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2003.

Dean, who has rarely discussed what went wrong with his once high-flying bid for the presidency, made the remarks at a University of Vermont symposium on the role of media in the making and breaking of political heroes.

"I had no idea what I was getting into," Dean said of his decision to run for president despite being from such a small state. "We were a little bit inexperienced."

Dean's campaign and how it was treated by the media was a central focus of the five-member panel discussion before a nearly full Ira Allen Chapel.

Dotty Lynch, who has covered 10 presidential campaigns and is the former political editor for CBS News, said the media badly mishandled Dean's "scream" speech to disappointed supporters the night he finished third in the Iowa caucuses.

"It got so taken out of context," she said. "It got turned into something it wasn't." She said the coverage of the "scream" so dominated the news in the week after the Iowa caucuses that it threw coverage of the subsequent New Hampshire primary off course.

Howard Fineman, Newsweek's chief political correspondent, drew applause when he said Dean deserved thanks for being willing to run for president, and said the Dean campaign will be studied for years to come. He said it was ironic that the Internet -- a key factor in Dean's rise to prominence -- also played a role in his downfall.

"It went around the world on the Internet," he said of the "scream" image. "What the Internet giveth, the Internet tooketh away."-from the story in today's Burlington Free Pres (VT).

"Truth Still Snowed In At The White House"

"Washington, DC - Today, the Bush Administration announced that conservative news personality Tony Snow will replace Scott McClellan as the White House Press Secretary. This move signals that the White House is not serious about beginning a new era of telling the truth to the American people.

"The American people should get ready for another Snow job from the Bush White House. Tony Snow represents more of the same, not the fresh start the Administration needed," said Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney. "This is an interdepartmental move from one part of the conservative infrastructure to another that allows a darling of the right-wing to deliver the same misleading message, cherry-picked information and spin to the American people. Josh Bolten's plan for re-energizing the White House called for more happy talk and a better PR campaign for the same failed policies. Snow's track record of delivering misleading rhetoric is a perfect fit for this Administration that refuses to change and has a problem telling the truth."-DNC. The information I received included thirteen (13) documented refences of Snow's falsehoods and misstatements. I will link to them ASAP.

SEVEN on Dean, Dems and the DNC

"Dean is likely focus of UVM symposium on making and breaking of political heroes"
"One of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's tougher media critics during his meteoric 2004 presidential campaign said Monday that Dean deserves credit for his recent work as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

"I was surprised and impressed that he took the job as DNC chairman," said Howard Fineman, Newsweek's chief political correspondent and regular commentator on national television and radio talk shows. "I'm impressed by his organization and attention to detail."-from the Burlington Free Press (VT).

"Democrats unveil 6-point plan"
"NEW ORLEANS — Democrats cast themselves Saturday as the party that will change the nation’s unpopular course — but hedged on precisely how they would do it.

The Democratic National Committee used a three-day meeting to unveil a six-point statement labeled as the party’s vision for governing — yet it avoided such thorny issues as the Iraq war or immigration.

Party leaders put off further discussion of a Democratic plan for Iraq until later this year — and then it will be done in private, perhaps after the November elections for control of Congress.

The party blueprint, called “The Democratic Vision,” will be rolled out in a national door-knocking campaign on Saturday. It promises honest and open government; security; energy independence; economic prosperity and educational excellence; expanded health care; and retirement security."-from Knight Ridder.

"Burner’s momentum moves WA-08 into top 14 competitive races nationwide"
"That’s right, WA-08 is more competitive than high profile CA-50, in which the much ballyhooed Francine Busby is fighting to succeed the recently convicted Duke Cunningham.

Burner had been maligned by Republicans (and ignored by some Democrats) as a “third tier” candidate with little chance of defeating Reichert, but the “Burner Buzz” (not to mention her impressive fundraising performance) has opened eyes in the other Washington. Locally, the GOP echo machine has graduated from snidely dismissing Burner’s candidacy, to ineptly attempting to smear her."

'Illegal' McGavick funds alleged
"After Mike McGavick became a U.S. Senate candidate but while still chief executive of Safeco, the company agreed to give him a lucrative "golden parachute" that amounted to an illegal corporate campaign contribution, the state Democratic Party contends.

"The corporation's 'sweetening of the deal' for Mr. McGavick after he became a candidate was a blatant violation of federal law," state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz charged in a complaint being filed with the Federal Election Commission today.-from the Seattle P-I.

"Democrats Want All Ship Containers Inspected"

"Ridiculing the Bush administration's port security plans, Democrats on Capitol Hill on Tuesday called for the overseas inspection of every shipping container headed to the United States.

The Democrats, who are energized by the embarrassment caused to President Bush by the failed plan by a Dubai company to take over the management of six American port terminals, see the debate on ports as a central element of their election year push to make domestic security an issue that they can call their own.

At a news conference on Tuesday, a group of Democrats announced plans to offer amendments to measures in the House and Senate to require the comprehensive container inspections at all ports overseas."-NY Times.

"In Washington, Cantwell Holds Lead"
"According to a new Strategic Vision (R) poll, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is clinging to an 8-point lead in her bid for reelection, currently beating Mike McGavick (R) 48% to 40%. These numbers are congruent with a recent poll giving Cantwell the same lead."-Political Wire.

"The need for a political soul"
"Brad Friedman of BradBlog informally interviewed Russ Feingold several days ago at a dinner at which Feingold spoke, and Freidman recounted Feingold's answers on various topics of interest. The most revealing was Feingold's answer as to why he did not consult with the Democratic Senate caucas before announcing his intention to introduce his Censure Resolution:

That decision came, he said, after the end of the year. He had been encouraged by the tough stance the Democrats had taken concerning renewal of the Patriot Act before the session ended, but found that during the break their resolve seemed to have disappeared and they returned to their "foxholes"."Foxholes?" I interrupted..."Yes, I said, foxholes," he answered back quickly, with a clear inference that he had chosen the words quite deliberately.

Once he'd felt the Dems had again lost their resolve to fight, and once the information concerning the warrantless NSA spying had come to light, he'd decided the right thing to do was to simply take action. And he did."Yes," I followed up, "and don't get me wrong, I strongly support your effort there, but might you have gotten more support from your Democratic colleagues had you consulted with them first before announcing the Resolution publicly?"

He explained that had he done that, the matter would have then been vetted by "Democratic consultants" who would have decided to kill the idea entirely before it could even be proposed on the floor. "Our party," he said, "is too beholden to Democratic consultants."-from Glenn Greenwald.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"Walking and Talking to Rebuild the Party"

"Next Saturday, April 29th, the 50-State Strategy will bring the Democratic message to doorsteps across America. The issues we will be asking about are:
Honest Leadership & Open Government
Real Security
Energy Independence
Economic Prosperity & Educational Excellence
A Healthcare System that Works for Everyone
Retirement Security

Go here to sign up."-from Evergreen Politics.

Neil Young on CNN: "Impeach the President" (Video)

Video from YouTube.

Feingold and the 'Foxhole Democrats'

"A relaxed Russ Feingold made news when he had lunch with a small group of bloggers on an overcast Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles. Stepping outside the usual stereotype of a politician, he picked up the check. And he pointedly distinguished himself from those he characterized as "foxhole Democrats" who run scared from Republican intimidation tactics.

"They're not very good at running the country," he said of the GOP, "but they're brilliant at intimidating Democrats." As for his fellow Democratic contenders for the 2008 nomination, he suggested that many of them are still dominated by fear of a Rovian attack on their patriotism or national security credentials.

Feingold argued that reluctance to be baited on national security cost Democrats the Presidency in 2004, and that "most Democrats don't know how to talk straight to the American people about what they believe."-RJ Eskow on The Huffington Post.

"The American Voting System: HACKED"-Video

"Bev Harris of demonstrates to Howard Dean how EASY it is for anyone with access to the central tabulatoring computer to RIG the ELECTION. Diebold software is used in this demonstration and in the American voting system."-from MSNBC via YouTube.

Monday, April 24, 2006

"DNC: Transition from New Orleans to 50 State Canvass"

While some people are deciding if the Dems are progressive enough, others are working to get control of Congress.

Tim Tigaris covers the DNC, on Kos.

You can sign up for a candidate near you, or go to if you live in the Seattle area and help put a Democrat in the House from the 8th CD. She was a Kucinich delegate in 2004, but if she's not progressive enough for you, you can help Bernie out in his US Senate race in Vermont.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pink- Dear Mr President - Live

"Pink performs Dear Mr President Live in NYC. It's a controversial song from her new album that all people should hear."

Howie opinion: This is the first protest folk song of the 21st Century.

State Dem Chair to Dean: "murkiness on Iraq not working"

If you desire more evidence of the "scuffling at the gate" problem I posted about yesterday, here it is:

"While not on the agenda, Iraq was raised in a meeting Dean had with state party officials Friday.

Washington State Party chairman Dwight Pelz told Dean the party's "murkiness" on Iraq was causing problems with the rank and file and that tension between activists and the national party leadership in Washington could sap their energy this fall.

"I understand it's always better to have a lot of passion around an election," Dean said. "But what more passion could we possibly invoke than stopping George Bush from continuing to destroy the country?"

Responded Pelz: "It's not working."-from the Knight Ridder story today.

FIVE on the Dems

"A Short And Simple Democratic Agenda: At the DNC's spring meeting today in New Orleans, Howard Dean laid out a six-point Democratic agenda:

Dean said that Democrats will fight for a six-point plan that includes raising the minimum wage, tax ``fairness'' for the middle class, ``a complete ban on gifts and travel from lobbyists,'' the inspection of all cargo coming into U.S. ports, fixing the Medicare drug plan and ``transition'' in Iraq.
If you haven't noticed, Democrats have been making a concerted effort to explain in plain and simple terms what Democrats stand for. Yes, Democrats have finally trained themselves to drop the clause-laden, inaccessible rhetoric of the past, and are beginning to embrace a much more effective method of educating voters about the Democratic Party."-Georgia 10 on Kos.

"Bush's third term:
Bush has acknowledged that he has spent much of his political capital on Iraq, and the way to replenish the reserves is to replace the officials most associated with the overreaching that led to the tragedy in Iraq — and with the administration's broader disdain for diplomacy.

Yes, that means dismissing Rumsfeld. The secretary should go not because he has been criticized by a group of retired generals but because he embodies the smugness and inability to acknowledge error that has characterized both the Iraq war and the wider war on terrorism. Rumsfeld has been the pinched public face of an administration that has cut legal and humanitarian corners in dealing with people — including U.S. citizens — suspected of involvement with terrorists.

Suppose Bush didn't stop there. Suppose he also asked Cheney, his mentor and friend but an even more polarizing figure than Rumsfeld, to step down.Throwing Cheney overboard would be an implicit repudiation of the excessively hawkish foreign policy with which the vice president, even more than Rumsfeld, has been associated."-from (gasp) the editorial in today's LA Times.

"Democrats vow to set nation on course:
NEW ORLEANS — Democrats cast themselves Saturday as the party that will change the nation's unpopular course but hedged on how they would do it.

The Democratic National Committee used a three-day meeting in New Orleans to unveil a six-point statement labeled as the party's vision for governing, yet it avoided such thorny issues as Iraq or immigration. And party leaders put off further discussion of a Democratic plan for Iraq until later — and then it will be done in private, perhaps after the November election.

Throughout the strategy meeting, Democrats said they were confident that anger at President Bush puts them in position to win control of Congress in November. But most insisted the party must close the sale with skeptical voters."-from Knight-Ridder, in today's Seattle Times.

"Democrats Contour November Strategy:
NEW ORLEANS, April 22 -- Democratic Party officials continue to assemble the pieces for their midterm election strategy, but questions about the party's overall message, differences on Iraq, reservations about their leaders, and debates about campaign tactics contribute to concerns that they may not be positioned to take advantage of the most favorable political climate since President Bush was elected."-Dan Balz in the Washington Post, sprinkling cold water on the story, lest it overheat.

Better make that FIVE: "Standing for Something: The American Prospect has published the first part of Ruy Texeira and John Halpin's four part article on Democratic political strategy, messaging and branding. Their conclusion on what Dems need to do? Stand for something:
The thesis of this report is straightforward. Progressives need to fight for what they believe in -- and put the common good at the center of a new progressive vision -- as an essential strategy for political growth and majority building. This is no longer a wishful sentiment by out-of-power activists, but a political and electoral imperative for all concerned progressives. The identity gap in politics has serious direct and indirect ramifications. Directly, voters hold the Democrats' lack of identity against candidates and the party as a whole; indirectly, the lack of identity undermines Democrats' abilities to capitalize on their strengths and enables the GOP to capitalize easily on Democratic weaknesses."
-Armando on Kos.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

FIVE on Dean

"Democratic Leader Dean Faces Balancing Act"
NEW ORLEANS - Howard Dean, long known for bucking the establishment, has spent much of his time as Democratic chairman trying to strengthen the party outside of Washington — and his rank and file loves him for it.

"He is truly nationalizing the Democratic Party and he's looking to the future," said Steve Achelpohl, head of the Nebraska state party.

Dean's approach, however, does not sit well with some Democratic critics in the nation's capital. They grumble, in private, that Dean perhaps is not focusing enough on fundraising for House and Senate races in November, particularly when the party sees an opportunity to reclaim power in Congress.=-from AP.

"Dean says Bush "cut and run" on Katrina"
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Democratic Party chief Howard Dean said on Saturday the Bush administration had "cut and run" on Gulf Coast hurricane recovery and created a political legacy of deficits, divisiveness and deceit.

Dean, speaking at the Democratic National Committee's spring meeting, said November's congressional elections would be a choice between real change from Democrats or more of the same from Republicans.

"There has been enough of fear, incompetence and corruption," Dean told DNC members. He said voters would judge President George W. Bush's administration and the Republicans on their slow response to Hurricane Katrina and failure to develop a suitable recovery plan.

"Republicans have cut and run when it comes to rebuilding the Gulf Coast, and we will not do that," he said.-from Reuters.

"Dean Says Republicans Offer `Deficits' and `Deceit'"
Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean said Saturday that George Bush, his chief adviser, Karl Rove, and Republicans in Congress offer Americans ``deficits, divisiveness and deceit,'' and predicted Democrats will retake the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in November.

``Six months from today, Americans will be asked one simple question: Do you want more of the same Bush and Republican policies or do you want change?'' Dean said at the spring meeting of the Democratic National Committee in New Orleans. ``The Democratic Party offers the American people the change they are looking for.''-from Bloomberg.

"DNC's Dean talks tough in Big Easy"
NEW ORLEANS -- Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, stood amid the soggy ruins of a devastated neighborhood here Friday and declared that Republicans would pay the price in the midterm elections for the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

"This is a searing, burning issue, and I think it's going to cost George Bush his legacy, and it's going to cost the Republicans the House and the Senate and maybe very well the presidency in the next election," Dean said. "People will never forget this."-Chicago Tribune.

"In New Orleans, Dean Criticizes G.O.P. on Lack of Aid."
Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman, offered a broad attack on the Republican Party on Saturday, saying that the White House has "cut and run" in its approach to rebuilding this hurricane-ravaged region.

"Our current Republican government will be judged by how they treated Americans on our Gulf Coast, and how that government has mistreated our American community," Mr. Dean said. "The Republicans have cut and run when it comes to rebuilding the Gulf Coast. And we will not do it."

Mr. Dean noted how Democrats attending the party's spring meeting here had been dispatched across the community over the past three days, helping with cleanup and charity missions.-from Mr. Nagourney in the New York Times.

Seems like the print media is offering more coverage.

Scuffle at the ‘Gate'?

Update [2006-4-22 17:18:28 by howieinseattle]: In hopes of getting more ideas, I offer another blurb from Eskow:
"Short version: If Hillary's the nominee, there's going to be a major scuffle at the 'gate' between these two factions. The relative unity of the blogging left, which has been one of its major strengths, will be fractured. The overall effect of such a split is hard to predict."

RJ Eskow argues on The Huffington Post that Kos and Armstrong won't be able to keep the blogosphere unified because of an impending conflict between the 'technocrats' who want to win and the 'values' activists who want to stay true to their beliefs.
"There's a major split coming in the so-called 'progressive blogosphere,' and these two talented thinkers and writers won't be able to straddle the divide much longer.

The brawl they try valiantly to avoid is one that's been brewing for some time now, but has yet to fully erupt. One side of the progressive/liberal commentariat (especially bloggers) wants to grow and strengthen the Democratic Party - while placing ideology second. The other fights for a set of core values first and foremost, and considers the Democratic Party to be nothing more than a weapon in an ongoing struggle.

One side would provide technical and consulting support to Democratic candidates that represent a wide ideological swath - and, not incidentally, would like to be the Party's new leadership. The other side, while having remained true to the Party by and large for many years, now stands ready to abandon it if need be - especially on the national level, should a right-leaning candidate (or one cynically assuming a right-wing pose) lead the ticket in 2008."

Howie opinion: I would like to think that Eskow is a trouble-maker, but I fear he is merely correct. Anybody got any ideas on this? If he is right, how can we avoid another divisive fight?

Friday, April 21, 2006

"Breakfast with Mr. Dean"

"Dean speaks with The Prospect about Iraq, national security and the Democrats’ new voter database.

On Wednesday, April 12, we held our third Prospect breakfast, this one featuring Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean. Journalists in attendance included Michael Tomasky and Mark Leon Goldberg from The American Prospect; Jane Mayer, The New Yorker; James Fallows and Josh Green, The Atlantic; Thomas Edsall, The Washington Post; Ari Berman, The Nation; Walter Shapiro and Michael Scherer, Salon; Jules Witcover, Tribune Media; Amy Sullivan, The Washington Monthly; Ellen Ratner, Talk Radio News Service; Terence Samuel,; David Grossman,; Matt Stoller of and Josh Orton, Air America Radio. A full transcript follows."- from The American Prospect.

"the Republicans keep pounding away, “we don’t have a message, we don’t have a message” -- it’s repeated in journals of all sorts. It’s not true. But it takes a long time when you’re not the majority party and you don’t have the President to get up and do something in an hour to set the agenda for a week. It takes a long time, and it takes discipline. And I think it takes 435 congressional candidates in 435 districts saying this four times a day for 200 days in a row. That’s how you get the message across. It is dull, it is tedious, it requires absolute discipline. I think we’re making progress but that’s what keeps me up at night. I want to cross the finish line; I want to get a majority in the House because I think that’s something we can build on."

It was a very long and comprehensive discussion. I guarantee you will leave the table with a full stomach.

I Hear the "Fat Lady" Singing

"Republicans and Democrats alike are starting to face the prospect of what it means to have George W. Bush as their commander in chief for another 33 months -- in a time of war, terrorism, and nuclear intrigue. How can the press contribute to confronting the crisis? First: recognize it exists."-from Editor&Publisher.

Greg Mitchell concludes: "I don’t have a solution myself now, although all pleas for serious probes, journalistic or official, of the many alleged White House misdeeds should be heeded. But my point here is simply to start the discussion, and urge that the media, first, recognize that the crisis—or, if you want to say, impending crisis -- exists, and begin to explore the ways to confront it."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Democrats: No Single Message Sums Us Up"

"Ahead in polls, Democrats are divided over whether they already have — or even need — a national theme that tells voters exactly where the party stands."-from the AP story.

The DNC is meeting in New Orleans, so it was easy to go around and get different opinions on this. The story suggests that the task of "defining the Democratic brand" is a work in progress. The difference of opinion seems to be how important that work is, and how much of the work remains to be done.

Good One Darcy!

"Bellevue, WA — Darcy Burner, the Democratic Candidate for Washington’s 8th Congressional District, sent a letter to Vice President Dick Cheney today accepting the offer he made Republican Congressman Dave Reichert to “campaign for your opponent if it’ll help.”

Burner offered to take the Vice President on a tour of the district to highlight how the Republican policies that Congressman Reichert supports are failing the voters of Washington’s 8th Congressional District. The letter outlines a tour of the district that includes:
*Mount Rainier to talk about why Darcy opposes the Republican plan — supported by Mr. Reichert — to make it easier for developers and private interests such as mining companies to take over these public lands.
*Pierce County to talk with Iraq veterans and their families to learn first hand how these constituents feel about sending soldiers into combat with inadequate body and vehicle armor.
*City of Kent to meet with workers who have had their jobs exported oversees.
*Senior Center to talk about why the administration’s prescription drug benefit — supported by Mr. Reichert — is creating such confusion and chaos.
*Bellevue Community College to meet with students and explain why the Bush Administration and Mr. Reichert support making it harder for student to get college loans."
-from where you can check out the full text of the letter.

"Democrats Call Out GOP On Its Immigration Lies"

"We were all outraged when the GOP took out radio ads asserting that Democrats had advocated criminalizing undocumented immigrants. I wondered what the Democratic response would be. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid foreshadowed the Democratic response with this statement:
I will fight back against this vicious smear in Nevada, but it will only stop if we show Republicans there is a price to pay for their lies. I'm not going to ask you to contribute to me, but to Democrats running for Senate around the country. We have a real shot at taking back the majority in November and that would be the best revenge.[...]

The Republicans should not pick this fight. I've been in more boxing rings then all of them combined. And when you throw a punch at me, you end up on the mat.
So Reid turned the Republican's tactics against them, using their lies to raise money to defeat GOP candidates. Awesome.

And the DNC? Well, it has launched a series of Spanish-lanuages ads to counter the GOP lies. The ads will be aired nationally through Univision, including targetted markets in Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona.

Oh, and Democrats aren't stopping there. The DNC is also taking out similar ads in Spanish newspapers, as well as ads in Asian American, Irish, and Polish print media.

Reid is right. The Republicans shouldn't have picked this fight. The GOP thought it could disassociate itself from its atrocious immigration bill by peddling blatant lies, thinking that Democrats would just let it slide. Not this time, not this year, not this issue.

Our Minority Leader isn't afraid of using the word "lie." The DNC isn't shrinking from the word "lying." Democrats are fighting back, and they're painting Republicans as the lying liars they are. It's about time."-Georgia10 on Kos.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"the "I" word used to be impeachment"

Randi Rhodes has a new "I" word for Bush:
"...he's insane now. Now he's talking about nuking Iran. We have a mess in Iraq that he's said he'd leave for the next guy. Well, this guy is like a daddy who will clean up all my messes? No, this is big. And it's -- on June 2nd, we can't get cameras out to that nuclear test site to see what I'm talking about. I mean, you feel insane talking about him being insane, but he is."
-from CNN.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"The Seinfeld Strategy"

Let's hope David Sirota is not completely right:
For the first time in more than a decade, Democrats seem to have a shot at taking back Congress. But also for the first time in recent history, Congress is on the cusp of switching hands without a voter mandate. How is that possible? Because Democrats are only in the hunt thanks to gross Republican missteps—and they are going out of their way to make sure their potential election to the majority is about nothing. Call it the Seinfeld strategy.

Monday, April 17, 2006

"Reinventing the party" (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Geov responded to this post and corrects my misunderstanding of his point of view:
No, my answer isn't "doubtful" -- all I said was that Kos & Jerome didn't really address the question, either in their book or their public talks and interviews with me. But other folks in the blogosphere, as you know, are talking incessantly about this issue, and I expect some good ideas will come out of those endless discussions. Will the DNC etc. latch on to any of them? I don't know, but I think the power base in the Dem. Party is shifting toward, rather than away from, the activist base (of which the blogosphere is a huge part), so if I had to bet I'd say that's where the effort will come from. Whether it'll stick with the public at large is, of course, still another question, but the best we can do is try.

Geov Parrish asks, "Can Kos, liberal blogosphere reshape Democrats' image?"
Based on his latest on WorkingForChange, I'd summarize his answer as "doubtful."
After having communicated with Geov via the internet over the last year, we finally met up in person last week at the Labor Temple, where he spent some time talking with Jerome and Markos. Here's a taste of his thinking:

Zuniga has managed to do something the Democratic National Committee has almost always failed to do: tap the energy, enthusiasm, ideas, and anger toward the Bush administration of the Democratic Party's activist base.

And so when Markos and co-author Jerome Armstrong (founder of one of the earliest national liberal blogs, MyDD, and architect of Howard Dean's pioneering 2004 use of the Internet) write a book suggesting how the Democratic Party might get its shit together, people are going to notice. And they have; Crashing the Gate has garnered widespread attention, glowing reviews, and brisk sales. Recently I talked with them, before a Seattle appearance and again with Markos as they wandered around downtown Olympia the next afternoon.

The Democrats, nationally, need to start producing and spotlighting strong new leaders; they then need to convince Americans that these folks are strong and effective leaders. Armstrong and Zuniga recognize this, but are almost silent as to how it might happen. Internal structural changes are useless if the leaders they produce wind up sounding and acting just like the last crew (c.f. Barack Obama).

Oddly, with traffic for national political blogs starting to plateau, the pair doesn't have much to say about the future of technology in politics, either. Markos notes that Rupert Murdoch just bought MySpace, and that Republicans will use the purchase not only to mine data, but to learn how to market more effectively to young adults just forming political identities. The Democrats aren't thinking ten years out in this fashion. But the authors are curiously clueless -- at least publicly -- about how coming technologies might further revolutionize politics, and how.

Extended Interview with Markos and Jerome

Andrew at the Northwest Progressive Institute has released this today. I haven't had a chance to listen, but it should be worth the time!


Dina Lydia Johnson is a tireless activist and supporter of this site (she did the graphics, and contributes frequently). Here's a blurb from her latest, from her diary on Kos. I hear she's been invited to be a front-pager on Washblog. Congrats Dina!
"Jim McDermott is not just a Seattle Congressman. He is every liberal's representative. He's a thorn in the side of every Neocon, corrupt Republican, and Theocrat.

Jim's Story: Defending the people's right to know

This Diary announced my plans for an upcoming theatrical benefit, UnCaged Cabaret, to drum up support for Jim McDermott after an appeals court ruled against him in the suit Boehner vs McDermott, leaving him with about $700K in expenses and penalties.

But what about non-Seattle bloggers? Should you care, like you cared about Paul Hackett? Enough to contribute here?

Please jump with me..."

"Everything You Need to Know About the Washington Post in Two Sentences"

"Thanks to Marty Kaplan's piece on the Post's profile of liberal blogger Maryscott O'Connor, we can now encapsulate everything you need to know about that paper in two simple, declarative statements:
1. When the Post encounters a liberal blogger, it then (without having discussed her writing talent, the cogency of her arguments, or her ability to draw an audience) proceeds to mock and patronize her.
2. When the Post encounters a right-wing blogger, it then (without having addressed his insider connections to the Republican Party, offensive insults like calling Coretta Scott King a "Communist," or -- as it turns out -- his serial plagiarism) proceeds to hire him.

There's more that could be said, but that basically covers it."

-from RJ Eskow on The Huffington Post.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

More Media Crap

I am irritated this morning at the crap they are feeding us for our media breakfast today.

"The Left, Online and Outraged" ---the WAPo paints Maryscott O'Connor as a unhinged, "angry" woman who incites the rest of us unhinged, angry lefties.

"HOWARD DEAN'S MESSIAH COMPLEX" ---What else would you expect from The New Republic(an)? I only mention this one because, combined with the others, it adds insult to injury.

CNN: "THE SITUATION ROOM"---Wolf is off hunting Easter eggs, but his stand-in plays the same game: try to Get Howard.

Howie opinion: Don't let the media crap on you.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Cantwell Meets with Constituents About Iraq War (UPDATED)

UPDATE: After my original post, Dina called my attention to the more extensive account by David Edelman of this meeting at the bottom of the Washblog post. He lists the attendees, gives some account of their indivitual comments and provides more details on Maria's responses. I encourage you to read the entire thing!

"There were 8 representatives from different organizations and interest groups; each one was there to address Sen. Cantwell's position on Iraq. I was invited into this meeting to represent Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter. It took a little more than 6 months of persistence, planning and perseverance for this collective to obtain this meeting.

As the introductions and presentations finished, the last presenter, David Edelman, ended our round table of concerns expressed by pointing out Sen. Kerry's new position plan on Iraq war and asked Sen. Cantwell if she agreed with Sen. Kerry's plan. This was to facilitate opening the discussion for Sen. Cantwell to give explanation of her views and position.

Sen. Cantwell said she agreed with parts of Sen. Kerry's plan, but not in entirety, and had some concerns that if we issue the May 16 deadline and the Iraqi sovereign government is unable to comply, what do we actually do at that point?

Sen. Cantwell then spoke to some of our concerns and while we did not bring up the issue of her vote for the war, she did, repeatedly. Our intent at this meeting was to get clarification on her current position on the Iraq war rather than review the history of how we got there or her vote. However, as she explained her position, it became apparent that her own sense of her vote factors heavily into her current position on the war. She conveyed that since she did vote for the war, she felt a responsibility to that vote and therefore to a responsible plan for stability in Iraq.

She seemed surprised that the group seemed unaware she had a position on the war in that she signed onto the Werner Amendment which addresses transition with benchmarks. She had her staff give us copies of the document. The discussion then moved to transition, more talk of security and stabilization and she again addressed her responsibility to her vote. (I may have the sequencing not in correct order that it occurred here).

She seemed focused on 'transition' as her position. In fairness, I was trying to understand what transition means to her and indicated I did want to hear what she had to say. As near as I can tell, it seems her belief is transition means some kind of assurance that Iraqi security forces can responsibly secure Iraq. As I was struggling to assimilate her expressed thoughts on transition, earnestly wanting to understand her thinking, David pointed out that if it is to be transition in 2006, we are already well into April 2006 and nothing of progress reports or benchmarks in that transition plan are yet in place.

To her credit, she did ask of us to state what we wanted if we didn't agree with her position. This seemed to me to be a way to open further discussion, but given the time constraints, and she knew the time constraints, it also seemed a way to let the conversation drift, having the group problem solve the solution to Iraq, while affording her leeway in not having to expand on her own thinking on her position."-excerpted from the post on Washblog by Lietta Ruger, from Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter. Lietta went to Crawford, Texas with Cindy Sheehan. Thanks to Dina Lydia Johnson for passing this along.

Kos on Darcy

"Washington--Darcy Burner is taking on freshman Republican Dave Reichert in WA-08. She will report numbers of over $300K for Q1, which is impressive. But more so than that, the Washington state blogosphere helped her raise over $90K online in the closing hours of the fundraising quarter without any national buzz. That's not Daily Kos or Atrios, that's the local bloggers, and $90K is more than what we "big boys" can usually raise. If that's not a sign of the growing power and influence of the local blogs, I'm not sure what is.

Meanwhile, it was quite shocking to see just how much local activists hate Sen. Maria Cantwell. It isn't that they're disappointed in her positions on issues like Iraq in an effort to appear "moderate" or "centrist", it's that she won't even talk to them about those issues. The dislike was near universal and truly based on that lack of communication."-Kos, in his post "Candidates getting local buzz."

Russ: Can I Ask You a Question?

"Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin -- whose censure resolution against President Bush has made him the darling of the party left -- will campaign for Cantwell on May 21."-Joel Connnelly in his column today.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Dr. Dean Won! The Ponies Gather"

The Good Dr. Dean on CNN today,
"We have turned the Party around." For those of you who may not have noticed or who have forgotten, Dr. Dean has been waging a battle for control of the Democratic party.Over the last couple of months the likes of Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Joe other words the usual cast of Big Dem Suspects had challenged Deans 50 State strategy and how Democratic fundraisng is run, and how contributions to the Party are spent. The fact that we are seeing a nascent coordinated attack with John Kerry, Harry Reid and Dr. Dean attacking Bush as clearly and concisely as they have ever done, indicates that Dr. Dean has won the internal power struggle. He is now ready to start some big moves. In effect he has wrested the party away from the initial stranglehold held by those who would use the Party as merely and organ for their own campaigns and alliances."
-from buhdydharma's diary on Kos.

The rest of the story

How much Cheerleading do I need to do? If you don't know what Dean is doing you should find out. The future of the Party now rests squarley on his shoulders and he needs our Support ....and a pony. Dean is alot of the reason we are here. He is leading the Dems out of the Darkness of Shrum. Lets show him we appreciate and support him.

Now we have all heard about herding cats and how hard that is. But that is what The Progressive/Dem Alliance is. Herds of cats. Lets try herding them with Ponies! It will the very least, amusing.

Some of the most frequent complaints heard on Dkos; The Dems won't stand up, We have no leadership, We have no focus. Well, that is up to us isn't it? Here's some focus, here are some ways to get Dems to stand up...and here is a way for US to be the Leaders we are looking for. Its my opinion that the days of the Central Casting Candidate, the eggs in one mans basket are over. They are too vulnerable and to fallible. Lets find a telegenic, electable candidate...but lets be sure that candidate actually Represents us! By using the power of the Internet too make our voices and DEMANDS heard we can be the ones who set the agenda instead of the ones who react to the other sides agenda. We have the technology and the power to become leaders, lets use it.

First off, I propose we use it to support Howard and all the Dems working with him to attack Bush. They are going to be attacked back, both by the Repubs and disaffected Dems who don't see the progress being made. Politics is Public Relations. Politics is getting noticed. Lets get noticed. We did during Alito and we can do it again. Over the next little while I see some interesting places this could go. For now we will leave it at this.

Howard has earned a Pony...from each of us. E-mail, phone and do all your normal stuff. What I would like to center this around is Snail Mail. Its about getting noticed and being needed. If Howard and those who help him start recieving a bunch of small donations in the Snail Mail with a five dollar bill and a picture of a pony. It will get noticed...and just as here on Dkos the Pony Buzz will grow.

By all means spread the Power of Pony Politics by talking Pony writing Pony, thinking Pony, Becoming one with Ponies whatever. Be aware that if their is interest, I will be turning the Pony a little bit away from silly and cute. Should be fun. Have a pony, Howard.

Poll: "McGavick Closes In on Cantwell"

"The latest Rasmussen Reports poll of Washington's U.S. Senate race shows Mike McGavick (R) "continuing to chip away" at Sen. Maria Cantwell's (D-WA) lead.

Cantwell now leads McGavick, 48% to 40%. "The new poll is the third in a row in which the incumbent has lost a percentage point of support. And it's the second poll in a row showing her at less than 50% support."-Political Wire.

Seder in Seattle

Update [2006-4-13 21:39:32 by howieinseattle]: Halfway through the Seder, as I was reading through the prayers, I realized there are Ten Plagues. The Tenth Plague involved the death of the first born male of all non-Jews in Egypt.

We are having a belated Passover Seder dinner in our multi-cultural household tonight. Part of the story of Passover is about the Nine Plagues that God visited on Egypt because of the oppression the Pharaoh inflicted on the Jews. Finally, because of the pain and suffering the plagues caused his people, the Pharaoh released the Jews from their slavery and let them seek their freedom by leaving Egypt. Today, there are several thoughts that this story provokes. Here's one:
There are "plagues" all around us today. We can't flee. We must resist.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dean: "Bush Should Declassify Mobile Lab Report"

Georgia10 on Kos:
On May 29, 2003, informing the American public that two mobile labs were discovered in Iraq, President Bush declared "We have found the weapons of mass destruction." A report in today's Washington Post reveals that at the time of the President's speech, the administration knew that the "mobile WMD labs" were nothing more than over-hyped Winnebagos.

Specifically, sources tell the Washington Post that nine expert field investigators submitted their report on May 27, 2003, with the unanimous finding that Saddam did not possess those mobile WMD labs.

Confronted with evidence of its deception (again) the White House today responded by calling out the Washington Post's "reckless reporting." When ABC's Terry Moran pressed Scott McClellan for an explanation, McClellan tore into ABC for even reporting on the Washington Post report. He even demanded an apology and an on-air correction.

Wow. You think the report hit a nerve?

It was President Bush who told us just two days ago that he declassified intelligence information because he "wanted people to see the truth and thought it made sense for people to see the truth." So I'm sure he will have no problem declassifying that 2003 field report so we can see the truth, right? Or does declassification to "set the record straight" apply solely to conspiracies to smear and discredit war critics?

Indeed, DNC Chairman Howard Dean is calling on President Bush to declassify the field report:

The onus is clearly on the President to clarify the situation surrounding this report. Was this incompetence, meaning that he did not know something that he clearly should have known, or is this instance of dishonesty where information was misused or withheld to support a political agenda

Here's to hoping Democrats rise up and join Dean's call.

Robert Scheer: "Now Powell Tells Us"

"If not for the whistle-blower, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, President Bush’s falsehoods about the Iraq nuclear threat likely would never have been exposed. On Monday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told me that he and his department’s top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that the president followed the misleading advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim. Now he tells us."
-from Truthdig.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"The Hope of the Web"

The reason the Dean campaign collapsed in Iowa, the authors argue persuasively, was largely that the new kind of campaign he was assembling threatened so many powerful people, from rich donors used to the kingmaking power their money gave them to "media advisers" unhappy at seeing their conventional wisdom ignored. Jerome and Kos tell the story of the series of TV ads that helped turn the polls against Dean; they were sponsored by a mysterious new group called Americans for Jobs and Healthcare and they showed, among other things, the face of Osama bin Laden in order to argue that "Howard Dean just cannot compete with George Bush on foreign policy." A few months later when mandatory financial reports finally emerged, it turned out that the ads had been financed by supporters of John Kerry and Richard Gephardt and organized by the "disgraced, corrupt former New Jersey senator Robert Torricelli." All in all, the backers of the ad had given more than $8.7 million to the Democratic Party in the previous few years. Dean made plenty of political gaffes on his own but he had been eliminated by powerful Democrats.
-from the review in The New York Review of Books of Jerome and Markos' "Crashing the Gates."

"Dean Is Mum, but Brother Backs a Lieberman Rival"

"While Howard Dean campaigns to win control of Congress for the Democrats this fall, his younger brother is now chairman of Democracy for America, the liberal grass-roots political action committee that Howard Dean created out of his 2004 presidential campaign.

Now, James Dean is roiling Connecticut's Democratic establishment by working to deny the party's nomination to Mr. Lieberman, a three-term incumbent and the party's 2000 vice-presidential candidate."-from the New York Times.

"Day of Dignity - Seattle" (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Paul Loeb, in his post linked below, comments
Why can't we have these kinds of marches to challenge the war or global warming, or all of Bush's arrogant reign? The anti-war marches were huge on the eve of the war, since then consistently disappointing, even as the polls steadily shift. Maybe it's because those more comfortable are behind our computers too much. Maybe the issues feel abstract or intransigent. Unless you have a son or daughter over serving it doesn't hit home as much as the raw callousness of Congressman Sensenbrenner's plan to make 12 million people felons, as well as anyone who gives them water or food, education or medical care. The Catholic churches that helped mobilize so many in their congregations here, have been silent on so many other issues, except abortion. And maybe we haven't taken enough time to organize all the diffuse anger about Bush beyond complaining to ourselves.
And the Seattle Times, in its day-after front page story today (Wednesday) headlines "Stunning turnout credited to word-of-mouth network."

"The organizers planned for 5000 but 40,000 filled the streets, and not a single arrest was made. It was life-changing to experience this and to know that this was happening all over the country. These photos help speak for me. If our country is inclusive enough to reject the Sensenbrenner bill, I could feel patriotic for the first time in awhile. This also taught me alot about the true meaning of family values. We have so much more than we realize in this country, and there is enough for all. Wedges are driven between us, but warfare and pay raises to CEOs dwarf what it would cost for all of us to have a decent standard of living. I am so proud to live in a multicultural nation of hard-working people, a nation of immigrants, a place where people can still dream."-from DiAnne Grieser's post on democracy Cell Project, tipped by Paul Loeb on The Huffington Post.

"45% believe Bush Should be censured"

"In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. poll 45% say he should be censured and 53% think he shouldn't. The gap has closed and now Russ Feingold looks even stronger for his stand."-from Crooks and Liars, quoting this from the Washington Post-ABC News Poll:
"A majority of registered voters, 55 percent, say they plan to vote for the Democratic candidate in their House district, while 40 percent support the Republican candidate. That is the largest share of the electorate favoring Democrats in Post-ABC polls since the mid-1980s."

"Reichert voted for punitive immigration bill"

Goldy tells it:
While a new poll found 63 percent of those surveyed support allowing longtime immigrants to apply for legal status, conservative Republicans pushed through a punitive immigration bill in December that would build a 700-mile wall along the Mexican border and declare illegal immigrants felons.

And our local conservative Republican congressman, WA-08 Rep. Dave Reichert, voted for it.

Of course, that’s to be expected of Reichert, who during his brief congressional career has voted 94 percent of the time with Tom DeLay and the conservative GOP leadership. On immigration, like on most other issues, Reichert and his colleagues are clearly out of step with mainstream Americans, let alone the more moderate constituency of his home district. Indeed, Americans for Better Immigration – a conservative organization dedicated to reducing immigration into the U.S. – graded Reichert an “A” for his recent anti-immigrant efforts.

Dems Helping Dems: Compare and Contrast

"Al Franken helps Murray honor good Samaritans"-from the Seattle P-I.

"Sen. Clinton hosts Casey fund-raiser"-from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Monday, April 10, 2006

"Thousands march in protest of immigration policy"

UPDATE: The Seattle Times front-pages the even and adds an "audio slide show."
"Thousands of protesters swamped downtown Seattle Monday afternoon to protest American immigration policy, which could be on the verge of being historically altered by Congress.

Seattle officials estimated that at least 15,000 people -- more than twice the number expected -- took part in the rally associated with the "National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice."

There's also a Photo gallery next to the story on the front page of the Seattle P-I website.

Jerome and Markos Blog on the Northwest Tour

Like I said, Jerome and Markos blog on the northwest tour.

“Reichert May Face Tough Challenge From Neophyte”

David Goldstein on gives us the subscription restricted text from Roll Call.(excerpt)
Reichert represents a classic swing suburban district outside of Seattle that is becoming more Democratic. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) took the 8th district with 51 percent of the vote in 2004, compared to President Bush’s 48 percent, and Reichert won with just 52 percent last time.

“The 8th is a swing, Democratic district,” concedes Reichert’s political consultant Bruce Boram. “Any Democratic opponent who runs against Reichert starts at 43 percent [of the vote].”

Add that more than 60 percent of 8th district voters currently believe the country is on the wrong track, according to recent polls, that the popularity of Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress are at all-time lows and that the district “is definitely trending in the Democrats’ favor,” and “it’s an environment where you have to take that seriously,” Boram added.

The factors Boram ticks off combine to make a potent electoral cocktail, but what could make it a double for Reichert is money.

Democrat Darcy Burner surprised national Democrats, Republicans and probably Reichert by outraising him 2-1 in the first quarter of this year.

She still trails him in overall cash on hand, but she dramatically narrowed the ratio with a stellar three-month period that saw her bring in $140,000 in the last 10 days of March.

Howard Dean Brings Together Gore And Clinton

I'm not sure if this is all good news.
"Tonight, former vice president Al Gore will join ex-Pres. Bill Clinton at a gala fundraiser in New York (has any fundraising dinner in New York ever not been a gala?) for the Democratic National Committee.

The event honors Maureen White, who labored for five years as the DNC's finance chair -- under both Terry McAuliffe and current chair Howard Dean.

White is stepping down from her DNC perch. After a short break, she'll join the Senate re-election campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Gore, whose relationship with his former boss chilled, then warmed, then sort of evened out, is a last-minute addition to the line-by-line.

DNC Regional Field Organizer Anathea Chino has the hardest job. Chino will deliver a presentation on the DNC's 50-state organizing project to the audience of deep-pocketed donors and New York's political media elite.

The dinner will net the DNC about $1.3 million."
-MARC AMBINDER on Hotline on Call.

"The DLC Readies Itself for a Democratic Majority"

Like other smart people in business ( believe me, politics is a business--maybe our m0st important one), the folks at the DLC are looking ahead and making plans. As Markos and Jerome have been saying in print and on their tour, the netroots is behind in the race to create an infrastructure to support political idea-making and governance.
Ok, so let's talk policy for a sec. Here's what Bruce Reed and Rahm Emanuel intend to implement should Democrats gain some measure of control in 2006. Policy is being hashed out by something called the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institute, which is what Bruce Reed is going to use as a basis for his book 'The Plan' later this year.

So if Democrats take control of a House, there will be a fight within the party over entitlement reform, otherwise known as gutting Social Security and Medicare, over school vouchers, and over trade. Right now, the centrists are in the drivers seat.

The next forty years are going to be hard work, for real. But first, whether Democrats win or lose in 2006, we'll have to save Social Security again, and maybe this time from the Democrats.

-Matt Stoller on MyDD.

Takin' It to the Streets in Seattle

As they are in other cities around the nation, immigrant communities and their allies will march and rally today for "immigration reform and civil rights."

On Monday, April 10th, Seattle’s immigrant communities and allies will take to the streets to make their voices heard. Whether you are an immigrant or an ally, please join us—it’s well worth giving an hour or two to support one of the key civil rights struggles of our time.

What: March from St. Mary’s Church to the Federal Building, followed by a rally at the Federal Building.

When: The march begins at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 10. The rally will begin at 5 p.m.

Where: St. Mary’s Church is located at 611 S. 20th St. The Federal Building is located at 915 2nd Ave.

Contact: Carlos Marentes

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"McGavick ditches campaign manager"

Josh Feit says the official reason is "the personal toll the campaign is taking on him." Daniel Kirkdorffer comments on the post on Northwest Progressive Institute that it's more like the chubby and evil fingers of Rove and Cheney are behind this. Dwight Pelz adds this

“The McGavick campaign lost their message and now they’ve lost their manager. Lobbyist Mike! said he was running as a healer and a moderate, but then he turns around and invites Dick Cheney to town and is flying up to Alaska to take money from Big Oil courtesy of Sen. Ted Stevens. This is a sign of a floundering, desperate campaign that has been trying to hide the fact that Lobbyist Mike! is nothing more than a rubberstamp for the Bush Administration.”

"Reid and Pelosi: Gettin'Played and Liking It"

Ian Welsh asks a question and gives us his answer
What's Harry Reid done for you lately? Was he there on Roberts? What about Alito? Could he bothered to even rally enough Dems to come close to a filibuster on the man who pioneered Presidential signing statements and who has perjured himself in front of Congress in the past? (Of course, since Reid is a pro-life conservative who thinks forced child birth is wonderful I wouldn't expect him to try and stop Alito because women could lose the right to safe, legal abortions.)

Let me tell you the advice I'd give Nancy Pelosi - do one spectacular piece of theater for the netroots, once, like Reid, and you you can cruise on that and betray them when it really matters, and they'll suck it up and kiss your butt. I'm guessing one good piece of theater is probably good for a year or so of free passes on real issues. Give them their theater, then sell them down the river.

Then Nicholas Beaudrot, who hosts Seattle's weekly Drinking Liberally gatherings and did the leg work for Friday's Markos-Armstrong show at the Labor Temple, offers this comment on the post: Reid's caucus members are much more conservative than Pelosi, so she "doesn't have the same excuses."

Talk among yourselves.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Kerry Makes A "Slashing Attack" On The Bush Administration

In my earlier post Bush: "Leaker-in-Chief," I quoted Peter Daou:
"The question over the next several days is whether or not we'll get a functioning triangle on the left, a coming together of the netroots, the Democratic establishment and the press to bring this story to a head."

Now John Kerry, certainly a leader of "the Democratic establishment," has stepped up to the mike, and here's a bit of what he said:
The Bush administration is wondering when Iraq will have a functioning government. I want to know when we're going to have a functioning government.Tell the truth. Fire the incompetents. Find Osama bin Laden and secure our ports and our homeland. Bring our troops home from Iraq. Obey the law and protect our civil rights," Mr. Kerry said in ticking off his list, which also included supporting health care, education, lobbying reform and alternatives to oil, as well as reducing the deficit.

Maybe this incident won't "follow a long string of similar outrages into the memory hole," as Daou feared.

"Spectacular reception for Markos and Jerome in Seattle"

UPDATE: Carl snapped a few pictures.

I don't know about the "spectacular" part, but they were real:
The first day of Markos and Jerome's Pacific NW Crashing the Gate Tour has concluded - and I have to say, it was a huge success.

The authors were fabulous in both of their radio appearances (Jerome on KUOW's Weekday at 9 AM, and both authors on The Dave Ross Show at 4 PM). But more importantly, they got a spectacular reception at their speaking events (one at Microsoft, the second at the Labor Temple in Seattle).

Especially at the Labor Temple, it was a packed house. You could hardly find a place to sit down. Mostly the authors responded to attendees' questions, although they did give introductions. They also signed a lot of books.

It seemed that a lot of the discussions Markos and Jerome had throughout the day were centered around one idea: how the Democratic Party can save itself and start winning again. There were a fairly large amount of people who tied their own personal experiences into their questions.

You could practically detect the frustration in the air at the public events. It's obvious that progressives are sick of "business as usual" in the Democratic Party.

Seattle area progressives turned out in large numbers to hear Markos and Jerome because they are a refreshing change from the normal palette of political speakers we hear from. Quite often the speakers are candidates holding out their hands asking for money, or party leaders pontificating.

The progressive grassroots - now also the netroots - are longing for change. Not just here, but everywhere across the country. We need leaders who are courageous. adventurous, and not afraid of taking the Republicans head on.

We need leaders who can confidently tell voters what the Democratic Party is about and why the party's values are also America's values. Timidity doesn't work. As Markos stated more than once yesterday, we've already pretty much hit rock bottom. We don't control any branch of the federal government. It's time to stop heading in the wrong direction.

But Crashing the Gate can put the party back on course. It's great that this very important message is now available in an offline medium. Blogs have their advantages, but so do books.

If you missed last night's event at the Labor Temple, there's still a chance to meet Markos and Jerome. Come out to Marymoor Park at midday today to meet the authors. More details are available here.
-from Andrew's post on Northwest Progressive Institute.

Friday, April 07, 2006

''Not above the law''

Let's take a step back in time, to Monday, October 31, 2005.
"There is a cancer on the presidency, and it cannot be exorcised by the resignation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Libby, assistant to the president and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, has been indicted on five federal counts, including obstruction of justice, making false statement and perjury. The charges stem from the investigation into a leak disclosing that Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a covert CIA operative.

Based on the allegations special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald laid out in the indictments Friday, it's increasingly evident that officials within the Bush administration disclosed Plame's identity as part of an effort to discredit Wilson's criticism of one of the pretexts for war against Iraq.

Fitzgerald said that the investigation remained open, and the indictments make intriguing reference to the conversation another senior White House official, identified only as "Official A," had with columnist Robert Novak in which Wilson's wife was "discussed as a CIA employee."

No matter where the investigation goes from here, the question is why President Bush didn't fire Libby long ago if his role in outing Plame was as clear as the indictments indicate. It raises the uncomfortable and inevitable question: What did the president know and when did he know it?

The larger, more important context goes beyond palace intrigue: the lengths to which the Bush administration was willing to go to protect its trumped-up justifications for an unjustifiable war."

Bush: "Leaker-in-Chief"

Update [2006-4-8 11:57:6 by howieinseattle]: Editor & Publisher covers the print media on this issue and concludes, "Uproar Grows Over Bush Role in Libby Leakage."

Peter Daou comments:
"Not unexpectedly, there's massive blog coverage of this scandal. The question over the next several days is whether or not we'll get a functioning triangle on the left, a coming together of the netroots, the Democratic establishment and the press to bring this story to a head. If so, Bush and his administration will sustain major political damage; if not, this will follow a long string of similar outrages into the memory hole. My head tells me that the elements are in place for the former, my gut tells me that despite an initial flurry, we're headed for the latter. Time will tell."

Friday's Seattle Radio Appearances-Markos and Jerome

"Markos and Jerome on The Dave Ross Show
Friday, April 7th, 2006 - 4 o'clock hour
710 KIRO AM Seattle Internet Stream Available

Jerome on Weekday (with other special guests)
Friday, April 7th, 2006 - 9 o'clock hour
KUOW 94.9 FM Seattle Internet Stream Available.""

-from Northwest Progressive Institute.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

April 29--WA Dems Neighbor-to-Neighbor Organizing Day

"There is nothing more meaningful than talking to someone in person. On April 29th, the Washington State Democrats are helping the DNC facilitate a nation-wide Neighbor-to-Neighbor Organizing Day. If you participate, you will be part of a community of Democrats across the country who are telling their community about the Democratic Party's vision for America.

We will give you the materials you need to go door to door, recruit volunteers, and build relationships. We will provide you with tips on canvassing, a suggested script, a doorhanger, and other materials.

We have set up canvasses for key areas. If you sign up, you will go to a staging location in that area where you can pick up materials and meet key organizers for the upcoming campaign. To find the location nearest you, go here and enter your zip code."- WA Dems Chair Dwight Pelz.

"Top Republican House Defenses"

Chris Bowers has this list on MyDD.

Can you guess which Republican House Member from Washington state makes the list?

Dean: "These guys are out of credibility"

"Chris Matthews talked to Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean about Tom DeLay's resignation and the upcoming elections in November. This is an excerpt from their conversation.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Governor Dean, as chairman of the National Committee of the Democratic Party, do you have anything to say about the possibility, the probability or even the chance that if the Democrats get control of the House of Representatives and the subpoena power, they’ll use it to investigate, impeach, or censure President Bush?

HOWARD DEAN: It's interesting, I think the real election issue in this election is do you want more of the same or do you want something different. We’re different. We’re not like the Republicans. We don’t jump to conclusions, we don’t think impeachment is as trivial as the Republicans seemed to think it was when they tried to impeach President Clinton.

I think we ought to stick with the facts, lets find out what the facts are. But this notion is automatically we are going to raise taxes, impeach the president, this is nonsense. This is right wing stuff and that’s why the Republicans are in such trouble. They just make this stuff up and they put it out there.

What we want to do is bring the country back together again. We want to bring this country back together again so everybody is respected and when we take power back in 2006. We'll do that in the Senate and the House.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Governor, let me ask you about Russ Feingold. He's out there, the Democratic senator from Wisconsin, saying that he would like to have the president censured for the National Security Agency’s electronic spying.

Do you think that’s something Democrats should be considering doing once you get the subpoena power that comes with the majority status in the Congress?

HOWARD DEAN: We can certainly look into all that stuff, and we would like to know what the president knew and when he knew it. But there is a lot to do in America, and revenge against the president is not the first thing on the Democratic Party agenda.

The first thing on our agenda is dealing with Iraq. The idea the president is going to leave this to the next president, I think, is a disgrace.

So, again, you know, sure, the president has not been honest with the American people. Undoubtedly, that is a huge problem. Something should be done about it, but that is not the first thing on our agenda."

-from MSNBC, with video.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Markos Interview in SF Chronicle

On his way to Seattle, Kos stopped in San Franciso and gave an interview to the daily newspaper there. It's a pretty good read. My favorite quote:
"I don't want my readers to be readers. I want them to be activists," Moulitsas said. "I want them to come to Daily Kos, learn about what's happening in the country. And then when all of that is done, I want them to turn off the computer, walk outside and talk to real people."
Kos will appear with Jerome Armstrong from MyDD on Friday, April 7, at 7pm at the Seattle Labor Temple. Thanks to my cyberboss at Booman Tribune for the tip.

Is “What We Can Get” Good Enough?

The (liberal) Girl Next Door answers:

The debate rages within the Democratic Party about whether or not the numbers matter more than the ideology. I understand the value in taking a pragmatic approach, especially considering that taking control of the Senate means Democrats will be chairing committees, able to bring important legislation to the floor that has been sitting dormant for the past five years and finally have the subpoena power that will allow them to really investigate the Bush administration and GOP corruption. That’s a pretty powerful motivator for sending even moderate and conservative Democrats back to the Senate, although I remain unconvinced that it’s the best long-term strategy for the Party.

I have stated in the past that I would rather lose by a large margin with a candidate that actually represents the ideals I believe in, than lose by a slim margin with a merely adequate one. But the climate has changed and it’s no longer a choice between losing and losing badly, now there is actually a chance to win. I’m not sure that the new math changes my opinion, but the possibility of a tourniquet made of an adequate majority is becoming harder and harder to resist. But with Senate incumbents enjoying a reelection rate of around 80% (and it’s even higher in the House), we better be ready to live with these barely adequate, anti-choice Democrats for years and years to come. A tourniquet will stop the bleeding, but it certainly won’t solve the problem.

Howie opinion: I think she is saying she'll take a Democratic senate, even if it includes the likes of Maria Cantwell.