"We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that's what this election is about." -- Barack Obama, DNC keynote address, July 2004

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to netvibes

website stats

Netflix, Inc.
ThinkGeek T-Shirts will make you cool!
illy coffee - 2 cans, 2 mugs for just $26.

Monday, May 31, 2004


Deanlink data update

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, May 31, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The campaign definitely did NOT authorize the use of the data on Deanlink by any third party. I was personally contacted by three former staffers who gave me their word.

So how did the data get to Plink? As several commentators pointed out, the DeanLink data was stored in public FOAF (RDF / XML) files on the web. As a result, a well-designed spider could crawl through DeanLink and extract the information. I had thought that these feeds were locked behind a registration barrier, but apparently the feeds were designed to be read publicly. The feeds are still active - check out this example.

Some people expressed concern that other data might also have been sold, such as one who starte getting Kerry solicitations without asking for it. Rest assured that the Kerry campaign is using mailing lists also compiled from public sources, and this isn't an issue. I myself have received Nader and even Bush mailings, which is kind of funny. However, it's entirely possible that email adresses were not protected, which would be typical beaior but not alarming.

Overall I am satisfied and relieved that the campaign did not actively sell private data. However I had assumed that Deanlink data was indeed private, and when I registered there was no indication in their privacy statement that I was putting myself on an open database accessible by unprotected feeds. At the very least, DFA had a duty to share the details of how Deanlink operated with more transparency so this kind of rude surprise would not have occurred (and there would have been no need for me to question their practices, either).

Hat tip to BenT for most of the links and being patient :)

Sunday, May 30, 2004


Bob Faust for Congress

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, May 30, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Bob Faust is running for Congress in CO-4. Here are some of his issues:

"Faust Health Care Plan" is a basic foundation for a National Preventive Health Care Program that will ensure ALL Americans have health care coverage

the Equal Rights Amendment should be "given new life" and expanded from addressing only gender - to include race, ethnicity, age, nationality, religion, heritage, and sexual orientation.

Our government must not only be fiscally responsible in its taxing and spending, it must also assure all people are called upon to contribute in a manner that is consistent with the principles of equality and impartiality.

Faust is a Republican. I've long argued that a progressive agenda is completely consistent with conservative values - for example, nationalized health care (if done properly) can be a huge relief to small businesses and provide for job growth, by removing the burden of benefits from their shoulders. Faust is doing hard work in trying to stake a position on these issues within the bounds of conservatism and it's a thanksless task for which he no doubt is labeled a RINO by his party peers.

The challenge to us who believed in Howard Dean's vision of a single, united America is to look past the (R) after Faust's name and recognize a kindred spirit. You can't build a bridge without an opposite side to reach towards.

Friday, May 28, 2004


My Life by Bill Clinton

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, May 28, 2004 permalink 3 comments View blog reactions

Won't be released until June 22nd, but already ranked #5 on Amazon and #8 on the New York Times.

Thursday, May 27, 2004


did the Dean campaign sell their user data?

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, May 27, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I had registered for Deanlink during the campaign. My registration data, and friends' lists through the Dean Commons, did not stay there. . It seems that Deanlink's data has found it's way into this new site,, intact. If you registered for Deanlink, you are probably in plink's database as well.

This is really somewhat disturbing. What did the Dean campaign do with the contact information of people who donated through our site? What else did the campaign sell? How many privacy concerns does this raise?

UPDATE: the campaign did not sell the data, thankflly. But there are still some proivacy issues here - check out this subsequent post for more details.


Lay off the Bush twins

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, May 27, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Ted Barlow speaks truth. President Bush's daughters are off-limits in the bounds of civil discourse. Not for electoric strategy reasons but for simple human decency. Until they strike out on their own and become public figures in their own right, they should be granted a measure of privacy from scrutiny.


Columnist Dean?

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, May 27, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This seems legitimate:

Former Vermont governor, and presidential candidate Howard Dean has a new job as a newspaper columnist.

Dean has signed a deal with a California firm that will distribute his column to about 700 newspapers across the country.

Laura Gross, a spokeswoman for Dean's Democracy for America organization, says the column will give Dean a chance to talk about political issues.

Dean's first column will run next week.

Also, don't miss this decent column on AlterNet that sums up Dean's DFA goals pretty well. I think that a column will give Dean a chance to maintain his public spotlight.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Dean, Edwards, and Soros

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, May 26, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
On June 3rd, all three will be addressing the "Take Back America" conference. Check out this newswire report for more details:

Campaign for America's Future co-directors Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey today announced that philanthropist George Soros, Senator John Edwards, D-N.C. and Governor Howard Dean, D-Vt. will address the organization's 2004 "Take Back America" conference on Thursday, June 3, 2004.

Thousands of progressive leaders, experts and activists will gather in Washington to "Take Back America" at the Campaign for America's Future's conference Wednesday, June 2nd through Friday, June 4th. The conference will bring together all of the groups working hard this year, independent of the Democratic Party, to change the national debate, to challenge the Right and to promote a positive agenda for change.

The full conference Agenda is available on-line at, and there are a lot of other speakers and plenary sessions. Anyone in the Washington area who might be able to attend?


Politics Without Ego

posted by Dana at Wednesday, May 26, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The second edition of the "Dean Dozen" has arrived, and a pattern is starting to emerge.

The new Howard Dean is without ego. He said during the campaign this wasn't about him, and he's as good as his word. He's becoming as useful an ex-candidate as Jimmy Carter is an ex-President.

What the "Dean Dozen" is about is highlighting people who were inspired to run by Dean, and who have a commitment to Dean's principles, no matter what they're running for, no matter whether they're incumbents, no matter (even) whether their race is "strategic."

How else do you explain Don McDaniel, a candidate for the Georgia General Assembly from heavily-Republican Gwinnett County. Don works in the tax law department of Cingular Wireless, and first got involved with politics last year through Georgia for Dean. (Of course he has a blog.)

Does Don stand a chance? Maybe, maybe not -- I don't know. Would he make a decent and thoughtful representative? I have little doubt of that.

And it's that, along with his support of Howard Dean, that put Don on the second Dean Dozen.

You see, it's not about Howard any more. It's about us. It's about getting us off our duffs, getting us involved, getting us into the rough-and-tumble of political effort, so we can make this country into something we can be proud of again.

I've criticized Howard Dean many times. I will again. But I am proud of him. He's a good man, and would have been a Great President.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Texas Tuesdays: Max Sandlin

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, May 25, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Charles Kuffner's new site devoted to Texas congressional races:

this week's Texas Tuesdays effort is on Max
Sandlin, who has a brand-new campaign website and an opponent who just fed
at the Cheney fundraising trough. Intro post is here, more to come in a
little while:
As always, thanks very much for helping us get the word out.


I've been remiss in advertising Texas Tuesdays before due to my preparations for my Kyoto trip, but we will feature it every week henceforth. Kudos to Charles for his efforts (and everyone else over at TT).


Nominating Kerry has not made us safer

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, May 25, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
sorry for the obligatory jab at Kerry, but Matthew Yglesias' piece revisiting Dean's then-infamous and now-prophetic statement that "capturing Saddam Hussein has not made America any safer" really brought up some serious feelings of loss here. Go read the piece in full, it deserves full attention rather than selective quotation.

However, in another way, the article does highlight just how disastrous in the political sense it was for Dean's most attractive quality, his plain-spoken bluntness, was as a liability. Dean would have been chewed to pieces by the Bush campaign by now in a way that Kerry has weathered remarkabbly well, and I grudgingly concede that Kerry's war record gravitas has been far more of an asset given teh instability in Iraq than I had previously thought.

All this leaves me wishing more for Dean to be active as Kerry's proxy, saying what can't be said by teh candidate proper, but still making the blunt statements of fact that get noticed. Dean probably hasn't been tapped by the Kerry campaign for fear of sclipsing the candidate, and that's a shame because Dean is raw ammunition just waiting to be used. I misshis presence on teh stage and I think his value as an asset is likely underestimated by Kerry. Especially now that they are allies rather than opponents.

Monday, May 24, 2004


Strange bedfellows, indeed

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, May 24, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
reprinted from the Times without comment. Make of it what you wil:

Apparently Mr. Bush is not the only American capable of bringing Democrats together. Ralph Nader is doing his part, too.

A group of former Democratic enemies announced Wednesday that they had formed a group called the National Progress Fund to woo Mr. Nader's supporters into the party with a television and an Internet campaign warning that a vote for Mr. Nader could help elect Mr. Bush.

The group's president is Tricia Enright, who was the communications director for Howard Dean's campaign. Among her colleagues are John Hlinko and Chris Kofinis, who were credited with pushing Gen. Wesley K. Clark into the race.

The idea for the group came from David W. Jones, a Democratic fundraiser who was behind Americans for Jobs, Health Care and Progressive Values, which ran scathing attack advertisements against Dr. Dean. One showed Osama bin Laden's face as an announcer questioned Dr. Dean's defense credentials.

In December, when Mr. Jones refused to divulge his group's funding sources, Ms. Enright called the advertisement "hateful" and said of him and his group, "Whoever is behind this should crawl out from underneath their rock and have the courage to say who they are." What is it like working with Mr. Jones now? "Democrats have to come together from all walks of life," Ms. Enright said, "and even from under their rocks."


President Temporary

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, May 24, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Temporary was George W. Bush's nickname in the Skull and Bones Society at Yale. Why? Because he was too lazy to think of one for himself:

[Bush], never fond of Eastern elitism, seriously considered joining a different secret society at Yale less known for ancient rituals than for its parties. Although he acceded to his father's wishes, he became a relatively unenthusiastic member who did not even bother thinking up the requisite Bones name for himself. He ended up being called Temporary.

Given the latest polls, I think it still fits. In fact, given Bush's governing style, it really fits. I think a Google-bomb is in order.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


Russ Feingold

posted by Brian Ulrich at Tuesday, May 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act looks secure, even in a swing state like Wisconsin. This, my friends, is proof that standing up for the values of the Democratic party is not a ticket to defeat. We can't be complacent, though - given how few Americans follow politics closely, there's always a huge reserve of people who don't have clear opinions of officeholders other than the President. Unless we keep pushing our message, the GOP will be all they have to listen to.


Dean Dozen

posted by Brian Ulrich at Tuesday, May 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Early tomorrow morning I fly to Morocco for two months, so don't expect much posting from me. (as if that will be a change) In the meantime, though, what do we think of the Dean Dozen?

Friday, May 14, 2004


Off to Kyoto

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, May 14, 2004 permalink 5 comments View blog reactions
Hey everyone - I apologise for the lack of blogging recently, I've been preparing for my trip to Kyoto to attend the ISMRM conference. I leave tomorrow morning, and plan to blog my trip at UNMEDIA, so do stop by if you're interested (or have any travel advice :).

When I get back the following week, things will pick up - I am considering a new look for Dean Nation as a combination weblog and discussion forum. What I really need is feedback from all of you however, on what you want to see and what you think we should be focusing on. So chime in and let's talk about the future of our community.


The New Bigotry

posted by Dana at Friday, May 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Since David Brooks launched his Media Matters Web site, aimed at documenting the right-wing media conspiracy's excesses, one big story has emerged.

That is a new, violent anti-Arab bigotry that reminds me (as a Southerner) of nothing so much as another rising of the KKK. It started with Limbaugh -- Brooks documents both the statements and the condemnation -- but it has now extended throughout the right, to Savage, Oliver North, and Dick Morris.

Lee Harris at TechCentral Station has documented the view and found it widespread. He is plainly worried:

Many Americans simply wish the Arabs would go away; others wish to blow them away -- and wish to blow them away not because they see this step as inevitable and tragic, but because they rejoice at the prospect of getting them back for what they have done to us. Most normal Americans today just don't care any more about the Arabs and their welfare, or about their humiliation, or about their historical grievances, simply because all the images that come to us from their world horrify and appall us, including the disturbing images of Americans doing things that no normal American would ever dream of doing to other people back at home, if only because they would never be given the opportunity.

This is how most normal Americans now feel, but they dare not express it in public. But make no mistake, this feeling will be expressed -- somehow, somewhere: a fact of which our leaders and the world must be made aware before it occurs.

Matthew Yglesias says we should be, too:

I'm foreseeing an ugly future. Kerry wins the election and begins the slow, painful process of rebuilding the American military, American alliances, and American global credibility. Meanwhile, on the right a new "stab in the back" theory has already emerged and the forces of resentment are growing. "We came to help them and they turned on us -- now they must pay!"

The question for Dean Nation is, are we worried? Should we be worried? In the short run, this "hate all Arabs" view can be manipulated to our benefit, as a reason to get out of Iraq. In the longer run, the same people can then turn on us as traitors for doing just what they wanted us to do in getting out. "Who Lost Iraq" would become the new McCarthyism's cry, as "Who Lost China" was two generations ago.

We are in the process of dehumanizing 1 billion people, based on the images of this war, and unleashing a hatred on the right that, lacking Arabs to kill, could easily consume all of us.

So how do we respond?

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Keep Rumsfeld

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, May 12, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
You know, it's hard for me to sign onto the movement to force Rumsfeld tor resign. The single biggest reason is because I don't think the buck stops at the Secretary of Defense - I hold the President accountable for failures of leadership. Bush didn't know of the Abu Ghraib torture until seeing the pictures on television. By calling for Rumsfeld's resignation, we are giving Bush yet another avenue of escape from his responsibility. And should we succeed, then the Case will be Closed as far as the public is concerned - especially after the barbaric beheading of Peter Berg. Already the White House is refusing to release the additional torture photos - firing Rumsfeld would ensure they never see the light of day.

I'm willing to wait until November for Rumsfeld - and the entire Administration - to be fired. Our country will be better for it. And by keeping Rumsfeld on-board, the current (and assuredly temporary) diligence of the media in keeping a focus on the Administration's failures of command will continue.

Every day that Bush-Cheney-04 spends defending Rumsfeld is one day they can't smear Kerry. Rumsfeld's time will come. As will Bush's himself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004



posted by Dana at Tuesday, May 11, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

Sen. Inhofe (R-OK): First of all, I regret I wasn't here on Friday. I was unable to be here. But maybe it's better that I wasn't because as I watch this outrage that everyone seems to have about the treatment of these prisoners I have to say and I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment.

The idea that these prisoners, they're not there for traffic violations. If they're in cell block 1A or 1B, these prisoners, they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents, and many of them probably have American blood probably on their hands and here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals.

During today's hearing on Abu Ghraib Inhofe went on in this vein for some time, pronouncing himself "outraged by the outrage."

Senator McCain walked out. Other Republicans are being asked which side they're on, Inhofe's or McCain's?

I think we at Dean Nation have an opportunity here. Is there any way to get a dignified demonstration at Inhofe's Oklahoma office against these remarks?

Even a flash mob would be worthwhile...


Humanitarian Aid in Afghanistan

posted by Brian Ulrich at Tuesday, May 11, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Some of you may remember that we are currently fighting a war in Afghanistan against people who attacked us on September 11. Here's a news clip related to that:

"The US-led coalition in Afghanistan has distributed leaflets calling on people to provide information on al-Qaida and the Taliban or face losing humanitarian aid. The move has outraged aid organisations who said their work is independent of the military and it was despicable to pretend otherwise.

"Medécins Sans Frontières, the international medical charity which passed the leaflets to the Guardian, said the threat endangered aid workers. Fourteen aid workers were killed in Afghanistan last year and 11 so far this year.

"After examining the leaflets yesterday Britain and the US said they had been a mistake and it was not their policy to link aid with military operations in that way. The decision to distribute the leaflets had been made at a local level, they said.

"Last night the Pentagon said it would instruct forces in the field and those on future training courses not to repeat the mistake. Joseph Collins, deputy assistant secretary at the Pentagon, said: "I have seen the leaflets in question. While they were no doubt well-intentioned, they do not reflect US policy. The United States does not condition humanitarian assistance on the provision of intelligence.

"The leaflets were distributed by US forces in Zabul province, which borders Pakistan and where the Taliban have regained control of several districts.

"One of the leaflets, showing an Afghan carrying a bag of provisions, reads: 'In order to continue the humanitarian aid, pass over any information related to Taliban, al-Qaida or Gulbuddin organisations to the coalition forces.' The latter reference is to the renegade warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is believed to have allied himself with the Taliban."

There's more at the link.


Monday, May 10, 2004



posted by Brian Ulrich at Monday, May 10, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Let it be known that I am furious with the way George W. Bush and his administration have run this country. I've felt that way for at least a couple of months now, but it's taken this long to calm down enough to post it. It is difficult for a President not to do some good things, and the raw power of the United States is such that there will always be some successes. However, this only serves to make catastrophic mistakes more glaring. The cost to this country of the Bush administration - in terms of national security, global moral authority, and on a number of domestic fronts - has been high even discounting partisan issues like abortion or the nature of the tax burden. And some of those costs we are going to be living with for years to come.

The above is cross-posted from my blog, and I know there's not much substance. I may find something interesting later in the day. Until then, let this be an open thread.

Saturday, May 08, 2004


Daily Review

posted by barb at Saturday, May 08, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
On return to Statehouse, Dean urges Dems to organize

You Broke the Bat

Arianna Huffington, Joe Trippi Challenge Kerry to "Go Big"

Thursday, May 06, 2004


demand more

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, May 06, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I hate disagreeing with Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis, but I think it would be suicidal to vote against the $25b request for Iraq and Afghanistan. First of all, the money is badly needed for body armor, etc. Second, the war in Afghanistan is underfunded as it is. Third, there's still a Homeland Defense Credibility gap to cross with swing undecided voters, and voting against this money gives all too easy a soundbite to the opposition (Tom Delay already invoked the Support Our Troops meme).

What Kerry has to do is demand more money - about $40b. Make the discrepancy large enough that it becomes a wedge between Bush and the fiscal conservatives. Kerry needs to emphasise that this war has been fought on the cheap with poor planning, and that the troops still don't have the body armor they need. Given that the Senate will grill Rumsfeld on the failures of training and discipline, Kerry's message that the troops are not being supported by the Administration will resonate.

I don't see a flaw in asking for more money - either Bush refuses, and erodes his own credibility, or concedes in which case Kerry gets the credit and Bush inherits the consequences from within the GOP.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


The Growing Iraq Split

posted by Dana at Wednesday, May 05, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Iraq War is quietly splitting the Democratic Party.

Howard Dean opposed the war, but his position was "we broke it, we must fix it, we can't bug out."

Unfortunately, the situation since his campaign has gone completely FUBAR. Our reputation is in tatters, our best-and-brightest are getting killed left-and-right, we left Fallujah to a Saddam-ite general, we're leaving Najaf to Shi'ite mullahs, and our boy Ahmad Chalabi is now playing footsie with the Iranians.

As a result a growing chorus is crying "get out." The main choice seems to be between a Bush Administration that will throw a fig leaf on its retreat and a Kerry alternative that "we were duped" but we've got to get in deeper.

That's no choice. Thus, Nader's share in the polls is growing.

Anyone see a way out? Discuss.

Monday, May 03, 2004


The Howard Dean Show

posted by Brian Ulrich at Monday, May 03, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
According to Reuters, Howard Dean is considering hosting a TV talk show. I think this is something that would really help progressive causes in the United States, as Dean - in contrast to many liberals who have tried - has an aggressive personality that would make for interesting viewing and cutting commentary. However, one should emphasize that politicians are often rumored to be considering joining the fourth estate, and it might be best to take an "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude until something formal comes out.


Patriot Act

posted by Brian Ulrich at Monday, May 03, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Defenders of the Patriot Act often claim that no one has pointed to any specific cases where the act has been abused. However, as this post by my friend Joe Gratz reveals, some of the act's provisions require such deep secrecy that abuses wouldn't be reported without violating the law itself.

(Not a true Dean post, but still relevant to our concerns. Cross-posted at my blog.)

Sunday, May 02, 2004


November is a referendum on incumbent leadership

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, May 02, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I've got a lengthy post at the Kerry Skeptic blog discussing elections from the perspective of being a test on Leadership. I think it's the essential purpose of the vote, and for this election specifically an argument that needs to be made to former Dean supporters, leaning Nader supporters, and even disaffected conservatives. Do take a look.

Election 2008 feed

Nation-Building feed


View blog top tags
The Assault on Reason

Obama 2008 - I want my country back

I want my country back - Obama 2008

About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.