Showing posts from February, 2005

still in the Big Doghouse

it's sweet, but it's also funny. I mean, what else is he gonna say ? In an interview with Japan's TV Asahi, [Bill] Clinton said he did not know whether his wife, the senator of New York state, has any plans to one day run for the presidency. "I don't know if she'll run or not," he told the network, but added, "She would make an excellent president, and I would always try to help her." [...] "If she did run and she was able to win, she'd make a very, very good president," Clinton said Sunday. "I think now she's at least as good as I was." Biden's comments were probably more noteworthy.

Dean on Darfur

In light of Brian's recent post on Darfur intervention, this recent column bears mentioning: "However, I have also said that the U.N. bears a portion of the blame for the Iraq war. The U.N. did not understand that sometimes action is necessary and talk is not enough. There is often too much dithering in the European Union and at the U.N. when action is needed. The shameful reluctance of the European Union to intervene forcefully in Bosnia in order to stop genocide is one such instance. The ultimate failure of the entire world community, including the United States, to stop the massacres in Rwanda is another example. "The U.N. does not seem to learn very fast." -- Howard Dean, August 17, 2004 more below the fold...   In Sudan, Africa's largest nation geographically, a terrible ethnic cleansing has been going on for more than a year in the western Darfur region where government sponsored Arabic speaking Sudanese militias have been systematically moving black Musl

Krauthammer: A fence to enforce peace

(cross-posted to City of Brass ) Charles Krauthammer has a very solid piece analyzing the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict , notably the two unilateral actions that Israel has undertaken, and how they fit into a general defensive strategy: 1. unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, and 2. building of the security fence (mostly) along the Green Line. Krauthammer is more neocon-esque than I and paints the security fence as essential to circumventing the perception that the Gaza withdrawal is a "reward" for terror; I personally think that the fence's merit stands on its own (pun unintended), and that the Gaza withdrawal was essentially an untenable over-exposure of the Israeli security posture to begin with. His point about the efficacy of the Gaza fence is well-taken, however. I have been convinced for some time that the fence is an essential step for peace, not as punishment of the Palestinians but rather as a means to thwart the " bomber's veto ". Most Pal

Toward a reality based foreign policy

A few weeks ago I came across as something of a petulant nitpicker when it came to the equivalence of the "Shia" of Iraq and the "Shia" of Iran and the possible implications of this in the development of our foreign policy. I noted in the comments that both sides of the political aisle tended to look at international issues through an extremely ideological lens. I think part of this is because few people make an effort to master the basic facts that are at issue, but plug in prefab values into their analogical equations. Let me be explicit about what I mean. Some people assume that Shia in Iraq ~ Shia in Iran. Iran is a "fundamentalist theocracy." Ergo, the probability is that Shia ascendency in Iraq will, by analogy, lead to "fundamentalist theocracy" in Iraq. This is very convenient for those who wish to undermine the Bush administration's policy in Iraq, so of course such people are not going to check their premises since the analogic

Everydayborday is Labor Day

Ezra Klein is determined to pay more attention to Labor issues , especially with the great fight ahead to unionize WalMart. Note that demonizing Wal-Mart is not the key here - as laborGuru Nathan Newman notes :   Wal-Mart is no doubt here to stay as part of the fabric of our economy. But just as the anti-union auto corporations of the 1920s were forced to improve job conditions for their workers in the 1930s and 1940s by a combination of legislation and union organizing, so too must we work to force Wal-Mart to become a responsible employer that is a net contributor to labor standards, and not a drain on our public resources. Or, more succinctly by Matthew Yglesias: Give me a unionized WalMart with decent labor policies, and I'll happily let the colossus stamp out America's mom and pop stores if that's what the market demands. Quite so. The important point is that corporations provide jobs too. Equalizing the playing field of wages and benefits will mean that a job at Wal

Saudia Arabia Latest

Dan Drezner says that reform there is happening but slow. John Burgess has a long post about Ahmed Omar Abu Ali. He says that the Saudi government has undertaken education reforms and that it doesn't logically follow that his school was the cause of his (at this point, still alleged) embrace of terrorism. Osama Bin Laden's half-brother Yeslam got his trademark back . Saudi lawyer Mohsen al-Awajy says that extremists have a secret media network by which they keep track of the deaths of Saudis who are fighting in Iraq. Another AP article says that up to 2,500 Saudis have gone to fight in Iraq because it is easier than fighting at home. Many of them are going through Syria because it's not hard to get visas. There's a lot more detail in the piece, so check it out.

connect the Hillary-shaped dots

Fresh off a trip to Iraq where she called for an increase in the size of the US military, Hillary is visiting India , the world's most populous democracy, and meeting with Sonia Ghandi , the president of the Congress Party, and wife of a previous Prime Minister:   She is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and a few senior Opposition leaders over the three days that she will spend in New Delhi,” says New York-based Indian American hotelier Sant Chatwal who is the driving force behind Senator Clinton’s visit. [...] Bipartisan observers feel that the high-profile visit by Senator Clinton, who is the co-chair of the 35-member India caucus in the US Senate, could also be a sign of the Democratic Party’s outreach to the Indian American constituency which seems to be moving closer to the Republican dispensation since the presidential elections in the US last year. As the India Times article mentions, Hillary leads all other contenders in

A Doctrine for Darfur

Much of my early intellectual formation took place in a world characterized by genocide. I watched the Bosnian genocide unfold while the world stood by, a conflict brought home by the fact I went to high school and college with two Bosnian girls. At the same time, I remember seeing CNN's reports from Rwanda, another preventable tragedy in which nothing happened. We now know just how staggering the death toll there was, and the world entered into a new round of "never again." The main impact these events had on me was an awareness of how ignorance kills, and on a massive scale. By this I mean in part the ignorance of those who perpetrate genocide about those whom they destroy. I also mean, in ways that strike closest to home professionally, the ignorance of those who can do something about the world's conflicts, which the media too often reduces to inscrutable timeless enmities, as if the fact Serb nationalist leaders evoke the Field of Blackbirds means that the B

repeal the 22nd?

Personally, I favor repealing the 17th, but this was amusing: The 1947 Republican revenge against Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that's why. I'm referring, of course, to the 22nd Amendment, which limits Americans to only two terms as president. These members of Congress see Bush as a lame duck who is an obstacle to their own overriding duty and ambition — their re-election. For that reason, for the good of the office of the presidency, and the sake of our nation, the 22nd Amendment must be repealed. Heh, "for the sake of our nation" eh? But sure, bring it on . But the issue is an interesting one. I am generally against term limits for congressmen on principle but concede their neccessity due to the partisanship of redistricting gerrymandering. I'd rather abolish the latter than suffer the former. What is the argument for term limits on the Executive Branch? Is there one that isn't just another variation on "hey their/our guy is popular, let's stop/help hi

Iran in June?

Scott Ritter is alleged to have claimed that the Bish Administration is allegedly planning to attack Iran in June 2005. Ritters comments have not yet been confirmed. So treat this as rumor. But it is an interesting speculation. Remember, Scott Ritter was right about Iraq's WMD. But would he be right about this? The excerpt below the fold suggest that the President has already approved strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, as early as this summer. The motivation, supposedly argues Ritter, is the neocons' desire to trigger a "chain of events" which will facilitate regime change. Also remember, the neocons were wrong about post-war Iraq. But would they be wrong about that? I think that the assumption that an American strike on Iran would set off a chain of events is accurate. But where such a chain would lead seems an enormous gamble. Much more so than Iraq. I'm highly skeptical, but if you'd asked me if we would have invaded Iraq before the WMD inspec


Aziz P. writes : I have noticed a disturbing tendency at both kos and mydd to accuse the Shia government in Iraq of being an "Iranian ally". This is presumably a talking point against Bush's foreign policy. Unfortunately it demonizes both Iran and Iraq unfairly and obscures the legitimate security concerns related to both countries. Plus it also subtly damages the image of Islam itself - because the implication is that voting for muslim values is a fundamentalist rather than a socially conservative act. I have to admit that I myself have been wary of the Iraqi Shi'ites. If I have verged into demonization, I apologize. I can't speak for MyDD's or Kos's commenters. [UPDATE (Aziz) - see my discussion with Jerome at myDD. ] Read on below.   Let me say first that I do believe in secular government in general, because I believe that public policy ought to be based on public reason. At the same time, however, I recognize that secularism that is percieved as anti

pissing matches

When is judicial activism ok? When it's conservative judicial activism, apparently. Last year, the Senate worked to confirm 204 of the President's judicial nominees and rejected only the 10 most extreme . This confirmation record is better than that achieved by President Clinton, President George H.W. Bush and President Reagan . Despite our unprecedented effort to work with the President in discharging our constitutional duty to advise and consent to his nominees, today he renominated 7 of the 10 rejected nominees. We should not divert attention from other pressing issues facing this nation to redebate the merits of nominees already found too extreme by this Chamber. To replay this narrow and completed debate demonstrates the Bush Administration's failure to craft a positive agenda for the American people. Harry Reid, Senate minority leader. I'm starting to like this guy. Given that the Democrats have not by any metric been obstructionist on confirmations (accordin

Obligatory post on Eason Jordan

Below the fold is a relevant excerpt. I verified this with a friend of mine who is a producer at CNN. I think it speaks for itself, and I share Kevin Drum's concern . However, Kevin is wrong about one thing - the Left blogsphere has indeed had some positive successes , not just collecting scalps.   Eason Jordan resigned , though it's pretty clear that he did not say what has been attributed to him by the scalp hunters on the right. Though no transcript of Mr. Jordan's remarks at Davos on Jan. 27 has been released, the panel's moderator, David Gergen, editor at large of U.S. News & World Report, said in an interview last night that Mr. Jordan had initially spoken of soldiers, "on both sides," who he believed had been "targeting" some of the more than four dozen journalists killed in Iraq. Almost immediately after making that assertion, Mr. Jordan, whose title at CNN had been executive vice president and chief news executive, "quickly walked

WE WIN - one fight

Reward good behavior - and remind Howard Dean who's boss :) Contribution amount: $ $72173.63 and counting (as of Saturday evening). Help counter-freep this Yahoo story while you are at it. Why donate? Remember what we are fighting for - and what we are fighting against. we fight for the rule of law. They don't : (1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and shall waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary's sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section. We fight for moral justice. They don't . The provision Rep. Markey referred to is contained in Section 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, the "9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004," introduced by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). The provision would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue new regulations to exclude f

2008 Top 10 - 02/05

Greetings residents of the Dean Nation. My name is Chris and I run a blog called Forty-Four . The purpose of my site is to keep tabs on the Democrats planning on seeking the party's presidential nomination in 2008. We still have a looong way to go before the campaign officially starts, but believe me it's well under way. I'll keep you posted periodically on the contenders and what their chances are. 1. NY Sen. Hillary Clinton - Whether you like it or not she is the '800 lb. Gorilla' of this group. Until the campaign actually begins in early 2007, the ones with high name recognition will be considered the front runners by the mainstream media and meaningless polls . 2004's name recognition leader, Joe Lieberman, was the front runner in the '04 race until primary voters started paying attention. But regardless, the Clinton name will be very tough to beat if she decides to run. 2. Fmr. NC Sen. John Edwards - Because he was no. 2 on the ticket last year, the

How not to react to Iraq?

David Holiday has a few interesting posts related to the Iraqi elections. David's first post-- Surviving the Embrace of Bush --quotes extensively from this Henrik Hertzberg piece that takes a harder look at the 1967 Vietnam elections that were discussed last week on DailyKos and Political Animal : Iraq is not Vietnam, and Iraq’s election was not like Vietnam’s in 1967. The latter was a winner-take-all presidential and vice-presidential “contest,” staged on American orders. The predetermined winners were the military strongmen already in power, Generals Nguyen Van Thieu and Nguyen Cao Ky. The exercise was as meaningless as one of those plebiscites by which the cowed citizens of banana republics ratify whichever colonel or corporal has lately mounted a coup. The Iraq election was the real thing. Voters had a choice of a hundred and eleven party lists, ranging from Communists to theocrats to secularists. (The murderous “security situation” made personal campaigning next to

Turning of the Tide

Hello to all and thanks to Aziz for inviting me to post on Dean Nation. I regularly post on Gene Expression and thus my themes revolve around genetics, evolutionary psychology, behavioral economics, etc. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of genetics, public policy and how politics will change from the rise of these factors. I'd like to take a look at how political alliances will shift with the rise of genetic technologies: Glenn Reynolds points to Alyssa Ford's essay on the political realignment likely to follow the rise of genetic engineering, but she's about 3 years too late to the party for this has been discussed quite frequently on Gene Expression . Perhaps, Glenn and Alyssa should come and vist more often. While those on the Right have labeled their mavericks as EvolCons and I'm not sure that the Left has yet come to the stage of labeling, Ford frames the schism as Biopolitics. Biopolitics, a term coined by Trinity College professor James Hug

Kerry interview

There's an excellent interview with Kerry at the Boston Globe. Partr of the interview reveals that Kerry intends to sign Form 180 releasing all his military records. Note that Bush did release some records, but never as many as Kerry had released during the campaign, and Form 180 will make Kerry's record even more open for review. He has also challenged Bush and the Swift Boat group to do the same - and I think we know that will never happen. excerpyt, and slight rant, below the fold... The furor over military credentials hasn't ended with the campaign. Kerry pledged to sign Form 180, releasing all of his military records, but challenged his critics, including Bush, to do the same. ''I want them to sign it, I want [swift boat veterans] John O'Neill, Roy Hoffmann, and what's their names, the guys on the other boat," Kerry said. ''I want their records out there. They have made specific allegations about my record, I know things about

Gonzales and torture

For posterity I have compiled some good editorials (below the fold) on why Alberto Gonzales had to be opposed, and why supporting him for Attorney General is a black mark upon the righteousness of our claim to moral leadership in the War against Terror and the broader cause of universal liberty. I invite others to contribute links - or comments - both in support and against Gonzales' nomination yesterday. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) , on the Senate floor at the close of the debate over Gonzales' nomination: We are a nation at war--a war in Iraq and a war against terrorism -- but this war does not give our civilian leaders the authority to cast aside the laws of armed conflict, nor does it allow our Commander in Chief to decide which laws apply and which laws do not apply. To do so puts, I repeat, our own soldiers and our Nation at risk. But that is what has occurred under the direction and coordination of the man seeking to be Attorney General of the United States,

Dean hates Republicans?

Dean is alleged to have said at the recent meeting in New York, "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for". I remain skeptical, though I have sent out several feelers to old contacts within the campaign and at DFA to see if I can verify the statement. I'll share what I learn, of course. Frankly, the first I heard about it was on NewsMax (referred to by Adam). I don't believe he actually said it unless I see a transcript by a more neutral source. The Jacoby piece in the Globe is just a retelling and not original coverage of the alleged statement. And even if he did say that sentence fragment, I don't think it's any more logical to conclude he actually hates good people like Adam than it is to conclude that Tom Coburn genuinely thinks Brad Carson is evil [AP 9/2/04] or that the good people of Oklahoma City are " crapheads ." [Washington Post 9/12/04] But if the statement is going to be taken literally, I find it rather selective to be outr

Coleman (R-MN) to vote against Chertoff for SecHomeDef?

The junior senator from Minnesota, Norm Coleman, is angry about teh way that the Twin Cities are being underfunded by teh Administration - and plans to vote against Secretary of Homelamd Defense nominee Michael Chertoff to register his protest. I think that this is a noble position, because loyalty to constituents should trump party loyalties. If more Senators excercised this kind of judgement on the behalf of their states, then the function of Congress as a Chek and Balance upon the Executive Branch would be all the firmer. Kudos to Coleman for taking a stand. It doesn't matter what party he is a member of. On this, he is doing the right thing (assuming that the Administration doesn't successfully browbeat him down). Coleman may vote against Chertoff over funding snag Updated: 02-03-2005 09:40:02 AM WASHINGTON (AP) - Senator Norm Coleman says he's not willing to support Homeland Security nominee Michael Chertoff because of security funding cuts to the Twi

Blinking without thinking

Recently I've been helping out a friend with setting up a conservative Democratic website. By "conservative," I really mean a combination of mostly social moderation, with a few conservative elements, and generally a liberal New/Fair Deal outlook on fiscal issues. My own personal politics tend to shift in the other direction as far as implementation goes, that is, I am not that far off the "socially liberal + fiscally conservative" stereotype, though I'm a pragmatist about it (I'm consistently a moderate right-libertarian on Political Compass ). Nevertheless I have no qualms about helping out my friend, in part because I'm getting paid for it, in part because politics isn't a great burning interest that I take personally, and in part because I think that genuine social conservatives + fiscal liberals need to have a stronger voice to balance out the discourse in this country (I also happen to think social liberals + fiscal conservatives also n