Showing posts from February, 2007

mission accomplished

Mullah Omar, who deserves to burn in hell for appropriating the title of Amir al-mumineen for himself alone, is back . He's spent the last five years building up the Taliban infrastructure and alliances: After the Taliban's fall, Mullah Omar effectively vanished. Still, he did not quit the jihad. As his men regrouped, he gradually emerged from hiding and in 2004 began traveling from camp to camp in remote Taliban-held areas. Only a few trusted assistants know where the fugitive leader is now. But wherever he is hidden, he is closer than ever to many of his followers-not only to long- neglected fighters like Ghul Agha, but even to members of the Taliban's ruling council, the Shura, Newsweek reports. In the past, according to Mullah Rahman, the group's deputy commander in Zabul province, it could take six weeks for senior Taliban officials to send a message to the leader and get a reply. Now, thanks to the Taliban's military gains and growing network of messengers and

Gore rules out bid for US White House in 2008

"I have no intention to run for president," Gore said in an interview conducted in Los Angeles and broadcast Thursday by the BBC. "I can't imagine in any circumstance to run for office again," said the former Democratic vice president under then-president Bill Clinton. What is there to really say about this? It's a direct quote, with as clear phrasing as you might imagine. I think the Draft Gore fundraising by ActBlue is still worth keeping, though, seeing as the funds go to the DNC (and Howard Dean's 50-state strategy) if Gore doesn't run. Gore for Senate? UPDATE: So close! Drat that music!!!

Personal attacks on Clinton: deja vu

Markos essentially declares Senator Hillary Clinton to be a nonstarter. I think he's wasting the netroots political capital; and that decision isn't his to make. Kos argues , I don't want her to apologize. I want her to say, "I made a mistake." Edwards did it. Just about every other Democrat who idiotically trusted this president and supported the war has done it. Had Hillary done this last year, the issue would be moot. And does she really want to argue that her vote wasn't wrong? The thing is, that by insisting that her vote was wrong, Kos is the one who is legitimizing the war , not Hillary. Clinton's position - that she stands by her vote, but in retrospect realizes she was misled by the Administration - is reasonable . The context of the AUMF was that the Administration would try diplomacy, would consult with allies, would allow the inspectors to do their job, etc. That was the case that the Administration made to the Congress, using Colin Powell as t

Richardson: A New Realism

Video of Richardson's speech about foreign policy and Iraq at the CSIS is now online. The AP has a summary as well.

Withdrawal is victory?

I hate that there seem to be no good options in Iraq. Staying? Surging? Withdrawing? All options seem to do nothing to address the underlying problem of violence and strife. But one of my assumptions has been that however bad things are, they could be worse - and would indeed be worse should US forces leave. Which is why I've been against outright withdrawal. I do unequivocally reject the argument that opposing a "surge" in troops amounts to endorsing failure, an argument that the Administration's water carriers have been making with ferocity. If you can't acknowledge that liberals debating the war do so out of the same desire a solution that results in less threat to the United States, and instead bleat about "victory" without thought to what form it must take as constrained by events on the ground, then we can't and shouldn't debate it. We are on different planets. Best of luck to you. But surges aside, withdrawal is really the important issu

Israel's surge of despair

An article in Salon makes the case that US policies, domestic scandal, and the Lebanese war have all contributed to a serious malaise within the Israeli government and a general pessimism about the outcome of the forces raging in Iraq, in terms of their long-term impact upon Israeli security. This article is important because Israel's security is important; as Israel is arguably the sole stable AND liberal nation in the middle east, any threat to it is a threat to the dream that all peoples in the middle east will someday be free. Any articulation of foreign policy that promotes liberty as a universal human value must always be assessed in terms of the stability of Israel; but not at the expense of the freedoms themselves. This is why the mantra, "Jewishness, Greater Israel, Democracy: pick two" is so important. Ultimately, Israel needs security for its democracy to flourish. Utterly dependent upon American patronage, and wedded to its western identity as it is, Israel is

Edwards as urban populist?

Nonpartisan argues that Edwards' rhetoric about the poor reveals him to be more of an urban populist than a rural one . I certainly agree that there is a difference between the types of populists that NP presents for comparison, but the evidence for categorizing Edwards seems to be thin; based largely on speeches and implications of campaign rhetoric, and allusions to former populists like FDR. NP cross-posted the piece at a number of venues but I link to the myDD version because the basic thesis comes under considerable scrutiny in the discussion thread. I have a number of observations on the essay below the fold:   One comment I have is that FDR, presiding over the Depression, was probably both types of poopulists because poverty transcended so many boundaries. The poverty of the inner city and the poverty of rural America are very different in scope today - after all, no matter how poor you are you can get emergency care in an urban environment, to name but one example. In FDR&#

My Barack Obama (.com)

Obama's new website has launched, and it's a very slick and impressive system, including support for user diaries. I've registered an account and will be paying attention to see how they plan to interact with the blogsphere; without genuine cross-blog debate and active participation of the campaign, the new site will degrade into yet another echo chamber (YAEC). But overall, I am highly impressed with the design and functionality. I am particularly intrigued by the Groups , which let sub-communities form under the MBO umbrella. The groups come with built-in listserves and blog content form all members is grouped as well. Of course, there is also the personal fundraiser thermometer... I'd have preferred a baseball bat :) It's worth noting that former Dean Nation alumnus Joe Rospars is the New Media Director for the Obama campaign. Congratulations, Joe! BTW here is my first post at MBO , here's the link to the community diaries . Let's see how things develop,

Rep Hank Johnson's Iraq Resolution (and Zakaria's proposal)

Good Will Hinton has a scoop on the new Iraq proposal by Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia . As Johnson says on his blog, I have introduced a resolution that officially recommends the Administration effectively take the targets off of the backs of our brave troops and pull them off of street patrol duty. Over four years into this war, this should be the sole function of those Iraqi troops ready to take on the task. Even if they are not fully ready, a credible argument can be and has been made that the violence will be significantly reduced with the reduction of U.S. troop presence. These troops should, in turn, be used to fortify the Iraqi government, allowing it to function more efficiently and provide the country with the strong central government it needs. Maybe more importantly, we need to pay a debt we owe to innocent Iraqi civilians. We owe them what they have yet to receive since the beginning of American intervention – the ability to purchase food at the local market for their fami

I'll Always Want My Country Back

[Cross-posted from ProgressiveHistorians .] I want my country back!  We want our country back!  I'm tired of being divided!  I don't want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers any more!  I want an America that looks like America, where we're all included, hand in hand, walking down, we have a dream, we can only reach the dream if we're all together, black and white, gay and straight, man and woman, America, the Democratic Party, we're going to win in 2004, thank you very very much, thank you very very much, stand up to America, stand up to America, stand up to America! -- Howard Dean, March 15, 2003, Sacramento, California If you have a fast enough connection, listen to the last minute or so of this video .  (Hat-tip Renee in Ohio , who keeps the faith.)  I found it while trying to explain to Strandsofpearl what was so moving about Dean's speeches; she had never seen one, and I, incredibly enough, had never before seen this one, though I had heard it was De

Richardson big speech today

Richardson is going to give a major foreign policy address today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, titled "The New Realism and the Rebirth of American Leadership". The speech will outline his foreign policy vision as follows: 1. Repairing international alliances by working with traditional allies and reengaging them in our foreign policy; 2. Renew the U.S. commitment to international law and treaties, including abiding by the Geneva Convention, shutting down Guantanamo, rejecting torture as a policy device; 3. A "wholesale assault" to reduce global warming, including going beyond the Kyoto protocols in establishing national benchmarks for enivronmental protection; 4. Engage our enemies by having direct talks with North Korea, Iran, and Syria; 5. Refocus on the "real international threats" including nuclear proliferation and the threat of nuclear terrorism; 6. Engage Latin America on a range of issues from immigration reform to economic

the debate about debate about Iraq

Confused about the debate in the Senate, the Warner-Levin resolution, the dueling conferences, the assertions that one side or the other wants/doesn't want "debate", the very definition of what the heck debate even means in the Senate, etc. ? Listen to this great piece on NPR Morning Edition . Should clear a few things up. Relatedly, see this post at TPMCafe about the Seven GOP Samurai (mentioned at the end of the NPR segment), this piece at the NYT , and this dissent from Pejman .

Blogger joins Brownback campaign

I've had my disagreements with Leon at Redstate, but he's a genuine and principled man. His record on Harriet Miers alone should suffice to prove he was no partisan hack for hackery's sake. And his announcement that he'll be working for Brownback strikes a familiar chord: Whenever I talk to people about Brownback, the consensus response I get is, “I like him probably better than all the rest of the candidates, but he can’t win.” It’s sentiments like this that ignore the greatest, but often forgotten, reality of politics: the surest way to not win a general election is to pick a candidate based upon electability. Besides which, the number of people I hear this sentiment from indicates that Brownback may actually have a better shot than people believe, if people can be convinced to vote for the man they truly believe is right for the job. Reminds me of a candidate I once supported named Howard...

opposition as an end, not a means

Thomas has a lengthy screed at RedState in which he decries all voters for the Democrats in 2006 as having blood on their hands. He lays into the Democrats to either put up or shut up about defunding the war, which is a false choice and simplistic narrative. I understand that it behooves the GOP politically to frame the issue of Iraq as a binary one: stay in status quo or quit tomorrow. But the truth is that serious solutions to Iraq will require more complex approaches, and not a single credible Democratic candidate for President in 08 supports an overnight withdrawal. Here is the text of my comment at RedState in response to Thomas's angry rant. What is your policy alternative? Is the surge of 20,000 troops to Baghdad sufficient? Will the surge actually serve to reduce sectarian violence? If more troops are needed, why didn't we begin a massive expansion of the Army five years ago, with the goal of restoring the size of the force to cold war levels? If we need more troops no

proposed: the TalkClimate FAQ

The RealClimate folks have a devastating-as-always rebuttal handy for misrepresentations of the climate skeptics in the mass media. In this case, it's the WSJ editorial board, who simply get the facts wrong (as documented with links to past RC entries). This is the usual way in which RC tries to correct the record; it's effective to a point, but the problem is that it simply doesn't scale well. After all, it's reactionary defense, not proactive prevention of the media perpetuating climate change denial in the first place. The reason that the WSJ can get away with this sort of thing is because there is no centralized resource for common factual, science-based rebuttals of the various tropes. What's needed is something akin to the TalkOrigins FAQ , but for climate; I guess it would be named the TalkClimate FAQ. Obviously for effectiveness it would have to be run by experts in the field who are close to the science; The RealClimate team would be appropriate stewards,

An Inconvenient Truth

I saw it this weekend, and must say, it was magnificent. My timing is certainly appropriate given the release of the IPCC report on Friday. To me the two things that stood out the most were the Greenland melting, and the emphatic point that reducing carbon emission is probably an opportunity for immense economic growth, not a burden. I guess I have more faith in Yankee ingenuity and the free market than the critics do; at any rate the counterargument by Gore using automobile standards in China vs the US (specifically California) was utterly devastating. Excellent additional reading is the Stern Review Report on the economics of climate change . I'm going to buy this DVD ; it's that good. And I'll chip in another ten bucks to the Draft Gore ActBlue page besides. I'd appreciate any link to "response" pieces by critics, as long as they actually address the specific arguments and don't try to do an end-run by attempting to ad-hominem the scientific process

Delegitimizing government

As a liberal, I believe that the collective power of government, when harnessed and directed properly and restrained by transparency and Constitutional safeguards, is not a positive force for change and uplift. In fact I believe that use of that force is a moral imperative. This of course places me squarely at odds with Reagan-Goldwater conservatism, as I understand it. This is why this article at RedState has me rather bemused. Titled, "the brain drain", it bemoans the tainted perception that the American public has of government service: Bright, ambitious people always leave college looking for the best way to make a big splash in the world. And dreams of making the world a better place are a staple of idealistic youth. It's always interesting and illustrative to observe the ways these folks choose to go about it. And the pattern reported in the FT article linked above is telling you that government is no longer the place to make a difference. That FT article quotes

A Purple Manifesto

I've been sounding a theme of Purple Politics here on this blog, even back when it was Dean Nation. Arguably it was the idea of Purple Politics that drew me to Howard Dean, even though I hadn't labeled it as such in my own mind at that time. But what does Purple Politics really mean? Below the fold is one answer. It's written by someone else who prefers to stay anonymous. But I think it's as good a Purple Manifesto for our times as anything else. It's an attempt to put things in terms of real people and real policies, not just high-minded Obamaesque rhetoric. It's an attempt to craft bonds of unity across the bipartisan divide, not an artificial bridge for appearances' sake like Unity08 but rather something more tangible. It's about articulating the common ground that underlies the True American Majority. To that end, the name "Manifesto" is a bit of a misnomer because, the very essence of Purple Politics is that reasonable people can and must

Giuliani the Independent?

Rudy Giuliani is running for President in 2008 - but maybe not as a Republican : Republicans looking at Rudolph Giuliani's campaign for president always ask two questions - is he really running, and is he a "real Republican?" They're probably not going to like the answers found by Newsday in Giuliani's government filings. The ex-mayor still is holding back from submitting the simple one-page form declaring himself a possible candidate, despite raising $1.4 million to run. And asked what party he belongs to on a different form, Giuliani didn't say - he left the answer blank. Not so for chief rivals John McCain and Mitt Romney. Both have filed the candidacy paperwork, and both gave a straightforward answer when asked their party affiliation: "Rep," or Republican.(...) Giuliani's campaign confirmed that leaving off the Republican designation wasn't a typo. It was the campaign's "judgment that we didn't have to fill in that box,"