Friday, August 17, 2007

Cell Phone Disaster

Just a quick personal request....My cell phone died. Completely. Fourteen years of collecting phone numbers have vanished into thin air.

So, if you're a friend of mine, please email me your phone number at the blog email address: lane at newsfortheleft dot com. (FYI, we're supposed to write email addresses like that on blogs to prevent getting email spam, but you are supposed to type it normally.)

Thanks for helping out!


More insulting Cheney comments on Iraq quagmire

On Sunday, I posted an interview that Dick Cheney gave in 1994 where he defended the decision not to invade Baghdad. He makes a really good case for not invading Iraq. If you haven't seen it, please take a moment to watch it.

After wide distribution of this video, a local CBS affiliate was able to get a, well, non-response from the VP's office.

“He was not Vice President at the time, it was after he was Secretary of Defense,” a spokesperson told CBS 5 San Francisco. “I don’t have any comment.”

But, the incredibly talented folks at Think Progress found the transcript from an interview that then-VP Nominee Dick Cheney gave on Meet the Press on August 27, 2000. Here's the relevant part, which responds to Tim Russert asking if he regrets not taking out Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War:

I don’t, Tim. It was–and it’s been talked about since then. But the fact of the matter is, the only way you could have done that would be to go to Baghdad and occupy Iraq. If we’d done that, the U.S. would have been all alone. We would not have had the support of the coalition, especially of the Arab nations that fought alongside us in Kuwait. None of them ever set foot inside Iraq. Conversations I had with leaders in the region afterwards–they all supported the decision that was made not to go to Baghdad.

They were concerned that we not get into a position where we shifted instead of being the leader of an international coalition to roll back Iraqi aggression to one in which we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world taking down governments. So I think we got it right, so suppose it’s one of those things that’ll be debated for some time. But I thought the decision was sound at the time, and I do today.

So, he held the same philosophy in 1991, 1994, and 2000, that going into Baghdad would create a disastrous situation. So, it begs the question 'what changed his mind?'. I asked the VP's Press Office the question and they referred me to an interview he did with Jonathan Karl from ABC News February 23, 2007:

Q: Back in 1991, you talked about how military action in Iraq would be the classic definition of a quagmire. Have you been disturbed to see how right you were? Or people certainly said that you were exactly on target in your analysis back in 1991 of what would happen if the U.S. tried to go in --

A: Well, I stand by what I said in '91. But look what's happened since then -- we had 9/11. We've found ourselves in a situation where what was going on in that part of the globe and the growth and development of the extremists, the al Qaeda types that are prepared to strike the United States demonstrated that we weren't safe and secure behind our own borders. We weren't in Iraq when we got hit on 9/11. But we got hit in '93 at the World Trade Center, in '96 at Khobar Towers, or '98 in the East Africa embassy bombings, 2000, the USS Cole. And of course, finally 9/11 right here at home. They continued to hit us because we didn't respond effectively, because they believed we were weak. They believed if they killed enough Americans, they could change our policy because they did on a number of occasions. That day has passed. That all ended with 9/11.

Okay, so I want to make sure I understand this correctly. He changed a decade or more of his opinion, based on the events of 9/11, even though it is clearly established that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on the U.S. Blatant hypocrisy at its worst. Hypocrisy that has cost us nearly 4,000 American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that could have been spent on health care, education, and developing alternative fuels.

I can't believe that Bush-Cheney world is still spouting this crap. 9/11 is not a justification for war with Iraq. Period. It's insulting and a downright lie that they've been telling the American people. I think it's gross misconduct in office.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hillary's first campaign ad

It's on the air in Iowa and it's called invisible. She talks about the different kinds of people that have been invisible to the Bush Administration and how she'll be different. I have to admit, I think it's great. I'll be looking to see what Edwards and Obama come up with in Iowa, and when they go on the air.

Hillary seems to be making a move to overtake Edwards in Iowa. It's the only early Primary State that she's not leading in. I'd say this commercial is a good first effort to give Hillary more warmth and depth as a candidate. There is still a ways to go, but I think they know what their challenges are!

Quick thought on the bridge collapse

Yesterday, I saw on CNN that plans had 'already been produced' to replace the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota. That just sounds fishy to me.

When I lived in Charleston, SC we built a new bridge. I remember the painstaking process that happened during the design of the bridge. Granted, some of that long process dealt with stylistic preferences, the number of lanes, the height of the bridge, and other things. But, it simply isn't possible to produce plans for a major engineering project in a week.

So, that tells me that somebody had actually designed a bridge ahead of time to replace the aging bridge that used to be there. Logic would further tell me that somebody else said that the new bridge would cost too much.

Okay, so we pretty much knew all that already. But, does anyone else find it completely disingenuous that these new plans are rolled out like the officials in Minnesota are suddenly on top of the issue and moving at the speed of light?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hastert to Retire; Leaves legacy of enabling a sex predator

The networks have been announcing all day long that Hastert will not seek re-election in 2008. I say it's about damn time he left the House of Representatives.

I haven't forgotten that the House Ethics Committee Report on the Foley scandal gave us clear evidence that he knew that Mark Folely was engaged in unethical conduct with House Pages. In spite of this, he did nothing to stop Foley from continuing his inappropriate behavior.

Further, he was fully willing to allow his staff to blame the entire ordeal on Kirk Fordham and Jeff Trandahl, Foley's Former Chief of Staff and the Former House Clerk, respectively. We know from that same Ethics Report that Kirk and Jeff are the only Republicans that did anything to stop Foley's actions. In fact, they went to great lengths to stop it.

Below is a local news report in Illinois in the wake of the Foley scandal where Hastert does what Republicans do best, blame Democrats and the media for their troubles.

Yesterday, Karl Rove. Today, Dennis Hastert. This could be a good week.

Another example of Old Way vs. New Way

On Sunday, I wrote about Markos Moulitsas' appearance on Meet the Press opposite Democratic Leadership Council Chairman, Harold Ford. In that post, I indicated that I believed that the DLC represents the Old Way and that Markos, and by extension the Progressive Netroots Movement, represents the New Way.

Mike Lux, who is one of the triumvirate behind the new progressive blog Open Left, has been around Washington for a long time. He is even accused of being an 'Insider' among some of us in the lefty blogosphere. That being said, Mike has solid progressive credentials and offers an interesting perspective in a post about the DLC, its' history, and where it is today.

Mike thinks that the DLC has three main problems:

First, it's the obsession with being "tough" on foreign policy at all costs. As David Sirota and others have written, there was a whole generation of tough-on-the-Commies Democrats who saw the McGovern campaign in 1972 as their ultimate vindication- if Democrats weren't "tough" enough on foreign policy, we would get beat like McGovern did. You see this philosophy in the Ford attack on Harry Reid.

Second, the intrinsic tendency, which they just won't walk away from, to trash progressives and most other Democrats time and time again since their founding in 1985. From and other DLC spokespeople have launched one verbal assault after another against labor, peace groups, and other progressive forces, as well as against mainstream and progressive Democratic politicians. They go out of their way to pick these fights. third point. Because they have never built a mass base for their style of centrism, their entire operation has, by its nature, relied almost entirely on corporate elites for its financial support. As a result, the DLC-style of centrism is a quintessentially big business-style of centrism. That's why their pollsters, principally Mark Penn, whose main clientele is also big business, are so determined to never find any evidence of populism among the electorate. In fact, many of their financial supporters are not Democrats at all.

Mike hits the nail on the head. Although Harold Ford sough to 'unify all parts of the Democratic Party' the DLC isn't interested in that. They are more interested in remaining relevant. Markos correctly pointed out on Sunday that at this year's YearlyKos convention, the only part of the party not in attendance was the DLC wing of the party. Consequently, there really isn't a DLC movement at all, hence a lack of representation anywhere except on television and at corporate fundraisers.

Take a moment to read Mike's full posting. It gives great insight into what was a hiccup in establishing a long term Progressive Majority in America. The true movement is underway and if you're reading this right now, you're a part of it.

More Embarrassing Bush Moments

I came across this yesterday. It's a compilation of some of Bush's dumbest mistakes. It used to be funny, but now it's just a huge national embarrassment. As much as we bitch about his lack of press conferences and the lack of access the press has to him, maybe we're better off just sticking him in a closet until January 2009.

Turd Blossom's Legacy

Chris Cilizza, Anne Kornblut, and Michael Shear, write in the Washington Post today about the legacy that Karl Rove hoped to have on America: building a long term conservative majority in America. Reasonable folks disagree on what his lasting legacy will be.

Personally, I think his legacy is propping up a moron and getting him elected President. He then set out to manipulate our governmental institutions for solely political purposes. After September 11, he seized on national pride and twisted that for political purposes as well: weakening the Constitution, breaking laws, and bastardizing the institutions and process of the political system. I think his legacy is that he misused power and that America saw through it, FINALLY, and that the only person tearing up over his leaving is himself. As John Edwards said in his statement, Good riddance!

What does the average American think that Rove's legacy is? Given that it collectively has well over a million hits on YouTube and that it was broadcast on television to millions more, his legacy is probably the embarrassing moment that we've all come to know as "MC Rove".

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Stupid Bush Moment (one of many.....)

I may try to do something like this on a regular basis, posting short videos to remind us how dumb, corrupt, and ridiculous our President and the people who support him are.

Please feel free to suggest videos for this!


Lane on C-SPAN

Hey Folks. I didn't realize that C-SPAN coverage was available online, so if you're interested in seeing the video of one of the panels I was on at the YearlyKos Convention, you can get to the video here.

The panel was organized by Adam Green from MoveOn and was titled "Three People who Helped Change Congress." My fellow panelists were S.R. Sidarth, famously known as 'Macaca", and Mike Stark, a fellow blogger who was tackled by George Allen's campaign staff for asking tough questions.

The panel is a little over an hour long.

Turd Blossom Leaving White House

News broke this morning that long time Bush adviser Karl Rove is heading for the doors. Of course, they say it is because he wants to spent time with his family. But, we know better, right?

Perhaps the Democrats in Congress, John Conyers and Pat Leahy, in particular, have sent a clear enough message to the White House that they intend to get to the bottom of the ethics scandal that the Administration is surrounded by. Undoubtedly, all roads lead to Rove.

I'll be asking some of my legal expert friends, but I'm hoping this will make it a little easier to haul his butt before Congress and answer questions about things like the US Attorney firings, false intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, political briefings to political appointees, ignoring science while promoting politics, and pretty much how and why he helped to engineer the hijacking of our government and Constitution. But, I'm sure he'll find a way out of having to testify because so far, Conyers and Leahy have been unwilling to use their authority to hold these folks accountable. But, we can hope!

But, I have to say, this is pretty good news to wake up to on a Monday morning!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Markos vs. Harold Ford on Meet the Press

This morning, Markos appeared on Meet the Press with former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford. Aside from the fact that Harold Ford chairs the Democratic Leadership Council, he is also a Fox News Analyst. Last week, he attacked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, claiming he was abandoning the troops.

Markos did a great job of explaining what the Netroots Movement is about: people powered politics, where millions of people dictate the direction of our movement, NOT a dozen people meeting around a board room table.

DLC=Old Way. Netroots=New Way.

The sooner people like Harold Ford realize it, the better. Then we can truly work together to create a governing progressive majority. Get on board or get out of the way.

Bush's Generals on the War

Bush keeps telling us that we need to wait for a report from General Petraeus before Congress considers passing another time line for withdrawal. But we don't need to wait. Thanks to the folks at the Iraq Summer Campaign, we know what they've already decided.

This should provide additional urgency for the Democrats and Reasonable Republicans (yes, they exist) to build a solid majority in favor of setting a time line for withdrawal when the issues comes up next month. Anything short of that is a gross dereliction of their responsibility to the American people.

Cheney makes the case against invading Baghdad, says it would be a quagmire

This video is shocking to me; shocking in the hypocrisy that oozes out of this man. Here, in a video in 1994, Cheney defended the decision to NOT invade Baghdad, saying that there would be no other government to put in place and that the country would likely splinter into several pieces. He further says that the 146 American casualties were a high price to pay.

Money quote:

...and the question for the President, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein was how many additional dead Americans Hussein was worth, and our judgment was not very many and I think we got it right.

Let's see if the main stream media will be willing to throw this quote back at the now Vice President and ask him how he came to believe that nearly FOUR THOUSAND dead Americans are worth removing Saddam Hussein. Further, how he thinks we can settle the quagmire which he correctly predicted with out further loss of American lives. Finally, I'd like to know why he was the chief architect behind the current war in Iraq given his crystal clear understanding of what a disaster it would be.

It's time for an Accountability Moment.