Thursday, September 13, 2007

Petraeus in Perspective and Bush No Way Forward

The Center for American Progress has compiled a 2 1/2 minute video that gives a realistic perspective on the situation in Iraq. It's well sourced and includes a bi-partisan survey of national security experts.

Bottom line: Petraeus' report to Congress was inaccurate, any suggestion the latest PR stunt is a drawdown in troop levels is false, and Bush has no clear idea on what the way forward should be.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Giuliani support soft and disappearing, Clinton leads everywhere

The L.A. Times has an article about how Giuliani leads the Republican race in national polls, but doesn't lead a single early Primary State. Poor Rudy....

If you remember the early polling for Clinton, she was ahead in the national polls and behind in the Early States. The conservatives (read: FOX 'News') were saying that it was evidence that Clinton has broad appeal, but shallow support. However, as the LA Times notes, and Chris Bowers details at Open Left, Clinton has translated her national appeal into solid support in the Early States. She leads in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. If this holds, she's unstoppable for the nomination.

Rudy, however is in trouble. Instead of a steady increase in organization and support, Giuliani's campaign has begun a slow deterioration. Lobbyist Fred Thompson's entrance into the race gives Giuliani an additional strong challenge in South Carolina. No Republican has won the nomination of his or her Party without winning the South Carolina Republican Primary.

In South Carolina, Rudy's main cheerleader in the law enforcement community has come under intense scrutiny. The Co-Chair of his "Firefighters for Rudy" is also the Executive Director of the 501(c)3 organization, South Carolina Firefighters Association. Not only has the organization drawn a complaint to the IRS, but a movement has begun among rank and file firefighters to discipline their leader for acting out of line.

Poor Rudy....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Petraeus' Pullout Politics

Today's Washington Post Headline reads, "Petraeus Backs Initial Pullout". That is pathetic. The headline should have read something like: "General dons rose-colored glasses in report to Congress".

The idea to 'propose' withdrawing some troops is a mere political ploy to continue funding the war with the least pushback possible from Democrats in Congress. General Petraeus' intention remains to stay in Baghdad for the long haul.
The general asked Congress to defer decisions on further reductions until March to get a better sense of the political and security situation.

Like Ambassador Crocker, I believe Iraq's problems will require a long-term effort," Petraeus testified before the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees. "There are no easy answers or quick solutions. And although we both believe this effort can succeed, it will take time. . . . A premature drawdown of our forces would likely have devastating consequences.

Nonetheless, the Republicans jumped all over the latest gamesmanship being offered up to them by the top military brass in Iraq.

Republicans, by contrast, seized on the plan as a political lifeboat after months of being forced to vote against measures repudiating Bush's policy. "Let the generals in the field dictate," said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (N.C.). "We would support it," said Rep. Jack Kingston (Ga.), a member of the Appropriations subcommittee on defense.

Meanwhile, Democrats huddled in Speaker Pelosi's office to "plot" their next step. What the hell are they doing trying to figure this out now? Where were they in August when the White House was in full PR mode in preparation for this debate? It seems to me like they have been asleep at the switch.

Glenn Greenwald of has teamed up with Fire Dog Lake and Open Left to create a petition to send to the Leadership. Please watch Glenn's video, which puts General Petraeus' testimony in proper context. Also, please take a moment to sign the petition and share it with a few friends.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Are you ONE?

Bloggers from both ends of the political spectrum rarely find agreement on issues. Even more rarely do they sit around a table to brainstorm on ways we can work together. This summer, The ONE Campaign provided the issue and the setting that brought conservative and liberal bloggers to stand together.

The issue is poverty. It affects men, women, and children all over the world. On the continent of Africa alone, it affects millions every single day. This is a moral issue of unprecedented importance. Martin Luther King had this to say decades ago:
"The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty."

A child dies every three seconds as a result of poverty. That is a shocking statistic. Until now, there has been no widespread movement to force this issue into the political agenda of the United States.

Now, we have The ONE Campaign. When people see my white ONE wristband, they usually ask which cause of the day the white band is for. I simply reply "The ONE Campaign is the campaign to make poverty history." After allowing a moment for the levity of the situation to absorb, I usually throw in, "It's Bono's poverty thing."

While Bono may be the association that much of the public has with ONE, a talented group of people run the day to day operation under the leadership of Susan McCue, who left her job as Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to head this historic effort.

In the past, the approach to solving poverty would be to hold a bake sale and send some bags of food across the ocean. ONE's approach is to make poverty a top issue for the US Government. It should be a priority because it is the right thing to do but also because it is in our strategic interest to eradicate poverty. Colin Powell had this to say:
"The US cannot win the war on terrorism unless we confront the social and political roots of poverty."

So far, ONE has become nearly 2.5 million people speaking with ONE very loud voice. You should add your voice, too.

ONE recently launched a major effort to educate the public and the politicians about poverty. ONE Vote '08 is on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire and catching the attention of the candidates and celebrities alike. Here is a quick video about this effort.

And....a personal favorite. This video is a duet between Bono and Mary J. Blige. It's powerful, moving, and just downright awesome. Get inspired and go to and sign up! As they say, they don't want your money, they want your voice.