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I can only hope...

I can only hope that minds sharper than mine can find a way to make Bush look as bad as he sounded on TV over this issue. We really need to say something visceral at this point. Where in the hell has been Edwards? I do not think I have heard a peep out of him in the past month!

Kerry is sort of the accidental nominee given the fact that he was the prime benficiary of the Dean implosion in Iowa. After everyone attacked Dean and Kerry was the only one left standing. I hope the voters trust in Kerry being the "better Candidate" in comparison to Bush is proven to be correct.
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I for one would love to hear Dr. Dean out there as a surrogate banging on Bush's idioms.

- Jonathan Lothrop

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 31, 2004 at 08:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fear and Loathing in NYC

Does anyone out there think that the press is giving Bush an easy ride on his quote about "not winning the war on terrorism."

If Kerry had made the same Gaffe, he wold have been run out of town on a rail.

I fear that Bush's attack ads on Kerry - the Swift Boat group have had their effect, Bush is up and Kerry is down. Worse yet, he has lost his edge in a lot of close state and for the first time in months Bush actually has a lead in the Electoral College. For more details see www.electoral-vote.com.

I fear that Bush is getting away with the same tactics they have used for 25 years to capture and hold onto power. (See Nixon at Watergate, Bush Sr on WIllie Horton and Bush Jr on Swift Boat ads.)

As progressives our tactics have to be to educate, get out the vote and to not let him ge away with it one more time. As everyone here knows, we cannot afford another four yrears of Bush.

I loath the idea that America is buying into the idea that only Bush can save us when he can hardly even express himself. That gaffe yesterday was typical Bushism, tounge tied and inarticulate.

What else can we do to reach the masses during the RNC?

- Jonathan Lothrop

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 31, 2004 at 07:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Energy Alliances

I would like to return to environmental issues - thinking that these issues will continue to be the most urgent for politicians, governments, and citizens to deal with in the future. Several within this group have mentioned the need for more $$ to fund campaigns, and more recently to buy into less mainstream media outlets. I think the Progressive agenda lends itself nicely to forming alliances with alternative energy initiatives - whether that be in the research field, production or marketing of such resources. We can start to form these alliances now - and so I suggest we do just that. Whether it be wind, solar, biomass, thermo, or hydrogen power - we could work on an energy agenda that would be used in media outreaches, political forums, or in direct talks with potential partners. So the question would be - do you see this as a viable objective for this group, and do we have (or the possibility of having) the necessary resources, time, and commitment to carry out such a plan?

- Bob Winkler

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 30, 2004 at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Iraqi "Insurgency"

The Iraq war has divided our country, mostly due to the duplicity and outright lies and arrogance of the American officials who pushed the war on Iraq and the US. It is interesting that now 30 years after the end of the Vietnam war, you hear former US officials (like Sorenson) finally acknowledging that Vietnam was not so much a war against the communists or a check on the Domino Theory as much as it was the local war of political liberation. The Vietnamese were fighting not for communism so much as they used this tool in order to remove the yoke of Imperialism against the French, Japanese, the French again and ultimately the Americans.

Whatever “intentions” the US might have had, many local Iraq’s view this as their chance to take control of their own destiny. Isn’t that what the US allegedly fought a war for, to give them the power of their own choice? (oh – I forgot about the WMD, too bad we were wrong on that one as well, I guess its just “Groupthink.”) If the Iraqis, voting in a free and fair election elect an Islamic theocratic government, who are we to say no? If the US will not “allow” for this type of result, (as if it should be up to us) then we are clearly exerting our imperial power as the British did in the Post WWI period. Of course, prior to WWI no one much cared about Irag until Oil was discovered.

Today’s NY Times provides fresh examples of what the population believes is in their interests. See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/29/international/middleeast/29province.html?th=&pagewanted=all&position=

If this does not work, looking in New York Time August 29th Edition. – International section.

The bottom line is the sooner the US realizes that it is not “insurgents” they are Iraqi revolutionaries, not unlike the American “patriots” who fought the British in 1776. Only this time WE ARE THE BRITISH.

We can sustain ourselves nearly indefinitely in Iraq as long as we are willing to pay the price. How long should that be? What outcomes are acceptable to the US? Would it be preferable to have an intact stabilized county in Iraq even if it was some form of Islamic Government? Would it be OK to have Iraq governed as the three segments, Kurd, Sunni and Shia? These questions need better answers than we have gotten from the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz and Perle cabal. They go around pounding their chests talking about always challenging assumptions before committing US Policy, yet they have made the worst miscalculation in US foreign policy since WW II.

All this sets an interesting parallel for John Kerry’s service in Vietnam and his speech before the US Senate in 1971. A speech where Kerry posed probing questions and demanded answers from those who sent him there and those who sustained a no win war for as long as possible in order to postpone the embarrassment of admitting their own mistake. Sound familiar?

- Jonathan Lothrop

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 29, 2004 at 08:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nobody's Smarter Than Everybody

One recurring question on this blog has been to ask how we can maintain grassroots momentum after November 2. What makes us so sure that the momentum hasn't been lost already?

Yes, a lot of effort and money is being invested to get Bush out. But could it be that the Democratic Party leadership is losing its spine again? Throughout this Swift Boat controversy, why can't the Democratic Party leadership effectively turn back the coversation to what the Bush administation *isn't* doing for veterans and for our troops?.

News articles have been circulating this week on our grassroots email lists about elderly Black activists in Florida being intimidated about their Get Out the Vote efforts by state officials. Watching the lack of vocal opposition from the Democratic Party leadership makes me feel like African Americans are getting sold down river again. Just like in Florida in January 2001 when *not one* Democratic senator would speak up on behalf of one of its most loyal constiuencies.

This grassroots activism of this campaign season was fueled by frustration with the Bush administration, and frustration too with the failures of the Democratic Party's leadership. Ok, the leadership got the kind of president and VP candidate that it wanted. Where's the new punch? There are a lot of voters out there who don't like Bush, but is the Democrat Party offering something to help close the sale and win elections?

My Discussion Question: How do we challenge the Democratic Party's leaders today to stick to its values and fight in the closing weeks of this election cycle, rather than giving us the same losing strategy?

- Quintus Jett

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 26, 2004 at 07:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)

Art Small on Iraq

This is my initial experience with blogging. I have been at this ten minutes and apparently have already lost the one blog I tried to send.

I am running for the U.S. Senate in Iowa. I would be happy to talk about my campaign or any of the issues that have surfaced. I would also be interested in giving advice to other candidates if I thought I had anything useful to contribute. I served in the Iowa General Assembly for 16 years, both in the House and in the Senate. I also worked as the Legislative Assistant to a U.S. Congressman for one term.

You can learn about me by visiting my web site at www.artsmallforsenate.com

To get things going perhaps someone might find an article I wrote on Iraq of some interest.
Small: Iraq through the looking glass of 'Gulliver's Travels'

Des Moines Register
May 28, 2004

On Monday evening, President Bush repeated his optimistic belief that a stable, Western-style democracy can be created in Iraq. Since the American-led invasion, the President has been steadfast in holding to that view. In February 2003, he stated at a meeting of supporters of the American Enterprise Institute that "a new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom" for other nations in the region. In October, at a meeting with Ambassador Paul Bremer, Bush again observed that "a free and secure Iraq in the midst of the Middle East will have enormous historical impact." On May 21, he said at a commencement speech at Louisiana State University: "We have an historic opportunity, the establishment of a peaceful and democratic Iraq at the heart of the Middle East, which will remove a danger, strike a blow against terrorism, and make America and the world more secure."

Few Americans would fault Bush's optimistic vision. A peaceful and democratic Iraq would make the world a better place and America more secure. The question is whether it is realistic to assume that this ideal goal is achievable in our lifetimes. History seems to instruct us otherwise.

Iraq was carved out of portions of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, and the British occupied that new nation under a mandate of the League of Nations. Contrary to what Bush had to say Monday about Iraq now having a constitution for the first time, constitutions were written in the 1920s and '30s. Then they were rewritten, rewritten again and finally tossed aside. Various assemblies were formed and disbanded as repeated efforts were made to establish a coherent political process.

Nothing worked and no democratic institutions evolved, even though the British were masters at running an empire and played a role there of one sort or another until well into the 1950s.

Now the neoconservatives in the Bush administration are trying their hand. We wish them well. But their dreams and activities remind me of the scholars in Jonathan Swift's Royal Academy of Lagado in "Gulliver's Travels." They, too, were idealists. Although blind, they mixed colors for painters by feel and smell. They built houses by beginning at the roof and only later worked down to the foundations. They tried for years to extract sunbeams out of cucumbers.

The common characteristic of the scholars of the Academy of Lagado was their inability to exercise any common sense. They strove mightily to force the world to conform to their notions of what should be. They refused to adapt to reality and to how the world and human nature actually worked. When they failed, as they always did, they did not adjust; they worked harder and failed again.

Such scholars still continue their work, not between the pages of an 18th-century classic but in the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. They serve there as the trusted advisers of the Bush administration and chart the future of Iraq.

These scholars within the Bush administration are still convinced there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and with time they will be uncovered. They are still convinced that the people of Iraq will ultimately welcome us as liberators rather than as conquerors. They are still convinced that with a little patience, a liberal democracy will flourish in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates.

They hold these truths so dearly they will risk lives - the lives of others - to prove their doctrines true.

Edmund Burke, another 18th-century British writer and a great statesman who supported the American Revolution, observed that democracies do not come into being according to abstract ideas of right. Rather, the people must desire freedom, have an abiding respect for the rule of law and their government must originate directly from the people and cannot be transmitted to them. Sadly, these conditions do not exist in Iraq and, despite the desires of the Bush administration's academy scholars, are unlikely to spring into existence in my lifetime.

ARTHUR SMALL of Iowa City is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. Before he became a lawyer, Small taught English literature, including "Gulliver's Travels," at St. Ambrose University and wrote his M.A. thesis on Edmund Burke.

- Art Small

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 25, 2004 at 06:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Sustaining the Movement

Activism as a way of life.

The wonderful thing about the DFA movement has been the infusion of thousands of people into the political process. Even though Howard Dean dropped out of the presidential race, many have stayed involved in the process due to the desire to replace President Bush. The real key to reform is to provide momentum and purpose AFTER the Presidential Election. Many of us here on this BLOG are the committed ones, who will stick around. I raise this point only to suggest that in our daily conversations with others we need to stress the importance on ongoing maintenance of our democratic ideals. In other words DFA and the movement behind this must continue beyond the elections as a wide based group, not a small narrow one. We must all expand our efforts to PERMANTLY engage the citizens in the process of controlling the political process through constant vigilance.

Jonathan

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 24, 2004 at 07:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Issues - Small Parts

In my small part of the world political arguments center on pro-life, pro-choice or abortion issues - all others are secondary at best. It doesn't matter that there's double digit unemployment, tax benefits to the rich and thus a tax burden on the poor - failing farms, or schools in fiscal/moral decay, or environments wasting. Where you stand on the PPA issues are how people vote. How can we possibily deal with this?

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 21, 2004 at 07:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Nobody's Smarter than Everybody

One theme I'd like to continue with my posts is the idea of raising a question for all of us to answer. Today, my question is this:

How can Arthur Morrell, candidate for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, raise $500,000 by the end of September, becoming competitive and putting Louisiana in play as a swing state?

Morrell was the state chair of Dean for America in Louisiana. He's fiscally conservative, socially progressive, and an Army veteran (special forces). He was the head of the Black Caucus in that state's legislature. He called in the federal government a few years ago to help defend voting rights in the state. www.morrellforlouisiana.com

Morrell has two opponents. Each can probably turn out the typical likely Democratic voters. Morrell can expand the pool of voters, increasing the number of voters who can vote for Kerry on the open primary on November 2. However, he needs to raise at least $500,000 to be competitive enough to produce this effect.

The Democratic Party is pretending that there aren't multiple Democrats in this race. The guy they're focusing on is Chris John, outgoing Senator Breaux's handpicked candidate. Chris John is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. Most of us would call him Republican-lite. He recently received a 'F' rating from the NAACP, yet he is running in a state where one in three voters are black.

How can Arthur Morrell, candidate for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, raise $500,000 by the end of September, becoming competitive and putting Louisiana in play as a swing state?

Quintus Jett
African Americans For Democracy

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 19, 2004 at 07:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

Maintaining Perspective

Time for maintaining perspective. The war in Iraq is settling into a quiet quagmire. The FBI is questioning would-be demonstrators to the Republican Convention. Florida is investigating possible voter fraud among African American Seniors who just happen to be Democrats. Chavez defeats the recall in Venezuela.

What do all of these things have in common? Is there some sense that we are supposed to make from all this? Tell us.

Posted by Jessica Falker on August 18, 2004 at 09:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack