Friday, October 31, 2003
This is huge: ["D'Allesandro: Edwards is the one"].
State Sen. Lou D'Allesandro is one of New Hampshire's heavyweight pols who should bring a boatload of votes from Manchester. The rumors were that Lou would be going with Gephardt. He has held house parties for him and the two have been friends for awhile. But D'Allesandro didn't make the commitment to him and I saw Lou hanging out with Manchester Mayor Bob Baines and other old-time Dems at Edwards' barbecue during the summer: ["Edwards turns on the southern charm"] ["Political celebs"]. It should be noted that in the previous posts I called D'Allesandro a "former" state senator. According to the Monitor, he is still elected. Either way, it is a big endorsement for Edwards.
Blacks moving south
According to the U.S. Census, blacks are moving south from the Northeast and Midwest: ["Census: Blacks migrating to South in record numbers"].
I find this an extremely interesting story. The hidden part of the story is that while the Northeast tends to think it is more liberal and diverse, it is actually more intolerant, segregated and downright racist. People can look no further than the black boy from Wellesley who was put on a bus back to Mattapan - a black Boston neighborhood - because a school administrator and bus driver just assumed he was a METCO kid who lived in Boston, not Wellesley. That would never happen in Atlanta or Miami. Then, there is the two sports talk show hosts who compared a gorilla that broke out of the Franklin Park Zoo to a METCO student from Lexington. They got a slap on the wrist. Other people would be fired. Look what happened to Rush Limbaugh for making a lesser comment than Dennis and Callahan, those two buffoons. Throughout the Northeast, blacks are relegated to urban areas - often areas of wretched slums and limited economic development, whereas in the south, the races mix in poorer areas, both suburban and urban, and the economic misery is somewhat shared.
Then, there is the issue of elections. Blacks Just can't seem to manage to get elected anywhere accept their own neighborhoods. For all the talk of the importance of diversity in the suburban white neighborhoods of Massachusetts, most of these people wouldn't vote for a black candidate if it saved their lives. Do I even have to list them all?
Now granted, in some cases, minority politicians don't cater their messages to win elections outside of their base.
In the 1994 treasurer's primary race, Augie Grace kept Mike Capuano from getting enough delegates at the convention. That meant Grace faced Bill Galvin alone and Galvin clocked him. Had Grace helped Capuano get on the ballot, the Somerville mayor could have siphoned off votes from Galvin, assisting Grace in winning the primary.
In the 1998 congressional race, Charles Yancey was out of step with some of the voters and performed dismally in places like Belmont and Charlestown. Alex Rodriguez, another minority candidate, had one of the most conservative platforms in the race, including support for NAFTA and GATT, a no-no in a big union supporting area.
Felix Arroyo, the first Hispanic at-Large Boston City Councilor, is not expected to win reelection next week. But that has more to do with his lack of outreach to voter-rich areas and his insistence on talking about the war in Iraq and going on a hunger strike instead of working to address the serious issues facing the city. Arroyo is a good progressive; but in order for progressives to win, you have to act - not just talk about acting. Arroyo hasn't done that.
So why wouldn't minorities move south? What reasons do they have to stay here?
According to American Research Group, Wesley Clark has taken the lead in South Carolina with 17 percent. John Edwards drops back to 10 percent, with Joe Lieberman at 8 percent, and Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean tied at 7 percent. The Rev. Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun have 5 percent.
Over in Iowa, Dean and Gephardt are tied with 26 percent. John Kerry has 15 percent and Edwards comes in with 8 percent. The poll was taken by KCCI-TV.
From Wisconsin, some interesting favorability numbers [no specifics votes]: Lieberman 31 percent, Gephardt 21 percent, Kerry 15 percent, Dean 12 percent, Braun 11 percent, Clark with 8 percent, Sharpton and Edwards at 7 percent, and Kucinich with 4 percent. The poll was sponsored by The Capital Times and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
However, the larger issue is this: If everyone who makes less than $28,500 pays less than 4 percent of the taxes, then eliminating taxes for these people would affect the national budget by only 4 percent. So, instead of giving back trillions to the affluent, why not eliminate taxes on the working class and figure out a way to come up with the extra 4 percent via tariffs or corporate taxes? The lower income people spend their money – all of their money. Their spending fuels the retail and service economy. Why not eliminate their taxes entirely?
Haaaaaah ... ["Zell Miller Endorses Bush"] One has to wonder what Terry McAulliffe thinks of all this!
Gephardt staffers respond
Upon forwarding the Dean memo to Gephardt's N.H. media person, Kathy Roeder stated:
"Trippi knows our staffers and he knows this campaign--led by Dick and Jane--is horrified by discrimination. Dick's daughter is a lesbian who lived with the Gephardts with her partner for five months after they finished grad school, Dick is a member of PFLAG, his campaign co-chair is openly gay, one of his longest advisors is openly gay, we have dozens of openly gay staff on board, and our health care benefits program includes domestic partner benefits. Our campaign--again led by Dick and Jane--is appalled by discrimination and believes the federal government should provide equal rights to everyone."Sharpton slams Dean
Jesse Jackson Jr. endorses Dean and the Rev. Al goes on a rampage: ["Sharpton slams endorsement, citing race issues"].
"Any so-called African-American leader that would endorse Dean despite his anti-black record is mortgaging the future of our struggle for civil rights and social justice, to back a candidate whose record on issues of critical importance to us is no better than that of George W. Bush," Sharpton said in a statement.Wow!
Monitor starts the tier debate
The Concord Monitor editorialized this week that the debates need to be winnowed down to a handful of candidates in order for the electable candidates to be heard over the din of the lower tier: ["Nine-way show"]. It was only a matter of time before this would happen. However, they are mistaken. Why limit the choices? If only the winnable candidates are allowed to debate, there will only be one person at the debate - the winner. This is pathetic.
The Dean campaign released a press release just a minute ago about an openly gay Dean staffer being harassed at a Gephardt event in Iowa yesterday.
From: Dean for America Press Office, 802.651.3200
Date: October 29, 2003
Re: Openly Gay Dean Staffer Harassed at Gephardt Event
Yesterday, an openly gay Dean for America staffer who attended an event for Congressman Dick Gephardt in Iowa (as is common practice among campaigns)
was pushed and grabbed by Gephardt staffers, one of whom derided him as a "faggot."
In response, Dean for America campaign manager Joe Trippi wrote a letter to Gephardt for President campaign manager Steve Murphy, calling upon him to find the staffer responsible for this egregious behavior and fire him.
Governor Dean, who signed the nation's first civil unions law in Vermont, is a strong supporter of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Congressman Gephardt has also spoken out against anti-gay harassment.
Nice coverage of the N.H. Greens endorsing Dennis Kucinich on Monday afternoon in the Concord Monitor: ["Kucinich wins Green endorsement"]. According to a Google news search, only Common Dreams picked up the endorsement story although I was able to find the announcement on the Nashua Telegraph site and also buried in a Hampton Union story about Dean's poll numbers issued by the Boston Globe Sunday.
The Greens are not an officially recognized party in the state because they have not had a candidate win 3 percent or more in a state-wide, non-federal election. The best they have been able to muster was an occasional write-in campaign and Ralph Nader's appearance on the 2000 general election ballot - which barely happened - but that is another story for another day.
New Hampshire is one of those states where independents can pull either major party ballot during primary elections. The state has become more moderate in the past 20 years despite its perception as a very conservative state.
...but the national Greens disavow the group
The Green Party of the United States, the national Green Party organization, immediately issued this press release disavowing the state organization: ["Greens Warn About Misleading Story on Green Endorsement of Kucinich"]. This is kind of petty of the national organization, especially since Nader has endorsed Kucinich, many Greens are openly supporting Kucinich, and the fact that New Hampshire is the First in the Nation primary state.
However, the group makes a very good point without actually making the point: Because of the serious organizational flaws within the N.H. Green Party, the group has been unable to get accredited on the national level and is one of only seven states not recognized by the national party. A lot of this has to do with simple procedural stuff. But more of it has to do with the fact that the Greens have never been able to get their act together in the state - despite a number of attempts by people who care about green issues and having a competitive fourth party in the state [Libertarians are very active in the state].
If the party is to be taken seriously, it needs to be more than one guy with a post office box. There have been some emails going back and forth between people on Green Party lists about the endorsement. Some are furious that six people claiming to be from a non-existent steering committee made the endorsement while others mentioned that the coverage in the Concord Monitor was "the best piece of work the group has pulled off in two years." So, who knows.
Lastly, and strangely, a Google news search revealed a lot of other media outlets picked up the news of the national organization disavowing the endorsement, including an A.P. story on the Monitor's Web site and a TV station - WXIX - in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Monday, October 27, 2003
I got a chance to see a lot of the debate last night and it was a pretty good show. The Rev. Al Sharpton was hilarious, as usual. Dennis Kucinich shined. And both John Kerry and John Edwards actual did pretty well themselves. Here is what others thought:
"In latest debate, Kerry attacks Dean, sharpens his Iraq stance"
"Iraq viewpoint dominates Dem Detroit debate"
"Kerry wins battle, still trails the war"
"Democrats attack Bush on Iraq"
In Illinois, it is anyone's race: Dick Gephardt has 13 percent, Wesley Clark has 11 percent, Howard Dean has 10 percent, Carole Moseley Braun is at 9 percent in her home state, with John Kerry and Joe Lieberman tied at 8.
Back to the south where Georgia reveals some interesting numbers: Clark has 13 percent, Gephardt has 12 percent, Lieberman comes in at 9 percent, with Dean at 7. Braun and Kerry have 5 percent, with Edwards at 3 percent and Sharpton at 2 percent. "Someone Else" is listed at 2 percent [Is this Lyndon Larouche?]. Bad news here for Edwards and Sharpton. They should be higher in the polls.
Plus, an anonymous Kerry supporter tells Dan Kennedy the pollsters are all wrong: "Kerry's fading candidacy"
Michael Dobbins is a former school teacher from Worcester, Mass. who has left his job and written a book about how to unelect President George W. Bush. Here are seven questions Politizine asked him this weekend:
Q: What inspired you to write a book and take on this effort to "Stop Bush?"
MD: President Bush has implemented one horrible policy after another, the worst being his war with Iraq. Whether Americans realize it or not (and many of them do), Bush's policies are harmful to their future and that of every American. "Stop Bush in 2004" will help citizens take action to defeat Bush in 2004 and hopefully elect a President who has a better grasp on what is good for America.
Q: The economy is very difficult for a lot of people. Some people are too busy working two and three jobs or raising their kids to become civically involved. What can the busy person do to un-elect Bush?
MD: Work and family definitely come first, but I would urge the busy person to try setting aside some time for taking action. Whether it's one day or one hour a week; there are plenty of actions available that don't take much time. Also, do the most basic of actions such as a bumper sticker on your car, a sign in your yard, and talking to friends about why Bush is bad for the country. Simply talking to people about the candidates is very effective and can be done at almost any time and any place.
Q: How are you able to survive without a paycheck to under take this endeavor?
MD: I had a little money saved up, but I've nearly run out. I'm hoping the book will sustain me until next November but I have no idea how many books I've sold yet. My Web site www.StopBushin2004.com is also sustained by
book sales. I will not accept donations, so feel free to buy more than one copy of the book to support me and the website.
Q: Have you made a decision who you will be voting for?
MD: I have made a decision, but haven't decided when or if I'll publicly endorse him. I view myself and my Web site as a way to unite Democrats and Americans at a time when the Democratic primaries and Bush's policies are pulling us apart. At this point, an endorsement could be counterproductive to my goal of creating a citizens campaign against Bush, so I'm sitting it out... for now.
Q: Did being a teacher and educator inspire you in any way to work on this project?
MD: Prior to writing "Stop Bush in 2004" I taught a class titled 'Take Action.' Once a week for an hour, about 10 kids and I would talk about social issues, methods of action, and getting kids more involved. The class was a huge motivator for writing the book.
Q: How successful do you think you will be?
MD: There is great potential for enormous success, not just with the book, but even more so with the citizen's movement that could start as a result of the book and the website. Tens of millions of Americans are frustrated beyond belief and want more than anything to see Bush voted out. I can only hope they see the huge potential my campaign has in engaging Americans and transforming the political landscape of America.
Q: Any last comments?
MD: We can defeat Bush in 2004 but will need the help of every person available. The President will spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to sell himself to Americans. We must counter his message by telling people the truth about his policies. I urge you to sign up for the mailing list at www.StopBushin2004.com and to participate in the 2004 campaign.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
You gotta love the Sept. 11 commission for trying to get to the bottom of the terrorist attacks: ["Administration Faces subpoenas From 9/11 Panel"]. In the end, they probably won't find out what truly happened, like so many other secrets that are never completely revealed. But at least they seem to be trying. Here's hoping that Thomas Kean has a long and fruitful life - and doesn't end up disappearing like so many of the people who try to uncover evidence that some people don't want to be uncovered.
More polls ...
The Boston Globe and WBZ-TV 4 released a poll this morning showing Howard Dean with a substantial lead in New Hampshire. Dean has 37 percent, John Kerry has 24 percent, with John Edwards jumping to third with 9 percent. Wesley Clark has 8 percent, Dick Gephardt has 7 percent, and Joe Lieberman came in with 5 percent. Kucinich had 3 percent. The poll was conducted by KRC Communications Research.
In a previous post, I lectured that national polls published by the news media should be ignored because the primary and final elections are determined by the outcome of specific states. Hence, the reason I publish state polls in my blog. However, I couldn't help but notice one national poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates which will be published in Newsweek magazine on Monday showing the Rev. Al Sharpton tied for third place in their national poll with Kerry and Gephardt with 8 percent. Dean  and Clark  lead the poll. Now, these numbers don't mean anything in the scheme of things but it is surprising to see Sharpton's numbers so high in a national poll.
Fred Berry, the actor who played the character "Rerun" on the 1970s sitcom "What's Happening?," died this week at the age of 52. He died of natural causes related to a recent stroke. This is so sad. Berry's character was really funny and later in life, he continued to attend events and meet with fans as Rerun.
"What's Happening?" was a great show. I used to watch it a lot when I was a kid. I didn't realize it then but one of the appealing things about this show is that it cast black folks in a positive light, like the normal, hard-working, middle class families that most are. There have been other television shows, like "Roc" and "The Cosby Show" which did this as well.
But more often than not, the media portray people of color negatively - whether it is crime coverage or music videos with gangsta rappers jumping up and down with AK-47s and half naked women. It also seems as though urban crime is covered - and in a sense, glorified - on the evening news. Why aren't mug shots of CEOs and their crimes - which are much more devastating to the public at large - broadcast with equal zeal as the guy in Roxbury who robs a liquor store?
Saturday, October 25, 2003
Good for you Victoria!
I did a bunch of radio programs about vote fraud while doing a talk show on WMFO in the 1990s, including interviewing Collier. This was back before talking about vote fraud and media consolidation - for that matter - was trendy. In fact, only rightwingers talked about vote fraud because they didn't believe that people like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy could actually get elected.
And we can't forget that it was the Democrats who sponsored the media consolidation. Liberals and Democrats didn't care about media consolidation or vote fraud because, for the most part, their side was benefiting. But now, with the nation split down the middle, with swing voters casting votes for conservatives and Democrats running their negative campaigns and races into the ground trying to out-Republican Republicans, the vote fraud issue is finally being taken seriously.
It is about time - even if the speculation about computer machines and vote fraud isn't completely accurate or correct.
I missed posting this story out on Thursday about the struggle the District of Columbia had setting up its primary before New Hampshire and Iowa: ["DC takes center stage"].
Speaking of the Boston Phoenix, once again, they trump the Boston Globe on a story and the Globe gets the better play. First, on Oct. 17, reporter David Bernstein posts a story about John Edwards running up against the federal primary spending limits in N.H.: ["The money game"]. Then, five days later, on Oct. 23, "Clueless" Brian Mooney basically re-writes the story ["Early ads haven't helped Edwards"] and gets national play with it when it is posted on ABC News' The Note political Web site.
This is similar to what happened during the Catholic church priest molestation scandals. Kristin Lombardi actually broke numerous stories in the Phoenix about the victims and the molestation a full year before the Globe - which listened to Cardinal Bernard Law deny the crimes over and over again instead of taking the victims seriously - even started to investigate. Who gets the credit for breaking the stories? The Globe's Spotlight Team - which won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting about the scandal - now in book form. No respect ... no respect at all for the scrappy news team over at Stephen Mindich's weekly.
Sometimes, you have to wonder about these candidates and their consultants: ["Some Democratic Hopefuls Question Value of Debates"]. Listen to John Kerry:
"I think the crowded field allows the most shrill, conflict-oriented, confrontational voices to be heard," Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts said Thursday in Iowa, "and not necessarily the person who might make the best candidate or the best president." "They're very superficial," he added.
Superficial? Your fellow candidates or the debates? Well, jeez John, that is what a campaign is all about. This isn't England. There won't be a coronation. You have to earn it.
Frankly, I think these candidates should be happy they only have to attend a handful of these debates. In the past, candidates would have to participate in debates every day, many of which were very small, lightly attended events in the deep woods or sparsely populated plains of New Hampshire or Iowa. Now, they basically put some pancake makeup on, spit out their soundbites, and then go back to shaking hands and pocketing $2,000 checks! Oh, the agony of it all.
And then there is this idiot Donna Brazille who doesn't want voters to have a contest at all and instead, wants the coronation to happen faster:
Donna Brazile, the head of Al Gore's campaign in 2000 who is herself African-American, said the party needed to start coalescing around a front-runner sooner rather than later — and that should trump any other considerations.
"It's time for the rubber to hit the road," Ms. Brazile said. "It's time for some of the candidates to stay home."
Who made her boss? Shut up already Donna. You don't run the show. This, from the woman who is chairman of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute - a group that is supposed to be promoting choices and participation. As well, she is black, and she is basically saying the two black candidates need to go home. How pathetic is that?
Friday, October 24, 2003
Okay, let's see if you can follow this one. First, congrats to Kevin Landrigan of the Nashua Telegraph, one of the best political reporters in New England, for the story of the week on Wesley Clark: ["Clark’s possible link to Tyco questioned"]. As many of you know, Tyco International - up there with Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, etc. - is a sore spot for the working folks in New Hampshire. While others are pooh-poohing the guy's laryngitis, Landrigan is doing the digging. However, here is the key line to the story that starts the trail:
But last fall, Clark was managing director of merchant banking for the Stephens Group Inc. of Little Rock, Ark., when the company bought more than 50,000 shares of Tyco stock.Stephens in Little Rock? Damn, that name sounds familiar.
So, I do a google and what is the first link that pops up?
"The Crimes of Mena: Worthen Bank"
End of NYT story.
NEW YORK TIMES February 5, 1992 "Wealthy Investment Family a Big Help to Clinton" by Jeff Gerth ...
... Among these Stephens associates is Curt Bradbury, a former employee of Stephens Inc., who is now the chief executive of Worthen National Bank of Arkansas and its parent, the Worthen Banking Corporation, in which the Stephens family own a 38 percent interest. Last month, the Worthen National Bank approved a credit line that allows the Clinton campaign to borrow up to $2 million ...
... Ties to Republicans. In the 1980's, there were few visible financial ties between Governor Clinton and the Stephens family. The Stephenses seemed more closely aligned with the Republicans. Stephens Inc. and its chairman, Jackson T. (Jack) Stephens, donated $100,000 to the national Republican Party both in 1988 and
1991. But beginning in 1990, the Stephenses started paying closer attention to the Democratic Governor. Mr. Clinton's Republican opponent that year was a critic of the Stephenses who wanted to reduce their financial dealings and their general influence in the state.
Comments from the poster, Larry:
"The money paid for a television ad blitz that saved Clinton' campaign. And the rest is history. Also note, it is illegal for a securities firm, like Stephens Inc., to own a bank, like Worthen National. The Stephens convinced regulators to circumvent the law by changing Worthen's charter from federal to state. Jackson Stephens loves a good bank deal. He assisted the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in its initial attempts to buy an American bank, something the Fed did not approve of. BCCI, of course, succeeded in buying First American Bankshares. Jackson Stephens also helped arrange a loan for George Bush, Jr. from a BCCI affiliate in Switzerland so he could buy a chunk of Harken Energy."
Pretty interesting how it all comes around. Here is the main Mena link from the site: "The Activities at Mena"
Zogby: Dean opens up 'huge lead' in New Hampshire
Super pollster John Zogby posted the latest results from N.H. this afternoon showing Howard Dean with 40 percent: "Zogby". Following Dean with 40 is John Kerry with 17, Clark and John Edwards are tied with 6 percent.
A Marist Poll from yesterday revealed Dean overtaking Joe Lieberman in New York, 18 to 16 percent, with Clark at 14 percent and Dick Gephardt at 10 percent.
On Wednesday, Zogby posted Gephardt retaking the lead in Iowa by 1 percent: Gephardt 22, Dean 21, Kerry at 9 percent, with Edwards and Clark posting 7 percent.
The Concord Monitor/Research 2000 published a poll Wednesday showing Dean with a solid lead of 33 percent. Kerry at 18 percent and Clark posted 14 percent. Lieberman had 6 percent with Edwards and Gephardt at 5 percent.
On Tuesday, Franklin Pierce posted similar results: Dean 33 percent, Kerry 19 percent, Clark 7 percent, with Edwards and Gephardt at 4 percent.
The San Antonio Current has a pretty good piece on Dennis Kucinich's visit to the state: ["Damn the polls, full speed ahead"].
Kucinich has also sent letters to N.H. TV stations saying an ad by Dean distorts the anti-war records of both candidates: ["Kucinich Seeks to Stop Dean's N.H. TV Ads"].
The Lakeland Ledger says Florida should move its primary up: ["Move Presidential Primary Date"].
Delaware News Journal's Al Mascitti makes Lieberman's case for taking his state's primary seriously: ["In presidential primaries, Delaware remains an also-ran"].
Another reason why sometimes labor gets what they deserve: ["For Gephardt, loyalty to Big Labor isn't repaid"].
Arbiter Columnist Aubrey Salazar profiles the Rev. Al: ["Sharpton anything but boring"].
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Rumsfeld memo leaked: ["Rumsfeld doubts on terror war"].
October 16, 2003
TO: Gen. Dick Myers
Gen. Pete Pace
FROM: Donald Rumsfeld
SUBJECT: Global War on Terrorism
The questions I posed to combatant commanders this week were: Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror? Is DoD changing fast enough to deal with the new 21st century security environment? Can a big institution change fast enough? Is the USG changing fast enough?
DoD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere — one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem.
With respect to global terrorism, the record since Septermber 11th seems to be:
We are having mixed results with Al Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them — nonetheless, a great many remain at large.
USG has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis.
USG has made somewhat slower progress tracking down the Taliban — Omar, Hekmatyar, etc.
With respect to the Ansar Al-Islam, we are just getting started.
Have we fashioned the right mix of rewards, amnesty, protection and confidence in the US?
Does DoD need to think through new ways to organize, train, equip and focus to deal with the global war on terror?
Are the changes we have and are making too modest and incremental? My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves, although we have have made many sensible, logical moves in the right direction, but are they enough?
Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?
Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.
Do we need a new organization?
How do we stop those who are financing the radical madrassa schools?
Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get"?
It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.
Does CIA need a new finding?
Should we create a private foundation to entice radical madradssas to a more moderate course?
What else should we be considering?
Please be prepared to discuss this at our meeting on Saturday or Monday.
Here is what the BBC's analyst thinks: ["Analysis: Rumsfeld's sobering thoughts"]
And of course, Rummy is pissed: ["Official: Rumsfeld 'Livid' Over Memo Leak"].
Rick Perlstein of the Village Voice thinks so and has written a devastating overview of the Lieberman effort: ["Day of the Spoiler"].
"It works like this. He has already conceded Iowa, but let's suppose Lieberman doesn't do too poorly in the other early states, picking up some delegates here and there, perhaps even winning a primary, say one of the five on February 3, the week after New Hampshire, when his name recognition will help him because no one will have time to campaign in all these states. Thus emboldened, he campaigns harder - by intensifying his pattern of tearing down his opponents as dangerously liberal - and remains committed to staying in for the duration. Then, as his star fades, he'll have only one viable strategy left, a manic, all-or-nothing strategy: trying to convince Democrats that the front-runner must be dumped altogether, using the dark arts of opposition research, trying to dig up something purportedly embarrassing from the front-runner's past that the jubilant Republicans might even have missed if left to their own devices."
Wow, talk about hitting it right on the head. Also, Perlstein's Al Gore in 1988 example is a great one. Gore attacks against Mike Dukakis were then picked up by Republicans and the Duke went from a 17 point lead to losing all by a handful of states. However, Perlstein missed a very important part of the puzzle: The fact that Gore hammered Dukakis long before Super Tuesday. The Willie Horton allegations were exposed by Gore during a televised Boston debate with the late radio talk host Jerry Williams - weeks before the New Hampshire primary.
And then there is this:
"How many Democrats will be willing to work their hearts out for the guy single-handedly responsible, in his kid-glove non-investigation as chair of the Senate Investigations Subcommittee, for the Bush administration emerging from the Enron scandal scot-free? How many, for the man whose most enduring work in the Senate was preserving the favorite accounting dodge, the non-expensing of stock options, of disgraced high-tech companies like Enron and Worldcom?"
Exactly. Why will all of us working folks out here support a Lieberman candidacy when we already have the guy in office. Big "R" or Big "D" - what difference does it make? They are both essentially the same.
Kerry on 'Hardball'
I missed John Kerry on 'Hardball' earlier this week. Thankfully, Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix and Eileen McNamara of the Boston Globe, didn't: ["John Kerry whiffs at the Kennedy School"]
"But the most promising moment for Kerry and his supporters came when Matthews botched the introduction. "My guest tonight, John Kennedy -- I'm sorry. John Kerry." Kerry entered to a lengthy standing ovation. But then he opened his mouth, and any serendipitous momentum disappeared. Instead of letting Matthews' gaffe seep, undisturbed, into the minds of the audience, Kerry quickly described a time when Ted Kennedy made the same mistake -- and just like that, the error was rendered mundane rather than magical. Next, Kerry singled out his daughter Vanessa, who was sitting close to the stage and looked visibly embarrassed when the cameras found her. And then, for 15 uncomfortable minutes, he tried to clarify his stand on the Iraq war."
Here's McNamara's biting take on it: ["Faux politics in full force"]
The host has a more discernible political bent than the audience, which might as well be at a screening of "The Blues Brothers," another of Kerry's favorite movies. Dawn Birch, the crowd warmer for the MSNBC show, is so good at her job that she gets the Ivy Leaguers to applaud on cue with the same frenzy, whether it is for a Kerry comment or a commercial break. "I'm going to be wearing these pretty white gloves," she says of the hand signals she will send when she wants a big, big show of enthusiasm. "I see a lot of people chewing gum. Not good on television. Remove the gum," she instructs before the cameras roll. When did college students become so good at doing what they are told? Handpicked students -- just the right mix of gender and ethnicity -- are led to microphones to ask prescreened questions. "Your parents paid tons of money and pulled every string they could to get you here," Birch reminds them. "They are looking for you to ask a question tonight." Not just any question, though. "No Iraq, no Medicare, no health care," instructs one handler, patrolling the aisles in search of some predetermined balance.
Well, what the hell is the point? No hard questions? Come on. The JFK School has been the home of some raucous debates over the years. Why not have a good political pillow fight? Pretty sad. Glad I missed it.
'Well I was born in a small town ...'
Who would have thought that such brilliance would come from John Mellencamp?: ["An Open Letter to America: It's Time to Take Back Our Country"]. It will be great to see if he endorses or works to organize for a candidate.
23% of Voters in Poll say Nader Should Run in 2004
by Tom Squitieri/USA Today/Wednesday, October 22, 2003
"Nearly one in four voters want Ralph Nader to run for president in 2004, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll released Tuesday. The poll found that 23% of those surveyed said Nader should run in 2004; 66% said he shouldn't. Poll numbers may not translate into votes, but a surprised Nader said the numbers show that "people are looking for alternatives to the Democratic and Republican duopoly."
Nader got 3% of the vote as the Green Party candidate in 2000. He also was its candidate in 1996. He said he will decide in December whether to run in 2004. He asked the California secretary of state to place his name on the Green Party's presidential primary ballot for March. A Draft Nader organization is setting up in all 50 states. Party officials said the likely choice for vice president is Erin Brockovich, a consumer activist and investigator for a California law firm. She had no comment.
In the poll, 52% rejected the idea that Nader's 2000 run cost Democrat Al Gore the presidency; 41% said it did. Some blamed Nader for drawing votes in Florida and New Hampshire that cost Gore those states. In the poll, 28% said they have voted for an independent or third party candidate for president; 71% said they haven't. The poll of 1,003 people Sept. 19-21 has a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points."
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
A couple of quick polls that caught my eye late last night.
Suffolk University released a new poll yesterday showing the New Hampshire race tightening. Dean still leads with 25 percent, but that lead is 9 points lower than last month. John Kerry has 19 percent, Wesley Clark has 11 percent, with Joe Lieberman at 8 percent and Dick Gephardt at 7 percent. Everyone else is below 5 percent.
Ask for polls from Arizona and the Arizona Republic obliges, via the Behavior Research Center: Dean 32 percent, Clark 24 percent, Lieberman and Kerry with 15 percent, Gephardt with 8 percent and Sharpton with 4 percent.
Survey USA says Gephardt is opening up a lead in Iowa: Gephardt 27 percent, Dean 22 percent, Kerry 15 percent, with both Clark and Edwards at 11 percent. Nice improvement in Edwards' showing. Clark is also strong considering he just entered the race. Maybe he shouldn't have pulled out so early.
A Daily Distortion
With 99 days left until the N.H. primary, the Kerry campaign has come up with a cute email update entitled "99 Daily Distortions from the Commander-in-Chief." Apparently, the listing is only available by email but voters are encouraged to forward the messages to their friends.
Yesterday's Daily Distortion?
Distortion: Bush: "My plan is good for the long-term health of our economy. It is good for the businesses that create jobs." When: June 7, 2001'Joe spins...'
Truth: Nearly 3.2 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office- and over 2.5 million of these are manufacturing jobs. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov;http:www.jec.gov].
In the film "Say Anything," there is a great scene where Lili Taylor's character Corey, a friend of John Cusack's character Lloyd, continually plays a song she is writing called "Joe Lies" throughout the film. The song is about a boy who treated her badly. Everyone can relate to the song and the songwriter since we have all been there.
However, when I see or hear Joe Lieberman say something, the song pops into my head, with a little change - "Joe spins... Joe spins ..."
Anyhow, in the wake of many think is a collapsing campaign and pulling out of the very important Iowa caucus, the Lieberman campaign sent out this email:
"LIEBERMAN CAMPAIGN ADDS STAFF, OFFICES IN KEY PRIMARY STATES
Will Open Offices in New Hampshire, Oklahoma; Adds Press Secretaries in Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma
ARLINGTON - The Joe Lieberman campaign announced today they are adding additional staff and opening new offices in New Hampshire and several February 3rd primary states.
"With approximately 100 days left to go before the voters have their say, we are making the key investments necessary to ensure that Joe Lieberman will be the Democratic nominee in 2004," said Campaign Director Craig Smith.
The campaign plans to open in the weeks to come four new offices in New Hampshire, a new headquarters in Oklahoma and has hired state press secretaries in Arizona, Oklahoma and South Carolina. With these openings, Lieberman will have 10 campaign offices in New Hampshire and two in Oklahoma ..."
Monday, October 20, 2003
Big political news this morning that will surely be all over the talk shows tonight. Joe Lieberman and Wesley Clark have decided to pull their campaign organizations out of Iowa and instead, compete for New Hampshire and the southern and western primary states: ["2 Top Democrats Will Not Contest Iowa's Caucuses"]. The A.P. only got part of the story in the Union Leader this morning: ["Lieberman Set to Pull Out of Iowa"].
This is interesting for two reasons: 1) Iowa is a major contest that both are bypassing; and 2) caucuses are hard to organize. You really need a very good field organization to get anywhere in Iowa. Clark is starting very late so it is understandable that he would give up the state and concentrate his efforts on states where people cast ballots instead of milling around at a caucus. Democratic activists also tend to be very liberal in Iowa which is probably why Lieberman isn't connecting.
The strategy is a big gamble for both campaigns because it tends to signal an early defeat. Gordon Fischer, the Iowa Democratic Party chairman, noted both Al Gore in 1988 and John McCain in 2000 tried the same thing but could not win their party's nomination. However, their post-Iowa strategies were much different. Gore was counting on his Tennessee roots to help in the Super Tuesday primaries that year without acknowledging that Dick Gephardt and Jesse Jackson were also running in those primaries. McCain skipped Iowa and trounced Bush in N.H. and won other contests. He was later flogged in South Carolina and other places and did not win the nomination.
The states after Iowa and N.H. are Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma and S.C. on Feb. 3. New Mexico has a caucus as well. Michigan will hold a caucus on Feb. 7 with Maine following on Feb. 8. Virginia and Tennessee hold primaries Feb. 10 and Wisconsin on Feb. 17. Idaho will hold a caucus on Feb. 24, with Utah holding either a caucus or primary on Feb. 27. March 2 mark's the 2004 election's Super Tuesday which will include California, New York, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, the rest of New England, and a caucus in Minnesota [All dates subject to change].
If there were no southern candidates or there was not a frontrunner in N.H., this might be a good strategy for both candidates. However, both John Edwards and the Rev. Al Sharpton are pulling double digit numbers out of southern states like S.C. If Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, and John Kerry emerge from Iowa and N.H. with wins or second-place finishes in both states, the candidates move to S.C. with four- or five-way races, which doesn't leave much wiggle room for Lieberman or Clark. Gephardt will easily win his home state.
As far as the other states go, there hasn't been much polling data available. During a Talking Points Live online discussion on Oct. 10, Terry Neal, Chief Political Correspondent for washingtonpost.com, noted a number of polls he had seen from the later states:
Yes, I have heard a little...
In Arizona, a recent poll has Clark, Dean and Lieberman bunched at the top. But the leading candidate, Clark was at 13 percent. So for all practical purposes, that's wide open.
In Missouri, not surprisingly, Gephardt is the clear favorite, even though at 36 percent, he could be doing better. In order, he is followed by Dean, Kerry and Lieberman. In New Mexico, one recent poll had Dean leading with 18 percent, followed by Lieberman at 14 percent and Kerry at 10 percent. No other candidate was in double digits.
Haven't heard much about Okla. and New Mexico.
I spent a little time over the weekend looking at some of the major newspapers from these states and searching Google.com's news site, and didn't find any published polling data.
Despite strong numbers for Lieberman in Michigan, it is a caucus state this year which means you need a serious organization there to win. The Maine caucus is a bit different since it is a smaller state and progressives have a history of doing very well there.
In 1992, Jerry Brown won the state despite the media reporting for two days that Paul Tsongas won the state. Corrections were admitted afterwards but the damage was already done. Look for Dean, Kerry and Kucinich to do well there.
Another interesting note from the A.P. article: Lieberman has spent almost $7 million so far. My question is, on what? Sure, he has some Joe Mobile PT Cruisers and now, he has a Winnebago. He has expensive campaign staffers, including his kids, but has cut the salaries of some. Lieberman hasn't run any advertising that anyone knows of. So where is this money going? Even though it is a crowded field, $7 million should put a candidate in play, especially since he was the vice presidential nominee in 2000.
Sunday, October 19, 2003
On Friday, October 3, 2003, at 1 p.m., Jennifer Parker-Cash sighted a UFO over "McDonough Elementary School on Lowell Road, near Exit 8, Wellington Road, off (interstate highway) Route 93 North in Manchester, New Hampshire (population 107,006)." According to Parker-Cash, the UFO was "a large stationary object emitting a pulsating or highly reflective light. I'd say there were two off-white orbs that had a wrinkled or baggy appearance and looked like they had material streamers hanging from them. When they suddenly disappeared, a group of silver-white orbs swarmed like a group of bees in a tight, swirling formation. They went up and down, side to side and sometimes swirled like cream being stirred in coffee. While stationary, they emitted bright blue beams and appeared flat, and the two wrinkled orbs that looked like a scoop of dirty clouds was off-white. At first they were stationary, and then they took off to the south in a swirling formation." (Email Form Report)
Saturday, October 18, 2003
That is the question.
Yea: ["Don't let the Democrats frighten you away from voting your conscience"].
The great irony, of course, is that as the DLC moves the Democratic Party ever rightward, Democrats themselves are the losers. Mirroring Nixon's "Southern strategy," Clinton ran hard to the right, emphasizing crime control and distancing himself from blacks and progressives. His calculation? They would have nowhere else to go. Those tactics worked for Clinton, a master politician, but other Democrats have paid dearly for turning their backs on traditional Democratic voters. Let me illustrate. On the day President Clinton took office in 1993, Democrats held an 82-seat majority in the House of Representatives and a 57-43 majority in the Senate, and 30 governors were Democrats. On the day he left office in 2001, Republicans ruled both chambers of Congress and only 19 states had Democratic governors.
Or Nay: ["Don't gamble with your vote in 2004"].
A few years ago, Nader and some others articulated the theory that throwing a scare into the Democrats would move them in a more progressive direction. That theory was disproved after November 2000. As a whole, congressional Democrats have not become more progressive since then. There has been a disturbing tendency among some Greens to conflate the Democratic and Republican parties. Yes, the agendas of the two major parties overlap. But they also diverge. And in some important respects, any of the Democratic presidential contenders (with the exception of Joe Lieberman, whose nomination appears to be quite unlikely) would clearly be better than Bush. For the left to be "above the fray" would be a big mistake. It should be a matter of great concern -- not indifference or mild interest -- as to whether the Bush gang returns to power for four more years.
The $87 billion Iraqi reconstruction bill was approved yesterday, with some minor stipulations: ["Congress OKs $87 billion request"]. The argument will be over whether the nation will have to pay back part of $20 billion that will be used for infrastructure, from future oil production. Here is a question: Will these oil sales go back to the American people or will some corporation mine the oil, mark it up, and then transfer the money back to our government with a healthy profit? We keep hearing about how the oil belongs to "the Iraqi people," yet I doubt any of them will see the money. Do the American people see money from our oil, our minerals, our national resources? Sure, pennies on the dollar in federal land rights and some taxes which isn't much when you consider the amount of profits.
Here is another interesting point from article:
The House earlier Friday accepted an amendment by Reps. Jim Ramstad, R-Minn., and Dennis Moore, D-Kan., to shift $98 million from Iraq reconstruction to help troops on leave pay for their trips home. For the first time since the Vietnam War, the military is giving service members with 12 months in the field in Iraq or Afghanistan a 15-day home leave. But after flying into the port of entry in this country, they must pay for the rest of theirs trip out of their own pockets and are "too often stranded at the airport, nowhere near their homes or families," Ramstad said. The Senate approved similar language early in its debate.
So, the government sends our troops - many of whom are not active duty but national guardsmen - into war and then, the soldiers have to pay their own way back home? How insane is that? Again, this is an administration that supposedly supports the military? Can you imagine the outrage there would have been had they pulled this stunt in 'Nam? There would be protests in the street. Where are you now, baby-boomer protesters? Busy waving flags and talking about your support of the troops while they are stuck somewhere in the middle of nowhere trying to get home? Gosh!
More about the specifics:
There was little controversy over the bulk of the emergency spending package, $66 billion to sustain U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Debate centered on the money to restore economic and political stability in Iraq, which in the House bill included $793 million for health care programs, $2.8 billion for potable drinking water, $217 million for border security, $5.65 billion for electricity generation and $2.1 billion to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure.
So, almost $1 billion for health care while 50 million Americans don't have health care and you are labeled a socialist if you support helping these Americans. Billions for drinking water? Okay, not a problem, since two different wars - sponsored by two Republican administrations and crafted by rightwing think tanks - have polluted their water with depleted uranium bullets and missiles which eventually led to the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens. Border security will help to protect the soldiers but they shouldn't be there! We should be spending this money protecting our porous borders from illegal alien invasions or new terrorist attacks. And almost $8 billion for electricity and oil infrastructure? OK, we bombed them - we should rebuild it. But when is all this going to stop? If we never invaded, we wouldn't have to do any of this now. These billions could have been spent on our electricity grid or on tax breaks for hybrid cars which would help to limit our oil use and keep us out of these stupid wars.
Kennedy praises Bush 41
In his speech coming out against the $87 billion, Sen. Ted Kennedy praised the former president for writing about the problems America would have overthrowing Saddam Hussein in 1991:
"Here is what they wrote: 'Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in 'mission creep,' and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible...We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, there was no viable 'exit strategy' we could see...Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome.' They were right."
The entire speech, sans the usual Kennedy garbling, is posted on Common Dreams: ["On the Administration's Failure to Provide a Realistic, Specific Plan to Bring Stability to Iraq"].
Friday, October 17, 2003
Here is just another reason why we shouldn't be spending $87 billion to rebuild Iraq: ["Sick, wounded U.S. troops held in squalor "].
"I have loved the Army. I have served the Army faithfully and I have done everything the Army has asked me to do. Now my whole idea about the U.S. Army has changed. I am treated like a third-class citizen," said Sgt. 1st Class Willie Buckels, a truck master with the 296th Transportation Company. Buckels served in the Army Reserves for 27 years, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Gulf War.
Money to build hospitals in Iraq but our soldiers have to wait weeks to see a doctor. This is supposed to be the administration that supports the fighting men and women of our arm forces?
Just when you thought it was safe...
Jerry Springer might run for governor: ["Springer May Run for Ohio Governor"].
Miller lashes out at his party
Georgia Sen. Zell Miller criticizes Democrats in a new book he has released entitled "A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat": ["Miller book calls Democrats out of touch"]. Note this important part of the story about why his friend Max Cleland lost reelection in 2002, a defeat some Democrats are blaming on Republican-controlled and rigged voting machines in Georgia:
Miller also blames the party for contributing to last year's defeat of his fellow Georgia Democrat, Sen. Max Cleland. Cleland was leading in the polls several weeks before the election, but his acquiescence in his party's push for more labor rights for workers in the then-planned Homeland Security Department allowed Republicans to criticize him as being opposed to national security, Miller said.
However, Cleland was right for taking this position. The Bush Administration was wrong to take away the organizing rights of Homeland Security workers. The same way they were wrong about cutting military and combat pay. If Democrats lose taking these positions versus not truly supporting the troops and federal employees, then there isn't anything they can do.
Thanks go out to Dan Kennedy of the Boston Phoenix for posting this on his Media Log: ["Fact-Free News"].
Ever worry that millions of your fellow Americans are walking around knowing things that you don't? That your prospects for advancement may depend on your mastery of such arcana as who won the Iraqi war or where exactly Europe is? Then don't watch Fox News. The more you watch, the more you'll get things wrong.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Roy Morrison is contemplating a run for the Second Congressional District of New Hampshire, the seat currently held by Republican Charlie Bass. Morrison, who describes himself as "a writer, an energy consultant, an organizer of cooperatives, a father, gardener, activist, kayaker, a Warner, New Hampshire man," sent out an email last week telling people he will form an exploratory committee to look at a run for the Democratic nomination.
"Ecological catastrophe gathers, a malign Bush administration in thrall to the global Empire of Oil is on the march, and still, conventional political discourse seems impoverished by a crisis of the imagination. Our democracy can do better. We must," he wrote.
Morrison has an uphill battle - the Democrats haven't controlled the seat in almost a decade. But he does have some interesting, if not eclectic, ideas. One idea is to "Tax pollution, not income," the name of his new book published on his own publishing company, Essential Books.
The media is already taking his run pretty seriously. He even garned a mention in a Concord Monitor piece about President Bush's job approval ["Voters mixed on opinion of president"], from the Warner Fall Foliage Festival, an event I used to attend as a young boy.
* Ecological Taxation
First, tax pollution, not income. End the income tax and the IRS. Make the market price of goods reflect true costs. We must tax the "bads," not the "goods." An ecological tax system will replace over ten years all federal taxes on income with two new ecological consumption taxes: a Btu-tax on energy and an Ecological Value Added Tax (EVAT)on pollution, depletion and ecological damage. These ecological taxes can easily raise all of the approximately 2 trillion dollars needed to finance the federal budget. The pursuit of lower prices and self-interest will be the path to ecological sustainability. In the 21st century, to do well and pursue our self-interest must also mean to do good.
* A National Trust
Second, kick start an ecological transformation and overcome market failures with government savings and National Trust investment in sustainability. A National Trust, funded by annual government savings, will invest strategically to support sustainability, jobs, and prosperity. Markets, even under an ecological tax regime, will sometimes fail. Our mission is sustainability, prosperity, and democracy, not saving neo-liberal economic orthodoxy. The National Trust will be based on five regional and democratically controlled development banks. These will funded by annual government savings equal to between 2.5 percent and 5 percent of federal budget (50 billion to 100 billion per year). Through the power of compound interest we will build a multi-trillion dollar National Trust in the 21st century. Trust Investment will complement ecological taxation, help save social security and provide an educational birthright for all Americans. And eventually, in a sustainable world, National Trust investment can provide sufficient income to meet all our federal annual revenue requirements. Yes, a 21st century end to all federal taxes is possible. The Platform for the 21st Century shows the way to a tax-free, sustainable future.
* A Negative Income Tax
Third, end poverty and welfare and provide a fair basis for social justice with a Negative Income Tax balanced by a responsibility for National Service. A Negative Income Tax, at reasonable cost, will lift the poorest above the poverty line and working families toward the middle class in exchange for fulfilling a responsibility for National Service by all Americans. Consumption taxes, even ecological ones, are regressive. They tax the poor more heavily than the rich. This can be remedied by a Negative Income Tax (NIT) that supports work and attacks poverty. An expansion of the existing Earned Income Tax Credit provides an easy path to a full Negative Income Tax. The NIT in action will virtually eliminate poverty and welfare. And we will earn a lifetime right to a negative income tax in exchange for meeting our responsibility for a universal 16- 24 month period of National Service.
* A Continental American Union
Fourth, move beyond the destructive limits of the 19th and 20th century nation-state through a democratic, continental American Union of nations. Democracy in the 21st century must be on a continental scale.The Western hemisphere need be an area of dynamic democratic action that rests on dynamic civil societies increasing many-fold their trade and cooperative relationships. In the context of sustainable democracy, prosperity, and justice we can move from a global war system to a peace system. Democracies have already amply demonstrated their non-war-like behavior toward one another. American ultra-nationalists, angry at French active opposition to the Iraq war may change the name of french fries to "freedom fries". But the United States did not, and will not, go to war with France. The historical record makes it absolutely clear that while democracies certainly make war, democracies do not make war with one another. Ever.
Whether you agree with all of his ideas or not, he is at least thinking about things from a different angle and if he makes it past the primaries, will surely make some of the political debates with Bass very interesting.
Riot, the unbeatable high
Punks OOC in Canada: ["Punk fans riot in Montreal"].
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
I probably shouldn't use the line "in or out" when talking about a Clinton, but if she is going to run for president, she needs to make up her mind soon: ["Clock Ticking for a Hillary Presidential Bid"]. It is, however, getting very late.
"She hasn’t done the groundwork. She’s probably not ready for a presidential campaign, and if she got out there and performed badly it would devastate any chance for her in the future," said Emmett H. Buell, professor of political science at Denison University.
I still don't think she is going to run. They have Clark now, so she doesn't have to run. However, the fact that it is still speculation this late in the game is pretty amazing.
It's about time: ["Sept. 11 panel subpoenas FAA, citing failure to produce records"]. What is the problem over there? Why won't they release the documents? Do they have something to hide? Maybe, it's the fact that they took so long to respond to the hijackings? The American people deserve some answers.
What an exciting game tonight! On to Game 7 - Go Pedro! Woo hoo!
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
If you see your elected officials with their arms in a sling this morning, give them a delicate hug. The poor pets probably hurt themselves over the weekend thrusting their hands out for Red Sox tickets.Hahahahaha! So true! McGrory has been reading the Improper Bostonian.
Take, for example, Mike Ross, a Boston city councilor. Unless you flit around the city's social scene attending restaurant openings, premieres, or other gatherings of the glitterati, you've probably never heard of him. But be warned: The most dangerous place around is between Ross and a Nikon.
So of course, when the Red Sox made the playoffs, there's Ross in the thick of it. He wanted special access to tickets, and the Sox were eager to oblige, gracing him with four gems for every home game, each one costing him face value.I wonder who Ross brought to the game.
I called Mike Ross on Friday wondering how excited he was to be heading to the games. "No comment," he replied. But would the special access to tickets affect his judgment on the council in dealing with the Red Sox? "No comment." And then I had an idea. Would he consider donating some of his many tickets to the Home for Little Wanderers, fulfilling the wildest dreams of some underprivileged kids? "No comment."What are you so afraid of, Mike? Answer the question!
BTW, those in Mike's district - Boston's 8th: Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, and Mission Hill - can vote for Carmen Torres on Nov. 4.
The latest allegations? Well, polling data before the election showed incumbent Democrats in Georgia winning but then they lost because the state has DRE touch-screen voting machines.
Now, as I have said before on a few occasions, there is vote fraud in America and I don’t trust the touch-screen voting machines because there is no paper trail. However, more information, testing, and data are needed in order to clearly show whether fraud is actually occurring instead of conspiracy theories forwarded by political partisans who don't understand the process.
Monday, October 13, 2003
So I am watching the Red Sox game on Fox and all of a sudden there is this video bleed behind the batter. I was doing some work on the computer and my wife happened to notice it. I looked and sure enough, there is this funny blur behind one of the batters. Fox has added their own video ads to the backdrop, an AT&T Wireless ad. How do we know? During the replay, the wall is green behind the batter. But during real time, there is a blurry ad behind the catcher, umpire and batter. Normally, there is an obnoxious local ad behind the plate. But this video ad clearly distracts from the game. It is really annoying and should be stopped.
A few points: First, Dean donated money to Grossman during his ill-fated attempt to become governor of Massachusetts last year while Kerry and others ignored him [I wrote a column about Grossman’s exit from the race - "Grossman proves loyalty, ideas don't matter" - which I will try and post later on tonight, when I find the link]. The buzz about Grossman possibly backing Dean – no pun intended since that is the name of the political gossip column in the Boston Herald – broke early last year. Dean also said some positive things about Grossman and the work he did on the national level for the Democratic Party. People forget Grossman came on when the DNC was millions in the hole, having been bled dry by the Clintons.
In 2002, as Grossman campaigned around the state, he found support lacking from a lot of people who owed him favors despite having an attractive message and good ideas. However, as a loyal Democratic soldier, Grossman paid his friend back. To not even mention it leaves a huge hole in the piece.
After all Grossman did for Kerry over the years, he should have paid the guy back with some assistance. But he didn't because that isn't how Kerry has ever worked. Kerry seems to have alienated anyone who ever did anything for the guy [This is one of the reasons I mentioned earlier that I would love to see how Kerry is polling in his home state]. People all over the state know all about his aloofness and ignorance of what most people in Massachusetts have to deal with. He is now shocked – shocked – to find out that he is out of touch with people in New Hampshire! I could go on about Kerry’s woes – including the fact that he is using a very old voter’s list for his mailers in N.H. – but I want to get back to Mooney’s problems.
Second point: Dean's wife and Grossman share the Jewish faith, something that Dean and his family have been able to use as an effective organizing tool. There is no mention of this connection in Mooney’s piece. Dean’s children consider themselves Jewish, according to an article in the New York Metro ["The Unlikely Rise of Howard Dean"], which some voters have found appealing. It shows that Dean, as a parent, truly believes in diversity or just didn't care about exposing his children to his own faith.
Sure, Kerry recently admitted that his grandfather was Jewish but later converted to Catholicism. And Joe Lieberman is running. But he is much more conservative than Grossman. I would guess that he would support Lieberman if he is the nominee but never in the primary with other contenders closer to Grossman’s ideology. Sometimes, talking about the faith of a candidate or supporters is considered the third rail of journalism. However, it is an important point to make because it is fact. The Dean campaign has used his wife’s faith to organize potential donors and volunteers. So why pretend it isn’t there? Grossman - a man of fundraising prowess and a place on the national stage - immediately helped Dean get credibility when he was going nowhere. It is a huge part of the story and Mooney completely missed it.
The third point: There is nothing worse in politics than a class bigot and connecting with the working masses is the path to victory in the Democratic primaries. Dean, Grossman, and Kerry are all elites. Dean was raised on Madison Avenue and vacationed in the Hamptons. He and his wife were educated at Ivy League Princeton and never had to worry about missing a meal. While Grossman’s father was a working class immigrant, he was also educated at the best schools and lived a life of privilege. Kerry was schooled at the exclusive St. Paul’s School and went to Yale with President George W. Bush. However, both Dean and Grossman at least attempt to understand what the regular folks are going through even if they haven’t lived it. Despite the up and down business of printing, Grossman has bragged that he has never had a layoff in his union shop. This was something that set him apart from the Democratic field in 2002, a business owner who actually had a heart. Kerry, on the other hand, has never seemed to understand this. He has always had an air of expectancy about him, like the presidency is owed to him because he is decent looking, was a war hero, and is a member of the exclusive gentleman’s club known as the United States Senate. I’m not saying Kerry is a class bigot and there is hope for him. But look at how the support is breaking so far. It is clear that Kerry isn’t connecting.
Grossman is smart; he knows how to read the writing on the wall. Early on, he saw Dean had the goods to bring the party to a different place – in tune with fiscal responsibility, liberal enough to hold on to the core, and away from the Clintons. Combine this with Kerry’s problems connecting with real folks and the move to Dean was a no-brainer for Grossman and many others who are backing him in Massachusetts.
The failure to mention any of these things in Mooney’s article shows that he continues to fail to grasp the real story behind a story, a required skill for all political reporters.
I personally have reason to criticize Mooney’s reporting since on two different occasions he incorrectly stated that I lived in the North End of Boston, albeit a great neighborhood but one which I have never had the privilege of residing in. However, after pointing this fact out, corrections were never issued by the Globe. Mooney continued to repeat the inaccuracy and took other cheap shots at me in the newspaper. My letters to the editor complaining about his behavior were never published and my complaints to his superiors about his inaccuracies were never acknowledged.
But his cheap shots and inaccuracies have always made me wonder why. Was it because I was Italian so therefore I had to live in the North End? That assumption is similar to a recent uproar when school officials in Wellesley assumed that a black boy was a METCO student and needed to be bussed back to Mattapan even though he lived in Wellesley!
Mooney used to be a good political reporter but like many at the Globe he has become tired, lazy, and misses so many important points in a story that would actually breathe life into his writing.
End of rant, Happy Columbus Day.
Sunday, October 12, 2003
This is sad: ["Hewlett-Packard to lay off 50 in N.H., 50 in Mass."]. But what is amazing is that they can "restructure" these 100 people while at the same time spend millions on a new ad campaign - featuring The Cure's "Pictures of you" - for their digital camera line.
Here is a video clip of Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez clocking Yankee Don Zimmer after Zim charged him during Saturday's AL East championship game: ["Exclusive video of Zim-Pedro clash"]. Debate has been raging over the Internet as to whether or not a 31-year-old man like Pedro should have flattened 72-year-old senior citizen Zim. But you know what? Zim charged Pedro, making the push fair game. And Zimmer is an ass. He had a good shot coming. It makes up for all the bad things he did when he was the manager of the Red Sox back in the 1970s and the way he treated very cool people like Bill Lee.
The candidacy of former-Gen. Wesley Clark has inspired many Americans. But I wonder if they are inspired by his celebrity status or because he isn't one of the other eight candidates. As more stuff comes out about the candidate, it becomes clear that Democrats have more to fear about this guy than just the fact that up until last year he was a Republican. Here is something from the NYT that scares the daylights out of me: ["Clark Puts Clinton Veterans in High Posts"]. No one wants to control what people do. But as many have said, the Clintons are vacuuming all the fresh air out of the process. Clark's campaign, and its supposed "draft" movement, is nothing more than the Clintons making sure that their interests are served, instead of the people's.
... could face time for illegally recording the talk show host's requests for pills: ["Limbaugh Accuser May Face Jail Time for Illegal Taping"]. Hopefully, prosecutors will let her off with a slap on the wrist.
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Here are some of the latest primary state polls:
In Michigan, Howard Dean has 21 percent, with Wesley Clark getting 15 percent, and Dick Gephardt and John Kerry tied with 13 percent. Joe Lieberman has 12 percent. Two quick points: First, these are pretty bad numbers for Gephardt who should be in a stronger position in this state. The second point is that Michigan is a caucus state this year, not a primary. So, this polling data may not represent those who will really participate in the caucus. I wonder if all the Dean yuppies are going to be patient enough to sit around through a caucus process. The poll was conducted by EPIC/MRA.
In Connecticut, Lieberman's home state, the conservative senator has a solid lead: Lieberman 33 percent, Dean 17 percent, and Kerry and Clark tied with 14 percent. Quinnipiac University did the poll. As an aside, it would be interesting to see how Kerry is doing in his home state of Massachusetts or Dean in Vermont. I know that Channel 7/Suffolk University did a poll last year which showed President George W. Bush winning Mass., although that is highly unlikely.
The latest from American Research Group in New Hampshire shows Dean with a solid 10 point lead. Kerry is second with 19 percent, and Gephardt and Lieberman are tied with 6 percent.
Down in the south, Alabama specifically, Clark leads with 13 percent, Gephardt at 11 percent, with the Rev. Al Sharpton and Lieberman tied with 9 percent. Another decent showing for Sharpton in the south which proves he could be a small factor in the race. Also, the Alabama primary is late this year, June 1, so the results could be different.
Friday's debate in Arizona didn't change any impressions about the candidates. With nine candidates and stiff limits on responses, no format seems to warrant anything but a soundbite discussion. The debates should include all the candidates but the formats need to be changed to allow each candidate a chance to respond. I would like to see longer debates and a less strict format so the candidates can really go at each other a bit. This is the only way any of the candidates are going to be able to break out of the pack.
David Bernstein, one of the new political reporters at the Boston Phoenix, has a pretty good take on the debate: ["The Arizona debate"].
"Nine Democratic candidates for President took the stage to debate in Phoenix, Arizona, Thursday night, and the clear winner was . . . Bill Clinton."Ugh. But, he is right in some respects. The Democrats need to use the Clinton economy against Bush/Cheney. Also, I agree with Bernstein - and others like Ellen Ratner, Jim Pinkerton, Bill Schneider, and David Gergen - that Gephardt performed very well in the debate.
Here are some highlights from AP: ["Democrats Debate Excerpts"].
However, the Kucinich folks have some complaints. According to analysis done by Hotline/National Journal and forwarded by the campaign, Kucinich received the least amount of air time:
Candidate Amount Of Talk Time During the Debate
Dean 14 min 07 seconds
Kerry 12 min 31 seconds
Clark 10 min 36 seconds
Gephardt 10 min 02 seconds
Lieberman 9 min 26 seconds
Braun 8 min 39 seconds
Sharpton 8 min 28 seconds
Edwards 8 min 00 seconds
Kucinich 5 min 09 seconds
The campaigns reaction:
"At the debate, Congressman Kucinich stood out, expressing some of the clearest and sharpest distinctions between himself and other candidates, and receiving applause for his comments. It is safe to assume that his impact would have been even greater had he been given more than 36 percent of the time given to Gov. Dean."Rush, Part 2
Well, the Limboob admitted it yesterday, he is a pill-popping junkie and he is checking himself into rehab: ["Rush Limbaugh Statement on Prescription Pain Medication Stories"]. There has been a whole lot of conversation about this. The best was last night's Howie Carr program on WRKO in Boston where he viciously - and correctly - laid into his colleague as a hypocrite. It was classic Carr; and the Rush faithful talk-Nazis were furious, making excuses for the Limboob's behavior and how he should be coddled. Carr smartly chastised the callers as hypocrites as well, since most of them walk the "tough on crime" line.
More than likely, Limboob - with a flank of expensive lawyers - will escape prosecution and justice will not be served. However, we can only hope that this latest incident and the probability that another rich person, guilty of a crime, whobwill probably not serve any time, will allow the American people to have a serious discussion about drug decriminalization and prision furloughs for people who did a fraction of what Rush did but received unbelievably stiff sentences in an effort to fight a losing war on drugs.
Many of us are waiting to see what sounds like an amazing film about the last days of Jesus Christ created by Mel Gibson. However, due to perceptions about the film, Gibson has been unable to find a distributor. However, it looks like Gibson will distribute the film himself: ["Mel Gibson's New 'Passion' Is Robert Downey Jr."].
One last note on the Cali recall
This is a great piece from the liberal Orange County Weekly, sent by SalterSue, about why the Democrats are to blame for the recall: ["Blame the Democrats"]. Sue also notes the weekly shockingly promoted conservative Tom McClintock, calling him honest: ["The Case for Governor Tom McClintock"].
Wednesday, October 8, 2003
Just when I thought the stupid California recall was over: ["Dems: New Recall in 100 Days"]. Can you blame them though? Gov. Gray Davis was a lousy Democrat. But the down economy isn't his fault, it's Bush's and Clinton's fault. Energy problems? Well, Davis isn't to blame for that. Bush's buddies at Enron are to blame for that. Job losses? Blame NAFTA and the free trade cultists, not Davis, for job losses. Well, okay, Davis is a free trader so he is partially to blame. But what gives? Just a year ago, Davis handily clobbered his Republican opponent [KPIX results], Bill Simon, 3,142,620 to 2,813,200 or 6 percent, with Green Party candidate Peter Camejo receiving 345,000 votes. Of course, as we all know, Republicans, like some Democrats, are very sore losers. So, they recalled Davis. Pretty pathetic.
However, look a little closer at the results. The recall won by less than 11 percent. So, over the last year, Davis essentially lost 17 percent of the vote he had a year before. That is hardly a revolution, especially considering that his approval ratings were as low as 20 percent in most polls.
Here is another numbers point that is significant: Schwarzenegger gets 3.7 million votes; Simon got 2.8 million votes in 2002. That is a gain of about 900,000 votes for the Republican candidate. But when you throw in Tom McClintock's numbers - a little over a million - that is almost 2 million votes gained by conservatives, in heavier turnout than the midterm election. Davis received 3.1 million votes in 2002 and Cruz Bustamante got 2.4 million, a drop of 700,000 votes, and that is with the Green candidate only receiving 213,000 votes. These numbers spell bad news for the Democrats, although California probably isn't in play for 2004 just yet.
However, they can learn an important lesson: Negative, out of touch, corrupt politicians will lose out over the anti-politician and positive. The key is, will the idiots at the DNC start getting it? Doubtful.
One good thing liberals can look at: The conservative-backed initiative to stop classifying government data by race, color, or national origin, Proposition 54, was handily defeated by over 2.1 million votes. Bustamante also spent most of his time and money campaigning to kill Prop 54 and not run for governor.
The most hilarious thing about all this is Arnold Schwarzenegger saying he wasn't going to be bought by the special interests yet he took millions from special interests, according to Common Cause: ["Actor bulks up on political donations"]. It was funny that we didn't hear anything on television about Schwarzenegger's special interests yet we heard every Republican hack cry over and over about Bustamante's Indian tribe and union donations.
The most frightening thing about all this is that people were foolishly swayed into voting for a movie star because, well, he is a movie star. In some ways, it will be funny, similar to Jesse Ventura winning in Minnesota. Yeah, people went to the polls and said f- you to the politicians and voted for the Terminator. But be careful what you wish for.
One last note on the recall: In typical corporate media fashion, KCRA in Sacramento, being simulcast on C-SPAN, cut off Camejo's concession speech after a couple of minutes, right in the middle when he was chastising the media for ignoring his campaign and his platform. Camejo pointed to the real reason the state was broke: Affluent people pay a lower tax rate than working class folks. Camejo said the only media outlet to acknowledge one of his main economic points was the San Jose Mercury News. Here is the article: ["Your taxes: How California compares"].
Despite rating California as one of four "very progressive'' states that collect more taxes from the rich, poor and middle-class Californians nonetheless bear a higher tax burden than the state's wealthy taxpayers. For the poorest one-fifth of families, taxes consume 11.3 percent of the average family income of $11,100. That burden is 7.2 percent, however, for the one in 100 California families with an average income of $1.6 million.
Now, before anyone starts yelling, yeah 11.3 percent is REALLY HIGH. But why should the poor folks pay that when the richies pay a rate that is 38 percent lower?
And this from Camejo's sit down with the editorial staff: ["Tax the rich, end the deficit"].
"The other problem that I think is a falsehood in the campaign is the Republican message that everybody is leaving California, we're overregulated, we're overtaxed. Corporations have the lowest tax rate they have had -- I don't know how far back -- but for the last 40 years. It's dropped from 9.6 percent to 5.3 percent. The other area is that if you look at [effective tax rates on individuals] you see that the poorest people pay the highest tax rate and the wealthiest people pay the lowest tax rate. The richest 1 percent pay 7.2 [percent of income]. I think one fact that you should bring out is how skewed we are. It's kind of scary. One percent of the people get $250 billion a year in income in California. When a society gets that skewed, you start thinking Third World."
Wow. It looks like the wrong person was elected governor.
Monday, October 6, 2003
Well, I guess Carl Cameron scooped even the candidate and the democratic field is back to nine. Florida Sen. Bob Graham has decided to quit the presidential race: ["Statement by Senator Bob Graham"]. As I said before, Graham was going nowhere despite a long life of public service. He just couldn't seem to get it together. As I stated in a previous post, his campaign didn't reach out to the media. On three different occasions, I emailed his press department asking for a schedule so I could cover his campaign over the summer and I never got a response. This, despite having three, yeah three, press secretaries! That is the sign of a bad campaign operation. Plus, what did he spend $4 million on? Look for him probably not to endorse and also make the short list of veep candidates, especially if Howard Dean wins. Let's see if The Note gets anything tomorrow from the campaign if he plans to endorse.
Here is some of what the other candidates had to say about Graham:
John Kerry at 10:01 p.m.:
"Bob has been a friend and a colleague for 17 years. His dedication to public service, his tireless commitment to those he represents and his values and love of family brought an important perspective to this campaign that will be missed. In the Senate, he has worked tirelessly to help seniors afford the medicine they need and been a leader on national security issues. He will continue to be an important voice on national and international issues and I know he has many more contributions to make for our party and for our country."
Howard Dean at 10:43 p.m.:
"I will miss seeing Bob Graham on the campaign trail. Since his entry into the race, I have come to know him as a man of decency and integrity who cares deeply about this country and our position in the world. He was an honorable opponent who treated his fellow aspirants for the Democratic nomination with respect. I am proud to call him my friend."
Dennis Kucinich at 10:47 p.m.:
"I want to congratulate Senator Graham on a great run. His voice in this campaign will be sorely missed. I now remain the only candidate who voted against the war on Iraq. I intend to wage a campaign around the country in opposition to the ongoing occupation. Senator Graham’s supporters who opposed the war have lost a good candidate. I intend to listen to their concerns."
Sunday, October 5, 2003
It's groups like the folks at MoveOn.org that make liberals look bad and turn people off to the political process.
This group of partisan Democrats has launched an ad in California attacking Arnold for comments he made about women in Entertainment Weekly ["Analysis of new ad by MoveOn.org"]. The ad is being aired right as the recall candidate is being rocked by a number of harassment and groping allegations which, unfortunately, are distracting our entire nation from more important news.
However, let's not forget why MoveOn.org was formed. The group was formed during the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton, after he perjured himself during the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. Their motto? Move on. At the time, allegations that Clinton raped a woman in Arkansas in 1972 were being circulated although almost all of the major news media - sans NBC News which broadcast a Sunday night report about the allegations - ignored the claim. Their motto? Move on. The president of the United States, at the time, was treating at least one - if not more - female interns as sperm receptacles. Their motto? Move on.
Now, compare this to what Arnold did. He fondled a reporter's knees during an interview, in a flirty attempt to get some. Did the reporter complain? No. She is now though. The allegations are from 1975, although there are more recent allegations that he played rough with women on movie sets. Did he rape anyone? No, not that we know of. Yes, harassment and groping is not good behavior for a governor but we had a president who was much worse and defended by MoveOn.org. Should they really be attacking Arnold for lesser behavior?
Don't get me wrong here: MoveOn.org has every right to broadcast their ads. The same way Republicans in California had every right to pay millions to gather signatures and recall Gov. Gray Davis. While the recall initiative is supposed to be used when a governor breaks the law - something Davis hasn't done - California will surely become a better state without him. Davis is a pathetic excuse for a Democrat. He is controlled by the insiders. Giving licenses to illegal aliens? These people are certifiable. It should be noted that Democrats have used the recall law to attempt to get rid of Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson, although they weren't successful gathering the signatures.
Since its inception, MoveOn.org has held itself up to be a virtuous organization concerned with the "people's" best interest. Their actions in the recall, however, reveal them to be nothing but political hypocrites.