Thursday, December 06, 2007

Need Some Cheer? Here's Dennis!

Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself.

---Erich Fromm

A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes.

---Mark Twain

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks.
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

---William Shakespeare

Everyone likes him. People even smile at the mere mention of his name. Those I talk to, both liberal and conservative, say he seems to be right about everything. He has years and years of political experience. He started out even poorer than Lincoln, but as inspired and dedicated. So why doesn't he have a snowball's chance of a Presidential nomination? The rightwingnuts call him a socialist and crazy, not to be taken seriously. Maybe he's too short to be President. Maybe we're too frightened to have the courage of our convictions.

The breath of fresh air on AM talk radio named Ed Schultz put out an invitation to all the candidates, both parties, to come on his show for the entire 3 hours and answer phone calls. Kucinich showed up right away---and the show is in North Dakota! Nobody else has. The program was a revelation of serious discussion on every issue you or I could think of...and Dennis had answers. Maybe you can stream it somehow at Ed's site...and he rebroadcast it once. If you're reading this today, you may notice Kucinich will be on again this afternoon...and so will Barack Obama. It's on from 3 until 6 in the Athens area...770 AM.

But fairly quickly into that 3 hour interview, it became clear Dennis was not alone in the studio with Big Eddie. Elizabeth Kucinich was there too, as she usually is wherever he goes. A couple days before the show I got a phonecall from a friend in The Queens, who still does her reading in books instead of here. She said, "Have you SEEN Dennis Kucinich's wife?!" No, I said, I'm not sure I knew whether or not he was married. My friend said---and if you can say this with a Queens dialect it sounds better---"She's absolutely gorgeous!! She must be 7 feet tall with this long red hair down to her waist!" That was enough to nearly blind my imagination, but I persevered. I had seen Dennis Kucinich once in person, when he still was mayor of Cleveland...and while he seemed kind of cute then, I couldn't imagine him attracting someone so statuesquely beautiful. "And she's about 30 years younger," Belle said. Oh oh.

So on this interview, Eddie---also a redhead---couldn't seem to resist trying to get a word or 2 out of this curious creature by the candidate's side. Finally she said a riveting English accent. She's from the UK? With all the distinguished bravado the Brits can muster, whenever they talk about anything, Elizabeth began to give her views on the topics. Soon the couple was talking as a team. I said to myself, "This would be the most perfect First Lady in the nation's history." Folks, she is positively brilliant!

But of course I don't want to be sexist. I've tried to stifle my interest in a potential First Lady, and continue only to talk about Dennis Kucinich. Like a lot of us, I suppose I secretly support Kucinich, but John Edwards is there too...and hasn't Biden been wonderful lately? So it's getting interesting...but here comes the cheer part: in yesterday's Washington Post is a long article about the Kuciniches, how they met, fell in love, and what's it all about. I wouldn't recommend this reading to you, except that I found it absolutely delightful. My congratulations to Libby Copeland, who seems to have gotten caught up in their energy and writes it for us just perfectly. This is a political article about falling in love~~~


Quinty said...

They are indeed a funny looking couple.

In the lingo of our parents (some of us) she would be known as “baggage.” Beautiful, thirty years younger, one has to doubt the purely Platonic aspects of his attraction. Great artists, actors, and millionaires are seen entering nightclubs with such ladies on their arms. Another reason for voting for Kucinich: all the shameless fun he has must surely drive some family values fanatics mad.

Well, Kucinich says all the right things. So how come I’m not enthusiastic? Can it be because he doesn’t “appear” presidential? Doesn’t come off as presidential? Doesn't fit the mold?

This raises a possible hypocrisy on my part I don’t feel comfortable with, since I have long sneered at those who chose a candidate because he looks presidential. Like Fred Thompson. The only thing, I think, which will save us from Thompson is that he has become so old he looks calcified: the heavy chin droops too far, like, I’m afraid, a Neanderthal, and the rugged handsome good looks of the movie star have begun to fade. he is balding in a most unhandsome manner. Thank god! Though if Thompson wanted a young good looking chick forty years younger I’m sure he could find one. Maybe he already has.

jazzolog said...

It's a distinct pleasure to welcome Quinty, one of my dearest friends---and in realtime too! More about him...and hopefully from him...anon.

One of the distinct benefits in Ohio is the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State in Columbus. I began haunting its site and in particular the blog of one of its star professors, Dan Tokaji, after the 2000 presidential election. He smelled a rat but couldn't prove it, and remained undaunted no matter how many of us tried to push and shove him to cry, "FOUL." I mean, he's had Bob Fitrakis up there banging on his door too.

On Tuesday, the Columbus Dispatch said Moritz had issued a report on Ohio's election system and those of 4 other Midwestern states. It says Ohio's system is structurally problematic. At the same time Fitrakis published 50 recommendations about reforming Ohio's system at his site. By Wednesday the Associated Press had picked up the story, and the other newspapers of Ohio were printing that, under headlines like Elections Flawed. Tokaji was quoted in it.

I combed the Moritz site looking for even a mention of this report. If it wasn't online anywhere, where could I find a copy. At last it's posted, and it involves a ton of reading. The college has done an exhaustive study of these election systems, "from registration to recounts." If you're snowed in, here ya go~~~

That link is not a hefty download, but instead just the table of contents. Each chapter has its own PDF.

This morning, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports the Ohio Secretary of State, who you remember runs our election system---for better or ill---wants a new system, at least for Cuyahoga pronto. I doubt this is a direct reaction to the report, but it starts the ball rolling!

"Ohio's elections chief has no confidence in Cuyahoga County's current voting system and has suggested dumping the more than $20 million touch-screen voting system before the March 4 presidential primary.
"Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is pushing the Board of Elections for a quick decision because of the time needed to roll out a new system."

On the other hand, if you have become understandably so hopeless about free elections in this country, you may find your spirits buoyed by the discovery of a new Presidential ticket of interest. CC Goldwater, Barry's granddaughter, and Stephanie Miller, whose father Bill was Goldwater's running mate in 1964, have announced they are running. You may know Stephanie from her morning radio show, one hour of which is broadcast at 10:00 at 770 AM in Athens. A central plank in the platform of these 2 outrageous ladies is "twice the cleavage of Hillary." You may peruse their site here~~~

jazzolog said...

I've felt like a voice in the wilderness for the past 7 years shouting about the mucking around with US elections. From hanging chads to the Supreme Court shrug-off to touchscreen fraud to Blackwell assurances Ohio elections are 100% pure, I've feared Americans just would give up their real freedom out of cynicism and despair. They'd allow themselves to be herded into the nearest box mall and Let Consumerism Reign! This morning I see a flicker of hope as The New York Times is picking up on last week's story from Ohio~~~

The Times neglects to mention Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner announced the results of her investigation at a news conference yesterday. All the Ohio papers are carrying the story, many of them in the Associated Press version, which hopefully will get the word out far and wide~~~

Report: Ohio Needs New Voting Machines
By JULIE CARR SMYTH – 7 hours ago

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state's top elections official recommended Friday that Ohio counties replace their touch-screen voting machines because the devices — in use for roughly two years — are vulnerable to manipulation.

A report released by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner found a host of ways in which the machines could be manipulated: When empty, a portal in the electronic machines can be manipulated with a magnet or personal digital assistant; ballot-creation programs are either not password-protected or use a universal password; and invasive computer messages could be introduced by a voter and spread easily.

Touch-screen machines have been purchased across the nation to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act. Nationally, $3 billion was spent to replace the punch-card voting system that faltered in the 2000 election.

In the 2004 race between President Bush and Democrat John Kerry, Ohio bore the brunt of claims of voting problems. Complaints included limited access to voting machines, difficulties finding proper voting precincts and the accuracy of vote totals in precincts using electronic machines.

Kerry conceded the election after narrowly losing Ohio and its 20 electoral votes.

The state's review involved touch-screen machines built by Election Systems & Software, Hart Intercivic and Diebold Inc.'s Premier Election Solutions. Some Ohio counties started using them in November 2005, and the rest in May 2006.

Hart InterCivic said its voting systems are already being updated to be more secure and they would be improved more based on the Ohio review. Premier and ES&S also both issued statements defending their technology and committing to safe, secure elections. Premier noted that there has never been a documented case of the sort of tampering the Ohio study portends.

Brunner said she will not force Cuyahoga County — the state's most populous and one plagued with electronic voting problems — to replace its machines for the primary election in March, but she said she would be disappointed if they don't.

The Cuyahoga County elections board meets Monday to discuss its options. If the county switches to an optical-scan system, it would be the third voting system the county has used in three years.

Brunner, a Democrat, initiated the review when she took office, and state House Speaker Jon Husted, a Republican, joined her at the report's release to signal that its findings were not partisan.

Forbes also is carrying the story, but probably the best coverage of all is at BradBlog. The last few years Brad Friedman has worked tirelessly to expose the rampant corruption of American elections...and was the first reporter of any kind to warn how easily a computer programmer can shift the results. Here's his entry about Ohio~~~

jazzolog said...

I'm somewhat surprised this morning that Google News hasn't found any Sunday editorial writers tackling Ohio Secretary of State Brunner's announcement Friday of a report condemning our election practices---in my opinion covered most thoroughly by BradBlog . Brad Friedman went on yesterday to post Diebold's response. A major contributor to and vocal supporter of George Bush Inc, Diebold makes machines the country uses to vote as mandated by Congressional legislation. (I'm still surprised it wasn't a no-bid contract.) Brad's entry reveals Diebold has changed its corporate name to Premier (as in Premier Khrushchev?) which I didn't know. Gee, I wonder why they would do that.

There are 2 comments at the original BradBlog article by Bev Harris which are worth reading. You know her as founder of Black Box Voting, and among the first to raise questions about the easy corruptibility of the compulsory system. As yet her site doesn't have a column on these Ohio findings though.

Dan Tokaji's does though. If you're in Ohio, your newspaper article may have been the Associated Press version that quoted him and his concerns. Professor Tokaji teaches election law in the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State. He expanded yesterday morning on how he would amend Secretary Brunner's proposals for change.

Raw Story also picked up the report but adds little. However the comments are volatile.

Hopefully there will be more response through the day. One guy responded to my post online about this with ridicule and disdain. Like most eligible Americans, he doesn't vote anymore...out of hopelessness. Isn't that state of mind a sign of defeat?

jazzolog said...

Very little editorial or blogger comment out there today about Ohio's SOS and her concerns regarding our flawed (or flaw-able) election system. A couple newspaper editors tell us they'll wait and see what happens. Thanks a lot, courageous journalists.

Something known as the did post on the topic. It tells us "Election officials call Brunner's report biased," and leads off with this statement: "Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner found some (left-wing activists) academics to issue an expensive taxpayer-funded 'study' criticizing Ohio's election system." Oooh, hello! Some exciting Fox language here. The entry concludes, "Obviously, Jennifer Brunner cooked up this report to appease the fringe conspiracy groups who still think - despite dozens of investigations - that Ohio's 2004 presidential election was stolen.
"The only thing stolen was $1.6 million of our tax dollars used to fund this colossal waste of paper."
BradBlog decided to take it on, and Bev Harris commented with some research as to who runs that blog.

Susan Gwinn, Chair of the Athens County Democratic Party, replied to yesterday's post with a polite reminder that our particular area is using "optical scan and also the automark which Brunner is recommending over using DRE’s for the handicapped." It's good to know some areas have had the best that's been available.

Speaking of courageous journalists, the transcript and video of Bill Moyers' interview with Keith Olbermann is online now. It's interesting to me that it's sports people, like Olbermann and Ed Schultz, who seem to be leading the way in exposing the chicanery that has been the Bush Administration. Moyers asks Olbermann why that is...and Keith's answer is worth looking at~~~

Anonymous said...

BILL MOYERS: What is that?

KEITH OLBERMANN: It's what we do. It is the necessity of-- of journalism. Skepticism. Especially if you're trained in sports. Skepticism.

BILL MOYERS: Why in sports? I mean, what does sports have to do with news reporting?

KEITH OLBERMANN: In sports reporting it is almost assumed that you need to have some predictive ability. And you have to be able to discern patterns and also discern when somebody's telling you, "No, our shortstop's great," and he really isn't." And what the difference between those two things are. When the results don't match up to the hyperbole, you need to be able to see that and you need to be able to say it in some sort of informed way. When you cover a sport like baseball or football or whatever, that you're just-- you're here for this part of the story. You're-- you've joined it 75 years in progress or 100 years in progress. It should be the same way when you're covering the news and particularly in politics. And yet, as we've seen, you know, people in the political world now don't know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was.

BILL MOYERS: It seems to me that this country has become two choirs-- each side listening to-- only to its own preachers. If-- should journalists take sides when everybody else is polarized

KEITH OLBERMANN: The definition now of being on one side is to have not-- flag wavingly supported the president in anything he wanted, not handed him carte blanche after carte blanche after carte blanche.

BILL MOYERS: Not saying mission accompli--


BILL MOYERS: --mission accomplished?

KEITH OLBERMANN: Exactly. It-- it is-- I said that-- I'm on the air with Chris Matthews on that day with miss-- mission accomplished on May 1st in 2003. And I-- and he's talking about this as George Bush's moment in history and this. And I said, "Don't you think that him wearing a flight suit's going to be a little bit of a problem during the election cam-- "No. This is American history at its finest." I thought, "Gee, I'm the guy's wearing a flight suit." You talk about the emperor's new clothes. Here it is. He-- his new clothes are a flight suit when there was a controversy over whether or not he-- he fulfilled his Air National Guard service. You-- you just-- to-- to say that suddenly became subjective, just to recognize that. It was as if you were saying, "I'm only going to report," back to the sports analogies. I'm only going to report the Dodgers scores when they win.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons Bill Moyers was glad to have Keith Obermann there, he said, was because "he wanted to give the young people who work for him a chance to ask him some questions." They're all aspiring to be journalists. So he circulated the fact that Keith Obermann was coming and said, "Give me some questions you would ask him."

Here are a couple of them:


BILL MOYERS: Quote, "I have long had mixed feelings about Keith Olbermann. While it's nice to have a cable anchor how doesn't obsequiously parrot Republican National Committee talking points, I struggle with the fear that angry histrionics on both sides create more of the ugly polarization that paralyzes our institutions and prevents Americans finding common ground. How does Mr. Olbermann differentiate his ad hominem attacks from those we see on the other side?" What do you say to Jesse?

KEITH OLBERMANN: Well, they're better written. The first-- no, I hate to-- I-- it's the most vulnerable point because it bothers me, too. It do-- it's the one criticism that I think is absolutely fair. We're doing the same thing. It is-- it becomes a nation of screechers. It's never a good thing. But emergency rules do apply. I would like nothing better than to go back and do maybe a sportscast every night. But I think the stuff that I'm talking about is so obvious and will be viewed in such terms of certainty by history that this era will be looked at the way we look now at the-- at the presidents and the-- the leaders of this country who rolled back reconstruction // I think it's that obvious. And I think only under those circumstances would I go this far out on a limb and be this vociferous about it.

BILL MOYERS: Another question from Gloria. "Yesterday I was scanning some of Mr. Olbermann's clips and I found one especially striking. He was calling Bush a war profiteer, more concerned about the profits of the defense industry than the lives of the soldiers. Right after he was done speaking, an ad came up for Boeing. Does Mr. Olbermann feel his credibility is at all undermined by the fact that his network is financed by some of the very industries he decries in his commentary?"

KEITH OLBERMANN: Yeah. If we're going to try to go corporation-free in any regard, I'm afraid everybody watching would just be prepared for that, you know that old test pattern with the Native American head appearing in the middle of it. 'Cause we're all, to some degree, involved in it. It's a nation of corporations, whether we like it or not. As I said earlier, the fortunate part about broadcasting is if I'm making them money, it doesn't make a difference to them and I'm on the air, how I'm doing it. And to be fair, many of these people on an individual basis have consciences that cannot be expressed in a corporate sense. Many of the people for whom I work-- say, "You are saying things that I cannot say." So I get support in a different way entirely from my bosses.

Anonymous said...

Keith Obermann touched at the root of the problem here - I don't think he realized it at the time he said it, and, possibly, neither did Bill Moyers.

So, let's repeat it one more time:


It's pretty much like schizophrenia, wouldn't you say?

The term schizophrenia comes from root words for "split mind," and refers to a fracture in the normal functioning of the brain. It sometimes manifest as a result of an irresolvable logical conflict between two or more moral imperatives which results in a total mental breakdown.

Has mankind created for itself a Schizophrenic world?

Good question. Very, very good question. Here is the beginning of an inquiry much in need to be explored.

Anonymous said...

"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other."
---Matthew 6:24


Webster (1977) defines 'mammon' as: 1) the false god of riches and avarice. 2) riches regarded as an object of worship and greedy pursuit; wealth as an evil, more or less personified. Winston (1954) defines: 1) wealth, worldly gain; 2) greed for riches; cupidity. Oxford (1992) defines: god of wealth, regarded as evil or immoral; 'those who worship mammon' = greedy people who value money too highly.

The word is used in contemporary language with the same meaning in at least Finnish (mammona), Danish (mammon), Hebrew (mamon), Norwegian (mammon) , Polish (mamona), Czech (mamon), Slovak (mamona), Swedish (mammon), German (Mammon) and Afrikaans (Mammon).


Mammon is a term that was used to describe riches, avarice, and worldly gain in Biblical literature. It was personified as a false god in the New Testament. The term is often used to refer to excessive materialism or greed as a negative influence. Adjectival forms are mammonish and mammonistic per Winston 1954, Webster's 1977.

Etymologically, the word is assumed to derive from Late Latin 'mammon', from Greek 'μαμμωνάς', Syrian 'mámóna' (riches), Aramaic 'mamon' (riches), probably from Mishnaic Hebrew 'ממון (mmôn)'. (See refs: Winston 1954, Webster's 1977.)

The Greek word for "Mammon", mamonas, occurs in the Sermon on the Mount (during the discourse on ostentation) and in the parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:9-13). The Authorised Version keeps the Syriac word. John Wycliffe uses "richessis". Other scholars derive Mammon from Phoenician "mommon", benefit.

The term Mammon, personifed as a god of allegiance to avarice, draws from the words Amon, Ammonite(Jordan) and even Amon-Ra (Amen-Ra, Egypt).


jazzolog said...

Thanks for all the work today, Anonymous. I had thought to print out the whole transcript myself (which I often do for posterity, doncha know) but was pressed for time this morning. I was interested in the same areas that you chose. I love his explanation about sportscasters and the eye they develop for patterns in the individual players. Do we ever need that talent in the "Washington bureau!" I also liked how Keith knew the sports statistic question at the end. Watta guy!

Anonymous said...

Now, I am no expert when it comes to Christianity, but I can recognize "irresolvable logical conflicts" when I see them. Little wonder then that the religious right is more comfortable with the Old Testament (or at least in the personally annotated Bibles of James Dobson, Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell) than they are with the New Testament.

Anonymous said...

"Printing the transcript for posterity," ha! yes, it struck me, that you did have an inclination to do that (a good habit, if you ask me), so, I just assumed you would not mind if I did print some of it here.

Anonymous said...

Tell me if you've heard this one before: a Muslim, three Jews, and ten Christians walk into a subway... and then the Muslim has to come to the aid of the Jews who are being attacked by peace-loving Christians. OK, maybe you haven’t heard it before, but would you be surprised to learn that the altercation started when one of the Jews dared to wish the Christians a "Happy Hanukkah" rather than a "Merry Christmas"?

So asks, Austin Cline.

According to him:

It shouldn't, given the rhetoric which Christian Nationalists have been engaged in every year for the past several Christmas seasons. When Christian leaders keep going on and on about how Christianity is under attack, Christians are being persecuted, and that true Christian believers need to make a stand and take America back, it shouldn't surprise anyone if there are some violent incidents. If you fill people's heads with stories about how they are already part of a war, there will be casualties.

Oh, Jesus would have been proud...!

Austine's entry was prompted by a CNN report about an altercation on the Q train in New York:

Friday's altercation on the Q train began when somebody yelled out "Merry Christmas," to which rider Walter Adler responded, "Happy Hanukkah," said Toba Hellerstein.

"Almost immediately, you see the look in this guy's face like I've called his mother something," Adler told CNN affiliate WABC. Two women who were with a group of 10 rowdy people then began to verbally assault Adler's companions with anti-Semitic language, Hellerstein said.

One member of the group allegedly yelled, "Oh, Hanukkah. That's the day that the Jews killed Jesus," she said. When Adler tried to intercede, a male member of the group punched him, she said.

Apparently this must be what the religious right calls putting CHRIST back into CHRISTMAS.

Merry Christmas you all, everybody!

Nausicaa said...


All of this reminds me of Lewis Black's take on Evangelical Christianity and politics.

"I'd like to talk to you a moment about Jesus. Have you taken him as your personal lord and savior? No, then you're probably not in politics."

And what about that obsessive fixation of the Christian Right with the Old Testament... which many so-called evangelists misread in the first place to create a personal cosmology that fit their political agenda (Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are good examples, indeed. Shall we add George Bush to the list - In his second-term inaugural address on January 20, our President referenced God seven times. This came on the heels of 10 invocations of God in his first inaugural and another 14 references in his three State of the Union addresses.)

As Black put it in Red, White and Scr**ed and also in an hilarious interview with Larry King:

The Old Testament is ours. It's ours. It's not theirs. It's our book. The Christians, the book wasn't good enough for the Christians, was it, Larry?

No. They said no. This book isn't good enough for us. We've got a better book with a great new character. You're going to love this guy. And so it's our book. So let us -- if you want to know, if the Evangelical Christians really want to understand what's in the book, you know, ask us. We're everywhere. We wander the streets.

A Jew will take any amount of time out of their day to spend time with an Evangelical Christian who has a question about the bible and we'll answer that question... if the price is right.

He's got a point you know, why all that obsession of Christian Fundamentalists with almost exclusively the Old Testament?

Personally, I like this "great new character" of the New Testament. Maybe someone ought to pay attention to some of the stuff he is credited for saying and maybe put Christ back into christianity, for Christ's sake - lol.

Those who practice love and charity are close to great religious leaders of all faiths, be they, say, Jesus or Buddha.

Buddha: If you do not tend to one another then who is there to tend to you? Whoever who would tend me, he should tend the sick.

Jesus: Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, so you have done it unto me.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

You know, that kind of stuff.

Thich Nhat Hanh had this wonderful thing to say about Buddhism and Christianity (and implicitly about religion in general - i.e., in their more elevated aspect):

We don't want to say that Buddhism is a kind of Christianity and Christianity is a kind of Buddhism. A mango can not be an orange. I cannot accept the fact that a mango is an orange. They are two different things. Vive la difference. But when you look deeply into the mango and into the orange, you see that although they are different they are both fruits. If you analyze the mango and the orange deeply enough, you will see small elements are in both, like the sunshine, the clouds, the sugar, and the acid. If you spend time looking deeply enough, you will discover that the only difference between them lies in the degree, in the emphasis. At first you see the difference between the orange and the mango. But if you look a little deeper, you discover many things in common. In the orange you find acid and sugar which is in the mango too. Even two oranges taste different; one can be very sour and one can be very sweet.

The same thing can probably be said of politics. Not all fruits are oranges, but they all inhabit the same garden and they all have certain qualities that are intrinsic to all. And any fruit can turn out to be rotten, sometimes.

Tom Bombadil said...

The problem with Lemon and oranges is that it can get a big confusing.

It can look like this


or it can look a lot like this


The last one is from, whose mission is "to provide non-partisan information for voters in the Presidential election, so that votes can be based on issues rather than on personalities and popularity."

That's what they say, in any case, but their language shows that they too are pretty much captive of their perception of things. Some of their definition, for instance, are very revealing of the ideological paradigmatic prism though which their outlook of the world is filtered:

Look at how they define their Economic Score, for example:

This measures how much the candidate believes government should intervene in people's economic lives. Economic issues include retirement funding, budget allocations, and taxes.

- A high score (above 60%) means the candidate believes in personal responsibility for financial matters, and that free-market competition is better for people than central planning by the government.

- A low score (below 40%) means the candidate believes that a good society is best achieved by the government redistributing wealth. The candidate believes that government's purpose is to decide which programs are good for society, and how much should be spent on each program.

The chosen language and the way in which in their world view the scale is measured on the basis of a dichotomy (a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities ) of "personal responsibility" versus "government redistributing wealth" is very revealing to that regard.

I don't know, sounds to me like the language of Fox news, or Orwell's Newspeak, or some form of inverted Stalinist dialectic, or the language of Ayn Rand - take your pick.

In any case, "ranks" Dennis Kucinich as a "hard-core liberal."

How do you guys/gals feel about that?

And I don't just mean Dennis Kucinich, but the whole media regurgitated predigested processed analysis...thing.

Can any candidate really be his own man/woman, running on his/her own terms out there, and still stand a chance?

Any thought, anyone?

jazzolog said...

Anonymous says (s)he's noticed I have an inclination to post an entire article and not just a link. I must say it feels peculiar to be known so well by someone named Anonymous. Oh well, this is the Internet.

I was writing a comment over at another entry and I mentioned Dubai. Our class was studying Dubai today, and as the students ooooh'd and ahhhh'd at all the money and the architecture and the $28,000 a night hotel rooms, I tried to hold onto my temper (not very successfully I'm glad to say.) One of my colleagues is an Evangelical of the shiniest stripe, and she was marveling at the "ingenuity" of it all.

I asked her if she felt anything "Biblical" about the photos of the place. No, it was so creative and encouraging---how one sheikh could dream his dream and see it realized. So much for the wrathful vengeance of the Old Testament in Pentecostal theology.

My impression is rightwing theology does not run very deep. The important thing is the feeling in the circle. You have the amplifiers turned up and the gospel singer gushing heart sentiment---and the tears begin to flow. What the text means is not the deal. It's all of us hugging and weeping and confessing and promising---in a huddle. You have to be in the midst of it to understand. Like tantra. In fact, I've thought for a long time tantra plays a big part in Evangelical goings-on: hence, the sex indiscretions. They never know what hit 'em.

Yeah, I think Kucinich is the real deal when it comes to "hard-core." He's working class and he wears it like a badge. It's the old fashioned labor song, and I love the lyrics.

The working man was knocked hard by the inflation of the '70s. So was the generation just retiring at the time. My father owned a car and a home and put 2 kids through college on $10,000 a year---and when he came to live on Social Security, his benefit was based on that 10 grand. It didn't amount to spit when prices increased 5 and 10 fold. These are the people who voted in Reagan.

And they've stayed over there in that column, getting dumber by the day and voting against their own economic interests. And they can't conceive of the possibility that it may all have been worked out to accomplish just this shift.

I'll never forget the comment of one company man after our union settled for a contract: "Just like takin' candy from a baby." That's how the herd is thought of. The loss of the rank and file has been the biggest catastrophe to the Democrats in their history. There's a faint glimmer Kucinich could again light the fire.

Quinty said...

"My impression is rightwing theology does not run very deep. The important thing is the feeling in the circle."

I think you're right. Especially if money enters into the equation. And perhaps security too. We see these different tendencies through who backs who among the Republicans running for pres.

The wealthy rightwing does love money, doesn't it? And xenophobic sentiments run high in many a mega-church.

If Huckabee gets the nomination and becomes president I will be delighted. It would serve us right to go off the cliff with Huckabee at the wheel. In a way it would be a relief to finally get it over.

Harsh words, I admit. And perhaps few of us (Americans, that is, though the rest of the world is at risk too.) actually deserve such an end. But the levels of fantasy, greed, self-deception and corruption in the United States are at astonishing highs. Worthy, perhaps, of a Biblical prophet’s rant.

Tom Bombadil said...

Here's Dennis?

We shall see.

Dennis Kucinich is heading to Nevada today amid a legal showdown with NBC over his participation in a candidates' debate.

POSTED: 12:00 p.m. EST, Jan 15, 2008 by Associated Press:

"I can just say, 'Thank God' for that judge, and hopefully his ruling will be sustained," the Cleveland congressman told reporters a day after a judge ordered that Kucinich be allowed to participate in the debate tonight.

Kucinich said he has raised issues that other candidates have not, including the Iraq war, trade and health care. "So my being there creates a debate," he said.

"More than anything I'm just so proud to go be Cleveland's voice in a presidential debate, to talk about the concerns of our community, which are shared by all Americans. But, you know what, the other candidates never talk about the concerns of industrial America, the concerns about older cities, housing, health care, education.

"Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson ruled Monday that Kucinich must be allowed to participate. If he is excluded, Thompson said he would issue an order to stop the televised debate.

NBC disagreed with the judge's ruling and will appeal, according to a statement provided by Jeremy Gaines, a vice president for MSNBC, the debate's sponsor. Gaines said the parent network will seek an immediate hearing before the Nevada Supreme Court.

Kucinich's lawyer argued that MSNBC at first invited him to participate, then last week reversed course and told him he could not.

A lawyer for the network said MSNBC decided to go with the top three candidates after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.

Thompson called it a matter of fairness and said Nevada voters will benefit by hearing from more than just top contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

It looks like, for some reason, Dennis Kucinich has become an "inconvenient candidate."

Maybe, he asks too many question...

One question, in particular, keeps haunting my mind: H.J.Res. 114 - Why did they do it?

Quinty said...

I think I really lost it with Hillary some time back (a year or two ago) when the Christian right was raising hell and Hillary ups and assures them she could sympathise, and understand. In effect taking their side because she hoped to skim some of the evangelical vote when she ran for president. This was perhaps one or two years ago.

In the meantime these people were doing everything they could to drive normal people crazy with their various intollerant religious scruples regarding sex, education, evolution, church and state, whatever. And Hillary wanted them to know she was their friend.

There is very little excuse for any politician to have supported the Iraq war. Millions of Americans understood in the summer and fall and winter of 2002 that Bush was lying through his teeth regarding WMD. As many of us said back then, Bush "wasn't going to take 'yes' for an answer" each time he made a new demand on Saddam. He was set on having his war no matter what and rolled right over the UN.

It was also obvious that the mainstream media, a vast majority of mainstream politicans, and the "establishment" as a whole, was fully onboard. Hillary, like so many others, simply didn't want to appear "bad" by not backing the rush to war.

Like many other politicians, she was simply a coward. She was afraid of the fierce criticism which dissenters received. She wanted approval.

Remember Senator Byrd speaking to an empty Senate chamber during the rush to war? Those with the courage to oppose the war were few and far between, and it's easy to remember who most of them were. (Ron Paul, who I would never vote for, saw through the sham back then and openly spoke against it. Chalk one up for him.)

So Hillary, attempting to put herself in the best light possible, obfuscates regarding her original position on the war. As in all things, she wants it both ways.

She is a thoroughly soiled politician and appears owned by the corporations.

jazzolog said...

The Democrats continue on a roll in Vegas. Show them a real issue to discuss...and they'll roll over. Global warming? The murderous wars for oil? Who dares even to ask the questions? And so the huge debate last night gets characterized this morning according to what wasn't discussed. And Dennis Kucinich is the candidate we aren't allowed to see or hear. (I'm not blaming MSNBC for the programming decision; it all goes back to Reagan's scuttle of equal time and the transformation of the FCC into another give-away agency.) The American people have their heads in the sand...and so this is the level of candidate debate we get. Democrats in Vegas and Bush in Dubai: perfect!

jazzolog said...

"Jeffrey Evans, 49, who moved in with his mother, Shirley Sheline, 73, after losing his job in an automotive factory, said, 'I lost everything I worked for all my life.'”

Mr. Evans lives in Jackson, just a bit of a scenic drive west of Athens. The economic conditions described in Wednesday's New York Times of course apply here too, although we "have" the University---or the University has us....for housekeeping, grounds, and maintenance. Undoubtedly the story is typical of all Appalachia and maybe much of the rest of America too, as we teeter on the brink of another "Bush Recession." (In 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned for economic renewal using that term in reference to Bush, the father. Remember "It's the economy, stupid?") Thanks for the heads-up to online friend Mike Maloney, over in Cincinnati, Appalachian historian and advocate particularly for country folks forced off the land and into the big cities. The Times story starts out like this~~~

January 16, 2008
Blue-Collar Jobs Disappear, Taking Families’ Way of Life Along
JACKSON, Ohio — After 30 years at a factory making truck parts, Jeffrey Evans was earning $14.55 an hour in what he called “one of the better-paying jobs in the area.”

Wearing a Harley-Davidson cap, a bittersweet reminder of crushed dreams, he recently described how astonished and betrayed he felt when the plant was shut down in August after a labor dispute. Despite sporadic construction work, Mr. Evans has seen his income reduced by half.

So he was astonished yet again to find himself, at age 49, selling off his cherished Harley and most of his apartment furniture and moving in with his mother.

Middle-aged men moving in with parents, wives taking two jobs, veteran workers taking overnight shifts at half their former pay, families moving West — these are signs of the turmoil and stresses emerging in the little towns and backwoods mobile homes of southeast Ohio, where dozens of factories and several coal mines have closed over the last decade, and small businesses are giving way to big-box retailers and fast-food outlets.

Then there is the matter of native son Dennis Kucinich and General Electric this week...and now I AM blaming MSNBC. GE owns NBC and MSNBC which hosted the Democratic candidate debate Tuesday. This is how I understand it: MSNBC invited the "top four" candidates to answer questions posed by Brian Williams and Tim Russert, the 4 being winners of primaries and such and maybe outstanding in polls. That would have been Clinton, Obama, Edwards and Bill Richardson...but a few days before the debate Richardson withdrew his candidacy. That put Kucinich as the 4th participant...and NBC formally invited him. The Ohio representative rearranged his schedule (he's also trying to run for re-election here) to get him to Vegas, but suddenly GE/NBC uninvited him. Kucinich smelled a rat and sued...and lost. So what was the rat, and why the fuss?

In the days that have followed, the answer emerges. On Wednesday, the increasingly popular Democracy Now! invited Dennis Kucinich onto the program to view parts of the debate, with host Amy Goodman, and offer rebuttal to what the other candidates had to say. The transcript of the show makes interesting reading...and of course you also can stream audio and video. Of particular interest to the issue at hand is a peculiar question asked by Russert~~~

TIM RUSSERT: The volunteer army, many believe, disproportionate in terms of poor and minority who participate in our armed forces. There’s a federal statute on the books, which says that if a college or university does not provide space for military recruiters or provide a ROTC program for its students, it can lose its federal funding. Will you vigorously enforce that statute?

After Clinton, Obama, and Edwards all affirm they think military recruiters should be provided office space and access to university students, Goodman asks Kucinich if he would do that~~~

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, would you?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Absolutely not. Our society is being militarized. And part of the problem is NBC, which is a partner defense contractor through the ownership of General Electric of both NBC and Raytheon. So NBC is really promoting war here.
The truth of the matter is that we need to make it possible for our young people, if they desire to go in the military, they can go to a recruiter’s office, instead of telling campuses that if you don’t let recruiters on campus, you’re going to lose your money. That, to me, is antithetical to a democratic society.

At we learn "MSNBC’s parent company, General Electric (GE), and other corporate interests have been accused of trying to squelch Kucinich’s voice in the primary. Kucinich is the only remaining Democratic Presidential candidate who voted against the original Iraq War. He consistently votes against funding for the war as well.
"The Center for Public Integrity reports 'that GE has or had post-war business dealings in Iraq.' The company supplies temporary electrical generators to the U.S. military in Iraq. 'The company (GE) refused to divulge the value of the contract,' the watch dog group reported."

Amy Goodman's column yesterday also reviewed the situation. There are a few aggressive comments following the Hattiesburg version of the column, and I must say it's good to see discussion like this in Mississippi...or anywhere.

So if it's true, how could GE get away with something like this? Could be its double digit profit figures this last quarter have something to do with it. Here's a transcript of the company's conference call to investors yesterday morning:

Ah yes, how well I remember the host and occasional star of General Electric Theater, back in 1954, smiling and assuring us in his warm voice, "At GE Progress Is Our Most Important Product." And then somehow that host became a governor and eventually President Reagan.

Speaking of Free Election, the third story has to do with the continuing effort by Ohio Governor Strickland's administration to remove dubious elements from our election system. Despite all kinds of protest, mocking and roadblocks, new Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is sticking to her guns on this. According to the Associated Press this morning, she is compromising on her idea to have votes counted as central locations, a suggestion that drew fire from all sides. Things are getting interesting folks, and hopefully we're rolling up our sleeves for the hard work ahead!

Anonymous said...

Elementary my dear Watson.

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

And the truth is that the project of the PNAC (Project for the New American Century) must go on!

The AIPAC wants it.

The PNAC spelled it out.

And the show must go on.

Dear Mr. President,

[The letter was originally written to George W. Bush on September 20, 2001 by the members of the PNAC, but the prime directive has not changed very much, just fill in the blank:

Dear Rudy Giuliani or dear John McCain (whoever ends-up the war nominee for the much coveted 911 Presidency in the Republican party)

Or Dear Hillary Clinton (for the Democrats)

We write to endorse your admirable commitment to “lead the world to victory” in the war against terrorism. We fully support your call for “a broad and sustained campaign” against the “terrorist organizations and those who harbor and support them.”
We agree with Secretary of State Powell’s recent statement that Saddam Hussein “is one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth….”
…the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state [Iran and Syria] sponsors of terrorism.

Israel has been and remains America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism, especially in the Middle East. The United States should fully support our fellow democracy in its fight against terrorism. We should insist that the Palestinian Authority put a stop to terrorism emanating from territories under its control and imprison those planning terrorist attacks against Israel. Until the Palestinian Authority moves against terror, the United States should provide it no further assistance.
A serious and victorious war on terrorism will require a large increase in defense spending… We urge that there be no hesitation in requesting whatever funds for defense are needed to allow us to win this war.


As Gail Collins (while not being Sherlock Holmes, Gail Collins sometimes has some solid good sense about her) plainly observed on November 1, 2007 already, in an op-ed published in the New York times, Hillary Clinton is relying on her Democratic audience to understand that all her peculiar positions and triple-waffles have to do with a fear of being demagogued by the Republicans in the general election. But you would have to be a very, very committed Hillaryite to be comfortable listening to two solid hours of dodging and weaving on everything from her vote on the Iran resolution to her husband’s attempt to keep records of their White House communications secret until after 2012. (“... Certainly we’ll move as quickly as our circumstances and the processes of the National Archives permits.”)

But, but, what of the will of the people, will you say?

Aren’t people tired of the war?

I’ll answer with another question.

Who has been supporting the most warmongering candidates in this election?

Who elected George W. Bush for a second term?

Who is supporting Hillary Clinton in this primary?

Although, Hillary Clinton has been making some noise to appease the growing anti-war sentiments in her base, I think everyone knows better.

But people just “don’t want to know.” A large segment of the people don’t want to know. Just as they did not want to know about George W. Bush in 2004.

Gail Collins, again:
“Well, first of all, I am against a rush to war,” [Hillary Clinton] said. That would have been disturbing even if she had not attacked the idea of “rushing to war” twice more in the next 60 seconds. Being against a rush to another war in the Middle East seems to be setting the bar a tad low. How does she feel about a measured march to war? A leisurely stroll? And how could she have voted for an Iran resolution that was sponsored by Joseph Lieberman, who was basically drummed out of his party in Connecticut because of his hyperhawk stance on Iraq?

The rallying cry of 2004 was anyone but Bush.

And who did we get?

The rallying cry of 2008 is anyone but a warmonger.

And who will we get?

The names on the Billboard are changing but the show must go on, and the production remain the same.

And the names have a lot of star appeal.

In 2000, it was Bush - the son of the 41th President!

And Bush again in 2004.

Now what? Clinton 2008 - the spouse of the 42nd President!!!

Can Mr Smith go to Washington?

Could he ever?

I can’t wait for the 2016 Billboard:

Chelsea Clinton vs. Jeb Bush ???

Quinty said...

I'll buy Bill Clinton's claim that he opposed the war. After all, he sent PNAC packing when they approached him during his presidency. Which is one reason why the Neocons hate him: he saw their dream of an imperial Pax Americana in the Middle East as bughouse.

But then Bill Clinton said nothing during the lead up to the second Iraq war. Which was tantamount to supporting it. And his wife in effect voted for it. The two Clintons desired to demonstrate they were two fine team players. Rah rah for America as we triumph over evil!

What will Hillary do if she becomes president? She has indicated numerous times that the thought of American hegemony in the Middle East doesn't disagree with her.

But she may also be practical. Our presence there means unending conflict in a war on terror designed by Neocons. Does she want that? And so long as we maintain hostilities she and the Democratic Party will be politically vulnerable at home. A risky situation for her. For she may see the American people will eventually throw her out if she stays too close to Bush 43.

In the last "debate" she promised to withdraw the troops from Iraq within a year or so. With the caveat that some troops would have to remain to protect the mega embassy in Baghdad and to combat terrorism. Barack promised pretty much the same. Only Edwards vowed to completely withdraw if I correctly recall. Kucinich, who wasn’t there, is the best of all on that.

I think the people of the Middle East are sick of the west. They have the oil, so everyone is there. Or has been there. Ron Paul makes the simple point at all the Republican debates that if we Americans had hundreds of thousands of Arabs occupying our territories we would engage in guerilla warfare too. A simple reality which contradicts the rightwing concept of the Manichaean nature of the war on "Islamo Fascism." So they all gang up on him at these debates.

I find Hillary’s appeal to Democrats puzzling. She easily flip flops. She has close corporate ties. She is willing to say anything even if it only momentarily benefits her. And she has been awful about the war. The issue which has turned Americans most against Bush and his administration.

Why would Democrats want to chose a candidate who even hints at continuing any of Bush’s disastrous policies? While picking the candidate who is most likely to lose to a Republican too?

I see that Romney won in Nevada. Ye gods, what a contest: a Clinton Romney race! Which is the bigger phony? And who among the Republicans is more vacuous?

Nausicaa said...

What will Hillary do if she becomes president?

I don't know. We plain don't know, and that is the problem.

Would the real Hillary, please, stand up?

Is there anyone left that's real in there? Or has she been consumed by the ring of power already?

What did happen to the servants of the ring?

They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thralldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron's. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows."
---The Silmarillion: "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"

I see that there have been a bit of cross-posting here between jazzolog and Tom Bombadil over there.

One assertion made on one comment is that "people just don’t want to know. A large segment of the people don’t want to know. Just as they did not want to know about George W. Bush in 2004.

So, I'll just repeat here what I have already posted on the other thread:

.........there are a lot of people actually who do want to know.

It is going to be interesting to see whether the Internet is of any help to that regard. While a lot has been made about the amount of garbage there is floating around on the Internet, the World Wide Web is still a free for all environment where dissent is hard to suppress, for now - and if you don't live in China, that is.

The Iinternet is, let's face it, a place of DISINFORMATION, but it also is and remains, for now, a place of INFORMATION. The challenge is of course, the ability to tell the difference between the two.

One cannot necessarily believe what one reads on the Internet. Some disinformation is accidental, and some, is unfortunately intentional. But, that’s the way it has always been, and the way it was long before the Internet.

Someone once told me that they loath blogs because most of the time it looks like ”some unqualified, blithering, teenager yapping endlessly about what they think about George Bush or waxing philosophical on such intellectual matters as whether to scratch their behind with the left or right hand.

I don’t know. I think such “unqualified blithering” – even the so called “philosophical waxing” – is actually what makes the internet the force for change that it is. First and foremost it is about engagement: all that “philosophical waxing” (even where it involves little more than just some cut and paste) takes time, it reflect a certain level of commitment and it is pro-active, and most of all it is bottom-up. When it comes to “blithering,” I’ll take the unqualified blithering” of many of the people “yapping” on the internet over the professional “yapping” of those whose “unqualified blithering” on TV, like Ann Coulter for example, has become an institution of the disinformation age.

There are a lot of people who have been feeling like Jazzolog or Quinty do. A lot of people who have been posting from the heart. And some are very passionate too – as they should – about the issues.

At a time when FREE SPEECH equals MONEY. In a Mediacracy where it is the media who decides who gets to speak on TV and who doesn’t. And at a time when the least bit of time for a clip on TV cost a fortune. The Internet is offering free-speech that is truly free, and accessible to all, and offer people the possibility to speak about what’s truly on their heart regardless of whether or not it is politically correct or whether or not it espouses the partly line at the time of a Presidential election.

While I am personally not affiliated with any political candidate, I find the following videoclip (regardless of who produced it or for what reasons) very liberating. For one thing it is not afraid of asking the tough questions.

Hillary sounding a lot like Bush/Cheney

Youtube has proven an amazing medium to that regard. The various editing and the soundtrack of the one clip above are reflective of how the director feels about the issue and the conclusion if somewhat guided, is a powerful one nonetheless. More interesting though are the pure raw, unedited footages available everywhere online and which remain behind like so many time capsules.

This unedited piece – Hillary Clinton statements, in her own words – says a lot.

The clip is dated March 6, 2003.

Hillary Clinton's views on going to war, Saddam & WMD

In the above clip Hillary Clinton is seen talking about her vote to go to war, Saddam, and WMDs, 2 weeks before war in a meeting w/ women, men, National Organization for Women and Code Pink.

I personally find her comparison, toward the end of the meeting, of the situation the Bush administration and congress were faced with in Iraq with what the Bosnia-Kosovo situation was, particularly inappropriate and disingenuous.

jazzolog said...


"Maybe if the president had spent the trillion he squandered on his Iraq odyssey on energy research,
we might have broken the oil addiction."

---From Red, White and Blue Tag Sale
Published: January 20, 2008

Anonymous said...

And maybe if our presidents were doing what they say---during their actual term of office---that would be a good thing, too. It takes vision and charisma and the courage to take some risk and, if need be, to go straight to the people with the issues, if that's what it takes.

IN A NUTSHELL, it takes more than a technocrat to be a good leader. And it takes more than just "politics as usual."

We had to wait until after the end of Al Gore's presidential ambitions after 2000, for him to be vocal about the "inconvenient truth" that he is championing now.

Same thing with Bill Clinton, I like what he is saying now, but let's face it, Clinton-Gore was not all what it could have been.

What is it about politics? Why do we have to wait for our presidents to be retired to hear NOW what they should have said THEN while they were still in office.

Why do we have to wait until Nov. 2 2007, to hear from Bill Clinton that the shift to a green economy is the biggest economic opportunity facing the United States since the military buildup to World War Two.

Addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Summit, Clinton said then, on that occasion, that initiatives to combat global warming, such as the retrofit of old buildings and switching to more fuel-efficient cars, would create jobs and boost wages:

"In my view for the United States, it is the greatest economic opportunity we've had since we mobilized for World War Two."

"If we do it right, it will produce job gains and income gains substantially greater than the 1990s."

Now you tell us!

Al Gore shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for raising awareness of global warming.

And, well, while I am grateful for all the good things Bill Clinton and Al Gore have been saying since they are no longer in office, those are just words.

Now, don't get me wrong, unlike Bill and Hillary Clinton, I happen to be among those who believe in the power of words (I don't think they are just "fairy tales".)

I just regret that neither Bill Clinton or Al Gore were able to "find their voice" while they were still in office.

Quinty said...

And Clinton gave us NAFTA too.

Yes, it's tragic, isn't it, that the trillion or so dollars which will go into Iraq could have been spent on a "Manhattan project" for clean, renewable energy resources. Politically selling fear was much easier than selling a new "big government" program. And the right still sees "global warming" as somekind of leftist plot.

Bush seems like the most isolated president in memory. Sadly, his overall agenda isn't discredited by his party, though: it's the way he went about it. which is. From my point of view there really isn't much difference between the two.

And Bush may even see himself as a success in Iraq if a permanent US military presence is established there.

Being there can become habit after all, and many Americans balk at pulling out and leaving a giant mess. No one wants that blame. If Bush keeps the national blinders on, yes, he may succeed in his goals in his own eyes.

That trillion bucks sure could have been spent more productively. How many hybrid autos could all that have bought? At least a few for every American household? But that would have been a government boondoggle. The war in Iraq was good hard headed sense. Sure.

Anonymous said...

I am also uncomfortable with Bill Clinton's desire to sweep under the rug what's "inconvenient" about the past where it comes to Iraq.

“There is no point living in the past. Look at where we are now. Everyone, all freedom-loving people would be better off with a genuinely representative, effective, free government in Iraq whatever your feelings are about what went on before. ”
---Clinton to the Associated Press, May 18, 2005

What he is speaking of are two different things altogether:

A "free government in Iraq" is one thing. And arguably a good and desirable thing - who would disagree with that? Though, I suppose, the devil is in the detail. And it would depend, I imagine, on what one means by "good" and more essentially to whom--- with regards to whose interest?---the Iraqi people? Remember what was made of the Palestinian Legislative Election in 2006?

Things are never that simple, not that deceptively innocent.

As for "what went on before," this is a very different matter altogether. I don't see why Bill Clinton is in such a hurry for people to be "moving on" over what went on with the drive to invade Iraq, or the false allegations presented to congress and to the People to support it. Especially when an abundance of evidences seems to point to the fact that many knew better. Who knew what? And when did they know it? How far up does it go?

What belongs to Iraq belongs to Iraq, and what belongs to America belongs to America.

"Look at were we are now" is indeed what needs to be done. And sweeping what's "inconvenient" about the past under the rug is not the way to do it.

jazzolog said...

I have to say I suspect presidents who have ideas that would cost corporations power and money learn quick to get in line and keep that part of their mouths shut---until later. And even then, they have to be careful about rides in small planes. In the '60s other leaders tried and other leaders died. That's why "Change" has got to mean something like revolution or else it gets only a shrug from me.

Quinty said...

Or at least it means struggle, hard fought struggle.

True enough, a popular upswell may be required to put some back bone into "progressive" politicians. They even run scampering at the use of the world "liberal." And appear to be allowing the right to define liberalism, as something corrupted by the "looney left." Among whom I'm a card carrying member.

I'm reading an interesting biography of FDR. I remember how leftists (Berkeleyites?) once claimed FDR prevented a Marxist revolution in the US by granting workers certain reforms and rights. Saving Capitalism.

Brother, they didn't grant nothing. Every gain labor achieved was hard fought for. And with blood. When FDR was in the NY State Senate in his late twenties, about 1912 (where I'm at now in the bio) progressives (led by Tammany Hall) wanted to introduce a 54 hour work week. What did the opponents say? That this would lead to "immoral behavior" among women.

The right will want to take history away from us. (Sometimes the left too.) Today, on MLK day, you would think every rightwing reactionary had been on King’s side during the Civil Rights movement.

The Nixon southern strategy? They forget that one too.

jazzolog said...

Right you are Paul. I remember when William Buckley declare Culture War upon the liberal establishment...and that was back in 1960. They have labored on it since...and these rich slaveowners are not stupid. I hope you saw Princeton economist Paul Krugman's column yesterday~~~

The New York Times
January 21, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Debunking the Reagan Myth

Historical narratives matter. That’s why conservatives are still writing books denouncing F.D.R. and the New Deal; they understand that the way Americans perceive bygone eras, even eras from the seemingly distant past, affects politics today.

And it’s also why the furor over Barack Obama’s praise for Ronald Reagan is not, as some think, overblown. The fact is that how we talk about the Reagan era still matters immensely for American politics.

Bill Clinton knew that in 1991, when he began his presidential campaign. “The Reagan-Bush years,” he declared, “have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”

Contrast that with Mr. Obama’s recent statement, in an interview with a Nevada newspaper, that Reagan offered a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

Maybe Mr. Obama was, as his supporters insist, simply praising Reagan’s political skills. (I think he was trying to curry favor with a conservative editorial board, which did in fact endorse him.) But where in his remarks was the clear declaration that Reaganomics failed?

For it did fail. The Reagan economy was a one-hit wonder. Yes, there was a boom in the mid-1980s, as the economy recovered from a severe recession. But while the rich got much richer, there was little sustained economic improvement for most Americans. By the late 1980s, middle-class incomes were barely higher than they had been a decade before — and the poverty rate had actually risen.

When the inevitable recession arrived, people felt betrayed — a sense of betrayal that Mr. Clinton was able to ride into the White House.

Given that reality, what was Mr. Obama talking about? Some good things did eventually happen to the U.S. economy — but not on Reagan’s watch.

For example, I’m not sure what “dynamism” means, but if it means productivity growth, there wasn’t any resurgence in the Reagan years. Eventually productivity did take off — but even the Bush administration’s own Council of Economic Advisers dates the beginning of that takeoff to 1995.

Similarly, if a sense of entrepreneurship means having confidence in the talents of American business leaders, that didn’t happen in the 1980s, when all the business books seemed to have samurai warriors on their covers. Like productivity, American business prestige didn’t stage a comeback until the mid-1990s, when the U.S. began to reassert its technological and economic leadership.

I understand why conservatives want to rewrite history and pretend that these good things happened while a Republican was in office — or claim, implausibly, that the 1981 Reagan tax cut somehow deserves credit for positive economic developments that didn’t happen until 14 or more years had passed. (Does Richard Nixon get credit for “Morning in America”?)

But why would a self-proclaimed progressive say anything that lends credibility to this rewriting of history — particularly right now, when Reaganomics has just failed all over again?

Like Ronald Reagan, President Bush began his term in office with big tax cuts for the rich and promises that the benefits would trickle down to the middle class. Like Reagan, he also began his term with an economic slump, then claimed that the recovery from that slump proved the success of his policies.

And like Reaganomics — but more quickly — Bushonomics has ended in grief. The public mood today is as grim as it was in 1992. Wages are lagging behind inflation. Employment growth in the Bush years has been pathetic compared with job creation in the Clinton era. Even if we don’t have a formal recession — and the odds now are that we will — the optimism of the 1990s has evaporated.

This is, in short, a time when progressives ought to be driving home the idea that the right’s ideas don’t work, and never have.

It’s not just a matter of what happens in the next election. Mr. Clinton won his elections, but — as Mr. Obama correctly pointed out — he didn’t change America’s trajectory the way Reagan did. Why?

Well, I’d say that the great failure of the Clinton administration — more important even than its failure to achieve health care reform, though the two failures were closely related — was the fact that it didn’t change the narrative, a fact demonstrated by the way Republicans are still claiming to be the next Ronald Reagan.

Now progressives have been granted a second chance to argue that Reaganism is fundamentally wrong: once again, the vast majority of Americans think that the country is on the wrong track. But they won’t be able to make that argument if their political leaders, whatever they meant to convey, seem to be saying that Reagan had it right.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Anonymous said...



Charisma? Or Zeitgeist?

I think that, whatever one may chose to call it - for better or for worse - it was there. In either case.

What one chose to do with it is another matter.

Paul Krugman's criticism or Reaganomics is a good one. I read his column frequently, and he often makes a lot of sense about many things I find myself agreing with. He appeared on the Bill Maher show a few months ago - which, for that reason, I had been waiting eagerly (and, hey, Naomi Klein was also one of the guests)- and I can only regret that Paul Krugman doesn't have the same kind of a presence in person as he does through his wittings. He was seated next to Tucker Carlson, who amazingly just managed to upstage him, which I found a little sickening. Essentially, Tucker, who is not a debate genius, did a good job misrepresenting Paul's positions and succeeded in painting him as a knee-jerk partisan fanatic fundamentalist, which I don't think he is. And Paul did a very poor job in either seeing what was going on there or in countering it. This is not a criticism of Paul Krugman, but it is an important thing one must learn to recognize in an era where image is so ubiquitously prevalent. Different people have different strong suites. Paul is a good economist and a good writer. But he is not a very good live spokesperson, and while I would recommend his writing, I would avoid inviting him to speak on TV or at a live event.

Going back to the Zeitgeist issue, I think such a momentous opportunity was present in 2000, waiting to be seized had the right person been there to set America and possibly the world on a new course. I think there was a window there at the time where people in the world were looking at America to see if a new kind of adult universalist leadership more in touch with some of the realities (commonalities) of the world would emerge.

Instead we got George W. Bush.

Eight years of it!!!

To tell you the truth, I must say that I feel a little queasy at the perspective now of another four or eight year term of Billary Clinton.

While Barack Obama has been criticized for stating that John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were transformational Presidents while Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were not, what he said is factually true.

Miles Mogulescu, here, says it well:

JFK came as a breath of fresh air, ushering the '60's with all of its political and social changes in civil rights, women's rights, and new cultural and artistic expressions -- these changes may not have directly been JFK's doing and many of them came about after this assassination. But he JFK helped unleash the spirit that transformed the country. Likewise, Ronald Reagan ushered in an era under which, for the past 27 years, conservatives have largely dominated American politics.

Here's what Obama actually said: "Reagan changed the trajectory of American in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path...I think Kennedy, 20 years earlier moved the country in a fundamentally different direction. So I think a lot of it just has to do with the times. I think we're in one of those times right now." What Obama was calling for is a transformational presidency starting in 2008, not a presidency of triangulation and small bore change.

Indeed, Bill and Hillary Clinton have been more outspoken in their praise of Reagan than Obama has been. Hillary's website includes a press release in which she lists her favorite Presidents: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, George H.W. Bush, and Reagan, as well as Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton has also stated "Hillary and I will always remember President Ronald Reagan for the way he personified the indomitable optimism of the American people, and for keeping America at the forefront of the fight for freedom."

Moreover, after failing to pass health care reform, many of the major legislative achievements of Bill Clinton's presidency had a decidedly Republican cast, including welfare reform, the crime bill, NAFTA, and media deregulation.

Nausicaa said...

Well, the last sentence on the article posted by jazzolog about Dennis Kucinich is that this is a political article about falling in love.

I also found the introductory quote by Erich Fromm very relevant:
Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself.

So, it was very purposefully that I did quote Tolkien earlier in a follow up comment. Tolkien’s Ring trilogy was inspired by The Ring of the Nibelung (Wagner musical epic, which was itself inspired by the Norse sagas), one of which main dominant leitmotivs is centered around the issues of Love and Power:

"Whosoever will renounce love and make a ring from the gold will rule the world."

Such is the power (and curse) of the Gold of the Rhine.

In The Perfect Wagnerite: A Commentary on the Niblung’s Ring, George Bernard Shaw wrote:

“The Ring, with all its gods and giants and dwarfs, its water-maidens and Valkyries, its wishing-cap, magic-ring, enchanted sword, and miraculous treasure, is a drama of today, and not of a remote and fabulous antiquity.”

Speaking of the Nibelung (or the owner of the ring) he describes its rule as follow:

“...hordes of his fellow-creatures will thus be condemned to slave miserably, over-ground and under-ground, lashed to their work by the invisible whip of starvation. The wealth they create with their labor will become an additional force to impoverish them. As fast as they create it, it will slip from their hands into the clutches of their master, making him mightier than ever."

According to George Berbard Shaw,
“This process continues in every civilized country today, where millions of people toil in want and disease to heap up more wealth for the Alberics, the powers and authorities of their societies. In return, these workers lay up nothing for themselves, except perhaps horrible and agonizing diseases and the certainty of premature death."

“If there were no higher power in the world to work against Alberic, the end of it would be utter destruction."

“But there is such a force, which we might call the Godhead... This force [manifest individually and collectively] through those whose aims extend far beyond the satisfaction of their bodily appetites and personal affections, since they perceive that it is only by the establishment of a social order founded on common bonds of moral faith that the world can rise from mere savagery.”

Unfortunately, “Godhead, face to face with Stupidity, must compromise.”

“When the forces of lovelessness and greed had built up our own sordid capitalist systems, driven by invisible proprietorship, robbing the poor, defacing the earth, and forcing themselves as a universal curse even on the generous and humane, then religion and law and intellect, which would never themselves have discovered such systems, their natural bent being towards welfare, economy, and life instead of corruption, waste, and death, nevertheless did not scruple to seize by fraud and force these powers of evil on pretence of using them for good.”

“Godhead’s resort to law [and the game of politics] finally costs it half its integrity.” And eventually, the Godhead begins “secretly to long for the advent of some power higher than itself which will destroy its artificial empire of law, and establish a true republic of free thought.”

This last part somewhat echoes an earlier comments above in which jazzolog said:

"I suspect that presidents who have ideas that would cost corporations power and money learn quick to get in line and keep that part of their mouths shut---until later. And even then, they have to be careful about rides in small planes. In the '60s other leaders tried and other leaders died. That's why "Change" has got to mean something like revolution or else it gets only a shrug from me.

The thing is that the reverse is equally true: Revolution has got to mean something like change or else it doesn’t mean very much either. Is it possible to have Revolutions without Change? I think, sadly, that we have had plenty of those already (it is easier to destroy than to construct.) Some people (a class? an elite?) are dispossessed of the ring, and the ring finds another owner.

This is why systems of checks and balances are put in place in modern Republics. But it doesn’t seem to be enough.

What does true change mean?

What about Change without Revolution?

Where does change come from?

What change is it that we are trying to bring about?

Justice? Equal rights? Liberty?

Is it within human nature?

Can it be?

Can Man ever escape the curse of the ring?

Nausicaa said...

Bernard Shaw saw in The Ring of the Nibelung, "the whole tragedy of human history and the whole horror of the dilemmas from which the world is shrinking today."

The Perfect Wagnerite:
A Commentary on the Niblung's Ring was written in 1883.

Der Ring des Nibelungen was written by Wagner over the course of about twenty-six years, from 1848 to 1874.

The Poetic Eddas, a collection of poems from the oral Norse literature are thought to have been written down from 1000-1300 A.D. Firm conclusions are hard to reach.

The Nibelungenlied dates from around 1200.

Tom Bombadil said...

Where is Dennis?

So ask Sabrina Eaton [link]:

After failing to qualify for a Democratic presidential candidates debate on Monday in South Carolina, Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich has filed a Federal Communications Commission complaint against host network CNN.

The complaint accuses the network of "arbitrarily establishing criteria" for the presidential debate, and asks the FCC to order Kucinich's participation.

CNN political director Sam Feist says there was no effort to exclude Kucinich, and that the network "established criteria to select candidates showing significant strength around the country". Participants in the debate have to place in the top three in an early presidential contest recognized by the Democratic National Committee, and also score five percent or better in a national poll, he said.

"Congressman Kucinich did not meet the criteria," Feist said.

Kucinich's complaint says that the Cleveland congressman scored 4 percent in two polls completed last week by CBS News/New York Times and by the Pew Research Center, and claims the network came up with its criteria to "specifically exclude the diverse and anti-war voice of Mr. Kucinich and his grass-roots supporters."

In other news, Kucinich announced a California campaign swing by his wife, Elizabeth, as well as his endorsement by the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), a progressive advocacy organization based in California and well known for its work in the areas of civil and human rights.

Tom Bombadil said...


Apparently, this goes back a long way.

I am sure this kind of things goes on all the time - and this is probably the tip of the iceberg, compared to the kind of stuff that usually goes on away from people eyes or earsight, after the curtain falls. This time, though it was captured on camera and open microphone.

NEW YORK (AP) Jul. 13, 2007:
An angry Dennis Kucinich lashed out at John Edwards on Friday, saying his Democratic rival showed "a consistent lack of integrity" by suggesting fewer candidates should participate in presidential forums and then trying to explain his remark to reporters.

"This is a serious matter and I'm calling him on it," Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, said in a telephone interview Friday. "Whispering, trying to rig an election, then denying what's going on and making excuses. It all reflects a consistent lack of integrity."

Kucinich's comments came after John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton were overheard Thursday discussing the possibility of limiting the number of participants in future presidential forums.

In an exchange captured on camera and open microphone by broadcasters after an NAACP forum in Detroit, Edwards approached Clinton onstage and whispered in her ear.

"We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group," Edwards said, and Clinton agreed.

"Our guys should talk," Clinton said, complaining the format had "trivialized" the discussion.

Kucinich, who typically polls in the low single digits, clearly felt the slight was directed at him. All eight Democratic contenders took part in the program, including Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Mike Gravel and Kucinich.

Both Edwards and Clinton were asked about the exchange Friday, and offered different explanations.

In New Hampshire, Clinton seemed to lay responsibility on Edwards.

"I think he has some ideas about what he'd like to do," she said, adding she liked participating in the forums.


Cries and Whispers, perhaps, is a sad but fitting reference:

"Come over here Maria. Look at yourself in the mirror. You are beautiful... but you have changed. These days you cast rapid, calculating, sidelong glances. Your gaze used to be direct, open, and without any disguise..."

I am speaking, of course, of the way politics (big politics, and the petty politics in anyone's everyday life) uses and erodes all who are touched by it. Better not to give in to it. But then, can one afford to? And what of Machiavelli's warning to the prince? And how does one stay away from politics anyway?
One can live in seclusion like a monk, but politics has a way of coming to those who shy away from it, with a vengeance - the Tibetan monks know something of this.

But Der Ring des Nibelungen, here, is no doubt of greater relevance.

Quinty said...

Did anyone see Hillary arrogantly, snidely, in so cool and superior a manner, put Barack down again yesterday? The day after the rough and tumble Black Caucus/CNN debate? Once more fudging, remolding facts and simple truth to suit herself?

The two Clintons are indeed a tag team joined at the hip. Bill's job is to wear Barack down, psych him out, drive him nuts. And once down in the mud with them, where the Clintons feel at home, help Hillary to come out on top. For both Clintons are long experienced and masters at the art of mud flinging.

Barack is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. He can not simply ignore this two pronged attack, one Bill and Hillary have made so personal. If Barack attacks back - brings up Bill's credibility: "the meaning of is is;” “ I did not have sex with that woman;" then he will lose all those Democrats who love Clinton. He will destroy the party. If he does nothing then he will appear undeceive and weak.

Keep your dignity, man, keep your focus. Keep your eye on the prize. The Clintons are scum. And the entire world will know it. I just hope in time.

Here's Maureen Dowd in today's NY Times.....

Two Against One

Published: January 23, 2008

If Bill Clinton has to trash his legacy to protect his legacy, so be it. If he has to put a dagger through the heart of hope to give Hillary hope, so be it.

If he has to preside in this state as the former first black president stopping the would-be first black president, so be it.

The Clintons — or “the 2-headed monster,” as the The New York Post dubbed the tag team that clawed out wins in New Hampshire and Nevada — always go where they need to go, no matter the collateral damage. Even if the damage is to themselves and their party.

Bill’s transition from elder statesman, leader of his party and bipartisan ambassador to ward heeler and hatchet man has been seamless — and seamy.

After Bill’s success trolling the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, Hillary handed off South Carolina and flew to California and other Super Tuesday states. The Big Dog relished playing the candidate again, wearing a Technicolor orange tie and sweeping across the state with the mute Chelsea.

He tried to convey the impression that they were running against The Man, and with classic Clintonian self-pity, grumbled that Barack Obama had all the advantages.

When he was asked yesterday if he would feel bad standing in the way of the first black president, he said no. “I’m not standing in his way,” he said. “I think Hillary would be a better president” who’s “ready to do the job on the first day.” He added: “No one has a right to be president, including Hillary. Keep in mind, in the last two primaries, we ran as an underdog.” He rewrote the facts, saying that “no one thought she could win” in New Hampshire, even though she originally had had a substantial lead.

He said of Obama: “I hope I get a chance to vote for him some day.” And that day, of course, would be after Hillary’s eight years; it’s her turn now because Bill owes her. “I think it would be just as much a change, and some people think more, to have the first woman president as to have the first African-American president,” he said.

Bad Bill had been roughing up Obama so much that Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina suggested that he might want to “chill.” On a conference call with reporters yesterday, the former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a national co-chairman of the Obama campaign, tut-tutted that the “incredible distortions” of the political beast were “not keeping with the image of a former president.”

Jonathan Alter reported in Newsweek that Senator Edward Kennedy and Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois congressman and former Clinton aide, have heatedly told Bill “that he needs to change his tone and stop attacking Senator Barack Obama.”

In the Myrtle Beach debate Monday night, Obama was fed up with being double-teamed by the Clintons. He finally used attack lines that his strategists had urged him to use against Hillary for months. “It was as though all the e-mails were backed up,” said one.

When Hillary tried once more to take Obama’s remarks about Ronald Reagan out of context, making it seem as though Obama had praised Reagan’s policies, he turned sarcastic about getting two distortionists for the price of one.

“I can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes,” he snapped at Hillary, obviously entrapped and pysched-out by the Clinton duo.

On a conference call with reporters yesterday morning, Obama did not back off from his more aggressive, if defensive, stance. The Clintons, he said “spent the last month attacking me in ways that are not accurate. At some point, it’s important for me to answer.” Recalling that Hillary had called mixing it up the “fun” part of politics, he said: “I don’t think it’s the fun part to fudge the truth.”

Bill has merged with his wife totally now, talking about “we” and “us.” “I never did anything major without discussing it with her,” he told a crowd here. “We’ve been having this conversation since we first met in 1971, and I don’t think we’ll stop now.” He suggested as First Lad that “I can help to sell the domestic program.”

It’s odd that the first woman with a shot at becoming president is so openly dependent on her husband to drag her over the finish line. She handed over South Carolina to him, knowing that her support here is largely derivative.

At the Greenville event, Bill brought up Obama’s joking reference to him in the debate, about how Obama would have to see whether Bill was a good dancer before deciding whether he was the first black president.

Bill, naturally, turned it into a competition. “I would be willing to engage in a dancing competition with him, even though he’s much younger and thinner than I am,” he said. “If I’m going to get in one of these brother contests,” he added, “at least I should be entitled to an age allowance.”

He said, “I kind of like seeing Barack and Hillary fighting.”

“How great is this?” he said. “Neither of them has to be a little wind-up doll who’s supposed to behave in a certain way. They’re real people, flesh and blood people. They have differences.”

And if he has anything to say about it, and he will, they’ll be fighting till the last dog dies.

Anonymous said...

Kucinich abandons White House bid

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer, 3 minutes ago:

Democrat Dennis Kucinich is abandoning his second, long-shot bid for the White House as he faces a tough fight to hold onto his other job — U.S. congressman.

In an interview with Cleveland's Plain Dealer, the six-term House member said he was quitting the race and would make a formal announcement on Friday.

"I will be announcing that I'm transiting out of the presidential campaign," Kucinich said. "I'm making that announcement tomorrow about a new direction."

Kucinich has received little support in his presidential bid; he got 1 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary and was shut out in the Iowa caucuses although he has a devoted following.

Kucinich, 61, is facing four challengers in the Democratic congressional primary March 4, and earlier this week he made an urgent appeal on his Web site for funds for his re-election. Rival Joe Cimperman has been critical of Kucinich for focusing too much time outside of his district while campaigning for president.

His decision comes a month after his youngest brother, Perry Kucinich, was found dead.

Kucinich said he will not endorse another Democrat in the primary.

I can't say that I blame him.

I am no oracle, and one must proceed in those things with caution, but I suspect that the high turn-out which has characterized the Democratic Primary might not be repeated during the General Election in the event of a Hillary/Bill Clinton nomination. The reverse trend might be true for the GOP however, as the Clinton name will more than likely mobilize many Republicans and some independents against it.

But, then, once again, who knows? I didn't think either that President Bush would be given a second term in 2004 and, surprise, surprise, look what happened. I suspect that for all their talk of change, an all their anti-Washington talk, and pseudo-libertarian ideals, deep-down, people end-up going for the comfort zone of "name recognition," and the perceived safety of what they know (or what they think they know), and politics as usual, about which, they'll make a point of complaining about once the election is over, conveniently sweeping under the rug their own ambiguities and own duplicity in the matter. It is a bit like the old joke about the guy who kills his parents and then complains that he had to grow up as an orphan.

The selling out of one's ideals out of fear or for the illusion of security is not unique to America, it can be found all the world over, and has more to do with evolution of the species as a whole and tribal instinct than it has with national culture per se, even though culture too is an evolutionary process (tribal instinct is just deeper - genetically speaking.)

Dennis Kucinich's history as a mayor of Cleveland back in the seventies is a good illustration of that:

Once dubbed the "boy mayor" of Cleveland, he made an unpopular decision to refuse to sell a publicly owned utility that pushed the city into default and drove him from office.

After the city's financial troubles, the mayor faced death threats, and was forced to wear a bulletproof vest when he threw out the first ball at a Cleveland Indians game. He barely survived a recall vote.

But he lost his bid for re-election as mayor of Cleveland in 1978 to Republican George Voinovich, who went on to become governor and then U.S. senator. His life and his political career were derailed. Kucinich spent more than a decade trying to get back into politics — traveling around the country and then working as a teacher, consultant and television news reporter.

In 1994, Kucinich was elected state senator and he then won a seat in Congress in 1996. His once unpopular stand against the sale of the municipal electric system was praised as courageous. In 1998, the Cleveland City Council issued him a commendation for having the foresight to refuse to sell it.

During his time in Congress, Kucinich has been one of the most outspoken liberals, opposing international trade agreements like the North America Free Trade Agreement and marching with protesters in Seattle during a meeting of the World Trade Organization.

As a presidential candidate, he has proposed a Department of Peace, backed universal health care and supported gay marriage. He also pushed for impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

jazzolog said...

So Dennis is gone...even though everybody seemed to think he was right about most stuff. But maybe some kind of attitude problem? And he must have been a Communist, things like that. Not the kind of guy like Bush was, somebody to sit around and have beers with.

How does Bush look today? Take a peek at the accompanying photo to this new study~~~

Jan 23, 6:43 AM EST

Study: False statements preceded war
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration's position that the world community viewed Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.

"The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world," Stanzel said.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.

Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.

The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.

"The cumulative effect of these false statements - amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts - was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.

"Some journalists - indeed, even some entire news organizations - have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, 'independent' validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq," it said.


On the Net:

Center For Public Integrity:

Fund For Independence in Journalism:

© 2008 The Associated Press.