Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Hillary Clinton Webcast on Energy

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can view the latest webcast from Senator Hillary Clinton on energy. If anyone knows of any other webcasts by Democratic candidates running for President, please send them to us so we can link to them in our blog. Send the links to

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Connie Schultz Column on Condolezza Rice

Connie Shultz wrote a column last week in which she listed women that she admired. She didn't include Secretary of State Rice. Several readers emailed her to ask why she omitted Rice's name. Some speculated that it was because Rice is a Republican. Today Schultz answered these readers with a column about why she didn't include Rice. The reason was Rice's advocacy of the Iraq War as National Security Advisor and her continuing defense of that war as Secretary of State. It is a great column and you can read it by clicking on the link in this entry's title.

Why Not Try Lowering the Cost of Campaigns?

The amazing thing about political journalism is the "pack mentality" that seems to affect its practitioners. Almost all political journalists and commentators think "inside the box." There seems to be very little original thinking. This means that both issues discussed by political journalists and solutions proposed are fairly narrow. Take, for example, campaign financing.

Since the Watergate era the focus on the issue of campaign financing has been to regulate the contribution side of the equation. This means passing legislation that restricts the amount of money that can be given to a particular candidate by a particular person or entity. Yet, the cost of campaigns keeps rising, and the amount of money going to candidates keeps going up and up, especially for campaigns for Federal office. Meanwhile, the cost of campaigns going up means that more and more people are discouraged from running for local offices because those races are becoming more and more expensive.

Here's a suggestion: focus on the bringing the cost of campaigns down. How? Here's one idea that could have a significant impact: allow candidates for all offices to mail at the same rate as non-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations can mail for a very reduced rate. Extend that rate to all political candidates. There would obviously be some cost to the USPS, but the benefit to society of driving down the cost of campaigns would be worth it.

Actually, it is our understanding that the law does allow the state organizations of the Republican and Democratic parties to mail at the same rate as non-profit organizations, or at a very similar rate. The above proposal would extend that rate to all candidates running for public office.

There may very well be problems with this proposal that we haven't thought of, and maybe its not such a great idea, but the important thing is to change the focus from controlling contributions to lowering the cost of campaigns. If the cost of campaigns could be significantly brought down, then more people could run for office without risking bankruptcy.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Are Irish-American Journalists Out for the Clintons?

Bob Somerby, a product of the Irish-American culture himself, had a posting on January 30, 2007 on his blog "The Daily Howler" on how Irish-American pundits, notably Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd, have had it out for the Clintons since 1992. This is not an original thought with Somerby. Back during Bill Clinton's presidency a writer wrote an article for, we believe, the National Journal, about how Clinton had trouble with Irish American journalists. Besides Dowd and Matthews, that writer also mentioned the late Michael Kelley, who was editor of the Atlantic Monthly and died in Iraq. It is an interesting thesis and, given the role that Maureen Dowd recently had in causing the recent conflict between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, a timely one. (You can read Somerby's article by clicking on the link in this entry's title.)

Akron Beacon Journal Article on Retail Employees' Pay

The front page of the Akron Beacon Journal's Business section had a story today, (2.25.2007), about retail jobs in Ohio. It points out that retail jobs are paying less and that pay for retail employees is not keeping up with other sectors of the economy. In Medina County, for example, retail jobs have increased but retail pay has declined by 10% according to the article. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is quoted as attributing at least some of the decline in pay for retail employees to that sector's lack of organized workers. Other factors cited in the article include technology, which is allowing retail establishments to eliminate jobs by use of such mechanisms as self-checkout stations.

What is interesting about this article is that one of the arguments made by supporters of free trade treaties such as NAFTA is that while manufacturing jobs may be lost, service sector jobs will step in and fill the void. Well, as this article shows, the pay for such jobs is much less than the pay for the lost jobs. This affects all of us, not just the workers involved. If lower paying jobs replace higher paying jobs, then workers won't have as much money to spend on things like entertainment, cars, groceries, dining out, and recreation. It means that professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and dentists may find that their clients don't have as much to spend of their services. It will affect construction jobs because people who don't have as much money can't spend as much on housing. It will affect governments, especially governmental bodies like school boards, who have to go back to voters on a regular basis for approval of tax levies. In short, when one section of the economy suffers, all of the economy may suffer.

U.S. Economy Not Working for Increasing Segment of Society

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you will read an article posted on Yahoo News about the fast increasing gap between the rich and the poor in the United States. The article also points out that while productivity is increase, and corporate profits are increasing, wages are going up much more slowly. One point that the article makes clear is the difference between European countries and the United States in terms of governmental aid for the poor.

So when Bush and his supporters talk about how good the economy is doing because of Bush's tax cuts, remember that they are speaking about only one part of the economy, their part. There is another part of our society that's not benefiting from the Bush administration's policies.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Giuliani Leads McCain by 22% Among Republicans in New Poll

A new poll from Quinnipiac University has McCain trailing former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani by 22 points, 40% to 18% among registered Republicans. If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can see the results of this poll and others on the Republican nomination race posted by Polling Point. It will be interesting to see what political commentators based in D.C. make of this poll.

Our analysis is that Republicans don't want to nominate any candidate who is linked so closely to Bush's Iraq War. Guiliani is linked to the events of 9-11, but not nearly as much to the Iraq War. Registered Republicans may want a candidate for president who can recall the heroism of the events of 9-11 without carrying the baggage of the mess that Bush has made of the Iraq War. The question then becomes whether the Democrats will nominate someone who can be labeled as a supporter of the war, at least at its inception.

How Obama Handles Attacks from Republicans

About two weeks ago, the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, said that if Obama got elected his policy for Iraq would be a victory for terrorists. Obama replied that if Howard was so much in favor of the Iraqi War, he should send another 20,000 Australian troops to Iraq to help relieve the American military.

This last week, speaking in Austin at a rally, he made a response to Dick Cheney's assertions that the British pull down of troops in Iraq is a good sign. He listed all the things that Cheney has said about the war that turned out to be wrong. He also said that if Dick Cheney says things are going well, then you know that "you are probably in trouble."

We think that Democrats often get themselves in trouble by trying to have it both ways. They often disagree with Republicans using language that tries to have it both ways. That doesn't cut it and makes the speaker look weak. If you think that Republican policies are a disaster for America, say so, and let the chips fall where they may. Don't try and play cute. It doesn't work.

(Click on this entry's title to read more about Obama's comments about Darth Vader, ie, our country's Vice-President.)

Americans Underestimate the Number of Iraqis Killed in War

An interesting survey reported by the Associated Press in the article linked to in this entry's title shows that while Americans are pretty well informed about the number of Americans killed in Iraq, they are not nearly as well informed about the number of Iraqis killed. The survey also shows that younger people are much more likely to know someone who died in this war than older people. It is a pretty interesting article.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Global Issues Website

If you click on the link in this entry's title, it will take you to the home page for a site called Global Issues. This is apparently a website that tracks certain issues such as military spending, global warming, racism, and other issues that affect all of us. According to this website, America's military spending has gone up from 288 billion in 2000 to 441 billion in fiscal year 2006, not counting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We spend almost seven times on our military as the number two nation, which is China. (You can see the graph here: ). The site's operator gives the sources for the information he posts and links to more information. Check it out, you will find it very interesting.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Newsweek Columnist Claims U.S. to be in Iraq for 10 Years

Michael Hirsh of Newsweek has a column online in which he argues that what most Democratic and Republican candidates for president aren't realizing is that the approach the new commander of U.S. forces in Iraq is pursuing could mean American soldiers will be in Iraq for up to 10 additional years. According to a military source that is quoted in the article, the U.S. is pursuing a "classic counterinsurgency" strategy. This involves moving American troops out from four main "superbases" to 160 smaller bases where they can interact with the Iraqi population. It also means that American troops are taking the lead in dealing the insurgents instead of Iraqi troops.

There are a couple of points that need to be kept in mind when reading this article. One is that apparently the Bush administration has wasted not only 3,000+ American lives and billions of American dollars, but also about four years of time. We could have been pursuing this strategy from the beginning of the armed resistance, but instead this administration's incompetence meant that the wrong tactics were being used. George W. Bush has put us in deep shit.

A Website Devoted to Attacking Fox News

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you will go to where you can watch a video on how Fox News has presented news about Sen. Barack Obama. It is fascinating. It also gives you tips on how to fight back against Fox News.

Why Political Journalism Sucks: The Media Focuses on Celebrity

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you will be taken to an interesting article in the online edition of American Prospect magazine. The article raises the question of why Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico isn't getting more coverage. The reason posed by the author is that during the last decade or so political journalists decided that celebrity counted more than political or governing experience. Obama has more celebrity status than Richardson, so does Edwards and Clinton.

It's not just Democratic candidates who are covered more if they are celebrities, it also happens to Republicans. Consider the coverage given to Rudy Guiliani, a former Mayor of New York, the city where most national media companies are headquartered, to that given to Huckabee, the Governor of Arkansas.

It is an interesting theory and a very well written article. Take a minute and check it out.

Psychology Today Article on Political Ideology & Personality

Okay, so we have all instinctly known that there are innate personality differences between liberals and conservatives, but it is nice to have proof. If you click on the link in this entry's title, you will see an article that explores those differences. Conservatives respond more to threats that involve death and are more organized in their personal lives. Liberals like color and are messier. The article also explains why Republicans use ads that convey implied or explicit threats such as the ad that the Bush campaign ran in 2004 with the wolves or the ad that Reagan ran in 1984 with the bear lumbering through the woods. What the article also points out, though, is that research indicates that simply asking people to stop and analyze the information they are being given leads to a decrease in susceptibility to this kind of psychological manipulation.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mother Jones Article Claims Iraqi War Increased Terrorism Seven Times

Mother Jones magazine has an interesting article about the connection between terrorism and the Iraq War. According to the two authors, both connected with New York University's School of Law, the level of terrorist attacks has gone up seven times from the period between 3.21.2003 to 9.30.2006 compared to the period of 9.12.2001 to 3.20.2003. March 20, 2003, was the start of the Iraqi War. According to the researchers they set out to answer the three following questions:

1. Has jihadist terrorism gone up or down around the world since the invasion of Iraq?
2. What has been the trend if terrorist incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan (the military fronts of the "war on terrorism") are excluded?
3. Has terrorism explicitly directed at the United States and its allies also increased?

The authors believe these questions to be important because the Bush Administration often makes the argument that while the Iraq War is hard, it is necessary because terrorists have to understand that we will fight them. The thinking seems to be that once we have demonstrated that we will resist them, they will stop attacking us. A Of course, that argument only makes sense if the Iraq War is actually having the claimed effect. If instead, as these authors argue, it is having the effect of actually increasing terrorist attacks, then the above rationale goes out the window.

The article is worth reading. Of course, since it is based on empirical evidence and not on wishful thinking, it will be ignored by the radical right-wing Republicans who make up Bush's base.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nine Republicans Didn't Vote on Iraq Debate Cloture Bill

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read the results of the vote on the motion last Saturday to close debate on the House anti-escalation resolution. Of the ten Senators who didn't vote on the motion, nine were Republicans. Only one Democrat didn't vote, Tim Johnson, D-SD, and he is recovering from brain surgery. Now, those votes weren't needed by the Republican leadership and so, as far as the result is concerned, it didn't matter that they didn't vote. Consider this point, however. Every public opinion poll shows that the number one issue on the public's mind is Iraq. So, on this important subject, nine Republican Senators couldn't even be bothered to show up and vote. That is simply a dereliction of duty and one that voters in their states should be reminded of when they run for re-election. We aren't crazy about how Voinovich voted, but at least he showed up and voted.

Hillary Clinton's Use of Webcasts in 08 Campaign

When Hillary Clinton announced, she used a webcast to reach supporters and the general public. She bypassed the traditional first announcement to a rally where supporters are invited along with the media. Now her campaign is using webcasts embedded in email announcements to announce her positions to her supporters. The first one that has been issued deals with Iraq. You can view it by clicking on the link in this entry's title. A viewer can, of course, also view it by going to her presidential campaign website.

This is a very intriguing step and one that many more campaigns will be adopting, if they haven't already. It allows politicians to bypass the media and get their message directly out to their supporters and it is much cheaper than buying commercial time on television.

Tactics like this will, over time, change the relationship between the media and candidates. Right now, candidates need the media and so put up with the a lot of the media's stupidity on issues and campaigns so as not to tick off media representatives. Once they no longer need the media, candidates will become a lot less tolerant of their stupidity, their vapidness, and their biases.

Such tactics could also drastically reduce the cost of campaigns. It costs a lot less to send out email messages than to run 30 second spots on television and you can target them a lot better. This is a campaign tool that bears watching and developing, not just for national campaigns, but for local campaigns as well.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Picture of Two Men Playing at Being President

Picture of President Bush and person playing George Washington, taken on President's Day, February, 2007. Unfortunately, only one of them has to give up his role when he goes home.

Why Did Bush Administration & GOP Congress Make It Easier to Declare Martial Law?

Here's something that both the left and the right can agree on: it shouldn't be easy for the national government in Washington to declare martial law and take control of state law enforcement. Yet, last October, that's exactly what the Republican controlled Congress did when it passed the defense authorization bill. Tucked away in the bill were two amendments that collectively make it easier for the President to declare martial law. Apparently this was passed with little discussion and no input from the nation's governors. If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read an NY Times editorial on this subject.

Can you imagine the outcry from the right-wing media if Bill Clinton had wanted to make it easier for the President to declare martial law? Windbags like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter would have been screaming at the top of their lungs about this Federal power grab. Yet, when Bush does it, too many of these same pundits and commentators keep their mouths shuts. That's because for too many Republicans their party is no longer the Republican Party but the Bush party. They have made the glorification of George W. Bush the end of their political philosophy. If their Glorious Leader wants it, then it must be okay, because after all he's got God on his side.

Luckily for the United States there are Republicans in Congress willing to join a genuinely bi-partisan effort to amend this horrible legislation and repeal those sections that would increase the power of the presidency. Only a fool, or Dick Cheney, and of course those two terms may be synonymous, would think that the President of the United States, and especially this President, needs an power increase.

Washington's Speech Resigning His Commission

In December of 1783, at Annapolis, Maryland, George Washington surrendered his commission as commanding general of the Continental Army. This act is seen by many historians as establishing the tradition in America that the military is subordinate to civilian political leadership. Today, we take this for granted, but it wasn't always so clear. If you click on the link in this entry's title you can read a Washington Post article about the speech that Washington gave when he tendered his resignation to the Continental Congress. The State of Maryland has recently acquired the original draft of Washington's speech, written in his own handwriting. It is a very interesting article and one that all of us can reflect on during this President's Day.

What Happens When You Start a Second War Without Finishing the First One

The New York Times has a story in its February 19th edition, which you can read by clicking on the link in this title's entry, about how Al Qaeda chiefs are re-establishing control over their world-wide network. They are doing this by basing themselves in the mountainous region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are getting away with this because Bubble-Boy Bush started one war without finishing the first one against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. He was so eager to attack Iraq that he didn't stop and make sure that he had completely destroyed Al Qaeda before embarking on that adventure.

Bush likes to say that the Iraqi War is part of the War on Terror. Well, it seems to us that the first thing he should have done with his War on Terror is make sure that the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11-2001 were destroyed. He didn't and now all Americans are at risk from further attacks by these evil people. Just another screw-up from this administration.

10 Ten Words Used to Describe Bush

The following is from a very recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. In this survey, the respondents were asked to choose just one word to describe President Bush. Note that Incompetent and Arrogant made the first two, and that out of the top ten words, five were negative and five were position. Mary Kaplan of the Huffington Post has a article about how the responses to this particular question has changed over the last three years and he also provides a link to the actual poll in a pdf file. You can read Kaplan's column by clicking on the link in this entry's title.

Please tell me what one word best describes your impression of George W. Bush. Tell me just the ONE best word that describes him.

February 2007

34 Incompetent
25 Arrogant
25 Honest
19 Good
19 Idiot
13 Integrity
13 Leader
11 Strong
11 Stupid
10 Ignorant

Washington Post Expose on Treatment of Wounded Soldiers at Walter Reed Hosptial

President Bush has said that we owe our wounded soldiers everything we can do for them because of their sacrifices on our behalf. No matter how you feel about the people who started this war, the soldiers who are fighting it deserve our country's full support. That's why it is shocking to read an expose that the Washington Post ran on conditions that some of our wounded soldiers are exposed to at Walter Reed. Click on the link in this entry's title to read the full story.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Power of the Internet

We recently took a snapshot of the locations of people in the U.S. who had posted messages on our blog. The snapshot appears above. It is quite interesting to note all the various locations. Only the internet could provide a way for people who are relatively far apart to communicate and share ideas. It is simply amazing.

NY Times Story on NAFTA Shows Sherrod Brown was Right

The New York Times, in an article in its The Week in Review section has a story on how NAFTA hasn't really slowed down illegal immigration from Mexico. According to the article, that's because NAFTA sponsors assumed that both governments and markets would act "rationally", ie, the way the sponsors thought they would act. It seems like they haven't and now immigration from Mexico is about 500,000 persons per year, 85% of it illegal. What's more, manufacturing jobs in Mexico have declined, partly because of competition from China. Farmers in Mexico are losing business because of competition from the United States.

When Sherrod Brown was running for the U.S. Senate this past year, a lot of editorial page writers called him a "protectionist" and took issue with his criticism of the NAFTA treaty. Well, guess what, as this article shows he was right to oppose NAFTA and he is right to oppose other trade treaties. This article makes clear that neither the US Government nor the Mexican Government did what they should have done with regard to infrastructure development before implementing NAFTA. Neither anticipated what would happen to Mexican jobs because of trade with China and neither planned for Mexican farmers losing income from American competition. In short, Washington needs politicians like Sherrod Brown who approach so-called "fair trade" agreements with skepticism.
You can read the whole NY Times article by clicking on the link in this entry's title. Free site registration may be required.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Flip-flopping George Voinovich Votes With Bush on Iraq

Okay, this is what Senator George Voinovich has done over the last two weeks. First he voted against ending the Republican filibuster on the Warner-Levin Resolution which meant that the Resolution couldn't come before the Senate for a vote. Then he signed a letter to both Reid and O'Connell grousing about the Senate not conducting a debate on the Resolution. Then, today, February 17, 2007, he again votes against ending the Republican filibuster on the Resolution that was passed by the House of Representatives. Now, we imagine that he will now issue some sort of statement about how he really doesn't support Bush on Iraq or some sort of statement to make it appear like he doesn't support Bush on Iraq.

This guy is, and has been since 2001 when Bubble-Boy took office, a Bush enabler. In the 1990s, when Clinton was President and he was Governor, he railed against deficit spending by the Federal government, then helped pass Bush's reckless tax cuts that plunged America into historic deficits. He has helped Bush put right-wing zealots on the Federal bench. He refuses to take a stand against Bush's war in Iraq. On every major vote, he has supported Bush, and yet the Ohio media keeps spinning the myth of good old "moderate" George Voinovich. Well, as they say in D.C., a Republican moderate is a person who if you were drowning 15 feet off shore, would throw you 10 feet of rope. (Click on the link in this entry's title to see how the entire Senate voted.)

Presidents and Intellectual Curiosity

President Bush doesn't come across as a man who has a lot of intellectual curiosity. This is not the same thing as saying that he is not intelligent. The two are not necessarily related. You can be a bright person and yet have no desire to learn about why things are the way they are. It is this lack of intellectual curiosity that distinguishes him from Bill Clinton, among other things.

Because Bush seems to lack intellectual curiosity, he is vulnerable to being misled by others. He seems to be a man who, if told something that meshes with his beliefs, doesn't question what he is being told. He doesn't seem to care about why things are they way they are.

Because he doesn't have much intellectual curiosity, he didn't ask the right questions about invading Iraq. He didn't take the time to find out what it meant for America that Iraq has two Islamic factions that don't necessarily get along. Or what would happen to Iran's influence in the region if you removed the Iraqi government which was comprised of Sunnis and replaced it with a government led by Shia politicians.

Intellectual curiosity in a president is a very important trait because it will led them to ask the right questions or question what they are being told. Yet, most political reporters never talk about this trait when discussing political candidates. They would rather talk about things like why Al Gore changed the color of his suits, or whether he was "comfortable in his own skin." Yet it is Bush's lack of intellectual curiosity that has cost this country thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of American dollars.

Human Compassion Goes Down as Number of Victims Goes Up

If you click on the link in this entry's title you can read an article about a study in human compassion. The author of the study concludes that as the number of victims goes up, human compassion goes down. He concludes that this is one reason why humans will respond emotionally to reports about one human in trouble, but not to reports of large scale suffering.

Although the author's conclusion is open to debate, it is a very provocative thesis. Of course, as the American aid response to Hurricane Katrina shows, there are millions of humans who are greatly affected by scenes of mass tragedy. Yet, news stories about events that affect one or a small number of humans do bring about intense responses.

Think of the emotional responses to the news story about the child who fell down the well back in the nineties and was rescued. There was an intense interest in that story. Or the story about the miners who were trapped down in West Virginia. That was also intensely followed.

Maybe its because we can see how are actions can affect one person, but find it much harder to see how our actions can affect a large number of people. Maybe there is something in our make-up that emotionally protects us from being overwhelmed by reports of mass suffering.

This study does have political implications. If you are interested in bringing about a societal response to a problem, like say the lack of health insurance for millions of Americans, don't cite statistics, rather tell a story about how the lack of insurance affects just one child or one family. Listeners will be able to make an emotional connection and once that connection is made, they will be able to then understand what the statistics mean.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Anti-Escalation Resolution Passes U.S. House, Ohio Republicans Support Bush

Seventeen Republicans voted against the Bush administration's escalation of troops in Iraq on Roll Call 99. You can view the results by clicking on the link in this entry's title. A quick review shows no Ohio Republican voting for the Resolution, which means that they all decided to stick with Bush, including Republicans who had tight races like Pryce and Schmidt. Congressman Regula, OH-16, voted against the Resolution.

Although earlier this week, commentators were saying that as few as 12 or as many as 60 Republicans might bolt and support the anti-escalation Resolution, in the final analysis party loyalty apparently won out. Of course, if this plan doesn't work, then it will be very hard for Republicans to escape responibility for the mess that is Iraq in 2008.

UPDATE: Our apologies to Steve LaTourette, who was one of the 17 Republicans to vote with the Democrats on this issue. What's interesting is that he didn't have near the close race that Pyrce had, yet he managed to support the anti-escalation resolution.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Turn Medina County Blue Project Report: Campaign Workshop

Around 40 Medina County Democrats turned out on Saturday, February 10th, to learn about campaigning methods and tactics. Speakers included Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman, Domestic Relations Judge Mary Kovack, Medina County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler, Pat Walker, John Celebrezze, and Carol Gurney. The meeting was moderated by Mary Odgen, who moderated the Strategic Initiative meetings in 2005.

Attendees included candidates and campaign workers from Wadsworth, Brunswick, and other Medina County areas. Topics covered included message development, message, delivery, targeting, and fundraising. The speakers made presentations and took questions. Attendees filled out evaluation forms which will be used to develop future programs.

More Turn Medina County Blue Project meetings will be held during 2007 and 2008. If you are interested in attending, make sure that you send your email address to Medina County Democratic Chair Pam Miller at

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Website Devoted to John McCain's Flip-Flops

Click on the link in this entry's title to go to a website devoted to chronicling John McCain's flip-flops, which are many. Its mission is to take Americans off of the "Double-Talk Express."

Great Feagler Article on Kucinich in Today's PD

Click on the link in this entry's title to read a great column on Congressman Dennis Kucinich by Dick Feagler that ran in the February 14th, 2007 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Gates Foundation Report on Ohio's Education Policies

If you click on the title of this entry, you can read a Cleveland Plain Dealer article on a report that the Gates Foundation delivered to the Ohio Board of Education yesterday. It says that while Ohio has made progress in testing students and requiring them to demonstrate that they have mastered certain subjects, much more needs to be done, particularly about funding. The report points out the obvious, that Ohio needs to change its reliance on local property taxes which forces local school districts to go back for money every two years. All candidates thinking of running for Ohio office in 2008, especially for the General Assembly need to track down this report and read it.

Fear of the Other in Politics

Newsweek had a short interview with the author of Why Good People Do Bad Things, which you can read by clicking on the link in this entry's title. The reason for the interview was the sad case of Lisa Nowak, the astronaut who is charged with trying to hurt a romantic rival. In this interview he noted that there are two basic fears that humans have: a fear that "the other" will overwhelm us, and the fear that "the other" will abandon us. According to this author, each of these basic human fears can lead to extreme and even violent actions. He goes on to theorize that it was her fear of abandonment that led to Ms. Nowak's actions.

While his interview was about romantic obsession and why a person as accomplished as Lisa Nowak would do something that appears incredibly stupid, his remarks have application to politics. One thing that all political ideologues who preach intolerance and hate have in common is that they base their appeal on fear of "the other." Think of Hitler and Stalin. Both of them were able to convince followers that "the other" was a threat to those followers. Think of homegrown ideologues such as the KKK or the John Birch society. Each of them tell their followers that "the other" such as Afro-Americans or liberals are a threat to their existence, or at least the existence they have known. It doesn't matter that the threat may be trivial or even non-existent, what matters is that they are able to convince their followers that the threat is real. They are able to raise fears in the minds of their followers that have their origins in out primal past.

Listen to the statements of people like Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh and analyze them to see if they are based on appealing to a fear of "the other." "The other" being liberals, Democrats, feminists, non-Christians, or anyone else that isn't like them. They raise the spectre that their listeners will be overwhelmed by "the other" and that they have to aggressively resist "the other" to preserve their lives and the lives of their families. It is very hard to rebut such emotional appeals with reason or facts. The reasoning part of the brain isn't involved in processing such appeals.

Of course, fear of "the other" isn't always illogical. There are people in the world who do wish to destroy others, or harm their families. Think of people like Osma bin Laden who seem nothing wrong with killing people who have never met him or his followers, let alone harmed them.

This fear of "the other" explains the rise and fall of George W. Bush between 2001 and 2006. Following September 11, 2001, it was easier to convince Americans that "the other", in this case Islamic terrorists posed a direct threat to our existence than it was on September 10, 2001. It was easy to get political support for attacking the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then, before emotions could subside, he started hyping the threat from Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11.
That's why it was essential to the Bush administration that Iraq possess weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons.

Once, though, the invasion took place and no WMDs were found, then Bush's popularity began to fall. Although it had not yet caught up with him by 2004, it had by 2006. His administration's attempts to use fear of "the other" to gain political power weren't successful since now Americans had plenty of evidence that instead of increasing our security, the Iraq War was hurting our security. Unlike 2002 or even 2004, fear of "the other" wasn't enough to overcome the empirical evidence of the harm that Bush's policies were doing to America.

The political use of fear of "the other" also explains why the Republicans in the House of Representatives don't want to debate the merits of Bush's plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq. Instead they want the focus of the debate to be on Islamic terrorists because such a debate appeals to people's fears and not their reason. They can possibly win a debate based on fear, but not win based on reason.

All this is not to say that there aren't Islamic terrorists that present a threat to America and Americans. After 9-11 only a fool would think that such threats don't exist. It is to say, however, that use of fear of "the other" can be a tool for political manipulation and as a instrument for obtaining and wielding political power, one that the radical right-wing Republicans won't hesitate to use.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Senate Republicans: Too Clever by Half?

According to an article in the Washington Post, Harry Reid is no longer backing the Warner-Levin Resolution, which is 1500 words. Instead he is backing the House Resolution which is against Bush's escalation of troops in Iraq and reaffirms support for funding the troops that are already there. (You can read the WP article by clicking on the link in this entry's title.) Reid believes he can get the House resolution before the Senate for a vote in about a week or so. This, of course, will put the Republicans once again in the spot of having to either support Bush or respect the will of the American people, of whom about 60% or more are opposed to any troop increase in Iraq.

Those pundits who thought that the Republicans get the better of Harry Reid when they successfully fought off an attempt to end their filibuster of the Warner Resolution should think again. Now, Republicans are going to face another difficult vote. One that once more will put several of their at-risk incumbents on record as either supporting Bush, and thereby ticking off independent voters, or defying Bush, thereby ticking off the conservative base of the party. It would have been far better to have let a vote take place on the Warner Resolution and be done with it.

Is the Mainstream Media Helping Bush Start War with Iran?

If you click on this entry's title you will link to a great article in the trade magazine Editor & Publisher which points out how both the Washington Post and the New York Times are aiding the Bush administration in its efforts to start a war with Iran. Once again these two "liberal" media giants are pushing an idea promulgated by the Bush administration without any critical analysis. In 2003 it was the idea that Sadam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. In 2007 it is the idea that Iran is arming the Shia militia in Iraq and that such militia are using these arms to kill American soldiers.

Now, the point of the article isn't whether Iran is or is not arming such groups, it is that the mainstream media seems to have learned nothing from the Iraqi War experience. In the case of the New York Times the author of its article was the co-author with Judith Miller of a series of articles on the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that has been totally discredited. Why in the world would a newspaper that trumpets its "excellence in journalism" assign a reporter to cover this story on Iran whose work on Iraq was so shoddy? Why in the world does the Washington Post allow officials to make claims that the "highest levels" of the Iranian government are involved in giving weapons to Iraqi insurgents without them going on the record?
Are they trying to out-Fox Fox News? Don't we deserve better from our media? If they can't or won't hold critically analyze this administration's claims, then what are they adding to the public debate that we couldn't get from a Bush administration public relations handout?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Obama Takes on the "Mainstream Media"

One of the charges leveled against Obama is that he doesn't have enough experience to be President. His response to that charge is interesting. He points out that the "mainstream media" doesn't cover his policy proposals, but covers burning issues like what sort of swimsuit he wears. According to his aides, he is very much against the kind of celebrity driven news coverage we have seen too much of in America. (You can click on the link in this entry's title to read more.)

There could also be another reason why he is criticizing the media. He has seen the GOP get away with it for years and has watched while it has been able to intimidate reporters with cries of "liberal bias." He has watched what Eric Alterman calls "working the refs". Just like a good coach will work the refs to get calls for his team or against the opposing team, Republicans have been working the refs for a generation or more to get favorable news coverage or critical news coverage for Democrats. They have successfully built a myth that news organizations are biased against them and that therefore people shouldn't believe what they read about Republicans unless it is favorable to them.

The attack that Obama is launching, that the media is too frivolous is actually much better than accusing the media of a "conservative bias." First of all, it is true. Second, the media would use charges of such a bias to tell the public that they are not biased. "See", they will say, "both sides claim we are biased, that is proof that we are not biased." Then, they will, with considerable self-satisfaction, go back to being just the way they have always been.

It is much harder, though, for the media to blow off the charge of being frivolous. In an age of celebrity driven journalism, when networks are cutting their news departments, when newspapers are forsaking investigative journalism of corporations and government to cover the shenanigans of Paris Hilton, it is hard to refute such a charge. Who knows, if all Democrats start doing this, it might just actually lead to better journalism.

Bush Incompetence: Thousands of Army Humvees Lack Armor Upgrade

The Washington Post has an article in its 2.12.2007 edition on now thousands of Army Humvees need armor upgrades. The lack of these upgrades make these vehicles vulnerable to roadside bombs that are favored by Shia militia. This story illustrates once again the incompetence of the Bush Administration. We have been in Iraq since 2003 and have been fighting insurgents for about as long. That is four years to figure out what our troops need and to get it to them. Yet, here we are, four years later, and American troops are still dying because of this administration's incompetence. Democrats need to remind Americans over and over that when you entrust your government to people who hate government, this is what you get: incompetence, lying, and thievery. (The WP article can be read by clicking the link in this entry's title.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Republican Congressman Raises Question Whether Dinosaur Flatulence Caused Global Warming

This really speaks for itself and there is not much we can add:

"During the hearing, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) — one of the 87 percent of congressional Republicans who do not believe in man-made global warming — questioned the authors of the report about a period of dramatic climate change that occured 55 million years ago. “We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?’"

To get the full effect, click on the link in this entry's title.

See Obama Announcement

Click on the link in this entry's title to see a video clip of the Barack Obama announcement that he is seeking the Democratic Presidential Nomination for 2008.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Karl Rove: "I don't want my 17 year old son picking tomatoes."

Karl Rove allegedly said that at a meeting of GOP House members when asked to explain Bubble-Boy's immigration policy. The meaning is pretty clear: "my son is better than that, and therefore that kind of work should be done by immigrants." That is how the conservative National Review took his comments when one of their staffers blasted Rove for making such an elitist statement. Here's a news flash for King Karl: When the National Review, a magazine started by William Buckley, is attacking you for your stupid statements, you are in big trouble. (Click on the link in this entry's title to read more)

Why Paul Krugman Likes John Edwards' Health Insurance Plan

Click on the link in this entry's title to learn why New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman likes the new healthcare proposal made by John Edwards. It is a very interesting analysis on the Edwards plan.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Vanity Fair Article on Neo-Con Planning for War with Iran

From the people who brought you the Iraq War: War with Iran! According to an article in Vanity Fair, the neo-cons, the people who advocate wars that the children of others will have to fight, have been pushing for war with Iran since the 1990s and especially since 2001. The question is: is the Bush Administration going to start such a war? The article argues that the views on that are mixed. Check this out, it is a fascinating article. You can link to it by clicking on this entry's title.

Harold Myerson Column on the Strengths & Weaknesses of Three Top Dems

Harold Myerson of the Washington Post has a very interesting column about the appearance of the three top Democratic presidential candidates at the recent DNC meeting. He writes that each of them displayed strengths and weaknesses.

Edwards strength was his ability to make the case on how Bush's economic policies are hurting Americans, especially Americans in union jobs. His weakness was that he didn't outline proposals to reach the unorganized part of the middle class, people who work at keyboards, not machines.

Clinton's strength was her ability to state how devastating Bush's policies have been to the entire middle class. Her weakness was that her policy proposals seem incremental and not enough to take on the wide scope of the problems she accurately identifies.

Obama's strength was his ability to speak to the destruction of faith and hope in government that conservative policies have brought about, but his weakness was that he didn't have policy proposals to match his language

The entire column can be read by clicking on the link in this entry's title.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Is Voinovich Feeling Some Heat?

According to a blog entry by Steve Clemons over at the Talking Points Memo website operated by Josh Marshall, George Voinovich and six other so-called Republican moderates have sent a letter to the Senate Democratic and Republican leadership complaining about what they call a "stalemate" on debating a resolution on the Iraq War. (Clemons' article can be read by clicking on the link in this entry's title.)

What we find fascinating is that earlier today we learned that an email was sent out seeking people to write letters to Voinovich and complain about his vote earlier this week regarding the debate on the Warner Resolution. We are wondering if it is dawning on Republican Senators that backing George Bush and preventing the Warner Resolution from coming to a vote wasn't the brightest thing they could have done.

Previous posts on this blog that dealt with Voinovich and stopping the Republican filibuster of the Warner Resolution can be read here: and here:

Lieberman Proposes "War Tax"

Sen. Joe Lieberman, (I-CT), proposed that Congress pass a special "war tax" to fund what he calls the "war on terrorism" and what the rest of us call the Iraq War. He pointed out in his remarks before the Senate Armed Services Committee that people have pointed out that the only Americans being asked to sacrifice are members of the military and civilians serving in Iraq, this blog among them.

This is actually an intellectually honest approach to funding the war, much more so than Bush's budget. It would also probably drive home to most Americans what this war is costing us in terms of money as well as American lives. Lieberman did not give any specifics on his tax idea and, of course, it won't get anywhere. Republicans prefer a borrow and spend approach to this war, as well as almost every other operation of the Federal government, and Democrats opposed to the war will find it very difficult to support any proposal of Lieberman's.

Politically, though, putting this idea in a bill form and discussing it would put pressure on Republicans to justify the cost of this war. As Lieberman pointed out in his remarks before the Armed Services Committee, funding this war will push out other domestic spending that the Democrats consider essential. His "war tax" would be an addition to Federal revenues and would theoretically free up more money for domestic spending.

Update: A better idea might to try and pass a law requiring that every time Congress authorizes military action it has to impose a special tax to pay for that military action. It might have the effect of making sure that our elected representatives think before they act and it would force all of us to recognize what military actions cost in terms of money since, with the advent of a volunteer military, most of us don't stop and think what they cost in terms of causalities.

Bush Administration Sent Billions Into Iraq Right After Saddam's Fall

It turns out that the Bush Administration sent billions of dollars into Iraq after Saddam's fall. The money came from Iraqi funds that had been frozen in America and came from Iraqi oil revenues. Here's the problem: they don't know what happened to the money or where it went. Now, they claim that the money didn't fall into the hands of insurgents, but let's face it, they really don't know that our troops aren't being wounded or killed by weapons purchased with this money. This fact came out during testimony in front of the House Committee on Government Operations and Oversight chaired by Rep. Harry Waxman, (D-CA). You can click on the link in this entry's title to read more about this.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Voinovich Votes in Favor of Bush's War Policy

George Voinovich, who claims that he is against escalation of the Iraqi War, just voted against ending a filibuster on the Warner Resolution. In short, he voted to make sure that there is not a vote on Bush's plan to escalate the war. Here is how the Washington Post explained the process:

At issue are four separate resolutions. The main resolution, worked out by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), would put the Senate on record opposing the additional troop deployment and calling for a diplomatic initiative to settle the conflict, but it would also oppose a cut-off of funds for troops in the field of battle. The Republican leadership's alternative, drafted by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), would establish tough new benchmarks for the Iraqi government to achieve but would not oppose the planned deployment.
Against those competing resolutions are two others replete with political mischief-making. The first, drafted by
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), recognizes the power of the president to deploy troops and the "responsibility" of Congress to fund them before stating, "Congress should not take any action that will endanger United States military forces in the field, including the elimination or reduction of fund." A second, hastily written by Democrats, would simply oppose the president's plan and insist all troops are properly protected with body armor and other materiel.

The Democratic leadership gave Republicans a choice: Allow all four resolutions to come to a vote, with a simple majority needed for passage, or debate and vote on just two resolutions, Warner's and McCain's.

McConnell said each of the resolutions should only come to a vote if it attains the 60 votes needed to cut off debate. The reason was simple. Both Democrats and Republicans believe the only measure that could win 60 votes is Gregg's.

Democratic leaders feared that a debate designed to put the Senate on record opposing President Bush's war plan could conclude with passage of a resolution opposing a cutoff of funds for that plan.

To keep the heat on Republicans, Senate Democratic leaders charged that their opponents were simply trying to stifle a debate on the most hotly contested issue of the day.
"If Republicans cannot swallow the thin soup of the Warner resolution, how are they going to stomach a real debate on Iraq?" asked Senate Majority Whip
Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).

Ohio voters should remember the way that George Voinovich is acting on the Warner Resolution. He says that he is against Bush's escalation but doesn't want to go on record saying so. This is not exactly Voinovich's Profile in Courage moment we are seeing here. What we are seeing is a Republican who is against Bush's war except when it counts.

Poverty Increasing in Medina County

The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a very interesting story about how poverty is increasing in Medina County. Medina County is one of the fastest growing counties in Ohio and its median income is about $20,000 higher than the median income for the metropolitan area as a whole, but, as the article points out, it is not immune from increasing poverty. This is shown by the increase in foreclosure cases, by the increase in students using the free lunch programs, and by increases in social service applications. This is a very interesting story and one that everyone in Medina County should read. You can read it by clicking on the link in this entry's title.

Will Voinovich Vote to Stop Warner Resolution From Going to the Floor?

Supposedly George Voinovich is against Bush's escalation on the war in Iraq, but the question becomes is he willing to allow a vote on the John Warner Resolution opposing escalation? Today, February 5, 2007, the Senate is scheduled to take a vote on whether the Warner Resolution will be allowed to come to the floor of the Senate. This vote has to obtain 60 votes. If it doesn't, it apparently won't be allowed to get to the floor. (An explanation of why this is so is found by clicking on the link in this entry's title.) Sen. McConnell, (R-KY), the Minority Leader of the Senate is claiming that all Republican Senators, apparently including Warner himself, will vote against allowing the Warner Resolution to come to the floor for debate.

All Republican Senators would include Voinovich, Snowe, Collins, Warner, and Hagel, all Republicans who have claimed to be against Bush's escalation. What they are trying to do is have it both ways, that is, they are trying to get public credit for opposing the escalation, but then cozy up to the White House in voting to block the bill from getting to the floor. Quite frankly they count on the public not being aware of what is going on and they count on the news media not telling the public what is going on.

Governor Strickland's Panel on Judicial Appointments is Seeking Franklin Cty. Muny Ct. Applications

The Ohio Supreme Court' s website has a short announcement on the make-up of the advisory panel that is advising Governor Strickland on applications for a vacancy in the Franklin County Municipal Court. The panel includes both state-wide members and local members from Franklin County. If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read the Supreme Court announcement. It will give you a good idea on how this procedure will work.

NYT Article on John Edwards Shows Problem & Potential of Media

The New York Times ran an article about John Edwards in the Monday edition that shows both the problem with the media and also its potential. The article focused on several changes it claims that Edwards has undergone in the last two years or so. It does a very good job of explaining Edwards' positions, but then frames all of his policy proposals as changes he has made to get the nomination. The author of the article, John Broder, frames Edwards' positions as positions he is taking to get the nomination and not as heart-felt policy proposals.

This is typical of the news media. They no longer care about policy, to them everything is politics. That's one reason why they loved Karl Rove for so long because. like them, Rove doesn't care about policy, he just cares about politics. Most news media pundits look at political campaigns from a campaign viewpoint while voters look at political campaigns from a governing viewpoint. They want to know what the candidates will do if they are elected, not how they are going to get elected.

That is one thing that the Internet is doing for politicians. It used to be that the only way they had to get their message out without using paid advertising was to depend on the news media to report what they were saying and doing. Now, however, with the advent of tools like You Tube, blogs, and websites they can communicate with millions of people directly, without going through the media. This is one reason why the media resents the rise of blogs and similar Internet tools. They instinctively recognize that such communication tools transfers power from them to the candidates and to the voters. If candidates chose to do so, they can let us know exactly where they stand on various issues without going through the media.

The Internet is also influencing what stories get covered. A good example of this was the media controversy that broke out with former Senator George Allen and his macaca comments. That story wasn't driven by the media, because they didn't report it until the Webb campaign posted the video on You Tube. Once posted it garnered a lot of attention which then led to the mainstream media reporting on the incident. Instead of the media deciding what was a news story, Internet users were deciding what was a news story. That is a very significant power shift in mass communications.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

John Edwards Proposes Tax Hike on Wealthy to Pay for Health Plan

John Edwards is releasing a health care plan on Monday that will provide for a tax hike mainly on the wealthy to pay for expanded health insurance. He is one of the first politicians to admit that taxes might have to rise to solve America's health care problems. Although he is for raising taxes, his plan apparently doesn't call for a single-payer system. His aim is to bring insurance to the uninsured, lower health care costs and bring competition to the markets. He would expand the Medicaid plan and ask employers to either provide health coverage or buy into what Edwards is calling "health markets." He also called for more focus on collecting taxes that are legally due, but are not now being collected. If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read more about the Edwards plan.

Former Rep. Majority Leader Regrets Iraq War Vote

Dick Armey, Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, regrets voting for the Iraq War Resolution. He also thinks that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. It is a fascinating article and you can read it by clicking on the link in this entry's title.

Secretary of State Rice Drawing More Criticism

The New York Times reported on Sunday that with Rumsfeld leaving the administration, more and more people are examining Condi Rice's role in the Iraq diaster and finding her performance wanting. As National Security Adviser and now Secretary of State her fingerprints are all over Iraq policy, but because Rumsfeld and Cheney were so public in their support, her role has often been overlooked. With Rumsfeld gone, however, that changes. Both Republicans and Democrats are complaining about how she handles diplomacy, or rather doesn't handle it, and she is now taking hits from the right as well as the left. Indeed, she may have more problems with Republicans as they try to find someone other than Bush to blame for the mess this administration has made of Iraq. (You can read the NYT article by clicking on the link in this entry's title.)

Why Obama and Not Webb?

There has been a lot of praise for Jim Webb's speech given in response to the President's State of the Union speech. (An example of such praise is seen in the column by E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post which can be read by clicking on this entry's title.) It was a powerful speech and made the case not only against the war but for a different economic policy, one that is populist and not elitist in approach. Which brings us to this question: why is Barack Obama being hyped for President and not Jim Webb?

Both have made well received speeches that were covered by the national media, Obama in 2004 at the Democratic Convention, Webb's response mentioned above. True, Obama has four years of experience as a Senator while Webb was just elected, but Webb served in the Reagan administration as Secretary of the Navy. He actually has more Federal government experience than Obama. He also has the added advantage of having served in combat in Vietnam and being from a state, Virginia, that has voted mostly Republican in presidential elections but is one in which the Democratic Party is making inroads. Obama, on the other hand, comes from a pretty safe "blue" state, Illinois. Webb is also a white Southerner which was also true of the last three Democrats to get elected president since 1960: Johnson, Carter, and Clinton.

All of this is not to say that Obama wouldn't make a good Democratic nominee or that Webb should run for president. It is to say that it is odd that while the net roots are really buzzing about Obama there is no comparable buzz for Webb, even though he would have a lot to recommend him.

Columbus Dispatch: GOP Sued Brunner, not Strickland in Veto Lawsuit

According to this article in the Columbus Dispatch,, the leaders of the General Assembly sued Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and not Governor Strickland over his first day veto of the bill limiting damages in consumer lawsuits. This is a very interesting point that a lot of news organizations are not picking up on in their stories. Our guess is that they are suing Brunner because it is an easier lawsuit legally and because Strickland's popularity is high enough that the GOP doesn't want to go toe to toe with him over this issue. Another reason may be that Jon Husted, the House Speaker, reportedly has state office ambitions and maybe he wants to run against Brunner.

Under Bush Administration Government Contracting Soars

The New York Times ran an article in its Sunday edition about how, under the Bush administration, government contracting with private companies has soared. (A link to the article is in this entry's title.) The trend of using government contractors instead of government employees has long existed. It picked up steam under the Clinton administration when the rules regarding such contracting were streamlined. Under Bush, though, the practice has become much more widespread because of this administration's philosophy that using private contractors is always more efficient than using government employees.

The article notes that these companies are contributing millions to politicians running for Federal office. Which leads to this question: why don't Democrats advocate for a law that would prohibit an employee of any company, or his or her spouse, from making certain political contributions? Such a law would help ensure that contractors are chosen for competence and not political influence.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

McCain Hires Political Advisers He Once Said Were Too Negative

John McCain has hired Republican operatives who are experienced in creating negative attack ads. His campaign has taken on people who helped develop the "Swift-Boat" ads against John Kerry and the infamous "Bimbo" ad against Harold Ford. In that past McCain has condemned such ads, but now is putting their developers on his payroll. What is interesting about this is not that he is hiring such advisers, but that the New York Times is calling him on it. The article, which you can read by clicking on the link in this entry's title, refers to McCain 'as a "one-time maverick". This article may signal an end to the media's slavish devotion to McCain and the beginning of treating him like any other candidate.

Cheney's Mid-East Views & U.S. Policy

Reed Hundt, a contributor to Josh Marshall's, has posted a very interesting article on how Dick Cheney sees the U.S. role in the Mid-East. According to Hundt Cheney believes that for the next 60-80 years America will be dependent on imported oil, mainly from the Mid-East. During that same period America will be at war with Islamic fundamentalists. Therefore, America withdrawing militarily from the Mid-East is dangerous to our economic security and we have to keep on pouring troops and money into that region. Cheney also believes that withdrawing from that region would imperil Israel, a point of view also espoused by Lieberman.

Hundt also argues that at some point Democratic candidates for president have to confront and debate Cheney's views, especially since they are also being articulated by McCain and Romney. All this leads to a another point and that is that while Democrats are very good at challenging Republicans on particular policy choices, we need to do a better job of attacking the philosophy that underlies what Republicans advocate. This means in debates over domestic policy attacking the Republicans' market fundamentalism. It means in debates over foreign policy, attacking the Republicans' belief in a go-it-alone approach to foreign policy. If we don't attack the underlying philosophy, then we are allowing them to set the terms of the debate. Ceding to them the power to set the terms of the debate weakens our ability to win the debate.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Is Bush Protecting the Saudis?

On September 11, 2001, 21 terrorists killed over 3,000 Americans. Nineteen of those terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. Osma bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia. According to the article linked in this entry's title from December of 2006, Saudi Arabians are supplying money to Sunni fighters in Iraq, including money for anti-aircraft missiles that are portable. In the last month there has been a dramatic rise in the number of U.S. military and civilian helicopters that have been downed by insurgents. The Bush response? Blame the Iranians. Why? Because the Bush family and their fix-it man, James Baker, have long standing business ties withe the Saudis.

It is convenient for the Bushies to blame the Iranians, just like it was convenient to blame Hussein and imply that the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 were supported by Iraq and not from Saudi Arabia. Hopefully the U.S. electorate will have learned its lesson and not elect more oil men in the future.

MCDAC Democratic Newsletter for 2.2.2007

MCDAC Democratic Newsletter for February 2, 2007

Turn MEDINA COUNTY BLUE: The Next Project
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Medina County Democrats helped to take back Congress and our state. Now we need your help to end one party rule in our county, cities, villages and townships.

If you want to know what you can do to help or if you are, or are thinking about being, a candidate, please join Democratic officeholders and operatives for a nuts and bolts conversation and training seminar --

9:00 am to noon
February 10, 2007
The Grace Drake Center for the Arts, 222 S. Broadway, Medina, OH.

For more information or to reserve your spot, contact the Medina County Democratic Party at 330-722-6655, or Pam Miller at 330-725-7487 or

Uncle Sam Needs YOU!
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You are needed to run for office in Medina County. The Medina County Democratic Party's Committee of Informed Citizens wants to make sure that there are Democrats running for every office this year.

Township Trustee, Township Clerk, Council, Mayor, and School Board positions are up for election in 2007. If you want to see a list of the positions that are not currently held by Democrats that are to be elected this year in a pdf file, please go to
Please consider running for an elected position in 2007 or convince your Democratic friends to run. The deadline for filing for Brunswick and Wadsworth city offices is soon. If you are interested please contact Pam Miller, Chair of the Medina County Democratic Party at

Subscribe to MCDAC's Blog
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You can subscribe to receive daily digests by email from the MCDAC Blog. These digests have the title of the entry and then a link to click so you can read the whole entry. They only appear when we post a new blog item. To subscribe, go to and fill out the form on the right hand side of the page.

MCDAC Blog Entries

This past week we posted entries on the following topics:

The Bush Economy: Great for those at the top.
Governor Strickland Sets Up New Judicial Appointing System
Dems Have to Challenge "Market Fundamentalism"
Hillary Clinton Drives the Washington Media Nuts
Representative Betty Sutton Named to Budget Committee
Newsweek Poll: 58% of Americans Wish Bush Presidency was Over
Gov. Strickland Reviews Minimum Wage Exclusion
Columbus Dispatch Reports 2006 Manufacturing Job Losses
Secretary of State Brunner Has New Ideas for Ohio Elections
Rep. Betty Sutton Signs on as Co-Sponsor for Education Bill
Congressman Regula Backs Five of Six Dem Bills in Start of 110th Congress
Ford Posts Record Losses, Considers Bonuses for Top Executives

All of these entries can be read at

We are always looking for short postings by Democrats and links to interesting articles. If you would like to submit an article or a link for our 'blog, please send them to

Last week's newsletter contained a link to an entry on our blog that claimed that Senator George Voinovich had voted against ending the Republican filibuster on the minimum wage. That was incorrect. Sen. Voinovich voted for ending the filibuster. We regret any inconvenience caused by our mistake.

Joyce Kimbler, Treasurer
P.O. Box 1213
Medina, OH 44258

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Bush Economy: Great for those at the top

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read an article about how Bush and Democrats look at the economy. To Republicans like Bush the economy is doing great. To Democrats like John Edwards, Jim Webb and Sherrod Brown, the economy is not doing well at all.

Why the difference? Because Bush looks at the economy from the perspective of a person born into the upper class in America. The stock market is doing well, unemployment seems to be going down, and new jobs are being created. Of course, millions have lost their jobs, house foreclosures are way up, millions don't have health insurance, the new jobs don't pay near what the lost jobs pay, but Bush doesn't see that because that is not his personal experience.

Edwards and Webb do see it. People like Sherrod Brown see it. This is because their personal experiences are different. They weren't born into the upper class. They have seen people struggle and know what it means to struggle financially. They can empathize with the working family that has seen its standard of living decline because of the loss of a good job, or a catastrophic illness not covered by insurance.

The problem with Republicans on economic issues is that they can't understand what they haven't experienced. Since a lot of them have never experienced economic difficulties, they just don't understand them. Democrats need to point this simple fact out to voters. When they do a lot of the media, whose executives also come from the upper class, won't like it. They will say that Democrats are practicing "class warfare." That's okay. Democrats should just keep on saying it. It doesn't matter what the media says, it matters what the voters say.