Thursday, November 10, 2005

Withdrawal from Iraq: Party Lines are Crumbling

I found this article to be quite amusing. The main jist is that both sides of the political aisle are divided on the issue of Ira, but not in way that people would necessarily expect.. Some of the Republicans are getting skittish as they look at the 2006 elections, the growing anti-war sentiments, while at the same time faced with a White House that, as McCain illustrated today, still says that they will do "whatever it takes" She mentions McCain, actually, and seems surprised that the "darling of the moderates" is the hawk on this issue, while an arch-Conservative like Brownback is actually more of a dove.

Um, Arianna? You should have asked us over at Democratic Underground. WE'RE not surprised. He's not a moderate maverick, esp on this issue. He's a shmuck who wants to be president.

Meanwhile, on the other side, you have Kerry and Feingold on one side, and Clinton and Reid on the other. Her main beef with the latter two seems to be that they are critical of the Prez without having any plan of their own.

Arianna comments that Clinton has essentially positioned herself to the right of Brownback (yikes) on the subject of Iraq. Brownback told Wolf Blitzer a couple of weeks ago: "You've got the potential for us starting to pull troops out in the first half of next year."

On the other hand, a Hillary supporter reported after speaking to her at a fundraiser: "Hillary basically said that since the White House is going to end up pulling troops out anyway before the election, Democrats can just stand by and let it happen without going out on a limb. She thinks that anyone one who lays out a plan is going to be immediately shot down. Better to just keep hammering the president for not having a plan of his own."

She'd like to see Reid do on the subject of Iraq planning what he did on the subject of the investigation into Iraq intelligence: ie, show that kind of leadership.

I also appreciated that Arianna picks up on the one really strong statement in Kerry's email from yesterday, and that Kerry sees Iraq as a major issue for winning back Congress in 2006. "If [Bush] fails to act," he wrote in an email to supporters this week, "we'll demand that Congress takes the decision out of his hands. And, if the Republican Congress fails to call the Bush administration to account, we will use the 2006 elections to take the decision out of their hands."

I mean, holy guacamole!

More on my favorite Senator if I get a chance. He's been quite the busy boy in the last couple of days. I'm so proud.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

To commemorate the day...

Last year, for the election, I had taken Friday, Sat, Sun, Mon, and Tuesday off for GOTV.

On November 1st, I froze my ass off at a rally so that I could finally see Kerry for the first time. Two and a half hours later I couldn't feel my feet, but I got to see him and sorta shake his hand.

He looked like this:

On Nov. 2 I headed for one headquarters, and then was sent to another headquarters to phonebank. The Rapid Response team then had several of us go to union headquarters and get organized to go out and "hold the lines" with candy and goodies. We figured that if we could bribe the folks with snacks, they wouldn't leave the line even if it was long.

I then went to the celebration downtown and had my heart cut out.

This is me, getting my heart cut out:

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go cry. Again.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A reminder that Kerry doesn't need to get behind Reid

as he is already in front of him. The wording of this letter should be familiar to anyone who was paying attention to "Give em hell" Harry Reid today.

No need for Kerry to get on Reid's bandwagon. He's already riding shotgun, actually.

June 22, 2005

The Honorable Pat Roberts, Chairman
The Honorable John D. Rockefeller, IV, Vice Chairman United States Senate
Select Committee on Intelligence
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Roberts and Senator Rockefeller:

We write concerning your committee's vital examination of pre-war Iraq intelligence failures. In particular, we urge you to accelerate to completion the work of the so-called "Phase II" effort to assess how policy makers used the intelligence they received.

Last year your committee completed the first phase of a two-phased effort to review the pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Phase I-begun in the summer of 2003 and completed in the summer of 2004-examined the performance of the American intelligence community in the collection and analysis of intelligence prior to the war, including an examination of the quantity and quality of U.S. intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the intelligence on ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and terrorist groups. At the conclusion of Phase I, your committee issued an unclassified report that made an important contribution to the American public's understanding of the issues involved.

In February 2004-well over a year ago-the committee agreed to expand the scope of inquiry to include a second phase which would examine the use of intelligence by policy makers, the comparison of pre-war assessments and post-war findings, the activities of the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the use of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress.

The committee's efforts have taken on renewed urgency given recent revelations in the United Kingdom regarding the apparent minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his senior national security advisors. These minutes-known as the "Downing Street Memo"-raise troubling questions about the use of intelligence by American policy makers-questions that your committee is uniquely situated to address.

The memo indicates that in the summer of 2002, at a time the White House was promising Congress and the American people that war would be their last resort, that they believed military action against Iraq was "inevitable."

The minutes reveal that President "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

The American people took the warnings that the administration sounded seriously-warnings that were echoed at the United Nations and here in Congress as we voted to give the president the authority to go to war. For the sake of our democracy and our future national security, the public must know whether such warnings were driven by facts and responsible intelligence, or by political calculation.

These issues need to be addressed with urgency. This remains a dangerous world, with American forces engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other challenges looming in Iran and North Korea. In this environment, the American public should have the highest confidence that policy makers are using intelligence objectively-never manipulating it to justify war, but always to protect the United States. The contents of the Downing Street Memo undermine this faith and only rigorous Congressional oversight can determine the truth.

We urge the committee to complete the second phase of its investigation with the maximum speed and transparency possible, producing, as it did at the end of Phase I, a comprehensive, unclassified report from which the American people can benefit directly.

Do nothing spineless Dems? Oh really!

Courtesy of Der Blue Angel from DU:

The other day, I decided to make a note every time I saw a post about Democrats in action on DU. Since we all know they "do nothing," are "spineless," and "never speak up," I expected of course, to have a very small list.

I'm not on DU 24 hours a day, so this is just what I happened to see over the past two weeks. Democrat bashers, did you just happen to miss all of this?

Democrats Reject Crony Tax Cuts, Stand With Americans
The Democratic Leadership and The DNC are striking back at the “immoral and financially irresponsible” budget proposed by Republicans. "It is despicable that the Republican Leadership in Congress has decided to pile the costs of their failed fiscal leadership on the backs of our most vulnerable Americans,” said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

Pelosi: Immoral and Irresponsible Republican Budget
"Speaker Hastert and Congressional Republicans are desperately trying to distract the American people from their culture of corruption and cronyism. The real problem with the Republicans' immoral and financially irresponsible budget is that it does nothing to address the concerns of hard-working Americans; instead it gives tax breaks to Republican cronies.

Senate Again Fails to Raise Minimum Wage
A labor-backed measure by Sen. Edward Kennedy would have raised the minimum to $6.25 over an 18-month period. The Kennedy amendment to a spending bill went down 51-47....

Fool on the Hill (Senators grill rice for 3 hours)
In interviews outside the hearing room, committee members Obama, Chafee, and Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., all said Rice is not doing a good job in persuading the American people to support Iraqi nation building. (Both Chafee and Feingold voted against the Iraq war resolution in 2002.)

Pelosi, Hoyer and Spratt Urge Hastert to Cancel Budget...
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, and Rep. John Spratt, ranking member on the House Budget Committee, sent a letter to Speaker Dennis Hastert today urging him to cancel the budget resolution amendment that is scheduled to come to the House floor tomorrow. The amendment would make deeper spending cuts to vital initiatives that help working families while increasing tax cuts for the wealthy.

Pelosi: GOP Budget Is Another Rip-off of Middle Class Under
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined other Democratic leaders at a press stakeout today after the Democratic Caucus meeting to discuss the Republican budget and its negative effects on working families. Below are Pelosi's remarks: "Tomorrow will present a choice to the Members of Congress. We can choose to help the people who are affected by Katrina, or we can give tax cuts to the wealthiest people in America.

Senator (Schumer) seeks explanation from Bush in case of outed CIA spy
A top Democratic senator called on US President George W. Bush to reveal what, if anything, he knew about the involvement of senior White House officials in outing the identity of an undercover CIA agent.

HuffPost: Dems Planning Legal Action Against 2 GOP Reps.
The Huffington Post has learned that Democrats are planning legal action against two Republican members of the House, House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) and House Administration Committee Chairman Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio).

VIDEO- DeFazio (OR) from the Floor-YOUR DEMOCRATS calling out BS
What the Republicans are doing to gut entitlements for the benefit of the rich

No More Covert Propaganda - Kerry/Lautenberg Truth in Broadcasting Act
At 2 p.m. today the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Business meeting is expected to adopt legislation sponsored by United States Senators John F. Kerry and Frank R. Lautenberg that will require that “prepackaged news stories” produced by the Administration disclose the government’s role.

VIDEO-George Miller on College Tuition-YOUR DEMOCRATS IN ACTION
What Republicans are doing to cut college for the people

VIDEO-Diane Watson on the Budget-Mental Health cuts

Wes Clark Calls on Pentagon to honor commitment to Ed Schultz
Wes Clark is calling on everyone to help get the Pentagon to honor its commitment to Ed Schultz.

VIDEO- Jim McDermott on the Budget and What Repubs REALLY Do

Sen Schumer's Letter to Dubya

Barbara Boxer on new gun legislation.
"Day after day, we see the power of the National Rifle Association, which is so strong that the Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist took the DEFENSE bill off the Senate floor, in order to pass the sweeping, unprecedented liability waiver for the gun industry to shield manufacturers from most lawsuits. So guns are now one of the only American-made products I know of that have no safety standards and almost no accountability when things go wrong."

Today's Must-See TV: Rice-Obama, Rice-Boxer (Senate Hearing Oct 19 05)

Sen. Harkin talking of high heating prices -blames on tax breaks

Kennedy Speaks Out On Gulf Coast Hiring Practices
Sen. Kennedy, a member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Boarder Security and Citizenship, is speaking out on hiring practices in the Gulf Coast Region. In a statement, the senator responded to reports of undocumented workers who are working for low wages after being hired by federal contractors to rebuild the Gulf Coast.

Dean's own words
On the Democratic Agenda: "The truth is the Democrats are the party of moral values. We are altruists and believe we are all in it together and have a community to sustain. The President's attack on Social Security wasn't just about money and neoconservative nonsense. It was about a fundamental attack on the notion that America is one community and we have responsibility for each other. When we talk about moral values... 67% of America believes that it is a moral value that everybody has health insurance; 60% of Americans believe it's immoral for the federal government to tell families what to do in their personal decisions -- decisions that have to do with their personal lives. So, most Americans agree with Democratic moral values."

Stephanopoulos to Dean: "Will you accept that as the end of the matter?"
Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean is urging Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to bring indictments in the Valerie Plame Leakgate case, saying he won't accept any other result. Dean was asked Sunday by ABC "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos: "If finishes his investigation without bringing indictments and without issuing a final report, will you accept that as the end of the matter?" "No," Dean shot back. "Because I fundamentally don't think these are honest people running the government."

Dean calls for end to 'culture of corruption'
The Bush White House is the most corrupt administration in U.S. history since President Warren G. Harding's, said Howard Dean during his first visit to Maine as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Dean's comments Saturday came as top White House advisers are being investigated for their roles in the outing of a CIA operative and Tom DeLay, the former second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, faces conspiracy and money-laundering charges.

Capuano (D-8th) dismayed after visiting Iraq
If it were up to U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano, American troops in Iraq would come home today. But what bothers him even more than the fact that this won't happen is that President George W. Bush has given no firm timeline or indication for when it will, saying the United States will leave when Iraqis are ready to stand alone.

Helping girls is 'an American idea,' says Obama
A proposed boycott of American Girl dolls over its support for Girls Inc. is "silly" and an example of conservatives being too politically correct, said Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

Kerry: Bring troops home over Christmas
Sen. John Kerry says President Bush should bring home 20,000 troops from Iraq over the Christmas holidays if the December elections there are successful. "It will be hard for this administration, but it is essential to acknowledge that the insurgency will not be defeated unless our troop levels are drawn down, starting immediately after successful elections in December," Kerry said in a speech prepared for delivery Wednesday at Georgetown University. Excerpts of the speech were obtained by the Associated Press.

The Path Forward: "In fact, while some say we can't ask tough questions because we are at war, I say no - in a time of war we must ask the hardest questions of all. It's essential if we want to correct our course and do what's right for our troops instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again. No matter what the President says, asking tough questions isn't pessimism, it's patriotism."

DiFi seeing the light -- Feinstein Asks: “A War Worth Fighting?”
On the heals of John Kerry’s speech at Georgetown University yesterday, Senator Dianne Feinstein writes a compelling and articulate OP/ED for the San Jose Mercury News on the Iraq War. Feinstein reiterates many of the points made by John Kerry yesterday and suggests that, “America needs to change course.” Feinstein also calls for “Drawing down our troop strength,” in her OP/ED. I congratulate Senator Feinstein for stepping forward and speaking up at time when our Democratic leaders need to make a strong stance against the current Bush administration policy in Iraq. John Kerry laid out a clear and concise plan yesterday for what needs to be done in Iraq. As Chris Bowers suggested yesterday on MYDD, “more Dem leaders need to follow Kerry’s lead.”

Dems try to protect hurricane voters
Concerned that political operatives may try to manipulate the battered Gulf region's voting process in upcoming elections, House Democrats on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to vigilantly defend the rights of people displaced by recent hurricanes.

Dean Statement on the Libby Indictment and Fitzgerald Investigation
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement: "This is a sad day for America. Beyond the evidence that the White House manipulated the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, a group of senior White House officials not only orchestrated efforts to smear a critic of the war, but worked to cover up this smear campaign. In so doing, they ignored the rule of law, endangering our national security and the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our nation's security. I. Lewis Libby was a part of this internal White House group. This is not only an abuse of power, it is an un-American abuse of the public trust. As Americans, we must hold ourselves and our leaders to a higher standard. We cannot fear dissent. We cannot fear the truth. And we cannot tolerate those who do."

Democrats call CIA leak case evidence of corruption
Some Democrats are suggesting the indictment of Vice President Cheney's top aide is larger than just one man. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says the C-I-A leak case is about how the White House both "manufactured and manipulated intelligence" to boost its case for the Iraq war. Reid also says Lewis Libby's indictment shows the Bush administration tried to -- as he put it -- "discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president." Senator John Kerry, meanwhile, is calling the C-I-A leak case "evidence of White House corruption at the very highest levels."

Feingold urges probe of ‘phony evidence’ for war
Congress needs to “investigate the whole mess” related to “phony evidence to justify a war” in the wake of Friday’s indictment of the vice president’s chief of staff, U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold said Friday in La Crosse.

WP: Democrats Demand Rove's Firing
Democrats demanded yesterday that President Bush fire Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and that the White House fully account for Vice President Cheney's role in the unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame, as Republicans acted to limit the political damage from Friday's indictment of Cheney's chief of staff.

Reid Calls for Rove to Resign - WaPo
The leader of the Senate Democrats today called for White House chief political strategist Karl Rove to resign, saying it's time for President Bush to "come clean" with the American people about the administration's role in the disclosure of a CIA operative's name. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), speaking on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," said both Bush and Vice President Cheney owe an apology to the American public.

Democrats must address tough issues, Clinton says (former President)
Democrats can't be afraid to talk about hot-button issues like abortion and should fight back against personal attacks from conservatives if they want to regain power in Washington, former President Bill Clinton said Saturday. "You can't say, 'Please don't be mean to me. Please let me win sometimes.' Give me a break here," Clinton said. "If you don't want to fight for the future and you can't figure out how to beat these people, then find something else to do."

Howard Dean: Indict Dick Cheney
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is urging Leakgate Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to indict Vice President Dick Cheney if he had anything to do with the decision of his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, to leak CIA employee Valerie Plame's identity to the media.

New DNC Web Video Reminds Bush of His Promise on Ethics
In the wake of last Friday's indictment of I. Lewis Libby on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements, the Democratic National Committee unveiled a new web video to remind President Bush of the standard that he himself set for conduct in his administration. DNC Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement calling on President Bush to apologize for his Administration's actions, fire Karl Rove, and adhere to the ethical standards he professed during his campaign: "Given the serious nature of the charges against Scooter Libby, and the significant questions that remain regarding the actions of Karl Rove and the White House Iraq Group, President Bush should take responsibility for this lapse in conduct. He should start with an apology to the American people for those in his Administration who acted on his behalf to manipulate intelligence to win support for the war in Iraq, smear opponents of that war, and cover up that smear campaign. President Bush must also keep his promise to fire anyone involved in the outing of Valerie Wilson by terminating Karl Rove and anyone else in the White House Iraq Group who participated in this conspiracy."

The Hill: Dems hint at filibuster
Senate Democrats appeared to lay the groundwork yesterday for a possible filibuster of Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, setting the stage for an intense partisan showdown that could culminate with the so-called "nuclear option." "Nothing is on the table, and nothing is off the table," Senate Judiciary Committee member Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said within hours of President Bush's announcement that he had picked Alito to replace Harriet Miers. Miers's nomination to the high court was withdrawn last week amid heavy criticism from conservative Republicans who feared she would not be sufficiently loyal to their orthodoxy.

Hint: here’s the REAL reason you think the Dems are doing nothing.
Oliphant hits at ongoing media spin, CIA leak, Iraq, Bush, and Kerry
For some reason the media will not discuss Kerry's withdrawal plan for Iraq, even though a withdrawal timetable was REQUESTED by many in Iraq's parliament. When Dean tried to talk supportively about Kerry's plan, Matthews cut in quickly and shut him down. (Matthews incredibly rude behavior last night towards Dean was well-witnessed by many here.) And still the media keep the narrative going that Dems complain about Bush but never offer any plans of their own.

Reid cautious about nominee: Nevadan says Supreme Court would look more
Nevadan says Supreme Court would look more like 'an old boys club.' Unlike his appearance with Harriet Miers four weeks ago, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada appeared restrained when he posed for photographers Monday with Samuel Alito. Reid put his right hand on Alito's left shoulder and announced they had just completed a meeting of about 10 minutes in the senator's office. Reid said he was looking forward to Alito's confirmation hearings; the judge thanked him and the photo opportunity was over. There was none of the praise Reid offered for Miers, whom he had recommended to Bush. Earlier in the day, Reid issued a statement saying the Senate "needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people."

Reid takes Senate into closed session over Iraq intelligence
The Senate's Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-NV) unexpectedly pulled the Senate into secret session Tuesday afternoon in order to have closed discussion of Iraq intelligence, RAW STORY has learned. The maneuver immediately shuttered the doors of the Senate and cleared the Senate press galleries. It has been invoked just 53 times in the history of the body. It was last used during the Clinton impeachment hearings.