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September 28, 2006

America's moment of truth

[To Senators, Smith, Wyden 9/28/2006]

Limiting access to the courts; indefinite detention (ending a centries old foundational element of democracy); allowing warrantless wiretapping without judicial or congressional oversight; Geneva convention treaty violations, torturing prisoners in secret prisons.

Enough is enough.

It is time to stop doing what is easy and do what is right. 

Terrorism does not present an existenital threat to America of the scale of tens of thousands of nuclear tipped Russian missles.  Now is the time to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and the freedoms it gives us.  To erode them now is to let terrorism win.

Vote “no” to letting a President re-interpret the Geneva Conventions to suit his desires.  “No” to retroactive immunity to those who ordered or condoned constitutional, treaty and law violations.  “No” to torture.  “No” to suspending Habeas corpus.  “No” to kidnapping, secret prisons and “rendtions” to countries that torture.  “No” to “state secrets” to cover up all of the above.

President Bush has let us down a false path under false pretences.  Now our American soul hangs in the balance.  Your vote for or against torture, for or against the rule of law, for or against upholding the Constitution, its freedoms and principles are your moment of truth.

Stand for America’s best ideals and do not let fear destroy them.

This is our moment of truth.  As my Senator, this is your moment of truth.

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September 25, 2006

Our Edward R. Murrow moment

The last few days are certainly providing, at long last, hope that America as a whole will finally wake from our long nightmare of Bush-Rove Republican crimes against the country.  These elements should provide each of fuel to make the most of the current election and so we can build the momentum to change the direction of the country over the next two years, culminating in more changes up and down the tickets in 2008.

First, watch former Democratic President Bill Clinton masterfully put down a right-wing FOX network hatchet job.

Then watch MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann’s devastating rebuke of the entire modern conservative movement, hopefully our generation’s Edward R. Murrow moment of public truth about the constitutional crisis created by Republican Senator Joe McCarthy’s communist witch-hunts.

In honor of Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s well-informed, clear-thinking pre-9/11 strategic record, I humbly include a reference to my own recall of pre-9/11 from a January, 2006 post, reviewing the prescient Democratic Platform of Al Gore in 2000.

When we add the National Intelligence Estimate that says the Republican war in Iraq is fueling terrorism and not exteriminating it.  And multiple former Generals from Iraq calling the planning and prosecution of the war negligent.

But it won’t happen without us all helping move these stories to the front and using them as our own fuel to ensure Democrats get elected in six weeks.

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September 08, 2006

Re: Gore On Path to 9/11: ‘It Would Be Fundamentally Irresponsible To Air Such Distortions’

[Comment to Gore On Path to 9/11: ‘It Would Be Fundamentally Irresponsible To Air Such Distortions’ ]

Gore ought to be pissed!

Back in the 2000 race, Al Gore’s platform identified terrorism as the number one security threat, saying “Whether terrorism is … inspired by a single fanatic individual, such as Osama bin Laden … We must … target terrorist finances, break up support cells, and disrupt training….”

Whereas Bush ignored outgoing administration officials, his own counter-terrorism chief and a CIA briefing “Bin Laden determined to attack US”. Republicans ignored the evidence against Iraq’s WMD and invented a tie to terrorism.

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Re: 'PATH' MISSED REAL 9/11 STORY

[Re: 'PATH' MISSED REAL 9/11 STORY submitted 9/8/2006]

The real world is harder to navigate than to imagine it should have been in hindsight, but Clinton/Gore were not asleep at the switch.

Back in the 2000 race, Al Gore's platform identified terrorism as the number one security threat, saying “Whether terrorism is ... inspired by a single fanatic individual, such as Osama bin Laden ... We must ... target terrorist finances, break up support cells, and disrupt training....”

Bush ignored outgoing administration officials, his own counter-terrorism chief and a CIA briefing “Bin Laden determined to attack US”.  Republicans ignored the evidence against Iraq’s WMD and invented a tie to terrorism.

Six times as many American’s have died or been grievously wounded in Iraq than on 9-11.  Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted in the sands of Iraq.

Let us not let the tragic deaths of the horrific events of 9-11 continue to be misplaced fodder for Republican political calculation to avoid accountability for their tragic errors.

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September 07, 2006

National Book Month - recommended reading

October is National Book Month, here's some recommended progressive reading:

All Together Now

Crashing the Gate

Active Liberty

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Facts matter

[To George Mitchell (Chair) and Robert Iger CEO)]

Dear Mr. Mitchell,

I'm writing you as Chairman of the Board of Disney, ABC's parent company, about the “Path to 9/1”, a so-called “docu-drama”. 

Facts matter to history and they should matter in politics.  In today's highly partisan world, it deeply concerns me that every facet of our lives is now being manipulated for political advantage.  I have no desire to write you about the unfairly biased political position that ABC has taken in both distorting the facts of a key American tragedy, previewing and cross-checking with only one side and doing so in timing such as to distort the important American debate on national security and the upcoming elections.

I find this manipulation of facts and circumstances unacceptable and am perfectly prepared to take get my news and entertainment elsewhere than ABC and Disney if this is not addressed, just I gave up on all Fox broadcasting a few years ago.

Sincerely yours,
Will Neuhauser

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Democratic Strategist

Link: Truth-Telling, Populism and Inspirational Politics .

The American public understands that Republicans exist to serve those at the top.  In arguing that Democrats should avoid stating the obvious, the Third Way authors seek to take away a powerful motivator for middle-class voters who are excluded from the corporate elitism of today's conservative politics. 
...Democrats should be encouraged to fight this so-called populist battle rather than ignoring it and letting the other side get away with its corrupt and misguided behavior.
...But, with all due respect [to The Third Way authors], the likening of “a new era of middle-class opportunity” message to the grand visions of Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy is too far-fetched to swallow. The presidents who gave us the Economic Bill of Rights, the Fair Deal and the New Frontier, respectively, provided a far bolder vision for America than merely helping middle-class kids get into college.

These progressive presidents argued strenuously for non-negotiable foundational rights to housing, old age protections, guaranteed wages, education, health care, and civil and voting rights. These accomplishments and unrealized goals are not something the Democratic Party should toss into the civic books because it has had a bad couple of election cycles. These ideas are precisely why many people are drawn to the Democratic Party.
...Although “a new era of middle-class opportunity” is seemingly innocuous, it is a philosophically mushy message that compounds perceptions of Democrats as feckless and risk averse. Democrats would be wise to remember President Truman's words from his 1949 radio address on Democratic Women's Day:

“The Democratic Party does not dodge issues or seek to gloss them over. We state them boldly. We propose concrete and practical action to solve them. Our program consists of measures which have come up from the grassroots-of ideas and proposals that have been discussed and hammered out among unions, in farm groups, in city councils, in county boards, and in State legislatures. Our program is as American as the soil we walk upon. It is a program unshakably founded on the principle that the power of government should be used to promote the general welfare. It is a program based upon the experience of the Democratic Party in using the power of government to establish actual conditions in which the people can achieve a better life for themselves and for their children. It is a program of what should be done and what our experience tells us can be done.”

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Re: Fighting the Flat-Earthers

[Re: Fighting the Flat-Earthers in TomPaine.com, published as So, What Are We Supposed To Do About It? ]

While I agree with the diagnosis, I find the “box” metaphor problematic. The “sunny flat world” is not about the problem, it is about the solution. The “box” may help us label the problem and talk about it, but it doesn't seem to help label and structure a solution.

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September 06, 2006

Re: The Populist Myths on Income Inequality

[Submitted to The New York Times 9/6/2006 Re: The Populist Myths on Income Inequality]

To the Editors -

David Brooks has mounted a vigorous but misleading defense of the conservative neo-Feudalism by gliding right past its sins: cut taxes on the rich while sending the poor to war, tax working people's income but not rich people's wealth (capital gains), eliminate the dynasty tax on the rich so they can build eternal family baronies of inherited wealth, use corporate coffers to finance politicians to get subsidies from the government.

The common good for We the People? Hah!  Conservatives like Brooks see the common goodies for the most manipulative, not the most deserving.

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Iraq and “war on terror”

Iraq is not the central battlefield in the “war on terror”.

Iraq is the central distraction to fighting terrorists.

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