September 3, 2007 archive

The Netroots and Iraq

Someone just pointed me to this radio interview of John Stauber by Bob McChesney (it is the 8/19 interview) on the Netroots (especially Move On) and the Iraq issue, and I think it is excellent.

I’ve discussed this issue often, see here and here, here and here. In the Guardian, I wrote this:

In fact, the entire netroots’ performance opposing the Iraq war during 2007, and especially the performance of MoveOn, has been nothing short of pathetic. For example, MoveOn , seconded by such netroots stalwarts as Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller, then of the blog MyDD, and the Daily Kos blog, tried to rally support for the Democrats’ utterly inadequate Iraq supplemental spending bill. Predictably, the effort ended in disaster for Democrats.

But no matter, at least for MoveOn, which decided that this failure would be a great jumping off point for a political campaign to challenge Republicans in the 2008 election. MoveOn is still in the middle of that campaign. What we do not see from MoveOn or any of the leading left blogs are any attempts to pressure Democrats into taking action immediately to end the Iraq war. Every plan, every project, seemingly every post, is focused on how to exploit Iraq as a political weapon against Republicans in the 2008 elections. Very little thought is brought to bear on how to pressure Democrats to use the power of congress to end the Iraq war now.

MoveOn and many of the leading left-wing blogs have become nothing but appendages of the Democratic party – defending every initiative, no matter how wrong-headed, cowardly and obviously ineffective. And since the Iraq supplemental fight, where the netroots did such a horrible job, the discussions of what congress should do to end the Iraq debacle are practically nonexistent in the leading left blogs. They have seemed intent on confirming Bai’s view that the netroots are more interested in being kingmakers than in dealing with the issues. A review of the leading Left blogs shows very little coverage of Iraq issues and what congress should be doing. Instead, they are obsessed with 2008 presidential horserace blogging.

Stauber is not someone I am going to agree with a whole lot on a wide range of issues (for example, he is a big impeachment proponent), but I thought Stauber was especially good in this interview. Take a listen.

Four at Four

Four at Four is an afternoon briefing of four (yes only four) important or interesting stories in the news. Please look for it Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern.

  1. The New York Times reports that George W. “Bush flew with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice directly to this sprawling air base in Anbar Province, the Sunni stronghold that has seen significant security improvements in recent months. There he was joined in the 110-degree heat by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staffs, who had flown separately… ¶ The high-level visit was conducted with extraordinary security precautions. American officials said the measures, which included withholding disclosure of Mr. Gates’s arrival after Mr. Bush was on the ground, were necessary because of the top officials from Iraq and from the United States who were present. Although Mr. Gates arrived on a C-17 transport plane, Mr. Bush traveled on Air Force One, which could be seen sitting on the air base’s baking tarmac.” Bush stopped by Iraq on his way to Australia for APEC, so I guess that explains why Laura skipped the trip. She didn’t want to see the Good News from Iraq™, first hand.

  2. Hurricane Felix has weakened slightly according to the Miami Herald. “Forecasters called the modest weakening an expected short-term fluctuation and said Felix was likely to regain its top-scale Category 5 strength before its core makes landfall Tuesday morning, likely near the border between Honduras and Nicaragua. ¶ Warnings were issued to residents of Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize and Guatemala.”

  3. The Washington Post says in northern France, some champagne producers’ grapes were ready for harvest in August, earlier than in any year on record. “Scientists and growers have been stunned by the dramatic evolutions in the northernmost regions of Alsace and Champagne, long considered less susceptible to global warming… ¶ In a chain reaction of nature, climate change is also sending new insects and diseases north… ¶ Scientists and vintners say wine grapes are the best agricultural measure of climate change because of their extraordinary sensitivity to weather and the meticulous data that have been kept concerning the long-lived vines.”

  4. According to the Times of India, China has banned the reincarnation of living Buddhas without state permission. “In an order by the state administration of religious affairs, which comes into effect from September 1, China has said Buddhas cannot be reincarnated outside China. Instead, they would have to take permission from the state, which would oversee the selection of the ‘soul-boy’ (or the reincarnated Buddha).” The present Dalai Lama has said “that if Tibet was not free when he died, he would be reincarnated in a free country elsewhere. The Chinese government wants to pre-empt that.”

So, what else is happening?

Back from the Burn + Meta

Hey everyone – I’m back from Burning Man.  It was awesome.  I’ll write more about the Burning Man community in my Tues night post.  Some favorite moments and a few pics below the fold. 

I still need to unpack the van so we can return it to Hertz.  I’ll be back later to catch up with blog business and what we need to do to get this place in better shape for launch.  My priority today is to get the Google ads setup.

I signed up at the Admin forum and my account was activated.  Can someone give me access to the private threads?  Thanks.

Open Thread and Hurricane Watch

Howdy all!

After a seven hour drive through 100 degree heat and a Biiiiiiig stretch of pretty baren fucking desert  am now in my new home in on the western side of Baja! Its a nice little bungalow with mango trees etc in backyard. But no electricity (supposed to be hooked up today, but my motto down here is Forget it Jake, It’s Mexico) the Satellite guy who will be hooking me up seems to think the little Cat 1 Hurricane headed towards us might delay my hookup see lower left and here.

I have found an internet cafe three blocks from my house….the only bummer being that it is in the opposite direction from the great taco place three blocks from my house….life is tough! Even though I don’t now when I will really be back on, I will check in with updates every day…and hopefully we can launch soon. I probably won’t have time to monitor the site thoroughly but I will keep an eye on my threads and you can always mail me!

Talk to you soon….Hasta Luego!

The Truth About Iran Is . . . That The Road To War With Tehran Runs Through Baghdad

In a very fine post, Turkana concludes:

The truth about Iran is that the same people who gave us the Iraq War would love to give us an Iran War. . . . The truth about Iran is that we can’t trust our government, our military, their government, or the corporate media to tell us the whole truth. . . . We might start bombing Iran tomorrow. We might not ever bomb them.

The truth about Iran is that we need to keep our minds clear as we try to do whatever we can to prevent another immoral, illegal, and disastrous war. Be skeptical. Research. Know your sources. Agitate for peace.

(Emphasis supplied.) I submit that the way to avoid war with Iran is to end the Debacle in Iraq. Previously I wrote:

The chance of Congress authorizing military action against Iran is zero. Zilch. None. Bush will not even consider asking for it. Everyone must know this. How could they not? The ONLY reason Bush can even contemplate action against Iran is – surprise – BECAUSE WE ARE IN IRAQ! You want to stop military action against Iran? Then work like hell to get us out of Iraq.


the Maccabee effect (or pf8’s 1st dKos diary on the rec list)

A commenter in DemMarineVet’s diary today made an interesting point:

Frankly, most of the people on that thread (Maccabee’s diary about Iran being hit big time) needed to step back and take a breather, and rediscover their critical thinking. Markos’ point: If a wingnut jackass can see the forest for the trees, so should we.

Take the jump…

also posted at dKos

Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq

Faux Noise is breaking a Bush/Gates surprise visit to Iraq.

Anbar (where else, Baghdad is too dangerous).

Commander Codpiece strikes again.

You have editing ability- throw me a bone.

Puddles of Goo

No promotion, no recs.

I’m not even here.

The Truth About Iran

The truth about Iran is that their current regime is barbaric.

The Guardian, in July:

Iran is to defy western criticism over its human rights record by executing 20 sex offenders and violent criminals, days after a man convicted of adultery was stoned to death.

The Observer, two weeks ago:

Iran has hanged up to 30 people in the past month amid a clampdown prompted by alleged US-backed plots to topple the regime, The Observer can reveal.

Many executions have been carried out in public in an apparent bid to create a climate of intimidation while sending out uncompromising signals to the West. Opposition sources say at least three of the dead were political activists, contradicting government insistence that it is targeting ‘thugs’ and dangerous criminals. The executions have coincided with a crackdown on student activists and academics accused of trying to foment a ‘soft revolution’ with US support.

The truth about Iran is that their current president is belligerent and dangerously provocative.

The New York Times, in February:

Iran’s president remained defiant today on the eve of a United Nations deadline for his country to stop enriching uranium, as tensions between Iran and the United States continued to mount in various ways.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country will halt its uranium enrichment program, a prerequisite for building nuclear weapons, only if Western powers do the same. The U.N. Security Council has imposed limited sanctions on Iran, and has said it would consider further sanctions if the enrichment program is not stopped by tomorrow.

The truth about Iran is that they are not close to having nuclear weapons.

The same New York Times article:

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency… was quoted as saying, American and British intelligence services estimate that Iran is still 5 to 10 years away from developing a workable nuclear bomb.

The truth about Iran is that they have again begun cooperating with the IAEA.

The Guardian, in July:

The UN nuclear watchdog said today that Iran had agreed to lift its ban on inspectors visiting a controversial nuclear facility, and was ready to answer questions about its past plutonium experiments.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said a deal had been reached on the designation of new inspectors, a visit of inspectors to the heavy water research reactor at Arak by the end of July, and the finalisation of safeguards at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant during early August. The plant is the focus of US concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme.

Tehran insists it wants to develop an enrichment programme for peaceful purposes, but the US and EU fear it could enrich uranium for nuclear warheads.

The truth about Iran is that they have been edging back from the brink.

RIA Novosti, in July:

Iran is prepared to consider the UN nuclear watchdog’s proposal to hold direct talks with the United States on its controversial uranium enrichment program, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.