Tag: candidates

A Bird in the Hand

In remarks on foreign policy before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, potential 2016 GOP presidential hopeful, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush attempted to distance himself from his brother President George W. Bush and his father, Pres. George H. W. Bush, insisting that he is “his own man.”

He pretty much stumbled and fumbled, even with the telepromter, and, quite obviously isn’t ready for prime time on foreign policy.

One way he unmistakably resembles his father and brother is in his apparent discomfort with a prepared text. He appeared far more at ease answering questions than delivering his speech, which he read quickly, without the authority he has often shown when discussing domestic issues.

Still, his responses were not mistake-free: When he sought to attack President Obama, he inflated the number of Islamic State fighters, saying in his remarks that there were 200,000. A spokeswoman for Mr. Bush later clarified that he had meant to say 20,000. At another point, he pronounced Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group based in Nigeria, as “Boku Haram.”

Mr. Bush said his formative experience on foreign policy had come not from watching his brother or father serve as commander in chief, but as a 20-something working and starting a family in Venezuela, and then as the governor of a state actively involved in foreign trade.

He recalled how many times he had visited Israel (five) and noted that he had “forced” himself to visit Asia four times each year.

Despite explaining how his biography differed – he recalled the high price of Pampers in Caracas – Mr. Bush is benefiting from the former presidents Bush.

As bad as his appearance was, the real problem is that someone forgot to tell his staff that it might not be a good idea to release the list of foreign policy advisers that Jeb has decided to be on his team.

The list represents the full spectrum of views within the Republican foreign policy establishment – from relative moderates, including former secretaries of state George P. Shultz and James A. Baker III, to staunch neoconservatives such as Iraq war architect Paul D. Wolfowitz.  [..]

Among Bush’s announced advisers are several viewed as staunch defenders of the CIA, including former director Michael V. Hayden, who came under heavy criticism in a recent Senate Intelligence Committee report about the agency’s interrogation techniques.

Just as telling were those missing from the official list.

Although former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice is at least as close personally to the Bush family as anyone on the list – and has consulted with the former Florida governor – the absence of her name suggests that he is sensitive about being seen as a carbon copy of his brother.

Al the Bushes Men (and women) photo BushMenv4_zps72021e63.png

Click on image to enlarge

The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree or that far from his older bother.

Progressives Debate in Vermont!

Vermont Progressive Party candidates debated their opponents in October, and they are interesting to say the least.  The links are set up thus: The debate pages, followed by direct links to the sound files.  If you have any trouble gaining access, please let me know.

Attorney General Debate with Charlotte Dennett


Sectretary of State Debate with Marj Power


US Representative Debate with Thomas Hermann.


Lieutenant Governor Debate with Richard Kemp.


Gubernatorial Debate with Anthony Pollina.


Why Removing Telecom Immunity is So Important

Well, I just read Olbermann’s rejoinder on FISA and man, http://www.dailykos.com/storyo… ,if he’d just check out wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P… he would know how fruitless the idea of criminal prosecutions is.  In short, Bush can pardon anybody from criminal prosecutions, charges pending or not.  All you have to do is recall Dick Nixon and what he got from Jerry Ford to know this.

Neglected is the beauty thing of a pardon:  if you accept, you are admitting guilt.  And under the res judicata doctrine (and because the standard of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases, is higher than civil cases (preponderance of evidence), you accept a pardon, you probably (I say probably since a court might hold you didn’t really litigate a case by accepting a pardon) lose your civil case.

So that is the real reason why civil immunity is so important.  Important to the telcoms, their owners and others involved, just so they can accept a pardon and run off scooter, I mean Scot, free.  Important to strip from the bill because it is the only means to keep these folks on the hook–and get their evidence.

If FISA passes, the only thing an Obama admin. could do is not challenge the Unconstitutionality of FISA.  But the telecom immunity would likely be severable and upheld.

Tell Obama no on immunity now.  http://my.barackobama.com/page…  

Focusing the Outrage

If you’ve read my posts you know I’m no fan of Barack Obama, and that I have a distinct tendency to display copious amounts of Righteous Indignation.  There’s a reason for that, but there is always a danger in creating outrage fatigue, so today I’m going to try to help put it all into perspective.

Gravel Switches Parties

You remember him?  He was that other candidate that the media marginalized. I guess he will be best remembered for his reading of the Pentagon papers into the Congressional record back in the ’70’s.  Granted he was never high on anyone’s list of candidates, but now he has finally made news and changed party affiliation.

His announcement yesterday.

“I’m joining the Libertarian Party because it is a party that combines a commitment to freedom and peace that can’t be found in the two major parties that control the government and politics of America,” Gravel said in a prepared statement. “My libertarian views, as well as my strong stance against war, the military industrial complex and American imperialism, seem not to be tolerated by Democratic Party elites who are out of touch with the average American.”

While I am not a supporter by any means, he does have a point.  But it is not just the Democratic Party that is out of touch with average Americans; it is ALL politicians.  I do not foresee this move giving him any more clout than he had within the Dem Party, but maybe he will get a bit more publicity than he did before.  After all, is that not the goal of every politician?  

Protect Your Game Plan

Ever hear of Saul Alinsky?  He was the writer and teacher of “pragmatic radicals”.  His book, Rules for Radicals, is excellent reading if one wants to be any good at organizing.  As a matter of fact it is a book that Obama has said made a difference in his life and in his activism.  As an old hippie, pinko, commie from my days of protests in the 70’s, his book was an excellent resource for action and planning.

I think that maybe Obama should have kept his admiration for Alinsky to himself.  Just as in the Vietnam War, Giap’s book, People’s Army, People’s War, was required reading for the special operations guys doing the crappy work in the country.  I do believe that Clinton’s campaign has done the same thing with Obama.

I will bet that one is asking what the hell I am talking about.  Answer:  Alinsky had 3 tactics to use.  They were, 1–The real action is the enemy’s reaction, 2–The enemy properly goaded and guided in his action will be your major strength, 3–Tactics, like organization, like life, require that you move with the action.  So far both candidates have had to deal with these three tactics.

My advice would be, if you are using a game plan from a certain source, then you might want to keep it under lock and key, so that your opponent does not use it to bite you in the ass.  Just a thought.  

A Carbon Tax?

One of the most pressing issues facing the candidates is global warming or climate change, whichever you prefer.  I want to talk about ways to stop or at least slow down the effects of said issue, at least from the Dem perspective.  I have listened to the candidates and their positions on helping the planet.  So far I am not too impressed with many of their views.  To me they are given too much time for the elimination of the harmful emissions.  IMO, the popular cap and trade that is being proposed by most candidates will not do the trick.

The leading candidates have the same plan, only with slightly different end goals.  That is a cap and trade system.  That is efforts to curtail emissions through fuel economy standards, biofuel mandates, or appliance standards may be well-meaning, but in my opinion, this is not the answer.  Clinton wants to cut oil consumption in half by 2025; Obama wants to a two-thirds reduction by 2050 and then there is Edawrds who wants an 80% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050.  All these are cap and trade approaches.

The program that I feel would be better in the control of the situation is an emissions tax.  But it is a TAX!  Yes it is and taxation seems to be an ugly word these days, but if taxation discourages consumption; for example, taxing carbon emissions discourages carbon consumption, why would this be a bad idea?  The less carbon emissions released into the atmosphere the better and more healthy the planet will be.

There are five reasons why the emissions fee or carbon tax is better than the popular cap and trade.  These are the reasons put foward by carbontax.org

   * Carbon taxes will lend predictability to energy prices, whereas cap-and-trade systems will do little to mitigate the price volatility that historically has discouraged investments in less carbon-intensive electricity generation, carbon-reducing energy efficiency and carbon-replacing renewable energy.

   * Carbon taxes can be implemented much sooner than complex cap-and-trade systems. Because of the urgency of the climate crisis, we do not have the luxury of waiting while the myriad details of a cap-and-trade system are resolved through lengthy negotiations.

   * Carbon taxes are transparent and easily understandable, making them more likely to elicit the necessary public support than an opaque and difficult to understand cap-and-trade system.

   * Carbon taxes can be implemented with far less opportunity for manipulation by special interests, while a cap-and-trade system’s complexity opens it to exploitation by special interests and perverse incentives that can undermine public confidence and undercut its effectiveness.

   * Carbon tax revenues can be rebated to the public through dividends or tax-shifting, while the costs of cap-and-trade systems are likely to become a hidden tax as dollars flow to market participants, lawyers and consultants.

The costs passed on to each consumer might be noticeable, but need not excessive. An emission fee of $15/ton or a permit price of $15/ton would increase gasoline prices about 15 cents per gallon and residential electricity prices about ¾ of a cent per kilowatt-hour, according to Joe Aldy of the Progressive Policy Institute.  

The proposals of the “Big 3” take too long to achieve the goal of cutting emissions and saving the planet for future generations.  Personally, since we all are contributors to the problem then we all should be part of the solution and the best solution is the emissions fee.

IMO, a much better idea than the “cap and trade” proposals being offered by the two candidates.

Election day blues…..

I read OPOL’s beautiful diary on JFK with tears in my eyes. JFK’s valiant words are radical-sounding in Bush-ruled America. Today is a difficult day for me because the issues of the day are writ so large, and the remedies provided are so meager. The Clinton/Obama tussle has driven me from dkos back into international and counterculture media, and back to this site as a possible refuge. I’m wondering if others are as concerned as I am about the outcome today.

At dkos I posted a diary awhile ago about some Obama advisors who concern me. I’ll share a bit of my perspective. The times are too troubled to accommodate some of the political thinking I see coming out of the Obama camp. Please share your thoughts about some of the points I raise.

Still ‘Undecided’, Obama vs Clinton

Still not decided on who you might cast your ballot, or whatever, for?

Well The Real News have a few interviews with Jonathan Schell on his take on the candidates and their possible Foreign Policy Directions.

Who is Jonathan Schell, if you didn’t already know:

Based in New York City, USA, Jonathan Schell is a renowned anti-nuclear activist, prolific journalist, lecturer and best-selling author. He is a frequent contributor to The Nation, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine and Atlantic Monthly. He is also the author of The Fate of the Earth, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Schell is a board member of IWT – The Real News.

No Saints in a Foxhole

My soldier is home now, on the heels of a gunnery conference that begins today at Fort Rucker.  I really haven’t a clue what a gunnery conference is and I don’t feel much like caring today.  The bullshit in my life couldn’t have been made any more obvious than it became last night.  We were together last night and we were all together as well in the summer of 2001 in South Korea.

I lost my first grandmother in February of 2001.  That spring my mother’s sisters came to my home and gave me an envelope, in it was a modest sum that my grandmother had left to me.  My husband was in the middle of serving a year tour in Korea.  It was a tough year because our son was born disabled and wasn’t even a year old when he left so I took my gift from my grandmother and hauled the kids down for passport photos and we flew to Korea for the summer.

It was a wonderful summer too.  The housing on the post that my husband was sent to was all condemned so all the soldiers and families lived in the Ville as they call it with the citizens of South Korea.  We all ate Korean cuisine and our teenagers all got on a bus together and went to Lotte World and my husband took me to the world pottery expo there because I am a potter and potters love nothing more than looking at and buying other people’s pots.  I bought a whole set of dishes from a Korean potter.  They are beautiful.

I got to know my husband’s best friend a lot better that summer.  He does command sponsored tours to Korea as often as possible because he is there for two years plus at a time and his family goes with him.  His wife is Korean and they have two sons who have spent as much time with their Korean grandparents as they have with their American grandparents.

I also met Mel and Amanda that summer who lived a block from us and they had two sons then too but have three now.  Amanda was a fitness instructor.  Mel had been a Ranger before becoming an Apache pilot.  He is one of the few that in 1993 went into Mogadishu on a mission that didn’t go so well and survived.  In Korea he didn’t seem to be that comfortable being a soldier anymore and he was getting out.  I was sure that he had long ago moved on in life and was sitting on some beach some place sipping umbrella drinks until he showed up last night.  When a U.S. soldier “gets out” he is still in the reserves for awhile and Mel got to go to Iraq as a reservist and fly the hand me down airframes that the reserves get and got paid the no bonuses pay that the reservists get paid and that won’t happen to him again.  The guy who I met that summer is gone now.  The guy who survived Mogadishu and felt inspired to do something finer and more life affirming with his life than soldier has left us and in his place sits a grim faced father discussing last night with my husband and my husband’s best friend where the best bonuses are.  He’s signing up for active duty again so at least his wife can get decent wages for his combat time and he doesn’t have to fly crap in a war.

Push the Candidates To Fight Telecom Immunity

Glen Greenwald over at Salon and Jane Hamsher and the folks over at FDL are trying to push all of the presidential candidates to take a public stand, and a leadership position, on the upcoming telecom immunity question. See here:


and here: http://www.salon.com/opinion/g…

Glen, about the attempt to immunize the telecoms for their illegal spying and violation of fundamental rights, says:

  As always, conventional media wisdom is that Democrats will be harmed politically if they don’t capitulate to the Big, Strong, Tough Republicans on all matters relating to national security (even though the efficacy of that fear-mongering tactic was empirically disproven in 2006). But isn’t it painfully evident that a far greater liability for Democrats at this point than being “soft on terrorism” is their refusal and failure to demonstrate that they will take a stand — any stand — against this extremely weakened President and his discredited political party, and therefore prove they stand for something?

   The only way for there to be any prospect of impeding Bush’s most extreme demands for vast warrantless eavesdropping powers and immunity for lawbreaking telecoms is for the presidential candidates — Obama, Edwards and Clinton — to demonstrate (rather than speak about) real “leadership” and take a stand in support of Chris Dodd and his imminent filibuster. There will be campaigns beginning this week to persuade and pressure them to do so — I will be posting extensively about them here. Any efforts to stop warrantless eavesdropping and telecom immunity is almost certain to fail without the active support of the presidential candidates, who these days have a virtual monopoly on the ability to set agendas and shape media attention.

Jane says:

  John Edwards should challenge his rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to go back to Washington, DC and fight against retroactive immunity for the telecoms.

   The Republicans are not going to let Reid punt and extend the Protect America Act for another 18 months so it looks like the FISA bill is going to come back up again on Monday. Chris Dodd’s objection to Unanimous Consent still stands, so they will pick up in the middle of the Motion to Proceed debate.

   Glenn Greenwald:


       It will be increasingly difficult to listen to Edwards, Obama and Clinton tout their supreme leadership attributes and their commitment to “changing the way Washington works” if they choose to sit by, more or less mute, and allow such a blatant and corrupt evisceration of the rule of law — and such a vast and permanent expansion of the limitless surveillance state — to occur without a fight. Any one of them, or all three, has a unique opportunity to actually demonstrate with actions, rather than pretty speeches, their commitment to the principles they claim to espouse.

   John Edwards is the perfect person to lead with this message. Such an action would illustrate his genuine commitment to change and fighting vested interests in Washington, and hopefully it will channel that intense anti-immunity passion toward his campaign. He won’t be able to participate in the filibuster himself, but by offering to leave the campaign trail and go back to DC with Clinton and Obama he’ll be able to show leadership in challenging all Democrats to put thoughts of personal gain aside and join together in the fight to save the constitution.

   Without the help of the presidential candidates, we are doomed to lose this fight. And all their calls for change will ring hollow if they allow George Bush to railroad this bill through a supine Democratic-controlled Senate because of their absence.

Jane has posted an email address where you may be able to contact the Edwards campaign:  [email protected]  Here is a link for contacts for other senator presidential candidates:  http://act.credomobile.com/…

She also has a link to a place where you can get updates on how to help this vital project:  http://action.firedoglake.com/…

Fin, fur and feather: Animals, Candidates and Actions

This evening I received an email forwarded by the animal behaviorist who helped us with Jack, our Alaskan Malamute, who had some initial behavioral issues.

She had received it apparently by mistake, but forwarded it on to her clients for dissemination and feedback.

I’m plopping it on DailyKos, ePluribus Media and Docudharma to open a discussion on other issues and where candidates stand on them.

I’d like folks who know of a candidate’s actions with regard to animals to put the candidate’s last name first in their subject, then ” — good” or ” — bad” next to the name, and have the content of the comment itself contain any good, bad, or additional information. I hope to tally this up later and present results. Please don’t get into candidate wars; just post what you can verify and include a link to support your statement.  Please note that this also includes Republican candidates; please follow the same procedure, if you’ve information to add.

Thank you.

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