This matters.A crew member who worked on a show webcast by AT&T confirmed that there was a policy[...]
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[NOTE FROM JOHN: John Bruhns is an American military Iraq war veteran who will be blogging with us for the next month.]
Last night I had the opportunity to make my case against the military draft on Hardball. I did my best to get my point across that if we keep going in the same direction in Iraq the draft will be inevitable. And the best way to avoid a draft is to end the war in Iraq.
Of course no good deed goes unpunished. Shortly afterward I was critized by a few of the remaining loyal Bushies who I speak with from time to time. Amazingly none of them have ever served in the military and most likely would be horrified by the draft. As always it's quite easy for them to make such cavalier statements of "patriotism," but a tad more difficult for these folks to put their own bodies where their rhetoric is. Rhetoric being "we had to go in to fight Al-Qeada and we have to stay the course and complete our mission"
It's worthy to cite some brief commentary from Vice President Cheney, who is pretty much all over the map and very confusing in my eyes. And of course we have our fearless leader George W. Bush .
Getting back on message - there is no doubt that a military draft would put a tremendous amount of fear into the hearts of the conservative war hawks in Congress possibly influencing them to change their position on the war. I have no doubt that it would shake up presidential hopeful Mitt Romney who's sons are serving our nation by helping him get elected.
Wondering off again - I'm wondering if I'm jumping to conclusions? Then I remember hearing this. That leaves me to believe we are not leaving Iraq any time soon. But our military is broken. How can we sustain? General Lute has an idea worth considering.
My greatest fear of the United States returning to a military draft is that most likely all of America's fortunate sons would all find a way out of serving once their number is called. Just as Bush, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rove, and Libby did during Vietnam. We would end up in a situation in which kids who can't avoid the draft and don't support the war would end up supplying the manpower for the war.
A massive hat-tip to long-term Newshoggers reader and news aggregator Kat for pointing me to the Democracy Now! transcript of a portion of Naomi Klein's speech at a recent conference entitled "Is Another World Possible?" Go read the whole thing - it might even make up for the lost minutes reading Rudy's warmongering foreign policy.
I want to be very clear that I don't believe the problem is a lack of ideas. I think we?re swimming in ideas: universal healthcare; living wages; cooperatives; participatory democracy; public services that are accountable to the people who use them; food, medicine and shelter as a human right. These aren't new ideas. They?re enshrined in the UN Charter. And I think most of us still believe in them.Right there Klein puts her finger on one of the reasons conservative policymakers and speechwriters hate "nuance". It lets them decide which
I don't think our problem is money, lack of resources to act on these basic ideas. Now, at the risk of being accused of economic populism, I would just point out that in this city, the employees of Goldman Sachs received more than $16 billion in Christmas bonuses last year, and ExxonMobil earned $40 billion in annual profits, a world record. It seems to me that there?s clearly enough money sloshing around to pay for our modest dreams. We can tax the polluters and the casino capitalists to pay for alternative energy development and a global social safety net. We don't lack ideas. Neither are we short on cash.
And unlike Jeffrey Sachs, I actually don't believe that what is lacking is political will at the highest levels, cooperation between world leaders. I don't think that if we could just present our elites with the right graphs and PowerPoint presentations -- no offense -- that we would finally convince them to make poverty history. I don't believe that...That?s because elites don't make justice because we ask them to nicely and appealingly. They do it when the alternative to justice is worse.
The real problem, I want to argue today, is confidence, our confidence, the confidence of people who gather at events like this under the banner of building another world, a kinder more sustainable world. I think we lack the strength of our convictions, the guts to back up our ideas with enough muscle to scare our elites. We are missing movement power...Do you want to tackle climate change as much as Dick Cheney wants Kazakhstan?s oil? Do you? Do you want universal healthcare as much as Paris Hilton wants to be the next new face of Estee Lauder? If not, why not? What is wrong with us? Where is our passionate intensity?
I think that what lies at the root of that lack of confidence is that we?re told over and over again that progressive ideas have already been tried and failed. We hear it so much that we accepted it. So our alternatives are posed tentatively, almost apologetically. ?Is another world possible?? we ask.
This idea of our intellectual and ideological failure is the dominant narrative of our time. It?s embedded in all the catchphrases that we?ve been referring to. ?There is no alternative,? said Thatcher. ?History has ended,? said Fukuyama. The Washington Consensus: the thinking has already been done, the consensus is there. Now, the premise of all these proclamations was that capitalism, extreme capitalism, was conquering every corner of the globe because all other ideas had proven themselves disastrous. The only thing worse than capitalism, we were told, was the alternative.
Now, it?s worth remembering when these pronouncements were being made that what was failing was not Scandinavian social democracy, which was thriving, or a Canadian-style welfare state, which has produced the highest standard of living by UN measures in the world, or at least it did before my government started embracing some of these ideas. It wasn't the so-called Asian miracle that had been discredited, which in the ?80s and ?90s built the Asian ?tiger? economies in South Korea and Malaysia using a combination of trade protections to nurture and develop national industry, even when that meant keeping American products out and preventing foreign ownership, as well as maintaining government control over key assets, like water and electricity. These policies did not create explosive growth concentrated at the very top, as we see today. But record levels of profit and a rapidly expanding middle class, that is what has been attacked in these past thirty years.
What was failing and collapsing when history was declared over was something very specific in 1989, when Francis Fukyama made that famous declaration, and when the Washington Consensus was declared, also in 1989. What was collapsing was centralized state communism, authoritarian, anti-democratic, repressive. Something very specific was collapsing, and it was a moment of tremendous flux.
And it was in that moment of flux and disorientation that several very savvy people, many of them in this country, seized on that moment to declare victory not only against communism, but against all ideas but their own.
Now, what was interesting and never quite stated...was that you basically had two streams: you had democracy, which you can use to vote for your leaders, and then you had a single economic model. Now, the catch was that you couldn't use your vote, you couldn't use your democracy to reshape your economy, because all of the economic decisions had already been decided. There was only -- it was the final endpoint of ideological evolution. So you could have democracy, but you couldn't use it to change the basics of life, you couldn?t use it to change the economy. This moment was held up as a celebration of victory for democracy, but that idea, that democracy cannot affect the economy, is and remains the single most anti-democratic idea of our time.Klien was supposed to debate Jeffrey Sachs but just before the conference he withdrew.
...We who say we believe in this other world need to know that we are not losers. We did not lose the battle of ideas. We were not outsmarted, and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks, I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks. Now, most effective we have seen is when the army tanks and the think tanks team up. The quest to impose a single world market has casualties now in the millions, from Chile then to Iraq today. These blueprints for another world were crushed and disappeared because they are popular and because, when tried, they work. They're popular because they have the power to give millions of people lives with dignity, with the basics guaranteed. They are dangerous because they put real limits on the rich, who respond accordingly. Understanding this history, understanding that we never lost the battle of ideas, that we only lost a series of dirty wars, is key to building the confidence that we lack, to igniting the passionate intensity that we need.
Will's right, this is about putting Iran under the AUMF so Joe Lieberman can pump his fists and feel like a man.
Labor Day is approaching. Time for some new product.
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Tuesday November 6th this year you can go vote! Surprised? Then this post is for you.
This year we don't have a big shot election for a President or Congress, but you can vote on how you want to represented in your town or city council. Voting day will be the first Tuesday in November, but early voting will start October 18th.
These local elections might have an even bigger impact in your daily life then the "big" elections on even numbered years, yet the turnout for municipal elections is traditionally shamefully low.
I'd like to contribute a small step towards getting more people involved this year.
I made up an "interactive Google map" that shows you all the candidates in every single town and city in our County. The map will show you the name of every candidate, where they live, their political Party affiliation and provide a link to their website if they have one.
Since all these elections are "non-partisan", you won't see any of these candidates' Party affiliation on your ballot on election day.
I know a lot of people are interested to know what Party a candidate is affiliated with because it can guide them towards what candidate they want to vote for and who they don't want to support at all.
If the candidate is registered Unaffiliated, I did some research to track down what party this candidate "leans" towards. I looked into the person's voting past to see what Party primary elections they voted in and how their immediate family is registered. For example, if candidate X is registered Unaffiliated, but they have voted in several Republican primaries in the past and His wife is a registered Republican, I concluded that candidate X leans towards the Republican party. Before you think that I work for the Department of Homeland Security, all this information is public record and can be found by anyone who's willing to do a little research.
If any candidate doesn't agree with his or her "Party designation" please contact me and explain why. I will be more than happy to adjust the map accordingly. This map will be constantly updated as new information (e.g. candidate websites) arrives. Get involved, have fun and on to the map!
If you click on the link to the map you will see a column on the left that lists all the candidates. When you click on a name, the map will show you what area this candidate lives in and a little window will pop up that shows their Party affiliation and their website (if they have one).
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One of the best defenses the U.S. has against terrorism is the resistance of American Muslims to radicalization. Al-Qaeda can -- and does -- attempt to place sleeper cells inside the U.S., but its...
Rudy Giuliani's Foreign Affairs article is the dumbest/scariest thing I've read in a serious[...]
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One of the great mysteries of the universe is where all of the conservative viral email comes from. It has no counterpart on the left. It's cranked out at a fairly regular clip. It often even seems to have style consistency over the course of years. It's been around as long as the internets it seems.
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Try not to act too shocked.
Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.
And as it has done so in the past, the White House will debate internally on how much to lie in the report:
During internal White House discussion of a July interim report, some officials urged the administration to claim progress in policy areas such as legislation to divvy up Iraq's oil revenue, even though no final agreement had been reached. Others argued that such assertions would be disingenuous.
"There were some in the drafting of the report that said, 'Well, we can claim progress,' " the administration official said. "There were others who said: 'Wait a second. Sure we can claim progress, but it's not credible to . . . just neglect the fact that it's had no effect on the ground.' "
And of course, way to go Congress:
And though Petraeus and Crocker will present their recommendations on Capitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the president to decide how to interpret the report's data.
So the White House will lie in the report it writes under Petraeus' byline, then "interpret" it on its own to justify anything it wants.
Let me predict the future:
The report: "Success!"
The interpretation: "Smashing success!"
On Monday, George Bush was exchanging tearful farewell hugs with Karl Rove, the man he put in charge of US domestic policy knowing his skills in dividing the American people, poisoning our politics and branding critics of his war policies as either weak[...]
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