Monday, December 31, 2007

From Hank:

Sent: Monday, December 31, 2007 12:09 PM
To: ''
Subject: To The Editor

“Looking At America” – Editorial – December 31, 2007

As a lifelong Republican until the candidacy of George W. Bush, I am ashamed and disgusted by the loss of values and the general apathy this country has sunk into. As I travel around the world and speak to peoples of all races, religions and social standing, it is painfully obvious that we have become a pariah around the globe to friend and foe alike.

We have allowed this administration to lie, cheat, and break the law, and to break their sacred oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. As we go forward into 2008 I remain confident that America will elect a President who will return us to our precious values and help us take back the high moral ground from which we can lead the world. The true greatness of America is that we will survive eight years of George W. Bush.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

From Hank:

“Bush’s Last Year”

In a few short weeks George W. Bush will begin his last year as America’s President. On January 20th, 2009 the entire world community can breathe a collective sigh of relief and look forward to the return of true American values expressed by the demonstration of our values as a society, our compassion for all peoples of all races, and most of all, a return to the principles of our Constitution and the rule of law.

Until then, We The People, led by the Congress and supported by the media, must do everything possible to render Mr. Bush irrelevant and keep him from doing anymore harm. The list of the Bush atrocities is too well known and too long to discuss in this essay, but suffice to say that our next President will have to clean up an incredible mess, and will have precious little financial or political capital to do it with. As our elected representatives this Congress must comply with the will of the American people, but more urgently, We The People must speak, loud and clear, and everyday, about the issues that are dear to us. The media must publish our words, thoughts and prayers for America, until the Congress develops the backbone to form a veto proof, bi-partisan coalition that will enable them to actually get something done.

We must take back the high moral ground and establish America as the compassionate leader of the free world while at the same time maintain the strongest military presence on the planet. We need to forget our recent tendencies toward preemption and nation building, and turn toward the problems of world poverty, starvation, pandemics and genocide. We in the United States have truly earned the title coined by Pearl Buck, “The Ugly Americans”, and only by our future actions can we erase that awful image.

It would be wonderful if I could write that there is hope that Mr. Bush will look at his last year in office as a chance to change, to right some of the wrongs he has wrought. Unfortunately this is George W. Bush I am writing about, and there is no hope whatsoever he will change. As I look forward to 2008 with optimism and great hope, I am comforted that the true greatness of America is in our ability to survive eight years of Mr. Bush.

Friday, December 21, 2007

From Hank:

Wishing all of you the very best for the New Year! Hank

Sent: Friday, December 21, 2007 10:18 AM
To: ''
Subject: To The Editor

“Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men (and Women)”

As we approach Christmas 2007 there has not been a time in recent memory when those words have meant more. America and the world are in desperate need of peace and good will. This has been a very difficult, contentious year here at home and abroad. The world, despite empty assurances from Mr. Bush, is a far more dangerous place than it was prior to 9/11. While America has not been attacked here at home, it is generally recognized that Al Qaeda or another Islamic Fundamentalist group will strike us here, and that it is only a matter of where and when, not if. The Middle East is set to explode or implode, whichever view one holds, with Iran playing the central role around its nuclear weapons intentions.

It is my fervent hope that the next President, whoever he or she may be, will lead America out of the confrontational, bullying attitude of the Bush administration, into a kinder, gentler era of diplomacy, respect and dignified compassion for all nations and all peoples. Here at home the Gulf Coast still needs to be rebuilt, we must insure the almost fifty million Americans without adequate or any healthcare coverage. We must also solve the issues of immigration, energy, poverty and the environment, and we must do so with compassion and respect for all our people, not just the wealthiest among us.

Our next leader must insure that pandemics like AIDS and Malaria are stopped, and that the genocide in Darfur end and never again be repeated anywhere else earth. America must remain militarily strong, but we should also “speak softly” while carrying a big stick. Our next President should surround him or herself with like-minded people from all political factions, and we need to end lobbying and influence peddling in Congress to insure a bi-partisan approach to legislation.

Certain words hold special meaning, especially at this time of year. “America, the beautiful, God shed his grace on thee, and crown thy good from brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.” And the same to all the peoples of the world, “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Mankind”

From Hank in NY:

“Great Leaders/Great Words”

As I think about the past seven years with George W. Bush, it occurs to me that this President will go down in history as the most disinterested, anti-intellectual and inarticulate leader America has ever had. These thoughts bring to mind the inspiring words of past presidents like Abraham Lincoln’s “this is a government of the people, by the people and for the people”, Thomas Jefferson’s, “We the People in order to form a more perfect Union…….”, FDR’s, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself”, and, “this is a day that will live in infamy”, John Kennedy’s, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, Ronald Reagan’s, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that Wall”, and George H.W. Bush’s, “Read my lips, no new taxes”.

Then we come to the Bush 43 years, which have been peppered with statements that grate like chalk on a blackboard. The list is endless, but a few of my favorites are; “Saddam Hussein has sought to purchase quantities of uranium from Africa”, major combat operations in Iraq are over”, our enemies stay awake 24 hours a day, seven days a week thinking of new ways to harm us, and so do we”, “those weapons of mass destruction must be around here somewhere” (looking under a table while speaking at a national journalists dinner), “Brownie, you’re doing a great job”, “We will do whatever it takes to restore the Gulf Coast” (speaking in Jackson Square in New Orleans after Katrina), “I’m the decider, and I decide what’s best for the country, and right now Don Rumsfeld’s the best Defense Secretary for America” (speaking ten days before he fired Rumsfeld).

As I travel around the world it is stunning to see the reaction of our friends and enemies to the presidency of George W. Bush. As I write this there are (thankfully) 397 days left before Bush leaves office and the world breathes a collective sigh of relief. I suppose the only people who will truly miss Mr. Bush are Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and the other talk show hosts who have counted on the President’s remarks as the mainstay of their monologues.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Operation Phone Home

From Kathy in MO

If we can't bring our troops home for Christmas, we can at least help them phone home. Apparently it costs soldiers out of their own pockets to make phone calls. (Typical that our government has billions for everything else!) The USO is having a drive called "Operation Phone Home" to provide our men and women overseas with phone cards. Please help support this effort. You can do so through the USO or through MoveOn below.

We're helping the USO to provide thousands of phone cards to servicemen and women stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world, so that they can call their friends, family and loved ones this holiday season.

Can you give $15 to buy a phone card for our troops?

Dear MoveOn member,

This winter, thousands of U.S. servicemen and women are spending the holidays far away from their families, and calling home can cost them a large part of their paycheck. Troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe actually have to pay for phone calls to the U.S.—and many of them just don't have a lot of money to spare. Imagine being stuck in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Korea and being unable to afford a call to your spouse or kids on Christmas or New Year's Eve.

That's why we're helping the USO to provide thousands of phone cards to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world to let them call their friends, family and loved ones this holiday season.

These phone cards don't cost a lot—only $15 each, but they are incredibly valuable, providing about 45 minutes of talk-time and holiday wishes for service members.

Can you give $15 to buy a phone card for troops stationed overseas? Click here to chip in:

MoveOn members are committed to seeing our troops come home as quickly as possible, and we'll keep working to make that happen. But right now, supporting the USO is a simple way to make a genuine difference in the lives of brave men and women who've sacrificed a lot for our country.

Can you chip in to buy phone cards for troops stationed overseas this holiday season? Click here to contribute:

Happy holidays from all of us and thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Adam G., Karin, Marika, Noah, Laura, Joan, Wes, Justin, Jennifer, Anna, Eli, Matt, Ilyse, Daniel, Adam R., Carrie, Tanya, and the Civic Action Team
Thursday, December 20th, 2007

P.S. To learn more about the USO, a non-governmental, non-partisan organization, please visit

From Anne in Chicago:

Subject: Reversal of Fortune in New Hampshire?

December 12, 2007
Reversal of Fortune in New Hampshire?

For the past year, Inkling Markets has had a prediction market on the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary, which is now less than four weeks away.
The prediction market was created by the editors of Blue Hampshire, New Hampshire's version of Blue Mass. Group. This market functions like a real bond and stock market, except that it uses virtual money. If participants invest more in a given prediction or value, the "price" of that prediction or value gains; if participants invest less, the "price" goes down.
For the past several months, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D - New York) has consistently led the field - sometimes by substantial margins. As recently as this past Friday, Sen. Clinton was at $46.61 per share - implying a 46.61 percent chance of winning the primary - more than $16 per share ahead of her nearest rival, Sen. Barack Obama (D - Illinois).
Now, there has been a big change. Sen. Barack Obama has taken the lead for the first time in many months. He is now at $46.43 per share, while Sen. Clinton has dropped to $35.51 per share. It remains to be seen whether this is a blip - or whether it reflects a real change on the ground in New Hampshire.

From Hank in NYC:

“Another Sad Christmas”

This Christmas season American men and women will die or be physically or emotionally wounded in Iraq in order to assuage the ego of George W. Bush. Families and friends of our soldiers will spend this holiday season praying that their sons, daughters, husbands and wives will be spared. There is no longer any reason for a single American soldier to be serving in Iraq. The President has failed miserably to bring about a political solution that would signal the end of our military involvement, and the do-nothing Democrats in Congress have not fulfilled their promise to bring the war to an end. Just yesterday the House of Representatives gave Bush another seventy billion dollars to continue his blood lust in Iraq.

The saddest piece to this awful never-ending war in Iraq is that it has all but disappeared from media coverage, and the American people just don’t care anymore. We still have over one hundred and sixty thousand soldiers in harm’s way, and even the candidates for president, Republicans and Democrats, have dropped the Iraq war like it was a hot potato. So, as a Christmas message to the President and the Congress, I include this brief passage:

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the House (and Senate),

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The President and Vice all snug in their beds,

While visions of oil fields danced in their heads,

When suddenly out of the blue came a sound,

As I leapt out of bed, and felt my heart pound,

A bomb had exploded in an Army compound.

There are more dead American’s I’m sorry to say,

Who won’t be around for this Christmas Day.

So Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid,

Enjoy your Christmas, but this message please heed,

The blood of these soldiers is on your hands indeed,

We will never forgive you your avarice and greed.

From Kylie in Australia!

Yes it's all true. We are in a new house AND we have a new Government in Australia!!
Our ELECTION! What a fantastic result! Hard to believe that it went so well really. An overwhelming sense of relief that the Howard era is over at last! 11 Long years we have been led by that horrible, petty little man. It's hard to be jubilant as there is so much damage to repair. The list is mind numbing, but the new team have begun with a bang by ratifying Kyoto on their first day in office. Now to make us, as we should be, kinder, more intelligent, more responsible, more inventive citizens of the world.
One of the most wonderful parts of the whole she-bang was the exquisite moment of schadenfreude when it became clear that the Prime Minister had lost his OWN seat; to an ex-ABC (PBS equivalent) FEMALE journalist no less!! Fantastic. So, he went out with a whimper and a whine, most excellent!! The appalling ex-PM's wife ( the real villain of the piece according to those in the know) had a face 'like a dropped pie' during the concession speech. My mother was beside herself with joy (she being the closest to a Bolshevik in the family) and was baying for the ex-PM's blood by way of war crimes trials (re: Iraq) and wide ranging retribution. Dad is just happy to get rid of Howard and his cronies. The deposed Government fell to pieces within days of the election loss. Resignations, recriminations etc. We will see how things go once this honeymoon period is over.
Have enjoyed reading your blog, but haven't managed to sign on as an author etc. No need really, it's great just to read the entries.
I am with you on Obama. He seems like the real deal, and now that Oprah is backing him, he can't lose can he? They say she has all the influence in the world with 50+ white women who are the ones he needed to win over. Very exciting! If she can do for him what she does for a book she selects to promote, it's in the bag!! I would love to see what he could do for the US and the world. Maybe there is hope if he can get up and win these primaries. I will continue to watch the campaign with more than a little interest.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

From Judy in NY:


December 18, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Obama-Clinton Issue
Hillary Clinton has been a much better senator than Barack Obama. She has been a serious, substantive lawmaker who has worked effectively across party lines. Obama has some accomplishments under his belt, but many of his colleagues believe that he has not bothered to master the intricacies of legislation or the maze of Senate rules. He talks about independence, but he has never quite bucked liberal orthodoxy or party discipline.

If Clinton were running against Obama for Senate, it would be easy to choose between them.

But they are running for president, and the presidency requires a different set of qualities. Presidents are buffeted by sycophancy, criticism and betrayal. They must improvise amid a thousand fluid crises. They’re isolated and also exposed, puffed up on the outside and hollowed out within. With the presidency, character and self-knowledge matter more than even experience. There are reasons to think that, among Democrats, Obama is better prepared for this madness.

Many of the best presidents in U.S. history had their character forged before they entered politics and carried to it a degree of self-possession and tranquillity that was impervious to the Sturm und Drang of White House life.

Obama is an inner-directed man in a profession filled with insecure outer-directed ones. He was forged by the process of discovering his own identity from the scattered facts of his childhood, a process that is described in finely observed detail in “Dreams From My Father.” Once he completed that process, he has been astonishingly constant.

Like most of the rival campaigns, I’ve been poring over press clippings from Obama’s past, looking for inconsistencies and flip-flops. There are virtually none. The unity speech he gives on the stump today is essentially the same speech that he gave at the Democratic convention in 2004, and it’s the same sort of speech he gave to Illinois legislators and Harvard Law students in the decades before that. He has a core, and was able to maintain his equipoise, for example, even as his campaign stagnated through the summer and fall.

Moreover, he has a worldview that precedes political positions. Some Americans (Republican or Democrat) believe that the country’s future can only be shaped through a remorseless civil war between the children of light and the children of darkness. Though Tom DeLay couldn’t deliver much for Republicans and Nancy Pelosi, so far, hasn’t been able to deliver much for Democrats, these warriors believe that what’s needed is more partisanship, more toughness and eventual conquest for their side.

But Obama does not ratchet up hostilities; he restrains them. He does not lash out at perceived enemies, but is aloof from them. In the course of this struggle to discover who he is, Obama clearly learned from the strain of pessimistic optimism that stretches back from Martin Luther King Jr. to Abraham Lincoln. This is a worldview that detests anger as a motivating force, that distrusts easy dichotomies between the parties of good and evil, believing instead that the crucial dichotomy runs between the good and bad within each individual.

Obama did not respond to his fatherlessness or his racial predicament with anger and rage, but as questions for investigation, conversation and synthesis. He approaches politics the same way. In her outstanding New Yorker profile, Larissa MacFarquhar notes that Obama does not perceive politics as a series of battles but as a series of systemic problems to be addressed. He pursues liberal ends in gradualist, temperamentally conservative ways.

Obama also has powers of observation that may mitigate his own inexperience and the isolating pressures of the White House. In his famous essay, “Political Judgment,” Isaiah Berlin writes that wise leaders don’t think abstractly. They use powers of close observation to integrate the vast shifting amalgam of data that constitute their own particular situation — their own and no other.

Obama demonstrated those powers in “Dreams From My Father” and still reveals glimpses of the ability to step outside his own ego and look at reality in uninhibited and honest ways. He still retains the capacity, also rare in presidents, of being able to sympathize with and grasp the motivations of his rivals. Even in his political memoir, “The Audacity of Hope,” he astutely observes that candidates are driven less by the desire for victory than by the raw fear of loss and humiliation.

What Bill Clinton said on “The Charlie Rose Show” is right: picking Obama is a roll of the dice. Sometimes he seems more concerned with process than results. But for Democrats, there’s a roll of the dice either way. The presidency is a bacterium. It finds the open wounds in the people who hold it. It infects them, and the resulting scandals infect the presidency and the country. The person with the fewest wounds usually does best in the White House, and is best for the country.

From Kathy in MO to Sunny who was sounding off about abomination that is Fox!

I know. Watching that video made my blood boil. They call these men all kinds of names including faggot and terrorist. This is what is supposed to be a legitimate news network "fair and balanced." They are a scourge on the media. It is bad enough to kiss the butts of this awful administration but it is downright evil the way they smear people and are never held accountable in lawsuits etc. I hate them so much. If we don't stop the FCC from changing the rules, Murdoch and his kind will be able to buy more stations plus radio and newspapers. Ignorant people hear these lies and believe that they must be true. It used to be illegal to libel and defame people. There has been so much illegal activity in this country over the last 7 years! The whole country is upside down! We need to keep speaking out. I am with you!

From Kathy to MicheleKS and Eileen in MO:

Thanks for this post! Huckabee is one scary, scary guy! As Ron Paul commented, facism usually comes wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross!
Kathy from MO

Tell Obama and Edwards to Stand Tough Against the Fox News Bullies!

By Kathy from MO

Please sign this open letter to John Edwards and Barack Obama asking them to stand tough in refusing to appear on the right-wing smear machine, Fox News. They have nothing to gain by going on this fake news network. They should not dignify or legitimize it by appearing. Watch the video below to see what kind of bullying and smearing has already taken place.

From Robert Greenwald:

Pardon the holiday interruption, but the bullies at FOX are at it again. This time, they are trying to get Senator Obama and Senator Edwards to buckle to their threats and accusations. The senators are standing tall, tough and strong.

Watch the video

We must encourage them to resist the name-calling and intimidation and refuse to legitimize the propaganda network.

Watch video of the attacks:

Then sign the open letter supporting their decision. You helped us beat FOX on the Nevada debates, and stopped the Detroit debate. Now it's time to take your email lists, your blogs, your radio and newspapers, and let the world know. We support strength. We support candidates who don't cave to the bullies.

Thanks for everything you do,
Robert Greenwald

From Michelle in KS and Eileen in MO:

In a bold move that could dramatically alter the playing field of the
2008 GOP presidential race, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee today named Jesus Christ as his vice presidential running mate.

Huckabee has made an increasing number of comments about his relationship with Jesus in recent debates, but few Republican insiders expected him to announce that he was anointing Christ as his vice presidential pick.

This could be huge for Huckabee, said Stenson Partridge, a veteran GOP consultant. Among Republican voters, Jesus Christ is even more popular than Ronald Reagan.

The Rev. Pat Robertson, a supporter of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, said he was blindsided by the news of Huckabee's decision:

I talked to Jesus last night, and he didn't mention anything about it.

At a raucous Huckabee rally in Davenport, Iowa, today, supporters of the former Arkansas governor could be seen holding signs reading HUCKABEE/CHRIST in 2008.

It is highly unorthodox for a presidential candidate to select a vice presidential running mate who is a prominent figure in the Holy Bible,
says Davis Logsdon, dean of the School of Divinity at the University of Minnesota. But according to Logsdon, if the Huckabee-Christ ticket makes it all the way to the White House, it could be historic in more ways than one: If Huckabee is elected and then something happens to him while in office, we would be looking at our first Jewish president.

From Hank in NY:

Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 10:26 AM
To: ''
Subject: To The Editor

“Bush Lawyers Discussed fate of C.I.A. Tapes” – Front Page – December 19, 2007

The “vigorous sentiment” to destroy the tapes no doubt came from the Vice President with the full approval of Mr. Bush. After the debacle of Abu Ghraib, the last thing Bush and Cheney wanted was for the public to see pictures of American’s torturing prisoners. The inner workings of the Bush White House have been and continue to be a national disgrace. The torture and rendition of prisoners are blights on our society and on our Democratic way of life.

As I write this there are 398 days left until the entire world can breathe a collective sigh of relief when Bush leaves office. In the interim we need to make absolutely sure that the President and his staff do no more harm. This means a total block of any Bush initiatives by a bi-partisan Congress which needs to be more concerned about the welfare of the American people than with petty political partisanship.

From Judy in NY:

Sending this in case you missed it last time it was around! I love satire! j

Click here: Uncle Jay Explains the News - July 2, 2007 from unclejay

From Meridith in CO:

Seriously. I'm not kidding.

Rush Limbaugh spent close to four minutes talking about me on the air this morning. In fact, I was his top story. He got the story wrong - kind of - but I don't mind. After all, there's nothing I wouldn't do for national exposure to the far right. Eat your heart out, Monica.

Please share my 15 nanoseconds of fame by listening to the attached audio clip and/or clicking on the link to Rush's website to read the transcript (which has been slightly altered from the actual audio clip).

And this is the column to which Mr. Limbaugh refers.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stop Media Consolidation!!!!

By Kathy from MO

Please sign this petition and send it on to others to sign. It is important to stop this media consolidation. We don't need any more Rupert Murdochs controlling all of the newspapers and televisions stations with their faux news!
The Federal Communications Commission approved new rules that will unleash a flood of media consolidation across America. The new rules will further consolidate local media markets -- taking away independent voices in cities already woefully short on local news and investigative journalism.
Congress has the power to throw out these rules -- and if 100,000 people demand it, they'll have to listen. Click on the link below to sign the open letter to Congress urging them to stop the FCC and stand with the public interest.
Below is an excellent article from that explains in more detail what the FCC has done and what it means to us:

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to remove the longstanding “newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership” ban that prohibits a local newspaper from owning a broadcast station in the same market. When the Commission voted today, 3-to-2 along party lines, they did so in spite of enormous public pressure and stern warnings from Congress.

But that’s not all. In a series of late night revisions to his rule, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin fattened his holiday gift to Big Media by granting permanent waivers to companies across the country who have been in breach of the cross-ownership ban for years. Already ignoring the millions who have spoken up against media consolidation, this last-minute immunity for Big Media is a slap in the face to the American people.

Today’s vote was a confirmation that the FCC has turned its back on its own mission and mandate to foster localism, diversity, and competition. The Commission, which is supposed to be dedicated to protecting the public interest on the public’s airwaves, has shown today that it is held hostage by Big Media’s campaign contributions and high-powered lobbyists. Their corrupt process and biased research ensured that they reached a preordained conclusion today to gut the few remaining protections for local media.

“For many years, the underpinnings of the Commission’s public interest analysis with regard to media have been to promote localism, competition, and diversity. Yet it is clear from the record that this decision undermines all of these goals,” said Commission Jonathan Adelstein. “As a result of newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership, there is less local news in the market as a whole and there is less competition for stories and ideas since two competing entities become one. There is also less diversity, as a voice in the market is lost, and broadcast outlets are taken even further out of reach of women and people of color.”

Chairman Kevin Martin is ignoring the public will and defying the U.S. Senate. But the fight is far from over. In his comments at today’s FCC meeting Commissioner Michael Copps called on Congress and the American people to fix this broken and corrupt agency and put Chairman Martin in his place.

“The situation isn’t going to repair itself. Big media is not going to repair it. This Commission is not going to repair it,” said Copps. “But the people, their elected representatives, and attentive courts can repair it. Last time the Commission went down this road, the majority heard and felt the outrage of millions of citizens and Congress and then the court. Today’s decision is just as dismissive of good process as that earlier one, just as unconcerned with what the people have said, just as heedless of the advice of our oversight committees and many other Members of Congress, and just as stubborn—perhaps even more stubborn—because this time it knows, or should know, what’s coming. Last time a lot of insiders were surprised by the country’s reaction. This time they should be forewarned.”

In the past few months, more than 100,000 Americans spoke out against media consolidation. Just yesterday, more than two dozen senators vowed to throw out these new rules. And the courts won’t look too kindly on the broken and corrupt process that brought us to today’s vote.

The public simply won’t stand for another massive corporate handout. They are sick and tired of junk media and celebrity gossip being passed off as news. They want more choices, more variety, more diversity — not more of the same.

Today’s vote is not the end of a corrupt process, but rather, the beginning of a hugely important fight to fix a broken system and renew the public trust.

Thank you Chris Dodd!

by Kathy from MO

Americans owe Chris Dodd and the handful of senators who stood with him yesterday a big "Thank You!" He is one of the few in Congress willing to stand up to the Bush Administration and demand that the shredding of our Constitution stop. I am speaking about the FISA bill and retroactive immunity for the telecom companies who cooperated with Bush illegally for the last five years. Dodd stood prepared to filibuster the Senate until immunity was stripped from this bill. The Dems again were ready to hand Bush and the Rethugs what they wanted, to keep in secrecy and out of the courts all of the illegal spying that has gone on. Dodd was wonderful speaking yesterday and standing firm for our civil liberties. I am sad to say that none of the Dem candidates for President who said they support his filibuster were even in DC to vote on it or help keep the floor. I am really tired of politicians giving lip service to the people with no action. Chris Dodd said "enough is enough". The shredding of the Constitution must stop now. He is battling not only the corrupt Bush administration and its toadies in the Senate, but also the ever fearful Dems who were ready to cave. Harry Reid did not even bring the better written Judiciary Committee bill to the floor for a vote that had immunity stripped from it. He did not honor Dodd's hold on the bill, and there was really no reason to bring any of this up in December when the FISA bill does not expire until February. Reid was doing what Bush and the Rethugs wanted because he thought that's what would pass with the magic 60 votes instead of standing on principle and saying these things should not pass at all. After a full day of speaking, Dodd succeeded temporarily getting the bill pulled from the floor last night.
I know that Dodd does not have a snowball's chance in hell of getting the nomination, but I am sending him a contribution and a thank you note today to encourage him to continue speaking for the American people and protecting our civil liberties. We need more like him in Washington, people with a backbone and convictions, ready to do what is difficult. God bless you, Chris Dodd!!!!

No Contest!

“The Obama-Clinton Issue” – Op/Ed – December 18, 2007

David Brooks’ clear-headed Op/Ed piece conveys the thoughts and feelings of many Americans, Republican and Democrat alike, about the potential of Barack Obama to become our next President. Senator Obama in a word is “magical”. I have been fortunate enough to see Obama four times, and on each occasion he has displayed the passion, dignity, courage and confidence that are vital to being Commander-In-Chief. As Mr. Brooks points out, Barack Obama knows where he comes from, who he is and where he is going to a degree that is really astounding. Senator Clinton has shown repeatedly that she goes as the wind blows.

Senator Obama is a man who will encourage and demand bi-partisanship from the Congress, sacrifice from the American people, cooperation from our allies, and respect and restraint from our enemies. The “Obama-Clinton Issue” is really not an issue at all. The clear choice for America is Barack Obama.

Henry A. Lowenstein

Comment to Anne:

Vigilante has left a new comment on your post "From Anne in Chicago:":

Bill Clinton says Sen. Barack Obama is a callow, highly ambitious political prodigy who is asking voters to "roll the dice" and elect him president. He should know — that's a fair description of Clinton when he sought the presidency in 1992.

Bill Clinton says Sen. Barack Obama is a callow, highly ambitious political prodigy who is asking voters to "roll the dice" and elect him president. He should know — that's a fair description of Clinton when he sought the presidency in 1992. Hillary says Obama hasn't done the 'hard work' she has.

HRC sounds more and more like GWB everyday.

Monday, December 17, 2007

From Anne in Chicago:

see below -- operation "send cookies" -- SO CUTE!! If you have a great recipe -- make it -- Eric and Mari how about those molasses cookies from NC??



Good Morning –

I hope everyone enjoyed their wintery weekend. It was an exciting weekend for the campaign – the Senator is in the midst of a 22 city bus tour that ends Tuesday evening.

Over the weekend, he held 5-6 “meet the candidate” or rallies a day throughout our new favorite state, countless press conferences while simultaneously earning the endorsement of the Boston Globe, the endorsement of Congressman Bob Loebsack from Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, another quasi Frank Rich endorsement, a Maureen Dowd column that will go down in history and a New York Times front page article discussing the new crispness and confidence he has while campaigning. As brief background, Iowa has 3 Congressional Districts – the Congressional endorsements from the first and third district went to different candidates.

The Senator is in Iowa till Tuesday; he heads to New Hampshire on Wednesday and then back to Iowa on Thursday until Christmas Eve when he will return to Chicago to be with his family. He and the rest of the Obama family will be back in Iowa on the 26th.

Here in Illinois, this is what we have planned:

1) We will have a call-a-thon on Thursday evening beginning at 6pm with the Senator’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng,, and a call from Senator Obama at 8:15 PM CDT. You have to be in our office to partake in the call.
2) Operation Send Cookies – On Thursday, December 27th from 3-6 PM, we are going to send homemade cookies (made by you) to various offices throughout Iowa to our volunteers and staff as encouragement for their hard work prior to the caucus. From 3-6 PM, we will wrap, package and send the cookies off. We are going to send to the smaller offices where they probably don’t receive as much food – similar to our Chicago office where no one drops off food! Please let me know if you would like to partake in this and I will send you all the necessary details.

Here are the clips for this morning – have a great week – only 17 more days!


The Boston Editorial

Obama/Loebsack Endorsement: AP (Staff Written) “Iowa Rep. Loebsack will announce endorsement of Obama”: U.S. Rep. David Loebsack will announce today that he's endorsing Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Loebsack, in his first term representing Iowa's 2nd District, says he'll do "everything I can" to aid Obama in the approaching Iowa caucuses. He says that Democrats are fortunate to have a good field of candidates this year, but that the one candidate who stands out is Obama. LINK

Obama/Family: Chicago Tribune (John McCormick) “For the Obama campaign, the closer is in the family”: In the fickle world of Iowa presidential politics, where many party activists prefer to remain neutral so they can continue to be courted, Judy Beisch had a confession to make. "I was totally between John Edwards and Barack Obama, and you sold me," the wife of the Wapello County Democratic chairman whispered to Michelle Obama a few minutes after hearing her speak to about 100 people here. "That's my job," Michelle Obama responded. As much attention as Oprah Winfrey received for campaigning with Sen. Barack Obama a week ago, there is another woman in his life who is likely more central to securing votes, especially among women. LINK

Obama/Friend Volunteers: AP (Chris Wills) “Obama Friend Sells Candidate”: Mike Jordan sells Barack Obama door to door. For the insurance agent from Richton Park, Ill., the role is a natural _ he knows sales and he knows Obama. And, as any salesman will say, the most effective pitches are made by those who truly believe in their product. Jordan says he believes deeply that if everyone in Iowa knew Obama as he knows him, they'd realize what a great president he would make. Unable to arrange that, Jordan has settled for trying to convert a single Iowa city. LINK

Obama/IA Outlook: St. Louis Post Dispatch (Kevin McDermott) “Obama camp brings Chicago to Iowa”: Barack Obama's opening greeting to a middle-school gymnasium full of locals in the rural northern Iowa town of Charles City Saturday night was a thank you for braving the snow to come out, and a little reminder about their shared Midwestern geography. "I'm from Chicago," Obama said, pacing the rows of folding chairs, microphone in hand. "We get our share of cold, wintry evenings." It isn't just weather that Iowa and Illinois share these days. Some say Obama,Illinois' freshman senator and its first serious presidential contender in a generation, has aimed a Chicago-style political machine at the rural town halls and living rooms of neighboring Iowa in his do-or-die effort to win the Jan. 3 Democratic caucuses here. LINK

Obama/IA Outlook: Chicago Sun Times (Laura Washington) “Obama's 'Ship of Hope' catches wind in Iowa”: In Iowa, where African Americans are as scarce as skyscrapers, a black man with a Muslim moniker is running away with the good stuff. Barack Obama has pulled ahead of the Lady of Destiny and is poised to vindicate Michelle Obama's wise prognostication that "if Barack doesn't win Iowa, it is just a dream." Obama is catching the wind, while the Clinton sails are going slack. Obama just may plow his Ship of Hope right through the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary and beyond. The Clintonites are running scared. They haven't been able to bring down the hammer on an opposition campaign that is showing agility and mettle. LINK

Obama/Church: Mason City Globe Gazette (Mary Pieper) “Obama at church: Ordinary people can do extraordinary things”: Sunday was a big day at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Mason City. During the 10 a.m. service the Sunday School and confirmation students presented their annual Christmas program and the congregation participated in the 40-year-old tradition of putting mittens on the Mitten Tree. And Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama was in the house. Obama, a member of a UCC Church in Chicago, sat in a pew near the front of the church during the service and got up to speak briefly to the congregation. LINK

Obama/Butter Cow Lady: L.A. Times – Top of the Ticket (Andrew Malcolm) “Obama gets at least one sweet Iowa endorsement”: Now, some people may think that Barack Obama's big celebrity endorsement came from that billionairess talk-show diva, who traveled with him to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina last weekend. You may have heard a mention or two about the two. Obama did not receive the endorsement of the Des Moines Register today. That went to Hillary Clinton, but may actually be an unwelcome blessing: No Democrat endorsed for the caucus by the Register has gone on to win the party's nomination in more than 20 years. LINK

NYT Op-Ed (Maureen Dowd) “Reefer Madness in Iowa”: With the Iowa campaign in wild flux — and in the case of Hillary, acid reflux — The Des Moines Register decides to hold a tie-breaking debate with the two Democratic front-runners. Carolyn Washburn, the phlegmatic editor of the paper, once more moderates. WASHBURN: Senator Clinton, I’d like you to start us off by explaining why your campaign has been getting down and dirty with someone so clean and articulate? LINK

NYT Op-Ed (Frank Rich) “Latter-Day Republicans vs. the Church of Oprah”: THIS campaign season has been in desperate need of its own reincarnation of Howard Beale from “Network”: a TV talking head who would get mad as hell and not take it anymore. Last weekend that prayer was answered when Lawrence O’Donnell, an excitable Democratic analyst, seized a YouTube moment while appearing on one of the Beltway’s more repellent Sunday bloviathons, “The McLaughlin Group.” Pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America,” Mr. O’Donnell branded the speech “the worst” of his lifetime. Then he went on a rampage about Mr. Romney’s Mormon religion, shouting (among other things) that until 1978 it was “an officially racist faith.” LINK

NYT (Jeff Zeleny) “Obama Showing New Confidence With Iowa Sprint”: Senator Barack Obama is seeking to capitalize on a moment of opportunity in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses to challenge Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s long dominance of the Democratic field, and in doing so, he now faces intensified questions about his vulnerabilities in a general election. These days, Mr. Obama spends less time acknowledging Mrs. Clinton as he speaks to Iowans. But he finds himself at the center of a fusillade of criticism from his rivals, including an assertion by former President Bill Clinton that to elect Mr. Obama would be to “roll the dice” for America — a comment that validates the political threat Mr. Obama poses. LINK
Jordan Kaplan
Obama for America
312.819.2437 - office
312.339.0224 - cell

From Hank in NY:

Sent: Monday, December 17, 2007 8:25 AM
To: ''
Subject: To The Editor

“Disappointments on Climate” – Editorial – December 17, 2007

Disappointment is far too weak a word to describe the actions of the White House, the entire Bush administration and the Congress. As Tom Friedman pointed out in an Op/Ed piece this weekend that “later is now.” What we have learned so dramatically from the likes of Al Gore and his colleagues at the U.N., is that doing nothing will have catastrophic consequences for the entire planet.

Continued tax breaks for major energy companies, no plan of any kind to develop alternative sources of energy, and the complete failure of anyone in America to hold the Bush administration’s feet to the fire, have made us a pariah around the world. With the entire world looking to America for direction and leadership on Climate Change, we gave all the inhabitants of planet earth a lesson in greed, avarice and contempt.

More Hot Air From Bush

“Disappointments on Climate” – Editorial – December 17, 2007

Disappointment is far too weak a word to describe the actions of the White House, the entire Bush administration and the Congress. As Tom Friedman pointed out in an Op/Ed piece this weekend that “later is now.” What we have learned so dramatically from the likes of Al Gore and his colleagues at the U.N., is that doing nothing will have catastrophic consequences for the entire planet.

Continued tax breaks for major energy companies, no plan of any kind to develop alternative sources of energy, and the complete failure of anyone in America to hold the Bush administration’s feet to the fire, have made us a pariah around the world. With the entire world looking to America for direction and leadership on Climate Change, we gave all the inhabitants of planet earth a lesson in greed, avarice and contempt.

Henry A. Lowenstein

Sunday, December 16, 2007

From Judy in NY:


December 16, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Latter-Day Republicans vs. the Church of Oprah
THIS campaign season has been in desperate need of its own reincarnation of Howard Beale from “Network”: a TV talking head who would get mad as hell and not take it anymore. Last weekend that prayer was answered when Lawrence O’Donnell, an excitable Democratic analyst, seized a YouTube moment while appearing on one of the Beltway’s more repellent Sunday bloviathons, “The McLaughlin Group.”

Pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America,” Mr. O’Donnell branded the speech “the worst” of his lifetime. Then he went on a rampage about Mr. Romney’s Mormon religion, shouting (among other things) that until 1978 it was “an officially racist faith.”

That claim just happens to be true. As the jaws of his scandalized co-stars dropped around him, Mr. O’Donnell then raised the rude question that almost no one in Washington asks aloud: Why didn’t Mr. Romney publicly renounce his church’s discriminatory practices before they were revoked? As the scion of one of America’s most prominent Mormon families, he might have made a difference. It’s not as if he was a toddler. By 1978 — the same year his contemporary, Bill Clinton, was elected governor in Arkansas — Mr. Romney had entered his 30s.

The answer is simple. Mr. Romney didn’t fight his church’s institutionalized apartheid, whatever his private misgivings, because that’s his character. Though he is trying to sell himself as a leader, he is actually a follower and a panderer, as confirmed by his flip-flops on nearly every issue.

Concern for minorities isn’t a high priority either. The Christian Science Monitor and others have published reports that Mr. Romney has said he wouldn’t include a Muslim in his cabinet. (He denies it.) In “Faith in America,” he exempted Americans who don’t practice a religion from “freedom” and warned ominously of shadowy, unidentified cabalists “intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism.” Perhaps today, in his scheduled turn on “Meet the Press,” he will inveigh against a new war on Christmas being plotted by an axis of evil composed of Muslims, secularists and illegal immigrants.

As Mr. O’Donnell said in his tirade, it’s incredible that Mr. Romney’s prejudices get a free pass from so many commentators. “Faith in America” was hyped in advance as one of the year’s “big, emotional campaign moments” by Mark Halperin of Time. In its wake, the dean of Beltway opinion, David Broder of The Washington Post, praised Mr. Romney for possessing values “exactly those I would hope a leader would have.”

But Washington is nothing if not consistent in misreading this election. Even as pundits overstated the significance of “Faith in America,” so they misunderstood and trivialized the other faith-based political show unfolding this holiday season, “Oprahpalooza.” And with the same faulty logic.

Beltway hands thought they knew how to frame the Romney speech because they assumed (incorrectly) that it would build on the historical precedent set by J.F.K. When they analyzed the three-state Oprah-Obama tour, they again reached for historical precedent and were bamboozled once more — this time because there really was no precedent.

Most could only see Oprah Winfrey’s contribution to Barack Obama’s campaign as just another celebrity endorsement, however high-powered. The Boss, we kept being reminded, couldn’t elect John Kerry. Selling presidents is not the same as pushing “Anna Karenina.” In a typical instance of tone-deafness from the Clinton camp, its national co-chairman, the former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, said of Oprah, “I’m not sure who watches her.”

Wanna bet he knows now? Even before Oprah drew throngs in Iowa, the Des Moines Register poll showed Mr. Obama leading Hillary Clinton among women for the first time (31 to 26 percent) in late November. Now his surge is spreading. In New Hampshire, the Rasmussen poll after Oprah’s visit found that the Clinton lead among women had fallen from 14 to 4 percent in just two weeks. In South Carolina, where some once thought Mr. Obama was not “black enough” to peel away loyal African-American voters from the Clintons, he’s ahead by double digits among blacks in four polls. (A month ago they were even among African-Americans in that state.) Over all, the Obama-Clinton race in all three states has now become too close to call.

Oprah is indeed a megacelebrity. At a time when evening news anchors no longer have the reach of Walter Cronkite — and when Letterman, Leno, Conan, Stewart and Colbert are in strike-mandated reruns — she rules in the cultural marketplace more powerfully than ever. But the New York Times/CBS News poll probably was right when it found that only 1 percent of voters say they will vote as Oprah asks them to. Her audience isn’t a pack of Stepford wives, and the message of the events she shared with Mr. Obama is not that her fame translates directly into support for her candidate.

What the communal fervor in these three very different states showed instead was that Oprah doesn’t have to ask for these votes. Many were already in the bag. Mr. Obama was drawing huge crowds before she bumped them up further. For all their eagerness to see a media star (and star candidate), many in attendance also came to party. They were celebrating and ratifying a movement that Mr. Obama has been building for months.

This movement has its own religious tone. References to faith abound in Mr. Obama’s writings and speeches, as they do in Oprah’s language on her TV show and at his rallies. Five years ago, Christianity Today, the evangelical journal founded by Billy Graham, approvingly described Oprah as “an icon of church-free spirituality” whose convictions “cannot simply be dismissed as superficial civil religion or so much New Age psychobabble.”

“Church free” is the key. This country has had its fill of often hypocritical family-values politicians dictating what is and is not acceptable religious and moral practice. Instead of handing down tablets of what constitutes faith in America, Romney-style, the Oprah-Obama movement practices an American form of ecumenicalism. It preaches a bit of heaven on earth in the form of a unified, live-and-let-live democracy that is greater than the sum of its countless disparate denominations. The pitch — or, to those who are not fans, the shtick — may be corny. “The audacity of hope” is corny too. But corn is preferable to holier-than-thou, and not just in Iowa.

Race is certainly a part of the groundswell, but not in a malevolent way. When I wrote here two weeks ago that racism is the dog that hasn’t barked in this campaign, some readers wrote in to say that only a fool would believe that white Americans would ever elect an African-American president, no matter what polls indicate. We’ll find out soon enough. If that’s the case, Mr. Obama can’t win in Iowa, where the population is roughly 95 percent white, or in New Hampshire, which is 96 percent white.

I’d argue instead that any sizable racist anti-Obama vote will be concentrated in states that no Democrat would carry in the general election. Otherwise, race may be either a neutral or positive factor for the Obama campaign. Check out the composition of Oprah’s television flock, which, like all daytime audiences, is largely female. Her viewers are overwhelmingly white (some 80 percent), blue collar (nearly half with incomes under $40,000) and older (50-plus). This is hardly the chardonnay-sipping, NPR-addicted, bicoastal hipster crowd that many assume to be Mr. Obama’s largest white constituency. They share the profile of Clinton Democrats — and of some Republicans too.

The inclusiveness preached by Obama-Oprah is practiced by the other Democrats in the presidential race, Mrs. Clinton most certainly included. Is Mr. Obama gaining votes over rivals with often interchangeable views because some white voters feel better about themselves if they vote for an African-American? Or is it because Mrs. Clinton’s shrill campaign continues to cast her as Nixon to Mr. Obama’s Kennedy? Even after she apologized to Mr. Obama for a top adviser’s “unauthorized” invocation of Mr. Obama’s long-admitted drug use as a young man, her chief strategist, Mark Penn, was apparently authorized to go on “Hardball” to sleazily insinuate the word “cocaine” into prime time again. Somewhere Tricky Dick is laughing.

But it just may be possible that the single biggest boost to the Obama campaign is not white liberal self-congratulation or the Clinton camp’s self-immolation, but the collective nastiness of the Republican field. Just when you think the tone can’t get any uglier, it does. Last week Mike Huckabee, who only recently stood out for his kind words about illegal immigrants, accepted an endorsement from a founder of the Minutemen, whose approach to stopping the “illegal alien invasion” has been embraced by white supremacists and who have been condemned as “vigilantes” by President Bush.

For those Americans looking for the most unambiguous way to repudiate politicians who are trying to divide the country by faith, ethnicity, sexuality and race, Mr. Obama is nothing if not the most direct shot. After hearing someone like Mitt Romney preach his narrow, exclusionist idea of “Faith in America,” some Americans may simply see a vote for Mr. Obama as a vote for faith in America itself.
Click here: Frank Rich - The New York Times

From Judy in Westchester:


December 16, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Reefer Madness in Iowa
With the Iowa campaign in wild flux — and in the case of Hillary, acid reflux — The Des Moines Register decides to hold a tie-breaking debate with the two Democratic front-runners.

Carolyn Washburn, the phlegmatic editor of the paper, once more moderates.

WASHBURN: Senator Clinton, I’d like you to start us off by explaining why your campaign has been getting down and dirty with someone so clean and articulate?

CLINTON: I apologized to Senator Obama. I absolutely did not authorize or condone the remarks made by one of my co-chairs in New Hampshire about my distinguished colleague’s youthful indiscretions. If primary voters don’t care that he did “a little blow,” then my goodness, why should I? Even if he had packed a straw full of the white rabbit and had a snow bunny blow it in his ear, who would care, for Pete’s sake? I only wish I knew all that colorful chasing-the-dragon lingo. Senator Obama certainly has a lot of street cred, even if it isn’t Main Street. We owe it to the good people of Iowa to stick to critical issues like the economy, and how to get a fiscally responsible budget like we had in the ’90s, the ’90s, the ’90s —

WASHBURN: Snap out of it.

CLINTON: Sorry. Anyway, even if Senator Obama were still riding the snow train, I would not allow any revelations about it to sully this campaign. I’m not sure who that young man in a hoodie was that Barack was talking to outside tonight, before the debate. I’d seen the young man earlier, standing around in the shadows outside. But that’s neither here nor there. Even if I had been able to see whether any money was exchanged, or who was selling to whom, I would not allow anyone in my campaign, even that scamp Mark Penn, to use the word cocaine, cocaine, cocaine —

WASHBURN: Senator!

CLINTON: Continuing in this vein, I just want to conclude by saying, both in terms of experience and illegal substances, I am vetted. I am tested.

WASHBURN: Senator Obama, what would your priorities be as president?

OBAMA: I will pass a health care bill because I am not a polarizing person whose negatives are completely off the charts, and I’m certainly not threatening to drag down the whole party at a time when we should be killing the Republicans.

WASHBURN: Are you referring to Senator Clinton?

OBAMA: Most certainly not. I want to bring a new kind of politics to Washington that can reverse the polarizing atmosphere of the ’90s, the ’90s, the ’90s.

CLINTON: Don’t bogart the time, Barack. I’d like a hit. Carolyn, shouldn’t there be some timing device to let my young friend know when he’s going over, something that would go “BONG!”

OBAMA: I know what you’re doing, Hillary. I wasn’t born yesterday. She wants Americans to think I’m so young and green that I can only run for White House intern. It would be a stain on me to sink as low as her.

CLINTON: I don’t appreciate that crack. If you’re going to needle me, Senator —

OBAMA: In turn, I would like to reply that what this country really needs is change —

CLINTON: Change is mine now, Senator Belushi. Bill and I stole it weeks ago. Some people believe you get change by hoping for it. Some believe you get change by snorting it. I believe you get it by working hard.

WASHBURN: Can you both please describe the key features of what you consider to be the best education system in the world?

CLINTON: Well, I know that some of my supporters have been spreading gossip that Senator Obama loves the madrassa system for pre-K through terrorist training camp. But there is not a gram of truth in those accusations. We shouldn’t inject intolerance into this race.

WASHBURN: I would like to talk about the Peru free trade deal that was signed on Friday. You both missed the vote.

CLINTON: Oh, Barack should take that one. His views on Peruvian are positively flaky.

OBAMA: You’re the flaky one, Hillary, backing up the president when he wanted to rush into Iraq and wage this trillion-dollar war.

CLINTON: It’s no wonder you didn’t want to go into Iraq, Barack. There are no free bases there.

WASHBURN: All right, you two. We’re out of time. Have a Merry Christmas and —

CLINTON: And I am sure that Senator Obama is dreaming of his usual White Christmas. Hitch up the reindeer!

WASHBURN: As I was saying, a Happy New Year.

CLINTON: He gets no kick from Champagne ...
Click here: Reefer Madness in Iowa - New York Times

Comment from Susan's Post:

Wow - this is a huge blow to the Clinton camp!

I Googled Susan and found out she is also an author and journalist for civil rights issues - how cool!

Learn more about Susan here:

Here's the video:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

From Susan Klopfer in Iowa:

My name is Susan Klopfer, and I was a big Hillary Clinton supporter when this race started. I got involved early on, licking stamps, stuffing envelopes, and doing what volunteers do. But I’ve been really disappointed lately to see all these attacks she’s been making on Barack Obama. When her campaign went after Barack for saying he wanted to be president in kindergarten, I thought: “Now this is really silly, what is this campaign coming to?” Making these kinds of negative attacks just isn’t what Iowans are interested in. We’re interested in what candidates are going to do about the big challenges we face, whether it’s universal health care, fighting global climate change, or ending this war in Iraq. So I kept seeing this disconnect because the candidate I was supporting wasn’t focused on the same things I was focused on. And I finally said no, I’m not going to stay a supporter of hers anymore. So yesterday, I pulled her campaign sign out of my front lawn and put a Barack Obama sign in its place. It was always hard for me to support another candidate, but not anymore. Barack Obama doesn’t believe in negative campaigning. He’s focused on what’s really important – bringing Americans together so we can finally solve our problems. So today, I’m proud to call myself an Obama supporter. And I hope you’ll share my story with anyone you think is also tired of silly attacks, and interested in bringing about real change.

From Obama Campaign:

You recently let us know that you're on Facebook.

With the first primaries and caucuses three weeks away, now's the time to show your friends there that you support Barack.

Join an official Obama Facebook group now. Let your family and friends know that you're pledging your vote to Barack by joining the group for your state:

This campaign has always been about bringing new people into the political process. That means it's up to all of us to show our support online as well as off.

We're in the final push before the primaries and caucuses, and it's more important than ever to show every potential Obama supporter the strength of our movement.

Join an Obama Facebook group now:



From Anne in Chicago and Women for Obama:

From: Women for Obama
Date: December 14, 2007 11:49:43 PM CST
Subject: Women for Obama Newsletter

Friday, December 14, 2007

Barack and Michelle Obama with Oprah Winfrey at Sunday's rally in New Hampshire.


Iowa Women Jostle Obama Ahead of Clinton in Poll - Women's eNews

With less than a month to go until Iowa's first-in-the-nation Jan. 3 caucus vote--and the New Hampshire primary just five days later--a new poll suggests that women in the Hawkeye State are propelling Illinois Sen. Barack Obama to the head of the Democratic field. Obama is listed as the Democratic leader for the first time--with 28 percent overall and 31 percent among women--in a Des Moines Register poll of likely caucus-goers released Dec. 1. The change in the numbers over the past month suggests Obama's newfound Iowa lead is being driven in part by a defection of women from the Clinton campaign. (To read the full article, click here.)

Winfrey wows crowd - The State

In what Sen. Barack Obama described as the best-attended rally of the political season for any candidate, more than 29,000 attendees jammed Williams-Brice Stadium Sunday. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey rallied the crowd of supporters -- a primarily female and African-American audience -- to get behind her friend, Obama, a new kind of leader who possesses "a tongue dipped in the unvarnished truth," Winfrey said. Winfrey, who has never before endorsed a presidential candidate, said she's "stepping out of my pew" because she's been disappointed with politicians and has become inspired by Obama's message of change and unity. "Dr. King dreamed the dream, but we don't have to dream the dream anymore," Oprah told the crowd. "We get to vote that dream into office." (To read the full article, click here.)

Oprah Electrifies Obama's 'Women's Initiative' - Women's eNews

Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is wagering that last weekend's stumping by the diversified-media celebrity Oprah Winfrey will spur its grassroots organizing initiative aimed at women. "What ultimately will be the greatest benefit to the campaign is that the women attending these rallies will also be serving as precinct captains, canvassers and in other key positions to help get out the vote and caucus in their respective states," said Becky Carroll, national director of the campaign's Women for Obama initiative. "So, they're not just attending a rally to show their support for Barack; but they'll be playing a key role when it counts on Election Day."


U.S. Representative Shea-Porter to back Obama - New Hampshire Union Leader

U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter has decided to endorse Barack Obama for President, has learned. The freshman 1st District congresswoman had been considering staying neutral in the primary, but has now decided to get involved. Obama, who has been gaining on Hillary Clinton in recent New Hampshire polls, won the endorsement of the state's other member of Congress, 2nd District Rep. Paul Hodes, in JulyÉ.Her backing may be a plus for Obama especially among women. (To read the full article, click here.)
Obama Tied for Support in New Hampshire, According to Latest Poll

According to the latest CNN/WMUR poll, Hillary Clinton's 20-point lead has vanished; she and Barack Obama are now in a statistical tie...To read the full article, click here.

The Oprah and Obama show - The Concord Monitor

Oprah Winfrey is a talk show host, a national icon, and now a political cheerleader. As Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama fired up a Manchester crowd yesterday, Winfrey sat behind him, thrusting her fists into the air and shouting, "Yes! Yes!" In front of an audience of 8,500 at the Verizon Wireless Arena, Winfrey extolled the Illinois senator as "a politician with an ear for eloquence and tongue for the unvarnished truth." The cheering crowd greeted Obama, his wife, Michelle Obama, and Winfrey with a sea of blue Obama '08 signs."I can feel that you are ready for a change," Winfrey said, emphasizing Obama's campaign theme. "That's the reason I have, for the first time in my life, stepped out of my TV box and stood up for a candidate who I believe can change America." Winfrey praised Obama's character and what she said was his ability to unify the country. (To read the full article, click here.)

Des Moines Register

Oprah Winfrey, the second-most admired woman in America, drew roughly 18,500 people in support of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Saturday in Des Moines. "I am not here to tell you what to think. I'm here to ask you to think," Winfrey said to a cheering crowd. The event sported one of the largest Iowa crowds so far in the 2008 race for president. Attendance even outpaced mammoth Democratic fundraisers such as Sen. Tom Harkin's annual steak fry in September, which 15,000 people attended. (To read the full article, click here.)

To see pictures and read about the rally with Barack, Michelle and Oprah in Des Moines, click here for Part One , and here for Part Two.


Two U.S. Congresswomen from Feb. 5 States Endorse Obama for President

Momentum among women leaders continues as Senator Obama received endorsements from two additional Congresswomen this week. U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee of California, and Betty McCollum of Minnesota, are all throwing their support behind Obama for President. Rep. Lee, known for her anti-war stance, said she believes Obama is the most committed among the Democratic presidential hopefuls to ending the war; "This is, for me, about Sen. Obama being the right person at the right time for our nation," Lee said. Rep. McCollum cited Obama's consistent opposition to the Iraq war, and stated that Obama will provide the leadership to make a more secure world.
Obama Campaign Launches Maryland Women for Obama Leadership Committee

This week, the Obama campaign launched the Women for Obama Leadership committee in Maryland. The Maryland state committee joins a 20,000-women-strong grassroots network with committees in the four early states, as well as in the February 5 states. (Read the campaign's blog and press release here.)
Q&A with Women for Obama Leaders

Meet Margaret Richardson, California's WFO Director -- Click here to read about her experiences on the campaign trail. To volunteer with California's Women for Obama, contact Margaret at or 415-786-4083.
Idaho's House Minority Leader, State Representative Wendy Jaquet has endorsed Barack Obama for President! -

Momentum continues to swing in favor of Senator Barack Obama as he scores his largest endorsement to date in the State of Idaho! Wendy Jaquet is a Democrat serving her seventh term representing Idaho's District 25A. District 25 is comprised of all of Blaine, Camas, Lincoln and Gooding counties. Rep. Jaquet lives in Ketchum, Idaho.

Elizabeth Junod has never been involved in party politics. She doesn't know the first thing about raising campaign contributions. And the Allendale mother of three school-age kids has only a couple hours of free time each day. The New Jersey campaign for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama couldn't be more pleased. Despite her limitations, Obama officials enlisted Junod as a delegate candidate on Monday, the deadline to file to appear on the ballot for New Jersey's presidential primary Feb. 5. Junod, a graduate of Yale Divinity school, believes Obama can restore the United States' image and standing on the world stage. She argues that Obama's willingness to meet and negotiate with countries hostile to U.S. interests, is sensible alternative to the hubris that has marked U.S. foreign policy. "He's not taking this strong-armed, 'we-are-better-than-you' approach. He is a world citizen," said Junod, an ordained minister for the United Methodist Church. (To read the full article, click here.


What you can do to help make Senator Barack Obama the next President of the United States:

Watch a video of Senator Obama and Ms. Oprah Winfrey at the rallies in South Carolina and Iowa here.
Call five of your undecided female friends or relatives and tell them why you support Senator Obama for President.
Forward this newsletter to 20 of your undecided female friends, who can sign up to receive the newsletter by e-mailing
Help Senator Obama win the early states! WFO can set you up. E-mail us at with your name and contact information.

20 days until the Iowa caucuses...

From Hank:

Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2007 8:43 AM
To: ''
Subject: To The Editor

“Delay Sought by Justice Department on C/I.A. Inquiry” – front Page – December 15, 2007

Thank you Charles Schumer and Diane Feinstein! These two weak-kneed Democratic Senators caved in and approved the nomination of Michael Mukasey to become another Bush puppet as the third Attorney General in his Constitution bashing, law-breaking administration. For over six years the Republican controlled Congress blocked every attempt at Congressional oversight, and now with the Democrats in charge it’s more of the same.

The very idea that the Congress should not receive whatever data it needs to conduct whatever investigations it chooses, demonstrates just how far America has strayed from the rule of law. The C.I.A. was told by Congressional leaders, Intelligence officials and key members of Congress not to destroy the tapes. The only “significant risks” to Mr. Mukasey and his so-called Justice Department is that the country will learn just how far George W. Bush has placed himself and his administration above the law.

Friday, December 14, 2007

From Hank:

Friday, December 14, 2007 7:47 AM
To: ''
Subject: To The Editor

“Notes From the Global War on Terror” – Editorial – December 14, 2007

Reading your terrific piece this morning stopped me cold in my tracks. I could not believe I was having my morning bagel and coffee in New York instead of some foreign country ruled by a ruthless dictator. I do however disagree with your conclusion that American’s still do not know if Bush hyped and distorted intelligence on Iraq and Iran. It is crystal clear that this President did exactly that, and as a result thousands of our bravest young men and women are dead or wounded, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead and millions more refugees.

Your essay does get it right on one thing for sure. Congress, and especially Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi have not, and appear will not do what is needed before Mr. Bush can do even more harm. We the people need to let the House and senate leaders that we will not stand by while they sell out to Bush and his die hard republican puppets.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

From Judy in Westchester:

December 8, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Spies Like You and Me
Let the witch hunt begin. Are you now or have you ever been an illegal immigrant?

Are any of your friends illegal? Relatives?

The last place you’d expect to encounter a chilling moment is at a presidential debate sponsored by National Public Radio. But on Tuesday, there was the NPR moderator, Steve Inskeep, asking the Democratic candidates whether American citizens have an obligation to turn in people they suspect are illegal immigrants.

It was not just a question asked in passing. Mr. Inskeep pressed the issue. He asked Senator Chris Dodd, for example, about the hypothetical situation of a “citizen” interviewing for a nanny.

“You interview a number of applicants,” Mr. Inskeep said. “They all seem very nice. They seem like they would take care of the kids. But it would appear that their documents may not be in order. What would you want an American to do?”

Their documents may not be in order.

Mr. Inskeep didn’t make clear what should trigger the suspicions of such oh-so-solidly American parents, causing them to scrutinize an applicant’s papers with a thoroughness worthy of Sherlock Holmes. Might it be a skin tone darker than Paris Hilton’s? Or maybe an accent, like that of my Aunt Lottie, who came here from Barbados?

You wouldn’t have wanted to face my family if you were some rat who tried to turn in my Aunt Lottie.

I have no idea how Mr. Inskeep feels about this issue. He was just asking questions. But the last thing in the world that the United States needs is a signal from presidential wannabes that it’s a good idea to turn ordinary American citizens into immigrant-hunting busybodies.

The Democrats did not rise to the bait. Senator Hillary Clinton was especially good. Mr. Inskeep said to her, “If a citizen witnessed some other kind of crime, wouldn’t you want them to report it?”

Senator Clinton replied: “It’s a very clever question, Steve, but I think it really begs the question, because what we’re looking at here is 12 to 14 million people. They live in our neighborhoods, they take care of our elderly parents, they probably made the beds in the hotels that some of us stayed in last night. They are embedded in our society.”

She warned that listening to the “demagogues and the calls for us to begin to try to round up people and turn every American into a suspicious vigilante” would do grave harm “to the fabric of our nation.”

She couldn’t have been more correct. Enlisting ordinary Americans in a nationwide hunt for so-called illegals is a recipe for violence and hysteria, a guarantee of tragedy.

We’ve already got radio-active talk show hosts spewing anti-immigrant venom from one coast to another. Media Matters for America, a monitoring group, has noted that Michael Savage, who has the third-most-listened-to show in the nation, said the following on his July 2 broadcast:

“When I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see a Nazi. That’s what I see. How do you like that? A hateful Nazi who would like to cut your throat and kill your children.”

When a woman wears a burqa, said Mr. Savage, “She’s doing it to spit in your face. She’s saying, ‘You white moron, you, I’m going to kill you if I can.’”

That’s what’s already out there. We don’t need national leaders adding fuel to the fires of bigotry by calling for recruits to join in a national dragnet for people who look or sound a certain way.

That kind of insidious leadership helps drive people to irrational fury over neighbors speaking Spanish at a barbecue, or a Muslim co-worker competing for a coveted promotion, or a schoolteacher with a Hispanic surname who gives a failing grade to little Sally.

This country needs to cool it on the immigration front. Solutions to immigration problems need to come from rationally thought-out and compassionate government policies, not a witch hunt by all and sundry.

It was beyond ironic to listen Thursday to Mitt Romney as he went on national television to ask Americans to view his candidacy with a sense of tolerance. “We believe that every single human being is a child of God,” he said. “We are all part of the human family.”

At the same time, Mr. Romney’s political operatives were distributing campaign material (some of it inaccurate) beating up on his opponents for being insufficiently intolerant on the immigration issue.

The U.S. has a chance in this presidential campaign to emulate the best in its history, not the worst. I have a recommendation for anyone who thinks a witch hunt for undocumented immigrants is a good idea:

Don’t go there.

From Mitch in KCMO:

Join us for an open house at our Kansas City office.

Meet our staff, get to know your fellow supporters, and get involved in your community to help Barack win the Democratic nomination:

Here are the details:

Kansas City Office Open House
3911 Main St.
Kansas City, MO 64111

Tuesday, December 11 - Friday, December 14
Sunday, December 16 - Tuesday, December 18

Monday - Friday: 6 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m.

Barack represents change we can believe in, and our movement has more supporters than any other Democratic campaign. People are hungry for a new kind of leadership in this country, and you can help make that happen.

With less than four weeks remaining before the first Democratic primaries and caucuses, now is the time to turn your support into action.

Take the next step and join us at an open house:

Hope to see you soon,


From Anne in Chicago:

good one.

Check out this page:

Thank you,

From Obama campaign:for help in New Hampshire

New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary is 27 days away, and a win for Barack will help build momentum across the country.

You can strengthen our support in New Hampshire and help win this important contest by picking up your phone and inviting supporters throughout New England to canvass in New Hampshire any weekend between now and the primary.

Phonebanking is one of the most effective ways to reach out to other supporters, and by using our campaign's online phonebanking tool, you can get started whenever it's convenient for you.

When you're ready to begin, the online phonebanking tool will provide you with a call script, a list of supporter names and numbers to call, and all the background information you'll need to get started.

Help build this weekend's New Hampshire canvass by calling fellow supporters and asking them to go door-to-door and talk to Granite Staters on Saturday or Sunday:

Thousands of Obama supporters who live in states that border New Hampshire have indicated that they are willing to volunteer for the campaign. This is a chance for you to tell them about a great opportunity to make a difference on the ground.

If you call fifty supporters and five of them canvass this weekend, you will have helped spread Barack's message of change to nearly five hundred New Hampshire voters.

Going door-to-door and talking directly with voters is essential to building our support in New Hampshire. And you can help make that happen.

Use our online phonebanking tool and help spread the word about the canvass this weekend:



Nikki Sutton

From Carolyn in Westchester:

See if your positions on issues jive with your presidential pick so may, or may not, be surprised with the outcome. Filling in the first box w/zip, etc. is not necessary to get the result.

Have fun and Happy Holidays!!

From Judy in Westchester:

Op-Ed Columnist
The Dream Is Dead

The man crowned by Tommy Franks as “the dumbest [expletive] guy on the planet” just made the dumbest [expletive] speech on the planet.

Doug Feith, the former Rummy gofer who drove the neocon plan to get us into Iraq, and then dawdled without a plan as Iraq crashed into chaos, was the headliner at a reunion meeting of the wooly-headed hawks Monday night at the American Enterprise Institute.

The room was packed as the former No. 3 at the Pentagon, previewing his upcoming book, “War and Decision,” conceded that the case could be made that “mistakes were made.” His former boss, Paul Wolfowitz, and the former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle sat supportively in the front row.

But he wasn’t self-flagellating. He was simply trying to put an egghead gloss on his Humpty Dumpty mishegoss.

“At the end of the day, here we are, and as of now there’s a reasonable chance that the country is going to remain united,” he said. Not quite the original boast of democracy cascading through the Middle East.

Feith also inanely noted that his personal view was that his de-Baathification policy — which created a huge, angry pool of unemployed men that fueled the insurgency — “was not basically a big error. It’s been criticized very severely. I think there actually was a lot of good thought that went into the de-Baathification policy.” It just spiralled out of hand, he said. Mistakes were made.

He thinks everything would have been fine if America had not lingered so long in Iraq. If only Paul Bremer and the generals had just turned Iraq over to the slippery con man Feith wanted to put in charge, Ahmad Chalabi.

Asked about getting tough with Iran and Syria, Feith offered this incandescent insight: “As we all know, the president said he’s The Decider. That actually is quite a profound point. The president is The Decider and the main thing he decides about is risk.”

He noted that in battles through American history, “the military fights better over time.” This from a guy who sent our military into Iraq without the right armor, the right force numbers or the right counterinsurgency training.

“A strategic alliance of the ousted Baathists and foreign jihadists was something that our intelligence community did not anticipate,” he said, continuing to spread the blame.

But the intelligence community didn’t miss it. The neocons tried to scrub out that sort of analysis, knowing it would make the war harder to sell.

Classified reports prepared for President Bush in January 2003 by the National Intelligence Council warned that rogue elements of Saddam’s government could hook up with existing terrorist groups to wage guerrilla warfare.

In “Fiasco,” Tom Ricks wrote that Feith’s Pentagon office was dubbed the “black hole” of policy by generals watching him drop the ball.

“People working for Feith complained that he would spend hours tweaking their memos, carefully mulling minor points of grammar,” Ricks wrote. “A Joint Staff officer recalled angrily that at one point troops sat on a runway for hours, waiting to leave the United States on a mission, while he quibbled about commas in the deployment order.”

Jay Garner, America’s first viceroy in Iraq, deemed him “incredibly dangerous” and said his “electrons aren’t connected.”

Feith’s disdain for diplomacy and his credo that weakness invites aggression were shaped, Ricks reported, by personal history: “Like Wolfowitz, Feith came from a family devastated by the Holocaust. His father lost both parents, three brothers, and four sisters to the Nazis.”

Feith told Jeffrey Goldberg in The New Yorker that “My family got wiped out by Hitler, and ... all this stuff about working things out — well, talking to Hitler to resolve the problem didn’t make any sense to me. The kind of people who put bumper stickers on their car that declare that ‘War is not the answer,’ are they making a serious comment? What’s the answer to Pearl Harbor? What’s the answer to the Holocaust?”

What’s the answer to bin Laden? According to Feith, it was an attack on an unrelated dictator. He oversaw the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, whose mission was to amp up links between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

It defies reason, but there are still some who think the chuckleheads who orchestrated the Iraq misadventure have wisdom to impart.

The Pentagon neocons dumped Condi Rice out of the loop. Yet, according to Newsweek’s Mike Isikoff, Condi has now offered Wolfie a job. It wasn’t enough that he trashed Iraq and the World Bank. (He’s still larking around town with Shaha, the sweetheart he gave the sweetheart deal to.)

Condi wants Wolfie to advise her on nuclear proliferation and W.M.D. as part of a State Department panel that has access to highly classified intelligence.

Once you’ve helped distort W.M.D. intelligence to trick the country into war, shouldn’t you be banned for life from ever having another top-level government post concerning W.M.D.?

The Shame is Ours

“A Shameful Presidential Threat”

Since George W. Bush is the most shameful person to ever occupy the Oval Office, his threat to veto this critically important legislation is no surprise at all. Mr. Bush still clings to the image of the power he had after 9/11, and seems to see his place in history as a giant blur. He is quoted as saying, “I can’t tell how history will treat my presidency because we’ll all be dead by then.”

If there has been a defining mark of the Bush/Cheney years it is their lack of any sense of responsibility for the environment, or for anything else for that matter, unless it was to further line the pockets of their already super-rich friends. The compromise worked out by both parties on the Energy Bill is far from perfect, but it is essential to move away from the Bush policies of environmental destruction and set the stage for the next President to move forward with even better ideas for U.S. energy independence. If Bush vetoes this legislation it is up to the Congress to override his veto and send Mr. Bush this clear message: We’re for the environment, and to prove it we’re going to plant a Bush back in Texas!

Henry A. Lowenstein

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From Anne in Chicago:

These are too funny. I want to be "commander guy" too! I guess it's better than being the decider.

It’s that time when everyone has their top ten lists for the year.

The Dumbest Things President Bush Said in 2007 By Daniel Kurtzmanoii
10. “And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it.” –interview on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007

9. “I fully understand those who say you can’t win this thing militarily. That’s exactly what the United States military says, that you can’t win this military.” –on the need for political progress in Iraq, Washington, D.C., Oct. 17, 2007

8. “One of my concerns is that the health care not be as good as it can possibly be.” –on military benefits, Tipp City, Ohio, April 19, 2007

7. “Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your introduction. Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit.” –addressing Australian Prime Minister John Howard at the APEC Summit. Later, in the same speech: “As John Howard accurately noted when he went to thank the Austrian troops there last year…” –referring to Australian troops as “Austrian troops,” Sept. 7, 2007

6. “My relationship with this good man is where I’ve been focused, and that’s where my concentration is. And I don’t regret any other aspect of it. And so I — we filled a lot of space together.” –on British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Washington, D.C., May 17, 2007

5. “You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 — 1976.” –to Queen Elizabeth, Washington, D.C., May 7, 2007 (Watch video clip)

4. “The question is, who ought to make that decision? The Congress or the commanders? And as you know, my position is clear — I’m a Commander Guy.” –deciding he is no longer just “The Decider,” Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007 (Watch video clip)

3. “Information is moving — you know, nightly news is one way, of course, but it’s also moving through the blogosphere and through the Internets.” –Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007

2. “There are some similarities, of course (between Iraq and Vietnam). Death is terrible.” –Tipp City, Ohio, April 19, 2007

1. “As yesterday’s positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.” –on the No Child Left Behind Act, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2007 (Watch video clip)

From Hank in NYC:

Please post this for me. Thanks & love, Hank

From: Hank
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 8:39 AM
To: ''
Subject: To The Editor

“Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Pitch in Iowa: “I Love the ‘90’s” – Editorial Observer – December 12, 2007

I love Bill Clinton, and I believe that there might be a time when Hillary would be a good President, but this is not the time, and the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are starting to get the message. Mr. Clinton’s musings about the ‘90’s, while entertaining and heartfelt, are not what America needs to focus on in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Barrack Obama is the antidote for the poisoned political morass we find ourselves in after seven plus years of the Bush presidency. We can not afford the luxury of looking back, and we certainly can’t continue with the same old, same old politics of the ‘90’s either. Senator Clinton brings much to the table as a candidate, but she brings discord and tons of baggage with her as well. Senator Obama will be the Bill Clinton of the new century. He is just as smart as the former President, just as compassionate, and a clear thinker with a vision and a plan for what America should, and could be under his leadership.

From Marilyn in NYC: The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush from Vanity Fair

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush
The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy. A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup.
by Joseph E. Stiglitz December 2007 The American economy can take a lot of abuse, but no economy is invincible. Illustration by Edward Sorel.

When we look back someday at the catastrophe that was the Bush administration, we will think of many things: the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the erosion of civil liberties. The damage done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page.

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands—or so he says—that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have on his watch become more deeply dependent on both.

Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle “worst president” when it comes to stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hoover’s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with, and struggling with, the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.

Remember the Surplus?
The world was a very different place, economically speaking, when George W. Bush took office, in January 2001. During the Roaring 90s, many had believed that the Internet would transform everything. Productivity gains, which had averaged about 1.5 percent a year from the early 1970s through the early 90s, now approached 3 percent. During Bill Clinton’s second term, gains in manufacturing productivity sometimes even surpassed 6 percent. The Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, spoke of a New Economy marked by continued productivity gains as the Internet buried the old ways of doing business. Others went so far as to predict an end to the business cycle. Greenspan worried aloud about how he’d ever be able to manage monetary policy once the nation’s debt was fully paid off.

This tremendous confidence took the Dow Jones index higher and higher. The rich did well, but so did the not-so-rich and even the downright poor. The Clinton years were not an economic Nirvana; as chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers during part of this time, I’m all too aware of mistakes and lost opportunities. The global-trade agreements we pushed through were often unfair to developing countries. We should have invested more in infrastructure, tightened regulation of the securities markets, and taken additional steps to promote energy conservation. We fell short because of politics and lack of money—and also, frankly, because special interests sometimes shaped the agenda more than they should have. But these boom years were the first time since Jimmy Carter that the deficit was under control. And they were the first time since the 1970s that incomes at the bottom grew faster than those at the top—a benchmark worth celebrating.

By the time George W. Bush was sworn in, parts of this bright picture had begun to dim. The tech boom was over. The nasdaq fell 15 percent in the single month of April 2000, and no one knew for sure what effect the collapse of the Internet bubble would have on the real economy. It was a moment ripe for Keynesian economics, a time to prime the pump by spending more money on education, technology, and infrastructure—all of which America desperately needed, and still does, but which the Clinton administration had postponed in its relentless drive to eliminate the deficit. Bill Clinton had left President Bush in an ideal position to pursue such policies. Remember the presidential debates in 2000 between Al Gore and George Bush, and how the two men argued over how to spend America’s anticipated $2.2 trillion budget surplus? The country could well have afforded to ramp up domestic investment in key areas. In fact, doing so would have staved off recession in the short run while spurring growth in the long run.

But the Bush administration had its own ideas. The first major economic initiative pursued by the president was a massive tax cut for the rich, enacted in June of 2001. Those with incomes over a million got a tax cut of $18,000—more than 30 times larger than the cut received by the average American. The inequities were compounded by a second tax cut, in 2003, this one skewed even more heavily toward the rich. Together these tax cuts, when fully implemented and if made permanent, mean that in 2012 the average reduction for an American in the bottom 20 percent will be a scant $45, while those with incomes of more than $1 million will see their tax bills reduced by an average of $162,000...(Read rest on line) at