Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Ordinarily, we think of Hanukah or Christmas as a time to help others. Unexpectedly, we've found an opportunity in Halloween.
Each Halloween our urban neighborhood is swamped with guests from surrounding, lower-income neighborhoods. What a genuine thrill it is for Bill and I to buy tons of treats (500+) and items for our little door-to-door trick-or-treaters.
These precious little ones have a safe time and just beam with joy over Halloween treats. Bill and I decorate the front yard and pump music out of our attic that can be heard from a block away.
Despite the conservative views, who would have thought that something that appears so evil...is actually so good...
Here are a few snapshots of our Halloween night 2007 (Wednesday) ... casket and all...
Keep being a light,
Chris(Matthews) hates her. But more important, nobody mentioned much about Kucinich - who gets far less air time and was discredited by a sadistic question at the end about Shirley MacLaine's book saying he saw a UFO and that it gave him some spiritual experience. That was such a low blow that I will blog about it today if I have time. He spoke of impeachment, of national medicare, and he called them on their "red line" words as heating up beat for war.
I can't believe I'm writing all this. Time to get ready to interpret - after listening, of course. Obama's style is one of listening and contemplation - he would be a great philosopher king, but seemed far from presidential. Maybe I've watched too much TV........I liked his insistence on listening, and I liked his confidence a lot. But it was only Kucinich who confronted the questioners - and Dodd, now that I remember. And Biden too. About Pakistan and complexity.....
My friend David has been asking me for a long time to set up an official blog. I have resisted it because I really don't know what I am doing. All this time, since our coming together as a team for Kerry-Edwards, I have been serving as a resource for those of you who wanted to remain connected with like minded and caring people . It seems that the group has tapered off a bit and yet I haven't heard from any of you who want to be taken off the list which I ask from time to time. So, I thought this would be an interesting experiment and here we go. From now on I am hoping you will send articles and information that you think others would find interesting and informative to the blog as well as raise issues that are concerning to you.
Here is the way to go to the bolg that is called The Sunny Side (Political News for the Friends of Progressive Government)
Just go to http://progressivegovernment.blogspot.com/ and make comments. I have signed you all in as people who can use the site and if you have any problems please write me at Sunnyg45@aol.com or email@example.com . I have been working on this the last few weeks and trying to iron out all the bugs. I am going to send you my dear and patient friend David's input and help with all my difficulties. However, before I do I want to say thank you to Hank, Kathy from MO , Justy , Ed and Anne, those of you who dove right in and began talking to each other and sending wonderful information. It is all there and categorized as my friend Joe from GA says,"I think you want to go with David's suggestion. It will store and organize all of your old posts so that you have an archive and a place to find all of your writing, organized and searchable and navigable by date or category. You'll find it even easier than email in no time! " I don't know but it is getting easier and more exciting day by day. I find myself going to the site quite often and reading and catching up on the debates and the issues and things from people I really have grown to care about and trust, and that is you guys.
So here it goes, I am passing on all info I have been accumulating from David the originator of this site for the last few weeks of my mess ups. Thanks for bearing with me David,and please join us in this exciting political time. Of course, if you don't want to that is your prerogative but I love clicking on comment, in case you couldn't tell and think you will too!
Love from The Sunnyside moving on up to progressivegovernment.blogspot.com
From David in trying to help me with the blog, the whole long ordeal but I learned!!!:
If they want to comment just go to the blog
progressivegovernment.blogspot.com and go to the upper right corner
and select "new post". Easy as sending an email, and faster since the
post is immediate instead of you having to do the legwork.
To place a comment, you go to the
bottom of the post and click on "Comments". Then you enter your text
and click on "Publish your Comment". Did you try that? I just
entered a comment for this article and now under the article it says
"1 Comment ....David Tussey".
Okay. Try this.
1. Go to blogger.com
2. If not logged in, log in
3. Click on "Settings"
4. Click on "Permissions"
5. Click on "Add Authors"
6. Enter the emails of the people you want to be able to add content
(I think you can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas),
and then send them an Invite.
See if that works. Is this what you wanted to do?, i.e. allow more
people to post?
On 10/29/07, Sunnyg45@aol.com
> I am trying so hard! Just confused on how to get people signed on and
> comfortable with the new process.
Looking great. I'll have usage figures for you each day (every 24 hrs). later I'll show you how to get those. Will be fun to see who reads the posts and from where. Also, we can work on getting broader distribution of your Blog.
I do hope people get in the habit of posting themselves, either an article, or a comment to an article. That would, I think be so much easier on you, and disseminate the information more quickly. Please let me know if anyone has such problems.
The reasons I want to help you on this, is I believe greatly in the message and want to get it to millions. Seriously.
so we're in this together, and can surely make a little blog succeed! :-) David
On 10/25/07, Sunnyg45@aol.com
You have been so patient and great. Thanks David and I hope it works. After I learn more about it I think it will be fun.I am learning to just go to http://progressivegovernment.blogspot.com/ and it pops up.
go to http://progressivegovernment.blogspot.com/ and make comments. I added a link to "Obama for President". It's easy to add links. You go to "customize layout", "add page element"...and there is a page element called "Link List". You open that and add-in the web site address. There's just the one now, but you could add others, such as " draftalgore.com" or whatever. ;-)
The postings look great.
All right. I entered most of them. There are some bad email addresses in this group, and a bunch do not have emails, they're just aliases. To add these, you'll need to find their emails
and then go to the blog and select "Settings" and "Permissions" and paste their emails into the text field. Then hit "Invite".
They'll get an email like this:
The Blogger user SunnyG has invited you to contribute to the private blog: The Sunny Side.
To contribute to this blog, visit:
You'll need to sign in with a Google Account to confirm the invitation and start posting to this blog. If you don't have a Google Account yet, we'll show you how to get one in minutes.
To learn more about Blogger and starting your own free blog visit http://www.blogger.com.
I sent Hank and invitation to be an Editor on your blog. Guess you can do this under "Settings...Permissions". You can send out many invitations for people to write articles on your blog, which may be what you want. Give it a try.
Still beats you have to collate all the emails, I think.
Yes...but you can do this yourself. Go to your blog, sign in, and make a new post. I'll do this one, and look how it goes.
You send an email to your group that says...."I am posting on my blog, progressivegovernment.blogspot.com. Please go there and submit comments".
They do not need to send anything to you anymore, and you don't have to distribute it anymore. They can post their comments directly to the blog, and everyone can go to the blog and read everyone's comments. And you don't have to be the person in the middle.
Here's how a Blog works.
1) The owner of the blog (you) makes a post. You do this by going to blogger.com and logging in. Then you can "Create a post".
2) Other readers comment on your post. They do this by reading the blog at progressivegovernment.blogspot.com and clicking on the "Comment" tag at the end of the article. They don't send emails to the blog. They go to the blog and post a comment to an article that you have posted. This way the comments are associated with a particular article, and they're indexed, and archived..
Does this help? The Kay Barnes article is posted.
On 10/22/07, Sunnyg45@aol.com < Sunnyg45@aol.com> wrote:
I don't know how to organize it. I just tried to post some new stuff and two got on but the newest about Kay Barnes event didn't. How do I send out to let people know I am doing this?Do they send direct to blog now. I like it but so many questions.
So your blog is at http://progressivegovernment.blogspot.com/
You're the blog owner, so you can make posts, and other people make comments. Right now, the comments are open to your blog group from before. It's pretty easy to "add a post". Give it a try.
And the way friends view your posts, besides going to the web site http://progressivegovernment.blogspot.com/ anytime they want, is to scroll to the bottom and subscribe to the "Post". This will set up a feed for "The Sunny Side" that is updated daily. You can read the feed by clicking on the little orange square that typically appears in the browser, or the "Feeds" tab in favorites (sounds harder than it is).
So give it a try. There is a bit of a learning curve, so I'll be here to help you out. Oh...and you can certainly change your profile or picture, color, theme, etc. Just go to "layout" or "edit profile". You'll see.
On 10/21/07, Sunnyg45@aol.com
Wow, you are something else. It is so neat but scary and will I be able to do it. You can walk me through and we can try it why not. Just got amazing article from LA friend I'll send you!
In reading blogs this morning, I ran across this piece by Steve Kirsch that he wrote in September of this year. He analyzes and compares the top three Dem candidates: Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. He gets into interesting points about their stands on various issues, past and present, and discusses their electability. I have pasted below the main points of his analysis here. You can read the whole article and how he reached these conclusions at:
It is rather lengthy but interesting. I have to say, I am leaning more and more towards John Edwards as the best bet for our Dem nominee. He seems to have more clearcut plans for issues like the war, health care, and climate change. He also has a real concern for the issues of the poor and middle class. I know that I will ruffle feathers with Obama and Hillary fans. However, I think we need to nominate someone who will represent us and will also be electable in the general election. The Dems cannot afford to lose the presidency again in 2008! We have to end the war in Iraq, get our standing back in the world, repair our shredded Constitution, and start addressing the urgent domestic needs that have been so neglected since 2000. This will not happen under another Republican administration no matter who their candidate is!
Food for thought.
Who would make the best President?
By Steve Kirsch
September 6, 2007
Before the 2000 Presidential election, I published an analysis of George Bush which urged people not to vote for Bush because he would be a disaster as President since he had a track record of ignoring facts, ignoring science, and twisting the facts to support his misguided beliefs. Even though the evidence was there for everyone to see, most people don't look beyond the sound bites and nobody else predicted this. As everyone now knows, I was right on the money with my prediction.
I decided to do a similar in-depth analysis of the top 3 Democratic candidates for President for this election. You'll be surprised at what I found. I sure was. When I started the research, I was undecided. A month later it was obvious that the evidence consistently showed that was one very clear standout among the top 3 candidates.
My methodology was the same as I used in 2000, i.e., if you want to know the truth about these candidates, you have to look beyond the surface. You must look at the facts that they are not telling you. Those hidden facts paint a very consistent picture for each candidate.
- She's been talking about the need for universal health care for more than 15 years, but as of September 6, 2007, she hadn't proposed a universal health plan! If she can't even come up with a proposal after 15 years of working on this issue, then how do you think she's going to perform on other important issues? At best, things are going to get done very slowly, if at all, under her administration because it takes her too long to decide what she is going to do. Even if she later introduces a health care plan, you still have to ask yourself...why did it her take more than 15 years to do this when her competitors are able to do it in just months? One of her supporters told me that she knows what she wants to do, but she is afraid of being crushed by the special interests if she unveiled it now. When I pointed out that the other candidates did not get crushed and true leaders are not afraid of criticism (i.e., real leaders have courage), I was told that it was a non-issue because all the candidates are in favor of universal healthcare and the real issue is their ability to get something done. Well, OK, but I'm baffled as to how you get stuff done if you are too afraid of talking about what you think should be done. Just one day later I was told by the same person who gave me all those excuses that she would be announcing her policy next Monday on September 17. But the real questions will still be "why did it take so long" and "why did your people give out excuses that changed from day to day, none of which were true" (since if those excuses I was told were true, she never would have announced her plan)? Now that it is announced, it is not that different from the plan that John Edwards introduced months ago. Many people, including NY Times columnist Paul Krugman have pointed out that the Edwards and Clinton plans are extremely similar. Krugman wrote, "Still, she did deliver a plan, and it's as strong as the Edwards plan ... the Clinton plan basically is the Edwards plan." Here's an article from MyDD entitled "Hillary Endorses Edwards' Health Care Plan" which points out that her health care plan isn't substantially different from Edwards other than it took her 7 months longer (with a 15 year head start) to get there.
- She is afraid to tell people where she stands and ask people to follow her. Look at her Iraq vote on May 24, 2007. She refused to tell anyone how she would vote before the vote. I thought the point was to get out of Iraq. Why didn't she tell everyone before the vote that she was going to vote against giving Bush a blank check on the war? What was she afraid of? Where is the courage of her convictions? And if she really wanted to end the war, then why didn't she urge any of her supporters to call their Senators to urge them to vote "No"? I know why because I asked her that question myself. She said she wanted to avoid the "media frenzy." But a real leader would welcome the publicity because she would be able to get her message out to a broader audience. Instead of asking her supporters to help end the war (like Edwards was doing), she was instead emailing them asking them what they thought her campaign theme song should be. Her failure of leadership on this critical issue is one reason why the Senate failed to stop the Iraq war. Obama didn't speak out either. This has nothing to do with the fact they are Senators and running for President because the other Senators who were running for President did speak out. This incident is a clear demonstration of a lack of courage and poor leadership judgment. And this wasn't just a minor issue. This is THE #1 issue for Americans. So if she's not going to be a leader or have courage on this issue, why should we believe it will happen on other issues?
- Clinton voted against the Kerry-Feingold Amendment in 2006. That amendment would have set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.
- Clinton endorsed Lieberman in the Connecticut primary. Lieberman has been one of the few pro-Iraq war Democrats.
- Mark Penn is both her pollster and her chief policy advisor. This is a very telling indicator. It is saying that she is a follower of public opinion, rather than a leader. Do you think Bush takes public opinion polls before he decides his positions? Of course not. He makes decisions based on his judgment as to what is best for America (too bad he has incredibly poor judgment). You cannot be a follower of public opinion and do what is best for America. For example, The US must take a leadership role in global warming. That means we need a President who is going to recognize what needs to be done and is going to go out and actually change public opinion in order to accomplish it . That's what leadership is all about and she hasn't got it. She's never going to ask you to change your mind, even when it is in the public's best interest. Do you recall her ever doing that? Her global warming leadership is non-existent. She's a reluctant follower. There is nothing in her energy policy that "pushes the envelope." Zero. She doesn't even have any goals for global warming. Yikes! The most important issue of all time and she doesn't have any measurable greenhouse gas reduction goals beyond the same "80% by 2050" goal that everyone talks about? She's not going to be around in 2050. She needs an emissions reduction goal to accomplish during her term. There isn't one.
- Like Bush, she has a perfectionist complex and cannot admit she made a mistake. She has never apologized for her Iraq vote. If she doesn't admit mistakes, then just like Bush, our country will be locked in to her mistakes. We will be told to "stay the course" on obvious mistakes (like Iraq) because otherwise, it would be an admission that she made a mistake and she cannot do that. This is extremely dangerous.
- Collaborative? Privately, I've talked to several people who meet with her and they tell me she doesn't listen.
- She is not a believer in government transparency when it applies to her. For example, during her health care program in 1993 was done in secret meetings. It was a huge failure. Has she changed? Apparently not. Look how she responded to the most important crisis of her campaign, the donations from Norman Hsu, one of her top fundraisers and a convicted criminal. When the press broke the story, The New York Times reported on September 12 that Clinton refused to respond to requests from the press to release the names of the 260 donors that Hsu had recruited to the campaign. Is this the type of "open government" you want where when a scandal breaks, the President will withhold information from the press. Why? What is she afraid of? Why shouldn't the press be allowed to investigate? The answer is that Clinton's reputation is more important than the public's right to know the truth about what happened here. Open government? I don't think so.
- Because she is a follower, her policies on the top issues are weak to non-existent. Her health care plan was non-existent until just recently. Her global warming plan is so weak that it doesn't even talk about limiting the construction of new coal plants, something that is critical if we want to reduce our emissions. In short, she refuses to adopt even the most basic policy steps to keep the problem from getting worse. We're not even talking about steps to make it better. She won't even do the things required to keep the problem from getting worse! What kind of leadership is that?
- In August, John Edwards asked Senator Clinton to join him in taking the Democratic Party on the first step towards real reform—to become the first party to refuse and reject the money of Washington lobbyists. She refused. She thinks it is just fine to take money from lobbyists and got loudly booed at the Kos conference for saying that.
- Environmentalists who have met with her privately tell me she understands the importance and the urgency of the global warming problem, but she, like her husband, is simply unwilling to actually take the steps necessary to tackle the problem.
- On the "gold standard" climate change bill in the Senate, she signed as a co-sponsor 4 months after the bill was introduced and after 12 other Senators signed on. Global warming is the most important issue in our lifetimes. This is simply yet another confirming example that she's not a leader; she's a follower. And to make things worse, she signed on to the bill silently with not even a press release. How do you lead people to follow you if you take positions only after it is safe and even then are afraid to tell them what positions you are taking?
- People close to her tell me she thinks like a Senator, not like a President. She thinks about how to change her policies in order to get the votes she needs when she should be thinking about how to get people to change their minds to support what needs to be done. Contrast that with Bush; Bush decides what needs to be done, then convinces Congress he's right (even when he isn't) and to support him (even when they shouldn't). Too bad Bush always makes terrible decisions. But at least he makes decisions and gets others to follow. Clinton does the opposite; she lets others determine what she can do.
- Can you think of anything that got done with respect to global warming when Bill Clinton was President? He had 8 years to do something and he had a Vice President (Al Gore) who knew the issue. Can you recall one thing he got done? I can't. They didn't even raise fuel economy standards by 1 mile per gallon. They wouldn't send the Kyoto treaty to the Senate for ratification. So what action did Hillary take in the past that makes you think Hillary will be a more effective President than Bill on this critical issue?
- I have no problem whatsoever with a woman President. If Senator Barbara Boxer were running for President, she'd have my vote in a heartbeat. Why? Because Boxer always stands up for, fights for, and is a leader for the public interest. Boxer takes courageous stances all the time, often alone. I know this because I've seen it first hand on a bill that she and I worked on where she was the only member of the Senate willing to stand up for the public interest. Then she convinces others to change their minds. But Senator Clinton isn't in the same leadership class. A leader would never have acted the way she did on the Iraq funding vote I described above. Never.
- Could I be wrong about her? I think it is very unlikely. Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government, has said that global warming is the biggest problem that civilization has ever been confronted with. That's a pretty strong statement. He didn't say it was just a problem or that it is the biggest problem today. He said it is the biggest problem ever. That's "ever" as in "for all time." And he's absolutely right about that based on the research I've done into climate change. So how does Clinton respond to this problem? Well, she has no goal in her plan. She's has strategies, but she has not articulated a goal in her plan, it's just strategies: she's going to put in place a cap-and-trade system, a Strategic Energy Fund, and a few other things. There is nothing in her plan that says what greenhouse gas reduction goals she wants to achieve by 2020 and beyond. Every leader knows that specific measurable goals are the hallmark of leadership. To not have specific measurable goals for the most important problem facing our civilization is unacceptable. How can you put together a plan if you can't articulate what the goal should be? Also, I know for sure she knows that the lack of a specific goal is an issue with her policy because I wrote her a memo about it and she told me herself she read my memo. So not only should she have done it on her own, but having been brought to her specific attention, still nothing happens. Nor does she address the transportation sector at all in her plan. Power generation and transportation are the two biggest emission sources. How can you be silent about transportation? And she's not even come out and said "no new coal plants without sequestration." I don't have a clue how you can possibly save the planet and still continue to do things that make the problem worse. Clinton never explains that. Of course, when there are no goals, there is no accountability, so she doesn't have to explain anything. We simply cannot elect a leader in 2008 who doesn't articulate specific goals on greenhouse gas reduction. There are plenty of other candidates for President who have clearly articulated specific measurable goals for greenhouse gas reductions and plans that are aligned with meeting the goals. Please do yourself and the rest of humanity a favor and pick one of them to support.
- She signed on to the weaker McCain-Lieberman climate bill on 1/26/07. That was 10 days after 10 other Senators signed on to the Sanders-Boxer bill. In short, Clinton knew about both bills, but she chose only to co-sponsor the weaker bill rather than the gold-standard Sanders-Boxer bill that has environmentalists unanimously cheering. Then, more than 3 months later, she signs on to the "gold standard" Sanders-Boxer bill and she now touts her support of Sanders-Boxer in interviews as proof she is tough on climate change. But nobody has pointed out the interesting timing so the press has never asked her on why, on January 26, 2007, with both bills on the table, she chose only to co-sponsor the weaker bill and then, more than 3 months later that she suddenly signs onto Sanders-Boxer which had not changed at all since introduction! Hard to explain that one, isn't it? I have an explanation: Obama signed on just a few hours before she did. Think that was just an amazing coincidence? The bottom line is we need a President who is tough on climate change; not someone who follows the herd.
- Grist.org agrees. They said this about her climate change plan: "dutifully toes the Democratic line on climate change...vague on the details...Where she mentions specific solutions, she tends to focus on "clean coal" and ethanol...Clinton is ...not out front." I can guarantee you this: clean coal is at least a decade away according to one of our top climate change experts (Jim Hansen). I can also guarantee that every climate expert I've talked with says we need to take serious action right now. Her emphasis to solve the problem now is to wait for decades and hope that technologies will be available in the future. We need to solve the problem now, not in decades. And there are great technologies available right now. Today, California doesn't rely on coal; it's illegal! Clinton will not lead this country to energy independence and her failure to emphasize and deploy technologies we have to today to reduce our emissions will lead to irreversible climate change consequences. Ask any climate change expert; they'll tell you the exact same thing.
- Polls show that Clinton's core support comes from people with less education. The more educated you are, the more likely you are to prefer Edwards and Obama. There's a reason for that. The Daily Kos poll on 10/22/07 had Edwards at 4112, Obama at 2164, and Clinton at 1218.
- On September 26, 2007, she voted in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment on Iran which essentially gives the Bush administration authorization to take military action against Iran. This of course risks starting yet another war. All of Clinton's opponents voted the opposite way (except Obama who did not vote).
- Obama talks a great game. He's very inspirational speaker. If he really walked the talk, I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. But the problem is that when you do the research on his legislation, and when you analyze his response to some very telling questions, you come away disappointed. Really disappointed. Based on what I uncovered, I think it's far more likely that he'd get little done and could even make some really important problems that we have worse (such as global warming).
- Think he wants to end the war in Iraq? He sure talks tough. I just got a mailing from his campaign that says, "I opposed this war from the beginning. I opposed the war in 2002. I opposed it in 2003. I opposed it in 2004. I opposed it in 2005. I opposed it in 2006. And I introduced a plan this January to remove all of our combat brigades by March 2008." It sure sounds convincing, doesn't it? It sure does if you don't do your homework! What he hoping you'll never find out is that according to Wikipedia, "Obama sponsored 152 bills and resolutions brought before the 109th Congress in 2005 and 2006, and cosponsored another 427." None of these were related to ending the war in Iraq. Additionally, "once Obama got to Washington [in 2005], he made only one Senate speech on Iraq." . The full analysis has even more examples of his lack of interest in ending the Iraq war. If he is such a great leader, why didn't he actually do something about it? It's easy to have opinions and do nothing.
- Like Clinton, Obama voted against the Kerry-Feingold Amendment in 2006 that would have set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. So he brags he introduced a plan in 2007 that would set a timetable for withdrawal. But when he had a chance back in 2006 to vote for such a time table for withdrawal, he voted against it! See the full analysis for details (search for Kerry-Feingold). OK, so why doesn't he explain why he wasn't for a timetable then, but is for it now?
- A President Obama wouldn't be much different than President Bush with respect to removing troops from Iraq. CNN reported that Obama announced his plan for reducing troops on September 12 in Clinton, Iowa. Obama would withdraw troops "at a pace of one or two brigades every month." So it could take as much as 10 months under Obama's plan just to reduce the troops to pre-surge levels. That's not much faster than the rate that President Bush wants to withdraw the troops (reduce to pre-surge levels in 10 months). Contrast that with what Senator Clinton would do (she didn't say), or with what Edwards would do (immediately withdraw 40,000 to 50,000 troops).
- Obama endorsed Lieberman in the Connecticut primary. Lieberman has been one of the few pro-Iraq war Democrats.
- Like Clinton, when the vote to whether to continue to fund the Iraq war came up, he refused to tell people how he would vote before the vote. Instead of urging his supporters to tell their members of Congress to vote against giving Bush a blank check to fund the war, he instead asked them help organize a walk to support his campaign. Obama's failure of leadership on this critical issue is a key reason why the Senate failed to stop the Iraq war.
- Obama was the head of the "Coal to Liquids" caucus in the Senate. This is a technique for turning coal into gasoline and diesel. The problem is that it makes global warming far worse if you do this. Environmental groups kept pointing this out to him and he kept ignoring them and not changing his opinion. I talked to one prominent leader who approached him on this issue and Obama just smiled and walked away. He only recently modified his position but it took a long long time for him to do that. If he really wants to end global warming, he'd never have taken a position like this that was opposed by every single environmental group. So why did he do it? He ways it's because we have a lot of coal in our country so we should use it. But that's stupid and dangerous. The key problems we need to solve are energy independence and global warming and you can solve both problems without Coal to Liquids. That's what he should be looking at. He should look at what solutions are available and pick the solutions that solve the problems we face at the lowest cost. So his decision making process is flawed and he clearly is not afraid to ignore the advice of environmental groups and instead heed the advice of the coal lobby. So we have a bad decision maker who lacks leadership skills and sides with the special interests rather than the public interest. That makes him a worse choice than Clinton.
- Some people told me Obama supports coal because his home state is a coal state. But Obama is running for President, not Senator. You simply cannot advocate a position that can result in the destruction of humanity in less than 100 years for short term economic advantage of a single state. That's an irresponsible position for a candidate for President to take. It would mean thumbing our noses at the EU countries which are willing to make dramatic cuts if the US is willing to join them. What kind of leadership is that? And for what gain? So he can preserve his support in Illinois?
- Virtually all of the legislation he has proposed is a zero. He talks about compromise to get things done and his bills reflect that. The problem is that the reason both sides agree is that neither side has to change. So in his "Health for Hybrids" bill, he's willing to pay the healthcare costs for US auto makers, but he's unwilling to require them to produce more hybrids or improve their fuel economy. He just requires that the fuel economy not get worse. That's not forward progress. It's spending billions of taxpayer dollars to get nothing done. He's simply betting that nobody is going to actually read the legislation. The full analysis talks in detail about this bill and his other bills. It's the same story. There are so many escape clauses in his bills that nobody has to change. For example, on another bill, his bill to raise fuel economy standards, the Sierra Club's analysis of Obama's bill concluded that is was virtually useless. Is that what we need in this country? A President who proposes legislation that gets nothing done?
- I confirmed my conclusion that he's not a leader when he responded to a question I asked him at one of his events. I asked him why it took him 4 months to sign on to Sanders-Boxer, the "gold standard" climate change bill. He said there were two reasons: 1) he was already signed on to the (weaker) McCain-Lieberman bill and 2) he didn't think Sanders-Boxer could pass and he doesn't sign on to bills if it is only symbolic. In other words, he just told me point blank to my face: "I AM NOT A LEADER on climate change issues." You see, a real leader takes a stand in the public interest and then works hard to shift opinion to supporting that stand. A real leader would recognize this bill as the most important bill in the Senate and sign on immediately and then he'd go around and try to convince other Senators of the importance of the bill and encourage them to sign on. In short, leaders take positions, then convince others. Instead, Obama left the all leadership to Senator Boxer. And he signed on silently. No press release. He's never even emailed his supporters to ask them to urge their Senators to co-sponsor this critical bill. He still hasn't. So the most important issue that civilization has ever faced, global warming, is just not important to him.
- Like Clinton, he signed on to the Sanders-Boxer bill after a dozen Senators had already signed on. If you are serious about being a leader global warming, you don't wait 4 months on a bill supported by every major environmental group and called the "gold standard" of climate change bills. And if you do sign on, you don't sign on silently like he did.
- Can you name one thing that Obama has accomplished that impressed you?
- Edwards is the most electable Democrat, i.e., polls show consistently that he wins by the widest margin against all likely Republican challengers. For example, see John Edwards Does It Again and An Ohio electability boost for Edwards. This is reason enough alone to vote for him. Democrats, if they thought about it for a second, should vote for the candidate who has the best chance of beating any Republican, rather than the Democrat that they "prefer" the most. That candidate is Edwards. He's our best shot at winning the White House. So unless you know something about Edwards that makes him completely unacceptable to you, if you want to ensure Democratic control of the White House, supporting Edwards is your best bet. From Rasmussen Reports:
- Rasmussen Reports on September 14, 2007 concludes: "When the views of all voters are considered, all of the candidates earn mixed reviews. Edwards has the highest favorables among all candidates at the moment with 51%." Note that is candidates from both parties and voters from all parties. So Edwards is the most electable. Look at that report very carefully. Look at the margins of victory for Clinton vs. Giuliani and Clinton v. Thompson. Then look at the same number for Edwards vs. those same top Republicans. See how the margin of victory is greater if the Democrats nominate Edwards than Clinton? For the greatest chance of winning the White House, Edwards is the Democrat's best choice.
- Look at the favorable/unfavorable ratings of each candidate over time below (the latest is in bold). We should nominate the candidate with the highest favorable and the lowest unfavorable. Edwards wins on both. He has the highest favorable and the lowest unfavorable:Hillary Clinton 49/48 50/48 45/54 47/50 49/49 49/49 49/50Barack Obama 48/45 48/42 47/45 50/43 46/47 49/45 47/45John Edwards 54/39 52/42 49/46 48/44 52/41 52/41 51/41
- He's a leader. Look at the same Iraq war funding vote for example example. While the other two candidates voted silently and refused to tell people where they stood on whether to fund the war in Iraq, Edwards was repeatedly urging his followers to tell their Members of Congress to vote against giving Bush the money to keep the war going. Edwards was outspoken in his opposition to the war and the need to cut the funding. The other two candidates were silent. It is a stunning example of the huge leadership difference between Edwards and the other two top candidates. If you want someone who will lead us out of Iraq, Edwards should be your choice.
- He's the boldest on the issues. Unlike for the other candidates, his proposals can actually achieve the goals he talks about. Contrast that with Clinton where she is afraid to communicate her plans.
- Edwards said that the first day he is sworn in, he will submit legislation to the Congress that says that if they don't pass Universal health care by July 20th, then the President, the Congress and all appointees will lose their health care. Know any other candidate who has the guts to do that? This way, Members of Congress will get a chance to experience what 45 million Americans experience.
- First candidate to call for an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
- First candidate to make his campaign carbon neutral.
- Edwards won the MoveOn TownHall on climate change with 33% of the total vote. This is twice as many votes as his nearest opponent.
- Grist.org says Edward's plan on climate change is "far and away the strongest, most comprehensive climate and energy plan among the three Democratic front-runners"
- He has a plan for universal healthcare. Obama doesn't. Clinton does, but it's a copy of Edwards' plan.
- Unlike Clinton and Obama, he was in favor of the Kerry-Feingold Amendment in 2006 that would have set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.
- Unlike Clinton and Obama, Edwards refused to endorse Lieberman. He went further: Edwards was the first major Democrat to come campaign for Lamont who was against the war in Iraq.
- He's not going to negotiate what's in the public interest. He makes a huge point of this in his speeches.
- People who know him personally all tell me he is the most honest politician they've ever known. These references are from people who are top Democratic fundraisers who know just about everyone. Also, Edwards is the same way "off camera" as "on camera." So what you see is really how he is.
- He was the first candidate to meet with the heads of the top environmental groups to talk about global warming. They all came away impressed with his commitment to take the steps needed to tackle the problem and agreed that he clearly understood the urgency.
- He's the only candidate with clear priorities. Look at his home page. There is a "To Do" list that clearly lists his top issues, in priority order.
- Global warming is his #1 priority. He says it and it on his home page. Nobody else has clear priorities and nobody else has global warming as the #1 priority. Trust me on this...he's absolutely right to make it our top priority. Our survival depends on it.
- Although Edwards did vote originally to authorize the Iraq war, he was opposed to the war but was "talked into" making that decision. Unlike Clinton, he has apologized for making that mistake time and time again. That's critical that a leader has the courage to admit mistakes. Also, from the experience, he has learned to trust his gut more than his advisors.
- NPR had a piece on him on October 1, 2007 with audio quotes from his 1998 Senate campaign in which he really stressed the need to have a voice in Washington that would listen to YOU (not the special interests his opponent served). It says something when you are consistent across a decade's time.
One interesting twist to this year's early Presidential polling is that Edwards typically outperforms other leading Democratic hopefuls in general election match-ups but remains a distant third in the competition for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Still, Edwards currently leads the top four Republican candidates by an average of nearly nine points. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton leads the top GOP hopefuls by an average of six points while Barack Obama holds an average lead of five points
Mrs. Clinton was attacked for not offering specific plans on what she might do with Social Security. She was challenged for voting to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organization. She was assailed at one moment as being disingenuous, the next as a symbol of tired Washington establishment and the next for being unelectable.
At one point, she appeared to say she supported an attempt by Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, a plan he abandoned in the face of fierce opposition. A moment later she backed off, leading her opponents to denounce her again for obfuscating.
The tone of the debate, which was sponsored by NBC News, had been established before the candidates walked onto the stage at Drexel University in Philadelphia, when Senator Barack Obama of Illinois proclaimed in an interview over the weekend that “now is the time” to begin drawing tough distinctions with Mrs. Clinton.
He did so almost immediately, accusing Mrs. Clinton of “changing positions whenever it’s politically convenient,” pointing to the North American Free Trade Agreement, torture and the war on Iraq. “Now, that may be politically savvy, but I don’t think that it offers the clear contrast that we need,” Mr. Obama said. “I think what we need right now is honestly with the American people about where we would take the country.”
But for all the attention Mr. Obama drew to himself coming into the debate, he was frequently overshadowed by former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, who — speaking more intensely — repeatedly challenged Mrs. Clinton’s credentials and credibility, and frequently seemed to make the case against Mrs. Clinton that Mr. Obama had promised to make.
“Senator Clinton says that she believes she can be the candidate for change, but she defends a broken system that’s corrupt in Washington, D.C.,” Mr. Edwards said.
He added, “I think the American people, given this historic moment in our country’s history, deserve a president of the United States that they know will tell them the truth, and won’t say one thing one time and something different at a different time.”
The debate appeared to mark a turning point in the Democratic contest, as Mrs. Clinton’s rivals feel increasing pressure to begin trying to weaken her as the first voting approaches.
Though there were a few light moments — Representative Dennis C. Kucinich of Ohio said he had once seen a U.F.O. — the tone of the night was tense and combative.
Mrs. Clinton walked into the debate expecting to be the target of attacks but as the night went on, she appeared surprised by the intensity as she was challenged not only by her opponents but by the moderators, Brian Williams and Tim Russert of NBC.
Mrs. Clinton smiled far less frequently than she had in earlier debates, often looking grim as she turned her head from Mr. Edwards to her right to Mr. Obama on her left. “I need to rebut that,” she said at one point. “I don’t know where to start.”
Mrs. Clinton pointed to the fact that Republicans have been assailing her constantly as evidence that she was delivering a clear message.
“The Republicans and their constant obsession with me demonstrates clearly that they obviously think that I am communicating effectively about what I will do as president,” she said. “And I am trying to do that because it matters greatly. We’ve got to turn the page on George Bush and Dick Cheney. In fact, we have to throw the whole book away. This has been a disastrous period in American history, and we hope it will be aberration.”
The attacks on Mrs. Clinton grew so intense that one opponent, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who served in President Bill Clinton’s administration, scolded the others. “You know what I’m hearing here, I’m hearing this holier-than-thou attitude toward Senator Clinton,” he said. “It’s bothering me because it’s pretty close to personal attacks that we don’t need.”
“But the important thing is that we need to stay positive,” Mr. Richardson said. “We need to have disagreements on the issues, not on whether you can trust. I trust Senator Clinton but I don’t agree with her on a majority of issues.”
Mr. Edwards and Mr. Obama almost stumbled over each other in offering a different interpretation of the Republican attacks on Mrs. Clinton than the one she offered.
“Part of the reason that Republicans, I think, are obsessed with you, Hillary, is because that’s a fight they’re very comfortable having,” Mr. Obama said. “It is the fight that we’ve been through since the ’90s. And part of the job of the next president is to break the gridlock and to get Democrats and independents and Republicans to start working together to solve these big problems.”
A cogent clarion call of danger "on the steady road to despotism". Chris Hedges contributes to TruthDig's latest edition and it is vital to read and absorb. We are all aware, some less vaguely than others, but articles like this provide a clean, clear focus.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I cannot let Edwards go un-noticed, especially since Obama has disappointed more than he has rewarded his supporters for their confidence in him. But I don't want to criticize Obama at this moment, and prefer for everyone to read a speech given yesterday (October 29) by Edwards. I'm including it in its entirety and really hope people read it and think about it. I was knocked out.
We can discuss Obama later, and I know Hank has some things to say about Obama and the environment - not to mention his recent pro-nafta votes.
Thanks for reading,
Remarks by Senator John Edwards
St. Anselm's College, Manchester, New Hamphshire
October 29, 2007
Many of you know that I am the son of a mill worker -- that I rose from modest means and have been blessed in so many ways in life. Elizabeth and I have so much to be grateful for.
And all of you know about some of the challenges we have faced in my family. But there came a time, a few months ago, when Elizabeth and I had to decide, in the quiet of a hospital room, after many hours of tests and getting pretty bad news -- what we were going to do with our lives.
And we made our decision. That we were not going to go quietly into the night -- that we were going to stand and fight for what we believe in.
As Elizabeth and I have campaigned across America, I've come to a better understanding of what that decision really meant -- and why we made it.
Earlier this year, I spoke at Riverside Church in New York, where, forty years ago, Martin Luther King gave a historic speech. I talked about that speech then, and I want to talk about it today. Dr. King was tormented by the way he had kept silent for two years about the Vietnam War.
He was told that if he spoke out he would hurt the civil rights movement and all that he had worked for -- but he could not take it any more -- instead of decrying the silence of others -- he spoke the truth about himself.
"Over the past two years" he said, "I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silence and speak from the burning of my own heart."
I am not holier than thou. I am not perfect by any means. But there are events in life that you learn from, and which remind you what this is really all about. Maybe I have been freed from the system and the fear that holds back politicians because I have learned there are much more important things in life than winning elections at the cost of selling your soul.
Especially right now, when our country requires so much more of us, and needs to hear the truth from its leaders.
And, although I have spent my entire life taking on the big powerful interests and winning -- which is why I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists or political action committees -- I too have been guilty of my own silence -- but no more.
It's time to tell the truth. And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many. And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They're right.
As I look across the political landscape of both parties today -- what I see are politicians too afraid to tell the truth -- good people caught in a bad system that overwhelms their good intentions and requires them to chase millions of dollars in campaign contributions in order to perpetuate their careers and continue their climb to higher office.
This presidential campaign is a perfect example of how our politics is awash with money. I have raised more money up to this point than any Democratic candidate raised last time in the presidential campaign -- $30 million. And, I did it without taking a dime from any Washington lobbyist or any special interest PAC.
I saw the chase for campaign money at any cost by the frontrunner in this race -- and I did not join it -- because the cost to our nation and our children is not worth the hollow victory of any candidate. Being called president while powerful interests really run things is not the same as being free to lead this nation as president of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If protecting the current established structure in Washington is in your interest, then I am not your candidate. I ran for president four years ago -- yes, in part out of personal ambition -- but also with a deep desire to stand for working people like my father and mother -- who no matter how hard things were for our family, always worked even harder to make things better for us.
But the more Elizabeth and I campaigned this year, the more we talked to the American people, the more we met people just like my father, and hard working people like James Lowe. James is a decent and honest man who had to live for 50 years with no voice in the richest country in the world because he didn't have health care. The more people like him that I met, the more I realized something much bigger was stirring in the American people. And it has stirred in each of us for far too long.
Last month Ken Burns -- who made the great Civil War documentary -- launched his newest epic on World War II on PBS -- and what a story it tells.
At the cost of great suffering, blood and enormous sacrifice, within four years after Pearl Harbor it is incredible what this nation achieved. America built the arsenal of democracy worthy of our great history. We launched the greatest invasion armada in the history of warfare against Hitler's fortress Europe, and, with our allies, we freed a continent of suffering humanity.
At the same time on the other side of the globe we crossed 10,000 miles of ocean and liberated another hemisphere of humanity -- islands and nations freed from the grip of Japanese militarists. While at the same time succeeding in the greatest scientific endeavor ever undertaken -- the Manhattan project -- and topped it off with building the Pentagon, one of the largest buildings in the world in a little over a year.
It is incredible what America has accomplished. Because no matter what extraordinary challenges we have been faced with, we did exactly what America has always done in our history -- we rose to the challenge.
And, now, as I travel across America and listen to people, I hear real concern about what's going on. For the first time in our nation's history, people are worried that we're going to be the first generation of Americans not to pass on a better life to our children.
And it's not the fault of the American people. The American people have not changed. The American people are still the strong, courageous people they have always been. The problem is what our government has become. And, it is up to us to do something about it.
Because Washington may not see it, but we are facing a moral crisis as great as any that has ever challenged us. And, it is this test -- this moral test -- that I have come to understand is at the heart of this campaign.
Just look at what has happened in Iraq. What was the response of the American people to the challenge at hand? Our men and women in uniform have been heroes. They've done everything that's been asked of them and more. But what about our government? Four years after invading Iraq, we cannot even keep the lights on in Baghdad.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the American people were at their best. They donated their time and their money in record numbers. There was an outpouring of support. I took 700 college kids down to help -- young people who gave up their spring break. But what about our government? Three years after hurricane Katrina thousands of our fellow Americans, our brothers and sisters, are still housed in trailers waiting to go home.
There's no better example of the bravery and goodness of the American people than the response to the attacks of 9/11: firefighters and first responders risking and too often giving their lives to save others, charging up the stairs while everyone else was coming down; record bloodbank donations; and the list goes on. But what about our government? Six years after 9/11, at Ground Zero there sits only a black hole that tortures our conscience and scars our hearts.
In every instance we see an American people who are good, decent, compassionate and undeterred. And, American people who are better than the government that is supposed to serve and represent them.
And what has happened to the American "can do" spirit? I will tell you what has happened: all of this is the result of the bitter poisoned fruit of corruption and the bankruptcy of our political leadership.
It is not an accident that the government of the United States cannot function on behalf of its people, because it is no longer our people's government -- and we the people know it.
This corruption did not begin yesterday -- and it did not even begin with George Bush -- it has been building for decades -- until it now threatens literally the life of our democracy.
While the American people personally rose to the occasion with an enormous outpouring of support and donations to both the victims of Katrina and 9/11 -- we all saw our government's neglect. And we saw greed and incompetence at work. Out of more than 700 contracts valued at $500,000 or greater, at least half were given without full competition or, according to news sources, with vague or open ended terms, and many of these contracts went to companies with deep political connections such as a subsidiary of Haliburton, Bechtel Corp., and AshBritt Inc.
And in Iraq -- while our nation's brave sons and daughters put their lives on the line for our country -- we now have mercenaries under their own law while their bosses sit at home raking in millions.
We have squandered millions on building Olympic size swimming pools and buildings that have never been used. We have weapons and ammunition unaccounted for that may now be being used against our own soldiers. We literally have billions wasted or misspent -- while our troops and their families continue to sacrifice. And the politically connected lobby for more. What's their great sacrifice -- higher profits.
It goes on every minute of every day.
Corporate executives at United Airlines and US Airways receive millions in compensation for taking their companies into bankruptcy, while their employees are forced to take cuts in pay.
Companies like Wal-Mart lobby against inspecting containers entering our nation's ports, even though expert after expert agrees that the likeliest way for a dirty bomb to enter the United States is through a container, because they believe their profits are more important than our safety. What has become of America when America's largest company lobbies against protecting America?
Trade deals cost of millions of jobs. What do we get in return? Millions of dangerous Chinese toys in our children's cribs laden with lead. This is the price we are made to pay when trade agreements are decided based on how much they pad the profits for multinational corporations instead of what is best for America's workers or the safety of America's consumers.
We have even gotten to the point where our children's safety is potentially at risk because nearly half of the apple juice consumed by our children comes from apples grown in China. And Americans are kept in the dark because the corporate lobbyists have pushed back country of origin labeling laws again and again.
This is not the America I believe in.
The hubris of greed knows no bounds. Days after the homeland security bill passed, staffers from the homeland security department resigned and became homeland security consultants trying to cash in. And, where was the outrage? There was none, because that's how it works in Washington now. It is not a Republican revolving door or a Democratic revolving door -- it is just the way it's done.
Someone called it a government reconnaissance mission to figure out how to get rich when you leave the government.
Recently, I was dismayed to see headlines in the Wall Street Journal stating that Senate Democrats were backing down to lobbyists for hedge funds who have opposed efforts to make millionaire and billionaire hedge fund managers pay the same tax rate as every hard-working American. Now, tax loopholes the wealthy hedge fund managers do not need or deserve are not going to be closed, all because Democrats -- our party -- wanted their campaign money.
And a few weeks ago, around the sixth anniversary of 9/11, a leading presidential candidate held a fundraiser that was billed as a Homeland Security themed event in Washington, D.C. targeted to homeland security lobbyists and contractors for $1,000 a plate. These lobbyists, for the price of a ticket, would get a special "treat" -- the opportunity to participate in small, hour long breakout sessions with key Democratic lawmakers, many of whom chair important sub committees of the homeland security committee. That presidential candidate was Senator Clinton.
Senator Clinton's road to the middle class takes a major detour right through the deep canyon of corporate lobbyists and the hidden bidding of K Street in Washington -- and history tells us that when that bus stops there it is the middle class that loses.
When I asked Hillary Clinton to join me in not taking money from Washington lobbyists -- she refused. Not only did she say that she would continue to take their money, she defended them.
Today Hillary Clinton has taken more money from Washington lobbyists than any candidate from either party -- more money than any Republican candidate.
She has taken more money from the defense industry than any other candidate from either party as well.
She took more money from Wall Street last quarter than Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama combined.
The long slow slide of our democracy into the corporate abyss continues unabated regardless of party, regardless of the best interests of America.
We have a duty -- a duty to end this.
I believe you cannot be for change and take money from the lobbyists who prevent change. You cannot take on the entrenched interests in Washington if you choose to defend the broken system. It will not work. And I believe that, if Americans have a choice, and candidate who takes their money -- Democrat or Republican -- will lose this election.
For us to continue down this path all we have to do is suspend all that we believe in. As Democrats, we continue down this path only if we believe the party of the people is no more.
As Americans, we continue down this path only if we fail to heed Lincoln's warning to us all.
"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected," he asked, "if it ever reaches us it must spring up amongst us. It can not come from abroad. If destruction be our lot -- we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time or die by suicide."
America lives because 20 generations have honored the one moral commandment that makes us Americans.
To give our children a better future than we received.
I stand here today the son of Wallace and Bobbie Edwards. The father of Wade, Cate, Emma Claire and Jack -- and I know, as well as you, that we must not be the first generation that fails to live up to our moral challenge and keep the promise of America.
That would be an abomination.
There is a dream that is America. It is what makes us American. And I will not stand by while that dream is at risk.
I am not perfect -- far from it -- but I do understand that this is not a political issue -- it is the moral test of our generation.
Our nation's founders knew that this moment would come -- that at some point the power of greed and its influence over officials in our government might strain and threaten the very America they hoped would last as an ideal in the minds of all people, and as a beacon of hope for all time.
That is why they made the people sovereign. And this is why it is your responsibility to redeem the promise of America for our children and their future.
It will not be easy -- sacrifice will be required of us -- but it was never easy for our ancestors, and their sacrifices were far greater than any that will fall on our shoulders.
Yet, the responsibility is ours.
We, you and I, are the guardians of what America is and what it will be.
The choice is ours.
Down one path, we trade corporate Democrats for corporate Republicans; our cronies for their cronies; one political dynasty for another dynasty; and all we are left with is a Democratic version of the Republican corruption machine.
It is the easier path. It is the path of the status quo. But, it is a path that perpetuates a corrupt system that has not only failed to deliver the change the American people demand, but has divided America into two -- one America for the very greedy, and one America for everybody else.
And it is that divided America -- the direct result of this corrupt system -- which may very well lead to the suicide Lincoln warned us of -- the poison that continues to seep into our system while none notice.
Or we can choose a different path. The path that generations of Americans command us to take. And be the guardians that kept the faith.
I run for president for my father who worked in a mill his entire life and never got to go to college the way I did.
I run for president for all those who worked in that mill with my father.
I run for president for all those who lost their jobs when that mil was shut down.
I run for president for all the women who have come up to Elizabeth and me and told us the like Elizabeth they had breast cancer -- but unlike Elizabeth they did not have health care.
I run for president for twenty generations of Americans who made sure that their children had a better life than they did.
As Americans we are blessed -- for our ancestors are not dead, they occupy the corridors of our conscience. And, as long we keep the faith -- they live. And so too the America of idealism and hope that was their gift to us.
I carry the promise of America in my heart, where my parents placed it. Like them, like you, I believe in people, hard work, and the sacred obligation of each generation to the next.
This is our time now. It falls to us to redeem our democracy, reclaim our government and relight the promise of America for our children.
Let us blaze a new path together, grounded in the values from which America was forged, still reaching toward the greatness of our ideals. We can do it. We can cast aside the bankrupt ways of Washington and replace them with the timeless values of the American people. We can liberate our government from the shackles of corporate money that bind it to corporate will, and restore the voices of our people to its halls.
This is the cause of my life. This is the cause of our time. Join me. Together, we cannot fail.
We will keep faith with those who have gone before us, strong and proud in the knowledge that we too rose up to guard the promise of America in our day, and that, because we did, America's best days still lie ahead.
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 10:49 AM
Subject: To The Editor
“Gore & Obama: An Unbeatable Team!”
I am totally convinced that a Presidential election pitting Hillary Clinton against any of the Republican candidates would lead to Ms. Clinton becoming the first woman to occupy the Oval Office in 2009. But is Hillary the right person for the job? While the former First Lady is certainly smart enough to be President, I have my doubts about whether Ms. Clinton would be able to look past her glorified image of herself and govern fairly and compassionately. Hillary Clinton is an opportunist of the first order. She stayed with Bill to cement his support for her run for the Presidency. She voted for the Iraq war but says Bush did not go far enough, and she breaks with her party on calling the Quds force in Iran a terrorist organization in order Ito look strong compared with Giuliani and Romney. Ms. Clinton has never run anything: Not a city, a state or even a municipality. Her eight years in the White House do not make her Presidential timber, and her six years in the Senate have not convinced me that she is up to making the hard decisions a President must make, alone.
Al Gore on the other hand, has the experience and nationwide recognition to lead and unite the country after eight horrific years of Bush. He has added greatly to his luster with his excellent work on Climate Change, and his Nobel Peace Prize for that work has earned him high levels of international praise and respect. With Barack Obama, a shining symbol of hope, change and what America at its best could be, this pair would be more than capable of cleaning up the Bush mess, working in a bi-partisan manner with Congress and initiating dialogues with our allies and enemies across the globe. This is the “Dream Team” of politics for the early twenty-first century, and I hope it can actually happen this election cycle.
I admire Hillary Clinton, but I fear she is far too divisive and self-centered for the Presidency, especially at such a critical time in America’s history.
Monday, October 29, 2007
The wildfires in California are a great tragedy. And unfortunately, as global warming increases the likelihood of extreme weather conditions -- hurricanes, droughts, floods, and others -- these kinds of disasters may become even more frequent.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, forestry experts believe rising global temperatures will result in an increased risk of fires. And news that the Bush Administration censored a climate change report by the Director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) last week confirms -- again -- that the President refuses to face the dangers of global warming.
Tell the Bush Administration to come clean on all of the facts surrounding global warming: Forward an email to the President and demand the full truth about the CDC Director's testimony today!
Last week, the Director of the CDC, Dr. Julie Geberding, testified at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing that I chaired. Before the hearing, Dr. Geberding provided the White House with a copy of the testimony she was preparing to deliver about the health risks associated with global warming -- but Administration officials slashed her report in half.
What information was included in the pages that were deleted from Dr. Gerberding's testimony? Many details that attributed potential public health problems to global warming -- as well as statements like, "Scientific evidence supports the view that the earth's climate is changing...CDC considers climate change a serious public health concern."
A CDC official familiar with both versions of Dr. Gerberding's testimony said that the Director's findings were "eviscerated."
Tell the Bush Administration to come clean on all of the facts surrounding global warming: Forward an email to the President and demand the full truth about the CDC Director's testimony today!
President Bush cannot continue to muzzle scientists -- especially on one of the most critical environmental challenges that we have ever faced.
We deserve a full accounting of what happened during this White House review process, and who was involved, to make sure that this kind of scientific censorship from the Bush Administration never happens again.
This is just one more example of how the Bush Administration is hiding the truth from the American people -- changing scientific reports to fit their policy, rather than fitting their policy to science.
Tell the Bush Administration to come clean on all of the facts surrounding global warming: Forward an email to the President and demand the full truth about the CDC Director's testimony today!
Thank you for your help.
(Oh -- and they don't sing.)
But we have recruited A GREEK CHORUS for the December 5 dinner that could add an element a little different from the typical political fundraiser.
So . . .
. . . if you're already coming, please call a friend and inspire him or her to jump on board.
All they need to do is visit snipurl.com/ComeWrite (Sorry: you need to cut and paste that. I am trapped in AOL 5.0.)
. . . and if you yourself have been on the fence about coming, let me remind you that we will be joined at the Waldorf Starlight Roof by a long list of terrific writers, all coming to help COME WRITE HISTORY -- AGAIN (as in: let's repeat in 2008 our success of 2006).
* EDWARD ALBEE -- not one but THREE Pulitzer Prizes (and that doesn't even include WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF for which he merely won a Tony and a Grammy).
* DAVID AUBURN, whose Pulitzer (just one, but he's young) was for PROOF.
* NORA EPHRON, whose latest best seller, I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK: AND OTHER THOUGHTS ON BEING A WOMAN, Publisher's Weekly calls "sparkling."
* MARSHALL BRICKMAN, who wrote the book for JERSEY BOYS, co-wrote ANNIE HALL, and -- this kid from Brooklyn -- lay down the banjo soundtrack for DELIVERANCE.
* ARTHUR FROMMER, author of EUROPE ON $5 A DAY and all its progeny, who, like many of our esteemed authors, is not only lending us his celebrity, but writing us a check.
* JOHN BERENDT, whose MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL has sold seven billion copies in 950 languages and doubled the tourist trade of Savannah.
* MARIE BRENNER, author of GREAT DAMES (What I Learned from Older Women) and VANITY FAIR writer-at-large. Her tobacco industry piece became Russell Crowe's seven-Academy-Awards THE INSIDER.
* STEVE BRILL, founder of THE AMERICAN LAWYER and COURT TV -- and now FLYCLEAR.com (so you can breeze thru security if your retina scans) . . . author of THE TEAMSTERS and of AFTER: HOW AMERICA CONFRONTED THE SEPTEMBER 12 ERA. (Badly, I would say.)
* LISA BIRNBACH, whose THE PREPPY HANDBOOK Amazon.com readers are *still* giving five stars, even in this age of bling.
* JUSTIN FRANK, MD, clinical psychiatry professor and author of BUSH ON THE COUCH: INSIDE THE MIND OF THE PRESIDENT. (Hint: "an untreated alcoholic supported by a nation of enablers.")
* DREW WESTEN, whose THE POLITICAL BRAIN: THE ROLE OF EMOTION IN DECIDING THE FATE OF THE NATION Governor Dean so often cites for what it tells us about how to win elections.
* Columnist LIZ SMITH -- who knows everybody, knows all their secrets, yet somehow still leaves them all feeling good. "Gossip is just news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress," she says in her autobiography, NATURALLY BLONDE.
* Charles Kaiser, author of 1968 IN AMERICA -- that pivotal year -- and of THE GAY METROPOLIS ("Brisk, splashy, dishy...Kaiser is a gifted popular historian" -- Washington Post).
* ANDY BOROWITZ, who lights up the Internet with daily "shockers" and whose humor you've seen in The New Yorker. ("A Swiftean satirist," the Wall Street Journal calls him.)
* OLIVER SACKS, whose AWAKENINGS became the Robin Williams / Robert De Niro movie, whose THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT is endlessly fascinating (and true!) -- Professor of clinical neurology and clinical psychiatry, just named Columbia University's first ever "Columbia artist."
* KEVIN SESSUMS, who was Andy Warhol's executive editor at INTERVIEW, a long-time VANITY FAIR contributing editor, and author of the recent, searing and sibilant autobiography, MISSISSIPPI SISSY.
* JESSE KORNBLUTH, author, screenwriter, belief.net blogger, contributor to New York, the New Yorker, and the New York Times -- for five years editorial director of America Online -- now America's HEAD BUTLER (headbutler.com).
* Pulitzer Prize-winning poet PAUL MULDOON, Princeton professor and newly-named Poetry Editor of THE NEW YORKER . . . described by The Times Literary Supplement as "the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War."
* BILL PRESS, former CROSSFIRE co-host, former California Democratic Party Chair, current syndicated columnist and progressive talk radio star, author of HOW THE REPUBLICANS STOLE CHRISTMAS -- four Emmy's.
* RABBI DENNIS SHULMAN, author of THE GENIUS OF GENESIS and THE BIBLICAL PSYCHOANALYST -- a practicing psychoanalyst . . . blind . . . testing the waters for a Congressional run.
Not to mention GOVERNOR HOWARD DEAN (you've heard of him?), author of YOU HAVE THE POWER: HOW TO TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY AND RESTORE DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA.
Plus a couple hundred *wonderful* donors like yourself.
Please come, and at the highest level you can afford.
Just go to snipurl.com/ComeWrite to sign up.
We need to win.
Your help in 2007 is even more important, and leveraged, than it will be next year.
PS - GARRY TRUDEAU has donated THE PERFECT DOONESBURY STRIP as a door prize, to be inscribed to whoever walks away with it.
from a good Pax Christi IL friend. Not to be
The link below is to a video that shows a side of
> Iran that we seldom see
> in the U.S. Very hopeful, yet very troubling.
Barack and Gov. Deval Patrick at Boston Rally
AN UPDATE FROM IOWA
Obama Announces "Real Leadership for Rural America"
Last week Tuesday Senator Obama traveled to Fairfax, Iowa to unveil his "Real Leadership for Rural America" plan that focused on meeting the challenges facing rural communities and capitalizing on the economic opportunity that exists in rural America -- particularly in the renewable energy sector. The plan incorporated insight and ideas from Iowans who attended a rural issues forum in Adel and a rural policy summit in Tama, as well as more than 30 hearings that campaign staff conducted with Iowans who live, work and raise a family in a rural community. Read the entire "Real Leadership for Rural America."
Barack in Iowa discussing rural America
AN UPDATE FROM SOUTH CAROLINA
Obama Campaign Launches Unprecedented Gospel Concert Tour
The top gospel music artists in the country, inspired by Barack Obama's candidacy for president, will embark on an "Embrace the Change" concert tour across South Carolina later this month.
The artists will headline the final days of the South Carolina campaign's "40 Days of Faith & Family" -- a grassroots effort that shares with South Carolinians how Barack Obama's family values and faith have shaped his leadership and commitment to bringing all people together around his movement for fundamental change.
The Community Times Dispatch of Walterboro described the forum as an "opportunity for people of faith to come together to talk about how they live their faith outside the walls of their churches, mosques or synagogues; what they want to see from their presidential candidates, and how Obama's faith informs how he thinks about the issues of our time."
Obama and Patrick Rally More than 9500 in Boston Rally
Governor Deval Patrick endorses Barack Obama in Boston
At a rally in Boston Common on Tuesday, Senator Barack Obama and Governor Deval Patrick called on a crowd of more than 9500 to play an active role in Obama's campaign to change this country. Patrick announced his support for Barack Obama in an email to supporters last week.
The Boston rally was part of Obama's three-day swing through New England. On Monday, he signed papers to officially enter the New Hampshire primary. The campaign also used the rally as an opportunity to recruit volunteers for two statewide days of door-knocking in New Hampshire on Saturday, November 10th and Saturday, November 24th.
AN UPDATE FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE
Barack Releases New Ad Called "Choices"
AN UPDATE FROM NEVADA
Senator Obama Gets Fired Up in Vegas
Senator Obama fired up Nevadans in Reno and Las Vegas on Thursday, October 18th. Barack addressed packed crowds of more than 2,000 supporters at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno and 1,500 at Cheyenne High School in Las Vegas. Obama spoke to America's need for a President who will approach national security decisions with honesty and sound judgment and not repeat the tragic mistakes made when we invaded Iraq.
The standing room-only crowds gave Barack a raucous reception and repeated standing ovations, showing that Nevada -- and America -- is fired up for change and ready to go for President Obama!
Campaign Co-Chair Federico Peña Joins Supporters to Jump Start Latinos for Obama in Reno and Las Vegas
On Friday, former Energy and Transportation Secretary Federico Peña joined dozens of Nevadans at Latinos for Obama kick-off events in Reno and Las Vegas. Peña told packed crowds that Nevada's rapidly growing Latino community needs a leader with the judgment to make real change in Washington on issues that impact the Hispanic community, like fair immigration laws and affordable health care.
› Visit BarackObama.com for all the latest news
Hoping that history will somehow vindicate him, the president has entered a phase of decadent perversity.
By Sidney Blumenthal
Sept. 20, 2007 | There has never been a moment when we were not winning in Iraq. Victory has followed victory, from "Mission Accomplished" to the purple fingers of the Iraqi election to, most recently, President Bush's meeting at Camp Cupcake in Anbar province with Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the Sunni leader of the group Anbar Awakening (who was assassinated a week later). Turning point has followed turning point, from Bush's proclamation two years ago of his "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" to his announcement last week of his "Return on Success." "We're kicking ass," he briefed the Australian deputy prime minister on Sept. 6 about his latest visit to Iraq. In his quasi-farewell address to the nation on Sept. 13, Bush assigned any possible shortcomings to Gen. David Petraeus and bequeathed his policy "beyond my presidency" to his successor.
After Bush pretended to deliberate over whether he would agree to his own policy as presented by his general in well-rehearsed performances before Congress -- "President Bush Accepts Recommendations" read a headline on the White House Web site -- he established an ideal division of responsibility. Bush could claim credit for the "Return on Success," whenever that might be, while Petraeus would be charged with whatever might go wrong.
One week after Petraeus flashed his metrics, a whole new set of facts on the ground suddenly emerged: an admission (previously denied) by Petraeus that the United States was arming the Sunnis, who might use those weapons in the next phase of Iraq's civil war; the release of a Pentagon report that there is "an increase in intra-Shi'a violence throughout the South" (a report conveniently withheld as Petraeus was testifying); the Iraqi government's expulsion of Blackwater, a private security firm with close ties to the administration, after a band of its guards gunned down Iraqi civilians; the restriction of all nonmilitary U.S. personnel in Iraq to the Green Zone; a report by the Iraqi Red Crescent that about 1 million people are internal refugees as a result of ethnic cleansing (apart from the more than 2 million refugees who have fled the country); and the announcement by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of an investigation into the State Department's inspector general for quashing scrutiny and embarrassing studies of fraud in the construction of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, among other projects.
As these events played out, Petraeus was detailed as Bush's Willy Loman to preside over the cooling of the special relationship with America's most important ally in the coalition of the willing. The general traveled to London to meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the policy from which he is rapidly disengaging, already having withdrawn British forces in Basra to its airport before final evacuation. Such is the face of victory 10 days after Petraeus' march through Capitol Hill.
In his semiretirement, Bush engaged in appeals to history, which he now says on nearly every occasion will absolve him. Early on and riding high, he expressed contempt for history. "History, we'll all be dead," he sneered to Bob Woodward in an interview for "Bush at War," a panegyric to Bush the triumphant after the Afghanistan invasion and before Iraq. Now Bush cites history as justification for everything he does. "You can't possibly figure out the history of the Bush presidency -- until I'm dead," he told Robert Draper, his authorized biographer, in an interview for "Dead Certain." The use of the words "history" and "dead" between the Woodward and Draper interviews makes for a world of difference -- the difference between a president who couldn't care less and one who cares desperately but can't admit it.
Bush incessantly invokes a host of presidents past -- Truman, Lincoln and Washington -- as appropriate comparisons, and also talks of Winston Churchill. Frederick Kagan, the neoconservative instigator of "the surge," refers to it as "Gettysburg," a leap of historical imagination that transforms Bush into the Great Emancipator. In his unstoppable commentary about himself, Bush has become as certain of his exalted place in history as he is of his policy's rightness. He projects his image into the future, willing his enshrinement as a great president. History has become a magical incantation for him, a kind of prayerful refuge where he is safe from having to think in the present. For Bush, history is supernatural, a deus ex machina, nothing less than a kind of divine intervention enabling him to enter presidential Valhalla. Through his fantasy about history as afterlife -- the stairway to paradise -- he rationalizes his current course.
Draper's biography has the feel of a lengthy feature magazine article wrapped in a dust jacket. It lacks any serious discussion of the influence of Dick Cheney, the rise of the neoconservatives, Karl Rove's attempt to create a one-party state, the government's torture policy, splits within the senior military, the scapegoating of the CIA, or the evisceration of federal departments and agencies. Nonetheless, Draper's unusual access enabled him to collect valuable anecdotes as well as to put a microphone in front of a president who, when interrupted by an aide, told him not to worry because the interview was "worthless." Letting down his guard, Bush does not understand what he reveals.
In his interviews with Draper, he is constantly worried about weakness and passivity. "If you're weak internally? This job will run you all over town." He fears being controlled and talks about it relentlessly, feeling he's being watched. "And part of being a leader is: people watch you." He casts his anxiety as a matter of self-discipline. "I don't think I'd be sitting here if not for the discipline ... And they look at me -- they want to know whether I've got the resolution necessary to see this through. And I do. I believe -- I know we'll succeed." He is sensitive about asserting his supremacy over others, but especially his father. "He knows as an ex-president, he doesn't have nearly the amount of knowledge I've got on current things," he told Draper.
Bush is a classic insecure authoritarian who imposes humiliating tests of obedience on others in order to prove his superiority and their inferiority. In 1999, according to Draper, at a meeting of economic experts at the Texas governor's mansion, Bush interrupted Rove when he joined in the discussion, saying, "Karl, hang up my jacket." In front of other aides, Bush joked repeatedly that he would fire Rove. (Laura Bush's attitude toward Rove was pointedly disdainful. She nicknamed him "Pigpen," for wallowing in dirty politics. He was staff, not family -- certainly not people like them.)
Bush's deployed his fetish for punctuality as a punitive weapon. When Colin Powell was several minutes late to a Cabinet meeting, Bush ordered that the door to the Cabinet Room be locked. Aides have been fearful of raising problems with him. In his 2004 debates with Sen. John Kerry, no one felt comfortable or confident enough to discuss with Bush the importance of his personal demeanor. Doing poorly in his first debate, he turned his anger on his communications director, Dan Bartlett, for showing him a tape afterward. When his trusted old public relations handler, Karen Hughes, tried gently to tell him, "You looked mad," he shot back, "I wasn't mad! Tell them that!"
At a political strategy meeting in May 2004, when Matthew Dowd and Rove explained to him that he was not likely to win in a Reagan-like landslide, as Bush had imagined, he lashed out at Rove: "KARL!" Rove, according to Draper, was Bush's "favorite punching bag," and the president often threw futile and meaningless questions at him, and shouted, "You don't know what the hell you're talking about."
Those around him have learned how to manipulate him through the art of flattery. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld played Bush like a Stradivarius, exploiting his grandiosity. "Rumsfeld would later tell his lieutenants that if you wanted the president's support for an initiative, it was always best to frame it as a 'Big New Thing.'" Other aides played on Bush's self-conception as "the Decider." "To sell him on an idea," writes Draper, "aides were now learning, the best approach was to tell the president, This is going to be a really tough decision." But flattery always requires deference. Every morning, Josh Bolten, the chief of staff, greets Bush with the same words: "Thank you for the privilege of serving today."
Draper reports a telling exchange between Bush and James Baker, one of his father's closest associates, the elder Bush's former secretary of state and the one the family called on to take command of the campaign for the 2000 Florida contest when everything hung in the balance. Baker's ruthless field marshaling safely brought the younger Bush into the White House. Counseling him in the aftermath, Baker warned him about Rumsfeld. "All I'm going to say to you is, you know what he did to your daddy," he said.
Indeed, Rumsfeld and the elder Bush were bitter rivals. Rumsfeld had scorn for him, and tried to sideline and eliminate him during the Ford administration because he wanted to become president himself. If George W. Bush didn't know about it before, he knew about it then from Baker, and soon thereafter he appointed Rumsfeld secretary of defense. Draper does not reflect on this revelation, but it is highly suggestive.
Quoted in an Aug. 9 article in the New York Times on the lachrymose father, Andrew Card, aide to both men, lately as White House chief of staff, and a family loyalist, spoke out of school. "It was relatively easy for me to read the sitting president's body language after he had talked to his mother or father," Card said. "Sometimes he'd ask me a probing question. And I'd think, Hmm, I don't think that question came from him."
The elder Bush assumed that the Bush family trust and its trustees -- James Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Prince Bandar -- would take the erstwhile wastrel and guide him on the path of wisdom. In this conception, the country was not entrusted to the younger Bush's care so much as Bush was entrusted to the care of the trustees. He was the beneficiary of the trust. But to the surprise of those trustees, he slipped the bonds of the trust and cut off the family trustees. They knew he was ill-prepared and ignorant, but they never expected him to be assertive. They wrongly assumed that Cheney would act for them as a trustee.
Cheney had worked with and for them for decades and seemed to agree with them, if not on every detail then on the more important matter of attitude, particularly the question of who should govern. The elder Bush had helped arrange for Cheney to become the CEO of Halliburton, making him a very rich man at last. But Bush, Baker, Scowcroft et al. didn't realize that Cheney's apparent concurrence was to advance himself and his views, which were not theirs. When absolute power was conferred on him, the habits of deference lapsed, no longer necessary. ("Thank you for the privilege of serving today.") Cheney was always more Rumsfeld oriented than Bush oriented. The elder Bush knew that Rumsfeld despised him and that Cheney was close to Rumsfeld, just as he knew his son's grievous limitations. But the obvious didn't occur to him -- that Cheney would seize control of the lax son for his own purposes. The elder Bush committed a monumental error, empowering a regent to the prince who would betray the father. The myopia of the old WASP aristocracy allowed him to see Cheney as a member of his club. Cheney, for his part, was extremely convincing in playing possum. The elder Bush has many reasons for self-reproach, but perhaps none greater than being outsmarted by a courtier he thought was his trustee.
Through his interposition of Petraeus, Bush has bound his party to his fate. Of the Republicans, only Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, leader of the 1994 self-styled radical "revolution" that captured Congress, is willing to speak publicly about the danger Bush poses to the future of the party. "I believe for any Republican to win in 2008, they have to have a clean break and offer a dramatic, bold change," he told a group of reporters on Sept. 14. "If we nominate somebody who has not done that ... they're very, very unlikely to win it."
But repudiating Bush would also mean repudiating Gingrich's legacy, too. Draper reports that Bush loves claiming Ronald Reagan, not his father, as his role model. But Gingrich, more than Reagan, is Bush's forerunner. It was Gingrich who heightened the politics of polarization to a level of personal attack and unscrupulousness unlike any seen since the underside of Richard Nixon's operations was exposed in the Watergate scandal. Reagan was free of such dishonest and vicious politics. Bush, Cheney and Rove ("Pigpen") picked up where Gingrich left off. Republicans can no more return to the halcyon days of Reagan than magic carpets can be used in Iraq. For the Republicans to recover, they would have to extirpate their entire recent history, root and branch.
"History would acquit him, too. Bush was confident of that, and of something else as well," writes Draper. "Though it was not the sort of thing one could say publicly anymore, the president still believed that Saddam had possessed weapons of mass destruction. He repeated this conviction to Andy Card all the way up until Card's departure in April 2006, almost exactly three years after the Coalition had begun its fruitless search for WMDs."
Bush grasps at the straws of his own disinformation as he casts himself deeper into the abyss. The more profound and compounded his blunders, and the more he redoubles his certainty in ultimate victory, the greater his indifference to failure. He has entered a phase of decadent perversity, where he accelerates his errors to vindicate his folly. As the sands of time run down, he has decided that no matter what he does, history will finally judge him as heroic.
The greater the chaos, the more he reinforces and rigidifies his views. The more havoc he wreaks, the more he insists he is succeeding. His intensified struggle for self-control is matched by his increased denial of responsibility. Hence Petraeus.
Bush's unyielding personality would have been best suited to the endless trench warfare of World War I, as a true compatriot of the disastrous British Gen. Douglas Haig. His mind is geared toward a static battlefield. For low-intensity warfare, such as in Iraq, "an authoritarian cast of mind would be a crippling disability," wrote British expert Norman F. Dixon in his classic work, "On the Psychology of Military Incompetence." "For such 'warfare,' tact, flexibility, imagination and 'open minds,' the very antithesis of authoritarian traits, would seem to be necessary if not sufficient."
Bush's ever-inflating self-confidence hides his gaping fear of failure. His obsession with deference demands exercises of humiliation that never satisfy him. His unwavering resolve is maintained by his adamant refusal to wade into the waters of ambiguity. "You can't talk me out of thinking freedom's a good thing!" he protests to his biographer. For Bush, even when he is long out of office, presiding at his planned library's Freedom Institute -- "I would like to build a Hoover Institute" -- victory will always be just around the corner.