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Gutted Lieberman-Kyl Iran Amendment Passes

Wasting time, good will and attempting to wreak havoc, the original Lieberman-Kyl Amendment on Iran was tantamount to granting President Bush the power to wage war against Iran. Still wasting time and attempting to wreak havoc, the Lieberman-Kyl Amendment was gutted of its war authorizing provisions, but remained provocative, unnecessary and stupid. It should have been voted down. It was not. It passed. Among the Ays was Senator Hillary Clinton. Among the Nays were Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. Absent was Senator Barack Obama. 

Iraq: The Failure Of Activist and Netroots Leadership

Chris Bowers writes:

If our vote totals on key pieces of legislation are actually going backward in Congress, then no one in the Democratic field is successfully leading on Iraq in Congress. Good leadership isn’t just about proposing legislation (which all current members of Congress have done), sending out press releases announcing how you will vote beforehand (which a couple of candidates did this time), exhorting your colleagues in Congress to vote a certain way (which at least Dodd has done among current members of Congress running for President), and then casting the right votes (which pretty much everyone does now, even though none of the Senators running for President did so last year). Successful leadership is actually causing the debate to bend in your direction, and gathering support where none previously existed. According to this criteria, when it comes to the impact of the 2008 Presidential field on the Iraq fight in Congress, no one has done that. To varying degrees, they all have tried-or at least made it look like they were trying-but no one has succeeded.

I think that is a fair criteria for all of us. And by that criteria, I think it is fair to say that the leaders of the Netroots have utterly failed. It is ironic that Bowers criticizes people like Chris Dodd (for his post is really a pushback against Dodd’s little surge in the Daily Kos straw poll while his preferred candidate, Bill Richardson, had a meltdown) for their efforts in Congress without even considering his own failures and that of the other leading Netroots lights, like Move On. Interesting use of blinders there. More.

Criticizing Speech Versus Punishing Speech

I have been very critical of Move On’s “Betray Us” ad. I thought the Senate’s censure resolution was silly but not serious. A waste of time but not a threat. Perhaps this description by Glenn Greenwald of a threat to PUNISH speech, in this case, Columbia University’s, for its decision to invite the Iranian President Ahmadenijad to speak there, will illustrate the difference between criticizing speech and punishing speech:

In an interview with The New York Sun, the speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, said lawmakers, outraged over Columbia’s insistence on allowing the Iranian president to speak at its World Leaders Forum, would consider reducing capital aid and other financial assistance to the school.

“There are issues that Columbia may have before us that obviously this cavalier attitude would be something that people would recall,” Mr. Silver said. “Obviously, there’s some degree of capital support that has been provided to Columbia in the past. These are things people might take a different view of . . . knowing that this is that kind of an institution” . . .

“It’s not going to go away just because this episode ends. Columbia University has to know . . . that they will be penalized,” an assemblyman of Brooklyn, Dov Hikind, who also attended the rally, said. . . .

Penalized. Punished. Not criticized. This makes all the difference in the world to me. Legally. And Substantively. Censuring Move On with a tootless sense of the Senate bill is silly. What Silver and Hikind propose is a violation of the First Amendment. The differences are stark. Where’s the blogswarm on this? Where’s the concern for free speech?

The Move On Money Machine

Matt Bai writes:

MoveOn’s management team – led by Eli Pariser, a 25-year-old Internet whiz – runs a sophisticated political operation, and its main preoccupation, beyond ending the Iraq war, is to keep growing. To do that, MoveOn is always looking for what Mr. Pariser and his team call “the message object” – the controversy of the month that will viscerally attract more liberals to sign up and write checks.

An attack on MoveOn from the Bush White House is, of course, the mother of all message objects. Six months after Mr. Bush’s re-election, when opposition to the Iraq war suddenly seemed to be breaking out like a rash around the country, Karl Rove publicly accused MoveOn and its liberal sympathizers of offering “therapy and understanding for our attackers,” and membership soared. That probably explains why MoveOn was eager to run the provocative Petraeus ad in the first place.

In a sense, MoveOn is shrewdly gaming liberal politics in the way the National Rifle Association has long gamed conservative politics; the more controversy, the more members it attracts, and the more power it has to leverage on their behalf.

Seeing how Move On leverages its power, by selling out on Iraq this year, I truly oppose the effect of this controversy. Move On has used the Netroots and the anti-war movement for its own greater glory, to the detriment of the chances of ending the Iraq Debacle. Their conduct has been deplorable.

Jena: The South, Politics And Race

In today’s NYTimes, Krugman writes:

Last Thursday there was a huge march in Jena, La., to protest the harsh and unequal treatment of six black students arrested in the beating of a white classmate. Students who hung nooses to warn blacks not to sit under a “white” tree were suspended for three days; on the other hand, the students accused in the beating were initially charged with second-degree attempted murder.

. . . Many press accounts of the march have a tone of amazement. Scenes like those in Jena, the stories seemed to imply, belonged in the 1960s, not the 21st century. The headline on the New York Times report, “Protest in Louisiana Case Echoes the Civil Rights Era,” was fairly typical. But the reality is that things haven’t changed nearly as much as people think. Racial tension, especially in the South, has never gone away, and has never stopped being important. And race remains one of the defining factors in modern American politics.

Consider voting in last year’s Congressional elections. Republicans, as President Bush conceded, received a “thumping,” with almost every major demographic group turning against them. The one big exception was Southern whites, 62 percent of whom voted Republican in House races. . . .

Indeed. I wrote about this back in December 2004. I want to reprint what I wrote then.

Why Do GOP “Values” Voters Hate America?

Via Steve Benen and PFAW, here’s why:

Why should God bless America?
She’s forgotten he exists
And has turned her back
On everything that made her what she is

Why should God stand beside her
Through the night with the light from his hand?
God have mercy on America
Forgive her sin and heal our land

The courts ruled prayer out of our schools
In June of ’62
Told the children “you are your own God now
So you can make the rules”
O say can you see what that choice
Has cost us to this day
America, one nation under God, has gone astray

. . . In ’73 the Courts said we
Could take the unborn lives
The choice is yours don’t worry now
It’s not a wrong, it’s your right

But just because they made it law
Does not change God’s command
The most that we can hope for is
God’s mercy on our land

. . .(Reading from 2nd Chronicles 7:14) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land

God have mercy on America forgive her sins and heal our land

Sick Of Move On

I think Move On sucks. I have all year, starting with their backing of the House Iraq Supplemental last Spring. I thought the title of their “General Betray Us” ad was collosally stupid. And now I am completely sick and tired of all the teeth gnashing over the Senate resolution condemning Move On’s stupid ad.

The Netroots truly suck. Geekesque said it best at the Big Orange Satan’s place yesterday:

The following Senators voted YES to end the Iraq debacle and voted YES on the irrelevant bill:

Ben Cardin
Diane Feinstein
Herb Kohl
Pat Leahy

and this Senator voted Yes to end the Iraq debacle and refused to vote on the irrelevant bill:

Barack Obama

These Senators voted against ending the Iraq debacle and voted NO on the irrelevant [Move On] bill:

Jeff Bingaman
Carl Levin
Jack Reed

Now, there has been plenty of rage directed towards Senators Cardin, Feinstein, Leahy, and Obama.

None has been directed at Bingaman, Levin, and Reed.

Judging from the Netroots reaction, apparently the Netroots feels that it’s more important to pander to the Netroots and avoid hurting Moveon’s feelings than it is to end the Iraq debacle.

If that be the case, why should people take the Netroots seriously?

Wake up. . . .


The NYTimes runs another fawning “America’s Mayor” piece on Rudy. The idiocy of trumpeting Rudy’s “leadership” is made manifest by this part:

Here is the rich irony for those who look askance at Mr. Giuliani’s myth-making moment. His march uptown should not have been necessary, many experts say.

Mr. Giuliani insisted in 1997 on placing his state-of-the-art emergency command center at 7 World Trade Center, mocking critics who warned that it was too close to a terror target. On Sept. 11, that building collapsed. Had the center been placed in Brooklyn, as a mayoral aide had suggested, the cameras might not have made a legend of a dust-shrouded mayor.

But there were other lapses of leadership amongst New York politicians that people forget. More.

Castro Sucks, And Chavez Does Too

There. I said it. Whatcha gonna do about it?

Ok, I’ll come clean. There was a meta war without me. I’m jealous.

And no, I am NOT an ADMIN-AL.

I am not an elephant either.

Some say I am not a man. But not to my face.


I Did Not Know That: Toby Keith Opposes The Iraq Debacle

Do you know this?

Keith doesn’t support the Iraq war — “Never did,” he says — and he favors setting a time limit on the occupation. He says he suspects civil war in Iraq is inevitable and predicts the Kurds will be the victors: “I promise you, they’ll end up with it all.”

I did not. Neither did Michael Ledeen:

It’s great to get out of the Washington culture of narcissism and spend some time with the rednecks, a.k.a. real Americans. And it’s simply great, as the encores end, and a downpour of red, white and blue confetti covers the crowd, to see Toby say “don’t ever apologize for your patriotism,” and then lift the middle finger of his right hand to the skies and say, “F*** ‘Em!”

Which, after a week of disgusting anti-Americanism in Washington [there was a big anti-war protest, and I guess, uhm, Congress performed its duties], nicely summed up our feelings.

Live and learn.

Move On: Misunderstanding The Moment

I have never been a fan of George Lakoff. I imagine he may be an effective academic. I believe he is clueless when it comes to politics. For example this:

MoveOn’s “General Betray Us?” ad has raised vital questions that need a thorough and open discussion. The ad worked brilliantly to reveal, via its framing, an essential but previously hidden truth: the Bush Administration and its active supporters have betrayed the trust of the troops and the American people.

MoveOn hit a nerve. In the face of truth, the right-wing has been forced to change the subject — away from the administration’s betrayal of trust and the escalating tragedy of the occupation to of all things, an ad! To take the focus off maiming and death and the breaking of our military, they talk about etiquette. The truth has reduced them to whining: MoveOn was impolite. Rather than face the truth, they use character assassination against an organization whose three million members stand for the highest patriotic principles of this country, the first of which is a commitment to truth.

(Emphaiss supplied.) This has to be the dumbest thing I have read yet in defense of the Move On ad. I’ll just focus on the two bolded statements:

In the face of truth, the right-wing has been forced to change the subject — away from the administration’s betrayal of trust and the escalating tragedy of the occupation to of all things, an ad!

I would change a few words, “in the face of the truth, the right wing has been forced to WAS ABLE TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT — away from the administration’s betrayal of trust and the escalating tragedy of the oupation to of all things, an ad!” And Lakoff calls this ad brilliant? IS he joking? The Move On ad enabled the REFRAMING of “the truth” about Iraq. It allowed the Iraq Debacle to be overwhelmed by the stupidity of an ad, and Lakoff says Yay! He calls that good framing. Lakoff is perhaps the worst political strategist I have ever seen in my life.


Obama on Iraq: No Funding Without Timelines

Via Kos:

“We are going to bring an end to this war and I will fight hard in the United States Senate to make sure we don’t pass any funding bill that does not have a deadline,” Obama told the crowd.

Big props to Senator Obama. Hurrah!

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