On Friday at 4:43 pm this report, regarding conflicting accounts from a State Department official and his own brother, hit the news wires. The most interesting part of this article is that Krongard, the official in jeopardy, “had begun the hearing by denying the “ugly rumors” that his brother was associated with the company, which is under scrutiny for a September 16 shooting incident in Baghdad in which 17 Iraqis were killed.” According to the article he then took a break and came back into the same exact room and recused himself from the probes into Blackwater.
This is a clear example of a Public Official so used to doing things the Bush/GOP way that he didn’t even bother to check his facts before taking part in a hearing of this magnitude. I’ll say that again, this is a clear example of a Public Official so used to doing things the Bush/GOP way that he didn’t even bother to check his facts before taking part in a hearing of this magnitude.
“What is a LEADER?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“A LEADER isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. It’s realizing that every experience develops some latent force within you.1 You begin to understand that vision is the art of seeing the invisible2 so that when you want to build a wagon, you don’t gather the other toys to collect wood or assign them tasks, but rather you teach them to long for ways to traverse the endless immensity of the backyard.3 Then you become a LEADER.”
I thought that a discussion of Hudson’s book book would be pertinent in terms of recent discussions of indebtedness and in terms of Hudson’s role in the run-up to next year’s elections. Michael Hudson’s site says he is “President of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), A Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972 and 2003) and of The Myth of Aid (1971).
In 2007, Dr. Hudson has been appointed Chief Economic Policy Adviser for the Kucinich for President campaign and is writing a new tax policy for the United States.
The Age reports Vital facts ‘deleted’ from UN report on climate change. “A major United Nations report on climate change has been watered down as a result of influence from government officials from countries opposed to taking radical action, conservation group WWF claims… The group fears that the report will play down the need for deep cuts in emissions. The report, which will be released on Saturday, will say that almost a third of the world’s species will face extinction if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. A draft copy of the report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also warns that if temperatures rise by more than two degrees – now expected before 2050 – 20 per cent of the world’s population will face a great risk of drought.”
It’s time to memorialize those ignoble “leaders” of nations who fear taking the first step toward responsible actions with a plaque — one per nation — hung prominently in the UN.
Which gets straight to the problem with so many Democratic nominees. Was Michael Dukakis a tough guy? Could you believe Bill Clinton? Which Al Gore was going to show up to which debate? Where did John Kerry stand on the war? As Terence Samuel notes, this is not the kind of image that we need in our next nominee.
Hillary has worked hard to project an image of toughness, but she hasn't mastered it at all, the art of creating trust. . . . [S]he isn't really all that tough and, more importantly, she isn't trustworthy. She doesn't project trustworthiness. . . .
What nonsense. There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton is perceived as tough. Indeed, that is one thing the “castrating bitch” GOP meme has accomplished. But she has been attacked as untrustworthy. The funny thing is Booman notes that no Dem GE Presidential candidate seems to have figured out how to be viewed as trustworthy. But he thinks Clinton is the problem. What myopia! Bob Somerby has covered this extensively and it is amazing that Booman does not seem to know about it:
P]onder this statement by the New York Post’s Charlie Hurt. The boys were discussing Saint Rudy:
HURT (11/6/07): You know, because [Giuliani] is such a gun-slinger, and because he is such a straight-talker, people believe him . . .
Giuliani’s endless, howling misstatements are becoming the stuff of legend—but to Hurt, he’s still a “straight-talker.” But then, Time’s Mike Allen had stated this view roughly one minute before:
ALLEN: . . . It turns out they like his gun-slinging, straight-shooting swagger, that he comes across—he will answer a question, he will say, “No way, no how.” People like that.
To Allen, he’s a “straight-shooter.” . . .
All week, Clinton’s “evasiveness” and “double-talk” have been trashed on Hardball—like Gore’s lies and Kerry’s flip-flops before her. But Giuliani is still a “straight-talker!” There is absolutely nothing on earth that will keep these lads from their Group Tales.
Apparently, Booman knows nothing of this. And let me be clear about something, there are no straight talking pols. Never have been, never will be. Not George Washington. Not Abraham Lincoln. Not FDR. My gawd, are we so far gone in our naivete about this? Don't believe me. Well, watch this:
We need to stop putting these folks on pedestals. And understand that pols are vessels for political interests. Best fight for your own political views to be adopted by the pols you can choose from. For pols, it's hard to be a saint in the city.
So I’m scrolling along at Docudharma, and I find (and promote) this great essay by Pico, Fragile Coalitions: Lessons from ENDA and McClurkin, part 1. A number of us have been thinking about coalitions lately, and many of us have witnessed the recent flamewars over at the Big Orange on the Obama/McClurkin fiasco as well as the ENDA fiasco (which Robyn has written about as well).
Pico asked some good questions on how we can go from splintering factions to real coalitions:
I’ll have more to say in the second half of this post. In the meantime, some questions for you all:
What interest groups and/or ideological groups do you think pose the greatest challenge to unified party fronts? Are some more polarizing than others?
When the opportunity arises to meet the demands of part of a coalition group, is it better to fight for who you can or to maintain group solidarity (basically, do you agree with Frank’s argument for incremental change, or with his opponents)?
While each coalition can flame out in its own spectacular way, are there overall strategies for getting non-aligned groups to work together?
That is why I focus my attention on her rivals. That is why I support Chris Dodd. He has paid attention to the issues that matter to me. He has brought them to the fore. He has made his rivals move on those issues. Barack Obama, on the other hand, has moved NO ONE on any issue since he became a Senator. From my perspective, his candidacy has been an utter failure. I think from his perspective, he wants to win, it has been as well.
I deplore this focus on “doubletalk” (as if all them do not engage in it.) Press Clinton on the issues. Indeed, press Clinton’s RIVALS on the issues. Asking them why they want to be President is not only a waste of time, it distracts from what I think most of us want – attention to the issues we care about.
The last month has not been a good one for the loose confederacy of interests usually filed under progressive causes. First, LGBT activists nearly devoured themselves over the proposed changes to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), in a struggle that challenged the commitment of ostensibly queer activists to the T part of the acronym and eventually resulted in public resignations from the nation’s most powerful LGBT lobby. Second, the Obama campaign’s ill-advised decision to launch a gospel tour with publicly outspoken anti-gay singers led to a series of campaign flubs, bitter exchanges, and an epic flameout on Daily Kos that really has to be read to be believed.
Though I don’t doubt the general commitment of everyone involved to the same umbrella set of goals, the fissures and lack of well-articulated overlap between interest groups has the potential – especially when lacking a strong central figure to act as leader – to turn nasty. That’s exactly what happened this past month, and I want to perform a brief autopsy to show where things went wrong, and whether it’s possible to avoid these kinds of explosions in the future. Spoiler alert: I really don’t think so.
The shirking and shrinking middle class is not a new item for anxiety. Part of the reason the illegal immigration debate has suddenly sprung forward in the last few years is because it is being framed in terms of how it directly affects the middle class, it is being sold as an explanation as to why the middle class is suffering. Illegals are taking middle class jobs. It is a great way for Republicans and Dems to transform themselves into populists and divert questions of the other ways in which the middle class has been subverted.
Fear seems like a good word to describe centrists and conservative Democrats in Congress, both within the leadership and within certain ideological caucuses. . . . Fear seems to stem from the leadership, as Emanuel and Hoyer have previously been labeled as responsible for not pursuing more aggressive tactics against Republican maneuvers like this. The House Democratic Caucus is rank with fear of Republican attacks, from the leadership down to the rank and file Blue Dogs. . . . Blue Dogs actually seem like the most scared people in all of Washington, D.C. as a result of this article. They are afraid of Republican attacks. They are afraid of conservative pundits. They are afraid of their constituents. They are afraid of motions to recommit that are meaningless in terms of actual policy. And they are protected by Emanuel and Hoyer, who seem petrified of all the same things. . .
A bunch of sissies is what they are. As we have repeated ad nauseum, the reason Dems have an image of weakness has little to do with national security, it is due to their spinelessness. Will these Sissy Dems ever learn?