Newsy Link Time

I hope everyone is enjoying their Tofurkey leftovers. Actually we have turkey leftovers, but we give them to our cat.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, driving more nails of reality into the dead neocon fantasy:The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq. The cost of combat in Iraq in terms of American lives, dollars and world standing has been devastating.

No wonder Rumsfeld is gone:Rumsfeld okayed abuses, says former U.S. general. "Make sure this is accomplished"

I bet they believe in gravity, too:"We have to deal with greenhouse gases," John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co. "From Shell's point of view, the debate is over. When 98 percent of scientists agree, who is Shell to say, 'Let's debate the science'?"

In case you missed it on Minnesota Stories, What Muslim Prayer Looks Like.

Finally: Senate Passes Resolution Honoring Paul Wellstone

From our reality-based desktop to yours: Gobble gobble!


Kissenger = fat lady

I am posting this in contrast to Mona Charen's rose-colored contention that all we need to to avert disaster in Iraq is renew our determination to win.

Kissinger: Iraq military win impossible

If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he told the British Broadcasting Corp.

Kissenger knows a little something about lost causes. His conclusion naturally gives rise to the question, if military victory is impossible, does it follow that our military shouldn't be there?


Carville who?

Is there anyone in the Democratic Party who thinks James Carville is relevant?

I don't know anybody who does.

Note to the Washpo: Absurd sniping by disconnected pundits with an axe to grind hardly qualifies as "infighting." This story doesn't deserve the ink.

Mona Charen asks: How did this happen?

Mona Charen laments:

America is the world's hyperpower. No other nation or group of nations can challenge us militarily or economically. Unlike sickly Europe, we are growing, not contracting. But we are about to be defeated in Iraq by a few thousand cutthroats.How did this happen? It's simple: The only thing powerful enough to defeat us is ourselves, and we've done it.

I completely agree. The US shot itself in the foot the minute it stepped foot in Iraq. It did itself in with a death of a thousand cuts at the incompetent hands of Paul Bremmer. She claims...

The only alternative to the surrenders on offer by the Democrats and by the "realist" Republicans is a renewed determination to win.

But no one can tell us what "Winning" means. Who will walk into the room on behalf of the hydra-headed insuregency in Iraq? We don't know. How did this happen? That we know.

Of course the real title of her article is "Looks as if enemy is getting help from us." By that, of course, she means to imply that Democrats and Republican Realists are aiding the enemy (as if we have only one enemy in Iraq) by beginning to structure a phased withdrawl from Iraq. Oy. Ms. Charen, Bush's whole strategy and your support of it are the support enemies crave. There are more of them than there was before he started. They are stronger. They are better equipped and funded as a result of our occupation, incompetence and corruption. Ms. Charen, please, stop helping the terrorists. Why do you hate America so?


Ellen Willis 1941-2006

I just read the sad news that Ellen Willishas died. She was that one feminist who relished putting class, rock, and porn into her discursive ammo clip, and fired away. Now she's dead: sixtysomething, sure; Olde Left, yeah, but with great taste in skin & tunes; irrelevant, not by a long shot. It's a loss that ranks up there with Wellstone if you ask me.

Willis began her gadfly career as a rock critic and Redstocking, then settled in as the coolest pro-sex (not to mention anti-anti-porn) feminist on the block. Unfortunately she also held some... whatchacall'em... geopolitical views which were truly perverse, but those are easy to sort out from her insights on class, sexuality, culture, and political engagement. For example, here's an excerpt from her 1998 essay describing the process in America by which radical-left ideas get adopted as mainstream legislation:

American left politics generally works this way: As radical ideas gain currency beyond their original advocates, they mutate into multiple forms. Groups representing different class, racial, ethnic, political and cultural constituencies respond to the new movement with varying degrees of support or criticism and end up adapting its ideas to their own agendas. With these modifications the movement's popularity spreads, putting pressure on existing power relations; liberal reformers then mediate the process of dilution, containment and "co-optation" whereby radical ideas that won't go away are incorporated into the system through new laws, policies and court decisions. The essential dynamic here is a good cop/bad cop routine in which the liberals dismiss the radicals as impractical sectarian extremists, promote their own "responsible" proposals as an alternative and take the credit for whatever change results.

The good news is that this process does bring about significant change. The bad news is that by denying the legitimacy of radicalism it misleads people about how change takes place, rewrites history and obliterates memory. It also leaves people sadly unprepared for the inevitable backlash. Once the radicals who were a real threat to the existing order have been marginalized, the right sees its opportunity to fight back. Conservatives in their turn become the insurgent minority, winning support by appealing to the still-potent influence of the old "reality," decrying the tensions and disruptions that accompany social change and promoting their own vision of prosperity and social order. Instead of seriously contesting their ideas, liberals try to placate them and cut deals, which only incites them to push further. Desperate to avoid isolation, the liberal left keeps retreating, moving its goal post toward the center, where "ordinary people" supposedly reside; but as yesterday's center becomes today's left, the entire debate shifts to the right. And in the end, despite all their efforts to stay "relevant," the liberals are themselves hopelessly marginalized. This is the sorry situation we are in right now.

And so it remains. Goodbye Ellen: it's an emptier Left without you.


Congress Will Suck No Matter Who's In Power

Here's a cynical take on whether polite bipartisanship can work, from Matt Taibbi: Congress Will Suck No Matter Who's In Power.

Which is not to say the two parties won't work together. They will -- just not on anything constructive. What most people fail to understand about Congress is that there have been some highly consistent areas of consensus even in these incredibly contentious past ten years. In the areas in which both parties typically agree, like military spending and giveaways to the more generous donor industries, Democrats and Republicans have worked swimmingly even in the most publicly antagonistic periods of the Bush and Clinton years. They helped each other sign off on the Iraq war and stroke the credit industry with the bankruptcy bill. They cooperated to pass a spate of free-trade agreements, the WTO, the MAI, GATT and a host of other legislative monstrosities.

Where they couldn't cooperate was in the area of upholding their constitutional responsibilities, and practicing bureaucratic self-defense. The social divide between Republicans and Democrats had to be a big part of the reason Congress lacked the institutional stones to really stand up to the president on the torture issue, to fight back when the vice president ignores a subpoena of the GAO, to demand someone's head when the defense department openly refuses to audit itself. The Republicans in Congress have been so busy in the last ten years figuring out ways to shut Democrats out of the process that they forgot how to stop the executive branch from giving it to them up the ass. The result is a Congress that is not only grossly corrupt and completely beholden to financial interests, but totally castrated in the national political arena, a tawdry little sideshow that drones on idiotically on CSPAN while the White House rules the country more or less absolutely (an additional insult; not only is the Congress a disgrace to two millennia of democratic tradition, it's the worst show on television).

What I hope this new Congress will show (and in this I think I actually concur with Chris below) is a new sense of its Constitutional responsibilities. As a check on the executive branch.



I'm not above a little gloating.

im in ur house taking ur seats
Tuesday was a good day. It feels nice to actually win an election for a change. I was proud to have a small part in Amy Klobuchar's victory by helping manage her website.

Already the Democrats are effecting change. Rumsfeld is out!

There were some disappointments, however. Lieberman won. Michelle Bachmann becomes Minnesota's embarrassment, easily one of the biggest nut-jobs in Congress. Hatch couldn't close the deal, unfortunately. Dean Johnson lost -- we salute his political courage for keeping gay bashing off Minnesota's agenda. A number of anti-gay measures passed in states all over the country. We will be ashamed of that in years to come.

Take the high road

I feel lighter today. The Democrats routed house Republicans. Now it has been confirmed that Webb won in Virginia, which gives them control of the Senate, too. It's a fantastic opportunity to lead.

Democrats are assuming power in the wake of a spate of scandals that almost all stem from unrestrained hubris. It will be tough to wash that bitter taste out of our mouths.

Of all the hopes I have for this House and Senate, first among them is this: We must utterly destroy the the legacy of Tom Delay and Dennis Hastert. Democrats can do this by taking the high road. It will be very tempting to interpret the election as an opportunity for payback. Let us hope they have enough sense to resist. We need ethics reform, an inclusive dialog, and an end to bought-and-paid-for, lobbyist written laws far more than we need to punish the already vanquished. We need to open up the committees, get rid of earmarks, start allowing everybody to start reading the legislation before it is voted on. In short - we need to lead a return to transparent government.

Democrats are assuming power at the head of a table called Iraq that is laid with rotten fare. There are no good choices there. Yet we must make choices. Staying the course (whatever that as ever supposed to mean) is not a viable option. In fact, the "course" that was architected and led by Donald Rumsfeld is now formally bankrupt. A week after he pledged his undying love and affection, the President summarliy kicked Rummy off his pedestal. That's quite amazing considering that Bush's vote of confidence a week before the election probably gave the Democrats the Senate.

It is time for the adults to take the reins of our war effort. The opportunity, and the risk, is to begin hold the executive branch and the hogs at the trough of war accountable for the decisions that have brought us to this place. Many will say we should fight for impeachment. I am interested in accountability. I am more interested in building a bipartisan, strategically sound plan for stabilizing Iraq. It may not be possible. But I do not believe a culture of leadership that values the critical thinking of our best military minds can emerge while one side investigates the other. If any President deserves to be impeached it's Bush. But the fate of the troops stuck in Iraq trump it. Take the high road on Impeachment. On the other hand, we need to get a strong grip on how the US is funding and staffing the war. There is corruption to root out. War profiteers, embezzlers, and sponsors in the US Congress and the Executive Branch found to be complicit should be prosecuted and jailed.

If we do that, Democrats will serve a grateful nation well. We will surprise the minority party with good manners and, in a bonus for us all, lay the groundwork for productive, effective leadership that will take us into 2008.

Jason Lewis on Election Night

Interview by Paul Demko of City Pages.


Images from GOP Election Night HQ

Minnesota GOP Election Night


A loud message for Bush, indeed. We've been driving in the wrong direction for some time, and have finally stopped the car and kicked out a few clowns. That's a good first step.

Last night I was at GOP election headquarters with a few fine fellows from City Pages. The atmosphere was a little somber, of course, but also exciting. I chatted a bit with Michael Brodkorb and Brian from Fraters Libertas, both making the best of the night. John Hinderaker and I ignored each other I guess, though I was standing right in front of him.

I interviewed an older woman calling herself a registered Democrat. Crime and terrorism were by far her most important issues. In other words: Fear.

My hats off to everyone who participated in the political process.


Re: 2006 "sea change"

To undercut our collective cartwheeling around the liberal blogosphere, here's a bit of pessimism from Alexander Cockburn:

Pick a topic--the war, the economy, a two million-plus prison population, the environment, the condition of organized labor, the Bill of Rights--and can you recall any Democrat this fall having said anything suggesting that in the event Democrats recapture either the House or the Senate or both anything of consequence might occur?

The week before polling day the New York Times had a story about the Business Lobby's plans to sweep away all irksome laws and regulations passed in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals. Did anyone cry, "that's just the kind of corporate villainy we need the Democrats to guard us from!" Of course not. It would be as unrealistic as to hope that a Congress controlled in both chambers by Democrats would simply vote to deny Bush the money for the war in Iraq.

It's safe to say it now (and yes I cast my fear vote for her): Amy Klobuchar always seemed devoid of new ideas or a real sense of countervailing power. She is designed for the beltway: centrist, savvy, electable, a law partner above all else. Keith Ellison, who knows? His single-payer healthcare proposal is not exactly new, but absurdly "radical" in the current political climate. And his voice might be louder, being the first Muslim ever in Congress. (Though I wonder whether this unique status might cause him to moderate his views.)

Still, what good is it to reverse a wafer-thin majority of hawkish blinkered Republicans, and replace it with squishy fence-nurturing centrism? Is America's entire ideological framework being dragged rightward by that religious-military-market complex?

More cause for fear that Democrats won't grow a spine: Leiberman won in Connecticut. As a "centrist", whatever that means now.

Reports of GOP Illegally robo calling

There are widespread reports across the nation that the GOP is engaging in harassing phone calls. The calls open with a script that implies that the call is from a Democratic candidate. If the recipient hangs up, they believe that the call came from the Democratic Candidate. At this point, the recipient is immediately dialed again. If the recipient does not listen to the call in it's entirety, the recipient will be continuously called.

If the the call recipient does not hang up, the call continues with a standard attack/negative information about the candidate. It is only at the end of the call that the caller is actually identified as originating from the National Republican Campaign Committee.

The Wetterling campaign is monitoring the situation and asks you to call campaign offices if you are the recipient of one of these illegal attack calls.


Dear Friends,

We are continuing to receive reports of suspicious robo-calls, falsely claiming to be from the Wetterling campaign. If you receive one of these calls or notice other suspicious activity, we ask you to call the Wetterling campaign headquarters at 763-323-1803.

This is a very serious matter and your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

With regards,

Corey Day

Wetterling Campaign Manager


Army Times to Bush: Fire Rummy

Army Times: Time for Rumsfeld to go

There are essentially no good options with regards to Iraq. However, dismissing Rumsfeld would be a positive step. We can't even explore the few options we have with Rumsfeld in charge. His stature and credibility are too diminished. From the times:

It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.

These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.

And although that tradition, and the officers’ deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.

Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.

This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:

Donald Rumsfeld must go.


No wonder he's haggard: Pastor Ted's double life

Ted Haggard, President of the 30 million member National Association of Evangelicals, founder of the mega-church of mega-churches, New Life Church who talks with President Bush every Monday (or used to), the go-to guy in the culture war and one of the architects of the idea that the US constitution should be amended to ban gay marriage, has been caught having gay sex and snorting meth.

Is that enough said?

There is basically no way to measure the depth of self-loathing these people must have in order to lead millions of people in religious crusades against their inner most desires.


Just say yes to an English Al Jazeera

So Al-Jazeera set to debut its English version in the states later this month. Buried in the article, was this little nugget:

A recent poll found 53% of Americans opposed the launch of the channel and two-thirds of Americans thought the US government should not allow it entry to the US market.

The author of that story doesn't reference which poll or under how the question was framed, so I think it's suspect. In fact, it would surprise me if it were true. If 2/3 of the country thought we should start explicitly censoring news and information, well, certainly we are not the country we think ourselves to be.

It's worth considering why it's important to welcome Al Jazeera with open arms - and no dear readers from either nutted wing, it isn't because I agree or disagree with their editorial point of view. We should welcome Al Jazeera with open arms, watch it, support its advertisers because doing so is an example of the power of freedom of speech and the power of a liberal republic that gains its strength from a rich marketplace of ideas. It would be a living breathing open communication channel back to the very hearts and minds we seek to win. The alternative is to slam the door and place our message of freedom in the hands of spin pimps like Rove and Karen Hughes.

Of course the other reason I welcome them is so that they will compete with the mainstream idiots over here. Who do you broadcast the most footage of either of the two major political conventions in 2004? It was Al Jazeera. No talking heads, no stupid, stupid pundits. Just the unvarnished camera pointed at speakers.

Check out Foreign Policy's debunking of popular Al Jazeera myths. Free speech? Yes, we have heard of it in

America. Welcome Al Jazeera.

Software glitches point to big election day problems

Primary and early e-voting problems point to gathering storm

As we move toward the November mid-terms, we're beginning to a more detailed and depressing picture of exactly what we're up against as a nation in less than a week: two major new reports from independent research groups detail the myriad security breaches, and procedural and technical problems in the 2006 Ohio primaries; stories from early voting in Texas indicate that the paperless DREs in at least two counties may have a partisan bias; another major new report from the University of Connecticut details a whole raft of security vulnerabilities in Diebold's optical scan voting machines; finally, BlackBoxVoting.org has released "push this, pull here" instructions for multiple voting on a Sequoia DRE, no hacking skills necessary.

I have maintained for a long time that that voting software should not be subject to the pressures of the marketplace. I am a capitalist. I own two software companies. I believe the private sector has much to offer the public. But how we vote and the way votes are counted in addition to the actual privilege of voting, represent the inner-workings of democracy. They should not be held hostage to domain experts, license agreements, financial incentives, consultants, trade secrets, copyright protection.

Elections in this country will always be suspect as long as legions of voters cast votes on machines they do not understand in the presence of pollwatchers who can't fix them, with each ballot counted by software that only a handful of engineers can see, and whose ultimate efficacy is in the hands of executives whose bonuses depend on the result.

Elections are too important to leave to even the perception of cronyism, hidden agendas and ecret development - all of which is completely normal in the business world. The development and maintenanace of all voting software should be managed by the government on behalf of the people as an open source project. Citizens need to see the code.

Straight talk

Andrew Sullivan: It's not an election, it's an intervention.

Hitchens: It's demeaning to talk about Kerry.


Military: Iraq Teeters on Chaos

Here's a handy visual for you.

Meanwhile, the Air Force needs $50 billion to pay for transporting growing numbers of U.S. soldiers being killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another sad statistic in Bush's War.

Abstinence Ed for adults

Brilliant. More output from the busy bees in government. The nice social conservatives running the country think that adults between the ages of 20 - 29 need a dose of Abstinence Education. You know, because "...abstaining from sex is the only effective or acceptable method to prevent pregnancy or disease."

It's an ignorant, expensive thing to do and won't affect what it claims to affect. They want to reduce unplanned pregnancies - but they will rise. They want to reduce STDs - but they will also rise.

Idiotic moves like this are exactly why we can't afford to elect Michele Bachmann.

The Stephanie Miller Threat

The Kerry Kerfuffle is pretty tame compared to this!

1) Watch this video of Stephanie Miller getting fiesty on FOX. "It's called journalism, Fox News should try it sometime." (snork)

2) Read the thinly veiled death threat from one retired psycho named "Sock."

3) Listen to Stephanie Miller's phone call to Sock who included his phone number.

I'd like to send a warm fuzzy out to all the New Patriot commenters who haven't expressed a desire to cram an AK47 up our glory holes. You guys are the best.