Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Collaboration: Dean Speaks to Union Members about the Economy

Here's the speech we've been waiting for: Governor Dean outlined his economic plan today in a speech to the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union in Des Moines. He vows to repeal the errors of the Bush administration and to put new, positive plans in place to bring us back to prosperity. A few quotes:

"We became a great country because we built a strong middle class. All Americans, not just union members, owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women of America's labor movement. They grew the roots of our prosperity, and built a nation with blood, sweat and toil."

"They struggled together to pass on to their children and grandchildren an America that was better than the one they inherited. The men and women of the labor movement joined together because they knew that they could accomplish more in unity than they could be going it alone. And if we are going to change America for the better, we must find in ourselves again that same sense of community and common cause. "

And Deaniacs favorite, after outlining the difference between what Bush says and what he does:

"As they say in Texas, the President is all hat and no cattle."

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Greed: Republicans Make Life Harder for Low-Wage Earners

The News & Observer published a Deaniacs editorial today on the Nickeled and Dimed controversy. Check out That was Then; This is Worse in today's paper. Or see a longer version on the Deaniacs.org site: Nickeled and Dimed: The Good Old Days.

North Carolina is lucky to have a paper like the N&O that strives to present a balanced view.

Avarice AND Hubris: Pentagon Opens "Futures Market" for Terrorists

When I saw the headline in the News & Observer, I literally checked the date to see if it was April Fool's Day. Despite two years of increasingly unbelievable news, this story seemed incredible.

But it's true: The Pentagon is setting up a virtual stockmarket to let people bet on "the underlying fundamentals of relevance to the Middle East. Initially, PAM will focus on the economic, civil, and military futures of Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey and the impact of U.S. involvement with each."

This is a step beyond Bush's sneer of "Bring it on!" to the terrorists. This market would literally let a terrorist organization make money by performing an unexpected act of destruction.

The scientific claims that this market will use the power of the group mind to uncover trends rests on a false comparison. Markets may be able to predict election results and the future price of corn because those events rely on mass participation. But assassinations and acts of terror can be accomplished by a very few people. Now the U.S. will reward the "insider trading" of our enemies. Surely we can think of a better way to spend eight million dollars of tax money.

Source: Pentagon Prepares a Futures Market on Terror Attacks, by Carl Hulse, New York Times, 7/29/2003.

Monday, July 28, 2003

United Fronts: Democrats Begin to Pull Together; Republicans in Unison

Senator John Edwards was singing our song in New Hampshire on Sunday. When asked whether he would be a better choice for President than Senator Kerry or Governor Dean, Edwards responded: "I don't have a negative word to say about the other two candidates. Either one of them would be a better president than the one we have now." Deaniacs feels the same way about Senator Edwards, too.

And we need this united front, because the Republicans are certainly going to present one. On the same page, the News & Observer reports that State Representative David Lewis has withdrawn from the race for chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party. He says, "The 2004 elections can be a watershed year for the Republican Party and it is imperative that we be united."

Sources: Edwards says he has wide appeal, by John Wagner, News & Observer, July 28, 2003.

Race to chair state GOP down to 1, for unity's sake, by Lynn Bonner, Daniel Thigpen, and Rob Christensen, News & Observer, July 28, 2003.

Read All About It: Wilmington Meetup

The Deaniacs.org site has a new story about the July Dean Meetup in Wilmington North Carolina.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Momentum: Even Merle Haggard is Getting Worried

In his latest editorial, the country singer famous for "Proud to be an Okie from Muskogee" writes about enlisting in the Marines when he was just fourteen. But his days of "enlist first and ask questions later" patriotism are over. He writes:

"Those who have the gumption to investigate, know that the reputation of honesty between the government and the people cannot reflect the reason for a single man to have confidence in what we're doing in current day conditions. I'm suspicious, I'm paranoid, and I'm afraid. And the person who says he isn't has not looked up or around lately."

Haggard then asks what sort of country do we have when people would boycott the Dixie Chicks for exercising their right to free speech.

"As a country we need to look inward for the answers to the energy of the future. We need to bring down our demands for oil, rebuild some bridges and highways and allow the farmers to grow something that replenishes the soil. Those who don't know what that is, should do some research. The problem is not in Iraq and the answers are not in Iran."

I've always liked Merle Haggard's music. Now I know I like the man, too.

Source: Hag's editorial, by Merle Haggard, June 2003.

Envy: DLC Attacks on Dean Weaken all Democratic Candidates

The Democratic Leadership Council is so intent on stopping Howard Dean that it is feeding Republican attacks on all Democratic candidates, according to Salon today. Yet ironically, Dean's successful campaign seems to follow the advice from the DLC's founder and its president. They advised "By all means, capture your party's imagination -- but do it on your terms, not theirs." Dean is doing that -- but under attack from the DLC.

As Salon says, "The group is losing sight of the larger narrative, and assisting its real opposition by attacking Dean. Already, the McGovern-peacenik-Democratic-weakness charge is spreading from DLC articles into the mouths of Republican critics, except the DLC charge is creating a blowback that will damage all Democrats -- including those who voted for the president's war resolution -- on matters of foreign policy."

Deaniacs calls on the DLC to support all Democratic candidates. Please read The American Prospect's fantasy debate, in which each Democratic candidate supports the others while they all use the debate to attack Bush. In it, for example, George Stephanopoulos asks Dr. Dean, "Can you tell us why people should choose you over Sen. Kerry?"

And Dean answers: "No, George. I won't. But I will tell you why people should choose me over George W. Bush."

That's how we're going to take back America.

Sources: Life of the Party?, by Garance Franke-Ruta on Salon.com, 7/25/03.
The Demo Derby, by Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect, 7/1/03.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Wrath: Bush Administration Reveals Identity of CIA Operative

According to an editorial in today's New York Times, Bush administration officials have identified former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife as a CIA operative. As Paul Krugman says in Who's Unpatriotic Now?:

Think about that: if their characterization of Mr. Wilson's wife is true (he refuses to confirm or deny it), Bush administration officials have exposed the identity of a covert operative. That happens to be a criminal act; it's also definitely unpatriotic.

Her cover was blown by conservative Richard Novak in his July 14th column: Mission to Niger. Novak wrote: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate" the allegation.

The Nation reports Wilson's reaction: "Without acknowledging whether she is a deep-cover CIA employee, Wilson says, 'Naming her this way would have compromised every operation, every relationship, every network with which she had been associated in her entire career. This is the stuff of Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames.'"

Do we need any more proof that the invasion of Iraq was not about weapons of mass destruction than this: that the Bush administration would squander an entire network devoted to protecting us from those weapons, just to punish one critic and to set an example for others?

Sunday, July 13, 2003

News: Dean to Guest-Host Lawrence Lessig's Blog

Next week, Dr. Dean will host Lawrence Lessig's blog while the Stanford professor takes a rare vacation. Lessig is a shining star in the fight for free speech. From his bio: "More recently, Professor Lessig represented web site operator Eric Eldred in the ground-breaking case Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Lessig was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries, for arguing 'against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online.'"

Dean's upcoming role has spawned many comments in Lessig's blog and on Slash Dot. At least more of the digerati know who he is now. And this will certainly ensure that Dr. Dean gets a crash course in equitable copyright laws and technology-enhanced innovation.

Sources: Lessig's blog and Howard Dean to Guest Blog for Lawrence Lessig, Slash Dot, 7/13/03.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Get Active: Deaniacs at the League of Women Voters

I went to a meeting of the Wake County League of Women Voters on Thursday. The meeting, which I'd found through their website, turned out to be the end-of-year board meeting. I get a little misty just thinking about those fifteen dedicated women, sitting on hard folding chairs for two hours at the local YWCA, organizing to defend our rights to vote.

Although the group is non-partisan, it does work for issues that will help get a good Democrat in the White House: fair and open elections, an educated electorate, and free air time for candidates. Their stands on issues tend to agree with Dr. Dean's stands on topics such as education, women's rights, and the environment.

A letter sent yesterday by the national League President to all members of Congress begins: "The League of Women Voters strongly believes that basic civil liberties must be preserved and protected as the nation seeks to guard against terrorism and other threats to national security. We are particularly concerned about the impact of provisions of the USA Patriot Act passed by Congress in October 2001, the possible extension of the sunset provisions of that Act and Administration proposals for a new Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA), also known as Patriot Act II."

By working with the League, Dean supporters can help register new voters and educate voters about Dean. For example, I plan to attend the League's celebration of Women's Equality Day on August 26th. The Wake County Board has told me that I'll be able to put Dean campaign literature on their information table and also be able to wear my trusty Dean button. Since the League invites Republicans and Democrats to its events, this is another chance to work a bit outside the cozy circle of progressives.

Sources: Civil Liberties and National Security, by Kay J. Maxwell, President of the League of Women Voters, 7/10/03.

Pride: Newsweek says Hubris will be Bush's Downfall

Newsweek's analysis of the crumbling Bush administration brings to mind the classical Greek tragedies in which the hero is brought down by an excess of pride. The article begins: "President Bush is certain he did the right thing by going to war in Iraq. Bush never second-guesses himself, a trait that permeates his administration and contains the seeds of his undoing."

Deaniacs sees light at the end of the tunnel as the mainstream media starts covering what's really going on in the White House.

Source: No Mistakes Were Made, Eleanor Clift for Newsweek on MSNBC.com, 7/11/03.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Confession: White House Admits Claims about Iraq's Uranium False

President Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address that "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." What he didn't say then was that the American government had known for nearly a year that this simply wasn't true. Yesterday, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer admitted that the president's statement was based on forged documents. Worse, in the eyes of Deaniacs.org, it was based on a British 'white paper' that contradicted at least two reliable American sources of intelligence.

"The president's statement was based on the predicate of the yellow cake [uranium] from Niger," Fleischer told reporters. "So given the fact that the report on the yellow cake did not turn out to be accurate, that is reflective of the president's broader statement."

But it's not that the British report didn't TURN OUT to be accurate as more facts came to light. The report was already known to be false eleven months before the State of the Union Address. According to Joseph C. Wilson, a former ambassador sent by the CIA to check out the uranium rumors, the U.S. Ambassador to Niger told him in February 2002 that "she knew about the allegations of uranium sales to Iraq and that she felt she had already debunked them in her reports to Washington."

But since the CIA had sent Wilson to Niger to check out these rumors, Wilson and the Ambassador agreed he should spend the next eight days verifying the facts. In describing his investigation, Wilson says, "It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place." He reported this comforting conclusion to the Ambassador, to the CIA, and to State Department African Affairs Bureau.

But that didn't stop Bush from falsely presenting Iraq as a country about to unleash nuclear weapons on the United States.

Sources: "What I Didn't Find in Africa" by Joseph C. Wilson 4th, New York Times, 7/6/03 and White House: Uranium claim incorrect, CNN website, 7/9/03.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Getting Active: Dean Gear at Festival for the Eno

My husband and I wore our Deaniac shirts to the Festival for the Eno on July 4th. We couldn't go fifty feet at the festival without having someone stop us. Comments ranged from "Go Howard!" to "Love your shirt" to "Who is Howard Dean?" Since there were two of us, we got used to standing facing in opposite directions, so the front and back of the shirts could be admired at the same time. Lots of people had insightful questions to ask about Dean. I was pleased by the number we could answer and humbled by the number that I couldn't. Let the homework continue!

A high point came when we were sitting in the center of the crowd listening to The Big Blues Quartet. Two women sat down next to us who were wearing Dean for America shirts and buttons. Before we could even catch their attention, they were joined by a third Deaniac. Five Dean supporters in a row! They turned out to be our friends from the Raleigh June Meetup - plus a visiting sister from Richmond Virginia. She's eager to get a group started up there.

On the way out, we spotted people getting into a car with a Dean bumper sticker and stopped to talk. Then I went home and read the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, and Martin Luther King's "I Had a Dream" speech. What a deliciously independent, patriotic Independence Day.

Grassroots: Wilmington Dean Supporters "Adopt an Iowan"

What an exhilarating Meetup in Wilmington NC. Fifteen of us gathered at Port City Java to talk about Dr. Dean. As part of a project coordinated by Dean for America, we also wrote letters to individual Iowa voters. These person-to-person letters said, for the most part, "wish WE could vote in the crucial Iowa caucuses. Here's why we would vote for Howard Dean...."

But before we started writing, the group discussed who would coordinate the *next* Meetup in Wilmington. I had driven down from Raleigh (about 2 hours away) to give my "Dean 101" talk and coordinate this first one. But the Wilmington folk are now off and running. Distributed politics at its finest.

Speaking of finest, one couple had driven from Elizabethtown for the Meetup -- by way of Fayetteville, where they had been told there might be a Meetup. They said they would have driven to Charlotte if necessary to learn how to support Dr. Dean's candidacy.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Grassroots: Meetup Tonight! See you in Wilmington NC

Hope you are all going to a Meetup tonight. I'll be at the one in Wilmington NC. There are hundreds of them throughout the country. Find one or start one in your area. Let's get active!

Pride: Senator John Edwards Risks Senate Seat for ... What?

Great editorial in the Raleigh News and Observer today: Edwards Keeps N.C. Hanging.

Please go back to Washington and represent your state, Senator Edwards!

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Media: Overview of Responses to Dean's Fund Raising Home Run

Howard Kurtz's Media Notes column summarizes the media response to Dean's surge in fund raising. After a few paragraphs of grousing about the nebulous ties between winning the nomination and early fundraising strength, he concludes: "Having said that, we'd have to admit that Howard Dean's surge in the money primary is a very big deal."

Check out the rest of the article for quotes such as this one from The Note: "Until now, there was a quiet consensus among the Democratic campaigns: Pressed over brewsy, many campaign officials (and Democratic heavies) would say that only Kerry and Gephardt (and maybe one other) could win the nomination. And every rep of a non-Kerry or non-Gephardt campaign would add that their guy/gal as that 'one other' candidate. Now, anyone who excludes Howard Dean from that list is either smoking something or lying." Keep going to the bottom, for an encouraging bit on the falling popularity of Bush and the war in Iraq.

Source: The Money Primary, Washington Post, 7/1/03

Grassroots: Dean raises over $800,000 online yesterday

The Dean Internet team in Vermont stopped counting at 1:00 a.m. yesterday -- and even then the totals shout that Howard Dean is the serious Democratic candidate for president. And there was still an hour or two to go in the more western time zones.

As Governor Dean said in his announcement speech, "We are the great grassroots campaign of the modern era, built from mouse-pads, shoe leather and hope." Deaniacs are doing it with vibram, not shoe leather, but we're still thrilled by the flood of individual support.

As Patrick Henry said, "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." Let's get active!

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