Wednesday, April 05, 2006

This isn't finished but Blogger's about to go down

The way things are being done tonight by the "blog twins" (Mike and myself) is that we're both noting the same two items but we're each writing about only one. That's due to the fact that Mike has really strong feelings and thoughts on one and I have that on the other. We agreed on the two items to select but we both felt that one was in our area of strength so we'd blog on that one. If that's confusing, so is life.

22 Killed in Iraq Violence (Democracy Now!):
At least 22 people were killed in violence around Iraq on Tuesday. The deadliest incident came in Baghdad, when ten people were killed in a car bombing.

John Kerry had an op-ed in the New York Times today and Gary Hart was interviewed by Andrea Lewis on KPFA's The Morning Show. Both men expressed a basic premise that I do support which is we have to leave Iraq. Other than that, I had to wonder, "Are they out of touch or 'framing'?" Both have a "get tough" strategy. It works, as these things usually do, in one direction. For Kerry, we need to 'get tough' with the Iraqi government. Why haven't they formed a successful government after all this time? That's his question.

US involvement isn't noted despite the fact that the US government was very involved in every government set up since the invasion. To ignore that fact is to miss the picture. Is John Kerry not aware of that? Is he not aware that in the most recent elections, we would have been even more involved had Nancy Pelosi not objected? There is much in the column he wrote that I can support but I can't get behind the premise of the Iraqis' have 'failed' when, in fact, the Iraqis have never been in charge.

So is he 'framing'? Is this his concept of a way to sell withdrawal to the people?

I have no idea. But I can't believe he's unaware of the US government's involvement in the elections and the selection process. Is he unaware that we're pressuring the current prime minister to step down? If so, he must have missed the news coverage for the last week and a half because it's been reported and reported and reported -- even by the mainstream press.
(By the way, I enjoyed how Wally inverted the story today.)

If he is aware and this is framing, that's one reason so many of us don't care for framing. It's used as a way to sneak something over. The Nation did a cover story on young 'activists.' They weren't activists. They were liars. Not very smart liars, but liars does describe them. They bragged about how they'd sold a wage increase by not focusing on real issues but instead cloaking it in the Bible. Now, if I remember right, the vote on that comes up this month. They bragged about putting one over on their fellow students (at a religious college) two or so months ago.

That article bothered me for several reasons. First of all, there are activists on campus, real ones. They don't get a cover story. But the White, junior DLC division does. That story was so insulting to me as a regular reader of the magazine because I don't buy that publication for marketing. I buy it for ideas. I buy it for discussions of large issues. That story could have come out of a newsletter for the DLC and all they would have done was clip out the ending where Tom Hayden was briefly quoted (and noted that these 'activists' weren't activists).

So is that where we are now? We'll say anything to get the troops home?

I understand the desperation, I realize that people are dying (on all sides) every day. But Hart and Kerry struck me the wrong way today.

Hart spoke of security and how Dems needed to up their profile. He made clear that he was making observations and not endorsements in those comments. But when you're dealing with critiques, you're usually dealing with your own opinion. Anyone, for instance, expecting Ava and C.I. to sit through a T&A show and then write in praise of it at The Third Estate Sunday Review is going to be disappointed because they're writing from a feminist perspective.

He spoke of a new kind of warfare that we'd be facing in the future. I believe he noted the need to combine special ops. If he did do that, then that is advocating. I say if because it was a crazy morning. I thought I was going to miss the interview live but I had a cancellation so Sunny and I both listened to it. While we were listening, I was catching up on two journals. If I'm remembering wrong and he didn't advocate combing Delta Force, et al, my apologies and my bad.

But since he did speak of door-to-door warfare and went on to note Falluja, I don't think I'm remembering incorrectly. A caller pointed out that door-to-door involved civilians. Hart stated he wasn't endorsing it, he was just making observations. If that's true then what is the suggestion that we combine special forces? To me that's not just an observation.

The caller was very upset and I didn't blame her. I think he tossed around Falluja a little too casually. What went on there in November of 2004 and earlier in April of 2004 qualifies for war crimes. I'd grabbed coffee from the break room and when I was walking back, a caller, male, was on the phone and he didn't get to finish his comment because Gary Hart exploded at him. The caller was making the point, from what little I heard (and Sunny said I heard basically all of it) that America's motives have been imperialistic.

Gary Hart said of the caller that he was the reason for the problems Democrats had in winning races. I don't think a critique of US history and it's imperialistic aims are the reason anyone loses an election.

I also was highly offended when another caller, again male, spoke in defense of the previous caller. This caller spoke with a Latino accent and Hart asked him, "If you feel that way, why did you come to this country?" (That's a paraphrase. "Really" may have been the question as well.)
I found it offensive at the time and I still find it offensive. A female caller spoke on similar topics as the other two I've noted and she also brought up the fact that the US government has historically propped up tyrannical governments that abuse their citizens. She brought up Saudia Arabia and possibly that was the reason Hart could get behind that question.

Was Hart 'framing' in the interview? With his observations (I say opinions) of how the Democratic Party needs to be a tough party in order to win, was he framing?

To be fair to him, he included children (American) in national security and the environment. His security talk was not just war, war, war.

I'm actually interested in reading his book. (But I have a long reading list currently so I probably won't buy it until May.) He had many interesting ideas. But both he and Kerry seem to be 'framing' to me.

I don't think we get away from aggressive wars (which he is opposed to) by not addressing the roots of those wars and other wars that came before. He appeared, to me, to want to take it on a case-by-case basis. I don't see how that helps. It allows us to condemn one war of aggression; however, it allows them to continue.

It was an hour interview on a wide range of subjects and I don't want to give the impression that I disagreed with everything he said. I will be reading his book at some point. He was on the show to promote the book and he did peak my interest in it. (In the new book. Not the one on religion.)

But with both him and Kerry, two people opposed to the illegal war and speaking out against it, I felt less common ground than I would've expected. Amy Goodman interviewed him on Democracy Now! and he had stated that he learned by listening. I don't think he listened to the caller he snapped at. With Andrea Lewis, he made the point (which I agree with) that Democrats who voted for the invasion need to admit that they are wrong. He said admitting that you are wrong is one of the hardest things to do for a politician. I think he needs to admit that he handled that call poorly.

I spoke to C.I. and opened with, "I know you are busy, I'm sorry to call, but I spoke to Ruth and I think I'm writing about Hart's interview." C.I. knows Hart, C.I. likes Hart personally (and has campaigned for him). C.I. said, "Elaine, when Cedric calls worried it's one thing. But you've known me forever. If you have a problem, write about it. I'm not going to be upset." I wish I could've spoken longer on the phone but I know C.I. (and Ava and Jess) were working on immigration activism.

I will note that Andrea Lewis is all that Ruth's said and more. I understood why she enjoys Lewis' interviews so much. Many of Hart's point I could either agree with or was interested in hearing more information about them (which is why I'll be reading the book) but the above were the moments I disagreed with. C.I. asked if I'd note Ralph Nader because a number of e-mails came in on "whatever was said about Nader."

Hart believes that Nader cost Al Gore the election in 2000 and that Nader voters are responsible for Bully Boy being in the White House.

I don't agree with that and C.I. doesn't agree with that. So consider this a joint statment from us both. (We've spoken of this many times and if I offer something that's different from C.I.'s opinion by mistake, I'll note it tomorrow. I know C.I. probably won't have time to write tonight and I know the issue probably does need addressing within the community.)

rebecca note: i'm adding links for elaine and a comment near the bottom, but i did speak to c.i. and was told there was no disagreement with the 2000 comments and 'in fact, no disagreement with anything elaine's written. it's a great entry.'

During the 2000 campaign, Al Gore could've stolen voters from Nader. To do that, he would have had to have spoken to issues. (I voted for Al Gore. As did C.I. Up until a Rolling Stone interview we were willing to listen to Nader's campaign and weigh the issues addressed. In the interview, Nader dismissed the concerns of pro-choice voters and that's when he lost any interest we might have had in his campaign.)

I can go more into my/our thoughts on the campaign if someone needs me to but Mike just called to say he didn't think he was going to be finished in time. "In time? Are we in a race tonight?" Yes, we are. A race against Blogger which goes offline for fine tuning in less than ten minutes. I wasn't aware of that. So let me just say the above about the campaign for tonight.

Now in terms of winning or losing, Al Gore won the vote. He beat the Bully Boy. In the recount phase (and there was never a full recount despite James Baker's talking points of the votes being counted and recounted), Al Gore's campaign made huge mistakes. Joe Lieberman agreeing to count all military votes regardless of whether they were filled out properly or came in on time (or had a postmark) was a huge mistake. Joe Lieberman being on the ticket was a huge mistake.

Asking Jesse Jackson to leave was a mistake. They needed demonstrations, real ones, as opposed to the phoney ones staged by people flown into Florida to stop the recount. The disenfranchisment of African-American voters was not addressed by the campaign.

Al Gore won the vote. He lost the race. The Surpreme Court bears responsibility for that but so does his campaign. Six years later and the Democratic Party still fails to grasp that Republican want to win. They're not going to play nicely. They're going to pull out all stops. They smeared John Kerry with the Not So Swift Floaties (as C.I.'s dubbed them) and Kerry could have fought back. He could have made a real issue of Osama, not just in the debates but with commercials as well. He could have made an issue (or his campaign, I should say) of any number of topics but he played it like it was a race between gentleman. Obviously, his campaign never grasped how Karl Rove operates.

Ralph Nader didn't cost Al Gore the election. Even with Nader in the campaign, he won the vote. (Nader also wasn't the big beneficiary of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach -- that was Pat Buchanan.) He lost the election because his campaign played nice and worried about how they'd look to the press. He should have fought for the race he won. He didn't. That goes to his team and to him. That has little to do with Ralph Nader and everyone needs to get over the idea that in a democracy you can ask someone (or bully them) into stepping out of a race.

I'm posting this now because I have less than 2 minutes left before Blogger goes down.

Sinn Fein Member Who Spied for British Found Dead (Democracy Now!):
In Ireland, a former Sinn Fein member who spied for the British government has been murdered. The man, Denis Donaldson, admitted last year he spied on fellow Irish nationalists. Donaldson’s murder comes as the Irish and British governments are attempting to relaunch stalled peace negotiations. Both the Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army denied involvement in the killing.

okay, me again (rebecca). i'm adding this to elaine's post, adding on thursday. elaine's talk about the 'options' being tossed around are tied into the body count item because people will always die from wars and pretending that a war is bad but that another war might be okay, isn't a critique. it's fine tuning. it's accepting that the war with iraq would be okay if we had gotten a u.n. resolution. there needs to be a serious look at the war and at how it fits into other wars. that won't come from fine tuning or from pretending like bully boy just bungled the war. the was was illegal. illegal wars will continue until we can move beyond the fine tuning nonsense.

on the 2nd item from democracy now, elaine was going to explain that she and mike had chosen the 2 items, the way they usually do, but had decided each would write about 1. for comments on the second item, see mike's 'Ireland.'