Democrats Talking Back

The week's news is piling up, but before we jump into the fray to debate the domestic surveillance hearings, etc., I'd like to take one more look back at the State of the Union, this time focusing on the Democratic response.

First, must give credit where credit is due: The Democrats' Spanish language SOTU rebuttal by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. It was wise for the Dems to recognize that there's a whole Spanish-speaking audience out there that might not otherwise be drawn into the national conversation on key issues like health care, immigration, taxes and war -- yet it's a conversation that directly impacts them. A blogger called Pinto Bean disagrees. What do you think, Debaters?

Secondly, not so sure about the selection of Kaine. He's my governor now, and I think he was a fine choice. But I'm not so sure he was a fine choice to give the Democratic response. Crikey, at least give the guy a year in office instead of a week. Give him some time to learn to tame the eyebrow. Sure, sign him up for 2007, but 2006 is a little early.

Arianna Huffington wrote in her egomaniacally-titled Huffington Post that Rep. John Murtha from Western Pennsylvania would have been a better choice. Remember, Murtha is the pro-redeployment congressman who counts this as part of his bio:

He remained in the Reserves after his discharge from active duty until he volunteered for Vietnam in 1966-67, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He remained in the Reserves until his retirement.

Debaters, your thoughts on Kaine's address? Ideas on who else the Dems might have chosen? What kind of leadership does the Democratic party need in order to take advantage of controversies like the current one over warrantless surveillance of Americans?

By Emily Messner |  February 6, 2006; 11:27 PM ET  | Category:  Beltway Perspectives
Previous: A Long, Long War Away | Next: Should U.S. Media Reprint the Cartoons?


Please email us to report offensive comments.

no democrats.

there are people that run for office and control things but I doubt very much that there is someone that really thinks that the democrat republican thing is any realer than wrestling...

why is it that one person hasn't stood up and said:

"oh, by the way, since there isn't a war going don't need these _war powers_"

IF there were really opposing powers someone would have said that...

it's kind of obvious don't you think?

no connection between 9/11 and Iraq...

there is some connection between 9/11, bush(s), the saudis, and the cia/fbi...

but noones mentioning that are they....

think they're afraid or in on it?


Posted by: that would be nice....but there are | February 7, 2006 01:09 AM

Kaine could have done a better job by removing the repetitive 'there is a better way' phrase. There's a point where such style of speak seems a little too much like talking down to the voters.
However, I don't think it really matterred who gave the Democratic response. Having Murtha do the response seems like a foolish idea that would politicize his honest stance against the Iraq war; It probably would have cut into Murtha's legitimacy. Barak Obama might have been a good choice; While I feel he is a little too hyped up (hell, so does he), Senator Obama does possess a natural charisma and political affinity that would serve him well in any speech or interview.
My question is: Does it matter? Staged political functions such as the State Of The Union and the Democratic response to it are going to have little bearing this election year compared to the Abramoff scandal, the Katrina debacle, and the Iraq war. In a way, Kaine was a fine choice; All the Dems have to do is coast through to victory in November, and Kaine's safe, whitebread response seems to be along those very lines.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 7, 2006 01:47 AM

I wish Kaine was President instead of Bush.

Posted by: jelest | February 7, 2006 01:48 AM

I slept through both the SOTU and DR. They are media events, staged, strutted, play acted and fretted unnecessarily. I look at what a man in office does, not what he says.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 7, 2006 02:28 AM

Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps
by Peter Dale Scott

February 6, 2006
Pacific News Service

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Editor's Note: A little-known $385 million contract for Halliburton subsidiary KBR to build detention facilities for "an emergency influx of immigrants" is another step down the Bush administration's road toward martial law, the writer says.

A Halliburton subsidiary has just received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to provide "temporary detention and processing capabilities."

The contract -- announced Jan. 24 by the engineering and construction firm KBR -- calls for preparing for "an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs" in the event of other emergencies, such as "a natural disaster." The release offered no details about where Halliburton was to build these facilities, or when.

To date, some newspapers have worried that open-ended provisions in the contract could lead to cost overruns, such as have occurred with KBR in Iraq. A Homeland Security spokesperson has responded that this is a "contingency contract" and that conceivably no centers might be built. But almost no paper so far has discussed the possibility that detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.

For those who follow covert government operations abroad and at home, the contract evoked ominous memories of Oliver North's controversial Rex-84 "readiness exercise" in 1984. This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary "refugees," in the context of "uncontrolled population movements" over the Mexican border into the United States. North's activities raised civil liberties concerns in both Congress and the Justice Department. The concerns persist.

"Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters," says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military's account of its activities in Vietnam. "They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo."

Plans for detention facilities or camps have a long history, going back to fears in the 1970s of a national uprising by black militants. As Alonzo Chardy reported in the Miami Herald on July 5, 1987, an executive order for continuity of government (COG) had been drafted in 1982 by FEMA head Louis Giuffrida. The order called for "suspension of the Constitution" and "declaration of martial law." The martial law portions of the plan were outlined in a memo by Giuffrida's deputy, John Brinkerhoff.

In 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 188, one of a series of directives that authorized continued planning for COG by a private parallel government.

Two books, James Mann's "Rise of the Vulcans" and James Bamford's "A Pretext for War," have revealed that in the 1980s this parallel structure, operating outside normal government channels, included the then-head of G. D. Searle and Co., Donald Rumsfeld, and then-Congressman from Wyoming Dick Cheney.

After 9/11, new martial law plans began to surface similar to those of FEMA in the 1980s. In January 2002 the Pentagon submitted a proposal for deploying troops on American streets. One month later John Brinkerhoff, the author of the 1982 FEMA memo, published an article arguing for the legality of using U.S. troops for purposes of domestic security.

Then in April 2002, Defense Dept. officials implemented a plan for domestic U.S. military operations by creating a new U.S. Northern Command (CINC-NORTHCOM) for the continental United States. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called this "the most sweeping set of changes since the unified command system was set up in 1946."

The NORTHCOM commander, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced, is responsible for "homeland defense and also serves as head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).... He will command U.S. forces that operate within the United States in support of civil authorities. The command will provide civil support not only in response to attacks, but for natural disasters."

John Brinkerhoff later commented on PBS that, "The United States itself is now for the first time since the War of 1812 a theater of war. That means that we should apply, in my view, the same kind of command structure in the United States that we apply in other theaters of war."

Then in response to Hurricane Katrina in Sept. 2005, according to the Washington Post, White House senior adviser Karl Rove told the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, that she should explore legal options to impose martial law "or as close as we can get." The White House tried vigorously, but ultimately failed, to compel Gov. Blanco to yield control of the state National Guard.

Also in September, NORTHCOM conducted its highly classified Granite Shadow exercise in Washington. As William Arkin reported in the Washington Post, "Granite Shadow is yet another new Top Secret and compartmented operation related to the military's extra-legal powers regarding weapons of mass destruction. It allows for emergency military operations in the United States without civilian supervision or control."

It is clear that the Bush administration is thinking seriously about martial law.

Many critics have alleged that FEMA's spectacular failure to respond to Katrina followed from a deliberate White House policy: of paring back FEMA, and instead strengthening the military for responses to disasters.

A multimillion program for detention facilities will greatly increase NORTHCOM's ability to respond to any domestic disorders.

Peter Dale Scott is author of "Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). He is completing a book on "The Road to 9/11." Visit his Web site .

Posted by: che | February 7, 2006 03:13 AM

And, speaking of what POTUS does, as opposed to what he says in the SOTU, the foregoing post by che is demonstrably indicative of Bush having learned little from the lessons of history.

At the expense of the wrath of Chris-Will I will quote George Santayana's well known dictum: "Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them."

That is consistent with Hegel's basic observations about the reappearance of historic events. But the reappearance of gulags, labor camps, internment camps or concentration camps is inconsistent with his synthesis that history progresses towards a rational freedom.

It is more consistent with Marx, that great world-historic facts appear twice "the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." (Let me anticipate that Chris-Will will jump on this quote as evidence of a communist leaning on my part, or some such drivel.)

I am sure the neocon apologists will defend the erection of immigrant detention facilities as a necessary preparation, and will find nothing remarkable in the fact that a subsidary of the vice-president's former employer was awarded the contract.

It raises in me a sense of deja vu. First to the abuses of the Harding administration, another oil-based sink of corruption; and then to the "necessary preparations" in Germany beginning in 1935 and the Japanese internment camps here in America in the 1940s.

At the risk of being labeled an alarmist by Chris-Will, and as an invitation to his, or their, foam-at-the-mouth blather, I conclude with another quote:

"When Hitler attacked the Jews...I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions...I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church - and there was nobody left to be concerned." -Martin Niemoller, Congressional Record, 10/14/68

Posted by: Shiloh | February 7, 2006 05:06 AM

Kaine gave a very weak response after being hyped as a Democratic winner in a Bush state. I heard and read more comments on his eyebrows, his weak voice, the interior decorator of the governor's mansion, and his repetitive use of the hack phrase that politicians out of power and out of ideas always use.

Murtha gave a strong clear speech the other day on Iraq that would have made a better Democratic response.

As Deep Throat said about the Nixon White House - the GOP "is in a knife fight" and I feel the Democrats are still asleep.

Posted by: Easter Lemming | February 7, 2006 05:09 AM

Study: New Machines Await 4 in 5 Voters

By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer Mon Feb 6, 7:25 PM ET
Fewer voters will cast their ballots by punching a card or pulling a lever in this November's elections as the country continues to turn to newer, electronic machines, according to a study released Monday.

While the study says old systems that were prone to error are on their way out, experts also note that means many Americans will be voting on unfamiliar equipment this fall.
At least four out of five registered voters will use the newer generation of machines -- either ATM-style touchscreen machines or ones that ask voters to fill in the blanks, a vast change from the contested 2000 presidential election that spurred states and Congress to push for improved equipment.
Back in 2000, just over half the voters had access to the latest technology.
By this fall, however, only one out of 33 voters will be asked to use the system that raised the most objections in Florida -- punch cards -- and just one in 10 will use a lever machine, according to a survey by Election Data Services, a political consulting firm that tracks election equipment. Six years ago, one in six voters used punch cards and one in five used levers.
The changes are bound to create their own glitches as voters and administrators learn how to use equipment they haven't voted on before, said Kimball Brace, president of Election Data. Just over 30 million voters will be casting ballots on unfamiliar equipment, he said.
"You throw that many people in on something new, you're always bound to see something go wrong," he said.
The changes have created new controversies, especially with accusations that touchscreen-style machines are vulnerable to manipulation. In response, 25 states have passed laws requiring election administrators to use machines that allow voters to verify their vote has been accurately counted, and that create paper receipts for a recount.
Those paper trails -- called voter-verified paper audit trails -- are creating their own challenges, as manufacturers try to respond to lawmakers' demands for the equipment, Brace said.
Some of the survey results may change by the time the fall election arrives, the study said, because some states are still trying to change over from older equipment as encouraged by the federal Help America Vote Act, which was passed after the contested 2000 election.
The widespread push to modernize means that, in the six years between November 2000 and this fall's elections, nearly 82 million people in a nation of 170 million registered voters will have cast ballots on new equipment, the study concludes.
On the Net:

Posted by: CHE | February 7, 2006 05:16 AM

AND THE REPUBLICANS WIN THE 2006 ELECTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: che | February 7, 2006 05:24 AM

Speaking of SOTU, did anyone see Howard Dean at all? I would have assumed the heads of the RNC and the DNC would be normally part of the event.

Is he on his way out?

Posted by: D. | February 7, 2006 10:01 AM

The debate over who should have delivered the response is wasted energy. Nobody pays attention to that. What is more important is developing a winning message that the American people can grasp and support for the benefit of the country. The Democratic Party needs to re-brand themselves as the part of "compassion and toughness." That means promoting policies that help small business instead of the corporatist nonsense advoocated by Republicans. A single payer health care system will actually alleviate much of small businesses pain.

On national security the Democrats should take the Republicans on frontally: Iraq is an abysmal failure. Redeployment makes sense. Global warming is also a national security issue and instead of banal rhetoric as Bush offered, let's get behind a real energy policy that spends for R&D and promotes conservation.

Finally, how about a public works program for the Gulf Coast to rebuild the region and create jobs?

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 7, 2006 10:42 AM

Ms. Messner, I'll trade you your governor for my governor on the SOTU '06 rebuttal. Although Jennifer Granholm of Michigan has already made an appearance as the Democrat's foil to Bush-speak, she would have taken the gloves off with Bush, whereas Kaine contnued to pull his punches while repeating the empty phrase "there's a better way," only underscoring the fact that the Democrats can't find or agree on one. Michigan residents and Michigan's economy have taken a beating as a result of jobs shipped overseas, union-bashing, energy costs, healthcare costs -- well, the list is long and nothing on it will likely improve while Bush is at the helm. Granholm is smart, articulate, balanced, and gutsy. Her opponent in Michigan's 2006 governor's race is smart, and, well, wealthy enough to buy the state if he has to. My second choice for rebuttal? Waxman, of California. I wish the Democrats would let him out of the box more often.

Posted by: Bob Young | February 7, 2006 10:55 AM

Did the Democrats respond to the SOTU speech? .... doesn't matter, for 2 reasons:

1) there are so few competitive congressional districts due to gerrymandering, it takes a Delay-sized scandal to make an incumbent 'unsafe.'

2) the Democrats won't win anything back until they try to enlarge their base rather than pandering to the few proud activists. They can't protect social welfare programs when ... their costs are going to skyrocket in the next couple of decades ... the ratio of tax recipients to tax payers will grow in that same period ... the interest payments on government borrowing take a bigger and bigger chunk of the fed budget .... the costs of Bush's wars are added to future tax payer's burden ...

... how can any one, Rep or Dem, reconcile these competing forces without tax increases and spending cuts? (More tax cuts for the well-paid, Mr. President? Are you really that indifferent to the national interest?)

meanwhile, the Dems can't say how they'd protect national security more effectively than the Republicans ... they couldn't even counter the slime Republicans laid on their actual war hero presidential candidate .... when the Republican candidate copped out of his military responsibilities

... Democratic response to the SOTU speech?
By Governor whom? Compare that to the impact Senator's Kennedy and Biden had on the public perception of Dems during the Alito hearings ...

if only there WAS an opposition party at the national level ....

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | February 7, 2006 10:57 AM

The democrats need Hillary!Bush ihas broken the lawon surveillance and wnats to ggut needed programs.

Posted by: Morgan-LynnLamberth | February 7, 2006 11:36 AM

The democrats need Hillary!Bush ihas broken the lawon surveillance and wnats to ggut needed programs.

Posted by: Morgan-LynnLamberth | February 7, 2006 11:37 AM


would that be the Hillary who believes in the 1st Amendment so much that she cosponsored an anti-flag burning amendment?

I'm not so sure she'd protect my individual constitutional rights with the vigor I hope for.

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | February 7, 2006 11:59 AM

the kind that butter don't melt in his mouth...

copying is the sincerest form of flattery...

gawd bless, america....come back into the fold disgruntled children I will give you the cereal of something like theirs "but better"

what morons, cultivating the moron vote on national television....morons don't watch state of the union they're watching some show with eye humor...


Posted by: Actually he was mimic-ing a southern baptist minister... | February 7, 2006 12:10 PM

and they're brain damaged too....

maybe we should take this as a sign from gawd and run her against Condo-Lizzie now?

hep hep hep.....

break out the big guns....where's the reverend AL?

Posted by: Wow, sounds like someone considers Hilary a threat... | February 7, 2006 12:12 PM

I saw an interesting show on Book TV featuring George Lakoff, author of "Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives". (seems that "Intrepid Liberal" is the only liberal left.) He had some good ideas for countering the rhetoric from the right. The best Democrat to face the right: Mark Warner. He has the moderate stance that will appeal to most independents, he has already proven that he can make sure there is enought money to run a state, win bipartisan support, and he is a Virginian. It is time to return our country to the ideals of George Mason and Thomas Jefferson.

Posted by: wiccan | February 7, 2006 12:13 PM

the Democrats need a Joe Lieberman, not a Hillary. Middle of the road, a common sense approach to the GWOT, and a respected senator with a pretty solid track record. Unfortunately, not enough charisma (yeah, yeah, "Joementum") and the party's activist base would never get behind him. Actually, i think they are actively seeking to unseat him in the Connecticut primary.

If the Democrats are ever going to stand a chance, they need to keep the fringe elements of their party (MoveOn, NARAL, etc.) at arms length and rebuild towards the center. Of course, they can just wait for the republicans to self-destruct (which they always do) and regain power by default.

Posted by: D. | February 7, 2006 12:14 PM

Democrats and Republicans to hide what is going on in the government....

when someone routinely polarizes as a way of doing business, the best thing to do is dismiss them.....

if they persist in filling up the blog with disinformation, the best thing to do is _dismiss them_ permanently...


Posted by: Meanwhile the d***wad is trying to convince you that there are | February 7, 2006 12:15 PM

Intrepid Liberal said "The debate over who should have delivered the response is wasted energy. Nobody pays attention to that.".
IL. I have to disagree with you on this. It is vitally important for the Democrats to unite NOW behind a leader and not wait until the Presidential election system. This should have been the decisive lead-off to the next Presaidential election. Someone with authority has to take on Bush and his republican far-right faction. The US system suffers from not having a recognized "Leader of the Opposition" as in the Parliamentary system whose job, and responsibility, is to question, expose, attack, and embarrass the Government. Kerry, as the party's failed Presidential candidate, obviously doesn't have the authority; nor does Dean, nor does the Democratic House or Senate leadership. Who does? Who speakes for and rallies the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton has been a dismal failure at this. It is easy to understand why the present system works against this, but not easy to understand why there is not more interest in changing (or tweaking) the system to provide for it.

Posted by: Eric Yendall | February 7, 2006 12:18 PM

There are issues, there are things the country needs in infrastructure and for it's citizens.

IF you discuss them in a public forum, someone will hear about it....

IF you persist in getting caught up in tarbabies, no one will change....


Posted by: Democrats and Republicans..... | February 7, 2006 12:19 PM

It's interesting that people keep saying 'the Democrats need to do this' or 'the Democrats need to do that'. Are any of you aware that the Democrats are currently poised to regain Congress regardless? This whole 'Democrats in a hole they need to climb out of' mentality is straight out of 2004... it's 2006 now, people. After Katrina and Abramoff, the public is currently unhappy with the party in power; In a two party system, the usual solution to such is to remove the party in power, and put into power the former minority party. It's happenned again and again throughout American history, and it will happen again this election year.
In case you didn't know, the Dems need to gain 15 seats in the House to have a majority there... Recent polls show them leading in 20 districts currently held by Republicans. The Senate, while it has less seats up for grabs, is also fair game as the Dems only need to win 4 or 5 more seats to get a majority.
Another factor: We have a president that has taken liberties with our liberties, and seems to have little regard for checks and balances. The public response to such a president is usually containment by balancing out Congress with the party opposite the president. Dividing the Congress and White House along the lines of political parties is another common practice of the American voter. It happenned in 1994; It will happen again in 2006.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 7, 2006 01:16 PM

Democrats, please nominate Mr. Dean. He would be the best (for us Republicans). YEEEEAHHH!

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 7, 2006 01:17 PM

In the next world war - I am born again - transitory fascist tumult - fucking class - I'm pro life and pro choice - I don't hate freedom - They can only kill me with a golden bullet - The plastic zionist assassins - Ain't no shame in being pro jewish anti zionist for a free palestine - 67 borders - No Peace with Occupation - israelis arrested at the nine eleven dance party - to destroy or not to destroy - destroy the libaries - destroy the nations - History repeats because dumb motherfuckers never learn from history - It is the end of the war game - siren wail rots and buzzes to the sound of the buddhist ohm - Madonna woke with a start from her zionist dream - She refers to her pussy as industry - XXX Christians crave the oil from dead dinosaurs - free abortions for everyone - How many fetus'zzz has the US. Military exterminated - freedom bombers - god bombers - smart bombs - stupid monkey face - era hell a reign of fake terror - have you ever seen a terrorist - George Bush is bad for my constitution - How do you answer for your crimes - preventive war - The last thing I remember is walking through the walls of the Chateau Marmont - Smoking a spliff - I am neither left or right - high or low - The United States in America are trying to be Rome in the next bible - The Joint Forces To Get Rid Of Spies - Mundus vult decipi - The world wants to be decieved - faking the folk - Exposing the nazi international - The Gorilla swings in the sea of the people - Don't let the oligarchs steal our revolution - Good For Nothing - I am so sick of myself - History is breathing down our necks - the uneasy fall of 2004 - I always thought the culture war was benign - it is malignant - welcome to the 4th reich - Wolfowitz as Joan of Arc - quite the slut - it's always been like this - what got you all funky in the rut - Are you for or against love - Freedom is Gods gift to the human mankind - bush is our servant not our master - I'm sorry massa bush, don't hit me massa bush - myth hides nothing - A whole lot of queer things have been happeneing around here - Zionist Hoodlums with brownshirts roam the campus - the stickers are sticking - sometimes they just look stupid and ugly and sometimes they rise up and bring down the government - they don't speak for us - reconciliction in the end - come to terms with conspiracy - so worshippers/evildoers gathered in worship/evildoing tongues wet with anticipation of devouring misadmired by the masses/asses - I just bounce over the right and the left - I just bounce - In your world if you benefit from the wrongdoing of your fathers then you inheirit the obligation to right the wrong - If you do not then who shall - where does the accountibility lie for the consent of violence in culture - fly a bike plane into the missile with a bag of gas - end of the wargame - we reap exactly what we sow - a toothbrush in the ass - - my eight fingers are eight armies - thumbbombs - we might just break can you see us trying - we might just break can you see us crying - Emergency Communication Control - I'm gonna tell you the damndest story - the ayatollah of rock and roll ah - the american government is sitting on top of the washington monument - 911 victims are collateral damage - Do not expect too much at the end of the world - His sterility was infinite - military industrial prision complex - power is always in existence - human beings can witness their own destruction - the gulf war did not take place - it was a media event - Love Work and Knowledge are the well springs of our life - sexuality - a chic psychic illness - the death of millions of people in war is the result of the overt social negation of life - transitory fascist tumult - I can not prove anything - deal with it - there is no absolute truth - nothing is true because everything is permitted - a fish taco peace party - America was a dark land before the indians arrived - when the indians demonstrated continued resistance to european "enlightenment" the "christians" gleefully resorted to genocide and concentration camps as final solutions - pray read read read reread work and you will find promising vigorous intellect slobbering bloated idiot - Surely the rest of life matter - We are decomposing in the micro and the macro -The ant wars -My spirit craves an epiphany -Complete withdrawl - self absorbstion - full civic engagement - reciprocity - May we take possession of this land Iraq - that God has providedand let it drip milk and honey and oil into our mouths forever - HIROSHIMA - BAGHDAD - ALBUQUERQUE - al "QUEDA" in ALBUQUERQUE - Albuquerque stands at the crossroads of the nuculear age - We are in the crosshairs of nookular war - I was never afraid of Scud Missiles - I'm not afraid of Dirty Dirty bombs or Anthrax or whatever. I used to be afraid to die in a nuclear strike, but I'm not afraid anymore. I just hope I won't have to survive it to live under Martial law in the Fourth Reich - I have come to the end of myself I suppose! Boom goes the dynamite

Posted by: WOLFOWITZ AS JOAN OF ARC | February 7, 2006 01:18 PM

I think that guy on the Philip's Milk of Magnesia commercial should be spokesman for the Democratic party. He's always bound up and can't figure out how to shut the mouth of his loud mouth wife.

Plus....He could give Emily some tips on living with chronic constipation!

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 7, 2006 01:37 PM

My choice for the Democratic rebuttal would have been General Wesley Clark. He is also my choice for President.

Am EXTREMELY intelligent man, Gen. Clark is a retired four-star general, has experience has an ambassador and a scholar.

So he can see issues from many viewpoints, rather than just one. HE IS SOMEONE WE COULD TRUST WITH THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY. I hope the leaders of our Democratic party realize that.

Posted by: DoveofPeace | February 7, 2006 01:55 PM

Those who despair about the Spanish Speaking Americans (do they know they are mostly bilingual?) remind me of those "Americans" who derided immigrants from Italy, Easter Europe, Ireland as "diluting the American Stock". They also remind me of those who in the Empire State of New York employed all sorts of imaginable "tricks" to prevent Italians, Jews and of course African Americans, from sitting at the higher education table.
If they are so offended about the Spanish Speaking Americans let them tell it to the wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children of the Spanish speaking soldiers who died or who are currently defending this country in Irak and many other battle fields. Why not telling it to those Spanish speaking Americans who daily risk their lives performing itellingence work, chosen to do so, precisely because the speak Spanish.

Posted by: Dr. Manuel Salvador Alguero | February 7, 2006 01:56 PM

"Wolfowitz As Joan of Arc" was a work of art. Pure poetry and tragi-comedy in the combined tradition and voices of Walt Whitman and Alan Ginzburg, Jack Kerouac and Lenny Bruce, and, notably, the Nixon and G.W. Bush administrations.

Dr. Alguero eloquently reminds us that we are ALL Americans, including those in Central and South America who are an intrinsic part of this hemisphere. Well said, Dr. Alguero.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 7, 2006 02:56 PM

Dr. Alguero,
Encantado. Muchas gracias.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 7, 2006 04:01 PM

Who was criticizing Spanish speaking Americans?

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 7, 2006 04:23 PM

How about Sen. Evan Bayh from Indiana giving the response? Moderate, well respected within his own party and by some on the opposition, and acquits himself well in front of the camera.

Posted by: John from Virginia | February 7, 2006 05:27 PM

What happened to The Debate on The Constitution? I cannot find it after many attempts thru many avenues.

Did I imagine it? Am I living in an alternate universe? Has it been consumed in the ethereal ether of the internet?

What happened?

Posted by: Shiloh | February 7, 2006 05:29 PM

Posted by: Will | February 7, 2006 06:26 PM

Too much cheese!!1

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 7, 2006 06:45 PM

This Chris Ford guy is really uptight!!!

Why is he so bent out of shape all the time? Maybe he's not getting enough fiber?

Maybe he needs to spend some quality time with a jar of Tucks Medicated Pads!!!!!


Posted by: The Lonemule | February 7, 2006 06:58 PM

Johnnyg in NE DC -

"Who was criticizing Spanish speaking Americans?"

No one. But that is how folk Marxism works for liberals. The world is divided into noble Victim Classes (spanish-speakers, Iraqi freedom fighters, white female Harvard professors) and miscellaneous Oppressor Classes (english-speakers, US Troops, a white Clintonista male who cross PC line).

So Dr. Manuel Salvador Alguero pops out of nowhere saying how great and wonderful his Victim Class is, and liberals flock to his Victimhood banner because the Cause is True!

The present debate about immigration is that it is too much, it is out of control, it is punishing the citizens of SW States financially and culturally, and is controlled by a cadre of Republican and Democratic elites completely impervious to public demands. The people that demand it be brought under control and serve the best interests of the people of the United States - not the fatcat Agribiz people, prosperous construction business contractors laying off blacks for cheaper Mexicans, Jewish lawyers getting rich off imigrant middlemen functions, the Catholic Church, etc..

This has little in negative terms to do with the 11 million here illegally, or the 50 million more that want to come from Mexico, or the 1 in 3 Arabs (80 million more) wanting to come here....or the absolute moral authority as a Victim Class Stakeholder for the 300 million Chinese wanting in to be let in.

Any Approved Ethnic Victim Group outside our Borders can demand to be let in, and their advocates have a thousand and one sob stories or stories extolling the Horatio Alger-like qualities of each group. We know that anyone who gets in as a refugee tends to stay and not fight to end persecutio in their homeland but demand US citizens not only pay their tab but send troops to redeem their homeland. We know that anyone let in as temporary refugees from a hurrican ravaged place like El Salvador or Haiti prompty works on dropping an anchor baby to get the right to permanent residency.

And any group can cut and paste Dr. Alguero's boilerplate appeal:

"If they are so offended about the Somali Speaking Americans let them tell it to the wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children of the Somali speaking soldiers who died or who are currently defending this country in Iraq." Tell it to the Somalis on welfare in Maine that bless the residents of the state with exotic cooking fragrances and millenia-old tribal songs and rituals that Add Diversity to boring, safe, whitebread Maine. Tell it to the Somali people who are down South rebuilding from Katrina!!"

To which we are supposed to think or say about Spanish speakers, Somali speakers, Chinese speakers...."WOW! So America's problem is we haven't somehow yet figured how to pack in another 900 million Victim Class people who are (1)hard-working; (2)deserve refugee asylum and lifetime subsidies; or (3) both."

No one disputes most people on the planet are nice, hard working, or in a world with no space or resource or economic constraints - it would be so nice and enobling to say that anyone had the absolute freedom and moral claims to come here because they collectively failed to nation-build a people's paradise elsewhere.

But in the real world, America already faces near-gridlocked infrastructure, huge energy dependency, displaced workers (especially native blacks) and exploding health care costs due to unchecked immigration. We have 300 million, and the US Census bureau predicts we will be at 363 million in America in 2030 - making any "Kyoto" goal absolutely impossible, BTW.

Dr. Manuel Salvador Alguero is right. Spanish-speaking people are mostly wonderful, so I wish them luck with their lives back in Mexico and Nicaragua and Venezuela....same with the wonderful Pakistani and Afghans and Yemenis staying and having great lives back in their homelands, and not ours...

Posted by: | February 7, 2006 07:11 PM

Ahh, immigration. I have no problem with legals here. And I agree, the Sanish folk are warm wonderful people. However, I did not see any reference to illegal immigrants in Dr. Alguero's post. We are, after all, a country like many others who must regulate their borders.

Assimilation is necessary for advancement. Most eventually realize this, but trends toward giving illegals some special status is troublsome, for many of the reasons you mention. I am for immigration, as long as it is intellegently regulated.

Hell, I wouldn't be here if my Irish great grandfathers (the bad blood :)) didn't immigrate to DC back in the 1840's. I believe I saw a recreation of that event in the movie "Gangs of New York," where the ones arriving were promply hit on the head with a rock. I'm not sure what types of regulation was in place then, but at least they weren't sneaking in.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 7, 2006 08:00 PM

These knucklehead republicans appear to have a 3-way twist of reality. There is the democrats view, the publics view, and the republican view. By adding deception to their playbook they continue to decieve the public and the democrats. Meanwhile they have the last laugh. This administration is definately not american.

Posted by: Gavin | February 7, 2006 08:05 PM

"Dr. Manuel Salvador Alguero is right. Spanish-speaking people are mostly wonderful, so I wish them luck with their lives back in Mexico and Nicaragua and Venezuela...."

Sounds like you Chris ... in any case:
If you take a good look at the names you'll find on the lists of dead and wounded in Iraq, you'll see an awful lot of Spanish names. I think his point was that these folk are keeping the Islamoids at bay for you.

But you are right, the real problem is not immigration per se; it is control of it, keeping it within the bounds we can absorb without harm to the economy, cultural conflict, and public expense.

But what we have to recognize, sooner or later, is that illegal immigration is just like the drug trade, it is driven by demand. Until we are willing to address demand and dry it up, all the fulminating and moralizing in the world is not going to stop it. You can't have a free high priced labor market and control your borders at the same time. So yeah, agrabusiness, construction, restaurants, sewing shops, etc. are what you have to get serious about, but they are pretty well lobbied up whereas you aren't. True?

Posted by: Cayambe | February 7, 2006 08:18 PM

Cyambe - true.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 7, 2006 11:30 PM

it's important to realize that something is out of control in the United States....

the wealthy are playing the peasants off against each other....

if the citizens of the United States do not agree to take less money to do the same job as an illegal alien they won't get the job....

pretty soon, life in mehico will be as good as it is in mehico now, but it will also be that bad in the united tates....

you don't improve the standard of living in an emerging 2nd world country by lowering the standards of the countries on it's borders.....

the reason it came up to begin with is that the point was made that 4.5 million illegal aliens had moved into the united states in the last 5 years......and none of them were shiites......go figure, ample opportunity....

it would sort of give lie to the administrations contention that we are under a terrorist threat from external sources.....

seems to me they have ample opportunity to walk across at Juarez or where ever....there must be a system, everyone's using it....that's not to mention the illegal aliens from the orient....

basically it's a clue that the war on terrorism is a war on american intelligence challenging them to stay unconcious as their country is sold out from underneath of them....

importing cheaper serfs and making them citizens doesn't seem too would seem to me that requiring other countries to meet the standards of manufacture and wage that we have would make the other countries come up to speed faster than just letting the country move here....

however I think our president would agree with you that letting cheap labor come in would be in his best interest.....'cause he don't live in the "real world"

he's effing wealthy.....

so you pendejo's can just divide that small cash between yourselves and talk this and talk that.....he needs the cheap labor to run his ranch....*uck the citizens...

manana pistos.

Posted by: Hello, it would be nice if you understood that no one's is against a nationality..... | February 7, 2006 11:50 PM

playing the patritism card because someone is willing to risk their lives to kill someone else that shouldn't be killed because they live in an oil rich country is to waste a lot of time....

trying to be "fair"

your energy would be better spent actually understanding what you're looking at....

lower class people being taken advantage of by the system is still an atrocity....

do you get that?


Posted by: citizen ship in an unjust war, is still fighting an unjust war.... | February 7, 2006 11:54 PM

tough guy....

I really like nice people, but I really like people that are willing to say....

you're on an elevator, if you know you're going to fart, get off....

your president is a liar, a thief, a charlatan

and he's got "war powers" when there ain't none....

forget about how many names are on the dead list when we shouldn't be over there and did you know that they've reduced VA benefits since the "containment action" started?

why don't you talk about that instead....

try to be less concilatory and a little more relevant.

Posted by: the truth does more for your country than trying to not be a | February 7, 2006 11:58 PM

The Democratic response was fine for this time. Good or bad in a few weeks most voters will not remember it. And almost none will remember it by November. It's not that big an issue at this time. To win in November a working strategy must be developed.

Karl Rove attacks his opponent's strength to make it a weakness to defeat them. Bush's strength is war on terror, war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, and supporting the troops. Dems need to drawn a distinct difference between the troops fighting the war in Iraq and the politicians that put us there. Support the troops, support the troops, and support the troops, never stop saying and proving it. Dems need to visit the troops on the war front in a never ending stream until Election Day and until we are finished with the war. They need to remind the public over and over and over, no WMD's, no 911 terrorist connection in Iraq. The cost of the war is burdening the working poor and middle class.

And I think back during the last presidential debate. And how I wish Kerry challenged Bush live on National TV on how his war record was being discredited by republicans. How I wish Kerry looked Bush in the eye, shaking a finger at him and said "I volunteered to serve my country in combat and you are no combat veteran". Bush would have looked like Dan Quayle when he tried to compare his self to JFK and Bentsen said "John F. Kennedy was my friend and you're no John F. Kennedy."

The Republican Party is operated somewhat like a corporation. Where the RNC controls most of the campaign funds to keep party members in line and control discipline. If you go against the party, some of your funding will be held back, you will face a tougher primary race, perhaps by a hand picked opponent with more funding from the RNC. If you're a congressional committee chairman and don't support the party you can lose your chairmanship. On the other hand the same method the republicans use to win elections doesn't seem to run the country very well. Shutting down those who do not agree with you and sometimes forcing them out has led to war in Iraq, ruined FEMA, and is eroding rights our constitutional rights with an executive branch power grab.

I have for many years watched the democrats lose elections do to in-fighting and lack of team play. But in the end that's a good reason to call us democrats, the party is much more democratic than the republicans, but democracy doesn't seem to win elections.


Posted by: David F | February 8, 2006 12:08 AM

We are a Republic not a Democracy, but developed to insure that our inalienable rights were not taken away rashly by the majority. The majority can be a function of anything, people, money or any factor that dramatically impacts our society to skew the balance and jeopardizes the rights and prosperity that Americans espouse. In abstract sense, the "majority" represents any social force. The electorate is supposedly a form of filter system that prevents caustic residues of majority force from corroding the heart of our ideals. The problem is that the both republicans and democrat congressmen have lost sight of this and are, beyond PR, just looking out for there own asses and protect the money sources that put them there.
We have become so centralized; highly mobile society that we have become disenfranchised with what it takes to sustain our society, both physical resources and intangibles. Democrats can't get it together because our society at the lower income end is increasingly disparate from being increasingly challenged to provide basic needs. People as individuals take very little personal responsibility for that which determines their fate. Often not because they necessarily don't want to, but because they perceive things are out of their control, leaning to fatalistic in some extremes. Those at the other end are increasingly polarizing their wealth because of the ever increasing need to protect what they have. Those individuals motivated to capitalize on the abundance of opportunity available in America are constantly thwarted by corruption and irresponsibility on one end that is being countered in reactive form by increased laws and regulation to counter it. It is costly. The small businessman in America knows this better than anyone. Congress, whether Republicans or Democrats, need to recognize that the special interests they really work for are the needs of Americans and not just the ones padding their wallets to get elected. If Democrats (or the Mouseketeers for that matter) are going to bring balance to our government before it is totally corrupt and broken, they need to present a collective model that appeals to those who are self motivated while recognizing the need to have assurances for basic human needs. This will pull together a majority. This can be done ironically by capitalizing on our country's differences and diversity to seek out opportunities for win-win solutions. This will require an approach that lends it self somewhat to decentralization and more self reliance in many contexts. In doing so, Democrats are sometimes on shaky ground, but they won't be if they provide a good model. When the emphasis is on elements of the problem, the political labels transform or disappear and the solutions become apparent in the transposition.

Posted by: McGillicutty | February 8, 2006 03:16 AM

McGillicutty said "We are a Republic not a Democracy"

In truth, we are a democratic republic, as opposed to a theocratic republic (Islamic Republic of Iran) or a communist republic (People's Republic of China), etc.,etc. Just trying to keep the labels straight.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 03:35 AM

Thanks for the clarification. We actually need to keep that label in mind, don't we?

Posted by: McGillicutty | February 8, 2006 03:47 AM

More on republics:

Generally speaking, a republic is any form of government operating under a constitution. Thus Israel is not a republic, but the State of Israel - it does not have a constitution. A monarchy is also not a republic. Thus Saudi Arabia is not a republic, but the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

So, very briefly, "Republicans" can be socialists, theocrats, communists, and when truly intelligent, democrats.

That should stir a few neocons to raging drool and splutter.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 03:55 AM

Nice piece McGillicutty.It once looked like it was the Republicans that would take the bulk of motivated, hard working middle class and small businessmen. That started under Reagan. Certainly the Democrats were complete tools of the special interests in the 80s - run by the Head spokesman for the parasitic classes, hate-America Lefties, the unions, gov't employees, and wealthy liberal Jews. But now the Republicans are a Party of the Base - meaning Religious Right, the Gentile version of the fatcat, and by various small town Horatio Algers gone corrupt (like war hero Cuningham and small businessman Delay).

I still don't see the Dems have the guts to go about the dirty business of shedding loyal but destructive elements of their base now, just as I despair for the fallen state of Republicans since the days of the Reagan Democrats being invited to the table.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 8, 2006 04:11 AM

I don't think the democratic base has strayed from the Emersonian principle of self-reliance, nor Thoreau's willingness to go the extra mile - to jail - to prove a social point. The radical extremes exist at both ends of both major parties, but I think the middle ground shares more commonalities than differences. That is where the parties should, and mostly do, concentrate their efforts. Like global warming, however, it is the polar extremes that get the most attention in the media, save when a Katrina calamity or Cunningham/DeLay corruption capture the attention of the 4th estate, as they should. Day-to-day it is the duty of the middle to support democratic ideals on a one-on-one basis within their community. That requires an informed constituency and the democratic party has been getting very good at keeping its committed base informed.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 05:14 AM

There are destructive, and disloyal, elements in the Republican Party as well, Chris. As when recently the fundamentalist Christian right-wing helped push Harriet Myers off the steps to the Supreme Court.

I don't think either party will participate in the "dirty business" of shedding their destructive and polarizing elements. That is not an option. The zanies cling on to the party of their choice, and to no great surprise, have followings of their own, who,like lemmings will depart with the shedded zany. No pol wants to lose a constituency - and most constituencies include people with whom the pol may not agree. The Klingons vote.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 07:02 AM

I like al Gore.

more Gore

Posted by: IB | February 8, 2006 08:37 AM

"The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That's the big issue here.

Posted by: IB | February 8, 2006 08:53 AM

"gratis paenitet esse probum" -Ovid Which translates as "It is annoying to be honest to no purpose." An honestly informed public is that public which not only listens, but asks, and verifies.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 09:09 AM

" The problem is much broader and much deeper and it goes across agencies. That's what I'm really concerned about."

Posted by: IB | February 8, 2006 09:52 AM

Al Gore, that's really what the Dems need now. The guy comes across as having a serious mental disorder. At least he's better at Getting Over It than Jimmy Carter.

Here's a perfect illustration of how the Dems are tone-deaf to middle America: they think it's appropriate, in the middle of a eulogy for a great woman, for Jimmy Carter to start ranting about wiretaps, of course dropping in the word 'surveillance' in case anyone missed the point, that occurred in the 60's by the out-of-control homosexual sadist Hoover against Dr King and other domestic opponents on Nixon's enemies list. Which, of course, has nothing to do with the NSA tracking Marwan and Achmed and any of the rest sworn to murder Christians, Jews and infidels in this country.

And then there's Bill "It's all about me" Clinton, hauling his wife onto the stage just to extract every possible political benefit out of the occasion. With just enough lip-biting and a genius for cadence that brings down the house. What was it we were here for? Oh yeah, Mrs King...

Say what you want about the Bushes and their policies, they really have more of a sense of respect, class and propriety for an occasion such as this. Inheriting the 'anything goes' rudeness from the sixties, the Dems really can't see how out of bounds they are in so many of these occasions. The rest of the country sure can. Can't they just hold it in until the funeral is over? Are they so deranged in their Bush-hatred they can't see this?

Anyway, if boom goes the dynamite, lets hope it lands on Wolfowitz as Joan of Arc first.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | February 8, 2006 10:04 AM

Dear Jersey Independent,

You seem to forget what Dr. King's life and death were about and why he was murdered. And even in death he and his wife will represent equality and civil rights for all people. The Democrats that spoke were her friends and voiced her concerns as she would have wished. The only politician I saw taking advantage of her death was President Bush. If you can't be her friend in life and give her voice, then why try to be her friend at death, unless it's for purely political reasons?

Posted by: Jamal | February 8, 2006 10:33 AM

I am a black woman and a Democrat but Rev. Joseph Lowery and former President Carter was a real disgrace to our party and our race at Mrs.Coretta King funnel services. Coretta was a lady of class and grace and i'm sure she would not have wanted them to be so disrespectful . it was not a time or place to take cheap shots at President Bush. i am ashamed of both of them and i think they owe the public and President Bush an apology

Posted by: mstchamberlain | February 8, 2006 10:42 AM

Bush didn't claim to be her friend. Accepting your theory about Mrs King's concerns, at least Reverend Lowery was consistent in referring to the poor and disenfranchised. I'll even give him a pass on the confrontational tone; after all, Dr King confronted far greater injustices with an unbreakable moral force (although maybe not at a funeral). But Carter's rant about wiretaps, coming from a former president and totally unrelated to the current issue, was way over the line. And Clinton, well, he always seems to make it all about himself. These performances weren't about Dr and Mrs King; they were calculated political acts taking advantage of the setting, and, in my eyes and many others, demeaning it.

And, just so you know, I've never voted for either Bush.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | February 8, 2006 10:53 AM

Arched eyebrow aside--I feared it would take wing and abandon the good governor's face at one point--Mr. Kaine was an excellent choice. The Democratic tendency is to over think these things.

The American people tend to value an earnest performance before the slick perfection many of our cable news loving politicians slap on like a coat of Ralph Lauren paint. Kaine is earnestness distilled; even the one or two verbal gaffes were strangely heartwarming.

This is the like the grand Democratic tendency to misjudge the opposition. Given a media monolith like President Reagan, the Democrats of the day seized on his verbal gaffes. When Democrats put up Adlai Stevenson--twice, TWICE--the party centered its commentary on General Eisenhower's homey sense of everyday, as though this were a sin--and as though the man who helped lead the World War II victory could be a dolt because his words weren't peppered with Sartre references.

Now, up against Bush, the Democrats giddily paint the current president as a moron. A dubious strategy at best. Why? Well, the current president, the son of a president, an alumnus of Andover, Yale and Harvard--could have been defined as an aristocrat with a silver spoon worthy of one Miss Hilton jammed thoroughly down his throat, but the Democrats heard a verbal faux pas, or two, or three or ninety, and decided humanizing the man as too ordinary and everyday would be a better tact.

They made a dynast into an everyman.
No wonder these cats are forever out of power.

Posted by: The Pragmatist | February 8, 2006 11:07 AM

A librarian in Newton, Massachusetts, was being criticized for asking FBI agents to produce a warrant before they impounded library computers. "Getting a warrant," said U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, "is very time-consuming."[The Boston Globe]

Posted by: ib | February 8, 2006 11:15 AM


And have you read the piece on the front page of the Internet edition of the New York Times today?

Some Democrats Are Sensing Missed Opportunities

It's a beauty.

The election is months away and the Democratic establishment is already bemoaning its lack of ability to seize an edge.

Baroque Obama, as talented a new pol as this game sees, has already given the critical equivalent of Carter's notorious malaise speech. John Kerry darkly entones about the vacuum of leadership. And Hillary can't be reached for comment. The frontrunner doesn't want to ruffle any feathers as she mounts her election bid.

I voted for Al Gore in 2000. But this group gets sadder every year.

They're critics, not happy warriors. They lack spirit.

Imagine this crew in the half-time locker room scene in Friday Night Lights. "The election is months away, but I reckon we're going to lose. Y'all may as well pack up and go home now. If we leave early, we can start to get an edge on the traffic and the American people will know in advance we understood how miserable our plight was."

"That's a darn good idea," Coach _______ chimes in.

Posted by: The Pragmatist | February 8, 2006 11:21 AM

.[] Representative John Boehner (R., Ohio), who belongs to a male-only golf club, whose political-action committee took money from Jack Abramoff but did not return it after Abramoff was indicted, and who in 1995 handed out checks from tobacco-company lobbyists on the House floor, was elected via instant runoff voting to replace Tom DeLay as House Majority Leader. The Republican Party, said Boehner, "must act swiftly to restore the trust between Congress and the American people." Boehner also said that he had "a very open relationship with lobbyists in town." "We are," said Representative Michael Oxley (R., Ohio), "somewhat tilting at windmills

Posted by: ib | February 8, 2006 11:22 AM

[The New York Times][][The Nation via Yahoo! News][Sign On San Diego] Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech to the National Press Club and said that "counter-surveillance" of U.S. civilians is a "perfectly understandable thing." "In short," he explained, "it's no big deal." During the speech, Rumsfeld was heckled by activist Heather Hurwitz. "You are torturing people," yelled Hurwitz. "You are a war criminal." "Well," said Rumsfeld, "we'll count her as undecided."

Posted by: ib | February 8, 2006 11:24 AM

At least 7,600 U.S. soldiers had been severely wounded serving in Iraq. "I can drink beer out of my leg," said Matthew Braddock, a 25-year-old National Guardsman who lost his left foot and nine inches of his left leg to a mine in northern Iraq. "How many people can do that?"

Posted by: ib | February 8, 2006 11:26 AM

Gore 'n more.

Posted by: ib | February 8, 2006 11:31 AM

Carter was referring to the illegal wire tapping on Dr. King by the FBI and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). President Carter signed FISA to prevent what happened to Dr. King and others by a previous administration, to what it considered political enemies, from ever happening again. FISA is now being challenged by the Bush Administration.

I can deeply understand why former President Jimmy Carter spoke of the subject. Bush photo ops don't fool me and he did one at her funeral. To speak, Bush should back up what he says with action and I have only seen ignorance on his part to civil rights. It was refreshing to see him sit with real people, out of his protective bubble, and hear what was said.

Posted by: Jamal | February 8, 2006 11:41 AM

Bravo, Jamal. The truth hurts the critics most.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 11:51 AM

The megalomaniac sicko J. Edgar Hoover wiretapped Dr King in the 60's. The deeply paranoid Nixon tapped his domestic political enemies in the early 70's.

Intercepting signals to prevent a cataclysmic attack within this country by psychpathic jihadists has nothing to do with either.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | February 8, 2006 11:57 AM

Nobody is arguing about FISA authorized wiretaps. It is the legality of giving a secretive, power-hungry, neocon dominated, righ-wing fundamentalist and over-zealous administration an unaccoutable tool, very like that wielded by Hoover and Nixon.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 12:14 PM

I personally have sorted and sifted electronic data. Unless internet providers and other communication companies are presorting for foreign communication before it's provided to NSA (operational question not be answered) and I seriously doubt that is happening (operational question not be answered). Then NSA may be acquiring massive data downloads (operational question not be answered), if this is true then the potential does exist domestic spying (operational question not be answered) could take place. I've witnessed the Presidents career take off under the stewardship of Karl Rove. Mr. Rove will win an election at any cost and to him the end justifies the means. I refer to:
Roves real gift however, a penchant for political trickery, didn't become apparent until his teenage years, when he happened to be in Illinois while a particularly tight race for state treasurer was raging. According to the Guardian, Rove showed up at the campaign headquarters of Democratic candidate Alan Dixon, and, unnoticed by staff, pocketed a sheaf of letterhead.
"Soon afterward, the stationary began turning up in Chicago's red light district, bearing invitations for free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing. The promised locale of this debauchery: candidate Dixon's campaign headquarters, where hundreds of less than desirable characters converged during a gala reception. Dixon was embarrassed, although he still won the election."
With the staff of the present administration, it is difficult to blindly trust them with WARRENTLESS electronic spying. And knowing this was taking place before the last election?

Posted by: Jamal | February 8, 2006 12:28 PM

FISA has a probable cause threshold which cannot be met when they're trying to identify the names behind the cell numbers and the emails. Not ahead of time, not in 72 hours. How can they seek a warrant for which there is no name? Do you want to just toss out the numbers found on Ramsi bin Alshibh's cell phone?

This is exactly the kind of detail that is inconvenient to the continuing narrative of Bush Gone Wild. Well, the Dems want to take that capability away. Another Loser issue.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | February 8, 2006 12:30 PM

Just reading much of the foolishness and paranoia above tells me that the upcoming mid-terms will return more Republicans to Congress than Democrats again --- yes, many Americans are upset with much that is going on in the country and in the world, but its is clear that only one party has any leadership qualities at the moment and that the other party is only power hungry and their only contribution to the national debate is to complain - about everything. Voters look to those that lead, not whiners.

Posted by: ep3 | February 8, 2006 12:34 PM

Since the election of John F. Kennedy 45 years ago, only Candidates from the South and West have won presidential elections. This applies to both political parties. For the Democrats only Southern Governors have been elected. Tim Kaine would make a good potential candidate, but his short tenor in office could be a potential weakness. Another good candidate might be Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee: . He has done very well in Conservative Tennessee and has experience.

Posted by: David F. | February 8, 2006 12:38 PM

away from issues.

sounds like your stance is to actually agree with the framing....

let me know how it feels to be on the bottom in your jailhouse fracas....pimp.

Posted by: I suggest you quit whining and start leading | February 8, 2006 12:40 PM

I watched the questioning of Alberto R. Gonzales on C-SPAN. When asked about domestic spying he always said that the particular program that he was discussing wasn't involved with domestic spying. When asked if there were other programs and later if they had performed domestic spying he said that he could neither confirm nor deny, and could not discuss it in any way because he could not discuss operational issues. He also said that former Presidents such as Washington used far more sweeping measures when it came to using electronic surveilance (funny but I didn't know there was such a thing when Washington was President).
I have paraphrased from my own memory (I should have thought to record it for later viewing), but it seems to me that some Republicans wanted to make the point that there was no domestic spying going on. It doesn't appear that Gonzales ever confirmed that. He only said that a particular subset of a particular program was not concerned with domestic spying. Senator Hatch said we as Americans should all feel better hearing this testimony. I don't!

Posted by: Kevin | February 8, 2006 12:46 PM

Nor do I, Kevin. But if I recall correctly, Lincoln was also included in the list of electronic eavesdropping presidents. I guess we just didn't hear the semicolon in his lawerly answers.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 01:10 PM

y omit y from lawyerly? It speaks for itself.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 01:11 PM


Better check in your closet, I think there's a terrorist in it! Terrorists want to destroy everything in America. This is not just a battle on the ground chasing a ghost army. It's a war on our economic system; it's a war on our constitutional rights. And as intended the terrorists are doing very well bankrupting America and starting to weaken our constitution.

I fail to see the importance in your praising domestic spying to prevent a terrorist attack, yes it would help some, but it is over rated. A tremendous number of people from all over the world enter our country undetected each year that do not have internet access or even phones for that matter. It would take very little for a sophisticated terrorist to enter America and attack.

Early in the invasion of Afghanistan, Osama escaped by giving his cell phone to a decoy. The decoy made calls to pull allied forces in the opposite direction and Osama escaped. In this case NSA aided his get away. Even before NSA activity was revealed the terrorist knew about it and used it to fool us.

The present administration does have to fight terrorism, but he also takes advantage of patriotism to fan the terrorist flames for political gain. He or his staff attacks many U.S. Citizens who question his methodology as being pro-terrorist and anti-American. The president wraps himself in the American flag so any political attack on him is an attack on America.

Posted by: Jamal | February 8, 2006 01:21 PM

"Of all the officers of the Government, those of the Department of Justice should be kept most free from any suspicion of improper action on partisan or factional grounds,..." -President Theodore Roosevelt, letter to AG Wm. H. Moody,8/9/1904

What change a century has wrought in the annals of history. This is why we need a special prosecutor, but I don't think AG Gonzales will go that route.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 8, 2006 01:26 PM

I don't need to check my closet; I drive by a gigantic hole in lower Manhattan all the time. And it's not fear that drives my thinking, it's revenge.

We need a special prosecutor to go after Risen and the leakers and the NY Times, but I don't think the AG will go that route.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | February 8, 2006 01:59 PM

you've got a enormous hole in lower manhattan courtesy of the us government...

catch a clue bono...

fear the world, while you excuse your government for whatever it wants to do as long as they tell you their fighting terrorists....

you're not a citizen in the exclusive blue blood club....and the government agents that feel that they are serving a higher power that they don't want to question need to get that any king uses agents....there's nothing new going on, loyalty to the king, not the nation...

pimpin the us....

Posted by: Early on in his escaping through the anus of history.... | February 8, 2006 02:23 PM

4.5 million illegal aliens in five years have entered the United States....

there is one border patrol agent on the coast of oregon....which is about 300 miles long....that's just one coast of one state.

the 9/11 commission said that the governments INACTION on making the United States capable of withstanding another "terrorist-inside-job-attack?" bordered on the criminal.

After 9/11 what did bush say that people needed to do to get ready>>>>>>

buy duct tape and plastic....

listen closely:


if the whole thing has been about acquiring presidential powers that allow him to get things passed without oversight and acquire some important oil exporting countries that he can direct the output of while appearing to be a savior.....why that's just grand isn't it?

ask yourself this question are you stupid or what?

look at the obvious not the rhetoric.....the man behind the curtain doesn't want you to see something, what is it?

skillset: cokehead, alcoholic, business failure, draftdodger, marginal student....who probably paid his way through school...

could you become president or a supreme court justice

with that skillset?

how is that skillset running the country...

he does what dad tells him to,

he's running the visible portion of the machine.....he's a puppet.

he's their tool, but he's in on it too, he wants part of the take from the job....he's just not smart enough to plan it....

Posted by: check out these facts...... | February 8, 2006 02:31 PM

Isn't there some kind of idiot filter you can apply to this debate? Responding to "courtesy of the U.S. government" is simply a waste of time. Let me guess, it was the CIA that planned it with the help of the Bushes and the Jews were all notified ahead of time.

Posted by: Jersey Independent | February 8, 2006 02:49 PM

Of course the AG won't go for a special INDEPEDENT prosecutor, not after what happened to scooter. It might reveal more than the administration wants the public to know. And by the way our great terrorist fighting administration has tried it's best to cover up the obviously coordinated intentional leaking of a valuable CIA operative in the ME. For no other reason than opposition the invasion of Iraq, backed by hard facts. I don't see you questioning that one independent (republican hack) jersey

Posted by: Jamal | February 8, 2006 02:49 PM

Clearly this is a program that we need to keep operative.

That being said, I hope the President does not simply claim a Constitutional right to continue the program. He should kick it back to Congress. Let the Administration and NSA inform Congress how FISA can be revised to permit this program. (David Ignatius, a non-rabid liberal interested more in solutions and national interest than sticking it to the "Bushies" wrote an erudite column on this option.)

I don't think the issue is whether or not the program should be allowed to continue. Most Americans, and even many democrats, seem to understand the virtues and necessity of the NSA program. Those with sincere concerns about the program (versus those who want to use it as a partisan club) tend to be more concerned about the lack of guidelines and proper oversight of the program than the program itself. These are legitimate concerns.

What this is NOT is spying for political purposes (Read: JE Hoover, Nixon-Watergate, Clinton-Filegate). Those who allege differently are serving no purpose but their own unrestrained ambitions and partisan interests.

The reach of Executive authority during war has always been cloudy. Leave it to legal scholars, lawyers, and historians to determine if the President overreached. The essential point is that the program was enacted in the interest of national security. So lets cease the comparisons to Stalin and Hitler (we will not be finding mass graves anywhere anytime soon) and work at finding a compromise that will allow this program to continue with more diligent oversight and prudent guidelines.

Posted by: Jon M | February 8, 2006 03:06 PM

You think an independent counsel was okay for the nickel and dime rap on Scooter Libby, allegedly outing someone who may or may not have had covert status, but leaking and publicizing a classified national security program doesn't warrant one?

Posted by: Jersey Independent | February 8, 2006 03:14 PM

I suggest you respond to the other comments, that don't task your credulousness....

the idiot that needs to be filtered from this debate is the part of you that doesn't understand looking at the big picture....

given that point, is anything else that I said false?

and stupid, debate is assuming that the truth takes sides....

dialogue assumes that a verifiable truth exists...

gawd doesn't take sides get it?

Posted by: hello idiot.... | February 8, 2006 03:16 PM

you're the treasonous one who insists that the government and it's agencies are above the law...

they serve the people of the united states...that's what the government was created for, get it....not the reverse.

Posted by: the government leaks all the time as a way of leading away from the obvious... | February 8, 2006 03:20 PM

You think an independent counsel was okay for the nickel and dime rap on Scooter Libby, allegedly outing someone who may or may not have had covert status, but leaking and publicizing a classified national security program doesn't warrant one?Posted by: Jersey Independent | Feb 8, 2006 3:14:32 PM

No NSA agents were outed by the New York Times.
By the way, why bother calling yourself 'independent' when you're an obvious Bushbot... there's nothing independent about somebody who completely buys into whatever the Republican party line is, as you do in the majority of your posts.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 8, 2006 04:19 PM


There are laws, laws are not be broke. One or more staffers in the Bush administration broke one by outing a CIA agent. As for the NSA leak, if it is found in violation of the law in its present format, then leaking the NSA activity is non-issue. And any person who leaked it has whistle blower protection. If is found not to have violated any laws, then a leak investigation has merit.

Posted by: Jamal | February 8, 2006 04:55 PM

"In truth, we are a democratic republic, as opposed to a theocratic republic (Islamic Republic of Iran) or a communist republic (People's Republic of China), etc.,etc. Just trying to keep the labels straight."

That is not actually what I would call "the truth", at least insofar as you characterize the IRI as a theocratic republic. In reality, if you actually read their constitution, it balances (not very well in my own opinion, but mine don't count for beans in Iran, and shouldn't) both theocratic and democratic elements.

"Thus Israel is not a republic, but the State of Israel - it does not have a constitution."

Now that I didn't know. Don't stop there. If not a constitution, what does define their government, provide a foundation for their law, for its authority, etc., etc.? Are we looking at the Torah here by any chance? The original UN mandate, what?

That was one of the most thoughtful posts I've read here. Consider........

"We are a Republic not a Democracy, but developed to insure that our inalienable rights were not taken away rashly by the majority"

I have always had a problem with the term "inalienable" in this context. What does inalienable mean when you contemplate them being taken away in the next breath?

Second, I would also observe that to the extent that the constitution defines for us the pragmatic interpretation of what is inalienable and what is not, it takes a super majority (2/3) of each legislative branch plus ¾ of the states to concur. That offers considerable protection from anything "rash".

"The electorate is supposedly a form of filter system that prevents caustic residues of majority force from corroding the heart of our ideals. The problem is that the both republicans and democrat congressmen have lost sight of this and are, beyond PR, just looking out for there own asses and protect the money sources that put them there."

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Until we, the people, have a broad and specific agreement on what those "ideals" actually are. We can hardly talk about which are at the heart, and what is being corroded until we do. The raw truth is that neither political party actually acts to further ideals, they act to further the interests of specific constituencies using whatever ideals happen to fit those actions in the marketing of them. They choose such constituencies as they think will produce a majority and develop a marketing plan for each. These are competing professional organizations, run by professionals, whose objective, above all, is to win.

"People as individuals take very little personal responsibility for that which determines their fate."

Some do, some don't. Clearly, those with less means at hand tend to take less responsibility than those blessed with more means. Ultimately those with less means then dump that responsibility on to the government which finances it by tapping into where the money really is, in the hands of those with more means. If you examine Social Security in this context you will see that over these last 20 odd years, the so called "trust fund" has been used to finance an extra-large government and put off the day when those with the real wealth actually have to pony up. I do give Bush some credit for trying to get at both questions, what responsibility do we place on the individual to provide for himself (private accounts) and when do we start tapping the untapped wealth (get rid of that stupid ceiling). I would just note that these were not questions the Democratic Party was willing to address, not did the Republicans have their heart in it. Concern with ideals, my butt!! It is entirely predictable that history will give Bush high marks in retrospect for trying, and low marks for failing to succeed. History is often fickle in its judgments.

Contrary to what some might think, I have no problem with a debate over whether it is a proper role of government to take account of the distribution of wealth and to what extent it should follow policies which take that into account in their consideration. My position on these will surely be affected by any proposed intrusion into my personal liberties as I see them under the constitution. It would be a lot easier to know whom to vote for if these were organizing principles of the political parties. They aren't and won't be until we ourselves begin to take our own positions on these idealized questions.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 8, 2006 04:57 PM

The Conservative Sins of the Father

The father invaded Iraq with a brilliant battle plan and failed to dispose of the dictator and he continued to rule Iraq. The Father said "Read my lips no new taxes", but failed and raised taxes. The Father lost his re-election.

The son invades Iraq with a poor battle plan and disposes of the dictator to erase the conservative sin of the father. The son cuts taxes to erase the conservative sin of the father. The son gets re-elected.

The Country gets bogged down in an unwanted war. The budget deficit grows.

Posted by: John | February 9, 2006 12:53 AM

As much as I like Tim Kaine, I think the Dems could have found someone better to present their reply. After all, he has hardly had enough time in the job as Governor to change the office stationery. And almost nobody outside of Virginia or the D.C. Metro area knows who he is!

Who should have presented the reply? Murtha? Maybe. Obama? Similar lack of experience to Kaine, but at least he is nationally-known and seemingly popular.


Posted by: Derek | February 9, 2006 10:21 AM

Something I am trying to understand here is with two political parties, the enormous amount of name calling of democrats, anyone on the left, or just call them the left to irritate them. Being a liberal or leftie is equal to calling someone a baby killer. Yet, there does not appear to be an equivelant name calling for Republicans or the right. I hear people respond to a particular situation or event that involves Republicans, criticizing that event or sometimes say "the right" sarcastically. The level of attacks and name calling is very skewed in the area of Democrats or being a Leftie.
Thinking the US is a democracy (though I feel two choices of parties is no choice at all) why are so many wanting to shame one party as not deserving of existance? Do you truly want in your hearts (it looks like it) a one party system such as the Soviet Union has had? Is that what America is most comfortable with?
I think of election time in Canada, criticism is aimed at a specific event not name calling."Can you believe what the Liberals did?" but I have never heard someone accuse others of being on the Left as some evil, or even the Right. Is it because we have so many political choices that are all over the map-from the Marijuana Party, Rhinoceras Party, Conservatives, Liberals, Marxist-Leninist, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, Green Party....Too many to find a common attack. I don't know why Americans name call so much instead of focusing on the issue at hand but it is disconcerting.
Why not focus with good arguments to support your position, that speaks for itself, than do some cheap name calling?
Debating is much more interesting when you have no idea where the person comes from politically and you can judge how good an argument they make and if it sways you. Name calling just gives your bias away.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | February 9, 2006 01:09 PM

Oh come on Speakout....
Our name calling is pretty well balanced. How many times have you seen "lefties" call "righties" radicals, right wing extremests, liars, haters, and so on. The latest on the next thread gets even more personal i.e. "jerkass".

Just ignore it and look for good sense whatever the bias you see. After all, you do have your own and narrowing your focus to others biased in a similar way is not the most effective way to broaden and deepen your own thought, is it?

Posted by: Cayambe | February 9, 2006 03:02 PM

No, you are correct about the imbalance of name-calling in the American two party system, SpeakOut. Last thing I'd do is trust Cayambe's feeble attempt to neutralize the validity of your point.
The Right obsesses far more about liberals and Lefties than the Left obsesses about conservatives. Can you imagine a Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly show that DIDN'T revolve around obsessively complaining about liberals? For some reason (perhaps from historically being a minority movement) conservatism is plagued with a siege mentality coupled with a persecution complex. It leads them to incessantly complain about liberals being the cause of all problems, as they are used to the Democrats being the majority party that is responsible for how things are going. As recent years have shown, the conservatives have struggled with actually being the majority party now. Of course, they won't be the majority come November! : )

Posted by: ErrinF | February 9, 2006 05:39 PM


Posted by: Cayambe | February 10, 2006 12:44 AM

Just ignore it and look for good sense whatever the bias you see. After all, you do have your own and narrowing your focus to others biased in a similar way is not the most effective way to broaden and deepen your own thought, is it? Cayambe

I brought this issue up as one of cultural understanding. Everyone has their own bias,without a doubt. I have had political discussions with people from many cultures, French, Italian, German... but it is only with the American where I see the name calling of "Leftie" which appears to be in the way it is presented, as a horrible name to be called. Is it not the intention in debate to speak from a neutral standpoint and learn and convince if you feel strongly. This name calling makes many people look immature and openly biased. Why does someone have to ignore it? Or do discussions here only go so deep-superficial observations only allowed, so keep quiet.
If the point of neutrality is that all Lefties are flawed and it is being a Leftie, that is the center of all problems then should that not be pointed out?
I see some Conservative propaganda that is left internalized and unquestioned. I say Conservative because the Leftie comments are aimed at "leftie" democratic types as I can pick up.
It seems to me that the Republicans are huge complainers, constantly complaining about the Democrats (who I never read about or hear from). Is it to distract from their own corruption and incompetence to constantly blow the whistle on the ghost of past Democratic governments? With all the name calling, in the name of Democracy, why not just stick to the issues. Or is it because some know if they stuck to the issue it would be apparent who is at fault-the Party in charge of this horrible mess.
Thank you Errin for the explanation.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | February 13, 2006 10:51 AM

It's late night, two weeks after the president's petrid pack of lies labeled State of the Union Address, and checking my links, saw I was mentioned here.

Yes, I think it was wrong to have LA's mayor give a rebuttal in Spanish to the Latin population of our nation. Not that I have anything against those of Latin decent being a part of our system, or being involved in politics....BUT, we are a country whose language is English, and if you cannot speak and understand it, you should not be here as a citizen, legal or illegal.

Furthermore, latest statistics state that 12 percent of our population is of Latino heritage...problem is, 15-20 million of them are here illegally, and should be deported, those who aid them charged with a serious felony subject to time in prison. You deport those here illegal, send their anchor babies home with them, and the Latino population in America drops to 5-6 percent of our population, and suddenly NOT NEAR AS IMPORTANT a political block as they would have us believe they are.

I don't like scab laborers from Mexico stealing my job, and do not like our politics suddenly be debated within our borders in Spanish or any other language. Either learn English or leave, it is really that simple.

Pinto Bean

Posted by: Pinto Bean | February 15, 2006 01:18 AM

when the leaders are supposed to be leading not robbing the fund....

when you have leaders that have as a family habit, taking advantage of position then you need to develop a new prison population that holds those leaders in check...

latinos vs americanos...

how about making latin american countries, better places to live...

they have resources, a good climate and hard working people....

put up an osmotic barrier that protects americanos and at the same time put in place practices that require South American imports to meet standards that will allow their people to raise their standards of living in their country...

make it possible to create a powerful incentive to stay home...

we don't have factories any more, bring them home, or make them pay tarrifs....

cutting the citizens out of the patriotic pie means "you ain't a patriot" when you outsource and move your factory overseas...

and you shouldn't be allowed to sell your goods in the United States like you were one....eff 'em.....

the whole NORTH CAROLINA textile and furniture industry shut down and moved....alcoholism, family abuse, homes sold at a loss....that's one state, Pennsylvania steel, Michigan/Indiana automotive industry.....

white collar jobs are being outsourced too....

make unpatriotic people pay to bring the outsourced products into the United States as if they were foreign competition....

THEY ARE TO THE EFFIN you effin understand???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Posted by: I dislike the fact that the peasants have to fight against each other... | February 28, 2006 12:07 PM

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