Hillary Clinton and the politics of fear
Casey Knowles (the girl from Clinton's notorious "3 am" ad) speaks out:
In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened trade reprisals against friendly countries who withheld their support, spied on its allies, and pressed for the recall of U.N. envoys that resisted U.S. pressure to endorse the war, according to an upcoming book by a top Chilean diplomat.
The rough-and-tumble diplomatic strategy has generated lasting "bitterness" and "deep mistrust" in Washington's relations with allies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, wrote Heraldo Muñoz, Chile's ambassador to the United Nations, in his book "A Solitary War: A Diplomat's Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons," set for publication next month.
"In the aftermath of the invasion, allies loyal to the United States were rejected, mocked and even punished" for their refusal to back a U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein's government, Muñoz wrote.
But the tough talk dissipated as the war effort worsened and President Bush came to reach out to many of the same allies that he had spurned. Muñoz's account suggests the U.S. strategy backfired in Latin America, damaging the administration's standing in a region that has long been dubious of U.S. military intervention.
Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.
Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.
People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.
As it happens, many people inside Clinton’s campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.
[I]t seems to me that two hours of Obama bashing on this typical white person remark is somewhat excessive and frankly I think you’re somewhat distorting what Obama had to say.
Sen. John McCain has officially broken the limits imposed by the presidential public financing system, reports filed last night show.
McCain has now spent $58.4 million on his primary effort. Those who have committed to public financing can spend no more than $54 million on their primary bid.
So has McCain broken the law? The answer is far from simple.
McCain's lawyers said that gave him freedom to spend as much as he wanted -- once he announced his intent to withdraw from the system, they say, he was released from the spending caps.
But Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason wrote McCain's campaign last month to alert him that the commission had not yet granted his Feb. 6 request to withdraw, and that the commission would first need to vote on the matter. A snag: The FEC has four vacancies and therefore lacks a quorum to consider the matter.
It'd be a great thing if we had an election where you had two people who love this country, who were devoted to the interest of the country and people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues instead of all this other stuff which always seems to intrude on our politics.
Mary Ellen Noone's great-grandmother was a petite woman — probably 95 pounds wet — but she was very strong, Noone says.
Pinky Powell, who was born before the turn of the last century, used to say that she could pick 100 pounds of cotton by lunchtime, Noone adds.
"She never smiled, but I could tell when I looked in her eyes that she really loved me," she says.
One night, Noone was painting her fingernails when her great-grandmother said, "You know, there was a time we couldn't wear no fingernail polish."
To explain, Powell told a story from when she was a girl. Around 1910, Powell lived on a plantation in Lowndes County, Ala., where "she would wash and iron for this white woman."
"One day the lady had thrown away some of her old perfume and nail polish that had dried up. So [Powell] took it home and added some ingredients to the nail polish that made it pliable," Noone says. "Well, when Sunday came, she got all dressed up and painted her nails and put on that perfume and went to church.
"On Monday, she went to the general store, and when she was ready to check out, the white owner asked her, 'What are you doing with your nails painted up like a white woman?' He proceeded to pick up a pair of pliers and he pulled out my grandmama's nails out of its bed one by one."
Noone, 65, says she often wondered as a child why her great-grandmother's nails were so deformed.
"Every time I look at enamel red finger polish, I have a flashback, and I see red," Noone says. "I still have that anger inside of me that someone would have that control over one person just because they wanted to feel like a woman."
Today's post wraps up my series on Mark Sageman's "Leaderless Jihad." Sageman, an ex CIA agent and forensic psychiatrist, has researched the radical groups of Islamist jihadis. He first published on the subject in 2004, with "Understanding Terror Networks." He presented his most recent theories in late 2007, in "Leaderless Jihad," which he discussed at the New America Foundation on 2/20/08. My first four posts about Sageman's work are linked below.*
At the end of his discussion Marc Sageman did a Q & A. Out of this and the earlier part of his talk, which I covered in the *previous posts, several significant ideas stuck with me. This youthful wave of jihad is about pride, about becoming "heroes for justice." According to Sageman, they will be defeated by drugs, sex, and rock and roll, just as other "cool" movements. We have overstated the threat using exaggerated scare tactics. Al Qaeda Central with 40-50 members, however still is very serious and Sageman reminded his audience that. "They still want to kill us."
Forum: Lucidity is another blog community where I often post. The topic "New Study on Muslim World," generated a number of very thoughtful comments about Sageman's studies and jihad in general. Of particular interest to me are those on how America must learn to "leave a smaller footprint." There are several anecdotes about American military leaders and soldiers who were particularly wise in their choices of action to diminish conflict.
(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)
NEW YORK (AP) -- A rise in jobless claims and a drop in a key forecasting gauge provided the latest evidence that the U.S. economy is faltering and may be slipping into recession.
The Conference Board, a business-backed research group, said Thursday that its index of leading economic indicators fell in February for the fifth consecutive month. The index, which is designed to forecast where the nation's economy is headed in the next three to six months, dipped 0.3 percent to 135.0 in February after slumping 0.4 percent the month before.
In Washington, meanwhile, the Labor Department said that applications for unemployment benefits totaled 378,000 last week. That was an increase of 22,000 from the previous week and the highest level in nearly two months.
The four-week average for new claims rose to 365,250, which was the highest level since a flood of claims caused by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.
In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 158.02, or 1.3 percent, to 12,257.68. Other indexes also were up.
The U.S. military is just ten short of 4000 fatalities in the war in Iraq, as of March 17, 2008. George W. Bush has 306 days left in office. This president has never been held accountable for that casualty number, and probably never will. Nothing else during the Bush years, except the lives lost on 9/11/01, matters as much as this number. It did not have to be this way.
Poll: Most Americans Say War Not Worth It: 64 Percent Say Results Of War Not Worth American Lives Lost. To quote from the CBS story, continued *below:
One the eve of the five-year anniversary of the start of the war with Iraq, Americans continue to think the results of the war have not been worth the loss of American lives and the other costs of attacking Iraq, according to a new CBS News poll.
Today 29 percent of Americans say the results of the war were worth it; 64 percent say they were not.
Vice President Cheney's trip to the Middle East will likely wrap up the Bush administration's plan to finalize a permanent agreement between Iraq and the U.S. that will go into effect when the current U.N. Security Council agreement expires in December. The administration refuses to be held accountable to 100 senators who under the Constitution are supposed to ratify such treaties. To quote further from the CBS story*above:
Meanwhile, in Iraq on Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney played the part of backroom power broker for two days and came away with pledges from Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to firm up a new blueprint for U.S.-Iraq relations that will stretch beyond the Bush presidency.
. . . The deal would take the place of a U.N. Security Council resolution that expires in December, the same time Bush will be packing up to leave office. The administration says the deal will not seek permanent U.S. bases in Iraq or codify troop levels, nor tie the hands of a future commander in chief as some Democrats fear.
Administration officials say they probably will not seek Senate approval of the plan because the agreement will not be a treaty that provides Iraq with specific security guarantees. This position has prompted a backlash in Congress, where Democrats have proposed legislation that would render the agreement null and void without the Senate's blessing.
Democrats and some Republicans have questioned whether the 2002 authorization of force in Iraq still applies legally because it referred to the need to get rid of Saddam Hussein and eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Since the 2003 invasion, Hussein has been captured and executed, and no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.
This is the Fifth Year Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It is not something anyone celebrates. We mark the date for many reasons. It was a war of aggression, illegal under the U.N. charter. And it was an invasion that was based on 935 lies. It is a very long war that Senator McCain said might go on a hundred years. Juan Cole's Informed Comment says today, March 19, 2008: "5 Years, 5 Lies: (Cole in Salon: My fortnightly column for Salon.com is now up, commemorating the 5th anniversary of Bush's invasion of Iraq)." To quote:
"Five years of Iraq lies:" How President Bush and his advisors have spent each year of the war peddling mendacious tales about a mission accomplished.
I posit that each year of the war has been characterized by a central lie by the Bush propaganda machine.
Year 1: "There is no guerrilla war."
Year 2: "Iraq is a model democracy."
Year 3: "Zarqawi is causing all the trouble."
Year 4: "There is no Civil War."
Year 5: "Everything is calm now."
I also suggest that John McCain is pushing for:
Year 6: "Total victory is around the corner."
From Memeorandum -- "Estimates of Iraq War Cost Were Not Close to Ballpark" By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN. Published: March 19, 2008. The war in Iraq is draining our nation of its " blood and treasure," to use a cliche. Crumbling schools and infrastructure; an under-regulated Wall Street-centric economy, propped up by government largess to greedy corporations and very rich individuals; 47 million people without health care coverage; a shrinking Middle Class and millions in prison -- this is the dirty spread sheet of Bush administration priorities. To quote from the New York Times article:
At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government.
Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.
Among economists and policymakers, the question of how to tally the cost of the war is a matter of hot dispute. And the costs continue to climb.
Accountability by the numbers if fully at play in the political races of 2008. Florida and Michigan Democrats knew the DNC rules before they changed the primary dates. Presidential candidates rise and fall by the numbers of votes cast, month after month. Democrats will pay an awful price if they mess up the contest between Clinton and Obama; McCain will win by default and we can start all over again in January 2009. We can begin again to amass these horrific numbers. Think about it when you get too caught up in the current MSM spin.
And I, too am accountable. I watch my little blog's SiteMeter statistics. I strive to get more readers-- to be heard, because serious blogging is hard and time-consuming. The writing I do is almost entirely public, except for my real name. I have wrestled as many of my fellow bloggers with this authenticity dilemma. But there is an additional type of accountability of which I have become increasingly aware. I am accountable for my words as they go different countries around the world. Little bits of SiteMeter information catch my eye and give me pause. On the 16th a reader in Pakistan searched and found my post on "leadership qualities." A similar report turned up yesterday as a result of my series post on the tactics of jihadi terrorists, "Sageman and Leaderless Jihad -- Wrap-up". A person 7,820 miles away in Islamabad, Pakistan, wanted to know more about my featured author Marc Sageman's research. I must ask myself whether I have been helpful to a Pakistani lawyer activist, to a member of Benazir Bhuto's political party, to someone who sees himself as a jihadi, or someone I cannot visualize from so far away. Quote from SiteMeter:
Country : Pakistan (Facts)
City : Islamabad
Distance : 7,820 miles
Language English (U.S.)
Referring URL http://www.google.co...y Marc Sageman&meta=
Search Engine - google.com.pk
Search Words - leaderless jihad by marc sageman
Visit Entry Page http://carol-sandy1....derless-jihad-2.html
Visitor's Time Mar 19 2008
Visit Number 17,664
(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)