Hartbroken

Gary Hart sent me an e-mail this morning. Actually it was from info@johnkerry.com, but it had Hart's signature at the bottom. I wasn't a fan of its contents.

"When I first read John Kerry's October speech on Iraq, I knew it was a turning point. He spoke with the same unwavering voice -- truth speaking to power -- as he did when I first heard him speak out about the war in Vietnam in 1971. John Kerry got it right last month when he said, 'Asking tough questions isn't pessimism; it's patriotism' and then answered those questions by offering a detailed plan to get the troops home."

Why would Hart smear himself with Kerry's lame Iraq politics? Maybe it was that Kerry's e-mail list is somewhere around three million. It's understandable that a politician would want to tap that. But there's no excuse for saying peverse pep-talk nonsense, like this:

"When John Kerry called for accelerated training of Iraqi troops, greater international involvement, and improved reconstruction efforts, you amplified his voice."

OR:

"...I am confident about what the johnkerry.com community is sure to accomplish in the future."

Does it get any less authentic than that? What's the point of sounding like a jaded, Vicodin-addicted high school principle at commencement? Hart comes off as insincere about exiting Iraq, which totally collapses the point of his missive. Full text of Hart's email below.

There's more...

Rahm Emanuel, Clinton's bag man

Rahm Emanuel is playing everyone for suckers. How else to explain his response to Murtha's call for Iraq withdrawal? "At the right time, we will have a position," he said.

Don't forget, he was Clinton's bag man.

Where is hillary's netroots support?

Where is Hillary Clinton's online support? Does she have a community of online supporters.

She's got access to a national mass media apparatus, but where's her authentic support base online?

Guide to the CA special election

If you are a CA resident, and couldn't read the voter's guide they sent you, I recommend reading the one I wrote for AlterNet, and also the LA Weekly's coverage, especially Bill Bradley's piece.

snip...

"Finally, there's Prop 73, which would require teenage girls to get consent from their parents before they could have an abortion. The plan is that 73 will do for Schwarzenegger -- who is ostensibly pro-choice -- what the 18 gay marriage amendments on state ballots did for George Bush in 2004; function as a blooming, fragrant rose that beckons Christian conservative bees to come and vote their Leviticus as they pollinate his corporate agenda."

read on...

Fairly Explosive Fitzgerald details from a Dem Hill staffer

I just got this e-mail from a Democratic House member's staffer with tons of good dirt on the Plame investigation. I'm reprinting it whole cloth to share all, and show that while these Hill staffers are well-informed, they sure could use some capitalization classes.

Among the things I hadn't seen before:

-Fred Flights, an assistant to John Bolton, is a named name who could be indicted.

-Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have been suggested as replacements for Dick Cheney.

-Colin Powell told John McCain he showed the infamous memo with Plame's identity on it two just two people; Dick Cheney and George Bush.

-Fitzgerald is looking at the precedent set from the indictment of Tricky Dick's veep Spiro Agnew to pursue against Cheney.

That's red meat folks.

Text of the e-mail below the fold:

There's more...

Talk of rebuilding New Orleans is farcical

Before I go into more detail about rebuilding New Orleans, I want to talk about EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman, who did an interview with Living on Earth on Sept. 2, the U.K. paper The Independent last Sunday, and Air America on Tuesday. Who is he? Mr. Kaufman has been with the EPA since it was founded 35 years ago, and helped  set up its hazardous waste program. After serving as chief investigator to the EPA's ombudsman, he is now senior policy analyst in its Office of Solid Wastes and Emergency Response.

And he's making four colossal arguments:

--It will take 10 years to clean up -- not rebuild -- New Orleans and the toxic waste that it rests in.

--Cleaning up New Orleans means pumping all the toxic waters in the Gulf of Mexico -- a given at this point -- and could effectively kill it, and the massive fishing industry it supports. He estimated that dealing with that will cost as much as Iraq has.

--The indviduals who clean up New Orleans face potentially deadly health risks, which are currently unspecified.

--Unspecified because the Bush administration has suppressed the release of EPA test results as well as intentionally conducted too few.

In addition, here are two key quotes from the interviews:

From Air America:

HOST: So, Hugh Kauffman, Senior Policy Analyst from the EPA, you're telling me they have that information. The EPA office in Louisiana has that information, and you are absolutely sure that that information is horrendous, but they are keeping it under lock and key, because they don't want the people to know the truth of what's really going on down there on a toxic level?

HUGH: That's correct. And that's why the Society of Environmental Journalists are suing under the Freedom of Information act to try and get that information.

HOST: So the government is actively lying to the people about what's going on there, and that is their policy now.

HUGH: That's the policy as of last night at eleven o'clock when I went to sleep.

From Living on Earth:

Host:  Do we face the kind of scenario here that we had [on 9/11] if officials are not straight with people in Louisiana about the extent of contamination from this?

Kaufman: Well, I hope not. I did the investigation. At the time of 9/11 I was the chief investigator for EPA's ombudsman. And so I investigated that case at the request of Congress, and found that EPA lied to the public at the direction of the White House about those contaminants. And they botched the remediation, and that's why you have over 75 percent of the response workers very sick now and they're starting to die off.

The implications of this are enormous. It means we are in phase one of a major environmental disaster, the details of which are being suppressed by our government. The extent to which this is a health risk is also totally indeterminate.

So it's just bloody silly to talk about the reconstruction of the toxic waste cesspool formerly known as New Orleans at this juncture. There's a major scandal going on right now, live and in action, as big as the Bayou.

Sen. Clinton gorgeously thrashed for her censorship campaign

"The disturbing material in 'Grand Theft Auto' and other games like it is stealing the innocence of our children." -- Hillary Clinton.

I loathe the reactionary moralizing on popular culture we've been submitted to over the past 20 years by the likes of Tipper, Joementum, and yes, Hillary Clinton.

Clinton's posturing on the Grand Theft Auto secret code feature -- which lets the player in on a fairly banal implied sex scene -- was to do this: "institute a financial penalty for retailers who fail to enforce the video manufacturers' voluntary ratings system rules. It would prohibit the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors and put in place a $5,000 penalty for those who violate the law."

Here's the FU back from the game industry exec, a piece of vicious, but civilized retort:

"Sen. Clinton is a fine lawyer and undoubtedly knows that her proposal is unconstitutional," he said in a statement. "The senator's proposal is politically savvy but will do nothing to help parents make informed choices about the video games their children play. In fact, by turning the voluntary video game ratings system into a cudgel of government censorship, Sen. Clinton's proposal ironically would likely lead to the abandonment of the ratings system."

I would say, even more disturbing than the images from a video game are the gruesome photographs of people who have been fried and burned and shot to pieces in Iraq. Seeing that steals the innocence of children, hell, even what's left of mine. And if I remember correctly, Hillary was all for it, is all for it.

Rove was caught for leaking to Novak in '92 and was fired by Bush Sr.

From the diaries--Chris

I had forgotten about this:

Rove fired from Bush Sr's '92 campaign over leak to Novak. Karl Rove was fired from the 1992 re-election campaign of Bush Sr. for allegedly leaking a negative story about Bush loyalist/fundraiser Robert Mosbacher to Novak. Novak's piece described a meeting organized by then-Senator Phil Gramm at which Mosbacher was relieved of his duties as state campaign manager because "the president's re-election effort in Texas has been a bust." Rove was fired after Mosbacher fingered him as Novak's source.

Rove was the "only one with a motive to leak": Mosbacher says: "I said Rove is the only one with a motive to leak this. We let him go." The motive in question? Mosbacher had given Rove only a quarter of the $1 million spent on direct mail contracts for the 92 campaign; Rove, who in 1988 had the entire direct mail contract, therefore had an axe to grind with Mosbacher. Novak's column stated: "Also attending the session was political consultant Karl Rove, who had been shoved aside by Mosbacher."

Mosbacher still says Rove did it: Although Novak and Rove continue to deny Rove was the source of the leak, Mosbacher recently stated "I still believe he did it."

(Sources: "Karl and Bob: a leaky history," Houston Chronicle, Nov. 7, 2003, ; "Genius," Texas Monthly, March 2003, p. 82; "Why Are These Men Laughing," Esquire, January 2003)

Update (Chris): Rep. Slaughter points out that Bush promised to fire whoever was responsible for the leak:
During a White House Press Briefing on September 30, 2003 President Brush said the following in response to a question regarding the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity, "... if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of." When asked at a post G-8 Summit News Conference on June 10, 2004 if he stood by his statement that he would fire whoever was responsible for the leak, Bush said, "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts."
We know that Rove was responsible for the leak. Now, let's see Bush keep his word.

We went to war whispering "yes" into a telephone

There's a great article on the intersection of American cowardice on Iraq, public polling, and the Mind of  the Vicious American Consumer:

What's most infuriating about this Iraq war is the degree to which it represents the worst excesses of our highly developed consumer reflexes. America in the age of reality tv is in love with making its choice, casting its vote. It has been encouraged to enjoy a narcissistic thrill in observing the consequences of its consumer choices, often portrayed in tv shows as catastrophic or indescribably dramatic.

Disgraced fat nerd has nervous breakdown after being voted off American Idol. Plain girl rushes to plastic surgeon after being bounced from the The Bachelor. Aloof weirdo voted into metaphorical death after failing to properly conform on the set of Survivor.

Get that loser off the show, he has no voice; bachelor, choose the blonde, the brunette's nose is too big. When we vote, we are extraordinarily impatient and exacting and judgmental, like movie reviewers; we vote like customers who know the law says they are always right.

In fact, the haughty self-importance of the median poll respondent has become so axiomatic that it is now often built in to the polling process, where it's not uncommon to see surveys built around slavish questions like the following: "If candidate X were to bend over and kiss your ass, how likely would you be to vote for him?"

But for all the poll respondent's smug airs, he only talks tough when he's in a crowd, and shielded by anonymity, identified only by his number. I've seen this myself as a journalist. Interview someone on the street, and he loves to hold forth and waste your time giving you his great opinion. But ask for his name for the record, and he runs away like a bitch.

A nation that indulges in anonymous casual cruelties like The Swan should not be consulted in the same manner before a war. In matters of life and death, stand up and be counted--by name, swearing on the blood of your children. What kind of country goes to war whispering "yes" into a telephone?

So who is running for the VT. House seat?

Are the 2006 Vt. House candidates set in stone?

Who's gonna win?

Diaries

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