Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Senator Kennedy has made a comprehensive case against George Bush's mishandling of the war in Iraq -- and the new threats to American safety it's promoted. The Effect of the War in Iraq on America's Security You can hear the full speech and see it in a rather fuzzy picture at the www.cspan.org website as well.

Monday, September 27, 2004

For Florida, the fix is in: Nobel Prize winner Jimmy Carter says you can't count on a fair vote. Still Seeking a Fair Florida Vote (washingtonpost.com)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

James Fallows shows what the Iraqi war really cost us: a chance to fight an effective war on terror and to make America more secure. The Atlantic Online October 2004 Bush's Lost Year James Fallows

Here are the harsh facts about Iraq that the ever-optimistic Bush avoids, neatly summed up. Administration Ignoring Reality in Iraq - Center for American Progress

Believe it or not: Kerry hasn't flip-flopped on Iraq! Until recently, he's just promoted a nuanced, middle-of-the-road position that didn't sell. NEWS ANALYSIS / Flip-flopping charge unsupported by facts / Kerry always pushed global cooperation, war as last resort

Friday, September 24, 2004

Why we went to war: Making Iraq safe for multinationals? Naomi Klein of Harper's argues that was the underlying goal of the Iraqi invasion. ( I don't agree that greed drove the neocons; it's pretty clear that it was an ideological fantasy of remaking the Mideast into a democratic, pro-Israel region.) Still, in the article and in interviews, she makes a number of disturbing points: for instance, the reconstruction effort is managed in part by wide-eyed, inexperienced ideologues in their 20s who got their jobs through right-wing think tanks and Republican connections, which is one reason only $1 billion of $18 billion appropriated has actually been spent; the reconstruction effort has essentially been a pay-off to foreign allies and corporate insiders, costing local Iraqis jobs and a chance to participate in their own economy; and early plans under Paul Bremer during the occupation consisted primarily of ways to rewrite Iraqi tax and economic policies to allow for unfettered crony capitalism and the sell-off of state-owned industries. One of her disturbing examples is the 17 idle state-owned Iraqi concrete plants that could make cement barrier "blast walls" for $100 each (not to mention roads and buildings) but have been denied generators to start up again; instead the reconstruction leaders are importing the barriers for $1,000 a pop, she claims. Everybody benefits -- except Iraqis. Meanwhile, sewage systems remain unrepaired and hepatitis and other diseases are spreading.

The neocons' economic moves, she also contends, have led to Iraqi layoffs and unemployment that have fueled the insurgency -- and, ironically, deterred the foreign and American investment that originally motivated their laissez-faire plans.

She writes, "The Financial Times has declared Iraq `the most dangerous place in the world in which to do business.' It’s quite an accomplishment: in trying to design the best place in the world to do business, the neocons have managed to create the worst, the most eloquent indictment yet of the guiding logic behind deregulated free markets. The violence has not just kept investors out; it also forced Bremer, before he left, to abandon many of his central economic policies. Privatization of the state companies is off the table; instead, several of the state companies have been offered up for lease, but only if the investor agrees not to lay off a single employee. Thousands of the state workers that Bremer fired have been rehired, and significant raises have been handed out in the public sector as a whole. Plans to do away with the food-ration program have also been scrapped – it just doesn’t seem like a good time to deny millions of Iraqis the only nutrition on which they can depend. "

She offers, then, a more sophisticated take on Michael Moore-style conspiracy theories, while also giving some credit to the neocons' ideological frenzy. Baghdad Year Zero

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Sy Hersh explains why the Bush administration's true believers are like Trotskyites. They didn't lie, in other words, they believed what they said, wrong as it was.

Bad omen for November: more missing votes in Florida. As I reported in the New Republic Online, Florida could face another debacle, with little prospects for reform by November. This latest mistake, although seemingly small, may indicate trouble ahead for Kerry, since there are historically more lost votes in Democratic areas than in Republican ones. The three leading Democratic counties in South Florida all use touch-screen voting machines with their notoriously uneven accuracy.Yahoo! News - 245 Electronic Votes Lost in Fla. Primary

Can't get enough news and commentary? Try this information smorgasbord geared to journalists and news fanatics: a fairly comprehensive list of progressive blogs, research resources and state newspapers.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Unified Theory on why today's Democrats have trouble winning the presidency. Hint: Republicans use character attacks because they can't get popular support for their policies, and Democrats believe that public support for their issues will translate into victory. American Prospect Online - ViewWeb

Friday, September 10, 2004

Inside the Florida voting mess. Kerry needs Florida, but obstacles to fair and accurate voting may put it out of reach for Democrats. Check out my New Republic article online.The New Republic Online: Outside the Box

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