Getting in the Game
My adventures in the world and the inlfuence of Sports Night.


3/15/2003  

War Games

The funny thing is I just watched a half hour of CNN while they talked about the possibility of a first strike by Iraq. The funniest part about that is that they didn't ever mention the Iraq war games we had once upon a time, war games which saddam, no doubt, has a report on. In these games Essentially, Gen. Paul van Riper beat the US troops TWICE and the brass just said ... ignore it ... it's not a big deal. Hopefully this is not what will happen, but this shows a pattern of hubris that the military and this adminstration has, and it will hurt the country. Even worse though ... CNN is really bad at their job ... that sucks because FOX News and MSNBC are the only alternatives ...

posted by Kevin | 3/15/2003 01:04:00 PM


3/13/2003  

Retaliation or Reducing Costs?

Leftcoaster points us to this article, which talks about the White House’s decision to stop producing an annual report documenting how much money is given to the States from the feds. It seems to me that this would be information that the feds would need for themselves, so why would they stop writing the report?

I don't see how the stated purpose, to cut costs, makes sense. Logic says that its cheaper for the American people if a single agency collects the information and then sends it out to everyone else. Now the states will simply have to compile their own reports, often duplicating each other’s work.

The only other reason that I can think of is the one Milbank and leftcoaster suggest: that this is retaliation by the White House for the State’s complaints about both the lack of and (deliberate?) misrepresentations regarding the size of federal aid to States.

I hope this isn’t true, but either way it sounds like a bad decision to me.

BTW…belated thanks to TalkLeft for pointing the way the ABC news article mentioned below.

posted by Jenny | 3/13/2003 08:25:00 PM
 

Go 'Yoke!

Professor Christopher Pyle, who teaches at my alma mater, was quoted by ABC news in their recent article on the Patriot Act.

"I don't think the Fourth Amendment exists anymore," said Pyle, a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, referring to the amendment that prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and requires probable cause for a search or arrest. "I think it's been buried by the Patriot Act and some of the court rulings that have been handed down. We need a requiem mass for the Fourth Amendment, because it's gone."

Apparently, he’s been rather prolific lately.

For more information on Patriot Acts I and II you can go here and the draft of Patriot Act II can be found here.

I never had Professor Pyle, but I certainly heard about him while I was there. He was one of the few people that actively tried to debate whether or not we should go co-ed. The students' general reaction to that (including mine) was an absolute NO! but it was good for us to have someone on campus who sparked debate and challenged our prejudices and beliefs. Most of our professors (being good at their jobs) did so, but no one did it quite the way Professor Pyle did. (And I’m assuming still does.)

posted by Jenny | 3/13/2003 04:20:00 PM


3/12/2003  

Black Box Voting

Just a quick note (before Kevin moves the site) to mention this.

I've seen some concerns raised about electronic voting on other sites, but this is the first time I've heard anyone making accusations that it has been used, rather than could be used, for voting fraud. (Although after looking around See the Forest a bit more, apparently it was because I was looking at the wrong trees, not because they haven't been made.)

I'm not sure how credible this story is, but it reminds me that while there are advantages to technologies such as these, there are also serious dangers if we don't use them intelligently. One of the current safeguards we have against controversies like those that happened in the Florida 2000 election is the voter's ability to double check their ballot before casting their vote. (It may not have been enough in that particular case, but it is still better than nothing.) Not only does an electronic voting machine need to have an equivalent to this, but those using the machines, the American people, need to have the ability to investigate how the machine works in order to determine if inaccuracies exists, just as they do in manual systems.

Compromises are often good and usually necessary. But the integrity of our elections, and the democratic process itself, must not be compromised. If current electronic voting systems do not permit voters to double check their ballots and if current copyright and patent laws prevent the American public from investigating how these machines work then other systems and solutions must be found.

posted by Jenny | 3/12/2003 01:54:00 PM
 

Big News

Well here it is: I am moving to a new domain and site. It will be ready and up later this week. The new site will be oriented towards me posting my opinions and concentrating on gearing people up for action and mobilizing about what the left-blogs always talk about.

It will also unveil what most would probably consider inevitable for me: A Gary Hart blog. I already have a few other contributors lined up, and hopefully it will provide people a place to get more information, connect, and discuss Gary Hart and his career.

Finally, the third piece of news is something you might guess; I have begun doing some limited work for Senator Hart's organization. Mostly web related and grassroots work that I have done before for campaigns. I am giving up my free time (read: sleep) to help out and have had a great experience over the past few days.

So I wanted to let anyone know that if they have any questions about volunteering or anything else expect media requests and rumors. Drop me an e-mail: kmthurman@mac.com.

This also means I am going to tone down my Gary hart posting a bit, I don't want to be considered "a hired poster", especially since I am not getting paid :).

Thanks to all who read! I will let you know the adress of the new site as soon as possible. This site will stay up for a while until I can archive it on the new one.

posted by Kevin | 3/12/2003 12:23:00 AM


3/11/2003  

Inside Politics Interview Transcript

Here is the transcript for Gary Hart's appearance on Inside Politics. He is being interviewed by Judy Woodruff.

WOODRUFF: That's the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte talking just a few minutes ago to reporters at the U.N..

On the record today, former senator and former presidential candidate Gary Hart, the Colorado Democrat is with me from Denver to talk about Iraq and his own political plans. Senator, thank you for talking with us.

GARY HART, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A great pleasure.

WOODRUFF: You say that Iraq has become President Bush's white whale. Do you just completely dismiss President Bush's argument that Saddam Hussein and Iraq can export terrorism that is an immediate threat, potentially, to the U.S.?

HART: Well, I don't disagree with some of -- the first part of the question. I think I fundamentally disagree with the last part. What the president has not done, and I think other people have made this point, is convince the American people and certainly our allies around the world, that the threat is immediate and unavoidable, which is a standard for preemption under international law. And he has not connected Iraq to the war on terrorism. It's a sideshow. It's unfinished business from 1991. There are clearly people in the administration who feel strongly about this, but it's a separate entity from defeating terrorism and protecting the homeland.

WOODRUFF: But senator, you know what they're saying among other things is that whatever Saddam Hussein has can get into the hands of terrorists. Today, they're talking about cluster bombs, the kind of cluster bomb that can disperse chemical weapons. They're talking about unmanned drones that can dispense chemical weapons. These don't scare you as something that can get into the hands of terrorists? HART: Yes, and we have obviously North Korea, which possesses nuclear weapons. We have Iran to the east, which either has or will have nuclear weapons. We have probably 20 countries with cluster bombs, some of them not very friendly to us. And in five years or so, 20 countries will be able to produce, in substantial quantities, biological weapons. Are we going to war with all of those? I don't think so.

WOODRUFF: Senator, you've been saying that you assume there will be a retaliatory strike against the U.S. If the U.S. leads a war on Iraq. What do you base that on?

HART: Testimony by George Tenet, the director of the C.I.A., statements by Mr. Mueller, the director of the FBI and others much more expert in terrorism and counter-terrorism than I am. I think, universally, anyone who has looked at the situation says, if you kick open a hornet's nest in most volatile region in the world, you can expect to get stung. And that's not necessarily from Iraq. They'll have their hands full with our army, obviously. But from radical fundamentalists throughout the Arab world who will be outraged at a massive American army invading a sovereign Arab nation.

WOODRUFF: But you're not suggesting that the rest of the world just leave Saddam Hussein where he is, are you?

HART: No. And the alternative often put forward by people in the administration is not do nothing. We're bombing regularly and patrolling in the air the north and the south of that country. We've had economic sanctions. There are inspectors there. And I and others have proposed that those inspectors be increased, that they be accompanied by armed U.N. forces, and that the international community would support almost universally a total no-fly zone in that country. That is to say, complete U.N. domination of the air over the country. Saddam is in a box. We can tight than box and we don't need to go to war.

WOODRUFF: Senator, let's turn you to this question of possibly running for president. Are you any closer to a decision today than you were a few weeks ago when you launched this speaking tour?

HART: Well, I'm closer chronologically, obviously. I said target date was March. I think because of the war and other considerations, that may slip another month or so to April. I have completed the policy speeches, as of last Tuesday in California. And I've gotten very, very positive response to those. I think most of the people who either attended the speeches or who followed them on the Web site, garyhartnews.com, have heard that I'm saying different things and saying things differently from any of the other Democratic leaders and have encouraged me to continue to speak. And I'll continue to do that.

WOODRUFF: This report that you're planning to use this part of the FEC law that allows to raise and spend a small amount of money to test the waters, so to speak, is that what you're thinking about?

HART: It is. And we'll do that in the next week or two, when we get accounts opened and so forth. One is permitted, if you're not a determined candidate, and I am not, to raise a reasonable amount of money for a reasonable period of time for the purpose of determining that candidacy. And I am going to do that in the next few days. And, obviously, hope people will respond.

WOODRUFF: Let me just quickly quote something that the former governor of Colorado, Richard Lamm, had to say about you. He said, "I don't want to write him off." He said, "I think there is definitely, though, a sense of tragedy about Gary. He was made for better things." Do you agree, there's a sense of tragedy about you?

HART: No. I don't know where Dick came up with that, but it's quite colorful and almost operatic. No, I don't feel any tragedy at all.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me just ask you quickly, does your own daughter, Andrea, says that you don't like campaigning and you don't like raising campaign money.

HART: Well, if someone does, I think that may -- at least the money may disqualify them. I think if you like raising money that's a disqualifier for the presidency. And if I run, I don't intend to compete with the tens of millions of dollars that the better-known candidates are raising. I think it's outrageous what politics cost in this country.

WOODRUFF: All right. We'll let you think about that sense of the tragic comment from Dick Lamm. Gary Hart, good to see you. Thanks very much.

HART: A pleasure, thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

posted by Kevin | 3/11/2003 01:12:00 PM


3/10/2003  

Bradley offering support to Hart ... so says gossip column

The NY Daily News says:

Back in (political) action

Former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley is sending some love back to Gary Hart, who supported him in his 2000 run for President.

We hear Bradley has offered to serve as an adviser to Hart if the former Colorado senator decides to run for the White House in 2004. Considering Bradley's own feeble bid for the Oval Office, one Democratic insider says, "It's like the blind leading the blind."

Bradley, now a managing director at Allen & Co., didn't return calls. Hart's spokesman said Bradley and Hart "are longtime friends. There's no campaign right now. But he's been talking to a number of people, including Bill Bradley. He values his advice."



This is no surprise considering Hart's support for Bradley in 2000. However, it does remind everyone Hart has some powerful and impressive friends that are staying out until he decides. Gov. Shaheen of NH is one of them, and she has got nothing better to do than run Hart's NH campaign. However, my boss pointed out Bradley didn't even show up for Patrick Ewing's jersey retirement ceremony ... he has been MIA lately. Which makes me think Hart might wake up a few other dormant politicos.

posted by Kevin | 3/10/2003 01:44:00 PM
 

Barnett & Bush (another long one)

We bash bush for having his main political operative in the West wing (hasn’t been done before really, political people yes, but the campaign people? Check out Boy Genius if you want the rundown.).

I think the questions posed by Gary Hart’s OpEd in the Washington Post is a valid one:

What is our strategic objective in Iraq -- disarmament, regime change, to mount a massive democratic revolution throughout the Arab world or all of the above? Once again, the target changes, and presidential candor is missing. It is cynical in the extreme to assume the American people should not be told that we intend to conduct a political revolution among 1.1 billion people spread from Gibraltar to eastern Indonesia.

The extravagance, not to say arrogance, of this epic undertaking is sufficiently breathtaking in its hubris to make Woodrow Wilson blush.


If George Bush is no Wodrow Wilson, why has his Administration moved towards creating Democracy in the Arab World “by force of bayonet” and is determined to do it by force.
I wrote about Tom Barnett and his article in Esquire "The Pentagon’s New Map”, but it has become obvious as you look more and more into the Bush Administration’s foreign policy decisions that the Defense Department and specifically Barnett’s thinking has become the foreign policy framework for the United States.
However, the Administration does not use the sweeping terms of Barnett like: the ”Non-Intergrating Gap”, the US as the “Bodyguard of Globalism” or talking about the US’s defector Empire, of shared values. Instead it talks more narrowly while enacting almost every single on of Barnett’s suggestions.

I will review the about the four most high profile foriegn policy decisions of the Bush Administration: the war against Iraq, the War on terrorism, AIDS aid to Africa, and North Korean crisis.

On the war against Iraq, Barnett says “The real reason I support a war like this is that the resulting long-term military commitment will finally force America to deal with the entire Gap as a strategic threat environment.”

Many people will argue that my emphasis on Barnett is unfounded. However the PBS Frontline Episode about the decision to go to war makes it clear the Pentagon is calling the shots on the war with Iraq and our foreign policy in general. Tom Barnett is gaining influence in the Pentagon as the overall “guy with a plan”

Bush has stated four main reasons to go to war with Iraq: Saddam poses an immediate threat, he harbors terrorists, he has been defiant for 12 years, and the desire to bring democracy to the Middle East. The reality is these are the same reason Barnett thinks this is an example for the long-term strategy. The Administration reason converge when taken into account with Barnett analysis, they al describe Saddam as: anti-American (harbors terrorists), immediate threat (due to his anti-American stance), he has been isolated and not a part of the world economy (defiant for 12 years), and the desire to close the Gap (bring democracy to the middle east). While there is no direct link, and Barnett’s philosophy is by no means the driving force behind the Iraq invasion, that is Rumsfeld’s noe-Reganites job, it has provided the cover for the invasion, after couching Barnett’s words in more public friendly terms.

The war on terrorism, the language is so similar it is creepy. Bush’s concentration on nation-states alone, arguing you are: “with us or against us” as Barnett’ divides the world in similar halves “integrating and non-integrating” This leads right into the issue of the offense vs. defense, where Barnett argues no changes are needed at home to make us secure, but instead we need simply to shrink the Gap. Which the Administration seems to be doing by using military force and money to pull countries within the Integrating countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Iraq.

North Korea, which I discussed before is not being dealt with because as Laney and Shaplen pint out in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs, North Korea has “allowed the price of staples to float freely, inaugurating a special economic zone similar to those in China …agreeing to re-establish road and rail links with South Korea” This connection or movement towards a free market and the fact it lives within the Integrating sphere of countries makes the Administration believe that the countries around it can pressure North Korea into integrating. Thus Bush does no want to take the lead and believes no military action would be necessary. I know that North Korean situation is more complicated than that including: the Administration hatred for the 1994 agreement signed by Clinton. However, one cannot deny how their policy in Korea fit’s Barnett’s analysis.

Finally, Africa is the largest amount of countries that are in the “Gap,” however Barnett advocates aid be given to these countries instead of military intervention. Interestingly enough, besides military aid for the war on terrorism Bush has earmarked $15 billion over 5 years for Africa in the manner that Barnett suggested. Of all the policies this the one I agree with, it is dialog inducing not dialog forcing.

In the end, I do not believe Barnett, himself, is the person making these decisions, but his high post at the Defense Department is indicative of the Bush Administration’s overall vision for America’s foreign policy. A policy that forces nations into globalization and relations with the US at the point of bayonet if necessary. Therefore it is clear Bush and his Adminstration do have a long-term foriegn policy vision and they refuse to explain it to the American public.

posted by Kevin | 3/10/2003 11:06:00 AM
 

I have had a thought ...

In relation to my post about the direction of the Democratic Party and domestic politics I think I found another state that is the vein my Robert Putnam/Fourth Turning philosophy about history and time as a cyclical stream. Believe it or not it was on Talking Points Memo. When clarifying his position on the war he says:

We are at that point. I'm less worried about the immediate repercussions in the Middle East than in the wider world, where we are as quickly as we can trashing a world security system that decades of statesmanship have built up. That's worth more than can possibly be gained in Iraq.

One can say it took the Democrats to undo the major entitlement programs of the 20th century and I guess I am noticing that it will take the Republicans to undo the dominate worldwide system of diplomacy for the second half of the century.

There is no question in my mind that in 2004 this country will be holding one of it's most important elections ever, in which we decide what leaders will fill our domestic and foreign policy vacuums, not just with a leaning presence, but with a new paradigm. Many would argue this will not happen in four years, to them I say, if it does not, then there is no way in we can prevent the current crisis (not Iraq, the whole worldwide crisis) from boiling over. Some crises are worse than others and some do not successfully resolve problems and they linger for a century, look at the Civil War. There is no question that we cannot wait the ten years the country waited after bleeding Kansas to find out Lincoln. I just hope the people and one of our leaders is up to the task.

posted by Kevin | 3/10/2003 09:32:00 AM


3/09/2003  

Gary Hart meetups

Well, there is now a space for Hart at Meetup.com and I believe this is the perfect forum for showing your support for Gary Hart. Just sign up for the Meetup at hart2004.meetup.com.

This is a grassroots tool, that will allow people to: find out about Gary Hart and what he has been speaking about, meet other supporters, show our support, and most importantly - organize locally in the event of campaign.

The Dean people have had great success with it, and from the response I have gotten lately it seems as if the Hart group will have just as much if not more. I have been in touch with the staff and told them about meetup.com, but I think the good people at the site have just added it. It seems as if the will of the people is bubbling up and whether or not Hart has made his choice we have begun to support him.

To the people who have not decided anything yet, I say, sign up, encourage Hart to run, the worst that can happen is that his ideas are heard and the Democratic Primary benefits from his wisdom. The best is that you love his ideas and become involved in campaign that represents something.

Let's get together and make sure that we have a productive Primary of Ideas

posted by Kevin | 3/09/2003 11:14:00 PM
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