Crossposted at Disabled Americans for Democracy
A blind friend of mine is in Columbus, GA this weekend for the annual School of the Americas protest. Here at DAFD, we're with her in spirit and we support SOA Watch's call for the closing of the school and the total removal of torture from U.S. foreign policy.
This year the call has added urgency because of the recent revelation of secret CIA torture camps as well as VP Richard Cheney's championing of torture as a viable and legitimate interrogation tool.
Such advocacy is foolish, dangerous, and un-American. It is also illegal. The Geneva Conventions are U.S. law. The Senate's commitment to the McCane Amendment is solid. Whether the amendment will withstand the House/Senate conference, especially given both the more radical nature of most House Republicans and Mr. Cheney's relentless lobbying for torture is, unfortunately, anyone's guess.
The School of the Americas has been a national shame for some twenty years. A vice president who advocates abandoning decency, common sense, decades of precedent and international law for a dubious advantage in a "war" which exists largely in the president's fantasies presents a clear and present danger on a scale that, frankly, beggars description.
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Saturday, November 19, 2005
Crossposted at Disabled Americans for Democracy
As I said in the comments earlier, I definitely appreciate the post by Corinne, and will be sure to go back and read it a little later. Right now, though, it's a bit too cerebral for me and I need something a little less "deep" on a Saturday.
From the movie Michael
...me, oh, my
Nothing tastes sweet,
wet, salty, and dry
All at once so well as pie
mince and black bottom
I'll come to your place...
...every day if you've got 'em
Pie, me, oh, my, I love pie
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 6:27:00 PM
It's a slow Saturday today for some reason. Laundry is in the dryer and I'm watching Giada De Laurentiis cook up some cool Thanksgiving leftover recipes, to be followed by The Barefoot Contessa. Any day the TV is not locked on the Cartoon Network is a good one.
Early in the week, professional pollster Mark Blumenthal promised a look at what exactly happened in Ohio on Election Day and why the renowned Columbus Dispatch mail-in poll went horribly wrong on the statewide issues that were on the ballot.
Caveat: This is just a summary, because Blumenthal really looked at this in-depth. If you're interested in the gory details, read his entire post.
While you normally hear and phrases like "past performance is no guarantee of future results" when you're reading a financial prospectus, for example, Blumenthal says the same applies to the Dispatch poll. Here's why:
While we may never know the exact reasons why, it is clear in retrospect that problems stem from the very different challenges the Dispatch poll faced this year and the modifications to its methodology made in response.
Why is methodology so important? Because you can't just slap together a list of questions for people to answer. The questions developed for a survey must have 2 qualities: reliability and validity. If it is reliable, it will yield consistent results. If it is valid, it will measure what it's supposed to measure. Here's a metaphor that is typically used to explain the relationship between reliability and validity. Now back to the poll.
Blumenthal offers the following reasons why the Dispatch poll failed in 2005:
1) It has always been less accurate in statewide issue races than in candidate contests.
2) It had never before been used to forecast an off-year statewide election featuring only ballot issues.
3) It departed from past practice this year by including an undecided option and not replicating the actual ballot language - two practices that helped explain the poll's past accuracy.
Blumenthal says, "While the Dispatch polls typically offer an undecided option on other polls, they typically drop the undecided option on the final pre-election poll in order to better replicate the actual voting experience. This time, however, according to an Election Day email exchange I had with Darrel Rowland of the Dispatch, they were concerned that with the state issues involved, "not to include that could have greatly distorted Ohioans' stance on these issues." "
As for the length and complexity of the ballot language, Blumenthal says, "Imagine the effort required by the voter to try to digest all of this information (which apparently appeared in very small print on the ballot), or just the impression left by seeing all that verbiage, either in the voting booth or in the fifteen-page "Issues Report" available from the Secretary of State's office." Just how long? Issue 1 was 606 words long; Issue 2, 210 words; Issue 3, 932 words; Issue 4, 616 words; and Issue 5, 351 words.
Most importantly, the Dispatch poll did not attempt to replicate the ballot language. Respondents were provided with a greatly condensed version of each issue. Doing so may have introduced two important errors. First, Blumenthal says, they did not replicate the experience real voters had when confronting over 2700 words of ballot text. Second, by simplifying the concepts involved they may have unintentionally yet artificially framed the choice around the substance of the proposals (vote by mail, redistricting reform, etc). The real campaign framed those choices around more thematic arguments that tended to lump all the proposals together (which would really fight corruption, improve democracy, provide "loopholes" for special interests, etc.).
According to Blumenthal, "While I cannot cite academic research on this point, the nearly universal experience of those who follow initiative and referenda campaigns is that when confused or in doubt, regular voters will default to the "no" vote. That is why support for ballot issues almost always declines in tracking polls as Election Day approaches."
4) Its response rate this year was roughly half that obtained in recent elections, including a similarly low turnout election in 2002.
One of the counter-intuitive aspects of the Columbus Dispatch Survey is that it seems to do better at getting a representative sample of likely voters despite having had a lower response rate than comparable telephone studies conducted since 1980. This is possibly because telephone surveys do worse at identifying likely voters because "the social desirability of being an active participant in the democratic process often leads to an overrporting" of likelihood to vote, past voting and interest in politics.
So while Dispatch survey respondents were more representative of the voting electorate than the "likely voters" identified by telephone surveys, there's incomplete evidence that this advantage didn't exist in 2005. Self-identified Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 10 percentage points...even though "the returns [typically] lean a little Republican, which reflects Ohio's recent history of tilting a bit toward the GOP." Also, the geographic distribution of voters may have been off (presumably a bit heavier in Democratic areas). When that happens the responses are usually weighted to reduce the discrepancy but Blumenthal suspects that "weighting by party or region probably would not have reduced the discrepancy significantly. These differences are clues to what may have been a "response bias" that was related more to the vote preference than two political party."
This year, the Dispatch Poll response rate fell off significantly. It was only 11% for the poll conducted in late September and 12% on the final survey. Turnout alone does not explain the difference. Blumenthal suggests two possibilities. First, it was a mail-in vote survey about voting by mail: "Issue 2 was a proposal to make it easier to vote early or by mail in Ohio. So we have a survey that was, at least in part, about voting by mail. Wouldn't we expect a higher response rating among those who want to vote by mail on an election survey that attempts to replicate voting...by mail?" Second, uncertainty and confusion equals non-response: voters who were confused or uncertain decided to simply pass on completing the survey. Voters who were familiar with the issues and supported them were more likely to complete the survey.
5) The timing of the poll would have missed any shifts over the final weekend, and the final poll showed support trending down for all four initiatives. Meanwhile a post-election survey showed that nearly half the "no" voters made up their minds in the days after the Dispatch poll came out of the field.
1,533 respondents November 9-13 who reported casting ballots in the special election were interviewed after the election. Among those who said they "generally voted no" on the reform issues, nearly half (44%) made up their minds and "decided to vote no in the closing days of the campaign" rather than having been against them all along [emphasis added]. The actual ballot language may have helped make the case for 'no,' Blumenthal says. One of their central messages was that the reform proposals would open "gaping loopholes for special interests." Imagine what conclusions a voter might reach on encountering all that fine print.
Finally, Blumenthal addresses the question of fraud. Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman posted an article on their website FreePress.org, concluding that either the "uncannily accurate" Dispatch poll was wrong, or "the election machines on which Ohio and much of the nation conduct their elections were hacked by someone wanting to change the vote count."
Blumenthal asks, "Were the results surprising given the survey's history? Yes. Were they "staggeringly impossible?" Of course not. Fitrakis, Wasserman and Friedman "Brad" seem to think polls (or at least, those polls that produce results they like) are imbued with magical powers that make them impervious to error. They are not." Furthermore, 82 of Ohio's 88 counties cast their ballots last week on election equipment that left a paper trail.
Go read the entire post. It will take you a couple of times to digest it but it is very informative.
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Posted by Corinne at 1:28:00 PM
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thank you, jc, for pointing out this article from the New York Times.
A tentative deal to extend the government's antiterrorism powers under the law known as the USA Patriot Act appeared in some jeopardy Thursday, as Senate Democrats threatened to mount a filibuster in an effort to block the legislation.
"This is worth the fight," Senator Russell D. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview.
"I've cleared my schedule right up to Thanksgiving," Mr. Feingold said, adding that he was making plans to read aloud from the Bill of Rights as part of a filibuster if necessary.
You can read the rest of the article here. It's just such a pleasant change to see a Democrat say something is worth fighting for--even to the point of a filibuster, that I just have to give the guy a Howardly.
'Course, if he weasels out or backpedals, I have no qualms about taking it back. All Democrats should consider themselves on notice: you have to earn a Deaniac's support.
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 2:43:00 PM
Teri Mills is a longtime Democracy For America community member. Her guest column on health care appears on Blog for America on Fridays and she blogs at nationalnurse.blogspot.com.
The leaves are falling, the country's weather map is now in shades of green, and you probably know at least one person in your family or at work who has a cold. Being an American, you probably love a quick fix to feeling lousy. However, before you make that appointment with your health care provider, or recommend someone else call their doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, make sure you understand the reasons why antibiotics will most likely not be prescribed.
Antibiotics are used for bacterial infections only and have no effect on colds and flu that are caused by viruses. If you notice any drainage from your nose or mouth that is a different color like yellow or green, this does not mean you need antibiotics. Antibiotics are also rarely prescribed for sinus infections and bronchitis. In fact, taking antibiotics unnecessarily will put you and your family a risk for developing resistant infections later. These "superbugs" sometimes cause infections that are difficult to cure and expensive to treat.
So here is some important advice to follow:
If an antibiotic is recommended, make sure you finish the complete prescription (every dose), even if you begin feeling better. Taking a part of the prescription will allow the germs to multiply, and they may not respond to this medication again, requiring you to begin treatment all over again.
Never share your medications with others as you may be causing them harm. Antibiotics have side effects, they are meant for certain bacteria that require diagnosing, and some people are allergic to them.
Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Soap and water is even better than anti-bacterial soaps which have also been found to cause super-infections, those diseases which are resistant to antibiotic use.
Increase your fluids, but stay away from alcohol and caffeine because these can be very dehydrating.
Use a cool mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion.
Soothe your scratchy throat with lozenges, popsicles, or ice chips.
By all means, see your health care provider if you aren't getting well or if you have any concerns.
Finally, you have the right to request a generic alternative to a brand name drug. Be sure to discuss this with your health care provider because it could potentially save you a great deal of money.
—Teri Mills, RN, MS, ANP
Democracy for Oregon
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Posted by jc at 10:30:00 AM
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Yow! That birthday thread Corinne put up at midnight last night is getting pretty close to the 300 comments mark--who knows, maybe it will be more than that by the time I hit post. So how about we start up a second thread for birthday wishes? If you haven't posted a birthday greeting to Howard Dean yet, you can add your comment to this thread. Also, check out all of the great, heartfelt birthday wishes that have been posted in Page's Daily Kos diary, my Daily Kos diary, the DNC blog, and Blog for America. And be sure to check out jc's birthday tribute to Howard on her graphics blog. (Relive that special turkey sammich moment!)
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 7:56:00 PM
Some good news to share, although I really do know that it's bittersweet as well. Mark Losey has exited the race to become the Ohio 15th district representative. I just read the diary over at MyDD, and I know it must have been hard to write. Dean people know as well as anyone that it can be hard to unite behind a candidate after working really hard for another candidate. The diary shows true class...
Frankly, Commissioner Kilroy already enjoys much of the Democratic support we were working to earn before the primary. The time for Democratic unity is now. By encouraging our supporters to put their efforts behind Mary Jo Kilroy, and continue the fight for change, we can defeat Deborah Pryce and send a voice to Congress that represents regular Ohioans.
This is who Kilroy will be running against:
Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, lauded Kerry's Nov. 3 concession and his decision not to join Thursday's challenge. "Apparently, such admirable qualities do not apply to certain extreme elements of Senator Kerry's own party," she said.
Last time I checked, rolling over was not an admirable quality, but I guess that depends on which side of the aisle you are sitting on. Allowing voters to be disenfranchised is *definitely* not an admirable quality.
Fight fiercely, Deaniacs! And Go, Mary Jo!
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 1:23:00 PM
Since Corinne is planning to print out our birthday greetings to Howard Dean and mail them to him, I thought it would be a good idea to put up another thread. Use this thread to comment on any non-Howard's birthday news.
Have you seen this diary on My Left Wing (also crossposted elsewhere)
I Just Met Paul Hackett. He's the One. by: AnthonySF
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 12:13:00 AM
Update: Plutonium Page has a birthday diary for Howard Dean at Daily Kos with a lot of great comments. You can find my diary here--I finally gave Flat Howard a birthday hat, and even some balloons!
Update: I also did a graphics tribute to Howard - Happy Birthday, Guv! - here.
On this special day, I'd like to take a moment to get in touch with my inner Harriet Miers:
Happy Birthday to the coolest DNC Chair ev-er!
Hope everyone brought their air guitars--
You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too--yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.
The Beatles, "Birthday," The Beatles (The White Album)
In all seriousness, though, Howard does deserve great respect for what he has been able to accomplish through his presidential campaign, Democracy For America, and currently as chairman of the DNC. That's more than can ever be said about the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Consider this a big birthday card for Howard and post your birthday message.
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Posted by Corinne at 12:01:00 AM
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
It is *so* dang quiet here right now, I figured it wouldn't hurt to do a quick post about this. I've got a new entry up at Street Prophets. Actually, it's something I've posted before elsewhere, but the *graphic* is new--I bravely ventured into Photoshop territory again. ;-)
Anyway, if you haven't seen it before, and you're interested, click the puppy to read about "God, the blue puppy."
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 12:55:00 PM
Calvin W. Bush
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
The Redcoats Are Leaving
Run A Train
And my favorite for today: Sportin' Wood
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Posted by Athanasius at 10:15:00 AM
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Just wanted to share a few interesting tidbits before the night is over. There are a number of interesting posts over at Crooks and Liars. There's a link to a report on today's Senate vote on Iraq, and to the Think Progress take on Sam Alito's spin of his statements about abortion in the 1980s:
Alito is now dismissing the document, claiming he was just saying what he needed to say to ingratiate himself with his potential bosses in the Reagan administration. Here’s what Alito told Sen. Diane Feinstein this afternoon.
It was different then. I was an advocate seeking a job. It was a political job.
Translation: those weren’t my personal views, I was just lying to get a job.
Also, just gotta love the Crooks and Liars coverage of the latest Bill O'Reilly absurdities.
Next, from Americablog: US, caught lying, admits to using chemical weapons against enemies in Iraq
From The Mercury News: Sheehan plans to resume protest near Bush ranch
The fallen soldier's mother who drew thousands to her 26-day war protest near President Bush's Crawford ranch this summer plans to return for Thanksgiving next week, despite new county ordinances banning roadside camping.
Cindy Sheehan, of Vacaville, Calif., and at least a dozen supporters are prepared to be arrested as they return to the makeshift campsite along the road leading to Bush's ranch, where he is expected to spend the holiday.
"It's significant that we do not let up on this administration," said Hadi Jawad, co-founder of the Crawford Peace House, which supported the protesters during their August vigil. "It is critical for our democracy that we continue to ask the same questions that Cindy Sheehan asked this summer: What is the noble cause for the war with Iraq, and at what point do we say enough bloodshed has happened?"
And finally, on the DNC site, a post from Tim Tagaris about Howard Dean's performance on Meet the Press: Chairman Dean Speaks For Me
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 10:14:00 PM
By Subway Serenade...
The Bible says that no one can speak the Name of God and live to tell about it. I don't know who put that line in The Book, but it couldn't be further from the truth. Folks throughout the world speak the Name of God quite often. Not with their lips, but with their hearts.
I'm in love with my wife and there are times, in quiet moments when we feel like two halves of the same person. There are times when I stand on the roof of my building watching lightning dancing on rainbows and I feel a Oneness with all of creation. Who among us has ever experienced the embrace of an infant? Even Jesus said that if two or more are gathered...
As it turns out, there are reasons why rumors persist that the Name of God cannot be spoken. First among these is the human need to name things. God's Name existed before language. It presumably existed before anything. So words like Yweh, or Brahma and even God tended to diminish the enormity of what was actually being named in the first place.
I have said repeatedly here and in the smoking section, that Love Is God, and the Name of Love is written not on the lips or the tongue or the mind. It is written in and spoken from the Heart.
So let your hearts sing your Empathy. Let them shout your Compassion. Let them celebrate your Oneness with all that is. For when you do so, you are singing the Name of God.
Hope you don't mind if I sing along...
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 3:04:00 PM
Monday, November 14, 2005
Tonight from 8-9:30 PM EST, Dolores Huerta of United Farm Workers of America will participate in Conversations with the Cabinet. Conversations with the Cabinet is part of a regular phone conference series hosted by the Backbone Campaign. This special bilingual event is a collaboration between the Backbone Campaign, My Vote is My Voice (MViMV), and Latinos for America (LFA).
Please post your questions for Delores at the MViMV Blog and those questions will be asked during the phone conversation. Answers will be posted during or shortly after the phone conference. Questions are being accepted in English and Spanish.
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Posted by Jessica at 4:35:00 PM
Schultz: Why are you doing this? Why are you gonna run? You loved the last election so much you want to do it again?
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 1:31:00 PM
Piss Poor Priorities
Theory of Evolution
The Impossible Dream
Personal Parental Responsibility
And my favorite for today: Lost In Translation
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Posted by Athanasius at 10:30:00 AM
Driving home the other day, I found myself behind a car with several "religious right" themed bumper stickers. One of them read "Marriage is 1 man and 1 woman--so says GOD". Um, then don't have same sex marriage in *your* church. What does that have to do with our secular laws?
The same car *also* had "I vote pro-life" bumper stickers, one in English and one in Spanish. That really bugged me, because there is no opportunity I can think of where people are able to vote just on that one issue. What it really means, is I vote for candidates who make their opposition to abortion a major part of their platforms. Those same candidates often stand for any number of things that are decidedly NOT pro-life.
Anyway, that ticked me off enough, and stuck in my head long enough, that I was motivated to make this:
In keeping with Howard Dean's message that the Democratic party's values are America's values (expressed again yesterday in his appearance on Meet the Press) what other bumper stickers have you seen? What slogans do you think would be effective?
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Posted by Renee in Ohio at 8:45:00 AM
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Here is the transcript from Howard's appearance on the Nov. 13th edition of "Meet the Press"
MR. RUSSERT: And we are back.
Governor Dean, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.
DR. HOWARD DEAN: Thanks for having me on, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: On Friday you heard the speech I played for Ken Mehlman. The president of the United States said that Democrats are sending the wrong signal to the enemy with their criticisms of prewar intelligence and his conduct of the war.
DR. DEAN: I think Democrats always have to stand up and tell the truth and that's what we're doing. The truth is that the president misled America when he sent us to war. They did--he even didn't tell the truth in the speech he gave. First of all, think there were a lot of veterans were kind of upset that the president chose their day to make a partisan speech. Secondly, the president didn't even tell the truth in his speech. He said that the Senate had the same intelligence that everybody else did. That was not true. He withheld some intelligence. Then he said the commissions all said that what he had done in the lead-up up to the war was fine.
MR. RUSSERT: What did he withhold?
DR. DEAN: He withheld--he knew, he knew that there was no connection between Saddam and 9/11 and he insisted on trying to make that case to the American people.
MR. RUSSERT: But he never said Saddam was involved in September 11.
DR. DEAN: He never actually came out and said just that. But in every speech he gave during the campaign and afterwards, he left the impression. He left the impression with 65 percent of the American people, who agreed that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. It made that--it was dishonest, what he did.
MR. RUSSERT: Aren't the Democrats, though, trying to have it both ways? They voted for the war-- Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards--and now, it's not going well. So they're saying, well, the president misled us. They had access to the National Intelligence Estimate, and in that National Intelligence Estimate, there were caveats from the State Department particularly, about the quality of the intelligence. But they still voted for the war.
DR. DEAN: Tim, first of all, I didn't have--maybe that's why I was against the war, maybe because I didn't have access to the corrupted intelligence. The intelligence was corrupted, not just because of the incompetence of the CIA; it was corrupted because it was being changed around before it was presented to Congress. Stuff was taken out and not presented. All of this business about weapons of mass destruction, there was significant and substantial evidence passed from the CIA and the State Department to, perhaps, the office of the vice president--we don't know just where--in the White House that said, "There is a strong body of opinion that says they don't have a nuclear program, nor do they have weapons of mass destruction." And that intelligence was not given to the Congress of the United States.
MR. RUSSERT: It was in the National Intelligence Estimate, as a caveat by the State Department.
DR. DEAN: It was, a very small one, but the actual caveat that the White House got were much, much greater. And the deputy to Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson, just said so. He just came out and said so.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me...
DR. DEAN: There's ample--now that the cracks are really beginning to appear in this corrupt administration that we have running this country, now they're all running for their own and they're beginning to stand up and say, "This is what really happened." Honest Republicans are coming forward in this administration and saying, "This is what really happened in the lead-up to the war, and the president was not truthful with the American people."
But the president's not just not truthful with the American people. I saw Ken on here talking about the deficit. The truth is, they're concealing the size of the deficit, as well. Iraq is not on the books. The money they take out of Social Security is not on the books. This is an administration that has a fundamental problem telling the truth.
MR. RUSSERT: We'll get to the deficit, but I want to stay on Iraq for a second because, in order to maintain credibility or regain credibility on the war, should Democrats, like John Edwards did this morning, step forward and say, "I was wrong to vote for the war"?
DR. DEAN: I thought what John Edwards did was very courageous. It's always hard to admit that you're wrong.
MR. RUSSERT: Should Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and others say, "Based on what I know today, I would not have voted for the war"?
DR. DEAN: John--my impression was that John Kerry did say that. I think what Senator Clinton had said--that there would have been no vote had the truth been told in the beginning. There would never have been a vote on this war. I can't tell individual Democrats what to do, but I'll tell you one thing we are going to do: We're going to tell the truth. The best thing that the Democratic Party and that America can do is tell the truth to the world. We used to be the most--I saw the figures that you had up during your interview with King Abdullah about what people think of us in Jordan. That didn't used to be the truth, the facts. Six or eight years ago when the Democrats were in control, we made mistakes, but we told the truth about to our allies and we told the truth to the American people about the things that mattered.
MR. RUSSERT: George Bush says, knowing what he knows today, even though we didn't find weapons of mass destruction, even though we weren't greeted as "liberators," he would still have gone forward with the war in Iraq. Do you believe the intellectually honest position for the Democrats is to say, now, "Based on what we know now, we should not have gone to war with Iraq"?
DR. DEAN: All I can tell you is what my position in the campaign was. I believed that what we--that Saddam Hussein was a problem, that he had used in the past weapons of mass destruction. That's indisputable. I also did not believe the White House was telling the truth, and my position was, of course we need to deal with Saddam Hussein, but we don't need to cost ourselves the lives of 2,056 brave American soldiers in order to do it.
MR. RUSSERT: The issue, I think, confronting Democrats is that they're afraid of being perceived as soft on national security and defense issues. I showed you the 16 issues where people agreed with the Democrats. There are still a couple where people overwhelmingly think the Republicans are the better party. Here's two: Strong national defense--look at those numbers: 43 Republican, 22 Democrats. War on terror, 35-26. The Democrats are perceived as the weaker party on those kinds of issues. And that's why they voted for the war when it was popular, it's being suggested. And now, when the war is not popular, they're trying to back off their position.
DR. DEAN: We need to make sure that we can--look, I know what those numbers are, and I think that's a big problem for the Democrats. We need to--we need to make the American people understand that we are strong on defense, and that the strength of our position on defense is not just that we'll support a robust and muscular foreign policy. It's that we'll tell the truth. Telling the truth has a lot to do with defending America. If people don't believe you--if 80 percent of the people in Jordan, which is one of our most important allies, don't believe us, then we've got a bigger defense problem with Zarqawi than we do if people--if we become once again, as we have been in the past, the moral beacon for the rest of the world. And that's what we need to do. So a strong defense policy--we do need a strong defense policy. We need to make it clear that Democrats will stand up for America and pull the trigger in defense of America, but we fundamentally first need to tell the truth so we're believable again.
MR. RUSSERT: The other issue that the Republicans still have the upper hand with Democrats, strong moral values; 35 percent see the Republicans are better on that issue. Only 18 percent of Democrats. And maybe that's why we're hearing radio ads like this that the Tim Kaine, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and governor-elect in Virginia, ran for his campaign. Let's listen.
(Audiotape, Tim Kaine for governor advertisement):
MR. TIM KAINE: The Bible teaches us we can accomplish great things when we work together. I'm Tim Kaine and I've devoted my life to bringing people together to get things done. ... I'm conservative on personal responsibility, character, family and the sanctity of life. These are my values, and that's what I believe.
MR. RUSSERT: And then John Kerry, last week, talking about the budget, said it was immoral; "There is not anywhere in the three-year ministry of Jesus Christ, anything that remotely suggests--not one miracle, not one parable, not one utterance--that says you ought to cut children's health care or take money from the poorest people in our nation to give it to the wealthiest people in our nation."
Are the Democrats now trying to embrace Christ, embrace moral values, because they see themselves on the wrong side of that issue?
DR. DEAN: Well, first of all, there's a fair number of Jewish Democrats who I don't think are going to embrace Christ. But I think we all embrace the teachings of morality and of embracing people and of tolerance and of inclusion. And what I encourage people to do, I was--we played a big role in Tim Kaine's campaign. It was a great campaign. He was a wonderful candidate. We funneled a lot of money into the party to try to be helpful and so forth. And he is a great candidate for America in the terms of how he campaigned. He spoke of his faith. I don't think that people who are not comfortable speaking about their faith should speak about their faith.
But I think we all should speak about our values. I think one of the mistakes we've made is to not understand that most Americans believe that moral values include making sure that kids don't go to bed hungry at night. The Republicans are cutting the school lunch program. We want to make sure that everybody in America has health insurance. That's a moral value. The Republicans are kicking people off their health care. So there is a--we win when we debate about moral values. We ought to talk about our values. Tim Kaine did it. I don't think that's the only reason he won, but that's certainly one of them.
MR. RUSSERT: But the Pew Research Foundation found in a poll of your strongest activists, that 59 percent of those strong Dean activists seldom or never went to church. Can the Democratic Party hold on to its secular base and still have its more prominent candidates talking about faith and religion?
DR. DEAN: I am a Democrat because of my moral values, because I believe that we can't leave anybody behind, because I believe that what happened in New Orleans was appalling, because people died based frankly on their gender--excuse me, on their race, their age and their economic status. We need to do a better job, including everybody. Even evangelical Christians, who people associate with the hard right, that's not always true. Evangelical Christians are out there now pushing strong environmental issues. Why? Because it is in their faith that they take care of the resources that God gave them. There is enormous commonality. Democrats should not be afraid to speak about moral values. We are the party of America's values. (Way to go, Howard!)
MR. RUSSERT: Picking up on what Ken Mehlman said about Michael Steele, the African-American Republican candidate in Maryland, being called an Uncle Tom, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee seeking his credit report. Should you not...
DR. DEAN: I don't like that stuff, and I--now, look, the Republicans have a long history of saying that those things happened. And they may or may not have. So if that happened, it's not right. But I didn't hear Ken condemning the chairman of the Maryland party when he called me an anti-Semite. So let's try to up--speaking of moral values, let's have a better tone in our political campaigns. Because the truth is, the other thing that Time Kaine's race showed is that the person with the better tone and the more positive agenda won, and I like to see voters exercising their rights in that way.
MR. RUSSERT: But the workers on the campaign committee who sought his credit report have been dismissed.
DR. DEAN: They should have been. Absolutely, they should have been. I don't like that kind of stuff.
MR. RUSSERT: Could on either side?
DR. DEAN: On either side.
MR. RUSSERT: Let's talk about the Democrats and some of the polling data. Congressional Democrats have the same priorities as you: yes, 26 percent; no, 54 percent. So the Democrats aren't perceived as the answer. And look at this, Chairman Dean. We asked independent voters: Do you believe that Democrats have a clear message, a vision for the future? Fifty-two percent of independent swing voters say no. One in four Democrats say you have no clear vision, no agenda, no clear message. Joe Trippi, your former campaign manager said, "Obviously, the results" from Election Night "are great for us Democrats. But given the GOP's problems, the tightness of the results suggest that people aren't happy with either party right now. Democrats have got to push an alternative agenda."
DR. DEAN: We have an alternative agenda. We made it very clear. We want a strong national security based on telling the truth to our people at home, our soldiers and our allies. We want jobs in America that'll stay in America, and we believe that renewable energy is one of the areas where we can do that. We want a health-care system that covers everybody, just like 36 other countries in the world. We want a strong public education system. And most of all, we want honesty back in government. I think that's a pretty good agenda.
MR. RUSSERT: But those are words that will appeal to people. But when you go behind them, for example, what is the Democratic position on Iraq? Should we withdraw troops now? What do the Democrats stand for?
DR. DEAN: Tim, first of all, we don't control the House, the Senate or the White House. We have plenty of time to show Americans what our agenda is and we will long before the '06 elections.
MR. RUSSERT: But there's no Democratic plan on Social Security. There's no Democratic plan on the deficit problem. There's no specifics. They say, "Well, we want a strong Social Security. We want to reduce the deficit. We want health care for everyone," but there's no plan how to pay for it.
DR. DEAN: Right now it's not our job to give out specifics. We have no control in the House. We have no control in the Senate. It's our job is to stop this administration, this corrupt and incompetent administration, from doing more damage to America. And that's what we're going to do. We're doing our best. Look at the trouble they're having putting together a budget. Why is that? Because there's still a few moderate Republicans left who don't think it's OK to cut school lunch programs, who don't think it's OK to do some of the appalling things that they're doing in their budget. I saw a show last night which showed a young African-American man in California at the UC of Davis who hoped to go to law school. The Republicans want to cut $14 billion out of higher education so this kid can't go to law school. We're going to do better than that, and together, America can do better than that.
MR. RUSSERT: But is it enough for you to say to the country, "Trust us, the other guy's no good. We'll do better, but we're not going to tell you specifically how we're going to deal with Iraq."
DR. DEAN: We will. When the time comes, we will do that.
MR. RUSSERT: When's the time going to come?
DR. DEAN: The time is fast-approaching. And I outlined the broad outlines of our agenda. We're going to have specific plans in all of these areas.
MR. RUSSERT: This year?
DR. DEAN: In 2006.
MR. RUSSERT: The Supreme Court...
DR. DEAN: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: ...the president has nominated Sam Alito to the Supreme Court. Should the Democrats in the Senate--there's only 45 of them, but if they stayed together as a block...
DR. DEAN: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: ...they could filibuster and prevent Judge Alito from going to the Supreme Court. Should they?
DR. DEAN: I must say I rarely read editorials and I rarely agree with the ones I read. But The New York Times ran an editorial today which I think is very instructive for the Democratic Party. This could be a defining moment. Judge Alito is a hard-working man, a good family man, but his opinions are well outside the mainstream of American public opinion. He condones a strip-search of a 10-year-old when the police had no such warrant or indication to do so. He condoned the crafting of an all-white jury to hear a black defendant's case by a prosecutor. He condoned the states not having to listen to the Family Medical Leave Act. He condoned government interference in private family matters and family decision- making. This is well outside the mainstream of where Americans are. I think the Democrats are going to have to think long and hard as the hearings progress about whether we should support him. There's some grave questions about him, and I do hope that they will stick together.
MR. RUSSERT: If you were a senator, you would vote no?
DR. DEAN: I'm not going to make that--if I were a senator, I would not tell you that now, because I believe in listening to all the evidence first. But I think there's some deeply, deeply concerning things about Judge Alito's views on intrusion into personal family rights. We think those discussions are family matters, not government matters, standing up for working people in terms of Family Leave, allowing the police power to allow 10-year-olds to be strip-searched. These things are deeply, deeply concerning.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe the Democrats should keep on the table the possibility of a filibuster?
DR. DEAN: Absolutely. Of course we should.
MR. RUSSERT: Joe Biden, the Democrat from Delaware, said Judge Alito deserves an up or down vote.
DR. DEAN: I think Joe Biden has his own right to make that opinion. He's an elected senator. All I ask is the Democrats stick together under the leadership of Harry Reid and Pat Leahy, who is the senior man on that committee.
MR. RUSSERT: When Bill Clinton was president, he nominated two people to the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who was general counsel for the ACLU part of her career, and Stephen Breyer, who worked for Ted Kennedy. And look at these votes, Dr. Dean, overwhelmingly approved, 96-to-3 and 87-to-9. Republicans, even though they disagreed philosophically with those two liberal jurists, said the president has nominated them and we'll support them because he won the election and he has a right to put people on the bench who reflect his judicial philosophy. Why shouldn't the Democrats have the same respect for President Bush's outcome?
DR. DEAN: Well, that is, in truth, not what the Republicans did. In those particular cases, they made those votes. They stonewalled hundreds of judicial appointees that Bill Clinton made, hundreds of them that never came up. They wouldn't even take them up. The Republicans wouldn't even give Harriet Miers a right to an up or down vote. How dare they make a case for an up or down vote on Judge Alito?
MR. RUSSERT: But they did support those liberal jurists.
DR. DEAN: I don't care who they supported. They killed hundreds of nominations in the Supreme Court. That is the most hypocritical nonsense. As you know, hypocrisy is a feature of Washington's life daily. That is nonsense. They get no credit for voting for Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Justice Breyer after killing hundreds of Clinton nominations and killing Harriet Miers. How dare they have--I saw an ad the other day. How dare they have an ad saying, "We want an up or down vote on Judge Alito" when they wouldn't give one to Harriet Miers?
MR. RUSSERT: Money, the mother's milk of politics, as it's been referred to, here's The Washington Post article. "The Democratic National Committee under Howard Dean is losing the fund-raising race against the Republicans by nearly 2 to 1 ..." The article goes on to say that "the Republicans have raised $83.5 million, the Democrats just $42 million."
What is wrong with your fund-raising operations?
DR. DEAN: Nothing. It's going great. We just broke the record with six weeks to go for fund-raising during the off year, and we didn't even have the ability to raise soft money to do it. We have paid operatives in 38 out of 50 states. We will be in 50 states by the end of the year. We just won two really important gubernatorial elections and managed to deep-six all of Governor Schwarzenegger's initiatives in California. I'd say we're having a pretty good year.
MR. RUSSERT: But if you're being outgunned 2-to1 in the 2006 elections, how can you possibly succeed?
DR. DEAN: We did last time. We were outgunned 3-to-1.
MR. RUSSERT: And so you don't...
DR. DEAN: This is an improvement in our position. You going to...
MR. RUSSERT: Some Democrats say it's troublesome, that there should be red sirens flashing.
DR. DEAN: Well, yeah, you know, you--I saw that article. I generally don't traffic in gossip and
I try not to. The facts are, we've done much better than we have in the past. We're continuing to do better. We're making great progress. Terry pledged $5 million to Tim Kaine's campaign. We were able to deliver that and he was able to win. What counts is the wins and losses. How...
MR. RUSSERT: Can you recapture the--both the U.S. Senate and the House?
DR. DEAN: Yes, we can and we will because I don't--there's a lot of stuff about well, redistricting makes it impossible. The truth is when the American people want real change, they' ll have it and this time they're going to get real change.
MR. RUSSERT: To be continued. Dr. Howard Dean, thank you for your views.
DR. DEAN: Thank you, Tim.
I've already written an LTE to the Washington Post about the story on Democratic fundraising that was on the front page of yesterday's paper. I hope it will get published. But be absolutely sure that the timing was no coincidence.
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Posted by Corinne at 3:40:00 PM
"OUR JOB IS TO STOP THIS CORRUPT AND INCOMPETENT ADMINISTRATION FROM DOING MORE DAMAGE TO AMERICA ... AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GONNA DO!"
- GOV. HOWARD DEAN
You may not have been a Deaniac, or Dean Democrat, but this fellow, former Governor Howard Dean and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is well worth the salary he's paid.
"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary"... to kick some fascist corporate-owned immoral ReThuglican butts, he's your man!
I'm sure there will be a transcript available if you didn't see him live, but Howard was excellent under 'withering fire' from Tim Russert on Meet the Press.
He is more comfortable in his skin than ever before, makes fewer slight bobbles in his answers, and can point back to his stands during the '04 Primary without undercutting Democrats in office. ( If it did, it would be their own faults.)
More than anything he exudes leadership in a clear thinking manner. He has not lost his sense of humor, and that smile... crushies delight!!
Pointing out the hypocricy of the ReThuglican flip-flopping on the notion of an 'up-or-down' vote on Supreme Court nominee ScAlito, when their own base refused to allow a vote on Ms. Meirs, was brilliant.
When asked about recovering the Congress, he made me as proud as pie. He nails my favorite lead-in saying of his, and the focus of his 'points' to the 'People' today with... " 'The TRUTH is'... that when the American people want real change they'll have it, and this time they're gonna get real change."
Call me limited but i'm stuck on... GO HOWARD! SPEAK THE TRUTH!! TAKE BACK AMERICA!!
-deaniac in GA
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Posted by Jessica at 2:45:00 PM
Paul said that to live is Christ and to die is gain. So long as we breathe in and breath out, we who call ourselves Christians have a job to do, namely to advance the cause of Christ, to seek the Kingdom of God, to facilitate the reconciliation of the world back to God. We are to let our light so shine that men might see our good works and glorify God in heaven. Are you ready to stand before God and give an account of your stewardship? Is it truly "Christ" for you to live or is it all about self-satisfaction? When death comes knocking on your door are you prepared to look death in the face and smile right back?
Not only do we need to have the vertical relationship in order, but we must have our horizontal relationships in order as well, for the two are intricately connected. How many times have we heard about people going to funerals and lamenting the fact they they never told the deceased how they really felt about them? How many times have we heard about people mourning because they never restored their relationship with the deceased? How many times have we heard about people grieving over the person that they were going to call next week in order to forgive them and ask forgiveness of them?
Tomorrow is not promised.
All that you have is right now - yesterday is a canceled check and tomorrow is a promissory note, but today is cash-in-hand - what are you going to do with it? We who call ourselves Christians have been called to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to every nation, tongue, and tribe. We who call ourselves Christians have been elected to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the sick and imprisoned. We who call ourselves Christians have been set apart to establish redemptive relationships with our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances such that one day they may say, "What must I do to be saved?"
This is the day that the Lord has made - what are you going to do with your day? Could you stand before Jesus Christ today and give an account of your stewardship of all that He has given you, or are you hiding your talents in the ground? If you are indeed ready to stand before Jesus - if you have your oil ready - then like Paul said, to die is gain. However, if you are not ready then there will be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. As the old folks used to say, "Get right Church and let's go home."
Choose this day whom you will serve, because tomorrow is not promised.
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to get with Him today,
My He turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Posted by Athanasius at 10:13:00 AM