Saturday, December 30, 2006

DKos diary, 12/30/06 – John Edwards in New Hampshire

Letter to the director of Good Work, a non-profit in North Carolina which assists the working poor enter business throughout the South:

John: I saw John up here in Portsmouth, NH, yesterday afternoon. He had 1,000 people waiting to get in who didn't have tickets. They say it is a larger crowd than he ever drew when he ran last time. In my mind it was almost perhaps a mystical thing because it is so unlikely; out-of-context and out-of-place for us Yanks - John is now virtually in the center of an entire world in transition & opening a new gate - he is called into a turning of historical events and seems able to so far ride the dragon. He trusts people. He trusts the crowd.

When I heard him talking outside without seeing him I thought I was hearing Jimmy Carter - his North Carolina accent is getting more and more rural Georgia. His program is Carteresque; the poor, the working class - presenting a shift from the billionaire chic of the DLC and I think it could well form a Democratic matrix for the next 20 years. Pretty much Jimmy Carter is the "Great Father" of this campaign and if it works it will be great day for our country and for the world - and for the South. I'm having trouble myself seeing it work and I am only about 70 to 80% there. Seems too good to be true. I'm feeling there must be some naivety but having four kids myself and raising them in the hills of NC I know what kind of man he is to some degree and must be (and had I lost one of my own as he did I think I'd of just ended it in the creek).

I felt when the country came so quickly - almost overnight - to hate Jimmy Carter was when he was just getting going and starting to go in the right direction; good things and great things maybe need to go underground for 20 years or so to fall fallow, spread roots and get grounded. The same folk that hated him liked him right much just a year before - then turned instead to the Hollywood illusionist & Mommy. Anyway, of this I am sure; the thing that began with Ronald Reagan ends with George W. Bush and it ended yesterday.

We have seen two faces of the Christian South; Jimmy Carter was the first we Yanks heard of this or for that matter, it was the first time we bothered to listen at all to the South in our history. It was to our Northern surprise a universal vision of fairness and racial healing with an astonishing lack of egotism. Now we have seen the second face of the Christian South and it has descended us into a maelstrom of global tribalism in a 12th century war among Jews, Muslims and certain people who call themselves Christian - although they are led by a Connecticut Yankee who conspicuously hates his own kind and finds only a primal root in red clay and Texas desert. But it all ended yesterday with a good Texas hangin'.

We who have roots and kin and have shared blood in the South can ask ourselves this about these two faces of the South we have seen since Watergate: Which is the Emperor? Which is the Sith? With Jimmy Carter we saw the real South and the possibility of being in this country a real Christian. An era ended yesterday with the death of Saddam. Quite possibly a new one began on the same day with John Edwards. He didn't say much about foreign policy except to denounce the quagmire in Iraq and call for a reduction of troops by one third. It's ok. As it would be with Kerry, Obama, Vilsack or Warner, Edwards' foreign policy can be described in two words: Wes Clark.

Friday, December 29, 2006

DKos diary 12/29/06 - 2006: Year of “The Fourth Turning”

by Bernie Quigley

Patterns of history have always puzzled historians and business writers. Arnold Toynbee found a mystical dimension to them when half way through his life's work he read Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West and studied C.G. Jung's work on psychological patterns. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. pioneered thinking on the theme that business trends and commerce run in cycles and other historians had written that religious sentiment runs in cycles. Not long ago historians William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote that not only do religious feeling and business trends run in cycles, but that these cycles appear to alternate.

Their fascinating book looks to the Roman historian's concept of the “saeculum”; the theory that history runs in cycles of 80 to 100 years. The writers link identity to each generation and its countervailing attitude to the previous generation (and its attachment to the generation which preceded that). It is a remarkable picture over time, giving history a series of interweaving paths, ascending and returning, like the patterns on the ceiling of the mosque at Cordoba, removing the categorical quality of events which form history and finding instead something more akin to the river of life.

The authors point out in their most interesting book, The Fourth Turning: What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny, that all historical periods are "post-war periods" and every eighty years or so a human cycle of four generations concludes itself in catastrophe and rebirth.

One of the book's potent forecasts - the authors call the book a prophecy - is this: all post-war cultures begin to go to pieces at the end of the third generation, roughly 60 years from the end of the previous war, as each generation lasts approximately 20 years in its direct impression on events. It is good to remember because those of the post-war Baby Boomer's generation like myself know well when the sixtieth year is as we were born in year one. It is this year.

It is the catastrophic failure of systems that have run their course that causes the turning. The new generation is formed in the crisis. It is not formed out of philosophy or idealism but out of need and the need to survive. At no time since World War II have we seen such catastrophic failure of systems – Supreme Court, Congress, the Executive - as we have since 9/11.

Two recent events bring the Strauss & Howe paradigm into focus: 9/11 and Daily Kos. 9/11 was a turning point in sensibility. It let go attitudes which had grown until that moment and began to grow new attitudes. As the authors point out, the generation is the Petrie dish for the new attitudes. DKos and the new Internet journals and political blogs are a matrix for a new generation, and it is clear that attitudes of this still burgeoning culture are quite different from the traditional mainstream political culture. The DKos poll posted over the last few days indicates this difference. Mainstream polls show the ’08 Presidential race wrapped up between two celebrities, Senators Clinton and Obama. The DKos poll shows Clinton with 11 votes, Obama with 44, Edwards with 65 and Wes Clark with 298. Vastly different sensibilities. Recently, George Will has written to suggest that the blogosphere is a passing influence. The mainstream always seeks to consolidate its power and to deny entry to the new generation; I vividly remember a TV reporter saying the same about The Beatles about six months into their arrival in America.

At this critical moment in history – the beginning of a century which hasn't really started yet, the beginning of a millennium - the press is terrified of looking forward; so it constantly today looks to the recent past; Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are nostalgico candidates. Hillary Clinton harks back to Bill and the heady pre 9/11 dot.com delirium. Obama is really something out of the liberal '50s. Had you gone to high school in a place like Tiverton or Newport, R.I. as I did in the very early ‘60s, you would find the same racial sensibility just awakening - it has passed well on to maturity today with Condi Rice and Colin Powell, but somehow liberals, particularly in the Northeast, are defaulting once again to first initiatives.

But 2006 was the year when Democrats began to enter reality. We have shown a new interest in mature, responsible professionals like Carol Shea-Porter who enters Congress from New Hampshire this week, Jim Webb, Mark Warner and Wesley Clark. These candidates are very much like old school Democrats – Tip O’Neil and Mary McGrory from here in the Northeast - and nothing at all like the billionaire chic - the eloi of the DLC - which has blessed and cursed us these past 20 years. These new people are not superstars. They are responsible women and men governing as Jefferson intended. From my point of view, this is a full step forward into adulthood and it is the first political step of a new political generation.

We are just not quite there yet but we have come to the edge of the river - this year we shall cross the river. When we get there we will look more to the model which is awakening this year and will leave the others behind.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

DKos diary, 12/26/06 Investigate W. Post not John Murtha

The Washington Post’s newest attack on John Murtha may have some credibility. Hard to say. It’s a little like Tony Soprano accusing a local New Jersey official of corruption. In the last six years we have seen a complete failure of character on the part of the press at the highest ranks, and at no place more so than The Washington Post. The Post absolutely egged on the Dungeon & Dragons warriors in the Oval Office. It pioneered the concept of embedded journalists; but Post reporters have long been embedded in one thing or another. The Post accommodated, appeased and enabled war fever in this country and in doing so it has blood on its hands. That blood is the blood of American soldiers. It should be called to responsibility. Murtha was the Gray Champion who first stood up in defense of these soldiers and identified this call to war as a deception.

Someone needs to do an investigation of The Washington Post from top to bottom. They might start with their star reporter, Bob Woodward. Directly after the 9/11 I had an email conversation with an editor of the NYTs. I said there should be a fictitious remake of All the President’s Men to be directed by Robert Redford with a Navy intelligence operative working as a young reporter insinuating “Watergate” stories into The Washington Post. I suggested that “Deep Throat” was all a dramatic ploy and could well be a government operative from the CIA or NSA. And when Woodward’s Council of Elders decided Nixon was getting to be too much trouble (and the country on the verge of civil war, as Kissinger said at the time), he was alerted. What a surprise a year or so later to learn that Deep Throat was actually in fact, an FBI agent.

This revelation brought only an ambiguous letdown at the time, perhaps because Woodward was a cult figure to his generation, with admiration bordering on idolatry, like Tiny Tim and Saturday Night Live funny man John Belushi. I always wondered why. His career has been spent idolizing CIA chiefs and military commanders, some with no strategic ability, and he writes with the grace of Agent Smith. He even wrote a whole book demonizing the harmless clown John Belushi, thought to be back then the funniest man in America.

Compare the careers of Bob Woodward with Wayne King, who are about the same age and went through similar career paths; Woodward becoming a managing editor of the Post, Wayne managing editor of the NYTs. King went to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an undergraduate. There he went through a characteristic journalism apprenticeship interviewing people like Malcolm X and got a job after college at the Detroit Free Press. He covered the civil rights riots in Detroit and won a Pulitzer Prize for his efforts. He was then drafted into the NYTs and served as managing editor for many years. In those days it was said that the only way for a reporter to get to the Post or the NYTs was by winning a Pulitzer at a small paper.

After graduating from Yale, Woodward worked in Navy “information services” for five years. After brief, regional newspaper work he went directly to the Post and on to major stories like Watergate.

I think Nora Ephron should write this fictitious movie, Redford direct: Redford star as Ben Bradlee, old school Cold War warrior, patriot and Post editor; Nora Ephron as Katharine Graham, the paper’s owner; Warren Beatty or Jack Nicholson as Nixon and Leonardo DiCaprio – by day a young, mild-mannered newspaper reporter, by night an undercover Navy intelligence officer or undercover NSA operator - and Matt Damon as his toked-up sidekick, Carl Bernstein.

Woodward was all balls-to-the-wall with this Iraq invasion, hyperventilating with his neocon buddies on Jim Lehrer’s Newshour just days before the invasion. He wrote the phony Bush at War to egg them on, then when it turned bad on them, he turned on them with State of Denial.

Perhaps it has all been a Washington Post scan from beginning to end; even before Watergate. One of the first efforts of the new Congress should be to form a commission to find out: To what degree are Post reporters beholden to other agencies; to what degree other countries?

Hercules first task was to clean the stables, so while we are cleaning stables we might consider a Quisling Commission to discover which reporters, Senators, State people and Administrators are agents acting in the service of other countries (including Israel and Saudi Arabia - including George W. Bush – including all Bushes and all Clintons; the stables are long – it will need to be a big commission).

We in our country have forgotten it but a quisling is a citizen of one country who is actually acting as an agent for another. This was once considered such bad form that if you did this say in the Korean War, you would be taken outside and shot. But today the question to the Senator might not be are you an agent say of Israel or Saudi Arabia, but to what degree are you an agent of a foreign country. It's not just the Republicans. A Commission like this would have to pioneer new ethical standards and benchmarks: a $ 50,000 donation to a Senator would make you a fellow traveler, for example, $100,000 a quisling. Help of one million dollars or more would make you a traitor.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Note to editor at Fighting Dems: I Can't Believe I'm Starting to like Warren Beatty

Noel – Someone needs to do an investigation of the Washington Post from top to bottom since post-war. Directly after the 9/11 I had a friendly email conversation for a few weeks with an editor of the NYTs. I said that their should be a remake of All the President’s Men directed by Robert Redford with Bob Woodward as a Navy intelligence plant as a young reporter planting phony “Watergate” stories at the Wash. Post. I claimed that “Deep Throat” was always a CIA or NSA agent and when Woodward’s Council of Elders decided Nixon was too much trouble (and the country on the verge of Civil War as Kissinger put it at the time), he and his handler, Wa Post editor Ben Bradley were alerted. What a surprise a year or so later to learn that Deep Throat was actually in fact, an FBI agent. In the Age of Oprah, any cover story will hold. (We will sustain fascism even if its equal opportunity and has a catchy ending.)

Compare the careers of Bob Woodward with Wayne King, who are about the same age and went through similar career paths; Woodward becoming a managing editor of the Wa. Post, Wayne managing editor of the NYTs. Wayne King went to UNC – Chapel Hill as an undergraduate. There he went through a characteristic journalism apprenticeship interviewing people like Malcolm X and got a job after college at the Detroit Free Press. He covered civil rights riots in Detroit and won a Pulitzer Prize for his efforts. He was then drafted into the NYTs and served as managing editor for maybe 20 years.

I was a graduate student in journalism at Temple U. at the time. The general idea then was that to get a job at a big paper like the NYTs and the Wa Post you needed to win a Pulitzer at a small paper – reporters I knew of from Northampton, MA, and Philly papers went to the Wa Post only after winning Pulitzers.

Bob Woodward, on the other hand, had a different experience. He went to Yale as an undergraduate – the original breeding grounds of CIA in the days of Wild Bill Donovan. After graduation Woodward went in the Navy and worked at Navy “information services” (did someone say intelligence?) for five years. At discharge he worked four or five months at a regional newspaper in Maryland and then went directly to the Wa Post and on to major stories like Watergate.

I think Nora Epron should write this movie, Redford direct: Redford star as Ben Brantley, old school CIA handler, patriot and Wa Post editor; Nora Ephron as Katharine Graham, Carl Bernstein as Casey and Leonardo DiCaprio as Bob Woodward, young Navy intelligence officer, undercover NSA operator and Wa Post reporter, and Matt Damon as his toked-up sidekick, Carl Bernstein.

Woodward was all balls-to-the-wall with this Iraq invasion, hyperventilating with his neocon buddies on Jim Lehrer’s Newhour (Jim, a Marine in Korea , should have known better) just days before the invasion. He wrote the ridicules Bush at War to egg them on, then when it turned bad on them he turned on them State of Denial . It has been perhaps a Woodward masquerade from beginning to end; perhaps since before Watergate. And while I'm fired up here, first efforts of the new Congress should be a Quizling Commission to discover how many reporters, Senators, State people and Administrators are agents acting in the service of other countries (including Israel and Saudi Arabia - including George W. Bush & family). Richard Perle was writing intelligence for both Israel and the U.S. 12 years ago if I am correct.

We in our country have forgotten it but a quizling is a citizen of one country who is actually acting as an agent of another. This used to be considered bad form to the point that if you did so say, in teh Korean War, you would be shot. Today the question is not are you an agent of say Israel or Saudi Arabia, but to what degree are you an agent of a foreign country? It's not just the Repubs. Warren Beatty, lib dem to the highest water mark, but old-school, no let's-quit-them-from-smoking-and-eating-transfats lace curtain liberals, told the NYTs in Bill Clinton's last days that Bill Clinton should be sent to jail for taking such influence and cash into the millions. (And I can't believe I'm Starting to like Warren Beatty.)
You all have a Happy Christmas

Coming up next week:

Requiem for Cookie Monster: How Cookie Monster became Veggie Monster & How the Democrats became “anima polluted.”

Working Class Hero – Notes on John Edwards’ appearance on Dec. 29 in NH & the return of the Dems to their roots. “A working-class hero is something to be.” – the Aquarian Master.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Received today a letter from John Edwards asking if he should run. My reply:

John: Please run. Our country is at a critical 60-year post war turning point; the point which generational analysts like historians William Strauss and Neil Howe show to be the most dangerous in the fate of world journeys: The war in Iraq is a quagmire and can possibly open to a Shiite/Sunni conflagration with Iran, Iraq and Russia on the one side and the Saudis, Israel and the United States on the other. The dollar is sinking to a valley between the Yen and a Euro creating a situation unlike any recession we have seen in our history. And as Katrina pointed out, poverty in America in endemic, hidden under a TV illusion of racial equity and worker fairness.

Not only does the infrastructure of our country need to be rebuilt. All Political systems need to be as well. In the last six years we have seen the failure of Congress in voting for a deceptive war resolution and even more so we have seen a complete failure of the press at the highest ranks. The press accommodated, appeased and enabled war fever and absolutely egged on the Dungeon & Dragons warriors in the Oval Office. We have seen the failure of the Supreme Court in propping up an illegal election. And most important, we have seen the failure of the American people who let this all come to pass without a squeak.

The Judiciary, the Legislative, the Executive, the Press, and the People: In the last six years we have experienced a catastrophic failure of American self-government. Like the Popular Front in Europe during the 1930s, the neocons today count on the weakness and political expediency of the conventional politicians to advance their agendas as their Fellow Travelers. The weakness and expediency of the opposition is their strongest weapon. Today, Senator Clinton, who fully appeased, enabled and advanced the neocon agenda in the Middle East perhaps more so than any Senator other than Joe Lieberman, is the Democratic front runner.

There will be great difficulty in turning the corner. The two front-runners in the Democratic Party, Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, are celebrities. There is nothing which qualifies them to be President. A run by Senator Clinton in particular will fully alienate the South and the red states, exaggerating a condition which has grown in the last 25 years, possibly leading our country to permanent division. And as Mudcat Saunders and Steve Jarding said in their recent book, “Foxes in the Henhouse” a race with candidates (like Senator Clinton) which thoroughly ignore half the country is not only immoral, but foolhardy. The Democrats face a catastrophic failure in ignoring the red states and 2008 could well be their last.

John and Elizabeth bring hope to America again by returning us to ourselves through love and family, faith and community; responsibility and compassion.

Sincerely,

Saturday, December 23, 2006

DKos diary, 12/23/06: Wes Clark, on his 62nd Birthday (Dec. 23)

Right now, all hinges on Senator Clinton’s apparently overwhelming ambition to be President (and Elvis’s refusal to leave the building). Most likely opposition will be Senator McCain. This would bring the Republicans their fourth unanimous victory in the post-war period (Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan). Such a race could well spell the end of the Democratic Party. A McCain Presidency with Romney as VP and Arnold as Secretary of State, would create a “New West” Republican Party which would send the “Old South” Republicans into remission and confirm the new Republicans as the party of American destiny, giving them control for the next 20 years.

If the Democrats cannot come out of the past and pull themselves away from blinding generational influences (which always attempt to lock upcoming generations out of play) I believe they will be finished, and political contention will go forward in the new century between the new Republicans and a new party, perhaps a combination of Independents, Libertarians and “Old South” Republicans, or something new brought forth by Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York.

But leadership is awakening with the Democrats: November was prelude to new life in the party and on three critical occasions this last year, the first step forward has been taken by General Wesley Clark, a key voice of the new Democrats, so there is indication that the party is finding a new path.

The war in Iraq will have a psychological effect on 2008. In one scenario, things could turn out as they did in the Mexican War about which Ulysses S. Grant said that it was a war simply of the strong against the weak, but nevertheless, anyone who did not take part in it would not take part in the dramatic events just ahead. In this the Republicans have the advantage. However, they conducted this war with complete incompetence and the crisis – linked with the Katrina storm – revealed layer upon layer of incompetence in federal government.

The voting public may turn instead to the Democrats simply to turn the page. People have tired of war. But of this I am certain: they will not turn to an “anti-war” Democrat to lead them even if that Democrat voted in favor of the war at the beginning. This is a tendency now with some Democratic candidates and also of the press; both are “retro” analyses and approaches which try to understand the future as they understood their own personal and generational history – largely irrelevant to the issues ahead.

I believe at this second that the Democrats have however the near advantage and it could well turn into the long advantage. Since last November there has been emerging what I’ve been calling New Democrats. They are not in opposition to the old necessarily. They have been here all along. They simply have ideas which are now relevant to government and necessary for the rebuilding of our country political identity and character.

This new party is growing generationally. The fourth post-war generation is beginning to awaken and this last year it has begun to reveal its features. Those who follow will form events in the next 25 years.

I’ve been writing these last 10 months about key individuals and features of the New Democrats: Mark Warner, former Governor of Virginia, brings a new face to the Democrats, a face not unlike my mythical countryman up here in the Green and White Mountains, Longfellow Deeds of Frank Capra's classic, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town; a happy and positive everyman whose life-force awakens in the darkest hour. He also brings a new idea to the Democrats; “a Democratic Team with Management Values.” Wesley Clark brings a uniform sense of honor, dignity, intelligence and duty to the country and to the party. At a Warner event recently here in New Hampshire a woman said, “ . . . but I think he (General Clark) is too good for us.” He’s not too good for us. He is us. He is perhaps one of the best among us and if he finds his way to our center, he will bring us to our best and will bring a higher sense of leadership to our country.

The Fighting Dems bring a new theme of duty and character to the New Democrats, featuring Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Eric Massa of New York. Perhaps they will form the backbone of our new century. All veterans should consider translating the sense of duty which compelled them to serve in the military into service in public office. The new Democrats are doing so. The black POW/MIA flag flying beneath the American flag in my town and in every other in our country is a Shadow; it is a sign of desperation – it is a call to our country from veterans, on whom our life blood depends, who have been ignored, despised and forgotten. Democrats share in this contemptible situation perhaps more than Republicans. They should reverse this trend and the Fighting Dems have begun to do so.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Note to “hippie blog” on endorsing Wesley Clark:

Excellent post – hold that thought. I understand what you say with your friends can’t believe you are voting for a military figure; but it is a problem of perception and illusion. Buddhism separates samsara (outer world) from nirvana (inner world); as the Christ put it, the two are coins of different realms. Politics is Outer World and require an outer world figure. Dems since the Sixties (Gene McCarthy) got the mistaken idea that an Inner World figure – a poet, a shaman, a “rock star”, Alice Waters – would make a good President, making Yang more Yin. The idea that an Inner World figure would cure the Outer World is inherently mistaken and turns both to mud; Yin and Yang live on different sides of the river. If you have neither solid Outer World figures (as Eisenhower and JFK were strong Outer World figures) nor solid Inner World figures (as the Dalai Lama is a strong Inner World figure today); you have not jack. It also brings in denial and escapism; we Dems like to lose – it makes us feel victimized and aloof and it relieves us from public responsibility (dharma; and it allows the Republicans to go to extremes without real competition as they are doing today). There is a psychological expression for the condition which results when you ask a spirit figure to do the work of a material figure. It is “anima polluted.” There is a much better street expression for this (anima pollution is the work of Kali, the Dark Mother who Sends Back Time; did somebody say pussy whipped?). - Quigley
Note to drmontoya at Raising Kaine:

dr: Appreciate your sincerity and heart-felt concern. We are at a classic 60-year post-war generational turning point in history. Whatever happens in '08 I think it will be brand new. It is classically a time when things unravel and fall apart; a time when denial is the order of the day, nostogia prevails, hubris abounds, incompetance is rewarded. Then it snaps & a new order returns to center. In some way, Wes Clark will be the center of that new order. General Clark would make a great President and I volunteered for him here in NH in '04 and will again if he runs. But it is not always the President who is the representative person of the new period - it is the "man in the center" as historian W.J. Cash called him; Jefferson Davis was a minor figure as President of the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee the "man in the center" Cash refered to. Likewise Lord Nelson was the "representative man" of the Victorian age; Tedy Bruschi is the "representative man" at the New England Patriots; it is a bull dog in the heart of the people, not necessarily the man on top. Whether he runs of not, General Clark will be that man in an Edwards Presidency or a Warner Presidency or a Sebelius Presidency - might even be better as we will have him in varying capacities - Chief of Staff, Sec. of State, Sec. of Defense - for 16 to 20 years in different administrations, carrying the theme of character, honor and integrity back to our country like a flame cupped in his hands; once the country gets used to him it will require him and won't let go of him. One way or another, Wes Clark will mark the age.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Tribalization of America; Potential for Military Coup; a Quisling Commission



by Bernie Quigley, for The Free Market News Network, 12/21/06

I have a reasonable solution to the war in the Middle East that I think could satisfy George’s Bush’s need for more soldiers. A military draft. As the U.S., Israel and the Saudis line up with the Sunnis against Iraqi and Iranian Shiites with the Russians maybe, it looks like this religious war could go on for a long while. It looks like it could get to be a great big war now.

My solution is that we should establish a draft but only draft people of those religious persuasions which are warring; they and their billion dollar lobbyists who want this war. This one, although I can’t really figure it out, seems to be about Christians, Jews and Muslims, so we could draft people with only those religious persuasions. I’m a Buddhist and have no particular interest in what these warring parties do.

I don’t think it will happen, because there is still a spark of life force within the American people. But Bush’s war is now John McCain’s war. Bush, that issues-addled President, has shown his complete contempt for James A. Baker, his father’s fixer, and the Council of Elders conclusion that his attempts at manly warfare are a duck-footed failure. Instead Bush is taking the McCain path of filling failure with more carnage and sending more troops, without any new overriding strategy or objective. Gates will get the same passive aggressive treatment John Danforth got – like Gates, another of Daddy-o’s competent and capable colleagues who was quickly driven out of his UN post and humiliated by Karl Rove, Boy George’s fixer. As said, this President has issues. McCain, a fighter pilot with only tactical military experience, is probably less capable of strategic thinking than Tommy Franks. It is the same path to failure which we took in Vietnam, but now the stakes are much higher.

This is not Vietnam. Today, in the climate after 9/11, we Americans honor our soldiers and the truth is we did not in Vietnam. Most of the military commanders at the helm today served in Vietnam. They don’t like the way they were treated then by Congress, by the war Presidents, by Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in that period, who wrote years later that throughout he hadn’t a clue, and by the American people. There is still blood on their hands. Among the best and brightest at the military command today there are vows by these honorable warriors never to let that happen again. Now it is happening again, and Bush is treating the volunteer army and Marine Corps like peasants swooped up by the handful by Peter the Great, endlessly away from their families and loved ones and off to fight the Suleiman. But there is potential now and it is entirely possible that Bush today faces a revolt by military commanders.

It would be in fact, an American coup d’etat.

Technically, we are approaching that phase of political devolution. Coup d’etat occurs in tribal or underdeveloped countries or emerging democracies when elected political institutions fail. In the last six years we have seen the failure of Congress in voting for a war resolution it knew to be a deception and even more so we have seen a complete failure of the press at the highest ranks. The press accommodated, appeased and enabled war fever and absolutely egged on the Dungeon & Dragons warriors in the Oval Office. We have seen the failure of the Supreme Court in propping up an illegal election. And most important, we have seen the failure of the American people who let this all come to pass without a squeak. The Judiciary, the Legislative, the Executive, the Press, the People: In the last six years we have experienced a catastrophic failure of American self-government. The only other major institution left in this country with its honor intact is the military.

We can no longer call ourselves an Enlightenment country; we are no longer a country based on reason; a country governed by laws and not gentry. We have become a country governed and territorialized by tribes. When Anne Applebaum of The Washington Post writes it will usually be about either Russia or Israel; the concerns of her tribe. When John McCain toadies and grovels before the Christian Right which calls him a coward, he is bowing to tribalism. We have black tribes, gay tribes and Hispanic tribes now, as Bill Richardson runs for President next year exclusively to be the “Hispanic candidate.” But none of these are real tribes; they are just odd, ethnic and ad hoc groupings of political factions and lobby groups, including the religious parties. Some of their agents are unquestionably quislings; agents of foreign countries – in the Senate, in the press, at State and perhaps even in the Administration (and perhaps even George W. Bush). A Quisling Commission to determine the extent of the influence of foreign countries on American destiny, starting with Saudi Arabia and Israel, should be the first order of business of the new Congress.

I prefer people like Russ Feingold; the American Senator from Wisconsin. If you learn something about Russ Feingold it will also teach you something about Wisconsin. And if you are from there you might say, “Hello, Wisconsin!” as they shout at the end of “That Seventies Show” with native pride and the self-confidence and independence of mind and spirit. It comes naturally with a sense of place. It is that native self confidence which led Senator Feingold to be among the very few who stood up in the Senate in opposition to the infamous Iraq vote.

That’s what Jefferson intended.

The new tribalism is an end product of Hamilton’s view of federalism; a view that creates one large stew with centralized power, fortified by corporation capital and influenced by lobbyists. Jefferson feared this. He wanted us to be a country of representative regions; a country of individuals like Russ Feingold who reflected the culture and even the natural history of their regions. With a sense of place people become closer to the earth, to nature and each other. Without it they become prisoners of ideas and abstractions and dupes to the lobbyists of those abstractions.

There is a classic argument in favor of the draft, brought forth today by New York’s Charlie Rangel, that this war would never have taken place if a draft was in place. I disagree. This war would never have taken place if people understood themselves to be related to a region as Jefferson intended, rather than to an economic or cultural abstraction. It would compartmentalize tribalism for one thing and give people something substantive to hold on to. Make them citizens of a place rather than an economic zone.

And if regions uninterested in the religious warfare of tribes other than their own were not interested, they would have the Constitutional right not to attend. As Jefferson intended.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

DKos diary, 12/20/06


Not Winning, not Losing: Fire up a Jumbo, Karl

President Bush acknowledged that we are losing the war in Iraq yesterday. But he’s coming up with a new strategy which he’s going to tell us about after Christmas. Already he has a new slogan: “We’re not winning, we’re not losing.”

This is likely to bring a major shift in American efforts in the world and it suggests a personality shift in Bush as well. To date, Bush has always prided himself on feeling resolute like a real soldier; like a great, archetypal warrior - one bred to the bone like Lord Nelson. Bush, like the Dungeons & Dragons Warriors at The Weekly Standard has always mistaking Acting like a Warrior for Actually Being a Warrior. Lately John McCain has as well and he should know better. It is the difference between Dress Up and Destiny.

“Bring it On,” Bush declared at the beginning of this fiasco, and indeed they did and the carnage as been flowing ever since. Then this November, when the Council of Elders were about to declare otherwise, Bush declared with the same stalwart delivery: “Absolutely, we’re winning.”

No one could master the bold phrase like Lord Nelson. “England expects that every man will do his duty,” he said, and when he said it, they did. When Nelson went into battle at Trafalgar in 1805 with an arm and an eye already missing, it was to his certain death. But Trafalgar would awaken England to a hundred years of Victorian glory and splendor. This is the real thing. This is how the world begins.

“We’re not winning, we’re not losing.” This is how the world ends.

Bush, champion of the Age of Incompetence, will go into history with this phrase. This phrase will be remembered always in the Museum of Banal Phrases and Empty Gestures: I’m Okay, You’re Okay. Not to Decide is to Decide. Whatever.

Bush has had this resolute thing from the beginning. Probably he resembles no one in personality more than William II, grandson of Victoria, who hated his own English blood and his fair-minded and moderate parents and longed instead for days of yore: The days of Teutonic manhood when real men wore pointy things on the top of their helmets.

When Bush declared his new “preemptive policy” in opposition to those flaky post-war modernists – Eisenhower, Telford Taylor, Hannah Arendt, Dag Hammarskjold, – it sent a shiver through Germany, as the phrase still resonated from its first use by William. And it showed the incompetence which would become characteristic of his administration. Germany faced a national election over the weekend and Condi Rice presented this phrase to the world on the eve of that election. The Conservatives were scheduled to win, but then the tide turned when Germany once again heard of the new pre-emptive policy. Had they waited until after the election, Bush could well have brought Germany with him into Iraq.

I think what’s happening here is that Bush is getting into his feminine side, as he perceives it. For people my age (60, Bush’s age) the thing that is odd and a little spooky about Bush is that he appears to have grown up in opposition to his own generation and he has always appeared to have hated his own generation. He seems to have no friends his own age which is totally weird and the people who he is surrounded by seem to have been provided to him by someone from an older generation appointed to that purpose. And he also seems to have been appointed President by an older generation who expected that he would represent this waning generation rather than his own generation.

When he first appeared, Maureen Dowd of the NYTs wrote, “He said he never liked the Beatles after they got into that ‘kind of a weird psychedelic period.’” Ten weeks into his presidency Dowd reported going hungry for a shred of modernity. Bush II has reeled backward so fast, economically, environmentally, globally, culturally, it’s redolent of Dorothy clicking her way from the shimmering spires of Oz to a depressed black-and-white Kansas, she lamented. “What’s next?” she asked. “Asbestos, DDT, bomb shelters, filterless cigarettes? Patti Page?”

But it’s getting all different now: Bush’s Sixties side is coming out. Maybe it’s that inner child thing. When I first heard the not winning, not losing phrase I went back to that Sixties classic, Summerhill, written by an End-of-Empire Englishman, A.S. Neill, more than 100-years after Nelson. It was standard fare in education classes back in the Sixties. Neill says, “laziness doesn’t exist.” Children should never be assigned work which is distasteful to them. And they shouldn’t be taught things like math, science and geography. Those subjects are “unimportant” because the “average” student “isn’t much interested in any of those subjects.” The “learning side of school” doesn’t “matter a jot.” What you want is “inner happiness.”

Winning is not important, losing is not important. It’s all part of the karmic circle. I think we’re seeing now, at long last, the feeling side of President Bush.

Whatever. Nevermind. Fire up a jumbo, Karl.

DKos diary, 12/20/06


Not Winning, not Losing: Fire up a Jumbo, Karl

President Bush acknowledged that we are losing the war in Iraq yesterday. But he’s coming up with a new strategy which he’s going to tell us about after Christmas. Already he has a new slogan: “We’re not winning, we’re not losing.”

This is likely to bring a major shift in American efforts in the world and it suggests a personality shift in Bush as well. To date, Bush has always prided himself on feeling resolute like a real soldier; like a great, archetypal warrior - one bred to the bone like Lord Nelson. Bush, like the Dungeons & Dragons Warriors at The Weekly Standard has always mistaking Acting like a Warrior for Actually Being a Warrior. Lately John McCain has as well and he should know better. It is the difference between Dress Up and Destiny.

“Bring it On,” Bush declared at the beginning of this fiasco, and indeed they did and the carnage as been flowing ever since. Then this November, when the Council of Elders were about to declare otherwise, Bush declared with the same stalwart delivery: “Absolutely, we’re winning.”

No one could master the bold phrase like Lord Nelson. “England expects that every man will do his duty,” he said, and when he said it, they did. When Nelson went into battle at Trafalgar in 1805 with an arm and an eye already missing, it was to his certain death. But Trafalgar would awaken England to a hundred years of Victorian glory and splendor. This is the real thing. This is how the world begins.

“We’re not winning, we’re not losing.” This is how the world ends.

Bush, champion of the Age of Incompetence, will go into history with this phrase. This phrase will be remembered always in the Museum of Banal Phrases and Empty Gestures: I’m Okay, You’re Okay. Not to Decide is to Decide. Whatever.

Bush has had this resolute thing from the beginning. Probably he resembles no one in personality more than William II, grandson of Victoria, who hated his own English blood and his fair-minded and moderate parents and longed instead for days of yore: The days of Teutonic manhood when real men wore pointy things on the top of their helmets.

When Bush declared his new “preemptive policy” in opposition to those flaky post-war modernists – Eisenhower, Telford Taylor, Hannah Arendt, Dag Hammarskjold, – it sent a shiver through Germany, as the phrase still resonated from its first use by William. And it showed the incompetence which would become characteristic of his administration. Germany faced a national election over the weekend and Condi Rice presented this phrase to the world on the eve of that election. The Conservatives were scheduled to win, but then the tide turned when Germany once again heard of the new pre-emptive policy. Had they waited until after the election, Bush could well have brought Germany with him into Iraq.

I think what’s happening here is that Bush is getting into his feminine side, as he perceives it. For people my age (60, Bush’s age) the thing that is odd and a little spooky about Bush is that he appears to have grown up in opposition to his own generation and he has always appeared to have hated his own generation. He seems to have no friends his own age which is totally weird and the people who he is surrounded by seem to have been provided to him by someone from an older generation appointed to that purpose. And he also seems to have been appointed President by an older generation who expected that he would represent this waning generation rather than his own generation.

When he first appeared, Maureen Dowd of the NYTs wrote, “He said he never liked the Beatles after they got into that ‘kind of a weird psychedelic period.’” Ten weeks into his presidency Dowd reported going hungry for a shred of modernity. Bush II has reeled backward so fast, economically, environmentally, globally, culturally, it’s redolent of Dorothy clicking her way from the shimmering spires of Oz to a depressed black-and-white Kansas, she lamented. “What’s next?” she asked. “Asbestos, DDT, bomb shelters, filterless cigarettes? Patti Page?”

But it’s getting all different now: Bush’s Sixties side is coming out. Maybe it’s that inner child thing. When I first heard the not winning, not losing phrase I went back to that Sixties classic, Summerhill, written by an End-of-Empire Englishman, A.S. Neill, more than 100-years after Nelson. It was standard fare in education classes back in the Sixties. Neill says, “laziness doesn’t exist.” Children should never be assigned work which is distasteful to them. And they shouldn’t be taught things like math, science and geography. Those subjects are “unimportant” because the “average” student “isn’t much interested in any of those subjects.” The “learning side of school” doesn’t “matter a jot.” What you want is “inner happiness.”

Winning is not important, losing is not important. It’s all part of the karmic circle. I think we’re seeing now, at long last, the feeling side of President Bush.

Whatever. Nevermind. Fire up a jumbo, Karl.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dkos diary, 12/17/06: How Hillary Could Destroy the Democratic Party

The Democrats face crisis directly ahead, brought to you by the Senator from New York. And as the New England Patriots’ fullback Heath Evans said about something else over the weekend, this could get ugly real quick.

‘Tis the Hamiltonian curse that like the Dixie Chicks’ Queen of Whatever, many people today are not from actual places but from economic zones. They hesitate or have to think about it for a minute when you ask them where they are from. Or ask an advisor. Such is the fate of the Senator from New York. The Mr. Potato Head treatment doesn’t help. No matter how much her army of handlers dress her up, change her hair, change her name, send her bewildered to a Yankees game the one day and present her as a bible thumpin’, flag lovin’ Midwestern patriot the next, she never seems to actually be from someplace.

She is exclusively from her generation and her generation’s Clinton thing borders on Personality Cult. But most people know where she is not from: She is not from the red states. Nothing has done more to alienate traditionally Democratic voters across the South and the Midwest than the arrival of the Clintons on the political scene. When President Clinton, in one of the first, major symbolic act of his Presidency, kept Air Force One waiting on the tarmac two hours for a Hollywood haircut that cost more than a second-hand truck in most parts of the South, my neighbors in the hills of North Carolina began looking for a fight - they started openly carrying Glocks and crossing Rottweilers.

Since her famed undergraduate days in the heady Sixties, Senator Clinton has always been a one-issue candidate and that issue has always been: Hillary for President. And that is presenting a problem for the Democrats today. Elvis won’t leave the building. He and his wife were raising money all over the country in the run up to ’06 while Fighting Dems fresh from combat in Iraq were pulling out of local races because they couldn’t find cash. The honest, hard-working and legitimate Presidential candidate Evan Bayh suffered the same fate over the weekend.

It is unfortunate that she even considers herself a New Yorker. She lacks that authentic “one of us” quality of real New Yorkers like Norman Mailer, Jimmy Breslin and Nora Ephron. But there are still New Yorkers who know how to find their way on the A train at 14th St. to the D train to Bensonhurst without getting shot and one of them is the mayor, Mike Bloomberg. “A great, visionary mayor,” says Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff in a cover story in New York Magazine this month. “There’s just no question,” says the investor Steve Rattner, “that he is the greatest mayor of New York since Fiorella La Guardia.” His approval numbers, which hovered around 70% for most of the past year, would suggest so.

The New York article reports that Bloomberg is serious about running for President in 2008. But he asks, “What chance does a five-foot-seven billionaire Jew who’s divorced really have of becoming President?”

Every chance, as his imagination is as vast as his cash flow.

Bloomberg senses that if Senator Clinton runs it will mark a descent into mayhem and irresponsibility on behalf of the Democrats. He said long ago that he would put up a half billion of his own money to start a third Independent Party if the Democrats send up someone “unelectable.” But it appears that the Democrats, or some of them, are hell bent on doing so.

It is the same impulse of "irrational exuberance" which calls forth Senator Clinton that sent this same generation to invest in undercapitalized but trendy DOT.com stocks in the salad days of the Clinton Administration. Silicon Valley was sure to be the Yuppie nirvana before the crash. The Hillary Phenomenon is a political manifestation of this same, apparently inherent, immature and unchecked yearning.

Nature calls Bloomberg forth, and he is a right honorable American, even a patriot, to come forth. But a third party will bring disaster to our country today. If a competent guy like Bloomberg runs it will divide the votes in '08 into three parts and the election will be thrown into the House. Bloomberg has no support in the House. As the House is controlled by Democrats as per the November election, the House will give it to Hillary. With Hillary as President with only 33% of the vote, the red states will buck, and rightly so. Still, these modern-day Whigs continue to spiral out of control, self-celebrating their way to historical oblivion.

The South will not tolerate governance by a Clinton with only 33% of the vote and one considered by many to be a Bitch on Wheels, Chopped and Channeled, Rolled and Pleated with Lakers and Moon Disks. Richard Viguerie of the Christian Coalition and Michael Hill of The League of the South could call for a Constitutional Convention – Robert Novak has already reported rumors of a Constitutional Convention.

It must be remembered that the Democrats have lost three Presidential races forty plus-to one since WW II - to Eisenhower, to Nixon and to Reagan. One more such catastrophic failure and the party with be over for good. And if the South and the mid states wanted to secede today, who would stop them? Hillary Clinton?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Jim Webb and Wes Clark: The Return of the Warrior/Scholar

- upcoming diary on Daily Kos, 12/15/2006. Tags: Jim Webb, Wesley Clark, Tammy Duckworth, Fighting Dems.

Those of old who were good at being knight-scholars (ancient masters) were subtle, were possessed of ineffable efficacy, and were in dark and mysterious confluence, so profound that they could not be percieved. Lao Tsu, The Tao Te Ching, #15

I just received polling information yesterday from Des Moines, Iowa, putting John Edwards way ahead at 36%; Senator Clinton at 16% and Senator Obama 13% - Obama appears to be pulling from Senator Clinton. It could be that the country just wants peace and sees John and Elizabeth as a kind of benign Babar and Celeste in Celesteville - would be nice. But my point of view has always been that there are two crises in America today: The secondary crisis is the Iraq disaster.

But the primary crisis is leadership in America. It has been growing for 15 years and that is what caused the Iraq crisis. The leadership crisis has not yet been solved or dealt with by the ISG report or the removal of Rumsfeld. Robert Gates is a great improvement, but incompetence and malicious intention pervade the Republican rank and file and even their mild-mannered coat-carriers and fellow travelers up here in New England - the folkloric and anomalous Maine and New Hampshire Republicans (who in no way resemble conservative Yanks of yore) – share in the dirty deeds and their consequences. It is the nature of unchecked power to spiral to its furthest chaos until someone stops it.

John McCain is taking a bad turn. He is revealing himself to be a proponent of valor for the sake of valor, which is exactly how Bush sees it. It is the idea of valor rather than the thing itself. It is dangerously misguided. McCain bravely faced down the Christian Right in Virginia when he first ran; now he toadies up to the same people who called him a coward. His positions now are growing worse than Bush's.

Some of his advisors are among the most egregious neocons, Kagan and Kristol in particular, whose vision of “jump starting” the Second American Century as an Israeli-based society virtually brought a seed a madness to American public policy. But it is the congenital condition of incompetence and personal expedience growing in politics since the ‘90s, marked up and down the Administration by an inability to think strategically, that was the Petrie dish for this ridiculously tragic and absurd idea. (When did so very, very few ever commandeer the will of so very, very many?)

This is how it could go: McCain will try to rally the same "war fever" which brought on the war in Iraq in the first place; his distinguished and brave Vietnam history could rally the people and advance it again - such power surges historically have gone in waves after a decent breather.

My claim is that this crazed right-wing movement originally came about because the Democrats let it. They looked away and didn't face it down when it first appeared; when the Gingrich Who Stole Congress shut it down in the first wave of Republican nihilism and anarchy. Then when the Republicans virtually stole the election in Florida, the Democrats only pouted fiercely; then escaped to "alternative issues" like gay marriage instead - it was classic transference.

The Dems thought you could wait it out, but you can't - it will grow stronger if you sit patiently and count the days. These people won't go away until the Democrats find the leader with the cajones to drive them out. I see that exclusively today in Wesley Clark.

This leadership crisis has been growing since at least 1994; it pervades the body politic. Tom DeLay was not an anomaly; he was the standard bearer for all Republicans & he still lurks on his new web site. Now McCain is embracing and reanimating this same core constituency. Greater crises will be ahead - internally and externally - if the Democrats don't drive these people out. Peace is not enough; an entirely new leadership class has to be rebuilt in this country in both political parties; in the military; and especially in the gutless miasma of the everyday press. How did virtual apparatchiks like Charles Krauthammer and his WaPost enablers and the sidewalk-and-desk-bound Dungeons & Dragons Warriors; the boy wonders at the Weekly Standard, come to commandeer the airwaves? Prior to the invasion of Iraq it was impossible to flip by C Span without seeing one or another of this very small, malevolent and insidious group in tux and tie, being awarded for visionary journalism by an errant ethical society gone amok, a feral press organization or other misguided lot.

But the Democrats have put forth candidates in ’04, ‘06 and will again in ‘08, particularly here in the Northeast, who did nothing to present themselves to Congress and the Senate but marry a lawyer very, very rich and influential. The rich and influential billionaire Democrats send their wives discreetly to office to govern behind their skirts and to increase their reach when and where they are out of power. While Tammy Duckworth, whose uncommon valor brought her from the fire of a burning Blackhawk with half her body missing, to the campaign trail with humor and kindness intact, is virtually ignored. Likewise, the Fighting Dems received little support from the traditional Democratic party and the mainstream press channels. It presents a crisis of character & one the Democrats must awaken too before ‘08

Many of the most prominent Democrats who voted for the war on Iraq seem to be trying to wait it out on the fair sands of places like Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, hoping, when it is over, to bring back the Sixties. They are like the Priest who accompanies the Conquistador - coat-carriers as well; fellow travelers, enablers, accommodators and appeasers. These Democrats should be heavily scrutinized in ’08 and in all future elections as the fourth post-war generation grows into power (“What did you do in the war, Daddy [Mommy]?)

Their day in the sun has passed. The generation has turned. And instead I see Jim Webb, warrior/scholar of Virginia, of whom his new constituents in the Old Dominion today sport bumper stickers which read, “My Senator is Fearless.” He is the "monkey god" awakening an entirely new paradigm; a new generation and a new Democratic culture of leadership, professionalism, valor and excellence in all areas of governance and its attendant industries like press and public relations. And he is prelude to Wesley Clark.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Letter to The Free Market News Network - 12/13/2006:


Editor – I notice that a number of friends of James Taylor and Carly Simon have emailed to explain that Simon and Taylor do not live on Nantucket but on Martha’s Vineyard. Correct. Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are twin islands off the coast of Cape Cod. I grew up about a day’s sail away in Tiverton, Rhode Island. We generally bunched the two islands both together which is why I mentioned Nantucket in the one paragraph and Martha’s Vineyard in the next. Both became dominion of the very, very wealthy in our time; generally New Yorkers with corporation money, who were looking for a place to call home. Bill Clinton regularly vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard and as I recall Carly Simon would greet him at the airport. Today liberal Harvard professors, New Republic types, New York editors and even Gordon Brown, who hopes to follow in Tony Blair’s footsteps, all vie to see and be seen among the Beautiful People on these islands - preferably quaffing a tall boy with Bill Clinton. It is perhaps a weakness of character on the part of those of us who are from the coastal region in not seeing a differentiation between the residents of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard; always the curse of the provincial, indigenous people. They all seemed to be from somewhere else, come up to occupy our humble little fishing villages with big bags of corporation money. I should add that our own charming Portuguese fishermen in their grey, flat-bottomed quahauggers, (outfitted and tweeked with twin Mercs to outrun the Coast Guard) who we would hear before dawn and see early every morning standing in the bows of their boats heading out to sea, have now fled. Even our quaint, little villages like Little Compton and Nanaquaket have been colonized and the fishing shanties sold at astonishing prices; amounts of money the former occupants – Yankee, Portuguese or Irish - had not seen in a hundred generations. We are kind of mystified and amused that places like Fogland and the Gut are now occupied by the same class of people you would see at Elaine’s or even Les Deux Magot!

Bernie Quigley

Haverhill, NH

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Please, No More Rock Stars

by Bernie Quigley, for The Free Market News Network, 12/12/06

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Libertarian refer to her or his favorite candidate as a rock star. Nor a Republican. John McCain doesn’t bring to mind rock star. He brings to mind Joshua Chamberlain in a way or George Marshall possibly. Nor does Wesley Clark or Mitt Romney or Kathleen Sebelius, the governor of Kansas who has just been appointed head of the Democratic Governor’s Association. And of all the things I dislike about Boy George (the President, not the rock star) – his being a President, primarily – the one thing I do like about him is that he in no way resembles the real Boy George or any other rock star. Indeed, I can’t think of anything less desirable in a President than rock star characteristics.

But it is all we hear from Democrats today and their incumbent journalist corp. It has been the constant refrain; perhaps it is the standard maxim of this dwindling subculture. They love to party in Nantucket and at Martha's Vinyard, where Bill Clinton vacations in borrowed homes, probably the most expensive pieces of real estate on earth and a bastion of rock stars (and a good portion of it owned by John Kerry). James Taylor lives there. And Carly Simon. For people under 50, they used to be rock stars.

The cliché has reached epidemic proportions. People love clichés because they bond – but they freeze you in days past. By using clichés it is impossible to expand, to grow, to learn, to be free. Clichés teach you what you already know. By using clichés you become like the Hobbits who like to read the same book over and over. Lighting up a jumbo on the pier at Martha’s Vineyard and listening to the old tunes: It bonds them generationally and gives them the feeling that the Sixties is coming back. It isn’t. (Somebody tell the Nantucket Democrats.)

Most of these rock stars are in fact pretty trashy – they say the gods take the great ones young - John Lennon, Kurt Cobain - so they don’t end their lives selling storm windows on TV or playing the Super Bowl and Bar Mitzpahs. It is so Second Millennium. Actually, besides journalists, the only people who listen to this music today I think are grocery store managers – you can never get away from it in grocery stores.

My first son was in a punk band in high school and he’s all grown up already. My next high school son listens to jazz, blue grass, and ska and terrific world music and bands like Dropkick Murphy and Flogging Molly. I noticed some statistics the other day which said drug use is going up by about 4% a year. But in high schools it is going down by 1% a year. (As Malcolm asked a high school friend in Malcolm in the Middle: “Do you even know anyone who takes drugs?”). But drug use in going up in people between ages 55 and 60. Do any of these people have kids? Have lives?

Joe Trippi, who is credited with bringing Howard Dean (who is a rock star) from off the Magic Mountain to some approximation of real political life used the term in a Washington Post article recently in reference to Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos calls everybody he likes a rock star even excellent, sober managers like Kathleen Sebelius, who is anything but. And even my New Hampshire governor, John Lynch, who should know better, announcing Obama up here the other day said, "We originally scheduled the Rolling Stones for this event. We cancelled them when we realized Sen. Obama would sell more tickets.”

It shows an immaturity Democrats bring to politics as the party of the perpetual undergraduate and Bill Clinton's regular association with Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones amplifies the paradigm. It needs to be remembered that the Democrats have lost three Presidential races forty-to-nothing since WW II - to Eisenhower, to Nixon, to Reagan. One more rock star and the party with be finished for good.

Southern historian Dan Carter's excellent biography of George Wallace, The Politics of Rage, explains how George Wallace's influence morphed into the Christian Right precisely in reaction to Northern, urban and suburban obsession with ephemeral, transitory and decadent pop culture and fads.

“Journalists might greet this growing counterculture with curiosity, even approval,” writes Carter. “But Wallace knew – instinctively, intuitively – that tens of millions Americans despised the civil rights agitators, the antiwar demonstrators, the sexual exhibitionists as symbols of a fundamental decline in the traditional cultural compass of God, family, and country.”

Wallace invoked images of a nation in crisis, writes Carter, a country in which thugs roamed the streets with impunity, antiwar demonstrators embraced the hated Communist Vietcong, and brazen youth flaunted their taste for “dirty” books and movies. “And while America disintegrated, cowardly politicians, bureaucrats, and distant federal judges capitulated to these loathsome forces."

There is something about us in New England that likes to lose. It makes us feel superior. But it abdicates us from responsibility. Maybe the angel has passed us by. Maybe it is The Curse, but now it seems to have spread to New York as well. It seems, at the moment, worse than ever.

Facing John McCain with Romney as Vice President and Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested and implied as Secretary of State, any of the "rock stars" chronically suggested by liberal pundits today will lose in 2008 forty-nine to one. Again.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fighting Dems: What Did You Do in the War, Daddy (Mommy)?

The live blogging below on Daily Kos set a good discussion about the emerging character of the new Congress, not only for veterans who entered the Congress but for all new members who supported their efforts - it is a new direction; a sea change of feeling and sensibility in which these new people embark. All veterans should be taught the value of their service as an organic expression and natural feeling of citizenship. They should consider future public service in their lives in a similar vein and they should be officially encouraged to enter public service. Valor, duty, dharma: They come from nature. These virtues can only enter into public life if the people of common ordinary valor who freely entered into service enter into politics as well. We have seen in our time - the last 30 years before 9/11 - the harmonic conversion of the bureaucratic skills of organization man and the expediency of the common criminal formng a political class bordering on criminal sensibility. If the war in Iraq has done one thing it has brought out again natural patriotism and duty and brought to those women and men who serve, once again, the true feelings of respect and caring of their community. The Fighting Dems can be a matrix of nurturing for this new political culture.

This is a live-blogging session on Daily Kos, 12/11/06


A Rising Blue Tide in Virginia – Bernie Quigley live blogging Hotlist

Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:09:02 AM PST

Bernie Quigley is a prize-winning writer and has worked more than 30 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and book, movie, music and art reviewer. He lives in the White Mountains with his wife and four children. He is a strong proponent of the New Democrats and believes the Fighting Dems are the vanguard. He has supported Jim Webb and Wes Clark as two who have been in the forefront of the battle for the soul of America. I would, of course, add Eric Massa who will be live blogging with the kossacks in about an hour.

Check out Bernie’s latest ruminations latest below the bump and talk to him about them. This piece was sent informally as part of an email and unfolded into an OpEd!

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The Fighting Dems has a future, I believe, which will begin to hatch with the "New Democrats" growing in the new Congress. We see now since the November election the rise of red state Democrats. I see the life force rising in Virginia with Jim Webb. It was announced this morning that Wes Clark will publish a book called American So in Fall, 2007. I am all but certain that he will run in '08 and I plan to help him in any way I can. Wes is an American for all seasons, and as a Presidential candidate will appeal to red states and right now that heart is beating in Virginia. I go to the Raising Kaine web site every morning as it has a life force akin to WesPAC's. The Mark Warner campaign and the Jim Webb campaign are both connected. Steve Jarding, who with Dave Mudcat" Saunders wrote the book, Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole the Henhouse and what the Democrats Need to do to Run 'Em Out ran both of those campaigns. Jarding is supporting Wes now I believe. The Fighting Dems can be a conduit between these events just past and the future.
We face chaos in Democratic politics directly ahead, brought to you by the Senator from NY (when her egotism crashes in '07 and the Clintons resolve in blame and acrimony, Eric Massa might run for her Senate seat). Mike Bloomberg, mayor of NY, senses that if she runs it will mark a descent into mayhem and irresponsibility on behalf of the Democrats and he will put up a half billion of his own money to start a third Independent Party.

An article this month in New York Magazine reports that Bloomberg is serious about running. But he asks, "hat chance does a five-foot-seven billionaire Jew who divorced really have of becoming President? Every chance, as his imagination is as vast as his cash flow.

It is the same impulse of "irrational exuberance" which calls forth Senator Clinton who was misguided from the beginning on Iraq and remains so, and Obama, who says he hopes no one votes for him just because he's black (would it be the legislative record then?) that sent this same generation to invest in undercapitalized DOT.com stocks in the salad days of the Clinton Administration. Silicon Valley was sure to be the Yuppie nirvana before the crash.

Nature calls Bloomberg forth, and he is a right honorable and competent American, even a patriot to put up his own cash to do this. But a third party will bring disaster to our country. If a competent guy like Bloomberg runs it will divide the votes in '08 into three thirds and the election will be thrown into the House. As the House is controlled by Democrats as per the November election, the House will give it to Hillary (Bloomberg has no support in the House). With Hillary as President with only 33% of the vote, the red states will buck. Red state alienation is caused to some large degree by northern yuppie pretensions.

he Democrats must get off this cultural high ground they have been living on for the past twenty-five years, write Jarding and Saunders in Foxes . . . . When you want to represent people, you have to talk to them where they live. Talk to them about what they like to do for fun, what makes life enjoyable for them, what their fears are. And when you find out that they like NASCAR races, that they like country or bluegrass music, that they like to hunt or fish, don pass judgment on them. Embrace them.

The South will not tolerate governance by a Clinton with only 33% of the vote (or a Clinton again with any percentage of the vote). Richard Viguerie of the Christian Coalition and Michael Hill of The League of the South will call for a Constitutional Convention. Robert Novak has already reported rumors of a Constitutional Convention. And if the South and the mid states wanted to secede today, who would stop them? Howard Dean?

We are at the beginning of a historical turning and the Fighting Dems, which started with Wes Clark's strong support, initiates a new direction in American politics marked by duty and responsibly. Those of us who went to war in Asia might have learned the phrase dharma; those of us with Virginia kin were weaned on it. ("Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." -Robert E. Lee. This is Dharma.)

Dharma awakens today in Virginia where in a poll this week featuring the three Virginia frontrunners, Wes Clark, John Edwards and Barack Obama, General Clark received 62% (Edwards, 29%). In an earlier poll featuring ten potentials Clark was the leader with 37%. Edwards was next with 27%. Senator Clinton received 1.7%.

Now that Rumsfeld is out, Gates in and the Baker Panel's commission in the hands of the thoughtful, we can begin to look forward. Wes Clark is awakening in the heartland and awakening begins in Virginia.
Originally posted a Quigley Blog
Cross-Posted at Fighting-Dems.com

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Tags: Fighting Dems, Wesley Clark, Jim Webb, Eric Massa, Virginia, Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party (all tags)

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Permalink | 29 comments | Post A Comment | | Edit Diary

  • Sayin' hey (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    Donna Z

    HI Noel - Bernie here from Haverhill, NH - 13 inches of snow on the mountain and cold as Ned. You all here?

    Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

    by Fighting Dem Vets on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:08:53 AM PST

    [ Reply to This ]

  • Krugman (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF

    Hi Mike - I like your Krugman quote. He asked the other day that all Democrats seeking office in '08 be scrutinized for their positions on Iraq at the beginning. From then 'till now you can sense a sea change in attitude and that was largely brought in by Jim Webb and Wes Clark. General Clark has been the formost spokesperrson for th eDems at at least three critical turns in the last year.

    Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

    by Fighting Dem Vets on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:33:21 AM PST

    [ Reply to This ]

    • Yes Wes's work seems to go (1+ / 0-)

      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF

      unnoticed by all those promoting his rivals, like John Edwards supporters. Clark was a major league barnstormer in the last three months before the election.

      The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

      by mikepridmore on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:37:34 AM PST

      [ Parent | Reply to This | ]

  • Hey all, this was supposed to be an (0 / 0)

    unpublished diary draft.

    How did it get posted.

    Oh, well, here we go.

    Noel

    Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

    by Fighting Dem Vets on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:40:44 AM PST

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  • What we need to ask (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF

    I was receiving emails from the Edwards camp during the very tense days before Rumsfeld resigned about everrything but Iraq. I think he hopes it will pass unnoticed and we can go back to happy days. But Iraq is something you can't go around - you have to go through. And Wes has been on the case since he signed the book on Concord to enter the NH primary. The IGS - Iraq Study Group - report vindicates his integrity and his strategic position. We need to start asking these other people, "What did you do in the war, Daddy (Mommy)?

    Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

    by Fighting Dem Vets on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:45:42 AM PST

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  • Dems in denial (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF

    I think that's right and is classic denial. Up here in the hinterrland people are counting the days till the Bush admin leaves office. I am too. But there is in that a sense that it will just go away after that and we will be back to the 1990s. No such way. The political environment changes entirely with Iraq. There is no going back. Therer never is. Also, we are at the classic turning of generations which characteristically breaks in about the 60th post war year, which is now. A new generation will rise out of this. You can sense it with the DKos crowd which has a quite differernt and distinct point of view from the say "New Republic" crowd. The Fighting Dems comes up with them; in a word, young people todya respect soldierrs and veterans. If the Bush people are not pushed out of the American consciousness they will come back strongerr. They are thugs and bullies and they know certain Dems are weak and easily intimidated. that is shy in Viringia today people are rearing bumperr stickerrs refering to Jim Webb saying, "My Senator is Fearless." So is Wes.

    Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

    by Fighting Dem Vets on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:01:16 AM PST

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  • Sorry - that is Bernie (0 / 0)

    Bernie with the comment about denial.

    Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

    by Fighting Dem Vets on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:04:07 AM PST

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    • Haha! Don't deny that you wrote denial! (0 / 0)

      Today you are the one and only Fighting Dem Vets spokesman, Bernie.

      The turning of the generations is an exiting thing and we are fortunate to live in these times when we can redeem America from the hands of the thugs who have impoverished our nation.

      Noel

  • More to come (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF

    Every Veterans Day and Memorial Day my high school children have played at veterans memorials. The last few years they werre dreary as most of the old soldiers were dying off - they even asked the Cub Scouts to march last years which was a little wierd. This year there were four Marines just out of basic training - kids I knew who went to school with my kids. They are highly respected by their high school friends & everyone in town. It is a different attitude than we have seen in past years. The Democrats will bring this forward.

    Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

    by Fighting Dem Vets on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:11:52 AM PST

    [ Reply to This ]

  • Fighting Dems (2+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    pelican, KayCeSF

    Good to hear from you Noel and Bernie and others.

    I for one am looking forward to what our new Fightin Dems in Congress have to say - Jim Webb and Joe Sestak (my guy in PA 07) and Patrick Murphy and the others Clark supported like Jerry McNerney, Kristin Gillibrand, Claire McCaskill and Jon Tester.

    The ISG sounded like they were channelling General Clark and I bet Clark will spend a lot of time testifying on the hill for the next Congress.

  • I also believe,,,, (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF

    ...the Fighting Dems are the future. If I didn't I'd shoot myself. Tired of politics as usual (one of the reason's I'm a Clark supporter). We needed new blood. Just wish more had won.

    "This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass."....Molly Ivins

    by pelican on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:19:50 AM PST

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  • Er, that is Carol in NH-01. (0 / 0)

    After working with Eric so long NY rolls off the tips of my fingers so easily.

    Noel

  • Thanks Bernie! (0 / 0)

    Keep on Keepin' on!

  • Carol Shea-Porter as well (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF

    My new Representative from New Hampshire is characteristic. I'd said she has an attitute quite similar to people like Tip O'Neil and Mary McGrory - people with working-class roots (not what we used to call "lace-curtain" - would be yuppies today). It is worth noting that Howard Dean had the party send big bucks to another candidate up here but nothing to Carol, but she won after a visit by Wes. Dean couldn't even remember her name. This is what I see building and the DLC types yielding. In New England, it is a return to ourselves - it is a kind of common-class Democrat which Jim Webb also represents. He calls himself proudly Scotch-Irish; the common class of the South. But his hero is Daniel Patridck Moynihan - from the common class of the North (indeed, from Hell's Kitchen). This is good - removing Democratic pretentions from both red and blue state Democrats; bringing it back home where it came from.

    Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

    by Fighting Dem Vets on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:27:23 AM PST

    [ Reply to This ]

    • Are you actually in Carol's district, Bernie? (0 / 0)

      NH is lucky to have her. I was in a quandry early on because we had Carol running and two vets. Fortunately both vets bowed out, but I had voiced my support for Carol early on and was egging WesPAC to support her despite the support for the other candidate by the Dem establishment, as I understood it. The General supported Carol and she won by golly!

      She IS a fighting dem.

    • Very nicely put! I like the common roots (0 / 0)

      theme. I came from dirt farming southern Illinois Dems and despite his career in the military my dad was always a Dem. My English ancestors on my mom's side had the same farm roots, but were helped to middle class by two brothers fighting in the Napoleonic Wars and getting a blessed pension to move them up the social ladder.

      So German-English, Scotch-Irish, whatever. We are the real people of the land and we are landing on a blue tide.

  • Not in Carol's district (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF

    Actually I'm in Paul Hodes district. But he had an easy ride so I went to see Carol as I thought she represented the more representative new direction for the times. Our governor, John Lynch does as well. He was reelected with 77% herer in a red state. He is very like Mark Warner - bringing the management model forward; working across the isle with Republicans. And I see Mark Warner advancing this is the future. He will run now for Senate or maybe Governor if he can again in Virginia after a break, and then for President. I see him as vastly talented. Kathleen Sebelius from Kansas as well. But Wes will open this gate. Jim and Wes awakened a new heartland attitute; bringing Democrats back to where they had somehow gotten locked out from. Steve Jarding is a very sincere and competent advisor; probably the best - what he says about Warner in "Foxes in the Henhouse. . ." is impressive.

    Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

    by Fighting Dem Vets on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:43:18 AM PST

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  • You don't happen to have a link for that poll (0 / 0)

    I'd like to check it out if you do.

  • Question on Wes (0 / 0)

    While I think he could do great things, it seemed like in '04 his campaign fizzled quickly, maybe had internal issues and while it did get some support in the South, it was not at the level of making it into a real race

    I'm wondering if you have an opinion of how he or the country has changed such that we'd see a different outcome in the primaries this time

    He's had more exposure since then, maybe that has helped

    Do you see a strategy he should follow to ensure momentum in a broad primary field?

    • Clark strategy (0 / 0)

      I was a volunteer for Wes here in NH in '04. He was climbing at 5-10% per week and just before the election it looked like he might win. They Iowa changed everything a week before the NH primary. It was all John Kerry. In '04 he was a new and fairly exotic figure - a Southern General, which we are not too familiar with up here. Since then, and particularly last year, he has been in many ways the backbone of the party as it countervailed the Rumsfeld/Bush attitude. He's been all over the country speaking on behalf of candidates and has been the most requested speaker in support of '06 candidates. By now, the uniqueness of a General has been asimilated and I'd say we feel at least like he is "one of us." And thus, our (Democratic) character is expanded by his character. PArticularly now with the Iraq Study Group; it vindicates his posiitons.

      Support our troops, send a vet to Congress.

      by Fighting Dem Vets on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 03:48:34 AM PST