Sunday, October 31, 2004

A Major Supply-Sider Defects...

Former chief editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal and one of the architects of Ronald Reagan's "supply side economics" - Jude Wanniski - has written a passionate letter explaining his enthusiastic support for Senator Kerry... while at the same time intending to continue voting for other Republicans.

See this piece from Wanniski explaining his endorsement of Kerry in this election:


"There are a lot of little reasons why I should be voting for the re-election of President Bush, for whom I gladly cast my vote in 2000. The one big reason why I will vote for Senator Kerry next Tuesday is that he is an internationalist, as am I, and Mr. Bush has become an imperialist – one whose decisions as Commander-in-chief have made the world a more dangerous place. Until this week, while I had privately decided to vote for Kerry, I had not planned to share that news with you until after Election Day. But I have been getting lots of mail from website fans urging me to vote for Kerry, or to help them decide between Kerry and Nader. Or from my Wall Street clients urging me to vote for Bush for all the little reasons – economic, social or political – of the kind that led me to the Republican Party in 1968 after my early adult years as a Democrat."


And the stack of defections grows. With the exception of a screeching Zell Miller, can you find any going the other way? Is it possible these intelligent and sincere conservatives have noticed something really rotten in the State?


It is late in the game to hope to convert any more undecideds. All I can do is offer up again my two "big salvoes", in case any of you out there know any wavering moderates.


about this administration's destruction of our world leadership:
http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html

about the "neoconservative" cult:
http://www.davidbrin.com/neoromantics.html 


I am growing increasingly optimistic. Soon we will be able to tell the world: "See? We recognized monsters and got rid of them. We are back in the community of nations. We are ready again to LEAD the community of nations."


Oh, and we'll be able to add (truthfully!):


"Most of us voted against him in the first place!"


I expect people around the world will accept this truth and cut us some slack for the temporary takeover of our government by maniacs. After all, when THEIR countries were run by monsters, the effects were often far, far worse.


It will be nice to be trusted again with the leadership of Western Civilization. I still believe we're the nation best qualified to do the job.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

More defections...

The Economist is, in my view, the best news publication in the English language, though editorially conservative. They endorsed Mr. Bush in 2000 and supported the Iraq war.

But they are now endorsing Kerry saying, Bush is, "too incompetent to deserve a second term."

America's Next President: The Incompetent or the Incoherent?

It is a very agonized editorial, leaning way over backward to give Bush the benefit of the doubt - for example shrugging off his incredible inaccessibility, dogmatism and the lies about WMD. And yet, despite trying their best to ignore a myriad mentioned and unmentioned faults on W's side... and eagerly nit-picking reservations about Kerry... they just cannot bring themselves to hold their nose any longer.

Like fifty other major papers (and W's home town newspaper) they are switching for the sake of civilization.

Bless the brits.

-------

PS... talk about a double standard. Just Dick Cheney's "deferred compensation agreement" with Halliburton is - all alone - far more corrupt and invloves far worse abuse of trust and loss of US funds than all of the purported misdemeaners that the neocons ever proposed accusing the Clinton Administration of. Combined.

(And, strangely, none of those "accusations" actually panned out. In 2001 we were promised "scores of corrupt officials of the previous administration will soon be indicted!" It looks like the prediction was 4 years premature....)

Friday, October 29, 2004

Optimism Time...?

I am starting to get optimistic. Few sitting presidents ever get higher percentages on election day than the final polls. Challengers often pick up a few points. And these polls are based on obsolete formulae for "likely voters".

More GOP defections: Lee Iacocca campaigned for George W. Bush in 2000 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984. He appeared in Bush campaign ads four years ago.

Retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, former chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. served as Oregon chairman of Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign and in 2000 was co-chairman of Oregon Veterans for Bush Cheney. He is now one of 12 Generals and Admirals supporting Kerry in an unprecedented display of support from the military establishment. Also 180 former U.S. ambassadors have stepped up to endorse Kerry.

43 newspapers, including Bush’s hometown Crawford paper, endorsed Kerry after having backed Bush in 2000. Kerry is the first Democrat to be endorsed by the Bangor Daily News since the 19th century. The Orlando Sentinel had not in 40 years. The conservative Detroit News, in refusing to support a second term for Bush, withheld its endorsement from a Republican for only the third time in two centuries. The Tampa Tribune, which has not endorsed a Democrat for President since 1952, also declined to endorse Bush. Other than the ranting spittle flying from Zel Miller's mouth at the GOP convention, have any of you seen even one prominent defection going the other way?


Doubts and and caveats that may interfere with a landslide reclamation of our country and civilization:

- a likely panic-manipulation of news in the next few days (we must hope that Bush unpopularity at CIA will help save us. We depend utterly upon their professionalism and skill.)

- we have no idea how extensive the wave of GOP cheating will finally go. (So far, except for some defaced lawn signs, EVERY news article about cheating has been about stunts by the right. And this is in my conservative local paper).

- our new and "improved" voting machines have nearly all been programmed by companies with GOP connections.


...and yet, still, I am growing optimistic. For the sake of civilization.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

In the Administration's Words...

I must thank my friend Paul Shoemaker for the following:

IN THE ADMINISTRATION’S WORDS –

Ø In February, 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell said “We have kept him contained, kept him in his box. Saddam has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction.”

Ø In July 2001, National Security Director Condoleezza Rice stated “We are able to keep arms from Hussein. He has not been able to rebuild any military capability.” How do you get from that assessment to “imminent, grave threat” in 12 months? …

Ø May 2003, Dep. Sec. of Defense Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld’s #2 man and acknowledged architect of the Iraq invasion) said “for bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, WMD’s, (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.”

Ø May 28, 2003, after a few vacant trailers were found in Iraq, Pres. Bush said “For those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong. We found them.” The trucks were for hydrogen balloons.

Ø On the deck of the Abraham Lincoln, President Bush proudly proclaimed “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” The fallacy, absurdity and naiveté of that statement stands on its own.

Ø In September 2003, Vice President Cheney said that Iraq was at the heart of “the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” In his debate last week, Cheney asserted that he has “not suggested there’s a connection between Iraq and 9/11.”

But of course it is really all about offering rationalizing to a gullible public, while your real reasons are hidden.

See The Shame of 1991 for a discussion of the worst stain on America's honor in our lifetimes...

....the decision to leave Saddam in power, in 1991....

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Good Summary Indictment

war21century
My long "salvoes" have attracted a fair amount of attention at http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html and http://www.davidbrin.com/neoromantics.html
 People have written in saying that they use them with that wavering conservative of moderate intellectual.

But who am I kidding? I don't have any real influence. Fortunately, the awakening is happening on its own. Not only are conservatives defecting from "their" president in record numbers, but so are many old reliables of the press. (W's home town newspaper recently endorsed Kerry!)

Now, for the first time in its 80-year history, The New Yorker magazine has endorsed a candidate for president, citing Bush’s record of "failure, arrogance" and "incompetence," the editorial board is endorsing Kerry for President.

Don't just dismiss this as a liberal rant. It's an exceptionally cogent and well-written indictment. This may be the single best articulation of the reasons to vote for Kerry that I have read. It is well worth reading in full and passing around to everyone you know (especially undecided voters in battleground states):

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/?041101ta_talk_editors

Oh... and just for laughs (if you don't cry) see:
http://www.monsterslash.org/

(And does anybody really believe the rectangular bulge was really a "badly made suit"?)

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A Draft in our Future?

Go read some columns on David Hackworth's web page. http://www.sftt.org/hackstarget.html Hackworth - "the most decorated" military man in US History - is an outspoken critic with bipartisan credibility. (He was scathing about details of the Balkans intervention, while grudgingly admitting that it went pretty well, overall, under difficult conditions.) (See: http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html)

Hackworth quotes DoD Sec. Rumsfeld saying that draftees who fought in Vietnam were of "no value to the US military." At least as egregious an insult to Vietnam-era vets as any criticism John Kerry leveled in the 1970s, and far less accurate.

Unlike many liberals opposing the Iraq War, I believe that events like Abu Ghraib are exceptions to a generally high level of professionalism among our soldiers. What Abu Ghraib proved is that two things are absolutely necessary. Imperatives that fell apart in Vietnam and that are being deliberately undermined by Rumsfeld today.

* Policy at the top that insists on behavior that reflects well upon America and proves our high moral standing.

* Relentless supervision to ensure that bad apples do not spoil the barrel.

While Rumsfeld is dismantling both of these, I believe that senior officers desperately want them.

No, the US Officer Corps must be seen for what it is... our greatest and final bulwark against rationalizers and would-be tyrants. Following traditions of maturity and excellence laid down by the great George Marshall, the Officer Corps is the third best-educated clade in American society, after college professors and medical doctors! Their dedication to Constitutional government and citizen sovereignty is fierce and under-appreciated by most civilians. A majority would die protecting us from tyranny, either imposed from without or creeping Big Brotherdom from within.

Which helps explain the appointment of new CIA Director Goss, a right-wing political operative who had the gall to tell a passive, GOP-led Senate that he would be neutral and bipartisan upon taking over our Intelligence Community... and who then proceeded to fill dozens of top CIA slots with dedicated neoconservative shills. Several of whom have been heard in the halls gloating that "a hundred heads will roll" at CIA after the election.

The blatant politicization of the CIA began with the scandalous way that intelligence was misused to stir a frenzy over "weapons of mass destruction", exactly replicating the kind of lying pretext we saw in the Tonkin Gulf Incident. It now continues according to plan. First a complete housecleaning at the top, plus an "emergency" reorganization of the intelligence community that subjugates the Pentagon and removes any diversity of opinion. Next, purges of those who will not toe the political line. Then everyone who is sick of the lying. Then more.

Read Hackworth. He is a famous American curmudgeon and a bit of a drama queen. But he is also a bona fide American hero and has proved to be RIGHT, far more often than anybody can count.

And he can recognize a repetition of Vietnam stupidities better than anybody.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

More Conservative Defections

Some have complained that the American Conservative is not entirely representative of the conservative movement. I note that's true. It represents one wing. Interestingly, it was founded partly in a feud with William F. Buckley... who has also defected from supporting George W. Bush. Thanks for pointing out how wide is the spectrum of conservatives who - for various reasons - have come to realise that The Bush administration has very little to do with classic American values, and everyting to do with maniacal, moronic kleptocracy.

So, beyond those I cited earlier, here is just a sampling of other conservatives jumping ship, in an exodus unlike any other that I have seen in American political history:

John Eisenhower re: fiscal irresponsibility.

William F. Buckley re: an irresponsible war based on deceit.

Core conservative establishment figure George Will, Representative Henry Hyde, GOP lobbyist Stephen Moore and conservative commentator Tucker Carlson have all joined the tide, turning away from bizarre neocons bent on repeating every mistake of Vietnam.

A former special assistant to Ronald Reagan and Heritage Foundation Fellow ponders real conservatism.

See a Libertarian's perspective.

Jesse "The Body" Ventura endorses John "The Brain" Kerry.. .

Finally, there is this deastating recent survey. It shows that a majority of Bush supporters simply do not know what their man stands for. By large majorities, they misunderstand his positions on dozens of issues, showing just how much of this election is (from their perspective) about "culture war" and not about normal disagreements over policy. In contrast, Kerry voters appear to have a fairly accurate impression of his positions on a spectrum of issues. Stunning, given the rhetoric over "waffling". http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/Pres_Election_04/Press10_21_04.pdf

Friday, October 22, 2004

The American Conservative

I was going to limit my postings to one-a-day, focusing on "words left out of the campaign," , but I just have to refer you all again to the "endorsement" issue of The American Conservative.

Never before have I seen a core publication of a major political movement express such deep, intelligent, and angst-ridden despair over the designated leadership of their side. Not even during Watergate. This hand-wringing takes the form of seven articles by well-respected conservative thinkers: two wails of agonized half-endorsement for George Bush, along with one for the Libertarian candidate, two calling for abstention and one even endorsing John Kerry.

Kerry's the One

Libertarian Resistance

war21century
I thought the condemnations of Bush by George Will, William F. Buckley and other conservatives had been devastating. (My own "moderate-centrist" denunciation is at http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html)

But this is the one-stop shopping place that says it all.

If you know any openminded conservatives, show them this material. Then remind them that every political movement gets hijacked by jerks, now and then. (It has certainly happened to the Left, now and then!)

The traditional solution is to beat a tactical retreat. Save the nation from your side's horrors (it's your duty). Then work as the loyal opposition to send real homosapiens into battle next time. (We've done it in Kah-lee-fornia ;-)

Pass it on, for civilization.

More Unmentioned Words

Also on my list of words I expected to be discussed this campaign - but gone AWOL - are conservative vows to end reviled policies, like the "don't-ask-don't-tell" doctrine toward gays in the military. (Wasn't it a GOP priority to reverse that?)

And while skyrocketing "pork barrel" spending has attracted some editorials, neither side is really discussing how it has burgeoned under this Congress. And why no followup on the once-topical "Contract With America"? Newt Gingrich asked us to track, a decade later, whether this core set of reform promises were kept by a GOP-controlled Congress. (There's more corruption and the minority in Congress is more excluded from discussion than when the Dems controlled things. Will the Dems keep their new promise to "forever reduce partisanship"? Maybe not. But it's their turn to try. They can't do worse.)

Other phrases may have drowned in irony. Take nation building, scorned as utopian by the team surrounding George W. Bush - till they began spending far more on that pastime than Clinton did in the Balkans. Now, "nation building" goes un-uttered. (See me comparison of the Balkans to the Iraq quagmire at: http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html )

Ah, the convenience of memory....

Oh, worth a look: http://www.williamgibsonbooks.com/blog/blog.asp

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Words That Are Missing From the Campaign

I'm back from speechifying in Seattle (where I'm afraid I drew some crowds from Michael Moore.) Now I'd like to crank up blogging at least till the election.

First, I hope you'll peruse my Big Salvo which shows how calamitous our present leaders are, even if you believe in an assertive America that acts vigorously in the world. Just one fact - that we have fewer divisions ready for active duty in an emergency than before 9/11 - should give any conservative or moderate pause. (Per capita, we now have fewer soldiers guarding our homeland than before Pearl Harbor.) These obstinate ninnies have laid us bare, used up our reserves and embroiled us in a land war of attrition during times that call for maximum agility.

Now for something new Through each presidential term, I keep a list of words and phrases that might be prominent, come the next election. This year, some are curiously absent. Before 2001, for example, Republican leaders forecast a tidal wave of indictments against Clinton era officials, once the GOP took over the Executive Branch. Yet, for four years that promise of punished perfidy went unfulfilled. The "i word" has gone unmentioned.

Frustratingly, nobody seems willing to remind folks of that promise. Pres. Bush sent hundreds of lawyers trawling through file cabinets to prove the Clintonites "The most corrupt administration in history." Pat phrases like that fed the indignation wars of the nineties. Only now?

Lo and behold. All that vindictive searching, for a result of ZERO INDICTMENTS? Dang... but that would make the previous administration the... the... (gulp) most honest and least culpable in US history! Gasp.

Now let's ask the most fervent W supporter to lay money on odds that THIS administration will score similarly, under an honest and open system of justice, when its tenure ends. I'll even give a bye on the first 20. (No wonder they are fighting so savagely to stay in office.)


Saturday, October 16, 2004

Second Salvo: About the Weird "Neoconservative Alliance..."

I've published my second and final "salvo" before the election.

The first one - "War in the 21st Century" http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html - focuses specifically on this election, meticulously showing how the Bush Administration has betrayed even those conservatives who support the concept of a potent Pax Ameicana. It includes a persuasive line-by-line comparison of the mature, nimble and successful Balkans Intervention to today's inane slugfest in Iraq.

(In the Balkans, not a single American was lost to hostile action. Prestige, alliances and especially preparedness were unaffected. In Iraq, our best combat units are mired in grinding attrition and our reserves are being used up while prestige plummets, dissipating readiness in dangerous times to sub-Pearl-Harbor levels.)

neoromanticsThe NEW salvo - "Neoconservatism, Islam and Ideology: 
 The Real Culture War" http://www.davidbrin.com/neoromantics.html
- is less tied to the election. Looking beyond the election, it uncovers philosophical, ideological and psychological implications of the latest alliance calling itself "neoconservatism."

A weird alliance that would break apart if any of the component groups ever thought about their diametrically opposite visions of "the future." (In fairness, they aren't the only odd-couple bunching of ideologues, spanning left-to-right.)

Again, thoughts and comments are most welcome here at:
http://www.davidbrin.blogspot.com/

Thanks and here's praying for Western Civilization. db

Monday, October 11, 2004

David Brin's Political Salvo

Well, belatedly, just two weeks pre-election, I've posted my "big political salvo at:

War in the 21st Century: Maturity vs. Neocon Panic and the True Role of Pax Americana

In fact, that's the principal reason I at last bit the bullet and started a blog, after delaying for a long time. I cannot say if I'll make this a daily or even weekly stop when the election's over, but I'll try.

Until then, though, I declare the discussion open.

(If you are a science fiction fan who disagrees vehemently with the views I've posted, well, just bear in mind that I use a different part of the brain for SF. Anyway, science fiction is about staying openminded to change - not letting rigid dogmas inspire hate. So keep enjoying those grand adventures in the future! ;-)

Monday, October 04, 2004

initial posting

I've long delayed setting up a blog because of the inevitable time sink involved.

But as I'm about to post a pretty hard-hitting political salvo before the November election, it seemed appropriate to set up a venue for people to respond and discuss some of the issues that I raised.

So here goes....