Lieberman Won’t Support Fellow Democratic Candidates

While some naively argued that Joe Lieberman’s appearance yesterday did not constitute campaigning with Republicans, Joe Lieberman has made it clear where he stands. The New Haven Independent reports that Joe Lieberman will not support the Democrats running for Congress from his state:

Declaring himself a “non-combatant,” U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, in remarks at a New Haven press event Friday, raised anew the question of whether his “independent” candidacy will help Republicans hold onto three Congressional seats in Connecticut — and control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lieberman — who after losing an Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont has launched a third-party bid to hold onto his seat in the Nov. 7 general election — was asked whether he still endorses Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy, three Democrats looking to unseat endangered Republican incumbents Chris Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson.

“I’m a non-combatant,” Lieberman declared. “I am not going to be involved in other campaigns. I think it’s better if I just focus on my own race.”

Jane Hamsher, who deserves credit for revealing that yesterday’s event was a thinly disguised campaign event, has some words for those who argue it was not a campaign event:

I must say I was thoroughly charmed by the childlike innocence of those who thought Joe Lieberman’s trip to the Groton sub base with Republicans candidates Jodi Rell and Rob Simmons yesterday did not, in fact, constitute “campaigning.” Most people leave that kind of wide-eyed credulity in childhood; how wonderful that some manage to carry it into their adult years.

I guess the logic wraps around the fact that a “conference” was held at Groton in order to determine “specific recommendations on steps to be taken to avoid having the base targeted again in future base closing rounds.” No politics involved at all, right? It’s just a concidence that “saving” the Groton sub base is one of the fundamental claims Joe makes in trying to prove his value to Connecticut voters, and that Democrat Chris Dodd refused to be a part of a GOP dog and pony show.

If so, perhaps Joe would like offer up an explanation for his trip later in the day with Simmons, candidate for the hotly contested House seat against Joe Courtney, to the Millstone nuclear power plant?

As Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan was overheard to say, “What were they doing at Millstone, a fucking inspection?”

Perhaps if those buying into the “non-political conference” tale can tear themelves away from emailing their bank account numbers to that international lottery they just won, we’ll get some answers.

There is some intentional ambiguity in yesterday’s event, but the media reports do portray it as primarily a PR event which could certainly be considered a campaign event. The lack of other Democrats who had been instrumental in saving the base argues against this being a case of a Senator performing normal business. The words of praise for Lieberman from the Republicans present make it clear that Joe Lieberman is the Republican-preferred candidate.

Update: Two conservative blogs have linked to this and have tried to describe it as some sort of purge or other unreasonable criticism. They ignore a few facts:

  • As Lieberman has been increasingly aligning himself with Republicans (as opposed to running as a true Independent) but also retains a significant amount of support from Democrats, it is valid to point this out in the hopes of convincing more Democrats to drop any loyalty to Lieberman which he does not deserve.
  • The fact that Lieberman’s defense on this comes from conservative sites only acts to confirm that he is the de facto Republican candidate as opposed to either a Democrat or Independent.
  • This is hardly a purge, as the conservatives are calling it, as I’ve also opposed the actions of some to either remove Lieberman from the party or strip him of his seniority at this time.

Barry Goldwater, The Forgotten Liberal?

As I’ve written in blog posts in the past, Barry Goldwater disliked the religious right, was instrumental in removing Richard Nixon from office, and considered himself a liberal in his later years. His speech writer, libertarian Karl Hess, reportedly had Goldwater considering issues such as eliminating the draft for ethical reasons. In light of this, I was not at all surprised to read this title in Editor and Publisher: ‘NYT’ Sunday Preview: Barry Goldwater … Hero of Democrats?

Editor and Publisher reports on an article in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine in which C.C. Goldwater reveals that “her HBO film to be aired Sept. 18 paints her late grandfather, Sen. Barry Goldwater, ‘as a kind of liberal,’ with testimonials from Al Franken, Sen. Ted Kennedy, James Carville and Sen. Hillary Clinton.”

Like or dislike Barry Goldwater, he shows how far conservatives have come as they’ve degenerated from a movement supporting freedom and small government to the current authoritarian movement dominated by the religious right. I’ve wondered how far Goldwater would have evolved had he stayed in politics in his later years when he considered himself a liberal and opposed the direction the Republicans were going in. If he had continued to guide the Republicans philosophically, perhaps they would have candidates like the fictional Arnold Vinick of The West Wing rather than George Bush.

Update: The New York Times Magazine’s interview with C.C. Goldwater is now available on line.

Sci Fi Friday

Variety reports that NBC has picked up a new time-travel drama created by writer Kevin Falls previously worked on West Wing and Sports Night. The story line revolves around a man who travels back in time to correct wrongs. Beyond that there are is little information available so I’ll make a couple of suggestions as to episodes, considering the West Wing background. For the pilot the star could go back in time to 2000 to convince Florida election officials that butterfly ballots are a bad idea. For the next episode, he could go back to the Vietnam war with a video camera and prove that John Kerry’s account is correct and John O’Neil is a liar.

I previously reported that “The Christmas Invasion” episode of Doctor Who would be delayed until Christmas, therefore appearing out of sequence. Sci Fi Channel now plans to show this on September 29 along with the first episode of season 2. Having downloaded and watched both of these episodes, it is preferable to see them in the order they aired in Great Britain, especially as “The Christmas Invasion” is the first episode after The Doctor has regenerated.

While Stargate has been cancelled after ten seasons (not a bad run), there is hope for fans. They may produce a series of made for television movies as well as develop another spin off. I never got into Stargate, but for the benefit of its fans I hope they do a better job with spin offs than the Star Trek franchise did with the final two.

Speaking of Star Trek, TV Land will be showing the original show on a regular basis starting in November. In addition, to celebrate the 40th anniversary, TV Land will show four episodes on September 8. The episodes are”The Man Trap,” “City on the Edge of Forever,” “The Trouble With Tribbles” and “Plato’s Stepchildren.”

If Star Trek isn’t enough to watch in November, Cinemax HD is going to show all six Star Wars movies in high definition. This will be the first time one network has carried the entire series, as well as the first time the original trilogy has been boradcast in HD.

That Dopey idea to demote Pluto to a dwarf planet has been the hottest topic in the blogoshere, ranking as top search at Technorati. My story on Pluto received numerous links, including from non-political blogs which don’t typically link to my posts. This Mickey Mouse decision is also being protested by some scientists. You’ll always be one of my favorite dogs, er planets, Pluto.

God is Dead–Nietchshe; Science is Dead–Noonan

I don’t often bother refuting the more absurd things on right wing blogs since either 1) they typically recite Republican talking points and therefore there is a more prominent conservative to quote and refute or 2) they are so far out that it is really unfair to Republicans to attach a totally absurd view to them. Mark Noonan’s post, The Death of Science at Blogs for Bush, falls in the second category but I will break with usual policy and comment considering the amount of harm being done by the Republican war on science.

Noonan considers the evolution versus intelligent design debate and quickly concludes, “Be that as it may, the whole thing got me thinking, and today ii occured to me: science is dead. We have reached the end of the Age of Science – what will come after, I don’t know, but I don’t think that we’ll ever again have a time when Science is enshrined as some sort of god-like arbiter of right and wrong.” Science strayed from the truth: “Why did science stray from the path of truth? I think it is because we ceased educating the men of science with a knowledge of religion – a knowledge, that is, of genuine truth, genuine reason, and the relationship of man to creation, and his Creator”

Noonan is not the person to write about science. He describes the Discovery Institute as “a Seattle based, non-profit, non-partisan, public policy think tank.” (Hat tip to Baloon Juice) Science offers a method for discovering the truth based upon objective facts as opposed to personal biases or religious teachings. Scientists may sometimes come up with the wrong conclusion, but this is corrected as theories are challenged and updated as new facts are discovered. Science is required to make accurate predictions about the world, and should a scientific theory fail at this it will be discarded for a more accurate theory. Scientific theories are not maintained if shown to be incorrect, as opposed to fundamentalist religious views which some defend regardless of how irrelevant they may be to the real world.

Jon Swift has a satiric take on this:

I’m glad the Bush Administration has done something about it, fighting the War on Science with the same fervor it has brought to the War on Terror and the War in Iraq and all of the other wars it has declared.

Now that two of my least favorite subjects in school, science and history, are dead, I’m hoping that the Bush Administration will redouble its efforts to kill off two other subjects I didn’t much care for, Math and Geography. While important strides have been made, I still think more can be done to send Math and Geography to the dustbin of History, which, course, has itself been sent to the dustbin of . . . something else, I guess. I’m not ready to declare victory until our schools are teaching only two subjects: Religion and Gym.

The scientific method is not something which can simply die and be replaced by something else. The alternative is interpreting the world based upon superstition and returning to the dark ages.

John Kerry: Lamont Has the Courage To Defy Bush and the War

John Kerry has a letter in the Wall Street Journal responding to criticism of Lamont and his supporters:

Lamont Has the Courage To Defy Bush and the War
August 25, 2006; Page A15

The sentiments expressed in “The Lamont Wing Is a Threat to Security” (Letters to the Editor, Aug. 22) will do nothing to make America safer. If the neoconservatives were half as good at fighting the war on terror as they are at misleading the American public, we’d be a lot safer than we are today.

The disastrous policy in Iraq has made America less safe. We were misled into a war which has become a dangerous distraction, and a profound drain on our financial and military resources. Nearly five years after the attacks of 9/11, it’s clear that this administration hasn’t learned the real lessons of 9/11 and failed to take the steps to make us as safe as we must be. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. The 9/11 Commission’s recommendations to secure our most vulnerable infrastructure remain virtually ignored. Homeland security funding has been cut for cities such as Boston and New York. Staying the current course in Iraq is not making the American people any safer at home or abroad and has hurt our fight in the war on terror.

Ned Lamont has had the courage to stand up to George Bush and make this cause a central part of his campaign. That’s why Connecticut Democrats chose him over Joe Lieberman. Mr. Lamont will be tough and smart about our national security. He’s boldly stepped forward to demand a winning strategy from Washington and he has put forward concrete ideas. Mr. Lamont vigorously supported the war in Afghanistan and will help restore America’s focus on destroying Osama bin Laden and the enemies who actually attacked us on 9/11. He won’t stand by and allow Afghanistan to continue to descend back into chaos. He’ll fight for increased funding to protect our ports that have been left vulnerable and he’ll fight to restore the cuts to the veterans’ budget for our heroes coming home from Iraq. In fact, continuing the current course is a grave threat to our security and we’ll be stronger with Ned Lamont in the Senate.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D., Mass.)

Gary Hart on the Rise of the American Empire

Gary Hart, writing at Huffington Post, compares contemporary America to the creation of the Roman Empire. First he discussed the transition from Republic to Empire in Rome and identified three key components:

The army, the courts, and religion. The keys to the creation of the Roman Empire.

In 21st century America the current government (the presidency and Congress of one party) has taken control not only of defense and military policy, but also military operations. No other administration, including that of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War or Franklin Roosevelt in World War II, has ever done that. The unprecedented imposition of neoconservative ideology on military operations has led directly and inevitably to the debacle in Iraq.

In the last five years we have seen an effort by the current government to control the American judicial system by the appointment of ideologically selected judges. The unprecedented attempt to make the administration of justice the instrument of ideology is incompatible with the Constitution of the Republic whose flag we salute.

And, of course, the Republican party has been imaginative and innovative in its exploitation of religious sentiments. The unprecedented submission of social policy, and foreign policy in the Middle East, to religious fundamentalists violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and has weakened America in the world.

The army, the courts, and religion. The keys to the creation of the American Empire.

Republicans for Granholm Formed

WOOD TV and WGVU radio are reporting the formation of Republicans for Granholm by Gil Ziegler, a Charlevoix businessman and former Republican candidate for Congress. Ziegler has praised Jennifer Granholm for her “21st Century Jobs Fund” and for signing 59 tax cuts into law. He was also critical of the Michigan Republican Party’s move to the right.

“This was a hard decision,” said Ziegler. “I’m going to disappoint some people in the Republican party. But, those are the extremists in the party who want to block stem-cell research and who turned out of office a good man like Congressman Joe Schwarz (MI-R 7th district).” Moderate Republican Joe Schwartz lost his primary battle to a far right Republican, Tim Walberg.

Granholm also received the endorsement of Detroit Mayor Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Thursday. As I reported yesterday, Granholm has taken a seven point lead over Dick Devos in the latest EPIC-MRA poll.

Bill Clinton’s Record Against Terrorism

Will Pitt has a post at Democratic Underground refuting the right wingers who are attempting to blame Bill Clinton for 9/11 while white washing George Bush’s incompetence:

Starting in 1995, Clinton took actions against terrorism that were unprecedented in American history. He poured billions and billions of dollars into counterterrorism activities across the entire spectrum of the intelligence community. He poured billions more into the protection of critical infrastructure. He ordered massive federal stockpiling of antidotes and vaccines to prepare for a possible bioterror attack. He order a reorganization of the intelligence community itself, ramming through reforms and new procedures to address the demonstrable threat. Within the National Security Council, “threat meetings” were held three times a week to assess looming conspiracies. His National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, prepared a voluminous dossier on al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, actively tracking them across the planet. Clinton raised the issue of terrorism in virtually every important speech he gave in the last three years of his tenure. In 1996, Clinton delivered a major address to the United Nations on the matter of international terrorism, calling it “The enemy of our generation.”

Behind the scenes, he leaned vigorously on the leaders of nations within the terrorist sphere. In particular, he pushed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to assist him in dealing with the threat from neighboring Afghanistan and its favorite guest, Osama bin Laden. Before Sharif could be compelled to act, he was thrown out of office by his own army. His replacement, Pervez Musharraf, pointedly refused to do anything to assist Clinton in dealing with these threats. Despite these and other diplomatic setbacks, terrorist cell after terrorist cell were destroyed across the world, and bomb plots against American embassies were thwarted. Because of security concerns, these victories were never revealed to the American people until very recently.


A 9/11 Cover Up

A whistle-blower says the EPA has downplayed the health risks from the dust released when the twin towers collapsed:

A senior scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency has accused the agency of relying on misleading data about the health hazards of World Trade Center dust.

The scientist, who has been sharply critical of the agency in the past, claimed in a letter to members of the New York Congressional delegation this week that test reports in 2002 and 2003 distorted the alkalinity, or pH level, of the dust released when the twin towers collapsed, downplaying its danger.

Some doctors suspect that the highly alkaline nature of the dust contributed to the variety of ailments that recovery workers and residents have complained of since the attack.

Official Bigot Apology Week: Mel Gibson and George Allen Inaugurate New Event reports that Mel Gibson has been “calling entertainment industry honchos with whom he’s worked in the past and apologizing for his anti-Semitic rant the morning of his DUI arrest.” He said he was sorry and “Gibson also said that he hoped he would be able to work with them again.”

It doesn’t sound like many are taking this seriously. “The two people who gave the debrief on Gibson’s conversation to TMZ say that they were less than moved by the actor’s apology. One said he was civil to Gibson but was unconvinced that Gibson has changed his stripes.”

While to me this sounds like an attempt to restore his career, TMZ speculates on other possible motivations. “It is unclear why Gibson began making the calls, however his rep has told TMZ that his client was in a recovery program, which includes a 12-step program to sobriety. Step #9 is making amends. If Gibson is on Step #9, he clearly is on the fast track.”

While internet polls are meaningless, I do find it interesting that the poll accompanying this article which asks “Is Gibson being sincere?” is going 60% to 40% against Gibson.

This was a big week for bigots to apologize. George Allen also apologized to the volunteer for his opponent’s campaign for callling him “macaca.”

Update: The Washington Post reports on Sidarth’s reaction to Allen’s slur: “I had an idea of what he was getting at — that he was injecting some sort of derogatory comment toward me that had a racial bent to it. I knew that it meant ‘monkey’ and it was used toward immigrants,” Sidarth said. “I realized that I had been insulted.”