Monday, September 22, 2008

Fwd: DN!: Book: Cheney's Drive for Warrantless Spying Nearly Brought Down Bush Presidency

pat has sent you a story from Democracy Now!, a daily independent radio and TV news program:

We speak to award-winning journalist Barton Gellman about his new book, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency. Gellman reveals Cheney played a crucial role in maintaining warrantless spying even after Justice Department officials began to doubt its legality in 2004. Gellman writes: "The history of the Bush administration cannot be written without close attention to the moments when Cheney took the helm—sometimes at Bush's direction, sometimes with his tacit consent, and sometimes without the president's apparent awareness." [includes rush transcript]

To read, listen to, or watch the whole story:

The person who sent you the story added the following comments:
So, Cheney created the warrantless spying & never bothered to even inform Bush. Somehow, not too surprising, but good to know.

1st public airing potentially before Nov. election

Judge in Ohio has agreed to hear testimony of the IT guy who knows about the switcheroo accomplished in the 2004 Ohio elections under then SoS Kenneth Blackwell. Let's hope this hits the fan before the Nov. election.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Values v. Reality: Power v. Family

Here (below) is George Lakoff's analysis of the Palin candidacy. He reminds us to frame the discussion as a values point of view rather than arguing on the true issues per se. After watching the coverage of the RNC on PBS this evening, listening to David Brooks & Mark Shields, my impression is that there is still a lot of controversy about Palin among the delegates on the floor, and some would like to nominate Mike Huckabee instead, according to Brooks. Shields says that some people think her nomination was a mistake because by choosing to accept it she should have known it would quickly shoot her daughter into the limelight as the most famous pregnant teen, unwed, in the world, which is a heck of a lot of pressure for her. A "good mommy" might have considered the consequences of her own ambition on her daughter's life.

To me, it is mostly all about oil. Palin is willing to have the Feds let big oil come in to wreck the Alaska wildlife habitat just to feed the country's oil habit.

Apparently McCain is unwilling to face the facts. We have to stop using fossil fuels, unless we want the oceans to boil up more hurricanes, melt more glaciers, and drown the oceans in decreased salinity and increased acidity, not to mention the disastrous weather effects on the continents that we are now seeing regularly.

When Lieberman was the Dem.VP choice in 2000 I did not realize what a fool the man was. Apparently he would have run with McCain this time around, but the Dems refused to allow him to do it. Still, he endorses McCain over Obama!

So, what are you going to do personally? Continue to drive your gas guzzling automobile or switch to public transit? The buses and trains will never get any money until people start seriously choosing to ride them. Does the future matter to you, or are you in the denial snooze that the media have hypnotized us into?

If it doesn't matter a bit if you progeny survive (we will probably last, but they won't) go ahead & vote for McCain/Palin. It is a family issue, definitely, and they are pro death, pro war, pro corporate power, pro climate havoc. Don't let the lack of birth control convince you that Palin is pro-life. She is pro personal power.

P. Berg

The Palin Choice: Democrats Need to Shine a Light on the Shared
Anti-democratic Ideology of McCain and Palin, by George Lakoff

The Reality of the Political Mind

By George Lakoff (Submitted on Labor Day to BuzzFlash by Mr. Lakoff)

This election matters because of realities—the realities of global
warming, the economy, the Middle East, nuclear proliferation, civil
liberties, species extinction, poverty here and around the world, and
on and on. Such realities are what make this election so very crucial,
and how to deal with them is the substance of the Democratic platform
Platform-by-Cmte-08-13-08.pdf [1]).

Election campaigns matter because who gets elected can change reality.
But election campaigns are primarily about the realities of voters’
minds, which depend on how the candidates and the external realities
are cognitively framed. They can be framed honestly or deceptively,
effectively or clumsily. And they are always framed from the
perspective of a worldview.

The Obama campaign has learned this. The Republicans have long known
it, and the choice of Sarah Palin as their Vice-Presidential candidate
reflects their expert understanding of the political mind and political
marketing. Democrats who simply belittle the Palin choice are courting
disaster. It must be taken with the utmost seriousness.

The Democratic responses so far reflect external realities: she is
inexperienced, knowing little or nothing about foreign policy or
national issues; she is really an anti-feminist, wanting the government
to enter women’s lives to block abortion, but not wanting the
government to guarantee equal pay for equal work, or provide adequate
child health coverage, or child care, or early childhood education; she
shills for the oil and gas industry on drilling; she denies the
scientific truths of global warming and evolution; she misuses her
political authority; she opposes sex education and her daughter is
pregnant; and, rather than being a maverick, she is on the whole a
radical right-wing ideologue.

All true, so far as we can tell.

But such truths may nonetheless be largely irrelevant to this campaign.
That is the lesson Democrats must learn. They must learn the reality
of the political mind.

The Obama campaign has done this very well so far. The convention
events and speeches were orchestrated both to cast light on external
realities, traditional political themes, and to focus on values at once
classically American and progressive: empathy, responsibility both for
oneself and others, and aspiration to make things better both for
oneself and the world. Obama did all this masterfully in his nomination
speech, while replying to, and undercutting, the main Republican

But the Palin nomination changes the game. The initial response has
been to try to keep the focus on external realities, the “issues,” and
differences on the issues. But the Palin nomination is not basically
about external realities and what Democrats call “issues,” but about
the symbolic mechanisms of the political mind—the worldviews, frames,
metaphors, cultural narratives, and stereotypes. The Republicans can’t
win on realities. Her job is to speak the language of conservatism,
activate the conservative view of the world, and use the advantages
that conservatives have in dominating political discourse.

Our national political dialogue is fundamentally metaphorical, with
family values at the center of our discourse. There is a reason why
Obama and Biden spoke so much about the family, the nurturant family,
with caring fathers and the family values that Obama put front and
center in his Father’s day speech: empathy, responsibility and
aspiration. Obama’s reference in the nomination speech to “The American
Family” was hardly accidental, nor were the references to the Obama and
Biden families as living and fulfilling the American Dream. Real
nurturance requires strength and toughness, which Obama displayed in
body language and voice in his responses to McCain. The strength of the
Obama campaign has been the seamless marriage of reality and symbolic

The Republican strength has been mostly symbolic. The McCain campaign
is well aware of how Reagan and W won—running on character: values,
communication, (apparent) authenticity, trust, and identity — not
issues and policies. That is how campaigns work, and symbolism is

Conservative family values are strict and apply via metaphorical
thought to the nation: good vs. evil, authority, the use of force,
toughness and discipline, individual (versus social) responsibility,
and tough love. Hence, social programs are immoral because they violate
discipline and individual responsibility. Guns and the military show
force and discipline. Man is above nature; hence no serious
environmentalism. The market is the ultimate financial authority,
requiring market discipline. In foreign policy, strength is use of the
force. In fundamentalist religion, the Bible is the ultimate authority;
hence no gay marriage. Such values are at the heart of radical
conservatism. This is how John McCain was raised and how he plans to
govern. And it is what he shares with Sarah Palin.

Palin is the mom in the strict father family, upholding conservative
values. Palin is tough: she shoots, skins, and eats caribou. She is
disciplined: raising five kids with a major career. She lives her
values: she has a Downs-syndrome baby that she refused to abort. She
has the image of the ideal conservative mom: pretty, perky, feminine,
Bible-toting, and fitting into the ideal conservative family. And she
fits the stereotype of America as small-town America. It is Reagan’s
morning-in-America image. Where Obama thought of capturing the West,
she is running for Sweetheart of the West.

And Palin, a member of Feminism For Life, is at the heart of the
conservative feminist movement, which Ronee Schreiber has written about
in her recent book, Righting Feminism. It is a powerful and growing
movement that Democrats have barely paid attention to.

At the same time, Palin is masterful at the Republican game of taking
the Democrats’ language and reframing it—putting conservative frames to
progressive words: Reform, prosperity, peace. She is also masterful at
using the progressive narratives: she’s from the working class, working
her way up from hockey mom and the PTA to Mayor, Governor, and VP
candidate. Her husband is a union member. She can say to the
conservative populists that she is one of them—all the things that
Obama and Biden have been saying. Bottom-up, not top-down.

Yes, the McCain-Palin ticket is weak on the major realities. But it is
strong on the symbolic dimension of politics that Republicans are so
good at marketing. Just arguing the realities, the issues, the hard
truths should be enough in times this bad, but the political mind and
its response to symbolism cannot be ignored. The initial Democratic
response to Palin — the response based on realities alone — indicates
that many Democrats have not learned the lessons of the Reagan and Bush

They have not learned the nature of conservative populism. A great many
working-class folks are what I call “bi-conceptual,” that is, they are
split between conservative and progressive modes of thought.
Conservative on patriotism and certain social and family issues, which
they have been led to see as “moral”, progressive in loving the land,
living in communities of care, and practical kitchen table issues like
mortgages, health care, wages, retirement, and so on.

Conservative theorists won them over in two ways: Inventing and
promulgating the idea of “liberal elite” and focusing campaigns on
social and family issues. They have been doing this for many years and
have changed a lot of brains through repetition. Palin will appeal
strongly to conservative populists, attacking Obama and Biden as
pointy-headed, tax-and-spend, latte liberals. The tactic is to divert
attention from difficult realities to powerful symbolism.

What Democrats have shied away from is a frontal attack on radical
conservatism itself as an un-American and harmful ideology. I think
Obama is right when he says that America is based on people caring
about each other and working together for a better future—empathy,
responsibility (both personal and social), and aspiration. These lead
to a concept of government based on protection (environmental,
consumer, worker, health care, and retirement protection) and
empowerment (through infrastructure, public education, the banking
system, the stock market, and the courts). Nobody can achieve the
American Dream or live an American lifestyle without protection and
empowerment by the government. The alternative, as Obama said in his
nomination speech, is being on your own, with no one caring for anybody
else, with force as a first resort in foreign affairs, with threatened
civil liberties and a right-wing government making your most important
decisions for you. That is not what American democracy has ever been

What is at stake in this election are our ideals and our view of the
future, as well as current realities. The Palin choice brings both
front and center. Democrats, being Democrats, will mostly talk about
the realities nonstop without paying attention to the dimensions of
values and symbolism. Democrats, in addition, need to call an extremist
an extremist: to shine a light on the shared anti-democratic ideology
of McCain and Palin, the same ideology shared by Bush and Cheney. They
share values antithetical to our democracy. That needs to be said loud
and clear, if not by the Obama campaign itself, then by the rest of us
who share democratic American values.

Our job is to bring external realities together with the reality of the
political mind. Don’t ignore the cognitive dimension. It is through
cultural narratives, metaphors, and frames that we understand and
express our ideals.

George Lakoff is the author of The Political Mind: Why You Can’t
Understand 20th Century Politics With and 18th Century Brain. [1]

Bookmark/Search this post with:
buzzflash buzzflash [2] | delicious delicious [3] | digg digg [4] |
technorati technorati [5]
Technorati Tags: Guest Contribution [6] Obama [7] Palin [8] Republican
VP [9] democracy [10] populism [11] reality [12] realities [13]
symbolism [14] frame [15]
Source URL:
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.
Mohandas Ghandhi