Watch Cheney and Co. Respond to the Ghailani Sentence

In recent months we heard a lot of pundits wax hysterical about the chaos and mayhem the federal court trial of a former Guantanamo detainee would bring to New York.

The folks at Keep America Safe – Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol, and Debra Burlingame – called the trial “dangerous,” “ reckless,” and “embarrassing”. 

But in New York the trial proceeded with no disruptions. No street closures. No increased police presence. And, this week, a federal judge sentenced Ahmed Ghailani to life in jail with no chance of parole.

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Dear Opponents of Socialized Medicine

Originally posted at The Wayward Episcopalian. This post is called "Dear Opponents of Socialized Medicine." That's clearly not the MyDD crowd, but maybe you can find a new talking point (like "socialized defense") for when Uncle Pete comes over for dinner tomorrow night.

Dear Opponents of Socialized Medicine,

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'VE WON! This is good news, it means you can stop screaming now! Neither the Senate nor the House is giving serious consideration to government-run health care. What they are doing, with limited leadership from the President of the United States, is trying to reform the private health care system that currently leaves 1/6 of the country in the cold, provides shoddy care to another 1/6, and is on track to consume 31% of the our GDP. What Congress is NOT doing is trying to make it a public system, so please, stop distorting debate over the issue! I would suggest that you pay attention to what is really being considered rather than screaming about a non-issue. Nevertheless, since opposing socialized medicine is all the rage these days, I have three observations that I would like to offer.

1) It seems hypocritical to me to say that the government-run programs are socialist when you don't like them but are democratic when you do. If government-run health care is "socialized medicine," how come the far-right isn't whining about "socialized freeways" or "socialized defense"? My point is this: if the security provided to you and me by the United States Armed Forces is not socialism, then neither is universal access to quality health care.

2) The most common talking point from the status quo crowd is that the government is too incompetent to run something as large as health care. This came up at an Arlen Specter event and has been pushed by organizations like Fox News and the American Spectator. This makes me wonder: does the right-wing also opposes Medicare, or thinks we should take away the government-run health care given to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan? (On a related note: Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol said three things on The Daily Show last week: the government cannot provide quality health care, it does provide quality care to soldiers, and normal citizens don't deserve the best health care they can get. Watch the interview here.)

3) Points one and two aren't really that important anyway because no one who matters is proposing government-run health care. President Obama has said that he wants a "public option" but his position carries little weight since he refuses to introduce his own plan to Congress. The House bill's public option was all but dropped following negotiations between Henry Waxman and the Blue Dog Democrats. Finally, the Senate bill will probably be based on the work of a bipartisan Senate Finance Committee working group, a group that will not include a public option in its bill. At least four of the group's six members, Democrats Max Baucus (full disclosure: my former boss) and Kent Conrad and Republicans Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi, have said so.

Let me be very clear: NEITHER THE HOUSE NOR THE SENATE HEALTH CARE BILLS WILL CONTAIN A PUBLIC OPTION, AND THE PRESIDENT HAS NOT INTRODUCED A BILL OF HIS OWN. So please, PLEASE stop distorting the debate. Stop acting like thugs at respectful town hall meetings. Stop surpressing discourse and squelching voices you don't like. Stop protesting what no one is doing; stop acting like anti-Bush liberals afraid of a draft. For the love of God, stop spreading false information and baseless fear!!! (And while you're at it, stop getting false information in the first place and turn off Glen Beck!)

Kristol: Please Pretend I'm Not A Hypocrite

Bill Kristol's got chutzpah. In his NYT column today, he concludes:

The MoveOn ad is unapologetic in its selfishness, and barely disguised in its disdain for those who have chosen to serve -- and its contempt for those parents who might be proud of sons and daughters who are serving. The ad boldly embraces a vision of a selfish and infantilized America, suggesting that military service and sacrifice are unnecessary and deplorable relics of the past.

And the sole responsibility of others.

Kristol is of course referring to MoveOn's ad "Alex," the powerful spot released last week.

According to Kristol, we're to believe that it's MoveOn's supporters who want to pass the buck of national defense.

Huh.

Because from what I can tell, MoveOn's ad spoke specifically to war proponents like John McCain and Bill Kristol - men who, no matter the mounting cost in American lives and treasure, are willing to continue flacking a war with no end.

John McCain and his supporters, for example, defend the "100 years" statement by claiming insufficient context. They claim that, really, what McCain meant was that he envisions a peaceful post-war presence analogous to Japan.

Except Iraq is not Japan, and that sort of presence for our troops is impossible. So the ones playing games with the lives and futures of our troops are conservatives who still insist that invading Iraq was the right thing to do.

Here's Kristol lying about whether there's a civil war in Iraq, desperately trying to help the cause of a longer American presence in Iraq:

Chutzpah.

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Hillary's Tactical Brilliance and Strategic Blindness

Over the past two weeks, Hillary has adopted the advice of Republican, neo-con luminary William Kristol.  In his analysis of the Dem race in the aftermath of Wisconson, Kristol, appearing on Fox News, suggested that HRC's only chance was to "go after" Obama on his fitness to be Commander-In-Chief.  He said, "she needs to use a good dose of fear." Over the past week Hillary has done so with tactical brilliance and strategic blindness.

She has coupled going hard negative on national security, the NAFTA memo, and Rezko, with a claim to be the victim of media bias.  This media bias claim has worked very well. On one hand, it has kept pressure on the media to go after Obama on the NAFTA memo and the Rezko case.  On the other hand, it has kept the media from effectively calling Hillary on just how negative her campaign has become.  There are several indications that this tactical coupling may be enough to give Clinton the narrow victory she needs to justify staying in the race, however this tactical manuevering can do little to change the basic strategic realities:

HRC has almost no chance to overcome Obama's pledged delegate lead.  The only way Hillary can win the nomination is to continue going negative in the remaining primary states while simultaneously trying to overturn the will of the rank and file through a combination of superdelegates, and through a last minute rule change to seating the MI and FL delagations even though she has previously agreed to the DNC'c sanctions.  

The basic reality is this, although this strategy does have a slim possibility of success, HRC will have to tear the party apart to win in this manner.  If this is the only way she can win, it will not be worth having.

The most likely outcome of the Clintons tactical manuevering is to increase the level of bitterness in the party, waste time and money that could be spent on preparing for the fall campaign, and damage Obama who will likely emerge as the Dem candidate no matter what Clinton tries.

If she does manage to win by seating the MI and FL delegations, she will win by loosing.  Millions of voters including AAs, young voters, and progressives are not going to accept the outcome of such a process.  She will be the head of a dispirited and fractured party that has alientaed its young voters and enraged a substantial portion of its own base. Many will stay home, many will vote for Nader, many will vote vfor McCain.  Because she begins with nearly 50% of the voters unwilling to support her, Hillary can ill afford to loose any of the Dem base.  It is hard to imagine that she could win under such a scenario.

Unless Hillary wins by large enough margins tonight that she has a legitimate chance to at least win the overall popular vote, we can only hope that the party leadership will quickly close ranks around Obama.  

I realize that many are extremely passionate in their support for Hillary, but a realistic assessment of the current strategic situation suggest that she can only hope to win the nomination under circumstances that make it improbable that she could win in the fall.  Dems cannot afford a repeat of 1968.  Dems cannot afford to loose.  The country cannot afford four more years of a failed economic policy and four more years of war.  

If we care about our party and our country, it is time to tell Senator Clinton that it is time to let go.  We will have a woman President soon, it just isn't going to happen this year.  Continuing to try will only damage our party and end in failure.

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Kristol to Clinton: `I Recommend The Politics Of Fear'

This morning on Fox News Sunday, New York Times columnist Bill Kristol recommended that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) employ the "politics of fear" to attack Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).

Quote:

KRISTOL: [Obama's] riding a wave of euphoria. She [Clinton] needs to puncture it. The way you puncture euphoria is reality, or to be more blunt, fear. I recommend to Senator Clinton the politics of fear.

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