Wanted: A Twenty First Century George Kennan

The diary below was originally posted earlier today on my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

In July 1947, George F. Kennan published an article in the quarterly edition of Foreign Affairs entitled "Sources of Soviet Conduct." Kennan originally drafted the article as a paper for Defense Secretary James Forrestal. When he submitted it to Foreign Affairs, Kennan used the moniker "Mr. X." The piece was known as "containment" and is credited with guiding American foreign policy under presidents of both parties during the cold war.

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Brooklyn's Progressive Conscience: A Podcast Interview With Congressional Candidate Chris Owens

The interview below took place on Sunday, July 9th and was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

The 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York is a human mosaic of 654,000: 60 percent blacks, 20 percent whites, 12 percent Hispanics, 4 percent Asians and 4 percent other ethnicities. The minorities, mostly Caribbean Americans and other immigrants, comprise 80 percent of the district.

This district is historically significant because it was created pursuant to the Voting Rights Act. In 1968, the 11th elected the first black woman to Congress - Shirley Chisholm. Since then the predominantly black population has been represented in Washington by one of their own. The incumbent, Major R. Owens is retiring after serving in Congress since 1984. An African-American, Representative Owens is highly regarded among progressives for his commitment to strengthening public education.

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The Politics of War: Then and Now

An unpopular war raged but the president refused to acknowledge error or change course. A talented and ambitious congressman continued to support his president in spite of private doubts and even misgivings from his own children. He largely supported the president's domestic agenda and as a Washington insider received many briefings from the Pentagon, State Department and CIA.

They all told him the administration's policies were working and a premature withdrawal was tantamount to weakness. The war was of course Vietnam. LBJ was in the White House. And a Massachusetts congressman named Tip O'Neill was on a collision course with President Johnson after years of steadfast support.

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Broadcasting Humanity: An Interview With Link TV's David Michaelis

The diary below was originally posted earlier today in my blog the, Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Two years ago, David Michaelis, an Israeli citizen and Jamal Dajani, a Palestinian-American traveled to their mutual birthplace in Jerusalem and filmed a groundbreaking documentary called "Occupied Minds". The film originally aired in 2005 and powerfully illustrated the widening gulf between two entangled peoples in pain.

Both men grew up in Jerusalem just a few miles apart but in entirely different universes. Jamal's roots in Jerusalem can be traced to the 7th century, while Michaelis was born in Jerusalem to parents who left Germany in the 1920's because of escalating anti-Semitism.

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Bush Yoyos While the U.S. Burns: An Interview With Economist Jared Bernstein

The diary below was originally posted earlier today in the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

The conservative shift in American politics undermined the economic security of working people. Increasingly, individuals are absorbing more risks, working longer hours and earning less. Meanwhile, corporations and government benefit from less accountability to tax payers, consumers and employees. Renowned economist Jared Bernstein proposes in his new book, All Together Now: Common Sense For A Fair Economy, (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.) that we're ensnared in a "YOYO economy". The acronym YOYO means, "You're On Your Own." Bernstein's book illustrates how the "YOYOists" have schemed to transfer the burden of economic risk onto individuals and their families.

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Remember the Survivors

It is important to remember that soldiers operate in an environment beyond our comprehension. Our current mission in Iraq is ill defined and the enemy unseen. Daily existence under such circumstances can't help but grind away at one's humanity. Furthermore, immoral leadership from the top condoning torture (Bush's so-called "regrets" notwithstanding) has filtered down to the ranks.

The recent allegations of cold-blooded murder perpetrated upon Iraqi civilians by American soldiers are the direct result of the Bush Administration's moral bankruptcy. Atrocities happen in all wars on all sides but this may be the tip of the iceberg and only what has been exposed to date. Yet while their actions should not be excused the real blame for their crimes truly resides with the political leadership that launched an illegitimate war. Both Iraqi civilians and American soldiers are victims of George Bush's foolish imperialism.

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Dignity's Apostle: My Interview With Author Robert W. Fuller

The diary below was originally posted earlier today on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Progressives are struggling to synthesize a movement that can rise above identity politics and mobilize people under a unified theme. Robert W. Fuller, Ph.D. argues in his newly published book, All Rise (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.), that simple dignity is an elusive need that cuts across demographics of race, gender, age, and class. Fuller attributes this void to a culture of "rankism" which he defines as "abuses of power associated with rank." In his writings Fuller advocates for a grassroots effort to establish a "dignitarian society."

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The Law of Competitive Balance, Howard Dean and the Democratic Party's Washington Establishment

I was an avid reader of Bill James' annual Baseball Abstract while growing up in the 1980s. As both a nerd and baseball fanatic, his methodical statistical analysis and incisive prose influenced me almost as much as listening to the Beatles. Perhaps the most memorable essay of James' career was in his 1983 abstract when he wrote about, "The Law of Competitive Balance." Twenty-three years ago I copied words of wisdom from that essay into the spiral notebook I was supposed to use for algebra:

"The Law of Competitive Balance: There develop over time separate and unequal strategies adopted by winners and losers; the balance of those strategies favors the losers, and thus serves constantly to narrow the difference between the two."

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Shirin Ebadi: The Light At the End of the Tunnel

During the Cold War it was a dissident movement of human rights activists, writers and political agitators such as Andrei Sakharov, Vaclav Havel, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn and Lech Walesa who were largely responsible for bringing down the Iron Curtain.

America's steadfast counterweight to the Soviet Union certainly buttressed their efforts with the support of the western alliance. Yet for all of the Cold War intrigue, espionage, dramatic summits with men wearing high priced business suits, regional conflicts and billions spent on defense appropriations, it was the efforts of courageous souls who transcended superpower might on behalf of human dignity.

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The War Powers Act and Iran

In 1964 the U.S. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and provided President Lyndon Johnson the legal cover he needed to prosecute the Vietnam War. Partly, the Tonkin Resolution stemmed from the expansion of presidential powers that took place during World War Two under FDR and the Cold War under the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy Administrations. The threats to our national security were real and Americans believed whatever their presidents told them.

That changed when Presidents Johnson and Nixon sundered America's honor and confidence to pursue an un-winnable and immoral war. The body counts multiplied and social unrest intensified as "peace with honor" eluded the grasp of Johnson and Nixon. Congress was stuck with a mistake it couldn't undue and never wanted to repeat again.

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