LIVE at TWN: David Milliband in DC & George Soros in London

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miliband twn.jpgMy favorite foreign minister/blogger, David Miliband — who serves as Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom — will be having a conversation today at the New America Foundation with a unique group of Transatlantic Young Leaders who are part of the British Council’s new TN2020 project. I have invited about 40 other American and European bloggers/journalists, business people, Hill and administration staff, and social and political activists.
Miliband will also be giving a major speech today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. I’ll post the text later on The Washington Note, but I know that his primary theme is going to relate to how the “democratization agenda” — the commitment of the West to liberal values, justice, healthy and balanced civil society, to human rights — can be salvaged from a decrepit and tarnished state in the post-Iraq War, post-Abu Ghraib, current-Guantanamo era we are in.
I’m probably more blunt than Miliband can politically afford to be — but that’s what he’s essentially going to talk about today. And it’s a subject that should occupy the attention of all reasonable leaders concerned with the unhealthy dysfunction that exists today between liberal political democracies and illiberal regimes, between developed nations and undeveloped, between strong states and states that feel part of their governing structure dissolving into transnational grievance movements.
Miliband is a much discussed favorite to potentially succeed (eventually) incumbent British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, though I imagine people actually saying that doesn’t add much to Brown’s enthusiasm for the idea and means that the political animal that Gordon Brown is may be on edge as Miliband demonstrates in intellectual, policy, and political agility that few European leaders have today. He’s also been rumored as a potential successor to High Representative of the European Union for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana — perhaps a rumor that Gordon Brown has helped launch.
In any case, Miliband is impressive — and he’s a blogger, and we look forward to hearing his thoughts today.
For those interested in even more, here’s a good clip of Miliband on the Charlie Rose Show.
YOU CAN WATCH LIVE on this site (in box above) from about 10:30 am EST until 11:30 am. I have asked Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish and Washington Post staff writer Nurith Aizenman to offer comments on David Miliband’s presentation today.
george_soros.jpgThen jumping to London and the London School of Economics, George Soros will be speaking about the global financial crisis and his thoughts on what we should do about it from 12:00 pm EST until 1:00 pm — and this too will run live on The Washington Note. It is best to watch Soros here.
Soros has repeatedly addressed the problem of credit default swaps — an unregulated $42 trillion sector of synthetic derivatives — that he thinks could be “the next shoe that drops” in potentially aggravating global economic calamity. Soros is absolutely brilliant in talking about the nuts and bolts of the global economic system and the tension and play between central bankers and those making the markets move.
For those interested in going further, take a look at Soros’s new book, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means. Here is an audio file of a New America Foundation conference call I did with George Soros recently on the book.
So, watch here, listen, learn, and then write to your Congressman asking for hearings on the credit default swap industry.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

34 comments on “LIVE at TWN: David Milliband in DC & George Soros in London

  1. JohnH says:

    Guess the Operation Turn Down people won’t be able criticize those who follow their consciences and vote for Nader or Cynthia McKinney…

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Oh Gawd, now we have Frick and Frack running a game on us.
    Wigwag, Ironbelle, we aren’t idiots here.

    Reply

  3. TonyForesta says:

    Quite a few sister, but I won’t waste time and space on Steve’s blog off topic on this issue. I’ll visit your site, and take up the issues there.
    But I will tell you, that as much as I respect, value, and agree with your stance on sexism, or any ism for that matter, it is highly disturbing not to mention suicidal that your camp would turn to McCain for support. Have you looked at McCains positions? Do you actually believe McCain and the fascists will do anything to advance womens rights, or diminish in anyway sexism? If so you are delusional and wildly mistaken. Your are directing your fire at the wrong enemy, and know not what you seek. Good luck though.

    Reply

  4. WigWag says:

    Ironbelle, thanks for the information about Operation Turn Down. I will give it some thought. Your right, the sexism displayed by the media has been extraordinary. I don’t know whether Senator Obama endorses this sexism, but his silence about it has sure been deafening. As for Obama’s supporters, some just like his policies better than hers, some are too young to know better. They don’t care about experience because they don’t have any. Like the rest of us, they will get smarter as they get older. Many Obama supporters are sexist, ironically this includes many of the young women who support him. I found an interesting article in the New Statesman. Here are some excerpts that you might like.
    “Gloating, unshackled sexism of the ugliest kind has been shamelessly peddled by the US media, which – sooner rather than later, I fear – will have to account for their sins…
    But it is quite inconceivable that any leading male presidential candidate would be treated with such hatred and scorn as Clinton has been. What other senator and serious White House contender would be likened by National Public Radio’s political editor, Ken Rudin, to the demoniac, knife-wielding stalker played by Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction? Or described as “a fucking whore” by Randi Rhodes, one of the foremost personalities of the supposedly liberal Air America? Would Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein fame) ever publicly declare his disgust about a male candidate’s “thick ankles”? Could anybody have envisaged that a website set up specifically to oppose any other candidate would be called Citizens United Not Timid? (We do not need an acronym for that.)…
    I suspect, sexism has been allowed to take its place as a form of discrimination that is now openly acceptable. “How do we beat the bitch?” a woman asked at a Republican rally last November. “Iron my shirt,” is considered amusing heckling of Clinton. “Shine my shoes,” rightly, would be hideously unacceptable if yelled at Obama…
    The massed ranks of male pundits gleefully pronounced that Clinton had lost the battle with Obama immediately after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, despite past precedents that strong second-place candidates (like Ronald Reagan in his first, ultimately unsuccessful campaign in 1976; like Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown) continued their campaigns until the end of the primary season and, in most cases, all the way to the party convention…
    None of these male candidates had a premature political obituary written in the way that Hillary Clinton’s has been, or was subjected to such righteous outrage over refusing to quiesce and withdraw obediently from what, in this case, has always been a knife-edge race. Nor was any of them anything like as close to his rivals as Clinton now is to Obama…
    The unashamed sexism of NBC alone is stupendous. Its superstar commentator Chris Matthews referred to Clinton as a “she-devil”. His colleague Tucker Carlson casually observed that Clinton “feels castrating, overbearing and scary . . . When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.” This and similar abuse, I need hardly point out, says far more about the men involved than their target.
    Rarely is she depicted as an intellectually formidable politician in her own right (is that what terrifies oafs like Matthews and Carlson?). Rather, she is the junior member of “Billary”, the derisive nickname coined by the media for herself and her husband. Obama’s opponent is thus not one of the two US senators for New York, but some amorphous creature called “the Clintons”, an aphorism that stands for amorality and sleaze. Open season has been declared on Bill Clinton, who is now reviled by the media every bit as much as Nixon ever was…
    Here we come to the crunch. Hillary Clinton (along with her husband) is being universally depicted as a loathsome racist and negative campaigner, not so much because of anything she has said or done, but because the overwhelmingly pro-Obama media – consciously or unconsciously – are following the agenda of Senator Barack Obama and his chief strategist, David Axelrod, to tear to pieces the first serious female US presidential candidate in history…
    “What’s particularly saddening,” says Paul Krugman, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton and a rare dissenting voice from the left as a columnist in the New York Times, “is the way many Obama supporters seem happy with the . . . way pundits and some news organisations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.” Despite widespread reporting to the contrary, Krugman believes that most of the “venom” in the campaign “is coming from supporters of Obama”.”
    Well, after reading this, Ironbelle, it is not hard to understand what Operation Turn Down is all about. What rational woman or fair minded man wouldn’t find this infuriating?

    Reply

  5. WigWag says:

    Ironbelle, thanks for the information about Operation Turn Down. I will give it some thought. Your right, the sexism displayed by the media has been extraordinary. I don’t know whether Senator Obama endorses this sexism, but his silence about it has sure been deafening. As for Obama’s supporters, some just like his policies better than hers, some are too young to know better. They don’t care about experience because they don’t have any. Like the rest of us, they will get smarter as they get older. Many Obama supporters are sexist, ironically this includes many of the young women who support him. I found an interesting article in the New Statesman. Here are some excerpts that you might like.
    “Gloating, unshackled sexism of the ugliest kind has been shamelessly peddled by the US media, which – sooner rather than later, I fear – will have to account for their sins…
    But it is quite inconceivable that any leading male presidential candidate would be treated with such hatred and scorn as Clinton has been. What other senator and serious White House contender would be likened by National Public Radio’s political editor, Ken Rudin, to the demoniac, knife-wielding stalker played by Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction? Or described as “a fucking whore” by Randi Rhodes, one of the foremost personalities of the supposedly liberal Air America? Would Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein fame) ever publicly declare his disgust about a male candidate’s “thick ankles”? Could anybody have envisaged that a website set up specifically to oppose any other candidate would be called Citizens United Not Timid? (We do not need an acronym for that.)…
    I suspect, sexism has been allowed to take its place as a form of discrimination that is now openly acceptable. “How do we beat the bitch?” a woman asked at a Republican rally last November. “Iron my shirt,” is considered amusing heckling of Clinton. “Shine my shoes,” rightly, would be hideously unacceptable if yelled at Obama…
    The massed ranks of male pundits gleefully pronounced that Clinton had lost the battle with Obama immediately after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, despite past precedents that strong second-place candidates (like Ronald Reagan in his first, ultimately unsuccessful campaign in 1976; like Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown) continued their campaigns until the end of the primary season and, in most cases, all the way to the party convention…
    None of these male candidates had a premature political obituary written in the way that Hillary Clinton’s has been, or was subjected to such righteous outrage over refusing to quiesce and withdraw obediently from what, in this case, has always been a knife-edge race. Nor was any of them anything like as close to his rivals as Clinton now is to Obama…
    The unashamed sexism of NBC alone is stupendous. Its superstar commentator Chris Matthews referred to Clinton as a “she-devil”. His colleague Tucker Carlson casually observed that Clinton “feels castrating, overbearing and scary . . . When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.” This and similar abuse, I need hardly point out, says far more about the men involved than their target.
    Rarely is she depicted as an intellectually formidable politician in her own right (is that what terrifies oafs like Matthews and Carlson?). Rather, she is the junior member of “Billary”, the derisive nickname coined by the media for herself and her husband. Obama’s opponent is thus not one of the two US senators for New York, but some amorphous creature called “the Clintons”, an aphorism that stands for amorality and sleaze. Open season has been declared on Bill Clinton, who is now reviled by the media every bit as much as Nixon ever was…
    Here we come to the crunch. Hillary Clinton (along with her husband) is being universally depicted as a loathsome racist and negative campaigner, not so much because of anything she has said or done, but because the overwhelmingly pro-Obama media – consciously or unconsciously – are following the agenda of Senator Barack Obama and his chief strategist, David Axelrod, to tear to pieces the first serious female US presidential candidate in history…
    “What’s particularly saddening,” says Paul Krugman, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton and a rare dissenting voice from the left as a columnist in the New York Times, “is the way many Obama supporters seem happy with the . . . way pundits and some news organisations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.” Despite widespread reporting to the contrary, Krugman believes that most of the “venom” in the campaign “is coming from supporters of Obama”.”
    Well, after reading this, Ironbelle, it is not hard to understand what Operation Turn Down is all about. What rational woman or fair minded man wouldn’t find this infuriating?

    Reply

  6. Ironbelle says:

    Operation Turndown is on a role!
    Sweetie,as long as you say pretty please, I’ll give you a little more information about Opertion Turndown. Millions of women and maybe a few men are fed up with the sexism of the Sweetie in Chief, his supporters and the press. We’ve had it. No matter how obsequious you become, we’re not voting for Obama. Here’s some more information for you from Operation Turn Down central command:
    What is Operation Turn Down?
    There;s a movement afoot by many thousands of Hillary Clinton supporters to either vote for John McCain, another presidential candidate, write Hillary’s name in, not vote for president at all, or simply stay home on election night if Hillary Clinton is not the Democratic nominee for president.
    Why Support Operation Turn Down. The reasons are as many as the stars in the sky. Here are a few:
    1. Hillary has been shafted by Obama and his supporters throughout the campaign. Obama, his supporters and main stream media outlets have been vile and they’ve been sexist. To get respect you have to give respect. Obama falls woefully short.
    2. Obama has run an unfair, race-baiting, nasty campaign.
    3. Obama is woefully inexperienced to become POTUS Obama is just a great orator with no actual merit to his claims of being a uniter. He is not ready for prime-time.
    So there you have it dawg. We won’t reward Obama’s sexism and we won’t reward yours. If the sweetie is nominated, he may come crawling, but we won’t be biting. We’re turning him down. How many of us are there? You saw the exit polls. We number in the millions. We’re the DNC’s worst nightmare and we won’t go away.
    And don’t try to threaten us with abortion or supreme court judges. Been there, done that. We’ll get by one way or the other. Remember, women have been getting by for several millenia. As for McCain being too much like Bush; we don’t believe it and we don’t care. We survived the past 8 years, we’ll survive the next 8 years.
    We won’t reward sexism. Any other questions, dawg?

    Reply

  7. TonyForesta says:

    Admitting that I support Barak as the lesserofthreeevils, would you, could you pretty please explain the logic in “Operation Turndown!” Ironbelle. I ask the same question posed to WigWag – “How could any sane person imagine four or eight more years of gop rule? Are you mad?”
    Most people supporting Barak, and I personally would vote for Hillary in a heartbeat if she wins, because four more years of gop reign will destroy what remains of America.
    I cannot imagine your logic, or what would compel you to perpetuate gop tyranny, betrayal, and reengineering of America simply because Hillary lost the democratic primary. There is something awry in your logic. Please explain.

    Reply

  8. arthurdecco says:

    What a puerile wit you display, Ironbelle!
    Thank gawd we have TonyForesta’s last post as a counterpoint to your nonsense.

    Reply

  9. Ironbelle says:

    Hey WigWag, join us for Operation Turndown! If the Democrats say no to Hillary, we will say no to Obama. We’re turning him down; we won’t vote for the sweetie no matter how nice he makes. Just since yesterday, the DNC has received 30 thousand e-mails and calls warning them that if Hillary’s not the nominee, we will burn our democratic registration cards and reregister as Indpendents. We’ve just begun; the internet will be buzzing with more information about this movement tomorrow afternoon.
    You never told us whether you’re a man or a woman. Forget it, it doesn’t matter. You are invited to join us at the Confluence. You can find us at http://www.riverdaughter.worldpress.com WigWam, if you’re a woman, step right in. If you’re a man, it’s fine. Just let everyone know that the Ironbelles say you’re okay.
    You will be much happier over there WigWam. There are way too many sweeties around here.

    Reply

  10. WigWag says:

    TonyForesta, all I can say is wow! Your post reminds me alot of Keith Olbermann. You’d be great on MSNBC.
    Ironbelle, thank you for the nice words.

    Reply

  11. TonyForesta says:

    It is simplistic WigWag to imagine McCain promoting or advancing policies in any way different from the Bush government. Name one.
    He is running on exactly that platform. Nations through out history going back the Pharohs and up to the present day exchange and negotiate with their enemies. It is brutish, simplitic, and retarded to refuse to negotiate or sit down with the leadership of any nation.
    Obama would not enter into any negotiation without adequate preparation, or holding to any delusions about the possiblity of settlements, the good intentions of the counterparts – but the doors would be open (finally) for American leadership to glean a better understanding of our enemies positions and ends, and they ours.
    Obama, or Hillary would comprise a team, and while the President may have the final word on that respective team, many wise voices and counselors would inject information and opinion into the decision making process. It is also simplistic and partisan to imagine Barak would hesitate to act militarily if the situatioin warranted, and America interests, Americans, or America were in any way threatened. You succumb to the Bush government propaganda disinformation and slime FALSELY labeling democrats as “appeasers”, or willing to cut and run. This babel is a patent LIE. Unlike the tyrannical dictatorship reigning now wherein azmodeous – I mean cheney and Bush and maybe three other brutes force policies and practices upon the entire nation, uncontested, without debate, with no accounting, or accountability, and based on their own partisan conjured, hype, patently false information, – democrats, and Obama or Hillary particularly would engage a wider consensus, demand a thorough vetting of information before hurling or daughters and sons to a costly bloody, illegal and unnecessary war and neverending occupation. Do you actually believe the patent lie the democrats would hesitate to engage threats militarily? This is a wild ridiculous fiction and patent lie conjured by the perception managers, disinformation warriors, and message-force multipliers in the Bush government propaganda, disinformation, and slime covens.
    It is a LIE!
    Under the Bush government, which McCain would mirror exactly such things as facts, reality, history, truth, the Constitution, the rule of law, the peoples best interests, even morality are simply dismissed and tossed away as garbage and the tyrants and kings rule and dictate supremist, olympian, and absolute.
    McCain is cut from the same supremist cloth, and deeply entrenched with the same klans, cabal, cronies and oligarchs in the Bush government, and wedded to the exact same perfidious policies. Name one policy where McCain differentiates from the fascists in the Bush government?
    Finally, the ‘experience’ argument holds no weight with many Americans, and particularly younger Amreicans. Unless you are superrich, or one of the predator class, – you will like be facing several visceral impacts that are a direct result of the Bush governments psychopathic fixation on warmaking, economic policies designed to rob from poor and middle class Americans to feed the superrich, and an absolute and total disregard and disdain for the Constitution, the rule of law and the best interests of the American people.
    Gas may be $6.00 a gallon by the Fall.
    College education is becoming almost an impossibility for more and more Americans.
    We are fighting three bloody costly wars, and can claim no victory and there is noendinsight.
    Labor has no bargaining power, and job security and a distant memory and non-existant in todays economics.
    The divide between thehaves and thehavenots is widening wildly every day.
    America is loathed through-out the world and with good reason.
    Environmental issues threaten all the worlds children.
    I could fill many sad pages listing the crisis facing America.
    This horrorshow is all the work of the socalled experienced people. The socalled experienced people and their socalled experienced policies are catastrophic failures, on every front.
    We need new voices, new directions, new faces, and new policies.
    The experienced people were either directly involved in, or responsible for allowing the fascists in the Bush government to pervert, betray, dismember, and reengineer America.
    Our only hope for salvaging what little remains of our once more perfect union is – CHANGE!
    The fascists must be put back in the keep.
    The old gaurds must step aside and allow and assist in a change of command.
    Defanging and dethroning the fascists is our only hope and that undertaking will by necessity require CHANGE!

    Reply

  12. WigWag says:

    PacificCoastRon, No, I wasn’t trying to be obtuse. I’m sorry that you see it that way. I think winning the nomination is a significant achievement and does demonstrate great tactical skill in political mobilization. I’m not a historian like you are but the only thing I’ve seen like it, is when McGovern won the nomination by beating Muskie and others. I just don’t think that this achievement tells us anything about what kind of president Obama would be. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask whether the great fundraising and orgaizational achievement that winning the republican nomination is, is any less reflective of what kind of president the republican nominee will be. After all, McCain secured the nomination after every pundit decided he was politically dead and with far less money than any of his opponents. Moreover, McCain took politically unpopular positions in his party like support for immigration reform. Wasn’t his securing the nomination a tremendous organizational achievement? Do you think it reflects positively on the type of president he will be?
    JohnH, I don’t think it’s totally fair to say Mrs. Clinton like Obama has no accomplishments of her own. After all, she has served for 8 years on the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate. Democrats and Republicans alike consider her to be a distinguished Senator. She was first lady of Arkansas twice and First Lady of the United States, twice. Many woman would find it offensive to dismiss that experience as totally useless.
    I do think it is fair to say she doesn’t have the experience that a Joe Biden, Chris Dodd or even Bill Richardson would have brought to the presidency. I do think you’re right, though. She is running, at least in part, on her husband’s record. All the legislation you mentioned in your post were passed with Bill Clinton’s support and they were mostly bad. You could have added other bad legislation to the list like NAFTA, Welfare Reform or in Mrs. Clinton’s case, bankruptcy reform.
    But you forgot to mention the positive things Bill Clinton did. Raising taxes on the wealthy; eliminating the federal deficit; managing the economy in a way that allowed real income to actually grow for a change; fighting for health care reform despite the great polical peril; passing the Family Medical Leave Act (which was a God-send to my family), managing the Asian financial meltdown in a way that protected working class Americans. Doubling the budget of the National Institutes of Health.
    I don’t expect to agree with a President I support on everything they do and I don’t belive politicians are saviors, they’re just politicians. I’m not looking for a messiah; I’m just looking for someone I think will do a good job and will look out for people like me most of the time. I know they will identify with their wealthy, highly educated colleagues more often than with me. But that’s okay as long as they fight for me to and aren’t dismissive of my values and my concerns. I think Mrs. Clinton would have been a good president. It doesn’t look like that will happen in 2008. So the question is, who will be better now, McCain or Obama. For the reasons I have enumerated in my other posts, I don’t think it’s clear.

    Reply

  13. PacificCoastRon says:

    Wigwag,
    Are you being deliberately obtuse when You acknowlege Obama’s organizational achievement but then say, paraphrasing, “how does that qualify him to be President?” Obviously you’ve never tried to put together a team to run even a local campaign of any sort … it is EXTREMELY hard to accomplish.
    And by the way, the structure of the modern nominating process is that winning the majority of delegates qualifies you to be President.
    That’s the achievement that qualifies him and argues for supporting him, he did it. Let me repeat again: he beat the Democratic party machine, allied with the Clinton’s personal team, in state after state. My friends and I spent ten years trying to put together a party to the left of the establishment Dems., we never beat ’em once, never came close. I am TREMENDOUSLY IMPRESSED.
    also, I am a historian. The statements and reputations of politicians before they enter the Presidency have little or no bearing on what they do as Presidents, and you reveal yourself as foolish if you put great weight in this or that position paper of a candidate.
    Assuming that it could be still be either McCain, Clinton or Obama succeeding in the quest: ANY ONE OF THEM could move surprisingly Right, Left, or to Unusual Centrism once in office, and that process is not transparent to outsiders nor easily predictable even by the most seasoned, cynical observers.
    I did NOT project that Obama would automatically have a successful Presidency, I tried to lay out he conditions and challenges I see him having to face in order to succeed. (Others may other definitions of success that would require his meetng any entirely different set of challenges.) Please don’t try to put words in my mouth.
    And your examples are non-sequitars: that Bush’s team would ultimately be successful in stealing two elections only became apparent _after_ those elections took place, not before. So how would I prefer Bush on the basis of an “achievement” which was not achieved until the process was finished?

    Reply

  14. Iron Belle says:

    WigWag, YOU ROCK!
    My partner and I are having a debate that we hope you can settle for us. We were wondering, are you a man or a woman? We’re just curious.

    Reply

  15. JohnH says:

    Wigwag–Let’s talk about the Clinton’s accomplishments that really count. Hillary, like Obama doesn’t have any of her own. So, Hillary’s claim to experience is tantamount to admitting that she’s running on Bill’s record. Here’s what Bill did in his final 14 months:
    1-Signed the Financial Services Modernization Act in November, 1999, which did away with depression era financial protections and served as the enabling legislation for the sub-prime crisis devastating our economy. A gigantic gift to Wall Street, it was signed just as Hillary was ramping up her campaign to represent–you guessed it–Wall Street in the Senate.
    2-Signed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in December 2000, which did away with government regulation of energy trading, otherwise known as the “Enron loophole.” It was followed almost immediately by Enron’s gaming California electicity markets. And it may be responsible for whatever speculation is involved in spiralling oil prices.
    3-Signed PNTR for China in 2000. By permanently lifting the trade-related regulatory risks for dealing with China, it opened the floodgates to Chinese imports and to the mass exodus of American manufacturing jobs to China. It also eliminated the last, best opportunity to exercise any leverage over China’s disastrous worker and human rights record.
    Yes, the Clintons may have experience, but is this the experience you’re really looking for?
    It’s a sad commentary on the terrible state of political discourse in this country when Bill’s Clinton’s record of signing away the American economy is not a campaign issue. Of course, those who benefitted most, including the corporate media, prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.

    Reply

  16. WigWag says:

    PacificCoastRon, you say “there is one accomplishment that REALLY COUNTS. Barack Obama put together a team that OUT-ORGANIZED the Clinton team and their many allies in the establishment Democratic Party.” I don’t think there is any doubt about that. You’re certainly right. What I don’t get, is why you think that qualifies him to be president or why you think it presents a compelling argument for anyone to vote for him. After all, George Bush out organized and out fundraised John Kerry and in the case of Al Gore, he out lawyered him as well. Did this forshadow a successful presidency? Did you vote for Bush over Kerry or Gore because Bush bested them in the categories you mention?
    TonyForesta, you ask if I’m a “mad man.” Actually, I’m used to being asked that question; my spouse asks the same question about me at least once a day. If by “mad” you mean crazy, I will leave that judgement to others. If by “mad” you mean angry then I plead quilty. Like many Clinton supporters I’m mad about how she was treated in the press, I’m mad that many Obama supporters were as abusive or more abusive to her than the most ardent right wing republicans and I’m mad that the level of national discourse has sunk so low. Is sour grapes a part of it; I can’t deny it might have something to do with my feelings.
    I know most people here (except maybe Steve Clemons) seems to hate McCain. I certainly don’t love him either. But I think it’s simplistic to say that a McCain presidency would just be four more years of George Bush. As the only candidate who has been to war, I can’t help but doubt that McCain would start one flippantly. Is his bellacose attitude about Iran more likely to deter Iran and thus prevent war than Obama’s willingness to talk unconditionally? I don’t think it’s an open and shut case, one way or the other. Which is more dangerous; Obama’s total lack of experience (unless you find his work in the Illinois State Senate to be compelling)or the fact that McCain’s foreign policy experience seems more appropriate for the 20th century than the 21st century? I think it’s an open case. JohnH was kind enough to refer me to an article about Obama’s foreign policy team that appeared in the American Prospect. It talked alot about his strategy of closing the “dignity gap” that so many of our adversaries feel vis a vis the United States. This sounds good to me; but I also want to know under what circumstances Senator Obama would commit the United States to using force. What does he think is worth fighting for? Will his inexperience lead him to make dumb mistakes early in his presidency like the Bay of Pigs fiasco in the Kennedy Administration? These are all unanswerable questions about Obama right now.
    Paul Norheim, I have been thinking about your comment about the importance of “identity” issues in Africa and elsewhere and I am sure you’re right. Upon reflection, I think my comment about Andrew Sullivan’s remarks is more related to my feelings about the caliber of the American Press. I don’t know what the press is like in Scandanavia where you live; but here in the United States it is getting worse and worse. It’s obvious that there are no more Walter Lippman’s, but the fact that pundits like Andrew Sullivan, Chris Matthews, Maureen Dowd and Eugene Robinson are today’s media stars in the U.S., just shows how dumbed down the media has become. Remember, this is the same media that was asleep at the switch when we bungled into Iraq and it’s the same media that relentlessly attacked Al Gore (during his presidential run) for the clothes he wore, his supposed flipp flopping and his “boring personality.” The press corp was in bed for George Bush when he ran against Gore just like their in bed for Obama now. The result was really bad then, I hope it’s not equally bad now.
    What I hate about Andrew Sullivan and the other pundits is that they talk about things like identity or character or values, or the timbre of a candidates voice (is she shrill)or whether she shows any cleavage (all the pundits were discussing this about Mrs. Clinton last year), or whether she shed a tear, or whether she’s racist or whether he’s sexist, because they find this more fun and it requires them to do less work than if they actually had to concentrate on policy differences. Ironically so called journalists like Sullivan aren’t really interested in facts or issues; ferreting those out is to hard; basically they’ve become glorified (and very highly paid) gossips. If you think it doesn’t matter (because conveniently they support your candidate), remember their failures led directly to George Bush’s election and to the war in Iraq. Andrew Sullivan himself, was one of the biggest cheer leaders for the war. He supported Bush and ridiculed Kerry. What a genius he turned out to be.
    Obama’s foreign policy guru Samantha Powers called Hillary Clinton a monster. That was wrong; most adults don’t believe in monsters. but their are jackasses and there are people who are destructive to the public discourse. Andrew Sullivan is one of them.

    Reply

  17. PacificCoastRon says:

    WigWag,
    There’s one accomplishment that REALLY COUNTS. Barack Obama put together a team that OUT-ORGANIZED the Clinton team and their many, many allies in the “establishment” Democratic Party.
    They beat them in Money, they beat them in Votes (conducted by the DNC rules), and they have beat them in winning pledged delegates to the national Convention.
    As a far-left radical, with no reason to trust ANY establishment Dem., and as one who’s struggled with the challenges of organizing dozens and hundreds of people in various contexts over the decades, I for one am tremendously impressed with Obama’s record of achievement. He’ll now need to organize his followers to take on entrenched corporate interests (including the intense corporate interest in maintaining an intensely ignorant mass media culture) to have successful Presidency, but his one HUGE achievement is the right first step to that second even MORE INCREDIBLY HUGE possible achievement.

    Reply

  18. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    Surely and positively, I would not hesitate to rightly endorse the facts spoken by Mr TonyForesta.Sowhatever remain the political intricacies behind the Democrats or the Republicans’ future ageanda, the most convincing truth yet pleads the conviction that America has to and would have to adopt a new policy change regarding its global agenda despite the fact that many revisionists may not be happy to endorse it.

    Reply

  19. TonyForesta says:

    With regard to the theater of the absurd that is the democratic primary process, – Obama is the lesserofthreeevils choice for affecting anything like CHANGE!. Change is what the American people want, expect, and will (if it is within their powers) endeavor. The old guard in the Democratic party has failed. The DNC failed to contain or restrict or any way prevent, or hold accountable the Bush government predations, abuses, deceptions, failures, supremist ideologies, fascist machinations, and wanton profiteering. The DNC, for some unknown unknown reason took Impeachment of the table – depriving the people of the right to “…petition the government for redress of grievances.”
    How we manage the many manifold crisis facing America will determine what kind of nation we bequeath our children. The fascists are driving amerika into the pit, and profiteering wantonly in and from the perfidious process.
    Change is what America needs, requires, and is holding the dim hope beyond hope that someone, (and Obama is the percieved agent of that Change) is willing and capable of affecting.
    I cannot fathom how anyone WigWag would for any reason, under any circumstance stoop to imagine voting for McCain and the unabate perpetuation of the exact same predations, deceptions, tyranny, abuses, failures, fascist machinations, dominionist supremist ideologies, and wanton profiteering bruted and practiced by the Bush government.
    I’m stunned. How could any sane person imagine four or eight more years of gop rule? Are you mad man?

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  20. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag and JohnH:
    You are discussing symbols vs. real objectives, or “identity
    politics” vs. political goals, and arguments that transcend
    identity. In general, I think I actually agree with both of you!
    First: I agree strongly with you, WigWag, that ideas and political
    arguments are much more important than race, gender, age, or
    appearance.
    If you ask me. But I am obviously not representative.
    If you ask the same questions to Americans, Africans,
    Europeans, etc. the answers may be different. To the American
    people, I believe that gender and race plays an obvious role, but
    so does the Iraq war and the economy – thus, it`s hard to say
    what is most important in this election. To Africans, I would
    guess that Obama would first and foremost represent a symbol
    – I`ve spent eleven years of my life in African countries, and
    unfortunately, “identity” is, in general, very important in several
    countries there. As well as in other parts of the world. (By the
    way: a lot of powerless women would also be happy if Hillary C.
    was elected.)
    If you love symbols, Obama would be the most obvious choice.
    I have no doubt that if Obama is elected, that may help
    changing the image of the USA to a certain degree, all over the
    world — and quite immediately. It seems as if both the USA,
    and the rest of the world, are fed up with the Bush/Cheney
    administration. And during the last 20 years, TV has become a
    much more influential player in politics. Symbols like Obama do
    actually have more influence (in RealPolitik) than the realists
    usually would admit (and here I think I would include Steve
    Clemons). I would certainly prefer more detailed political goals
    (and I think I am old enough to claim that I don`t really give a
    damn if some politician is gay or straight; black, yellow, jew,
    arab, or white; woman or man – or something in between: I
    honestly don`t care! But for a big part of the population, in the
    USA and in the rest of the world, symbols, identity, gender,
    religion, race, etc. seem to be just as important as health care,
    education, trade, nuclear proliferation, environment issues, and
    national interest strategies.
    What many people like about Obama`s ideas, is that they are
    certainly going in the opposite direction of the Bush White
    House policy. The trouble, however, is that they are not very
    clear and precise. In contrast, McCain seems to have some very
    bad ideas, that are clearly expressed (regarding Iran, as well as
    Iraq). However, he currently lacks good ideas on other
    important issues, like the economy. And he obviously doesn`t
    have a clue about the Middle East in general, or in detail.
    So there you go, and it`s up to you, folks.

    Reply

  21. WigWag says:

    JohnH, thanks for the link. I read the article. It was informative.
    Luch, there’s no question Senator Obama is smart; you have to be smart to be editor of the Harvard Law Review. The problem is that he has literally no record of accomplishment. As far as I can tell, he spent a few years as a community organizer (whatever that means), he spent a few years at a law firm, he was a state senator (the most sleazy job you can have in politics)and he was elected to the Senate. I say he was elected to the Senate rather than calling him a Senator, because he’s barely bothered to show up in the Senate. Instead he’s been busy running for President. Many young people find him inspirational; I don’t discount this entirely; a president should be able to inspire people.
    So, with no record, it’s hard to know what to make of him. Unless you adopt the air head strategy that Andrew Sullivan urges and vote for Senator Obama because he has a compelling personal story and he’s an African American your left in a quandry.
    One thing to look at is what the Senator says. But like all politicians, he speaks with forked tongue. To a liberal audience in Oregon he says Iran isn’t a threat while to a conservative audience in Montana he says Iran is a threat. In the first presidential debate he pledges to meet with the President of Iran unconditionally in his first year in office; this week he back tracks from that. I don’t necessarily hold this against Obama, all politicians do it. The problem is that when the candidate has never accomplished anything what he says matters more.
    Another thing to look at is the team advising the candidate. On this score, Obama doesn’t do terribly well or terribly poorly. On his foreign policy team, Anthony Lake seems competent. But Zbignew Brzezinski is a disaster. He’s the guy who caused the hostage crisis by letting the Shah into the United States. He also single handedly invented the Taliban by lavishly funding them when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. What a disaster that turned out to be. Which do you think would be worse, a communist Afghanistan or a Taliban ruled Afghanistan. And the Senator relies on Robert Malley; the only one on the Clinton team to blame the failure of Clinton’s mideast peace initiative on Israel. Everyone else who was there (Bill Clinton himself, Dennis Ross, etc.)blamed Arafat. Look, I wasn’t there. I don’t know who was at fault. You can believe Malley, or you can believe everyone else on the American negotiating team. If you are a Zionist like I am, you don’t like Malley. If you think the Israelis are mostly to blame in the Middle East, you like him. And finally you have Samantha Powers, Obama’s foreign policy guru from Harvard. Her most recent claim to fame is calling Hillary Clinton a monster. Unlike his foreign policy team, Obama’s domestic advisors seem pretty good (not great) to me. I think Obama’s position on a health care mandate is quite bad; but reasonable people can disagree about this.
    I don’t like McCain’s stance on Iraq or Iran and I can’t stand his buddy Joe Lieberman. But McCain is a conservative in the tradition of the British Tories not the American right wing. He knows and respects European leaders and he is certainly much more of an internationlist than Bush. Most people who comment at the WashingtonNote hate McCain (but I don’t think Steve Clemons actually feels this way) Unfortunately, when I see McCain on TV, to me he looks forgetful. He seems like he isn’t that mentally sharp any more. Maybe this is unfair, but I can’t help but notice it.
    So I wonder, who is more likely to blunder us into a war or a disasterous foreign policy mistake; an inexperienced President who is learning on the job and who may or may not turn out to have what it takes to get the job done, or a slightly over the hill, ex war hero whose time may have come and gone.
    So Luch, that’s my quandry. Do I vote for Obama, McCain or no one. I don’t have the answer yet, but if I have to listen to one more moronic remark from Andrew Sullivan, I might not be able to resist voting for McCain.

    Reply

  22. JohnH says:

    Luch–Don’t forget who Obama’s mother was. She made it her life’s work to understand and work with other cultures. You don’t think some of that rubbed off on him? It’s pretty clear to me that it did. This interest in “the other” is an extremely invaluable and rare quality among this nation’s leaders, who may have travelled extensively on junkets but have never cultivated any understanding or appreciation for foreigners’ cultures or aspirations. Parachuting in on junkets is pretty worthless if you come from a parochial perspective and can’t see through the show staged for you by the State Department.

    Reply

  23. Luch says:

    Steve you have an admirable perspective on the issues and I appreciate this blog.
    WigWag is correct about Andrew Sullivan. Andrew is one of the many Obamabots uncritically viewing Obama as someone who can fix everything. Unfortunately, some of the Obamabots belong to the media and that makes me suspect anything they say about him is biased. For example, from my research, Obama’s exposure to other cultures is limited to living in Indonesia from the ages of 6 to 10, and traveling around Europe as a college student. In addition, he has had some senate-sponsored trips, but I wouldn’t call that very broad exposure and yet, the media indicate that Obama’s broad exposure to the world’s cultures will help him solve our foreign policy problems.
    Like WigWag, I am a Clinton supporter who is now trying to decide if Obama has the “wherewithal” to deserve my vote for president. From what Fareed Zakari and George Soros have said, our next president will have to be very worldly and smart to slow down America’s decline relative to some of the emerging economies.

    Reply

  24. TonyForesta says:

    Impressive symposium Mr. Clemmons. I could not download the main feed, but I did succeed in downloading the audio of Mr. Soros’ comments, and yours and others questions.
    What is most striking is Mr. Soros assertain that the underlying system is capitalism is deeply flawed, dependent on the state, or governing authorities to “bale out” failing, and often borderline criman malfactors to support the underying system leading to “self reinforcing, eventually unsustainable boom bust cycles. America has over the last couple a decades devolved into a bubbles-r-us economy, and in every circumstance the government steps in using billions of the peoples dollars to rescue or stabilize the malfactor industries and the socalled markets.
    What Soros also makes clear is that there are no free markets, and there is no equilibrium in the markets. What I term the predator class can invent or conjure any sort of financial fantasmagoria, or “synthetic instruments” (CBO’s, CBS’s, Credit Default Swaps, or other derivative congjurings based on the complex buying and selling of complex debt intraments. As Soros clearly points out, this system is a total failure, as proven by the fact that instruments the rating applicable ratings institutions formally rated as AAA, or now reduced to “junk”, actual rating terminology based on return on investment a “junk”.
    The market fundamentalist (those who proselytize the selling of synthetic debt as a means capitalization) depend on “imperfect understanding of the markets to cloak problems – and are in bed with the authorities, or the government, or the state who are forever pillaging the peoples dollars to bailout abusers, decievers, and malfactors in the finance sector.
    The Fed has funnelled more than half a trillion dollars of borrowed money into the financial sector since December to inject stabilize the credit crisis and housing crisis created, promoted, mismanaged, and ignored by the same financial sector.
    This robbing from poor and middle class Americans to feed the superrich, or what I call the predator class malfeasance was motivated by purely political ends, intended to cloak the Bush government responsibility and accountability for the failure to recognize and thwart these crises, and heap the crushing costs, debts, and flawed system onto the next leadership and the shoulders of our children.
    The markets may have stabilized, and the worst of the crisis may – and that is itself a big ‘may’ be behind us, – but the underlying flaws and the terrible crushing unsustainable debt remains unchanged and matasticizing.
    This article touches on the same issues and makes a good case for the brutal end of days of “irredeemable debt”.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JE02Dj05.html

    Reply

  25. JohnH says:

    Wigwag: Here’s the best analysis of Obama’s foreign policy that I’ve seen. You might find helpful. I particularly liked this part: “Ending the war is only the first step. After we’re out of Iraq, a corrosive mind-set will still be infecting the foreign-policy establishment and the body politic. That rot must be eliminated.”
    http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_obama_doctrine
    I’ve been wondering why Steve never offered any critique of Ackerman’s piece…

    Reply

  26. WigWag says:

    JohnH, you’re right, I do need to get out more, but I do the best I can. Certainly identity matters. The election of an African American man or a white woman would be unprecedented in the United States and either would make a statement at home and abroad.
    With that said, did you watch the broadcast that Steve posted? Andrew Sullivan stated that the mere fact of what Senator Obama looks like and his personal story are enough, in and of themselves, to guarantee his ability to transform US relations with the rest of the world. If you didn’t watch the piece you may think I’m exagerating; if you watched it, you know this is exactly what he said. This is the level of deep political thinking many of us have come to expect from Andrew Sullivan. He’s not critiquing a candidate, he’s worshipping an idol.
    Obama supporters frequently don’t get why Clinton supporters find him so offensive; why their dislike of Senator Obama is so visceral. In trying to come to grips with how I am going to vote in November, I’m thinking about this a great deal. I don’t object to Obama supporters who think his policies are better than hers. If you think pushing for universal health insurance is an unwise first step, or if you think providing relief to motorists hit by high gas prices is a bad idea; I don’t object to that, I just disagree. If you think that the new President in his first year in office should agree to personally negotiate with the Iranian President; I don’t think that’s ridiculous, I just think it’s unwise. But if you think I should vote for Senator Obama because he gives a good speech, or has a compelling personal story or looks good in a suit as Andrew Sullivan clearly does, I find that objectionable and offensive. If a person who supposedly is fair minded criticizes Hillary Clinton in terms that would make her right wing critics blush; I also find that offensive. I haven’t come to any conclusions in my own mind yet. If I conclude that Senator Obama is an empty suit, I’ll vote for McCain; if I conclude that Sentor Obama is okay and that it’s just some of his supporters like Andrew Sullivan who are empty suits, I’ll vote for Obama.
    Maybe this is more information than you really wanted to know. If so, I apologize.

    Reply

  27. JohnH says:

    Wigwag, you need to get out more. In most of the world, identity is what counts first and foremost. Witness Iraq, where Sunni, Shia, and Kurds are all at each other’s throats. The divisions are along ethnic and religious lines, which are then further subdivided into factions. Even in developed countries such as France, England and Germany, minorities need not apply for higher office. For America to transcend race and identity to elect a President is a BIG deal, precisely because it is totally unimaginable in most places. It sends a very positive message to the rest of the world that character and leadership count more than cultural, ethnic and racial background.
    And, given Obama’s upbringing and exposure to other cultures, other countries can expect a President, if elected, who will make a sincere effort to understand what is driving them and their positions. This will mark an incredible advance over the rabidly parochial brand of politics epitomized by the Bush administration, which cares only about dictating terms and is absolutely tone deaf when it comes to tweaking policies in ways that might make them acceptable to people in other countries.

    Reply

  28. Steve Hunt says:

    Interesting! Thanks for posting. I’ve started reading the Financial Times regularly now, what with the Murdoch takeover at WSJ and an obvious change since he’s come to power (note the coverage of Colombia FTA….Murdoch himself ran an editorial of one of his talks on the matter after his employees wouldn’t write zany enough articles for his liking..then the Terminator had an op ed)..anyway, back to the topic…read a pece on Miliband in the FT the other day and was wanting to hear more of his stuff and ta-da! Here it is. Thanks!

    Reply

  29. Charles Blankstein says:

    I missed the Soros piece. Can I access that in some way?
    Thanks very much

    Reply

  30. JohnH says:

    I hope someone ask Miliband for his definition of democracy. Does his “democratization agenda” promote the will of the people in each individual country? Or does it advance the interests of the West –Democracy(TM)– regardless of the will of the people?
    A classic test case would be to ask him about Venezuela, whose people consistently rank as very democratic in independent polls. Washington, however, deems it very much in need of “democracy promotion,” and funnels a lot of money through the National Endowment for Democracy to subvert the will of Venezuela’s people.

    Reply

  31. WigWag says:

    So, I watched the 10:30 am broadcast and it was very informative. David Miliband was certainly impressive; he projects youth and vitality and presented a Thomas Friedman the World is Flat kind of speech. His comments about Turkey were interesting and he seemed quite hard line on the quartet position of no negotiations with Hamas. Considering that Israel is currently negotiating a cease fire with Hamas it suggests that quartet members are more hardline against Hamas than Labor and Kadima are.
    Ken Adelman was also very impressive. I guess I was prejudiced against him because of his service as an arms negotiator in the Reagan Administration. His comments at the podium here gave me a new perspective about him. One point that he made that was particularly provocative was the fact that people all over the world are rejecting their leaders not just people in the United States. We tend to think that Americans are rejecting Bush and the repbulicans because of the failures in Iraq and the bad U.S. economy. But Adelman pointed out that Labor in the United Kingdom just suffered their worst defeat in 20 years despite the fact that they are almost all out of Iraq and they have had real income growth for ten consequtive years. The French and Italians have also elected more conservative governments recently.
    As usual, Andrew Sullivan is insufferable. He represents the worst in American journalism and he serves as the embodiment of the worst qualities of his generation. He puts form over substance; he confuses wit with snark and he elevates cynism to new heights. American journalism has certainly fallen to new depths and Andrew Sullivan is the poster boy for this decline. For someone so identified with new media, I was amazed to see how hostile Sullivan is to reader involvement. He actually ridiculed the idea of allowing readers to post comments. What he really wants is a new medium not new media.
    For many Clinton supporters (like me) currently confronting the reality of voting for a candidate that we generally agree with but despise (Obama), a candidate we generally disagree with, but trust (McCain)or not voting at all; every time Sullivan opens his mouth it pushes many of us further away from Obama. He actually said that Obama would revolutionize our relaionship with African and the Middle East merely because of his face and his compelling personal story. This type of idolization is disgusting. Sullivan’s view that identity trumps ideas is dangerous. Many Obama supporters think Obama’s policies are better than Clinton;s or McCain’s. I disagree with that but it’s certainly legitimate. Millions of others think Obama would be a good president merely because of who he is or how well he delivers a speech. These people scare me.

    Reply

  32. WigWag says:

    Wow, this is really great! I’ll be watching both. Thanks so much for doing this.

    Reply

  33. SassySuzy says:

    Steve, your fans in Kentucky will be watching! You are such a star.
    Thanks for doing all that you do to help people to address our challenges seriously. You have helped my friends and family have a much more deep understanding of the problems the country is facing, and we can’t thank you enough for the dedication that you show for your Washington Note readers and the public all around.
    Thank you!!

    Reply

  34. lurker says:

    Clemons, you are a powerhouse booker. This is amazing. Thanks
    for the head’s up and will watch both today from my office. When
    do you sleep?

    Reply

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