Who is Obama’s Brain? Some Comments on Obama Advisers Karen Kornbluh and Austan Goolsbee

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obama wave car twn.jpg
OK, I know that’s an odd way to put it, but I spent a lot of time years ago learning the most minor and trivial details about Japanese politics and nearly all of the leading and not so leading politicians in Japan’s National Diet — and that’s how they’d refer to smart people attached to a Nakasone or Miyazawa or Takeshita. Some so-and-so was Prime Minister Takeshita’s brain. . .
What is clear about candidates of the caliber of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and even John Edwards is that each is his or her own brain, but they still have very smart people around them.
Two people I want to mention today are Karen Kornbluh and Austan Goolsbee. I know Karen very well — and Austan only from a distance, but they are both formidable intellectuals.
kornbluh twn.jpegKornbluh worked as Director of the Work and Family Program at the New America Foundation as one of my best colleagues — and previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff at the Department of Treasury under Robert Rubin and also as Director of Legal and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Federal Communications Commission. She also worked for Senator John Kerry (D-MA) on the Senate Commerce Committee.
Karen Kornbluh is known in DC for many things — but the two most important contributions she has made are on one hand one of the most articulate calls for national investment in broadband connectivity and on the other for her framing of the “juggler family” and as well for her famous essay, “The Mommy Tax.”
Kornbluh is now Barack Obama’s Policy Director on his Senate staff and has had a hand in many of Obama’s most provocative and interesting policy initiatives, particularly “Health for Hybrids” — a deal that would help tie American government incentives to the auto industry in a trade of some subsidies for the health care overhang in the industry so that they move more ambitiously to higher fuel efficiency levels. I don’t know what the state of the proposal is today — and it’s certainly controversial — but practically any non-status quo proposal is.
In 2004, I rembember a conversation with Karen at the front foyer of the New America Foundation with some other women who had visited. Some of these women were part of the Democratic power circles of Montgomery County, Maryland — which means that they are also part of the power elite of the Democratic party nationally. I expressed real concern then about the direction of the Democratic Party — and particularly the then slim possibility that John Kerry might get the nomination.
There were many different views expressed, but Karen Kornbluh looked at me and said that when all of the ups and downs of the process were over, she thought Kerry would be the last person standing.
What impressed me about Kornbluh’s vision is that everyone from Howard Dean to Joseph Lieberman to John Edwards to Richard Gephardt had borrowed Karen’s framing of the juggler family problem and the stress on not just low income households but middle class households. Everyone used her stuff — everyone except John Kerry.
Kerry is an interesting and valuable legislator but has an occasional tin ear in my view — and while he secured the Democratic Party nod like Kornbluh predicted, Karen’s own political prediction was untainted by her own interests — something extremely rare in today’s marketplace of political punditry.
images.jpegAustan Goolsbee is another major intellectual force around Obama. I’ve never met him though we have exchanged some data bits. He has been Obama’s economic advisor since his successful run for the Senate and now advises him on the presidential campaign. He’s also a Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago — and a prolific op-ed writer. This is significant because there are few incentives in classic academia, particularly in a fortress of neoliberal economics like the University of Chicago, to venture beyond peer-reviewed professional articles into policy and political discourse with general audiences.
But as I have written before, all of the presidential candidates are franchises more than people unto themselves. They carry with them the equivalent of a large royal court of policy advisers, sycophants, strategists, funders — many of whom strongly disagree with each other internally over policy.
Goolsbee and Kornbluh are first rate — but it is interesting to note that I recently learned that Obama was coached extensively in the first round of debate prep by Austan Goolsbee who allegedly helped Obama to work through the reality of issues that might come up — and the various onion skins of nuance.
That sounds like my kind of adviser actually. But then Goolsbee was blocked — either by himself or others in Obama’s political team — from participating in any more debate prep sessions.
This raises the question then of whether Obama’s acclaimed oratory of late is veneer and tactic — or something more real.
But to quote — which I probably shouldn’t but will anyway — Karen Kornbluh about something she said to me about Obama and that I think is important, she said “Barack listens to all of the options, hears them all, and then he does what is right — not just what is expedient or makes the most political sense.”
More later.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

49 comments on “Who is Obama’s Brain? Some Comments on Obama Advisers Karen Kornbluh and Austan Goolsbee

  1. kral oyun says:

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    Reply

  2. buy steroids online says:

    Obama has not personally cited intuition as a reason to vote for him, but the campaign profited enormously from the Globe endorsement, and has tolerated a certain vagueness about his background and intentions that now needs to be clarified.

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    John Edwards was always a smart guy

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  8. Steve says:

    In hearing that we might bail out the auto adn credit card industries, thoughts came to mind…..I’m not really anti-union but auto workers making more than doctors or RN’s who saves lives, thanks mainly to the unions, should take a huge pay cut, make the American product more affordable, more people will by the cars and keep more people employed. Will it ever happen, no, are you kidding me. Obama and Dems have had good relations with unions….will they do what is bes t for the country….probably not. Credit card companies (the same ones that charge 21%) need a bail out….something is wrong.

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  10. Slobat says:

    I think the same – Ted Sorenson is Obama’s campaign brain.

    Reply

  11. David N says:

    All I can say is, any economist who is a member of the faculty of the Chicago School is automatically suspect, and would have to prove that he isn’t an ideological wing-nut.
    It is time that we had an honest dialog about economic policy. And it will never happen.

    Reply

  12. Kathleen says:

    Speaking of Ted Sorenson and Obama…
    The art of writing memorable speeches is a talent few possess and can be pivotal.
    Ask Not!
    Why Obama is No JFK
    By Ted Widmer
    JohnF. Kennedy is not running for anything in 2008, but you’d never know it. A front-page photo in the New York Times recently showed his electability in Serbia, of all places, where local candidates are vying to establish their credentials as the latest citizens of the New Frontier. Back in the U.S., no candidate has captured the reflected glory of JFK more than Barack Obama, thanks to his youth, eloquence, and message of change. The Kennedy-Obama parallel has been played up by the press, and Obama’s campaign has not discouraged those comparisons—indeed, it has brought in Ted Sorensen, JFK’s talented speechwriter, to make speeches and render the judgment of history.
    But the comparison falls short when voters consider the key question for 2008: foreign policy experience. ItÂ’s true that Obama, like Kennedy, is a youngish senator (at 46, three years older than Kennedy when he ran for president), but the parallel falters after that. The more one looks into KennedyÂ’s lifelong preparation for the job, the more one realizes how misleading it was, then and now, to describe him as inexperienced. Everyone who has stressed KennedyÂ’s youth, from Dan Quayle in 1988 to Obama today, has bumped up against the uncomfortable fact that JFK was an extremely well-informed statesman in 1960. As Lloyd Bentsen reminded us in the zinger that pole-axed Quayle, the truth was a lot more complicated than the myth.
    Kennedy, of course, was a decorated veteran of World War Two, which he fought in the South Pacific. But before and after the conflict, he had acquired travel experiences that most people take a lifetime to accumulate, richly detailed in biographies like Robert DallekÂ’s An Unfinished Life. His father was ambassador to the United Kingdom in the pivotal year 1938, and young Kennedy was in the audience of the House of Commons as the Munich deal was furiously debated (the experience shaped his first book, Why England Slept). As a young man, he made American officials uneasy with his relentless desire to see parts of Europe and the world that few Americans ever encountered. In 1939 alone, he took in the Soviet Union, Romania, Turkey, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Greece, France, Germany, Italy and Czechoslovakia. As the war was ending, he attended the San Francisco conference that created the United Nations, filing seventeen dispatches for the Chicago Herald American.
    He maintained this lively interest in world affairs as a young Congressman. In 1951 he went on two extraordinary journeys, the first a five-week trip to Europe, from England to Yugoslavia, to consider the military situation on the continent. Then, a few months later, a seven-week, 25,000-mile trek that included Israel, Iran, Pakistan, India, Singapore, Thailand, French Indochina, Korea and Japan. It was this trip, in particular, that awakened a sense in him that the old colonial empires were doomed, and that the French effort to keep Vietnam was especially futile. In the aftermath of his trip, he gave speeches that ridiculed the French (and by extension, the American) position, and proved that he was no simplistic Cold Warrior. In 1957, he continued to chart a maverick’s course with a deeply-informed speech on Algeria that criticized France and the U.S. for trying to sustain an unsustainable conflict against an insurgent population. It infuriated both Democrats and Republicans, and France, a NATO ally at the time, was enraged—but obviously he was correct.
    Critics and admirers alike have generally neglected the full extent of Kennedy’s early experience. But clearly it shaped him profoundly, and each journey deepened his portfolio. Further, each trip empowered him, and gave him the confidence to swim against the tide, a trait that would prove essential in the presidency. While dedicated to veterans and certain core principles of American defense, he also showed, well before his election, a growing skepticism of the extremes of Pentagon thinking. Perhaps most impressively, he found the courage to reject the knee-jerk isolationism of his most important backer—his father, Joseph P. Kennedy.
    To be sure, even with all of that training, Kennedy showed inexperience during his early months in the White House, including the disastrous decision to invade CubaÂ’s Bay of Pigs, and his ineffective performance at his first summit with Khrushchev in Vienna. But he soon righted himself, and returned to the independent judgment that he had acquired during his long and literal journey toward the presidency.
    Of course, travel does not instantly translate into electability—if it did, Geraldo Rivera might be president. But it’s an important consideration, especially for a candidate like Obama, who is running against an array of Democratic contenders (Biden, Dodd, Clinton, Richardson) who have far more first-hand experience dealing with issues of foreign policy and national security. And compared to Kennedy, Obama’s record of world travel is quite thin.
    Like Kennedy, Obama did spend some time in his youth living in a foreign country. And because that country, Indonesia, is both Asian and majority Muslim, Obama can—and does—claim to have a unique perspective on a region and a religion that increasingly command Washington’s attention. But it’s worth noting the considerable differences between Obama’s and Kennedy’s overseas experiences. Kennedy lived in Europe, then the geo-strategic center of the world, as a footloose young man who had front-row seats at momentous diplomatic dramas, thanks to his ambassador father. Obama lived as a boy in Indonesia—a big, fascinating country, but not central to U.S. global strategy. If that childhood experience had a genuine impact beyond teaching him the obvious truth that the world is diverse, then he needs to make it clearer how he will translate that knowledge into sound policy.
    As an adult prior to wining elective office, Kennedy continued to see the world, including from the helm of a PT boat. ObamaÂ’s campaign has implied that the candidate traveled extensively before assuming office, but so far has resisted appeals to provide further information. Given the prevalence of the Kennedy comparison, ObamaÂ’s travels have become relevant enough to be made public.
    Like Kennedy, Obama has taken several long trips as a lawmaker—through the Middle East, Africa and the former Soviet Union. But there is one noteworthy gap in Obama’s itinerary: except for a brief stopover in London, returning from Russia in 2005, he has apparently never been to Western Europe since launching his political career. What renders this gap especially surprising is that Obama is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe. Not only has the Senator not visited the region his committee oversees, but as Steve Clemons of the Washington Note has observed, Obama’s committee has not held a single policy-oriented hearing since he’s been chairman. Europe may not be the central playing field it was in Kennedy’s day, but it remains essential to the global set of alliances and relationships that the U.S. needs to cultivate in the new century. In fact, there is no place where it will be more urgent to rebuild bridges. As Obama knows, the United States cannot do it alone—and Europe will need to play a supporting role in whatever strategy the next president articulates.
    It is encouraging that Obama has several times displayed what his campaign calls independence, expressing his disapproval of the Iraq war in particular. But disapproving Iraq is not exactly independence—it is more or less the standard line on the left, and quite different from developing a nuanced third position, which was Kennedy’s strength in the 1950s, as he steered between the hand-wringing of Stevenson liberals and the mindless conservatism of many Democrats and Republicans on the right. It’s true that Obama threatened to bomb Pakistan, a position that most people on the left would find scary—but that is not the kind of measured solution, tough but practical, that most of us associate with JFK. In fact, it is a rather extraordinary lurch to the right, like an involuntary tic, that most on the right would actually disavow. It is difficult to see how a bombing run over Pakistan would do anything to help anyone except the very people it was designed to punish.
    In an editorial supporting Obama, the Boston Globe called attention to his “intuitive sense of the wider world.” But “intuition” would have seemed a silly quality to JFK, a realist even among the realists of his day. He and the other veterans he had served with were tired of inflated promises and wanted a world that would live up to the sacrifice they had already made for it. Like Kennedy, Obama certainly has a capacity to learn, and learn quickly. But there are qualities that cannot be gleaned from briefing books, even by the quickest study—independence of judgment, calm determination, and the deep knowledge of all possibilities that comes from years of experience in the trenches. To his credit, Obama has not personally cited intuition as a reason to vote for him, but the campaign profited enormously from the Globe endorsement, and has tolerated a certain vagueness about his background and intentions that now needs to be clarified.
    In fact, no modern politician has trafficked more in “intuition” than President Bush, who trumpeted his “instincts” to an incredulous Joe Biden as his justification for invading Iraq, and famously claimed to see into the soul of Vladimir Putin. To run entirely on intuition and the negation of experience can work, and did in 2000. But to do so while wearing the deeply realist mantle of John F. Kennedy is to spin a garment of such fine cloth that it is completely invisible.
    Ted Widmer, Director of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, is a Senior Research Fellow at the New America America Foundation, and was a foreign policy speechwriter for President Clinton (1997-2000). His next book, Ark of the Liberties: America and the World, will be published this summer.

    Reply

  13. Kathleen says:

    I think Ted Sorenson is Obama’s campaign brain.

    Reply

  14. Richard Giragosian says:

    Steve- well done on highlighting Karen Kornbluh’s skills and insightful help to Senator Obama– she brings real depth to the Obama camp, and combined with her refreshing modesty, in itself a rare commodity these days, she realy adds something……

    Reply

  15. Linda says:

    POA,
    I did LOL at your post about 9/11 though there is nothing funny about it. Why? Because I was in CA and experience it exactly as you did, fell asleep with TV on and actually without my glasses could see that it was picture of one of the twin towers–a bit fuzzy but–went back to sleep for a few minutes–looked again–a few more–and then realized this was strange–woke up, put on glasses, and watched the second plane hit the second tower a few minutes later. I was pretty sure from the start that either we were being attacked or some airline pilot had gone bonkers enough to commit suicide in a really ugly way.
    You and I really don’t disagree that much–just have perhaps different personalities and worldviews–or maybe you are entirely different in person. I don’t know. I’d probably ask you this off-line if you weren’t so secretive about contact information. And it probably makes no sense to ask at all, but I wouldn’t stay living in US if I thought as you do. And others followed by saying perhaps Canada and all countries are the same. Everything from JFK assassination on can be kept alive forever as a conspiracy theory.
    Anyhow everybody remembers and shares certain events like that—and I wss just amused that you experienced 9/11 the same way I did.

    Reply

  16. DonS says:

    911 is a little off topic here I guess and, although I have my own little personal corner of thoughts I’ll save it.
    But on the question of conspiracy or, more gently, the trustworthiness of the government under the neocon/Bush/Cheney regime, prior to 911 would I have seriously had such thoughts?
    But after 911, has not every utterance, action and threat of the U.S. government served to reinforce the logical thought that there are no limits to the regimes nefarious reach, whether out of plan or paranoia, or both.
    To where, a mental midget like a William Kristol can blithely be a stalking horse saying provocative things all the time, like we should bomb Iran, basically, just because we can; and receive head nods and koduos for the effort. And where the so-called opposition can’t even, 6 years later, call a halt to a Kyl-Lieberman? FISA. Patriot Act; undermine career DOJ; torture, whenever you can; on and on. The list of ignominous failures of checks and balances to the regime’s overreaching is endless and almost without counter.
    Did I think any of this was possible before 911? Not so much. Do I think anything is now possible?
    _____ yes ____no

    Reply

  17. DonS says:

    and then there is this, on surveillance:
    http://tinyurl.com/2hzcp

    Reply

  18. Carroll says:

    Hey POA….
    Just go somewhere and call Steve from a pay phone.

    Reply

  19. arthurdecco says:

    ..or Californians! LOL!

    Reply

  20. arthurdecco says:

    POA, I thank you for your heartfelt response to my “what the hell is going on in the world? arrrrrghhhh!!!!” post. You continue to impress me with your sensitivity and Yankee pragmatism – two attributes not normally found in politicians or propagandists.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Arthur…………
    I awoke early on 9/11 to an active TV set I had fallen asleep watching, and saw, live, the very beginnings of the event. Even the news crews were unsure of what had happened, and were conjecturing that it was a small pleasure plane that had hit the first tower. From that point on I watched the event unfold live. When the first tower collapsed into itself, straight down, I remember screaming at my TV set, with tears in my eyes, “What the fuck just happened there????” I suspected, at that instant, that I was witnessing a deception. A lie. When the second tower went down, in the same manner, I knew in the deepest recesses of my soul that I had viewed an impossibility, two collapses that could not have happened by accident or coincidence, but could only have occurred by careful planning and design.
    We are a nation in shock, still. We refuse to recognize the utter and complete unfeasability of the twin occurrences, and try with all our might to accept the ridiculous explanations that we have been spoon fed by people we KNOW to be liars, neo-con fanatics, and fear mongering megalomaniacs. Good lord man, we even have Chertoff’s nephew writing asinine and psuedo-technological pablum in Popular Mechanics, designed to hoodwink the Bubba segment of our population into spreading the fairy tale of 19 inept and amateur Islamic religious fanatics that managed to fool the CIA, the Mossad, the FBI, the NSA, the ISI, NORAD, the INS, the FAA, and a myriad of other intelligence agencies, both domestic and international.
    Do I fear what can happen if I get too loud, too exposed, too adept at opening the eyes of my neighbor’s, my associates, my family and my fellow citizens??? Do I believe there is a point where they WILL act to shut up the growing number of citizens that are recovering from their shock only to discover that the gnawing feeling in our gut is only common sense telling us that what we have been told simply CANNOT BE TRUE??? You bet. THIS American is no longer in denial. THIS American is no longer willing to substitute his common sense with the fear that this Administration has used to make cowering idiots of us.
    Look, I don’t know what happened on 9/11. But I know that what we have been told is absolute horseshit that defies all logic and common sense.
    So, from there we have to work our way to the present, to the here and now that has me living in a country that I don’t even recognize. A country that I never imagined we would become. Torture, renditions, wars based on lies, zero accountability for our “elected” officials, vote fraud hearings consigned to basement closets, illegal wiretapping, a mewling chickenshit perjuring little pissant masquerading as an AG as he completely perverts the rule of law and our system of justice, all the time with his head six miles up our president’s ass.
    I’m ashamed, man. Ashamed of my own country.
    And scared for us? Yeah, that too. Do I think my own government would illegally spy on us? Yep. Work to shut us up? Yep. Kill a few thousand more of us with ANOTHER false flag terrorist attack to “get us back in line”? Yep. Nuke a country premptively? Yep. Throw my kid’s life away in an immoral, illegal and falsely justified war? Yep. Declare American citizens a “threat” and jail them without due process, representation, or legal judicial oversight? Yep.
    So, I guess thats a longwinded way of saying there ain’t no way I am going get on a blog like this one, call our President and Vice President “treasonous lying pieces of shit”, then use my cell phone or landline to call Washington DC and talk to some Washington insider that was instrumental in helping stuff a pink slip up Bolton’s ass. Something tells me they don’t like Steve much, and they wish citizens like me would just shut the fuck up, pay our taxes, and bend over for the next reaming.

    Reply

  22. arthurdecco says:

    DonS said: “AD, I think you live in Canada. I spend a lot of time there. It is definitely not the U.S.”
    DonS, I DO live in Canada. But don’t forget it’s not just Americans who are threatened by this draconian invasion of privacy by Government in collusion with our self-interested communications industries. This is a world-wide phenomena just now. It may have been inspired by the United States Executive, Congressional and Judicial branches’ assaults on personal liberties but it’s certainly not controlled by it. …Not any more…
    All of us are threatened. Everywhere. No matter where we live on this earth.
    Such is the power of those who care nothing for us or our children.
    So…am I a “conspiracy theorist” for thinking so?
    …I don’t think so.

    Reply

  23. Linda says:

    Peter,
    Thanks so much for the information on Cutler. Omigod, he has an advisor who favors Social Security privatization. I don’t like that at all, but maybe it’s not bad to have a variety of points of view among advisors.
    I’m not at all good at putting links into this format,but people can check out Cutler at Harvard website. Also there was an article about him in the NY Time Times Sunday Magazine 3/13/05 that I can’t recall having read. I haven’t read it yet–just kinda skimmed and looked at his resume. He is definitely very smart and in with all the stuff everybody is looking at. I’m sure all the Democrats have advisors with similar backgrounds and experience. A lot of the ideas in all the Democrats plans really are much the same.
    My opinions and prejudices are my own regarding economists and even economics. I don’t think it deserves a Nobel Prize and is really no more scientific than other social sciences–and can just kinda overwhelm people because they use numbers–and often a lot of measures and things they make up (not out of thin air) but to create frictionless systems. They ought to be able to explain clearly to anyone commenting here what they really are up to in terms non-economists can understand. A lot of them don’t like to do that or can’t. I don’t know, of course, what kind I think Cutler is.
    On the other hand, my prof, Wilbur Cohen, was an economist with only a master’s degree who happened to be very young grad student at U of WI when progressive economists there were writing Social Security Act in 1935,and he went right to DC after that to be one of the first employees setting up Social Security, later headed all the research done in SS, and wrote most of the amendments to SS Act. When Eisenhower was elected in 1952, they asked him to stay on a couple of years because no Republicans knew much about Social Security. He was a very practical politician and person. He always said that Medicare would start failing in 25-30 years around 1985-90—and then we’d be ready for single payer universal care. But in 1987 just before he died, he predicted that it probably would be another five years beyond that. Anyhow he was my mentor and friend. And those of you who are in DC might note that down the House side of the Hill just after the Hubert Humphrey Building is the Wilbur Cohen Building now VOA but was the HEW headquarters in 1960s. When I visit DC, I always go into the lobby and ask the guard at the desk if he knows who Wilbur Cohen was. The guard desk is right next to the plaque on the wall that says who Wilbur was. The guard never knows. So now you all do.
    BTW, Paul Krugman isn’t the only lovable accessible economist around–I also like Galbraith at University of TX and Steiglitz.
    The first paragraph of the NY Times magazine article on Cutler is a bit much about his being flown down from Harvard to DC at age 28 to help Magaziner and Hillary with Hillary’s plan. There were a number of working groups in secret, and a lot of people working on the plans. Indeed, my daughter whose brain is as good as her ears was only 26 and flown up from CDC to work on public health aspects of the plan. I can’t recall if Laurie Rubiner started her career in health policy then at the same time. And there were dozens and dozens of others who have working on Clinton’s health plan on their resumes. They all around around 39 to mid-40s. I think that’s very cool. It’s their turn to give it a try.
    Bill Clinton had a lot more executive experience than Obama, but it was a very bad decision to have Hillary and Ira Magaziner head health care reform as neither of them had a bit of experience or background. It was politically stupid as it alienated people in health care and was insulting to them. I know a lot of very intelligent people, but the ones I like have a bit of humiilty and realize that they can’t possibly learn an entire field that large overnight. I really hadn’t thought of this before, but if Hillary had good judgment, she should have turned down that offer from Bill.
    Sorry to go on so long, but perhaps it’s useful for people in other fields to know how upset people were about that whole project and the opportunity that was missed. And I was sure from day one that all the Monica stuff was true and spent many evenings/parties being the only one among many friends who all those months were sure that it was a right-wing conspiracy. I thought he should have resigned in summer 1998 and let Gore be President. If that had happened, I think Gore would have won in 2000….and…

    Reply

  24. TruthSeeker says:

    Thanks for taking us behind the scenes Steve! As usual, you always seem to have insight that we simply do not/ cannot get elsewhere…

    Reply

  25. DonS says:

    AD, I think you live in Canada. I spend a lot of time there. It is definitely not the U.S.
    I don’t know about the technological aspects of the tracing POA alludes to, but I do say that the scenario has crossed my mind.
    We, or many of us, or let me say I, am not quite sure whether we have entered the madhouse for real, or are simply canaries in the mine in the sense of fearing a repeat of the fascist arising in other countries.
    I write that with more sadness than fear.

    Reply

  26. arthurdecco says:

    POA wrote: “Steve….Just call me paranoid, but there is no way that I am going to put my traceable cell number, or my landline, out for scrutiny by whomever is monitoring this site. Feel free to email me, as that form of communication seems to have served us well, thus far.”
    I apologize for this off-topic post, BUT
    What kind of a MADHOUSE are we all living in when a person as obviously intelligent, curious, perceptive, informed, fair-minded and eloquent as Pissed Off American can type such a post? …AND MEAN IT!!!?! (Asked and exclaimed with angst, anger and a helpless sense of futility, even inevitability staining and stalking every syllable!)
    I’m flummoxed.

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    Posted by Linda at January 7, 2008 04:46 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Excellent points from the inside of the problem.
    My ideal would be a return to the non profit Blues.
    The problem I see with doing something just to get a little something done in health care though is that once done it’s hard to change..the creep and change tends to be all of the side of the profiteers, not the public.
    If Soros and some of the CEO do gooders want prove their executive talent let them start up some not for profit insurers…the country would appreciate it. They could call it the Humane Society for Humans…LOL

    Reply

  28. Peter H says:

    Linda,
    Obama’s advisor on health care is David Cutler, a professor at Harvard. He’s argued that health-care cost inflation is not a problem, which is something I very strongly disagree with.
    Actually, I’m really not happy with Obama’s economic team. I’m not familar with Kornbluh, but Austan Goolsbee has written columns in the New York Times defending subprime lending. Another advisor, Jeffey Liebman, is a supporter of Social Security privatization, (see here for more details):
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/why-i-get-mad-at-obama-about-social-security/#comment-10149
    On economic issues, Edwards’ advisors are a lot more progressive.

    Reply

  29. pauline says:

    To all —
    With the dem candidates all talking about what they’d do if an American city becomes the victim of a nuclear attack, maybe it’s time to start locally and get everyone from small town mayors to firemen to police officers and emt workers to city council members, park district workers, road repair crews and delivery persons aware of this most evil act. Have them sign the simple pledge.
    Getting signatures may raise their consciousness of THIS 2008 danger so the evil plunderers hiding in our federal government, or their evil cabal hiding in this country (whoever and wherever they are) may not prevail.
    “I love the United States of America and the American people.”
    “I therefore pledge to protect the American people and the Constitution.”
    “I also pledge that I will not carry out a false flag attack, help others to carry out a false flag attack, and that I will do everything lawful within my power to stop others from conducting a false flag attack.”

    Reply

  30. easy e says:

    RE: SIBEL EDMONDS
    Interesting comment by indy media reporter, Henk Ruyssenaars, on irony of Rupert Murdoch paper carrying story about Edmonds. Smoke and mirrors, or something’s rotten in denmark…….Perhaps Steve knows more he wants to share directly with POA. Others in TWN community, including me, would also like to know.
    “My problem with this article is, that it is published in The Sunday Times, which is one of the worst war advocate and profiteer Murdoch’s propaganda papers. ‘The Sunday Times’ and propaganda-media owner Rupert Murdoch, have for as long as is known cooperated with the CIA/Mossad, the UK’s MI5 and MI6 and the rest of the spooks.
    Murdoch’s papers write about the 9/11 massacre, but still – contrary to the truth – stick to the official US/UK version and brainwashing: Osama’s bin Laden’s ragheads did it.
    Nothing in those pro-war papers gets published – and certainly not this kind of ‘information’ in those outlets – that isn’t aimed at certain groups. If you check the source, you’ll see that Murdoch is a disinformation pest for mankind.
    So, I’m inclined to say that @S. Balu is quite correct, in seeing the item as ‘CIA/Mossad propaganda’.
    In reality it was as Tony S. writes: “The CIA pressed Dutch govt. not to interfear, (this must be a Freudian slip… -HR) claiming they were after more suspects surrounding Khan.
    That’s how he got away with the stolen nuclear secrets. This was publicly stated by Ruud Lubbers, former Dutch Prime Minister a couple of years ago.”
    And Lubbers – who also was the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – stated clearly that the CIA and its managers are guilty of nuclear proliferation. – Url.: http://tinyurl.com/38pj2a
    Now: we know that Sibel Edmunds has a unique ‘gag order’ as ‘The Sunday Times’ in this article describes. And that this ‘gag order’ is global and until further notice by the US/UK junta’s henchmen: “The US attorney-general has imposed a state secrets privilege order on her, which prevents her revealing more details of the FBI?s methods and current investigations.”
    So it’s logical to ask why Sibel Edmunds now is published worldwide, and – the gag order doesn’t count here – is allowed to be quoted by Murdoch’s paper and read by everybody?
    Why, who and on what level was ‘permission’ given for this in the US and decided to publish this about the nuke proliferation?
    Concerning Sibel Edmunds, the use which is made of her and to what she now is said to have heard and seen: ”Her story shows just how much the West was infiltrated by foreign states seeking nuclear secrets. It illustrates how western government officials turned a blind eye to, or were even helping, countries such as Pakistan acquire bomb technology.
    The wider nuclear network has been monitored for many years by a joint Anglo-American intelligence effort. But rather than shut it down, investigations by law enforcement bodies such as the FBI and Britain?s Revenue & Customs have been aborted to preserve diplomatic relations.” [end excerpt]
    According to this not to be trusted article: “Khan was close to Ahmad and the ISI. While running Pakistan?s nuclear programme, he became a millionaire by selling atomic secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea.”
    Meaning: whom can we blame for the next – probably nuclear – ‘false flag’ operation? Those “infiltrated foreign states seeking nuclear secrets”?
    We all know that the Pakistani ‘spooky thugs’ from ISI, are the ‘little brothers’ of the CIA/Mossad, trained and many times paid by them, and get most of their orders from them. There are small rogue groups too, and those are not only dangerous but can be used to set up ‘black ops’.
    So the one to blame – like the stop of the Dakar rally – http://tinyurl.com/3e3pvn – is again the fictitious ‘al Qaeda’ and the dead Osama bin Laden, just referring to the timeline here:
    “2001 – Weeks before 9/11, Khan?s aides meet Osama Bin Laden to discuss an Al-Qaeda nuclear device.”
    The drumbeat in the major media now will be: and the rogue states got ‘m!
    Original article in Murdoch’s propaganda paper ‘The Sunday Times’ – Url.: http://tinyurl.com/2s2key
    This is a world of smoke and mirrors, but, as the old Sahrahoui said:
    “Never drink from a well you don’t know.” ”
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19006.htm and http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19015.htm
    *****

    Reply

  31. Linda says:

    Medicare only pays part of coverage, and everybody has to buy supplemental plans that are offered by private insurers. Unforunately nobody did anything in the Reagan 1980s when all the nonprofit Blues went for profit. At the same time and continuing to the present, many hospitals including nonprofit university hospitals were sold to big for profit chains as were the nonprofit visiting nurse associations. Nursing homes always were bad because the majority of them were always for profit.
    And commmunity rating to spread the risk became a thing of the past. And you saw “cherry picking” that I first experienced in 1976 as my physician ex-husband had our daughter on his insurance policy. She had had ear tubes put in the year before. It think most of you know that kids that age have a lot of ear infections and need ear tubes because it is something that is out grown–very common and cheap procedure. When he switched from NY Life to CA Blue policy, there was a strange rider. In 1973 in his mid-30s he’d passed a kidney stone and also had one in his late teens. He wasn’t exluded for anything. Our daughter was excluded for all care related to her ears forever. We had never seen anything like this before. It so happened that her father was a child neurologist at a major teaching hospital, and the ear tubes were put in my the chief of ENT there who had never seen anything like that either. So there were a lot of phone calls, letter-writing, and negotiating to get them to agree to cover her ears if she had no problems for three years. She didn’t and hasn’t to this day nor has she ever been hospitalized except for child birth. It took another 5-10 years before we understood why that happened when it started to happen more and more. It has become the equivalent of only offering car insurance to people who don’t have cars.
    BTW, to take the Blues nonprofit, the for-profits made the executives millionnaires, and the states let them off by setting up nonprofit research foundations–several of the biggest in CA, for example. The irony is that now mostly what those research foundations do is study why people are uninsured. It is a bit surreal.
    Furthermore, some of those companies have ties to AARP that proposed and supported Medicare Part D and are marketed as AARP approved. United Health whose CEO just was involved in scandals is the biggest of them.
    It used to be that one couldn’t advertise prescription drugs on TV directly to the public because it wasn’t good enough just to tell physicians about them and wine and dine them in the process. But we obviously were pharmaceutically illiterate and needed to be educated to ask our physicians for the latest new medications. And they had a right to free speech on our airwaves. And don’t you all enjoy those ads and all the side effects lists? Take away the ad money, and the TV networks would suffer. We wouldn’t want that, would we? And maybe put all those millions of dollars into developing new medications.
    Also wisely built into Medicare reimbursement rates were formulas to give extra to teaching hospitals and university hospitals because they treated more poor people, more complex cases, and also had teaching costs–but this provided a service. At the start Medicare paid better than private insurance–but over the years those supplements vanished. So some teaching hospitals sold their hospitals to for-profit organizations, etc. And medical researchers started to be corrupted by being funded by drug companies. And medical schools had to own patents.
    It wasn’t that way 30 years ago or 40 years ago. Belding Scribner at U of Washington around 1960 invented the Scriner shunt that made chronic hemodialysis first possible. He didn’t make money from that. That isn’t the way the medical system used to be. And the changes directly correlate with Reaganomics.
    I was yelling and screaming inside the system and saw my colleagues either sell out, burn out, or get out by retiring early, etc. I might agree with Michael Moore and Dennis Kuchinich and doubt that my outrage is lesser than any of you. But saying, “Let’s get rid of the private insurers” is easy–doing it at this point is about like putting toothpaste back in the tube.
    Obama’s plan will start fixing a few things in that there will probably be an open season once a year when the companies can send you information, but otherwise they can’t advertise or bother you. There can and should be strict penalties like being kicked out of the program for having agents lie to people, etc. And people might have to wait six weeks for a purely elective surgical procedure. Nobody dies from that.
    But any Democratic plan is going to be complex and a battle to get through Congress, but will be an improvement. I hope nobody thinks they will see one operating in 2010. It’s going to take time to prepare for and do any of them well.
    That’s mainly why I was sorry I voted for Clinton by 1994. It was stupid and arrogant to think that Hillary and Ira Magaziner were at all qualified to develop a plan–and then they had select panels working in secrecy so that people in the health care community didn’t even know what was happening. I happened to work someplace where our consultant was on one of those inside panels so we knew what was happening. I would trust Edwards and Obama to be more open and listen to all good ideas and even change their minds and plans if a better idea emerged. Hillary will never get a do-over from me. The result of that Clinton blunder clearly then was a delay of 15-20 years in getting health care reform.

    Reply

  32. ... says:

    did something happen whereby the last thread with comments is now unavailable to read??

    Reply

  33. Carroll says:

    Posted by Linda at January 7, 2008 02:48 PM
    >>>>>>>>
    From what I understand, correct me if I am wrong, the government employee plans are still plans offered by “For Profit” Insurers…therefore we taxpayers will be subsidzing the “For Profit” insurance industry.
    I much prefer Edwards plan for extending Medicare or creating a version of it. It is a bigger pool than the govnment employees, already exist, would get off the ground the fastest, has a 2% operating cost, and it is “Non Profit” meaning my tax dollar subsidies would not be going into CEO pay or stockholder profits and would go mainly toward actual health care.
    This is not a good plan, neither is Hillary’s which is basically the same.
    This is a plan made by the insurers to keep health care in the For Profit sector and Obama and Hillary went for it in exchange for that famous campa$gn support. That’s how politican middlemen sell you the goods..tell you the sweater was handmade in Scotland just for you when it was actually knitted in an office on K-Street for the insurers.

    Reply

  34. Linda says:

    Several above have questioned Obama’s health plan that actually is the strongest of all the Democrats. I don’t want to get too wonky, but 50 year ago my grad school advisor was main health advisor to JFK campaign, served in his administration and as Secretary of HEW in LBJ administration and wrote original Medicare legislation. (I might add that he would never have written a mess like Mediare Part D.) And I’ve had a lot of experience since then.
    Everybody keeps employer-based health insurance for those who already have it. Then Obama’s brilliant plan is to put everybody else in the federal employees’ system that has many options but set packages–easier to compare costs/plans, etc. This is as close to single payer as one can get realistically. It’s the simplest thing to do, and would create the biggest pool that would spread and lower costs. The feds would have great negotiating power to get lower premium rates, etc. It’s probably the only plan that could get off the ground quickly–say by 2012. All the plans of the candidates are long and detailed on other stuff but don’t differ much.
    So you are going to ask about mandates next as that is the main difference. Remember that mandates are just starting in MA and proposed in CA so we don’t know how they will really work. But here’s the thinking, mandates or just making plan affordable both get more people insured for first few years. Obama does mandate coverage for children as they are too young to choose, and this can be enforced through the schools just like immunizations are.
    But do mandates really work, and how can they be enforced for tens of millions of people? If they worked, none of us would have to pay for uninsured motorists coverage for auto insurance.
    Mitt Romney gave a great idiotic answer to what he’d do about someone who didn’t get mandated coverage and ended up in the ER. Romney said that they’d have to pay the cost, like $1000 for a procedure. He obviously hasn’t visited an ER lately if he thinks even a simple visit is that cheap. The problem is that it would be inhumane to let the person bleed to death or whatever. So part of the social contract is that we all pay a little more so that won’t happen. Some of those people will be reckless or stupid or drug addicts or psychotic. But probably if care were available, we might be able to reduce the numbers of the latter two categories. I don’t think we want a society where any of those are death penalties. And right now a lot of people who would buy health insurance if they could get it are sentenced to die because they don’t have it.
    Does anybody know who is advising Obama on health policy? I’ve been trying to find out to no avail. But it’s the best plan I’ve seen. I happen to favor totally socialistic single payer universal coverage, but that’s about a realistically and politically possible as having Dennis Kuchinich get the nomination.
    So far it’s only the other candidates I’ve heard saying Obama has the worst plan.

    Reply

  35. Carroll says:

    What does Obama judge “right” is my question?
    I am suppose to trust Obama or any of the rest to do the “right” thing by me and my country when they won’t even condemn or speak out against the international crimes, the collective punishment, the deliberate starvation of people, the one millon cluster bombs dropped in civilian areas,the 435 children killed in Israeli land grabs, in the Israeli actions they are forcing the US and all of us to support?
    No moral or fair minded person who has watched what has gone on in Isr-Pal can possibily believe this is “right”.
    I can’t handle this kind of ludicrous hypocrisy.
    If you can buy off a politican on this most corrupt, despicable, longest running injustice the US has ever enabled you can buy them off on anything.

    Reply

  36. pauline says:

    Brad Friedman on Sibel Edmunds back in March, 2006.
    She’s fought her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the very same day that the facade cracked on the front of the building and a chunk of marble — just above an allegorical statue representing “Order” and just below the words “Equal Justice” — came crashing to the ground. The highest court in the land refused to hear her case.
    Along the way, the Dept. of Justice has done everything in their power (and then some) to keep her quiet. They invoked the rarely used “State Secrets Privilege” to shut her up — going so far as to use it, without explanation, to remove her and her own attorneys from the courtroom when arguing their case against her.
    In at least two unclassified Senate briefings, FBI officials confirmed the validity of her reports, but the information from those briefings was then retroactively classified by the DoJ — which served to gag the Congress from further investigation on the matter. The DoJ even retroactively classified a 60 Minutes profile on her — after it had already aired!
    All of that, even after the DoJ’s own Inspector General’s report found Sibel Edmonds’ allegations to be “credible” and “serious” and “warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI.” The unclassified version of that report was only released by the DoJ after prodding from Congressional members and the 9/11 Commission.
    Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Members Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Pat Leahy (D-VT) both publicly support her case and would like to allow the Congress and the American public to hear more.
    Want to know what it is that she knows? What it is that she feels we the people ought to know about? And what it is that has led her to form the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition to support other patriots like herself who are trying to expose crimes and corruption from within our own government? We do. And we hope you do too.
    Therefore, The BRAD BLOG is pleased to support a new petition calling on Congress to hold a joint Senate and House Judiciary Committee investigation, with open hearings into all of these matters.
    Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. You all remember that, right? Let’s make this happen. Please sign her petition right now.
    And please spread the word to other blogs and bloggers (and perhaps even the MSM may want to get in on the act — it is their country too, after all), and ask them to do the same. This one’s important.
    We’ve reported over the last few months about various aspects of Edmonds’ case. However, for those unfamiliar with the larger pictures of Edmonds’ allegations and what she would like to testify about before the Congress and the American people — all based on what she heard and saw first-hand while working as an FBI translator just after 9/11 — please see the following bullet point summary of just a few of her explosive whistleblowing allegations…
    9/11 Related:
    Information omitted and covered-up regarding documented and confirmed case of a long-term FBI Informant & Asset who provided the FBI with specific information and warnings in April & June 2001 regarding 9/11 terrorist attacks.
    Information omitted & covered up regarding documented information in the possession of the FBI in July 2001 regarding blue prints and building composite information of Sky Scrapers being sent to certain groups in the Middle East by certain Middle-Eastern suspects in the State of Nevada.
    Information omitted & covered up regarding arrangements made between the State Department and certain countries to deport certain Middle-Eastern and Central Asian detainees from jails in New Jersey & New York off the record and without having them interrogated in November 2001. (Documents related to these suspects were forged at the FBI).
    Information omitted & covered up regarding nuclear related information illegally obtained by certain foreign entities and US persons (government officials) from several US labs being sold to a certain Middle-Eastern group in the United States in 1998-2000. The operation involved individuals with Diplomatic cover, foreign Ph.D. students, and US employees.
    Information omitted & covered up regarding money laundering & narcotics operations, some of which involved entities from the Middle East and the Balkans, in several US cities.
    Information omitted & covered up regarding certain Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI)-related activities linked to the 9/11 attacks between August & October 2001.
    Certain terrorist related Counterintelligence/FISA information & investigations were prevented from being transferred to counterterrorism & criminal division by the Department of State and the Pentagon; “preserving sensitive diplomatic relations” and “protecting certain US foreign business relations (mainly involving weapons procurement)” were cited as reasons.
    Intentional mistranslation & blocking of foreign language intelligence of FBI counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigations.
    Penetration of FBI, Department of State and Department of Defense:
    Melek Can Dickerson: FBI; formerly employed by the American Turkish Council (ATC) and American Turkish Association (ATA).
    Major Douglas Dickerson: Air Force, DIA; formerly worked with the American Turkish Council (ATC), had on going relationship with International Advisors Inc (IAI) principles who worked as lobbying arms for certain foreign nations and foreign non-state entities (some of whom were engaged in illegal activities in the United States and against US interests and national Security.)
    Cases reported by John M. Cole, Veteran FBI Counterintelligence Operations Manager, to the DOJ-IG & Congress involving Hadiya Roberts (ISI-Pakistan), and several other individuals.
    Documented cases under FBI counterintelligence surveillance between 1997 and 2002, involving US government officials from the Department of State, DOD, and certain elected officials who were recipients of regular payments made by state and non-state foreign entities, some involved in criminal operations against US interests & national security. These cases were prevented from being transferred to actionable criminal and/or counterterrorism divisions/investigations.
    A reported case of penetration of FBI New York Field Office by an Iranian rouge agent.
    Corruption & illegal activities involving US persons:
    Illegal payments to several elected officials in Congress; on going (1997-2002).
    Joint illegal activities between certain foreign agents (state & non-state) and US lobbying firms, government officials (Pentagon and the Department of State) and several elected officials. These activities include obtaining and passing highly classified and sensitive DOD documents & bribery and/or coercion of US individuals.
    Nuclear black market related activities carried out by certain foreign groups/lobbying firms/businesses/individuals & US persons (former & current US government employees and officials).
    FBI: incompetence:
    (Refer to DOJ-IG report confirming all & more)
    Hiring unqualified translators based on nepotism & cronyism, some of these translators did not even pass elementary English proficiency tests; some were granted Top Secret Clearance despite their highly questionable background.
    Language specialists charging the United States government for hours not worked and/or services not rendered (Fraudulent invoices, etc.)
    …much more; please refer to the DOJ-IG Report
    Convinced yet that we need to hear from her?
    see —
    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=2498

    Reply

  37. triplehanger says:

    Steve,
    When POA calls you, don’t forget to ask him what colour bathrobe he’s wearing today.

    Reply

  38. gq says:

    If Obama did what is right, not what is expedient, why is his health care proposal the weakest of all the candidates? In fact, his advisors have said that he got rid of mandates because he didn’t think it was feasible.
    Then again, was it “right” not to call any hearings for the subcommittee he chairs. Isn’t that an indication of how he would go about managing the gathering of information? That to me says much more than some self-interested advisor. Hillary is well known to actively seek out as much information as possible. I don’t get that sense from Obama. After all, even Bush probably did what he thought was right, based on his small circle of advisors.

    Reply

  39. whskyjack says:

    susan at 12:41
    Call me cynical but I bet they have all put in their resumes for a job too.
    Jack

    Reply

  40. susan says:

    National Security Experts Endorsing Obama Today
    1. Clifford Alexander, former Secretary of the Army
    2. Ambassador Jeffrey Bader, Former Assistant US Trade Representative for Asia; Ambassador to Namibia
    3. Professor Henri Barkey, Lehigh University, former member, State Dept. Policy Planning
    4. Mr. Tom Bernstein, Human Rights Expert
    5. Ambassador David Birenbaum, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. for Management and Reform
    6. Dr. Esther Brimmer, former staff member State Department Policy Planning
    7. Mr. Art Brown, former National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and Chief of CIA’s East Asian Operations Division
    8. Dr. Mark Brzezinski, former Director, European Affairs, National Security Council
    9. Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser under President Carter
    10. Rep. Brad Carson, former Member of Congress; Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense
    11. Dr. Joseph Cirincione, Author and Nonproliferation Expert
    12. Ms. Bonnie Cohen, former Undersecretary of State for Management
    13. Mr. Greg Craig, former Assistant to the President and Director of Policy Planning, State Department
    14. Dr. Ivo Daalder, former Director, European Affairs, National Security Council
    15. General (ret.) Tom Daniels, Texas Air National Guard
    16. Mr. Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy
    17. Senator Tom Daschle, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader
    18. Ambassador Alice Dear, former U.S. Executive Director, African Development Bank
    19. Mr. Michael Froman, Chief of Staff, Department of Treasury; Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dept. of Treasury; National Security Council Staff Member
    20. Mr. Tony Gambino, former Mission Director, USAID, Democratic Republic of the Congo
    21. Dr. Tobi Gati, former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research; Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasian Affairs, National Security Council
    22. Ambassador Robert Gelbard, former Presidential Envoy for the Balkans; Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement; Ambassador to Indonesia; Ambassador to Bolivia
    23. Dr. Matthew Goodman, Former Director for Asian Affairs, National Security Council
    24. Dr. Philip Gordon, former Director, European Affairs, National Security Council
    25. Dr. Scott Gould, former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Management
    26. General (ret.) Scott Gration, former Director for Strategy, Policy and Planning, U.S. European Command
    27. Adm. Don Guter, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy
    28. General (ret.) Richard Hearney, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps
    29. Mr. Eric Holder, former Deputy Attorney General
    30. Mr. John Holum, Former Director of ACDA and Undersecretary State for Arms Control and International Security
    31. Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Mali and Madagascar, Chief of Mission to Cuba and Ethiopia
    32. Admiral (ret.) John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy
    33. Mr. Jeh Johnson, former General Counsel, U.S. Air Force
    34. Mr. Brian Katulis, Author and Middle East expert
    35. Mr. Noel Koch, former Special Assistant to President Nixon; former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
    36. Mr. Larry Korb, Assistant Secretary of Defense
    37. Mr. Anthony Lake, former National Security Adviser to President Bill Clinton
    38. Mr. David Lipton, former Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs
    39. Mr. Robert Litt, former Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General; US Attorney
    40. Mr. Jan Lodal, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense
    41. Mr. Frank Loy, former Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs
    42. General (ret.) Lester L. Lyles, former Vice Chief of Staff USAF 1999-2000
    43. Governor Raymond Mabus, former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Governor of Mississippi
    44. Dr. Michael McFaul, Professor, Political Science, Stanford University
    45. General Tony McPeak, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force
    46. The Honorable Abner Mikva, former White House Counsel under President Clinton; Chief Judge, DC Court of Appeals, Member of Congress (D-Ill)
    47. Ambassador Donald McHenry, former US Permanent Representative to the United Nations
    48. Ambassador Al Moses, former Ambassador to Romania
    49. Professor Michael Nacht, Dean, School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley
    50. Admiral (ret.) John Nathman, former Director of Navy Operations and Plans
    51. Prof. Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Department of Geosciences and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
    52. F. Whitten Peters, former Secretary of the Air Force
    53. Professor Samantha Power, Professor, Harvard University – Pulitzer Prize Winner
    54. Ambassador Nick Rey, former Ambassador to Poland
    55. Dr. Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; former Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council
    56. Prof. Riordan Roett, Director of Western Hemisphere Studies and the Latin American Studies Program, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University
    57. Dr. Barnett Rubin, Director of Studies and Senior Fellow, Center on International Cooperation, NY University
    58. Ambassador David Scheffer, former Ambassador at Large for War Crimes
    59. Dr. Witney Schneidman, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
    60. Ms. Sarah Sewell, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
    61. Mr. Dan Shapiro, former Director, National Security Council
    62. Representative Adam Smith, House Armed Services Committee, Chairman, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats, and Capabilities Subcommittee
    63. Ms. Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President, National Security Council
    64. General (ret.) James Smith, former Deputy Commander, Joint Warfare Center, US Joint Forces Command
    65. Ms. Tara Sonenshine, former Special Assistant to the President, National Security Council
    66. Mr. Theodore “Ted” Sorensen, former Special Counsel to President John F. Kennedy
    67. Ms. Mona Sutphen, former Special Assistant to the National Security Advisor
    68. Dr. Jim Vermillion, former Mission Director, USAID, Nicaragua
    69. Professor David Victor, Stanford Law School
    70. The Honorable Pat Wald, Chief Judge, DC Circuit, US Court of Appeals, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs, International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, Iraq Intelligence Commission
    71. Professor Celeste Wallender, Georgetown University
    72. Senator Harris Wofford, former CEO Corporation for National Service (Americorps), United States Senator
    73. Representative/Dr. Howard Wolpe, Former Member of Congress and Presidential Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa
    http://tinyurl.com/yq788h

    Reply

  41. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve….
    Just call me paranoid, but there is no way that I am going to put my traceable cell number, or my landline, out for scrutiny by whomever is monitoring this site. Feel free to email me, as that form of communication seems to have served us well, thus far.

    Reply

  42. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — if you have a chance, give me a quick call on my line, 202-986-2700. This is a public number so no need to hide it. But I want to mention something about the Sibel Edmonds story offline. best, steve

    Reply

  43. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Uh huh….
    “Barack listens to all of the options, hears them all, and then he does what is right — not just what is expedient or makes the most political sense.”
    Then perhaps she can explain why Obama commented that Bush has not committed grave and intentional bereeches of the President’s authority. If that isn’t pandering to “political expediency”, than I can’t imagine what is. And what the hell do you EXPECT Obama’s people to say to the master of a blog such as yours, where you reveal your conversations with campaign staff to the public? Surely you recognize that you are but one more venue through which campaign rhetoric is meted out to the public?
    If ANY of these mainstreanm candidates achieve office, we’re screwed. It is painfully obvious that, for whatever reason, they are willing to ignore treason and excessive Executive abuse of office, ignore their sworn duties, and continue this modern day “crusade” that is being vigorously pursued by both sides of the aisle.
    There is a missing link to all this….
    Motive.
    Just what the hell is going on behind the scenes that prompts SO MANY of our members of this government to stray so far from our ideals, our laws, their sworn duties, and the pursuit of accountability???? There is something we aren’t being told. When looking at the whole picture, the ONLY explanation that can be drawn is that these people are scared shitless. They’re terrified. But of what?

    Reply

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve. Its your blog. You choose the topics, you choose the issues, and you choose whether or not your essays are open to response and comment.
    I respect that, I personally like you, and I enjoy your blog.
    BUT….
    Steve….
    There is no issue, no event, no muttering from one of our pathetic cast of presidential hopefuls, that is as big a story, or as huge an issue, as what is transpiring in regards to Sibel Edmonds and the current efforts she is pursuing to make us all aware of the truth behind 9/11, the massive con job known as the GWOT, and the treason being committed at the highest levels of our government.
    We all can bury our heads in the sand and mutter “It can’t happen here”. We can ignore it, as you obviously have chosen to do. We can tune in to these inane and diversionary charades masquerading as “debates” on the screens of our corporate/governmentally controlled home theaters. We can even buy into the pure unadulterated horseshit these posturing frauds are feeding us about working in our best interests.
    But inside, in our guts, we can’t deny the gnawing feeling, (and I know you feel it too), that something is terribly and momentously WRONG, and that we are all in grave danger of whatever it is that is occuring behind the curtains in regards to 9/11, the neocon movement, and the unfolding events in the Middle East.
    Wake up, man.

    Reply

  45. DonS says:

    Sounds “good: listens to all the options and then does what is “right”.
    Therefore, can we look forward to hearing some more specifics on the major issues of the day, and what he thinks is right. Health care? Why not look at a single payer option? Are we simply to assume its just not “right” for America, or is rather a politically expedient assumption; don’t rock the boat.
    And as to foreign policy, when it comes to the AIPAC/neocon tail wagging the dog of our ME policy, does Obama just finesse the issue because no one will ask the right question? or because its just too hot [for any of the candidates] to touch?
    I don’t ask for detail on policy — that’s oviously not a presidential candidates meat. I do think its reasonable for someone with a broad vision to substantively address the major policy issues that have been stumbling blocks to a progressive America for decades.
    Or is it more “don’t ask/ don’t tell”, trust me, I’ve go a vision and the charisma? If Obama, and his bright staff, either identify the few crucial main issues and avoid some of the blindingly obvious factors to be addressed. what does that tell us? My guess, if he gets the Dem nod as the candidate, we will hear even fewer substantive policy distinctions when he is up against a Republican who will trade in massive generalities.

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  46. Dan Kervick says:

    Obama’s recent oratory is really no different in style or general substance than the oratory he has been producing since at least the Democratic convention in 2004. It’s just that the Iowa win finally gave him another national platform on which to perform a full speech before a national television audience.

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  47. Carroll says:

    “”A bus of politicians is driving down the road by a farm. The bus driver, caught up in the beautiful rural scenery, loses control and crashes into the ditch. The farmer comes out and finding the politicians, buries them.
    The next day, the police are at the farm questioning the man. “So you buried all the politicians?” asked the police officer. “Were they all dead?”
    The man answered, “Some said they weren’t, but you know how politicians lie.””
    The next bus that ran off the road was full of political advisors.

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  48. bellesouth says:

    Who is Obama’s brain? I know, I know! John Edwards! Whatever Edwards says, Obama repeats as his own idea — seriously!

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