Adam Howard

Dissent in Denver

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention demonstrators gathered in Denver. Some were calling for an end to the war in Iraq; others demanding more open debates. Their promise was to "Recreate '68," but a relatively small turnout and an intensive effort by the Democratic Party to keep protesters out of the media eye raised the question of the efficacy and meaning of protest at the 2008 DNC.

The Nation hit the streets to speak with demonstrators, exploring their goals for the convention and their thoughts on protest and dissent around the 2008 election. The Nation's Brett Story spoke with Cindy, an activist and writer from Vermont and Nick, a professor of Political Philosophy in New York along with other protesters from groups like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Alliance for Real Democracy, the Recreate '68 Alliance and the immigrant coalition the We Are America DNC Alliance.

Eliot Spitzer Linked to Yet Another Upscale Prostitution Ring

This entire report comes from the The Huffington Post

Today's NY Post links former New York governor Eliot Spitzer to Wicked Models, a high-priced prostitution ring busted this week. His spokeswoman denies he was a client. Three weeks ago Spitzer stepped down as governor when he was linked to Emperors Club VIP. Based in midtown Manhattan, Wicked Models was run by a buxom blonde named Kristin "Billie" Davis, who also saw clients. Davis, 32, is currently being held on $2 M bail after pleading not guilty to promoting prostitution and money laundering.

Writes the Post:
The ex-governor regularly patronized Wicked Models, the Manhattan-based operation taken down Tuesday, according to financial documents and other evidence unearthed in a yearlong prostitution in investigation, law-enforcement sources said...
A source said Davis personally serviced Spitzer.
"She personally interfaced with Spitzer a number of times" since 2003 before she became a madam, a source close to Davis said.
When asked about the allegation, Davis told The Post, "I can't talk about it." Spitzer's spokeswoman, Anna Cordasco, countered that "Mr. Spitzer was not ever a client of Ms. Davis."

Wicked Models is rumored to a have a client list that includes athletes and politicians. Writes the NY Daily News, who reported the bust but not the Spitzer link:
Investigators Wednesday night pored over the little black book of an alleged midtown madam whose clients are rumored to include athletes and powerhouse politicians.
Kristin Davis, a busty bottle-blond accused of running a $1,600-an-hour call girl service, was jailed on $2 million bail after pleading not guilty to promoting prostitution and money laundering.
"I think any time she got her hands on someone worth bragging about, she might have kept a memento," said Jason Itzler, the self-proclaimed "King of All Pimps," who claims Davis worked for him in 2004. "She was a rock star escort."

Geraldine Ferraro Defends Her Racist Remarks on Obama

EDITOR's NOTE:This blog features several posts covering the ongoing controversy surrounding racially insensitive remarks made by Hillary Clinton supporter and fundraiser, former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.


Chris Bowers @ Open Left:

This is sad:
"Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let's address reality and the problems we're facing in this world, you're accused of being racist, so you have to shut up," Ferraro said. "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

At what point, exactly, did Geraldine Ferraro become a Reagan Democrat? when you lose to Republicans that badly, Do you get turned into one in some sort of Borg-like fashion?

Mainly, this response depresses me, since it comes from someone who is otherwise known as a trailblazer fighting the good fight at a time when it was unpopular to do so. I don't want to think of Geraldine Ferraro this way, but this response is crazy.

I guess that Ferraro thinks, as Marc Ambinder wrote, that "running as a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama is soooo easy." Or perhpas she thinks that the only reason Obama is winning the campaign is because so many African-Americans are voting for him. Even if that is true, doesn't it occur to Ferraro that one of the main reasons African-Americans are voting overwhelmingly for Obama is because of statements like this from Clinton surrogates? Here is some love from Ferraro from Jack and Jill politics:
So, being Black is now a CONCEPT.
A CONCEPT, People.
Well, she can CONCEPT this.

This is pretty depressing, but it makes me feel even stronger about my Reagan Dem post from Friday, and the implications it has for the campaign. And Ferraro's inability to win Reagan Democrats despite statements like this is a perfect case in point of my central thesis.


Paddy @ Cliff Schecter's Blog:

Last night I posted this. Now Barack Obama's campaign responds:
A senior adviser to Barack Obama's presidential campaign called on Hillary Clinton to "repudiate" a comment by one of her top fundraisers that Barack Obama would not be a major presidential contender if he were not black.
"I think if Sen. Clinton is serious about putting an end to statements that have racial implications," Susan Rice, an Obama foreign policy adviser, told MSNBC Tuesday, "...then she ought to repudiate this comment."
Indeed she should.

Dodd Endorses Obama

BREAKING NEWS: Via the Huffington Post

"After a prolonged silence through most of the primary season, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd is rejoining the presidential race on somebody else's team -- Sen. Barack Obama's."
The Connecticut senator, whose own presidential campaign failed to draw enough attention to propel him past the first contest in Iowa, is expected to announce his endorsement of Obama this morning, according to a Democratic official close to Dodd. He'll then campaign with Obama in Ohio.
Obama's campaign hopes that the March 4 primaries in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island will be the victory that clinches the Democratic nomination for him. When he faces Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in another debate tonight -- the last before these pending primaries -- he'll do it with Dodd in his corner.
It's unclear what Dodd's task will be with the campaign or whether he'll be hitting those last two New England states still awaiting primaries next week. But if Obama eventually gets the nomination, Connecticut's two senators will be in opposing campaigns. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is one of Republican Sen. John McCain's staunchest allies.
The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray notes:
Like Sen Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Dodd has been heavily courted by both the Obama campaign and that of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), including numerous calls from former President Bill Clinton. But the veteran senator had been reluctant to weigh in until voters across the country, including from his home state of Connecticut (which Obama won on Super Tuesday) could weigh in.
Much more from AP:

Oscar Nominations Reflect a Good Year for Progressive Films

The Oscar nominations came out this morning and for the most part there were few surprises (Finally, it looks like the Coens are going to win one!). But if you're a progressive film fan there were a lot of reasons to celebrate. First of all, as Think Progress points out:

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Nevada Brothel Owner Pimps for Ron Paul

Ron Paul seems to keep garnering support from the most unlikely or at least not necessarily desirable places. First there were those folks with a bunch of stolen credit cards who gave him a major boost in donations last quarter.

That was followed by the wave of endorsements he received from his rapid fanbase in the white supremacist community. And now, just as polls show Ron Paul climbing into fourth place in New Hampshire. He gets the big guns to come out for him:

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Edwards Tops Iowa Independent Democratic Power Rankings

While the mainstream press hammers away constantly on its Hillary vs. Barack, Barack or Hillary narrative, John Edwards has consistently and quietly maintained a strong presence at or near the top of the Iowa caucus polls. Now a new analysis from the Iowa Independent should give those that support his campaign a new reason to celebrate.

They have put together "power rankings" of all the Democratic candidates based on impression they received from "activists, everyday caucus-goers, event attendees and pundits" based on the candidates' field organization, turnout likelihood, as well as their emotional intuitive impressions of the Democratic field. Despite widespread reports that Hillary is on top with Obama closing fast. The Iowa Independent finds Edwards best positioned to win.

They say if the Democratic caucuses held tonight the results would be:

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Naomi Wolf Warns That The End of America Is Near

Even though her message is frightening, Naomi Wolf wants to assure people that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. The YouTube video to your right is a terrific speech by Wolf (at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus) about her provocative new book "The End of America" which talks about the parallels between the Bush Administration's tactics and those of fascist dictatorships of the last century.

The same language, images, manipulation that would-be despots have used in the past to break down existing democracies are being employed now. From Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 1930s, and on and on, Wolf finds that all these despots do that same things. Mussolini created the blueprint, Hitler followed suit, Stalin studied Hitler and these methods just get passed down to the next generation of dictators throughout the world. Wolf has summarized their method is ten points:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug caste

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

5. Harass citizens' groups

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

7. Target key individuals

8. Control the press

9. Dissent equals treason

10. Suspend the rule of law

Mark Foley Likely to Get Away With Sexual Harassment of Minors

Way to go Florida! Because the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has dragged its feet for months on investigating Mark Foley and his numerous attempts to seduce underage boys of the course of several years, the disgraced former congressman will likely get off scott free.

According to ABC:

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The Daily Show Invades Iraq

UPDATE: The first segment of The Daily Show's live reports from Iraq can be seen here.

For some time now Comedy Central's The Daily Show has been one of the only places on television where you could find honest, intelligent reporting on the situation in Iraq. Ironically, even though their war coverage is often vastly superior to the mainstream press none of the Daily Show cast of correspondents has ever literally been in Iraq while they were doing their reporting, they were filming in front of a green screen before a studio audience in New York...until now.

Starting tonight, the Daily Show will begin airing its first broadcasts directly from Iraq. Here's more from TruthDig:
"The Daily Show" will air a series of reports from Iraq--the real Iraq--taped during a USO outing by "senior military analyst" and former decorated Marine Maj. Rob Riggle (pictured). Along with a field producer and writer for the show, Riggle ditched the green screen for a five-day stint titled "Operation Silent Thunder: The Daily Show in Iraq."

Giuliani Cares More About the Yankees Than 9/11 Victims

Either the Republican base is blind, deaf and dumb (a real possiblity) or they are just so disenchanted with all their choices for '08 that nothing phases them. I think it's utterly bizarre how Giuliani has managed to stay on top of national GOP polls and many state primary polls in light of the revelations of recent weeks.

First, he claims he was basically a 9/11 worker himself because he spend "just as much time at Ground Zero if not more" than the average 9/11 worker.

Then the serial exaggerator was called out on his bullshit by the New York Times when they revealed that he actually only spent 29 hours total at Ground Zero in the weeks and months after the September 11th attacks.

Now has one-upped them by calculating the amount of time the former Mayor spent cheering his beloved New York Yankees (who were on a successful playoff run at the time and made it to the 2001 World Series) in comparison to the time he spent "working" at Ground Zero. Here's what they found:

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High-Minded Hip-Hop Any Progressive Can Enjoy

When it comes to hip-hop I often feel like Chris Rock who once said, "I love rap, but I'm tired of defending it." So much of it just sounds the same or worse, it's degrading and beneath everyone involved. For those of you who the same or wouldn't normally even get near a hip-hop section of your record store, you need to give an upcoming album featuring Cornel West deserves a listen.

It's technically the second album headlined by the acclaimed best-selling author and activist, but this one, called, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations, boasts a heavier presence of stars like Prince, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and Andre 3000 of Outkast. While West is by no means a seasoned rapper, he isn't a slouch either. Even though a middle aged Princeton professor, he delivers vocals with authority and panache. In a recent Baltimore Sun article West says:

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Rove to Resign

My first reaction is joy, pure unadulterated joy--but then again just because he's not working in the White House that doesn't mean his insidious influence will no longer be there. I mean, I'm sure the man uses the telephone.

How can Karl Rove do anything and it not be looked at in a cynical way. He still should be forced to testify about any number of controversies from the attorney firings to torture to warrantless wiretapping to the CIA leak and the war, my God, the war.

This comes from Raw Story:

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Is Tom Cruise the Goebbels of Scientology?

Tom Cruise just can’t catch a break any more.

MSNBC reports:

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Dave Chappelle Shows Up At the White House

I should preface this by saying I'm a diehard Dave Chappelle fan. But this incident is just random, keep in mind it was reported this weekend that Chappelle was hospitalized this weekend for "exhaustion".

CNN correspondent Ed Henry writes:

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Defunding the Dick

Way to go Sen. Durbin (D-IL)!

I was afraid that after the bill to defund Dick Cheney's office failed in the House, that that'd be the end of this story and thankfully it isn't. With Dick Cheney even more unpopular than President Bush right now and the majority of the country behind impeaching him, Congress should not be timid about holding his feet to the fire.

This report comes from the AP:

Panel moves to cut off funds to Cheney

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer Tue Jul 10, 6:26 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats moved Tuesday to cut off funding for Vice President Dick Cheney's office in a continuing battle over whether he must comply with national security disclosure rules.

A Senate appropriations panel chaired by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., refused to fund $4.8 million in the vice president's budget until Cheney's office complies with parts of an executive order governing its handling of classified information.

At issue is a requirement that executive branch offices provide data on how much material they classify and declassify. That information is to be provided to the Information Security Oversight Office at The National Archives.

Cheney's office, with backing from the White House, argues that the offices of the president and vice president are exempt from the order because they are not executive branch "agencies."

The funding cut came as the appropriations panel approved 5-4 along party lines a measure funding White House operations, the Treasury Department and many smaller agencies.

Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said Cheney's office was flouting requirements that it comply with the reporting requirements on classified information.

"Neither Mr. Cheney or his staff is above the law or the Constitution," Durbin said. "For the vice president to believe that he has no responsibility to meet this requirement of the law is a dereliction of duty."

The tempest originally attracted widespread media attention after Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., charged that Cheney's office's had originally argued to the Archives that it did not have to comply with the order because it was not "an entity within the executive branch."

The vice president is also the president of the Senate, able to vote to break ties and preside over the chamber, though he is not eligible to sponsor legislation or participate in debates.

Cheney's office, Waxman said, also blocked the archives from doing an onsite inspection of his office to make sure classified information was being properly protected.

Why I Hate Bloomberg

I'm a New Yorker, no, not a born and raised New Yorker, but I've lived near here and in here long enough to feel pretty passionate about my city and its politics and I am really pissed that Mike Bloomberg is probably going to run for president.

I get furious everytime one of my liberal friends applauds Bloomberg or ends up voting for him because I feel like they'll all suffering from what I consider a post-really sucky mayor syndrome. Bloomberg seems like a great guy compared to Giuliani, in the same way that whoever replaces Bush in the White House will inevitably be treated as the nation's savior.

Obviously, Bloomberg has done some good, the city is safer than it's probably ever been and unlike his predecessor Bloomberg seems to generally care about the city's schools. But there are things about this man that have never sat well with me.

First of all, he was a Democrat before 2001. He clearly realized that he couldn't win the Democratic nomination that year without getting involved in an expensive slugfest with Freddy Ferrer and Mark Green so he just *poof* becomes a Republican. There is no amount of money you could pay me to ever become a Republican, I just hold certain principles that I can't just ignore to sign on with those clowns, but Bloomberg never had that problem. And now in 2008, Bloomberg sees that being a Republican is totally not cool and plus he'd have no chance in a GOP primary, so now *poof* I'm an independent.

Does anyone else notice a pattern here? Bloomberg only cares about winning and he doesn't care about who he's affiliated with or the cost. Speaking of cost, this man has billions at his disposal and although that doesn't necessarily mean he's a horrible person, it is a fact that he has used that money to essentially buy two mayoral elections and squash all opposition to himself. Aww man and when he brought the GOP convention to town that blew...

It's true the Democrats in New York seem to be good at only two things right now: corruption and infighting. But this is a liberal town and I hate seeing some faux-bi partisan Republican running the show.

Blackwater-backed Torture Flights Caught in the UK

Blackwater USA, the nefarious sounding and behaving contracting company, whose reputation for treachery rivals Halburton's, has been linked to a plane being used to shuttle "terror suspects" to secret prisons in Poland and Romania. These "torture flights" have been roundly condemned by human rights groups.

The Blackwater connection has come to light because of a plane spotted landing in the UK this past weekend. Inside the supposedly civilian plane were four armed US security policemen.

The Daily Mail reports:
[This] disclosure follows damning findings by the Council of Europe human rights organization, which accused Tony Blair on Friday of colluding in a CIA operation to run secret prisons in Poland and Romania by allowing the agency to use UK airports.
The study was contradicted on the same day by a report from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which concluded that there was no evidence to support the claims.
But the director of the human rights group Liberty revealed that ACPO had admitted it restricted its inquiry to a review of media reports on the issue.
She accused them of rushing out their 'cursory' findings as part of a politically-motivated 'spin' operation.
The US plane's arrival was also logged by Touchdown News, a group of enthusiasts who record the movements of military aircraft at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath.
The group said the plane used its civilian call sign when talking to air traffic control and took off again early on the morning of Sunday June 3, flying east.
The Daily Mail also includes this graphic of the "ghost flight's" flight path...

flight path

The plane was linked to Blackwater because of its registration number, which had been placed on a list of flights to monitored by the European Parliament committee. The plane is officially registered to two Blackwater subsidiaries. Tracking technology has found that at least twice in the last year this particular plane flew to Camp Peary, the U.S. naval reservation in Virginia known as "The Farm". The Farm is believed to be a CIA training facility.

Porno Pop-up Case Teacher Gets a New Trial

AlterNet first began reporting on this story back in January and eventually the mainstream press also picked up the story and ran with it, but until now things looked pretty grim for Julie Amero. She was found guilty of intentionally showing her seventh grade students pornography even though she vehemently denied these charges and said that what the children saw was a pop-up ad which appeared under circumstances completely beyond her control. Amero, 40, would probably face about 40 years in jail if her conviction stood. But finally, yesterday, some good news.

According to Raw Story (via the AP), the computer in question was sent to a state lab to be analyzed and the results show a discrepancy between the computer's history and the evidence presented by the prosecutors presented during the initial trial. Amero and her defenders have said since the very beginning of this ordeal, back in 2004, that the computers the students were using was old and lacked the kind of spyware and firewall capabilities that would have prevented pornographic pop-up ads from appearing. "The jury may have relied, at least in part, on that faulty information,'' said Judge Hillary B. Strackbein, who granted the request for a new trial. This time, hopefully, Julie Amero will be exonerated by the facts instead of being overwhelmed by the hysteria over pornography

Vote for The Nanny in 2008?

When people think Fran Drescher, they probably first think about the voice. That voice...I'll never forget a gag Conan O'Brien once did when Drescher was a guest on his show. She began laughing in her trademark fashion and then a herd of goats proceeded to enter and you could hardly tell the two sounds apart. Now as election 2008 approaches the public might be getting to know Drescher more for what's on her mind instead of how her voice sounds. The NY Daily News reports that the Queens-born actress may consider challenging the shaky incumbent Republican Peter King in his New York district next year.

These sudden celebrity entrances into politics generally make me very uneasy. I feel the same way about them as I do when billionaires like Bloomberg enter a race. I feel like they automatically have an unfair advantage. They almost always have immediate name recognition. Which as Sonny Bono, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others have proved, it doesn't matter if that celebrity is more infamous than just plain famous, it gets them automatic attention and most likely dollars for their campaign. Then again, when said movie star or billionaire is on our side, I tend to be more open minded.

But is Fran Drescher, the former star of a pretty lame sitcom, capable of winning King's seat? In her favor, she's been described as solid progressive on the issues. She has also been a tireless spokesperson on the issue of cancer awareness and research. Meanwhile her possible opponent, Rep. King, has endorsed "ethnic profiling" of Muslims as terrorist suspects. So if it's a race between Drescher and King, I'm backing Drescher for sure.

Wolfowitz reportedly to resign from World Bank this afternoon

Breaking: According to ABC News' blog, Paul Wolfowitz will resign this afternoon [Hat tip: Howie Klein].

It looks like one of the worst men in America, Paul Wolfowitz, is finally ready to face reality (even though the President and some neo-con backers in the UK, are not). Wolfowitz was being pressured to step down from his position as president of the World Bank for a host of poor and/or inappropriate decisions. While I'm glad to see this day...probably come, Wolfowitz has still yet to be, and may never be held responsible or for his greatest crime: being one of the chief architects of the Iraq War

Newt Gingrich leaning toward 2008 presidential run

Former speaker of the house and right wing hypocrite Newt Gingrich revealed today that he is seriously considering entering the 2008 Republican presidential field. This would make him the 11th major candidate and would also give Giuliani a run for his money in the race for who has the messiest personal life.

What will Gingrich's entrance mean for the GOP race or the race at large? As a progressive I'm inclined to think it will ultimately be a good thing. While popular with true blue conservatives, Gingrich has never played well nationally and since he won't be able to win the nomination he'll only serve to draw so-called centrist candidates like McCain and Giuliani into the muck in a "who's more conservative" contest.

The further to the right the GOP candidates go, the more they will resemble Bush (which is something they all either want to or should want to avoid and it will only make the Democrats look like more of a mainstream values party. Gingrich may not have much of a chance of winning the nomination but with so many of the GOP rank and file openly complaining that there's no "true blue" conservative running in the top tier, he could do some damage in the primaries.

Plus it's been far too long since we've heard about some of Gingrich's most infamous exploits. Remember the time when he left his wife while she was in the hospital recuperating from cancer surgery? Gingrich reportedly said, "She's not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of the President. And besides, she has cancer." I have a feeling about this Gingrich kid, I think he's going to go far.

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