Friday, July 06, 2007

Sting and the reunited Police headline the New York concert as
part of Live Earth's 24 hours of worldwide music on
Saturday to build awareness and support for addressing
the Climate Crisis.
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"Live Earth" Tomorrow

Party against the Climate Crisis? Maybe it sounds weird, but it's caught the imagination of millions--and belies the opposers' charge (and very often, projection) that those calling for action are just sowing fear for political gain. It also brings people together to galvanize the political will to address the crisis, while enacting hope. Hope is a condition of the present, and requires action. Live Earth is a vehicle for informing people that they can change the future for the better through what they do now in their own lives.

Here's what's happening tomorrow: 24 hours of music with major artists at concerts on 7 continents. A Washington DC concert has just been added at the Museum of the American Indian. The music will be streamed live at
MSN, NBC will broadcast the New York concert (with the Police reunion) along with highlights from other venues in prime-time. In addition, Bravo, CNBC and the Sundance Channel will serve up from 7 to 22 hours of the festivities. There's continuous information and action you can take here.

There are also some 7,000 house parties and other events registered in all 50 states and 129 countries. 7/7/2007 could go down as the day that Climate Crisis awareness--and commitment-- reached critical mass. It's time to save the world.

Corrupt to the Core

The New Moral Majorities

The cable noise and fulminating Rabid Right (hey Keith! you picked up my phrase!) may promote a different impression, but the overwhelming sentiment is strongly against the Bush commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence, and the lies, corruption, misuse of power, and incompetence of Bushcorps in general. The numbers at least aren't lying.

A new American Research Group poll measures response to Bush commuting the sentence of Scooter Libby, the guy the prosecutors believe knows how deeply implicated the VP and possibly the P were in outing a covert CIA agent (which G. Bush I described as the worst sort of treason), and then attempting to cover it all up. Fully 69% of voters surveyed believe it was wrong. 84% oppose a pardon.

The poll also shows that about 45% favor beginning impeachment proceedings against President Bush, with about the same percentage opposing. But a majority--54% of adults, 50% of voters--favor impeachment proceedings against VP Cheney, with 40-44% opposed.

Perhaps the most interesting numbers are those for independents. More Independents than Democrats oppose the Libby action (80% to 76%) and fully 97% of Independents oppose a Libby pardon. Figures hovering at majority (50%-51%) favor both impeachment proceedings.

Also out today is the Newsweek poll which shows that fewer Americans are satisfied with "the way things are going in the U.S." than any time this year--just 23%. Bush's approval rating has dropped to 24%, with 65% disapproving, and 9% don't know. That's less than a quarter of voters approving, and more than 2/3 disapproving. Again, Independents approve at a 20% rate, with 71% disapproving.

Monday, July 02, 2007

"Corrupt to the Core," and that's for starters... How is
Bush going to distract everyone from what's likely to
be a firestorm of investigations and crises involving the
courts and Congress for the rest of his administration?
Well, according to reporter Sy Hersh, Bushcorps is hot to attack
Iran. It's about all they have left that they can actually
do, or try to do. Already, a majority of Europeans--and of
young Americans (16-24 year olds) see the U.S. as the
#1 threat to the world.
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Scooted: "Corrupt to the Core"

President Bush has commuted the prison sentence of Scooter Libby, convicted of obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury.

In an interview on Countdown, Ambassador Joseph Wilson--husband of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame and the apparent target of the conspiracy to defame him for questioning a false basis for invading Iraq--said more than once that the Bush administration and Bush personally are "corrupt to the core."

What happens next? Americans may have suspected that Libby had lied to protect people higher up in the White House. Both VP Cheney and President Bush have been implicated in outing Plame, according to some investigating journalists. But now, by voiding the sentence in what Wilson says is a clear and understood quid pro quo for Libby's silence, most Americans are going to be confirmed in their belief that Libby lied to protect his bosses, and in doing so, obstructed justice.

Commuting this sentence is not in itself an impeachable offense. But Congressional Democrats have been wary about spending precious time investigating the many wrongs of this administration, for fear voters will turn against them, having endured the pointless harrassment of the Clinton administration. But now I suspect they are going to want to know what's really going on. We're just at the beginning of investigations that will dominate the rest of the Bush administration.

Dancer (1913) by Gino Severini
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An Election Like No Other?

The 2008 US Presidential election is shaping up to be both unusual and unusually crucial--perhaps the most unusual and the most crucial ever.

On the unusual front: Senator Hillary Clinton has solidified her status as frontrunner for the Democratic nomination with preference poll leads that continue to be strong, while her performances in several debates have been generally lauded above all other participants. However, figures which will become official later today are likely to show that Barack Obama, not faring as well in the polls or in reviews of his debate performances, has raised more campaign contributions than Senator Clinton for the second straight quarter--perhaps a third more. More in fact than anyone has raised, and possibly in larger numbers of smaller donations.

There are moreover a couple of very troubling elements to the preference polls for Senator Clinton. Her "negatives" have always been unusually high with samplings of the general electorate, and now Political Wire reports there is a new Mason-Dixon survey that shows Sen. Hillary Clinton "is the only major presidential candidate -- either Democrat and Republican -- for whom a majority of likely general election voters say they would not consider voting. In addition, she's the only candidate who registers with a net-unfavorable rating."

Clinton's lead within the Democratic party for the primaries seems predicated on superior support from women, but their predominance is not reflected outside the party. Independents, for example, which now make up 30% to 40% of the electorate, according to a Washington Post poll: mirror the population in terms of age, income and education. But they are disproportionately male. A majority of independents are men, while a majority of Democrats are women and the GOP is typically divided evenly between men and women.

Several polls show that Independents are leaning Democratic this year, and this poll suggests the majority are with Democrats on health care, the Climate Crisis and domestic issues, as well as on ending the Iraq war. But Senator Clinton's negatives are high, while Senator Obama's are the lowest among presidential candidates.

The incredibly low approval rating for President Bush was exceeded in recent polls only by the historically low approval rating for Congress, where the Democrats have a slim majority. This as well as other factors (nervousness about Clinton's electability, and general dissatisfaction among Republicans for their declared candidates) fueled interest in New York Mayor Bloomberg's recent switch from a Republican registration to Independent (he'd previously switched from Democrat to Republican), especially as it positions him for a possible Independent run for the Presidency. Some suggest a Bloomberg candidacy would take more votes from the Democrat than the Republican candidate, though others believe the opposite. But the mantra of the stories about this were that Bloomberg won't run unless and until he believes he has a good chance to actually win.

But he'll have to factor this in: a CNN poll (also reported by Political Wire) suggests that voter impatience with the Democrats in Congress (especially with their "failure" to end the Iraq war) does not mean the electorate wants Republicans back in control. A majority still favors a Democratic Congress, and this suggests that voters may well support a Democrat for President even if they aren't entirely happy with the nominee.

There's a Clinton conundrum within the Democratic party as well. There was a fair amount of surprise at a poll that showed New Hampshire Democrats currently favor Senator Clinton, with Senator Obama a fairly distant second--but that if Al Gore were to run, he would beat everybody, taking nearly a third of Clinton's votes as well as votes from the other candidates. However, the aforementioned Washington Post study shows that the only name that got higher negative response from Independents than Clinton was Gore.

As for the crucial nature of this election, it is increasingly clear that continuing the Iraq war could result in political anarchy, and related Bush administration policies in the area of torture, constitutional rights and political corruption threaten the foundations of our Constitutional government. Couple that with the rapidly failing health care system, and most importantly for the future, the Climate Crisis and the need to assert leadership and take action immediately when the new President takes office--it becomes abundantly clear that this nation cannot afford the mistakes it made in 2000 and 2004. The 2008 election looks increasingly like the last best chance for the national and the human future.