PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

January 29, 2007

Sustainable Environment in Hawaii?

Filed under: 6Sustainable Environment,HI Politics — BobSchacht @ 6:30 pm

Chad Blair did a nice segment on Hawaii Public Radio on sustainability in Hawaii. He pointed out that our state legislature needs to come up with a sustainability plan this year, because the plan is needed for the “Hawaii 2050” effort. Consequently, this year our state legislature may be in an unusually receptive mood to consider our views on this plank of our S.H.I.P.S. platform. A great opportunity!

Bob Schacht

January 26, 2007

The Impeachment of VP Cheney?

Filed under: Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 3:23 pm

Gee. I’m having Deja Vu all over again. It seems like just yesterday that VP Agnew was resigning in the face of criminal charges, and then wouldn’tcha know, President Nixon resigned, too!

Now, we’re only one week into the trial of Scooter Libby, and already things are starting to look dark and grim for VP Cheney. Or is it merely the fevered over-active imaginations of a few activists? You decide. For a current assessment, take a look at Scarecrow‘s

The Decider and Dick Cheney

Here’s an excerpt:

This week we got repeated reminders of how much trouble a dishonest and arrogant Vice President can create for an Administration. Official Washington and its media are being reawakened once again by the Libby trial, in which the ever loyal Scooter is on trial for lying, but in which the defendent in waiting may well be Mr. Cheney himself. By the end of the week, government witnesses were detailing Mr. Cheney’s and/or his trusted deputy’s guilty knowledge of Ms. Plame’s identy and status, while Ms. Martin, a trusted member of Mr. Cheney’s own communications staff, described under oath how fixated Mr. Cheney had become about anyone who might reveal how badly he and the Administration had spun the facts to gin up a pretext for going to war. . . . .
In any other regime, a Vice President in this much trouble with the party’s potential Presidential candidate [McCain], the country, the Congress and perhaps the law would be looking forward to retirement and the unspoken promise of Presidential pardon. Or as Paul Begala put it, “If he had any decency, he’d simply resign.” h/t perris). But as we’ve learned to deep regret, in the Bush regime, none of the rules that lead to well-deserved firings or honorable resignations for the good of the country apply, so we are stuck with the man until folks start reading their Constitution and realize the Founding Fathers actually gave us a solution for exactly this sort of thing. In the meantime, one wonders what he’ll say or do next.

(Emphasis added.) And this is only the beginning of Scooter’s trial. Most of the chief witnesses yet to come. Oh, and did I mention that interest in this trial is really heating up in Washington?


January 25, 2007

Libby Trial chess games

Filed under: Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 10:23 pm

You’re missing something if you’re not following Scooter Libby’s trial on FireDogLake! Not just the live blogs, but the commentaries, such as those following Swopa’s Reflecting on What We’ve Learned (1/25)…

It gets to be like an Internet game of Clue, but warning: it can be addictive! The consensus at this point seems to be that Libby’s defense is woefully inept. Some are wondering if Wells is already playing for an appeal.
Others are starting to wonder about future indictments to follow this trial.  Of course, that all depends on what remains to be revealed, and it looks like Fitzgerald is patiently setting up the witnesses. One can bet there will be much to come, and one can bet that the lights are burning in the White House legal offices late at night.


January 23, 2007

Scooter Libby’s trial: Live blog!

Filed under: 1Stop War,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 1:47 pm

As advertised, the team from FireDogLake is liveblogging from the Scooter Libby trial!

And the comments are pouring in, some quite good. The blog on Patrick Fitzgerald’s opening statement has already been called the “best blog ever,” and already there is speculation about forthcoming indictments of others– and there’s only been one lower-level witness so far. Some commenters are saying already that Libby has thrown Karl Rove under the bus.
The liveblogging is an interesting phenomenon: it will be interesting to see how it pushes the mainstream media (MSM). Reporters on site usually check notes with each other before writing their dispatches, thereby establishing a kind of Conventional Wisdom about who said what about whom. But sometimes the FDL blogger steps aside from the attempted constant liveblogging stream, that reads something like a transcript, but not as carefully edited, in order to comment on the significance of a remark just made by one of the principals.

Its already been an interesting day, but I’m not going to have the time to distill thousands of words for you. So, you can wait until the MSM commentators take over, or you can go over to FDL to see whassup.

Update: Before Fitzgerald’s opening, one of the bloggers speculated on the kinds of questions he would ask if he had bigger fish in his sights, or whether he intended to confine his prosecution to Libby. Some commenters are already speculating that Fitz is “going big.”

Bob Schacht

January 22, 2007

Clarification On Iraq

Filed under: 1Stop War — frosty @ 11:23 am

i’ve been talking to one of my very best friends about the war in iraq and what the correct course of action should be. for some time i’ve believed that we should leave. immediately. we shouldn’t be there in the first place and the result of our illegal coup has been increased violence in the region, a complete loss stability, an upsurge of sectarian violence, a financial boon for US corporations, the needless deaths of thousands of US military and civilian personnel, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of iraqi civilians. of course we shouldn’t be there. we shouldn’t have gone in the first place and this president (and vice-president) must absolutely be held accountable for these deaths and the blatant violation of US and international law.

having said all this, the question has crept into my brain; is an immediate withdrawal of our troops the best course of action? would the region stabilize upon our departure, or would things continue to spiral out of control? while few would argue that saddam was a horrible dictator, with all that’s happening now, is iraq really better off? iraqis are potentially in more danger now, than they were four or five years ago and the country’s infrastructure is in ruins. it appears the only people to have benefited from this war are the US corporations that supply the military with its weapons and those who won no-bid contracts of the reconstruction (which is months, if not years behind schedule).

so, what is the upside to leaving? what’s the positive? what’s the moral argument? i mean, shouldn’t we stay and make every effort to clean up this horrible mess we’ve made? instead of sending the 21,500 more troops as a temporary stop gap measure (which military experts don’t even think will make a difference), why not sent the roughly 150,000 it has been suggested it will really take to put an end to the violence? why not cancel the contracts with those companies that have not done the necessary work and instead have corporations from around the world BID on new contracts?

should we really leave? should we really quit before the job we set out to do is finished? do we not have some responsibility, some moral obligation to finish what we started and do right by the iraqi people?

my position hasn’t changed and i still think we should leave; we are there illegally and i honestly can’t trust this administration to do anything right. at the same time, i have some doubt and feel there may be some moral justification in staying to clean up this horrible mistake of ours.

January 18, 2007

Hawai`i State Lege tackles sustainability?

Filed under: 6Sustainable Environment,HI Politics — BobSchacht @ 6:50 am

Chad Blair’s commentary on the opening of the 2007 Hawaii State Legislature opening focuses on interest in Sustainability issues–an mp3 of his report is temporarily available. Don’t miss it!

Bob Schacht

January 14, 2007

“Bush Must Go: Only Impeachment Can Stop Him.”

Filed under: Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 10:26 pm

A friend forwarded to me an article from Counterpunch
by Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, an Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. In other words, he’s not exactly a flaming liberal. The article is dated January 15, 2007, with the title Bush Must Go: Only Impeachment Can Stop Him.

When are the American people and their representatives in Congress and the military going to wake up and realize that the US has an insane war criminal in the White House who is destroying all chances for peace in the world and establishing a police state in the US?Americans don’t have much time to realize this and to act before it is too late. Bush’s “surge” speech last Wednesday night makes it completely clear that his real purpose is to start wars with Iran and Syria before failure in Iraq brings an end to the neoconservative/Israeli plan to establish hegemony over the Middle East.The “surge” gives Congress, the media, and the foreign policy establishment something to debate and oppose, while Bush sets his plans in motion to orchestrate a war with Iran. Suddenly, we are hearing Bush regime propaganda that there are Iranian networks operating within Iraq that are working with the Iraqi insurgency and killing US troops.This assertion is a lie and preposterous on its face. Iranian Shi’ites are not going to arm Iraqi Sunnis, who are more focused on killing Iraqi Shi’ites allied with Iran than on killing US troops. If the Iranians wanted to cause the US trouble in Iraq, they would encourage Iraqi Shi’ites to join the insurgency against US forces. An insurgency drawn from 80 per cent of the Iraqi population would overwhelm the US forces.

The article continues along these lines for a number of paragraphs. He also discusses the possible role of Israel in the attack on Iran. He then continues,

Bush has many ways to widen his war in the Middle East. . . . Just as he lied to the entire world about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, Bush is lying about Iran. Bush and the neoconservatives are frantic for war with Iran to get underway before the US Congress forces a US withdrawal from the failed adventure in Iraq.Bush’s entire “war on terror” is based on lies. . .
The only action that can stop Bush is for both the Democratic and Republican leadership of the House and Senate to call on the White House, tell Bush they know what he is up to and that they will not fall for it a second time. The congressional leadership must tell Bush that if he does not immediately desist, he will be impeached and convicted before the week is out. . . .
All the rest is penny-ante. Revoking the Iraqi War Resolution as Rep. Sam Farr has proposed or requiring Bush to obtain congressional authorization prior to any US attack on Iran simply lets Bush and his Federalist Society apologists for executive dictatorship claim he has commander-in-chief powers and proceed with his planned aggression. Cutting off funding is not itself enough as Bush can raid other budgets. Non-binding resolutions of disapproval are meaningless to a president who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.Nothing can stop the criminal Bush from instituting wider war in the Middle East that could become a catastrophic world war except an unequivocal statement from Congress that he will be impeached.Bush has made the US into a colony of Israel. The US is incurring massive debt and loss of both life and reputation in order to silence Muslim opposition to Israel’s theft of Palestine and the Golan Heights. That is what the “war on terror” is about.

Do you get that he’s upset? (grin)
But he makes the point: Bush (and Cheney) are not done with outrageous actions; they will continue until they are stopped. This is basically what Al Gore said in a terrific speech a year ago. My main beef against Roberts’ article is that he does not show Cheney’s involvement in support of these same nefarious actions. Both of them must be impeached or otherwise removed from office.

Bob Schacht

Obama for Prez?

Filed under: HI Politics,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 9:37 pm

David Fry has a blog on DailyKos December 28 about the stampede of Hawaiians for Obama. The charge was led by Neil Abercrombie and Brian Schatz, who claimed that even local Republicans are clamoring to get on board. They held a press conference at the Federal Building, all the Advertiser wrote was that he was just here to play some golf. The Star-Bulletin, however, captured the spirit of the occasion.
Bob Schacht

January 11, 2007

Scooter Libby trial

Filed under: National Politics — BobSchacht @ 8:50 pm

The trial of Scooter Libby, VP Cheney’s former Right Hand Man, begins next week. This time, the blogs are going to be there! Several intrepid bloggers from FireDogLake (FDL) have pooled resources to sublet an apartment near the courthouse where the trial will take place, and more importantly, they have obtained one of those hard-to-get press passes, and will be filing daily reports.

I am still anticipating that the trial will produce a Constitutional Crisis over Executive Privilege and Subpoena powers, that could break things wide open. FDL archives these stories under the “CIA Leak Case“. I am hopeful that Fitzgerald’s investigations will synergize witih impeachment efforts.

As David Swanson writes hopefully on AfterDowningStreet.org, “Things are Breaking!

Bob Schacht

January 9, 2007

A National law on Public financing of elections?

Filed under: 4Public Financing,HI Politics,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 10:03 pm

Matt Stoller over at MyDD.com wrote a blog today on Public financing of election. He wrote, in part,

Restoring the Public

by Matt Stoller, Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 01:10:32 AM EST

[snip] So it’s significant that Dick Durbin is going to put forward public financing for campaigns. We understand that we get the government we pay for, and if it’s business that pays for government they’ll get what they want and the public will get screwed. The obstacles to public financing are fairly high. Ironically, most members want it badly because they really hate raising so much money, but for some reason don’t think that it’s possible to make it happen. I talked to one member who told me that the only real solution to the structural problems in Congress is public financing of elections, but that it’s never going to happen. Lots of them feel this way.There are two basic obstacles to public financing of elections. One is Bush, who will veto any real bill. Two is Mitch McConnell, the impressively mean and intelligent Senate Minority Leader. McConnell is a machine politician, shipping corporate money to Republicans all over the country and wielding huge amounts of power as a result. He hates campaign finance laws, and will oppose this with everything he has. McConnell’s going to have to pick his battles though, since there’s a lot of defense to play and he’s going to have to fight off card check and other serious attacks on his business cronies.Anyway, it’s a very good thing that Durbin is pushing this. It’s a major sign that the Democrats are serious about restoring the public’s ability to govern.

This is where we come in. Durbin, of course, is a Senator, so we need to ask our Senators, Akaka and Inouye, to support Durbin’s bill. We can remind them that the Hawaii Democratic convention passed a resolution in support of public financing. We can do it!

Bob Schacht

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