Politik

Det riktiga USA, amerikansk gräsrotsdemokrati

Published by:

Trots att amerikanska presidentval har mycket litet med demokrati att göra, eftersom de är privatfinansierade och inte demokratiska majoritetsval, så har USA trots det en intensiv gräsrotsdemokrati av ett helt annat slag än det vi ser i Sverige. Det är viktigt att förstå att detta, detta traditionella demokratiska USA fortfarande finns kvar under ytan av det radikala vapenskramlande republikanska USA som vi sett på TV-skärmarna de senaste fyra åren.

Alternet har en mycket bra artikel om just en sådan demokratisk rörelse. Kolla också Indyvoter.org>, som också kallas League of Pissed Off Voters, alltså en organisation som försöker värva sådana ungdomar som helt har gett upp politiken. Alternet har också en bra artikel om hur progressiva aktivister värvar röster i Kentucky i den amerikanska södern.

Den här sortens gräsrotsdemokrati, intensiv, engagerad och landsomfattande, tror jag saknas i Sverige? Stämmer det? Eller var miljöpartiet och Junilistan exempel på det?

Upprop mot allmän värnplikt i USA

Published by:

Howard Dean har följande om Irak-kriget och allmän värnplikt i USA:


George Bush is not being straight with the American people about the draft. He promised in the first presidential debate to win the war on terror with “an all-volunteer army”. He has already violated that commitment.

The truth is that a draft has already begun — it just hasn’t affected most of our families yet. Active duty soldiers who finish their commitments are being forced to stay in. And the flagrant misuse of the National Guard and Reserves has ripped apart families by sending unprecedented numbers of them to occupy a foreign country.

Because of George Bush’s failure to lead the world, we are nearly alone in Iraq. If we “stay the course” with this president, he will face a choice: drastically reduce our commitments or reinstate the draft. Sign the petition demanding that he tell Americans which one he will choose:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/nodraft

George Bush chose to go to war without substantial help from our allies. He has badly over-committed our armed forces. One of the Joint Chiefs and his own administrator in Iraq have both said that we will need tens of thousands more troops to stabilize Iraq. Extreme measures are already being taken to meet the shortfall — and the president has an obligation to explain how he will meet our commitments without drafting young people into service.

Fathers from New York who joined the Reserves to guard America against another attack have been sent to Iraq. Teenagers in the Florida National Guard who expected to provide hurricane relief in their home state have been forced to fight halfway around the world.

George Bush has left our homeland unprotected. And his plans to move existing forces away from threats like North Korea put our interests and our allies in danger. This cannot continue. Sign this petition demanding honesty — we will deliver it to the White House:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/nodraft

Family friends helped a young George Bush dodge the draft. Dick Cheney didn’t fight because he had, in his words, “other priorities” — he got five deferments. We cannot afford to let them dodge the question of a draft now.

Will they force a new generation of young people to make the sacrifices they refused to make? Or will they leave us unprotected at home and in other dangerous parts of the world?

I have a son in college. My family and millions of other families could be affected by a draft. We deserve to know before we vote in November how George Bush and Dick Cheney plan to prevent one. Sign the petition now:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/nodraft

Just recently a frightened Congress voted down a bill calling for a draft. (After all, they need to get re-elected in a few weeks.) But the way they rejected the bill showed just how easy calling a draft would be — they suspended normal rules and voted with almost no warning. Authorizing a draft would be just as easy — it could be done in less than 48 hours.

We have been misled about this war from the beginning. They said Iraq had nuclear weapons — that was false. They said the whole war would cost a few billion dollars — in reality, we spend several billion dollars every month. They say things are getting better — but every month brings more casualties than the last.

Now they say we won’t need a draft. We cannot afford to take their word for it.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

P.S. Please forward this message to your friends. We will only get the truth if we all stand up and demand it.

Silicon Valley legender: John Doerr

Published by:

John Doerr är en av Silicon Valleys stora legender

Han är medlem i Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers , en av Silicon Valleys mest inflytelserika investeringsfirmor.
Kolla de firmor de jobbar med.

Här litet information om John Doerr.


Three years ago, Doerr was already a famous Silicon Valley venture capitalist. But the event that moved him to global business fame was the arrival of the Internet. Recognizing the Net’s potential before almost anyone else, Doerr has turned Kleiner Perkins into the cradle of the Web revolution. Doerr and his partners have backed dozens of ventures building and defining the Internet, from America Online to iVillage, and from Ascend to Verisign. Netscape and @Home are two of the best-known Doerr projects. But Doerr prefers to talk about linked “initiatives” rather than stand-alone investments. In June, 1996 KPCB organized a $100 million Java Fund to back a slate of startups using Sun’s Java programming language, including Active Software, Calico, Internet Security Systems, Marimba, and Netiva.

As the avatar of the Web, Doerr’s greatest contribution may prove to be his ability to network all of KPCB’s investment for mutual advantage. Thus Intuit’s Quicken incorporates the Netscape Navigator. Early adopters of Sun’s Java were Netscape and Macromedia. If you’ve seen this kind of connectedness before, think Microsoft. Although Doerr protests otherwise, with his portfolio of software and netware companies, his drive to create entrepreneurial teams, and his capacity to sight new emerging markets John Doerr may be Bill Gates’s greatest competitor.

Den Europeiska Drömmen

Published by:

Axel Olssons berömda staty av Karl-Oskar och Kristina som står nere vid stranden i hamnparken i Karlshamn symboliserar inte bara den svenska utan kanske hela den europeiska attityden till den amerikanska drömmen. Men idag, efter fyra av de mest horribla år som USA har upplevt sen inbördeskriget på 1860-talet har man börjar prata om en Europeisk dröm. De värderingar som gjorde USA till en magnet för de som sökte ett nytt liv finns idag mer och mer i Europa. Som den här viktiga artikeln visar

Att blogga i Cleveland

Published by:

Halvmiljonstaden Cleveland i den amerikanska delstaten Ohio uppe vid Lake Erie är ett av USAs bakvatten i mellanvästern. Staden har en tidning som heter The Cleveland Plain Dealer och den tidningen har startat en leadarblog. Men som redaktören Doug Clifton redogör i runan över sin misslyckade blog, som han just har lagt ner, han fick aldrig mer än 100 läsare per dag och inga kommentarer. Han startade bloggen eftersom han besvarade läsarbrev per epost och tyckte att en blog skulle vara mer effektiv. Vilket den var. Han höll på i 9 månader och tyckte att det tog på tok för mycket tid.

Jag tror att Doug Clifton missade en stor chans, som jag också har talat om för honom. Istället för att tänka på bloggen som ett sätt att besvara läsarbev på så skulle han tänka på den som ett sätt att nå en helt ny publik som idag aldrig skulle läsa hans tidning. En blog är ett nytt medium som skiljer sig från traditionella tidningar precis som filmen var ett nytt medium som skiljde sig från teatern och TV ett nytt medium som skiljer sig från filmen.

Internet och svenska politiska partier

Published by:

Vet någon om de svenska politiska partierna har eller åtminståne utnyttjar Internet-experter precis som de amerikanska? Jag tänker på experter som Joe Trippi. Används Internet överhuvudtaget i svenska valkampanjer?

Om jag skulle vända mig till t.ex. Socialdemokratiska Partiet och fråga om de har tänkt på att börja använda bloggar, vem inom partiet bör jag vända mig till, vem är IT-ansvarig?

SvD understreckare om boken Imperial Hubris

Published by:

SvD har en välbehövlig understreckare av Carl Johan Gardell om boken Imperial Hubris skiven av en icke namngiven CIA-analytiker. (Tack för tipset och kopian Jan-Inge!) . Den här boken är utomordentligt viktig inte minst för att den kommer innifrån CIA och därför med stor säkerhet representar synen på kriget i Afganistan och Irak av ett stort antal amerikanska underrättelseofficerare. Situationen i de båda länderna är mycket allvarlig den blir bara allvarligare dag för dag.

Jag bifogar en del av recensionen av samma bok i New York Times.


‘Imperial Hubris,” the scalding new book by a current Central Intelligence Agency officer — who was able to publish the book on the condition that his real name not be revealed — is an assessment of America’s war on terror that is bound to provoke large heapings of controversy, on both the right and the left, among hardliners on Iraq and critics of the administration alike. Readers will doubtless contest some or many of the things Anonymous has to say, but he pulls few punches in this book and gives us a fascinating window on America’s war with Al Qaeda — at least as framed by one senior analyst, who seems to have put all bureaucratic niceties aside.

It is a book that not only slings all manner of arrows at America’s political, military and intelligence establishment (going back to the mid-70’s, with the qualified exception of President Ronald Reagan and his C.I.A. director, William J. Casey), but a book that also calls for a complete re-evaluation of the nation’s foreign policy toward Muslims and the Middle East.

In its pages, prescient analyses of recent developments in the Persian Gulf and Middle East (informed by the author’s experience in the mid-1990’s as head of a C.I.A. unit assigned to tracking Osama bin Laden) jostle for space with incendiary calls for a Shermanesque exercise of American military power in a potential war with the Muslim world; maverick assessments of Islamic attitudes toward the United States, with shrill exhortations for America to adopt a neo-isolationist stance based on narrowly defined self-interest.

If the country’s foreign policy remains status quo, Anonymous warns, ”America’s military confrontation with Islam” will broaden ”with escalating human and economic expense.” He predicts that Al Qaeda ”will attack the continental United States again, that its next strike will be more damaging than that of 11 September 2001, and could include use of weapons of mass destruction.”

In addition, Anonymous accuses United States leaders, elites and media of being in denial about the nature of the Qaeda threat and the balance sheet on the war on terror: he argues that America must stop using the terrorist paradigm for Al Qaeda and accept ”the fact” that the group is ”leading a popular, worldwide, and increasingly powerful Islamic insurgency,” and he asserts that United States victories against Al Qaeda have thus far been tactical ones that have failed to slow ”the shift in strategic advantage toward al Qaeda.”

In the course of this book, Anonymous excoriates American leaders for not having had an immediate military response planned for an event like 9/11: ”None had been planned in the eleven months since the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, or in the five-plus years since bin Laden declared war” on the United States.

And he assails American generals for passively accepting their civilian leaders’ directives for waging light, fast operations (of the sort favored by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld). ”Fight and win quickly; do not kill many of the enemy, destroy much of his property, or kill many of his civilians; and, above all, lose the barest minimum of U.S. soldiers because the soft American public will not tolerate high casualties” — this sort of cautious, fastidious war-making, Anonymous contends, is ”a recipe for disaster,” invariably leaving behind ”half-finished or, more accurately, half-started wars that will be refought later.”

De sårade soldaterna kommer hem

Published by:

Mer och mer information kommer nu fram om de problem som de nästan 30.000 sårade amerikanska soldaterna i Irak och Afganistan har när de kommer hem.
(Det är antalet soldater som har sökt hjälp från den s.k Veterans Administration, det department som hjälper amerikanska soldater sedan de har återvänt till det civila livet. Det ligget ett stort sådant sjukhus här i Silicon Valley) Det är inte bara de ofta fruktansvärda fysiska skadorna, det är också en stor procent mentala skador. Många, upp till en tredjedel, har inte fått någon hjälp alls. Då får man komma ihåg att dessa soldater inte kan tjäna sitt uppehälle och ofta måste försörja en familj. Och siffran bara stiger.

Through the end of April, the most recent accounting the VA could provide, a total of 166,334 veterans of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan had separated from military service, and 26,633 — 16 percent — had filed benefits claims with the VA for service-connected disabilities. Less than two-thirds of those claims had been processed, leaving more than 9,750 recent veterans waiting.

Officials expect those numbers to increase as the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan continues.

De tilltagande ryktena om allmän värnplikt i USA

Published by:

Chicago Tribune har en viktig artikel om hur ryktena om att Bush-regeringen har hemliga planer att kalla upp 100.000 amerikanska soldater för ett långvarigt krig i Irak. Detta skulle göra det nödvändigt att återinföra allmän värnplikt i landet. Detta har lett till att stora mängder universitetsungdomar har registrerat sig för det demokratiska partiet.

House Republicans sought Tuesday to quash an undying Internet rumor that the government will reinstate a military draft after the election, hoping with a vote to kill legislation that would do it, and the rumor as well.

The specter of a wartime military draft like that of the Vietnam era has lingered around the presidential campaign for the past few weeks, fueled by an e-mail driven rumor mill and a campaign by Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan group that seeks to boost voting among young people.

The White House on Tuesday accused opponents of President Bush of trying to scare voters with false rumors.

Much of the Internet gossip circling the World Wide Web has suggested that Republicans, including the president, have a plan to surreptitiously bring back the draft in a second Bush term. Democrats say worries about it are spurring voter registration on college campuses and among people in their 20s in urban areas.

“Everywhere they go on the Internet, all they see is the draft, the draft, the draft,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. “The Rock the Vote effort among kids in this country is afire and they (Republicans) know it. They’re trying their best to tamp down this fire.”

The Bush administration has strongly denied any plan to reinstate the draft, but the denials have not killed the rumor.

“There are some who have tried to bring this up as a scare tactic and that is highly unfortunate,” White House spokesman Scott McLellan said Tuesday. “The president does not believe we need a draft and he’s made that repeatedly clear.”

Speaking to Iowa voters Monday, Bush said, “We will not have a draft so long as I am president of the United States.”

Markos Moulitsas om hur bloggare hjälpte Kerry vinna

Published by:

Markos Moulitsas har en bra artikel i Guardian om hur bloggare hjälpte Kerry vinna spinnet efter den första debatten. Nu vill republikanerna ha revansch och vi kan vänta oss en mycket tuff uppgörelse efter den andra debatten på Fredag. Republikanerna är fly förbanade och de vill nu visa Kerry vem det är som bestämmer.


Bloggers, thinktanks, the Kerry campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) all worked to fact-check Bush and point out his bizarre behaviour. The flow of information flowed two ways, as the party establishment and allied organisations worked hand-in-hand with the blogs to gather ammunition, then blast it out to the world.

The DNC and bloggers also urged readers and supporters to swamp online polls after the debate, and they did. Hours after the debate, just about every online poll gave Kerry huge victories in the debate. (Ironically, it was conservative activists who pioneered the practice of skewing online polls.)

A GOP conference call for activists was hijacked by Democrats after the number of the meeting and the passcode were published on liberal blogs like Atrios. One blogger described the scene:

Mehlman said Kerry started with a credibility gap and ended with a credibility canyon and babbled in and around this point for five minutes or so. Then they announced that they were going to take three questions. The first was from a “young Republican in Washington”. She proceeded to say that Kerry was very credible and that she had decided to vote for him. The second caller said she thought Kerry would make a credible commander-in-chief and the third call took Bush to task for not mentioning the al Qaida members not captured.

Mehlman apologised to the Bush supporters listening and acknowledged that the call had obviously attracted some Democrats. We had, essentially, hijacked their own spin distribution and thrown it in the GOP’s face.

In addition to hijacking their spin distribution machine, blogs like my Daily Kos gleefully posted poor reviews streaming in from conservative blogs and pundits. What better way to prove that it wasn’t just liberals claiming Kerry won? The Kerry campaign blasted out the juiciest quotes to their supporters and media lists. The morning after, the DNC and amateur video editors had spliced video of Bush’s weird behaviour, distributing their handiwork virally via email, blogs, and personal websites. Republicans did nothing of the sort.

Mannen som spelade Bush

Published by:

Det var Greg Craig, advokaten som hjälpte till att befria den kubanske pojken Elian Gonzales, som spelade George Bush under Kerrys debattförberedelser. Newsweek har mer om hur man förberedde sig:


The roots of Kerry’s Miami victory reach deeper than war news and his own wiliness. Even as they tried to lower expectations, his inner circle couldn’t escape the sense of certainty—expressed as early as last summer on Nantucket—that their guy would win the confrontations. He curbed his habit of calling all manner of friends and advisers, limiting his contact to a small circle led by debate briefer Ron Klain, traveling aide John Sasso and speechwriter (and former collegiate debating champion) Bob Shrum. They gathered for practice in an aluminum shed on the House on the Rock Resort in rural Wisconsin. Ever the serious student, Kerry staged four mock debates at night in recent weeks, videotaping his performances and timing himself with a stopwatch. He carried a set of huge briefing books with him, methodically studying the material.

The emphasis wasn’t on substance—the man knew it cold—but on brevity. After each mock debate (Washington lawyer Greg Craig played George Bush), Kerry would sit on the edge of the stage, analyze his performance and hone his answers. Kerry’s aides were so confident that they had schooled him in concision that they used his reputation as a windbag to play—and win—an expectations game on debate day. They say they circulated a bogus rumor: they were upset about warning lights on the podiums, fearing their blabbermouth candidate would be bathed in flashing red. In the end, it was Bush—not Kerry—who ran afoul of the strict time limits and earned a blinking light.

Och som Time magazine skriver:

Kerry won the debate on Bush’s favorite intangible: the appearance of strength. The President, who was so comfortable through three debates against Al Gore, appeared “annoyed,” as Fox News’s Brit Hume put it. Actually, it was worse than that: Bush seemed the lesser man. Kerry stood ramrod straight and preternaturally calm. Bush squirmed and grimaced behind his lectern. When he leaned down and in to make a point, he appeared to be ducking for cover. As the debate wore on, his pauses lengthened—several times he had that lost look on his face, the look he had when he was stuck reading My Pet Goat after learning of the 9/11 attacks. The next day, Rush Limbaugh was screaming at his audience, berating the ditto-heads for sending him defeatist e-mails with suggestions about what Bush might have done better. He called Kerry an S.O.B. who wanted a “freaking” global test for the use of force. Clearly, some blood had been drawn.

Tisdagens viktiga vicepresidentdebatt

Published by:

Newsweek har en bra analys av hur viktig Edwards debatt mot USAs egen Darth Vader, Dick Cheney har blivit.

USAs befolkning vet nu att Kerry vann debatten och att Bush uppträdande var minst sagt besynnerligt. Bush kommer säkert att strama upp sig till nästa debatt, men under tiden har Edwards en chans att visa världen hur USAs mörka undersida ser ut. Om Edwards, som är en skicklig talare, gör lika bra ifrån sig som Kerry mot Bush, och om Kerry också vinner nästa debatt mot Bush på Fredag så skulle Kerry ha en riktig chans. Bush lever i sin egen värld utan kontakt med människor utanför. han håller t.ex. aldrig presskonferenser. Han tolererar inte oliktänkande. Och det var därför han hade så svårt i debatten mot Kerry. Håll tummarna för Edwards och Kerry nu i veckan, allas våra liv kan bero på deras framgång.


And Edwards, in the first one-on-one debate of his career, is clearly outmatched in both experience and expectations. “All I know about Richard Bruce Cheney is there’s no one like him on the face of the political earth. He has answers,” says his friend Alan Simpson, the former senator from Wyoming. On Tuesday, Simpson predicts, “He’ll crack a few jokes, try to wipe the smile off Edwards’s face and just show stability, common sense and the fact that we’re right.” Edwards, a former trial lawyer, “is a sharp guy, but you’re not talking to a jury of 12 that you picked,” Simpson adds. “Cheney’s been dealing with lawyers all of his life, and you can’t irritate people by taking on lawyers.”

The danger for Cheney, though, in the debate and beyond, is in the temptation to overstate his case. Polls show most people thought he did that when he drew a straight line between a Kerry victory in November and more terrorist attacks: “It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice,” he said, “because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is we’ll be hit again in a way that will be devastating.” From here on out, Cheney’s biggest challenge is to be tough without overdoing it.

He hasn’t always been seen as the scary guy that former Bush supporter and radio politico Don Imus last week called “an evil presence on the planet.”