Sunday, October 22nd, 2006
Changes at ConyersBlog
Nolip was the first to find and post on my new website/blog before I even had a chance to post here to tell you all about it. I have upgraded my http://johnconyers.com
website and am having plenty of new features added to it as we speak.
I will also be moving this blog to that site and I invite you to visit and let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Formatting your posts will be a lot easier now with the new site. The blog will remain as http://ConyersBlog.com, but its content will also be featured on the front page of http://johnconyers.com.
I was waiting to check if logins were working before I directed everyone over there. Perhaps some of you can check on this and let me know if you are experiencing any problems.
One of the new features of my new site is a poll summary of the House races
that is updated daily. It includes both Democratic and Republican polls to give the clearest picture of what both sides are reporting.
I hope to be posting a little more regularly now that these updates have been made and look forward to continuing our dialogue as the elections near.
Tuesday, October 17th, 2006
Campaigning in Michigan
I just wanted to give everyone an update on the campaign work we have been doing in Michigan.
Senator Barack Obama came through Detroit last week to join Governor Jennifer Granholm, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and me to oppose Michigan's Initiative No. 2. For those who haven't been following this issue, Ward Connerly has been waging a deceptive campaign
against affirmative action here in Michigan. This is the same Ward Connerly who explained, when defending Trent Lott's support of Strom Thurmond's segregationist presidential race, that "segregation need not be racist." This is also the same Ward Connerly who has been paid over $1 million, in dubious financing, for his efforts in this campaign.
I also want to highlight the campaign of a Congressional candidate who would be a great Member of Congress for Michigan. Jim Marcinkowski
, running in Michigan's 8th District, has just received DCCC support as an emerging race on our list of potential Democratic gains in this election.
Jim is a friend of mine. He served in the CIA with distinction for over 20 years and publicly drew attention to the agency's role in deceiving the American public with inaccurate "intelligence" supporting George Bush's rush to war against Iraq. Jim testified at a hearing for the Democratic Policy Committee on Iraq intelligence earlier this year and was one of the leading voices in drawing public and media attention to these shortcomings.Jim Marcinkowski
is just the type of leader that we need in Washington and I hope that you will consider lending him your support in this crucial campaign.
Saturday, October 14th, 2006
Good AP Story on ever changing rationales for War
Again, please allow me to digress and brag on my Detroit Tigers. They swept the Oakland A's, and will play in their first World Series since 1984 beginning next Saturday. I have been to some of the games, and can personally attest that the town and the team are rockin. The Detroit Free Press
has the story on the game and the celebration.
While I am here, let me point you to a very useful AP Stor
y on the ever changing rationales for the War by the Bushies. We all knew this, but it is helpful when the mainstream media sees fit to print it.
Onward to November.
Wednesday, October 11th, 2006
Book Signing Update
Today Many of you are awaiting a copy of George W. Bush versus the U.S. Constitution. I spent the entire afternoon signing copies of the book and have now gone through nearly 400. We are sending these signed copies out in the order in which they were ordered.
I still have plenty more to go but am getting through them as fast as I can. Thank you all for your patience throughout this process.
Tuesday, October 10th, 2006
What is up with these poll numbers?
As you have probably seen, every new major poll that comes out is worse and worse for the GOP. The latest New York Times/CBS poll
has Bush down to 34%, and the Republicans down by 14% in the generic congressional; the Washington Post/ABC
has the nation trusting Dems over Republicans on who can be trusted to deal with the biggest problems facing the country by 19%; USA Today/Gallup
has Republicans down by 23%. These are staggering numbers.
However, our friend Kos
throws a cold dose of reality on us -- for the elections in general and the Senate in particular. He reminds us the numbers will tighten inevitably, the GOP has the money advantage, they know the turnout game etc etc.
The truth may be somewhere in the middle, but clearly the playing field has tilted in our favor, and clearly, the harder we work, the more seats we will be able to pick up in the fall.
Sunday, October 8th, 2006
Dem Prospects Continue to Brighten (Part II)
How About Those Tigers?
The ink was barely dry on my last post, when ever more damaging polls for the GOP came out. The latest Newsweek poll
has the president down to a new low, 33%, and also shows Democrats ahead on every single issue of importance to the American public. This was accompanied by new stories
showing that even more Republican seats were now considered "in play" including the Chairman of the NRCC, Tom Reynolds, who is trailing by 15% in his Western NY District according to the latest Buffalo News/Zogby poll
. I was also happy to see stories that my own Governor Jennifer Granholm appeared to be solidifying her lead in Michigan as well, according to the latest Rasmussen poll.
Allow me to be a little off topic by heralding my Detroit Tigers
, who won their series with the NY Yankees by 3 games to 1 yesterday. It proved the adage that good pitching beats good hitting, and our hitting was not too bad either. So its on to Oakland for the Division Series, and hopefully the World Series after that.
Friday, October 6th, 2006
Dem Prospects Continue to Brighten
Message: Keep up the Hard Work
Today, there are a slew of new polls out showing that Democratic prospects continue to brighten for November's elections. First, we have a Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll
showing that Democratic voters are far more energized than their Republican counterparts for the election. Second, we have a USA Today/Gallup
poll showing that the Senate may also go Democratic this fall. Third, we have the latest Time poll
showing the president's approval rating down to 36%, a number that would clearly be a major drag on his party next month.
So what do we do? To me, with the wind at our backs, this is an indication we need to redouble our efforts for victory. There is no question it is easier to knock on doors, make phone calls and get out the vote when your candidate is ahead, or gaining. That is the postition we find ourselves in today. I will be working hard each and every day toward that goal, and I do not assume anything or take anything for granted. The stakes are too high for complacency.
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006
Washington Post Editorializes
There is a Washington Post editorial today entitled, "How to Lose a War," that I believe deserves some attention.
Highlighting the work of three of its own journalists Bob Woodward (State of Denial), Thomas Ricks (Fiasco), and Rajiv Chandrasekaran (Imperial Life in the Emerald City), the Post offers this conclusion:
[It] seems clear that U.S. chances for success would have been far better than they are today were it not for the overwhleming and shocking incompetence with which the administration has managed the war. From the failure to produce a coherent postwar plan to the disastrous performance by the occupation authority that was belatedly installed, the Bush team turned a difficult mission into a near-impossible one.
Of course this doesn't even cover the pre-war issues, including the warnings presented to the Bush White House that al Qaeda was poised to attack the U.S. back in July, 2001. Given all of these facts, it is difficult to see where the Administration could achieve a passing grade in any area of foreign policy.
The only thing they have managed to "succeed" at is winning elections. I believe we are soon poised to deliver a failing grade to the Republican party for that subject too.
Monday, October 2nd, 2006
Ignoring the Terrorist Threat
More is coming out of the the Woodward book that buttresses earlier reporting about the key failure of the Bush Administration: the sustained failure to address the pending threat of 9/11.
Woodward highlights a July 10, 2001 visit paid to Condoleezza Rice by CIA Director, George Tenet, and his counterterrorism chief, Cofer Black. On page 49 of State of Denial
, Woodward describes the intelligence that prompted this meeting:
[T]here was such a huge volume of data that an intelligence officer's instinct strongly suggested that something was coming. He and Black hoped to convey the depth of their anxiety and get Rice to kick-start the government into immediate action.
Tenet is attributed to have had these remarks to White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke about the pending danger this intelligence suggested:
"It's my sixth sense, but I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one"
George Tenet and Richard Clarke are two people to whom the Administration should have been listening to at this time. These two who had served in the same posts during the Clinton Administration. An administration that had some experience stopping a major terrorist attack: The Millenium attacks planned for Los Angeles airport and other sites worldwide.
Unfortunately, at this July 10 meeting
Rice "was polite but [Tenet and Cofer] felt the brush off... no immediate action meant great risk. Black felt the decision to just keep planning was a sustained policy failure. Rice and the Bush team had been in hibernation too long. 'Adults should not have a system like this,' [Black] said later."
I keep coming back to the actions the Clinton Administration took. They were able to prevent the first global series of terrorist attacks. The Millenium plot was a trademark al Qaeda plan to simultaneously strike a number of different sites. President Clinton also bombed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's hideout in Afghanistan. There was a sense of urgency in responding to this terrorist threat.
The comparison between the two administrations is striking. The Clinton Administration fought terrorism and stopped a massive attack dead in its tracks. Without torture or warrantless eavesdropping. The Bush Administration received the stark warning, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." and sat on their hands.
No wonder the right wing has gone to great lengths to distort President Clinton's conduct. They're hoping distract attention from President Bush's catastrophic failures.
Sunday, October 1st, 2006
Bob Woodward Reprise
Bob Woodward has published a new book that is a departure from his previous two volumes that have been largely apologetic or supportive of the Bush Administration's conduct in Iraq. As a caveat, I should note that Mr. Woodward hid from his editors for years that he knew the source of the Plame leakers.
I am encouraged, however, that Woodward has found his feet again in the pursuit of the story. We have learned through his access to those in the Bush White House and the Pentagon, that the Administration knew the truth about the status of the war in Iraq and has been misleading us all along.
We have learned that the war has been going badly, the insurgency is growing stronger, and the Bush Administration's actions in Iraq have encouraging the growth of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. We have also learned that the Administration has sought Henry Kissinger's advice throughout this conflict. Kissinger who had so much experience misleading the people about the status of the Vietnam War.
The Bush Administration has claimed all along that they were protecting our country, making us safer against terrorism, but our intelligence reports conclude otherwise.
There are plenty of questions to be answered by this Administration. I look forward to reading more of the Woodward book to learn more details about this conflict until these officials have the opportunity to come to the Hill and give their side of the story.
Thursday, September 28th, 2006
Democrats Exhibit Strength in Bucking the President
I know there has been a lot of criticism of the Bush Administration's military tribunal and warrantless wiretapping legislative initiatives, so I wanted to address those issues here.
Democrats don't act with unanimity. We don't vote in lockstep like Republicans. And being the minority party, we are destined to lose many legislative battles.
However, let me bring to your attention to Carl Husle's article
in the New York Times that highlights the growing strength of the Democratic opposition to the President's plans.
As the minority party, we were always going to lose to the Bush Torture Bill. And there were always going to be those who vote with Republicans on this issue.
But keep one thing in mind. Although these votes have come to pass, don't forget that, in a Democratic majority, these issues would never have even come to a vote.
We vote on our priorities.
If we can take back the majority, the Democratic leadership will never have a vote on approving torture, spying on our citizens, or suspending habeus corpus.
As you lament our present predicament, keep this in mind.
Tuesday, September 26th, 2006
Keith Olbermann on "A Textbook Definition of Cowardice"
Let's enjoy a thoughtful television journalist, an editorialist on TV who really tells it like it is. Keith Olbermann of MSNBC is a real treasure, one who does not shirk from asserting the truth with strength and conviction. How sad it is that these qualities are so hard to find in today's television news.
Olbermann had a long monologue on his show yesterday
that deserves repeating here. It is over ten minutes long, but well worth watching.
I quoted Olbermann on the House floor during the Republicans' sham 9/11 resolution. He has emerged as one of the most thoughtful and articulate political commenters and I find Countdown one of the shows that shouldn't be missed.
Monday, September 25th, 2006
Crashing the States
I had some visitors come by my office last week and we spent hours talking about getting our citizens involved, getting ordinary folks to participate in their government. They had traveled from Los Angeles, bringing with them a camera and an appetite for road trips and campaigns.
They were the gentlemen from the Crashing the States
project: Dante, Gary and AJ who are traveling across the country looking at the influence of the netroots on a number of different House and Senate races.
They are filming a movie that will be completed sometime next year. Hopefully, this work will provide some insights into successful campaigns.
I got some good ideas from them about engaging minority populations on the internet - making blogs and online activism more accessible. I have since had some conversations with friends in the telecommunications field so hopefully we can see some progress in this area soon.
Visit their site
and see if they are coming to your part of their country. Help out on this important project if you can.
Sunday, September 24th, 2006
NY Times on Diebold
Two very good stories on electonic voting appeared in the New York Times this weekend. In case you missed them, here are some highlights.Officials Wary of Electronic Voting Machines
“I think there is good reason for concern headed into the midterm elections,” said Richard F. Celeste, a Democrat and former Ohio governor who was co-chairman of a study of new machines for the National Research Council with Richard L. Thornburgh, a Republican and former governor of Pennsylvania.
“You have to train the poll workers,” Mr. Celeste said, “especially since many of them are of a generation for whom this technology is a particular challenge. You need to have plans in place to relocate voters to another precinct if machines don’t work, and I just don’t know whether these steps have been taken.”
The above article has a lot of good reference links. In an article tucked away in the Sunday Business Section, the Times has an article by San Jose State professor Randall Stross
, who contacted Diebold seeking reaction to the Princeton Study
demonstrating that vulnerabilities on one machine could allow a whole election to be compromised.
I called Diebold to see if it would lend Princeton a machine.
Mark G. Radke, director for marketing at Diebold, said that the AccuVote machines were certified by state election officials and that no academic researcher would be permitted to test an AccuVote supplied by the company. “This is analogous to launching a nuclear missile,” he said enigmatically, adding that Diebold had to restrict “access to the buttons.”
I persisted. Suppose, I asked, that a test machine were placed in the custodial care of the United States Election Assistance Commission, a government agency. Mr. Radke demurred again, saying the company’s critics were so focused on software that they “have no appreciation of physical security” that protects the machines from intrusion.
Well, of course, the Princeton study immediately disproves Radke's assertions of physical security. But the real insult here is that Diebold won't even allow the Election Assistance Commission to examine the security of these machines. Isn't that something? I think there is little doubt why.