the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

July 7, 2005

London, July 7


UK Flag

On September 11, 2001, I was in England — in Salisbury at the time of the attacks (having just seen Stonehenge) and going back to London later — and I still remember the kindness of the British people to a party of Americans at that terrible time. A few days later I was in Covent Garden as the whole street full of people paused for three minutes of silence to commemorate those killed. So this morning my thoughts are in London, and especially with any British people feeling lost and alone in the US.

July 6, 2005

Cooper, Miller, and Ethics


Mark Kleiman brings up something I’ve been thinking about:

Had it been known during the campaign that the presidents most important political advisor, the designer of this political strategy, had committed a felony and jeopardized the national security of the United States, this would have been a very significant issue in the campaign. It is, arguably, something the public really needed to know to make an intelligent decision about whom to vote for.

There is now NO real political consequence to the actions that administration officials engaged in (there is a legal consequence, perhaps, but no electoral consequence). So in that sense, these journalists not only flouted the law, they caused an election to occur without the full information the citizenry needed.

Anyone who questions the right’s assertion that the MSM is liberal is promptly treated to a derisive snort. (Here, I like the way Jon Stewart puts it: the facts themselves have a liberal bias.)

What we’re seeing here, however, is that the MSM is neither conservative or liberal. What drove the media, at least in this specific case, is careerism. Less speaking truth to power, than speaking security to career.

Cooper and Miller put their jobs over, as Kleiman puts it, “full information the citizenry needed.” They are currently defying the contempt order not to prevent the abuse of power by the high and mighty, but to ensure it.

I differ from Fitzgerald in sending them to jail. More fitting that they spend the next few months in community service. I would bet that 90 days spent cleaning up after the horses in Rock Creek Park would improve their writing skills immensely.

Dueling Democracy


DC VoteTonight you have your choice of two events by local political groups occurring simultaneously a few blocks apart. First, DC Vote is celebrating the call by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for congressional representation for DC residents:

DC Vote is dedicated to bringing in new faces, supporters and voluteers to our cause as well as giving our current supporters an opportunity to join the DC Vote staff and fellow supporters in an informal setting. We want the community to have a chance to check us out and learn about our volunteer programs and advocacy efforts.

DC Vote will hold it’s next “American Democracy for America’s Capital” Monthly Happy Hour on Wednesday, July 6 at 6:30 PM at the brand new Bar Pilar at 1833 14th Street, NW (on 14th Street between S & T Streets, NW). The closest Metro stop is U Street/Cardozo on the Green Line.

To RSVP or get more information about the happy hours, contact DC Vote Program Assistant Zainab Akbar by e-mail at zakbar@dcvote.org.

DC for DemocracyStarting half an hour later (at 7) and a couple of blocks away (at Ben’s Chili Bowl) is the monthly meeting of DC for Democracy — which features a representative from DC Vote:

Hot on the heels of Independence Day, our July MeetUp will focus on freedom here at home. Guest speakers include DC’s Shadow Representative to the US House, Ray Browne. What does a shadow representative do? And what does this have to do with voting rights? Come and find out.

Also with us will be a representative from DC Vote, a non-profit organization that works toward educating the public both here at home and around the country on the need for DC voting rights.

We’ll also roll out a new subcommittee to focus on DC Voting Rights, and we’ll give an update on our Northern Virginia Election Action plans.

DC for Democracy’s MeetUps always draw a crowd, so don’t miss out — make a date to meet some cool new friends on our combined July 6th MeetUp at:

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl — 1213 U St NW (Metro Green Line: U Street) — RSVP today!

Attend one or both, and suggest that next month the groups coordinate their schedules.

And of course, don’t forget DCDL’s Reading Liberally discussion of Orwell’s 1984 at Mark and Orlando’s (2020 P St NW, Dupont Circle Metro) tomorrow at 6:30.

July 5, 2005

Follow Up on DC Voting Rights


Just got this in the mail:

With overwhelming support, the Third Committee of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly passed a resolution that calls on the United States Congress to grant the residents of Washington, DC, equal voting rights in Congress in accordance with its OSCE human rights commitments. The United States is the only country in the OSCE where residents of the nation’s capital are denied full representation in the national legislature.

What does this mean practically speaking? I doubt that Denny Hastert and Bill Frist lose any sleep over an OSCE resolution.

Yet, it does keep the question visible: why doesn’t DC have the right to vote? It would appear on the surface it’s because the DC community would vote for Democrats. If that’s the case, I don’t see any way you could argue that this is consistent with democratic principles. I don’t see how you could see this as other than legalized voter suppression.

July 4, 2005

No to Torture, No to Gonzales


On Independence Day, it’s appropriate to reflect on what the United States stands for and whether we’re living up to those ideals. In the past, our nation has been a leader in human rights (although it’s never been perfect), and one of the worst transgressions of the Bush administration was to stain the United States by making it into one of the countries that uses torture. Yes, Bush has mouthed some condemnations of torture, and a few bad apples have been punished. But the people responsible for the policies of prisoner abuse and torture have not only escaped punishment but have been promoted, the network of detainment facilities continues as before, and the policy of shipping prisoners to thuggish regimes to be tortured is still in place.

Now there’s a lot of talk of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a possible nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy opened up by the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor. It’s true that the prospect of Bush nominating someone who’s not fanatically opposed to abortion rights is driving the religious right crazy (John Cole has a selection of the reactions), but we must not be fooled into thinking that anyone they hate that much can’t be all bad. Nat Hentoff detailed “nice guy” Gonzales’s connections to torture in a Village Voice column when Gonzales was nominated for attorney general (the Center for American Progress has more). Nothing has changed since then. This is, after all, the man who wrote, “In my judgment, this new paradigm [the war on terrorism] renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions.”

The six Democrats in the Senate who voted for Gonzales’s confirmation should be ashamed,* as should all of the Republicans (especially John McCain, who has experienced torture first hand). As attorney general, he will be gone in three and a half years, but as a Supreme Court justice Gonzales will be with us for decades. We must do all we can to keep the stain of torture away from the nation’s highest court. Gonzales is not acceptable.

* For the record, the Shameful Six are Landrieu (D-LA), Lieberman (D-CT), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), and Salazar (D-CO). Please remember, not Obama.

July 2, 2005

Congress as City Council?


Congressional Republicans are engaging in one of their periodic encroachments on the District’s right to local government — though local government is something Republicans supposedly favor in general. This time it’s yet another attack on DC’s gun laws, which has passed the House but with luck will still be defeated in the Senate, as similar bills have been before.

It was interesting to see that we do have a Wisconsin Democrat on our side:

David ObeyDuring the debate on the gun law, Rep. David R. Obey (Wis.), senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, proposed his own change to the city budget: forcing members of Congress to draw their pay from D.C. funds and cut their annual salary to that of D.C. Council members, from about $162,000 to $92,500.

“The citizens of the District of Columbia have no vote in this body, and as long as that is the case, we have no right to tell them what their laws are going to be,” Obey said, adding that he opposed the city’s handgun ban but found opponents’ tactics “ridiculous and abusive.”

“If the people in this House want to act like your D.C. city councilman, then they can be paid like a D.C. councilman,” he said. Obey withdrew his amendment after a procedural challenge.

Save the Date: Guerrilla Film Fest 6


Check out Guerrilla Film Fest 6, July 16 at the Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, 730 21st, NW (21st and H), DC.

July 1, 2005

Thanks, Zack


zack exley at drinking liberally

As was expected, a huge turnout for Zack Exley. Interesting, impressive guy, as was Luke Bruce. A couple of key points that I came away with in the discussion of the Kerry campaign versus the Tony Blair campaign:

Does the DNC have a rapid response team? I’m guessing not. It’s hard to imagine anything more rapid than the criticisms of Dean by other Dems.

If anything, I’d say we’ve got a rapid circular firing squad.

June 28, 2005

Presidential Speech Tonight


I was just reminded by MoveOn.org that Presidente Arbusto is addressing the nation this evening:

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET, President Bush will speak to the nation about the war in Iraq in a televised address. Despite the car bombs and rising attacks, he’s expected to offer no new policy—in fact, he’s expected to say that we’re making progress, that everything is going just fine.

Over the last week, we asked you to vote on whether we should work together in a major campaign to get Democrats and Republicans in Congress on board with a responsible exit plan. As of this morning, hundreds of thousands have voted and the results are clear: more than 83 percent said you were in. Together, we’re ready to tell our leaders that it’s time to come home.

They then suggest to write a letter to your local newspaper editor after the speech. Makes sense.

To get through the occasionally painful experience of listening to Arbusto mangle the English language, may I suggest this drinking game? It hasn’t been updated since the State of the Union, but most of it still applies:

To that I’ll add that if he says “My job is hard”, throw an unemployment check at the TV screen, then quickly down a bloody mary.

June 27, 2005

Thursday’s Speakers Zack Exley from Kerry-Edwards Campaign and Luke Bruce from the British Labour Party


Please join us this Thursday 7:30P.M. at Timberlakes for a very special DCDL with two fantastic speakers Zack Exley from the Kerry-Edwards campaign and Luke Bruce from the British Labour Party. Zack Exley coordinated online efforts for the British Labour Party’s recent re-election campaign, was Director of Online Organizing and Communications at Kerry-Edwards 2004 and served as Organizing Director at MoveOn.org. Luke Bruce was the director of policy for the British Labour Party election campaign. Zack and Luke will speak about what the Democrats have to learn from the Labour Party who keep winning despite all kinds of obstacles. They have fairly different views on the topic but both are united on the basic idea that Democrats need to be more aggressive and decisive to be successful in the future.

Please check out Zack and Luke at Timberlakes in DuPont Circle (1726
Connecticut Ave NW (202) 483-2266).


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

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