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Friday, December 05, 2008

Chambliss - the accidental GOP poster boy

Republicans may be celebrating the victory of Sen. Saxby Chambliss in the Georgia runoff, and because of the attention this race has received, observers may get the idea that the soon-to-be two term Senator is the next great hope of the GOP.

Nothing could be further from the truth. That is, if Saxby is the GOP's future, then the last two election cycles have not taught the party of Lincoln a thing.

Around the country, Republican seats in the House and Senate have gone from red to blue - except in Georgia. Around the country, states that have not voted for a Democrat in a presidential election in decades went for Barack Obama in 2008 - except for Georgia.

The GOP hopes the rest of the country becomes more like Georgia. After all, if we can elect old-school Republicans, then, they believe, they should be more like old-school Republicans.

Chambliss told his supporters Wednesday morning, as they dismantled his campaign headquarters, that his victory is a "model" for the 2010 election cycle.

The Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Mike Duncan, who was in Atlanta for Chambliss' Tuesday night victory, said that night's "result sends a strong and confident message to those committed to electing candidates who stand by the core principles upon which our Party was founded.”

Those principles, according to Chambliss, include "smaller government, fiscal responsibility, more individual rights (read as 'gun rights') and lower taxes.” Though that rhetoric resonated enough with Georgia Republicans to get them to the polls for the runoff, it is a huge leap to try to apply such ideals to Republicans around the country. It is, in fact, perceived as disingenuous by a majority of voters, even Republicans, who have heard such talk in every election cycle but are not blind to what their party did when they were in control of Congress.

It is not so much that Georgians have embraced Chambliss; it is that this state of the Old South is always going to be the last to give in to change.  Georgia is more like the last bastion of conservatism in a changing world, and Republicans would be foolish to make the politics here be the future of the GOP everywhere.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Memories of Mumbai

It was 1990. I was exhausted. I had just landed in India after a long trip from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, to London, to Nairobi, to Delhi, to Mumbai (Bombay, back then). The jet lag was debilitating. Still, my girlfriend and I decided to walk around the town and see some of the sites.

One of the first places we went was the Gateway to India, an arched structure that overlooks Mumbai Harbor, on the tip of the city's southern peninsula. The barge-like concrete spit, that holds the monument, extends from a square, beneath the looming, ornate, wall of the Taj Hotel.

All hippie-fied after months of Third World travel, we plodded into the lobby of the Taj, in our cargo pants and loose cotton tops, and sat down in a restaurant for a fine, light and expensive (for us) lunch.

It seems trite, today, to talk about the anxiety I felt when I realized that a young shoeshine boy at the Gateway had stolen my wallet. I ran to the Gateway. I ran back inside the restaurant at the Taj. I was really in panic mode. Again, very trite, especially with what has been going on the past few days in India.



So this story has to have a point, besides, "Hey, I was there once, and got my wallet stolen."

Frankly, I am not sure it does, except to say that in the country of India, where spiritual connections spark the air like fireflies on a summer night, I see my younger self standing there beneath the Taj, and I feel the anxiety of my experience disappear in the harrowing flames and rain of explosions and the cries of the scores of souls who have been ripped from this life. I realize how much energy we all waste in our own little panic modes.

Panic may be a vestige of out prehistoric selves, to get our adrenaline going so we could fight and flee, but these little anxiety attacks seem pointless to this city boy, when held up to the light of the challenges presented to those who fight and die, and those who pray for their souls.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We Stood Up!

Now it's time to march!

When I started this blog in 2005, one of the first comments I made was that we needed to stand up in order to get the one party government Republicans to stand down.

In 2006, when we actually started to make some gains, and became the majority party in Congress, it appeared we were on the right track. I was bitter, to be sure, about the South's unwillingness to catch up to the changes the rest of the country appeared to be going through.

Tonight, though the Electoral map shows that the last factor has not really shifted much, most of the rest of the country is heeding the call for change. Democrats, Independents, minorities, the young voters, the old, all stood up. Even the South has begun to shift, with Virginia, North Carolina and Florida choosing the man for the times rather than holding on to old time values.

We still have a long way to go, for it was (arguably) only the darkness of the last eight years that brought us to this new morning. But now that we have woken up, though some still slumber, we must take on our new challenges and not let up. Now that we are awake we must work. We must march. We must continue to fight and hold on to what we have gained. Stand up for what we believe in and work to make it so.

What can you do to help President-elect Barack Obama?

-PBG

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama Baby Video

This video demonstrates Barack Obama's appeal to young voters.





This video was written and directed by Bruce Kay.
Editing and graphics by yours truly.
-PBG

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Post Traumatic Bush Disorder

How John McCain was screwed twice by the 43rd President of the United States


The experts say that the condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) shows up three to seven years after a veteran's return from war. Five-and-a-half years since the beginning of the Iraq War, seven years since the abuses at Enron and the shock of September 11, could the stock market's crash last week and the country's humongous deficit be symptoms of a serious national psychiatric disorder, a dysfunction that happens to a country when its leaders choose to ignore the stress potential of our looming housing and credit crisis? In other words, my friends, our economy - and maybe our entire country - could be suffering from a collective case of PTSD.

We have already stopped listening to the words of calm the president and his minions offer up as as if it were a narcotic salve for our economy's ills. Wall Street itself has begged the administration to just shut the heck up. As the NY Daily News put it in an October 10 report:
"Just as he did on Monday and Tuesday - and three other times last week -Bush told the country he was on top of the growing crisis. Each time,the market tanked."
If the trauma inflicted by George W. Bush has had this kind of effect on us, pity poor John McCain. Bush's shortcut to the White House in 2000 ran right over him, before body checking Al Gore, and systematically dismantling the financial infrastructure of our country for the benefit of his cronies. Now the actions of the lame duck Bush administration have put their Haliburton supplied truck in reverse to run over him again. They must have something against him. I bet that's the way McCain feels.

What must it be like to be locked in a Viet Cong prison more than thirty years after you were physically released? This is an idea that came from one of my friends who does counseling: John McCain suffers from PTSD. Really, it would explain a lot about his legendary rages and his manipulability at the hands of his masters - I mean campaign staff.

Sarah Palin was just another emotional outburst for Johnny Mac. Now that the zealots her rhetoric has inflamed are talking about anger and violence, Senator McCain is doing a little anger management style calming, deflecting their rage as he has learned to deflect his own.

Back in May, 2008, when the McCain campaign released the candidate's medical records, it was only since 2000, and did not "speak directly to the [psychological] effects of his years as a prisoner of war," according to several articles published at the time.

But these accusations are not new to McCain. According to a May 2008 article on salon.com:
"During McCain's first White House run, his unsuccessful battle with George Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 1999 and 2000, he faced a whispering campaign from rivals that suggested his Vietnam ordeal had permanently damaged his psyche -- specifically, that his famed outbursts of temper might be a sign of something serious, like post-traumatic stress disorder."
While I do not subscribe to a "whispering campaign" tactic, especially one prosecuted by the likes of Karl Rove (whose 2000 "dirty tricks" may have actually contributed to McCain's current condition), there are questions that need to be answered.

It is hard to imagine what McCain's five-and-a-half years of deprivation, torture and broken bones in the Hanoi Hilton may have done to the senator's young mind. It is also hard to imagine that every time he tries to raise his damaged shoulders, he is not reminded of his time in captivity and his two suicide attempts.

The McCain campaign assured the Washington Post that their candidate "has never received a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder," even though salon.com points out that "they failed to note that it would have been impossible for McCain to receive such a diagnosis -- since the term 'post-traumatic stress disorder' was not in use until seven years after McCain's release from captivity."

That is something left out of the Washington Post's pre-analysis of McCain's May release of medical records. They cite research from the Robert E. Mitchell Center for Prisoner of War Studies, which follows its mission, "to aid, comfort, and ease the repatriation of past and future prisoners of war by means of lessons learned from the evaluation of former prisoners of war." The Post story says that the Pensacola based the Navy research center found that Vietnam fliers were somehow different:

"The naval aviators who were imprisoned in Vietnam are in their 60s and 70s. Both now and in the years immediately after their release, they have seemed unusually resistant to psychological damage from the experience.

"The lifetime prevalence of PTSD in all the Pensacola POW studies [since World War II] is 24 percent. In the naval aviators, however, it was 4 percent from 1979 to 1983, when the disorder was most likely to appear."

They go on to say that the center has found an anomoly in officer POWs as a whole. "Research on World War II prisoners found that officers as a group had far less psychological trauma than enlisted men."

This exception may have been what Cindy McCain was referring to in a recent interview with Fox News reporter Marie Claire. In response to a question about her husband's POW related trauma, whether or not he had "night sweats," the senator's wife said, "The guys who had the trouble were the 18-year-olds who were drafted. He was trained, he went to the Naval Academy, he was a trained United States naval officer, and so he knew what he was doing."

Other researchers, however, have found that while PTSD may not be prevalent, they were able to "identify something called 'late-onset stress symptomatology' or LOSS, which came to light after 562 combat veterans -- about 300 of them POWs -- answered a long questionnaire. The syndrome involves the return of troubling memories late in life, along with emotional anguish and guilt, often triggered by retirement and friends' deaths."

A 2007 study by Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, and National Center for PTSD at Boston University describes LOSS as:

"a phenomenon observed in aging combat veterans who (a) were exposed to highly stressful combat events in their early adult years, (b) have functioned successfully throughout midlife with no history of chronic stress-related disorders, but (c) begin to register increased combat-related thoughts, feelings, and reminiscences commensurate with the changes and challenges of aging."

So is John McCain suffering from PTSD? It is difficult to say, however it is entirely possible that he has shown, is showing or will show signs that he is suffering from LOSS as he ages and encounters "the challenges of aging." Perhaps his scrapes with the politics and policies of George W. Bush present the Republican nominee wityh just such a challenge.

One can only hope that when we are a lifetime away from this presidency, that we are further along in our recovery than the soldiers who have been traumatized by the wars they fought when they were young.

-PBG

Monday, October 06, 2008

Good Break for Goodfriend

It is my pleasure to invite you, loyal readers, to visit my page at examiner.com, an online newspaper that saw fit to hire yours truly to write about public policy in Atlanta and elsewhere.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1163-Atlanta-Public-Policy-Examiner~y2008m10d6-Racism-in-the-shadow-of-the-Big-Chicken

Please visit often and tell your friends. Sign up for the feed. Your continuing support is appreciated and humbling.

-PBG

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Last Money Grab

Wall Street and Main Street Lay Siege to Easy Street

Best not to get stuck on Easy Street in these economic times.

It may seem oxymoronic to think of Easy Street and Wall Street as developments on the opposite sides of an economic rift, but that is just what is being created with this economic earthquake. While denizens of both may be sweating the distance of their fall, those on Easy Street, by implication, are really confident they have found a way to come out okay.

Those on Main Street, meanwhile, run around like town folk in a spaghetti western when the bad guys ride into town, ducking into clapboard buildings, horse troughs and rain barrels, lest the meteoric fall of the economy crush them under its growing shadow. If they knew what was good for them, they would scramble to higher ground, take buggies and coaches to the gates of Easy Street and rattle the gilded cage.

The Main Streeters wouldn't be alone. At the gate on the other end of Easy Street are the folks from Wall Street. They are going through a ring of keys, desperately trying each one in the gate's chained padlock, their hands sweating while they yell at each other and shake their heads.

"It's key number two!"

"No, it's key seven!"

"I say one! Key number one!"

It will take the traders a while to realize that the bankers on Easy Street have changed the locks, and they did it with the help of congress and Hank Paulsen. "Suspicion falls ... on the objectivity of Paulsen who is a former merchant banker." - October 3, 2008, canberratimes.au.com


"A lost cause."

If we were worried before about a growing disparity and the shrinking of the middle class, we should really be worried now. We lost 159,000 jobs in September, the worst monthly jobless report in five years. According to the NY Times, "with the job market now swiftly deteriorating and fear dogging the financial system, what optimism remained has given way to the broad assumption that 2008 is a lost cause."

And with the Fed contemplating another rate cut, there is little incentive to save. Not that it matters, since over 6% of us are not working and making money anyway.

So the bankers will take this money that congress is approving and the president will sign, go inside their ivory towers and shut the gates on Easy Street and the American Dream. "...banks may continue to hoard their dollars regardless of a rescue package from Washington, depriving businesses of capital needed to expand," the Times article goes on to say. If that's the case, what's the point of the package, except that Bush and Cheney will have succeeded in bankrupting the country of more than just its principles?

I wonder if the lamest lame duck administration in my lifetime will be forced by the courts to sell their own personal assets to help settle this debt and calm the markets. Yeah. Right. They'll be locked safely away, while Main Streeters and Wall Streeters alike slowly go broke, starve and die. Brother, can you spare grande mocha latte?

-PBG

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Managing the Conversation for Change

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.—Niccolo Machiavelli

If national elections in the United States are about one thing, that thing is change. We change from liberal to conservative, from peace to war, from a strong domestic commitment stressing economic equity to a commitment to economic disenfranchisement. We give entitlements to the poor or we give tax breaks to the wealthy. We secure the futures of our working class or gild the parachutes of CEOs and CFOs, and grant them pardons when they do to their employees what our government cannot. We vote. We change.

The thing is, you can go three or four presidents and - unless there's a war or an economic collapse - not notice a thing. Sure, you may get a little more or a little less money back from your taxes, and there is the occasional media sensation or scandal, but as long as your working, life goes on; the paychecks come in; you fill your car with gas and take your vacations and love your family and take this wonderful American routine for granted.

It should come as little surprise then, that Americans tend to wallow in the rut of secure sameness, holding on to the day-to-day like a toddler to a binky. The times that allow this static lifestyle are numbing, so much so that politicians and purveyors cannot resist taking advantage of a lulled populace, picking our futures from our pockets like back alley thieves.

Indeed, it could be said that some Americans get to choose change, while others have change thrust upon them.

Just because Bush and Cheney have run our country over the cliff in a barrel of mismanaged change does not mean we are doomed to to splat like Wile E. Coyote on the stark floor of the Painted Desert, while they peer over the edge and dusts off their hands in satisfactory glee.

Admittedly, the news of the day is not good: Wall Street is teetering; McCain has been bumped up by throngs of white men in love with the legs and lies of Sarah "Peggy Hill" Palin (or her husband); gas is over four dollars a gallon again. But all that is what happens when "change" is unfurled like a "Mission Accomplished" banner. It's not change we can believe in; it's change they want us to believe. It's the kind of change where things are really just the same, which is what they really want. Our kind of change, Barack's change, really scares them, and their chants of "burn baby burn" (oops!) I mean "drill baby drill", in turn, scare us.

I may just be paranoid, but I fear that Palin especially - with her neocon church beliefs - is using words like "some of these CEOs and top management people" as code when she says they are "addicted to other people's money." I fear that Palin will foment an atmosphere of anti-Semitism disguised as classism. That is why we have to pull together behind Barack Obama.

Obama and Biden are challenging us to believe in change and be their agents in affecting it. If this change is going to happen, we must make it happen. Unlike the current administration that just wants us to go shopping and fill our cars with four dollar a gallon gasoline, the Democratic ticket wants us to have a hand in determining the course of our own democracy. What a radical idea!

"...creating change starts with creating a vision for change and then empowering individuals to act as change agents to attain that vision. The empowered change management agents need plans that provide a total systems approach, are realistic, and are future oriented. Change management encompasses the effective strategies and programs to enable those change agents to achieve the new vision." from Managing Change: An Overview, by Nancy M. Lorenzi, PhD and Robert T. Riley, PhD, published by JAMIA, Mar-Apr 2000

Unlike the populist politics of Obama, I think that when Bush 41 had his vision of "A New World Order" he was counting on the participation of multinational corporations, NATO, the IMF, the WTO and the World Bank to help create it. They are who he wanted to "empower." Not the people. God no.

Forty-one's legacy staff in Bush 43's White House wanted to continue in that direction. Even after 9/11 happened, they still went to Haliburton and Blackwater to help fight this stupid war in Iraq. They didn't ask anything out of us except to "go shopping."According to a 2007 article published in Foreign Affairs, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (who conspiracy folks think are in on this whole mess), "George W. Bush has revived George H. W. Bush's call for a 'new world order' -- by creating, in effect, a new new world order." But even this cabal isn't sure the world is ready. "Because the U.S. government is viewed as having undercut many global governance structures in recent years, any effort by this administration to rewrite the rules of the global game is naturally seen as yet another attempt by Washington to escape the constraints of international law."

Included in the JAMIA "Managing Change" article there is a table entitled "Reasons for Contemporary System Failures" which lists ways in which change implementation fails in a corporate environment. One does not have to look far to find the failures of the Bush-Cheney administration in their efforts to change the USA's approach to global politics. Of course, these (in italics) are just my associations and interpretations. Feel free to use your own:

Category

Examples

Communication

Ineffective outgoing communication


Ineffective listening

President’s August 2001 Daily Briefing: “Bin Laden Determined to Attack”

Phoenix FBI

Pet Goat


Failure to effectively prepare the staff for the new system

Condi and the NSA

Differences with Colin Powell, Richard Clarke and Paul O’Neill

Culture

Hostile culture within the information systems organization

Facts don’t matter; politics do. We'll make the facts fit.

The Cheney push to reclassify documents, including a “new” kind of classification

Outing Valerie Plame


Hostile culture toward the information systems area

They don’t have to know what we do, just what we say.

We’ll make the press afraid to speak against us.


No strategies to nurture or grow a new culture

Could have used the opportunity after 9/11 to reach out to the rest of the world and unite to find a way to resolve the terrorist situation in a statesman like manner. Instead, things like “Dead or Alive,” “Bring it on!”

Also, dissolving the Iraqi Army, not guarding the borders. Basically not having a strategy for peace.

Underestimation of complexity

Missed deadlines and cost overruns

It’s hard to be president.

Surplus to deficit

How many billions has this war cost us?


Lost credibility

Mission Accomplished.

Katrina: You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie.

Medals for the idiots who planned and mishandled Iraq.

Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson

Scope creep

Failure to define and maintain original success criteria

Find WMDs

Welcomed as liberators

It will pay for itself


Failure to renegotiate deadlines and resources if criteria do change

Refusal to deal with Iran

Refusal to re-evaluate relationship with Russia

Refusal to acknowledge the bad intelligence, even before March ‘03

Refusal to allow the UN inspectors to do their jobs


Organizational

No clear vision for the change

Holding on to the Cold War mentality of an evil enemy that must be vanquished.

Holding that everyone longs for democracy and freedom – also a Cold War legacy


Unintended consequences

5,000 dead soldiers

Longest war the US has ever fought

Loss of credibility in the rest of the world

Shifting allegiances to try to find a suitable ally among the sects of Baghdad.

Huge deficit.


Ineffective reporting structure

Abu Ghraib

Reporting to Cheney and not the Pres.


Staff turnover


Staff competency


Provision of a technical “fix” to a management problem

Gonzales and Rove firing Federal Prosecutors

Visiting Ashcroft in the hospital to get his approval for illegal wiretaps rather than agree with the acting AG


Lack of full support of “boss(es)”

Powell was against it;

Lack of support of the American people, and we are the bosses


Roles and responsibilities not clearly defined or understood by everyone

Scott McClellan

Richard Clarke

The US Military

W did not ask us to play our part; he felt as though he didn't need it. "Go shopping," he said.


Several people vying to be “in charge”

Cheney, Ashcroft, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld (remember Rummy’s wanting to co-opt all intelligence for the DoD?)


Adequate resources not available from the beginning

Rumsfeld’s refusal to acknowledge the need for more initial forces - "You got to war with the army you have, not the army you want."

Not enough intelligence, both the spy kind and the brain kind


Failure to benchmark existing practices

Well, there have been benchmarks. They just haven’t been met.


Inability to measure success

“When they stand up we’ll stand down.”

They do keep moving the line lower. Can you say “everybody limbo!”?

Technology

System too technology oriented

Too complicated for simple minds


Poor procurement


Lure of the leading (bleeding) edge

Democracy anywhere will bring democracy everywhere.

We fight them there so we won’t have to fight them here.

A small force ought to be enough to do it.


Inadequate testing

Did anyone think this through, I mean with their brains?

Training

Inadequate or poor-quality training


Poor timing of training—too early or too late

Leadership issues

Leader too emotionally committed

“Bring ‘em on!”


Leader's time over committed

It’s hard to read stories to kids and saw logs in Crawford.


Too much delegation without control

Haliburton, Blackwater and Dick Cheney


Failure to get ownership in the effort

No call to join in the effort. Just go shopping.


Leader's political skills weak

duh


“Lying” to get initial approval

WMDs

Spurious ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda

Nigerian yellowcake

Downing Street’s “Dodgy Dossier”

Again, the italics are mine. The rest is from: J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2000 Mar–Apr; 7(2): 116–124. Copyright © 2000, American Medical Informatics Association





Like I said, these are just my ideas. I'm curious to know if you have your own. Let me know. Even the briefest internet search brings a handful of past news stories illustrating the issue of Bush trying to shift us to this change of his:


"Members of the Bush administration keep talking about what a promising moment for peace this is. The suggestion is that the departure of Saddam Hussein, and the arrival of a new Palestinian Prime Minister, Abu Mazen, has changed everything. It is hard to see precisely how Saddam Hussein was preventing the Israelis and Palestinians from making peace. What has really changed is President Bush himself.

"Suddenly he is taking a strong personal interest in the peace process, and putting his own personal political capital on the line. But what motivates him is still a bit of a mystery."

-Bush's change of direction


by Jon Leyne
BBC State Department correspondent


.........................
"Commentators have fixated on the invocation of 'preemptive' military action to counter enemies seeking 'the world's most destructive technologies.' Yet this is not the crazy idea it is often portrayed to be. To enforce a robust nonproliferation regime, preemption might actually make sense in certain cases. The real problem in the new strategy is not preemption but narrowness -- the focus on three wretched governments and terrorists, and the emphasis on force, coercion, and selective treaty enforcement as the main instruments of national policy.
Conservative defense intellectuals and officials deserve credit for highlighting the fact that effective nonproliferation requires changes in the policies or governments of states unwilling to abide by international laws and norms. Yet they then proceed to make the reverse mistake, looking only at the outlaws and ignoring the challenges posed by nuclear weapons in general. So long as some states are allowed to possess nuclear weapons legitimately and derive the benefits that flow from them, then other states in the system will want them too -- including, perhaps, the successors to the governments the Bush administration currently opposes. The proliferation threat thus stems from the existence and possession of nuclear weapons and theft-prone materials, not merely from the intentions of today's 'axis of evil.'

"The nonproliferation radicals recognize that the good guys of today can become the bad guys of tomorrow. So they say the United States must retain and 'upgrade' an enormous strategic arsenal forever to deter or defeat any adversary. At the same time, they argue that the new bad guys (rogue states and terrorists), unlike the old bad guys (the Soviet Union), cannot be deterred and contained and so must be eliminated quickly. The Bush administration thus essentially favors a strategy of repeated regime change plus a large, steadily modernizing nuclear arsenal.

"This bleak vision makes sense only if the determination to retain deployed nuclear arsenals forever does not exacerbate proliferation risks, and if the weapons being retained provide a necessary, usable, and effective deterrent against threats that are greater than proliferation. Since neither of these assumptions is valid, the strategy is flawed."

Bush's Nuclear Revolution: A Regime Change in Nonproliferation

George Perkovich

From Foreign Affairs, March/April 2003

--------------------


BUSH: "We've got a plan in place. The plan says there will be elections in January, and there will be. The plan says we'll train Iraqi soldiers so they can do the hard work, and we are. And it's not only just America, but NATO is now helping, Jordan's helping train police, UAE is helping train police. We've allocated $7 billion over the next months for reconstruction efforts. And we're making progress there. And our alliance is strong. We're making progress.

"It is hard work. It is hard work to go from a tyranny to a democracy. It's hard work to go from a place where people get their hands cut off, or executed, to a place where people are free. But it's necessary work. And a free Iraq is going to make this world a more peaceful place."

from the first Presidential debate, Kerry/Bush-Sept 30, 2004

-------------------------------

"Our work in Iraq has been hard.

"Helping construct a stable democracy after decades of dictatorship is a massive undertaking. Yet we have a great advantage. Whenever people are given a choice in the matter, they prefer lives of freedom to lives of fear. Our enemies in Iraq are good at filling hospitals, but they do not build any. They can incite men to murder and suicide, but they cannot inspire men to live, and hope, and add to the progress of their country. The terrorists' only influence is violence, and their only agenda is death.

"Our agenda, in contrast, is freedom and independence, security and prosperity for the Iraqi people. And by removing a source of terrorist violence and instability in the Middle East, we also make our own country more secure.

"Our coalition has a clear goal, understood by all -- to see the Iraqi people in charge of Iraq for the first time in generations. America's task in Iraq is not only to defeat an enemy, it is to give strength to a friend - a free, representative government that serves its people and fights on their behalf. And the sooner this goal is achieved, the sooner our job will be done."

-- President Outlines Steps to Help Iraq Achieve Democracy and Freedom
Remarks by the President on Iraq and the War on Terror
United States Army War College
Carlisle, Pennsylvania--May 24, 2004

So I guess now that we have started re-regulating the financial industry, we're in for a newer new new world order. Can I order a new leader who listens to the people and not the New World Order?

-PBG

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Remembering My Mother

Be Grateful You Have Someone Who Worries

Be grateful if you ever had Betty Goodfriend's thick shabbes cholent,
Or sipped her perfect matzo ball soup on Passover,
Or dug a fork into her fluffy blintz souffle on Shavuos,
Or tasted the sweet and tangy marmalade that she made from esrogim after Sukkos.

Be grateful you had someone who worried -
You shouldn't go away from the table hungry.

Be grateful if you ever heard Betty Goodfriend tell a story of the shtetl,
Or if you sat next to her in synagogue (or in her vicinity) and heard her honest opinions,
Or sat in a classroom or a congregation and heard her talk about the ultimate evil of people
And the strength of her faith and commitment to Israel she thought
Every Jew should have - must have - in order for our people to survive.

Be grateful you had someone who worried -
You should have a Jewish education.

Be grateful if you ever had Betty Goodfriend visit you in the hospital,
Or hold your hand, or pour out the tsoris of her life to you;
Or if you had her listen to you as you poured out your pain to her
So she could offer the right advice - advice that while empathetic was not always sympathetic,
And just as often, the most difficult advice to take.

Of my mother's many such wisdoms, which in my life I dismissed so many times,
The one I will never again let go of is this:

Be grateful you have someone who worries about you.

-PBG

PS. I presented the above tribute at my mother's funeral service last Wednesday, 30 July. My mother died the previous Monday from a brain hemorrhage. She was 81 years old. I am taking some extra time this month, so I don't know when I will next post. Thank you for your continuing support.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jingoism, Optimism and Enthusiasm

Obama and the Europeans
(I know... it sounds like a fifties group)

"It's not only Obama's youth, eloquence and energy
that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic. For Europeans,
there have always been two Americas: one of cynicism,
big business and bullying aggression, another of freedom,
fairness and nothing-is-impossible dynamism.
If President Bush has been seen as the embodiment of
that first America, Obama has raised expectations of a
chance for the nation to redeem itself in the role that - at
various times through history - Europe has loved,
respected and relied upon."


"The people in Europe expect a different kind of
foreign policy for the USA from Obama,
away from military dominance and
towards more cooperation and negotiation."

- Interview with Thomas Bauer, Research Fellow
at the Center for Applied Policy Research,
Munich, by Academic World

These bipolar views of US policy and behavior make it easy to understand why our allies in Europe are nervous about being on the same team with us. We're the Jimmy Piersall of NATO - they need us to help them win, so they put us in and we work hard to win, but we sometimes get frightfully out of control.

We are collectively convinced by our own paternal conservatism - that which won the West, subjugated the Indians and institutionalized racism - that to take a tack other than "bullying aggression" is to show cowardice. Barack Obama's statements about having a meaningful dialogue with those who would otherwise do us harm flies in the face of that. It is therefor the contention of Europeans that the "military dominance" to which Herr Bauer refers is seared into the mindset of conservative Americans. To them, we are a country run by gunslingers whose credo might be, "If yer talkin' ya ain't shootin', and if ya ain't shootin', yer yella!" Helluva caricature we've created for ourselves.

It is to those cartoon Americans whom reporters like NBC's Andrea Mitchell refer when they say:

"[W]hat if he is so celebrated in Europe, that there is criticism back home? That it doesn't play well in parts of the country that are, you know, a little bit more jingoistic, and a little bit more isolationist, which includes, perhaps, parts of the Midwest and Appalachia, and other parts of key battleground states, where seeing him celebrated in Europe might seem to be an implicit criticism of America."
- Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, to MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, July 17, 2008

This bit of thoughtful punditry is wrong on so many levels, most importantly because there is no way that it can be said that Obama is actively courting the jingoist vote. Jingoists don't vote. Politicians can never measure up to their chauvinistic ideal of "real"Americans.

To be sure, criticism will come from the Right, but from a different kind of flag waver. The conservative National Review says the mistake is Europe's, not Obama's. A mistake, it says, being made by people on both sides of the Atlantic:

"Disappointment on two continents is inherent in the current enthusiasm. Europeans regard Bush, his America, and his foreign policy as little short of diabolical. They see Obama as the Fifth Cavalry riding in to save them from such dangerous folly."
- The Editorial, National Review Online, July 22, 2008

Setting the sarcasm and cynicism of the NRO editorial board aside, the senator's visit to Europe is not meant to save the Europeans, but to save us, or at least to lay the groundwork. You see, Europeans are not celebrating Obama, the man. They are rejoicing for the same reason many of us are: the end of the George W. Bush presidency. That the possible replacement for this mis-president is a forward thinking, eloquent, intelligent, bright, concerned and charismatic man like Barack Obama just helps up the hope-factor. Why not rejoice in that?

"A potential president who is beloved by Europeans? It just feels -- wrong, somehow. If our staunch European allies aren't inflamed with anger, how do we know we're doing something right?"
- James Kotecki's Video Blog, July 21,2008 - Politico.com

-PBG

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Generational Moment

Al Gore's Global Energy Initiative

"We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that has to change."

"Today I am challenging our nation to commit to producing 100% of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon free sources within ten years."

"People are ready for a new, different and bold approach to genuinely solve our problems."

"This is a generational moment."
-Vice President Al Gore, July 17, 2008



How can a ten year goal proposed by someone with no high office, with principled, progressive stands on politics, expect to succeed in a divided nation? CBS News called it "an audacious dare" and said he "laid down the green gauntlet," not quite the level of inspiration associated with JFK's moon landing challenge.

Those were headier times, the early 1960s. We were still a nation glowing from the victorious pride of World War II, thrusting our chests out at our ability to match the Soviet Union in the nascent "space race." President Kennedy set a goal with his challenge, one that "the greatest generation" had no doubt we could achieve.

Even in language, Kennedy said in his May, 1961 speech, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth." He too spoke of commitment, but in the sense of achievement and national pride, not in the face adversity.

What made the moon landing embraceable is that we relied on the commitment of a few intensely passionate scientists and bureaucrats to carry us through. Beyond the financial commitment, our role was to cheer them on, and we did, crowing along with Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley.

But Mr. Gore's challenge means we all must contribute, in our own way. The group We Can Solve It ( a project of Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection) says on its website,
"This, really, is a political and cultural challenge. We can do this quickly if all Americans -- every single one of us -- embrace this and insist on it. Every scientist, every teacher, every investor, every family -- there is a role for each of us."

The reason for that statement is self evident. That is, our individual commitment requires a very, very important adjustment to our consumer culture. If in the face of expanding renewable, carbon free energy development, the oil industry chooses to lower the price of oil to lure us back, will we hold to this commitment or will we say, "Oh good. Cheap gas. It's easier to fill my tank with this than to wait for technology, "?

This is why Mr. Gore's goal is our challenge: we will be committing to give up the fossil fuels we know and love, to do something for the future of our country and the planet, rather than capitulating to the "I want it now" mentality that ad men and politicians will continue to throw at us like a somatic aphrodisiac.

The cure for this unhealthy desire is commitment. Say "I commit" and join with the million-and-a-half people that have signed up in support of the "bold approach to solve our problems."

Every time you grab your car keys, every time you sit down in your driver's seat, say to yourself, "I am committed to a fossil fuel free future." Write it on your keyring. Put it on a Post-it note in your car. Remember that you are helping to restore a healthy planet.

-PBG

Monday, July 07, 2008

Knight on a Dark Horse

Is Georgia Finally Ready for Someone with Fresh Ideas?

All over this country there are invisible candidates with great ideas and no media. That is, the media does not consider them "serious" candidates. In Georgia, early voting began today for next week's primary, which features a list of Democrats running for the chance, however slim it may be, to unseat the horribly complacent and complicit Republican senator, Saxby Chambliss.

The two Democrats who have gotten the most media attention - and have the most funds - are:

Vernon Jones - a metro Atlanta county CEO who voted for George W. Bush both times and has run out of closets in which to store his various skeletons;

Jim Martin - a former state legislator, cut in traditional Georgia Democrat style, who recently lost a statewide vote for lieutenant governor.

Georgia is one of those states where the Democrats are always re-running the last election and expecting a different result. Hence, the party machine has chosen to back Jim Martin, since he has name recognition on a statewide ballot and - naturally - he's older and white. They even got the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to endorse him.

Yet in the same endorsement, in the first line of only the second paragraph, the AJC says "Rand Knight, an environmental engineer and software salesman, has the intellect and character" but they criticize him for being too young and inexperienced. "A seat in the U.S. Senate," they say, "would be too big a step, too soon."

But Rand Knight is the only candidate who has been endorsed by the NEA, the Georgia Association of Educators and the AFL-CIO. In the campaign's press release about the NEA endorsement, they quote GAE president Jeff Hubbard, who says,
"Rand Knight’s education positions are forward-looking and address education as a lifelong process," and he added, "He has fresh ideas and the passion to persuade other legislators to provide our schools with the funding they need to be successful and helping college and post-graduate students finance their education."

In a campaign season where change and hope transcend their sloganism, Rand Knight is real change, positive change.

He has a very strong following among young voters. He is an environmentalist with a degree in environmental engineering. He would tackle the energy and climate crisis like a scientist and not a politician. Despite what the AJC says, we cannot wait for him to try again in another capacity. If we wait much longer and merely attend to the status quo for political expediency, it will be too late for America. I don't think we can afford to do that. He also believes that essential to our resurgence as a nation is a firm commitment to education. He would be a rarity in Washington - a Senator who cares more about filling up children's minds than special interests' pockets.

So I am urging all of my local Georgia readers to tell their friends about Rand Knight, go to his website and his Facebook pages. Let others know about this dark horse and vote for him this week in early voting or Tuesday July 15. With five candidates in this race, there will almost certainly be a run-off, and it would be great if Georgia could make one of the names on that ballot be Rand Knight. Please vote!

-PBG

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Russ Feingold's Video Response to FISA Bill


Russ Feingold's Video Response to the FISA Bill
(Copied from the "Progressive Patriots Fund" site)

Dear Friend,

Senator Russ Feingold has promised to do everything in his power
to stop the FISA bill from becoming law. Because of this he's
received an outpouring of support from people across the
country. See his video thanking us for our support at the link
below.




http://www.progressivepatriotsfund.com/russ-responds

Follow this link to sign up:
http://ga1.org/progressivepatriots/join.html?rk=F7eKNEpzCats

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yes We Can Say That

Public Finance, FISA and the Death Penalty:
The DLC and the Erosion of a Dream Candidate

"...the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken,"
Barack Obama in a video statement about opting out of public finance
for his presidential campaign.

Having a plausible explanation for a complete reversal of a principal policy does not mean it is ok. If you have to explain a change in policy position by saying, "We can say that because..." you are rationalizing your faulted integrity. The irony is that this election is not so much about the desperate necessity for changes in policy for which there is considerable consensus; it is really an election about integrity, something that has been missing from politics for generations. And if the statements coming out of the Obama campaign recently are any test, political integrity will remain an oxymoron for generations to come.

I was curious as to what may have changed in Senator Obama's campaign that would cause them to legitimize these controversial reversals. Was it just a typical "move to the center" that is characteristic of all post primary presumptives? Or was it something else, like maybe part of the deal with Hillary was to move to a more centrist, DLC approach in exchange for that wing of the party not making a fuss at the convention?

I decided to examine whether there were parallels in the DLC's way of thinking and the changes in the Obama stance. While some of the connections are arguably spurious, I did find enough that it is worth questioning if this is the source code for the new Obama campaign.

The DLC

"House members shouldn't be intimidated by pressure groups who view the FISA bill's immunity clause as a litmus test on respect for civil liberties. It's not. Rather, it is an over-emphasized aspect of a broad bill that could constructively define the rules of signals intelligence collection in the 21st century. This bill represents an excellent opportunity for House members to strengthen their civil-liberties credentials by supporting a law that improves and clarifies the standards for intelligence collection."
- Jim Arkedis, director of PPI's National Security Project, in a Feb. 2008 article about the FISA debate on the DLC website






"...given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people."
- Obama statement about his support for the FISA compromise that passed the House last week (from Talking Points Memo.com)

One does not have to look far on the DLC's website to find support in its mission. An op-ed piece that appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 2003 gives legitimacy to its raison d'etre:

"In 1996, a survey by the Washington Post compared the views of delegates to the Democratic convention with those of ordinary registered Democratic voters. They might as well have come from different parties. On every single social and economic issue, the views of the registered Democrats were closer to those of all registered voters than to those of Democratic delegates.

Almost two-thirds of Democratic delegates wanted to cut defense spending; most registered Democrats did not. A majority of Democratic delegates opposed a five-year time limit for welfare benefits; two-thirds of registered Democrats supported it. Democratic delegates were split on the death penalty; registered Democrats favored it by a margin of more than 2 to 1."

from a 2003 article in the LA Times by Al From and Bruce Reed (now president of the Democratic Leadership Council)

This is as good a time as any to say that I really am not against the DLC. They are an essential part of our party. If the Democrats were a ship, the DLC might be the rudder that keeps us upright while we in the liberal wing are the wind in her sails. The challenge for us is who is at the tiller.

Yet they do represent the establishment, and that is whom we all thought Barack was running against the last four months. At least I thought so. I'm certainly old enough not to be naive about politicians, but I thought he would take firmer stands, and not "cave" as some bloggers have put it.

One of my important issues is my opposition to the death penalty. But like those on the right who oppose a woman's right to choose, I know that I cannot make the death penalty a pillar of my decision making when it comes to my vote. Yet when our candidate came out against the recent SCOTUS decision against the death penalty for anyone but killers, I still felt as if there was one less thing to like about Obama.

As reported in yesterday's online version of the Wall Street Journal, Obama said:

“ 'I disagree with the decision. I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes,' Obama told reporters at a press conference in Chicago.

"The expected Democratic nominee said he believed the rape of a child 'is a heinous crime' that fits the circumstance..."

And the DLC's take on the death penalty? They are reactionarily (?) entrenched after the punishment they took in the 1988 Dukakis campaign:

"[A]fter 12 years in the presidential wilderness, Democrats rallied to Gov. Clinton, who positioned himself in the 1992 campaign as both hard-headed and warm-hearted. He proved that he would defend the social order by not only supporting the death penalty but actually taking a break from the campaign trail to return to Arkansas to preside over an execution."
-Marshal Wittman, from a May, 2005 article in Blueprint Magazine, from the DLC's website.

In another February, 2006 DLC article from Blueprint Magazine, Virginia's newly elected Democratic governor Tim Kaine said he won in part because he was able to sidestep making his "
personal faith-based opposition to capital punishment" a campaign issue by saying that he would follow the law because, " I was...telling voters that I took the oath of office as seriously as my wedding vows."

And because, as stated in the LA Times piece cited above, "
Democratic delegates were split on the death penalty; registered Democrats favored it by a margin of more than 2 to 1," it seems the DLC encourages an ambiguous stand on the death penalty for those who are morally opposed to it.

To be sure this is speculation on my part. It is impossible to prove that the DLC specifically is an influence in these apparent reversals, and despite it all, obviously none of these things will keep me from voting for Obama in November, but for sure some of the glimmer is gone. The shine, as they say, is coming off the rose. I just hope there is still some left after Denver.

I wonder if Bobby would have compromised this much.

-PBG

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Wiretapper in the Mirror: Congress Wimps Out

In today's debate over the warrantless wiretapping bill - aka changes to FISA -Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) who spoke against passage, expressed the concerns of both sides when she called it "lipstick on a pig" .

In speaking for the bill's passage, California Republican Dan Lungren said that "it's not the Mona Lisa, but it is a pretty good paint job." More like a snow-job. The only thing that's getting painted over here is the Fourth Amendment. The fact that Congress sees capitulating to the Executive as the proper way to do the country's business flies in the face of checks and balances and doesn't serve "We the People" at all.

In contrast to Lungren's calling this "a great day," at least Speaker Pelosi had the sense to say that it was not, and yet she voted for it.

What really peeves me about this is that it is so obvious to the rest of us why the Congress' approval ratings are abysmal. They are not doing the people's business. They are doing business people. They were voted into office to make waves, and yet you could skip Dennis Kucinich across the water and still not make the White House lawn wet.

There is an outrage growing in the electorate. If Senator Obama really wants to be an agent of change, he must step up and vote against this bill when it gets to the Senate. Getting the country's business done is not an excuse for doing bad business.

Please let your senators know that they must not pass this bill.

-PBG

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Breaking News: FISA Wiretapping Deal Reached

Breaking News from the ACLU


Congress Said To Have Reached FISA Deal

Congress Reaches Deal on FISA Bill - ReWrites Surveillance & Wiretapping Rules

FISA Deal Reached, Aides Say

By Tim Starks, CQ Staff

CQ TODAY ONLINE NEWS
June 19, 2008 – 10:40 a.m.

A final deal has been reached on a rewrite of electronic surveillance rules and will be announced Thursday, two congressional aides said.

The aides said the House is likely to take up the legislation Friday.

The bill would rewrite of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA, PL 95-511).

On Wednesday, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D‑Md., had said negotiators were working on a bill that would be “significantly better” than a White House-backed, Senate-passed bill (HR 3773) that has support from some House Democrats.

As of Wednesday, sources said the new bill would allow a federal district court to decide whether to provide retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies being sued for their role in the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program.

Under the prospective deal, the secret court created by the original law would get to review, in advance, the process by which the administration chooses foreign surveillance targets who may be communicating with people in the United States.

One source said the federal district court deciding on retroactive immunity would review whether there was “substantial evidence” the companies had received assurances from the government that the administration’s program was legal.

A Senate Intelligence Committee report on an earlier version of the legislation detailed how the companies had received such assurances from the Justice Department and the White House.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Guantanamo Bay and the Big Shitball

"...the consequence of error may be detention of persons for the duration of hostilities that may last a generation or more, this is a risk too significant to ignore."
-from the Supreme Court decision
to allow for habeas corpus hearings

for prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay
(pp.56-57)


So habeas has returned to Gitmo. Like swallows to Capistrano, it is inevitable that as sense and law rotate back to their proper planetary positions, they eclipse fear's fury. The downside? It's only a chink in armor that's seven years' thick with piled bodies and reckless leadership, guarded by secrets as sticky to get through as electrified flypaper.

OH MY GOD! I hope whomever we choose for our new leaders have the sense to realize that Gitmo and torture and waterboarding and wiretapping are all part of the same petrifying, putrid shitball as the war in Iraq! It may seem like the typical multi-limbed monster that any government at war would have to deal with, but this is no fucking octopus; it's a goddamn plutoid!

So how do we fix it? Do we land some NASA rover on it to break off a piece at a time and hope that we find the secret formula to destroy it before the piece we broke off grows back, even more stubborn and resistant to reason?

Do we blow the whole mess up, pull out of Iraq, close Guantanamo, free the rendered innocent, indict our war criminals and let the burning meteorite chips fall where they may, even if it's back on us?

The way I like of clearing away this dangerous rock is to drill deep inside it, to the corrupted U.S. foreign policy that is at its core. If we repair our relationship with the world from the inside out, maybe the rest of the big hunk of goppy poo will just die and rot, then dry up and blow away. To me, that is the most elegant solution, though as such, it requires the steady hand of a skilled politician that works with surgical precision, and doesn't just go in there with a chainsaw and an earthmover.

Hacking away at something until it appears to be dead would be bad at so many levels. It would be messy, to be sure, not knowing for certain whether or not we'd slain the beast or just made it angrier. Worse still, another bad leader's cavalier carelessness might start with a moment of exultation (a la "Mission Accomplished") but as the cheers and applause began to die down, a small hiss would penetrate the din, and we would quickly devolve to the dreaded realization that we were getting sucked into oblivion through the black hole of annihilation that we created for ourselves when we chose who we wanted to fight for us. Oh, shit.

I do hope we are wise enough this time to choose properly.

-PBG

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"A Generation or More": Habeas Returns to Gitmo

The Supreme Court Finds that Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are Not Exempt from Habeas Corpus

The following are excerpts from the majority "Opinion of the Court" issued by the Supreme Court of the United States Thursday June 12, 2008 in the case of BOUMEDIENE ET AL. v. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL.

"...the writ of habeas corpus is itself an indispensable mechanism for monitoring the separation of powers. The test for determining the scope of this provision must not be subject to manipulation by those whose power it is designed to restrain. (p. 36)

"The Government presents no credible arguments that the military mission at Guantanamo
would be compromised if habeas corpus courts had jurisdiction to hear the detainees’ claims. And in light of the plenary control the United States asserts over the base, none are apparent to us. (pp. 39-40)

"There is no indication, furthermore, that adjudicating a habeas corpus petition would cause friction with the host government. No Cuban court has jurisdiction over American
military personnel at Guantanamo or the enemy combatants detained there. While obligated to abide by the terms of the lease, the United States is, for all practical purposes, answerable to no other sovereign for its acts on the base. (p41)

"The MCA [Military Commissions Act] does not purport to be a formal suspension of the writ; and the Government, in its submissions to us, has not argued that it is. Petitioners, therefore, are entitled to the privilege of habeas corpus to challenge the legality of their detention. (p.42)

"...we agree with petitioners that, even when all the parties involved in this process act with diligence and in good faith, there is considerable risk of error in the tribunal’s findings of fact. ... And given that the consequence of error may be detention of persons for the duration of hostilities that may last a generation or more, this is a risk too significant to ignore. (pp.56-57)

"If a detainee can present reasonably available evidence demonstrating there is no basis for his continued detention, he must have the opportunity to present this evidence to a habeas corpus
court. Even under the Court of Appeals’ generous construction of the DTA [Detainee Treatment Act], however, the evidence [that may corroborate his innocence] identified by [petitioner Mohamed] Nechla would be inadmissible in a DTA review proceeding. The [constitutional] role of an Article III court in the exercise of its habeas corpus function cannot be circumscribed in this manner. (p.61)

"Petitioners have met their burden of establishing that the DTA review process is, on its face, an inadequate substitute for habeas corpus. [T]he Government has not established that the detainees’ access to the statutory review provisions at issue is an adequate substitute for the writ of habeas corpus. MCA [Section] 7 thus effects an unconstitutional suspension of the writ. (pp.63-64)

"In some of these cases six years have elapsed without the judicial oversight that habeas corpus or an adequate substitute demands. And there has been no showing that the Executive faces such onerous burdens that it cannot respond to habeas corpus actions. To require these detainees to complete DTA review before proceeding with their habeas corpus actions would be to require additional months, if not years, of delay. The first DTA review applications were filed over a year ago, but no decisions on the merits have been issued. While some delay in fashioning new procedures is unavoidable, the costs of delay can no longer be borne by those who are held in custody. The detainees in these cases are entitled to a prompt habeas corpus hearing. Our decision today holds only that the petitioners before us are entitled to seek the writ; that the DTA review procedures are an inadequate substitute for habeas corpus; and that the petitioners in these cases need not exhaust the review procedures in the Court of Appeals before proceeding with their habeas actions in the District Court. (p.66)

"We hold that petitioners may invoke the fundamental procedural protections of habeas corpus. The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law. The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, a part of that law.
...The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The cases are remanded to the Court of Appeals with instructions that it remand the cases to the District Court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered." (pp. 69-70)