July 15, 2003  ·  admin

Thanks for all the comments on the blog last night. I haven�t had a chance to read all of the comments� we flew up from Miami to DC last night. But I will read them.

Let me be perfectly honest. In the space of this week on the blog, I will not be able to answer every specific question. I know that people here care deeply about intellectual property. I�m here to listen.

As a doctor, I�m trained to base my decisions on facts. This President never adequately laid out the facts for going to war with Iraq�perhaps, as it turns out, because the facts were not there. I opposed the war not because I�m a pacifist�I�m not�but because the evidence presented did not justify preemptive war. I opposed needle exchanges for drug addicts until I saw the empirical evidence that showed how such exchanges reduce the spread of disease. I changed my position, and I�m proud of that. Facts are a better basis for decisions than ideology.

No matter what the issues are that we as individuals care most about– whether intellectual property, healthy care, the environment � I believe that the only way we are ever going to come to a real solution on any of these issues is if we all stand together against the special interests in Washington. There are now 33 lobbyists for every member of congress. How do we change that? By working together. One of the amazing things about this campaign is how the Internet has allowed people to meet and work together in common cause. Only by taking an active part in our democracy will we be able to restore a government of, by and for the people.

Thanks again, Howard Dean

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0120454/ Bill Koslosky, M.D.

    Thanks for today’s post Dr. Dean. I agree with your evaluation of our involvement in the Gulf War.

  • Nick

    Thank you for your post, Governor. And thank you for listening. It is refreshing to have a politician actually indicate a willingness to learn. Basing decision on facts? Will wonders never cease…

    I do have a question about something you said: “There are now 33 lobbyists for every member of congress. How do we change that? By working together.” Fine words, but in a practical sense how can we change that? Let us say that a groundswell of support places you in the Oval Office. Now what? Those members of Congress are used to having those lobbyists treat them well. They are not going to want to get rid of them. They will fight any attempt to change the status quo. With the implicit support of the media, they will hang onto what they have regardless of your intentions.

    I guess what I’m asking is how your words can amount to anything more than just another empty campaign promise? And yes, I’m being sincere, and I welcome specifics in any response. I may be cynical, but I’m willing to listen as well.

  • The Law Student

    “Facts are a better basis for decisions than ideology. “
    When a decision is made obviously one’s ideology will provide the background for choosing what to do. Surely, Doctor, you recognize the concept of perspective when approaching an issue. Until the science of internal medicine was properly developed (by “dead white men”) facts about bile, and blue airs and green airs were the “facts” that supported medical decisions.
    In regards to our wars against Afghanistan (sp?), Iraq, perhaps Syria, “North” Korea and others – those that make the final decision base it on an ideology that recognizes the benefit to humanity of a strong America. This beacon of liberty needs to be “constantly watered with the blood of tyrants.” In other words the constant expansion of freedom. The ideology allows us to understand international affairs a certain way – of course ideology is central to this.

    p.s. as for my reference to Ayn Rand yesterday; I don’t think every time someone mentions “big brother” they have to refer to Orwell, so too every time someone mentions an “Equalization of Opportunity Bill” they don’t have to refer to Rand.

  • http://www.inuus.com Paul in SF

    Governor, Hope you squeeze in time to read the comments. There are some gems there that will prove beneficial as you define specific policies for your future administration.

    You mention using facts versus ideology as a decision making tool. Great! Of course one can subscribe to any particular set of facts (or media supported falsehoods) to support an argument. By looking at a problem from different angles one often comes up with conflicting solutions. I hope you can give some time to elaborating on your decision making process and how you plan to use citizen involvement (versus insider government) to deal with this.

    I know it’s early in the campaign and candidates are loathe to make specific promises, but will you keep this type of forum in a future presidency? Will we one day go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/blog/ to let our views be known?

  • Jack Tanner

    ‘I opposed the war not because I�m a pacifist�I�m not�but because the evidence presented did not justify preemptive war. I opposed needle exchanges for drug addicts until I saw the empirical evidence ‘

    Let me be the first to suggest that national security and the threat of terrorism aren’t equivalent to needle exchange programs. I’m pulling for you but in order to win outside of Vt. and Mass you’re going to have to show that you understand that without national security we won’t really have a domestic agenda. Sticking our heads in the sand isn’t going to work.

  • Hank

    Do they print Atlas Shrugged on two-ply?

  • The Law Student

    No I don’t believe they do. But I believe you can find copies of Das Kapital in the history section of your local library, under genocide.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments- … But I will read them.

    I disbelieve. At best, some poor staffer will read them, and wow do I pity the person who has that task.

    C’mon Joe (Teppi). This is just stump-speech pap.

  • The Law Student

    Take a chill pill Phil.

  • Katherine

    Thanks again, governor Dean.

    What really makes me nervous is lobbyists’ increasing role in actually drafting our laws. Who actually reads and analyzes the entire text of a given bill? Not most Congressmen, I would venture to guess. Hardly any journalists. And almost no one in the general public. Maybe a staffer or two, but that’s all. On the hot button issues there is some oversight but on things that corporations care more about than the general public (e.g., the bankruptcy “reform” bill several years back).

    And of course ideology plays a role in most decisions–but when ideology comes into conflict with the facts, the ideology must yield to the facts, not the other way around. Ideology in a vacuum is an incredibly destructive force, as the USSR and Eastern Europe in the age of the iron curtain prove.

  • Beau

    I hope that I am not alone here, but I think that national security decisions absolutely need to be based on facts.

    With the war in Iraq, the facts so far have shown that there was no national security threat. Now, that may change if something new pops up, but the only solace Americans can find in that war now was the removal of a dictator from power.

    Lets say another situation pops up – a situation that poses an imminent threat to the United States. How will be able to address that effectively. At this moment, we are unprepared to do so. That is a current fact that we must face.

    Ideology can give perspective in order to analyze and make decisions on facts. However, I agree with the Governor that Ideology cannot replace fact.

    “We should have decisions based on facts, not facts based on decisions”

    Now, it is a more difficult scenario for IP. There are some who believe all creative material is personal property, there are others that believe it is public domain. The facts in these cases, essentially, are based on existing laws, and thus are subjective.
    That is why it is necessary to dig harder to find the root of IP below current laws and perspectives.

  • Dana Powers

    Dr. Dean,

    Copyright reform is something that is very important to us. If you have not had time to consider the Eldred Act, please look it over. There are a growing number of people who are concerned about the imbalance between the rights of innovators and the public domain. Specifically, many of us disagree with the ongoing push by the U.S. Government to continually extend copyrights to works that have already been published. The Constitution specifically grants Congress the right to establish copyright terms in order to promote the Arts and Sciences. The current Copyright laws do not, in our opinion, do this. Please consider supporting legislation aimed at returning old and abandoned works to the public domain, where they can inspire new generations of artists – like the ones that brought us Mickey Mouse and Cinderella.

    The Eldred Act

    Dana Powers
    citizen and voter

  • http://www.inuus.com/ Paul in SF

    I hope that everyone here will agree that the rationale used for Gulf War II was faulty. The Bush Doctrine clearly states that we will use preemptive force to deal with an imminent thread. World opinion abroad and at home is finally realizing that the threat was not imminent, and way overblown. Invasion was not warranted even under the criteria. What we now have is the political equivilent of big tobacco-funded scientists proving that cigarettes don’t cause cancer…

    I would be interested in seeing a similar National Security Strategy from the Dean camp. The National Security issues page provides a good start, and I recommend others read it before posting. It is reasoned and well thought out.

  • Me

    Gotta agree with the man called Seth. This was nothing more than stump-speech bullpwop, and you do us a major disservice by coming in, as “guest” blogger, and then turning around and dropping something like that in.

    Give us more on what was so wrong with the Dixie Chicks. As I understand it, there was no gigantic directive by the radio stations, it was on a case-by-case basis. Instead of owning up to the fact that she said something REALLY STUPID, the fat cow Natalie Maines decided to have a crybaby fit about how mean it was for everyone to stop playing what she claims passes for music on the radio.

    While I do agree that radio consolidation has been horrible, and has degraded the listening quality of radio across the country, the treatment of the Dixie Chicks had nothing to do with whether a station was Clear Channel or not. You have picked a bad example to push that on there.

    Give us more on the DMCA, the Sonny Bono Copyright-In-Perpetuity (and Rape of the Public Domain) Act. Tell us what YOU think, what YOU believe about them. Tell us what YOU think that the balance for copyright should be. Talk to us about the differences in medium, where copyright should be different for music and books, which last for generations, as opposed to copyrights on computer software, since computer software is often obsoleted and the equipment it was made to run on all but nonexistent in as little as 5 years.

    You have to work hard to get my vote. You ought to have to work hard to get every American’s vote, though the sad truth of the matter is that there are a lot of highly uneducated people out there, who vote not on the issues but because someone comes up with a sob story, or a fright story, or MediScare, or the “Oh the Republicans hate Blacks” bit. Show us you’re a Democrat who’s above those sort of tactics, unlike your fellows.

    If you supposedly work on facts, and expect us to do the same, then GIVE US THE FACTS. Give us the facts about what you believe, about issues that matter to us. And stop trying to out-liberal every other DemocRat out there. You only do yourself a disservice by doing so.

  • Heather

    Who is Joe Teppi? (re: Seth’s post)

  • Dana Powers

    Seth, what have I told you about that annoying bold font?

    Whether you like it or not, Seth, your voice represents more than just how you feel right now. You represent online freedom. You represent the fight against censorship. How do you expect people to take your message seriously if you keep posting like that? I don’t mind you speaking your mind, but that font has to go. It screams ‘HEY LISTEN TO ME IM IMPORTANT’. People tend not to listen when you do that. You are generally very insightful and wonderfully skeptical. Thats great, just don’t be annoying, or no one is going to care.

  • Me

    The Bush Doctrine might be faulty. I don’t know, as we don’t have a firm test case yet.

    The raw fact of the matter is that Gulf War II NEVER EXISTED. What we had recently was a continuation of Gulf War I. There was only a cease-fire in place on Gulf War I, never a formal surrender or declaration of peace. The Cease-Fire negotiated by the UN was predicated on Saddam Hussein following up on his obligations.

    Well, he didn’t. And 17 UN Resolutions stating that later, we RESUMED Gulf War I. It was not a new conflict. It was the same conflict. The Cease-Fire had been breached. Saddam was not willing to fulfill his obligations properly. He knew the consequences. The first Gulf War had not ended any more than the Korean Conflict has ever ended. Lest we forget, they hold a continual staring match across no-man’s land to this day, and the slightest weapons fire or RPG shot could reignite that war.

    My only regret is that Bill Clinton didn’t have the balls to do what needed to be done. And I thank President Bush for being the better man of the two.

  • DC Lisa

    Natalie Maines is not a fat cow. Last time I checked, she didn�t eat grass and live on a farm. Plus most cows are not fat, but I digress. Stick to the facts, jack.
    If you don�t like her for some other reason, that�s fine. But personal attacks are so�uneducated.

  • Me


    Joe Teppi is nonexistent. Seth mispelled Joe Trippi’s name. Joe Trippi, meanwhile, is Gov. Dean’s campaign manager, who presumably is the one dropping in a cutting from some lame speech and dressing it up as a blog post.

  • http://www.inuus.com/ Paul in SF

    Whoa there me@me.com. Dean is not Lessig. Don’t expect him to be fully up to speed on these complex issues. I find it refreshing that he’s taking his message here. Yesterday media consolidation, today treating politics like a science, we’ll see what unfolds this week. Remember, he says “I’m here to listen.”

    Make your point with reason and clarity and perhaps you and I can influence government at the highest levels. Contrast that with his comments on the number of lobbyists, who always are getting their message heard.

    Plus I can’t wait to see Dr. Dean discussing his favorite music released under a Creative Commons license or the latest Disney flick :)

  • Factotum

    Increasingly, Dr. Dean, you are sounding like the nicely packaged candidate – “listening” – and repeating your “message” over and over again here and elsewhere. Is this what we are to come to expect from your campaign?

    What made your campaign exciting and interesting was that you took a stand on many issues, not just the war – did intellectual property JUST appear on your desk? Haven’t you had at least several months to do more than “listen?” What is your position on labor, not just disjointed remarks – but a policy position people can point to? Give us something as concrete on THESE issues as you do on health insurance policy.

    Blogging may seem cool in the press – but blog without substance and I begin to yawn. I feel like you are falling right back into that famililar old political models – even far before you might normally feel the pull (after the primaries.) Ugghh.

  • Hemant

    Hi Gov. Dean – I think one of the greatest untapped sources of votes in this country is the student population. There are around 20 million students of voting age, and yet only some paltry percentage of us actually excercises our greatest democratic right. Every election year candidates and the press whine about how low voter turnout is, especially among young people. Give us something to vote for! I think it would be a great idea to reach out to young voters with a dedicated campaign targeting just students. We tend to be forward thinking, open-minded, and sick of the usual jelly-backboned, say-anything-to-get-elected politicians; you would be the perfect candidate to get students riled up.

    Just as your campaign has revolutionized the use of the internet in politics, revolutionize the effect of young people on politics!

  • Bill Rehm

    I think all of our interests would be best served by focussing on issues, instead of ranting about how political campaigns are run. “Out-liberal”? Jeesh.

    I think that any attempt to make decisions based on facts deserves, at least, respect. I would like to hear Governor Dean’s responses to some of the excellent comments from yesterday and today. Even if that means his campaign staff is reading and filtering for him.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    1) As mentioned, I meant Joe Trippi, Dean campaign manager.
    I misremembered his name.

    2) Font – I’m just using standard “blockquote” and “em” tags, nothing I thought would be exotic. Looks like it’s a rendering bug. I don’t see it on my standard screen, but now I think I see what you’re talking about. The font wasn’t my intent (bad code!)

  • Maryann Vognild

    Jack Tanner wrote, “Let me be the first to suggest that national security and the threat of terrorism aren�t equivalent to needle exchange programs.”

    Sorry Jack, you’re wrong. In either case, the wrong decision puts more people’s lives at risk. In the case of starting a war on Iraq, I believe that the W. administration chose the wrong path.

    It is important to make sure that America is secure. It is important to stop terrorism worldwide. The actions that the United States took to nullify a perceived threat have actually made this nation less secure and have increased the likelihood that we will be targeted for terror attacks.

    In choosing a preemptive stike, our government effectively told the world, “it is acceptable to attack someone because we feel they are a threat.” Now that it looks like one of the main pieces of evidence for that threat was fabricated, the threat seems even less substantial.

    North Korea, Syria and Iran will have no problems identifying the threat posed by the United States. Does that in turn give them the right to attack us? By our own reasoning it does.

    Had the United States strongly encouraged the UN to be more active or more strongly pursued a global, peaceful solution, we would not be as large a target for agression and terrorism as we are now.

    While we shouldn’t pander to terrorists, neither should we cause their ranks to swell by provoking them unnecessarily. There were other options, our government chose the wrong one.

  • glorfindel

    Some people here (e.g. the poster known as ‘me’) seem upset that Gov. Dean hasn’t used his time on this blog to TELL us enough.

    I’m not upset at all. If I were Howard Dean, I would look at my time here as a chance to LISTEN and to educate myself about the issues that are regularly discussed here. It seems to me that is what he is doing; and I’m thankful for it. Should Dean go on to be elected President, I don’t think he or his staff will completely forget this week.

    Let’s not worry that Dean isn’t TELLING us enough. Let’s use this time to express our opinions on these issues to Gov. Dean, and then let’s hope he gets elected.

    The last time I checked, I didn’t see too many of the other candidates attempting to listen as closely as Gov. Dean appears to be…

  • ds

    I am not a Dean supporter nor a critic, simply a Democrat. But i have to defend his statement against some of the criticisms made here.
    First, on the Dixie Chicks, Cumulus radio stations did decide to take them off the air as a matter of headquarters policy for all of their country stations. It is important because it is indicative of the power distributors of ideas and information have over those who have ideas and information. With greater ownership concentration, you get greater distortions in that power relationship.
    Second, on the focus of his statement on broad issues. It is apporpriate and fair for Dean to raise issues of Bush credibility and focus on other larger issues. To expect him to focus on only what you know or care about indicates a simplistic understanding of the enormity of the task of running for President.
    Again, I’m unemotional about whether or not Dean ends up the party’s nominee but cut the guy a little slack. He’s taking a risk and time out of his schedule to participate in this medium.

  • Doctoral Candidate

    Dear Law Student,

    In which history book did you read that “humanity benefits from” any empirialist effort whether it be called “America” or “Rome” ? And when it comes to operationalizing the concept of “freedom”, what criteria will you use to measure its validity and viability? Would you consider an individual “free” when his or her government tries to amass a case of treason against you built on disputable “facts” and intentional biases? (See Jane Mayer (3/10/03) Lost in the Jihad. The New Yorker) Would you deem an individual “free” when his or her government relies on questionable intelligence to embroider a case for defying standards of international law by striking another country pre-emptively in your name despite sober concerns regarding, not the least of which, the ethics, but also the pragmatics of such an aftermath? The point here is this: an ideology, say, of freedom, may set the stage for decisions, but the actual actions derived from choice are first subjected to prudent (some say, “rational”) assessments of probabilities, risk, consequences, losses and gains…not just by listening to those who tell you what you want to hear. In short, fellow student, choices or decisions shaped by ideology, alone, are often indistinguishable from impulsiveness…not to be confused with freedom…

  • http://www.veganoutreach.org/ MattB

    “The Bush Doctrine clearly states that we will use preemptive force to deal with an imminent thread. “

    If this really were true, N. Korea and Iran would have come first.

    Why is National Security equated with attacking Iraq and walking around with a codpiece, while ignoring the security of our ports, bridges, nuclear facilities, chemical plants, etc.? Or equate it with creating strong international cooperation against terrortists, failed states, etc.? Or even making sure the government remains solvent, as opposed to a deficit approaching half a trillion dollars.

    “Mission Accomplished” and “Bring ‘em on!” haven’t made the U.S. safer.

    Just one more thought: I’ve always thought that campaign commercials should be the candidate talking to the camera about a position. Not meaningless voice-over drivel with footage of a candidate glad-handing. I think a commercial explaining your opposition to a *non-UN backed war*, and how your position has been shown to be justified, and what real “National Security” would be, would do a lot to sway the “unelectable liberal” meme. IMO.

  • Jeff Aldrich

    ��I guess what I�m asking is how your words can amount to anything more than just another empty campaign promise? And yes, I�m being sincere�� Posted by Nick.

    Gov. Dean, address the �empty campaign promise� issue head-on and you may well find yourself in the Oval Office. Clearly you are an innovator as shown by your active and effective use of technology. As an MD, you know a lack of innovation causes stagnation.

    Is it possible for you to innovate further and move very select campaign promises from empty rhetoric to principled convictions you will take into the Presidency? Absolutely, if you choose to create a new path others may follow by continuing your efforts to innovate.

    Irrespective of what one thinks of Newt Gingrich’s politics, his 1994 contract with America was brilliant. Even the leftist of liberals, if they embrace intellectual honesty, must admit the voting public was drawn to the idea of politicians holding themselves accountable by contract to a few principles if elected to office.

    1994 proved at the polls that victory is more likely to be achieved if politicians voluntarily offer to hold themselves accountable by contract. Ask yourself, Gov. Dean, where is it written that the American people are limited in the number of social contracts under which we allow ourselves to be governed? Find that limitation and there is little to discuss. Understand this limit does not exist and you, sir, have much to discuss, debate and plan.

    Consider, for a moment, one candidate promising the moon, business as usual, no principle in sight. The other candidate promising the moon, but adding a dash of principle by turning a few of those promises into contracted performance items and viola, an entirely new thought is in the mind of the voter when they punch that chad.

    That new thought is, �finally, I can vote for a politician with principles.� It is quite simple, really. Given the outcome in 1994, who do you believe wins?

    I too, am an innovator, Gov. Dean. I am the political theorist responsible for the first alpha test of contracted political performance in a 1989 special congressional election. That effort was the genesis of the 1994 beta.

    You, Sir, have an opportunity to lead this great nation into the Responsibility Era, to borrow a phrase from President Bush. And in the process, answer Nick’s concern and the concerns of hundreds of thousands of other voters.

    The white paper supporting this innovation is available on request. You have my email address.

  • Factotum

    Even so, is this opportunity to be used simply as another silly stump speech? Aren’t we to be regarded a little differently from the run of the mill nonsense that passes for content over at the Dean Blog?

    You’d think some of these issues appeared to Dr Dean this week, as if from afar, based on his new found interest! I want more than glittering generalities here – I want substance on issues that are of concern. If I want the stump speech, I can go to howarddean.tv



  • Anne Bradley

    Hey “Me”

    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a commonality to all anonymous posts. To everyone like “me”, I hope you someday fell strong enough about your ideas to stand behind them personally.

    If you read Dr. Dean’s post you will see him making an effort to learn. He does not have a full IP backgroud, nor does he have specific positions in the absence of factual information (thank goodness). If you demand that he be as knowledgable as you are on these matters, in order to support him, I challenge you to find another candidate who is. Until then, please assume the Prof. Lessig had a reason for inviting him, and out of respect, quit suggesting that his participation is a “major disservice”.

    If you think reading his posts is doing you a “major disservice”, just chill for a week and check back when Lessig gets back from vacation.

    If you feel like participating with Howard Dean, why don’t you try telling him what you think he should do about the IP problems of the day and see if that gets you somewhere. I’ve been surprised to see our ideas on the Dean Blog filter up to the highest level. Did you ever consider that he might be at the Lessig blog to find out what you think, not to give a sales pitch ?

    I know it’s hard to believe that politicians can do anything else.

  • Bill

    Hello, Dr. Dean!

    I’m fiscally conservative, socially liberal. As such, I appreciate the themes of your campaign.

    You’re right about Iraq (and seem to be more prophetic about the outcome every day). You’re right about conducting foreign affairs multilaterally, instead of in a “with us or agin’ us” vacuum of arrogance. You’re right about the economy (can’t wait to hear what you’re going to say about the latest deficit figures). You’re right about respecting the rights of all Americans (the Supreme Court stood behind you on that score—twice). And besides that, you come across as being far more presidential than “W” ever will. In your first debate with Bush, you will remind America just how inarticulate, small-minded and evasive he really is. But, unlike Gore in 2000, I suspect you won’t let him get away with it for a moment. I can hear you now saying, “would you like some real Vermont maple syrup to go with that waffle?”

    I’m with ya, Howard. I’ve donated 5 times already and intend to squeeze my finances more in the future. You’re it—the real deal. Thank you for your tenacity and intelligence.

  • Me

    To answer a few things in turn…

    #1 — Natalie Maines. I didn’t have a big opinion on her one way or another until after the controversy went over. What soured me on her was HER OWN conduct. She said something stupid. Then she “apologized” in a way that was very insincere and looked to be something more written by her copy staff than an actual apology. Then she ran around the country whining and moaning about how “hard” things had been on her when she had only been speaking her mind.

    News flash for Ms. Maines. Freedom of Speech DOES mean you have the right to speak your mind. But it ALSO means that you have to take the responsibility and endure the consequences when other people don’t like what you have to say, or are rightfully pissed off when you insult someone they respect. A little humble pie would go a long way.

    #2 — to Paul in SF… What can I say. Gov. Dean claims to be an educated man. He claims to be here to listen and learn. Well, there’s tons of information for him out there, and he can’t have been insulated from the debate if he’s as ‘net-savvy as he claims to be. So, if he has come to Lessig’s blog, and is speaking to Lessig’s readers, and hasn’t done his due diligence in looking up and figuring out where he stands on the issues we discuss here… then he isn’t worthy of being on this blog. If he hasn’t to this point, I’m asking him to do that due diligence at some time today and get back to us on it so that we have the information WE need to decide whether he deserves our vote. Is the candidate’s position on an issue, before deciding whether to give our vote, so much to ask?

    #3 — Factotum… Right on! Couldn’t have put it much better myself. :) Giving lip service to listening, and actually listening, are two vastly different things. I’m hoping Gov. Dean will see that and give back to us some good responses.

    #4 — To Bill – No, seriously. If Gov. Dean is to claim to be operating on facts, and yet put forth partisan rhetoric (such as claiming the recent action in Iraq was a new conflict), he’s already doing us a disservice. There’s no reason he has to try to say things that are more to the political left than his rivals, in fact, I’d much rather see a candidate who didn’t do that.

  • http://www.fightingdems.com FightingDems

    Hey Me -

    For you to state that we didn’t just have a new war is to state a viewpoint that would authorize the president to attack Spain because Congress never repealed authorization for the Spanish American war over 100 years ago. (And, by the way, there advisors to this administration that proposed that viewpoint.)

    In fact this *was* a new war — regardless of the symantic games you could play. In the eyes of most Americans, this was a new war.

    Sending our armed forced in to destroy a country and kill 1000′s of people shouldn’t be taken so lightly. Putting an automatic weapon in the hands of a 20-year old and telling him or her to kill the ‘enemy’ is serious business.

    Certainly there are times when it is needed. But to propose rational that deems it appropriate for a small group in the executive branch to make decisions to use massive military force — without requiring support in the congress and from the governed — flies in the face of the constitution of ths country.

    Will you agree that this increases the liklihood that wars will be fought based on ideology and not facts?

    Will you agree that this increases the liklihood that ‘facts’ will be devised to support decisions htat have already been made on ideological grounds?

    Would you agree with these statements?

    My support for Dean lies not in his stump speeches or weblog entries — though I recommned them as reading to those interested in learnig more about him. My support comes from his record in public service.

    His record in public service demonstrates that basing government decisions on facts and making decisions consistent with the values of the governed leads to effective government and respect for the individual. Before you criticize this statement, I hope you’ll research it for yourself.

  • Drew

    Dr. Dean,

    First thank you for doing what I’ve come to find you always do, speak your mind. It’s refreshing to see someone basing his policy on fact, and when necessary (i’m a horrible speller) changing it. I am an avid Dean supporter, went to my first meet-up last month and enjoying being active talking to people to further your run to take our country back. But in doing this I’ve come across alot of Democrats who are very much Anti-Dean. I firmlly believe that right now, Dr., you are the only one with the message and the energy to win the White house back. My question is, eventually down the road, how do you plan on getting these anti-Deanocrats on board with you. Thanx for your time and go get ‘em Doc.


  • marvin ammori

    I think many of the posters have unrealistic expectations for Dr. Dean. I am glad he is admitting he does not know all the answers. Expecting him to understand all the intellectual property/ communications issues when a thousand other complicated issues matter to America is expecting too much. I wrote a paper in law school about the Eldred case, and it took months of research and reading, and help from friends. And that is just one of the many IP issues that matter to us. At least Dean understands the huge threat of reclassifying broadband as an information service. How many 1st Amendment scholars in America are up in arms about this, and they’re the supposed professionals? They’re still writing about street corner pamphleteers.
    And Dean is a busy, busy man. If he can’t respond to every single post, it’s probably just because, like everyone, he needs some sleep.
    For Dr. Dean, I have two questions and two comments.
    Question 1: How do you propose we counter media deregulation? By keeping the internet channels free (e.g. by following many of Prof. Lessig’s suggestions in Future of Ideas), or by also reimposing media ownership limits? Are there any other reforms that are possible, like those suggested in Sunstein’s Democracy and Free Speech (a short chapter on broadcast has some good suggestions)?
    Question 2: If you’re president, would Prof. Lessig be under consideration for being appointed FCC Chairman? Would Yale professor, Yochai Benkler (quoted all over Lessig’s last book, esp. on spectrum regulation, and a very important thinker for us all)?
    Comment 1: Your website should not refer to you at every spot as “Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.” Everyone knows you’re a doctor, and the M.D. at the end (everywhere) could strike some as a little much. I’m not saying you play the “common guy on a ranch” role, but Americans don’t like titles.
    Comment 2: Have someone in your staff prep you on Lessig’s Future of Ideas. If you’re here to learn, that’s a better place to start than a post from me.
    Thanks for guest-blogging.

  • Me


    You may be content to have a politician “listen.” I, however, am not. Why not? Because they will listen, and listen, and listen, and then go off and not have learned a thing.

    I want Gov. Dean to tell us his positions. That way, when we talk back, we know where he stands, and we can put together arguments that will point out where he is wrong, where he is right, and we can actually have a bit of dialogue here that might result in even changing his mind and getting him around to thinking the way we do on some of these issues.

    But if we don’t know where he’s coming from first, that’s pretty hard to do. And I absolutely REFUSE to vote for a politician when I don’t know where he stands.

  • Heather

    A-ha, Joe Trippi… of course. But poor ol’ Joe Teppi out there, I’ll bet he got a rush from seeing his name in bold large font like that.

    As for Joe posting for Howard Dean, I highly doubt it. Having followed the Howard Dean campaign for awhile, I know that Howard is a sucker for reading every darned comment to his posts (few and far between on the official blog, but they do happen from time to time). It’s a horrible habit actually. But there you go.

    Back on topic, as I see it, the big issue here is what on earth are we going to get out of Dean posting a message a day on the Lessig blog of all places… not to mention the fact that he doesn’t have time to comment on everyone’s questions?

    I’ve seen Dean talk plainly when he has a formed opinion, whereas he researches and ponders when he doesn’t. I’d be willing to bet that Dean is using this week for the latter, as a research week. And maybe that sucks for you dedicated Lessig readers because this is YOUR space not some candidate’s observation deck. You come here to get information not be the sole giver. That’s not what Lessig brings to the table, and it’s not what you were expecting when Lessig said Dean would be guest-blogging.

    Well, that’s the reality we’re looking at. And the spectrum of possible responses goes from educating Dean in a compelling way (heck, he’s listening, take advantage), all the way to bashing him because he’s not the IP expert we deserve in our next President. I obviously recommend the former, but if you want to let this chance pass you by, that’s a valid choice.

  • Jock Gill

    Re lobbyists — Their importance is as a source of funds for advertising based broadcast politics. If we invent a post-broadcast politics, where the metric changes from number of dollars to the number of small donors, then the lobbyists will only have influence if they represent a large number of donors — not just big corp. bucks.

    So one solution to corporate lobbying is to change the game and the nature of what counts. I hope that is what we are doing.

    It will be interesting to see just what all of the differences are between the old broadcast politics, driven by advertising aimed at passive consumers, and the new, emerging, politics of citizens as activley engaged producers of government and democracy.

    Isn’t this in part what is at the heart of political blogging?

    PS: Full disclosure – I am a part time consultant to Joe Trippi

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Look, my eyes are glazing over just reading the last few minutes of postings.
    And I have an extremely high tolerance for net-discussion. No presidential candidate is going to read through all the slush. It’s ludicrous.

  • Jeff Aldrich

    In my prior post above, I miss typed my email address. The what paper mentioned above, The Responsibility Era, is available by emailing the address in this post.

    Apologies for any confusion and my error.

  • Bill Rehm

    Me, I guess I wasn’t being very clear. This is Dr. Lessig’s blog, right? The one about IP issues? I really don’t think it’s the place for stump speeches by Governor Dean or lobbying for him to represent your personal opinions and views.

    I really didn’t get the sense that Governor Dean was here to “win” anybody’s vote. My take on it is that he’s here to dialog. I could be wrong about that. I hope I’m not and we see him respond to people’s posts on IP issues.

  • Tim Stewart

    Governor Dean-

    Thank you for taking the time to do something like this. The Iternet facet of your campaign, while increasingly overblown in the mainstream media, is still a fascinating leap into the future of American politics, and I commend your staff’s dedication to it. I have really only one question, and it has less to do with any individual stand of yours than it relates to an over-arching question about your campaign. How would you disagree with the dull roar that compares you to George McGovern? Is it possible for the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” to appeal to the moderates in this country? I would like to think that it’s possible, but at the same time, I (like many other Democrats) have concerns about how a more progressive message will play nationwide. Of course, this reflects a cynicism that doesn’t really suit my 21 years, but I can’t help but be curious as to how you feel about these concerns, and whether or not you (in your heart of hearts) may share them. Thanks a lot for your time.

  • Tim Stewart

    Governor Dean-

    Thank you for taking the time to do something like this. The Internet facet of your campaign, while increasingly overblown in the mainstream media, is still a fascinating leap into the future of American politics, and I commend your staff’s dedication to it. I have really only one question, and it has less to do with any individual stand of yours than it relates to an over-arching question about your campaign. How would you disagree with the dull roar that compares you to George McGovern? Is it possible for the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” to appeal to the moderates in this country? I would like to think that it’s possible, but at the same time, I (like many other Democrats) have concerns about how a more progressive message will play nationwide. Of course, this reflects a cynicism that doesn’t really suit my 21 years, but I can’t help but be curious as to how you feel about these concerns, and whether or not you (in your heart of hearts) may share them. Thanks a lot for your time.

  • Factotum

    OMG, the infamous Jock Gill rears his head here. Do you want us to vote for Dean? If you do, please stay over at Democrats.com and do whatever you do best – nothing.

  • Me


    To take each thing in turn:

    Sending our armed forced in to destroy a country and kill 1000�s of people shouldn�t be taken so lightly. Putting an automatic weapon in the hands of a 20-year old and telling him or her to kill the �enemy� is serious business.
    I never said it wasn’t.

    For you to state that we didn�t just have a new war is to state a viewpoint that would authorize the president to attack Spain because Congress never repealed authorization for the Spanish American war over 100 years ago.
    Technically, that is true. And I do suppose that the best way to combat it would be a statute of limitations on declarations of war, wouldn’t it? Despite that, however, the situation with Spain is different in other ways. There was not ongoing tension with Spain. There was no cease-fire agreement that required certain concessions from Spain, or certain conduct.

    Saddam had obligations in his end of the cease-fire. He didn’t live up to them. And that left the administration with a decision to make. To all the people who say “Well what about Iran or North Korea”… each situation is different. Get that through your heads. To treat N. Korea in the same manner as Iraq would be stupid. N. Korea’s leader may be power-hungry and manipulative, but he is not insane. With him, we can be very sure he is blustering, while with Saddam, we could not trust anything, but we could be sure that he would continue defying and dodging his cease-fire obligations any way he could find, in hopes of resuming his quest for power.

    Will you agree that this increases the liklihood that wars will be fought based on ideology and not facts?
    Not really, no. War is a horrid and terrible thing, whatever the reason, but there are times it is necessary. That Saddam Hussein dragged us to the point where the last resort was needed is lamentable, but far worse would have been having our leaders be too chicken to do what needed to be done.

    And no, Iraq will not be rebuilt in a day. It’s going to take years. Hopefully when it’s done, the radical islamics will not be in power, will not be mistreating women and children, will not be going through their modern-day equivalent of the dark ages fighting between Catholics and Lutherans and Anglicans (oh my!), but you never know. It’s a religion in its developmental infancy that still relies on barbarism in many portions of the world to propagate itself. In Africa and the Middle East in particular, rather than raising people up, there are too many radical muslim clerics who would keep the people down, ignorant, and superstitious so as to keep them in line.

    My fervent hope is that Iraq can be turned into a model of better Islam that actually follows the ideals that Muslims in America claim to hold, rather than some outdated stuff that passed down from some guy claiming to be a prophet. But we have to be willing to stand firm on that. Since the war is over, instead of whining and moaning and complaining about how Bush is illegitimate, or didn’t have the right to do what he did, why not rejoice at the fact that Saddam’s torturous prisons are gone, there will be no more mass graves, and work towards making Iraq into something truly good in the world?

  • Solaria


    I’d like to preface this with the fact that I am a Dean Supporter. However, I have a lay interest in IP and have seen Professor Lessig speak in person on this issue becuase of his work on the Eldred case. I think I’ve even posted to this blog before…I didn’t know what a blog was until I heard Professor Lessig mention it in his talk.

    All of this IP stuff seems very far removed from people like me. Can you tell us your personal stories or stories from around the world how current IP laws and practices in the US hard affecting you? The one I know of from Professor Lessig is the impact on preventing cheap drugs to treat AIDS in Africa.


  • http://artists.mp3s.com/artist_song/3204/3204233.html Jeff

    support free speech by playing “Soldier On” by Confidence Man – a great thinking person’s approach to patriotism
    Your attention please!
    The dogs of war are off the leash,
    the bombs all have our names
    and I don’t understand
    why it’s this bad man.
    There are so goddamn
    many of them.
    The cowboy king has drawn
    his line in the sand.

    If I get a gun and kill
    another human, will I
    go to heaven,
    will I be American?

    Better pin a flag on,
    sticker for the wagon.
    Pride is never dragging
    cause I am American.

    But it’s American to question
    any goddamn thing I please.
    And I don’t like your suggestion
    that I follow your decrees.

    Have you ever seen an eagle
    wheeling high above the pines
    to land upon a windswept rock?
    It’s so terrible and regal.
    What I want to point out is
    it sits alone.
    It does not flock.

    http://artists.mp3s.com/artist_song/3204/3204233.html or
    or click on my name

  • Jonathan

    Governor Dean,

    I’m very glad to have you here, and I hope that you discuss intellectual property and technology issues with Professor Lessig.

    I’d also like to suggest discussing them with Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) who seems to me one of the most clued in legislators on IP and technological issues. He sponsored legislation that would fix key problems with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and he also sponsored the Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act, which tried to reaffirm ‘fair use’ rights as well as ensuring proper labeling of copy-protected CDs.

  • Me

    K Jeff, that’s just kind of silly… do you really need to try to pimp your music in the middle of a debate?

  • Carlton Nettleton

    OK, everyone take a deep breath – I imagine every one of you here is a LOT smarter than Governor Dean on IP (I just figured out what that means, so you are DEFINITELY a lot smarter than me, too) issues.

    You are all uber geeks. And I use that term endearingly since it comes from someone who has a background in geophysics and programs computers for a living – extremely geeky.

    Now that you are all admitted experts, realize you have the attention of a presidential candidate and he is asking for some facts on issues you care about and your ideas and opinions. When was the last time George Bush (or anyone in his government) asked for your opinion on anything?

    Each one of you has an opportunity to shape the thinking of an individual who does not know that much on a topic you care about. Howard Dean is probably not going to respond to each post (or limited posts) and he is probably not going to lead the discussion on the finer points of copyright law.

    I think what the Governor and the Lessig are looking for is for all of YOU to direct the conversation for a week. You tell the host what you want to talk about this week. The Governor will lay out broad themes – media conglomeration yesterday and today we are talking about using facts to make decisions that affect all of us.

  • http://dean2004.blogspot.com Aziz

    just testing:








    Seth, I’m unable to rperoduce your font bug- what specific tag or pair of tags did you use?

  • Heather

    Aziz: Actually I think you did reproduce the font bug.

  • Factotum


    So, in fact, this is an online “listening tour?” I think I may sit this one out and tune back in next week when we can get more than a campaign commercial. I say this as a Dean supporter – this is a waste of all our time – Dean’s primarily. I actually feel that if has nothing to add hee – this is actually counter-productive, as it will suggest a lack of depth. IMHO.

  • http://dean2004.blogspot.com Aziz

    woah – answered my own question. The HTML is formatted correctly in the Preview but when it is posted, both b and strong get inflated in size. looks like a formatting bug in Moveable Type or the specific template that Lessig is using.

  • http://somethingaboutorange.com/mrl/ jhp

    “Facts are a better basis for decisions than ideology.”

    Here are a few facts about our current copyright/IP system that I hope will guide your thinking on the issues.

    * Nothing — except a few older works that were specifically re-copyrighted for short times by the Bono act — will enter the public domain again in this country until at least 2019. Nothing.

    * The anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA has damaged our capacity for research and innovation — ask Ed Felten or Dmitri Sklyarov how much.

    * It also makes it illegal for me to play a DVD that I own on my home computer, which runs Linux, and for which there is no authorized DVD player available. Why is it legal for me to watch a DVD in my livingroom, but not in my office?

    * Software patents endanger innovation. According to people who are much smarter and more informed than I am, nearly every non-trivial software program violates someone’s patent; we have just been lucky, so far, that not many companies have chosen to enforce the patents that they own.


  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    I didn’t even use “b”
    I just had “blockquote” “em” text “/em” “/blockquote”

  • Jer

    Hi Dean,

    I’m a strong supporter of yours who has donated 4 times so far. That said, while some posters above are over-reacting, I do think that we’re all hoping for a little more than standard campaign material from you. I’d rather see some thoughtful opinions from Dean, the person – not Dean, the campaign. If this audience respects you, we’ll go to your site – outright campaigning (leading into Iraq with IP? Posting links to a petition?) here will turn us off.

    Constructive criticism. I want everyone to see the real person behind the campaign. That’s what made me support you. You’ve got a very targeted audience here – no need for public speeches.


  • Ian Field

    Perhaps the Governor’s critics could enlighten us with who they are inclined to support in the primaries (if Democrats), and in the GE. Perhaps, also provide an explanation of which particular positions (of that candidate) are attractive in this context (IP) and elsewhere.

    This might shed some perspective on what has become a rather nasty bout of criticism. I think many Dean supporters, and also, possibly, the campaign staff, are rather surprised by the response, and could use an education on what is expected from us, and who our competition (in politics) is.

    That said, I personally feel that the strongest critics here are being unfair and unreasonable. Howard is an M.D. and a governor. He does not have a background in IP law, general law, cyber-issues, or technology. He is open-minded, and that’s about all he can bring to the table. His position on IP comes only from his personal experience and the issues he sees as a candidate with a vested interest in freedom of speech on the Internet. This is an opportunity for you folks to educate him, his staff, and his supporters. Don’t squander it with mean spirited diatribe. You won’t get this opportunity with GW.


  • Eddie

    > -The Law Student

    This is an absurd and treacherous statement.

  • Me

    Good points, JHP. Here’s a few more:

    * Disney has made their money on a systematic rape of the public domain. Hercules, Snow White, Aladdin to name just a few. Now, when the time has come that their own works ought to enter the public domain so that other authors might produce new works and enhance art and science based on what Disney has put out, Disney suddenly finds that the public domain isn’t so great. Doesn’t this in itself make you very worried that Copyright has suddenly become infinitely extensible and that no new works may EVER enter the public domain again, and we need to wait until 2019 just to find out if any ever will?

    * The DMCA and its prohibitions on reverse engineering, on their face, are laughable. Where does the difference lie between someone tinkering with their car, or their toaster, and someone messing around with software they have bought?

    When did our ability to legally tinker with, repair, improve, or otherwise mess with something we have bought go away, and why? I submit that about the only right any producer should have, if we do something they didn’t intend with a product we bought, is to take away our warranty and (perhaps) have some immunity from lawsuit in the case of someone injuring themself by doing something really, really stupid.

    I know, these are idealogical questions, but they are logical in nature. When laws intended to protect copyright are used instead so that companies can shut the competition out of printer cartridge making, or even worse the car companies try to use it to force everyone to come back to the dealership for servicing (putting the independent auto mechanic out of business) the law is very bad and needs fixing desperately.

  • The Law Student

    Doctoral Candidate says: “In which history book did you read that �humanity benefits from� any empirialist effort whether it be called �America� or �Rome�

    With all do respect, are you seriously arguing that America hasn’t benefitted humanity? Are you arguing that the great life that America has given it’s 1/3 of a billion inhabitants is a bad thing? Are you suggesting the hope and reality of liberty that America continually reasserts is wicked? As the kids in jail in Iraq if American Imperialism is evil. Ask the women of Afghanistan who for the first time are able to attend school and dress like they want to if American Imperialism benefits humanity. Ask the liberals in Iran who know their only salvation from tyranny lies in American liberation about the wickedness of American imperialism. The benefit to humanity of American Imperialism is breathtaking and should be continually celebrated.

    Would you consider an individual �free� when his or her government tries to amass a case of treason against you built on disputable �facts� and intentional biases?

    An individual is free, and remains free. That the government tells him something doesn’t take away from his inborn freedom. In fact from the very beginning government has always and only existed to take away man’s liberty. You want “Treason” why not read the book by Ann Coulter of that name about who are the treasonous scum. And by the way on the subject of government; all the powerful were against the war. Despite that in San Francisco 15 % were against the fight against Nazi Renaissance (“Ba’athism”) The city council, the media, everyone with power tried to stuff the lie down America’s face that San Franciscans were anti-war with Lies, Lies, Lies; the idea that there was a groundswell of anti-war feeling in S.F. was Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies.

    The point here is this: an ideology, say, of freedom, may set the stage for decisions,

    Freedom is not an ideology, it is the natural state of all people. it is only leftist ideologies that subtract from man’s natural state of being free. The ideology I speak of the imperitive of making all men recognize their own freedom (by minimizing the government sector whereever possible, by encouraging private control of important factors in society – like schools, essential services and the media)

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    egarding DMCA chilling effects, people might be interested in my
    Library Of Congress DMCA testimony
    Forgive me the commercial, it’s actually good reading, and pretty funny in places (there’s a great part at the end where the censorware company representative gets compared – not by me – to the Iraqi Information Minister)

    But a presidential candidate is NOT asking my/our opinions here. If he wants an
    education on IP issues, ploughing through blog blather is not the way to do it!
    Reading Lessig’s books would work.

    This is buzz, where you’re supposed to connect with the candidate, and feel he or she really cares about you, yes, you. I’m less than overwhelmed.

  • Factotum

    I also think that if this is to be productive – perhaps Gov. Dean could ask some questions he needs answers to. Otherwise this is just another Hillary “listening tour.” Engage, don’t propagandize. I am a Dean supporter and I find this tedious and unsettling.

  • http://www.ncgreenbus.com Roey

    I have one simple question. If you become President, would you be willing to have a daily or weekly blog on the white house website? Perhaps even a blog for every member of your staff?

    Your Supporter in Wilmington NC

  • Carlton Nettleton

    Perhaps it is just a listening tour, I don’t know. A conversation involves a response from the listener that he or she heard and understood what the speaker had to say. I certainly hope he takes time to make a few posts, even just to say “I don’t agree with you”.

  • Jason Webber

    No matter what the Governor seems to be, it doesn’t appear to be enough for a handful of people. I understand a number of your individuals’ frustration at the fact that the Governor has been somewhat vague – but it more appeared to me that Dr. Dean was outlining a general policy of honesty and straighfordwardness than providing any specifics at this point in time. Providing specifics is all well and good – but no one is going to have the answer to every specific issue all the time. I think the Governor has attempted to convey that in a lot of what he says – and I respect that. There is nothing more encouraging (and weren’t we all taught this in grade school) – and nothing more courageous – than someone who stands up and says “I don’t know – but I’m willing to listen to other opinions.”

    A number of you posted “Needle sharing isn’t exactly the same as the war in Iraq”. I don’t think that’s the point that the Governor was trying to make – he was merely saying that sometimes empirical evidence can help one change their opinion. And yes, there is no doubt that ideology can help form initial opinions. I think the overarching point of the argument was merely that, if used properly, empirical evidence is a wonderful way to help change people’s specific beliefs, regardless of ideology.

    Christians may have once been convinced that the world was flat (and their ideology helped fuel this argument), but once they were faced with insurmountable empirical evidence to the contrary, this issue all but dissapeared.

    I think that’s the point – someone who admits they are open to change based on differing opinions – how refreshing when compared to today’s administration, which refuses to acknowledge any evidence to the contrary of their own personal ideologies. Now that’s America.

  • Heather

    “This is buzz, where you�re supposed to connect with the candidate, and feel he or she really cares about you, yes, you. I�m less than overwhelmed” – from Seth’s post

    Seth: I think it was Prof. Lessig who invited Dean to come, not the other way around. If this is merely buzz, then it’s buzz instigated by Lessig, who wrote that he was the one who “arranged” Dean’s guest-blogging appearance.

  • http://justlooking.recursion.org Luke Francl

    I posted this on the official blog in response to Factotum. Since I’m a reader of this site as well, I figured I ought to cross-post it.


    I am incredibly tuned-into copyright law issues. I’m probably more informed than 99.9% of all Americans on those issues. I almost wept when the Supreme Court announced the Eldred decision.

    I am also a Dean supporter.

    And I, quite frankly, don’t really care what his position on copyright and patents are. It would be nice if he agreed with me, but after seeing what Bush has done to this country in the last 2 years, I have my priorities right: Bush out, then copyright reform.

    You ask: “did [Dean] just not listen to people about these issues that are SO important to us there?”

    He probably didn’t hear much about it. I’ve seen him twice, and I didn’t raise the issue. Single-issue copyright voters must be the smallest bloc of voters in existence.

    Dean is posting on Lessig’s blog to find out what you’ve got to say. He’s already proven that he can be swayed by facts (honestly, one of the most refreshing things about him). Why don’t you provide some facts?

    I read a lot of complaining over there, but not a lot of passionate defenses of the benefits of the Eldred Act.

    I know why I should care about the Eldred Act. But the average voter, or politician? Explain it to us like a three year old.

    …Next Post, after Factotum posted a link to the Eldred Act FAQ…

    Linking to a FAQ ain’t gonna cut it, Factotum.

    To paraphrase my former governor, “I ain’t got time to read”.

    Spell it out for us. Maybe three points. What are the harms of the current copyright system? What does the Eldred Act fix? What will its effect be? And why should I, as a normal American consumer of information, care?

  • http://www.cptech.org/ Roey

    Dr. Dean,
    How do you feel about having the government and military use free open source Linux software on their servers (its still a little to difficult for most desktop users). Since Linux is free would save millions every year, plus its much more stable and has a lower risk of security breach. This issue has been brought up before by Ralph Nader and James Love:


    To find out more check out the Consumer Project on Technology by clicking my name below.

  • Jer

    Jason -

    I completely agree – but without prior knowledge of the man it just looks like campaigning to some here. The vibe I get is that people were assuming that his posts would be more of an informal nature.

    Regardless, I think it’s great that he’s taking part in things like this. Don’t take this as discouragement, Dr. D.


  • http://subintsoc.net/situationroom Geheimbundler

    General observation: This comment board has one of the highest ratios of noise to signal of any Net forum I’ve seen in a while. (It’s worse than Slashdot!)

    For this dialogue to accomplish anything, for us readers/posters or for Dean, it needs a lot less name-calling and self-promotion.

  • Brent Youngren

    Gov. Dean,
    Recently Condoleeza Rice has said that the questions about the Iraq-Niger connection have been “enourmously overblown”. It seems to me that if the issue has really been overblown then the administration should be asking for a full and non-partisan investigation.

    In light of all of this I have a suggestion for a policy of the future Dean Administration. If any one in your administration refers to an issue as ‘overblown’, then your policy will be to ask Congress for an immediate investigation. Afterall, if an issue is truely being overblown in the media, then it would be in your best interest to get all the facts out so people could know the truth.

  • Jack Kessler

    Howard Dean, and Matt & Zephyr & Nicco –

    The Larry Lessig Deanblog is one of the most inspired ideas, and inspiring moments, of the Campaign so far. Congratulations, you guys. I just posted the following about it on The WELL — to politics 1981: Howard Dean in ’04 #886 —


    Aaaand I am really happy to note the typo, in the above [Dean's July 15 post] : “he” says, “intellectual property, healthy [sic] care, the environment”…

    Geez. You mean this actually might really and sincerely be Howard Dean, writing this… the candidate hisself… not some campaign committee or hired publicist or intervening mediatrics mediator but The Candidate!, hisself… him, not “him”…

    If so, this would be just about the first time in my own personal memory since the oh-so-mediagenic Kennedy Campaign — long time ago. Ever since then, you’d never have seen a “typo”; never have seen anything not thoroughly vetted by a PR consultants’ committee, in fact.

    So now here comes Howard Dean, with his own honest opinions and his own typos and all… Hate to say this, folks, but this gives me one more good reason to vote for this guy — I know substance matters more, but I agree with him there too, and the way you do things sometimes counts for a lot as well.

    ‘Course now someone is going to say that Carville or Trippi or
    somebody else stuck the typo in there to make this “sound genuine”… call me a cynic…


    – now don’t any of _you_ at the Campaign come and tell us that the “typo” was in fact a PR setup… leave us our illusions — we like the guy…

    Inspired Campaign tactic, like I said, and inspiring too. The cynicism which has pervaded campaigning since the 1960s needs to be fought hard, and so far you folks are doing this well — your “Internet leveraging” in getting the Meetups to write those Iowa letters, and now this Larry Lessig Deanblog — on behalf of all of us.

  • Jason Webber

    Jer – Fair enough.

    But the man still is campaigning for president. Part of the pragmatist in me says that no matter what, that’ll still always be in the back of his mind. ;) I’m sure he’s still approaching issues with the thought ‘is this going to help or hurt my campaign?’

    Is that necessarily ‘evil’? Of course not. You’d have to be stupid to ignore that fact if you were running for president. ;) That said, it would of course be nice if things were approached on an issue-by-issue basis, but I simply don’t think the Doctor’s got enough time to, as one previous poster said, pander to every single interest group (be it single-issue copyright voters to advocates of open-source operating systems on Navy computers).

  • Thomas

    Are there different standards for war than for “preemptive” war? Where do the (differing?) standards come from? Are they “facts”?

    Dean has revealed that while he’s better educated than the current president, he’s no smarter.

  • Factotum

    I can go and copy and paste three points from the FAQ -so what? Does that mean I am more knowledgeable than you? Nope – I never claimed to be.

    My point in my posts was to engage the Gov. in this discussion, rather than turning it into another campaign email. I think you missed the point of my postings.

    I actually WANT Dean to win – I think that by not confronting him to be more engaged with people – especially when he has the opportunity to do so in a forum like this – is simply missing opportunities and engaging in “politics as usual.”

    My mistake was in posting over at the BfA. If that’s your point – I’ll concede it. I will not be able to respond again until later this evening – so don’t take my absence as defeat! heh.

  • jack tanner

    ‘In either case, the wrong decision puts more people�s lives at risk. In the case of starting a war on Iraq, I believe that the W. administration chose the wrong path.

    It is important to make sure that America is secure. It is important to stop terrorism worldwide. The actions that the United States took to nullify a perceived threat have actually made this nation less secure and have increased the likelihood that we will be targeted for terror attacks.’

    Sorry Maryann but you miss my point and you’re completely lacking perspective. You may be right that the actions were wrong in invading Iraq but if Dean equates national security which directly effects each and every American and indirectly the rest of the world with limited scope issues such as needle exchange programs or parental consent notifications then he’s going to show himself as a fringe candidate. I’m not judging his support or views on these issues but if he wants to get elected he better be able to show the public that he knows what’s important and what’s not. He may very well feel as you apparently do that these issues are equivalent but he’s going to get beat like a drum if that’s how he campaigns.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein


    There’s nothing particularly wrong with a politician trying to generate “buzz”. It’s not a high crime or misdemeanor. And I should also say that, while I’m currently undecided, Dean sounds like a good guy to me. However, just in terms of my personal idiosyncrasies, I find many of the standard political hypocrisies tend to grate on me.

    My understanding is that policy gets made first by the candidate’s own convictions, then by the full-time staffers, then from various advisors. And Lessig would be excellent in the role of those advisors.

    However, positions are NOT made out of blogorrhea. They can’t be. There’s not enough time, the overall signal is too low, there’s no consideration for ugly imperatives, etc.

    I’ve been frustrated enough in my life over, e.g. trying to get people to listen to my work on censorware, that it’s unpleasant to be subjected to a rally in the guise of a consultation.

    Again, not the worst thing in the world. But it’s annoying enough to move me to comment.

  • Dawn M. Mueller

    Governor and Dr. Dean:

    When the time comes for you to make your FCC appointments, I would ask that you consider the following:

    Radio astronomy, and astronomy in other bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, are essential tools by which scientists and engineers comb the physical universe for basic information regarding our existence, and the potential for the existence of other life beyond our humble planet.

    Electromagnetic frequency bandwidth allocations devoted to scientific research are being eroded away as bandwidth is increasingly devoted to terrestrial communications.

    I would ask you to extend your interest in environmental conservation by cultivating a view of the electromagnetic spectrum as a natural resource.

    Just as it is important for the preservation of wildlife and the human psyche to reduce the amount of light pollution in the sky that prevents us from connecting with the visible stars, it is important to safeguard precious windows of bandwidth necessary for scientific exploration of the sky.

    Before make any appointments to the FCC, please consult with the International Astronomical Union’s Working Groups on Astrophysically Important Spectral Lines and Interference Mitigation.

    Information regarding the IAU division on Radio Astronomy can be found at the following URL:


    I would be happy to hook you up with two excellent radio astronomers at the University of Iowa, some time when you are in Iowa City, who could discuss such issues with you and arrange for you to tour National Radio Astronomy Observatory facilities, such as the VLA (Very Large Array) in Socorro, New Mexico, if you are desirous and your campaign schedule would permit it.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Dawn M. Mueller
    Iowa City, IA

  • Anonymous

    It’s got to be by Dean himself, because he doesn’t seem to know how to use the Categories feature in MT, even though his staffers do.

  • Luke Francl


    I simply want to move this discussion in a positive direction. I see a lot of people complaining here, but not a lot of explaining.

    I think JHP did a good job of listing reasons to support the Eldred Act. Let’s see a few more!

  • http://www.blogforamerica.com Joe Trippi

    Jack — the Governor is well known for his typos — he seldom gets through a post or comment without making one.

    Seth and others who make many valid critisims here — all I can say is that Howard Dean is new to blogging — and what we are doing here is the first time we (including me who has been an avid blog reader for the better part of a few years) have done something like this. We ain’t gonna get it right — I don’t even know if its possible for a candidate, even one attempting to get it right — to get it right.

    I don’t want to open this thread up to suggestions about it — But I have included a real email to me — and I would really appreciate those who can take the time to drop me an email with suggestions or contructive critisim on how we can do better. This may be our first real leap into the blogosphere beyond our own blog — but I assure you it will not be our last.

    Joe Trippi
    campaign manager
    Dean for America

  • Eddie

    First, I’ll address other posters, and then I’ll address you, Dr. Dean.

    To the other posters:

    Having free time on a political campaign is an oxymoron. I also believe that this is genuinely Dr. Dean. He writes like he speaks, as most people who are not writers do. I know from experience that when he realizes that he does not know the answer to something, he looks for it. That’s what I believe motivated him to come here. If I were running for President and didn’t know the first thing about copyright law, I’d be thrilled to find a place like this to blog.

    My point is, to put it simply, that Dean is a n00b. I think he’s citing the Dixie Chicks because they’re what got picked up on the national radar. Vermont is not Kansas. It’s much easier to find an audience for liberal views. I liken it to my discovering punk music a few years back, thanks to Green Day. They weren’t really punk in the same sense that the Dixie Chicks weren’t really being hurt by their squelching.

    I think that as time progresses, Dr. Dean will actually become informed on this issue, especially as he’s in contact with Lessig.


    To Dr. Dean:

    I’m don’t claim to be an expert on the minutiae of copyright law, but it’s been my experience that the greatest threat to a free press in this country is not simply deregulation, but a lethal cocktail of deregulation, legal citizenship, and eternal life for corporations. I do not simply have a “profound fear and mistrust of multinational corporations;” my misgivings are rooted in centuries of fact.

    In Santa Clara vs. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, argued January 26-29, 1886, Chief Justice Waite made the headnote comments that corporations were persons. Headnotes, of course, are not legally binding. However, lesser courts treated them as such, and since that time, a legal precedent has been established allowing corporations to enjoy the same rights as natural citizens. They gained these full rights more than a half-century before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    What this means is that corporations, economic institutions created by citizens, are subsequently given the power of citizens. With the revocation of corporate charters, this gives them eternal life.

    So we have an entity that has more money than the average citizen, is entitled to the rights of the average citizen, and is essentially allowed to live forever, provided it is not squelched by competition.

    I believe that, like government, corporations should be the servant of the people, and not their master. I am not so disillusioned to believe that government is not in the dominion of the people. It threatens to be, with the Bush admministration threatening the very fabric of our Republic, but it is not yet.

    This is why I suspect you are now running, having read the text of your announcement speech.

    But I digress. Returning to my main line, corporations are no longer the servant of their masters. These companies can oust all of their founders and continue on, ad infinitum. The corporate entity cares only for increasing its profits and attracting more shareholders. Most corporate citizens flagrantly violate basic human rights in countries around the globe. And the corporate media threaten to squelch not only the public domain, but public opinion.

    Leading up to the war in Iraq, the general population was fairly evenly divided on whether or not the United States should go to war. The Bush administration, however, utilized corporate allies to engineer public opinion, thanks to the marketing genius of the Bush team. The American public in general was duped, and the statements of the Bush administration were given priority over the outcry of the people–including tens of millions of protesters on Feb. 15, 2003.

    Having first dealt with the media in Chicago on that day, and in a few instances afterward, one of them being at the Iowa City Meetup earlier this month, I know that individual reporters have quite a bit of journalistic integrity. However, they are required to write in a manner mandated by the corporations that put food on their table. Beyond that, the editorial board is required to alter these articles and broadcasts so as to engineer profit–hence, we have sensationalism and spin. In a system where a few corporations are allowed to perpetually chase higher profits, we have more sensationalism, and we are gripped by fear as a result.

    Therefore, I feel that it is essential, not only to fairness, but to the Bill of Rights itself, that corporations be given term limits in their charters and be legally stripped of personhood. The problem extends much further than the suppression of the freedom of the press, of assembly, or of speech; it extends to the most fundamental rights of the human race, those inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This assertion is not some simple pronouncement; it is rooted in fact.

    The fact is, probably every piece of clothing you’re wearing was in a sweatshop at some point, where people are forced to work 12-16 hour days, often without bathroom breaks, for a paltry $2 a day. This is only one example, and I would go into others, but I’ll leave that to you. Other industries to observe include fast food, toys, and food in general, bananas in particular. This does not simply happen with U.S. run, multinational corporations benefited by free trade; it happens within U.S. territories as well, Saipan being the example. There are sweatshops all over Saipan. They’re where the clothes that say “Made in the U.S.A” come from. In an aside that’ll make your blood boil, Tom DeLay visited these sweatshops, and said he supported what they were doing. Tom DeLay is of course the Texas representative responsible for starting the redistricting chaos in Texas.

    I wish ending corruption was as simple as going back to media regulation. But it’s not.

    I also realize that my own words and case are not the most elegantly written, but I hope they encourage you to really look and listen to what has gone on in the world we don’t generally hear about on TV or talk radio.


  • Jack Kessler

    “One of the amazing things about this campaign is how the Internet has allowed people to meet and work together in common cause. Only by taking an active part in our democracy will we be able to restore a government of, by and for the people.”

    I’d like to take a stab at defending this Deanstatement, as being more than the usual vacuous political campaign blather which some here accuse it of.

    Think about the last election: Bush won that with less than half of the vote — 48%, of the mere 51.3% who registered — and we had that Florida mess, and now a clumsy and extremist President who was “selected not elected” by our Supreme Court…

    So we got political problems, people: fundamental ones — low voter turnout, ballot-splitting, apathy and cynicism and extremists… I won’t say this is the worst crisis in Our Democracy, but it must rank as one of them. So Dean speaks ‘sooth here, I think: not vapid generalities, in saying what he says above, but the actual campaign issues.

    We do have very real problems, now, with “active part” and “democracy” and “government of, by and for the people”, as Dean says — more in this election than we have had for some time. The last election I myself remember which came this close on these matters was Nixon’s, and that — those — were a whole lot less constitutionally controversial.

    So Our Democracy really is at issue, this time around, and Dean is addressing Our Democracy. The other issues are important as well, but we need a candidate with a clear and steady focus on the biggest issue, too: if we don’t have a functioning democracy, going forward — or if the one we have continues to erode — it will be a lot harder to get the other things done, as well.

    I’m personally a fan of his Internet-approach — particularly now that his campaign has figured out how to “leverage” that with postal letter-writing, too. My most general hope is that the technology just might give all of us a hand with our general Democracy problems now, as well.

  • http://www.niet.tk Jaap Vermeulen

    Dear Governor Dean,

    I wish to give some constructive criticism, namely regarding your use of the term “Intellectual Property”. I will quote from the Free Software Foundation’s page on the term:

    ““Intellectual property” is also an unwise generalization. The term is a catch-all that lumps together several disparate legal systems, including copyright, patents, trademarks, and others, which have very little in common. These systems of law originated separately, cover different activities, operate in different ways, and raise different public policy issues. If you learn a fact about copyright law, you would do well to assume it does not apply to patent law, since that is almost always so.”

    Source: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#IntellectualProperty

    I have always found the term to be misleading my self, since copyrights and patents are given for limited times, which is of course not true for property in the traditional sense. Good luck with your campaign!

    Best regards,
    Jaap Vermeulen

  • Casey Lippmeier

    Gov. Dean,

    “I opposed needle exchanges for drug addicts until I saw the empirical evidence that showed how such exchanges reduce the spread of disease.”

    It almost sounds like you’re against the drug war, but we know you’re not. If you want the green and libertarian votes you’re going to have to come out against the insanity of this drug war in a real way, needle exchange is a nothing issue.

    Its good that you want facts, you can find some here. Stop the drug war and you can take off about 10 billion per year from government spending. Use some of the savings to retrain cops as teachers. That, or move the displaced law enforcement to homeland security.

    Just to be clear, there is no question that drugs are unhealthy. The anti-drug ads should continue (along with the anti-smoking and anti-drinking ads). I think that decriminalization on the federal level and repealing the mandatory minimums is the right thing. Let the states work out thier own policies on this issue. Let people be free to make the choice to hurt themselves. Government’s place is to discourage self-abuse, not to create a gulag jobs program of it.

  • http://www.ccm-ct.org/ Heather Palazzo

    Perhaps Prof. Lessig invited Dr. Dean to guest-blog in hopes of getting a bunch of uniformed Dean supporters (like me) over to his site to educate us on IP issues, copywrite laws, etc. I know close to nothing about these issues but now, thanks to this blog and the regular Lessig bloggers, I’m very interested in and concerned about them. If Dr. Dean wasn’t guest-blogging here, I wouldn�t be here either. I’m grateful he led me here because these are important issues & I need to learn more about them. I can understand that this is probably not very thrilling to those of you who come here regularly for challenging & informative discussions, but I hope your suffering will be rewarded by increased interest in & visibility of the issues that matter to you.

  • The Doctoral Candidate

    Law Student asks: �With all do respect, are you seriously arguing that America hasn�t benefited humanity?�

    My question read: in which history book did you read that humanity benefits from any imperialist effort whether it be called America or Rome? Your response ignores the subject of that sentence (ie. imperialism). Hmm�I wonder why�

    Law Student states: �Freedom is not an ideology, it is the natural state of all people. It is only the leftist ideologies that subtract from man�s natural state of being free�

    Hobbes and Kant will be so relieved to hear you�ve resolved their great debate! And your noble assertion that �an individual is free and remains free. That the government tells him something doesn�t take away his inborn freedom�� Tell that to the folks in Guantanomo Bay�

    Wish I could linger but I’ve got an exam to study for. Don’t you? If not, why not? >

  • J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    I found Seth Finkelstein’s early comment about some staffer reading the comments to be correct. It’s unlikely Dean will read each and every comment posted to this blog this week (when Dean is guest hosting). Having staffers read and digest commentary from the public is quite common.

    Finally, I’m glad to see Dean is interested in learning, and I hope he takes the time to do this by reading some of the deeply-considered views on copyright, patents on algorithms used in software, and software freedom from the GNU project. Dean says, “I know that people here care deeply about intellectual property.”–actually people here are more likely to have read this brief blurb which encourages us to think of copyright, trademark, patent, and other areas of law separately. These laws cover different things, last for different amounts of time, are acquired differently, and raise different social concerns. Two areas commonly discussed under the misleading term “intellectual property” can actually contradict one another: patents and copyrights–the power you gain under U.S. copyright law to distribute a homemade MP3 encoder/decoder is trumped by Thomson’s MP3 patent. Thus there is no genuine Free Software MP3 player in the U.S. (and other countries that honor patents on algorithms used in the creation of software–so-called “software patents”). Briefly, on software patents, I’m sure Dean (being a medical doctor) can imagine the harm that would come if surgical techniques were patentable (“I’m sorry, I can’t give you that desperately needed operation until you obtain a license for the patent from ConHugeCo Medical, Inc.). Similar harm (writ small, life and death matters are not the norm) exists in software patents; only the largest software firms can afford to experiment and share implementations because they are likely to have the patent (or a license to the patent) covering their implementation. In my experience, patents harm incremental development (such as software development) for the benefit of a few large firms (including IBM, HP, Apple, and Microsoft). Listen or read Richard Stallman’s speech on this topic, it is quite instructive.

    I encourage Dean to support the Eldred Act and help us fight software patents (in the U.S. and abroad).

  • http://www.ccm-ct.org/ Heather Palazzo

    Just realized I wrote copywrite instead of copyright… I’m an idiot…

  • Vince

    Thank you Dr. Dean for running for President. I am a 32 year old American who has never voted. But the current state of affairs stemming from the Bush MisAdministration has me interested in politics, finally. So I’m taking your advice and getting involved because together we really can take back our country. I look forward to seeing you in San Diego again. Good job at the HRC, btw.

    Go Dean! :)

  • http://somethingaboutorange.com/mrl/ jhp

    Joe Trippi:

    The email address from the comment-posting form isn’t included in the posted comment if you also enter a URL.

    So, I’ll make my suggestion here: ask the Gov. to pick two or three specific copyright or IP or FCC-related issues that commenters have brought up here and respond to them — whether that means stating a definite position, explaining why he hasn’t made up his mind, talking about the advice he’s hearing from advisors and others about the issue, whatever is appropriate. Most importantly, in each case, give a specific answer to a specific question, honestly and without spin.

  • Nathanael Nerode

    >As a doctor, I?m trained to base my decisions on facts.
    *This* is why I’m voting for you. :-)

    The fact is that the balance between copyright (intended to provide an economic incentive for authors to create new works) and the public domain (where all of knowledge, science and the arts, must eventually end up in order to be of lasting benefit to society) has fallen way, way out of whack. The economic analyses given as friend of the court briefs in Eldred v. Ashcroft and Golan v. Ashcroft (and in the dissenting opinion to the first case by Justice Breyer show that the economic incentive is essentially at its theoretical maximum. Other evidence shows that the economic benefit is mainly being reaped by rent-seeking corporations, rather than the authors whom the incentives were meant to go to. Other friend-of-the-court briefs show the severe practical impact, in that economically unviable works — but works with literary or scientific value — are simply vanishing, since they are not in the public domain, and it is too expensive to track down the copyright holders and obtain rights.

    The Eldred Act is the smallest possible step towards redressing this balance. It’s a good step, but a minimum one.

    On software patents: the vast majority of so-called software patents are for algorithms which are (a) obvious, (b) unoriginal, and (c) have no reasonable alternatives for use. This is simply a fact, and it’s easy to get testimony from computer scientists to support it. (a) and (b) are supposed to be bars to obtaining a patent at all, and (c) is supposed to be considered too, but the US Patent Office has not been doing its job. If software patents are allowed, the people getting the patents must be forced to *prove* that they are patenting a non-obvious, original process, which they are *not* currently forced to do. And the numerous patents for obvious or unoriginal algorithms previously issued must be cancelled.

  • Ray

    The comments on this blog have so far been a great disappointment. Governor Dean was invited to participate here, and agreed to do so. He attempted to address the fact that many of you have specific questions and show that while he does not have the answers now, he will listen to you and gather some facts. IP and Copyright protection is not a central issue to average Americans, nor to any presidential campaign, but he’s offering to listen to you. Instead, with occasional exceptions, you’ve complained like children not getting their way. Some facts for you:

    1: Governor Dean is not net-savvy. He has never claimed to be, quite the opposite, in fact. If you believe he is, you’ve not been paying attention. His campaign is well-run and has tech-savvy folks on board. The fact that he is taking the time, and making the effort, to blog here is more remarkable than you seem to understand.
    2: Do you honestly think a presidential candidate will take time out to suddenly bone up on IP issues and become an expert? He’s offered to listen to you; give him some information and see what he does with it. Those of you who have done so, good for you and thank you.
    3: He really is posting, and does pay attention to these comments (at least some, if not all). I’ve met him, and when I gave my name he immediately recalled my website and what I had written there. He pays attention. Ideas from blogs have a way of appearing in stump speeches and in his e-mails. Having followed him since January, I can tell you you’re seeing his writing style, typos and all. He isn’t going to spend all day reading these frequently useless and redundant posts, but he’ll read them.

    Some of you have taken this opportunity for what it is and offered sound questions (i.e. Linux use in the military) or details about IP and copyright issues. That’s great; aside from the rah-rah postings, that’s how things are getting done at Dean’s blog. We don’t always get answers to our questions, but often enough that we know they’re reading and working with us. The comments at the Dean blog may be mostly without substance, but I’ll take that over the pseudo-intellectual petulance I’ve seen here. I was glad to visit Lessig’s blog this week, hoping to find folks willing to look beyond headlines and assumptions (and read more than rah-rah), but have been disappointed. Jer, you posted saying folks were assuming Dean’s posts would be more informal – that’s reasonable to assume, but just FYI you’re seeing Dean about as informal as he gets. Supporters wish he’d loosen up a bit, too.

  • Andrew

    I just want to point out that Gov. Dean actually answered the questions (including the OT barb about Liberia) raised by the sneering, obnoxious posts of Richard Bennett. How many other presidential candidates would have taken the time to explain themselves to a jerk who isn’t going to vote for them anyway? Zero?

    Note, that while Mr. Bennett posted approximately 537 times on *yesterday’s* thread, he’s strangely silent today.

  • Westley Sherman

    This President never adequately laid out the facts for going to war with Iraq�perhaps, as it turns out, because the facts were not there.

    What I like about Linux, and Open Source in general, is that the facts (the source code) are there if I want to see them. One of my main dislikes of the Bush administration is it’s failure to provide detailed facts.

    For example, there were plenty of vague generalizations about Iraq attacking the United States but where were the specific scenarios with detailed calculations to show that such scenarios were actually feasible? Now, there are all kinds of assertions from the Bush administration that democracy is possible in Iraq but what specifically do they mean by “democracy” and where is the detailed plan for achieving this democracy that makes it clear that achieving it is feasible?

    One reason the Bush administration may dislike facts is that they don’t support a black and white view of the world. While Iraq was a danger to the United States, so is pretty much every other country in the world. While Saddam Hussien used some brutal tactics to supress opposition in Iraq, the United States’ suppression of oppostion in Iraq (shooting protesters, holding people without trial, etc. ) hasn’t exactly been without brutality, either.

  • http://evso.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    Gov. Dean –

    Thank you for your current anti-war stance. You are the only candidate (besides Kucinich) who has been vocal from the start about your opposition to our “involvement” in Iraq. I think it is courageous to take charge of a blog yourself and look forward to reading more from you.

    I hope you come back to Austin soon –

  • Joe Trippi

    Sorry I did not understand how the email/url thing worked — so to be safe — my email is joe@deanforamerica.com

  • Kallah

    I should certainly hope that a presidential candidate would educate himself on issues that are important to people who he wishes to vote for him.

    That said, unfortunately Dean right now sounds like every other suit-wearing muppet that’s running for office. Lots of vague generalities, no specifics.

  • http://www.needlenose.com Green Boy

    Governor Dean,

    Please put forward and post a clear and concise position statement on matters of electronic privacy on your website.

  • http://ari.typepad.com Steve Rhodes

    I heard the interview you did earlier with Tavis Smiley which reminded me to check out this site.

    I have some questions and comments which I’ll post later, but I wanted to refer you to this interview on the British site opendemocracy.net with Ron Manley who was in charge of chemical weapons destruction in Iraq from 91-94.

  • http://opendemocracy.net/debates/article-2-95-1351.jsp Steve Rhodes

    Hmm, the link didn’t work. Maybe raw html will


    If it doesn’t, just click on my name, I put the URL in that box.

  • http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/segment.jhtml?wfId=1337441.net/debates/article-2-95-1351.jsp Steve Rhodes

    And the Tavis Smiley interview (again, my name will take people to it)


  • Johnathan

    100+ non-threaded comments is a bit much to sift through, especially without any sort of slashdot style moderation system. My advice for the Dean campaign is move to a slashdot.org based system you can find the source code here. If you don’t migrate to a more advanced system I can promise that your forums will become unreadable well before the primaries (heck, the posts on Lessig’s blog right now make it an ordeal to sort out the chaff).

    (BTW, if you need a Perl programmer to help set this up, I’m available ;-)

  • Jack Kessler

    Joe Trippi said,

    > Jack � the Governor is well known for his typos � he seldom gets through a post or comment without making one.

    Joe — same with Jack Kennedy — also known for his speling — good / great President nevertheless, and one who also knew how to stand up to The Powers That Be…

    > Seth and others who make many valid critisims here � all I can say is that Howard Dean is new to blogging � and what we are doing here is the first time we (including me who has been an avid blog reader for the better part of a few years) have done something like this. We ain�t gonna get it right � I don�t even know if its possible for a candidate, even one attempting to get it right � to get it right.

    Don’t get it “right” — none of the rest of us do, either, no matter what some of us pretend — it’s enough that your heart is right and that you are trying your best, which puts you head and shoulders above the competition.

    Slick campaigning has seen its day, Joe — the “sincerity” message which you guys are putting across is so much more important now, I believe. That was the thrust of my own posting, anyway: no criticism at all — high praise, in fact.

    > I don�t want to open this thread up to suggestions about it � But I have included a real email to me � and I would really appreciate those who can take the time to drop me an email with suggestions or contructive critisim on how we can do better. This may be our first real leap into the blogosphere beyond our own blog � but I assure you it will not be our last.

    OK, but also publicly here: the mere fact that your campaign is trying these new things makes you stand out. I just got back from lunch at a local cafe and it seemed that everybody there was reading about Dean, today, in something: several copies of today’s USA Today were in people’s hands, running the headline “Online, off and running: Web gains clout on campaign front ‘People-powered’ Howard Dean has been ruling cyberspace” — so the Internet message is out there, and is really effective — it says “innovation”, which is exactly what the politics of the country needs right now.

  • http://tom.idealog.info Tom

    I’ve posted a response to Gov. Dean on my blog:


    The short version is that linking to a petition is no way to prove your point.

  • Dana Powers


    Perhaps you should have looked to the link ‘Read Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.’s statement’ at the bottom of the petition. Not only does it give you more information, but it also links to several papers and charts detailing more of the ‘evidence’ you are looking for.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    I have to concur with Tom that Dean has moved from pandering to pablum with a virtually content-free post today.

    He could have made some sort of a coherent argument against the liberation of Iraq (that Congress supported)
    instead of linking to a dorky on-line petition, and he could have offered some sort of a coherent plan for limiting special-interest influence in Washington, but he did neither and instead feeds us platitudes about “working together to take back our democracy”, yada, yada, yada.

    The reason we have 33 lobbyists for every member of Congress (if we do) is that virtually all of America’s significant policy decisions are made in Washington and it’s too far for most of us to drive to go lobby our issues personally. State government is a lot more accessible and transparent, but they don’t do a whole lot that’s not directed by Congress in some way other than budgeting. So one way to reduce the power of special interests and their lobbyists (and don’t forget that the Sierra Club and Common Cause have lobbyists, not just Murdoch and the NRA) is to devolve power to the states, in accordance with our traditional principles of federalism.

    We’ve seen a number of governors talk up devolution and federalism while campaigning for the presidency, but as soon as they’re sworn in the Beltway Bubble assimilates them and they toss these ideals aside.

    What would Dean do to reduce Washington’s power over the states?

    His positions on gun control is interesting, BTW, but it’s not for me to bring them up in front of this crowd.

  • http://www.annon.non annon

    Howard Dean, new face same old liberal shit.
    Thanks for diluting the cause of the common man with partisan politics Mr. Lessig. I now abstain from viewing your blog and aim to be vocal about your scam.

  • Mike S.

    Thank you Dr. Dean. I was very against the war from the beginning. Every day I see I was in the right camp. I think you are pulling a lot of Honest Republicans into the camp as well.

    To the people who normally populate this blog, thank you as well. I know very little about the things talked about here and when I have more time, with less distractions, I will revisit this space and learn more. It seems to me there are some important issues that I should know more about.

  • http://dean4az.blogspot.com Michael Bryan

    A Few Methodological Suggestions: In order to increase the quality of material in the responses, I strongly recommend simply ignoring obvious trolls by GOP operatives, or anonymous cowards, such as ME and The Law Student, instead of wasting time bashing off-topic spew. Second, instead of simply asking a question you hope the candidate will answer, give your prefered answer and the reasons for it as well. Dean will likely not have time to answer all, or even many questions, but a well argued proposition might be useful for him.

  • Katherine

    Being from New York and Massachusetts, the idea that state government is more responsive or transparent is truly comical to me. Maybe other states are different–Albany is like nowhere else, and Massachusetts has a serious one party rule in the legislature problem. But there is nothing automatic about state governments being more competent or more in touch with the voters.

  • Nick

    “The reason we have 33 lobbyists for every member of Congress (if we do) is that virtually all of America�s significant policy decisions are made in Washington and it�s too far for most of us to drive to go lobby our issues personally.”

    Ah, if only it were that simple. If only this conservative utopian fantasy even began to solve the problem of having the will of all the people heard. Who pays for the lobbyists? Those who have the money to do so. So who gets their side heard? Those with money. Those lobbyists are not up there representing me or people like me. They are not up there representing all of the people back home. They are up there representing only those with money, power, and influence. Thus the plethora of laws being passed that are citizen-hostile, money-friendly.

    If the politicians in Washington cannot take the time to find out what their own constituents want and need, there is something wrong with the entire structure and it needs to be changed. The solution is NOT to get surrogates to vet the pols on the angle of the issues that those who can afford those surrogates want pushed. That doesn’t get the will of all of the people heard, and thus is not a solution.

  • Evan

    Governor Dean (and staff),

    I really like what you said about basing decisions on facts, but it occurred to me that there’s another side to it. Facts by themselves do not guide action. There also have to be values that tell us what we want to do about the facts.

    To expand on your medical analogy, a doctor gathers facts about a patient via examination and medical history, and facts about the human body from schooling, experience, and ongoing research, and puts the facts together to come up with a course of action with the goal of healing the patient. But if the doctor didn’t value healing the patient–if, for some reason, he or she wanted to hurt the patient instead–then the exact same facts would lead to the exact opposite course of action, no?

    So, on the subject of IP… I could rattle off facts all day about copyright law, but unless you share the same values, you might not see that those facts were problems at all; you might even feel that they were good things. So I’d like to skip over the facts for a moment, and instead try to convey values.

    Ever since Aesop and the guy from Gallilee, the best way to convey values has been with fiction. A science fiction writer named Spider Robinson wrote an award-winning short story called “Melancholy Elephants,” on the subject of copyright law and the true human value of the public domain, and it’s available for free on the web, here.

    The story may be short on facts, but I can’t think of any better explanation anywhere of the reasons so many of us care about copyright as an ethical issue. Please have a look at it. And good luck with your campaign.

  • The Law Student

    Michael Bryan,
    you are living in a dream world if you belive that I am a “GOP operative, or anonymous coward, “. I have left my University e-mail and you can freely send me a message and I will be glad to respond with my biography and any other information about my cowardice. As to being a GOP operative; I can use the money. Please tell me where I can pick up my check from the Republicans. Seriously.

  • jbou

    I’m a Dean supporter, and I’ll have to admit I cringed when I saw his latest blog entry here. I don’t think the Dr, and is campaign manager realized what they were getting into over here on this blog, these folks are about substance, not silly campaign rhetoric. My hope is that gov Dean corrects this in the next 3 days, and actually addresses his audience. If Dean had addressed the issue of copyright law and had woven it in with the talk about lobbyists, and facts I think it would have given the folks here a little more to chew on. I’m sure you folks can point out who the folks are that lobby against copyright laws being fixed, and who Dr Dean should look out for.

  • Stephen

    Mr Dean,

    Just a thought on your comments about basing opinions on fact. In Ontario where I live, the current administration rode in on a platform called “The Common Sense Revolution” it worked great, and it’s un-challengable. Ok, the part in question was a little right to center, but the message is the same. Use this wisely.

  • Factotum


    I think that was the crux of what I had been saying all along. ALthough I have been a pretty ardent supporter of Dean – I have more reason to be today; I just got laid off this afternoon.

    One thing about having laid off geeks around is that they are free to do campaign work! Sure, I’ll get unemployment for 6 months – but I have four friends who were in similar straits, without the benefit of the extension – and now without any income whatsoever. What do we tell them? Nobody is hiring.

  • The Law Student

    where do you live, what can you contribute to a company? If you are in the NYC area give me a shout maybe I can help your search.

  • http://chattablogs.com/quintus JosiahQ

    isn’t it an ideology that facts are a better basis for decisions than an ideology?

  • http://www.myrmecos.net Alex in CA

    Watching a presidential candidate engage in this sort of blogging is *fascinating*.

    Reading various people’s responses to Dean is even better.

    It isn’t clear how to evaluate the appropriateness of Dean’s blog. No presidential candidate has ever, to my knowledge, ever blogged in this sort of critical discussion forum, outside of the safety of his own web server. There is no metric for comparison, no established code of conduct.

    Of course Dean’s statements are calculated with the interests of the campaign in mind. That’s simply what candidates for highly visible public office do. In any media. Doesn’t matter if it is face-to-face personal interaction, or television ads, or internet chat rooms. Not doing so has an obvious track record of failure, so why blame Dean for doing what every other successful candidate for any office has done anywhere else? I think that the readers are better off reading Dean’s comments in that light, knowing full well that Dean has constraints that the rest of the blogosphere does not.

    Lessig, I assume, thought that this would be an interesting experiment, one that might raise the profile of his site, or perhaps help bring IP issues higher into the public consciousness. And I have to admit: Lessig succeeds admirably here. Regardless of what you think of Dean and his politics, this was a very, very good idea.

  • http://dean4az.blogspot.com Michael Bryan

    Dr. Dean,

    As a physician it must give you a certain ethical pause to consider that corporations are not only patenting processes and treatments using human genetic material or information, but that current law enables patenting human and non-human genetic sequences themselves, in some cases, those which have not even been fully characterized and for which the complete proteomic function isn’t even known. Indeed, patents have been issued for natural genetic expression in the human body and on genetically modified organisms which are defined so broadly as to include the original naturally occuring or agricultural strains of the original organism.

    The reach of patents in genetics may have gone too far, with far too little rationale under a societal benefit theory of patents. Perhaps it is time to refocus patent law in genomic/proteomics on its benefits to society and bound the domain of patents on genetic material with ethics and a recognition of genetic material as common inheretance of mankind which may not be expropriated for exclusive private use.

    The current genetic patent regime has other potential and demonstrable problems. Too liberal a patenting process on genetic information can have seriously deletrious effects on innovation. The tragedy of the anti-commons emerges when a resource becomes underused because mutiple owners each have a right to exclude others and, due to high transaction costs and the conflicting interests of holders, no one can obtain an effective privilege: this is a reality of the current patent system wherein multiple labs might hold patent rights on concurrent anonymous gene fragments (based on a 1991 NIH ruling) on expressed sequence tags (ESTs) in portions of a biologically active, and thus medically or commerically useful, sequence. The result is tremendous transaction costs (legal advice, license fees, the deterence of investors by Reach Though License Agreements) to the research lab wishing to secure the rights to the sequence. An obvious way around such high transactions costs would be to pool all these assets into a patent pool (though this poses anti-trust issues). Even so, problems emerge with holdouts by owners of especially valuable or pivotal properties as well as conflicting institutional interests of patent holders.

    These patent problems are complex and have enormous fiscal consequence and, perhaps more importantly, enormous effects upon the pace and viablity of reseach efforts which have the potentinal to improve human health enormously.

    My recomendation is that a Dean Administration revisit the patent regime for genetic information from the ground up, designing not for private enrichment, but for swift and easy access to genetic rights for research into new medical and commercial products. The current regime in many ways resembles the cyber-aquating phenomenon of the 90s, wherein an “enterprenuer” would register domain names such as McDonalds.com or Stupid.com and then extort his rent from the true trademark holder or from the person who would actually make Stupid.com a valuable property. It was shortsighted and ultimately an obstacle to the development of a resource that makes us all richer and more efficient. The benefit to society for allowing our common human and biological inheritance to be subject to property laws is the increased general weath and health that results from copious and unrestricted research, not the wealth diverted to those who hold patents to things they did not invent, often did not discover, do not fully understand, and are not using to make the world a better place.

    As President, I hope that you will consider revamping the patent law on genetics. It has grown in an ad hoc fashion, responding to often poorly understood scientific changes and the demands of industry, unguided by a wise and scientifically appropriate underlying plan. It is an area of IP law badly in need of attention if the cost of healthcare is to be reduced and the quality of human life through healthcare is to be significantly improved.

  • http://www.myrmecos.net Alex in CA

    Speaking as a biologist, I agree wholeheartedly with Michael Bryan’s comments about patenting naturally occuring DNA sequences. Allowing patents on natural genetic resources is absurd and irresponsible. It is the logical equivalent of patenting oxygen, or water.

  • Me

    Michael Bryan,

    If you are going to call me a troll, or a GOP operative, then you, “sir”, are a complete and utter fool. If I am an “Anonymous Coward”, then fine; my voice is no less for its anonymity. On the contrary, it is you who prove your own worthlessness in attacking my person instead of my message. One cannot try to kill the messenger in hopes of killing the bad news.

    As far as copyright goes; the balance has tipped too far, especially for software. Think about it logically; when the term of copyright for a program exceeds by a factor of 10 the useful lifetime of the software, or the software’s intended platform, we have a problem.

    As far as patents; the Patent office needs a revolution.

    “Slamming” the patent office with every nitpicky change and next step is common business practice for large corporations. Why? Because they will get away with it, the patent will be granted, and their lawyers are paid enough to grease any palms needed to make it hold up in court.

    With “slamming”, the patent office is overworked. So they then skimp on their due diligence, don’t look up prior art, don’t do proper searches or bother to understand what is being patented to see if it is a disallowed category (e.g. “logical next step” or “only way to do it.”)

    The solution? Twofold. First of all, recognize that software patenting is ludicrous. Computers are mathematical calculating machines, and all programs are nothing more than mathematical algorithms. This is especially true of data sorting and database setups. Mathematicians are not allowed to patent formulae or algorithms, so why should computer programmers be able to do so?

    Likewise, there is a big problem with patenting genetics.

    Patenting should be for when something truly new and brilliant is developed, not applied for every time someone tweaks a screw, bolt, or microbe an eighth of a turn.

    The best solution would be to make patent slamming illegal. It’s frighteningly obvious when patent slamming is occurring, and when a patent is frivolous. Just like lawsuits, make such filings a criminal offense, and recoup the lost money from the companies that waste our time, money, and distort the system.

  • http://ethanol.blogspot.com Evan

    Sigh, I’ve just realized that the link I provided earlier to Spider Robinson’s “Melancholy Elephants” apparently didn’t work. My apologies. Here’s the URL: http://tinyurl.com/69dy

    Very very highly recommended.

  • Me

    The thought occurs;
    with the number of software patents handed out yearly, I have this sneaking suspicion that someone has actually patented the software equivalent of “1+1=2″ and doesn’t realize it yet.

  • http://sarahhoffman.net/index.html An Oregonian

    I am new to this blog. I just came here because I read that Dr. Dean would be the guest-blogger. I must say that I am so disappointed with the overall quality of the (right now) 125 preceding comments — besides that, how I wish some of you would learn to spell!

    One of the things I like about Dr. Dean is his willingness to listen to opposing points of view and arguments of fact. The sad truth is that very few of the comments have contained much in the way of fact.

    When someone is running for president, we really should pay more attention to the philosophy of the person overall than to stands on individual, and sometimes quite narrow, issues. Dr. Dean gave the anecdote about needle exchange programs to illustrate that he’s willing to listen and judiciously consider opposing points. This is much more important to me than whether he agrees with my opinion on a particular issue.

    The other point I want to make is that very little about life is either perfect or permanent. Over the course of a lifetime, we must learn more every day. Inevitably the new things we learn will cause us to develop new opinions or even to change our old opinions. This is healthy. This is sensible.

    I started out my adult life entirely opposed to the death penalty for any reason. I saw it as unjust and inequitably applied, as well as putting the government and the executioner hired by the government into the business of killing. I still oppose most uses of the death penalty. However, after the Ted Bundy case in the Pacific NW and after a really horrible serial murder case in California, I began to rethink the death penalty. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that the State has two responsibilities — one is to track and capture the perpertrators of these particularly horrible crimes, and the other is to protect the public in the future. Until and unless we can guarantee that the Ted Bundies of this world will never escape (TB escaped from prison to kill again numerous times), we have to be prepared to use the death penalty as a preventive measure.

    When Dr. Dean tried to discuss this on MTP, Mr. Russert jumped on him and subsequent commentators accused him of waffling on the issue. Because the evolution of my own point of view paralleled Dr. Dean’s, I saw him attempting to grapple with a complex social issue and not being permitted to by the preconceptions of Mr. Russert.

    Our present system of political discourse, designed as it is to give 30-second soundbites and easily digestible quotes, is almost anathema to the serious discussion of complex issues like the death penalty.

    The copyright issue is similarly complex. As an author and a scientist, I approach the copyright problem from the creator’s point of view. I see large media conglomerates demanding that authors sell the full rights to their work in perpetuity with only a pittance for compensation. Intellectual property, the creativity of people such as myself, is daily being stolen by large media empires. For example, newspapers now routinely demand that an author of an op-ed piece or a special article sign over ALL rights for sums of (usually) less than $100. A few newspapers, such as the New York Times, pay about $1000, but that is for a particularly prominent individual and not for the ordinary folks such as myself. The newspapers then go on to license pieces infinitely and the authors never see another cent, even as the license fees generated by most pieces become cash cows for the media conglomerates.

    What is going on in our society is a fundamental erosion of fairness and fair dealing, justified by the stated need for corporate profits. Anything is justified if a corporation’s profits are increased, even outright fraud.

    It is less important to me for a candidate to think “my way” on one particular issue. What is important to me is whether any candidate for president has the guts and the moral force to work for fundamental justice in each and every problem area. I want someone who will ask himself in any situation, “What is more just? What is more fair to the most people?”

    Those are my 2 cents.

  • http://dean4az.blogspot.com Michael Bryan

    The Law Student,

    If you are not a GOP operative (who are not always paid, mind you, sometimes they just do what they do for the sheer joy of it), I apologize. The lack of any thought independent from from Faux News, arguments straight out of an A.E.I. talking points memo, and the agressive and disrepectful tone toward anyone who disagrees with you, all indicated that status. I therefore simply assumed you were a GOP hack, because only a GOP hack would quote Jefferson incorrectly to suit his argument and think to get away with it in a community of thinking persons.

    “This beacon of liberty needs to be �constantly watered with the blood of tyrants.� In other words the constant expansion of freedom.”

    The true quote being, “There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and and a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

    Not content to misquote a Founder, you then completely misconstrue his meaning (like so many of your ilk in the courts) to warrant an expansionist, imperialist foreign policy. Jefferson’s quote is from a letter regarding the Shay’s Rebellion. Jefferson means that the people may have to use violence to keep our rulers here at home in check and responsive to the people’s needs. Not, as you suggest, that we are somehow exhorted by Jefferson to go kill some foreign despots. We have despots aplenty here at home to keep us busy, thanks.

    So, have I disregarded my own suggestion to ignore trolls and party hacks? Perhaps. Or perhaps the list needs to include treacherous ideologues who don’t mind twisting the facts to make their case, as well. Sound like anyone we know?

  • http://dean4az.blogspot.com Michael Bryan

    I find “me”self in agreement with you on slamming, me.

  • Moo

    From his posts I can only assume Law Student is an Objectivist, which means he probably believes in radical laissez-faire capitalism and that government’s most proper role is simply to enforce contracts between consenting parties. All great things in society come from an elite few who power the “motor of the world,” and as such the future of society should be put in their hands. Privatization, privatization, privatization. He is certainly no GOP hack, and as for any specific political party, Objectivists usually identify most with Libertarians (in the American sense of the word).

    Pardon me if I identified you too closely with Rand’s politics or philosophy, Law Student, and feel free to correct me if I’ve misrepresented them.

  • http://www.kbloradio.com/gpp.html Giasen

    Correct. Natalie Maines is a fat sow.

    What will you all spin to when the evidence surfaces and the administration is vindicated? Oh yeah! It was clearly planted there under pressure from the public eye. Looks like you have your game plan sewn. So why should the adults even care what you think? Nothing will change your minds. Not even the ‘proof’ when it arrives.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Nick says: Who pays for the lobbyists? Those who have the money to do so. So who gets their side heard? Those with money. Those lobbyists are not up there representing me or people like me.

    Lobbyists represent a vast array of causes, and you’d find if you looked into it that you’re being represented by a variety of organizations claiming to speak in your name no matter who you are, from business tycoon to welfare mother, from devout Christian to techno-pagan. I know because I used to be a lobbyist in Sacramento.

    The influence of money in politics has been vastly overstated. This is a rich country, and if more than one percent of the voters gave money to politicians or to lobbying groups, the influence of money would go away completely because there’s only so much money a pol can spend without annoying the voters. Dean is raising money faster than the rest of the nine dwarves because he’s found an efficient way to collect small – under $100 – donations. This is a very good trend, because it means every other politician can raise money this way, and grass-roots fundraising reduces the power of the unions and the business cartels over the long run. Republicans have traditionally collected most of their money from small donors, and campaign finance reform has forced the Democrats to look beyond the unions and the trial lawyers to the average citizen. Again, good for democracy.

    So Dean is actually using a tactic that has the potential to dull special interest influence whether he knows it or not. Let’s hope he and the rest in his business figure this out before making too many promises to too many special interests that are going to cost the taxpayers money when they’re kept.

  • Eddie

    I’ll take the bait.

    If the administration is vindicated, it will be because the British suddenly decide that a known forged document involving the sale of yellowcake uranium from Niger to Iraq was, in fact, not forged.

    If the administration is vindicated, it will be because the tens of thousands of tons of chemical weapons that they gave such specific quantities for will be found in Saddam’s now bombed out and thoroughly scoured palaces, or in some remote ammo dump that we’re now only lightly guarding.

    If the administration is vindicated, it will be because the people of Europe, of France and Germany, Italy, Spain, and Russia suddenly decide that they were all wrong, and will hit the streets in jubilant celecbration of the United States and of pre-emptive war in general.

    If the administration is vindicated, it will be because we found Saddam’s Double Secret Base, replete with nuclear reactor and Iraqi ICBMs.

    Let’s face it. He lied in the State of the Union to coerce the American people into war. And unless some of these aforementioned things happen, it won’t be justified anytime soon.

  • http://www.cspan.org/Search/basic.asp?ResultStart=1&ResultCount=10&BasicQueryText=fcc mc

    The president of cumulous radio testified before Senator McCain’s committee that the decision to ban the Dixie Chicks was a corporate directive. Click the link to watch the video of his testimony.

  • Eddie

    Side note: I’m totally with Bennett on this one.

  • Ford

    That’s unfair, Giasen. Other than my doubts about the existence of such proof — proof which you clearly consider a case of “when” not “if” — it is simply not true to say that some people won’t change their minds if and when it does arrive. I think it is clear that the administration acted without sufficient information in most people’s minds. That, of course, does not preclude the existence of sufficient information.

    If you’re going to bark about intellectual honesty it would be best to practice it yourself.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    I assume you mean on the money thing, Eddie, because you aren’t with me on the liberation of Iraq. I would submit to you that the judgment of the Iraqi people is several times more important on this question than that of the cafe-squatters in France, Germany, and Russia. It’s not like the people who demonstrated against the liberation in those countries (and have refused to rally in support of a internal revolution in Iran) have an actual stake in the outcome. Their relatives weren’t the ones murdered and tortured by Saddam, and their relatives weren’t the ones in the World Trade Center during Saddam’s 1993 attack on it or in Al Qaeda’s 2001 attack. This issue is personal for me because my daughter was on a plane bound for San Francisco from New York on Sept. 11, and while she made a lucky choice and didn’t happen to be on one of the hijacked planes, the whole incident struck too close to home for us to ignore the impact of terrorist groups and their state sponsors on America.

    Congress agreed that the facts were there to support regime change in Iraq, not based on fudged documents given to British intelligence by the French, but based on public information as far back as 1998 when they voted regime change in Iraq as America’s official policy. Saddam didn’t suddenly become Mr. Rogers in the years after 1998 when he was given laissez faire by a Washington establishment too obsessed with presidential fibbing, he got better at hiding his weapons and at moving his weapons program a step back from stockpiling to rapid production.

    Saddam used WMDs against the Kurds, the Shia, and the Iranians, so it doesn’t take a Ph. D. in WMD to know what he had and what he was willing to do, but it did take a man with President Bush’s moral clarity and cool resolve to bring him down, finally, a decade after it should have been done.

    That’s what the facts tell me.

  • Henrik Treadup

    Govenor Dean,

    For a short while this blog will act as a conduit between the EFF/Open Source/Free Software/Slashdot/Gutenberg crowd and you. We all have opinions about the war (I happen to agree with you) but we haven’t come to this blog to hear about your position on the war. We have come here to hear your opinion on copyright extensions and the Eldred Act, software and bio patents, the DMCA, etc.

    US citizen / Swedish resident

  • don

    State of the Union address 2003

    “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”

    Bush’s doctrine does not appear to require “imminent threat”

  • http://www.myrmecos.net Alex in CA

    I agree with Bennett that the best judges of American policy in Iraq are the Iraqis themselves, but I think that the *facts* of this case (since we are stuck on facts today) show that while most Iraqis are happy he is gone, they are rather unhappy about the way that we did it, and are growing unhappier all the time at our presence in their country.

    I think Bennett and other war advocates would do well to realize that much of the war opposition isn’t to the war itself, or to some of the justification for regime change, but to the methods used by the Bush administration to bring about the change. Instead of addressing our concerns about what intelligence lapses mean for our national security, about what unilateralism means for our ability to maintain the peace and successfully reconstruct Iraq, the hawks like Bennett treat us to a knee-jerk response about how great President Bush is.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    “Hawk”? “Pro-war”? Me? I protested against the Vietnam War, dude, inhaling my fair share of tear gas in the process, so I’m no knee-jerk hawk. I would have much preferred to bring about regime change in Iraq through meditation, levitation, spells, spirit dances, yoga, embargoes, and incantation, but we tried that route and it just didn’t work.

    The Kurds also had an official policy of regime change for several years, and they’re not at all unhappy about how it came about, and neither are the vast majority of the Shia, so let’s not get too coy here, OK? The Iraqi people knew darn well that Saddam wasn’t going to ride off into the sunset leaving them with peace and freedom and democracy without a fight, any more that King George was going to free his American colonies without some earnest urging on the part of the founders, their good friends from France, and their trusty muskets.

    Freedom, like all good things, comes with a high price.

  • Marc in CA

    For those of you who don’t know Dean’s background…he is not a computer guy. He doesn’t spend hours in front of the screen coding. He never has and never will. Dean’s campaign manager and the campaign staffers are the ones who are so tech savvy (I’d estimate that 90% or more of his campaign staffers are in their early 20′s).

    You won’t get much in response if you ask him for explicit details on his opinions regarding public domain issues…probably because he hasn’t developed a clear opinion yet.

    Dean has not sought out the tech community, we have instead sought out and adopted him. Take this incredible opportunity to communicate with someone who very well could end up our next President and help educate him on your viewpoints, feelings, and the facts regarding the issues you hold so dear. He will listen and your comments will have a direct effect on his eventual clearly defined policy.

    Dean won’t forget who got him into office or just how effective the public domain was at helping him propagate his message.

    The thoughts of the people he interacts with have already changed the direction of his campaign, and they will continue to do so. As well they should. Politicians who don’t listen are incapable of doing their job properly in our country. Their job is to be representative of their constituants. Dean has shown himself to be more capable of that than any other candidate out there…Democrat or Republican.

  • Westley Sherman

    This issue is personal for me because my daughter was on a plane bound for San Francisco from New York on Sept. 11, and while she made a lucky choice and didn�t happen to be on one of the hijacked planes,

    The fact is that she wasn’t killed and therefore this fact supports the contention that terrorism is not something U.S. citizens need to be concerned about. I mean, sure, some people who were in New York that day got killed by bad nasty Arabs but some people who were in New York that day also got killed by good nice white people in routine homicides. U.S. citizens kill each other at a rate of roughly one 9/11 every month so if you really don’t want your daughter to be murdered then look to domestic homicide which, incidentally, has increased under the Bush administration.

  • Kong Bao Ji


    Could you please give me a reference for the alleged satellite photos given to Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war? I have heard of this claim before but am having difficulty finding sources. Thank you in advance.


  • Alan Rettig

    I`m enjoying reading the range of thoughts expressed here and it seems college students are just as intelligent, ill-informed, educated, opinionated, rude and sensitive and idealistic as ever.
    Howard Dean`s presence here is something which not only he,as one poster put it, but everybody may remember for a long time.
    I just wanted to post a link to a recent Greg Pallas blog article on intellectual property and Africa:


    It is my firm belief that Howard Dean is the next President of the United States. Best wishes to you all.

  • Erich


    It is my belief that there should be at least 100 lobbyists for every member of Congress, or more. Every citizen of this country has an interest, and all of their interests should be represented.

    It is a shame that right now only a few groups, mostly business associations, can afford to lobby Congress. Would it not be better if a group did not require so much money to influence Congress. What if the bar was not so high.

    Campaign finance laws should be crafted to limit the influence of lobbyists money, but not the lobbyists. America needs as many ways as possible to influence its decision makers.

  • http://www.charm.net/~pete/pete.cgi Pete

    I’ve been following IP and related tech issues for a lot longer than I’ve been following Dean, so when the candidate that I happened to be enthusiastically backing decided to post at this blog I was pretty psyched. To this point, I have to say that I’m extremely disappointed with the Governor’s showing. I was expecting some policy discussion… at the very least discussion of actual policy regarding the recent FCC decision or the classification on internet access providers. As has been noted with disdain on some of the Dean blogs, the audience here will happily descend into very detailed, technical discussion and… I have to say this… that’s not a bad thing. One of the big problems with Bush & Co. is that they’re jack and shit on policy. You can’t expect people who care passionately about tech policy to go gaga over some politician who comes in and gives a boilerplate, potentially off topic post. If I wandered onto this board and started babbling about my jazz CDs I’d be flamed to hell and back. Why? Offtopic.

    The net isn’t a VFW Hall where one speech will do in every forum, it’s all about niche markets and niche audiences. The niche on this blog cares passionately about IP and tech issues. We see them as central to the future of this country, both economically and politically. These are civil rights issues, freedom of the press and association issues, issues that have a direct if little understood impact on the daily life of each and every one of us. The Governor came to a forum where these issues are discussed in detail, so he needs to get on topic and he needs to address specifics. If he wants to listen, great. Geeks love people who want to learn. Ask specific questions and engage people, otherwise he’s going to lose votes and… spade a spade time, here… look clueless.

    I’ll lose a lot of respect for him and won’t be as enthused about his candidacy if he doesn’t. I want Bush out as much as anyone, but one of the reasons I’ve gravitated to Dean is his use of the net. I assumed that this stemmed from a basic understanding of the net as an open medium even if he doesn’t get it on a technical level. I want my President to have a basic understanding how it works, the issues surrounding it, and how it can be used to engage people in the broader political process. Some of my compatriots in the Dean camp may think that’s stupid, but in a lot of cases single issues (like the war) are all that keep people with one candidate over another. The Governor has a unique opportunity to engage a large, motivated, influential, technically-skilled group of potential volunteers, voters, and donors who will enthusiastically support him if he at least makes a good-faith attempt to speak their language.

    Talk to us, Governor. We’ll go to the line for you if you do.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Adrian, I was talking about George W. Bush, the fellow who took office in Jan., 2001, and not about his father, for whom I didn’t vote.

    Westley Sherman, you have a condition known as sociopathy which limits your ability to empathize and to form moral judgments. I feel your pain, and I urge you to seek treatment. Life is too short for you to go on living with this monkey on your back. Best wishes to you.

  • Anonymous

    I have nothing to say. Gov. Dean, please get some rest. It’s a long campaign trail and we need you.

  • Westley Sherman

    …limits your ability to empathize and to form moral judgments

    Well, I do have difficulty empathizing with paranoid people whose “moral judgements” consist of thinking it’s a good idea to beat on people simply because they’re Arabs (in case you hadn’t noticed, the only connection Iraq had to 9/11 was racial).

  • adrian

    Kong Bao Ji:

    Frontline documentary is my source: try http://www.pbs.org. The frontline section has many source documents posted – there may be a reference there.

  • adrian


    I know you are talking about Bush II, not Bush I, but that is irrelevant. The ‘liberation’ argument is one of convenience – the ends justify the means. You didn’t hear it before the first or second gulf war, only after. It is the replacement for the imminent threat argument, which is now ridiculous. Removing him was not an act of ‘moral clarity’ but one of misguided geopolitical strategy and conservative arrogance. If US administrations had any ‘moral clarity’ they wouldn’t have built Hussein into the monster he was; Rumsfeld wouldn’t have shaken hands with him after lobbying for a pipeline contract on behalf of US companies in 1984; Reagan and Bush wouldn’t have used them as our closest gulf ally during the cold war; we wouldn’t have sold weapons to them. That is my point.

  • http://www.wackyfun.net Evan Fleischer

    What do you think, Governor, Doctor, Deanie-Boy–whatever titled you wouldn’t mind–, is the basic psychological principle that prompts human conflict? What if I were to replace the word ‘psychological’ with ‘moral?’ And so the question goes on.

    I agree with your commentary regarding Bush laying out the fact for a war against Iraq. The commentary and speeches I’m familiar with seem to hinge on emotional appeal as means of justification for an argument. Perhaps some philosophers would jokingly suggest that Iraq willed itself to be attacked.

    Also, what are you reading? What do you think of it?

  • Kate

    You guys should realize that many people are reading this blog who didn’t even know about it or these issues just a week ago. You are giving us an education just as much as you are Dr. Dean. I think it’s great!

  • Kong Bao Ji

    Thanks Adrian. I took a look at PBS and found a couple articles that mentioned the satellite pictures but they did not give the original source. Can anyone help with the original source on this?

  • http://www.charm.net/~pete/pete.cgi Pete

    A lot of other Dean supporters are writing about how they’re unfamiliar with the issues usually discussed here. What kinds of questions do you have? Have you dug through archives, read any of the professors writings or interviews, etc? What are your thoughts?

  • http://smokeyjoe.pointclark.net Smokey.Joe

    OMFG, you’ve read my mind… When did this government become a system for the corporations, by the corporations? I don’t agree that we should take up arms against the government, but by electing someone who’s willing to return the power to the people is the best chance we have at making this country the way IT SHOULD BE. Dr. Dean, you have my vote come election time….

  • Eddie

    Well, Richard, I was agreeing with you on the lobbyists post. As far as the war in Iraq goes, I think Bush 41 should have finished what he started, and, barring that, his son had a perfect opportunity to do it legitimately. He could have argued that Saddam is no less ruthless now that he’s chained down, and that we’re going to take the opportunity and go take him out, thereby giving the Iraqi people an opportunity to create their own government. The Iraqi people wanted to be liberated–as do the Liberian people. What we needed to do was issue a formal declaration of war, not some namby pamby, back alley, carte blanche nonsense.

    Bush 43 decided that it would be acceptable to pursue war in an underhanded manner rather than directly. Had he done so, I would not have protested the war in Iraq. Rather, he chose the route of Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, and Johnson–the route of smoke and mirrors. He buckled to his subordinates, people beholden to Big Oil. He could have stood tall and said that enough was enough, that both his father and Clinton lacked the courage to finish the job, and that a stalemate wasn’t good enough for a country with a history of exterminating genocidal dictators.

    But dammit, he didn’t do it.

  • Kong Bao Ji


    >If US administrations had any �moral clarity� they wouldn�t have built Hussein into the monster he was;

    If the US had any moral clarity we would have helped given aid to the Iranians when the mullas took over during the Islamic revolution. Unfortunately at the time we had a “nice” but astonishingly ineffective president.

    >Rumsfeld wouldn�t have shaken hands with him after lobbying for a pipeline contract on behalf of US companies in 1984;

    Do you know who else has shook hands with Saddam?

    >Reagan and Bush wouldn�t have used them as our closest gulf ally during the cold war;

    Nope. Iraq had been a client state of the USSR for years before the Iran-Iraq war. There is NO WAY that Iraq was the closest gulf COLD WAR ally of the U.S. The Soviet Union was the largest arms supplier to Iraq (followed by France and China) before and during the Iran-Iraq war.

    >we wouldn�t have sold weapons to them. That is my point.

    Whatever weapons the U.S. sold to Iraq, they are dwarfed by what was sold by USSR and France. Look at the weapons systems used by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war: MIGS, T-55, T-62, Mirage F-1′s, Exocets, and so on. Soviet and French. It was the Iranians that were using the American weapons.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    I know you are talking about Bush II, not Bush I, but that is irrelevant.

    OK, so I’ll whack Josef Stalin a few times and pretend you’re a great supporter of his, OK? That makes about as much sense as what you’re doing.

    The �liberation� argument is one of convenience – the ends justify the means.

    The argument for liberating a people from a genocidal tyrant is anything but an argument of convenience. This what we did in Bosnia and Kosovo, it’s what we did in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it’s what Jesse Jackson and Dr. Gov. Dean would have us do in Liberia. Aside from national defense, war for the purpose of liberating a people from mass slaughter is the only justification for invasion, and it’s one that I don’t take lightly.

    You didn�t hear it before the first or second gulf war, only after. It is the replacement for the imminent threat argument, which is now ridiculous.

    The imminent threat argument is a strawman you pulled out of your hat, Adrian, and not one that the Bush Administration made before this liberation. And if you didn’t hear any talk about liberation before the invasion, you weren’t listening; not listening to the Kurds, not listening to Christopher Hitchens, Salman Rushdie, and other principled leftists, and not listening to the President.

    Rewriting history is the last refuge of a nay-saying scoundrel, but you can’t get away with it in the age of the Internet, dude.

  • Chris Josephson


    I’m a registered Independent. I like and dislike our major parties equally. I voted for Gore in the last presidential election. I couldn’t stand Bush and was sorry he won.

    I know this is a trite saying but, 9/11/01 changed *everything* for me. I’ve been surprised to like President Bush as much as I do. I’m glad that he is helping to keep our nation secure. I don’t agree with all his policies or positions (I never agree 100% with any candidate) and am open to placing a Democrat in the White House.

    I would like you to know that the incessant harping on Pres. Bush over Iraq is not endearing me to any of the Democratic candidates. Especially this latest round accusing him of telling a lie in the State of the Union address.

    If you, or any other Democratic candidate, would like me to consider you for president you’ll have to expand more on what answers you have to what you believe our nation’s problems are. Harping on President Bush will lose you this voter’s consideration.

  • JJ

    Just a quick comment on healthcare. I am hoping that your plan covers assistance for mentally ill. If adequate funding for proper medical attention is included, you WILL make inroads in homelessness, prison population (crime) and lost income in the business front.

  • http://mattrolls.blogspot.com/ Matthew Morse

    The Law Student said (much earlier)

    p.s. as for my reference to Ayn Rand yesterday; I don�t think every time someone mentions �big brother� they have to refer to Orwell, so too every time someone mentions an �Equalization of Opportunity Bill� they don�t have to refer to Rand.

    I don’t think Lawrence Lessig could come up with a better expression of why the Eldred Act is important. Communication depends on reusing ideas. Copyright is intended to prevent the reuse of ideas. Some restriction may be necessary to provide an incentive to publish, but we all agree that at some point, we should be able to refer to Big Brother or the Equalization of Opportunity Bill freely, without payment to or the permission of the original author.

    This is why Lessig cares about copyright. I hope readers who came here because of Dean and have been intrigued by Lessig will read this far or will otherwise start thinking about how culture uses information and how copyright interferes with that.

  • James Taylor

    Three words for the reason we liberated Iraq: “Operation Desert Fox”. Does anyone doubt the Clinton Administration’s intelligence about WMD and Saddam’s interference with U.N. Inspectors in 1998? You can’t tell me a few dozen cruise missiles wiped out all of his capacity to make chemical weapons (the mobile labs we found proved that we didn’t wipe it out.)

    We have evidence he used chemical weapons against his own people, purchased and was building missiles capable of deploying a chemical or biological agent to Israel or any of the other US friendly nations in the region, and that he had a nuclear program that was incompletely derailed by the U.N. Inspectors. (Frontline gave a great documentary about the post Gulf War Iraq in the spring of this year. It showed how close Saddam really was to escalating things in the Middle East.)

    I am baffled as to the double standard being presented regarding Iraq now in contrast to the first Gulf War. I remember clearly many members of the Democratic party chiding the Bush Sr. administration when he chose NOT to remove Saddam from power. Now that an administration has, and for very good reasons that are as plain as day, some of those same Democrats have turned completely around. Politics. Bah.

    BTW, there’s enough about the Bush administration (John Ashcroft, the Patriot Act, etc) worth criticizing and debating over more than a conflict in Iraq.

  • Lucian

    “Freedom, like all good things, comes with a high price.”

    What does Iraq have to do with our Freedom? When you say something like this have evidence which proves Iraq was a direct threat to our Freedom.

  • Carlton Nettleton

    Cannot write history after the fact in the Internet age?! Tell that to the President who just yesterday gave this reason for the war in Iraq (with the General-Secretary of the UN at his side):

    “We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in.”

  • Andrew Beard

    Chris J.,

    When does “harping” and “accusing” turn into “ponting out the truth”, or “exposing lies”???


  • Anonymous

    You say you did not support war because the evidence was not there….What evidence would have been necessary for you to have supported invading Iraq?

  • Kong Bao Ji

    Dr. Dean, the claim that your decisions are based on “facts” whereas the decisions of those you disagree with are based on “ideologies” is just plain nonsense. Outside the domain of pure mathematics just about every field of human endevour requires the ability to deal with uncertain, ill-defined, partial, and even contradictory information. Under such circumstances we are required to a large degree to rely on our beliefs and instincts which in turn are informed by our ideals. To claim that you act only on “facts” is like saying that you are sailboat without a rudder. There are many intelligent people who were aware of the same facts that you were concerning the history and nature of the former Iraqi government under Saddam Hussien and yet supported the military effort to remove him from power. To claim that all of these people were motivated merely by ideology whereas your stance possesed some universality is both egocentric and ignorant.

  • Ilan

    A presidential candidate blogging in this fashion is comparable to walking into a crowded shopping mall and holding his comments up on a placard.

    There’s a bit more civility to it, but no more structure. Of everything Howard Dean’s said so far on this particular stump, I’m most encouraged by his willingness to change his mind when presented with the right kind of evidence.

    I’m least encouraged by the Tepes-esque “let’s kill all the lawyers” attitude of sweeping away lobbyists and media owners. History teaches us that idealism can be a wonderful thing and a powerful agent for change, but blind idealism has brought down leaders far more established than Howard Dean.

  • Soul Rebel

    Re: Kong Bao Ji ->Whatever weapons the U.S. sold to Iraq, they are dwarfed by what was sold by USSR and France. Look at the weapons systems used by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war: MIGS, T-55, T-62, Mirage F-1’s, Exocets, and so on. Soviet and French.

    Yes, and Russia and France had already laid extensive groundwork to develop Iraqi oilfields, investing billions of dollars in hopes of maintaining control of said oilfields once UN sanctions on Iraq were lifted. This was a fundamental but little stated reason for their opposition to US militarity action in Iraq – it amounted to a hostile company takeover of oil supplies. This, if nothing else, is enough to convince me that reasons for war were decidedly exaggerated. And Halliburton snapped up those contracts with a quickness…

    Also, in reference to Me, from a long while back in the postings… you mentioned that a difference between Saddam and Kim Jong Il was that Kim Jong Il is not insane…which makes me think that you possibly are.

    Go Dean.

  • Ilan

    Kim Jong-Il insane? If he heard you say that he’d transform into a giant robot and give you *such* a Catastrophic Valiant Kim-Chee Earthquake Stomp Kick… (theOnion.com)

  • Lucian

    To Address James Taylor–Three words for the reason we liberated Iraq: �Operation Desert Fox�.–

    So America’s job is to liberate the world and fight all evil dictators? How much does this cost? 48 billion? How many lives were lost? What does America gain from these actions?

    –Does anyone doubt the Clinton Administration�s intelligence about WMD and Saddam�s interference with U.N. Inspectors in 1998?–

    Since you like history, would you like to also bring up the fact that it was Reagan who funded Saddam, Bin Laden and all these people? Should we blame it all on Reagan or Clinton? Which scapegoat do you prefer? Stop trying to protect Bush by changing the subject and pinning the blame on past Presidents. Since you like to pin the blame on the past, what is your opinion on reparations?

    –We have evidence he used chemical weapons against his own people–,

    What year was that again? Oh right it wasnt even in this decade, or even the last decade.

    Capable of deploying a chemical or biological agent to Israel or any of the other US friendly nations in the region

    Isreal can protect themselves. We have given them enough money and weapons over the years that we do not have to babysit them. We should not put our country at risk protecting Isreal when Isreal can protect themselves.

    I am baffled as to the double standard being presented regarding Iraq now in contrast to the first Gulf War. I remember clearly many members of the Democratic party chiding the Bush Sr. administration when he chose NOT to remove Saddam from power.

    I agree we should have removed Saddam back then, when we had support of the whole UN.The reason democrats are anti war is not because they like Saddam, its because this war was not worth abandoning the UN over. We currently look like a fool, we cant even explain to ourselves why we went to War, so the world views us as a bunch of liars. Perhaps if we had went to war with UN support this wouldnt even be an issue.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    To claim that all of these people were motivated merely by ideology whereas your stance possesed some universality is both egocentric and ignorant.

    Good point, Kong, it reminds me of a joke: Do you know the difference between a doctor and God? God doesn’t think he’s a doctor.

    Reading and listening to Dean’s remarks on Iraq and the necessity for incontrovertible evidence of imminent mass destruction before taking meaningful action sounds like a doctor ordering more and more tests, cat scans, and observation before relieving the pain of a suffering patient. If we had the ability to cat scan an entire country for weapons, we’d use it, but countries aren’t patients, and our leaders have to make decisions based on less-than-perfect info all the time. Anyone who can’t handle this – and the fact that politics is more about perception than about hard data – shouldn’t be in politics.

  • Lucian

    Chris Josephson, you said you like Bush because he is keeping this nation secure.

    What has Bush himself done to keep the nation secure? He has not gone to war, lead an army etc, why is he some kinda Hero?

    He didnt find Bin Laden, has hasnt found Saddam, what exactly has he done? We arent any more secure than we were before 911, all Bush did was pass things like the Patriot Act and other messed up laws which rob us of freedom.

    When you can point out a number of things Bush himself did to increase our security besides cut taxes over and over, and pass things like the Patriot Act, then I’ll understand why you like Bush.

    Currently however Bush in my opinion has done absolutely nothing to protect us, hes spending more on Iraq than on Homeland Security. Why spend 100 billion being aggressive and attacking countries like Iraq? The more money we waste on questionable wars, the less money we have to defend ourselves.

    I do not feel more secure now that I know millions of Iraqis who didnt hate me before the war, now hate me. Bush has said some things in his speeches which were being stupid, he said we were on a crusade, he called many nations “evil”, how would you take this if some president from another country is calling you evil, putting you on a hit list of evil, and then attacking nations on this list and calling it a crusade?

    I’m sorry but Bush is reducing our security by spreading us thin and blabbing his mouth in a way which makes us look like fools, liars, infidels and all the other things bin laden says about us.

    We just went to war, and now Bush is looking like a fool on TV coming up with excuse after excuse, most of them just plain false, then he calls them a mistake and thats it?

    Sorry but we did a pre-emptive strike, you can only do that if theres an immediate threat. So theres no WMD, no nuke, so what was the threat? Am I supposed to believe a politician who has no evidence? I’m supposed to believe the war was justified even though there was no evidence at all?

    I dont want to hear the Saddam was a bad guy stuff, if he had nukes or WMDs and our satelites caught images of him, we also know he destroyed them or not because our satelites would pick that up too, our satelites would also pick up if he moved or hid them. The fact that we suddenly cant find them and suddenly our satelites are utterly useless, this is why I think someone lied, Bush is not beyond lying, so why shouldnt we be critical? Someone lied to us.

  • Brian Douglas

    There’s some wonderful support for Howard Dean over at Salon’s response letters to John B. Judis’ argumentative article, “The Trouble with Howard Dean”:


  • Me

    As for Kim Jong Il being insane… no, I do not believe he is, at least not in the way Saddam is.

    Look at the facts. Saddam is irrationally insane. He is paranoid beyond belief, and at the same time believes that he is the next Saladin, and is supposedly going to be the one who leads the Muslims to some glorious future where they kill all the heathens and the world rule is their bastardized version of the religion.

    Look at Kim Jong Il on the other hand. Every move he has made is carefully crafted. When he launches a rocket test, it isn’t just a rocket test, it’s a rocket test at just the moment to make the Japanese really, really nervous. When he announces that he wants unilateral talks with the US rather than going through the UN, it is to puff up the perceived importance of his country. Face it, the UN is a joke, if you are someone of importance in the world you have unilateral relations with the US. He knows that. He also thought he had a good way to get the importance he wanted.

    Kim Jong Il is power-hungry and wants things, true. But his perceived irrationality is a facade. He does it on purpose to make his enemies underestimate him. When you look at what he DOES, it is very cold and rational and well-timed, and it is not at all the conduct of a madman. That means he is rational and can be dealt with rationally.

  • Ilan

    Hey, “Me”, there’s a difference between substantive and procedural rationality (substantive — “wanting what’s rational”, procedural — “using systematic means to get what you want”). Kim Jong-Il may be timing his activities properly, maximizing his subjective benefit according to which goals he’s pursuing. But the *goals themselves* are the problem. Long-term starvation, a feverish grip on power, the risk of war simply to save face? While we don’t know precisely what’s going on in Kim Jong-Il’s mind, it’s a mistake to deal rationally with a substantively irrational person.

    At the risk of invoking Godwin’s law, appeasement was not a successful strategy in World War II, and seldom is when dealing with the substantively irrational.

  • Rob

    Me wrote: Look at the facts.

    Hey, I’d love to. Got any facts on Saddam that aren’t turning out to be lies?

    Here are three facts that are more pertinent to why we must organize and vote Bush out:

    1. Failed national security – the two guys GWB told us to fear (Osama and Saddam) have not been caught, dead or alive.

    2. Bankrupt morals – The President who was supposed to bring morals back tot he oval office has instead lied and cheated to his benefit and the benefit of his rich cronies. Much worse that anything BC ever did.

    3. Irresponsible Economics – Everything for the rich, nothing for the poor, and a sure fire way to remove Social Security (by using all the surplus). A $455 billion defecit that doesn’t include Iraq, Terror or Secrutiy money?

    It is an outrage!

  • Me

    And I’m not suggesting Appeasement at all. The point is, however, that Kim Jong Il knows full damned well what lines he cannot cross, which makes his bluster just that — bluster. If you can understand the man, you can deal with him. I do not suggest acquiescing to his demands, but I do know that he can be dealt with without having to go to the last resort of a military confrontation at the moment.

    If he takes a turn for the worse, that might change.

  • Me

    Ok Rob:

    Facts about Saddam;

    #1 — he is a mass murderer. We have found the mass graves and his torturous prisons. He is guilty, and nobody even in the UN has ever denied this, of using chemical weapons on the Kurds in Iraq in the past.

    #2 — Iraq’s nuclear program was not dismantled and destroyed, merely dismantled and hidden. The finding of the centrifuge, hidden under a scientist’s bushes, along with documentation, is an indicator of HOW it was hidden. You bitch and moan and say that “oh we haven’t found it yet it wasn’t there”… consider that, in order to find these things, we have to DIG UP an area equal in size to California. Buried crap tends to stay buried until someone tells us where it is, and you know that. So it will take time to find.

    #3 — You, like all liberal boys, seem to forget important legal facts. It was not the US’s job to prove Saddam had the weapons. Under all 17 of the UN resolutions, the onus was ON Saddam to PROVE HE HAD DESTROYED THEM. He failed to prove that, and provided no documentation to support any such claim. The brief Iraq gave to the UN in March was a photocopy of the stuff from 1998.

    #4 — Bill Clinton, your vaunted hero, even agreed in 1998 that Iraq still had the weapons, and it was Clinton, not Bush, that created the policy of Regime Change for Iraq. Don’t forget that. If you weren’t blinded by your hatred of Bush, you’d be ecstatic he finally did what Clinton didn’t have the balls to do.

    How’s that?

    Now for your “facts”…
    #1 — Supposedly “failed” security. Of course it is hard to track down one person. We do not even know for certain that either of them is still alive. International manhunts sometimes fail; Nazis, lest we forget, escaped for decades before being found, and I have no doubt some are still out there. How does their continued existence make us less safe? They might still be plotting. How are we more safe? We are actively working to defend ourselves now. 9-11 can never happen again, because the policy of going along with hijackers and being moronic little sheeple doing whatever a hijacker says are over.

    #2 — “Bankrupt morals”. This isn’t a fact. This is your personal opinion and has very little to do with facts, except in that you are reaching for some way to attack the President because he’s not of your political leanings.

    #3 — Have you been reading too much DemocRat literature, and not analyzing things at all? I don’t know whether the tax cut is too big, or too small, or just right yet. Nobody does. But at least Bush is following through on what he promised us, rather than RETROACTIVELY HIKING TAXES like Bill Clinton did to us in 1993. Imagine that, a politician actually doing what he promised. Now if only we could trust Gov. Dean to do the same. I’d love to see something in writing.

  • Carlton Nettleton

    The facts Howard Dean refers to are the “facts” we were told by this Administration before the invasion started. As a refresher:

    - Iraq was teaming with WMD and they were pointed at us.
    - al Quida and Saddam were working in collaboration.
    - Iraq was actively rebuilding its nuclear weapons program and seeking uranium to purchase.
    - major hostilities will be short and Iraqi resistence to occupation will be nonexistant.
    - the cost will be less than $2 billion/month.
    - we will do the main fighting, but our allies will help with the occupation by providing troops and money.
    - seeking the approval of the UN is irrelavent since we have coalition partners willing to help us.
    - we have detailed timetable for the occupation.

    Each one of these “facts” have turned out to be untrue.

  • mojo

    Hey Larry -

    Where’d the moonbat convention come from?

  • Soul Rebel

    Me: I’m sorry. You are correct. I was trying to equate Kim Jong Il’s insanity with that of Stalin – megalomaniacal, murderous, irrational. You are likening his insanity to that of Hitler – megalomaniacal, murderous, irrational…but calculating. My bad.

  • Me

    Well, glad we’ve cleared that up then :)

    Yeah, I supposed you’re right on the archetypes there. Stalin was very much a nutcase. Hitler on the other hand, at least at the early stages, was much like Kim Jong Il is now; the things he did/does sometimes seem irrational, but they are calculated for maximum effect nonetheless.

  • Jeff MacMillan

    Quite interesting how people can dilude themselves. When any politician writes stuff like, “I was against the war because we had no reason or evidence”, i would think the first intelligent response is to wonder what this president perceives as ‘sufficient enough’ evidence. Can he define it? Will he ever explain it?

    That answer gentleman is a certifiable absolutely not. No politician, especially Howard Dean, ever wants to go into details and specifics no matter how hard you press them. Why not? Because it puts them into a box. If X, Y, and Z are reasons for going into war that Bush didn’t have then everyone would expect Howard Dean to go to war every single time X,Y, and Z reasons surface. This same logic applies to just about everything. Good luck getting anything specific out of Howard Dean:-)

  • Lucian

    “the onus was ON Saddam to PROVE HE HAD DESTROYED THEM. He failed to prove that, and provided no documentation to support any such claim.”

    IF I remembebr right Iraq submitted 2000+ page documents proving they destroyed their weapons.

  • Me


    You’re an idiot, or you have a faulty memory. Iraq submitted 2000+ pages of photocopied documents that had already been submitted to the UN back in 1998, that failed to prove that any of the weapons in question were destroyed.

  • Craig

    Lucian: Those documents were rejected as inadequate and incomplete by Hans Blix, who one would be hard pressed to describe as a tool of anyone in the Bush administration.

    As a more general statement, I’ll say simply that I believe that overthrowing murderous dictators is a valid foreign policy goal in and of itself, and that it is something that should be done whenever and wherever you have the resources to do it right (which includes not merely replacing one group of murderers with another, as in Haiti). We know Hussein murdered tens of thousands of his own people, we know he funded terrorism in other countries, what more do you want?

    I understand why people (well, conservatives and libertarians) might believe that helping oppressed people isn’t the responsibility of the US; as someone who believes that with power comes responsibility, I simply think they are wrong.

  • Me

    Y’know this is an excellent point.

    Conservatives and Libertarians are usually the ones screaming that the US should keep its nose out of world affairs.

    Why are the Liberals so hell-bent on attacking Bush for what he did, removing a vicious madman from power and stopping him from torturing the people under his heel? Because he’s a Conservative. When it’s Bill Clinton, they love to see him do it. When it’s Bush, their overriding, irrational hatred of Bush ascribes possible profit motives, or the whole daddy thing, anything but the truth: that we went because IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

    Answer that, Dean. Give us a good, solid, response to that. Give us a response about the war that isn’t couched in rhetoric, that doesn’t ignore the bare facts of law that made the action perfectly legal, including the congressional authorization of the use of force.

    Give us something other than the Dem party line. I’m waiting for a glimmer of independent thought here.

  • Tash

    Me, you might want to double-check some of your facts:

        Iraq was given a nuclear weapons program “clean bill of health” by the UN weapons inspectors before Gulf War II. The plans found under the rosebush were incomplete and full of errors. They were in no way an immenent threat, and would have been of dubious use in reconstruction a nuclear program. Read this Washington Post article for more information.

        The “mobile biological” labs discovered were hydrogen fillion stations for artillery balloons, probably sold to Iraq by a British company in 1987. There were a number of problems with the construction of the vehicles which prevents them from being viable WMD labs.

        I’m also interested in the facts used to back your assertion that Gulf War II is meerly the continuation of Gulf War I. I re-read the January 12th 1991 Congressional Authorization of Force and it only gave the president the power to use force to fullfil UN Resolution 678 in achieving the goals in 677, 674, 670, 669, 667, 666, 665, 664, 662, 661, and 660. Now feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought all of those resolutions were regarding the removal of Ira from Kuwait, releasing of foreign nationals, and repaying of damages done in the invasion.
        Did Iraq suddenly invade Kuwait again, and that’s why Gulf II is a “continuation” of Gulf I? I must have missed that part of the news.


  • RJ Davis


    Unfortunately, you are setting up straw men rather than addressing the issue at hand. We are beyond “should we go to war or not.” It happened.

    Whatever Saddam was or was not, we were told he was an immediate threat with weapons poised to kill us all.

    That was the lie.

    Had Bush said “we don’t know what this guy has, but he’s bad, real bad” no one would be calling Bush a liar. But that’s not what Bush and his cronies said.

    And if you think that is moral behavior, well…

    Now, you want something other than the Dem party line? I will give you my line. This is what I hope the next President does (in no particular order):

    1. Repair relationships with Europe and make the UN a top priority, working as hard as possible to restore it to more resemble the orginal ideal. Instead of walking away, I’d embrace it. Within this I would find the long term plan to clean up the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    2. Immediately and retroactively abolish the Patriot Act.

    3. Have my AG proactively prosecute the criminals of the white collar scandals (Enron, et al).

    4. Return fiscal responsibility and increase social services to include health care and prescription services to all Americans. Raising taxes to do so may cause a brief blip, but it has been shown over and over that people don’t mind paying if they like what they get. What else gets funded? Amtrak, green transportation initiatives, wind power. What loses? Airline subsidies, nuclear power and pork projects.

    5. Have my AG actively prosecute businesses that evade taxes. This is important on the state level, too, as we work to refund state treasuries. *Important note: My family fought in the Civil War for the Union. What we won was one nation. We need to act that way. I am not tolerant of states’ rights arguments, as they are cloaks for discrimination of race and social order.

    6. Push for a national policy of civil unions (not gay marriage right away), leaglized medical marijuana, true educational programs that lift our young to top worldwide-levels and enact better social support networks.

    7. End the war on drugs, since it is a subversive effort to meddle in other countries’ affairs and replace the effort with stepped up law enforcement at home.

    8. Build a stronger relationship with Mexico and Canada on all levels, and develop a pro-business treaty that refocuses maufacturing in North America. We must *make,* not just buy.

    9. Remove all faith-based initiatives of the Bush-era and make clear, again, the distinction bewtween church and state. It is only via this distinction that religious freedom may flourish.

    10. And finally, fix the mockery that is Homeland Security under Bush. Instead of talking nice while cutting funding, I will fund the required services to protect America at home at the local and state levels, while making sure federal efforts are focused on the highest level threats.

    Now, if any of this mirrors what you see as the Dem’s line, so be it. But these are things I am looking for in the next President. Dr. Dean may or may not agree with these points.

    So far…

    and this is very important…

    so far I think he is the only candidate who is secure enough in himself to look at issues objectively and make the best decision at the time, and not be blinded by partisan religion, party lines or ideology.

    And that is one of the biggest reasons I am a proud Dean contributor and supporter.


  • RJ Davis


    Until you pulled out the attacks and foul language, I would have been happy to carry on. Glad we agree on some points, sorry we can’t have a civil discussion.

    All the best,


  • http://www.sjp-mn.org Jesse Bacon

    Dear Dr. Dean,

    We are writing you as a Palestinian and a Jewish American who have
    struggled a great deal for peace and justice in the Middle East. We write
    to you out of concern about your comments made about the Middle East; our
    concern is not only confined to the Middle East, but extends to your
    stances regarding US foreign policy in general.

    You claim to be the maverick in this election and are positioning
    yourself as a representative of those who feel disenfranchised by the
    Bush administration’s actions and rhetoric on the domestic and
    international levels, yet your actions belie your words.

    In the November 22, 2003 issue of Forward you said that you identify more
    with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee than with Americans for
    Peace Now. We feel that APN does not go far enough in pushing for a just
    solution to the Palestinian question. Nonetheless, we find it appalling
    that you’d support AIPAC, given that it is an organization that is
    dedicated to repressing the human and civil rights of Palestinians in
    their homeland. It is said that one is known by the company one keeps.
    Given that AIPAC’s friends are such right-wing luminaries as Binyamin
    Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon, and George Bush, it sounds to us like you are
    running with the wrong crowd. We feel your association with them through
    your common support of AIPAC calls into question your commitment to the
    noble ideals of your liberal and independent constituency.

    We find it interesting that you equate Taiwan and Israel, since we would
    make that same comparison. Both countries are colonialist enterprises
    that were instituted to keep pressure on their region in order to further
    American interests. Both practiced military rule over their own
    populations. We commend you for your assertion that American military
    might will not last forever.. However, maintaining Israel’s “qualitative
    edge” as you espouse seeks to maintain the same US military hegemony over
    the region that you recognize as futile. Again, we see a clear
    contradiction between your allegiances and your stated principles

    In light of the preceding, we feel that either your analysis of the
    situation differs from ours in good faith or that you are practicing
    hypocrisy. In either case, a true maverick, somebody who championed the
    rights of the dispossessed as you did by approving same-sex civil unions,
    should be interested in making a qualitative change with regards to US
    policy in the Middle East. A true change in US policy requires that you
    respect the wishes of the indigenous populations of Palestine and
    elsewhere, indeed, in the United States as well.

    Any US policy that does not guarantee the Right of Return for Palestinian
    refugees, that does not end the Occupation of Palestine, and that does
    not end the Israeli settlement project, is no different than the current
    one. If you advocate similar policies you will have no hope of defeating
    your well-funded adversaries. If you are elected and continue the same
    policies, than the world will judge you just as harshly as our current

    Dr. Dean, we ask you to inspire us, our friends, families, and
    communities so that we are moved to go out and do better. Past and
    current presidents neither lead nor inspire. You have a chance to make
    us believe that American presidents are not all cut from the same cloth.
    Supporting the indigenous Palestinian population in this climate takes
    the highest levels of courage, strength of conviction, and foresight,
    especially for candidates running for public office. Show us that you
    possess these attributes to bring about a better Middle East and a better
    America, so that this nation does not belie its promise of a land of the
    free and a home of the brave, nor deny anyone else the same hope.

    Samir M. Nassar and Jesse L. Bacon

  • Soul Rebel

    I want to give you full support for your previous comments. Including those on gay marriage, which is an issue that I struggle with, because I so not advocate the lifestyle personally, and neither does my religion (I am not a Christian btw). But the framers of our Constitution had something greater in mind than their own personal religious beliefs when they devised the separatioon of church and state. And for good reason, to protect against religious zealots who think that America should be representative of their religious convictions only. Remember that the framers were not too far gone from the Puritans and witch-burning…and neither are we.
    Also, Me, Rob did not say that Bush said Saddam had wepaons ‘pointed’ at us. He said Bush said Saddam had weapons ‘poised’ to kill us. And as far as I’m concerned, Bush lied. Where is the evidence. And no, a 12-yr old manuscript (or whatever the hell it was) under a rose bush does not constitute evidence of WMD. But either way, the thrust of the argument is the same. Bush said Saddam had weapons that were a threat, which to date, still stands as a lie in my book. And at this point, the argument is over semantics, like Ari Fleischer doing his dodgeball impression so that he doesn’t actually have to answer any questions truthfully.
    As to being a liberal (which I am), does this mean that I automatically will shoot down anything Bush says, simply because he’s a Republican? Absolutely not. I will, however, shoot down everything Bush says because he is a big fat liar, and so are Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, and Fleischer. I don’t know how Colin Powell sleeps at night. At this point in the game, even if evidence of WMD were presented, I would not trust it to be anything but either wholly fabricated, or greatly exaggerated. These guys are desperate.

    I want a President that I can trust.

    Go Dean

  • Me


    So sorry you can’t handle a little language. Foul or not, it is part of the language we share. And I feel strongly enough in certain points that I feel justified in using those words.

    Now, if you can’t be bothered to respond, then say that. Your refusal to answer the points is your own problem, and has nothing to do with the validity of my points. Your saying “sorry we can�t have a civil discussion” is a backhanded ad hominem attack on me, and I find it revolting. Stand up and speak your mind instead of hiding at the first sign of logical opposition with a bit of truth that might actually get you to change your mind.

    “Soul Rebel”, you instantly distrust Bush, or so you say. Now, here is the question; at any time previously, did you trust him? Or are you calling him a “big fat liar” now, and did then as well, and have you ever given him any chance on the matter, or do you use calling him names to justify to yourself your own illogical distrust?

  • Me

    BTW Soul Rebel, you also completely miss the point, as so many Liberals do.

    Let me put it bluntly:

    Why? Because the onus was on SADDAM to prove that he did NOT have the weapons. He could have done so. He had over a DECADE to dismantle and destroy the weapons and the program. Instead he spent over a decade running, hiding things, obfuscating, designating places people couldn’t search that were the size of whole cities… the UN repeatedly passed resolutions that put the onus, not on the US to prove anything, but on Saddam to prove that he had destroyed everything.

    He refused to do it. Hans Blix declared that the documentation handed over in March was entirely insufficient. Appeasement didn’t work against Hitler and it sure as heck wasn’t going to work against Saddam.

    Or can you just not handle being wrong?

    I say again: “Where’s the proof” is a MEANINGLESS RED HERRING.

  • Soul Rebel

    No, Bush pretty much had me on the defensive when he had the Supreme Court deny a legal recount of the votes in Florida (OMG, you’re not bringing that up are you? Yes, I am.) My point is, it started even before day one. And has not stopped.

  • Me

    So Soul Rebel, you admit it — you are against Bush for being a Republican, or even more to the point, because you’re still miffed that Sore/Loserman lost the election. Glad we’ve cleared that one up.

    One troll down, dozens to go.

  • Soul Rebel

    Calling Bush a liar is not calling him names. (OK, maybe the big fat part is, perhaps I should have called him beady-eyed, arrogant, smug, AWOL, daddy-bought-him-an-oilfield-and-a-baseball-team liar…that would be more apropo.) Last time I looked, Oxford E.D. has ‘liar’ as ‘a person who tells a lie or lies, esp. habitually’.
    Calling Saddam an imminent threat was not a misspeak. It was not grounded in erroneous intelligence. It was not a half-truth. It was a lie. A flat out lie, conjured up by folks in his administration who saw an easy way to dupe the uninformed American public into supporting a war which would end up with their companies rebuilding Iraq, and their companies controlling the oil supply. (Yes, tell me again how it’s not about oil.) Only it didn’t work out as planned, because on top of being a liar, Bush ain’t all that bright. The ‘Cs’ at Yale stand for ‘Coked up’.
    As far an the burden of proof, I distinctly remember Hans Blix addressing the U.N. in a speech that said there was no proof of any weapons programs, that Saddam had been cooperative with inspectors, and that more time was necessary for inspectors to complete their jobs. I believe this was in Feb., because it was not long after this that we sent the troops in and military aggression was officially begun. Why, because Bush knew his window of opportunity to make his War was closing: I’m the President dammit. I want my War and I want it now. (I’m paraphrasing)

  • Soul Rebel

    So trite. Honestly, if Bush had won the election fairly, that would have been fine by me. I was not an avid Gore supporter…in fact I voted for Nader because I could not, in good conscience give my vote to either of the two-party system lesser of two-evils. While I think Gore would have done a better job with our economy and would not have mired us in an unjust war, he certainly didn’t represent anything close to what I would like to see in my President.

    But Bush did not win the election fairly. I don’t know that Bush knows what ‘fair’ is. Is fair claiming to bail out the people of Iraq, while leaving the people of Afghanistan to flounder, and completely ignoring the continent of inhumanity that Africa has become? The transparency of the motive is so obvious…

  • Me

    Soul Rebel,

    Hans Blix said that. He said it in session, because his boss, coming from the South of Africa, was against the coming war.

    But if you read his documentation, you get quite a different picture.

    Blix hid the bad stuff because his boss, who was against going after Iraq, told him to. This also proves how problematic the UN is, since Blix isn’t properly independent and was being pushed to hide things by Kofi Annan.

  • Me

    Soul Rebel,

    Regarding Africa… I don’t think there’s much we CAN do there. Really. I’m the last person to try to get in between two people with guns until they run out of bullets.

    Afghanistan is Afghanistan. I don’t know that they are floundering, considering that our troops haven’t left yet. But it takes time to rebuild places. Keep that in mind — Nobody can cause instant results in the world, at least not instant positive results. It takes a lot of hard work, and dedication, and a lot of time, to deal with people who are so mired in their own religions and their own superstitions and their own ideologies, and bring them forth out of the muck and mud.

    We went to Afghanistan. We won, and we are currently working to help then recover from the damage the Taliban did over YEARS. You think it’s going to only be a few months to fix? You have GOT to be kidding.

  • Carlton Nettleton

    Of course we have an axe to grind against Bush because of the means he and his cronies used to change the outcome of the election. What was so DISGUSTING in the whole process Bush and his toadies sent out that hachet man Baker to disparage the entire process of counting the votes. I will NEVER forgive Baker, or Bush, for their callous, calculated dismisal of hard working, civil servants doing their best to learn the truth. When James Baker got on TV and cried out in dismay: “There are people counting those ballots!”, I knew these Bush people had no respect for democracy. It was as if James Baker woke up that morning and realized that the Pope was Catholic. Democracy is based on a fundamental belief that PEOPLE participate in democracy. If you cannot trust people with their democracy is just shows how cynical and manipulative your view of the democractic processes are.

    So you know what, I am not going to “get over it”. My vote was robbed from me and I will never sit back and let my democracy ever be taken advantage of like that again. TO dismiss my real rage and anger over the shameless actions of Bush, Baker and Cheney with Republican code words like “Sore/Loserman” is to dismiss the real anger many people in this country have. We are NOT trolls. We are Americans and we are voters!

  • Tash


        I’m still too stupid to understand your superior reasoning regarding the second Gulf War being a continuation of the first. You’ll have to actually answer the questions in my post in order to educate me, rather than just repeat what you said and insult my intelligence.

  • Me

    So? I voted too.

    Your vote was not robbed from you. You cast it. You lost. The Supreme Court had to be called in because of arguments over:

    The procedure of a recount.
    The legal time and situation when one can demand a recount.
    The remedies once the recount has happened: e.g. can you demand ANOTHER recount using different rules than the last?

    Your vote was not robbed from you. You cast it.

    The two parties then bickered and bickered over recounting procedures. And that was fine. And then the Dems started playing the Race card. And that was worse. And then the Dems started looking for needles in haystacks, so to speak, and wanted things counted again and again and again until they won.

    Sorry. It doesn’t work that way. The tactics of Boss Tweed in Tammany Hall do not elect Democrats in this day and age, nor do they elect Republicans. They stop disreputable people from ever trying to steal elections like that again, which is what happened in 2000 in Florida.

  • Me


    If that was some attempt to insult me… nice try. Far be it from me to assume the presence of intelligence for me to insult.

  • Tash

        No, I was not trying to insult you; though you have now insulted me twice without actually answering any of my questions. Rob was correct in writting you off so quickly.


  • Carlton Nettleton

    I wasn’t going to comment on this blog anymore since we were asked politely not to comment in this location. I was simply going to lurk, but the 2000 Election is a major sticking point to me. These will be my last words on this subject since I am trying to be polite to our hosts.

    The US Supreme Court had ABSOLUTELY no business giving a ruling in the matter of the recounts for two reasons.

    1) The Florida Supreme Court was asked to rule on interpretation of FLORIDA election law. When the Florida Supreme Court made their ruling for a statewide recount that should have been the end of the appeals. It is quite clear over our entire history as a nation, the mechanical aspects of election standards and procedures are defined by the states, not the federal government. For a US Supreme Court that has spent 20 years talking about how states have the right to interpret their owns to decide to step in and decide matter is absolutely beyound me.

    The US Supreme Court was telling the FLORIDA Supreme Court how to interpret FLORIDA election laws. In only THREE cases in our history has the US Supreme Court has ever overruled a state supreme court interpretation of state law and none of cases ever resembled the case this US Supreme Court ruled on. In fact the US Supreme Court knew their resoning was specious since they added a caveat to their ruling that, in effect said, don’t ever try this type of legal gymnastics again.

    2) The US Supreme Court had absolutely no business intervening in this matter since there was a constitutional rememdy for a contested election as described in Article II, Section ! and later modified by the 12th Admendment. To summarize, if no person receives a majority of the Electoral votes, the House of Representatives shall make the decision where each state has a single vote. The person who receives a majority of the votes in the House of Representatives is the president.

    I have no idea why we could not let the Constitution decide the matter. The electors in Florida were contested. At the time it was not clear who had the majority of the votes in Florida since the state was not allowed to count all the votes. Bush would have likely won the balloting in the House since he won more states than Gore.

  • Me

    You’re right, Carlton, in one respect; the matter would have been far better had the Supreme Court simply said “Fine: Florida, by Florida’s own law, has missed their deadline and will not send Electors. Therefore it goes to the House of Representatives.”

    However, they were trying to forestall the endless bits which THEN would have gone on with the Dems screaming bloody murder claiming they’d disenfranchised the entire state of Florida.

    Make sense?

    As for you Tash: you insulted me quite clearly. You claimed I had not answered your questions.

    The cease-fire is Resolution 687. Read it. It spells out pretty clearly what Iraq needs to do. Also note that it is A FORMAL CEASE-FIRE: the basic tenet of which is, should one side break the faith, the other is authorized to RESUME FIRING.

    From that point on, it doesn’t matter what Resolutions 678 or earlier say; Resolution 687, as the formal cease-fire, matters. And Congress gave Bush the authorization to enforce it, along with all the other resolutions pertaining to Iraq, in the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, in October of 2002.

    We clear yet, Tash? It’s not any of the earlier resolutions you quoted that matter, it’s 687, and Saddam broke that particular cease-fire over and over again.

  • Monty

    THINK. If Howard Dean took the time to sit and answer everybody’s questions he wouldn’t have time to do anything else. He does have a campaign going on. I’m sure it’s taking up quite a bit of time.

    Lessig decided to have Howard Dean blog here in his absence. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to read it. Just come back when things are more to your liking.

  • Magik

    “This President never adequately laid out the facts for going to war with Iraq�perhaps, as it turns out, because the facts were not there.”

    Quite a few people I know believe the former, but not the latter. (Me, too.) We openly dismissed the president’s case, but found sufficient cause to support the invasion for other reasons. We decry the President’s misleading efforts to support the war, but we encourage you to make a distinction between the war and the president’s conduct.


  • Me

    Wow, whaddaya know. Prove ‘em wrong once and they run and hide.

  • Hassan Mohamedi

    I’am a youth of 31 years.I completed my O-Level education in 1993.I completed my A-Level studies in 1996 and scored Divion Two.The I achieved a Diploma course in Education and
    I completed in 2000.I’am taken Arts subjects.

  • http://philrussell.com Phil Russell

    About 33 lobbyists for each member of congress.
    Does anyone know how the total number of lobbyists
    breaks out as to what type of organization they represent?
    For instance, a large number representing unions would give Republicans a gotcha. I am suspecting that MOST lobbyists represent big business and the rich.

    Phil Russell