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Howard Dean, The War, The Media, and You

New Hampshire polls are showing Howard Dean in a virtual tie for first place. It is being reported that much of this support is because of his opposition to the war.

Howard Dean is running an campaign of ideas, and as such, needs the support of lots of small donors rather than large corporate donors. An important test for the campaign is quickly approaching. The fund-raising numbers at the March 31st filing deadline will be widely reported. If you have an interest in Dean's voice continuing to be heard, then please consider going to his website and contributing. Everything up to $250 will be matched by the FEC--there is no amount that is too small.
3/22/2003 08:26:00 PM [Link] |

Coalition is Growing (Thanks Palau)

The Coalition is now 46 countries strong. Turkey is still inexplicably on the list. My new favorite is Palau
After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986, but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year when the islands gained independence.

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US; under a Compact of Free Association between Palau and the US, the US military is granted access to the islands for 50 years
Ok, we're responsible for their military, so they can't help us there. The Factbook says they have typhoons--not sure if they can use them in the war. I appreciate the help, but it seems to me that there's a lot of pressure the US can put on poor Palau to drive up the coalition numbers.

What kind of pressure? Forbes reports the foreign aid we send to the coalition:
The 34 nations publicly backing the U.S. campaign in Iraq may truly believe Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who must go. They also know who helps pay the bills.

Twenty-four of those countries, including Macedonia, Eritrea and Nicaragua, are slated to receive direct financial assistance from the U.S. in 2004
3/21/2003 05:01:00 PM [Link] |

Spotlight on the Coalition: Turkey

Whatever Eritrea is giving us has got to be better than Turkey putting the airspace deal on hold:
Turkey closed its airspace Friday, saying it would remain closed until the United States agreed to allow Turkish troops to move into northern Iraq.
At least we can borrow Pestilence from Eritrea and Famine from Ethiopia to go along with the War and Death we bring to the table. What's Turkey giving us? Not bases, not fly-over rights, not troops. Do they even support this war? Do they even "secretly" support it? Oh yeah, and Ari says today that the $28 billion is off the table.
Q: One more on Turkey, sir. Given Turkey's inconsistent behavior, does the President still think it's entitled to the same billions of dollars worth of aid?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, there's nothing new to report on that front. I've shared with you before about the total aid package that had previously been offered to the Turks, and that total package is not on the table.
3/21/2003 04:36:00 PM [Link] |

Spotlight on the Coalition: Eritrea

From the World Fact Book entry on Eritrea:
Natural hazards: frequent droughts; locust swarms
I'm sure their support is of biblical proportions.
Economy - overview: Since independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993, Eritrea has faced the economic problems of a small, desperately poor country. Like the economies of many African nations, the economy is largely based on subsistence agriculture, with 80% of the population involved in farming and herding.
Based on their location, I'm assuming we got some fly-over rights from them. That's not nothing, but hardly enough to be considered part of a multilateral effort. Maybe that's wrong, because France gave us fly-over rights, and they are not listed in "The Coalition". I was going to try and phone the embassy, but I don't have to, because the Guardian did it for me.
3/21/2003 01:34:00 PM [Link] |

Spotlight on the Coalition

This press conference on the Coalition for Immediate Disarmament of Iraq is a must read.
Question: Well, in the list -- excuse me. But there's a footnote next to Japan specifying that their cooperation or support is postwar.

Mr. Boucher: I think this has got to be the list, the way I just discussed it, but --

Question: No, no, no. I hear you, but --

Mr. Boucher: Yes.

Question: -- what we -- I understand that Japan is postwar.

Mr. Boucher: Yes.

Question: Let me put it that way. Are there others among the 30 who are simply part of a postwar reconstruction effort?

Mr. Boucher: Many of these people are associated somehow militarily with the action. I think most, almost all is probably a better description. Some of them, like Japan, are probably exclusively interested in the post-conflict situation and helping out if we get to that, but I think most of these others, if you look at what they, themselves, have said, are in some ways willing or participating in, or supporting potential conflict, if that's where it ends up.
Ok, so some of the 30 are not contributing to the war in any way. They offer moral support, but not actual support. Also, when it's over, they want some of the spoils.
Question: And two, I know you don't want to get into specifics of what each country would offer, but at least two countries on this list kind of jump out at me in terms of their abilities to do anything, and that would be Afghanistan and Ethiopia.

I understand that Afghanistan might be overflight rights, but what kind of thing would -- and not to denigrate the Ethiopians, but what kind of thing would you --

Question: Eritrea.

Question: -- Eritrea -- what kind of things are these countries which, you know, do not have great amounts of resources and are not really --

Mr. Boucher: They may not be deploying. They may not be providing a specific resource, or they may just be allowing access, overflight, or other participation in that way, or they may just have decided they want to be publicly associated with the effort to disarm Iraq. Remember, that is the fundamental of this, that these are countries who have all stood up and said it is time to disarm Iraq, and if Iraq doesn't do that peacefully, we need to be prepared to do it by whatever means are necessary -- people that are associating themselves in public with the effort to make sure that Iraq is disarmed and disarmed soon.
When you need to pad your list with Eritrea then you don't have a coalition. But the best question is:
Question: Did -- I assume that you asked everybody in the world whether they were willing to go on this list, and therefore you had 160 rejections, were there?
Boucher says no. He's probably right, the number is probably like 120 rejections, after all we already knew what France, Russia, etc. would say.
3/21/2003 12:36:00 PM [Link] |

Dean California Video

Great video of Dean in California at carl with a k.
3/21/2003 11:22:00 AM [Link] |

Rumsfeld Exercises Newly Won "Right to Lie"

I watched Donald Rumsfeld today. In prepared remarks (8:00 on the c-span video) he said:
The coalition against iraq, called "Operation Iraq Freedom", is large and growing. This is not a unilateral action as is being characterized in the media. Indeed, the coalition in this activity is larger than the coalition that existed during the gulf war in 1991.

The press release from State listed this support:
The Coalition for the Immediate Disarmament of Iraq is: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan (post conflict), Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan. [link]

This list from 1991 (pointer from dailyKOS) has more than 30 countries, and look what they gave--not "fly-over" rights, but real help. If we expanded this list to include those that gave moral support or "secret" support, then we could probably pad it too. The point is: in 1991, you didn't have to spin multilateral support, because you actually had it.
3/20/2003 02:59:00 PM [Link] |

FOX Wins Right to Lie

This speaks for itself: Appellate Court Rules Media Can Legally Lie
On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

If you're like me, you're thinking "What the hell is the Sierra Times?" and "Why can't I find this in a more trustworthy source?". I found this official site for the FOX wants "right to lie" case. There are tons of links to explore, and phone numbers if you want to see for yourself. And remember, lying is not against the law, just against FCC policy. So write the FCC and ask when FOX is getting their license revoked.

Update: I wrote to Eugene Volokh, because I respect his opinion on matters such as this. He read the case and says: "it's an employment dispute about when a particular state whistleblower protection statute can be invoked." I interpret that as dismissing the case as an example of a court granting the right to lie. I pass this on, because all of the information above comes from dicey sources. It makes for a funny headline though, and the FCC is still worth harassing.
3/19/2003 10:20:00 AM [Link] |