|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Iraqi Minister Scolds U.N. for Inaction Regarding Hussein: Choice quotes: "Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, accused the United Nations Security Council today of having failed to help rescue his country from Saddam Hussein, and he chided member states for bickering over his beleaguered country's future... Taking a harsh view of the inability of quarreling members of the Security Council to endorse military action in Iraq, Mr. Zebari said, "One year ago, the Security Council was divided between those who wanted to appease Saddam Hussein and those who wanted to hold him accountable. "The United Nations as an organization failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over 35 years, and today we are unearthing thousands of victims in horrifying testament to that failure." He declared, "The U.N. must not fail the Iraqi people again." ..
Mr. Zebari .. also took on countries like France that have expressed doubts about the current governing group. "As Iraqis," he said, "we strongly disagree with those of you that question the legitimacy of the present Iraqi authorities." He continued: "I'd like to remind you that the governing council is the most representative and democratic governing body in the region." He said, "The members of the Security Council should be reaching out and encouraging this nascent democracy in a region well known for its authoritarian rule."" 9:52:54 PM
OECD Said to Reach Deal on Environmental Standards
: "The 30 OECD nations have agreed in principle to strengthen environmental standards for companies bidding on contracts to build dams, power plants, roads and other projects around the world with funding from export credit agencies, U.S. officials said on Thursday. The officials called the pact on voluntary standards a boon to U.S. firms which have long said they were disadvantaged by having to respect the U.S. Export-Import Bank's environmental guidelines of while their rivals faced weaker or no standards. " The beginnings of a code for the environment in trade? As in other cases, it's driven by one nation's corporations working to force other nations up to their standards to level the playing field. 12:22:14 AM
What will happen when a national political machine can fit on a laptop? Everett Ehrlich on the Internet and politics: "According to [Nobel economist Ronald] Coase's theory, smaller information-gathering costs mean smaller organizations. And that's why the Internet has made it easier for small folks, whether small firms or dark-horse candidates such as Howard Dean, to take on the big ones..
For all Dean's talk about wanting to represent the truly "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," the paradox is that he is essentially a third-party candidate using modern technology to achieve a takeover of the Democratic Party. Other candidates -- John Kerry, John Edwards, Wesley Clark -- are competing to take control of the party's fundraising, organizational and media operations. But Dean is not interested in taking control of those depreciating assets. He is creating his own party, his own lists, his own money, his own organization. What he wants are the Democratic brand name and legacy, the party's last remaining assets of value, as part of his marketing strategy. Perhaps that's why former vice president Al Gore's endorsement of Dean last week felt so strange ..
Nor is Dean alone. The same forces make the evangelical right a powerful force in the Republican Party. With its TV stations, membership lists and money, it is a party waiting to happen. When Republicans of more moderate stripes express concerns about the evangelicals "taking a walk" on the party, they are recognizing that underlying reality. The ability to have "virtual political parties" is the greatest challenge the two parties have ever faced." Erlich predicts a Dean third party in 2008 if he loses in 2004, an evangelical party like the New York Conservatives, and more. 12:16:34 AM
Christopher Lydon Interviews Dick Morris: "From 1972 to 1999 or 2000 we had what I see as the Media Age in American politics--which empowered guys like me who do television commercials, fundraisers, fat-cat donors, special interests and a handful of people who became the new political elite. But starting, I think, with Clinton beating impeachment in '99, and going through the Dean campaign of 2004... the media is losing its power in politics and the Internet is gaining it."
And still, apparently sophisticated people say "what's a blog?" and give Dick Morris the same blank stare they give you and me at the mention of this mysterious Internet transformation. I wanted to hear what he tells the innocents and the doubters. "Well," Morris said, "how do you think Bill Clinton survived impeachment but for blogs and MoveOn and all of that? Where did the anti-globalization movement gets its strength from? Certainly not the mainstream media! Where did the right wing get its strength from? And the anti-Clinton stuff? Where is the Dean candidacy from? If you just read the New York Times and Washington Post you get blindsided by all this stuff. "..
"Let's remember," Morris observed, "that the Internet is more male than female, more right-wing than left-wing, more upscale than downscale. .. The Republican base is seething with activity.. you can't think of any community that is better connected, and better wired to itself, than the religious community. .. So I think this kind of viral bottom-up growth (which is what the Internet is all about) will be as much Republican as Democratic." Audio online. See also the interview of Joe Trippi, Dean's internet organizer. 12:04:44 AM