Brad Feld

Category: Random

Politics and Blogging

Jun 21, 2004
Category Random

I predict that the upcoming national election activity will put blogging on the map as a broad populist activity.

The Associated Press just ran an article titled Democrat Convention Credentials Bloggers. The Dems seem to be embracing blogging while the GOP is still trying to figure it out (per a statement from GOP spokesman Leonard Alcivar).

A year ago, I helped fund the startup of an organization in Colorado called the Rocky Mountain Progressive Network. RMPN’s missionis to provide an independent, credible voice to counter the policies of the far right, hold our elected leadership accountable, and promote concrete solutions to improve the quality of life for the Rocky Mountain region.”. From the beginning, the organization has extensively used blogging as one of its central communication mechanisms. RMPN has found their use of blogging to be incredibly effective.

In the last major cycle, email played a big part. In the primaries, everyone was startled by the huge early fundraising success that Dean had using the Internet. I think blogging is going to be the central technology theme in this cycle.

Thank god Al Gore invented this Internet thing.

I’m not a horse racing fan, but my wife is so I’ve gotten to “enjoy” the Triple Crown this year. In case you’ve been asleep, Smarty Jones is going for a triple crown and – if he wins – would be the first horse since 1977 to take it. I just saw the final of the Belmont Stakes (don’t click the link if you don’t want the surprise to be ruined). However, the race had a great finish that’s worth catching tonight on ESPN or your local news.

I was in Grand Central Station yesterday admiring the shiny food court (I hadn’t been there since leaving town on 9/11). I bought a decaf latte at the Italian coffee place in the middle (I can’t remember the name). My cup came wrapped with a coffee sleeve with an ad on it that said “Starch Away – Blocks Carbs by Reducing Calories from Starchy Foods!” I turned to my wife Amy and said – “look at this – can people be this stupid?”

Apparently the answer is yes. I went to the Starch Away web site and discovered that it’s sold almost everywhere. After poking around on the web for a few minutes, I was relieved to immediately find critical articles on it. According to the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter “No one, particularly people with diabetes, should take starch blockers sold over the counter.”

At least our government makes these kooks put a disclaimer on their advertising and product stating “These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administation. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

I’m going to go exercise so I can have pizza with an extra dose of carbos for lunch.

The NY Times redeems itself (after the lousy blogging article) with And for His Next Feat, a Billionaire Sets Sights on Bush – a good profile on George Soros.

I have been fascinated with Soros for a while and found his recent book The Bubble of American Supremacy very thought provoking. Soros’s activity and character has been aggressively attacked by the Republican National Committee which confirms that he’s risen about the noise level.

Soros’s tag line – which he stays on message about as effectively as George W. Bush does in and after his state of the union address when he defines the Axis of Evil – is “I have come to the conclusion that the greatest contribution I can make to the values that I hold would be to contribute to the defeat of George W. Bush in 2004.”

According the the NY Times, Soros’s major contributions to date include $10 million to Americans Coming Together, $2.5 million to, and $300,000 to Campaign for America’s Future.

Look for a lot more from Soros as the campaign unfolds.

I don’t care whether you agree or disagree with Kurt Vonnegut – he’s still an amazing and provocative writer at age 81. His essay Cold Turkey was sent to me by one of my partners. He included a Bush Approval Rating Meter in his subtle email to me.

George Soros has written an incredible book called The Bubble of American Supremacy: Correcting the Misuse of American Power. It’s actually two books in one: Part 1 is A Critical View and Part 2 is A Constructive View.

Soros starts of by clearly explaining the Bush Doctrine. “First, the United States will do everything in its power to maintain its unquestioned military supremacy and, second, the United States arrogates the right to preemptive action. Taken together, these two pillars support two classes of sovereignty: the sovereignty of the United States, which takes precedence over international treaties and obligations, and the sovereignty of all other states, which is subject to the Bush doctrine. This is reminiscent of George Orwell’s Animal Farm: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” (p.11).

Soros links the Bush Doctrine to the 1997 neoconservatives statement of principles of the Project for the New American Century signed by a host of familiar characters including Elliott Abrams, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz.

The theme is clear and incredibly well-reasoned (this should not be a surprise to anyone that has either followed or read other writings of George Soros). Soros states that “Under the Bush administration, the United States has also become a victim-turned-perpetrator, although the American public would be loath to recognize it. On September 11, America was the victim of a heinous crime and the whole world expressed spontaneous and genuine sympathy. Since then, the war on terrorism has claimed more innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq than have the attacks on the World Trade Center. That comparison is rarely made at home: American lives are valued differently than the lives of foreigners, but the distinction is less obvious to people abroad.” (p.22)

Soros then makes his case in strong, clear, and straightforward detail. While I can imagine that someone could come up with an argument against it, I can’t.

As you would expect from his warm up, he concludes strongly with “All in all, at no other time has America’s position declined as dramatically in as short a period as it has since George W. Bush became president. The swing in our international position matches the swing in our budget deficit. Whatever the flaws in the ideology that has guided the Bush administration, the practical results have been nothing short of disasterous. … The forthcoming elections provide an excellent opportunity to deflate the bubble of American supremacy. But it is not enough to defeat President Bush. America must also adopt a different vision for its role in the world. The rethinking has to be quite profound. It is not only the supremacist ideology of the New American Century that needs to be rejected. There were shortcomings in the policies followed by the United States prior to September 11; otherwise, they could not have ben carried to the extremes that have been reached under the Bush administration. What a more positive vision for America’s role in the world entails will be the subject of the second part of this book.” (p.74-75)

This is what I love about Soros. It’s easy to be critical on a grand stage (and he’s earned the right through his amazing work with the Open Society Institute to get up on his soapbox), but Soros doesn’t stop there. Part 2 (which I’ll comment on later) lays out his view of the constructive action that the United States should take to repair the situation we have created for ourselves.