I was hoping this was a joke, a very, very bad joke

Karzai offers Taliban a government office.

KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai offered Saturday to meet personally with Taliban leader Mullah Omar for peace talks and give the militants a high position in a government ministry as a way to end the rising insurgency in Afghanistan.

Reiterating a call for negotiations he has made with increasing frequency over the last several weeks, Karzai also said he was willing to meet with factional warlord leader and former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Specifically.

Mullah Omar.

Daniel Biss in the Wall Street Journal

One of the things I don’t think people realize about Daniel is that he’s a hell of an organizer, but if the internet stories let people dismiss him and not take him as seriously, that’s not a bad thing at all.

So far, Mr. Biss has raised $37,148 online for his bid to win a Republican-held seat representing the north Chicago suburbs — a figure pumped up in part by an appeal from one of Mr. Biss’s friends, who vowed to subject himself to various cyberspace humiliations if viewers met certain donating targets. The resulting video has been watched more than 16,000 times on YouTube.

ActBlue was created as a political action committee in June 2004 by two Democratic activists from Cambridge, Mass., shortly after the presidential campaign of Howard Dean showed the power of online fund raising. The idea was to transfer that force to Democrats more broadly. Since its inception, ActBlue has raised more than $28 million for Democratic candidates, mostly by making it easy for supporters to bundle together small-dollar donations made via credit card. Mr. Edwards, for example, has raised more than $4 million online via ActBlue.

ActBlue started by focusing on presidential and congressional races. Last year, the site began making its services available for local races in some states. Local candidates have collected more than $750,000 so far this year, up 20% from the total local candidates raised through ActBlue last year, according to ActBlue. Much of the money in the 2006 campaign, about $500,000, was raised by liberal bloggers and their readers on behalf of Democratic secretary of state candidates in seven states. Five of them won.

ActBlue runs on donations from users and provides its services free to candidates. Republicans have tried setting up similar sites but none have taken off so far. Some campaigns, like Mr. Biss’s, also use ActBlue as a low-cost way of processing donations from local fund-raisers.

More from Strategic Vision

Their Wisconsin poll shows the general population wanting a rapid withdrawal as well:

6. Would you like to see the United States withdraw all troops from Iraq within six months?
Yes 65%
No 26%
Undecided 9%

Roughly that is pretty similar to what the Iowa raw numbers would be.

Below are the results of a three-day poll of likely voters in the state of Wisconsin. Results are based on telephone interviews with 800 likely voters in Wisconsin, aged 18+, and conducted September 14-16, 2007. The margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush’s overall job performance?
Approve 23%
Disapprove 70%
Undecided 7%

2. Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush’s handling of the economy?
Approve 22%
Disapprove 69%
Undecided 9%

3. Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq?
Approve 19%
Disapprove 74%
Undecided 7%

4. Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush’s handling of the war on terrorism?
Approve 49%
Disapprove 43%
Undecided 8%

It strikes me that the Midwest looks to be very hostile to Republicans this cycle given these overall numbers.

Fascinating Polling from Iowa

Strategic Vision (R) did a poll of likely caucus voters in Iowa and it’s fascinating

4. Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Republicans Only)
Yes 53%
No 37%
Undecided 10%

I don’t support a six month withdrawal because it wouldn’t be safe for our troops, but that is how widely unpopular the war is with many Republicans.

I’m only starting to take state polls seriously since people are only beginning to pay attention–Iowa looks to be a three way race.

5. If the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus were held today between, Joeseph Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson, for whom would you vote? (Democrats Only; Names Rotated)
Hillary Clinton 24%
John Edwards 22%
Barack Obama 21%
Bill Richardson 13%
Joseph Biden 4%
Chris Dodd 1%
Dennis Kucinich 1%
Undecided 14%

6. Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Democrats Only)
Yes 84%
No 7%
Undecided 9%

The top three don’t actually propose a six month time frame so this is a fascinating finding.

Mark Pera IL-3

My incredibly hard-working, creative, and ambitious staff asked me to pass this message on to each of you who has supported our campaign…

TO:        Mark
FROM:  Pat, Julie, Pat, Jacob, Ali and Earl
DATE:   September 27, 2007
RE:        Can WE thank our donors and issue a new challenge?
Something along these lines:

FROM THE TEAM:

Subject Line: Will you be the one?

Last week we asked you to help send Mark to Congress by giving $30 by September 30.  Your response has been amazing.  This week Mark has been the top congressional online fundraiser on ActBlue and number 2 amongst all Democratic candidates across the country.

We set a goal of $20,000 raised online by September 30.  Some said it couldn’t be done.  We believed you could do it and we were right.

Thanks to Blue Majority, Northside DFA, Blue America, Carl Manaster, Larry Handlin, Robert Naiman and others, we have surpassed our goal of $20,000 in only five days!

Will you be the $30 contributor who keeps Mark on top through Sunday?

Can we be so bold as to say ‘Let’s get up to $30,000 by the 30th?’

We think it can be done!  Let’s show ’em again.

We’re in the final push before we close the books on the fundraising quarter.  Your $30 now will make a huge impact on this race and show national leaders that Mark is the candidate who will represent the 3rd District’s real Democratic values and priorities in Washington.

What are those values and priorities?  Hear them from Mark himself on our website.

Thanks for all your support and keep spreading the word!

— the Mark Pera for Congress team

There is nothing more I can say that my staff hasn’t said above.

I personally invite you to view my new video statement on our website.  Together we ARE making a difference.

Mark Pera digital signature
Mark

Mark Pera for Congress
(708) 579-2834
mark@Pera08.com

Visit my website at:
www.PERA08.com

Bill Foster IL-14

Since we began our campaign, you have been fantastic. You’ve knocked on hundreds of doors to gather petition signatures, contributed to the campaign, sent us some great ideas and suggestions and provided all of us with the moral support that makes these long days all worthwhile.Help us raise $14 from 140 donors this week ::: Fill the Beaker! Donate Today!

Now, we need you to push us over the top.

The 3rd Quarter is ending and the campaign will be judged on how successful we have been at building a movement. We firmly believe that a grassroots campaign with a significant number of regular people donating will send the loudest message to the powers that be in Washington.

Here is our goal: 14 dollars each from 140 new donors. Forward this email to your friends and ask them to join our campaign for change.

We know that sending just another politician to Washington won’t help. We know that we need a fresh start so that we can change course in Iraq and here at home. We need to send a proven problem solver like Bill Foster who has the background and experience to bring about real change.

But, we can’t do it without you. Send a message that you want change. Make a 14 dollar contribution now and ask your friends to do the same by September 30th.

At the end of our 14 from 140 Campaign, Bill will join you on a special conference call to thank you and everyone you recruited personally.

Thank you for your support and for all that you do,

Bill Foster for Congress Team

P.S. You can contribute  via Act Blue here.

Dan Seals

We have very big races in Illinois this cycle so I’ll be doing this a lot.   I’ve linked to my Illinois 2008 page for those interested in contributing.  There are several good candidates on the page, I’m highlighting those with primaries for now, but there are also State Senators Dan Kotowski and Mike Frerichs.
From Matt Stoller’s Post

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The next addition to the Blue Majority page is Dan Seals, who is running in Illinois’s 10th district against Republican Mark Kirk.  The district is one of the bluest in the country held by a Republican, going for Kerry over Bush in 2004 by 53-47.  Seals ran a hard race in 2006, and had a heart-breaking and narrow loss.  Running for office is incredibly difficult; you must work 14 hour days for months, with almost no income, no sleep, limited family time, and no exercise.

You have to beg for money from anyone you’ve ever met, and you get yelled at by activists on both sides.  Meanwhile, voters are looking to be persuaded that they can trust you, and while your arguments make sense to you and your staff, you can never tell if voters believe you.  It is incredibly difficult, and almost everyone loses their first time out.  A successful political movement helps not just those who win, but those who take risks and lose, because without risk-taking, change cannot happen.  And that’s why we’re in this.  Seals gave up his career, his family life, and his privacy in 2006, and we’re going to make sure that he, like Eric Massa, Darcy Burner, and Charlie Brown, gets to finish the job.

As for Kirk, it’s pretty simple why this guy has to go.  He’s considered a ‘moderate’ Republican by many anonymous strategists in insider publications, because apparently in DC, up is down.  Sometimes he breaks with his party when we don’t need his vote, but the reality is closer to the video above, where Kirk ran away from an Iraq veteran so he wouldn’t have to answer questions about his stance on the war.  The camera man is an AAEI organizer named Josh Lansdale, who also happens to be an Iraq vet.  I wrote this episode up in July.

Kirk likes to portray himself as a moderate Republican, and he even went to the White House earlier this year to talk about Iraq with George Bush.  In fact, The Hill reported that Karl Rove came down on Kirk hard for leaking this ‘confrontation’ to the press, and Kirk has quieted down.

Josh is an organizer for AAEI, and his goal is to stop the war by getting members of Congress to come out on Iraq.  In this case, he went to the event trying to get Kirk to go on the record with what he said in the White House and what his current position is on Iraq.  Does he support a withdrawal?  Does he support timelines?  Where is he on the surge?  People who attended the event said that Kirk was wishy washy, but Josh couldn’t get a direct report.  This episode took place at an event where Kirk keynoted eight local Chambers of Commerce coming together.  Josh had bought a ticket online, but was not allowed to attend, with organizers claiming the event had been sold out as they were selling tickets nearby.  So Josh eventually had to find Kirk out back, with this video camera.

The district, blue and getting bluer, is going to eat Kirk alive on Iraq, and he’s pushing extremely hard to be perceived of as moderate.  He’s even going so far as to propose ‘bipartisan’ solutions with Bush Dog Democrat Dan Lipinski, as Kos noted earlier this month.

The Lipinski-Kirk plan calls for a phased withdrawal similar to the one that U.S. Gen. David Petraeus outlined on Monday. Under the plan, one troop brigade would return to the U.S. in December and three more would be removed in the spring, without replacement. It would provide for troop levels in July 2008 of about 130,000, which is equal to “pre-surge” troop levels.

Got that? We’d simply hit the “reset” button, taking 10 months to get us back to the pre-surge status quo. And somehow, this “bipartisan” bill (which Bush will announce this week anyway) is supposed to be a solution to anything?

Nope, it’s two endangered congressmen — one a Republican, the other a Lieberdem — clinging together for dear life in the face of an unpopular war that they in reality support. Their actions don’t change the facts on the ground (the surge was always unsustainable for the long haul). It does nothing to end a conflict in which a solution is far beyond our grasp.

We’ve already got Lipinski in our cross-hairs, and it’s going to be tough to take down the Chicago Democratic machine.  But wouldn’t it be sweet if our response to Kirk and Lipinski’s bipartisan shill plan to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely was a bipartisan response of getting rid of both of them?

Yes, it would.  Please throw a few coins to Dan Seals for Congress on Blue Majority.

Still Busy

So enjoy more creationist follies

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Stop Pornography in The Military

I mean, what greater danger could our troops face than misogynistic crap in the middle of a civil war in which both sides hate us?

Trueman says the Alliance Defense Fund is encouraging citizens to get involved in this fight over this pornography policy. “What we’re going to do is try to get more and more complaints into the military about this policy. Because in justifying this policy by the military what they’ve said [is] they’ve had few complaints from families about the sale of pornography in the military,” he says.

Trueman says sexual harassment and other problems in the military are exacerbated by pornography. He says this new policy, of deeming magazines like Penthouse and Playboy as not sexually explicit, counters common sense.