July 3, 2008 archive

CenterShot: The Myth Of The Middle

Lately there has been a growing and increasingly loudly voiced call from some of the more extreme centrists and from the DLC itself pushing the idea that to win elections – the upcoming 2008 presidential election comes to mind for some strange reason – and gain power Democrats will have to move sharply to the right, and that liberals and progressives are dooming America to successive rethuglican administrations.

Sunday morning, March 11, 2007 in “Where Is America’s True Center?” David Sirota wrote that:

The purported proof of such an assertion by Democratic Leadership Council mouthpieces Elaine Kamarck and Bill Galston was this finding:

“In 2004, only 21 percent of voters called themselves liberal, while 34 percent said they were conservative. The rest, 45 percent, characterized themselves as moderate.”

The Washington media joined with Kamarck and Galston in billing this as an extraordinary finding that proved once and for all that Democrats must become more “moderate” or “conservative” because so few voters labeled themselves “liberal.”

Remember Postville, Iowa? Action Alert

On May 12th ICE agents raided the Agriprocessor plant in Postville, Iowa and detained nearly 400 men, women and children. Here’s a video of Sister Mary McCauley of St. Bridget’s Catholic Church talking about the impact of this raid on their small community and the efforts of the church to provide assistance.

I have a friend who is the director of an organization here in the Twin Cities, Centro Legal, that provides legal assistance for the immigrant communities in the area. Today I got an email pointing me to the following letter asking for assistance for this small town that has been devastated.

“Ignorance, Not Iran, Is the Enemy”

       Last weekend, June 28 and 29, 2008, over 300 people representing anti-war groups including A.N.S.W.E.R, Troops Out Now Coalition, United for Peace and Justice, U.S. Labor Against the War, StopWarOnIran, American Friends Service Committee, and CASMII, the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran, met in Cleveland, Ohio, under the auspices of the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation.

The main goal of the National Assembly Conference was to unify the various coalition members around common Resolutions and coordinated plans for Actions throughout the nation to demand the immediate withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq.

Concerned that the ongoing drumbeat urging war against Iran might not be appropriately countered by anti-war activists, CASMII-USA President Rostam Pourzal and Phil Wilayto, publisher of the Richmond Defender drafted a Resolution urging that National Assembly include in its goals that of preventing an attack on Iran.

Behind the banner, Ignorance, Not Iran, Is the Enemy, Pourzal and Wilayto, who are both members of VAWN, Virginia Anti-War Network, conducted a workshop laying out arguments why a military attack on Iran, Sanctions on Iran, and interference in Iran’s internal affairs should be opposed by anti-war activists.

Rostam Pourzal answered the main U.S. lies – that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons, that it is a military threat to the United States and Israel, that it sponsors terrorism, and that it is a source of instability in Iraq.

Wilayto discussed the urgency of including the Iran Resolution in the actions of the National Assembly, since it is

the only major anti-war planning event taking place this election year…{and it} brought together representatives of national coalitions that seldom work together.

Pourzal, Wilayto, and this diarist attended the Conference motivated by

concern that the Bush administration might misread the conference’s focus on bringing troops back from Iraq as indifference in the anti-war movement regarding an attack on Iran. There was no lack of concern among the conference participants or organizers about aggression against Iran.

Pourzal presented the Iran Resolution to the Conferees on Sunday morning.   The CASMII/Defenders Iran Resolution was one of several Iran resolutions put before the body; others were less desirable in that they called for      acts of protest onlyafter harmful actions had been initiated against Iran. Advocates for those Resolutions graciously agreed to cede their draft resolution and support the CASMII/Defenders Iran Resolution, namely:

demand that the National Assembly declare its unequivocal opposition to:

(1) any military attack on Iran, by the U.S., Israel, or any other country acting at the behest of the U.S.;

(2) the imposition or continuation of sanctions, whether economic or military, against Iran; and

(3) any attempt by the U.S. government or any of its agencies to interfere with or influence the internal political process in Iran

In a floor debate Iran Resolution advocates requested that the National Assembly

incorporate these demands into any future protests…and officially agree that copies of the resolution on Iran be included with any press release about the results of the conference.

Consistent with the finding that

some 70 percent of the people of the United States favor withdrawal from Iraq,

National Assembly conferees voted overwhelmingly to adopt the Iran Resolution as proposed by CASMII/Defenders.

Close observers of the U.S.–Israel–Iran debacle reflect that,

George Bush has less than seven months before he leaves the White House. So the window of opportunity for an attack on Iran by the US or Israel is closing. Some in the anti-war movement may feel that the threat of a new war is remote. But the month of August has in the past presented an attractive time frame for the U.S. government to implement unpopular policies. Congress is not in session in August and students are dispersed, as are many working people. The anti-war movement itself is in a less active mode in mid to late summer, with many of activists taking time off for needed rest.


Yesterday, in a diary titled,  Stop War On Iran, Aug. 2 An Emergency Call to Actionactioncenter brought to the attention of the DailyKos community one of many Stop War on Iran Mass Marches planned for August 2, 2008.

We believe that the possibility of an attack on Iran is credible and serious. Please strengthen opposition to war with your participation

in actions already organized in your community, or contact CASMII USA, or StopWarOnIran or your local Obama Campaign headquarters for assistance in organizing your own march on August 2, 2008.

IGNORANCE IS THE ENEMY. Educate yourself.

But if you CAN’T participate in a protest march to Stop War on Iran on August 2, at least seek to inform yourself and your friends and neighbors of the history of U.S.–Iran relations, find out what Iran is really like, and prepare yourself to talk back to the campaign of demonization that is being foisted on the American people, just like the campaign of lies and fearmongering that preceded our invasion of Iraq.  

One invaluable source of sound information about the Iran–U.S. relationship can be found in The Teaching Company’s lecture series, The United States and the Middle East: 1914 to 9/11, taught by Professor Salim Yaqub of the University of Chicago.  If your local library does not have the series, request them to acquire it; if your book club chooses to purchase it, find it here.  I found it worthwhile to pay the extra money for the DVD version, because it was helpful to follow the action on maps that Prof. Yaqub displayed.

And to get a flavor of the Iranian heart and soul, read Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz’s Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran

Can we the people stop war on Iran?

Yes, We Can

Under pressure, musical festival licks Army’s boots

One step forward, a half step back.

We said it yesterday, in urging people to thank Milwaukee's Summerfest for doing the right thing and shutting down an Army exhibit that featured virtual killing:

It is never easy to publicly take a stand and reverse an earlier decision — not to mention facing down the military.

Summerfest found just how hard it is after a right-wing radio talker on Wisconsin’s most powerful station, crazed by the decision, spent hours urging his listeners to call the festival and complain.

The result? A "compromise" which allowed the game to begin operating again, replacing the human targets with inanimate ones. (To see the “game,” click here and wait a few seconds.)

“The decision to reopen “America’s Army” was announced late Wednesday afternoon in a joint news release from the Army and Summerfest faxed to the Journal Sentinel on Army stationery," the newspaper reports.

Four at Four

  1. Judge Rejects Bush’s View on Wiretaps
    By Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times

    A federal judge in California said Wednesday that the wiretapping law established by Congress was the “exclusive” means for the president to eavesdrop on Americans, and he rejected the government’s claim that the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief trumped that law.

    The judge, Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge for the Northern District of California, made his findings in a ruling on a lawsuit brought by an Oregon charity. The group says it has evidence of an illegal wiretap used against it by the National Security Agency under the secret surveillance program established by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    The Justice Department has tried for more than two years to kill the lawsuit, saying any surveillance of the charity or other entities was a “state secret” and citing the president’s constitutional power as commander in chief to order wiretaps without a warrant from a court under the agency’s program.

  2. A brief update on Iraq. McClatchy Newspapers report, Iraq claims negotiation progress with the U.S.. Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s foreign minister, said both sides negotiated “an acceptable result’ on the immunity of mercenaries from Iraqi law. “He said it now was agreed that the Iraqi judiciary “should have the final decision” on the issue of arresting U.S. citizens.”

    “The Americans accepted after very deep study and because of the sensitivity of the issue that the private security companies, which our people have suffered from in more than one incident, are not included in the legal immunity,” he said.

    Remaining issues include control over Iraq’s airspace and the number of permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is not commenting on the negotiations, but Bush has said that he wants the security agreement concluded by the end of July.

    And the CS Monitor reports Aid for Iraqi refugees is often redirected in Jordan. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is seeking donors to help meet the needs of Iraqi war refugees in Jordan, 61 percent of UNHCR’s budget is being given directly to Jordan. This is described as “trickle-down development” intended on paper to help refugees by helping their host nation.

    “But with budgets squeezed by rising fuel and food prices, some experts are questioning how much Iraqis are benefiting from international funds that are not going directly to refugee services but instead to the Jordanian government. While aid agencies are focused on the benefits of the work Jordan’s government has done, some officials worry that not meeting Iraqis basic needs could disastrously shatter expectations.”

    Since when did trickle-down anything work?

Four at Four continues with troop shortages in Afghanistan thanks to Bush’s Iraq war and a World Bank biofuels report being suppressed to keep from embarrassing Bush.

Action: Russ Feingold’s Petition against the FISA Bill

TomP has posted a diary calling on everyone to sign Russ Feingold’s petition against the “compromise” FISA bill.

From Russ Feingold:

In recent days, people across the country have voiced the opinion that the so-called “compromise” FISA bill working its way through the Senate must be stopped.

As you already know, I am working hard to strip retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that allegedly cooperated with the President’s illegal warrantless wiretapping program from the bill.

But that is not the only problem. This FISA legislation gives enormous powers to the government: including the ability to read emails and text messages and listen to phone conversations of anyone communicating with their family members, friends, associates, reporters, ANYBODY who may be overseas – all with zero court review.  Nobody should be supporting this legislation.

We can defend our country from terrorists while at the same time protecting the rights and freedoms outlined in the Constitution.   It’s time for our elected officials to stand up for the values on which our country was founded.

We should celebrate our Constitution this Fourth of July – and do everything we can to prevent it from being torn up when the Senate returns to Washington next week.

Progressives everywhere have already had a tremendous impact – with phone calls, emails, and letters pouring into offices by the hundreds (in some cases thousands), but the pressure on my colleagues to give in to this so-called “compromise” and President Bush is strong.

I’m going to continue to do everything I can to stand up for the rights and freedoms we all share.  Thanks again for doing your part.


Russ Feingold

Honorary Chair

Progressive Patriots Fund

An easy way to get active. Sorry this is so short. Wanted to get it out quick.

The Rant That Shaped A Movement

Yesterday, as Meteor Blades reminded us, is the fifth anniversary of a George Bush quote so spectacularly dumb that it will make any greatest hits collection–no need to buy the box set.

“There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “My answer is bring them on.”

When Bush’s interview was carried on the news, a retired Special Forces non-com named Stan Goff in Raleigh, NC went into a white-hot rage. He sat down at his keyboard and ripped out a response entitled “Bring ‘Em On?” You may well remember it, although it was five years ago today. Within hours it swept across the Internet like a prairie fire.

Sparked by the letter’s urgency and the response it triggered, a group of veterans and military family members made contact with one another and assembled the Bring Them Home Now! campaign. BTHN! kept the “Now” to the fore in the anti-war movement and coordinated a strong presence for forces from what some called the “military community.” Stan not only took a central part in the campaign, but went on to act as adviser to the just-born Iraq Veterans Against the War in their crucial first year.

Obama is a Fascist!

Yesterday I said I didn’t know what The Right represented anymore. Today they do us the courtesy of telling us directly. What are their ideas in the battle of ideas, what is it that they are they fighting for?

Via Think Progress…. and posted on The American Spectator

SO LET’S SUM UP what America would look like in an age of Obama.

To start there would be no more driving SUVs. No more Rush. For God’s sake absolutely no driving your SUV while listening to Rush. No more eating whatever you want. Definitely no keeping your home as warm or as cool as you prefer. No capital gains cuts because they are unfair. Your guns will be banned. And if you have a different opinion on global warming? All those lofty supporters of rights for terrorists are going to strip every oil executive in America of theirs in a heartbeat, live and in living color.

Is anyone paying attention here? Today the targets are talk radio, oil, SUVs, or guns or debates on global warming and so on. But what about tomorrow and the day after that and the day and years after that? What freedoms will next be targeted with that deadliest trademark of an Obamalander — moral superiority? What do we have when the sole purpose of the government as run by the chilling principles of Obamaland is to “use the political process” to remove freedoms large and small one by one by one?

Someone needs to speak it plainly.

The word is fascism.

Diebold Schmiebold, or Don’t Worry About Obama

Are they going to Steal 2008?

by Greg Palast, www.gregpalast.com

Are they going to Steal 2008? Don’t worry: it’s already stolen. But you can steal it back. Ted Rall and I have teamed up for one of the first ever series of hard-edged investigative journalism – in ‘toon form. Steal this strip … and pass it on: VOTE THEFT FOR IDIOTS – PART 1 … (click here to download a pdf)

The New “King of Oil”

For awhile now, I’ve been feeling like what little hope for the world is out there is coming from South America. Leaders like Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela are showing a tremendous amount of courage in taking on US imperialism. And the more they do so, the more they will be vilified by our media.

I am grateful to davidseth who so regularly keeps us informed of a variety of issues that are emanating from this part of the world. His most recent essay about Ingrid Betancourt, the good news of her release, and the questions surrounding that are a wonderful example.

Alternative news sources are critical in so many instances, and never more so than as we try to understand what is happening in South America. That’s why this video of Greg Palast explaining what is happening in Venezuela is something I wanted to share with all of you.  

HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq/Afganistan – June 2008

A Nation that sends its Sons and Daughters into Occupations?

A C-17 Airforce Transport plane arrives in Kandahar, Afghanistan to receive the bodies of five U.S. service members killed. Though more than 1,000 US and coalition forces were on hand to participate in the “ramp ceremony,” a Los Angeles Times reporter and photographer were asked to leave the area by a military public affairs officer. A Pentagon policy banning coverage of this particular event was cited as the reason. [Photo: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times]

Why is the Polar Ice melting? Fox News has the Answer!

No, Virginia.  There is no global warming!

Do you know how I know this, Virginia?  Because those well known and highly decorated Scientists, Rush Limpbaugh,PhV (Physician, Viagara), Sean Hannity,WnGnT (Wingnut), and Neal Boortz, LnC (Libertarian Nutcase) have told me in no uncertain terms that it is SO.

Who, in their Right(wing) Mind could possibly have the expertise in this field to actually stand up to these “Keepers of the Truth and the American Way” and offer a different opinion?

Certainly not Fox News!  That bastion of the Fair and Balanced coverage of all things great and small would never give in to the temptation to try their hand at discouraging their viewers from not believing any single word uttered by the above mentioned “brilliant scientists of hate radio.”

In fact, Fox News has their very own theory that they pulled directly out of their collective asses regarding why global warming is not the cause for the melting of Planet Earth’s Arctic ice.  

Let’s see what they have to say on this issue, below.


Load more