July 7, 2008 archive

Pony Party…. Filling in

So, last week I was having the worst kind of day… nothing was going right with the world and I was in a funk.  Decided to do something positive and was washing out glass bottles and tin cans for recycling.  Mr.ml had just left and there I was washing away, getting that tin can shiny clean.. and surer than hell, sliced the bejesus out of my thumb.  Now this wasn’t a little slice, it was a gash and was bleeding like a stuck pig.  So, while standing in the kitchen muttering “This can’t be good” and with one thumb over the other to stop the bleeding (with both hands over my head) I realized I couldn’t dial the phone without the gushing starting again.  Well, finally managed to make a quick call to my honey..”Come home NOW.”  Anyway, home he comes on the double and we get the thing bandaged.

“…Why my first vote will go to McCain…”

This is a title of a Letter to the Editor.  Ah, you say:  Must be from the offspring of some mega church evangelical in a red state, right?  Well, surprisingly enough, it’s not.  It is from a 2008 graduate of Mumford High School, writing the letter to the Detroit Free Press.

“I am not ashamed to admit that the man getting my vote will be a Republican referred to as “the anti-Christ” by my acquaintances…Since the campaign began, most of my friends and family supported Obama just because of the color of his skin — not because of his politics…”

So, this young African-American woman is going to vote for McCain.  What reasons does she give, other than her statement that initially it was a rebellion?  Here are a couple of reasons she gives (emphasis mine):

(More Below the Fold)

Seven-week walk for peace starts Saturday in Chicago

On Saturday, a group of walkers for peace will set out from Chicago on a seven-week walk ending at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Their mission:

To challenge and to nonviolently resist our country’s continuing war in and occupation of Iraq.

The walk, which will cross the entire state of Wisconsin, is organized by Voices for Creative Non-violence, a Chicago-based group with deep, long-standing roots in active nonviolent resistance to U.S. war-making. Begun in the summer of 2005, Voices draws upon the experiences of those who challenged the brutal economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and U.N. against the Iraqi people between 1990 and 2003.

Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota peace organizations are supporting the walk, playing host to the walkers and holding events along the route. People can participate by joining the walk for a day, a week, a month or the entire Witness Against War. Those who live along the route could consider making a food donation or organizing with others in your community to provide lunch or dinner to walkers.

The walkers would like to be able to spread the word of the walk a couple days or more in advance of arriving in a community, so volunteers to do advance leafleting would be helpful.

You can learn more about the schedule and sign up to walk or help on the website.

The walkers will be in Racine July 17-18 and in Milwaukee for an event on July 20. Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice has a complete listing of Wisconsin events on its calendar.

I'm thinking of walking the Milwaukee to Brookfield stretch, but must say that some of the mid-August dates along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi, around Alma and Fountain City, are quite tempting, too. This flyer shows the whole schedule at a glance.  

Gotta Love those Guys at JustForeignPolicy.org

cross-posted at Iran thru Open Eyes

Here’s what came over the transom today from Robert Naiman and others at JustForeignPolicy, the gang that, I hope, will kick ass and take names as the Bushcons are ushered out the back door:

Recently we’ve seen an escalation of threats to attack Iran. In the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh reported that Congressional leaders agreed last year to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran. (1) The House of Representatives is currently considering a resolution promoted by AIPAC that would effectively demand a blockade against Iran. (2) This resolution has over 200 co-sponsors, although a surge of opposition has prevented it from being passed so far.

Here’s what those promoting military attacks and blockades on Iran don’t want Americans to know: there’s an offer on the table that could resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and allow both sides to claim victory.

Help us spread the word by watching and forwarding this video, in which former US Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering makes the case for talks with Iran, without pre-conditions, on multilateral uranium enrichment in Iran:


Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports a Suicide car bomber kills dozens in Afghanistan. “In one of the worst suicide attacks ever to strike the Afghan capital, a car bomber today killed up to 41 people and wounded more than 140 others just outside the Indian Embassy, authorities said. The blast was apparently aimed at a pair of diplomatic vehicles entering the embassy, but passersby, including women and children, took the brunt of the powerful explosion on a busy thoroughfare in the city center.”

    The NY Times notes today’s attack was “deadliest suicide car bombing since the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 ousted the Taliban… The fact that the Indian Embassy was attacked raised suspicions among Afghan officials that Pakistani operatives allied with the Taliban had used the bombing to pursue Pakistan’s decades-long power struggle with India.” The Guardian adds that Afghans accuse foreign agents of involvement in Indian embassy attack.

  2. The Washington Posts reports Iraq’s Maliki Suggests Setting Timetable for U.S. Withdrawal.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has for the first time suggested establishing a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, a step that the Bush administration has long opposed…

    A U.S. Embassy official, speaking on condition of anonymity, downplayed Maliki’s comments, saying that he was not referring to a fixed timetable, but was speaking more generally to convey opposition to any large and long-term presence of troops or U.S. bases…

    Meanwhile, a bombing near a market in the city of Baqubah killed as many as nine people Monday, continuing a recent wave of attacks in Baghdad and surrounding areas. Police in Diyala province, north of Baghdad, said the blast took place outside a cosmetics store in a market west of the city…

    As many as a dozen others were injured in the Baqubah explosion. Elsewhere, two women were killed in an explosion to the east of Baqubah, and four others died in a separate bombing on the eastern edge of Diyala province.

    The deaths add to 16 fatalities that occurred on Sunday when a wave of attacks in Baghdad and areas north of the capital Sunday shattered a relative lull in violence. Fifteen others were injured. Just one day earlier, Maliki had declared that Iraq’s government had defeated terrorism.

  3. RIA Novosti reports Russia hopes for new strategic arms deal with U.S. by yearend. “Russia expects to reach a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States by the end of the year, an aide to the president of Russia said on Sunday. The effective Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union on July 31, 1991, five months before the U.S.S.R. collapsed. The treaty is set to expire on December 5, 2009.” There has been no recent progress in the negotiations according to the Russians.

    Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Bush and Medvedev meet for the first time. Dmitry Medvedev, the new president of Russia, and Bush met in meetings outside the G8 conference in Japan. Bush did not look into Medvedev’s soul.

    “I’m not going to sit here and psychoanalyze the man, but I will tell you that he’s very comfortable, he’s confident, and that I believe that when he tells me something, he means it,” Bush said.

  4. According to the LA Times, Protesters are gearing up for the political conventions. In the convention cities — Denver for the Democrats and St. Paul for the Republicans — “activists are already skirmishing with city officials over where and when they will be allowed to demonstrate.”

    In both cities, the local chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union are suing on behalf of protesters, contending that the cities are forcing the protesters into areas that activists have dubbed “freedom cages” — which are out of earshot of the delegates — and allowing marches only during hours when the conventions are not in session.

    St. Paul City Atty. John Choi said the city had already altered the parade schedule and mapped the route to get marchers “within the very shadows” of the arena where the convention will meet.

    “I honestly don’t know how to make these folks happy,” Choi said.

Senator McCain: HELP ME HELP YOU!

Senator McCain: I am PREPARED TO DEFEND the use of your military record as PROOF of your QUALIFICATION TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT

I lack only the tools.

Help ME to help YOU.  


From Yahoo News Top Stories


My Experience at String Fling in Sterling, NY

After an easy drive out to Sterling I had a little difficulty finding the venue, but like most things that are hard to find it was worth the search.  The “gate” consisted of two large trees on either side of the road with some friendly faces there to greet you.  Eric, the Arts Director came out and introduced himself, gave me some background on the venue, musicians and layout of the property.

I was lead to my spot, right in the middle of Vendor Row, quickly unpacked my things and set up my tent.  Stan, my neighbor in a big white converted bus, was the first to say hello, he gave me a tour of his bus and introduced me around to his travel companions.  Stan sells rocks, crystals and anything terrestrial and was going to head to Herkimer to get some more Herkimer Diamonds right after the show.

I exited the bus and was asked if I’d be willing to paint a sign for the Family Village area, a small hollow that sits away from the rest of the venue where things are quieter.  I said sure and was handed a beautiful piece of wood that had been reserved for just this purpose. I broke out my paints and started in on it. People walking by asked what I was doing and who I was and it was a good way to meet new people.

The Millennial Left and the Old Left

As we geezers are coming to find out, there is a new force in politics, the people who are trying to shape the future that they will live in after we are ‘gone.’

From Wikipedia:

Generation Y (sometimes referred to as “the Millennials” or “Echo Boomers”) refers to a specific cohort of individuals born, roughly, between 1980-94.

Generation Y are primarily children of the Baby boomers and Generation Jones (US only), though some are children of older Gen X adults…..

A central characteristic of what defines Generation Y is that they have no memory of the Cold War….

If the years 1981-2000 are used, as is common in market research, then the size of Millennials in the United States is approximately 76 million.

Who are these people? What do they want? And why don’t they realize that fighting the ideological battles of the past is more important than creating the future???

And most importantly, how can we help them to not have to reinvent the wheelPhotobucket

as they flex their newfound political power?

National Assembly offers blueprint for antiwar action

I had promised to report on the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation held June 28-29 in Cleveland, but delayed it to await an official summary of the actions taken there.  Unless you were in the room almost all of the time for the debate and votes, it was impossible to know exactly what decisions the 400-plus participants made.  And I confess to spending a good chunk of time “networking” and kibitzing in the halls.

Now the organizers have produced their summary and evaluation, which you can read it its entirety here.

The Assembly urged united and massive mobilizations on both coasts in the spring to end the war, while also endorsing demonstrations at the Republican (Sept. 1-4)  and Democratic (Aug. 25-28) conventions, local actions on October 11 — the date Congress passed the resolution authorizing the Iraq war — and proposing Dec. 9-14 as dates for local actions across the country demanding the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The group also voted almost unanmously to endorse local Iraq Moratorium actions on the Third Friday of every month, although that is not specifically mentioned in the organizers’ report. That’s disappointing to me, as part of the group who worked to make that part of the action agenda passed by the participants. But in the grand scheme of things, as one of my compatriots said, “This is just one document, produced by some exhausted folks in the aftermath of a complex event.”  The proof, as usual, will be in the pudding.

Organizers believe the Dec. 9-14 actions provide the best potential for uniting the entire movement in the months ahead:

ANSWER and the Troops Out Now Coalition have endorsed them and the hope is that United for Peace and Justice will do the same. The need now is to take these proposed dates to local antiwar coalitions; labor groups, especially U.S. Labor Against the War; veterans and military families organizations: the faith community; Black, Hispanic, Asian, Arab, Muslim and other nationalities, racial and ethnic groups; students; women’s peace organizations; the Iraq Moratorium; and other social forces that can be drawn into antiwar activities. All actions are viewed as springboards for building massive, united, independent and bi-coastal Spring 2009 demonstrations against the war.

In other action, the Assembly:

— Expressed its strong opposition to attacks against Iran, as well as sanctions and other forms of intervention into that country’s internal affairs; registered determination to join other antiwar forces in massive united, protest actions in the event that the U.S. or its proxy, Israel, bombs Iran; and urged that if this occurs an emergency meeting of all the major antiwar forces be called to plan such actions.

— Added Afghanistan to the name of the Assembly because the U.S. is fighting two unjust, illegal and brutal wars simultaneously and both must be opposed. We are now the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations.

— Voted to integrate the issue of Palestine into the broader antiwar struggle and to challenge U.S. support for the Israeli occupation.

It’s hard to judge the Assembly’s real impact, but just getting activists from a wide variety of groups and causes to spend the weekend in the same room, operating in a civil fashion and emphasizing their unifying beliefs rather than their differences, is an accomplishment in itself.

As one of my Wisconsin friends put it, “The hollering was at a minimum, the crowd lively, (if a bit unfocused), the tone was upbeat.”

The Assembly adopted the Big Tent philosophy, and was happy to keep enlarging the tent to make room for everyone.  Oppose the war in Afghanistan, too?  Come on in.  Palestine’s your main focus?  No problem, there’s plenty of room.

While that may have built a broader coalition, it seems like that message may be a harder sell when it comes to trying to mobilize massive numbers of regular folks to act against the war — and that must be the ultimate objective. With a single focus on Iraq, which two-thirds of Americans think was a mistake, it has still been hard to get people to translate their feelings into action.  Adding more issues to the pot will not make it easier, but more difficult.  

The group’s five points of unity are: (1) “Out Now!” as the movement’s unifying demand, (2) mass action as the central strategy, (3) unity of the movement, (4) democratic decision making, and (5) independence from all political parties. Steps were taken to make the Assembly an ongoing organization, “a network with its mission intact and continuing:  to be a catalyst and unifier, striving always to unite the movement in the streets.”

There are certain to be some bumps in the road.  The one-person, one-vote rule worked in Cleveland, but that meant that Ohio participants had 140 votes while Texas had one.  Twenty-five states had no representatives at all.  While geography may not be important — this is an antiwar coalition, not the Electoral College — it also means that some of the bigger organizations were under-represented.  At some point that may become an issue.

But, big picture, was it worth doing?  Was it energizing?  Am I glad I went?

Yes, yes, and yes.


Broken Record Bush: The Same Hit’s Just Keep on Playin’ Over and Over

In talks with the Japanese Prime Minister prior to the G8 Summit next week on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, our National Embarassment and all around Shameless President, George W. Bush is either:

A.)  Having constructive talks with the Japanese P.M. on how to make positive economic and environmental changes for the betterment of the world population

B.)  Having destructive talks with the Japanese P.M. on how to shirk positive economic and environmental changes for the betterment of the world population

C.)  Saying the same ol’ shit over and over like a broken record

Now, I know there are a couple of choices there that are tempting, and one that is completely ridiculous on many levels.  However, the MOST correct answer is the one we are looking for here today.

The correct answer is C !!  Saying the same ol’ shit over and over like a broken record

For those of you who may or may not have been not fooled by the “shirk” question (which by the way is MOSTLY right), we will discuss this more in just a bit.

See me below.

Don’t You Wanna Be Free

Hey there… this is a song I just wrote and if anyone wants to listen that’s cool.  I hope it’s not too presumptuous to post something like this.

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