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Benjamin Franklin and America Today

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As we know, much of the Constitution has been suspended, as has Habeas Corpus.

Most recently, the First Amendment has virtually been destroyed. Details are here:…

This means that American citizens have lost Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Religion.

Yesterday I asked “What would Jefferson and Franklin do?” – say? think? regarding these perilous times in a diary called “You Can’t Be Serious”. Some respondents posted pictures of frogs, cake, horse faces and nose picking to demonstrate their cheer and suggested that we all need a good laugh, some entertainment. Some cherry-picked quotes to prove that Franklin, and Jefferson were really jolly sorts.

We are taught to remember these inventors as kite-flyer and gentleman farmer, so some of that is true. But a further look afield yields riches.

Franklin considered the suspension of rights and values very carefully. What he had to say about that is in Franklin’s own essay, below the fold. As you read it, you will see now closely his times were like our own. (Emphasis is added by me re Habeas Corpus, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.)

Eric Larsen tells us of the dangers we face in this magnificent three-part essay – with which, I think, the Framers would agree.…

Your Congresscritter can be contacted here

If you love America, there is nothing to laugh about, and every reason to get busy saving Liberty.

“A Republic – if you can keep it”

~ Ben Franklin

What Would Benjamin Franklin Do?

As you may know, the First Amendment of the Constitution has virtually been suspended. Among other things, this means that Americans no longer have Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion.

Yesterday I asked “What would Jefferson and Franklin do?” regarding these perilous times in an essay, “You Can’t Be Serious”.

Some respondents presented cherry-picked quotes to demonstrate that Franklin, and Jefferson, were really jolly sorts. But, as is so often the case with quickly provided internet responses,  they didn’t do their homework.…


A few videos and links to provoke thought and raise awareness.

What is Greenwashing?……

Online Videos by

Raise Hell for Molly Ivins

In this video, Molly Ivins speaks about Americans who are slackers, failing to defend the most magnificent political document anyone on this planet has been heir to.

This address was recorded over two years ago. The stakes are higher now: It is the eleventh hour for America.

Here’s a recording of a “Raise Hell for Molly Ivins” memorial service for Molly held in January.

What are YOU doing to help America and save the Constitution? What would Molly do?

Stop waiting. Get out the pots and pans. Raise Hell for Molly Ivins.


“Bring Out Your Pots & Pans!

Help organize an action in you home town! We are just regular folks with jobs and all of life’s pressures, but we feel a need to speak out and do what we can. Please join our Raise Hell campaign by banging pots and pans for peace, and using every peaceful means including the Internet, phone and fax to let the LOCAL office of your Congressional Representative know – on the 3rd Friday of every month – that the war must end NOW and no attacks on Iran!

If you cannot attend a physical protest, please WRITE, TELEPHONE, FAX and EMAIL your LOCAL Congressional Representative’s office on that day!


Network with local organizations and individuals is your area. Let us know about your efforts, and send us your pictures to help inspire others; we will post on the website. We will also help you network with others in your area as well as statewide and nationally. Contact us at: [email protected]

Download Flyers and Signs

Go to our section of print-ready materials for flyers and signs that you can use as is, or modify for your locality,

Send Letters and Emails to Congress

See our Congressional contacts and Sample Letters for complete info.


We need BLOG and Internet enthusiasts to get the word out; researchers to gather congressional info and more; website content development and programming support; and other assistance to build the campaign.


We’re making a difference, with a simple, low-cost approach, but it does take hard cash to make the most of our collective efforts!


Email: [email protected]

Phone: 1-925-787-3354 ”

Below the fold, a fun video from the Pots and Pans Brigade.  

Howard Zinn: Empire or Humanity – A History of the American People

Read a transcript and a lot more – including much uncensored news – here


Conyers threatens impeachment if Iran attacked – Afterdowningstreet

Positive Signs from Conyers

By David Swanson

Coming out of today’s meeting with John Conyers, these seem to be the significant developments:

He is circulating a letter among his colleageus for signatures, a letter addressed to Bush letting him know that an attack on Iran will result in impeachment hearings. LET’S ASK EVERY MEMBER OF CONGRESS TO SIGN ON! I know it seems bassackwards and we want impeachment before a new war, not after, but this is a way for us to show Conyers the support that will be there any time he moves forward.

He is open to the new argument that we have been making to him, namely that impeachment hearings for Cheney or Bush (on torture, signing statements, spying, war crimes, etc, etc) would hurt John McCain’s candidacy by forcing him to defend the crimes.

He is open to meeting with experts allied with us to hear their arguments for impeachment.

All of that is positive. Still, Conyers continues to believe that elections are more important than justice, that impeachment would be bad for the elections, and that impeachment hearings would be stonewalled by the White House. There are a couple of possible responses to the last point. One is that impeachment hearings, including taking up H Res 799 as instructed by the full House last November, and even marking it up to add new charges, overrule claims of “executive privilege.” Of course Bush and Cheney could claim otherwise, but there is an answer to that. When Nixon refused a subpoena, the House Judiciary Committee passed an article of impeachment against him for that refusal. Cheney and Bush have already refused subpoenas. There’s no need to wait.

To sign up for AfterDowningStreet Alerts go here:

To sign up for the following alerts send an Email to the address listed:

Action alerts: [email protected]

Articles for media: [email protected]

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Charlottesville VA press releases: [email protected]

Congressman Conyers Is Waiting for a Push to Start Impeachment Hearings


Please pass on to your lists today – THANKS

Congressman Conyers Is Waiting for a Push to Start Impeachment Hearings

On Thursday, Chairman John Conyers’ House Judiciary Committee held a hearing at which Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that he would not investigate torture or warrantless spying, he would not enforce contempt citations, and he would treat Justice Department opinions as providing immunity for crimes.

None of this was new, but perhaps it touched something in Conyers that had not been touched before. Following the hearing, he and two staffers met for over an hour with two members of Code Pink and discussed activism and impeachment, including Congressman Robert Wexler’s proposal to begin impeachment hearings on Cheney.

Conyers expressed his concerns about what might happen following an impeachment, the danger of installing a Bush replacement or losing an election. He cited potential ramifications that have not yet been examined that could have the opposite effect. Conyers told Ellen Taylor and Manijeh Saba that you need to be more than brave and courageous, you need to be smart.

Help us let Conyers know that the smart thing right now would be bravery and courage.

The Chairman told Taylor and Saba that he has been listening to several advocates for impeachment, including Liz Holtzman and David Swanson. He hinted he could be swayed by a convincing argument, leaning out of his chair for dramatic effect.

We want to continue the dialogue with Congressman Conyers. On Rosa Parks’ birthday last week, Leslie Angeline began a fast for impeachment. Taylor and over 20 other activists have joined the fast . Conyers has agreed to meet with Leslie to discuss impeachment on Tuesday.

Lend your voices to the conversation and make phone calls, send faxes and Email Congressman Conyers on Monday and Tuesday. Let the Chairman know that only impeachment hearings:

1-will reach a broad TV audience

2-will force compliance with subpoenas by eliminating “executive privilege”

3-will hold brazen criminals accountable

4-will convince citizens that Congress cares about upholding the Constitution.

Call: 202-225-5126

Fax: 202-225-0072

Email: [email protected]

Video – Despotism and Democracy

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“A Republic – if you can keep it” – Ben Franklin

UPDATE: STOP CONGRESS/Conyers Says He’s on Edge of Starting Impeachment


Jamilla El-Shafei wrote:


Greetings Friends,

This March will mark the beginning of the 6th year of the war and occupation of Iraq. I hope that you will join me on Capitol Hill for an action which will focus

on the role which Congress has played in the continuation of the war.

On Monday, March 10th and Tuesday March 11th  Iraq Veterans in uniform,

Veterans for Peace, Students on Spring Break and citizens of conscience will be

on Capitol Hill to deliver STOP-LOSS orders to Congress.

Just as Congress has condoned the involuntary extensions of the tours of duty

(called stop-loss) to military personnel, resulting in physical and mental

stress for soldiers and hardship to their families and the continuation

of suffering, death and destruction in Iraq,  WE THE PEOPLE, for whom

Congress works, will notify them that their upcoming Spring Recess has

been canceled. Congress will be ordered to stay at their posts (offices)until they perform the job we elected them to do, which is


On Wednesday, If Congress does not comply, we will confront  them with

peaceful, civil resistance. CONGRESS CANNOT GO HOME UNTIL THE TROOPS

COME HOME! If Congress members attempt to leave Capitol Hill the

CODE PINK POLICE will issue citizen citations, but others will form blockades.

However, if Congress members do manage to slither out of DC and make

their way back to their districts the following week, we ask that you

organize SIT-INS in their offices and DEMAND that they watch the footage of the WINTER  SOLDIER testimony!

If you cannot make it to DC please visit the web site and sign the STOP-LOSS CONGRESS petition NOW in support of this action.

also visit and

STUDENTS  check out

Peace NOW!

Jamilla El-Shafei


[email protected]  


Conyers Says He’s on Edge of Starting Impeachment…

By David Swanson

On Thursday, Chairman John Conyers’ House Judiciary Committee held a hearing at which Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that he would not investigate torture (video) or warrantless spying (video), he would not enforce contempt citations (video), and he would treat Justice Department opinions as providing immunity for crimes (report).

None of this was new, but perhaps it touched something in Conyers that had not been touched before. Following the hearing, he and two staffers met for an hour and 15 minutes with two members of Code Pink to discuss impeachment.

Conyers expressed fear of what might happen following an impeachment, fear of installing a Bush replacement or losing an election. The “corporate power structure”, he said, would not allow impeachment without unleashing “blowback.” Conyers told Ellen Taylor and Manijeh Saba: “You need to be more than brave and courageous. You need to be smart.”

Their response? They are asking people who care about justice to help them let Conyers know that the smart thing right now would be bravery and courage.

On Rosa Parks’ birthday last week, Leslie Angeline began a fast for impeachment. Taylor and over 20 other activists have joined the fast. Conyers has agreed to meet with Angeline to discuss impeachment on Tuesday.

The Chairman told Taylor and Saba that he is listening to several advocates for impeachment, including Liz Holtzman and this author, and asked “So how would it look if I allowed two women to push me over the edge?” Conyers leaned out of his chair for dramatic effect.

A number of organizations will be sending their members this alert Monday morning:

Let’s push Conyers over the edge by flooding his office with phone calls, faxes, and Emails on Monday and Tuesday. Let him know that only impeachment hearings

1-will make it on TV,

2-will force compliance with subpoenas by eliminating “executive privilege”,

3-will hold brazen criminals accountable, and

4-will convince voters that Democrats care about the Constitution.

Call 202-225-5126

Fax 202-225-0072

Email [email protected]

Angeline, whose father was on the original Freedom Riders bus that was firebombed in Anniston, Ala., in 1961 began her fast and a sit-in in Conyers’ office on Rosa Parks’ birthday, and within a few minutes had been granted an appointment with Conyers for Thursday. He postponed it until Tuesday because of the duration of the Mukasey hearing. Taylor, Saba, and others attended the hearing and were told by Conyers’ staffer Therise West that they would be removed by force if they did not cover up shirts and pins with messages including “No Torture,” “Arrest Bush,” “Not One More,” and even the text of Article II Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. Rather than comply, Taylor and Saba wore shirts displaying that section of the Constitution, were not removed, and were granted the meeting with Conyers to discuss it.

The meeting took place in the rooms attached to the committee room. After an hour delay, Conyers came in with three beers, a bag of nuts, and two staffers. Nobody drank the beers. Conyers ate the nuts. The staffers were Perry Appelbaum, who left early, and George Slover.

As Taylor recounted it to me, she and Saba pushed Conyers on the importance of the Constitution, on the crisis it faces, and on Congress’s lack of action. Of course, Conyers wrote a book two years ago called “The Constitution in Crisis,” which details many of Bush and Cheney’s impeachable offenses.

Conyers’ initial reply was along the lines of “Didn’t you see the hearing we just had? Do you know how many people saw that?” To their credit, the two Code Pink women replied “Not very many, since most people don’t get C-Span.” Conyers said he would keep following up with Mukasey, but Taylor and Saba asked to what end he would do so and advised him to shift his focus to the executive.

Conyers, Taylor said, then began giving reasons why he was afraid of impeachment. That wasn’t the word he used, but Taylor understood his concerns to all be expressions of an inchoate fear. Conyers spoke of “potential ramifications that haven’t been examined.” Interestingly, among his concerns was not the one he has used a lot recently, namely that impeachment would not pass the House. Instead he was concerned about what might happen after a successful impeachment and removal from office. Of course, the inconsistency in the excuses Conyers uses could simply be a reflection of the lack of importance he places on the choice of excuse.

The two women argued for the wisdom, bravery, and courage of Congressman Robert Wexler’s proposal to simply begin impeachment hearings on Dick Cheney and see where they go. The impeachment movement is urging people not only to contact Conyers but also to ask their own representatives to sign onto a letter Wexler has written to Conyers, and to themselves sign Wexler’s petition at

Conyers said that he knew all about Wexler’s idea and that he was listening to various impeachment advocates. The two names Taylor remembered him mentioning were mine and Holtzman’s. He’s certainly not listening closely to me, and I would love to meet with him at his convenience. Holtzman, I know, has wanted to meet with Conyers on this topic for quite some time, but to my knowledge has never been able to do so.

I think the people Conyers is really listening to are too smart for their own good but lacking a bit in the bravery and courage area. Their wise strategy places the outcome of elections ahead of preserving the democracy in which those elections are held or even the verifiability of those elections. And, on their own terms, they are probably wrong. Nothing (except perhaps hand-counted paper ballots) would benefit the Democrats in the next election more than a real fight to stand up for justice. If Congress chooses to cede all power to the White House and move to the back of the bus, Conyers’ legacy will not be what it might have been.

Breakfast in Dharmerica – Breaking Bread Together (Update, Saving a Member’s Home)

Come on into our kitchen and have breakfast or brunch with us! We’re all donating a little bread – the cost of a coffee and doughnut – to save a member’s home!

flagchefhat eyes lg t

Photobucket Thanks to Victory Coffee for this great pic!

fundraising thermometer

Our fundraising deadline is before the end of February 2008. Just since Thursday evening, Progressives have already raised $440 – Yay!!!

Richard Farina and Mimi Baez, PACK UP YOUR SORROWS


Crawford Peace House Needs Our Help


From http://www.crawfordpeacehouse….

We need your help

“I’d Love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do, So I leave it up to you.”

Alvin Lee with the band Ten Years After

We need your help

Five years ago in January 2003 I put a down payment on a house in Crawford, Texas with the hope of giving a home to peace and justice.* Many were inspired to join in this endeavor. Donations were raised at rallies in Dallas. The house was cleaned, painted and fixed, a kitchen was furnished, a labyrinth was built and a garden was planted.

On Easter Sunday, April 2003, the Crawford Peace House was born. During the first year of its existence I mostly paid the expenses out of my own pocket. *In the summer of 2004 We hosted an outdoor showing of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911. That event raised almost $15,000 and enough to fund the Peace House for the next year.

In the summer of 2005, we were down to less than a hundred dollars in the bank. Then, in August, Cindy Sheehan made her courageous stand in the ditch outside the Presidents ranch. The Peace House was there for Cindy, and Cindy was there for us. At her request, thousands of dollars flowed to the Peace House within weeks.* From that funding Camp Casey II was born, and a city with its infrastructure was erected. Thousands of people were fed a sheltered for weeks.

With what was left of that funding, Camp Casey was again erected for Thanksgiving 2005, Easter 2006 and at its new home in August of 2006. *We built the Casey Sheehan memorial garden at the Peace House and for the next two and a half years the Peace House’s mortgage payments were made and expenses have been met until now.

*Today, we are down to under $100 in the bank, with another year to go to honor our commitment to keep the Peace House open at least until the Bush administration ends.

We need your help. Please join us at our annual meeting Saturday, January 26, 2008, noon at the Peace House. Also please click on the link below and support our work

Thank you for making our house your home in Crawford.

Peace and in Loving Service,

Johnny Wolf

The Crawford Texas Peace House

9142 E. Fifth St. Crawford, TX 76638


You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

I hope some day you’ll join us and the world can live as one.

* Peace activist buys house near Bush ranch in Texas…

* Hundreds of people flocked to a screening of Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11…

*They Are Stardust, And in Texas At the Crawford Protest Camp, Growing Echoes of Woodstock…

*Peace House a center of dissent in Crawford…

*Crawford Peace House dedicates memorial to “Sheehan’s Stand”, troops killed in Iraq…

*Where the money went


Video: How the Market REALLY Works

This is funny, and probably deadly accurate.

This is really part of Pluto’s bailiwick; I hope that worthy soul will come by and comment, perhaps on the $7B fraud in France.

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