“Despite people’s hope for change after eight years of the Bush Regime’s crimes — the changes Barack Obama will deliver will not be at all what the people want,” organizer Giovanni Jackson said in a news release, which also said:
World Can’t Wait points to Obama’s positions on widening the war to send 10,000 more troops into an illegal, unjust war in Afghanistan (calling this a “good war”) – his plans to keep 50,000-80,000 more troops in Iraq, not including private mercenary forces like Blackwater – his call to increase the U.S. military by 92,000 more troops (more military recruiting in inner city schools) – his promise for more pre-emptive attacks on the (sovereign country of) Pakistan, and naked threats of war against Iran.
Jackson stated further: “Obama voted for illegal government spying under the new FISA, and he voted for the Patriot Act. As for torture – Obama refused to filibuster the Military Commissions Act which legalized torture, and he has already said no war criminals responsible for the torture will face prosecution during his first term.”
Ms. Palin delivered her scathing attack lines in a cheery but determined voice. She strongly questioned Mr. Obama’s acquaintance with Mr. Ayers and asked what he knew about Mr. Ayers’s past and when.
“He didn’t know he had launched his political career in the living room of an unrepentant domestic terrorist until he did know about it,” she said in a mocking tone, earning uproarious applause.
More “turning a page” from the “Straight Talk Express,” I guess. Too bad this maverick won’t turn such an inquiring eye toward her own house.
After all, Sarah Palin’s husband, Todd, for the better part of seven years was a registered member of the Alaskan Independence Party, of which the primary goal is to call a vote on whether Alaska should secede from the United States. Its founder, Joe Vogler, reportedly once said “My government is my worst enemy. I’m going to fight them with any means at hand,” and encouraged federal bureaucrats to wear red so they’d make better targets for the Magnum he carried. From Salon:
Vogler’s greatest moment of glory was to be his 1993 appearance before the United Nations to denounce United States “tyranny” before the entire world and to demand Alaska’s freedom. The Alaska secessionist had persuaded the government of Iran to sponsor his anti-American harangue.
That’s right … Iran. The Islamic dictatorship. The taker of American hostages. The rogue nation that McCain and Palin have excoriated Obama for suggesting we diplomatically engage. That Iran.
The blue tarp and duct tape in which the remains were wrapped, officials said, matched a description given by a convicted thief, Manfred West, who confessed last summer that he had killed Mr. Vogler in a plastic-explosives sale gone bad and had then buried him.
Fighting the U.S. government? Iranian sponsorship? A plastic-explosives deal gone bad? That’s quite a resume for an American political-party founder. And none of it kept Sarah Palin from exhorting the AIP to “keep up the good work” earlier this year:
And what does this all mean? Not. A. Damned. Thing.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Just as it doesn’t matter that decades after Bill Ayers was part of a radical group that embraced bombing as political discourse, he – by then a renowned education professor – moved in the same liberal Chicago circles as Barack Obama. Ooooooh, hey, Obama was in Ayer’s house once! Oh my gosh, they sat on a nonprofit’s board together! Hold the phone, they tried to improve Chicago’s schools together!
Not. A. Damned. Thing.
But hey, y’know what does matter?
It matters that your 401k may well have lost about a third of its value in recent weeks, as mine has.
It matters that millions of jobs – certainly mine, maybe yours too – are hanging by a thread today, even as uncounted families struggle to hold onto their homes or have lost them already.
And it matters that we’re still at war, where things aren’t going well and our national reputation has suffered to the point that it’s hard to find help.
Doesn’t all the meaningless mudslinging — at a time when the nation is desperate for smart, strong leadership — just frustrate you, disappoint you, infuriate you?
So, “my friends,” how’s about we put a lid on this rampant campaign-trail hypocrisy, this wild casting of stones from within a very fragile glass house, and get on with the job of setting this struggling country right.
You don’t have to be “in the tank” for Obama to be in the tank for the truth.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, yesterday introduced H.R. 6951, the “Transparent Actions over Covert Tactics in Iran Act of 2008” (“TACT in Iran Act” — ah, political acronyms!), which would bar the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense from providing covert or clandestine support, including military training or advice or equipment for military activities, for the purpose of overthrowing Iran’s government.
Lee says her bill “will send a loud message that the United States again recognizes the importance of diplomatic engagement and smart power as the preferred instruments for advancing American interests. Covert action by the United States to destabilize the Iranian regime would be reckless and contrary to both international law and U.S. interests.”
“My legislation will help repair the damage done to our nation’s reputation in the world by making it clear that it is not a policy of the United States to undermine or overthrow by covert or clandestine means the government of Iran,” she said.
There’s plenty of liberal activism a-brewin’, as usual.
El Cerrito piano tuner and longtime pro-Palestinian activist Paul Larudee, a cofounder of the Free Gaza Movement, and his cohorts are about to set sail from Cyprus en route to the Gaza Strip in an effort to “raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation.” It won’t be a cakewalk for this international band of activists; Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Sunday that Israeli defense officials “favor forcefully blocking” the boats’ arrival, as “allowing the ships to reach the Gaza coastline could create a dangerous precedent.”
Closer to home, CODEPINK is gearing up for the Democratic National Convention in Denver next week. Bay Area doyenne of dissent Medea Benjamin and her group will be holding a “Peace Room” pre-convention party “to make art, friends, plans, and a peace platform” from 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 19, in the CODEPINK/Global Exchange office on the second floor of 2017 Mission St. in San Francisco. Later this week, they’ll have an “All Aboard for Peace” send-off for six Bay Area activists getting on Amtrak to Denver; that’ll be at 8:15 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at the Emeryville Amtrak station, 5885 Horton St. According to their news release, they’re headed to Denver and later to the RNC convention in St. Paul, Minn., to “demand, in full creative force, that an end to the occupation of Iraq, no war with Iran and a commitment to peace be at the top the political agenda… CODEPINK will also be speaking out against the financing of the conventions by oil, telecom and pharmaceutical companies, exposing how corporate money corrupts the political system.” They’ve even put their schedule of actions at the conventions online.
Their news release notes the bill “demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran…” That, they say, is pronounced “blockade,” and could too easily slide toward war.
The resolution now has 220 cosponsors including more than 100 Democrats, but not a single one from the greater Bay Area. Nonetheless, activists want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco — a strong supporter of Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which have been pressing hard for this resolution — to put a stop to this, and so they’ll rally at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, July 8, outside the federal building at 450 Golden Gate Ave. in San Francisco.
What’s Pelosi’s official, stated position on the resolution? Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami told me a short while ago he’s still trying to get me an answer to that question. “However, the speaker has publicly stated that she is supportive of strong international sanctions on Iran and an aggressive diplomatic efforts focused on the Iranian nuclear program,” he said.
From Article I — “Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq” — to Article XXXV — “Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders” — the former Democratic presidential candidate laid out a comprehenisve indictment of the President’s actions. And he spent about five hours last night reading them into the Congressional record.
Reactions from Bay Area House members varied.
“I applaud Congressman Kucinich for bringing these articles of impeachment before the House and I support his effort,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, the Bay Area delegation’s newest member, went much further, commending Kucinich “for shining a light on the malfeasance of President Bush and his administration.
“I agree that America would not have gone to war, and more than 4,000 service members would still be alive, had the President not lied about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction,” Speier said. “Congress must continue to hold this administration accountable, now, and after they leave office next January.
“Had I been in Congress two years ago, I would have supported impeachment, but now, just months until the end of his term, it would not be the best use of taxpayer money to hold hearings that would accomplish nothing more than the calendar and the Constitution will take care of in due time,” Speier continued. “In fact, I believe impeaching the president would take longer than Congress has time left in this session. The only sure way to rid ourselves of the incompetence, arrogance and abject dishonesty of the last seven and a half years is to make sure we elect Barack Obama this November.”
“Five years ago, President Bush undertook a deliberate and concerted campaign to send our nation to war against Iraq. This was not a war of necessity, but a war of choice. President Bush manipulated the intelligence in order to convince the Congress, and the American Public, that Iraq represented a clear and present danger to our national security. A threat so grave, we were told, that continued diplomatic efforts would lead to mushroom clouds.
“There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and no terrorist connections between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. However, there is ample evidence to suggest that President Bush planned to invade Iraq long before Congress gave him the authorization to do so, and that he undertook a campaign to manipulate the intelligence regarding Iraq’s supposed weapons program.
“More than 4,000 brave men and women have paid for President Bush’s mistake with their lives. And tens of thousands of others will forever bear the physical and mental wounds of war. As a coequal branch of government the Congress owes it to each one of them, and their families, to hold those who led us to war under false pretences accountable.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which Rep. Barbara Lee is co-chairwoman, and the Campaign for a New American Policy on Iran held a news conference on Capitol Hill today urging dialogue between ordinary Americans and ordinary Iranians as a means of heading off what they say is the Bush Administration’s drumbeat for war with Iran. Lee, D-Oakland, and others used a row of 60’s-era red “hotline” telephones to talk directly to average Iranians in Tehran.
“We have been down this road before and Americans have learned a simple truth from five hard and bitter years in Iraq: No unjust war ever produced a just and lasting peace! It has not worked in Iraq. It will not work in Iran,” she said. “What we need is not another rush to unwarranted, unnecessary, and misguided military action but rather a diplomatic surge for peace and reconciliation. One of the important first steps we should take is to have direct, comprehensive, and unconditional bilateral talks with Iran.”
Lee’s H.R. 5056, introduced in January and now backed by 14 cosponsors, would do exactly that.
As I reported Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, used personal privilege today to force his bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney to the House floor, despite House Democratic leaders’ wishes that it die a quiet death in committee.
But, sensing an opportunity to embarass Pelosi and Hoyer, scores of Republicans suddenly voted against tabling the measure — twice as many as the Democrats actually supporting Kucinich’s stance — in an attempt to force a floor debate on impeaching Cheney! Eager to avoid that, Hoyer then moved to refer the bill to the House Judiciary Committee; that vote passed 218-194, with ALL Bay Area Democrats in favor. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the next Democratic caucus meeting…
The bill Kucinich brought forth today was basically the same as that which he’d introduced back in April, charging that Cheney lied to America about reasons for invading Iraq and now is doing the same with Iran. But because House Democrats couldn’t see eye to eye today, the bill brought them far more grief than it’ll ever bring Cheney.
Tauscher, already chairwoman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, returned today from the 53rd Annual Session of The NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, where she’d joined about 350 legislators from NATO member, partner and observer countries to discuss major security issues on the Alliance’s agenda, including Afghanistan and Iran.
As the Parliamentary Assembly subcommittee’s chairwoman, she’s charged with working to ensure that NATO invests in better defense systems, people, and platforms, and that partner countries make greater investments in interoperable systems.
“The new, emerging, and existing threats to America are very similar to the threats that our NATO allies are facing,” she said in a news release. “This is the same group that came to action when we were attacked on September 11, saying an attack on one member is an attack on all, and it’s a partnership that we need to foster. Working with our allies allows us to develop new and better strategies to protect our homelands, promote economic security, and it strengthens the transatlantic relationship at the core of the NATO alliance.”
Each of the Parliamentary Assembly’s eight subcommittees usually meets twice per year.
The Parliamentary Assembly is not formally connected to NATO; rather, its a forum for member nations and associates to hash out policy issues and build mutual understanding. Delegates to the Iceland session developed policy recommendations for NATO on Afghanistan, the Western Balkans, missile defense, NATO’s next round of enlargement, climate change, and the Alliance’s relations with Russia. They were briefed by fellow parliamentarians, experts and policymakers on issues such as Iran and nuclear proliferation; security in southeast Europe; Islam in the Caucasus; the relationship between intelligence, terrorism and the preservation of civil liberties; the prospects for a new Strategic Concept for NATO; and India’s economic development.
Jeez, y’all, it’s not like there’s a WAR going on or anything…
Yes, the House on Wednesday resolved to praise the patriotism Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and to condemn MoveOn.org’s full-page ad in the New York Times this month referring to Petraeus as “General Betray Us.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, quickly fired off an e-mail accusing 11 Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee — including chairman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, of “flip-flopping” (man, is that phrase NEVER going to fade away?) on the resolution, having voted against it in committee shortly before voting for it on the House floor.
But that doesn’t quite pass the smell test. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., had raised the Petraeus/MoveOn issue during a committee discussion on a bill about raising penalties against people who aid terrorism, the International Emergency Economic Powers Enhancement Act; the committee voted 23-13 that under House rules, the Pence amendment simply had nothing to do with the bill at hand. On the House floor a short while later, the Petraeus/MoveOn resolution was attached to a continuing appropriations bill — something entirely different.
Boehner also took a moment to potshot “those 79 Democrats who voted to condone the tactics of the radical, left-wing organization” in the floor vote — including Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, George Miller, Zoe Lofgren, Lynn Woolsey and Mike Honda. And later Wednesday, MoveOn apparently sent this message to its members in districts of House members who voted for the resolution:
They didn’t condemn Vice President Cheney when he falsely connected Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein.
They didn’t condemn Colin Powell when he lied about WMD to the United Nations.
They didn’t condemn President Bush when he started eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant.
They didn’t condemn President Bush and the Republicans when they attacked Sen. John Kerry’s war record.
They didn’t condemn Sen. Saxby Chambliss when he ran ads comparing triple-amputee and war hero Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden.
They still haven’t done enough to slow this dreadful war or protect our troops.
But a few hours ago, your representative voted in the House to join the Senate in condemning a MoveOn.org newspaper ad.
Enough. Can you call Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher—tell her to stop voting on useless resolutions and force an end to the war?
I agree. It’s enough — from ALL of ’em. Enough about the ad.