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‘No war with Iran’ rally tomorrow in SF

Groups like Direct Action to Stop the War, CodePink, World Can’t Wait and Stop AIPAC are concerned that House Concurrent Resolution 362 — “Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony” — is a prelude to war with Iran.

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.

Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2008
Under: Iran, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House | 1 Comment »

Kucinich moves on impeachment, locals react

kucinich.jpgRep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, last night introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush.

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.

speier.jpg“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.”

But my requests for comment from House Speaker Nancy “Off the Table” Pelosi, D-San Francisco; Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez; Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont; Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo; and Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, went unanswered today.

UPDATE @ 12:4O P.M. WEDNESDAY: Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, issued this statement today supporting impeachement:

“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.”

Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
Under: Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, Ellen Tauscher, George Miller, Iran, Iraq, Jackie Speier, Jerry McNerney, Lynn Woolsey, Nancy Pelosi, Pete Stark, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

Barbara Lee talks to Iranians

lee-talks-to-iranians.JPGThe 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.

Read Lee’s entire statement as prepared for delivery, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
Under: Barbara Lee, Iran, U.S. House | No Comments »

GOP uses Kucinich’s impeachment bill as a WMD

Oy, what a headache!

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.

As expected, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., moved to table the legislation without debate. As expected, co-sponsors Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, voted against tabling it, as did Pete Stark, D-Fremont, and Mike Honda, D-San Jose.

George Miller, D-Martinez; Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo; Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo; Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; and Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, all sided with Hoyer, and by extension, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, who long ago said impeachment is off the table.

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.

Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2007
Under: Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, Dick Cheney, Ellen Tauscher, George Miller, Iran, Iraq, Jerry McNerney, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Honda, Nancy Pelosi, Pete Stark, Tom Lantos, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | No Comments »

Tauscher named to international post

tauscher2.jpgRep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, has been elected to chair the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Subcommittee on Future Security and Defense Capabilities.

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.

Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2007
Under: Afghanistan, Ellen Tauscher, Iran, Iraq, U.S. House | No Comments »

OK, enough on the freakin’ MoveOn ad, already!

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.

Did anything else important happen Wednesday during all this back and forth on what is clearly First Amendment-protected speech? Well, let’s see – the Senate said it’s a good idea to split Iraq into three parts; the Bush Administration asked Congress to approve another $42.3 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, bringing its total 2008 war funding request to nearly $190 billion; the Blackwater scandal continued to deepen; and the Senate said Iran’s largest military branch should henceforth be deemed a terrorist organization, a move some decry as a step toward our next war.

So, no, nothing important. Let’s talk about the ad some more.

Posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2007
Under: Barbara Lee, Ellen Tauscher, George Miller, Iran, Iraq, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Honda, Pete Stark, Tom Lantos, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | No Comments »

Arnold and Ahmadinejad in Manhattan

What a day for the Big Apple! Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was in New York City today to speak at a United Nations conference of world leaders on global warming. At the same time, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in town to speak at Columbia University; he’ll address the UN General Assembly tomorrow.

Never one to miss an opportunity for a timely news release, the governor announced today he’ll be happy to sign AB 221 by Assemblyman Joel Anderson, R-La Mesa, prohibiting the state pension funds from investing in companies that do business in Iran. CalPERS, the state’s employee retirement fund, is the largest pension fund in the nation and CalSTRS, the state’s public education retirement fund, is the second largest pension fund in the nation. Both legislative chambers voted unanimously for the bill.

“California has a long history of leadership and doing what’s right with our investment portfolio,” the governor said. “Last year, I was proud to sign legislation to divest from the Sudan to take a powerful stand against genocide. I look forward to signing legislation to divest from Iran to take an equally powerful stand against terrorism.”

If you want to read a transcript of the governor’s speech at the UN, it’s after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Iran | No Comments »

Activists pressure Lieberman on Iran

Hunger-striking North Bay activist Leslie Angeline was arrested yesterday morning for refusing to leave the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., whom she says is advocating a military strike on Iran. Here’s a video shot by a member of the phalanx of CodePink protesters who accompanied Angeline:

Angeline, 50, of Santa Rosa, had fainted in Lieberman’s office a few weeks ago and was briefly hospitalized.

Lieberman this morning joined with three Republican Senators to introduce an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act “confronting the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran over its proxy attacks on American soldiers in Iraq,” according to Lieberman’s news release:

The amendment details the publicly available evidence put forward over the past year by General David Petraeus, commanding general of Multi-National Force Iraq, and others about Iran’s violent and destabilizing activities in Iraq.

The amendment states that “the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces by a foreign government or its agents is an intolerable act of hostility against the United States,” and demands the government of Iran “take immediate action” to end all forms of support it is providing to Iraqi militias and insurgents. The amendment also mandates a regular report on Iran’s anti-coalition activity in Iraq.

“For many months, our military commanders and diplomats have warned us that the Iranian government has been training, equipping, arming, and funding proxies in Iraq who are murdering our troops,” said Senator Lieberman. “This amendment is a common sense, common ground statement of the Senate to Tehran: we know what you are doing, and you must stop.”

Watch Lieberman talking about the amendment today on the Senate floor here.

Posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Under: Iran, Joe Lieberman, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Bay Area activist faints in Lieberman’s office

CodePink activist Leslie Angeline, 50, of Santa Rosa, fainted today during the 15th day of her hunger strike protesting the continued refusal of U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to meet with her.

She launched the effort earlier this month after Lieberman appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and said “I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq.” Angeline, who’d recently returned from Iran as part of a delegation organized by the human-rights group Global Exchange, has said she’s determined to prevent a U.S. war against Iran.

The Hill reported Angeline was being treated for dehydration at George Washington University Hospital. Lieberman’s staff has not yet responded to my e-mailed request for a comment.

UPDATE @ 5:30 P.M. THURSDAY: Here’s the video of Angeline that CodePink just posted to YouTube:

Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2007
Under: General, Iran, Iraq, Joe Lieberman, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Savage irony

Here’s right-wing radio shock jock Michael Savage — real name Michael Alan Weiner, nationally syndicated but based right here in San Francisco at KNEW 910 AMspeaking about ABC’s Diane Sawyer after her interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

“Take me to a court of law for calling you a whore, because you are an intellectual prostitute for what you have done for ratings.”

Read as: “Hello, kettle? This is the pot. You’re black.”

Posted on Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
Under: General, Iran, Media | No Comments »