Monday, June 30, 2008

Media can't see McSame for who he really is Now

For some time now I have been troubled by the assumption on the part of first Sen. Clinton and now Sen. Obama that John McSame is qualified - on the basis of his service in Vietnam and his five years as a prisoner of the Vietcong - to be president. I simply have not been able to understand the basis for this conclusion, which seems to me to fly in the face of everything McSame does and says. In other words, what is it about being a war hero - and McSame was a war hero - that qualifies someone to be president?

Sunday on a talk show Gen. Wesley Clark finally raised the same question. And Obama rushed to the nearest microphone to back off Clark's remarks. Here's how the AP characterized the candidates' responses after Clark made his comments:
A day after retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, now an Obama supporter, discussed McCain's experience as a Navy pilot and prisoner of war in Vietnam on a Sunday talk show, his remarks set off the pattern that has become familiar from innumerable earlier flaps over surrogate remarks during the presidential election year: The candidates, Obama and McCain, took the high road while the bare-knuckled language was left to their surrogates.
Toward the end of the same article reporter Beth Fouhy quoted McSame's "high road" remarks:
McCain himself said,
If that's the kind of campaign Sen. Obama and his surrogates and supporters want to engage in, I understand that. But it doesn't reduce the price of gas by one penny. It doesn't achieve our energy independence or make it come any closer. Doesn't make any American stay in their home who's at risk of losing it today. And it certainly doesn't do anything to address the challenges Americans have in keeping their jobs, homes and supporting their families.
If that's the "high road," I'd like to see what it looks like when McSame takes the "low road."

Friday, June 27, 2008

It was Oil after all

In 2003 a gallon of gas cost $1,56. It seems unlikely that Bush and Co. would have gotten much support for the invasion of Iraq if at that point they had said it was to regain control of Iraq's oil. But clearly it was. How convenient that Osama bin Laden had provided them with the perfect rational for the invasion. It was the key to "war on terror."

At that time in opposition to the invasion, many of us wore buttons that said: "No more blood for oil." The corporate media flying on the wings of the neo-con fantasies about the Middle East, poo-pooed the idea that the invasion was to return the big four oil companies to Iraq. So we heard lots about "weapons of mass destruction" and "the export of democracy." But as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship say:
... one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire and ashes. And now the bottom line turns out to be....the bottom line. It is about oil.
Although it won't be the all-encompassing "oil law" that Bush & Co. envisioned and has been fighting for the New York Times reports that: "Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back."

I'm not sure if John McSame has been let in on the secret. It seems he is still stuck on the neo-con excuses for the invasion. When he talks about how we will never "be defeated in Iraq," one wonders what we could possibly win or lose in Iraq. The Iraqi people, after all, are the only winners or losers. The tragedy is that Bush and McSame seem determined to send more young American women and men (and hundreds of Iraqis) to their deaths to fulfill their fantasies.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Brecht Forum: Internship Opportunities

Summer & Fall Internship Opportunities at the Brecht Forum

The BRECHT FORUM is a place for people who are working for social justice, equality and a new culture that puts human needs first. Through its programs, classes and special events, the Brecht Forum brings people together across social and cultural boundaries and artistic and academic disciplines to promote critical analysis, creative thinking, and collaborative work.

The Brecht Forum is currently seeking interns for the Summer and Fall 2008

Summer dates: July 8 - August 29
Fall dates: Sept 8 - December 12

Interns would assist with all aspects of the day to day operations of the organization. The position will allow participants to develop critical skills such as non-profit management, community outreach & publicity, and video production, along with the opportunity to connect with other local progressive organizations and leading artists and intellectuals. In addition to these valuable life skills, interns will receive free admission to all Brecht programs, classes and special events as well.

Internship opportunities include:

Outreach: Working with the Outreach Coordinator in promoting Brecht Events. Tasks include flyering at special events, posting events to online calendars and bulletins, tabling at conferences and helping to develop & design additional materials.
Space management: Working alongside Brecht staff in preparing the gallery space for upcoming shows, lectures and classes. Helping out with the door at events as well as general space maintenance.
Research: Help develop programs through researching speakers, artists and films for possible events.

Qualifications: This is an opportunity geared to persons who have a strong interest in social justice issues and building progressive culture. Interns will commit to minimum of 10-15 hours a week, with more hours available if needed. Applicants must be detail oriented, have strong online researching skills and be able to work independently. A background in social movement history, and/or previous organizing experience in a related field is recommended but not required. People of color, women, trans and gender non-conforming people, and individuals of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

For more information:
(212) 242-4201 or

The Brecht Forum
451 West Street,

Aug 2: Mass March to stop war on Iran

Saturday, August 2, 12 noon

Assemble at Times Square
(43rd St. & Broadway)

An Attack could be Imminent
We Can’t Afford to Wait

It is with grave concern that we observe the growing threat of a new U.S. war--this time against the people of Iran.

The media is filled with reports of an alleged nuclear threat posed by Iran and the assumed need for the U.S. to take military action. These reports remind us of the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" reports issued in the months leading up to the war on Iraq.

Stop War On Iran
55 West 17th St, 5C,
New York, NY 10011

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WRL Releases Special Report Assessing the Antiwar Movement

The War Resisters League has released a report on the current state and future of the anti-war movement in their magazine, WIN.
The War Resisters League recently conducted a Listening Process, asking 90 grassroots organizers from across the county to reflect on the state of antiwar organizing in the United States. The new special issue of WIN magazine features their reflections and insights.

Throw Joe Lieberman out of the Democratic caucus

I signed this petition to the Democratic Steering Committee to remove Joe Lieberman. The last thing we need is a right-wing "Republican" war monger in Democratic clothing. So we need to demand that Lieberman be removed as chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Join me and the other 22,192 signers (as of June 25,8PM) because we cannot tolerate a leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus who supports George Bush and McCain's 100 year war in Iraq. We cannot tolerate a Democratic chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee who endorses and stumps for McCain and plans to speak at the Republican National Convention. We call on the Senate Democratic Steering Committee to strip Joe Lieberman of his chairmanship and his leadership role.

Dems who changed vote on telecom immunity got twice as much telecom money as those who didn't

According to

On March 14 of this year the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity for phone carriers who helped the National Security Agency carry out the illegal wiretapping program without proper warrants. Ninety-four House Democrats voted in favor of this measure--rejecting immunity--on March 14, then ‘changed’ to vote in favor of the June 20 House bill--approving immunity.
“Why did these 94 House members have a change of heart?” asked Daniel Newman, executive director of, “Their constituents deserve answers.”'s research department compiled PAC campaign contributions from Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint and correlated them with the voting records of all House members who voted on last week’s FISA bill. (The analysis used data from CRP; contributions were from January 2005 through March 2008). Here are the findings:

Comparing Democrats' Votes (March 14th and June 20th votes):

Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging:

$8,359 to each Democrat who changed their position to support immunity for Telcos (94 Dems)
$4,987 to each Democrat who remained opposed to immunity for Telcos (116 Dems)

88% of the Dems who changed to supporting immunity (83 Dems of the 94) received PAC contributions from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint during the last three years (Jan. 2005-Mar. 2008).

All House Members (June 20th vote:)
Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging:

$9,659 to each member of the House voting "YES" (105-Dem, 188-Rep)
$4,810 to each member of the House voting "NO" (128-Dem, 1-Rep)

June 28: Brothers for Sisters water brigade at Dyke March

Join BROTHERS FOR SISTERS on SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 5PM to coordinate the WATER BRIGADE for the 15TH ANNUAL DYKE MARCH down 5th Avenue.

Meet between 5:00 and 5:45 pm
at the SouthWest corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street,
to gather resources (get water, cups and trays) and prepare for the arrival of the
15TH Annual Dyke March by 6:45, headed South down 5th Avenue toward Washington Square Park.

Feel free to contribute resources
(especially bottled water)

Call LIDELL at 212/222-9794 [home], 646/441-7081 [cell], or
E-Mail for more info.

Obama leads McSame in latest presidential-poll

Getty Images / AP
In a two-person presidential race between only Sens. Obama and McCain, registered voters chose Obama over McCain by 49% to 37% in the most recent Los Angeles Times national poll. When independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr are added to the mix, voters chose Obama over McCain by 48% to 33%. I can only surmise why Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney was left out. But I can't say I'm surprised.

According to a CNN analysis of five recent national surveys, Obama's lead drops to 8 points over McSame.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

July 9: Discussion: The Internet

If you are reading this, the discussion about the way the Left can use and protect the internet should be important to you. (Dan)

Wednesday, July 9, 7:30 pm

The Internet: Protecting It, Expanding It, Using It

With Members of Democracy in Action & May First/People Link

The Brecht Forum
451 West Street (bt Bank & Bethune Sts),
Phone: (212) 242-4201 - Email: brechtforum at

Activists from both organizations will lead an exploration of how the progressive movement can use Internet technology, what you as an activist can do on the Internet and why the Internet itself is so vitally important to our movement's future and the world's. A very interactive and open discussion.

Sliding scale: $6/$10/$15
Free for Brecht Forum Subscribers

To contact Brecht Forum:
Phone: (212) 242-4201)
Email: brechtforum at

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, 1937-2008

One of the hardest things about trying to say anything about the death of George Carlin is that he has already shown the rediculousness of almost everything we say when someone dies. But here goes.

If the world seems sadder today it's because George Carlin is no longer amongst us. With Carlin's death, one of the transformative figures of American culture is gone. I know, he was just a comedian. But he influenced most of this generation of comics (including John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, the early Saturday Night Live company, Sarah Silverman, etc.). Where would we be without The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and - despite all its faults - Saturday Night Live- of which he was the first guest host? He did for this generation what Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl did for his generation.

He stood up against the stupidities of those in power. He embodied much of the protest of the sixties and seventies in a humorous form, much the way Will Rogers did for an earlier generation.

In November he will be awarded the Kennedy Center 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Unfortunately posthumously.

In 1978 he delivered his classic "7 Dirty Words" commentary, which, after WBAI ran it uncensored, led to a Supreme Court decision establishing the "family hour", which TV still follows today. Perhaps the most memorable tribute to Carlin is "The 7 Dirty Words you can't say on Television."

Notice that none of these words have anything to do with violence, but only with the two things that scare Americans the most: sexuality and natural bodily functions.

Here are two of my favorite Carlin routines:

July 1: Discussion: "Which Way is Left?"

Our very good friend Juliet Ucelli is speaking at an event at the Brecht Forum. This post should not be seen as an endorsement of any sort of vanguard party. I have noticed that each generation of activists re-invents "The Left." But these are good people and it should be an interesting dicussion.

Here's the info:

Tuesday, July 1, 7:30 pm

Which Way Is Left?

the Brecht Forum,
451 West St. (bt. Bank and Bethune sts.)

A new generation of left activists has begun to express the need for more than just single-issue activist groups and ad hoc coalitions. Some are raising the question of building a broad-based revolutionary organization, also known as a party or parties.

In association with Freedom Road's pamphlet Which Way is Left? Theory, Politics, Organization and 21st-Century Socialism, this forum will focus on the above topic.


Kamembe Balagun, writer,, Brecht Forum

Herm Jerome, NY Study Group--Party/Study/Party

Juliet Ucelli, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, OSCL

Kamau Franklin, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Questions to be explored include:

* Why do we need a broad-based, multi-issue revolutionary organization or party?
* What should it look like? Among what sectors should it be based?
* How might such an organization develop?
* What should be the relationship between a revolutionary organization and the mass social movements?

Sliding scale: $6/$10/$15
Free for Brecht Forum subscribers

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All governments lie, but Bush and Co. have shredded democracy

If there was ever any doubt about it, we now have conclusive evidence that our government has been lying to us through its teeth almost constantly. Although the Bush administration has turned lying into an art form (it's virtually the only thing they do with any efficiency) they by no means invented the practice. As I.F. Stone warned us:
All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.
Although I doubt that hashish is still the drug of choice in the White House (or the halls of Congress), I have been wondering for some time what the presidential Bush and the vice-presidential Dick have been smoking, it would be nice to know, it must be really good stuff. Government mendacity doesn't even seem to be the attribute of one political party. Democrat Lyndon Johnson used the fictitious Tonkin Bay incident much the same way Bush used the Weapons of Mass Destruction - to provide false pretenses for sending our young women and men to die.

It seems fortuitous that former Bush press secretary Scott McLellan's What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception detailing the lies used to sell the invasion of Iraq and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report which told the same story surfaced within a week of each other. But they clearly reinforce each other. It's important to note here that the Senate report finally surfaced after five years of Republican cover up to protect their president and his cohorts. (In case you were wondering in whose interest your senators and representatives were working.) In an editorial (June 6) The New York Times said:
It has taken five years to finally come to a reckoning over how much the Bush administration knowingly twisted and hyped intelligence to justify that invasion. On Thursday — after years of Republican stonewalling — a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee gave us as good a set of answers as we’re likely to get.

The report shows clearly that President Bush should have known that important claims he made about Iraq did not conform with intelligence reports. In other cases, he could have learned the truth if he had asked better questions or encouraged more honest answers.
This is almost exactly what McClellan tells us. Except he tends to let Bush off the hook and blames the rest of the administration and the enabling media.

As important as all this is and we knew it all before last week, I think what's really important is how these lies that "all governments tell" destroy the very foundations of democracy. The basic building block of any truly democratic society is trust. If we can't trust each other and those we elect to act in the common interest how can the system work? Bush and company lied (about the most crucial decision any government can make) and his Congressional groupies (on both sides of the aisle) swore to it. Over 4,000 young American women and men and many more thousands of Iraqis paid the supreme penalty because Bush and his acolytes lied. Democracy simply can't work under those conditions.

As far as I can determine Bush clone John McSame has not yet responded to the Senate report. But it's fairly clear, from other things he has said, that he would follow in his master's footsteps.

So what can we do?

Well - as Rep. Kucinich (D-OH) has said - impeachment would be a real first step.

But the same people who thought impeachment was an appropriate response to a president getting blow jobs in the Oval Office, don't seem to think lying to send thousands to their death in Iraq or incompetence in the face of Katrina are impeachable offenses. Well let's put it in terms they might understand - it would serve as a deterrent to the next government thinking about lying.

But what we have to do is take back our government and re-birth our democracy. That's going to be a tough job. We have to undo about 30 years of right-wing plundering of our political system.

With all due respect to our own neo-con snake oil sellers, there is something even more ominous abroad in the land: the huge military machine that we have created in the post-World War II period. When the Cold War came to an end there was a period of time (albeit brief) when an alternative to permanent war was possible. Then along came 9/11 and the Global War on Terror (GWT). Remember that in the past when a nation decided to go to war, even when we decided to enter WWII, it had to be mobilized on to a war footing. Now we have an enormous war machine waiting to be put to use. Like any technology once its in place we are more likely to use it. There are a number of complex issues that flow from this. According to Robert Scheer:
...after mandated programs are funded, the military consumes roughly six out of ten dollars. As a consequence, increases in domestic spending must be funded by cutbacks in military spending. That is the most honest way to judge the opportunity cost of the military dollar, as in, two unneeded submarines versus health insurance for 4 million kids.

There is, however, a greater cost to having a huge permanent military: the vitality of our democracy. As we saw in the run-up to the Iraq War, the fearmongers who seek an expanded military are not above using their enormous lobbying power to influence the debate. The public will not support the military unless it feels its activities are connected with a real threat, so the military and its suppliers and other allies have to exaggerate that threat. Such is the risk of "the total influence--economic, political, even spiritual" of the military-industrial complex, which Eisenhower warned is 'felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the federal government.' It is a built-in and well-financed constituency that stresses the military option over the diplomatic one, that exaggerates the strength of the enemy rather than realistically appraises it and that desperately finds new wars to be fought.

What is going on in our name is irrational, costly and dangerous, but there are powerful vested interests that want to keep it that way. Those interests remain so strong that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain has called for cutting a military budget that is the largest since World War II. But without such cuts all the campaign promises about funding domestic programs, from education to healthcare, are an obvious fraud.
So, in addition to the thousands of lives - both American and Iraqi - lost and the more than a million displaced Iraqis, the costs of feeding the bloated (and often irrelevant to the current challenges)war machine has enormous domestic consequences. So the lies that led us into an invasion and occupation that denies the essence of who we are also undermines our ability to fulfill our needs at home. At some point it has to stop. And only we can stop it by taking back our democracy and electing people who can be trusted to act in our interests. Keep this in mind the next time the Republicans go on about raising taxes to finance new domestic programs. There is an alternative.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tim Russert, 1950-2008

Andrew asks: hey where's the article on tim russert?!?!

Interesting question. I'm not sure I have anything to add to the hours of tributes to Mr. Russert after his death on Friday (June 13) at the all too early age of 58. But with regard to death and age: I don't think it's as important how long we live (although 58 is really too young) as what we do with the years we have. Russert's early death is a warning to all of us that we don't know how long we have, so we need not to put off what we want to do. Russert clearly didn't.

On Saturday Ann and I went to a major bookstore. While I was at the info counter two people came up and asked for Russert's book about his father, Big Russ and Me. The person behind the counter said they had no copies left, and all bookstores were sold out. Isn't it odd the way we respond to death?

One of the reasons I haven't added to the onslaught of tributes (on air and in writing) is that I wasn't a particular fan. I actually didn't think much about him. He seemed much like most other commentators on the corporate media. I remember vividly that it was on Meet the Press that the vice-presidential Dick chose to spout his lies about invading Iraq. I don't remember any serious challenge from Russert to the Dick's bull. But that doesn't really set him apart from most other media types during the selling of Iraq.

His sudden death at work from a heart attack is already shedding some light on heart problems. That might actually be his true legacy. I think he would be proud of it.

One more thing: I hope they pick a woman to replace him on Meet the Press. Two suggestions I would make are either Norah O'Donnell or Andrea Mitchell - they are both class acts.

June 19: Brecht Forum: Barack Obama and the Left

Thursday, June 19, 7:30 pm

A People's President? Barack Obama & the Left

Brecht Forum
451 West Street (between Bank & Bethune Streets,

Panelists include: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic Monthly, Village Voice;
Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer;
Betsy Reed, The Nation;
Gary Younge, The Guardian/The Nation;
and others to be announced.

The Democratic Party may have unified behind Barack Obama's presidential bid, but the American left has not. Some progressives argue that we should largely silence our concerns about Obama's policy shortcomings, from Israel and Iraq to the economy and healthcare, at least until he gets elected. Others contend that his weakness on these and other issues is simply unforgiveable, and that the left should not be seen in such company. And yet a third group insists that though we should do so without illusions, critically supporting Barack's presidential bid opens opportunities for building progressive politics and perhaps even pulling the candidate in our direction.
...and if you don't leave either more confused or more outraged than you were before, we will have failed!

Our customary panel of eloquent and erudite experts will cover the spectrum of left attitudes towards Obama. We can't promise to resolve the debate. But we hope to make the issues at stake a little clearer, while informing, and even entertaining, along the way.

Refreshments will be served

Sliding scale: $6/$10/$15
Free for Brecht Forum Subscribers
Phone: (212) 242-4201
Email: brechtforum at

Petition to G8 Summit on climate change: sign now

I just signed an urgent global petition demanding the Group of 8 (G8) stop efforts to derail progress towards a new international treaty to tackle global warming. Climate change is a very important issue, and I thought you might like to join me in taking action.

Climate change hangs in the balance at the 2008 G8 Summit. At this point we have to look to G8 President Japan for bold leadership. But the Japanese PM has so far excluded commitments to mid-term emission cutting targets. Scientists agree: these targets -- 25-40% by 2020 -- are crucial if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe. With the Japanese proposal and the U.S. and Canada seeking to exploit loopholes in any agreement, we’re in danger of losing all the progress made towards a new global treaty at the UN climate meeting in Bali last December.

Avaaz ,the global advocacy group, is creating a worldwide public outcry to demand strong action of the G8. The petition will be delivered to the Japanese PM and G8 President, Yasuo Fukuda, on Wednesday June 18. So please, take a moment now to make your voice count by signing the petition. Together we can stop the Group of Eight from ruining the planet.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Homophobia in the military

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin questions Marine Gen Pace, chairman of the U.S. military Joint Chiefs of Staff, about his comments backing the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" limits on gays serving in the military.

I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts, Pace said.

I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way.

Is John McSame too old to be president or just not well enough informed?

According to Friday's (June 13) New York Post, John McSame claimed the use of terms like "out of touch" and "inconsistent" were examples of "ageism" being used as a weapon against him. The reference was to former presidential candidate and Obama supporter John Kerry's criticism of McSame's comments about Iraq in an interview with Matt Lauer on Wednesday's (June 11) The Today Show (see video below, Iraq comments at end of interview). What this silly dispute shows is that McSame and his people are a very tricky bunch. If the "ageism" accusation works, every time McSame says something dumb (and he seems to do that quite often), his campaign can get off the hook by crying "ageism." What, in fact, Kerry said was that McSame was "confused" when he again compared Iraq to Korea, Germany and Japan and "out of touch" with the American people on this issue. He clearly is both, but not because of his age. If anyone believes the very limited role U.S. troops play in Korea is anything like the occupation of Iraq, they maybe or may not be old, but they are certainly ignorant about the situation. It's also quite interesting that it's OK for McSame to accuse Obama of being too young, but not visa versa “I admire and respect Senator Obama,” McCain said, with his patented sarcastic laugh. “For a young man with very little experience, he’s done very well.” One last thought (for now) about McSame and "ageism:" If these claims are as effective as the Clintons' claims of sexism against the Senator - which have much more substance - it will all be a tempest in an oatmeal pot.

Tonight, June 13: NOW: Fighting the Army

If you're as tired as I am of all the rhetoric about supporting and honoring the troops in Iraq, uttered by the same phony politicians who want nothing to do with these young American women and men when they come back, particularly if supporting and honoring them costs money, be sure to watch PBS' Now tonight, Friday, June 13, 8:30PM (Repeated Sun. June 15, 11:00PM) The show explores a scandal first uncovered in The Nation Magazine -- how military doctors are purposely misdiagnosing soldiers wounded in Iraq, labeling them mentally ill in order to deny them medical care and disability pay.

Of the thousands of U.S. troops getting discharged from the Army each year, many who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries aren't getting the vital care they need. The Army claims these soldiers have pre-existing mental illnesses or are guilty of misconduct. But advocates say this is a way for the Army to get rid of "problem" soldiers quickly, without giving them the treatment and benefits to which they're entitled.

NOW travels to Fort Hood in Texas to meet traumatized soldiers fighting a new battle, this one against the army they served. Are soldiers being wrongfully discharged for honorable service?

The program features Nation reporter Joshua Kors' interview with Sgt. Chuck Luther, who was wounded by mortar fire, then jailed until he agreed his wounds were caused by a "personality disorder." Kors' original piece of reporting for The Nation on the issue, recently received a National Magazine Award, the industry's highest honor.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hillary pisses on history

Last night was one of the most significant moments in U.S. history - a person of color was nominated by a major political party as its presidential candidate. Remember it's been a little over 100 years since, when the Constitution was ratified in 1787 most Black men were slaves and slaves were counted as only 3/5 of a person. From ratification until the adoption of the Black Citizenship Amendment Black males were allowed to vote in only seven states (Black women,of course, couldn't vote because at the time of ratification no women could vote). Despite the 1868 amendment Black male voting didn't become a reality until Black people and some sympathetic whites fought and died for civil rights. That struggle culminated in a number of voting rights laws and the possibility of what happened yesterday, when the Democrats came one significant step closer to officially nominating Barack Obama.

I spent alot of time last night listening to the pundits pontificate on yesterday's events. Most of the discussion was, unfortunately, not about this historic moment but about "What does Hillary want?" In other words, Hillary Clinton pissed on Obama's moment, in fact she pissed on American history. That, of course, shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has paid even slight attention to the Clinton's history. In their world everything revolves around them (currently the Senator), no one and nothing else counts unless it works for them. All those predictions that Clinton would withdraw from the nomination race with grace were based on the assumption that she is a classy human being. That's obviously not true and never has been. As always, it's all about Hillary and what she wants.

Instead of the question, "what does Hillary want?" I would ask: "what's wrong with Hillary?" It continues to be fascinating to watch the Senator and the former President blame everyone else for their mistakes. She also seems to be trying to strong arm her way on to the ticket. But, from what I've heard, many of her supporters including some people in her campaign are backing away as fast as they can from her mean-spirited speech last night.

It hasn't escaped my thoughts that her blatant attempt to force Obama to offer her the vice-presidential nomination and that if he doesn't and it undermines his campaign, she expects to benefit from his loss. I think that like most of her strategies the opposite will be the case. She will be blamed for undermining the Party.

The main thing, however, is to look forward to the next historic event: Nov. 4th and the election of the first person of color as President of the U.S.

A Black POTUS, imagine that!

gay and lesbian civil rights: marriage

The right wing wants to continue depriving gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered people of the most basic of civil rights - the right to be married to the person you love. Family - and GLBT people can create families - is the basic building block of all societies. The right wing wants to keep GLBT people outside our society. All the arguments against the right of GLBT people to marry used to be used - probably by many of the same people - to prevent Blacks and whites from marrying each other. In human society, all people should be treated as equals - you can't be equal if you are deprived of your basic human rights. The right to be married to the person you love is as basic as it gets. The Human Rights Campaign has fought for civil rights for LGBT people. Today one of their major campaigns is for GLBT people to be able to marry. This is Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and transgender pride month. A great way to celebrate Pride Month would be to contribute to HRC. But wait! Due to the generosity of HRC board member Bruce Bastian if you contribute before June 16 your gift will be doubled (until the total reaches $120,000). So watch this video, get inspired and get out your check book.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Job Opening: Editor/Publisher of WIN Magazine

Job Opening: Editor/Publisher of WIN Magazine

The War Resisters League is seeking a self-motivated, professional, and skilled half-time Editor/Publisher to produce and manage (in consultation with Publications Committee) all phases of its quarterly publication, WIN Magazine.

As one of the leading radical voices in the antiwar movement, The War Resisters League challenges military recruitment and war profiteering, organize nonviolent direct action, support conscientious objectors and GI resisters, and offer on-the-ground tools to end the current war and all wars. Their current work includes the Not Your Soldier Project, local and regional antiwar organizing projects and work to help build and sustain a national movement supporting GI resisters.

The responsibilities of the job include: planning articles, contacting potential authors and soliciting articles and graphics, editing copy, writing news briefs as needed, coordinating magazine production and printing, overseeing magazine's budget, working with database manager on subscription system, overseeing magazine website, and soliciting advertising, as well as sharing general office duties with other staff

The ideal candidate will have: substantial editorial experience and knowledge of magazine or newsletter production and management; excellent writing, word processing and e-mail skills; commitment to nonviolence and the philosophy of the War Resisters League; willingness to work in collective staff environment; and knowledge of movements for peace and justice. Experience with desktop publishing software a plus.

WIN, the primary publication of the War Resisters League, is a 32-page quarterly magazine of information and thought-provoking pieces on national and international issues from a pacifist perspective. WIN also keeps the WRL membership and other readers informed about the activities and resources of the War Resisters League.

This is a half-time (20 hours/week plus occasional evening and weekend meetings) salaried position. Yearly salary is $18,925, with full benefits, including health insurance, paid vacation and a pension contribution of five percent beginning in the second year.

WRL is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, and women, people of color and LGBT people are especially encouraged to apply. The WRL office, however, is located on the second floor and thus is not accessible to wheelchairs or people with ambulatory issues. Applicants should also be advised that there is an office cat.

The War Resisters League affirms that all war is a crime against humanity. We are determined not to support any kind of war, international or civil, and to strive nonviolently for the removal of the causes of war, including racism, sexism and all forms of human exploitation.

Please send cover letter and resume to: by June 21, 2008 with WIN Job Search in the subject line. You can also fax your application to 212.228.6193.

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Tuesdays in June: Vigils for Darfur

Vigils for Darfur:
The U.S. will hold the presidency of the Security Council during June.

Tuesdays in June, noon to 2 pm
(June 10, 17, and 24)

At US Mission to the United Nations,
140 E. 45th St,
(between Lexington and 3rd Ave.)

The U.S. will hold the presidency of the Security Council during June.
This is the time for the U.S. to use its leverage to push the UN to enforce the resolutions it has already passed and deploy the already-authorized UN troops (UNAMID) and impose multilateral sanctions on the Sudanese regime, in order to end ongoing atrocities, being carried out with impunity by the Sudanese government.

Call for international justice and accountability, including arrest of Sudanese officials who have been indicted by the International Criminal Court.
Now is a time of renewed violence in Darfur. In the wake of a failed coup in Khartoum, Darfuris in the capital are being targeted on the basis of their ethnicity. Civilians not involved in the coup attempt are being executed and disappered. There are also renewed attacks on Darfuri villages.

Sponsor: NYC Coalition for Darfur, Vigil Group
Learn more about the current situation and what you can do NOW
Next meeting BFP Darfur Crisis Committee Tues. June 24, 7:30 pm
E-mail for location.

True Crimes: The Untold Story Behind the Devastation of Iraq - Tonight - at Town Hall

If you can't make it to Town Hall tonight (Tues 6/3) for True Crimes: The Untold Story Behind the Devastation of Iraq, go to for a live webcast of the event.

The event, will take place at New York City's Town Hall.

It features bestselling author JEREMY SCAHILL,
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer CHRIS HEDGES,
journalist LAILA AL-ARIAN, and
The New Yorker's SEYMOUR HERSH

They will go behind the headlines to tell the untold story of the occupation of Iraq, the daily plight of Iraqi civilians, and the ongoing role of private mercenaries in America's so-called "war on terror."

This event marks the book launches of Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians by Chris Hedges and Laila al-Arian and the updated paperback edition of Blackwater: Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill.

Monday, June 02, 2008

June 4: Film Showing: LIFE & DEBT

Film Showing: LIFE & DEBT

Wednesday, June 4, 7:00 pm

The Diversity Center of Queens
76-11 37th Ave (2nd Floor)
(E,F,R,G,V,7 to Roosevelt)

In 2001, years before the current food crisis, Stephanie Black made a movie about how the IMF and World Bank ruined Jamaica's economy and transformed it from a nation that exported food to one forced to rely on imported food. Life and Debt tells this story of economic devastation clearly and beautifully.

Watch the movie and stick around afterward to discuss the impact of neo-liberalism around the world and how people are organizing a resistance.

Sponsored by the International Socialist Organization
For more into, contact or (646) 452-8662**

We Need A Roe of Our Own in New York State

I'm not certain how dated this is but I just got it from NARAL N.Y. so I thought you might not have seen it.

On April 18, 2007, the United State Supreme Court, in a 5 – 4 decision, threw out years of precedent and upheld President Bush's Federal Abortion Ban. With this decision, the Court deserted its long standing commitment to protecting women’s health and has opened the floodgates for further state and federal abortion restrictions.

Six states have already introduced measures to further restrict abortion since the decision came down; however, New York is fervently working to safeguard a woman's right to access safe and legal abortion by introducing the Reproductive Health Act.

Check out this Fact Sheet on this bill that will take the principles of Roe v. Wade and put them squarely into New York Law. We must secure the freedoms we have now before any further federal or state legislation is passed. We need a Roe of our own.