Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bugliosi on the case for convicting Bush for murder

Vincent Bugliosi, the former Los Angeles prosecutor who wrote Helter Skelter about the prosecution and conviction of Charles Manson, has written a book which puts forward the case for trying George W. Bush for murder because of the invasion and occupation of Iraq: The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. Despite the fact that Helter Skelter is the largest selling true crime book of all time the corporate media won't touch his new book with a 10-foot pole. Here is his testemony before the recent Conyers committee hearings on the "non-impeachment" Bush. (If you are reading this on FaceBook please click here to see the video.)

Nation Magazine open letter to Barack Obama

The editors of the Nation Magazine have prepared the following letter to be presented to Barack Obama before the Democratic National Convention. It highlights the support we all have for the positions he has taken so far and the concern regarding his living up to them as his campaign further develops. It also includes a promise that we will critically support him. Please read and sign this letter today.
Dear Senator Obama,We write to congratulate you on the tremendous achievements of your campaign for the presidency of the United States.

Your candidacy has inspired a wave of political enthusiasm like nothing seen in this country for decades. In your speeches, you have sketched out a vision of a better future--in which the United States sheds its warlike stance around the globe and focuses on diplomacy abroad and greater equality and freedom for its citizens at home--that has thrilled voters across the political spectrum. Hundreds of thousands of young people have entered the political process for the first time, African-American voters have rallied behind you, and many of those alienated from politics-as-usual have been re-engaged.

You stand today at the head of a movement that believes deeply in the change you have claimed as the mantle of your campaign. The millions who attend your rallies, donate to your campaign and visit your website are a powerful testament to this new movement's energy and passion.

This movement is vital for two reasons: First, it will help assure your victory against John McCain in November. The long night of greed and military adventurism under the Bush Administration, which a McCain administration would continue, cannot be brought to an end a day too soon. An enthusiastic corps of volunteers and organizers will ensure that voters turn out to close the book on the Bush era on election day. Second, having helped bring you the White House, the support of this movement will make possible the changes that have been the platform of your campaign. Only a grassroots base as broad and as energized as the one that is behind you can counteract the forces of money and established power that are a dead weight on those seeking real change in American politics.

We urge you, then, to listen to the voices of the people who can lift you to the presidency and beyond.

Since your historic victory in the primary, there have been troubling signs that you are moving away from the core commitments shared by many who have supported your campaign, toward a more cautious and centrist stance--including, most notably, your vote for the FISA legislation granting telecom companies immunity from prosecution for illegal wiretapping, which angered and dismayed so many of your supporters.

We recognize that compromise is necessary in any democracy. We understand that the pressures brought to bear on those seeking the highest office are intense. But retreating from the stands that have been the signature of your campaign will weaken the movement whose vigorous backing you need in order to win and then deliver the change you have promised.

Here are key positions you have embraced that we believe are essential to sustaining this movement:

§ Withdrawal from Iraq on a fixed timetable.

§ A response to the current economic crisis that reduces the gap between the rich and the rest of us through a more progressive financial and welfare system; public investment to create jobs and repair the country's collapsing infrastructure; fair trade policies; restoration of the freedom to organize unions; and meaningful government enforcement of labor laws and regulation of industry.

§ Universal healthcare.

§ An environmental policy that transforms the economy by shifting billions of dollars from the consumption of fossil fuels to alternative energy sources, creating millions of green jobs.

§ An end to the regime of torture, abuse of civil liberties and unchecked executive power that has flourished in the Bush era.

§ A commitment to the rights of women, including the right to choose abortion and improved access to abortion and reproductive health services.

§ A commitment to improving conditions in urban communities and ending racial inequality, including disparities in education through reform of the No Child Left Behind Act and other measures.

§ An immigration system that treats humanely those attempting to enter the country and provides a path to citizenship for those already here.

§ Reform of the drug laws that incarcerate hundreds of thousands who need help, not jail.

§ Reform of the political process that reduces the influence of money and corporate lobbyists and amplifies the voices of ordinary people.

These are the changes we can believe in. In other areas--such as the use of residual forces and mercenary troops in Iraq, the escalation of the US military presence in Afghanistan, the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the death penalty--your stated positions have consistently varied from the positions held by many of us, the "friends on the left" you addressed in recent remarks. If you win in November, we will work to support your stands when we agree with you and to challenge them when we don't. We look forward to an ongoing and constructive dialogue with you when you are elected President.

Stand firm on the principles you have so compellingly articulated, and you may succeed in bringing this country the change you've encouraged us to believe is possible.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Aug.6: memorial commemorating the 63rd anniversary of Hiroshima Day

Wednesday, August 6, 7 - 9 p.m.

NO MORE: No more Hiroshimas; No more occupations; No more saber rattling.

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock
48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset

(From Northern Blvd - Go South on Shelter Rock Rd. about ½ miles; entrance is on rights at sign & white picket fence.
From LIE - Exit 35 North from east or exit 36 from West; go 1 ½ miles on Shelter Rock Road, entrance will be on left.)

Dear Dan,

Great Neck SANE, Peace Action & the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives presents a memorial event commemorating the 63rd anniversary of Hiroshima Day. Wednesday, August 6, 2008, we will say NO MORE: No more Hiroshimas; No more occupations; No more saber rattling. On that day we will demand our government bring our troops home - JOIN US!

There will be speakers and music by the extraordinary jazz musician and peace activist, Bob Lepley. For more information call Great Neck SANE at 487.3786 or Long Island Alliance at 741.4360.

Speakers Include:

Michael D'Innocenzo, Professor of History, HofstraUniversity

Mary Beth Sullivan, Outreach Director, Global Network Against Nuclear Weapons

Hon. Michelle Schimel, New York State Assemblywoman

Reverend Mark Lukens, Bethany Congregation

Fred Brewing, Esq, Civil Rights Attorney

Margaret Melkonian, Co-Director, Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives

Great Neck Womanspace, Reach Out, Social Justice Comm., Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, Interfaith Alliance - L.I., Pax Christi - L.I., Five Towns Forum, Code Pink-L.I.


Kevin M. Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

Aug 6th and 9th: 63rd anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 6th and 9th will mark the 63rd anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.(I will post updates about upcoming events around these anniversaries as I learn about them)

Here is the call to action put out by United for Peace and Justice:
United for Peace and Justice has declared August “Nuclear-Free Future Month.” The specter of nuclear weapons in the hands of “rogue” states has become one of the 1 top U.S. excuses for waging war, yet the United States continues to rely on the threatened first use of nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of its national security policy. We call on groups to take action and raise awareness about the ever-increasing threat from nuclear weapons and the environmental and proliferation dangers posed by the global nuclear power “renaissance.”

Through popular education, video screenings, art exhibits, protests, vigils and more, we are working to put nuclear issues on the political agenda of the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections and to build stronger ties between the nuclear abolition, anti-war, and climate justice movements. We are working in solidarity with these fundamentally connected movements to create a safe, just future.

August 6th and 9th will mark the 63rd anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Expanding the traditional anniversary period will allow more opportunities for groups to plan and organize events focusing on all aspects of the nuclear issue. We seek to reach a broad public and to inspire more people to participate in a wide variety of antinuclear activities, including efforts to encourage the Presidential candidates to make both the abolition of nuclear weapons and immediate steps to move in that direction a central campaign priority, as we demand clean, sustainable, non-nuclear energy alternatives.

Our main vehicle for coordinating activities and disseminating information will be the new website where you will find a variety of action ideas and educational resources. We encourage you to post your group’s planned activities to the calendar you will find there. Please help us spread the word!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

McClone not only echoes Bush but also Sen. Clinton

For the last few weeks I have been telling anyone who would listen that for some bizarre reason the McClone campaign was aping Hillary Clinton's hardly winning tactics. Suddenly some corporate-owned media right-wing columnists are noticing this odd phenomenon as well. On Friday in the New York Daily News two columnists linked the McClone and Clinton campaign strategies. In a piece titled "McCain's Mess: Campaign Chaos," Kirsten Powers wrote:
While Obama hobnobbed with world leaders, the McCain campaign settled on a relentless whine about media bias, interspersed with flailing attacks.
She continued:
In many ways, the McCain campaign has turned into a less functional version of Hillary Clinton's: complaining about the press, making crazy accusations about Obama, showing disarray, harping on 'experience," ridiculing "hope" and making dishonest claims about gas prices.
On the other hand, longtime-right-wing columnist, National Review editor, Rich Lowry took another tack in trying to right McClone's flailing campaign. He commented:
A McCain comeback has to begin in a deconstruction of Obama as too risky to be president.... The playbook is partly provided by Hillary Clinton, who found her voice in lunch-bucket appeals to working-class white and Hispanic voters.
He notices:
Of course, she didn't defeat Obama -- but McCain ought to be encouraged by how close she came.
Coming close ain't however winning. He didn't, of course, notice the inherent racism of appealing to "white and Hispanic voters." But he wouldn't after all. He went on to write:
For a contemporary Democrat, she ran a center-right campaign; she talked of blowing Iran to smithereens, downed shots of Crown Royal and appealed frankly to blue-collar whites. These gestures conveyed a sense of toughness that endeared Hillary to her working-class voters and highlighted a vulnerability of the polished but aloof Obama.
This is all, remember, coming from right-wing McClone supporters, who are hoping he can turn things around. Some of us have very different ideas. I would, however, make one suggestion to McClone: get Lorne Michaels to schedule a special mid-Summer edition of Saturday Night Live, so that they can all commiserate and moan about how McClone is being mistreated by the mainstream media.

McClone plays both sides against Obama again

There must be something permeating the drinking water in Arizona. The McClone campaign criticized Sen. Obama for cancelling a visit with wounded troops in Germany. And Arizona's other senator, Jon Kyle, immediately hopped on the anti-Obama defamation bandwagon. It's almost certain that these same fools would have criticized him if he had visited the troops. Can't you hear it now: "He's exploiting the troops for campaign purposes." I'll bet the McClone campaign had two possible TV ads prepared, one if he went to visit the troops and one if he didn't.

If after his behavior this past week anyone still takes McClone seriously as a potential president, we are in deeper shit than even I thought.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Aug. 2: Mass March Against War on Iran

Mass March Against War on Iran

Saturday, August 2

Assemble 12 noon

Times Square, 43rd St. & Broadway

An Attack could be Imminent
We Can’t Afford to Wait
Take It to the Streets This Summer
U.S. out Of Iraq , Money for human needs, not war!

This Thursday, July 24, 4:45-5:30
Union Square
there will be a mass distribution of leaflets
to help spread the word about the Aug. 2 action.

If you're not able to make it to Union Square,
drop by the Solidarity Center (55 W. 17th St. 5th Floor) (bt 5th and 6th Aves)
to pick up leaflets and stickers to distribute in your neighborhood, school, workplace, or union hall.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Mission accomplished" again in Iraq

I knew when the US Abraham Lincoln (see photo) sailed into Iraqi waters that a new "mission accomplished" in Iraq speech was about to rear its foolish head. The only difference from the announcement of May 2, 2003 is this time it was made on dry land by John McClone.

Not being able to say anything just once McClone also told CBS anchor Katie Curic that "We have succeeded in Iraq."

It is truly sad to witness the crumbling of an American hero in his desperate reach for the mantle of Commander in Chief. He consistently demonstrates how little he knows about the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular when his buddy Conn. Sen. Joe Lieberman isn't there to prompt him. The question remains: Why does the media continue to treat him as a serious political person despite his more and more evident limitations.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mamma Mia!: The Movie: The review

We saw Mamma Mia! at a screening Thursday night. I know that I will be seen as a killjoy to the multitude of ABBA fans and all those who have loved the Broadway stage version over these past eight years; but we saw it for nothing and you shouldn't pay a penny more. That's about what it is worth.

The story in its simplest form (and that's all there really is) is about a young woman (Sophie) who is about to marry her boyfriend (Sky) and finds her mother's (Donna - Mamma Mia) diary in which she identifies the three men she had sex with before she became pregnant with Sophie. One of these men (Sam, Bill or Harry) is obviously Sophie's unknown father. So, of course, Sophie invites all three to her wedding on a Greek Island. She plans to identify the one who participated in her conception (rather naively she expects to recognize him on sight, which, of course, doesn't happen) and ask him to walk her down the aisle. Oh! one more thing: she doesn't tell Mamma Mia or boyfriend Sky anything about her plan. So, when the three potential dads arrive together on Harry's boat you can imagine the comedy of errors that ensues.

Actually this almost non-existent story is really just an excuse for some essentially non-singing actors to perform 17 familiar ABBA tunes: "The Dancing Queen," "Honey, Honey," "The Winner takes All," and, of course, "Mamma Mia."

All I can say is "thank god for Broadway veteran Christine Baranski (who plays Tanya, one of Momma's buddies). Her other backup singer (yes! Momma was a band singer in her checkered past) is played by the wonderful British actor Julie Walters. Who acquits herself very well. The others try hard to do justice to ABBA with varying degrees of success - Meryl Streep (Momma Mia) and Amanda Seyfried (Sophie) succeed better than the three guys (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard) who should not give up their day jobs.

I'm not at all certain why they needed a writer (Catherine Johnson) to create all this. The dialogue isn't much more sophisticated than the story. And the direction (Phyllida Law-who directed the Broadway show) could have been done improvisationally by the actors without much help. If I never see another bunch of Greek villagers dancing through town again it will be soon enough. But then remember this is all merely to provide a framework on which to hang the ABBA tunes. So the real question is does the music make it worthwhile. The ABBA music is certainly pleasant enough. It is melodic and upbeat. But if the purpose is to highlight the music why get a bunch of non-singing movie stars to perform it. I guess they thought they needed the names to sell tickets. I'm not sure how much recording trickery was necessary to make it possible for Meryl Streep to hit and carry out some of those notes. But, all I can say is, if Marlon Brando could assay Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, the movie, you go girl. The three guys add almost nothing to the mix. And there is far more chemistry between Donna and her daughter than there is between momma mia and the one with whom she finally hooks up. The whole thing does leave you wondering: where is a home DNA kit when you need one.

Dalai Lama: "I love President Bush... but...his method becomes unrealistic because of lack of understanding about reality."

Rob Kall of OpEd News attended a talk by the Dalai Lama in Philadelphia last Wednesday and provides this quote from the conversation:
Things are not black and white. Things are relative. Things are interdependent. When we look at a situation we have to consider all the factors.

Many world disasters, including war, including the Iraq war, are due to lack of this holistic nature (looking at all the factors.) Like Saddam Hussein-- ending things for him. "Reality is not that simple.

Of course, I have great respect for, in fact, I love President Bush, because he is very frank, very straightforward. His intentions are good, but some of his policy in spite of his sincere motivation and right goal, and some of his method becomes unrealistic because of lack of understanding about reality.
I urge you to ask yourself: "How many times have I heard or read this in the corporate media?"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WAND added to blog links

I have just added WAND (Women's Action for New Diretions) to the links on this blog. Please take the time to check them out. They describe their purpose in this way:
WAND empowers women. To take political action.
To change our culture and our national priorities:
Toward peace and real security. Away from militarism and violence

July 16: Reading: Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

Naomi Klein will be reading from the new paperback edition of her best-selling, The Shock Doctrine,

Wednesday, July 16, 7:00pm sharp

Union Square Barnes & Noble
33 East 17th Street


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bobby Murcer, 1946-2008

Bobby Murcer faced one of the most daunting challenges ever confronting a professional athlete. The New York Yankee's great center fielder Joe DiMaggio retired in 1951. Mickey Mantle, his all-star replacement, retired in 1969 and was succeeded by Bobby Murcer. Obviously every time a great ballplayer retires someone has to replace him, but following not one but two baseball icons was a truly formidable task. Although, unlike his predecessors, Murcer did not have a Hall-of-Fame career, he filled their shoes admirably. On the field, over 17 years, he hit 252 home runs, had 1,862 hits and a .277 career batting average. He appeared in five All-Star games (one as a San Francisco Giant). Murcer retired in 1983, when he became a Yankee sportscaster, a job he held virtually until his death.

Murcer was beloved by Yankee fans (actually many baseball fans) because of the kind of person he was as much as for his accomplishments on the field and in the broadcast booth. Murcer was a charming and warm human being. His legacy may be as much a result of the manner in which he dealt with the blow of being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor (which eventually took his life) as anything he did before.

Murcer will undoubtedly be eulogized during Tuesday's All-Star game and the Yankees will wear black arm bands for the rest of the season, but most of us who saw Bobby Murcer in center field and heard him behind the microphone will remember him alot longer then that.

July 18: Seth Tobocman - celebrate publication of Disaster and Resistance: Political Comics

Friday, July 18th, 7PM

Seth Tobocman

"Disaster and Resistance"

172 Allen St (bt Stanton and Rivington Sts)
(1 block south of Houston and 1st Ave)


Celebrate the release of Seth Tobocman's Disaster and Resistance: Political Comics

In Disaster and Resistance, Tobocman outlines contemporary social and political struggles, and he offers bold and urgent insights into the landscapes of the 21st century. Sociologist of popular culture Paul Buhle calls Disaster and Resistance
A graphic revelation, an artistic and political document of enormous value in our troubled world
Also appearing Peter Kuper, Fly, Eric Blitz and Steve Wishnia.

Tobocman is one of the founders of World War 3 Illustrated and his previous books include You Don't Have To Fuck People Over To Survive, and War In The Neighborhood.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thoughts about yesterday's FISA vote

A few more comments on the disgraceful anti-American FISA vote in the Senate yesterday.

At a time when the Cheney/Bush administration commands support from about 20% of the population, the vast majority of which believes that the country is headed in the wrong direction, the only place Bush could win any kind of vote is in the obsequious Congress. These people who have been elected to represent us, clearly don't.

I am aware that when the corporate media talk about a "Democratic" congress, that is by no means a reflection of reality. First of all, a Democratic Party that required Conn. Sen. Joe Lieberman's vote to take control can't possibly reflect Democratic values. Although it's not at all clear to me what values the Democratic party represents on international issues. More to the point, how they differ from the belligerent war-mongering of the Bush/McCain policies. The 2006 election provided the Democrats with barely enough votes to organize the congress, clearly not to control it.

But there is a far more important point to be made. Why should only Democrats be committed to preserving the Constitution and the rule of law? After all, every senator takes the following oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Clearly the part about "support[ing] and defend[ing] the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic" slipped the mind of most of these toadies yesterday. There is absolutely no question that Bush and Cheney are "domestic enemies" of our democratic system and our Constitution. The ACLU describes what happened yesterday in these words:
Congress has not only legalized the Bush administration's secret NSA spying program, it has given the government even more power to listen to our phone calls and read our emails than even the Bush administration illegally claimed for itself under its secret program. And, by granting telecoms immunity, it has made it highly unlikely that we will ever learn the extent of the administration’s lawless actions.
Clearly we need to take back control of our society from the military-industrial complex, which Pres. Eisenhower so eloquently warned us against in his Farewell Address.

July 26: Celebration in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution

Annual July 26th Celebration in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution.

Saturday, July 26th

The 1199/SEIU Building Martin Luther King Labor Center,
310 West 43rd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues),
(Times Square Subway Stop).

Cuba Solidarity New York urges everyone to attend this year's annual July 26th Celebration in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution.

The theme of this year's Celebration is "Change in Continuity, Continuity in Change."

The featured speaker will be a representative of the Cuban Mission to the UN, as well as a moving film with relatives of the Cuban Five made by New York filmmakers Sally O'Brien and Jennifer Wager. There will be food, drink and music.

This years event will take place as rampant speculation, disinformation, and wishful thinking envelopes big-business media coverage of Cuban reality since Fidel Castro, for reasons of health, declined to put himself forward in nomination for re-election as President of the Cuban Council of State and the election of Raul Castro to that position.

The issue of Cuba has also entered into this year’s Presidential election campaign as Republican John McCain and Democrat Barak Obama, both of whom support continued U. S. sanctions, engage in a tactical debate over whether or not to liberalize travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans or engage in any direct diplomatic contact with the revolutionary Cuban government, and whether or not such “adjustments” would advance their common aim of destroying the Cuban Revolution and its example for the volatile Latin America of today.

In solidarity and struggle,
Cuba Solidarity New York

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Who voted for and against the U.S. version of the Nuremberg Defense?

Power corrupts,
and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
(Lord Acton)

Today is a very sad day for our Constitution and our country. Sixty-nine Senators voted to ensconce the "Nuremberg Defense" in our legal system. You remember the defense of the Nazi bureaucrats: "I was only following orders." We moved closer than ever to an imperial presidency, toward absolute power. This is, of course, exactly what the founders of our nation were trying to protect against in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Be sure of one thing - it's not just the telecom companies that Bush and the puppet Republicans are trying to protect, it's the people who gave the orders. Without bringing the small fry to justice the top dogs will never be put on trial for violating the law. This bill also makes legal much of what Bush did illegally.

Here are the votes:

YEAs---69 (Democrats in bold)
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)

Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)

Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Inouye (D-HI)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)

Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)

Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)

Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)

Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)

Wicker (R-MS)

Akaka (D-HI)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Wyden (D-OR)

Not Voting - 3
Kennedy (D-MA)
McCain (R-AZ)
Sessions (R-AL)

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 10: Freeze the Threat of WAR ON IRAN


Part of a national call to action by United for Peace and Justice

Thursday, July 10, 5:00 PM (at Lexington and 42st)

At 5:30: enter Grand Central Station

At 5:00 PM, everyone will gather at Lexington and 42St. At 5:30, we will enter Grand Central, spread out walking and talking casually and then at the appointed time, everyone will freeze and stand still and silent for 5 minutes.

U.S. officials say Israel is mounting a "full court press" to get the Bush administration to strike Iran's nuclear complex, CBS News reports. In The New Yorker, Seymour Hersh reports that congressional leaders agreed last year to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran. New York Newsday and the Seattle-Post Intelligencer warn that Congress is considering a resolution promoted by AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) that would effectively endorse a naval blockade of Iran, an act of war.

If you have "Peace with Iran" or "We Not Be Silent" t-shirts, wear them and some will be for sale that day. There will also be "Peace with Iran" signs that can be pinned to shirts. (No signs are allowed in Grand Central Station).

Please register if you plan to attend, so that the organizers will have some idea of how many people to expect

July 9: From MoveOn: Nat'l Day of Action for an Oil-Free President


Dear MoveOn member,

National Day of Action for an Oil-Free President.

Wednesday, Jul. 9, 2008, at 5:00 PM

Have you seen the latest ad from the RNC? With holiday travel and gas prices on every channel, the Republicans are spending over $3 million in the next week to convince voters that high gas prices are Barack Obama's fault.

What's scary is that their strategy is working—even though the Republicans' energy policy got us into this mess!

So this Wednesday, we're pushing back with our National Day of Action for an Oil-Free President. We'll be gathering at gas stations around the country to reach out to voters and make sure they know John McCain is Big Oil's candidate and that he won't solve our energy crisis.

We'll be in front of gas stations with signs and fliers to remind people that McCain is in the pocket of Big Oil. His campaign is run by oil industry lobbyists,(1)
and he looks to Big Oil for big campaign contributions.(2)
We can't count on him to push for alternative energy solutions or help lower gas prices.

But soon ads blaming Obama for gas prices will be up all over the country. And people squeezed by energy costs may forget that it was another Republican with close ties to Big Oil and former oil lobbyists advising him in the White House who brought us to this point.

Now is the time to make sure voters know John McCain won't solve our energy crisis.
Hope you can make it! Thanks for all you do.

P.S. Can't make this event?
Here is another event near you:

SE Corner of Atlantic Ave and Henry, Brooklyn at 6:00 PM

1. "John McCain, His Big Oil Lobbyists, and His Big Oil Policies," Progressive Media USA Research, June 16, 2008

2. "John McCain On The Side Of Oil Companies," Progressive Media USA Research, April 23, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

Why are we so insecure about our country?

On this the birthday of our country I have but one question: Why have we become so insecure? Why are we so afraid of possibly negative truths? Why can't we talk about real issues and not just reject them out of hand? Now I know that the media (in its obsession for political gossip) highlights and treats real questions as sound bites. For example, last week when Gen. Wesley Clark raised a perfectly legitimate question about how McSame's experience in Vietnam (heroic as it might have been) prepares him for the presidency it becomes the meat of political gossip. In any sane world it would have been treated as a legitimate question. The pundits could only focus on how the comment would affect the campaign. Not on whether his Vietnam experience prepares him for the presidency or, in fact, combined with his personality makes him the absolute wrong person for the job.

The same is true of Michelle Obama's saying that her husband's winning the primaries was the first time she was proud of her country. As a Black woman, how much was there for her to be proud of. Why can't we treat it as a legitimate heartfelt comment instead of a negative sound bite? Can we learn anything from the questions raised by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or must we treat him only as a loudmouthed racist?

I can't explain our insecurity - but somehow we have to face it.

A Native American activist we used to know would say that when we paved over the land we lost touch with what was real. Or maybe independent journalist Greg Palast has part of the answer:
Bush is so far away from his refugee loser roots that he just doesn’t get what it is to be American. So he steals the one thing that every American is handed off the boat: a chance. When they take away your Social Security and overtime and tell you sleeper cells are sleeping under your staircase, you don't take a chance, you lose your chance, and the land of opportunity becomes a landscape of fear and suspicion, an armed madhouse.
Whatever the reason for our insecurity, we have to deal with it. Under the present circumstances our political candidates can't be honest with us. And as I have said before, without truth and honesty on the part of our leaders democracy is impossible.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Letter to Barack Obama on up-coming bill to revise the Fisa law

I just sent the following letter to Barack Obama. Let's see what response I get.

I have been very excited about your campaign: until now. Your decision to endorse the Bush-initiated legislation to expand the government's domestic spying powers and providing legal protection to the telecom companies that worked with the NSA's domestic wiretapping program seems to fly in the face of the kind of new leadership you have promised. It also reverses your promise to stand up against such legislation. This does not bode well for your campaign. It also doesn't keep faith with those of us who have supported you from the begining. Letting Gen. Clark "twist in the wind" when he raised a question you should have raised didn't help your image either.

Remember that Sen. Clinton voted to back Bush on the issue of the invasion of Iraq (and later to label Iran's Kutz force as a terrorist organization) in order to enhance what one of her supporters called "her testicular fortitude." Her advisors felt she need to enhance her image as one who can play with the boys in their current testosterone-laden foreign policy. See how much good that did her. Don't go down the same futile road.

So far you have let John McCain define the narrative of this campaign. If you continue to do that you will pay the same penalty John Kerry paid in '04. The presidency is a position of leadership. You need to take control of the Party in Congress. The Democrats' strategy of appealing to a mythical "independent" vote, at the expense of your real base, has done them no good in 2000 and 2004. If you keep following instead of leading, you will follow the Gore (of 2000) and John Kerry right out the door of the White House.

Your claim that you shifted your position to support the Bush legislation because it is the best you can get. That just isn't leadership. You need to stand up for what we thought you believed in. That's leadership. That's what we expect from you. And that's what we need to continue supporting your campaign, which is still filled with hope. But Hope can turn to disappointment if it's not fulfilled.

Thanks for your time,
I am still in solidarity with you,
Dan Cohen

Letter to MSNBC

I just sent the following e-mail to MSNBC. Let's see what, if any, response I get.


As always I appreciate your work. But I don't understand why you choose to simply approach issues like Gen. Wesley Clark's questions about John McCain's qualifications for the presidency based on his war service by asking how they will effect the campaign rather than as an opportunity for a serious discussion. When you have a panel of "experts," why not let them take the issue Gen. Clark raised and go with it.

Many of us have had the same question for some time, it is fundamental to who McCain is and little that he has said suggests qualifications for the presidency. It's clear that as heroic as it was (and Gen. Clark made a point of that) has helped him to know the difference between Shiite and Sunni in Iran and Iraq. Today is different from then. His war-mongering sensibilities don't auger well for a foreign-policy change today.

You have a responsibility to ask the questions (certainly after they are raised by others) not to just treat them as another form of campaign gossip. I know you're too good for this Fox-like approach to politics. Don't let me down.

Good luck
Dan Cohen

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sign this petition to stop media distortion of the campaign


On Sunday, General Wesley Clark spoke honestly and bluntly about what it takes to be Commander in Chief. He said that while Senator John McCain's service made him a hero to millions, including Clark himself, McCain's experience doesn't trump the poor judgment that he's shown on some of the most important issues in recent years.
General Clark is right, but the media's been twisting his words and accusing him of saying things he didn't say.
When the media distorts the facts on important issues like this, it has serious consequences. Can you sign the petition supporting General Clark and tell the media to stop distorting his comments?
A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to major news media outlets.
Here's what Gen. Clark actually said judge for yourself:

On Patriotism to counteract Fourth of July rhetoric

In anticipation of the Fourth of July rhetorical explosions here are some quotes on Patriotism:

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Samuel Johnson, [quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson English author, critic, & lexicographer (1709 - 1784)]
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
George Bernard Shaw, [Irish dramatist (1856 - 1950)]
Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate [or perhaps oil] above principles.
George Jean Nathan, U.S. drama critic & editor (1882 - 1958)