Monday, February 25, 2008

Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

Following is a preview of Iraq Veterans Against the War's "Winter Soldier," March 13-16:

Part I: Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan

Trouble viewing this video? Click Here.

Part II: Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan

Trouble viewing this video? Click Here.

What is "Winter Soldier" and Why is it Important?

"In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote: 'These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.'

In 1971, a courageous group of veterans exposed the criminal nature of the Vietnam War in an event called Winter Soldier. Once again, we will demand that the voices of veterans are heard.

Once again, we are fighting for the soul of our country. We will demonstrate our patriotism by speaking out with honor and integrity instead of blindly following failed policy. Winter Soldier is a difficult but essential service to our country.
Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan will feature testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.

The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan - and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.

When: Thursday March 13 to Sunday March 16

For those interested in watching or organizing around the proceedings at Winter Soldier, there will be a number of ways to watch and listen to the event.

  • Live television broadcast via satellite tv, accessible through Dish Network as well as public access stations that choose to carry our broadcast - Friday and Saturday only

  • Live video stream on the web - Thursday through Sunday

  • Live radio broadcast via KPFA in Berkley California and other Pacifica member stations - Friday through Sunday

  • Live audio stream via KPFA's website - Friday through Sunday

Please return to the IVAW website for specific details in the coming weeks.

Want to help make Winter Soldier a success? Find how how you can help.

Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

Help spread the word: cross post and/or forward this page to friends.

Also See:

MUST WATCH: Zeitgeist - The Movie, 2007

"Zeitgeist" is the one documentary that is "required watching" for all. You can view the entire film by clicking on the Blog Title link or the video below. You can also view the movie in sections by clicking on the links below.



Whichever way you choose to view, WATCH THE ENTIRE FILM. Once you see it, you won't have to ask why.

Watch "Zeitgeist - The Movie" - Part I:

Watch "Zeitgeist - The Movie" - Part II:

Watch "Zeitgeist - The Movie" - Part III:

RESEARCHERS!!! Interactive transcript with citations at Zeitgeist - The Movie, 2007 Start research there!!

Zeitgeist was created as a non-profit filmiac expression to inspire people to start looking at the world from a more critical perspective and to understand that very often things are not what the population at large think they are. The information in Zeitgeist was established over a year long period of research and the current Source page on this site lists the basic sources used/referenced. Soon, an Interactive Transcript will be online with detailed footnotes and links so exact sources and further research can be relayed.

Though many different frauds are addressed in Zeitgeist, at the present time the most important issue is exposing 9/11 and thus exposing government sponsored Terrorism. If we do not, they will erode all of our civil liberties and an oppressive, military style, surveillance based Police State will take firm root.

On Aug. 4th 2007, the Senate passed the Bush backed 'spy bill', which preserves & expands the illegal domestic spying program. I hope people are educated enough by this time to know that such legislations have nothing to do with Terrorism, and everything to do with monitoring and controlling American dissent.

Furthermore, on May 9 2007, Bush signed the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, which gives Bush near full dictatorial powers in the event of a "National Emergency". Bush, and the people he works for, will be able to do ANYTHING they want if a "National Emergency" is deemed. All they need is a "New 9/11". The US Constitution will no longer be applicable.

In regards to this Directive, Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan administration, has come out and said he feels the White House is preparing to STAGE A NEW 9/11 and the executive order is designed to capitalize on such an attack, specifically to impose Martial Law and Invade Iran.

IN ORDER TO STOP MARTIAL LAW AND THE TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF THE US CONSTITUTION, WE MUST STOP ANOTHER FALSE FLAG ATTACK. THE FIRST STEP IS TO EXPOSE THE 9/11 FRAUD. THIS IS THE EVENT THAT IS BEING USED TO JUSTIFY THE DEVELOPING POLICE STATE, NOT TO MENTION WORLDWIDE OPPRESSION.

It's important to point out that there is a tendency to simply disbelieve things that are counter to our understanding, without the necessary research performed. However, if one takes the time to read the sources provided, they will find that what is being presented is based on documented evidence. Any corrections, clarifications & further points regarding the film are found at Zeitgeist - The Movie, 2007

Required Reading

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Blogger has been playing nasty tricks with my ability to post over the past several months, but I finally found a slow, but do-able, work around. Now, I'm playing catch-up. In case you missed these ... now's your chance to read up.

The War on "Terror"

  • ZNet | No “War on Terror”
    "One of the most telling signs of the political naiveté of liberals and the Left in the United States has been their steadfast faith in much of the worldview that blankets the imperial state they call home. Nowhere has this critical failure been more evident than in their acceptance of the premise that there really is something called a 'war on terror' or 'terrorism'..."

Iraq

McCain

Obama

Hillary

  • A New Clinton Scandal? Richard Miniter reports:
    "Bill Clinton invited Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining executive, to travel with him to Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan in September 2005. Apparently, they were not simply sight-seeing...."

Universal HealthCare

Iran

Politics

The Media

  • How the spooks took over the news
    In his controversial new book, Nick Davies argues that shadowy intelligence agencies are pumping out black propaganda to manipulate public opinion – and that the media simply swallow it wholesale.

Big Brother

The Economy

Impeachment

Long Live Whistleblowers!

Mirror Wikileaks sites pop up on internet as US court orders shutdown of whistleblower website

Elana Schor reports for The Guardian UK,
"The US court order shutting down the website Wikileaks today appeared to backfire on the Swiss bank that sought the legal action, as bloggers and other fans of the site gave new life to leaked documents the bank was working to suppress...."

U.S. Payments To Pakistan Face New Scrutiny

Robin Wright reports for The Washington Post:
"Once a month, Pakistan's Defense Ministry delivers 15 to 20 pages of spreadsheets to the US Embassy in Islamabad. They list costs for feeding, clothing, billeting and maintaining 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistani troops in the volatile tribal area along the Afghan border, in support of US counterterrorism efforts. No receipts are attached. In response, the Defense Department has disbursed about $80 million monthly, or roughly $1 billion a year for the past six years, in one of the most generous US military support programs worldwide...."

How Low Does Hillary Go?

No proof this originated with the Clinton campaign, but based on her recent negative, untruthful, shrill accusations directed at Barack Obama, I would guess she would do just about anything to try to breathe life into her ailing campaign. If these and other slime tactics of the Clinton campaign actually succeed in gaining traction, I can only conclude that this country is beyond hope .... and voters will deserve the continuation of corporate corrupt leadership they have voted for in the past.

Obama Photo Causes Stir
Jim Kuhnhenn (AP) reports:
A photograph circulating in the Internet of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama dressed in traditional local garments during a visit to Kenya in 2006 is causing a dustup in the presidential campaign over what constitutes a smear.

The Associated Press photograph portrays Obama wearing a white turban and a wraparound white robe presented to him by elders in Wajir, in northeastern Kenya. Obama's estranged late father was Kenyan and Obama visited the country in 2006, attracting thousands of well-wishers.

The gossip and news Web site The Drudge Report posted the photograph Monday and said it was being circulated by "Clinton staffers" and quoted an e-mail from an unidentified campaign aide. Drudge did not include proof of the e-mail in the report....

Paying The Price for Not Enforcing the Law

Where Did the Water Come In?

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, of The Nation, writes:
"Reverend Jesse Jackson was in New Delhi to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi but the subprime crisis back home was also on his mind. He phoned and said, 'If you look at the analysis on TV, everybody is discussing macroeconomics. CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, none of them go deep in their analysis as to what really happened. The lack of enforcement of civil rights laws, of fair lending laws, drives this economic tsunami. This is not an economic miscalculation - this is the price we pay for not enforcing the law.'"

Secrecy Report

Army Blocks Public's Access to Documents in Web-Based Library

Christopher Lee reports for The Washington Post,
"The Army has shut down public access to the largest online collection of its doctrinal publications, a move criticized by open-government advocates as unnecessary secrecy by a runaway bureaucracy."

Castro and the Colossus

Robert Scheer explains:
[Castro] caused the Cuban people much suffering, but the giant to the north bears even greater responsibility for the island's plight.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Where's the Beef, Hillary?

Hillary Clinton continually touts her "experience" as evidence of her ability to be the best President. She defines Barack Obama's campaign as nothing but words. Let's take a look at the facts. Scrutinize the records of both candidates and then decide for yourself whose campaign is rhetoric over substance:

Senator Clinton, who has served only one full term (6yrs.) and another year campaigning, has managed to author and pass into law (20) twenty pieces of legislation in her first six years.
 These bills can be found on the website of the Library of Congress thomas.loc.gov, but to save you trouble, here is the sum of what she has accomplished:
  1. Establish the Kate Mullany National Historic Site.

  2. Support the goals and ideals of Better Hearing and Speech Month.


  3. Recognize the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  4. Name courthouse after Thurgood Marshall.


  5. Name courthouse after James L. Watson.


  6. Name post office after Jonn A. O'Shea.
  7. Designate Aug. 7, 2003, as National Purple Heart Recognition Day.


  8. Support the goals and ideals of National Purple Heart Recognition Day.


  9. Honor the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton on the bicentennial of his death.


  10. Congratulate the Syracuse Univ. Orange Men's Lacrosse Team on winning the championship.


  11. Congratulate the Le Moyne College Dolphins Men's Lacrosse Team on winning the championship.


  12. Establish the 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution Commemorative Program.


  13. Name post office after Sergeant Riayan A. Tejeda.


  14. Honor Shirley Chisholm for her service to the nation and express condolences on her death.


  15. Honor John J. Downing, Brian Fahey, and Harry Ford, firefighters who lost their lives on duty.

  16. Only five of Clinton's bills are, more substantive:

  17. Extend period of unemployment assistance to victims of 9/11.


  18. Pay for city projects in response to 9/11

  19. Assist landmine victims in other countries.

  20. Assist family caregivers in accessing affordable respite care.


  21. Designate part of the National Forest System in Puerto Rico as protected in the wilderness preservation system.
There you have it, the fact's straight from the Senate Record.



I would post Obama's record, but the list is too substantive, so I'll summarize:

During the first (8) eight years of his elected service he sponsored over 820 bills. He introduced
 233 on healthcare reform,
 125 on poverty and public assistance,
 112 crime fighting bills,
 97 economic bills,
 60 human rights and anti-discrimination bills,
 21 ethics reform bills,
 15 gun control,
 6 veterans affairs, plus many others.


His first year in the U.S. Senate, he authored 152 bills and co-sponsored another 427. These included:
  1. The Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006 (became law)

  2. The Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act (became law)

  3. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (passed the Senate)

  4. The 2007 Government Ethics Bill (became law)

  5. The Protection Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill (In committee)
... plus many more.



In all, since entering the U.S. Senate, Senator Obama has written 890 bills and co-sponsored another 1096.
 An impressive record, for someone who supposedly has no record according to one presumptive candidate who would prefer that this comparison not be made public.


Barack Obama may be a good talker. But he's managed to pack a whole lot of wallop behind those words. The same cannot be said for Mrs. Clinton.

Pass it on...It's impressive.

Also See:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

So Much for the Audacity of Hillary

Hillary Clinton's old-school, slime-your-competition campaign tactics have more than backfired. Not only did she lose her 10th straight primary to Senator Barack Obama -- she has lost the respect of the majority of voters--myself included.

You can't position yourself as a change agent (a position she conveniently adopted from Barack) while propagating the worst of past political practices. What Hillary fails to realize is that the American people are sick to death of such tactics. They not only see through them, but past them: if Hillary resorts to unfair, misleading personal attacks on Obama -- essentially trying to stamp out the positive vision for the future that he engenders -- how will she change anything in Washington, which has been resorting to the same, despicable, distracting tactics seemingly forever with no positive results?

Further, Clinton has resorted to playing the overused fear card, attempting to frighten voters into voting for her by painting an unfounded and unfair scary portrait of Obama as "nothing but words." The longer Hillary campaigns, the more she seems to embrace Rovian principles: namely, win at all costs. So where's the change? Hillary's message is clear: she represents old Beltway politics and "change" is, to HER, nothing more than a plagiarized word from the Obama campaign.

Even Hillary's own political campaign smacks of Bush-think. Valuing loyalty above experience, she has seen her own campaign falter in the same way the loyal but unqualified Bush adminstration has presided over a failed regime. The message? She will most certainly value loyalty over experience in her own administration. God knows, we've been there, done that. As Obama has pointed out,
"The stakes are too high and the challenges too great to play the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expect a different result."
Electing Hillary Clinton is no recipe for change.

When people tell me they are afraid that Barack is too inexperienced to be President, I have to laugh. If experience gets us the kind of negative, combative, phony baloney politics that Hillary has been spewing -- the only thing we have to fear is electing someone with her kind of experience.

Hillary has decided to take the same low road she lambasted when Bill was at the receiving end of what she called the "great right-wing conspiracy." She has, somewhere along the line, concluded that, having survived those combative years, she is now entitled to be the nominee of the Democratic Party and that any means--however ignoble-- justify her attaining that goal -- voters be damned. Shades of Bush, folks. Hillary is running for Hillary -- not for the American people. Vote accordingly.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Obama: Just Words?


To anyone paying attention, the answer is obviously, "Not." But that doesn't stop the Clinton campaign from desperately trying to convince us so (Their latest charge against Obama of plagiarism is pitiful).

Scott Galindez sets the record straight:

Where's the Substance?

Many pundits and the Clinton campaign keep asking where the substance is to Obama's campaign. There's a simple answer: in his plans.

It's true that his stump speeches are full of soaring oratory and do not satisfy policy wonks, but do a simple search of his web site and you will find substance. He also regularly gives policy speeches packed with specifics.

For example, on Saturday in Wisconsin, Senator Obama laid out his plan for revitalizing the Community College System.

Obama proposes to make tuition at a community college completely free for most Americans by creating a new "American Opportunity Tax Credit." He explained, "This fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is free. The credit will be available to families at the time of enrollment by using the prior year's tax data to deliver the credit at the time the tuition is due. Recipients of this credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of public service a year, either during the school year or over the summer months."

The senator also proposed creating a so-called "Community College Partnership" that would assess the role of community colleges and help to tailor their services to the needs of students and industry.

Senator Obama also laid out his plan for the economy in a speech to workers at a General Motors assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Wednesday.

In that speech, Obama said he would offer direct relief to victims of the mortgage crisis, and would also offer a tax credit to low- and middle-income taxpayers that will help them meet their mortgage obligations.

His job creation program focuses on infrastructure and "green energy jobs." He proposes spending $210 billion over ten years to create jobs in these sectors and retrain workers to transition to these opportunities.

Another proposal affecting workers would be in the area of retirement accounts. He would mandate employers to place a small percentage of salaries into a retirement savings account. Under his plan, the federal government would match the funds set aside.

For working parents who split time between earning a living and caring for their kids, Obama proposes expanding the child-care tax credit for people earning less than $50,000 a year, and he proposes doubling spending on quality after-school programs. He also would expand the "Family Medical Leave Act" to include more businesses and millions more workers, and would require every employer to provide seven paid days of medical leave a year.

On health care, the major difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are mandates. Both would set up a similar system that individuals could buy into. Clinton would mandate that everyone must buy in. Obama would only require that children be covered; he cited the situation in Massachusetts,where some people are being fined for not buying into a plan that they think they can't afford. Obama says he is committed to universal health care, but doesn't want to put an "unfair burden on individuals while we work to get there."

On Iraq, Obama has pledged to getting all US combat troops out in 16 months. Clinton will not set a date. Neither candidate would remove all troops; both believe a small force will be necessary to protect the embassy, and to protect Iraqis who have assisted our soldiers. Many antiwar activists oppose both Clinton's and Obama's plans, saying they don't go far enough, fast enough.

This article is not intended to be an endorsement of Obama on the issues. The real differences between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are very small. Senator Clinton also would invest in "Green Jobs;" she has a national service plan, and would provide similar tax credits. The corporate media are doing the country a disservice by echoing unfair charges that Obama's campaign is all about speeches and has no substance.

Scott Galindez is Truthout's Washington, DC Bureau Chief.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wexler calls for Contempt on the House Floor

for Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten

Click play on the player below to view the video:



From Congressman Wexler:
"Today, thanks in great part to your advocacy and persistence, the House of Representatives took a major, tangible step towards holding the Bush Administration accountable.

In a vote on the House floor, we acted to enforce the law and our Constitution, and hold former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten in Contempt of Congress.

Bolten and Miers have ignored congressional subpoenas for nine months and thumbed their noses at Congress and the American people.

Executive privilege has never permitted officials to avoid appearing altogether when subpoenaed. This behavior is unprecedented and outrageous.

Now, these two renegade officials must face up to their blatant disregard of the law and constitution.

Our message of accountability for Bush/Cheney is finally resonating on Capitol Hill.

Judiciary Chairman John Conyers fought hard to bring this to a vote, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself took the floor to support contempt.

While Democrats may not all agree on how to press this Administration, one thing is clear:

Today, Congress has asserted its rights under the Constitution.

We must not back down.

We must never cede the rights of the Congress to the Executive.


I am pleased to inform you that today's legislation allows Congress to bypass the Attorney General (who has stated to me this week that he would not enforce contempt) and immediately take action in the courts.

Today, Congress finally defended the Constitution and our rights as an equal branch of government."

Monday, February 11, 2008

The 10,000 Year War

This very funny parody commercial marries John McCain's speeches about the war in Iraq with Barack Obama's recent "Yes We Can" video. Enjoy. Then share with your Republican friends.

McCain 10,000 Years Music Video



Coverup: Behind the Iran Contra Affair

The film below has won numerous awards and critical acclaim:

The Los Angeles Times calls Coverup "chillingly lucid and consistent." The Chicago Tribune says It Is "calm, coherent and persuasive...." while the Denver Post calls It "a challenging piece, very much worth seeing, no matter what your politics."

"Coverup: Behind the Iran Contra Affair is the third feature-length documentary produced by the Empowerment Project.

The shadow government of assassins, arms dealers, drug smugglers, former CIA operatives and top US military personnel who were running foreign policy unaccountable to the public, revealing the Reagan/Bush administration's plan to use FEMA to institute martial law and ultimately suspend the Constitution. Strikingly relevant to current events."


Coverup exposes several of the most disturbing chapters in the history of U.S. covert foreign policy. It presents a tale of politics, drugs, hostages, weapons, assassinations, covert operations and the ultimate plan to suspend the U.S.Constitution. Coverup was the first film to reveal the 'October Surprise' hostage deal (the Reagan/Bush campaigndeal with Iran to delay the release of the 52 American hostages until after the 1980 election), and is the only film which presents a comprehensive overview of the most important stories suppressed during the Iran Contra hearings. It is the only film that puts the entire Iran Contra affair into a meaningful political and historical context. The 1988 film is updated with information from recent court cases and events, reconfirming much of the material presented.

Coverup won the American Film & Video Association, Blue Ribbon Award for Best Documentary. Social Issues;National Education Film & Video Festival, Crystal Apple for Best Documentary, Social & Political Issues; Golden HugoBest Independent Video, Chicago International Film Festival; the Prix Du Public for Best Documentary. Women's International Film Festival (Films DC Femmes, Paris, France); Gold Award for Best Video Documentary, Philadelphia International Film Festival Int'l Assn. of Motion Pictures & TV Producers).

The Chicken Doves


Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone reports:
"Elected to end the war, Democrats have surrendered to Bush on Iraq and betrayed the peace movement for their own political ends..."

Continue Reading.

THE FOLLY OF ATTACKING IRAN

JustForeignPolicy.org today released this video on Iran showing the dangers of an armed U.S. intervention and the need for real diplomacy.

You can help mobilize more Americans against war with Iran by watching, sharing, and posting the video. You can also take action here by asking your Representative and your Senators to oppose military threats, promote diplomacy, and support H.R. 5056.
"In 1953, the United States violently intervened in Iran by ousting the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh and installing the shah's military regime. This backfired spectacularly in 1979 when religious militants gained power through a popular revolution and 52 U.S. diplomats were taken hostage.

Veteran New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer, retired General Robert Gard, Iranian-American scholar Trita Parsi, and USA Today reporter Barbara Slavin explain the need for the United States today to use real diplomacy instead of military force in its relationship with Iran."

Watch and Share:



Sunday, February 10, 2008

Next Up for the Democrats: Civil War

(Click Image for Larger View)

Hillary Clinton’s show on the Hallmark Channel was a preview of how nastily the Clintons will fight, whatever the collateral damage to the Democratic Party.... Frank Rich has the story:

By Frank Rich
New York Times

WHAT if a presidential candidate held what she billed as “the largest, most interactive town hall in political history” on national television, and no one noticed?

The untold story in the run-up to Super Tuesday was Hillary Clinton’s elaborate live prime-time special the night before the vote. Presiding from a studio in New York, the candidate took questions from audiences in 21 other cities. She had plugged the event four days earlier in the last gasp of her debate with Barack Obama and paid a small fortune for it: an hour of time on the Hallmark Channel plus satellite TV hookups for the assemblies of supporters stretching from coast to coast.

The same news media that constantly revisited the Oprah-Caroline-Maria rally in California ignored “Voices Across America: A National Town Hall.” The Clinton campaign would no doubt attribute this to press bias, but it scrupulously designed the event to avoid making news. Like the scripted “Ask President Bush” sessions during the 2004 campaign, this town hall seemed to unfold in Stepford. The anodyne questions (“What else would you do to help take care of our veterans?”) merely cued up laundry lists of talking points. Some in attendance appeared to trance out.

But I’m glad I watched every minute, right up until Mrs. Clinton was abruptly cut off in midsentence so Hallmark could resume its previously scheduled programming (a movie promising “A Season for Miracles,” aptly enough). However boring, this show was a dramatic encapsulation of how a once-invincible candidate ended up in a dead heat, crippled by poll-tested corporate packaging that markets her as a synthetic product leeched of most human qualities. What’s more, it offered a naked preview of how nastily the Clintons will fight, whatever the collateral damage to the Democratic Party, in the endgame to come.....

(Continue Reading)

And now for a little comic relief, from Jon Stewart on the same subject:




Cartoon Credit: www.CoxAndForkum.com

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Unknown Candidate: Why I'm Voting For Barack Obama | Part One

Head vs. heart. Mind vs. Emotion. Practical vs. wishful-thinking. Change vs. Politics-as-Usual. A leader vs. a politician. My decision to end my anonymous Presidential campaign and throw my support behind Barack Obama has not come quickly or easily as I grappled with the pros and cons of various candidates. There are no perfect choices. But it all boiled down to this: Barack Obama is one of those rare leaders who come around none too often in life. And, thankfully, he has emerged at a time when we desperately need a great leader as opposed to a good politician.

America is disheartened, disillusioned, beaten down and depressed after seven endless years of enduring the results of the worst policies of any President in our history. We have lost faith in our elections and our politicians. We rightfully feel as if someone has pulled the rug out from under everything we once believed made America, well, America. And we do indeed stand at a crossroad in this election.

The best decisions I have made in life were those that came from my gut, not my brain. Admittedly, my decision to support Barack Obama comes from my heart more than from my head. It comes from a deep longing for a return to civility -- not to be confused with compromise -- in America. It comes from a deep longing for a leader who represents positive values, who embraces all Americans, who has the ability to inspire us to WANT to be the best we can be. Barack Obama has that ability. John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther were two of the most influential people in my life because they inspired me on a visceral level to aspire to accomplish what once seemed impossible to attain. They convinced me that real change comes from a belief in our collective selves and that when we pull together, we can do anything. They convinced me to BE THE CHANGE I wanted.

In sports, an egotistical super-star who isn't a team player will more often than not lead his team to failure, while a team that pulls together with a common focus on winning has a good chance of doing just that. Making an analogy, Hillary Clinton is the egotistical super star while Barack Obama is the inspirational coach of the other team. Which team would you want to be on? The one where the superstar arrogantly butts heads with those who disagree with her? Or the team with the charismatic leader who inspires every one of YOU to be superstars?

Admittedly, part of my decision to support Obama involves a leap of faith. He is the greater unknown in terms of his ability to deliver on his campaign promises -- and beyond. And this is where my heart takes over from my head. I can't know, but I truly believe he is capable of transforming our severely depressed nation into an optimistic one capable of true progressive change. No, his public policies don't indicate the kind of bold, new progressive ideas I wish they did. But then I think back to when John F. Kennedy was running for president as a relative unknown candidate who was deemed by his critics to be "too young," and "too inexperienced." His speeches were hugely inspirational and hugely lacking in detailed, big, bold policies. Once in office, he challenged a nation to put a man on the moon and introduced the Peace Corps. Had his presidency not been cut so tragically short, it is likely that he would have accomplished much more, including ending the war in Vietnam.

My hope is that the reason for Obama's rather less than bold platform is a politically strategic one: in order to appeal to a broad base and put together a broad coalition of support, why rock the boat BEFORE he is elected by revealing big, bold policy initiatives which will only be attacked and dissected endlessly and perhaps permanently wounded by his political opponents? Rather, why not tap into what the majority of Americans are FEELING, tap into their frustration and despair, thereby inspiring them to demand the kind of bold policies he -- and they -- truly want?

One thing I do know. Nothing will change in the way politics are conducted in Washington should Hillary Clinton be elected. Special interests will likely remain strong and continue to unduly influence policies. Our foreign policy will not likely change in any substantive way. Change, if there is any, will be slow, adversarial, and in small increments. While there are never any guarantees, Obama is the only candidate with the leadership abilities necessary to actually effect significant progressive change. Whether he succeeds will largely depend on us: will we actively demand it? If we do, nothing can stop it. If we don't, we will have ourselves to blame.

In the past, my heart and my head were with Dennis Kucinich, whose bold, progressive policies most closely match my own. Kucinich's downfall was his lack of charismatic leadership and political acumen. When it comes to leading a nation -- much less a political campaign -- both are a necessity in order to accomplish transformational goals. Unfortunately, Kucinich is presently under attack by corporate interests and is fighting for his political life in his own state. I encourage each of you to contribute what you can -- monetarily and otherwise -- to help him to hold his congressional seat. We need Dennis Kucinich in Congress -- and a whole lot more like him.

As for the Presidential race, I urge all of you to look into your hearts, follow your gut, and vote in the coming primaries for the candidate best poised to bring about real progressive change. I hope you'll agree with me that Barak Obama is the candidate who deserves your vote.

(Stay tuned for more on my decision to support Obama.)

Also See:

Hillary Clinton Again Lies about Iraq

(Click Cartoon For Larger View)

Hillary Clinton Again Lies about Iraq
By Stephen Zunes
03/02/08 "ICH" -- -- In Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton lied again about Iraq.

At the forum in Los Angeles, Hillary Clinton declared, “We bombed them for days in 1998 because Saddam Hussein threw out inspectors.”

That statement was totally false. The bombing campaign had been planned for months and the inspectors were not thrown out. They were ordered out by President Bill Clinton in anticipation of the four-day U.S.-led bombing campaign.

The chronology, which is on the public record, is as follows:

(Continue Reading)
Cartoon Credit: Audacity of Nope | Matson | About.com

Ask Not What J.F.K. Can Do for Obama


By Frank Rich
The New York Times

BEFORE John F. Kennedy was a president, a legend, a myth and a poltergeist stalking America’s 2008 campaign, he was an upstart contender seen as a risky bet for the Democratic nomination in 1960.

Kennedy was judged “an ambitious but superficial playboy” by his liberal peers, according to his biographer Robert Dallek. “He never said a word of importance in the Senate, and he never did a thing,” in the authoritative estimation of the Senate’s master, Lyndon Johnson. Adlai Stevenson didn’t much like Kennedy, and neither did Harry Truman, who instead supported Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri.

J. F. K. had few policy prescriptions beyond Democratic boilerplate (a higher minimum wage, “comprehensive housing legislation”). As his speechwriter Richard Goodwin recalled in his riveting 1988 memoir “Remembering America,” Kennedy’s main task was to prove his political viability. He had to persuade his party that he was not a wealthy dilettante and not “too young, too inexperienced and, above all, too Catholic” to be president.

How did the fairy-tale prince from Camelot vanquish a field of heavyweights led by the longtime liberal warrior Hubert Humphrey? It wasn’t ideas. It certainly wasn’t experience. It wasn’t even the charisma that Kennedy would show off in that fall’s televised duels with Richard Nixon.

Looking back almost 30 years later, Mr. Goodwin summed it up this way: “He had to touch the secret fears and ambivalent longings of the American heart, divine and speak to the desires of a swiftly changing nation — his message grounded on his own intuition of some vague and spreading desire for national renewal.”

In other words, Kennedy needed two things. He needed poetry, and he needed a country with some desire, however vague, for change....

(Continue Reading)
Photo Credit: WataugaWatch

Sunday, February 03, 2008

"Yes We Can"

Following is an Obama supporter-created video. Enjoy:



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Susan Eisenhower: Why I'm Backing Obama

Life-long Republican granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower explains why she supports Barack Obama for President in 2008:


Susan Eisenhower
(Washingtonpost.com):
Forty-seven years ago, my grandfather Dwight D. Eisenhower bid farewell to a nation he had served for more than five decades. In his televised address, Ike famously coined the term "military-industrial complex," and he offered advice that is still relevant today. "As we peer into society's future," he said, we "must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."

Today we are engaged in a debate about these very issues. Deep in America's heart, I believe, is the nagging fear that our best years as a nation may be over. We are disliked overseas and feel insecure at home. We watch as our federal budget hemorrhages red ink and our civil liberties are eroded. Crises in energy, health care and education threaten our way of life and our ability to compete internationally. There are also the issues of a costly, unpopular war; a long-neglected infrastructure; and an aging and increasingly needy population.

I am not alone in worrying that my generation will fail to do what my grandfather's did so well: Leave America a better, stronger place than the one it found.

Given the magnitude of these issues and the cost of addressing them, our next president must be able to bring about a sense of national unity and change. As we no longer have the financial resources to address all these problems comprehensively and simultaneously, setting priorities will be essential. With hard work, much can be done.

The biggest barrier to rolling up our sleeves and preparing for a better future is our own apathy, fear or immobility. We have been living in a zero-sum political environment where all heads have been lowered to avert being lopped off by angry, noisy extremists. I am convinced that Barack Obama is the one presidential candidate today who can encourage ordinary Americans to stand straight again; he is a man who can salve our national wounds and both inspire and pursue genuine bipartisan cooperation. Just as important, Obama can assure the world and Americans that this great nation's impulses are still free, open, fair and broad-minded.

No measures to avert the serious, looming consequences can be taken without this sense of renewal. Uncommon political courage will be required. Yet this courage can be summoned only if something profoundly different transpires. Putting America first -- ahead of our own selfish interests -- must be our national priority if we are to retain our capacity to lead.

The last time the United States had an open election was 1952. My grandfather was pursued by both political parties and eventually became the Republican nominee. Despite being a charismatic war hero, he did not have an easy ride to the nomination. He went on to win the presidency -- with the indispensable help of a "Democrats for Eisenhower" movement. These crossover voters were attracted by his pledge to bring change to Washington and by the prospect that he would unify the nation.

It is in this great tradition of crossover voters that I support Barack Obama's candidacy for president. If the Democratic Party chooses Obama as its candidate, this lifelong Republican will work to get him elected and encourage him to seek strategic solutions to meet America's greatest challenges. To be successful, our president will need bipartisan help.

Given Obama's support among young people, I believe that he will be most invested in defending the interests of these rising generations and, therefore, the long-term interests of this nation as a whole. Without his leadership, our children and grandchildren are at risk of growing older in a marginalized country that is left to its anger and divisions. Such an outcome would be an unacceptable legacy for any great nation.

Susan Eisenhower, a business consultant, is the author of four books, most recently "Partners in Space: US-Russian Cooperation After the Cold War."
Photo: Susan Eisenhower, Chairman Emeritus - Eisenhower Institute

More Obama Endorsements:

Why Job Market is Even Worse Than You Think

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Nation's first job loss in more than four years tells only part of the story of the weak labor market. The ranks of the long-term unemployed are growing.

By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com Senior Writer
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A government report on January jobs showing that employers trimmed payrolls for the first time in four years set off alarm bells.

But the report, which was released Friday, tells only part of the story about the underlying weakness in the labor market.

The number of Americans out of work for at least six months is rising - reaching levels more typically seen deep into a recession or period of job contraction, not at the beginning.

Continue Reading
Yet one more hat tip to Al B.

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How Different Are Obama & Clinton on Foreign Policy?

Jonathan Schell examinies how much the candidates differ on issues of foreign policy:


More from the Real News Network:



Friday, February 01, 2008

Olbermann: Bush Puts Telecoms Ahead of Citizens

Another special comment from Keith Olbermann worth watching:



Transcript:
In a Presidency of hypocrisy; an Administration of exploitation; a labyrinth of leadership, in which every vital fact is a puzzle inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma hidden under a claim of executive privilege supervised by an idiot, this one, is surprisingly easy.

President Bush has put protecting the Telecom giants from the laws ahead of protecting you from the terrorists.

He has demanded an extension of the FYCA law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but only an extension that includes retroactive immunity for the Telecoms who helped him spy on you.

Congress has given him, and he has signed, a 15-day extension, which simply kicks the time bomb down the field, and has changed nothing of his insipid rhetoric, in which he portrays the Democrats as 'soft on terror' and getting in the way of his Superhuman efforts to protect the nation when, in fact and with bitter irony, if anybody is 'soft on terror' here it is Mr. Bush.

In the State of the Union Address, Sir, you told Congress, "if you do not act by Friday, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger."

Yet you are willing to weaken that ability!

You will subject us, your citizens, to that greater danger.

This, Mr. Bush, is simple enough even for you to understand: If Congress approves a new FYCA act without telecom immunity and sends it to your desk and you veto it, you, by your own terms and your own definitions, you will have just sided with the terrorists.

You got to have this law, or we're all going to die. But you might veto this law!

It's bad enough, Sir, that you are demanding an ex post facto law which would clear the phone giants from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive, and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans, under the flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail.

But when you then demanded again, during the State of the Union address, that Congress retroactively clear the Verizons and the AT&T's, you wouldn't even confirm that they actually did anything for which they deserved to be cleared!

"The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America."

Believed?

Don't you know?

Does the endless hair-splitting of your presidential fine print, extend even here?

If you, Sir, are asking Congress, and us, to join you in this shameless, breathless, literal, textbook example of fascism; the merged efforts of government and corporations who answer to no government, you still don't have the guts to even say the telecom companies did assist you, in your efforts?

Will you and the equivocators who surround you like a cocoon never go on the record about anything?

Even the stuff you claim to believe in?

Silly me.

Of course Mr. Bush is going to say "believed."

Yes, it sounds dumber than if he had referred to himself as "the alleged president," or had said today was "reportedly Thursday," or had claimed "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

But the moment he says anything else, any doubt that the telecoms knowingly broke the law, is out the window, and with it, any chance that even the Republicans who are fighting this like they were trying to fend off terrorists using nothing but broken beer bottles and swear words couldn't consent to retroactively immunize corporate criminals.

Which is why the Vice President probably shouldn't have phoned in to the Rush Limbaugh Propaganda-Festival yesterday.

Sixth sentence out of Mr. Cheney's mouth.

The FYCA bill is about, quote, "retroactive liability protection for the companies that have worked with us and helped us prevent further attacks against the United States."

Oops.

Mr. Cheney is something of a loose cannon, of course.

But he kind of let the wrong cat out of the bag there.

Because Mr. Bush and the corporations he values more than people didn't want anybody to verify what Mark Klein says.

Mark Klein is the AT&T Whistleblower who appeared on this newscast last November... who explained, in the placid, dull terms of your local neighborhood IT desk, how he personally attached all of AT&T's circuits, everything carrying every phone call, every e-mail, every bit of web browsing into a secure room — Room Number 641-A, at the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco, where it was all copied so the government could look at it.

Not some of it; not just the international part of it; certainly not just the stuff some truly patriotic and telepathic spy might be able to divine had been sent or spoken by or to a terrorist.

Everything.

Every time you looked at a naked picture, every time you bid on eBay, every time you phoned-in a donation to a Democrat.

"My thought was 'George Orwell's 1984,'" Mr. Klein told me, reflecting back, "and here I am, being forced to connect the Big Brother machine."

You know, Mr. Bush, if Mr. Klein's "Big Brother Machine" the one the Vice President conveniently just confirmed for us if it was of any damn use at all at actually finding anything, you could probably program it to find out who started that slanderous e-mail about Barack Obama.

Use Room 641-A to identify that assassin, Sir, and I'll stand up and applaud you.

Yeah, I'm holding my breath on that one, too.

But of course, Sir, this isn't about finding that kind of needle in a haystack. This isn't even about finding a haystack. This is about scooping up every piece of hay there ever was, and laying the groundwork for the next little job which you have to outsource to AT&T and Verizon.

It was your Director of National Intelligence, Mr. McConnell, letting this one out of the same bag.

The need for Homeland Security to stave off cyber-attacks against the government's computer networks.

And how do they do that, Sir?

By constantly monitoring the internet, the whole internet.

And who actually, physically, does that, Mr. Bush?

Right. The same Telecom giants for whom you want immunity, quickly. So quickly, you wouldn't believe it.

Because this previous domestic spying, and this upcoming policing of the internet -- they may be completely evil, indiscriminate, unlawful.

So you have to dress it up, as something just the opposite.

It isn't evil it's "to protect America."

It isn't indiscriminate it's "the ability to monitor terrorist communications."

It isn't unlawful it's just the kind of perfectly legal thing, for which you happen to need immunity!

There's yet another level to this, and here we move from Big Brother to Sleazy Son.

Mr. Bush's new Attorney General, Mr. Mukasey, the one who has already taken four different positions on water-boarding, and who may yet tie that record on this subject of telecom immunity, he has a very personal stake in this.

There happens to be a partner in the law firm of Bracewell and Giuliani, named Marc Mukasey. And Bracewell and Giuliani and the Attorney General's son Marc, just happen to represent Verizon.

You know, Verizon — Telecom Giant.

And all of a sudden this is no longer just a farce in which "protecting the Telecoms" is dressed up for us as, "protecting us from terrorist conference calls."

Now it begins to look like the bureaucrats of the Third Reich trying to protect the Krupp Family industrial giants by literally re-writing the laws for their benefit.

And we know how that turned out: Alfried Krupp and eleven of his directors were convicted of War Crimes at Nuremburg.

Nevertheless.

For those of us watching a President demanding this very specific law (the one the Germans had was called the "Lex Krupp") there is one surprising bit of comfort in all this:

Clearly, Mr. Bush is at his hyperbolic worst here.

Consider how his former chief of staff Andy Card came on and scolded Chris Matthews and me after the State of the Union address.

"The President's address tonight was very important," Card said, "because it really was a sobering call to reality for us.

"And the reality is, we have an enemy who wants to hurt us. The primary job of the president to protect us.

"He talked about protecting us. He talked about the needs to have the tools to protect us."

Indeed, Mr. Bush.

The primary job of any president is to protect us.

Not just those of us who own Internet and Telephone companies all of us.

And even you, Sir, with your intermittent grasp of reality, even with your ego greater than a 100-percent approval rating... even with your messianic petulance, even you could not truly choose to protect the corporations instead of the people.

I am not talking about ethics here.

I am talking about blame.

Even if it's you throwing out the baby with the bathwater, Mr. Bush, it still means we can safely conclude, there is no baby!

This is not a choice of protecting the telecoms from prosecution, or protecting the people from terrorists, Sir.

It is a choice of protecting the telecoms from prosecution, or pretending to protect the people from terrorists.

Sorry, Mr. Bush. The eavesdropping provisions of FYCA have obviously had no impact on counter-terrorism, and there is no current or perceived terrorist threat, the thwarting of which could hinge on an e-mail or a phone call going through room 641-A at AT&T in San Francisco next week or next month.

Because if there were, Mr. Bush, and you were to, by your own hand, veto an extension of this eavesdropping, and some terrorist attack were to follow, you would not merely be guilty of siding with the terrorists, you would not merely be guilty of prioritizing the telecoms over the people, you would not merely be guilty of stupidity, you would not merely be guilty of treason but you would be personally, and eternally, responsible.

And if there is one thing we know about you Mr. Bush, one thing that you have proved time and time again under any and all circumstances, it is that you are never responsible.

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