Friday, June 12, 2009
In This Email:
1. Stop the War Supplemental
2. Torture Accountability Action Day: June 25
1. Stop the War Supplemental
Whip list here with contact info and updates. (Help us update the list!)
We have 15 Democrats committed to voting No on the war money, and all the Republicans voting No because of the IMF money that has been included with it.
We have succeeded in getting the ban on releasing torture photos removed from the bill, and we may succeed in having the IMF bailout for European banksters removed too.� But we want the bill defeated, and right now, with the IMF funds included, defeating the whole thing is easily within reach.
Look at the promises.� 51 Democrats voted No on the same bill when it was guaranteed to pass.� 89 have sworn not to vote for any more war money except for withdrawal.� 85 have cosponsored a bill requiring an exit strategy for Afghanistan.� And 73 have joined an "Out of Iraq" caucus.� Is this all for show, or will 40 Democrats vote No when the No votes can actually be decisive, actually make the peace movement a force in Congress, actually create the power to negotiate a compromise, change the public discourse, and begin to bring these nightmares to an end?
Please call your representative today and urge them to vote no: 202-22....� And call them every day: as long as they keep delaying the vote, we are winning.
Whip list here with contact info and updates. (Help us update the list!)
2. Torture Accountability Action Day: June 25
June 25th in Washington, DC, and across the USA !
Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Anchorage, Pasadena, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Charlotte
More locations are being added every day !
Details for Washington DC Rally:
Meet at: John Marshall Park - 501 Pennsylvania Ave NW - Washington, DC Directions: Google Maps ( To View the layout of the Park in 3-D go to : http://www.johnmarshallpark.org/index.html )
When: There will be tabling from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and continuing after rally. To reserve a table please contact us at http://tortureaccountability.web.com/contactus.htm
Rally: Speakers from 11 a.m. to Noon
March: Departs from Rally site at High Noon to the Department of Justice.
Some participants may engage in nonviolent civil resistance, risking arrest, if the Attorney General refuses to appoint a Special Prosecutor.
If you wish to sponsor this event or any of the others, or add one to the list of cities participating, please contact us at: http://tortureaccountability.web.com/contactus.htm
After Downing Street, Code Pink: Women for Peace, Democrats.com, Indict Bush Now, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Progressive Democrats of America, Torture Abolition & Survivor Support Coalition, Veterans for Peace, Washington Peace Center, Witness Against Torture, World Can't Wait, Amnesty International, US Labor Against the War, Historians Against the War, NJ Peace Action, NJ People's Organization for Progress, National Accountability Network, We Are Change LA, Action Center for Justice, Peace Action, Consumers for Peace, High Road for Human Rights, BuzzFlash, Individuals for Justice.
Perhaps you've seen those television commercials denouncing health care reform as a plot to create a Canadian-style totalitarian nightmare, and you feel a wee bit scared.
Back in the election campaign, some people spread rumors that Barack Obama might be a secret Muslim conspiring to impose Sharia law on us. That seems unlikely now, but what if he's a covert Canadian plotting to impose ... health care?
Rick Scott, a former hospital company chief executive, leads a group called Conservatives for Patients' Rights. He was forced to resign as C.E.O. after his company defrauded the government through overbilling and is now spending his time trying to block meaningful health care reform by terrifying us with commercials of "real-life stories of the victims of government-run health care."
So here's a far more representative "real-life story."
Then one day two years ago, Ms. Tucker was working on her office computer when she noticed that she was having trouble typing with her right hand.
"I realized my hand was numb, so I tried to stand up to shake it out," she remembered. "But I had trouble standing."
A colleague called 911, and an ambulance rushed her to the nearest hospital.
"An emergency room doctor met me at the door, and they took me straight upstairs to the CT scan," she recalled. A neurologist explained that she had suffered a stroke.
Ms. Tucker spent a week at the hospital. "The doctors were great, although there were also a couple of jerks," she said. "The nursing staff was wonderful."
Still, there were two patients to a room, and conditions weren't as opulent as at some American hospitals. "The food was horrible," she said.
Then again, the price was right. "They never spoke to me about money," she said. "Not when I checked in, and not when I left."
He was the perfect political superhero, sent to rescue California from spend-happy politicians at just the right time. And yet Arnold Schwarzenegger's reign as�governor has turned into a disaster flick that could spell catastrophe for the Golden State�and the whole nation.
In 2003's historic recall election, the former Mr. Olympia�pummeled dozens of candidates�from incumbent Gray Davis to former child actor Gary Coleman to porn star Mary Carey�on the road to Sacramento. He promised to abolish the odious car tax hike implemented by Davis. And to balance the budget, cut taxes and spending, and make California more business-friendly.
"He promised to stop the crazy deficit spending, cut up the credit cards, live within our means. And he did exactly the opposite. Schwarzenegger increased spending faster than we saw under Gray Davis," says Rep. Tom�McClintock (R-Calif.), who was a state senator�and one of Arnold's challengers�six years ago.�
Now�the Golden State faces yet another spending-induced catastrophe. California could simply go broke by July. Sacramento reacted to the latest crisis by passing a massive tax increase in February, squeezing another $1,100 from the average family. Even the dreaded car tax, the issue that catapulted�Arnold to�office,�is back.
How could it all have gone so horribly wrong, especially after it looked so wonderfully right? Well, it turns out there's a force in California politics that's much more powerful than the Governator:�a culture of spending pushed by public-employee unions, money-grubbing�corporate-welfare cases, and more.
Sadly, California and Schwarzenegger are�hardly alone in spending well beyond their means. As many as 40 states face whopping deficits that are only going to get worse as the recession continues.
If country-wide trends do start in California, Rep. McClintock worries about what's in store for our nation. "As high taxes, high borrowing and high spending destroy California's economy, Californians are moving to those 49 other states. If we allow the same policies to destroy our country where are we going to go?"
"Hasta La Vista, Arnold" is written and produced by Ted Balaker. Director of Photography is Alex Manning and Associate Producer is Paul Detrick.
by Adam Serwer
I think Paul Campos' response to the shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum yesterday is worth pondering.
If radical Muslims had carried out terrorist attacks in Kansas and Washington DC over the past five days, we might be trying to pass legislation giving the president the legal authority to place people in preventive detention, and Daniel Pipes would be implying that we need to round up Arab-Americans (correction: Muslims) and put them in relocation camps.
But it was only a couple of old white guys, so our civil liberties remain unthreatened.
There's been a startling trend of fringe-right violence recently, from Richard Poplawski to Scott Roeder and now James Von Brunn. But we view these instances of violence as the acts of deranged individuals rather than of groups because they are white men. Campos' hypothetical isn't mere snark, Michelle Malkin wrote an entire book defending the internment on the basis of race in the case of Japanese internment during World War II. Cliff May argued that torture is justified against Muslims because they're Muslim. Republicans have opposed the transfer of terrorists to American prisons on the grounds that our prison facilities might not be able to hold them, and Ed Morrisey is apparently planning his vacation around avoiding the recently relocated Chinese Uighurs. Imagine what attempting to close Gitmo, banning torture, or even withdrawing from Iraq would look like in the aftermath of three attacks perpetrated by Muslim rather than right-wing extremists.
Campos' post implies an unsettling question. How much of the call for "extraordinary measures" in fighting terrorism has to do with the unique challenges of fighting global terrorism, and how much of it has to do with an irrational, orientalist fear of all things Arab and Muslim?
Tickets are available online at www.book-it.org or by calling 206.216.0833. Prices range from $15 to $35; opening night, all seats are $40 (includes party). Box office hours are Tues. through Fri., Noon � 6:00 p.m. (Tues. � Sat. during production). Tickets are also available online at www.book-it.org. Showtimes are 7:30 evenings, 2:00 matinees; performances of Night Flight are held in The Moore Theatre in downtown Seattle.
Posted By Michael Dare to The Seattle Diaries
����During the last week, deep in the Peruvian Amazon, confrontations between nonviolent indigenous protesters and police have left up to 100 people dead. The vast majority of the casualties are civilians, who have been conducting peaceful demonstrations in defense of the Amazon rain forest.
����For almost two months, as many as 30,000 indigenous people have been blocking road and river traffic, demanding the repeal of presidential decrees issued last year to facilitate implementation of the US-Peru FTA. According to the indigenous leaders, several of these decrees directly threaten indigenous territories and rights. After having attempted several times to negotiate with the government the repeal of the most egregious of the decrees, and faced with a permanent influx of extraction equipment into the region, the people decided it was imperative to "put their bodies in front of the machines" in order to prevent this equipment from entering their territory.
����On Friday, June 5, the government decided the protests needed to end and launched an aggressive assault against the people protesting on the road outside of Bagua. The dislocation was conducted from helicopters and the ground, with police and army using automatic weapons and heavy equipment against people armed with only rocks and spears. As videos, photos and testimonies from the region slowly emerge, it is clear that this was designed to inflict as many civilian casualties as possible, and deter those in other regions from continuing protests. Pictures circulating on the Internet depict snipers in uniform firing at protesters from the streets, tanks and from on top of buildings. On Saturday, in Lima, Peru's capital, a large spontaneous demonstration in support of the Amazonian indigenous was broken up by police.
����In the wake of what appears to be a massacre perpetrated by the police, the government of President Alan Garcia is mounting a massive propaganda campaign, claiming that indigenous protesters attacked the police, and accusing them of being terrorists. Human rights lawyers have accused Peru's government of a cover-up, and have been impeded from getting in to investigate more fully. The Bishop's Vicariate for the Environment for Jaen, Nicanor Alvarado, said "The main problem is that injured and deceased civilians are being transferred to the "El Milagro" military base ... so, it's possible that a group of injured and deceased people are disappeared later on."
St. Paul, Minn. � A three-judge panel has ordered Norm Coleman to pay Al Franken nearly $95,000 related to Coleman's lawsuit over the still-unresolved U.S. Senate race.
The panel's order comes as both sides are still waiting for the Minnesota Supreme Court to rule on Coleman's appeal.
The panel found that Franken received 312 more votes than Coleman in last November's election.
Franken had originally asked the court to force Coleman to pay $160,000 in costs. Coleman had asked the panel to delay a decision until the Supreme Court finishes its review.
By Stephen Magagnini
California journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee � sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for "hostile acts" against North Korea � could be home by the end of the year.
Experts on the world's last Stalinist state said U.S. officials historically have been able to negotiate the release of citizens and soldiers held by North Korea. The price generally has been public apology and the promise of humanitarian aid and other political concessions.
The timing is ripe for a good will gesture by North Korean leaders since their rocket and nuclear tests this spring brought heated calls for international sanctions.
"Given all the provocations they've committed, they realize the tensions with the outside world � even with erstwhile ally China � have reached a breaking point," said Dr. Chaibong Hahm, North Korea specialist at the Rand Corp. in Santa Monica. "I think they would be looking for some way to defuse the tension, and releasing the journalists might do that."
Scholars and activists describe negotiations over the release of the California journalists as a no-limit poker game between North Korea and the United States. They say U.S. negotiators will have to put something on the table without looking as if they're rewarding bad behavior.
Posted by Karen Tumulty
This morning's House debate on tobacco legislation brought us this argument:
Which was followed by this one:
Public Service Announcement: "The Swampland Surgeon General has determined that smoking lettuce could be harmful to your health."
(H/T to our friends at the C-SPAN Video Library)
Can a nation of dudes whose sexual self-image was built on macho Jeeps survive the rise of the Little Mouse?
By Gary Kamiya
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court in its wisdom poured a large bucket of iced Pellegrino on that most delicate of objects, the American male libido. I refer to the court's removal of the last legal obstacle to an impending deal in which the Italian automaker Fiat will take control of Chrysler, the once mighty Detroit company that currently reposes on blocks, its precious fluids drained and tires removed, in that ever expanding vacant lot known as bankruptcy.
Whether or not this deal makes business sense for Chrysler's employees and shareholders � who now include the American people � is not within my area of expertise. But a much more serious problem looms: the potentially deflating effects on 100 million American men of outsourcing their sexual self-image to a company whose most famous product was known as the "little mouse."
Ever since the first American car clanked off an assembly line, American males have been programmed to associate virility with large, overpowered steel-and-chrome automobiles, preferably adorned with tumescent hood ornaments and protruding, D-cup-size bumper boobs. Buffeted by divorce, feminism, potbellies, a useless repertoire of lame pickup lines and the thousand other natural shocks that flesh is heir to, the long-suffering American male has always known he could find solace in the long, rigid-chassis object reposing in his garage. Indeed, only their function as a kind of auxiliary national phallus can explain why Detroit's gas-guzzling dinosaurs have survived as long as they have.
By ANNA M. TINSLEY
Sitting at his friends' lemonade stand across the street from former President George W. Bush's new home, he watched anti-war protesters and Bush supporters square off with only a city street dividing them.
Front and center in the sweltering 90-degree heat was Cindy Sheehan, the California mother who drew national attention in recent years with her protests near Bush's Crawford ranch as she demanded to speak to him about her son's death in Baghdad.
"George Bush and his administration are mass murderers," she told the crowd, using a loudspeaker. "People say, 'Cindy, get over it.' Well, there are still two wars raging. I don't have an option of getting over it. . . . We have to keep it up so things like this don't happen again."
Anti-war protesters say they want Bush and his administration investigated and prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Sheehan has also demonstrated against President Barack Obama because the Democrat has continued the wars.
During the more than half-hour protest, which included a nearly mile-long march to the neighborhood, protesters yelled, "Don't wait, investigate." Pro-Bush supporters chanted "USA" for the former president whom they say did a good job.
Bearing signs with slogans ranging from "No war criminals in my neighborhood" and "W = War Crimes" to "Don't Mess with Bush" and "They did not die in vain," more than a hundred people turned out on both sides of the issue.
Dozens of police officers and Secret Service agents blocked the entrance to the Bush neighborhood and patrolled the area. An officer who declined to give his name said there had been no arrests and no problems.
I can't imagine the thinking behind this. We lend them the money and then let them pay it back - before we've fixed the problems that lead to the crash in the first place? And it won't do much for consumers, since half of them are investment banks.
Elizabeth Warren is skeptical, and wants to hear the terms of repayment. She also warns that the stress tests were not as strong as they should have been. Stay tuned:
... The decision to allow the banks to exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, also ushered in a new, and potentially risky, phase of the banking crisis. Letting the lenders out now � earlier than many had envisioned, and without the industry reforms some consider necessary to prevent future crises � raises many sobering questions for policy makers, bankers and taxpayers.
The program was aimed at purchasing assets and equity from banks to strengthen them and encourage them to expand lending during a tightening credit squeeze. But after banks return the TARP money, the administration will forfeit much of its leverage over them. With that loss goes a rare opportunity to overhaul the industry. The administration's ability to push institutions to purge themselves quickly of bad assets and do more to help hard-pressed homeowners will be diminished.
Of even deeper concern is the running trouble inside the banking industry. Despite tentative signs of revival, many banks remain fragile. Four of the nation's five largest lenders, including Citigroup and Bank of America, were not allowed to return their bailout funds.
Some analysts worry that financial institutions that repay bailout money now may turn to Washington again if the economy worsens and losses overwhelm banks. One of the most vexing problems of the credit crisis � how to rid banks of their troubled mortgage investments � remains unresolved.
Which, of course, is why so many experts were urging the administration to nationalize the banks. Those bad mortgages have to be dealt with sooner or later, and the bailout program simply postponed the day of reckoning.