05 January 2009

This Modern World nails Bush's bye-bye...

...as usual, Tom Tomorrow's political comic is spot-on. To visit the This Modern World home page, click here.

(click to enlarge)

03 December 2008

Free higher education...

...like universal health care, is something that the newly empowered Democrats will deliver to Americans if the Democrats are worth a damn. One approach, advocated here, is to extend the G.I. Bill to all Americans. But regardless of how free higher ed is done, it must be done. Because the current system's costs are putting college out of reach of most Americans:

(click to enlarge)

02 December 2008

Robert Rubin? Obama, we deserve better...

MarketWatch.com's David Weidner notes that the economic team Obama has assembled includes an awful lot of Clinton era faces - including Robert Rubin, one of the biggest baddies of the current credit crisis. The more things change, the more they stay the same:

Rubin is the Mole of today's economic crisis. Given the opportunity to protect the country from deregulation of financial services, at Treasury he worked with then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to redesign or roll back Depression-era reforms.

Of course, the greatest beneficiary of deregulation was Citigroup. Formed in 1998 through the merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group, the new company combined some of America's biggest banks, investment banks and insurance companies under one roof.

So, when Rubin decided to step down at Treasury, yielding that post to Larry Summers, it wasn't long before Citi's chairman and chief executive, Sandy Weill, came calling. He offered Wall Street's equivalent of a no-show job. Rubin worked in the office of the chairman and led Citigroup's executive committee. He was paid $115 million over nine years.

Now, the government has been forced to invest $45 billion in Citigroup and backstop $270 billion of its $2 trillion balance sheet. How does Rubin respond when critics say he should bear some responsibility?

"Nobody was prepared for this," he told The Wall Street Journal. Was he overpaid? "I bet there's not a single year where I couldn't have gone somewhere else and made more," he said.


14 November 2008

Let's not forget our Dream...

...here's an update from Bob Fertik of Democrats.com, who reminds us that our work isn't done - we still have to roast us some lame duck:

As we celebrate our new President-elect and all the changes he will bring to our nation, we must not turn a blind eye to the final actions of George Bush.

Incredibly, Washington is already buzzing with Bush's plans to block all investigations of his crimes and even to pardon everyone involved - including Cheney and himself. Chris Matthews is even counting down the days.

Does Bush have the power to pardon everyone in his administration? Yes. Will he abuse that power to stay out of jail? Only if we let him.

We must create a groundswell of opposition to any pardons by George Bush, so he understands that he will be impeached and prosecuted for issuing corrupt pardons.

Please help us launch a massive movement against pardons by signing our petition to Congress and telling your friends.

We will announce additional plans to stop Bush's pardons in the coming days. Read more about our efforts and join our discussion here.

Thanks for all you do!

05 November 2008

The light at the end of the tunnel...

...is finally in view. Though the Bush years made me question whether politics would ever make me smile, today, I'm brimming with happiness and hope. Yes we can, baby, yes we can.

19 October 2008

World opinion on our presidential race...

...can be summed up in seven words: Obama good, McCain bad, Bush the worst.

From an LA Times blog entry:

27 September 2008

Katie Couric skewers Sarah Palin...

...in this off-the-hook exchange (full interview here), which ends with a jaw-dropper of a dumb line from Palin:

: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie - that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you've said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.

22 September 2008

One great view into McCain vs. Obama....

...comes in this Washington Post graphic on tax policy:

There are definitely some differences between these guys.

16 September 2008

Cindy Sheehan tells it like it is...

...in an awesome email to supporters of her campaign against Nancy Pelosi. On a recent international flight, Cindy met Walter Mondale - a former hero of hers who inadvertently demonstrated how our nation's two-party system, and the stranglehold it gives on power, are key enablers of the rot that afflicts our political leadership. The bold accent is mine:

After we established who I was and that he supported "Nancy" even though I was a "wonderful person," he looked at me and said: "Boy wasn't the FISA thing awful?" I said, "Yes, it's awful and my opponent supported it." He returned with: "Oh, I don't think she was really for it." My last question went unanswered: "Well if she was against it, why would she allow it to go to a vote, as Speaker, and then vote for it, as a member?" Note: On many controversial votes, Pelosi often does not vote, on the FISA Act she voted the wrong way.

Our chat was then over because he said: "Nice to meet you, good luck with everything," and looked back down at the paperwork he was reading. I had been dismissed for asking a question that has no reasonable answer. Nancy allowed the Act to come to a vote and voted for it, against the wishes of our liberal district, because SHE WAS FOR RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY. Not only are telecoms some of Pelosi's biggest donors, she has been in on the illegal wiretapping crimes from the beginning. As a member of the Democratic minority leaderhip's "Gang of Four" with Jane Harman (D-CA), Steny Hoyer, (D-MD), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), not only was the gang briefed on Bush's FISA felonies, they were also briefed on torture. There was and is a rightful outcry on the FISA abuses (if the crimes weren't retroactively legalized, the penalites for breaking FISA laws are steep), but to me, torture is a crime against humanity and, in my opinion, that issue, and lying to a nation about going to war and funding war, are the ones on which the Gang of Four and the Bush Crime Mob should be held accountable.

Ever wonder why "impeachment" has always been inexplicably "off" of Pelosi's table?" Ever wonder why the most criminal and corrupt administration, in this country's long and checkered history that is liberally peppered with corruption and violence, is going to walk away and be allowed to live the rest of their lives in relative comfort and ease? Ever wonder why Pelosi's Congress has an approval rating under double digits? It's because the twin parties of corruption are the "Lawmakers" and the "Lawbreakers." How can Mondale credibly say that Pelosi did not "support" the legislation when she voted "Yea?" Did he mean that it is common for one to sell out his/her constituents and his/her principles when money and crime and punishment are involved?

Walter Mondale (a man whom I voted for three times) has been a political insider for generations and would not even broach the subject of accountability with me. Ever wonder why the system was allowed to decay so far that it appears that only a miracle can save it now from total socio-economic destruction?

This nation is in dire straits partially because of blind allegiance to a two-party monopoly (I used to say "duopoly," but what's the use?) that only exists to perpetuate itself and the unscrupulous system that supports it. That system built of popsicle sticks and set on a shaky foundation will soon go the way of all Empires unless our "leadership" becomes more responsive to the people's needs and less concerned with their bank accounts and personal power trips.

"Change" will not come from inside the monopoly. How much more proof do we need?

Vote for true change.

Vote for Cindy.

07 September 2008

Big kudos on our I Have A Dream shirt...

...from a satisfied customer named Ann, who is doing a great job spreading the message that Bush and Cheney must be held accountable for their actions:

I wear my I Have A Dream as often as I can. I own three of them. This past month I wore it to Sea World in Orlando, through the airports in Tampa, Atlanta and San Francisco, on BART and to the grocery store, to the Hiroshima protest event in SF. It gets exposure. I tell everyone I got my shirt at wavelengthclothing.com. I hope it is helping you to get more shirts out there being worn. When I wear it, it is well-loved!!!!!

19 August 2008

Thank goodness for The Onion...

...for being right there with The Daily Show when it comes to the sly and soothing satire:

Powerful 'His And Hers' Towel Lobby Stalls Gay Marriage Legislation
WASHINGTON—Gay rights activists protested the defeat of bill S. 743 Monday, saying that the proposed legislation giving homosexuals the right to marry was derailed by the National Association of Semi-personalized Linens Manufacturers (NASLM), a powerful lobby representing the nation's gender-specific bath-towel makers. "The special interests of those producing matching knickknacks for traditional heterosexual couples have been over-represented in this debate for far too long," said GLAAD president Neil Giuliano, citing the influential lobby's contribution of more than $95 million in campaign funds during the last election cycle. "We cannot allow the outdated values of a profiteering minority of towel makers stand in the way of social change." NASLM released a statement in response to Giuliano's criticism that expressed the organization's belief that "marriage is a sacred bond between a his and a hers."

Related Articles
* New Bill Would Defend Marriage From Sharks September 19, 2006
* Wedding Catering Cart Videotaped For Posterity August 18, 1999

14 August 2008

A priceless photo from the Olympics...

...kudos to the ladies of USA softball, for pulling a sweet prank on Beijing Bush. I'm just sorry someone had to lay hand on that sweat-nasty shirt of his.

11 August 2008

Here's Dennis Kucinich on impeachment...

We did it!

Dear Friends,

Last week, Congressman Dennis Kucinich delivered a petition bearing more than 100,000 names to the Speaker of the House urging that impeachment proceedings begin into the conduct of President Bush. In a special video message, Dennis is asking for your help to deliver an even more powerful message to Congress when it reconvenes in September.

With new disclosures that the Administration tried to "cook the books at the CIA" by creating a phony, forged link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, "We cannot step back and let this President escape accountability."

If you have already signed the impeachment petition at www.kucinich.us, thank you. If you haven't, please do. And, in the next few weeks, please ask just one more person to sign so we can let the members of Congress hear our collective demand that they meet their obligation to uphold the Constitution.

Thank you.
The Re-Elect Congressman Kucinich Committee

29 July 2008

Congress considered impeachment...

...at a hearing on Capitol Hill last Friday. Here's the story from Democrats.com:

Chairman John Conyers insisted it was not an "impeachment hearing." But he also said, "I believe the evidence on these matters is both credible and substantial and warrant the response of the executive branch, under oath if at all possible... Let me add, we are not done yet, and we do not intend to go away until we achieve the accountability that Congress is entitled to and the American people deserve ."

And by the end of the hearing, even the see-no-evil Republican witnesses admitted Congress should consider impeachment. So what stands in the way of real impeachment hearings?

1. 228 Democrats (and 199 Republicans) who have not co-sponsored Articles of Impeachment against George Bush. Tell your Representatives to co-sponsor Rep. Kucinich's 35 Articles of Impeachment:

2. Key Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who do not support impeachment.

a. Impeachment Hamlets: Bobby Scott, Zoe Lofgren, and Jerry Nadler believe Bush committed impeachable offfenses, but they are terrified to support impeachment. Call them to find out why they can't make up their minds:

b. AWOL Democrats: These members showed their contempt for the Constitution (and their constituents) by not even attending the July 25 hearing: Howard Berman, Rick Boucher, Artur Davis, Bill Delahunt, Luis Gutierrez, Linda Sanchez, Betty Sutton, Maxine Waters, Anthony Weiner. Call them to find out why they failed to do their jobs - and when they will support impeachment:

c. Impeachment opponents: Adam Schiff, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Mel Watt believe none of Bush's High Crimes are impeachable. Call them to find out why they have betrayed their Oath of Office:

3. House Democratic "Leaders" who oppose impeachment: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel, Whip Jim Clyburn, and DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen believe impeachment would hurt Democrats in November. Call them to say serious impeachment hearings will expose Republican High Crimes and help Democrats at all levels:

4. The Corporate Media

Despite six hours of in-depth hearings, there was no substantive coverage in any Corporate Media outlet. Call your favorite TV/radio talk shows and write to your favorite newspaper to demand coverage of impeachment.

24 July 2008

A recent email from Democrats.com...

Support the Kucinich Impeachment Hearing on Friday

Tell your Representatives to support impeachment by cosponsoring H. Res. 1345:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich has led the fight for impeachment since April 2007, when he courageously introduced 3 Articles of Impeachment (H.Res. 333/799) against Vice President Cheney. On June 10, Kucinich introduced 3 5 Articles of Impeachment (H.Res. 1258) against President Bush.

When Speaker Pelosi refused to allow hearings on any of the 38 Articles, Kucinich returned to the floor of Congress to introduce one more Article of Impeachment against President Bush (H.Res. 1345).

Thanks to massive pressure from Democrats.com and our pro-impeachment allies, Speaker Pelosi finally allowed Chairman Conyers to hold a hearing this Friday. Kucinich will get a few minutes to argue for impeachment along with Rep. Robert Wexler, former Rep. Liz Holtzman, and former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson. Kucinich made a video to thank us for our efforts.

H.Res. 1345 focuses on Bush's ultimate crime - invading Iraq on the basis of lies. The evidence is overwhelming that George Bush and other top officials manufactured those lies to "sell" an invasion whose real purpose was to gain control of Iraq's oil and establish military bases in the heart of the Middle East - the agenda of the Project for a New American Century that Bush and McCain fully embraced.

19 July 2008

Paul Krugman is my favorite columnist...

...and in his latest number, Krugman - a Princeton economist and a tell-it-like-it is hero of the progressive cause - beautifully breaks down the economic challenge facing Barack Obama.

Krugman has long been a champion of universal health care, and in this column, he makes a great point: enacting a universal plan would do wonders toward improving the economic well-being of millions of Americans, even in the face of a slump in growth of GDP. From L-ish Economic Prospects, published July 18, 2008:

Given the state of the economy, it’s hard to see how Barack Obama can lose the 2008 election. An anecdote: This week a passing motorist shouted at a crowd waiting outside a branch of IndyMac, the failed bank, “Bush economics didn’t work! They are right-wing Republican thieves!” The crowd cheered.

But what the economy gives, it can also take away. If the current slump follows the typical modern pattern, the economy will stay depressed well into 2010, if not beyond — plenty of time for the public to start blaming the new incumbent, and punish him in the midterm elections.

To avoid that fate, Mr. Obama — if he is indeed the next president — will have to move quickly and forcefully to address America’s economic discontent. That means another stimulus plan, bigger, better, and more sustained than the one Congress passed earlier this year. It also means passing longer-term measures to reduce economic anxiety — above all, universal health care.

If you ask me, there isn’t much suspense in this year’s election: barring some extraordinary mistakes, Mr. Obama will win. Assuming he wins, the real question is what he’ll make of his victory.

14 July 2008

Here's one way the money rolls in...

...and with this article, ugh, my frustration with the Democratic Party mounts. From The New York Times:

Democrats Look to Lobbyist to Finance Convention

In terms of lobbyists, few are more connected — both west of the Mississippi and in the corridors of power in Washington — than Steve Farber, a Denver lawyer whose political contacts have thrust him into a central fund-raising role for the Democratic National Convention.

Mr. Farber’s vast contact list could prove crucial in raising the millions of dollars needed by the Denver host committee to showcase Senator Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in August in Denver. But Mr. Farber’s activities are a public display of how corporate connections fuel politics — exactly the type of special influence that Mr. Obama had pledged to expunge from politics when he said he would not accept donations from lobbyists.

For two years now, Mr. Farber has parlayed his love for Denver and his ability to call on a network of lobbying clients to help him with the daunting task of raising the $40 million, or more, that Democrats need to run their convention. As the host committee’s chief fund-raiser, he is on the phone 10, 20 times a day, twisting arms and cajoling potential donors — a task made more difficult by the fact that Denver has few hometown companies with enough resources to help foot the bills.

Yet, as Mr. Farber hops on planes, hosts breakfasts and pulls out the stops, he at least can draw on the resources of his law firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, one of the fastest-growing lobbying shops in Washington and one of the most powerful firms in the West, thanks to some recent strategic mergers that have only fattened his roster of blue-chip corporate clients.

08 July 2008

Cheney censored the EPA on global warming...

...if this ain't impeachment-worthy, what is? (Oh yeah - all that other stuff is, too...)

Cheney's office tried to alter greenhouse gas testimony, former official says
By Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
7:38 PM PDT, July 8, 2008 WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney's office worked to alter sworn congressional testimony provided by a federal official in order to play down the threat of global warming and head off regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, a former government official said in a new accusation Tuesday.

Jason K. Burnett, a former Environmental Protection Agency official, cited the behind-the-scenes efforts by unnamed officials in Cheney's office in a letter to congressional investigators regarding testimony in January by his former boss, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

Burnett appeared at a news conference Tuesday with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who said his statements could boost efforts by California and other states to implement their own vehicle emission standards over White House opposition. Boxer plans to call Burnett to testify later this month before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which she chairs.

His charges are likely to give Bush administration critics new ammunition in their efforts to portray executive-branch actions on the environment as driven by politics, rather than science.
(click for the full article from the Los Angeles Times)

26 June 2008

More of Bush's Approval Rating Nosedive...

...and similarly tepid perceptions of his economic stewardship, in this amazing polling data from the LA Times.

It took nearly 8 years of the guy, but by now, pretty much everybody has figured out how bad he sucks.

(click to enlarge)

11 June 2008

Kucinich again calls for impeachment...

...and he remains at the top of my list of inspirational American politicians. From Congressman Dennis Kucinich's website:

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich released the following statement upon House action today which approved his motion to refer to committee Articles of Impeachment concerning President George Bush. "The sheer volume of the Articles required a referral to provide Members with an opportunity for review," Kucinich said.

"It is now imperative that the Judiciary Committee begin a review of the 35 Articles. I will be providing supporting documentation to the committee so that it can proceed in an orderly manner. The weight of evidence contained in the Articles makes it clear that President Bush violated the Constitution and the US Code as well as International law.

"It is the House's responsibility as a co-equal branch of government to provide an effective check and balance to executive abuse of power. President Bush was principally responsible for directing the United States Armed Forces to attack Iraq," Kucinich said. "The June 5th Senate Intelligence report convinced me it was time to act."

05 June 2008

Senate: "Turns out Bushies overstated Iraq threat"

So the U.S. Senate makes it official, five years too late. From the News Hour with Jim Lehrer:

A U.S. Senate report today directly accused the Bush administration of distorting evidence to justify the war in Iraq. The Intelligence Committee's long-delayed report echoed similar charges made in recent years. The committee said President Bush and top aides exaggerated links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. And it said they ignored doubts by U.S. intelligence agencies about Iraq's weapons capabilities.

The Democratic chairman, Senator John Rockefeller of West Virginia, underlined the importance of the findings. "You don't get to tell the truth just some of the time when going to war. The American people expect the government to tell the truth all the time. In too many instances in making the case for war, administration officials distorted the facts or said things that were not supported by the facts, said things that they knew or should have known were not true."

Republicans charged the Democrats on the committee were playing partisan gamesmanship. Senator Kit Bond of Missouri insisted faulty intelligence, not the administration itself, was to blame."The report released today by the majority is an attempt by my friends on the other side of the aisle to score election-year points. Even with the majority-only drafted report that twists the statements of policymakers and cherry-picks the intelligence, the report essentially validates what we've been saying for years, that the intelligence was flawed. The majority consistently leaves that out of their conclusions."

03 June 2008

Congrats, Senator Obama...

...you're on the fast track to the presidency. Once you get there, you're going to have a hell of a lot of work to do. In the meantime, us progressives will be waiting with our fingers crossed, hoping you turn out to be one of us. From politico.com:

Sen. Barack Obama's quest for the Democratic presidential nomination ended in a historic victory Tuesday night, as the Illinois senator achieved the magic number needed to make him his party's standard-bearer. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, meanwhile, signaled that her once seemingly invincible campaign was coming to a close — though she pointedly did not concede and broadly indicated her interest in the vice presidency.

"Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States," Obama said told a cheering throng of supporters in St. Paul, Minn. "America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past."

02 May 2008

If one chart explains high gas prices...

...this is probably it. From the good capitalists at The Wall Street Journal, this chart shows how growth in demand for gas has dwarfed growth in supply. Here's why, for a lot of us Americans, our next car is going to be a bicycle:

See you in the bike lane.

26 April 2008

Cool chart on housing prices versus rents...

...from a blog post by Princeton economist/New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Some charts grab you right away, like this one, which highlights how crazy things got during the home-buying mania that swept America in the early 2000s. As home prices soared, rents stayed flat - an indication that buyers were being motivated by factors other than the fundamental one of the relative costs of renting versus owning. Now the fallout from home-buying mania is currently rippling through our economy - and causing a great deal of distress to many homeowners.

Some people will tell you that renting a home
is like throwing your money away.
People who sell homes, for example.

24 April 2008

A blast from Wavelength's past...

...here's a quartet of captioned photos we emailed to our email list members back in September 2005. Plucky, weren't we?

(click to enlarge)

25 March 2008

Another ominous 5-year landmark reached this March...

...it's of the dismal economic variety. Seems you're not the only one who is a bit nervous about the financial outlook in the days ahead. Today from AP:

Consumer confidence drops to 5-year low on pessimism about jobs, income
by Eileen Alt Powell, Associated Press
NEW YORK – American consumers are gloomier about the economy than at any point since just before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as slumping housing prices and soaring fuel costs depress consumer confidence to its lowest level in five years.

The Conference Board, a business-backed research group, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index plunged to 64.5 in March from a revised 76.4 in February.

The March reading was far below the 73.0 expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson/IFR and was the worst reading since the gauge registered 61.4 in March 2003, just ahead of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Weakening consumer confidence foreshadows weakening consumer spending, which could hurt the already faltering economy.

10 March 2008

The good news in high gas prices...

...is that expensive auto fuel pushes us to use more public transportation. From a quick article from Reuters:

mass transit use hits 50-yr high on pump prices
By Rebekah Kebede, REUTERS, March 10, 2008

NEW YORK – The number of Americans hopping buses and grabbing subway straps has climbed to the highest level in half a century as soaring gasoline costs push more commuters to take mass transit.

U.S. mass transit ridership began to surge when gasoline hit the $3 a gallon level in 2005 and has continued to rise steadily ever since as pump prices top record after record, according to a report released Monday by the American Public Transit Association.

“As people are struggling with the increase in fuel prices, they have to make adjustments, and one of the ways they are doing that is driving less and taking public transportation more,” said William Millar, the president of the APTA.

Mass transit use increased by more than 2 percent in 2007 to the highest level in 50 years, with Americans taking more than 10 billion trips on public transport while the number of vehicle miles traveled was flat in the first 10 months of the year.

03 March 2008

Congresswoman Susan Davis scored a nice one...

...she wrote the legislation that saved a popular Southern California surfspot from intrusion by toll road. Here's one where the good guys win, from Davis's website:

Susan Davis Toll Road Language Becomes Law
Defense bill with provision removing special exemption from state law signed

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Susan Davis’s amendment requiring a proposed toll road through a state park to follow state environmental laws became law when President Bush signed the defense authorization bill (H.R. 4986) last night.

“This has always been about maintaining the integrity of the process that we follow for proposed transportation projects in the state,” said Davis, a member of the Armed Services Committee. “There is no reason why it should have received a special exemption from the standard process and environmental safeguards, especially when such unique natural resources are at stake.”

The proposed toll road would have a devastating impact on the unique environmental and highly utilized recreational resources at San Mateo campground and Trestles Beach.

18 February 2008

Impeaching Cheney is still a possibility...

...and members of Congress are currently in their home districts, so now is an excellent time to contact your representative and let him or her know that you want impeachment. For all the details you need about impeachment, including your rep's phone numbers, visit AfterDowningStreet's terrific impeachment site. We've still got 11 months!

14 February 2008

Cindy Sheehan is running for Congress...

she's challenging House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who assumed the role of Speaker of the House when the Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 elections.

I wasn't familiar with Nancy Pelosi until those elections thrust her into the national spotlight, and when I first started paying attention to her, I thought, "Wow – for the most visible face of the Democratic Party, she sure looks like a Republican." In my experience, people with Pelosi's sense of style – power suits, fancy hairdos, and plastic surgery – tend to lean right of center and to put the will of the big bucks in front of the will of the people. But in the warm glow of the optimism of November 2006, I told myself that appearances can be deceiving and began hoping for the best.

It didn't take long for Pelosi and her fellow Democratic party leaders to let me down. Instead of stepping up as the antidote to Bush's poison and delivering the leftward pendulum swing so many of us were hoping for, Pelosi's House largely has failed to distinguish itself from the delegations that bowed to Bush from 2001 through 2006. And I'm not the only one who isn't digging Nancy's chili: approval ratings for Congress overall are even lower than approval ratings for Bush and have been for some time.

Back in July 2007, Cindy Sheehan promised that she would run against Nancy Pelosi if Nancy failed to pursue the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Well, Nancy failed, and Cindy is following up by running against Pelosi this November.

I think that campaigns like Cindy's – where real Americans run against the rich insiders who currently control Washington – are the clearest path to the big changes Americans are hungry for. I've donated to Cindy's congressional campaign, and I hope you will, too.

06 February 2008

the key numbers from Super Tuesday...

...at least for me, are the ones below. These numbers aren't getting top billing in the good old MSM, probably because they suggest that the Republican presidential primaries are essentially meaningless, and that the Democratic nominee will stomp in November.

from a Time Magazine network blog:

Democratic votes for Clinton and Obama: 14,622,822 (63.6%)
Republican votes for McCain, Romney and Huckabee: 8,370,022 (36.4%)

Put another way, the Clinton/Obama race drew 76% more voters than the McCain/Romney/Huckabee race.

28 January 2008

Wexler, a Dozen Housemates say the "I" word...


January 16, 2008
John Conyers, Jr., Chairman
House Judiciary Committee
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Conyers:

You have been a tireless champion of providing oversight to an Administration that has run roughshod over our constitution, that operates with s no limits on executive branch authority and one that has repeatedly flouted the investigations and oversight the 110th Congress has tried to provide over the past year. We have the greatest respect for the work you have done and believe that impeachment hearings pertaining to Vice President Cheney are the best way to move that work forward.

Impeachment hearings will allow for the exact kind of oversight that you and the Democratic leadership have provided regarding the actions of the Administration but without the opportunity for the Bush Administration to ignore lawful requests for information, refuse subpoenas and effectively limit its own oversight.

Impeachment hearings can provide the opportunity to cut through the executive privilege defenses and force this Administration to answer a Congress it has clearly chosen to ignore. We know you would agree that as Members of Congress, we can not allow legitimate oversight to be thwarted or such a dangerous precedent to stand...As you know, the charges against Vice President Cheney include providing Congress and the American people false intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

We trust that you will hold a sober investigation and let the facts determine the outcome as you have as Chairman this past year. We sincerely believe that impeachment hearings are the appropriate and necessary next step given what we have seen of this Administration. Chairman Conyers, we are respectfully asking you join us and concerned citizens around the country in supporting impeachment hearings.


Clarke, Yvette D., NY, 11th
Clay, Wm. Lacy, MO, 1st
Cohen, Steve, TN, 9th *
Farr, Sam, CA, 17th
Grijalva, Raúl M., AZ, 7th
Moore, Gwen, WI, 4th
Moran, James P., VA, 8th
Towns, Edolphus, NY, 10th
Wynn, Albert Russell, MD, 4th
Baldwin, Tammy, WI, 2nd *
Capuano, Michael E., MA, 8th
Gutierrez, Luis V., IL, 4th *
Thompson, Mike, CA, 1st
Wexler, Robert, FL, 19th *

(*= member of the Judiciary Committee)

21 January 2008

Here's Ralph Nader on impeachment...

Some say Ralph Nader is a key reason why we ended up with Bush and Cheney in the first place. For many years after the 2000 election, I thought Bush was disproving Nader's main argument: that there wasn't enough difference between the leaderships of the Democratic and the Republican parties. But given that Hillary and the majority of the Democrats in Congress supported the Iraq War - and that most of those same Demos won't pick up the impeachment ball - I'm not so sure that Nader was wrongheaded in his run against Bush/Cheney and Gore/Lieberman.

In this 3-minute YouTube snippet from a 2007 Nader speech, he shares the bizarre reason one Democratic congressman cited when asked why he won't support impeachment despite the fact that a majority of his constituents do:

12 January 2008

Need proof of media's anti-change bias?

Here it is, amigos. Fox did it to Ron Paul, too. If I owned a TV, this would make me destroy it:

NBC unplugs Kucinich from Presidential debate

Less than 44 hours after NBC sent a congratulatory note and an invitation to Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich to participate in the Jan. 15 Democratic Presidential debate in Las Vegas, the network notified the campaign this morning it was changing it announced criteria, rescinding its invitation, and excluding Kucinich from the debate.

NBC Political Director Chuck Todd notified the Kucinich campaign this morning that, although Kucinich had met the qualification criteria publicly announced on December 28, the network was “re-doing” the criteria, excluding Kucinich, and planning to invite only Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and former senator John Edwards. The criteria announced last month included a fourth-place or better showing in a national poll. The USA/Gallup poll earlier this month showed Kucinich in fourth place among the Democratic contenders.

In an email to the Kucinich campaign at 2:35 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9, Democratic Party debates consultant Jenny Backus wrote: “Congratulations on another hard-fought contest. Now that New Hampshire is over, we are on to Nevada and our Presidential Debate on Tuesday January 15. This letter serves as an official invitation for your candidate to participate in the Nevada Presidential Debate at Cashman Theatre in downtown Las Vegas. You have met the criteria set by NBC and the Debate.”

Todd notified the Kucinich campaign this morning that the network had decided to change the criteria and limit participation in the debate to only three candidates.

11 January 2008

Osama Bin Laden has been dead for years...

...that's the argument explored in a fascinating post on LittleCountryLost, an superb blog focused on stories left out of the mainstream media. The discussion starts with the clip below, an excerpt of a November '07 interview with Benazir Bhutto, in which she names people who she thinks want to kill her. According to Bhutto, one of these people - Omar Sheikh - "murdered Osama Bin Laden." Watch for yourself:

LittleCountryLost offers a timeline of Bin Laden-related events, and points out a troubling change in Bush administration rhetoric regarding Bin Laden. If he did die some time in the 18 months after 9/11, the case for the war on terror would have suffered, right? In that time period, Bush & Co. certainly shifted the emphasis away from Bin Laden:

September 15, 2001President Bush says of bin-Laden, “If he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken.”

September 17, 2001 – President Bush says, “I want justice. And there’s an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’”

November 7, 2001 - Pakistani reporter Hamid Mir interviews Osama bin-Laden in person.

November 16, 2001 - Battle of Tora Bora begins.

November 25, 2001 - Osama bin-Laden gives his last known public speech to his followers in Milawa, Afghanistan, a village located on the route from Tora Bora to the Pakistani border.

November 28, 2001 - Osama bin-Laden reportedly escapes Tora Bora

December 15, 2001 - Osama bin-Laden's voice is reportedly intercepted for the last time communicating with his fighters in Tora Bora via his shortwave radio

December 17, 2001 - US Intelligence and Pentagon officials admit they have lost Osama bin-Laden

December 17, 2001 - United States declares victory at Tora Bora

December 26, 2001 - Article about Osama bin-Laden's funeral is published in Pakistan and Egypt. The funeral allegedly takes place about 10 days earlier. The article is also discussed by Fox News.

December 28, 2001 – President Bush says, “Our objective is more than bin-Laden”

January 18, 2002 – Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf tells CNN that he believes Osama bin-Laden to be dead

January 27, 2002 - Vice President Dick Cheney says that Osama bin-Laden "isn't that big of a threat. Bin Laden connected to this worldwide organization of terror is a threat."

January 27, 2002 – White House Chief of Staff Andy Card tells CNN, “"I do not know for a fact that he's alive. I happen to believe he's probably alive… Our overall objective is to defeat terrorism, wherever it is around the world. And so, our objective is not to get Osama bin Laden."

January 29, 2002 – President Bush delivers his first State of the Union address since 9/11. While he labels Iraq, Iran, and North Korea the “axis of evil”, he fails to mention Osama bin-Laden at all.

March 13, 2002 – President Bush says, “Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all… He’s a person who’s now been marginalized.… I just don’t spend that much time on him.… I truly am not that concerned about him.”

April 4, 2002 - Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers says, "The goal has never been to get bin-Laden"

October 14, 2002 – President Bush says, “I don’t know whether bin-Laden is alive or dead”

October 16, 2002Middle East Newsline reports that Israeli Intelligence officials confirmed that Israel and the United States believe Osama bin-Laden was killed in mid-December 2001 during the Tora Bora bombing campaign.

This timeline, with Osama bin-Laden's death allegedly occurring in the middle of December 2001, makes it possible that Omar Sheikh could have committed the murder. From October 2001 through January 19, 2002, Omar Sheikh was living openly in his home in Lahore, Pakistan. His positions as leader of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (a Taliban and Osama bin-Laden partner) and ISI agent (the source of funds for Harkat-ul-Mujahideen) would also have given him means for access to Osama bin-Laden.

10 January 2008

Tony, Tony, Tony...

...congrats on your new job. I always suspected you were working for a higher power, and now I know for sure. And now all your connections are really gonna pay off!

Tony Blair starts $1M bank job

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who left office last June, has taken up a part-time job with a Wall Street bank on an estimated $1 million salary.

Blair will work with JP Morgan Chase, a firm with assets of $1.5 trillion and operations in more than 50 countries. He will advise the bank on global political and strategic issues, a company statement said.

"We operate our business all over the world, and Tony Blair will bring our leaders and clients a unique and invaluable global perspective that is especially critical in turbulent times like these," said Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of the company, in the statement.

Neither Blair nor the bank would say how much the former PM would be paid. A New York recruitment consultant though told the Financial Times that the job was likely to be worth more than $987,000 (£500,000) a year.

Advisory jobs such as the one Blair has accepted are popular among former world leaders. His predecessor as prime minister, John Major, took a position with the Carlyle Group, a private investment house, as did former U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

09 January 2008

Poems written by Guantanamo inmates...

...read by Hadi Jawad, one of the founders of the Crawford Peace House.

06 January 2008

Interesting email from Dennis Kucinich...

...who still strikes me as the only candidate who is talking about the substantive changes our country needs. John Edwards' anti-corporate bluster belies his big-money ties to the Fortress Investment Group. And ABC/Disney's decision to exclude Kucinich from the New Hampshire debate is telling...Kucinich is the candidate that the corporates are really afraid of!

RE: New Hampshire, Iowa and Edwards

Dear Supporter,

For the record:

  1. New Hampshire is the first state where we are aggressively campaigning. Due to the Party lockout in Iowa, we chose to focus on New Hampshire.
  2. I am the only person running for President who voted against the war, against funding the war 100% of the time, against the Patriot Act, and who stands for a universal single-payer not-for-profit healthcare system. Nevertheless I was excluded from Saturday night's ABC Presidential debate, or four tone monologue as it was.
  3. In answer to your questions about why I didn't support former Senator John Edwards on the second ballot in Iowa: I have serious concerns about his connections to a Wall Street hedge fund, Fortress Investment Group. While attacking others for accepting campaign money from Washington lobbyists, he is up to his ears in money from Wall Street special interests.

He made half a million dollars in a single year for attending a few meetings for Fortress and has invested a substantial part of his own personal wealth in the hedge fund whose portfolios are responsible for sub-prime predatory lending practices, Medicare privatization, and an entire range of corporate sharp dealings that are driving the middle class into poverty.

While I indicated Senator Obama as a preferred second choice in Iowa, Progressives have fundamental disagreements with him and all of the other Presidential candidates on most of their major positions on the issues.

We must have the courage of our convictions to fully support and vote for what it is we really want. For once, we must realize our power, stop playing tactical games, and vote as a bloc - which, as you know, is what the religious right does and why they often win.

We Progressives are in the majority in this election. We will win only when we refuse to compromise and vote with integrity.

--Dennis Kucinich

31 December 2007

To close 2007...

...a couple members of the Wavelength crew took a trip to Malaysia, visiting cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. Malaysia is a wondrous country, from jungles to beaches and everything in between. And the people's affectionate respect for citizens of other countries was evident in the many smiles and greetings we received in each area we explored.

Of the many contrasts with the United States, perhaps the most striking to me was Malaysia's lack of free speech, which manifests in forms such as censorship of the press and criminal penalties for critics of the government. A website like Wavelength's would never fly in Malaysia, for example, and the country's citizens could get in trouble for wearing t-shirts like the ones we offer. With this in mind, we feel quite lucky to be Americans, and quite proud of the USA.

Of Malaysia's many similarities with the United States, one that I noticed repeatedly was the sharp differences in living standards across the upper, middle, and lower classes. From gleaming office towers to high-rise dormitories to aluminum-roofed shanties, Malaysia's citizens - like those in the United States, and perhaps all countries - live their lives in a wide range of conditions, and with a broadly varying command of resources.

I hope to write more on Malaysia in future posts. For now, I'll just add that the country was warm, welcoming, beautiful, and steeped in history. And fans of either Indian or Chinese cuisine will love Malaysia's authentic and affordable restaurants.

18 December 2007

It took me awhile to figure out Greenspan...

...back in the short-lived era of the in-the-black federal budget, Greenspan told Congress it had to start giving back taxpayer money, lest a ballooning surplus weigh down the economy. When deficits returned a couple years later, he told Congress that Social Security was suddenly in crisis, and only savable with private accounts.

Why hadn't he said anything about Social Security's needs during the surplus? Shenanigans. Greenspan was not on our side on Social Security, and now this NY Times eye-opener shows where he stood on subprime lending:

Edward M. Gramlich, a Federal Reserve governor who died in September, warned nearly seven years ago that a fast-growing new breed of lenders was luring many people into risky mortgages they could not afford. But when Mr. Gramlich privately urged Fed examiners to investigate mortgage lenders affiliated with national banks, he was rebuffed by Alan Greenspan, the Fed chairman.

In 2001, a senior Treasury official, Sheila C. Bair, tried to persuade subprime lenders to adopt a code of “best practices” and to let outside monitors verify their compliance. None of the lenders would agree to the monitors, and many rejected the code itself. Even those who did adopt those practices, Ms. Bair recalled recently, soon let them slip.

And leaders of a housing advocacy group in California, meeting with Mr. Greenspan in 2004, warned that deception was increasing and unscrupulous practices were spreading. John C. Gamboa and Robert L. Gnaizda of the Greenlining Institute implored Mr. Greenspan to use his bully pulpit and press for a voluntary code of conduct.

“He never gave us a good reason, but he didn’t want to do it,” Mr. Gnaizda said last week. “He just wasn’t interested.”

17 December 2007

Some fairly heavy promotional activity...

...including an email contact to all of our previous customers, plus links in emails sent by our friends at Democrats.com, generated a wave of site visits. I'll share more on the resulting bump in sales, but for now, here's a look at visits to the page with I Have A Dream, Impeach Bush & Cheney, and Arrest Bush:

The screenshot above came from Wavelength's Yahoo account.

16 December 2007

Some new clamoring for Impeach Cheney...

...amongst a trio of members of Congress:

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.)...and two of his colleagues on the House judiciary committee - Florida's Robert Wexler and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin - have penned an op-ed piece calling for committee hearings on a bill to impeact Dick Cheney on a variety of charges, including allegations of manipulating intelligence to boost the case for war with Iraq.

"The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution," the op-ed says. "The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens."

It's heartening to see a few members step up like this. What's discouraging is the response line out of Democratic leadership: "it'll take us away from other, more important things." Ah, love to see them flash that old killer instinct.

Another frustrating note on matter is the response from His Majesty's Media the Mainstream: the three Congressfolks tried but couldn't get their editorial published in any big papers. Fortunately, I found a smaller independent willing to point the finger at Cheney:

"Look into my eyes," Cheneybot commanded,
"And repeat after me: impeachment is not an option."

11 December 2007

All we want for Christmas...

...is some justice, in the form of impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

To let everybody know, we've added a shirt that borrows an immortal line from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the spirit of Dr. King's rallying cry against the scourge of racial oppression, this shirt calls out the impeachable crimes of the Bush administration.

That justice will prevail, and that Bush and Cheney will be held accountable for their crimes...

28 November 2007

A cool map of Demo campaign stops...

...makes for a few moments of interactive and informative fun, courtesy of the New York Times.

Check the map for more candidate-by-candidate info, for candidates from both major parties.

Kucinich supporters like me often lament how the media seems to ignore his campaign, but the maps slices at right offer a different perspective on why he isn't getting much voter traction. He's got New Hampshire covered, but the top 3 candidates seem to be stumping much harder in Iowa and elsewhere.

A note, however: it could be that Kucinich is not hitting Iowa hard because he has bigger plans, beyond the Democratic nomination. Stay tuned...

26 November 2007

When a senator bows out...

...with 4 years left in a term, do the voters who elected him get any recourse?

Today, Trent Lott announced he would retire from the U.S. Senate by the end of this year, though he'd just been re-elected in 2006. The reason? To paraphrase MSNBC, it's so he can become a lobbyist before tougher lobbying rules take effect in the next few months. More specifically, here's how one commenter sums it up:

"If you retire after January 1, 2008, you must wait 2 years before becoming a lobbyist. That's the reason Hair Helmet is resigning now. It's all about continuing to enrich himself at the taxpayer's expense."

To me, this is one more example of how we need more than just the money out of our political system - we need to get money fiend personalities out of our political system. In my opinion, congresspeople should take vows of penury; once elected, they should receive the median income of the district they represent - for the rest of their lives.

That would certainly shift the D.C. personality mix a bit. For example, I don't think Bush would have thrown his hat into such a ring. Which is practically grounds for resting the case.

15 November 2007

The Best of Bush

...it's a compilation from a CBS show, probably Letterman, and it's 5 fun minutes.

"I gotta go to Vegas...Somethin' about - what happens in Vegas stays there or something?"

05 November 2007

Outsourcing the military means big bucks...

...for companies like Halliburton, a firm whose stock market value currently totals $35 billion. Recently, I listened to a public conference call between Wall Street analysts and Dyncorp, sort of a mini version of Dick Cheney's HAL. Here are some excerpts from the call, which was led by Dyncorp's CEO Herbert Lanese and offered a firsthand view of the business of war:

"...our CIVPOL program in Iraq was extended through November of this year, and we’ve since been informed that a further extension through February of 2008 will be funded soon. Our CIVPOL program in Afghanistan has been extended through August of 2008, while the Afghanistan Poppy Eradication Program has been extended through September of 2008. We’ve also been re-awarded extensions on both our Contract Field Teams program, our CFT program, and our War Reserve Materiel or WRM contracts, both of those through September of 2008."

"The CIVPOL, or Civilian Police Program, in Iraq and Afghanistan, is a very large and complex program. And as you might imagine, as with other large complex government contracts, it’s not unusual for the contractor and its government customer to identify and address a number of issues that may arise during the course of contractor performance. We are, above all else, serious about the integrity of our operations. Neither I nor any of the people who work for me at this point in our careers are going to damage our good reputations with something silly."

"It is very important for our shareholders to understand that we compete with Blackwater in a very narrow field that currently represents 2% of our revenue. I want to repeat that: 2% of our revenue. So when you compare us to Blackwater, 2% of our revenue is on the same basis as Blackwater. Unfortunately, it is very visible work that tends to attract a disproportionate amount of attention that I believe unfairly distorts the image of Dyncorp."

Herbert Lanese: Yeah, and the Marine Corps has just put out it’s own solicitation for [armored vehicles] and it’s in the 20-some-thousands as well, too, and that’s not in any of the numbers I am talking about yet. So look, I just think it’s got great opportunity for us. It’s something I am really excited about.
Wall Street analyst: Your enthusiasm is palpable.Thank you very much.
Herbert Lanese:
[laughter] Yes, thank you. Sorry to be emotional on these calls, but I do get excited about this stuff. I love this stuff I do.

01 November 2007

Key facts on Iraq...

...compiled by the Associated Press:

January 2007: 137,000
October 2007: 170,000

CASUALTIES as of 10/31/07:
Confirmed U.S. military deaths: 3,838
Confirmed U.S. military wounded: 28,385
Deaths of civilian employees of U.S. gov't contractors: 1,073
Iraqi civilian deaths from war-related violence: more than 75,000 (est.)
Assassinated Iraqi academics: 336
Journalists killed on assignment: 122

Stepped-up military operations are costing about $12 billion a month, with Iraq accounting for $10 billion per month, according to congressional analysis. Total cost to the U.S. government so far is more than $464 billion. A January 2007 study by Linda Bilmes of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government put the total projected cost of providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan at $350 billion to $700 billion.

Prewar: 2.58 million barrels per day
Oct. 21, 2007: 2.36 million barrels per day

Prewar nationwide: 3,958 megawatts. Hours per day (est.): four to eight
Oct. 23, 2007, nationwide: 4,790 megawatts. Hours per day: 13.1
Prewar Baghdad: 2,500 megawatts. Hours per day (est.): 16-24
Oct. 23, 2007, Baghdad: Megawatts not available. Hours per day: 8.9
Note: Current Baghdad megawatt figures are no longer reported by the U.S. State Department's Iraq Weekly Status Report.

Prewar land lines: 833,000
March 13, 2007: 1,111,000
Prewar cell phones: 80,000
March 13, 2007: 8,720,038

Prewar: 12.9 million people had potable water
Oct. 18, 2007: 19.6 million people have potable water

Prewar: 6.2 million people served
Oct. 18, 2007: 11.3 million people served

Oct. 23, 2007: At least 2.3 million people have been displaced inside Iraq...Iraqis have made some 19,800 asylum claims during the first six months of 2007, a 45 percent increase compared to the previous six months, when 13,600 applications were received.

Prewar: 500,000 Iraqis living abroad.
Oct. 23, 2007: More than 2.2 million in neighboring countries.

22 October 2007

Dennis Kucinich rolled into San Diego...

... this past weekend, to speak at a gathering at the home of a UCSD biology professor. Kucinich, his wife Elizabeth, and her mother all turned out for the occasion, and the crowd responded warmly to Dennis's calls for strength through peace, a national health care system, and a "Works Green" Administration.

I was happy to note that the Union-Tribune saw fit to cover the event with a reporter, who filed an article that captured the event quite nicely.

For more on Dennis Kucinich's views, check his website, and maybe even his video updates. If you're in San Diego, join his San Diego team.

10 October 2007

Here comes a big day of protest...

...with big regional rallies scheduled for Saturday, October 27. For more info, click here.

03 October 2007

Anti-war sentiment up, protests down...

...that's the moral from a Reuters article on dwindling turnout at recent anti-war events, particularly in DC. Issues include fatigue, frustration, in-fighting among activist groups, and the Internet, which may have eclipsed the street corner as the place to protest:

U.S. protests shrink while antiwar sentiment grows
By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Crowds at antiwar rallies in Washington have dwindled even as U.S. opinion has turned against the war in Iraq, as organizers feud and participants question the effectiveness of the street protests. Rival antiwar groups, which in years past jointly sponsored massive rallies on the National Mall, have promoted separate protests recently or decided to steer clear of the capital altogether...

United for Peace and Justice, which has tried to focus on ending the Iraq war, drew 100,000 people to a January protest. The group plans 11 regional demonstrations later this month, but none in Washington. ANSWER has called for antiwar groups to join forces for a large rally in the spring...

Antiwar leaders say recent smaller protests reflect new tactics, not disorganization. Smaller activist groups like Code Pink have been a colorful, disruptive presence at congressional hearings and appearances by Bush administration officials. "There's times when we've had half a million people out in the streets, and there's times when it's important just to be there," Langley said.

But others said it is less likely they'll head to Washington at all. "People are tired, they are frustrated because they didn't expect this to go on so long," said Laura Bonham, a spokeswoman for Progressive Democrats of America, which lobbies lawmakers to support a withdrawal. "It's like, well, we can stay home."

Largely absent from the actions are young people, who were the majority of Vietnam-era protesters -- perhaps because they do not risk being drafted into the military or from a sense that they can express their opposition to the war on the Internet, rather than on the streets, [Hamilton College history professor Maurice] Isserman said.

22 September 2007

Cindy Sheehan, Bree Walker, and Camp Casey...

...are the highlights of this 20-minute video from back in July, when peace movement hero Cindy Sheehan celebrated her 50th birthday at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, and passed the camp's deed to Air America's Bree Walker. Here's some footage from a special weekend, including music from Jesse Dyen and Hank Woji.

21 September 2007

A chilling summary of U.S. foreign policy...

...comes in the prologue to Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, a fascinating 2004 confession by John Perkins, who built a career of furthering the international interests of what he now calls "the corporatocracy." His story sheds light on the self-serving motives behind much of the push for globalization and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how the corporatocracy asserts its power in developing countries around the world:

We economic hit men are crafty; we learned from history. Today we do not carry swords. We do not wear armor or clothes that set us apart. In countries like Ecuador, Nigeria, and Indonesia, we dress like local schoolteachers and shop owners...We visit project sites and stroll through impoverished villages...We cover the conference tables of government committees with our spreadsheets and financial projections, and we lecture at the Harvard Business School about the miracles of macroeconomics. We are on the record, in the open...

However - and this is a very large caveat - if we fail, an even more sinister breed steps in, ones we economic hit men refer to as the jackals...The jackals are always there, lurking in the shadows. When they emerge, heads of state are overthrown or die in violent "accidents." And if by chance the jackals fail, as they failed in Afghanistan and Iraq, then the old models resurface. When the jackals fail, young Americans are sent in to kill and to die.