American Liberalism Project Archives September 2004 to June 2006

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Children At Risk

I read yesterday, with great dismay, but not surprise, about the effect of dual income families on children and their development. For years this has been an issue that I have felt strongly about and yet have felt powerless to change. There are families out there who manage to handle this very effectively, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Bush's No Child Left Behind is now part of the problem as well. An ill conceived program, which was never properly funded, has just added to the ever growing problem of our inattention to our children and their very basic needs.

It goes without saying that children certainly deserve the best we are able to give them. This does NOT mean material goods, but all the attention and love we are capable of giving. And, to accomplish this, means time. I have seen many families who had very little in the way of material wealth, and yet raised children who were thoughtful, caring individuals who contributed greatly to society as adults. Conversely, I have seen children, of those more affluent, who felt that they deserved things in life just because that was all they had been taught. Buy Johnny a new video game and then we will not feel so guilty!

So now we have two income families, with children. Employers who do not wish to give their employees the time for a decent maternity leave, or time off when a child is home ill. Some families have to scramble for someone else to watch their children when they have a school cancellation due to snow or storms, and there is no daycare in place. And then there is the child who is caught in the middle between his mother and her employer when there is a special event at school and also a very important presentation at work. The presentation invariably wins and the child immediately knows where he stands in the greater scheme of things. He comes second.

Australia gives mothers a stipend in order for them to stay at home, IF they choose, in order to be with their children in their first, most important, formative years. Daycare may be an alternative, but what that gives us is a generation of children who have been raised, not by a child's parents, but by people who may not necessarily share the same beliefs as the parents of the children they are tending. And that also puts the child at risk for inappropriate behavior on the part of the staff at these facilities.

Again, those who are in the middle will pay the price. Those families who must work in order to meet the daily requirements of life and can ill afford the extras like au pairs or nannies. Indeed, most can barely afford daycare. Current Bush fiscal policy will only push the envelope of this issue further. Nor does this administration truly care. If it did, No Child Left Behind would have been properly funded, and those after school programs which were in place would not have had to close due to lack of funding because of fiscal "compassionate conservatism".

Behavioral problems are on the rise, and our juvenile court systems are seeing more and more youthful offenders. We have decided that there is nothing which cannot be cured if we medicate these young 'uns, or give them some intensive therapy. Teen suicide is an unfortunate side issue which is only recently coming to light.

No one is minding the store as it were. And, even more sadly, no one seems to really care.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Incompetent Failures

Democrats are finally swinging into action. Their response to the failed Bush foreign policy will surely hold up, if not thwart, the Rice nomination as Secretary of State. At this moment there are not enough Democrats with the political courage to go the whole way, but there is hope.

Bush has failed utterly in Iraq. There is not even a snowball's chance of establishing in Iraq a model democracy for the rest of Islam to emulate. There is no chance that the citizens of Iraq will soon forgive the hobnailed intrusion of the American military into their native land. The sure bet is that we have created a hostile camp out of Iraq, a camp that will nurture terrorism far in excess of the Saddamite brand of dictatorial terrorism.

Bush has failed in North Korea. Admittedly he would have had to have read quite a bit about North Korea before issuing his Axis of Evil statement some years ago to know exactly how evil North Korea is. The point of being President of the United States is not to name enemies or create them, but to fix the situation so that precious human lives are not wasted because of ignorance and mischance. The Chinese and Japanese may get something good to happen in North Korea, but the United States is not (for the next four years, anyway) part of that recipe.

Bush has not done well in Iran, either, and there is every reason to believe that he is about to make a very, very bad mistake. If Bush sends (allows/cajoles/forces) Israel to take the first (their second) big step against Iranian nuclear facilities, then you can be sure that the United States will be there to defend Israel from the reprisal, and swiftly we will be up to our necks in Ayatollahs and fiercely nationalistic Iranians.

This might seem like the right thing to do with Vladimir Putin in high dudgeon over our meddling in the Ukraine election. But Putin meddled, too, it seems. And, afterall, establishing two beachheads on Russia's borders in short order should cause a certain amount of concern in the Kremlin. Bush seems bent on restoring the cold war animosities with Russia. He does know they have nukes, doesn't he?

But Iran may not be the next neocon target afterall. Maybe we are going to kill off Assad in Syria first. The international press (not the national press, for some reason!) is reporting American threats against them. They have never been friendly, so what the hell! Eh, George!

The best way to keep a docile and ignorant public disoriented (and relatively quiescent) is to shock them and awe them with televised heroics of military adventures. Too bad that the foreign policy just adds up to the bullying of a nation prematurely past its prime, past its economic ability to carry out protracted and perpetual warfare, long since overstayed its world-wide welcome, a fantasyland of neocon self-indulgence and fundamentalist dogmatism!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Strategic Support Branch: Rumsfeld's Own Personal CIA

The following article brings some clarity to a situation that we believe is loaded with potential for abuse and tragedy for America.

Strategic Support Branch: Rumsfeld’s Own Personal CIA
by Kurt Nimmo published by Another Day in the Empire

One day the Pentagon vehemently denies it is covertly operating inside Iran—or at least disputes particular details, as outlined recently by Seymour Hersh—and the next day Pentagon officials describe a new organization, the Strategic Support Branch (SSB), designed “to operate without detection and under the defense secretary’s direct control,” deploy “small teams of case officers, linguists, interrogators and technical specialists alongside newly empowered special operations forces,” and essentially replace “the CIA’s Directorate of Operations,” according to the Washington Post.

Note: the CIA’s Directorate of Operations was responsible for covert action, in other words, secret wars. “You have a target: a government that you don’t like,” writes John Stockwell, a former CIA agent. “They send the CIA in with its resources and its activists: hiring people, hiring agents to tear apart the social and economic fabric of the country. It’s a technique for putting pressure on the government, hoping they can make the government come to the U.S.’s terms, or that the government will collapse altogether and they can engineer a coup d’etat, and have the thing wind up with their own choice of people in power.”

As the Post seems to be saying, Rumsfeld wants to cut the CIA out of the loop and have the Pentagon take over the dirty business of covertly targeting countries, minus any oversight or accountability.

In short, Rumsfeld is in the process of creating his own intelligence operation, not answerable to Congress or the American people. “Two longtime members of the House Intelligence Committee, a Democrat and a Republican, said they knew no details before being interviewed for this article,” notes the Post. “Pentagon officials said they established the Strategic Support Branch using ‘reprogrammed’ funds, without explicit congressional authority or appropriation. Defense intelligence missions, they said, are subject to less stringent congressional oversight than comparable operations by the CIA.”

As the Post explains, the SSB will cooperate with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a clandestine unit run out of the Tampa-based U.S. Special Operations Command. “Although JSOC’s stated purpose is to provide a unified command structure for conducting joint special operations and exercises, it is widely reported that JSOC is actually the command responsible for conducting US counter-terrorism (CT) operations,” writes GlobalSecurity.org. “These SMUs [Special Missions Units] are tasked with conducting CT operations, strike operations, reconnaissance in denied areas, and special intelligence missions,” for instance in Afghanistan, where “a unit called Task Force 11, composed mostly of Delta Force soldiers and SEALs” are “hunting for senior Taliban and al Qaeda members.”

As GlobalSecurity notes, JSOC units have reportedly been involved in a number of covert military operations over the last two decades. Some of these operations include providing assistance to Italian authorities during their search for kidnapped US Army Gen. James Dozier, participating in Operation Urgent Fury; the US invasion of Grenada, planning a rescue attempt of US hostages being held in Lebanon, rescuing hostages being held aboard the cruise liner Achille Lauro, participating in Operation Just Cause; the US intervention in Panama, directing US Scud hunting efforts during Operation Desert Storm, conducting operations in support of UN mandates in Somalia, and searching for suspected war criminals in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. SSB and JSOC bring to mind another Rumsfeld pet project—the Proactive Preemptive Operations Group, or P2OG.

In September, 2002, UPI reported details on a Defense Science Board (DSB) report presented to Rumsfeld proposing “an elite group of counter-terror operatives to make the war on terrorism pre-emptive and proactive, duping al Qaida into undertaking operations it is not prepared for and thereby exposing its personnel. … Rather than simply trying to find and foil terrorists’ plans—the approach that characterizes the current strategy—the “Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group” —known as P2OG—would devise ways to stimulate terrorists into responding or moving operations, possibly by stealing their money or tricking them with fake communications, according to the report.” The DSB report is interesting in light of Hersh’s recent revelations about what the Pentagon plans to do in Iran. “The panel would also create a team of specially trained special forces soldiers able to search out and take offensive action against suspected nuclear, chemical or biological weapons sites,” the UPI story reports. Naturally, since P2OG will (or is) run out of the Pentagon, it does not have to report to Congress or the American people. “The proposal is the latest sign of a new assertiveness by the Defense Department in intelligence matters, and an indication that the cutting edge of intelligence reform is not to be found in Congress but behind closed doors in the Pentagon,” wrote the Federation of American Scientists in October, 2002.

P2OG is the perfect Strausscon tool. It would “invigorate U.S. intelligence,” now run out of the Pentagon, leaving the CIA in the dust, and develop “an entirely new capability to proactively, preemptively evoke responses from adversary/terrorist groups,” as the DSB characterized it. In other words, it would “evoke” the sort of “responses” from “terrorists” ideal for establishing pretexts for “preemptively” attacking nations on the Strausscon roster, namely Iran and Syria. As “DSB Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism,” a PowerPoint presentation delivered on August 16, 2002, notes, the “lead responsibility” for P2OG falls on the shoulders of the “SecDef,” in other words Rumsfeld.

“Operation Northwoods was such a scheme,” writes Chris Floyd. “The US government is planning to use ‘cover and deception’ and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. Such operations are not new for the United States authorities.”

It was a plan put forward by America’s top military brass in 1963 to justify the invasion of Cuba. It called for a phony terrorist campaign complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans to provide justification for an invasion of Cuba. President John F. Kennedy rejected the plan – and was assassinated a few months later.

Another similar provocation was a reported attack by Vietnamese naval craft on the US navy in the Tonkin Gulf. It was used by President Lyndon B. Johnson to escalate the invasion of Vietnam by American forces. It was subsequently revealed that the incident never took place – but that was after hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians were killed in the Vietnam War.

Many believe that the events of September 11 were another such provocation using a terrorist organization infiltrated by the CIA and under its effective control. There is no other logical explanation for the complete failure of the interception of the hijacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. September 11 has been used by Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and others to launch the phony ‘war on terrorism’.

The “war on terrorism” requires a steady stream of alleged “terrorist” actions and who better to arrange them than the CIA and Rumsfeld’s “Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group” or other “special’ forces.”

As William D. Hartung explains, under “the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Perle, the DSB has been transformed from a nonpartisan advisory body designed to give the secretary of defense a broader range of views on pressing security issues into a megaphone for the rigid policy preferences of the secretary of defense. In the run-up to the March 2003 U.S. intervention in Iraq, Perle, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, former Reagan administration Arms Control and Disarmament Agency head Kenneth Adelman, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and the other appointees to the thirty-member DSB were all over the press and television, stumping for Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz’s war.” It was this coterie of Strausscons, with the help of Douglas Feith and the Office of Special Plans, who came up with the lies and fabrications to make the invasion possible, most notably Saddam’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction and his fictitious relationship with Osama bin Laden.

But, according to Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita, who characterized Seymour Hersh’s article in the New Yorker last week as a work of fiction, the SSB does not exist. “There is no unit that is directly reportable to the Secretary of Defense for clandestine operations as is described in the Washington Post article of January 23, 2005″ and the department “is not attempting to ‘bend’ statutes to fit desired activities,” DiRita said in a prepared statement issued by the Department of Defense.

Either DiRita is lying or the Pentagon officials mentioned in the Washington Post made the whole thing up. Considering the covert activities of the Joint Special Operations Command enumerated above, Operation Northwoods, P2OG, the “ad hoc relationship” between Defense Department Special Operations forces (the Combat Applications Group and the Naval Special Warfare unit known as SEAL Team 6, also called the Development Group) and CIA officers, and the urgency of both the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees to create INTCOM, or Intelligence Command—a consolidation of the intelligence branches of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the three agencies under Pentagon control that run spy satellites and intercept enemy communications: the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency—headed by a four-star general or admiral, there is a good chance the Pentagon officials who talked with the Washington Post are on to something DiRita and Rumsfeld want to keep secret.

I wonder how long it will be before Michael Ledeen, the big kahuna of the attack Iran crowd, calls for the editors of the Washington Post to be sent to Camp Gitmo, as he echoed the Moonie Tony Blankley’s call for Seymour Hersh to be put to death, or at least locked up for life, because he spilled the beans about what the Strausscon side of the Pentagon is doing in Iran?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Win Win Win Win

George and his Religious-Right and NeoCon buddies have come up with a "win-win-win-win" strategy. If you read the blogs and the regular press you cannot help but be amused by the flailing around, the thud of the old plungers churning, the spray of ideas all running off into the bayou like so much April rain. These pundits have to make a living too, you know. But, the cost of all their wailing and moaning is confusion and heartache among Liberals and Progressives.

Win number one is that whatever George does is going to cost money, federal money, money that could be spent on something productive. So, the War in Iraq is a monstrous success because it syphons money out of the federal budget at a thundering pace. Whether the Iraqis ever behave themselves or not, George wins.

Win number two is that it all plays well for the sovereignty and security of Israel, where the Religious Right wants the Israelites to assemble in their full and resplendent Biblical prophecy and fill out their destiny, preparing the world for Armageddon and the Rapture.

Win number three is that whatever happens in Iraq George will have established an advanced outpost in the mideast, either in being or psychologically. No one in the mideast will ever, ever think that George is too timid to move troops behind his words. Say, the new puppet government says it's a-okay to keep troops in Iraq more or less indefinitely. That's a win because then George will have troops where the oil is. But, say that the situation deteriorates substantially (and it already has, of course, but it could get much, much worse) and moving the troops out was determined to be a good plan. Where would be put them? Iran, of course! Maybe Syria while we are at it.

Win number four is Social Security. George has played his favorite card in this gambit, the panic/crisis card. He has forever undermined the confidence of the American public in the very most successful social program ever mounted. So, if he loses the fight for privatization, he still wins because his Wall St. buddies will have been witness to the fight, will have noted the body blows George landed, and so he will have repaid his debt to them. But, if he is successful in establishing privatization accounts, George will have to borrow THREE TRILLION dollars to pay for the exercise (which is bound to impoverish some people, leave some just as uncertain of their futures as before, and make a couple of families well off) ... which, if you are keeping score is exactly what these neocons want to do ... spend copious amounts of money so that regulatory programs, medical and science programs, and other social programs go begging.

Arching above all of this is the ultimate win. George's War on Terrorism is just exactly what he needed to galvanize (read "terrorize") public opinion in the United States. With fear as his right-hand ally, George can (and has) suppressed dissent, cowed (and purchased) the press, removed certain "inalienable" rights, among these habeas corpus, and generally prepared the American polity for a generation long (or perhaps 1,000 year long) submersion in one-party rule, all the while claiming to be the harbinger and guardian of democracy world wide!

It is brilliant and sinister plot against the Republic. It is the tragic demise of constitutional government in the United States and the rising up of the very worst in us: the hypocrisy of and arrogance of physical power, selfishness amid bounty; and the totalitarianism of the religious fanatics. It is too late for tolerance and courtesy. It is too late for appeasement and apathy. If we are to have the real America again, we must fight for it.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

People For the American Way Launch Young People Progressive Leadership Program

People For the American Way Foundation is launching Young People For, a major new program designed to identify and engage young progressive activists and leaders and equip them to move into positions of leadership around the nation. Young People For will meet at a four-day training summit here in Washington later this month.
PFAW Foundation is excited to welcome its first class of YP4 fellows to Washington, D.C. The 126 college-aged progressive leaders from across the country will engage in skills trainings on coalition building and message framing, and attend information trainings on a range of issues: from the Patriot Act to the Federal Marriage Amendment, from the environment to immigrant rights. The conference runs throughout the long weekend, January14-17, and provides an opportunity for the fellows to learn from each other as well as the expert panelists
The Young People For Fellowship Program is a year-long program for 120 freshmen, sophomores, and juniors from colleges and universities around the country. The fellowship program will help today's rising progressive leaders accomplish their goals and make a difference on their campuses, in the community, and across the nation. Through the program, we will reach 6,000 young progressive leaders this year on 40 college campuses in seven states and the District of Columbia and bring them into the Young People For Fellowship Program. Year by year, we believe this new program will grow exponentially. It's a long overdue investment in the future leaders of our country.
YP4 FELLOWSHIP GOALS:
1. Identify and invest in young progressive leaders and increase their effectiveness and influence in future leadership positions in nonprofit organizations, communities, media, business and elected office2. Build and sustain a long-term progressive network for young activists and leaders that begins with 120 Fellows and spans across campuses, communities, states and generations3. Reach 6,000 young progressive students on 40 college campuses in seven states and the District of Columbia and bring them into the Young People For network.4. Identify and partner with other leading progressive organizations to engage young leaders in critical issues, including civil liberties, the judiciary, free speech, voting rights, and civil rights 5. Reach out to progressive funders to increase awareness of conservative commitment to building the next generation of conservative leaders and to begin building a parallel commitment by progressive funders6. Create three readily accessible youth leadership toolkits that provide information on progressive issues, media and communication skills and state networking opportunities7. Produce interactive on-line courses and web-based programs accessible to Fellows, student leaders and PFAW Foundation members that build on skills trainings and issues raised at the Summit




Monday, January 10, 2005

Time to March Again My Friends

Speech by Dr. Robin Meyers
Oklahoma University Peace Rally
November 14, 2004
As some of you know, I am minister of Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City,an Open and Affirming, Peace and Justice church in northwest Oklahoma City, and professor of Rhetoric at Oklahoma City University. But you would most likely have encountered me on the pages of the Oklahoma Gazette, where I have been a columnist for six years, and hold the record for the most number of angry letters to the editor.

Tonight, I join ranks of those who are angry, because I have watched as the faith I love has been taken over by fundamentalists who claim to speak for Jesus, but whose actions are anything but Christian.
We've heard a lot lately about so-called "moral values" as having swung the election to President Bush. Well, I'm a great believer in moral values, but we need to have a discussion, all over this country, about exactly what constitutes a moral value -- I mean what are we talking about?
Because we don't get to make them up as we go along, especially not if we are people of faith. We have an inherited tradition of what is right and wrong, and moral is as moral does.
Let me give you just a few of the reasons why I take issue with those in power who claim moral values are on their side:When you start a war on false pretenses, and then act as if your deceptions are justified because you are doing God's will, and that your critics are either unpatriotic or lacking in faith, there are some of us who have given our lives to teaching and preaching the faith who believe that this is not only not moral, but immoral.
When you live in a country that has established international rules for waging a just war, build the United Nations on your own soil to enforce them, and then arrogantly break the very rules you set down for the rest of the world, you are doing something immoral.
When you claim that Jesus is the Lord of your life, and yet fail to acknowledge that your policies ignore his essential teaching, or turn them on their head (you know, Sermon on the Mount stuff like that we must never return violence for violence and that those who live by the sword will die by the sword), you are doing something immoral.
When you act as if the lives of Iraqi civilians are not as important as the lives of American soldiers, and refuse to even count them, you are doing something immoral.
When you find a way to avoid combat in Vietnam, and then question the patriotism of someone who volunteered to fight, and came home a hero, you are doing something immoral.
When you ignore the fundamental teachings of the gospel, which says that the way the strong treat the weak is the ultimate ethical test, by giving tax breaks to the wealthiest among us so the strong will get stronger and the weak will get weaker, you are doing something immoral.
When you wink at the torture of prisoners, and deprive so-called "enemy combatants" of the rules of the Geneva convention, which your own country helped to establish and insists that other countries follow, you are doing something immoral.
When you claim that the world can be divided up into the good guys and the evil doers, slice up your own nation into those who are with you, or with the terrorists -- and then launch a war which enriches your own friends and seizes control of the oil to which we are addicted, instead of helping us to kick the habit, you are doing something immoral.
When you fail to veto a single spending bill, but ask us to pay for a war with no exit strategy and no end in sight, creating an enormous deficit that hangs like a great millstone around the necks of our children, you are doing something immoral.
When you cause most of the rest of the world to hate a country that was once the most loved country in the world, and act like it doesn't matter what others think of us, only what God thinks of you, you have done something immoral.
When you use hatred of homosexuals as a wedge issue to turn out record numbers of evangelical voters, and use the Constitution as a tool of discrimination, you are doing something immoral.
When you favor the death penalty, and yet claim to be a follower of Jesus, who said an eye for an eye was the old way, not the way of the kingdom, you are doing something immoral.
When you dismantle countless environmental laws designed to protect the earth which is God's gift to us all, so that the corporations that bought you and paid for your favors will make higher profits while our children breathe dirty air and live in a toxic world, you have done something immoral. The earth belongs to the Lord, not Halliburton.
When you claim that our God is bigger than their God, and that our killing is righteous, while theirs is evil, we have begun to resemble the enemy we claim to be fighting, and that is immoral. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.
When you tell people that you intend to run and govern as a "compassionate conservative," using the word which is the essence of all religious faith-compassion, and then show no compassion for anyone who disagrees with you, and no patience with those who cry to you for help, you are doing something immoral.
When you talk about Jesus constantly, who was a healer of the sick, but do nothing to make sure that anyone who is sick can go to see a doctor, even if she doesn't have a penny in her pocket, you are doing something immoral.
When you put judges on the bench who are racist, and will set women back a hundred years, and when you surround yourself with preachers who say gays ought to be killed, you are doing something immoral.
I'm tired of people thinking that because I'm a Christian, I must be a supporter of President Bush, or that because I favor civil rights and gay rights I must not be a person of faith. I'm tired of people saying that I can't support the troops but oppose the war -- I heard that when I was your age, when the Vietnam war was raging. We knew that that war was wrong, and you know that this war is wrong--the only question is how many people are going to die before these make-believe Christians are removed from power?
This country is bankrupt. The war is morally bankrupt. The claim of this administration to be Christian is bankrupt. And the only people who can turn things around are people like you--young people who are just beginning to wake up to what is happening to them. It's your country to take back. It's your faith to take back. It's your future to take back.
Don't be afraid to speak out. Don't back down when your friends begin to tell you that the cause is righteous and that the flag should be wrapped around the cross, while the rest of us keep our mouths shut. Real Christians take chances for peace. So do real Jews, and real Muslims, and real Hindus, and real Buddhists--so do all the faith traditions of the world at their heart believe one thing: life is precious. Every human being is precious. Arrogance is the opposite of faith. Greed is the opposite of charity. And believing that one has never made a mistake is the mark of a deluded man, not a man of faith.
And war -- war is the greatest failure of the human race -- and thus the greatest failure of faith.
There's an old rock and roll song, whose lyrics say it all: War, what is it good for? absolutely nothing.
And what is the dream of the prophets? That we should study war no more, that we should beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Who would Jesus bomb, indeed? How many wars does it take to know that too many people have died? What if they gave a war and nobody came? Maybe one day we will find out.
Time to march again my friends. Time to commit acts of civil disobedience. Time to sing, and to pray, and refuse to participate in the madness. My generation finally stopped a tragic war. You can too!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Not One Damn Dime Day -- January 20th

Not One Damn Dime Day - Jan 20, 2005

Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq,
since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it,
Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Damn Dime
Day" in America.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day" those who oppose what is happening in our
name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms
of consumer spending.

During "Not One Damn Dime Day" please don't spend money. Not one damn
dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse
purchases. Not one damn dime for nothing for 24 hours.

On "Not One Damn Dime Day," please boycott Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target...
Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't
buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter).

For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down.

The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is
immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that
it is their responsibility to stop it.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is to remind them, too, that they work for the
people of the United States of America, not for the international
corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and
funnel cash into American politics.

"Not One Damn Dime Day" is about supporting the troops. Now 1,200 brave
young Americans and an estimated 100,000 Iraqis have died. The
politicians owe our troops a plan-- a way to come home.

There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing
agenda to rant about. On "Not One Damn Dime Day" you take action by
doing nothing.

You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed. For 24 hours, nothing
gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our
politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and
give America back to the people.

 

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm, 1924-2005
Unbought and Unbossed

Hearing the recent tributes and reading about the life of Shirley Chisholm it has occurred to me that few minorities and even fewer women are recognized in American society for the contribution that they have made to our country.

Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress (1969-1983). During her seven terms in the House she was a passionate and effective advocate for the needs of minorities, women and children and has changed the nation's perception about the capabilities of women and African-Americans.

Ms. Chisholm directly affected my life because when I began my professional career in 1962 it was clear that women were treated as second class citizens even by the US government. I was hired at two grades lower that a white male with the same qualifications, the justification was that he had a family. Only after the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972 did my career advance and opportunities change in the government. Because of the strong and outspoken support of Shirley Chisholm for the Amendment have women and minorities begun to be treated as equals by the white male power structure.

Where are the Shirley Chisholms of today whose slogan was “Unbought and Unbossed”?

Asked once how she wanted to be remembered, she replied: “I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts.”

That, she most certainly did.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Susan Sontag

I remember her New Yorker piece after the 9/11/01 attack. It was a direct hit, yet its effect was to disarm the group of people we expect more from, the readership of the New Yorker. Susan correctly placed the attackers within the grasp of history and within the logic of cause and effect. The Administration supported by the corporate press, however, made of the 9/11 attack an attack on righteousness and Holy America. Susan’s message was not only lost, but its persuasive power “head faked” the Liberal intelligentsia into stasis, inactivity, political lethargy, into believing that the masses needed the American Jihadist message to survive psychologically.

It is true that the greatest and the least among us were frightened and literally terrorized by the attack. It is also true that, unless stoked to a fever pitch of paranoia, we would have (most of us) gotten over our fear of flying, our fear of Manhattan, our fear of life in the modern age in a month or so. But Susan’s words fell on ears that were plugged with the fast-food of the corporate press, the GIFs and Flash iconography of the internet, the hush of primal fears having found an icon and an earthly enemy upon which to place their fear of satan.

The intelligentsia will miss Susan Sontag more than it now knows. Few have been so beautifully brilliant and yet so human and ultimately forgiving.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

New Format

Tomorrow the American Liberalism Project website appears in its new format. The techology should be better for the various browsers that are out there in the world. The Daily Comments have given way to eMedia, focusing on important stories in the electronic media.

We believe that the American broadcast press has been captured by its own corporate headquarters and no longer represents the aspirations of the majority of Americans, but rather the points of view of board rooms of major corporations and their leaders.

The eMedia section is designed to steer our readers past the baloney being foisted off as news toward meaningful articles and opinions.This weblog (Blog) is designed to present our news and opinions. We welcome comments, which are easy to make, by just clicking on "comment" below each posting.

Our readership is now world-wide. We hope that readers abroad will feel welcome too.

Happy New Year!

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