Monday, July 14, 2008

Progressives Against Obama

For immediate release:

New web site serves as hub of liberal backlash against Barack Obama

When Barack Obama broke his promise to progressives, and voted for the FISA
Amendments Act, it was with the assumption that progressive voters would
never abandon the Obama campaign, because they had no alternative. Now a
group is organizing disgruntled voters online with the purpose of proving
Obama's assumption to be wrong. Progressives Against Obama have begun to
organize online at

The FISA Amendments Act is the straw that breaks the camel's back, but it's
not the only betrayal of progressive values by Barack Obama. Progressives
also object to:
- Obama's eroding position on ending the American occupation of Iraq
- Obama's plan to expand Bush's so-called faith-based initiatives
- Obama's use of religion as a tool for his presidential campaign
- Obama's support for liquefied coal and other dirty "clean coal" schemes
- Obama's advocacy for the death penalty
- Obama's opposition to gun control
- Obama's opposition to full marriage equality
- Obama's use of homophobic preacher Donnie McClurkin to campaign for him
- Obama's support for Joseph Lieberman against Ned Lamont in the 2006
Democratic primary

Some say that progressive voters should put their concerns about Barack
Obama's embrace of George W. Bush's politics aside. They say that
progressives should help elect Barack Obama, and then pressure him after
the election to make sure that he does what we want.

There is an old story about a scorpion who asks a frog for a ride across a
river, assuring the frog that he would never sting him, because to do so
would be to kill them both. When the frog reaches the other side with the
scorpion on his back, the scorpion stings him anyway, because it is in his
Progressives have seen the nature of Barack Obama. They have been stung by
him already, and are not willing to carry him to victory just so that they
can get stung again. Obama has broken his promises, and he no longer
deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Now is the time to put serious pressure on Barack Obama. After the
election, progressives will have no leverage. Now is the time to speak
out, precisely because it is so inconvenient for Obama's campaign that we
do so.

Democrat Jonathan Cook, founder of the web site, explains that Progressives
Against Obama has no intention of serving as a tool of the Republican
Party. "We do not support John McCain, and we do not support right wing
and racist attacks against Barack Obama. As progressives, we oppose Barack
Obama from a progressive perspective. We intend to hold true to our ideals,
even as Barack Obama trades them away for the sake of political power."


That's from Progressives Against Obama and it came into the public e-mail account this afternoon (C.I. notes it in the snapshot). I want to get the word out and I passed it onto Elaine who is also noting it in full tonight. I hope they realize what they're up against because if the MSM was in the tank for Bambi (to defeat Hillary), that was nothing compared to 'independent' media. C.I. called it out in 2007. In fact, from C.I.'s "2007: The Year of Living Useless:"

If independent media went out of their way to avoid Iraq and all Iraq related stories, what did they cover? 2007 was when the bulk of little media enlisted in the Barack Obama presidential campaign -- a Katrina coffee fetcher even went to work for it. Bambi would walk on his own and go to potty all by himself in 2008, indy media insisted, but right now he needed coaxing. And what better way to guarantee that than by lavishing him with non-stop praise. As they crowded around the potty chair, they produced many embarrassing moments.

I love that year-in-review and that's probably my favorite part of it. It perfectly described how they behaved and it explains why the Democratic Party appears to be about to nominate a major caver. And if that's not enough to worry you, have you seen Ryan Lizza "Making It" (The New Yorker):

A year later, Obama agreed to speak at an antiwar rally in downtown Chicago, organized by Bettylu Saltzman and some friends, who, over Chinese food, had decided to stage the protest. Saltzman asked John Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago--and, later, the co-author of the controversial book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" --to speak, but he couldn’t make it. “He was one of the main people we wanted, but he was speaking at the University of Wisconsin that day,” Saltzman said. Then she called her rabbi and then Barack Obama. Michelle answered the phone and passed the message on to her husband, who was out of town.
Saltzman also called Marilyn Katz, who runs a Chicago public-relations firm and is close to Mayor Daley. Katz managed to get Jesse Jackson as a speaker, and handled many of the organizing details. Katz, a petite woman who was, improbably, the head of security for S.D.S. at the 1968 Democratic Convention, described what she felt the political mood was at the time of the rally. "Professors are being turned in on college campuses, Bush's ratings are eighty-seven per cent," she said. "Among my friends, there hasn't been an antiwar demonstration in twenty years. There's huge repression, Bush has got all this legislation. They're talking about lists, they’re denying people entry into the country. . . . Bush's numbers were tremendously high, but we had no choice. Unless we wanted to live in a country that was fascist."
Despite the politics of Saltzman and Katz, Obama's now famous speech was notable for the absence of the traditional tropes of the antiwar left. In his biography of Obama, David Mendell, noting that Obama's speech occurred a few months before the official declaration of his U.S. Senate candidacy, suggests that the decision to publicly oppose the war in Iraq was a calculated political move intended to win favor with Saltzman. The suggestion seems dubious; the politics were more in the framing of his opposition, not the decision itself. As Saltzman told me, "He was a Hyde Park state senator. He had to oppose the war!"
The sensitive language of his September 11th statement was gone. Instead, Obama distanced himself from the pacifist activists who were surely present. "Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an antiwar rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances," he told the crowd. He then went further, defending justifiable wars in almost glorious terms. “The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don't oppose all wars. My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s Army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow-troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain. I don’t oppose all wars." It took some nerve to tweak the crowd in this way. After all, it was unlikely that many of the protesters knew who Obama was, and in a lengthy write-up of the event in the Chicago Tribune the following day he was not mentioned. Yet the speech reads as if it had been written for a much bigger audience.

Rumor I keep hearing is that whatever he delivered wasn't just lackluster, it was booed. Wonder if that's true? Shouldn't our so-called 'independent' media have examined that? They didn't examine a thing, they just kept insisting he was wonderful, he was the second-coming. They couldn't get honest for a moment. Remember when Allan Nairn was on Democracy Now and saying Barack took money from corporations but only because if he didn't they wouldn't trust him? If not, from Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Democracy Sometimes?:"

On January 3rd, Goodman interviewed Allan Nairn and Kelley Beaucar Vlahos allegedly about the advisers working for the presidential candidates. Beaucar Vlahos is a conservative so we'll mainly focus on the embarrassment that was Nairn. But note, Goodman wants to start with Hillary and brings in both guests for that. Then Goodman decides it's time for Obama and she shuts Beaucar Vlahos out of the discussion. She'll move on to John Edwards (tossed to Nairn) and wait until both candidates have been discussed at length before she'll ask Beaucar Vlahos "would you like to add to any of the advisers Allan just talked about? And then we'll move on to the Republicans." After Beaucar Vlahos notes that they are all the same and the immense money that they all have, Goodman will put forth the lie that Obama gets huge amounts of monies from the grassroots (Goodman regularly cites The New York Times, she's aware of their article about Obama calling t-shirt, bumper stickers, and other sales "donations" to create the impression of small donors and she should also damn well be aware of the huge amounts of monies he's receiving from Big Business). She'll toss to Nairn to praise the alleged miracle of small donors and Nairn will get off this howler:
He actually doesn't need to finance his campaign, to go to the hedge funds, to go to Wall Street. But he does anyway. And he does, I think, because if he doesn't, they wouldn't trust him. They might think that he's on the wrong team, and they might start attacking him. He is someone who, in terms of the money he needs for his campaign, he could afford to come out for single-payer healthcare, for example, but he doesn't. He doesn't need money from the health insurance industry, that's wasting several percentage points of the American GDP in a way that no other industrial rich country in the world does, yet he chooses not to do that, because he doesn't want to be attacked by those corporations.
Nairn is (illogically and with no basis in reality) arguing that, yes, Obama does take big money but he only does so because, if he didn't, big money would attack him. It's a laughable 'theory' and a generous one -- one that's not extended to other candidates.

That is how it went. No matter what he did, Barack was never guilty. It was someone's else fault (like when he was talking tough about ending NAFTA and his campaign was telling the Canadian government he wasn't serious -- which ended up being Hillary's fault as the story got told). Barack was without original sin, the Christ-child. As C.I. said in the year-in-review, "2007 was the year independent media should have been sent to their rooms -- with no TV or computer privileges." They weren't and we are all paying for it. Panhandle Media, you have yourself to blame.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, July 14, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Ralph Nader files to be on the ballot in more states, Robin Long's deportation hearing takes place today and Cynthia McKinney declares "Yes, Sojourner, there's a lot out of kilter now, but these two women, Rosa and me, joined by all the men and women in this room, are going to do our best to turn this country right side up again" as she wins the Green Party's presidential nomination Saturday in Chicago.

Starting with war resistance. The American Family News Network's OneNewsNow demonstrates just how some people must actually beg to be stupid -- that's the only explanation for their nonsense. They quote a retired Lt Col Bob Maginnis in the US on war resisters in Canada stating, "The military is pretty strict on treason -- and if it gets its hands on these people, it will put them in jail. They'll spend years, I would expect, in jail. I don't think they're just going to let them go free unless a new president comes in and grants amnesty -- and of course we've seen that in the past." "Treason"? What a moron. Desertion is not treason. As for amnesty and "we've seen that in the past" -- does he mean Vietnam? We saw no amnesty for desertion (Gerald Ford did institute a clemency program for deserters and draft evaders -- there was no amnesty for deserters, not even by Jimmy Carter). Historically, Andrew Johnson gave amnesty in December 25, 1868, FDR gave amnesty in 1933, Harry S. Truman did four amnesties -- all programs included deserters. Canadian MP
Bob Rae took to the Toronto Star on Saturday to give a much needed history lesson on Canada during Vietnam, "At the time, those coming over as draft dodgers and deserters knew they would not be able to return home without facing arrest. It would be years before a general amnesty would allow that to happen, and it applied just to the draft dodgers; deserters are still arrested if they return. The Pearson and Trudeau governments kept the border open, despite U.S. objections, and refused to allow Canadian border officials to become agents of American military policy. It strained the relationship -- as did public statements by Canadian officials about the war itself -- but it did not break it. The Vietnam generation has made an extraordinary contribution to the life of the country. In every walk of life, in every profession, in every community, Canada is a better place because we decided to become a place of refuge for those seeking a different political home, even those who were defying American military law to do so." Meanwhile the Los Angeles Times offers the editorial "Seeking asylum in Canada: The case of U.S. Army deserter Joshua Key should prompt the U.S. to do some soul-searching" which notes, "Because of the sympathetic reception that Canada gave U.S. conscientious objectors and deserters during the Vietnam War, Americans may assume that our gentle northern neighbor will grant refuge to the perhaps 200 Iraq war deserters who have fled to Canada and thus spare us the agony of prosecuting them. But times and Canadian laws have changed. Although Canada declined to help the U.S. invade Iraq and its public largely opposes the continuing U.S. operations there, its courts have consistently ruled that U.S. deserters have no right to asylum. The courts have sensibly concluded that Americans who volunteer for military service cannot claim to be conscientious objectors merely because they oppose the war in Iraq, and that soldiers who wish to challenge the conduct of the war can do so through established legal procedures at home without fear of persecution." The editorial notes Canadian Judge Robert Barnes decision regarding Joshua Key's claims for refugee status as well as the motion the House of Commons passed June 3rd) and comes out on the day that Robin Long's hearing takes place.

War Resisters Support Campaign - Vancouver notes that hearing was scheduled to begin at 9:30 this morning. Andy Iven (The Province) reports, "Long's lawyer, Shepherd Moss, will ask the Federal Court this morning to grant a stay of his deportation order" and notes Vancouver's War Resisters Support Campaign chair Bob Ages explaining that Long was never informed that the Canadian Border Services Agency had decided to deport him prior to his being arrested and quotes Ages asking, "Without the decision [being communicated], how do you know you are supposed to appeal?" Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio will feature Sarah Bjorknas (of Vancouver's War Resisters Support Campaign) as a guest this evening. She will be speaking about Robin Long. It airs live on 101.9 FM in Canada ond online from five to six p.m. PST.

An interview with
Iraq Veterans Against the War Matthis Chiroux taped last Wednesday was aired this morning on WBAI's Law and Disorder.

Dahlia Hashad: Matthis is with Iraq Veterans Against the War and a conscientious objector himself. Welcome Matthis to Law and Disorder.

Thank you ma'am. It's good to be here.

Dahlia: Matthis, you're here in New York City protesting. Can you tell us why you're here?

Matthis: I call New York City my home but I'm out in front of the Canadian embassy today. I am advocating the rights of Corey Glass and other US war resisters in Canada who may face deportation despite a resoulition of support from the Canadian Parliament for allowing US war resisters to stay in Canada. And that is not right. That is not democratic. The people at large have spoken -- two-thirds of the Canadian people believe US war resisters should be able to stay and the government is prepared to act in opposition to that.

[. . .]

Michael Smith: Matthis, we hear the chants of anti-war activists in the background. We wanted to ask you about yourself. What's led you to the decision to refuse to deploy to Iraq?

Matthis Chiroux: Yes. Well I served for five years in the army. I see a great need for a defensively postured, professional force that can also participate in military operations abroad but I see that this force has been hijacked by those who are not adhering to the Rule of Law anymore as recorded in the Constitution and I refuse to -- I refuse to follow illegal orders.

Michael Smith: Are you under orders now to deploy to Iraq?

Matthis Chiroux: I am. I am under force reactivization orders. The president signed a state of emergency orders declared on September 14, 2001. It's the reason, his authority for calling me back and more or less drafting me as a veteran to go and fight his war in Iraq which I believe to the very core of my self as a soldier and citizen that this war is illegal and I feel bound to refuse to participate.

Michael Smith: When are you supposed to ship out?

Matthis Chiroux: I was supposed to ship out
June 15th. Instead I made a speech in Washington, DC. I was there actually informing members of Congress of the plight of war resisters. I met with members and their staff and I think roughly about 30 offices and I put forward to them the fact that military members who cannot call themselves conscientious objectors according to the army's standard are being left with options by the army and that is 1) deploy as ordered despite your beliefs and despite what you understand the law to be; 2) go AWOL -- you know flee the country or, if you stay in the country, go into hiding and live like a criminal . . .

To show your support for Matthis,
Iraq Veterans Against the War asks that you:

Contact your congressional representatives and ask them to publicly support Matthis.
Contribute to IVAW's legal defense fund to help Matthis and other resisters.
Send a message of support to Sgt Matthis Chiroux at

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Moving on to crimes.
Abeer. The 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was gang-raped by US soldiers while her mother, father and five-year-old sister were shot dead in another ream. Following her gang-rape, she was shot dead. Then US soldiers attempted to set her corpse her on fire. Those still in the military when the truth came out (originally the crimes were blamed on "insurgents") admitted their guilt. Steven D. Green was already out. He was supposed to be tried recently but they moved the court day due to a quilting bee. Russel Carollo (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) reveals that "Green's attorneys notified prosecutors that they may use insanity as a defense." In a piece published elsewhere, Russel Carollo (Sacramento Bee) reports on the paper's findings after examing "120 cases of people whose backgrounds should have raised the suspicions of military recruiters, including felony convictions and serious drug, alcohol or mental health problems. Of those, 70 were involved in controversial or criminal incidents in Iraq." Mario Lozano Jr. who shot dead Nicola Calipari and wounded Giuliana Sgrena (he also wounded Andrea Carpani -- not mentioned in the article) after journalist Sgrena had been released by kidnappers. Lozano threatened a man with a bat in 1994, his then-wife reported spousal abuse in 2000 (he was in the military at that time), he was wanted for questionin in Fairbanks for threatening a man, wrote bad checks, didn't pay child support. For those who have forgotten, he also blamed his shooting, the death and the two wounded on . . . Sgrena -- yet another indication that he has problems which should have been red flags. There are many other cases including the mother of a soldier whose been charged with drug selling in Iraq and, noting his "history of drug and mental problems," declares, "Shame on my son, but shame on all you people out there who are policing this and allowing this to continue."

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing via hand grenade that claimed the lives of 3 people and left thirteen more wounded, a Diyala Province bombing that wounded two members of the "Awakening" Council and a Sulaimaniyah roadside bombing that wounded two people.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Iraqi security forces fired on a man (killing him) who was "wearing a suicide vest" and disguised a woman and 1 police officer shot dead in Nineveh Province. Reuters notes 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 2 corpses discovered in Muqdadiyah and 5 in Tel Atta. Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Mahaweel ("handcuffed, blindfolded")

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Force -- West Marine died July 13 as the result of a non-combat related incident."

Turning to the US presidential race. The
Green Party concluded their convention yesterday. Media attention largely fell into two categories: silence and snark. Leave it to Aileen Alfandary to bring in "uninformed" which, for the record, she did on the first news break of KPFA's The Morning Show where she declared of the Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente ticket, "This year's Green ticket marks the first time a US has nominated women of color for both president and vice-president." Uh, no, Alfandary, it's not. From Friday's snapshot: "What About Our Daughters? explains that, if McKinney is the nominee, this is the third time two women of color would be on the ticket with the first being Lenora Fulani and Maria Elizabeth Munoz in 1992 (New Alliance Party) and Monica Moorehead and Gloria La Riva (Workers World Party) in 1996." And, no, Alfandary, she's not a "Hip-Hop artist" -- usually you have to go to the Atlanta Journal-Constiution to find that sort of lie. She's a "Hip-Hop activist" (and bills herself as that). Alfandary continued, "McKinney is African-American, Clemente is Puerto Rican." Oh really? That's how Clemente self-defines? Here's Clemente explaining it in 2007, "I am often asked what I am usually by Blacks who are lighter than me, and by Latinos as dark or darker than me. To anser the ,000 question, I am a Black Boricua, Black Rican, Puertoriqueoa! Almost always I am questioned about why I choose to call myself Black over Latina, Spanish or Hispanic. Let me break it down. I am not Spanish. Spanish is just another language I speak. I am not Hispanic. My ancestors are not descendants of Spain, but descendants of Africa. I define my existence by race and land. (Borinken is the indigenous name of the island of Puerto Rico.) Being a Latino is not a cultural identity but rather a political one. Being Puerto Rican is not a racial identity, but rather a cultural and national one. Being Black is my racial identity." Amazingly Alfandary made so many mistakes during The Morning Show while providing McKinney, Clemente and the Green Party convention 49 less seconds than she devorted to a Barack Obama magazine cover (listen to all Alfandary's news breaks in the program). A political party holds a convention. They nominate their presidential candidate. And it's less important to Alfandary than a magazine cover? Is their any perspective or awarness? (No, there's not. And Ava and I will tackle it Sunday at Third.) NPR gave the nomination three minutes in a report Sunday by Cheryl Corley (Weekend Edition Sunday). And just to be clear, the cover is not the issue. Though Amy Goodman and Aileen Alfandary act like it is, the reality is Obama campaign is attacking the cover to discredit the article. Back to the Greens.

The convention began Thursday "
at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago" and it ran through Sunday. A video of McKinney speaking at the party's Presidential Candidate Forum Friday night can be found here. Kimberly Wilder (On the Wilder Side) has a photo essay of the weekend here and you'll notice how much Cynthia McKinney looks like her mother, Leola McKinney, who was among the many attending the convention (as was Cynthia's father Billy McKinney). Wilder reports that not only were they, they "switched their registration from Democratic Party to Green Party" and "were elected to be the delegates from the Black Caucus. So, Cynthia McKinney's parents went on stage to cast the GP-US Black Caucus's two votes: both for their daughter". The voting took place Saturday and involved only one round which Cynthia won. In her acceptance speech, McKinney noted her son Coy who "grew up playing on the Floor underneath my desk in the Chamber of the Georgia House of Representatives. His buddies were the legislators down there, under the Gold Dome, who were my and my father's colleagues." She noted her father, "When my father first started out in the world of politics in Georgia, he began as a Republican, because Georgia Democrats would not allow Blacks to vote in their primaries. Some of my father's closest friends today are still Republicans because of that history. My father served 30 years in the Georgia Legislature as a Democrat. Because of him, I served 4 years in the Georgia Legislature, when we were the country's only father-daughter legislative team. And then I went to Congress and served 12 years working with the Democratic Party and its current leadership representing the State of Georgia." And she noted her mother, "My mother is the genteel Southern lady who keeps our family glued together. A nurse by profession, a nurturer by instinct, she could patch over all the times I had political disagreements with my Dad and it ended up being discussed, not only at the family dinner table, but also on the evening news." She noted the Democratic presidential primay, "And even though for the first time a woman and an African-American were being taken seriously in national primaries, a real discussion of race and gender has been studiously avoided on all sides." From McKinney's speech (which is posted in full at Austin Cassidy's Independent Political Report):

In 1851, in Akron, Ohio a former slave woman, abolitionist, and woman's rights activist by the name of Sojourner Truth gave a speech now known as "Ain't I a Woman." Sojourner Truth began her remarks, "Well children, where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter." She then went on to say that even though she was a woman, no one had ever helped her out of carriages or lifted her over ditches or given her a seat of honor in any place. Instead, she acknowledged, that as a former slave and as a black woman, she had had to bear the lash as well as any man; and that she had borne "thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And Ain't I a woman?" Finally, Sojourner Truth says, "If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!"
As it was in 1851, so too it is in 2008. There is so much racket that we, too, know something is out of kilter. In 1851, the racket was about a woman's right to vote. In 1848, just a few years before Sojourner uttered those now famous words, "Ain't I a Woman?" suffragists met in Seneca Falls, New York and issued a declaration.
That declaration began:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government . . . . But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled."
Two hundred sixty women and forty men gathered in Seneca Falls, NY and declared their independence from the politics of their present and embarked upon a struggle to create a politics for the future. That bold move by a handful of people in one relatively small room laid the groundwork and is the precedent for what we do today. The Seneca Falls Declaration represented a clean break from the past: Freedom, at last, from mental slavery. The Seneca Falls Declaration and the Akron, Ohio meeting inaugurated 72 years of struggle that ended with the passage of the 19th Amendment in August of 1920, granting women the right to vote. And 88 years later, with the Green Party as its conductor, the History Train is rolling down the tracks.
The Green Party is making history today. According to one source, 45 women have run for President in primary elections in the United States in the 20th Century; 22 have made it on the ballot in at least one state in November. Thank you, Green Party, for pulling this history train from the station.
But we make history today only because we must. In 2008, after two stolen Presidential elections and eight years of George W. Bush, and at least two years of Democratic Party complicity, the racket is about war crimes, torture, crimes against the peace; the racket is about crimes against the Constitution, crimes against the American people, and crimes against the global community. The racket is even about values that we thought were long settled as reasonable to pursue, like liberty and justice, and economic opportunity, for all. Yes, Sojourner, there's a lot out of kilter now, but these two women, Rosa and me, joined by all the men and women in this room, are going to do our best to turn this country right side up again.

McKinney is an actual nominee, her party's candidate. The Democrats don't have one yet, they'll hold their convention in August. Barack Obama is presumed to be the candidate and a new group has sprung up in reaction to him.
Progressives Against Obama announces: "When Barack Obama broke his promise to progressives, and voted for the FISA Amendments Act, it was with the assumption that progressive voters would never abandon the Obama campaign, because they had no alternative. Now a group is organizing disgruntled voters online with the purpose of proving Obama's assumption to be wrong. Progressives Against Obama have begun to organize online at " Along with the FISA cave, the organization notes Barack's waffling position on Iraq, his announcement that he'll expand Bully Boy's 'faith' based funding, his "opposition to full marriage equality" and his "use of homophobic preacher Donnie McClurkin." The organization's founder Jonathan Cook declares, "We do not support John McCain, and we do not support right wing and racist attacks against Barack Obama. As progressives, we oppose Barack Obama from a progressive perspective. We intend to hold true to our ideals even as Barack Obama trades them away for the sake of political power." Gilles d'Aymery (Swans Commentary) advocates for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, "The Nader-Gonzalez ticket is by far the most qualified and experienced to govern the nation. Their combined expertise, their common sense approach to problem solving, and their acclaimed honesty appeal to a wide range of people from all sides of the political divide. Contrary to the two candidates of the duopoly [Barack and McCain] they are not panderers; they are not flip-floppers; they do not exploit fear for political ends; and they have no corporate masters and are not owned by lobbyists, which allow them to represent the interests of the entire American people, not the top twenty percent of the population. . . . as often stated, a vote for Nader is a vote for sanity -- and the country has never needed more sane and sound policies than since the 1930s." Jesse A. Hamilton (Harford Courant) reports, "Right about now, the Forces of Nader are adding the familiar name of Ralph Nader to the Rhode Island presidential election ballot for November. The state requires 1,000 signatures to do so; his campaign reported they'll be handing over more than 2,000." Foon Rhee (Boston Globe) notes, "His campaign also plans to turn in signatures today in South Carolina, and says he will be well on the way to being on the ballot in 15 states by next week. In Massachusetts, Nader said he has about 17,000 signatures in hand and is aiming for 20,000. He needs 10,000 valid signatures to get on the Bay State ballot." Chris Giganti (The Digitel) explains that 18,500 signatures were gathered in South Carolina and that the petition was filed this afternoon. Nader was campaigning in North Carolina this weekend and Rachana Dixit (Charlottesville Daily Progress) reports he declared that corporations "were never designed to rule us. They were designed to be our servants, now they have become our masters" and that he addressed "cutting the military budget, adopting single-payer national health insurance, completely reversing the United States' policy in the Middle East, impeaching President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, and cracking down on corporate crime and welfare." This morning Team Nader summed up the goals and objectives for the immediate future as well as the ones reached over the weekend:

Four days ago we announced our goal of putting Ralph Nader on the ballot in five more states - for a total of fifteen states - by July 20 and that we would need to raise $60,000 to get it done.
How are we doing?
In those four days, we've raised - thanks to you - more than $26,000.
Later today in South Carolina, we will turn in more than 18,000, more than enough to get us on the ballot. We only need 10,000 valid.
South Carolina - check.
Later today in Rhode Island, we will turn in more than 2,000 signatures.
We need only 1,000 valid to get us on the ballot there.
Rhode Island - check.
In Massachusetts, we have about 17,000 signatures in hand. We need 10,000 valid. Our goal is 20,000.
We're well on our way in Massachusetts.In Missouri, we have 14,000 in hand. We need 10,000 valid. Our goal is 20,000.
We're well on our way in Missouri.
Our South Carolina road crew is being deployed to Arkansas this week.
They should knock out Arkansas by the end of the week.
So, by Sunday, July 21, as promised, we will have 15 states in the bag. (
See updated map here.)
On the political front, McCain and Obama are in a dead heat. (
See Rasmussen daily tracking poll here.)
CNN's most recent poll puts Ralph at six percent.
Ralph has been on the road campaigning, most recently in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Check out this news video.
And as the panderer Obama moves to the right, many of his supporters are taking a new look at Nader/Gonzalez.
Check out, for example, Allison Kilkenny's Huffington Post blog titled
The Other N Word.
And see also Greg Kafoury's
After the Obama Betrayal.
Our short term goal - raise the remaining $34,000 by July 20.
Help us get there now.
Our medium term goal, put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in 45 states by September 20.
Our long term goal - change the country.
Step by step.
Together, we are making a difference.

iraqrobin longjoshua keyandy iven
iraq veterans against the war
matthis chiroux
chris cookthe los angeles times
dalia hashadlaw and disorder
russel carollomcclatchy newspapers