Sunday, November 26, 2006

Rummy's replacement advocated illegal bombing of Nicaragua

In 1984, Robert Gates, Bush's current nominee to replace Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, advocated bombing Nicaragua in a memo to his then boss, CIA director William Casey.

Whatever the military and political merits of that action or of overthrowing the Sandinista in general, if Gates' advice had been followed, the Reagan administration would have been breaking the law (further). This was hardly an obscure law either. It was all over the news at the time.

The 1982 Boland Amendment forbid giving any military assistance to the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government, financial or direct.

It should be noted that the Sandinistas came to power as part of a coalition that included the woman the administration approved of to take Ortega's place. The Sandinistas won an internationally monitored election before that.

when they lost the next one, they peacefully handed over power.

It is worth noting that the US backed replacement privatized industries the Sandinistas had nationalized. How many Nicaraguans do you suppose that benefited?

I don't have any particular love for the Sandinistas (or animosity either), but if we claim to support democracy we should do so even when the results of elections get some corporation's knickers in a knot. Also, given the last couple of years, if the Bush faction demonizes someone, I would at least pause and take a good hard look at them before kicking them too.

Gates is probably more in the mold of Papa Bush's men, quiet, competent, and bland. But the policies he will pursue will be no less destructive than those of the more brazen, blundering Baby Bush crowd.

I doubt that the Democrats will oppose him. There are bigger fish to fry. But they should at least get his feet in the frying pan and make him feel the hot grease.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

SIROTA: 'Bipartisanship' shows real power divide--people vs. money

As soon as there is talk of bipartisanship, whether from Democrats or Republicans, it means they all got the same fax from the Chamber of Commerce.

As Sirota points out here, the real divide in Washington is not ideological but people vs. money, as was shown by trade and business oriented bills that get broad support even though they screw the vast majority of Americans.

He could have taken this even further and applied it to our foreign policy. Pundits, even many on the left, pretend that foreign policy is a struggle between ideologues and realpolitik types. It is not. It is about money. American oil companies want the profits from Iraq's oil, and we invade Iraq. The elected president of Venezuela wants to keep more of the income from his country's oil, thus cutting into oil company profits, and he is targeted for recall elections (sound familiar?), coups, and assassination.

Any talk of spreading democracy at gunpoint is a lie. They want to steal, and they tell a nice story so we go along with it.

This not only puts money ahead of Iraqi and other foreign people, it puts money ahead of us. To the degree that these wars affect terrorism they increase it. And a big reason why terrorism exists is because businesses have demanded our government put their profits ahead of the economic welfare and self-determination of people in the Middle East.

In addition to paying the cost of seizing that asset for oil companies with our safety, we pay with our tax dollars and soldiers lives. And how do oil companies repay us? They demand more tax cuts, gouge us at the pumps, and pay their PR machine to quash alternatives to their product.

I like capitalism. It gives me good tennis shoes and this nice computer. But just as we wouldn't let a nymphomaniac write our sex laws or a drug addict write our drug laws, we should let corporations write our foreign and domestic policy or they will stack the deck and privatize everything to squeeze every last dime out of us, and by doing the same to other countries, make us hated to boot.


“Bipartisanship” Hides the Real Power Equation That No One Talks About



Anyone who spends 5 minutes around the halls of power in the nation’s capital knows that Washington is dominated by one party: The Money Party, and that the People Party is far outnumbered - even after this election. Look no further than votes on the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill, the class action bill, China PNTR and NAFTA to figure out which politicans who call themselves Republicans and Democrats actually belong to the Money Party and which politicians actually belong to the People Party. The Establishment pretends this paradigm doesn’t exist - they need the drama of Democrats vs. Republicans to sell newspapers, and more importantly, hiding the existence of the real power equation is in the interest of all the major for-profit corporations that own the media.


What this election really was was a surge for the People Party, because so many candidates were elected on anti-Money Party themes (opposition to pay-to-play corruption, opposition to lobbyist-written trade pacts, etc.).
This explains why in the election’s aftermath we hear such repetitive calls for “bipartisanship”: they are really repetitive and not-so-hidden attempts to make sure the Money Party that includes both Republicans and Democrats remains dominant and that the election’s mandate is ignored. The thing they really do not want is for the People Party to assert itself against the Money Party.

I hope when Pelosi and other Democrats talk about “bipartisanship” they understand the real partisan divide in Washington, and will use their power to build coalitions of Republicans and Democrats to push the People Party’s agenda. Because doing the opposite - solidifying coalitions of Republicans and Democrats to continue pushing the Money Party’s agenda - is not the “bipartisanship” this country wants or deserves.

To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, I would remind progressives that partisanship in the defense of regular people is no vice, and Washington’s faux bipartisanship in the pursuit of selling out is no virtue.


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Monday, November 13, 2006

IMPEACHMENT POSTCARDS to send Pelosi and other Congresspersons

Both are 4 x 6.

I made a separate one for Pelosi because I thought I could put her address on the other side, but they don't let you customize that.

If you got the generic ones, you could send one to Pelosi, your congressperson, your senators, and give another set to someone else to do the same.

Get 'em here:

The back of both is a generic postcard format with layout for stamp, address, return address, and room for additional comments.

To Pelosi:

Send to:

Nancy Pelosi
2371 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

District Office:

450 Golden Gate Ave.
14th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

It would be nice if she had a half million or more of these waiting for her the first day she's Speaker of the House.

No name specified:

Find your congressperson or senators & their addresses:

If you want to use or modify the content in a letter of your own, you can find the text to copy here:

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Send 500,000 impeachment letters to Pelosi by her first day as speaker Jan. 3 has already documented a move in the mainstream press to squelch any talk of impeaching Bush, and a similar astroturfing campaign is going on online to create a consensus against impeachment.

While arguing with one of those who think it's a bad idea, someone said there had to be a "groundswell of support" like there was for the impeachment of Nixon and cited this article:

More than 50,000 telegrams poured in on Capitol Hill today, so many, Western Union was swamped. Most of them demanded impeaching Mr. Nixon.

John Chancellor, NBC News on a Special Report on October 20, 1973

We already have more support than that. When John Conyers took Bush his petition demanding he answer questions about the DSM, it had 540,000 singnatures, over ten times as many as wrote about Nixon. I would bet most of those people would write to demand impeachment of Bush, probably more.

The great thing is, now we have someone to focus this demand on who can and possibly will act (in spite of her protests to the contrary): Nancy Pelosi.

She should have a half million signatures waiting for her her first day as Speaker of the House.

I think she and the many of the Democrats want to do this, but to overcome the reluctance of the DC etablishment and big money interests who are afraid their ox will be gored along with Bush & Cheney, she needs constant overwhelming evidence of public DEMAND not just support for impeachment.

Fax or snail mail the letter below or your own variation to:

FAX: 202-225-8259

Nancy Pelosi
2371 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

District Office:

450 Golden Gate Ave.
14th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

emails are nice, but letters and faxes make a physical pile that form a powerful visual, and that should be Pelosi opening her door and being buried by letters.

CC a copy to your congressman too. You can find their address here: /

Post this around to other boards and send it to you friends, and let's see if we can get something going.

Speaker Pelosi,

The American people elected a Democratic majority to restore checks and balances, the rule of law, and our reputation as a law-abiding country in the world community. These cannot be accomplished unless President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are impeached. Their impeachable offenses dwarf those that led to proceedings against President Clinton and President Andrew Jonson, and the threatened proceeding against President Richard Nixon combined. The offenses below are already supported with evidence in the public record, including admissions of guilt. It is likely that investigations prior to impeachment would turn up even more.


  • Lying to the American people, Congress, and the world about the threat from Iraq & need for war.

  • War of aggression against Iraq, which posed no threat to US.

  • Death of over 600,000 Iraqis and nearly 3,000 S troops in unnecessary war.

  • Exploiting 9/11 for political gain and for war to benefit oil companies and other cronies.

  • Canceling Iraq’s oil contracts with foreign companies and giving them to American corporations and restructuring Iraq’s oil industry to their specification in violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions.

  • Awarding no-bid contracts to cronies for rebuilding and oil exploitation in Iraq.

  • Inciting animosity toward the US by attacking Iraq and falsely claiming it was part of “War on Terror.”

  • Authorizing the use of torture in violation of the Geneva Convention and US law and against the advice of the uniformed military.

  • Participating in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Haiti and attempting to do so in Venezuela.

  • Failure to fully cooperate with 9/11 Commission and joint congressional inquiry, and refusal to comply with Freedom of Information Act in other areas as well.

  • Warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.

  • Issuing signing statements that contradict the plain meaning of legislation, including on issues of torture.

  • Denying Americans and others habeas corpus rights even after Supreme Court ruled against it.

  • Coercing government employees to lie to Congress and the American people about the cost of Medicare drug benefit, global warning, and toxic hazard of NYC after 9/11.

  • Failure to provide timely aid to Hurricane Katrina victims and appointing someone with no experience to run FEMA.

  • Barring Americans who disagree with the president from public events paid for with taxpayer money, and forcibly removing some with private security posing as Secret Service agents.

Listen to the American people so we can be confident we have a democracy again.


Most of my list is paraphrased from the one found at ImpeachBush.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Find your senator or representative

Phone fax, snail mail, and email these guys and let them know what you want. They work for us, not the other way around.

US Senate

US House of Representatives

Saturday, November 04, 2006

LETTER TO DEM: Iraq War & business first foreign policy

I got a nice campaign letter from Barbara Ann Radnofsky entitled "No More Iraqs," which was good as far as it went, but failed to get to the heart of the problem. My letter isn't meant as a criticism of her, but as a call for a real re-assessment of the core of our foreign policy that few Democrats seem willing to do (Byron Dorgan and a few others excepted).

Dear Ms. Radnofsky,

Thank you for the email on parallels to Vietnam, but in the case of Iraq, there is an even bigger issue than response to strategic threats, particularly since the Bush administration knowingly exaggerated the threat Iraq would pose to us even if they did have nukes. The issue is how much corporate and financial interests dictate our foreign policy, often to the detriment of the safety of the American people since it incites such resentment in the countries these policies target.

In the case of Iraq, the business interest was oil. Bush cancelled Iraq's oil contracts with Russia, France, and others and gave them to American corporations. Gen. Jay Garner the first guy we sent over to run Iraq said seizing the oil and the radical privatization of their economy would incite an insurgency. He was right, and immediately fired.

Saddam was a bad guy, but this business first approach also trumps democracy when democracy doesn't produce the results business likes. Bush vetoed the Iraqi parliament's first choice for prime minister, and backed a recall and even coup against Hugo Chavez, who has been elected and re-elected by wide majorities with international election monitors watching (in stark contrast to our own presidential elections). Chavez' primary sin seems to be driving a hard bargain with the oil companies and having the audacity to ask for the same royalties on his oil that the US gets on our oil--about 13-16%, and is actually using some of the money to improve the lives of his citizens. Far from suppressing freedom, I heard him take a question from a reporter whose paper's owner backed the coup against him. In the US, a reporter like Helen Thomas who merely says something critical about the president is ignored for years and in the case of Dan Rather, literally run out of his job.

Chavez is likewise popular in the rest of South America because our pro-corporate, pro-banking foreign policy, neoliberalism, has had such brutal effects there.

I like capitalism. I think I have better tennis shoes and computers because of it. But our foreign policy is not merely promoting capitalism, but giving a structural advantage to a few at the expense of the rest of the world and the average American.

If we stopped invading countries that elected leaders who stand up for their people, and stopped writing trade agreements that make the poor poorer, and create a race to the bottom for the lowest wages which is sucking American jobs out of the country, wages here would stabilize because they would be doing the same elsewhere. If we allowed people to choose their own government (without our troops guns in their faces or expectation of a military coup if they make the "wrong" choice) and run their own economies, they will be less likely to become terrorists who want to fly planes into our buildings.

The past few years it has become painfully clear that even our own democracy takes a back seat when oil companies see a prize like Iraq's trillions of dollars worth of oil. If the true goal of ensuring the profits from that oil went to American corporations were presented honestly to the American people, stripped of any talk of WMD, terrorist boogey men, spreading democracy, or even the less embarrassing lie that we need to invade to get access to the oil (which can be done far more cheaply through negotiating contracts as China and other countries are doing) few Americans would support the war apart from major shareholders in oil companies.

If the Democrats take over Congress, it would be nice if they changed things so the worst criticisms of our foreign policy are no longer true.

Links to sources on Iraq's oil & neoliberalism:

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