Friday, November 6, 2009

Civil Resistance

"The function of a civil resistance is to provoke response and we will continue to provoke until they respond or change the law. They are not in control; we are."

-- from the movie "Ghandi"

Obama Backs Extending Patriot Act Spy Provisions

Obama Backs Extending Patriot Act Spy Provisions by David Kravetz found at

The Obama administration has told Congress it supports renewing three provisions of the Patriot Act due to expire at year’s end, measures making it easier for the government to spy within the United States.

In a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department said the administration might consider “modifications” to the act in order to protect civil liberties.

“The administration is willing to consider such ideas, provided that they do not undermine the effectiveness of these important authorities,” Ronald Weich, assistant attorney general, wrote to Leahy, (.pdf) whose committee is expected to consider renewing the three expiring Patriot Act provisions next week. The government disclosed the letter Tuesday.

It should come as no surprise that President Barack Obama supports renewing the provisions, which were part of the Patriot Act approved six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

As an Illinois senator in 2008, he voted to allow the warrantless monitoring of Americans’ electronic communications if they are communicating overseas with somebody the government believes is linked to terrorism. That legislative package, which President George W. Bush signed, also immunized the nation’s telecommunication companies from lawsuits charging them with being complicit with the Bush administration’s warrantless, wiretapping program. That program was also adopted in the wake of Sept. 11.

Fascinating that the 'effectiveness' of the authorities is given top priority. The rights and liberties for which our predecessors fought and died, the very things that once made America a special place, these are now only allowed us provided it doesn't conflict with what the authorities view as 'effective'. This is a clear statement of policy from the Obama administration.

Wow, I'm so happy everything is changing under Obama's imperial rule. The only difference is that the pro-Democrat part of the left now openly and clearly supports tyranny.


In India, in the 1930's, Mahatma Ghandi was building his campaign of non-violent resistance against British colonial rule. The British rulers passed laws to oppose and prevent this. The great British democracy called these "Anti-Terrorism" laws.

When the British government did finally decide to invite peaceful Ghandi to a conference in London to discuss the possible independence of India, first it had to release him from prison.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Don't worry, We've got your back!


BTW, the Obama Administration WON this case. It was Obama's Justice Dept. that was standing before the court and making the case that it was perfectly okay for the US government to illegally arrest, torture, and submit to rendition an innocent person.

Go, Obama, Go. They say Obama taught constitutional law. But did anyone ask which constitution? Or, was the class entitled "101 ways you can shred and ignore the US constitution and get away with it"?

There's the Obama Administration, once again proclaiming to the crooks of the Bush era "Don't worry, we've got your back!"

This is the Obama Administration's idea of 'ending torture'. They are standing before the federal courts defending and protecting the torturers. I guess we should all give thanks they weren't in charge at the time of the Nuremberg trials. The Obama Justice Dept would have been defending Goring.

I don't guess its likely that the Democrats might look at these election results (see below) and maybe get the idea that this is not what the people elected them to go do? Naw, didn't think so.

Crashing and Burning

Democrats Crash and Burn by Dave Lindorff via

The Democrats obviously knew this was coming, as they had their spin machine out in advance with messages like 2009 Elections Don’t Foretell a Thing. But here's Lindorff on the night's results...

But despite the lackluster candidates in both Virginia and New Jersey, I think it’s safe to say that there was also clear evidence that the losses, and the margins of the losses—huge in Virginia’s case, and significant in normally safely Democratic New Jersey—provide evidence that the Obama presidency, and the prevailing Democratic strategy of minimalist legislative initiatives on health care reform, global warming etc., expanded and unending war in Afghanistan, support for Wall Street and neglect of the one-in-five Americans who are unemployed or underemployed, are a political disaster in the making for Democrats in general and Obama in particular.

Its beyond me how anyone could think that screwing over and ignoring the desires of a vast majority of Americans, and instead just blatantly serving their corporate masters every wish was in any way a viable long term strategy for the Democrats. If there was ever a strategy pre-destined to crash and burn, that was it. When you phrase it as the Democratic strategy of "lets ignore and piss off 70% of the electorate in order to make Wall Street rich(er)", it seems to have a rather obvious flaw. It only works as long as you can keep pulling the same trick of fooling the electorate into believing you are something that you are not. Like any confidence scheme, its bound to collapse sooner or later.

See post below for how to use this to our advantage......

Begin Today

On some recent corporate TV show, a character made the comment that Washington is the 'ultimate you-don't-get-something-for-nothing town'.

How very true.

Yet, for most of my lifetime, the progressives, the left, or whatever you want to call the majority of Americans who are to the left of Obama, have acted like Washington just hands out favors like candy to kids. The left has acted like all they needed to do was to make a little noise, then Washington would come running to them with the goody basket and start handing out treats.

You don't get anything in this country without political power. Period. I'll repeat it just to make sure it gets through. You don't get anything in this country without political power.

The left has consistently conceded political power to others. The left has consistently given its votes away for free to Democrats who don't support any of the views, issues or policies of the left. The hasn't even tried to cut deals to try to get anything concrete in return for those votes. Instead, the left has just lined up and voted for the candidate with a (D) after their name. Then the left sits back and waits for the Democrats to come around with the goody bag.

The really strange part is that even though the goody bag never shows up, the left keeps repeating this behavior election after election. Even children would become skeptical of the Santa Claus myth if there weren't ever any presents. But the left seems to continue to believe the myth that the Democrats are progressives year after year.

The left needs political power. It needs to develop and build political power. The current powerlessness of the left stems directly from its inability or unwillingness to build real political power.

To have political power, that means a group is a 'player' in elections. To be a 'player', you have to have the ability to effect the outcome of the election. If what you are doing has no impact on the winner of the election, you have no political power. And those who trade in political power will ignore you. Just like the left is ignored in Washington today.

But, lets just imagine that the left organized strong, independent campaigns in a selection of the closest House and Senate races in 2010. When those campaigns threaten to pull enough votes away from the Democrats that the Democrats become in danger of losing those elections, that means that progressives are effecting the results of the elections. That means that progressives have political power. That's the day the left becomes a 'player'.

When the Democrats are looking at races across the board that are losing because of strong independent campaigns to the left of them, then the Democrats will come to us and ask 'what do we want?' That's the day we have political power. That's the day we can accomplish at least some of our goals. For instance, if we really want to end these wars, that's the day they will end.

We now know that electing Democrats will not make a difference. We now know that electing Democrats does not lead to 'change'. The wars continue. The domestic spying continues. The torture continues, albeit in a slightly altered form. The wars continue. This is after electing a Democrat President, a decent sized Democrat majority in the House, and a huge Democrat majority in the Senate that has been at times filibuster-proof.

With the Democrats holding all of that power, the left has gotten nothing. Nothing at all. Not one single major leftist issue or goal has even been addressed. There is not even an 'anti-war' voice amongst the Democrat leaders. 'Health care reform' has been revealed as the Democrats putting health insurance company profits ahead of the health of our citizens. So far, after electing all those Democrats, the left has gotten nothing, nada, zilch. The Democrats rarely even bother to make any symbolic gestures to the left.

This is because the left has no political power. This is because the left has abandoned and just plain given away its political power. Yet, it is easy to pick it up again. The majority of Americans hold views to the left of Obama and the Democrats. We are the majority. We need to start acting like it. And most of all, we need to organize.

We have to become both active and independent in politics. Sitting on the political sideline is the one strategy that is sure to continue to keep the left powerless. Backing pro-war, pro-corporate Democrats who don't support our views has been proven to be completely useless.

The 2010 elections are one year away. We need to be organizing strong, independent campaigns to challenge the Democrats. We need to target the Democrats who are in the closest races. Those are the races where we can garner the most political power. A 'safe-states' style of strategy has been proven to be an ineffectual strategy. We have to get into the middle of the closest races, because this is where we'll find political power.

When the Democrats are starting to look at close races in 2010, or at races that appear to be sure losers because of growing independent campaigns, that's when the Democrats will come to us and ask us 'what do you want?' That's the day we have political power. That's the day we start to be able to change the course of this country.

The sorts of grassroots campaigns we need take time to build and develop. The time to begin is now.

And, what if we've can't build all of this in time for 2010? Well, then we've started on our work for 2012. In fact, we need to get into the mode of thinking of ourselves as a political movement that is a force in every election cycle. The work we do now building campaigns for 2010 should roll over easily into 2012.

For 2012, there's a very simple slogan.


If we are strongly organized around independent peace candidates, if we are strongly organized around candidates that support "National Health Insurance", then we'll send a shiver of fear up the Democratic spines. And that's the day we start to get what we want.

That's the day we start to build the America that matches our vision of how great this country can really be as a peaceful and free nation.


Right now there are millions of disillusioned people out there. People who voted for Obama, but are now disappointed with what he's really turned out to be. These people need to organize. They need to realize that they control the fate of the Democrats. They need to realize that they literally have the Democrats 'by the short hairs', and that its time for them to start demanding what they want.

This is the perfect time to do this. Right now. We need to start organizing. We need to build political power. Organizing disillusioned Democrats into independent campaigns in the closest House and Senate races in 2010 is the way to build that political power.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Israel gets what it wants from Obama

Netanyahu Scores Victory as US Abandons All Settlement Demands from

Back last spring, Obama made a big speech on the Middle East. At the time, many people pointed out that like most Obama speeches, it was long on nice-sounding talk, but very short on specifics. Especially any specifics that might push Israel towards peace.

At the time, Obama's supporters could point to only one area of US foreign policy as a place where the US was not kowtowing to every Israeli whim. That was the supposed pressure that the US was putting on to Israel to freeze and roll-back the settlements.

Of course, that seemed like all talk as well at the time, so a wait-and-see approach appeared wise.

Now we've waited and we've seen. The US now has no objections at all to Israel stealing as much land as they can grab. Add this to the statements in recent weeks completely supporting Israel's war-crimes in Gaza. And of course the constant aid the US has given to an immoral and inhumane policy of keeping Gaza in a state of siege and limiting and controlling all food and medical supplies in the region.

Gee, sounds like George W. Bush's pro-Israeli policy. Or has it gotten even worse? Oh yeah, Obama did give a nice speech. But generally, if there's been any of Obama's oft-promised 'change' in this area, it appears to have been for the worse. But Obama did give a nice speech.

This just in .... Clinton ‘Re-Backtracks’ on Israeli Settlements
Over the weekend, Secretary Clinton was visiting with top Israeli officials, and publicly praised Israel for its commitment to peace despite its repeated refusals to halt settlement growth, and chastized the Palestinian Authority for holding on to demands that themselves were at the center of the Obama Administration’s position only a few months prior.

Now, following what is being described as a rather awkward meeting with Arab foreign ministers in Morocco, Secretary Clinton insists that the position she took just 24 hours ago isn’t really her position.

Instead, she praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for taking steps toward peace and pressed for Israel to “reciprocate,” insisting that the United States still wanted Israel to freeze all settlement construction. At least that’s the position today.

So, was SOS Clinton completely clueless that her statements about letting Israel do what it wants with settlements would cause a strong reaction amongst the Arabs? Or, was this just yet another case of a Democrat saying whatever it is they think their audience wants to hear?

Chicago style Democracy

Afghan Officials Cancel Election, Declare Karzai Winner from

Well, Obama has successfully brought Chicago's own distinctive style of democracy to the rest of the world.

The US had reportedly expressed concern that not only would the second round of voting be expensive and dangerous, but that it might be marred with just as much fraud as the first round was.

This seems incredible, however, as Karzai got over a million fraudulent votes in the first round and with his name the only one on the ballot there appears to be little need for him to repeat the wholesale manufacture of votes.

Sounds a lot like a Chicago mayoral race. Only one candidate, and still laced with allegations of fraud.

Of course, canceling elections that could be embarrassing to the US has become old hat in Iraq.

Iraq Election Body: Finalize Law by Tuesday or Vote May Be Delayed means that the public referendum on whether the Iraqis want the US troops to leave sooner rather than later is about to be postponed yet again. Iraq May Finally Hold SOFA Referendum in January Or maybe not.

Gee, any guesses on how that vote will turn out? Apparently not from Obama and the Pentagon and Maliki, all who seem to be working hard to make sure the vote won't take place until they are completely ready to withdraw. Then I suppose we'll let the Iraqis have a symbolic bit of 'democracy'. At the rate at which Obama is withdrawing our troops from Iraq, look for that little symbolic action to occur in 2036.

Of course, to see the type of 'democracy' that the US has really given Afghanistan, you should read Security By Warlords, The CIA's Afghan Payroll by Gareth Porter.