Sad News. Progressive columnist/writer/activist/rabble-rouser Molly Ivins Has Died. Molly nicked named George Bush "The Shrub", an example of her wit and how she could use simple, down-home words and phrases to make powerful statements. While right-wing nuts like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly pretend to represent ordinary working class people, Molly Ivins was the real thing, and she could put powerful people in their places, often with humor and a smile. I will miss her greatly, and she will leave a big hole in newspaper columns across the country. We will miss you Molly, but we will fight on!
I'm already growing impatient with the new Democratic congress, and I think the American people are as well. A hundred thousand people just marched on D.C. demanding an end to the war (and the impeachment of Bush!). While the dead bodies keep piling up, our Democratic "leaders" are debating totally worthless "non-binding resolutions" to let Bush know what they think about Iraq. They should be ending the funding for the illegal occupation of Iraq. If/When the fascist war supporters accuse them of cutting off the troops, Congress should stand up and show some spine by explaining their constitutional responsibilities to protect the troops and the American people from an imperialist President. Speaking of which, where are the impeachment hearings? It is time to impeach Bush & Cheney! Start the hearings, and lay out the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush/Cheney regime. I'm tired of hearing Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel telling the media and public that impeachment is off the table. We want it on the table now! IMPEACH BUSH!
As expected, Anti-Gay Harold Ford Jr. to Chair DLC The National Stonewall Democrats press release expressing "concerns" with Harold Ford Jr. has made a lot of national news, as one of the few negative takes on the DLC's new chair. because of his support for the Republican anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment and the similar TN state amendment. Now, I can understand Democrats in conservative southern states not being able to support "gay marriage," but it was not necessary for HFJ to support the FMA. He could have take the same position as John McCain who opposes same-sex marriage, but opposes amending the U.S. Constitution, preferring to leave it up to the states. HFJ took the additional and politically unnecessary step of crossing party lines to support the GOP amendment, condemned by Howard Dean, the DNC, and even the DLC! In July 2004, the DLC called politicans (like HFJ!) who supported the FMA "CYNICAL AND DESPERATE."
HFJ'S office told many of us who contacted him before the 2004 vote that he would oppose it because of the Defense of Marriage Act, but they sent out a different email message to supporters of the amendment, which some of us got by mistake, which said: "While I question whether an amendment to our sacred Constitution is needed at this time, I will carry out the wishes of citizens like yourself who favor a constitutional amendment."
While I'm still angry at HFJ for campaigning against marriage equality for gays and lesbians, I'm not sure it is accurate to call him "anti-gay". In response to my write-in campaign against him in 2004, HFJ issued this statement to the press, quoted in the Memphis Flyer:
MEMPHIS FLYER 10/8/2004 STATEMENT BY CONGRESSMAN HAROLD FORD ON H.J. RES. 56, THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT "My position on same sex marriage has been clear from the beginning. I am opposed to it. The Defense of Marriage Act--which I suppot--is likely not to withstand a court challenge. To ensure that the institution of marriage remains one reserved for the union of a man and a woman, yesterday I supported the effort to enact a constitutional amendment. However, my support for rights for gay Americans remains strong and intact. I am able to distinguish between marrriage and work place, labor benefits and civil rights protections for gay and lesbian Americans. I am unapologetic in my support of anti-discrimination efforts against gays and lesbians and will remain so. But when it comes to marriage, I differ with friends and allies in the gay and lesbian community."
It may be that HFJ would like to be supportive of gay and lesbian civil rights, short of marriage, and therefore is about as progressive on LGBT issues as most Democratic candidates, and more than most in the south. It is only on the issue of marriage equality that he betrayed us, and used as a political tool to counter GOP accusations that he was too liberal and supported "gay marriage" which they planned to do, and did anyway! I think gays and progressives should push HFJ and the DLC to stand by HFJ's statement of support for gay civil rights, and the DLC's past opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. Maybe something good can come out of this, though I personally still have some "anger issues" and find it difficult to rationalize HFJ's political actions against gays in TN the past couple of years.
Finally, universal health care is gaining support, according to this article in the Washington Post. Unlike most advanced democratic societies, the United States lacks a single-payer universal health insurance program, instead it forces individuals and employers to pay increasingly higher premiums to private insurance companies. As a result, the U.S. spends more money and provides less health insurance for its citizens, thanks to the greed and lies of the insurance companies. But it is no longer communist hippies in the U.S. calling for a universal, single-payer, health insurance system. Doctors (see Physicians for a National Health Care Program, family advocates (see Families USA and even more and more businesses are organizing to get REAL health care reform in the United States--a single-payer public universal health insurance program. For more information see the Democratic Socialists of America pamphlet debunking conservative lies and scare tactics, and makeing the case for Health Care for All
I hope John McCain is the GOP Presidential candidate, the Democrats could recycle those anti-kerry flip-flop ads. John McCain has been flip-flopping so much lately it is hard to keep a straight face when the fawning media continue to describe him as a straight-shooting guy. First, while McCain in 2004 criticized Jerry Falwell and the Religious Right for being intolerant, the 2007 John McCain embraces the "agents of intolerance." He has been meeting with Falwell and other RR leaders, and now wants to meed with and make amends with James Dobson who this week said he could not support John McCain and accused him of not supporting traditional marriage. No harm, John McCain wants to kiss and make up with Dobson:
James Dobson criticizes McCain presidential bid copyright AP1/17/2007 9:30:07 AM
Senator John McCain says he hopes to talk with a conservative Christian leader who has declared that he won't support the Republican's presidential bid under any circumstances.
In an interview last Thursday with a Dallas Christian station, Focus on the Family's James Dobson said the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law has prevented Christian broadcasters "from telling the truth right before elections."
Dobson also contended that McCain "is not in favor of traditional marriage," adding, "I pray that we will not get stuck with him."
In South Carolina Tuesday, McCain said he's "obviously disappointed" with the remarks and would like to have a dialogue with Dobson. McCain said he already has had dialogue with the Reverend Jerry Falwell, the Reverend Rick Warren and the Reverend Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. ------ Wow, talk about Flip Flop!
It's hard to believe that there is STILL opposition (mainly in the South) to observing the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. I travel to Hernando MS as part of my job, and I noticed the the sign on the courthouse door said that the courthouse would be closed Jan. 15 to observe "ROBERT E LEE & MARTIN LUTHER KING" holiday. Robert E. Lee?? (They also have a Conferderate Veterans Day down in Mississippi!) Yikes!
Anyway, it is also funny that even conservative Republicans (& Dixiecrats who have not yet moved over to the GOP) now give lip service to Dr. MLK, when back when he was alive they villified him as anti-American and communist. Most of the media and political leaders today only honor MLK's work for the civil rights for African-Americans. Even many in the black community have forgotten or did not understand that MLK's "dream" went beyone racial justice, he was part of a broader struggle for economic and social justice. And he was outspoken in his opposition to the Vietnam War! MLK preached against militarism. He was a proud LIBERAL who advocated economic justice, peace, and cutting military spending to increase spending on social programs. Why won't today's "liberals" speak the truth to power as MLK did?
To those who try to demonize liberals and liberalism, we should just quote Martin Luther King. Will they call this hero anti-American? Let's put a face on liberalism--MLK. Ghandi, even "jesus christ" were all "liberals" in that they stood for social justice, peace, economic equality and against war and militarism.
And for those who don't see the connections between all forms of social injustice, and exclude gays and lesbians from "civil rights" and family values, hear Dr. Kings widow explain it:
Coretta Scott King, Civil Rights Leader "I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the civil rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother-and sisterhod for lesbian and gay people." (Reuters, 3/3/98)
MLK inspired many oppressed groups to organize and demand equality--we are all human beings and deserve to be treated equally regardless of race, sex, gender, social class, religion or sexual orientation.
Let's honor and remember MLK by continuing to fight for his dream: peace and social & economic justice for all. What would MLK say today? STOP THE WAR, FEED THE POOR, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
If you were unable to attend the National Conference for Media reform in Memphis this weekend there are several places to catch up online: Common Dreams News Center and Free Press Great Speeches by Bill Moyers and Socialist Senator Elect Bernie Sanders!
I've been hearing/reading about the DLC courting HFJ or probably more the reverse, and it seems likely that HFJ will probably be the next leader of the "centrist" Democratic group that is trying to move the Democratic Party to the "center" (i/e. RIGHT). The conservative policies advocated by the DLC fit nicely into HFJ's political strategy to become a U.S. Senator by appealing to the Christian Right, especially the anti-gay ones, by opposing the civil rights of gays and lesbians for political power. It may work in Tennessee.
But I'm glad the National Stonewall Democrats have spoken out in opposition to Harold Ford Jr. leading the DLC. Even the DLC has been somewhat more supporting of LGBT rights than HFJ. As Stonewall Democrat Communications Dir. John Marable points out, even the DLC opposed the anti-gay marriage amendment.
As many of you know, I ran two write-in campaign against HFJ because after he continually crossed party lines to support the GOP and Bush on issue after issue, he broke my camel's back when he LIED to Memphis gay activists by telling us he would oppose the GOP anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment, and then turned around and voted FOR it, being the political coward he is. His campaign for the U.S. Senate was more evidence that HFJ will do or say anything to get elected, he has no principles, and he does not support equality for gays and lesbians, and more important, he does NOT support the separation of church and state! So I have set up a STOP HAROLD FORD JR! Harold Ford Jr. should not be leading ANY Democratic Party organization, perhaps he could go join Joe Lieberman's Party or start a TN for Harold Ford Jr. Party and quit pretending to be a "Democrat".
Ok, the election is over and Bush has just given his anticipated speech calling not only for an escalation of the illegal Iraq military occupation, but threatening to take on Iran as well. He has ignored the advice of the military, he is either a cold blooded war criminal determined to do whatever it takes to "win" in Iraq, or he is a delusional, crazy lunatic. Either way, he must be stopped. The Democrats must stop the "bi-partisan" niceties and begin impeachment hearings. They must exercise all of their Constitutional authority to end the illegal military occupation and bring our troops home NOW! Anti-war groups are organizing anti-war rallies and marches. It is time to take to the streets and call our Democratic representatives and demand action to end the war and move forward with impeachment hearings to prosecute George Bush and Dick Cheney. Go to Impeach Bush.org and Vote No War, join groups like Move On and let's try to save this country from fascism! Don't wait for the moderate Democratic Party leaders to take action, we don't follow them, they must follow us!
Campaign photo shows Bush with Abramoff By Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press
January 8, 2007
WASHINGTON - A liberal watchdog group published on its Web site Monday a picture of President Bush and imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the kind of photo the White House has refused to release.
The picture was taken at a campaign fundraiser in December 2003, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. It was taken by a private photo contractor who posted it on a Web site, but then was removed before it made it into distribution, said Melanie Sloan, CREW's director.
A previous photo of Bush and the disgraced lobbyist surfaced last year but Abramoff was in the background, slightly blurry.
"This is the one they didn't want you to see," Sloan said.
Kim Eisler, Washingtonian magazine writer and a friend of Abramoff's, confirmed the photo's authenticity for The Associated Press. He said he had seen the picture at Abramoff's house.
The White House did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Abramoff helped raise more than $100,000 for Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. He is serving nearly six years in prison for a fraudulent Florida casino deal and is cooperating with the FBI in a bribery investigation involving members of Congress and the Bush administration.
Memphis wil be in the national spotlight this week as the National Conference for Media Reform comes to Memphis this weekend (Jan. 12-14). The purpose of the conference is to save the U.S. media from conservative government and corporate control. For several decades, conservatives have taken control of most of the "mainstream media" (corporate controlled networks, media owenrship, etc.), and even expanded their own major media outlets (e.g. "Fox News"). The "mainstream media" has failed to do its job of critical oversight of the Bush administraton and the political system and participated in a stolen election (2000) and an illegal war based on lies and "misinformation" by our government. It is time to take OUR media back!
The speakers list at the conference is a who's who of U.S. progressive/liberal journalists, politicians and celebrities: Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, Helen Thomas, Phil Donahue, Jane Fonda, Jesse Jackson, Sen. Bernie Sanders, etc... Its a great event for Memphis and the nation! If you can't attend, Free Press and Democracy Now! will be streaming some of the conference on the internet.
There are several other events being held in Memphis in conjunction with the conference: The Mid South Peace & Justice Center will be having its 25th Anniversay Celebration on Thusday, Jan. 11, with special guest Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!
Here's a great article about Senator Elect Bernie Sanders (Vermont) on the BBC Socialist Senator Makes History Too bad we only have ONE socialist in the U.S. Congress, most advanced countries have viable socialist parties! Another reason to move to Vermont--the next best thing to Canada! If you are interested in building a socialist movement in the U.S., check out the Democratic Socialists of America, which Bernie Sanders is a member of. It's not a political party, but is trying to build a progressive Democratic Left in the Democratic Party--make the Democratic Party a REAL DEMOCRATIC Party. There is also a Socialist Party in the U.S., but the two-party system in the U.S. makes it impossible to have a viable third party at this time. As many of you know, I sometimes get so frustrated with the Democratic Party I threaten to join the Socialist Party, but I'm going to give the Democrats another chance and a little more time.
Marriage Ban Proposal Passes in Massachusetts Lawmakers in Massachusetts voted today to allow a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to move forward. The amendment only needed 50 votes, it got 61, with 132 opposing it. It will have to pass the legislature one more time before it goes to the voters in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is the only state that has legalized gay marriages, and 8,000 gay couples are legally married there. The Massachusetts Supreme Court mandated marriage rights for gays. In not one state have the voters or their elected representatives approved gay marriages. In only one state, Arizona, have voters defeated a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. It is not certain such an amendment would be defeated in MA. It would be a great setback if it passes. When will the public finally quit rationalizing their anti-gay bigotry and prejudice and stop supporting discrimination against gays and lesbians??
Former Head of Joint Cheifs says the military is ready to accept homosexuals" John Shalikashvili, a "respected" former chair of the Joint Chiefs has come out publicly to support allowing gays to serve openly in the U.S. military. Citing the change in public opinion, which now supports allowing gays to serve in the military, and a recent Zogby Poll of soldiers in the military, he says the military should be able to move toward allowing gays to serve openly in the U.S. Military. The Zogby poll of 545 U.S. soliders found that 3/4 of the soldiers felt comfortable around gays. While 37 percent were still opposed to allowing gays to serve openly, 26 percent support allowing them to serve openly and 37 percent were neutral or had no opinion. Of those who knew gays were in their unit, 2/3 said it did not hurt morale. So much for the main anti-gay wing nut argument for discriminating against gays in the military. While Clinton should have kept his campaign promise and signed an executive order lifting the ban, the public and the military were not ready back in 1993 for the dramatic change. Now they are. Clinton was ahead of the times, as he was on universal health insurance. It looks like we may get both in the next decade, and catch up to the majority of "advanced democratic" countries that have universal health insurance and the growing number (Britain, Israel, etc.) who allow gays to serve in their military. Not that I would encourage gays to join the military and promote U.S. imperialism, but I support equal rights and oppose discrimination in any government institution.
OK, I'm going to share with the world my "New Years Resolutions" for 2007:
1. Eat Healthy 2. Exercise Daily 3. Loose 20 pounds 4. Spend more time reading and writing and less time downloading porn 5. Go To Bed before midnight 6. Be more disciplined 7. Save money 8. Restrain emotional outbursts
Yes, these were bascially the same resolutions as last year. I may require some interventions by close friends and family on occasion... Thanks for all your help!