Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Hillary and The Beat of Black Wings
"They want you -- they need you --
They train you to kill --
To be a pin on some map --
Some vicarious thrill --
The old hate the young
That's the whole heartless thing
The old pick the wars
We die in 'em
To the beat of -- the beat of black wings"
-- "The Beat of Black Wings" written by Joni Mitchell, available on the album Chalk Marks In A Rainstorm.
The above is Isaiah's latest and it's the first thing posted this morning to make sure it goes up. If you missed it war hawk Hillary's latest speech didn't go over to well. First, the behind the scenes efforts to silence dissent (and the so-called Take Back America should be ashamed of themselves). From Medea Benjamin's "Peace Activists at Hillary Clinton's Speech Try to Take Back 'Take Back America'" (Common Dreams):
Fearing that CODEPINK would openly confront Clinton on her pro-war policy, the organizers of Take Back America entered into negotiations with CODEPINK a few days before the conference. "We had lengthy discussions where they pleaded with us not to protest during her keynote breakfast address," explained Gael Murphy, one of the cofounders of CODEPINK. "Instead, we were told that we could distribute flyers explaining Hillary's pro-war position to the crowd inside and outside the hotel, and we would be called on to ask her the first question after the speech. We agreed."
However, when CODEPINK showed up on Tuesday morning in advance of Clinton's speech, the security guards refused to allow them to pass out flyers, even outside the hotel.
"Take Back America violated the agreement from the moment we arrived," said Ms. Murphy. "Even though we had a table inside the conference, burly security guards blocked us and informed us that it was a private event, that we were not welcome, and they escorted us out of the building. We telephoned the conference staff who then told us that we couldn't enter the hotel, couldn’t leaflet the event, the hallways--anywhere. They went back on their word and tried to quash even peaceful, respectful dissent."
A few CODEPINK women did manage to get inside the breakfast, however, as they were legitimate ticket holders. Once inside, the CODEPINK women soon realized that they had been deceived about the second part of the agreement: They would not be allowed to ask the first question, or any question, because Hillary Clinton would not be fielding questions from the audience.
"We were really upset that we had been lied to by Take Back America, and that there would be no space at this 'progressive conference' to have a dialogue with Hillary Clinton about the most critical issue of our time--the war in Iraq," said Katie Heald, DC coordinator for CODEPINK. "We got up on our chairs holding up our hands with the peace sign, and were pulled down from the chairs. We tried to take out our banner that said 'Listen Hillary: Stop Supporting the War' and it was grabbed from us. And when Hillary started talking about her Iraq strategy, criticizing Bush but not posing a solution, we shouted 'What are YOU going to do to get us out of Iraq,' but she ignored us."
Again the so-called Take Back America should be ashamed. It's that kind of anything-for-access that led to the shame of the "protest pens" -- not just at the RNC but at the DNC convention as well. The so-called Take Back America 'leadership' has made itself a joke because there is no "take back," there is only "See how many people we can provide you with for an audience!"
Martha notes Dan Balz's "Liberal Activists Boo Clinton: Rejection of Iraq Timetable Gets Cool Reception at Conference" (Washington Post):
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) drew boos and hisses from an audience of liberal activists yesterday as she defended her opposition to a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, and later she received an implicit rebuke from Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) for failing to acknowledge that her support for the war was a mistake.
Clinton's and Kerry's appearances at the Take Back America conference at the Washington Hilton put on vivid display the Democratic Party's divisions over the foreign policy issue that dominates this year's midterm elections, and the two possible 2008 presidential candidates offered a preview of the debate that could dominate the battle for the party's nomination.
Clinton and Kerry supported the 2002 congressional resolution authorizing the Iraq war. Kerry recently renounced that vote, but Clinton has never done so. She finds herself in opposition to a majority of Democratic activists and is the target of passionate criticism from some of them.
[. . .]
Later, after Clinton's departure, Kerry delivered a fiery denunciation of the war that was continually interrupted with cheers and applause, and he repeated his call for "a hard and fast deadline" for withdrawing troops. At one point, Kerry, the Democrats' 2004 presidential nominee, appeared to be directing his comments at the woman who leads early national Democratic polls for 2008.
"Let me say it plainly," Kerry said. "It's not enough to argue with the logistics or to argue about the details or the manner of the conflict's execution or the failures of competence, as great as they are. It is essential to acknowledge that the war itself was a mistake, to say the simple words that contain more truth than pride. We were misled. We were given evidence that was not true. It was wrong, and I was wrong to vote for that Iraqi resolution."
As the (official) American military fatality count is on the verge of 2,500 (2,497 currently) for an illegal war sold on lies, the idea that leaders of a conference to "Take Back America" would not only try to silence dissent but try to silence one of the few groups (CODEPINK) that has never been afraid to speak truth to power (the true taking back of America) is shameful.
Kyle notes Molly Ivins' "Hope, Hope, Hoping Along in Iraq" (Truthdig):
You know what? This is getting silly. The debate over this war is unrealistic and even ludicrous. (A) It is not going well. (B) It keeps getting worse. (C) Yes, it is possible that if we stay there long enough, it will get better eventually. (D) There is nothing suggesting that beyond hope.
A particularly acrid growth from this fruitless debate is the contempt for and dismissal of public opinion in other countries. "So what if we have alienated public opinion in nations throughout the Middle East?" seems to be the attitude. "Who cares what they think?" If I wanted to win a global war on terror, I’d sure be concerned about what they think.
I would hope the right would at least be concerned over the damage being done to the American military by this war. Morale, my ass. Excuse me, but our government doesn't even seem to be able to pay these people on time. Not to mention stretching them past the breaking point in Iraq, leaving them without adequate mental care when they come home, endlessly extending their tours, bribing them to re-up, and so forth and so on. Then, of course, something like Haditha happens, and they all get a black eye out of it.
I think it's time the antiwar side in this country started using a few threats of its own--specifically, about who's going to take the blame for this when it's over. Forget the liberal tradition of forgiveness. I say hold this grudge.
Todd notes Cindy Sheehan's "Cure the Disease" (Truthout):
I was conveying this thinking to the audience at my talk in Cincy when I said, "George Bush is only a boil on the ass of democracy." He is not, no matter what the world thinks, the ass and, similarly, he is not, no matter what he thinks, the democracy. No doubt about it, he is a boil that needs to be lanced (impeached and removed from office) to cure immediate problems, such as crimes against humanity, but lancing him is only temporary relief. We have to look at why our democracy was so ill that it manifested itself in the symptom of George Bush. A symptom is also a warning sign and a wake up call. Let's examine the disease before we break out in more boils ... which could be even more severe and poisonous than George.
One of the deep-seated diseases in the USA is the false sense of patriotism that we are infected with from the time we are toddlers that allows our leaders to mislead us into war after war. Between the first and second world wars, Marine Major General Smedley Butler wrote the seminal work, War is a Racket. Up until that time, he was the most highly decorated Marine in history. He wrote in the first two paragraphs of his booklet:
War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
These occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are nothing but sickly rackets, with the war machine getting wealthy off of our children's flesh and blood and off of the ruination of two countries and the deaths of many, many civilians. One way to cure the disease of losing our children in war that infects the mere citizens of America while the war profiteers' bank accounts are glowing with health is to quit giving the military industrial complex our children, like fatted calves, to be sacrificed for their own bottom lines. We must know deep in our hearts and teach our children that our military only exists to keep the world safe for our corporations and that our military should only be used, as General Butler said, to defend our country.
This was supposed to be the week that Hillary began turning the "negatives" around (polling is worrying some -- not for the re-election run, for the big run in 2008). Two big speeches were supposed to show the 'caring but committed' (that's the slogan her crew bandied about) Hillary Clinton. It's not working. The other speech? Raymond Hernandez covers it in the New York Times this morning. "Clinton Opens Debate on Family Planning" will tell you about the speech given, what she said. What it won't tell you is how nervous the campaign is that her negatives are so much higher than they expected. The group that she's most worried over is women. That was supposed to be her natural group. So both the speech that got booed and her latest spin on reproductive rights were supposed to show the new Hillary. (Yes, there is always a "new Hillary.")
Having spoken like the supreme idiot (it does take a village to destroy reproductive rights and Hillary was the first to grab the torch and lead the mob after the 2004 elections), it was thought that all she needed to do was to acknowledge the obvious (obvious due to the work of others, not her own work) that reproductive rights were under attack. Did she hit a home run? Will some feel, "She's on our side again!" Maybe. But it's all sop. If some people had booed her speech, one wonders what Campaign Hillary would be feeling this morning? (They're deflated but deluded about the response to her I-Love-War speech.) They think her words on reproductive rights have silenced the negatives there (but know they have to wait for the polling!). It shouldn't. While useless organizations (NARAL?) will rush to applaud her, others should say, "Do something." They should make her prove that what she said is anything other than words.
She's still playing her "Oh abortion, icky! Let's prevent that stage from happening." Because she's apparently forgotten everything she ever learned. (Not every woman who has an abortion feels the shame the topic seems to provide Hillary.) She once supported abortion, she once was against war. She got old. And stopped caring about anything that didn't relate to her. It'll take more than a lot of well rehearsed speeches for her to connect with voters again. As her recent attack on young adults proved, she's living the Rolling Stones' "Out of Touch" and it will take more than carefully rehearsed speeches to fix her current problems.
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