The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.
"I think it's hard to project four years from now,'' said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation's first primary state.
"It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting,'' added Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
"I cannot make that commitment,'' said former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.
Sensing an opening, Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson provided the assurances the others would not.
The above is from Beth Fouhy's "Dems Can't Make Guarantee on Iraq Troops" (AP) and it's not "cannot," it's "will not." Approximately 70% of the US public wants US troops out of Iraq and the best Clinton, Edwards and Obama can do is say "I can't promise that in my first term" -- if elected. A clear majority of Americans wants something and those three want to hold the highest office in the land so they're campaigning on . . . the fact that they will ignore the will of the people.
As president, they're telegraphing, they won't represent the people, they'll do what they damn well want and everyone can just live with it. And people were worried Bully Boy wouldn't leave behind a legacy.
If one of the three (does it matter which at this point?) was elected, they're saying the illegal war could last over ten years -- over a decade -- even with them in the White House.
Now Obama loves to tell half the truth and say he wasn't against the illegal war before it started (he leaves out the part about being against withdrawal while campaigning for the Senate in 2004). So the question for him is why be against it if you're going to continue it?
For Hillary, the biggest question isn't for her, it's whether NOW Pac intends to maintain their endorsement of her? NOW's membership (the actual membership of the organization -- not the Pac) is staunchly against the illegal war and has been for some time.
For Edwards the question is, "Why are you even in the race?" He loves to lecture about how Congress should be doing this or that (generally, that they should keep passing the same legislation -- which they should -- and Bully Boy can sign it or not but the American people will see him refuse to over and over) but what he is doing? Not a damn thing.
Recently, the peace movement was (wrongly) urged to go along with the Dems and set their sites on how to end the illegal war sometime after 2008 because the most important thing in the world is whether or not Democrats hold office. No, that's not the most important thing in the world. (And if the veiled -- some less so -- attacks on Social Security in the 'debate' didn't demonstrate that to you, you weren't paying attention.)
Last night, the three 'front runners' (because the press has made them so) picked up that destructive message and slammed down on the snooze button to urge that everyone get ready for nothing to be done in their first term. Why any of the three thinks they are even fit to hold a first term goes to the lousy independent media this country has that strokes them instead of challenging of them.
And it is a lousy independent media. When the 3800 mark passes and no one can drop what they're doing to note it, it's a lousy independent media. (I'm referring to magazines and radio programs.) Remember all the praise they heaped on Ted Koppel all those years ago for noting the dead on Nightline? Nothing has prevented any of them from doing the same damn thing in their own outlets.
Three 'front runners' (created by the press) told the American people last night that even though 70% of the public wants the illegal war to end, if they were elected, it would continue on through their first term. That's not representation and it's not leadership.
And the same statement can be applied to independent media (with few exceptions) as they continue their travelogues -- and rush to dump Iraq since it's no longer the subject of big media's focus in terms of what liars tell Congress.
Marcia notes the following from Workers World:
"Encampment targets FEMA, ICE & Congress"
By LeiLani Dowell Washington, D.C.
Published Sep 27, 2007 12:26 AM
Anti-war activists, veterans, military families and community organizers from across the U.S.--from as far away as Oregon, Florida and Maine--arrived here beginning Sept. 22 for the Encampment to Stop the War at Home and Abroad, a tent city positioned in front of the Capitol building organized by the Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC).
The Encampment will culminate in a march on Sept. 29 with multiple targets: Congress for its complicity in funding the war; the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for its continued racist neglect of the survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices for the anti-worker raids and detentions against immigrants.
On Sept. 22, a large banner was erected that reads, "Congress, the whole world is watching: CUT OFF WAR FUNDS." The Encampment is timed to coincide with the expiration of the current round of funding for the war and the ongoing debates in Congress. The appropriations passed in the last session of Congress are due to expire on Oct. 1.
Parked in front of the Encampment is the tour bus of Iraq Veterans Against the War, which features large signs reading, "Don't attack Iran" and "Impeach Bush." Along with TONC, Code Pink--Women for Peace, the Green Party and others have pitched their tents. More tents will be pitched as Katrina survivors, youth and students, Cuba solidarity and immigrants rights activists arrive in the coming days.
Press conference announces Encampment
Organizers held a press conference Sept. 24 to announce the Encampment and the mass march on Sept. 29. TONC spokesperson Larry Holmes opened, saying, "The Democrats say they want to cut war funding but they can't get past a veto. But they could simply make sure the funding question doesn't get to the floor."
Rev. Lennox Yearwood spoke about unity in the struggle: "I'm so pleased to see support here for the struggle in Jena; I was pleased to hear, in Jena, people talking about how the bombs in Baghdad are affecting people in the United States. ... Our struggles will continue, but we will win." Yearwood was recently beaten by D.C. police at an anti-war press conference.
Adam Kokesh, co-chair of the board of directors of Iraq Veterans Against the War, described his organization's demands, including immediate withdrawal of all forces from -- "and we mean Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Blackwater, Halliburton" -- and full payment of reparations to the people of Iraq.
Nana Soul of Artists and Activists United for Peace described the weeklong concert being held as part of the Encampment. "The movement needs cultural inspiration, talent and creativity. We know that [Iraq] isn't the first time that the United States has invaded a sovereign nation. ... We have a chance to translate the [U.S. government's] actions."
Representing the Green Party, Vietnam War veteran Rick Clemens stressed: "This war is about imperialism, about the exploitation of labor power and markets of other peoples. There is no thing as ending the war without ending the economic system that perpetuates war--capitalism."
Toby Blome of Code Pink described the encampments their group has undertaken at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s house, after months of her refusing to meet with them to discuss war funding. They plan on visiting her office regularly during the Encampment and will be fasting throughout the week; the group hosted an organizing meeting on Sept. 24 at the Encampment.
Vernon Hoffman, who biked 4,500 miles with his family from Portland, Ore., to join the Encampment, said he'd "rather bike for peace than kill for oil."
Lastly, a young war resister described how he enlisted in the military in 2005 because of limited career opportunities in his rural hometown. However, he says, "I happened to join at the same time as Hurricane Katrina, and I saw on TV the bodies floating in the streets. It really hit home to me. I got out of training 25 weeks later and nothing had changed. Despite all the rhetoric about homeland security and national security, this government’s priorities are not for the people."
Hub of anti-war activity
The Encampment has become a veritable hub of anti-war activity in the D.C. Metro area. At daily morning and evening meetings, activists converge to plan their outreach strategies to build for the mass march on Sept. 29.
From the Encampment, teams have fanned throughout the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Md., areas putting up posters, handing out leaflets, riding in sound cars and talking to students on campuses and workers on the streets. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
In addition, passersby to the Encampment, including many tourists, have been appreciative of its work. An activist reported that one such person showed his identification card—as an employee of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He assured the activist that many people in the Green Zone in Iraq are in agreement with the sentiments of the Encampment.
'Get out of Iraq! Stay out of Iran!'
Responding to the venomous attacks against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his visit to New York for a UN General Assembly meeting, Encampment activists piled into the IVAW bus on Sept. 26 and rode to the White House, where they held a picket line to demand, “Get out of Iraq! Stay out of Iran!” Recalling the demonization of former Iraqi President Sassam Hussein, activists denounced the attacks on Ahmadinejad as an attempt to prepare the U.S. population for an expansion of the war to Iran.
Upcoming events include a discussion on the war at home in Washington, D.C.--where libraries are closing, thousands of units of affordable housing have been lost, and residents can't vote--hosted by the Green Party; an event entitled "Justice for the Jena 6, Katrina/Rita survivors and immigrant workers: Fighting racism is building solidarity"; a vigil with the cast of the movie "SiCKO" for those who have died due to inadequate health care; a youth and student day of action; and events to free the Cuban 5 and to demand an end to political repression in the Philippines.
For more information, visit www.troopsoutnow.org.
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Changing topics, in the Senate yesterday and today, the issue of hate crimes is being addressed (or what passes for "addressing" in the US Senate) and PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio has an interview online with Judy Shepard (mother of Matthew Shepard). They note:
As the Senate prepares to vote on the extension of hate crimes coverage to gays and lesbians. Judy Shepard, whose homosexual son was beaten to death in 1998, talks to NOW about why she believes the government is "giving permission" for people to harass homosexuals. The Matthew
Shepard Act, which would expand the coverage of federal hate crimes to include violent attacks against homosexuals, cleared the House in March.
If the Senate approves the measure this week, President Bush is expected to veto the bill. In a web-exclusive audio interview, Shepard talks to Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa about the need for expanding the law, and her son's lasting legacy.
"It's very disheartening when the leader of our nation goes on national
TV and says that gay people aren't deserving of every equality everyone
"I'm very disappointed and disillusioned that none of our candidates will step forward and take a stand on gay issues. I know Dennis Kucinich does. No one else seems to have the chutzpah to take a stand when they need to."
"No one really cares that they [homosexuals] are not equal to everybody else. Well the America I grew up believing in says that everyone is equal under the law."
"She [Mary Cheney, the Vice President's daughter] was an out, vocal, lesbian before the campaigns and she just disappeared. She had such an opportunity to make a difference as did Mr. and Mrs. Cheney. They actually in my opinion made things worse ... they sent the message that they were just embarrassed or even ashamed."
"We have a very sketchy policy against bullies - especially in our school systems - that doesn't work."
"People who watch and do nothing about it -they need to be addressed as well. There's no such thing as an innocent bystander."
Maybe Larry Craig of Idaho should be pestered by the press to weigh in? Probably never happen. The press goes out of their way to keep the Congressional Closet door closed.
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now with david branccacio