Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ruth's Report

Ruth: Listening today to the report Don Gonyea filed on NPR's All Things Considered about the U.S. Senate's nonsense regarding the newspaper ad, I wondered if we understood that we are all Cindy Sheehan?

There was the righteous and useless Senator Carl Levin declaring of and other ads, "They impugn the honor, integrity and patriotism of real patriots."

Made me wonder if he wanted to include journalist Robert Parry in that? Mr. Parry's "Sen. Levin's False History & Logic" (Consortium News) ran back in June and pointed out, "In other words, Levin is historically wrong when he uses Lincoln’s stand on the Mexican War to justify his own on the Iraq War. While Levin says he will give President Bush a blank check as long as the Iraq War continues, there is no reason to believe that Congressman Lincoln would have done the same for President Polk if that Commander in Chief were set on a bloody, indefinite occupation of the entire Mexican countryside."

Listening to Senator Levin prattle on, it became pretty clear that this really was not about the content of's advertisement, it was about the basic premise of it or any advertisement. For that matter, about any questioning of authority.

General David Peteraeus is an employee of the United States. His pay check comes via the people. So does Senator Levin's. Apparently those working for us, those happy to live on the money we pay them, would prefer we go away?

Blaming certainly allows the Congress to deflect from their miserable job performance the week prior when General Petreaus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker sat before them repeating White House talking points. They did a lousy job. Pointing the finger at might distract a few but it will not change reality. As Ava and C.I. observed, "It happened because they forgot they were not elected to the posts of Groupies to the US Military. They were elected to represent the people. Representation means heeding the will of the people. When they instead prostrate themselves before a section of a branch of government that they are supposed to practice oversight over, they've stripped themselves of their own power."

So the U.S. Senate that refuses to end the illegal war launched an attack on free speech this week.

Maybe it will serve as a wake up call to those not in Democratic leadership?

The Democratic Party organ, The Nation magazine, showed a tiny bit of sense recently in applauding the actions of both CODEPINK and Possibly they grasped they could be next?

Any one could be. The Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan refused to be a cheerleader for the Democratic Party and she saw vile heaped on her. The Nation's Katha Pollitt launched a stream of attacks on Ms. Sheehan and came off looking like a seven-year-old girl who has a crush on her teacher. Apparently providing apples and tongue baths for Senator Hillary Clinton was not enough for Ms. Pollitt to earn the title of "Class Kiss Up." In 2006, she used her dubious feminist credentials to go to town on CODEPINK for calling out the War Hawk Hillary Clinton. When Ms. Sheehan announced she would run for the U.S. Congress, there was Ms. Pollitt launching multiple attacks on Ms. Sheehan. One hopes Ms. Pollitt will quickly grow up and grasp that school girl crushes are something best left to childhood.

While Ms. Pollitt continues to ape her late hero, The Ego Of Us All, by wallowing in so-called 'second stage' feminism, The Nation did actually applaud both CODEPINK and indicating that possibly they have started to grasp that total and slavish devotion to Democratic leadership is a dead end street.

Which brings us back to Ms. Sheehan who, in an interview with Matthew Rothschild on The Progressive Radio Show, explained how important it was for Americans to take back their country and urged others to follow her lead. Last weekend, A.N.S.W.E.R., Iraq Veterans Against the War and others staged the most passionate rally D.C. has seen since the start of the illegal war. That, too, was about people reclaiming their power.

While Senator Levin and others joined in an attack on free speech this week, they refused to work for the people who put them in office. Which brings us back to Robert Perry's June report:

But Levin's logic is wrong again. While his proposal -- to impose a troop withdrawal deadline -- would require 60 votes to stop a Republican filibuster and then would need 67 votes to overcome Bush's certain veto, the same is not true for a war-funding cut-off.
To secure the money to continue fighting the war, Bush is the one who needs majorities in both the House and the Senate. Indeed, arguably, he would need 60 votes in the Senate to end a filibuster if anti-war senators mounted one.
More likely, however, if faced with a determined Democratic majority, Bush would have no choice but to seek a compromise in order to get at least some of what he wants.
In other words, if the Democrats were to hold firm against giving Bush another blank check – as their leaders vowed to do in early 2007 -- Bush would have to decide between accepting some strings, such as a withdrawal timetable, or getting no money at all, thus forcing an end to the war.

That is reality. While U.S. Senators puffed out their chests in mock rage, they wasted another week by refusing to end the illegal war. They did made the time to attack free speech and they will probably make a point to do that more often in the future. If you consistently refused to live up to your promise, you would probably attempt to steer the focus elsewhere as well.