Saturday, December 27, 2008

Republicans love America more - NOT! a reply to Joel Stein in the L.A. Times

by RW Spisak
Hobe Sound, FL

If your Mother, is downing a couple quarts of Vodka and smoking three packs a day, you don't show your love only by lighting her cigarettes, and doing her liquor store shopping or even picking up some Oxycontin to mellow her out!

And if the liquor is oil, and the cigarettes are greenhouse gases and the shopping is rampant unregulated speculation and the Oxy is PROZAC & Testosterone Fueled Foreign Occupations, you don't do that either.

Liberals, aren't too busy counting her accomplishments, to see what work still needs to be done. When Liberals hear republicans preening about "Americam Exceptionalism", it often sounds to us, like the General so happy about yesterday's victories that he forgets to post today's sentries.

What Liberals love about our great human rainbow of an experiment in Liberty, is our forward looking humane perspective. We honor the hope of mankind that has made America so desirable a destination. America is beloved by Liberals among its many glories because it has redefined inclusion and has made a commitment to have no state religion. It is in our Constitution, it expresses the founders spirit of ecumenicalism, a tolerance for all religions.

America is a thought experiment in Liberty writ large. The promise of freedom to children of every color and every creed. The promise of the end of the ancient brutality of slavery and the nightmare of KINGS, and EMPERORS. Instead America embodies the enlightenment's ideal of the innate worth of every woman and man, the nobility of every child, not based in a blood line or established by the length of a line of credit.

Has America's every promise been completely realized? Can we love her, only if we say she is flawless? No, and Liberals do not as some suggest, glory in her imperfections, but instead we see her in her yet unfinished and malleable youth. She remains still capable of learning and yet a lttle rambunctious in her mere 232nd year.

BLIND UNTHINKING UNQUESTIONING LOYALTY, demanded by Kings and Emperors was not required by our founders. They didn't see it as a harbinger of a clear-eyed assessment of where the future might lead. Let us look instead, with open honest eyes when other Americans refuse loudly to be honest about our failures, and misjudgments. Whether this refusal stems from conspiratorial rascality or simple dimwitted laziness, it is beneath the true American spirit. America is made better when her sons and daughters have the clear sight to make what improvements must be made. Jefferson called revolutionary change a right, a responsibility.

Bloody rapacious capitalism at it's worst, must be tamed from time to time in this cradle of freedom, lest all the widows and children be consumed in the fires of greed. The free market untamed may be the best nursery for greed, but it often fails to honor the hopes of the humble. Should the highest price possible in the marketplace be the baseline for health care, for college education, for even basic education access.

The liberal anti-capitalistic suggestions of "POOR-RICHARD" for free libraries and free public education as well as public service fire departments were in fact not designed to track market indices, but these ideas are also part of the dream of America. Clara Barton, John Steinbeck and Margaret Sanger, Sinclair Lewis, and Susan B. Anthony, these critics addressed a audience who hoped to build a better more caring America.

America encompasses the dreams of Frick and Rockefeller to own it all, which stand side by side with Ford's desire to make sure every American could own a horseless carriage and Carnegie's generous gift of Libraries and Museums a gift not just to the children of the poor in his time, but a timeless educational resource for millions of young Americans. America has been the home of the Madoffs and the Gates the Yin and Yang of wealth and property and she is the home to millions more whose dreams lie yet aborning. Liberals love them too and when Health Care as a human right comes up for a vote, it may not be the dream of the GET-RICH-QUICK boys but access to quality healthcare is an ALL AMERICAN DREAM too!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

John Nichols at the PBch Democratic Club - Part 2.

by RW Spisak Jr.

The founders, with all their faults were trying to do something profound, they were trying to break with MONARCHY.

It wasn't, that they didn't specifically like King George; they just didn't like "The Divine Right of Kings" as a principle. Despite history not being taught anymore, some of you nevertheless know the phrase "The Divine Right of Kings". It means, for those of you educated more recently, that GOD has obviously selected "THE KING", and if you reject the King, you reject GOD. Simultaneously, since GOD by definition cannot be wrong, the judgment of the KING is likewise infallible. The King (like GOD) exists in a sphere above human frailty and is UNDENIABLE, UNQUESTIONABLE, and from whose awful justice, there is no APPEAL.

There were people who believed that if you denied the infallibility of the King you were also denying GOD, and would be struck down. John quipped, "Luckily they had Ben Franklin on their side, so they knew how to deal with bolts from above". This was an incredibly bold and dangerous proposition. Since religion had previously been woven so tightly to political authority in most monarchies, making this clean break with state religion was part of the rejection of the "Divinity of the King". Furthermore placing the Law above the executive would also work toward reining in those who would otherwise abuse their governing authority. Thus also the theory of balance of power worked to further limit the power of any single branch of government. Each of these steps were crucial in moving toward the shared civic rule of a representative self-government.

They wanted to establish a system of government in this country that could never be monarchical again. One of the most significant points of departure, was to never again, have one man able to send his subjects to war without the support of the people, and their elected representatives. Never to allow one man to unilaterally decide, that he would spy on the people without legal oversight, or without respect of the rule of law. Never again would an executive governing authority be permitted to order torture, or detention of his people without the oversight of the courts. Never again would this country have a King who could by "Royal Fiat", vitiate or throw out the rule of law, with a signing statement and a stroke of his pen. Never again would the people of this country bow down before the whim of a king.

But in America for the last eight years everything the founders fought for and believed, has been trashed, torn apart, and spit on by a group of "rank criminals", who came to office illegally, and never stopped governing illegally.

The Constitution of the United States says you cannot go to war, without a Declaration of War, made by the Congress of the United States. The House and Senate must declare war. Iraq is an illegal war. Nichols then reminded us "I must say to Mr. Obama, the same is true for Afghanistan". The way to spell Viet Nam in the twenty-first century, is Afghanistan. The Afghan people have never been defeated. They beat Genghis Khan, they beat the British, the beat the Soviet Union, not because they're noble, but because, they know those hills and they know how to wait. And inflict terrible damage while they wait.

Addressing terrorism he then stated, "I don't live in some fantasy land. We have to fight terrorism, we have terrible threats to this republic, and we must defend ourselves, but a massive force occupying Afghanistan will not end terrorism, and it will inevitably bring tremendous harm to Barack Obama's ability to govern".

The Constitution says you cannot spy on anyone without legal oversight and a specific judicial ruling. The Fourth Amendment* goes further to state, Congress cannot even pass a law, that says you can spy on people, without these constitutional restraints, it's very strict on this. Senator Russ Feingold chair of the Senate Sub-committee on the Constitution says, every call you make on your cell phone is monitored. Every call is listened in on. If you have internet on your cell phone and send an email, it is also monitored, text messages are monitored. Twitter is monitored. Every email and every electronic conversation monitored in complete contravention of the Fourth Amendment. There is no electronic communication you can engage in today that is not monitored. And yet there is no legal authority for that monitoring. The past eight years the Constitution's Fourth Amendment has been ignored and violated by the Bush Administration which has been engaged in comprehensive, unauthorized, and illegal spying on all electronic communications.

The Eight Amendment** of the Constitution prohibits torture of persons in custody, of the U.S. Government. The language is unambiguous, it issues a prohibition against "CRUEL and UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT." Nichols' ironic comment, "Call me crazy, but I think torture's cruel!" The actions, by the Bush government in Guantanamo, Bhagram, and in the Extraordinary Rendition Centers (Where we take prisoners and drop them off for a third party to torture***) and then after the dirty work is done, collect the bloody damaged remains. These actions are strictly forbidden by The Eight Amendment, and our country has been in direct violation of it, since these activities, which were hatched like poisonous reptiles in the bosom of the Bush/Cheney White House. Under the direct orders of George Bush.

One of the most important reasons for the Revolution in 1776, was opposition to the notion that a King, could unilaterally decide what laws he would and would not obey. The founders opposed the idea that the King could by his whim, decide what laws he would observe. George Bush, has attached over 800 whims, (signing statements) to laws passed by Congress. George Bush, over 800 times, has said that he will not obey these laws, passed by Congress because he has decided he is above the law. We have had monarchical governance for the last eight years. Nichol said, if it was up to him, Congress would be called into session immediately, to IMPEACH George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Nichols made the point, that while some might complain that it's a slow and cumbersome process. He disagreed, saying the founders wanted it simple quick and easy. Like surgery a quick incision, and removal. Impeachment is mentioned six times in the Constitution. You can be impeached while in office, or while you are enjoying any of the benefits of office. George Bush and Dick Cheney after leaving office in January will receive pensions, office and security support and therefore, will be getting more benefits in retirement, than most of us receive in our full working life. Therefore they will remain IMPEACHABLE.

Some might suggest that we might await an International Law Tribunal, or some allied country to draw up charges, and well they might. Nichols very soberly suggested the Bush/Cheney Regime, is our mess and we need to stand up take responsibility and clean it up. "Maybe someone in France, might do the RIGHT THING" he proffered, ironically. "No" he said, "the American people have the power to demand Congress take it's responsibilities seriously. These men must be held to account! Unless we do, their lawless and cruel stain will remain a shadow on our great country.

* The Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

** The Eight Amendment

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

*** Part of that whole Out Sourcing & Privatization Mission of the Radical Corporatists from KBR, Haliburton, Bechtel and everyone favorite mercenaries, and Clinton Library Donatees... BLACKWATER.

Additional Links & Materials
Spying on Americans
Bush Regime defends spying
Bush Regime defends Illegal Spying
FISA "Amendment"
Spying on Americans
- New York Times Editorial
Comprehensive List of George Bush's "Signing Statements"
Bush challenges hundred of laws - The Boston Globe
Presidential Signing Statements - a report by the Congressional Research Service (PDF)
ABA President says Potential Misuse of Presidential Signing Statements poses a Threat...
Interview with Charlie Savage Pulitzer Prize Winner Reporter for his reporting on Presidential Signing Statements
The Charters of Freedom

Sunday, December 14, 2008

John Nichols spoke

by RW Spisak Jr.

John Nichols, Constitutional Scholar and writer for the Nation spoke before the assembled Democrats of Palm Beach at the Kravitz Center Saturday December 13th. He had several kinds of good news.

The noted Impeachment Scholar had much positive to say about President Elect Obama, whom he'd interviewed several times over the last four years. He posed a riddle early on, what do President Elect Obama and Vice President Elect Biden have in common, besides marvelous powerful mothers?

He was pleased to find an audience member (one of the Raging Grannies whose performance opened the presentation) knew that both President Elect Obama and Vice President Elect Biden are well respected Constitutional Scholars.

He marveled at how changed were our circumstances by this past election. He said if at his last visit, in 2006, he'd suggested that a relatively unknown Junior Senator from Illinois, son of a well educated single mother, and African American, would be elected President, he'd have been laughed off the stage.

He continued his assessment of the 2008 election with a brief discussion of the incredible forces that came together to bring the American people to a place where they could select Senator Obama as our president. He said, it was a convergence of both a rejection of the policies of a know-nothing, fear first, son of privilege as well as the comprehension that in President Barack Obama we have a highly thoughtful, intelligent and gifted man. He said that here was a man who could move Americans with rhetoric. This allowed him a broader set of tools to motivate Americans, beyond the simple fear and hate repertoire of the former highly inarticulate president.

He also said, we're very fortunate to have in both the House and Senate Constitution Committees, very wise and committed Constitutionalists; Rep Jerrold Nadler and Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin (Chairman) US Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Constitutional Subcommittee.

He mention the recent appointment of proposed Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Physicist, 1997 Nobel Prize Winner, and Lawrence Berkeley Lab Director since 2004. Imagine he said, a Cabinet official with a Nobel Prize, a man in favor of science instead of appointments that run from science. He was chosen because President-Elect Obama wants to emphasize competence and science - WOW! he said, we already have change!

Imagine selecting a cabinet secretary based on intelligence and competence rather than fantasy and B.S.? Now that's PROGRESS!

He congratulated Palm Beach County on finally having it's votes counted. Even more progress!

We are always in momentous times and one of the most momentous problems facing us right now is the auto industry bailout, or loan. Those Southern Senators are primarily opposed to UNIONS. In less that a week they voted to send 750 Billion Dollars, with no strings attached to the CORRUPT BANKERS AND TRADERS on Wall Street, but it's taken over a month and they still haven't voted a mere 14 Billion to save the jobs of tens of thousands of Auto Workers and all the businesses that depend upon them.

Its the same old story of the Corporations versus the workers. We know that one. We have to be passionate, about helping the union auto workers. We need to make sure that everyone of the autoworkers keep their jobs!

It was the UAW that literally sent Union leaders to Alabama to bail out Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. It was black and white UNION Autoworkers who advocated and agitated to get Nelson Mandela free from Robin Island Prison.

When after his release in 1990 he travelled to America and he had three stops. He spoke in Congress (where the opponents of sanctions crowded around to be photographed with him) and on Wall Street, (after all, South Africa has GOLD and DIAMONDS), his third stop was in Michigan at the Ford Rouge Plant where he wanted to personally thank the Union AutoWorkers who worked tirelessly for his release and an end to apartheid, in South Africa. Black and White UAW members in Dearborn were the first organization to oppose apartheid and demand his release. He insisted on thanking them before he went home.

John also spoke very warmly in support of the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom. He asked if people knew of it's history. WILPF's regional president Susan Moseley had spoken eloquently during the opening remarks and issued a passionate call for support and membership. WILPF founded in 1915, has worked for nearly a century to end war, reduce violence and achieve full women's rights.

He raised the subject of the open Senate seat in Illinois, and how he had advocated a special election there to fill the seat, because no one should take a seat in the Senate unless they had been placed there by the people in an election.

The only way he kept sane the last eight years, was by living in large part in the 18th century, in an indepth study of the writings of the founders. They were trying to do something that had never been done before. They were rejecting the Divine Right of Kings. Previously the main theory of government during the age of monarchy was the belief that GOD had selected the King. Thus by challenging the King, you were challenging GOD. Further, if you rejected the King, you were rejecting God.

How dangerous, how radical, that they strove to put an end to the "DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS". The founders weren't saying, they didn't like personally like King George. They were rejecting the principle of the Divine Right of Kings. There were people who were taught and literally believed that if people rejected the King, they could be struck down from on high because rejecting the KING was exactly the same as rejecting GOD.

The founders were determined that they would never serve a KING! They would never have a man who could unilaterally send his people, his subjects, to war with out their approval and participation. The people would have a say.


Supplemental Materials

Lawrence Berkeley Lab Director Steven Chu Nobel Prize Winning Physicist


Limitations Under Consideration of Un-Constitutional Blanket Pardons

Center for Constitutional Rights

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jebby and the Bidding Begins!


$enatorial $eat Open for Bid eh?

I guess you forgot, Jebby's nefarious plan to torpedo the class size limitation?

I mean really fifty points for VOCABULARY but a political leader speaking near a microphone, characterizing his OWN PLANS as nefarious?? How about Jebby the Crusader for Vouchers, determined to undermine Public Schools? Still flogging it after two defeats. Privatize everything? Sell off and privateer the State's Water Resources? Anybody remember those $tate of Florida's Inve$tments in ENRON - that really paid off?

WOW - Now that's leadership - I can really bid against.

Blogdonovich had to go some distance to TOP that one?

I got it, I understand,
Here we have one half-baked, plutocrat, neo-con, princeling who makes no bones about subverting a public referendum. Even preens about it! Not to mention cooking the voting rolls to get his genius "BOY WONDER" brother before the tweaked Supreme Court, so they could also subvert the public vote. Anybody see a pattern here?

I see, I see, he's the smart one compared to his brother -
WOW! that's some serious smirking competition.

Jebby, widely liked, sure among all the sons and daughters of the DAR - the polo set, the golf club, membership only crowd. Sure they love him, hey his daddy ran the CIA for the Alzheimer's President. And Don't forget that!!!

So - Here's my bid, I bid one high paying not for profit job for his wife, and two columnists from the Miami Herald, quick, while they still use American writers.

Anybody else have a BID?

solidarity & peace

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Have you ever wondered?

by RW Spisak Jr.

Every time, I hear some right wing spokes-model declaim that "the reason American Automotive Manufacturers are failing is the burden of their workers medical care." Which of course they then offer to correct with the perfect prescription, Cast off those onerous contracts with bankrupcy ! Tallyho and off to the Fox Hunt in our Limos, Old Bean! I admit to being slightly puzzled.

I am puzzled that they never seem to consider the impact of the stratospheric wages and benefits, and bonuses, and perks paid to the executives. They don't seem to imagine that salaries that are tens of thousands of times greater than any paid worker, has maybe a greater relevance.

National Health Care advocates have a solution, and it certainly makes sense, that if America Healthcare was no longer tethered to employment [ask the millions whose employers do not offer health insurance] this would remove that burden. This seems to me, while accurate, is a side issue, and not precisely to the point.

Did anyone hear from the BARON'S OF BAILOUT a demand that WALL $TREET come up with a long term financial $tability plan ?? Did you hear any call for a cut in Wall $treet $alaries or even "gawd forbid" a demand that Wall $treet Investment Banker$ renounce those MILLION DOLLAR BONUSE$?
No? Hmmm, neither did I.

I'll tell you what I heard instead - I heard a Wall $treet $poke$model proclaim that they must CONTINUE the BONUSE$, because otherwise, they might loose the brilliant minds that delivered this mess! We must pay these bonuses, after all, we might not have this caliber of leadership!

No one ever seems to suggest that Wall $treet benefits need reduced. Noone asks about their LIMOS? Or asks about their excesses. Even when they take a break from begging to ba$k and bake at Million Dollar re$ort$ while ca$hing the taxpayer$ check$.

Health Care, sure that's an issue and I'm certainly no advocate of executive pay rates in Detroit, but fair is fair, any demands we make of the Auto Industry leadership before they get a tax payer funded bailout - the same demands must be included in the BAILOUT PLAN offered WALL$TREET?

Yes, and by all means, let us, as taxpayers, de-fund the Medical Insurance Industry who makes it's BLOOD MONEY finding ways to reduce American Health Care Benefits. Let's Defend American Health Care FIRST - then, after we deal with the Tyrants of Health Care Insurance, if we have some money left - we can deal with the Tyrants of the Taliban?

What do you think? the Tyrants in the Afghanistan/Pakistan Mountains? or the Tyrants who blocked your Mom's operation and put the price of your child's pills beyond your reach?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I am a liberal, and progressive.

I opposed slavery while it was still "popular" and legal. I supported an end to child labor, a progressive position at the time. I proposed an end to chaining people with mental troubles in the dark dank. I supported women's right to vote. I opposed the mistreatment of American Indians and supported full voting rights for African Americans. I called for an end to Jim Crow. I even supported the radical idea of Roosevelts' to provide a small stipend called Social Security for Seniors. By the way, the republic seems to have survived quite well despite it.

The press never embraced these issues except as an opportunity to sell papers by stirring controversy. Since we are far from knowing the truth about the BUSH REGIME's MISDEEDS, there are many charges you may yet have a chance to defend George Bush from.

Is it sensible to attack the press for reporting the BUSH REGIME did everything possible to spy on Americans? Does it make any sense to attack the press for reporting on BUSH's assaults on human rights undertaken in our name, at Abu Gharib and Bhaghram and Guantanamo, and other still secret sites?

Sy Hersh, Woodward and Bernstein did not remove the weapons of mass destruction and it wasn't CBS who told General Colin Powell to lie at the UN.

The press didn't commit these crimes, and I for one do not believe that the soldiers who were ordered to use dog leashes on human beings under Commander in Chief George Bush's orders bear the sole responsibility for the humiliations, degradations, beatings and deaths delivered to prisoners in American custody. The press didn't conduct the water boarding, or the dog attacks, or the Shock and Awe bombing campaigns nor did they insist on bailing out their investment banker friends on Wall Street, while demanding that regular working Americans pay for those Million Dollar Salaries and Platinum Parachutes.

You might as well blame the press for Custer's massacre for simply reporting the facts. Did the New York Times or GASP even Faux News force the GOVERNOR of Alaska to dress her husband and kids in the finest Neiman Marcus designer duds? Did the evil New York Times demand the Thriller from Wasilla pack $150,000.00 of expensive clothes in her tiny, unused mental valise?

Even given the misdeeds of Corporate Media we cannot blame them, for either the Cheney Bush crimes nor the implosion and intellectual bankrupcy of the McCain Campaign. I place that one also where it belongs at the muddy, bloody feet of Karl "turd-blossom" Rove. Please join me in a toast of Bitters... to the "Architect"

Letter to the Editor Stuart News

Saturday, November 08, 2008

RE: "Policies of President Bush, Republicans have failed us"

by RW Spisak Jr.

Ms. Post your comments are thoughtful and accurate.

We have been burdened by a right-tilted government since the "Reagan era", misled and mesmerizing the electorate with a republican ideology of dismantling regulation and getting "government" out of the way of the carnivorous free market.

Remember the firing of the FAA union staff because they dared strike for better working conditions and improved safety for the flying public? Remember when Ronnie Reagan said "forests cause more pollution than factories, and "we don't need to worry about poor children, eating vegetables, they can just eat catsup ?" Remember Newt Gingrich's cute "... we want to make government so small it can be drowned in a tub" comment?

The Bush agenda, with the complicit support of the Republican Legislature and a Right-Tilted Supreme Court have done everything within, and far beyond
the law, to destroy even the tiniest modest protection for the working poor.

Whether in the air, on the ground, in their foods or at their jobs, Worker's Rights be damned, and full speed ahead to any fantastic Wall Street scheme they could dream up. Don't worry about the fantasy faux-values, if there are any losses, the American tax-payers (the suckers) will pick up the tab. [we have their checkbook!]

Even in the final weeks (thank providence) of the current administration, they're working overtime to gut any remaining shreds of protection for regular working Americans who live outside their walled enclaves. The current and most recent deregulation frenzy as reported in the Washington Post would "...clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining."

Since the Republican Legislatures which voting Americans have finally drove a stake through, will be long remembered for the INFAMOUS PRACTICE, of allowing INDUSTRY LOBBYISTS to draft regulations and legislation. Finally with a Democratic President-Elect, and a new Democratic Congress, maybe the people's business will again be conducted for the benefit of "the people."

Now that the final cart of cash has been gleefully delivered to Wall Street by the BUSH-ITES (delivered intentionally free of oversight) and America's government bankrupted by design, maybe starting January 21st of 2009, we can begin the process of re-purchasing American Civic Justice and Economic Life from the legacy of decades of republican-corporate misrule and corruption. President-elect Barack Obama will be the president of all the people, and we have every reason to hope he will govern, with the people's needs foremost, instead of JUST CORPORATE NEEDS.

America will again be concerned, about the health and welfare of the American People, not just the welfare of International Mega-Corporations. [Especially those whose offices are located in a drawer in the Bahamas]

We the people... sounds pretty good!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Is that all they got?

This is the honorable respectful campaign, that the good Senator promised us?

It seems that McCain honored ACORN, before he scorned it.
McCain honored Professor Khalidi before he scorned him, he demanded more experience until he "discovered" Ms. Palin, whose foreign policy experience might be outshone by the "C" history student.

He opposed regulation and redistribution of wealth, before he shut down his sputtering slime-splashed machine of a CAMPAIGN to nearly RUSH to Washington, and redistributed $750 Tax-Payer Billions to his De-Regulated WALL STREET buds.

Now that's redi$tribution he can really get behind.

And when he waves his experience around - He was opposed to TORTURE when it was himself, until BUSHIE said he just can't go to WAR without it. And since he's been BUSHIES HUGGABLE lapdog for just 90% of the last 8 years.

And since they've taught us that the best argument for his election is that Senator Obama knew some characters.

What about McCain's REAL-Friends G. Gordon (WATERGATE) Liddy and Richard (CONTRAS) Secord who actually did subvert our government from within, AND they didn't just share a panel on education in Chicago. Sen. McCain did spend his "quality time" and did seek them in particular out mano a mano - because he wanted to be near them just like his other two chums he did ACTUALLY PAL AROUND WITH. "W" and Lieberman who he found kissably and huggably soft.

Now thats pal'n around!

Monday, October 20, 2008


by RW Spisak

Hardly 15 minutes goes by on cable news with out some angry representative of the republicans decrying Obama for wanting to REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH.

They invoke the mythical plumber Joe, I guess Joe-Six-pack has gone dry and now they've got Joe the plumber banging around looking for leaks under the REPUBLICAN SINK.

So it's Joe the PLUMBER and they bang on his pipes again and again, insisting that when Senator Obama talks about tax breaks for the working class, instead of their favorite the RULING CLASS, he means to redistribute the wealth. Joltin John McAngry can barely hold his temper with two hands...

I want to say, wait a minute, wait one moose pickin, Wasilla Waltzing minute, my friends.

Who is it exactly, whose been redistributing the hard earned dollars of American Tax-Payers? In fact whose plan was it to redistribute $ 750 Billion hard earned tax dollars, to line wall street limos with the taxes redistributed from SENIOR CITIZENS on Social Security?

Why it's the guy, Johnny and Joe Liberman have been pal'n around with, George W. Bush. He's been PLOTTING REDISTRIBUTION of the tax payers wealth all along!.

- Isn't he a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT? He and his "
GOLDBAR SACHS"" Treasury Secretary, PAULSON. These two who just announced a special RUSH-RUSH - No Oversight, REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH PLAN to redistribute $750 Billion or maybe even a Whole Bloody Trillion. Lest we forget Secretary "GOLDBAR SACHS"" Paulson, who while Chief Executive of "GOLDBAR SACHS"" - "earned" an average of $10.81 Million per year. (forbes magazine) He lobbied for the deregulation that freed the greed!

"The Securities and Exchange Commission can blame itself for the current crisis. That is the allegation being made by a former SEC official, Lee Pickard, who says a rule change in 2004 led to the failure of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, and Merrill Lynch.

The SEC allowed five firms — the three that have collapsed plus Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — to more than double the leverage they were allowed to keep on their balance sheets and remove discounts that had been applied to the assets they had been required to keep to protect them from defaults.

Making matters worse, according to Mr. Pickard, who helped write the original rule in 1975 as director of the SEC's trading and markets division, is a move by the SEC this month to further erode the restraints on surviving broker-dealers by withdrawing requirements that they maintain a certain level of rating from the ratings agencies." New York Sun

But with the lie-machine cranked up to FULL VOLUME - Johnny McAngry and Caribou Barbie are accusing Senator Obama of advocating redistribution of resources. America is listening, and not just to the republican noise machine, but this time they are paying attention, because it's their working class wallets at stake!

And maybe, just maybe, they'll notice who going around yelling redistribution of wealth, with a pocketful of WALL STREET IOUs!

solidarity & peace

Rick Spisak

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Un-asked Questions in 4 debates?

by RW Spisak

1. What assurances can you offer the American that you will return to a Constitutional form of Government with a renewed respect for the Bill of Rights and the balance of power that has been eroded in the last ten years.

2.And can you commit to the American people that you have a respect for Habeas Corpus that was sorely lacking in the last so-called President or unitary executive, as "shadow or prime minister" Cheney might style it.

3. Can we still honor our 4th Amendment and fight International stateless opponents? Or must we amend our Constitution to reflect the complete gutting of the privacy guarantees enshrined in the 4th Amendment?

4. Must American security depend on Homeland Securities bloated ineffective unappealable "WATCHLIST" and grandmothers removing their shoes in airports across America?

5. Do you believe that American security requires we torture, and the abandonment of our commitment to the Geneva Conventions?

6. Will your presidency require the profligate use of "signing statements" to LEGISLATE from the Executive Office?

7. What is our medium and long term goal in Afghanistan, a 5 or 10 year occupation?

8. What is a "WIN" in Iraq? in Afghanistan?

9. What tools beside military threats do you see as useful with Iran?

10. Are secret cross border raids adequate policy to solve the problems with raids from Pakistan tribal areas?

11. Is occupation of Pakistan on your short list of tools to remove Taliban encampments in Pakistan?

12. Will you close Guantanamo, Bhagram and America's secret prisons, and allow Red Cross/Red Crescent access to all detains under American custody.

solidarity & peace

Rick Spisak

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The SURGE, Admit the surge, Respect the surge finally can we UNDERSTAND the Surge?

by R.W. Spisak Jr.

1. The technical definition
earlier, to ride (at anchor) probably in part from Middle French sourgir to cast anchor,
land, from Catalan surgir to heave, cast anchor, from Latin surgere to rise,
spring up; from sub- up + regere to lead straight; in part from Latin surgere
intransitive verb
: to rise and fall actively : toss surging in heavy seas>
2 : to rise and move in waves or billows : swell surging>

: to slip around a windlass, capstan, or bitts —used especially of a rope

: to rise suddenly to an excessive or abnormal value surged to a record high>
5 : to move with a surge or in surges surging into his face — Harry Hervey>
surged past the other runners>

transitive verb
: to let go or slacken gradually (as a rope)
Merriam Webster ONLINE

2. Dissecting this "SURGE",
This set of tactics, that has, if you ask the masters of manipulation
in the BUSH administration, it was, like all of the
Propaganda Boasts

How did Bush describe it, originally?
[Bush defined (1/10/07) as the original goals of the troop increase: to give the Iraqi government the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas.” “A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations,” he said in announcing his Iraq plan. “So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.” But most of the “benchmarks” he then listed—taking responsibility for security in all provinces by November 2007, holding provincial elections in 2007, passing oil-revenue-sharing legislation, spending $10 billion on reconstruction and infrastructure projects— have not been met, with little impact on the question of whether
the “surge” succeeded.]

What has it accomplished? SURGE, SURGE, SURGE...
Let's look at the Results of the GAO's Analysis from 2007

September 2007 GAO report on the surge
In early September 2007, the Government Accountability Office released its report on progress in Iraq. The report stated that only three of eighteen benchmarks were met, leading the Republican leadership to try to discredit the results, and the Democratic leadership to use the report as evidence of the flaws in Bush's Iraq policy.[17]

The following are, according to USA Today, the eighteen benchmarks and the level of completion according to the GAO:

  1. Constitutional review Unmet
  2. De-Bathification reform: Unmet
  3. Oil revenue sharing: Unmet
  4. Guidelines for semi-autonomous regions: Partially met
  5. Enact electoral reform: Unmet
  6. Enact insurgent amnesty laws: Unmet
  7. Disarming illegal militias: Unmet
  8. Baghdad security: Met
  9. Establish three trained Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad: Partially met
  10. Eliminate political interference with Iraqi military commanders: Unmet
  11. Ensure that Iraqi Security Forces are even-handed: Unmet
  12. Ensure no safe-haven for outlaws, regardless of religion: Partially met
  13. Reduce sectarian violence and eliminate illegal militia: Unmet
  14. Establish joint security stations across Baghdad: Met
  15. Increase Iraqi security force independence: Unmet
  16. Ensure the rights of minority legislature political parties: Met
  17. Spend $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction: Partially met
  18. End Iraqi political undermining of Iraq security forces: Unmet[18]
4. The SURGE: It was not a raising and then, reduction of the numbers of troops.
As always is typical of the BUSH-ITES it was not what they advertised.
It was an increase in TROOPS, which has yet, to ebb.

Army plans current Iraq troop levels until 2010 MSNBC
Top officer says future planning 'is not a prediction' of how war is going

What has the increase of Troops accomplished According to Prime Minister Maliki
[In his much-discussed recent interview with Der Spiegel (7/19/08), Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was asked “which factor has contributed most to bringing calm to the situation in the country?” Al-Maliki listed several reasons, the U.S. troop increase not among them. Given that the total number of occupation troops at the height of the surge—about 183,000—was the same as the number present in November/December 2005, it is unlikely that the escalation by itself did much to fundamentally change the situation in Iraq.] FAIR.ORG

[The weakest link in Bush's plan is that it depends on the cooperation of Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. After a phone conference with the Iraqi leader, Pres. Bush said al-Maliki had promised U.S. forces would be given a free hand, and that "political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated." Such interference has in the past blighted U.S. efforts to curb the Shi'ite militias responsible for most of the sectarian killing, especially in Baghdad. ... For the "surge" plan to work, al-Maliki will have to change his ways. Ahead of Bush's speech, al-Maliki aides told journalists in Baghdad that the Prime Minister was willing to let the Americans take down the militias. But such promises have in the past proven empty. Unlike Bush, who has finally acknowledged some mistakes
in his Iraq policies
, al-Maliki has never expressed any regret over his open defense of the militias. Nor has he been able to wean himself away from his political dependence on al-Sadr. As long as al-Maliki needs al-Sadr's backing to stay in office, he is unlikely to allow U.S. forces—whatever the number—to confront the Mahdi Army.
- Time Magazine 1/07 ]

It's not a surge if the number of troops, increases do not begin to turn around.
The troop levels have not yet begun to be reduced.

[What’s more, that decrease in the level of violence that “surge” supporters point to seems to have virtually no connection to the increase in troop levels. Mideast scholar Juan Cole (Informed Comment, 7/21/08, 7/24/08) wrote that the decline occurred primarily in Al-Anbar, which saw little troop increase, and in Basra, where British forces had already largely withdrawn.
Cole argued that if the escalation contributed to decreased levels of violence, it was because it “allowed the ethnic cleansing of the Sunnis of Baghdad and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from the country.”] FAIR.ORG

The troop increase has reduced American casualties but has had NO impact on the Iraqi Leadership or policy that it was ostensibly to impact.

5. The SURGE: What other tools has it used? THE BIG TOOL - Bribery,

Iraqi militia has been very happy to take arms and money to continue sectarian and ethnically cleanse neighborhoods.

[Now, in the midst of the surge, the Bush administration has done an about-face. Having lost the civil war, many Sunnis were suddenly desperate to switch sides — and Gen. David Petraeus was eager to oblige. The U.S. has not only added 30,000 more troops in Iraq — it has essentially bribed the opposition, arming the very Sunni militants who only months ago were waging deadly assaults on American forces. To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military has created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq's central government. Rolling Stone 6/08]

Best friends money can buy!

[Will 'armloads' of US cash buy tribal loyalty?
The US policy of paying Sunni Arab sheikhs for their allegiance could be risky.

Since June, Mr. Hassani, who claims to be one of the princes of the legendary Shammar tribe, which numbers nearly 7 million across the Arab world, says he has received at least $100,000 in cash and numerous perks from the US military and the Iraqi government.

With his help, at least $1 million has also been distributed to other tribal sheikhs who have joined his Salahaddin Province "support council," according to US officers. Together, they have assembled an armed force of about 3,000 tribesmen dubbed the "sahwa [awakening] folks."

All of these enticements serve one goal: To rally Sunni tribes and their multitude of followers to support coalition forces.
"[The US military] threw money at [the sheiks]," says Col. David Hsu, who heads a team advising Iraq's armed forces in Salahaddin, Saddam's home province. He shows recent digital photographs he captured of smiling sheikhs holding bundles of cash as they posed with US military officers. "You are basically paying civilians to turn in terrorists. Money was an expedient way to try to get results."

US military officers on the ground say there is tremendous pressure from high above to replicate the successes of the so-called "awakening" against Al Qaeda in the western Anbar Province. The drive reached its apex in the run-up to the September testimonies to Congress by the top US military commander and diplomat in Iraq, US officers say.

"In order to turn the intent of [Lt.] Gen. [Raymond] Odierno for reconciliation into action, the coalition forces on the ground basically started recruiting leaders to try to turn other civilians against the insurgents," says Colonel Hsu, a native of Hawaii. General Odierno is the No. 2 commander of US forces in Iraq. from the Christian Science Monitor]

6. Let's not forget the Corporate Mercenaries ... oops, did I forget to say, CONTRACTORS

[House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman estimates that $4 billion in taxpayer money has so far been spent in Iraq on these armed "security" companies like Blackwater -- with tens of billions more going to other war companies like KBR and Fluor for "logistical" support. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of the House Intelligence Committee believes that up to forty cents of every dollar spent on the occupation has gone to war contractors. - TomsDispatch]

The crucial role of contractors in continuing the occupation was driven home in January when David Petraeus, the general running the President's "surge" plan in Baghdad, cited private forces as essential to winning the war. In his confirmation hearings in the Senate, he claimed that they fill a gap attributable to insufficient troop levels available to an overstretched military. Along with Bush's official troop surge, the "tens of thousands of contract security forces," Petraeus told the Senators, "give me the reason to believe that we can accomplish the mission." Indeed, Gen. Petraeus admitted that he has, at times, been guarded in Iraq not by the U.S. military, but "secured by contract security."...

More significantly, there is absolutely no effective system of oversight or accountability governing contractors and their operations, nor is there any effective law -- military or civilian -- being applied to their activities. They have not been subjected to military courts martial (despite a recent Congressional attempt to place them under the Uniform Code of Military Justice), nor have they been
prosecuted in U.S. civilian courts – and, no matter what their acts in Iraq, they cannot be prosecuted in Iraqi courts. Before Paul Bremer, Bush's viceroy in Baghdad, left Iraq in 2004 he issued an edict, known as Order 17.

Amnesty International "Blood at the Crossroads" report on the proliferation of loose small arms around the world including Iraq

Thus as the American Military Occupation continues utterly dependent on a lawless expensive Mercenaries force under the current "NON-SURGING-SURGE". This expensive mercenary force remains LAWLESS and UNRESTRAINED. Seemingly free from any constraint of international law or simple human decency.


[STOPLOSS Expected to Continue through 2009 - Last year’s surge of five combat brigades into Iraq helped drive a 43-percent increase in soldiers being barred from leaving the service under stop-loss orders, and Army leaders predict the policy will remain in place at least through next year. However, they expressed optimism that the numbers will ebb as surge forces redeploy.

More than 12,230 soldiers are under stop-loss orders, compared to 8,540 in May 2007, during the surge. But the 30,000 combat troops that were part of the surge are in the process of coming home, and the Army is returning to 12-month deployments Aug. 1. Because soldiers are placed under stop-loss as members of deploying units, reducing the numbers sent to war reduces the numbers involuntarily held. - The Army Times]

The Defense department has depended on KIDNAPPING & PRESS-GANG tactics unseen since the glory-days of the British Empire, to keep under arms Americans against their will. This is completely UnAmerican, and destructive of human liberty, this is done in defense of LIBERTY?

No reductions instead an increase in Iraqis and other foreign nationals in American custody. And while some Americans might yet believe Bush Administration claims, that American forces do not torture. They remain, uncharged, and held beyond international law, with no contact or help of any kind.

[Amid all the talk about the U.S. military "surge" in Iraq, little has been said about the accompanying "surge" of Iraqi prisoners, whose numbers rose to nearly 51,000 at the end of 2007. Four years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, occupation forces are holding far more Iraqis than ever before and thousands more languish in horrendous Iraqi-run prisons. ...

U.S. forces are holding nearly all of these persons indefinitely, without an arrest warrant, without charge, and with no opportunity for those held to defend themselves in a trial. While the United States has put in place a formal review procedure that supposedly evaluates all detainees for release on a regular basis, detainees cannot attend these reviews, cannot confront evidence against them, and cannot be represented properly by an attorney. Families are only irregularly notified of the detentions, and visits are rarely possible.

These conditions are in direct violation of international human rights law, though Washington claims that such legal constraints do not apply, because the United States considers its forces to be engaged in an "international armed conflict." The human rights community, however, firmly disagrees arguing that the conflict is not international in the traditional legal sense. Furthermore, international human rights law applies at all times, in war as well as in peace.

The detention facilities are closed to human rights monitors like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, or the International Federation of Human Rights. Even the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, mandated by the Security Council to provide human rights reporting, is denied access by the U.S. command. Lack of such monitors greatly increases the likelihood that detainees will suffer from abuse and bad conditions, as human rights organizations have often pointed out.

Prisoners at Bucca have rioted to protest maltreatment, poor conditions and religious insults by guards. Most troubling, the military regularly confirms deaths of detainees in the facility, suggesting that excessive force is commonly used. - Foreign Policy in Focus]

SO, as they like to STRESS in the Interrogation Room... the BEAT! goes on!

9. Surge... the COSTS

Oh, did we notice there was some, collateral damage... but the military learned at least one lesson from Viet Nam, they don't count collateral damage. And it seems they don't want America's delicate sensibilities (RAMBO/CLINT EASTWOOD/TARENTINO not withstanding) no pictures of coffins or dead American soldiers.

Over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the 2003 invasion, according to a study conducted by the prestigious British polling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB). These numbers suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass killings of the last century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is
approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia’s infamous “Killing Fields” during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.
- Project Censored]

Fiscal Example #1
Here is one striking example. One of these firms, made up of a pair of ex-Army officers and bottom-rank Republicans, Scott Custer and Mike Battles. Battles had run for Congress in Rhode Island and had been a Fox News commentator, points out the Rolling Stone article.

The men threw together a security company in the hopes of grabbing a profitable contract to assure civilian security at the Baghdad airport.

Their bid looked "like something that you and I would write over a bottle of vodka, complete with all the spelling and syntax errors and annexes to be filled in later," said Col. Richard Ballard, then the inspector general of the Army. “The two simply presented it the next day and then got awarded about a $15 million contract."

“They were also given scads of money to buy expensive X-ray equipment and set up an advanced canine bomb-sniffing system, but they never bought the equipment. […] According to testimony by officials and former employees, the partners also charged the government millions by making out phony invoices to shell companies they controlled.” Digital Journal

Fiscal Example #2

Running a WAR, off the BOOKS??? - If its off the Books, fiscal republicans... does it have less fiscal impact? And breaking the Army, abusing the troops, and equipment, under-funding the veterans medical care.

Making room for the Iranians and Iraqis to improve their relations. Bribing the Mahdhi's Army to stop shooting our troops - That's what the surge is really about. And it's not a surge if the troops levels stay up.

Liberties Example #3 - Surge in warfare on our Constitutional Liberties

[As the recent "overhaul" of the 30-year-old FISA law illustrated -- preceded by the endless expansion of surveillance state powers, justified first by the War on Drugs and then the War on Terror -- we've essentially decided that we want our Government to spy on us without limits.
There is literally no police power that the state can exercise that will cause much protest from the political and media class and, therefore, from the citizenry. - Chris Floyd -
Monster Mash in a dead Republic]

The crime of planning to protest? What about the Constitutional Guarantee of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances? There is no right of the government to collect computers and cameras
to prevent protestors from planning a protest. Thinking is NOT A CRIME!

REPRESSION Example #4 - State of the Art-Murder & Repression

The harsh repression surrounding the “surge” has drawn far less U.S. press attention. The grim reality, however, is that an increasingly desperate American military has stepped up its indiscriminate killing and jailing of Iraqis, especially “military-age males” or MAMS.

A conservative counterinsurgency expert recently sent me a video, spliced together by the U.S. military in Iraq. It showed night-vision aerial surveillance of suspected “terrorists” as they moved about at night with what was described as a truck-mounted anti-aircraft gun, the muzzle still warm from firing.

The tiny figures of the “terrorists” walked into a forested area where they were mowed down by miniguns from an AC-130. Their truck also was blown to bits. Consortium News]

Congressional Cost Estimates from 2007 Example #5

[What can you get for a trillion bucks? Or make that $1.6 trillion, if you take the cost of the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars as tallied by the majority staff of JEC - Even assuming a considerable drawdown in troop levels, total economic costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (with the vast majority of costs a result of in the war Iraq) would amount to $3.5 trillion between 2003 and 2017). Joint Economic Committee]

Long Term IRAQ Prospects Example #6

[Summary: The Bush administration's new strategy in Iraq has helped reduce violence. But the surge is not linked to any sustainable plan for building a viable Iraqi state and may even have made such an outcome less likely -- by stoking the revanchist fantasies of Sunni tribes and pitting them against the central government. The recent short-term gains have thus come at the expense of the long-term goal of a stable, unitary Iraq.
Foreign Affairs]

The Surge, will ultimately make a permanent solution even more difficult it has been designed by it's proponents as a short term election cycle program to "present the illusion" of a solution, until after the election cycle is completed.

10. The SURGE - Summary

The Surge,

Is not a successful battle, it's not the turning point of the war, its not really a surge at all. It's simply an escalation, dependent on bribery and mercenaries, and torture.

The Surge,
Supplemented by an irresponsible Off the BOOKS Near $ 10 Billion dollar per month investment by a broken economy and staffed by a dragooned, stop-lossed, broken military.

The Surge,
A temporary measure to prop up the Maliki house of cards.

The Surge,
Where wads of cash have been applied to sop up the blood, till after the election.

Finally, Yeah, Senator my wife has a bracelet too, and a cute little anklet, and my dog has a necklace. So now, that we've covered the jewelry issue, let's talk about the reality of the grab-bag of MISSTEPS, MISSED OPPORTUNITIES, MISADVENTURES, and MISJUDGMENTS that are the REALITY of the BLOODY, DANGEROUS, CURRENT AMERICAN TACTIC, Misnamed... the surge.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

DEMOCRATS SPEAK-UP for Senator Obama

by RW Spisak Jr.

At the West Palm Beach Democratic Party rally, Democrats gathered to discuss the Election effort ahead, and Bush Administration Criminality. Since the meeting was limited to two hours, only the highlights of Bush Administration Crimes could be discussed. Here are a few examples of each, from the three areas discussed.

National - Violation of his oath of office, "to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic."
[Partisan/Religious Litmus tests for Justice Department positions.]
[Signing Statements that usurp Legislative and Judicial Authority
further destroying the balance of powers designed for our Government.]

Constitutional - 1st Amendment Free Speech & Freedom of Assembly
[Free Speech Zones.]
4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures
[Tapping the entire Internet searching for Personal Information]
[Seizing computers, and pamphlets of activists participating in dissent, and detaining journalists who report on dissent]

International - Geneva Convention Violations, [Secret Prisons, Extraordinary Renditions (State Kidnapping)Ghost Prisoners (held beyond Red Cross or Red Crescent), Policies of Torture.]
Indiscriminate use of weapons of Mass Destruction
[Shock & Awe Warfare, Cluster Bombs, Depleted Uranium Warheads]

Committed, caring democrats presented a wish-list of suggestions for presentation to the Obama campaign. We collected comments for about 30 minutes and these are the Primary Points.

* Democrats need to speak with an emotional message, not just factual points,
some people can't digest factual points but emotional appeals often have greater reach and impact
* Support was requested for the Department of Peace, an important Kucinich campaign issue
* Why hasn't a new Energy Policy been addressed more aggressively - it will help domestically,
it will have a profound impact on national security, it will lead to economic improvements and additional employment opportunities.
* There should be more discussion of the Bush Crimes, and Constitutional abuses
* Senator Biden should have a higher profile
* The FCC needs new leadership - the issues of Net Neutrality and Comcast's "Net-Metering"
as well as the ongoing implosion of Old-Media ownership require a new approach
* Discussions of Gov. Palin's endorsement and/or support of the Alaskan Independence Movement
* Gov. Palin's claim of a record of opposition "the old boy network" must be tested against
A. Her support and fundraising for the indicted Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens
B. Her cronyism approach to staffing her mayoral and governor offices.

There was additional discussion, over whether some of these topics should wait, until after the election or should they be part of the campaign, for the next 50 days.

Many raised questions about where could they find responses to the lies being spread
by many on the republican side. The website RESPOND TO THE LIES
was suggested as a great place to find the information necessary to refute the seeming endless stream of outright lies and half truths-summoned by the Rove-ite wing of the Republican party.

There were discussions of recent election problems, and the Florida Legislature's most recent attempt to disenfranchise Floridian minority voters with it's ""no match no vote law".

"Secretary of State Kurt Browning sent notice to the state's 67 supervisors of elections on Friday that the 2006 law, which has been on hold for the last year pending court rulings, would take effect again Sept. 8.

The result is that voters whose identification doesn't match with state files on Election Day will be given a provisional ballot and two days to prove their identity for their ballot to count.

Voting rights activists, who had unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of the law, blasted the decision, saying it allows the state to rely on what they consider error-prone databases in the month before voter registration ends on Oct. 6.

``This 11th-hour decision is an ill-advised move to apply a policy the state has never enforced in its current form, at a time when registration activity is at its highest, said Alvaro Fernandez of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, a plaintiff in the case along with the NAACP and the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition."

During a discussion of the progress Florida has finally made on Rights Restoration, (ACLU has an active Rights Restoration Campaign in Florida) it was pointed out that while Florida has increased the rates of processing it has cut funding to inform those whose, rights have been restored.

The Palm Beach democrats are energized and ready to make the most of these fifty+ days till we can call Senator Obama, president elect.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Keep... HOPE... Alive... Keep... HOPE... Alive"

by RW Spisak Jr.

Reverend Jesse Jackson pulled up in front of the Central Presbyterian Church in NE Denver on a beautiful sunlit morning. The Sherman street church had been home to "Progressive Central" an event created by the Progressive Democrats of America, running the week of the Democratic National Convention.

This beautiful Church, was clearly the home to more than just this weeks political activism. This was a church that was an active participant in compassionate future building. I wandered a bit, in this cornucopia of activism. It's entire lobby witness to a wide variety of causes and activist opportunities. There were tables spread around the room like a glorious smorgasbord of activism. Impeachment, Anti-War, Peace and Justice, Code Pink, book-publishers, "Got Spine?" activists, Health Care not Warfare campaigners, and more, all filling a lobby that rang with activism.

Reverend Jackson walked across the street into the church and was greeted by one after another happy activists. He walked down toward the front of the chapel to speak, this battle scarred veteran of the human rights movement striding purposefully with the firm knowledge of battles won and good progress made. His legacy will long be remembered as one in which although not without travail, certainly as one who spent his life deeply committed to human rights and dignity.

He started out with a discussion of the long slow arc of progress on the human rights front. He spoke of those who through the decades of history have made a begrudged place for the disenfranchised. He spoke of the civil rights marches and the freedom rides, and of all those many brave hearts who gave their blood and lives so that later others could stand on those powerful shoulders. He explained it was because of these freedom fighters Rosa Parks could take her seat, and Senator Obama could find his place at the table of American politics.

He reminded us that the contemporary glow surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"I have a dream" speech often obscures the ugliness that surrounded it. The reality of it's surroundings should not be completely lost from sight. He explained he'd come from jail, to stand beside Dr. King as the "I have a dream" speech was etched in the hearts of America. He described how as they traveled across the south, reaching out to communities, the forces that opposed them, extracted a heavy price for the temerity of these dreams.

Even the indignities of not being able to use motels or restaurants as they made their slow dangerous path across an apartheid ravaged America. The beautiful glow of the march on Washington and its power as a vision of a future America, all too often obscures the reality of that painful desperate time. Our progress today, was so dependent on those who gave all, with no sure sense into what future they were delivering their own lives and those of their families. We do those heroes no favors, failing to remember what that slow, painful, and brutal birthing cost.

Reverend Jackson, the activist and speaker knows how to reach past the despair into those deep wells of resolve that must feed the struggle for dignity. He called upon us and asked us to repeat along with him, "KEEP" he intoned... making the acoustic space for our echo. "Keep" we would respond, with fervor, faith and certainty. "Hope" he challenged pausing again, building a rhythm. "Hope" we agreed. Smiles all around the great stained glass lined chapel, "Alive" he insisted. Feeling all history leaning it’s heavy presence into our midst, "Alive", we agreed.

"Keep" he urged again, "Keep" we promised. "Hope" he called, speaking with, and yet beyond us, to that larger often brutal world. "HOPE" we promised, each catching a small part of that historic flame. That had stood in Selma, that had marched into an unknown future beside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. While they drafted a revised history for our divided America. "ALIVE" he proclaimed. "ALIVE" we spoke, knowing what world we faced beyond these dream-etched walls. That America has made progress, is indisputable, that we have succeeded in bringing this country further toward an understanding of the basic humanity of every child of these shores is true. And as true as that is, the work continues. That Senator Barak Obama has achieved the leadership of the Democratic party ticket is now a historic fact.

In today's America we face as in no previous time, an opportunity to make a small down payment on that sacrifice by freedom fighters from the past. We can stand with them an oppose the remaining poisonous vestiges of that brutal time. We stood that day in the chapel of Central Presbyterian Church and said with Reverend Jackson. "Keep" he demanded. "KEEP" we responded. "HOPE" he urged. "HOPE" we agreed. "ALIVE" he insisted. There, in that church, in the hearts of these activists, and outside in the sunny streets of Denver, where a few blocks away history will report that 45 years after Dr. King and the bearers of a brighter banner for humanity called out.... the "I have a dream" speech defying the haters... "Alive" we promised. Standing as we did that morning in the colored light falling through those beautiful golden hued stain-glass windows these hundred passionate souls poised on the surface of a planet spinning through the great void of space. We promised... "KEEP"...against time... against hatred... "HOPE" in the face of corporatism... "ALIVE" in the face of the simple fact of grey-haired feeble mortality.

Reverend Jackson included one final anecdote, revealing another glimpse of the shimmering illusions that obscure the truth.

He spoke of visiting the ailing Governor George Wallace, who had been one of the staunchest proponents of American Apartheid. He was in the final time of his life succumbing to both the effects of the failed assassination attempt, and the cancer that would end his days. Reverend Jackson had gone to pray with him and hoped to better understand the heart of the man who had done much to stop the march of human freedom in America. "I asked him, why was it, that he set the dogs and the police on horse back on the Freedom marchers?" Wallace said, "I did it to protect them". Reverend Jackson paused, showing that the response he hadn't understood the answer. It didn't make any sense. He asked Wallace, "what did he mean, he set the dogs and police on the marchers, to protect them?" Wallace replied, "there was a mob on the other side of the bridge, and if the marchers had crossed the bridge, they would have all been murdered."

Like him, we understood, that many things are not what they seemed. "KEEP" he said, "KEEP" we vowed. "HOPE" he insisted. "HOPE" we promised. "ALIVE", he insisted. Energized and inspired as we were, yes, "ALIVE" we affirmed. And we will take his message along with us.