By Tom Hayden, PDA Advisory Board Member
LINK TO ORIGINAL
Request for Comments: Tom Hayden has submitted these recommendations for PDA for the year of 2006. We need your feedback, as well as your own thoughts on the direction you'd like to see PDA take in the upcoming year. Please submit your comments by filling out this form. Your ideas will be emailed to us immediately. Comments will be summarized later in an article on this web site. Thanks for your help!
The tide has turned. There is an opening. Expect the counter-offensive.
By Progressive Democrats of America
Launch of Town Hall Tour and Bonifaz's announcement that he will explore a 2006 run for Secretary of the Commonwealth
PHOTO:From left: Massachusetts State Democratic Chair Phil Johnston, PDA Director Tim
Carpenter, and author John Bonifaz
November 5, 2005--On Saturday, November 5, Rep. Jim McGovern and PDA National Board member John Bonifaz were featured at the first forum on the Iraq War sponsored by PDA and the Massachusetts State Democratic Party. The event took place at Turners Falls High School in Montague, Massachusetts. State Democratic Chair Phil Johnston presided over a panel that also included Anita Deutsch of the National Priorities Project, and Kevin Lucey, whose son Jeffrey's suicide after serving in Iraq was attributed to post-traumatic stress disorder. While Ms. Deutsch focused on war spending and what that means to each of our towns, Mr. Bonifaz spelled out some of the impeachable offenses he has detailed in his book "Warrior King: the Case for Impeaching George W. Bush." The highlight of the evening was the speech given by Rep. McGovern explaining his long-awaited bill which will cut off funding for the war in Iraq.
Iraqis killed as U.S. fires on car
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- As many as four Iraqis were killed and five others wounded when a U.S. military patrol opened fire on a vehicle driving near a U.S. military base on the road between Baquba and Khalis, a Baquba police official said.
The official said two children were among the dead in the incident, which took place at 6:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) on Monday.
A U.S. military spokesman in Baquba confirmed to CNN that American forces did open fire on a civilian vehicle but said three people were killed and one was injured.
The spokesman said the circumstances of the shooting were still under investigation but that a civilian vehicle approached the military base and did not heed warning shots to stop, resulting in U.S. forces opening fire on the vehicle.
By Marjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
In a bombshell that reverberated throughout the country, Congressman John Murtha called Thursday for an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. "The US cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily," Murtha said. "It is time to bring [the troops] home ... They have become the enemy."
Murtha, a decorated and highly-respected veteran of the Vietnam War, said he has been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since Bush invaded Iraq.
Rep. Murtha probably saw "soldiers with faces slashed by bombs and stitched up by doctors, soldiers with legs terribly mangled, soldiers with no legs - amputees with short stumps, with long stumps, without any stumps since entire limbs are missing," as fellow veteran Stewart Nusbaumer reported seeing at Walter Reed in his article in Intervention Magazine last month.
By Falah Alwan, President, Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq
Our federation will hold a sit in protest in the station of electrecity in Musayab, calling for withdrawal of the US troops from the station.
A number of workers in the thermal power station in the city Musayeb have submitted complain to the Federation of worker councils and unions in Iraq regarding the current situations in the station. Therefore we write this memorandum a according to these demands, and our commitment as a union to reject the transformation of the workplace into military barracks.
From U.S. Labor Against the War
We encourage all USLAW affiliates, members and contacts to follow the lead of this initiative by USLAW affiliate SEIU District 1199P. Many Democrats are running scared away from Murtha. It is important to contact your local Democratic members of Congress to tell them they should not just support Murtha, they too should demand an immediate end to the war and occupation of Iraq.
Brothers and Sisters,
In coordination with US Labor Against the War (USLAW), we are asking key leaders of important labor organizations in PA to join us in making calls to PA Congressman John Murtha to offer our support and encouragement for the courageous position he announced yesterday calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Below is a link to his speech:
Former staff chief says Cheney's 'flexibility' helped lead to abuse
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A former top State Department official said Sunday that Vice President Dick Cheney provided the "philosophical guidance" and "flexibility" that led to the torture of detainees in U.S. facilities.
Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, told CNN that the practice of torture may be continuing in U.S.-run facilities.
"There's no question in my mind that we did. There's no question in my mind that we may be still doing it," Wilkerson said on CNN's "Late Edition."
From “Saddam Hussein’s Development of Weapons of Mass Destruction
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
By Danny Schechter, Mediachannel.org
The much-maligned Mr. Marx said history often begins as tragedy and repeats itself as farce. That was never more true last Friday night as we watched the great Iraq war “debate.
Part 1 of a 3-Part Series
By Maureen Farrell, http://www.buzzflash.com
"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
"The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." ~ Harry S. Truman
A couple years ago, historian Chalmers Johnson predicted that thanks to the "entrenched interests" of the military-industrial complex, the United States can look forward to a future of perpetual war, increased propaganda, fewer Constitutional rights, and a bloated executive branch. America, he warned, "will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787" unless there is a "revolutionary rehabilitation of American democracy."
Toledo Blade Editorial
An orchestrated campaign by the White House to chastise critics of the Iraq war is coming off as a political act of desperation. As polls increasingly show public support for the war and the President plummeting, the Bush Administration has embarked on an aggressive but unimaginative strategy to dismiss dissenters who have found their voices of late.
As in the past, Mr. Bush and top administration officials are lashing out at opponents of the U.S. invasion and its messy aftermath by casting aspersions about their patriotism and integrity.
With his job-approval rating hitting new lows, Mr. Bush began his latest barrage on Veterans' Day, charging Democratic critics with trying to rewrite history by accusing the White House of manipulating intelligence before the war.
Preaching only to the choir
By Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune
When President Bush wanted to make a speech on the war in Iraq in May, he went to the Naval Academy. When he wanted to make a speech on the war in Iraq in August, he went before members of the Idaho National Guard and their families. When he wanted to make a speech on the war in Iraq in November, he went to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.
Vice President Dick Cheney also likes a gathering that knows how to salute. When he emerges from his bunker to castigate critics of the war, it's usually at a safe remove from those critics. Last month, it was at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. In June, it was at the Air Force Academy.
By Patrick Seale, The Daily Star (Lebanon)
As Iraq sinks deeper into disaster, the question people are asking is this: Was the Iraq war inevitable? Could it have been avoided? Had Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to take part, would President George W. Bush have gone to war alone?
If it can be established that Britain could have checked America's rush to war, but failed to do so, then Blair must share with Bush a heavy personal responsibility for the catastrophe that followed - for the vast number of civilian and military deaths, for the huge expenditure of resources, for the physical destruction of Iraq and the continuing misery of its people, for the attacks on London's transport system last July and, more generally, for the terrorist explosion which now threatens much of the world.
By Barb Guy, Salt Lake Tribune
The Bush team has been taking potshots at anyone who dares to note the overwhelming evidence that the administration manipulated - if not downright manufactured - pre-war intelligence in order to sell the American people on the Iraq war.
People have pointed these things out for years, for all the good it's done. So what has brought on the recent nasty counterattacks? Sidney Blumenthal said in Salon.com Thursday: "The Senate's decision last week to launch an investigation into the administration's role in prewar disinformation, after the Democrats forced the issue in a rare secret session, has provoked a furious presidential reaction."
Excerpts from an article by Paul Krugman in the NY Times (paid subscription required and I encourage you to sign up and pay so that the NY Times knows Krugman is popular):
Not long ago wise heads offered some advice to those of us who had argued since 2003 that the Iraq war was sold on false pretenses: give it up. The 2004 election, they said, showed that we would never convince the American people. They suggested that we stop talking about how we got into Iraq and focus instead on what to do next.
It turns out that the wise heads were wrong. A solid majority of Americans now believe that we were misled into war. And it is only now, when the public has realized the truth about the past, that serious discussions about where we are and where we're going are able to get a hearing...
By Larry C. Johnson
The neocons who helped bum rush the United States into war are insistent that things are actually peachy keen in Iraq. It is just that damn liberal media who keeps spreading the lies and the bad news about the place. Oh really?
Consider the following:
The strife between the Shias and the Sunnis in Iraq is escalating. A dandy piece in today's New York Times by Sabrina Tavernise lays it out in excruciating detail.
Two and a half years after the American invasion, deep divides that have long split Iraqi society have violently burst into full view. As the hatred between Sunni Arabs and Shiites hardens and the relentless toll of bombings and assassinations grows, families are leaving their mixed towns and cities for safer areas where they will not automatically be targets. In doing so, they are creating increasingly polarized enclaves and redrawing the sectarian map of Iraq, especially in Baghdad and the belt of cities around it.
See Friday's press conference here:
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington, The Independent (UK)
The controversy in America over pre-war intelligence has intensified, with revelations that the Bush administration exaggerated the claims of a key source on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, despite repeated warnings before the invasion that his information was at best dubious, if not downright wrong.
The disclosure, in The Los Angeles Times, came after a week of vitriolic debate on Iraq, amid growing demands for a speedy withdrawal of US troops and tirades from Bush spokesmen who all but branded as a traitor anyone who suggested that intelligence was deliberately skewed to make the case for war.
From Tomdispatch today, "Losing the Fear Factor, How the Bush Administration Got Spooked" http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=38464
In this piece, I follow the "fear factor" from September 11, 2001 to the present, discussing how the Bush administration played the fear card, why in recent months it stopped working, and what this means -- for all the President's men, for the Republicans, for the Democrats and for the rest of us. It is also the story of how the President's war of choice in Iraq chased his presidency over an opinion-poll cliff -- and a survey of a radically changed political landscape in the media, in Congress, and in the White House. In the process, I suggest the way two central agendas of the Bush administration proved to be in conflict, although for years this was less than evident (even to the players involved). The unfettered imperial presidency and an unfettered Republican Party -- two dreams joined at the hip by September 11, 2001 -- were parted by the Iraq War. Check out how and why in my latest piece.
By David Swanson
During the middle of the day on Friday, I spent an hour or two on a conference call with activists and congressional staffers discussing next steps to end the war. We planned, among other things, to organize support for Congressman John Murtha's bill, H.J.Res. 73, which he introduced on Friday. The bill resolves that:
"The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S. Marines shall be deployed in the region. The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy."
Rep. Cynthia McKinney's Statement on "Murtha" War Resolution
The Republicans in this House have done a heinous thing: they have insulted one of the deans of this House in an unthinkable and unconscionable way.
They took his words and contorted them; they took his heartfelt sentiments and spun them. They took his resolution and deformed it: in a cheap effort to silence dissent in the House of Representatives.
The Republicans should be roundly criticized for this reprehensible act. They have perpetrated a fraud on the House of Representatives just as they have defrauded the American people.
By Progressive Democrats of America
November 16, 2005--Watch exclusive online video of Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) being interviewed regarding his bill H. Res. 4232, which would cut off funding for the Iraq war. See links below to select a clip appropriate for your Internet connection speed. Then take action to support the resolution!
By Bob Drogin and John Goetz, The Los Angeles Times
The Iraqi informant's German handlers say they had told US officials that his information was 'not proven,' and were shocked when President Bush and Colin L. Powell used it in key prewar speeches.
Berlin - The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq.
Five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with The Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush issued an order to the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, and his cabinet members that severely curtailed intelligence oversight by restricting classified information to just eight members of Congress.
"The only Members of Congress whom you or your expressly designated officers may brief regarding classified or sensitive law enforcement information," he writes, "are the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Intelligence Committees in the House and Senate."
By Francis Elliott, Raymond Whitaker and Kim Sengupta
The Independent (UK)
Britain has been dragged into the growing scandal of officially condoned killings in Iraq.
British-trained police operating in Basra have tortured at least two civilians to death with electric drills, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence, admits that he knows of "alleged deaths in custody" and other "serious prisoner abuse" at al-Jamiyat police station, which was reopened by Britain after the war.
Militia-dominated police, who were recruited by Britain, are believed to have tortured at least two men to death in the station. Their bodies were later found with drill holes to their arms, legs and skulls.
By Frank Rich, The New York Times
If anyone needs further proof that we are racing for the exits in Iraq, just follow the bouncing ball that is Rick Santorum. A Republican leader in the Senate and a true-blue (or red) Iraq hawk, he has long slobbered over President Bush, much as Ed McMahon did over Johnny Carson. But when Mr. Bush went to Mr. Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania to give his Veterans Day speech smearing the war's critics as unpatriotic, the senator was M.I.A.
Mr. Santorum preferred to honor a previous engagement more than 100 miles away. There he told reporters for the first time that "maybe some blame" for the war's "less than optimal" progress belonged to the White House. This change of heart had nothing to do with looming revelations of how the new Iraqi "democracy" had instituted Saddam-style torture chambers. Or with the spiraling investigations into the whereabouts of nearly $9 billion in unaccounted-for taxpayers' money from the American occupation authority. Or with the latest spike in casualties. Mr. Santorum was instead contemplating his own incipient political obituary written the day before: a poll showing him 16 points down in his re-election race. No sooner did he stiff Mr. Bush in Pennsylvania than he did so again in Washington, voting with a 79-to-19 majority on a Senate resolution begging for an Iraq exit strategy. He was joined by all but one (Jon Kyl) of the 13 other Republican senators running for re-election next year. They desperately want to be able to tell their constituents that they were against the war after they were for it.
Union for Reform Judaism, Representing 1.5 Million People, Votes Against War in Iraq;
Resolution Calls for Exit Strategy and Specific Goals for Troop Withdrawal
HOUSTON -- Representatives of the 1.5 million Reform Jews in North America voted almost unanimously to call on the Bush Administration to immediately provide a clear exit strategy for the War in Iraq, with some troop withdrawal to begin after the December 15 elections.
More than 2,000 voting delegates from more than 500 congregations in all 50 states participated in the session at the Union for Reform Judaism's Biennial Convention, meeting in Houston Nov. 16-20.
By Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
Whatever impact the scandal surrounding the leak of
former CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity ultimately
has on the Bush administration, it continues to spread
through the Washington press corps like a toxic plume.
As it does, it discredits not only individual reporters
and damages their news organizations but also an entire
style of reporting that has come to dominate the way
Americans are informed - or misinformed - concerning
their government's conduct.
This week's casualty was the Washington Post's Bob
Woodward, who, as it turns out, has concealed for 17