Peace Activists Protest DNC Attack on Steele for War Criticism

The following letter was sent yesterday to the Democratic National Committee. As I noted yesterday, a key effect of Woodhouse's attack on Steele is the chilling of Republican dissent on the Afghanistan war - Republican dissent that war critics need in order to end it; and the letter attempts to counteract that effect and to pressure the DNC to not engage in this sort of attack on war critics in the future.

There's more...

200,000 marched for America this weekend. Now it's your turn...

From the Restore Fairness blog.

Do you know what it feels like to be a part of a 200,000 person-strong protest? In a word- amazing. But why scrimp on words when describing the largest demonstration for immigration reform since 2006!

On Sunday March 21st we joined tens of thousands of people from every corner of the country as they came together in Washington D.C. to demand humane immigration reform NOW. With thousands of workers, faith based groups, young people, LGBT folks and African-Americans demonstrating, the atmosphere on the National Mall was electric. Once we finished taking in the sheer magnitude of the sea of people that stretched across five blocks of the Mall, we held our signs up high and joined in the innovative and energetic rallying. It was difficult to not be distracted by the variety of colorful banners, signs, puppets and slogans that people creatively designed, and we were inspired by chants of “Sí Se Puede”, “No Human Being is Illegal,” and “Change Takes Courage.” The most prominent colors of the day were red, white and blue as demonstrators proudly waved American flags as they marched for justice.

Drawing on the history of the civil rights movement, Reverend Jesse Jackson was one of the enigmatic speakers who spoke of immigration as a civil rights issue that impacted all Americans. Other speakers included Rep. Luis Gutierrez, the leader of the movement for immigration reform, whose speech mirrored the spirit of urgency palpable in the crowd.

We’ve been patient long enough. We’ve listened quietly. We’ve asked politely. We’ve turned the other cheek so many times our heads are spinning…It’s time to let immigrants come out of the shadows into the light and for America to embrace them and protect them.

Cardinal Roger Mahony from L.A. made a touching and inspirational speech reminding us of the pain visited upon immigrant families impacted by the broken immigration system.

Consider what happened to little Gabby, a U.S. citizen whose father was taken from their home at 5 a.m. when she was nine. Now 14, instead of playing with her friends she takes care of her baby brothers while her mother tries to make ends meet. Gabby prays that Congress and the President enact immigration reform, so that she can once again feel the warmth of her father’s embrace and never again have nightmares that she will be left alone.

The surprise highlight of the “all star” line-up was President Obama’s video speech that was projected on giant screens to the vast crowd.

If we work together, across ethnic, state and party lines, we can build a future worthy of our history as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws…I have always pledged to be your partner as we work to fix our broken immigration system, and that’s a commitment that I reaffirm today.

As health care reform passed by evening, the time for talk seemed likely over. Sunday showed us that the lack of forward movement on reform and the unending enforcement actions targeting innocent workers and families would be tolerated no further. The next day, we joined a national action organized by FIRM at the Republican National Committee offices to call for stronger support and leadership for immigration reform from Republican leaders. As we picketed outside, organizers marched into the RNC office and demanded a meeting with RNC Chair Michael Steele, who had rejected an earlier request. The strategic sit-in action met with success as a meeting was fixed for March 31st.

There will be a lot of hard work in the upcoming weeks. For now, we need you to send a free fax and tell your Members of Congress that if they “don’t choose courage over hate, we’ll elect people who will.” And keep tuned for our video of this momentous event.

Learn. Share. Act. Go to restorefairness.org

 

 

 

Humorous Reactions to the Nobel Peace Prize

I was recently pursing through old political commentary, when I came upon these gems. The context: this was immediately after President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; pundits were thoroughly analyzing the event. The predictable reactions from both parties, however, were most humorous.

Michael Steele immediately shot out a press release criticizing Obama:

The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?' It is unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain - President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.

Wow. That was quite harsh. It's generally considered polite to congratulate a guy when he's won an award. And when that guy is our president, disingenuously criticizing him at every turn doesn't exactly do our country any good.

The Democratic National Committee's way of pointing this out, however, is just hilarious:

The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists - the Taliban and Hamas this morning - in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize. Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize - an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride - unless of course you are the Republican Party.

The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It's no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore - it's an embarrassing label to claim.


When I read that "The Republican party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists," I chuckled for a good long while. The rest of the statement actually makes a good argument, but that sentence's hyperbole is just ridiculously funny.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

There's more...

Humorous Reactions to the Nobel Peace Prize

I was recently pursing through old political commentary, when I came upon these gems. The context: this was immediately after President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; pundits were thoroughly analyzing the event. The predictable reactions from both parties, however, were most humorous.

Michael Steele immediately shot out a press release criticizing Obama:

The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?' It is unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain - President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.

Wow. That was quite harsh. It's generally considered polite to congratulate a guy when he's won an award. And when that guy is our president, disingenuously criticizing him at every turn doesn't exactly do our country any good.

The Democratic National Committee's way of pointing this out, however, is just hilarious:

The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists - the Taliban and Hamas this morning - in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize. Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize - an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride - unless of course you are the Republican Party.

The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It's no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore - it's an embarrassing label to claim.


When I read that "The Republican party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists," I chuckled for a good long while. The rest of the statement actually makes a good argument, but that sentence's hyperbole is just ridiculously funny.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

There's more...

Disrespectful and Disgraceful: The Republican Policy Against First Responders

by Walter Brasch

    It isn't unusual that the Republican party is anti-union.

    It isn't even unusual that the Republican National Committee sent to its base  a loaded questionnaire with blatantly leading and highly biased questions.

    But it is unusual that the party that claims to ally itself with homeland security has not-so-subtly attacked the firefighters and police who responded to 9/11.

    The Republicans want their respondents to answer a resounding "NO" to the following question:

"Do you believe that the federal government should allow the unionization of the Department of Homeland Security employees who serve in positions critical to the safety and security of our nation"?

    What the Republicans neither say, nor apparently acknowledge, is that every one of the 60 police who died in 9/11, and every one of the 343 firefighters and paramedics who died in 9/11 were members of unions. Their union membership did not interfere with their responsibilities or their abilities. Nor did union membership interfere with the city's 37,000 police or 15,000 firefighters and paramedics who either were on alert or responded during the two critical weeks after 9/11. In the U.S., police and staff personnel are represented by several labor organizations, with about 100,000 represented by the International Union of Police Associations and 325,000 represented by the Fraternal Order of Police; more than 295,000 are members of the International Association of Fire Fighters. The Security Police Fire Professionals of America represent more than 30,000 officers at several federal venues, including the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and NASA.

    Union membership for emergency management dispatchers and thousands of construction workers didn't affect their response to 9/11. None but the ignorant claim that union membership affects the ability of IRS, ATF, and treasury agents to do their jobs. Nor does anyone but the most uninformed party hacks believe that unionized federal fire fighters, border, customs, and immigration agents don't perform their duties because they pay union dues.

    Of course, President George W. Bush had no aversion to standing among unionized construction workers, police, and firefighters at the site of the former Twin Towers when he wanted innumerable photo-ops. But, less than a year after 9/11, President Bush said he would veto the bill to create the Department of Homeland Security if it allowed the employees to continue their union memberships or if collective bargaining was permitted for any of the 170,000 employees. It wasn't an idle threat. More than two-thirds of Congress agreed to sustain his veto.

    In January 2004, by executive order, President Bush stripped more than 500 Department of Justice paralegals, secretaries, and clerks of union membership, voided previously signed contracts, unilaterally decertified their unions, and forbid all DoJ workers from collective bargaining rights. Bush's rationale was that because staff "have as a primary function intelligence, counterintelligence, investigative, or national security work," their continued union membership was not "consistent with national security requirements and considerations." No president before George W. Bush, and no attorney general before John Ashcroft--not during World War I, World War II, or the Korean and Vietnam wars--had even suggested that union membership was a deterrent to effective homeland security. Although Ashcroft's successor, Alberto Gonzales, also opposed unions, following an extensive internal review, he acknowledged that "the vast majority of [unionized] immigration judges discharge their duties in a manner of which we can all be proud."

    In March 2007, Bush again threatened to veto a Congressional bill that would allow collective bargaining. The Senate had approved, 51-46, to table an amendment that would have banned collective bargaining for the nation's 45,000 airport screeners. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said allowing collective bargaining rights would be a "gift to al-Qaeda." Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the amendment's sponsor, claimed it was "outrageous that some politicians want to protect union bosses more than they want to protect Americans from terrorist attacks." However, DeMint also was honest in one of his reasons to ban collective bargaining. He said allowing collective bargaining in the Department of Homeland Security could lead to labor unions contributing more than $17 million to Democratic campaigns. Once again, President Bush had enough votes to sustain a veto if necessary. Thirty-six Republican senators and 146 House Republicans wrote to the President, "We believe that providing a select group of federal airport security employees with mandated collective bargaining rights could needlessly put the security of our nation at risk." They never acknowledged that there were no-strike and no work slowdown clauses already in contracts.

    Three months later, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that Bush's previous executive order that banned collective bargaining in the Department of Homeland Security was not only unconstitutional but parts of it were "simply bizarre [and] defies common sense." This was no liberal court--nine of the 13 members were nominated by Republican presidents.

    It's been almost eight years since 9/11, and the Republicans still claim that the nation's security will somehow be threatened by unionized first responders.

    Like any political party, the Republicans can have whatever principles it wants. But to attack first responders because they may place union membership above their sworn duty to protect life and property, even at the risk of their own lives, is not only disrespectful, it is disgraceful.

[Walter M. Brasch is a university professor of journalism, social issues columnist, and the author of 17 books. His current book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available from amazon.com, bn.com, and other stores. The book was a winner in the politics/social issues category of USA Book News awards, and a finalist in the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group awards. His weekly column was this year's winner in contests sponsored by the Pennsylvania Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists; his column received honorable mention in competition sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Forthcoming in August is the third edition of Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture. You may contact him at brasch@bloomu.edu or through his website, www.walterbrasch.com]

There's more...

Diaries

Advertise Blogads