We On The Left Have Lost Our Focus And We Stand To Lose Even More!
Washington Post By Sarah Lovenheim
The No. 2 Democrat in the House faced a town hall crowd that he called "the largest of his career" last night at a high school in ...
Town Hall Talk: Hoyer's Message to Maryland on Health Care
About 1700 people congregated to hear the House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (Md.), talk about Congress's plans to push health-care reform. ...
What's Behind Senators' Mixed Health Care Messages?
Proponents of health care reform have bemoaned the fact that a handful of senators from small, rural states are leading -- and by some measures, ...
It was just a year ago that Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president. He was on top of the world, with 80,000 star-struck fans in Denver believing that he could deliver the change he promised.
One of those promises involved the medical system. “Now — now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American,” he asserted in the Denver stadium, to wild applause.
“If you have health care — if you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums,” he added. “If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.”
It seemed simple enough. And almost no one, at least on the Democratic side, seemed to question his goals.
Now Mr. Obama is learning the stark differences between campaigning and governing.
After a brutal August, his poll numbers are sagging, support for his plan has eroded, and many voters can no longer even identify what his plan is because he ceded his major domestic priority to Congress. There, the bills that have passed seem destined to remain as one-house bills. His priorities of a year ago — lower premiums and Cadillac coverage — seem to have fallen by the wayside. No one seems in charge.
The president’s advisers told reporters Tuesday night that he was preparing for a course correction. He is expected to give a nationally televised address as Congress returns to Washington next week and he intends to be more “prescriptive” about exactly what he wants in a bill.
But he faces far more opposition than he did just a year ago, not just from Republicans but from his own base. Democrats are fractured. The president will face hard choices. One of them ultimately may be whether to accept half a loaf or none at all. Decades ago, his friend Ted Kennedy, who was offered a national health care plan by President Nixon, took none at all, and lived to regret it.
Tell us how you think the president should proceed.
While Congress wraps up its summer recess this week, Democrats are fast rethinking how to approach health care reform after their efforts fractured under louder opposition.
Up to this point, President Obama has taken a rather laissez-faire approach to the specific language proposals in health care bills, preferring to leaving the details up to Congress. But Mr. Obama, whose approval ratings have taken a beating in this summer’s health care brawl, will lay out a blueprint as early as next week when Congress returns to Washington specifying what he wants to see in the final legislation. The Times’s Jackie Calmes reports that the president likely will deliver a public address outlining his goals for shaping the bill, possibly even putting his plan in writing.
After facing such a tough recess with noisy town halls and anxious voters, The Times’s Carl Hulse finds that many Blue Dog Democrats — who hail from more conservative territory, still believe that some form of health care legislation will pass with their approval.
Mr. Obama’s adviser David Axelrod also indicated that the White House was willing to sidestep senior Republicans stonewalling negotiations to get to their more moderate counterparts, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman and Janet Adamy.
Or, as the Washington Post’s Dan Balz quoted Rahm Emanuel, whose vacation included fishing out west, the White House needs to “catch more fish.”
Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim Vanderhei also note that the president’s forthcoming speech would take on other “trouble spots,” like “showing progress in Afghanistan, and using this month’s anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers to push for a crackdown on Wall Street.”
For the rest of this week, the president will be at Camp David and the White House announced that there would be no public events or press briefings throughout the holiday weekend. Vice President Joseph R. Biden will get the presidential daily briefing Wednesday, then later attend a series of meetings on his Middle Class Task Force, the stimulus package and national security.
Glen Greenwald made a point last week that people living in this country "should be made to know" the details of what the CIA was directed to do toward detainees. I agree with him. See the still heavily redacted report.
One excerpt: "...debriefer, according to a [redacted] who was present, threatened Al-Nashiri by saying that if he did not talk, 'We could get your mother in here,' and, 'We can bring your family in here.' The [redacted] debriefer reported wanted Al-Nashiri to infer, for psychological reasons, that the debriefer might be [redacted] intelligence office based on his Arabic dialect, and that Al-Nashiri was in [redacted] custody because it was widely believed in Middle East circles that [redacted] interrogation technique involves sexually abusing female relatives in front of the detainee."
Last Monday, Eric Holder appointed a prosecutor to look into whether there should be further investigation of the CIA. What does that mean?
Ken Theisen writes on worldcantwait.org in "Limited Review" of Torture is Really a Cover-up that "It is readily apparent that Holder's announcement is not meant to hold those at the top of the Bush regime responsible for their criminal actions. At most, just like the investigation conducted after the revelations of atrocities at Abu Ghraib, only a few low-level players will face any sort of 'justice.' Those ultimately responsible for torture, such as Bush, Cheney, Rice, Hadley, Addington, Yoo, etc. will escape accountability - if Obama gets his way."
Former VP "Dick" Cheney took to the news programs and stayed on his offensive against any sanction or even investigation into the CIA's torture.
Center for Constitutional Rights Board President Michael Ratner called the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a prosecutor to investigate whether there should be further investigations of CIA agents involved in torture, a "sham and a diversion." Listen to the whole piece on LawandDisorder.org.
Thanks to those who donated to World Can't Wait's work in defending Dr. LeRoy Carhart's abortion clinic in Omaha NE last week, after anti-abortion protesters called him "Target #1" in their effort to stop abortion and birth control access. See a fascinating interview with Dr. Carhart in the Kansas City Star, and get a picture of both his determination in the face of murderous threats, and his over-arching compassion and care for women who need abortion.
We came from Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and New York. Our work helped bring activists from 16 states and D.C. Terry O'Neil, President of the National Organization for Women; Emilie Ailtz of NARAL-Colorado, Kathy Spillar from the Fund for a Feminist Majority. Dr. Suzanne Poppema of Physicians for Reproductive Choice & Health voiced the support of abortion providers around the country.
See Lina Thorne's Doctor Carhart is a Hero: A Report From Nebraska.
While the mobilization recieved very positive press coverage and community support, the story is not over, as the state government has responded to the anti-abortion pressure and is launching an "investigation" of Dr. Carhart based on their continual complaints.
This takes me back to point #1 of this newsletter. How can torturers and those who ordered them completely escape even being investigated, and kind, courageous doctors get harassed, investigated, and even killed?
Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait
By Carol Eisenberg | September 2, 2009
The man whom Dick Cheney has suggested is an Obama hatchet man to discredit Bush policies in the War on Terror is a registered Republican who was first deputized by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey to probe the CIA’s destruction of detainee videotapes. But John H. Durham, appointed last week to investigate allegations of CIA abuse of detainees, is no one’s shill. Perhaps the distinguishing feature of his 30-year career as a Connecticut federal prosecutor is his willingness to follow the evidence, wherever it leads.
Durham helped prosecute John G. Rowland, the former Republican governor of Connecticut, on corruption. He put away dirty FBI agents in Boston in the sensational case that inspired Martin Scorcese’s The Departed. And he has successfully prosecuted a rogue’s gallery of mob leaders, including members of the Gambino, Genovese and Patriarca crime families.
“All I know is, if I were being investigated by John H. Durham, I’d probably save him the trouble and commit suicide,” wrote the author of Lawyerworldland, a blog.
A practicing Roman Catholic and devoted Red Sox fan, Durham has been compared to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago who served as special prosecutor probing the leaked identity of a CIA officer who won a conviction against Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
“He’s Fitzgerald with a sense of humor,” Hugh O’Keefe, a Connecticut criminal defense lawyer who has known Durham for 20 years, told The Washington Post.
Like Fitzgerald, Durham has tackled knotty cases for both Democrats and Republicans. In the late 1990s, the Clinton Justice Department made him special prosecutor to investigate allegations that the FBI in Boston was colluding with James “Whitey” Bulger and his Winter Hill Gang. Former FBI agent John J. “Zip” Connolly Jr. was indicted in 1999 on charges that he had alerted Bulger to investigations, falsified FBI reports to cover his crimes and accepted bribes.
Since being tapped by the Bush administration 19 months ago, Durham has headed the inquiry into the 2005 destruction of CIA videotapes that depicted brutal waterboarding of high-value terrorism suspects. The investigation is unfolding before a grand jury in Alexandria, although it is unclear whether anyone will be charged, according to the Post.
Now, on behalf of another Democratic administration, he will examine allegations that CIA employees broke laws in connection with a number of cases involving interrogations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other possible secret sites. Durham will make a recommendation to the attorney general about whether to launch a full-scale criminal investigation.
Even for a man routinely described as fearless, that is a daunting assignment.
But Durham’s reply to a reporter’s question at a long-ago press conference in Boston about a probe into FBI corruption may be instructive.
“Does the Department of Justice have the stomach to pursue this investigation to its conclusion?” the reporter asked, according to a 2001 profile of Durham in The Hartford Courant.
“The government absolutely has the stomach,” Durham answered.
It was the only question he took that day.
Bruce Fein On CIA Torture Investigation: "My Objection Is It's ...
By The Huffington Post News Editors
War crimes are Jus Cogens and cannot be violated by even changing law to allow for it, other examples of Jus Cogens, you can't make a law to permit slavery, war crimes or torture. There are legal remedies through Congress to change law ...
September 2nd, 2009, Fairfax, VA— Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today announced the nationwide American Liberty Tour, an outreach effort to organize concerned citizens beginning on September 10th. It is scheduled to stop in 18 cities across twelve states from California to Georgia until October 13th.
Wilson called upon Americans nationwide to join the tour, and "to begin organizing to take back America from the Washington power elite through the establishment of a viable political movement in the defense of liberty, limited government, and free markets."
"Change will not come from Washington. Change will come in Sacramento, Tallahassee, Atlanta, and elsewhere. Change will come from individual Americans in their communities who are determined to save their nation from an unsustainable, unaccountable Leviathan in Washington," Wilson declared.
"Rallies are great for venting anger. But anger is not enough. The American people's best defense is action in their local communities," Wilson added. "So, the American Liberty Tour will be traveling across the country providing training to individuals. The hard left has been doing this kind of 'community organizing' for decades. Now, it's time to give them a dose of their own medicine."
The American Liberty Tour is a collaborative project of the American Liberty Alliance, American Majority, Americans for Limited Government and the Sam Adams Alliance, and will feature Adam Bitely (NetRight Nation), Ned Ryun (American Majority), Eric Odom (TaxDayTeaParty.com), Ken Marrero (American Liberty Alliance), Erick Erickson (RedState), "Joe the Plumber", Lloyd Marcus (The Tea Party Song), and many others.
ALG New Media Coordinator and Director of NetRightNation.com, Adam Bitely, said that the American Liberty Tour "will provide a good venue for people to come out and learn how to become active in their communities, whether it be online, in their local political party organizations and governments, in the streets, and in direct communication with their representatives—all to organize against these government takeovers of every aspect of our lives. Citizen activism is now more critical than ever."
Bitely said action was the only way the American people could preserve their liberty. "Concerned citizens nationwide must get involved, because right now we have an intrusive, over-sized government. But now it's on the defense, attempting to mask its actions as being representative of the will of the majority of Americans, when it is not," Bitely added. "It is clear to us that the majority does not like the course and direction that the nation is headed in."
According to Rasmussen Reports, 60 percent of voters say the country is headed in the wrong direction, with only 34 percent saying it is headed in the right direction.
Eric Odom, co-founder of TaxDayTeaParty.com and President of the American Liberty Alliance said that the tour was designed to bring like-minded citizens together "who are a sick and tired of Washington running the country into the ground, and who are looking for a way to fight back."
President of American Majority Ned Ryun said, "It is the politicians and bureaucrats who have brought this nation to the brink of financial ruin, devastated our schools, eroded our liberty and property rights, and have rapidly nationalized more and more of the economy. And it is American people who solely have the power to stop this alarming trend. What we want is to empower them to be effective in making those changes that need to be made."
Wilson agreed, "No national group will save this country. Active citizens in their hometowns will save this country."
Odom said the numbers were not surprising. "We're talking about a government that through interventionism has wrecked the economy, and now in response has engaged in the most rapid increase of spending in human history. The American people are concerned that the nation is headed off a precipice."
Ryun agreed, and said, "Washington thinks that it can centrally plan the economy, health care, education, our savings and spending habits, our retirements—in short, our lives. But it cannot, and the American people realize this, and they are wondering what they can do to stop an unsustainable, out-of-control government."
Wilson said the tour would send a clear message to Washington, "that the politicians have lost the consent of the governed. That it is not the government that rules the people, but that it is the people who run the government."
Interview Availability: Please contact Alex Rosenwald at (703)383-0880 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.