The hurricane-driven windfalls for GOP-connected
businesses continues, and so do the scandals of widespread corruption
among George Bush's cronies. And the rest of us are played for suckers.
Amid chants of "Arrest Bush," hundreds of antiwar activists participated in a peaceful but boisterous sit-in outside the White House Monday, as part of a day of protests that saw Cindy Sheehan and others taken into custody.
Sheehan, the California woman whose 24-year-old son Casey was killed in the Iraq War, drew international attention in August when she camped out near George Bush's ranchette in Crawford, Texas, as part of an effort to secure a face-to-face meeting with the President. Over the weekend, the woman whom Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Lynn Woolsey, D-California, praised for "waking up America" brought her demand to Washington, where she participated in the mass demonstration against the war on Saturday.
On Monday, more than 1,000 people gathered in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Code Pink activists stretched a huge "Mothers Say No to War" banner across Pennsylvania Avenue, and early in the afternoon several hundred members of the crowd, including Sheehan, approached the northwest entrance of the executive residence. Holding a picture of her son in his US Army uniform, Sheehan again requested an opportunity to talk with the President about the Iraq War.
In his September 15 speech to the nation, President Bush asserted that poverty in America is mostly restricted to the nation's Southern states.Like a lot of right-wing ideologues when it comes to issues of race andpoverty in America, he's in denial.
Many Republicans seem to believe that poverty is confined to one region ofthe nation, that the past (i.e. what Bush called a "history of racialdiscrimination") should shoulder the blame for the problem, and thatindividuals make choices that determine their station in life. Bush'ssupporters hold the White House and the Republican agenda blameless, andargue that the president's vision for building an "ownership society" willenable America's poor to build a better life for themselves and their families.
The first thing wrong with such arguments is that poverty is not simplyfound in the deep South, as Bush suggested in primetime. Poverty is a factof life in every city and state nationwide. Sociologist Andrew Beveridge(at the request of the New York Times) recently conducted an economicsurvey of New York City and confirmed what other studies have alreadyshown--that New York is divided between the rich and the poor. Thisfabulously wealthy city has more than its share of entrenched poverty andracial economic disparities.
New Orleans was top-of-mind for more than 100,000
peace advocates in Washington who delivered a clear and unified
message, protesting the Bush Administration's war in Iraq and its
callous indifference to the victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes.
(The verdict is in! Scroll below for an update on the St. Patrick's Day Four trial.)
Tens of thousands of protesters rallied on Saturday in Washington and other US and European cities to demand the withdrawal of US troops in some of the largest antiwar protests since the invasion of Iraq more than two years ago.
In DC, protest organizers estimated a crowd of about 200,000 rallied at the Ellipse, then marched around the White House and along Pennsylvania Avenue. Police put the crowd count at about 150,000. Elsewhere, marches took place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Paul, Florence, and Madrid. In London, British police said around 10,000 people took to the streets, while organizers put the figure at nearer 100,000. A small rally was held in Paris, and in Rome dozens of demonstrators held up peace flags outside the US Embassy.
Somehow, the disconnect persists. Despite a steady stream of polls and statements indicating public opposition to the war in Iraq, the stay-the-course consensus continues to suffocate DC.
Last week, a New York Times poll showed that 52 percent of Americans want immediate withdrawal, and that only 44 percent now feel that the United States "made the right decision in taking military action against Iraq." Yet, aside from a select group of representatives--like Progressive Caucus chair Lynn Woolsey, who convened an unofficial hearing on withdrawal last Thursday--calls for real change have been met with deaf ears on the part of the political class.
But, as tens of thousands of citizens are set to converge on the Mall this weekend for what could be the largest US protest yet against the Iraq war, and with some of America's largest cities having passed resolutions calling for a pullout, ignoring the public may no longer be politically tenable. Last week, the Chicago City Council voted 29 to 9 to become the largest US city to pass the "Bring Them Home Now" resolution. The Windy City joins Philadelphia, San Francisco, and more than fifty other municipalities that have called for withdrawal.
Of all the votes by Democratic senators in favor of the nomination of John Roberts to serve as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, none is likely to be more disappointing to progressives than that of Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold.
Feingold, a maverick Democrat whose increasingly outspoken criticism of the war in Iraq has earned him frequent mentions as a potential candidate for his party's 2008 presidential nomination, was one of three Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to support the Roberts nomination on Thursday.
Along with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the committee, and fellow Wisconsinite Herb Kohl, Feingold joined all of the committee's Republicans in backing the Bush administration nominee. The three Democratic votes on the committee are likely to ease the way for as many as two dozen Senate Democrats to vote to confirm Roberts when the nomination goes to the full Senate.
An agreement between the United States and North
Korea resolving longstanding differences on nuclear weapons and energy
programs at first was cause for celebration. But in fact, no real
breakthrough has occurred. There is only the appearance of an
Long-awaited reform efforts at the United Nations have
fallen far short of Kofi Annan's original vision. But despite John
Bolton's antagonism, there has been progress.
It took a Gulf Coast hurricane to make Americans aware
of the poverty in their own backyard. Now it's time for public policies
that end racial segregation, so that the poor in this country will not
continue to suffer.