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Stop Something! Start Something!

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The Democrats (and all responsible legislators) need to stand up and stop SOMETHING. Now I know the Dems argue that they don't have enough votes in the Senate to get anything through, but don't they at least have the votes to stop more blank checks for the Bush administration's power or direction? Pelosi took over as Speaker of the House with the 2006 midterm elections. She entered that position with a laundry list for the first 100 hours:
Make Americans safer here at home
  • We made our very first vote the implementation of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission national security recommendations.
Make our economy fairer
  • We voted to increase the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years--to give American workers an overdue pay raise.
Make college more affordable for every American
  • We voted to cut student loan interest rates in half.
Make America more energy independent and help fight global warming
  • We voted to roll back multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil companies - already enjoying record profits.
  • We will reinvest here at home in renewable energy and energy efficiency - spending our energy dollars in the Midwest, not the Middle East.
Offer hope for new cures to devastating diseases
  • We voted to expand research and help unlock the promise of stem cell therapies to alleviate human suffering and cure diseases.
Help reduce the cost of drugs for seniors and Americans with disabilities
  • We voted to require Medicare to leverage its substantial bargaining power to buy prescription drugs and pass the savings on to the people.
Clean up Washington and the fiscal mess
  • We put the interests of all Americans ahead of the special interests by passing tough Congressional ethics reform, restoring "pay-as-you-go" budgeting, and restricting spending earmarks.
Pelosi - A new Direction
Not on the list: Getting out of Iraq Stopping executive abuse of power Protecting our Constitutional Rights As 2006 has moved through 2007 and is now on the brink of 2008, We know more "now" than we knew "then."
  • We know that intelligence was "massaged" (at the very least) to justify an invasion of Iraq.
  • We know that the stage was set for contractors to operate outside any law and without any oversight in Iraq, Afghanistan (and likely elsewhere).
  • We know that Bush, Cheney, and all of their right hand "men" were involved in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity.
  • We know that the Bush Administration approved the use of torture (though the tapes were "destroyed'), and that it is likely that they contracted at least part of this out to "private contractors" (who are apparently above and beyond any law).
  • We know that the President approved and carried out massive illegal surveillance of tens of thousands (if not all) of the citizens of the United States. Further, that these activities initiated before September 11, 2001.
  • We "know" a lot of things, and these things point to other, deeper issues.
So why was impeachment taken off the table? Probably because it is likely that leading Democrats were up to their necks in the Bush administration crimes such as waterboarding. Among the Democratic "leadership" briefed by the CIA on "enhanced interrogation" were Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harman, Bob Graham, and John Rockefeller.
Pelosi's statement on the briefing: "On one occasion, in the fall of 2002, I was briefed on interrogation techniques the Administration was considering using in the future. The Administration advised that legal counsel for the both the CIA and the Department of Justice had concluded that the techniques were legal. "I had no further briefings on the techniques. Several months later, my successor as Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, was briefed more extensively and advised the techniques had in fact been employed. It was my understanding at that time that Congresswoman Harman filed a letter in early 2003 to the CIA to protest the use of such techniques, a protest with which I concurred."
Harman's statement on the briefings: CIA Director Hayden's public statement yesterday, that some members of Congress were informed about the existence of videotaped interrogations of high value detainees, prompts me to respond. In early 2003, in my capacity at Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, I received a highly classified briefing on CIA interrogation practices from the agency's General Counsel. The briefing raised a number of serious concerns and led me to send a letter to the General Counsel. Both the briefing and my letter are classified so I cannot reveal specifics, but I did caution against destruction of any videotapes. Given the nature of the classification, I was not free to mention this subject publicly until Director Hayden disclosed it yesterday. To my knowledge, the Intelligence Committee was never informed that any videotapes had been destroyed. Surely I was not. This matter must be promptly and fully investigated and I call for my letter of February 2003, which was never responded to and has been in the CIA's files ever since, to be declassified.
To the best of my knowledge, neither Graham nor Rockefeller issued press releases regarding the CIA briefings. So, high ranking Democrats were apprised of the utilization of "enhanced interrogation" including apparently waterboarding. Harman may or may not have written a letter of protest, but Pelosi apparently felt no need to protest - nor to investigate whether the "techniques" were only "legal" because the administration said they were. If these Democrats were aware of what was going on, who else might have been? Might any of the Presidential candidates have also known? Perhaps Hillary Clinton? Perhaps (from 2004) John Kerry and John Edwards? Is there an influence of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) here? Hillary Clinton is on the DLC Leadership Team, and John Kerry was also (assume still is) part of the DLC, as Edwards has been. The DLC characterizes itself as "centrist" Democrats. Harman, too is a member of the DLC, as well as the Blue Dog Coalition - a largely DLC group in the House. Obama has had the support of the DLC, but he has attempted to distance himself from them. Bill Richardson and Biden are also DLC affiliated. In fact, it appears the only Democratic candidates not connected to the DLC are Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel, and Dennis Kucinich. Clearly, the DLC has had a controlling hand in the Democratic party even though they are a Non-profit corporation and think tank. While Pelosi is (or was) not a member, she has clearly been under pressure from them. So is it the DLC that strong armed not stopping the crimes of the administration because their members have been involved? Or is it that the DNC has decided to look the other way as well. So here is my conspiracy theory on why there has been virtually nothing but acquiescence from the Democrats since they took power. The DLC is determined to quash any investigations or prosecutions linked to the Bush administration - no matter how egregious - because their members are up to their neck in the muck. Anything that takes Bush down the criminal trail has a daisy chain of Democratic "leaders" in it. Therefore, while the Democrats could block legislation by a number of mechanisms (including not letting resolutions out of committee) they won't. Likewise, they could filibuster and block any move for cloture, but they won't. Like the neo-con and religious right takeover of the Republican party, the DLC has taken over the Democratic party - or at least the leadership of it. Anything that brings down Bush and the neo-cons is going to bring them down as well. So if the DLC is directly involved, what do we the people do? Let the DLC know they are not representing us, or protecting our interests. - DLC Contact Form - and spread the word. Support the Progressive Democrats of America; Support the candidates who are not connected to the DLC: Dennis Kucinich Chris Dodd Mike Gravel Barak Obama Support your members of Congress to stand up! In order to take back our country we need to make sure that we are represented - not power blocks tied to corporate interests.

 

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Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and a Senior Editor for Cyrano's Journal Online with her own page being CJO's Avenger.
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So has the DLC taken control of the Democratic Par... by Rowan Wolf on Sunday, Dec 16, 2007 at 4:13:45 PM
There is little time left to come together to rega... by Brad Evans on Tuesday, Dec 18, 2007 at 11:56:54 AM