PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

May 2, 2007

weakling democrats

Filed under: 1Stop War,National Politics — frosty @ 2:27 pm

there is a blog post by senator russ feingold on the huffington post about today’s presidential veto of the iraq spending bill sent to him last week by the democratic congress.  he said he’d veto it before it showed up on his desk, but democrats sent it anyway, using the bill as a signal that congress was no longer bush’s lap dog.

now that bush has done exactly what he said he would, it seems some democrats have already lost their nerve, their will to do battle with the president on this issue.  well, since we couldn’t get it passed with the time line there can’t possibly be a way to force the president to end this war.  oh well, let’s just give him what he wants….


the president is completely unwilling to compromise on anything having to do with iraq, yes, but that doesn’t mean we just throw in the towel.  we keep fighting for what we think, what we know is right.  in a rare instance, democrats in congress actually have tremendous support from the public with regard to ending the war in iraq.  at the same time, the ground seems to be continually eroding from underneath this administration, so WE should be the one to back down?

to use presidential logic, let me put it another way.  for six years, this president has experienced no resistance to his policies.  he’s never heard the word no, but now the democrats are trying to teach him (granted, i’m not sure the man is intelligent enough to tie his shoes, but it’s still worth a try).  now, after their first real stand off, some democrats are ready to give him what he wants?  if we back down now, there’s no reason to think he’ll compromise with congress on anything else.

if you don’t stand up to a bully, he’ll never learn.  however thin the democratic majority is in congress, it is still enough to force this president to work with congress, to listen to the will of the people (some of whom actually voted for him).  there can be no backing down on this issue and i have to applaud senator feingold for coming out and saying it.

March 26, 2007

Impeach Bush for War Crimes

Filed under: 1Stop War,HI Politics,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 7:37 pm

A number of organizations, led by the Hawaii chapters of NION and WCW, joined together and raised their Voices on March 17th to End the War NOW, forestall an Attack on Iran!, Impeach Bush for War Crimes!, and Stop the Militarization of Hawai`i.

Because the Bush Regime has committed war crimes, and is about to commit more, we have the responsibility to stop them.

We must show that the outrages committed by the Bush regime, from Iraq to Hawai`i, are not being done in our name!

The goal was to be part of building a movement powerful enough to end the war, and impeach Bush and Cheney for War Crimes.

The March 17th protest in Honolulu began at 3 pm with an Anti-war rally at Ala Moana Park, in Picnic Area No. 1 near the corner of Atkinson and Ala Moana (across from Macy’s).There were poets, speakers and info tables. Many people got there early to meet friends, listen to the speakers, and get the sign they wanted to carry. The speakers included representatives of the cooperating organizations.

The march on Ala Moana Blvd (with a trolley for those unable to march) began at 4 pm, at the corner of Ala Moana and Atkinson. They marched ewa on Ala Moana (mauka) to Kamakee, then went up Kamakee to Auahi and back to Ala Moana Park on the makai side of Ala Moana Blvd.

When the march returned, at about 5:30, the marchers were greeted back into the park by an awesome group of drummers, and then a line-up of poets and musicians. I was there with the PDH banner, and some flyers, bumper stickers, and petitions. Thanks again to Carolyn Hadfield and NION for allowing us to use one of the tables.


Teach-In: “Impeach Bush for War Crimes”

Filed under: 1Stop War,Impeach — BobSchacht @ 6:20 pm

Wednesday, March 14, 11:30-1:15

Teach-In: “Impeach Bush for War Crimes”UH-Manoa Art Department Auditorium
Sponsored by World Can’t Wait and NION-Hawai`i
The teach-in will begin with a 27-minute DVD segment of testimony presented at the Bush Crimes Commission in NYC. Witnesses presenting testimony in the video include: Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector; Amy Bartholomew, professor of law, Carleton University; Larry Everest, author of Oil, Power Empire; Dahr Jamail, independent journalist; Jeremy Scahill, writer for The Nation and former correspondent for Democracy Now!; Camilo Mejia, Iraq vet and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War; David Swanson, organizer of Camp Democracy; Dr. Thomas Fasy, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and expert on depleted uranium. This is a powerful DVD that everyone should own. You can purchase a complete set of the DVDs at: Bush Commission http://www.bushcommission.org/?q=node/68> for only $20. Or you can pick burned copies at the teach-in for $5.

The teach-in will feature a talk by Ann Wright (former State Dept diplomat and retired Army Reserve Colonel who resigned in opposition to the war in Iraq). Ann was a judge at the Bush Crimes Tribunal, as well as at other war crimes tribunals. She has met with hundreds of veterans of the Iraq War. Since the war in Iraq began she has been speaking at colleges, anti-war rallies, and churches, and is involved in building a grassroots movement to impeach. Check out her article “Blood Diamonds and Blood Oil” dated March 6, 2007 at: Ann Wright http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/030607R.shtml> . “We’re really privileged to have Ann speak at this teach-in at UH-Manoa! Don’t miss it!

There will be adequate time for questions/answers/discussions. We know that impeachment is controversial and many question whether Bush and Cheney have really committed crimes warranting impeachment. Or – for those who are convinced they have – they question whether it is possible. This teach-in will address both.

If you were at this event, please add a comment describing your impressions. Did you find it helpful? If there were to be a follow-up teach-in, what should be covered? The goal of the national impeachment process is to develop enough support in each congressional district that our representatives will feel empowered and impelled to demand impeachment!

Mahalo nui,

Bob Schacht

January 23, 2007

Scooter Libby’s trial: Live blog!

Filed under: 1Stop War,Impeach,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 1:47 pm

As advertised, the team from FireDogLake is liveblogging from the Scooter Libby trial!

And the comments are pouring in, some quite good. The blog on Patrick Fitzgerald’s opening statement has already been called the “best blog ever,” and already there is speculation about forthcoming indictments of others– and there’s only been one lower-level witness so far. Some commenters are saying already that Libby has thrown Karl Rove under the bus.
The liveblogging is an interesting phenomenon: it will be interesting to see how it pushes the mainstream media (MSM). Reporters on site usually check notes with each other before writing their dispatches, thereby establishing a kind of Conventional Wisdom about who said what about whom. But sometimes the FDL blogger steps aside from the attempted constant liveblogging stream, that reads something like a transcript, but not as carefully edited, in order to comment on the significance of a remark just made by one of the principals.

Its already been an interesting day, but I’m not going to have the time to distill thousands of words for you. So, you can wait until the MSM commentators take over, or you can go over to FDL to see whassup.

Update: Before Fitzgerald’s opening, one of the bloggers speculated on the kinds of questions he would ask if he had bigger fish in his sights, or whether he intended to confine his prosecution to Libby. Some commenters are already speculating that Fitz is “going big.”

Bob Schacht

January 22, 2007

Clarification On Iraq

Filed under: 1Stop War — frosty @ 11:23 am

i’ve been talking to one of my very best friends about the war in iraq and what the correct course of action should be. for some time i’ve believed that we should leave. immediately. we shouldn’t be there in the first place and the result of our illegal coup has been increased violence in the region, a complete loss stability, an upsurge of sectarian violence, a financial boon for US corporations, the needless deaths of thousands of US military and civilian personnel, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of iraqi civilians. of course we shouldn’t be there. we shouldn’t have gone in the first place and this president (and vice-president) must absolutely be held accountable for these deaths and the blatant violation of US and international law.

having said all this, the question has crept into my brain; is an immediate withdrawal of our troops the best course of action? would the region stabilize upon our departure, or would things continue to spiral out of control? while few would argue that saddam was a horrible dictator, with all that’s happening now, is iraq really better off? iraqis are potentially in more danger now, than they were four or five years ago and the country’s infrastructure is in ruins. it appears the only people to have benefited from this war are the US corporations that supply the military with its weapons and those who won no-bid contracts of the reconstruction (which is months, if not years behind schedule).

so, what is the upside to leaving? what’s the positive? what’s the moral argument? i mean, shouldn’t we stay and make every effort to clean up this horrible mess we’ve made? instead of sending the 21,500 more troops as a temporary stop gap measure (which military experts don’t even think will make a difference), why not sent the roughly 150,000 it has been suggested it will really take to put an end to the violence? why not cancel the contracts with those companies that have not done the necessary work and instead have corporations from around the world BID on new contracts?

should we really leave? should we really quit before the job we set out to do is finished? do we not have some responsibility, some moral obligation to finish what we started and do right by the iraqi people?

my position hasn’t changed and i still think we should leave; we are there illegally and i honestly can’t trust this administration to do anything right. at the same time, i have some doubt and feel there may be some moral justification in staying to clean up this horrible mistake of ours.

October 25, 2006

Della Au Bellati endorsement?

When I got home from work today, on my answering machine I found a ringing endorsement of Della in the unmistakable voice of Sen. Daniel Inouye, although the beginning of the message in which he probably identified himself was missing.

We are trying to decide whom to endorse this week, so I told Della that it would help if we could hear from her on a few critical issues. We have a 5-part platform that we call our “S.H.I.P.S.” platform, and my questions to her were based on this platform.

“S”: Stop the War!
While State legislators can’t vote directly on the war, there are issues that do come up. Would you support legislation calling for the return of the Hawaii National Guard posted overseas to Hawaii, and the resistance to any future deployments of our Hawaii National Guard outside the state?

ABSOLUTELY!!!!! We have so many potential needs here in Hawaii, but my understanding is that our National Guard participation is among the highest in the nation.

[Bob]”H”: Health Care for All.
In recent years, there has been some legislation in Hawaii in support of comprehensive, affordable health care for everyone. Do you support such legislation?


“I”: Impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney
It is already public knowledge that Vice President Cheney was involved in the “outing” of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, and a number of books have been written outlining the legal grounds for impeachment of President Bush.
While impeachment per se is, of course, the prerogative of the U.S. House, there is a historic method, based on the “Thomas Jefferson Handbook,” for state legislators to demand that the U.S. House initiate impeachment proceedings. Would you support such an action by the Hawaii Legislature?

I would need to think a little bit more about this, but I certainly think this administration has a lot to answer for, not just to Americans but to the world.

“P”: Public Funding of Elections
I recall that you have signed the “Clean Elections” pledge and
favor public funding of elections. Do I understand this correctly?

Yes – I would like to explore ways that we can make Voter Owned Elections more sustainable.

What do you mean by “sustainable?”

The fear/criticism with publicly funded elections is the mechanism where publicly funded candidates get matching funds to their non-publicly funded candidates which can run up the bill to an unknown amount. We, collectively, need to think of mechanisms and maybe marketing strategies to get around these criticisms. We need to find a funding source (maybe unclaimed property?) that can provide revenue source. And maybe part of the solution is outside of the legislative realm, we need to find brave politicians, like Harry Kim and his $10 donation acceptance, who are wiiling to go with public funding (providing that the public funds will allow them to run a competitive campaign) and show others that with hard work it is possible.

“S”: Sustainable environment
Hawaii has some very special ecological concerns for a sustainable environment. What is your position on these issues?

We need to protect our environment, not just in the present but for future needs. Clearly, we need to ensure any development we engage in is sustainable and does not endanger our natural resources.
=========================[End of interview]

I think Della has run a really good campaign. She has some of the qualities of a good politician, in the best sense of the word: She’s a good listener, and can remember names, faces and concerns. Her positions on our platform indicate to me that she is worthy of our endorsement.

Bob Schacht

July 26, 2006

Apocalypse Now?

Filed under: 1Stop War,SHAPES platform — rachel @ 10:56 am

This morning on CNN Kyra Philips interviewed a Christian blogger and a novelist who were both professing that the violence in the Middle East signifies that the “end of days” is coming. The banner at the bottom of the page actually read, “Apocalypse Now?” Seriously. I couldn’t make this up.

In 2002 I was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention in Boston. While there, my then fiance (now husband) was approached by a woman and her 4 children who wanted to know why we were supporting Democrats. He felt like he was surrounded by the “children of the corn” when she explained to him that she was supporting GW Bush because he was going to bring about the end of days leading to Jesus coming. She meant this literally. We often relate this story to our friends from other countries as an example of how America is full of Christian fundamentalists that view the Book of Revelation as a prophecy that will come true in their lifetimes. Our foreign friends, used to much more secular societies, never believe us. Now we get to watch these prophecies gain credibility as they are being reported on CNN rather than just being shouted from street corners. Maybe the end of the world really is near.

I have heard it hypothesized that the current administration may privately justify running up the national debt because they believe that by the time our grandchildren would be called upon to pay the bill, the world would be over. Similar justification for environmental policies. Why take care of the planet when the apocalypse is near? Sounds crazy, I know, I just wish I could be confident that there was no element of truth to it.

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