The Magna Carta Manifesto
Peter Linebaugh Radio Interview 2011
The Last of the Sioux (3:48)
Resistant to government regulated reservations, the Sioux retreated into the Black Hills until a final massacre at Wounded Knee.
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Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City
March 25, 1911
In one of the darkest moments of America’s industrial history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down, killing 145 workers, on this day in 1911. The tragedy led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of factory workers.
The Triangle factory, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, was located in the top three floors of the 10-story Asch Building in downtown Manhattan. It was a sweatshop in every sense of the word: a cramped space lined with work stations and packed with poor immigrant workers, mostly teenaged women who did not speak English. At the time of the fire, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational and it could hold only 12 people at a time. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent theft by the workers and the other opened inward only. The fire escape, as all would come to see, was shoddily constructed, and could not support the weight of more than a few women at a time.
Blanck and Harris already had a suspicious history of factory fires. The Triangle factory was twice scorched in 1902, while their Diamond Waist Company factory burned twice, in 1907 and in 1910. It seems that Blanck and Harris deliberately torched their workplaces before business hours in order to collect on the large fire-insurance policies they purchased, a not uncommon practice in the early 20th century. While this was not the cause of the 1911 fire, it contributed to the tragedy, as Blanck and Harris refused to install sprinkler systems and take other safety measures in case they needed to burn down their shops again.
Added to this delinquency were Blanck and Harris’ notorious anti-worker policies. Their employees were paid a mere $15 a week, despite working 12 hours a day, every day. When the International Ladies Garment Workers Union led a strike in 1909 demanding higher pay and shorter and more predictable hours, Blanck and Harris’ company was one of the few manufacturers who resisted, hiring police as thugs to imprison the striking women, and paying off politicians to look the other way.
On March 25, a Saturday afternoon, there were 600 workers at the factory when a fire broke out in a rag bin on the eighth floor. The manager turned the fire hose on it, but the hose was rotted and its valve was rusted shut. Panic ensued as the workers fled to every exit. The elevator broke down after only four trips, and women began jumping down the shaft to their deaths. Those who fled down the wrong set of stairs were trapped inside and burned alive. Other women trapped on the eighth floor began jumping out the windows, which created a problem for the firefighters whose hoses were crushed by falling bodies. Also, the firefighters’ ladders stretched only as high as the seventh floor, and their safety nets were not strong enough to catch the women, who were jumping three at a time.
Blanck and Harris were on the building’s top floor with some workers when the fire broke out. They were able to escape by climbing onto the roof and hopping to an adjoining building.
The fire was out within half an hour, but not before 49 workers had been killed by the fire, and another 100 or so were piled up dead in the elevator shaft or on the sidewalk. The workers’ union organized a march on April 5 to protest the conditions that led to the fire; it was attended by 80,000 people.
Though Blanck and Harris were put on trial for manslaughter, they managed to get off scot-free. Still, the massacre for which they were responsible did finally compel the city to enact reform. In addition to the Sullivan-Hoey Fire Prevention Law passed that October, the New York Democratic set took up the cause of the worker and became known as a reform party.
Militancy, if not Irishness, was in their genes. A male ancestor was a duke who earned the isles of Cadiz for military service, but later defied the Spanish Inquisition, which ordered him burned. Thanks to a sympathetic guard, he escaped with his life, if not his title and lands, and so was left only a surname to pass on to his descendants.
So on this St. Patrick’s Day, remember them as they would wish to be remembered. Read a book.
A new study outlines the unbearable conditions of the slaves who worked to satisfy the world’s sweet tooth
The Dresden Debate Won’t Die
Today’s idea: Sixty-five years after the British bombing of Dresden, Hamburg and other German cities during World War II, debate festers over whether the intention was to kill as many civilians as possible.
History | A year ago, this blog pointed to an interview with a British historian who contended that the destruction of Dresden, 65 years ago this past weekend, had a clear military rationale, since it was a communications and transit hub. “I remain unconvinced that maximizing civilian casualties, rather than winning the war by whatever means necessary,” was the chief objective, said Frederick Taylor.
But recently in The New Statesman, Leo McKinstry sifted archives that he says contradict the British government’s longstanding denials that killing civilians en masse was a primary aim of wartime air raids on German cities:
Typical was a paper, now in the archives of Cambridge University, written in August 1941 by the bombing operations directorate of the air ministry. This argued that the focus of future British attacks must be “the people in their homes and in factories, also the services such as electricity, gas and water upon which the industrial and domestic life of the area depends.” Warming to this theme, the directorate then found support for such theories in the Luftwaffe’s  bombing of Coventry [toll: nearly 600 dead]. To most Britons, this attack had been an outrage. To the Air Staff, it was an inspiration. The assault on Coventry, argued the paper, was “one of the most successful raids carried out by the German Air Force on this country,” with a ton of high explosive and incendiaries for every 800 citizens. “If Bomber Command could carry out a raid on the Coventry scale every month, the result would be a complete state of panic in the industrialized west of Germany,” as well as “considerable loss of life and limb, widespread destruction and damage to the houses of workers.”
Mr. McKinstry adds that Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris, who ran Royal Air Force’s devastating bombing campaign with gusto, saw “the euphemisms and evasions that his superiors used to cover up the reality” as an insult to the heroic men in his command. The officer wrote in 1943: “The aim of Bomber Command should be unambiguously and publicly stated. That aim is the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers and the disruption of civilized life throughout Germany.” [The New Statesman]
More Recommended Reading:
- Libeskind on Rebuilding Dresden – Der Spiegel
- Do Targeted Killings Hurt Intelligence-Gathering? — Karen DeYoung and Joby Warrick, The .
Diplomacy That Will Live in Infamy
By JAMES BRADLEY, Rye, N.Y.ArticleDecember 6, 2009
SIXTY-EIGHT years ago tomorrow, Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. In the brutal Pacific war that would follow, millions of soldiers and civilians were killed. My father — one of the famous flag raisers on Iwo Jima — was among the young men who went off to the Pacific to fight for his country. So the war naturally fascinated me. But I always wondered, why did we fight in the Pacific? Yes, there was Pearl Harbor, but why did the Japanese attack us in the first place?
In search of an answer, I read deeply into the diplomatic history of the 1930s, about President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policy on Asia, and his preparation — or lack thereof — for a major conflict there. But I discovered that I was studying the wrong President Roosevelt. The one who had the greater effect on Japan’s behavior was Theodore Roosevelt — whose efforts to end the war between Japan and Russia earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.
When Theodore Roosevelt was president, three decades before World War II, the world was focused on the bloody Russo-Japanese War, a contest for control of North Asia. President Roosevelt was no fan of the Russians: “No human beings, black, yellow or white, could be quite as untruthful, as insincere, as arrogant — in short, as untrustworthy in every way — as the Russians,” he wrote in August 1905, near the end of the Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese, on the other hand, were “a wonderful and civilized people,” Roosevelt wrote, “entitled to stand on an absolute equality with all the other peoples of the civilized world.”
Roosevelt knew that Japan coveted the Korean Peninsula as a springboard to its Asian expansion. Back in 1900, when he was still vice president, Roosevelt had written, “I should like to see Japan have Korea.” When, in February 1904, Japan broke off relations with Russia, President Roosevelt said publicly that he would “maintain the strictest neutrality,” but privately he wrote, “The sympathies of the United States are entirely on Japan’s side.”
In June 1905, Roosevelt made world headlines when — apparently on his own initiative — he invited the two nations to negotiate an end to their war. Roosevelt’s private letter to his son told another story: “I have of course concealed from everyone — literally everyone — the fact that I acted in the first place on Japan’s suggestion … . Remember that you are to let no one know that in this matter of the peace negotiations I have acted at the request of Japan and that each step has been taken with Japan’s foreknowledge, and not merely with her approval but with her expressed desire.”
Years later, a Japanese emissary to Roosevelt paraphrased the president’s comments to him: “All the Asiatic nations are now faced with the urgent necessity of adjusting themselves to the present age. Japan should be their natural leader in that process, and their protector during the transition stage, much as the United States assumed the leadership of the American continent many years ago, and by means of the Monroe Doctrine, preserved the Latin American nations from European interference. The future policy of Japan towards Asiatic countries should be similar to that of the United States towards their neighbors on the American continent.”
In a secret presidential cable to Tokyo, in July 1905, Roosevelt approved the Japanese annexation of Korea and agreed to an “understanding or alliance” among Japan, the United States and Britain “as if the United States were under treaty obligations.” The “as if” was key: Congress was much less interested in North Asia than Roosevelt was, so he came to his agreement with Japan in secret, an unconstitutional act.
To signal his commitment to Tokyo, Roosevelt cut off relations with Korea, turned the American legation in Seoul over to the Japanese military and deleted the word “Korea” from the State Department’s Record of Foreign Relations and placed it under the heading of “Japan.”
Roosevelt had assumed that the Japanese would stop at Korea and leave the rest of North Asia to the Americans and the British. But such a wish clashed with his notion that the Japanese should base their foreign policy on the American model of expansion across North America and, with the taking of Hawaii and the Philippines, into the Pacific. It did not take long for the Japanese to tire of the territorial restrictions placed upon them by their Anglo-American partners.
Japan’s declaration of war, in December 1941, explained its position quite clearly: “It is a fact of history that the countries of East Asia for the past hundred years or more have been compelled to observe the status quo under the Anglo-American policy of imperialistic exploitation and to sacrifice themselves to the prosperity of the two nations. The Japanese government cannot tolerate the perpetuation of such a situation.”
In planning the attack on Pearl Harbor, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto was specifically thinking of how, 37 years earlier, the Japanese had surprised the Russian Navy at Port Arthur in Manchuria and, as he wrote, “favorable opportunities were gained by opening the war with a sudden attack on the main enemy fleet.” At the time, the indignant Russians called it a violation of international law. But Theodore Roosevelt, confident that he could influence events in North Asia from afar, wrote to his son, “I was thoroughly well pleased with the Japanese victory, for Japan is playing our game.”
It was for his efforts to broker the peace deal between Russia and Japan that a year and a half later Roosevelt became the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize — and one of only three presidents to do so while in office (the other two are Woodrow Wilson and President Obama, who will accept his prize this week). No one in Oslo, or in the United States Congress, knew the truth then.
But the Japanese did. And the American president’s support emboldened them to increase their military might — and their imperial ambitions. In December 1941, the consequence of Theodore Roosevelt’s recklessness would become clear to those few who knew of the secret dealings. No one else — including my dad on Iwo Jima — realized just how well Japan had indeed played “our game.”
James Bradley is the author of “Flags of Our Fathers” and “The Imperial Cruise.”
In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan 64 years ago, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years, all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited.
The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the U.S. military film remained hidden for nearly four decades. I first probed the coverup back in 1983 in Nuclear Times magazine (where I was editor), and developed it further in later articles and in my 1995 book with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America and in a 2005 documentary Original Child Bomb.
As editor of Nuclear Times in the early 1980s, I met Herbert Sussan, one of the members of the U.S. military film crew, and Erik Barnouw, the famed documentarian who first showed some of the Japanese footage on American TV in 1970. In fact, that newsreel footage might have disappeared forever if the Japanese filmmakers had not hidden one print from the Americans in a ceiling.
The color U.S. military footage would remain hidden until the early 1980s, and has never been fully aired. It rests today at the National Archives in College Park, Md., in the form of 90,000 feet of raw footage labeled #342 USAF. I have a VHS copy of all of it today.
When that footage finally emerged, I spoke with and corresponded with the man at the center of this drama: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel A. McGovern, who directed the U.S. military film-makers in 1945-1946, managed the Japanese footage, and then kept watch on all of the top-secret material for decades.
“I always had the sense,” McGovern told me, “that people in the Atomic Energy Commission were sorry we had dropped the bomb. The Air Force — it was also sorry. I was told by people in the Pentagon that they didn’t want those [film] images out because they showed effects on man, woman and child….They didn’t want the general public to know what their weapons had done — at a time they were planning on more bomb tests. We didn’t want the material out because…we were sorry for our sins.”
Sussan, meanwhile, struggled for years to get some of the American footage aired on national TV, taking his request as high as President Truman, Robert F. Kennedy and Edward R. Murrow, to no avail.
More recently, McGovern declared that Americans should have seen the damage wrought by the bomb. “The main reason it was classified was…because of the horror, the devastation,” he said. Because the footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was hidden for so long, the atomic bombings quickly sank, unconfronted and unresolved, into the deeper recesses of American awareness, as a costly nuclear arms race, and nuclear proliferation, accelerated.
In 2005, Editor & Publisher (where I am editor) broke the news that articles written by famed Chicago Daily News war correspondent George Weller about the effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki were finally published, in Japan, almost six decades after they had been spiked by U.S. officials. But suppressing film footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was even more significant, as this country rushed into the nuclear age with its citizens having neither a true understanding of the effects of the bomb on human beings, nor why the atomic attacks drew condemnation around the world. The common view abroad, and among many U.S. historians, is that Russia’s entry into the war (long scheduled and carried out on August would have forced a Japanese surrender long before any U.S. invasion took place. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower himself later said it was not necessary to hit Japan “with that awful thing.”
The atomic cover-up also reveals what can happen in any country that carries out deadly attacks on civilians in any war (such as Japan’s policy in China in World War II) and then keeps images of what occurred from its own people.
The Japanese Newsreel Footage
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb over the center of Hiroshima, killing at least 70,000 civilians instantly and perhaps 50,000 more in the days and months to follow. Three days later, it exploded another atomic bomb over Nagasaki, slightly off target, killing 40,000 immediately and dooming tens of thousands of others. Within days, Japan had surrendered, and the U.S. readied plans for occupying the defeated country — and documenting the first atomic catastrophe.
But the Japanese also wanted to study it. Within days of the second atomic attack, officials at the Tokyo-based newsreel company Nippon Eigasha discussed shooting film in the two stricken cities. In early September, just after the Japanese surrender, and as the American occupation began, director Sueo Ito set off for Nagasaki. There his crew filmed the utter destruction near ground zero and scenes in hospitals of the badly burned and those suffering from the lingering effects of radiation.
On Sept. 15, another crew headed for Hiroshima. When the first rushes came back to Toyko, Akira Iwasaki, the chief producer, felt “every frame burned into my brain,” he later said.
At this point, the American public knew little about conditions in the atomic cities beyond Japanese assertions that a mysterious affliction was attacking many of those who survived the initial blasts (claims that were largely taken to be propaganda). Newspaper photographs of victims were non-existent, or censored. Life magazine would later observe that for years “the world…knew only the physical facts of atomic destruction.”
Tens of thousands of American GIs occupied the two cities. Because of the alleged absence of residual radiation, no one was urged to take precautions.
Then, on October 24, 1945, a Japanese cameraman in Nagasaki was ordered to stop shooting by an American military policeman. His film, and then the rest of the 26,000 feet of Nippon Eisasha footage, was confiscated by the U.S. General Headquarters (GHQ). An order soon arrived banning all further filming. It was at this point that Lt. Daniel McGovern took charge.
Shooting the U.S. Military Footage
In early September, 1945, less than a month after the two bombs fell, Lt. McGovern — who as a member of Hollywood’s famed First Motion Picture Unit shot some of the footage for William Wyler’s “Memphis Belle” — had become one of the first Americans to arrive in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was a director with the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, organized by the Army the previous November to study the effects of the air campaign against Germany, and now Japan.
As he made plans to shoot the official American record, McGovern learned about the seizure of the Japanese footage. He felt it would be a waste to not take advantage of the newsreel footage, noting in a letter to his superiors that “the conditions under which it was taken will not be duplicated, until another atomic bomb is released under combat conditions.”
McGovern proposed hiring some of the Japanese crew to edit and “caption” the material, so it would have “scientific value.” He took charge of this effort in early January 1946, even as the Japanese feared that, when they were done, they would never see even a scrap of their film again.
At the same time, McGovern was ordered by General Douglas MacArthur on January 1, 1946 to document the results of the U.S. air campaign in more than 20 Japanese cities. His crew would shoot exclusively on color film, Kodachrome and Technicolor, rarely used at the time even in Hollywood. McGovern assembled a crew of eleven, including two civilians. Third in command was a young lieutenant from New York named Herbert Sussan.
The unit left Tokyo in a specially outfitted train, and made it to Nagasaki. “Nothing and no one had prepared me for the devastation I met there,” Sussan later told me. “We were the only people with adequate ability and equipment to make a record of this holocaust…I felt that if we did not capture this horror on film, no one would ever really understand the dimensions of what had happened. At that time people back home had not seen anything but black and white pictures of blasted buildings or a mushroom cloud.”
Along with the rest of McGovern’s crew, Sussan documented the physical effects of the bomb, including the ghostly shadows of vaporized civilians burned into walls; and, most chillingly, dozens of people in hospitals who had survived (at least momentarily) and were asked to display their burns, scars, and other lingering effects for the camera as a warning to the world.
At the Red Cross Hospital in Hiroshima, a Japanese physician traced the hideous, bright red scars that covered several of the patients — and then took off his white doctor’s shirt and displayed his own burns and cuts.
After sticking a camera on a rail car and building their own tracks through the ruins, the Americans filmed hair-raising tracking shots that could have been lifted right from a Hollywood movie. Their chief cameramen was a Japanese man, Harry Mimura, who in 1943 had shot Sanshiro Sugata, the first feature film by a then-unknown Japanese director named Akira Kurosawa.
The Suppression Begins
While all this was going on, the Japanese newsreel team was completing its work of editing and labeling all their black and white footage into a rough cut of just under three hours. At this point, several members of Japanese team took the courageous step of ordering from the lab a duplicate of the footage they had shot before the Americans took over the project.
Director Ito later said: “The four of us agreed to be ready for 10 years of hard labor in the case of being discovered.” One incomplete, silent print would reside in a ceiling until the Occupation ended.
The negative of the finished Japanese film, nearly 15,000 feet of footage on 19 reels, was sent off to the U.S. in early May 1946. The Japanese were also ordered to include in this shipment all photographs and related material. The footage would be labeled SECRET and not emerge from the shadows for more than 20 years.
The following month, McGovern was abruptly ordered to return to the U.S. He hauled the 90,000 feet of color footage, on dozens of reels in huge footlockers, to the Pentagon and turned it over to General Orvil Anderson. Locked up and declared top secret, it did not see the light of day for more than 30 years.
McGovern would be charged with watching over it. Sussan would become obsessed with finding it and getting it aired.
Fearful that his film might get “buried,” McGovern stayed on at the Pentagon as an aide to Gen. Anderson, who was fascinated by the footage and had no qualms about showing it to the American people. “He was that kind of man, he didn’t give a damn what people thought,” McGovern told me. “He just wanted the story told.”
In an article in his hometown Buffalo Evening News, McGovern said that he hoped that “this epic will be made available to the American public.” He planned to call the edited movie Japan in Defeat.
Once they eyeballed the footage, however, most of the top brass didn’t want it widely shown and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was also opposed, according to McGovern. It nixed a Warner Brothers feature film project based on the footage that Anderson had negotiated, while paying another studio about $80,000 to help make four training films.
In a March 3, 1947 memo, Francis E. Rundell, a major in the Air Corps, explained that the film would be classified “secret.” This was determined “after study of subject material, especially concerning footage taken at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is believed that the information contained in the films should be safeguarded until cleared by the Atomic Energy Commission.” After the training films were completed, the status would be raised to “Top Secret” pending final classification by the AEC.
The color footage was shipped to the Wright-Patterson base in Ohio. McGovern went along after being told to put an I.D. number on the film “and not let anyone touch it — and that’s the way it stayed,” as he put it. After cataloging it, he placed it in a vault in the top secret area.
“Dan McGovern stayed with the film all the time,” Sussan later said. “He told me they could not release the film [because] what it showed was too horrible.”
Sussan wrote a letter to President Truman, suggesting that a film based on the footage “would vividly and clearly reveal the implications and effects of the weapons that confront us at this serious moment in our history.” A reply from a Truman aide threw cold water on that idea, saying such a film would lack “wide public appeal.”
McGovern, meanwhile, continued to “babysit” the film, now at Norton Air Force base in California. “It was never out of my control,” he said later, but he couldn’t make a film out of it any more than Sussan could (but unlike Herb, he at least knew where it was).
The Japanese Footage Emerges
At the same time, McGovern was looking after the Japanese footage. Fearful that it might get lost forever in the military/government bureaucracy, he secretly made a 16 mm print and deposited it in the U.S. Air Force Central Film Depository at Wright-Patterson. There it remained out of sight, and generally out of mind. (The original negative and production materials remain missing, according to Abe Mark Nornes, who teaches at the University of Michigan and has researched the Japanese footage more than anyone.)
The Japanese government repeatedly asked the U.S. for the full footage of what was known in that country as “the film of illusion,” to no avail. A rare article about what it called this “sensitive” dispute appeared in the New York Times on May 18, 1967, declaring right in its headline that the film had been “Suppressed by U.S. for 22 Years.” Surprisingly, it revealed that while some of the footage was already in Japan (likely a reference to the film hidden in the ceiling), the U.S. had put a “hold” on the Japanese using it — even though the American control of that country had ceased many years earlier.
Despite rising nuclear fears in the 1960s, before and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, few in the U.S. challenged the consensus view that dropping the bomb on two Japanese cities was necessary. The United States maintained its “first-use” nuclear policy: Under certain circumstances it would strike first with the bomb and ask questions later. In other words, there was no real taboo against using the bomb. This notion of acceptability had started with Hiroshima. A firm line against using nuclear weapons had been drawn — in the sand. The U.S., in fact, had threatened to use nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis and on other occasions.
On Sept. 12, 1967, the Air Force transferred the Japanese footage to the National Archives Audio Visual Branch in Washington, with the film “not to be released without approval of DOD (Department of Defense).”
Then, one morning in the summer of 1968, Erik Barnouw, author of landmark histories of film and broadcasting, opened his mail to discover a clipping from a Tokyo newspaper sent by a friend. It indicated that the U.S. had finally shipped to Japan a copy of black and white newsreel footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese had negotiated with the State Department for its return.
From the Pentagon, Barnouw learned in 1968 that the original nitrate film had been quietly turned over to the National Archives, so he went to take a look. Soon Barnouw realized that, despite its marginal film quality, “enough of the footage was unforgettable in its implications, and historic in its importance, to warrant duplicating all of it,” he later wrote.
Attempting to create a subtle, quiet, even poetic, black and white film, he and his associates cut it from 160 to 16 minutes, with a montage of human effects clustered near the end for impact. Barnouw arranged a screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and invited the press. A throng turned out and sat in respectful silence at its finish. (One can only imagine what impact the color footage with many more human effects would have had.) “Hiroshima-Nagasaki 1945″ proved to be a sketchy but quite moving document of the aftermath of the bombing, captured in grainy but often startling black and white images: shadows of objects or people burned into walls, ruins of schools, miles of razed landscape viewed from the roof of a building.
In the weeks ahead, however, none of the (then) three TV networks expressed interest in airing it. “Only NBC thought it might use the film,” Barnouw later wrote, “if it could find a ‘news hook.’ We dared not speculate what kind of event this might call for.” But then an article appeared in Parade magazine, and an editorial in the Boston Globe blasted the networks, saying that everyone in the country should see this film: “Television has brought the sight of war into America’s sitting rooms from Vietnam. Surely it can find 16 minutes of prime time to show Americans what the first A-bombs, puny by today’s weapons, did to people and property 25 years ago.”
This at last pushed public television into the void. What was then called National Educational Television (NET) agreed to show the documentary on August 3, 1970, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of dropping the bomb.
“I feel that classifying all of this filmed material was a misuse of the secrecy system since none of it had any military or national security aspect at all,” Barnouw told me. “The reason must have been — that if the public had seen it and Congressmen had seen it — it would have been much harder to appropriate money for more bombs.”
The American Footage Comes Out
About a decade later, by pure chance, Herb Sussan would spark the emergence of the American footage, ending its decades in the dark.
In the mid-1970s, Japanese antinuclear activists, led by a Tokyo teacher named Tsutomu Iwakura, discovered that few pictures of the aftermath of the atomic bombings existed in their country. Many had been seized by the U.S. military after the war, they learned, and taken out of Japan. The Japanese had as little visual exposure to the true effects of the bomb as most Americans. Activists managed to track down hundreds of pictures in archives and private collections and published them in a popular book. In 1979 they mounted an exhibit at the United Nations in New York.
There, by chance, Iwakura met Sussan, who told him about the U.S. military footage.
Iwakura made a few calls and found that the color footage, recently declassified, might be at the National Archives. A trip to Washington, D.C. verified this. He found eighty reels of film, labeled #342 USAF, with the reels numbered 11000 to 11079. About one-fifth of the footage covered the atomic cities. According to a shot list, reel #11010 included, for example: “School, deaf and dumb, blast effect, damaged Commercial school demolished School, engineering, demolished.School, Shirayama elementary, demolished, blast effect Tenements, demolished.”
The film had been quietly declassified a few years earlier, but no one in the outside world knew it. An archivist there told me at the time, “If no one knows about the film to ask for it, it’s as closed as when it was classified.”
Eventually 200,000 Japanese citizens contributed half a million dollars and Iwakura was able to buy the film. He then traveled around Japan filming survivors who had posed for Sussan and McGovern in 1946. Iwakura quickly completed a documentary called Prophecy and in late spring 1982 arranged for a New York premiere.
That fall a small part of the McGovern/Sussan footage turned up for the first time in an American film, one of the sensations of the New York Film Festival, called Dark Circle. It’s co-director, Chris Beaver, told me, “No wonder the government didn’t want us to see it. I think they didn’t want Americans to see themselves in that picture. It’s one thing to know about that and another thing to see it.”
Despite this exposure, not a single story had yet appeared in an American newspaper about the shooting of the footage, its suppression or release. And Sussan was now ill with a form of lymphoma doctors had found in soldiers exposed to radiation in atomic tests during the 1950s — or in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In late 1982, I met Sussan and Erik Barnouw — and talked on several occasions with Daniel McGovern, out in Northridge, California. “It would make a fine documentary even today,” McGovern said of the color footage. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a movie of the burning of Atlanta?”
After he hauled the footage back to the Pentagon, McGovern said, he was told that under no circumstances would the footage be released for outside use. “They were fearful of it being circulated,” McGovern said. He confirmed that the color footage, like the black and white, had been declassified over time, taking it from top secret to “for public release” (but only if the public knew about it and asked for it).
Still, the question of precisely why the footage remained secret for so long lingered. Here McGovern added his considerable voice. “The main reason it was classified was because of the horror, the devastation,” he said. “The medical effects were pretty gory. The attitude was: do not show any medical effects. Don’t make people sick.”
But who was behind this? “I always had the sense,” McGovern answered, “that people in the AEC were sorry they had dropped the bomb. The Air Force — it was also sorry. I was told by people in the Pentagon that they didn’t want those images out because they showed effects on man, woman and child. But the AEC, they were the ones that stopped it from coming out. They had power of God over everybody,” he declared. “If it had anything to do with nukes, they had to see it. They were the ones who destroyed a lot of film and pictures of the first U.S. nuclear tests after the war.”
Even so, McGovern believed, his footage might have surfaced “if someone had grabbed the ball and run with it but the AEC did not want it released.”
As Dark Circle director Chris Beaver had said, “With the government trying to sell the public on a new civil defense program and Reagan arguing that a nuclear war is survivable, this footage could be awfully bad publicity.”
In the summer of 1984, I made my own pilgrimage to the atomic cities, to walk in the footsteps of Dan McGovern and Herb Sussan, and meet some of the people they filmed in 1946. (The month-long grant was arranged by the current mayor of Hiroshima, Tad Akiba.) By then, the McGovern/ Sussan footage had turned up in several new documentaries. On September 2, 1985, however, Herb Sussan passed away. His final request to his children: Would they scatter his ashes at ground zero in Hiroshima?
In the mid-1990s, researching Hiroshima in America, a book I would write with Robert Jay Lifton, I discovered the deeper context for suppression of the U.S. Army film: it was part of a broad effort to suppress a wide range of material related to the atomic bombings, including photographs, newspaper reports on radiation effects, information about the decision to drop the bomb, even a Hollywood movie.
The 50th anniversary of the bombing drew extensive print and television coverage — and wide use of excerpts from the McGovern/Sussan footage — but no strong shift in American attitudes on the use of the bomb.
Then, in 2003, as adviser to a documentary film, Original Child Bomb, I urged director Carey Schonegevel to draw on the atomic footage as much as possible. She not only did so but also obtained from McGovern’s son copies of home movies he had shot in Japan while shooting the official film.
Original Child Bomb went on to debut at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival, win a major documentary award, and debut on the Sundance cable channel. After 60 years at least a small portion of that footage reached part of the American public in the unflinching and powerful form its creators intended. Americans who saw were finally able to fully judge for themselves what McGovern and Sussan were trying to accomplish in shooting the film, why the authorities felt they had to suppress it, and what impact their footage, if widely aired, might have had on the nuclear arms race — and the nuclear proliferation that plagues, and endangers, us today.
Greg Mitchell is the editor of E&P and co-author of “Hiroshima in America.” His latest book is “Why Obama Won.” His email is: email@example.com
The interview with McHugh, originally conducted for the John F. Kennedy Library in 1978, remained closed for 31 years. It was finally declassified in the spring of 2009. I just happened to be working at the Kennedy Library on the day the interview was opened to the public and have used it for the first time in my new book, The Kennedy Assassination — 24 Hours After.
After being informed at Parkland Hospital that Kennedy was dead, Johnson raced back to Air Force One, where he waited for Mrs. Kennedy and the body of the slain president, and made preparations to take the Oath of Office. Back at the hospital, the Kennedy group loaded the body into a coffin, forced their way past a local justice of the peace, and hurried back to Love Field for the long ride back to Washington.
It was standard practice for the plane to take off as soon as the commander-in-chief was onboard. Even after McHugh had ordered the pilot to take off, however, “nothing happened.” According to the newly declassified transcript, Mrs. Kennedy was becoming desperate to leave. “Mrs. Kennedy was getting very warm, she had blood all over her hat, her coat…his brains were sticking on her hat. It was dreadful,” McHugh said. She pleaded with him to get the plane off the ground. “Please, let’s leave,” she said. McHugh jumped up and used the phone near the rear compartment to call Captain James Swindal. “Let’s leave,” he said. Swindal responded: “I can’t do it. I have orders to wait.” Not wanting to make a scene in front of Mrs. Kennedy, McHugh rushed to the front of the plane. “Swindal, what on earth is going on?” The pilot told him that “the President wants to remain in this area.”
McHugh, like most members of the Kennedy entourage, did not know that Johnson was onboard. They believed that the new president was on his own plane flying back to Washington. If LBJ was on the plane, McHugh wanted to see for himself. Since he had not seen Johnson in the aisle — and at 6’4″ Johnson would be tough to miss — McHugh assumed that he must then be in the bedroom. When he checked there Johnson was nowhere to be seen. The only place on the plane he had not inspected was the bathroom in the presidential bedroom.
What McHugh claimed to have witnessed next was shocking. “I walked in the toilet, in the powder room, and there he was hiding, with the curtain closed,” McHugh recalled. He claimed that LBJ was crying, “They’re going to get us all. It’s a plot. It’s a plot. It’s going to get us all.’” According to the General, Johnson “was hysterical, sitting down on the john there alone in this thing.”
I soon discovered that McHugh had told a similar story when he spoke by phone with Mark Flanagan, an investigator with the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Ironically, McHugh gave the interview to the HSCA a week before he sat down with the Kennedy Library in May 1978. “McHugh had encountered difficulty in locating Johnson but finally discovered him alone,” Flanagan wrote in his summary to the Committee. Quoting McHugh, the investigator noted that the General found Johnson “hiding in the toilet in the bedroom compartment and muttering, ‘Conspiracy, conspiracy, they’re after all of us.’”
Author Christopher Anderson claimed that McHugh shared a similar, although slightly more dramatic, version of this story when he interviewed the General for his book Jackie after Jack, published in 1998.
If true, the story is explosive and reveals a completely different side of Johnson than the collected, calm presence he otherwise managed to convey throughout the hours and days following Kennedy’s death.
But how credible is McHugh’s account?
It is, of course, impossible to confirm or deny whether a private encounter took place between the two men, both of whom are now dead. There are a number of reasons to doubt McHugh’s claim. The General intensely disliked Johnson and was fiercely loyal to JFK, and therefore had some reason to invent such a story. Most glaring, McHugh made no mention of what was surely a very memorable encounter in his long interview with William Manchester in 1964. It also stands to reason that if McHugh had witnessed Johnson in a state of utter breakdown, he would have told the story to others within the Kennedy camp. Surely, given how potentially damaging the story would be to LBJ, Kennedy partisans would have leaked it to the media at some point.
Although it is impossible to prove, my gut reaction is that McHugh is telling the truth. We know that Johnson was a man capable of dramatic mood swings, and occasional fits of hysteria were not unusual. McHugh’s account of LBJ’s behavior is similar to RFK’s description of a trembling and tearful Johnson at the 1960 Democratic Convention when it appeared that JFK might renege on his promise to include him on the ticket. It was not surprising behavior to those who knew him best.
We also know from some eyewitnesses that LBJ’s secret service agent, Rufus Youngblood, stood outside the door to the bedroom and controlled the traffic into the room. Aides went in and out, but it is possible that McHugh could have found LBJ alone in the bedroom suite.
If true, though, why did McHugh wait until 1978 to tell this story? When Manchester interviewed him in May 1964, McHugh was still in the military, although only a few months away from retirement. Is it possible that he worried the story would be too damaging to his commander-in-chief?
We will never know for sure, but McHugh’s account is sure to add to the controversy surrounding that tragic November day in Dallas.
‘The Doves Were Right’
McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam
By Gordon M. Goldstein 300 pp. Times Books/ Henry Holt & Company. $25
The 2008 Presidential Election
President Obama’s Cairo Speech June 4, 2009
I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.
We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world – tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.
Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.
So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.
I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, “Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.” That is what I will try to do – to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.
Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.
As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.
I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.” And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers – Thomas Jefferson – kept in his personal library.
So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.
But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words – within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: “Out of many, one.”
Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores – that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average.
Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.
So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations – to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.
Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.
For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.
This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.
That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.
The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.
In Ankara, I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.
The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America’s goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.
Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.
That’s why we’re partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America’s commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths – more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.
We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.
Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: “I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”
Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future – and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq’s sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq’s democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012. We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.
And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.
So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.
The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.
America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.
For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers – for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.
That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them – and all of us – to live up to our responsibilities.
Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.
Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.
Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel’s legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.
America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.
Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.
The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.
This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.
It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America’s interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.
I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.
The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.
I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.
That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.
There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.
This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.
The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.
Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways.
Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one’s own faith by the rejection of another’s. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld – whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. And fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.
Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.
Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit – for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.
Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah’s Interfaith dialogue and Turkey’s leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action – whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.
The sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights.
I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.
Now let me be clear: issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.
Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity – men and women – to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.
Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.
I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities. In all nations – including my own – this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we will lose of control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities – those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.
But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradiction between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.
This is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf States have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas. I am emphasizing such investments within my country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.
On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.
On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.
On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops. And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.
All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.
The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek – a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God’s children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.
I know there are many – Muslim and non-Muslim – who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort – that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.
All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.
It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples – a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.
We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.
The Holy Koran tells us, “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”
The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”
The Holy Bible tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you.
Obama’s Election Night Speech
President – Elect Obama’s Victory Speech
You have chosen
trust over fear,
civility over contempt,
knowledge over ignorance,
reason over ideology,
diplomacy over destruction,
community over isolation,
the future over the past.
And although our quest to correct our country’s course has only just begun, and there will be many long and difficult days ahead, you have given your fellow countrymen and women and your fellow citizens of the world
The McGlynn.com Editors
Obama Campaign, Western Wayne County, Michigan
These videos were made at the request of the Obama Campaign in Western Wayne County, Michigan and cover just a small part of the last four days of the campaign.
My grandson Joseph and I were honored to be asked and were thrilled while filming the diversity of the people working to elect Obama and change the disastrous direction our country has followed under the Bush administration.
To all campaign workers, please accept my deepest thanks from this ancient Liberal. Well done
Victory Celebration, Plymouth, Michigan
Calling For Obama
NASA has become a transition problem for Obama
Robert Block on Dec 10, 2008
CAPE CANAVERAL – NASA administrator Mike Griffin is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has told its leader that she is “not qualified” to judge his rocket program, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.
In a heated 40-minute conversation last week with Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator who heads the space transition team, a red-faced Griffin demanded to speak directly to Obama, according to witnesses.
In addition, Griffin is scripting NASA employees and civilian contractors on what they can tell the transition team and has warned aerospace executives not to criticize the agency’s moon program, sources said.
Griffin’s resistance is part of a no-holds-barred effort to preserve the Constellation program, the delayed and over-budget moon rocket that is his signature project.
Chris Shank, NASA’s Chief of Strategic Communications, denied that Griffin is trying to keep information from the team, or that he is seeking a meeting with Obama. He also insisted that Griffin never argued with Garver.
Remembering The Past, Looking To Tomorrow
The Campaign’s Little People
The Children are the future.
Note: We highly recommend using a browser other than Microsoft Internet Explorer in viewing this site since IE will not show the site as it is designed. The Firefox browser works well.
No Words Are Necessary
“Watching the fading city, the fading shore, from the deck of the ship, he had a sense of overwhelming gratitude and gladness that America was still there, that under the ugly debris of industry the rich land still pushed up, incorrigibly lavish and fertile, and that in the heart of the leaderless people the old generosities and devotions fought on, breaking out sometimes in fanaticism and excess, but indomitable and undefeated.
All his old feeling that America was a bizarre accident, a sort of historical sport, had gone forever. The best of America was the best of the world……. France was a land, England was a people, but America, having about it still that quality of the idea, was harder to utter – it was a willingness of the heart.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Some Western Wayne County, Michigan Workers
Plymouth, Michigan Victory Celebration
Obama Around The World
FBI Investigating Coleman, Paper Reports
December 10, 2008
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that a probe has been launched into Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman’s ties to businessman Nasser Kazeminy:
Federal investigators are looking into allegations that a longtime friend and benefactor tried to steer money to U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, the Pioneer Press has learned.
Agents with the FBI have talked to or made efforts to talk to people in Texas familiar with the allegations, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Houston is where the first of two lawsuits was filed alleging Nasser Kazeminy, a Bloomington financier, tried to steer $100,000 to Coleman via his wife’s Minneapolis employer. The second suit, filed in Delaware, alleges Kazeminy initially tried to get money directly to the senator.
Both Coleman and Kazeminy have denied any wrongdoing, and Coleman last month said he welcomes an investigation.
Neither Coleman nor his office has been contacted by the FBI, spokesman LeRoy Coleman said Tuesday morning.
“We have not been contacted by any law enforcement or investigative authority on this matter,” he said.
On Tuesday evening, Coleman’s campaign released the following statement: “We are not aware of any investigation that is under way, nor have we been contacted by any agency with respect to this matter. As we have said repeatedly, we welcome any investigation of these lawsuits by the appropriate authorities to get to the bottom of these baseless, sleazy and politically inspired allegations.”
The campaign provided no evidence for the claim that the allegations are “politically inspired.”
A lawsuit alleges that Kazeminy tried to funnel money directly to Sen. Coleman. Sam Stein reported recently for the Huffington Post that Coleman could face an ethics investigation for his ties to Kazeminy if he is reelected to the Senate. A Minnesota good government group has called for am FBI probe.
Another Catholic pastor labels voting for Obama a sin
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Posted on Sun, Nov. 30, 2008
Parishioners of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Modesto have been told they should consider going to confession if they voted for Barack Obama, because of the president-elect’s position condoning abortion.
“If you are one of the 54 percent of Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate, you were clear on his position and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving communion. Don’t risk losing your state of grace by receiving sacrilegiously,” the Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor of St. Joseph’s, wrote in a letter dated Nov. 21.
The letter was sent to more than 15,000 members of the St. Joseph’s parish. It is one of 34 parishes in the Stockton Diocese, which has more than 200,000 members in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and four other counties.
Illo also delivered this message in a homily.
Obama’s support of abortion rights angered many Catholics nationally during the campaign, and Illo’s letter, while the first in Central California from a priest to his parishioners on the topic, is not the first nationally.
A Greenville, S.C., priest told parishioners earlier this month that those who voted for Obama risked placing themselves “outside of the full communion of Christ’s church” by their vote.
That priest’s action was supported by his diocese, the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., which said the priest was simply asserting church teaching.
But the Most Rev. Stephen Blaire, bishop of the Stockton, Calif., Diocese, said he disagrees with Illo. He said Catholics should not feel compelled to disclose how they voted to their priest.
Blaire said Catholics who carefully weighed many issues and settled on a candidate, such as Obama, who was supportive of abortion rights, were not in need of confession. He said confession would be necessary “only if someone voted for a pro-abortion or pro-choice candidate — if that’s the reason you voted for them.”
“Our position on pro-life is very important, but there are other issues,” Blaire said. “No one candidate reflects everything that we stand for. I’m sure that most Catholics who voted were voting on economic issues.
“There were probably many priests, and I suspect many bishops, who voted for Obama.”
Across the country, Obama’s nomination and campaign was divisive for many Catholics. Many priests and church officials sermonized against him because of his stance on abortion, as they did four years ago when Democratic John Kerry challenged President Bush. There were Catholic-inspired anti-Obama videos on YouTube regarding the issue.
In a story published in October in the Chicago Tribune, Joe Scheidler, president of the Pro-Life Action League, said it was hypocritical for any Catholic to vote for Obama — even if they agreed with his positions on other health care topics.
Read the full story at http://www.modbee.com/
A Response to the Extreme Anti-Gay Comments by My Brother, New Gingrich
By Candace Gingrich, Human Rights Campaign
Posted on November 24, 2008
Note: This letter to Newt Gingrich from his sister is prompted by his outrageous statement on Nov. 14 to Fox News’s Bill O’ Reilly: “I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.”
I recently had the displeasure of watching you bash the protesters of the Prop 8 marriage ban to Bill O’Reilly on FOX News. I must say, after years of watching you build your career by stirring up the fears and prejudices of the far right, I feel compelled to use the words of your idol, Ronald Reagan, “There you go, again.”
However, I realize that you may have been a little preoccupied lately with planning your resurrection as the savior of your party, so I thought I would fill you in on a few important developments you might have overlooked.
The truth is that you’re living in a world that no longer exists. I, along with millions of Americans, clearly see the world the way it as — and we embrace what it can be. You, on the other hand, seem incapable of looking for new ideas or moving beyond what worked in the past.
Welcome to the 21st century, big bro. I can understand why you’re so afraid of the energy that has been unleashed after gay and lesbian couples had their rights stripped away from them by a hateful campaign. I can see why you’re sounding the alarm against the activists who use all the latest tech tools to build these rallies from the ground up in cities across the country………………………………………………………………….
Alaska Notebook: Palin’s Georgia Pal
Posted by Matt Zencey, editorial page editor
November 28, 2008
by Matt Zencey
Gov. Sarah Palin is putting her conservative Republican fame to work in Georgia, stumping for Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is in a tough runoff for re-election.
I wonder if she knows the true measure of the man she is eagerly helping.
Chambliss was elected to the Senate in 2002 by running one of the most reprehensible campaigns of modern times. He was up against incumbent Democrat Sen. Max Cleland, a Vietnam War veteran who lost both legs and his right arm to a grenade during that conflict.
Chambliss avoided serving in Vietnam. He got four student draft deferments, and when his number finally came up, he was medically disqualified with knee troubles.
In the best Karl Rove fashion, Chambliss the draft-evader attacked Cleland the war hero for being soft on terrorism. Distorting Cleland’s votes about workplace rules for the new Homeland Security Department employees, Chambliss portrayed him as a tool of terrorists like Osama bin Laden.
Here’s how the Almanac of American Politics (2006) described it:
“Chambliss ran an ad, much attacked in the press, showing pictures of Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Max Cleland, and saying that Cleland ‘voted against the President’s vital homeland security efforts 11 times.’” (Those “vital homeland security efforts” Cleland opposed were intended to strip homeland security employees of union rights and other workplace protections.)
The man who couldn’t bring himself to serve in the military said a man who left three limbs behind in war was a weakling who would turn the country over to terrorists.
Chambliss was a congressman during the 9-11 attacks. Congressional Quarterly’s “Politics in America 2006” noted that Congressman Chambliss “quipped that one route to security would be for local sheriffs to ‘arrest every Muslim that comes across the state line.’”
So there you have the fine American that Palin is trying to re-elect to the U.S. Senate.
Gov. Palin’s eldest joined the Army and has been deployed to Iraq. As a justifiably proud military mom, she might ask herself why she is using her conservative star power to support such a reprehensible Republican chicken hawk.
— Matt Zencey
The Flight Back to the RNC
McCain insulted and betrayed our country with his choosing Palin.
His and her enablers are now betraying themselves and fleeing
back to the Republican National Committee from whence they came.
From: The Huffington Post
From: The Huffington Post
Quote from Studs Terkel: “The idiots! They label Saul Alinksy – the great neighborhood organizer – as a subversive! He’s been dead for 35 years and he was honored by the Catholic Church! He’s no subversive. Neither is Bill Ayers! That Sarah Palin – you know, she’s Joe McCarthy in drag!”
Bill Ayers Tells His Side: ‘A Bit Surreal’
Whew! What was all that mess? I’m still in a daze, sorting it all out, decompressing.
Pass the Vitamin C.
For the past few years, I have gone about my business, hanging out with my kids and, now, my grandchildren, taking care of our elders (they moved in as the kids moved out), going to work, teaching and writing. And every day, I participate in the never-ending effort to build a powerful and irresistible movement for peace and social justice.
In years past, I would now and then—often unpredictably—appear in the newspapers or on TV, sometimes with a reference to Fugitive Days, my 2001 memoir of the exhilarating and difficult years of resistance against the American war in Vietnam. It was a time when the world was in flames, revolution was in the air, and the serial assassinations of black leaders disrupted our utopian dreams.
These media episodes of fleeting notoriety always led to some extravagant and fantastic assertions about what I did, what I might have said and what I probably believe now.
It was always a bit surreal. Then came this political season.
During the primary, the blogosphere was full of chatter about my relationship with President-elect Barack Obama. We had served together on the board of the Woods Foundation and knew one another as neighbors in Chicago’s Hyde Park. In 1996, at a coffee gathering that my wife, Bernardine Dohrn, and I held for him, I made a donation to his campaign for the Illinois State Senate.
Obama’s political rivals and enemies thought they saw an opportunity to deepen a dishonest perception that he is somehow un-American, alien, linked to radical ideas, a closet terrorist who sympathizes with extremism—and they pounced.
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) campaign provided the script, which included guilt by association, demonization of people Obama knew (or might have known), creepy questions about his background and dark hints about hidden secrets yet to be uncovered.
On March 13, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), apparently in an attempt to reassure the “base,” sat down for an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. McCain was not yet aware of the narrative Hannity had been spinning for months, and so Hannity filled him in: Ayers is an unrepentant “terrorist,” he explained, “On 9/11, of all days, he had an article where he bragged about bombing our Pentagon, bombing the Capitol and bombing New York City police headquarters. … He said, ‘I regret not doing more.’ “
McCain couldn’t believe it.
Neither could I.
On the campaign trail, McCain immediately got on message. I became a prop, a cartoon character created to be pummeled.
When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got hold of it, the attack went viral. At a now-famous Oct. 4 rally, she said Obama was “pallin’ around with terrorists.” (I pictured us sharing a milkshake with two straws.)
The crowd began chanting, “Kill him!” “Kill him!” It was downhill from there.
My voicemail filled up with hate messages. They were mostly from men, all venting and sweating and breathing heavily. A few threats: “Watch out!” and “You deserve to be shot.” And some e-mails, like this one I got from (censured by The McGlynn): “I’m coming to get you and when I do, I’ll water-board you.”
The police lieutenant who came to copy down those threats deadpanned that he hoped the guy who was going to shoot me got there before the guy who was going to water-board me, since it would be most foul to be tortured and then shot. (We have been pals ever since he was first assigned to investigate threats made against me in 1987, after I was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.)
The good news was that every time McCain or Palin mentioned my name, they lost a point or two in the polls. The cartoon invented to hurt Obama was now poking holes in the rapidly sinking McCain-Palin ship.
That ’60s show.
William Ayers Works:
* Education: An American Problem. Bill Ayers, Radical Education Project, 1968, ASIN B0007H31HU
* Hot town: Summer in the City: I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more, Bill Ayers, Students for a Democratic Society, 1969, ASIN B0007I3CMI
* Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, Bernardine Dohrn, Jeff Jones, Billy Ayers, Celia Sojourn, Communications Co., 1974, ASIN B000GF2KVQ
* Good Preschool Teachers, William Ayers, Teachers College Press, 1989, ISBN 978-0807729472
* The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives, William Ayers, Teachers College Press, 1989, ISBN 978-0807729465
* To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, William Ayers, Teachers College Press, 1993, ISBN 978-0807732625*
* To Become a Teacher: Making a Difference in Children’s Lives, William Ayers, Teachers College Press, 1995, ISBN 978-0807734551
* City Kids, City Teachers: Reports from the Front Row, William Ayers (Editor) and Patricia Ford (Editor), New Press, 1996, ISBN 978-1565843288
* A Kind and Just Parent, William Ayers, Beacon Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0807044025
* A Light in Dark Times: Maxine Greene and the Unfinished Conversation, Maxine Greene (Editor), William Ayers (Editor), Janet L. Miller (Editor), Teachers College Press, 1998, ISBN 978-0807737217
* Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader, William Ayers (Editor), Jean Ann Hunt (Editor), Therese Quinn (Editor), 1998, ISBN 978-1565844209
* Teacher Lore: Learning from Our Own Experience, William H. Schubert (Editor) and William C. Ayers (Editor), Educator’s International Press, 1999, ISBN 978-1891928031
* Teaching from the Inside Out: The Eight-Fold Path to Creative Teaching and Living, Sue Sommers (Author), William Ayers (Foreword), Authority Press, 2000, ISBN 978-1929059027
* A Simple Justice: The Challenge of Small Schools, William Ayers, Teachers College Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0807739631
* Zero Tolerance: Resisting the Drive for Punishment, William Ayers (Editor), Rick Ayers (Editor), Bernardine Dohrn (Editor), Jesse L. Jackson (Author), New Press, 2001, ISBN 978-1565846661
* A School of Our Own: Parents, Power, and Community at the East Harlem Block Schools, Tom Roderick (Author), William Ayers (Author), Teachers College Press, 2001, ISBN 978-0807741573
* Refusing Racism: White Allies and the Struggle for Civil Rights, Cynthia Stokes Brown (Author), William Ayers (Editor), Therese Quinn (Editor), Teachers College Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0807742044
* On the Side of the Child: Summerhill Revisited, William Ayers, Teachers College Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0807744000
* Fugitive Days: A Memoir, Bill Ayers, Beacon Press, 2001, ISBN 0807071242 (Penguin, 2003, ISBN 978-0142002551)
* Teaching the Personal and the Political: Essays on Hope and Justice, William Ayers, Teachers College Press, 2004, ISBN 978-0807744611
* Teaching Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom, William Ayers, Beacon Press, 2004, ISBN 978-080703269-5
* Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, and Communiques of the Weather Underground 1970-1974, Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, and Jeff Jones, Seven Stories Press, 2006,
* Handbook of Social Justice in Education, William C. Ayers, Routledge, June 2008, ISBN 978-0805859270
* City Kids, City Schools: More Reports from the Front Row, Ruby Dee (Foreword), Jeff Chang (Afterword), William Ayers (Editor), Billings, Gloria Ladson (Editor), Gregory Michie (Editor), Pedro Noguera (Editor), New Press, August 2008, ISBN 978-1595583383
Palin Attacks Obama Over Ayers Yet Again On CNN
The Huffington Post, Rachel Weiner, November 12, 2008
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Sarah Palin says she’s ready to work with President Barack Obama — but she just can’t let Bill Ayers go. From the transcript:
PALIN: It would be my honor to assist and support our new president and the new administration, yes. And I speak for other Republicans, other Republican governors also, they being willing also to, again, seize this opportunity that we have to progress this nation together, a united front.
BLITZER: Because, you know, during a campaign, every presidential campaign, things are said, it’s tough, as you well know, it gets sometimes pretty fierce out there. And during the campaign, you said this, you said: “This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America.”
And then you went on to say: “Someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he is palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”
PALIN: Well, I still am concerned about that association with Bill Ayers. And if anybody still wants to talk about it, I will, because this is an unrepentant domestic terrorist who had campaigned to blow up, to destroy our Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol. That’s an association that still bothers me.
And I think it’s still fair to talk about it. However the campaign is over. That chapter is closed. Now is the time to move on and to, again, make sure that all of us are doing all that we can to progress this nation.
Keep us secure, get the economy back on the right track, and many of us do have some ideas on how to do that and hopefully we’ll be able to put all of that wisdom and experience to good use together.
BLITZER: So looking back, you don’t regret that tough language during the campaign?
PALIN: No, and I do not think that it is off-base nor mean-spirited, nor negative campaigning to call someone out on their associations and on their record. And that’s why I did it.
BLITZER: I just want to sort of footnote, was that your idea or did somebody write those lines for you?
PALIN: It was a collaborative effort there in deciding how do we start bringing up some of the associations that perhaps would be impacting on an administration, on the future of America. But again, though, Wolf, knowing that it really — at this point, I don’t want to point fingers backwards and play the blame game, certainly, on anything that took place in terms of strategy or messaging in the campaign.
GOP Heads Out On Caribbean Cruise To Re-Plot
When Joe Six-pack suffers a severe setback, he might cry in his beer. The Republican elite could be found this week on a Caribbean cruise after being stung in the Nov. 4 elections.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson joined policy analysts and 700 subscribers who want to revive the Republican Party on the cruise hosted by the National Review, a conservative magazine.
Publisher Jack Fowler told The Associated Press during a port of call on Tuesday that their mood is upbeat despite last week’s drubbing at the polls.
“No one’s jumped overboard,” Fowler quipped as passengers disembarked in Old San Juan. “This is a forward-thinking group.”
Republican Party Plans Suit To Overturn McCain Law
JIM KUHNHENN | November 12, 2008
WASHINGTON — The national Republican Party wants to make it easier to raise and spend political money and plans to sue the Federal Election Commission to alter a six-year-old law written by John McCain, the defeated Republican presidential candidate.
Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan said Wednesday that he wants the courts to eliminate restrictions on coordinated spending by national parties and federal candidates and to permit the national organizations to raise money for state parties.
Duncan said he planned to file suits Thursday in federal courts in Washington D.C. and in Louisiana. His goal, he said was to “strengthen the Republican Party and bring a more level playing field to campaign finance.”
Let Us Finish The Task
“We Have a Lot of Work to Do”
Our sincere condolences go to Senator Barack Obama and his family.
It would have been so wonderful if she could have witnessed her grandson’s victory tomorrow.
This is so very sad. We are really sorry for this loss, Barack.
Please, all of you make sure tomorrow will be the happiest day in Barack Obama’s life.
And it will be the happiest day in the life–of all of us!
VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA for President of the United States.
As If Your Life Depended On It —-It Does!
Do It For Our Little People!
Saturday Night Live – Palin Interview
Meet Me In St. Louie, Louie!
Over 100,000 greet Obama in St. Louis
Everything Is Up To Date In Kansas City For Obama!
Over 75,000 greet Obama.
October 22nd Speech
Why Conservatives Are Voting For Obama
The Differences In Health Care And Other
First, A Little Humor
A New Candidate
Remembering The Past, Looking To Tomorrow
Palin Talks With French President Nicolas Sarkozy
Sarah Palin has unwittingly taken a prank call from a Canadian comedian posing as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and told him she may make a good president in eight years.
The Republican vice presidential nominee discussed politics, the perils of hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney, and Sarkozy’s “beautiful wife,” in the telephone call released Saturday.
When the caller told Palin she would make a good president, she laughed and replied: “Maybe in eight years.”
The True Mavericks Talk
The True Mavericks Talk
“My brother called me from California last week during the VP debate and told me if they said the world Maverick one more time, he was going to shoot the TV. Of course, he doesn’t have a gun, but, you get the point. My mother was just quoted in the New York Times about how we feel McCain is branded, Palin is branded, they are Republicans, and true Mavericks carry no brand. It’s driving our family crazy, upsetting us and the legacy of my family, and we really wish the campaign would stop misusing the word and the phrase.”
A New Direction Away From Bush McCain
From October 2008, home foreclosures have increased 21 percent from September 2007; one in every 475 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in September 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment numbers stayed at over six percent, or nearly 10 million, unemployed in September. The National Coalition on Health Care reports 47 million Americans are without healthcare insurance.
We need a new direction.
Obama Around The World
Michigan’s Voting Machine
Instructions on how to use the Optical Scanner Voting Machine.
Not mentioned in the video is the fact that you can vote a straight Democrat Ticket with one mark and then
go to the Non-Partisan Section and the Ballot Issues. Highly recommend you do so and vote Yes on both
Send the Republicans a very clear message and a message even they can understand.
For further information go to: http://www.866ourvote.org/
And For Election Protection go to: http://www.866ourvote.org/elections-101/
WVA Vote Flipping Caught on Tape, & Other Crimes
Do Everything To Protect Your Vote
Early Voting Sees Reports of Voter Intimidation, Machine Malfunctions
For Voter Protection go to: http://www.866ourvote.org/elections-101/
Justice Department Pressed by Bush to Contest 200,000 Ohio Voters
By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet
Posted on October 27, 2008, Printed on October 27, 2008
As the 2008 presidential election heads into its final week, the current president threw a political wild card on table late Friday, when he asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate the status of 200,000 Ohio voters.
George W. Bush’s request, if honored, could be politically explosive. It would remind voters of the Department of Justice’s partisan abuses of power in the scandal surrounding the firing of seven U.S. attorneys in 2006 who did not deliver ‘voter fraud’ convictions.
It could be a big distraction, drawing attention away from issues that call for legitimate DOJ intervention, such as shortages of voting machines in minority precincts in Virginia and Pennsylvania, compared to nearby white precincts. That disparity would violate existing civil rights law.
Or it could interject a complicating dynamic into the already heavily litigated Ohio general election, by adding the Department’s weight to GOP legal claims that pre-emptively question the legitimacy of a close vote count in a key battleground state.
Either way, the Department must choose if it will remain silent or get involved in an action that would go well beyond its historic role of quietly monitoring elections and avoiding messages to voters.
“This is taking the politicization of this to a new level, and the last thing we need is for the elections officials and voters of Ohio to be put in a chaotic situation in the last days before the election,” Jon Greenbaum of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told the Washington Post, reacting to the White House request.
Goldfarb, McCain Campaign’s Hypocrisy Fool
But CNN’s Rick Sanchez calls Goldfarb out for the hypocrisy of hyping a sinister connection between Obama and a guy that McCain funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to, and from there, Goldfarb goes right off the rails, refusing to answer Sanchez’s questions with anything other than intimations. Repeatedly asked to name a second anti-Semite that Obama allegedly “pals around with,” Goldfarb does nothing but issue hollow, Page Six-style intimations.
What a gutless wonder. And here I’d been led to believe that this campaign took its cues from some kind of war hero.
Fear & Lies, Lies & Fear – All that McCain Has Left
John McCain’s campaign is making what appears to be a final, full-throated effort to paint Barack Obama as a sympathizer with the Muslim world. In the process they are putting out into the public domain as many images as possible of Obama’s face cast over a map of the Middle East.
The latest salvo came Wednesday afternoon, when the Republican nominee released a web ad placing Obama’s visage in front of an outline of Iran, and presenting aspects of the Senator’s foreign policy alongside music traditionally associated with a Muslim call to prayer.
“Obama doesn’t have preconditions but Iran does. Iran, whose president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Israel must be wiped off the map. Iran demands that the U.S. must cease its support of Israel and that all U.S. military forces must leave the Middle East, meaning we abandon Iraq, Turkey and Kuwait. What will Obama do? Will he admit he was wrong or will he accept Iran’s demands?’
The spot seems designed either to frighten voters away from Obama or confuse them into thinking the Illinois Democrat is more comfortable supporting Iranian interests than domestic concerns. The campaign put it out on the web, where provocative items are placed mainly to grab the media attention.
Indeed, the Republican ticket has been subtly pushing this line for days now. As the Huffington Post reported on Tuesday, the Republican Party of Florida is sending out a new mailer that places the Illinois Democrat’s face right over a map of Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. It accuses him of being “dangerously unprepared” and “no friend of Israel.”
Hours earlier, the McCain campaign had taken the step of reissuing an old campaign ad (for what purpose, it isn’t clear) that declared Obama had once called the threat from Iran: “tiny.”
Additionally, McCain officials have been howling over video of a party attended by Obama and Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, an outspoken advocate for Palestinian rights. The story has been fueled by revelations that the Los Angeles Times has video footage of that party which the paper is refusing to release (citing an agreement with the providing source). But, as Seth Colter Walls reported, McCain has ties of his own to that very professor.
“During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.”
Taken together, the ads, flier and new line of attack seem designed to paint Obama as, at best too weak to handle the dangers of the Arab world or at worst, an ‘outsider’ in his own right. It is an attack that has followed Obama around since the early months of the primary and seems likely to continue to the day of the election.
Excerpt From Colin Powell’s Endorsement of Obama
I’m also troubled by – not what Senator McCain says – but what members of the Party say, and it is permitted to be said: such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian; has always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, “What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” The answer’s “No, that’s not America.” Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be President? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own Party drop the suggestion he’s Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery. And she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards – Purple Heart, Bronze Star; showed that he died in Iraq; gave his date of birth, date of death. He was twenty years old. And then at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross. It didn’t have a Star of David. It had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Karim Rashad Sultan Kahn. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey, he was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11 and he waited until he could go serve his country and he gave his life.
Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as non-discriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that within the Party we have these kinds of expressions.
So when I look at all of this and I think back to my army career, we’ve got two individuals. Either one of them could be a good president, but which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities – and we have to take that into account – as well as his substance – he has both style and substance – he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.
I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the … onto the world stage and on the American stage and for that reason, I’ll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.
Obama’s Info Ad
In Denver, Over 100,000
Obama’s Speech, October 27th
Must See My Grandmother
Campbell-Brown “So What”?
Get The Facts
Grace Comes to the Fore
Our View In July Was Sad But Right
AFL-CIO Leader Richard Trumka on Racism and Obama
One has only to know what happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis to realize how important it is to have leaders at the head of our nation who:
1.) Do not act rashly
2.) Have cool heads which would prevail
3.) Consider all aspects of a crisis
4.) Weigh all options thoroughly
5.) Make their decisions in a way that will best avoid an unnecessary or immoral war
6.) Hold the Pentagon in check
7.) Have endurance of mind, will & spirit to counter the war mongers
On The Economy – September 16th
“I want to campaign the same way I govern, which is to respond directly and forcefully with the truth,”
~ Barack Obama, 11/08/07
Click here for more information. http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/uniteforchange/
The Opposition: McCain Bush/Bush McCain Palin
Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that “some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.”It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list.
Click above to see an Australian Republican being interviewed.
They must be the same the world over.
On August 19th, 2007, an oil tanker off the coast of Australia split in two, dumping 20,000 tons of crude oil.
Senator Collins, a member of the Australian Parliament, appeared on a TV news program to reassure the Australian public.
This interview is hilarious, you almost think its a SNL sketch or something from Monty Python!
Its funny but sad, simultaneously.
Still no Medical Records from Palin; What’s the Hold Up?
October 29, 2008
ABC News Kate Snow reports: Governor Palin’s campaign still has not released any information regarding her medical records despite frequent requests from the news media and the campaign’s own assertion that they would release this information soon.
On Sunday morning, Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt told ABC News that the campaign had planned to release information on her medical history early this week.
Today is Wednesday.
ABC News has asked every day this week about the status of the release of information and received no updates from the campaign. It is unclear what is holding things up.
“We are working on this and it will happen sooner than later,” Schmitt said on Sunday.
Aides suggested privately that there was nothing to hide in the records, but that it was simply taking a while to call doctors and round up the appropriate information to release.
But an entire week?
It was last Wednesday that Governor Palin said she would be “fine” with releasing her records.
She is the only one of the presidential or vice presidential candidates who has not released any health information about herself.
Palin did suggest that releasing her records could be fodder for political attacks of some kind.
“So be it, if that will allow some curiosity seekers, perhaps, to have one more thing that they can either check the box off that they can find something to criticize, perhaps, or find something to rest them assured over. Fine. I’m healthy, I’m happy, had five kids. That is going to be in the medical records. Never been seriously ill or hurt. You will see that in the medical records if they’re released,” Palin told NBC’s Brian Williams.
The Hate Campaign
News Orgs Investigate Possibly Fatal McCain ’64 Car Crash
For the past two months, a major American magazine and an allied news service have been engaged in a legal battle with the United States Navy over records that they believe show that John McCain once was involved in an automobile accident that injured or, perhaps, killed another individual.
Vanity Fair magazine and the National Security News Service claim to have knowledge “developed from first-hand sources” of a car crash that involved then-Lt. McCain at the main gate of a Virginia naval base in 1964, according to legal filings. The incident has been largely, if not entirely, kept from the public. And in documents suing the Navy to release pertinent information, lawyers for the NS News Service allege that a cover-up may be at play.
“Plaintiffs have also obtained documents showing that law enforcement officers were ordered back to the accident scene to retrieve personal physical effects. The Navy has never publicly acknowledged this information,” one document reads. “This request involves federal government activity, as it addresses what may be an attempt by the Navy to protect by concealment the involvement of a former Navy officer, sitting Senator and Presidential candidate in a serious incident involving the injury or death of another human being.”
McCain pushed regulators for land swap, despite pledge
Greg Gordon | McClatchy Newspapers
October 27, 2008
WASHINGTON — Years after he resurrected his political fortunes from the Keating Five savings and loan investigation, John McCain promoted an Arizona land swap that would’ve benefited a former mentor and partner of the scandal’s central figure.
The owners of the Spur Cross Ranch, a dramatic 2,154-acre tract of Sonoran desert just north of Phoenix, in the late 1990s sought to sell it to a developer who planned to build a premier golf course surrounded by 390 luxury homes.
Nearby residents and environmentalists, however, wanted to preserve the area’s unusual cacti, stone formations and hundreds of Hopi Indian tribal artifacts.
After opposition surfaced, the developer sought McCain’s help in forging a land swap with the U.S. Forest Service — a deal that also would benefit the owners of the ranch, including a company controlled by billionaire Carl H. Lindner Jr., an associate of S&L chief Charles H. Keating.
McCain and an aide pushed for the exchange in more than a half dozen sometimes-testy letters and phone calls up and down the Forest Service’s hierarchy, according to former agency officials and correspondence. McCain’s office even circulated draft legislation that would have overridden the agency’s objection to surrendering national forest land. Ultimately, the deal fell apart.
McCain’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering on Spur Cross contrasts with his image as a congressional ethics champion and his pledge — made after the Keating scandal in 1991 sullied his reputation — never to intervene with regulators again.
If the GOP Had Listened to ACORN’s Advice,
the Mortgage Industry Wouldn’t Be in Meltdown
By Peter Dreier and John Atlas, The Nation
Posted on October 27, 2008, Printed on October 27, 2008
An increasingly desperate Republican attack machine has recently identified the community organizing group ACORN as Public Enemy Number One. Among ACORN’s alleged crimes, perhaps the most serious is that it caused, nearly single-handedly, the world’s financial crisis. That’s the fantasy. In the reality-based world, it was ACORN that sounded the alarm about the exploitative lending practices that led to the current mortgage meltdown and financial crisis.
Since the 1970s ACORN, which has 400,000 low- and moderate-income “member families” in more than 100 cities in forty states, has been warning Congress to protect borrowers from the banking industry’s irresponsible, risky and predatory practices — subprime loans, racial discrimination (called “redlining”) and rip-off fees. ACORN has persistently called for stronger regulations on banks, private mortgage companies, mortgage brokers and rating agencies. For years, ACORN has alerted public officials that the industry was hoodwinking many families into taking out risky loans they couldn’t afford and whose fine print they couldn’t understand.
Now John McCain and his fellow conservatives are accusing ACORN of strong-arming Congress and big Wall Street banks into making subprime loans to poor families who couldn’t afford them, thus causing the economic disaster. McCain’s campaign is running a one-and-a-half-minute video that claims Barack Obama once worked for ACORN, repeats the accusation that ACORN is responsible for widespread voter registration fraud and accuses ACORN of “bullying banks, intimidation tactics, and disruption of business.” The ad claims that ACORN “forced banks to issue risky home loans — the same types of loans that caused the financial crisis we’re in today.”
Palin: I Don’t Know’ If Abortion Clinic Bombers Are Terrorists
Bush McCain/ McCain Bush
Palin – Fiscal Nonsense
Palin -Geography 101
Why on earth is Sarah Palin wearing a Democratic Party keffiyeh, festooned with donkeys and the word “Vote?” McCain should investigate her ties to radical leftists and the accessories she wears!
McCain Staffer Threatens to Arrest Journalist for Exposing Paid ‘Volunteers’
RNC shells out $150K for Palin fashion
By: Jeanne Cummings
October 22, 2008
The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.
According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.
The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.
The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.
The cash expenditures immediately raised questions among campaign finance experts about their legality under the Federal Election Commission’s long-standing advisory opinions on using campaign cash to purchase items for personal use.
And then there is the Obama Family View
Freddie Mac Paid GOP Consulting Firm $2M To Kill Legislation
PETE YOST | October 19, 2008
WASHINGTON — Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse.
In the cross hairs of the campaign carried out by DCI of Washington were Republican senators and a regulatory overhaul bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. DCI’s chief executive is Doug Goodyear, whom John McCain’s campaign later hired to manage the GOP convention in September.
Freddie Mac’s payments to DCI began shortly after the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee sent Hagel’s bill to the then GOP-run Senate on July 28, 2005. All GOP members of the committee supported it; all Democrats opposed it.
In the midst of DCI’s yearlong effort, Hagel and 25 other Republican senators pleaded unsuccessfully with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to allow a vote.
“If effective regulatory reform legislation … is not enacted this year, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole,” the senators wrote in a letter that proved prescient.
Unknown to the senators, DCI was undermining support for the bill in a campaign targeting 17 Republican senators in 13 states, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The states and the senators targeted changed over time, but always stayed on the Republican side.
In the end, there was not enough Republican support for Hagel’s bill to warrant bringing it up for a vote because Democrats also opposed it and the votes of some would be needed for passage. The measure died at the end of the 109th Congress.
The Guy Has Lost All Sense Of Decency
Palin as President
(move mouse around and click)
The Keating Five
From an Ultra-Conservative
McCain’s attacks fuel dangerous hatred
By Frank Schaeffer
John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama
with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as “not one
of us,” I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our
society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating
At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, “Kill him!” At one of your
rallies, someone called out, “Terrorist!” Neither was answered or denounced by
you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign
event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the
Democratic nominee – an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your
running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.
John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected
instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my
books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of
mere political gain.
You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history
as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go
down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.
John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that
surround the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post- 9/11, to
call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we
are a bitterly divided country on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in
America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty
of crazy people out there.
Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like
John McCain, you’re walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all
that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for
office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out
“Terrorist” or “Kill him,” history will hold you responsible for all that
John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You
are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all
of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy
collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.
Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make
your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering
the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people – forever.
We will hold you responsible.
Frank Schaeffer is the author of “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the
Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All)
of It Back.”
Alaska Inquiry Finding: Palin Abused Power
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 10, 2008
Filed at 9:39 p.m. ET
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Sarah Palin unlawfully abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, the chief investigator of an Alaska legislative panel concluded Friday. The politically charged inquiry imperiled her reputation as a reformer on John McCain’s Republican ticket.
Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report by a bipartisan panel that investigated the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.
The inquiry looked into her dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with the governor’s sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute.
The report found that Palin let the family grudge influence her decision-making even if it was not the sole reason Monegan was dismissed. ”I feel vindicated,” Monegan said. ”It sounds like they’ve validated my belief and opinions. And that tells me I’m not totally out in left field.”
Branchflower said Palin violated a statute of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.
”I disagree,” said Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein. ”In order to violate the ethics law, there has to be some personal gain, usually financial. Mr. Branchflower has failed to identify any financial gain.”
The statute says ”any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that (public) trust.”
Palin and McCain’s supporters had hoped the inquiry’s finding would be delayed until after the presidential election to spare her any embarrassment and to put aside an enduring distraction as she campaigns as McCain’s running mate in an uphill contest against Democrat Barack Obama.
Palin & Hunting
McCain’s Gambling Problem
For McCain and Team, a Host of Ties to Gambling
By JO BECKER and DON VAN NATTA Jr.
Senator John McCain was on a roll. In a room reserved for high-stakes gamblers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, he tossed $100 chips around a hot craps table. When the marathon session ended around 2:30 a.m., the Arizona senator and his entourage emerged with thousands of dollars in winnings.
A lifelong gambler, Mr. McCain takes risks, both on and off the craps table. He was throwing dice that night not long after his failed 2000 presidential bid, in which he was skewered by the Republican Party’s evangelical base, opponents of gambling. Mr. McCain was betting at a casino he oversaw as a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and he was doing so with the lobbyist who represents that casino, according to three associates of Mr. McCain.
The visit had been arranged by the lobbyist, Scott Reed, who works for the Mashantucket Pequot, a tribe that has contributed heavily to Mr. McCain’s campaigns and built Foxwoods into the world’s second-largest casino. Joining them was Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s current campaign manager. Their night of good fortune epitomized not just Mr. McCain’s affection for gambling, but also the close relationship he has built with the gambling industry and its lobbyists during his 25-year career in Congress.
As a two-time chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, Mr. McCain has done more than any other member of Congress to shape the laws governing America’s casinos, helping to transform the once-sleepy Indian gambling business into a $26-billion-a-year behemoth with 423 casinos across the country. He has won praise as a champion of economic development and self-governance on reservations.
“One of the founding fathers of Indian gaming” is what Steven Light, a University of North Dakota professor and a leading Indian gambling expert, called Mr. McCain.
The McGlynn Comment: It is rumored that McCain had such a gambling problem and had run up a gambling debt so large in the late 1980s that he had to be bailed out by his wife, Cindy.
If true, it raises a question as to whether McCain’s gambling might ever have put him in a situation where he was pressed to repay his debt through Senatorial favors.
Some reporter should ask McCain, directly, if he has ever had a gambling debt that his wife had to pay off. American voters have a right to know.