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Allawi: Iraq in Civil War

Iraq is in the middle of civil war, the country’s former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has told the BBC.
from kos

Iraq is in the middle of civil war, the country’s former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has told the BBC.

He said Iraq had not got to the point of no return, but if it fell apart sectarianism would spread abroad.

The UK and US have repeatedly denied Iraq is facing a civil war, but Mr Allawi suggested there was no other way to describe the sectarian violence.

BBC

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March 19, 2006 Posted by | The Progressive Movement | Leave a comment

If It’s Sunday It’s Open Thread

Topic: Third Year Anniversary of War in Iraq
open thread

March 19, 2006 Posted by | The Progressive Movement | Leave a comment

Protests

The Third Anniversary of the War in Iraq Sparks Protests Around the World
By Chris Casey

Today marks the third anniversary of the War in Iraq and, unfortunately, it seams as though we are in worse shape now than we were three years ago. Many countries who were involved in the initial coalition have since pulled out leaving a majority of the burden on the shoulders of the US and UK. Protests took place in several cities around the world including Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Toronto.

Since the war began more than 18,000 US soldiers have been killed or injured in Iraq, more than 94% of them after the April, 2003 declaration of “Victory in Iraq”.

read more…

March 18, 2006 Posted by | The Progressive Movement | Leave a comment

Worth Reading

Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches
By Jennifer Loven, Associated Press Writer

When the president starts a sentence with “some say” or offers up what “some in Washington” believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he “strongly disagrees” — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making. (read more…)

March 18, 2006 Posted by | The Progressive Movement | Leave a comment

Keeping Tabs: Mike Huckabee

A Watchful Eye on ’08 White House Hopefuls
By Chris Casey

The GOP straw poll election marks the unofficial beginning of the presidential campaign season and since we have just started this blog I think it is only fitting to launch a “Keeping Tabs” series to profile potential candidates and their policies. It is good to start watching these things early because generally candidates let some pretty telling things slip in the months before their campaign managers convert them into broken records. For instance, I read on kos today about Governor Mike Huckabee of AK and his frightening relationship with the religious right. Now, it is public knowledge that Gov. Huckabee is a Southern Baptist minister but what may not be known is his radical stance on the separation of church and state (or lack there of) issue.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Faith is not present enough in politics as candidates and elected officials try to court voters too broadly, fearing their values will splinter their base, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, said Friday at a Christian gathering.
Introduced as a “fine Christian American governor,” Huckabee, who is considering a bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, said he will always remain true to his beliefs.

“I don’t think most Americans are turned off by people of faith. I think they’re turned off by people who are phony,” Huckabee said to a small group. He added that Christianity is not represented “nearly enough” in Washington.

These quotes were taken from an article on MSNBC covering an address Gov. Huckabee gave to a group called the The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ. This group’s docket of important issues included: “(1) Religious Liberties, (2) the Sanctity of Life, (3) the Homosexual Agenda, (4) Pornography, and (5) Promoting Creationism.”

It is dangerous to have a leader or even a candidate that takes such a radical stance on an issue that has long been considered a basic freedom of America. The separation of church and state is a value that this country was founded on. Puritans came to this country largely to escape religious persecution. Don’t we owe it to our forefathers to ensure that protection to future generations of Americans?

Don’t be fooled: You may hear in the coming weeks that former president Bill Clinton has supported the Governor’s decision to run. If so it would be based of a local WCAX interview with the president where Clinton said that anyone who thinks they have something to run on should run. Read the article for yourself

March 18, 2006 Posted by | The Progressive Movement | Leave a comment

Alternative Feul: So Close but So… CLOSE!

The Switch to E85 Fuel Could Drastically Reduce US Reliance on Foreign Oil
By Chris Casey

In the most recent State of the Union address, President Bush emphasized the United States’ unsettling dependency on foreign (specifically Middle Eastern) feul to satisfy our energy needs. He has since launched a program to fund scientists in the research of this alternative fuel supply (an initiative that has gone almost completely unreported in the wake of several Whitehouse scandals). The problem with the Bush effort is that it is too little, too late. It is also rather unclear exactly what is left to be studied. Let me explain:

Currently in Brazil, over %40 of all vehicles run on a version of Ethanol derived from sugar cane. Mills that process the cane put out sugar and ethanol and the rest is burned to create energy that powers the mill. Even regular fossil fuel in Brazil is %20 ethanol. What’s more, ethanol is a clean burning fuel that will not result in the same negative repercussions that will petroleum (aka global warming).

Plants in Canada and even some in the US are already processing E85.

So why hasn’t anyone in America even heard of this miracle fuel, and why, if it already is proven to work, doesn’t the US government throw billions behind development and set deadlines for car and gas manufacturers to convert their product line to Ethanol? The answer is that there is no good answer; no good reason why this technology should not become the energy standard on America’s roads.

A switch to Ethanol would, in time, completely wipe out our dependency on foreign oil and reduce the pollution in the environment. It may even lessen the incentive for US war in the Middle East.

We cannot wait until it is too late to incorporate this new technology. Bush should use this issue as an opportunity to regain some points with his public. No body of either persuasion could argue against this kind of initiative. And the ulterior motives of those who did would destroy them before they had an impact on the program’s success.

GM is already manufacturing a line of vehicles that run on both traditional feul and E85 called “flexfeul”. Its a step in the right direction but there’s a lot more to be done, and time is running out.

March 18, 2006 Posted by | The Progressive Movement | 1 Comment

Majority Rule

By Chris Casey

Its funny, the little things you learn when chatting with a Hill staffer. Yesterday I was sitting in the minority office of the House Judiciary Committee office, chatting with a senior staffer for Representative John Conyers about a myriad of issues. Eventually the discussion came to a report that was released by his office last December called Constitution In Crisis about the proof of foul play in the lead up and execution of the Iraq war (its basically a precursor to an Impeachment trial that will take place if Democrats win back the house majority in 2006). The staffer went over to his desk and retrieved a bound copy of the report, printed in the traditional style, with the seal of the House on the red and blue cover. I asked him if he had an extra copy that I could take and his reply surprised me and inspired this post.

He said he only had one printed copy because the Republicans controlled the only color printer in the House and they wouldn’t let the Democrats use it. I was shocked. He went on. “Oh yeah, they control everything. Even paperclips and pencils”.

It just goes to show you how much power the majority party has over what gets done and what doesn’t get done in the US Congress. The Democrat’s inability to print the report resulted in its undetectable release and its virtual nonexistent in the main stream media.

In congress, the majority party is king.

March 17, 2006 Posted by | The Progressive Movement | Leave a comment

Regreting Loyalty

GOP Members Rebel Against White House
By Chris Casey

As the 2006 interim elections approach and Bush’s approval ratings continue to drop (currently below %35), Republican members of congress are beginning to wonder if siding with the president on every issue was a bad idea. According to an article in Thursday’s Washington Post the Dubai Port debacle was the catalyst for an explosive release of pent up GOP frustration.

The White House at times has been “non-responsive and arrogant,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.). “There are a thousand small cuts,” he added, that are ignored when things are going well but “rear their heads when things are not going well.”

“Members felt they were willing to take a lot of tough votes and did not get much in return,” said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), an early critic of the port deal.

-Washington Post

If you ask me, the Neo-Con ship hit the iceberg upon the discovery of the Downing Street Memo (if not before). Unfortunately for the Republicans, they waited far too long to jump ship as all the life vests and dingys are now submerged and inaccessible. Now all the GOP can do is pray they can swim long enough to survive the 2006 elections, or that rescue comes in the form of progress in Iraq (not likely).

In a way I pity poor Cousin George who thought he had friends on the Hill until they all stabbed him in the back over a deal that wasn’t really that big a threat to national security. It hurts being used, doesn’t it George?

March 17, 2006 Posted by | The Progressive Movement | Leave a comment

Voting Rights Act Set to Expire

By Chris Casey

A number of important articles in the Voting Rights Act, the legislation the ensures the right to vote to every U.S. citizen, are set to expire in 2007. Specifically section 5, requiring jurisdictions with significant histories of discrimination in voting to get federal approval of any new voting practices or procedures; Section 203, ensuring that voters with limited English proficiency get the help they need at the polls; and Sections 6-9, authorizing the attorney general to appoint federal election observers where there is evidence of attempts to intimidate minority voters at the polls.

In a time when disenfranchising voters is a political tactic, several groups are fighting to keep the Voting Rights Act alive. One such group is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who has just launched its “Every Voice. Every Vote. Renew the Voting Rights Act.” campaign to bring attention to this increasingly relevant issue.

Despite the efforts of the ACLU and similar groups, the fast approaching expiration of the VRA has yet to break the surface of the T.V. or print news media. When conducting a Google News search of “Expiration + Voting Rights Act” or “Renewal + Voting Rights Act” only four articles surfaced mentioning the topic.

I was lucky to be present for a portion of a closed meeting at the National Education Association where this issue was discussed. Reverend Jesse Jackson as well as several other African American leaders and ACLU attorneys were present to discuss what needs to be done about the VRA, specifically as it relates to the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Thousands of people were displaced by the hurricane and are now unable to vote in the upcoming election. This is due, in part, to an inadequate response by the republican administration, a party that will surly benefit from low minority turnout in a traditionally democratic area.

Reverend Jackson talked of a march in New Orleans at the time of the election, this April, in hopes that it will bring more media and public attention to the issue of the VRA and put pressure on members of congress to support the renewal of the expiring sections.

March 16, 2006 Posted by | The Progressive Movement | 1 Comment