Myths Move On

Special Election Briefing: 5 Things You Should Know

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert presents this production with a desire to seek donations.  This self-proclaimed “Progressive” organization hopes to advance the Democratic candidate, and look for dollars to do so.  In essence, MoveOn would wish the public to think that if we advocate for Barack Obama then the Party platform will be fulfilled.  As one who does not necessarily see these two entities as equivalent, I offer this audio-visual presentation more as a tool to inform than a request for a contribution.  

Might we muse of misinformation, misinterpretations, misapprehension, and misalliances.  The video mentions many.  However, the perspective is understandably skewed.  Please ponder; Democrats are not divine.  Republicans are not devoid of principles.  People, myself included, protect the points of view they trust to be true.  Frequently, this means, intentionally, humans will focus on the differences.  I am no exception.  Hence, I offer what may be my divergent views.

As one who believes war is not an option, I do not think a shift in troop deployment will bring an end to combat.  Soldiers will not be sent home if a Commander-In-Chief intends to fight a feud in Afghanistan.  I propose the public ponder; potential President Barack Obama posits, more troops are needed in yet another volatile territory.  The Illinois Senator says, American forces should have been in Afghanistan all along.  

The Illinois Senator trusts, terrorists lie in wait in Afghanistan, and America must act.  Just as John McCain asserts, Barack Obama affirms, he “will not hesitate to use military force.”  For the Democratic Presidential candidate, there is a “war we need to win.”  Sadly, his statement does not refer to a nonviolent assault on poverty.  Nor does he genuinely mean to address Universal Health Care. encourages Americans to donate to the cause.  They promise, if we work to elect Barack Obama, four years from now, all Americans will have quality Health Care.  What this group of political activists does not speak to is a stark reality for near forty-seven million.  Those who cannot afford adequate coverage now, under the Obama plan, will likely still not be able to pay for an insurance plan.  Nonetheless, avows, if we are able to place Barack Obama in the Oval office, in less than 1500 days, everyone in our family, and each of our friends, could have [valuable and adequate] medical services.  The operative word is could.  

Please peruse the Health Care proposal Barack Obama puts forth.  Observe, the option to offer universal coverage is absent.  With Barack Obama in the White House, tens of millions of Americans will remain personally responsible for their medical bills.  Without funds to pay for necessary treatment, most will go without.

A clean energy economy will not be created as long as Americans are fed pabulum or petroleum.  We cannot cure an addiction to oil if “leaders” endorse policies that continue to provide the fossil fuels that have destroyed the environment.  A Presidential hopeful intent on compromise does not invite change we can believe in.  An openness to offshore drilling delays an authentic investment in renewable sources for propulsion.  

I believe, if Americans or Presidential aspirants, do not close one door, they will not likely be desperate enough to open another.  

Therefore, as I assess the plans of each of the candidates, I see few distinctions.  I do not perceive that anyone who invests in what is will solve the energy crisis.  Presidential hopeful John McCain, and Senator Obama are willing to sell an anxious public short-range solutions, ones that will ultimately cause greater harm to the planet.  Politicians on the Left and Right pander to an easily appeased populace.  The shared commitment is to the status quo.  This is not change I can believe in.

Perchance, if did not advance the prescribed media message or secure the myths, I would be willing to support the activist alliance.  At present, I feel frustrated.  I was once hopeful.  There was a time when I believed.  Now, I am mired in misgivings.  

I cannot contribute to what will not bring change.  I will not call myself Progressive in name only.  

When Progressives again prefer global peace, I will return to the Party.  When the presumptive Democratic nominee proclaims an end to perpetual wars I will donate to his or her campaign.  When Universal Single Payer Not for Profit Health Care is endorsed by the political platform that was once mine, I will support the strategy.  When the Left launches policies that preserve the planet, and does not endanger species, MoveOn, I will add my name to your list.  Until Liberals chose to cause no harm to man or beast, I prefer to pour my time and money into a movement that is truly “on” point.  

For now, I perceive the Progressive agenda as one that promotes Party propaganda.  I will not advance the rhetoric.  Nor will I commit to such an unsavory campaign.  The relationship was nice while it lasted.  Now, that your organization asks funds to sponsor a myth, I must move on.

References to Move On . . .

A people’s strategy against perpetual war

© copyright 2008 Michael Prysner.  Party for Socialism and Liberation

Challenging the bipartisan imperialist consensus

On the outset of the invasion of Iraq, I sat strapped in a cargo plane that swooped through the night sky dodging anti-aircraft guns. As we sat in darkness, not knowing if we would ever reach the ground, we suddenly dropped quickly from the air and slammed hard against a makeshift runway. Our plane was the first to land in the north. Our mission was to get in quickly, take the required territory and be relieved by heavy armor.

As we took our first steps on Iraqi soil, we expected to get back on a plane and leave within two months. Month by month, our deployment was extended. We read of the overwhelming military defeat across the country, and wrote home to our families that we would see them soon. We began to pack our bags as we watched the president declare the “mission accomplished,” expecting our return orders to come any day. We watched the blazing summer come and go, just trying to get through one more month.

We grew bitter as we ate a Thanksgiving dinner of macaroni and stale bread as the president smiled for photos in Baghdad holding a giant fake turkey. We spent the day dodging bullets when Saddam Hussein was captured, thinking maybe-just maybe-it was finally over. Even as we strapped back into a cargo plane a year after we landed, we expected to circle right back and continue to watch the months pass through a rifle sight. This was a reality for some; many in my unit were sent back within two months of returning home. Anyone who could not find a way to get out of the army was stop-lossed and sent back for at least one more tour.

Essentially, my year of watching the months pass represents the Iraq war as a whole-thinking it was going to end, but seeing only an increase in the size and brutality of the occupation. With the “end of major combat operations” declared in the early months of the war, we saw all-out sieges on Fallujah, Basra and other cities where the Iraqi people had stood up to the occupiers.

The American and Iraqi people demanded that the troops be withdrawn, yet they got the opposite-a massive troop surge. The surge, sold to the public as a temporary measure to bring an end to the war, has served as a justification to keep the number of soldiers in Iraq well above pre-surge levels. Furthermore, the number of U.S. soldiers occupying Iraq has been supplemented by private mercenaries, paid generously by the Pentagon to terrorize Iraqis with no legal consequences.

To ring in the New Year-the fifth of the occupation-2008 began with the war’s largest bombing campaign on one of Baghdad’s most populous suburbs. Month by month, the body count rises and the imperialist occupation of Iraq deepens.

Why not just vote for change?

In 2006, the masses of American people opposed to the war put their hopes in the Democratic Party, handing it control of Congress in what was widely understood as a vote against the war. Since then, funding for the war has continued to flow unimpeded and General Petraeus and the Bush administration have continued on their destructive warpath. In June alone, Congress approved $165 billion to fund the war without restrictions.

Now, many who still fail to recognize the true loyalties of the Democratic Party have thrown their support behind another Democrat posing as an anti-war candidate. Barack Obama, who began his campaign promising a total withdrawal from Iraq within 16 months-simultaneously pledging imperialist intervention elsewhere in the Middle East-has also begun to shift his position to prolong the occupation.

Obama now promises, using ambiguous language, to remove “U.S. combat troops” from Iraq. “Combat troops” do not include residual forces such as “counterterrorism” units, military training personnel and force protection units. Nor does it include private contractors and mercenaries, which number over 180,000.

Obama’s Iraq policy co-coordinator, Colin Kahl, advocates a residual force of up to 80,000 U.S. troops. Obama advocates a “careful” withdrawal, essentially subject to the advice of military commanders. General Petraeus, widely known for promoting a massive, brutal and indefinite occupation of Iraq, has Obama’s full support as the new commander of the U.S. Central Command. This position gives General Petraeus full control over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as all U.S. military operations in the Middle East, East Africa, and Central Asia.

Those who believe that they can “vote for change” will be voting for a slightly modified imperialist policy.

Charting an independent path

The reality is that the war against Iraq will continue unabated. This is glaringly evident in the new security agreement now being forced upon the Iraqi people. Keeping with the trend of further entrenching and increasing the occupation while the Iraqi masses are demanding an end to it, the security deal will guarantee the U.S. military 58 permanent military bases in Iraq-nearly double the current number-while once the public was assured that there would be no permanent military bases.

The security plan will strip Iraq of whatever sovereignty it has left, cementing its de facto status as a U.S. colony. It will give Washington control over Iraqi airspace and the ability to use Iraq as a staging ground for military attacks elsewhere in the region. It will grant U.S. troops and private contractors full immunity from Iraqi law, giving them the right to raid any house and to arrest and interrogate Iraqi citizens without permission from the Iraqi government

Not only does the security plan demonstrate the U.S. government’s determination to forever control Iraq, it sets the stage for further conquest in the Middle East.

There is no doubt that, if politicians in Washington get their way, the war will continue for years to come. Months will pass as they debate the complexities of the war and develop new strategies aimed at giving the appearance that the end is just around the corner. Months will pass and the lives of Iraqis will continue to be destroyed and soldiers will continue to strap into cargo planes only to be snuck home at night in flag-draped coffins.

The plan to permanently occupy and terrorize Iraq is staring us in the face. We cannot vote for change; change will come the way it always does in society-through the efforts of a dedicated, militant mass movement against the heinous crimes of those who claim to represent us. Without such a movement, the imperialist plans for the Middle East will stay on course, and war will be a permanent reality.

The author is an Iraq war veteran and the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s congressional candidate in Florida’s 22nd District. Click here to read more about his campaign. Click here to read more about other PSL candidates running in local and national elections.

Floridians Consider Taxes, Budget Cuts, and Effects on the Everglade State

Send Your Message?

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

On April 15, as Floridians rush to file tax forms few think of more than the burden.  The cost of living in the Sunshine State is high.  Levies are higher.  Each year, the toll these expenditures take on the lives of individuals and families increases.  Many citizens in this Southern State cry, “We need some relief!”  Representative have heard the call and responded.  Yet, the reaction may not be as thoughtful as it first appears to be.

Floridians may wish to consider the plea Democratic Party Chair, Congresswoman, Karen L. Thurman presents.  The Congresswoman discusses a stark reality.  Change may come at the expense of the common people.  A reduction in dollars and cents spent does not always equate to a savings.

Many in The Orange State are grateful.  Representatives in the State reviewed the budget and then expressed a belief cuts must be made.  Prompted by much public angst, the Conservatives may claim the people want the Legislature to be more restrained.  Few would argue that this is true.  What is equally valid is the fact that few would wish to compromise the safety, security, or sanity of the poorest people, and those who are physically most dependent on others.  If the impoverished are in need, incidental costs amass and local communities pay the ultimate price.

Our children, and their education, are vital.  The progeny are our future.  Parents are also not persons we would wish to hurt.  Throughout our lives Moms and Dads, now elderly protected us.  Now, we must help provide for their safety and security, just as they did for us.  Without the person who cared for us in our younger years, we would not be as profound and emotionally prosperous as we are.

The police and fire men and women also help ensure our safety and security.  Floridians, please ask yourself, can you afford to chance that these public servants may not be there when you need them most?

Granted, in this moment a resident of Florida may not be able to see into the future.  Today, he or she may think himself or herself healthy.  However, all living creatures must consider that cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and pneumonia does not knock on the door and ask for an invitation to enter a body.  These catastrophic illnesses creep up on a being silently, too often suddenly.  When people are fit, they need to ponder the possibility that has become more probable in many American households.  Insurers have cut coverage.  Co-pays are more exorbitant.  Businesses have eliminated Health Care benefits.  As the economy worsens and profits are negligible, this trend is likely to increase.  Floridians need to consider what might occur in hospitals as the cost of care soars .

There is much to contemplate as Floridians assess the quality of life and the proposed budget cuts.  I invite readers to respond to the impending crisis.  Planned budget cuts may not be the blessing citizens in the Everglade State thought they would be.  It is possible to remove allocations that do not serve the common folk well.  Floridians, please, let us look before we leap.  Do not throw the baby out with the bath water.  Please, ponder the profound impacts these changes may bring, rather than rely on clichés.  

Seemingly, simple solutions rarely address the specifics that are all too real in the lives of residents.  The thoughts of the Congresswoman, Karen L. Thurman  may help the people in Florida to make an informed decision.

Help if you choose.  Click on any of the links if you wish to act in the interest of those you love, Mom, Dad, son, daughter, spouse, and you .  .

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

“If a state had its priorities straight, balancing a budget on the backs of the working poor, the elderly and the disabled would be the last option.  This year in Florida, it’s the first option… the Republican-led House and Senate [have] completed mutually heartless, stupid budgets…”

– Palm Beach Post Editorial, 4/15/08

Dear Florida Democrats,

Today is tax day in America, which means that we’ve all got money on the mind, even more than usual.  Times are tough.  Florida families are being squeezed, either directly or indirectly, by skyrocketing gas prices, rising health care costs, the continued housing crisis and, of course, the subprime mortgage disaster.

Moreover, the Republicans’ reckless policy of raising property taxes on middle class families to pay for special interest tax loopholes has been devastating.  You won’t ever hear them admit to raising taxes, but it’s true.  They’ve increased the required local effort – local property taxes – time and again.

Now the Republican politicians in Tallahassee want to squeeze the people of Florida even more – including the most vulnerable among us.  I’m always amazed by how heartless and self-serving Republicans in power are, but the proposed state budgets from the House and Senate mark a new low.

It’s not over yet, however.  As the “leaders” of the Republican-controlled Legislature negotiate the final budget, we must send them a strong and clear message: Get your priorities straight – NOW.

Click below to use our automated online tool to send a message to Republican Senate President Ken Pruitt, possible future Senate President Jeff Atwater, Speaker Marco Rubio and Speaker-Designate Ray Sansom today.…

What do the Republicans want?  I’ll tell you:

The Republicans want to reduce per student spending in K-12 education for the first time in almost 40 years.  They want to eliminate Everglades clean-up efforts.  Though child abuse rises as the economy dives, they’re going after more than 70 child-protection jobs.

The Republicans also want to gut the highway patrol and reduce public safety.  They want to lay off almost 2,000 corrections officers, despite prisons being stretched to the limit already.  They want to cut a third of the state’s probation officers – the law enforcement specialists whose job it is to keep convicted sexual predators away from your children.

Republicans want to reduce hospice care for seniors and decimate county health departments and Area Health Education Centers, where Florida’s poorest in rural areas and underserved urban communities often go for their medical care.  They want thousands of inner-city school kids in Miami to see their doctors less often.

The Republicans want to end hospital care for 20,000 people with catastrophic illnesses and reduce access to anti-rejection drugs for Floridians who have received life-saving organ transplants.

The Republicans don’t have to do this.  Florida has a rainy day fund, and there are plenty of corporate tax loopholes that can be closed.  Democrats in the Legislature are fighting tooth and nail against the Republicans’ terrible decisions, but they need your help.

Click below to send a message to the Republicans in charge.  Write them about a personal story, and tell them to stop their recklessness before it hurts more Floridians.…

They’ve spared nothing – except their special interest buddies.

Speaker Rubio secretly inserted language into the House budget to allow a friend’s company to bid for a multi-million dollar state contract.  While the Republicans want to slash financial aid and increase tuition for college students, Sen. Mike Haridopolos is accepting $75,000 a year to lecture part-time – on top of the $150,000 in state money he took to write a book that was never published.

Atwater, who thinks he should be Senate President, tried to kick bail bondsmen some cash, until he was caught red-handed by Democratic Sen. Arthenia Joyner.  Meanwhile, President Pruitt is allowing Atwater to take $7000 a month to train his future chief of staff – an unprecedented waste of taxpayer money.

Democrats proposed an alternative budget, and of course, the Republicans rejected it.  But that doesn’t mean we should back down.  Someday we’ll have a Legislature that works for the people again.  Until then, we have to speak up loudly.  Please take a few minutes today and write the Legislature before it’s too late.

Thank you for your commitment.


Congresswoman Karen L. Thurman

Chair, Florida Democratic Party

P.S. This Republican recession is a mess, and the Republican Legislature’s budget plans are going to make it even worse – if we don’t act now.  Send a message today:…

Floridians who care thank those who also choose to do more than stress, then slice, and dice the necessary expenditures, those that ensure that inhabitants of the Sunshine State are safe, sane, and remain stable.