Rally for local war protesters today

I've heard some folks call them the David Price Six, which has a nice ring to it. But it's also notable that Representative Price has requested to drop the charges against the six protesters who occupied his office in an effort to get him to more vigorously oppose the war.

Six local protesters go on trial this afternoon on trespassing charges in connection with an anti-war demonstration in U.S. Rep. David Price's office in February.

On March 26, the six -- Laura Bickford, Ben Carroll, Alisan Fathalizadeh, Sara Joseph, Dante Strobino, Tamara Tal -- pleaded not guilty to the charges. They had called on Price to oppose all further funding for the war and to seek an immediate withdrawal of American soldiers from Iraq.

Since then, Price has written a letter to District Attorney Jim Woodall asking him to drop the charges against the six, protester Carroll said in a release.

The protesters will hold a rally and press conference at 1 p.m. outside the Chapel Hill post office building at East Franklin and Henderson streets, where the courthouse is located.
- newsobserver.com | Chapel Hill's war protestors in court today



With the risk of sounding like a "broken record," please tell me Will what it is you think the congressional Democrats can do?

The Democrats are not the "Stepford Party" that the GOP of today is; there are 45 or so moderate to conservative members in the House and Democrats can lose fewer than half on any vote. The current congressional leadership, unlike the former ones, have let members of their party vote the way they feel they should rather than forcing them to toe the party line and enough of them oppose cutting off funding to make it impossible to pass such a bill.

So again, I say you are wonderful at defining the problem. But what is your solution?

Paul, it's good rhetorical strategy to suggest that folks on this thread are asking for vague resolutions - like "stopping the war" - which, on their face, seem impossible to do.

But, if you're giving what Sammy, Mark, myself and others an honest and clear read, you'll see we've made very specific recommendations that chip away at support for the war (here's seven I suggested earlier in this very thread).

On the other hand, you've had difficulty being specific. I've asked about what you think, specifically, it will take to tip the leadership. I've asked here and on other threads what you think Price should do, specifically, to chip away at the war. I thought you would elaborate on some of our suggestions that are under the purview of Price - say investigating abuses by private agencies contracted under the Homeland Security department - instead of continuing to pretend there haven't been quite direct, concrete proposals for withdrawing support.

So, other than waiting Paul, what, specifically is your solution?

Price has said he is going to address the contractor issue and he should.

Democrats should also investigate war profiteering, the Iraq oil-sharing plan, etc. and they are or will.

But how will any of that end the occupation?

Also consider that the Dem leadership doesn't have the control the previous GOP leadership did, for good or bad (overall good I think although perhaps bad in this case).

So yes, I do believe we will have to wait until GWB is forced by his own party to change course (nothing I or you or Sammy or Mark can do about that) or, more likely, until we elect a new President by helping to build the Democratic Party so we are in a position to elect a President who will end the occupation, something that Sammy and I are doing through our participation in the OCDP, something you and Mark, not being Democrats, are not doing.

If you are really serious about ending the occupation, will you now join the Democratic party, which is a very progressive party here in OC and volunteer to help get out voters in 2008 or will you continue to sit on the sidelines and snipe?

Either get in the game or quit Monday morning quaterbacking. You can't have it both ways.

There has probably not been a riper time in my lifetime for a new political alignment. A huge number of Americans have come to understand that the Republicans and Democrats work hand-in-hand on the major issues related to class and control of the economy by a tiny elite minority. The current secret machinations by Dems & Reps to create a new NAFTA that is toothless on environmental and labor concerns is a perfect case in point.

I issue the same challenge - don't sit on the sidelines hoping for a progressive change for which there is no behavioral evidence. Get in the game and join those who are seceding from the rigged game.

Paul, might not be a Dem but I've worked over the last 15 years on GOTV efforts with the OCDP, Young Dems and other groups to elect Democrats, including Price.

Paul, I completely respect your opinion about the utility or lack thereof of protesting. However, your comments are really frustrating me. Why do you continue commenting here just to dismiss everyone else? Why can't you accept that other people have different strategies from yours and that there's some chance they might be just as right as you are?

"Either get in the game or quit Monday morning quaterbacking. You can't have it both ways."

This kind of thing is not doing anything productive for any of causes we believe in, and it can only serve to create more hostility within the progressive movement! Only history will tell us how far we had to go to pull this nation back from the brink of global annihilation. The more you denigrate other people's comments, the less I want to read of yours.

Ruby, you are correct and I apologize to you and Will.

This damn Iraq thing has got me so twisted in knots, I don't know which way is up sometimes.

Thanks, Paul. I'm sure the apology extends to Sammy and Mark as well. ;-)

Now let's get back to ending this awful war!

yes, to Sammy and Mark too; the reason I said Will and not them too is that I was addressing Will's post.

David Price voted today to give a blank check to Bush on Iraq.

Mark, in your haste to bash Price, you apparantly looked at the wrong vote.

Price voted AGAINST the 2nd Amendment with war funding in it, as did 139 other Democrats (and 2 GOP members). He voted for the 1st Amendment, which contained $24 billion for funding programs other than Iraq.

Actually it appears that there was some parliamentary trickery - see this from David Sirota:

"Every bill comes to the House floor with what is known as a "rule" that sets the terms of the debate over the legislation in question. House members first vote to approve this parliamentary rule, and then vote on the legislation. Today, however, Democrats are planning to essentially include the Iraq blank check bill IN the rule itself, by making sure the underlying bill the rule brings to the floor includes no timelines for withdrawal, and that the rule only allows amendments that fund the war with no restrictions - blank check amendments that House Democratic leaders know Republicans will have the votes to pass.

This means that when the public goes to look for the real vote on the Iraq supplemental bill, the public won't find that. All we will find is a complex parliamentary procedure vote, which was the real vote. Democratic lawmakers, of course, will use the Memorial Day recess to tell their angry constituents they really are using all of their power to end the war, that they voted against the Republican blank check amendment which the rule deliberately propels, and that the vote on the rule - which was the real vote for war - wasn't really the important vote, when, in fact, they know very well it is the biggest vote on the war since original 2002 authorization for the invasion. It is a devious, deliberately confusing cherry on top of the manure sundae being served up to the American public."

All but 7 Dems voted for the rule and all but 2 GOP members voted against the rule, so Price was with the vast majority of Dems and against the vast majority of GOP.

On final passage of the bill, Price voted against it, along with about 60% of his fellow Dems.

Mark, why can't you just say that your post yeaterday at 4:15pm was just not correct and mischaracterized Rep. Price again?

Parliamentary maneuvering aside, the Washington Post had no problem sorting out the outcomefor people:

"ROLL CALL: The Senate vote to send the legislation to the president was 80-14. Less than two hours earlier, the House had cleared the measure, 280-142, with Republicans supplying the bulk of the support."

The 280 included 194 Republicans and 86 Democrats. The 142 included two Republicans, Reps. John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr. of Tennessee and Ron Paul of Texas.

On the Senate side the 80 were 42 Republicans, 37 Democrats and one independent, while the 14 were 10 Democrats, 3 Republicans and one independent voted "no." One of the no votes came from Burr!

Both Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey, two of the leaders of the Out of Iraq caucus voted for the rule too, as did over 90% of that caucus. Again, only 7 Democrats voted against it. I like David Sirota, but he simply wrong here, IMHO.

If the rule itself gave the President a "blank check" why then did all the GOP members but 2 vote against it?

The rule WAS unusual, but not for the reasons Mark quoted above. Rules often come to floor that prohibit amendments, especially for an issue that has been voted on before, as this one has been.

It was unusual because it split the appropriation into 2 parts, one for $96 billion for Iraq and the other for $24 billion (reduced by the Senate to $17 billion) for other supplemental appropriations, mostly for domestic progams such as SCHIPs, plus a raise in the minumum wage.

That way House members could vote against the Iraq appropriation and for the other one, which 140 Democrats, including Price, did (our other reps split: Butterfield, Watt and Miller joined Price in voting against it, Schuler, Ethridge and McIntyre voted for it). The Senate then rolled the two into one and passed it. Now Bush must either approve these domestic spending measures and the raise in the minumum wage or again veto it and he will not veto it, in fact he has already said he will sign it.

It ain't much, but it was better than nothing.

And Democratic leaders made it very clear that the fight will begin anew after the recess.

We lost one battle, not the war.

In the great words of David Vest, we are "being asked to choose between the village idiot and those who are consistently outsmarted by him."

Mark, still no admission you went off half-cocked about Price?

No - I have not been persuaded that there was not some poltical chicanery. The Dems appear to have set it up so that they could support the war profiteering while at the same time affording themselves the political cover to say that they oppose the war. It all begs the question - if a majority in the legislative branch still feels compeled to pass legislation that a majority of the public and a majority of those that elected them don't support - is democracy dead or just crippled?

"Americans now view the war in Iraq more negatively than at any time since the war began, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Six in 10 Americans surveyed say the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, and more than three in four say that things are going badly there - including nearly half who say things are going very badly, the poll found."

The Democrats should introduce a bill that brings the troops home by this fall and cuts funding for the war. It gets defeated. They then actively communicate to the constituents of the war supporters that their rep voted for the war. They introduce the bill again in a couple of days. It gets defeated, but by less as war supporters begin to see the political light. Repeat as necessary. Cultivate democracy until it is expressed.

Democrats did this so could "support the war profiteering" Mark?

Say what?

I can understand you disagree with the decision, but do you really believe THAT was the motive?

On behalf of multinational corporations, they support so-called "Free Trade" agreements that have no environmental and worker safety provisions that work, they support a gasoline price-gouging bill that could be activated only during an energy emergency (rare occurrence), they support an immigration bill that punishes some yet provides cheap labor for ig business, etc., etc. They are clearly looking for the "K Street" dollars.

As I write these responses, I ask myself is this appropriately local discussion and I realize that, though some may draw different lines, that the type of corruption we are witnessing at the federal level has a great impact on what we do locally as we try to fund our real human needs with diminishing resources because of the aforementioned piracy.

I ask myself is this appropriately local discussion

: )

Mark, I will grant for argument's sake only, that David Price and his fellow Democrats are guilty as charged in your last post.

How, though, does that relate to "war profiteering"?

The Democrats want access to the same money trough that the Reps have been feeding from. Our election system is financed by Big Money. The so-called defense industry is a huge player and one of the most lucrative sectors of the economy and is heavily involved in political funding.

Plus - here is the nut - the reason why the Democrats and Republicans will not stop this war is that they have the common goal of Iraq privatizing oil and thus making it available to the big energy corporations that want a piece of the action and also delivering cheaper oil to U.S. and multinational corporations. The deal now is if Iraq doesn't pass the oil privitaztion act that the U.S. wrote for them, then the U.S. will not come through with funds to rebuild Iraq (that we destroyed). That's why the blood is spilled, why this madness will haunt the world for decades. Oil for the status-quo economy.

Robert - it's all local to me. It all has an effect on us right here and, of course, our local connection to the political process is highly important. I don't think a reasonable line can be drawn anywhere on this issue that separates the local form the non-local.

So what you are saying Mark is that Price and the Democrats really want the occupation to continue, if I read you right, correct me if I am wrong.

Do you think this is true of all the Democrats, most, a few, what?

And is Price one of those who really wants the occupation to continue, in your view?

From a 12/16/05 letter to President Bush signed by 22 Democratic House members, including David Price.

"The US must make clear that Iraqi oil belongs solely to the Iraqi people."

And consider this quote, from the 5/18/2007 "Christian Science Monitor":

"While we can't confirm it, there are enough reports out there that appear to indicate that undue, unfair preference and the influence of our oil companies are part of the Iraqi hydrocarbon law, and if that is true, that is not correct," says Rep. Joe Sestak (D) of Pennsylvania, a former admiral and defense adviser to the Clinton administration. "The aim of benchmarks is to help the process along, but we need benchmarks that are appropriate for the Iraqis and the Americans – not just our economy but our ideals."

Noble sentiments are good. It's hard to know how these sentiments translate into effectice policy or if they are fallen back on as poltical cover for timidity or ineffectuality.

One thing is for certain: the policies being created by Price and others (the politically cautious "one more turn of the screw " as Price calls it in his statement) leave American troops in the same or greater danger, allow the killing of more Iraqis, do nothing to plug the huge financial leak that is draining the health of the country, and give the oil companies more time to secure the prize.

If, as Paul posits, they are doing the best they can within the system, then it is time to recognize that the system is failing and direct some political energy toward reclaiming a democratic government. In the absence of strong action on either the Occupation or governmental corruption, we are forced to deduce that we have a failure of leadership.

Mark, someone once said that "Noble sentiments are good. It's hard to know how these sentiments translate into effectice policy or if they are fallen back on as political cover for timidity or ineffectuality."

I agree. So tell me more specifically how, in your opinion, we "direct some political energy toward reclaiming a democratic government."

What can we do, here and now, in Orange County, NC to bring about the changes you want?

I'm curious to know how you can reclaim something that never existed? When was this a "democratic government?"

Fred, on this day, let me say thank you to you and your fellow vets for your service to this country and to remember those who died in such service.

Whether we agreed with the "missions" or not, they did their duty and we owe them a debt we can never adequately repay.

Fred - you are right. But I think my meaning is clear. The way our government is supposed to work along democratic principles is taught in every middle school civics class. The principles are invoked constantly. I don't suppose you think we should accept lawless governing because true democracy has not been achieved?

Paul - I think that locally ( and locally all across the country) we need to withdraw support from those who do not support the progressive policies on which the future stability of society depends. In most cases, that means building a new political alignment apart from the Republican/Democrat wings of the Ruling Party

Mark, as usual, the devil is in the details. Of course I don't advocate lawless government. But when we elect our representatives to make our decisions, we get what we get. When we disagree with their actions, we in theory vote them out and elect someone we believe is more in tune with our thinking and beliefs. Those who participate in that process these days are the minority, hence the reason why the "principles is taught in every middle school civics class" don't tell the whole story.

So let's reclaim the idea that we should participation in our republic as voters. Otherwise, we have no reason to complain when the folks who voted pick people who we disagree with. And if history is a good reference point, there will be more than a few who disagree with the next set voted in, so on it goes. The fact that at all levels of government, the incumbents are almost untouchable tells the tale.

I guess calling for "reclaiming a democratic government" just doesn't capture the problems that I see.

I think ballot access is very important toward allowing the will of the voters to be expressed. North Carolina has very onerous ballot access requirements and thus we are forced to choose from a narrow spectrum of governing philosophies and political ideas as represented by the two wings of the Republicrat Party.

Mark, I do agree with you that ballot access laws for 3rd parties and independent candidates in NC are much too restrictive.

That said, I don't see too many more choices available in states that have much less onerous laws and when those choices are available, few voters choose them.

For the most part, for good or bad, voters, no matter how much they criticize our two major parties and say they want more choices, rarely make those other choices.

Paul, when the OCDP had an opportunity to step in and strengthen our local "small-d" democracy vis-a-vis the recent disastrous districting proposal, they dropped the ball. Instead they let Moses spearhead a process we can anticipate having poor consequences for increasing fair representation.

Sure, some of the counter-proposals - non-partisan elections using a cumulative voting method, for instance - would've POTENTIALLY reduced the OCDP's hold on the local electorate. Still, with their leadership the roots of liberty, for once, could've been watered with less than blood.

I'd be happy to write a resolution re-proposing these changes for the OCDP leadership to disseminate if you think there's a chance to get a fair evaluation.

Will, the Platform and Resolution process is over for this year, it ended at the 4th CD convention in Raleigh on 5/20 (there is no state convention in odd numbered years).

Any registered Democrat (as per state party rules, not OCDP rules) may attend his/her precinct meeting next Feb/March and introduce any resolution he/she wants to introduce. Resolutions that pass at the precinct level then go to the county convention, those that pass there go to the district convention and next year, to the state if they pass the district level.

Also, the OCDP did not take a position on district elections for commissioners. To the best of my memory, no resolution dealing with the subject was ever introduced.

Will, I have been thinking about my last post and it has occured to me that you probably could introduce a resolution at a precinct meeting even if you are not a registered Democrat.

You couldn't VOTE on it, but I don't know why you couldn't introduce it, certainly Independents can attend precinct meetings, but count toward the quorm of 5 necessary to organize the precinct, to vote, or be elected to the precinct committee or delegate to the county convention, you must be a registered Democrat. I will check with the state party and see if I am correct and let you know if the rules allow that or not.

Even if it can't be done through a precinct meeting, you might be able to introduce it through the platform and resolutions committee.

If you want to draft such a resolution, I would certainly consider it seriously, I couldn't promise you I would support it before I see it but I am certainly open to at least some of the reforms you advocate, probably most of them.

Thank you Paul. Getting a fair hearing is a great first step.

Will, I see I made a "write-o" above, Unaffiliated voters can NOT count toward a quorum, or vote, etc. at the precinct meetings, only registered Democrats can, but I think you already knew that since I said you could probably introduce a resolution but not vote on it.

The Washington Post has included a RSS feed on their Faces of the Fallen web page.

I just noticed it because the names of the fallen were being published along with David Price's RSS vote feed [a fantastic WaPo service]. They also publish a great web page on Price's, our other Representatives' and Senators' actions (nearly invaluable if you're tracking the national scene).

70 House members vowed not to fund Iraq military activity unless withdrawal is part of the plan.

Guess which Representative who ostensibly opposes the war is not among them?


Mark, I would guess David Price is who you have in mind.

Of course, he has never been part of this same 70 or so making this or similar demands, and good for him, I say. There are others ways to go about ending this, although until enough GOP members come around, there is little Dems can do. So far, that ain't happening.



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