Sunday, January 24, 2010

David Swanson on "Undoing the Imperial Presidency"

January 15th, 2010 (San Diego, CA)

Has the executive branch taken on more authority than is proper for our Constitutional system, creating a dangerous "Imperial Presidency?"

Mike Copass interviews David Swanson, author of Daybreak

Author and nationally-recognized activist David Swanson came to San Diego as part of coast-to-coast tour discussing his latest book, "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Creating a More Perfect Union."

Swanson shared his views in an inteview with Mike Copass of San Diego-based Liberty One Radio. At a relatively youthful age, Swanson has already put in many years of media and activism at a high level of visibility, penning the introduction to "The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush," by Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and having served inthe labor movement for a year, serving as media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, which is the AFL-CIO's organization of labor media outlets.

In early 2005, Swanson was instrumental in publicizing the "Downing Street Memo," which directly implicated the highest levels of American and British government in covert collaboration to "sell" the Iraq war to the public based on false information. In response to this revelation, Swanson founded, and led a powerful campaign to use Congress's Constitutional authority to impeach and remove President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney for their role in the Iraq war deception and sales operation.

David Swanson's Speech to the San Diego Progressive Community, Jan. 15, 2010

Swanson serves on a number of high-profile boards and anti-war organizations. Swanson is a Director of, with Robert Fertik, and serves as a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, a nationwide grass-roots lobbying group.

Swanson reminded the audience that the struggle for justice may remind one of Sisyphus endlessly rolling the rock up the mountain, but that activists must find joy in the fight. Moreover, admonished the writer, "all relevant victories in social justice movements were not won by those who initiated them; rather, by successive generations that built upon their work."
More about Swanson's book "Daybreak" can be found here.

-Mike Copass, for Liberty One Radio

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"No More Money for War" - San Diego Brown Baggers to Rep. Susan Davis

January 20, 2010 (San Diego)

As part of the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Brown Bag Lunch Vigils, a delegation of the Metro San Diego PDA chapter met with staffers in Congresswoman Susan Davis’ office this afternoon to let her know that they expect their Representative to act in the interest of the working people in her district, and not fat-cat corporate lobbyists. (Davis below, right.)

In keeping with the theme, "Brown Bag Lunch Vigils" former Democratic Congressional candidate Jeeni Criscenzo (above, red hat with Patricia Law, black beret) brought a basket of brown bag lunches with homemade scones, peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and organic apples, so people who were taking their lunch break to meet with their representative could have a healthy lunch. The leader of the delegation, Criscenzo explained to Davis's San Diego office staffer Jessica Poole that most working people in her district (and those looking for work) can’t afford to go out for lunch, and the humble PB&J sandwich in a paper sack is a representation of "who we are."

While they munched on lunch, the delegates, including San Diego activists, Carol Jahnkow, Dan Watman, Patricia Law, Juan del Rio, Pat Gracian and Jerry Malamud, explained to Davis’ staffers that they strongly oppose the Adminstration's latest request for an additional $33 billion dollars for war in Afghanistan.

“We need that money here. Congress tells us there isn’t enough money for single payer healthcare, and then turns around and spends billions upon billions to blow up and destroy civilians in other countries. We can’t afford that and it has to end," said Malamud emphatically.

Others in the group stated that the mandate in the health care bill being considered by Congress is a giveaway for corporate health insurance that does nothing to help people, many of whom can barely pay for the necessities in today’s dismal economic climate.

Brown Baggers from around the country, representing America’s working class, will be returning to their representatives’ offices on the
third Wednesday of every month to make sure the voice of the people is heard loud and clear.

Criscenzo, a former progressive candidate in her own right, noted to the Davis Congressional office, “What just happened in Massachusetts (the stunning rejection of Senate Democratic candidate Martha Coakley- Ed.) is a clear wake-up call. The voters were promised change and we don’t see it happening. Start listening to the people or they will look for someone who will.”

(article contributed by Jeeni Criscenzo)
Photo credits: Juan del Rio, Jerry Malamud

(Top: Former Congressional Candidate, Jeeni Criscenzo, brought brown bag lunches for staff and activists meeting at Susan Davis’ office as part of a monthly program sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America. Pictured Jeeni Criscenzo, Patricia Law

Second: Congresswoman Susan Davis, a 5-term Democrat representing San Diego's 53rd Congressional District.

Lower: Local activists meeting with staff at Congresswoman Susan Davis’ office as part of a monthly Brown Bag Lunch Vigil sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Progressive Congresswoman Woolsey Endorses Pro-War Blue Dog Jane Harman?

January 14, 2010 (San Diego) -- It looks like the anti-war netroots is not exactly pleased with Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey's recent decision to help raise money for Congresswoman Jane Harman (Woolsey, Harman pictured).

The controversy is focused on Sonoma County's Woolsey, who is heading to LA to speak at a Jane Harman for Congress event taking place in Venice, California on Saturday, January 16th, at Danny's Deli on Windward Ave.

In most cases, the support of one incumbent Democrat for another would raise few eyebrows. This is not one of those cases.

Why is Harman now asking for Woolsey's help?

There are more than a few reasons why it seems curious that Woolsey, (pictured at an anti-war rally) known for her standing in the Congressional Progressive Caucus and leadership Out-of-Iraq caucus would show up to help collect a hatfull of shekels for Harman, who is about as hawkish as a Democrat can get these days without pulling a "full Lieberman."

In fact, Brad Blog contributer Ernest Canning calls the planned appearance by the high-profile progressive Lynn Woolsey "baffling."

Multi-millionare Harman doesn't need the money. However, the conservative Democrat Harman may be concerned about the strength of a primary challenge coming from Marcy Winograd, left.

Congresswoman Harman, who once referred to herself as "the Best Republican in the Democratic Party" has been embroiled in many issues which have outraged many Democrats, including a goodly fraction of Congresswoman Woolsey's own supporters, no to mention anti-war and pro-civil liberties voters across the country.

Certainly, there is no shortage of "Apples of Discord" with the netroots and Ms. Harman -- from her pro-war Iraq votes to her appearance on "Meet the Press" to defend Bush's warrantless wiretaps and her own bill called HR 1955, the Orwellian-sounding "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007."

Known for her connections the RAND Corporation, Harman's proposed legislation caused Richter-sized temblors of outrage to ripple across both libertarian and progressive continents on the blogosphere.

Who is Congresswoman Jane Harman?

An 8- term US Representative and former candidate for California Governor, Harman is member of the corporate-friendly Democratic Leadership Council, which was founded in part by Neocon Patriarch Henry "Scoop" Jackson. Harman shocked many Democrats in 2002 by voting to authorize President Bush's request to use the US Armed Forces to invade Iraq -- one of few Democratic votes in favor of the war authorization.

Similarly, Harman's consistent support for President Bush's "emergency war funding" supplemental expenditures, (now Obama's) which number in the hundreds of billions of dollars, are not well supported by the relatively liberal residents of the 36th Congressional district,
centered around Torrance, and which includes the very blue-collar neighborhoods of El Segundo and parts of Long Beach.

According to some in the anti-war movement, Harman's votes have undermined the work of the Progressive Caucus to organize cohesive Congressional support to end the costly wars, and re-direct the occupation funding to domestic needs in education, infrastructure, and manufacturing.

Homeland Security: the "new Defense Department?"

There's a lot of money to be made by keeping wars going, and few members of Congress know that better than Ms Harman, both on a campaign level and in her personal finances. According to her financial disclosures, approximately $6,260,000 of Ms Harman's net worth of estimated $236 to $558 million is invested in companies with Dept of Defense contracts, including weapons or surveillance-related interests -- an investment that Harman probably does not have in common with the majority of her district's voters.

Harman is strongly supported by donors from within the weapons and defense sector.

Additionally, Harman (pictured with Pentagon brass) serves on the Homeland Security Committee. While the defense contracts have grown by leaps and bounds over the last 8 years, the growth is now "flat" -- no longer expanding rapidly. Thus, many savvy defense firms are now targeting the growing budget of the Department of Homeland Security for "growth" in their revenue, something that pleases Wall Street analysts who issue critical stock ratings.

In America, everyone is allowed to try to pick up a buck or two where they can -- and Jane Harman is within her legal rights to take campaign donations from whoever she feels are her constituents and supporters. Additionally, Harman can legally maintain personal investments in corporations that receive Pentagon contracts -- the few areas of the economy in which handsome stock returns are still possible.

But it looks a little unseemly for Representative Lynn Woolsey, one of the few outspoken anti-war progressives in Congress, to be giving a public benediction to the re-election of Harman, a Blue Dog so closely connected to the military and defense establishment, and a lightning rod for progressive criticism of the "wandering soul" of the Democratic Party.

(If you want to see some seriously prickly outrage over the decision, see Howie Klein's Blog for the reports on the announcement about the strange bedfellows Woolsey-Harman fund-raiser. Crooks & Liars blogger John Amato isn't very happy, either -- and calls for Woolsey to step down from her co-chair of the Progressive Caucus.)

Other anti-war and progressive political action groups across the nation are quietly calling for Woolsey to simply rethink her stance on the Harman for Congress appearance.

One proposal was that Woolsey simply give equal fund-raising support to Harman's anti-war primary challenger Marcy Winograd, who received an astonishing 37.5% of the primary vote when she took on Harman in the 2006 Congressional race.

(Winograd, who sent a letter to Woolsey expressing her dismay with the appearance, will be busy elsewhere on Saturday promoting her strategies for creating new jobs in the region with a "A Green New Deal.")

It would appear that an angry electorate -- frustrated with Democratic Party inaction on ending the unpopular Iraq war -- is in no mood for further betrayals.

It will be interesting to see what Woolsey's next move will be.

- Mike Copass, for the Copass Report

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mike Copass: Interviews Bob Graham

Civics, rarely taught in schools anymore, is the study of the rights and duties of citizenship. Listen to former Senator Bob Graham (D,Florida), as he speaks to the students of SDSU about civics and what it means to be an American Citizen.

During a 2009 visit to San Diego State University for his book tour, former Florida Senator Bob Graham was interviewed by Mike Copass, about his New Book on Civics "America an Owners Manual", which details how do get things done, politically, in the USA.

Listen to the entire Bob Graham speech at SDSU.