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ConventionPolitics * NukeDumping - NativeAmerica

14 July 2004
"What kind of moral schizophrenia is it that allows us to shout
at the top of our national voice for all the world to hear that we
live up to our commitment when every page of history and when all
the thirsty, starving, humiliating days and nights of the last 100
years in the lives of the American Indian contradict that voice?"

– Marlon Brando

[Quote source: Rhino's Blog ]

1) The Ins and Outs of Progressive Democratic Party Politics
- - Compromised Language Withdrawal/Reduction "War On Iraq"
- - Democracy Now: "Did Dennis Kucinich Sell Out..?"
- - From Miami - Notes from Danielle Feris
- - On Platform Committee Strategy by Tim Carpenter
- - Boston Social Forum and Convention - July 23 to 29
2) Bush-US Dumping on Yucca Mountain

Editor's Notes:

The first part of today’s Flyby News' notes summarizes the ins and outs of progressive Democratic Party national politics. There is more to it than anyone can understand. Many progressive activists against the war are aggravated that the Kucinich team backed off on the tough opposition to the Kerry pro-War stance, and continued occupation of Iraq. The Kucinich team in Miami with the Platform Committee did make some progress, but compromise was the name of the game. According to those working the floor, the progressive voices did not have enough votes to impact the Party as they anticipated. Politics is not only about ideals, but at times about compromise, too. Something Al Gore and Ralph Nader neglected to understand in 2000. Due to a record of notable accomplishments deserving trust, our judgement is withheld on if Kucinich has sold out, as questioned in today’s “Democracy Now!” program. The initial vision of democracy is an ideal, but in needing to work with other humans to attain the truth of such an ideal, you need a majority of votes, which is difficult when the money is stacked up against you, and the “purist” idealist gravitates to the protest vote, almost hoping to accelerate the system’s collapse - - But, when a world-wide system fails a lot of people can get squashed and harmed in the process. So, compromise is not all that bad, as long as it is headed in a direction whole with one’s ideals and aspirations. It isn’t easy when the media’s voice-purse strings are pulled in accordance by Corporate players self-interests. Thankfully the mainstream media with all its wealth and power can’t control Michael Moore, or citizens that can make an election count! This is where our staying united is essential. Purists have even gotten on the case of Michael Moore, saying he did not get into this or that. It just goes to show that you can’t please all the people, but what Moore has accomplished should entitle him to an honor as grand as the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. More on the Michael Moore phenomena is in this day's issue, which includes an article on Cheney facing criminal indictments, and other tales of high crimes and treason. It was just this past week that the human death toll for U.S.led coalition members in Iraq topped 1,000.

Item 2 is an article from London with an overall clear perspective on the perverse nature of our governments, and especially on the continued theft of Native land for more nuclear pollution, death / cell-mutation by the crazed-harnessing of waste and tests for nuclear assaults at home and elsewhere. The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee is trying to meet with progressive Democrats to join together to influence John Kerry on stopping the nuclear star wars madness. Meanwhile, Russia will counter the US expansion of the arms race. Kucinich was a lead plaintiff in the legal action to stop Bush from withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Perhaps he will see the wisdom to unite with those with an Indigenous perspective for caring for the Earth, and to help influence a John Kerry administration to stop nuclear terrorism and injustice. This is the time to be united, not just for our ideals, but for the process that will enable us to reach them.

1) The Ins and Outs of Progressive Democratic Party Politics

- - Compromised Language Withdrawal/Reduction "War On Iraq"
- - Democracy Now: "Did Dennis Kucinich Sell Out..?"
- - From Miami - Notes from Danielle Feris
- - On Platform Committee Strategy by Tim Carpenter
- - Boston Social Forum and Convention - July 23 to 29

- - Compromised Language Withdrawal/Reduction "War On Iraq"

From Dennis Kucinich --

Dennis: Platform shows progress, but the dialogue has only just begun
July 12, 2004

In January of 2002, a full year before I became a candidate for President, I began to publicly challenge the basis for the Administration's upcoming war in Iraq: that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, with Al Qaeda's role in 9/11, or with the anthrax attack. I went out front early and often, in the face of great criticism. In many ways, my Presidential campaign emerged from my leadership in challenging the war. Now, almost two and a half years later, each and every observation I made about Iraq has proven to be true. But being right about something does not necessarily equate, in a timely manner, to votes.

It is telling that our campaign did better towards the end of the presidential primary and caucus season, as a greater awareness began to take hold about the true nature of the Iraq war. However, the majority of delegates were chosen early, and those delegates went to Sen. Kerry. We have worked mightily during the platform-drafting process to influence committee members, delegates, and the leadership of the Party, while making every effort not to create a split which could cost Democrats the White House.

The result was a compromise over Iraq language at the Platform Committee meetings in Miami. Media reports, including the New York Times, pointed out that the Democrats escaped divisions like the ones that occurred in 1948 over civil rights and in 1968 over Vietnam. Working inside the party is not always convenient. We made a responsible choice to push as far as we could, with all the resources we had, to get as much as we could, without tearing the party apart.

Strong differences still exist within our party over Iraq. I will continue to advocate a U.S. withdrawal, just as we advocated at the Platform Committee. In the end, we had to decide whether to come to some kind of an agreement, or stand apart from the proceedings, detach ourselves from further engagement, and create such a disruption at the Platform Committee and the Convention that we put the election itself at risk.

Our party, though deficient it is, cannot fracture and open up the possibility of four more years of lies, four more years of war, four more years of the destruction of the democratic process. We must shore up the party and continue to work within it to influence the American public towards change. We can do this through unifying across all the ideological perspectives within our party. We must continue to work to get out of Iraq. We need new leadership which is open to this position. We can't get there with the present Administration. We can't get there through division within our own ranks. The essence of the advocacy of a Department of Peace is a practice of nonviolence in conflict resolution. It doesn't follow that you necessarily get your way; but you keep the conversation open towards influencing it in your direction.

Our representatives to the Democratic Platform Committee hearings in Miami over the weekend did an outstanding job of extracting a concession in language from a majority of Democrats who achieved their delegate status under conditions where people knew full well their candidate's support for the war.

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- - Democracy Now: "Did Dennis Kucinich Sell Out..?"

From Democracy Now! - Wednesday, July 14

* Did Dennis Kucinich Sell Out Anti-War Democrats? *

Democratic Party delegates supporting presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich struck a deal this weekend with representatives of John Kerry over the Democratic Party's stance on the Iraq war. We'll speak with the Ohio Congressmember about why his delegates withdrew their proposal for a quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and about the upcoming Democratic convention in Boston.


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- - From Miami - Notes from Danielle Feris
Received July 12, 2004
From Danielle Feris:

I went into the Platform Committee meeting with the understanding that we would probably get no new language in the Platform that Kerry ultimately uses. We needed 15 members to second an amendment to even get it discussed, and then we would need 37 members to vote affirmatively to bring an amendment as a Minority Plank to the Convention. It was highly unlikely that we would get this far. Even if we did get this far, it is very likely that the 4000+ Delegates to the National Convention would not have voted this minority plank into the Platform.

This is all true despite the amazing efforts of Kucinich representatives reaching out to Platform Committee members and other delegates. This is all true despite the awesome presence that progressive Democrats had at the Platform Committee in Miami (literature, signs, meetings, covnersations). The DNC and the Kerry campaign were feeling the pressure, and they did not want a ruckus on the public floor of the Platform Committee meeting.

So, instead of going the "normal" route ­ the process for a minority plank that would be discussed at the Convention -- the Kucinich representatives worked to achieve something different. And we did: language in the actual, official platform that will be there when Kerry runs against Bush. This language is about reducing the troops in Iraq and recognizing that the present "sovereign" Iraqi government is seen still as U.S. occupation. Some people will understand this as a huge victory, given Kerry's statements in the past.

For me, the debate is this: should we have gotten language in the platform, or pushed a debate no matter what the ends would be? Having been "inside" the Party for one weekend, I must say that had we pushed for debate on the floor of the Platform Committee meeting, we would not have succeeded. The Kerry Campaign and the DNC would have made sure we could not move forward because we and they fundamentally disagree about what makes the Party strategically strong to win in November. They believe that we cannot "push the envelope" and have to buy into the language provided us by the Right. I think, strategically to win in November, we must support open debate and provide people with something to vote for, not just something to vote against.

For those of us who have not been involved in the Democratic Party for a long time and have not accepted the way this organization functions, it is difficult to embrace our victory. For one, we did not achieve substantial success for our other amendments for Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Universal Healthcare, etc etc… Despite some progressive victories -- the Draft, the Environment, and the unabashedly pro-choice stance -- most progressive amendments brought to the floor were withdrawn (due to behind the scenes "negotiations") or defeated time and time again.

Should we outline explicitely that the part of the Patriot Act that deprives due process is unjust? Should we include gender identity as a category that deserves recognition? To me these questions are no-brainers for a DEMOCRATIC Party. And it is my belief that most of the Committee members know this, but cannot and/or will not make it a part of the platform we use as our political and ethical guide. I left the meeting mid-way and walked down the hall to an area by myself. And there, tears streamed down my face for what I was witnessing. Not just the platform but the entire situation. We were in a fancy hotel that Committee members were expected to pay for. Groups bringing legitimate concerns were squelched by being offered "top level" meetings with the Kerry Campaign to "educate" them from their ignorance; political signs were not allowed in the meeting and hand-written signs were not allowed in hallway. I was reminded that some elements of this party are Classist, Heterosexist and un-democratic. And I, to some degree, am complicit.

So, what did we achieve? Progressive activists put pressure on the DNC and Kerry Campaign this weekend. No Committee member entered the meeting without knowing that we want to end the occupation in Iraq (and wanted peace and justice in other areas). This pressure was felt and indeed, at least partially, it succeeded. Progressive Democrats achieved open dialogue with the DNC and the Kerry Campaign this weekend. And herein lies the difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party ­ the Democrats did listen and attempted (at least in their PR) to achieve unity. Some would say we achieved good will. I say we achieved leverage. We will not stop here. The pressure is on, and we have the "in". We will continue this dialogue, and we will continue to push this Party for progressive change, despite the obstacles.

Next stop ­ Convention, where we will make noise inside and outside to let everyone know that most of the country wants peace and justice. And while we seek unity, we are not satisfied yet.

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- - On Platform Committee Strategy by Tim Carpenter
Jul 12, 2004 5:06 pm

From Tim Carpenter:

Our strategy going in to the Platform Committee was to push our peace issues as hard as possible, and also to lobby for a dozen other resolutions and amendments regarding health care, the Patriot Act, NAFTA and the WTO, education, gender equality, and other social and economic justice issues. In discussions with representatives of other allied groups and with members of the Committee itself, it was clear that others were well prepared and highly motivated to lobby members of the Committee and to try to get the necessary votes for a debate on the floor. They faced the same numerical obstacles that we did, but their willingness to take up those battles allowed us to focus our resources on the crucially important platform language regarding the Iraq war, the occupation, withdrawal of our forces, an increased role for U.N. peacekeepers, and related issues. We made a strategic decision to hand off those important issues to our friends, allowing us to concentrate on war ­ and peace.

I remain convinced we would not have made the 15 vote cut off for the debate on any peace issue based on my count on the floor. Working the floor, I counted 8 hard votes and two very soft votes and the Kerry folks were working very hard to pull them off. Without the 15, no platform debate. Absolutely no way would we make the 38 needed to approve a minority plank. Given that I realized we would get nothing. Yet, we continued to push on the floor and in the room. The Kerry whips were not happy that we continued to work the floor. It was Charles Lenchner (the Kucinich Campaign's appointment to the Platform Committee) and I against the 14 Kerry representatives working the floor (that I could count).

Then the door opened after six meetings with the Kerry folks out in the hall way when they showed us the managers' amendment. John Sherman (one of our Platform Committee members), Charles and I read that it had, "the reduce troop language," I felt ******- over when they delayed giving us the language typed in the context of the platform until after lunch.

Hearing Laura and other folks talking at that moment I felt it important to rally the supporters to make the case why we did what we did. I think Charles did a wonderful speech at that moment to help hold it together. If I had it to do over again, I would have waited until we had the typed version like we read at the 5:30 pm gathering. It was clear to me after reading the typed version with supporters and Dennis' call we did the right thing. We pushed hard to get "withdrawal" language, and they finally gave us "reduction" language.

I realized a very long time ago that you never win at this level of the struggle. Working in the political process is a marathon, not a spirit. We made the best compromise, and we will continue to fight for our principles. Supporters who understand what we did in Miami will see that Kucinich campaign has moved from being dismissed from within the party leadership to being taken very, very seriously. The work we do in Boston will be easier as a result of Miami fight.

We showed we were organized, disciplined and the spokesperson for a portion of the progressive wing of the Democratic party. For the supporters who want to remain in the party and to continue fighting for the soul and heart of the party, Miami was a good weekend. The night we gathered for the reception was wonderful. The two platform chairs, Alice a nd even Peter had good things to say. All during the day as I worked the floor, Kerry spokespeople like the Gov of Iowa and the former Gov. of New Hampshire had good things to say about us.

I close with the note Kucinich political strategist Steve Cobble wrote to me: Quote:

"Tim ­ just wanted to congratulate for your great work with the platform…I know how hard it is to move them even an inch or two ­ way to go, dude!"

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- - Boston Social Forum and Convention - July 23 to 29

Prior to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the Boston Social Forum will provide a platform for free and open discussions for progressive alternatives and organizing strategies to respond to the dominant undemocratic global political and economic order. A regional forum within the World Social Forum process will happen in Boston from July 23 to 25 ( Its slogan will be "Another World is Possible." Its goal will be to present democratic possibilities for the future of the planet in the arenas of politics, economics, science and technology, faith, and culture to its participants and to the public at large.

Info: Boston Social Forum, 33 Harrison Av, 4th floor, Boston 02111; 617-338-9966; Email:; Web Site:

Among the speakers will be Dennis Kucinich, Jim Hightower, Winona LaDuke, Harry Belafonte, Angela Davis, Danny Glover, Medea Benjamin, Manning Marable, and Walden Bello. There will be 30 parallel workshop tracks. A demonstration on the Commons will take place on Saturday evening.

[Transportation from Northampton, MA and housing in Boston is being arranged. For details contact Sara Conz;, or Chris Holme, 413-549-445;

Or learn more or make arrangements for the Forum and Convention @

For Western Mass regional information for the Democratic Party National Convention in Boston, July 26 to 29, for peace and justice events, see: and American Friends Service Committee - 413-584-8975 - -

2) Bush-US Dumping on Yucca Mountain

Dumping on Yucca Mountain
Native Americans lose their land as our presidential
hero revives old-time nuclear tensions with Moscow
by AL Kennedy
Wednesday July 14, 2004
The Guardian

So glad that our Tony has now slithered himself a plucky and important millimetre away from Bush - "I now feel I can only agree absolutely with 99% of what the lovely president thinks and does". Sturdy chap, our premier. But if he's looking to improve his personal popularity - we can hardly expect him to be acting out of conscience - he still has to deal with the difficulty that if Bush and Blair together are the Laurel and Hardy of demonic foreign policy, Bush and Blair apart are quite evil enough to provoke spontaneous vomiting in small children.

Now, like many British citizens, I'd rather not think about our ghastly leader, but Bush is rather harder to blot out. It's that whole terror thing. I've been waking up screaming since I was five, so I find I am slightly susceptible to terror. Not the $60bn-earmarked-for-next-year, civil-rights-dissolving, Orange Alert type of terror - I mean real terror. And it's not as if the genuine terror of Bush is hard to notice. Within hours of coming into office, he'd started approving oil exploration in national parks, cutting support for disadvantaged children, raising the levels of arsenic in drinking water... Being an utter bastard with numbing consistency is his only speciality beyond mangling his native language and playing golf like an unhinged Muppet in times of crisis.

But Team Bush could never be happy just tormenting its own (non-millionaire) citizens - the misery must spread. So we in the rest of the world get to be alarmed by the whole sabotaging Kyoto thing, the murdering strangers for fun and profit thing and the screwing the Middle East in hopes of Armageddon thing. But what gets slightly less attention is the reviving the cold war arms race thing. It seemed momentarily puzzling when the US withdrew from the anti-ballistic missile treaty and started developing cuter, smaller types of "battlefield" nukes when there didn't seem to be a cold war any more. These things were of little or no help against mobile terror cells and the Pentagon had proved itself completely unable to protect even its own troops from the radiation produced by existing DU weapons. But, of course, all this lucrative US nuclear development was bound to alarm the Russians and therefore justify itself retrospectively. Hence, Mr Putin's obliging announcement that his scientists have developed a vigorous response to America's ballistic missile defence. The fact that BMD won't work as advertised is, of course, balanced by the fact that it gets nukes very close to Russia and is supposed to be pre-emptive not defensive. Don't worry if this doesn't make sense - it makes money, which is much more important.

And the new cold war is why US military nuclear facilities (which have been closed down as unsafe by the FBI in the past) are now immune from environmental legislation. Better yet, plans for the Nevada test site now include sexy, actual testing of nuclear weapons. Needless to say this is really pleasing everyone in Las Vegas, which is only 65 miles away, and everyone in Utah - soon to be renamed Downwind, the Malignantly Mutating State. Naturally, attempts to amend the relevant Defence Authorisation Act failed.

But the Bushies' joy doesn't end there, because the Nevada test site isn't even on United States land - it's on territory which belongs to the Western Shoshone nation and is protected by treaty (should you feel that treaties between the US and indigenous peoples are in any way binding). The Yucca Mountain site earmarked for America's nuclear waste depository is also on Western Shoshone land, as is the planned Federal Counterterrorism Facility. And what is probably the world's third largest gold-producing area. Which is why Karl Rove and George W have both visited Nevada lately and why seizures of Shoshone livestock have already started. Despite formal opposition from 80% of the Shoshone population, Amnesty International and the National Congress of American Indians, Congress has just passed the Western Shoshone distribution bill - which distributes 15 cents on the acre for huge tracts of land in four states, whether the owners intended to sell or not.

So with one bill, the neo-cons can ensure cancer misery on an epidemic scale, mindlessly polluting mineral extraction, increased efficiency in the belligerent surveillance of an entire population, world war three and one in the eye for them pesky redskins. Recent Irish revelations suggest that George is in his jimjams by 5pm and now we know why. His days are full of such knee-trembling thrills that it's a miracle he ever gets up off his back.

Talking of miracles, Bush was recently quizzed about his special relationship with Jesus and carefully assured his questioner that it "doesn't make me a better person than you". His delivery didn't convince. When he can do whatever he wants, whatever the consequences, surely that makes him better than all of us.

More on the Shoshone defence of their territory can be found at

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