Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 17, 2009 Activist Newsletter (supplement)

June 17, 2009, Issue #147A (SUPPLEMENT)

The Activist Newsletter, published in New Paltz, N.Y., appears once a month, supplemented by the Activist Calendar of progressive events, which is sent to Hudson Valley readers only. Editor: Jack A. Smith (who writes the articles that appear without a byline or credit to other publications). He is the former editor of the (U.S.) Guardian Newsweekly. Copy Editor: Donna Goodman. Calendar Editor: Rocco Rizzo. If you know someone who may benefit from this newsletter, ask them to subscribe at If you no longer wish to receive the newsletter, unsubscribe at the same address. Please send event listings to the above email address. The current and back issues of the newsletter/calendar are available at


EDITOR'S NOTE: This supplement is being put out in order to mark three important developments yesterday.




1. DEMOCRATS VOTE TO FUND OBAMA'S WAR — But 32 antiwar Dems stood firm.

2. IRAN ELECTION: IT COULD WELL BE HONEST — The American mass media may be way off the mark in its enthusiastic efforts to make it appear that President Ahmadinejad stole the election.

3. CARTER: 'PALESTINIANS TREATED LIKE ANIMALS' — Visiting Gaza he sympathized with the plight of the Palestinian people and met with Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Gaza.



A total of 221 House Democrats rammed through a supplemental war funding bill yesterday (June 16) practically on their own. Some 32 antiwar Democrats voted against the bill, and, astonishingly, were joined by 170 Republicans. Five Republicans voted with the Democrats.

The GOP representatives didn't vote against the money bill because they opposed the $106 billion appropriation largely to finance the Obama Administration's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, they are among the biggest supporters of President Obama's war policies. They objected mainly to the inclusion of $5 billion to secure a U.S. credit line to the International Monetary Fund for loans to poor countries.

A good number of the so-called antiwar Democrats voted in favor of the appropriation, including Rep. Maurice Hinchey and Rep. John Hall. Had just 13 more "peace" Democrats opposed the bill it would have failed. (1)

Rep. Dennis Kucinich spoke movingly on behalf of the genuine antiwar Democrats:

"We are destroying our nation's moral and fiscal integrity with this war supplemental. Instead of ending wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan now by appropriating only enough money to bring our troops home, Congress abdicates its constitutional authority, defers to the president, and asks for a report. That's right, all we are asking for is a report on when the president will end the war…. Another $106 billion dollars and all we get is a lousy war. Pretty soon that is going to be about the only thing made in America — war."
(1) The complete Roll Call is at



The American people are being besieged by the corporate mass media with what is probably misinformation about the presumed dishonesty of the June 12 Iranian elections which resulted in a big victory for incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In most cases the major U.S. newspaper, TV and radio reports are suggesting that the large opposition demonstrations that have taken place in the last four days are proof that the election was "stolen" from defeated opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi.

On the basis of information we have seen, however, these reports must be treated with caution. We were impressed by two articles in particular, both from essentially mainstream sources:

First was an op-ed in the Washington Post June 16 written by Ken Ballen, president of Terror Free Tomorrow: The Center for Public Opinion, and Patrick Doherty, deputy director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. Their groups conducted a pre-election poll in Iran May 11-20 with a 3.1% margin of error.

They Reported: "The election results in Iran may reflect the will of the Iranian people. Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin -- greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday's election." (1)

Second was an informative article by George Friedman, who heads Stratfor, the provider of global intelligence. Writing June 16 under the headline "Western Misconceptions Meet Iranian Reality," Friedman argues "that he [Ahmadinejad] won is not the mystery. The mystery is why others thought he didn't win."

Friedman explains the nature of the Iranian president's political support, his iffy relations with the ruling religious ayatollahs (many of whom he has accused of corruption), his religious appeal, and the fact that he is "tremendously popular" because of his strong national security stance." He notes that Iran was almost crippled by the eight-year U.S.-backed Iraqi war against Iran, and that public opinion favors "a resurgent Iran, thus validating the sacrifices made in that war." (2)

(1) The full polling article is at

(2) The text of Friedman's article is at



Jimmy Carter was never one of the great American presidents, and he made a number of errors during his one term (1977-1981), but we have long maintained that he is the best ex-president our country has ever had.

He reaffirmed that characterization yesterday (June 16) on a visit to Gaza where he made some stunning comments about the plight of the Palestinian people, and had a meeting with Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Gaza, who is not recognized by the U.S. or Israel.

Haniya used the occasion to declare his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis: "If there is a real plan to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 [as called for in the Arab Initiative], and with full sovereignty, we are in favor of it."

The Hamas leader expressed a favorable view of President Obama's June 4 speech to the Muslim world in Cairo. "We saw a new tone, a new language and a new spirit in the official U.S. rhetoric," he said.

Carter, who calls for an end to all violence between Israelis and Palestinians, toured the ruins of Gaza, which remains a shambles months after Israel's December-January invasion of the Palestinian enclave because of Israel's blockade. The latest war resulted in the death of 1,400 Palestinian residents — largely civilians, including many children. Israel suffered 14 dead, mainly soldiers, some by friendly fire.

While touring, Carter declared: "My primary feeling today is one of grief and despair and an element of anger when I see the destruction perpetrated against innocent people…. Tragically, the international community too often ignores the cries for help and the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than like human beings."

Attending the graduation ceremony at the UN School in Gaza City, he commented: "The starving of 1.5 million human beings of the necessities of life — never before in history has a large community like this been savaged by bombs and missiles and then denied the means to repair itself."

At the debris that remained of the American School, another Israeli target, the former president said "I have to hold back tears when I see the deliberate destruction that has been wreaked against your people." Noting that the school was "deliberately destroyed by bombs from F-16s made in my country," Carter said "I feel partially responsible for this as must all Americans and Israelis.

Addressing political leaders in the U.S. and Europe, Carter —who helped bring about the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt 30 years ago — said they "must try to do all that is necessary to convince Israel and Egypt to allow basic goods into Gaza."