“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Protests on the Washington Mall Sponsored By...

United for Peace and Justice is the chief sponsor and organizer of the Washington protests.

United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) is an anti-war coalition consisting of more than 1,300 local and national groups joined together "to protest the immoral and disastrous Iraq War and oppose our [American] government's policy of permanent warfare and empire-building." The coalition's Unity Statement denounces "the 'pre-emptive' wars of aggression waged by the Bush administration" in its "drive to expand U.S. control over other nations and strip us of our rights at home under the cover of fighting terrorism and spreading democracy."

In an effort to diminish the potential calamities that might result from what UFPJ characterizes as America's aggressive pursuit of world domination, the coalition has launched a Nuclear Disarmament Campaign. "The world," it says, "is destined to find itself in a state of perpetual war so long as the United States maintains its bloated nuclear arsenal. Nuclear disarmament must become a core issue on the global peace movement's agenda."

UFPJ was officially created on October 25, 2002 in the Washington, DC offices of People For the American Way. Its initial membership consisted of approximately 70 organizations. Prior to UFPJ's founding, the anti-war movement had earned a reputation as a hodgepodge of radical elements. All the large-scale peace demonstrations to that point had been held under the auspices of International ANSWER, an organization aligned with the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party; Global Exchange, headed by the longtime pro-Castro communist Medea Benjamin; and Not In Our Name, a project organized by Ramsey Clark and fellow leaders of the Revolutionary Communist Party. United For Peace and Justice was created explicitly to put a milder face on the anti-war movement, although from its inception UFPJ shared with the aforementioned groups a passionate hatred for the United States and for capitalism.

The Co-Chair and principal leader of UFPJ is Leslie Cagan, an original founder of the Committees of Correspondence (a remnant organization created by the American Communist Party upon going out of business) and a strong supporter of Fidel Castro since the 1960s; Cagan proudly aligns her politics with those of Communist Cuba.


  1. The FOX man says that he estimated over 100,000 bodies, on the Mall.

    Now I am a long way from the Mall, but 100,000 bodies bodes greater more than 20,000 emails.
    Multiply the emails by 1,000 says rufus, if that's the case multiply a live body by 5,000.

    A body on hand is worth 5 web touchs, at least.

  2. The Left and Islam

    "Hurray! We're Capitulating!"
    By Henryk M. Broder

    What would be the consequential damage of an Iranian nuclear attack once the country is capable of producing and using a nuclear bomb?

    No one wants to address this question, and for good reason: No one knows how to prevent an Iranian nuclear attack, or even how to influence the Iranians' policies. In contrast, there is a very small but real possibility that public pressure can be used to influence the American government to move in one direction or another. The proponents of peace whose protests are directed against America's plans to attack Iran and not against the mullahs' nuclear policies are well aware of this difference. They are not blind in one eye, as they are often accused of being, but instead have a clear view of everything that is happening. And they are as delighted as children discovering a surprise. "Peace Signals from Tehran," the Berliner Zeitung wrote ecstatically in early July, when Iran did not for once flatly reject one of the European Union's many proposed compromises, but instead declared that it would "give it serious consideration."

    For those facing a hopeless situation and powerless to change it, self-deception offers at least some succor.

    Another option is "change through ingratiation." Oskar Lafontaine, a one-time chairman of the Social Democratic Party and German chancellor candidate, sees "commonalities between leftist policies and the Islamic religion." In an interview with Neues Deutschland, he says: "Islam depends on community, which places it in opposition to extreme individualism, which threatens to fail in the West. The second similarity is that the devout Muslim is required to share his wealth with others. The leftist also wants to see the strong help the weak. Finally, the prohibition of interest still plays a role in Islam, much as it once did in Christianity. At a time when entire economies are plunging into crisis because their expectations of returns on investment have become totally absurd, there is a basis for a dialogue to be conducted between the left and the Islamic world."

    Lafontaine called upon the West to exercise self-criticism ("We must constantly ask ourselves through which eyes the Muslims see us") and expressed sympathy for the "indignation" of Muslims. According to Lafontaine, "people in Muslim countries have experienced many indignities, one of the most recent being the Iraq war. What we are seeing here is resource imperialism."

    In examining similarities between Islam and the European left, though, Lafontaine ignored an important point: how long he would survive without his beloved Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc if a union between leftist politics and the Islamic religion truly came about. His dialogue with the Muslim world would have to be conducted while sipping fruit juice and mineral water. "If you can't beat them, join them!"

  3. Australia may be the last bastion of freedom in the West.

    Flags ‘not banned’ but unwelcome

    Celebrating flag and music

    Flying the flag

    All compliments of Publius Pundit:

    So, in the spirit of gentility for which I am known, Sean and Jane, Bite it!

  4. Desert Rat: A body on hand is worth 5 web touchs, at least.

    Unless some of those web touches are the sound of funds being electronically shifted away from the errant politicians. The longhaired smellies on the Mall aren't dipping very deep into their personally dope funds. Much cheaper to just raise a verbal clamor.

  5. temper, temper, rufus.
    Just cause the GOP has charted a course of slow failure, per Mr Bush, you should not take it so hard.

    Email away, for all the good it'll do.

    Mr Bush is going back to the future. The Senators up for Election not going along for the ride.

    The Iranians are taking an ever more active role in the Iraqi War. "Catch & Release" not impressing them with US resolve to gain victory, no matter the cost.

    Let US go down the list of GOP Senators lining up with Mr Warner, or not. It is growing, daily, and I'd hate to leave any deserving GOPer off the list.

    Mr McCain, though, the most vocal supporter of the Surge, also supports "benchmarks", now.

    Rally round the Flag, boys.

    For now Mr Newt's analysis of Mr Bush's position is the most lucid:

    "“If Iraq is genuinely a matter of vital national interest, then, as Americans, we have an obligation to do what it takes to win. If Iraq is so unimportant that it's up to a new, relatively incompetent and untested Iraqi government, then why are we risking a single young American?

    “They can't both be true. ..."

  6. From Westhawk:

    "Finally, and perhaps most important, the President must reassure his soldiers and Marines that for him their welfare comes first. If Iranian agents are directly or indirectly killing American troops, those troops must know that the President will respond. Anything less would be demoralizing."

    A ‘Phoenix Program’ for Iran?

    "demoralizing"...Hmmm...That seems so tame.

  7. If Madame Rice is playing the same game with the American public vis-à-vis Iran as she has been playing with Hezbollah/Hamas/Fatah and the Israeli public, this is why the disclosure of the long awaited revelation of Iranian mayhem in Iraq is so important. In short, Madame Rice needs to explain why Iran has been given a get out of jail free card for lo these many years. Moreover, learning why the disclosure was so long in the coming, from those who knew or reasonably should have known of Iranian involvement (milbloggers), is equally important. If the American public is being hoodwinked in a bipartisan way, this might be the defining issue.

    Atrocity in Karbala

    The Karbala Attack and the IRGC

  8. Well, barry:
    By Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON — Retired naval officer Joe Sestak out-raised incumbent Republican Curt Weldon to seize a House seat in suburban Philadelphia — aided by nearly $900,000 in Internet contributions.
    "Netroots" activists helped propel Virginia's incoming Democratic Sen. Jim Webb in the early days of his race. And in 18 hours, the Internet-based political action committee Political Action raised $500,000 online to buy airtime for advertising that targeted Republicans in four congressional races.

    This year's midterm elections offered fresh examples of the ways the Internet is changing how candidates in both parties raise money as they scramble to collect the $20, $30 and $50 donations needed in the aftermath of changes to campaign-finance laws in 2002 that banned large donations. ..."

    Now if we were to extrapulate Net use and compare it to political affiliation we'd find that the "Leftist" sites are much heavier traveled, with much more traffic.

    The politicians that have learned to utilize the Web most effectively, for raising money and promoting their message, Democrats.

    Perhaps the GOP faithful will dump on the Repub politicos and their financial needs, voting with their checkbooks, first.
    So much for recapturing the Congress in '08. For what it was worth, '94 to '06.

  9. Speedy Gonzalez, that's us, rufus.

    Way ahead of the curve.

  10. BC is following doug, into the world of Beta Blogger. It's all down, for now.

  11. ...and a course for victory plotted by our Democratic leaders looks like what precisely?... We want a political resolution for Iraq after withdrawal is not a strategy.

    Mistakes have been made, no doubt. Please tell me a battle or War where no mistakes were made? The enemy does think and adapt; just ask the Russians in Chechnya.

    Unfortunately for the previously mentioned senators...Iran and their lust for nukes is not going away.

    More deadly conflict is on the horizon. Can anyone put forth a scenario that does not involve a regional conflict with Iran in the future; whether it be Sunni/Shia, Hebrew/Shia, or U.S. and Hebrew vs. Shia vs. Sunni.

    “If Iraq is genuinely a matter of vital national interest, then, as Americans, we have an obligation to do what it takes to win. If Iraq is so unimportant that it's up to a new, relatively incompetent and untested Iraqi government, then why are we risking a single young American?"

    Who says Iraq is the only battlefield in the ongoing war?

    Who was writing about MS-13 and Hezbollah on this board?

    If the battle reaches our soil we shall see how events shape the political calculus.

  12. The MS-13, elijah, that'd be me.
    Knew some of their dads, back in our youths.
    Hezzbollah, here in the States, that'd be me, too.

    Ignorance is bliss, folk around here will tell you I'm not just another happy face in the crowd.

  13. As things stand, there will be war with Iran. Hell, as things stand, there is war with Iran. Of course, given the actions of the administration, one would be excused for failing to recognize it. While the president says one thing, his functionaries behave quite the opposite. How many youngsters have joined the ranks to take up arms against the Iranian “Axis of Evil” at the President’s beck. Now regrettably, they learn that the President’s brave words were merely rhetoric.

    Bloggers might ask whether being led by the Bush administration is more important than being led to war against Iran.

  14. Iraq was always a staging ground for Iran. Democracy in Iraq is a bait the Mullahs will not and cannot afford to refuse. That was the NEOCON genius. If the Iranians stay out they lose, and if they don't stay out they also lose.

  15. The delta in time was to allow for intel gathering.

  16. Rufus,

    It's no accident. I've been saying this from even before the start of the war. d'Rat can back me up on this.

  17. Westhawk writes,
    "For more than a year, U.S. forces in Iraq have secretly detained dozens of suspected Iranian agents, holding them for three to four days at a time. The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries."

    That is one way of saying four years without creating the nasty implications that saying "four years" would naturally raise.

    Now, allowing Iran to run agents inside Iraq might have been necessary. Given the right circumstances, it might have been permissible and, in fact, sensible. Of course, from the first, the administration should have known that its apprehension of Iranian agents could not be kept forever secret. What is not permissible or sensible is the administration's failure to lay the groundwork for explaining the catch and release program.

    Another day, another blindside on a blind administration.

  18. I love the smell or cordite in the bar. Smokinnnnnn

  19. Allen,

    You want to detain them and stir a hornet's nest?

  20. Mat,

    I wasn't thinking about detention.

  21. It is and has been a race against time, mat, since before you were a beer drinkin' cat named mika.

    I've come to think Mr Bush will run out of time, the Iranians got in, and may still win. Their proxies in Iraq being the same as ours.

    I remember when buddy asked when the War Protests would start. Well now's the time.

    Mr Bush runs out of War money in six to eight months, that's when the GOP in DC will collapse, all on their own.

    The game to complicated for the boys from State, those that never even made it in Country.

  22. rufus,

    re: blind sow

    We are not paying these guys to rout for truffles. We are paying them to keep us from becoming truffles.


    Is a truffle found by a French hog Kosher?

  23. DR,

    That little meeting in DC was not a war protest. I have seen war protests. No, that was a war whine.

  24. Yeah, the accounting issues have really gone out of control. But you already know who I blame for that, so I'm not going to get into that again.

  25. Allen,

    Did Abram eat pork? Yes. I would say so.

  26. It's the beginning, allen, if 100,000 bodies were really there, as reported on FOX.

  27. DR,

    This "unpopular" war has been going on for, what, nearly five and one-half years, and this is best these guys can do? They would get better traction if they marched to protest Mr. Bush's incompetence. Hell, I might join in. (Given enough liquor, of course.)


    Re: Did Abraham eat pork?

    I’ll have to check the code on that one.

  28. rufus,

    Where were the hippies? Sean and Jane aren't hippies. Scum? Yes. But hippie? No way, man!

  29. Deuce,

    re: Hyde Park

    And Blair is still Prime Minister!

    Seriously, these little exercises in social venting attract every fruit and nut with a hard-on for the world, from miles around.

  30. Fine. Run the code through the machine. The stats will be on my side. They all probably ate pork (Issac, Jacob, Joseph, etc.) all the way to the time of Moses. And probably until some time after.

  31. America is a place where one man's "melange" is another's "menagerie". If this were Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the UAE, Libya, Egypt, or Paris, it would be rocket launchers at ten paces.

  32. Mat,

    re: pork chops

    By random sequencing, or can I cheat?

  33. You're asking me about random sequencing? What am I, a geneticist?!

  34. I have no idea how many folk were on the Mall. FOX put it at 100,000, one of their guys who was there. If FOX reporters are lying, then they are. I'll call Mr Murdock or Roger Ailes and let them know, soon as I get his number.

  35. Mat,

    Man, do I have to do everything? I’m talking serious stuff here, like, you know, the Bible Code and ELS. You know, that thing that lets you know the future after the fact. Hmmm…How does that work again, he asks rhetorically?

  36. This headline says a great deal about the protest,
    “Crowds on both coasts protest Iraq war”. Crowds gather for the openings of Wal-Mart’s.


  37. ELS? You forget who you're talking to. Don't you mean ESL?

  38. d'Rat

    The drinking cat mika. It was another time, another life.

  39. re: the cat Mika

    Now, that looks like me in one of my ESL moments.

  40. Allen,

    Don't tell me you too are a blond!

  41. Allen,

    Btw, the one we can be 100% sure didn't eat pork would be Yeshu.

  42. Mat,

    No matter what you may have seen at the beach, there are NO blond Jews. That's what the rabbi said, anyhow.

    Hmmm...I would be willing to undertake the blond pubic survey of Israeli Jewish babes. Is there a government grant for that sort of thing? Must make a note, "Contact Aristides". What an inspiring thought. My life's work beckons; I must heed the call.

  43. re: Yeshu

    Just stay away from water and heights.

    While totally meaningless, the symbol of the Tenth Roman Legion was the boar.

  44. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  45. Allen,

    A singed hair sample for your project will do? :)

  46. Mat,

    As I said, the cat and I have much in common, like the need for additional ESL tutoring. You will note, no doubt, that Israeli babes are Jewish.

  47. Allen,

    I was circumcised in Kaunas. As birthright, I also get to read first from the Torah. You now have all the data you need.

  48. ...It appears that the US has broached with Pakistan the issue of "help and assistance" in respect of its standoff with Iran. At any rate, the timing of Musharraf's tour of the pro-American Sunni Arab capitals Riyadh, Cairo and Amman last weekend was important. The hurriedly arranged tour followed consultations of the US secretaries of state and defense in Riyadh.

    In a rare gesture, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia personally received Musharraf at the airport at Riyadh. Also, a grateful Saudi king conferred on Musharraf the "King Abdul Aziz Prize", Saudi Arabia's highest award. For some obscure reason, Musharraf has become the first-ever Pakistani leader to receive such an honor.

    The emphasis during Musharraf's discussions in the pro-American Sunni Arab capitals has been on joint "Islamic action" in tackling the crisis in the Middle East. Curiously, fleshing out Bush's new Iraq strategy, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger recently explained at some length from another angle what such an "Islamic action" could amount to.

    Musharraf is sending Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday. A NATO spokesman hailed the visit as "vitally important", and underlined that the visit will "deepen the political relationship between NATO and Pakistan".

    At the same time, emerging ties with Pakistan will enable NATO to begin to reduce its dependence on Russian airspace (and Russian goodwill) for ferrying supplies for troops in Afghanistan. Not only that: at a time when Israel's formal admission to NATO is under active discussion, NATO will have already established a foothold on the Persian Gulf region's eastern periphery. Most important.... the configuration works to the great advantage of the US in the event of an outbreak of military hostilities against Iran, which borders Pakistan.

    US elevates Pakistan to regional kingpin - By M K Bhadrakumar
    (Asia times)

  49. Mat,

    I meant to say, "I am yisr'elim'". Your point was taken. You guys (no pun) always get to the head of the line.
    As an American, born and bred, ESL is essential. American (English) is not so much a language as an experience.

  50. elijah,

    Some interesting developments there, wouldn't you say. Well, actually, you did say. Thanks.

    Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Kissinger all in accord leave me uncomfortable. But, we will see how things play out.

  51. "Iraq was always a staging ground for Iran"

    "I just don't think the neocons are That smart"

    "Actually, I'm not sure I DON'T smell a plan coming together, here"

    After several months of faint rumblings, a US-led, Middle East-wide alliance of conservative Sunni and secular Muslim states marshaled against Iran is starting to take shape, to the deepening discomfort of the Iranian theocracy. Leading countries in this alliance are Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

    Gary Sick, a US foreign-policy analyst who served on the National Security Council under US presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, pointed out the rationale behind the alliance:

    "By removing the Taliban [from Afghanistan], Iran's greatest threat to the east, and then removing the government of Saddam Hussein, its deadly enemy to the west, and finally installing an Iran-friendly Shi'ite government in Baghdad for the first time in history, the US virtually assured that Iran - essentially without raising a finger - would emerge as a power center rivaled only by Israel."

  52. elijah,

    You conjure the picture of a man frantically trying to get the paste back in the tube.

    I have no problem with a nuclear powered Iran. A nuclear armed Iran, however, is of great concern, given the revolutionary government. Barsun, has given the best concise definition of revolution known to me: “the violent overthrow of an existing institution”.
    Clearly since 1979, the revolutionary government of Iran has had in mind the violent overthrow of the existing political institutions of the ME. Iran longs for utter, gut wrenching chaos, from which it hopes to emerge as the neo-Persian empire. Nothing the US has done or is likely to do to dissuade Iran from this goal has any chance of success ceteris paribus. And that is a shame, with Saudi Arabia hiding in the shadows, dagger drawn.

    Ideally, Iran would have the nuclear power it will need in short order, without also acquiring nuclear weaponry. To affect this, the US will have to align itself with the Sunni, headed by Saudi Arabia. Hopefully, the Iranian regime can be brought low without resort to widespread destruction of Shi’a culture - a tall order, to be sure. If so, then, the long-term enemy of the US, Israel, Shi’a, and modernity will face competition in the ME. That enemy is, to my mind, a remorseless, anti-Israel, anti-Western, Wahhabi Saudi Arabia.

    Can the Bush administration juggle all the balls? I doubt it, but this is the administration we have for the time being. More disheartening to me is the power of Saudi Arabia to influence the MSM. At the moment, with the eyes of the West on Iran, the toxin of Wahhabism is spreading without a benighted West seeing even the need for an antidote.

  53. allen, I believe that the argument for nuclear power for Iran will be strengthened, at least partially, by the deleterious state of its oil and gas infrastructure, the impetus driven by a desperate need to arrest economic collapse before it manifests into the dissolution of the mullahs' regime.

    We might have to trust the Russians on this part of the deal - Putin has recognised the necessity of withholding technical expertise regarding nuclear refining capabilities, denying Iran the technology necessary to refine weapons-grade uranium at Bushehr - it would seem only logical that Russia, like us, considers in its best interest not to destabilise the Middle East further, plus keeping Iran dependent on Russia for nuclear power (with the current dynamics shifting against Iran) serves to fill Russian coffers.

    I suggested that since Saddam's Iraq was a counterweight to Persian influence emanating from Iran, wouldn't the removal of Iran then allow the Saudis to perpetuate Wahhabism throughout the Middle East (to a greater degree than the current predicament)? Does anyone consider Iran to be a countervailing force against the Saudis?

    Our allies in the Middle East - however transient - namely, Jordan and Egypt have to be convinced that any sort of ideological extremism, Sunni or Shiite, is equally disastrous and divisive towards their peoples should they choose to rally with the KSA against the Iranian devil.

  54. Look to the voters in Eygpt to elect the Muslim Brotherhood, if given the liberty of free eletions harrison. They have in the past, when given the opportunity.

    Where ever voters in the ME are given the opportunity, they choose extremists. Iraq, Lebanon, Eygpt, Palistine prove the point.

    There are no elected ME moderates, where the elections are not "fixed", in advance.

  55. Here is a sentence from the catch & release article, quoted in bold:

    There is no evidence the Iranians have directly attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, intelligence officials said.

    I'll repeat it:

    There is no evidence the Iranians have directly attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, intelligence officials said.

    And yet again

    There is no evidence the Iranians have directly attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, intelligence officials said.

    Then ask, why overreact?

    As the occupying power, we haven't prevented Sunni terrorists from kill Shiite civilians every day for almost four years. It's not surprising the Shiites are training to defend themselves.

    Sunni countries like Syria don't just arm Sunni terrorists, but those foreign Sunni terrorists shoot at our troops every day! The Sunni Insurgency, including Saddam's family, is being run out of Sunni countries like Syria and Jordan.

    So Iran is on the list, but probably not the top of it.

    Here's what the Shiites have to defend against every day, like this quote from today's Washington Post:

    Iraqi soldiers supported by U.S. helicopters on Sunday clashed with a gathering of insurgents hiding out amid date palm orchards near the southern holy city of Najaf, according to Iraqi officials.

    For the past several weeks, Sunni insurgents, including Arab fighters from outside Iraq, have stockpiled weapons and dug trenches amid the orchards in apparent preparations to attack the thousands of Shiite Muslim travelers observing the religious holiday of Ashura, Iraqi officials said.

    Iraqi police stormed the Zarqaa area early Sunday morning, but took heavy gunfire from the orchards, where an estimated 350 to 400 fighters were entrenched, according to Col. Majid Rashid of the Iraqi army in Najaf.

  56. > ...and a course for victory plotted by our Democratic leaders looks like what precisely?...

    The few Democratic leaders who have brains, the ones who actually run Democratic governments, will pretend to be against the war in order to get in power, then turn around and do the same thing the Republicans would have done.

    They'll use the netroots nutcakes to get in power, then throw them away like a used kleenex.

  57. harrison,

    The use of Iran against Saudi Arabia is my point, precisely. If the administration is so inclined, I find no evidence. Now, pulling that rabbit from the hat is going to be extremely difficult, especially for an administration whose policies blatantly favor the Saudis. Certainly, the present Iranian regime nullifies any such approach to stabilizing the region.

  58. Judging from what's happening in Pakistan right now, I am convinced that if Iran were to be removed, the KSA will have absolutely no problems perpetuating their ideology through the destabilisation of other regimes.

    In denial

    The Taliban in Waziristan is as much our problem as Afghanistan's, and even Pakistan's, however Musharraf wants to delude himself. As we prep for a confrontation with Iran, the KSA is comfortably assured that with the current oil strategy and our implicit "promise" to the Saudis, they will be free to continue sowing their seeds of fundamentalism everywhere else.

    Whatever wu wei may have mentioned about a Sunni-US-Israel alliance against Iran-Syria, this is an imbalance of power: Bush will find that keeping the five balls in the air like Bismarck did might be tricky, but the single ball of the KSA will prove too heavy to juggle.