Giving thanks

As we sit down to our turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day, we should give thanks to the thousands of volunteers who went door to door in a mighty effort to register and get voters to the polls Nov. 2 to oust George W. Bush. While short of the goal, we give thanks to the millions who labored against his anti-people agenda and his atrocious Iraq war. These millions gave birth to a new labor and all-people’s movement for democracy.

It took courage for that movement to keep fighting in the face of the Bush-Cheney-Rove dirty tricks. These hypocrites wrapped themselves in “moral values” even as they waged a lie-based war that has cost 100,000 innocent Iraqi dead and thousands of GIs dead and wounded. They used their corporate contributions to fill the airwaves with slanderous ads smearing John Kerry, and whipped up fear and bigotry over issues like same-sex marriage, abortion and terrorism.

Bush-Cheney and the ultra-right stand for corporate rule. Their policies further divide our country into “haves and have-nots,” a tiny super-rich elite and a majority whose incomes are declining, without health care or pensions. Poverty has risen under the Bush-Cheney regime: 39 million now live in poverty, most of them children. Some morality!

By contrast, the all-people’s movement stands for “people before profits.” It stands for living-wage jobs, the right to organize, universal health care, quality integrated public education, restoring a progressive tax system that puts the burden on those most able to pay. It stands for race and gender equality, for world peace and international law. Those values represent the vital interests of an overwhelming majority in both “blue” and “red” states.

Leaders of this movement have made clear they will not retreat. They vow to stand against Bush’s preemptive wars, privatization of Social Security and Medicare, and packing the Supreme Court with right-wing extremists. Because of the heroic efforts of the all-people’s movement, these are battles that we can win. And for that, we should all give thanks.

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Ditching Private Ryan and Saving Mr. DeLay

A large number of ABC-TV affiliates censored the World War II movie “Saving Private Ryan” by refusing to show it on Veterans Day. Fearful that the powerful Federal Communications Commission would fine them for airing “bad” language, the companies in major markets like Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas and Orlando banned the movie.

“Saving Private Ryan” is a tribute to veterans of the “greatest generation” who fought in World War II. It also shows the horrors of war — even a just one. Conservative groups threatened to complain if television stations broadcast the movie because it contains 20 “F” words and 12 “S” words.

Welcome to post-election America, where ultra-right blowhards swagger, self-righteously, proclaiming they own morality. The “moral values” pundits tell us that voters are more socially conservative than ever before. But don’t believe the hype. Certainly morality is in the national political dialog, but so are Iraq, jobs, health care, and terrorism. The defining of morality is an arena of growing contention.

Fast forward to the House Republicans. To save the position of Majority Leader Tom Delay, GOP House members propose to amend their party’s ethics rules, which call for any House leader who is indicted to step down from his or her leadership position.

Delay is facing possible grand jury indictments in his home state of Texas, where he led a fanatical campaign to oust five Democratic representatives and elect Republicans. Three top Delay aides were indicted for fundraising fraud during this campaign. Delay himself is staring down the barrel of an indictment gun.

The GOP wrote their party ethics rule in 1993 to draw attention to investigations of prominent Democrats. But in the present-day world of Republican leadership, ethics don’t matter if you own the naming rights to morals.

Perhaps the ABC affiliates that chose to censor “Saving Private Ryan” will replace it with their own epic, extolling their own twisted morality. Call it “Saving Tom Delay.”