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Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday said it was imperative that the Obama administration supported Ireland's call on the Israeli authorities to ensure safe passage for the Irish-flagged Rachel Corrie to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza, the Irish Times reports. Speaking by satellite phone from on board the Rachel Corrie, Halliday called on Irish-Americans to lobby the Obama Administration: "We also feel there is a role for the Irish diaspora here, in the US and elsewhere to lobby politicians over this continued illegal blockade of Gaza, which is causing such hardship to the Palestinian people."

Halliday has some experience with this issue, having resigned from his position as UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq in 1998 over the impact of UN/US sanctions on Iraqi civilians.

The issue of the Gaza blockade has tremendous resonance in Ireland, partly because of Ireland's high degree of engagement in international humanitarian causes - John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, who had called on the international community to break the siege by sending ships loaded with aid, is also Irish - but also, of course, because the Irish people have some experience with the consequences for civilians of a colonial blockade.

Between 1845 and 1850, more than a million Irish people starved to death under British rule, while, as Sinéad O'Connor famously noted, food was shipped out of Ireland under armed guard. A million more fled Ireland to escape starvation, many to America, including Falmouth Kearney, President Obama's great great great grandfather.

Many Irish people - and Irish-Americans - take the responsibilities of this legacy very seriously.

Mary Robinson - former President of Ireland, and former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said:

The best possible commemoration of the men and women who died in that Famine, who were cast up on other shores because of it, is to take their dispossession into the present with us, to help others who now suffer in a similar way.

That's what Denis Halliday is trying to do. Doesn't he deserve all our support?

UPDATE:
Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, writes:

We could act to deter an Israeli attack upon MV Rachel Corrie by invoking International Criminal Court Prosecution. According to the ICC Rome Statute,
Article 12 (2) provides "2. In the case of article 13, paragraph (a) or (c), the Court may exercise its jurisdiction if one or more of the following States are Parties to this Statute or have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with paragraph 3: (a) The State on the territory of which the conduct in question occurred or, if the crime was committed on board a vessel or aircraft, the State of registration of that vessel or aircraft; ... " If one of the vessel is Irish vessel and the attack was committed against the vessel, the ICC may exercise its jurisdiction over this situation since the Ireland is a State Party to the ICC Statute. Israel's attack may constitute a crime against humanity of murder, imprisonment, torture and other inhumane acts under Article 7 of the ICC Statute.

Ireland is a party to the Rome Statute. Hence if Israel were to attack the MV Rachel Corrie, the highest level Israeli officials could be prosecuted for the attack.  If we got this word out internationally, it might do some good.

Originally posted to Robert Naiman on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 06:25 AM PDT.

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President Obama Should Speak Up for the Safe Passage of the Rachel Corrie to Gaza

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Comment Preferences

  •  Obama should stay as far away from this issue (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    AlexanderHamilton
    Hidden by:
    Tom J

    as is politically possible.

    If activists want to go to war with Israel, Obama doesn't need to get hit by the sharpnal.

    All evils are equal when they are extreme. - Pierre Corneille

    by LiberalCanuck on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 06:32:00 AM PDT

    •  this is a disingenuous response (10+ / 0-)

      your past writings indicate that you support the status quo. so be it. but you mislead when you pretend that your principal motivation is concern for Obama. your past writings suggest that your principal motivation is that you support the status quo.

      •  The plastic paddy... (0+ / 0-)

        ...you are thinking too highly of him.

        the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

        by Salo on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 07:14:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I hate the status quo; but Obama getting involved (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AlexanderHamilton

        in this dog and pony show would be political suicide.

        All evils are equal when they are extreme. - Pierre Corneille

        by LiberalCanuck on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:05:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LiberalCanuck (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dancewater

          If activists want to go to war with Israel

          I'm sure you are aware that it was Israel who fired sub machine guns into civilians right?

          One American on the flotilla was shot 4 times in the head according to Huff Post main headline.

          Seems to me like its Israel going to war with International activists not the other way round.

          Non Violence is fine... so long as it works. - Malcolm X

          by Dr Marcos on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:13:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Based on information I have been able to obtain: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Outsourcing Is Treason

            The soldiers were armed with paint ball guns and automatic pistols.

            All of the other boats in the flotilla were boarded without incident.  Only this one boat experienced conflict.

            The captain of the boat refused Israeli demands that he change course, prompting the boarding.

            Video show the soldiers being beaten as they land on the deck of the boat by people wielding pipes.

            Activist video shows stun grenades being tossed at boat containing soldiers as they move up along side the activist's boat.  The activists are seen holding pipes and wielding chains.  The soldiers are subsequently sprayed with water hoses.

            Activist video shows a soldier falling into an open door as a pipe wielding activist charges him and swings

            Four of the 9 activists who were killed are reported to have stated they hoped to die as martyrs.

            There are still plenty of questions but at this juncture, it appears that for whatever reason, the people on this particular ship chose a course of violent confrontation with the IDF.

            All evils are equal when they are extreme. - Pierre Corneille

            by LiberalCanuck on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:29:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  State department follow up (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alec82

          says they urged Israel to show restraint, they explicitly mentioned the presence of unarmed American civilian passengers on board.

          CLinton already called the diege of Gaza unnacceptable and unsustainable.

          It would not be political suicide; and it would totally depend on how he his administration handles the matter. Condemning the attack would open up much needed space between this US administration and the current murdering rightwing racist Israeli Government.

          9 people where killed, including a 19 year old american citizen who was shot in the head 4 times in what you call a dog and ponyshow. Sometimes political circus has real time consequences, no make that all the time.

          Your request is being processed...   Israel REJECTS International Probe Of Deadly Raid; Obama Administration Says It Urged Restraint

          •  actions in support of the siege and Israeli (0+ / 0-)

            policies speak louder than words.

            Obama has been two-faced about this from the very beginning, mouthing little concerns and then actively promoting and enabling all matter of Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. Bush also voiced concerns about some particular Israeli actions, but actively supported Israel in every way.

            Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. -MLK

            by Tom J on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 09:08:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  diary hijacking. has nothing to do (0+ / 0-)

      with the actual facts, and i am sure you are aware of that.

      Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. -MLK

      by Tom J on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:58:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He's only Irish (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom J, DawnoftheRedSun

    When he needs to be elected in some white Working class suburb. Otherwise he's part of the political establishment.  

    the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

    by Salo on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 07:12:46 AM PDT

  •  The US Has Always Been Seen As The Defender (4+ / 0-)

    of the defnseless.  Standing up to Israel on this issue is the right thing for the US to do.  Israel attacking relief aid boats is not good any way you look at it.  If I was a citizen of Israel I would demand that there is a new election and vote these nut cases who run the country out of office because they are taking Israel down with them.

    •  The US may have been seen as (4+ / 0-)

      The Defender of the defensless, but the US does not actually defend the defenseless.  More often than not it joins with the opressors or does good opression itself.  Indians, African Americans, immigrants, working class and poor, and both of the latter along with anyone who now doens't agree with us theologically and economically.

      We are the worlds bully, don't you know.  We helped Israel survive to occupy Palistinian lands and oppress them.

      Just because something is the right thing to do doesn't mean the US wants to do that.  Not in my adult life have I seen the US government come to the side of the oppressed and I am 66 years old.

      2.5 trillion dollars have been "borrowed" since the [SS] system was "reformed" in the 80s and they simply don't want to pay it back. - dKos Blogger -

      by Silverbird on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 07:27:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

      that was what I was told in school, but real life revealed otherwise....

      War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

      by dancewater on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 10:35:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can only speak for Philadelphia... (0+ / 0-)

    ...but I don't see this issue catching fire in that city's Irish enclaves.

    This machine makes fascists feel bad. (Meteor Blades-approved version)

    by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 07:40:50 AM PDT

  •  If you go into any heavily Irish Republican (5+ / 0-)

    neighborhood in Lurgan, Belfast, or Derry you will see visible support for the Palestinian cause.

    Irish Republicans...and many Irish in general deeply care about this issue.

    Of course, if you are in parts of East Belfast or on the Shankhill Rd. you will see visible support for Israel.

    It will be very interesting to see how Irish America...largely and solidly Republican.... reacts to any Israeli move on the Rachel Corrie.

    His friendship is a fog that disappears when the wind redirects.

    by DawnoftheRedSun on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 07:42:40 AM PDT

    •  So the Republicans support Gaza, and the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnoftheRedSun

      loyalists/ unionists support Israel?

      Could you elaborate on that?

      (I was under the impression that, since the UK got kicked out of Palestine, they'd harbor antipathies toward Israel, and therefore the unionists would do likewise...)

      "In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope." Barack H. Obama

      by aufklaerer on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:24:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes essentially... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dancewater, aufklaerer

        Just as Republicans identify with Palestine, Loyalists identify with Israel...

        You would think Israel being born out of terrorism against the Brits would make both sides think..

        But I assume Loyalists simply adopted the opposite of the Republican sympathies.

        His friendship is a fog that disappears when the wind redirects.

        by DawnoftheRedSun on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:45:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Irish-American (6+ / 0-)

    An Irish ship named after an American heroine. None of the passengers will have to suffer her fate if we can keep this sort of story in the media spotlight.

    Or rather, if we can get the story into the spotlight in the first place!

    "The language of the conqueror in the mouth of the conquered, is ever the speech of a slave." Tacitus

    by letsgetreal on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 07:47:12 AM PDT

  •  Obama as omander in chief (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Naiman, Dr Marcos

    should order a full air and naval escort for the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie to Palestine. The innocent are not to suffer.

    ...how come I can't tell the free world from a living hell? Ray Lamontagne

    by weltshmertz on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:02:03 AM PDT

  •  ICC prosecution if Israel attacks Rachel Corrie (4+ / 0-)

    International law professor Francis Boyle says Israel could be prosecuted in the ICC if it attacks the Rachel Corrie. See the update in the diary.

  •  MV Rachel Corrie (4+ / 0-)

    Is due to arrive later today in Gaza after stopping off for the night in Cyprus according to Irish radio. They are not giving any exact time or routes due to the fact that it would tip off Israelis.

    March on Israeli embassy in Dublin also planned tonight a 6pm local time. Another planned for Saturday.  

    Non Violence is fine... so long as it works. - Malcolm X

    by Dr Marcos on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:06:40 AM PDT

  •  Ireland & Israel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aufklaerer

    In their origins, Ireland and Israel have much in common. Both began in attempts to revive a nearly dead language and to build a state based on a single religion, and the independence struggles in both nations against British domination were led by terrorists. (Gaelic/Hebrew,Roman Catholic/Jewish, IRA/Irgun)And the Irish republic was dominated until very recently by the Catholic hierarchy just as religious parties call the shots in Israel.

    Sadly, most Irish and Israeli people have no sense of this common ground, and if Israel attacks the Rachel Corrie, any chance of friendship between two peoples who have so much in common will be lost.

    Government is the conspiracy of the Few against the Many. - Francois Babeuf

    by Valatius on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:14:41 AM PDT

    •  Irish has never been "nearly dead" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alec82, DawnoftheRedSun, orestes1963

      It never ceased to be the spoken language, although Hebrew did for many centuries. Irish is by far the strongest of the modern Celtic languages, with the most living native and fluent speakers. Ireland today is seeking to promote Irish according to UN directives for preserving indigenous and minority languages, after centuries of forced Anglicization. Ireland today is not "based" in the Irish language, though--the dominant language in Ireland is still English. Irish is still not spoken in Ireland in the level that Hebrew is spoken in Israel. In fact, Irish-speaking Irish may still encounter bigotry and hostility for speaking it publicly.

      Irish became a minority language in its own country only in modern times, when its country was oppressed by outsiders and by those outsiders' insistence on using their language, often motivated by hostile bigotry toward the Irish people and their language. Hebrew became a minority language because, in addition to its displacement in favor to Greek and Aramaic in the Ancient world and being relegated to a language of liturgy and scholarship by 200 AD, its country was destroyed and its people dispersed, forced to assimilated among other cultures and languages. Quite different histories, if you ask me.

      -8.50, -7.64 "We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress." - Will Rogers

      by croyal on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:46:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes unfortunately only about 6-8 percent of Irish (0+ / 0-)

        homes speak Irish...
        And I'm sure you know most of them are on the fringes of the West...

        What about Cornish?  That this making a comeback.

        His friendship is a fog that disappears when the wind redirects.

        by DawnoftheRedSun on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:51:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes but...think of the time frame... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orestes1963

      Real political violence in Northern Ireland didn't start heating up until the late 1960's and by that point most of the European left had already turned against Israel.

      Republicans actively worked with the PLO for decades.

      His friendship is a fog that disappears when the wind redirects.

      by DawnoftheRedSun on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:48:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please point to the Irish corollary of Gaza (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robert Naiman, DawnoftheRedSun

      CLearly, you have no understanding of Irish history.  Ireland did not begin in an attempt to revive a nearly dead language (can you provide some support for this claim?).  When do you think Ireland began?  The Irish people continue to fight to overthrow British imperialism.  Where is the Israeli equivalent?  The Irish struggle in the north is not at all comparable to the position of Israel.  As the Irish support for the Palestinians indicates, their experience is closer to that of the Palestinians.  Read about Irish history and you will understand this.   The Irish people have historically been strong supporters of human rights for all, including the Palestinians.

      •  He was wrong about the language... (0+ / 0-)

        As Irish was far more widely spoken when the Anglo Irish war began than it is now.
        But I think he was talking about the similarity of both Ireland and Israel being born out of a guerrilla war with Britain.

        His friendship is a fog that disappears when the wind redirects.

        by DawnoftheRedSun on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:55:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But the similarities end there (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Robert Naiman, DawnoftheRedSun

          Many countries share the experience of rebelling against their British oppressors- eg, India, Kenya.  S/he simply has no understanding of Irish history.  Israel is more appropriately analogized to the British government in the troubles, not the Irish.

          •  I wasn't necessarily agreeing with it.. (0+ / 0-)

            but I was seeing the point he was trying to make.

            His friendship is a fog that disappears when the wind redirects.

            by DawnoftheRedSun on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 09:27:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I understand (0+ / 0-)

              I was reiterating my point, not intending to imply that you were taking a position counter to it.  

              •  A few more thoughts on Ireland & Israel (0+ / 0-)

                I seem to have hit a nerve with my comparison of the Irish and Israeli states, which suggests how close this parallel may be. My own family is Irish and Jewish and I find myself equally empathetic with both national struggles.

                The Irish, like the Scots and Welsh, were conquered by the English, but their eternal restlessness within "Great Britain" was due to their adherence to the Catholic church. It was this distinction which so enraged Cromwell and all his heirs, leading to the persecutions and second-class citizenship, which only further hardened the sense of a separate identity. Isolated on their island, the Irish were in the position of Jews on the Continent, and as one commenter observed, experienced their own genocide in the famine years.

                And so, the Irish Free State was launched in 1916 with a violence that took Britain entirely by surprise,and led by a small band of extremists, who were quickly massacred. The Church at the time had no sympathy with the IRB (later IRA) and had their own comfortable modus vivendi within the UK. But the violence intensified, thanks to British pigheadedness, until they finally threw in the towel in the face of what has to be called Irish terrorism.

                The resulting free state began with the elimination of the terrorists and a deal whereby the Catholic hierarchy were given enormous control over social and cultural life. Only recently has the Church lost that influence- thank God.

                But imagine if you will that the Brits acted with Ireland as the Arab nations did with Israel, attacking it three or four times in the succeeding decades. The Irish might well have become the Israel of Europe, occupying the Protestant north, heavily armed, and a pariah among nations.

                Well, as my favorite rabbi said, the Irishman and the Jew are the same people, if only they knew it. (But only later did I realize that what he was really talking about was the common humanity of us all.)

                Government is the conspiracy of the Few against the Many. - Francois Babeuf

                by Valatius on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 12:41:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It is sophistry (0+ / 0-)

                  to claim that somehow you have "hit upon" something (a nerve, really?) because people respond to your comment.  In my case, it was because the comment betrayed a lack of understanding of Irish history and was, as a result, inane.  That is the only "nerve" you hit with me.  Only a fool would receive such a response as an indication that you "hit something."

                  As to the substance of your comment, please explain how Ireland's "restlessness" was tied to the church and not economic oppression.  The British controlled most of the land and held most of the economic power in Ireland prior to the formation of the Irish state.  You claim that the Irish identity developed as a reaction to British oppression.  Do you have any support for this claim?  

                  Here's your first false corollary- the Irish were oppressed in their homeland; they were subject to colonization in their own land.  How is this comparable to the experience of Jews on the continent?  Were Jews on the continent under the rule of an occupying force?  Please explain.  

                  As far as the British being surprised at the Easter uprising, you do understand that the British were ready, quelled the uprising, and imprisoned or killed those involved, no?.  Although I take exception with your characterization of the Irish rebels as terrorists (is it your view that anyone who rises against an oppressor is a terrorist?  Were the Indians or Kenyans who opposed the British terrorists as well), that is secondary.  You claim that the free state began with the elimination of the terrorists [sic], but that is simply not true.  The new government was led by one of those terrorists and the battle over the accord continued for years.  Please also explain how the chuch was granted control over cultural and social life by the new government.  

                  As for the post-free state period, the British continue to control part of the island and engaged in violent oppression of republicans in the north (here's the real corollary to Israel- an occupying force which oppressed the indigenous people in favor of those loyal to the crown).  Your "what if" is merely a fiction which merits no response.  

                  The Irish experience is more closely aligned to the experience of the Palestinians for the obvious reasons.

      •  Thanks, but I've read enough Irish history (0+ / 0-)

        to be able to share James Joyce's feeling that history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.

        My point, with which you disagree, was that a sense of national identity in both cases was cobbled together by two elements: reviving an ancient language and identifying national identity with one religion. Of course, Hebrew was a practical necessity since Jews spoke so many languages, and Gaelic became little more than a burden on generations of Irish schoolchildren who, after all, already spoke a common language. (See Frank McCourt for sampling of that language)

        Although Israel and Ireland both began with leadership and support from the non-religious, both soon degenerated into states in which one's religion was the badge of citizenship. In Israel, for example, even atheist Jews have the right of return - unless they convert to another faith. In Ireland, the requirement was unspoken but becoming a Protestant was equivalent to renouncing one's own Irishness.

        Government is the conspiracy of the Few against the Many. - Francois Babeuf

        by Valatius on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 01:05:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are trying to force a square peg in a round (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Robert Naiman

          hole.  You are trying to cobble together some comparisons to fit your argument, but the "facts" you cite are simply inaccurate.  The Irish rebellion had nothing to do with reviving an ancient language.  Where are you getting this from?  And while you're at it, where's the support for the claim that Ireland degenerated into a state in which religion is the badge of citizenship?  Are you claiming that the church did not have an influence over the citizenry before the Irish state?  Or that somehow the church grasped power over the free state?  These are ludicrous claims.

          Finally, you will apparently be surprised to learn that there were protestants in Ireland who supported the free state and fought for the free state.  Ireland has never equated protestantism with renouncing Irishness.  Again, can you provide any support for this claim?  

  •  This admin has acted quickly in running to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, lao hong han, orestes1963

    the defense of the Netanyahu regime in its murderous attack on nonviolent activists. I do not expect that to change.

    This administration will not stop its active hate of Palestinians or their supporters.

    "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government" Martin Luther King, Jr. April 1967

    Our hope is outside this administration.

    Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. -MLK

    by Tom J on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:39:11 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, RN! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lao hong han

    "Trolling is a sad reality of internet life...Directly replying to the content of a trollish message is usually a waste of time"

    by Rusty Pipes on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 06:45:07 PM PDT

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