|Progressive Calendar 06.21.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006 16:28:32 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 06.21.06 1. African women 6.22 8am 2. Eagan peace vigil 6.22 4:30pm 3. Northtown vigil 6.22 5pm 4. Pastors for Peace 6.22 6pm 5. Permaculture/Lawton 6.22 7pm 6. Letters/war play 6.22 7pm 7. Innocence project 6.22 8pm 8. Green roof 6.23 9am 9. Schultz/AM950 6.23 5pm 10. Cameroon/film 6.23 7:15pm? 11. Queertopia 6.23-25 8pm 12. SF war resist/film 6.23 8:30pm 13. PRSA Tactics - KARE-TV infomercials as news 14. PR Week - Interview: Robert F Kennedy Jr 15. Steven Hill - Will your vote count in 2006? 16. Robert Jensen - Attacking Iran: bad policy is a bipartisan affair 17. Patrick Martin - American democracy in decay: Congress on Iraq war --------1 of 17-------- From: humanrts [at] umn.edu Subject: African women 6.22 8am June 22 - AFRICAN WOMEN IN THE DIASPORA CONFERENCE 2 Empowering African Women, Ensuring Africa s Future. 8am-5pm. The Minnesota African Women's Association (MAWA) and her collaborators present the second bi-annual African Women in the Diaspora conference in MN. This will be a wonderful opportunity for those in the health, social work, education, legal and law enforcement fields to learn about working with New Americans from Africa. Continuing Education credits will be sought for a couple of fields. The keynote address will be given by the Judge and Prosecutor from the 2005 Cannes Film Festival Award winning documentary Sisters In Law Judge Beatrice Ntuba and Prosecutor Vera Ngassa from Cameroon. Breakout sessions will give opportunities to focus on African immigrant and refugee issues, local demographics, youth and education, HIV/AIDS and other health and cultural challenges, and leadership development. This year features the Africa Oboso Awards for African women and friends of Africa in five categories including: Clearing the Way, Accentuating the Positive, Staying the Course, and Friend of Africa for those who work to promote African women s courses. Awardees come from other States, Africa and Europe. For more information e-mail MAWA s Executive Director Nyango Melissa Nambangi at mawa0302 [at] yahoo.com or call MAWA at +1 612-302-3400. Location: Mondale Hall, University of Minnesota Law School, 229 19th Ave. So. Minneapolis, MN 55455 --------2 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 6.22 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 17-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 6.22 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday to 5 to 6 pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------4 of 17-------- From: Minnesota Cuba Committee <mncuba [at] usfamily.net> Subject: Pastors for Peace 6.22 6pm 17TH U.S.-CUBA PASTORS FOR PEACE FRIENDSHIPMENT THURSDAY, JUNE 22 6pm Program, Cuban plate provided by Victor's 1959 Cafe, Cuban music and dancing, Cuban refreshments, continuous Cuban videos Keynote speaker: Reverend Thomas E. Smith, IFCO/Pastors for Peace president and pastor of Monumental Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania $10 requested donation; no one turned away for lack of funds ST. ALBERT THE GREAT CHURCH 2836 33RD AVENUE SOUTH, MINNEAPOLIS FOR MORE INFORMATION (651) 983-3981 MNCUBA [at] USFAMILY.NET The U.S. government continues to intensify threats against Cuba and restricts US citizens from traveling to the island. They continually deny entry into the US to Cuban artists, musicians, writers and students. Two hundred people, a dozen painted school buses and 50 tons of supplies and medicines will bust through the blockade this summer for the 17th time. Feel the power of collective action and learn the truth about Cuba. Sponsors: Minnesota Cuba Committee, Resource Center of the Americas, Hands off Venezuela Committee, Witness for Peace http://groups.msn.com/MinnesotacubaCommittee, www.ifconews.org --------5 of 17-------- From: info [at] permaculturecollaborative.org Subject: Permaculture/Lawton 6.22 7pm The Permaculture Collaborative in cooperation with The Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate invites you to join us for a very special presentation: Beyond "Sustainability": Pathways to Permanent Culture By "Beyond Sustainability," we mean more than just today's buzzword approach to popularized green marketing. At its core, Permaculture is about changing not just a few surface practices, but changing our thinking as well as our behavior on a much deeper level: this is about sustainable community development from a truly ecosystemic mindset. Geoff Lawton, one of the world's foremost Permaculture experts and managing director of the Permaculture Research Institute in Australia, will speak about applying ecological science and community based research to solve our unique challenges of sustainability in a cold climate. To view a multi-media presentation on Geoff Lawton's most recent project, please visit http://www.permaculture.org.au/greening.htm . For his internationally televised interview, visit http://www.tv3.co.nz/News/tabid/67/articleID/5453/Default.aspx . free to the general public Thursday, June 22 Reception begins at 7pm Presentation from 7:30 to 9pm The Open Book upstairs in the Marshall Fields Performance Hall 1011 Washington Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55415 The Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate is a learning institution engaging in intersystemic research that demonstrates the creation and refinement of sustainable models of human settlement for cold temperate climates. For more information about Permaculture, The Permaculture Collaborative or the Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate, please visit us at http://www.PermacultureCollaborative.us . --------6 of 17-------- From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at] mppeace.org> Subject: Letters/war play 6.22 7pm Letters To, Letters From - Letters Never Written: A Production of the War Plays Project Thursday, June 22 7pm (discussion and refreshments to follow) Hamline-Midway Library, 1558 West Minnehaha Avenue, St. Paul The voices of Minnesota veterans from across the years live today through Letters To, Letters From - Letters Never Written, a production of the War Plays Project. Actor and director Frances Ford has compiled a 50-minute, simply-produced, but fast-moving presentation of letters, journals, and memories of soldiers from the Civil War to the present. As seven professional actors read the actual words of the soldiers themselves, the reality of war and its effects upon the participants and their loved ones reverberate. Letters engages audiences and starts conversations about the impact of war on all of us. The War Plays Project aims to educate and enlighten citizens - particularly young people - about violence and war and, perhaps more importantly, its impact on individuals and society, through theatre, the spoken word, and the facilitation of community dialogue. With support from Twin Cities Friends Meeting, Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and individual donors, the War Plays Project offers its presentation to schools, educators, and community groups. Suggested donation is $5.00, but not required. Sponsored by: Merriam Park, Crocus Hill/West 7th, Como Park, and Hamline-Midway Neighbors for Peace. More Information: Anne Benson: <mailto:info [at] mppeace.org>info [at] mppeace.org or (651) 647-0580. Minnesota Neighbors for Peace: www.mnneighbors4peace.org --------7 of 17-------- From: humanrts [at] umn.edu Subject: Innocence project 6.22 8pm June 22 - Susan Thurston Myster: The Innocence Project AND Film: After Innocence. 8pm Film: After Innocence. The Innocence Project with Susan M. Thurston Myster, a forensic scientist at Hamline University. The Innocence Project provides assistance to inmates with provable claims that they are innocent of the crimes they are imprisoned for. FFI Amanda Luker 612-590-3276 or Amanda [at] pinkslipmedia.org, www.arisebookstore.org. FFI Amanda Luker 612-590-3276 or Amanda [at] pinkslipmedia.org, www.arisebookstore.org. Location: Arise Bookstore, 2441 Lyndale Ave S, Mpls. --------8 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> From: Corrie Zoll Subject: Green roof 6.23 9am We have several events over the next few weeks at The Green Institute's Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center. They're not all garden-related, but I thought you'd appreciate the full list. Several of the workshops listed below will be held in the Eco-Yard Midtown, a new sustainable landscaping demonstration site at the north edge of our parking lot along the Midtown Greenway. The eco-yard is worth a visit even if you're not attending a workshop. More information online at: www.co.hennepin.mn.us/vgn/portal/internet/hcdetailmaster/0,2300,1273_83222_124817263,00.html And if you do stop in, please visit our AWARD-WINNING green rooftop on the third floor. Or at least visit the live green roof web cam at www.greeninstitute.org. Friday & Saturday, June 23 and 24, 9am-3pm Green Roof Volunteer Event We will add a table, more seating, and a shade umbrella to the deck on our green rooftop. We need a few extra hands. Contact Corrie at 612-278-7119 or czoll [at] greeninstitute.org. Saturday June 24, 10am-12noon Healthy Soils and Composting Workshop www.co.hennepin.mn.us/vgn/portal/internet/hcdetailmaster/0,2300,1273_83222_100295472,00.html Saturday, June 24, 2-4pm Energy Independence Day Will Steger, funny hats, solar-powered ice cream, kids' activities and much more. Thursday, June 29, 8:30am-12noon Green Roof Tour at Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District http://greenspace.greeninstitute.org/default.asp?active_page_id=59 Friday, July 14, 8:30am-5pm Green Roof Infrastructure Design & Installation Course http://www.greenroofs.net Tuesday, Aug 8, 6:30-8:30pm Incorporating Native Plants in Your Landscape www.co.hennepin.mn.us/vgn/portal/internet/hcdetailmaster/0,2300,1273_83222_100295472,00.html Tuesday, Aug 15, 6:30-8:30pm Earth Friendly Landscaping Design www.co.hennepin.mn.us/vgn/portal/internet/hcdetailmaster/0,2300,1273_83222_100295472,00.html Saturday, Aug 26, 10am-12noon Landscaping for Water Quality www.co.hennepin.mn.us/vgn/portal/internet/hcdetailmaster/0,2300,1273_83222_100295472,00.html Tuesday, Sep 12, 6:30-8:30pm Checklist for Low Input Lawn Care (Fall) www.co.hennepin.mn.us/vgn/portal/internet/hcdetailmaster/0,2300,1273_83222_100295472,00.html www.greeninstitute.org --------9 of 17-------- From: David Schultz <dschultz [at] gw.hamline.edu> Subject: Schultz/AM950 6.23 5pm Fridays from 5:00 - 6:00 PM, David Schultz hosts "Minnesota Matters," on Air America Minnesota radio, 950 AM. Progressive discussion, interviews, and call in. David Schultz, Professor Hamline University Graduate School of Management MS-A1740 1536 Hewitt Avenue St. Paul, Minnesota 55104 651.523.2858 (voice) 651.523.3098 (fax) http://davidschultz.efoliomn2.com --------10 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Cameroon/film 6.23 7:15pm? Sisters in Law Starts Fiday June 23 at the Bell Auditorium, 17th& Unveristy Ave.SE. East Bank campus U of M, Minneapolis(in the Bell Natural History Museum bldg). A compelling documentary of courtroom justice in Cameroon, Africa. First two nights will feature the two stars of the documentary, the judges from Cameroon. This was a marvelous film at the Walker Art Center's "Women With Vision" festival this spring. Check our Website www.mnfilmarts.org <http://www.mnfilmarts.org> -- for further updates! --------11 of 17-------- From: Lisa Fink <lisa [at] intermediaarts.org> Subject: Queertopia 6.23-25 8pm OUTWARD SPIRAL THEATRE COMPANY & INTERMEDIA ARTS PRESENT QUEERTOPIA A CABARET CELEBRATION OF QUEER LOVE Friday-Sunday, June 23-25, 8pm A radical and raunchy evening of provocative expression, curated by Jeffry Lusiak and Eleanor Savage. Banish your political woes for a short while and celebrate PRIDE with peace, love and understanding - and song and dance! Make art not war and together we'll hatch some righteous schemes for survival! Tickets are $15 in advance and are available at Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave S, and Blue Moon Coffee Café, 3822 E Lake St, both in Minneapolis. On the day of the event, tickets are $20 at the door. On Saturday, June 24 at 10pm (after the 8pm show), come rock your own manifesto of QUEER LOVE at an OPEN MIC. Performance slots will be filled the night of. Pay what you can. For more information, visit www.outwardspiral.org. Friday, June 23 8pm Saturday, June 24 8pm (Open Mic at 10pm) Sunday, June 25 8pm Intermedia Arts 2822 Lyndale Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55408 Performances by: Foxy Tann, Andrea Jenkins, Morgan Thorson, Venus, Dykes-Do-Drag, Grace Darling, Kats Fukasawa, Empowered Expressions, Running On Empty, Video by Karyn & Sharyn CONTACT: Sandy Agustin Phone: 612-874-2817 E-mail: sandy [at] intermediaarts.org --------12 of 17-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: SF war resist/film 6.23 8:30pm Resist war The Twin Cities Indymedia Collective presents a screening of: "We Interrupt This Empire" Friday, 8:30 pm at the Jack Pine Community Center 2815 E Lake St, Mpls Film Description: ...the story you won't see on Fox News: an unflinching look at the San Francisco Bay Area's radical resistance to an illegal and horrific war. "We Interrupt This Empire..." is a collaborative work of Bay Area independent video activists. Their footage documents the direct actions that shut down the financial district of San Francisco in the weeks following the United States' invasion of Iraq. A diverse show of resistance from the streets of San Francisco and a critique of the corporate media coverage of the war, the film explores issues like the Military Industrial Complex, attacks on civil liberties, and U.S. imperialism. Snacks/food will be available. Free, donations for the newly formed Twin Cities IMC will be requested. see: www.twincities.indymedia.org/newswire/display/27799/index.php --------13 of 17-------- ON TV NEWS, THE ADS NEVER END Expanding on earlier reports of growing product placement deals with TV news programs, Joan Stewart writes in Tactics, the monthly magazine from the Public Relations Society of America, that "in many cases, viewers don't know until the end of a five- or 10-minute spot that the segment is, in fact, advertising." For example, "in Minnesota, KARE-TV has turned its morning news show into a giant infomercial called 'Showcase Minnesota.'" Segments cost $2000 each -- a bargain compared to Phoenix, Arizona's Channel 13 show "Mind, Body and Spirit," where a six-minute interview costs $5000. Poynter Institute professor Jill Geisler points out, "In a news program, the person asking the questions is the advocate for the viewer. In pay for play, the person asking the question is the paid advocate of the interviewee." Former entertainment publicist Raleigh Pinskey counters that such arrangements are "legal and ... good business." SOURCE: PRSA Tactics, June 2006 For more information or to comment on this story, visit: http://www.prwatch.org/node/4889 --------14 of 17-------- Interview: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. PR Week Monday 19 June 2006 This month, Rolling Stone ran an investigative feature claiming that Republicans used a systematic combination of voter disenfranchisement and fraud, centered in Ohio, to rob John Kerry of a win in the 2004 presidential election. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer and son of liberal icon Bobby Kennedy, wrote the article, available, along with supporting research, at rollingstone.com. Kennedy spoke to PRWeek about the story. PRWeek: How did you come to write this piece? Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: I had not paid much attention to this issue. And then a number of books came out, and I read them because I [wanted to use them] to interview people on my radio show. And then I read the [Rep. John] Conyers report, [a 2005 Congressional inquiry into the election], and started talking with people in Ohio. And at one point, I said, "Holy cow, this is real." And then I talked to [RS editor] Jann Wenner about it. I encouraged him to do a piece, and he said "We'll print one if you write it." PRWeek: Tell me about the process of putting the story together - it obviously took a while. Kennedy: I read the literature out there, and read the articles. Then I interviewed voters in Ohio, and public officials, and people who were involved in the election from all over the country. PRWeek: Why do you think this wasn't covered heavily by major media directly after the election? Kennedy: I think the mainstream media took up the Republican echo chamber, and just echoed the right-wing talking points. PRWeek: Why didn't the Democrats themselves pursue this? Kennedy: Well, there was a lot of complaining; there were a lot of lawsuits. But it got very little traction in the media. But you know, the Democrats on this issue have been abysmal as well. PRWeek: Your story wasn't based on any secret information, correct? Kennedy: No, that's the whole thing. This was not a secret conspiracy. This was done openly and shamelessly. Across Ohio, there were people who did everything they could to stop this. PRWeek: Have you had any indication that the national media will take another look at this issue? Kennedy: I had a good indication [June 7]. The New York Times, as its lead editorial, did a piece on [Ohio secretary of state] Kenneth Blackwell's current efforts to suppress registration drives in Ohio. And the Republicans are doing the same thing in Florida, and the Times talked about that, as well. PRWeek: What reaction have you seen from the general public? Kennedy: There's a huge reaction. Rolling Stone told me that it's gotten two and a half times as many e-mails [about this article] as it's ever gotten for any other story in its history. So there's a huge appetite for this story. PRWeek: This story didn't have a 'smoking gun'; was there one person coordinating this entire operation? Kennedy: There's never going to be 100% certitude that the election was stolen, because the only way you could get that is by recounting the ballots, and the recount was illegally derailed by Republican operatives. The mastermind behind the efforts in Ohio was Kenneth Blackwell, along with ... [Toledo elections official] Bernadette Noe. But on a national level, it's [Republican National Committee chairman] Kenneth Mehlman and Karl Rove. PRWeek: Have you gotten any reaction from the Republican Party on this? Kennedy: I've gotten, certainly, reaction in the blogosphere. But most of the reaction has been supportive. PRWeek: Is there a next step? Kennedy: I've been meeting with attorneys ... to devise a litigation strategy. And I would say that very soon we'll be announcing lawsuits against some of the individuals and companies involved. PRWeek: Who exactly would that litigation be targeting? Kennedy: I wouldn't say, right now. PRWeek: The election is over. Is it too late now? Kennedy: There's another election soon. And as the Times [just] reported, the same people are up to the same shenanigans. --------15 of 17-------- From: Steven Hill <hill [at] newamerica.net> Subject: "Will Your Vote Count in 2006?" From: Steven Hill, Director, Political Reform Program, New America Foundation Dear friends and colleagues, Issues of voting equipment security and election administration integrity continue to be paramount in this year's election season. I recently had a two-part series published at TomPaine.com on this subject, much of it drawn from Chapter 1 of my new book, "10 Steps to Repair American Democracy" (www.10steps.net <http://www.10steps.net/> ). I thought those articles might be of interest to you, here are the links. Election Security 2006 <http://www.tompaine.com/search/index.cgi?search=Steven%20Hill&IncludeBlogs= 1&SearchFields=keywords&Template=author> Steven Hill June 05, 2006 http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/06/05/election_security_2006.php and Recipe For A Fair Election <http://www.tompaine.com/search/index.cgi?search=Steven%20Hill%20&IncludeBlo gs=1&SearchFields=keywords&Template=author> Steven Hill June 12, 2006 http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/06/12/recipe_for_a_fair_election.php In addition, I wanted to make sure you know that my new book, "10 Steps to Repair American Democracy" (www.10steps.net <http://www.10steps.net/> ) is now available in most bookstores and online. Each chapter of the book highlights a different solution for repairing our broken democracy, including a more robust election administration, public financing and free airtime for candidates, direct election of the president, instant runoff voting, media reform, universal voter registration, a national election holiday, the end of winner take-all elections, overhaul of the US Senate, term limits for Supreme Court justices and more. "10 Steps" is a "one-stop" shopping guide to what's broken about democracy in the USA, and what Americans can do to repair it. And it's only $11 in your local bookstores, and even less expensive at various online stores. Here are some recommendations that you might find of interest: "We are fortunate to have Steven Hill's latest book, 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy. He identifies ten critical problems with our democracy and offers concrete solutions to each one. 10 Steps is a blueprint for a reinvigoration of our republic." -- from the foreword by Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker "Steven Hill's 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy is as practical as it is insightful, offering innovative ways to fix our broken political system. Read it, roll up your sleeves, and get to work." --- Arianna Huffington "In his timely new book, Steven Hill persuasively argues that much of what ails American politics is rooted in our antiquated methods and practices. Anyone concerned about the state of our democratic system should read this book." -- Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission "We know that American democracy is being run over a cliff -- choiceless elections, screwy voting machines, brain-dead political debate, unresponsive government, etc. What's a citizen to do? Here, finally, is the plan." --- Jim Hightower --------16 of 17-------- Attacking Iran: Bad Policy Is A Bipartisan Affair By Robert Jensen ZNet Commentary June 20, 2006 http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-06/20jensen.cfm Will the United States attack Iran? That was the question on everyone's mind at a recent political talk I gave in a small college town in Texas. I ran through some of the many reasons such an attack would be ill-advised, bordering on insane: --U.S. forces are bogged down in a failed war in Iraq and have limited capacity to fight anywhere; --Iran is militarily a much more formidable opponent than Iraq, and its people are even less likely than Iraqis to welcome the U.S. military; --Iranian nuclear sites are dispersed around the country, making it difficult for U.S. (or U.S.-backed Israeli) air strikes to achieve the stated goal; and --any aggression in a region already enraged about U.S. bullying, prison torture, and war crimes would risk setting off an uncontrollable conflict that would be potentially catastrophic, leaving U.S. troops in Iraq and American citizens everywhere exposed to heightened dangers. "Given all that," I asked the audience, "can you imagine any sane politician or policymaker deciding to invade or bomb Iran?" "No, of course not," they responded. "Even though all this is obvious," I asked, "are you still worried that the Bush administration is going to bomb Iran?" "YES!" they shouted back. The Bush administration's ongoing propaganda campaign to paint Iran as a grave threat to U.S. security -- which just happens to look a lot like the propaganda campaign that targeted Iraq -- suggests that whether or not policymakers have definitive plans to invade and/or bomb, they are creating the context for attack if they deem it necessary to their project of total domination of the Middle East and Central Asia. So, many in the United States -- and even more people around the world -- are scared that among top U.S. policymakers, rational arguments can easily be trumped by ideology, willed ignorance, and self-delusion. While U.S. military commanders likely view an attack on Iran as dangerous folly -- and are the likely source of leaks to journalists about the planning process, perhaps in an attempt to derail such plans -- civilian leaders seem to be insulated from reality and responsibility. Indeed, the fanatics in the Bush administration pose a serious threat to peace and are an impediment to the pursuit of justice in the world. But that should not obscure the other lesson of the current "crisis" around Iran's nuclear program: We are dealing with the consequences of 60 years of dangerous U.S. policies around the world. Let's remember the basics of post-World War II U.S. policy in Iran: A CIA-supported coup in 1953 overthrew Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq's government after his nationalization of the oil industry, leading to more than two decades of harsh rule by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi enforced by a brutal secret police, SAVAK. Support for the shah, who played a key role as a mostly obedient U.S. surrogate in the region, continued through Republican and Democratic administrations alike -- including that of Jimmy Carter, the so-called "human-rights president." All that is well documented, but the public memory of U.S.-Iranian relations and the 1979 Islamic revolution typically is reduced to the "hostage crisis," in which the United States casts itself as a victim of crazed Muslims gripped by irrational hatreds. But we forget history at our own peril. Today many of our problems around the world are a result of what has been called "blowback" -- support of reactionary forces for short-term advantage has often created unforeseen problems. A bit more attention to those decades of immoral and shortsighted U.S. policy around the world would suggest a new course, one that requires the U.S. public to do what doesn't come naturally in this ahistorical, propaganda-driven society: Study honest accounts of our history, evaluate the facts, and apply basic legal and moral principles. That's not only the right thing, it's the sensible thing to do out of self-interest. We can start with a simple question: If Iranian leaders do indeed want to acquire nuclear weapons, why might that be? Other major players in that part of the world (Pakistan, India, China) have nukes, as does Iran's primary regional enemy (Israel). And let's not forget that the occupying army in Iran's next-door neighbor belongs to the United States, whose president has designated Iran as a member of the "axis of evil." Iranians no doubt have observed that of the two other original members of that exclusive club, one is thought to have nuclear weapons (North Korea) and one quite clearly didn't (Iraq). Which one got invaded? What does Iran want? As would any nation in its position, Iran seeks security guarantees -- exactly what the United States refuses to give. As U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton put it this spring, the Iranians "must know everything is on the table and they must understand what that means." Got it, Mr. Ambassador, we understand: The United States, once again, is ignoring a fundamental principle of international law. The U.N. charter states that nations "shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state." So, everything is on the table, including bombing, which has many people nervous. But we should remember this is not a new U.S. policy. Go back to President Carter's 1980 State of the Union address, in which he outlined the "Carter Doctrine": "An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force." Throughout the post-WWII period, U.S. policymakers have interpreted "outside force" to include inside forces -- that is, any force that doesn't bow to U.S. demands, no matter where it lives. The Bush administration, while more brazen in its threats and use of force than some past administrations, is not straying too far from a time-honored U.S. principle, articulated most clearly by his father, the first President Bush, in 1991: "What we say goes." Two simple, but haunting, questions were on the minds of the folks at my talk in Denton, Texas, that night: What if "what we say" is crazy? And, do those in power actually have the power to make sure a crazy idea "goes" forward? With the attack on Iraq, the Bush administration -- along with fellow-travelers in both the Republican and Democratic parties -- ignored international law, a global mass movement against the war, and the opinions of the vast majority of the world's governments in pursuit of a policy of domination-through-violence. The same forces are lined up for and against an attack on Iran. The difference may be that this time even the most fanatical in the administration will have a hard time convincing themselves such an attack can succeed. We hope. Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center http://thirdcoastactivist.org/. He is the author of The Heart of Whiteness: Race, Racism, and White Privilege and Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (both from City Lights Books). He can be reached at rjensen [at] uts.cc.utexas.edu . --------17 of 17-------- American democracy in decay: US Congress debates the Iraq war By Patrick Martin 20 June 2006 http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/jun2006/iraq-j20.shtml The congressional debate last week on the Iraq war combined Republican bullying, Democratic hand-wringing and lies piled upon lies from both sides of the aisle. Neither the Republicans, who hold a narrow majority in both the House and Senate and generally support the Bush administration's conduct of the war, nor the Democrats, the nominal opposition party, could tell the truth to the American public. Neither side in the debate could admit what the vast majority of the world's politically conscious population, including millions of Americans, already knows: that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq constitute a crime of historic proportions. Instead, the debate was conducted entirely within the framework of what was best for the foreign policy interests of American imperialism and its corporate ruling class. Republicans argued that to "stay the course" in Iraq was necessary, no matter what the cost in lives and resources, because the alternative was a historic defeat for the United States and (though they did not say so openly) the collapse of the Bush administration. They claimed that any questioning or criticism of the Bush White House meant giving aid and comfort to the enemy in the "war on terror." Democrats generally argued that the Bush administration had misled the American people and Congress itself about Saddam Hussein's alleged links to Al Qaeda and his possession of weapons of mass destruction, but not one of these "critics" drew the elementary conclusion that a war based upon lies was necessarily illegitimate. The Democrats displayed almost as many positions as there were speakers, ranging from open defenders of the Bush administration (Joseph Lieberman in the Senate, 42 Democrats in the House of Representatives), to those who hope to continue the war to victory under Democratic leadership (Senators Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden), to those who believe that it would be less damaging to the long-term foreign policy interests of the US ruling elite to pull out of Iraq, in part or entirely (Senator John Kerry, Representatives Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha). In both houses of Congress, the debate was rigged by the Republican majority to ensure that there was as little expression of opposition as possible. In the Senate, Republican Majority Whip Mitch McConnell introduced a resolution loosely based on the position of Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, who last week called for beginning a total pullout no later than December 31 of this year. As an effort to embarrass the Democrats, the parliamentary maneuver worked perfectly. Only six Democrats-Kerry, Edward Kennedy, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara Boxer of California and Robert Byrd of West Virginia-voted for the resolution, which was defeated by 93-6. Among the vast majority of Democrats who voted against rapid withdrawal were presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Biden, Christopher Dodd and Evan Bayh, along with Minority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Whip Richard Durbin, and Lieberman, Bush's favorite Democrat. This vote followed shortly after a 98-1 vote to approve the most recent emergency appropriations bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The two votes combined show that the vast majority of Senate Democrats are hostile to the antiwar views of most Democratic voters. (Polls show as many as 80 percent of self-identified Democrats believe that Bush was wrong to launch the war in Iraq.) The House discussion was a far more elaborate political event, with 140 representatives taking part in the course of more than 11 hours last Thursday and Friday. While there were the trappings of debate, with speakers alternating for and against, the procedure was a travesty. The House Republican leadership presented a resolution declaring the Iraq war to be an integral part of a global "war on terror" and condemning any effort to set a withdrawal timetable as a surrender to terrorism. No amendments were permitted, nor were the Democrats allowed to present an alternative resolution for a vote. The language of the resolution, HR 961, parroting White House propaganda, declared the war in Iraq to be "essential to the security of the American people," branded as terrorists all Iraqis fighting against the US occupation, hailed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and congratulated the newly installed stooge regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. After rejecting any deadline for withdrawal, the resolution declared, "the United States is committed to the completion of the mission" in Iraq, and "the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary." The resolution passed with the support of 211 Republicans and 42 Democrats, most of them from districts in the south and rural Midwest. Three Republicans, 149 Democrats and one independent voted against, while five others, three Democrats and two Republicans, voted "present." The debate was largely formulaic, with Republicans on the offensive, proclaiming their devotion to the troops and suggesting that their Democratic opponents were either too cowardly or too squeamish to take the measures necessary for victory in the "war on terror." Democrats responded defensively, as in the comments of John Murtha: "We support the troops. It's the policy we don't support." It is one of the longstanding myths of official American politics that "support" for the troops means endorsing policies that lead to their deaths, while those who urge that US soldiers be moved out of harm's way are slandered as being "against" the troops. If this patriotic baloney were stripped away, the debate would have seen Republicans demanding thousands, even tens of thousands more American deaths in Iraq, with the Democrats arguing that Moloch could perhaps be satisfied with slightly less blood-or more likely, that the blood should be shed elsewhere, perhaps in Iran or North Korea. Given that a clear majority of the American people oppose the war in Iraq, it might seem absurd that the dominant pro-war party is able to go on the offensive against its congressional critics. But the Democratic Party is also a pro-war party. It represents, however, a faction within the ruling elite, equally committed to the defense of corporate America, which believes that a course correction in Iraq may be necessary to secure US imperialist interests in the Middle East and around the world. The Republicans are well aware of the duplicity of the Democrats' half-hearted attempts to distinguish themselves from the war policy of the Bush administration, and eager to exploit the contradiction between the antiwar sentiments of the majority of Democratic voters and the position of the party leadership. Majority Leader John Boehner and other House Republican leaders were quite open about their determination to force a vote that would alternately be used to attack Democrats as unpatriotic or expose them as hypocrites. There has been no debate on the Iraq war in either House or Senate for the past three years, since the passage of the resolution in October 2002 authorizing Bush to use force against Iraq. The administration has conducted an open-ended war, financed by emergency appropriations bills and without the slightest congressional oversight-a transparent demonstration of the extent to which democratic procedures have broken down in the United States. One particularly ominous aspect of the House debate was the distribution of a 74-page Iraq Floor Debate Prep Book to several members of Congress. This document was issued by the Pentagon in an unprecedented effort by the military to intervene in a debate within the legislature. After several Democratic congressmen were e-mailed the document, the Pentagon tried to recall it. The document regurgitates Bush administration charges against its political opponents, warning, "Iraq will become a haven for terrorists, murderers and thugs," if the United States leaves "before the job is done." It brands withdrawal proposals as appeals to "cut and run." After one senator complained that the publication of the document violated a legal ban on using government funds for lobbying Congress, the Pentagon revealed that the document had actually been drafted in the Bush White House, by the National Security Council. A major aspect of the Republican speeches was to identify Iraq under Saddam Hussein with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the "big lie" that has been a staple of Bush administration war propaganda. Speaker Dennis Hastert set the tone in his speech, declaring, "We in this Congress must show the same steely resolve as those men and women on United Flight 93; the same sense of duty as the first responders who headed up the stairs of the twin towers." Perhaps the ugliest contribution came from Charles Norwood, a Georgia Republican, who branded his opponents as cowards. "Many, but not all, on the other side of the aisle lack the will to win," he said. "The American people need to know precisely who they are. It is time to stand up and vote. Is it Al Qaeda, or is it America?" Some exchanges brought out the essential strategic agreement between the two parties. Gil Gutknecht, a Minnesota Republican, echoed Margaret Thatcher, saying, "Members, this is not the time to go wobbly. Let's give victory a chance." Jane Harman, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and a leading supporter of the war-who voted against the resolution-responded, "This side is not trying to go wobbly. We're trying to articulate what we think would be a better strategy for success in Iraq." Another pro-war Democrat who voted against the resolution, Ike Skelton of Missouri, bemoaned the damage that the war has done to the capability of the US military. "This nation is at a strategic crossroads," he said. "We are spending $9 billion a month and have spent over $300 billion total on this war. More strikingly, we are losing a battalion's worth of casualties a month, killed and injured." Murtha, one of the main Democratic speakers, said that Al Qaeda and other potential antagonists of the United States, including Iran, North Korea, Russia and China, "want us in Iraq" because the war is "depleting our financial resources and our human resources... If we stay, we're gonna pay, and we're gonna pay long term." Typical of the mealy-mouthed tone of many Democrats was House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who complained, "[I]t is regrettable that this Republican majority seeks to exploit the critical issue of national security for political advantage.... As Majority Leader Boehner explained, its purpose is an opportunity to create 'a portrait of contrasts between Republicans and Democrats.' For our country's sake and for our troops' sake, the majority should have offered a resolution that sought unity, rather than division." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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