Progressive Calendar 08.22.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2006 06:33:19 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R      08.22.06

1. Protest Bush here   8.22 12noon
2. Vs welfare "reform" 8.22 4:30pm
3. Food politics/SPNN  8.22 5pm
4. Stadium hearings    8.22 5pm
5. Salon/torture       8.22 6:30pm
6. Jews/Israel         8.22 7pm
7. Colombia            8.22 7pm
8. Sustain/local       8.22 7pm

9. Kip Sullivan     - Health coverage law would not work
10. Jeffrey Chester - Congress poised to unravel the Internet
11. Norman Solomon  - News media's love-hate for nuclear weapons

--------1 of 11--------

Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2006 17:27:41 -0500
From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Protest Bush here 8.22 12noon

Protest Bush in Minnetonka!
August 22, 12noon

Bush Will be at "Health Care Panel" in Minnetonka. As Part of National
Health Care Day of Action, Tuesday, Aug. 22, Noon.

Meet at United Health Group HMO HQs, across street from Marriott Hotel
where Bush will be speaking. Location: United Health Group HMO HQs, 9900
Bren Rd., Minnetonka, (94W to 394 W to 169 S, turn R at Bren Rd Exit, then
L to Marriott Parking lot, United is across the road. If Marriott lot is
blocked park at another office bldg lot nearby.

Join thousands at coordinated rallies across the country.  Minnesotans
Wants Once and for ALL:

1. Single-Payer Publicly-funded Health Care for All !
2. Health care as a human right based on need.
3. Health Care operates as a Public Good, not a market commodity.

Bring signs, personal stories for a speak out, music, street theater,
other actions !!! Contact info: MN Universal Health Care Action Network,
612- 384-0973, joel [at] uhcan-mn.org, www.uhcan-mn.org Joel Albers Minnesota
Universal Health Care Action Network 612-384-0973 joel [at] uhcan-mn.org
www.uhcan-mn.org Health Care Economics Researcher, Clinical Pharmacist.
Please send to other list serves, emails, calendars etc. Bring friends,
family, neighbors, significant others, and download this flyer and
distribute.


--------2 of 11--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at] antiwarcommittee.org>
Subject: Vs welfare "reform" 8.22 4:30pm

PROTEST: 10th Anniversary of the Federal Welfare "Reform" FAILURE

Tuesday, 8/22 @ 4:30pm @ Mpls Federal Building, 4th St and 3rd Ave (across
from City Hall), Downtown Mpls

Join low income families to say Attack Poverty not the Poor! Stop the time
limits on welfare! Stop Workfare/Slave Labor! Restore the entitlement! Ten
years ago, on August 22nd 1996, President Clinton signed the disastrous
so-called welfare "reform" into law.

This law has brought more poverty, homelessness and suffering to our
families! This law put a five year lifetime limit on welfare. It forces us
into dead-end and low-wage jobs, or to work for free as volunteers or in
Workfare. This law took away our basic guarantee to welfare when we need
it. In the past the Government had to give us welfare if we qualify based
on our family's income. Now the welfare offices can turn us away if the
money runs out! Organized by: MN Welfare Rights Coalition and Welfare
Rights Committee


--------3 of 11--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Food politics/SPNN 8.22 5pm

St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" airs at 5 pm and midnight on Tuesdays and 10 am each
Wednesday.

8/22 and 8/23
Documentary: "The Global Banquet: The Politics of Food"
Despite having an overabundance of food, we learn how corporate farming
and free trade are causing a steady degradation of farmland and loss of
food quality. We see how the corporate globalization of food threatens
small farmers everywhere and is destroying developing nations'
agricultural self-sufficiency.  Plus: "The Fight for Net Neutrality"
(4min) from Chicago Independent Television.

"Our World In Depth" features analysis of public affairs with
consideration of and participation from Twin Cities area activists.  The
show is (mostly) local and not corporately influenced! For information
about future programing of "Our World In Depth", please send an e-mail to
eric-angell [at] riseup.net.


--------4 of 11--------

From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com>
Subject: Stadium hearings 8.22 5pm

Now is the time for everyone to come out in opposition to the stadium tax.
We need you!  These public hearings this week may be the most important
time during this whole process for us to show mass opposition.  It appears
that the Hennepin County Board will be taking their final vote on Tuesday,
August 29th, on whether to impose the tax, sell the bonds, and build the
stadium.  The same measure will be considered in committee, tomorrow
afternoon, August 22nd.  (more on those meetings below)

Our one last chance to get our message across, and to show what kind of
opposition and anger they are facing, is the series of public hearings
being held this week.  Here is the schedule:

 5-7pm Tuesday, Aug 22, Board Room A2400, 24th Floor, Hennepin County
Government Center, 300 S 6 St Mpls.

 6-8pm Wednesday, Aug 23, Council Chambers, Bloomington Civic Plaza, 1800
W Old Shakopee Road.

 6-8pm Thursday, Aug 24, Council Chambers, Maple Grove Government Center,
12800 Arbor Lakes Parkway.

These hearings will be broadcast on cable TV.

Call 612-348-3081 to sign up to speak.  (Note for those who have called
and left a message, but haven't heard back:  I would recommend calling
again to make sure you are on the list.)  You can probably also sign up
right there, if there is still room.

I know many of you do not feel comfortable speaking in this kind of
setting.  Please come anyway!!  We need supporters - a cheering section.
We'll also have signs for you - or bring your own.  Please come to as many
of these three nights as you can.  Think of this as our anti-stadium-tax
demonstration.  It will be seen by the commissioners AND by the media.

Please, if you can, prepare to testify about some aspect of this proposal.
All that is needed is a brief, heart-felt statement of your opposition,
preferably accompanied by information and/or opinion about one of the many
reasons to oppose this measure.  You may wish to talk about public
priorities, or corporate welfare for billionaires, or fiscal
responsibility, or the 30 year commitment, or the undemocratic process, or
the importance of a referendum. Anybody can do this, and your voice should
be heard!  The corporate media (unanimous in support) and the politicians
(beholden to special interests) have been heard loud and clear. This is
our turn - and your turn!

It is important to know that this is not over yet, no matter how much the
media and the Twins tell us it is.  The County Board CAN vote against the
tax, and against building the stadium with our money.  We currently have 3
of the 7 commissioners on our side. All we need is one more.  That will be
very tough, but I hear from folks at the Government Center that the
pro-stadium commissioners are "spooked" and "skittish".  Three of the four
are up for election this fall - surely they've been encountering a lot of
anger as they have been out campaigning.

As I said above, it appears the final vote will be taken at the regular
Hennepin County Board meeting on Tuesday, August 29th, 1:30pm.
Preliminary discussion will occur tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, August
22nd, 1:30 at the Board Committee meetings.  If anyone is free during the
day, it would be good to come to either or both of those.  I will be at
both.  Tomorrow's committee meetings include a "public forum" - a chance
for members of the public to speak.  Let's use that opportunity!

Full information on the public hearings is at:
http://ccarl.com/PublicHearings.html
If you can't make it to the public hearings, you can also email your
testimony or comments.  See full info at:
http://hennepin.us/vgn/portal/internet/hcnewsarticlemaster/0,2301,1
273_1716_178405953,00.html

PLEASE come to the public hearings.  I know you are angry and disgusted.
Let THEM know how you feel. --Dave Bicking 612-276-1213

[Send Pohlad to the showers. Pew! -ed]


--------5 of 11--------

From: Patty Guerrero <pattypax [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Salon/torture 8.22 6:30pm

Tuesday August 22 the guest will be Adrea Templeton of the Center for
Victims of Torture. She will talk about the Center's project of Voter and
Candidate Education, hoping to raise issues around US Policies of detainee
treatment, extraordinary rendition and other related issues for the
upcoming Congressional election.

Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise
noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943
W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.


--------6 of 11--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Jews/Israel 8.22 7pm

Jewish Listening Circle on Israel in St. Paul Aug. 22

Tuesday August 22 there will be another Jewish Listening Circle, this
time held in St. Paul.

Please help spread the word to ANYONE ELSE who might want to join us.
This is open to anyone who would like to come at no charge.  You don't
need to RSVP if you are coming, but it would help to known how many people
to expect.

Because some Jews do not feel comfortable speaking from their hearts on
this topic, when non-Jews are present, I would like to request that this
be a group for Jews only.  Although I value the many non-Jews who also
care deeply about Israel's future I would like to request they honor this
request.

Invitation to a Jewish Listening Circle
Many of us are upset, disturbed and confused in response to the continuing
violence in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon.  I would like to invite you to
join myself and others for a Jewish Listening Circle to talk about and
support each other in this difficult time.

What is a "Listening Circle"?
Listening Circles are places where participants can share their thoughts,
feelings and concerns in a supportive compassionate context.  It is not a
place for analyzing, debating, assessing blame, finding solutions or
political actions. Instead it is a place to come together as caring
concerned people and to share what is happening in our hearts.
  It is also a place to listen deeply and with compassion to each other.
(The structure for this Listening Circle comes from several different
"listening" approaches, including Compassionate Listening and the Talking
Stick.)

Tuesday August 22, 2006
7pm (we will start on time but feel free to come earlier to schmooze.)

Location: Macalester College Campus; St. Paul - Carnegie Hall room 006 -
Carnegie Hall is in the SW corner of the quad behind the Chapel.


--------7 of 11--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at] antiwarcommittee.org>
Subject: Colombia 8.22 7pm

The Truth About Colombia: Local Anti-War Activists Report Back From July
2006 Delegation

Tuesday 8/22 @ 7-9pm @ Waite House Community Center, 2529 13th Ave. South,
Mpls. Donations requested but not required.

AWC activists Meredith Aby, Jon Plotz, Katrina Plotz, & Erika Zurawski
went to Colombia to meet with human rights activists, trade unionists, and
campesinos (peasants) to learn about the real impacts of US foreign
policy. Since 2000, the US has spent almost 5 billion dollars on Plan
Colombia, the military aid package which funds the Colombian government's
war against their own people. US tax dollars are used by right wing
para-military death squads to terrorize and massacre people who speak out
against the Colombian government's US backed free trade policies or for
democratic rights. Come hear first hand accounts of the realities of US
military aid. Come learn what the Bush administration doesn't want you to
hear! Organized by the Anti-War Committee.


--------8 of 11--------

From: John Crampton <jcrampton [at] mn.rr.com>
Subject: Sustain/local 8.22 7pm

On Tuesday August 22, 7-9pm the Izaak Walton League-Bush Lake chapter
hosts a forum on "Sustainability and Local Community Development," open to
Ikes and the general public.  The program is at the chapter lodge 7515
Izaak Walton Rd., Bloomington, right off East Bush Lake Rd. near
Richardson Nature Center..  For directions:  http://www.bushlakeikes.org

Speakers include Bloomington city council member Steve Elkins, planning
commission member and former chapter president, Doug Bruce, and PARC and
NRC member Suzanne Keinitz (also an Ike).  The session will be moderated
by Phillip Muessig from the MN Office of Environmntal Assistance who is an
expert on environmentally-friendly urban development. Bloomington is
starting its master planning process for the next 20-25 years and citizen
involvement is needed to ensure that our community's plans begin to
address the looming crises of global warming, overuse of fossil fuels,
deteriorating water quality, loss of wildlife habitat, invasive species,
traffic congestion, and loss of decent jobs and affordable housing.  If
you've been paying attention, you know that decisions about these issues
are far too important to be made without your input and involvement.
Please help spread the word to friends, colleagues, and public officials
about this informative session.  To volunteer/for more info call Jill
Crafton at 952-944-5583.

John Crampton Pres., Izaak Walton League-Bush Lake Chapter 612-396-6010


--------9 of 11--------

Health coverage law would not work
by Kip Sullivan
St. Cloud Times
August 20, 2006
http://www.sctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060820/OPINION/108200002/1006

How would you feel if Minnesota's legislature passed a law requiring you
to buy health insurance? Would you feel better or worse about it if the
Legislature also authorized financial subsidies for lower-income
Minnesotans so they wouldn't go bankrupt obeying the law? You need to
start thinking about these questions because it is almost certain the
legislature will debate them in the 2007 session which begins next
January.

I base this prediction on two facts. First, legislation requiring all
Minnesotans to buy health insurance (this requirement is called an
"individual mandate") has already been drafted by the Minnesota Medical
Association (which represents a majority of the state's doctors). The MMA
bill was introduced in the state legislature with considerable fanfare in
March 2005 by members of the House and Senate health committees of both
parties. The bill has been praised by the director of the Minnesota
Council of Health Plans, which represents the state's largest health
insurance companies. You get the picture: Powerful groups and powerful
people support this bill.

The second reason to predict that individual-mandate legislation will be
debated next year is that Massachusetts passed such a law last April and
the media and legislators of both parties showered it with favorable
comment.  The law drew headlines because its supporters claim it will
achieve near-universal coverage, and because the bill was passed by a
Democratically controlled legislature and a Republican governor. Here in
Minnesota the CEO of HealthPartners, the state's third largest health
insurance company, praised the Massachusetts law in an essay published in
the Minneapolis Star Tribune on July 21.

Both the MMA proposal (you can read it in the March 2005 supplement of
Minnesota Medicine available at
http://www.mmaonline.net/publications/05toc.cfm) and the Massachusetts law
call for reductions in the cost of health insurance and for subsidies to
lower-income residents. But the cost-containment methods recommended by
both proposals are vague and unproven, and, not surprisingly, both
proposals are vague about how big the subsidies will have to be to make
health insurance affordable.

The Massachusetts and MMA proposals rely primarily on two unproven methods
of cost containment: "disease management" (which means better management
of patients with long-term illnesses like diabetes and cancer), and
medical "report cards" that will allegedly reveal the price and quality of
all or most medical services.

The research on disease management indicates that when it is done well it
can improve health substantially. But the research also indicates disease
management is more likely to raise costs than lower them. In a 2004 report
to Congress, the Congressional Budget Office summarized the research this
way: "CBO finds that to date there is insufficient evidence to conclude
that disease management programs can generally reduce the overall cost of
health care services." To take a specific example of some recent research,
a good study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2005 reported
that disease management of diabetics would raise total spending on
diabetes care by at least 25 percent even though it would improve the
health of diabetics.  This study was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and
the American Diabetes Association, among others.

Similarly, there is no convincing research demonstrating that report cards
will improve quality or cut costs. Some report cards have been shown to
improve the quality of simple services like vaccinations, but other report
cards (such as those that report mortality rates after heart surgery) have
been shown to cause doctors to avoid sicker patients so that their
"grades"  won't be dragged down. Like disease management, report cards
could actually raise costs.

The MMA and the Massachusetts governor and legislature deserve high praise
for endorsing the concept of universal health insurance. The MMA proposal
also deserves praise for its support of increased investment in public
health campaigns to combat problems like smoking and obesity.

But an individual mandate without cost containment is bad policy. It will
fail one of three ways: The subsidies required to ensure that all citizens
can obey the mandate will turn out to be too costly; insurance companies
will have to sell policies with enormous deductibles and anemic coverage
in order to reduce the premiums to affordable levels; or many residents
will simply refuse to obey the law.

Kip Sullivan sits on the steering committee of the Minnesota Universal
Health Care Coalition. He is the author of The Health Care Mess, published
by AuthorHouse.


--------10 of 11--------

Congress Poised to Unravel the Internet
By Jeffrey Chester
The Nation
August 18, 2006
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060828/internet_bill

Lured by huge checks handed out by the country's top lobbyists, members of
Congress could soon strike a blow against Internet freedom as they seek to
resolve the hot-button controversy over preserving "network neutrality."
The telecommunications reform bill now moving through Congress threatens
to be a major setback for those who hope that digital media can foster a
more democratic society. The bill not only precludes net neutrality
safeguards but also eliminates local community oversight of digital
communications provided by cable and phone giants. It sets the stage for
the privatized, consolidated and unregulated communications system that is
at the core of the phone and cable lobbies' political agenda.

In both the House and Senate versions of the bill, Americans are described
as "consumers" and "subscribers," not citizens deserving substantial
rights when it comes to the creation and distribution of digital media. A
handful of companies stand to gain incredible monopoly power from such
legislation, especially AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon. They have
already used their political clout in Washington to secure for the phone
and cable industries a stunning 98 percent control of the US residential
market for high-speed Internet.

Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens, the powerful Commerce Committee
chair, is trying to line up votes for his "Advanced Telecommunications and
Opportunities Reform Act." It was Stevens who called the Internet a
"series of tubes" as he tried to explain his bill. Now the subject of
well-honed satirical jabs from The Daily Show, as well as dozens of
independently made videos, Stevens is hunkering down to get his bill
passed by the Senate when it reconvenes in September.

But thanks to the work of groups like Save the Internet, many Senate
Democrats now oppose the bill because of its failure to address net
neutrality. (Disclosure: The Center for Digital Democracy, where I work,
is a member of that coalition.) Oregon Democrat Senator Ron Wyden, Maine
Republican Olympia Snowe and North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan have
joined forces to protect the US Internet. Wyden has placed a "hold" on the
bill, requiring Stevens (and the phone and cable lobbies) to strong-arm
sixty colleagues to prevent a filibuster. But with a number of GOP
senators in tight races now fearful of opposing net neutrality, the bill's
chances for passage before the midterm election are slim. Stevens,
however, may be able to gain enough support for passage when Congress
returns for a lame-duck session.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Thus far, the strategy of the phone and cable lobbies has been to dismiss
concerns about net neutrality as either paranoid fantasies or political
discontent from progressives. "It's a made-up issue," AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre
said in early August at a meeting of state regulators. New Hampshire
Republican Senator John Sununu claims that net neutrality is "what the
liberal left have hung their hat on," suggesting that the outcry over
Internet freedom is more partisan than substantive. Other critics of net
neutrality, including many front groups, have tried to frame the debate
around unsubstantiated fears about users finding access to websites
blocked, pointing to a 2005 FCC policy statement that "consumers are
entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice." But the
issue of blocking has been purposefully raised to shift the focus from
what should be the real concerns about why the phone and cable giants are
challenging federal rules requiring nondiscriminatory treatment of digital
content.

Verizon, Comcast and the others are terrified of the Internet as we know
it today. Net neutrality rules would jeopardize their far-reaching plans
to transform our digital communications system. Both the cable and phone
industries recognize that if their broadband pipes (now a monopoly) must
be operated in an open and neutral fashion, they will face real
competition - and drastically reduced revenues - from an ever-growing
number of lower-cost phone and video providers. Alcatel, a major
technology company helping Verizon and AT&T build their broadband
networks, notes in one business white paper that cable and phone companies
are "really competing with the Internet as a business model, which is even
more formidable than just competing with a few innovative service
aggregators such as Google, Yahoo and Skype." (Skype is a telephone
service provider using the Internet.)

Policy Racket

The goal of dominating the nation's principal broadband pipeline serving
all of our everyday (and ever-growing) communications needs is also a
major motivation behind opposition to net neutrality. Alcatel and other
broadband equipment firms are helping the phone and cable industries build
what will be a reconfigured Internet - one optimized to generate what they
call "triple play" profits from "high revenue services such as video,
voice and multimedia communications." Triple play means generating
revenues from a single customer who is using a bundle of services for
phone, TV and PC - at home, at work or via wireless devices. The corporate
system emerging for the United States (and elsewhere in the world) is
being designed to boost how much we spend on services, so phone and cable
providers can increase what they call our "ARPU" (average revenue per
user). This is the "next generation" Internet system being created for us,
one purposefully designed to facilitate the needs of a mass consumerist
culture.

Absent net neutrality and other safeguards, the phone/cable plan seeks to
impose what is called a "policy-based" broadband system that creates
"rules" of service for every user and online content provider. How much
one can afford to spend would determine the range and quality of digital
media access. Broadband connections would be governed by ever-vigilant
network software engaged in "traffic policing" to insure each user
couldn't exceed the "granted resources" supervised by "admission control"
technologies. Mechanisms are being put in place so our monopoly providers
can "differentiate charging in real time for a wide range of applications
and events." Among the services that can form the basis of new revenues,
notes Alcatel, is online content related to "community, forums, Internet
access, information, news, find your way (navigation), marketing push, and
health monitoring."

Missing from the current legislative debate on communications is how the
plans of cable and phone companies threaten civic participation, the free
flow of information and meaningful competition. Nor do the House or Senate
versions of the bill insure that the public will receive high-speed
Internet service at a reasonable price. According to market analysts, the
costs US users pay for broadband service is more than eight times higher
than what subscribers pay in Japan and South Korea. (Japanese consumers
pay a mere 75 cents per megabit. South Koreans are charged only 73 cents.
But US users are paying $6.10 per megabit. Internet service abroad is also
much faster than it is here.)

Why are US online users being held hostage to higher rates at slower
speeds? Blame the business plans of the phone and cable companies. As
technology pioneer Bob Frankston and PBS tech columnist Robert Cringely
recently explained, the phone and cable companies see our broadband
future as merely a "billable event." Frankston and Cringely urge us to be
part of a movement where we - and our communities - are not just passive
generators of corporate profit but proactive creators of our own digital
futures. That means we would become owners of the "last mile" of fiber
wire, the key link to the emerging broadband world. For about $17 a month,
over ten years, the high-speed connections coming to our homes would be
ours - not in perpetual hock to phone or cable monopolists. Under such a
scenario, notes Cringely, we would just pay around $2 a month for super-
speed Internet access.

Regardless of whether Congress passes legislation in the fall,
progressives need to create a forward-looking telecom policy agenda. They
should seek to insure online access for low-income Americans, provide
public oversight of broadband services, foster the development of digital
communities and make it clear that the public's free speech rights online
are paramount. It's now time to help kill the Stevens "tube" bill and work
toward a digital future where Internet access is a right - and not
dependent on how much we can pay to "admission control."

[One more example of how the rich get rich - by outright THEFT of what
belongs to all of us. Not admirable at all. Visit a country club to see
manicured thieves strut their stolen stuff. An American disgrace. -ed]


--------11 of 11--------

News Media's Love-Hate for Nuclear Weapons August 19, 2006
By Norman Solomon
http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-08/17solomon.cfm
ZNet Commentary

Since the Soviet Union collapsed a decade and a half ago, nuclear weaponry
has been mostly relegated to back pages and mental back burners in the
United States. A big media uproar about nuclear weapons is apt to happen
only when the man in the Oval Office has chosen to make an issue of them.

Sometimes a "nuclear threat" has been imaginary. During the lead-up to the
invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration went into rhetorical overdrive -
fabricating evidence and warning that an ostensible smoking gun could turn
into a mushroom cloud. The White House publicly obsessed about an Iraqi
nuclear-weapons program that didn't exist.

In sharp contrast, North Korea really seems to have a nuclear warhead or
two. And because the Pyongyang regime is apparently nuclear-armed, Bush
isn't likely to order an attack on that country, as he did against Iraq
and as he has been not-too-subtly threatening to do against Iran.

By all credible accounts, Tehran is at least several years - and probably
more like a full decade - away from acquiring a nuclear bomb. But
America's top officials and leading pundits have been sounding urgent
alarms.

Judging from the frequent denunciations of some countries for alleged
plans to build a nuclear arsenal, you might think that the U.S. media are
down on nuclear weapons. Not so.

Red-white-and-blue nuclear weaponry has been depicted by U.S. news media
as a reassuring guarantor of national security - or at worst an
unfortunate necessity - since the nuclear age went public 61 years ago
with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

That first atomic bombing of Japan came three days before an initial
presidential lie about U.S. nuclear weapons policies. The lie was huge,
but very few journalists in the United States have ever done so much as
murmur a complaint about it.

On Aug. 9, 1945, President Harry Truman told the public this whopper: "The
world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a
military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid,
in so far as possible, the killing of civilians."

Actually, the U.S. government went out of its way to select Japanese
cities of sufficient size to showcase the extent of the A-bomb's deadly
power - in Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and in Nagasaki on Aug. 9. As a result of
those two bombings, hundreds of thousands of civilians died, immediately
or eventually. If Truman's conscience had been clear, it's doubtful he
would have felt compelled to engage in such a basic distortion at the dawn
of the nuclear era.

The scientific know-how of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic
bomb was headquartered at the secret Los Alamos laboratory in northern New
Mexico beginning in the spring of 1943. Today, that one laboratory has a
$2 billion annual budget, with most of the money devoted to the lab's key
role in helping to maintain the "reliability and safety" of the U.S.
government's nuclear arsenal - which currently includes about 10,000
thermonuclear weapons. But you'd have to search far and wide to find
mainstream American news coverage that raises fundamental questions about
that arsenal as any kind of "nuclear threat."

Meanwhile, experts say that the Israeli government now has about 200
nuclear weapons. Israel's military actions in recent weeks underscore its
willingness to use high-tech weaponry for reckless offensives that kill
many civilians.

But in U.S. news media, the implicit message is that American nuclear
bombs are A-OK, and the fact that Washington's ally Israel maintains a
large nuclear arsenal is supposed to be no cause for major concern.

Until the moment when events prove otherwise, the policy of deploying an
array of nuclear weapons with the rationale of "deterrence" can convince
the faithful that the nuclear priesthood in Washington is worthy of our
trust.

But, going deeper than nationalistic blind faith, some important questions
should be considered. Last week, the Latin American writer Eduardo Galeano
asked two of them: "Who calibrates the universal dangerometer? Was Iran
the country that dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima?"

The paperback edition of Norman Solomon's latest book, "War Made Easy: How
Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," was published this
summer. For information, go to: www.warmadeeasy.com


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
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