Progressive Calendar 08.30.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 12:50:43 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     08.30.06

1. Internet/Dayton    8.30 12noon
2. CCHT housing       8.30 4:30pm
3. Vigil/Norm's       8.30 4:30pm
4. Regional art forum 8.30 5pm
5. CRA/policing cops  8.30 7pm

6. New Hope vigil     8.31 4pm
7. Eagan peace vigil  8.31 4:30pm
8. Northtown vigil    8.31 5pm
9. Anoka candidates   8.31 6:30pm
10. Cuba/oil/film     8.31 7pm
11. Kolstad/Dylan     8.31 7pm

12. Hamline U         - Antiracism study-dialogue circles
13. Sen Sheila Kuehl  - Kuehl's healthcare bill, SB840, passes CA assembly
14. Naomi Klein       - Pay to be saved: a future of disaster apartheid
15. James Brooks      - The US peace movement and Hezbollah
16. William Neikirk   - Where's the outrage?
17. Mokhiber/Weissman - The tobacco industry academy awards

--------1 of 17--------

From: "Timothy Karr, FreePress.net" <list [at] freepress.net>
Subject: Internet/Dayton 8.30 12noon

Internet freedom is under attack by the nation's largest phone and cable
companies.

Corporations like Qwest, Time Warner and Comcast are strong-arming
Congress to vote down Net Neutrality -- the principle that preserves a
free and open Internet -- when senators return to Washington in the fall.

The vote is likely to be close, and we need Sen. Mark Dayton on our side.
He has not yet taken a clear position on Net Neutrality, but we can help
make up his mind.

Help us send a message to Senator Dayton. Next week in the Twin Cities,
members of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition are delivering thousands of
petition signatures from Minnesota residents to Senator Dayton's office.
Here are the details:

Petition delivery to Senator Dayton
Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2006, Noon
Outside Senator Dayton's office, Federal Building, Fort Snelling

Can you help deliver the petitions asking Senator Dayton to protect Net
Neutrality? Go here to RSVP: http://action.freepress.net/ct/5p2yY-71jqJi/

Let us know you'll be there, and we'll connect you with local organizers
and other activists planning the petition drop. (The sign-up is being
handled by our allies at MoveOn.org Civic Action -- but don't worry, your
name won't be added to any new mailing lists unrelated to next week's
event.)

The media will be invited to the petition delivery -- and Senator Dayton
will see how important Internet freedom is to his constituents. If we
succeed, his vote could be the one that saves the Internet.

I hope you'll be there next Wednesday to make your voice heard.

Onward, Timothy Karr Campaign Director Free Press www.freepress.net

P.S. Visit www.SavetheInternet.com for all of the latest news
and information on the fight to protect Net Neutrality.


--------2 of 17-------

From: Philip Schaffner <PSchaffner [at] ccht.org>
Subject: CCHT housing 8.30 4:30pm

Learn how Central Community Housing Trust is responding to the affordable
housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a 1-hour Building
Dreams presentation.

Minneapolis Sessions: Sept 12 at 4:30p
St Paul Sessions: Aug 30 at 4:30p * Sept 20 at 7:30a

We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place
of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at:
www.ccht.org/bd or call Philip Schaffner at 612-341-3148 x237 (
pschaffner [at] ccht.org)

Central Community Housing Trust 1625 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 341-3148 www.ccht.org


--------3 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Vigil/Norm's 8.30 4:30pm

Wednesday, 8/30 (and every Wednesday), 4:30 to 5:30 pm, Military Families
Speak Out sponsors vigil in front of Sen. Norm Coleman's office, University
Ave just west of Hwy 280, St. Paul.  annie [at] fireman.net1


--------4 of 17--------

From: Write On Radio <writeonradio [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Regional art forum 8.30 5pm

ATTEND A REGIONAL FORUM ON THE ARTS

Wednesday August 30th: 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. at the Hopkins Center for the
Arts, John Ireland Community Room, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN.

The Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council
invite you to attend a regional forum on the arts.  Anyone who works,
participates, or is interested in the arts in encouraged to attend. You'll
have a chance to learn about programs and services available in your area,
and to provide imput that will help inform future plans and programs
related to the arts.

The forums are free and open to the public, but registration is strongly
encouraged.  To help us plan how many people will attend, please register
by phone, by calling 612-215-1600, or 800-866-2787 or TTY 651-215-6235 or
send an email to msab [at] arts.state.mn.us.

There will be 12 forums held throughout the State of Minnesota. To view
the full schedule is available in the Calendar section of the Arts Board
Web site: http://www.arts.state.mn.us/calendar/forums.htm


--------5 of 17--------

From: Cam Gordon <CamGordon333 [at] msn.com>
Subject: CRA/policing cops 8.30 7pm

2 views.
view 1:

Please attend if you can and spread the word.
A powerful show of support for reforms could make a big difference.

>From the CRA Work Group of the Minneapolis City Council

New Police Review Changes - Tell Us What You Think!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006, 7pm
at the
Brian Coyle Center, 420 15th Ave S
The Coyle Center is near Cedar-Riverside.  (Coyle Center - 338-5282).
The location is within walking distance of Metro Transit Bus Routes 2, 3,
7, 16, 19, and 50 and the Hiawatha Light Rail line.  (Metro Transit -
373-3333).  There is bike and vehicle parking on site.

WHAT THIS IS ABOUT

The Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) investigates complaints about
any Minneapolis Police Officer and decides if the Police Chief should
discipline the officer.  People that feel they have been mistreated by a
Minneapolis Police Officer can file a complaint with the CRA.

We have been working to improve the way the CRA handles complaints and
have recommended
    * several changes to improve communication between the CRA and the
Police Department
    * more research on how complaints are handled by the CRA and the
Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit
    * identifying problematic behavior by Police Officers early
    * more training on police accountability issues.

We are considering ordinance changes having to do with complaint
dismissal, CRA scope of authority, disciplinary decisions, and subpoena
power.  A detailed report from the group will be available soon on the
City's website.

It is important that you participate so that your voice is heard on this
important issue!

CONTACT: Natalie Collins, 612-673-3301, natalie.collins [at] 
ci.minneapolis.mn.us
(If you can;t attend you can also send yoru comments to Natalie, or me)

FYI Reports to Council
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2006-meetings/20060512/HEE20060501agenda.asp
  Item #6
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2006-meetings/20060630/HEE20060619agenda.asp
  Item #9
A Study of the Policy and Process of the Minneapolis Civilian Police Review
Authority
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cra/docs/CRAReport_2006.pdf


view 2:
---
From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] minn.net>
Subject: CUAPB NEWSLETTER
Communities United Against Police Brutality

CRA BOARD FOLDS ON DISCIPLINE ISSUE
SAD DAY FOR POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY EFFORTS

In a move that surprised even this seasoned editor, the community members
who comprise the Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority (CRA) board voted
at their last meeting to support a compromise ordinance change that would
no longer require the chief of police to issue discipline on sustained
complaints.  The compromise essentially codifies what interim chief Dolan
is doing now and what chief McManus did before him - allows them to
pretend that sustained cases don't count - while also tying up this
already overworked board in additional red tape.

Stand By Your Woman
If you recall, council member Betsy Hodges was the prime mover behind the
original proposed ordinance change, which required the chief to issue
discipline in all sustained CRA cases.  Predictably, Hodges and other
supporters on the council started getting heat from the usual suspects:
MPD administration, the police federation, city attorney Peter Ginder and
labor relations guy Tim Giles.  Ginder, who is currently acting as legal
advisor to the CRA board is hardly neutral on this issue: he issued a
series of memos trying to stake the claim that the mayor's partial
delegation of oversight of police to the CRA board is somehow a violation
of the city charter (it's not).  Keep in mind that the city attorney's
office is famous for bringing false charges against folks who get abused
by cops.  That's also the office that defends the city against the waves
of lawsuits when their cops get out of line.  It's an interesting issue
all by itself that a guy with this much skin in the game gets to advise
the city council and the CRA on the legalities of an ordinance change that
could hold the cops accountable.

It was sad to hear Hodges describe during the CRA board meeting how she
had met with these different parties over what they would "accept" in a
proposed ordinance change and how she rewrote her ordinance proposal to
comply with their demands.  Her rationale?  She didn't think she could get
enough votes on the council for the original wording.  It was even sadder
to watch the CRA board fold like a house of cards and vote to endorse this
badly-worded proposal in some mistaken gesture of loyalty to Hodges.
This board, whose responsibility in part is to defend the CRA, became
willing participants in their own disempowerment and in so doing betrayed
the community.

What's so bad about the new proposal?  Hodges' new wording states that if
the CRA board sustains a complaint, the chief can take one of four actions:
 *impose discipline
 *deny discipline
 *ask the CRA to reconsider its finding
 *ask for a 30 day extension to take one of the other actions
 If the chief denies discipline, the CRA board can request that he or she
come to a board meeting to explain the decision.
 If the chief requests a reconsideration of the suspension, he or she
appears before the board to present the reasons why.  If the case is
sustained again, the chief can impose discipline, not impose discipline or
ask for a 30 day extension.

There is some meaningless drivel in the proposed ordinance about how the
CRA ruling is the final word.  However, allowing the chief to demand that
the CRA board reconsider its sustained cases and still not discipline them
renders that wording meaningless.  Moreover, it's this editor's prediction
that should this proposal become law, the chief will simply remand every
sustained case back to the CRA for reconsideration and then refuse to
issue discipline - essentially the same situation we have today but with
an elaborate new mechanism for tying up the CRA board.

The CRA Work Group, which is packed to the eyeballs with city and police
officials but has no representation from the community, will hold a public
hearing on the proposed ordinance changes:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006, 7 p.m.
Brian Coyle Center, 420 15th Ave S, Minneapolis
For more information, contact Natalie Collins, 612-673-3301,
natalie.collins [at] ci.minneapolis.mn.us

Normally, we would be urging people to attend this hearing and the
upcoming hearings at the city council.  However, after the easy surrender
of the CRA board, it appears this whole thing is a done deal - as we
predicted would happen when this work group was formed without community
representation.

We'll continue to follow and report on this process but now that the
solution to the problem the work group was trying to fix - the chief's
refusal to issue discipline in sustained cases - is off the table, there
is probably little else exciting or worthwhile to expect out of this work
group.

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)
Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South
http://www.CUAPB.org


--------6 of 17--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: New Hope vigil 8.31 4pm

Thursday August 31, 4-6 PM
NW Neighbors for Peace, Carole Rydberg, carydberg [at] comcast.net

Weekly demonstration at the corner of 42nd Avenue N. (Cty. Rd. 9) and
Winnetka in New Hope.  Many signs available ... just bring yourself.
Come and go when you please.


--------7 of 17--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.31 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.


--------8 of 17--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.31 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil everyt Thursday 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.


--------9 of 17--------

From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] attg.net>
Subject: Anoka candidates 8.31 6:30pm

The League of Women Voters ABC and the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce are
co-sponsoring a public candidate forum for candidates running in the primary

for the office of Anoka County Commission Districts 1, 2, and 3 on August
31, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  It will be held in the Anoka County Board Room
#705 located at the Anoka County Government Center, 2100 Third Avenue
North, Anoka.

Questions can be submitted by the live audience.

The program will be played on cable t.v.  Please attend, it is important
that we get a large number of citizens to attend so the questions don't come
just from the county employees.


--------10 of 17--------

From: Joan Malerich <joanmdm [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Cuba/oil/film 8.31 7pm

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY: HOW CUBA SURVIVED PEAK OIL
Produced by The Community Solution

MAYDAY BOOKSTORE (612-333-4719), 301 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis (Below
Midwest Mountaineering, Corner of Cedar and 3rd, on block north of Cedar
and Riverside.  Cheapest parking is at Holiday Inn Ramps--2 blocks north.
Other parking available near Mayday.)

Thursday, August 31, 7pm (starts no later than 7:15pm)  Time 55 min.
Discussion follows.

Free and open to public.

"One of the most important and hopeful stories of the past few decades.
Story of individual achievement and the collective mobilization of an
entire society to meet and enormous challenge."  Richard Heinberg, author
of The Party's Over, Powerdown

When Cuba lost access to Soviet oil in the early 1990s, the country faced
an immediate crisis - feeding the population - and an ongoing challenge -
how to create a new low-energy society. Cuba transitioned from large,
fossil fuel intensive farming to small, less energy-intensive organic
farms and urban gardens, and from a highly industrial society to a more
sustainable one.

This film tells the story of the Cuban people's hardship, ingenuity and
triumph over sudden adversity - through cooperation, conservation and
community, told in their won words. As the world approaches Peak Oil. Cuba
provides a valuable example of how to successful address the challenge of
reducing our energy use.

Showing endorsed by IMPACT (Ideas to Mobilize People Against Corporate
Tyranny) and 3CTC (Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities.)

Contacts: Joan 651-451-4081, Lydia 612-338-3407, Eric 651-644-1173, Karen
651-644-1487


--------11 of 17--------

From: Tim Dykstal <tim [at] metroiba.org>
Subject: Kolstad/Dylan 8.31 7pm

MetroIBA members and friends-

We thought the following event, co-sponsored by three MetroIBA members,
would be of interest to all-

Dylan Fest at Magers and Quinn celebrates The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia
and Dylan's new CD-Modern Times.

Live music by Papa John Kolstad and Clint Hoover. The fun starts at 7pm
Thursday, August 31 at the bookstore. Accompanying CD sale by Homestead
Pickin' Parlor. This event is free and open to the public.

Schedule of events:

7-8pm - The A-Z of Bob Dylan: An Evening with Michael Gray. Gray,
author of the new Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. Gray has created an
audio-visual presentation that compliments the book.

After 8 - Michael Gray signs books and answers questions one on one. CD
sales continue and music by the award-winning Kolstad and Hoover. David
Unowsky will show his rarely seen camp photo of the young Bob Zimmerman in
1958.

www.magersandquinn.com
Magers and Quinn Booksellers
3038 Hennepin Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
books [at] magersandquinn.com
toll-free 1-866-912-6657


--------12 of 17--------

From:  Margery Otto, motto02 [at] hamline.edu
Subject: Antiracism Study-Dialogue Circles

Register now to be a member of an Antiracism Study-Dialogue Circle hosted
by Hamline University.  Entering its third year, this intensive, highly
interactive dialogue series has proven to be an effective resource for
those who desire to understand, practice, and be effective in the
transformative work of antiracism.

Each Circle meets once a week for 12 weeks, on either:
 * Mondays 9-11:30am, beginning September 11 and ending December 11
(refreshments included) -- or
 * Fridays 7-9:30am, beginning September 15 and ending December 15
(breakfast included).
Suggested donation is $45 but no one is turned away for financial
reasons. Enrollment is limited to 12 people in each Circle; please
register soon.

The Antiracism Study-Dialogue Program is led by Herbert Perkins, Ph.D.
(Hamline University, Director of Theological Exploration of Vocation
Director) and Margery Otto, J.D. (Hamline University, Wesley Fellow), with
skilled facilitators trained in ASDIC methodology.  FFI: Margery at
motto02 [at] hamline.edu or 651-523-2836.


--------13 of 17--------

Senator Sheila Kuehl
08/28/06
KUEHL'S HEALTHCARE BILL, SB 840, PASSES CALIFORNIA  ASSEMBLY

On Monday, August 28th, Senate Bill 840, authored by State Senator Sheila
Kuehl (D-23), passed out of the California State Assembly on a preliminary
vote of 43-30 (final vote expected to be 44-31).

SB 840 provides a concrete plan for covering every California resident
with comprehensive health insurance, saves the state of California,
businesses and working families nearly $8 billion in the first year, and
guarantees our right to choose our own doctor.  The bill will now return
to the State Senate for concurrence and is expected to reach the
Governor's desk by September 1st.

SB 840 provides comprehensive medical, dental, vision, hospitalization and

prescription drug coverage to every California resident. This broad
coverage is made possible through a streamlined claims and reimbursement
system that is projected to save billions of dollars in administrative
costs. SB 840 allows California to use its purchasing power to negotiate
bulk rates for prescription drugs and durable medical equipment, such as
wheelchairs, thus realizing an additional $2 billion in savings, SB 840
preserves the status of healthcare providers, hospitals and pharmacies as
private, competitive businesses.

The plan is funded by drawing in current public spending and replacing all
premiums, co-pays and deductibles paid to insurance companies with
premiums paid to the system. As amended, the bill creates a blue ribbon
panel of health, finance and technical experts to lay out the mechanics
for an affordable premium structure using information gathered in
available funding studies.

"The growing cost of health insurance is bankrupting our businesses and
working families. Our health care system is being decimated to pay for
insurance company waste", says State Senator Kuehl. "SB 840 is the right
solution for California's broken health care system. It covers everyone,
it contains costs and it improves quality - most important, it guarantees
your right to choose your own doctor."

"This plan provides security and savings to every California family, helps
businesses by reducing their health insurance costs, and saves the state
almost a billion dollars", said Speaker Fabian Nunez. "The Governor should
sign this historic bill."

"Right now we have a broken system that leaves too many Californians in
medical or financial jeopardy and a system that hinders economic growth",
said President Pro Tem Senator Don Perata. "SB 840 is responsible, it's
achievable and it's what we need to do to fix the health care system in
California."

(Comment: SB 840 has already been passed by the California State Senate.
It will return there for concurrence in an amendment calling for a
commission to establish the mechanics of a premium structure, and then
will move on to Gov. Schwarzenegger's desk.)


--------14 of 17--------

Pay To Be Saved: A Future of Disaster Apartheid
By Naomi Klein
ZNet Commentary
August 29, 2006
http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-08/29klein.cfm

The Red Cross has just announced a new disaster-response partnership with
Wal-Mart. When the next hurricane hits, it will be a co-production of Big
Aid and Big Box.

This, apparently, is the lesson learned from the government's calamitous
response to Hurricane Katrina: Businesses do disaster better.

"It's all going to be private enterprise before it's over," Billy Wagner,
emergency management chief for the Florida Keys, currently under hurricane
watch for Tropical Storm Ernesto, said in April. "They've got the
expertise. They've got the resources."

But before this new consensus goes any further, perhaps it's time to take
a look at where the privatization of disaster began, and where it will
inevitably lead.

The first step was the government's abdication of its core responsibility
to protect the population from disasters. Under the Bush administration,
whole sectors of the government, most notably the Department of Homeland
Security, have been turned into glorified temp agencies, with essential
functions contracted out to private companies. The theory is that
entrepreneurs, driven by the profit motive, are always more efficient
(please suspend hysterical laughter).

We saw the results in New Orleans one year ago: Washington was
frighteningly weak and inept, in part because its emergency management
experts had fled to the private sector and its technology and
infrastructure had become positively retro. At least by comparison, the
private sector looked modern and competent (a New York Times columnist
even suggested handing FEMA over to Wal-Mart).

But the honeymoon doesn't last long. "Where has all the money gone?" ask
desperate people from Baghdad to New Orleans, from Kabul to tsunami-struck
Sri Lanka. One place a great deal of it has gone is into major capital
expenditures for these private contractors. Largely under the public
radar, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on the construction of
a privatized disaster-response infrastructure: the Shaw Group's new
state-of-the-art Baton Rouge headquarters, Bechtel's battalions of
earthmoving equipment, Blackwater USA's 6,000-acre campus in North
Carolina (complete with paramilitary training camp and 6,000-foot runway).

I call it the Disaster Capitalism Complex. Whatever you might need in a
serious crunch, these contractors can provide it: generators, water tanks,
cots, port-a-potties, mobile homes, communications systems, helicopters,
medicine, men with guns.

This state-within-a-state has been built almost exclusively with money
from public contracts, including the training of its staff (overwhelmingly
former civil servants, politicians and soldiers). Yet it is all privately
owned; taxpayers have absolutely no control over it or claim to it. So
far, that reality hasn't sunk in because when these companies are getting
their bills paid by government contracts, the Disaster Capitalism Complex
provides its services to the public free of charge.

But here's the catch: The U.S. government is going broke, in no small part
thanks to this kind of loony spending. The national debt is $8-trillion;
the federal budget deficit is at least $260-billion. That means that
sooner rather than later, the contracts are going to dry up. And no one
knows this better than the companies themselves. Ralph Sheridan, chief
executive of Good Harbor Partners, one of hundreds of new
counter-terrorism companies, explains that "expenditures by governments
are episodic and come in bubbles." Insiders call it the "homeland security
bubble."

When it bursts, firms such as Bechtel, Fluor and Blackwater will lose
their primary revenue stream. They will still have all their high-tech
gear giving them the ability to respond to disasters - while the
government will have let that precious skill whither away - but now they
will rent back the tax-funded infrastructure at whatever price they
choose.

Here's a snapshot of what could be in store in the not-too-distant future:
helicopter rides off of rooftops in flooded cities ($5,000 a pop, $7,000
for families, pets included), bottled water and "meals ready to eat" ($50
per person, steep, but that's supply and demand) and a cot in a shelter
with a portable shower (show us your biometric ID - developed on a
lucrative Homeland Security contract - and we'll track you down later
with the bill. Don't worry, we have ways: spying has been outsourced too).

The model, of course, is the U.S. healthcare system, in which the wealthy
can access best-in-class treatment in spa-like environments while
46-million Americans lack health insurance. As emergency-response, the
model is already at work in the global AIDS pandemic: private-sector
prowess helped produce lifesaving drugs (with heavy public subsidies),
then set prices so high that the vast majority of the world's infected
cannot afford treatment.

If that is the corporate world's track record on slow-motion disasters,
why should we expect different values to govern fast-moving disasters,
like hurricanes or even terrorist attacks? It's worth remembering that as
Israeli bombs pummeled Lebanon not so long ago, the U.S. government
initially tried to charge its citizens for the cost of their own
evacuations. And of course anyone without a Western passport in Lebanon
had no hope of rescue.

One year ago, New Orleans' working-class and poor citizens were stranded
on their rooftops waiting for help that never came, while those who could
pay their way escaped to safety. The country's political leaders claim it
was all some terrible mistake, a breakdown in communication that is being
fixed. Their solution is to go even further down the catastrophic road of
"private-sector solutions."

Unless a radical change of course is demanded, New Orleans will prove to
be a glimpse of a dystopic future, a future of disaster apartheid in which
the wealthy are saved and everyone else is left behind.

 Naomi Klein's book on disaster capitalism will be published in spring
2007. A shorter version of this piece appeared in the LA Times.

[And behind this is the US ruling class, whom we are supposed to envy,
revere, believe, obey, bow down to. Will we let them complete the coup? Is
dictatorship better than resistence? Are we just slaves-in-waiting? -ed]


--------15 of 17--------

The Big Picture (Don't Look, Now)
The US Peace Movement and Hezbollah
By JAMES BROOKS
Counterpunch - Aug 29, 2006
http://www.counterpunch.org/brooks08292006.html

Many peace activists may have felt somewhat bewildered by Hezbollah's
smashing success in outfoxing and outfighting the Israeli army in southern
Lebanon. Was it right to feel such a visceral satisfaction from these
battles fought by a group that was also lobbing rockets at Israeli
civilians? Where did we stand on Hezbollah, really?

We "peace activists" struggle to take rage, anguish, and disgust and
channel them into language and tactics we believe will appeal to the
general public. In order to persevere in our relatively fruitless efforts,
we guard our optimism.

Whether our focus is Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Palestine, Iraq,
Afghanistan, or any other US-supported war-and-poisoning zone, our news is
a steady diet of inhumane horrors and injustices. For many of us, that's
enough. We may (wittingly or not) avoid or reject analysis and information
that suggests the situation is much worse than we already know it to be,
fearing burnout and despair.

We may also worry that an analysis that is too dissonant with the dominant
paradigm will alienate the public. Leading figures in the movement
remember to utter the pieties that are supposed to legitimize our message,
such as the "importance of maintaining a strong defense." Connecting the
wrong dots threatens the tenuous bridge we have built between reality and
the world according to the machine.

But maintaining an unsatisfactory compromise built on increasingly unreal
assumptions will inevitably produce denial. Thus we find ourselves where
we are today, tripping over an array of mostly unconscious barriers to a
realistic understanding of our present predicament.

The Israeli-US war on Lebanon crystallized the picture that we are afraid
to see.

It put the Bush cabal's determination to attack Iran on "the front burner"
and the "fast track", despite the consternation of old guard "realists" of
US imperial diplomacy, who worry Bush is about to start World War III.

And it resoundingly affirmed the ability of today's resistance fighters to
undermine Israeli and US-UK attempts to enforce foreign occupations,
striking fear in the hearts of highly-placed warmongers on both sides of
the Atlantic. They will probably respond by calling for even more "air
power" next time.

Lebanon was the fourth all-out war on an Arab/Muslim country in the last
four years, all waged by the US-UK "coalition" and/or the Israeli-US
"alliance". Let's consider the pretexts offered to justify this serial
criminal warfare.

Afghanistan was invaded and destroyed (again), ostensibly to avenge 9/11
by destroying Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, even though the FBI has
admitted that it has "no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11."

Iraq was invaded and destroyed (again) to find mythical weapons of mass
destruction.

The Gaza Strip was invaded and destroyed (again) because resistance
fighters allied to Hamas captured an Israeli soldier in a retaliatory
cross-border raid.

Lebanon was invaded and destroyed (again) because Hezbollah captured two
Israeli soldiers in a retaliatory cross-border raid.

The grand total of pretexts? One unlikely suspect, one myth, and three
captured soldiers, who were all doing fine at last report. For this?

Of course the US and Israel have a long list of genuine reasons to wage
each of these wars and carry out the whole bloody scheme. But the official
excuses they offer to the rest of the nations of the world have meaning,
too.

In this case they appear to mean, "See, I can lie through my teeth and you
can't do a damn thing about it except say, 'Yes, sir.' The world is what
we say it is, or you don't have a place in it. I have many ways of making
your life miserable. And don't forget, I'm unpredictable. I can do crazy
things and get away with them."

The steady application of this kind of diplomacy has smashed our na´ve
hopes by sucking the EU and the UK ever more deeply into the orbit of
US-Israeli foreign policy, to the point where the Arabs can't trust either
of them any more than they can trust us.

While most people have been distracted by the shock and awe of America's
military presence in the Middle East, Israel's studiously ignored long war
on the Palestinians has descended to new depths of daily living hell.

The accelerating ethnic cleansing of the northern and eastern West Bank
threatens to squeeze even the possibility of Palestinian life out of the
land. The Jordan Valley is being prepared for illegal "annexation" to
Israel.

In Israel's 'total war' on the "liberated" Gaza Strip, the IAF has
destroyed the main power station, all major roads and bridges, the sole
(unused) airport, several government and civic buildings, and dozens of
homes.

Now at least a third of the poverty-stricken inhabitants do not have power
or running water. Israel also imposed a total blockade on Gaza, which
remains in force today with EU cooperation. This little "war", still
raging on, has already killed nearly 200 Palestinians, more than half of
them civilians. One Israeli soldier has died in the "fighting".

And more civilians are dying because Israel and the US and the EU and
Canada and Britain, all those great democracies, conspired to cut off
funds and embargo the finances of the PA when it became too democratic in
a free and fair election last January.

The sick, especially children and the elderly, are dying because hospitals
have little or no electricity, are running out of fuel, have only the most
rudimentary medical supplies (if that) and no money to pay their staff.
This is how the US plays politics in the Middle East.

And more war is on the way. Palestine now finds that its struggle for
self-determination and survival has been hijacked to serve as a crucible
for the next phase of the empire's plan, in which Iran and Syria are
hot-branded as "terrorist states" that must also be forcibly "liberated".

The propaganda campaign is going on full-tilt as we speak. Its rules are
wonderfully simple; whenever you mention the Palestinian or Lebanese
resistance, follow it with this phrase, or its equivalent: "a terrorist
group funded and armed by Syria and Iran".

As a result, the Palestinian-Lebanese resistance may become the hinge of a
crystallizing global divide. It seems unlikely that Palestine will enjoy
any benefit from this honor, but those pages have yet to be written.

In hindsight, wasn't it obvious that World War III had begun when the
world's "sole superpower" declared an open-ended "global war" on an
indefinite, multinational enemy?

And what is the big picture for us here at home? The debacle of last
summer's hurricanes was searing evidence that the domestic underbelly of
the government is rapidly withering into an outsourced husk of
uselessness. The parasites continue to multiply, infecting the whole body
with corruption, cronyism, profiteering, and lawlessness.

The vast wealth of the nation is controlled by one percent of its
citizens. Draconian funding cuts drive people to food shelves and soup
kitchens in unprecedented numbers, neglected by a fearful herd trying to
work enough hours to sustain an unsustainable debt.

During the past fifty years, the relationship between the federal
government and corporate-finance power has transformed from a formally
bipolar arrangement into today's unipolar alignment. Government now
functions primarily to serve shifting forces of corporate-finance power
(and the odd foreign government) as a facilitator, benefactor, warrior,
and spendthrift customer.

In the modern age, this fusion of money power and national government is
called fascism. It has been observed that fascist governments typically
resort to outlandish, racially-charged propaganda and embark on
increasingly reckless wars of aggression. They usually conduct intensive
domestic surveillance and counterintelligence, rig elections, imprison
large percentages of their populations, sadistically torture prisoners and
detainees, and police and "debate" by racial- and political-profiling.
They always aggressively expand the executive power of the central
government.

You don't have to wait until they arrest you, too, to decide that America
has become a fascist state. The evidence is all around you. Those who
still have difficulty seeing the picture might be advised to stop
listening to National Public Radio.

What do "peace activists" do in a fascist state? What is the true
potential of our efforts to "change public opinion" in the world's most
advanced propaganda regime? What actions by a citizen are morally
justified to resist this tyranny, injustice, and bloodshed? Which would be
most effective? What have other people done in this situation? How do we
feel about that?

Is it sane to continue to pretend that we live in a "democracy" when we
manifestly do not? Does our squeamishness about armed resistance by Arabs
and Muslims reflect an unconsciously imperial notion, that we might have
peace if only they didn't fight back? Are we willing to do everything we
can to stop this global menace, starting with ourselves? These are but a
few of the questions dying to be asked now by all people of conscience.

So, how do we feel about Hezbollah, which dealt the quickest and most
embarrassing blow yet to the war plans of "our" empire? How can we not
feel admiration, even gratitude, for their determination to prevent
another bloody occupation? Didn't they accomplish more in 34 days than we
have accomplished in nearly four decades of a preposterous "peace process"
chronically violated and manipulated to prolong the occupation?

At the end of his recent New Yorker article, Watching Lebanon:
Washington's interests in Israel's war, Sy Hersh quoted John Arquilla, a
defense analyst at the Naval Postgraduate School, about the Bush neocons'
view of warfare: "The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same
thing and expecting a different result."

We who seek peace must ask ourselves if we have not also gone 'insane',
expecting different results from actions that obviously haven't worked. To
guard our optimism in the New World Order, we Americans will have to learn
to see peace the way most Palestinians see it: as the inevitable fruit of
resolute resistance to aggression and injustice.

[James Brooks serves as webmaster for Vermonters for a Just Peace in
Palestine/Israel. He can be contacted at jamiedb [at] wildblue.net
<mailto:jamiedb [at] wildblue.net>.]


---------16 of 17--------

Where's the outrage?
By William  Neikirk
Tribune senior correspondent

U.S. troops have been accused of committing  atrocities in Iraq. Americans
should care.

08/27/06 "Chicago Tribune" - WASHINGTON - Abeer Qassim al-Janabi is not a
household name, though perhaps she should be. The 14-year-old girl was
repeatedly raped, then shot to death in her home March 12. Her body was
set on fire. Her mother, father and sister also were murdered.

It happened in Iraq, in the village of Mahmoudiya near Baghdad, in the
so-called Triangle of Death, the most stressful, violent place in a
stressful, violent country. The alleged perpetrators: American troops.

Before the incident, the soldiers allegedly downed whiskey, played cards
and hit golf balls. Afterward, they dined on grilled chicken wings.

A similar act of violence here in the U.S. would have triggered
overpowering outrage, non-stop TV coverage and a grave concern about our
military. It might even have surpassed the wall-to-wall coverage that the
arrest in the JonBenet Ramsey murder has received.

Yet no great public outcry has arisen over one of the worst atrocities of
the Iraq war. People say the incident is appalling and inexcusable in one
breath then in the next shrug it off as just another unfortunate example
of what war can do to young soldiers.

For all its horror, the murder of al-Janabi and her family has not become
another My Lai Massacre, in which U.S. forces mowed down as many as 500
people in March 1968 and turned many Americans against the war.

Instead, the murders are another horror piled on top of a series of
horrors, including the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha last year
and the torture at Abu Ghraib prison.

Together, the brutalities have contributed to a desensitizing of the
American public to atrocities in Iraq.  As repugnant as they are, we have
learned to write them off as part of the tragedy of this war.

"Almost surely, [the crimes] will be treated as another byproduct of the
war," said Charles Moskos, a Northwestern University professor and a
military expert. "I doubt that even the opponents of the war will make
much of it as they do not want to be seen as anti-soldier.

"That the anti-war movement portrays itself as pro-soldier," Moskos added,
"is the big difference from the anti-war movement of Vietnam."

Bill Taylor, an Army colonel in Vietnam and now a scholar at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies, said a few more atrocities like
the one in Mahmoudiya could change the pro-military attitude.

"You add this one to Haditha, and then you have a spate of these, look
out," he said.

Jonathan Shay, a Boston psychiatrist and author who has studied Vietnam
War atrocities, said American military leaders know that "every atrocity
strengthens the enemy and potentially disables the troops who were
involved."

Why such atrocities occur is unclear. But experts point to the lowering of
recruiting standards to fill spots in an all-volunteer army and the use of
troops to police in an extremely dangerous atmosphere.

"We live in a country that has a voluntary military but which more than 95
percent of our citizens have elected not to serve," said Loren Thompson, a
military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a Virginia-based think tank.

"If the mainstream of our society refuses to serve, it shouldn't be
surprising that you get soldiers who are not qualified to serve," he
added.

The Bush administration has brushed off the rape-murder case as an
aberration, saying the majority of our troops would never do such a thing.
Legislators have shied away from questions, reluctant to criticize troops.

When Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a decorated Vietnam veteran and a critic of
the Iraq war, said U.S. troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood"
in Haditha, one of the Marines under investigation in the attack sued him
for libel.

Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), a retired Marine Corps colonel, even apologized
to the Marines for appearing to suggest troops had lied and covered up the
Haditha incident.

Mike Steele, a professor of literature at Pacific University in Oregon and
a former anti-war activist during the Vietnam War, said some people are in
denial. "Who wants to believe that the nice kid next door could do
something like this?" he said. "It's difficult."

Among those charged with the rape and murder of al-Janabi is Steven Green,
an Army private who has since been discharged for a personality disorder.
He denies wrongdoing, but before the incident he told a Washington Post
reporter, "Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you
kill somebody and it's like, `All right, let's go get some pizza.'"

At a Baghdad hearing, a member of the same unit, Pfc. Justin Cross, said
constant attacks in the Triangle of Death had put the soldiers under
incredible stress. "You're just walking a death walk," he said. "It drives
you nuts. You feel like every step you might get blown up."

The deaths of two soldiers before the slayings in Mahmoudiya "pretty much
crushed the platoon," Cross said. To deal with the stress and the toll on
their unit, he said, they turned to whiskey and painkillers.


--------17 of 17--------

THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY ACADEMY AWARDS
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
August 27, 2006
ZNet Commentary
http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-08/14mokhiber-weissman.cfm

Everywhere you look, Big Tobacco is proclaiming, "We've changed."

Number two global seller British American Tobacco brags that it has risen
to 31st on the "2006 Companies that Count" listing, a British ranking of
supposedly socially responsible companies.

Proclaims BAT's Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Michael
Prideaux, "If a business is managing products which pose a risk to health,
we believe it is all the more important that it does so responsibly."

R.J. Reynolds, which is now owned in large part by BAT, is a newcomer to
the social responsibility game, but trying to catch up fast. "At the core
of our beliefs is the knowledge that we produce a product with significant
and inherent risks," writes company CEO Susan Ivey in RJR's 2006
"Corporate Social Responsibility Report." "With that understanding, our
core values and guiding principles ... speak to responsible marketing, our
approach to tobacco risk reduction and product stewardship."

No company can outdo Philip Morris on this front. "By the end of the
1990s, our tobacco companies better understood the expectations placed
upon them," the company asserts on its website.

"Corporate responsibility is a core business objective," contends Andre
Calantzopoulos, CEO of Philip Morris International. "From youth smoking
prevention to open discussion of tobacco issues to research into reduced
risk products, we're reshaping our company to meet society's
expectations."

Philip Morris takes the idea of remodeling itself so seriously, it even
changed its name. No longer is the parent company Philip Morris -- now it
is Altria.

But to get a glimpse of what Big Tobacco is actually doing (rather
than saying) around the world, you need to shift attention away from the
industry's self-aggrandizing propaganda.

The industry's "extreme makeover" was, in equal measure, mocked and
exposed at the "Tobacco Industry Academy Awards," held in conjunction with
the triannual World Conference on Tobacco or Health, which finished this
past weekend in Washington, D.C.

The awards ceremony was a biting parody (you can see video at
http://www.2006conferences.org/26-media.php#), but unfortunately all of
the nominations and awards were based on actual industry activities over
the last three years.

The award recipients:

Best Ploy to Circumvent a Law: Imperial Tobacco. With Australia mandating
large warning labels on cigarette packs, Imperial innovated the idea of
"peel off" warnings.

Among the runners up: Philip Morris and BAT. Tobacco advertising is
prohibited in Senegal -- so Philip Morris has painted entire storefronts
in its familiar red-and-white. Among BAT's nominations was for its conduct
in Uzbekistan, where an analysis of internal company documents shows the
company overturned legislation that banned advertising and smoking in
public places as part of a deal to buy a formerly state-owned company.

Best Effort to Conceal Corporate Ir-Responsibility: BAT, for providing
free mini-stalls to sell cigarettes to Sri Lankan tsunami victims.

Among the runners up: BAT again, for providing a highly publicized water
tower to a town in Niger. The problem: It is a waterless water tower, with
the pumps that were supposed to fill the tower not connected to any
electrical source.

Best Initiative to Recruit New Smokers: Philip Morris, for a worldwide
competition that brings young adults from around the world (chosen from
more than a million applicants) to Marlboro Country -- the U.S. West.

Among the runners up: Philip Morris, for sale in Malaysia of "kiddie
packs" -- packs of 14 cigarettes that are cheaper than a regular pack. A
ban on kiddie packs has been delayed at industry urging.

Best Exploitation of a Special Population: Gallaher's Benson & Hedges. An
uncovered training video for "tobacco girls" -- who approach men "young
and old" on streets and at bars and offer to light a Benson & Hedges
cigarette for them -- shows the young women being tutored to start the day
with a "good wash," followed by careful grooming and application of
makeup. A "good impression will be transferred to the brand and
international company you represent," the video instructs.

Among the runners up: Philip Morris, for hawking "Maori Mix" brand
cigarettes in Israel. (Maoris are the indigenous people of Aotearoa/New
Zealand.) Confronted at the company's shareholder meeting this past April,
CEO Louis Camilleri apologized to a Maori anti-smoking activist for the
misappropriation of the Maori name.

Best Industry Ally: Liu Xiang, an Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler from
China, is a leading image ambassador for China's biggest cigarette maker,
Baisha Group.

Among the runners up: The Bandung Municipal Administration in Indonesia,
for partnering with Philip Morris on a "school improvement" program, and
U.S. President George Bush for refusing to send the Framework Convention
on Tobacco Control to the Senate for ratification. More than 130 countries
have now ratified the tobacco treaty.

That last is the good news. For one thing has really changed about the
tobacco industry. Around the world, its legitimacy is declining and a
growing public health movement is imposing meaningful rules to curb
industry predation.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime
Reporter, . Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based
Multinational Monitor, and director of Essential Action , which helped
organize the tobacco awards ceremony. Mokhiber and Weissman are co-authors
of On the Rampage:Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy
(Monroe, Maine:Common Courage Press).

[So a few hundred thousand die premature deaths due to smoking.
Ruling class boys will be ruling class boys. And who else counts? -ed]


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