|Progressive Calendar 05.24.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 20:39:42 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 05.24.07 1. Somali rally 5.25 1pm 2. Cavlan/US Senate 5.25 6pm 3. MuslimAmerSocMN 5.25 6pm 4. NWN4P Minnetonka 5.26 11am 5. Northtown vigil 5.26 2pm 6. Islam diversity 5.26 2pm 7. Vegan dinner 5.26 6pm 8. Dave Lindorff - And now it's a Democratic war: Kerrycrats all! 9. Kim Petersen - The utter futility of Lesser Evilism 10. Laura Flanders - Sacrifice the troops bill 11. Robert Borosage - Funding Bush's war: this is no game 12. Keith Olbermann - The entire government has failed us on Iraq 13. CorpCrimeRptr - House Democrats buckle to Big Oil 14. Norman Solomon - Democrats collapse on the war --------1 of 14-------- From: <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Somali rally 5.25 1pm Join Somali Women and Children's Peace Rally! Friday, May 25, 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul. "For those whose hearts are touched by the illegal invasion of Somalia, indiscriminate killings of Somalis and situation of more than 400,000 refugees without access to shelter, food, safe water and basic security," you are invited by Somali women to join hands with them and their children. The current plight of Somalis is particularly heartbreaking because the international community has had difficulty getting in to assist the victims. Minnesota has the largest population of Somalis in the U.S. All women and children are invited to join in solidarity in this peace rally for Somali women and children and for all women and children victims of war. Participants are asked to respect the request of organizers, who are immigrants, for a solemn, quiet vigil without loud chants or signs criticizing the U.S. Organized by: Somali women. --------2 of 14-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Cavlan/US Senate 5.25 6pm CELEBRATE!!!!! We're celebrating Michael Cavlan's birthday on Friday, May 25, 2007, at the Eagles Club in Minneapolis, at 25th Street and 25th Avenue South. The festivities will begin at 6:00 PM and go on til it's done. Michael Cavlan, the endorsed Green Party candidate for the US Senate seat in 2006 has announced his candidacy for that seat in the 2008 election. This is a fundraiser to finance the beginning of that campaign. Happily, Willie Murphy has consented to play for us that night along with his friends. That's good news for those of us who love to hear Willie and those who don't yet know his tremendous talent. His music itself is a celebration and fun to dance to. Come with us to celebrate the Birthday of a true Peace Activist who has the integrity and courage to stand strong and won't sell out those who invest their trust in him. Your appearance at the party and your donations will assist Michael to spread the message to no longer fund the occupation of Iraq by our military and promote the means to reverse global warming. SEE YOU THERE!!!! --Dori Ullman, Campaign Manager Michael Cavlan for US Senate 2008 Campaign --------3 of 14-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: MuslimAmerSocMN 5.25 6pm 5/25 (6 to 10 pm) and 5/26 (10 to 10) and 5/27 (10 to 4), 3rd annual conference of the Muslim American Society of MN, Mpls Convention Center, 1301 - 2nd Ave S, Mpls. --------4 of 14-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P Minnetonka 5.26 11am NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7 and 101. Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Bring your own signs. --------5 of 14-------- From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net> Subject: Northtown vigil 5.26 2pm Mounds View peace vigil EVERY SATURDAY from 2-3pm at the at the southeast corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE in Blaine, which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area. This is a MUCH better location. We'll have extra signs. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. For further information, email major18 [at] comcast.net or call Lennie at 763-717-9168 --------6 of 14-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Islam diversity 5.26 2pm Alternate Saturdays, 1/13 to 6/9, 2 to 4 pm, interfaith dialogue organization Northern Lights Society presents series Understanding Islam, 2469 University Ave, Suite 110 E. St Paul. bilgin [at] nlight.org Series includes topics: diversity in Islam on 5/26 and Islamic art on 9/9. RSVP to rsvp [at] nlight.org --------7 of 14-------- From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Vegan dinner 5.26 6pm Join EarthSave Twin Cities as we "dine-out" at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant: Saturday, May 26, 2007, 6:00 P.M. "Mysore Cafe" (Indian, vegan, vegetarian), 2819 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. Please try to RSVP to the EarthSave info line by 2:00 PM on Saturday (May 26th): 952-930-1205. For directions, please call the restaurant: 612 871-1110. --------8 of 14-------- And Now It's a Democratic War Kerrycrats All! By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch May 24, 2007 The defining moment of the disastrous and laughable presidential campaign of John Kerry for president came when he tried to explain his vacillating and spineless position on the Iraq War, saying, of an earlier war funding appropriations bill "I voted for the bill before I voted against it." That sleazy, two-faced, slippery effort to have it both ways, to give himself the ability to tell some voters he was "supporting the troops" while telling others he was "against the war," sank his candidacy faster than any swiftboat cannonfire could have hoped to. Now Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and a whole slew of so-called Congressional progressives, are trying the same gambit. Pelosi and Reid, too timid to seriously confront President Bush and call a halt to the disastrous war on Iraq by simply refusing to fund it, have orchestrated a bill that provides the president full funding to carry on with the killing for the rest of his term, while allowing those of them who have to confront anti-war voters to claim they voted against their own measure. "I will vote against this bill," says Pelosi, who personally crafted this cave-in to Bush and Cheney. The whole Democratic Party caucus in Congress has morphed horribly into John Kerry clones. They will be voting against the war funding bill that they engineered, knowing that with Republican support, the bill will pass and go to the president with no strings attached. The Iraq War is now fully a Democratic War. The hand-off is complete, just as the handoff of the Democratic Vietnam War was handed off to Richard Nixon and the Republicans in 1968. One can only hope that the Kerrycrats, including Pelosi, Reid, and the rest, will suffer the same fate as did presidential candidate John Kerry, in the coming primaries and the 2008 general election. Voters remember: It's not what candidates say; it's what they actually do, or don't do. Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's newest book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. He can be reached at: dlindorff [at] yahoo.com --------9 of 14------- The Utter Futility of Lesser Evilism by Kim Petersen / May 24th, 2007 "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!" - George H.W. Bush US Congressional Democrats, in "a wrenching reversal," backed down on their demand for a timetable on the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.1 It flies in the face of the electoral will of Americans expressed in 2006, and it exposes, again, who the master of the Democratic Party is. The mere fact that US occupation forces, British occupation forces, client states - scanty give-a-veneer-of-coalition forces, and mercenaries are still being repulsed in Iraq by lightly armed guerrilla fighters, that the bombardment of the "safe" Green Zone is increasing, that Basra is spiraling, that the "surge" is sputtering, and that the US-UK are looking for a way out not of their choosing or timing, is clear evidence that the "war" is lost. It demonstrates a limitation of the hyperpower: it can wreak destruction from afar, but it is vulnerable when it attempts to impose occupation. So what prevents the US from immediately pulling its troops completely out from Iraq? With the end of the Bush administration approaching, Republicans are interested in preserving party fortunes and Bush is scrambling for a face-saving presidential legacy. The self-proclaimed war president dug a Sisyphean hole for himself when he foolishly declared the aggression against Iraq to be a mission accomplished. It is not just an invasion-occupation lost in Iraq; there is also the invasion-occupation that is also lost in Afghanistan. The neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century laid out its military policy in the paper "Rebuilding America's Defenses," which warned that "even a small failure like that in Somalia or a halting and incomplete triumph as in the Balkans can cast doubt on American credibility".2 For the Democrats, a troop withdrawal timetable would have hamstrung candidates running for the presidency. It would have put them at odds with their campaign funders (many from the Jewish lobby who support aggression in the Middle East) and the US voters (who now favor removing the forces from Iraq). What Bush Jr. has done is bring back in full force what his father claimed to have vanquished forever: Vietnam syndrome. A resurrected Vietnam Syndrome will hinder American militaristic ambitions. Despite the fact that the imperialistic invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are failed, Washington feels compelled to persist. There is so much at stake: - control of oil. Imagine the shock among US oil oligarchs at seeing the oil in Iran and Iraq being under predominantly Shi'a control - the future of permanent US bases in Iraq. It will be interesting to see how these bases without US forces would be explained - lessons learned: resistance is not futile. Opponents of western imperialism know to develop a deterrent defense, that US occupation forces can be defied and defeated - a potential backlash at the Jewish lobby that goaded the US regime to attack Iraq and is pressing for an attack on Iran - implications for the Zionist occupation of Palestine: will the US continue to pursue a Israel-Palestine policy that supports the theft of land from Palestinians and slow-motion genocide against them? What will the defeat of US occupations forces in Iraq and Israeli occupation forces in south Lebanon portend for the the Zionist occupation of Palestine? - the power of the corporate-political duopoly. Halliburton, Bechtel, and the military-industrial complex profited immensely from unleashing US violence abroad. In the meantime, wealth has been further concentrated among the wealthy few while social programs have been gutted. Will the shrinking middle class and expanding poor classes remain quiescent? - the continued domination of the corporate-political duopoly. The Democrats have stood steadfastly during the Bush presidency behind the Republicans' malapropistic "war on terrorism". What is palpable is that there are negligible differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party regarding corporation-driven and Zionist imperialisms. The two parties are colluding, and, hence, they can be regarded as the same.3 It is clear that Saddam Hussein was duped into attacking Iran and bleeding both countries for eight years. This belligerent policy served naught domestically in the US. But it served US corporate-political and Zionist purposes. Later, the Iraqi government was presented with a false green light to attack Kuwait, which was pressuring Iraq for a speedy repayment of loans used to fight Iran (something that served Kuwaiti oligarchic interests as well) and also, reportedly, slant drilling into Iraq.s Ramallah oil field. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait presented the contrived opportunity for president H.W. Bush to punt Vietnam Syndrome - with the aid of a 28-country coalition. The Republican administration strong-armed UN Security Council backing for a resolution imposing a punishing disarmament and sanctions regime on Iraq. The Democratic administration of Bill Clinton did not waver an iota on the lethal sanctions regime; US official Madeleine Albright even admitted that the killing of half-a-million Iraqi children was worth attaining US foreign policy goals. It is transparent that there is little to distinguish Democrats from Republicans on a most substantive matter: aggressive foreign policy. US foreign policy terrorizes, tortures, and violently kills people abroad. This policy did not begin with the "war on terrorism". It has been around for a long time and is central to US hegemonic aspirations throughout history up to today.4 People who viewed the Republican party, especially while "led" by George W. Bush, as a great evil, identified the logical recourse to be voting for the Democratic Party, reasoning that whatever pain the Democrats inflicted on others would be less than Republican-inflicted pain: something akin to a quick death versus a lingering death. In the end the victim is dead anyway. The tactics used to prevent or hinder the candidacy of third party contender Ralph Nader in 2004 was condemnatory of the Democrats. What kind of presidential slate did the Democrats offer? A man who vowed to boost troop levels and did nothing to placate the antiwar population. Even the propeace candidate Dennis Kucinich did an about-face and pledged solidarity to his warmongering leader John Kerry. A Democratic Party breakthrough came in 2006 when they regained the Congress and Senate over public disaffection with US troops dying and being maimed in Iraq. Deluded people expected a change of course, that Democrats would parlay the antiwar sentiment to buttress their chances for a breakthrough in 2008. Progressives see little attraction in the Republican Party. However, on the flip side of the corporate duopoly, Americans and the world public are presented with the bathos of Democratic presidential contenders prostrating themselves before the Mammon of the Jewish lobby. These candidates mouth platitudes of undying fealty to a foreign state, a state spawned through ethnic cleansing (similar to the US) that cares little for the US that provides sophisticated weaponry and generously pumps billions of dollars into it.5 The US wields its UN Security Council veto in a most irresponsible and self-damaging manner to protect the serial violations of human rights by Israel. This Israel-centric foreign policy means continuing the occupation of Iraq and not "taking anything off the table" regarding Iran. The foreseeable result: Iraq Syndrome will be indelibly stamped on the American consciousness for years to come. In November 2007, the American voter will be presented an option. A vote for either the Republicans or Democrats will, in effect, be a prowar vote. For peace to prevail in the policy of the United States, lesser evilism must be consigned to the political scrap heap. Only a propeace "third" party will set the US on a new path. Outside of a revolution, the election of a propeace "third" party is the only feasible direction on the horizon for Americans truly interested in steering their country toward peace and restoring the ensanguined US reputation. 1. Carl Hulse, "Democrats Pull Troop Deadline From Iraq Bill," New York Times online, 21 May 2007. 2. Thomas Donnelly, Donald Kagan, and Gary Schmitt, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century" (Washington, DC: The Project for a New American Century, September 2000): 5. 3. Frederick H. Gareau, State Terrorism and the United States: From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terrorism (Clarity Press, 2004). 4. William Blum, Rogue State (Common Courage Press, 2000). 5. Is caring typified by spying on one's friends, the sinking of the USS Liberty, the plan to bomb US buildings in Egypt, and urging the US to put the lives of its citizens on the line and having the US's international reputation besmirched? Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim [at] dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim. This article was posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2007 at 3:02 am and is filed under Elections, Democrats and "Third" Party. Send to a friend. --------10 of 14-------- Sacrifice The Troops Bill by Laura Flanders Published on Thursday, May 24, 2007 by CommonDreams.org I spent some of Wednesday with a worried mom from Idaho Falls, Idaho, whose only son is in the National Guard. Once a month he drives 200 miles to train, then he drives 200 miles back home again. (All for $200 most of which is spent on gas.) He served in Bosnia. Will he be deployed to Iraq? "I was counting on the Democrats to stop this war," said Marianne, blue eyes blazing. So were thousands of other mothers. It's time to turn this story around. Rove's wrong. This so-called "supplemental" isn't about supporting troops; this blank-check bill is about sacrificing them. At the current rate of fatalities, another 200-300 US troops will have been killed by the time the Congress votes on funding again. Ten times that many Iraqis will have perished. Squandering human lives and health for Exxon and Chevron's wealth is not supporting the troops. It's sacrificing them. By voting more money for Bush's war, the Congress will be sacrificing more lives to a President who has no plan, for a cause he can't explain, at a cost that none of us can count. The bill your Senator and Representative are likely to vote on today is about sacrificing lives in a country whose people want us gone, where our presence is only inflaming extremists and speeding on theocracy. Once upon a time, the President said something about bringing "democracy" to the middle east. It sends quite a message to the world that the people's majority in the most powerful democracy in the world doesn't give a damn about the people who voted them into office. Vote and still you die. The only way to support the troops is to fully fund their withdrawal now. Call your representative today: 202 224 3121. Vote against the Sacrifice the Troops bill. Stand up for Marianne and the millions of moms - US and Iraqi - who were counting on the American peace and justice movement to stop this madness. Laura Flanders is the author of Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians, out now from The Penguin Press. --------11 of 14-------- Funding Bush's War: This Is No Game by Robert L. Borosage Published on Thursday, May 24, 2007 by TomPaine.com President Bush forced Democrats to "fold," the press reports. He vetoed the Iraq funding bill that set a deadline for getting U.S. troops out of the war. The Republican minority blocked any effort to overturn the veto. Now Congress is about to vote on a funding bill the president will accept, one that doesn't offer a path out of the mess. Bush wins, the Republicans exult, the Democrats "flinch". But this isn't poker. This is life and death. The president insists on escalating the catastrophic occupation of Iraq. He scorned the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton Commission that offered a way out. He scorns the American people who voted in 2006 to bring the debacle to an end. He scorned the majority of both houses of Congress that voted to start bringing the troops home on a date certain. He sustains an occupation opposed by a majority of Americans, a majority of Iraqis and a majority of the Congress. He is aided and abetted in this folly by the Republican minority in Congress, which votes en masse to sustain his vetoes and continue the war. They murmur their concerns, clear their throats, profile their independence, but with rare exceptions, they vote en bloc to support the president's ruinous course. He is aided and abetted in this folly by a minority of Democrats who are afraid to take on the president, fearful of being blamed for undermining the troops, and frightened about being held responsible for bringing the occupation to an end. They, in turn, are misled by the political consultants and the national security "experts" on the Democratic side who have been wrong from the start. They advised Democrats to vote for the war to look strong. They advised Democrats to support the president to look tough. When the folly became apparent, they advised Democrats to avoid being blamed for ending the war. At the beginning of the 2006 election, they advised that Democrats focus on the lack of body armor and the mistreatment of veterans, and stay away from the debate about the war. Now they warn Democrats to keep this "Bush's war" and not get blamed for ending it. Their expert credentials have somehow survived their consistent inanity. The Congress will now vote on a funding bill for Iraq that offers no change of course. Every legislator open to reason, concerned for the troops, worried about this nation's real security, or accountable to the voters will vote against this bill. Those who vote for it are voting to enable a rogue president. They are sacrificing the nation's security and the lives of many young soldiers to stand with George Bush. This vote will be registered. In every state and district of the country, voters will know where their legislator stands. There are no dodges, no excuses. Vote to sustain the rogue president's ruinous course or vote against. This is a question of life and death, not of partisan politics or Beltway political poker. Every legislator is free to vote his or her conscience. Each should be held accountable. The writer is co-director of the Campaign for America's Future. 2007 TomPaine.com --------12 of 14-------- The Entire Government Has Failed Us on Iraq By Keith Olbermann MSNBC Countdown Wednesday 23 May 2007 For the president, and the majority leaders and candidates and rank-and-file Congressmen and Senators of either party - there is only blame for this shameful, and bi-partisan, betrayal. This is, in fact, a comment about betrayal. Few men or women elected in our history - whether executive or legislative, state or national - have been sent into office with a mandate more obvious, nor instructions more clear: Get us out of Iraq. Yet after six months of preparation and execution - half a year gathering the strands of public support; translating into action, the collective will of the nearly 70 percent of Americans who reject this War of Lies, the Democrats have managed only this: The Democratic leadership has surrendered to a president - if not the worst president, then easily the most selfish, in our history - who happily blackmails his own people, and uses his own military personnel as hostages to his asinine demand, that the Democrats "give the troops their money"; The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans; The Democratic leadership has given Mr. Bush all that he wanted, with the only caveat being, not merely meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government, but optional meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government. The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised, are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq. You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions - Stop The War - have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you. for a handful of magic beans. You may trot out every political clich from the soft-soap, inside-the-beltway dictionary of boilerplate sound bites, about how this is the "beginning of the end" of Mr. Bush's "carte blanche" in Iraq, about how this is a "first step." Well, Senator Reid, the only end at its beginning... is our collective hope that you and your colleagues would do what is right, what is essential, what you were each elected and re-elected to do. Because this "first step" - is a step right off a cliff. And this President! How shameful it would be to watch an adult... hold his breath, and threaten to continue to do so, until he turned blue. But how horrifying it is - to watch a President hold his breath and threaten to continue to do so, until innocent and patriotic Americans in harm's way, are bled white. You lead this country, sir? You claim to defend it? And yet when faced with the prospect of someone calling you on your stubbornness - your stubbornness which has cost 3,431 Americans their lives and thousands more their limbs - you, Mr. Bush, imply that if the Democrats don't give you the money and give it to you entirely on your terms, the troops in Iraq will be stranded, or forced to serve longer, or have to throw bullets at the enemy with their bare hands. How transcendentally, how historically, pathetic. Any other president from any other moment in the panorama of our history would have, at the outset of this tawdry game of political chicken, declared that no matter what the other political side did, he would insure personally - first, last and always - that the troops would not suffer. A President, Mr. Bush, uses the carte blanche he has already, not to manipulate an overlap of arriving and departing Brigades into a "second surge" - but to say in unequivocal terms that if it takes every last dime of the monies already allocated, if it takes reneging on government contracts with Halliburton, he will make sure the troops are safe - even if the only safety to be found, is in getting them the hell out of there. Well, any true President would have done that, Sir. You instead, used our troops as political pawns, then blamed the Democrats when you did so. Not that these Democrats, who had this country's support and sympathy up until 48 hours ago, have not since earned all the blame they can carry home. "We seem to be very near the bleak choice between war and shame," Winston Churchill wrote to Lord Moyne in the days after the British signed the Munich accords with Germany in 1938. "My feeling is that we shall choose shame, and then have war thrown in, a little later." That's what this is for the Democrats, isn't it? Their "Neville Chamberlain moment" before the Second World War. All that's missing is the landing at the airport, with the blinkered leader waving a piece of paper which he naively thought would guarantee "peace in our time," but which his opponent would ignore with deceit. The Democrats have merely streamlined the process. Their piece of paper already says Mr. Bush can ignore it, with impugnity. And where are the Democratic presidential hopefuls this evening? See they not, that to which the Senate and House leadership has blinded itself? Judging these candidates based on how they voted on the original Iraq authorization, or waiting for apologies for those votes, is ancient history now. The Democratic nomination is likely to be decided... tomorrow. The talk of practical politics, the buying into of the President's dishonest construction "fund-the-troops-or-they-will-be-in-jeopardy," the promise of tougher action in September, is falling not on deaf ears, but rather falling on Americans who already told you what to do, and now perceive your ears as closed to practical politics. Those who seek the Democratic nomination need to - for their own political futures and, with a thousand times more solemnity and importance, for the individual futures of our troops - denounce this betrayal, vote against it, and, if need be, unseat Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi if they continue down this path of guilty, fatal acquiescence to the tragically misguided will of a monomaniacal president. For, ultimately, at this hour, the entire government has failed us. Mr. Reid, Mr. Hoyer, and the other Democrats... have failed us. They negotiated away that which they did not own, but had only been entrusted by us to protect: our collective will as the citizens of this country, that this brazen War of Lies be ended as rapidly and safely as possible. Mr. Bush and his government... have failed us. They have behaved venomously and without dignity - of course. That is all at which Mr. Bush is gifted. We are the ones providing any element of surprise or shock here. With the exception of Senator Dodd and Senator Edwards, the Democratic presidential candidates have (so far at least) failed us. They must now speak, and make plain how they view what has been given away to Mr. Bush, and what is yet to be given away tomorrow, and in the thousand tomorrows to come. Because for the next fourteen months, the Democratic nominating process - indeed the whole of our political discourse until further notice - has, with the stroke of a cursed pen, become about one thing, and one thing alone. The electorate figured this out, six months ago. The President and the Republicans have not - doubtless will not. The Democrats will figure it out, during the Memorial Day recess, when they go home and many of those who elected them will politely suggest they stay there - and permanently. Because, on the subject of Iraq... The people have been ahead of the media.... Ahead of the government... Ahead of the politicians... For the last year, or two years, or maybe three. Our politics... is now about the answer to one briefly-worded question. Mr. Bush has failed. Mr. Warner has failed. Mr. Reid has failed. So. Who among us will stop this war - this War of Lies? To he or she, fall the figurative keys to the nation. To all the others - presidents and majority leaders and candidates and rank-and-file Congressmen and Senators of either party - there is only blame. for this shameful, and bi-partisan, betrayal. --------13 of 14-------- Strip Down Price Gouging Bill House Democrats Buckle to Big Oil By CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER CounterPunch May 24, 2007 Behold the spineless Democratic Party. On Iraq, no deadlines. On trade, no enforceable worker protections. Now, on oil industry price gouging, collapse. In the face of withering pressure from the oil industry, the Democrats in the House, led by Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Michigan), have reportedly castrated their own legislation. Stupak's original bill - HR 1252 - would make it unlawful to sell crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, or petroleum distillates at a price that "is unconscionably excessive" or "indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage unusual market conditions (whether real or perceived) or the circumstances of an emergency to increase prices unreasonably." The law would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). But according to a report by Darren Goode in Congress Daily AM, late last night, Stupak "added a trigger to his bill allowing the FTC to go after price gougers only during presidentially-declared energy emergencies." In other words - almost never. Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen's Congress Watch called the move "pretty unfortunate." Slocum said that Stupak's original bill would have given the FTC long needed powers to go after oil companies in situations like the one the country is facing today - skyrocketing gasoline prices. "There is no question that the record high gasoline prices we are seeing today amount to just a transfer of wealth," Slocum said. "Up until this point, the FTC has not moved, because the antitrust laws on the books are so weak. There is no price gouging law currently on the books." Stupak and more than 100 House members said they wanted to put that law on the books. But now, it looks like the Democrats have once again caved to the dominant corporate powers that be. The House will vote on the bill later today. Slocum said that Public Citizen was strongly in favor of the original Stupak bill. But if the bill is going to be similar to a bill introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) - only enforceable in times of energy emergencies - Public Citizen would not fight for it. "This shows the oil industry still holds sway over the Democratic Party," Slocum said. "Things are definitely different, but not that much different. Are you going to see the Democrats taking big swings at Big Oil? No." Stupak's office did not return calls seeking comment. Slocum said that some environmental groups want to see higher gasoline prices so that Americans drive less - like in Europe. "But in Europe, the gasoline prices are higher because of taxes," Slocum said. "And the taxes are used to fund mass transit. Here, the money goes straight to the oil companies. It's just a transfer of wealth." Corporate Crime Reporter is located in Washington, DC. They can be reached through their website. --------14 of 14-------- Democrats Collapse on the War Deadly Illusions, Rest in Peace By NORMAN SOLOMON CounterPunch May 24, 2007 This week's cave-in on Capitol Hill - supplying a huge new jolt of funds for the horrific war effort in Iraq - is surprising only to those who haven't grasped our current circumstances. Public opinion polls aren't the same as political leverage. The Vietnam War went on for years after polling showed that most Americans opposed the war and even saw it as immoral. Slick phrases about the need to bring our troops home can easily become little more than platitudes on wallpaper in media echo chambers. No matter how many Democrats are in Congress, they won't end this war unless an antiwar movement develops enough grassroots strength to compel them to do so. Unfortunately - and unnecessarily - for years now the Internet powerhouse MoveOn.org has often functioned as a virtual appendage of the national Democratic Party. That close relationship has largely squandered MoveOn's opportunities to help build strong deep independent activism for the long haul. And, on crucial issues of the Iraq war, MoveOn has failed to back the positions of such gutsy progressive visionaries as Reps. Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters. A statement issued Thursday by the national Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) pointed out that "the approach of the Democratic leadership has utterly failed - as they now prepare to give President Bush $95 billion more war funding through a bill that no longer has any timelines for troop withdrawal." Asking a key question - "How can you oppose a troop escalation while funding it in full?" - PDA reiterated its longstanding position that Democrats in Congress should be "using the power of the purse to cut off funds to Iraq, except those needed to safely withdraw our troops (and for humanitarian/reconstruction aid to the Iraqi people)." And legislators should be "using their investigative power to probe White House deceptions and distortions that propelled the Iraq invasion and occupation, and to impeach if necessary." Memorial Day 2007 comes at a disastrous time. Political power brokers and media elites insist on opting for a mix-merge of tragedy and farce. A key reality is that we won't be able to change the militaristic direction of the country without effectively confronting the congressional Democrats who are fueling the engines of destruction. When considering what to demand now, it's helpful to put the current moment in historical perspective. The same basic arguments for keeping U.S. forces in Iraq have long been presented by reigning politicians and key media outlets as self-evident wisdom. A cover story in Time magazine laid down the prevailing line: "Foreign policy luminaries from both parties say a precipitous U.S. withdrawal would cripple American credibility, doom reform in the Arab world and turn Iraq into a playground for terrorists and the armies of neighboring states like Iran and Syria." That was in April - 2004. Norman Solomon is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. The new documentary film "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," based on Norman Solomon's book of the same title, will be released directly to DVD in June. For information about the full-length movie, narrated by Sean Penn, go to: www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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