Progressive Calendar 05.26.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 26 May 2007 22:53:55 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.26.07

1. Stillwater vigil 5.27 1pm
2. "Welcome" RNC    5.27 1pm
3. KFAI/Indian      5.27 4pm

4. Amnesty Intl     5.28 7pm
5. Climate crisis   5.28 7:30pm

6. Jonathan Feldman    - Congress and the Iraq War vote
7. Dave Lindorff       - Democratic blood money: spend it well
8. Missy Beattie       - Congress plays dead: the worst in history
9. Mike Whitney        - Swan song of the Democrats
10. David Vest         - So you thought they'd end the war
11. John Stauber       - Whitewashing a sell out
12. Matthew Rothschild - Feingold, Kucinich denounce the Democratic cave
13. Frank B Ford       - Philosophy for idiot  (poem)

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From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 5.27 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560

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From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: "Welcome" RNC 5.27 1pm

Sunday, 5/27, 1 pm, anti-authoritarian Republican National Convention
Welcoming Committee open meeting, Jack Pine Community Center, 2815 E Lake
St, Mpls.

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From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at]>
Subject: KFAI/Indian 5.27 4pm

KFAI's Indian Uprising for May 27, 2007  #215

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance
for those who have died in the service of the nation (USA).  After World
War I the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in
the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.
Question:  Does this include the wars against Indigenous people too? - ed.

Music (Uprising) from [SILENCE] IS A WEAPON ­ BLACKFIRE, a double CD
album, published by Tacoho Productions,  Blackfire is a
Dine¹ (Navajo) trio of siblings Jeneda, Klee & Clayson Benally. The have
been awarded the Native American Music Awards ³Group of the Year² for
their 2003 ³Woody Guthrie Singles² recording, and ³Best Pop/Rock Album for
their 2001 full length release, ³One Nation Under.² Disk one features
Blackfire's unique brand of label defying high energy-social political
music which has been called, "Fireball Punk-Rock" by the late godfather of
punk Joey Ramone. Their songs are filled with passion and awareness of
environmental & social justice issues. Disk two comprises a special
selection of traditional Dine' (Navajo) songs. The trio is touring through
Europe and North America for three months.

Music (Crazy Horse) from the CD, "BONE DAYS" by John Trudell (Santee
Sioux), spoken word artist,, ASITIS Productions.
"Crazy Horse - We hear what you say - Too many people - Standing their
ground - Standing the wrong ground - Predators face he possessed a race -
Possession a war that doesn't end - Children of god feed on children of
earth - Days people don't care for people - These days are the hardest -
Material fields material harvest - Decoration on chain that binds -
Mirrors gold the people lose their minds." Note: Crazy Horse (Lakota:
T¹asunka Witko (ca. 1840 ­ killed Sept. 5, 1877) was a respected war
leader of Oglala Lakota, who fought against the U.S. federal government in
an effort to preserve the traditions and values of the Lakota way of life.
* * * * Indian Uprising a one-half hour Public & Cultural Affairs program
is for and by Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 4:00 p.m. over
KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul.  Producer and host is
volunteer Chris Spotted Eagle.  KFAI Fresh Air Radio is located at 1808
Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55454, 612-341-3144. <>

KFAI's website's "Program Archives² of current programs are available for
two weeks. Programs can also be heard via KFAI's "live streaming" using
RealAudio or MP3.  Go to and click "KFAI Live Streams."

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From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 5.28 7pm

There are several local Amnesty International groups in the Twin Cities
area. All of them are welcoming and would love to see interested people
get involved -- find the one that best fits your schedule or location:

Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, May 28th, from 7:00 to 8:00
p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street,
Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or
johns779 [at]

--------5 of 13--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Climate crisis 5.28 7:30pm

Regular meeting of the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities (3CTC).
 EVERY 2nd and 4th Monday at 7:30 pm.  The Freight House Dunn Brothers,
201 3rd Ave S, next door to the Milwaukee Road Depot, Downtown
Minneapolis.  Stop global warming, save Earth!

In solidarity w/people and the planet, Eric 651-644-1173

--------6 of 13--------

A Scandal That Began in the 1940s
Congress and the Iraq War Vote
May 26 / 27, 2007

According to public choice theory, citizens exercise leverage over their
government by using the vote as a major tool. This theory discounts the
weight of corporate media power in influencing citizen consciousness,
Votergate scandals which amount to stolen elections, or elected leaders
who fail to respond to voter choices. But the vote can still be powerful,
particularly when parties feel the need to be accountable to public
choices. The power of the vote has been diluted by: (a) the present
duopoly of power (Republicrats), (b) the kind of Orwellian patriotism that
"protects" troops by sending them on impossible missions; and (c) the
fossilized violence of Bush electoral victories based on theft (2000) and
fear (2004).

The Democrats' failure to stop Bush represents an important civics lesson.
Voting is reduced to a diffused signaling system (rather than a means of
power) when political parties are owned or limited by corporate and
Pentagon power. Thus, those suggesting that the cave in to Bush is a
scandal are in denial. The scandal has been in the making for decades. It
dates from the postwar permanent war economy which the most responsible
historians know began during World War II. At that point, various
constituencies weaned on war money (from defense contractors, to
industrial unions and university scientists) decided that defense
addiction was a worthwhile bargain.

If we are to reclaim our government, we must return to the very idea of
what a state is. As Thomas Paine remarked in Rights of Man, "government is
nothing more than a national association acting on the principles of
society." In other words, the American Revolution created an
accountability system linked to yeoman farmers, among others, in which the
machinery of the government, linked to the association of people, created
accountability. This accountability was renewed during key points in U.S.
history, like during the Populist Movement, the 1930s, and the New Left.

                          The Three Filters:
        Foundations, Established Media and Status Quo Democrats

Why can't contemporary movements similarly promote accountability? One
could point to the growing power of mega-transnational corporations and
politicians who increasingly resemble commodities. Yet, the independent
character of social movements and social change organizations is itself
increasingly compromised.

The ability of citizens' to accumulate economic, media and political
capital is blocked by various filtering systems. Today's social movements,
often serialized and atomized by professionalism and deal making with
established foundations, corporate media and entrenched political parties,
dilute their ability to support popular will. Power is diluted by
exchanges and deals because the contemporary social movement (very much
like the Democratic Party itself) can not generate its own capital or
power accumulation system.

Economic capital often comes from a check written for a 501C3 organization
by an established foundation or wealthy patron with limited political
horizons. Media capital is similarly accessed by fitting into the
established frames, with the dominant paradigm being intellectual
Taylorism, i.e. the political dots of environmental decay, militarism and
the sabotage of democracy remain unconnected. Political capital also comes
by making deals with established Congressional leaders, particularly
status quo Democrats, who take complicated realities and atomize them into
committee perogratives and assignments. As a result, the multifaceted
military society is treated as a "defense issue," not an opportunity cost
against equitable economic development, environmental renewal, the
expansion of social services and even a sensible civilian-based industrial
policy. As Marcus Raskin noted in Being and Doing, the average citizen is
subjected to various forms of "colonization."

                      What is to Be Done?:
         From Political Amnesia to Democratic Fundamentals

The Internet promises a direct way to sidestep political leaders and
potentially allows citizens to accumulate economic, media and political
capital directly. Problem is the Internet is not an ideology or even a
political philosophy. This form is not necessarily married to any specific
radical or even democratic content. Instead, it can be used by Right, Left
and Center. It is in fact now being used to support presidential campaigns
that often seem more diversionary than enlightening. In any case, the very
knowledge of the design of democratic forms is increasingly becoming
obsolete, much like the depleted skills of various machinists, craft
workers and artisans we sometimes read about in the business pages.

Those outraged by Congressional powerlessness have several options. First,
the intellectuals might go back to democratic fundamentals. We could
return to some fundamentalist thinkers like Thomas Jefferson, Paul
Goodman, Henry Wallace, C. Wright Mills, Simone Weil, Hannah Arendt, W. E.
Du Bois, Malcolm X or any number of thinkers who gave us some basic ideas
about accountability structures and how to design and promote them.
Unfortunately, these thinkers' ideas have become passe in the face of
"identity politics," post-modernism, and a revisionist version of
anarchism. Malcolm's ideas about the mosque as mobilization center, Du
Bois endorsement of cooperatives, Goodman's ideas about radical media,
Arendt's notions about local democratic action are lost to a social
amnesia process. Instead of figuring out how to transcend the burdens of
racism, sexism and exploitation, the power structures corresponding to
these are simply deconstructed. The alternatives require reconstruction,
but that is not on many intellectuals' agenda.

Second, political organizers who are not in despair might try to figure
out how to form a bridge between the ideas of such forgotten intellectuals
and the average citizen. Perhaps if local organizers developed sufficient
computer skills in sufficient numbers, they could sidestep the
colonization process created by "the three filters" and political amnesia.
They could build their own means of raising money, organizing citizens,
and helping to educate them about their choices.

Third, visionary politicians of all political parties, foundations,
journalists, intellectuals and activists - among others - ought to create
"study circles," teach ins, town meetings and other kinds of democratic
interventions. We need to begin a local process of renewing democracy from
below. These strategies are a far cry from simply voting and attending
mass street demonstrations - both representing another form of "the
spectacle" that render citizens passive entities expected to follow the
tracks of entrenched leaders and bankrupt policies.

Finally, unaffiliated and under-organized citizens may be confused as to
who or what to turn to. They are caught between various professionalized
and co-opted cultures in established groups which often offer very little
sense of hope. In contrast, the Democratic Party's failures represent is
part of an ongoing legitimacy crisis confronting the U.S. state.
Democratic political entrepreneurs should exploit this crisis and rebuild
U.S. democracy before it's too late.

Jonathan M. Feldman is a lecturer at Stockholm University and part of the
network, He is author of a forthcoming
article in Social Text, "From Warfare State to 'Shadow State': Militarism,
Economic Depletion and Reconstruction."

--------7 of 13--------

Spend It Well
Democratic Blood Money
May 26 / 27, 2007

The Democrats, fresh from selling out the soldiers and marines in Iraq by
handing the mad George Bush $120 billion to continue funding his war, are
claiming victory.

Oh, they can't hide the fact that they gave up on the war issue. But
they're quick to brag that they won a big one by cleverly including in the
war funding supplemental bill a hike in the minimum wage, bringing the
federal rate from the current $5.15/hour to $7.25.

But America's long-suffering working poor better hold the champagne.

This bold stroke on their behalf by Congressional Democrats won't happen
right away. Although America's lowest paid workers have been slaving away
at $5.15 an hour since last September 1, they won't get the first part of
the new pay increase until the end of this summer, when it will go up a
whopping 13 percent to $5.85 per hour (to put that in perspective, that's
$28/week more, less taxes, for someone working a 40-hour week). They'll
have to wait until around this time next year before they get another
boost to $6.55 an hour, and they won't get that full $7.25 an hour that
the Democrats are hooting about until 2009.

And remember, we're talking about blood money here.

This was a raise paid for in the blood of American servicepeople, and the
blood of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, many of them innocent

Besides, that whole raise of 40 percent over two years will actually look
a whole lot less by the time they get it, thanks to the actions of Bush
and the Democratic Congress.

Figure that the Iraq War, which is costing the nation, at this point, over
$300 billion a year in cold cash, and probably double that if you factor
in the credit on the debt (the whole thing is being paid for on credit),
is a major reason the dollar is sinking against major currencies. That
means higher prices for most imported goods, which means just about
everything that working stiffs have to buy. It also means higher than
necessary interest rates, because keeping interest rates high relative to
other countries is the only way the U.S. has left to keep the dollar from
crashing totally to the level of a third world currency. Those higher
interest rates mean higher mortgage costs and higher credit card interest
payments to working people. And don't forget gas prices. The oil companies
will tell you that the doubling of gas prices since Bush took office is
all a matter of "market forces," but the truth is it's mostly been the war
and threats to Middle East supplies that have bid up the per-barrel price
and allowed the gouging to happen.

So netting it all out, it's likely that the higher minimum wage the
Democrats just bought at the price of giving Bush his war money will
simply vanish by the time people get it.

Besides, the federal minimum wage increase is much less of a deal than it
might even appear, since many states have already raised the minimum wage
for their workers. In California, workers earn at least $7.50/hour, and
that goes to $8.00/hour next January. In New York, the minimum wage is
$7.15. It's also $7.15/hour in Alaska, and will be on July 1 in Michigan
and Pennsylvania. Illinois workers, currently earning $6.95/hour, will see
their minimum go to $7.50 on July 1. Many other states have minimum wages
close to or above $7.00/hour already.

Some deal those Democrats made with Bush!

Boy, they really stood tough with a president who was bargaining from a 28
percent approval rating in the polls.

Kind of makes you proud you voted them into control of Congress last
November doesn't it?

Spend it well!

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]

--------8 of 13--------

Congress Plays Dead
The Worst in History
May 26 / 27, 2007

According to Democratic Party leaders, the new Iraq funding bill, which is
concession-as-usual to the worst president in the history of our country,
is a "temporary setback." Ninety U.S. troops have died in the last 25
days. Almost 1,500 Iraqi civilians have been killed in May.

"We regret to inform you that your child, your soldier child, has been
killed because of a temporary setback."

The worst president in the history of this democracy had vowed to veto
legislation with restrictions on troop deployments, but he didn't have to.
Because most of the people we've elected to represent us simply aren't.
And those who aren't are covered with the blood of our military dead and
wounded as well as the blood of so many Iraqis.

The worst president in the history of this land of opportunity continues
to talk "sacrifice" and, after having his way with Congress, made this
statement: "We're going to expect heavy fighting." In other words, the
death count will climb higher and higher and more of our young men and
women will be blown to bits thousands of miles from home in a country
whose people are also being blown to bits. Iraqis who have not yet been
blown to bits perceive us as occupiers and believe that it is okay to blow
our troops to bits.

So, the worst president in the history of this former land of opportunity,
a man who should be impeached for crimes against humanity, was able,
again, to manipulate the worst Congress in the history of our country.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just said that Bush's Iraq plan is unraveling
but Congress has proved that it, too, is in tatters. Senate Republican
Leader Mitch McConnell pontificated that Bush will show the way.
Tragically, the president's way is a path into the shadow of death.

The worst president in our history is a demonic war president. The worst
Congress in our history is a war Congress.

After the deadline-free bill was passed, Russ Feingold said: "We are
moving backwards." He is wrong. We are wildly falling into an abyss of
destruction because we have an egomaniacal head of state who is the worst
president, a fascist who has betrayed all but his corporate cronies, and
who is supported by the worst Congress.

The United States of America has a life-threatening illness. Removing the
worst president in the history of what has become George's personal
kingdom, along with Vice Cheney, and every Congressman and woman who value
oil and the profits of war over human life, must be the demand of each
citizen. This is the requirement for redemption, if it's not too late.
Because with each temporary setback, we have more numerous, permanent,
fall-to-the-floor agony via the ringing of the doorbell by military
messengers whose words change lives forever. And we incur the world's
wrath for our imperialism, disregard for life, and hypocrisy.

The worst president delivers another parcel of catastrophic policy,
declarations, and religious dogma while he bubble wraps himself in denial.
By declaring that history will judge him, Bush remains unaccountable and
shows no responsibility to the voters who graded him a failure last
November. But, then, the people don't matter anymore. George fires his
rifle into the air and Congress plays dead.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public
Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush
Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families
for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her
nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she
has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:
Missybeat [at]

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You Can't Stand on Principles When You're in Retreat
Swan Song of the Democrats
May 26 / 27, 2007

The Democrats did us all a favor by giving Bush his Iraq war-money. After
all, the Dems have supported the war from the get-go; so why not expose
them as the hypocrites they really are?

The truth is, no one is really surprised by Friday's vote. We have one
party in America "the War Party" - the Dems are merely a junior partner in
that system.

It boggles the mind that so many so-called "liberals" continue to be
hoodwinked by the Democratic Party. After all, what do they offer - a
slight boost in the hourly wage? Better management of foreign massacres?!?

But, what else? The Democrats are even giving ground on a women's "right
to choose", which, up until now, had been their one defining issue. Now
even that is eroding.

So, what do the Democrats really stand for?

This is not the party of F.D.R., my friend. This is the party of Bill
Clinton, the Master of Triangulation. Clinton was nothing more than the
flip-side of George Bush. The bombing of Belgrade was as big a crime as
Shock and Awe - although it was cleverly masked behind Clinton's "Aw
shucks" charm and the ever-compliant media.

Clinton sold out the American worker by passing NAFTA. He dismantled the
social safety net with his Welfare Reform. He destroyed the last vestiges
of the free media by signing the Telecommunications Act. And he revealed
his utter lack of principle by refusing to sign the Land Mines Treaty - a
document that would have saved the lives of thousands of children every

Smart guy - no principles.

Clinton never did anything that wasn't politically calculated. Hell, he
probably had his slide-rule out during his visits with Monica to figure
out the exact amount of gratification he could have without feeling
guilty. Sure, he was bright and good natured but, his critics are also
right - he was utterly devoid of principle. And yet, this is the
Democratic Party's "big hero"; a man who has become the shining example
for the future leaders in the party.

What a disaster!

The Democratic Party is not the party that people think it is. This is the
party of Rahm Emanuel and the DLC. The leadership is unwaveringly pro-war,
pro Israel, and pro free trade. There's no room for anything else. The
Democrats have no intention withdrawing from Iraq. That's just speculation
on the part of blindly-optimistic voters who still believe that their
voices will be heard. They won't be heard. The Democrats will NEVER get us
out of Iraq.

The real position of the Dems on Iraq is even MORE IMMORAL than the
Republicans. They want to redeploy outside of the country while reducing
the number of troops on the ground. In other words, they want to build a
"sustainable" model for stealing the world's second largest petroleum

It's a more discreet strategy than Bush's bloody "surge", but is any less

It would be better for the country if the Democratic Party just called it
quits and disbanded right now. (although, they appear to be doing a pretty
good job of that already)

The party is a bigger obstacle to progressive reform and systemic change
than the Republicans. [Amen -ed]

As long as the Dems continue to trick people into believing that they
represent substantive change - or even a serious defense of their vital
economic interests - the charade will persist and things will get worse.

Real progressive reform should address the central issues facing, not only
Americans, but the entire world - nuclear proliferation, global warming,
peak oil, population growth, food supply and disease.

Reform isn't even part of the Democrat's agenda. Like their Republican
counterparts, they are primarily focused on enriching corporate donors,
facilitating free trade, and chasing shadowy Islamic groups through
Central Asia and the Middle East.

Real reform would restore progressive taxation by reinstating the brackets
that were used during the early 1950s; that is, everyone making over
$200,000 per year ($1 million by today's standards) pays 93% of their
earnings! Without a concerted effort to narrow the massive wealth gap
through redistribution the country will continue along its present path to
tyranny. Those who have benefited most from the security, infrastructure
and prosperity provided by state should naturally pay more. That is the
fundamental tenet of progressive taxation and it is essential if we want
to strengthen the middle class and "raise all boats" (as the Republicans
like to say)

Besides, who's going to lose sleep over taxing the rich?

A progressive platform should also include a plan to nationalize the oil
industry. The record profits from oil production should be going into
infrastructure, education and alternate fuels - not fattening the foreign
banks accounts of obscenely rich oil moguls. In an age of resource
scarcity, we cannot allow the market to decide who will get access to the
energy that everyone needs to maintain minimal standards of comfort.

We've already seen how big oil is willing to use our children as cannon
fodder in their wars of aggression. We've also seen how they work
tirelessly to confuse the public on crucial issues such as global warming
by pumping millions of dollars into bogus science and misleading public
relations campaigns. The oil industry operates without a conscience
putting its bottom line above the very survival of the species. The best
thing to do is "return the favor" by seizing the industry - Hugo Chavez
style - and putting it to work for the people it is supposed to serve. If
the oil executives still choose to continue the fight for Iraqi oil; we
should provide them with sidearms and Kevlar vests and turn them lose in
Baghdad. Let them fend for themselves - everyone else comes home.

The country doesn't need two War Parties run by the same establishment
elites. The present system is a fraud which marginalizes 95% of the
American people and makes democracy impossible. What we need is a Labor
Party that addresses the issues which are critical to working class
people. Labor Party affiliation should be the equivalent of union
membership - providing a clear statement of support for pensions,
universal health care, maternity leave, yearly wage increases tied to
productivity, profit sharing, collective bargaining rights and 50%
representation on all corporate boards. The goal of a Labor Party should
not merely be to live off the scraps from the corporate table, but to
share political power in shaping the country's economic agenda. That's the
only way that we can balance class-based interests and avoid unnecessary
future conflicts.

Anyone who thinks politics is just about "making money" is nuts. Political
parties emerge to take power - and that should be the objective of Labor -
raw political power. Nothing else will do.

What's needed is a broad coalition of leftist organizations coalescing in
a party that represents the objectives of working people.

Labor needs a voice in government and the Democrats are not that voice.

By capitulating to Bush, the Democratic Party has cut the ground out from
beneath itself and hastened its own demise. Good riddance. Now, let's push
the rusty hulk out of the road and go forward.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at:
fergiewhitney [at]

--------10 of 13--------

"I Don't Understand These People!"
So You Thought They'd End the War
May 25, 2007

Welcome to the Show, kid.

The Democrats have "surrendered" on Iraq. Liberals are "shocked." And all
the innocents who didn't know any better, didn't see it coming, feel

Poor Duncan Black, better known as "Atrios," is nearly at a loss for
words: "People hate Bush, hate Republicans, and hate this war," he
protests, and yet the Democrats caved!

"I don't understand these people," he wails.


Keith Olbermann, using the same tone of humorless, near-postal anger he
uses in every commentary, no matter the topic, calls the Democratic
rollover a "Neville Chamberlain moment."

I prefer to think of it as a teachable moment.

At a time when even conservatives have come to loathe Bush, when people
who thought he was going to round up all the "illegal aliens" and deport
them are so upset, they think impeachment's too good for him, the
Democrats labor to craft legislation "acceptable" to him.

Liberals have already spent six and a half years loathing Bush - longer
if they live in Texas, a state whose statutes are said to recognize two
classes of persons: Fuckors and Fuckees.

(Republicans and Democrats, the big shots, belong to the former class. You
and I belong to the latter.)

There is nothing particularly wrong with loathing Bush. It only becomes a
problem when it prevents progressives from finally figuring out that the
people they're really going to end up having to fight are the Democrats.

As Big Walter the Thunderbird used to say, "Sho' is tough."

Right now, both major parties are playing dodge ball with the planet,
trying to avoid "ownership" of Iraq. The only way at this point to "own"
the war is to stop it, and there is no serious move afoot to make that

Having used antiwar sentiment, and disgust over Katrina, to regain control
of Congress, the Democrats have no intention of relinquishing power. They
all "support the troops," who are being asked to "lay down their lives for
America" in far Mesopotamia - but you didn't expect these people you
elected to lay down their political careers for the good of the country
... did you?

Of course not. Already Michael Tomasky is praising the Dems for practicing
"smart politics," as though winning the White House in 2008 were far more
important than "merely" ending the war in Iraq.

How quickly "put us into power and we'll change things" becomes "put us
into power and watch it change us."

For the corporate powers behind the candidates, the rule is as it ever
was: from time to time, things have to change in order to stay the same.

But (someone protests), can't you at least admit that the Democrats are
better than the Republicans? And if you love the country, or care about
the world, aren't you obligated to support the lesser of two evils, even
if it's only slightly less evil?

To which I reply: What's really evil is being forced to choose between
people on the one hand who support the war, and accuse anyone who
questions it of "helping the terrorists" - and people on the other who
oppose the war, criticize the war, pledge to the end the war, and then
vote to keep it going.

Or being asked to choose between the village idiot and someone who's
consistently outsmarted by him.

Once upon a time, Bill Clinton filled the Interior Department with
"environmentalists." Bush filled it with oil company hacks. Who was more

Lo and behold, when they cut down the old growth forest, it didn't make
much difference to the trees and the rivers and the critters, whether oil
company insiders or professional environmentalists were sitting at the
desks in Washington. Eight years of Clinton-Gore, two terms of
Bush-Cheney: the toxic dumps remain, and only the rhetoric has changed, to
protect the nave.

Demonstrably now, it makes no difference to the war whether Republicans or
Democrats control Congress. Do you suppose the shooting will end, on the
day when a refined, well-spoken Democrat, who reads poetry perhaps and
scorns the religious right, and who doesn't embarrass us when receiving
foreign dignitaries, succeeds the bumbling oaf Bush?

Think so? Or do you suspect people will soon be wailing, "I don't
understand these people! They control Congress, the White house, and the
military! Why don't they stop the war?"

Perhaps apologists will go on CNN to reassure us: "The president wants to
stop the war, really. But first she has to form a consensus, and set her
legislative agenda in Congress, and build up her political capital. And
when, not if, she wins re-election, then in that second term she'll be
free to act, and she'll have that mandate, and I think you'll start to see
some movement on ending this war."

Sound about right?

Look. Millions of people marched in the streets trying to prevent the
invasion of Iraq, long before Bush sent a cruise missile into a Baghdad
neighborhood trying to "take out" Saddam Hussein with one wild lunge, like
the man who shot Liberty Valance. Without result, in either case.

People marched and listened to speeches and then went home. The opinion of
the multitudes counted for nothing. No one in power saw the slightest need
to pay attention to them. They're still not paying attention. Why would
they, as long as those bags of money keep coming in through the transom?

The system is broken. It can't be fixed. As long as the Fuckors run it, it
will continue to be utterly unresponsive to the will of the Fuckees.

The system tolerates, even welcomes antiwar people, but it co-opts them if
it can. Just as the oil companies co-opted Earth Day, and just as the
nuclear power industry hopes to turn global warming into a wholly-owned

In one party, if you're antiwar, you can get a job as Rudy Giuliani's

In the other one ... well, if you still "don't understand these people,"
what's it going to take?

As the great working class poet Charlie Musselwhite says in "Black Water,"
the devastating post-Katrina anthem from his CD Delta Hardware:

"Hello America -- are you ready for more?"

David Vest can be reached through his web site at A
new CD featuring him, "The Last of the Best: Live Recordings by the Paul
deLay Band," will be released on June 12.

--------11 of 13--------

Whitewashing a Sell Out
Democratic Spin Won't End the War in Iraq
May 25, 2007

After several months of empty posturing against the war in Iraq,
politicians in Washington have made what Democratic congressman James P.
Moran called a "concession to reality" by agreeing to give President Bush
virtually everything he wanted in funding and unrestricted license to
continue waging the increasingly detested war that has made Bush the most
unpopular president since Richard Nixon.

This is the outcome that we warned against two months ago when we wrote
"Why Won't MoveOn Move Forward?" In it, we criticized MoveOn for
backpedaling on its previously claimed objective of ending the war in Iraq
immediately. Anti-war sentiment was the main factor behind last year's
elections that brought Democrats to power in both houses of Congress. Once
in power, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed through a
"compromise" bill, supported by MoveOn, that offered $124 billion in
supplemental funding for the war. To make it sound like they were voting
for peace, the Democrats threw in a few non-binding benchmarks asking Bush
to certify progress in Iraq, coupled with language that talked about
withdrawing troops next year.

Understanding how legislative processes work, we expected then that even
those few nods to anti-war sentiment would be eliminated in due course.
Bush had already said he would veto the Pelosi bill and pledged to hold
out for funding without restrictions of any kind. Moreover, there was
little doubt that the Democratic leadership would eventually cave to his
demands. Notwithstanding their stage-managed photo ops and rhetorical
flourishes for peace, prominent Democrats signaled early that they would
give Bush the funding he wanted. Barack Obama even went so far as to state
publicly that once Bush vetoed the original bill, Congress would approve
the money because "nobody wants to play chicken with our troops on the
ground." (Two weeks later, MoveOn announced that it had polled its
members, and Obama was their "top choice to lead the country out of
Iraq.") In effect, the confrontation between Bush and the Democrats was a
high-stakes game of poker in which the Democrats went out of their way to
make it clear that they would fold once Bush called their bluff.

Not everyone saw this coming, of course. Back in March, called
MoveOn's Eli Pariser "shrewdly pragmatic" for backing Pelosi's original
supplemental war funding bill. It quoted Pariser predicting that after
Bush was "forced to veto" Pelosi's bill, "That forces the Republicans to
choose between an increasingly isolated president and the majority of the
Congress and the majority of the American people."

Similar "shrewd pragmatism" came from blogger and Democratic campaign
consultant Matt Stoller at, praising MoveOn's "dedication to
practical results" and calling the Pelosi bill "a major step forward ...
Moveon was true to its members in helping this happen." Stoller criticized
us by name for our naivete in thinking otherwise:

John Stauber, who is an ardent critic of Moveon, comes from a different
generation of liberal activism. ...

Stauber isn't used to a non-Southern Democratic Party. It's nothing he's
ever known, and it's frankly nothing that any of us have ever known. None
of us know how to wield power in this new political world, where the
public is liberal, the military industrial state is cannibalizing itself,
and the political system is (slowly) reorienting itself around this
shocking new paradigm. Stauber is also not used to the idea that activist
liberals actually like the Democratic Party. He believes that Moveon
members would not support Democratic leaders if presented with a different
set of choices, without acknowledging that Moveon members have
traditionally supported Democratic leaders when the questions are tactical
in nature.

A "tactic," as the dictionary explains, is "an expedient for achieving a
goal." If the goal is to end the war in Iraq, the Pelosi bill was never a
tactic that had any chance of succeeding. Its provisions had no teeth and
it was clear that too many Democrats never intended to see the fight
through. As this week's betrayal by the Democratic leadership
demonstrates, ending the war is simply not their goal. Their goal is to
continue the war for the time being, while giving themselves just enough
distance from it that they can run as the anti-war party in next year's
presidential and congressional elections. Stoller seems to have belatedly
arrived at this realization himself. Responding to this week's news, he

We're in Iraq because the political system, the public, and all of us
became unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood. We're still in
Iraq, and will be there until the public is genuinely convinced to leave.
Right now, we're not there. I know what the polls say, but I also am
watching Clinton, Edwards, Obama, Giuliani, Romney, etc running for
President, and not one of them is calling for a full withdrawal. Not one.
Clinton, the leading nominee in a supposedly antiwar party, is a hawk and
doesn't even think that voting to authorize the war was a mistake.

Amazingly, the conclusion that Stoller draws from these facts is the
following non sequitur:

So do not tell me that Pelosi, Reid, and Moveon are doing a bad job. They
are not. They are persuading a country and a politics that is used to lazy
bullshit that kills a lot of people to think twice about it, and resist.

Here's the point that Stoller seems to have missed: There is a difference
between what the public wants and what politicians do. Just because the
high and mighty politicians don't get it yet, don't assume that the
average American doesn't. It is not "the public" that needs to be
persuaded. The politicians, their marketing campaigns, and the bloggers
who join them may be "unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood,"
but the public at large fully understands that we need to get out of Iraq.
The question is simply how to translate that public awareness into
effective pressure that will force the politicians to change course. As we
wrote in March, "When politicians and advocacy groups like MoveOn play
anti-war games of political theater while effectively collaborating with
the war's continuation, they merely add one more deception to the layers
of lies in which this war has been wrapped."

Since 2003 we've co-authored two books on Iraq, and we have been reporting
on the war for over five years now, since we began to dissect the Bush
administration's propaganda push almost immediately after 9/11. We've been
reporting on MoveOn for almost as long. And by the way, we are not "ardent
critics" of MoveOn, as Stoller claimed. We are trying to constructively
criticize an organization whose leaders mean well, even though they have
been selling a flawed strategy. MoveOn has emerged as a powerful political
player with a massive email list of more than three million names and the
ability to raise millions of dollars for Democrats while waging innovative
PR campaigns around the environmental, political and social issues they

The bottom line, however, is that MoveOn until now has always been a big
"D" Democratic Party organization. It began as an online campaign to
oppose the impeachment of President Clinton, and its tactical alliances
with Democratic politicians have made it part of the party's current power
base, which melds together millionaire funders such as George Soros and
the Democracy Alliance, liberal unions like SEIU, and the ballyhooed
Netroots bloggers like Matt Stoller, Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas
Zniga of the Daily Kos. At a personal level, we presume the members of
this coalition genuinely want the war to end, but their true and primary
priority is winning Democratic Party control of both houses of Congress
and the White House. Now that the war in Iraq hangs like a rotting
albatross around the neck of the Bush administration, it has become the
Democrats' best weapon to successfully campaign against Republicans. From
a "shrewdly pragmatic" point of view, therefore, they have no reason to
want the war to end soon.

Some Democrats (not the top politicians, of course) are saying this
openly. Here, for example, is how one blogger at the Daily Kos sees

I know, that means more American casualties, more Iraqi casualties, more
treasure and lives wasted.

But I think you've got to keep in mind the big picture here. ... [B]y the
end of September, people will be beginning to pay real attention to the
next election...

I think this does give the Democratic party a tremendous opportunity to
crush the Republicans for perhaps a couple of decades to come. Iraq, and
the Republican support of it, may well do for the Republicans what Vietnam
did for Democrats - make the public suspicious for decades about the
party's bona fides on foreign policy.

In this analysis, "more treasure and lives wasted" are the "little
picture," while winning elections is "the big picture." Democrats like
Russ Feingold who oppose the Iraq supplemental do not share this strategy,
and it is never explicitly stated even by the Democratic politicians who
are signing on this week to fund the war, but it is implicit in their

If you visit the MoveOn website today as we write, the top item on the
page is a request for people to sign a petition against price gouging by
oil companies. They're focused on the "big picture" of using the current
spike in gasoline prices as an opportunity to build their email list,
while the little picture of ending the war has fallen from the top of the
page. Yesterday MoveOn began a campaign calling on Democrats to vote no on
the Iraq supplemental. MoveOn is also talking for the first time about
supporting primary challengers to Democrats who "ran on ending the war but
vote for more chaos and more troops in Iraq." This belated spark of
independence, however, is too little and too late to stop a deal that has
already been struck, in which politicians that MoveOn has been supporting
have just surrendered ground from a position of strength to a president
and party that is weakened, on an issue of utmost importance to their

MoveOn is expert at marketing, PR and advertising. Their emails to members
convey a friendly, informal style and a sense that "they" are just like
"us." But there are important differences between the organization and
many of the people who sign their petitions and give them money. MoveOn
has not been primarily a movement against the war. It has been a movement
of Democrats to get the party back into power.

We do not doubt that MoveOn's leadership sincerely believes they are
pursuing the most practical and effective course to improve America's
political problems by vanquishing the Republicans and getting Democrats
elected. However, when given a choice between building a powerful
grassroots movement to end the war, versus exploiting the war for the
benefit of getting Democrats elected, MoveOn has repeatedly chosen the
latter while probably believing there is no difference.

There is an organized anti-war movement in America that is not an adjunct
of the Democratic Party. Up until now, it has been weak and divided and
unable to organize itself into an effective national movement in its own
right. In its place, therefore, MoveOn and its Netroots allies have become
identified as the leadership of the anti-war movement. It is vitally
important, however, that a genuinely independent anti-war movement
organize itself with the ability to speak on its own behalf.

In the 1950s and the 1960s, the civil rights movement was most definitely
not an adjunct of the Democratic or Republican Parties. Far from it, it
was a grassroots movement that eventually forced both parties to respond
to its agenda. Likewise, the movement against the Vietnam War was not
aligned with either the Democratic or Republican parties, both of which
claimed to have plans for peace while actually pursuing policies that
expanded the war.

That's the sort of movement we need again, if we wish to see peace in our

John Stauber is Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy
in Madison, Wisconsin and co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception and The
Best War Ever. He can be reached at: john [at]

--------12 of 13--------

Feingold, Kucinich Denounce the Democratic Cave
by Matthew Rothschild
Published on Friday, May 25, 2007 by The Progressive

And so the Democrats caved, pathetically, to Bush and to Bush's war.

"It tells American workers that the only way they will get an increase in
wages is to continue to support funding the war which is taking the lives
of their sons and daughters," Kucinich said.

No amount of extenuation can minimize the fact that the Democrats, who
were brought to power in Congress to end the war, have just signed on to
another $120 billion for that war.

There is not even a timetable for withdrawal, just 18 benchmarks that the
President himself can waive.

What an abdication!

What a capitulation!

Even as U.S. soldiers are increasingly bogged down in Baghdad, even as the
death toll of our troops zoomed past the 3,400 mark, the Democratic
compromisers in Congress could not find enough spinal fluid to stand tall
against Bush and the inevitable you-don't-support-the-troops ads that they
fear so much.

Well, they're going to have to summon the courage to withstand those ads
at some point, or they'll end up voting for an additional hundred billion
dollars down the road.

With this vote, they'll be consigning hundreds of additional soldiers to
their deaths.

Largely to blame for this is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who
mindlessly trumpeted the bill as some sort of an accomplishment.

"For heaven's sake, look where we've come," he said. "It's a lot more than
the President ever expected he'd have to agree to".

Is it really?

Bush essentially got everything he wanted. No timetable. No mandatory
benchmarks. And all the money he needs to keep waging the war.

Also to blame is Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the
House Democratic Caucus, who is an old Clinton triangulator. "I view this
as the beginning of the end of the President"s policy," he somehow managed
to mutter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi showed no leadership on this issue. She even
helped broker a deal that she herself can't abide. "I'm not likely to vote
for something that doesn't have a timetable," she said. So why did she go

At least two Democratic members of Congress distinguished themselves in
their opposition to this primitive cave.

Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin said: "I cannot support a bill that
contains nothing more than toothless benchmarks and that allows the
President to continue what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in
our nation's history. There has been a lot of tough talk from members of
Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for
political comfort won out over real action".

And Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio exposed the hideousness of one
of the strategies of the Democratic leadership: to salt the bill with an
increase in the minimum wage.

"It tells American workers that the only way they will get an increase in
wages is to continue to support funding the war which is taking the lives
of their sons and daughters," Kucinich said. "First, blood for oil. Now, a
minimum wage for maximum blood. Aren't the American people giving enough
blood for this war without having to give more to have a wage increase?"

Not a penny more should be spent on this war, except to get our troops out
of there.

That's what the American people want.

And it is the height of cowardice and negligence for the Democrats to give
Bush what he wants, instead.

Barbara Lee Condemns Iraq Bill

On the House floor on May 24, Representative Barbara Lee issued the
following statement:

"Mr. Speaker, in 2003 Congress approved a $78 billion dollar supplemental.
In 2004 it was $87 billion. In 2005 it was $82 billion. In 2006 it was $72
billion. And now the administration wants almost $100 billion more?

"As of today, 3,429 of our brave troops and countless Iraqis have died in
this occupation. The President has dug us into a deep hole in Iraq and it
boggles my mind that Congress wants to give him another blank check to buy
more shovels.

"This occupation and civil war cannot be won militarily. Mr. Speaker, how
many will have to die before this House stops writing blank checks?

"Mr. Speaker, the American people are looking to Congress to end this
failed policy and bring our troops home.

"Two months ago, we took the Lee Amendment to the Rules Committee, which
would have fully funded the safe and timely withdrawal of U.S forces from
Iraq. That is what we should be voting to do today, not to give the
President another blank check. I urge my colleagues to vote against this

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

 2007 The Progressive

--------13 of 13--------

Philosophy For Idiot
May 26 / 27, 2007

Like millions of naifs, voted
to end the war. Democrats
took that charge seriously by

way of dazzling softshoe. I'm
of the type vegetating in Con-
gressional offices to be

patronized with pap like this:
"You don't grasp the politics!"

(Maybe a stop on the tour, YOUR

grasp is dough and the same smear
of slugs bribing both camps. So,

finally, Dems cave on funding the war, that
obscenity of our time authored, under-
stating, by liars, crooks and charlatans.

(Our children's blood a mean commodity
for ambitiously patriotic priorities.)

Thus, party of temporary hope in toilet,
ears stopped by roiling flush.

"Fercrisakes!" spout you, "grow up!
Parties same! Insist on difference?
Republican and Republican-Lite."

Too much like tinny pop culture glitz!
Vegas without true whores. I must see
Democrats with more fiber than that!

As Quislings.

Frank Ford writes in a region of Florida swarming with cars resembling
inverted hottubs.


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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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