Progressive Calendar 06.29.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 00:09:29 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   06.29.07

1. Global poverty   6.30 10am
2. Pastors4Peace    6.30 10:30am
3. mnnPACT/health   6.30 1pm
4. YAWR/walkout     6.30 4pm
5. Vs RNC           6.30 4pm
6. Cuba             6.30 7pm Duluth

7. Universal values 7.01 10am
8. Indian uprising  7.01 7pm

9. ImpeachForPeace  - Rep Ellison signs impeachment resolution
10. ImpeachForPeace - Another impeachment cosigner with Ellison
11. N Freudenberg   - Sicko and the 2008 election
12. Marie Cocco     - Watch SiCKO and call your Congressman in the morning
13. StClair & Frank - Time to kick out the corporate bastards
14. Dave Lindorff   - Congress needs to stop playing on Bush's court
15. Winslow Wheeler - Changing lightbulbs in the Dems' bordello
16. Paul Buchheit   - The myth of democratic pacifism

--------1 of 16--------

From: MN Oxfam Action Corps <oxfam.mn [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Global poverty 6.30 10am

Speak Out: End Global Poverty - June 30, 2007 at the Minneapolis Midtown
Global Market

Join fellow anti-poverty advocates this Saturday, June 2007 from 10am -
8pm at the Minneapolis Midtown Global Market, located at Chicago Ave. and
Lake Street for a one-of-a-kind day of live music, food, activities for
kids, and Farm Bill reform!

With food and crafts vendors from around the world, the Global Market is a
natural place to raise awareness about the US Farm Bill's role in creating
global poverty and Minnesota's exciting opportunity to be part of the
solution over the coming months. Stop by the Global Market (bring your
friends!) to enjoy live music, great company, and discounts from
participating Global Market vendors for anyone deciding to tell congress
how important Farm Bill reform is.

Get the details at http://oxfam-mn.blogspot.com/

Plus, all of this is in tandem with the music and extensive activities of
Global Bike Days, also at the Global Market on Saturday. Learn more about
our friends at Global Bike Days at http://www.globalbikedays.org/


--------2 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Pastors4Peace 6.30 10:30am

Saturday, 6/30, 10:30 am, coffeehour about Pastors for Peace cultural
exchanges to Cuba and the Cuba Caravan, Resource Center of the Americas,
3019 Minnehaha, Mpls. www.americas.org


--------3 of 16--------

From: Kip Sullivan <kiprs [at] usinternet.com>
Subject: mnnPACT/health 6.30 1pm

mnnPACT is a south metro organization that works with legislators from the
Green, DFL and Independent parties. They are sponsoring an event this
Saturday.

Become a health care reform activist.

Learn the history of our current health care dilemma. Be part of planning
how to effect greater health care change in 2008.

Area legislators confirmed to participate: Sen. John Doll of Burnsville,
Rep. David Bly of Northfield, Sen. Jim Carlson of Eagan, Rep. Will Morgan
of Burnsville, and Rep. Shelley Madore of Apple Valley.

Saturday June 30, 2007, 1:00-3:30 pm, Open Circle Church, 2400 Highland
Drive, Burnsville, MN.

Special guest speaker, Kip Sullivan, author of "The Health Care Mess: How
We Got Into It And How We'll Get Out of It."

Everyone welcome. Free event.

mnnPACT is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, Registered Political Committee
working for a more progressive government. Visit us at mnnPACT.org.


--------4 of 16--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: YAWR/walkout 6.30 4pm

YAWR antiwar WALKOUT planning meeting

Saturday, June 30
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Mayday Bookstore
301 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

This fall, we are aiming to bring thousands of youth out of the
classrooms and into the streets in a massive metro-wide student walkout
to say NO! to war on Iraq, NO! to military recruitment in schools, and
NO! to business as usual while Washington politicians kill for oil
profits. All summer we plan to meet twice a month (the 2nd and 4th
Saturday) at Mayday Bookstore to plan for the maximum mobilization.

We hope to take a decision at this meeting about hiring on a new
full-time YAWR organizer in the fall, so come be involved in making this
important decision!

DIRECTIONS: click below, scroll down
http://www.maydaybookstore.org/
***Bus lines: 16, 3, 2, 19, others
***On West Bank, near UofM

Agenda ideas:
- Fundraising concert in October
- Raising funds through Headwaters Foundation's Walk for Justice
- Putting out a new issue of Resistance! - choosing an editorial board
and discussing article ideas
- Discussing more around a date for the walkout
- YAWR summer camp update


--------5 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Vs RNC 6.30 4pm

Saturday, 6/30, 4 pm, meeting of allies coordinating committee to protest
the Republican National Convention in 2008, Sabathani Community Center, 310
E 38th St, Mpls.  www.protestRNC2008.org


--------6 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Cuba 6.30 7pm Duluth

Saturday, 6/30, 7 pm, YSA forum on "Cuba: Real Life on the Forbidden
Island," Leif Erickson Park on Longon Rd, Duluth.  mnsocialist [at] yahoo.com

From shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu Fri Jun 29 19:51:44 2007
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 16:23:56 -0500 (CDT)
From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
To: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: I'm preaching sermon Sun on universal values in Decl of Ind  (fwd)


--------7 of 16--------

From: PHYLLIS STENERSON <wisethoughts [at] msn.com>
Subject: Universal values 7.01 10am

You are invited to First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Av S, Mpls for
the 10am service this Sunday, July 1. I'll be preaching the sermon based
on America's universal values expressed by Thomas Jefferson in the
Preamble to the Declaration of Independence and illuminated by Rev.
Forrest Church's book, The American Creed.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

I think the message will resonate with progressives and liberals and I
hope will encourage further dialogue on the moral foundation of the United
States and its religious heritage. We need to become proficient at
expressing the moral and spiritual basis of public policy. If this sermon
contributes to developing a spiritual progressive message I will be very
pleased, so your feedback will be appreciated.

I plan to post the text on my website and First Universalist now makes
podcasts of sermons available within a few days via their website
www.firstuniv.org.

I'm giving it a go in a rather public way. This is my "debut" sermon so
please be kind.

Phyllis Stenerson  - Paideia LLC - 612-331-1929
www.ProgressiveValues.org             phyllis [at] progressivevalues.org


--------8 of 16--------

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org>
Subject: Indian uprising 7.01 7pm

KFAIıs Indian uprising for July 1, 2007  #220

THE CIRCLE: NATIVE AMERICAN NEWS AND ARTS is a monthly newspaper published
by The Circle Corporation (nonprofit).  The paper has been published since
1980. It is the only paper servicing the Native population in the Twin
Cities area. Native owned and operated, the paper is dedicated to
presenting news from a Native American perspective and it also provides an
opportunity for community voices.

A graphic service complimenting the paper, The Circle Design Studio, is an
additional function of the newspaper for the benefit of the public. This
service specializes in designing with Native culture and community
interests in mind.

Guests: Catherine Whipple (Lakota), Managing Editor; Eli Johnson (Ojibwe),
Editorial Assistant and Michael Carlson Bassett (Anglo), Administrative
Manager.  612-722-3686, www.thecirclenews.org. ~ ~ ~ ~ Communicating, in
the not so distant past, by Native peoples was done regularly through
story-telling, singing, ritual, games, sign language and by other natural
human means.  It was not to make profit, it was to share, to interact with
ones community and it was helpful, wholesome. It brought members together.

That cohesiveness has deteriorated for not so nice historical reasons. Now
that modern technology is at hand Native Indigenous people, as a whole,
have not embraced, as their own, modern technology.

Here in Minnesota, we have the second largest Native casino in the country
with a few others not doing badly, having significant resources.
Question. Why is it these Native owned casinos have not established,
collectively, a Native owned radio station or a television station or an
advertising/public relations company or a regional newspaper or a media
center?

Yes, weıre all hung up on reasons why we couldnıt do the above, but I
think if we look at them closely, theyıre insignificant given the larger
social and political issues. Weıve succumbed long enough to the colonizers
ways.

Letıs get un-hung, change course and tackle those bigger issues to serve and
assist our kin with the tools of media. Letıs tout and celebrate our
cultural traditions, like sharing, caring and respect, being mindful of our
Native heritage. Letıs have our own media enterprises, letıs create our own
messages and positive images. Letıs decolonize us, tell truths. ­ Ed.

* * * *
Indian Uprising a one-hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for and by
Native Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CST on 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, Minnesota 55454, 612-341-3144.

KFAI's website, www.kfai.org provides "Program Archives² that have current
programs available for listening for two weeks. Programs can also be heard
via KFAI's "live streaming" using RealAudio. Click "KFAI Live Streams."


--------9 of 16--------

Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 14:06:33 -0500
From: Impeach For Peace <minneapolis [at] impeachforpeace.org>
Subject: Rep. KEITH ELLISON (D-MN) SIGNS IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION

ImpeachforPeace.org
by Mikael Rudolph with Jodin Morey

An aide called www.ImpeachforPeace.org from the offices of Rep. Keith
Ellison (D-MN) this morning saying that Rep. Ellison has cosigned House
Resolution 333 as authored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)  calling for
impeachment hearings to commence against Vice President Richard B. Cheney.

Members of ImpeachforPeace had met with Rep. Ellison in April at which
time he had said that "Impeachment Should Be on the Table", but that he
needed to hear clearly from his consituents as to their will in this
matter before cosigning the impeachment bill authored by the
Representative Kucinich who he described as "a good friend".

http://impeachforpeace.org/impeach_bush_blog/?p=2382


--------10 of 16--------

Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 22:04:02 -0500
From: Impeach For Peace <minneapolis [at] impeachforpeace.org>
Subject: Another impeachment cosigner with Ellison

Rep. Hency 'Hank" C. Johnson (D-GA) also signs impeachment resolution

PRESS RELEASE
More Congressmen Join Bill To Impeach Cheney
June 29, 2007 (EIRNS) - The momentum to force President of Vice Dick
Cheney out continues to grow in Washington, with the addition of two
new co-sponsors to Rep. Dennis Kucinich's H.R. 333 - legislation to
impeach Cheney for "high crimes and misdemeanors."

http://impeachforpeace.org/impeach_bush_blog/?p=2389

Please check out this article and give it Digg and reddit votes to
push it through the net. Your input matters!!!

~ Mikael Rudolph www.ImpeachforPeace.org (612) 302-9252


--------11 of 16--------

Sicko and the 2008 Election
by Nicholas Freudenberg
Published on Thursday, June 28, 2007 by CommonDreams.org

Even before its national release this Friday, Michael Moore's "Sicko" has
contributed to a renewed debate on the U.S. health care system. The film
focuses on Americans who do have health care coverage and shows in painful
specifics how insurance and drug companies profit by withholding needed
care.

Already the film has provoked elected officials, the media and ordinary
people to again consider what America want from our health care system. As
I left the New York City theater where the film previewed, a young
African-American woman sitting behind me called her friend to ask, "Can
you believe it, in France and Cuba people don't pay for health care?"

With "Sicko", Michael Moore has provided an opportunity to make health
care a key issue in the 2008 Congressional and Presidential elections. But
if progressives want to use this election to ask why the US ranks worse
than most other developed nations on longevity, mortality, obesity and
other measures of health, they will need to extend the discussion beyond
health care.

In fact, most health researchers agree that improvements in health care
can make only modest improvements in overall well-being. Every year, the
decisions that food, tobacco, alcohol, automobile, and firearms industry
executives make about advertising, pricing and opposition to government
oversight contribute to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths and
illnesses. In recent decades, chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer,
heart disease and stroke, all associated with the unhealthy behaviors and
environments that corporate America promotes, have become the main causes
of death. In that same period, and especially since 2000, business
interests have radically transformed the role of government, shifting
resources from protection of public health to protection of profit.

One consequence has been an epidemic of obesity as the food industry
spends billions to persuade Americans to eat and drink more high calorie,
low nutrient products. A recent study published in the New England Journal
of Medicine predicted that if current trends on obesity (and its
consequence diabetes) continue, our children and grandchildren will have
shorter life spans than we do.

To avoid this future will require redefining the relationship between
business and government. And here "Sicko" offers important lessons for
progressives. Moore doesn't waste his precious time with his audience in
wonkish prescriptions for health care reform. Rather, he asks basic
questions: What do Americans want from their government? Who are we as a
people? What lessons can we learn from other countries? By focusing on
core values, Moore suggests a way that Americans can discuss these issues
that goes beyond sound bites. By showing how profit distorts the health
care system's ability to meet people's needs, he encourages people to
consider alternatives. By emphasizing democracy as the solution to special
interests, he roots the discussion in American ideals.

To expand this discussion to include the most fundamental causes of ill
health, we need to ask some other questions: Do American's want to turn
over responsibility for their children's health and nutrition to
McDonald's, Coke, RJ Reynolds and Budweiser? Do we want to entrust the
care of our parents and grandparents to Merck and Pfizer, who promote
drugs they know to have lethal side effects? Should Ford and General
Motors be able to persuade the Senate to water down auto safety and
pollution control regulations that are still weaker than those in Europe
and Japan? Do we want a Supreme Court that values corporate profits more
highly than public health?

If the answer to these questions is no, then voters will need to elect a
new Congress and President in November 2008. Moore's "Sicko" shows that it
is possible to engage the American people in considering these questions.
By making the well-being of Americans a central issue, progressives can
put health on the ballot in 2008.

Nicholas Freudenberg is Distinguished Professor of Public Health at Hunter
College, City University of New York and founder of Corporation and Health
Watch ( www.corporationsandhealth.org). His e-mail is
nfreuden [at] hunter.cuny.edu .

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and
discover new web pages.


--------12 of 16--------

Watch SiCKO and Call Your Congressman in the Morning
by Marie Cocco
Published on Thursday, June 28, 2007 by TruthDig.com

WASHINGTON. The rudimentary equation of the health insurance industry is
that to make a profit, it must take in more money than it pays out in
claims. This is why the public, as distinct from the political class, will
intuitively understand and likely appreciate Michael Moore's new film,
"Sicko".

There is nothing particularly startling about any of the stories Moore
presents of average Americans who are bankrupted, or who grow sicker, or
who desperately seek treatment abroad, or who die because health insurance
bureaucrats denied or restricted the care they could receive. When Moore
put out an invitation on the Internet for people to come forward with
their "health care horror stories," he got more than 3,700 responses in
the first 24 hours - within a week, he had amassed more than 25,000
stories.

These affronts to common sense and human decency have a monotonous
familiarity. There is the middle-aged couple who lose their home and are
forced to move into a daughter's basement because of financial catastrophe
brought on by the co-payments and deductibles related to the husband's
treatment for three heart attacks - which were followed by the wife's
cancer diagnosis. There is the slender, 79-year-old man who works as a
supermarket janitor to finance the out-of-pocket costs of his
prescriptions.

We meet a 22-year-old single mother whose treatment for cervical cancer is
denied because her insurer said she was "too young" to have been given
such a diagnosis. And a couple told that their daughter, who at 9 months
was becoming deaf, would get coverage for only one cochlear implant - not
two - because the insurer considered the surgery experimental. But, the
perplexed father asks, if the company had confidence that the implant
would work to improve hearing in one ear, why would it be "experimental"
in the other?

"I was told repeatedly that I was not denying care, I was simply denying
payment," Linda Peeno, a doctor and former managed-care medical claims
officer, testifies in a video clip from a 1996 congressional hearing. Even
this absurdity does not shock, because we have heard it so often, for so
many years.

That is the real point of Moore's film. We are guilty of national
malpractice for allowing the profit motive to drive decisions about who
gets health care, and of what sort. "Any payment for a claim is referred
to as a medical loss," Peeno says in the movie.

After Moore's film opens nationally on Friday, loud and contentious
political talk about it is sure to grow louder. Much of it, no doubt, will
be aimed at discrediting the national medical systems of Canada, Britain,
France - and yes, Cuba - that Moore holds up as models of compassionate
efficiency. Much of it will consist of screeching broadsides aimed at
Moore, who unnerves conservatives because he is not some pointy-headed
liberal professor from Cambridge but a funny guy from Flint, Mich., who
wears a baseball cap and did precisely what the right always preaches: He
found something he was good at, and made a fortune doing it.

Much discussion also will be premised on the assumption that what Moore
advocates - government-funded health care that would be available to
everyone - is politically impossible in the United States because the
American public recoils from it. Balderdash.

The public embraces Medicare, which is government-funded health care that
is available to all elderly people. It has an enduring affection for
Social Security, another government-funded, universal benefit.

As for government-funded health insurance, it would be enlightening if
those who so reflexively assert that the public has already rejected it
would just ask - well, the public. In a May CNN poll, 64 percent said they
thought the government should "provide a national health insurance program
for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes". In February,
the New York Times/CBS poll found that 60 percent were willing to pay
higher taxes so that everyone had insurance. In January, the NBC/Wall
Street Journal poll asked a similar question about paying more taxes for
universal insurance and again a majority said yes.

So on health care, Moore is no left-wing extremist, as so many Republicans
claim. Nor is he much of a provocative nuisance, as some Democrats gripe.
He is far closer to people's thinking than are politicians of either
party. The reason they fear Moore isn't so much his movie, but its
potential to upset their complacent caution.

Marie Cocco's e-mail address is mariecocco(at symbol)washpost.com.

 2007, Washington Post Writers Group


--------13 of 16--------

Time to Kick Out the Corporate Bastards
Toward a New Environmental Movement
By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR and JOSHUA FRANK
CounterPunch
June 29, 2007

The environmental movement is on life support. Some would say it is
already dead. Even though climate change and Al Gore are fast becoming the
conversation du jour around the American dinner table, it also happens to
be the rallying cry for do-gooder conservationists and corporations alike.

Call it the eco-economy. Virtually all major corporations now claim they
are going "green". Toyota dealerships cannot keep the hybrid Prius in
stock. Apple, after heavy lobbying from Greenpeace and others, declares
they are going to make their computers environmentally friendly.
Genetically modified corn, which produces ethanol fuel, is being hawked by
Monsanto as an alternative to petroleum based gasoline. Ethanol advocates
are calling their program "Fuels for Profit", while they sip McDonald's
organic coffee. The environmental movement has been corporatized.

Big green groups are not helping the situation. Their hands are tied by
both the large foundations that pay their rent and the Democratic Party to
which they are attached at the hip. They long ago gave up on challenging
the system. Most groups today are little more than direct mailing outfits
who have embraced a sordid neoliberal approach to saving the natural
world. The true causes of planetary destruction are never mentioned.
Industrial capitalism is not the problem, individuals are. Not the
government's inability to enforce its weak regulations. Not big oil
companies, or coal fired plants. These neoliberal groups argue ordinary
people are to blame for the impending environmental catastrophe, not those
who profit from the Earth's destruction.

Meanwhile, on the ground, grassroots environmentalists engaging in arson
as a response to unfettered sprawl and our car addicted culture are dubbed
terrorists by the Federal government. Despite their extreme and
counter-productive methods, the cases are quite informative. In our
post-9/11 world young eco-radicals are viewed by the FBI and corporations
as if they are as dangerous as bin Laden. All activists, no matter their
cause, should take heed. It is the first step in cracking down on radical
activism.

Torching SUVs in the middle of the night, unfortunately, will not bring
about any massive radical change, except, perhaps, in our "anti-terrorism"
legislation. There are militant direct actions that are prevailing,
however, from Paul Watson's crusade to protect the wild creatures of the
sea, to the environmentalists who stake out in trees for weeks at a time,
to the grandmothers who chain themselves to logging trucks, despite the
dangers.

Such actions, coupled with the organization of the working class, could
help steer the environmental movement in the right direction. The
philosophy of the great wilderness advocate Bob Marshall may prove to be
quite prescient in the age of foundation driven conservationism. Marshall
believed wilderness was for the regular folks. He believed wilderness was
a "minority right" and argued that elitism inside the movement would be
inherently corrupt. He's right. The burdens of a coporatized society are
great, not only for our forests and rivers, but to the workers who are
consistently exploited and poisoned for profit.

Marshall believed the radical trade unions and socialized forestry was one
answer to countering the destruction of the wild places he loved so much.
Now is the time to once again embrace such an environmental ethic.
Wilderness, that living symbol of freedom, exists for all to enjoy. It is
not ours to exploit. The salmon and grizzly bears deserve better.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green
to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book is
End Times: the Death of the Fourth Estate, co-written with Alexander
Cockburn.

Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How
Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and
along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the forthcoming Red State
Rebels, to be published by AK Press in March 2008.

They can be reached at: sitka [at] comcast.net


--------14 of 16--------

Subpoenas, Executive Privilege and Liberal Pipedreams
Congress Needs to Stop Playing on Bush's Court
By DAVE LINDORFF
CounterPunch
June 29, 2007

There are two ways to look at the growing confrontation between Congress
and the White House over access to information.

Either the administration is suckering Congress into a fight, confident
that the Democratic Congress will back down and forever surrender its role
as a co-equal branch of government, or that it will bring its contempt
citations to federal court and lose, thanks to all those right-wing
Federalist judges that Reagan, Bush I and Bush II have stacked the
judiciary with from bottom to top.

Or, Congress is pushing the administration to a point that Democrats will
be forced to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Naturally, for the sake of the Constitution, and the survival of a
government with at least a semblance of democracy, I'm hoping it's the
latter. It would be nice to think that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in
the party leadership have all along been acting on a belief that the
American people don't want impeachment, and have to be brought along to a
point that they agree there is no alternative. It would be nice to believe
that these leaders really do understand that the Constitution is under
grave threat, and that Congress itself is under assault by the
administration, but that they just want to be pushed to the wall before
they take the required action.

The problem is that if this were the behind-the-scenes strategy, we would
not have seen the party leadership actively working to undermine the
national grass-roots impeachment movement. We would not have seen senior
Democratic elected officials like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Patrick Leahy
and Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont, or Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Jay Inslee
of Washington twisting arms of legislative leaders in those two states'
legislatures in order to prevent passage of joint legislative resolutions
calling on the House to impeach. We would not have seen a clearly
pro-impeachment representative like John Conyers (D-MI) hammered into an
embarrassed silence on impeachment for fear of losing his coveted
chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee. We would not have seen 39
representatives who, in 2006 were signing on to a bill that called for an
investigation into impeachable crimes sitting on the sidelines on that
issue ever since Election Day in November 2006. We would not have seen
Dennis Kucinich's bill calling for Cheney's impeachment (H. Res 333,
submitted on April 24) languishing in the in hopper for over two months
without getting a hearing in Conyers' Judiciary Committee.

So I think this theory of Congressional behavior is simply a liberal pipe
dream.

That leaves us with the other scenario: The White House, recognizing the
timidity of Congressional Democrats, and its own edge in the courts, has
decided to go for broke by challenging Congress to a duel. Certainly the
blatant way that Bush has refused to budge on his Iraq War escalation or
on Congressional requests for information about issues like the political
firing of prosecutors, the warrantless spying on American citizens, or the
destruction of improper White House emails, or that Vice President Dick
Cheney has refused to provide information of any kind to congressional
committees seems designed to taunt Democrats into issuing subpoenas. And
the refusal to comply with those subpoenas seems designed to taunt
Democrats into declaring the administration in contempt, which puts the
issue into court.

Does anyone want to bet on how that will go?

Of all federal court districts, with the exception of Texas, Washington,
DC is the most conservative. Larded with Federalist Society judges who
believe that the executive branch is supreme, not co-equal with Congress,
the odds of the White House's drawing a judge who will rule in its favor,
and of then getting an Appeals Court that will uphold that ruling, are
pretty high. And then of course, even if the White House had bad luck, and
got an unfavorable lower court ruling, there's the Supreme Court, which is
showing itself to be solidly Federalist.

What this means is that Congress should shift its strategy, and go
straight to impeachment.

Why? Because an impeachment hearing is not the same as other Congressional
hearings.

Impeachment is a process clearly defined and laid out procedurally in the
Constitution. It calls for the House Judiciary to become an Impeachment
Committee, giving it a special distinction of being Constitutionally
empowered to do its task of investigating presidential or administration
wrongdoing. What that means is that a president has no right to claim
"executive privilege" or "national security" when asked to provide
officials to testify, or to turn over documents.

Of course, the administration could stonewall in the same way it is
stonewalling current congressional investigations, but it could not count
so readily on the cooperation of ideologically supportive judges this
time. Certainly there are political hacks on the federal bench who would
vote the president's way no matter what the issue (Judges Clarence Thomas
and Sam Alito come to mind), but I'm not so sure that Chief Justice John
Roberts, or even Justice Antonin Scalia fall into that category. To the
extent that these and other Federalist Society judicial appointees take
their ideology of "original intent" and their role as justices seriously,
they would have to find that an impeachment committee demand for testimony
or documents trumps such claims as "executive privilege" or "national
security."

The administration would likely lose those battles at every level.

So now Congress has a choice: risk permanently destroying the carefully
balanced system of tri-partite government established by the Founding
Fathers over two centuries ago by playing the president's and
vice-president's game of chicken over subpoenas, or change the game and
begin impeachment proceedings immediately.

It's a decision that will have to be made soon.

Let your representatives know what you want them to do. Go to:
Democrats.com

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


-------15 of 16--------

Changing Lightbulbs in the Democrats' Bordello
House of Pork
By WINSLOW T. WHEELER
CounterPunch
June 28, 2007

I has been great sport watching Congress pretend to reform itself over the
"earmarks" (pork) it adds to spending bills. Riding into power on a wave
of promised reform, the Democrats imposed new rules that changed almost
nothing, and since then, they have gone to considerable lengths to get
around their own rules, feeble as they are. The Republicans, whose past
accomplishment was to increase pork to unprecedented levels, now gleefully
ape reform by badgering the Democrats into observing their own rules.

Promising "the most ethical Congress ever," Speaker of the House Nancy
Pelosi (Calif.) chose to deliver by requiring spending bills to list and
explain earmarks. The new system flunked on its first try. In the House
Appropriations Committee's initial spending bill - legislation to finish
the Republicans' undone work for the previous fiscal year - new Chairman
David Obey (Wis.) relieved his colleagues of the trouble of describing
their own earmarks by pretending there were none in the bill. Actually,
there were over $200 million of them. In the next appropriations bill, to
fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obey again asserted there were no
earmarks; this time there were even more.

On his third try, Obey took a new tack: When the Homeland Security
Appropriations bill, H.R. 2643, was reported by his committee, it truly
had no earmarks. Obey explained that they would be inserted into the bill
only in its final stages, after the House and Senate had passed their
versions, and it was to be sent back to both bodies for final approval.
Thus, only when the bill was virtually on its way to the White House would
Obey permit the press and quarrelsome members of Congress to see what
earmarks the Democratic majority had chosen.

The Republicans had a field day. Feigning passion for the original Pelosi
reforms, and with all the sincerity of a professional wrestler, House
Republican leader John A. Boehner (Ohio), imposed legislative gridlock on
the Homeland Security bill with piles of Republican amendments and motions
to accomplish noble ends, such as changing the grammar in the bill. Once
it became clear that the Republicans could do to the Democrats what the
Democrats had done to the Republicans in the previous Congress - hogtie
most spending bills to embarrass the party in control - Obey caved. He
agreed to go back to the original plan: to list and explain earmarks in
bills - sort of.

Just how open and honest the reformed process is can be seen in the new
Department of Defense authorization bill that came out of the House Armed
Services Committee in May. It did list 449 earmarks - in small,
unreadable print - costing $7.6 billion, but the list was incomplete. An
astute watchdog group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, found 53 additional,
unlisted earmarks costing $744 million.

When the Senate Armed Services Committee reported out its different
version of the bill, S. 1547, it listed 309 earmarks costing $5.6 billion.
When it comes up for debate in the Senate, 200 or more amendments will be
introduced. About half of those amendments will be for home-state projects
that for some reason the committee did not add during its initial review
process.

During the week or two the Senate will take to consider the bill, there
will be debates, some of them interesting, on the great issues of the day:
the war in Iraq, nuclear nonproliferation, the worn-out U.S. Army and
more. Interspersed through those debates will be strange presentations by
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (Mich.) and the
ranking Republican, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). They will be reading off
procedural motions, calling up amendments and passing them by "unanimous
consent"; they will do this time after time, sometimes passing as many as
20 amendments in one sequence. The amendments will not be debated; they
may not even be described.

There's a reason why these items will receive such little scrutiny: They
are the pork amendments. The senators pressing them will have "cleared"
them with Levin and McCain. Then the amendments will go through the arcane
but well-oiled approval process, with utterly no debate - all in what
calls itself the "world's greatest deliberative body."

This year, there may be some new twists, none of them having the slightest
thing to do with the Democrats' reforms. First, it should be fun to watch
McCain, the presidential candidate and self-described "pork buster,"
integrate himself openly into the pork approval process. To avoid
painfully obvious hypocrisy, he will surely absent himself, likely
conveniently out of town on the campaign trail, and will ask a colleague
to stand in for him.

Still, while McCain in past years has done nothing to impede pork in Armed
Services Committee bills, this year he may have an irresistible urge to
take action. It turns out that one of the top porkers in the committee's
bill is none other than a Democratic presidential rival, Sen. Hillary
Rodham Clinton (N.Y.). Last year, she jammed 26 earmarks into the bill,
costing $47.8 million. Will McCain call out Clinton on her pork, seeking
debate and votes? It will be fascinating to watch. If McCain fails to act,
it will tell us as much about his character as it would if he does.

There may yet be some interventions in the congressional pork fest. In the
recent past, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has challenged some of the more
egregious pork in spending bills. In the Defense authorization bill, he
will have a target-rich environment. He may be one of the few senators -
or perhaps the only one - to oppose any earmarks. However, he does this
only intermittently, and his actions are unlikely to be comprehensive.

McCain or Coburn or any other challenger will almost certainly lose if the
matter comes to a vote. Pork is a bipartisan enterprise, and any threat to
any member's pork is a threat to all. The Senate's porkers - the vast
majority of both parties - will surely band together to beat back any
threat, as they have many times in the past.

The Democrats' pork reforms are about as helpful as changing the light
bulbs in a bordello. Seen in isolation, the action may seem rational, even
needed, but in the larger scheme of things, the illumination does nothing
to change the business going on.

Winslow T. Wheeler is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project
of the Center for Defense Information and author of The Wastrels of
Defense. Over 31 years, he worked for US Senators from both political
parties and the Government Accountability Office on national security
issues.

This article originally appeared in the June 26 issue of Politico.


--------16 of 16--------

The Myth of Democratic Pacifism
The Footprints of Democracies
By PAUL BUCHHEIT
CounterPunch
June 27, 2007

America's cooperation with other countries in the name of promoting peace
has been marked by a push toward democratization. As President Bush said,
"democracies don't go to war with each other." The modern view of this
thesis was formalized by philosopher Immanuel Kant, whose 1795 essay
"Perpetual Peace" suggested that democracies would never vote to go to
war, except in self defense, and therefore war would not exist if all
nations became democracies. But the idea has always been controversial.
American founding father Alexander Hamilton disputed "the paradox of
perpetual peace" in his Federalist Papers: "Have republics in practice
been less addicted to war than monarchies? Are not the former administered
by MEN as well as the latter?...Is not the love of wealth as domineering
and enterprising a passion as that of power or glory?"

It is generally true that democracies do not fight each other. But
democracies do not necessarily react peaceably to other forms of
government. A comprehensive study by political scientists Jack Snyder and
Edward Mansfield showed that over the past 200 years developing
democracies went to war much more frequently than stable autocracies or
established democracies." Other studies recommend against installing
democracies in countries with a large ethnic divide. Based on these
conclusions, it would seem unwise to try to force democratization on a
nation in any hurried way.

There are many historical examples that challenge the validity of
'democratic pacifism.' Historians Thomas Schwartz and Kiron K. Skinner
refute the notion with examples such as the U.S. against Mexico in 1848,
the American Civil War, the U.S. against Spain in 1898, England against
the Boer Republic in South Africa, and even World War 1, in which Britain
and France and their opponent Germany were largely democratic.

In recent times, democratization spawned authoritarian leaders in Zimbabwe
(Mugabe), Serbia (Milosevic), and Rwanda (Hutus). Yugoslavia and Indonesia
were more tolerant as dictatorships than as democracies, and indeed
Indonesia's GDP has decreased almost 50 percent since embracing democracy.
Hong Kong and Singapore have fared well without democracies. Relatively
well-governed African countries such as Ghana, Malawi, Mali, and Senegal
did not experience the type of economic growth realized by countries
perceived as corrupt, such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan.
The Pakistani people generally rejected attempts to form a democratic
state, and President Musharraf has pursued social and economic reform
unencumbered by the burden of democratic compromise. This appears to be
true for Chavez in Venezuela also. Perhaps most significantly, China has
seen a burgeoning economy without the need, at least so far, for a
democratic government.

While democracies don't necessarily lead to peace, peace and prosperity
may promote democracy. A 1997 study found that rich countries are far more
likely to sustain a democracy than poor countries. Certainly the absence
of peace can provoke oppressive behavior in otherwise democratic-minded
leaders, such as Lincoln in the Civil War, Wilson in World War 1,
Churchill in World War 2, and the Bush Administration in the current Iraq
War.

In order to better understand the economic differences between democracies
and non-democracies, world data tables were merged from three sources:

(1) The Economist's Democracy Index, which divides the world's countries
into

(a) Democracies (26 nations, total population 832 million)

(b) Flawed Democracies (45 nations, total population 2,370 million)

(c) Hybrid Regimes (28 nations, total population 661 million)

(d) Authoritarian Regimes (48 nations, total population 2,396 million)

(2) The Global Footprint Network, which determines for each of the world's
countries,

(a) Biocapacity (land and resources available per capita, measured in
hectares)

(b) Ecological Footprint (land and resources used per capita, measured in
hectares (1 hectare = 2.5 acres))

(3) The CIA World Factbook (worldwide Gross National Income figures from
nationmaster.com)

The composite table is available at
http://www.fightingpoverty.org/2007NationalData.xls.

A summary of the data follows:

Democracies: 26 countries; 832 million people; 27,500 GNI per capita;
biocapacity 3.75 hectares; ecological footprint 6.71 hectares

Flawed Democracies: 45 countries; 2,370 million people; 2,030 GNI per
capita; biocapacity 1.74 hectares; ecological footprint 1.39 hectares.

Hybrid Regimes: 28 countries; 661 million people; 1,260 GNI per capita;
biocapacity 2.43 hectares; ecological footprint 1.87 hectares

Authoritarian Regimes: 48 countries; 2,396 million people; 971 GNI per
capita; biocapacity 0.90 hectares; ecological footprint 1.48 hectares

The following observations were derived from the data:

(1) Democracies tend to be wealthy; or perhaps more accurately, wealthy
societies tend to be democracies.

- People living in democracies have an average Gross National Income of
approximately $27,515.

- People living in flawed democracies have an average Gross National
Income of approximately $2,030.

- People living in hybrid regimes have an average Gross National Income of
approximately $1,260.

- People living in authoritarian regimes have an average Gross National
Income of approximately $971.

(2) The average person in a democratic country uses four times as much
land and resources as a person living under a non-democracy. If everyone
in the world consumed the same amount as those living in democracies (6.71
hectares), we would need four planet earths to sustain us.

- People living in democracies have an average ecological footprint of
6.71 hectares (13% of the world uses 50% of its biocapacity).

- People living in flawed democracies have an average ecological footprint
of 1.39 hectares (38% of the world uses 30% of its biocapacity).

- People living in hybrid regimes have an average ecological footprint of
1.87 hectares (11% of the world uses 12% of its biocapacity).

- People living in authoritarian regimes have an average ecological
footprint of 1.48 hectares (38% of the world uses 32% of its biocapacity).

Note: Biocapacity usage percentages add up to over 100 because the earth
has a global ecological deficit (overshoot) of 0.25 Earths. According to
the Global Footprint Network, "such overshoot leads to a depletion of
Earth's life supporting natural capital and a build up of waste."

(3) The resource usage in (2) is mitigated by the fact that biocapacities
in democratic countries tend to be greater than in other countries (that
is, democracies tend to exist in the most resource- rich areas). As a
result,

- People living in democracies use 180% of their own biocapacities.

- People living in flawed democracies use 80% of their own biocapacities.

- People living in hybrid regimes use 77% of their own biocapacities.

- People living in authoritarian regimes use 164% of their own
biocapacities.

What conclusions can be drawn from this data? First of all, it's
understandable that democracies wouldn't attack democracies if they're all
so prosperous. It would seem more likely that democracies would be fearful
of the 5 billion people living in non-democracies who have much smaller
biocapacities and consumption rates than the rich world. This is
especially true if, as noted above, developing democracies go to war much
more frequently than other political systems.

Secondly, it's unrealistic for a government to promote democracy in the
name of improving the lives of others if a single earth cannot support the
democratic lifestyle. If it's true that democracies are correlated with
wealth and prosperity, the expansion of democracy will place a greater
ecological demand on our earth unless overall consumption is reduced. The
welcome peace dividend of a democratic world may depend on the willingness
of current democracies to share the wealth.

Paul Buchheit is a Professor, Harold Washington College in Chicago. He can
be reached at: pbuchheit [at] ccc.edu


References:

"Federalist No. 6: Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the
States," by Alexander Hamilton, for the Independent Journal, 1787

Jack Snyder and Edward Mansfield, "Democratization and the Danger of War,"
International Security 20, no. 1 (Summer 1995)

Donald Horowitz, "Democracy in Divided Societies," in Larry Diamond and
Mark F. Plattner, eds., "Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Democracy
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994)

Alvin Rabushka and Kenneth Shepsle, "Politics in Plural Societies: A
Theory of Democratic Instability" (Charles E. Merill, 1972)

"The Myth of Democratic Pacifism," By Thomas Schwartz and Kiron K.
Skinner, Hoover Digest, 1999

Amy Chua, "World On Fire" (Anchor Books, 2004)

Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2004 (London: Pluto
Press, 2004)

World Bank Governance Indicators, 2002

"How to Change Ugly Regimes," Newsweek 06/27/05

Fareed Zakaria, "The Future of Freedom" (W W Norton & Co, 2004)

Adam Przeworski and Fernando Limongi, "Modernization: Theories and Facts,"
World Politics, 49, No 2, January 1997

"Economist Intelligence Unit: Democracy Index 2006"

Global Footprint Network (http://footprintnetwork.org)

Gross National Income, per capita, by country (www.nationmaster.com, from
CIA World Factbook)

{missing data filled in from following 3 sources}

World Bank Data & Statistics, 2004

Internet World Stats, Usage and Population Statistics
(www.internetworldstats.com)

Information by Country, UNICEF (www.unicef.org/infobycountry)


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