Progressive Calendar 07.20.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 23:05:36 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    07.20.07
                        impeach bush & cheney

1. Impeach/council    7.20 8:30am
2. Cafeteria workers  7.20 5:30pm

3. Just world conf    7.21 8:30am
4. Rondo Days         7.21 10am
5. Guatemala          7.21 10am
6. NWN4P Minnetonka   7.21 11am
7. Food/forum/eat     7.21 2pm
8. Arrest the RNC     7.21 4pm

9. Stillwater vigil   7.22 1pm
10. Indian/Mexican    7.22 7pm

11. Joshua Frank    - Another step to war with Iran; Dems as Leviathan
12. Norman Solomon  - The ghost of Wayne Morse
13. PC Roberts      - A free press or a Ministry of Truth?
14. Sharon Smith    - Health care and the Dems: behind the rhetoric
15. Robert Weissman - National health insurance: more humane & efficient
16. Margaret Beegle - PRT News

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

From: Impeach <lists [at]>
Subject: Impeach/council 7.20 8:30am

Friday [at] Minneapolis City Council

Minneapolis citizens, it's our time. For some time, pressure and support
have been building for our city to defend the constitution through
impeachment. And today we're asking for your help to get us to the finish
line. Joining us on Jully 20th at 8:30am when we will again be a presence
at the Minneapolis City Council Meeting:

Additionally, we need you to contact your City Council Member with a
request for an impeachment resolution. Forward this email to all your
friends, and let's finish what we've started. Below you'll find contact
information for the City Council Members as well as talking points.

Here is the contact info for city council people:

WARD 1, Paul Ostrow, 612-673-2201, paul.ostrow [at]
<mailto:paul.ostrow [at]>

WARD 2, Cam Gordon, 612-673-2202, cam.Gordon [at]
<mailto:cam.Gordon [at]>

WARD 3, Diane Hofstede, 612-673-2203,
diane.hofstede [at]
<mailto:diane.hofstede [at]>

WARD 4, Barbara Johnson, 612-673-2204,
barbara.johnson [at]
<mailto:barbara.johnson [at]>

WARD 5, Don Samuels, 612-673-2205, don.samuels [at]
<mailto:don.samuels [at]>

WARD 6, Robert Lilligren, 612-673-2206,
robert.lilligren [at]
<mailto:robert.lilligren [at]>

WARD 7, Lisa Goodman, 612-673-2207,

WARD 8, Elizabeth Glidden, 612-673-2208,

WARD 9, Gary Shiff, 612-673-2209,

WARD 10, Ralph Remington, 612-673-2210,
ralph.remington [at]
<mailto:ralph.remington [at]>

WARD 11, Scott Benson, 612-673-2211,
scott.benson [at]
<mailto:scott.benson [at]>

WARD 12, Sandy Colvin Ray, 612-673-2212,

WARD 13, Betsy Hodges, 612-673-2213,

Reasons for impeachment:

A copy of the impeachment resolution we're suggesting is here:

Is Bush/Cheney Impeachment a City Council's Job?

- City Council members take an oath of office promising to "protect
and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. They
don't take an oath to fix potholes. If the Constitution is in danger
then their primary duty is to defend it.

- Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds
of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of
the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely
used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all
across America.

Is Impeachment a Local Issue?

- If a federal action has a significant negative impact on this city,
then it is appropriate for this city to defend itself.

- Citizens from this city may be sent, or have been sent, to Iraq to
fight in an illegal and unjustified war.

- Tax funds from this city that could have been spent locally have
been spent in Iraq for war. Tax money from this city has been wasted
in no-bid contracts with companies like Halliburton with deep ties to
the Bush administration. Yet this city can barely afford the emergency
services, libraries, and schools that we need.

- The State National Guard should be available to protect this city
from floods or other disasters. But instead, President Bush has sent
them to Iraq.

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

From: Brian Payne <brianpayneyvp [at]>
Subject: Cafeteria workers 7.20 5:30pm

Action to support the Capitol Cafeteria Workers!!
Friday, July 20, 5:30pm
Meet at UNITE-HERE! offices at 312 Central Ave., Minneapolis

As many of you know, immediately after buying the Capitol Cafeteria,
Taher, Inc. laid off 18 veteran cafeteria workers and refused to recognize
the union that has represented the cafeteria workers since 1958 (for more
information, check out this great article on Workday Minnesota:

As members of the Twin Cities metro community, we won't stand idly by as
companies like Taher, Inc. trample on workers' rights.  So...on Friday
we're going to pay a surprise visit to another restaurant owned by Taher,
Inc. to see what their other employees and customers think about their
business practices.  Come to UNITE-HERE's office at 5:30pm
 and we'll carpool together to the action.

Friday, July 20, 5:30pm
UNITE-HERE! offices at 312 Central Ave., Minneapolis

The workers also need support on their picket line in front of Capitol
Cafeteria every day.  For more information about these actions, contact
Eduardo Cardenas from UNITE-HERE! at eduardocardenas [at] or

Fair food that respects human rights,
not fast food that exploits human beings.

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

From: Regina McGoff <mcgoff [at]>
Subject: Just world conf 7.21 8:30am

The Center for Global Education at Augsburg College is sponsoring a
day-long conference on Saturday, July 21 on the theme of "Building a Just
and Sustainable World: Educating for Transformation."  The keynote speech
will be given by Dr. Pandu Hailonga van Dijk from Windoek, Namibia on
"Education for Decolonization."  She is the former site director for the
Center for Global Education's program in Namibia and currently an
assistant representative for the United Nation's Population Fund.

Cost for the conference is $25 including lunch and a continental
breakfast.  The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at Holy
Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 East 31st Street, Minneapolis.  To register
call 612-330-1159 or visit  Also, a
celebration dinner will be held in the evening at Augsburg College.

The conference is being held in honor of the Center for Global Education's
25th anniversary. Since 1982 the Center has been a leader in international
educational travel that looks at the realities of the Global South with
the purpose of creating a more just and sustainable world.  More than
10,000 people have participated in its semester and short-term programs in
more than 40 countries in the Asia/Pacific region, the Caribbean, Europe,
the Middle East, southern Africa, Latin America, and in the United States.
The Center currently has permanent programming and staff in Mexico, El
Salvador, Guatemala, Namibia, and Nicaragua.

Regina McGoff Associate Director Center for Global Education at Augsburg
College 2211 Riverside Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55454 USA T:

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

From: M Charles Swope <mcswope [at]>
Subject: Rondo Days 7.21 10am

24th Annual Rondo Days Festival is this Saturday, the 21st at Martin
Luther King Park. There's a 5K run beginning at 8:00 AM at Martin Luther
King Park. The parade begins at 10:00 AM at St. Peter Claver and proceeds
to the park. Full details are at:

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Guatemala 7.21 10am

Saturday, 7/21, 10 to 11:30 am, Arcadio Salanic of the Mayan Peace Center
talks about the Guatemalan elections, with emphasis on indigenous groups
activism, Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha, Mpls.

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

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Minnetonka 7.21 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We
will walk along the public sidewalk. Bring your own signs.

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

From: tom [at]
Subject: Food/forum/eat 7.21 2pm

Saturday, July 21st
Eastside Food Co-op's Monthly Food Forum and Potluck

Marlene Halverson with The Animal Welfare Institute
( and Grantsburg, WI organic farmer Doug
Anderson.  Doug owns the certified organic Beaver Creek Ranch where such
revolutionary things happen like curing bacon with spinach instead of

WHERE: The home of Tom Dunnwald, Sonja Peterson AND, of course, Clara -
1501 26th AVE NE, the corner of Lincoln and 26th

Saturday, July 21st from 2:00 PM till 8:00 PM - COME WHEN YOU CAN

WHY: Folks are cranking up their grills

Since July is the month where we celebrate our nation's independence and
our freedom from cooking inside by cranking up our outdoor grills.  Tom
Dunnwald and Sonja Peterson are hosting and sponsoring July's Food
Forum/Potluck where we will look at not only the importance of humanly
raised livestock but also where that meat comes from, in the region AND on
the hoof.

Starting at 2:PM on Saturday, July 21st, two locally produced sides of
pork will be broken down so we can see just where those cuts come from.
A pork shoulder and other cuts will be cooked for folks to try and cuts
will also be available to purchase and take home or grill that night.  At
6:00 Marlene Halverson from the Animal Welfare Institute
( will be discussing with us the importance of
alternatives to conventional factory farming of livestock.  Doug Anderson
will share with us what it is like raising organic Scottish Highland beef,
turkeys and vegetables as well as his newest livestock, a non-cloven hoof
heirloom pig who's linage dates back to 15th century Spain.

I hope you can make this particular interesting, informative and
interactive Food Forum/Potluck and come grill out with us.  Tom Dunnwald
and Sonja Peterson live at 1501 26th AVE NE, the corner of Lincoln and

Come for the whole day or when you can.  We grill starting at around 6:00

Come ask questions (there are NO stupid ones) and make that connection
from our forks to the fields and farmers that raise our food.

Nothing builds community like breaking bread together so some people think
of these evenings as potluck affairs and YOU CAN TOO! Just bring something
you would like to share, any needed serving and eating utensils you may
need and a plate.  WE GRILL OUT FOR THIS ONE!!!

Questions? Call the East Side Food Co-op - 612-788-0950.

Tom Taylor tom [at] Eastside Food co-op

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

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Arrest the RNC 7.21 4pm

Saturday, 7/21, 4 pm, meeting of allies coordinating committee to protest
the Republican National Convention in 2008, Sabathani Community Center, 310
E 38th St, Mpls.

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

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 7.22 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

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

From: Nancy Nielsen <nancywriter [at]>
Subject: Indian/Mexican 7.22 7pm

Subject: Are They Native Americans or Mexican Americans?

Vivian Delgado, Ph. D. from Colorado will speak on KFAI (7-8 p.m. Sunday
night) about her new book, "You're Not Indian, You're Mexican." Although
her last name causes her to be identified as Mexican American, Delgado is
in fact Native American.

Contact Vivian at yoemem334 [at] or visit her Web site:

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at]>

KFAI¹s Indian uprising for July 22, 2007 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CDT

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TASK FORCE (formally Minnesota American Indian AIDS
Task Force) is a legally incorporated 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The
agency has been a leader and a pioneer in developing innovative culturally
relevant services to targeted populations within the Native community.
Programs achieve cultural competence through the familiarity of the staff
with their cultural and spiritual traditions. Agency staff has been
invited to participate as workshop leaders and contributors of HIV
conferences including two White House conferences on HIV. In 1998,
Maynidoowahdak Odena Housing Cooperative, a housing program for Native
persons living with AIDS and their families, received the Design of the
Year Award for Affordable Housing from the Minnesota Housing Finance

IPTF¹s vision is to "Strengthen and Enhance the Health and Education of
Native People". They also provide education services to prevent the
transmission of HIV and to provide direct services to Native Americans and
their family members living with HIV. Indigenous Peoples Task Force has
over 14 years of experience providing HIV direct services to the Native
Community throughout Minnesota but primarily within Minneapolis and St.

Guests: Sharon Day (Ojibway), Executive Director, Indigenous People's Task
Force and Colette Lawrence (Ojibway), Supervisor, Outreach Programs
including testing and counseling, IPTF.

+ + + +

In the U.S., American Indians and Alaska Natives had the third highest
rate (above Caucasians) of AIDS diagnosis in 2004, despite having the
smallest population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC). ³We have had 180 cases of HIV infection reported among
American Indians in Minnesota since the epidemic began.  Unfortunately, 74
of the 180 died,² said Peter Carr, Director of the STD and HIV Section,
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). ³We estimate that there are 93
currently living with HIV in Minnesota and that includes those who have
relocated to our state.² The MDH HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report-2005, which
includes data specific for American Indians, can be found on he MDH Web
site at: (excerpts from MDH News Release, March
13, 2007).

* * * *

Indian Uprising a one-hour Public & Cultural Affairs program is for and by
Native Indigenous People broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CDT 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, 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."

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

Another Step Toward War with Iran
Democrats as Leviathan
July 19, 2007

It was a slumber party on Capital Hill. Democrats held an all-nighter on
July 17 in an attempt to mollify the great antiwar sentiment that is
raging across the land. But their attempt to challenge Bush's war on Iraq
was sanctimonious and superficial at best. Not only were the Democrat's
pleas to set a timetable for withdraw fully pathetic, so too was their
moral indignation.

The Democrats certainly don't contest Bush's Middle East foreign policy,
they embrace it. Just last week the Senate voted 97-0 in favor of moving
toward war with Iran. So while the Democrats call for withdraw of our
troops from Iraq in the future, they insist we must keep an eye on Iran,
for the Iranians are opposing the occupation of Iraq by allegedly arming
the Shia resistance.

But the uprisings in Iraq were foreshadowed long ago. The Shia make up 60%
of the country's population, so they were sure to gain power with the
outing of Saddam Hussein. Iran, a Shia political stronghold, was certainly
going to benefit with the fall of Iraq's dictator who remained an
archenemy of Tehran until his regime was toppled. The Democrats and
Republicans most certainly knew this. Regardless, both political parties
see the rise of the Shia as an opening for a confrontation with Iran.

Iran isn't the first scapegoat for the prevailing resistance fighting US
armed forces in Iraq. There was a time when we were told the death of
Saddam would bring stability to the country. It didn't happen. Nor did the
deaths of his sons Uday and Qusay or the bloody murder of Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi. Iraq remains in turmoil and will continue to be thanks to our
illegal invasion.

The Democrats don't really want to end the war despite their veneer of
opposition. If they desired to end the war they would have halted its
funding long ago. Likelise, if they really preferred to challenge the Bush
falsehoods regarding Iran, they would do so. Instead the Democrats,
including their top presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack
Obama who voted in favor of holding Iran accountable for the killing of US
soldiers, seem to want to handle Iran militarily.

The amendment, H.R.1585, written by Sen. Joe Lieberman, repeats the same
round of vacant lies the neocons have been advancing for quite sometime.
Iranian influence in Iraq is now becoming the accepted reason among
American political elites as to why US forces are failing. The Lieberman
amendment also claims that Iran is providing a safe-haven for al Qaeda
fighters, even though the group is allegedly blowing up Iraqi Shias daily.

American soldiers aren't being killed because of Iran; we are losing
because there is no such thing as real victory for the US in Iraq. There
is only death.

Like Iran's non-existent nuclear arsenal, there is no evidence that Tehran
is funding the Shia resistance. Most Iraqi citizens owned automatic
weapons under Saddam and most roadside bombs can be manufactured using
household products found in most American garages.

The Democrat's Senate sleepover was a fraud replete with staged
confessions and overt hypocrisies. They don't want to end the war; the
Democrats want to extend it to Iran by making the case that the Iranians
are behind the US catastrophe in Iraq. Washington is covertly setting the
stage legislatively for a military confrontation with Iran. It's our job
to stop them.

Joshua Frank is the co-editor of, and author of Left
Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, and along with Jeffrey
St. Clair, the editor of the forthcoming Red State Rebels, to be published
by AK Press in March 2008. He can be reached through his website,

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

From the Grave, a Senator Exposes Bloody Hands on Capital Hill
The Ghost of Wayne Morse
July 19, 2007

It was a chilling moment on a split-screen of history. While the Senate
debated the Iraq war on Tuesday night, a long-dead senator again renounced
a chronic lie about congressional options and presidential power.

The Senate was in the final hours of another failure to impede the
momentum of war. As the New York Times was to report, President Bush
"essentially won the added time he said he needed to demonstrate that his
troop buildup was succeeding."

Meanwhile, inside a movie theater on the opposite coast, the thunderous
voice of Senator Wayne Morse spoke to 140 people at an event organized by
the activist group Sacramento for Democracy. The extraordinary senator was
speaking in May 1964 - and in July 2007.

A typical dash of media conventional wisdom had set him off. The moderator
of the CBS program "Face the Nation," journalist Peter Lisagor, told the
guest: "Senator, the Constitution gives to the president of the United
States the sole responsibility for the conduct of foreign policy."

"Couldn't be more wrong," Morse shot back. "You couldn't make a more
unsound legal statement than the one you have just made. This is the
promulgation of an old fallacy that foreign policy belongs to the
president of the United States. That's nonsense."

Lisagor sounded a bit exasperated: "To whom does it belong, then,

Again, Morse didn't hesitate. "It belongs to the American people," the
senator fired back. And he added: "What I'm saying is - under our
Constitution all the president is, is the administrator of the people's
foreign policy, those are his prerogatives, and I'm pleading that the
American people be given the facts about foreign policy -"

"You know, Senator, that the American people cannot formulate and execute
foreign policy -"

"Why do you say that? Why, you're a man of little faith in democracy if
you make that kind of comment," Morse retorted. "I have complete faith in
the ability of the American people to follow the facts if you'll give
them. And my charge against my government is we're not giving the American
people the facts."

As Wayne Morse spoke, applause pulsed through the theater. I've seen the
same thing happen many times this summer - whether in New York or D.C. or
San Luis Obispo or Sacramento - with audiences suddenly bursting into
loud applause when they hear Morse near the end of the documentary film
("War Made Easy," based on my book of the same name).

Even most antiwar activists don't seem to know anything about Wayne Morse.
Whited out of political memory and media history, he was long ago banished
to an Orwellian vacuum tube.

Compared to Morse - even today, more than four years into the horrendous
Iraq war - almost every "antiwar" member of the U.S. Senate is restrained
and unduly deferential to presidential war-making power. If you doubt
that, consider the Senate's 97-0 vote in mid-July that laid a flagstone on
a path toward military confrontation with yet another country: warning
Iran that it would be held accountable for an alleged role in attacks on
U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Morse's exchange with the "Face the Nation" host on May 24, 1964, occurred
more than two months before the Gulf of Tonkin resolution sailed through
Congress on the basis of presidential lies about a supposed unprovoked
attack on U.S. ships in the Tonkin Gulf. Morse was one of only two members
of the entire Congress to vote against that resolution, which served as a
green light for massive escalation of the Vietnam War.

As the years of carnage went by, Senator Morse never let up. And so, when
a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee neared a close on
February 27, 1968, Morse said - on the record - that he did not "intend
to put the blood of this war on my hands."

A big media lie is that members of Congress are doing all they can when
they try and fail to pass measures that would impose a schedule for
withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The Constitution gives Congress the
power to pay for war - and to stop a war by refusing to appropriate money
for it. Every vote to pay for more war is soaked with blood.

Wayne Morse knew that truth - and said it out loud. Today, few senators
come close.

The new documentary film "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep
Spinning Us to Death," based on Norman Solomon's book of the same title,
is now available on DVD. For information about the full-length movie,
produced by the Media Education Foundation and and narrated by Sean Penn,
go to:

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

It's Far Beyond a Few Judith Millers
A Free Press or a Ministry of Truth?
July 18, 2007

In his novel 1984, George Orwell portrayed a future time in which the
explanations of recent events and earlier history are continually changed
to meet Big Brother's latest purpose. Previous explanations disappear down
"the memory hole."

Sound familiar? Any American who pays attention can observe the identical
phenomenon occurring in the US today.

Think about the Bush Regime's changing explanations for the failed US
occupation of Iraq. Shortly after Bush's May 2003 announcement of "mission
accomplished," the mission revealed itself to be very much unaccomplished.
Americans were told that the cause of the snafu was a small Sunni
insurgency of two or three thousand at the most inspired by "die-hard
Baath party remnants. Remember the propagandistic deck of cards
identifying the most wanted down to the less wanted? Americans were
assured that once Saddam Hussein and his relatives and henchmen were
rounded up, our troops would be pelted with the promised flowers instead
of roadside bombs.

When the roundups, trials, and executions failed to fix the problem, the
"die-hard" explanation disappeared. A new explanation, with no continuity
to the old, took its place.

The new explanation was that Syria was allowing foreigners to cross its
border into Iraq to commit jihad against the American troops. This
explanation lasted until it became all too clear, despite the propaganda,
that the "foreign fighters" were remarkably well accepted by, and
concealed within, the Iraqi communities that were suffering all the
collateral damage of the conflict.

When it came time for the US to create an Iraqi government, it was evident
that it would be one dominated by Shi'ites. Then, for a limited time, it
was permissible to recognize that the insurgency was popularly based in
the Sunnis.

As the insurgency evolved into what the Iraq Study Group described as a
Sunni-Shi'ite civil war with US troops unclear on which side they stood,
the Bush Regime and the captive media began blaming Al Qaeda for the
escalating violence. Americans were assured by the Ministry of Truth that
there wasn't a civil war, just outsiders stirring up conflict. This
enabled Big Brother to deny that there was a civil war and to revive fear
of terrorist attacks in the US and UK, the new Oceania.

The Al Qaeda explanation was soon discarded into the memory hole. The
explanation implied that Oceania's invasion of Iraq had greatly expanded
the ranks and strength of Al Qaeda, thus contradicting big Brother's claim
that his war in Iraq was making Oceanians safe by stamping out terrorism.
The Al Qaeda explanation had to depart for another reason as well. Cheney,
Israel, and the neocons, the rulers of the new Oceania, plan to attack
Iran, and so the insurgency in Iraq is now being blamed on Iran.

The Ministry of Truth has accommodated the latest explanation, just as it
did all others before, without remarking on the funeral of the previous
explanation. All of a sudden, a new explanation appears and is repeated
until it, too, goes down the memory hole.

The American and British media work the same way as the Ministry of Truth
in Oceania. A day arrives when the "truth" no longer serves the empire or
hegemonic power or center of moral purpose in the world, or for short, the
regime. When that day arrives, a new explanation appears and is repeated
until it, too, is discarded down the memory hole.

In recent weeks Americans have been fed a series of reports from official
sources that Iran is arming both Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban in
Afghanistan. Experts, both within the government and without, who have
been made more attentive by the Bush Regime's false charges of Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction, have disputed the news reports.

But the reports keep on coming. As I write, the latest story is that the
US military "discovered a field of rocket launchers near a US army base
south of Baghdad armed with 34 Iranian-made missiles." Can you imagine?
The insurgents went to the trouble of lugging powerful missiles within
striking distance of a US base and just left them there unfired to be
discovered by the Americans. To further serve Cheney's plan to attack
Iran, the media report states: "Earlier this month, US commanders stepped
up the charges [against Iran], claiming that senior leaders of Iran's
special forces and of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia have trained
Iraqi fighters and provided other support."

Notice that none of the explanations fed to Americans over the years have
ever mentioned, even as a faint possibility, that the US invasion and
occupation of Iraq might be the cause of the violence in Iraq.

Allegedly, the US is a free and open country with a free press and a
government accountable to the people. Yet, the information fed to the
American people is as thoroughly false as that fed to the citizens of
Oceania by Big Brother through the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's famous

In Orwell's novel, despite the totalitarian power of the government,
nothing happens to people as long as they accept the government's
intrusive monitoring of their lives and do not become interested in truth
or facts.. In such a world, truth and individuality pass out of human
consciousness and become unimportant. Citizens survive by accepting Big
Brother's ever-changing reality.

This is what the mainstream media in the US and UK are enabling the new
Oceania to accomplish. It is pointless to complain about a few Judith
Millers here and there at the New York Times, or the obvious warmongers at
the Weekly Standard, Fox "News," and Wall Street Journal editorial page.
The entire corporate media is behaving as a Ministry of Truth.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal
editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor
of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:
PaulCraigRoberts [at]

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

Behind the Rhetoric
Health Care and the Democrats
July 19, 2007

What do Democratic presidential hopefuls John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and
Barack Obama have in common with Republican rival Mitt Romney? Edwards'
and Obama's proposals for universal healthcare differ little from the
former Massachusetts governor's "bipartisan" experiment in state
healthcare reform, signed into law last year - which in turn embraces key
elements of Senator Clinton's failed 1993 healthcare overhaul.

As the Washington Post noted on July 10, "To move toward universal
coverage, Edwards, Clinton and Obama have approaches that borrow from the
Massachusetts model. That plan, regarded as one of the nation's most
innovative, took key elements of the 1993 Clinton plan and made them
practical politically - so practical that the plan was enacted in 2006 by
a Democratic legislature with support from a Republican governor, 2008
presidential candidate Mitt Romney."

This commonality is not obvious from these candidates' stated intentions,
of course.

Edwards unveiled his universal healthcare plan by declaring his empathy
with the nation's 47 million uninsured, in a studied populist flourish:
"We have to stop letting the health insurance companies and the big
pharmaceutical concerns decide our nation's healthcare policy," Edwards
told the Democratic National Committee on February 2nd.

Clinton has yet to detail her own healthcare proposal. But her website now
extols that 1993 colossal failure as a badge of honor: "As First Lady,
Hillary introduced a plan to provide full coverage for all Americans,
which was defeated after aggressive opposition," while boasting, "Hillary
has the experience to take on the insurance companies [to] ensure that all
Americans have the health care they need."

Obama boldly informed Time magazine in May, "We'll investigate and
prosecute the monopolization of the insurance industry," adding, "And
where we do find places where insurance companies aren't competitive, we
will make them pay a reasonable share of their profits on the patients
they should be caring for in the first place."

Romney has predictably accused his Democratic competitors of embracing
"socialized medicine" while he relies on "market forces" to correct
healthcare disparities.

Partisan rhetoric, bipartisan approach

But the partisan rhetoric blurs the bipartisan approach. The healthcare
proposals of all of the leading presidential candidates offer a cash cow
to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries in new enrollments - while
requiring no compromise on profits in return. The working poor, meanwhile,
would shoulder the expense of substandard insurance policies with enormous
out-of-pocket costs.

The Massachusetts healthcare reform experiment looms large as a model for
the nation's future among these politicians. But how have Massachusetts'
residents fared under this widely touted plan? Beginning July 1st, the law
required all taxpayers to enroll in a health insurance plan. Those who
fail to enroll by December 31st will be penalized on next year's tax
returns. Also, while individuals are allowed to enroll in a lower-cost,
substandard insurance policy this year, everyone will be required to pay
for a policy that includes drug coverage by January 2009, or face further

At first, the penalty will be relatively small - forfeiting the annual
$219 state exemption. But the penalty grows much steeper over the next few
years, reaching up to half of a monthly insurance premium for each month a
person is uninsured.

The health care premiums on offer are far from affordable. The Liam
Maguire's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Falmouth, for example, now offers
its employees a bare-bones policy for $42 per week. By July 1st, just 10
of its 30 workers opted to take up the offer, according to the New York
Times. Although they cannot afford these high premiums, however, they are
ineligible for state-subsidized health insurance simply because their
employer has offered them any plan at all, however expensive.

A healthy 37-year-old earning $35,000 a year is required to pay an annual
premium of around $2,100 under the least-expensive plans on offer. But
such plans also have deductibles of about $2,000 a year, or roughly 12
percent of the patient's annual income, before any benefits kick in.
Massachusetts is marketing another set of lower-cost insurance policies to
its relatively healthy 19-26 year-old population, with monthly premiums
ranging between $106 and $220 per month. But many of these plans cap
annual benefits at $50,000 - leaving the insured a car accident or
illness away from destitution.

Premiums and deductibles for older people, couples, and families are much

Not surprisingly, the July 1st deadline came and went with only 130,000
Massachusetts residents, mainly the poor and previously uninsured, newly
enrolled in insurance policies - nearly all in the free or
state-subsidized plans. The working poor voted with their feet in

Massachusetts' employers, meanwhile, have no pressing financial incentive
to offer healthcare insurance to their employees. They have the option of
paying thousands of dollars annually for healthcare premiums or opting out
of coverage, with an annual penalty of just $295 per employee - a much
smaller price than their uninsured workers will pay for ignoring the
healthcare mandate.

Business leader Sandy Reynolds remarked that business owners could simply
reduce their workers' hours to less than 35-hours per week to escape the
insurance requirement for full-time workers.

Nationally, employers have another weapon at their disposal to battle
state healthcare reform. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(Erisa), enacted in 1974, frees the healthcare plans of multi-state
corporations that assume the cost of their workers' health costs
(so-called "self-insured" companies) from compliance with state laws.
According to the Wall Street Journal, such corporations cover roughly 70
million U.S. workers - half of all workers with employer-provided medical

As the Journal noted, "Industry groups say Erisa serves a vital function
in assuring that business doesn't have to meet varying state rules. 'Erisa
pre-emption [of state laws] is the crown jewel of health-care coverage by
employers,' says Mark Ugoretz, president of the ERISA Industry Committee,
a Washington-based trade group that represents big employers He argues
that Erisa bars any state levies that are large enough to force employers
to offer benefits."

But no employers have chosen thus far to use Erisa to sue Massachusetts
for its new employee healthcare requirements, "possibly reflecting the
small size of the penalty," the Journal commented.

The rising chorus for single-payer

"Healthcare for all" has become the mantra of the moment for Democrats,
but candidates from both parties lag far behind popular consensus on
resolving the healthcare crisis. "There's not a lot of untested political
ideas out there," Harvard health policy professor Robert Blendon recently
observed of the 2008 candidates' healthcare plans.

In a CBS News/New York Times poll released on March 1st, 90 percent of
those polled believed fixing the U.S. healthcare system will require at
least "fundamental" changes, including 36 percent who thought it would
require a "complete overhaul."

In the same poll, two-thirds said the federal government should be
responsible for guaranteeing that all Americans have health insurance.
Most would be willing to see the cost of their own care go up to achieve
this goal. In addition, 59 percent said they were very dissatisfied with
the cost of health care in the U.S. overall and another 22 percent were
somewhat dissatisfied.

One fourth of insured respondents reported that they have decided to
forego a medical test or treatment because their health plan did not cover
it. And 47 percent of those polled said they would prefer a single-payer
program administered by the government to cover all Americans, compared
with 38 percent who prefer to keep the current system.

To be sure, there are minor differences between the Democratic candidates.
"Obama's plan does not require adults to obtain health insurance, a
distinction that Edwards has tried to exploit because his aides say that
without such a requirement, Obama's plan would not ensure coverage for
everyone," the Post noted.

On the contrary, Edwards' proposal to require individuals to buy health
insurance places more of the burden on working-class people facing falling
real wages and rising healthcare costs. According to the Kaiser
Foundation, average health insurance premiums have risen 87 percent since
2000, while workers' earnings have risen just 20 percent.

But the differences are minor, given the scale of the healthcare crisis.
The pendulum is swinging left toward single-payer, and neither major
political party - for both are beholden to healthcare conglomerates'
campaign dollars - is prepared to address the urgency of popular
sentiment. Only a grassroots movement can force them to do so.

Sharon Smith is the author of Women and Socialism and Subterranean Fire: a
History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States. She can be
reached at: sharon [at]

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

More Humane and More Efficient
National Health Insurance
July 18, 2007

Michael Moore's extraordinary SiCKO makes the case for a single-payer
national health insurance system - a Medicare for All - without bogging
down in detailed policy debates.

Sure, there's quite a bit of data that Moore sneaks in, but SiCKO's basic
approach is to rely on regular people telling stories about their
healthcare experiences. In the United States, those stories are pretty
rotten, and frequently heartbreaking. The experience of people living in
countries with national health plans is much better.

This makes for powerful film-making, which is not to say there's no need
for the nitty-gritty policy debates.

The health insurance industry and its allies have worked hard to respond
to SiCKO by promulgating a series of deceptions. It's awfully hard to
defend the current U.S. system, so their emphasis is on criticizing other
countries' healthcare systems.

They have a lot of practice at this stuff. Get on a call with people like
Sarah Berk of Health Care America and Sally Pipes and John Graham of the
Pacific Research Institute, and they will compellingly recite three key
misleading arguments:

* People in other countries have to suffer through long waiting periods
before seeing a doctor or getting treatment.

* National health plans ration care.

* "Government-controlled healthcare" or "government monopoly healthcare"
is inherently of inferior quality.

When you don't feel well, or need treatment, you want to see a doctor
right away. So, the image of waiting lists to get treatment has some

But exactly how easy is it to see a doctor in the United States?

It turns out that the answer is the same as in other countries: It

It depends in large part on what you need to see a doctor for.

Live in the United States and have a bad rash and need to see a
dermatologist? Well, try not to scratch too much.

My colleague Sam Bollier called 20 dermatologists in the Washington, D.C.
area, included under Care First/Blue Cross-Blue Shield or Cigna insurance
plans. The average wait to get in the door is 36 days.

He called OB/GYNs and asked how long the wait would be for a woman who
found a lump on her breast. The answer on average: 16 excruciating days.

In fact, wait times to see a doctor in the United States are worse than
other industrialized countries - all of which have national health
insurance - except for Canada, where the system has been starved of
funding (but overall performance is still better than the United States on
most key measures).

In 2005, the Commonwealth Fund commissioned phone surveys of sicker adults
in New Zealand, Germany, Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States.

In the United States, 47 percent of those surveyed said that, the last
time they were sick, they were able to get a doctor's appointment the same
day or the next day. This was worse than every other country except
Canada. In New Zealand, 81 percent reported being able to see a doctor by
the next day.

Asked what happened the last time they needed care in the evening or on a
weekend or holiday, and whether they could get care without going to the
emergency room, a full third in the United States said it was "very
difficult" and half said it was at least "somewhat" difficult. This was
worse than every other surveyed country. In Germany, only 14 percent said
it was very or somewhat difficult.

What about rationing?

It's awfully hard to take this argument seriously, though there's no
question it resonates.

All insurance plans, if they have some budgetary constraint, must ration
to some extent. The relevant questions are: who's doing the rationing, on
what grounds, and how is the rationing allocated.

In the private insurance system in the United States, rationing is done by
the health insurance industry, which rations with an eye both to health
needs and the insurers' profitability.

And, of course, the worst rationing is imposed on the 45 million people in
the United States without insurance.

Rationing is far worse in the United States than in other countries. In
the Commonwealth Fund survey of sicker adults, 40 percent of people in the
United States said there has been a time when they did not fill a
prescription because of cost - twice the level of the next worst
performing country. Far higher numbers in the United States said that,
because of cost, they did not visit a doctor when they had a specific
medical problem, or that, again because of cost, they skipped a medical
test, treatment or follow-up recommended by a doctor.

And then there is the matter of quality of care. There's no doubt that the
United States often offers top-line care to those able to pay - including
"boutique" service for the super-rich at leading hospitals.

But in the aggregate, U.S. healthcare indicators are terrible, for worse
than other industrialized countries - all of which have national health

With SiCKO heating up the debate, Business Week profiled the French health
system, which is treated favorably in SiCKO. "To grasp how the French
system works, think about Medicare for the elderly in the U.S., then
expand that to encompass the entire population." But, notes Business Week:
"the French system is more generous to its entire population than the U.S.
is to its seniors."

Business Week lined up a comparison between the United States and France:
No one is uninsured in France. Out-of-pocket spending in France is barely
a quarter of what people in the United States pay. There are almost a
third more doctors per capita in France. French life expectancy is two
years longer for men, four for women. Infant mortality is 43 percent lower
in France.

On top of which, French health expenditures amount to 10.7 percent of the
national economy. In the United States, it is 16.5 percent.

It turns out that national health insurance is not just more humane, it is
far, far more efficient, about which more in my next (and final) piece on

There is one other argument that is regularly made against national health
insurance, but this one comes from different quarters - those sympathetic
to national health plans. And that is that while national health insurance
may be desirable, it is politically unattainable.

Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational
Monitor, and director of Essential Action.

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

From: Margaret Beegle <beegle [at]>
Subject: PRT News

Move over Jetsons! - Personal Rapid Transit is on its Way!

Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit is delighted to announce several
profound new developments in the advancement of Personal Rapid Transit

a.. The ULTra Personal Rapid Transit project is well underway at Heathrow
Airport in London. Due to be completed in 2008, it is actually running
under-budget! See

a.. Vectus PRT, a subsidiary of Korean steelmaker Posco, is in the final
stages of bringing a PRT project to Sweden. See

a.. The EDICT (Evaluation and Demonstration of Innovative City Transport)
study was completed by the European Union 5th Framework program. Davina
Fereday, a consultant with Transport and Travel Research Ltd (UK) and
coordinator of the EDICT studies, concludes that, "When social costs and
benefits are included, the rate of return [for PRT] looks very good. EDICT
was a detailed, rigorous study that has helped establish the viability of
PRT in Europe." See website

a.. The New Jersey Department of Transportation Bureau of Research and NJ
Transit funded a study of the viability of PRT. Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.,
a respected consulting firm, led the study. Their findings, released in
May, were very encouraging and supportive. See

As oil becomes scarcer and gas prices climb, Americans nevertheless
continue to rely on their cars. We are dependent on oil from other
countries. We suffer increasing pollution as we give over more and more
land to roads and parking.yet our mobility remains far from ideal. Each
year we squander millions of gallons of fuel (and irretrievable hours) in
traffic delays. We risk life and limb each time we get behind the wheel.

It is time to look to a new paradigm in transportation - Personal Rapid
Transit. PRT satisfies many transportation goals at once: convenient
accessibility for everyone; minimal impact on air and water quality;
efficient, pedestrian-friendly land use; minimal fossil fuel use (with the
added potential to use renewable energy sources); enhanced safety; and
reasonable cost.

For further information about PRT, see these websites:

ATRA (Professional organization of city planners, engineers, architects)

Another well-respected and comprehensive site on all technical facets of
PRT and other new concepts is

Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit (
c/o Dick Gronning (507) 645-4090


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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