|Progressive Calendar 09.12.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2007 14:46:51 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 09.12.07 1. Wages not war 9.12 5pm 2. Kevin Powell 9.12 6pm 3. Free classes 9.12 7pm 4. Vets4Peace 9.12 7pm RedWing MN 5. Steger/Iraq 9.12 7pm StJoseph MN 6. AI StPaul 9.12 7:30pm 7. UoMStrikeRally 9.13 12noon 8. NWN4P New Hope 9.13 4:30pm 9. Eagan vigil 9.13 4:30pm 10. NorthtownVigil 9.13 5pm 11. Global warming 9.13 5pm 12. Food forum 9.13 6:30pm 13. Philippines 9.13 7pm 14. Safer? Freer? 9.13 7:30pm 15. Green Party MN - UofM strike support statement 16. Cindy Sheehan - Pigs of war 17. Gabriel Kolko - 'The US will lose war regardless what it does' 18. Anon - Outsource the presidency --------1 of 18-------- From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com> Subject: Wages not war 9.12 5pm Let's show some serious support and solidarity for the U of M strikers! TODAY Wednesday, September 12, 5:00 - 6:00pm The weekly anti-war vigil at the Lake St. / Marshall Ave. bridge across the Mississippi is being dedicated to the strikers. "Wages, Not War" is the theme. Come for the bridge vigil; after that, at 6:00, we will go the short distance to Eastcliff, the home of U President Robert Bruininks, for a rally there. --------2 of 18-------- From: isis <isis [at] isisspeaks.com> Subject: Kevin Powell 9.12 6pm An Evening with Kevin Powell Wed., Sept. 12, 2007 6 - 8 p.m. NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center 1313 Penn Avenue North Minneapolis Presented by the African American Men Project and African American Read-In For more info: 612.302.4695 Kevin Powell is widely considered one of America's most important voices in these early years of the 21st century. Legendary feminist Gloria Steinem proclaims that "as a charismatic speaker, leader, and a very good writer, Kevin Powell has the courage...to be fully human, and this will bring the deepest revolution of all." Powell is a political activist, poet, journalist, essayist, hiphop historian, public speaker, and entrepreneur. A product of extreme poverty, welfare, fatherlessness, and a single mother-led household, he is a native of Jersey City, New Jersey and was educated at New Jersey's Rutgers University. Powell is a longtime resident of Brooklyn, New York, and it is from his base in New York City that he has published 7 books, including his current title, Someday We'll All Be Free (Soft Skull Press). This new book is a collection of provocative essays on freedom, democracy, justice, and race in America, as inspired by Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 presidential election, and September 11th. Powell is presently at work on a new collection of essays, Letters to A Young American (2008), and his second volume of poetry, No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn (2008). Additionally, Powell is at work on his childhood memoir, homeboy alone, slated for 2010, and The Kevin Powell Anthology (2011), which will highlight the first twenty-five years of his literary career. Indeed, Powell has also written numerous essays, articles, and reviews through the years for publications such as Esquire, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Essence, Rolling Stone, Ebony, The Amsterdam News, and Vibe, where he was a founding staff member and served as a senior writer, interviewing and profiling, among many others, Colin Powell, and the late Tupac Shakur. At present, Powell is a Writing Fellow for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Phelps Stokes Fund Senior Fellow and a 2008 candidate for the United State Congress in Brooklyn, New York. --------3 of 18-------- From: David Boehnke <dboehnke [at] gmail.com> Subject: Free classes 9.12 7pm EXCO Offers Free Classes, Come to the Infosession this Wednesday at 7pm Want to take free classes on amazing subjects that fit your schedule? Want to join an educational community committed to developing an alternative model to the current hierarchies and inequities of our educational system? Want to teach a class on anything? Check out the Twin Cities Experimental College, www.EXCOtc.org. We are offering 22 classes this Fall, beginning the week of the 17th of September, on topics ranging from experimental film making to peacemaking and anarchism, shape note singing to poetry in Spanish. You can register online, by contacting the teachers, coming to the first day of class or - by attending the EXCO Infosession, THIS Wednesday September 12th at 7pm in JBD Lecture Hall at 1600 Grand Ave in St. Paul MN. Hear from teachers about their classes, ask them questions, talk to organizers, join our community! Questions? Advice? Ideas? Want to teach a class next Spring? Contact dboehnke [at] gmail.com or call David with a cell phone at 651-212-0727. --------4 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Vets4Peace 9.12 7pm RedWing MN Wednesday, 9/12, 7 to 8:30, Red Wing Vets for Peace meeting at home of Charles Nicolosi, Red Wing. tuvecino [at] redwing.org --------5 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Steger/Iraq 9.12 7pm StJoseph MN Wednesday, 9/12, 7 pm, Phil Steger speaks on "Leaving Iraq Now: Why It's the Best Chance for Peace and Why September Is Our Best Chance to Make It Happen," College of St Benedict, St Joseph. www.peaceintheprecincts.org --------6 of 18-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl StP 9.12 7:30pm AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, September 12th, at 7:30 p.m. Mad Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul. --------7 of 18-------- From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com> Subject: UoM strike rally 9.13 12noon Let's show some serious support and solidarity for the U of M strikers! Thursday, September 13, Student Day of Strike Support Action. Rally at noon at Coffman Union (on Washington Ave., near river, on East Bank campus). After the rally... Kick it on the picket! Join striking workers on the picket lines. Bring food, drinks, and other nice things! Also at 3pm at Coffman - join the "Pedal Powered Picket Line" on a bicycle tour de resistance. Sponsored by the Student Solidarity Committee --------8 of 18-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P New Hope 9.14 4:30pm NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of Winnetka and 42nd. You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners. Bring your own or use our signs. --------9 of 18-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 9.13 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------10 of 18-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 9.13 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------11 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Global warming 9.13 5pm Thursday, September 13th The Launch Workshop for the Upper Midwest <http://www.macalester.edu/leadership/ 59pm Macalester College 1600 Grand Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105 This month, E-magazine captures the ambitious spirit of Focus the Nation organizing teams across the country! We need that spirit to build this event into a true national dialogue, engaging millions of students and citizens directly with political leaders. Many educators (including myself) have used chapters from Bjiorn Lomborg?s Skeptical Environmentalist to help spark discussion about Julian Simon-style technological optimism. Lomborg is back with a new book called Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist?s Guide to Global Warming. I had the opportunity to review it for Salon, out today. Incredibly, Lomborg predicates the entire discussion in his book on a single, lower-range warming scenario, so Cool It misses the central point of the debate. As such, the book really fails as an articulate defense of inaction. --------12 of 18-------- From: foodforum <foodforum [at] eastsidefood.coop> Subject: Food forum 9.13 6:30pm Eastside Food Co-op's September Food Forum and Potluck Thursday, September 13th from 6:30 to 8:00 PM Rogue Buddha Gallery http://www.roguebuddha.com/ 357 13th AVE in lovely lower Northeast Minneapolis Meg Moynihan, Organic and Diversification Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Todd Lein with Thousand Hills Cattle Company http://www.thousandhillscattleco.com/ Its a great local beef producer and a great public servant swinging for sustainable, local and organic foods and farms at our own MN Dept of AG! What is the difference in the cheap, feedlot raised meats that you can buy and local pasture raised choices? Come find out about the great innovative things that our MN Department of AG is doing on the behalf for local, sustainable and organic farms and the folks that depend on their products. The recent floods in SE MN have impacted not just farmers fields, homes, machinery and livestock but on top of all that some of the organic farms certification could be in jeopardy. Meg will let us know what is happening and what we can do to support these farmers. We will be able to have delicious tastes of Thousand Hills hamburgers and their fabulous all beef hot dogs. Attempts will be made to make the finest prepared hot dog on this green earth, so come help us do that! 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 serving and eating utensils you may need and a plate AND of course your ideas and fixings for the best dang hot dog EVER. Please feel free to spread the word by forwarding this on to anyone that may be interested, wants to learn about local food from sustainable family farms, the challenges involved and anybody you know that eats. Questions? Call the East Side Food Co-op - 612-788-0950. http://www.eastsidefood.coop/ --------13 of 18-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: Philippines 9.13 7pm Program change for Thursday the 13th, 7 PM. Gary King will be out of town and so Dr. Paul Bloom will be speaking at the NWN4P program on "Human Rights in the Philippines" at the Parish Community of St. Joseph, 8701-36th Avenue. N, New Hope. Dr. Bloom is a professor at the University of Minnesota in Soil Chemistry and has been a visiting scientist at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. His wife is from the Philippines and he is a founding member of the Philippine Study Group and Board member of the Philippine Scholars, an organization that helps poor children in the Philippines to stay in school. Since 1994 he has been active in trying to get the US to take responsibility for the pollution remaining at the former US Air and Naval Bases in the Philippines. Come and learn. Free and open to the public. --------14 of 18-------- From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at] gmail.com> Subject: Less Safe/Free 9.13 7:30pm David Cole discusses his new book, Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror (co-written with Jules Lobel), 7:30pm Thursday, September 13 at Magers and Quinn Booksellers. "If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long."--President Bush, defending the preemptive war strategy, at a commencement speech at West Point, June 1, 2002 "A resounding argument contra administration policy." -Kirkus Reviews ARE WE SAFER? NEW BOOK SHOWS THAT WAR ON TERROR HAS BACKFIRED In Steven Spielberg's science fiction thriller Minority Report, the Justice Department uses psychic visionaries to predict and prevent future crimes. President Bush has no psychic visionaries, but in fighting the war on terrorism his administration has nonetheless adopted a sweeping new "preemptive" strategy, which turns on the ability to predict the future. At home and abroad, the administration has cut corners on fundamental commitments of the rule of law in the name of preventing future attacks - from "waterboarding" detainees, to disappearing suspects into secret CIA prisons, to attacking Iraq against the wishes of the UN Security Council and most of the world when it posed no imminent threat of attacking us. In this brilliantly conceived critique, two of the country's preeminent constitutional scholars argue that the great irony is that these sacrifices in the rule of law, adopted in the name of prevention, have in fact made us more susceptible to future terrorist attacks. They conclusively debunk the administration's claim that it is winning the war on terror and offer an alternative strategy in which the rule of law is an asset, not an obstacle, in the struggle to keep us both safe and free. The Bush administration is fond of reminding us that no terrorist attacks have occurred on domestic soil since 9/11. But has the administration's "war on terror" actually made us safer? According to the July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, al Qaeda has fully reconstituted itself in Pakistan's border region. Worldwide terrorist attacks have grown dramatically since 2001. And most experts agree that independent terrorist groups, from al Qaeda in Iraq to the individuals who bombed subways and buses in London and Madrid, have multiplied since 9/11. In their timely new book, Less Safe, Less Free constitutional scholars David Cole and Jules Lobel argue that the problem lies in the particularly aggressive "preventive paradigm" that the Bush administration adopted in the wake of 9/11. In the first comprehensive review of the administration's record, Cole and Lobel show how preemptive coercion has not only compromised our most basic values, but has little to show for itself in terms of captured terrorists, disrupted terrorist plots, or increased security. Cole and Lobel calculate, for example, that the administration's record in its anti-terrorism immigration initiatives after 9/11 is 0 for 93,000. These sweeping measures unearthed not a single convicted terrorist. The administration's record in criminal "terrorism" cases is not much better, as it has lost far more cases than it has won, and has brought almost no actual terrorists to justice. Similarly, by the government's own account, only about 5 percent of those it has held at Guantanamo were fighters for al Qaeda or the Taliban. And the administration's preventive war in Iraq has also made the United States more vulnerable to terrorism, not less. While the "preventive paradigm" can point to few gains in our security, it has come at great cost to our ideals. In the name of preemptive security, the administration has undertaken torture; indefinite detention without trial; extraordinary renditions; disappearances into CIA "black sites"; warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, and an illegal and disastrous war in Iraq. Cole and Lobel show that these measures, which constitute the core of the "preventive paradigm," have compromised the most basic commitments of the rule of law. And by doing so they have limited our long-term options for security, sparked anti-American resentment and terrorist recruitment, and undermined relations even with our closest allies. In short, Less Safe, Less Free unearths a record of profound failure. Cole and Lobel do not stop at critique, but offer an alternative vision for keeping America safe and free: prevention that favors noncoercive measures and multilateral cooperation, relies on the "soft power" of foreign relations rather than military might, and recognizes that where coercion is necessary and appropriate, it must adhere to basic legal rules, treating the rule of law as an asset, not an obstacle, in the struggle to keep us safe and free. David Cole is a professor of law at Georgetown University, the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, and the author, most recently, of the American Book Award-winning Enemy Aliens. He lives in Washington, D.C. Jules Lobel is a professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh and a constitutional lawyer and expert on emergency powers and the laws governing war. He lives in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania. --------15 of 18-------- Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2007 08:45:33 -0500 From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com> Subject: Uo M strike support statement The Green Party of Minnesota has issued a statement in solidarity with the striking AFSCME workers at the University of Minnesota. It was felt that this is an important strike, and one clearly justified by the continuing refusal by the University to provide wages that keep up with the cost of living. The statement has been posted on the strike support website, at: http://uworkers.org/node/64 I'll also copy the statement below. It should also be on the mngreens.org website soon. The University is the largest employer in the state, so this strike is important for all workers due to the precedent it will set. It is also important state-wide because it affects all the campuses throughout the state: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Rochester, Morris, Crookston, plus over a dozen other facilities throughout the state. Also, because the University is a public institution, this is a matter of public policy. The University's Board of Regents is, at least theoretically, accountable to the public in a way that a private corporation's board of directors is not. The public, including the Green Party, should make its voice heard. I would like to encourage all our members to support the strike in whatever way you can. You can donate, sign their petition, help on the picket lines, or attend rallies. Information on how to help is at the strike support website: http://uworkers.org/ There is also information at: http://afscme3800.org/ I intend to send another email soon, with more specific information about how to help. For further background on the strike and the issues, there is an excellent City Pages article at: http://citypages.com/databank/28/1395/article15805.asp Dave Bicking Here is the press release: ---------- For immediate release Green Party of Minnesota September 8, 2007 Dave Bicking, Spokesperson 612-276-1213 GREEN PARTY SUPPORTS STRIKE BY U OF M WORKERS The Green Party of Minnesota stands in solidarity with the striking AFSCME workers at the University of Minnesota. They deserve to achieve their goal: a fair wage that, at the very least, keeps up with the cost of living. The U of M reflects the conditions in our larger society - an obscene, and growing, disparity in wealth and incomes. While University austerity programs have led to a decrease in the real wages of its lowest-paid workers, money has been found for large increases in the salaries of the President and top administrators. President Bruininks is paid over $400,000 and the football coach receives over $1 million per year. The Green Party is united in its stand for economic justice, and we recognize that labor solidarity is a critical part of that struggle. The University is a public institution and its Board of Regents must be held accountable to the public. We believe that the public supports fair wages. Large and growing support for the strike is an indication of public opinion. For the benefit of students, faculty, and AFSCME workers, we call upon the Board of Regents to end the strike immediately by granting the workers' demands. We encourage our Green Party members to participate in strike support activities at University campuses throughout the state. The University is the largest employer in the state and the success of this strike is important to us all. We congratulate the members of AFSCME for taking the risks and bearing the sacrifices to stand up not only for themselves, but for all workers. --------16 of 18-------- Pigs of War by Cindy Sheehan September 11th, 2007 "I believe it is imperative that we never lose our voice of dissent, regardless of political pressure. As Martin Luther King, Jr said: 'there comes a time when silence is betrayal". However, it is unforgivable that Congress has been unwilling to examine these matters or take action to prevent these circumstances [executive branch crimes] from occurring again". - Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), Introduction to Constitution in Crisis (2006) Pigs of War come in both political colors of red and blue. We are all unfortunately very familiar with the red pigs. The pigs of war who manipulated, cherry-picked, stove-piped and manufactured intelligence to suggest to the world that Saddam had mushroom cloud producing WMD and something to do with the tragic events of 9-11 that occurred six years ago now. Many blue politicians are pigs of war and they willingly went along with the deceptions and even parroted red pig talking points whenever they got a chance but now claim that the "fiendishly clever" George fooled them into believing the nearly unbelievable. I don't know about you, but I take small comfort in that excuse. When we have a system of government where our supposed public servants can profit off of war along with the corporations that pad their bank accounts both blue and red pigs benefit and young people needlessly lose their lives sometimes killing other humans in the process. Our troops and the people of Iraq are the ones getting trapped between our pusillanimous politicians. These dear human beings become ciphers in purely political calculations from Congress and only an exercise in abstraction from pundits, poets, publishers and the majority of the average American who has not been personally touched by this excremental occupation. In Iraq, every citizen has been personally touched and the American occupation is a living, fire-breathing, palpable entity that has intruded its imperialistic self into every aspect of their daily lives. How do I know that Congress is playing politics with human hearts? All one has to do is observe the lack of action on the part of the red and blue pigs to come to this sad but inevitable conclusion. Apparently, MAJORITY Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) has spent more time over his summer recess trying to convince red pigs to go against George's war plan than he spent trying to coalesce his blue caucus into something that would not resemble the red pigs so closely that the blur becomes purple. He and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) have already decided that they do not have enough votes to end the occupation just as they decided that impeachment was "off the table" even before they were elected! So they will happily hand over to George more of your tax money and China's money to continue the killing fields in Iraq. Why are they so miserly with democracy, but generous with our treasury and with our dear human treasure? I got two very overt answers to this question one day in Congress this past spring when I was on the Hill. In one of my meetings with Congressman Conyers, he told me that it was more important to put a Democrat back in the White House in '08 than it was to "end the war". After I recovered from my shock, I knew it was confirmed that partisan politics is exactly what is killing our children and the innocent civilians in Iraq. My next stop was in a Congresswoman's office who has always been 100% correct about the war. She is a lovely woman with a lovely heart and does not in anyway qualify (and there are a few dozen others who do not) as a blue pig. She had tears in her eyes when she told me: "Cindy, when I go to Speaker's meetings and we talk about the war, all the talk is about politics and not one of them mentions the heartbreak that will occur if we don't pull our troops out, now". People are dying for two diverse but equally deadly political agendas. The red pigs want to keep the war going because they feed out of the trough of carnage and the blue pigs want to keep it going for votes! Either way is reprehensible. There is a lot of chatter about the Petraeus (written and produced by the White House ) report. Will the general recommend drawing down troops - even if he does, three-five thousand doesn't even bring the number down to pre-surge levels - and the report says, in direct contradiction to the GAO report on the surge, that sectarian violence in Iraq is down 75%, without saying that the red pigs have re-defined the term "sectarian violence". All I know is that the report will paint a rosier picture than what really exists on the ground in Iraq and like Ron Paul said the other day in the Fox News "Leader of the Red Pigs Wannabe" debate: "How can anyone believe anything they say?" The blue pigs won't believe the report, but they will expediently go along with the red pig request to further fund the disaster because they believe that it will mean political victory in '08. It is up to we the people to care more about humanity and democracy than either the reds or the blues and it is mandatory that we mount campaigns to defeat the pigs and their masters: the war machine. Twenty-one families here in America and dozens more in Iraq have felt the sting of the lethal politics of war just since the beginning of September, and the beat goes on. What if instead of pigs of war in our government, we had elected officials who put humanity before politics and people before profits? Maybe the horrible twin tragedies of the Bush Regime and 9-11 would have never occurred within our borders and the rest of the world could look up to the USA with respect as a true leader in world peace instead of glaring at our shocking and awful quest for empire off the backs of the many who benefit the pocketbooks of the few? It's not to late, but we are getting there. Silence is betrayal and the silence of a host of blue pigs is the biggest betrayal of all. Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Bush's war of terror on 04/04/04. She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and The Camp Casey Peace Institute. Read other articles by Cindy. This article was posted on Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 at 12:00 pm and is filed under Anti-War, Iraq, Democrats and Activism. Send to a friend. --------17 of -------- 'The US Will Lose War Regardless What it Does' by Gabriel Kolko September 11, 2007 Spiegel SPIEGEL: The long awaited results of the "surge" are now in. Has the surge succeeded? Is there reason for optimism in Iraq? KOLKO: Both United States General David H. Petraeus and US Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will deliver "progress" reports to Congress on Monday, but the skeptics far outnumber those who believe Bush's strategy in Iraq is succeeding. They will say that Shiite attacks on Sunnis in Baghdad have fallen but they will not add that Baghdad has been largely purged in many areas of Sunni inhabitants and their flight much earlier - and not the increase in Americans - is the reason "success" can be reported to Congress. Indeed, most of the administration's statistics have been met with a wave of skepticism. The Iraq military but especially the political 'benchmarks' that this administration thought so crucial - and used to justify its 'surge' of 28,500 additional troops - have, in the opinion of Congress' Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued at the end of August, not been attained (there are now 168,000 American troops in Iraq, plus roughly half as many civilians). In its unexpurgated, original form, the GAO claimed that only three of the 18 Congressionally mandated "benchmarks" had been reached: violence was as high as ever; reconstruction was plagued by corruption on both the Iraqi and American sides; the Shiites and Sunnis were as disunited as ever, murdering each other; crucial laws, especially on oil, have not been enacted yet; and probably many political changes will never occur, and the like. Of its nine security goals, only two had been met. White House and Pentagon efforts to soften GAO criticisms failed. SPIEGEL: Who has benefited from the mess? KOLKO: The situation is worse than ever and the artificial nation - created after World War I in a capricious manner - is breaking up. The surge, as one Iraqi is quoted, "is isolating areas from each other ... and putting up permanent checkpoints. That is what I call a failure." The civilian death toll last August was higher than in February. Geopolitically, as Bush senior feared after the first Gulf war in 1990-91, Iran is emerging more powerful than ever, increasingly dominant in the region. The many official Israeli warnings before the war that this would be the outcome of war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power have come true. SPIEGEL: How would you describe the situation of the Bush White House today? What options does it have? KOLKO: The Bush Administration suffers from a fatal dilemma. Its Iraq adventure is getting steadily worse, the American people very likely will vote the Republicans out of office because of it, and the war is extremely expensive at a time that the economy is beginning to present it with a major problem. The president's poll ratings are now the worst since 2001. Only 33 percent of the American public approve of his leadership and 58 percent want to decrease the number of American troops immediately or quickly. Fifty-five percent want legislation to set a withdrawal deadline. In Afghanistan, as well, the war against the Taliban is going badly, and the Bush Administration's dismal effort to use massive American military power to remake the world in a vague, inconsistent way is failing. The US has managed to increasingly alienate its former friends, who now fear its confusion and unpredictability. Above all, the American public is less ready than ever to tolerate Bush's idiosyncrasies. SPIEGEL: What went wrong? Was the war doomed from the very beginning? How can the US military and the US government which is spending $3 billion per week in Iraq be losing the war? KOLKO: The US is losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the very same reasons it lost all of its earlier conflicts. It has the manpower and firepower advantage, as always, but these are ultimately irrelevant in the medium- and long-run. They were irrelevant in many contexts in which the US was not involved, and they explain the outcome of many armed struggles over the past century regardless of who was in them, for they are usually decided by the socio-economic and political strength of the various sides - China after 1947 and Vietnam after 1972 are two examples but scarcely the only ones. Wars are more determined by socio-economic and political factors than any other, and this was true long before the US attempted to regulate the world's affairs. Political conflicts are not solved by military interventions, and that they are often incapable of being resolved by political or peaceful means does not alter the fact that force is dysfunctional. This is truer today than ever with the spread of weapons technology. Washington refuses to heed this lesson of modern history. SPIEGEL: What is the position of the US military? Are its forces united behind the war? KOLKO: Some of the most acute criticisms made of the gross simplisms which have guided interventionist policies were produced within the American military, especially after the Vietnam experience traumatized it. My history of the Vietnam War was purchased by many base libraries, and the military journals treated it in detail and very respectfully. The statement at the end of July by the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, that "no amount of troops in no amount of time will make much of a difference" if Iraqi politics fails to change drastically reflects a current of realism that has existed among military thinkers for some decades (whether he acts on this assumption is another matter and depends greatly on considerations outside of his control). But the senior military remains extremely disunited on this war, and many officers regard Gen. Petraeus - the top military commander in Iraq - as a political opportunist who ultimately will do as Bush commands. Admiral William J. Fallon, who commands American forces in the region and is Petraeus' superior, is publicly skeptical of his endorsement of the president's policies in Iraq. The Army, especially, does not have the manpower for a protracted war and if the US maintains its troop levels after spring 2008, it will face a crisis. It will have to break its pledge not to leave soldiers in Iraq longer than 15 months, accelerate the use of National Guard units, and the like - and it will lose the war regardless of what it does. SPIEGEL: But if there are critical voices in the military, why are they ignored? KOLKO: Like the CIA, the military has some acute strategic thinkers who have learned from bitter experiences. The analyses of the US Army's Strategic Studies Institute - to name one of many - are often very insightful and critical. The problem, of course, is that few (if any) at the decisive levels pay any attention to the critical ruminations that the military and CIA consistently produce. There is no shortage of insight among US official analysts - the problem that policy is rarely formulated with objective knowledge is a constraint on it. Ambitious people, who exist in ample quantity, say what their superiors wish to hear and rarely, if ever, contradict them. Former CIA head George Tenet is the supreme example of that, and what the CIA emphasized for the president or Donald Rumsfeld was essentially what they wanted to hear. While he admits the CIA knew far less regarding Iraq than it should have, Tenet's recent memoir is a good example of desire leading reporting objectively. The men and women who rise to the top are finely tuned to the relationship between ambition and readiness to contradict their superiors with facts. The entire mess in Iraq, to cite just one example, was predicted. If reason and clarity prevailed, America's role in the world would be utterly different. SPIEGEL: But what about the Iraqi security forces? Are they able to take over from the Americans? KOLKO: The Iraqi army and police that are to replace the Americans is heavily infiltrated by Shiites loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr and others - estimates vary, but at least a quarter is wholly unreliable. When Paul Bremer was sent as proconsul to Iraq in May 2003, he decided unilaterally to purge the military completely of Saddam's officers and loyalists - Bush still wanted, vaguely, to keep the existing army intact - but the task of reconstructing it proved far too difficult for his successors. The American administration is now using the very Sunni tribes that Saddam had worked with, mainly by purchasing their loyalty. It is very significant that Bush during his visit to Iraq a few days ago went to Anbar province rather than Baghdad, reflecting the realization that Nouri al-Maliki's government is no longer the chosen vehicle for attaining America's goals. SPIEGEL: How does Washington plan to go about the business of ending the war? KOLKO: There is utter confusion in Washington about how to end this morass. Goals are similar but the means to attain them are increasingly changing, confused, and as victory becomes more elusive so too does this administration look pathetic. The 'surge' in the opinion of a majority of quite conservative Establishment foreign policy experts (80 percent of whom had once served in government) was failing; the administration's handling of the war, in their view, was dismal. In fact, it is disastrous. Interview conducted by John Goetz. --------18 of 18-------- OUTSOURCE THE PRESIDENCY Washington, DC (AP) -- Congress today announced that the office of President of the United States of America will be out-sourced to India as of August 1, 2007. The move is being made in order to save the President's $500,000 yearly salary, and also a record $521 trillion in deficit expenditures and related overhead the office has incurred during the last 6 years. "We believe this is a wise move financially. The cost savings should be significant," stated Congressman Thomas Reynolds (R-WA). "We cannot expect to remain competitive on the world stage with the current level of cash outlay," Reynolds noted. Mr. Bush was informed by e-mail this morning of his replacement time. Gurvinder Singh of Indus Teleservices, Mumbai, India will be assuming the office of President as of July 1, 2007. Mr. Singh was born in the United States while his Indian parents were vacationing at Niagara Falls, thus making him eligible for the position. He will receive a salary of $320 (USD) a month but with no health coverage or other benefits. It is believed that Mr. Singh will be able to handle his job responsibilities without a support staff. Due to the time difference between the US and India, he will be working primarily at night, when few offices of the US Government will be open. "Working nights will allow me to keep my day job at the Dell computer call center," stated Mr. Singh in an exclusive interview. "I am excited about this position. I always hoped I would be President." A Congressional spokesperson noted that while Mr. Singh may not be fully aware of all the issues involved in the office of President, this should not be a problem as President Bush was not familiar with the issues either. Mr. Singh will rely upon a script tree that will enable him to respond effectively to most topics of concern. Using these canned responses, he can address common concerns without having to understand the underlying issue at all. "We know these scripting tools work," stated the spokesperson. "President Bush has used them successfully for years." Bush will receive health coverage, expenses, and salary until his final day of employment. Following a two week waiting period, he will be eligible for $140 a week unemployment for 13 weeks. Unfortunately he will not be eligible for Medicaid, as his unemployment benefits will exceed the allowed limit. Mr. Bush has been provided the outplacement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a resume and prepare for his upcoming job transition. According to Manpower, Mr. Bush may have difficulties in securing a new position due to limited practical or successful work experience. A Greeter position at Wal-Mart was suggested due to Bush's extensive experience shaking hands, as well as his goofy smile. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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