Progressive Calendar 10.12.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 05:32:28 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    10.12.07

1. Parenti/Barrett   10.12 11am
2. Tutu vigil        10.12 12noon
3. Palestine         10.12 4:30pm
4. Lowertown art     10.12 6pm
5. Alt to violence   10.12 6pm
6. Mizna/author      10.12 7pm

7. Women/work/retire 10.13 9am
8. WILPF/do peace MN 10.13 10am
9. AI cluster        10.13 10am
10. NWN4P Minnetonka 10.13 11am
11. Jena 6 protest   10.13 1pm
12. River/arts       10.13 2pm
13. Celtic author    10.13 7pm
14. Iran/US/CTV      10.13 9pm

15. Festival/India   10.14 12noon
16. Stillwater vigil 10.14 1pm
17. S-CHIP/AM 950    10.14 3pm
18. RadicalCommunity 10.14 6:30pm

19. John Atcheson - Dems: slack-jawed yokels at a 3 card monty festival
20. ed            - intentional blankness  (wallpaper)

--------1 of 20--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Parenti/Barrett 10.12 11am

Friday, Oct. 5, 11am  KFAI Radio's HOUR OF POWER

11am CATALYST:politics & culture produced/hosted by Lydia Howell
YOUR FREE SPEECH - USE it - or LOSE it! A collage of inspiring voices
raising issues of dissent in our time.

11:30 am NORTHERN SUN NEWS hosted/produced by Don Olson

A live conversation with KEVIN BARRETT, Professor at University of
Wisconsin/Madison, talking about the September 11th attacks and the
questions that remain, as more and more of "the official story" unravels.

Friday, Oct. 12 11am HOUR OF POWER: Michael Parenti

Lydia Howell and Don Olson collaborate for the hour, with a special
broadcast of a talk by the radical professor/author MICHAEL PARENTI, who
has a new book CONTRARY NOTIONS - a wonderful collection of short writings
that look at how propaganda operates in the US, the ongoing class war
waged by Corporations against ordinary workers, US imperialism and more.
Parenti's book is one of the premiums you can get when you pledge to
either show!

This is KFAI's Fall Pledge Drive! Call during the HOUR OF POWER and pledge
for locally-produced progressive public affairs produced by two long-time
activists! Call: (612)375-9030! PLEDGE ONLINE at http://www.kfai.org Be
sure to say what show you're pledging for!


--------2 of 20--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Tutu vigil 10.12 12noon

Correction: The following event has not been canceled.

Silent Vigil: Response to Father Dease's Retracted Invitation to Desmond Tutu
Friday, October 12, Noon to 1:30 p.m. University of St. Thomas, Summit
Avenue Gate, 2115 Summit Avenue, St. Paul.

Doug Hennes, Vice President for university and government relations at St.
Thomas, explained the retracted invite of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate,
Bishop Desmond Tutu in this way, "He [Tutu] has been critical of Israel
and Israeli policy regarding the Palestinians, so we talked with people in
the Jewish community and they said they believed it would be hurtful to
the Jewish community, because of things he's said." The Coalition for
Palestinian rights is inviting University of St. Thomas faculty and
students, as well as the general public, to wear black and stand in silent
recognition of the many voices that have been suppressed in the
Palestinian people's struggle for their rights. At the same time, signs
will be carried to demonstrate that the voices calling for justice and
peace can never be completely silenced. The signs will ask Father Dease to
consider what is 'hurtful' to Palestinian Christians and Muslims - not
only what might be 'hurtful' to some members of the Minnesota Jewish
community. Sponsored by: the Coalition for Palestinian Rights. FFI: Call
Sanna, 651-224-0833 or email Susanne, <susannewaldorf [at] yahoo.com>.


--------3 of 20--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Palestine 10.12 4:30pm

Friday, 10/12, 4:30 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end the occupation of Palestine,
Snelling & Summit Aves, St Paul.  Karen, 651-283-3495.


--------4 of 20--------

From: Mike  Wassenaar <wassenaar [at] spnn.org>
Subject: Lowertown art 10.12 6pm

You're invited to a premiere of the television series "Lowertown",
profiling the work and life of Lowertown artists.  The premiere party will
be at SPNN on Friday 10/12 from 6-11pm, featuring art and artists in the
television series, and live music.

SPNN is located at 375 Jackson in the Agribank Building on 6th and
Jackson.  For more information, visit our website at www.spnn.org


--------5 of 20--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Alt to violence 10.12 6pm

10/12 (6 pm) to 10/14 (6 pm), basic level Alternatives to Violence
Project, Friends for a Non-Violent World, 1050 Selby Ave, St Paul.  $75 to
$150 sliding scale.  www.fnvw.org or avp [at] fnvw.org or 651-644-5851.


--------6 of 20--------

From: Mizna  <mizna-announce [at] mizna.org>
Subject: Mizna/author 10.12 7pm

Mizna presents:

Elmaz Abinader - Friday, October 12. Loft Literary Center. 7 pm. MENTOR
SERIES READING ELMAZ ABINADER with RACHAEL HANEL & CHRISSY KOLAYA. Loft
Literary Center. Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis

Elmaz Abinader makes no secret of her concerns as a writer and an
activist. Much of her focus comes from growing up Arab American, from
coming from a part of the country that lacks diversity and from developing
political and moral values consistent with ideas of compassion, equity and
respect for the earth. Elmaz's books, Children of the Roojme, a Family's
Journey from Lebanon, and In the Country of my Dreams...., as well as her
play, Country of Origin illustrate personal lives of Arabs and Arab
Americans negotiating hostile terrain, cultural polarities, and geographic
and social displacement. Her other works, 32 Muhameds, Ramadan Moon, The
Torture Quartet and Messages from the Siege provide an articulation of the
effect of political actions on personal lives both here and in the Middle
East. Copresented with the Loft.


--------7 of 20--------

From: biego001 [at] umn.edu
Subject: Women/work/retire 10.13 9am

October 13th, 9am to 2pm, the Women's Consortium building, 550 Rice St. St
Paul: The older women's league (OWL) of Minnesota brings local experts to
answer your questions about how women can make the most of employment and
retirement.

There will be 2 interactive panels: 1) Benefits from work: more than a
paycheck and 2) How Rights and Protections in Employment Affect You.
Topics include equal pay, union protection, defamation, contracts,
discrimination, whistleblower protection, and more. $10 includes
registration and lunch. Call 651-228-9990 to reserve your place.


--------8 of 20--------

From: Doris Marquit <marqu001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: WILPF/do peace MN 10.13 10am

MN Metro Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, presents:
Recovering a Culture of Peace Speaker: Mary Jane LaVigne (cofounder of Do
Peace Minnesota)
Saturday, October 13, 2007, 10 am to noon
Van Cleve Community Center, 901 15th Ave. SE, Minneapolis

Can peace seeking be a creative act? The speaker will address the need to
fire the desire to create, and to make the world better. How could the
creation of a U.S. cabinet-level Department of Peace help prevent violence
of all kinds? Do Peace Minnesota is a statewide group dedicated to
promoting a culture of peace and lobbying for creation of a U.S.
Department of Peace.

¶ FREE¶RefreshMentS ¶ Everyone Welcome! ¶
A monthly WILPF "Coffee With" program. FFI: 651-458-7090; www.wilpfmn.org
<http://www.wilpfmn.org/>


--------9 of 20---------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: AI cluster 10.13 10am

There will be a Twin Cities Amnesty International "Cluster"
meeting for local and student group members on Saturday, October 13th at
the University of Minnesota Law School - Mondale Hall, Room 40, from 10:00
a.m. to 12:00 Noon.

Robert Schultz, Field Organizer for Minnesota, will be in town from the
regional office in Chicago, and we are hoping to convene student and local
group leaders. See additional details at
http://www.twincitiesamnesty.org/2007_cluster_meeting.html

Please share this announcement with your group members and anyone else who
might be interested. All are welcome, including those from greater
Minnesota! RSVP's appreciated, to margaret_levin [at] yahoo.com or
651-261-2713.


--------10 of 20--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P Minnetonka  10.13 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. Signs available.


---------11 of 20--------

From: farheen [at] farheenhakeem.org
Subject: Jena 6 protest 10.13 1pm

JUSTICE FOR THE JENA 6 Drop All Charges Now!!!
Statewide Protest Meeting
Saturday, October 13, 2007
1- 4pm, Mpls. Urban League
2100 Plymouth Ave N in North Minneapolis (on corner of Plymouth and Penn
Avenues) Sponsored by:
Ad Hoc Twin Cities Jena Six Solidarity Action Group

Initial Endorsers: Organizing Project of African-American Congregations;
Minneapolis Urban League; Minneapolis NAACP; MN State Conference NAACP;
St. Paul NAACP; Rose Brewer, Professor African-American Studies - U of MN;
Department of African- American/African Studies - U of MN; Communities
United Against Police Brutality; Black Liberation Affairs Committee -
Macalester College.

The protests across the country in solidarity with the Jena Six have
captured the attention of the world and exposed the ongoing reality of
institutional racism in the U.S. before the eyes of world public opinion.
The fight of the Six and their families resonates widely because millions
of people of color and working people - through their own experience - are
all too familiar of the inequality and discrimination of the U.S.
"justice" system. What makes the Jena Six case different is that thousands
of ordinary people from around the country have responded to this
injustice with active solidarity. In addition to the thousands of who
marched in Jena there have been over 33 solidarity actions across the
country. Come join with others from across the state to raise our voices
to say no to injustice and demand that all the charges against the Jena
Six be dropped now!!!

For more information call: *Cheryl **Morgan Spencer* - Mpls. Urban League
at 612-302-3100, *Cheryl Wilson* - Organizing Project of African-American
Congregations at 612-871-8980 ext 104, or *Chris Nisan* at 651-387-4388.


--------12 of 20--------

From: Erika Backberg <etaimeib [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: River/arts 10.13 2pm

Gathering @ the River: FREE Twin Cities Arts & Culture Family Event

Held Saturday, October 13, 2007 from 2-5 p.m. at Harriet Island Pavilion
and Grounds, the Gathering at the River-Crepuscule 2007 is a free,
interactive family-oriented event which brings diverse communities
together at the Mississippi River to celebrate our care, concern, and
connections to the river, our greatest resource, through the arts.

The three-hour event begins with an opening pageant led by Douglas R.
Ewart designed to honor community elders and all living things.  As the
event unfolds individuals are encouraged to explore their own artistry
through artmaking activities that build on the river theme using recycled
materials and/or become part of interactive performances with dance,
drama, or music groups participating in the event. Special activities
include mask making, puppetry, Magic 8 Ball art, ship building, raku
pottery firing, found sound instrument construction, interactive theatre
and dance, and Capoeira and martial arts demonstrations. At the conclusion
of the Gathering at the River all in attendance are invited to perform in
a closing ceremony in which individuals showcase their art work or
performance piece and join hands in a circle of community, pledging to
take action on behalf of all living beings and our fragile life-giving
resource, the Mississippi River.

We are also, still in need of Community Volunteers!  If you are interested
in volunteering anytime throughout the day (10am-8pm) this is a great way
to give back to your community and have fun at the same time!  Groups of
young volunteers invited (youth groups, girls scouts, boy scouts,
AmeriCorps groups, etc.)  Please contact Cindy before Oct. 9th if you or
your organization would like to volunteer.

For more information contact Cindy Smith at 651-698-2787 or
cindy [at] artstart.org or visit the ArtStart website at www.artstart.org.


--------13 of 20--------

From: Mel Duncan <melduncan [at] nonviolentpeaceforce.org>
Subject: Celtic author 10.13 7pm

Nonviolent Peaceforce presents Celtic Author John O'Donohue
Saturday, October 13th
7 PM
Spirit United Church at 3204 Como Avenue SE, Minneapolis

A video clip featuring Mairead Maquire, Irish Peace Laureate and NP
endorser, will also be shown. O'Donohue's books will be available for
purchase, including Anam Cara (Soul Friend), a Book of Celtic Wisdom.

Sponsored by the Nonviolent Peaceforce.
Suggested Donation: $25
Contact Patricia Keefe at 612-871-0005, pkeefe [at] nonviolentpeaceforce.org 
for further
information.


--------14 of 20--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Iran/US/CTV 10.13 9pm

Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am.  Households with basic cable can watch!

10/13 9pm and 10/16 8am "Iran and the US: Myths and Reality"
Interview of Nasrin Jewell, Iranian born professor at the College of St.
Catherine.  Co-hosted by Karen Redleaf and Eric Angell.


--------15 of 20--------

Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 17:25:01 -0500
Subject: Festival of India 10.14 12noon

India Association of Minnesota (IAM) Presents
Festival of India 2007

Join the Asian Indian community of Minnesota in a celebration of the
diverse and vibrant cultural heritage of India
Sunday, October 14, 2007 (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
at Landmark Center
75 West 5th Street, St. Paul, MN  55102

Dances and Music from India!! Delicious Indian Food for purchase!
Lots of kids activities, fancy dress competition, special interest Booths!
Come and visit India without leaving town!!!
All are welcome!!
Cost: $1 per person, kids under 5yrs free .

For general information contact: Sandhya Gupta: (952) 942-6194,
sandhyag66 [at] hotmail.com
To reserve a festival booth contact: Ravi Sura: (651)-734-0645,
ravisura [at] gmail.com
To participate in essay competition & fancy dress competition contact: Raj
Menon: (952) 890 7909 rklr_menon [at] yahoo.com www.iamn.org


--------16 of 20--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 10.14 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
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560
[for less information you could call George Bush]


--------17 of 20--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org>
Subject: S-CHIP/AM 950 10.14 3pm

Tune in to Radio AM 950, Air America, Sunday, Oct 14, 3PM - 4:00 PM for
James Mayer's program "Of the People". This will be a discussion, call-in
show, 952-946-6205.

James will be discussing the heated national debate over the State
Children's Heatlh Insurance Program (S-CHIP)  with regular guest Joel
Albers, clinical pharmacist, and health economics researcher with the
Universal Health Care Action Network of MN.  The vote to override Bush's
veto in order to renew the S-CHIP program, (veto will cut millions of kids
from health care) is October 18th, so turn the heat up to Congress to
override Bush's veto of Children's Heatlh. We will also discuss electoral
candidate health care reform proposals.


--------18 of 20--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Radical community 10.14 6:30pm

The word radical does not mean "extreme"... as it is often abused in the
corporate media; radical means "the root".  For example, radical problem
solving involves addressing the root problem.  The IMPACT community may
have ideas to add to this meeting... - Eric

Calling all: radicals, anarchists, collectives, co-op workers, and...?

Meeting! about radical community
Please come to the seward cafe- 2129 e. franklin ave
This sunday, October 14th 6:30-8:00 pm

What is our community and how do we define it?
How do we build, sustain and protect what exists?
How do we function together as an effective, alternative, infrastructure?
What does our city need and how can we create it?
bring ideas!

[As the Dem party recedes to 99% corporate-capitalist-imperialist, it
leaves more and more of us beached as radicals. People who see the present
class-run system will no longer give us anything.  People ready for more
community, more public good, more equality, more socialism. -ed]


--------19 of 20--------

Democrats: Slack-Jawed Yokels at a Three Card Monty Festival
by John Atcheson
Published on Thursday, October 11, 2007 by CommonDreams.org

In rhetoric there are two common tactics debaters use when the facts
aren't on their side: they attempt to change the subject or alter the
terms of the debate.

Magicians frequently use misdirection when they're about to make something
disappear.

Grifters have been making money off of rubes since biblical times with
the, "Hey, look over there" ploy just before they hide a card, slip a coin
from under a shell or otherwise fool the mark.

And strong-armed stooges have been intimidating the timid for time
immemorial.

But none of them hold a candle to what the Bush administration and the
right wing echo-chamber has been doing to both the press and the Democrats
for going on seven years now.

The MSM and the Democrats have been fleeced more times than a slack-jawed
yokel at a three card monty festival. And after every encounter, the
Democrats tentatively peak out the bathroom door, hair dripping from yet
another swirly, and whine, "Hey. The big kids took my lunch money, again".

The problem with this is, when they get fooled or intimidated, the people
get screwedand democracy gets shortchanged. It also allows Republicans to
beat us even when they aren't holding the winning hand.

Two recent examples - the press's and the Dems response to the MoveOn ad
on General Petraeus and the discussion surrounding Dan Rather's suit
against CBS - show how effectively the Republicans use these tactics, and
how seriously it undermines the basic tenets of democracy our founding
fathers built into the Bill of Rights.

Let's examine them, starting with the MoveOn ad.

The MoveOn Ad- It's the Issues, Stupid

MoveOn correctly raised the following questions: Was Petraeus a credible
witness? Was he being honest with Congress and the American people? Was it
appropriate for a military man to carry partisan political water? Would
he, in fact, be betraying us if the answer to some or all of these
questions were yes?

Serious stuff.

But have we as a nation had a full debate on these issues? Nope.
Republicans raised a huge stink over name-calling, and the Democrats and
the MSM veered off on an orgy of recrimination over a bad pun.

Let's pause a moment and contemplate this astounding turn of events: the
nation became obsessed with MoveOn's bad pun-to the point where both
Houses of Congress passed proclamations condemning it - but basically
dropped the extraordinarily important issues raised by the ad.

The fact is, Petraeus did lie - or at least deceive - Congress and the
American people about the "success" of the surge. The GAO Report,
statistics from the UN, from humanitarian groups, and Iraq's own count
suggest there was no verifiable change in the number of sectarian killings
since the surge began. More importantly, most of the objectives of the
surge were political, not military, and none of them were met.

The sleight-of-hand Petraeus used to create the appearance of military
progress was straight out of a grifter's playbook - he appears to have
changed the way we count sectarian deaths.

Those bodies piled in the corner over there? Oh, they don't count. They're
- uh - let's see - uh - victims of crime. Yes, that's it. Crime victims.

Using legerdemain to deceive Congress? Trying to pass off an abysmal
failure as a success? "Well, maybe that's not appropriate," mumble a few
of the less timorous Dems. But then the Republicans scream, "Wait! Look
over there! Those people are calling a General a bad name! A General with
all kinda metals an' stuff. This is serious! Quick! We need to nip this in
the bud! Call out the instigators!"

And like a bunch of four year olds at a magic show, the Dems and the MSM
turn from General Prestidigitator to watch Chuckles the Clown perform some
inane foolery, and those hoary facts and abject failures disappear in a
cloud of righteous indignation.

But here's the deal. There's ample evidence suggest that MoveOn's
questioning of the General's impartiality and objectivity was more than
warranted.

After all, Petreaus has a history of acting in a highly partisan and
political manner. In September of 2004, he intervened in the presidential
election by placing an op-ed in the Washington Post defending Bush's
"they're standing up, so we can stand down" pitch.

This issue - whether we were succeeding in Iraq - was perhaps the most
hotly contested and important argument in the campaign. It's fair to say,
Petraeus' op-ed - strategically timed before the election and placed in
Washington Post - helped Bush win in 2004.

The fact that Petraeus was wrong, that the Iraqi security forces were not
"standing up" merely makes the substance of MoveOn's ad all the more
important. An independent assessment of Iraqi security forces headed by
Retired Lt. General Jones found that the security forces - which Petraeus
was in charge of training when he wrote his op-ed - are so riddled with
sectarianism, incompetence and corruption, that the Commission recommended
they be disbanded and that the US and Iraq start over again and rebuild
them from the ground up.

Bottom line? The preponderance of evidence suggests that Petraeus was
intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people on the military
outcomes from the surge; that he is ambitious and that he has a record of
partisan and political behavior that is as blatant as any General since
MacArthur; and that he may have misrepresented progress in Iraq once
before. In short, the issues raised by MoveOn's add were legitimate, vital
to our national interest, and on target.

As for the name-calling? Perhaps uncalled for. Whatever else he may be,
Petraeus has served this country and worked diligently to defend it. But
he has only himself to blame. You don't jump smack into the middle of the
political fray in a highly partisan manner twice, then get to run and hide
behind your stars and metals.

Generals with integrity who feel they must become political retire before
doing so. One of them, Lt. General Gregory Newbold, articulated the
failings of this administration's Iraq policy on behalf of all troops as
eloquently as anyone, when he said, "My sincere view is that the
commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and
swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to
execute these missions - or bury the results".

That, for the record, is what supporting our troops looks like, when
misdirection, change of subject and hysterical emotionalism are stripped
away from the debate.

But most of our Democratic slack-jaws and the MSM are still staring at
Chuckles the Clown and wondering how Petraeus and Bush pulled off the
magic act of making the surge seem "successful".

The few who saw the facts get swept off the table are simply too timid to
point it out - "What if the other boys and girls don't believe us?" they
ask, with quaking voices and knocking knees. "Worse yet, what if they call
us names like 'soft on terrorism'?"

Pathetic. Instead of confronting the faux patriots who used the simple
threat of name calling to start a war under false pretenses; to gut the
first and fourth amendments; and to commit unprecedented acts of greed,
graft and corruption, the Dems, trying to be all things to all people, run
and hide, and thus become nothing, to no one.

And now, Petraeus - Bush's very own Preatorian - is joining in the obscene
chorus calling for military intervention in Iran. Having exalted him to
the status of a warrior-god, and having failed to confront his clay feet,
the Dems will be hard-pressed to rebut him.

Cowardice has its costs.

Dan Rather, the MSM, and the Feckless Dems

The MSM's reaction to Dan Rather's $70 million dollar suit against CBS is
extremely revealing. As with the MoveOn ad, the issues raised by the suit
are vitally important. They have serious implications for the fitness of
the President to serve and the state of journalism in America -just as
they had when Rather was summarily dismissed by CBS after their sham
in-house investigation run by Bush family cronies.

And just as with the MoveOn ad, these issues got subordinated to questions
of little or no import, raised by an hysterical right wing echo-chamber.
And just as with MoveOn, the Democrats served as enablers, because they
stood idly by in stunned silence like deer in headlights while it
happened.

Here's the synopsis: Rather and Mapes used several sources to confirm that
Bush had received special treatment in getting into the Texas Air National
Guard and that he in all probability went AWOL, and failed a drug test or
refused to take his physical to avoid one.

Mapes wrote a book detailing the research she and Rather relied on, and
Sidney Blumenthal has published a thoroughly researched examination of the
incident for Salon. It's hard to read either without being convinced the
charges were true, and the case strong.

Rather used, as one of his sources, a couple of memos signed by Bush's
squadron commander, Col. Killian, detailing Bush's violations.

Marion Carr Knox, Col. Killian's administrative assistant, said the
contents of the memos were true, although she didn't remember typing them.
It's possible Killian typed them himself, and Ms. Knox acknowledges she
could have simply forgotten typing them.

A handwriting analyst confirmed that Killian's signatures on the memos
were authentic.

As for special treatment? Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes admitted
intervening to help young George get into the Texas Air National Guard
(called the "champagne unit" because so many children of privilege found
their way into it as a way to avoid the Viet Nam war) at the request of
George senior.

When young George went to Alabama, he claimed to have fulfilled his
military obligation with a Guard unit there. Yet there is no record of him
ever attending a Guard meeting. Moreover, George senior asked some old
friends - Linda and Jimmy Allen - to keep their eye on young George, and
Linda said that to her knowledge, he never went to a National Guard base
or wore a uniform.

Ms. Allen told Salon, that while she saw no evidence that he was involved
with the Guard in any way, she did remember him drinking to excess,
urinating on a car, screaming at police and trashing the apartment he had
rented.

Right wing attack squads seized on one of the sources - Killian's
documents detailing the charges - and claimed they were forgeries. Their
only "proof" that they were phony-that the margin justification and
superscripts used in the memos were not available back then -turned out to
be completely wrong. Several electric typewriters of that era had both
capabilities.

The preponderance of evidence suggests Rather got the story right, even if
the documents aren't used as evidence. It shows that the contents of the
documents were true, but it also suggests the documents were authentic.
Indeed, Blumenthal's case is so strong, you come away believing that even
if the documents had been forged, Rather's story stands as accurate based
on corroborating information. It's also hard not to believe that there's
been something close to a conspiracy of silence on the part of the MSM,
and an abject caving to power and cover up by CBS.

Nevertheless, no one fought back, and the forgery charges stuck.

So once again, we have a story with profoundly serious accusations that
was de-railed by righteous indignation from the rightwing echo chamber.
Somehow, an accusation (quite possibly a false one) aimed at Rather and
his CBS team, made the rest of the story simply evaporate. In fact, while
the press promptly dropped the Guard story, the issue of Rather's handling
of the story rattled around in the press for weeks.

It's as if the entire MSM headlined "DOG BITES MAN" for weeks on end,
while they ignored a story about a guy who was running around the country
biting dogs in broad daylight. You get the sense that if deepthroat called
a reporter today offering a tip, the editors would have insisted that they
hang up on him and write a story on bad sourcing.

Now, which is more important: whether the President of the United States
is lying about matters directly relevant to his credibility and his
fitness to serve as commander in chief, or whether one out of several
proofs of this behavior might (or might not) be phony?

Remember, this is a man who called himself a "war president," a man who
sent young men and women off to war on a pack of lies and deceptions with
no compunction, and a man who used fear and intimidation as key parts of
his campaign strategy.

If it became widely known that Bush used privilege to avoid the Viet Nam
War (a war he supported - provided, apparently, that other people fought
in it) then failed to fulfill his duty - probably to avoid drug tests - it
would have almost certainly altered the election.

But the press dropped it, and the Dems cowered before the right wing
assault on what amounted to a mere sideshow to these major issues. Yokels
indeed.

Fast forward to today. How does the MSM respond to Rather's suit? As if it
were the courageous act of a dedicated reporter trying to get to the
bottom of a critically important story that had been wrongfully
suppressed?

No, they portray it as the act of an egomaniac or attempt to diminish it
with fake pity, paying absolutely no attention to the critically
substantive issues it raises - issues that have hung out there unaddressed
for more than three years now.

If this confirms that the Democrats are pathetic cowards, it also tells us
a great deal about the press. They've simply stopped performing the task
our Founders envisioned for them when they provided First Amendment
protections - informing the people and holding the privileged and powerful
accountable.

The Death of Truth and the Wages of Cowardice

Why has the press abrogated this responsibility? Because they've become
one of the powerful elite. Because they've shifted from a profession
operating according to an ethical canon, to a business driven only by a
bottom line. Because they've aligned themselves with the Republican
Party's corporatization of America.

The press won't rescue itself - but the Dems can confront this kind of
demagoguery by standing on principle.

They can quit trying to be all things to all people, and stand up to the
bathroom bully.

They can refuse to let Chuckles the Clown fool them and the American
people by taking strong, clear stands on issues of substance, and insist
that those issues be addressed, instead of mumbling dried out mush, spoon
fed by inside- the-beltway consultants designed to say nothing and offend
no one.

It's not like that strategy has worked for them. They've lost two
consecutive presidential elections they should have won by replacing their
values with cowardly "consultant speak".

Only the Republican's dishonesty and gross incompetence allowed them to
win the 2006 mid-terms.

And now, the only thing less popular than Bush is a Congress dominated by
spinmeisters, consultants and cowards who are once again advocating this
losing strategy of saying nothing, offending no one, and holding no public
principles other than the most smarmy inanities and cynically calculated
positions defined by polls.

And so we have a Congress swooning in front of medals, uniforms, and stars
like a highschool girl at a Justin Timberlake concert, afraid to withhold
funding to end Bush's Iraq folly, afraid to put impeachment "on the
table," afraid to assert their Constitutional responsibilities on Iran,
afraid , afraid, afraid.

And we have an MSM allowing a distinguished journalist to get mugged by
right wing whackos over mere trivialities, and worse, joining in on the
mugging the second time around when they had a shot at redemption.

Meanwhile, issues of vital import to our nation get swept under the rug.

And it goes well beyond Rather and MoveOn.

Basically, Pelosi Reid and crew are doing what Dems have always done:
folding like an accordion at a polka festival.

No wonder the Republican charge of being weak on defense sticks. When we
quake in corners afraid of name-calling and drop our principles quicker
than a geek gives up his lunch money we reinforce that stereotype.

No wonder the MSM can get away with substituting "balance" for truth,
"fairness" for accuracy, as they pursue corporate-will-to power and profit
over public interest. When the Dems cower and pander, there's no one to
stop them.

Pundits are saying it would be nearly impossible for the Democrats to lose
the 2008 elections - but don't underestimate their ability to fold a
winning hand. Mumbled mush and political cowardice have enabled them to
snatch defeat from the jaws of victory before, and judging by their
performance over the past few weeks, they're well on their way again.

John Atcheson's writing has appeared in the Washington Post, The Baltimore
Sun, The San Jose Mercury News, and several other major papers, as well as
in various policy journals. He is currently completing a novel centered on
global warming.


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
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