Progressive Calendar 02.19.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 01:44:54 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    02.19.08

1. Peace/war       2.19-20 10am+
2. Cuba/Agee/CIA   2.19 5pm
3. Salon/poetry    2.19 6:30pm
4. WAMM/meet-up    2.19 6:30pm
5. 3CD GreenParty  2.19 6:30pm
6. Palestine/film  2.19 7pm
7. Urban chickens  2.19 7pm
8. Dissent         2.19 7:30pm
9. 3CD GP CTV      2.19 10pm

10. God's politics 2.20 11am
11. FullMoonWalk   2.20 7pm
12. Jim Wallis     2.20 7:30pm

13. Eva Liddell      - A short history of super-delegates
14. Paul Rockwell    - Screw the voters. Let superdelegates decide!
15. Anthony DiMaggio - The Dem party and the business of elections
16. Paul C Roberts   - A government devoid of truth and decency
17. ed               - Be all  (bumpersticker)

--------1 of 17--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Peace/war 2.19-20 10am+

"Peace and War in the Heartland" is an intergenerational project, open to
all, promoting creative thinking and discussion around moral and
constitutional issues facing America's draft-age youth, 18 to 25. FFI:
Visit <>.

"American Fundamentals: History, Law, Science and Religion" Tuesday,
February 19 University of Minnesota, Coffman Memorial Union, Great Hall,
300 Washington Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis.
 10:00 a.m. "The Draft Lottery" presented by In the Heart of the Beast
Puppet and Mask Theatre.
 11:00 a.m. Religion: "War and Peace: How Does God Call Me to Serve?"
presented by Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Dr. Adil Ozdemir and Frank Kroncke.
 1:30 p.m. History: "National Identity Crisis: On Starship Earth, Is
America God's Chosen Nation?" presented by Professor David Noble.
 5:00 p.m. Law: "Constitutional Crisis: the Dangers of an Imperial
Presidency" presented by Professor Joseph Margulies.
 6:30 p.m. Science: "National Moral Crisis: Has America Become a Torture
State?" presented by Steve Miles, MD. "VetSpeak" panel of veterans respond
to presentations.

"Women and War" Wednesday, February 20 Augsburg College, East Commons,
2211 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis.
 10:00 a.m. "The Draft Lottery"  Noon "Women Warriors: Is This Equality?"
presented by Chante Wolf.
 2:00 p.m. "The Hidden Cost of War: Civilians and the Environment"
presented by Mary Beaudoin, WAMM Director.
 4:00 p.m. Panel Discussion. "Why Women's Voices are Unique: Passing the
Torch" with moderator State Representative Karen Clark.
 5:30 p.m. "My Personal Journey" presented by Ann Wright, a high-ranking
State Department official who resigned in protest of the Iraq war.

"Reclaiming Government as a Source for Good" Thursday, February 21, Noon
to 1:00 p.m.  Macalester College, Weyerhauser Chapel, 1600 Grand Avenue,
St. Paul.
 In collaboration with Westminister Town Hall Forum, Jim Wallis, founder
of Sojourners magazine speaks on "Reclaiming Government as a Source for

"Minnesota 8 Celebration" Saturday, February 23, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
University of Minnesota, Rarig Center, 330 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis.
 WAMM receives a "Resist Illegitimate Authority" award at this ceremony
honoring the history of anti-war, peace-making and nonviolent activism in

"American Democracy in Dissent" Tuesday, February 26, 7:30 p.m. University
of Minnesota, Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th Street South, Minneapolis.
 Daniel Ellsberg, political activist who released the top secret Pentagon
Papers, discusses "American Democracy in Dissent" with University of
Minnesota Professor Larry Jacobs. FFI and tickets: Call 612-624-2345 or
visit <>.

Play: "Peace Crimes: The Minnesota Eight vs. The War" Thursday, February
21 through Sunday, March 9 University of Minnesota, Rarig Center, 330 21st
Avenue South, Minneapolis.
 In 1970, a handful of U of M students took a stand against the War in
Vietnam. They staged a number of raids on Selective Service Officers and
destroyed draft records in protest against the war. Busted by the FBI, the
"Minnesota 8" were tried and imprisoned. A play by Doris Baizley and
directed by Ron Peluso. FFI and tickets: Visit <>.

--------2 of 17--------

From: Eric AnAgell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Cuba/Agee/CIA 2.19 5pm

Open-minded St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesday evenings at 5pm,
after DemocracyNow!, and midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am.  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 2/19, 5pm and midnight and Wed, 2/20, 10am "One Man's Story: Philip
Agee, Cuba and the CIA"  Short documentary film about CIA acts in Latin
America, particularly Cuba, with commentary by August Nimtz, U of M
professor and co-coordinator of the MN Cuba Committee.  Hosted by Karen

--------3 of 17--------

From: Fred H Olson <fholson [at]>
Subject: Salon/poetry 2.19 6:30pm

Tuesday, February 19, will be Open Poetry night.
Please bring your own or come and listen to others read.
Mad Hatter Tea House. W 7th StPaul 6:30pm

--------4 of 17--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: WAMM/meet-up 2.19 6:30pm

New Member Meet-Up  [posted only this once -ed]
 Tuesday, February 19, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Avenue
South, Minneapolis.
 Thursday, February 21, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Caribou Coffee, 12601 Nicollet
Avenue, Burnsville.
 Saturday, February 23, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Black Dog Cafe, 308 Prince
Street, St. Paul.
  Are you new to Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) or looking to be a
more active member? Join us at one of our informal New Member Meet-Ups.
With a variety of Twin Cities locations and meeting times, we hope you'll
find a Meet-Up that fits your schedule! Learn more about WAMM and how you
can become an active member. Hear from an experienced WAMM member. Visit
with like-minded people. Receive a special welcome packet with free
button, bumper sticker and more. Help keep WAMM moving forward. All WAMM
members are invited to attend. RSVPs encouraged but not required. FFI and
RSVP: Call Ann Galloway, 612-790-8598 or WAMM, 612- 827-5364 or email
<gannieca [at]>.

--------5 of 17--------

From: alforgreens [at]
Subject: 3CD GreenParty 2.19 6:30pm

3rd Congressional District Green Party meeting
Tuesday, Feb 19  6:30PM  (Library closes at 8PM)
Hopkins Public Library
Paste the following Google map address into your browser for exact location:

-Mar. 4 Green Party Caucuses
-Forming a 3rd CD local
-Consideration of running a candidate for 3rd CD U.S. Congress
-State Legislative issues to support

--------6 of 17--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Palestine/film 2.19 7pm

There will be a showing of "Occupation 101", a documentary about
Israel-Palestine, followed by Q and A with Rev. David Smith, Professor at
University of St. Thomas and recent visitor to the Gaza Strip.

Tuesday February 19
Carnegie Hall 206 Macalester College 1600 Grand Ave. St Paul, MN

Minnesota Campuses for Justice in Palestine [ mcpj [at] ]

--------7 of 17--------

From: Faith Krogstad <fkrogstad [at] ECOEDUCATION.ORG>
Subject: Urban chickens 2.19 7pm

[COMGAR-L] Community Henhouses Meeting

The Midway Chickens group is exploring ways to create small-scale, shared
urban henhouses in backyards. If you are interested in being part of this
discussion, please come to our next meeting on Tuesday, February 19th,
7-8pm at the J & S Bean Factory at the intersection of Hamline & Thomas
Aves in St. Paul. I encourage Midway residents to become involved, but the
meeting is open to anyone!

If you are unable to attend but would like to be in the loop, please
email me at faith [at]

More about Midway Chickens:
Keeping a small flock of chickens in the city is quickly becoming a
popular way of producing fresh eggs, teaching children about food,
building soil fertility, and reducing your environmental impact. The new
Midway Chickens group will be working to help neighbors start small-scale
backyard henhouses (individual or shared), and support existing chicken
keepers in sharing information and resources.

*COMGAR is for community gardeners in the Twin Cities Metro Area (and
Greater Minnesota) to share timely information, seek advice from other
gardeners, and learn about resources available to gardeners. **Send emails
to comgar-l [at] Questions and requests to remove or update
subscriptions to info [at] Archived COMGAR postings
available at

[COMGAR could have daily fundraisers where people come to see the chickens
come home to roost. -ed]

--------8 of 17--------

From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at]>
Subject: Dissent 2.19 7:30pm

MAGERS AND QUINN PRESS RELEASE : For Immediate Distribution :Colonel Ann
Wright discusses her book Dissent:Voices Of Conscience (Koa Books) 7:30pm
Tuesday February 19 at Magers and Quinn Booksellers.

Former State Department diplomat Col. (ret.) Ann Wright has spent four
years traveling worldwide speaking out for peace. She has negotiated with
Iraqi parliamentarians, spoken in schools, churches, and peace gatherings,
including at Guantanamo and the half-million-person demonstration in
Washington, D.C, in January 2007, and fasted for more than a month. This
is her story, and the story of others in government who leaked documents,
blew the whistle, or resigned to protest this administration's policies.
Coauthor Susan Dixon is an instructor in the geopolitics of war and peace
at the University of Hawai'i.

55408 612-822-4611

--------9 of 17--------

From: alforgreens [at]
Subject: 3CD GP CTV 2.19 10pm

3rd Congressional District Green Party Show
aired on Northwest Cable TV- Brooklyn Park and surrounding suburbs
Channel 20 - 30 min show
Discussion of Green Party Caucus and Legislative Issues
Tues. Feb 19  10PM
Wed. Feb 20    4 AM

--------10 of 17--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: God's politics 2.20 11am

SPECIAL: JIM WALLIS: GODıS POLITICS: Religion as Political Dogma.

Evangelist and author of God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and
the Left Doesn't Get It, JIM WALLIS, talks about his latest book, The
Great Awakening. Heıll be joined by the REV. TONY JONES of Edina, National
Coordinator of Emergent-US and author of The Sacred Way: Spiritual
Practices for Everyday Life.

TTTıs Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen welcome this national
spokesperson for an alternative view of how religion and faith should play
into our nationıs politics and how some evangelists have distorted the
role of faith and following in politics, declared conservative ideology
the word of God, and George W. Bush as one of ³Godıs chosen people.²

AND YOU: Call in: 612-341-0980 Wednesdays at 11:00AM.

--------11 of 17--------

From: Sue Ann <mart1408 [at]>
Subject: FullMoonWalk 2.20 7pm

February Walk
Full Moon Walk - Stevens House in Minnehaha park
Around the Coldwater Area
Wednesday, February 20
Gather at 7 PM, at Stevens House, Minnehaha Park, South Minneapolis, the
little white house in Minnehaha Park south of the falls.

National Park Service interpreter David Wiggins and Lynette Crane,
President of the Board of Directors of Stevens House, will talk about
early Minnesota--Fort Snelling, Minnehaha Falls, Coldwater Spring and John
Stevens, sometimes called the first white resident of Minneapolis. And
they will bring us up to date about plans and threats to the Mississippi

Bonus:  Full Moon Eclipse between 7:43 & 11:09 pm!!!! Traditional group

Be prepared to be both indoors and out.

Directions: From the traffic circle at Minnehaha Ave. and Minnehaha
Parkway (by the Dairy Queen) go south two blocks on Minnehaha Avenue to
Stevens House, which is a white house set back from the street on the east
side. Parking is available on Minnehaha Avenue.  (You may also take
Minnehaha Avenue North from 54th St. past the parking lot where we usually
meet to the little white Stevens House on the east side of Minnehaha Ave.)

--------12 of 17--------

From: Lisa Boyd <tigerlily64 [at]>
Subject: Jim Wallis 2.20 7:30pm


This Wednesday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. First Universalist Church is
hosting Jim Wallis' reading of his new book, The Great Awakening. In this
book, Wallis helps us rediscover our moral center and provides both the
need for inspiration and a concrete plan to hold politics accountable and
find solutions to our greatest challenges. Jim Wallis is a bestselling
author, public theologian, speaker, preacher, and international
commentator on religion and public life, faith and politics.

This program is free and open to the public. First Universalist Church is
located at the corner of 34th St and Dupont Ave S in Minneapolis. FFI:
612-825-1701 or

--------13 of 17--------

Hope, Yes! But Pay in Cash
A Short History of Super-Delegates
February 18, 2008

During the years of progressive reform before the First World War
twenty-six presidential primaries had been introduced into the nominating
system. After Woodrow's Wilson bright idea of "spreading democracy abroad"
while destroying it at home a demoralized public ceased to take any
interest in how presidents got elected. The primary system fell into
disuse. Electing presidents was returned to the party "bosses" where it
was safe from the people themselves.

In the summer of 1968 at the Democratic Convention things had changed.
Millions of Americans watched Richard Daly and his thugs on the convention
floor rail against those who dared to challenge the party magnates while
they rammed Hubert Humphrey, who didn't dare to show up for his own
nomination, down the throats of the rank and file.

Party leaders and the trade union chiefs (national ward heelers of the
Democratic syndicate) saw no reason why the storm that had erupted at the
Convention couldn't just be allowed to blow over. Others within the party
leadership weren't so sure it would. They set about changing the rules
that for a hundred and forty years had insured the Democratic Party was
not subjected to ordinary Democrats. After 1972 delegates to the national
convention would be chosen by the millions who voted in primaries or
caucuses with new rules that ostensibly would keep party leaders from
controlling the "voice of the people."

In 1976 the ambitious populist masquerader Jimmy Carter applied the new
rules of the primary system to his own bid for the nomination. While the
Democratic rulers' choice had been Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson Carter
demolished him in Pennsylvania by exposing to the people the fact that
Jackson was merely a tool of the bosses. He made another big show of
exposing other "party insiders" as part of what was "wrong with the

While the Democratic party elites were not able to thwart his efforts to
run as a "man of the people," they saved that for his presidency where
they started beating him into submission the moment he took office. At the
end of his first four years they even trotted out the loyal party hack Ted
Kennedy to run against Carter in a burst of insurgency known around the
country as "Teddy-mania."

Although Carter had had plenty of influential people back him in the first
place with an all-star cast of establishment liberal hawks including
Zbigniew Brzezinkski, he was not the choice of the elites of his own
party. His running without them had diminished their own importance. While
they took revenge and set about destroying his presidency he set about
destroying himself, taking the country along with him. The Democratic
party used Carter, who proved himself a worthy example, as a demonstration
of what happens when "the people" elect their own president. They began
changing the rules once again so the people obviously unqualified to
choose presidents would be spared the ordeal in the future.

During the Reagan years when the Democratic party propped up a presidency
reminiscent of its current antics in the George W. Bush years, the
Democratic party elites bestowed upon themselves five hundred and fifty
"super-delegates." They announced it was imperative to alter the rules to
"make it easier for the party to consolidate around front-running
candidates." Meaning that it would make it a lot easier for party leaders
and the party's money backers to rally around the candidate of their
choice putting all the resources of the party behind him, to beat out
insurgents and foist the guy they owned onto the voting public.

The surprise ascendancy of Barack Obama, interestingly backed by the old
Carter hand Brzezinski along with numerous financial backers, has him
facing competition from another party insider, Hillary Clinton, along with
her own big money people. The super-delegates are finding themselves in
the position of having to pick one or the other candidate in what might be
an internecine falling out among thieves which only aggrandizes their own
power within the party as the two candidates are made supplicants for
their votes while promising them rewards.

Maybe the super-delegates is one of the reasons Barack Obama talks so much
about hope. But he seemed to know early on to cover his bets. Hope may be
good enough for the people but not enough for a contender. His
contributions to the campaign chests of the super-delegates themselves has
been substantial the past two years. Even more so than his opponent who
might be doing some hoping herself lately.

Currently, enthusiastic Democratic voters are reduced to observers
"hoping" that the super-delegates "do the right thing" and not "thwart the
will of the people." That the super-delegates were put into place
precisely to thwart them might be a bit of old history they don't care to
think about at the moment. Why put a damper on hope when it's the only
thing you've got.

Eva Liddell is a painter who lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her email is
Eva.Liddell [at]

[Thom Hartmann of Air America Radio 950AM defends super-delegates. So much
for Thom Hartmann. -ed]

--------14 of 17--------

Published on Monday, February 18, 2008 by
Screw the Voters. Let Superdelegates Decide!
by Paul Rockwell

Millions of Americans, many of them first-time activists, voted for Barack
Obama in the Democratic Party primary. They voted in good faith, expecting
their votes to be counted and respected.

Now many young voters are discovering that there are two kinds of
delegates at Democratic Party Conventions: real delegates (duly elected
from the states) and fake delegates, delegates artificially created by the
Democratic National Committee. These delegates, who lack direct support
from primary voters, are called superdelegates.

With over 200,000 signatures, a Move-On petition to Democratic Party
superdelegates reads: "The superdelegates should let the voters decide
between Clinton and Obama. Then support the people's choice".

The seating of delegates at Democratic Party conventions has often been a
source of conflict. In 1964, Fanny Lou Hamer led a sit-in on the
convention floor. The Mississippi Freedom Democrats wanted nothing more
than a few convention seats - seats to which they were entitled by open,
fair elections in their home state. Walter Mondale, who was to become the
architect of the current superdelgate system, refused to seat the elected
delegates of color in 1964. Wait until 1968, Mondale insisted, as the
representative of the Credentials Committee. [So much for Walter Mondale.

The non-violent mass movements of the '60s, the passage of the Voting
Rights Act, the rise of the feminist movement, the change in voting age,
the anti-nuclear campaigns - all generated a groundswell of new voters in
Democratic party politics. However, far from welcoming the newly
enfranchised activists, party leaders were filled with fear - class and
race fear. They never accepted the democratic reforms enacted in the
1970s, when youth and people of color participated for the first time in
establishment politics.

The superdelegate system, as we know it, came from the backlash of the
1980s. In January 1982, supported by Mondale [Again, so much for him], the
Hunt Commission and Democratic National Committee reversed grassroots
reforms. They rewrote the rules, not to make elections open and fair, but
to make sure that centrist (right-wing) candidates maintained hegemony
over nominees and party affairs. It was out of fear of new uncontrollable
voters that the Commission created a block of uncommitted delegates drawn
from a primarily white, male establishment. Mondale, the same insider who
prevented elected Mississipppians from taking their seats in 1964, played
the pivotal role in creating hundreds of unelected delegates in 1984.
Superdelegates comprised 14 percent of the convention in 1984, and
eighty-five percent of the superdelegates picked Mondale. [Surprize
surprize] Not long after superdelegates picked "the sure winner," Mondale
was trounced in the presidential election. Nevertheless, the superdelgate
number passed the 600 mark by 1988.

The Jesse Jackson campaign, especially the massive victory over Dukkakis
on Super Tuesday, electrified the party and the country. Jackson won 7
million primary votes in 1988, more than Mondale won as the nominee in
1984. Many party regulars were gripped with panic, and some superdelegates
organized a stop-Jackson movement within the party. Jackson protested the
role of superdelegates, but his challenge went unheeded. Party leaders
continued to look for ways to blunt the growing power of grassroots
movements. While they could not stop voters from voting, they could dilute
the impact of the reform movements by manufacturing added voters as a
countervailing force.

Mondale was quite open about the undemocratic aims of the superdelegate
system. In a number of talks, he acknowledged that superdelegates were
created with the explicit aim of preventing voter insurgencies. He
espoused his anti-democratic sentiments in the New York Times, February 2,
1992, where he called for expansion of superdelgate numbers:

"The election is the business of the people. But the nomination is more
properly the business of the parties..The problem lies in the reforms that
were supposed to open the nominating process..Party leaders have lost the
power to screen candidates and select a nominee. The solution is to reduce
the influence of the primaries and boost the influence of the party
leaders..The superdelgate category established within the Democratic Party
after 1984 allows some opportunity for this, but should be strengthened..

Today, faced with enthusiastic, grassroots support for Barack Obama,
Hilary Clinton now espouses the old Mondale position (in the guarded,
euphemistic language of a candidate), pitting the party regulars against
the danger of the popular vote. I do not intend here to compare the merits
of the candidates. But there is a question of principle involved in the
superdelgate controversy. The very integrity of our elections is at stake.
No vote is safe when a self-appointed group can nullify the results of a
primary election that displeases them.

When Obama recently told a reporter that he thinks superdelegates should
respect the wishes of the primary voters, Clinton took exception.
"Superdelegates are by design supposed to exercise independent judgment,"
she said. She also claimed that Obama's view is "contrary to what the
definition of superdelegate has historically been". Historically she is
right, of course. Superdelegates were never expected to respect the
integrity of elections. But are we compelled today to embrace a system
that was corrupt in its very design? Should voters be supervised, and
finally overruled, when the superdelegates disagree with their wishes?

All Democratic members of the House and Senate become superdelegates
automatically. Let us not forget that George Bush led the vast majority of
Democrats by the nose into pre-emptive war, implicating most of the
current superdelegates in the biggest catastrophe of recent decades. What
makes these individuals wiser than nurses, technicians, custodians,
lawyers, teachers, athletes, fire fighters, proprietors - all who voted in
good faith in the recent primary? Why don't the superdelegates do the job
they were elected to do - end the war - and let the voters do their job in
the primaries - select the next nominee?

And finally, what is the difference between superdelegate intervention in
the outcome of the primary and the right-wing intervention in Florida in
2000, when Republican judges stopped the counting of votes, and appointed
Bush as President? How many times will the loser in an election be imposed
on the electorate?

Superdelgate Intervention Unconstitutional

Even critics of superdelegate deals tend to underestimate the gravity of
the issue. In its very essence, the superdelegate system is
unconstitutional. It destroys the right of primary voters to choose their
own nominee. It offends the principle of one person one vote. In three
primary cases (Nixon v. Herndon, 1927, Nixon v. Condon, 1932, Smith v.
Allwright, 1944) the Supreme Court affirmed that the right to vote in a
primary (a right which includes the right to be counted and respected), is
protected by the Constitution. Officials cannot legally circumvent the
vote. These were discrimination cases, but the arguments apply directly to
the superdelegate situation in the Democratic primary.

Up to a point, a political party is master of its own house. But no party,
or group within a party, can legally tamper with primary results. In Terry
v. Adams (1953), the Court ruled against the "Jay Bird Association," a
group of powerful white Democrats who tried to create a private
enforcement process within the Democratic primary. Justice Clark ruled
that "any part of the machinery for choosing officials becomes subject to
the Constitution's restraints".

The superdelegate system flouts the very purpose for which primaries were
conceived. [Exactly. ed] "Fighting" Bob LaFollette, the Wisconsin
progressive who organized the first primaries in 1903, hated
boss-controlled conventions. The aim of the primaries is to remove the
nominations from the hands of professionals and the wealthy donors whom
professionals obey. The superdelegate issue should not be resolved through
deals or negotiations. The integrity of elections is not negotiable. The
superdelegate system deserves to be abolished.

Oh yes, there is one small practical consideration, an afterthought
perhaps. If the superdelegates, in their arrogance, defy the majority will
of the voters, the stain on the Democratic Party nominee - Obama or
Clinton - would nearly destroy the chances for victory in November. The
Party would be divided. Idealistic voters would be disillusioned. And
McCain, who happens to be associated with electoral reform (McCain backed
Arizona's Clean Money system) could easily turn superdelegate meddling
into a scandal. The Republican Party has no superdelegates.

Respecting the will of the voters is a precondition to unity in the
Democratic Party and victory in November.

Paul Rockwell, formerly assistant professor of philosophy at Midwestern
University, is a national columnist who lives in the Bay Area.

--------15 of 17--------

The Democratic Party and the Business of Elections
Following the Money Trail
February 18, 2008

One of the biggest mistakes a voter can make is to project their own
values onto a political candidate. The glittering generalities of the
candidates, unfortunately, make such projections extremely common. Voters
hear candidates making vague claims in support of the middle class or
workers, and assume that those candidates retain a strong commitment to
redistributive justice. Barack Obama has perhaps been the most successful
in using glittering generalities, with his continued commitment to the
"audacity of hope" and "change we can believe in," as prime examples. Such
slogans may make for nice sound bites, but are of little substantive value
in identifying Obama's actual positions on key issues.

Obama's attempts to appeal to working Americans offer more of the same
ambiguity. In one speech from this February, he promised: "as our economy
changes, let's be the generation that ensures our nation's workers are
sharing in our prosperity. Let's protect the hard-earned benefits their
companies have promised. Let's make it possible for hardworking Americans
to save for retirement. And let's allow our unions and their organizers to
lift up this country's middle-class again." Such claims, although often
cited by conservative media pundits as "proof" of Democratic Party
"socialism," provide little basis for assessing how the party will enact
progressive change.

While rhetorical support for American workers and unions is very common
amongst Demorats, how does their rhetoric reflect the reality of campaign
politics in America today? A review of the major economic forces behind
American elections is sobering, if for no other reason than because of the
dramatic difference between campaign rhetoric and reality.

Scholars have long identified the increased role of money in the campaign
process. The 2008 election has proven no different, as the combined funds
raised by all of the candidates running in House, Senate, and Presidential
races totals an astounding $1.1 billion, as of January 2008 - $347 million
raised in the House, $154 million in the Senate, and $583 million for the
Presidency. The Democratic, rather than the Republican Party, has proven
the most savy in raising massive sums, as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
place first and second place in terms of the most money raised (at $116
million and $102 million respectively). Republicans' funds are less in
comparison, with frontrunner John McCain raising a total of $41 million,
and Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Huckabee respectively at $88.5
million, $60.9 million, and $9 million.

Democrats often claim that they will fight for American workers, against
the special interests of corporate American and white collar elites.
Hillary Clinton has proclaimed herself a champion of blue collar
interests, although her track record indicates otherwise.

As a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors from 1986-1992, she
presided over a company that is notorious for its anti-worker and
anti-union initiatives. A recent report from ABC News highlights Clinton's
continued refusal to speak up in favor of worker interests at Wal-Mart
board meetings; one former company board members admits he has "no
recollection of Clinton defending unions during more than 20 board
meetings held in private."

Democrats' claims that they are the party of the common worker would seem
a lot more plausible if they were not so heavily reliant on corporate
sponsorship. As of January, Clinton received 56% of her funds from
business groups and individuals, as opposed to only 11% from labor, while
only 25% of Obama's funds came from business, none came from labor.
Obama's relations with labor interests rival those of Republicans, as
McCain Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee all similarly accepted between 0-1% of
their funds from union members and labor organizations. Out of the seven
major candidates in the 2008 Presidential race (Clinton, Obama, Edwards,
McCain, Huckabee, Romney, and Giuliani), only Edwards received more money
from labor than business (accepting 4% and 52% of his funds from business
and labor respectively). It hardly seems coincidental, considering his
campaign funding sources, that Edwards was the most populist, critical
candidate of corporate America.

While Edwards was promoting a progressive policy platform, other leading
Democrats were busy courting major American industries. Hillary Clinton is
consistently a top recipient of money from a wide variety of industries,
ranking number one amongst both Democrats and Republicans in funds
received from computer and Internet companies, commercial banks, health
professionals, health services and HMOs, hospitals and nursing homes,
lawyers and law firms, hedge funds, miscellaneous health care interests,
pharmaceutical and health product producers, real estate groups,
securities and investment interests, and television, movie, and music
companies. Barack Obama is consistently the second highest recipient of
contributions from all these industries, with the exceptions of hedge
funds, real estate, and telephone interests.

On a bi-partisan level, business continues to dominate the campaign
contribution process. In recent years, the split between business and
labor donations has remained rather stable, although extremely lopsided.
Business contributions have ranged between 72% and 75% of all
contributions received by candidates during the 2000 through 2008
elections, while labor donations accounted for only between 3% and 7% of
all donations. In an electoral system more and more reliant on mass
amounts of funding, business interests are poised to strengthen their
already privileged position. Successful political leaders have learned
that they need to court business interests if they are to succeed in
Congressional races with increasingly exorbitant entrance prices. While
the typical winner in a Senate race raised an average of $5.2 million in
1998, that number had skyrocketed to $9.6 million in 2006 - an 85%
increase. Similarly, the typical winner in a House race, while raising an
average of $650,000 in 1998, needed to raise $1.2 million by 2006 (also an
85% increase).

Scholarly studies of the media identify candidates' images, personalities,
and horse-race politics, rather than exploration of substantive policy
issues, as at the heart of the mediated electoral contest. The Wall Street
Journal recently conceded this point in time for the "Super Tuesday"
primaries, with its headline: "Issues Recede in 2008 Contest As Voters
Focus on Character." In their book Covering Campaigns, Peter Clarke and
Susan Evans highlight journalists' lack of interest in the major issues in
their coverage of Congressional elections. Similarly, Political Scientist
Thomas Patterson argues that election "coverage is framed within the
context of a competitive game rather than being concerned with basic
issues of policy." As election coverage degenerates into a popularity
contest between different personalities, more important substantive
questions about the role of money in national elections remain unexplored.

Note: all of the statistics in this report are publicly available through
the Center for Responsive Politics, at

Anthony DiMaggio has taught Middle East Politics and American Government
at Illinois State University. His book, Mass Media, Mass Propaganda:
Understanding the News in the "War on Terror," is due out in April. He can
be reached at: adimag2 [at]

--------16 of 17--------

A Government Devoid of Truth and Decency
What Do We Stand For?
February 18, 2008

Americans traditionally thought of their country as a "city upon a hill,"
a "light unto the world." Today only the deluded think that. Polls show
that the rest of the world regards the US and Israel as the two greatest
threats to peace.

This is not surprising. In the words of Arthur Silber: "The Bush
administration has announced to the world, and to all Americans, that this
is what the United States now stands for: a vicious determination to
dominate the world, criminal, genocidal wars of aggression, torture, and
an increasingly brutal and brutalizing authoritarian state at home. That
is what we stand for."  [Silber's piece will appear here soon, probably
next issue -ed]

Addressing his fellow Americans, Silber asks the paramount question, "why
do you support" these horrors?

His question goes to the heart of the matter. Do we Americans have any
honor, any humanity, any integrity, any awareness of the crimes our
government is committing in our name? Do we have a moral conscience?

How can a moral conscience be reconciled with our continuing to tolerate
our government which has invaded two countries on the basis of lies and
deception, destroyed their civilian infrastructures and murdered hundreds
of thousands of men, women, and children?

The killing and occupation continue even though we now know that the
invasions were based on lies and fabricated "evidence." The entire world
knows this. Yet, Americans continue to act as if the gratuitous invasions,
the gratuitous killing, and the gratuitous destruction are justified.
There is no end of it in sight.

If Americans have any honor, how can they betray their Founding Fathers,
who gave them liberty, by tolerating a government that claims immunity to
law and the Constitution and is erecting a police state in their midst?

Answers to these questions vary. Some reply that a fearful and deceived
American public seeks safety from terrorists in government power.

Others answer that a majority of Americans finally understand the evil
that Bush has set loose and tried to stop him by voting out the
Republicans in November 2006 and putting the Democrats in control of
Congress - all to no effect - and are now demoralized as neither party
gives a hoot for public opinion or has a moral conscience.

The people ask over and over, "What can we do?"

Very little when the institutions put in place to protect the people from
tyranny fail. In the US, the institutions have failed across the board.

The freedom and independence of the watchdog press was destroyed by the
media concentration that was permitted by the Clinton administration and
Congress. Americans who rely on traditional print and TV media simply have
no idea what is afoot.

Political competition failed when the opposition party became a "me-too"
party. The Democrats even confirmed as attorney general Michael Mukasey,
an authoritarian who refuses to condemn torture and whose rulings as a
federal judge undermined habeas corpus. Such a person is now the highest
law enforcement officer in the United States.

The judicial system failed when federal judges ruled that "state secrets"
and "national security" are more important than government accountability
and the rule of law.

The separation of powers failed when Congress acquiesced to the executive
branch's claims of primary power and independence from statutory law and
the Constitution.

It failed again when the Democrats refused to impeach Bush and Cheney.
Without the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, America can never recover. The
precedents for unaccountable government established by the Bush
administration are too great, their damage too lasting. Without
impeachment, America will continue to sink into dictatorship in which
criticism of the government and appeals to the Constitution are
criminalized. We are closer to executive rule than many people know.

Silber reminds us that America once had leaders, such as Speaker of the
House Thomas B. Reed and Senator Robert M. LaFollette Sr., who valued the
principles upon which America was based more than they valued their
political careers. Perhaps Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are of this ilk,
but America has fallen so low that people who stand on principle today are
marginalized. They cannot become Speaker of the House or a leader in the

Today Congress is almost as superfluous as the Roman Senate under the
Caesars. On February 13 the US Senate barely passed a bill banning
torture, and the White House promptly announced that President Bush would
veto it. Torture is now the American way.

The US Senate was only able to muster 51 votes against torture, an
indication that almost a majority of US Senators support torture.

Bush says that his administration does not torture. So why veto a bill
prohibiting torture? Bush seems proud to present America to the world as a

After years of lying to Americans and the rest of the world that
Guantanamo prison contained 774 of "the world's most dangerous
terrorists," the Bush regime is bringing 6 of its victims to trial. The
vast majority of the 774 detainees have been quietly released. The US
government stole years of life from hundreds of ordinary people who had
the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and were
captured by warlords and sold to the stupid Americans as "terrorists."
Needing terrorists to keep the farce going, the US government dropped
leaflets in Afghanistan offering $25,000 a head for "terrorists."

Kidnappings ensued until the US government had purchased enough
"terrorists" to validate the "terrorist threat."

The six that the US is bringing to "trial" include two child soldiers for
the Taliban and a car pool driver who allegedly drove bin Laden.

The Taliban did not attack the US. The child soldiers were fighting in an
Afghan civil war.

The US attacked the Taliban. How does that make Taliban soldiers
terrorists who should be locked up and abused in Gitmo and brought before
a kangeroo military tribunal? If a terrorist hires a driver or a taxi,
does that make the driver a terrorist? What about the pilots of the
airliners who brought the alleged 9/11 terrorists to the US? Are they
guilty, too?

The Gitmo trials are show trials. Their only purpose is to create the
precedent that the executive branch can ignore the US court system and try
people in the same manner that innocent people were tried in Stalinist
Russia and Gestapo Germany. If the Bush regime had any real evidence
against the Gitmo detainees, it would have no need for its kangeroo
military tribunal.

If any more proof is needed that Bush has no case against any of the Gitmo
detainees, the following AP News report, February 14, 2008, should
suffice: "The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to
limit judges' authority to scrutinize evidence against detainees at
Guantanamo Bay."

The reason Bush doesn't want judges to see the evidence is that there is
no evidence except a few confessions obtained by torture. In the American
system of justice, confession obtained by torture is self-incrimination
and is impermissible evidence under the US Constitution.

Andy Worthington's book, The Guantanamo Files, and his online articles
make it perfectly clear that the "dangerous terrorists" claim of the Bush
administration is just another hoax perpetrated on the inattentive
American public.

Recently the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity issued a report that
documents the fact that Bush administration officials made 935 false
statements about Iraq to the American people in order to deceive them into
going along with Bush's invasion.

In recent testimony before Congress, Bush's Secretary of State and former
National Security Advisor, Condi Rice, was asked by Rep. Robert Wexler
about the 56 false statements she made.

Rice replied: "I take my integrity very seriously and I did not at any
time make a statement that I knew to be false." Rice blamed "the
intelligence assessments" which "were wrong."

Another Rice lie, like those mushroom clouds that were going to go up over
American cities if we didn't invade Iraq. The weapon inspectors told the
Bush administration that there were no weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq, as Scott Ritter has reminded us over and over. Every knowledgeable
person in the country knew there were no weapons. As the leaked Downing
Street memo confirms, the head of British intelligence told the UK cabinet
that the Bush administration had already decided to invade Iraq and was
making up the intelligence to justify the invasion.

But let's assume that Rice was fooled by faulty intelligence. If she had
any integrity she would have resigned. In the days when American
government officials had integrity, they would have resigned in shame from
such a disastrous war and terrible destruction based on their mistake. But
Condi Rice, like all the Bush (and Clinton) operatives, is too full of
American self-righteousness and ambition to have any remorse about her
mistake. Condi can still look herself in the mirror despite one million
Iraqis dying from her mistake and several million more being homeless
refugees, just as Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, can
still look herself in the mirror despite sharing responsibility for
500,000 dead Iraqi children.

There is no one in the Bush administration with enough integrity to
resign. It is a government devoid of truth, morality, decency and honor.
The Bush administration is a blight upon America and upon the world.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during
President Reagan's first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street
Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William
E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown
University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford
University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President
Francois Mitterrand. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at]

--------17 of 17--------

                         be all that you can be.


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