Progressive Calendar 05.27.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 05:31:08 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    05.27.08

1. GLBT/CTV        5.27 5pm
2. Sustainability  5.27 6pm
3. Open discussion 5.27 6:30pm

4. Media reform/r  5.28 11am
5. Green housing   5.28 12noon
6. Iran policy     5.28 6pm
7. CommunityGarden 5.28 6:30pm

8. Marjorie Cohn      - Her last shot? Hillary's assassination politics
9. Alexander Cockburn - Death-wish Hillary primes Manchurian Candidate
10. David Sirota      - Why Dems won't stop the war
11. Dr Haider Eid     - Nadine Gordimer: Stand vs Israel's apartheid too

--------1 of 11--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: GLBT/CTV 5.27 5pm

Gracious St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesdays at 5pm, after
DemocracyNow!, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am.  All households
with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 5/27, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 5/28, 10am "Talking About a Sexual
Revolution"  Interview of local GLBT youth, media and instant runoff
voting activist Brandon Lacy Campos. Hosted by Eric Angell.

--------2 of 11--------

From: Alliance for Sustainability <sean [at]>
Subject: Sustainability 5.27 6pm

6-9:30 pm Tues, May 27 First Night of Seminar on Sustainability and the
Natural Step Framework led by Terry Gips at Spirit of the Lakes Church,
2930 13th Ave. S, Minneapolis 5:15 pm Optional Organic Plant-Based Dinner.
Receive early registration discount by May 20. RSVP with Alliance for
Sustainability, 612-331-1099

--------3 of 11--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Open discussion 5.27 6:30pm

Tues.MAY 27, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Pax Salons ( )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

--------4 of 11--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Media reform/KFAI 5.28 11am

KFAI FM 90.3 / 106.7 / Streaming at
A Preview of June 5, 6, 7, 8

The Reformers are coming! They are many ­ and hungry to redress the steep
slide of mostly mainstream media into an abyss of cultural waste ­
infotainment, shallow journalism, ignorance of real issues, celebrity
worship and lockstep support for government folly ­ war, corporate power,
enriching the rich, and consolidating their own power! This has made
mincemeat of the mediašs responsibility to be Americašs watchdog, not
Americašs lapdog. First Amendment protections have been combined with
untold wealth and control over the flow of useful and important
information citizens need to govern ourselves.

Hundreds of trench workers in alternative and grassroots media will come
together with powerhouses in the field ­ Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman, Arianna
Huffington, Phil Donohue, Robert McChesney, Juan Gonzalez, Laura Flanders,
Tim Wu, Rosa Clemente, and FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan
Adelstein. We will be talking with all of them and more when TTT goes LIVE
from the Minneapolis Convention Center Friday, June 6th, and on tape the
7th and 8th...PLUS...DEMOCRACY DAY - Thursday, June 5th - the day before ­
will look at electoral reform and similar issues.

But, media reform begins at home and continues long after the conferences.
This weekšs preview will talk about what steps local grassroots media
types plan to take to make our local media relevant to the Twin Cities and
its real people. CALL US: 612-341-0980

TTTšs Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen will talk with planners and
reformers here and nationally to talk about the Media Reform and Democracy
Day events coming up ­ and the work we expect to do when everyone else
leaves town.

 NANCY DOYLE BROWN ­ Twin Cities Media Alliance and organizer of a
post-conference Reform Action Group.
 BRANDON LACY CAMPOS ­ Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic
Revolution & Democracy Day organizer
 CRAIG AARON, Free Press Communications Director
 ROBERT MCCHESNEY, Free Press Co-Founder

KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis /106.7 St. Paul / Streamed [at]

--------5 of 11--------

From: Joan Vanhala <joan [at]>
Subject: Green housing 5.28 12noon

Wednesday, May 28: Green Affordable Housing

In support of affordable housing, there are statewide efforts to build
with reduced energy costs, environmentally beneficial materials,
conservation-minded land use planning and the creation of healthy
environments. Our panel of guest speakers includes:
 * Janne Flisrand, Program Coordinator at Minnesota Green Communities
 * Marcia Cartwright, Real Estate Development Manager at Hope Community
 * Rick Carter, Senior Vice President of LHB Corp.

All roundtables are from noon to 1:30 pm at the Alliance for Metropolitan
Stability office, Suite 200, 2525 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis.
Roundtable events are free but an RSVP is required and space is limited.

--------6 of 11--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Iran policy 5.28 6pm

Town Hall Forum on U.S. Foreign Policy with Iran
Wednesday, May 28, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. First Unitarian Society of
Minneapolis, Lower Assembly Hall, 900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis.

Congressman Keith Ellison hosts a Town Hall Forum on U.S. Foreign Policy
with Iran, featuring Dr. Trita Parsi, author of "Treacherous Alliance--The
Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel, and the United States," and William Orman
Beeman, chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of
Minnesota. Moderator: Nasrin Jewell. "Should the U.S. engage in direct
dialogue with Iran? Should the U.S. insist on certain conditions in order
to engage in dialogue? What can citizens and residents of the U.S. do to
promote peace and avert conflict in Iran?" Come share your thoughts.

--------7 of 11--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Community garden 5.28 6:30pm

MAY 28th, 2008
6:30pm - 8:30pm
2801 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis
Large Conference Room (main floor, down the hall)
For directions to the building, go to

Learn the necessary steps to starting a garden! Get helpful worksheets and
factsheets! Learn about resources to help with setting up a new garden!
Light refreshments available. Contributions are welcome both food and
money (to cover costs of materials)! Questions?  Call/Email GardenWorks at
612-278-7123, info [at]

--------8 of 11--------

Her Last Shot?
Hillary's Assassination Politics
May 26, 2008

For weeks, pundits have speculated about why Hillary Clinton insists on
remaining in the primary race when Barack Obama has all but clinched the
Democratic presidential nomination. On Friday, Clinton answered that
question. It appears she's waiting in the wings for something dreadful to
befall Obama.

When asked by the editorial board of South Dakota's Sioux Falls
Argus-Ledger why she is still running, Clinton replied, "My husband did
not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary
somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was
assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it."

It's astounding that a presidential candidate could verbalize such a thing
when the collective American psyche still aches from the assassinations of
John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy.
Many of us remember where we were when these heroes were shot. The pain we
felt is palpable. We still suffer from their absence.

Clinton, evidently surprised at the ferocity of the reaction to her
statement, made a half-baked non-apology a few hours later. She expressed
regret that anything she said could have offended the Kennedy family. But
she uttered not a word of repentance for her suggestion that Barack
Obama's death could inure to her benefit.

The response to Clinton's invocation of the "A" word was swift and strong.
The New York Times called it an "inexcusable outburst." Keith Olbermann
characterized it as "crass and low and unfeeling and brutal." Noting that
"the politics of this nation is steeped in blood," he admonished Clinton:
"You cannot and must not invoke that imagery, anywhere, at any time."

Clinton's remarks offer a look into her character. In Olbermann's words,
they "open a door wide into the soul of somebody who seeks the highest
office in this country and through that door shows something not merely
troubling but frightening."

Before Friday, a groundswell of support for an Obama-Clinton ticket
appeared to be building. But as New York state Sen. Bill Perkins, an Obama
supporter, said when he heard Clinton's comments, "My jaw just dropped --
I think she just basically shattered her hopes of being named as vice
president. To use the example of an assassination," Perkins added, "I
think, leads one to believe that she may be talking about something
unfortunate happening to Barack Obama. Couple that with the other remarks
she made recently about winning the white vote and her husband's
statements and I'd say something is seriously amiss."

How, after Clinton's ominous remarks, could Obama ever turn his back on
her if she became his vice-president?

Anyone who "might be sticking around on the off-chance the other guy might
get shot has no business being the president of the United States,"
Olbermann declared. As Newsweek's Howard Fineman noted, Clinton's is "a
campaign that probably needs to be put out of its misery real soon."

Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, an uncommitted
superdelegate, commented that Clinton's remarks were "beyond the pale."
Indeed, the remaining uncommitted superdelegates should stop the bleeding
now and allow us to move on with the election.

Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and author of
Cowboy Republic.

--------9 of 11--------

Death-Wish Hillary Primes Manchurian Candidate
May 24 / 25, 2008

Ever since she realized back in early March that Obama was going to take
the nomination Hillary Clinton's long-term strategy has been to do her
best to ensure McCain will win this November so she can become the
Democratic nominee in 2012. But she had a short term strategy too and on
Friday she deliberately made it explicit in a newspaper office in Sioux
Falls, South Dakota. There she suggested that someone is likely to step up
to the plate and assassinate Barack Obama in the waning moments of the
California primary, just as Bobby Kennedy was forty years go almost to the
day. The wish is mother to the deed. If anything does happen to Obama in
California Mrs Clinton should surely be indicted as a co-conspirator.

How to else construe her grotesque remarks in Sioux Falls, South Dakota,
in the editorial offices of the Argus Leader newspaper. Here she told the
editors,  "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won
the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all
remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't
understand it," she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

There is no other way to construe these sentences, not thrown over her
shoulder on a campaign walk, but delivered in measured tones to the
Argus-Leader editorial board, but to interpret them as Mrs Clinton's more
or less explicit statement that she is spending a million a day just to
keep her hat in the ring because Obama might well get killed.  Then, just
like the scenario at the end of the Manchurian candidate, Hillary will
straddle Obama's bleeding body, make the speech of her life and become the
assured nominee. In fact, right now she's probably sitting down with some
numbed vet and whispering coyly in her best Angela Lansbury mode to the
Lawrence Harvey stand-in, "How about passing the time by playing a little
solitaire?"  I pass on whether Hillary reprises Angela Lansbury's famous
incestuous kiss on her son's lips. Perhaps Sid Blumenthal is the stand-in,
though I doubt he's a very good shot.

To get added insight into what a truly nasty woman Hillary Clinton is,
remember that her remarks on Friday came a couple of days after Edward
Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Next thing you know,
his fellow senator is saying that California might well be celebrating the
fortieth anniversary of his borther's murder by killing the candidate he
has endorsed for the nomination.

Now Hillary Clinton is dutifully saying that she was misunderstood, that
she had no intention, no thought, that she might be taking about SOMEONE
heavens no, the thought never crossed my mind.

Recall too that as Jeffrey pointed out in his Wednesday piece here, Mrs
Clinton and her mouthpieces have been steadily raising the volume on their
verbal-lynching. In South Dakota Mrs Clinton lit the fuse.

                The Death of American Liberalism

Now a word about the wider picture: There's certainly no effective
liberal, let alone left presence in mainstream American politics any more.
The political primary season, now in its final throes, has resoundingly
buttressed this fact, albeit disguising the process by the crafty
expedient of making a black man the all-but-certain Democratic nominee.

Take the scene in Portland, Oregon last Monday, on the eve of a vote in
that north-western state which sent Barack Obama one step further in
formally clinching the Democratic nomination. CounterPunch coeditor
Jeffrey St Clair gave a most amusing and enlightening account of it this
last Wednesday. How did Hillary Clinton try to remind Oregonians of her
claims to be the authentic rep of white working-class America, without
whose votes no Democrat can ever win the White House?

She held a press conference in the upscale Portland suburb of Beaverton,
in a subdivision where $500,000 homes have gone unsold for the past year.
She spoke movingly of the pain being experienced by the developer. A few
miles north, homeless Oregonians were besieging the offices of Portland's
mayor, Tom Potter.

As noted above, almost exactly forty years ago John F. Kennedy's younger
brother Bobby was making a similar last-throw bid in California to win the
state and seize the Democratic nomination, by dint of a populist campaign.
Bobby reached out to California's poor. There's no way Bobby would have
hunkered down with a property developer. He'd have been heading the
homeless in a march to the mayor's office to demand they be given
rent-free accommodation in the unsold mansions.

As a reminder that some things don't change, Bobby's second strategy in
California was to court the affluent Jewish vote on the West Side of Los
Angeles. Just like Hilary he implied that his opponents were all too eager
to parley with the sworn enemies of Israel. He demanded that the US
government release F-4 Phantom jets to Israel. A young Palestinian called
Sirhan Sirhan read of this demand in an article in the New York Review of
Books by my dear friend, the late Andrew D. Kopkind. Thus edified by Andy,
Sirhan promptly scrawled "RFK Must Die!" in his diary and headed to the
Ambassador Hotel. There, shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, he shot
Kennnedy dead with a .22 Iver-Johnson revolver in the hotel kitchen, just
as Bobby was shaking hands with a dishwasher. Bobby's Israel and populist
strategies had fatally collided.*

Bobby Kennedy's younger brother Ted tried to sell the same populism as
Bobby in his run for the nomination against Carter in 1978. Ten years
later Jesse Jackson, the first black American to take a serious tilt at
the Democratic nomination, led many a poor people's march to City Halls
across America.

Not any more. Hilary's populism has been skin-deep in the literal sense of
the term. It's not been about rich developers, or predatory sub-prime
loans. It's only about the color of Obama's skin, which Mrs Clinton opines
is unsuitable in tint. You want irony? Try tracing the thread that runs
from Fanny Lou Hamer and her comrades' efforts to seat the Mississippi
Freedom Democrats at the 1964 convention in Atlanta to Hillary Clinton's
claim that in trying to get Florida's Democrats seated in the convention
in Denver she"s taking us back to the most glorious struggles of the
abolitionists against slavery.

The old truism about primary season used to be that Democratic candidates
have to run left to capture crucial support from the sort of politically
active progressives who vote in Democratic primaries and caucuses. Then,
with the nomination secured, the nominee spends the rest of the year
running right, to win over middle America.

But Obama has achieved the amazing feat of being the almost-certain
nominee without barely a phrase on the record with which John McCain can
belabor him for "loony-leftism" or even "outdated liberalism" in the
months to come.

Bloated Pentagon budgets? This favored target in past primary seasons has
flourished unscathed this year, even though the arms-spending to which
Bush's former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, committed the US
government promises certain budgetary catastrophe across the next fifteen
years. Obama's subservience to the US military has been evinced numerous
times, most recently when he confided last week to David Brooks, one of
the New York Times's profuse stable of neo-con columnists, that "The
[U.S.] generals are light-years ahead of the civilians. They are trying to
get the job done rather than look tough".

What about Wall Street, whose leading bankers have devastated
middle-income America with the sub-prime scams? Obama has been tactful,
meanwhile hauling in hefty campaign contributions from these same bankers
as Pam Martens has described on this website.  Health care? No relief for
America's 45 million uninsured from Obama, who offers "reforms"
unreservedly deferential to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
What about labor and the right to form a union - something virtually
impossible to do in America today, where it's (barely) legal to go on
strike but almost entirely illegal to win one.  Seldom has a Democrat won
the nomination with less IOUs to organized labor than Obama.

But, you say, surely Obama prevailed over Hillary in large part because
she voted for the war in Iraq and he didnt'. This year Obama's statements
on the war have been carefully hedged. McCain will have a tough time
painting him into a corner as a peacenik without himself sounding like a
crazed warmonger, (which he frequently does). The war in Iraq is not
popular in America, but the antiwar movement is effectively dead.

As a presidential candidate the only politically unorthodox item on
Obama's record is that he has a black skin. As he runs against an elderly,
unstable Republican candidate whose own mottled epidermis raises constant
uneasy questions about possible battles with cancer Obama should thank
Bush 1 for making a black man chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
putting Clarence Thomas on the US Supreme Court, and Bush 2 for making
Condoleezza Rice secretary of state. See? Blacks can be trusted!  And
Obama should thank the Republican Party for nominating a candidate weaker
by far than any he might have dreamed of only six months ago. As a member
of the Chaos Party I'm none to keen on the man. If McCain choses a real
dunderhead as his running mate, I must just go for the Republican ticket.

To save conspiracists the trouble of writing to me, I should say that
Kennedy had just passed the dishwasher, then twisted back and to his left
to shake hands, which explains why the entry wound in his head seemed to
indicate a shot from a quarter other than where Sirhan was standing.

--------10 of 11--------

Why Democrats Won't Stop the War
By David Sirota May 26, 2008
In These Times

The nationwide opposition to the Iraq War is based on a host of populist
impulses. Some people hate it because they think lives are being
sacrificed to pursue the oil industry's agenda. Some despise it because,
without a military draft, the U.S. casualties - 4,000-plus and counting
- are disproportionately working-class kids. Still others abhor the war
because it drains scarce resources away from pressing priorities at home.
And yet, despite this groundswell of antiwar sentiment, the campaign to
stop the war is adrift and dysfunctional.

On the one side are groups like United for Peace and Justice, that head
what progressive activist Matt Stoller has deemed "The Protest Industry"
- a clan "made up of those who decided that participation in the system
was immoral" because they "have seen 'compromise' many times before and
think they know where it leads."

At Protest Industry rallies against the war in Iraq, you will find no
effort to hone a basic message. You will see a sea of signs demanding (1)
the end to a war with Iran that hasn't happened, (2) the impeachment of
President George W. Bush, (3) the arrest of Vice President Dick Cheney,
(4) the elimination of the death penalty, or (5) the overthrow of the U.S.
government by Maoists who reason that the "world can't wait to drive out
the Bush regime."

These demonstrations are boisterous but ephemeral displays whose chaos and
lack of message reinforce a self-defeating fringe image.

On the other side of the antiwar movement is a group of organizations and
apparatchiks that have launched an operation called Americans Against
Escalation in Iraq (AAEI) - a coalition of mainly Washington, D.C.-based
advocacy groups, pooling cash and staff for "a major, multimillion dollar
national campaign to oppose the president's 'surge' proposal to escalate
the war in Iraq," as its website says.

Within the uprising against the war in Iraq, AAEI and its allies are the
"professional" side of the antiwar effort. Consider them The Players.

The Players imagine that the war will end not after a massive investment
in long-term, on-the-ground local organizing against war, but by the
short-term coordination of a few elite actors - political consultants,
donors, politicians and maybe one or two organization heads - in front of
a map of media markets and congressional districts.

The Players make their moves with campaign contributions, TV spots and PR
campaigns - the conventional weapons in a media war - and they are
playing their game in Washington for Washington. In contrast to the
Protest Industry, they believe the only way to effect change is to play an
inside game.

                      Hollywood for ugly people

Media coverage is currency in the nation's capital. There, celebrities are
people like Washington Post columnist David Broder, MSNBC's Chris Matthews
and Time magazine's Joe Klein - people known to almost no one in the
country at large.

Within the Beltway, however, they are influential celebrities because they
appear on obscure chat shows, from C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" to Fox
News' "Special Report" to MSNBC's "Hardball."

Our nation's capital has become Hollywood for ugly people.

Washington's self-absorbed fetishization of tiny-audience TV shows might
be funny - except that the Iraq War was largely started because of this
closed-circuit media obsession.

In the march to war, neoconservatives, like The Weekly Standard's William
Kristol, staked out beachheads on Fox News sets, while so-called liberal
hawks, like The New Republic's former editor Peter Beinart, dug trenches
in CNN studios. These pundits established support for the war as a
criterion of political respectability and a mark of worthiness for media

Now, out in the real world, beyond the confines of the TV studios, it's
all gone to shit - all of it. The American public - which was ambivalent
about supporting the unilateral invasion - is now firmly opposed to
continuing the conflict.

Many of Washington's pro-war TV "celebrities" are trying to flee their
previously televised warmongering. Klein of Time magazine, for instance,
appeared on CNBC a month before the Iraq invasion to state, "War may well
be the right decision at this point - in fact, I think it probably is."
By 2007, he claimed with a straight face, "I've been opposed to the Iraq
War ever since 2002."

In light of this, The Players believe that by funneling money into
organizations like AAEI, pulling PR stunts and putting attack ads on
television against pro-war legislators in Congress, they can make this
antiwar uprising successful without organizing millions of Americans into
a cohesive long-term movement. They believe, in short, that if a war can
be started because of Washington's obsession with television, it can be
ended because of that same obsession.

                         Washington's rules

Both the Protest Industry chanting on the Mall and The Players scheming in
their downtown Washington offices are necessary parts of an effective
antiwar uprising. The outraged rabble provides the boots on the ground
that can pressure lawmakers in their local communities. And that popular
ferment could be enhanced by a professional presence playing the Beltway's
media game.

The crippling problem for The Players is the increasing difficulty of
operating in Washington without being corrupted by it. As blogger Chris
Bowers says, "In Washington, D.C., for those who run the government, the
public is quite distant and faceless."

If the rules of Washington were written down, the first one would say:
Anyone wishing to play its games has to sign up big-name political
consultants who are perceived to have "influence." That buys you instant
credibility with politicians and reporters there - "those folks who write
the stories, and appear on television and radio to talk about the state of
play in Washington," as the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza says. "Like
it or not, the opinions expressed by these people tend to set the
parameters of the debate when an election year rolls around."

As a Washington pundit, Cillizza's analysis inflates his own importance.
But as biased as he is - and as much as his statement reeks of elitism -
inside the Beltway his self-aggrandizement is a religious doctrine that
creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This poses a problem for even the best-intentioned advocacy organizations
in D.C. The same consultants they need to hire to play this Washington
game and to influence these people who "set the parameters of the debate,"
are often simultaneously paid by the very politicians who should be in
their crosshairs.

The result is that ideological organizations become fused to the partisan
political structure they seek to pressure.

                          Hot Pocket politics

Take the leadership of AAEI. The group is guided by Hildebrand Tewes, a
consulting firm named for its original partners, Steve Hildebrand and Paul
Tewes - both longtime Democratic Party operatives.

The firm is one of a new breed of companies that attempts to bring to
uprising politics the ease of microwave TV dinners. Don't feel like making
dinner? Throw a Hot Pocket into the microwave. Don't feel like doing the
hard work of local organizing to build a sustaining, durable movement that
lasts beyond the issue du jour? Put together a pile of money to hire a
firm like Hildebrand Tewes and you can have your instant "uprising" - one
that provides about as much nutrition to your cause as microwaved junk
food provides to your body.

While the firm is supposedly leading an independent antiwar uprising by
pressuring politicians in both parties, about half its employees -
including the firm's two principals - were staffers for the Democratic
Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the re-election arm of the same
Democratic U.S. senators that the antiwar uprising now needs to pressure
to end the war.

But the conflict of interest only starts there.

At the same time Hildebrand Tewes is working with AAEI, the firm is being
paid by various Democratic politicians for its services - Democratic
politicians who have a vested interest in avoiding attacks from the
antiwar uprising.

The consequences of such incestuous overlaps between party and uprising
are best exemplified by Brad Woodhouse, the Hildebrand Tewes consultant
leading AAEI. He came directly to Hildebrand Tewes after years as the
DSCC's chief spokesperson and a mouthpiece for Democratic candidates. This
supposed antiwar champion is the same guy who, as a campaign staffer,
bragged to newspapers just before the Iraq invasion that the Democratic
U.S. candidate he was working for, Erskine Bowles (N.C.), was more pro-war
than the Republican candidate.

"No one has been stronger in this race [than Bowles] in supporting
President Bush in the war on terror and his efforts to affect a regime
change in Iraq," Woodhouse fulminated in the Charlotte Observer in
September 2002.

Woodhouse is no anomaly. His history closely mimics how many
war-supporting politicians suddenly changed their positions when the
political winds shifted.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), whose record on Iraq has been abysmal, has
undergone an improbable transformation into an antiwar candidate. And
former President Bill Clinton showed a special kind of retroactive courage
when he declared last November that he had opposed the war "from the
beginning." But it is the partisan conflicts of interest, not the
hypocrisy, that pose the real problem.

You would think the central focus of any antiwar organization - whether
inside Washington or out - would be on forcing Democrats to use their
constitutional power to end the war to do just that: end the war. But you
would be wrong.

Almost all of AAEI's "multimillion dollar national campaign" is being
spent on TV ads or publicity stunts attacking pro-war Republican
politicians up for reelection in 2008 - people like Sens. Susan Collins
(Maine), John Sununu (N.H.), Norm Coleman (Minn.) and Mitch McConnell
(Ky.), the minority leader who Woodhouse spent years attacking at the

These are Republicans who Democrats (and thus Democratic consulting firms
like Hildebrand Tewes) want to defeat in order to retain control of the
Senate, regardless of whether the war ends.

Relatively few AAEI resources, by contrast, will be spent on ads attacking
Democratic House and Senate lawmakers who have either repeatedly provided
the critical votes to continue the war indefinitely, or who have refused
to use all of Congress's power to end the war.

Beyond its mission statement, AAEI does not even try to hide its partisan
biases. In one classic display, Woodhouse used his AAEI position to defend
Democrats when they refused to stop a war funding bill.

"We're disappointed the war drags on with no end in sight," he told
Reuters in June of 2007, "but realize Democratic leaders can only
accomplish what they have the votes for."

No mention of Democrats' ability to use their majority to vote down war
spending bills or to stop any funding bills from moving forward so as to
cut off money for the war.

If you believe this ultrapartisan allocation of resources has nothing to
do with the fact that the people guiding the spending decisions are former
employees of - and are still being paid by - Democratic politicians,
then I'm sure George W. Bush has another war to sell you.

As antiwar Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) has said, the battle to end the war
is "us versus them" - not in terms of Republican versus Democrat, but in
terms of the uprising versus the "Washington inside crowd that sets the
parameters of this debate."

In February 2007, Feingold told reporters, "The Washington consultants -
especially those that were part of the previous Democratic administration
- come into a room with Democratic congressional leadership and tell
them, 'Look, if you propose a timeline or you try to cut off the funding,
the Republicans will tear you apart.' "But, Feingold continued, "The
power structure in Washington [is] desperately trying to figure out how to
explain why they made one of the biggest mistakes in the history of our
country. And that's why you gotta go right at them."

But you can't "go right at them" if your uprising is led by a tightly knit
consultant class that has dual loyalties and has been part of the problem
from the outset.

                        The McGovern Fable

Conservatives have extrapolated President Nixon's "silent majority"
demonization of Sen. George McGovern and cultural critique of the
anti-Vietnam War movement into a fantasy that supposedly explains every
Republican victory in the last 30 years.

This McGovern Fable posits that the Left's open confrontation with the
Democratic Party may have helped end the Vietnam War, but it also resulted
in the 1972 presidential nomination of McGovern, whose landslide loss in
the general election supposedly gave Democrats a "national security gap"
in public opinion polls. According to the Fable, this gap is singularly
responsible for giving America 20 out of 28 years of Republican
presidents, and came about not because Nixon ran a smarter race or because
McGovern's campaign tactically stumbled, but because McGovern opposed the
Vietnam War.

But as scholar Mark Schmitt has noted, the McGovern Fable is a sham.

"The real reason the Vietnam War divided and discredited Democrats and
splintered the liberal consensus was because - let's not be afraid to
admit it - Democrats started that war," Schmitt wrote on his blog in
2006. "Opposition to the war didn't unify or define the party, it divided
it. Nixon won the 1968 election because [Hubert] Humphrey was associated
with the war [and] couldn't split with [Lyndon B. Johnson]."

In fact, Schmitt pointed out that in the 1974 mid-term election following
that 1972 campaign, the 75 Democrats who won congressional seats were
overwhelmingly antiwar.

Few debate that making the war into a campaign issue was critical to the
Democrats winning Congress in 2006. However, the consensus in Washington
is that all the American casualties and the killing of hundreds of
thousands of civilians in Iraq would be acceptable had Bush just been a
better military strategist. Some Democratic lawmakers seem to be saying
this overtly.

With no ideologically antiwar voice in Washington, these Democrats are
demanding that their party become ideologically "pro-war" - that is in
favor of violent conflicts as a standing principle, as long as the
violence is managed properly.

"If we become the antiwar party, that's not beneficial to Democrats in
2008," Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.) told reporters in July 2007, despite
polls showing that two-thirds of Americans want the White House to start
withdrawing troops from Iraq. Said Davis: "The kind of pro-war Democrat
that we ought to be [is the one that supports] the war that we fight
wisely, the ones that we engage in wisely."

Among The Players inside Establishment Washington, nobody - not AAEI, not
the much-vaunted "liberal" think tanks - is making the opposite case,
that Democrats have a moral and (as the insurgent campaign of
Connecticut's Ned Lamont showed) political imperative to be the antiwar
party, not just the sort-of anti-Iraq War party.

The Players have opposed the escalation of the war in Iraq, but there has
been no antiwar drumbeat - no larger argument made against wars as a
concept or against the danger of the growing military-industrial complex.
This means the next time a president wants to start an absurdly stupid
war, he or she faces no ongoing antiwar uprising and just needs to do what
Bush didn't do - dot the "i"s, cross the "t"s and follow proper
procedure. Put another way, favoring a narrow criticism of just the Iraq
War over an attack on Washington's more general prioritization of war as a
foreign policy tool has laid the groundwork for neoconservatives' next
harebrained military fantasy.

As media critic Glenn Greenwald wrote at in August 2007, "The
Grand Beltway Consensus, one that encompasses both parties, is that War is
how we rule the world. ... The only debates allowed are how many [wars] we
should fight, where we should fight them, and how 'wisely' we prosecute

Say what you will about the anti-Cheney zealots, the pro-impeachment
activists and other assorted Protest Industry followers, they may be
utterly disorganized and lack real-world political strategies, but at
least their activism is about more than a sporting event. They aren't just
demonstrating to help one set of politicians defeat another set of
politicians. And as importantly, they don't dream of stopping just one war
because that's what is considered politically expedient.

They dream of changing society's long-term outlook on war itself.

                      Making them work for us

Like an exotic species at the zoo, true campaign junkies exhibit the same
special markings: bags under eyes, graying hair, half-shaven beards (among
the males) and expressions of permanent fatigue, like they could fall
asleep at any moment because they need to catch up on shut-eye from 25
years of late-night envelope-stuffing sessions.

Steve Rosenthal exhibits all of these telltale signs.

Rosenthal heads They Work for Us, a group whose mission is to pressure
elected Democrats to uphold the uprising's antiwar and economic agenda.

"There's a lot of swirling mass communications going on right now," he
says between gulps of coffee as we eat breakfast at a hotel restaurant in
downtown D.C. "But it really isn't personalized or organized, and it isn't
particularly effective."

He is a rare hybrid of an insider and an uprising guy who got his start
(like many 50-ish movement activists) first as a volunteer for George
McGovern's 1972 campaign, then as staffer for Sen. Ted Kennedy's 1980
presidential bid. Today, Rosenthal is fed up with the substitution of
Washington games for real grassroots organizing.

"It's the same thing I used to say about mail when we did a lot of mail in
the labor movement," he says. "What happened over the years was that mail
became a lazy way to communicate with people. It's much easier to hire a
mail vendor and send out a lot of mail to union members than it is to
organize people going workplace to workplace and setting up systems to
deliver flyers and organize weekend walks. That's really hard stuff, and
people now avoid doing it because it's hard."

He fills me in on all the different Democratic incumbents his group is
looking at trying to unseat in primaries, and how he wants to "make them
sweat and bleed and raise money so they have to think differently about

But beneath the strategy talk, he is worried. He fears that even on an
issue as pressing as the war, partisan loyalties are going to trump
everything. That's not just because of the intertwined Washington culture
or the McGovern Fable, he says, but because a lot of the people in the
uprising today don't really comprehend how power works.

"What many people don't understand is that these politicians carry more
water for you as a result of being frightened," he says. "In other words,
what are these politicians going to do in the face of a primary challenge?
Say, 'Go fuck you guys because you might come after me'? No, it's going to
be the other way around - they'll try to appease us by being better,
which is the point."

But, the flip side is also true.

If Democratic office holders know that no functional antiwar uprising is
ready to punish them for their war support, then they will just preserve
the status quo - regardless of the TV ads against Republicans; regardless
of the Protest Industry theatrics at rallies; regardless of The Players'
appearances on obscure shows like "Hardball"; and - worst of all -
regardless of American troops dying in Iraq.

(Editor's note: This article was adapted from "The Uprising: An
Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and
Washington," which was published by Crown Publishers, a division of Random
House Inc., this month.)

David Sirota is a senior editor at In These Times and a bestselling author
whose newest book, "The Uprising," will be released in May 2008. He is a
fellow at the Campaign for America's Future and a board member of the
Progressive States Network.both nonpartisan organizations. His blog is at

--------11 of 11--------

Nadine Gordimer: Stand against Israel's apartheid too
Dr. Haider Eid
The Electronic Intifada
25 April 2008

The following is an edited open letter from Gaza lecturer Dr. Haider Eid
to Nobel Prize-winning South African author Nadine Gordimer:

Dear Ms. Gordimer,

I am a Palestinian lecturer in Cultural Studies living in Gaza. I happen
to also have South African citizenship as a result of my marriage to a
citizen of that beloved country. I spent more than five years in
Johannesburg, the city in which I earned my PhD and lectured at both
traditionally black and white universities. At Vista in Soweto, I taught
your anti-apartheid novels My Son's Story, July's People and The Late
Bourgeois World. I have been teaching the same novels, in addition to The
Pick Up and Selected Stories, to my Palestinian students in Gaza at
Al-Aqsa University. This course is called "Resistance, Anti-Racism and
Xenophobia." I deliberately chose to teach your novels because, as an
anti-apartheid writer, you defied racial stereotypes by calling for
resistance against all forms of oppression, be they racial or religious.
Your support of sanctions against apartheid South Africa has, to say the
least, impressed my Gazan students.

The news of your conscious decision to take part in the "Israel at 60"
celebrations has reached us, students and citizens of Gaza, as both a
painful surprise, and a glaring example of a hypocritical intellectual
double standard. My students, psychologically and emotionally traumatized
and already showing early signs of malnutrition as a result of the
genocidal policy of the country whose birth you will be celebrating,
demand an explanation.

They wonder in amazement, as do I, that you might have missed Archbishop
Desmond Tutu's contention that conditions in Israeli-occupied Palestine
are worse than those under apartheid? They ask how you can ignore UN human
rights observer John Dugard's dispassionate and insightful report on the
dismal state of human rights in the occupied territories? Surely, you have
not been unaware of South African minister Ronnie Kasrils' writings
following his latest visit to Gaza and the West Bank? Like you, these
three men, all South Africans, were also active in the fight against
racism and apartheid. Dugard's words on Palestine are very significant: "I
certainly have a sense of deja vu ... The sad thing is that Israel is
unwilling to learn from the South African precedent." In an article titled
"Apartheid: Israelis adopt what South Africa dropped," Dugard observed
that the human rights situation in the occupied territories continues to
deteriorate and called the conditions "intolerable, appalling, and tragic
for ordinary Palestinians."

Significantly, Dugard made shocking parallels between the situation in
Palestine and your country South Africa under apartheid: "Many aspects of
Israel's occupation surpass those of the apartheid regime. Israel's
large-scale destruction of Palestinian homes, leveling of agricultural
lands, military incursions and targeted assassinations of Palestinians far
exceed any similar practices in apartheid South Africa."

Moreover, in its final declaration, the World Conference against Racism
non-governmental organization forum, held in Durban in 2001, stated that:
"We declare Israel as a racist, apartheid state in which Israel's brand of
apartheid as a crime against humanity has been characterized by separation
and segregation, dispossession, restricted land access, denationalization,
'bantustanization' and inhumane acts."

You are no doubt aware of Israel's deep ties with apartheid South Africa,
during which Israel, breaking the international embargo, supplied South
Africa with hundreds of millions of dollars of weapons. Apartheid South
Africa relied on apartheid Israel to persuade Western governments to lift
the embargo. How did you relate to Israel during that period and what was
your position regarding countries and individuals that did not support the
policy of isolating apartheid South Africa? You were surely critical of
the infamous policy of "constructive engagement" led by then British Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan at the height of
the struggle in the 1980s. And today, inexplicably, you have joined the
ranks of sanctions busters.

The eminent Palestinian scholar Edward Said, who gave you his friendship,
would have been dismayed by your decision. He named you as a model for
what he called "oppositional intellectuals." It was his strong belief
that, with regard to Israel, "[it] only takes a few bold spirits to speak
out and start challenging a status quo that gets worse and more
dissembling each day." Little did he know that you would fail the
oppressed in Palestine.

My cold and hungry students have divided themselves into two groups, with
one group adamant that you, like many of your courageous characters, will
reconsider your participation in an Israeli festival that aims to
celebrate the annihilation of Palestine and Palestinians. The other group
believes that you have already crossed over to the side of the oppressor,
negating every word you have ever written. We all wait for your next

Dr. Haidar Eid is an Associate Professor in the Department of English
Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
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