|Progressive Calendar 05.27.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] riseup.net> 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] afors.org> 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] visi.com> Subject: Open discussion 5.27 6:30pm Tues.MAY 27, 6:30pm-8:30pm OPEN DISCUSSION Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) 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] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Media reform/KFAI 5.28 11am TRUTH TO TELL KFAI FM 90.3 / 106.7 / Streaming at KFAI.org WEDNESDAY, May 28 - 11AM: MEDIA REFORM A WEEK AWAY: 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. GUESTS: 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 OTHERS POSSIBLE: AMY GOODMAN, DemocracyNOW! ROBERT MCCHESNEY, Free Press Co-Founder KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis /106.7 St. Paul / Streamed [at] KFAI.org --------5 of 11-------- From: Joan Vanhala <joan [at] metrostability.org> 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 Inc. * 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] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> 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] visi.com> Subject: Community garden 5.28 6:30pm HOW TO START A COMMUNITY GARDEN 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 http://www.gardenworksmn.org/Contact_Us/index.htm 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] gardenworksmn.org --------8 of 11-------- Her Last Shot? Hillary's Assassination Politics By MARJORIE COHN CounterPunch 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 By ALEXANDER COCKBURN CounterPunch 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 KILLING OBAMA, SOMEONE SHOOTING THE BLACK MAN DEAD, JUST LIKE SOMEONE SHOT BOBBY KENNEDY DEAD IN CALIFORNIA, IN CALIFORNIA, DEAD, REALLY DEAD. Oh my 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 access. 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 DSCC. 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 Salon.com 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 them." 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 things." 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 http://www.credoaction.com/sirota. --------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 action. Dr. Haidar Eid is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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