Progressive Calendar 06.18.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2008 13:49:06 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    06.18.08

1. TC poverty      6.19 4pm
2. McCain invasion 6.19 4:30pm
3. New Hope demo   6.19 4:30pm
4. Eagan vigil     6.19 4:30pm
5. Northtown vigil 6.19 5pm
6. Cuba/food       6.19 6pm
7. Amnesty Intl    6.19 7:15pm
8. Film festival   6.19-21

9. Free speech     6.20

10. Peace walk     6.21 9am Cambridge MN
11. Carter/Hamas/f 6.21 9:30am
12. Work justice   6.21 10am
13. NWN4P Mtka     6.21 11am
14. EXCO/RNC       6.21 1pm
15. Ntown vigil    6.21 2pm
16. Vs empire/CTV  6.21 9pm

17. Ralph Nader      - Plutocracy Inc.
18. Jan Baughman     - Who's party are we spoiling?
19. Joel Hirschhorn  - Fighting resistance to voting for Ralph Nader
20. John Pilger      - In the great tradition, Obama is a hawk
21. Charles Marowitz - Spoils of war
22. Robert Jensen    - Diversity & the incoherence of journalism ideology
23. ed               - What makes Bush laugh?  w(haiku)

--------1 of 23--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: TC poverty 6.19 4pm

Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign Gathering

Thursday, June 19, 4:00 p.m. Peavey Park, 730 22nd Street, Minneapolis.
Gather to hear exciting speakers on poverty in the Twin Cities and the
upcoming March for Our Lives. Sponsored by: Poor People's Economic Human
Rights Campaign (PPEHC). FFI: Call PPEHC, 612-821-2364 or 612-821-2358.

--------2 of 23--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: McCain invasion 6.19 4:30pm

McCain Says 100 Years:  We Say OUT NOW!
THURS, 6/19 @ 4:30 @ Minneapolis Hilton, 1001 Marquette Ave (Marquette &
10th Street)

Give John McCain a sample of what his reception will be like at the
Republican National Convention!  Let's demonstrate that Minnesota does not
support the Republican pro-war agenda.  Organized by the Anti-War Committee.
From: rnc08 [at]

On June 19th, John McCain will be hosting a private dinner and fundraiser
at the Downtown Minneapolis Hilton (1001 Marquette Avenue). Amongst the
people dining with McCain will be Governor Tim Pawlenty, Senator Norm
Coleman, and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.  For only
$50,000/couple, you can have the thrilling opportunity to have your
picture taken with this (in)famous bunch of stinking rich old white men!

However, while these creeps wine and dine, foreclosures mount, ice caps
melt, and the slaughter of Iraqis rages on as criminal amounts of money
are funneled into electoral spectacles.  The RNC Welcoming Committee calls
on those of us who survive on less than $50,000 a year to do something
constructive on June 19.  Don't only create your own photo-ops (although
Lordisa knows the McCain Girls* provide plenty of ideas - Hallelujah!),
but find a way to effect positive, radical change where you live.

Let McCain and his cohorts count their bloodmoney for the night.  We'll
take care of them in September, when the convention-crashing festivities
and subsequent photo opportunities will be open to all!

The RNC Welcoming Committee

--------3 of 23--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: New Hope demo 6.19 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner
of Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot
near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use
our signs.

--------4 of 23--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 6.19 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------5 of 23--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 6.19 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------6 of 23--------

From: Mike Whelan <mpw4883 [at]>
Subject: Cuba/food 6.19 6pm

The 19th U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment caravan sponsored by Pastors for Peace
will be in the Twin Cities on June 19, 6:00 PM Along with other
organizations, the Minnesota Cuba Committee will be sponsoring a send-off
dinner and program at St. Albert the Great Church, 2836 33rd Avenue South,
Minneapolis.  $10.00 admission will include a Cuban plate by Victor Valens
(no one turned away for lack of funds. The program will include speakers
from past caravans, Cuban music and the best mojitos in town.

--------7 of 23--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 6.19 7:15pm

AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, June 19th, at 7:15 p.m. St.
Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the
intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information,
contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at]

--------8 of 23--------

From: Jay Gabler <jay [at]>
Subject: Film festival 6.19-21

Solstice Film Festival: The comedy! The horror! The birdwatching!
by Jim Brunzell III, TC Daily Planet
The Third Annual Solstice Film Festival starts June 19th and runs
through June 21st at Galtier Plaza in downtown St. Paul. Executive
Director Devin Halder has found over 25 feature films ranging from
fiction to documentary, as well as a dozen short films‚^ņ^‘most of them
Minnesota premieres.

--------9 of 23--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: Free speech 6.20


Excuses Used by Ostrow, Samuels to Clamp Down on Free Speech Sounding much
like John Ashcroft pushing his Patriot Act (and we all know what a
disaster that was), Minneapolis city council members Paul Ostrow and Don
Samuels spent much of the time during the May 21 public hearing on the
so-called free speech proposal rationalizing their reasons behind it.

[Reason to toss Ostrow and Samuels out next election. They call themselves
Dems but they are still tools of the powers that be. The local ruling
class knew what they were doing when they redestricted out Green Party
Natalie Johnson-Lee and put in word-bender Don Samuels in her place. -ed]

Ostrow kept wringing his hands and explaining that "we've never had
anything that big here before," referring to the RNC.  However, he could
not explain why he wants the free speech restrictions to be permanent.
After going around and around with Cam Gordon and Gary Schiff, who tried
in vain to improve his flawed proposal, Ostrow was helped out by fellow
free speech hater Samuels (recall that Samuels and Ostrow were
successfully sued by Al Flowers for kicking him off public access TV after
he criticized Samuels).

In what will likely be among the most bizarre moments at city hall this
year, Samuels began wailing about how this is a fundamentally different
time we're living in.  Citing war, abortion and a host of other social and
political issues (and sounding like a fire and brimstone minister or a
head case who forgot to take his meds), Samuels expressed the view that
we're on the eve of societal destruction unless we control the possibility
of demonstrations by people on both sides of the issues.

A crazy thought, really, when you realize the First Amendment is about
making space for all views to be heard.  In the end, Gordon and Schiff did
their level best but could not talk sense into Ostrow and Samuels, who
were joined by Ralph Remington (shame on you, Ralph!) and by Diane
Hofstede, who awoke periodically from her stupor to vote (we're not
kidding about this - she kept voting the "wrong" way until Ostrow told her
how to vote!  It looked like an old rerun of George Burns and Gracie
Allen).  The anti-free speech fress speech proposal was send forward to
the full city council.

The city council took up this proposal at their June 6th meeting.  We
assumed it would be a slam dunk and that we would just have to sue
the city to get rid of this bad idea.  But, alas, the council gave us
a bit of a surprise.  Apparently, a few people think more highly of
the First Amendment than we suspected.  The issue became so
contentious that it has been held over to the next council meeting on
June 20th.  We will have a full report on the last council meeting by
a guest columnist in the next newsletter and we'll continue to follow
the story as it develops.  Stay tuned.

--------10 of 23--------

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 6.21 9am Cambridge MN

Every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

--------11 of 23--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Carter/Hamas/f 6.21 9:30am

Videotape Showing: "Jimmy Carter Talks to Hamas"

Saturday, June 21, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments), 10:00 a.m. to Noon (Program
and Discussion) Southdale Library, 7001 York Avenue, Edina In April former
President Carter went on a well-planned odyssey to the Middle East. Who
came from Gaza to meet him in Cairo? To whom did he talk in Damascus? What
commitments did the Hamas leaders make to him? What does he think was
accomplished? How could the next president change our U.S. image in 10
minutes? Join us in watching a videotape of President Carter answering
these questions. Sponsored by: Middle East Peace Now (MEPN). FFI: Call
Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642 or email <steichenfm [at]>.

--------12 of 23--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Work justice 6.21 10am

Saturday, June 21: Workplace Justice. Support/Networking Meeting. 10
AM-Noon. Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul.

--------13 of 23--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P Mtka 6.21 11am

NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7
and 101.  Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the
fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available.

--------14 of 23--------

From: *Brian Hokanson* <bjhokanson [at]
Subject: EXCO/RNC 6.21 1pm

so below is the info about the rnc-related exco class jane and i are
facilitating at arise! as we've talked about it so far, our dueling goals
are to provide a space to engage people who perhaps haven't thought about
diversity of tactics before (hence using the peter gelderloos book about
nonviolence, blah blah blah), as well as providing a space to talk about
this stuff in which a Big Important Decision doesn't have to come out of

(if anyone's wondering, she's providing the structure, and i'm providing
the "hey exco give us money already!")

we'd like this to be made up of folks who are organizing/interested in
organizing, rather than only random folks signing up on the exco
website... so please forward this to other activists and groups you're a
part of that have some sort of interest in the rnc in particular. and sign
up yerself!

-- (visit that link to register)

Name of facilitators: Brian Hokanson and Jane Franklin

E-mail: jfranklin008 [at] <mailto:jfranklin008 [at]>,
hokan051 [at] <mailto:hokan051 [at]>

Course description: (to be adjusted to fit participants desires)

This class will explore questions of violence, nonviolence and
effectiveness in relation to resisting the Republican National Convention
Sept. 1-4 in the Twin Cities. Using Peter Gelderloos' book How Nonviolence
Protects the State as a focal point, in addition to other resources, we'll
critically examine the idea of nonviolence as practiced on the U.S. left.
How did the state acquire a monopoly on violence? What is "violence" in
the context of a political action? What are the unexamined premises behind
a policy of "nonviolence"? How does a diversity of tactics framework
incorporate different types of actions?  We'll ask each other what victory
means to us, both at the RNC and in a larger sense, and imagine scenarios
that may take place during the RNC.  By the end of the class we'll be
better equipped to talk about tactics and strategy with our communities,
and to concretely crash the convention in September!

This participatory, relaxed, radicool class will be inclusive and open to
all regardless of identity or political beliefs about nonviolence.
Pacifists, insurrectionists, and all in between are welcome to join!

The only requirement is a desire to make the Republicans' experience in
the Twin Cities an unforgettable one, and a refusal to assist law
enforcement actions against activists or others. Also, no specific illegal
actions will be discussed in this class.

Please email the facilitators with any questions or concerns.

Class Time: Saturdays 1-3pm
Class Dates: June 21, June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26
(dates and times can deviate upon consensus of participants)
Place: Arise! Bookstore, 2441 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis
Class size: Minimum 5 Maximum 25

What experience do you bring to this class?
The facilitators are both community activists currently engaged in
anti-RNC organizing.

--------15 of 23--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 6.21 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------16 of 23--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Vs empire/CTV 6.21 9pm

Magnificent Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!.  Households with basic cable may

Sat, 6/21, 9pm and Tues, 6/24, 8am Phyllis Bennis.  Pt 1 of talk
"Challenging Empire" given at Mac-Plymouth Church in St. Paul. April 24.

--------17 of 23--------

Plutocracy Inc.
by Ralph Nader
June 18th, 2008
Dissident Voice

Here is a counter-intuitive story for you. Why don't organized corporate
interests challenge damage or risks to their clear economic interests?

Think about oil prices for big consumers, not just your pocketbook.
Airlines are groaning, limiting flights, and laying off employees because
of the skyrocketing price for aviation fuel. Executives in that industry
say that fuel costs are close to 40 percent of the cost of flying you to
your destination.

The powerful chemical industry is under pressure from the prices they're
paying for petroleum - probably their main raw material.

The powerful trucking industry is beside itself with diesel fuel going to
$5 per gallon.

You can add your own examples - cab companies, tourist industry, auto
companies, etc.

Why aren't these very influential lobbies throwing their weight around
Washington to get something done about the speculators on Wall Street
determining what is paid for gasoline and related petroleum products? It
is in their own economic interests.

To do what? Well, for starters, push Congress to legislate higher margin
requirements for the speculators at the New York Mercantile Exchange.the
same fellows who, based on rumors, took the price of a barrel of oil up
another $10 in one day.

Higher margin requirements (and wider disclosure rules) result in
dampening speculation by reducing the amount of borrowed money these
traders can use in their gigantic commodities casino.

Long-time member of the New York Stock Exchange, Michael Robbins - an
astute and fair analyst - says margin rules have historically been used to
dampen speculation on stock exchanges. He mentioned a time years ago when
the Federal Reserve raised the margin requirement to ninety percent -
meaning the traders had to put up 90% of their own money on trades.

There are other moves that can be made by Washington to ease the oil price
crisis that is fueling inflation throughout the economy and shocking
consumers. Suffice it to say that ExxonMobile testified earlier this month
in Congress that absent the speculators, the price of a barrel of crude
oil would be half what it is today. That would mean about $65 a barrel
instead of $130 a barrel.

What else do these big corporate buyers of oil need?

Another area of major business firms not acting in their own interests
involves the proposal in Congress (HR 676) to establish a single-payer
health insurance system. That would mean government health insurance,
private delivery of health care, free choice of doctor and hospital and
saving about half a trillion dollars in insurance company administrative
expenses and computerized billing overcharges a year.

Presently, tens of millions of workers have employer-based health
insurance. For years, CEOs have complained that this cost puts them at a
competitive disadvantage with their corporate competitors abroad and in
Canada where there is universal government health insurance.

Former General Motors CEO, Jack Smith, publicly approved of the Canadian
Medicare system, which he had experienced when he was head of GM Canada.
Under full Medicare, these companies will pay less even with an

So, what's up here? We don't see these weighty corporate lobbies on
Capitol Hill supporting the 91 House members who have endorsed HR 676.

Then there is the small business lobby ostensibly represented by the large
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Small business is
regularly subject to government policies and market discriminations that
put them at a disadvantage with their large competitors.

Presently, for example, a Small Business Administration report concludes
the following:

"Small businesses in their commercial sector faced a 30 percent price
differential for electricity and a 20 percent price differential for
natural gas. In the manufacturing sector, small businesses faced a 28
percent price differential for distillate fuel oil, a 27 percent price
differential for natural gas, and a 14 percent price differential for

Are these volume discounts all fair for the Big Boys? Doubtful. Don't
count on the NFIB to protest. More often than not, the NFIB talks small
business but walks the walk of the National Chamber of Commerce, which
primarily lobbies for the interests of large companies.

So, why the overall reticence to fight for their own economic interests?
First, corporations do not like to fight each other because they may need
each other on other matters. Second, they also have exposable skeletons in
their own closets. Third, they do not have to initiate a business war of
retaliation. Fourth, they do not want to give their traditional labor,
environmental and consumer adversaries cause to strengthen their own power
by, in effect, siding with these groups' traditional causes.

If investors in this country had any power over the companies they own -
as individuals, or through mutual funds and pension trusts - an inquiring
process could open up on this fascinating question.

But as Robert Monks - a leading shareholder activist and writer - has said
many times, those same CEOs have their own economic interests - think CEO
compensation - in keeping investors powerless.

Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions. Read other articles
by Ralph.

This article was posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 at 9:28 am and is
filed under Capitalism, Corporate Globalization, Economy/Economics,
Energy, Finance, Health/Medical, Oil. Send to a friend.

--------18 of 23--------

Who's Party Are We Spoiling?
by Jan Baughman

(Swans - June 16, 2008)  As the 2008 presidential election antics evolve,
the third-party candidates (Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Bob Barr, and
others) remain virtually nonexistent as far as the mainstream media
coverage is concerned. However, the visceral reaction to Nader's presence,
in those rare mentions, remains strong. That he has no right to run, his
time has passed, he's an egomaniac, he ruined it for the Democrats in 2000
and 2004, is repeated time and again. And yet, what exactly is he - and
the other forgotten candidates - spoiling? The reign of the two-party
system, which is steadily moving us ever farther away from true democracy;
and the further degradation of free speech, which at last check still
covered the right to run for office, and the right to vote.

We have strayed so far beyond the American childhood legend that anyone
can become president - a notion that on the surface was strengthened by
this years' barrier-breaking candidacies of both a woman and a non-white
male - and yet, we've confirmed that anyone with such aspirations must be
a progenitor of, and subscribe to the doctrines of, the moneyed elite or
the Ivy League curricula. Others need not apply. They can't even afford
to. That Ralph Nader is a Princeton and Harvard graduate perhaps serves to
increase his "spoiler" status, since he has fought his entire career
against the corrupt system created and perpetuated to the benefit of the
elite on the backs of the majority non-Ivy-Leaguers. It is not a
democratic system he is working within, but a corporate-controlled machine
he has to battle every step of the way, from an ever-increasing distance.

While we - Swans editors, contributors, readers - are generally in the
company of like-minded individuals on political and social matters, with
similar stances on foreign policy, health care, taxes, civil rights,
abortion, the environment, and the like, opinions immediately digress when
the mention of voting for a non-Democrat arises, something we've
confronted since this publication began. One is suddenly an outcast set to
ruin the election and therefore the hopes of this country. And yet, why
should I, in this democracy, not have the unfettered right to vote for a
candidate who represents my vision? When was the Constitution amended to
state that only a Republican or a Democrat has access to the office of
president? I recently asked a colleague if, as a Democrat, she was proud
that her party used all legal means to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in
2004, or that the two parties control the debates and keep other parties'
candidates out? How will you feel when only one party controls the
country? The answers were a sheepish no and no, and a confident that will
never happen...

And yet, recall the televised presidential debates of yore, sponsored by
the League of Women Voters. To their acclaim, in 1987 the LWV withdrew its
sponsorship in protest of the restrictive conditions placed on them by the
two main parties; to our detriment, the Republican and Democratic Party
leaders usurped the debates and formed a corporate-funded "Commission on
Presidential Debates" headed by Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., former chair of the
Republican Party and Paul Cook, Jr., former chair of the Democratic Party,
guaranteed to keep all "fringe" candidates out of the public eye so that
they cannot raise issues contrary to the elites' agenda and have the
opportunity to increase their popular support through exposure in the
mainstream media. Ross Perot was the last Independent candidate included
in the debates (1992). In 2000 the two main parties set rules that would
limit access to the debates to candidates with greater than 15% support, a
number that is intentionally daunting to achieve without press coverage.
You see the patterns that connect.

So why do they, Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Bob Barr, and
others, run for the office of president against these odds, knowing they
cannot win? Because they are fighting for ideals that have nothing to do
with the pursuit of power. They seek to serve on our behalf, for the
betterment of society as a whole, and we should embrace their passion and
encourage their efforts. Third-party candidates have been instrumental in
pushing the envelope to achieve great strides in American history without
winning major elections, from ending slavery to gaining women's rights.
See Sam Smith's insightful analysis of the role of third parties
throughout history. As Smith observes, "change often comes not from the
top or the center but from the edges."

Without the likes of individuals willing to sacrifice for the common good,
we the People are sure to find ourselves increasingly powerless with no
hope of influencing change. If we continue to turn a blind eye to these
visionaries, it will be a great discredit to their efforts, those of their
forbearers, and those who await us in the future. We need to take control
of the political agenda and make it our own, not what corporate marketing
departments determine we need. If Eugene Debs were to make a magical
reappearance on the political scene would you rebuke him, tell him to keep
quiet, not to spoil the party?

To channel Voltaire, I do not agree with who you are voting for, but I
will fight to the end so that you might cast that vote. Please do the same
for those of us on the edges. - -

--------19 of 23--------

Fighting Resistance To Voting for Ralph Nader
by Joel S. Hirschhorn

(Swans - June 16, 2008)   In so many ways Ralph Nader deserves to be
president of the U.S. more than any Republican or Democratic candidate.
For anyone that understands the need to overturn the two-party plutocracy
and the corporate money that supports both major parties, Nader is the
only credible candidate. He is also the most honest one and the only one
that has the best interests of ordinary Americans as his highest priority.
Yet most of the millions of independents and progressives that are
disillusioned with the two major parties will probably not vote for him in
November. Here is the case why the two most prevalent reasons they will
use are without merit.

First, there is the classic view that Nader cannot win and therefore that
voting for him is just a wasted vote. On this point the wisdom of I.F.
Stone has kept me committed to always voting for Nader:

The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose,
because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until
someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to
win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have
got to be willing - for the sheer fun and joy of it - to go right ahead
and fight, knowing you're going to lose. You mustn't feel like a martyr.
You've got to enjoy it.

In other words, when voting for an independent like Nader it is
psychologically necessary to consciously accept the fact that the fight is
not about electing Nader president. We need a long view of history and
revolution. No, a vote for Nader is a most effective way to participate in
the corrupt political system by expressing utter disdain for the two-party
plutocracy. A vote for Nader is all about overthrowing the power structure
that is killing the middle class and fostering rising economic inequality.
The misplaced zeal for candidates like Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton, and
Barack Obama is based on a short-term embrace of a particular candidate,
rather than devotion to the battle to destroy the two-party plutocracy.
When Nader runs and loses we the people are not losing, we are stubbornly
still fighting for what must ultimately be victorious - restoration of
American democracy by overturning the two-party plutocracy.

Specific policy positions are largely distractions from what should be
seen as the central battle to restore American democracy. But even when it
comes to specific policy positions it is amazing that so many
change-driven Americans will not fully understand how Nader's positions on
major issues are so much better than those of Obama, Clinton, and McCain.
On the health care issue alone, only Nader supports what every American
should embrace: a single payer insurance system. This is the only position
that can remove the obscene profit-loving power of the insurance and
pharmaceutical industries. That every Democratic and Republican candidate
refuses to embrace the single payer system is proof positive of their
commitment to keep corporate money and power happy, because that sustains
the two-party status quo.

Second, there is a persistent view among voters unenthusiastic about the
two-party system that Nader is a spoiler and that voting for him imposes
guilt for electing a terrible president. Should you have any negative
thoughts about Nader because of the 2000 election, the facts refute
blaming him for the Bush victory, including more than 200,000 registered
Democrats in Florida who voted for Bush (compared to 97,000 votes for
Nader, only 25 percent of which would have voted for Gore) and over half
of the registered Democrats that did not vote at all because Gore ran a
terrible campaign.

It is simply illogical and moronic to blame Nader and the people who voted
for him. This year, Democrats will undoubtedly work hard to create a guilt
atmosphere so that people who might be inclined to vote for Nader are made
to fear that doing so could elect McCain president.

The people who should bear primary responsibility for electing McCain
president are those who vote for him. And possibly those who truly believe
that Obama should be president but do not vote at all. But millions of
Americans that see Obama mostly as the lesser evil candidate should vote
for Nader. They must trust their instincts and knowledge that Obama is
simply another two-party plutocracy candidate that used slick rhetoric to
con the public. Making Obama president is not winning the battle against
the two-party and corporatist tyranny.

If Obama had any shred of true democracy-decency he would be advocating
for allowing third party and independent candidates to participate in the
televised presidential debates. But nothing about Obama and his positions
has anything to do with restoring American democracy. If he truly wanted
to get corporate and other special interest money out of politics he would
also support a constitutional amendment that replaced all private money in
campaigns with total public financing. If he truly wanted to deliver
universal health care he would be supporting a single payer system. And on
and on.

I see Nader as the only candidate who has key characteristics of our
Founders, because he is the only one willing to explicitly fight domestic
tyranny and the only one that understands we need a Second American

Indeed, this is what he recently said: "We need a Jeffersonian revolution.
If it doesn't happen, our democracy will continue to weaken and things
will get worse. Right now, we have a two-party electoral dictatorship with
each party looking for the highest corporate bidder." Amen.

Work for Nader, contribute to his campaign and vote for him. And enjoy the

--------20 of 23--------

In the Great Tradition, Obama is a Hawk
by John Pilger
June 16th, 2008

In 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: "The two greatest obstacles to
democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among
the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among
the rich, lest we get it". What has changed? The terror of the rich is
greater than ever, and the poor have passed on their delusion to those who
believe that when George W. Bush finally steps down next January, his
numerous threats to the rest of humanity will diminish.

The foregone nomination of Barack Obama, which, according to one
breathless commentator, "marks a truly exciting and historic moment in US
history," is a product of the new delusion. Actually, it just seems new.
Truly exciting and historic moments have been fabricated around US
presidential campaigns for as long as I can recall, generating what can
only be described as bullshit on a grand scale. Race, gender, appearance,
body language, rictal spouses and offspring, even bursts of tragic
grandeur, are all subsumed by marketing and "image-making", now magnified
by "virtual" technology. Thanks to an undemocratic Electoral College
system (or, in Bush's case, tampered voting machines) only those who both
control and obey the system can win. This has been the case since the
truly historic and exciting victory of Harry Truman, the liberal Democrat
said to be a humble man of the people, who went on to show how tough he
was by obliterating two cities with the atomic bomb.

Understanding Obama as a likely president of the United States is not
possible without understanding the demands of an essentially unchanged
system of power: in effect a great media game. For example, since I
compared Obama with Robert Kennedy in these pages, he has made two
important statements, the implications of which have not been allowed to
intrude on the celebrations. The first was at the conference of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Zionist lobby,
which, as Ian Williams has pointed out, "will get you accused of
anti-Semitism if you quote its own website about its power". Obama had
already offered his genuflection, but on 4 June went further. He promised
to support an "undivided Jerusalem" as Israel's capital. Not a single
government on earth supports the Israeli annexation of all of Jerusalem,
including the Bush regime, which recognizes the UN resolution designating
Jerusalem an international city.

His second statement, largely ignored, was made in Miami on 23 May.
Speaking to the expatriate Cuban community - which over the years has
faithfully produced terrorists, assassins and drug runners for US
administrations - Obama promised to continue a 47-year crippling embargo
on Cuba that has been declared illegal by the UN year after year.

Again, Obama went further than Bush. He said the United States had "lost
Latin America". He described the democratically elected governments in
Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua as a "vacuum" to be filled. He raised the
nonsense of Iranian influence in Latin America, and he endorsed Colombia's
"right to strike terrorists who seek safe-havens across its borders".
Translated, this means the "right" of a regime, whose president and
leading politicians are linked to death squads, to invade its neighbors on
behalf of Washington. He also endorsed the so-called Merida Initiative,
which Amnesty International and others have condemned as the US bringing
the "Colombian solution" to Mexico. He did not stop there. "We must press
further south as well," he said. Not even Bush has said that.

It is time the wishful-thinkers grew up politically and debated the world
of great power as it is, not as they hope it will be. Like all serious
presidential candidates, past and present, Obama is a hawk and an
expansionist. He comes from an unbroken Democratic tradition, as the war
making of presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton
demonstrates. Obama's difference may be that he feels an even greater need
to show how tough he is. However much the color of his skin draws out both
racists and supporters, it is otherwise irrelevant to the great power
game. The "truly exciting and historic moment in US history" will only
occur when the game itself is challenged.

John Pilger is an internationally renowned investigative journalist and
documentary filmmaker. His latest film is The War on Democracy. His most
recent book is Freedom Next Time (Bantam/Random House, 2006). Read other
articles by John, or visit John's website.

This article was posted on Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 9:00 am and is filed
under Anti-war, Caribbean, Democrats, Elections, Empire.

--------21 of 23--------

Spoils Of War
by Charles Marowitz
Swans Commentary June 16, 2008

(Swans - June 16, 2008)   Some years back, before coverage of the Iraq war
had become routinized and redundant, I wrote a column in which I suggested
that one of the most painful legacies of that war would be the moral
corruption that would seep into American society due to the traumas
suffered by returning servicemen. These young men, many of them just out
of school and at the threshold of their maturity, would return to civilian
life psychologically disturbed and morally confused; that we would be
creating a league of men and women who, coarsened by their wartime
experiences, would return to America with a criminal consciousness.

It gives me no satisfaction to discover that prophecy has been fulfilled.
The Rand Corporation study recently concluded that one in five troops with
service in Iraq or Afghanistan reveal symptoms of major depression or
post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans by the score have returned to
civilian life broken, guilt-ridden, disorientated, and socially
marginalized. Over 400,000 of returning vets are in a VA queue waiting to
be treated by a dwindling number of psychiatrists. Thousands, possibly
tens of thousands, are unable to reconcile their former selves with the
warped and troubled young men they have become due to their battle
experience. These are the men who, in irrepressible fits of rage, shoot
their wives, abuse their children, hit the bottle, sleep in cardboard
boxes under bridges, and often wind up taking their own lives.

You can't be brought up on American pie, David Letterman and Jay Leno, the
moral dictates of baseball, football, locker-room jollity and conventional
domesticity and calmly assimilate the ravages to which servicemen are
regularly exposed in the Middle East. It is like Jekyll, no longer seeing
his own face reflected in the mirror, shuddering at the bestiality of Hyde
staring back at him.

The corruption of hundreds of thousands of American youths, exposed to the
daily strain of wanton murder and mayhem, cannot return to their mundane
hometowns and simply flush away the atrocities they have witnessed or
committed. The turbulent effect of this moral dichotomy seeps into every
part of American life. It changes attitudes to sickness, death, families,
and friendship. It breeds young men and women who come to believe that
life is not priceless and full of promise, but treacherous and full of
landmines. It cheapens the very notion of goodness and permits cynicism to
destroy hope. It shakes people's faith in God and whittles away any sense
of empathy they might have had before their spirits were shattered by
warfare. It silently argues that life is cheap, torture commonplace, and
murder mundane.

A few weeks back at a hearing of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a
number of Iraq Vets Against The War were offered an opportunity to
describe the atrocities they had witnessed and participated in; young men
whose lives were radically changed by the bloody-minded immorality of the
Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld punishment of duty in Iraq. It was a riveting piece
of C-SPAN coverage more frightening than a horror film and, at the same
time, more uplifting than the Sermon on the Mount. The testimonials of
these returning-vets described how military superiors ordered them to
distort facts about the annihilation of innocent Iraqi citizens, how a
warped sense of "brotherhood" enabled cold-blooded murder to be tucked
away in false military reports so that no one back home would shudder at
the wanton murder of civilians, women, children, and the elderly. They
described the freedom from prosecution that non-commissioned officers and
officers provided to protect them against indictment or disgrace; the
conscious cultivation of rationalizations which sanctified the murder of
non-combatants and the willful destruction of private property. In almost
every case, the veterans testifying before the caucus declared that more
innocent civilians were wantonly killed by US troops than Americans felled
by insurgents.

Centuries will have to pass before the common people of Iraq will be able
to forgive America for its crimes. But even if they do, how will we ever
manage to reconcile the entire population of the Middle East that will
have turned these atrocities into a kind of harrowing folk legend which
will be passed from father to son, from one generation to the next?

This coarsening of the body politic is perhaps best exemplified by the
Terrible Threesome - Bush, Cheney, & Rumsfeld - who were the chief
architects of this Middle East tragedy. The belligerence commingled with
paranoia that instigated the war was immune to the human cost of the
conflict. Even when it was apparent to most observers that a fatal blunder
had been made, the lurid spectacle of over 4000 deaths never inspired a
reassessment or a change of policy. (How "surge" led to "scourge" and
inevitably to "dirge.") The dead were somehow like pawns who were to be
sacrificed so that more valuable chess figures could be preserved. While
the president was sacrificing his beloved pursuit of golf, the vice
president was taking potshots at old friends on shooting-parties, and
Donald Rumsfeld was systematizing the brutality that simultaneously
corrupted American servicemen and attracted more and more recruits into
the armies of insurrection. It became "natural" not to prey on the number
of the dead, to ignore "enemy combatants" divested of all rights, who were
imprisoned or, via "rendition," transported into other countries where
torture was commonplace. All of these actions added to the coarsening of
the American psyche. Allowances were regularly made for the perpetration
of evil deeds camouflaged with patriotic slogans and solemnly-folded
American flags. When historians review the sorry history of the last eight
years, what will capture their attention is the apathy of the American
people to transgressions committed by the executive branch and the
timidity of the media in confronting those glaring abuses of power. One of
the sorriest chapters in American history whose dire after-effects we will
be living with well into the next century.

If it is a question of victory or defeat, the results are already in. When
democratically-bred Americans can create a My Lai-styled slaughter amongst
hundreds of thousands of noncombatants and force millions into exile,
America has already been defeated. Of course, the victors will write the
history books, but the shame will be passed by word of mouth (like the
Turks' genocide of the Armenians) from one generation to the next
memorializing these horrific truths. Forget about the guilt of slavery,
the atrocities of the Civil War, the disgrace of Vietnam, or the
injustices of McCarthyism, the slaughter of the innocent in a war that
should never have been fought will haunt the national consciousness for
centuries and the scars of that misadventure will darken the souls of
average Americans forever after. A new and fashionable coarseness will
have infected the population; a tacit tolerance towards brutality will
adhere to Americans who will always remember this conflict, not in the way
that the fraternal "Greatest Generation" remember World War II, but like
the concentration camp survivors remember the Holocaust.

[My intuition says this coarsening was intended from the beginning. The
ruling elite benefits from millions of disposable psychopaths and
sociopaths. Eg, right-wing talk radio, freed years ago from the Fairness
Doctrine (ie balance), is a major aid to ethical coarsening.  It would be
interesting to be able to read the plans of the right-wing think tanks of
the last 20 or 30 years. -ed]

--------22 of 23--------

Diversity and the Incoherence of Journalism's Ideology
by Robert Jensen
June 16th, 2008

The ideology of contemporary corporate commercial journalism is
incoherent, and one place to see clearly this confusion is the news media
industry's approach to "diversity".

Journalists, of course, commonly assert that they are non-ideological,
that they approach their jobs as neutral professionals rather than as
actors on the political stage. But mainstream news media, like all
institutions, operate from a set of assumptions about how the world works
and how it should work - in short, an ideology. There is no neutral ground
on which to stand, no special journalistic existence outside ideology.

At the core of journalism's rather peculiar ideology is the assertion of
this illusory political neutrality, which serves mainly to paper over
journalism's commitment to, and support for, existing systems and
structures of power. Journalists typically do remain neutral while
covering contests between Republicans and Democrats or the struggles of
one group of capitalists against another. But through their definitions of
what is newsworthy and who is a reputable source - which are rooted in
reflexive acceptance of the existing political and economic systems -
journalists routinely give aid and comfort to the powerful by helping to
validate the hierarchy inherent in those systems.

When it comes to racial/ethnic, gender and sexual diversity, the
ideological nature of journalism - and the inadequacy of the analysis
underlying the conventional point of view on these matters - is clear.
When a group such as the American Society of Newspaper Editors makes a
"commitment to racial parity in newsrooms," it is asserting a political
position that implicitly acknowledges the racial inequality in U.S.
society. There would be no need to achieve parity if not for racism and
its consequences; in a non-racist world, the color of individual
journalists would be irrelevant. ASNE's linking of that hiring goal to the
journalistic goal of "full and accurate news coverage of our nation's
diverse communities" shows that news managers see staffing as having an
effect on news coverage. It's not simply an issue of the politics of
internal employment practices but the political agenda of news coverage.

To be clear: I'm glad ASNE, other journalism associations, and individual
media companies have made such acknowledgements and commitments, even if
they consistently promise more than they deliver. But whatever one's
opinion about the question, any position taken is clearly political. For
journalism to claim political neutrality is, frankly, a little silly.

In defense, journalists might argue that the recognition of inequality and
a commitment to coverage that celebrates the humanity of all people is no
longer a contentious political issue but a widely accepted goal of the
overwhelming majority in society. From this point of view, diversity could
be seen as no more political than the common commitment to promoting the
welfare of children, for example. But even if we accept that (which is
highly contentious given how many white people believe we have achieved a
"level playing field"), the way in which any person, organization or
profession tries to address such issues will be inescapably political.

Far from being radical, mainstream journalism's approach to diversity is
centrist, rooted in the politics of a dominant culture that tends to focus
on individual effort rather than structural change. Are the managers of
news media companies interested in hiring more non-white people to work
within the existing system or in challenging the white-supremacist system?
If the latter, it's obvious that the problem is not just too few non-white
people in the newsroom, but too many white people who are invested in
maintaining that existing system premised on white supremacy. Are the
predominantly male managers interested in programs to promote more women
or in undermining the destructive hierarchy central to patriarchy? Are the
top decision-makers in journalism interested in hiring more out lesbians
and gay men or in a direct challenge to the paranoid heterosexism woven
into the fabric of the culture? In my experience as both a working
journalist and a journalism professor, the managers running the corporate
commercial news media are committed to maintaining those systems - not
challenging them - and pretending that this isn't a political project.

I described the politics of contemporary corporate commercial journalism
as centrist, but it may be more accurate to label mainstream journalism as
conservative. If the core pathologies are white supremacy, patriarchy and
heterosexism in a corporate capitalist system that valorizes the hierarchy
that produces inequality, then any status quo/centrist politics are in
reality conservative; they have the effect of helping to conserve the
existing system, even when advocating minor modifications to make it
appear more liberal and tolerant.

This analysis should raise critical questions about an organization such
as NLGJA, which describes its mission as working "within the news industry
to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues," language that is in
sync with the illusory claims of neutrality of the industry. The questions

* Does NLGJA believe that hiring more LGBT people who will work within the
heterosexist system is adequate to the task of LGBT liberation?

* Is NLGJA committed to ending the heterosexism that is an integral part
of a patriarchal system based on hierarchy and men.s oppression of women?

* Do the gay men in NLGJA share a commitment to such feminist politics?
What conception of feminism do NLGJA members, male and female, endorse?

* Do all the white members of NLGJA share a commitment to ending the
racial hierarchies in a white-supremacist system?

* If the group shares such commitments, why are they not articulated as
part of the group's mission?

Whatever one's views, they are fundamentally political questions. Ignoring
them doesn't remove one from politics, but rather puts one on the
political side of the status quo, of the existing distribution of power
and resources. If journalism is to be a positive force in helping U.S.
citizens come to terms with the unjust and unsustainable nature of these
hierarchical systems, working journalists are going to have to reject the
industry's naive claims of neutrality and work to help push the profession
to more actively resist the powerful regressive forces that dominate

The journalists organizations that, along with NLGJA, are rooted in a
recognition of the pathology and cruelty of those hierarchies - the
National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of
Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, and Native
American Journalists Association - offer some hope, but only if they can
give voice to a different vision not only of journalism but of the world.
Journalists from the dominant groups - heterosexuals, white people, men -
should add their voices to this struggle as well.

The goal should be not diversity within unjust and unsustainable
hierarchies, but liberation. That term may seem awkward today, but we
should remember that the movements in which these organizations are rooted
spoke not of acceptance of the domination inherent in hierarchy but of
real freedom and real justice. That, not diversity, is the dream of

Robert Jensen is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at
Austin and author of Citizens of Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our
Humanity. His latest book is Getting Off: Pornography and the End of
Masculinity (South End Press, 2007). He can be reached at:
rjensen [at] Read other articles by Robert, or visit
Robert's website.

This article was posted on Monday, June 16th, 2008 at 9:00 am and is filed
under Media, Philosophy, Racism, Sexuality.

--------23 of 23--------

 What makes Bush laugh? The
 greatest pain and horror for
 the greatest number.

 Help help help help help
 Heh  heh  heh  heh  heh


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