|Progressive Calendar 08.17.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2008 02:17:35 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 08.17.08 1. Atheists/AM950 8.17 9am 2. Street medic 8.17-19 10am 3. First aid 8.17 time? 4. RNC/rights 8.17 12noon 5. Disaster recovery 8.17 12:15pm 6. RNC/YAWR 8.17 1pm 7. RNC/outreach 8.17 1pm 8. Stillwater vigil 8.17 1pm 9. RNC/puppets 8.17 2pm 10. FNVW camp 8.17-23 11. Kolstad/AM950 8.17 3pm 12. Impeach/RNC 8.17 4pm 13. KFAI/Indian 8.17 7pm 14. Richard Rhames - The Dems' big betrayal: single-payer, a dream denied 15. Mumia Abu-Jamal - The perils of black political power 16. Mike Whitney - The humiliation of Georgia (and Bush) 17. Conn Hallinan - Georgia on my mind: from West Point to the Caucasus 18. Deepak Tripathi - From Georgia to the brink of a new cold war 19. John Pilger - Don't forget Yugoslavia 20. ed - Dear Miss Manners --------1 of 20-------- From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at] gmail.com> Subject: Atheists/AM950 8.17 9am Minnesota Atheists' "Atheists Talk" radio show Sunday, August 17, 2008, 9-10 a.m. Central Time Biologist Greg Laden discusses "Food, Cooking, and Human Evolution." Also, local author John Coy discusses his new young adult novel "Box Out." "Atheists Talk" airs live on AM 950 KTNF in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. To stream live, go to http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen. Podcasts of past shows are available at http://MinnesotaAtheists.org or through iTunes. Program Notes are available at http://MinnesotaAtheists.org. --------2 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Street medic 8.17-19 10am 8/17 to 8/19, 10 am to 6 pm, street medic training (24 hours total) covering basic first aid, chemical weapons protocol, street options for medics, Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, West Bank, Mpls. Write to seadsofpeace [at] riseup.net or go to http://www.seeds-of-peace-collective.org/ for further information.) --------3 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: First aid 8.17 time? Sunday, 8/17, North Star Health Collective offers all-day course with intro to general first aid, CPR and AED, along with some specific skills for treating protest injuries, meet at U of M, inside 720 Washington Ave SE, Mpls. Meet in lobby and go to space. http://northstarhealth.wordpress.com/ --------4 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: RNC/rights 8.17 12noon Sunday, 8/17, noon to 4 pm, Coldsnap Legal Collective sponsors free Know Your Rights and volunteer training for the RNC and aftermath, Hosmer Library meeting room, 347 E 36th St, Mpls. coldsnap [at] riseup.net --------5 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Disaster recovery 8.17 12:15pm Sunday, 8/17, 12:15 to 2 pm, retired ELCA pastor and New Orleans recovery organizer speaks on "Justice Issues in the Face of Disaster Recovery," Central Lutheran Church, 3rd Ave and 12th St, next to Convention Center, Mpls. Lunch available for $7. Validated parking in ramp on south side of church. dhilden [at] coscast.net or 612-825-1581. --------6 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: RNC/YAWR 8.17 1pm Sunday, 8/17, 1 to 2:30, meeting of Youth Against War and Racism to plan the student strike on September 4, YAWR office, 3024 Chicago Ave S, Mpls. http://yawr.org/strike (Note: meeting may have changed to Bedlam Theater, due to puppet making.) --------7 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: RNC/outreach 8.17 1pm Sunday, 8/17, 1 pm, help do outreach for days 1 and 4 at the RNC, make banners,hang posters, do calling, 1313 - 5th St SE, rm. 213, Dinkytown, Mpls. http://www.antiwarcommittee.org or 612-379-3899. --------8 of 20-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 8.17 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------9 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: RNC/puppets 8.17 2pm Sunday, 8/17, 2 to 5 pm, Youth Against War and Racism makes puppets for the protests against the RNC, Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, West Bank, Mpls. http://www.yawr.org Puppet workshops are led by Chris Lutter of Puppet Farm Arts, http://puppetfarm.org/lutter.html Please RSVP tytymo [at] gmail so they know how many folks to plan for. --------10 of 20-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: FNVW camp 8.17-23 8/17 to 8/23, Friends for a Nonviolent World sponsors People Camp at Northern Pines near Park Rapids. http://www.fnvw.org --------11 of 20-------- From: James Mayer <jmayer [at] academymayer.com> Subject: Kolstad/AM950 8.17 3pm OF THE PEOPLE: CALL FOR ACTION AM 950 952-946-6205 Of the People: This Sunday, August 17th at 3 p.m. on AM 950 - Air America Minnesota's new name; call letters: ktnf - with Host James Mayer. " In this "land of the free" are we truly free to make vocational or career decisions, to start a small business, work for one, or even to change jobs without the threat of being unable to survive a sudden or unforeseen health crisis because of having inadequate or no insurance? Not when we're chained to the corporate-medical industrial complex and its health insurance "plans". You can help break those chains and increase the health of our people and our economy. Find out how this Sunday on AM950 and the next 2 Sundays when we will broadcast at the Minnesota State Fair the "Great Minnesota get-together". Join us this Sunday as we look at how people have come together to break those chains through 2 organizations: the Metro Independent Business Association or MIBA, with one of its key founding members, (Papa) John Kolstad; and the coalition he chaired for 2 years, The Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition. The MUHCC is bringing us closer to health care for all of us. Then on Sunday, 8/24 and 8/31 come and enjoy our own "get-together" as we broadcast from the AM950 booth on Randall Avenue between Cosgrove and Cooper Streets as experts and citizens talk about why and how to get lawmakers to enact the Minnesota Health Act and make health care for all of us a reality. Tune into Of the People this Sunday at 3 P.M. on AM 950, KTNF.* While on-air you can call us at 952-946-6205 or e-mail us at info [at] jamesmayer.org -- From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at] millcitymusic.com> Tomorrow, Sunday, I am doing the Radio Show " Of The People" on Air America [ AM 950 on the Dial] with James Mayer at 3 PM to 4. It is a very good show with a strong progressive theme. I'll be talking about the importance of small business and Universal Single Payer. Others from MUHCC may call in too. I will make the case why Small Independent Business is important to MN and The USA. SB could be a major contributor to economic recovery and job creation. The Health Care mess is a major obstacle for SB (along with Property Taxes). I will mention that the Metro IBA has unanimously endorsed Uni Single Payer, That Sen Marty has a great Bill to solve the problem, and the People just need to demand it. So tune in tomorrow and hear me without a guitar. -John Kolstad --------12 of 20-------- From: Impeach <lists [at] impeachforpeace.org> Subject: Impeach/RNC 8.17 4pm Those interested in Impeach for Peace's plans for the RNC, are invited to attend a meeting at Joe's Garage on the north side of Loring Park in Minneapolis on Sunday, August 17, at 4 p.m. --------13 of 20-------- From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org> Subject: KFAI/Indian 8.17 7pm KFAI's Indian Uprising, August 17, 2008 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CDT #278 Guests: Brenda Norrell (NI), Independent Journalist for Censored News: http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com; Listen at Earthcycles: http://www.earthcycles.net. Norrell was a reporter for Indian Country Today, now owned and operated by the Oneida Nation in New York. Clara NiiSka, (Ahnishinahbaeotjibway), Ph.D. Candidate, University of Minnesota and previously, a reporter for the Native American Press/Ojibwe News, Minnesota. Indian Uprising is a KFAI Public & Cultural Affairs program relevant to Native Indigenous people, broadcast each Sunday on 90.3 FM Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul. Volunteer producer & host is Chris Spotted Eagle. For internet listening, visit www.kfai.org, click Play under ON AIR NOW or for listening later via their archives, click PROGRAMS & SCHEDULE > Indian Uprising > STREAM. Programs are archived for two weeks. --------14 of 20-------- The Democrats' Big Betrayal Single-Payer, a Dream Denied By RICHARD RHAMES CounterPunch August 16 / 17, 2008 "[Democratic Party] activists dropped a tougher platform amendment seeking a government-run, single-payer system..." "Guaranteed Health Care Key Plank in Democrat's Platform", AP, 8/11/08 Stick a fork in 'em, they're done as an advocate for the majority. Actually, the Democratic Party, for decades little more than a quirky wing of the Property Party, has been done for a while. Yet some of us - damaged optimists, deluded dreamers, dissenters to mass murder - held out hope for a turn. Against all available evidence we wished and worked in our small and pathetic ways to preserve the Party as a vehicle for completing the New Deal, and bringing the US partially into the civilized world. We failed. It's official. The United States is rather infamously alone in the so-called developed world in condemning many of its citizens to death or diminishment because of injury or illness if they can't purchase care. As in the fable, the System turns to the hapless, down-scale crowd and like Pontius Pilate, washes its hands proclaiming, "I am innocent of this....blood". When polled, the public has long overwhelmingly expressed support for governmentally guaranteed single-payer health care. Yet even at the height of the New Deal, such a plan was squashed by insiders. Truman brought it up again in his time. Nope. After decades of tireless organizing, there seemed to be an opening with the election of The Man From Hope in the early 90s. Bill Clinton had ridden to power on a platform of massive public investment and national health care. He promptly put his better half, WalMart mouthpiece Hillary C. in charge. She held closed-door confabs with insurance company executives (think Dick Cheney's energy policy meetings) and ultimately proposed a two-tier health care regime which built-in the three biggest insurance companies and consigned those of modest means to a "budget" plan. Those with money could buy Cadillac care. Those without would be offered a go-cart. "Choice," they called it. In today's lingo, any "reform" that might have cut insurance company profits was "off the table". In 1993, one of the single-payer movement's most prominent leaders, Dr. David Himmelstein (Physicians for a National Health Program) gained some face-time with Ms. Clinton. The Washington Monthly reported, "Himmelstein's studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine since 1986, showed that the U.S. could save as much as $67 billion in administrative costs alone by cutting out the 1,500 private insurers and going to a single government insurer in each state - easily enough to pay to cover every uninsured American". "Hillary had heard it all before," the Monthly continued. How, she asked Himmelstein, do you defeat the multibillion-dollar insurance industry? "With presidential leadership and polls showing that 70 percent of Americans favor ... a single-payer system," Himmelstein recalls telling Mrs. Clinton. The First Lady replied "Tell me something interesting, David..." The Rube Goldberg horror which the Clinton administration brought forward was frankly impossible to easily understand or admire. It proposed mostly to herd the population into private HMOs run by the big insurers. There the sheep might be fleeced, flogged, and flummoxed, with profits (and campaign contributions) uninterrupted. Even this mincing alteration to the heinous status quo proved too much for the Health Insurance Association of America however. They unleashed "Harry and Louise" on the distracted American public. H&L decried the proposal as "big government" - an odd claim in that the so-called Health Security Act clearly demonstrated just how puny and simpering government had become in the face of concentrated corporate power. The chance for reform squandered, Bill Clinton turned his attention to passing NAFTA, "violating the territorial integrity" of Yugoslavia, softening up Iraq for the big 2003 bipartisan invasion (killing 1.5 million Mesopotamians in the process), ending "welfare" financial support to children and their mothers, repealing New Deal-era regulation of the financial sector, and destroying what was left of the traditional Democratic Party. His touching fondness for hamburgers, hum-jobs, and hide-the-cigar notwithstanding he left a toxic legacy. That political sludge was on display in Pittsburgh last weekend as the Democratic platform committee put the finishing touches on a draft set of "principles" for its national convention to adopt and its candidates to ignore. The platform was of course, shot through with "compromises". The Associated Press (AP) focused primarily on the (alleged) potential "flash-point" issue of single-payer. With "little dissent or room for it" the 186-member committee took any reference to single-payer "off the table" (AP). Instead the Party "declar[ed] itself 'united behind a commitment that every American man, woman, and child be guaranteed to have affordable, comprehensive health care'". "United behind a commitment," huh? These are weasel words which trumpet the descent of the Democratic Party remnant. The slack-jawed, vanquished, personality cultists who labor in this hollow shell/money-drop bide their time, and await the national convention and the coronation. The AP observed dryly that, "Party platforms are a statement of principles that are not binding on the candidates or the next president and they are typically given little attention after they are adopted". You know - like international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The national platform evisceration contrasts with the recently adopted Maine Democratic Party platform. The Party's convention set aside a sadly typically revisionist draft proposing "access to not-for-profit health care"... which could easily translate into what's called charity care via the emergency room or voluntarist free clinics. At least for now, the democratic wing of this state's Party was able to prevail. The convention affirmed a belief "that health care is a fundamental civil right"... It pledged that Maine Democrats still support a "universal single-payer nonprofit health system for all". Candidates like Mr. Obama will, as the AP notes, "give little attention" to either platform plank. Such petty squeaks are simply not that "interesting". Richard Rhames is chair of the Biddeford (Maine) Democratic City Committee, which is chartered to promote the "ideals of the Party." --------15 of 20-------- The Perils of Black Political Power Mumia Abu-Jamal [col. writ. 8/6/08] (c) '08 Liberation-News [at] yahoogroups.com As we are on the eve of what may be the most powerful Black achievement in U.S. history, it would be well to examine the history of Black political leadership in this country. Most historical researchers look to the 1967 election of Carl Stokes, (1927-1996), as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio as the emergence of black political power in major American cities. Many Blacks saw this as the beginning of an age of freedom for our people. From the 1960's to now, we most certainly have been disabused of that notion. For while black political leadership has surely been a source of pride, they have not been a source of black political power. That's because as agents of the States, they must defend the interests of the State, even when this conflicts with the interests of their people. For example, let's look at the experience of Mayor Stokes. Shortly after taking office, Stokes appointed former U.S. Army Lt.-General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. as his public safety director (a kind of super police chief). Gen. Davis, fresh from the rigors of Vietnam, ordered 30,000 rounds of hollow point (or dum-dum) bullets, items in violation of the laws of war. The object of his ire? The Cleveland branch of the Black Panther Party, and a local office of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, a Panther support group. In Aug. 1970, Gen. Davis resigned from the post, and criticized Mayor Stokes for not giving him sufficient support in his battle against radicals (like the Panthers). Stokes, the more politically adroit of the two, made Davis look bad for ordering ammo which violated the Geneva Conventions, but Stokes' personal papers revealed meetings between the two men, and their agreement on dum-dums as appropriate arms to be used against Panthers. Just because he was a Black mayor, didn't mean he wasn't dedicated to destroying a Black organization. Indeed, in times of Black uprising and mass discontent, Black mayors seem the perfect instrument of repression, for they dispel charges of racism. If Barack Obama wins the White House, it will be a considerable political achievement. It will be made possible only by the votes of millions of whites, most especially younger voters. This does not diminish such an achievement, it just sharpens the nature of it. But Black faces in high places does not freedom make. Power is far more than presence. It is the ability to meet people's political objectives of freedom, independence and material well-being. We are as far from those objectives as we were in 1967. [Source: Nissim-Sabat, Ryan, "Panthers Set Up Shop in Cleveland," p.111; from Judson L. Jeffries, ed., COMRADES: Local History of the Black Panther Party (Blomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2007), pp. 89-144.] Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner in the United States facing possible execution. For more on his case see: (Myth #1) ^”Five eyewitnesses saw Mumia shoot officer Faulkner.^‘ http://indybay.org/newsitems/2007/07/19/18436405.php --------16 of 20-------- The Humiliation of Georgia (and Bush) Revisiting the "Battle of Tskhinvali" By MIKE WHITNEY CounterPunch August 16 / 17, 2008 There are no military installations in the city of Tskhinvali. In fact, there are no military targets at all. It is an industrial center consisting of lumber mills, manufacturing plants and residential areas. It is also the home to 30,000 South Ossetians. When Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered the city to be bombed by warplanes and shelled by heavy artillery last Thursday, he knew that he would be killing hundreds of civilians in their homes and neighborhoods. But he ordered the bombing anyway. There was no "Battle of Tskhinvali"; that's another fiction. A battle implies that there is an opposing force that is resisting or fighting back. That's not the case here. The Georgian army entered the city unopposed; after all, how can unarmed civilians stop armed units. Most of the townspeople had already fled across the border into Russia or hid in their basements while the tanks and armored vehicles rumbled bye firing at anything that moved. What took place in South Ossetia on August 7, was not an invasion or a siege; it was a massacre. The people had no way to defend themselves against a fully-equiped modern army. It was a war crime. In less than 24 hours, the Russian army was deployed to the war zone where it chased the Georgian army away without a fight. Michael Binyon put it this way in the London Guardian: "The attack was short, sharp and deadly - enough to send the Georgians fleeing in humiliating panic." Indeed, the Georgians left in such haste that many of their weapons were left behind. It was a complete rout; another black-eye for the US and Israeli advisers who trained the clatter of thugs they call the Georgian army. Soon vendors on the streets of Tskhinvali will be hawking weapons that were left behind with a mocking sign: "Georgia Army M-16; Never used, dropped once." By the time the army was driven out, the downtown area was in engulfed in flames and the bodies of those who had been killed by sniper-fire were strewn along the streets and sidewalks. Many of people who stayed behind were simply too old or infirm to leave. Instead, they huddled in their basements waiting for the shelling to stop. It was a bloodbath. The city's only hospital was deliberately targeted and destroyed; another war crime. By day's end, over 2,000 people were killed in an operation that was clearly engineered with the assistance of the Bush White House. Bush regards Saakashvilli as his main client in the region; they are friends. He is America's cat's paw in the Caucasus. Saakashvilli's assignment is to try to get Putin to overreact militarily and demonstrate to European allies that Russia still poses a threat to their national security. Fortunately, many Europeans see through the ruse and know that the trouble originates in Washington. For the most part, Americans are still in the dark about what really happened last weekend. There's a great video circulating on the Internet by a Russian citizen that has been living in USA for the last 10 years. He sums up the role of the US media with great precision. He says, "The western media - especially CNN - is feeding you complete horseshit. Russia did not invade Georgia first." The youtube can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c26Q-qxDEA The coverage of the western media has been abysmal. Nearly every article and TV news segment begins with accusations of Russian aggression concealing the fact that the Georgian Army bombarded and invaded the capital of South Ossetia one full day before the first Russian even tank crossed the border. By the time the Russians arrived, the city was already in a shambles and thousands were dead. These facts are not in dispute by those who followed the developments as they took place. Now the media are revising the facts to manage public perceptions, just as they did with the fictional WMD in Iraq. Many people think that the press learned its lesson after they were exposed for using bogus information in the lead up to the war in Iraq. But that is not true. The corporate media - especially FOX News, CNN and PBS (the smug, liberal-sounding channel) - continue to operate like the propaganda arm of the Pentagon. It's disgraceful. In a 2006 referendum, 99% of South Ossetians said they supported independence from Georgia. The voter turnout was 95% and the balloting was monitored by 34 international observers from the west. No one has challenged the results. The province has been under the protection of Russian and Georgian peacekeepers since 1992 and has been a de facto independent state ever since. If Putin applied the same standard as Bush did in Kosovo, he would unilaterally declare South Ossetia independent from Georgia and then thumb his nose at the UN. (Sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander) But Putin and newly-elected Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have taken a conciliatory attitude towards the international community and tried to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels. Still, Russia's operation in South Ossetia has ignited a firestorm in the US political establishment and Democrats and Republicans alike are demanding that Russia be "taught a lesson". Condoleeza Rice flew to Tbilisi on Friday and ordered Russian combat troops to withdraw from Georgia immediately. Saakashvili topped off Rice's comments by saying that the Russian troops were "cold-blooded killers" and "barbarians". So much for reconciliation. Saakashvili's hyperbolic rhetoric was followed by a surprise announcement from Poland that they had approved Bush's plans for deploying the Missile Defense Shield in Eastern Europe. The system is supposed to defend Europe from the possibility of attacks from so-called "rogue states" like Iran, but the Kremlin knows that it is intended to neutralize their nuclear arsenal. The new "shield" will be integrated into the larger US nuclear weapons system placing the world's most lethal weapons just a few hundred miles from Russia's capital. It is a clear threat to Russia's national security and no different than nuclear weapons in Cuba. President Medvedev made this statement after hearing of Poland's decision: "This decision clearly demonstrates everything we have said recently. The deployment of new anti-missile forces in Europe is aimed at the Russian Federation." It was President Ronald Reagan, the darling of the neoconservatives, who decided to remove short-range nuclear weapons from the European theater. Now, ironically, it is his ideological heir, George W. Bush, who is on track to restart the Cold War by putting a high-tech nuclear system on Russia's perimeter. The younger Bush has already broken his father's commitment to Mikail Gorbachev to never expand NATO beyond Germany. Presently, Bush is pushing to gain NATO membership for two former-Soviet states; Ukraine and Georgia. If they are approved, then any future dispute with Russia will pit the United States and Europe against Moscow. It's no wonder Putin is trying to derail the process. The Bush administration has been planning for a confrontation with Russia for more than a year. In fact, Raw Story reported on operations that were conducted by the military on July 14, 2008 which were probably a dress rehearsal for the current conflict. According to Raw Story: "US troops on Monday (July 14) began military exercises near the Russian border in ex-Soviet Ukraine and were poised to launch them in Georgia, amid tense relations between Moscow and Washington. A ceremony inaugurating the Sea Breeze-2008 NATO exercise was held off Ukraine's Black Sea coast against anti-NATO protests and a hostile reaction from officials in Russia. Sea Breeze-2008...includes forces from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Macedonia and Turkey...'The US-Georgia joint exercises will be held at the Vaziani military base' less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Russian border with a total of 1,650 servicemen taking part." So, it appears the Bush administration, working in conjunction with the Pentagon, did have contingency plans for dealing with a flare-up with Georgia. The real question is whether or not they planned to initiate those hostilities to advance their own regional agenda? No one knows for sure. Now that Georgia's American-trained army has been humiliated in front of the world, Bush is trying desperately to save face by demanding that Russia allow the US Air force to deliver humanitarian aid via C-17 military aircraft to the tens of thousands of Georgians who were displaced in the fighting. Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney [at] msn.com --------17 of 20-------- From West Point to the Caucasus Georgia On My Mind By CONN HALLINAN CounterPunch August 16 / 17, 2008 One of the major causes of the recent war in Georgia has nothing to do with the historic tensions that make the Caucasus such a flashpoint between east and west. Certainly the long-stranding ethnic enmity between Ossetians and Georgians played a role, as did the almost visceral dislike between Moscow and Tbilisi. But the origins of the short, brutal war go back six years to a June afternoon at West Point. Speaking to the cadets at the military academy, President George W. Bush laid out a blueprint for U.S foreign policy, a strategy lifted from a neocon think tank, the Project for a New American Century. In essence, the West Point Doctrine made it clear that Washington would not permit the development of a "peer competitor," and that, if necessary, the U.S. would use military force to insure that it maintained the monopoly on world power it had inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The 21st Century was to be an American century. Some of the building blocks of this strategy were already in place before the President's address. Rather than dismantling the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) following the disintegration of the East bloc's Warsaw Pact in 1991, the alliance was expanded to include former Pact members Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria followed in 2004. On the eve of the latest Caucasus war, Washington was lobbying hard to recruit Georgia and the Ukraine. It is important to keep in mind the deep paranoia state of mind well founded in historical experience that the Russians have over their borders. Those borders have been violated by Napoleon, and by Germany in both WW I, and WW II. In the later conflict, the Russians lost 27 million people. Besides expanding NATO from a regional military pact to a worldwide alliance - the organization is deeply engaged in Afghanistan and is currently moving into the Pacific Basin - the Bush Administration began dismantling East-West agreements, including the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). The demise of the Treaty allowed the U.S. to deploy an ABM and to recruit nations to sign up for the system, including Japan, India and Australia. Lastly, NATO has just agreed to build an ABM system in Eastern Europe. In spite of the way it is portrayed, an ABM is not a defensive system and is certainly not aimed at "rogue states," since none of them have missiles than can threaten the U.S. or Europe. An ABM is designed to absorb a retaliatory attack following a first strike. U.S. nuclear doctrine is based on this first strike, or "counterforce," strategy. Russia and China - currently the only two nations that can seriously challenge the idea of an American century - find themselves surrounded by U.S. bases from northern Europe, through the Middle East and Central Asia, to the north Pacific. At least in theory, the U.S. ABM system pretty much cancels out China's modest nuclear capability, and, fully deployed, a European system could neutralize much of Russia's. The Bush Administration says that its ABM system is not large enough to stop Russia's thousands of nuclear warheads, but it fails to mention that a first strike would destroy all but about five percent of those weapons. All an ABM would have to do is handle the handful of warheads that survived a counterforce strike. The Russians and the Chinese have made it quite clear that they consider the ABM system a threat to their nuclear deterrence ability. The Russians are also deeply angry over the European Union and NATO's support for dismembering Yugoslavia and the forcible removal of the province of Kosovo from Serbia "I think we have underestimated the anger in Moscow over the increasing NATO involvement in Russia's backyard," says Christopher Langton of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. This is the context in which the recent fighting took place. While the western media has largely portrayed the war as the mighty Russian bear beating up on tiny Georgia, Moscow sees Tbilisi's attack on South Ossetia as yet another move aimed at surrounding it with hostile powers. U.S. non-governmental organizations, some, like the National Endowment for Democracy, close to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, played a key role in helping to bring Georgia's current president Mikhail Saakashvilli to power. For all the Bush Administration touts him as a "democrat," the Georgian president has exiled his political enemies, closed down opposition newspapers, and turned his police on peaceful demonstrators. Following his election, the U.S. and Israel poured military aid and trainers into Georgia. Some 800 U.S. and 1,000 Israeli trainers are currently working with the Georgian military. While the U.S. claims that it strongly advised the Georgians not to use force in Ossetia and Abakhzia, just a few weeks before the attack Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Tbilisi and made it clear that the Bush Administration fully supported Georgia claim over the two provinces. The U.S. pledge was made despite the fact that Saakashvili broke a 2005 agreement not to use force in the two provinces. In 2006, the Georgian president sent troops into Abkhaza to occupy the Kodori Valley. Did it occur to the U.S. that backing Saakashvili's adventurism in Abkhaza might encourage him to consider a similar move in South Ossetia? Besides the trainers, 1,000 U.S. troops recently carried out joint exercises with the Georgian military. How would Americans feel about Russians troops training in Mexico, particularly if the latter government was demanding back the lands seized by the U.S. in the Mexican-American War? And what were those troops training for? An invasion of South Ossetia? Defense against a Russian counterattack? U.S. trainers say they had no inkling that the Georgians were going to attack Ossetia, a denial that is hard to swallow given the buildup of ammunition, armored vehicles, and supplies that the Georgians must have made in preparation for the invasion. It strains credibility to think that U.S. advisors did not know what was up, but if they did not, it bespeaks a sobering level of incompetence on the American military side. The Israelis are not so coy. According to the DEBKA File, a publication close to the Israeli military and intelligence agencies, Israeli advisors "were undoubtedly deeply involved in the Georgian Army's preparations to conquer the South Ossetian capital". The Israeli interest in Georgia is over the two oil and gas pipelines that transit the country, bypassing Russian pipelines to the north. Israel takes on oil at the Turkish port of Ceyhan and ships it to a refinery at Ashkelon. So who knew what, and when did they know it? This is not an abstract exercise. Had Georgia been admitted to NATO, the war would have triggered Article 5 requiring alliance members to use "collective force" against Russia. Such a scenario could well have led to a worldwide thermonuclear war. Did the Georgians think they could attack Ossetia, kill civilians and Russian peacekeepers, and get away with it? Unless President Saakashvili and the people around him are snorting something that turns reality upside down, they must have known that Georgia's army was no match for Russia's. Could the Georgians have been working under the illusion they had the full backing of the U.S? What Rice told Saakashvili during her July 10 trip becomes critical. Did she really tell the Georgians in private not to attack as she claims? Or did Tbilisi take Rice's public rhetoric supporting Georgia's claim of sovereignty at face value? Shortly before Georgia attacked, the Russians tried to get a resolution through the UN Security Council calling on Ossetia and Georgia to renounce the use of force. The U.S., Britain, and Saakashvili torpedoed it. Why? Might the U.S. have snookered the Georgians into making an attack Washington knew would end in disaster? Political commentator Robert Scheer suggests the war was a neocon election ploy aimed at getting John McCain elected president. On one level the charge seems far-fetched, but as Scheer points out, the McCain campaign is filled with neocons and Georgia boosters, and some of McCain's recent statements seem as if they were lifted from the depths of the Cold War. Is the Georgia War the "October surprise" for the fall elections as Scheer suggests? The Republicans need a crisis so they can argue that only McCain has the experience to handle it. The Iran bugaboo is wearing thin, and the polls show overwhelming opposition to a war with Teheran. China is playing nice, and, in any case, it is not a good idea to pick a fight with someone who can call in its loans and bankrupt you. But there is always the big, bad Russian bear. This is an inordinately dangerous situation. The Bush Administration has sent U.S. troops into Georgia, and it is not inconceivable that Russians and Americans might end up shooting at one another. Wars have a tendency to get out of hand, which is one reason why it is good to avoid them. But avoiding war means avoiding the kind of policies that make war a possibility. If you have a strategy that says you have the right to determine what happens in the world, and then go about surrounding your potential competitors with military bases and destabilizing weapons systems, sooner or later someone is going to push back. A hundred years ago that would lead to tragedy. In today's nuclear-armed world, it is an existential issue. In the short run the solution is a ceasefire, withdrawal of troops, and a pledge not to use force in the future. But the problem that brought about the recent war is the result of policies that the U.S. and its allies have followed since the end of the Cold War. A real solution would be: Dissolve NATO; Revive the ABM Treaty; Enforce the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which means dismantling the world's supply of nuclear weapons and embarking on a course of general disarmament. To do less it to hold the world hostage to the actions of a few who might at any moment hurl us all into a war that none would survive. Conn Hallinan is an analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus. --------18 of 20-------- From Georgia to the Brink of a New Cold War A Pawn in Their Game By DEEPAK TRIPATHI CounterPunch August 16 / 17, 2008 The conflict between Russia and the pro-US regime of Georgia has been a decisive turning-point in Russia's relations with Washington and has taken us to the brink of a new Cold War. For the first time in almost twenty years, the West faces a resurgent Russia that has put the trauma of the breakup of the Soviet Union and the resulting chaos behind. Today's Russia is run by a younger leadership with autocratic efficiency, confident because of its vast energy resources and determined to resist American hegemony, by force if necessary. The crisis in Georgia goes beyond the Caucasus region. Its roots lie in America's overwhelming ambition to expand and its tendency to make colossal miscalculations under the Bush presidency. It is often said that the first casualty of war is truth. Behind the fog of disinformation coming from Washington, London, Tbilisi and, indeed, Moscow, the fact remains that the Russian invasion came after Georgia's bombardment of the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The vast majority of residents in the enclave are Russian citizens and Moscow had deployed its peacekeepers there. Many experts in Europe are depressed over the events in Georgia and blame hardliners in the Bush administration for provoking the Georgian President, Mikheil Saakasvili, to adopt the aggressive posture that has brought this disaster. What we see in Georgia is a classic proxy war between Russia and America, which has become heavily involved in the republic since a popular revolt in late 2003 ousted Eduard Shevardnadze from power, with Western help. Today, US troops occupy Georgian military bases of the Soviet era, on the southern fringe of Russia. America provides weapons, training and intelligence to the Georgian armed forces. America's involvement, which began under the umbrella of the "war on terror" after 9/11, has since become much more. If President Bush had his way, Georgia would be granted membership of NATO as part of the alliance's expansion around Russia. The impoverished former Soviet republic is, in effect, a pawn in the broader US design to encircle Russia. It is also located in a region which has some of the largest energy reserves in the world. For the Kremlin, the prospect of NATO coming so close to its southern borders is a step too far. Fortunately, some NATO members, most notably France and Germany, also do not see Georgia either as a full democracy or a stable country. And many in the alliance and the European Union have doubts about Saakasvili's ability to take mature decisions. In an era when America has assumed the right to launch pre-emptive strikes, it is difficult to see the Kremlin behaving differently. The prospect of Georgia joining NATO, which might deploy nuclear weapons on Georgian territory, is simply not acceptable to Russia. Remember the Cuban missile crisis of 1962? At the time, Soviet nuclear missiles, deployed just 90 miles from the coast of Florida, brought America and the Soviet Union close to a disastrous war and the Soviets were forced to back down. Does the White House not know history? Or do the neo-conservatives in the Bush administration not care? Saakasvili's decision to order the bombardment of the Russian-majority South Ossetia gave the Kremlin a convenient cover to invade Georgia, just as the Bush administration had found it expedient to invade Iraq in March 2003 based on claims that Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction, which were never found. Russia is playing for bigger stakes now just as America did in Iraq a few years ago. About one-fifth of Georgia has fallen under Russian military occupation and the Kremlin leadership seems to be in no mood to entertain the idea of Georgia's territorial integrity in any negotiations sponsored by the West. There are daily condemnations of Moscow in the Western capitals. However, the West is powerless to prevent the Russians doing anything they want in Georgia. This US-Russia proxy war in the Caucasus region has created a serious humanitarian crisis. President Saakasvili, the pro-US leader of Georgia, has been humiliated. Its chances of joining NATO are negligible after the latest events. They have demonstrated that the West cannot and will not intervene militarily to protect Georgia from the Russian threat. The most important clause in the NATO constitution says that an attack on one member-state will be regarded as an attack on the whole alliance, which will use all possible means to protect the member-state under threat. NATO's inability to defend Georgia now is a defeat for the West. It is difficult to see how the alliance will accept the republic as a member. The description by President Bush of the Russian action as "disproportionate and unacceptable" is laughable in the context of America's own conduct in its foreign wars in recent years. Washington should be more worried about the damage the crisis has done to its authority in the world. Diplomacy was never a strong point of the Bush administration. The blunders in Washington and Tbilisi have made the conduct of relations with Russia much more difficult. They may also have created other problems for the next occupant of the White House, for an increasing number of countries around the world may begin to look to Russia now that it has risen again. Deepak Tripathi, a former BBC foreign correspondent and editor, is now a researcher and an author. He is writing a book on the Bush presidency. His website is http://deepaktripathi.wordpress.com. --------19 of 20-------- Don't Forget Yugoslavia By John Pilger Aug 16, 2008 ZNet The secrets of the crushing of Yugoslavia are emerging, telling us more about how the modern world is policed. The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, this year published her memoir The Hunt: Me and War Criminals. Largely ignored in Britain, the book reveals unpalatable truths about the west's intervention in Kosovo, which has echoes in the Caucasus. The tribunal was set up and bankrolled principally by the United States. Del Ponte's role was to investigate the crimes committed as Yugoslavia was dismembered in the 1990s. She insisted that this include Nato's 78-day bombing of Serbia and Kosovo in 1999, which killed hundreds of people in hospitals, schools, churches, parks and tele vision studios, and destroyed economic infrastructure. "If I am not willing to [prosecute Nato personnel]," said Del Ponte, "I must give up my mission." It was a sham. Under pressure from Washington and London, an investigation into Nato war crimes was scrapped. Readers will recall that the justification for the Nato bombing was that the Serbs were committing "genocide" in the secessionist province of Kosovo against ethnic Albanians. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, announced that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59" may have been murdered. Tony Blair invoked the Holocaust and "the spirit of the Second World War". The west's heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose murderous record was set aside. The British foreign secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone. With the Nato bombing over, international teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume the "holocaust". The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing "a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines". A year later, Del Ponte's tribunal announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide in Kosovo. The "holocaust" was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent. That was not all, says Del Ponte in her book: the KLA kidnapped hundreds of Serbs and transported them to Albania, where their kidneys and other body parts were removed; these were then sold for transplant in other countries. She also says there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the Kosovar Albanians for war crimes, but the investigation "was nipped in the bud" so that the tribunal's focus would be on "crimes committed by Serbia". She says the Hague judges were terrified of the Kosovar Albanians - the very people in whose name Nato had attacked Serbia. Indeed, even as Blair the war leader was on a triumphant tour of "liberated" Kosovo, the KLA was ethnically cleansing more than 200,000 Serbs and Roma from the province. Last February the "international community", led by the US, recognised Kosovo, which has no formal economy and is run, in effect, by criminal gangs that traffic in drugs, contraband and women. But it has one valuable asset: the US military base Camp Bondsteel, described by the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner as "a smaller version of Guantanamo". Del Ponte, a Swiss diplomat, has been told by her own government to stop promoting her book. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent and multi-ethnic, if imperfect, federation that stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to dominate its "natural market" in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991, a secret deal had been struck; Germany recognised Croatia, and Yugoslavia was doomed. In Washington, the US ensured that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans and the defunct Nato was reinvented as an enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo "peace" conference in France, the Serbs were told to accept occupation by Nato forces and a market economy, or be bombed into submission. It was the perfect precursor to the bloodbaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. Source: The New Statesman --------20 of 20-------- Dear Miss Manners: I have heard that the words "President" and "Mister" when applied to George Bush are really just polite pseudonyms for "Asshole". If that's so, why can't I and everybody else just call him what he really is? Why diddle around with phony names that amount to lies? -Truth Speaker Dear Truth Speaker: Polite society depends on overlooking assholery, even, as perhaps in this case, blatant assholery with bells on. If it and we didn't, where would "polite" society be? Why, then polite society would be impolite, a contradiction in terms, and thus a logical impossibility. Kissing the butts of assholes is the essence of the social register, and of my column lo these many decades. It has made America what it is today. Truth-speaking is way overrated, just like that whangdoodle about speaking truth to power. Power wouldn't know the truth even if you whacked it over the head with it, so why not just go for a walk or watch TV? Mister President (BunnyBuns) Bush will be on tonight and I'm sure you won't want to miss him. -MM ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 vote third party for president for congress now and forever
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