Progressive Calendar 08.28.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 03:18:51 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    08.28.08
       vote third party  for president  for congress  now and forever

1. Starhawk/circle   8.28 10am
2. Eagan peace vigil 8.28 4:30pm
3. New Hope demo     8.28 4:45pm
4. Northtown vigil   8.28 5pm
5. RNC/paint signs   8.28 5pm
6. Copwatch training 8.28 6pm
7. Peace chorus      8.28 6:30pm
8. Art v military    8.29 7pm
9. Thomas Frank      8.28 7:30pm

10. RNC infoline     8.29 8am
11. NLG/video/RNC    8.29 11am
12. NLG/observe/RNC  8.29 12:30pm
13. RNC/safety       8.29 2pm
14. Palestine vigil  8.29 4:15pm
15. Critical Mass    8.29 4:30pm
16. RNC/peace team   8.29 5pm
17. RNC/paint signs  8.29 5pm
18. Sicko/RNC action 8.29 6pm/8pm
19. Vigil Capitol    8.29 7pm
20. VetsPeace conv   8.29 7:20pm
21. Crawford/film    8.29 7:30pm
22. Ritter/WMD/Iran  8.29 7:30pm

23. Gary Corseri    - The future that never comes; the past that never was
24. Stephen Lendman - Russia-bashing goes prime time
25. Ariel Sabar     - Denver Dem protesters reject "protest zone"

--------1 of 25--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Starhawk/circle 8.28 10am

Starhawk and the Upwelling Circle: Court an Upwelling of Earth Wisdom at
the RNC

August 28 and 29, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Coldwater Spring, 1.5 miles
South of Minnehaha Falls, (from Highway 55, turn east at 54th Street, take
an immediate right, continue south on the frontage road to Coldwater
Spring), Minneapolis. Attend a Magickal Activist Day Camp at Sacred
Coldwater Spring with Starhawk and the Upwelling Circle. Wear comfortable
outdoor clothing and sturdy shoes. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on, a
bag lunch and fruit or a treat to share. Bring a water container for
sacred spring water. FFI: Visit <>

--------2 of 25--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 8.28 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.

--------3 of 25--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: New Hope demo 8.28 4:45pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:45 to 5:45pm 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

--------4 of 25--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 8.28 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]

--------5 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: RNC/paint signs 8.28 5pm

Thursday, 8/28, 5 to 7 pm, sign painting workshop in preparation for the
RNC and the Liberty Parade, Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, West Bank,

--------6 of 25--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: Copwatch training 8.28 6pm

we're at the shelters, outside the clubs during closing time or out at
Critical Mass or other protest events, we've shown time and again that
copwatch is a valuable service that helps to prevent police brutality and
that provides important case documentation for people who are brutalized
or falsely arrested.  In the run up to the RNC, we've seen increased
attacks on homeless people in an effort to shove them out of sight.  Now
that the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington city councils have given
free reign to their police to abuse protesters, we know copwatch will be
even more important when the elephant show finally arrives.

WE NEED LOTS OF TRAINED COPWATCHERS!  Come to a copwatch training to learn
about your rights in general and about your rights while documenting
police conduct.  You'll also learn how to correctly document what you see
in the streets and how to work with our technology.  We'll spend some time
together in a classroom then go out into the streets to practice your new

Thursday, August 28, 6:00 PM
Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis.

Depending on demand, we may add other dates.  If a group is interested in
setting up a separate date, please let us know.

--------7 of 25--------

From: JoAnne McKim <joanne68 [at]>
Subject: Peace chorus 8.28 6:30pm

Seattle Peace Chorus The community is invited to join the Presbyterian
Church of the Apostles for a ninety minute concert by The Seattle Peace
Chorus on Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.  A freewill offering will
be taken to cover the costs of the soloist and musicians.  Children are
welcome.  The church is located at 701 East 130th street, Burnsville,
between Nicollet Avenue and Country Road Eleven.  For more information,
call 952-890-7877.

The Seattle Peace Chorus has a 30 member chorus, one soloist and ten
musicians.  Dr. Lawrence Burnett, Carleton College Choral Director will be
the featured baritone soloist.  They have a brass quintet consisting of
two trumpets, a French horn, trombone, tuba, and an oboe, a timpanist with
4 timpani, two drummers and piano.  Their major work, Let America Be
America Again, is composed by director Frederick West and is based on a
poem by Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes.  This concert is part
of the Chorus' summer Peace Train tour; the group tours internationally
and seeks to promote peace and justice through the sharing of music and

--------8 of 25--------

From: tom [at]
Subject: Art v military 8.29 7pm

Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program
Unconventional Wisdom
August 29 - October 26, 2008
Opening Reception: Thursday, August 28, 7 p.m., MAEP Galleries

"Unconventional Wisdom" features the print works of Ruthann Godollei and
Mike Elko. Both use text humorously against familiar backdrops. Godollei's
work is generally devoid of people, but it is always full of their stuff;
kitchen tools, iPods, and clocks. Her current series sets these things
against the terminology of the current military complex bringing into
sharp focus the irony of words like containment, surge, or extended tour.
In a pallet of black and white with an occasional hint of color her images
strip these words of their mediated meanings, unmasking them for what they
really are. Mike Elko, on the other hand, brings witty dialoge to his
brightly colored prints assembled from vintage print ads and current news
media. Elko is a deadpan storyteller, in the tradition of American
humorists such as Stephen Colbert or the radio team of Bob Elliott and Ray
Goulding, contrasting contemporary political jargon with appropriated
images of the American Dream.

Hardland/Heartland (HL/HL) is an artists' cooperative helmed by Eric
Carlson, Aaron Anderson and Crystal Quinn. HL/HL dredges through the
excesses of consumer culture to assemble installations and performances
that are less social commentary than conceptual scrapbook of our time. For
"MILLIONS OF INNOCENT ACCIDENTS," the artists have created a landscape and
narrative in what they call "an ongoing saga of grandiose proportions."
Their inspiration comes from a mélange of influences: popular culture,
current events, graffiti, vector graphics, Robert Raushenberg's "junk
aesthetic," and the narrative of contemporary science fiction.

Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

--------9 of 25--------

From: david unowsky <david.unowsky [at]>
Subject: Thomas Frank 8.28 7:30pm

MAGERS AND QUINN PRESS RELEASE : For Immediate Distribution :  Thomas
Frank discusses his new book The Wrecking Crew, 7:30pm Thursday August 28
at First Universalist Church, 34th and Dupont Ave. S. in Minneapolis. The
event is sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers.

From the author of the landmark bestseller *What's the Matter with
Kansas?*, a jaw-dropping investigation of the decades of deliberate - and
lucrative - conservative misrule

In his previous book, Thomas Frank explained why working America votes for
politicians who reserve their favors for the rich. Now, in *The Wrecking
Crew*, Frank examines the blundering and corrupt Washington those
politicians have given us.

Casting back to the early days of the conservative revolution, Frank
describes the rise of a ruling coalition dedicated to dismantling
government. But rather than cutting down the big government they claim to
hate, conservatives have simply sold it off, deregulating some industries,
defunding others, but always turning public policy into a private-sector
bidding war. Washington itself has been remade into a golden landscape of
super-wealthy suburbs and gleaming lobbyist headquarters - the wages of
government-by-entrepreneurship practiced so outrageously by figures such
as Jack Abramoff.

It is no coincidence, Frank argues, that the same politicians who guffaw
at the idea of effective government have installed a regime in which
incompetence is the rule. Nor will the country easily shake off the
consequences of deliberate misgovernment through the usual election
remedies. Obsessed with achieving a lasting victory, conservatives have
taken pains to enshrine the free market as the permanent creed of state.

Stamped with Thomas Frank's audacity, analytic brilliance, and wit, The
Wrecking Crew is his most revelatory work yet - and his most important.

Thomas Frank is the author of What's the Matter with Kansas? and One
Market Under God. The founding editor of The Baffler and a contributing
editor at Harper's, Frank has received a Lannan award and been a guest
columnist for The New York Times. He lives, of course, in Washington, D.C.

--------10 of 25--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: RNC infoline 8.29 8am

The Arise! Books and Resources Collective is running an infoline
(612.871.2283) from 8 a.m. to midnight from August 29th through the end of
the RNC to help convention-crashers of all stripes figure out what's going
on, where it's happening, and how to get there.

You can help crash the convention through the sheer power of information!
You can volunteer to answer the infoline!

People will be calling the Arise! infoline (612.871.2283) for basic
information about public protest/action schedules, transit and
transportation info, community resources, rumor control, and everything
unexpected. And we'll be referring out answers to questions about issues
related to medical (North Star Health Collective) and legal (Coldsnap
Legal Collective) so the experts can do their things to help activists in

Other important information about Arise! and the RNC...

We still have copies of the Arise! Atlas--142 pages of street maps, bike
routes, cool spots, and radical local history!

Stop by Arise for a copy of our handy-dandy, pocket-sized Atlas. See the
Cities from their fun sides! The Atlas has addresses and contact
information for all kinds of local radical spaces, resources, places to
visit, and various neat stuff. Plus lots of maps and interesting day
trips. Only $6!

We'll be open for extended hours and be a "green" space during the RNC!

We'll be open from 8am to midnight from August 29 to September 5 as a
safe, "green," family friendly gathering spot for convention-crashers of
all stripes.  We offer a cool place to rest, water (and occasional food!),
a public bathroom, FREE internet access, maps and schedules, and a safer
space for those who have taken part in actions to decompress, talk and
recover. Come on over!

--------11 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: NLG/video/RNC 8.29 11am

Friday, 8/29, 11 am to 12:30 pm, NLG sponsors legal observer/videographer
training for RNC, William Mitchel College of Law auditorium, 875 Summit
Ave (at Victoria), St Paul.  RSVP genab [at]

--------12 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: NLG/observe/RNC 8.29 12:30pm

Friday, 8/29, 12:30 to 2 pm, NLG sponsors legal observer finishing school
for RNC, William Mitchel College of Law auditorium, 875 Summit Ave (at
Victoria), St Paul.  RSVP genab [at]

--------13 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: RNC/safety 8.29 2pm

Friday, 8/29, 2 pm, health and safety training to become the best-dressed
activist in the street at the RNC (including what to wear, what to bring,
how to be safe on the streets), Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, Mpls.
(West Bank near the LRT station.)

--------14 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine vigil 8.29 4:15pm

Friday, 8/29, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St

--------15 of 25--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: Critical Mass 8.29 4:30pm


During the Republican Convention, CUAPB will play a number of important
roles.  Along with copwatch as noted above, we'll be involved in jail
medical support, jail exit support, documentation of cases through our
hotline, court watch/court support, and even assisting homeless people
being swept aside in both downtown Minneapolis and St.  Paul.  It will
take a lot of hands and we really need your help.

First event on the list will be the Critical Mass on August 29th.  This
will be the one year anniversary of the attack on Critical Mass that
resulted in many injuries and 19 arrests.  It will also be a kind of kick
off event for protests against the RNC.  As such, we think the MPD may
have "special plans" for this event and we need all copwatchers out with
us that day.

Copwatch at Critical Mass
Friday, August 29
Meet 4:30 p.m.
Loring Park, Harmon Place side near the dandelion fountain

--------16 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: RNC/peace team 8.29 5pm

8/29 (5 to 7 pm) and 8/30 (9 am to 5 pm), Macalester-Plymouth United
Church, 1658 Lincoln Ave, St Paul, intensive weekend trainings to
participate as peace team members during the Republican National
Convention. $35.  Send registrations to minnesotapeaceteam [at] or
Minnesota Peace Team/Wojtan, 13341 Everest Ave, Apple Valley 55124.
Questions?  612-483-6041

--------17 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: RNC/paint signs 8.29 5pm

Friday, 8/29, 5 to 10 pm, sign painting workshop in preparation for the
RNC and the Liberty Parade, Bedlam Theater, 1501 S 6th St, West Bank,

--------18 of 25--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at]>
Subject: Sicko/RNC action 8.29 6pm/8pm

at MayDay Books 301 Cedar Ave, Mpls, West Bank
FREE showing, Michael Moore's Sicko AND LOW-COST health screenings, 6PM

LEARN about ways to take action During the RNC and beyond 8PM

Sponsor : MayDay Books and Universal Health Care Action Network of MN
which is offering low-cost health screenings to help you maintain your
health: tests include cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, total $16.
UHCAN's licensed health practitioners volunteer their time to offer these
tests at much lower cost than in health clinics. Pre-registration is
encouraged, call MayDay Books at 612.333.4719, email joel [at], or
sign up on the sheet at MayDay Books!

--------19 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Vigil Capitol 8.29 7pm

Friday, 8/29, 7 pm (and every Friday until the RNC convention), meditation
and vigil for peace at the RNC at the State Capitol lawn, St Paul. or 612-227-1817.

--------20 of 25--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: VetsPeace conv 8.29 7:20pm

Friday, 8/29, 7:20 to 9:30 pm, evening of free and public events at the
Vets for Peace National Convention at the Ramada Mall of America, 2300 E
American Blvd, Bloomington.  Includes VFP chair Elliott Adams, singer Tao
Rodriguez Seeger (grandson of Pete), ILWU David gonzales, Military
families Speak Out rep Rick Hanson, Iraq Vets Against the War rep Margaret
Stevens, former MN state senator Becky Lourey, poetry and former UN
waspons inspector and Middle East expert Scott Ritter.  Info from
agedp [at] or 612-821-9141.

--------21 of 25--------

From: Ted Dooley <614grand [at]>
Subject: Crawford/film 8.29 7:30pm

Fri, August 29 - Sun August 31 CRAWFORD: 7:30 p.m. with Weekend Matinees
at 5:15 p.m. - Oak St. Cinema


Fri. August 29 - Sun. August 31 Nightly @ 7:30 p.m. Sat - Sun Matinees @
5:15 p.m. Oak St. Cinema

CRAWFORD--This is the political documentary of the year, vital, engaging,
folksy, a deeply-committed look at what happens to the 705 residents of
Crawford, Texas, when George HW Bush moves to town. Just in time for the

"It's about the town's compelling characters, not just about GWB, and
looks at both sides. One of the best documentaries among many I had seen
this year." -- Programmer Al Milgrom -- "Specifically good for 'budding'
doc filmmakers."

Newcomer independent filmmaker David Modigliani intersects the personal
and political in this prizewinning portrait of an indigenous America,
seldom before seen by the media. Modigliani will present the film nightly
with a Q&A following.

Runtime: 80 minutes

--------22 of 25--------

From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: Ritter/WMD/Iran 8.29 7:30pm

Former U.N. Weapons Inspector, Scott Ritter: The Iran Talks

Friday, August 29, 7:30 p.m. Veterans for Peace Convention, Ramada Mall of
America, 2300 East American Boulevard, Bloomington. Co-sponsored by:
Veterans for Peace and U.S. Tour of Duty. FFI: Call Minnesota Veterans for
Peace, 612-821-9141.

Saturday, August 30, 3:00 p.m. William Mitchell College of Law,
Auditorium, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul. Co-sponsored by: the WAMM Middle
East Committee, National Lawyers Guild-MN and U.S. Tour of Duty. FFI: Call
WAMM, 612-827-5364.

Sunday, August 31, 7:00 p.m. First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, 900
Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis. Co-sponsored by: the First Unitarian
Social Action Committee, U.S. Tour of Duty, WAMM, Middle East Peace Now,
and Northwest Neighbors for Peace. FFI: Email <carydberg [at]>.

Wednesday, September 3, 7:00 p.m. St. Joan of Arc Church, Hospitality
Hall, 4537 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis. Co-sponsored by: the WAMM
Middle East Committee and U.S. Tour of Duty. FFI: Call WAMM, 612-827-5364.

Canceled: Thursday, September 4, 7:00 p.m. Peace Presbyterian Church, St.
Louis Park.

Join former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter and special guests for a
lively, indispensable discussion about the "War on Terror" and Iran in the
crosshairs. Find out why Ritter, who visited Iran on a fact-finding
mission, commented, "We are seeing history repeat itself." A book sale and
signing will follow the presentation. Suggested donation: $10.00 (no one
turned away).

--------23 of 25--------

The Future that Never Comes; the Past that Never Was; the Present
by Gary Corseri
Dissident Voice
August 27th, 2008

Why am I not surprised by Obama's choice of Joe Biden as his running mate?
Because I learned as a child: in America, the future never comes!

Should we shake our heads, wondering, when the candidate for "change we
can believe in" chooses a consummate Washington "insider" as his co-agent
for that change? Not if we understand that we have lived for decades in a
military-industrial, media-fashioned, academia-certified, legally
sanctioned Disney World/Murdoch World in which the future never comes.

Expecting the promised future is like expecting to find Weapons of Mass
Destruction. Eventually, it becomes a vicious joke: like Bush looking
under a table in the White House, then smirking at the camera, "Nope, not
here, either".

When I was a child, our teachers ushered us into the auditorium at PS 178
in Queens, New York. The ponderous movie screen lowered from the ceiling
and the future unrolled: wives and mothers in evening gowns (!) danced (!)
around spotless kitchens preparing gustatory delights for hubbies and
kids. We would all drive shiny autos on super-elevated expressways winding
around gleaming city towers. There was no traffic and everything went
smoothly, thanks to guidance systems under the thoroughfares. The city was
enclosed in a giant bubble dome for perfect climate control and protection
from the nastier elements - hurricanes and blizzards. Other huge domes
around the city sheltered the abundant food supply. Machines did the hard
work, and people devoted themselves to leisure and self-improvement. There
was, of course, no war, no violence. Everyone lived long and was youthful
- in a technological Shang-ri-la, brought to our youthful attention by
G.E. (only later did I learn that meant General Electric, maker of kitchen
appliance-wonders and nuclear bombs). "We bring good things to life" was
one of their slogans. Another was: "Progress is our most important

No one asked, "Progress towards what?"

As I sauntered a little further down the primrose path, I was assured by
no less of an heroic-romantic figure than John F. Kennedy that the U.S.
was engaged in a "twilight' struggle against the forces of darkness and
tyranny. Once we triumphed in the struggle (and our triumph was assured
because we were - though no one would quite say it - on the side of
righteousness and God), once we triumphed it would all be sweetness and
light and we'd reap the harvest of our sacrifices: the world of the
spotless kitchens and gleaming city towers, and, of course, later,
California dreamin...

Then Kennedy was dead, King was dead, and year after year the future was
prorogued in Vietnam. Someone had to pay for that postponement and no
better unshaven character was available than Richard M. Nixon. No better
one until Jimmy Carter caught us napping with his speech about our
"national malaise". In cardigan sweater and with fireplace logs crackling,
he tried to warn us that the future of cheap oil and endless consumption
wasn't coming. How dare he? the media roared, and we got back on track
with the man on the horse who not only saw the gleaming towers, but the
"city on the hill," as well. Reagan's stooge-in-waiting, George Bush Sr.,
packaged the future in an end-of-the-Cold War "dividend"; while his
successor - sax-playing, cool-shaded Clintonsurfed - the wave of an
orgiastic stock market bubble, and somehow the healthcare system
that he and the missus were elected to repair and improve got lost in the
shuffle in Serbia. And when kids got killed in Waco or Iraq, Janet Reno
and Madeleine Albright assured us all it was worth it - the future would
be better!

So, by now, I've given up on it. When mealy-mouthed Bush or Cheney or
Rumsfeld or Rice assured me of quick victory in Iraq, a world made safer
because a dictatorship would be dismantled, I didn't bat an eye. I knew
that future would not come.

The future does not come largely because the past upon which these liars
and fantasists fabricate edifices of deception never was. We never were a
glorious little Republic that had taken on the nefarious British empire in
order to establish freedom and democracy on a new continent. How could we
make such a claim in the year of our Constitution's ratification when a
fifth of the nation's denizens (not "citizens") were slaves? Did we then
fight a Civil War to amend that evil? Did we amend that evil only to have
a now "united" nation continue its genocide against its tribal peoples?
Remember the Alamo? Did we conquer half of Mexico to avenge the attack on
Davy Crockett or because we wanted the gold in California? Did we beat
down Spain to help the Cubans, or to conquer the Cubans and the Filipinos
as well? Did we take on Germany in the War to End All Wars because of the
Kaiser's iniquities, or because we wanted a seat at the victors' table -
to save that still nefarious British empire and get our share of the
spoils? Did we take on Hitler to save the Jews (a half century of movie
and book propaganda seems to indicate this)or - was it to establish our
hegemony in the capitalist world, the burgeoning New World Order that
followed the horrific blood-letting?

"History," Napoleon said, "is an agreed-upon myth". If the future never
comes, and the past never was, what have we got to stand on now in this
impinging moment? "The present is too much on the senses," Robert Frost
wrote, "too present to imagine". And that is the crisis we democrats with
small "d"'s. must face now. We are a people bereft of real choices because
our capacity to imagine a real world - a doable, viable worldhas - been
shattered. We find that we have been gulled about the real nature of our
world and our very circumscribed lives within it. Our politicians are not
the only ones with "handlers". We have all been "handled" by fraudulent
dream-makers and shape-shifters. One wonders if we dead will awaken in

Gary Corseri has published novels and poetry collections, edited the
Manifestations anthology, had his dramas produced on Atlanta-PBS and
elsewhere. He has taught in prisons and universities, performed his work
at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum, and has published/posted
his work at hundreds of venues, including DissidentVoice, CounterPunch,
The New York Times and Village Voice. He can be contacted at:
gary_corseri [at] Read other articles by Gary.

This article was posted on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 at 6:00 am and is
filed under Democracy, History, Philosophy.

--------24 of 25--------

Russia-Bashing Goes Prime Time
Reinventing the Evil Empire
August 25, 2008

For the West, everything changed but stayed the same, hard-wired and in
place. Things just lay dormant in the shadows during the Yeltsin years,
certain to reemerge once a more resolute Russian leader took over. If not
Vladimir Putin, someone else little different.

Russia is back, proud and reassertive, and not about to roll over for
America. Especially in Eurasia. For Washington, it's back to the future,
the new Cold War, and reinventing the Evil Empire, but this time for
greater stakes and with much larger threats to world peace. Conservatives
lost their influence. Neocons are weakened but still dominant. The Israeli
Lobby and Christian Right drive them. Conflict is preferred over
diplomacy, and most Democrats go along to look tough on "terrorism."
Notably their standard-bearer, vying with McCain to be toughest.

Ten former Warsaw Pact and Soviet Republics are part of NATO: the Czech
Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania. In addition, Georgia and Ukraine seek membership.
Russia is strongly opposed. And now for greater reason after Poland (on
August 20) formally agreed to allow offensive US "interceptor missiles" on
its soil. A reported 96 short-range Patriot ones also plus a permanent
garrison of US troops - 110 transfered from Germany, according to some
accounts. Likely more to follow. In addition, Washington agreed to defend
Poland whether or not it joins NATO, so that heightens tensions further.

The Warsaw signing followed the Czech Republic's April willingness to
install "advanced tracking missile defense radar" by 2012. In both
instances, Russia strongly objected, and on August 20 said it will "react
(and) not only through diplomatic protests." Both former Warsaw Pact
countries are now targets. The threat of nuclear war is heightened. The
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock heads closer to midnight
- meaning "catastrophic destruction." It's no joking matter.

The US media downplays the threat and hails a pact Zbigniew Brzezinski (a
Polish national, former Carter National Security Advisor, and key Obama
foreign policy strategist) calls a watershed in the two countries'
relationship - "This changes the strategic relationship between the US and
Poland. There is a clear and explicit understanding that if there are
negative consequences of stationing the missile shield, the US will come
to Poland's defense."

On the one hand, a surprising statement from a man critical of Bush
administration policies, its failure in Iraq, and the dangers of a widened
Middle East war. He fully understands the heightened potential for world
conflict  but sounds dismissive of the threat. On the other hand, he has
bigger fish to fry and apparently willing to wage big stakes on winning.
The Iraq war and Iran are distractions by his calculus. The real Great
Game embraces all Eurasia and assuring America comes out dominant - not
Russia, not China, nor any rival US alliance.

The major media also downplay the dangers and explain nothing about the
high stakes. Instead they beat up on Russia and highlight comments from
Secretary Rice that missiles aren't "aimed in any way at Russia," or White
House spokesperson Dana Perino saying: "In no way is the president's plan
for missile defense aimed at Russia. (It's to) protect our European allies
from any rogue threats" that suggests Iran, but, clearly means Russia,
according to Hauke Ritz's recent analysis in Germany's influential Leaves
for German and International Politics journal.

He explained that Iran's missiles can't reach Europe, and that Washington
rejected Russia's proposed Azerbaijan-based joint US-Russian anti-missile
system - to intercept and destroy Iranian missiles on launch. He thus
concluded that Washington's scheme is for offense, not defense. That it
targets Russia, not Iran, with Alaskan and other installations close to
Russia as further proof. He wrote: "The strategic significance of the
system consists of intercepting those few dozen missiles Moscow (can
launch) following a first strike. (It's) a crucial develop a
nuclear first strike capacity against Russia. The original plan is
for....ten interceptor missiles in Poland. But once....established, their
number could be easily increased."

According to Ritz,  Washington wants a missile system that "guarantee(s a)
US (edge) to carry out nuclear war without (risking a) counter-strike." It
can then be used for geopolitical advantage "to implement national
interests," but it highlights the dangers of possible nuclear
confrontation and the catastrophic fallout if it happens.

In an August 20 Veterans of Foreign Wars convention address, Bush was
essentially on this theme in focusing on "terrorism" and saying: "We're at
war against determined enemies, and we must not rest until that war is
won." Georgia "stands for freedom around the world, now the world must
stand for freedom in Georgia" - clearly linking Russia's response with
"terrorism" and suggesting from his September 2001 address to a joint
session of Congress and the America people that: "Every nation, in every
region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are
with the terrorists." Any that are "will be a hostile
state." Clearly, Russia is on his mind just as Moscow is carefully
evaluating his threat.

The BBC echoed the US media, covers all the bases, mentioned the Iranian
threat, singles out Russia, obfuscates facts about the conflict, sides
with Washington and Poland on the new missile deal, and quoted Polish
President Lech Kaczynski saying: "no one (with) good intentions towards us
and (the West) should" fear the missiles. It also cited a miraculous
turnaround in sentiment saying two-thirds of Poles now favor them.
Astonishing since overwhelming opposition was recently evident, so it's
hard imagining it shifted so fast.

        High-Octane Russia Bashing - The Dominant US Media

The Wall Street Journal asserted that Poles "see the US as their strongest
ally" given "two centuries of invasions and partitioning by Russia" and
other European powers. It also highlighted Russia's "nuclear threat" (not
Iran's) in a Gabriel Schoenfeld article painting Russia as an aggressor
and America aiding its European allies.

Schoenfeld (a senior editor of the hawkish, pro-Israeli Commentary
magazine) cites "Moscow's willingness to crush Georgia with overwhelming
force (and claims) the Kremlin has 10 times as many tactical (short-range)
warheads as the US." The "shift in the nuclear imbalance....helped
embolden the bear." He ignores America's overall nuclear superiority, but
it hardly matters as both countries combined have around 97% of these
weapons (an estimated 27,000 world total) according to experts like Helen
Caldicott - more than enough to destroy the planet many times over.

Nonetheless, Schoenfeld supports the Polish agreement in the face of a
"pugnacious Russia (determined to acquire) economic and military power
(and) not afraid to use threats and force to get (its) way (with) nuclear
weapons central to the Russian geopolitical calculus." It's reminiscent of
"the dark days of communist yore (and captures the threat of what) we and
Russia's neighbors are up against."

For the moment, anti-Iranian rhetoric has subsided with Russia the new
dominant villian. En route to the NATO Brussels August 18 meeting,
Secretary Rice called Russia's action against Georgia a "very dangerous
game and perhaps one the Russians want to reconsider." Russian
"aggression" is the buzzword, and the media dutifully trumpet it.

So do the presidential candidates. John McCain was especially belligerent
in denouncing "Russian aggression" and calling on Moscow to "immediately
and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces
from sovereign Georgian territory." He called for emergency Security
Council and NATO meetings in hopes condemnation would follow and "NATO
(can act) to stabiliz(e) this very dangerous situation." He also wants
Russia expelled from the G-8 nations and an end to 10 years of partnership
and cooperation.

Barak Obama first said that Russia's "aggression" must not stand and
denounced "Russian atrocities." He then softened his tone somewhat with:
"Now is the time for action - not just words....Russia must halt its
violation of Georgian airspace and withdraw its ground forces from
Georgia, with international monitors to verify that these obligations are
met." But expect those comments to harden as Democrats meet in Denver, and
the party's nominee will likely match his opponent's tough stance. Or at
least try under a slogan of "Securing America's Future" to advance the
nation's interests in the world. Beating up on Russia is now fair game and
made easier with lockstep media support.

The Wall Street Journal is more hostile than most, and practically frothed
in its August 16 - 17 weekend edition. It called for "Making Putin Pay
(and) Turning Russia's Georgian rout into a political defeat." It cited
Russian aggression "to remove President Saakasvili from the office to
which he was elected in 2004 (and to) overthrow a democratic government."

It called on "western authorities (to) explore the vulnerability of
Russian assets abroad (or) at least make life difficult for the holders of
those assets." The Journal might remember the billions of US fixed income
and other investments Russia holds - although the country's Central Bank
reported late July that it pared its $100 billion in US "mortgage bonds"
to $50 billion early in the year. The US Treasury reports that Russia
holds around $36 billion of Treasury securities with considerably more in
private hands.

The Journal then compared Russia to China and managed a slap at both. It
said: "In the world of global commerce....China calculated that....staging
an Olympic extravaganza (could enhance its) ambivalent reputation....By
contrast, the Putin government....seems to believe its power grows in sync
with its reputation as an international pariah, an outsider state," and
George Bush added that "Russia has damaged its credibility and its
relations with the nations of the free world" - with the Journal writer
hardly blinking at such brazen hypocrisy.

Nor did Journal editorial board member Matthew Kaminski in his headlined
piece: "Russia Is Still a Hungry Empire" without a hint about the Soviet
Union's bloodless 1991 dissolution now down the memory hole in light of
today's inflammatory headlines.

Kaminski highlights "Russian tanks rolling through Georgia (with) images
of Chechnya in 1994 and '99, Vilnius '91, Afghanistan '79, Prague '68,
Hungary '56" and before that Poland, the Baltics and other Eastern
European states. "The war in Georgia marks an easy return to territorial
expansion and attempted regional dominance."

Boris Yeltsin "tried to give Russians an alternative narrative. (He) put
forward democracy as a unifying and legitimizing idea for the new Russian
state." But that was swept away when "Putin took over." He's unresponsive
to the idea of "partnership with the West and freedom at home." He aims to
force "young democracies around Russia....back into Moscow's sphere of
influence....The worldview of a Russian nationalist is hard for outsiders
to comprehend," and for Kaminski one that mustn't be allowed to stand.

Nor for other Journal contributors daily (in op-eds and editorials) with
some of the most outlandish attack journalism heard since before
Gorbachev. Claims that "Kremlin capitalism is a threat to the
using its market strength in oil and gas resources to strong-arm its
neighbors and outmaneuver the US and EU." And that Russia's real aim "is
to replace a pro-western government with a new Russian
satellite....reminiscent of the Brezhnev doctrine. (It's) part of a
broader campaign (to annex new territory, expand the Russian empire,
conduct) cyber attacks against the Baltic states, (assassinate enemies,
and use) economic intimidation (through) cutoffs of Russian oil and gas
shipments to Ukraine and the Czech Republic....It is important that Moscow
pays a concrete and tangible price for its latest aggression, at least
comparable to (what) it paid for the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan."

The New York Times is more measured but, on August 19, highlighted
"Survivors in Georgia Tell of Ethnic Killings" with suggestions of "ethnic
cleansing" - a practice that "haunted the borderlands of the old Soviet
bloc." Villages were "burned and houses broken; unburied bodies lay
rotting; fresh graves were dug in gardens and basements....most victims
interviewed (were) ethnic Georgians....(In central Georgian) villages,
some killings were carried out for revenge....some (involved) theft (and
still others) seemed to be that the power balance was shifting, away from
ethnic Georgians to the Ossetian separatists and their Russian backers."

Independent reporters on the ground contradicted The Times and similar US
media accounts. One wrote: "Georgians living in several of the villages
said the Russians occupying their land had treated them well, done nothing
to encourage them to leave and offered the only protection available from
the South Ossestian militias they feared most" and perhaps their own army
in an effort to inflict harm and blame it on Russia.

On August 21, The Times headlined: "US Sees Much to Fear in a Hostile
Russia (by) usher(ing) in a sustained period of renewed animosity with the
West....problems extend(ing) far beyond (arms deals with) Syria and the
mountains of Georgia." Others with "anti-American states like Iran and
Venezuela." Pressuring US "military bases in Central
Asia....counterterrorism, Hamas" and numerous other issues. Obama's chief
Russia advisor, Stanford University professor Michael McFaul, was quoted
saying Russia appears intent on "disrupt(ing) the international order" and
can do it. They're "the hegemon in that region and we are not and that's a

"Russia has all the leverage," according to Carnegie Moscow Center's Masha
Lipman (with) potential for causing headaches" if it chooses - in the
region, the UN, on Iran, Zimbabwe, and to halt "any kind of coercive
actions, like economic sanctions or anything else," according to former
National Security Council advisor Peter Feaver. An old post-Cold War
concern is now arisen. Russia is now "a spoiler."

An August 21 AP report cites an example in its headlined piece" "Russia
blocks Georgia's main (oil) port city" of Poti and continues to hold
positions around Gori and Igoeti....30 miles west of....Tbilisi."

                Reports from Other Sources

On August 21, Russia Today reported that "Abkhazia rallie(d) for
independence (and) the Abkhazian Parliament has approved an official
appeal to Russia to recognize its independence." Tens of thousands rallied
in support, and on August 23, Reuters reported that South Ossetia did as
well and its president, Eduard Kokoity, plans to ask Russia and the
international community for recognition. Russia's Deputy Federation
Council Speaker, Svetlana Orlova, told the rally that "Russia is always
with you and will never leave you in the lurch."

On August 23, The New York Times reported that "the Kremlin is nearing
formal recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, possibly as early as
next week." Apparently likely according to Russian Regional Development
Minister, Dmitry Kozak, who told Itar-Tass "support is likely (and) that
after all the events that have occurred, one should not expect otherwise."

On August 21, Abkhazian President Sergey Bagapsh "appealed to Russia and
to governments of other countries to recognize Abkhazia's independence,"
for both his province and South Ossetia. On August 20, Interfax reported
that the Russian Federation Council (Russia's upper House of parliament)
is prepared to recognize both provinces' independence if their people
"express such a will....and if the Russian president makes a relevant
decision on this score," according to Federation Council Chairman Sergei

On August 25, Russia Today reported that (in  emergency session) the
Federation Council unanimously voted to ask President Medvedev to
recognize Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence. Both province
presidents addressed the chamber and "again said they will never agree to
remain within Georgia" and are more entitled to independence than Kosovo.
Konstantin Zatulin, deputy head of the Duma Committee for International
Affairs in Russia's State Duma, its lower chamber, stated that his body
"most probably" will go along.

At the same time, tensions remain high. Both sides continue hostile
accusations. Russia maintains it's  conducting an orderly withdrawal "in
accordance with the international agreements (to their) previous (places)
of deployment," according to Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of
Russia's General Staff. US military officials at first said they saw no
significant pullback. On August 22 with a clear withdrawal underway, the
International Herald Tribune reported that the "US and France say Russia
is not complying" with the cease fire.

Russia is observing a 1999 joint Russian-S. Ossetian-N. Ossetian-Georgian
agreement prepared by the Joint Control Commission, an international South
Ossetian monitoring body. It lets Russian troops secure a corridor five
miles beyond either side of South Ossetia's border that extends into
Georgia. It also allows Russian peacekeepers to operate under the auspices
of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

On August 23, RIA Novosti reported that Nogovitsyn said Russian forces
will patrol Georgia's Black Sea Poti port as "envisaged in the
international agreement. Poti is outside of the security zone," he said,
"but that does not mean we will sit behind a fence watching them riding
around in Hummers." Nor allow Georgia to rearm for more aggression as
Russia suspects, and that Georgia's deputy defense minister, Batu Kutelia,
admitted doing initially. On August 22, he told the Financial Times that
his government attacked the S. Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, and attempted
to seize it.

On August 22, Nogovitsyn heightened tensions by claiming Georgia is now
preparing for new military action against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. "We
have registered an increase in (Georgian) reconnaissance activities and
preparations for armed actions in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict
zone." As a result, he said that Russia reserves the right to maintain
peacekeepers in both provinces. For its part, RIA Novosti reports that
America now refuses to participate with Russia in "NATO's Operation Active
Endeavour naval antiterrorism exercise," according to a Russian Black Sea
Fleet source. The announcement came after Russia's NATO envoy, Dmitry
Rogozin, said his country was "temporarily suspending military cooperation
with NATO until a political decision on relations" between the two nations
had been resolved.

Also on August 22, the Israeli published a Russian daily
Kommersant interview with Washington's new Moscow ambassador, John Beyrle,
sure to embarrass his superiors. He called Russia's response justified
after its troops came under attack. "Now we see Russian forces which
responded to attacks on Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia,
legitimately...." He went on to criticize Russia's over-reaction and
warned about its impact on US - Russia relations as well as investor
confidence. Nonetheless, his first comment is telling and quite contrary
to everything from Washington and biting anti-Russian media responses.

Finally on August 23, Russia Today reported that the "local (S. Ossetian
and Abkhazian) population (said) they fear Georgia might repeat its
regional aggression. They also (want) Russian troops to stay in the area
to shield them from any possible attacks." Russia has set up 18 S. Ossetia
peacekeeping posts and plans a similar number in Abkhazia "to deter
looters and the transportation of arms and ammunition."

                  All the News Not Fit to Print

Not a major media hint that Georgia is a US vassal state. That its
military is an extension of the Pentagon. That its aggression was
manufactured in Washington. That its well-supplied and trained by America
and Israel. That pipeline geopolitics is central. Beating up on Russia as
well. Diverting Moscow from any planned intervention against Iran. Even
enlisting Russia's cooperation - not to sell Iran sophisticated S-300 air
defense missile systems and agreeing to tougher sanctions in return for
perhaps Washington deferring on Georgian and Ukrainian NATO admission and
recognizing S. Ossetian and Abkhazian independence. Perhaps more as well
to put off greater confrontation for later under a new administration.

Clearly, however, the fuse is lit. It has been for some time. It relates
to everything strategic about this vital area with its immense energy and
other resources as well neutralizing Russia's power as America's top rival
and key Eurasian competitor.

Controlling the region's oil and gas is crucial and what Michel
Chossudovsky explains in his August 22 article titled: "The Eurasian
Corridor: Pipeline Geopolitics and the New Cold War." He calls the
Caucasus crisis "intimately related to the control over energy pipeline
and transportation corridors (and cites) evidence that the Georgian
(August 7) attack....was carefully planned (in) High level consultations
(between) US and NATO officials" months in advance. On August 23, RIA
Novosti said a Russian security source accused Georgia of involvement a
year ago in "coordinat(ion) with NATO's plans to strengthen its (Black
Sea) naval presence."

Chossudovsky discusses America's (1999) "Silk Road Strategy: The
Trans-Eurasian Security System (as) an essential building block of
(post-Cold War) US foreign policy." Proposed in House legislation but
never enacted, it was for "an energy and transport corridor network
linking Western Europe to Central Asia and eventually to the Far East." It
aims to integrate South Caucasus and Central Asian nations "into the US
sphere of influence." It involves "militariz(ing) the Eurasian corridor,"
much like Security and Prosperity Partnership plans are for North America.

Efforts are largely directed against Russia, China and Iran as well as
other Eastern-allied states. It's to turn all Eurasia into a "free market"
paradise, secure it for capital, assure US dominance, control its
resources, exploit its people, transform all its nations into American
vassals, and likely aim to dismantle Russia's huge landmass if that idea
ever comes to fruition.

Russia, however, isn't standing idle and is partnered in two strategic

-- the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) since June 2001 along with
China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan with Iran in
observer status. It defines its goals as: "good neighborly relations;"
promoting "effective cooperation in politics, trade and economy, science
and technology" and more as well as "ensur(ing) peace, security and
stability in the region." Given NATO's potential threat, its main purpose
is military; and

-- the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) since 2003 "in close
liaison with the SCO" with a heavy emphasis on security against NATO
Eurasian expansionism; its members include: Russia, Armenia, Belarus,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The stakes are huge as both sides prepare to confront them. All part of
the new Cold War and Great Game. Reinventing the Evil Empire and beating
up on Russia as part of it. Risking a potential nuclear confrontation as
well and what a new US president will inherit with no assurance a Democrat
will be any more able than a Republican. And with a global economic crisis
unresolved, either one may resort to the age old strategy of stoking fear,
going to war, hoping it will stimulate the economy, and be able to divert
public concerns away from lost jobs, home foreclosures, and a whole array
of other unaddressed issues.

In early 2003, it worked. Will 2009 be a repeat? Will it deepen what
author Kevin Phillips calls "the global crisis of American capitalism?"
Will the Doomsday Clock strike midnight? It moved two minutes closer on
January 17, 2007 to five minutes to the hour. It cited 27,000 nuclear
weapons, 2000 ready to launch in minutes. It said: "We stand at the brink
of a second nuclear age. Not since....Hiroshima and Nagasaki has the world
faced such perilous choices." It said the situation is "dire." It called
for immediate preventive action. Its message went unheeded, and conditions
today have worsened. The high Eurasian stakes up things further, and
neither side so far is blinking.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on
Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
lendmanstephen [at]

--------25 of 25--------

Protesters at Democratic Convention Fly The "Cage"
by Ariel Sabar
The Christian Science Monitor
Published on Wednesday, August 27, 2008

They've come to Denver for countless causes, but they almost uniformly
reject the designated protest zone.

Denver - They're outside city offices, in parks, on the capitol steps and
near the US Mint. But the one place most protesters here are avoiding is
the official demonstration zone, a fenced-in parking lot near the
Democratic National Convention that activists here mockingly call "the
freedom cage."

The designated protest area at the Democratic National Convention was
empty Monday. Many protest groups are opting to take their messages
elsewhere in Denver. The 47,000-square-foot zone is hemmed by rows of
metal barricades and concrete barriers and watched over by uniformed
Secret Service agents. Views of the Pepsi Center convention site, some 700
feet away, are blocked by a giant tent housing news media.

On Monday afternoon, a couple hours after the convention kicked off, the
zone was an asphalt desert. A microphone stood on a lonely stand. A
Canadian documentary crew waited for protesters who never came. An
official sign-up sheet near a low-rise platform was a study in sarcasm.

Requesting the 7 a.m. slot was one "G. Washington," who listed his cause
as "You can't cage freedom." At 11:30 p.m., "B. Obama." Topic: "Hope for

"It's so far away, it's surrounded by cops, it's just ridiculous," said
William Aanstoos, a college dropout from Asheville, N.C., with a yellow
bandana around his neck who came to see the site after taking part in
antiwar rallies elsewhere in the city. "I don't think anyone is taking it

The American Civil Liberties Union and several protest groups sued Denver
and the Secret Service over the zone earlier this summer and lost. A
federal judge ruled that the zone didn't infringe on free speech because
convention delegates would pass within 200 feet on their walk into the
Pepsi Center, and no trees or other objects would block sight lines to
that walkway.

Unlike the "free speech zone" at the Democratic convention in Boston in
2004, where protesters were corraled behind concrete barriers away from
the convention site, delegates inside the secure convention perimeter here
can walk within eight feet of the protest zone.

The Secret Service says the barricades and large police presence are
critical precautions against tossed explosives, car bombs, and other
threats to security at the convention, home this week to the stars of the
Democratic Party, including two former presidents.

"The legal requirement is that those expressing their freedom of speech
are within reach of the delegates," Malcolm Wiley, a Secret Service
spokesman at the Denver Joint Information Center, said in a phone
interview. "The requirement isn't that you see the building."

Even so, most protesters are taking their message elsewhere, many to a
constellation of 13 parks within a mile of the Pepsi Center.

One of the most active groups is Recreate 68, an alliance of anticorporate
and antiwar protesters that has demonstration permits every day of the
convention. But rallies and parades are also being staged by groups
pitching everything from immigrant rights, women's equality, and Ralph
Nader to lower fuel costs, legal marijuana, and a united Jerusalem.

Police have so far been underwhelmed. A parade permitted for 25,000 Sunday
drew just 1,000, according to the city. A march on Monday was so small
that police reopened closed streets.

As of Tuesday night, the city had reported 135 convention-related arrests.
Most occurred Monday night, when police say a crowd of 300 disrupting
traffic near Civic Center Park refused requests to disperse and then
rushed a police line.

Suspects were charged with disobeying orders, obstructing a public street,
and interference, violations of city ordinances. But most events have been
peaceful, officials say.

On Monday afternoon, Bob Kunst, a Miami man who is president of Shalom
International, a pro-Israel group, stood outside an entrance to the
convention site with a sign that read "Obama BAD for America and Israel."

His group had planned a demonstration that evening in the official protest
zone, but after seeing it he had second thoughts. The site is several
blocks from roads accessible to cars, and he worried about whether some of
his group's elderly supporters would survive the walk.

"It's not fair to hold everyone hostage to a few crazies," he griped.
"They're treating everyone like a criminal. Who are we catering to with
this type of paranoia?"

 2008 The Christian Science Monitor


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