Progressive Calendar 10.11.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2009 03:43:01 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   10.11.09

1. NLG/Gaza           10.11 9:15am
2. GLBT rights rally  10.11 12noon
3. Stillwater vigil   10.11 1pm
4. Pentel v 2 parties 10.11 3pm
5. Feeney/Rovics      10.11 5pm
6. Peace walk         10.11 6pm RiverFalls WI
7. Pray for peace     10.11 6:30pm

8. Vs TimPaw/health   10.12 12noon
9. Vs AmyKlob/health  10.12 4pm
10. Laramie project   10.12 7pm

                    --Obama's IgNobel--
11. Alexander Cockburn - War and Peace
12. PC Roberts         - Upside Down World Warmonger Wins Peace Prize
13. Dave Lindorff      - Make War, Call It Peace The WTF Prize
14. Kim Petersen       - Audacity in Norway
15. Andy Worthington   - Peace Prize: OK, Obama's A Nice Guy, But...
16. World Socialist ws - The Nobel War Prize
17. Missy Beattie      - The Blood-Stained Prize Theater of the Absurd
18. John Walsh         - Obama Will Go Naked to Oslo
19. Howard Zinn        - War and Peace Prizes
20. Jason Del Gandio   - Nobel Befuddlement: Why Obama Doesn't Deserve It
21. ed                 - Obama & Gandhi  (haiku)
22. ed                 - Ludefisk  (haiku)

--------1 of 22--------

From: William Bailey <wbailey [at] visi.com>
Subject: NLG/Gaza 10.11 9:15am

Noura Erakat who is a Palestinian-American activist, attorney, and
presently a lecturer at Georgetown University will be giving a special
presentation at Westminster Presbyterian Church Sunday, October 11, at
9:15 AM.

Noura will have a 45 minute presentation on her February 2009 experiences
as she participated in the National Lawyers Guild mission to Gaza.  She
will welcome questions and comments.  The presentation will be held in the
Meisel Room at Westminster Presbyterian Church and will be free and open
to the public.

Noura holds law and undergraduate degrees from the University of
California at Berkeley. She has worked and studied in Israel and
Palestine.  She interned at Adalah: The Center for Arab Minority Rights in
Israel.  She has studied at Hebrew University, and volunteered in
Palestinian refugee camps throughout the West Bank and Lebanon.  Noura is
currently an adjunct professor of international human rights law in the
Middle East at Georgetown University.  Most recently she served as Legal
Counsel for a Congressional Committee in the House of Representatives in
Washington.  Noura has appeared on national and international television
programs including Al Jazeera International, MSNBC, HBO's "Politically
Incorrect" and Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor."


--------2 of 22--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com>
Subject: GLBT rights rally 10.11 12noon

Rally for GLBT Rights
Sunday, October 11 @ noon @ Loring Park (next to the bridge that connects
to the Walker Sculpture Garden), Minneapolis

Have you heard about the National March for Equality going on in
Washington DC October 10-11?  Frustrated by the inaction of the Obama
Administration and unwilling to continue to accept their oppression and
second-class status, gay rights activists have called for a National March
for Equality in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, October 11.  This
demonstration will coincide with National Coming Out Day, and is 30 years
after the first National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights in
1979.  The march has one simple demand: Full equality under the law for
all lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender (LGBT) people in all 50
states.  So, for those of us who cannot go to Washington DC, let's have a
rally gosh darn it! Minnesotans rallying for LGBT rights! what could be
better!  For more information about the National March please visit:
http://equalityacrossamerica.org/blog/?page_id=19


--------3 of 22--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 10.11 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


--------4 of 22--------

From: "Of the People" <info [at] jamesmayer.org>
Subject: Pentel v 2 parties 10.11 3pm

2 parties - Tentacles of 1 Corporatist Establishment pillaging our land &
people.  But at last a real, & uncompromising movement & party is being
built from the ground up with a clear focus!

Of the People
with James Mayer
Sunday at 3:00 P.M.
AM950 KTNF or www.am950ktnf.com

Many of us are fed up with all the groups and their "leaders" masquerading
as political parties when they are in truth sellout branches of one
Corporatist Establishment pillaging our land, society and our "government"
(such as it is and what there is of it).

Ken Pentel, is traveling Minnesota building a network and party that meets
those realities head-on. He's back with us from the field where he has
been working to do this and will give us a report on what he's doing and
his progress.

Join us on Of the People with James Mayer this Sunday, October 11th, 2009
at 3 p.m. on AM950 KTNF. If out of the broadcast area, you can stream us
at http://www.am950ktnf.com/listen

Off-air, you can reach us by calling James Mayer at 651-238-3740, by
e-mail at info [at] jamesmayer.org [mailto:info [at] jamesmayer.org], or by U.S.
mail: James Mayer, 970 Raymond Ave., St. Paul, MN Zip Code 55114.


--------5 of 22--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Feeney/Rovics 10.11 5pm

Peace Island 2: Featuring the Music of Anne Feeney and David Rovics
Sunday October 11, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Minnesota Music Café, 499 Payne
Avenue, St. Paul.

Join others at Peace Island 2 for an evening of music featuring Anne
Feeney and David Rovics. Rovics' and Feeney's songs are geared to
various distinct progressive causes including: workers' rights/union;
Palestinian justice; civil rights-social justice; anti-war, and universal
health care. David Rovics has been called the musical voice of the
progressive movement in the United States. Amy Goodman has called him "the
musical version of Democracy Now!" Pittsburgh-based agitator Anne Feeney
performs music that she says is designed to "comfort the afflicted and
afflict the comfortable." Local Minnesota musicians, the Peace Sisters,
will open the show with some of their new protest songs.

Tickets: $10.00. Co- Sponsored by: Vets for Peace, WAMM and others. FFI
and Tickets: Call Ross, 952-465-2866 or email rowleyclan [at] earthliink.net.


--------6 of 22--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Peace walk 10.11 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022


--------7 of 22--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org>
Subject: Pray for peace 10.11 6:30pm

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates 11th Day Prayer for
Peace: Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 6:30 PM at Presentation of Our
Lady Chapel, 1890 Randolph Ave, St. Paul.


--------8 of 22--------

From: David Strand <lavgrn [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Vs Paw/health 10.12 12noon

Oct. 12th for health care at the state Capitol

Governor Tim Pawlenty is leaving 33,000 of Minnesota's poorest and most
vulnerable adults without health care by eliminating General Assistance
Medical Care next year.  If you believe this is the wrong direction for our
state, please join us at this rally with the Minnesota Nurses Association on
Monday.

Don't Let Him Get By With It! Rally
Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St.
Paul MN 55155
Monday, October 12 at 10:00am


--------9 of 22--------

From: Alan Maki <amaki000 [at] centurytel.net>
Subject: Vs AmyKlob/health 10.12 4pm

A great place to leaflet, petition and hold up some signs for single-payer
And what better place to expose the Tea Baggers!

From: WordPress.com [mailto:donotreply [at] wordpress.com]
Subject: [Minnesota Tea Party Patriots]

Senator Amy Klobuchar
"Health Care Priorities and Current Reform Efforts"
4pm
October 12, 2009
Mayo Auditorium
University of Minnesota
Free and open to the public


--------10 of 22--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Laramie project 10.12 7pm

The Guthrie Theater presents
THE LARAMIE PROJECT: 10 YEARS LATER
written by Tectonic Theater Project Members
Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski,
Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber

on
MONDAY, OCTOBER 12 at 7 P.M.
(Satellite talkback live from Lincoln Center hosted by Glenn Close to
follow the reading)

ABOUT THE SHOW:

The one-night-only reading of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, is the
compelling and groundbreaking epilogue to the play The Laramie Project,
which was written in response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, and
focuses on the long-term effect of the murder of Matthew Shepard on the
town of Laramie. It explores how the town has changed and how the murder
continues to reverberate in the community. The play also includes new
interviews with Matthew's mother Judy Shepard and Matthew's murderer
Aaron McKinney, who's serving dual life sentences, as well as follow-up
interviews with many of the individuals from the original piece.

The Guthrie will present the Minneapolis-St. Paul area reading in the
McGuire Proscenium, joining more than 120 theaters from around the globe
in simultaneously presenting the epilogue on Monday, October 12 at 7 p.m.
(CST). Immediately after the global reading, the Guthrie will participate
in a special talkback featuring a panel at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully
Hall that will include creators, cast members, and other key individuals
involved in The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later. The talkback is made
possible via a special satellite hookup, with participating theaters from
around the country able to submit questions via Twitter. Additional
details on how to submit questions during the talkback will be announced
in the coming weeks.

The Guthrie reading will be directed by Associate Director of Studio
Programming Benjamin McGovern and feature actors Mark Benninghofen,
Michael Booth, Bob Davis, Melissa Hart, Charity Jones, Tracey Maloney,
Kris L. Nelson and Michelle O'Neill. Single tickets are $15 and
available through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free
877.44.STAGE and online at www.guthrietheater.org.

Please don't hesitate to call or email me with questions.
Additional press materials, interviews and photos available upon request.

Lee Henderson Communications Manager Guthrie Theater 818 South 2nd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415 612.225.6142 direct


--------11 of 22--------

War and Peace
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
CounterPunch
October 9-11, 2009

I suppose we should not begrudge Barack Obama his Nobel Peace Prize,
though it represents a radical break in tradition, since he's only had
slightly less than nine months to discharge his imperial duties, most
concretely through the agency of high explosives in the Hindu Kush whereas
laureates like Henry Kissinger had been diligently slaughtering people
across the world for years.

Woodrow Wilson, the liberal imperialist with whom Obama bears some marked
affinities, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919, having brought America into
the carnage of the First World War. The peace laureate president who
preceded him was Teddy Roosevelt, who got the prize in 1906 as reward for
sponsorship of the Spanish-American war and ardent bloodletting in the
Philippines.  Senator George Hoar's famous denunciation of Roosevelt on
the floor of the US Senate in May of 1902 was probably what alerted the
Nobel Committee to Roosevelt's eligibility for the Peace Prize:

"You have sacrificed nearly ten thousand American lives - the flower of
our youth. You have devastated provinces. You have slain uncounted
thousands of the people you desire to benefit. You have established
reconcentration camps. Your generals are coming home from their harvest
bringing sheaves with them, in the shape of other thousands of sick and
wounded and insane to drag out miserable lives, wrecked in body and mind.
You make the American flag in the eyes of a numerous people the emblem of
sacrilege in Christian churches, and of the burning of human dwellings,
and of the horror of the water torture..."

TR was given the peace prize not long after he'd displayed his boundless
compassion for humanity by sponsoring an exhibition of Filipino "monkey
men" in the 1904 St Louis World Fair as "the missing link" in the
evolution of Man from ape to Aryan, and thus in sore need of assimilation,
forcible if necessary, to the American way. On receipt of the prize,
Roosevelt promptly dispatched the Great White Fleet (sixteen U.S. Navy
ships of the Atlantic Fleet including four battleships) on a worldwide
tour to display Uncle Sam's imperial credentials, anticipating by scarce
more than a century, Obama's award, as he prepares to impose Pax Americana
on the Hindukush and portions of Pakistan.

People marvel at the idiocy of these Nobel awards, but there's method in
the madness, since in the end they train people to accept without demur or
protest absurdity as part and parcel of the human condition, which they
should accept as representing the considered opinion of rational men,
albeit Norwegian. It's a twist on the Alger myth, inspiring to youth: you
too can get to murder Filipinos, or Palestinians, or Vietnamese or Afghans
and still win a Peace Prize. That's the audacity of hope at full stretch.

It's dawning even on those predisposed to like the guy that when it comes
to burning issues the first black president of the United States truly
hates to come down on one side or the other. He dreads making powerful
people mad. He won't stand up for his own people when they're being
savaged by the nutball right, edges them out, then has his press secretary
claim that they jumped of their own accord. This may impress the peaceniks
of Oslo, but from the American perspective he's looking like a wimp.

Obama's Afghan policy evolved on the campaign trail last year as a
one-liner designed to deflect charges that he was a peacenik on Iraq. Not
so, he cried. The Global War on Terror was being fought in the wrong
place. His pledge was to hunt down and "kill" Osama bin Laden.

Once ensconced in the Oval Office Obama, invoking "bipartiship", instantly
nailed a white flag to the mast by keeping on Robert Gates, Bush's
secretary of defense.

He formed a foreign policy team mostly composed of Clinton-era neo-liberal
hawks, headed by Hilary Clinton and Richard Holbrook. His next step was to
eject the US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, and install
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, best known for running the assassination wing of
the military's joint special-operations command. (JSOC). Then he ordered
17,000 new US troops to be deployed to Afghanistan.

It was a fine exhibition of Obama's eerie skill - also demonstrated in the
politicking over health reform - in foreclosing his own range of choices
and allowing opponents to coalesce and seize the initiative. If, on his
second day in office he'd announced a full and complete review of US aims
in Afghanistan, with no option left off the table he'd have had some
purchase on the situation. But the months drifted by and finally the
worsening situation forced a review of Afghan policy, precisely when
Obama's poll numbers were dropping, the war lobby heartened and the
liberals already dejected by Obama's surrender to Goldman Sachs and Wall
Street and disastrous efforts in the health fight.

At this point fate handed Obama a golden opportunity. With astounding
insolence Gen. McChrystal began to conduct a public lobbying campaign for
his appeal for 40,000 more troops.  His rationale for new troops ended up
in the hands of Bob Woodward of the Washington Post.

Harry Truman was an indifferent president who needlessly dropped A-bombs
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, designed to intimidate Stalin. He launched the
cold war arms race in 1948. Yet Americans venerate him for two things: the
sign on his desk saying the buck stops here, and his dramatic firing of
war hero Gen. Douglas MacArthur, for insubordination in challenging
Truman's overall direction of the war in Korea (not to mention Truman's
fears of likely MacArthur excess in administering plans being carefully
evolved in Truman's high command to deploy and use nuclear weapons on the
Koran peninsula.)

Truman didn't allow MacArthur time to stage a grandiose resignation. In
April, 1951, he fired him on late night radio, announcing that "With deep
regret I have concluded that General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is
unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the U.S.
Government and of the U.N. in matters pertaining to his official duties.
In view of the specific responsibilities imposed upon me by the
Constitution of the U.S. I have decided that I must make a change in
command in the Far East. I have, therefore, relieved General MacArthur of
his command".

It's clear that McChrystal stepped over the line conclusively in his
speech in London at the Institute for Strategic Studies where he
contemptuously dismissed the "small footprint" counter-terrorism strategy
proposed by Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John Kerry, saying that
it would lead to Afghanistan becoming Chaos-istan. Obama's National
Security Advisor, Gen Jim Jones declared that it would have been better
that McChrystal's criticisms had come up through the Army's chain of
command. That was the moment Obama could have fired McChrystal for
MacArthur's offense - insubordination and defiance of civilian control of
military policy.

McChrystal is no war hero, like McArthur. People crave some evidence that
Obama has steel in his soul. High risk, maybe, but potentially a huge coup
for Obama at a fraught political moment, also a brisk exit from the
humiliation of the failed booster trip to Copenhagen to win the 2016
Olympics for Chicago. Obama did nothing, except further irk his liberal
base by saying withdrawal isn't an option. Pundits solemnly explained that
given Democrats' distaste for the war in Afghanistan - backed by strong
popular hostility, Obama might have to go to Republicans to get the votes
for the necessary appropriations of money.

It's all much too late for any sensible policy review.  There have been
two moments in the last 40 years when life might have improved for
ordinary Afghans, particularly women. The first came with the the
reforming left regime of the late 1970s, destroyed by the warlords with US
backing. The second arrived with the US eviction of the Taliban in 2001-2,
which was welcomed by many Afghans. But at this stage in the game, simply
by definition, no American intervention overseas can be anything other
than a ghastly disaster, usually bloodstained. Allready the US had too
many chits out to the warlords of the Northern Alliance. The US "nation
building" apparat is irreversibly corrupt - with a network of $250,000 a
year consultancies, insider contracts, and beyond that a de facto stake in
the drug industry now supply most of the West's heroin and opium.

There's no possible light at the end of any tunnel. The robot war via
Predator missiles and other instruments in the arsenal infuriates all
Afghans, as wedding parties are blown to bits every weekend. With more
troops and mercenaries now in Afghanistan than during the Russian military
presence at its peak, there's zero chance for America playing a long-term
constructive role in Afghanistan. The US presence is just a recruiting
poster for the Taliban.

But Obama has now surrounded himself with just the same breed of
intellectuals who persuaded Lyndon Johnson to destroy his presidency by
escalating the war. They're easily as mad as the bible thumper I heard
last week on my truck radio as I drove over the Tehachapi pass on route
58, between Barstow and Bakersfield. Harold Camping, president of Family
Stations Ministry, was patiently explaining that God's plan was to end the
world by flooding on May 21, 2011, thus trumping the end of the Mayan
calendar, December 21, 2012.  In the Biblical perspective 5/21/2011 is the
end of the world. The elect will be saved, the rest will perish, not even
given brief probation like the inhabitants of Nineveh.  Camping's voice
was calm and seemingly rational, no doubt like those of the men and women
briefing Obama. A doubter called in, emphasizing that he was a 100 per
cent believer in the veracity of each line in the Bible, but how to
explain verse 4 of the ninetieth psalm? "For a thousand years in your
sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night"?
Why had the divine author permitted himself the ambiguity of simile?
Camping plunged confidently into biblical numerology: God revealed to Noah
in the year 4990 BC that there would be yet 7 days until the flood of
waters would be upon the earth.  Substitute 1000 years for each one of
those 7 days, and we get 7000 years.  And when we project 7000 years into
the future from 4990 BC, we find that it falls on the year 2011 AD.  4990
+ 2011 = 7001. He counseled us to remember, when counting from an Old
Testament date to a New Testament date, always to subtract one year
because there is no year zero, resulting in: 4990 + 2011 - 1 = 7000 years
exactly.

But May 21? On May 21, 1988, God finished using the churches and
congregations of the world.  The Spirit of God left all churches and Satan
entered into the churches to rule at that point in time.  The Bible
decrees that this period of judgment upon the churches will last for 23
years.  A full 23 years (8400 days exactly) would be from May 21, 1988
until May 21, 2011.  Camping took pains to remind his vast world audience
that this information was discovered in the Bible completely apart from
the information regarding the 7000 years from the flood.

At this point the geological contours of the Tehachapi pass interrupted
the radio signal and soon I was descending into the inferno of sunset over
Bakersfield.  Is Campoing madder than the augurers who have been
counseling Obama on his Afghan policy? Is his devoted audience more
gullible than the President?

Last week Obama invited Republicans as well as Democrats to the White
House for further review of the options. Obama has let events overtake
him, exactly as he allowed the health policy debate to spin out of his
control in the summer and early fall. He'll shoot for some sort of lethal
semi-compromise on reinforcements, thus feeding the right and angering his
liberal supporters. A year from now he'll be paying the penalty in the
mid-term elections, just as Clinton did.

Alexander Cockburn can be reached at alexandercockburn [at] asis.com


--------12 of 22--------

Upside Down World
Warmonger Wins Peace Prize
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
CounterPunch
October 9-11, 2009

It took 25 years longer than George Orwell thought for the slogans of 1984
to become reality.

"War is Peace," "Freedom is Slavery," "Ignorance is Strength".

I would add, "Lie is Truth".

The Nobel Committee has awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to President Obama,
the person who started a new war in Pakistan, upped the war in
Afghanistan, and continues to threaten Iran with attack unless Iran does
what the US government demands and relinquishes its rights as a signatory
to the non-proliferation treaty.

The Nobel committee chairman, Thorbjoern Jagland said, "Only very rarely
has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention
and given its people hope for a better future".

Obama, the committee gushed, has created "a new climate in international
politics".

Tell that to the 2 million displaced Pakistanis and the unknown numbers of
dead ones that Obama has racked up in his few months in office. Tell that
to the Afghans where civilian deaths continue to mount as Obama's "war of
necessity" drones on indeterminably.

No Bush policy has changed. Iraq is still occupied. The Guantanamo torture
prison is still functioning. Rendition and assassinations are still
occurring. Spying on Americans without warrants is still the order of the
day. Civil liberties are continuing to be violated in the name of
Oceania's "war on terror".

Apparently, the Nobel committee is suffering from the delusion that, being
a minority, Obama is going to put a stop to Western hegemony over
darker-skinned peoples.

The non-cynical can say that the Nobel committee is seizing on Obama's
rhetoric to lock him into the pursuit of peace instead of war. We can all
hope that it works. But the more likely result is that the award has made
"War is Peace" the reality.

Obama has done nothing to hold the criminal Bush regime to account, and
the Obama administration has bribed and threatened the Palestinian
Authority to go along with the US/Israeli plan to deep-six the UN's
Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes committed during Israel's inhuman
military attack on the defenseless civilian population in the Gaza Ghetto.

The US Ministry of Truth is delivering the Obama administration's
propaganda that Iran only notified the IAEA of its "secret" new nuclear
facility because Iran discovered that US intelligence had discovered the
"secret" facility. This propaganda is designed to undercut the fact of
Iran's compliance with the Safeguards Agreement and to continue the
momentum for a military attack on Iran.

The Nobel committee has placed all its hopes on a bit of skin color.

"War is Peace" is now the position of the formerly antiwar organization,
Code Pink. Code Pink has decided that women's rights are worth a war in
Afghanistan.

When justifications for war become almost endless - oil, hegemony, women's
rights, democracy, revenge for 9/11, denying bases to al Qaeda and
protecting against terrorists - war becomes the path to peace.

The Nobel committee has bestowed the prestige of its Peace Prize on
Newspeak and Doublethink.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be
reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com


--------13 of 22--------

Make War, Call It Peace
The WTF Prize
By DAVE LINDORFF
CounterPunch
October 9-11, 2009

It's not as much of a travesty as when Henry Kissinger, a war criminal of
the first order who was an architect of the latter stages of the Indochina
War, and was personally responsible for the slaughter of well over a
million innocent people, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, while that war
was still raging, but the awarding of the latest Nobel Peace Prize to
President Barack Obama is travesty enough.

We're talking about a man whose practically first act upon taking office
early this year was to escalate the ugly and pointless war in Afghanistan
with the addition of some 20,000 troops, and who, even as the Nobel
committee was discussing his award, was meeting with his military and
political advisors to consider expanding that war even further, both in
Afghanistan and across the border into Pakistan.

The Nobel Committee claimed that during Obama's short period as president,
the US "is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great
climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights
are to be strengthened."

Well, certainly when compared to the prior presidency of George W. Bush,
that statement is correct, but that's not saying much. After all, under
President Obama, Guantanamo's terrorist prison is still in operation and
is holding people whom even the government admits are guilty of nothing.
Under President Obama, the US has also blocked the Goldstone Report which
condemns Israel of war crimes in its recent assault on Gaza. And under
Obama, the US military in Afghanistan has continued to slaughter
disproportionate numbers of civilians through its wanton use of aerial
bombardment, pilotless Predator drones, and antipersonnel weaponry.

President Obama may have, as the Nobel Committee states, put forward a
vision of nuclear disarmament, but his administration at the same time
continues to refuse to sign the international anti-landmine treaty
(putting America in the wretched company of just Russia, India and China).
And under Obama, the US continues its role as not only the leading
producer and exporter of arms, but also as the major initiator of wars in
the world.  Under Obama the US continues to outspend the rest of the
world's nations combined on its military. And don't forget, Obama, like
President Bush before him, continues to threaten to attack Iran, over that
nation's alleged nuclear weapons program.a program the very existence of
which remains highly debatable.

As for climate change policy, President Obama in practice has taken a
largely hands-off approach to getting Congress to act, not using his
considerable political clout to force action on climate change
legislation. It is now conceded that the US will go to the international
climate conference in December with no bill passed to limit or reduce the
nation's CO2 emissions.  Nor is the Obama administration likely to push
for any significant program of CO2 reductions in the future.

Nominations for this year's Nobel Peace Prize closed on Feb. 1, less than
two weeks after Obama took the oath of office as President, but the Nobel
Committee in Norway had a good nine months since then to observe this
president's actions - and his lack of actions - on the key issues weighing
on the decision. In the end, committee members were bamboozled by this
president's rhetoric of hope just as were the American people during the
election campaign.  As the committee wrote in announcing its decision:
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the
world.s attention and given its people hope for a better future."

If Nobel Peace prizes are being awarded to people who are simply giving
the world hope, surely the judges could have found any number of worthy
speechifiers. Hell, even the dictatorial leaders of China and North Korea
can make flowery speeches about peace and human dignity. More to the
point, the committee had under consideration at least two far more
deserving nominees for the award who were actually acting at great
personal risk to further peace and human rights: Chinese freedom-fighter
Hu Jia and Afghani women's rights advocate Simi Samar.  It is an insult to
the memory of former award winners like the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jody
Williams, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi the Dalai Lama, Lech Walesa,
and others who put their lives and careers on the line to struggle for
peace and human dignity to give this award to a man who has accomplished
so little, and who, in fact, in his short time in office, has managed to
expand one war, to block the international condemnation of the brutality
of another, and who has done nothing to reverse his own country's leading
role as a promoter of war and international violence.

Henry Kissinger hung his blood-drenched Nobel Peace Award on his office
wall on Wall Street and continued to make obscene sums of money off human
suffering in his dotage. One can only hope (ah, that intoxicating word!)
that President Obama will take his award seriously, and will use his new
status as official man of peace to halt America's campaign of violence in
Afghanistan, calling a regional peace conference to settle that conflict
instead of simply expanding the war, that he will announce a major cut in
American military spending and a halt to arms exports, that he will sign
the landmine treaty and voluntarily end the production and use of
antipersonnel weapons of all kinds, and that he will finally have the US
join the International Criminal Court of Justice.

Right. Now that's the audacity of hope.

Dave Lindorff  is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His
latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin.s Press, 2006 and
now available in paperback). He can be reached at dlindorff [at] mindspring.com


--------14 of 22--------

Audacity in Norway
by Kim Petersen
October 9th, 2009
Dissident Voice

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has seen fit to award a peace prize to a man
less than a year into elected presidential office in the United States. So
what are Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize credentials?

Obama is a man who has yet to shut down a global gulag, who has yet to end
the warring in Iraq, who has yet to oversee the return of the elected
president of Haiti (deposed by US, Canadian, and French forces), who
stands unflinching on the coup d'etat in Honduras, who runs cover for
Israeli massacres of Palestinians and Israeli violations of the Geneva
Conventions (i.e., supporting war crimes), who seeks to proliferate
military bases in Columbia, who has ramped up the killing in Afghanistan,
and who has overseen the spillover of war into Pakistan.

Is this the criteria that is deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize?

The Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjrn Jagland said, "Only very
rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's
attention and given its people hope for a better future."

So Nobel Prizes are being handed out for offering hope? Is this an effort
to prod Obama along the road toward a peace-making presidency?

Didn't Norway reward Yitzhak Shamir, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat Nobel
Peace Prizes for giving the hope of peace in historical Palestine? Since
then Israel has carried out many slaughters of the indigenous
Palestinians. And yes, Palestinians have resisted with violence -
sometimes lethal.

Wasn't US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger co-awarded a 1973 Nobel Peace
Prize for negotiating a cease-fire in the US war on Vietnam? Hope was hung
around a ceasefire destined to collapse. At least Vietnam's Le Duc Tho had
the integrity to refuse a prize where peace was based on the tokenism of
hope.

There are many examples that contradict the notion that Nobel Prizes would
spur the US nation toward peace. Yet the leaders of the most warring
nation on the planet continue to be rewarded with peace prizes. It defies
rationality.

Did Obama offer a mea culpa for US atrocities?

Did Obama seek justice for the perpetrators behind the killing of an
estimated 1.3 million Iraqis based upon a concocted casus belli?

To his credit, Obama did something most unusual in acknowledging that the
US was behind the 1953 coup d'etat in Iran. Did he offer an apology? Did
he offer compensation?

Hoping for peace in a state based on the genocide, dispossession, and
marginalization of its Original Peoples, a state whose economy was largely
built through slavery, a state built through the expansionism of war with
its neighbors, a state built through dominating its hemisphere through
self-declared destiny, despite never managing the gumption to apologize
for these past grave crimes seems rather dubious.

There are plenty of states deserving of censure. However, when one state
with a long history of violence stands supremely powerful and claims
itself to be a beacon unto all other states, that is where transformation
must first occur in a world whose people long for a just peace.

That will require more than wishful thinking. It will require the audacity
to mobilize the masses to a revolution for peace.

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at:
kim [at] dissidentvoice.org.


--------15 of 22--------

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize: OK, He's A Nice Guy, But ...
by Andy Worthington
Friday, October 9, 2009
CommonDreams.org

Is it really appropriate for the Nobel Peace Prize - granted "for his
extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and
cooperation between peoples" - to be given to a man who, as
Commander-in-Chief, is still presiding over two wars, in which, as the
announcement was made, civilians may well have been dying as the result of
his orders?

Is it really appropriate for the Nobel Peace Prize to be given to a man
who would rather look forward than backwards when it comes to decisions,
taken at the highest levels of the previous administration, to turn
America from a country that upheld the universal torture ban into a
country that sought to redefine torture so that it could torture
"high-value detainees" in a network of secret prisons around the world?

Is it really appropriate for the Nobel Peace Prize to be given to a man
who, although he ordered the closure of Guantnamo and recognizes that it
"set back the moral authority" that, in his opinion, "is America's
strongest currency in the world," and also that it "became a symbol that
helped al-Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause," endorses indefinite
detention without charge or trial for some of the 221 prisoners still held
in the prison?

Is it really appropriate for the Nobel Peace Prize to be given to a man
who, through the Justice Department, is appealing a ruling extending the
habeas corpus rights granted by the Supreme Court to the prisoners at
Guantnamo to foreign prisoners seized in other countries and "rendered" to
the US prison at Bagram airbase - where some of these men have been held
for six years - even though the judge ruled that "the detainees themselves
as well as the rationale for detention are essentially the same"?

Is it really appropriate to give the Nobel Peace Prize to a man who,
although he revoked some of the Bush administration's vilest executive
orders and swore to uphold the universal torture ban, appears to be
actively involved in the rendition of prisoners to the US prison at Bagram
airbase?

Is it really appropriate for the Nobel Peace Prize to be given to a man
who, although professing his admiration for the Geneva Conventions, has
chosen to introduce Guantnamo-style reviews for the 600 or so Afghan
prisoners held at Bagram, rather than the competent tribunals stipulated
in Article 5 of the Geneva Conventions, and who, as a result, appears to
be endorsing the Bush administration's unilateral rewriting of the
Conventions?

In conclusion, although I realize that less deserving men have been given
the Nobel Peace Prize in previous years - Henry Kissinger, anyone? - and
although I reiterate that Barack Obama seems to be a nice guy, and that
his election victory last November lifted a cloud of tyranny from the
United States, I also have to note another ironic subtext to the award:
that it will, sadly, serve only to inflame the rabid wing of the
Republican party, which is predisposed to believe a Democratic President
is soft on national security issues, and who would only have respect for
the Nobel Committee if it introduced a Nobel War Prize and handed it to
Dick Cheney.

Andy Worthington is a journalist and historian, based in London. He is the
author of The Guantnamo Files, the first book to tell the stories of all
the detainees in America's illegal prison.


--------16 of 22--------

The Nobel War Prize
World Socialist Web Site
10 October 2009

Friday's announcement by the Nobel committee in Norway that Barack Obama
had been chosen to receive its 2009 Peace Prize was met with expressions
of astonishment around the globe.

Many questioned how Obama could be chosen after less than ten months in
office, with no discernable achievements on any front. He was inaugurated
just 11 days before the cut-off date for nominations for the prize.

More significant, however, is what Obama has done in office, which has
nothing to do with peace.

Obama appeared in the Rose Garden in the mid-morning to deliver remarks
that began with a declaration that he was "surprised and deeply humbled"
to receive the Peace Prize. He then marched back into the White House to
meet with his war council and discuss sending tens of thousands more
troops to Afghanistan and escalating the bombing in that country and
across the border in Pakistan.

Using his statement to issue veiled threats against Iran, Obama went out
of his way to declare himself the "commander-in-chief" and refer to the
two wars and occupations over which he presides.

While the Nobel committee praised him for his "vision of a world free from
nuclear arms," Obama commented that this goal "may not be completed in my
lifetime". Given that in talks with Moscow his administration has demanded
the right to keep a minimum of 1,500 nuclear warheads, he knows whereof he
speaks.

"We have to confront the world as we know it," said Obama, making a clear
distinction between his supposed "vision" and the reality of his
administration's bellicose policies.

On the surface, awarding a peace prize to the US president is farcical.
There are widespread warnings that the selection may well prove only an
embarrassment for the Obama administration. How is it possible to proclaim
a "commander-in-chief" who is responsible for war crimes, such as the of
bombing the civilian population of Afghanistan - one such attack having
claimed the lives of over 100 men, women and children just last May - as
the champion of peace?

Yet, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize has always been a dubious
distinction. Its reputation has never really recovered from the decision
to award it in 1973 to Henry Kissinger, who is today unable to leave the
United States for fear of being arrested as a war criminal. His
co-recipient, Le Duc Tho, the Vietnamese leader who negotiated the Paris
peace agreement with Kissinger, refused to accept the award, pointing out
that the accord had brought no peace to his country.

A few years later, Menachem Begin was chosen for the prize. The Nobel
committee chose to ignore his long career as a terrorist and killer,
honoring him for reaching the Camp David deal with Anwar Sadat of Egypt,
his co-recipient.

Jimmy Carter, whose administration instigated a war in Afghanistan that
claimed a million lives, was given the same award in 2002.

The committee cannot be accused of violating its own principles, such as
they are. The founder of the prize, Alfred Nobel, was the inventor of
dynamite. He would no doubt be intrigued by the Pentagon's efforts to
speed up production of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), a
30,000-pound bomb designed to obliterate underground targets. The weapon
is being readied for possible use against Iran.

Despite its praise for Obama's "vision" and for having "captured the
world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the
Nobel committee did not choose Obama based on illusions in his campaign
rhetoric.

The Nobel Peace Prize is, and always has been, a political award given
with the aim of promoting definite policies.

The selection was made by a committee composed of five members of the
Norwegian parliament drawn from the main parties, ranging from the
far-right to the social democrats. Its decisions reflect positions
prevailing within the European ruling elite as a whole.

Thorbjorn Jagland, the committee's chairman and a former Norwegian prime
minister, defended the choice of Obama in an interview with the New York
Times Friday, expressing the cynicism underlying the choice. "It's
important for the committee to recognize people who are struggling and
idealistic, but we cannot do that every year," he said. "We must from time
to time go into the realm of realpolitik".

Realpolitik doubtless played the decisive role in the recent selection of
two other prominent American politicians for the prize: Carter in 2002 and
Al Gore in 2007. Carter was picked on the eve of the US war against Iraq
in a rebuke to the belligerent unilateralism of the Bush administration.
The prize went to Gore, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2000, in
advance of the 2008 election, a not-so-subtle hint that Europe wanted a
break from the Bush administration.

While in those years the prize was employed as a critique of US foreign
policy, this time it represents an endorsement. As Jagland put it, "We
hope this can contribute a little bit to enhance what he is trying to do".

The glaring contradiction in giving the peace prize to Obama as he
prepares to send more troops into Afghanistan is more apparent than real.
The award is meant to legitimize Washington's escalation in Afghanistan,
its attacks on Pakistan and its continued occupation of Iraq, giving them
Europe's seal of approval as wars for peace.

It serves to undermine popular opposition within the United States and
internationally to the wars being waged under the Obama administration, as
well as to future ones still being planned.

The European powers support the war in Afghanistan, a position that is
more frequently finding its expression in the press. The British daily
Independent, for example, published an editorial Thursday declaring that
it "in principle" supports the call for sending as many as 40,000 more US
troops into the war.

Meanwhile, Germany, France and other countries have shifted their
positions on Iran as well, backing Washington's campaign for tougher
measures.

What ruling circles in Europe see in Obama is not a champion of peace, but
rather a shift away from the unilateralism of the Bush administration and
a willingness to factor European support into the pursuit of US
imperialism's strategic aims.

No doubt, Europe's governments calculate that their backing of the US
military interventions will translate into a stake in the exploitation of
the energy reserves of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

Moreover, in legitimizing these wars and promoting a return to
multilateralism in US foreign policy, the European powers see a means to
legitimize their own turn to militarism and to suppress opposition to war
within their own populations.

Obama's Nobel prize, far from signaling hope that the world's greatest
military power is turning toward peace, is itself an endorsement of war
and serves as a warning that the intensifying crisis of world capitalism
is creating the conditions for resurgent militarism and the threat of
widening international conflicts.

Bill Van Auken


--------17 of 22--------

The Blood-Stained Prize
Theater of the Absurd
By MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE
CounterPunch
October 9-11, 2009

Is this a bad dream?

No, Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yet, three days after he took the oath of office, he droned Pakistan,
killing civilians, including children. This continues.

Our country is engaged in three wars.

We have a huge mercenary army, unaccountable to military law.

Guantanamo is still up and running.

Torture, torture, torture. Extreme Rendition.

The US Senate just passed a $636 billion defense-spending bill, less than
what the president requested.

Candidate Obama promised change - going outside the Beltway for fresh
ideas from political appointees. But there is no business unusual.

Instead, we have Hillary War-Orgasmic Clinton as Secretary of State.

Richard Holier-Than-Thou-Holbrooke, United States Special Envoy to AFPAK.

Bush/Cheney's Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense.

Gen. Stanley Cover-up-Pat-Tillman's-Death McChrystal, US Commander in
Afghanistan.

Vice President Joe Zionist Biden.

US Imperialism.

Multiple deployment for our troops who return with untreated Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder.

A growing number of troop suicides.

Unequivocal support for Israel and her war crimes against the
Palestinians.

Perhap, the Nobel Peace Prize should be renamed the Nobel War Prize. Then,
all of this would make sense.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public
Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush
Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families
for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her
nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she
has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:
Missybeat [at] aol.com


--------18 of 22--------

Obama Will Go Naked to Oslo
Obama, Kissinger, Wilson, Roosevelt and Moniz
by John Walsh
October 10th, 2009
Dissident Voice

Quick. What do Barack Obama, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry
Kissinger and Egar Moniz have in common? All won the Nobel Prize, the
first four for "peace" either as sitting presidents, or in Kissinger's
case, while his bombs were falling on innocents in Vietnam. Moniz won the
prize in Physiology or Medicine for his invention of the lobotomy. Of
these five, he wrought the least carnage.

Yesterday we awoke to news that Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Some looked quick to see whether it was April 1. Most often folks mumbled
resignedly "War is Peace". I prefer the Vietnam era formulation that
warring for peace is like fu**ing for virginity. A few wept tears of
disappointment, certainly mainstream Medea Benjamin who, having recently
come out definitively as a hawk, must have thought that with this
adjustment the Nobel was certainly in sight. Code Pink needs a new name
now. Justin Raimondo suggests Code Yellow. But I believe Whores for Wars
might be better. (That would only apply to Medea and the national
leadership, many of the local Code Pinkers being genuine anti-
interventionists who cannot stomach the narcissistic national leadership
like mainstream Medea.)

My good friend and Israeli expat Joshua was at first afraid he was having
a bad dream or that the Nobel committee was working a cruel joke. After
all, Joshua reasoned, Obama is war criminal, who has engineered the
biggest military spending in human history, who daily drops bombs on
innocents, women and children in at least three countries, Afghanistan,
Iraq and Pakistan, who supports the worst war criminals and lodges some in
his administration, who destroyed in a few months the "hope" for a peace
in the middle east. The western world has gone crazy, no doubt, says
Joshua. And since war is now peace we might rename all organizations
appropriately - United for War and Justice, War Action, and so on.

This led Joshua to predictions for future Nobels.

Next year, literature: Obama for "The Audacity of Hope" - the greatest
fiction ever.

Next year, economy: Obama - creating a new statistical metric for
recovery.

Next year, peace: Bush/Cheney - based on Obama's peace prize precedent.

Year after, peace: Netanyahu - the man behind Obama's peace in the middle
east.

But to this writer we witness the second repetition of history. The US
Empire's first great colonial war on the Asian mainland in the last half
century was Truman's Korean war. This was repeated as tragedy in Vietnam
at the hands of the Best and Brightest, with Johnson and Kennedy in the
lead. And now the Iraq/AfPak war comes at us from Bush and Obama and
Congresses both Democrat and Republic. If Vietnam was tragedy, then
certainly Iraq/AfPak is farce. There were no WMD in Iraq and everyone knew
it. By the military's own admission there are about 100 Al-Qaeda in
Afghanistan, so the US troops are not there because of Al-Qaeda - and
everyone knows it.

Now the ultimate comedic turn comes with the award to Obama of the Nobel
War Prize. Perhaps the antiwar movement needs to adjust its tone from pure
outrage to ridicule. After all Obama and the elite running this country
are without clothes as they parade before us as men of peace, puffed up
with talk of fake health care reform and assuring us of economic recovery
that provides no jobs. It would be hard to make this stuff up. And through
our tears at the predicament we are in, we can at least ridicule these
hypocritical murderers. They deserve to be seen clearly as the cruel and
absurd hollow men that they are. They march before us unknowingly naked.

If the Nobel Committee were serious, Cindy Sheehan would have won the
award long ago.

John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar [at] gmail.com.


--------19 of 22--------

War and Peace Prizes
by Howard Zinn
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The Guardian/UK
Common Dreams

I was dismayed when I heard Barack Obama was given the Nobel peace prize.
A shock, really, to think that a president carrying on two wars would be
given a peace prize. Until I recalled that Woodrow Wilson, Theodore
Roosevelt, and Henry Kissinger had all received Nobel peace prizes. The
Nobel committee is famous for its superficial estimates, won over by
rhetoric and by empty gestures, and ignoring blatant violations of world
peace.

Yes, Wilson gets credit for the League of Nations - that ineffectual body
which did nothing to prevent war. But he had bombarded the Mexican coast,
sent troops to occupy Haiti and the Dominican Republic and brought the US
into the slaughterhouse of Europe in the first World War, surely among
stupid and deadly wars at the top of the list.

Sure, Theodore Roosevelt brokered a peace between Japan and Russia. But he
was a lover of war, who participated in the US conquest of Cuba,
pretending to liberate it from Spain while fastening US chains on that
tiny island. And as president he presided over the bloody war to subjugate
the Filipinos, even congratulating a US general who had just massacred 600
helpless villagers in the Phillipines. The Committee did not give the
Nobel prize to Mark Twain, who denounced Roosevelt and criticised the war,
nor to William James, leader of the anti-imperialist league.

Oh yes, the committee saw fit to give a peace prize to Henry Kissinger,
because he signed the final peace agreement ending the war in Vietnam, of
which he had been one of the architects. Kissinger, who obsequiously went
along with Nixon's expansion of the war, with the bombing of peasant
villages in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Kissinger, who matches the
definition of a war criminal very accurately, is given a peace prize!

People should be given a peace prize not on the basis of promises they
have made - as with Obama, an eloquent maker of promises - but on the
basis of actual accomplishments towards ending war, and Obama has
continued deadly, inhuman military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Pakistan.

The Nobel peace committee should retire, and turn over its huge funds to
some international peace organization which is not awed by stardom and
rhetoric, and which has some understanding of history.

 2009 Guardian News and Media Limited
Howard Zinn is the author of "A People's History of the United States,"
"Voices of a People's History" (with Anthony Arnove), and "A Power
Governments Cannot Suppress".


--------20 of 22--------

Nobel Befuddlement: Why Obama Doesn't Deserve It
by Jason Del Gandio
October 10th, 2009
Dissident Voice

I really don't see how Barack Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Less
than nine months in, his administration has done very little to actually
make our world a more peaceful place. Obama has sent more troops to
Afghanistan and may in fact send more, thus escalating rather than
withdrawing from the war. He is keeping to a timeline for withdrawing from
Iraq that was actually set before he became president. On his first day in
office he declared that he will close the Guantanamo prison, but has not
yet figured out how to actually make that happen. He has done little to
intervene in a right-wing coup that has recently happen in Honduras. He
said very little when Iranian protesters were fighting against their
tyrant government, being beaten, jailed, and even killed. He also
continued the bank bailouts, helping the very institutions that have
inflicted direct harm and pain upon thousands, even millions of Americans.
This list of actions and policies do not necessarily translate into a
horrible presidency. Obama is simply continuing the American status quo.
But the Nobel Peace Prize is about extraordinary accomplishments; about
courageously acting against the status quo in the hopes of creating a more
peaceful world. The Nobel hype simply doesn't match the concrete reality.

The progressive organization True Majority sent out an email today
(October 9th) via its listserv. It highlighted True Majority's support for
the award. Here are their reasons as to why Obama deserves it:

1) Obama de-escalated the conflict with Russia by ending Bush's needless
missile defense programs;

2) After years of bluster and military threats from Bush, Obama
successfully re-reopened dialogue with Iran, including their nuclear
program;

3) In Egypt and Eastern Europe, where Bush's government was a symbol of
tyranny and empire, Obama electrified young people and reformers while
pointing the way to a nuclear-free future;

4) And where Bush wanted to begin a new arms race, Obama has begun to
bring sanity to the military budget by ending programs like the F-22 and
missile defense.

The majority of these reasons are more about disagreeing with George W.
Bush's hawkish, imperialist policies rather than applauding any concrete,
peaceful, or anti-imperialist policies of Barack Obama. I also don't see
how "electrifying" populations is a legitimate criteria for the prize.
Obamania was months ago; the honeymoon is over. In terms of nuclear
de-escalation, that's great. But many political leaders have paid such lip
service while few if any have delivered. And the last reason just doesn't
hold up. The United States of America continues to have the largest
military budget in the entire world. It's not even close: the U.S.
accounts for 48% of the world's total military spending and spends more
than the next 45 countries combined.1 The Obama administration has not
come close to denting these figures.

I admit that the election of Obama has definitely shifted the political
discourse in the country. It's now okay to discuss left-of-center ideas
and policies without worrying about right-wing "anti-American" sneers.
That accounts for the "breath of fresh air" vibe since last November. But
other than that, no real change has yet occurred. People's immediate,
everyday lives are not all that different from the Bush years. And that's
just in the U.S. let alone the rest of the world.

I also recognize and appreciate that Obama has engaged in multilateral
diplomacy. But isn't such diplomacy to be expected in our age of
democratic governance? I didn't know that multilateral talk was something
extraordinary. If it is, then most elected leaders of the free world
deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

In analyzing the evidence, it seems that Obama was given the award for
some type of disingenuous reason. At best, I see it as an attempt on the
part of the Nobel committee to push Obama toward more peacemaking and to
once again comment on the Bush years. Both intentions may seem fine. But I
believe that one possible negative consequence of this award is that
people will say, Oh, see, Obama is perfect and we (the people) don't have
to push him - he'll take care of it all on his own. That type of thinking
just doesn't work given the fact that every special interest group pushes
every president in a million different ways, and the real wants and needs
of everyday people are left out of the discussion. We need to stop patting
Obama on the back for something he has not yet accomplished and start
directly pressuring his entire administration toward more peaceful ways.
That's the whole point of democracy.

1. The Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation. [.]

Jason Del Gandio is a writer, activist, and Assistant Professor of Public
Communication at Temple University (Philadelphia). He specializes in
rhetoric, critical analysis, and the philosophy of human communication.
His first book is Rhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for Twenty-First
Century Activists. He can be reached at: rhetoric4radicals [at] gmail.com.


--------21 of 22--------

 If Obama gets
 a prize for peace, Gandhi should
 get a prize for war.


--------22 of 22--------

 It's clear: someone put
 ludefisk where the Nobel
 board's brains used to be.

 [Something rotten in Norway]

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