|Progressive Calendar 03.06.12 /2||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2012 11:09:37 -0800 (PST)|
*P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.06.12* 1. Money 3.06/3.07 7pm 2. UHCAM 3.06 7pm 3, KFAI programming 3.06 7pm 4. Peace bridge 3.07 4:30pm 5. Oversee cops/CRA 3.07 5:30pm 6. Common Dreams - Obama moves G-8 summit from Chicago to secluded Camp David 7. Chris Hedges - AIPAC works for the 1 percent 8. ed - Bootstrap world (poem men-de) --------1 of 8-------- From: Richard Kotlarz richkotlarz [at] gmail.com Money 3.06/3.07 7pm Week #7 Sessions: Tues, 3/6/12, Open Workshop - Money, Society and the Spirit Suggested theme: Open â Bring your questions and topics of concern Wed, 3/7/12, Course Offering - Deconstructing & Renewing the Economic Order This weekâs subject(s) â Continue picturing the process by which a âDollarâ is born, and its ramifications for our economic practice, language and culture. Location: Macalester College (Old Main, Rm 009), 1600 Grand Avenue, St Paul, MNTime: 7 to 9 pm Facilitators: Richard Kotlarz: richkotlarz [at] gmail.com, 218-828-1366 Richard is a seeker after the truth about money and the economic life, who has engaged in literally thousands of discussions on money-related topics with people from all walks of life, across the U.S., and in Canada and Europe. Steven Gorg: steve [at] stevegorg.com, 651-334-7624 Steven is a professional environmental engineer who has come to see that becoming truly conscious about Money is the portal through which a meaningful and effective ecological and social transformation can be achieved. The purpose of this discussion is to open a positive dialogue amongst the good people of all segments of society, from the grassroots to the corporate board room, and including bankers and economists. There are stories to be told and realities to be considered from every perspective. All are warmly invited to join the conversation. Offered under auspices of Experimental Community Education of the Twin Cities (EXCOTC) Quote of the Week: âWhen a bank makes a loan, it simply adds to the borrowerâs deposit account in the bank by the amount of the loan. The money is not taken from anyone elseâs deposit; it was not previously paid in to the bank by anyone. Itâs new money, created by the bank for the use of the borrower.â Robert B. Anderson, Treasury Secretary under Eisenhower, in an interview reported in the August 31, 1959 issue of U.S. News and World Report General Information â What is the real story behind all the bad economic news? â Why are we not richer by our burgeoning tangible wealth, instead of poorer by a snowballing financial âdebtâ? â How could it be that an innocent child born in the U.S. today is already, according to the âexperts,â a quarter-million dollars in âdebtâ? When did newborn babies borrow this money? How are they supposed to ârepayâ it? Is their future mortgaged before it starts? Has âoriginal debtâ replaced âoriginal sinâ? â If every dollar in circulation is âborrowedâ into existence through âloansâ from private banks, where does the money to pay the âinterestâ come from? â After a century of explosive growth in real economic activity, why have we not grown out of our âdebtâ? Is there a perverse logic built into the system that is causing us to grow into it our âdebtâ? â Why in the last century have family farmers been forced off the land by financial foreclosure, or threat of foreclosure, until now those living on the farm comprise less that two-percent of the population? â What is this âdebtâ burden doing in real terms to our civilization, our earth, ourselves? What is âdebtâ anyway? What is its effect on the psyche of generations growing up in saturation of its financial demands, ecological devastation and social disintegration? â If I am well-educated, working hard and âplaying by the rulesâ in the ârichest country on earth,â why can I not pay my bills and/or why am I perpetually in debt? â Has fear of financial destitution replaced fear of dying as the most dreaded eventuality in peopleâs lives? â Is there hope? These and many other monetary riddles haunt our post-modern world. Indeed, they are increasingly experienced as threatening the viability of our personal lives, the existence of civilization, and even the continuation of life on earth itself. Can we get a perspective on this? Can we turn a corner? Is there a vision on the other side? These questions and more will be explored in two separate series of two-hour evening sessions that will meet every week on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Tuesday Open Workshop: Money, Society and the Spirit This is conceived of as a discussion that will introduce the attendee to the way money originates and how, generally, the financial order, political life and civilized culture arises from that process. From there we will explore money and economy along whatever avenues of inquiry are of interest to those attending. All are welcome, whether having attended a previous session or not. The tenor of Tuesdayâs conversation session will be informal. It will start at 7 pm (promptness is helpful), and end at 9 pm, or however long people want to stay and talk. Wednesday Course Offering: Deconstructing & Renewing the Economic Order For those interested in a more structured, rigorous and substantive learning experience, each Wednesday evening there will be a class that will offer specific content much in the manner of a college course, but without right answers, grades or accreditation. Nevertheless, there will be an emphasis on intellectual rigor and conversational discipline. In particular each attendee will be asked to set aside his or her previously acquired âfinancial sophistication,â and be ready to approach the subject with a clean slate. Holding forth on oneâs opinions, ideologies or expertise about the financial order and will be strongly discouraged. This will be a serious exploration of âMoney,â a topic that has so far bedeviled human experience, along new paths of inquiry. The first hour will be devoted to a lecture-presentation, and the second opened up to discussion based on what had been presented. Each class will have an announced topic or theme, and, as required, hand out material. The tenor of the Wednesdayâs class session will more formal, and the importance of starting promptly (7 pm), and ending on time (9 pm), is emphasized. Regular attendance is strongly recommended, and any content missed can be covered in one-on-one or small-group discussions with the facilitators outside the class session. Those who wish to join in after the class sessions have started are welcome, but are encouraged to meet with a facilitator outside of class in preparation. We will be embarked upon a serious course of study, analysis and exploration, and it is crucial that a rigor of thought and discipline of discourse be observed. The rewards, we believe will be great. The Tuesday and Wednesday sessions are separate offerings, and it is not necessary to attend both, but they are designed to compliments each other, and attending both could create a more comprehensive experience. The facilitators are available outside of scheduled sessions for special consultation. Both classes are free, but there are costs, so donations will be gratefully accepted. We ask that those who attend and find the benefits of the sessions to be real seriously consider the gesture of making an offering at whatever level seems good. At the root of our work is a pay-it-forward spirit, and the ideal that we all benefit if we look to the needs of others, as we would appreciate others considering ours. Economically speaking, that is how we become visible to each other in an actual way that reaches beyond the merely theoretical or rhetorical. Monies or other resources received will be used with an eye toward ensuring that the unfolding public conversation and consciousness about âmoneyâ will continue. Experience suggests that we will have a wonderfully fruitful time. Dates & Times (Sessions held every Tuesday/Wednesday, from January 24/25 through May 22/23, 2012): All sessions will convene from 7 to 9 pm: --------2 of 8-------- From:Joel Albers UHCAM 3.06 7pm Next UHCAN-MN mtg, Tues March 6, 7:00pm, Walker Church, Mpls, 55406 (3104 16th ave S,1 block from Lake Str. and Bloomington Ave, basement Gallery). Agenda: 1. Update on Co-op Care: A Prairie Health Companion.We are in the exciting process of creating Co-op Care (member-owned, operated, democratically controlled, single-payer principles). This will be a way for people to divest from major insurance companies by building on the base of co-ops, non-profits and the arts that MN leads the nation in. If you are interested in helping or supporting this effort, pls attend.Open to the public. We seeking more qualified people to be on our Board of directors, esp if you are a physician, have a particular skill to contribute, and if you think you may actually become a member of Co-op Care. B of D job description and responsibilities is listed below. 2. Scrutiny of HMOs who administer and profiteer from public programs like Medical Assistance,MNCare is back on the hot seat. Another demo at the HMO lobbying association might help put on added pressure as we did last May and got major media coverage. Other agenda items ? Hot coffee, tea, and snacks provided. Hope to see you there. This meeting is definately for current Co-op Care Board members too. --------3 of 8-------- lydiahowell [at] comcast.net KFAI programming 3.06 7pm WANT A VOICE IN KFAI RADIO PROGRAMMING? Come to the monthly KFAI Programming Committee meeting (first Tuesday of every month). For those of you who have said "Take away THE TAKEAWAY!" or "Why can't we have more progressive public affairs programs?" or "We want a real call-in show!" Come to this meeting (info below) Another chance to be heard: KFAI Spring Pledge Drive: Sat.Mar,.24-Fri.April 6. Come answer pledge phones for a couple of hours, eat great food & engage with KFI staff & programmers. Call Pam Hill-Kroyer: (612)341-3144 x 22 to sign up for a shift. >From KFAI Radio Executive Director "Janis Lane-Ewart" janislaneewart [at] kfai.org The monthly meeting of the KFAI Program Committee is taking place next Tuesday, March 6th, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in Studio 5 at KFAI Radio, 1808 Riverside Ave.S. (street-level MAPPS COFFEE & TEA), 3rd floor, West Bank, Minneapolis.Parking: paid in lot behind KFAI or in U of M ramp nest door;parking meters. The proposed agenda is listed below. Everyone is welcome to attend. AGENDA: Call To Order 5 minutes Approve Agenda 5 minutes Review of Feb. 7, 2012 committee minutes 5 minutes KFAI Programmer Handbook Revision 30 minutes Monitoring of Programmerâs Playlists 15 minutes Update on Eritrean Community Radio 10 minutes Update on Program Opening â The Session 5 minutes Update on BHM & IWD programming 10 minutes Update on Program Director Hiring Process 5 minutes --------4 of 8-------- From: Meredith Aby Peace bridge 3.07 4:30pm Special Focus - Through March 2012: Wednesday Peace Vigils to Say NO to War on Iran March 7, 14, 21 & 28 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River between Minneapolis & St. Paul. Organizers of the Wednesday Weekly Peace Vigil will dedicate the vigils from the end of February through March to speaking out against the threat of a U.S. war on Iran. Join any of the Wednesday vigils to SAY NO! to a new U.S. war. Join the Wednesday Peace Vigil:Feb. 29, March 7, 14, 21 & 28 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River between Minneapolis & St. Paul. Be part of a visible anti-war presence! The weekly vigil is sponsored by Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Women Against Military Madness. The call for a special focus against a war on Iran at the Wednesday vigils is also endorsed by Anti-War Committee, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and Veterans for Peace. For more info: 612-522-1861 or 612-827-5364 If you canât come to the Wednesday events, organize friends and neighbors to hold an anti-war vigil in March in your neighborhood. For support or information on organizing your neighborhood event in March, call the WAMM office at 612-827-5364. --------5 of 8-------- From: CUAPB Oversee cops/CRA 3.07 5:30pm Communities United Against Police Brutality ALL OUT ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7: STOP THE GUTTING OF INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT OF COPS JOIN US AT: Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority Board Meeting Wednesday, March 7 at 5:30 p.m. Minneapolis City Hall, Room 241 350 S. 5th Street, Minneapolis In their latest move to destroy independent oversight of police by the community, the city has been holding secret meetings between CRA and internal affairs staff. The outcome of these meetings? An outrageous proposal to merge the CRA into the Internal Affairs department, gutting the ability for the community to report police misconduct to an agency outside of the police department. Intrepid activist Chuck Turchick learned about the secret meetings by accident and shared the news with CRA board members, who had never been told about the scheme to destroy the CRA. As a result, Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel, Police Chief Tim Dolan, and City Attorney Susan Segal are forced to finally share the scheme with the CRA board at their meeting on Wednesday. A copy of this rotten plan is attached and below is an article by the Randy Furst with the Strib, which has been doing a good job of covering the issue. Can you imagine a situation in which the agency overseeing the cops is controlled by the very cops they are supposed to oversee? Talk about a formula for failure. We're planning to be at Wednesday's meeting to voice the concerns of the community. MAKE YOUR PLANS NOW TO JOIN US! SPEAK OUT AGAINST THIS PLAN TO PUT COPS IN CHARGE OF THE COMMUNITY'S COMPLAINT PROCESS. In the meantime, the police federation is working behind the scenes on another way to gut community oversight of police. They have put forward a bill in the legislature that would prohibit all CRAs in the state from issuing findings of fact in complaints and, instead, they could just issue an opinion on whether or not the case had merit. The Strib's article on a this legislation http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/140087963.html sums up the legislation very well. Tony Cornish, chief sponsor of the house bill and a former police chief told the Strib, "Basically civilian review boards very rarely know anything about police tactics or use of force" implying that the community is just too stupid to judge the cops. The fallacy of this argument is that CRA board members get use of force training from the cops themselves. Further, is this guy saying that juries are not fit to judge the actions of cops in police misconduct cases? That might be one of the main motivators behind this legislation, as revealed by Minneapolis Police Federation head John Delmonico, who told the Strib that even if the chief does not impose discipline, the finding of fact remains on an officers' record. The findings, if not sustained by the chief, are not public, but they get disclosed in court cases anyway. What they are really worried about, then, is that civil rights attorneys will find out about all the complaints against cops that are never disciplined and will be able to show a pattern of failure of the city to address the issues and reign in the cops. The actual legislation, from the state website: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/revisor/pages/search_status/status_detail.php?b=House&f=HF2409&ssn=0&y=2011 This legislation wouldn't just affect the Minneapolis CRA but would destroy the ability of other communities to develop oversight models with any real teeth. The house bill, HF2409, passed out of the republican-dominated Public Safety and Crime Prevention committee easily, despite public opposition. It is on its way to the house floor. There is now a Senate version of the bill, SF1981, which has been referred to the Judiciary and Public Safety committee. PLEASE, PLEASE take a few minutes to contact members of that committee. The list of members and their contact information is at http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/committees/committee_bio.php?cmte_id=3053&ls=#members. Let them know why it's vital to a democracy for the community to have real oversight of police. To follow these or any other bills in the Minnesota legislature, go to http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/leg/billsublogin.asp and set up a MyBills account. --------6 of 8-------- [Wouldn't want those "citizens" (yuk barf ptui) showing up...] Obama Moves G-8 Summit from Chicago to Secluded Camp David - Common Dreams staff Published on Monday, March 5, 2012 by Common Dreams The Obama White House announced Monday evening that it was moving the May annual summit meeting of the Group of 8 (G-8) industrialized nations from Chicago to the secluded Presidential compound at Camp David, Maryland. Chicago The gathering of NATO allies and the International Security Assistance Force will go on in Chicago as planned in mid-May. The two summits had been scheduled for Chicago during the same weekend, May 18-21. Mayor Rahm Emanuel had personally lobbied Obama, his old boss, to host both summits. It would have been the first time since 1977 in London that the two organizations held meetings in the same city at the same time. Protest organizers say that if the move was intended to slow them down, that wouldn't happen. âThe main thing is, the protests will go forward,â said anti-war protest leader Andy Thayer. âWe believe that NATO is, frankly, the de facto military arm of G-8 and anybody whoâs upset with G-8 should be upset with NATO.â * * * The Chicago Tribune reports: After the initial surprise over word from the White House today that the May G-8 summit has been moved to Camp David, Chicago officials and protest organizers quickly turned to speculation of how that would affect the NATO meeting that is still planned for that weekend in the city. World leaders are still expected for the May 20-21 NATO gathering, including most of the Group of Eight leaders who will meet in Camp David earlier that weekend, officials said. The head of Chicago's host committee for the summits sought to focus on that in comments today. âIâm sure it was a decision that was not made lightly,â said Lori Healey, executive director of the Chicago G-8/NATO host committee. When asked if she had knowledge of the cancellation prior to Monday, she said she did not. âObviously, the White House doesnât consult with the host committee,â she said. âI understand the reasons. There are critical issues that the White House wants to discuss in a more intimate setting. Thatâs the situation.â [...] âThey moved them to avoid us. The G-8 leaders were going to be the targets of the largest protest in the United States against their agenda. They decided, letâs move them someplace where it will be much harder for crowds to assemble." -Joe Iosbaker, Chicago G-8 protest organizerEarly word from protest organizers was that if the move was intended to slow them down, that wouldn't happen. âThe main thing is, the protests will go forward,â said anti-war protest leader Andy Thayer. âWe believe that NATO is, frankly, the de facto military arm of G-8 and anybody whoâs upset with G-8 should be upset with NATO.â Because G-8 is being moved to a remote, highly secure location, Thayer said Chicago will still be a magnet for large demonstrations. âI believe that people will very much focus on Chicago. So much organization has already gone into this,â he said, adding that groups will tinker with their demonstration plans rather than abandon them. âWeâre going to have a quick consultation to see whether we need to move our demonstration from the 19th to the 20th.â Harvey Grossman, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said he imagines there will less protest interest now that G-8 has been removed from the weekend of summits. âSome of the primary concerns people have have been taken off the plate,â Grossman said. âPeople wanted to reach out to that audience. They wanted to show their level of dissent to the economic policies. Itâs a disappointment in terms of the ability to engage.â [...] Protesters sought to claim a share of credit for the move. âThey moved them to avoid us,â said Joe Iosbaker, a protest organizer. âThe G-8 leaders were going to be the targets of the largest protest in the United States against their agenda. They decided, letâs move them someplace where it will be much harder for crowds to assemble.â Iosbaker called the move a victory for protesters. âWeâre still marching, whether we move the day to be there during the actual (NATO) summit,â Iosbaker said. * * * The New York Times reports: President Obama has boasted for months about hosting the annual summit of the Group of 8 industrialized nations this May in his hometown of Chicago, but on Monday, the White House without explanation announced a shift to the secluded setting of the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland. Administration officials and associates, speaking only on the condition of anonymity, said the president in recent weeks began discussing the idea of a more intimate setting for the world leaders â both to ease their communications and to cut down on the security concerns and traffic tie-ups of a big-city summit. Also, several noted, Vladimir V. Putin, a harsh critic of the United States who returns to the presidency of Russia after his election on Sunday, will be among the attendees. [...] Still, the change of location was unusual given the months-long lead time that such events require for preparation. Administration officials and others denied that the prospect of the anti-globalization protests common to such gatherings was a factor in the decision to change locations. After the Group of 8 summit, the separate summit of 28 NATO countries and Russia will go on as planned in Chicago, where leaders will discuss the future of the Atlantic alliance and specifically the coalitionâs exit from Afghanistan by 2014 and the size and makeup of any residual force there. --------7 of 8-------- AIPAC Works for the 1 Percent by Chris Hedges Published on Monday, March 5, 2012 by Truthdig.com Chris Hedges gave this talk Saturday night in Washington, D.C., at the Occupy AIPAC protest, organized by CODEPINK Women for Peace and other peace, faith and solidarity groups. The battle for justice in the Middle East is our battle. It is part of the vast, global battle against the 1 percent. It is about living rather than dying. It is about communicating rather than killing. It is about love rather than hate. It is part of the great battle against the corporate forces of death that reign over usâthe fossil fuel industry, the weapons manufacturers, the security and surveillance state, the speculators on Wall Street, the oligarchic elites who assault our poor, our working men and women, our children, one in four of whom depend on food stamps to eat, the elites who are destroying our ecosystem with its trees, its air and its water and throwing into doubt our survival as a species. What is being done in Gaza, the worldâs largest open-air prison, is a pale reflection of what is slowly happening to the rest of us. It is a window into the rise of the global security state, our new governing system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls âinverted totalitarianism.â It is a reflection of a world where the powerful are not bound by law, either on Wall Street or in the shattered remains of the countries we invade and occupy, including Iraq with its hundreds of thousands of dead. And one of the greatest purveyors of this demented ideology of violence for the sake of violence, this flagrant disregard for the rule of domestic and international law, is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. I spent seven years in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I lived for two of those seven years in Jerusalem. AIPAC does not speak for Jews or for Israel. It is a mouthpiece for right-wing ideologues, some of whom hold power in Israel and some of whom hold power in Washington, who believe that because they have the capacity to war wage they have a right to wage war, whose loyalty, in the end, is not to the citizens of Israel or Palestine or the United States but the corporate elites, the defense contractors, those who make war a business, those who have turned ordinary Palestinians, Israelis and Americans, along with hundreds of millions of the worldâs poor, into commodities to exploit, repress and control. We have not brought freedom, democracy and the virtues of Western civilization to the Muslim world. We have brought state terrorism, massive destruction, war and death. There is no moral distinction between a drone strike and the explosion of the improvised explosive device, between a suicide bombing and a targeted assassination. We have used the iron fist of the American military to implant our oil companies in Iraq, occupy Afghanistan and ensure that the Muslim world remains submissive and compliant. We have supported a government in Israel that has carried out egregious war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza and is daily stealing larger and larger portions of Palestinian land. We have established a network of military bases, some the size of small cities, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait, and we have secured basing rights in the Gulf states of Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. We have expanded our military operations to Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Egypt, Algeria and Yemen. And no one believes, except perhaps us, that we have any intention of leaving. And let us not forget that deep inside our secret world of offshore penal colonies, black sites, and torture and interrogation centers, we practice the cruelty and barbarity that always accompanies unchecked imperial power. There were scores of graphic pictures and videos from the prison in Abu Ghraib that were swiftly classified and hidden from public view. And in these videos, as Seymour Hersh reported, mothers who were arrested with their young sons, often children, watched in horror as their boys were repeatedly sodomized. This was filmed. And on the soundtrack you hear the boys shrieking. And the mothers were smuggling notes out to their families saying, âCome and kill us because of what is happening.â We are the biggest problem in the Middle East. It is we who legitimize the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads, suicide bombers and radical jihadists. The longer we drop iron fragmentation bombs and seize Muslim land, the longer we kill with impunity, the more these monsters, reflections of our own distorted image, will proliferate. âIf you gaze into the abyss,â Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, âthe abyss gazes into you.â I am no friend of the Iranian regime, which helped create and arm Hezbollah, is certainly meddling in Iraq, has persecuted human rights activists, gays, women and religious and ethnic minorities, embraces racism and intolerance, and uses its power to deny popular will. And yes, it is a regime that appears determined to build a nuclear weapon, although I would stress that no one has offered any proof this is occurring. I have spent time in Iranian jails. I was once deported from Tehran in handcuffs. But I do not remember Iran orchestrating a coup in the United States to replace an elected government with a brutal dictator who for decades persecuted, assassinated and imprisoned democracy activists. I do not remember Iran arming and funding a neighboring state to wage war against our country. Iran never shot down one of our passenger jets, as did the USS Vincennesânicknamed Robocruiser by the crews of other American vesselsâwhen in June 1988 it fired missiles at an Airbus filled with Iranian civilians, killing everyone on board. Iran is not sponsoring terrorist strikes within the United States, as our intelligence services and the Israeli intelligence services currently do in Iran. We have not seen five of our top nuclear scientists since 2007 murdered on American soil. The attacks in Iran include suicide bombings, kidnappings, beheadings, sabotage and âtargeted assassinationsâ of government officials and other Iranian leaders. What would we do if the situation were reversed? How would we react if Iran carried out similar acts of terrorism against us? We are, and have long been, the primary engine for radicalism in the Middle East. The greatest favor we can do for democracy activists in Iran, as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf and the states that dot North Africa, is to withdraw our troops from the region and begin to speak to Iranians and the rest of the Muslim world in the civilized language of diplomacy, respect and mutual interests. The longer we cling to the doomed doctrine of permanent war the more we give credibility to the extremists who need, indeed yearn for, an enemy that speaks in the same crude slogans of nationalist cant and violence that they do. The louder the Israelis and their idiot allies in Washington call for the bombing of Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions, the happier are the morally bankrupt clerics who are ordering the beating and murder of demonstrators. We may laugh when crowds supporting [President] Ahmadinejad call us âthe Great Satan,â but there is a very palpable reality that informs the terrible algebra of their hatred. And since even the most optimistic scenarios say that any strike on Iranian nuclear installations will at best set back Iranâs alleged weapons program by [only] three or four years, we can be sure that violence will beget violence, just as fanaticism begets fanaticism. The hypocrisy of this vaunted moral crusade is not lost on those in the Middle East. Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pakistan, India and Israel did not and developed nuclear weapons programs in secret. Israel now has an estimated 400 to 600 nuclear weapons. The word âDimona,â the name of the city where the nuclear facilities are located in Israel, is shorthand in the Muslim world for the deadly Israeli threat to Muslimsâ existence. What lessons did the Iranians learn from our Israeli, Pakistani and Indian allies? Given that we are actively engaged in an effort to destabilize the Iranian regime, given that we use apocalyptic rhetoric to describe what must be done to the Iranian regime, and given that Israel could obliterate Iran many times over, what do we expect from the Iranians? On top of this, the Iranian regime grasps that the doctrine of permanent war entails making âpre-emptiveâ and unprovoked strikes. And they know that if Iraq, like North Korea, had had a bomb they would have never suffered American invasion and occupation. Those in Washington who advocate attacking Iran, knowing as little about the limitations and chaos of war as they do about the Middle East, believe they can cripple nuclear production and neutralize the 850,000-man Iranian army. They should look closely at the 2006 Israeli air campaign in southern Lebanon, which saw Hezbollah victorious and united most Lebanese behind the militant Islamic group. If the massive Israeli bombing of Lebanon failed to pacify 4 million Lebanese, how can we expect to pacify a country of 70 million people? But reality never seems to impinge on the neoconservative universe or the efficacy of its doctrine of permanent war. I have watched over the years as these neoconservatives have meddled disastrously in the Middle East. The support by neoconservatives of the Israeli right wingâand I covered Yitzhak Rabinâs 1992 campaign for prime minister when prominent AIPAC donors poured money and resources into Likud to defeat Rabinâis not about Israel. It is about advancing this perverted ideology. Rabin detested these neoconservatives. When he made his first visit to Washington after being elected prime minister he dismissed requests from the lobby for a meeting by telling aides: âI donât speak to scumbags.â These neoconservatives, who like our own neoconservatives hide behind the rhetoric of patriotism, national security and religious piety, are not wedded to any discernable doctrine other than force. They, like all rabid nationalists, are stunted and deformed individuals, only able to communicate in the language of self-exaltation and violence. âThe nationalist is by definition an ignoramus,â the Yugoslav writer Danilo KiÅ wrote. âNationalism is the line of least resistance, the easy way. The nationalist is untroubled, he knows or thinks he knows what his values are, his, thatâs to say national, thatâs to say the values of the nation he belongs to, ethical and political; he is not interested in others, they are no concern of his, hellâitâs other people (other nations, another tribe). They donât even need investigating. The nationalist sees other people in his own imagesâas nationalists.â AIPAC does not drive Middle Eastern policy in the United States. I am afraid it is worse than that. AIPAC is one of an array of powerful and well-funded neoconservative institutions that worship force and drive our relations with the rest of the world. These neoconservatives choose an enemy and then our compliant class of journalists, specialists, military analysts, columnists and television commentators line up to serve as giddy cheerleaders for war. Moments like these always make me embarrassed to be a reporter. Our political elite, Republican and Democrat, finds in this ideology a simple, childish allure. This ideology does not require cultural, historical or linguistic literacy. It reduces the world to black and white, good and evil. The drumbeat for war with Iran sounded by AIPAC is part of this broad, sick, binary vision of a world that can be subjugated by force, a world where all will be made to kneel before these corporate and neoconservative elites, where none, including finally us, will be permitted to whisper dissent. Pre-emptive war, under post-Nuremberg law, is defined as a criminal act of aggression. George W. Bush, whose disregard for the rule of law was legend, went to the U.N. for a resolution to attack Iraq, although his interpretation of the U.N. resolution as justifying the invasion of Iraq had dubious legal merit. But in this current debate over war with Iran, that pretense of legality is ignored. Where is Israelâs U.N. resolution authorizing it to strike Iran? Why isnât anyone demanding that Israel seek one? Why does the only discussion in the media and among political elites center around the questions of âWill Israel attack Iran?â âCan it successfully carry out an attack?â âWhat will happen if there is an attack?â The essential question is left unasked. Does Israel have the right to attack Iran? And here the answer is very, very clear. It does not. These neoconservatives were too blind and too enamored of their own power to see what invading Afghanistan and Iraq would trigger; so too are they unable to comprehend the regional conflagration that would be unleashed by attacking Iran, what it would mean for us, for Israel, for our allies and for tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of innocents. âWhere there is no vision, the people perish,â the Bible warns. And since our elites have no vision it is up to us. The uprisings from Tunisia to Egypt to Greece to Occupy Wall Street to our gathering outside AIPACâs doors in Washington are the same primal struggle for sanity, peace and justice, for a world wrenched free from the grip of those who would destroy it. And the abject fawning of our political elite, including Barack Obama, before AIPAC and its bank account is yet another window into the moral bankruptcy of our political class, another sign that the formal mechanisms of power are useless and broken. Civil disobedience is all we have left. It is our patriotic duty. We are called to make the cries of mothers, fathers and children in the squalid refugee camps in Gaza, in the suburbs of Tehran and in the bleak industrial wastelands in Ohio heard. We are called to stand up before these forces of death, the purveyors of violence, those whose hearts have grown cold with hatred. We are called to embrace and defend life with intensity and passion if we are to survive as a species, if we are to save our planet from the ravages of corporate greed and the specter of endless and futile war. The Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai, in his poem âRypin,â translated by Peter Cole, examined what power, force and self-worship do to compassion, justice and human decency. Rypin was the Polish town his father escaped from during the pogroms. These creatures in helmets and khakis, I say to myself, arenât Jews, In the truest sense of the word. A Jew Doesnât dress himself up with weapons like jewelry, Doesnât believe in the barrel of a gun aimed at a target, But in the thumb of the child who was shot atâ In the house through which he comes and goes, Not in the charge that blows it apart. The coarse soul and iron first He scorns by nature. He lifts his eyes not to the officer, or the soldier With his finger on the triggerâbut to justice, And he cries out for compassion. Therefore, he wonât steal land from its people And will not starve them in camps. The voice calling for expulsion Is heard from the hoarse throat of the oppressorâ A sure sign that the Jew has entered a foreign country And, like Umberto Saba, gone into hiding within his own city. Because of voices like these, father At age sixteen, with your family, you fled Rypin; Now here Rypin is your son. Â 2012 TruthDig Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. --------8 of 8-------- BOOTSTRAP WORLD Can bootstraps raise themselves? Yes, if they have bootstraps of their own. If not. the whole chain is fallen and can't get up. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ShoveTrove
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