Progressive Calendar 03.10.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2007 00:17:25 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     03.10.07

1. Choice/SD        3.10 8am

2. Stillwater vigil 3.11 1pm
3. Pentagon bus     3.11 2pm
4. War/peace        3.11 3:30pm Duluth area
5. Nader/2008       3.11 4pm
6. Vets for peace   3.11 6pm
7. Prayer for peace 3.11 6:30pm

8. Non-violence     3.12 6:30pm
9. Climate crisis   3.12 7:30pm
10. Sami/Iraq       3.12 7:30pm

11. CorpCrimeRptr - Corporate crime and congress
12. Kevin Zeese   - Making Democrats pay the price
13. John A Murphy - Are the congressional Democrats spineless?
14. William Lind  - Exhibition season for the Washington Dodgers (=Dems)
15. David Sirota  - Dems' big middle finger to the American voter
16. Alfred Aeppli - MN Leg bill vs Iraq escalation
17. Kevin Zeese   - Dems buy war from Bush to fund constituent projects
18. Andrew Murray - Capitalism is not the only way to order human affairs

--------1 of 18--------

From: Pam Rykken-Scheie <prykken [at]>
Subject: Choice/SD 3.10 8am

Stone Arch Discussion Group
Saturday, March 10, 8:00 - 9:30 am
at Jitters, 205 E. Hennepin, Minneapolis

"Politics and Reproductive Rights:  The South Dakota Experience and
Beyond" with Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood

Are politics changing?  How and why did the most restrictive anti-abortion
law in the country get overturned in the last election in our neighboring
state?  And why did the conservative legislature in that state just defeat
a series of anti-abortion bills in its current legislative session?

Sarah Stoesz has been honored around the country for leading these efforts
for change.  This is your chance to find out what happened and why.  As
usual, invite anyone interested, come, buy your coffee and join the

--------2 of 18--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at]>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 3.11 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

--------3 of 18--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at]>
Subject: Pentagon bus 3.11 2pm

Send-off & Sign-making Party for the 4th Anniversary Protests
Sunday 3/11 @ 2-5pm @ Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Ave S, Mpls.

Join us in sending off the bus riders for the March on the Pentagon by
making a donation, enjoying light refreshments, and painting signs for the
protests in D.C. and Minneapolis (Sunday 3/18 @ 1pm @ Hennepin & Lagoon
Aves). Donations will be requested to support the bus trip scholarship

--------4 of 18--------

From: Laurie Hilty <lhilty [at]>
Subject: War/peace 3.11 3:30pm Duluth area

Second Sundays -- State Rep. Bill and Laurie Hilty's monthly
movie/speaker/discussion series.  We cordially invite you to hear Jack
Nelson- Pallmeyer, Associate Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the
University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, who will speak about and lead a
discussion of the economic and environmental concerns of war and peace,
with a focus on how we can halt global warming while building a better

Sunday, March 11
welcome and coffee 3:30
4:00 presentation
discussion to follow

J.M. Paine Memorial Presbyterian Church
506 Chestnut (HWY 210)  (exit for Jay Cooke State Park)
just east of Wells Fargo
Carlton MN (about 20 miles south of Duluth)

--------5 of 18--------

From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: Nader/2008 3.11 4pm

  There will be a casual meeting on Sunday at 4pm at the Global Market
(Old Sears Building) located on Lake St. and Elliot.  Parking ramp in on
the east side, meet in courtyard inside.  Fellow Greens and Nader
supporters are meeting to discuss the options for 2008.  If you have
declared your independence from the corporate system and want to build a
third party or independent movement within the electoral arena, come join
us and share your thoughts.

Danene Provencher 2004 MN State Coordinator Nader/Camejo campaign

[Had it with the insufferable arrogance of the two/one party system/scam?]

--------6 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Vets for peace 3.11 6pm

Sunday, 3/11, 6 pm (and the 2nd Sunday of each month), Veterans for Peace
chapter 24 meeting, St Stephens School basement, 2130 Clinton Ave S, Mpls.
waynewittman [at]

--------7 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Prayer for peace 3.11 6:30pm

Sunday, 3/11, 6:30 to 7:15 pm, Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet present
11th day prayer for peace, Presentation Chapel, 1880 Randolph Ave, St Paul. or 651-690-7079.

--------8 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Non-violence 3.12 6:30pm

Monday, 3/12, 6:30 pm, peace education consultant Roy Wolff speaks on "The
Bible and the Nonviolent Way of Jesus" at  Every Church a Peace Church
potluck supper, Macalester/Plymouth United Church, 1685 Lincoln Ave, St
Paul.  ecapctc [at] or Rodney Olsen at 651-228-7224.

--------9 of 18--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Climate crisis 3.12 7:30pm

Regular meeting of the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities (3CTC).
EVERY 2nd and 4th Monday at 7:30 pm.  The Freight House Dunn Brothers,
201 3rd Ave S, next door to the Milwaukee Road Depot, Downtown
Minneapolis.  Stop global warming, save Earth!

In solidarity w/people and the planet, Eric 651-644-1173

--------10 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Sami/Iraq 3.12 7:30pm

The March meeting of the Network of Spiritual Progressives-Minnesota will
be on MONDAY, MARCH 12, at Plymouth Church at 7:30 pm.(1900 Nicollet Ave.,
just south of downtown Minneapolis. Enter through the door under the
canopy off the parking lot in back.)

The program begins at 7:30, and we will hear from Muslim Peacekeeper and
former Minneapolis restaurant owner Sami Rasouli, who is just back from
Iraq. Many of the affinity groups listed below will be meeting at 6:30.
Feel free to sit in on any topic that interests you. Also come at 6:30 if
you would like for snacks and conversation or a brief orientation for new

--------11 of 18--------

Not a Dime's Worth of Difference
Corporate Crime and Congress
March 9 / 11, 2007

When it comes to corporate crime and violence, there's not a dime's worth
of difference between the Republicans and Democrats on the House Judiciary
Committee's Subcommittee on Crime.

At least, that would be the impression we got after listening in on
today's subcommittee hearing on corporate crime.

On one side, George Bush's Justice Department, weakly and meekly defending
its McNulty memo and the Department's ability to investigate corporate
criminal activity.

On the other, Republicans, Democrats - including full House Judiciary
Committee chairman John Conyers (D-Michigan) - corporations, their defense
lawyers, and the American Bar Association - flexing their collective
muscles and beating up on federal prosecutors.

All want to hog tie the Justice Department and its ability investigate
corporate criminal activity.

The McNulty memo - also known as Principles of Federal Prosecution of
Business Organizations - tells prosecutors that they must consider nine
factors in deciding whether or not to charge a corporation - including
dreaded factor number six - "the corporation's timely and voluntary
disclosure of wrongdoing and its willingness to cooperate in the
investigation of its agents."

Cooperation often means turning over the internal investigation that was
conducted by the company's lawyers.

This report is often considered a roadmap for the prosecution.

Without it - and without the company's cooperation - corporate criminal
prosecutions are rarely successful.

And so, last year, big business ganged up to make it more difficult for
prosecutors to get these internal investigations.

They pressured the Justice Department to amend the memo so that a
prosecutor in the field must first go to Main Justice to get approval for
privilege waivers.

Columbia Law Professor John Coffee believes that this requirement "went a
bridge too far."

"Under the McNulty memo, the government doesn't say it can't ask for that
study," Coffee said. "But it requires that it has to be approved by the
Assistant Attorney General running the Criminal Division. And that is
higher up than the typical young prosecutor will be comfortable going."

But even the McNulty memo fix - requiring approval of Main Justice -
wasn't enough to satisfy the big business lobby - and their Democratic and
the Republican lackeys in Congress.

They want more.

And Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) has given them the bill they

Specter's bill would outright prohibit federal prosecutors from seeking
privilege waivers or considering a corporation's willingness to waive
privilege voluntarily when evaluating its cooperation.

And according to Michael Seigel, a Professor of Law at the University of
Florida College of Law, such a prohibition would result in "a significant
slowdown of white-collar criminal prosecutions - exactly what the business
lobby wants."

Professor Coffee says he "cannot say what the statistical impact of such a
prohibition would be - no one can."

"But it would remove a very important tactic that has proven effective,"
Coffee told Corporate Crime Reporter. "And worse, it would signal to
prosecutors that the Congress and the public no longer supported such

Now, why didn't the Democrats invite Professor Coffee or Professor Seigel
to testify at today's hearing?

The House Judiciary Committee didn't return calls seeking comment about
today's stacked panel.

Here was the line-up for today's hearing:

Karen Mathis, a corporate lawyer, and president of the American Bar

William Sullivan, a corporate lawyer and a partner at Winston & Strawn in
Washington, D.C.

Andrew Weissmann, a corporate lawyer and a partner at Jenner & Block in
New York.

Richard White, a corporate lawyer, and chairman of the board of the
Association of Corporate Counsel.

And then you have Barry Sabin representing the Justice Department.

"The Justice Department isn't doing a very good job in defending itself,"
Professor Seigel said after watching part of the hearing.

Seigel would have happily traveled to Washington to testify before the
committee and give a different view.

Maybe Professor Coffee would have come down from New York.

But they weren't invited to testify.

"I would have loved to testify," Seigel said.

Maybe he wasn't invited because in an op-ed last month in the Washington
Post he accused the Democrats - "eager for lobbyists' money" - of bending
to the demands of big business.

Most disheartening today was the performance of Judiciary Committee
Chairman Conyers.

After first acknowledging "we're in an almost corporate crime wave,"
Conyers said "there is nobody that wants to get on top of some of the
criminal activity that has been going on the last past number of years
more than I do."

But he then went on - in a meandering statement - to support big business
in its effort to tie up the prosecutors in knots.

During the hearing, Winston & Strawn' Sullivan was the most effective
spokesperson for the corporations.

Republicans and Democrats on the subcommittee expressed an interest in
punishing federal prosecutors for violating any prohibition they might

But they weren't sure exactly how that would work.

Sullivan filled in the blanks.

He suggested a number of ways to punish prosecutors "for the purpose of
chilling a willfully aggressive prosecutor who seeks to violate" any
prohibition that Congress might pass.

"In the pre-indictment phase, if there were a sanctions provision and it
could be shown that an aggressive prosecutor violated that sanctions
provision, you could move to dismiss the indictment," Sullivan said
gleefully. "You could allege in that motion that improper considerations
were undertaken and adverse inferences were drawn by the refusal of the
corporation to waive. You could argue that the request to waive itself was
improper. If such a motion would fail, you could then move post-indictment
that information obtained or potentially obtained through that request
would be excluded for purposes of the prosecution's case in chief. You
could also move that the violating prosecutor could be subjected to
internal investigatory review, including Bar sanctions where that person
is admitted."

Some believe that even if the Democrats and Republicans pass their curbs
on prosecutors, it won't have much of an impact because most big
corporations today voluntarily turn over their internal investigations and
cooperate with prosecutors.

But Seigel disagrees.

He argues that such a prohibition will have a real impact.

"If a prohibition against asking for or using waiver were written into
law, the balance of power between prosecutors and corporations would
undergo a fundamental shift," Seigel told Corporate Crime Reporter. "Far
more corporations would choose to exercise their privilege even if it
meant that they could provide only minimal assistance to a criminal
investigation as a result. If a prosecutor decided to bring charges
against a corporation under such circumstances, the corporation could move
for dismissal of the indictment based upon the statute, claiming that it
was being penalized for failing to waive privilege. This would be a
powerful argument. In any event, if the court refused to dismiss the
charges, the same issue would arise at sentencing. The corporation would
want - and would be entitled to receive - the full benefit of cooperation,
even if that cooperation were of little use."

Corporate Crime Reporter is located in Washington, DC. They can be reached
through their website.

--------12 of 18--------

Voting Against the War is No Longer Enough
Making Democrats Pay the Price
March 9 / 11, 2007

Tina Richards son, Cloy, is a corporal in the U.S. Marines. He is facing
his third tour of duty in Iraq. He and his mother oppose the war. Ms.
Richards is living in Maryland lobbying Congress to end the war. She has
joined Maryland voters who are occupying the office of Maryland's senior
senator, Barbara Mikulski.

Tina saw Sen. Mikulski leaving a hearing recently going to the women's
room. She followed her and mentioned that protesters were occupying her
office to protest the war. Mikulski said she did not understand why they
were protesting her saying "I voted against the war." Tina answered "That
is no longer enough."

She's right. Now, as we approach the fourth anniversary of the war it is
time for the Congress to end it. Senator Barbara Mikulski, like most
Democrats, has been a critic of President Bush, describing him as a
reckless and irresponsible commander in chief. But she has voted to give
this reckless commander in chief more than $420 Billion, as have almost
all Democrats.

That is the problem  Democrats like Mikulski say they are opposed to the
war but keep appropriating more money for the war. They need to realize
that if they pay for it, it's theirs.

Maryland voters have occupied the office of Senator Mikulski twice so far
in what will be a series of efforts to convince Mikulski to lead efforts
to end the Iraq War. At the second occupation Sen. Mikulski had four of
her constituents arrested after they occupied her offices for three hours
placing photographs of all the Maryland soldiers who had died around her
office, and reading the names of soldiers and Iraqis killed in the war.
(Links to videos of the two occupations are at the bottom of this

Her constituents are holding Sen. Mikulski accountable for her actions.
When she votes to fund the war she is putting U.S. troops in harms way and
adding to the quagmire of the Iraq War. If Mikluski votes for this next
supplemental she will be sending under-trained troops with inadequate
equipment and an unclear purpose into an unwinnable quagmire. Real support
for the troops requires more than criticizing Bush, it requires acting to
remove the troops from harms way.

It would take only 41 votes to stop the war in the U.S. Senate. A
filibuster of Iraq funding would not even require all of the 51 Democrats
in the Senate to support it in order to succeed. If the Senate
filibustered the president's $99 billion request it could then pass an
alternative that would really support the troops by bringing them home
safely, reduce the violence in Iraq by providing funds to allow Iraqis to
re-build their own country and underwrite a regional peace keeping force.
If this exit were combined with a diplomatic surge in the region the U.S.
could bring greater stability to the Middle East. Those steps would
restore U.S. leadership and prevent further U.S. and Iraqi casualties.
This approach would also save tax payers tens of billions of dollars in
2007 alone.

The Iraq war has resulted in more than 50,000 U.S. casualties and hundreds
of thousands of Iraqi deaths, but it has also cost more than $420 billion,
$8.8 billion of which has been paid for by Mikulski's constituents
Maryland's taxpayers. This comes at a time when our citizens cannot afford
health care, school systems are failing and there is an affordable housing
crisis. What could that $8.8 billion have bought for Maryland? Four
million children could have received a full year of health insurance, more
than 122,000 public school teachers could have been hired, 342,000
students could have received four year scholarships to public universities
or 63,000 public housing units could have been built. (Link below to find
out what the Iraq War has cost your community.)

Sadly, Senator Mikulski's voting record forces us to ask whether her
inconsistent position - voting to fund the war while saying she opposes it
- are because of campaign contributions. To date, she's received $369,000
in contributions from the defense industry and her third and fourth
largest campaign donors are Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Further,
she received more than $362,000 from the hard right Israeli lobby that
supported the Iraq War and currently supports military action against

Her funding reflects the funding of the Democratic Party. The Defense
industry has donated $110.6 million in campaign contributions since 1990,
$43.7 million to Democrats. And, the pro-Israel lobby has donated $55.2
million, $37.4 to Democrats.

Is the conflict between the interests of their donors and the views of
their voters who oppose the war making it difficult for Democrats like
Sen. Mikulski to take action to end the war?

In a sign of how widespread support is for ending the war polls show a
majority of Americans want troops out within the year as do the vast
majority of soldiers. Jean Athey one of those arrested in Sen. Mikulski's
office reported a policeman stopped by to talk while they were
incarcerated. He said, "Anyone who thinks that the war is wrong and people
are being killed needlessly, has a moral imperative to do everything in
their power to stop it." And, on one of the van trips the prisoners saw
some police standing outside, one of them, an African-American policeman,
came over and gave them a power salute. At first, Jean was not sure of his
intent. Then, he said to them, "I really respect what you guys are doing."

When I was in law school, then-Congresswoman Mikulski co-sponsored a bill
I was working on regarding the advertising and labeling of contraceptives.
I want the old Barbara Mikulski back - one who was more consistent and
reflected her values. That Barbara Mikulski would say to President Bush
"Not one more dime, not one more death for your reckless war. It is time
to support the troops by bringing them home."

Kevin Zeese is Director of Democracy Rising and a founder of

For more information:

Videos of the occupation of Senator Mikulski's office(this is the second
occupation that results in the arrests of four of her constituents, it is
9 minutes long). (this is the first occupation, it is 12 minutes long).

The Mikulski action is part of a nationwide campaign to end the
occupation. Visit the Occupation Project to see similar actions occurring
around the United States and to join this effort.

To get information about what the Iraq War is costing us at the national,
state and local levels visit: a project of the National
Priorities Project.

Tina Richards website is

--------13 of 18--------

You've Been: Hoodwinked, Had, Took, Bamboozled
Are the Congressional Democrats Spineless?
March 9 / 11, 2007

The Associated Press released a report on March 8th detailing Democrat
leader Nancy Pelosi's plan to force the Bush administration to withdraw US
troops from Iraq by Fall 2008 (pretty close to the time John Kerry, in his
failed 2004 presidential bid, promised to withdraw them after a surge of
40,000 troops).

According to UN estimates, that means US forces will kill another 60,000
innocent Iraqi men, women and children by the proposed September 1, 2008
deadline. This of course assumes that the level of violence in the next
two years does not increase over the level of violence in the last two
years. An assumption that is more and more tenuous.

The bill being presented by the House Democrats goes even further than
killing another 60,000 people in Iraq; it adds another $1.2 billion to
President Bush's request for the continuation of the war in Afghanistan.

Rephrasing the Democrats startling challenge to President Bush would look
something like this: "we demand that you only kill 60,000 more innocent
people in Iraq. We further demand that you limit the deaths of American
soldiers to another 1,800 and that the number of morbidly wounded soldiers
must not exceed 30,000; then you must stop the war. Since we know this is
going to be a difficult decision for you Mr. President, we will help you
out by allowing you to kill another 10,000 more people in Afghanistan".

Since the Democrats were clearly elected with a mandate to end the war
and, given that President Bush will surely veto this legislation anyway,
why would the Democratic leadership propose legislation that would kill
another 60,000 innocent Iraqis and 1,800 Americans before finally bringing
the war to an end? The Associated Press report suggests that this was a
compromise bill that would satisfy "liberal Democrats" reluctant to vote
for continued funding without driving away "more moderate Democrats". The
Democratic leadership fears that without a united party they would suffer
an embarrassing defeat when the legislation reaches a vote later this
month. Does this make any sense at all?

If the Marketing vice president wants his company to introduce a new
product in six months but Finance and Operations are opposed to such an
introduction they may be able to reach a compromise date for the
introduction of the new product. With this kind of compromise a win-win
situation can be created and nobody is going to die or become morbidly
wounded as a result.

Organizations, regardless of their raison d'tre, must have stated goals
and a strategy for achieving those goals. The strategy is formulated after
evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of various alternatives. What no
organization wants to do in strategy formulation is sacrifice the long run
on the altar of the short. No organization wants success in the short run
if it means disaster in the long run. The congressional Democrats have
decided that they would rather sacrifice the lives of innocent Iraqis and
Americans than risk losing the war as an election issue in 2008. This is
what happens when organizations operate without values, vision, a clear
sense of direction and effective leadership. They lose the ability to
identify, evaluate and set clearly achievable goals.

The Democratic House has drafted legislation which has no chance of
surviving a presidential veto and at the same time does not meet the hopes
and aspirations and demands of the overwhelming majority of the American
voting public. They have however drafted legislation that makes them feel
good. Somehow or other the so-called "liberal Democrats" are going to be
happy about supporting a bill which would kill 60,000 Iraqis and 1,800
Americans because the bill will not alienate ['piss off'] the "more
moderate Democrats".

It is difficult to determine which group of Democratic legislators is more
odious; the "liberal Democrats" who purport to want an immediate end to
the Iraqi war but will compromise by letting another 60,000 people die in
the name of party unity or the "more moderate Democrats" who have no
problem murdering another 60,000 Iraqis so that they do not give the
impression that they are tying the hands of the military commanders.

This bears repeating. The congressional Democrats know that President Bush
will veto this proposed legislation but he could not veto legislation that
did not provide the additional funds necessary for the continued
prosecution of the war. Furthermore, even if the congressional Democrats
in the House failed to pass legislation that would cut funding for the
war, the Senate Democrats could filibuster legislation requiring its
continued funding. It would only take 41 of the 51 Senate Democrats to
accomplish this effective ending of the war!

Democratic Party loyalist themselves have often suggested that the
congressional Democrats are spineless [pissoffphobic]; that they fear a
real confrontation with the Republicans and that this explains why the
Democratic Party has drifted so far to the right as to be no longer
recognizably different from the Republican Party.

In order to be "spineless", however, the congressional Democrats would
first have to have some concept of courage or morality. There is no
evidence in the decision-making process of the congressional Democrats
that questions of courage or morality are ever even considered. Terms like
"good" and "evil", "courageous" and "spineless" are applicable only to
those who permit conscience to enter into the decision-making process.
Conscience is clearly not a metric evaluated by the congressional
Democrats in their strategy formulation process. The only variables
considered worthy of evaluation by the congressional Democrats are party
unity and the vote-getting utility of a continued war on their 2008
congressional and presidential election aspirations. There are many words
which might aptly describe the Congressional Democrats but certainly not
"spineless". One must question, however, whether those who continue to
vote for the Democrats year after year are indeed themselves invertebrate.

When the Democrat Party workers start trolling for votes a year and a half
from now they will tell the nibblers to "hold your nose and vote for the
Democrats. After all, what are you going to do, vote for a Republican?"
The appropriate response should be "no, I won't vote for Republican but I
can no longer associate myself with the bottom feeders called Democrats.
I'll vote for an independent candidate or perhaps a Green Party candidate.
I will stand with Martin Luther King and remember that "there comes a time
when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic nor popular
but we must take it because our conscience tells us that it is right".

You've been hoodwinked. You've been had.
You've been took. You've been led astray, run amuck.
You've been bamboozled.

--Malcolm X

John Murphy is the independent candidate for House of Representatives in
the 16th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. He has been endorsed by
Michael Berg, Peter Camejo, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader and Howard Zinn. He
has been endorsed by two county level Green Parties, two county level
Libertarian Parties, the Pennsylvania Reform Party, the New American
Independent Party of Pennsylvania and the GDI among others. He is also one
of the founding members of the Pennsylvanian Ballot Access Coalition ,
working to change ballot access laws in Pennsylvania. He can be reached
at: johnamurphy [at]

--------14 of 18--------

Always Exhibition Season for the Democrats
The Washington Dodgers
March 8, 2007

It's springtime for Congress, and the Washington Dodgers are batting 1.000
in the exhibition season. No, I'm not talking about baseball. I have just
enough interest in sports to know that the Dodgers play in Brooklyn and
Washington's baseball team is the Senators. The Dodgers I'm talking about
are the Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate, for whom it is
always exhibition season and dodging means not ending the war in Iraq.

Two examples show how in this game, no balls count as a home run. The
Washington Post Express reported on March 2 that:

Just hours after floating the idea of cutting $20 billion from President
Bush's $142 billion request for military operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan next year, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad was
overruled by fellow Democrats Thursday. "It's nothing that any of us are
considering," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, told reporters.

Then, the lead story in today's Washington Post begins with this
 Senior House Democrats, seeking to placate [pissoffphobic] members of
their party from Republican-leaning districts, are pushing a plan that
would place restrictions on President Bush's ability to wage the war in
Iraq but would allow him to waive them if he publicly justifies his

That's not pushing a plan, it is pushing on a rope, and the House
Democratic leadership knows it. You can almost hear their giggles as they
offer the anti-war voters who gave them their majority one of Washington's
oldest dodges, "requirements" the Executive Branch can waive if it wants

The kabuki script currently goes like this. Congressional Democrats huff
and puff about ending the war; the White House and Congressional
Republicans accuse them of "not supporting the troops;" and the Democrats
pretend to be stopped cold, plaintively mewing that "Well, we all agree we
have to support the troops, don't we?"

"Supporting the troops" is just another dodge. The only way to support the
troops when a war is lost is to end the war and bring them home. Nor is it
a challenge to design legislative language that both ends the war and
supports the troops. All the Democratic majorities in Congress have to do
is condition the funding for the Iraq war with the words, "No funds may be
obligated or expended except for the withdrawal of all American forces
from Iraq, and for such force protection actions as may be necessary
during that withdrawal." If Bush vetoes the bill, he vetoes continued
funding for the war. If he signs the bill, ignores the legislative
language and keeps fighting the war in the same old way, he sets himself
up for impeachment.

What's not to like?

For the Democrats, what's not to like is anything that might actually end
the war before the 2008 elections. The Republicans have 21 Senate seats up
in 2008, and if the Iraq war is still going on, they can count on losing
most of them, along with the Presidency and maybe 100 more seats in the
House. 2008 could be the new 1932, leaving the Republican Party a
permanent minority for twenty years. From the standpoint of the Democratic
Party's leadership, a few thousand more dead American troops is a small
price to pay for so glowing a political victory.

Ironically, the people who should be most desperate to end the war are
Congressional Republicans. Their heads are on the chopping block. But they
remain so paralyzed by the White House that they cannot act even to save
themselves. The March 2 Washington Times reported that:
 Republicans in Congress - including most who have defected from President
Bush's plan to send reinforcements to Iraq - have closed ranks and are
prepared to thwart the Democrats' continued efforts to undermine the war

All but one of the seven Senate Republicans that backed the anti-surge
resolution in their chamber say they will not support any funding cuts.

The likely result of all this Washington dodging is that events on the
ground in Iraq and elsewhere will outrun the political process. That in
turn means a systemic crisis, the abandonment of both parties by their
bases and a possible left-right grass roots alliance against the corrupt
and incompetent center. In that possibility may lie the nation's best
hope. [Let us hope we have the courage to do it. -ed]

William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the
Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

--------15 of 18--------

Dems' Big Middle Finger to the American Voter
by David Sirota
Published on Thursday, March 8, 2007 by

One of my idiosyncratic little hobbies of late is to keep a tally on
statements by Washington politicians and pundits that are express an open
hatred for democracy. This hobby is a subset of a bigger collection of
quotes I collect that show how Washington politicians are entirely
divorced from the political reality they purport to be experts on - a
classic example is Sen. Chuck Schumer's hilariously moronic declaration to
New York Magazine that strengthening the Patriot Act is politically good
for red state Democrats (thanks for your helping make the Montana Senate
race that much harder, Chuck!). I'm not exactly sure why I focus on this,
other than because it is important to always remind ourselves just how
different - and hateful - the Beltway is towards the country it purports
to represent. Today, we get a beauty from South Dakota Rep. Stephanie
Herseth (D).

In the Washington Post's solid writeup of the debate over Iraq in the
House, a faction of Democrats continues to attack the very Election 2006
mandate they were vaulted into office on: opposition to the war.
Justifying her opposition to bills that would stop President Bush's
military escalation, we get this gem from South Dakota's lone House

"I don't think we should be overreacting to public opinion polls."

I give Herseth credit - her use of "overreacting" deviously implies that
there are just a few very recent polls here and there showing negligible
opposition to the war, and that Serious People in Congress should never
"overreact" to the supposed fleeting whims of the American people. But, of
course, the American public has been strongly critical of the Iraq War for
almost 4 years now. Go all the way back to August of 2003 - just a few
months after the invasion - and polls started consistently showing that
Americans felt the Bush administration misled us into war, and that
Congress should put the brakes on war spending bills. By the eve of the
2006 election, opposition to the Iraq War was at an all-time high. And
just a few weeks ago, a CNN poll found that a strong majority wants
Congress to cut off funding for President Bush's escalation, while the
Washington Post poll found that a majority of Americans want a timeline
for withdrawal, want Congress to do what it takes to stop Bush's
escalation, and strongly support a plan to force the White House to adhere
to strict troop training standards - all positions Herseth and her small
faction of "conservative" Democratic colleagues oppose in the name of faux
"centrism" and "not overreacting to public opinion."

Herseth, of course, is following the tried and true path of fellow
politicians and pundits insulated comfortably in the Washington bubble. It
was Cheney who said in November that the war "may not be popular with the
public - it doesn't matter." It was David Brooks who said a few months ago
that "voters shouldn't be allowed to define the choices in American
politics." There was the Bush administration in August of 2006 telling the
New York Times "that they are considering alternatives other than
democracy" in Iraq - after repackaging the war as an exercise in
pro-democracy nation building. The Times itself just recently said that
Democrats pushing antiwar legislation strongly supported by the public are
"fringe." And let's not forget The New Republic's Peter Beinart who
trumpeted groups that - in an oxymoronic backflip - believe "the less
beholden politicians are to grassroots activists, the better they will
represent voters."

The message from Washington, D.C. to all of us out here in the heartland
is very clear: Our government is the exclusive gated community of Big
Money interests, their appointed pawns in Congress, and a select group of
self-declared "experts" in the media and at think tanks (which are, of
course, funded by many of those same Big Money interests). Inside this
gated community, actually listening to or shaping policy on behalf of the
vast majority of Americans is considered either laughably outdated or
disgustingly unsavory.

This is why we have a House lawmaker running to reporters attacking
efforts to end the war as "overreacting to public opinion." This is why we
have a Vice President who goes on national television declaring that what
the public wants "doesn't matter." This is why the largest newspaper in
America continues to publish a columnist who says voters shouldn't decide
elections. This is why, months after being elected to the majority on an
antiwar mandate, we have a congressional Democratic Party that still
refuses to do anything to end - or even slow down - the war. Because
underneath all the platitudes and rhetoric, Washington, D.C. is a place
that hates democracy.

David Sirota is the author of the book Hostile Takeover. To order the
book, go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Powell's Bookstore. To subscribe to
Sirota's regular newsletter, go to and sign up on the
left hand side.

--------16 of 18--------

From: Alfred Aeppli <aeppli [at]>
Subject: MN Leg bill vs Iraq escalation

To all interested parties: The bill, H.F. No. 674, opposing escalation of
US troops in Iraq, has been introduced in the Minnesota House of
Representatives.  If you are interested in stopping the disastrous US war
policies and in non-violent conflict resolution you can let the Minnesota
legislators know that you support H.F. No. 674. I hope there will be a
parallel bill in the Minnesota Senate.  Alfred Aeppli.

--------17 of 18--------

Democrats Buy War From Bush and Use it to Fund Projects for their
by Kevin Zeese
March 5, 2007

The Democrats' Iraq War may be even more disgusting than the
Republicans'. They are using it as a Christmas tree to fund a host of
projects that they could not get funded in any other way.

The Democrats have reportedly decided to pass the Iraq War supplemental
with meaningless restrictions designed to embarrass the president rather
than end the war or bring the troops home safely. They will require the
president to explain why he is using troops that are not combat ready,
rather than stopping him from doing so.

The article reports: "Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said the goal was
'to get consensus within the caucus on this' and 'pass the war funding
bill.'" So, while the Democrats claim to be passing the supplemental to
support the troops they are providing funds to allow ill equipped,
non-combat ready troops to be sent into a quagmire with no clear goal in
a war that cannot be won and is not supported by the American public.

The Democrats say they are providing the funding "for the troops" but
now that they have decided to pass the supplemental - essentially
giving a president they constantly criticize as irresponsible another
$93 billion on top of the $420 billion already provided - their other
agenda is becoming clear.

The Associated Press reports that the Democrats plan to use the Iraq War
to fund projects for their constituents. The Democrats' illegal war in
Iraq - they are in the process of buying it from the President Bush so
we may as well start calling it "The Democrats' War" - will be a
Christmas present for California's avocado growers and others. The
Speaker of the House, who is based in California, is bringing home the
guacamole - more than $1 billion in aid to California avocado growers
on the backs of US troops!

The Associated Press is reporting that the Democrats "hope to load this
measure up with $10 billion in add-ons, from aid for avocado growers to
help for children lacking health insurance. Lawmakers also hope to add
money for drought relief in the Great Plains, better levees in New
Orleans and development of military bases that are closing down." Maybe
some of these projects can be justified, but they should be justified on
their own not on the backs of US soldiers risking life and limb.

The Democrats are confident they can get these billions in taxpayer
give-a-ways through because the Republicans will not vote against the
war funding and Bush will not veto it. Who knows what giveaways will be
added by other Members of Congress as this bill works its way through
the House and Senate. Pork barrel politics on the backs of US soldiers
makes an already ugly war even more ugly.

The Democrats may find the political price is higher than they expect.
The public wants the war to end; they don't like tax dollars given to
campaign contributors. So, the Democrats in less than two months in
power are abusing their majority status - using the war to fund
projects for their friends. Is this why the voters gave the Democrats
majority power in both Houses?

Kevin Zeese is Director of Democracy Rising and co-founder of

--------18 of 18--------

No, Capitalism is Not the Only Way to Order Human Affairs
by Andrew Murray
Published on Thursday, March 8, 2007 by the Guardian / UK

For nearly two decades, the Thatcherite dictum that "there is no
alternative" has been used to stifle serious challenge to the way the
world is run, and right now there seems to be an increasingly urgent
insistence that there is only one possible social and economic future for
us all. It isn't just the hard men of the moneyed right asserting that
capitalism is the only way to order human affairs. Liberals are also now
unshakeably convinced that there can be no alternative to capitalism -
unless perhaps it is a collapse into some variety of barbarism.

Timothy Garton Ash recently declared here that "global capitalism now has
no serious rivals - but it could destroy itself" while Martin Kettle
pronounced socialism incontrovertibly dead with no prospect of a second
coming. And the latest issue of Prospect magazine polls 35 intellectual
movers-and-shakers on "what's next" for a world moving beyond left and
right. Only the historian Eric Hobsbawm and US academic Andrew Moravcsik
believe that left and right will remain "plainly central", in Hobsbawm's
words in the new century. From the rest, we get dystopian warnings of
technocracy defeating democracy, new forms of terrorism, random use of
nuclear weapons, more God, even something dubbed by Michael Lind the "war
of Patria vs Plutopia". The philosopher Jonathan Re summed it up best: "We
are now facing a crisis both of hope and of serious collective argument."

That is certainly true of many intellectuals - though, judging by opinion
polls, less so of the wider public - but perhaps they have buried left and
right and embraced the new world order too soon. As in most of the rest of
the world, the gap between rich and poor in Britain has grown under a
Labour government. Privatised industries have turned out to be ramshackle
rip-offs. Women are still paid far less than men, Britain's children are
the most deprived in the western world, fascists are winning council seats
and workers can get sacked in a canteen by megaphone. And that's before we
get on to the neo-colonialism which is making a catastrophic comeback,
amid bloodshed and racism.

But our opinion-forming and governing classes have evidently convinced
themselves that no form of socialism has anything to do with solving the
problems of the world today. A litany of crises like these would once have
had Blairite stalwarts like Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn condemning the
system that generated them. But we can be confident that there will be no
discussion of any alternative to the private ownership and control of our
resources or of a transfer of economic and political power to the majority
in the phoney Clarke-Milburn "debate" on Labour's future. This silencing
of the S-word might make sense if capitalism, having been given the whole
world to itself to do its worst with for the last generation, was
delivering the economic, social, moral and environmental goods. Maybe not,
the post-socialist would say, but the economics have been settled, with
capitalism leaving socialism a distant second in the prosperity race. And
anyway, even to the extent that socialism once had something useful to
say, the world has now changed out of all recognition.

This is dodgy history and worse futurology. The Britain of the 1960s and
1970s was only socialist in the nightmares of capitalists, but it had some
of the elements which made for a better society. Public ownership and
full, stable, employment underpinned not merely high levels of economic
growth, but also a radical improvement in the lives of the working class,
protected by a strong trade unionism which, while far from as mighty as
subsequent myth-making has suggested, did at least prevent those at the
bottom being pushed around at will by those at the top.

Even the Soviet Union's place in history looks different depending where
you stand. Russians today miss its relative egalitarianism, welfare and
public economic control, not to mention the more stable inter-ethnic
relations, if not the one-party authoritarianism. Meanwhile in Venezuela,
for the first time in a generation, there is a government committed to
establishing socialism. Of course, the movie can't be rewound.
Twenty-first century socialism in Britain or elsewhere cannot look east
for inspiration, nor will it be the work of coal-miners and shipyard
workers. But what could it offer?

For a start, socialism makes possible the re-establishment of democracy
whether at national, multinational or global level. Capitalist
globalisation has become synonymous with democratic powerlessness as all
important decisions are taken further away from the people affected and
concentrated in the hands of ever fewer corporate bosses, private equity
and publicly traded alike, for whom the common weal cannot be their
priority. It also raises the prospect of a more peaceful world. The idea
that unchallenged capitalism meant universal peace - quite popular in the
early 1990s - hardly takes much debunking now. A system that replaced
fighting for scarce resources with the global management of them offers
the chance both of sparing lives and of the decisive action necessary to
save the planet.

And there is social justice. There is little sign of gender or race
inequality within countries, or between the rich world and the poor, being
eroded, much less eliminated, despite recent global growth. Rather the
opposite. If you think greater inequality is fine, then you'd better get
back to your hedge fund desk. But there are far more people in trade
unions and the anti-war movement than there are selling guns to despots or
trading oil futures. And of course there is an alternative.

Andrew Murray is chair of the Stop the War Coalition and communications
director of the TGWU adpmurray [at]

 Guardian News and Media Limited 2007


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