|Progressive Calendar 03.10.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] yahoo.com> 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 discussion. --------2 of 18-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> 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 <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ --------3 of 18-------- From: Jess Sundin <jess [at] antiwarcommittee.org> 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 fund. --------4 of 18-------- From: Laurie Hilty <lhilty [at] frontiernet.net> 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 society. 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] aol.com Subject: Nader/2008 3.11 4pm Naderites, 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 952-994-3085 [Had it with the insufferable arrogance of the two/one party system/scam?] --------6 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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] msn.com --------7 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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. www.csjstpaul.org or 651-690-7079. --------8 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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] yahoo.com or Rodney Olsen at 651-228-7224. --------9 of 18-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> 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] visi.com> 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 members. --------11 of 18-------- Not a Dime's Worth of Difference Corporate Crime and Congress By CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER CounterPunch 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 want. 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 prosecutions." 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 Association. 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 pass. 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 By KEVIN ZEESE CounterPunch 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 article.) 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 Iran. 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 VotersForPeace.US. 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: www.CostOfWar.com a project of the National Priorities Project. Tina Richards website is http://grassrootsamerica4us.org/. --------13 of 18-------- You've Been: Hoodwinked, Had, Took, Bamboozled Are the Congressional Democrats Spineless? By JOHN A. MURHPHY CounterPunch 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". [Amen] 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] comcast.net. --------14 of 18-------- Always Exhibition Season for the Democrats The Washington Dodgers By WILLIAM S. LIND CounterPunch 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 paragraph: 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 position. 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 to. 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 strategy 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 WorkingForChange.com 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 member: "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 www.davidsirota.com and sign up on the left hand side. --------16 of 18-------- From: Alfred Aeppli <aeppli [at] math.umn.edu> 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 Constituents by Kevin Zeese http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Mar07/Zeese05.htm 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 VotersForPeace.US. --------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] hotmail.com Guardian News and Media Limited 2007 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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